A Hernia occurs when an internal part of the body (eg. intestines or other tissues) push through a weakness in the muscle or surrounding tissue wall. The abdominal wall is made up of layers of different muscles and tissues. Weak spots may develop in these layers that may allow contents of the abdominal cavity to protrude or herniate. Hernias are very common in the abdomen, but they can also appear in the chest, upper thigh and groin areas.
Most of the time, hernias have no or very few symptoms. Some persons do not know that they have a hernia unless it shows up during a routine medical exam. The most common symptom of a hernia is a swelling or lump in the affected area. The lump can often be pushed back in (reduced) or it may disappear when you lie down. Coughing, standing or straining may make the lump appear more visible. Other common symptoms may include pain/ discomfort in the affected area. Weakness, pressure, or a feeling of heaviness could occur in the area as well. Most hernias are not immediately life threatening, but they may not go away on their own. Sometimes they can require surgery to prevent potentially dangerous complications.
COMMON TYPES OF HERNIAS
Inguinal hernias are the most common type of hernia and are more common in men than women. These hernias occur when the intestines push through a weak spot or tear in the lower abdominal wall, often in the inguinal canal, (which is found in the groin). Men with huge inguinal hernias may notice a swelling that extends from the groin all the way down into the scrotum. (If a portion of tissue pushes through the wall of the femoral canal, it’s called a femoral hernia. A femoral hernia will appear as a bulge near the upper thigh or in the groin as well). See images below.
An umbilical hernia occurs when part of the intestine or fatty tissue bulges through the muscle near the belly button (navel, umbilicus). Umbilical hernias can occur in children and babies under 6 months old. You may notice a bulge in or near your child’s bellybutton, especially when they are crying. Umbilical hernias in children typically go away on their own by the time the child is 1 or 2 years old. If it hasn’t gone away by around 4 years old then surgery may be used to correct it. Some other types of hernia that can affect the abdomen include: incisional hernias, epigastric hernias and spigelian hernias. See images below.
A hiatal hernia occurs when part of your stomach protrudes up through the diaphragm into your chest cavity. The diaphragm separates the organs in your abdomen from those in your chest. This type of hernia may not have any noticeable symptoms, although it can cause heartburn in some persons.
Increased pressure in the abdomen may lead to weakening of a portion of the abdominal wall, either suddenly or gradually over time. Some risk factors for developing a hernia include:
The treatment for a hernia is usually surgery. A number of factors will be considered when deciding whether surgery is appropriate, these include: the type of hernia, the content of your hernia, your symptoms, and your general health. For some persons “watchful waiting” may be the best treatment. (This may be for persons with very small hernias, or persons with medical conditions that prevent them from having immediate surgery). For more information on hernia repair surgery, you can click the link below. https://www.facs.org/~/media/files/education/patient%20ed/adultumbilical.ashx
Conversely, if left untreated, a hernia could grow extremely large and/or become very painful. A portion of the intestine could become trapped in the abdominal wall, and if it does not get enough blood flow, it could become infected or die. This is a life-threatening situation that requires immediate medical attention. The symptoms include sudden severe pain in the area, nausea/vomiting and constipation. You should go to the nearest hospital straightaway if you have a hernia and you develop the above symptoms.
Avoid excessive weight lifting
Excessive weight lifting increases the pressure in the abdomen, which can cause tissue or intestine to protrude through a weak point in the abdomen. This could create or enlarge a hernia.
Smoking can cause coughing, which can put pressure on your abdomen, which increase the risk of getting or irritating a hernia.
Maintain a healthy body weight
When you are overweight or obese, your abdominal wall is constantly under pressure from the excess body fat. Carrying a lot of extra weight around the abdomen will stretch and weaken the abdominal wall and increase your risk of having a hernia.
Straining to pass stool increases abdominal pressure, which increases the chance of getting a hernia. Try to incorporate high-fiber foods into your diet, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Keeping hydrated may also prevent constipation as well.
I hope these tips on HERNIA were helpful; Remember YOUR HEALTH IS INVALUABLE.
By Dr. J. Lawarna Matthew
British Hernia society
American College of Surgeons
Medicine, Net Inc. and Mayo Foundation for Images.
Visit https://www.hernia.org/types/ and https://www.facs.org/~/media/files/education/patient%20ed/adultumbilical.ashx for more information
Erectile dysfunction, also known as Impotence is when it is hard for a man to get or keep an erection that's firm enough for sex. Most men have problems with erections occasionally, but when this happens more than half of the time, then erectile dysfunction is present.
An erection is the result of increased blood flow into the penis, due to stimulation by either sexual thoughts or direct contact with the penis. When a man becomes sexually excited, muscles in the penis relax, which allows for increased blood flow through the penile arteries. This blood fills two chambers inside the penis called the corpora cavernosa, which makes the penis grow rigid. Erection ends when the muscles contract and the accumulated blood flow out through the penile veins. Erectile dysfunction can occur because of problems at any stage of the erection process. It can cause low self-esteem, stress and depression and it may also affect the quality of a marriage or intimate relationships.
Below are some of the common risk factors for Erectile Dysfunction.
Most of the treatments for erectile dysfunction work well and are safe, they include:
Oral medications are the most common and most successful treatment for many men with erectile dysfunction. Drugs known as PDE-5 inhibitors enhance the effects of nitric oxide, which relaxes muscles in the penis and increase blood flow. These medications allow you to get an erection in response to sexual stimulation. You may have seen these drugs on TV and in Internet ads: Viagra® (sildenafil citrate), Levitra® (vardenafil HCl) and Cialis® (tadalafil). Possible side effects include flushing, nasal congestion, headache, visual changes, backache and upset stomach. Do not take these medications if you have heart disease, low blood pressure or are taking nitrates (medication for chest pain).
Vacuum Erection Device (VED)
A vacuum Erection Device is a plastic tube that slips over the penis, making a seal with the skin of the body. A pump at the other end of the tube creates a low-pressure vacuum around the penis, which results in an erection. An elastic Constriction ring may then be slipped onto the base of the penis; this holds the blood in the penis (and keeps it hard) for up to 30 minutes. (An adequate erection can be achieved with a VED in 30 seconds to 7 minutes.) See video below for further information.
Drugs in the Penis
If oral drugs don't work, Alprostadil is another drug that could be used. It is a Prostaglandin E1 vasodilator. It comes in two forms: 1) Self-Injection Therapy, where the drug is injected into the side of penis with a very fine needle, and 2) Intra-urethral Therapy, where a tiny medicated pellet of the drug is placed in the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of your body). Erections are usually achieved within 10-15 minutes. These methods have good success rates but can have significant side effects including burning and erections lasting more than 4 hours. Click the link below for more information.
When other treatments do not improve erectile dysfunction, surgery may be a last resort. Surgeries include penile implant surgery and surgery to fix problems with blood vessels in the penis. Fixing blood vessels only helps in very specific cases, such as in pelvic or penile injuries. Penile implants are devices that are placed completely inside your body. They produce a stiff penis that lets you have normal sex. Click the links below to learn more about surgical options for erectile dysfunction.
Psychological factors are a common cause of erectile dysfunction, including stress, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. If you still wake up with erections at mornings, but frequently have difficulty attaining or maintaining erections for sexual intercourse, then your erectile dysfunction may be due to a psychological cause. You may benefit from “talk therapy”, which can help you manage your mental health. You will work with your therapist who will address issues such as major stress or anxiety, feelings around sex, and more. Also, if erectile dysfunction is affecting your relationship, you may also consider speaking with a relationship counselor. Relationship counseling can help you reconnect emotionally with a partner, which may also help your erectile dysfunction.
Penis Ring/ Cock Ring
A penis ring or cock ring may be used if you are able to get an erection but have trouble maintaining it. A penis ring fits around the base of the penis, (or the penis and testicles) and applies pressure to the surrounding area. Penis rings work by trapping the blood inside your penis so it remains harder for longer. It is a good affordable option that may be used to treat erectile dysfunction. You can purchase one in a sex store or online. Learn more information about it below.
If you are masturbating to very stimulating porn on a regular basis then it might be difficult to get as aroused in the bedroom with your partner. Watching video pornography is very stimulating and often men have difficulty creating that same level of arousal or stimulation with their partners. Consider masturbating without porn; try this for two weeks and see if your erection quality improves.
Communicate with your partner what you like during the process of sex. If you are not aroused then you might experience erectile dysfunction, so make sure you tell your partner what turns you on. Also, communicating about intimacy should lead to you feeling more connected with your partner, which could help you be more relaxed during sex.
Experiencing erectile dysfunction can also be a reason to try “non-penetrative sex”. Things like kissing, licking, sucking, foreplay and teasing, are all super stimulating and don't focus on penetration. You can try to bring each other to orgasm using these ideas, which may put the fun back into having sex. Many couples have found success using this technique.
Hypertension, Diabetes, and high cholesterol can all damage arteries (blood vessels) in the heart (causing heart attack), in the brain (causing stroke), and in the penis (causing erectile dysfunction). Make sure that you follow up with your health practitioner regularly and ensure that these conditions are under control as they can lead to or worsen erectile dysfunction.
Diet and Exercise
A healthy diet and regular exercise would not only improve overall health but could improve or prevent erectile dysfunction. Quit cigarette smoking and limit your alcohol intake also, as this could improve or prevent erectile dysfunction.
I hope these tips on ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION/ IMPOTENCE were helpful; Remember, your health is invaluable.
By Dr. J. Lawarna Matthew
American Urological Association
(Urology Care Foundation)
Visit https://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/erectile-dysfunction for more information.
Vaginal discharge is fluid that comes out of the vagina opening. The fluid is mostly water and also contains microorganisms. The discharge helps to keep the genital area clean and healthy by removing dead cells from the lining of the vagina. The amount and makeup of normal discharge change throughout the menstrual cycle. Some women experienced increased vaginal discharge after exercise, when using birth control pills, during sexual arousal, or under stress.
Estrogen helps to keep the vaginal lining thick and supple and encourages the growth of lactobacilli. These bacteria make a substance that keeps the vagina slightly acidic. The natural acidity of the vagina helps keep microorganisms from growing out of control. Vaginal infections can occur if anything disrupts the natural balance of the bacteria (and yeast) that are normally present in the vagina.
Normal vaginal discharge is clear to white with a certain amount of vaginal odor. Signs of abnormal discharge include a change in the color, odor, amount, or consistency from what is usual for you. If the odor is strong and noticeable, the discharge is profuse, or frothy and the color is yellow, green, gray, brown or blood stained, then you may have a medical condition that needs treatment. Below are some of the common causes of vaginal discharge.
Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina, and a change in the balance of yeast and bacteria in the vagina causes it. Some triggers include: antibiotics, changes in hormone levels due to pregnancy and menopause, breastfeeding, douching, spermicides, sexual intercourse and Infection. Some causes of vaginitis are discussed below.
1. Bacterial Vaginosis
Bacterial Vaginosis is caused by overgrowth of the bacteria that occur naturally in the vagina. The main symptom is increased discharge with a strong fishy odor. The discharge usually is thin and gray, but may have a greenish color. Itching is not very common. Antibiotics can be used to treat Bacterial Vaginosis, (they can be taken by mouth or inserted into the vagina as a cream or gel).
2. Yeast Infection
Yeast infection also is known as candidiasis (because it is caused by a fungus called Candida). The most common symptoms of a yeast infection are itching and burning of the area outside the vagina called the vulva. The vulva may be red and swollen. The vaginal discharge usually is white, lumpy, and has no odor. Yeast infections can be treated either by placing medication into the vagina or by taking a pill.
Trichomoniasis is a condition caused by the microscopic parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. It is spread through sex. Signs of Trichomoniasis may include a yellow-gray or green vaginal discharge. The discharge may have a fishy odor. There may be burning, irritation, itching, redness, and swelling of the vulva. Sometimes there is pain during urination. Trichomoniasis is usually treated with antibiotics.
CERVICITIS/ SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS (STI)
Cervicitis is an inflammation of the cervix. It can be caused by STIs, but may also be due to trauma, frequent douching or exposure to chemical irritants. Below are some of the STIs that can cause cervicitis and vaginal discharge.
5.Chlamydia and Gonorrhea
Bacteria cause chlamydia and Gonorrhea. Women infected may not have any symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they may include: a yellow discharge from the vagina or urethra, painful or frequent urination, vaginal bleeding between periods and rectal bleeding, discharge, or pain. Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are treated with antibiotics.
6. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the female reproductive organs. It occurs when bacteria move from the vagina to the cervix upward into the uterus, ovaries, or fallopian tubes. Gonorrhea and chlamydia are the main cause of PID. Symptoms can include an abnormal vaginal discharge as well as pain in the lower abdomen, fever and chills, painful urination, and painful sexual intercourse. PID is also treated with antibiotics.
7. Genital Herpes
The Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) causes genital herpes. Vesicles can develop around the opening of, (and just inside) the vagina and can involve the cervix and anus. Other symptoms can include difficulty passing urine, and a vaginal discharge. There is no cure, but outbreaks can be managed using Antiviral medications.
OTHER CAUSES OF VAGINAL DISCHARGE
8. Hygienic practices such as Douching using deodorant soaps and sprays can result in a sensitivity reaction that causes a vaginal discharge.
9. A Retained tampon can cause an unpleasant smell and vaginal discharge.
10. Menopause may change the color, amount and texture of vaginal discharge.
11. Endometriosis can cause a bloody or brownish discharge.
12. An Ectopic pregnancy can cause abdominal pain as well as a “prune juice” (brown/black) colored vaginal discharge.
13. Cancers (including cancer of the vagina, cervix and uterus) may produce a vaginal discharge.
When to see a doctor
See your doctor if you have:
Use Cold Compress
Use a cold compress, such as a washcloth or ice pack. The cold temperature helps to numb the area, providing relief from itching, swelling, pain and other discomforts.
Do not use douches, as these remove healthy bacteria from the vagina and allow infections to flourish. Mild soap and water are all that is needed to clean the vulva.
Avoid Tight Clothes
Tight clothing (including tight underwear) leads to increase heat and moisture around the vagina. Wearing looser clothing, skirts, and sometimes even sleeping without panties at nights, may decrease your chances of getting recurrent yeast infections.
Wear cotton panties
Cotton panties absorb excess moisture from sweat or discharge well; synthetic fabrics do not. Wearing panties that have a cotton-lined crotch may decrease the chance of getting recurrent infections also.
Wipe Front to Back
Always wipe your vagina from front to back. The reverse motion can lead to the bacteria from the anus reaching the vagina, which could lead to an infection.
Use condoms for at least a week after starting treatment for a yeast infection. This way you do not infect your partner and re-infect yourself.
If you are not in a monogamous relationship, use condoms consistently and correctly each time you have sex, to reduce your risk of sexually transmitted infections.
(If you are diagnosed with an STI such as gonorrhea, chlamydia or Trichomoniasis, your recent sexual partners also should get tested and treated as this can prevent re-infection also.)
Use a proper lubricant during sex. Random substances such as baby oil, petroleum jelly and lotion can throw off the pH balance of your vagina, which could result in a discharge.
I hope these tips on VAGINAL DISCHARGE were helpful; Remember, YOUR HEALTH IS INVALUABLE.
By Dr. J. Lawarna Matthew
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Visit https://www.acog.org/Patients for more information.
Acne Vulgaris (also called Acne) is a very common skin condition; where the hair follicles and their associated oil glands become blocked and inflamed. It causes spots, oily skin and sometimes skin that is painful to touch. Acne most commonly occurs on the face, neck, back and chest because this is where the oil glands are largest and most active.
Sebaceous glands are tiny glands found near the surface of the skin. The glands are attached to hair follicles, which are small holes from which hair grows. Sebaceous glands produce an oily substance called sebum, which lubricates the hair and the skin. In acne, the glands begin to produce too much sebum, which mixes with dead skin cells and both substances form a plug in the follicle. If the plugged follicle is close to the surface of the skin, it bulges outwards, creating a Whitehead. Alternatively, the plugged follicle can be open to the skin, creating a Blackhead (blackheads and whiteheads are known as comedones). Normally harmless bacteria that live on the skin can then contaminate and infect the plugged follicles, causing Papules, Pustules, Nodules or Cysts.
Acne is very common in teenagers and younger adults; about 80% of people aged 11 to 30 are affected. Acne often disappears when a person is in their mid-twenties. In some cases, it can continue into adult life; about 5% of women and 1% of men have acne over the age of 25. Acne can also run in families. Many adult women have acne, and this may be caused by the changes in hormone levels at certain times. Some women have a flare-up of acne just before their period. Others have symptoms of acne during pregnancy; and some women with polycystic ovarian syndrome may develop acne as well. Other possible triggers of acne may include: some cosmetic products, hats/ headbands, backpacks, some medication and smoking.
Medication used to treat acne may be of topical (gels, creams, lotions) or tablet form; they aim to unplug pores, reduce the number of comedones, reduce inflammation and prevent discoloration and scarring. Topical solutions may contain salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, retinoid, azelaic acid, glycolic acid or a topical antibiotic. In severe forms of acne, oral medication may be used, these may include, antibiotics, isotretinoin and even oral contraceptive pills. (You can find benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or retinol in topical acne products that you can buy without a prescription). Dermatologists may offer other treatments for acne, these include: Light microdermabrasion, chemical peels and Light diathermy. Larger nodules and cysts may be injected with steroids to reduce the inflammation.
It is important to wash at least twice a day with an appropriate cleanser in order to stop redness, heal the skin and reduce oil production. You should wash once at mornings and then at evenings before bed. Use lukewarm water, as very hot or cold water can make acne worse. Apply the cleanser gently with your fingertips, and use only your fingertips to wash and rinse your face. Gently pat your skin dry with a clean towel.
Your cleanser should be free of abrasives, detergents and alcohol, and the label should say that it won't clog pores or is "non-comedogenic”. If you have oily skin, look for a cleanser with “high rinsability”, one option is Cetaphil Oil Control Foam Wash. If you have combination, dry, sensitive or irritated skin, look for a “gentle oil-free plus moisturizing” liquid cleanser. Examples include: Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser and Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser.
Exercise and Diet
Sweat can worsen your acne; you should wash your face whenever you are sweaty. Try showering as soon as possible after exercising. Also, avoid foods that you notice tend to make your acne worse.
If acne only appears around your forehead and temples, (pomade acne) your hair products may be the cause. Switch your hair care products, using those that contain water or glycerin instead of oil. Apply hair oil at the ends of your hair (and avoid putting oil at the edges of your scalp).
Wash your hair often, as well as your hats and pillowcases to prevent build up of sweat, dirt and oil, which may worsen acne. Also, avoid letting your hair fall across your face, as this could also lead to breakouts.
It is best to apply your acne treatment after your skin has completely dried following cleansing. If treatments are applied to moist skin they are more likely to cause irritation. Apply your acne treatment to the entire skin region where you normally develop pimples. A small pea-sized amount is usually all you need to treat the entire face.
Acne treatments need time to work; give an acne treatment at least 4 weeks to work. Using a new acne product every few days can worsen acne. If a treatment works for you, you should notice some improvement in 4 to 6 weeks. It can take up to 2 to 3 months or longer to see significant clearing.
It is critical to shave beards carefully to in order not to worsen acne. Apply a shaving cream/ gel made for sensitive skin and apply light pressure as you shave. Use double or triple razor blades and shave around the pimples, instead of shaving through them.
Avoid using too much make-up and cosmetics, and make sure to completely remove your make-up before going to bed. This will prevent breakouts. Also, do not use heavy, oily makeups to cover dark marks and blemishes. Mineral makeup is much lighter and can do a great job of hiding dark spots. Choose water based make-up products that are described as non-comedogenic.
There are several natural remedies that can be used to treat acne. Some persons have reported significant improvement after daily use of 5% Tea Tree oil (gel), however, it may take a few months to show any results compared to other acne treatments. 20% Azelaic acid used twice daily may also result in improvement. 2% green tea extract solution may be useful for treating mild acne as well. As with other acne treatments, these may have side effects such as skin irritation, redness and dryness.
When to see a Doctor
Acne can cause distress (low self-esteem, depression and anxiety). If your acne is making you feel very unhappy or it cannot be controlled with over-the-counter medication, see your doctor for further treatment.
Also if you develop nodules or cysts, see your doctor, because these need to be treated properly to avoid scarring. (Try to resist the temptation to pick or squeeze your pimples, as this can also lead to permanent scarring.)
I hope these tips on ACNE were very useful; Remember, YOUR HEALTH IS INVALUABLE!
By Dr. J. Lawarna Matthew
American Dermatology Association
https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne-and-rosacea/acne and https://www.acne.org.au/ for more information.