Halitosis itself may not be life threatening, but it could be the symptom of a medical condition you should address for your overall health and well-being. Bad breath (fetor oris) is a fetid odor that is present when you exhale and is mostly caused by bacteria along and below the gum line and on the back of the tongue.
A proper dental checkup may reveal you have gum disease or tooth decay. If no dental condition is present, you may suffer from another condition such as sinus problems, throat, lungs, stomach, esophagus or nasal cavity issues.
Rarely is halitosis the sign of a serious medical problem and most of the time it can be addressed with the proper oral hygiene – such as proper brushing and flossing of teeth and scraping the back of the tongue to remove odor-causing bacteria.
Bad breath is a social problem and can make you anxious about going out and meeting or being around people. It’s a condition which can usually be corrected easily with a little time and effort, so you simply need to find out the causes, diagnosis and treatment procedures to eliminate halitosis from your life.
Your Mouth Is a Hotbed of Bacteria
In over 90% of halitosis cases, the problem lies within the mouth and is referred to as oral malodor, intra-oral halitosis or oral halitosis. Over 600 varied types of bacteria can be found in an average mouth and they may be living and breeding on the back of the tongue or beneath the gum line.
The bacteria are produced by the transformation of proteins into amino acids, which then break down into gases, causing the foul odor from the mouth. The tongue is the main breeding ground for these bacteria, but other areas of the mouth may also contribute.
For example, faulty dental work, food gathering areas between and in the teeth, abscesses, dirty dentures and lesions caused by viral infections such as Herpes and the HPV virus may contribute to the reasons for halitosis.
Less exposure to oxygen is the reason why the mouth is prone to the moist, bacteria-growing conditions which can produce a foul odor. When you’re sleeping, the mouth is exposed to even less oxygen, causing the condition known as “morning breath.”
Morning breath happens when you’re sleeping because the body produces less saliva at night to wash away food and odors. The mouth is dryer and dead cells adhere to your tongue and elsewhere inside the mouth. Bacteria then use these decaying cells for food and a bad odor is the result.
Bad breath may also be caused from certain foods you eat such as onions, garlic, fish, cheese and meats. Smoking and alcohol are also contributors to halitosis, but may be eliminated completely by proper brushing and flossing of teeth or using a special mouthwash.
Halitosis isn’t usually a health concern and can be treated by certain changes in oral hygiene and lifestyle habits. Regular dental visits and cleaning are necessary to detect cavities or periodontal (gum) disease.
Dry mouth, internal diseases, infections and fasting or dieting may also contribute to bad breath and should be addressed immediately by a dentist or healthcare provider. Problems such as a sore or inflamed throat, sinus, acid reflux and respiratory infections can also be culprits of halitosis, but these are usually temporary conditions.
Signs of an infection within the mouth might be causing a bad breath problem. If you experience red or swollen gums and they bleed profusely after flossing or brushing, you may have gingivitis or another type of gum infection.
If you notice an abscess (pocket of pus) at the gum line of a tooth or between teeth or have loose teeth or dentures, you may be suffering from a bacterial infection. Also, open sores on the gums or tongue that may or may not be painful are likely to emit a foul odor.
Some women experience bad breath during their menstrual cycles – and keep in mind that certain medications may cause dry mouth, which increases bacterial growth in the mouth.
Fasting, stress and anxiety may also cause dry mouth or other conditions that contribute to halitosis. Certain medical conditions may also result in dry mouth – for example, you may have a salivary gland condition that makes you have to breathe from your mouth.
Symptoms of dry mouth include difficulty when speaking, cavities, difficult swallowing foods, burning in the mouth area and dry eyes. Be sure to drink lots of water every day to keep your mouth hydrated – and use sugar-free gums and mints to stimulate the salivary glands.
Other than mouth and tongue issues, there are a few more conditions you should know about when attempting to diagnose your halitosis problem. And, keep in mind that you may not even know you have bad breath because the odor-detectors in your nose could condition itself to the smell.
Ask your dentist or a family member or close friend for the truth and then take action to fix the problem.
Other Symptoms and Causes of Halitosis
It’s rare that a serious illness can cause bad breath, but occasionally, halitosis may occur because of conditions such as diabetes, liver or lung disease, acid reflux, sinus problems and kidney disease or kidney failure.
If you experience a sore throat, fever, swollen glands in the neck area, runny or stuffy nose that includes a yellow or green discharge or a mucus-producing cough, chances are you also have halitosis.
A checkup by a doctor or dentist may reveal certain issues by the nature of the breath odor. For example, if your breath produces a urine type of odor, you may need to be tested for kidney disease or failure.
When your breath is noticed to have a fruit-like odor, it could be the sign of diabetes. Other conditions include acid reflux disease (GERD) or chronic liver or kidney disease. Call a dentist for an appointment if your bad breath seems to be related to dental problems, and call a doctor if you suspect physical reasons.
The nose and sinus region is also a hotbed of bacteria. Breath produced from the nostrils has a different odor that that produced from the mouth and could be caused by a sinus infection or foreign elements inside the nose.
Stomach issues such as reflux aren’t common as a cause for halitosis, but when the contents of the stomach are involuntarily brought up into the esophagus, it produces a flow of gas and odors from substances within the stomach and bad breath will occur.
The tonsils (tonsillitis) have long been thought to be the next most common cause of halitosis after the mouth. Chronic caseous tonsillitis is emitted from the tonsils in the form of a cheese-like substance causing inflammation and sometimes abscesses and causing the resulting halitosis.
Systemic diseases such as diabetes, carcinoma, respiratory (bronchial and lung) infections, liver failure, renal failure, trimethylaminuria (fish odor) syndrome, diabetes and certain types of metabolic conditions could cause bad breath, but are rare occurrences in the general population.
Only a small section of the adult population may suffer from a condition called delusional halitosis. This is a condition where the person affected thinks he has bad breath and may even seek professional advice for it.
It’s a much exaggerated condition where the person is positive he has halitosis and his life becomes affected by it, even though those around him do not notice any sign of foul smelling breath.
Testing and Seeking Help for Halitosis
A visit to the dentist should be your first option for seeking testing and help if you suspect or know you have bad breath. The dentist will review your dental and medical history, including medications you might be taking that could cause dry mouth.
The dentist will also thoroughly examine your teeth, gums, salivary glands and the mouth condition. You’ll also be evaluated for bad breath by exhaling from your nose and mouth.
If the dentist suspects a medical issue, you’ll be referred to your family doctor – or, in some cases of gum disease – you’ll be referred to a periodontist who speciali
Sweaty hands, underarm wetness and stains on clothing and beads of sweat on the forehead are all signs of excessive sweating. Sweating is necessary to control the body’s temperature, but in some cases the system overproduces, rises to a high level and occurs at inappropriate times.
This is what’s formally known as hyperhidrosis. The areas of the body most affected by hyperhidrosis are the face, hands, armpits, trunk, feet and scalp. The condition usually begins during childhood years or early adolescence and becomes worse as time goes on – possibly for the rest of your life.
Excessive sweating is an embarrassing condition, especially during social and professional activities and intimate relationships may also be greatly affected. There are two types of hyperhidrosis – primary (idiopathic) and secondary.
Primary hyperhidrosis occurs more often than the secondary type and is usually centered in the hands, scalp, armpits, face and feet. Secondary hyperhidrosis is usually caused by a physical condition such as menopause, obesity, hyperthyroidism, systemic malignant diseases, treatment (endocrine) for a malignant disease and some psychiatric disorders.
Remember that sweating is a normal response to heat and meant to cool down your body. Running a fever is sometimes a trigger for sweat to break out as your body temperature rises and needs something to cool it down.
You might suffer from hyperhidrosis because of genetics that caused you to have more than normal sweat glands in the feet, hands and armpits or because of overactive sweat gland nerves. Occasionally, there may be another condition that can be causing excess sweating.
Causes and Symptoms of Excessive Sweating
Other than simple genetics, there may be medical or physical conditions that cause hyperhidrosis. Some can be tested and treated easily and the problem eradicated. Excessive sweating is usually characterized by a sudden onset without reason – such as a hot atmosphere or exercise.
You’ll know if you have hyperhidrosis if the palms of your hands and soles of your feet are constantly damp, you suffer from sweating that drenches your clothing, have macerations (soaking) of the skin, discoloration of the skin where you sweat most, or have cracked and scaly skin and foot odor.
Some medications may contribute to hyperhidrosis. Psychiatric prescriptions and meds used for high blood pressure problems may contribute to excessive sweating problems. Medications used to treat dry mouth, some supplements and a few antibiotics may also cause the condition.
Hyperthyroidism is another condition which may cause excess sweating. This condition causes the body’s chemical system to rev up past normal stages, producing too many thyroid hormones within the body. The result could be excessive sweating.
Testing is available for hyperthyroidism and the optional treatments include certain medications, surgery and iodine radiation. The symptoms of hyperthyroidism vary and excessive sweating may not occur until the condition is extremely manifested.
Many women complain about the sudden onset of excessive sweating problems during menopause. The problem is sometimes called hot flashes and they affect over 75% of women during and just before other menopausal symptoms.
Scientifically, these hot flashes are likely caused by swings or decreases in a woman’s drop in estrogen levels, when the menstrual period stops. Some women have such severe excess sweating that they drench their clothing.
Certain types of cancer such as Non-Hodgkin’s and Hodgkin’s lymphoma may cause sweating. Other cancers sometimes involved in hyperhidrosis include leukemia, bone and liver cancers, carcinoid tumors and mesothelioma.
Doctors believe that the body’s reaction to cancer by sweating is caused by the body’s attempt to fight off the invading cancer. The sweating becomes more pronounced as the cancer becomes more advanced.
Diabetes, types 1 and 2, are also known causes for hyperhidrosis. Other glucose control disorders such as hypoglycemia (extremely low glucose levels) and gestational diabetes may also contribute to the problem.
Sometimes, psychiatric conditions such as stress and anxiety can cause hyperhidrosis. These disorders may cause the body’s temperature to rise, leading to excess sweating. The drugs used to treat psychiatric problems may also lead to overactive sweat glands – plus withdrawal symptoms of stopping the use of alcohol and opiates or other, illegal substances may cause hyperhidrosis.
If you’re suffering from one or more of the above conditions, you may experience certain symptoms. For example, your face and scalp may be the main areas of the hyperhidrosis condition.
You may experience embarrassing blushing and your self-esteem may suffer as a result. Sweating profusely in the thigh, torso or leg areas occurs less frequently than in other areas of the body and may be part of the excess sweating going on in other body parts.
Sweating of the hands is one of the most embarrassing conditions because they’re used more than other body areas. Social contact (and even the profession you choose) may be affected by hyperhidrosis primarily occurring in the hands.
Besides the sweat problem, your hands may also feel cold and take on a blue discoloration, further limiting social contact. Feet sweating is also a condition which may be associated with sweating in other parts of the body.
Under the armpit may also cause distress in the form of wet clothing and stains. A strong odor may also develop, causing embarrassment and social withdrawal. It’s a humiliating and stressful situation for anyone going through it.
Treatment Options for Hyperhidrosis
Although sweating is a natural process by which the body eliminates toxins and acts to cool the body, it becomes a disorder when the excessive sweating causes embarrassment or might be a sign of a more serious medical problem.
Before treatment, the underlying reason for hyperhidrosis must be diagnosed. Sometimes, it’s a simple task. The excessive sweating may be clearly caused by such medications and treatments as hormonal therapy for hot flashes.
Those being treated for loss of estrogen may try super-type of antiperspirants such as Drysol. Iontophoresis (ionization) may also be a remedy. Ionization is a process which involves electrical current (from a machine) letting ions flow in the areas where excess sweating is prevalent.
Botulinum toxin (BOTOX) is also found to be effective for some people who suffer from hyperhidrosis. It works by blocking the signals from the brain which are received by the sweat glands. The injections can be given in the hands, face, feet or armpits.
Surgery may also be an option for those suffering from severe hyperhidrosis. Also known as endoscopic thoracic sympthectomy (ETS), the surgery acts to cut off the nerve impulses which cause the sweat glands to produce sweat.
The glands helped by this surgical process are found in the palms, armpits and face and address the junctions where the nerves meet. The surgery is simple, requiring one incision of about a twelfth of an inch per side.
One procedure that requires minimal surgery is to remove or eradicate the sweat glands. A small incision is made and the sweat glands or cut or scraped away – or you can elect to use a laser device just under the skin to destroy the glands causing the problem.
Another way to remove sweat glands without surgery is by a healthcare provider using a probe which is held just above the skin. The probe discharges a small amount of electromagnetic radiation to completely destroy the sweat glands.
Your doctor may discuss the use of anticholinergics to ease a hyperhidrosis problem. This type of medication is antimuscarinic or anticholinergic and acts to block the nervous system’s natural chemical (acetylcholine) which activates the sweat glands.
Hyperhidrosis can be challenging to manage and treat, but it can be done if you take the time and effort to seek out what works for you. There is no one size fits all solution, since everyone has different causes and different responses by their body to treatment.
Alternative Treatment and Lifestyle Changes for Hyperhidrosis
Some simple lifestyle changes may help the symptoms of hyperhidrosis when there’s no obvious reason for the condition. It likely won’t cure the condition, but you may learn to manage it so you’re not always embarrassed. There are some easy ways to ease the symptoms.
Food and drink that trigger excessive sweating include spicy foods and alcohol. Also, avoid tight clothing and wear cotton clothes rather than man-made material such as polyester. Use antiperspirant rather than just deodorant in the armpits.
Wear socks that are especially designed to absorb moisture and are made of natural, rather than man-made, fibers and change them often during the day. Your shoes should be made of leather and pairs should be alternated each day.
You can use armpit shields to soak in excess sweat and protect your clothing from stains. If the antiperspirant you’re using doesn’t work, ask your doctor to prescribe a stronger one for you.
Try taking two teaspoons of natural vinegar mixed with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar three times a day – either on an empty stomach or about thirty minutes after a meal.
Sage tea has been tested and found to help excessive sweating in the armpits. Simply brew some sage in warm water, let cool and then drink it down. It’s loaded with vitamin B and magnesium which calm overactive sweat glands. Green tea may also be an effective herbal remedy.
Use cut slices of potato to rub in your armpits and other areas of excessive sweating. Drink a glass of fresh tomato juice each day to calm the sweat glands and also consider using witch hazel as an antiperspirant. It dries the areas that sweat the most.
Try coconut or tea tree oil on the sweaty areas for a natural fix. Add camphor to the coconut oil and use the tea tree oil at full strength to take full advantage of its natural astringent powers. For sweaty palms, try the tannic acid found in plain black tea by steeping some bags in boiling water, and when the water cools, dip your palms in it.
Add grapes to your diet every day for the antioxidants needed to balance your body temperature. Drink wheatgrass juice to neutralize acids in the body and get a large dose of vitamins, folic acid and protein to help calm overactive sweat glands.
Cornstarch, baking soda and salt are natural drying remedies. Mix the cornstarch and baking soda and apply under the arms after a thorough cleansing. Wash it off about thirty minutes after the application. Or, mix a tablespoon of salt with some lime juice and massage into your hands if you suffer from sweaty palms.
Other homeopathic remedies you should check out for hyperhidrosis issues are silicea for clammy feet, calcarea (if obesity might be the cause of hyperhidrosis), botulinum for armpit sweating and acidum hydrofluoricum if your sweat comes with an unpleasant odor.
Simple lifestyle changes you can make on a daily basis may solve your hyperhidrosis issues. For example, drink copious amounts of water each day and cut down on your caffeine intake.
Avoid stress and anxiety as they’re prone to trigger sweat glands. Also avoid hot drinks, spicy and sugary foods – and of course, never use alcohol drugs or cigarettes if you have a hyperhidrosis problem.
Keep your armpits and groin areas shaved and don’t use high-powered deodorants and soap. Avoid hot baths and try to always keep your body temperature cool. Make sure you wear natural fiber clothing (such as cotton) rather than synthetic fabrics like nylon.
Anything you’re eating, doing or wearing that triggers excessive sweating issues should be avoided. If you begin to feel self-conscious about a hyperhidrosis problem, try natural remedies first and then seek help from your healthcare provider.
First, the problem must be correctly diagnosed – and then, there’s usually a remedy for the particular problem and you can find the particular method that will work for you. Help is readily available.
Don’t despair if you can’t find an immediate remedy for your hyperhidrosis issue. There’s plenty of information and help online to assist you in dealing with and seeking the proper solution for the problem.
Hyperhidrosis isn’t a problem you have to live with. Many have been helped by following one or more of the guidelines or products (including surgery) that are listed in this report.
Imperfections of the skin can cause our minds to feel bad about ourselves and how we’re presenting ourselves to the world. It causes frustration and can lead to social withdrawal and feelings of inadequacy.
Rashes, eczema, dandruff and warts are skin conditions which reflect that something is wrong internally. These conditions may also signal that we’re under stress or that we’re thinking of ourselves as inadequate.
There are so many skin conditions that it would be impossible to list them all in this report, but some of the more common ones include rashes such as hives, rosacea, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, eczema and other conditions such as moles, chickenpox and acne.
Skin is our most visible organ – and it’s out there for all to see, along with the emotional trauma from diseases and conditions of the skin that can be very damaging to our minds and bring about feelings of self-doubt and other insecurities.
When we’re nervous or stressed out about a visible condition such as skin issues, the problems can compound. Skin conditions become worse and we feel worse about it, starting a vicious cycle that’s difficult to break.
Blushing, breaking into hives when stressed or afraid, depression and other psychological problems may cause breakouts of eczema, alopecia, acne, rosacea, psoriasis and vitiligo – proving that the skin and the nervous system are closely intertwined.
Skin Conditions Causes and Symptoms
There are so many causes and symptoms surrounding the skin and all of the conditions that can manifest within it that it’s virtually impossible to list them all in this report. Some are temporary, such as pimples and acne on teenagers, while others may be a permanent skin disorder that plagues you through the years off and on, or continually.
Genetics may play a part in some skin conditions while others are based on situations such as stress or exposure to the elements. Some skin problems may be life-threatening, such as skin cancer.
One common skin condition which affects many teenagers and even adults is acne. Acne is manifested by papules (bumps caused from infected hair follicles), nodules (hard and painful bumps beneath the skin), cysts (infections signified by pus beneath the skin) and pustules (small pimples with pus).
Causes for acne include changing hormones such as the androgen hormones, which increase during puberty. The sebaceous glands produce excess amounts of sebum and become enlarged.
Eczema is a common skin condition where the skin becomes dry, itchy and inflamed. It’s characterized by gray or red patches on the skin and could have small bumps that secrete fluid.
Causes of eczema are numerous, including your environment. Smoke from cigarettes, pollen, the clothes you wear and even extreme cold may cause an outbreak of eczema. If needed, change your wardrobe and your home décor to fabrics made from cotton and natural fibers rather than synthetics and rough-textured fabrics.
Psoriasis is characterized by several issues. You may have thick, inflamed patches of skin (plaque), a red and shiny rash in the skin folds (inverse), a rash that looks like bad burns and appears on many areas of the body (erthrodermic), white pustules which are surrounded by reddish skin (pustular) or tiny red spots on the face, scalp, limbs and other body parts.
Psoriasis may be caused by certain triggers such as those which affect the immune system. For example, infections in the form of skin or throat issues, cold weather, consuming large amounts of alcohol, stress, injuries of the skin including a cut, sunburn or bug bites can all be contributors to this skin disorder.
Smoking is also a culprit that causes psoriasis – as is excessive alcohol consumption and medications like those for high blood pressure, antimalarial drugs, lithium and iodides.
Psoriasis is an issue that is thought to be an immune system problem originated from your body’s cellular system. It can be not only painful, but embarrassing for those who suffer from it as well.
The T cells in your body are used to fight off harmful bacteria or viruses, but with psoriasis, the T cells tend to attack healthy skin cells as if they were infectious or need healing.
Rosacea is characterized by flushing, redness of the skin and broken blood vessels, acne-type breakouts, bumps and thick skin on the forehead, skin, nose, chin, cheeks and ears and perhaps watery and itchy eyes that are bloodshot.
The exact causes of rosacea aren’t clear, but there are several factors that might exacerbate the problem. For example, some foods such as spicy foods or dairy can trigger symptoms of rosacea as can issues with the blood vessels – especially of the face.
Shingles are one of the most irritating and annoying of skin issues. They may appear as a rash that surrounds the torso and spine or itchy, fluid-filled blisters or red patches. Those who suffer from shingles may experience headache, fatigue, fever and chills with the breakouts.
One skin condition that is a chronic inflammatory disease is lupus. Lupus can severely affect the joints, skin and organs within the body, cause red, scaly lesions on the head and face and a number of other issues including sores within the mouth and nose.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease which causes the immune system to attack and damage healthy tissues rather than viruses and harmful bacteria. Lupus lasts for a lifetime and can cause severe symptoms.
Dandruff is a skin condition marked by the flaking of skin on the scalp. It’s not a serious condition – nor is it contagious, but it can be embarrassing because of the white skin flakes on your dark clothing.
Oil on the scalp causes skin cells to clump and then flake. Causes of dandruff include conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, allergic reaction to hair products and dry skin. Too much yeast in your system may also cause dandruff.
Treatment for Skin Conditions
Some skin conditions may be treated with oral antibiotics while others may respond best to other types of treatment such as creams or ointments. Acne might respond best to treatments such as a topical gels and creams.
Retin-A, Renova, Differin and Tazorac are topical creams and gels and all work to unclog pores. Sometimes dermatologists will use oral antibiotics along with a topical retinoid to kill the bacteria around the pores.
Eczema is best treated by first diagnosing the type. Although the treatments are varied, ointments and creams used to control inflammation and infections are usually recommended.
Sometimes antihistamines may help with itching and it’s best to avoid using anything that might irritate the skin. Wearing natural fiber clothing such as cotton is also recommended.
Psoriasis does best with treatments that care for the skin. Topical ointments and light therapy may cause some relief and medications such as steroids, anti-inflammatories, immunosuppressive drugs and vitamin A keep skin cells from rapid regrowth.
Rosacea can usually be treated by antibiotics or the same medications used for acne treatments. These treatments can reduce the severity of the condition, but if it goes untreated, rosacea can worsen over time.
You can use light therapy, moisturizer and sunscreen to keep the symptoms of rosacea at bay and artificial tears help if it enters your eyes. Vitamin A and topical antiseptics are also used in many cases.
Shingles treatment includes medications or ointments for pain relief. Often used are antiviral meds such as valacyclovir and acyclovir. If you received a chickenpox vaccine when you were a child – or had a shingles vaccine as an adult, you can reduce the risk of getting shingles.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, analgesics, nerve pain medications, anesthetics and antiviral drugs are sometimes recommended to relieve the pain and alleviate the symptoms of shingles.
There is no cure for lupus, but treatments to improve quality of life are available and will help alleviate symptoms and flare-ups. Lifestyle changes may be necessary, including changing your diet and protecting your skin from the damaging rays of the sun.
Medications such as steroids and anti-inflammatories may also be used to help manage the disease. The main goal is to reduce the inflammation that lupus causes in the joints and flare-ups of the skin.
Dandruff may be cured or alleviated by home remedies such as baking soda which helps to balance the scalp’s pH levels to lessen the growth of dandruff-causing fungi. Simple wet your hair and run some baking soda into your scalp. Rinse it out after 2 minutes with warm water.
Another remedy might be to massage a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice into your scalp, rinse and then rinse your hair with a solution of a teaspoon of lemon juice and a cup of water. The acidity in the lemon helps to keep dandruff from recurring.
Sometimes you may have to try several treatment types before finding one that will alleviate the symptoms of a skin condition you might have. Don’t despair if one or more treatments don’t work at first. Sometimes it takes awhile for the skin issue to react to treatments.
How to Prevent Future Skin Issues
One way to prevent most skin issues is to avoid certain triggers. For example, extreme cold may cause a breakout of eczema when the skin becomes dry. Make sure you use lots of moisturizer – especially on exposed areas of the skin such as hands and face.
A humidifier is a necessity for adding moisture to the dry air indoors. Try to keep the humidity levels at around 50 percent. Also, try to prevent dust mites in the home. Dust mites can trigger outbreaks of eczema – especially in children.
You may help prevent dust mites by keeping your home free of carpeting, blinds and rugs. Make sure you wash your bed linens and curtains in hot water each week and thoroughly clean rooms.
Try to choose clothing made of natural fibers and wear loose-fitting clothing so that you don’t restrict air flow to the skin. Synthetic fibers tend to cut off the oxygen to the skin and cause bacteria to form.
Lifestyle changes, such as choosing the proper diet plan, drinking more water, exercise and avoiding sugar may do wonders for almost any skin condition. Also make sure you wear sunscreen outdoors and protect yourself from extreme cold.
Stress and Skin Issues
Stress and anxiety are two of the main causes of most skin conditions. When your stress levels are high, the hormone levels become imbalanced and the nervous system sends panic signals to the adrenal glands, which then deluge the system with cortisol and adrenaline – two main stress hormones.
When stress occurs and the body is flooded with stress hormones, the skin reacts to the stressors. It can no longer be a shield and protect the body, but instead breaks down and possibly develops some type of skin issue.
Often, when a person addresses his or her stress issues with proper management, the skin condition goes away or the symptoms are greatly alleviated. Most dermatologists recognize that addressing stress and anxiety can help with the overall treatment of most skin conditions and will recommend it along with topical and oral meds.
Gaining power over stress not only helps with various skin conditions – it also helps to benefit your lifestyle and outlook for the future. Some things you may be stressing about might be irrational, but you could need help in recognizing this.
Deep breathing exercises, yoga stretches and meditation, visual imagery and guided relaxation are important to keeping your immune system healthy – which, in turn helps to naturally treat skin conditions.
Consider stress and anxiety as a determining factor for your skin condition if the conventional treatments aren’t working as a solution to your problem. The body and mind connection when it comes to skin issues is a fact and when properly treated, both can play a huge part in alleviating and even curing the condition.
Research more about how skin conditions may result from stress and anxiety in your life and you’ll find much information about how to manage and treat your own skin issues without suffering the side effects of damaging chemical products.
Many people consider hemorrhoids too embarrassing to talk about – even to a doctor. In fact, it’s so embarrassing that there’s no accurate way to determine how many people may be affected by the condition.
What we do know is that over half of the population in the U.S. becomes afflicted with hemorrhoids at some time in their lives – especially occurring in those between 45 and 65 years of age.
Men and women are equally affected and the problem occurs more frequently in higher economic status Caucasians. The first hint of the disease came from the 1700 BC Egyptians on a papyrus paper which offers an ointment remedy for hemorrhoids of acacia leaves which are ground, titurated and simmered together.
The sufferer was then told to smear the mixture on a strip of fine linen and insert in the anus for a quick recovery. Other remedies for hemorrhoids have been discussed and recommended throughout history, but surgical procedures weren’t discussed seriously until the 13th Century.
European surgeons Lanfranc, Guy de Chauliac, Henri de Mondeville and John of Ardene made huge progress in surgical procedures for hemorrhoids during the 13th century and some of the techniques are still used today.
There are two types of hemorrhoids – internal and external – and about 40% of the population experience no symptoms. Some have a combination of the two types and only seek help when they experience bleeding or extreme pain.
Sometimes, bleeding of hemorrhoids cause anemia, but that’s not common and most of the time not life-threatening. Usually, you can diagnose hemorrhoids yourself, but a medical doctor may be necessary to help with treatments in extreme cases.
Imaging or lab tests aren’t required to diagnose hemorrhoids, which are obvious from the discomfort around the anus they cause and pain during bowel movements or when sitting.
You may also experience itching and bleeding around the anus area. Occurrences of hemorrhoids may be recurring, but the outlook of treating them without surgery is good. You may have symptoms off and on during your entire life.
Types of Hemorrhoids
External hemorrhoids are mostly annoying, but sometimes painful – especially during bowel movements. Thrombosed or clotted blood vessels are especially painful, but the pain and swelling usually dissipate within a few weeks.
Sometimes an external hemorrhoid may form a skin tag (protrusion from the skin) after it heals. You may also experience itching around the anus and it may be difficult to practice proper hygiene because of the pain.
External hemorrhoids are prolapsed, meaning they have dropped outside the pectinate line (this line divides the lower third and upper two thirds of the anal canal). Prolapse occurs when part of the large intestine drops outside the anus and are sensitive to temperatures and pain.
Internal hemorrhoids are classified as those which appear above the pectinate line and are divided into four classes – Grade 1 (no prolapse); Grade II (prolapse with straining, but can be reduced); Grade III (prolapse when straining and requires manual reduction); Grade III (prolapse when straining, but inability to reduce).
Some rectal bleeding may occur with internal hemorrhoids during or after a bowel movement. You may also experience a mucous discharge, itching and feel unable to produce a bowel movement.
You likely won’t experience pain with internal hemorrhoids unless they become prolapsed. Other rectal problems may be associated with or falsely referred to as hemorrhoids.
Rectal bleeding may also occur because of colitis, IBS (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) diverticulitis, colorectal cancer and angiodsplasia. If you’re also diagnosed as anemic, other medical problems should be considered.
Some conditions that may also be misdiagnosed as hemorrhoids include anal warts and skin tags, polyps, rectal prolapse and some blood pressure conditions (portal venous). Hypertension (high blood pressure) doesn’t increase your chances of having hemorrhoids.
Causes and Symptoms of Hemorrhoids
The actual cause of hemorrhoids isn’t known, but there are factors which increase the risk. Constipation or diarrhea, low fiber diets, pregnancies, genetics, prolonged straining during bowel movements, abdominal masses, aging, obesity, chronic coughing, anal intercourse, no valves within hemorrhoid veins and dysfunction within the pelvis may all contribute to increasing your chances of hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids aren’t veins or arteries, but are normal blood vessels (sinusoids). They’re found in the tissue surrounding the anus and rectum and may swell and dilate from pressure.
The swelling and dilation sometimes causes the hemorrhoid to bleed and prolapse (protrude from the anus) because the blood has more difficulty emptying from them. This can cause pain during bowel movements or prolonged sitting.
After a pregnancy, women are usually able to get rid of hemorrhoids – and losing weight is also a factor in reducing the risk. While it’s rare for children to experience hemorrhoids, the risk goes up at the age of 14 and continues to rise as we age.
External hemorrhoids lie just under the skin around the anus and may itch or bleed. Internal hemorrhoids are found inside the rectum and don’t usually cause discomfort unless you strain or irritate them during a bowel movement.
Sometimes, they can be pushed through the anal opening. Occasionally, a thrombosed hemorrhoid may bleed and form a clot which then swells and becomes inflamed. You may also notice a lump near your anal opening.
If you experience large amounts of bleeding or faintness, see a doctor immediately. Keep in mind that bleeding from the anus or rectum isn’t normal. Hemorrhoids tend to be the most common problem when there’s blood in the stool, but make sure you discuss the problem with your physician.
Some causes of bleeding from the rectum may be serious and include IBS (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) and cancer of the colon. Never ignore the bleeding, but seek help to get a diagnosis.
Also keep in mind that hemorrhoids don’t cause abdominal pain. If you’re experiencing bleeding and pain in the abdomen, seek medical care as soon as possible. Blood loss from hemorrhoids may cause weakness and lightheadedness if the loss is significant.
Seek medical help if that problem occurs – especially if you’re taking anticoagulation medications such as Pradaxa, Warfarin, Xarelto, Plavis or Lovenox. These meds may cause excessive bleeding from the rectum if you have hemorrhoids.
Prolapsed hemorrhoids can sometimes be gently pushed back through the anus, but if not, you should seek medical care. Also, thrombosed, external hemorrhoids may need medical care if you’re in extreme pain.
Management and Prevention of Hemorrhoids
A visual examination of the anus can diagnose hemorrhoids and a rectal exam might be necessary to diagnose polyps, rectal tumors, abscesses or an enlarged prostate. You may need sedation because of the pain involved.
Your doctor may decide to use tests which let him see the inner lining of your anus, the lower area of the large intestine or colon and the rectum. He can see if there are abnormal areas such as tumors or polyps, bleeding, diverticulosis, hemorrhoids and other types of inflammation.
These tests include using a sigmoidoscopy, proctoscopy or anoscopy to see various areas of the colon. A sigmoidoscopy is when a tube with a light (either rigid or flexible) is inserted into the anus and your doctor may remove tissue samples or small growths.
Before a sigmoidoscopy, you’ll be given an enema, laxative or possibly both to be sure the anal canal and colon are clear and emptied. A proctoscopy lets the doctor see into the rectum and lower area of the colon, but doesn’t reach as far as the sigmoidscope.
An anoscopy uses a rigid, short and hollow tube with a light to look into the nearest areas (last two inches) of the colon or anal canal. You won’t be required to prep for this test with laxatives or enemas.
These tests use different scopes look at different sections of the colon. You may also be screened for colon cancer during the procedure. You should talk to your doctor about your test preference and your risk for each.
If you’re in pain, you may receive the diagnosis of an external hemorrhoid or anal fissure rather than internal hemorrhoids. To manage hemorrhoids, you may be told to consume more foods high in dietary fiber or to drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated.
Sitz baths and nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory medications and rest may also be recommended to improve the hemorrhoid situation. If it’s determined that you’re not getting enough fiber, supplements may be suggested.
Suppositories and topical creams and gels are also available to treat symptoms of hemorrhoids. If you use products which contain steroids for treatment, don’t use it for over 14 days because thinning of the skin may occur.
Other products may contain vasoconstrictors such as epinephrine, petroleum jelly and zinc oxide. Make sure you’re not allergic to any of the ingredients listed on the product before using it.
If you’re suffering from hemorrhoids while pregnant, be aware that they will usually go away after giving birth. If not, try one of the products of lifestyle changes to alleviate the symptoms.
Surgery or a number of other procedures may be performed if the hemorrhoids become very painful or if bleeding or interference in bowel movements occurs. There are several procedures to choose from and they’re usually safe with the exception of a rare occurrence of perianal sepsis.
Rubber band ligation is usually the first procedure recommended and can be performed in the doctor’s office rather than a hospital. This procedure involves elastic bands applied to an internal hemorrhoid to cut off the blood supply.
The hemorrhoid withers and falls off within 5 to 7 days. Cauterization is another effective method to get rid of hemorrhoids, but be aware that the problem may reoccur. Cauterization can be done using laser surgery, infrared radiation, cryosurgery (using extreme cold) or electrocautery.
The success rate for using sclerotherapy to get rid of hemorrhoids enjoys about a 70% success rate. This procedure is performed by injecting a sclerosing agent like phenol into the hemorrhoid, causing the vein to collapse.
The hemorrhoids then shrink and disappear. Invasive, surgical procedures include several techniques, but the complications should be considered. Bleeding, infection, inability to urinate and strictures on the anus may occur as well as inability to have a bowel movement.
These complications usually last for a small amount of time. Another surgical procedure involves using ultrasound Doppler to locate the blood inflow. Then, the arteries supplying the blood are tied and the tissue is then returned to its normal position by suturing.
Recurrence of the hemorrhoids may occur, but this procedure is less invasive than a hemorrhoidectomy. Stapled hemorrhoidectomy procedure involves removing most of the enlarged tissue, then placing it back in its normal position.
This procedure is usually less painful than a hemorrhoidectomy, but the hemorrhoids may return. A surgical excision of hemorrhoids is called an excisional hemorrhoidectomy and is usually performed in the most severe cases.
There’s likely to be pain and recovery time is from 2 to 4 weeks. The benefits of a surgical excision are better than that of the rubber band ligation – especially for those with thrombosed external hemorrhoids.
The doctor will usually recommend glyceryl trinitrate ointment use after the procedure to help with healing and to relieve pain. Preventive methods for hemorrhoids include avoiding constipation or diarrhea by consuming high-fiber diet (or taking fiber supplements) and drinking lots of fluids, avoiding straining during a bowel movement, losing weight if overweight, avoid heavy lifting and also avoiding reading and sitting on the toilet for long periods of time.
Exercise may also help to relieve constipation, which in turn decreases pressure on the hemorrhoids. Stool softeners may help alleviate the pain and the symptoms of hemorrhoids.
The outlook for reducing the pain and other symptoms of hemorrhoids is great. Usually, some small life changes in diet or habits along with some help from external or internal medications can relieve the symptoms and save you the embarrassment of seeking help for hemorrhoids at the doctor’s office.
Just make sure that if they’re extreme, such as bleeding continually, or so painful that over the counter or natural remedies aren’t working – you make an appointment with your physician so that they can help you find fast relief.
Besides being extremely irritating and painful, vaginal infections are downright embarrassing to discuss with others – even your family doctor. The good news is that vaginal infections can usually be resolved in a short amount of time and are easily treatable.
Ages that are usually affected by vaginal infections are persons between the ages of 14 and 60. It’s rare than newborns, toddlers or persons between 6 and 13 are affected, but somewhat common in those people up to 60 years of age.
Over three million cases of various vaginal infections are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. They’re usually caused by an imbalance of vaginal bacteria, low estrogen levels (especially after menopause) or an infection.
Symptoms usually include painful urination, pain during intercourse, itching or irritation in the vaginal area and vaginal discharge. Treatment for vaginal infections usually attempts to concentrate on the cause rather than the symptoms.
A woman’s membranes lining the cervix and vagina normally secrete mucus and moisture, which is slightly milky or clear and clumpy or slippery except when dry and it turns to a yellow color.
A myriad of bacteria grow normally in the vagina of healthy women and some help to keep the vagina healthy. Lactobacilli bacteria help to maintain the proper pH acid balance to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
Sexual arousal, stress or midway between menstrual cycles may cause secretions to increase, but the situation doesn’t usually cause inflammation or irritation of any type in the vulva or vaginal areas.
You can view your discharge by using a clean tissue to gather a sample from inside the vagina and then smear it onto a glass slide or piece of clean glass. If the substance is clear or milky, you likely aren’t suffering from a vaginal infection.
Types and Symptoms of Vaginal Infections
There are three common types of vaginal infections – yeast (candida), trichomoniasis (trich) and bacterial vaginosis. Symptoms of an infection will likely include severe or mild burning and itching around the vulva, abnormally high levels or discolored discharge, thigh chaffing and possibly frequent urges to urinate.
Recurring or chronic vaginal or vulvar infection symptoms may cause skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. You may also develop symptoms of a vaginal infection if you’re subjected to stress, other infections in the body, lack of sleep or poor diet which can all lower your resistance to any infections.
Scented vaginal sprays, birth control pills, hormones, diabetes (or pre-diabetic issues), douching and pregnancy may also cause the onset of vaginal infections. Abrasions or cuts and other types of irritations within the vagina (such as having intercourse without enough lubrication) are culprits for causing infections in the vaginal area.
Infections could also be transmitted through having sex with your partner or using an instrument for medical or masturbation reasons. If you suffer from chronic vaginal infections, it may be a sign of a more serious medical condition such as HIV or diabetes. Be sure to see your doctor for proper testing.
One of the most common types of vaginal infections is the yeast fungus (candida albicans). Mostly called candida, this fungus grows in both the vagina and the rectum – especially when the pH balance is acidic (such as within the vagina).
Menstrual cycles, some antibiotics, pregnancy, diabetes and birth control pills tend to make the vagina and rectal areas even more acidic, causing a yeast infection to easily develop.
Also, when your system is out of balance from hormonal or other issues, yeast organisms can grow easily and plentifully. It produces a cottage-cheese like discharge and unpleasant odor and possibly cause itching or burning.
Recurring yeast infections may also happen because of the candida fungus on a male partner. The only sure way to diagnose a yeast infection is to be examined by a physician. He or she will analyze the vaginal secretions with a microscope and may also order a lab culture.
Bacterial vaginosis is another type of vaginal infection. It’s caused by an imbalance within the vagina when an abnormal growth of microorganisms such as anaerobic bacteria, gardnerella and mycoplasmas occurs.
Some women don’t realize they have bacterial vaginosis as the symptoms seem to appear and disappear – usually appearing during a menstrual cycle and becoming worst as it progresses – and disappearing after the period.
Causes of bacterial vaginosis might include routine douching and infections such as those which are sexually transmitted. The symptoms are a discharge which appears grayish or thick and white and has a strong odor.
Vulvitis is an inflammation of the vulva and could be cause by a certain type of medical condition or from using external creams or other irritants. You may have vulvitis caused by oral sex, an injury, sitting in a hot tub, allergic reaction to soaps, powders or other products.
Sanitary napkin irritation, underwear made from synthetic fibers or panty hose may also contribute to the vulvitis infection, which may also come with a vaginal infection. Other causes ay include stress, poor hygiene or a diet lacking in proper vitamins and minerals.
Hormonal drops such as happens during post-menopausal years may cause vulvitis because of drying and less elastic vulvar tissues. Women with diabetes may also suffer from the condition.
You may notice symptoms of redness, swelling, pain, itching and burning during an outbreak of vulvitis. Sometimes, blisters appear which may open, drain and form a crust. You may develop a secondary infection if you scratch the irritated area.
Vulvodynia is the term used to describe chronic pain in the vulva. Symptoms are pain, itching and stinging, severe burning and irritation in the genital area. You could develop vulvodynia as a result or during of a severe yeast infection or outbreak of herpes.
One type of vulvodynia is called generalized and may occur within different parts of the vulva. You may experience it at various times and even when you’re not having sexual intercourse or masturbating.
The other type of vulvodynia is called localized vulvodynia and symptoms include pain in the area of the vagina opening (vestibule) when that area is pressed on or even lightly touched.
Medical and Alternative Treatments for Vaginal Infections
Yeast infections are usually easy to diagnose and treat. You could try an over-the-counter treatment such as a vaginal suppository or cream or oral antifungal meds. But, beware that some antifungal creams might get rid of the symptoms without getting rid of the infection.
If you have recurring yeast infections, you may need oral treatments. Suppositories and creams can be used during pregnancy as they have fewer harmful side effects than oral treatments.
Sometimes a baby can be born with a candida infection (thrush) if the mother has an infection when it’s born. A doctor will usually treat the baby with oral nystatin drops. Boric acid capsules may also be recommended or using gentian violet to swab on the cervix, vulva and vagina. Beware that an allergic reaction to gentian violet may occur.
Boric acid side effects don’t usually occur, but may cause itching and burning in and around the vagina. Don’t use boric acid if you have cuts, sores or abrasions in the genital area as it can enter the bloodstream and cause problems such as diarrhea and vomiting and even kidney damage.
Bacterial vaginosis is usually treated by using metronidazole or clindamycin either vaginally or orally for a few days to a week. Metronidazole is usually the first choice because it’s less apt to cause a yeast infection than clindamycin.
Vaginal treatments for bacterial vaginosis are usually less reactive, but can be more expensive than taking the pills. It’s common for women to experience another bacterial vaginosis infection within a few months of treatment.
Using a condom during sexual relations may help to prevent recurring infections. Sometimes women develop bacterial vaginosis infections after a gynecological surgery such as a vaginal hysterectomy.
There’s no normal medical treatment plan for vulvodynia because the reasons for the infection aren’t clear. Your doctor will first try to treat the cause of the pain, which includes skin problems around the vulva, an infection such as herpes, a blocked Bartholin duct or cystitis that causes urinary and bladder pain.
Irritants or activities around the vulva may be the cause of the pain as will Candida or inflammatory vaginitis. Spasms originating in the pelvic floor area of the body could also be the cause of your pain.
The doctor will most likely recommend one of several options including a low-dosage of tricyclic antidepressant that will help to lessen central nervous system pain, applying estrogen cream in the vagina, topical anesthetic ointment and physical therapy.
Your healthcare provider may also recommend seeing a sex therapist or counselor if he suspects the pain could come from past sexual experiences. Many times, multiple or a combination of treatments is required.
If none of the usual treatments work to alleviate the pain and irritation from vaginal infections, surgery may be suggested. A vestibulectomy involves the removal of the hymen and vestibule, but success doesn’t always follow the surgery.
You may want to try a natural or alternative remedy to treat your vaginal infections or prevent them from occurring. Rather than taking antibiotics, some herbal remedies help to restore natural vaginal flora and help the healing process.
Sitz baths – where you sit in the amount of water necessary to cover your hips, thighs and buttocks – may help to relieve vaginal infection symptoms. Avoid using any of these remedies if you suspect you have an infection involving the fallopian tubes, ovaries or uterus.
Preventing Recurring Vaginal Infections
You may be successful at preventing recurring vaginal infection by taking some prevention measure such as supplementing your diet with vitamins B and C. Avoid douching and use condoms, which will reduce the effect of alkaline-containing semen.
Eating yogurt may help by balancing your pH, but isn’t effective if you have bacterial vaginosis. Also avoid using tampons if you’re prone to vaginal infections. Keep in mind that these types of alternative treatments may provide immediate and temporary relief from symptoms, but will not cure vaginal infections.
You can actually over clean the vulva enough to irritate it and invite infections to the area. Simply washing once per day with warm water is enough to keep it clean and help to prevent harmful bacteria from forming.
Some success has been found by drinking about eight ounces of unsweetened cranberry juice per day or using cranberry supplements. Garlic suppositories (peeled clove of garlic wrapped in gauze) and live cultured yogurt inserted into the vagina may also help keep infections at bay.
Candida infections may respond nicely to potassium sorbate which is a preservative when home-brewing beer. Mix a solution of dry potassium sorbate and about a pint of water. You may insert the soaked tampon into the vagina for a few hours (preferably at night and remove it in the morning).
Get as much rest as you can to keep your immune system ready to fight infections and if you have a male partner, get him to use the antifungal cream to his penis twice per day for a couple of weeks. Uncircumcised men tend to carry the infection beneath the over-skin, so he needs to make sure he cleans properly.
A simple thing, but one you may need a reminder about is to always wipe from front to back and keep the vulva clean, dry and cool. Avoid using toilet paper that’s scented or uses dyes as they may irritate the vulva.
Hot boric acid compresses and sitz baths which include comfrey may soothe the area – and be sure to wear cotton underwear and use cotton or pure linen towels in the bathroom.
Cold compresses with live-cultured cottage cheese might help to prevent itching and soothe the area. Using a non-irritating lubricant like K-Y jelly or Astroglide during sex may keep the genital area from becoming irritated and if itching occurs, use calamine lotion.
Don’t use any commercial substance in the genital area which may cause irritation or itching. Take precautions to prevent occurrences of vaginal infections – and if you can’t find a prevention method on your own, make sure you seek help from your healthcare provider.
Urinary incontinence or loss of bladder control isn’t a disease, but a symptom of something else that’s happening in your body. It could be caused by your habits, certain medical conditions or physical disabilities.
It’s an embarrassing problem if you can’t make it to the bathroom in time and either leak urine or have sudden urges that cause you to run to the toilet. Often, the urge is so strong that you don’t get there in time.
When urinary incontinence begins to affect your daily lifestyle, it’s time to see the doctor to receive a diagnosis and get help with whatever condition you have. Sometimes, you can make simple lifestyle adjustments to completely stop or alleviate the condition.
There are many possible causes for urinary incontinence – and just as many treatments – ranging from losing weight to bladder exercises. You need to know the most common causes of urinary incontinence, how they may be diagnosed and what you can do about treatment or managing the problem.
Causes and Symptoms of Urinary Incontinence
You may experience urinary incontinence on a temporary basis from drinking too much alcohol, caffeine, decaffeinated or carbonated drinks. Artificial sweeteners and corn syrup or foods high in sugar or acids (predominately citrus fruits) may also contribute to incontinence.
If you have a medical problem for which you have to take sedatives, heart and blood pressure prescriptions and muscle relaxants or large amounts of vitamins B and C, you could also experience incontinence.
Urinary incontinence is usually divided into three categories – stress, urge and overflow. Stress incontinence is when you lose urine involuntarily when you sneeze, cough or lift something heavy.
Urge incontinence is classified as an involuntary and overpowering urge to urinate and overflow incontinence is when you urinate frequently and may dribble urine involuntarily. Persistent urinary incontinence indicates a more serious problem and should be treated by a physician.
Some incontinence problems such as a urinary tract infection are easily treatable. An infection in the urinary tract causes strong compulsions to run to the bathroom with little time between episodes.
You may also experience burning and itching sensations in the genital area and your urine may emanate a strong, unpleasant odor if you have an infection. If you’re constipated, you may have temporary incontinence because of the rectum’s close location to the bladder.
When your stool is compacted or hard, the nerves in that area of the body work overtime and can increase the need for frequent urination. Persistent urinary incontinence may also be caused by a pregnancy and the increasing weight of the uterus.
After childbirth, you may also experience incontinence problems if you muscles were weakened or the nerves in the bladder or tissues surrounding the bladder were damaged.
A prolapsed pelvic floor may also be a result of pregnancy and causes the bladder, rectum, small intestine or uterus to push into the vagina, which can also cause incontinence.
An aging bladder, menopause, certain surgeries such as a hysterectomy, enlarged prostate in men and prostate cancer in some men may be a reason for incontinence problems.
Tumors may also block the flow of urine and cause overflow incontinence and urinary stones may cause leakage. Neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, brain tumors, multiple sclerosis and a brain or spinal problem is often the cause of incontinence in both men and women.
You may be at risk for urinary incontinence if you’re overweight as the extra pressure of weight on your bladder may weaken the muscles around it. If you’re a woman, you’re more likely to suffer from stress incontinence caused by childbirth, pregnancy or menopause and men may experience incontinence through prostate gland issues.
As we age, the muscles in and surrounding the bladder and urethra tend to lose elasticity causing you to experience involuntary bouts of incontinence. Your bladder simply can contain as much urine as it did before.
Type 2 diabetes is a leading cause for incontinence and increases the sensitivity of your bladder. If you’ve inadvertently gained weight with diabetes, the extra pounds may contribute to urinary incontinence.
Chronic urinary incontinence may be manifested by frequent urinary tract infections, rashes and other skin problems from being constantly damp in the genital area. You may also experience profound and negative changes in your person life including work, social activity and relationships.
Don’t be discouraged if you’re experiencing urinary incontinence. Help can be found if you know the cause. Urologists specialize in urinary tract disorders or, if you’re a woman, consult with your gynecologist.
There are also some alternative methods of treating and managing urinary incontinence. You can pick and choose which solutions work best for your body and needs.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Urinary Incontinence
Diagnosis of a urinary incontinence problem may be as simple as a urine test to see if there are signs of an infection or traces of blood in the urine and other conditions causing the problem.
You’ll likely need to provide your doctor with a complete medical history and brief physical exam. One test that a medical professional may try is to have you close your mouth while pinching your nose and exhaling.
After an initial exam your doctor may recommend that you keep a diary of your bladder happenings to record the amount you drink. You’ll also need to record how many times you go, how much urine there is and if you had to go really badly – along with how many times you were incontinent.
A doctor can use a test (ultrasound) or catheter to see if there are more serious problems, such as a damaged or blocked nerve in your urinary tract or any problems with the muscles. It involves you going into a container so the amount of urine can be measured.
Another test the doctor may order is a cystoscopy where a finite tube with a lens is injected into your urethra so he can see if there is anything wrong inside the urinary tract. A pelvic ultrasound may be ordered to check for other abnormalities of the genitals and urinary tract.
Urodynamic testing can be done to measure the strength of your bladder and the health of your urinary sphincter muscles. The doctor puts a catheter into your urethra and fills your bladder up with water to record the amount of pressure on the bladder itself.
A cystogram may be ordered to help your doctor track problems in your urinary tract. They put a catheter inside of your urethra and bladder where a special type of dye is inserted. While you urinate, X-rays are taken to better follow the urine’s progress as it leaves your body.
The type of urinary continence and severity you’re experiencing and the diagnosis of a cause will determine the treatment involved. You may receive several treatments, beginning with the least invasive and then discuss other options if those methods fail.
The least invasive of treatments includes training the bladder so urination is delayed even after you get the urge to go to the bathroom. You may try to hold the urine for 10 minutes at first and then lengthen the time as your bladder becomes more trained. A good goal is to increase the time between toilet trips to between two to four hours.
Food and drink management is another way to get back control of your bladder. Cutting down on beverages such as alcohol or those which contain caffeine and avoiding acidic foods is one method to reduce overactive bladder.
Losing weight, increasing physical exercise and reducing your consumption of liquids is another method that sometimes works to calm a nervous bladder. Also, try scheduling your trips to the toilet – like urinating every two or four hours rather than going every time you feel the urge.
Overflow incontinence may be helped by double voiding. This means you empty your bladder more completely by waiting a few moments after urinating and then attempting to urinate again.
You may have heard of Kegel exercises that are meant to strengthen muscles involved in the urination process. These specialized exercises involve the series of muscles located in and around the pubic bone, including the anus, vagina, rectum and urethra.
These exercises can help men or women restore muscle function to reduce the symptoms of incontinence. You can find Kegel exercise instructions online or seek help from a therapist or health care provider.
Natural therapies that can help urinary incontinence include the dietary changes such as tobacco, alcohol, pepper and spicy foods and caffeine which can irritate the bladder. And, avoid excess pounds which may put unnecessary stress on the bladder.
Biofeedback has been known to help those with incontinence by helping you to identify the pelvic muscles and strengthen them. You’ll use signals from your own body to control incontinence.
Keep a bladder diary to help you identify the triggers which may help you pinpoint the problems. And, avoid the feminine deodorant products. Some of these contain chemicals and additives that can aggravate the urethra.
When Incontinence Affects Your Lifestyle – Where to Get Help
If you find that incontinence issues are affecting the way you live your life – such as cutting out social activities, exercise, causing a strain in a relationship and other problems – seek help from a medical professional. There are several remedies available from vaginal inserts to surgeries.
Electrical stimulation may help to control the urine flow and immediate urges. Electrodes are temporarily inserted into the vagina and act to stimulate and calm the urethra muscles.
Also available are plugs which are inserted much like a tampon and are mainly used for stress incontinence. Another insert is called a pessary and can be effective if you are experiencing a prolapse of the bladder or uterus and resulting weakened muscles.
A fairly new treatment for urinary incontinence that’s gaining in popularity involves a woman’s stem cells. The stem cells are gathered from blood and remain in a lab for a few weeks for culture and are then transplanted into the urinary tract by injection.
The stem cells are known to restore muscle mass of and around the urethra and also provide elasticity. It’s an outpatient procedure that only takes up to 20 minutes and provides results within 24 hours.
You may consider surgery if the incontinence problem is caused from a blockage, enlarged prostate or a change in the bladder’s position. During this surgery, the bladder is lifted from the pelvic floor and secured.
If the incontinence issue is serious, the surgeon may use a wide sling to hold the bladder and reduce the urethra’s passage to prevent involuntary leakage. Urge incontinence is best treated by the bladder augmentation surgical procedure, which utilizes part of the bowel to increase the bladder’s capacity to hold more urine.
One procedure implements a small device which is connected to a wire and sends tiny pulses of electricity to the nerves controlling the bladder. The device is inserted just under the skin, so it’s not an extremely invasive procedure.
Medications such as anticholinergics can sometimes help calm an overactive bladder. Mirabegron is used to treat incontinence from severe urges. It relaxes the bladder and also may increase the amount of urine you can hold in your bladder.
Alpha blockers such as Flomax may also be effective for men with urges or overflow issues. They relax the bladder muscles and fibers in the prostate so it’s easier to empty the bladder and empty it more thoroughly.
Topical estrogen may also be a way to rejuvenate the tissues within the urethra and vaginal tract so they’re stronger and more able to resist urinary urges. It’s a topical treatment that comes in the form of a ring, patch or cream.
There are also certain medical treatments you can turn to for help such as Botox (Botulinum toxin type A), which is injected into the bladder muscle to help those with an overactive bladder.
Another injection type – bulking material comprised of synthetic materials – helps to reduce bladder leakage and is non-invasive. The procedure consists of injecting the bulking material into the tissue around the urethra.
If medical treatments and other methods don’t completely get rid of your incontinence issues, turn to products that will help with the inconvenience of a urinary tract problem. The latest designs and materials in pads and other protective garments can be worn with no detection beneath your clothing.
Men can use drip collectors – the absorbent padding which is worn on the penis and kept in place by wearing fitted underwear. Catheters may also be used if your bladder is overactive or you have overflow issues. You simply insert the catheter into the urethra to drain the bladder.
Incontinence issues don’t have to ruin your social life or relationships or make you stop doing the things you love. Much information is available online and through your health care provider. Learn what you can and then make an educated decision about how to deal with a urinary incontinence problem.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are not only embarrassing, but can harm your future health and well-being if not treated quickly and properly. These sexual diseases include gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, genital herpes, genital warts, Hepatitis B, HIV and syphilis and are sometimes manifested by discharge from the vagina or penis and pain when urinating.
Statistics indicate that half of all sexually active adults will contract an STD by the age of 25. These are serious and harmful illnesses that require immediate treatment. Some are incurable and can result in death.
An early diagnosis could mean the difference in life and death. The more you know about STDs the better able you will be to protect yourself. You need to be aware of the basics of STDs such as how you may contract them, the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment and how to protect yourself from them.
If you’re a sexually active adult, you owe it to yourself to know all you can about STDs and what you can do to prevent it from ever happening to you.
Having Sex Isn’t the Only Way to Get an STD
Many people – especially sexually active teens – have the impression that they can only contract an STD by having sexual intercourse. That’s simply not true. Some STDs can also be spread by having contact with an infected area or open sore on another person.
It’s also a false belief that you can’t get STDs if you only have oral or anal sex. You should be aware that STD bacteria and viruses can also enter the system through cuts or abrasions within the mouth, anus, penis or genitals.
Unknowing teens are especially vulnerable for contracting STDs and the statistics are rising among both the rich and poor. It’s vitally important that sexually active teens are aware of the serious health problems that STDs can cause now and in later life.
For example, permanent damage can occur from the ravages of an STD in the form of infertility – never being able to have a family. If a young person contracts HIV/AIDs, the result can be long years of treatment and even death.
STDs are such an embarrassing issue that many people don’t tell others they have one and the symptoms may not be noticeable. Or, a sex partner may not know they have one and unknowingly pass it on to others. This is why STDs are so easy to spread.
The chances of someone contracting an STD increase if they begin sexual activity at a very young age, have multiple sex partners or have unprotected sex. Even with protected sex by using a condom, diaphragm or other method, an STD may occur and possibly leave your health damaged forever.
An STD may not only affect your health negatively – it may also ruin your intimacy with others as well as setting yourself up for a reputation that may be difficult to shed. Protect yourself by learning everything you can about STDs and taking precautions so it never happens to you.
How to Recognize Symptoms of STDs
With certain STDs, symptoms may not be recognizable or uncomfortable enough for a person to identify. Since the symptoms aren’t always obvious, you need to see a doctor on a regular basis for examinations and testing.
It’s especially important to be tested if you suspect or know that you’ve been exposed or if you’re sexually active with various partners. Some STI (Sexually Transmitted Infections) are fairly easy to treat while others require a treatment plan that should be monitored and managed by a healthcare provider.
It’s vitally important that you inform your sexual partner(s) so they can also be diagnosed and treated. If an STI remains untreated, you’re more at risk of contracting another type of STI – which can be more devastating – such as AIDs or HIV.
The untreated STI can damage your immune system to withstand infections in the genital area and sores or abrasions may occur, increasing your chances of getting the HIV virus.
It could also result in infertility. Even if you have no symptoms of an STI, you may pass one on to sexual partners. The hepatitis STI can be transmitted to another if one person is infected with the virus and passes it along through the blood.
Others may only be contracted through sexual contact. An example of STDs that are difficult to detect is Chlamydia, a bacterial infection in the genital area. Early-stage symptoms are sometimes missing and when you do realize them it may be a few weeks into the infection.
During that time the STD can be passed on to many others depending on how sexually active you are. When symptoms of Chlamydia do occur, you may experience pain in the lower abdomen, pain during urination, discharge from penis (or vagina in women), pain during sexual intercourse (for women) or testicular pain in men.
Genital warts (Human papillomavirus or HPV) infections are common among sexually active persons and could cause women to contract cervical cancer in time. You may notice small areas in the genital area that are flesh or gray in color and may form a cauliflower shape when bunched together.
You could also experience bleeding during intercourse or some type of discomfort in the genital area such as itching or pain. But some people experience no symptoms at all. Be aware that genital warts may be found on the penis, anus or scrotum or even within the throat or mouth if you’ve had oral sex with a person infected with the virus.
The tichomoniasis infection is caused by a parasite (Trichomonas vaginalis) and is a one-cell, microscopic problem spread by having sexual intercourse with a person who has the infection.
In men, the urinary tract is commonly infected, but there may be no symptoms. In women, the trichomoniasis infection can be manifested in the vagina. You might experience slight to severe irritation and inflammation within five days to a month from exposure.
You’re also likely to experience other symptoms such as a vaginal discharge (or penis), itching in the genital area, pain during intercourse or when urinating. These may also be symptoms of other STIs, so see your healthcare provider immediately when experiencing these or other symptoms.
Gonorrhea (also called “the drip” or “the clap”) is a nasty STD infection of the genital tract, but can also appear in your eyes, throat or anus. It’s highly contagious and the first symptoms will usually appear with the first ten days after you’ve been exposed.
You might also have the infection for months until symptoms appear. Some of the symptoms include pain or irritation whey urinating, a bloody or cloudy discharge from the vagina or penis, itching in the anal area, painful and swollen testicles and heavy menstrual bleeding.
Sexual contact is the usual method for transmitting gonorrhea, but body fluids may also pass on the infection. It’s common for pregnant women to pass on the infection during childbirth.
Those who have sex with multiple partners are more likely to contract the disease. The gonorrhea bacterium grows and multiplies in the mucus membranes, especially in the moist and warm areas such as the cervix, uterus, urethra (men and women) and the egg canals.
It can also be present in the anus, throat and mouth of men or women. Other, especially horrific STDs include Hepatitis A, B or C. They’re all considered viral infections that can affect the liver.
Although B and C are the most damaging, all three can inflame the liver and cause consequences such as extreme fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, fever, joint or muscle pain, itching and yellowing of the whites of your eyes.
It could be weeks or months before symptoms of a Hepatitis infection appear, but some damage to your liver may have already taken place. If you think you’ve been exposed to a Hepatitis STD infection, be screened immediately so you can begin an effective treatment plan.
Another highly contagious STD virus is genital herpes, caused by the HSV (herpes simplex virus) which invades your body through small cuts in the skin or through the mucous membranes.
You may never suspect that you have the genital herpes virus because the symptoms may be so light and hardly noticeable. If the virus does manifest itself in your body, the initial flare-up is usually the worst. After that, you may have frequent flare-ups or never have another.
Symptoms of the genital herpes virus include pain or itching in the genital area, inner thighs or anus. It can appear after several weeks of exposure in the form of tiny red bumps, open sores or blisters in those areas of the body.
The herpes ulcers can be particularly painful – especially during urination and may be accompanied by flu symptoms such as nausea, fever, headache and muscle aches. In many cases you may be able to pass on the infection – even when there are no ulcers.
Some symptoms such as irritated hair follicles, pimples on the genital area and itching may not be an STD, but it’s best to get it checked out rather than worry needlessly or take a chance on passing an infection to others.
How to Diagnosis and Treat an STD
Early diagnosis and proper treatment are keys to preventing the disease from becoming worse and to prevent possible health issues that could lead to life-long problems or even death.
Most of all, an early diagnosis and treatment will help avoid passing it on to others. Most STDs can be diagnosed with a simple urine sample, but it may be necessary to test fluids from active sores to obtain the correct diagnosis.
For other STDs such as HIV or certain stages of gonorrhea, a blood test is necessary to confirm the diagnosis. You can also be tested for an STD if you have no symptoms but suspect you may have been exposed.
This process is called “screening” and isn’t part of a typical healthcare checkup, so you may have to request it. Some healthcare screenings automatically test people who are ages 13 to 64 by blood or saliva samples to determine if they carry the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) which can lead to AIDS.
Pregnant women may be tested for HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B and chlamydia during the first visit for prenatal care –especially if the woman is at high risk for an STD. Also, women who are age 21 and older are usually given a Pap test for certain conditions such as cancer or pre-cancer, HPV and inflammation.
Hepatitis C is prevalent among men and women born between the years of 1945 and 1965, so if you’re in that age group you should be tested. If you’re a sexually active woman under 25 years of age, you should be tested (by a urine sample or vaginal fluid) for the chlamydia STI.
Since men who have sex with other men run a greater risk of contracting STIs, it’s recommended to have that frequent (at least once a year) screening tests for HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and hepatitis B.
It’s not a very romantic topic when you first meet a new partner, but you should discuss STDs before you engage in anal or vaginal intercourse and ensure that you’ve both been tested.
Unfortunately, HPV (papillomavirus) testing isn’t available for men and there are no reliable tests for genital herpes. You could contract the virus even when your partner has no symptoms.
Bacterial STIs are easier to diagnose and treat, but viral infections aren’t always completely cured. They can be managed, however, and a rapid diagnosis and treatment plan may help lower the risk of infection in the baby if you’re pregnant.
Treatment of an STD includes various methods, depending on the nature of the infection. Antibiotics may be used to eliminate such parasite and bacterial infections as chlamydia, trichomoniasis and syphilis while an antiviral prescription may be used to treat and prevent herpes.
Antiviral drugs also help to keep the HIV infection at bay for years at a time, also lowering the risk of transmitting the disease. Early diagnosis and immediate treatment of an STD is the only way to ensure the effectiveness of the treatment. Go for retesting as often as your doctor suggests to ensure you haven’t been re-infected.
Preventing and Managing STDs
Receiving a diagnosis of having an STD can be devastating. But, early diagnosis, treatment and future prevention are imperative to successful management and eventual cure. Prevention is key to contracting more or another type of STD or passing it on to others.
Safe sex is one way to lessen the odds of becoming infected and spreading it to others. If you’ve already been diagnosed, keeping up with the proper treatment can prevent devastating symptoms and infecting others.
Keep in mind that taking steps to prevent an STD is much easier than seeking diagnosis and treatment. Public health departments are great resources for information about prevention and treatment and can help with issues such as notifying your partner(s), seeking treatment and even counseling to help you deal with the emotional repercussions.
One reason it’s important to notify your partner of the infection is to reduce the risk of getting re-infected and so that he or she can notify other partners. Notification is especially important if you’ve been diagnosed with syphilis or HIV so the other person can begin testing and preventative treatments.
Some ways to help prevent infection of an STD is to use condoms every time you have sex. A device called a “dental dam” is available for women to use when receiving oral sex. If you have sex with multiple partners, be sure to get timely exams (genital for men or gynecological for women).
Regular screening for STDs help you catch them early and treat them for the most desirable result. Be completely honest with your doctor about the type of sex you’re having (oral, anal or vaginal) and how many partners you normally have sex with.
If you’re too embarrassed to see your family doctor, seek out a clinic to receive a confidential exam. Be sure to get an exam if you think your partner may have passed on an STD – even though you may not be experiencing symptoms.
Even if you have no symptoms of an STD, it’s imperative that you’re tested often – especially if you’re having sex with multiple partners. You may believe your partner(s) are free from STDs or you might be using protection and think you have no need to be screened.
But the truth is that hoping your partner is telling you the truth about not having an STD (he or she may not have symptoms) and using protection is no guarantee that the method will work. Whether you’re straight, married or gay, you’re at risk for contracting an STD if you’re having sex.
Today, it’s possible to receive same-day screening for some STDs and there are treatment and counseling centers available in almost every city. Unfortunately, finding new treatments to counteract STDs is extremely difficult and some of the old treatments, such as antibiotics are becoming less effective because of new organisms that resist the treatments.
Each new drug is subject to rigorous testing and trials and after months and years of testing, most of these never reach the marketplace. The drug AZT was originally used to treat cancer, but discovered in later years that it was also effective in slowing the onset of HIV infection to AIDS.
Certainly, the diagnosis of an STD can be devastating, but there are treatments available that can ease the symptoms and in some cases, cure the disease. Keep in mind that contracting an STD doesn’t define who you really are.
Seek emotional counseling if you’re having a hard time accepting the fact that you have an STD diagnosis – and take the necessary steps to prevent contracting another STD or passing it on to others.
We’ve all had those irritating (and sometimes embarrassing) moments when we had to break away from a conversation, intimate moment, meeting or other social activity to run to the bathroom.
If it happens once in awhile, it may not be significant. But, if digestive issues continuously embarrass you and make you frantically look for a way to leave a situation, it might have a negative impact on your life.
Digestive issues such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), flatulence, acid reflux and gastritis can certainly wreck your social life and eventually drive you to stay alone as much as you can to avoid the embarrassment.
You should know that a continuous and irritating digestive problem might mean you have a serious health issue. Whatever the issue, if it’s severe enough, then it should be addressed immediately by a healthcare provider before it becomes dangerous.
Digestive problems are part of the wide array of embarrassing health issues that we don’t want to talk about – but, it’s imperative that we do. Some think these issues are simply a part of life, especially as we age.
Even though the symptoms don’t appear to be life-threatening, there may be issues occurring in your body stemming from a problem that could be simply cured or dealt with so it doesn’t get worse.
Common Digestive Problems and How to Deal With Them
Embarrassing digestive issues affect everyone sooner or later. Diarrhea, gas, stomach pain or cramps, heartburn (GERD), Irritable Bowel Disorder (IBD) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) are all digestive issues which could cause embarrassment.
Treatment for these nasty problems might include lifestyle changes or medication. Even if pondering gas or diarrhea isn’t the most exciting thing to think about, you should know about them and what you can do to relieve the situations.
For example, you should know that IBD is different from IBS. IBD is defined as a structural disease, which means the symptoms are caused by some type of physical damage.
Ulcers, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are all considered to be inflammatory bowel diseases. IBS is considered to be a functional disease – meaning symptoms are experienced but no physical problem is found.
Both IBD and IBS cause constipation, bloating, diarrhea and stomach pain which can be both embarrassing and present a real problem if you enjoy an active lifestyle. Symptoms of both IBS and IBD might include blood in the stool, fever, worsening issues, inflammation – especially in the joints, eyes or skin – and weight loss.
Treatment for both might include controlling the inflammation with immunosuppressive drugs or, in some cases, surgery. Heartburn (GERD) is painful and may be difficult to deal with.
With acid reflux, the stomach acid flows into the esophagus (the tube connecting the throat and stomach) and heartburn is a symptom of GERD. You may be able to use over-the-counter medications for an occasional bout with heartburn and some modifications in your lifestyle might be in order.
For example, avoid certain foods such as chocolate, citrus, garlic, onion and spicy foods just before bedtime. Try eating smaller meals throughout the day. If you smoke – quit. If you’re overweight or obese try to lose the weight with dietary changes and exercise.
You can also try placing blocks under the head of the bed to raise it a few inches while you sleep. If antacids or acid-blocking medications and changing your lifestyle habits don’t work, you should be tested to see if you have a problem that would warrant another type of medication or surgery in extreme cases.
Gas, belching and bloating are all uncomfortable conditions and very embarrassing when you’re around people. Most of the time, all three conditions are caused by swallowing air or the way your food breaks down during the digestive process.
Some people have occasional bouts with these digestive issues, while others may suffer from them repeatedly on a daily basis. With these three issues, one thing leads to another.
For example, when built-up gas isn’t passed out of the system by flatulence or belching, it will likely gather in the stomach or intestines and cause bloating. This condition can cause stomach pain.
Having a bowel movement or passing gas may help to relieve any of these situations. Some ways you can relieve the problems of gas, belching and bloating include avoiding eating fatty foods on an empty stomach, stress and anxiety, smoking, drinking carbonated beverages or eating gassy foods such as beans, cabbage and onions.
Your situation may also be caused by a disease, blockage or infection of the gastrointestinal tract, IBS or other problems in the intestinal tract. If changes in your lifestyle and medications don’t help your situation, see a doctor for a complete checkup.
Frequent stomach pain and cramps are red flags that signal you should see a doctor. You might be suffering from IBD, IBS or a structural disease. Your doctor will likely run a series of tests to help diagnose the issue and determine which treatment to use.
Less Common Digestive Issues That Can Make You Miserable
There are numerous digestive issues that go beyond the norm of common digestive problems and need further diagnosis to define the real issue. For example, peptic ulcers can cause horrid stomach pain which is further exacerbated by painkillers you might take to alleviate the misery.
Over 25 million Americans will suffer from peptic ulcers at some point in their lives. Smoking may cause the problem – or alcohol and stress may also contribute to the disease or at least exacerbate it or delay the healing process.
Peptic ulcers may be treated with antibiotics and perhaps combined with acid reducing medications. Perforated ulcers may need laparoscopic repair surgery to completely eradicate the problem.
Diverticulitis is more common in those Americans older than age 70, but only about 20% of those with the disease will experience severe complications. Diverticulitis occurs when a diverticula (abnormal bulge) protrudes from the intestinal wall.
The bulge may cause a tear or become inflamed and cause severe pain. One way to avoid diverticulitis is to eat lots of popcorn and nuts. If you have an extreme case of diverticulitis, your symptoms may include vomiting, fever and tenderness in the abdomen requiring surgery.
Gallstones are almost certain to require treatment. They’re made up of little stone-like substances largely made from bile salts and cholesterol. The best treatment is to remove the gallbladder by surgery – which is one of the most common procedures in medicine.
Sometimes the stones inside the gallbladder become stuck in the ducts between the small intestine and the liver. When this happens, the flow of bile is blocked and inflammation or infection of the gallbladder may occur.
Gallstones are said to occur because of a lack of fiber and too much fat in your diet. Gaining and losing weight may also set the gallbladder up for gallstones. Removal of the gallbladder can be done in several ways, including laparoscopic surgery or surgery through the vagina or mouth.
Lactose intolerance is also become a problem among Americans. Those who suffer from the condition likely lack an enzyme needed for digestion of the sugar found in milk. Symptoms include bloating, gas, nausea, cramping and diarrhea.
A breath test can usually detect lactose intolerance and the high levels of hydrogen associated with the condition. A blood test may also indicate the problem by showing how the blood reacts to the patient drinking a beverage high in lactose such as milk.
If lactose intolerance is detected, over-the-counter pills can help by replacing the enzyme (lactase) and by only ingesting lactose-free milk. It’s usually not necessary to avoid all dairy products.
Medical Tests for Digestive Disorders
If medication and lifestyle changes aren’t helping your digestive issues, a doctor can order some tests that will diagnose the ailment and put you on the track for recovery and relief.
A clinical examination is first on the list of tests and may help the doctor diagnose such disorders a constipation, extreme acidity and diarrhea problems. A blood test may be in order to see how your liver is functioning, monitor your blood count, pancreatic enzyme test and lactose tolerance testing.
Your doctor may also order a stool analysis to assess the functionality of your GI tract. The test profile may be used to diagnose such conditions as constipation, diarrhea, IBS, indigestion, malabsorption and infection.
If the test reveals higher than normal levels of fat in the stool, it may be a sign of pancreatitis or celiac disease. If there’s a high pH level, it could be an indication of cancer or some type of inflammation.
An endoscopy is in order if you’ve suffered from long bouts of acidity or heartburn, sudden or unexplained weight loss or changes in your bowel habits. An endoscopy is non-surgical, but lets the doctor thoroughly examine the stomach or digestive tract for abnormalities.
During the procedure, the doctor may gather small samples of tissue for biopsy. This test will help them detect polyps or cancer cells which may be causing a digestive issue. An endoscopy ultrasound test is sometimes utilized to help diagnose problems in the upper intestine.
A renal function test may be done using gadolinium with contrast agents that are commonly used in CT scans and MRIs. If you’re experiencing failing kidneys, the kidney function testing may be done before the CT scan or MRI of the renal area.
A device called a manometer is used to measure movement and muscle pressure in the GI tract and oesophagal. Anorectal manometry is used to measure how the anal sphincter muscle contracts.
Barium X-rays are used to help the healthcare provider view the stomach and small intestines. It’s usually given through the rectum in an enema. This test can help diagnose gastrointestinal problems such as ulcerations, narrowing of the gut and fistulae problems.
A breath test may be used to diagnose such conditions as lactose intolerance. If sugars in your diet aren’t completely absorbed by the small intestine, the bacteria in the colon may produce hydrogen gas.
If you’re lactose intolerant, the breath levels of hydrogen will be extreme. You may also be experiencing a high growth of bacteria in the small intestine, which then may be absorbed into the blood and transferred to the lungs.
Abdominal ultrasound, MRI and CT scans are sometimes used to examine the blood vessels in the organs, liver, pancreas and gall bladder. These high-frequency sound waves let the physician view real time images of the internal organs, blood vessels and surrounding tissue.
Monitoring the pH level may be in order to diagnose such digestive problems as GERD. You’ll be measuring the amount of stomach acid within the esophagus within a 24 hour period and can also test the effectiveness of medications you may be taking.
The pH test involves passing a sensor on a thin tube through the nose and placing it just above the esophageal sphincter. This will detect the amount of acid that enters the esophagus during the time period.
A diseased liver may cause digestive problems that should be addressed immediately. A test called transient elastography is non-invasive and can let the physician record the elasticity of the liver and test liver fibrosis.
The test involves inserting a small transducer probe into the liver which delivers a 50-MHz wave. The velocity of the wave is measured and the measurements are then used to diagnose the liver’s stiffness.
The more information you have about digestive issues the better able you are to discern if you have one – or to take measures to prevent a problem in the future. There is a ton of information you can gather from medical websites.
You don’t have to suffer from one or more of these digestive issues in silence. Americans, especially, are experiencing growing digestive problems and even becoming a growing burden by the number of clinic visits and hospitalizations necessary for treatment.
There are also growing organizations which address problems such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis which are the most common of the inflammatory bowel diseases. The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America can offer a wealth of information about gastrointestinal disorders. Don’t let digestive issues and disorders wreak your life. Get out there and discuss it with others to find help and relief.
People who have experienced hemorrhoids or fissures know that the pain can be pretty excruciating. Each bowel movement that you have when you have the conditions can make the pain flare to higher levels.
It can end up making you feel reluctant to even go to the bathroom. When it reaches that stage, you’re willing to do anything and to shell out any amount of money to find relief, which is what most people do.
Unfortunately, there are more over the counter medications that don’t work than those that do. But there is one ointment that can give you fast relief and it’s called Doctor Butler’s Hemorrhoid & Fissure Ointment.
You can finally say goodbye to the pain and enjoy life the way that you once did before you developed hemorrhoids. Thousands of people have effectively found relief from their symptoms thanks to this product.
The ingredients in the product not only treat the hemorrhoid, but they also eliminate the painful, irritating side effects such as bleeding. While the bleeding can be annoying, it can also be problematic in that any residual bleeding keeps the area moist, which in turn can inflame the hemorrhoids.
By stopping the bleeding, you stop that irritation – thanks to the ointment. Not only that, but bleeding from hemorrhoids that isn’t contained can affect your red blood cell level.
The moment that you apply it, the product goes to work right away to stop the swelling, which is one of the causes of the pain you might be experiencing. Hemorrhoids commonly cause itching because of inflammation and swelling.
This itching can be annoying, but it can also be to the extreme where you feel like you just can’t stand it another second. The ointment can cure the itching – regardless of whether it’s happening a little or a lot.
It can also stop that burning, raw feeling you can get with hemorrhoids so that you feel comfortable all day. The ointment gets to work as soon as you apply it. One of the reasons why it’s so effective and works so quickly is that it was created by a board certified proctologist.
The cream is colorless, so it won’t stain any of your undergarments. It’s also odorless, so you won’t notice any weird scents associated with using it. The ointment is made using organic herbs along with minerals and amino acids that are known to promote natural healing.
This maximum strength ointment not only heals hemorrhoids, but gives you instant soothing relief from your symptoms because it contains a topical pain reliever. You don’t have to suffer a second longer.
A healthy body won’t get you very far in life if you don’t have the added advantage of robust mental health. Keeping your mind strong and healthy should parallel a priority of maintaining a healthy body plan of exercise and eating a proper diet.
Today, when you see a doctor for a physical checkup, you may experience an assessment of your mental acuity too. Patients and doctors are more aware of how daily stress and situations can affect your overall health and put you at risk for mental problems such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
If problems do surface during a doctor’s visit, there are proven ways to combat the threats to your mental health. Your health care provider can suggest methods – and this report also contains some suggestions you may want to try.
You’ll also find helpful information about what’s in store for the future regarding mental health issues. There are some new and advanced twists on some methods you may already know – and also some interesting gadgets and solutions you can look for in the coming years.
More Patients and Doctors Are Focusing on Mindset
The need for achieving a mindset that helps you meet challenges and realize success isn’t being swept under the rug anymore by patients or physicians. More healthcare providers are realizing that their patients often need help in dealing with daily challenges and stresses that may affect your health – and your mindset.
We all experience times in our lives when it’s difficult to focus or maintain a tenacity to meet challenges. Stress triggers occur every day, but the trick is to be able to subdue or get rid of them and go on with our lives.
You may not be used to talking to your doctor about problems in your life such as stress and other issues. But unless you have physical symptoms that point to mental problems (such as high blood pressure), it’s often difficult to diagnose if you’re not up front with your doctor.
Unless you’re honest about your feelings and emotions, you may miss a good opportunity to define what’s wrong and find solutions to improve your mental health. When your problems and the stress in your life become so difficult that it causes health problems, it’s especially important to communicate with your doctor.
Most of us wrestle with situational depression from time to time, but when depression becomes a major factor in how we spend our days, it’s time to make some changes. Those people who understand their feelings and how they happen are usually aware of how to cope with them.
More research and testing is being done than ever before to help people cope with the rising mental health issues in our society. Hands-on tools are the newest innovations in the technological realm of mental health.
Tools such as Spire and Pacifica are now being used by mental health professionals to determine when and how a person may be able to manage their anxiety and depression. They come in the form of mobile apps and wearable devices that can instantly pinpoint when thoughts and actions begin to spiral downward.
More research is also being done with older methods such as Yoga, aromatherapy and Tai Chi. These may be ancient forms of coping with problems and negative mindset, but they work in many cases to help people overcome hurdles in their lives and go on to success.
An aging population has triggered research in keeping a positive mental attitude as we age and face monumental changes in our lives. Death of a loved one and loss of physical abilities are all being taken into consideration by physicians and researchers and ways to cope are being studied.
Achieving a positive mindset will be in the forefront of future scientific and medical research to help people deal with fast-paced and sometimes terrifying problems that affect our world today.
Catching mental health problems early – such as in children – is another way that researchers will focus on helping ward off depression and negativity that may follow us through our lives and prevent us from achieving all we can.
Your mindset can change in an instant by certain situations in your life. For example, losing your job, the death of a loved one or a divorce can trigger a downturn of mental health and render you incapable of coping with even the simplest of tasks.
Even situations in your life that are considered happy occasions can disrupt your health and make you feel anxious or sad. Getting married, getting a job promotion, the birth of a baby or a child leaving for college may be so stressful that you lose focus and find it difficult to cope.
When these situations begin to affect your mental ability to focus, remember things or function properly, they’re also likely beginning to affect your physical health. High blood pressure, stomach issues such as ulcers or changes in appetite and many more symptoms may occur if you ignore it.
Finding methods to cope with stress can help ease these symptoms and get you back to enjoying life once again with a clear mind so that you’re able to meet life’s challenges. Strive for a balanced lifestyle by finding relaxation methods to put you at ease no matter what challenges and stresses enter your life.
A healthy mindset can help you reap the rewards you desire in life – a healthy body, relaxation and the ability to think clearly when you need to and the resilience you must have to keep life in perspective.
Diagnosing Your Previous Mental State
When you feel unbalanced, find it difficult to focus on daily business or have trouble getting enough sleep, it’s time for a diagnosis of your present mental state. You can find some clues in looking at your past mental history.
Perhaps you’re under a great deal of stress and need to either reduce your workload or other stress triggers or find new or tried and true methods to cope with it. If the usual methods of reducing stress don’t work, you should see a doctor for a possible medical diagnosis.
Not being able to focus on work or other daily factors in your life are signs that you need to reassess your mindset and make positive changes. The first thing you need to do is figure out if you’re in a growth or stagnant mindset.
A growth mindset sets you on the right track for success and can provide the motivation and even energy you need to move forward. Your mind keeps track of what’s happening in the present moment and should automatically discern what to do next.
Sometimes the interpretations of the mind cause us to see things differently than they really are and react emotionally. When that happens, feelings may become exaggerated and anxiety and depression may occur.
Ask yourself if your mind is providing the right signals as to what is happening now and assess your reactions. When your internal monologue focuses on putting yourself down, your mindset is fixed and your feelings and reactions to situations may be skewed.
A growth mindset also provides you with signals, but the internal monologue focuses on action rather than judgment. The situation may be positive or negative, but a growth mindset sees it as a lesson for progress.
Achieving a growth mindset will help you become more effective in setting and achieving goals and will replace the old mindset that kept you down. Your previous mindset had you listening to the voices that put negative thoughts in your head.
You can recognize those thought processes by how they make you feel. Put downs such as, “I’ll surely fail,” or “I don’t have the talent to do that,” are common thoughts for those with a fixed mindset of failure.
When you begin to recognize those voices for what they are (lies), you’ll be better able to make a choice of choosing to believe it or to challenge those voices by positive thoughts.
Learn how to use positive affirmations to combat the negative thoughts that run through the mind on a regular basis. Eventually, a growth mindset will take over and you’ll find yourself happier and with more energy to get things done.
You’ll likely have some setbacks and you won’t always be able to rise to the challenge of combating the negative thoughts in your mind, but with practice, you can learn and improve.
Journaling is a good method to learn about your mindset history. You can easily look back and see what your mindset was during various situations in your life and how you reacted to them – negatively or positively.
You may want to talk to your counselor or health care provider about some of the innovative new gadgets available that can help you gauge and get feedback on your mindset issues.
Wearable devices such as the Fisher Wallace Stimulator and the Pacifica app that can be downloaded to your mobile phone are just two of the incredible headways into achieving positive mindset that are on the market today.
Both provide feedback to help you overcome hurdles that arise on a daily basis and train your thought patterns to focus on positive rather than negative ways to cope with problems.
You’ll gain lots of insight into how to handle future problems similar to what you went through in the past. What worked to get you back on track in the past? You may realize that you over-reacted to a certain situation or problem or that there was a physical reason for your reaction.
Whatever is keeping you from the mental health and mindset you need to achieve success, taking a serious look at your past history is a good way of planning the future and your goal of glowing mental health.
Proven Methods of Dealing With Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety can wreak havoc on your mental state and eventually cause physical problems. If you haven’t been diagnosed with a deeper mental health problem such as depression or bi-polar disorder, you may want to try some proven solutions to gain a more positive mindset.
Solutions include meditation, CDs (guided imagery), Yoga, Tai Chi, music and reading positive books or articles. Hypnotherapy and acupuncture have also been used successfully in helping calm the body and mind.
Yoga works to relieve stress and anxiety by conditioning your body through poses or postures. It helps you become aware of certain aspects of your body and the energy passing through it and helps you breathe in a more relaxed state to gain healing oxygen.
The more you practice Yoga, the more you’re able to focus on relaxing your body and mind. Modern-day medicine experts agree that the ancient practice of Yoga can improve brain function and strengthen the body and bone.
Visualization is another way to achieve your goal of mental health by learning to relax and clear your mind so you can focus and learn. You can use any technique using diagrams, mind images or animation to communicate positive ideas.
Visualization has been used at some point by almost everyone who has achieved great success. They use the ability to imagine themselves in successful situations or overcoming problems such as stage fright (fear of speaking in public) and sports challenges (used by Olympians).
A winning mindset often begins by visualizing how it would feel to achieve a big success or complete a goal you’ve been working on for a long time. It’s a psychological method that can provide the needed confidence and motivation you need to gain a positive mindset and flourishing mental health.
Tai Chi is another technique now used all over the world to bring about the calm and inner peace needed to achieve goals – both physical and mental. Tai Chi is often referred to as “meditation in motion.”
It uses gentle physical exercise and stretching techniques combined with mindset strategies to bring about fitness, flexibility and to reduce pain and anxiety associated with depression or stress.
Muscle strength, mood elevation, more energy, improved focus and lower blood pressure are added benefits of Tai Chi. The popularity of Tai Chi has risen over the past few years and you can find classes in almost every town or city. Online guidance is also available.
Floatation Therapy (Isolation Tanks) is a fairly new method of achieving a calm mind and more energized body. Isolation tanks were originally thought of as deprivation tanks because they’re void of light or sound and used as a form of alternative medicine, but the new name of Floatation Therapy sounds more positive.
Although the health benefits have been widely touted by some, the full medical assessment is still out on Flotation Therapy. Many now seek Floatation Therapy treatment for such conditions as chronic pain, arthritis and muscle tension.
Some claim that Flotation Therapy helps them cope with stress and anxiety and prepare for major mental hurdles such as speeches or stressful personal situations. You can purchase small, personal Flotation devices online or check with your local healthcare provider to find commercial locations in your area.
Hypnotherapy is another method used for generations to increase mental acuity and solve problems that may be preventing you from achieving success. Low self-esteem is a mindset that can keep you from success – and hypnotherapy is a known method to help raise your opinion of yourself.
Negative thoughts that run through your mind and decimate your courage and strength can be turned around by communicating with yourself in a hypnotic way. Hypnosis is safe and can help you relax and refocus your attention to empowerment rather than negative self-thinking.
You may choose the method of aromatherapy among the many ways to achieve positive mindset. Essential oils, herbs and spices can be used to reverse negative energy and set up your mind for positive thoughts and energy.
Certain aromas from plants and herbs such as lavender, sandalwood and cedarwood can get your mind back on track. Essential oils from these plants produce healing aromas that help us feel more stable and powerful. It’s an easy, inexpensive and pleasant way to improve the mindset.
Advances You Can Look for in the Coming Year
Next year will be a year of advances in many areas. One is the restoration and continuity of positive mental health. Scientists are making huge advances in methods to reduce stress and keep mental health on an even keel so you can concentrate on the future.
There will also be some twists on tried and true solutions, a few gadgets and new theories to put into action. The year 2017 will see strides in telemedicine for mental health just as 2016 experienced successes in telemedicine for other types of health care.
Statistics point out that one in five adults has mental health problems – and poor youth mental health is becoming an epidemic. While more Americans have access to health services, most insurance won’t cover mental health issues.
Pacifica is a downloadable app that is especially designed to help with anxiety issues and is growing rapidly in popularity as more become aware of this innovation. This mobile app uses therapeutic technology and cognitive behavioral therapy to break the vicious cycle of anxiety.
By getting rid of the unhealthy feelings and thoughts that come with anxiety, you’ll be able to develop a healthier outlook – and a healthier body. This mobile app helps you relax and successfully manage stress and what it does to ruin our lives.
Another innovative device – the Fisher Wallace Stimulator – is a neurostimulation gadget that’s approved by the FDA and has been proven to help decrease anxiety, depression and insomnia.
It’s a headband that’s worn over the temples that simulates the release of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. These two chemicals help to reduce stress in everyday life and stimulate feelings of happiness and well-being.
You’ll need a prescription for this device from your healthcare provider, but it’s a great move upward from having to use other antidepressant treatments such as drugs. The Fisher Wallace Stimulator painless and relaxing to use.
Along with Fitbit and other devices that have made a difference in how we monitor our physical health, there are new wearable devices that can detect feelings and emotions that may send us into downward spirals of depression unless we counter attack.
The Spire is a wearable device that can detect your mood before you even know it’s happening by assessing breathing patters and other physical signs. You’ll get feedback when you begin to experience negative emotions and suggestions about how to improve your mood.
All you have to do is clip the device to a bra or belt and the Spire will begin detecting your moods without you having to make entries in an app. Since chronic stress and anxiety can negatively affect your immune system and lead to dire physical problems, the Spire can make an impact on your physical health as well as your mental wellness.
Another technological innovation that should make an impact on mental health in 2017 includes 1DocWay. It’s a telepsychiatry program that’s making headway with its modern and innovative program to reach those who live in remote areas and also those who find it difficult to travel for help.
You’re able to meet one on one through a communication device such as a computer or phone and speak freely to a mental health specialist in the privacy of your own home. Most patients prefer telepsychiatry to the problems involved with waiting for an appointment or making long commutes.
Technology is booming within the mental healthcare community and more positive outcomes are available from the methods now being used and developed that can change human behavior patterns.
Healthcare providers are finding that boosting their patients’ mental health produces the added benefit of a boost in physical well-being. Besides the technological advances that are sure to make a difference in 2017, other innovations in the way we live our lives are also being discussed.
It’s now a known fact that getting enough sleep, combined with the proper amount of social interaction, proper diet, giving to others and stress management leads to a lifestyle that is balanced. Studies are being conducted about how to help both children and adults gain positive mental health by conforming to a balanced lifestyle.
More attention will also be given to diet and the state of the food we eat. Rather than empty calorie foods, which spike our blood sugar, focus will turn to foods which sustain us throughout the day – such as healthy fats and proteins.
Multi-tasking and working 24/7 will become a thing of the past as more people realize that socializing and making time to “play” is restorative to both mind and body. Focusing on others by volunteering or becoming involved in a cause will also become a popular way to look beyond ourselves to find real peace within.
An overhaul on how we think of mental health issues is going to be in focus during the coming months and year and more ideas and innovations will be tested. Positive thought patterns will also be researched – giving us hope for a robust and happy quality of life.