Ailmemts & Remedies

Cushing’s syndrome

Alternative Names: Itsenko-Cushing syndrome, hyperadrenocorticism or hypercorticism
Cushing’s syndrome is a hormone disorder caused by high levels of cortisol in the blood. This can be caused by taking glucocorticoid drugs, or by tumors that produce cortisol or adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) or CRH

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Cushing’s disease refers to one specific cause of the syndrome, a tumor (adenoma) in the pituitary gland that produces large amounts of ACTH, which in turn elevates cortisol. It is the most common cause of Cushing’s syndrome, responsible for 70% of cases.

This pathology was described by Harvey Cushing in 1932.

Cushing’s syndrome is not confined to humans and is also a relatively common condition in domestic dogs and horses.

Treatments for Cushing’s syndrome can return your body’s cortisol production to normal and noticeably improve your symptoms. The earlier treatment begins, the better your chances for recovery.

SymptomsMost people with Cushing syndrome will have:

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•Upper body obesity (above the waist) and thin arms and legs
•Round, red, full face (moon face)
•Slow growth rate in children

Skin changes that are often seen:
•Acne or skin infections
•Purple marks (1/2 inch or more wide) called striae on the skin of the abdomen, thighs, and breasts
•Thin skin with easy bruising

Muscle and bone changes include:
•Backache, which occurs with routine activities
•Bone pain or tenderness
•Collection of fat between the shoulders (buffalo hump)
•Thinning of the bones, which leads to rib and spine fractures
•Weak muscles

Woman with cushing syndrome often have:

•Excess hair growth on the face, neck, chest, abdomen, and thighs
•Menstrual cycle becomes irregular or stops

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Men may have:
•Decreased fertility
•Decreased or no desire for sex

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Other symptoms that may occur with this disease:
*Mental changes, such as depression, anxiety and irritability or changes in behavior
*High blood pressure
*Increased thirst and urination
*Muscle weakness
*Loss of emotional control
*Cognitive difficulties
*New or worsened high blood pressure
*Glucose intolerance that may lead to diabetes
*Bone loss, leading to fractures over time

Iatrogenic Cushing’s syndrome (caused by treatment with corticosteroids) is the most common form of Cushing’s syndrome. The incidence of pituitary tumors may be relatively high, as much as one in five people, but only a minute fraction are active and produce excessive hormones.

Adults with the disease may also have symptoms of extreme weight gain, excess hair growth in women, high blood pressure, and skin problems. In addition, they may show:

*muscle and bone weakness
*diabetes mellitus
*moodiness, irritability, or depression
*sleep disturbances
*menstrual disorders such as amenorrhea in women and decreased fertility in men

There are several possible causes of Cushing’s syndrome.

Exogenous vs. endogenous Hormones that come from outside the body are called exogenous; hormones that come from within the body are called endogenous.

The most common cause of Cushing’s syndrome is exogenous administration of glucocorticoids prescribed by a health care practitioner to treat other diseases (called iatrogenic Cushing’s syndrome). This can be an effect of steroid treatment of a variety of disorders such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis, or in immunosuppression after an organ transplant. Administration of synthetic ACTH is also possible, but ACTH is less often prescribed due to cost and lesser utility. Although rare, Cushing’s syndrome can also be due to the use of medroxyprogesterone.

Endogenous Cushing’s syndrome results from some derangement of the body’s own system of secreting cortisol. Normally, ACTH is released from the pituitary gland when necessary to stimulate the release of cortisol from the adrenal glands.

*In pituitary Cushing’s, a benign pituitary adenoma secretes ACTH. This is also known as Cushing’s disease and is responsible for 70% of endogenous Cushing’s syndrome.

*In adrenal Cushing’s, excess cortisol is produced by adrenal gland tumors, hyperplastic adrenal glands, or adrenal glands with nodular adrenal hyperplasia.

*Finally, tumors outside the normal pituitary-adrenal system can produce ACTH that affects the adrenal glands. This final etiology is called ectopic or paraneoplastic Cushing’s syndrome and is seen in diseases like small cell lung cancer.

Pseudo-cushing’s syndrome:
Elevated levels of total cortisol can also be due to estrogen found in oral contraceptive pills that contain a mixture of estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen can cause an increase of cortisol-binding globulin and thereby cause the total cortisol level to be elevated. However, the total free cortisol, which is the active hormone in the body, as measured by a 24 hour urine collection for urinary free cortisol, is normal.

The hypothalamus is in the brain and the pituitary gland sits just below it. The paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the hypothalamus releases corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), which stimulates the pituitary gland to release adrenocorticotropin (ACTH). ACTH travels via the blood to the adrenal gland, where it stimulates the release of cortisol. Cortisol is secreted by the cortex of the adrenal gland from a region called the zona fasciculata in response to ACTH. Elevated levels of cortisol exert negative feedback on the pituitary, which decreases the amount of ACTH released from the pituitary gland. Strictly, Cushing’s syndrome refers to excess cortisol of any etiology. One of the causes of Cushing’s syndrome is a cortisol secreting adenoma in the cortex of the adrenal gland. The adenoma causes cortisol levels in the blood to be very high, and negative feedback on the pituitary from the high cortisol levels causes ACTH levels to be very low. Cushing’s disease refers only to hypercortisolism secondary to excess production of ACTH from a corticotrophic pituitary adenoma. This causes the blood ACTH levels to be elevated along with cortisol from the adrenal gland. The ACTH levels remain high because a tumor causes the pituitary to be unresponsive to negative feedback from high cortisol levels.

Cushing’s Syndrome was also the first autoimmune disease identified in humans.

When Cushing’s syndrome is suspected, either a dexamethasone suppression test (administration of dexamethasone and frequent determination of cortisol and ACTH level), or a 24-hour urinary measurement for cortisol offer equal detection rates. Dexamethasone is a glucocorticoid and simulates the effects of cortisol, including negative feedback on the pituitary gland. When dexamethasone is administered and a blood sample is tested, high cortisol would be indicative of Cushing’s syndrome because there is an ectopic source of cortisol or ACTH (e.g.: adrenal adenoma) that is not inhibited by the dexamethasone. A novel approach, recently cleared by the US FDA, is sampling cortisol in saliva over 24 hours, which may be equally sensitive, as late night levels of salivary cortisol are high in Cushingoid patients. Other pituitary hormone levels may need to be ascertained. Performing a physical examination to determine any visual field defect may be necessary if a pituitary lesion is suspected, which may compress the optic chiasm causing typical bitemporal hemianopia.

When any of these tests are positive, CT scanning of the adrenal gland and MRI of the pituitary gland are performed to detect the presence of any adrenal or pituitary adenomas or incidentalomas (the incidental discovery of harmless lesions). Scintigraphy of the adrenal gland with iodocholesterol scan is occasionally necessary. Very rarely, determining the ACTH levels in various veins in the body by venous catheterization, working towards the pituitary (petrosal sinus sampling) is necessary.

C – Central obesity, Cervical fat pads, Collagen fibre weakness, Comedones (acne)
U – Urinary free cortisol and glucose increase
S – Striae, Suppressed immunity
H – Hypercortisolism, Hypertension, Hyperglycemia, Hypercholesterolemia, Hirsutism
I – Iatrogenic (Increased administration of corticosteroids)
N – Noniatrogenic (Neoplasms)
G – Glucose intolerance, Growth retardation

Most Cushing’s syndrome cases are caused by steroid medications (iatrogenic). Consequently, most patients are effectively treated by carefully tapering off (and eventually stopping) the medication that causes the symptoms.

If an adrenal adenoma is identified it may be removed by surgery. An ACTH-secreting corticotrophic pituitary adenoma should be removed after diagnosis. Regardless of the adenoma’s location, most patients will require steroid replacement postoperatively at least in the interim as long-term suppression of pituitary ACTH and normal adrenal tissue does not recover immediately. Clearly, if both adrenals are removed, replacement with hydrocortisone or prednisolone is imperative.

In those patients not suitable for or unwilling to undergo surgery, several drugs have been found to inhibit cortisol synthesis (e.g. ketoconazole, metyrapone) but they are of limited efficacy.

Removal of the adrenals in the absence of a known tumor is occasionally performed to eliminate the production of excess cortisol. In some occasions, this removes negative feedback from a previously occult pituitary adenoma, which starts growing rapidly and produces extreme levels of ACTH, leading to hyperpigmentation. This clinical situation is known as Nelson’s syndrome.

Lifestyle and home remedies:-

The length of your recovery from Cushing’s syndrome will depend on the severity and cause of your condition. Remember to be patient. You didn’t develop Cushing’s syndrome overnight and your symptoms won’t disappear overnight, either. In the meantime, these tips may help you on your journey back to health.

*Increase activities slowly. You may be in such a hurry to get your old self back that you push yourself too hard too fast, but your weakened muscles need a slower approach. Work up to a reasonable level of exercise or activity that feels comfortable without overdoing it. You’ll improve little by little, and your persistence will be rewarded.

*Eat sensibly. Nutritious, wholesome foods provide a good source of fuel for your recovering body and can help you lose the extra pounds that you gained from Cushing’s syndrome. Make sure you’re getting enough calcium and vitamin D. Taken together, they help your body absorb calcium, which can help strengthen your bones, counteracting the bone density loss that often occurs with Cushing’s syndrome.

*Monitor your mental health. Depression can be a side effect of Cushing’s syndrome, but it can also persist or develop after treatment begins. Don’t ignore your depression or wait it out. Seek help promptly from your doctor or a therapist if you’re depressed, overwhelmed or having difficulty coping during your recovery.

*Gently soothe aches and pains. Hot baths, massages and low-impact exercises, such as water aerobics and tai chi, can help alleviate some of the muscle and joint pain that accompanies Cushing’s syndrome recovery.

*Exercise your brain. If you’re recovering from any cognitive difficulties as a result of Cushing’s syndrome, mental exercises, such as math problems and crossword puzzles, may improve your brain function.

Coping and support:-
Support groups can be valuable in dealing with Cushing’s syndrome and recovery. They bring you together with other people who are coping with the same kinds of challenges, along with their families and friends, and offer a setting in which youe can share common problems.

Ask your doctor about support groups in your community. Your local health department, public library and telephone book and the Internet also may be good sources to find a support group in your area.

Removing the tumor may lead to full recovery, but there is a chance that the condition will return.

Survival for people with ectopic tumors depends on the tumor type. Untreated, Cushing syndrome can be life-threatening.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.


Cushing’s Syndrome

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Health Problems & Solutions

Not to Get Pregnant

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I have done something wrong,” said the young woman. No, it was not theft or murder she was confessing to but unprotected sex. An unguarded passionate moment with her boyfriend had made her pregnant. She was terrified of the stigma — the boyfriend was still a student, there was no way they could get married right away.
This is quite a common scenario in urban as well as rural India. Women increasingly face the problems of unplanned and unwanted pregnancies. It’s most important that they know how to take care of themselves, married or single.

First, women need to be in control of their bodies, especially when it comes to sexual intercourse, pregnancy and childbirth. Many safe women-oriented contraceptive methods are available.

Women become pregnant only on certain days of the month. The ovum or egg of a fertile woman is released 14 days before her next period. The egg survives 12 to 24 hours after release and the sperm for up to 72 hours. Couples may refrain from intercourse on these days if they wish to avoid pregnancy. This method, however, is not reliable as many women do not menstruate with clockwork precision.

Women may use contraceptive creams containing nonoxynol-9 in the vagina. These substances increase the effectiveness of the safe period. They are effective for about an hour. But they do not suit everyone and may cause vaginal irritation or allergic reactions. They are available in pharmacies without a prescription.

Diaphragms can be inserted prior to intercourse. These come in various sizes and need to be combined with a spermicide. An initial medical examination is needed to confirm the size. The device has to be left in the vagina for eight to 12 hours after intercourse but should be removed within 24 hours.

Women can also opt for an intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD), popularly known as a “copper T”. These need to be inserted by a medical professional. They can work for three, five or 10 years, depending on the type and manufacturer’s recommendations. Imported devices can be purchased from the pharmacy. Also, free IUCDs are distributed by the government.

“Depo” injections of long-acting progesterone are available
. A woman needs to have an injection every 12 weeks. They can cause weight gain, irregular cycles, breakthrough bleeding or spotting. The irregular periods can raise the spectre of an unwanted pregnancy.

Oral contraceptive pills (OCP) prevent pregnancy if taken regularly.
There are combination pills containing estrogen and progesterone with different trade names. They are also provided free by the government (Mala D). The active ingredient is given for 21 days. Then there is a pill-free interval of seven days after which the next lot needs to be started. Sometimes placebo pills are administered during the pill-free period. They prevent pregnancy as well as regularise the cycle. They do not increase the risk of cancer.

Breast feeding women can opt for “progesterone only” pills. These are taken without a pill-free interval.

There’s a new contraceptive in the market — a plastic ring impregnated with estrogen and progesterone. The ring needs to be inserted in the vagina and left there for three weeks followed by a one week ring-free interval. A woman can purchase and insert the ring herself. An advantage of this over the pill is that the question of forgetting the latter does not arise.

Condoms can be used by the male partner. These have to be used from the beginning to the end of intercourse, and can be combined with a spermicidal cream.

Casual sex and multiple partners can result in sexually transmitted diseases. Some like Hepatitis B and HIV can eventually be fatal. Only condoms can prevent these diseases.

Even if you have had unplanned and unprotected sex, you can use emergency contraception (morning after) pills. Although theoretically these pills should be dispensed only by prescription, in many places they are available over the counter (OTC). The tablet should be taken after intercourse as soon as possible. It is 80 per cent effective if taken within 72 hours.

The morning after pill contains either progesterone or a combination of estrogen and progesterone in higher doses than in the 21 or 28-day packs of OCPs. An alternative is to take four low-dose or two “standard-dose” OCPs, and then take an equal dose 12 hours later.

If an unwanted pregnancy occurs, do not buy medicine OTC or rush to an unqualified quack out of shame or fear. Medical abortion pills are available and effective. They work up to the 49th day after the last period.

The last two are stopgap emergency measures. They are not to be considered regular methods of contraception. They are detrimental to health if repeatedly used.

Source : The Teleghraph ( Kolkata, India)

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News on Health & Science

Exercise ‘No Aid’ for Period Pain

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Exercise does not help to alleviate period pain, despite it being commonly recommended for women with monthly symptoms, say researchers.
A study of more than 650 university students reported in BJOG found 28% had moderate to severe period pain.

But Birmingham University researchers said they found no link with the amount of exercise the participants did.

GPs said women should be encouraged to do exercise regardless but drugs are available for those with period pain.

The study authors said beliefs about exercise being an effective treatment for bad period pain had persisted for years.

They carried out a questionnaire among 18 to 25-year-olds to find out what age they started their period, how often they had periods, what contraception they used, and whether they had children or had any conditions such as endometriosis or fibroids.

The students were also asked what type of exercise they did and how often as well as other general lifestyle questions.

Responses showed that 72% had no or very little period pain but 28% had moderate to severe pain with their monthly cycle.

After taking into account mood, ethnicity, weight, smoking, and use of the contraceptive pill, they found no link with how much exercise a woman did and whether she suffered from period pain, or how bad her pain was.

‘Anecdotal beliefs’:-

Researcher, Dr Amanda Daley concluded that more research was needed before women are told that exercise will reduce of alleviate period pain.

“Anecdotal beliefs that exercise is an effective treatment have prevailed for many years and while it might seem intuitively appealing to promote exercise as a treatment for menstrual disorders, the findings from this study, along with many others, would not support such a view.

“Of course there are many other important health reasons for encouraging women to be physically active and exercise performed in moderation is unlikely to be harmful.”

Royal College of GPs chairman Professor Steve Field said women with period pain should do what works for them and exercise might make them feel better in general.

“It is a common problem and people usually self-medicate.

“Some exercise is good for you of course but the main treatment for period pain is the contraceptive pill.

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period pain

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Source: BBC News. Dec.12’09

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Healthy Tips

Check Your Breasts for Cancer

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Cancer. The word is derived from “crab” and conjures up visions of multiple tentacles insidiously spreading all over the body. Unfortunately, the vision includes undiagnosed, undetected, untreated versions of the dreaded disease.

Women in India are prone to cervical (lower end of the uterus) and breast cancer. A vaccine (HPV or human papillovirus vaccine) was recently introduced to reduce the incidence of cancer of the cervix. However, there is no vaccine to prevent breast cancer. One in 22 women in India are projected to be diagnosed with breast cancer in the course of their lifetime. The incidence varies from eight per 1,00,000 women in rural India to 27 per 1,00,000 women in urban areas. Breast cancer is not a disease confined to women; in rare occasions, it can occur in men too.

Lumps in the breast can be felt when they are pea sized. The tissue feels different, and is firmer and harder than in the surrounding areas. Later the skin over the lump may be discoloured or thickened (resembling an orange peel). Also, there may be retraction (pulling inward) of the nipple.

Many lumps are harmless non-cancerous fibroadenomas. Others are not real lumps but nodular breasts reflecting the hormonal changes that occur during the course of a normal menstrual cycle. All lumps, however, must be taken seriously and evaluated as soon as they appear.

Evaluation of a breast lump is usually done with a mammogram or an ultrasound examination. Once the position has been accurately localised, the lump is aspirated with a fine needle. Cells obtained during the procedure are used to diagnose the nature of the lump. Depending on the diagnosis, the breast is operated. This is followed by chemotherapy, radiotherapy, hormone therapy and immunotherapy.

Breast cancer can occur at any age, though it is less common under the age of 25 years. The exact mechanism which sets in motion the changes responsible for breast cancer is not known. Certain environmental and genetic factors are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.

• Long years of menstruation with early menarche (less than 12) and late menopause (over 55)

• Delayed childbirth

• Failure to breast-feed children

• Breast or ovarian cancer in first degree relatives

• Smoking and drinking alcohol

• Obesity

• Cancer elsewhere and exposure to radiation

• Post menopausal hormone replacement therapy for more than four years.

In developed countries, the majority of cases is discovered by routine screening, even before a lump is palpable. In India, by the time the patient arrives for an evaluation, the cancer has usually spread locally. This is unfortunate as a 20-year survival is found in 90 per cent of patients if the tumour diameter is less than 1cm. Early detection and diagnosis are therefore of paramount importance.

One of the most useful tools for early detection is breast self examination. It is simple, easy and sensitive. It can be done in five steps, preferably on the same day every month. This is to negate any changes in consistency because of hormonal effects.


Step 1: Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror, uncovered, with your shoulders straight and arms on your hips. Check that the breasts are their usual size, shape and colour. There should be no visible distortion or swelling. The danger signs are dimpling, puckering, bulging of the skin, redness, soreness, rash or swelling, or a nipple that has changed position.

Step 2: Look for the same changes with raised arms.

Step 3: Gently squeeze each nipple between your finger and thumb and check for nipple discharge.

Step 4: Next, feel your breasts while lying down, using your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few fingers of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together. Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side from the armpit to the cleavage. Follow a pattern to be sure that you cover the whole breast.

5. Begin examining each area with a very soft touch, and then increase pressure so that you can feel the deeper tissue, down to your ribcage.

Step 5: Finally, feel your breasts while you are standing or sitting.

Mammograms can detect tumours before they are felt with the hand. After the age of 45 years, they should ideally be done every two years. In case of any abnormality, see a competent surgeon immediately. The process may be expensive, but is well worth the cost.

A few lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of developing breast cancer.

• Maintain a BMI (weight in kg / height in metre squared) of around 23

• Reduce the intake of fat

• Eat five helpings of fruits or vegetables a day

• Regular exercise (jogging, cycling swimming, running) for 45 minutes at least four times a week has a positive effect on the immune system.

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10 tips to reduce Cancer risk
Aspirin reduces Breast Cancer Risk by 20%
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Source: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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Health Problems & Solutions

Some Health Tips Woman to Know


The irritable moods and water retention that affect many women the week before their period can be helped by taking more magnesium, says Dr Ann Walker.
While it’s not known exactly how the nutrient helps, it’s thought to boost the production of dopamine, a brain chemical which may be linked to mood.

Magnesium may also help prevent the inflammation which causes water retention. Dr Walker, who runs a herbal medicine clinic in Berkshire, says: ‘Many people don’t eat the foods which contain magnesium, such as wholegrains, beans and green leafy vegetables, so supplements may help. You need about 270mg a day, and look for magnesium citrate, which is easier to absorb than magnesium oxide.’


Millions of people in the UK suffer from back pain, but women are more prone to lower back trouble – as a result of a combination of factors including the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and large breasts.
But this pain is often easily curable by performing stomach exercises, says GP Dr Claire Rushton, vice chairman of the Family Doctor Association.
She says: ‘People don’t realise that when the stomach muscles are weak, it can lead to back pain. The stomach muscles actually support the back; if their tone is poor, you tend to sag and your back then takes the strain.’
A simple exercise performed ten times each morning and evening will strengthen your tummy muscles.
Go down on all fours, keeping your back straight, then pull in your belly button as far as you can and hold for a count of ten. ‘After a week you should start to feel better,’ she says.
Dr Rushton also recommends pulling your tummy in if you’re bending forward to pick up something, as this also protects your back.

If you’ve had any part of your body waxed, wait a couple of days before going swimming or using a Jacuzzi, advises Alison Cope, consultant virologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
‘The open hair follicles make women prone to skin infection with bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which thrives in warm, wet areas and which causes “hot tub folliculitis”,’ she says.
This is an itchy, red rash which can lead to infected bumps. In serious cases, antibiotics are needed to clear up the problem.
And while hot tubs are the worst offenders because the temperature of the water makes it an ideal breeding ground, swimming pools also pose a risk.

Cope advises showering before and after using a pool or spa to minimise the chance of spreading bacteria or becoming infected yourself. Showering afterwards helps ensure you get rid of other people’s bacteria; showering before stops you spreading yours.
‘Also, don’t go to a place for waxing where they dip the spatula in a large tub of wax,’ she warns. ‘Chances are lots of other spatulas have been dipped in the same tub and the wax has become contaminated with other peoples’ skin flora (micro organisms that live on the skin).
‘This means organisms such as streptococci and staphylococci (even MRSA) can be transferred and cause infections like cellulitis ( infection of the tissues below the skin).’


The moment thrush strikes, many women reach for a tub of yoghurt to treat the fierce, burning pain. But this won’t cure the Candida infection that’s causing the flare-up, says Dr Meera Kishen, consultant in sexual and reproductive health and member of the Medical Women’s Federation. ‘Although it feels like it is helping, this is because it’s cooling and soothing – cold water will have the same effect.’
Instead, sufferers should take a vaginal or oral preparation such as Canestan, available over the counter from chemists, and wear loose-fitting clothes and cotton underwear.
Despite common wisdom, thrush isn’t the most common vaginal infection – twice as many women get bacterial vaginosis, an infection caused by overgrowth of bacteria.
‘This can be caused by bath additives, sex or the coil,’ says Gloucestershire GP Dawn Harper. ‘One in three women gets it. The discharge is thinner than thrush and has a characteristic odour.’
Treat vaginosis with gels such as Balance-activ (from chemists).


News stories about the huge rise in skin cancer have made many women afraid to go out in the sun or, if they do, they smother themselves head-to-toe in sun block.
But they could be doing themselves more harm than good, warns dermatologist Dr Cecelia Tregear, of the Wimpole Skin Care Centre in London.
The body needs the sun to manufacture vitamin D and a deficiency can lead to serious problems such as rickets and osteoporosis. ‘A deficiency is also linked to cancers, bone disease and heart disease.’
Dr Tregear says women should try to strike a balance between avoiding skin cancer and protecting their bones, by going outside when it’s sunny for 20 minutes without wearing sun cream.


The onset of menopause often brings with it a loss of libido, but tibolone, a drug commonly prescribed to treat associated symptoms such as hot flushes and osteoporosis, can help.
Because the drug contains testosterone, one of its added benefits is that it helps perk up many women’s love lives as well as combating the symptoms of menopause.
‘Studies show that taking it for four to six months can improve your sex life,’ says GP Dr Zara Aziz, a GP in Bristol. ‘It’s thought to work by increasing blood flow to the genitals as well as replacing female hormones.’
We all think of milk as soothing for our stomachs, but it’s the worst thing you can drink if you’ve just had a bout of diarrhoea, warns Winchester GP Anna Wilson.
Diarrhoea is a common symptom of irritable bowel syndrome, which affects an estimated four million women in Britain.
Dr Wilson recommends avoiding milk for at least 48 hours after a tummy upset.
‘Diarrhoea tends to knock out the lining cells of the gut which produce a lot of milk-digesting enzymes. It takes time for them to recover and, while they do, you have transient milk intolerance,’ she says.

‘But people very often make the mistake of drinking milk when they are getting better. Instead you should drink water or soya milk for a day or two to let the gut lining recover.

Being tired all the time is often put down to anaemia and women think they should take more iron, but that could do more harm than good.
You may actually have haemochromatosis – a condition where the body absorbs too much iron and which can be toxic, leading to a build up of iron in organs, liver or heart failure and even death.
‘If you see your GP because you’re tired all the time and have aches and pains, you’ll usually be tested for anaemia,’ says Dr Pixie McKenna, a presenter on Channel 4’s Embarrassing Illnesses.
‘Your doctor may then tell you all is well – in fact you have a really good supply of iron – that’s why haemochromatosis is often missed. It’s an inherited condition and is very common in people of Celtic origin – one in 83 are carriers. Yet it’s easily detected by having a blood test, and is treatable.’


Eating the wrong foods can make you age ahead of your time, says London cosmetic surgeon Dr Lucy Glancey. ‘One of the theories of ageing is that we have too many free radicals in our skin which accelerates the ageing process,’ she explains.
Free radicals are molecules that destroy body cells. A major source is thought to be sugar.
As Dr Glancey says, food such as doughnuts give you a sudden ‘massive rush of sugar’ – the body can’t eliminate this sugar effectively, and in the long run that sugar creates free radicals.
She recommends sticking to foods with a low glycemic index, such as most fruits and vegetables, fish, eggs and meat, which don’t raise the body’s blood sugar levels so high.

During her 40s, a woman’s menstrual cycle can shorten to every three weeks, premenstrual syndrome symptoms become more severe and periods longer and heavier. To improve their quality of life, many women opt for a hysterectomy.
But according to sexual health consultant Dr Tina Peers, who is based in East Surrey, many women could be spared this operation if they simply changed their contraception.
‘Mirena, the progestogen coil, is the Rolls-Royce of contraception for women this age. It stops periods in 85 per cent of women.
‘Another choice that’s possible for those concerned about taking the combined pill until they’re 50 is NuvaRing, a disposable vaginal ring that’s as effective as the Pill but delivers a lower rate of hormones.’

Ovarian cancer is known as the ‘silent killer’ and claims more than 4,300 lives a year in the UK because it has few symptoms, so is hard to detect.
One of the signs that’s most commonly missed or misdiagnosed is a bloated tummy, which women often put down to irritable bowel syndrome, says Dr Rupal Shah, a GP in Battersea, London.
‘If you feel constantly bloated for more than a couple of weeks and that feeling doesn’t disappear after you’ve been to the loo, then book an appointment to see your GP.
‘If it was IBS, you would expect to get some relief when you go to the loo and your bowel settles down. It’s not right to feel bloated day after day.’


Depression isn’t always in the mind – it can often be the warning sign of another illness or condition, warns London GP Ellie Cannon.
‘Depression and anxiety can be early symptoms of physical conditions such as anaemia, thyroid problems or the menopause,’ she says.

‘Before taking antidepressants, talk to your doctor about whether you need a blood test to rule out the possibility of these conditions.’

Source: Mail Online

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