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Chlamydia is a STD, caused due to intercourse, or even sexual contact. This is often accompanied by vaginal discharge or genital pain. Chlamydia can affect both the sexes to any age group, though young sexually active women are mostly diagnosed with it. If left untreated, this STD can cause further complications, some of them, fatal.
Symptoms of Chlamydia in women
1. Abnormal odorous vaginal discharge
2. Bleeding resulting from intercourse or even between periods
3. Pain during menstruation or sexual intercourse
4. Soreness in the lower abdomen
5. A burning sensation or itching around the vagina
6. Painful urination
7. Green or yellow vaginal discharge
Infection can extend to the fallopian tubes, leading to a disease called Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). PID can bear symptoms such as nausea, severe pain in the pelvic region, fever and unusual bleeding during one’s periods. There are also high chances of contracting the chlamydia infection in the anus, the indications being pain, bleeding and discharge from the anus. Oral sex with a person diagnosed with this condition can also result in you contracting this infection in the throat, resulting in soreness, fever and cough.
Causes of Chlamydia in women
1. Chlamydia, being a sexually transmitted infection, primarily spreads through unprotected sex. However, sexual intercourse need not always be the reason behind this disorder. Sexual contact or even indulging in oral sex without using protection (in the form of dental dams) can result in this disease.
2. Newborn infants are also prone to acquiring this infection that is passed on to them by their mothers during birth. Therefore, pre-natal checkups are a must for detection.
3. Rarely, one can contract the infection in the eyes as well, through any form of oral or genital contact.
Infertility is a bigger issue than it was a couple of decades ago, and it is only going to get worse. The decreasing sperm count and quality are the main contributors for infertility. This has happened due to the changing lifestyle with lack of physical activity, increased stress, relationship issues, a greater amount of pollutants, and digital exposure. These are some of the common issues, and each couple presents a unique case.
Smoking: Nicotine harms the body in multiple ways and lowering sperm count is one of the significant ones. For most men going to infertility clinics, stopping smoking is one of the first prescribed remedies. It helps sex drive, boosts sperm count, improves performance, and leaves the couple happy.
Reduce Chemical Exposure: There are plastics all around us. These plastics contain BPA and phthalates which have been shown to reduce sperm count. Plastics have entered all areas of life in the last 40 to 50 years, and it is during the same time that sperm count has reduced by (hold your breath) 50%!!!
Reduce Plastic Use: Reduce plastic use in all forms – from sex toys to plastic food storage to water containers. Chemicals also need to be reduced in terms of eating foods where pesticides would be used. Another source of chemicals is the shampoos, soaps, deodorants, cosmetics, and other toiletries. Try organic products as much as possible. These have an adverse effect on the sperm count.
Water: Avoid chlorine exposure – be it in tap water, bleach or other products. Hydrogen peroxide is a safer option.
Diet: Reduce caffeine intake. Avoid grilled foods. Increase fresh fruits and vegetable intake. Eat whole grains. Avoid canned and packaged foods. Avoid processed and half-cooked foods. Reduce refined carbohydrates. If required, talk to a doctor and get vitamin C and zinc supplements. These are essential for the formation of testosterone hormone and can play a role in improving sperm count.
Exercise: A regular exercise of about 30 minutes daily is highly beneficial in improving overall circulation and increasing sperm count. A word of caution, though – over-exercise can lead to reduced sperm counts and infertility in males.
Stress Management: Another major reason for infertility, reduced sex drive, reduced sperm count, and poor sexual performance is stress. Be it exercise or music, meditation or cooking, identify what works to keep you calm and do it.
Check your Medical Kit: There could be some medicines which may be helping you curing one disease but could be leading to infertility. Talk to your doctor and if there is a culprit, switch to a safer drug.
Breast cancer begins when cells in the breast(s) start to grow out of control. It is understood as being the most common cancer, seen predominantly in females, globally. It is reasonably treatable and often curable.
1. Type: Adenocarcinomas constitute more than 95% of breast cancers with infiltrating ductal carcinoma (IDC) being the most common form of invasive breast cancer.
Frequently occurring breast cancers present as one of the following types mainly
- Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS): Is the most common type of non-invasive breast cancer and is confined to the milk ducts of the breast. There is no invasion in the basement membrane. Pure DCIS metastasizes rarely. Non comedo cribrioform carcinoma is the most common DCIS found which, when compared to the comedo type, is mostly non-aggressive.
- Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma (IDC): Represents majority (about 3/4th) of the breast cancers, and is known to metastasize commonly to bones, lungs and liver.
- Lobular Carcinoma In Situ (LCIS): Develops in multiple lobules of the breast (bilaterally). LCIS is less commonly seen, compared to DCIS.
- Infiltrating Lobular Carcinoma (ILC): Represent about a tenth of all breast cancers and tends to metastasize to other regions of the body.
Less commonly occurring breast cancers such as
- Inflammatory Breast Cancer: Is relatively uncommon and are caused probably owing to viral infections. The breast is warm, red and swollen.
- Paget’s disease of the nipple: Is a rare form of breast cancer. It begins in the milk ducts and spreads to the nipple and areola.
- Medullary Carcinoma
- Mutinous Carcinoma
- Tubular Carcinoma
- Phylloides tumor etc all.
2. Gender: Affects the female populace predominantly. However, a small percentage of breast cancer is attributable to the male populace as well.
3. Etiology: No definite cause is known. However, diet, lifestyle, environment, hormonal/ reproductive factors, personal or family history of breast cancer especially in first degree relatives and also any benign breast disease history etc all are known to increase the risk of breast cancers. Specifically, excessive fatty diet, obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, benign breast disease, heredity/ inheritance of mutated breast cancer genes 1 (BRCA1) and 2 (BRCA2), smoking, alcohol intake, infertility, estrogen therapy/ hormone replacement therapy (long term) in post menopausal women, delayed age at first pregnancy, nulliparity (not having child), early menstruation, delayed onset of menopause, lactating mothers not breast feeding, exposure to ionizing radiation, sedentary lifestyle, depression, exposure to MMTV virus etc all can potentially increase the risk for breast cancer.
4. Features: Signs & symptoms, of breast cancer, manifest majorly in the following ways
- Lump/ nodule in the breast that gets attached to the skin of the breast over time. The lump / nodule could be hard and painless with irregular edges or it could also be soft, rounded, tender and painful.
- Enlarged lymph nodes in the axilla which are palpable.
- Swelling of whole or a part of a breast. This is even if there is no distinct lump felt.
- Retraction or thickening of the nipple(s).
- Pain in the breast or nipple.
- Discharge from nipple other than breast milk.
- Irritation/ scaliness of skin over the breast.
- Redness of nipples
- Rarely, red, swollen and tender breast.
5. Screening: Is generally recommended for asymptomatic populations goal of which, as usual, is to be able to detect & diagnose breast cancer at an early stage which is potentially curable. It is mostly radiologic with mammography/ USG being instrumental in raising suspicions for further diagnostics (i.e. biopsy) that help detect breast cancer, if any, early.
6. Diagnosis: A self-examination/ clinical exam of the breast(s)/ axilla that reveals a palpable mass prompts the following diagnostics. Abnormal blood test results may be indicative of malignancy, but a follow up imaging/ biopsy is always the gold standard for accurate diagnosis.
- Blood: ER/ PR/ HER2/neu, uPA, PAI-1, CA15-3, CA27.29 etc all tumor markers are helpful.
- Imaging: Mammography/ USG Scan usually, as relevant. Again, CT Scan of abdomen & pelvis and chest, PET CT scan, bone scan etc all help detect metastasis, if any, for cancers in stage III & above.
- Biopsy: either excisional, incisional, fine needle aspiration (FNA) or core biopsy technique, as contextually appropriate, is frequently employed and a histopathological examination (HPE) thereof clinches the diagnosis and the nature of the disease.
7. Treatment: Conventional treatment includes surgery, radiotherapy, hormone therapy/ chemotherapy as deems appropriate. Simultaneously, an adjunctive or integrative naturopathic treatment with suitable complementary & alternative medicines (CAM) too can help improve clinical outcomes and facilitate recovery as would be feasible contextually.
8. Prognosis: Preventive measures, earlier diagnosis and right early treatment is key for an effective therapeutic management & better prognosis. Like most other cancers, the chances of cure for an early stage breast cancer are more. The cure/ recovery chances are influenced by the type, grade, stage of cancer, recurrence and the patient’s general health & vitality etc all. Above-mentioned apart, age, menopause status, lymph node status, ER/ PR/ HER-2/ neu status, size & extent of breast cancer etc all also influence the treatment outlook in breast cancer. The five year survival rate is strongly correlated with the stage of breast cancer.
9. Prevention: Rightly said, prevention is always a better choice. Although genetic risks are difficult to modify, still an increased focus on protective factors and avoidance of the risk factors can be of help. An adherence to a Mediterranean diet, maintaining an ideal body weight and an active lifestyle with due emphasis on regular exercising (for at least 30 minutes daily), de-stressing and relaxation is highly recommended for reducing the risks of breast cancer. A healthy eating plate comprises essentially a low fat diet, fibre rich foods including whole grain cereals, green leafy vegetables cooked using healthy vegetable oils, fresh fruits of all colours as seasonally available and healthy proteins/ fats including fresh fish, poultry, beans, nuts etc all. It is advisable to limit milk/ dairy, preferably of low fat content, to 1 to 2 servings max daily. Although alcohol is optional and is not for everyone, the consumption of the same, if any, has to be strictly in moderation, and is best avoided. Smoking is to be avoided as well. Again, red meat, butter, refined grains, sweets, sugary drinks including carbonated beverages and other high calorie foods etc all, if any, are to be taken sparingly or are best avoided too. Limiting dosage/ duration of hormone therapy, if any, especially to counteract post menopausal symptoms and also avoiding exposure to radiation and environmental pollution can help reduce the risks of breast cancer. Apart from the above-mentioned, for high risk cases, a prophylactic oophorectomy, prophylactic radical mastectomy, long term hormone therapy etc all can help reduce the chances/ risks of developing breast cancer significantly. Breastfeeding is known to confer protection against breast cancer risk too.
For the benefit of couples suffering from infertility, modern medical science has introduced several innovative procedures. Some of the popular procedures are In-vitro Fertilization (IVF), Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI), Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT), Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), donor eggs and embryos and so on. In addition to these, there are several drugs and surgical procedures that help the couple in getting rid of infertility. Among all these procedures, IUI has gained popularity in the field of gynaecology and infertility treatment procedures. The IUI treatment is also popularly called as artificial insemination procedure. Although this is a popular procedure, it is appropriate that you should also understand its pros and cons.
IUI procedure in brief:
In simple terms, the IUI procedure involves placing the sperm inside the womb or uterus, which in turn would assist in fertilization of the egg. As a result of this procedure, the sperm reaches the fallopian tube, which enhances the chances or rate of egg fertilization.
Conditions precedent of IUI Procedure:
Before initiating the IUI procedure, the fast moving eggs are separated from the slow moving eggs. This separation is done in the laboratory. Further, in order to undergo IUI procedure, the women should be less than 40 years of age. On the other hand, apart from healthy fallopian tube, the women should also have higher ovarian reserves. Also, the sperm should have minimum mortality rate. However, IUI procedure is adopted only if the fallopian tube is healthy. IUI procedure is suggested in case the couple is having difficulty in vaginal intercourse, either because of psychosexual reasons or for reasons of physical disability.
The IUI procedure can be performed either with the husband's egg or with the donor’s egg. Some of the other important aspects of IUI procedure are briefly discussed here:
- The IUI procedure is a short duration procedure and it can be completed within a few minutes. This procedure does not cause any discomfort or pain. The procedure does not require any hospitalisation or administration of anesthesia. Further, the procedure also does not cause any side effects. In fact, compared to the IVF procedure, IUI is cost-effective.
- In order to enhance the level of success, the gynaecologist may suggest IUI procedure every month. In some cases, the gynaecologist may also prescribe a few medicines to simulate the ovulation procedure. Except this, IUI may not involve extensive medication.
You may undergo the IUI procedure under the supervision of sufficiently experienced gynaecologist. Further, you may also ensure the hospital is equipped with modern state of art machineries for carrying out the IUI procedure.