Dealing with Indigestion: Causes and Prevention 0

Indigestion — also called dyspepsia or an upset stomach — is a general term that describes discomfort in your upper abdomen. Indigestion is not a disease, but rather some symptoms you experience, including abdominal pain and a feeling of fullness soon after you start eating. Although indigestion is common, how you experience indigestion may differ from other people. Symptoms of indigestion may be felt occasionally or as often as daily.

Indigestion can be a symptom of another digestive disease. Indigestion that isn’t caused by an underlying disease may be eased with lifestyle changes and medication.

Symptoms

People with indigestion may have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Early fullness during a meal. You haven’t eaten much of your meal, but you already feel full and may not be able to finish eating.

  • Uncomfortable fullness after a meal. Fullness lasts longer than it should.

  • Discomfort in the upper abdomen. You feel a mild to severe pain in the area between the bottom of your breastbone (sternum) and your navel.

  • Burning in the upper abdomen. You feel an uncomfortable heat or burning sensation between the bottom of the breastbone and navel.

  • Bloating in the upper abdomen. You feel an uncomfortable sensation of tightness.

  • Nausea.

Less frequent symptoms include vomiting and belching.

Sometimes people with indigestion also experience heartburn, but heartburn and indigestion are two separate conditions. Heartburn is a pain or burning feeling in the center of your chest that may radiate into your neck or back during or after eating.

When to see a doctor

Mild indigestion is usually nothing to worry about. Consult your doctor if discomfort persists for more than two weeks. Contact your doctor right away if pain is severe or accompanied by:

  • Unintentional weight loss or loss of appetite

  • Repeated vomiting or vomiting with blood

  • Black, tarry stools

  • Trouble swallowing that gets progressively worse

  • Fatigue or weakness, which may be symptoms of anemia

Seek immediate medical attention if you have:

  • Shortness of breath, sweating or chest pain radiating to the jaw, neck or arm

  • Chest pain on exertion or with stress

Causes

Indigestion has many possible causes. Often, indigestion is related to lifestyle and may be triggered by food, drink or medication. Common causes of indigestion include:

  • Overeating or eating too quickly

  • Fatty, greasy or spicy foods

  • Too much caffeine, alcohol, chocolate or carbonated beverages

  • Smoking

  • Anxiety

  • Certain antibiotics, pain relievers and iron supplements

Sometimes indigestion is caused by other digestive conditions, including:

  • Gastritis

  • Peptic ulcers

  • Celiac disease

  • Gallstones

  • Constipation

  • Pancreas inflammation (pancreatitis)

  • Stomach cancer

  • Intestinal blockage

  • Reduced blood flow in the intestine (intestinal ischemia)

Indigestion with no obvious cause is known as functional dyspepsia or nonulcer stomach pain.

Complications

Although indigestion doesn’t usually have serious complications, it can affect your quality of life by making you feel uncomfortable and causing you to eat less. When indigestion is caused by an underlying condition, that condition can also have its own complications.

Preparing for your appointment

You’re likely to start by seeing your family doctor, or you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in digestive diseases (gastroenterologist). Here’s some information to help you get ready for your appointment and know what to expect from your doctor.

What you can do

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions, such as not eating solid food on the day before your appointment.

  • Write down your symptoms, including when they started and how they may have changed or worsened over time.

  • Take a list of all your medications, vitamins or supplements.

  • Write down your key medical information, including other diagnosed conditions.

  • Write down key personal information, including any recent changes or stressors in your life, as well as a detailed description of your typical daily diet.

  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What’s the most likely cause of my symptoms?

  • Do you think my condition is temporary or chronic?

  • What kinds of tests do I need?

  • What treatments can help?

  • Are there any dietary restrictions that I need to follow?

In addition to the questions that you’ve prepared to ask your doctor, don’t hesitate to ask questions during your appointment.

What to expect from your doctor

Be ready to answer questions your doctor may ask:

  • When did you first begin experiencing symptoms, and how severe are they?

  • Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?

  • What, if anything, seems to improve or worsen your symptoms?

  • What medications and pain relievers do you take?

  • What do you eat and drink, including alcohol, in a typical day?

  • How have you been feeling emotionally?

  • Do you use tobacco? If so, do you smoke, chew or both?

  • Are your symptoms better or worse on an empty stomach?

  • Have you vomited blood or black material?

  • Have you had any changes in your bowel habits, including stools turning black?

Tests and diagnosis

Your doctor is likely to start with a health history and a thorough physical exam. Those evaluations may be sufficient if your indigestion is mild and you’re not experiencing certain symptoms, such as weight loss and repeated vomiting.

But if your indigestion began suddenly, and you are experiencing severe symptoms or are older than age 50, your doctor may recommend:

  • Laboratory tests, to check for thyroid problems or other metabolic disorders.

  • Breath and stool tests, to check for Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), the bacteria associated with peptic ulcers, which can cause indigestion. H. pylori testing is controversial because studies suggest limited benefit from treating the bacterium.

  • Endoscopy, to check for abnormalities in your upper digestive tract. A tissue sample (biopsy) may be taken for analysis.

  • Imaging tests (X-ray or CT scan), to check for intestinal obstruction.

If initial testing fails to provide a cause, your doctor may diagnose functional dyspepsia.

 

Treatments and drugs

Lifestyle changes may help ease indigestion. Your doctor may recommend:

  • Avoiding foods that trigger indigestion

  • Eating five or six small meals a day instead of three large meals

  • Reducing or eliminating the use of alcohol and caffeine

  • Avoiding certain pain relievers, such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen

  • Finding alternatives for medications that trigger indigestion

  • Controlling stress and anxiety

If your indigestion persists, medications may help. Over-the-counter antacids are generally the first choice. Other options include:

  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which can reduce stomach acid. PPIs may be recommended if you experience heartburn along with indigestion.

  • H-2-receptor antagonists (H2RAs), which also can reduce stomach acid.

  • Prokinetics, which may be helpful if your stomach empties slowly.

  • Antibiotics, if H. pylori bacteria are causing your indigestion.

  • Antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications, which may ease the discomfort from indigestion by decreasing your sensation of pain.

Lifestyle and home remedies

Mild indigestion can often be helped with lifestyle changes, including:

  • Eating smaller, more frequent meals. Chew your food slowly and thoroughly.

  • Avoiding triggers. Fatty and spicy foods, processed foods, carbonated beverages, caffeine, alcohol and smoking can trigger indigestion.

  • Maintaining a healthy weight. Excess pounds put pressure on your abdomen, pushing up your stomach and causing acid to back up into your esophagus.

  • Exercising regularly. Exercise helps you keep off extra weight and promotes better digestion.

  • Managing stress. Create a calm environment at mealtime. Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation or yoga. Spend time doing things you enjoy. Get plenty of sleep.

  • Changing your medications. With your doctor’s approval, stop or cut back on pain relievers or other medications that may irritate your stomach lining. If that’s not an option, be sure to take these medications with food.

 

Alternative medicine

Alternative and complementary treatments may help ease indigestion, although none of these treatments has been well studied. These treatments include:

  • Herbal tea with peppermint.
  • STW5 (iberogast), a liquid supplement that contains extracts of herbs including bitter candytuft, peppermint leaves, caraway and licorice root. STW5 may work by reducing the production of gastric acid.
  • Artichoke leaf extract, available as a supplement. Artichoke leaf extract may work by stimulating the flow of bile from the liver to improve digestion. Some people may experience flatulence or an allergic reaction.
  • Psychological treatment, including behavior modification, relaxation techniques, cognitive behavioral therapy and hypnotherapy.
  • Acupuncture, which may work by blocking the pathways of nerves that carry sensations of pain to the brain.

Always check with your doctor before taking any supplements to be sure you are taking a safe dose and that the supplement won’t adversely interact with any medications you’re taking.

Source: Mayoclinic

 

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Risk Factors of Cervical Cancer 0

Today, we are going to discuss some of the risk factors of cervical cancer. They are many that it will not be possible for us to exhaust all of them, but let us see how far we can go today.

1) HUMAN PAPILLOMAVIRUS INFECTION (HPV): This is the most important of all the risk factors associated with the cancer of the cervix. Doctors believe that before a woman can develop cervical cancer, she must have been infected by HPV. Some types of this HPV are classified as “high risk” because they are the main causes of cervical cancer. These types include HPV 6, HPV 18, HPV 31, HPV 35, and HPV 45 and many other. About two-thirds of all cervical cancers are caused by HPV 16-18.

2) Smoking: Women who smoke are more likely to get cervical cancer than women who don’t smoke. Smoking exposes the body to many cancer-causing chemicals that affect not only the lungs but other parts of the body. The lungs will, first of all, absorb these harmful substances, and later transfer it into the bloodstream throughout the body. The by-products of tobacco have been found in the cervical mucus of women who smoke. These substances damage the DNA of the cervix cells and may equally lead to the development of cervical cancer.

3) IMMUNOSUPPRESSION: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the virus that causes AIDS. This virus damages the immune system of the body completely and makes women be more at risk for HPV infection. This is one of the causes of an increased risk of cervical cancer in women with AIDS. The immune system is very important in destroying cancer cells, and slowing down their growth and spread. A cervical pre-cancer is likely to develop into invasive cancer faster in women with HIV.

4) CHLAMYDIA INFECTION: This is a very common bacterium that can infect the reproductive system. The spread is mainly through sexual contact. Women whose blood tests show past or present Chlamydia infection are at a higher risk of cervical cancer, as against women with normal test results. This type of infection often shows no symptoms in women. Unless a woman goes for the examination of her pelvic region, she may not know that she is infected with Chlamydia. When this stays long in the body, it leads to pelvic inflammation, which also leads to infertility.

5) DIETS: Diets low in fruits and vegetables can increase the risk of cervical cancer. Also, overweight can equally lead to cervical cancer.

6) BIRTH CONTROL PILLS: The usage of birth control pills for a long time increases the risk of cervical cancer in women. The longer these pills are used, the risk goes up and goes down after it is stopped.

7) MULTIPLE PREGNANCIES: Women with many full-time pregnancies have an increased risk of the cancer of the cervix. This may be because some of these women may have been exposed to unprotected sexual acts which have therefore exposed them to HPV infection. This is because the immune system of the pregnant woman is weak, which allows for HPV infection/ cancer growth.

8) LOW SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS: Many women with low income don’t have access to adequate health care services, including pap tests, and the implication of this is that they will not be screened or treated for pre-cancerous cervical diseases.

9) FAMILY HISTORY: Cervical cancer runs in some families. If your mother or sister has cervical cancer, your risk of developing this disease is higher. Women from the same family as a patient already diagnosed of cervical cancer may be more likely to have one or more of the other non-genetic risk factors previously described in this section.

I will love to hear what are your own views or opinions on this post

 

30 Things You Need to Know About Herpes 0

1. Genital herpes is caused by two forms of the herpes simplex viruses: HSV-1 or HSV-2.
2. Most oral herpes is caused by HSV-1, and most genital herpes is caused by HSV-2.
3. Most people do not show signs or symptoms from HSV-1 or HSV-2 infection.
4. At least 45 million people ages 12 and older, or 20% of U. S. adolescents and adults, have had genital herpes.
5. Genital HSV-2 infection is more common in women (approximately one out of four women) than in men (almost one out of eight).
6. Both herpes Type 1 and 2 can be transmitted by contact with the sores that the herpes viruses cause, but also between outbreaks (sometimes called OBs) via “shedding” from skin that does not have a sore on it. 
7. Herpes transmission frequently occurs from an infected partner who does not have a visible sore, and may not even know that he or she is infected with the virus.
8. Genital OBs of HSV-1 recur less frequently than genital outbreaks caused by HSV-2.
9. First symptoms of genital herpes, they can be quite intense. Subsequent OBs are milder. Symptoms can include:
10. A small area of redness, sometimes with raised bumps or fluid-filled blisters;
11. Itching, burning or tingling in the genital area;
12. Flu-like symptoms (a headache, swollen glands, fever);
13. Painful urination and/or discharge.
14. Initial herpes outbreak usually occurs within two weeks after the virus is transmitted, and the sores usually heal within two to four weeks.
15. Sometimes, a person does not become aware of the infection until years after it is acquired.
16. Do not squeeze OB blisters because that may cause infection to spread.
17. Genital herpes infection can be more severe in people with immune systems depressed due to other causes.

  1. Genital herpes can cause psychological distress in people who know they are infected, due particularly to the attached social stigma.

    19. Any area in the groin can be affected by genital herpes.

    20. Herpes is not the only infection that causes genital sores. Bacterial infections have also been known to cause sores that resemble herpes sores. So, it’s best to get tested.
    21. Genital herpes can lead to potentially fatal infections in babies.
    22. Genital herpes can sometimes be diagnosed by visual inspection of the outbreak, or by taking an actual sample from a sore.
    23. The only sure way to avoid getting herpes and other STDs is abstinence, or a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship with someone who is not infected.
    24. If you inform your partner of your herpes, you can discuss it instead of making excuses as to why you don’t want to have sex.
    25. Genital herpes caused by HSV-2 carries an 80-90% chance of OBs.
    26. Genital herpes caused by HSV-1 carries a 50% chance of OBs.
    27. OB sores can occur in areas that are not covered by a latex condom, so condoms are not fool-proof in protecting from contracting genital herpes.
    28. Even if a person does not have any symptoms he or she can still infect sex partners.
    29. You can’t get herpes from swimming pools, towels or toilet seats.
    30. Frequency and severity of herpes OBs vary between individuals.

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