Constipation is a condition of the digestive system where an individual has hard faeces that are difficult to expel. The slower the food moves through the digestive tract, the more water the colon will absorb from it. Consequently, the faeces become dry and hard. When this happens, emptying the bowels can become very painful.
Increased difficulty and straining
Feeling bloated and nauseous
Loss of appetite
Lack of fiber in the diet
Irritable bowel syndrome
Changes in routine
Overuse of laxatives
Not going to the toilet when needed
Not drinking enough water
Problems with the colon or rectum
Some disease conditions like neurological disorders, endocrine and metabolic conditions, systemic diseases and cancer
In the majority of cases, constipation resolves itself without any treatment or risk to health. The treatment of recurring constipation can include lifestyle changes such as doing more exercise, eating more fiber, and drinking more water. Usually, laxatives will successfully treat most cases of constipation – but should be used with care and only when necessary. In more difficult cases, the person may need a prescription medication.
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Tinnitus is a disease of the ear in which a person experiences ringing in the ears, he/she may also experience roaring, clicking, hissing, or buzzing sound in the ears and the sound may be soft or loud, high pitched or low pitched. Either one or both the ears are affected with tinnitus. The problem of tinnitus gets worse during the nights, most likely due to extreme silence.
What causes tinnitus?
Tinnitus is not a disease. It is a manifestation of problem in the auditory system, which includes the ear, the auditory nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain, and the parts of the brain that process sound. At times, a small collection of ear wax can also cause tinnitus.
Below are some health conditions which can cause tinnitus:
Noise induced hearing loss can result in tinnitus
Ear and sinus infections
Diseases of the heart or blood vessels
Hormonal changes in women
Side effect of some medicines
In older people, tinnitus is the first sign of hearing loss.
Individuals noisy who work in noisy environments such as factory or construction workers, road construction workers, or even musician can develop tinnitus over a period of time as the exposure to extreme noise damages tiny sensory hair cells in the inner ear that help transmit sound to the brain. This is known as noise-induced hearing loss.
Army officials exposed to bomb blasts can develop tinnitus due to sudden and extreme exposure to sound. In fact, tinnitus is one of the most common service-related disabilities among army officials returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Pulsatile tinnitus is a rare type of tinnitus that sounds like a rhythmic pulsing in the ear, which is usually aligned with your heartbeat. A doctor makes a diagnosis by pressing a stethoscope against your neck or by placing a tiny microphone inside the ear canal. This kind of tinnitus is most often caused by problems with blood flow in the head or neck. Pulsatile tinnitus also may be caused by brain tumors or abnormalities in brain structure.
Other causes include fatigue, depression, anxiety, and problems with memory and concentration. Having tinnitus is a cause of stress in many of the affected individuals.
What to do if one has tinnitus?
The first step is to see and visit a doctor. Doctor will examine for problems such as ear wax, examines and question about current health, medical conditions, and would try to see if any medications is causing tinnitus.
A detailed examination is done by a ENT specialist who will physically examine your head, neck, and ears and test your hearing to determine whether you have any hearing loss along with the tinnitus.
What to do if sounds in the ear do not go away?
A consultation and visit to the doctor will help you find out ways to reduce the severity of tinnitus. Your doctor may advice certain lifestyle changes, which can help you to reduce the effects of tinnitus.
Treatment for tinnitus
Tinnitus is an incurable condition, but treatment may help to minimize its severity and effects. Most doctors use combination of the treatments to treat tinnitus:
Hearing aids often are helpful for people who have hearing loss along with tinnitus. A better hearing capability reduces the symptoms of tinnitus
Counseling is important for as it help patients to understand and learn methods that how to live with tinnitus. Most counseling programs have an educational methodology to help you understand what goes on in the brain to cause tinnitus. Counseling also teaches some self measures that how to deal with tinnitus effectively
Wearable sound generators are small electronic devices that fit in the ear and use a soft, pleasant sound to help minimize the sounds of tinnitus. This device masks the sounds created by tinnitus with the help of random tones, or music.
Tabletop sound generators are the devices which are used for relaxation or sleep. Patient can place them near bed, and it plays pleasant sounds such as waves, waterfalls, rain, or the sounds of a summer night. It helps affected people to have good and sound sleep.
Acoustic neural stimulation is a relatively new technique for people whose tinnitus is very loud or won’t go away. It uses a palm-sized device and headphones to deliver a broadband acoustic signal embedded in music. The treatment modality aims to stimulate change in the neural circuits in the brain, which curbs the effects of the tinnitus.
Cochlear implants are sometimes used in people who have tinnitus along with severe hearing loss. A cochlear implant bypasses the damaged portion of the inner ear and sends electrical signals that directly stimulate the auditory nerve. The device brings in outside sounds that help mask tinnitus and stimulate change in the neural circuits.
Antidepressants and antianxiety drugs helps to reduce symptoms of tinnitus
How to prevent tinnitus?
One must refrain from loud noises, as the major cause of noise- induced tinnitus is the exposure to loud noises and sounds. Refrain from loud music of DJ and high noise areas.
Human body consists of 70% of the water. Water is present both inside and outside the body cells. Most of our organs such as liver, kidneys and skin are composed of water. But, if there is an excessive accumulation of water, it results in water accumulation, which is termed as water retention or fluid accumulation.
One may experience a sudden swelling, puffiness or bloating of feet, ankles, hands, fingers and face. Usually it is misinterpreted as a weight gain and even hard exercising fails to remove this water retention from the body.
Water Retention-What exactly it is?
Water retention also known as is defined as an excessive build-up of fluid in the circulatory system, body tissues or cavities in the body which can lead to swelling of the hands, feet, ankles and legs.
Various factors result in water retention in the body. Some factors are as below:
Diet: Foods high in salt content such as chips, fast foods and processed food like meats can cause water retention in the body. Cold drinks can also result in water retention.
A low protein diet: A low protein diet can lead to albumin deficiency in the body, which also causes the water retention.
Decreased physical activity: Sitting or standing in a sedentary position for a longer period of time can also result in water retention in a particular area. You may observe it after having a long air journey or if you are travelling by a bus.
Hormonal changes: Women commonly experience a bloaty feeling especially during their menstrual cycle. Fluid retention causes painful breasts in women during menstrual cycle. Other symptoms include abdominal bloating and weight gain. Even some hormonal therapies lead to water retention
Hot weather: During hot weathers, our body tends to be less efficient in removing fluid from the tissues.
Some medical conditions such as nephritic syndrome, acute glomerulonephritis water, chronic lung disease like emphysema, malignant lymphoedema, thyroid disease, arthritis, allergic reactions, and autoimmune reactions like lupus also result in water retention.
Some common symptoms of water retention are:
Swelling in the affected body parts such as feet, ankles and hands
Bloaty feeling in the stomach
Pain in the swelled area
Sudden increase or decrease in the weight
An increased weight gain
How water retention is diagnosed?
A physical examination is usually performed by a physician
Medical history of the patient is taken
A detailed review of the edema is done, doctor sees what factors promote and decrease the swelling
A blood examination is recommended
Liver function tests
Kidney function tests
Heart function tests such as electrocardiogram (ECG)
What is the treatment of water retention?
After having a complete diagnosis, the treatment is done to treat the cause. Modifications in the diet, exercise and life style changes are generally introduced by the doctors to suppress edema. Below are some methods by which water retention is eliminated from the body:
Treating the causative factor which results in water retention
Lifestyle changes depending upon the medical condition
Water retention can be drug-induced also, hence doctor might replace those drugs with some other alternative drugs
Water pills (Diuretics) can help to eliminate retained water as it increases the urinary flow
It has been observed that light exercising at times is also beneficial in removing the water retention
Some tips by which you can remove the water retention from the body
Eat a low salt diet, as high intake of sodium in the salt can cause water retention
High intake of vitamin B6 decreases the water retention. Eat foods rich in vitamin B6 such as banana, potatoes, walnuts and meat
Include potassium rich food as they decrease the sodium levels in the body. Bananas and tomatoes are rich source of potassium
Drink lots of water
Avoid having refined foods
Avoid drinks like alcohol as it causes water retention
Eat fresh fruits and vegetables
Raise your legs several times a day to reduce the water retention
Avoid sitting and standing still for too long, keep moving between work
Avoid hot baths or sauna as they also increase the body fluid retention
Sleep disorders are a group of conditions that affect our ability to sleep on a regular basis. The human body is programmed to work in the day and sleep at night. Any imbalance in this fine balance can lead to a disturbed sleep pattern and a feeling of tiredness and irritation the next day.
The sleep cycle is governed by a hormone called melatonin.It’s levels go up at night and reduce in the day. This cycle can be disrupted by change of time zones due to travel or exposure to artificial light for prolonged periods.
While we all experience the occasional night of disturbed sleep, some people experience insomnia, which can be difficulty in falling asleep, waking up repeatedly at night or waking up early. Insomniacs feel unrefreshed the next day and they may feel sleepy, irritable or unable to concentrate.
What are the reasons for insomnia?
There can be many reasons for insomnia
Change of time zones
Prolonged exposure to artificial light
Some medicines can also disrupt the sleep cycle. These can commonly include some medicines for treating hypertension, asthma, anti-depressants and steroids.
Working night shifts
Too much tea, coffee and nicotine
Psychiatric disorders like anxiety, depression, schizophrenia
Common complications that can arise from sleep disorder
Fatigue in the day time
Raised blood pressure and heart problems
Type 2 diabetes mellitus
Affected relationships because it leads to sleep-deprived partners
How do I know that I have a sleep disorder?
People with sleep disorders can have one or more of these symptoms-
Difficulty in falling asleep
Getting up frequently at night
Waking up feeling unrefreshed
Lack of concentration
Feeling sleepy in the daytime
Depression or anxiety
What are the measures that can help in promoting good sleep?
Some simple measure can help you I case you’re unable to fall asleep
Turn off all electronic devices at bedtime, even reading devices can be distracting due to the backlight. A simple book or soothing music might work better
Have dinner at least two hours prior to bedtime.
Avoid tea and coffee after the evening.
Meditation and breathing exercises can also be beneficial.
When to meet the doctor
If these measures don’t help or the lack of sleep is affecting your daytime activities, it might be a good idea to take your doctor’s opinion.
How is a sleep disorder managed?
To diagnose the cause of your sleep disorder, the doctor might as you about your lifestyle, check your blood pressure and advise some basic investigations to see your level of general health Do be sure to share any information regarding any medicines you might be taking, including herbal supplements.
Sometimes, a sleep study might be advised where the doctor might observe your sleep pattern and record your brain activity with electrodes. This involves a night’s stay at a sleep center.
To treat insomnia, generally a combination of lifestyle changes, cognitive behavior therapy and some medicines for sleep might be prescribed. These could include anti- anxiety medicines, anti- depressants and melatonin.
Cognitive behavior therapy involves working with a counselor to overcome the negative emotions that are triggering or being generated due to the insomnia. It can involve learning relaxation techniques, maintaining a sleep diary and other measures that help in positive re-programming the mind towards a restful night’s sleep.
Sleep disorders can be easily managed with counseling and medical measures. It’s important to realize that it is a medical condition and that treatment options are available.
We advocate getting medical advice and supervision before starting any treatment regime.