The vagina is a tube-like muscular structure of the female genital tract that extends from the cervix to the vulva. It is a delicate organ which is prone to injuries and infections. Complications related to urination, menstruation and sexual intercourse- all affect the vaginal health. Here are five questions associated with vaginal problems that are commonly experienced but rarely discussed:
1. Why does it feel itchy before menstruation?
The hormonal cycle reduces the amount of estrogen secreted right before the period starts. This reduces the moisture content of the inner membranes of the vagina; the skin becomes thinner and slightly dry. This can cause itching. However, if the itching and burning sensation are too severe, it could be an infection and should be checked out.
2. What is the white discharge?
The greasy white discharge is due to the ovulation cycle. It usually occurs once a month because the amount of secretion increases right before ovulation. Some women may experience this discharge more frequently but it is nothing to worry about unless there is an unpleasant odor. Odorous discharge could be a sign of bacterial infection.
3. How often should you have a vaginal examination?
You should get a vaginal examination at least once a year. This is important for a general health assessment and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. If you are using birth control medication, there might be an irregularity in the hormonal cycles and this can lead to a number of conditions- another reason to get an annual vaginal examination.
4. Does it smell differently at different times?
It usually smells differently for every woman and even that unique smell changes with the cycles of ovulation and menstruation due to changes in the pH level of the vagina. The normal vaginal pH value is between 3.8 and 4.6. Before menstruation, it may smell acidic followed by a bitter smell for a few days after menstruation. It may also smell differently after a workout (due to sweat) or after sex (due to lubrication). However, a foul smell accompanied by discharge might be a cause for concern.
5. Why does it feel dry sometimes?
Vaginal dryness is normally experienced by women after the age of 45 or after pregnancy. However, dryness is also common just before menstruation. It also happens in women who use anti-allergy medications or birth control pills because they cause dryness in all the mucous membranes of the body.
Wounds and bruises are both injuries. However, they differ widely in terms of the causing factors, the nature of the injury, the pain they cause and the kind of treatment they require.
The following are a few of the myriad ways in which the two injuries differ from each other:
1. A wound causes quick damage - the skin tissue is cut or punctured while a bruise (also called a closed wound) is where the skin is not torn.
2. A wound is usually caused by a sharp object but bruises are the results of blunt force or trauma.
3. A wound almost certainly bleeds due to ruptured tissue and blood vessels. Blunt injury also damages the blood capillaries of the skin and causes blood to accumulate under the skin tissue, creating a dark patch of skin. Blood vessels can also break due to lifting of heavy objects or overexertion of muscles.
4. A wound carries the risk of infection because the skin is open but a bruise does not get infected.
5. A wound has a burning or stinging sensation but a bruise is characterized by swelling and a blunt throbbing pain.
6. A wound can be healed by antiseptic and antibiotic medication. Large wounds need to be closed by stitching them up to avoid severe infection. On the other hand, a bruise usually heals by itself. A cold compress and pain killers may be used to ease discomfort. Heat can be applied to the injured spot to normalize the blood flow and dissolve the blood clot.
7. A wound can lead to complications like bacterial infections or the healing might be delayed by chronic diseases like diabetes. In case of a bruise, it usually does not cause complications but if there's a blunt injury to sensitive areas like the head, the tailbone or the eyes, medical attention is advised.
8. Wounds and bruises can also be differentiated on the basis of their subtypes. The different types of wounds are:
a. Incision (sharp objects cutting the dermis layer of skin)
b. Abrasion (the epithelial tissue is scraped off)
c. Avulsion (a body structure is torn off)
d. Penetration (a sharp object causes an entry and an exit wound)
e. Puncture (only an entry wound caused by a sharp object)
The different types of bruises are:
a. Hematoma (blood pools under the skin)
b. Purpura(tiny spots of blood on the inside of the mouth)
c. Contusion (similar to hematoma and caused by external trauma)
d. Crush injury (caused due to a large amount of force on the body part for a long time)
Pilonidal Sinus is the small channel in your skin near the tailbone that may sometimes be filled with pus or fluid. This accumulated pus leads to the formation of abscess or cyst. Pilonidal cysts occur near the coccyx or tailbone, right at the top of the buttock crease. Pilonidal sinus consists of dirt, hair and debris that penetrates your skin, becomes embedded and thereby causes infection. Once the cyst gets infected, you may see blood or pus oozing out of the channel, which causes severe pain.
Pilonidal sinus usually affects men and young adults (after puberty). This type of skin disease is mostly observed in people who sit for a prolonged period, such as desk-job workers, truck drivers etc.
What are the causes and symptoms?
Doctors suggest pilonidal sinus or cysts is caused due to factors such as - hormonal changes during puberty, friction resulting from wearing tight clothes, prolonged sitting, hair growth etc. The hair growing in the region is forced to burrow back beneath your skin. In certain cases, the patient may develop multiple sinuses which connect under the skin.
The signs and symptoms of pilonidal sinus include-
• Pain when standing or sitting for long
• Swelling of the cyst
• Redness and soreness around the affected skin
• Formation of multiple holes (sinus tracts) in the skin
• Foul odor
• Blood or pus oozing out of the abscess
• Hair sticking out of the lesion
Pilonidal sinus can be embarrassing and painful if left untreated for long.
What is the treatment for this condition?
Pilonidal sinus usually goes away on its own, without medical intervention. However, if the cyst becomes infected, it may have to be operated or drained. The commonly used treatment procedures are-
• Conservative treatment - if the condition is diagnosed at an early stage, your doctor will prescribe a broad-spectrum antibiotic to treat a broad range of bacterial infection. This will relieve you from the pain and discomfort resulting from infection.
• Lancing - this procedure involves using a scalpel to open the abscess. Your doctor will give you an anaesthetic prior to the operation. The channel is then cleaned properly to drain out blood, pus or hair. The wound is packed with a sterile dressing and left to heal. It usually takes about a month for the wound to heal, after which no further treatment is required.
• Phenol injections - for this procedure, first and foremost, your doctor will give you anaesthetic so that you don’t feel any pain. A chemical compound known as Phenol is injected into the cyst. Phenol acts as an antiseptic and is used to harden and eventually close the lesion. This procedure needs to be repeated multiple times to achieve the desired result.
• Surgery - if the pilonidal sinus tends to recur, or if you develop multiple sinus tracts, the most preferred choice of treatment is surgery. The surgeon will open the lesion, remove the debris and pus, and then suture the wound. You will be given an anaesthetic prior to the surgery, and once the treatment is done, you will need to change the dressing more often.
If you suffer from pilonidal sinus, you will also need to maintain good hygiene. Make sure you clean and wash the area with a mild soap, and rinse properly. If your job requires you to sit for a prolonged period, take a break in between your work. Avoid wearing skin tight clothes. Adopting these measures will help prevent the occurrence of pilonidal sinus.
The prostate gland is a male reproductive organ at the base of the urinary bladder and urethra is a thin tube that carries urine out of the penis. It runs through the prostate gland. A fluid produced by this gland helps to carry sperms produced by the testes outside during intercourse.
Cause of urinary problems in men:
Men experience urinary symptoms either due to inflammation of the prostate gland or prostatitis or symptoms may be the result of a blockage of the passage due to enlargement of the prostate gland.
Symptoms of urinary problems:
Urinary symptoms commonly experienced with prostate problems include;
A number of other procedures that have been developed to reduce urinary symptoms.
Medication for urinary problems:
Various medications to help ease your urinary problems, including;
Folliculitis is an ordinary dermatological condition which causes the hair follicles of the skin to be inflamed. This condition, which occurs due to both bacterial and fungal infection, causes small red or white pimples to form around the hair follicles. The infection, if left untreated, can spread and turn into rough, coarse sores which may take a long time to heal.
In some cases, folliculitis can be also caused by viruses and fungi which had perhaps penetrated the ingrown hairs causing subsequent inflammation. This condition is categorized and diagnosed as a superficial or deep infection depending on the amount of hair follicles involved.
- Friction caused by shaving or tight - fitting clothes
- Heat and sweat, due to prolonged exposure to the sun
- Tightly wrapped bandages or dressings on the skin
- Clusters of tiny red or white bumps in and around the hair follicles
- Reddened and inflamed skin
- Itchy skin and rashes
- Pus-filled blisters that may crust and later break
- Swellings on the skin
Anyone, whether young or old, may develop folliculitis. But, there are certain factors that increases the risks of the condition. The following are some of them:
- Conditions like HIV or AIDS that reduces the immunity in your body
- Being obese
- Medications and ointments with side effects
- Improper shaving
Many a times, people ignore this condition, presuming that it will heal with time. But if left untreated, complications such as large itchy patches of skin, increased swelling and heightened inflammation of the hair follicles may occur. If the condition persists for too long, it is advisable that you consult a doctor.
Bacterial Vaginosis is a vaginal disorder, which is caused due to a bacterial infection, and is characterized by abnormal vaginal discharges and foul vaginal odor. This is a mild disorder, which persists for only a few days and it happens when the bad vaginal bacteria outnumber the good vaginal bacteria.
The common risk factors of Bacterial Vaginosis are:
‘Hives’, also known as urticaria, is the outbreak of pale red, swollen bumps on the body. It can occur on any part of the body including the face, back, arms or legs. It is a type of hypersensitivity reaction in which the cause for the reaction is idiopathic (unknown). Also, it can come in various shapes and sizes. Hives can be associated with redness, itching, and a burning and stinging sensation. These can last for more than a minute or even more than that; up to days.
What causes hives?
Most of the times, hives are idiopathic, i.e. the reason that causes this type of hypersensitivity reaction is unknown. The bumps are caused by the action of histamine that makes the plasma in the blood leak out of the small blood vessels. Histamine is a substance that is released from a specialized cell and is what causes allergic responses in general. There are three types of hives- namely, acute, chronic urticaria and physical urticaria. Acute urticaria is when the hives last for less than six weeks. Chronic urticaria occurs when the hives last for more than six weeks.
Physical urticaria refers to the condition when the hives are triggered due to causes such as heat, cold, sun exposure, sweating, pressure and exercise. Although, this condition is mainly idiopathic, there are common causes that may trigger this condition such as:
What are the symptoms of hives?
Hives are usually self-diagnosable. The various symptoms of urticaria are:
Ever been in a situation where a medicine you used to take regularly to deal with something, has suddenly stopped being effective? This is because of antibiotic resistance. This refers to the ability of bacteria to change their structure so as to resist the antibiotic. Thus, an illness that was once easily treatable is no longer affected by the same medicines and the bacteria causing the infection multiplies, thus worsening the condition.
How do bacteria develop antibiotic resistance?
When you take a drug, not all the bacteria present is affected equally. While some bacteria die out, others turn dormant. Repeated and improper use of antibiotics can lead multiplication of the dormant bacteria, which results in spreading of disease, instead of containing the same. One of the main causes of this is using strong antibiotics to treat minor viral illnesses.
What can you do to fight antibiotic resistance?
Like many systems within the human body, the reproductive system is also a self maintaining one and performs many complex functions on its own. The female reproductive system is one such system and within it, the vagina is an especially good example. It is a self contained system wherein, the balance of the vaginal bacteria is maintained for proper health.
Douching is a process that involves the cleaning out or washing of an internal cavity of a body, such as the anus or the vagina with the help of water and special nozzles. Vaginal douching has become prevalent among women, mostly due to aggressive marketing campaigns which claim that it helps to keep the vagina clean. It is estimated that in developed nations, one in four women perform douching regularly.
Is it any good?
Vaginal douching has been reviled by most medical professionals around the world. The consensus is that not only does vaginal douching have no benefits; it may also be harmful for your vagina in general. The vagina is an ecosystem wherein multiple types of organisms thrive, including bacteria and fungi. These organisms keep each other in check and maintain the health of the organ. These organisms help maintain the pH Levels (the alkaline to acidic radio) within the vagina. Douching may actually disrupt the balance and cause harm by destroying one type of micro-organisms and letting the other proliferate, thus causing infections and other problems.
Problems caused by vaginal douching
Douches, especially the ones found in the market, contain elements such as iodine, baking soda, vinegar and other chemicals that can make the delicate vaginal balance go haywire. Some of the disorders that can be caused by it are mentioned as follows:
UTI, as urinary tract infections are often referred to, is one of the most common infections. In women, especially, every 1 in 2 women is affected by a UTI. The urinary tract starts from the kidneys to the urethra where urine is passed out. Given the rich concentration of minerals and toxic wastes, it is highly prone to multiple infections. Whichever part of the tract is affected, the symptoms and treatment are mostly the same.
Read on to know some of the most common symptoms and treatment options for these.
Most urinary tract infections are bacterial in nature, and these could find their way into the body in multiple ways. The most common is through the urethra, which could happen due to unclean toilet habits.
Women especially are advised to wipe the urethra after each toilet visit. The bacteria from the feces can also enter the urethra due to close proximity. Use of unclean public toilets is another reason for UTIs
UTIs are very common infections and though there is nothing to worry, it should be cleared completely.
Follow up is needed with the Physician or the Nephrologist while having medication or there are chances of recurrent UTI. The treatment for recurrent UTI can go for more than 3-8 weeks.
Recurrent UTIs is a common problem, and the following can help prevent.