1. M.C., Dubai
* I am 42 years of age. I have nice long hair but now all hair are falling out. What may be done to prevent this?
** The hair on the scalp grows for a definite period, then they remain in a resting stage and finally they fall. This is known as the cycle of hair growth. The normal cycle of hair growth lasts for 2 to 3 years. Each hair grows approximately 1 centimeter per month during this phase. About 90 percent of the hair on the scalp is growing at any one time. About 10 percent of the hair on scalp, at any one time, is in a resting phase. After 3 to 4 months, the resting hair falls out and new hair starts to grow in its place. It is normal to shed some hair each day as part of this cycle. However, some people may experience excessive (more than normal) hair loss. When the lost hair are not replaced, people experience baldness. Hair loss of this type can affect men, women and children.
A number of things can cause excessive hair loss. For example, about 3 or 4 months after an illness or a major surgery there may be sudden loss of large amount of hair. Hormonal problems may cause hair loss. If the thyroid gland is overactive or under-active, the hair may fall out. This hair loss usually can be helped by treatment thyroid disease. Hair loss may occur if male or female hormones, known as androgens and estrogens, are out of balance. Correcting the hormone imbalance may prevent the hair loss.
Many women notice hair loss about 3 months after the delivery. This loss is also related to hormones. During pregnancy, high levels of certain hormones cause the body to keep hair that would normally fall out. Once the hormones return to pre-pregnancy levels, the normal cycle of growth and loss starts.
Some medicines can cause hair loss. Medicines that can cause hair loss include anticoagulants, medicines used for gout, high blood pressure or heart problems, vitamin A (if too much is taken), contraceptive pills and anti-depressants may stimulate hair loss.
Certain infections can cause hair loss. Fungal infections of the scalp can cause hair loss in children. Finally, hair loss may occur as part of an underlying disease, such as lupus or diabetes. Since hair loss may be an early sign of a disease, it is important to find the cause so that it can be treated.
Certain hair styles may increase hair loss. The pigtails or cornrows or use tight hair rollers, the pull on the hair can cause a type of hair loss called traction alopecia. If the pulling is stopped before scarring of the scalp develops, the hair will grow back normally. However, scarring can cause permanent hair loss. Hot oil hair treatments or chemicals used in permanents (also called "perms") may cause inflammation (swelling) of the hair follicle, which can result in scarring and hair loss.
"Common baldness" usually means male-pattern baldness, or permanent-pattern baldness. It is also called androgenetic alopecia. Male-pattern baldness is the most common cause of hair loss in men. Men who have this type of hair loss usually have inherited the trait. Men who start losing their hair at an early age tend to develop more extensive baldness. In male-pattern baldness, hair loss typically results in a receding hair line and baldness on the top of the head.
Women may develop female-pattern baldness. In this form of hair loss, the hair can become thin over the entire scalp.
You may consult a skin specialist for assessment of the problem. Depending on the type of hair loss, treatments are available. If a medicine is causing hair loss, the doctor may be able to prescribe a different medicine. Recognizing and treating an infection may help stop the hair loss. Correcting a hormone imbalance may prevent further hair loss.
2. L.P. Bandra
*I am having varicose veins. What are the causes of this problem? Any dietary changes required reversing the same and what are the precautions to be taken?
** Varicose veins are dilated, enlarged veins. The Latin word varicose means "twisted." Any vein may become varicose, but the veins most commonly affected are those in the legs and feet. That's because we stand and walk upright, which increases the pressure in the veins in the lower body. Varicose veins are dark purple or blue in colour and may appear twisted and bulging — like cords. They commonly appear on the backs of the calves or on the inside of the legs. But, they can form anywhere on the legs, from the groin to the ankle. Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but they're smaller. Spider veins are found closer to the skin's surface and are often red or blue. They occur on the legs, but can also be found on the face. Spider veins vary in size and often look like a spider's web or a tree branch
For many people, varicose veins and spider veins — a common, mild and medically insignificant variation of varicose veins — are simply a cosmetic concern. For other people, varicose veins can cause aching pain and discomfort. Sometimes the condition leads to more serious problems. Varicose veins are a common condition affecting up to 60 percent of all men and women. Women, especially older women, are more likely than men are to have this problem.
Arteries carry blood from the heart to the rest of the tissues. Veins return blood from the rest of the body to the heart, so the blood can be re-circulated. To return blood to the heart, the veins in the legs must work against gravity. Muscle contractions in the lower legs act as pumps, while toned, elastic vein walls help blood return to the heart. Tiny one-way valves in the veins open as blood flows toward the heart then close to stop blood from flowing backward.
Varicose veins occur when the valves in the veins malfunction. As one gets older the veins can lose elasticity, causing them to stretch. When this happens, blood that should be moving toward the heart may flow backward. Blood pools in the veins and the veins enlarge and become varicose. The veins appear blue because they contain deoxygenated blood, which is in the process of being circulated again.
Some pregnant women develop varicose veins. Pregnancy increases the volume of blood in the body, but decreases the flow of blood from the legs to your pelvis. This circulatory change is designed to support the growing foetus, but it can produce an unfortunate side effect — enlarged veins in the legs. Varicose veins may surface for the first time or may worsen during late pregnancy.
The symptoms of varicose veins problem vary. An achy or heavy feeling in the legs, and burning, throbbing, muscle cramping and swelling in the lower legs. Prolonged sitting or standing tends to make the legs feel worse. There can be itching around one or more of these engorged veins. Skin ulcers near the ankle, represent a severe form of vascular disease and require immediate attention.
Self-help measures — such as exercising, losing weight, not wearing tight clothes, elevating the legs and avoiding long periods of standing or sitting — can ease pain and prevent varicose veins from getting worse. Varicose veins that develop during pregnancy generally improve without medical treatment within three months after delivery.
When it comes to treatment options for varicose veins, it pays to be a cautious health consumer. Advertisements claiming "unique," "permanent" or "painless" methods to remove varicose veins may be appealing, but they may not actually measure up to those claims. There are various treatment methods like scerotherapy, ligation and stripping of the veins. A general surgeon is able to tackle the problem effectively.
There's no way to completely prevent varicose veins. But improving the circulation and muscle tone can reduce the risk of developing varicose veins or getting additional ones. To improve circulation and muscle tone, following tips might be of help
• Walking is a great way to encourage blood circulation in the legs.
• Shedding excess pounds takes unnecessary pressure off the veins.
• Avoid high heels. Low-heeled shoes work calf muscles more, which is better for the veins. Don't wear tight clothes around the waist, legs or groin. Tight panty-leg girdles, for instance, can restrict circulation.
• To improve venous circulation, take several short breaks daily to elevate the legs above the level of the heart. Lying down with the legs resting on three or four pillows is of help
• Avoiding sitting or standing long periods also helps. Changing the position frequently to encourage blood flow. Moving around at least every 30 minutes is beneficial.
3. R. D’S, Mangalore
*I have been suffering from acute pain and ache in both my elbows. The doctor has diagnosed as "tennis elbow" and has said there is no cure. He gave an injection to the site of pain. The pain subsided. After about seven months the pain resurfaced. Again he gave an injection. Now after about 7 months the elbow has started paining and there is no relief. I read in the website that such injections are dangerous in the long run as it is cortisone injection. Please suggest any alternate remedy, at least to ward off the pain.
**Tennis elbow is a common term for a condition caused by overuse of arm and forearm muscles that result in pain on the outer aspect of the elbow. One need not have to play tennis to get this, but the term came into use because it is a significant problem for amateur tennis players. Tennis elbow affects 1% to 3% of the population overall and as many as 50% of tennis players during their careers. Less than 5% of all tennis elbow diagnoses are related to actually playing tennis.
Tennis elbow is caused by either abrupt or subtle injury of the muscle and tendon area around the outside of the elbow. Tennis elbow most commonly affects people in their dominant arm (that is, a right-handed person would experience pain in the right arm), but it can also occur in the non-dominant arm or both arms.
The pain slowly increasing around the outside of the elbow is the initial symptom of tennis elbow. Less often, pain may develop suddenly. It is worse when shaking hands or squeezing objects. The pain also increases by stabilizing or moving the wrist with force. Examples include lifting, using tools, opening jars, or even handling simple utensils such as a knife and fork.
Tennis elbow is diagnosed by the description of pain provided by the patient and by certain clinical tests. The laboratory tests and the X-rays are not needed to confirm the diagnosis. Tennis elbow is successfully treated by medical means and the cortisone injections; only rarely requires surgery. Non-steroidal pain relievers, local physiotherapy and care while using the forearm may help in getting relief from pain.
There is no harm in giving cortisone locally. It does not cause major problems. Majority of the patients get relief from one injection, but some may require two or three injections given at two to three weeks’ interval.
The type of treatment prescribed for tennis elbow will depend on several factors, including age, type of other medicines being taken, overall health, medical history, and severity of pain. The goals of treatment are to reduce pain or inflammation, promote healing, and decrease the stress and abuse on the injured elbow.
To avoid getting repeated pain you have to reduce the stress and lessen abuse on elbows. The use the proper equipment and technique in sports and on the job may help. A counter-force brace, an elastic band that wraps around the forearm just below the injured elbow (tendon) may help to relieve pain in some people. You may discuss about the brace with your doctor or physiotherapist. You may opt for one more cortisone injection to relieve the pain and then take precautions to avoid recurrence of the problem.
4. S.D. Mumbai
* I am 46 years of age. For the several years I have been in a habit of masturbating on a regular basis. And whenever I have sex with my wife I am not getting full erection and due to that reason we cannot enjoy sex. But I enjoy masturbation. Is it natural? What may be done?
** The condition is known as erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability of a man to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for the sexual needs of man or the needs of his partner. Most men experience this inability at some point in their lives, usually by the age 40, and are not psychologically affected by it. Some men experience chronic, complete erectile dysfunction (impotence), and others achieve partial or brief erections. It has many causes, most of which are treatable.
The causes of erectile dysfunction can generally be classified as organic and psychological. Although the majority of men with erectile dysfunction are thought to have an organic factor, psychological aspects of anxiety, depression, lack of self-confidence, and partner relationship are important contributing factors. Consequently, many men have a combination of organic and psychological factors.
The organic causes and risk factors of erectile dysfunction include vascular disease, diabetes mellitus, hypertension (high blood pressure), certain medications, neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis, chronic alcoholism, prolonged heavy smoking, pelvic trauma and spinal cord injury, pelvic surgery (such as non-nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy, cystectomy) hormonal abnormalities, and other medical and surgical conditions.
Erectile dysfunction can cause emotional strain between couples. Many a times, men will avoid sexual situations due to their emotional pain associated with erectile dysfunction, causing their partner to feel rejected or inadequate. As in your case, you may be choosing masturbation instead of natural sex so as to avoid the embarrassment of failure of erection. Consequently the problem persists in marital relationship.
It may be better for you to revive your married sex rather than confining to masturbation. You may have to take the help of a psychiatrist. There are effective medicines available which will help you to get good erection during sex and proper performance which may in turn avoid the need to go for masturbation.
Some couples consider seeking treatment for erectile dysfunction together, while other men prefer to seek treatment without their partner’s knowledge. A lack of communication is the primary barrier for seeking treatment, and can prolong the suffering.
5. S. S. Kuwait
* I am 40 years of age and my husband is 42. We have been trying for a baby for the last several years. We are healthy; we have no problem as per medical reports. But I am over weight that is a problem. I tried to lose weight but nothing was useful. Can I go for IVF or will it be of no use due to my age?
** Have you discussed the option of IVF with your doctor? Your age is one of the important factors which may not be favorable for IVF. IVF programmes are not successful in every centre and the percentage of success varies. Considering your age and the percentage of success in IVF programmes, you may choose the procedure with caution. Couples considering IVF have to have full information about in vitro fertilization and about the outcome results of the program. Some IVF centers have very low pregnancy success rates. Other centers may have high success rates, but also a very high rate of triplet or higher multiple births. For these reasons, all couples considering IVF treatment should get a written statement of their clinic's recent successes rates and evaluate them in relation to other clinics.
6. M.D. Mumbai
* I am 46 years of age. My periods are irregular, sometimes once in 45 days and at other times once in two months. What medicines shall I take?
** You have not mentioned whether the irregularity of the cycles is of recent origin or it was there for a long time. If it was of recent origin, then it may be that you are in pre-menopausal state. It is common to have irregularities in menstruation as the woman is approaching menopause.
However let me briefly inform about this problem for the benefit of other readers. The irregularities in the menstrual cycle can be broadly grouped in two:
Irregularities due to unknown cause:
For some unknown reasons in some of the women the menstrual cycles are irregular from the beginning. In some they are regularly irregular, that is in every month their cycle remains at 40 days or 45 days and in others they are irregularly irregular, in some of the months it is 40 days, in others it is 50 days, it may even go beyond 60 days. These irregularities are very difficult to correct. A few of them may respond to hormonal treatment, where as in majority of the women the cycles remain irregular throughout. There are incidences where the cycles resume regularity after child birth.
Irregularities due to traceable causes:
Menstruation is controlled by a complex series of hormonal interactions between the thyroid, adrenal and pituitary glands, hypothalamus and the ovaries. Menstrual period changes are usually a symptom of some underlying physical or hormonal imbalance. Changes in the amount or timing of hormones released by the thyroid, adrenal and pituitary glands, or hypothalamus may cause the ovary to delay or skip ovulation. Without ovulation a period will not occur. However the same changes in hormones may trigger bleeding at abnormal times (in the middle of a cycle or several weeks late) or in abnormal amounts (very light or very heavy). One of the most common causes of anovulation (failure to ovulate) is body weight. Low body weight may cause a prolonged absence of periods. Excessive body weight tends to cause abnormal bleeding. Sudden changes in exercise levels or in body weight may cause temporary changes in bleeding patterns.
You may consult your gynecologist to have a proper assessment of the problem.
7. L. Ds, Oman
* I am 46 years. I am having gas trouble for a long time. These days I get giddiness and to make sure that it is due to gas problem I ate potatoes, dhal and the giddiness increased. Can you please tell me what I have to do?
** Gas problem is a traditional belief (myth) in our region and many pains and aches are attributed to it. However, in modern medicine the concept of gas trouble does not exist. The gas that is produced in the intestine may give the sensation of fullness, belching; and is mainly the cause for passing of excess of gas through anus. Other than this the gas that is produced in the intestine does not cause any ailments directly or indirectly. There are no pipe-lines in our body through which the gas produced in the intestine may pass to other parts such as to back or to head.
Giddiness, also known as dizziness may be attributed to a wide variety of causes. The causes can be related to elevated blood pressure, anaemia, cervical spondylosis, arteriosclerosis, middle ear problems and may more. There are number of other causes for giddiness at your age. Sometimes doctors find no specific diagnosis for the affected individual. Consult a physician for proper assessment and treatment.
8. R. A. Mumbai
* I am 50 years of age. I had undergone angioplasty in 2002-2003.In between I stopped taking medicines for 3 years. Now I am facing some breathing problem including tiredness in climbing steps. What may be done?
** The bypass surgery is not a permanent solution for the problem of narrowed coronary arteries. After bypass surgery, one has to take care of all the risk factors, which originally led to blockages of the arteries of the heart. For example, if one has diabetes then the blood sugar has to be controlled well. The blood pressure has to be kept within normal limits. Regular exercises in form of walking for 4-5 kilometres in 30 minutes every day should be carried out. One should avoid smoking and also keep away from passive smoke. Stress also needs to be curtailed and in this yoga and transcendental meditation play an important role.
One should also take care of the calorie and fat intake and keep the blood lipid profile under control. One should also keep a check on the weight and abdominal obesity in form of potbelly is a poor prognostic sign for future recurrence of disease and therefore one should avoid potbelly. Besides this, one should have regular medical check up done and any specific factor, which is applicable in an individual, would obviously be communicated by the treating cardiologist.
A very small percentage of vein grafts may become blocked within the first two weeks after bypass surgery due to blood clotting. Another 10% of vein grafts close off between two weeks and one year after surgery. Use of aspirin to thin the blood has been shown to reduce these later closings by 50%. Grafts become narrowed after the first five years due to the formation of scar tissue and actual atherosclerosis. After 10 years, only 2/3 of vein grafts are open and 1/2 of these have at least moderate narrowing.
It appears to me that the bypass you had undergone may not be functioning now. You may consult the cardiologist again to assess the status of your heart.
9. L.S., Mangalore
* I am 30 years of age. When I was 25 little hair started growing white and now both side of my head hair has become white. What is the reason? Is it due to vitamin deficiency?
** Graying of the hair is the natural phenomenon and there is no “miracle treatment” for turning gray hair back to black color as graying is simply a matter of genetics. It is certainly uncommon for someone your age to be developing gray hair, but not unheard of. There are many people younger than your age having their hair turned gray. Apparently, having gray hair is preferable to many than having them lost prematurely.
There are many causes of premature graying of the hair other than genetics -illness, stress, poor diet/vitamin & mineral deficiency, and certain medical treatments can all be responsible for the hair turning gray. It can also be a simple matter of the genetics dictating that your hair will begin graying at precisely this point in your life. If you think this is not hereditary, you can consult a physician or dermatologist to find the possible causes for your graying hair.
There are no natural methods to get the original color. Only dyes can mask graying. Do not take away by the promises made by many of the “Natural Remedies” you see advertised. These won’t work unless your hair’s graying is a result of vitamin and/or mineral deficiency, which is something that you need to discuss with your physician.
10. D.P. Mangalore
* I am 27 years of age. I am working as a care giver for handicapped child abroad. Sometimes I need to lift him. When doing so I got pain in my back. It is burning type. I consulted a doctor who after the x-ray examination suggested me to do exercises. I do yoga and exercises regularly. But the pain appears now and then. Is this a serious problem? What may be done?
** You seem to be having lumbar muscle sprain or strain. Muscle strains and lumbar sprains are the most common causes of low back pain at your age. A low back muscle strain occurs when the muscle fibers are abnormally stretched or torn. A lumbar sprain occurs when the ligaments, the tough bands of tissue that hold bones together, are strained or sprained from their attachments. Nearly everyone will experience low back pain at some point in their life.
The spine is supported by large muscles called the paraspinal muscles. These muscles both support the spinal column as well as the weight of the upper body. These muscles, ligaments, and bones all work together to provide control and strength for nearly all activities. The lumbar spine and its muscles are needed for most all movements and activities. For this reason, the lumbar spine is prone to injury.
The first step in the treatment of a lumbar muscle strain is to rest the back when there is pain. This will allow the inflammation to subside and control the symptoms of muscle spasm. Bed rest should begin soon after injury, but should not continue beyond about 48 hours. While it is important to rest the injured muscles, it is just as important to not allow the muscle to become weak and stiff. Anti inflammatory analgesics and muscle relaxants are normally advised when the pain is severe. The anti-inflammatory medications help control the inflammation caused by the injury, and also help to reduce pain. Muscle relaxants help in reducing the muscle spasm. Once the acute inflammation has subsided, some simple stretches and exercises should begin. Physiotherapy and exercises are also as important as medications. Once the acute pain has subsided exercises to strengthen the back muscles should be started and continued to prevent recurrence of the pain. You may consult a physiotherapist and learn the appropriate exercises for strengthening the back muscles.
11. M.D, Abu Dhabi
* I am 34 years of age. I have erectile dysfunction for the last two months. I lose erection within two minutes. I joined gym and I am taking health drinks. Is this because of the side effects of this health drinks? I do not drink nor smoke and practice healthy food habits.
** It is difficult to opine whether erectile dysfunction could be due to the health drinks you were using at the gym. If the drinks were with some steroids, (normally used to build muscles in the gymnasium), they may affect the natural hormones and can cause the problem. You stop the drinks for some time; however continue the gym activities and see whether the problem resolves. If not, consult an urologist for advice.
12. V. M. Mangalore
* I am 32 years of age. I am suffering from severe scalp itching and severe dandruff. All type of treatment is done still no improvement. I am so worried.
** Many people mistakenly believe that the dandruff is caused by dry scalp, frequent shampooing or poor hygiene. These popular misconceptions can lead to ineffective and sometimes inappropriate treatments. The dandruff is a medical condition caused by an overabundance of an organism that normally exists on everyone's scalp - even people who don't have the condition. It is a minor infection of the scalp caused by an overabundance of a micro-organism called Pityrosporum ovale (P. ovale), a yeast-like fungus that is part of the normal skin flora.
The rapid growth of P. ovale often is triggered by an imbalance in environmental factors such as climate, heredity, diet, hormones and stress. As the body's natural defenses fight the excessive growth of this organism, the results are the symptoms of dandruff - flaking, scaling and itching.
Under normal conditions, P. ovale yeasts can live on the skin without causing any problems. For example, one study found that yeast-like organisms made up 46 percent of scalp flora in people without dandruff problems; 74 percent in those who had dandruff.
You may consult a skin specialist for proper assessment and treatment. Regular shampooing using Ketaconazole 2% scalp lotion twice or thrice weekly is effective for dandruff.
13. M.S. Mumbai
* I am 48 years and have very severe pain and burning sensation during intercourse, otherwise I am normal, I am shy to see a doctor and I have lost interest in sex, I have no feelings or urge for sex hence I cannot satisfy my husband and this has led to many problems between us and depression in me. Kindly help me. But I do not want to see any doctor. I have done my HIV tests also, and it is negative. I am healthy and sound but my only problem is I am not interested in sex due to pain.
** Your problems are not related to HIV. Why you have done the test? HIV is a specific infection most of the time it is acquired by having sex with infected person.
Most women throughout their lives experience no pain whatsoever when they have intercourse. The vagina is designed for intercourse, and works very well for that purpose under most conditions. But, once in a while, some women experience pain during intercourse. And when they do, they should identify and treat the problem before having intercourse again.
Women have glands on the entrance of the vagina, known as Bartholone glands. These glands, and other smaller glands inside the vagina, are responsible for the lubrication of the vagina when a woman is aroused sexually. However when there is not sufficient arousal, these glands do not produce the secretion. This will result in dry union and painful penetration. Lubrication is also inhibited when a woman has medical problems like hypertension or diabetes mellitus. Certain medications like antihistamines and drugs related to these can cause dryness. Dryness also may be a common feature when the woman is in menopause. At your age dryness due to natural changes is not unusual.
The other most common reason for dryness is not being sufficiently aroused in the moment with the partner. Loss of sexual attraction towards the partner and the inhibition or absence of sexual desire is the other causes of dryness. Improper arousal will dry up and lead to painful sexual play. Of course the more pain the woman has less likely she would relax and would be anticipating pain and thus dry up immediately.
There are two ways to avoid a dry vagina and there by pain during intercourse. The first is to avoid intercourse until woman is sexually aroused. The solution is to know what will arouse you and teach your man how to pleasure you in a way that will work for you. The techniques for arousal differ from woman to woman. Certain woman may like kissing on the lips more sensual and other may like to be aroused through clitoris. Let your partner know what is best for you. You may need proper foreplay for your arousal.
The second way is to use an artificial water-based vaginal lubricant, such as K-Y jelly as a substitute or backup for natural lubricant. Since vaginal secretion is usually an indication of a woman's sexual interest, it is recommend to wait for union till she experiences sexual arousal and natural lubrication. It is better for couples to avoid getting into the habit of sex that's passionless for both. But if natural secretion is an unreliable indicator of the sexual arousal, an artificial lubricant may be used. However prolonged use of artificial lubricants like jelly may not be feasible.
Another common cause of vaginal discomfort during intercourse is bacterial infection. This occurs frequently in women, and an antibiotic will generally cure the problem within a week or so. A related problem is bladder infections. While the problem may be in the bladder or urethra, not in the vagina, it often causes discomfort during intercourse. A visit to the doctor will identify and treat a bacterial infection.
Why are you hesitant to see the doctor? The gynecologists are trained to assess people like you and give proper suggestions and treatment. If you refuse to go to the doctor, your problem may not get the solution.
14. N.F. Udupi
* Is it possible to get pregnant if we have intercourse on 24th/25th day of cycle if the cycle is of 28days?
** Normally in a regular cycle of 28 days the ovulation takes place on the 14th day and the menstrual flow starts 14 days after ovulation. The egg may not remain viable for more than 24 hours (sometimes less than 8 hours) and the sperms ejaculated in the genital tract of the woman may remain viable for about 72 hours. That means even if the sexual intercourse is about 3 days prior to ovulation, the woman may still conceive. But the conception may not take place after 15th day of the cycle. This can not be predicted perfectly in each woman in every cycle because the ovulation may be delayed by days to weeks and woman may conceive even if physical union has taken place in the third week of the cycle; however this is rare.
15. X. Ds, Mumbai
* I am 60 years of age. Why some people go into depression? Does loneliness leads to depression? Does vigorous exercise regularly and good food avoid depression?
** Depression is an extremely complex disease. It occurs for a variety of reasons. Some people experience depression during a serious medical illness. Others may have depression with life changes such as a move or the death of a loved one. Still others have a family history of depression. Those who do may experience depression and feel overwhelmed with sadness and loneliness for no known reason.
Researchers have noted differences in the brains of people who are depressed as compared to people who are not. For instance, the hippocampus, a small part of the brain that is vital to the storage of memories, appears to be smaller in people with a history of depression than in those who've never been depressed. A smaller hippocampus has fewer serotonin receptors. Serotonin is a calming brain chemical known as a neurotransmitter that allows communication between nerves in the brain and the body. Scientists do not know why the hippocampus is smaller in those with depression. Some experts theorize that depressed people are simply born with a smaller hippocampus and are therefore inclined to suffer from depression.
One thing is certain -- depression is a complex illness with many contributing factors. As scientists gain a better understanding of the cause(s) of depression, psychiatrists will be able to make better "tailored" diagnoses and, in turn, prescribe more effective treatment plans.
There is no food that can avoid depression, but good nutrition is required for good health. We know that exercise has positive effects on the brain. Researchers at Duke University demonstrated several years ago that exercise has antidepressant properties. Other research has shown that exercise can improve the brain functioning of the elderly and may even protect against dementia. One theory for some of the benefits of exercise includes the fact that exercise triggers the production of endorphins. These natural opiates are chemically similar to morphine. They may be produced as natural pain relievers in response to the shock that the body receives during exercise. Studies are showing that the body's metabolism of endorphins is complex, and there are likely additional mechanisms involved in the mental health effects of exercise.
Some studies have found that exercise boosts activity in the brain's frontal lobes and the hippocampus. Animal studies have found that exercise increases levels of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters have been associated with elevated mood, and it is thought that antidepressant medications also work by boosting these chemicals.
Exercise has also been found to increase levels of "brain-derived neurotrophic factor" (BDNF). This substance is thought to improve mood, and it may play a role in the beneficial effects of exercise.
16. H. A. Shirva
* Could you please advise if blood group of parents cause any issues for the child? I heard if husband is having o negative blood type, vaccination for mother is required during pregnancy. My blood group is o negative and my wife’s blood group is AB positive.
** There is no problem for an Rh –ve man to marry an Rh +ve woman, the problem is with an Rh –ve woman marrying an Rh+ve man. Let me explain this briefly: People with different blood types have proteins specific to that blood type on the surfaces of their red blood cells (RBCs). There are four blood types — A, B, AB, and O. Each of the four blood types is additionally classified according to the presence of another protein on the surface of RBCs that indicates the Rh factor. If this protein is found then the person is Rh positive and if one does not carry the protein, then the blood is Rh negative. Most people — about 85% — are Rh positive.
But if a Rh negative woman conceives a Rh +ve baby from Rh positive man, there is the potential for a baby to have a health problem. The baby growing inside the Rh-negative mother may have Rh-positive blood, inherited from the father. Approximately half of the children born to an Rh-negative mother and Rh-positive father will be Rh positive.
As you will not have any problem, you need not take injections for Rh incompatibility either during pregnancy or later.
17. P.D. KSA
* I am 37 years of age. I have severe pain in my right breast. Recently I had done a mammogram and the result was normal but was also advised to do ultrasound which detected a very small cyst in the right breast. The doctor said that there was no need to worry and to ignore the pain but should I follow up and do a biopsy?
** The pain may not be because of breast cyst. Consult a general surgeon for proper assessment of the problem.
Breast cysts are fluid filled sacs within the breast. These sacs form when normal milk producing glands enlarge. The cause of this enlargement is not definitely known but is very likely related to an imbalance between the normal production and absorption of fluid. Breast cysts may be solitary (single) but are most commonly multiple and can vary in size from microscopic to larger to a tennis ball.
Breast cysts are common, particularly in women age group of 40-60. Although larger cysts can sometimes be felt as “lumps”, many cysts are undetectable. Breast ultrasound is the most sensitive and accurate method for the identification and diagnosis of breast cysts. With modern ultrasound equipment accuracy rate of 95% to 100% can be expected. In an ultrasound study cysts were found in 30% of pre-menopausal women, in 7% post-menopausal and in 20% of post-menopausal women taking hormone replacement. Only 8% of these cysts could be felt at physical examination, rest all were found only in ultrasound scan.
Virtually all breast cysts identified as “simple cysts” by ultrasound are benign and remain so. It is estimated that perhaps 1 in 1,000 cysts may harbor a tumor (not necessarily malignant). These can usually be identified by their ultrasound appearance. Women with cysts are not at greater risk for the development of cancer although this risk may be minimally elevated if there is a positive family history for breast cancer (mother, sister, and daughter).
Aspiration of the cyst using a needle is a simple and effective technique which serves a dual purpose. It confirms the nature of the lump as “cystic” or “solid” and extracts fluid from a cyst which frequently makes the lump disappear. When a cyst is discovered by ultrasound, aspiration is not generally recommended unless the cyst has some unusual features on the ultrasound image, or the cyst is associated with discomfort (physical or emotional) which can be relieved by aspiration
Breast cysts frequently fluctuate in size. This is commonly seen on routine annual mammograms. They may resolve and entirely disappear. Other than diagnostic aspiration, no other treatment is normally required. The simple cysts do not turn into malignancy.
18. A.P. Bangalore
* I am married and 27 years of age, now working abroad. After marriage I came to know that I have fast ejaculation problem. Initially I thought it is common at the beginning of marriage, but it is almost two years of my marriage and still I am facing same problem. I am completely upset from this; please suggest me what may be done.
** I have explained in detail about this problem in the previous updates of this column. Now there are medicines which might help to prolong the ejaculation if used properly. You may consult an urologist for further guidance.
19. M.R. Kuwait
* I am 25 years old now. I had sex with my partner but each and every time I notice that my penis is not getting complete shape as we see in some adult movies. I feel even after complete hard my penis is half bent. This is making me feel dissatisfied even if I have good physical intercourse. The same is also noticed masturbating. I masturbate regularly. Is this the reason for the problem? Please advice or any medicine if required.
**It is normal; no medical treatment can alter the shape or direction of the erect organ. It is not due to masturbation; masturbation no way affects the sexual organ.
Normally there is no definite shape or direction for the sexual organ. The erect organ normally does not remain straight and can assume different directions and angles in different men. It can curve to left, right, or in any number of directions and angles. Sometimes the curve may be especially pronounced when it's erect. It is quite normal for men to have a slight or even prominent penis curve. The development of the muscles in the base of the penis, connective tissue, and skin create certain unique shapes and curves that vary in men. However in a particular man the direction of the erect organ remains the same and does not alter. Sometimes, the curve straightens out on its own over time. Others may never be perfectly straight. Consulting any specialist or any medicine will be of no use.
20. J.R. Kuwait
* I am 28 years of age. I had unprotected sex about 3 months ago. Two weeks after that I got itching on my organ. I had a complete blood test, but the doctor informed that it was normal. Now I have head ache, throat pain, earache, breathing problems and my body is itching. I have not lost the weight. I am worried about HIV infection.
** The symptoms expressed by you may not be related to HIV infection. In majority of the individuals the HIV infection has no symptoms- that is they do not show any signs of disease as soon as the viruses enter their system. Some people may experience signs and symptoms of HIV, are often mistaken for the flu or a mild viral infection. Initial signs and symptoms of HIV include fever, head ache, tiredness, nausea etc. Most of these symptoms typically resolve in one to four weeks.
The signs and symptoms of HIV infection, when present are similar to those for many different viral infections. The only way to know for sure if you are infected with HIV is to be tested. Many people infected with HIV do not have any signs and symptoms at all for many years. If you have doubt, go for a blood test. The new PCR tests can detect HIV infection as early as in 28 days.