How Bacterial Vaginosis Is Treated

February 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is a bacterial infection of the vagina caused by the imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the woman’s genitalia. Not many women know that they have this infection and the best way to find out is by going to their gynecologists to make sure if they have it or not. Once in the doctor’s office, a sample of the patient’s discharge will be taken as well as an ocular examination of the cervix. The sample is then taken to the laboratory to see if there is an infection or not.

What happens if one has bacterial vaginosis? Is it treatable? What are the treatments available for bacterial vaginosis?

Once diagnosed, the patient is usually asked to take antibiotics as treatment for the infection. Metronidazole is the type of antibiotic given to patients with bacterial vaginosis. Metronidazole can be taken orally or by gel form. Another antibiotic which can cure this infection is a vaginal clindamycin cream.

There have been findings that Metronidazole when taken orally may have some side effects but it is considered to be the most effective way to cure this type of infection. A milder type of antibiotic which doesn’t have that many side effects is Tinidazole. These medicines may not be given to women who are pregnant since they may have adverse effects on the fetus.

There have been studies showing that those who take antibiotics to cure bacterial infections experience a repeat infection just a few weeks after taking their antibiotics. This is why there are people who would rather take natural cures for bacterial vaginosis since natural cures work by strengthening and enhancing the body’ own resources ensuring that an imbalance of good and bad bacteria will not happen.

Some home remedies to cure bacterial vaginosis include drinking cranberry juice daily until the infection goes away. Taking 1-2 garlic capsules a day until the infection is gone is another alternative. Likewise, eating yoghurt and drinking fresh milk with bacterial culture may also cure bacterial vaginosis.

Compared to its medicinal counterparts, home remedies or natural cures for bacterial vaginosis may take some time to take effect. While antibiotics can offer relief within a few days, home remedies usually take twice or even thrice the waiting time for the effect to kick in.

The good thing about taking natural remedies is that it does not disrupt one’s system and it doesn’t harm one’s internal organs such as the kidneys. There have been studies showing an adverse effect on the kidneys of people who have been taking medications for long periods of time. Since taking in antibiotics is not a one-time thing, drinking antibiotics from time to time, the kidneys could possibly be affected.

Whichever type of treatment one chooses, the most important thing is to cure the infection that has been plaguing the person and make sure that the infection does not return. Avoiding activities which may result in the return of the infection must be avoided at all costs since a recurrence of the infection may result in further complications.

Bacterial Vaginosis–Do You Have It?

February 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Bacterial Vaginosis

What is Bacterial Vaginosis?

Bacterial Vaginosis is a bacterial infection in a woman’s vagina. This infection is normally just a mild infection that goes away after a few days without any medication needed. Most women do not know that they have bacterial vaginosis until they go visit their gynecologists for a check-up. So how does a woman find out if she has bacterial vaginosis?

A woman’s vagina has both good and bad bacteria inhabiting it. Bacterial vaginosis happens when there are more bad bacteria rather than good ones. No one really knows how a bacterial imbalance happens in a woman’s vagina but a woman is prone to getting this type of infection if:

• she has more than one sex partner
• she is using an Intra-Uterine Device (IUD)
• she has a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD)
• she has a female sex partner
• she douches

A woman’s vagina naturally produces some discharges. This is nothing to worry about especially since this happens on a regular basis, especially if she is about to have her monthly period. If the discharges smell funny or “fishy” and the color is grayish, yellowish or white, one should go to the doctor to check if she has an infection.

Doctors find out if one has bacterial vaginosis through a pelvic examination and takes a sample of the discharge found in the woman’s vagina. The doctor also takes note of the appearance of the vaginal lining and her cervix. If the woman’s cervix is tender, this might be an indication of a more serious infection such as Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’s). To make sure, the doctor may collect samples to check if the patient has Chlamydia or Gonorrhea.

In the laboratory, the sample is checked under a microscope and is checked if there are clue cells present. Clue Cells is almost a sure indicator that the woman has bacterial vaginosis. The pH balance of the woman’s discharge is also checked. If it is higher than 4.5, then the woman is more likely to have bacterial vaginosis.

Another test that the doctor may require from a patient is the “whiff test” using potassium hydroxide liquid (KOF). In this test, a drop of KOF is placed on the sample acquired by the doctor. If a fishy odor results, then the woman may have bacterial vaginosis.

Since some women have no idea of they have bacterial vaginosis, they should go to their gynecologists for a check up just to be sure. The sooner one finds out about it the better. If left untreated, and especially if the woman is pregnant, bacterial vaginosis may cause pregnancy complications such as premature labor, infection of the amniotic fluid and also premature birth.

Once diagnosed, doctors usually ask the woman to take some antibiotics to kill the bacteria causing the infection. Once done with the medication, the woman has to go back to her doctor to see if there are improvements in her case and make sure that she does not contract the disease again.

Women’s Health – Top 5 Reasons to Pay More Attention to Your Health

February 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Women's Health

Women are taking an increasingly pivotal role in modern society. As such, women’s health is of primary importance in maintaining a healthy society. For women to take a more proactive role in their own healthcare, they should be aware of issues confounding women’s health.

The following are top five women’s health issues all modern women should be aware of:

1. Heart disease kills more and more women every year. A lot of women, and men for that matter, think that breast cancer is the leading cause of death among women. However, studies on women’s health show that women are six times more likely to die from heart disease than from breast cancer. What makes women’s heart health problems even more perplexing is that women have been found to manifest symptoms different from what is generally ascribed for heart problems. Many women for example do not feel the crushing chest pain typical of heart attacks but may instead feel only discomfort in the abdomen, neck, and shoulders. Women should, therefore, be more conscious about the risk factors to women’s heart health problems such as obesity, hypertension and diabetes

2. Women suffer from asthma more than men. Women’s health studies in the United States show that two-thirds of asthma sufferers are women. Although there are no conclusive medical findings as to why women are more vulnerable to asthma attacks, there are theories that this may have something to do with females having generally smaller airways than males.

3. Women appear to be more susceptible to musculoskeletal disorders. Recent women’s health studies among office workers indicate that more women suffer from work-related tendonitis and carpal-tunnel syndrome than men. Further research is being done but it is generally believed that is caused by differences in body structure. It is important to get regular exercise breaks and to use ergonomic furniture that aid good posture and prevent strain.

4. Women suffer from depression thrice that of a man. Studies devoted to women’s health indicate that this is related to the fact that female brains produce less serotonin – the hormone that promotes good sleep and improves mood. It could also be due to the fact that, despite gender sensitive policies, many women still suffer from unfair treatment in homes and workplaces. Women should take care of their mental health by spending time on things that they love to do and allowing time for rest and recreation.

5. Women are two times more likely to get sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) than men. Researches into women’s sexual health indicate that women are biologically more susceptible to STD. In fact, one out of four women get genital herpes compared to only one in eight men. A woman’s chances of getting gonorrhea from an infected partner are 90% while the risk is considerably lower for men at only 30%.

Men and women are biologically different so a woman’s health issues are unique. What is important is for a woman to take charge of her own welfare and be assertive about what is right and healthy for her.

Woman’s Health-Taking Charge and Staying on Top

February 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Women's Health

Even in today’s gender-sensitive world, women’s health is still sadly relegated to the backburner. It is no longer necessarily a problem of unfair policies regarding women’s health care but more and more about the women themselves and the choices they make regarding their health.

Women are great at multi-tasking. Women now take on demanding jobs that require great physical and mental effort. Women do field work and go on duty at odd hours. Working moms juggle the demands of career and family life. Often, this leaves very little or no time at all to sit down and take care of women’s health issues. Aches and pains are often dismissed as simple stress and medical checkups are often delegated to the bottom of things to do especially when there are kids that need to be taken to the doctor and piles of deadlines to be met at the office.

Every year, more and more women die of heart disease, diabetes and hypertension – generally preventable diseases when given prompt medical intervention. Sadly, more often than not, women seek medical help only when the symptoms become too severe so as to actually keep her from the office and housekeeping. Ironically, women’s health and fitness is a priority agenda in most government and civic programs.

Information on women’s health issues is readily available in various media. Pro-women policies make health care for women more accessible. The remaining hurdle now is for women to stand up, take the time, and actually take charge of their own health.

So how does the modern woman take a more proactive role in her healthcare?

First, she should take care of her own health as she would her children’s or her spouse’s. She should schedule regular medical checkups, be mindful of symptoms, and promptly seek the advice of health care professionals. Stress can cause a variety of symptoms but aches and pains are the body’s warning signs that all is not well.

Second, she should stop feeling guilty about spending for health care needs. A woman’s health requires its own slot in the family’s budget. Do not forego taking important medical procedures advised by professionals. Scrimping on medications is a no-no. Take pills just as they are prescribed.

Third, she should find and share information about options involving women’s health and health issues. Be well aware of modern, scientific advances in women’s health care. There are now available vaccinations for diseases like cervical cancer that used to cut short the lives of otherwise healthy women.
And finally, she should take time off from the daily rigors of career and family life and spend time for self pampering to relieve stress and address medical needs. A woman’s health and fitness deserves equal attention.

The health of the family and the society in general is, to a large extent, rooted on women’s health. It is imperative for women to be more judicious about their physical and mental well-being. A healthy mother can take better care of her children. A healthy employee provides more inputs for the company. It is time for woman to take stock of her own health needs and fulfill her many roles in a healthy new light.

Menopause-Why Too Soon?

February 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Menopause

Statistics shows that natural menopause comes, on the average, at the age of 50. However, statistics has also shown a gradual change in figures that is largely attributed to several factors like genes and science. Premature menopause, as it is commonly known, now happens to a lot of women who are not even in their 40′s yet. Thus, many women in their mid-30′s nowadays deal with problems on how to cope with menopause symptoms like hot flashes and mood swings, not to mention dealing with several other emotional stresses and physical concerns. Particularly, a woman who marries in her 30′s and starts to plan on having a baby at such age would likely to find an early menopause a big problem.

The Symptoms

Basically, the symptoms of menopause can be explained by the gradually lessening of the production of estrogen in the ovaries. Early menopause, as in natural menopause, is characterized by irregular or unusually missing periods, heavier or unusually lighter periods, and the dreaded hot flashes that spreads to the upper part of the body and gives that sudden warm feeling.

Other menopause symptoms that women should also watch out for are vaginal dryness, bladder irritability or incontinence, sudden mood swings, and a drastic decreased appetite for sex.

The above symptoms of menopause, when experienced by women under 40, who also have had certain conditions or who have undergone some medical treatment, should prompt them to see their physician. This advice goes for those whose family has a history of premature menopause, those who have had chemotherapy, those who have tried but failed to become pregnant at least a year, or those who has a disorder like lupus.

The Diagnosis

A physical examination to determine the occurrence of menopause usually starts by ruling out other likely conditions like pregnancy or a thyroid problem. Subsequently, an estradiol test is made to figure whether or not the woman’s estradoil level falls under 36 which signals that one is already in the menopause period. Ultimately, a blood test is conducted to diagnose an increase in a woman’s follicle stimulating hormones. A woman is in menopause when the follicle stimulating hormones reaches more than 30 or 40 mIU/mL because it indicates that the ovaries have slowed down in its production of estrogen.

Other Health Issues Related to Premature Menopause

Women who experience premature menopause are likely to incur higher risk of other health conditions such as osteoporosis, colon and ovarian cancers, cataract problems, tooth loss, and gum diseases (periodontal). These conditions are largely caused by the decreased production of estrogen hormones by the ovaries. Thus, women who experience premature menopause are at a higher risk of contracting these menopause-related health issues since they do not enjoy the protection and benefits of their ovary-secreted estrogens.

Treatment of Premature Menopause

Basically, an early menopause condition is addressed the very same way that natural menopause is treated, considering that the symptoms and risks are perfectly the same. Women who have tried but failed to get pregnant for a over a year should discuss with a doctor the options or measures to take, especially in the advent of an early menopause. One should bear in mind that time is of the essence in cases of infertility since premature menopause is an irreversible process.

Menopause: How the Cope with Menopause

February 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Menopause

Finding the right formula for menopause treatment can be a very tough ordeal since it takes more than just a change in one’s diet. Medication and regular exercise must also be added to the equation in order to achieve significant results. However, doctors emphasize that menopause treatment is very difficult to achieve. Rather, what is plausible is a shot at relieving the signs and symptoms of menopause, as well as preventing and lessening the severe conditions that usually goes with aging. Thus, the following are some valuable treatments that could help one cope with menopause.

Hormone Replacement Therapy

The most effective treatment to the signs of menopause is Estrogen Hormone Replacement Therapy which specifically works to relieve hot flashes. Before undergoing this kind of therapy, one should always have a doctor take a peek into the health history of the person in order to determine the appropriate amount of doses needed to achieve menopause relief.

Helpful Drugs

Hot flashes which are the most common woe of women in their menopause period can actually be addressed by several numbers of helpful drugs. Anti-depressants, particularly venlafaxine (Effexor), when taken in low doses has actually proven to decrease hot flashes. The same thing goes with other serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Drugs used in treating seizures and high blood pressures, like gabapentin (neurontin) and clonidine (catapres), respectively, can also be useful in reducing the occurrence of these hot flashes.

Nonhormonal menopause medications are also available such as those that also help in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. While these menopause medications reduce bone loss and the risk of easily fractured bones, they likewise replace estrogen which is the basic treatment for women with osteoporosis. On the other hand, there are also selective estrogen receptor modulators that mimic the beneficial effects of estrogen minus the usual risks of estrogen-based drugs.

Small amounts of estrogen are also used in treating vaginal dryness, discomfort during intercourse and urinary problems which are some symptoms of menopause.

Remedies at Home

One good news that anybody dealing with menopause symptoms should know is that those symptoms are not there to stay. Thus, a few steps to reduce or prevent menopause’s ill effects should be helpful in coping with this difficult period.

Avoiding hot drinks, spicy food, and anything that gives your body warmth like alcohol and too much meat can help cool the dreaded hot flashes. Including lots of fruits and vegetables is also helpful to keep the body cool and fat-free.

Menopausal relief can be found in regular exercise, which also gives more benefits than meets the eye such as strengthening bones, lowering cholesterol, lessening the risks of heart disease and osteoporosis, and reducing insomnia and mood swings. Certainly, exercise does the trick in giving menopause relief as long as it is not done before bedtime.

Discomfort when having sexual intercourse can be addressed by using vaginal lubricants, or by simply keeping yourself sexually active.

Risks and Benefits

As in any other medical conditions, one should always remember to confide with a doctor as regards the risks and benefits of each of the suggested menopause treatments since not all of them may necessarily be good for everyone.

Menopause: Alternative Remedies

February 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Menopause

Unconventional answers to menopausal signs and symptoms that could either prevent or heal it at its early stages include basic changes in one’s diet, physical therapy and an intake of herbal supplements to help the body in its struggle against early menopause. However, these alternative menopause treatments are even more effective when used hand in hand with drug and surgical treatments. In fact, for centuries now, prescription drugs that we commonly use have been using, as main ingredients, botanicals from herbs in its drive to find alternative cures.

What to include in your diet?

Especially for women in their pre-menopause, an inclusion of food rich in phytoestrogens is very helpful in relieving symptoms of menopause. Other food supplements like black cohosh, as well as flaxseed, also brings that much needed menopause relief.

How Botanicals give menopausal relief?

Botanicals such as phytoestrogens and isoflavones which are found in soy products like tofu, soy beans and milk contains weak estrogen that contribute to lowering levels of cholesterol and relieving hot flashes. However, it should be noted that excessive intake of isoflavone supplements is not good for women with breast cancer history. Another kind of phytoestrogens is the edible seed known as flaxseed or linseed which works to lessen menopause symptoms, specifically hot flashes.

Another botanical substance that is easily available is black cohosh which is reported to be very helpful in the treatment of night flashes, and even in addressing vaginal dryness. However, it is not clear whether continued use for more than six months is advisable because it is likely to cause gastrointestinal problems.

Potent oils like evening primrose also relieves hot flashes, despite the lack in scientific basis to this effect. However, women reports to have suffered from nausea and stomach upset with its continued used. Thus, it is advised that women experiencing other health problems and taking other medication should avoid this alternative medicine.

A tried and tested botanical called dong quai which has been used by the Chinese for more than 2 centuries is widely known to give effective menopause relief.

Other Supplements for Menopause-Related Conditions

Osteoporosis and heart diseases are just few of other diseases commonly associated with menopause. Thus, intakes of food supplements that reduce the risk of these diseases also help in reducing the ill signs of menopause. Calcium, vitamins E and D can be found in low-fat dairy products and whole grains. Omega-3 found in fish oil has also been known to decrease cholesterol, although it is not advised for people who are about to undergo a surgery or by those under medication for blood-thinning.

Listen to your Physician

Further research to ensure the safety of using botanical substances is still in its early stages. Thus, while these varied food supplements in your diet may prove helpful to relieving menopause signs and symptoms, it is still advised that one should consult a doctor as regards the proper dosage of these supplements in order to avoid over dosage, or worse, further complications. In addition, your physician could also educate and caution you of the things to watch out when buying products in the market that, most often than not, usually have big claims.

On Being Pregnant-The Joys of Pregnancy

February 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Pregnancy

Getting pregnant is probably one of the most beautiful things that a women experiences in her life. The experience is nothing short of miraculous and the happiness felt by the couple once their bundle of joy comes out into the world is immeasurable.

Getting pregnant is fairly easy for some couples but not for some. While most women become pregnant after a few tries, there are also couples who wait years before they become pregnant and some even resort to asking professional help from fertility doctors. Once pregnant however, everything changes and the future mother should carefully track her pregnancy carefully until she gives birth.

How does one know she is pregnant? Most women buy home pregnancy test kits to find out if they are indeed pregnant or not. If no kit was purchased, some early signs of pregnancy could signify this condition and these signs include a missed period, morning sickness, dizziness, lack of appetite, paleness and sleepiness. Once these symptoms are present, a woman has to go to her doctor to verify if she is indeed pregnant or not.

Once pregnant, the woman has to ready herself emotionally and physically for her baby’s arrival. It would be good for her to read books on pregnancy so she is aware what to expect while she is pregnant. Aside from books, there are hundreds of websites on the internet which offers tips and insights on what to expect during pregnancy.

Pregnancy calculators are also available on the internet so that the mother-to-be will know more or less when she will be giving birth. Other websites offer a week by week guide on pregnancy so that the mother can see for herself what goes on inside her womb on a weekly basis. In these websites, one can monitor her weekly, monthly and quarterly pregnancy progress. These websites also offers other wellness topics such as nutrition for the mothers and babies, weight monitoring and fitness and other topics.

Pregnancy is not easy for everyone but there are ways to make one’s pregnancy healthy and almost pain-free. While pregnant, one should not forget to exercise to make herself fit and strong. Eating healthy and nutritious food not only benefits the mother so she doesn’t gain so much weight but also the baby.

Mothers-to be should avoid foods high in fats, sugar and salt content since this might cause complications in pregnancy such as gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia. Mothers should also quit smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages since this also has adverse effects on the fetus such as low birth weight.

Once the mother makes sure that she has ditched the bad habits and is taking care of herself all through-out her pregnancy, there should be little for her to worry about. Before she gives birth, the mother should also discuss her options when she gives birth. It would be best if she could discuss a birth plan with her doctor so that she is prepared for any surprises that may arise when she gives birth.

Once the bases are covered, all that the mother has to do is wait until her bundle of joy arrives and experience the true happiness of being a mother.

Stress and Infertility

February 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Fertility

A lot of people believe that those who chose to be homebodies after graduation generally had more kids while the career-oriented achievers in the class either had only one or no children at all. Which led to a debate whether it was by choice – the homebodies have more kids because they have the time to make them and rear them, or if it was something actually related to the perceived stressful environment that working couples are exposed to?

Working full time is synonymous to being busy and always on the go. The theory is that the physical and mental stress of keeping a career will inevitably affect hormones and organ functions which can then lead to, among others, infertility. However, homebodies who had several kids contend that they are exposed to just as much stress as those working in office environments. Household chores and taking care of kids can be just as physically and mentally draining as beating deadlines but this has not prevented them from having more kids.

The fact is that infertility is more than lifestyle and the stresses associated with it. Infertility affects one in seven couples all over the world. Infertility and the failure to carry the pregnancy to term is a medical condition that, in many cases, is reversible with the right intervention. Infertility can be caused by problems in either or both the man and woman’s reproductive systems.

In a small percentage of cases, the cause of infertility cannot be determined at all. Often, the solution can be as simple as getting the timing right or as complex as a combination of fertility pills and surgical procedures that make it possible for a couple to conceive. In all cases, taking a vacation away from work and stress will, unfortunately, not be enough to resolve infertility.

While there are no conclusive studies that can actually directly relate stress and infertility, it is important to note that stress does lead to lifestyle choices which have been proven to reduce fertility. Stressed individuals have been known to smoke and drink more and these are directly related to diminished quality of sperm and egg cells.

The failure to conceive and successfully carry the pregnancy to term can also lead to anxiety and increased sexual dysfunction. In this case, it is infertility that is actually causing the stress rather than the other way around. The pressure to conceive can be daunting for many couples. Often it strains the relationship which makes it even more difficult to work on getting the right timing to get pregnant. When a couple tries a fertility solution, team effort is necessary especially when using fertility calculators. If stress on the marriage results to the couple having sex less then fertility indeed suffers.

Research on the link between stress and fertility is still relatively new and more studies will probably provide a clearer picture about the connection. What is important is to not get too caught up in the mechanics of getting pregnant but work on getting the right attitude to pregnancy and parenting. If working on getting pregnant is stressful, imagine what it’s like raising the kid.

Conception Misconceptions – Debunking Infertility Myths

February 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Pregnancy

In an Asian country, there is a popular practice where couples wishing to have a child dance on the streets carrying images of saints. The frenzied procession of couples have become a tourist attraction of sorts but the sad fact of it is that the couples are there seriously imploring the heavens to give them a child.

Here are some other myths about infertility that range from simple misconception to downright ridiculous beliefs:

1. Getting pregnant is easy.

Not true. Getting pregnant may seem very easy and effortless especially when you hear stories about teenagers getting knocked up fairly quick but the truth is, one in seven couples all over the world find it difficult to conceive. Infertility is a medical issue that is mostly caused by physical problems in the reproductive system of one or both partners. Even in perfectly healthy, fertile couples engaging in unprotected sex, the chances of fertilization is only 20%. Which means, that your neighborhood teen probably had several tries before getting into the problem she is in now.

2. Failure to get pregnant indicates infertility in the woman.

Not true. Only 35% of infertility cases are caused by problems in the woman’s reproductive system. An equal 35% is caused by male infertility. Another 20% is caused by problems in both partners while the remaining 10% of infertility cases cannot be diagnosed even by today’s modern fertility clinics. As such, when trying to find out the cause of infertility, both the man and woman will have to be thoroughly evaluated.

3. Stress from work and personal problems can cause infertility.

Not true. Unless of course the stress and personal problem actually prevents the couple from having intercourse in the first place, there is no conclusive medical study to indicate that stress actually directly causes fertility problems. However, if stress leads you to smoke and drink more, then fertility problems can arise. Smoking is directly linked to infertility, preterm delivery and stillbirth especially among women.

4. Bedroom acrobatics can increase the chances for pregnancy.

Not true. There is a popular belief that, if a couple wants to get pregnant, they should use certain positions to aid the flow of semen into the cervix. There are no medical tests to prove this. However, there are new medical devices that can be used at home which address fertility problems such as low sperm count or mobility. In the US, the FDA has approved a prescription device called a cervical cap which allows all the semen to be collected and placed up directly on the cervix to increase the chances of fertilization.

5. Adopting a baby will “induce” a couple to get pregnant naturally.

Not true. Probably owing to the fact that Angelina and Madonna got pregnant after having had a couple of adoptions, people actually think that adopting a baby can somehow “induce” the couple to get pregnant with their own child. Not only is this ridiculously unfounded but is actually sadly twisted. Adopting a baby should not be used as a means to achieve an end because parenting, whether naturally or through adoption, is not only a physical but a moral responsibility.

Next Page »