Category Archives: obstetrics and gynecology

Cola Coloring Increases the Beverage’s Cancer Risk Factor

carcinogen in colaThe process of caramel coloring in soft drinks particularly the cola produces a carcinogen that is claimed to increase the risk of cancer to above the accepted threshold. According to studies, there is at least one extra cancer case in every 100,000 people that are consuming the beverage.

Consumer Reports conducted various laboratory tests on different types of soft drinks that Americans consume and they found out that drinking one can of cola a day is enough to expose an individual to higher cancer risks. The chemical responsible for this risk is called 4-MEI which is short for methylimidazole.

This chemical is formed during the manufacture of the caramel coloring that is added to cola and many other drinks. This is not necessary but is added for the purpose of aesthetics.

A law has been implemented in California that all beverages must carry warning labels if they contain excessive amount of 4-MEI to warn consumers of the cancer risk. An exposure to at least 29 mcg of the carcinogen every day is enough to pose great danger for anyone.

It’s not just big amounts of sugar that people should be worried about when drinking a can of cola. Consumers are now exposed to unnecessary cancer risk from an ingredient that is mixed with the beverage just for aesthetics. This is a great threat to the public as people may be drinking their favorite cola unaware of the grave danger that it raises to their health.

Over half of the American population, ages range from 6 to 64, consumes enough amount of soda each day to be exposed to cancer. Consumer Reports even believe that the limit is still too high for the average consumer. Their most recent report even concluded that a rise in the cases of cancer in the country (between 76 and 5,000) is expected in the coming years because of this exposure.

If people continue to consume cola and other beverages that contain 4-MEI, it is predictable that they elevate themselves to a greater risk of cancer over the course of their lifetime. The government should take steps to protect the health of the public. California is just one of the few government bodies that has already took action by setting a threshold for prompting warnings on food and drinks that contain the carcinogen.

Keep Your Body and Mind Healthy by Walking

hippocampusAerobic exercise has always been known to be good for the heart. But recent studies show that it is also beneficial for the brain. If you take regular walks, it can help protect the center of your brain. However, the same researches have also found that stretching exercises can shrink the hippocampus – the center of the brain.

Moreover, regular walking such as three times every week can help increase the volume of the hippocampus. This is important especially for the elderly as it will improve their memory as proven by a control group of mid-60’s men and women who’ve been walking regularly for about a year.

On the contrary, a control group who’ve been taking stretching classes for a year showed a decline in the volume of the hippocampus. This was reported by Dr. Arthur Kramer and his colleagues of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

This research is very useful, especially for the older age group because it shows that there is a way to overcome memory loss. By doing simple exercises such as walking, the age-related decline of the hippocampal can be prevented. It can also improve your health and well-being.

The Hippocampus

Hippocampus is a major part of the brain and is located on each side, left and right. It belongs to the limbic system and plays an important part in the processing of information from short term to long term memory. Unfortunately, it is one of the parts of the brain which is first to suffer damage such as memory loss and disorientation. Some of the causes of these damages are oxygen starvation and medial temporal lobe epilepsy. When there is extensive damage, you may experience inability to retain or form new memories.

The volume of the hippocampus tends to drop as you grow older, at least 1 or 2 percent every year. This can lead to impaired memory or even dementia if not prevented. Aerobic walking at least 3 times a week can improve your fitness and memory. There is around 2 percent increase in the volume of the hippocampus if simple exercises are performed. If you cannot walk around your village, you may walk on a treadmill and enjoy the same benefits too.

The study conducted by Dr. Kramer and his team showed that their control group showed better memory performance compared to individuals who did not participate in the walking exercise. Aerobic exercises is neuroprotective and a regimen that enhances the cognition of an individual.

6 Tips to Have a Successful Surgery

successful surgeryAlmost everyone is scared of the idea of undergoing surgery, especially a major one. What makes us really worry about surgical procedure? Why are we so hesitant about it? There could be many possible reasons and each of us has a different way of handling it.

Here are 6 helpful tips to ensure that we have a successful surgery and fast recovery. Preparing ourselves on what we can expect and seeking proper post-surgical care are big help to make the entire ‘stressful’ process bearable for us.

 

Understand Your Options

It’s quite understandable that some of us may have violent reactions and mixed emotions when told that we’ll need to undergo surgical procedure. But what we have to remember is that we must focus and think about our options. We have to carefully discuss with our doctor if we have a choice of alternative or if we have a number of surgical procedures to choose from. We must make it a point to schedule more than one consultation with our attending physician.

Select an Experienced Surgical Team

We should seek the help of our doctor to choose an experienced surgical team and facility that specializes in our particular condition. We should also ensure that we schedule our operation in a facility that has a high volume of surgical procedure of what we are having because this is one proof that they are trusted in the area.

Follow Pre-Surgery Prep Instructions

For a more successful surgical procedure result, let us always follow our doctor’s advice and take good care of ourselves before the ‘big’ day. Our bodies undergo great stress because of surgery so we need to be physically strong to handle that blow. We should always get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet and avoid bad vices like smoking.

Be Aware of Possible Complications

Having a positive mind is always helpful for our fast recovery. However, there are times when complications happen and we have to be ready for them. As good patients, we always have to be well-informed.

Get Proper Follow-Up Care

The real work begins after surgery – we have to recover from it! We should always get a better understanding of the follow-up care that we need after the operation. The process may require us, our family and caregivers to learn new skills and we should encourage everyone to help us to avoid experiencing any serious complications.

Our Road to the New Us

Let us not be afraid to ask our doctor everything we need to know after our operation. Our family should have immediate contact with our doctor in case there is further information that we need. Most importantly, we need to get enough rest and sleep to regain our strength. Eating the recommended diet for our condition is also prime! Our road to recovery will be easier if follow our surgical team’s advice before and after the operation.

Dangerous Bacteria Lurking Outside the Hospitals

clostridium difficileMost people think that the outside world is a lot safer than being contained in the hospital – where different kinds of bacteria and virus are living due to varying illnesses suffered by patients. However, recent study has shown that dangerous bacteria called Clostridium difficile is also present outside the hospital. The said bacteria can cause serious infections that can lead to death and other serious conditions.

What is Clostridium Difficile?

This is a deadly diarrheal infection that can pose deathly threats to anyone who is affected. Ileana Arias, principal deputy director at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stated that the bacteria have caused many Americans to suffer and some even passed away. In fact, it has been linked to more than 14,000 deaths in the United States annually.

According to medical experts, people who are susceptible to the bacteria are those that often take antibiotics and also receive medical care from any health center. Generally, the illnesses caused by Clostridium difficile are treatable and can be prevented from getting serious if proper treatment is just seeked.

Most of the time, the bacteria’s rapid growth in a patient’s system is due to excessive use of antibiotics. People who lead unhealthy lives and diet are at higher risk of acquiring the bacteria.

Affected People

Based on the report, 50% of the patients who have Clostridium Difficile are under the age 65. But those who usually die are the ones in the older age group. Moreover, the other 50% of the patients were infected due to improper care from hospitals and other health care centers. These cases could have been prevented if only health care workers would follow simple infection control precautions.

For one, doctors can prescribe lesser antibiotics and wash their hands often especially before and after dealing with infected patients. Simple measures like these, when followed, can reduce the infections caused by Clostridium difficile by 20% as proven by hospitals in Illinois, New York and Massachusetts.

Why Does Too Much Antibiotics Trigger the Bacteria?

The study shows that too much antibiotic intake can diminish the body’s ‘good’ bacteria for several months. When the ‘good’ bacteria is absent in the body, this is when Clostridium difficile grow and make patients sick.

Symptoms of infection include diarrhea, fever, nausea and loss of appetite. Diarrhea can often lead to dehydration which can turn into a deadly infection. The medical experts highly recommend that proper treatment and tests should be conducted to a patient taking antibiotics who suffer from diarrhea thereafter.

How to Take Extra Care of Your Vagina

healthy vaginaYour vagina is one of the most sensitive parts of your body. It deserves all the tender, loving care that you can give it every day. It does a lot of good things for you – like childbirth, and keeping it clean is just one way for you to return such favors. The following are helpful tips to keep your vagina in a happy, healthy state.

Buy Comfortable Underwear

Even though your lady part will appreciate wearing sexy lingerie, they also need the comfort that granny panties offer every once in a while. Your vagina has its own way of enjoying every type of underwear that you have in your drawer – so be sure to always have a variety!

Don’t Wear Any Underwear to Sleep

Sometimes, it’s good to let your lady part breathe freely without wearing any underwear to sleep. You can even ditch wearing one as you about your daily activities! However, try to avoid doing so if you’re planning to put on some jeans.

Spoil Your Lady Part by Eating Healthy Foods

Eating a healthy diet can also do a big thing for your vagina. Keep in stock fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and Greek yogurt for optimum vaginal health. Good food will also keep it smelling fresh and clean.

Don’t be Afraid to Check Yourself Out

It is a fact that many women are hesitant to grab a mirror and check their vaginas closely. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but keep in mind that it is important to keep a close watch to your private part. Being familiar with the way it looks will help you recognize unlikely changes and prevent potential problems from happening down there.

 Always Shower After Workout

Never skip your post-sweat shower session as doing so may lead to serious yeast infections. You may find yourself caught up in more itchy situations that you can handle and you wouldn’t like that.

Do Kegels!

Kegels will help make your vaginal walls and tissues stronger. Doing this regularly will serve as an additional protection for your lady part to incur serious problems in the long run.

Wear Padded Bike Shorts

If you are fond of cycling, especially long miles, make sure to wear padded bike shorts to protect your vagina and to avoid suffering from any cycling-induced spasms and pains.

All You Need to Know About Transvaginal Mesh

transvaginal meshWhat is It and Its Purpose

It’s a net-like implant that helps treat pelvic organ prolapse – a condition that involves the descent of your bladder, uterus or rectum from your vagina. Sounds horrifying, right? It can happen to any woman regardless of the age and body type. Its risk factors range from genetics to vaginal delivery. This situation should not be taken lightly as it can make going about your normal daily routine impossible.

The main purpose of the transvaginal mesh is to protect the native tissue of your vagina. The tissue may already have been stretched out and is not strong in the first place. Using the mesh is highly suggested by doctors to provide better suspension or support for the tissues.

The Reason Behind the Numerous Commercials

 Transvaginal mesh has indeed made its own name in the industry as fast as wildfire. Many patients who have had the device implanted have experienced varying complications and injuries. They are looking for law firms to represent them in their complaints these days. It turns out, the device was not properly tested for long term treatment.

Prior to transvaginal mesh, doctors used a procedure that is referred to native tissue repair involving the use of absorbable sutures. Unfortunately, the medical procedure had a 30 percent failure rate which is why doctors looked for another way to correct incontinence and repair abdominal hernias.

The device was advertised to doctors as durable with high success rates and fast recovery outcomes. However, it was not tested for long-term use and no clinical data was present to support its claims. Some of the women who have had transvaginal mesh implanted in them experienced bleeding, pain and even erosion – this means that the mesh was moving around their vaginal wall and even through their organs.

What You Should Know

If you are still in your 20s or 30s, then there is no need for you to have a transvaginal mesh implanted. Although there are women who have complaints about the device, some have had successful surgery outcomes too. Some hospitals have also ceased the use of the device yet some still continue to conduct transvaginal mesh-augmented repairs.

If worse comes to worst and you experience a prolapse, ask your doctor for a different option. Some doctors insert a pessary, which is a rubber-like piece that holds things up, instead of a mesh. A great way to prevent this from happening to you is to strengthen your vaginal muscles. Performing kegels on a regular basis is a good start. Keeping your weight healthy through proper diet and exercise is also a good help.

Visiting Your Doctor is Important

regular check up with doctorRegular visits to your doctor are worth more than a pound of cure. It’s one efficient way to avoid incurring any illness that may harm your health and well-being. As a child, your parents made sure that you visit your doctor regularly to make sure everything is fine. However, as you grow up you may have set that habit aside.

This is one of the biggest mistakes that adults usually commit. If you visit your doctor on a regular basis, you can help them identify risk factors to your health and prevent these illnesses from getting worse. Logically, if diseases are detected at an early stage the treatments usually work really well. Keep in mind that a short trip to your doctor is one way to the roads of living a long, healthy life!

Prevention Check-up

Your regular check-up with your doctor will depend on several factors like age, sex and family medical history. Your visit may include but is not limited to the following:

  • Tests to check your overall health – eyes, blood, urine, etc.
  • Blood pressure, cholesterol level and weight may be assessed
  • Diet and lifestyle will be discussed
  • Booster shots & immunizations
  • Screenings to check your possibility of having or developing serious medical conditions
  • Depending on age, tests for HIV and other sexually transmitted disease may be conducted
  • Evaluation of mental health

Concerns for Men

Men are usually checked for their weight, blood pressure and other basic assessments. For men who are 50 years and below who have a family history, a rectal test for abnormal bumps in the prostrate will be conducted. A specific blood test may also take place to determine if you have prostate cancer. For men who are between the ages of 65 and 75 who are and were smokers, you will undergo an abdominal check-up to make sure that you do not have an enlargement in your aorta. The weakening of the lining in your aorta can lead to life threatening diseases if not properly treated.

Concerns for Women

Just like men, women are checked for their weight, blood pressure and other basic assessments. Their specific check-ups include a test for cervical cancer every one to three years. They are also tested for breast cancer for any unusual lumps that they may feel in your breast. From the age of 40 and younger, a breast cancer screening with mammogram is highly recommended. This should be done every one to two years to ensure that you are safe. At the age of 65, your doctor may advise you to undergo bone density test to check if you have osteoporosis. This condition involves brittle and fragile bones that typically happen to older women. However, it may also occur in women that belong to younger age groups.

The Relationship between Oral Contraceptives and Brain Cancer

oral contraceptionWhen a woman reads something about oral contraception and the big ‘C’, she gets alarmed and maybe even frightened. Truth is, when it comes to these two things the news is fairly relieving. First of all, proper intake of the pill can protect you from the risk of ovarian and uterine cancer. However, recent researches show that it can increase your risk of developing breast cancer whilst other studies say it’s a hoax. Now, you are confused and you start to ask which is really which?

To further your anxiety, recent news has been showing that birth control pills are linked to brain cancer. This leaves you, and plenty other women, panicky! The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology has conducted a study on the incidence of brain cancer called glioma among a group of young women in Denmark. They were eager to find out if the hormones in the pill had a direct effect on glioma and they poured through all the resources that they can find. They looked into the cases of all Danish women from ages 15 to 49 who were diagnosed with glioma and checked if they were taking birth control pills.

They made a record of which type of birth control pills the women were taking and for how long they were taking it. They also compared them to a group of women of the same age range who do not have glioma. The final results show that women who took the pill have 50 percent higher risk of incurring glioma as compared to those who do not. Moreover, the risk is even higher for those who are taking progestin-only pills for a minimum period of 5 years.

Progestin-only Pills Cause Glioma

The people who conducted the research do not guarantee that the progestin-only kind is the responsible factor in the link. To be clear, the study only showed correlation and not causation. What’s clear is that the risk is higher in women who are pill takers. Glioma is a very rare health condition, there are about 5 women who develop it out of a 100,000. In a nut shell, the study does not suggest that you get rid of your pill pack just because of its results. There is no direct relation between the pill’s hormones and glioma risk. Generally, the benefits of hormonal contraception still outweigh its risks. Consult your doctor for more information.

Simple Tips for Proper Grooming

personal hygiene

Time and again, we’ve been reminded by our parents that healthy personal habits can help us ward off illnesses and even improve our confidence. Our everyday personal hygiene routine can be as simple as washing our hands regularly and brushing our teeth at least twice daily.

These practices will help keep bacteria and viruses from giving us illnesses. Moreover, proper grooming also has mental and physical benefits. It boosts our self-esteem and generally makes us feel good about life.

Bathe Regularly

We should wash our hair and body on a regular basis. Cleaning our body and shampooing our hair will help maintain our overall well-being. Our body is constantly shedding skin and we need to scrub that off because it can cause serious diseases.

Cut Your Nails

We should trim our fingernails and toenails regularly to avoid hang nails and infected nail beds. Also, if our feet are always dirty and damp it is more likely for us to develop athlete’s foot.

Floss and Brush

It is highly suggested that we brush our teeth every after eating. If that’s not possible, then we should at least brush our teeth twice every day. Brushing our teeth helps minimize bacteria buildup in our mouth which can lead to tooth decay and various gum diseases. Some gum problems may also lead to serious valve problems which cause our teeth to loosen or break easily. When this happens, we would have difficulty in eating and we won’t have a healthy smile. We should make it a habit to visit our dentist regularly.

Always Wash Your Hands

Let’s all make it a habit to wash our hands before preparing or eating food. Also when after we use the bathroom, after we sneeze or throwing out the garbage. Washing our hands regularly can help prevent spreading the bacteria and viruses. Let’s also make it a habit to keep an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with us for instant hand-washing when water and soap are not available.

Get a Goodnight’s Rest

We should always get plenty of rest every night. We need at least 8 hours of good sleep so that we are refreshed when we wake up in the morning. If we lack sleep, we also slack off during the day. We tend to neglect our chores or have poor performance at work. Let us not leave our bodies feeling run down as this can weaken our immune system.

Reasons Why Women Miss Out Their Monthly Periods

missing out on a woman's monthly periodPeople almost always associate the miss of a monthly period to pregnancy. However, that is not always the case. There are other factors that may be to blame when your period goes M.I.A. Here is a short list of the other reasons you should know about.

Major Weight Loss or Excessive Exercise

If your BMI goes below 18 or 19, you may start to experience irregularity in your monthly period. However, this is not limited to your BMI as other factors may be anorexia and bulimia. Excessive physical activities like training for a marathon may also cause you to miss your period. Nature has its own way of protecting a woman from getting pregnant if you are undergoing an extreme change or exercise. What happens is that your body lacks estrogen, there’s the absence of the big uterine lining and you will not have your period.

Stress

If you undergo extreme stress in your life, it can lead to hypothalamic amenorrhea. The hypothalamus is the area of your brain where the hormones for your period are regulated. When this area is affected by great stress such as death in the family, huge breakup or big move, your monthly period can stop.

Irregularity in Your Thyroid

The neck is where your thyroid gland is located and it is responsible for regulating your metabolism. It also works with other parts of your body to keep everything running the way they should. If you have a thyroid imbalance then that can be a reason why you have complications with your monthly period.

Polycystic Ovary Symptom

This is a type of hormone imbalance that results to a lack in ovulation. It alters your levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. PCOS has been a common condition among women for a few years now and the degrees vary. It is also a major cause for a woman to miss out on her menstruation and suffer from fertility issues. But you don’t have to worry as your doctor can help you come up with a treatment plan.

Premature Menopause

This usually happens to women under 40 who have their hormones misfiring in a significant way. This experience can lead to premature menopause which is also referred to as premature ovarian failure. Some signs of this condition are missed periods, vaginal dryness, hot flashes and excessive sweating. However, the possibility of this is very rare and it’s nothing to worry about.