It’s not advisable to use tissue paper during menstrual period —Researcher

It’s not advisable to use tissue paper during menstrual period —Researcher

A medical researcher, Dr. Bamidele Iwalokun, on Thursday condemned the use of tissue paper as sanitary pads by women, saying it could lead to severe health complications.

Iwalokun, who is the Head, Immunology and Vaccinology Research Department, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Yaba, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.

He said that some tissue papers were products of waste paper, and such tissue papers were not hygienic for draining blood during menstruation.

“The habit of using tissue paper in form of sanitary pads is a poor hygiene practice on the part of any woman.

“Because no health policy has supported the use of tissue paper as sanitary pads, it’s a bad behaviour and should not be adopted.

“It doesn’t have any credibility of use. This should be a way of informing women that it carries a serious public health risk.

“The practice places such women at risk of having infection, which may pass through the vagina cavity and enter the bloodstream, creating serious health problems,” Iwalokun said.

The researcher said that the use of tissue paper during menstruation could affect the reproductive organs and that it could lead to other health complications.

“Sometimes, it may be chronic infections that may not give serious symptoms to warrant going to the hospital, but it is indirectly damaging the reproductive system or that pathway.

“One of them is the Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, which many women may not know they have until when issues of infertility comes up, as untreated PID is a major cause of infertility.

“It also depends on the pathogens that are coming from such paper; so, it is important to identify the types of pathogen that are isolated from such tissue papers.

“There must be quality study that will show the various types of pathogens, in order to identify the type of damage it can cause.

“However, women should abstain from the practice of using tissue paper as sanitary pads, in order to avoid such health complications.

“Women should always adopt proper hygiene at all times, especially during their menstrual period,” he counselled.

(NAN)

How to overcome low sperm count

Low sperm count: How to overcome it

by Dr Joel Akande

Low sperm count or as it’s called in medical world, oligospermia, is a major biological and reproductive issue. At the risk of being accused of hyperbole, low sperm count puts survival of humanity at risk. There is no doubt that in some parts of the world, population is increasing such as in Nigeria. But in other regions of the earth, population is diminishing. We all know that even within a country such as Nigeria where population increase is a problem, not everyone desiring a baby gets one because of low sperm count. Low sperm count is common in Nigeria and the rate is increasing, especially amongst the young generations.

All said, the individuals that are suffering from low sperm count are, obviously, very concerned as I have seen in my fertility practice on so many occasions. As the reader may know, a third of infertility issue is due to male issue which in the end is due to low sperm count. Another third is due to female and the couple together shares the remaining third. Yet, in the male factor, low sperm count or oligospermia is a major contributor and indeed, the most significant contributor to the male infertility problem. Quantity or count of sperm is just a part of the sperm problem. Sperm numbers, to be effective, should be in the order of at least 20million. That is not the end of the story.

Quality of the sperm is another great concern. For sperm to be of good quality, the sperm must be able to move actively and freely within the suitable environment of the reproductive tract of the female. The individual sperm must be free from structural abnormalities in shape and form. Fertility doctors are most concerned with sperms that are dead or sluggish even if the quantity is sufficient. Sperms must be able to penetrate the covering of the female egg before or just prior to fertilisation taking place. Failing, low sperm count and low quality of sperm remain a challenge for the childless and the attending fertility physicians.

What causes low sperm count? The life style of men accounts for a significant cause of low sperm count. Obesity and being overweight are major causes of low sperm count along with hypertension and diabetes. Nicotine or cigarette consumption is another reason. Heat around the male reproductive organs (testes and scrotum) constitutes a danger to male fertility.

Heat could impair the normal development of sperms. Heat from wearing tight pants, long distance driving and soaking the testes in hot water bath, are not friendly to sperm development. Heat from long use of laptop placed over the scrotum is a danger to sperms. There is a speculation also of mobile phones placed near the testes, causing impairment to normal sperm development.

Occupation as drivers as well as working in places where one is exposed to industrial chemicals may lead to low sperm count. Medically, infection such as HIV, gonorrhoea, Chlamydia and mumps to mention a few, which may interfere with sperm production, could lead to low sperm count and of poor quality. Remember also that infection from the female reproductive tract may be transferred to the male partner to cause sperm abnormality.

Cancers of reproductive tract may impair sperm development. Ejaculation problem, retrograde ejaculation should be noted as causes of low sperm count. In some cases, testes that are not descended into the scrotum and growths that affect male reproductive tracts are other reasons that account for low sperms. In some unfortunate cases, the sperm may suffer from anti-sperm antibodies that work against the sperm itself.

We should also bear in mind that genetic abnormalities such as Klinefelter syndrome could affect development of the testes and of the sperm production. Some medications even when legitimately prescribed could affect sperm production. This category includes chemotherapy, some antifungal, anti-ulcer medications and antibiotics could all work against sperm quality and quantity. Substances and drug abuse such as cocaine and marijuana could reduce the quality and quantity of sperm

Prevention: Stop smoking. Avoid heating the testes. Avoid hot water bath. Readers in cold clime may have to use shower instead of bath. Wear loose pants or as is recommended, wear boxers instead of pants. Stop use of alcohol and steroids if they are responsible for the low sperm count. Avoid misuse of drugs. Severe and prolonged mental stress could cause low sperm count. Avoid stress whatever it takes. Pesticides could affect sperm count. Avoid it. If you are overweight and obese, lose weight. Regular, structured exercise has been shown to benefit and improve quality of sperms and thus improve conception chances.

Solutions: Thankfully, some of the problems that cause low sperm count can be both prevented and treated. Drugs and medications that cause oligospermia can be stopped to allow the testes and sperm production to recover.

In some cases, surgery may be required to correct any abnormality discovered. There are some supporting medications, which fertility doctors can use to boost sperm quality and count. If everything else fails, fertility treatment such as in vitro fertilization or assisted conception may be called for.

Credit: The Nation

Causes, treatment, prevention of meningitis

CAUSES, TREATMENT, PREVENTION OF MENINGITIS

Medically reviewed by George Krucik, MD, MBA on January 12, 2016 — Written by Verneda Lights and Elizabeth Boskey, PhD

What Is Meningitis?
Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges. The meninges are the three membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis can occur when fluid surrounding the meninges becomes infected.
The most common causes of meningitis are viral and bacterial infections. Other causes may include:
cancer
chemical irritation
fungi
drug allergies
Viral and bacterial meningitis are contagious. They can be transmitted by coughing, sneezing, or close contact.

Types of Meningitis
Viral and bacterial infections are the most common causes of meningitis. There are several other forms of meningitis. Examples include cryptococcal, which is caused by a fungal infection, and carcinomatous, which is cancer-related. These types are rare.

Viral Meningitis
Viral meningitis is the most common type of meningitis. Viruses in the Enterovirus category cause 85 percent of cases. These are more common during the summer and fall, and they include:
coxsackievirus A
coxsackievirus B
echoviruses
Viruses in the Enterovirus category cause about 10 to 15 million infections per year, but only a small percentage of people who get infected will develop meningitis.
Other viruses can cause meningitis. These include:

West Nile virus
influenza
mumps
HIV
measles
herpes viruses
Coltivirus , which causes Colorado tick fever

Viral meningitis typically goes away without treatment.

Bacterial Meningitis
Bacterial meningitis is contagious and caused by infection from certain bacteria. It’s fatal if left untreated. Between 5 to 40 percent of children and 20 to 50 percent of adults with this condition die. This is true even with proper treatment.
The most common types of bacteria that cause bacterial meningitis are:
Streptococcus pneumoniae , which is typically found in the respiratory tract, sinuses, and nasal cavity and can cause what’s called “pneumococcal meningitis”
Neisseria meningitidis , which is spread through saliva and other respiratory fluids and causes what’s called “meningococcal meningitis”

Haemophilus influenza , which can cause not only meningitis but infection of the blood, inflammation of the windpipe, cellulitis, and infectious arthritis
Listeria monocytogenes , which is a foodborne bacteria
How Contagious Is Meningitis? »
SYMPTOMS
What Are the Symptoms of Meningitis?
The symptoms of viral and bacterial meningitis can be similar in the beginning. However, bacterial meningitis symptoms are usually more severe. The symptoms also vary depending on your age.

Viral Meningitis Symptoms
Viral meningitis in infants may cause:
decreased appetite
irritability
sleepiness
lethargy
a fever
In adults, viral meningitis may cause:
headaches
a fever
stiff neck
seizures
sensitivity to bright light
sleepiness
lethargy
nausea
decreased appetite

Bacterial Meningitis Symptoms
Bacterial meningitis symptoms develop suddenly. They may include:
altered mental status
nausea
vomiting
a sensitivity to light
irritability
a headache
a fever
a stiff neck

Seek immediate medical attention if you experience these symptoms. Bacterial meningitis can be deadly. There’s no way to know if you have bacterial or viral meningitis just by judging how you feel. Your doctor will need to perform tests to determine which type you have.

COMPLICATIONS
What Are the Complications from Meningitis?
These complications are typically associated with meningitis:
seizures
hearing loss
brain damage
hydrocephalus
a subdural effusion, or a buildup of fluid between the brain and the skull

RISK FACTORS
What Are the Risk Factors for Meningitis?
The following are some of the risk factors for meningitis:
Compromised Immunity
People with an immune deficiency are more vulnerable to infections. This includes the infections that cause meningitis. Certain disorders and treatments can weaken your immune system. These include:
HIV
AIDS
autoimmune disorders
chemotherapy
organ or bone marrow transplants
Cryptococcal meningitis, which is caused by a fungus, is the most common form of meningitis in people with HIV or AIDS.
Community Living
Meningitis is easily spread when people live in close quarters. Being in small spaces increase the chance of exposure. Examples of these locations include:
college dormitories
barracks
boarding schools
day care centres
Pregnancy
Pregnant women have an increased risk of listeriosis, which is an infection caused by the
Listeria bacteria. Infection can spread to the unborn child.
Age
All ages are at risk for meningitis. However, certain age groups have a higher risk. Children under the age of 5 are at increased risk of viral meningitis. Infants are at higher risk of bacterial meningitis.
Working with Animals
Farm workers and others who work with animals have an increased risk of infection with Listeria .

DIAGNOSIS
How Is Meningitis Diagnosed?
Diagnosing meningitis starts with a health history and physical exam. Age, dorm residence, and day care centre attendance can be important clues. During the physical exam, your doctor will look for:
a fever
an increased heart rate
neck stiffness
reduced consciousness
Your doctor will also order a lumbar puncture. This test is also called a spinal tap. It allows your doctor to look for increased pressure in the central nervous system. It can also find inflammation or bacteria in the spinal fluid. This test can also help determine the best antibiotic for treatment.
Other tests may also be ordered to diagnose meningitis. Common tests include the following:
Blood cultures identify bacteria in the blood. Bacteria can travel from the blood to the brain. N. meningitidis and S. pneumoniae can cause both sepsis and meningitis.
A complete blood count with differential is a general index of health. It checks the number of red and white blood cells in your blood. White blood cells fight infection. The count is usually elevated in meningitis.
Chest X-rays can reveal the presence of pneumonia, tuberculosis, or fungal infections. Meningitis can occur after pneumonia.
A CT scan of the head may show problems like a brain abscess or sinusitis. Bacteria can spread from the sinuses to the meninges.

TREATMENTS
How Is Meningitis Treated?
Your treatment is determined by the cause of your meningitis.
Bacterial meningitis requires immediate hospitalisation. Early diagnosis and treatment will prevent brain damage and death. Bacterial meningitis is treated with intravenous antibiotics. There’s no specific antibiotic for bacterial meningitis. It depends on the bacteria involved.
Fungal meningitis is treated with antifungal agents.
Viral meningitis isn’t treated. It usually resolves on its own. Symptoms should go away within two weeks. There are no serious long-term problems associated with viral meningitis.

PREVENTION
How Is Meningitis Prevented?
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, especially if you’re at increased risk, is important. This includes things like:
getting adequate amounts of rest
not smoking
avoiding contact with sick people
If you’ve been in close contact with one or more people who have a bacterial meningococcal infection, your doctor can give you preventive antibiotics. This will decrease your changes of developing the disease.
Vaccinations can also protect against certain types of meningitis. Vaccines that can prevent meningitis include the following:
Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) vaccine
pneumococcal conjugate vaccine
meningococcal vaccine
How Can I Avoid Getting Meningitis? »
Who Should Be Vaccinated Against Meningococcal Meningitis?
These five groups are considered at risk and should get a meningitis vaccine:

college freshmen who live in dorms and haven’t been vaccinated
adolescents who are 11 to 12 years old
new high school students who haven’t been vaccinated
people traveling to countries where meningococcal disease is common
children who are ages 2 or older and who don’t have a spleen or have a compromised immune system

Understanding Cataracts: Causes, Prevention And Treatment

Understanding Cataracts: Causes, Prevention And Treatment

BY DR ZUBAIR ABDULHI

A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens. It is the most common cause of vision loss in people over age 40. It is also the principal cause of blindness in the world affecting more than 20 million people globally with over 51% of them in developing countries like Nigeria. It is speculated that over 600,000 Nigerians may have cataracts by the year 2020.The lens is a clear part of the eye behind your iris that helps to focus light or an image on the retina, which helps us to see via a complex mechanism.

The lens must be clear for the retina to receive a sharp image. If the lens is cloudy from a cataract, the image will appear blurry, cloudy, misty or faded.

Types of cataracts

Cataracts develop slowly and can be found in one or both eyes. It cannot spread from one eye to the other. There are three types of cataracts:
• A subcapsular cataract occurs at the back of the lens. It is common in diabetics.
• A nuclear cataract forms in the central area of the lens.
• A cortical cataract starts in the periphery of the lens and works its way to the centre in a spoke-like fashion.

What causes cataracts?

Ageing is the commonest cause of cataracts. Yet, certain things make it more likely that a person will develop cataracts.
• Secondary cataract can form after surgery for other eye problems like glaucoma.
• Cataracts can also develop in people who have other health problems like diabetes.
• Cataracts are sometimes linked to steroid use.
• Cataracts can develop after an eye injury, sometimes years later.
• Some babies are born with cataracts or develop them in childhood, often in both eyes. These are usually due to maternal infections.
• Cataracts can develop after exposure to some types of radiation.

Symptoms

• Your sight is misty and cloudy. You may feel like your glasses are dirty and need cleaning, even when they don’t.
• Colours seem faded or look a little more washed out than they should be.
• Double vision.
• Frequent prescription changes.
•Sensitivity to light and glare – headlights, lamps or sunlight may seem too bright. You may also see a halo around lights.
• Night blindness.

How can one prevent the development of cataracts?

Besides elderliness, there are risk factors for cataracts. They can be managed to reduce the onset and severity of symptoms as well as the progression of cataract. These steps include:
• Control your blood sugar and blood pressure if you are diabetic and/or hypertensive.
• Wear appropriate eye wears to shield the eyes from ultraviolet radiation from sunlight and other sources.
• Keep fit and maintain a healthy weight.
• Quit smoking.
• Use steroid-containing medications only on doctor’s orders.
• Protect your eyes from trauma during sports and avoid violence.
• Reduce your alcohol consumption.
• Eat more fruits and vegetables.

Cataract treatment.

The definitive treatment for cataracts is surgery with the replacement of the lens using an artificial lens. The procedure is very safe and patients regain near perfect vision after the procedure. N.B: If you think you have a cataract, see an eye doctor for an exam to find out for sure.

Habits To Curb Mouth Odour

Habits To Curb Mouth Odour

By Millicent Arebun Onuoha

Everyone, at one point or the other in life, has had to deal with bad breath. Unfortunately, if the smell does not improve after brushing, flossing, and rinsing the mouth with an alcohol-free mouthwash, it may be chronic.

Consistently having bad breath is not only off-putting but can morph into a health issue with life threatening consequences if left unchecked.

Bad breath, also called halitosis in medical terms, is the emanation of a foul smell or odour from the mouth cavity. This odour can originate in the mouth, throat or tonsils and can be acutely embarrassing to anyone. The condition which afflicts approximately 50 per cent of the world population is brought on by consistent unhealthy oral hygiene and lifestyle.

The oral odour is usually caused by a group of anaerobic, sulphur-producing bacteria that breed beneath the surface of the tongue and often in the throat and tonsil area. The term ‘anaerobic’ literally means living without oxygen, and in fact, these bacteria do not require oxygen to live. They occur naturally in the oral environment and are essential because they assist in digestion by breaking down proteins into amino acids.

As these bacteria feast on proteins in the mouth, sulphur compounds are released from the back of the tongue and throat. The bacteria excrete waste as hydrogen sulphide, methyl mercaptan, and other odorous and bad tasting compounds known as volatile sulphur compounds. As long as the anaerobic bacteria feed on proteins and excrete volatile sulphur compounds unchecked, your breath will become worse and worse.

The good news is that; with a few simple adjustments to food, lifestyle and oral hygiene, anyone afflicted with chronic bad breath can breathe easy without fear of embarrassment.

Listed below are 11 simple and super easy self-care techniques to help minimise and eliminate bad breath.

1. Prevention: This is always better and less expensive than cure, so develop and cultivate the right habits always.

2. Proper oral care: Brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day. Be sure to get a toothbrush with soft bristles (as to not damage tooth enamel or gums) and also use fluoride toothpaste. Brushing and flossing helps to remove any food and plaque which can be used as a fuel source by the anaerobic, sulphur-producing bacteria that are at the root of this problem.

3. Brush occasionally with baking soda: The bacteria that causes bad breath thrives in an acidic oral environment. Brushing your teeth with baking soda helps neutralise excess acid found in the oral cavity.

4. Eat foods rich in fibre: High fibre foods help prevent halitosis. Avoid or reduce your intake of heavily processed foods that contain refined carbohydrates such as cookies, cakes, sweets and ice cream.

5. Stimulate your salivary flow: Prevent dry mouth with chewing gum, lozenges, or mints that are sugar free.

6. Never use alcohol based mouthwash: Some mouthwash or oral rinses are effective at preventing bad breath. However, you should never use alcohol based mouthwashes because the alcohol makes the mouth very dry, which will actually make the problem worse.

7. Drink green and black tea: They contain polyphenols that help eliminate sulphur compounds and reduce oral bacteria.

8. Avoid products with sodium lauryl sulphate or alcohol: Do not use any oral hygiene products that contain sodium lauryl sulphate or alcohol because the alcohol makes the mouth very dry, one of the most common causes of bad breath.

9. Clean your mouth after eating meat, fish or dairy products: Practicing consistent and thorough oral hygiene is an effective prevention tool.

10. Stop smoking: Studies have shown that smokers are at higher risk of developing periodontal disease and dry mouth. Furthermore, people who smoke may also engage in other habits that promote this condition such as dieting, drinking alcohol, and suffering from chronic anxiety conditions that require exacerbating prescription medications.

11. Eliminate dairy products from your diet: Lactose intolerance can be an underlying cause of halitosis.

Credit: Leadership

Dental pain and what you should do

Dental pain and what you should do


by Dr Joel Akande   

Pain is an indicator of an underlying disease process. Pain in itself is not an illness, but a foreteller of an impairment requiring our attention.  Dental pain is any form of pain that relates to the lower jaw, upper jaw, cheeks and teeth structures. This distinction is important so that readers may know that dentists (doctors that deal with dental issues) are more suitable to deal with some disease states.

What causes dental pain? To start with, we need to understand that everyday of our lives, we use our mouth to eat food and drink water and other liquids. To chew the food into pieces for easy digestion, we need our teeth. Our tongue helps us to move the food around our mouth. The saliva that we produce helps to moisten the food and soften it before we pass the food into the stomach for digestion. We also need to drink water, especially to facilitate the breakdown of the food for easy digestion. As it so happens in any bone and joints that are in constant use, over time our teeth undergo wear and tear. As we also try to clean our teeth, our toothbrush and chewing sticks push back on the gums as we age.

Similarly, as is the case in all abuse scenarios, if we misuse our food and drink or apply inappropriate substances on our teeth and mouth, we may accelerate diseases affecting our teeth, gums and tongue. Thus, decay in our teeth may be due to poor personal oral hygiene. This decay may affect the gums and the teeth in which case we call the tooth decay as caries and the gum decay as gingivitis. Both of these may cause us incredible pain in our mouth.

Poor brushing habit with hard brush which may not be appropriate for our teeth may cause the gums to recede and become painful. Consumption of fast food, sweets, “chocolates,”sugary substances, especially as often the case in children often results in dental caries and gingivitis. This is even more likely to be so if the oral hygiene is poor.  Long term alcohol misuse combined with poor oral cleaning is a risk that may lead to dental caries.  Similarly, use of substances that distort the brain so much that the individual is unable to look after himself or herself could also lead to serious oral pain. Other causes of painful oral experience are physical injuries such as accidents and falls or assaults on the mouth and jaws.

How does oral pain present itself? Pain in the mouth may be so severe that the patient may have to look for help wherever he or she can get help. The pain may be accompanied with mouth swelling, bad mouth odour, inability to eat or swallow food or drink. The pain could radiate to affect the ears, throat and the facial areas. Simple painkiller may not be so helpful after a while. If it occurs at night, sleep can be impaired. Headache may occur severely.

Home Solutions: At the outset of noticing the pain, try to use paracetamol for not more than a day. Use a little salt in warm water to gaggle the mouth and throat. To some extent, these measures may lessen the pain temporarily. While this relief is in place, head to the nearest dentist or a physician as soon as possible. The physician will liaise with dentist colleagues to deal with the excruciating pain.

Specialist care: Oral pain and dental issues, not just for pain, are specialist matters that are best handled by dentists. Once you notice changes in your teeth, feel pain, can’t tolerate cold or hot water in your teeth, then it’s time to see a dentist.

Prevention:  Readers are advised to brush and clean their mouth at least twice (morning and night) in a day, using clean water, moderately hard brush or soft brush that is suitable for you. Occasionally, maybe one to twice in a week, only use mouth solutions to subdue oral bacteria, but not remove them entirely. Dentists advise that oral mouth solutions should be used sparingly. Take care of your teeth and mouth so that they can last you your lifetime.

Credit: The Nation

Best way to prevent recurring boil

Cleanliness, best way to prevent recurring boil — Expert

An occupational health doctor, Dr. Lekan Adelakun, discusses boil and its treatments with TOPE OMOGBOLAGUN

How would you define boil?

A boil is an infection on the skin caused by a germ called ‘staphylococcus aureus’. It is the commonest cause of boil on the body.

What causes recurring boil?

Staph aureus is a normal commensal of our body; a part and parcel of our skin. It is normally a part of our lives, it doesn’t cause us harm in whatever way. But the moment there is a break in the continuity of the skin and it penetrates, it causes harm.

Usually one is likely to have a boil when one plucks or shaves one’s hair from the body and there is a small cut, it heals. The next time you shave and the same occurs,a person is likely to have a recurrence of boil.

The follicle of the hair is an easy way for germ to penetrate, a break in the skin is also an avenue to allow germ access the body.

Is this why people have boils more in their private areas?

Yes, that explains it especially when they shave those areas. Also, the issue of cleanliness is also a major factor. We sweat a lot in those areas because they are not as open as other areas. If attention is not paid to those areas, they will invite germs easily.

What are the symptoms of boil?

It is an infection and one of the major symptoms of infection is swelling and pain. Boil comes with a pain, and then goes away gradually. Usually, a boil starts as a hard, red, painful lump. After some days, the lump becomes softer, larger and more painful. Soon a pocket of pus forms on the top of the boil.

How can boil be treated?

Usually what happens is that one has boil under with a little pore on it. What one can do is to give it a warm compression. Clean it regularly and wash several times for about four or five times daily. Whenever one watches it, one should give it a warm compression. That will help to relieve one and also soften the boil. In most cases, we put people on antibiotics. If it is not a big one, it will start to resolve from the edges or eventually becomes big enough and it has a point. If it has to be broken or incised, then it must be done in the hospital.

Are complications from the condition responsible for cases when some people underwent surgeries to remove boil?

It shouldn’t be but if the boil has pores, it can be extremely painful depending on where it is, because it exerts so much pressure like when one has whitlow. When it gets to that stage, it becomes extremely painful and because of the pain, a person can go to the hospital. The doctors will do what we call higher incision and drainage and then the patient will take antibiotics. Otherwise, if it didn’t get to that level and one does warm compression and take antibiotics, it will disappear. One can treat it conservatively but when it gets to a higher level of pain and it becomes a carbuncle, then it requires a higher level of treatment.

What does it signify when a person has recurring boil?

One of the things that we, as medical practitioners watch out for when people have recurring boil, is their sugar level. We want to know if they are not diabetic or have high sugar level. The way the mouth loves sugar is the same way germs love sugar. One of the things manifesting in diabetic people is recurring boil. Also when one shaves and has a boil, does the same thing again and the situation occurs, it is normal for the place to become hardened. When one shaves that place again and it tends to have more cuts than the natural skin, one is likely to have a recurrence there.

Is it effective to apply shea butter to boil?

I don’t have a problem with applying shea butter to boil. Wash the place very well, damp it with a warm pack for about 10 to 15 minutes and apply the shea butter. Just ensure that you sterilise the warm pack that you use. I have no problem with applying shea butter for treating boil at all.

What is your opinion about over-the-counter drugs to treat boil?

There are some things that their treatment is simple. One has a painful infection and desires to get rid of the pain. Analgesic, non-steroidal and inflammatory drugs are over-the-counter drugs. One can buy them to relieve the pain because one knows they are good for pain relief. Antibiotics generally should be by prescription. People are not supposed to have access to such drugs because they lead to resistance. For instance, we have what is called methicillin resistance staphylococcus infection; it is a resistance to antibiotics due to abuse of the drug. We take too much antibiotics in this country because we have access to it. People even get it in a bus. We have different kind of germs with different sensitivity. Thus, one should get medical personnel to tell which of the antibiotics is best for one’s condition. Incidentally because staphylococcus is part of our life, it has got used to the individual and environmental abuses and has become largely resistance to common drugs. It is better for doctors to prescribe the right drug for that purpose. Take a history look at it for that purpose. One should be unable to buy antibiotics over-the-counter but for analgesics, yes.

Why do babies have boil?

Babies are handled a lot and they have little resistance. They are exposed to the environment and because they have little resistance, environmental factors affect them a little bit more. It is from exposure that they develop more resistance overtime. Babies will naturally come down with things in the process of growing; they tend to come up with some things and boil is one of them.

What is the relationship between boil and carbuncle?

A boil is officially called a carbuncle when there is an aggregation of two or three boils spread together to become something large. It is like a bigger brother to boil. In most situation of carbuncle, you have to end up with incision and drainage.

What differentiates a boil from other swellings on the body?

Other thing you are likely to have like that is cyst and other minor swellings on the body but usually they are not painful. Boil is an infection. If one has acne on the skin like pimples, unless it comes with racketing and gets infected, that is when it becomes painful. But for boil, the moment it starts to develop, it comes with pain. In fact, most times, what attracts attention to boil is the pain before one sees the swelling.

How does one handle the itch associated with boil?

Usually, boil doesn’t come with itch; its major symptom is pain. Part of the healing process in a lot of condition is for one to experience an itch. It is not part of the symptoms. Usually, when one has wound or surgery and it is healing, it comes with an itch. It is part of the healing process, not in any way particular to boil.

What is your advice on how to treat boil?

The first thing or the critical thing about boil or any other diseases generally is prevention and that starts with education. I said a germ called staph causes boil when there is a break in the continuity of the skin. Everything associated with infection is traceable to uncleanliness. The cleaner one is, the less one’s chances of getting infected. Personal and environmental hygiene are major preventive measures.

Also, when one wants to shave, one should do it in a way that one wouldn’t be injured. When you shave; clean the place well. Wash the part with soap and water after shaving. You don’t have to apply spirit, wash with soap and plenty water. The moment you finish shaving, wash thoroughly with soap and water. Don’t break your skin and once you do, make sure you clean well. If we keep to personal and environment hygiene, we will not be prone to infection.

Top ways to prevent Urinary Tract Infections

Top ways to prevent Urinary Tract Infections

By Nini Iyizoba .

Remember that time when you were running to the bathroom every second to urinate? Oh and remember that most times, there would be a burning painful sensation every time you urinated.
But you blamed it on your partner then because you could have sworn that he or she had given you a sexually transmitted infection.

Only for you to find out later that infact it was a urinary tract infection (UTI). How embarrassing that must have been but you are not alone.

Urinary tract Infections are very common, affecting more than 150 million people a year, and just like you most people presenting with such symptoms automatically think it’s a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Urinary tract infection is an infection that happens along your urinary tract or in the kidneys. It is caused by bacteria around your genitals that enters your urinary tract.

Some people can get a UTI after sex but that does not necessarily mean it’s an STI, although sex can be another way for bacteria to enter your body from the outside.

There are several bacterial strains that can cause a UTI, from Escherichia coli to Enterococcus faecalis. People that present with UTIs usually have classic symptoms; hence it is most times a clinical diagnosis made by the doctor.

Majority of people that present with such symptoms such as dysuria (painful urination), urinary frequency, and urinary urgency most likely have a urinary tract infection.

Your doctor might choose to do a Urine culture and/or Urinalysis to ascertain it.

Since it is bacterial infection, antibiotics such as Fluroquinolones taken for about 3-7 days are the drug of choice depending on the severity.

Sometimes your doctor would go ahead and start treating even before urine culture and urinalysis test results are out.

This is because we do not want the bacterial infection to progress to even more severe condition such as acute pyelonephritis which is kidney inflammation; hence treatment is started immediately.

If the patient has symptoms such as abdominal pain, back pain (due to inflamed and infected kidneys) in addition to above symptoms, then the UTI has most likely progressed to pyelonephritis.

In such scenarios, the patient would have to be admitted and given IV antibiotics till the patient starts feeling better then you can discharge and continue oral antibiotics for 2 weeks.

UTIs are common infections and are easily treated with antibiotics. In fact, approximately, 60 % of people will experience a UTI at least once in their lifetime.

It is very important to quickly identify and treat UTIs in order to avoid this severe condition known as pyelonephritis which is when your kidneys are infected and inflamed.

20-30% of patients with untreated UTI will develop pyelonephritis so if you are experiencing such symptoms, please visit your nearest medical centre or talk to your doctor.

Hygiene also plays a major role in preventing UTIs, here are some tips on how to remain UTI free.

#1 Rule – Always wipe from front to back after urinating. This will prevent germs from being transferred from anus to urinary opening.

Try to urinate at least 20-30 minutes after sexual intercourse. This will reduce the chances of transferring post coital bacteria into the urinary tract.

Avoid taking prolonged bubble baths, because the water maybe contaminated and therefore, prolonged stay may allow the bacteria to reach urinary opening.

Therefore, ladies, think twice before running yourself a hot bubble bath, take a warm shower instead.

Please don’t hold your urine for long periods at a time, holding your urine will only give the bacteria a chance to multiply.

Drink plenty of fluids especially water not soft drinks or juice concentrates.

The only juice you are permitted to drink is cranberry juice. Water and cranberry help to flush out bacteria from the urinary tract.

Avoid using scented vaginal products such as scented douches and sprays because they can cause UTIs and other infections.

Stay away from all these perfumed products designed for your intimate area, they are harmful. Avoid too much sugary foods as excess sugar decreases your body’s ability to fight infections.

Credit The Guardian

Understanding causes, symptoms of piles

Understanding causes, symptoms of piles

By Anthony Nwaoney

Haemorrhoids (also known as piles) are swollen and inflamed veins in the rectum or anus

Haemorrhoids (also known as piles) are swollen and inflamed veins in the rectum or anus.
Typical symptoms are pain, itching and bleeding around the anal area.

Treatment and prevention will often involve non-prescription ointments, other home treatments and lifestyle changes.

Haemorrhoids that don’t clear up may require a visit to your doctor and, in some cases, minor surgery.

Causes
The exact cause of haemorrhoids is unknown. However, they are associated with an increase in pressure in the lower rectum, which can cause the blood vessels in the lower rectum to become swollen and inflamed.

The following factors can increase pressure within the lower rectum and hence may increase the risk of developing haemorrhoids: Straining to have a bowel movement; Sitting for long periods of time, especially on the toilet; Chronic (long lasting) constipation or diarrhoea; Being overweight or obese; Pregnancy; Anal intercourse; Low-fibre diet; Spinal cord injury; Poor posture; and Family history of haemorrhoids.

Haemorrhoids are common and occur in most people at some stage during their lives. They tend to occur more frequently later in life due to age-related weakening and stretching of the tissues supporting the veins in the rectum and anus.

Signs and symptoms of haemorrhoids may include: Pain or discomfort, especially when sitting; Pain during bowel movements; Itching or irritation around the anal region; Bright red blood on your stools, toilet paper or in the toilet bowl; Swelling around the anus; and one or more lumps near the anus, which might be tender or painful.

Treatment
Most cases of haemorrhoids can be self-treated. More serious or repeat cases may require medication or a surgical procedure. Haemorrhoids can recur after treatment; hence, they are controlled rather than cured.

Self-treatment
Home treatment is often all that is required to relieve mild pain, swelling, and inflammation associated with haemorrhoids.

Home treatments include: Use of non-prescription haemorrhoid ointments, creams, suppositories, or pads containing a mild corticosteroid, e.g. hydrocortisone, or witch hazel extract; Soaking the anal area in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes two or three times a day; Using stool softeners, which help stools to be passed more easily; Ensuring that the anal area is kept clean by bathing or showering daily – soap is not necessary, and the affected area can be dried with a hair dryer; Using moist towels or wet toilet paper (that do not contain perfume or alcohol) rather than dry toilet paper, to help keep the anal area clean after passing a stool; Applying ice packs or cold compresses on the affected area can relieve swelling; Taking oral pain medication, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, can help to relieve discomfort.

Prevention
Keeping your stools soft is the best way to prevent haemorrhoids from occurring.

The following steps can help to prevent haemorrhoids from occurring and reduce symptoms of existing haemorrhoids: Eat high-fibre foods; Drink plenty of fluids; Consider using fibre supplements; Avoid straining when on the toilet; Go to the toilet as soon as you feel the urge; and Get plenty of exercise.

• Lose weight if you are overweight

• Avoid sitting for long periods

• Avoid taking medication that can cause constipation, example codeine-based painkillers

Credit: The Guardian

What men should know about prostate cancer

World Cancer Day: What men should know about prostate cancer — Professor

Ebuka Onyeji

Oseremen Aisuodionoe-Shadrach, health expert on prostate cancer.
Monday was World Cancer Day; an international event marked on February 4 to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment.

Cancer is when abnormal cells divide uncontrollably. Also called malignancy, it is an abnormal growth of cells and may eventually spread into other tissues.

Some types of cancer cause rapid cell growth, while others cause cells to grow and divide at a slower rate. There are more than 200 different types of cancer. It develops anywhere in the body.

Of the many common types of this ailment, prostate cancer is the second most common and sixth leading cause of cancer deaths among men globally. In spite of this, awareness of prostate cancer seems low when compared to other types of cancer.

Prostate cancer is to men what breast cancer or cervical cancer is to women. It has the potential to grow and spread quickly. But for most men, it is a relatively slow growing disease.

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that is part of the male reproductive system. It is located beneath the urinary bladder and in front of the rectum.

The prostate makes some of the fluid that nourishes and protects sperm cells in the semen. Just behind the prostate are the seminal vesicles, which make most of the fluid for the semen.

In this interview with PREMIUM TIMES, Oseremen Aisuodione-Shadrach, the principal investigator of the Abuja site for MADCAP Network study in Nigeria, explains why black men should be wary of prostate cancer.

Men of African Descent and Carcinoma of the Prostate (MADCAP) is the ‘largest study to date’ to explore the genetic causes of prostate cancer in men of African descent, according to the network.

Mr Aisuodione-Shadrach, a professor of Urology at the University of Abuja, also shed light on what men should know about prostate cancer.

What are the most common signs or symptoms of prostate cancer?

Aisuodione-Shadrach: Often, early-stage prostate cancer has no symptoms or signs. It is usually found through a PSA test or DRE, a process called screening. If a PSA test or DRE indicates that prostate cancer may be present, more monitoring and testing is needed to diagnose prostate cancer. When prostate cancer does cause symptoms or signs, it is usually diagnosed in a later stage. These symptoms and signs may include frequent urination, weak or interrupted urine flow or the need to strain to empty the bladder, blood in the urine and blood in the seminal fluid.

If cancer has spread outside of the prostate gland, a man may experience pain in the back, hips, thighs, shoulders, or other bones, swelling or fluid build up in the legs or feet, unexplained weight loss or fatigue.

What are the major causes of prostate cancer?

Aisuodione-Shadrach: Age: The risk of prostate cancer increases with age, especially after age 50. More than 80 per cent of prostate cancers are diagnosed in men who are 65 or older.

Race/ethnicity: Black men have a higher risk of prostate cancer than white men. They are also more likely to develop prostate cancer at an earlier age and to have more aggressive tumours that grow quickly. The exact reasons for these differences are not known and may involve genetic, socioeconomic or other factors.

Family history: Prostate cancer that runs in the family, called familial prostate cancer, occurs about 20 per cent of the time. This type of prostate cancer develops because of a combination of shared genes and shared environmental or lifestyle factors.

Several types of research attribute the high prevalence of prostate cancer among black men to genetic factors. How true is this?

Aisuodione-Shadrach: Different factors cause different types of cancer. Researchers continue to look into what factors cause prostate cancer and make the condition especially worse in black men and men of African descent. The purpose of the on-going research efforts is to ascertain without any reason to doubt that genetic factors must be responsible for this racial disparity in outcomes among patients with prostate cancer. Although there is no proven way to completely prevent this disease, you may be able to lower your risk.

Can prostate be transferred genetically?

Aisuodione-Shadrach: There is sufficient reason to believe so. This is because if a man has a first-degree relative, meaning a father, brother, or son; with prostate cancer, his risk of developing prostate cancer is two to three times higher than the average risk. This risk increases even further with the number of relatives diagnosed with prostate cancer.

How can men check for early signs of prostate cancer?

Aisuodione-Shadrach: The only way to do this is by screening. Screening is used to look for cancer before you have any symptoms or signs. When cancer is found earlier, it is often at an earlier stage. This means that there is a better chance of successfully treating the cancer. To screen for prostate cancer, a man needs to have a digital rectal examination (DRE) and a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test.

How do you manage prostate cancer?

Aisuodione-Shadrach: This depends on at what stage of the disease that the patient was diagnosed. If it is early prostate cancer, the entire prostate containing cancer is removed in an operation called radical prostatectomy. However, if the cancer is advanced, there are other methods of management that will be discussed with the patient.

What is the statistics of men living with prostate cancer in Nigeria?

Aisuodione-Shadrach: Prostate cancer is a leading cancer diagnosis and cause of cancer-related deaths among men. It is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Nigerian men with an estimated hospital prevalence of between 127 to 182.5 per 100,000 male admissions in the hospital. Until large scale population studies are done in the country, the actual population prevalence will be difficult to estimate.

Can regular sex help reduce chances of prostate cancer development?

Aisuodione-Shadrach: There is no conclusive evidence at the moment that this is true. Some studies have suggested that men with a higher frequency of ejaculations may have a slightly lower risk of prostate cancer. However, this difference appears to be very small while other studies haven’t supported this conclusion.

Ebuka Onyeji
Ebuka Onyeji is a health reporter at PREMIUM TIMES. He also has a penchant for music and art. Ebuka holds a degree in Mass communication from Anambra State University.