Flu Season and how to avoid the fall

Winter chills and medical bills – sounds just about right. From infants to adults, no one is spared when it comes to the flu season. Children fall ill and miss school, adults fall ill and miss work and yet again the cold takes all. But the right precautions will help break away from the trend. With some preventive and self-care measures, getting through the flu season will be a breeze.

  1. Watch what you touch – including yourself:

It is recommended to keep disinfectants and wet wipes handy. Everyday furniture like doorknobs and desktops should be wiped down before using. It is important to keep in mind that even after thoroughly cleaning your hands, they may not be 100% clean. It is best to avoid rubbing your eyes, nose and lips.

  1. Keep an eye on your diet:

Street food may not be the right food – their questionable quality can make you susceptible to the flu. Instead, incorporate more Vitamin C into your diet to include fruits and vegetables which will help build your immune system to fight the flu coming your way.

Don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of liquids which will help flush out any toxins your body may have.

  1. Exercise regularly:

To further improve your immune system, build a lifestyle that includes an exercise routine. After all, a physically fit body can better combat the flu and other diseases.

  1. Keep your distance:

Choosing to stay indoors, especially with someone already down with the flu may not be your ticket to saving yourself from the flu. Avoid contact or being around those who are ill and refrain from breathing in when people around you cough or sneeze. You would not want to be doing the same.

Likewise, avoid crowded areas during peak flu seasons.

  1. Get Vaccinated:

Getting a shot months prior to the flu season is considered the best prevention for the flu. A vaccine can be taken annually for the best effect and is available to anyone that is above 6 months of age

  1. Maintain a warm body temperature:

Don’t forget to cover up during the winters with adequate amount of clothing – sweaters, gloves scarves, and anything else you may require. A lower body temperature can attract viruses during the season.

What is Typhoid fever?

Fevers can be confusing. Most of the febrile illnesses exhibit uniform symptoms which makes self-diagnosis nearly impossible. Typhoid fever is a type of fever resulting from a bacterial infection. The bacteria causing this fever is called Salmonella typhi(S.typhi). Also, the same kind of fever with less intensity is caused by a bacteria named Salmonella Paratyphi. Typhoid is usually seen in developing countries or under-developed countries where sanitation is poor and clean water and food are scarce. It can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated at the right time.

How do you get Typhoid fever?

Typhoid fever can be caused in 2 ways.

  • Bacteria to Human: The bacteria can enter a person’s body directly through contaminated food or water
  • Human to human: By having close contact with a patient infected with Typhoid.

Once the bacteria get access into a body, it keeps multiplying in the gallbladder, bile ducts or liver and passes into the bowel. They live and are transmitted through human faeces and urine. The bacteria also spread into the bloodstream.

Are you exhibiting these symptoms?

The incubation period of typhoid fever is from 1 to 2 weeks and the infection disease can stay for 3-4 weeks in a body.

Symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Weakness
  • Stomach pain
  • High fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain in several parts of the body
  • Fatigue

How can you get treated?

Typhoid fever is diagnosed by testing human faeces, urine or blood. It is usually remedied with antibiotics. If not treated, 1 in 5 cases could be fatal. Apart from antibiotics, it is very important to stay hydrated during the period of illness.

How to protect yourself from Typhoid fever?

  • For the starters, Typhoid vaccines are available. If travelling to areas prone to typhoid fever, vaccinate yourself.
  • Typhoid is spread through contaminated food and water. Only drink boiled or bottled water, especially while travelling.
  • Always wash your hands before and after food.
  • Avoid consuming raw food and go for cooked food. Avoid eating street food.

A small percentage of fully recovered patients can be carriers of this bacteria for a long time. The illness can be transmitted through these carriers. But usually, bacteria causing typhoid fever can be eradicated from your body within 2 to 4 weeks of proper medication.

Almost everyone who gets prompt treatment shows improvement in less than a week. Without the right treatment, typhoid can even cause life-threatening intestinal bleeding and perforation. Typhoid causes nearly 200,000 deaths every year all around the world. This is the reason why precautions are important. Once you encounter with any symptoms, get medical assistance as soon as possible and start medication.

Do fevers always mean increasing temperature? – Busting myths about common fevers

How many of you know that a fever is a war between the immune system and the germ? The germs won’t be able to tolerate high temperatures. Our body thus sends hormones to turn up the heat at the time of infection. Succinctly, a fever is a saviour rather than a destroyer.

What is a fever?

Fever is a condition where the body temperature temporarily shoots up. This usually happens due to some illness or some uncommon activity inside your body. Normal body temperature is liable to slight changes all the time. It is dependent on what we eat, how much we sleep, and even the time of the day. Fever, in most of the cases, helps to fight back infection. However, sometimes, at very high temperatures, fevers can be even life-threatening. Mild fevers are good for the body and don’t require any medications or treatments unless causing discomfort.

There are several myths about common fevers. 6 Common Myths about common fever are busted below.

Myth #1: All fever requires treatment.

Truth: Fevers are the body’s reflex action towards germs. Most of the time, we need to let our bodies do the work. Fevers need to be treated only if discomfort arises. Fever is usually a warning sign and if any more symptoms come up, that illness might require treatment. However, treating a fever won’t do any harm either.

Myth #2: High fever causes seizures and seizures with fever are dangerous.

Truth: It isn’t the fever but the sudden elevation of temperature which causes seizures. Only 4% of children might have seizures with fever. Also, most febrile seizures are never harmful. Although a bit disturbing to watch, it can go away within 5 minutes. No permanent injury will have resulted from this.

Myth #3: More the temperature, more severe the illness

Truth: Sometimes, high temperatures for days in teens and adults can turn to be serious, but in children, it is very rare. Body temperature isn’t always a reliant method to confirm an illness. Focus on other symptoms and get medical assistance in case the fever is never going down.

Myth #4: Fever can damage the brain

Truth: Like already said, fever is just a defence mechanism by the body. Fever nor febrile seizures can cause brain damage. Temperature above 108 F has chances of brain damage. The rise in body temperature to this extent is very rare though.

Myth #5: A cold water bath can bring the fever down.

Truth: A cold water bath is the least recommended activity during a fever. Coldwater increases the core body temperature which can result in shivering. Bath in lukewarm water can be refreshing.

Fever may not feel friendly, but it’s not necessarily your foe either. Fever can be treated by keeping yourself hydrated, changing clothes and the bed frequently, ventilating the room and keeping clothes and blankets to a minimum rather than going for antipyretics. Afterall we must let our bodies fight the war in peace.

Yoga During Pregnancy: How safe is it to exercise?

How do you feel about Mac and Cheese? Doesn’t the combo makes you feel good? That’s how yoga tags along with pregnancy. It is perfection. Exercises like yoga, walking, and swimming are extremely safe for your body and soothing to your mind. It helps you breathe and relax, not only during pregnant days but also during your labor and the postpartum period. But you might have to take some precautions during the gestation period. Why shouldn’t we play it safe for the baby?

Prenatal yoga, apart from helping you to stretch and loosen up your muscles, also becomes a good platform to meet other moms-to-be. You get to share your concerns and anxieties and thus face the changes more positively. Regular exercising at least 30 mins a day or 3-4 times a week can improve your heart health, reduce your lower back pain and even shorten your labor pain and time. It helps you to keep your Endorphin, the happy hormones in your body, high. Baby’s coming becomes less painful and more smooth.

The exercise plan varies for every woman depending upon her fitness level, the trimester she is in, and how she is feeling about it. Here are a few tips to start your yoga plan with.

  • If you have a regular instructor and a gym, don’t forget to inform him/her about your pregnancy and the trimester you are in.
  • Discuss your concerns and queries with your doctor or health care provider and take suggestions before you start your exercise plan
  • It is better to do your exercise against a wall or with the support of a chair. Let’s not accidentally harm the baby in any way.
  • Now is not the time for weight reduction. So make sure you never overdo it. A regular exercise routine during the pregnancy period can help you reduce weight after your delivery.
  • Always stay hydrated.

There are some exercises and yoga asanas perfect for the gestation period. On the other hand, there are certain exercises, poses or asanas in yoga that need to be dodged completely during your pregnancy period. Safe exercising can strengthen your body and tone your pelvic and abdominal tissues making your body labor-ready. Below are a few do’s in yoga which can be beneficial for you and the tiny tot growing inside you.

  • Standing poses: You can widen your legs to make space for your tummy while doing standing poses in yoga
  • Poses like Ardha Chandrasana, Pigeon, Konasana, Triangle, Knee to Ankle increases the flexibility of your body and thus makes the birth process less agonizing.
  • Listen to your body. If your body says “STOP”, stop immediately without a second thought.
  •  Side stretches: Side poses and variations of side planks can be comforting as your belly expands.
  • If you see any warning signs like vaginal bleeding, unusual pain, dizziness, uterine contraction or vaginal fluid leakage, you might have to halt your workout.

While you keep yourself and your baby strong and healthy, Also make sure to take note of the DON’TS in exercises too.

  • No poses which give pressure on to your stomach.
  • Strictly no poses which involve over-stretching, twists, inversions, back bending and jumps.
  • Avoid fast breathing and holding breath during your exercise time and try following the birthing breath technique.
  • Hot yoga can raise your body’s temperature and that is not an advisable act during pregnancy period and for your baby.

Yoga is a very safe option in exercises that could be adapted into your routine during your pregnant days. Over and above staying healthy, yoga keeps your mind calm and body prepared for the baby. Walking and swimming are also safe exercises to practice during pregnancy. Make sure the water is of the right temperature during your swimming sessions. Also, make yourself comfortable when you workout by wearing loose-fitting clothes and shoes with good grip and support which will never let you fall. Make the most cherished period of your life a little bit sweaty and a lot more healthy. This phase of your life isn’t the time to stop doing things. This phase is a new beginning to try new things.

Varicose veins; all you need to know

Varicose veins or Varicose occurs when your veins become overfilled with blood and enlarged as a result. These veins are often twisted and appear swollen. Any vein may become varicoses but the most commonly affected are those in the leg. This is because standing upright increases the pressure in the veins of your lower body. For many people, this is a common condition. But for others, it may cause aching pain, discomfort and sometimes lead to more serious problems.

How are they caused?

Varicose veins occur when the blood isn’t flowing properly through the veins. All our veins have one-way valves that keep blood from flowing backward in the other direction. When these valves fail, the blood begins to accumulate instead of flowing to your heart. This gets the veins enlarged. Even though there aren’t any specific causes for this to happen, there are some risk factors involved. These factors increase your risk of developing varicose.

Pregnancy

The volume of blood in your body increases during your pregnancy. This change occurs to support your fetus, but it can also produce this as a side effect. Hormonal changes during pregnancy are also said to play a role.

Family History

If other family members have had varicose or have varicose, there is a higher chance you will too.

Obesity

Being overweight adds more pressure to your veins. This makes it harder for them to maintain a good flow of blood and ultimately result in varicoses.

Age

Aging causes wear and tear on the valves in the veins. These valves are the ones that help regulate the blood flow. Eventually, the damage causes the valves to allow blood to flow backward in your veins where it ends up getting accumulated.

Sex

Women are more prone to varicose than men are. Hormonal changes during pregnancy, menopause or pre-menstruation maybe a factor cause the hormones released during these phases to tend to relax the vein walls.

Prolonged periods of standing or sitting

The blood doesn’t flow as well if you’re in the same position for long periods.

In rare cases, varicose are caused by diseases such as:

  • Phlebitis or inflammation of the veins
  • Blood clots or any obstruction to blood flow in the veins
  • Congenital abnormalities in the veins

Even though there are no ways to prevent varicose, improving your circulation and keeping your muscles toned reduces your risk of contracting it. Most of these measures are also used to treat the discomforts of varicose veins.

  • Exercise regularly.
  • Watch your weight.
  • Avoid wearing high heels and tight shoes
  • Elevate your legs regularly for a while every day
  • Maintain a high-fibre and low-salt diet
  • Try not to stay in the same postures for prolonged periods

Doctors are conservation while treating veins. They might probably ask you to make certain lifestyle changes instead of trying intense treatments. But in case of severe varicoses, there are some medical treatments that are proven to be effective.

Compression

You may be advised to wear compression stockings or socks which place enough pressure on your lower body to make the blood flow easier. If worn regularly, they are effective in controlling symptoms and preventing skin complications and one can avoid the need for surgery. These compressions wear also reduce swellings caused by varicose. The level of compression varies from product to product and most of those types are found in drugstores and medical shops.

Growth pain in children; what does it mean?

Despite the name ‘growing pains’ there is no evidence that bone and muscle growth causes pain. Growth pain is cramping, achy muscle pain that kids and preteens feel. The pains usually start in early childhood around 3 or 4 and they tend to strike again when the kids are 8-12. It isn’t a disease. In fact, most children go through growth pain. They probably don’t even need any medical help. But it hurts to have growth pain. They are often described as throbbing pain in the legs, in the front of the thighs, the calves or behind the knees. They tend to affect both legs and mostly occur in the evenings and nights. Growth pains may be linked to a low pain threshold or psychological issues. Or they may simply be muscle aches due to regular childhood activities like running, jumping and climbing.

What is causing this to my child?
Bone or muscle growth hasn’t been proved to cause pain and they don’t usually happen where growth is occurring or during times of fast growth. So ‘growing’ pains might just be aches and discomfort from being physically active. These pains can happen after your child had a particularly athletic day.

How do I know if it’s just growth pain or something else?

Growth pain always occurs in the muscles and not the joints. Most kids report pain in front of their thighs, their calves or behind their knees. Joints affected by serious diseases are swollen, red, tender or warm. But this is not the case in growing pains. Growth pain usually strikes in the evenings, but it can also wake a sleeping child sometimes. The intensity of the pain varies and most kids don’t face it every day.

One symptom that you might find really useful in knowing is how your child responds to touch while in pain. Children who have pain from something more serious don’t like to be handled as touch can worsen the pain. But when a child is having growth pain, he/she feels better when held, massaged or cuddled.

How do I help my child?

While growth pain isn’t related to any illness, it can upset your children. The aches are generally gone by the morning and it is usual for a parent to think that the child was faking the pain to get some attention. But this probably isn’t true. So offer reassuring support to your children when they are going through growth pain and tell them it will pass as they grow up. Here are some things you can do to comfort your child and relax the pain.

Rub your child’s legs: Children often respond positively to gentle massages.

Use a heating pad: It can help soothe sore muscles. Use a heating pad on a low setting before bedtime or when your child complains of leg pain.

Stretching exercises:  Stretching the muscles in the legs during the day may help prevent pain at night.

Try a pain reliever: Offer your child ibuprofen or acetaminophen. But avoid aspirin because it may cause Reye’s syndrome.

How do I know if I have to seek medical attention?

Growing pains themselves are harmless, but the pain may also be a sign of another condition. Call your doctor if any of these symptoms happen with your child’s pain.

  • long-lasting pain, pain in the morning, or swelling or redness in one particular area or joint
  • pain associated with an injury
  • fever
  • limping
  • unusual rashes
  • loss of appetite
  • weakness
  • tiredness
  • unusual behavior

These symptoms are not related to growth pain and should be checked out by a doctor.

If you have more queries about growth pain or want to get your child checked, do get in touch or book an appointment with our experts on www.vikramhospital.com

Bulimia and Anorexia; More than just food-related disorders

Do these terms sound foreign to you? The answer to that in it conveys how much we are aware of these two as a mental disorder than an eating disorder. Even though they are classified and defined as eating and food-related disorders, this takes away the focus from all the mental ailments that eventually might end up as Bulimia or Anorexia.

Eating disorders are not just food-related. They are psychological ailments that distort a person’s relationship with food and their body. This can influence many aspects of their lives and has an impact on mental, physical and social well-being. Anorexia and Bulimia are two of the most common of these disorders.

With anorexia, the patient’s relationship with food is based on complete control. They are methodical and meticulous while deciding what to eat when to eat or how much to eat. They might build routines and behavior patterns around eating a certain food at a certain time. Patient’s behavior is planned and carried out with caution.

Patients with bulimia have an intense focus on food as well but this is based on the lack of control over what they eat when they eat or how much they eat. They binge on food and feel powerless to stop eating even after a reasonable amount. But after this binging period, they feel guilty and shameful about what they did and this leads to purging. Purging is finding an extreme way to prevent weight gain from the food consumed. This cycle repeats itself over and over again.

Eating disorders often occur together with psychiatric disorders like anxiety, panic, obsessive-compulsive disorder and drug/alcohol abuse issues. People who are suffering from eating disorders tend to be perfectionists with low-esteem. They are extremely critical of themselves and their appearance. They ‘feel-fat’ and see themselves as overweighed people. But in early stages, patients often deny that they, in fact, do have a problem. They are in constant denial of their issues and don’t like seeing flaws in themselves.

Most of the causes and triggers of eating disorders are psychological as well,

  • Negative body image.
  • Poor self-esteem.
  • Dysfunctional family dynamic.
  • Professions and careers that require or propagate being thin and weight loss, such as modelling.
  • Aesthetically oriented sports where one has to maintain a lean body for enhanced performance and success; like rowing, diving or ballet.
  • Family-related traumas.
  • Childhood sexual abuse resulting in severe trauma.
  • Cultural and societal pressure.
  • Peer pressure from schoolmates, family members or colleagues.
  • Stressful transitions or life changes.

There are biological causes as well. But they are only a few and these aren’t the causes for most people suffering from eating disorders.

  • Irregular hormone functions.
  • Genetics.
  • Nutritional deficiencies.

Treating eating disorders is more emotional than it is physical. Restoring a person to normal weight or ending the binge-purge cycle does not address the underlying emotional problems that were the sole reason behind the disorder. Psychotherapy helps individuals with eating disorders to understand the thoughts, emotions and behaviours that trigger these disorders.

The treatment should concentrate on recognizing and changing unhealthy beliefs about weight, body shapes and dieting. If required, the family members of the teen or pre-teen should be involved in order to give them awareness about what the patient is actually going through. Treatments like Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and Dialectic Behavior Therapy focus on interpersonal relationship issues that may have caused the disorder. It is important for the patient to heal from the entire trauma that may have caused the eating disorder. Without proper treatment on both mental and physical fronts, these disorders can cause fatal conditions in their extremities.

Here are some measures you would want to take if you think you are suffering from an eating disorder,

Speak to someone
Let a parent, teacher, counsellor, or an adult know what you’re going through.
Pick someone you trust and seek help from them.

Get early help
Chance of recovery is better if the disorder is caught early.

Be present in all your appointments
The treatment takes time and effort. Make sure you attend every one of them and be extremely honest to your therapist about your progress and setbacks. Make queries when you have them.

Be patient with yourself
All human go through stuff. Take it easy on yourself and work towards the progress slowly.
You have all the help you need.

If you or a loved one is in need of help or more information, don’t wait another day. Help is just a click away at www.vikramhospital.com

Intermittent fasting: Is there any health benefit to the latest diet plan?

Intermittent fasting, although the name sounds all rough and tough, is simply a pattern of eating. It is not a diet where you try to control what you eat but instead you control when you eat. It’s a way of scheduling your meals so that you get the most out of them. It is one of the easiest strategies to lose bad weight and keep a good weight. It is really popular because it falls under the category of hygiene that’s really easy but very effective. Intermittent fasting only requires a little behaviour change and it is a great way to get lean without going on an absolutely difficult diet or cutting down your calories to nothing. It is also an ideal way to keep muscle mass on in the process of getting lean. With all that said, the main reason people try intermittent fasting is to lose fat.

It is a general assumption that not eating meals at regular intervals can be unhealthy to the human body in the long term. But that’s not true. The human body is biologically evolved to be able to function without food for an extended period of time. It has been a practice to skip meals and fast throughout human evolution. Hunters and gatherers back in their time did not have supermarkets or refrigerators. They didn’t find food all-year around and sometimes couldn’t find anything to eat. In fact, fasting from time to time is more natural than having 3 meals every day. This is the gist behind intermittent fasting and why it is benefitting to health.

There are several different methods of doing intermittent fasting. Here are the common ones,

  • The 16/8 method (Leangains protocol)   Skipping breakfast and restricting the daily eating period to 8 hours, ideally 1 pm – 9 pm. And fast for 16 hours in-between thorough the night and morning. This is the most popular and common method practiced.
  • Eat-Stop-Eat  This involves fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week.
  • The 5:2  Eating normally five days of the week and restricting calories on the other two days.

All of these methods cause weight-loss as long as you don’t spoil yourself completely by eating more during the non-fasting periods.

Intermittent fasting can be beneficial to your health and body, both in the long and short term. Here are a few benefits you might want to know if you are planning to get started with intermittent fasting.

It affects your cells and hormones

Several things happen in your body when you don’t eat for a while. Your body starts important cellular repair activities and changes hormone levels to make stored body fat more accessible. Insulin blood levels in blood drop significantly and this facilitates fat burning. The blood levels of growth hormone may increase. This helps in muscle gain and has other benefits as well. During fasting, the body also induces repair processes such as removing waste from cellular materials. There are also beneficial changes in several genes related to longevity and protection against diseases. Many of the benefits of intermittent fasting are related to hormones, gene expression and function of cells.

It’s an effective weight-loss tool

This is one of the major reasons why people try out intermittent fasting. By making you eat fewer meals, it automatically leads to reduced calorie intake. It also changes hormone levels to facilitate weight-loss. By helping you eat less and burn more, intermittent fasting changes both sides of the calorie equation and results in effective weight loss. However, it succeeds only because of reduced calorie intake. So if you binge on massive amounts of food during your non-fasting periods, it may not provide the result you are looking for.

Makes healthy-life simpler

Eating healthy can be simple but might be difficult t maintain for prolonged periods. This is the reason why people quit diets. One of the main hurdles is all the work needed to plan and cook a healthy meal three times a day. On the other hand, intermittent fasting can make your life simpler and provide you with more effective weight-loss results. You don’t have to plan, cook or clean up after as many meals as before. It simplifies life and improves health at the same time.

It’s more natural

Although frowned upon by many, skipping meals every now and then is the most natural way of eating. Our body is designed to handle this more than it’s designed to handle four processed junk food meals in a day. It simplifies the processes our body takes up and also detoxifies the body. The energy that is used up for digesting heavy food is now used for keeping us fresh and active throughout the day.

What to be cautious about?

Intermittent fasting has an outstanding safety profile. There is nothing dangerous about not eating for a while if you’re healthy and well-nourished overall. Even though it is nowhere close to being harmful to your health, there are certain safety elements you should look out for before you start.

The initial phase might be hard as your body is used to a certain amount of food and energy and now you are giving it less. But you will grow into your plans as long as you eat regularly on your non-fasting periods.

Please consult a doctor before intermittent fasting if you have the following conditions,

  • Problems with blood sugar regulations
  • Diabetes
  • Low blood pressure
  • Underweight or obesity
  • History of eating disorders
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding

If you are planning to start and have more queries or consultations to make, feel free to get in touch with our experts at www.vikramhospital.com

What happens during menopause: How can your doctor help you?

Menopause has been defined as the normal condition that all women above the age of 40 experience. It is the absence of a menstrual period for a year and can be used to describe any changes that a woman undergoes before and after she stops menstruating. Perimenopause, Menopause and postmenopause are the three phases that mark the end of a woman’s reproductive period.

What causes Menopause?

A female is born with a definite number of eggs that are stored in the ovaries. The ovaries are also responsible for the production of hormones estrogen and progesterone that controls menstruation and ovulation. Menopause is the stage when ovaries cease to release an egg each month and there is a definite fluctuation in the levels of estrogen in the body. The stopping of menstruation is a normal part of the ageing process. But if this phenomenon occurs prematurely, i.e before the age of 40, it is called premature menopause. This can happen as a result of surgery such as hysterectomy, any kind of severe damage to the ovaries caused by chemotherapy or radiation treatments.

Various phases of menopause

The period before menopause is called perimenopause and is the first stage in this process. It can sometimes start 8-10 years before the onset of menopause. This phase is marked by a gradual decrease in estrogen levels. This stage lasts until the onset of menopause.

If a woman has not experienced menstruation for a year, it is considered as menopause. By this stage, the ovaries have stopped releasing eggs and making estrogen.

Post Menopause is the years after menopause. As the years pass various symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes subsides. But, the health risks caused by low estrogen levels are to be considered.

Symptoms that indicate the starting of menopause

The symptoms differ from one person to another and are highly dependent on body types. However, a few common symptoms are:

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Urinary urgency
  • Sleeping difficulty
  • Mood swings
  • Dry skin

Some may also experience breast tenderness, worsening of premenstrual syndrome, irregular periods or skipped periods, especially during the transition phase. Some may also experience racing heart, headaches, joint and muscle pains, memory lapses, weight gain or even hair loss.

Not all women face all the above-mentioned symptoms by those who face severe symptoms such as urinary changes, persistent headaches or racing heart should contact their doctors for managing these symptoms. Gynaecologists can help with medications to manage severe hot flashes, joint pain, muscle aches etc. Low estrogen levels also cause incomplete absorption of calcium making the bones weak. So doctors can and do prescribe calcium and vitamin D supplements for those in menopause.

A healthy lifestyle, weight management and regular interaction with your gynaecologist can help you manage the severe symptoms of Menopause with ease and make life smoother for you.

What causes Kidney stones and how are they treated?

Kidneys are the organs that remove waste from the blood and makes urine. This process is important to keep us healthy and functioning. Sometimes, if there is an excess of certain types of waste and insufficient fluid in our body, it can cause waste matter to stick together and form stones. These are called kidney stones and are often hard deposits of minerals and salts formed inside the kidneys.

Kidney stones can affect any part of the urinary system from the kidneys to the bladder. The concentration of urine causes the stones to form by facilitating the minerals to crystallise and stick together.

Symptoms of kidney stones

Usually, kidney stones remain asymptomatic until it moves around inside the kidney or passes into the ureter. While moving into the ureter which is the tube that connects the kidney and bladder, the stone may cause the following symptoms:

  • Severe pain in the back and sides, below the ribs
  • Radiating pain to the lower abdomen and groin area
  • Fluctuating pain in the lower abdomen and back
  • Pain during urination
  • Pink, red or brown urine
  • Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Persistent need to urinate
  • Urinating more often than usual
  • Fever and chills if an infection is present
  • Urinating in small amounts

The pain experience can change in intensity as the location changes when it moves through the urinary tract.

Treatment of Kidney Stones

Small stones may naturally pass through the urinary system without causing much pain or other symptoms. Bigger stones need medical intervention and at times pain killers as it passes through the urinary tract. Drinking loads of water will help speed up the process. If the stone is quite big and difficult to pass through naturally, doctors can perform shock wave lithotripsy to blast the stones into small pieces. These can then pass through the urinary tract without much pain.

Other procedures that can be used by doctors are:

Cystoscopy and ureteroscopy: A cystoscope is used by the doctor to look inside the urethra and bladder to find the kidney stone. At times a ureteroscope can also be used to see detailed images of the stone and also to find it. Once the stone is found, the doctor can either remove it or break it into smaller pieces and allow it to pass through naturally.

Percutaneous nephrolithotomy: The doctor uses nephroscope to locate and remove the stone. The viewing tool is inserted directly into the kidney and used to either remove the stone or break it into smaller pieces. You will be required to stay in the hospital for some time after this procedure.

Prevention is always better than cure, so drink loads of water to help your kidneys perform the cleaning effectively and dissuade the formation of stones. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience: severe pain along with nausea and vomiting, pain accompanied by fever and chills, blood in urine, difficulty while passing urine or a constant urge to urinate.