Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS may have infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods or excess male hormone (androgen) levels. The ovaries may develop numerous small collections of fluid (follicles) and fail to regularly release eggs.

The exact cause of PCOS is unknown. Early diagnosis and treatment along with weight loss may reduce the risk of long-term complications such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of PCOS often develop around the time of the first menstrual period during puberty. Sometimes PCOS develops later, for example, in response to substantial weight gain.

Signs and symptoms of PCOS vary. A diagnosis of PCOS is made when you experience at least two of these signs:

Irregular periods. Infrequent, irregular or prolonged menstrual cycles are the most common sign of PCOS. For example, you might have fewer than nine periods a year, more than 35 days between periods and abnormally heavy periods.Excess androgen. Elevated levels of male hormones may result in physical signs, such as excess facial and body hair (hirsutism), and occasionally severe acne and male-pattern baldness.Polycystic ovaries. Your ovaries might be enlarged and contain follicles that surround the eggs. As a result, the ovaries might fail to function regularly.

When to see a doctor

See your doctor if you have concerns about your menstrual periods, if you’re experiencing infertility or if you have signs of excess androgen such as worsening hirsutism, acne and male-pattern baldness.

Causes

The exact cause of PCOS isn’t known. Factors that might play a role include:

Excess insulin. Insulin is the hormone produced in the pancreas that allows cells to use sugar, your body’s primary energy supply. If your cells become resistant to the action of insulin, then your blood sugar levels can rise and your body might produce more insulin. Excess insulin might increase androgen production, causing difficulty with ovulation.Low-grade inflammation. This term is used to describe white blood cells’ production of substances to fight infection. Research has shown that women with PCOS have a type of low-grade inflammation that stimulates polycystic ovaries to produce androgens, which can lead to heart and blood vessel problems.Heredity. Research suggests that certain genes might be linked to PCOS.Excess androgen. The ovaries produce abnormally high levels of androgen, resulting in hirsutism and acne.

Treatment

PCOS treatment focuses on managing your individual concerns, such as infertility, hirsutism, acne or obesity. Specific treatment might involve lifestyle changes or medication.

Lifestyle changes

Your doctor may recommend weight loss through a low-calorie diet combined with moderate exercise activities. Even a modest reduction in your weight — for example, losing 5 percent of your body weight — might improve your condition. Losing weight may also increase the effectiveness of medications your doctor recommends for PCOS, and can help with infertility.

Medications

To regulate your menstrual cycle, your doctor might recommend:

Combination birth control pills. Pills that contain estrogen and progestin decrease androgen production and regulate estrogen. Regulating your hormones can lower your risk of endometrial cancer and correct abnormal bleeding, excess hair growth and acne. Instead of pills, you might use a skin patch or vaginal ring that contains a combination of estrogen and progestin.

Progestin therapy. Taking progestin for 10 to 14 days every one to two months can regulate your periods and protect against endometrial cancer. Progestin therapy doesn’t improve androgen levels and won’t prevent pregnancy. The progestin-only minipill or progestin-containing intrauterine device is a better choice if you also wish to avoid pregnancy.

To help you ovulate, your doctor might recommend:

  • Clomiphene. This oral anti-estrogen medication is taken during the first part of your menstrual cycle.
  • Letrozole (Femara). This breast cancer treatment can work to stimulate the ovaries.
  • Metformin. This oral medication for type 2 diabetes improves insulin resistance and lowers insulin levels. If you don’t become pregnant using clomiphene, your doctor might recommend adding metformin. If you have prediabetes, metformin can also slow the progression to type 2 diabetes and help with weight loss.
  • Gonadotropins. These hormone medications are given by injection.

To reduce excessive hair growth, your doctor might recommend:

  • Birth control pills. These pills decrease androgen production that can cause excessive hair growth.Spironolactone (Aldactone). This medication blocks the effects of androgen on the skin.
  • Spironolactone can cause birth defects, so effective contraception is required while taking this medication. It isn’t recommended if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant.Eflornithine (Vaniqa). This cream can slow facial hair growth in women.
  • Electrolysis. A tiny needle is inserted into each hair follicle. The needle emits a pulse of electric current to damage and eventually destroy the follicle. You might need multiple treatments.

HIV/AIDS Symptoms, Stages, & Early Warning Signs

Early testing is important for two reasons. First, at this stage, levels of HIV in your blood and bodily fluids are very high. This makes it especially contagious. Second, starting treatment as soon as possible might help boost your immune system and ease your symptoms.

A combination of medications (called HIV drugs, antiretroviral therapy, or ART) can help fight HIV, keep your immune system healthy, and keep you from spreading the virus. If you take these medications and have healthy habits, your HIV infection probably won’t get worse.

Second Stage: Clinical Latency Symptoms

After your immune system loses the battle with HIV, the flu-like symptoms will go away. But there’s a lot going on inside your body. Doctors call this the asymptomatic period or chronic HIV infection.

In your body, cells called CD4 T cells coordinate your immune system’s response. During this stage, untreated HIV will kill CD4 cells and destroy your immune system. Your doctor can check how many of these cells you have with blood tests. Without treatment, the number of CD4 cells will drop, and you’ll be more likely to get other infections.

Most people don’t have symptoms they can see or feel. You may not realize that you’re infected and can pass HIV on to others.

If you’re taking ART, you might stay in this phase for decades. You can pass the virus on to other people, but it’s extremely rare if you take your medicines.

Third Stage: AIDS Symptoms

AIDS is the advanced stage of HIV infection. This is usually when your CD4 T-cell number drops below 200 and your immune system is badly damaged. You might get an opportunistic infection, an illness that happens more often and is worse in people who have weakened immune systems. Some of these, such as Kaposi’s sarcoma (a form of skin cancer) and pneumocystis pneumonia (a lung disease), are also considered “AIDS-defining illnesses.”

If you didn’t know earlier that you were infected with HIV, you may realize it after you have some of these symptoms:

Being tired all the time, Swollen lymph nodes in your neck or groin, Fever that lasts more than 10 days, Night sweats, Weight loss with no obvious reason, Purplish spots on your skin that don’t go away, Shortness of breath, Severe, long-lasting diarrhea, Yeast infections in your mouth, throat, or vagina, Bruises or bleeding you can’t explain, Neurological symptoms such as memory loss, confusion, balance problems, behavior changes, seizures, and vision changes

People with AIDS who don’t take medication live about 3 years, or less if they get another infection. But HIV can still be treated at this stage. If you start on HIV drugs, stay on them, follow your doctor’s advice, and keep healthy habits, you can live a long time.

Hepatitis C Facts

Hepatitis C (HCV) is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver. It is a member of the family of viruses that includes hepatitis A and hepatitis B. These viruses behave differently and have different modes of transmission. Hepatitis C can cause serious liver damage, liver failure, liver cancer, and even death.Exactly how many cases of hepatitis C there are around the world is unknown, but the World Health Organization estimates that .5% to 1% of the population is infected, with prevalence higher in Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean.Hepatitis C is a blood-borne illness, meaning it is transmitted via contact with infected blood. Usually the virus enters the body through a puncture wound on the skin. The most common way hepatitis C is transmitted is via injection drug use. Sharing dirty needles with someone who is infected can transmit hepatitis C. Health care professionals may contract the virus via needlestick injury. Prior to 1992, the U.S. blood supply was not screened the way it is today, so some people contracted hepatitis C from infected blood transfusions. Rarely, babies born to hepatitis C-infected mothers acquire the virus. Hepatitis C can also be spread by having sex with an infected person or sharing personal items (for example, a razor or toothbrush) with someone who has the virus, but these cases are rare.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Hepatitis C?

Most people who contract hepatitis C do not have any symptoms, especially in the early stages. However, some people do develop early symptoms, which may include:

Painful joints Fever Rash Swelling

But 3 out of 4 cases result in a chronic infection. In these people, symptoms may develop years, even decades later, when liver damage occurs. Others develop symptoms from 2 weeks to 6 months after infection. The average time to develop symptoms is 6 to 7 weeks after acquiring the virus. Those newly infected with hepatitis C may experience mild-to-severe fever, fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, joint pain, dark urine, clay-colored stool, and yellowing of the skin (jaundice). A person who has hepatitis C infection but isn’t exhibiting any symptoms can still pass the virus on to others.

Acute vs. Chronic Hepatitis C Infection

Acute hepatitis C infection refers to symptoms that appear within 6 months of newly acquiring the virus. About 20% to 30% of those who acquire hepatitis C experience acute illness. After this, the body either clears the virus or goes on to develop chronic infection. Chronic hepatitis C infection refers to long-lasting infection. The majority of people who have acute hepatitis C infection (75% to 85%) go on to develop the chronic form of the illness.

How Is Hepatitis C Diagnosed?

Hepatitis C infection is diagnosed with several blood tests. The hepatitis C antibody test checks for antibodies (immune particles) that fight the virus. A “non-reactive” result means that antibodies to the virus are not detected. A “reactive” result means antibodies to the virus are present, but the test is unable to indicate whether the infection is current or in the past. Another blood test assessing the presence of hepatitis C genetic material (HCV RNA test) is available. The results of this test can help doctors determine whether hepatitis C infection is current or not. Additional blood tests can be used to determine the amount of virus in the body, known as a titer.

When someone has confirmed hepatitis C infection, the doctor will order more tests to assess the degree of liver damage. A liver biopsy may be performed. There are several different strains of hepatitis C virus that respond to different treatments. For this reason, the doctor will order a test to determine the genotype(s) of the hepatitis C infection to help determine the course of treatment.

Potential Complications of Hepatitis C

Chronic hepatitis C infection is a long-lasting illness with potentially serious complications. About 75% to 85% of those with acute hepatitis C infection go on to develop chronic illness. Of those in the chronic illness group, more than two-thirds will develop liver disease. Up to 20% will develop cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver, within 20 to 30 years. Cirrhosis affects liver function and causes elevated blood liver enzymes. Up to 5% of people with chronic hepatitis C infection will die from liver cancer or cirrhosis. Chronic hepatitis C infection is the most common reason for liver transplantation in the U.S.

Hepatitis C (Hep C) Treatment: Antivirals

Hepatitis C treatment has changed dramatically in the past five years. Researchers now rely on antiviral medicines to target the virus and stop it from reproducing. These are taken in pill form whereas older medicines were taken by IV.

Hepatitis C and Liver Transplantation

Some people with advanced hepatitis C infection and severe liver damage undergo a liver transplant, but that doesn’t eradicate the infection. Patients with active infection at the time of the transplant will develop hepatitis C in the new liver. Sometimes the infection recurs even when patients are on antiviral treatment. Those who have achieved sustained virologic response (SVR) – meaning no detectable virus in the blood 6 months after treatment – have a very low risk of developing hepatitis C infection in the new liver.

How to Prevent Giving Hepatitis C

If you have hepatitis C, these common precautions should be followed to prevent spreading or giving hepatitis C to others:

Cover cuts and blistersProperly dispose of any used bandages, tissues, tampons, or anything else containing your bloodWash your hands or any objects that have encountered your bloodClean spilled blood on surfaces with household bleach and waterDon’t share personal items that have your blood on itDo not breastfeed if your nipples becomes cracked and bleedDo not donate blood, sperm, or organs. Read More

Reasons Why You Are Tired After Surgery

When you are tired after surgery, your body is telling you to rest.

Patients often question why they are so tired after surgery. Many patients think that because they have been “put to sleep with anesthesia” that they should be refreshed and have more energy as they recover from their surgery. However, the tired feeling (fatigue) after surgery is the usual situation for most patients and there are some reasons for this outcome.

Some reasons begin even before surgery. For example, many patients have anxiety about undergoing any type of surgery and find it difficult to sleep, especially right before the date of surgery. Consequently, many patients have a sleep deficit even before they undergo surgery. This sleep deficit must be made up so the body triggers “sleepiness or fatigue” as a way to pay off this deficit. Anesthetics do not make up for this sleep deficit, so the body still has it after surgery.

One of the consequences of low red blood count (anemia) is that the person can have fatigue. If patients have a history of anemia before surgery, they are already primed to feel tired and sleepy after surgery. Even patients who are not anemic before surgery may become anemic during or after surgery because of blood loss during and after the procedure. In addition to feeling fatigued and/or sleepy, patients who have lost blood may have a tendency to feel weak and/or dizzy when they try to sit up or stand up. Also, they may feel fatigued because they work harder to breathe since the anemia has decreased oxygen-carrying capacity due to fewer red blood cells available to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues.

During or after surgery, a number of medications may be administered that are used to alter blood pressure during the procedure. Frequently used drugs are blood pressure medications like metoprolol (Lopressor) or diuretics (for example, hydrochlorothiazide) to reduce blood pressure.

Side effects of these drugs include fatigue. After surgery, medications like benzodiazepines (for example, lorazepam) may be used for sedation and/or muscle spasms. The benzodiazepines are also used to treat insomnia and can cause sleepiness. In many individuals, antibiotics are started during or right after the surgical procedure. Some antibiotics — like cephalexin (Keflex), and trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim) — can cause fatigue.

Depression, both before and after surgery, can produce fatigue. Some patients have fatigue caused by anxiety about pain control, surgical outcome, and concerns about new medications, or the need for rehabilitation, cost of care, family situations, and many other problems. Discovering and addressing depression and anxiety before and after surgery may help reduce mental fatigue seen in some surgical patients.

Nevertheless, it is possible to reduce some of the fatigue many patients feel after surgical procedures. Keeping blood loss (anemia) to a minimum; replacing fluid, electrolytes, and minerals quickly; avoiding potentially fatigue-inducing medications; and reducing stress (both mental and physical) before and after surgery will likely reduce fatigue. Finally, it’s likely that after any surgery a person will feel some fatigue. For goodness sake, don’t keep a postsurgical patient awake right after surgery with an excessive number of visitors who want to talk! Let the surgical patient rest to reduce fatigue and speed recovery. Read More

Kidney Cancer Facts

The kidneys are two organs in the body that filter the blood and remove waste material and excess water by making urine that is expelled as waste. Cancer is the growth of malignant (abnormal) cells within the body. Although the exact cause of kidney cancer is not known, risk factors include smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, long-term dialysis,Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) syndrome, occupational exposure (coke oven workers and asbestos workers, for example), and male gender.

Signs and symptoms of kidney cancer include :

Blood in the urine, constant pain in the side or flank, a lump or mass in the abdomen or side, fever, weight loss, and fatigue. The following tests are used to help diagnose kidney cancer: physical exam, urine tests, CT and/or MRI of kidney tissue, and ultrasound. Surgical removal of kidney tissue allows the type of kidney cancer to be determined.

Renal cell cancer ( subtypes: clear cell, papillary renal cell, chromophobe renal cell ) makes up about 90% of all kidney cancers. Rare types of kidney cancer include carcinoma of the collecting ducts, renal medullary carcinoma, sarcomatoid cancer, transitional cell carcinoma, Wilms tumor in children, oncocytoma, hereditary papillary renal cancer, and unclassified renal cell carcinomas.

Kidney cancer is staged by measuring the size of the tumor, the location of the cancer cells either confined to the kidney, locally spread, or widespread beyond the fibrous tissue surrounding the kidney (stages I through IV).

There are other similar staging systems. Treatment of kidney cancer includes one of or a combination of the following methods: chemotherapy, radiation therapy, embolization, biological therapy, and surgery.

Side effects of kidney cancer treatment are related to the methods used and may include the following: nausea and vomiting, weakness, weight loss, infection, flu-like symptoms, diarrhea, skin rash, and hair loss.After treatment, follow-up care is very important to monitor recovery and to check for any possible recurrence of kidney cancer. Research is ongoing; combined chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation is an active area of research. Other studies include developing cancer vaccines to help the immune system attack cancer cells. There are a number of resources available for patients who have kidney cancer. Read More

What Does Big Blood Clots in Period Mean? Heavy Bleeding

It is normal to pass blood clots occasionally during menstruation; however, frequently passing large blood clots could be a sign of any underlying issue.

When you pass blood clots during your periods occasionally, it is normal. Many women pass blood clots on the second or third day of their periods.

However, if the bleeding is very heavy during all days of the period, you may pass frequent clots, which may be a cause for concern.

Menorrhagia means menstrual bleeding that is more (heavier) than usual.

If you change your tampon every two hours or sooner If you pass blood clots larger than the size of a quarter on any day of the period If your periods last more than seven daysIf your cycle is less than 21 days If you need to change pads or tampons in the middle of the night

Many conditions may affect your menstrual cycle, making them heavier and prone to passing clots.

6 reasons why you may be passing big blood clots


  • Stress Any type of stress (physical or emotional) can cause the release of stress hormones in the body. This can cause hormonal imbalance that may lead to heavier bleeding and clots.
  • Thyroid disorders If you suffer from an over-functioning (hyperthyroidism) or under-functioning (hypothyroidism) thyroid gland, it can affect the hormones that regulate your period. This may impact the flow and severity of your menstrual cycle. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of your neck.The thyroid imbalances may be caused by various conditions, including stress, autoimmune disorders, iodine or selenium-deficient diet, drugs, or tumors.If your doctor suspects that you suffer from a thyroid condition, they will do a physical examination, run a thyroid panel to estimate TSH, T3, and T4 along with antithyroid antibody levels in your blood. This may or may not be followed by thyroid sonography.
  • Uterine fibroids Uterine fibroids grow inside the uterus and its lining can cause a heavier period than normal. Similarly, small growths called the uterine polyps that grow along with the cervix, or the lining of the uterus can cause heavy bleeding and blood clots in your menstrual flow. The uterine fibroids are often diagnosed using sonography, uterine computed tomography scan, and laparoscopic procedures.
  • Birth control Many types of birth control, especially intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUCD) inserted inside the uterus can cause you to experience heavier bleeding or clots during periods. This may happen up to a year after the IUCD was inserted.
  • Medications Many drugs can cause clots and heavier periods. Medications, such as blood thinners, anticoagulants (Warfarin, clopidogrel, aspirin), contribute to abnormal menstrual flow and bleeding. Sometimes, they may cause clots.
  • A missed abortion An undetected miscarriage early in the pregnancy can often be confused for a large clot.The pregnancy test may or may not be positive before the period starts. It may be accompanied by abdominal cramps and general malaise (feeling of being unwell). Read More

Insulin Isn’t the Only Blood Sugar Regulator

Scientists have known for 100 years that insulin is the body’s main mechanism for controlling blood sugar levels, but researchers have now discovered a second hormone does the same job a bit differently — and they say it could be a new target for treating diabetes.

The hormone, called FGF1, is produced in the body’s fat tissue. Like insulin, it swiftly lowers sugar levels in the blood, but researchers found in mice that it works independently of insulin, and by a different mechanism.

Type 2 diabetes arises when the body becomes resistant to insulin, leading to chronically high blood levels of glucose (sugar). Over time, that can take a toll on the body’s arteries and nerves, leading to complications like heart and kidney disease, stroke, vision problems and permanent nerve damage.

In the new study, scientists found FGF1 suppresses the breakdown of fat tissue, which reduces the liver’s ability to churn out glucose. Insulin also does those things, but FGF1 accomplishes it via a different “signaling pathway” in the body.

And in lab mice with insulin resistance, injections of FGF1 substantially lower blood sugar.

“This mechanism is basically a second loop, with all the advantages of a parallel pathway,” said study author Gencer Sancar, a postdoctoral researcher at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, Calif.

“In insulin resistance, insulin signaling is impaired,” Sancar said in an institute news release. “However, with a different signaling cascade, if one is not working, the other can. That way you still have the control of [fat breakdown] and blood glucose regulation.”

However, whether the animal findings will ultimately translate to people with type 2 diabetes remains to be seen.

One question is whether people who are insulin-resistant would also be resistant to FGF1, noted Dr. Emily Gallagher, an endocrinologist who was not involved in the study.

She said it’s also possible that targeting FGF1 could be effective in certain people with type 2 diabetes, but not others.

“Type 2 diabetes is a complex condition where different individuals have different metabolic profiles,” explained Gallagher, an assistant professor in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Bone Diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

Scientists had known something about the workings of FGF1. In past studies, the Salk researchers found that it lowered blood sugar in lab mice, and when given continually it lessened insulin resistance in the animals.

The new study, published Jan. 4 in the journal Cell Metabolism, delved into exactly how the hormone works.

The researchers found that, similar to insulin, FGF1 suppresses fat breakdown, which in turn helps control blood sugar. But its modus operandi is different: Insulin acts through an enzyme called PDE3B, which sets off a chain of events called a signaling pathway.

FGF1 uses a different enzyme — called PDE4.

“Now that we’ve got a new pathway, we can figure out its role in energy homeostasis in the body and how to manipulate it,” said senior study author Michael Downes, a staff scientist at Salk.

Gallagher said it’s “very interesting” that FGF1 can have insulin-like effects in fat tissue. But much more remains to be learned.

More lab research, she said, is needed to understand the long-term effects of FGF1 on insulin signaling and insulin resistance.

“And in people,” Gallagher said, “it would be important to understand more about the systemic effects of administering FGF1, as FGF1 affects many organ systems — including the inflammatory system — and also can alter tumor growth.”

Whether manipulating the hormone, or the proteins it regulates, would be appropriate in people with type 2 diabetes “remains to be determined,” Gallagher said. Read More

Internal and External Hemorrhoids: Symptoms, Treatment, Pictures & Causes

What are hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids (Piles) are blood vessels located in the smooth muscles of the walls of the rectum and anus. They are a normal part of the anatomy and are located at the junction where small arteries merge into veins. They are cushioned by smooth muscles and connective tissue and are classified by where they are located in relationship to the pectinate line, the dividing point between the upper 2/3 and lower 1/3 of the anus. This is an important anatomic distinction because of the type of cells that line hemorrhoid, and the nerves that provide sensation.

What are the internal and external hemorrhoids?

Internal hemorrhoids are located above the pectinate line and are covered with cells that are the same as those that line the rest of the intestines. External hemorrhoids arise below the line and are covered with cells that resemble skin.

What are the symptoms of hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids become an issue only when they begin to swell, causing itching, pain, and/or bleeding.

External hemorrhoids are located underneath the skin that surrounds the anus and is lower than internal hemorrhoids.

Normal hemorrhoidal tissue cannot be seen since they must first swell and become inflamed or develop a clot to cause symptoms. One can see swollen external hemorrhoids or internal prolapsed hemorrhoids exposed outside the anus but internal hemorrhoids cannot be seen because they remain inside the anus. A thrombosed hemorrhoid will appear as a lump at the anal verge, protruding from the anus, and will be dark bluish in color because of the blood clot contained inside the swollen blood vessel. Non-thrombosed hemorrhoids will appear as a rubbery lump. Often more than one swollen hemorrhoid appears at the same time.

Hemorrhoids are caused by swelling in the anal or rectal veins. This makes them susceptible to irritation.

While the presence of hemorrhoids is a reflection of the normal anatomy, most people and care professionals refer to hemorrhoids as an abnormal finding because they only present when they swell and cause problems.

Hemorrhoid swelling occurs when there is an increase in the pressure in the small vessels that make up hemorrhoids causing them to swell and engorge with blood. This causes them to increase in size leading to symptoms. Increased pressure may be caused by a variety of factors:

A low-fiber diet and smaller caliber stool cause a person to strain when having a bowel movement, increasing the pressure within the blood vessels.Pregnancy is associated with hemorrhoid swelling and is likely due to increased pressure of the enlarged uterus on the rectum and anus. In addition, hormonal changes with pregnancy may weaken the muscles that support the rectum and anus. Prolonged sitting on the toilet may increase pressure within the hemorrhoid blood vessels. Obesity, Diarrhea, both acute and chronic Colon cancer, Previous rectal surgery, Spinal cord injury and lack of erect posture. Read More

How to Get Rid of a Sinus Infection Fast: Complications

Sinuses are air-filled cavities that are present in the facial bones and drain into the nose. They are present in the forehead, cheeks, and near the eyes.

A sinus infection occurs when the sinus gets blocked and mucus gets trapped in it. This causes viruses, bacteria, or, rarely, fungi to grow easily due to the moist and stagnant environment. A sinus infection is also called acute sinusitis.

There are several ways to treat a sinus infection and relieve symptoms at home with the help of home remedies and over-the-counter medications such as nasal sprays, painkillers, and antihistamines. It can take about 7 to 10 days to get rid of a sinus infection.

9 signs and symptoms of a sinus infection

Symptoms of a sinus infection include

  • Nasal obstruction
  •  Postnasal drip (dripping of mucus from the nose into the throat causing irritation and coughing while lying down)
  • Headache
  • Facial pain
  • Cough
  • Fever 
  • Fatigue 
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Pain over the upper teeth  

How is a sinus infection treated?

Medical treatment

  • Over-the-counter medications: OTC medication like paracetamol or ibuprofen can help relieve symptoms such as pain and fever.
  •  Nasaldecongestant sprays: Nasal decongestant sprays like oxymetazoline can reduce swelling and congestion, relieving the nasal obstruction. But, they should not be used for too long as long-term use of these sprays can damage the nasal mucosa. Hence, should be used after consulting with a doctor.
  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics may be prescribed by a doctor to get rid of the infection faster and prevent complications.

Supportive treatment

People may be able to treat a sinus infection at home by relieving painful symptoms and taking steps to allow the immune system to fight off the infection.

  • Humidifiers: A humidifier adds moisture to the air which reduces dryness and softens dried mucus, helping the mucus clear out easily.
  • Nasal irrigation: Nasal irrigation with saline using products like a neti pot, a small container with a spout, is used to irrigate the nose. If saline is not readily available, a mixture of one-half teaspoon of salt and one-half teaspoon of baking soda mixed with two cups of sterile water can be prepared. Nasal irrigation can flush out excess mucus, bacteria, and crusts, reducing nasal congestion.
  • Steam inhalation: Steam inhalation can moisten dried mucus and crusts, reducing nasal congestion. Excessive steam inhalation or keeping the face too close to the steamer should be avoided as it could cause dryness.
  • Rest: Getting adequate rest can help the body recover faster.  
  • Hydration: Drinking plenty of clear fluids will help you remain hydrated. Staying hydrated can also help moisten and loosen mucus and clear congestion.
  • Warm compresses: Applying a warm compress over the face can help reduce pain and nasal congestion.

What are the complications of a sinus infection?

Though most cases of acute sinusitis do not have any complications, if not treated, the following rare complications can occur

  • Chronic sinusitis: Acute sinusitis that is not treated properly can lead to chronic sinusitis with multiple flare-ups of acute infection.
  • Meningitis: Sinus infection can cause inflammation of the tissues and fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
  • Osteomyelitis and cellulitis: Infection can spread to the bones (osteomyelitis) or skin (cellulitis).
  • Eye complications: The infection spreads to the eyes causing redness of the eyes, watering of the eyes, protrusion of the eyeball, decreased vision, or blindness. Read More

4 Negative Effects of Eating Too Many Grapes

Grapes are incredibly good for you, giving you a variety of different vitamins, minerals and even fiber. It is possible, however, to eat too many grapes. Always pre-portion your grapes, instead of nibbling right out of the bag. Otherwise, you might experience negative side effects. If you’re allergic to grapes, you might even have problems simply by coming into contact with them.

Weight Gain

Sure, grapes are relatively low in calories. One full cup, which is about 30 grapes, has fewer than 105 calories. The issue is, however, that grapes are easy to pop in your mouth. If you sit down with a bag of grapes and turn on the TV — before you know it — you could eat most of the bag. Suddenly, your 105-calorie snack doubles or triples in calories, eventually giving you the same number of calories you’d get from an entire meal. If you eat large portions of grapes on a regular basis without first measuring your portion size, the additional calories could cause you to gain weight.

Carb Overload

You need carbohydrates in your diet. They convert to your body’s main source of energy — glucose. Carbohydrates should make up 45 to 65 percent of all the calories you consume, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. That’s 900 to 1,300 calories from carbs or 225 to 325 grams daily, based on a 2,000-calorie diet. That 1-cup serving of grapes has more than 27 grams of carbs. If you’re snacking on grapes freely and not paying attention to your serving size, you could quickly consume more than your daily carb allotment. You’ll also throw off your balance of macronutrients, meaning that if your carb intake is high, your protein and fat intake may be lacking.

Gut Issues

You’ll get a decent dose of fiber from grapes — roughly 1.5 grams from 1 cup. That’s probably not enough to cause any disruption in your gut. If you snack on a large serving of grapes, however, you increase your fiber intake. If you don’t regularly consume a lot of fiber, you could notice an uncomfortable rumbling in your tummy after devouring a large, fiber-rich portion of grapes. Because your body isn’t used to the fiber, it becomes difficult to pass stools, which is a sign of constipation. Sometimes, extra fiber has the opposite effect, however, leaving you with diarrhea, as your system tries to expel the additional fiber.

Allergy Attack

It’s not common to have a grape allergy, although it can happen. If you’re allergic to grapes, you might get hives or red patches on your skin by touching grapes or shortly after eating them. In severe cases, you might have difficulty breathing or go into anaphylactic shock. Just because you have an allergic reaction to grapes, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re allergic to the fruit itself. You may actually be allergic to the pesticide on the grapes, or to the yeast or mold that grows on the grapes. The only way to be certain what you’re allergic to is to undergo allergen testing from your physician’s office or via a referral to a testing center. Read More

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