Herbs

May 29, 2007 at 07:52 o\clock

Itchy skin during pregnancy.

Some pregnant women find that their palms and the soles of their feet get red and sometimes itchy. This common condition may be caused by an increase in estrogen. It usually disappears right after delivery.

 

 It's common to feel itchy, particularly around your growing belly and breasts as your skin stretches to accommodate pregnancy.  Hormonal changes may also be partly to blame. You may also find that things that normally make you itchy — dry skin, eczema, food allergies — make you even itchier when you're pregnant.

 

 How to get relief from the itching?

 

Avoid hot showers and baths, which can dry out your skin and make the itching worse. Use mild soap and be sure to rinse it off well and towel off lightly. Then slather on an unscented moisturizer — some scents can cause irritation. Wear loose cotton clothing and avoid going out in the heat of the day, since heat can intensify the itching.

Up to 1 percent of pregnant women develop a condition characterized by itchy, red bumps and larger patches of a hive-like rash on their bellies. This is called polymorphic eruption of pregnancy. It usually begins in the third trimester and is more common among women carrying twins and those having their first baby. The eruptions usually show up first on the abdomen around or in stretch marks (if you have any) and may spread to your thighs, buttocks, and arms. Polymorphic eruption is harmless for you and your baby, but it can itch like crazy!b Your doctor or midwife will want to see you for a diagnosis and will probably prescribe a topical ointment to give you some relief. In severe cases, you may need a course of oral steroids. Polymorphic eruption usually disappears within a few days after delivery, although it sometimes persists for several weeks. (In rare cases, it may even begin after you give birth.) Fortunately, it seldom appears again in subsequent pregnancies. Polymorphic eruption usually disappears within a few days after delivery, although it sometimes persists for several weeks. (In rare cases, it may even begin after you give birth.) Fortunately, it seldom appears again in subsequent pregnancies. 

Even more rare than polymorphic eruption, is a skin condition called  papular eruptions of pregnancy, which is characterized by many tiny bumps that may look like bug bites. These eruptions can occur anywhere on your body, but you're most likely to get them on your hands, feet, arms, and legs. Although the eruptions can be itchy and annoying popular eruption of pregnancy appears to pose no risk to your baby. This condition generally starts around the beginning of the third trimester and may last for up to three months after you give birth. 

 

In very rare cases, a pregnant woman will develop very itchy eruptions that start out like hives and then turn into large blistering lesions. This rash is called herpes gestationis, although it has nothing to do with herpes virus. The eruptions often start on the abdomen and spread to the arms and legs.

 

 This condition is considered more serious because it may be associated with an increased risk for preterm delivery and fetal growth problems. It usually begins in the second or third trimester, but it can start anytime — even in the first week or two after you have your baby. 

 

Pemphigoid gestationis can come and go throughout pregnancy, and it often flares up after delivery as well. It usually happens again in subsequent pregnancies and tends to be more severe.

 

Let your doctor know if you develop any kind of rash during pregnancy. Whether or not the rash is related to your pregnancy, it's a good idea to have your caregiver evaluate it and recommend appropriate treatment or refer you to a dermatologist.   

 

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May 26, 2007 at 13:45 o\clock

Erectile Dysfunction.

Erectile dysfunction (ED), also known as impotence, is the inability to achieve or sustain an erection for satisfactory sexual activity. Erectile dysfunction is different from other conditions that interfere with sexual intercourse, such as lack of sexual desire and problems with ejaculation and orgasm. This article focuses on the evaluation and treatment of erectile dysfunction.

Erectile dysfunction (ED, impotence) varies in severity; some men have a total inability to achieve an erection, others have an inconsistent ability to achieve an erection, and still others can sustain only brief erections. 

 While erectile dysfunction can occur at any age, it is uncommon among young men and more common in the elderly. By age 45, most men have experienced erectile dysfunction at least some of the time.

The penis contains two chambers, called the corpora cavernosa, which run the length of the upper side of the penis.  The urethra, which is the channel for urine and ejaculate, runs along the underside of the corpora cavernosa. Filling the corpora cavernosa is a spongy tissue consisting of smooth muscles, fibrous tissues, spaces, veins, and arteries. A membrane, called the tunica albuginea, surrounds the corpora cavernosa. Veins located in the tunica albuginea drain blood out of the penis.

Erection begins with sexual stimulation. Sexual stimulation can be tactile (for example, by touching the penis), or mental (for example, by having sexual fantasies). Sexual stimulation generates electrical impulses along the nerves going to the penis and causes the nerves to release nitric oxide, which in turn increases the production of cyclic GMP (cGMP) in the smooth muscle cells of the corpora cavernosa. The cGMP causes the smooth muscles of the corpora cavernosa to relax, and allow rapid blood flow into the penis. The in-coming blood fills the corpora cavernosa, making the penis expand.  

The pressure from the expanding penis compresses the veins (blood vessels that drain the blood out of the penis) in the tunica albuginea, helping to trap the blood in the corpora cavernosa, thereby sustaining erection. Erection is reversed when cGMP levels in the corpora cavernosa fall, causing the smooth muscles of the corpora cavernosa to contract, stopping the inflow of blood and opening veins that drain blood away from the penis. The levels of the cGMP in the corpora cavernosa fall because it is destroyed by an enzyme called phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5)

 

A healthy nervous system that conducts nerve impulses in the brain, spinal column, and penis; healthy arteries in and near the corpora cavernosa; healthy smooth muscles and fibrous tissues within the corpora cavernosa, and  adequate levels of nitric oxide in the penis are essentials for the ability to achieve and sustain erections  Erectile dysfunction can occur if one or more of these requirements are not met .

 

 

Treatments for erectile dysfunction start with working with doctors to select medications for treating hypertension or depression that do not impair erectile function; making life style improvements (for example; quitting smoking, and exercising more);  taking drugs such as sildenafil (Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra) or tadalafil (Cialis); or inserting medications into the urethra (intraurethral suppositories); or injecting medications into the corpora cavernosae (intracavernosal injections); or vacuum constrictive devices for the penis; and/or psychotherapy. Several other medications also are being studied for treating erectile dysfunction.

 

Surgery for erectile dysfunction is made to implant a device that causes the penis to become erect or to reconstruct arteries in order to increase the flow of blood to the penis or to block veins that drain blood from the penis.

Scientists also are studying gene therapy to treat erectile dysfunction and several medications are being studied for treating erectile dysfunction.

 

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May 25, 2007 at 14:12 o\clock

Excessive Sweating & Prickly Heat.

Sweat is made by sweat glands in the skin and carried to the skin's surface by ducts. Sweating helps keep the body cool. Thus, people sweat more when it is warm. They also sweat when they are nervous, under stress, or exercising.

 Excessive sweating:

  People with excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) sweat profusely, and some sweat almost constantly for no causes. Excessive sweating may affect the entire surface of the skin, but often it is limited to the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, armpits, or genital area.

Medical disorders that can cause excessive sweating include hyperthyroidism, a low level of sugar in the blood, Severe, chronic wetness can make the affected area white, wrinkled, and cracked. Sometimes the area becomes red and inflamed. The area may emit a foul odor (bromhidrosis) due to the breakdown of sweat by bacteria and yeasts that normally live on the skin.

 Treatment:

Excessive sweating can be controlled to some degree with commercial antiperspirants. However, stronger treatment is often needed, especially for the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, armpits, or genital area. Nighttime application of aluminum chloride solution may help.  A person first dries the sweaty area and then applies the solution. If the response is inadequate, a plastic film can be applied over the solution to enhance the effectiveness of the treatment. In the morning, the person removes the film and washes the area,l Some people need two applications daily; this regimen usually gives relief in a week. If the solution irritates the skin, the plastic film should be left off.

For the few people in whom odor is a problem, cleansing twice daily with soap and water usually removes the bacteria and yeast that cause odor. In some people, a few days of washing with an antiseptic soap, which may be combined with use of antibacterial creams , may be necessary. Shaving the hair in the armpits may also help control odor. 

Prickly Heat:

Prickly heat (miliaria) is an itchy skin rash and it develops when the narrow ducts carrying sweat to the skin surface get clogged. The trapped sweat causes inflammation, which produces irritation (prickling), itching, and a rash of very tiny blisters. Prickly heat also can appear as large, reddened areas of skin. Prickly heat is most common in warm, humid climates. 

The condition is controlled by keeping the skin cool and dry. Use of powders and antiperspirants often helps. Conditions that increase sweating should be avoided; an air-conditioned environment is ideal.Once the rash develops, corticosteroid creams or lotions are used, sometimes with a bit of menthol added; however, these topical treatments are not as effective as keeping the skin cool and dry. 

 

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May 25, 2007 at 09:56 o\clock

VARICOSE VEINS.

Varicose veins are gnarled, enlarged veins. The word "varicose" comes from the Latin root "varix," which means "twisted." Any vein may become varicose, but the veins most commonly affected are those in your legs and feet. That's because standing and walking upright increases the pressure in the veins in your lower body.

 Varicose veins are dark purple or blue in color and may appear twisted and bulging — like cords. They commonly appear on the backs of the calves or on the inside of the leg. However, they can form anywhere on your legs, from your groin to your ankle Arteries carry blood from your heart to the rest of your tissues. Veins return blood from the rest of your body to your heart, so the blood can be recirculated. To return blood to your heart, the veins in your legs must work against gravity. Muscle contractions in your lower legs act as pumps, while toned, elastic vein walls help blood return to your heart. Tiny one-way valves in your veins open as blood flows toward your heart then close to stop blood from flowing backward.

As you get older your veins can lose elasticity, causing them to stretch. The valves in your veins may become weak, allowing blood that should be moving toward your heart to flow backward. Blood pools in your veins, and your veins enlarge and become varicose. The veins appear blue because they contain deoxygenated blood, which is in the process of being recirculated.

Some pregnant women develop varicose veins. Pregnancy increases the volume of blood in your body, but decreases the flow of blood from your legs to your pelvis. This circulatory change is designed to support the growing fetus, but it can produce an unfortunate side effect — enlarged veins in your legs. Varicose veins may surface for the first time or may worsen during late pregnancy, when your uterus exerts greater pressure on the veins in your legs. Varicose veins that develop during pregnancy generally improve without medical treatment within three months after delivery.

Self-help measures can help you ease the pain of varicose veins and may prevent them from getting worse. But if you're concerned about how your veins look and feel and self-care measures haven't stopped your condition from getting worse, see your doctor.

Extremely painful ulcers may form on the skin near varicose veins, particularly near the ankles. Ulcers are the result of long-term "water logging" of these tissues, caused by increased pressure of blood within affected veins. Brownish pigmentation usually precedes the development of an ulcer. See your doctor immediately if you suspect you've developed an ulcer. Occasionally, veins deep within the legs become enlarged. In such cases, the affected leg may swell considerably. Any sudden leg swelling warrants urgent medical attention.

Fortunately, treatment usually doesn't mean a hospital stay or a long, uncomfortable recovery. Less invasive techniques generally allow varicose veins to be dealt with on an outpatient basis. Self-help measures — such as exercising, losing weight, not wearing tight clothes, elevating your legs and avoiding long periods of standing or sitting — can ease pain and prevent varicose veins from getting worse.

If you don't respond to self-help or if your condition is more severe, your doctor may advise on varicose vein treatments.

When it comes to treatment options for varicose veins, it pays to be a cautious health consumer. Advertisements claiming "unique," "permanent" or "painless" methods to remove varicose veins may be appealing, but they may not actually measure up to those claims. Before undergoing any procedure, ask your doctor about any health risks and possible side effects.

Current treatments for varicose veins and spider veins are highly successful. However, it's possible that varicose veins can recur.

There's no way to completely prevent varicose veins. But improving your circulation and muscle tone can reduce your risk of developing varicose veins or getting additional ones.  Wearing compression stockings is often the first approach to try before moving on to other treatments. Compression stockings are worn all day. They steadily squeeze your legs, helping veins and leg muscles move blood more efficiently. The amount of compression varies by type and brand.

Evidence suggests that horse chestnut seed extract may be an effective treatment for chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), a condition associated with varicose veins in which leg veins have problems returning blood to the heart. The herb may help improve swelling and discomfort caused by varicose veins. Talk with your doctor before trying horse chestnut seed extract or any other herb or dietary supplement.  

 

 

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May 24, 2007 at 12:47 o\clock

Jaundice.

Jaundice is a yellowish discoloration of the skin and of the whites of the eyes caused by abnormally high levels of the pigment bilirubin in the bloodstream.

Old or damaged red blood cells are constantly being removed from the circulation, mainly by the spleen. During this process, hemoglobin, the part of red blood cells that carries oxygen, is broken down into a dark greenish yellow pigment called bilirubin. Bilirubin is then carried in the bloodstream to the liver and is excreted into the intestine as a component of bile (the digestive fluid produced by the liver). If bilirubin cannot be excreted into bile quickly enough, it builds up in the blood. The excess bilirubin is deposited in the skin, resulting in the yellowish discoloration called jaundice..  

High levels of bilirubin in the blood may result from problems originating either within the liver or outside the liver. Damage to the liver, such as that due to inflammation or scarring, can impair its ability to excrete bilirubin into bile. Alternatively, the bile ducts, which carry bile from the liver to the small intestine, may be blocked, for example, by a gallstone or a tumor. Less commonly, overproduction of bilirubin, due to excessive breakdown of red blood cells, can overwhelm the liver with more bilirubin than the liver is capable of processing. Overproduction is most common in newborns with jaundice.

In jaundice, the skin and whites of the eyes appear yellow. Urine is often dark because excess bilirubin is excreted through the kidneys. People may have itching, light-colored stools, or other symptoms, depending on the cause of jaundice. For example, acute inflammation of the liver (acute hepatitis) may cause loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and fever. Blockage of bile may result in abdominal pain and fever. 

A doctor uses laboratory tests and imaging studies to determine the cause of the jaundice. If the problem is a disease of the liver, such as acute viral hepatitis, the jaundice usually disappears gradually as the condition of the liver improves. If the problem is blockage of a bile duct, surgery or surgical endoscopy, using a flexible viewing tube with surgical instruments attachedis usually performed as soon as possible to reopen the affected bile duct. Itching caused by jaundice can be treated with cholestyramine taken by mouth. Usually, the itching gradually disappears as the liver's condition improves. 

 

 

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May 24, 2007 at 11:28 o\clock

UTERINE PROLAPSE.

Uterine prolapse is a condition in which a woman's uterus (womb) sags or slips out of its normal position. The uterus may slip enough that it drops partway into the vagina (birth canal), creating a lump or bulge. This is called incomplete prolapse. In a more severe case--called complete prolapse--the uterus slips so far out of place that some of the tissue drops outside of the vagina.

 

 Women with mild cases of uterine prolapse may have no obvious symptoms. However, as the uterus slips further out of position, it can place pressure on other pelvic organs--such as the bladder or bowel--causing a variety of symptoms. A feeling of heaviness or pressure in the pelvis; pain in the pelvis, abdomen or lower back; pain during intercourse; protrusion of tissue from the opening of the vagina; recurrent bladder infections; unusual or excessive discharge from the vagina; constipation and difficulty with urination, including involuntary loss of urine (incontinence), or urinary frequency or urgency are noted as symptoms of uterine prolapse. Symptoms may be worsened by prolonged standing or walking. This is due to the added pressure placed on the pelvic muscles by gravity. 

 

The uterus is held in place within the pelvis by a group of muscles and ligaments. As these structures weaken, they become unable to hold the uterus in position, and it begins to sag.

Uterine prolapse is fairly common, and the risk of developing the condition increases with age. Uterine prolapse most often occurs in women who have had more than one baby through normal vaginal delivery and in post-menopausal women. The ovaries of thePost-menopausal women stop producing the hormone, estrogen that helps keep the pelvic muscles strong. 

 There are surgical and non-surgical options for treating uterine prolapse. The treatment chosen will depend on the severity of the condition, as well as the woman's general health, age and desire to have children. Treatment generally is effective for most women.

 

Special exercises, called Kegel exercises, can help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. This may be the only treatment needed in mild cases of uterine prolapse.

A pessary is a rubber or plastic doughnut-shaped device that fits around or under the lower part of the health care uterus (cervix), helping to prop up the uterus and hold it in place.  Doctor will fit and insert the pessary, which must be cleaned frequently and removed before sex.

Taking estrogen may help to limit further weakness of the muscles and other connective tissues that support the uterus. However, there are some drawbacks to taking estrogen, such as an increased risk of blood clots, gallbladder disease and breast cancer.   

 

Uterine prolapse may be treated by removing the uterus in a surgical procedure called hysterectomy. This may be done through an incision made in the vagina (vaginal hysterectomy) or through the abdomen (abdominal hysterectomy). Hysterectomy is major surgery, and removing the uterus means pregnancy is no longer possible. 

 

Another surgical procedure involves putting the uterus back into its normal position. This may be done by reattaching the pelvic ligaments to the lower part of the uterus to hold it in place. Another technique uses a special material that acts like a sling to support the uterus in its proper position.  Recent advances include performing this with minimally invasive techniques and laparoscopically (through small band aid sized incisions) that decrease post operative pain and speed recovery.     

 

 

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May 23, 2007 at 13:53 o\clock

Breast Lumps.

Breast Lumps are localized swellings, knots, bumps, bulges or protuberances in the breast. Breast lumps may appear in both sexes at all ages. In women, the fear is usually of breast cancer but many breast lumps turn out, fortunately, to be successfully treated. However, no breast lump should be be dismissed as benign until it has been evaluated by a physician.

 

The breast generally refers to the chest, however, more specifically, to the mammary gland. The mammary gland is a milk producing gland comprised largely of fat. Within the mammary gland is a complex network of branching ducts. The ducts exit from sac-like structures called lobules, which can produce milk in females. The darkened area around the nipple is called the areola. The mammary glands, nipple, and areola change prior, during, and after pregnancy. 

  Breast lumps can be caused by (1) fibrocystic breast tissue, (2) infection in the breast, (3) growth of new tissue (both, harmless or cancerous) and (4) changes in the ducts and milk producing glands.  

 The breast self-exam is a useful tool to check for unusual lumps, skin changes, or discharge. For most women, these once-a-month exams are easy to remember if they are timed with menstrual cycles. The best time for the exam is about one week after the start of a period.

 

To check your breasts, begin by looking in a mirror for pulls, dents, odd coloring, or lumps. The best positions for inspecting are leaning forward with your hands on your hips tightly and standing upright with your arms over your head. Both breasts should look the same, especially around the nipple.

Next, examine your breasts by feeling. The shower is a good place for this part of the exam, because the water allows your hand to glide over the skin.

 

Doing a monthly breast self-exam is the best way to learn how the normal breast feels. The purpose of a monthly self-exam is to detect early changes to breast tissue. Early detection of a breast tissue problem could save your life.

 

The two most common types of benign breast lumps are cysts and fibroadenomas.

 What is a cyst?

A cyst is a fluid-filled sac that develops in the breast tissue, which typically occurs in women between the ages of 35 and 50 and is most common in women approaching menopause. The physician may perform a fine-needle aspiration as the next step in diagnosing the cyst. This procedure involves guiding a very fine needle into the cyst and drawing fluid from it. This procedure also serves as the treatment for this condition, as once the cyst is aspirated, it collapses and disappears. Cysts can reappear at a later date, in which case they are simply drained again. Cysts are seldom malignant.

 

What is a fibroadenoma?

Fibroadenomas are solid, smooth, firm, benign lumps that are most commonly found in women in their late teens and early 20s. They are the most common benign lumps that occur in women and can occur in women of any age. Increasingly, they are being seen in postmenopausal women who are taking hormone replacement therapy. The diagnosis of fibroadenoma is confirmed by mammography or ultrasound and fine-needle aspiration. While fibroadenoma does not lead to cancer, there is a type of fibroadenoma that has been associated with an increased risk of cancer.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.

 

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May 23, 2007 at 12:35 o\clock

sex during pregnancy.

You've probably found an abundance of information about sex before pregnancy (that is, having sex in order to conceive) and sex after childbirth; but there's less talk about the topic of sex during pregnancy, perhaps because of our culture's tendency to dissociate expectant mothers from sexuality.

 What is normal tends to vary widely, but you can count on the fact that there will be changes in your sex life. Open communication will be the key to a satisfying and safe sexual relationship during pregnancy.

 If you're having a normal pregnancy, sex is considered safe during all stages of the pregnancy. Normal pregnancy  is one that's considered low-risk for complications such as miscarriage or pre-term labor. Talk to your doctor, nurse or midwife, if you're uncertain about whether you fall into this category. 

Of course, just because sex is safe during pregnancy doesn't mean you'll necessarily want to have it! Many expectant mothers find that their desire for sex fluctuates during certain stages in the pregnancy. Also, many women find that sex becomes uncomfortable as their bodies get larger.  You and your partner need to keep the lines of communication open regarding your sexual relationship. Talk about other ways to satisfy your need for intimacy, such as kissing, caressing, and holding each other.

 You also may need to experiment with other positions for sex to find those that are the most comfortable. Many women find that they lose their desire and motivation for sex late in the pregnancy - not only because of their size but also because they're preoccupied with the impending delivery and the excitement of becoming a new parent.

   Can sex harm my baby?

 No, not directly. Your baby is fully protected by the amniotic sac (a thin-walled bag that holds the fetus and surrounding fluid) and the strong muscles of the uterus. There's also a thick mucus plug that seals the cervix and helps guard against infection. The penis does not come into contact with the fetus during sex. 

Can intercourse or orgasm cause miscarriage or contractions?

 

In cases of normal, low-risk pregnancies, the answer is no. The contractions that you may feel during and just after orgasm are entirely different from the contractions associated with labor. However, you should check with your health care provider to make sure that your pregnancy falls into the low-risk category. Some doctors recommend that all women stop having sex during the final weeks of pregnancy, just as a safety precaution, because semen contains a chemical that may actually stimulate contractions. Check with your health care provider to see what he or she thinks is best.

 

 Is it normal for my sex drive to increase or decrease during pregnancy?

 

Actually, both of these possibilities are normal (and so is everything in between). Many pregnant women find that symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, breast tenderness, and the increased need to urinate make sex too bothersome, especially during the first trimester. Generally, fatigue and nausea subside during the second trimester, and some women find that their desire for sex increases. Also, some women find that freedom from worries about contraception, combined with a renewed sense of closeness with their partner, makes sex more fulfilling. Desire generally subsides again during the third trimester as the uterus grows even larger and the reality of what's about to happen sets in.

 

Your partner's desire for sex is likely to increase or decrease as well. Some men feel even closer to their pregnant partner and enjoy the changes in their bodies. Others may experience decreased desire because of anxiety about the burdens of parenthood, or because of concerns about the health of both the mother and their unborn child.

 

Your partner may have trouble reconciling your identity as a sexual partner with your new (and increasingly visible) identity as an expectant mother. Again, remember that communication with your partner can be a great help in dealing with these issues.

 

Call your doctor if you're unsure whether sex is safe for you. Also, call if you notice any unusual symptoms after intercourse, such as pain, bleeding, or discharge, or if you experience contractions that seem to continue after sex.

 

 Remember, "normal" is a relative term when it comes to sex during pregnancy. You and your partner need to discuss what feels right for both of you. 

 

 

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May 22, 2007 at 13:52 o\clock

Whooping cough.

Whooping cough - or pertussis - is an infection of the respiratory system caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis (or B. pertussis). It's characterized by severe coughing spells that end in a "whooping" sound when the person breathes in.

It's mainly affected infants who are younger than 6 months old before they are adequately protected by their immunizations, and kids who are 11 to 18 years old whose immunity has faded. Although whooping cough can occur at any age, it's most severe in unimmunized children and in infants under 1 year of age (early immunization can usually prevent this serious disease in babies). But more cases have been reported in teens and adults, because their immunity has faded since their original vaccination.

Signs and Symptoms

The first symptoms of whooping cough are similar to those of a common cold, that is, runny nose, sneezing, mild cough and low-grade fever.  After about 1 to 2 weeks, the dry, irritating cough evolves into coughing spells. During a coughing spell, which can last for more than a minute, the child may turn red or purple. At the end of a spell, the child may make a characteristic whooping sound when breathing in or may vomit. Between spells, the child usually feels well.Although it's likely that infants and younger children who become infected with B. pertussis will develop the characteristic coughing episodes with their accompanying whoop, not everyone will. However, sometimes infants don't cough or whoop as older children do. They may look as if they're gasping for air with a reddened face and may actually stop breathing for a few seconds during particularly bad spells. Adults and adolescents with whooping cough may have milder or atypical symptoms, such as a prolonged cough without the coughing spells or the whoop.

Contagiousness

Pertussis is highly contagious. The bacteria spread from person to person through tiny drops of fluid from an infected person's nose or mouth. These may become airborne when the person sneezes, coughs, or laughs. Other people then can become infected by inhaling the drops or getting the drops on their hands and then touching their mouths or noses. Infected people are most contagious during the earliest stages of the illness up to about 2 weeks after the cough begins. Antibiotics shorten the period of contagiousness to 5 days following the start of antibiotic treatment.

Prevention

Whooping cough can be prevented with the pertussis vaccine, which is part of the DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis) immunization. DTaP immunizations are routinely given in five doses before a child's sixth birthday. To give additional protection in case immunity fades, the AAP now recommends that kids ages 11-18 get a booster shot of the new combination vaccine (called Tdap), ideally when they're 11 or 12 years old, instead of the Td booster routinely given at this age. As is the case with all immunization schedules, there are important exceptions and special circumstances. Your child's doctor will have the most current information.

Experts believe that up to 80% of nonimmunized family members will develop whooping cough if they live in the same house as someone who has the infection. For this reason, anyone who comes into close contact with a person who has pertussis should receive antibiotics to prevent spread of the disease. Young children who have not received all five doses of the vaccine may require a booster dose if exposed to an infected family member.

Incubation

The incubation period (the time between infection and the onset of symptoms) for whooping cough is usually 7 to 10 days, but can be as long as 21 days.

Duration

Pertussis can cause prolonged symptoms. The child usually has 1 to 2 weeks of common cold symptoms first. This is followed by approximately 2 to 4 weeks of severe coughing, though the coughing spells can sometimes last even longer. The last stage consists of another several weeks of recovery with gradual resolution of symptoms. In some children, the recovery period may last for months.

Professional Treatment

Call the doctor if you suspect that your child has whooping cough. To make a diagnosis, the doctor will take a medical history, do a thorough physical exam, and take nose and throat mucus samples that will be sent to a laboratory and examined and cultured for B. pertussis bacteria. Blood tests and a chest X-ray may also be done.

If your child has whooping cough, it will be treated with antibiotics, usually for 2 weeks. Many experts believe that the medication is most effective in shortening the infection when it's given in the first stage of the illness, before coughing spells begin. But even if antibiotics are started later, they're still important because they can stop the spread of the pertussis infection to others. Ask your child's doctor whether preventive antibiotics or vaccine boosters for other family members are needed.

Some children with whooping cough need to be treated in a hospital. Infants and younger children are more likely to be hospitalized because they're at greater risk for complications such as pneumonia, which occurs in about one in five children under the age of 1 year who have pertussis. Up to 75% of infants younger than 6 months old with whooping cough will receive hospital treatment. Infants and younger children are more likely to require hospitalization because they're at greater risk for complications such as pneumonia, ear infection, dehydration, and seizures. In infants younger than 6 months of age, whooping cough can even be life-threatening.

While in the hospital, a child may need suctioning of thick respiratory secretions. The child's breathing will be monitored, and oxygen may be needed. Intravenous (IV) fluids might be required if the child shows signs of dehydration or has difficulty eating. The child also will be isolated from other patients, with special precautions taken to prevent the infection from spreading to other patients, hospital staff, and visitors.

 When to Call Your Child's Doctor

Call the doctor if you suspect that your child has whooping cough or has been exposed to someone with whooping cough, even if your child has already received all scheduled pertussis immunizations.

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May 22, 2007 at 08:03 o\clock

Garlic.

Garlic is a member of the onion family and is nature's most versatile medicinal plant.

 It has been prized since the first records of civilization for its uses in treating wounds, infections, tumors, and intestinal parasites. Modern scientists in numerous clinical trials have concluded that Garlic lowers cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, thins the blood (which reduces your risk of heart attack and stroke) and fights bacteria like an antibiotic.

 Though it is best known as a culinary herb and vampire retardant, the medicinal benefits and claims for garlic have awarded it the name "Wonder Drug among all herbs". Modern day research helps explain the broad applications of this "miracle" herb.

Garlic bulbs contain the amino acid allicin. When crushed, allicin is released. This chemical element is the component that gives Garlic its strong odor and is responsible for the powerful pharmacological properties of the plant. One medium clove of Garlic can equal the antibacterial action equivalent to 1% penicillin.   Garlic also contains about 0.5% of a volatile oil that is composed of sulfur-containing compounds. Garlic's sulfur compounds, in addition to Selenium and Vitamins A and C containing compounds, make it a potent antioxidant, protecting cell membranes and DNA from damage and disease.

Although Garlic directly attacks bacteria and viruses, it also stimulates the body's natural defenses against foreign invaders. Garlic is reported to be more effective than penicillin against typhus disease, and works well against strep, staph bacteria, and the organisms responsible for cholera, dysentery and enteritis.

 

It is generally regarded as a preventative measure for colds, flu and other infectious diseases. Furthermore, scientific studies have shown that garlic stimulates the production of the liver's own detoxifying enzymes which neutralize carcinogens and other environmental toxins. It has also been used to rid the body of intestinal parasites and to treat digestive infections.

It appears that the herb may prevent cells from turning cancerous by enhancing the body's mechanisms for removing toxic substances. People who ate the greatest amount of onions and garlic had the lowest incidence of stomach cancer. Other types of cancer have also been reported as lower. 

Furthermore, garlic increases the activity of white blood cells and T-helper cells (natural killer cells), the cells that are central to the activity of the entire immune system.

Garlic has been used as a blood thinner and anticoagulant to resolve blood clots and improve circulation. It has been shown to lower cholesterol while increasing the level of beneficial HDLs (high-density lipoproteins), the so-called good cholesterol. Garlic has no side effects like those associated with cholesterol lowering drugs.  In addition, garlic compounds gently lower blood pressure by slowing the production of the body's own blood pressure raising hormones and mild hypertension can be effectively managed with garlic.

Garlic has great value as a long-term dietary supplement, helping to maintain healthy circulation, balance blood sugar and pressure, reduce fat levels in the blood, and improve resistance to infection. It can be taken with conventional antibiotics to support their action and ward off side effects. 

Garlic has also been used in treating upper respiratory infections (especially bronchitis), late-onset diabetes, urinary infections, acne, asthma, sinusitis, arthritis, and ulcers.  Good for virtually any disease or infection. Improves circulation, maintains healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels. A natural antibiotic and immune system stimulant. 

 

 

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May 21, 2007 at 10:10 o\clock

Kantakari.

Kantkari (Solanum Xantho-carpum) is one of the members of the dasamula (ten root) of the Ayurveda. It is a very spiny diffuse herb up to 1.2 m tall, commonly found throughout India The herb is known as Kantakari and Nidigadhika in Sanskrit, in Hindi it is known as Kateli, Katai and Ringani; in Tamil and Malayalam Kandankattiri.

  It is a very spiny diffuse herb up to 1.2 m tall, commonly found throughout India.

The juice of berries is used in sore throat. Roots and seeds are administered as an expectorant in asthma and cough and pain in chest. Stem flowers and fruits are bitter and carminative and are prescribed for relief in burning sensation in the feet. Leaves are applied locally to relieve pain.

The drug is collected mainly from the wild plants, as there is no systematic cultivation of the herb. Kantakari, also known as Indian Solarium, is a prickly, branches -perennial herb. The branches are densely covered with minute star-shaped hairs. The plant has yellow, shining prickles of about 1.5 cm in size. it has very prickly, sparsely hairy, egg-shaped leaves; purple flowers, round fruits, yellow in color with green veins and numerous smooth seeds. The plant occurs throughout India, often in waste lands, on roadsides and in open scrublands.

 

 The root is one of the important medicinal ingredients used by the physicians of Ayurveda, who use it to treat several common ailments. The drug is bitter in taste and a mild purgative. Experiments have shown that the fruits and shoots of the plant possess antibacterial properties.

 

 Kantakari is useful in clearing catarrh and phlegm from the bronchial tubes. It is therefore used in the treatment of respiratory diseases like asthma, bronchitis and cough.

 

 The herb can be used to treat constipation and flatulence. It strengthens the stomach and promotes its action. It corrects disordered processes of nutrition by which the organism ingests, digests, absorbs, utilizes and excretes food substances and restores normal function of the system. The drug also possesses anthelmintic (worm destroying) property and is useful in eliminating intestinal worms.

 

Kantakari is useful in the treatment of dropsy, a disease marked by an excessive collection of-a fluids in the tissues and cavities or natural hollows of the body. The drug helps increase the secretion and discharge of urine.  

The herb kantakari is a valuable in sore throat remedy. An extract of the plant should be used as a gargle for this purpose. This extract is prepared by continuously boiling the plant in about two litres of water after washing it thoroughly. 

 

The extract of the plant, prepared as for throat disorders, is also very useful in gum diseases. For better results, black mustard should be boiled along with the plant.  

 

The root of the plant has been traditionally used in snake and scorpion bites. A paste of the root can be prepared by grinding it on a stone with lemon juice and applying to the affected part. The patient should be taken to the doctor immediately.

 

 The drug is also useful in treating several other diseases like heart disease, chest pain, certain types of fever, muscular pains, gonorrhea, Dysuria, enlargement of the liver and spleen and stone in the urinary bladder.

 The fruit of the plant is also considered useful in treating sore throat, bronchitis, muscular pains and fevers. Tender leaves and fruits are eaten as a vegetable after cooking.    

 

 

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May 19, 2007 at 13:25 o\clock

Menstrual disorders.

About menstrual cycles: It is not a story  but what really happened with a mother of 23 children! She ran to a doctor to complain that she was terribly afraid about her vaginal bleeding and on inspection, the doctor diagnosed it to be nothing but her natural first (!) menstruation.  All through her adult life she was either pregnant or breast feeding and had no experience of menstrual period! 

It is also true that there are women who believe that continuous long term usage of birth control pills would relieve them from their monthly pains of menstrual period.. The two occasions at whch they approach to their doctor are (1) acute pain or (2) annoying vaginal discharge. A lot of ignorance surrounds menstruation and menstrual disorders are so poorly understood by the women who experience it. 

Menstruation disorders are a common problem during adolescence. These disorders may cause significant anxiety for patients and their families. Physical and psychological factors contribute to the problem. In order to treat menstruation disorders, it is important to become familiar with the normal menstrual cycle. For a regular menstrual cycle, the median age of menarche is 12.77 years. 90% of females menstruate by the time they have Tanner IV breast and pubic hair development. Most cycles occur between 21-35 days with 3-10 days of bleeding and 30-40 mL of blood loss. 

Classification of menstrual disorders

 Amenorrhea and oligomenorrhea (lack of bleeding or too little bleeding) Dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation) Menorrhagia (excessive bleeding)

 Amenorrhea

 Amenorrhea may be primary (ie, never menstruated) or secondary (ie, menarche, but no periods for 3 consecutive months). Primary amenorrhea is the absence of menstruation by age 16 years in the presence of normal pubertal development or by age 14 years in the absence of normal pubertal development. Evaluating for breast and uterine development in patients with a menstruation disorder is important. Secondary amenorrhea is more common than primary amenorrhea. The most common etiology is dysfunction of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian (HPO) axis.

 Dysmenorrhea  

Dysmenorrhea is a very common complaint and may be primary or secondary, though primary dysmenorrhea is more prevalent. Symptoms include crampy lower abdominal and pelvic pain radiating to the thighs and back without associated pelvic pathology. Dysmenorrhea is caused by prostaglandins during ovulatory cycles. Endometrial prostaglandin levels increase during the luteal and menstrual phases of the cycle, causing uterine contractions. Secondary dysmenorrhea is rare, and pain is associated with pelvic pathology (eg, bicornuate uterus, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, uterine fibroids).

 Menorrhagia 

Menstrual bleeding lasting more than 8-10 days and with blood loss of over 80 mL is considered excessive  

Treatment: 

AmenorrheaTreatment depends on etiology. Direct therapy to the underlying cause. If the patient has a completely normal physical examination with secondary amenorrhea, consider administering medroxyprogesterone 10 mg daily for 5-10 days to see if withdrawal bleeding occurs. If this occurs, it indicates adequate levels of endogenous estrogen and normal anatomy.

 Dysmenorrhea Provide symptomatic relief with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (eg, naproxen, ibuprofen) at the first sign of cramps. If nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory therapy fails, consider oral contraceptive pills for 3-6 months.

 Menorrhagia 

Most cases of menorrhagia fall under the category of DUB. In situations where a specific etiology is identified, treatment of the underlying cause is necessary. For patients with mild DUB, provide reassurance and observation. Instruct the patient to keep a menstrual calendar. Consider iron supplementation and antiprostaglandin medications during bleeding episodes. For patients with moderate DUB, prescribe combination oral contraceptive pills beginning with 4 monophasic 45-microgram pills a day and tapering down. Oral contraceptive pills usually are continued for 6 months. Medroxyprogesterone alone also may be used. Also administer oral iron and folic acid supplements.

 For patients with severe DUB, consider hospitalization and coagulation studies. Administer intravenous Premarin every 4 hours until the bleeding stops, up to 4 doses. Simultaneously administer a monophasic 35-microgram oral contraceptive pill q6h for 24-48 hours and then bid to complete a 28-day course. If Premarin does not stop bleeding after 4 doses, consider pelvic pathology. Examination under anesthesia and dilatation and curettage may be necessary.



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May 19, 2007 at 09:24 o\clock

Lemon Balm.

Lemon Balm (melisa officianalis)is a native to southern Europe and northern Africa and has been cultivated for over 2000 years. It has a long history as a healing herb and was also part of a drink that ensured longevity. The Arabs introduced it as medicinal herb, a tea that was taken for anxiety and depression. Melissa tea is still known in France today as a remedy for fatigue and headaches. Balm mint, bee herb, Sweet balm, Garden balm, Honey plant, and Melissa are the other names for this herb.  Lemon Balm is a citrusy and fresh scented herb. It is very prolific and easily grown
Fresh or dried leaves are used. Fresh leaves can be stored in plastic bags in the fridge for a few days or they can be frozen. Dried leaves should be stored in an airtight container. To dry leaves, avoid exposure to light or heat, spread out on newspaper or hang in bunches in a dark airy place. The leaves lose some of their flavour when dried. Dried leaves can be used as an ingredient in pot-pourris.
 Because of its delicate lemon flavour, lemon balm has a wide culinary potential. Apart from using fresh leaves as an attractive garnish, Chopped fresh leaves can be used to to add zest to sweet or tangy dishes. A wonderful addition to fruit salads, green salads, herb butters, fruit drinks, sorbets. It can also be used in egg dishes, custards, soups and casseroles. Lemon Balm Tea is made as follows: 
Put 1heaping tablespoon of dried leaves and 2 tablespoons of fresh leaves for each cup of boiling water or make sun tea by placing herbs and cool water in covered jar in the sun for a few hours;strain and add honey or lemon.
.Lemon balm tea was known to have powers of longevity. Today the tea is taken to treat colds and flu, lower blood pressure and for insomnia and indigestion.  Primary chemical constituents of this herb include essential oil (citral, linalool, eugenol, citronellal, geraniol), tannins, bitter principle, resin, tannins, polyphenols, flavonoids, succinic acid, and rosmarinic acid. The volatile oils appear to act between the digestive tract and nervous system. It may be used effectively in conditions of migraine that are associated with tension, neuralgia, anxiety induced palpitations, and/or insomnia. Lemon balm has a tonic effect on the heart and circulatory system causing mild vasodilation of the peripheral vessels, thus lowering blood pressure. It can be used in feverish conditions such as influenza. Hot water extracts have anti-viral properties, possibly due in part to rosmarinic acid and other polyphenolics constituents. A lotion-based extract may be used for skin lesions of herpes simplex, the anti-viral activity having been confirmed in both laboratory and clinical trial. Primary chemical constituents of this herb include essential oil (citral, linalool, eugenol, citronellal, geraniol), tannins, bitter principle, resin, tannins, polyphenols, flavonoids, succinic acid, and rosmarinic acid. The volatile oils appear to act between the digestive tract and nervous system. It may be used effectively in conditions of migraine that are associated with tension, neuralgia, anxiety induced palpitations, and/or insomnia. Lemon balm has a tonic effect on the heart and circulatory system causing mild vasodilation of the peripheral vessels, thus lowering blood pressure. It can be used in feverish conditions such as influenza. Hot water extracts have anti-viral properties, possibly due in part to rosmarinic acid and other polyphenolics constituents. A lotion-based extract may be used for skin lesions of herpes simplex, the anti-viral activity having been confirmed in both laboratory and clinical trial.          

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May 18, 2007 at 12:14 o\clock

Curry Leaves.

                        The small delicious curry leaf is native to India. From wild jungles to farmlands and almost everywhere in the Indian subcontinent excluding the higher levels of the Himalayas curry leaves grow in abundance. In the East, its range extends into Burma, Malaysia, South Africa and Reunion islands.

In
India in the regions from Sikkim and Assam, besides Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra
, Kerala, Karnataka, Orissa ,Andhra Pradesh, to Tamilnadu  curry leaves can be seen in abundance.
 The curry leaf plant, known for its medicinal value and for its extensive usage in south Indian cuisine, is reported to be the least exploited and studied tree species. The leaves are directly used as an aroma source in cooking and in the preparation of ayurvedic and unani medicines. Since these leaves are used afresh in a number of kitchen preparations and in medicinal preparations, the use of chemical sprays for controlling pest infestation in the plant, could do more harm than help, particularly among the consumers. The leaves, root and stem of the plant contain minerals and essential oils of immense medicinal value. The leaves are reported to possess some insecticidal property against termites. Despite these, curry leaves are often infested by a number of pests as sucking pests, cutting insects and diseases as powdery mildew, dieback etc. For controlling these diseases and pests, a number of pesticides and fungicides as malathion, monocrotophos, phosphamidon, mancozeb, metalaxyl etc., are sprayed. Needless to say that these chemicals are hazardous to health,  Using organic and bio-products in the cultivation of curry leaf as a source for nutrient supply and as a molecule for plant protection will improve the quality leading to increase in the market value of the end product. The curry leaves can be kept in the refrigerator for some time and then used and can also be used just after being plucked form the branch. The plant is cosmopolitan in distribution and grows under varying climatic and soil conditions. It is broadly classified into two types — broad-leaved varieties used in commercial cultivation and the narrow-leaved ones, raised for extraction of volatile oil.  

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May 17, 2007 at 09:41 o\clock

HONEY

Lovers who love each other heart to heart call one another as HONEY. Mothers who love their little dots use this word to express the taste of the kiss they receive from their babies. So, it is evident, that honey is a lovable thing.  Why is it so? Let us look into this  question in this article. 

Honey is the nature's gift to mankind. It is a pleasant food item having acquired of special reputation as medicine and as a nutritious food. Honey is a golden coloured syrupy substance made by bees from the nectar of flowers. The quality of honey depends on the prevailing flower blossom. Genuine honey will contain pollen grains, which can be detected under microscope.

  

Honey is healthier compared to refined sugar since honey has traces of minerals and vitamins to its credit. Honey contains fewer calories and carbohydrates than sugar since it contains water. But when substituting honey for sugar in recipes, due to the high density of honey compared to sugar, substituting honey for sugar by volume rather than by weight would give you more calories. Honey contains sugars in the form of glucose and fructose that gives the sweetness. The clearer the honey the higher the proportion of fructose although, honey will almost always granulate if it is kept long enough. Heating can make it loose

 

Honey is useful as a sedative; It acts as a decongestant , It is good as anti septic and It is useful in managing constipation, obesity, Honey in warm milk or water can give a soothing effect for patient with sore throats. Adding two teaspoons of honey and juice of half a lemon in a glass of hot water can make a drink of sore throats. Dried ginger powder 1/2 tsp, 2-3 black pepper cones, 2-3 cloves, 2-3 cardamom, 1/2 tsp. Cummins seeds should be boiled and add little tea leaves and honey and can be had hot. It gives good relief of the throat pain, cold, and cough. It can be taken two to three times in a day .  Honey is used to remove phlegm. Take 8- 10 tulsi leaves, 1-2 cloves of garlic, 1/2 inch piece ginger crushed and 3-4 black pepper cones, boil it in 1 cup of water. Add 1 tsp. of honey to this and drink it warm. This is good for cold and cough with phlegm.  Mix equal parts of ginger juice and honey and have it 2-3 times in a day which is good for cough. Ginger powder, black pepper powder and honey is also good for dry cough and can be had 3-4 times in a day . Asafoetida is useful in the treatment of respiratory disorders like whooping cough, asthma and bronchitis.1 tsp. of asafoetida mixed with honey will help to keep away these disorders. A pinch of turmeric and one teaspoon of honey in warm milk can be taken daily for children and adults who get frequent colds.

 

Honey 50 ml per litre is recommended instead of sugar in the oral rehydration fluid. The nutmeg should be powdered and mixed with honey and can be taken during diarrhoea. It can be given to small children also.1 teaspoon twice or thrice can be taken. One spoon of fresh honey mixed with the juice of half a lemon in a glass of lukewarm water taken first thing in the morning is very effective for constipation, hyperacidity, and obesity.

 Honey is useful for the skin diseases. It can be applied externally for wounds, sores, and burns. It is also believed to minimise disfiguring scar.. Honey, turmeric, and gram flour is very good face pack. It can be applied for 15 - 20 minutes and washed off with water.

 

Honey act as a mild sedative. Take one teaspoon of honey in warm milk before going to bed.. Honey is useful in providing energy to the body.  Asafoetida fried in ghee and mixed with a tablespoon of honey to be taken thrice daily for excessive flow and pain full menstruation and leucorrhoea.  

 

 

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