Tag Archives: Polycystic ovary syndrome

Acanthosis nigricans

Definition:
Acanthosis nigricans is a fairly common skin pigmentation disorder.It is a brown to black, poorly defined, velvety hyperpigmentation of the skin. It is usually found in body folds, such as the posterior and lateral folds of the neck, the armpits, groin, navel, forehead, and other areas.

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Types:
This is conventionally divided into benign and malignant forms., although may be divided into syndromes according to cause.

*Benign This may include obesity-related, hereditary, and endocrine forms of acanthosis nigricans.

*Malignant. This may include forms that are associated with tumour products and insulin-like activity, or tumour necrosis factor.

An alternate classification system still used to describe acanthosis nigricans was proposed in 1994 by dermatologist Schwartz. This classification system delineates acanthosis nigricans syndromes according to their associated syndromes, including benign and malignant forms, forms associated with obesity and drugs, acral acanthosis nigricans, unilateral acanthosis nigricans, and mixed and syndromic forms.

Acanthosis nigricans may be a sign of a more serious health problem such as pre-diabetes. The most effective treatments focus on finding and resolving medical condition at the root of the problem. Fortunately, these skin patches tend to disappear after successfully treating the root condition.

Signs and symptoms:
Acanthosis nigricans may present with thickened, relatively darker areas of skin on the neck, armpit and in skin folds.These patches may also appear on the groin, elbows, knees, knuckles, or skin folds. Lips, palms, and soles of the feet.

Causes:
It typically occurs in individuals younger than age 40, may be genetically inherited, and is associated with obesity or endocrinopathies, such as hypothyroidism, acromegaly, polycystic ovary disease, insulin-resistant diabetes, or Cushing’s disease.

This occurs when epidermal skin cells begin to rapidly reproduce. This abnormal skin cell growth is most commonly triggered by high levels of insulin in the blood. In rare cases, the increase in skin cells may be caused by medications, cancer, or other medical conditions, as describe below.

*Too Much Insulin
The most frequent trigger for acanthosis nigricans is too much insulin in your bloodstream. Here’s why.

When you eat, your body converts carbohydrates into sugar molecules such as glucose. Some of this glucose is used for energy while the rest is stored. In order to use the glucose for energy, insulin must also be used. The insulin enables the glucose to enter the cells.

Overweight people tend to develop resistance to insulin over time. So although the pancreas is making insulin, the body cannot use it properly. This creates a buildup of glucose in the bloodstream, which can result in high levels of both blood glucose and insulin in your bloodstream.

Excess insulin causes normal skin cells to reproduce at a rapid rate. For those with dark skin, these new cells have more melanin. This increase in melanin produces a patch of skin that is darker than the skin surrounding it. Thus, the presence of acanthosis nigricans is a strong predictor of future diabetes. If this is indeed the cause, it is relatively easy to correct with proper diet, exercise, and blood sugar control.

*Medications:
Acanthosis nigricans can also be triggered by certain medications such as birth control pills, human growth hormones, thyroid medications, and even some body-building supplements. All of these medications can cause changes in insulin levels. Medications used to ease the side effects of chemotherapy have also been linked to acanthosis nigricans. In most cases, the condition clears up when the medications are discontinued.

Some Other Causes:(Potential but rare)

#stomach cancer (gastric adenocarcinoma)
#adrenal gland disorders such as Addison’s disease
#disorders of the pituitary gland
#low levels of thyroid hormones
#high doses of niacin

Diagnosis:
Acanthosis nigricans is typically diagnosed clinically.It is easy to recognize by sight. The doctor may want to check for diabetes or insulin resistance as the root cause. These tests may include blood glucose tests or fasting insulin tests. Your doctor may also review all your medications to see if they are a contributing factor.

It is important to inform the doctor of any dietary supplements, vitamins, or muscle-building supplements you may be taking in addition to your prescription medications.

In rare cases, the doctor may perform other tests such as a small skin biopsy to rule out other possible causes.

Treatment :
People with acanthosis nigricans should be screened for diabetes and, although rare, cancer. Controlling blood glucose levels through exercise and diet often improves symptoms. Acanthosis nigricans maligna may resolve if the causative tumor is successfully removed.

Cosmetic treatments exist for cases that are especially unsightly or embarrassing. Dark patches may be covered up with cosmetics or lightened with prescription skin lighteners. Although these treatments are not as effective as treating the root cause of the condition, they can provide some relief. Available skin lighteners include Retin-A, 20 percent urea, alpha hydroxy acids, and salicylic acid.

Prognosis:
Acanthosis nigricans often fades if the underlying cause can be determined and treated  properly.

Prevention:
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle & exercisIng regularly can usually prevent Acanthosis nigricans. Losing weight, controlling your diet, and, perhaps adjusting any medications that are contributing to the condition are all crucial steps. Healthier lifestyle choices will also reduce your risks for many other types of illnesses.

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.

Resources:
http://www.healthline.com/health/acanthosis-nigricans#Definition
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acanthosis_nigricans

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Metabolic Syndrome

Alternative Names: metabolic syndrome X, cardiometabolic syndrome, syndrome X, insulin resistance syndrome, Reaven’s syndrome (named for Gerald Reaven), and CHAOS (in Australia).

Definition:
Suddenly, it’s a health condition that everyone’s talking about. While it was only identified less than 20 years ago, metabolic syndrome is as widespread as pimples and the common cold. According to the American Heart Association, 47 million Americans have it. That’s almost a staggering one out of every six people.

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Indeed, metabolic syndrome seems to be a condition that many people have, but no one knows very much about. It’s also debated by the experts — not all doctors agree that metabolic syndrome should be viewed as a distinct condition.

So what is this mysterious syndrome — which also goes by the scary-sounding name Syndrome X — and should you be worried about it?

Understanding Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is not a disease in itself. Instead, it’s a group of risk factors — high blood pressure, high blood sugar, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and abdominal fat.

Obviously, having any one of these risk factors isn’t good. But when they’re combined, they set the stage for grave problems. These risk factors double your risk of blood vessel and heart disease, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes. They increase your risk of diabetes by five times.

Many people who have either diabetes, high blood pressure or obesity also have one or more of the other conditions, although it may have gone unrecognised.

Individually, each of these conditions can lead to damage to the blood vessels, but together they’re far more likely to do harm. People with these conditions in combination become much more likely to experience heart disease, stroke and other conditions related to problems with the blood vessels.

When a person has such a combination, they’re said to have metabolic syndrome. This is also sometimes called insulin-resistance syndrome (because one of the features is a very high level of the hormone insulin in the blood, which the body doesn’t react to or is ‘resistant’ to) or syndrome X.

There are currently two major definitions for metabolic syndrome provided by the International Diabetes Federation  and the revised National Cholesterol Education Program, respectively. The revised NCEP and IDF definitions of metabolic syndrome are very similar and it can be expected that they will identify many of the same individuals as having metabolic syndrome. The two differences are that IDF state that if BMI > 30 kg/m2, central obesity can be assumed, and waist circumference does not need to be measured. However, this potentially excludes any subject without increased waist circumference if BMI < 30, whereas, in the NCEP definition, metabolic syndrome can be diagnosed based on other criteria, and the IDF uses geography-specific cut points for waist circumference, while NCEP uses only one set of cut points for waist circumference, regardless of geography. These two definitions are much closer to each other than the original NCEP and WHO definitions.

Metabolic syndrome is also becoming more common. But the good news is that it can be controlled, largely with changes to your lifestyle.

Symptoms:
The problems found in metabolic syndrome include:

 

•Central obesity – fat is laid down around the abdomen rather than spread evenly around the body

•Abnormal fat levels in the blood – specifically, high levels of triglycerides and low levels of HDL (or ‘good’) cholesterol, which can lead to arteriosclerosis (fatty plaques) on the walls of blood vessels

•High blood pressure

•Insulin resistance or glucose intolerance – an inability to use insulin properly or control blood sugar levels very well, which is a very important factor in metabolic syndrome

Prothrombotic state – an increased tendency to make tiny clots in the blood

Proinflammatory state – an increased tendency to inflammation

Having one component of metabolic syndrome means you’re more likely to have others. And the more components you have, the greater are the risks to your health.

Causes:
Experts aren’t sure why metabolic syndrome develops. It’s a collection of risk factors, not a single disease. So it probably has many different causes. Some risk factors are:

*Insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body use glucose — a simple sugar made from the food you eat — as energy. In people with insulin resistance, the insulin doesn’t work as well so your body keeps making more and more of it to cope with the rising level of glucose. Eventually, this can lead to diabetes. Insulin resistance is closely connected to having excess weight in the belly.

*Obesity — especially abdominal obesity. Experts say that metabolic syndrome is becoming more common because of rising obesity rates. In addition, having extra fat in the belly — as opposed to elsewhere in the body — seems to increase your risk.

*Unhealthy lifestyle. Eating a diet high in fats and not getting enough physical activity can play a role.

*Hormonal imbalance. Hormones may play a role. For instance, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) — a condition that affects fertility — is related to hormonal imbalance and metabolic syndrome.

If you’ve just been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, you might be anxious. But think of it as a wake-up call. It’s time to get serious about improving your health. Making simple changes to your habits now can prevent serious illness in the future.

Risk Factors:
The following factors increase your chances of having metabolic syndrome:

*Age. The risk of metabolic syndrome increases with age, affecting less than 10 percent of people in their 20s and 40 percent of people in their 60s. However, warning signs of metabolic syndrome can appear in childhood.

*Race. Hispanics and Asians seem to be at greater risk of metabolic syndrome than other races are.

*Obesity. A body mass index (BMI) — a measure of your percentage of body fat based on height and weight — greater than 25 increases your risk of metabolic syndrome. So does abdominal obesity — having an apple shape rather than a pear shape.

*History of diabetes. You’re more likely to have metabolic syndrome if you have a family history of type 2 diabetes or a history of diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes).

*Other diseases.A diagnosis of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease or polycystic ovary syndrome — a similar type of metabolic problem that affects a woman’s hormones and reproductive system — also increases your risk of metabolic syndrome.

Complications:
Having metabolic syndrome can increase your risk of developing these conditions:

*Diabetes. If you don’t make lifestyle changes to control your insulin resistance, your glucose levels will continue to increase. You may develop diabetes as a result of metabolic syndrome.

*Cardiovascular disease.High cholesterol and high blood pressure can contribute to the buildup of plaques in your arteries. These plaques can cause your arteries to narrow and harden, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

Diagnosis:
Although  doctor does not typically look  for metabolic syndrome, the label may apply if you have three or more of the traits associated with this condition.

Several organizations have criteria for diagnosing metabolic syndrome. These guidelines were created by the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) with modifications by the American Heart Association. According to these guidelines, you have metabolic syndrome if you have three or more of these traits:

*Large waist circumference, greater than 35 inches (89 centimeters, or cm) for women and 40 inches (102 cm) for men. Certain genetic risk factors, such as having a family history of diabetes or being of Asian descent — which increases your risk of insulin resistance — lower the waist circumference limit. If you have one of these genetic risk factors, waist circumference limits are 31 to 35 inches (79 to 89 cm) for women and 37 to 39 inches (94 to 99 cm) for men.

*A triglyceride level higher than 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or 1.7 millimoles per liter (mmol/L), or you’re receiving treatment for high triglycerides.

*Reduced HDL (“good”) cholesterol — less than 40 mg/dL (1 mmol/L) in men or less than 50 mg/dL (1.3 mmol/L) in women — or you’re receiving treatment for low HDL.

*Blood pressure higher than 120 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) systolic or higher than 80 mm Hg diastolic, or you’re receiving treatment for high blood pressure.

*Elevated fasting blood sugar (blood glucose) of 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L) or higher, or you’re receiving treatment for high blood sugar.

Treatment:
The first line treatment is change of lifestyle (e.g., Dietary Guidelines for Americans and physical activity). However, if in three to six months of efforts at remedying risk factors prove insufficient, then drug treatment is frequently required. Generally, the individual disorders that comprise the metabolic syndrome are treated separately. Diuretics and ACE inhibitors may be used to treat hypertension. Cholesterol drugs may be used to lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, if they are elevated, and to raise HDL levels if they are low. Use of drugs that decrease insulin resistance, e.g., metformin and thiazolidinediones, is controversial; this treatment is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

A 2003 study indicated that cardiovascular exercise was therapeutic in approximately 31% of cases. The most probable benefit was to triglyceride levels, with 43% showing improvement; but fasting plasma glucose and insulin resistance of 91% of test subjects did not improve.   Many other studies have supported the value of increased physical activity and restricted caloric intake (exercise and diet) to treat metabolic syndrome.

Restricting the overall dietary carbohydrate intake is more effective in reducing the most common symptoms of metabolic syndrome than the more commonly prescribed reduction in dietary fat intake

Controversy:
The clinical value of using “metabolic syndrome” as a diagnosis has recently come under fire. It is asserted that different sets of conflicting and incomplete diagnostic criteria are in existence, and that when confounding factors such as obesity are accounted for, diagnosis of the metabolic syndrome has a negligible association with the risk of heart disease.

These concerns have led to the American Diabetes Association and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes to issue a joint statement identifying eight major concerns on the clinical utility of the metabolic syndrome.

It is not contested that cardiovascular risk factors tend to cluster together, but what is contested is the assertion that the metabolic syndrome is anything more than the sum of its constituent parts.

Lifestyle and home remedies:
You can do something about your risk of metabolic syndrome and its complications — diabetes, stroke and heart disease. Start by making these lifestyle changes:

Lose weight. Losing as little as 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can reduce insulin levels and blood pressure, and decrease your risk of diabetes.

Exercise. Doctors recommend getting 30 to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, every day.

Doing Yoga :Doing Yoga exercise, meditation etc. under the guideline of a good yoga teacher

Stop smoking.Smoking cigarettes increases insulin resistance and worsens the health consequences of metabolic syndrome. Talk to your doctor if you need help kicking the cigarette habit.

Eat fiber-rich foods. Make sure you include whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables in your grocery cart. These items are packed with dietary fiber, which can lower your insulin levels.

Prevention:
Various strategies have been proposed to prevent the development of metabolic syndrome. These include increased physical activity (such as walking 30 minutes every day),   and a healthy, reduced calorie diet.   There are many studies that support the value of a healthy lifestyle as above. However, one study stated that these potentially beneficial measures are effective in only a minority of people, primarily due to a lack of compliance with lifestyle and diet changes.   The International Obesity Taskforce states that interventions on a sociopolitical level are required to reduce development of the metabolic syndrome in populations.

.
Although much more research has to be done to work out the relationship between different factors in metabolic syndrome, and how drug treatments might be used to help people, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk.

Lifestyle changes can make a big difference, preventing or delaying the development of serious disease. Losing weight and getting active are the top priority. But make sure you get proper advice and support – research has shown that people who join a weight-loss group, for example, are more likely to lose weight and keep it off.

In terms of getting fit, join a gym or find a sport you enjoy. You’re more likely to stick at it if you like what you’re doing.

Some preventive treatments are also available from your GP. It’s important to keep your blood pressure under control, and blood fat (cholesterol) and blood sugar (glucose) at healthy levels. But some blood pressure treatments, such as diuretics and beta blockers, can actually make metabolic syndrome worse.

A 2007 study of 2,375 male subjects over 20 years suggested that daily intake of a pint (~568 ml) of milk or equivalent dairy products more than halved the risk of metabolic syndrome. Some subsequent studies support the authors’ findings, while others dispute them.

Check with your doctor if you’re concerned. Drugs to control blood fat and cholesterol levels, and blood glucose levels, are often needed.

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

Resources:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/metabolicsyndrome1.shtml
http://www.webmd.com/heart/metabolic-syndrome/metabolic-syndrome-what-is-it
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/metabolic%20syndrome/DS00522
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metabolic_syndrome
http://www.healthfocus.net.au/what-is-metabolic-syndrome/

http://www.myoptumhealth.com/portal/ADAM/item/Weight+control+and+diet

Cyst

Definition:
A cyst is a closed, saclike structure that contains fluid, gas, or semisolid material and is not a normal part of the tissue where it is located. Cysts are common and can occur anywhere in the body in people of any age. Cysts vary in size; they may be detectable only under a microscope or they can grow so large that they displace normal organs and tissues. The outer wall of a cyst is called the capsule.

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Ganglion Cyst

Ganglion Cyst (Photo credit: Glenn E. Malone)

A collection of pus is called an abscess, not a cyst. Once formed, a cyst could go away on its own or may have to be removed through surgery.

Locations:
*Acne cyst – Pseudocysts associated with cystic acne. Actually an inflammatory nodule with or without an associated epidermoid inclusion cyst.
*Arachnoid cyst (between the surface of the brain and the cranial base or on the arachnoid membrane)
*Baker’s cyst or popliteal cyst (behind the knee joint)
*Bartholin’s cyst
*Breast cyst
*Buccal bifurcation cyst
*Calcifying odontogenic cyst
*Chalazion cyst (eyelid)
*Choroid plexus cyst (brain)
*Colloid cyst
*Cysticercal cyst (the larval stage of Taenia sp. (Crain’s backs))
*Dentigerous cyst (associated with the crowns of non-erupted teeth)
*Dermoid cyst (ovaries, testes, many other locations from head to tailbone)
*Epididymal cyst (found in the vessels attached to the testes)
*Ganglion cyst (hand/foot joints and tendons)
*Glandular odontogenic cyst
*Glial cyst (in the brain)
*Gartner’s duct cyst (vaginal or vulvar cyst of embryological origin)
*Hydatid cyst (larval stage of Echinococcus granulosus (tapeworm))
*Hydrocele (testicle)
*Keratocyst (in the jaws, these can appear solitary or associated with the Gorlin-Goltz or Nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome. *The latest World Health Organization classification considers Keratocysts as tumors rather than cysts)
*Liver cystic disease
*Meibomian cyst (eyelid)
*Mucoid cyst (ganglion cysts of the digits)
*Nabothian cyst (cervix)
*Ovarian cyst (ovaries, functional and pathological)
*Paradental cyst
*Paratubal cyst (fallopian tube)
*Periapical cyst (The periapical cyst, otherwise known as radicular cyst, is the most common odontogenic cyst.)
*Pericardial cyst
*Peritoneal cyst (lining of the abdominal cavity)
*Pilar cyst (cyst of the scalp)
*Pilonidal cyst (skin infection near tailbone)
*Renal cyst (kidneys)
*Polycystic ovary syndrome
*Pineal gland cyst
*Radicular cyst (associated with the roots of non-vital teeth, also known as Periapical cyst)
*Residual cyst
*Sebaceous cyst (sac below skin)
*Spermatocele (testicle)
*Tarlov cyst (spine)
*Trichilemmal cyst – Same as a pilar cyst. A familial cyst of the scalp.
*Vocal fold cyst

Cystic fibrosis:
Despite being described in 1938 as the microscopic appearance of cysts in the pancreas, cystic fibrosis is an example of a genetic disorder whose name is related to fibrosis of the cystic duct and does not involve actual cysts

Cystic neoplasm:
Most cysts in the body are benign (dysfunctional) tumors, the result of plugged ducts or other natural body outlets for secretions. However sometimes these masses are considered neoplasm:

*Dermoid cyst
*Keratocyst
*Calcifying odotogenic cyst

Symptoms:
Sometimes you can feel a cyst yourself when you feel an abnormal “lump.” For example, cysts of the skin or tissues beneath the skin are usually noticeable. Cysts in the mammary glands (breasts) also may be palpable (meaning that you can feel them when you examine the area with your fingers). Cysts of internal organs such as the kidneys or liver may not produce any symptoms or may not be detected by the affected individual.

Causes:
Cysts can arise through a variety of processes in the body, including

#”wear and tear” or simple obstructions to the flow of fluid,

#infections,

#tumors,

#chronic inflammatory conditions,

#genetic (inherited) conditions,

#defects in developing organs in the embryo.

Most cysts arise due to the types of conditions listed above and are only preventable to the extent that the underlying cause is preventable.

Diagnosis:
Cysts of internal organs such as the kidneys or liver may not produce any symptoms or may not be detected by the affected individual. These cysts often are first discovered by imaging studies (X-ray, ultrasound, computerized tomography or CAT scan, and magnetic resonance imaging or MRI). Cysts may or may not produce symptoms, depending upon their size and location.

Treatment:
The treatment for a cyst depends upon the cause of the cyst along with its location. Cysts that are very large and result in symptoms due to their size may be surgically removed. Sometimes the fluid contained within a cyst can be drained, or aspirated, by inserting a needle or catheter into the cyst cavity, resulting in collapse of the cyst. Radiologic imaging may be used for guidance in draining (aspirating) cyst contents if the cyst is not easily accessible. Drainage or removal of a cyst at home is not advised.

Surgical removal of a cyst is sometimes necessary. If there is any suspicion that a cyst is cancerous, the cyst is generally removed by surgery or a biopsy is taken of the cyst wall (capsule) to rule out malignancy. In certain cases, aspirated fluid from a cyst is examined under a microscope to determine if cancer cells are present in the cyst.

If a cyst arises as part of a chronic medical condition (for example, in polycystic ovary syndrome or fibrocystic breast disease), treatment is generally directed at the underlying medical condition.

Prognosis:
The majority of cysts are benign conditions and do not result in long-term or serious complications. However, cysts that are associated with malignancy or serious infections can have a poor prognosis.

Prevention:
Prevention of cyst formation is only possible to the extent to which prevention of the underlying cause of the cyst is possible. Most kinds of cysts are not preventable.

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

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyst
http://www.medicinenet.com/cysts/article.htm

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Endometrial cancer

Alternative Names:- Endometrial adenocarcinoma; Uterine adenocarcinoma; Uterine cancer; Adenocarcinoma -endometrium; Adenocarcinoma – uterus; Cancer – uterine; Cancer – endometrial; Uterine corpus cancer

Definition:
The endometrium is the tissue lining the uterus (or womb). The uterus, a hollow organ about the size and shape of a pear, is found in a woman’s pelvic region and is the organ where the fetus grows until birth. The upper part of the uterus is called the corpus; the lower, narrower part of the uterus is called the cervix. The cervix is the opening between the uterus and the vagina. The outer layer of the uterus is called the myometrium. The myometrium is thick and composed of strong muscles. These muscles contract during labor to push out the baby.

The endometrium is soft and spongy. Each month, the endometrium changes as part of the menstrual cycle. Early in the cycle, the ovaries secrete a hormone called estrogen that causes the endometrium to thicken. In the middle of the cycle, the ovaries start secreting another hormone called progesterone. Progesterone prepares the innermost layer of the endometrium to support an embryo should conception (pregnancy) occur. If conception does not occur, the hormone levels decrease dramatically. The innermost layer of the endometrium is then shed as menstrual fluid. This leads to the cyclical nature of the menstrual cycle.

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Endometrial cancer occurs when cells of the endometrium undergo a transformation and begin to grow and multiply without the control mechanisms that normally limit their growth. As the cells grow and multiply, they form a mass called a tumor. Cancer is dangerous because it overwhelms healthy cells by taking their space and the oxygen and nutrients they need to survive and function.


Not all tumors are cancerous; however, cancerous tumors are called malignant, meaning they can spread to other tissues and organs. Cancerous tumors may encroach on and invade neighboring organs or lymph nodes, or they may enter the bloodstream and spread to the bones or distant organs, such as the lungs. This process is called metastasis. Metastatic tumors are the most aggressive and serious of all tumors.

Two main types of endometrial cancers exist. Nearly all endometrial cancers are endometrial adenocarcinomas, meaning they originate from glandular (secreting) tissue. The other type of endometrial cancer, uterine sarcomas, originates in the connective tissue or muscle of the uterus. A subtype of endometrial adenocarcinomas, adenosquamous carcinoma, includes squamous cells (that is, the type of cells found on the surface of the skin and cervix). Other subtypes of endometrial adenocarcinomas are papillary serous adenocarcinomas and clear cell carcinomas.

Endometrial cancer is often detected at an early stage because it frequently produces abnormal vaginal bleeding, which prompts women to see their doctors. If endometrial cancer is discovered early, removing the uterus surgically often eliminates all of the cancer.

In developed countries, uterine cancer is the most common cancer of the female genital tract. In the United States, uterine cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women. Uterine cancer was diagnosed in about 42,160 women in the United States in 2009, and about 7,800 women died of the disease. Uterine cancer occurs in women of reproductive age and older. About one-quarter of cases occur before menopause, but the disease is most often diagnosed in women in their 50s or 60s.

Symptoms:
Signs and symptoms of endometrial cancer may include:

*Prolonged periods or bleeding between periods
*An abnormal, watery or blood-tinged discharge from your vagina
*Pain during intercourse
*Abnormal uterine bleeding, abnormal menstrual periods
*Bleeding between normal periods before menopause
*Vaginal bleeding or spotting after menopause
*Extremely long, heavy, or frequent episodes of vaginal bleeding after age 40
*Lower abdominal pain or pelvic cramping
*Thin white or clear vaginal discharge after menopause

Causes & Risk Factors:
Endometrial cancer is the most common type of uterine cancer. Although the exact cause of endometrial cancer is unknown, increased levels of estrogen appear to play a role. Estrogen helps stimulate the buildup of the lining of the uterus. Studies have shown that high levels of estrogen in animals result in excessive endometrial growth and cancer.

Most cases of endometrial cancer occur between the ages of 60 and 70 years, but a few cases may occur before age 40.

The following increase your risk of endometrial cancer:

•Diabetes
•Estrogen replacement therapy without the use of progesterone
•History of endometrial polyps or other benign growths of the uterine lining
•Infertility (inability to become pregnant)
•Infrequent periods
•Tamoxifen, a drug for breast cancer treatment
•Never being pregnant
•Obesity
•Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
•Starting menstruation at an early age (before age 12)
•Starting menopause after age 50

Associated conditions include the following:
•Colon or breast cancer
•Gallbladder disease
•High blood pressure
•Polycystic ovarian disease

Complecations:
Endometrial cancer can spread to other parts of your body, making it more difficult to treat successfully. Endometrial cancer that spreads (metastasizes) most often travels to the lungs.

Diagnosis:
A pelvic examination is frequently normal, especially in the early stages of disease. Changes in the size, shape, or feel of the uterus or surrounding structures may be seen when the disease is more advanced.

Tests that may be done include:

•Endometrial aspiration or biopsy
•Dilation and curettage (D and C)
•Pap smear (may raise a suspicion for endometrial cancer, but does not diagnose it)….

If cancer is found, other tests may be done to determine how widespread the cancer is and whether it has spread to other parts of the body. This is called staging.

Stages of endometrial cancer:

1.The cancer is only in the uterus...….

2.The cancer is in the uterus and cervix.
3.The cancer has spread outside of the uterus but not beyond the true pelvis area. Cancer may involve the lymph nodes in the pelvis or near the aorta (the major artery in the abdomen).
4.The cancer has spread to the inner surface of the bowel, bladder, abdomen, or other organs.
Cancer is also described as Grade 1, 2, or 3. Grade 1 is the least aggressive, and grade 3 is the most aggressive.

Treatment:
Treatment options involve surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.

A hysterectomy may be performed in women with the early stage 1 disease. Removal of the tubes and ovaries (bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy) is also usually recommended.

Abdominal hysterectomy is recommended over vaginal hysterectomy. This type of hysterectomy allows the surgeon to look inside the abdominal area and remove tissue for a biopsy.

Surgery combined with radiation therapy is often used to treat women with stage 1 disease that has a high chance of returning, has spread to the lymph nodes, or is a grade 2 or 3. It is also used to treat women with stage 2 disease.

Chemotherapy may be considered in some cases, especially for those with stage 3 and 4 disease.

Coping & Support:
After you receive a diagnosis of endometrial cancer, you may have many questions, fears and concerns. How will the diagnosis affect you, your family, your work and your future? You may worry about tests, treatments, hospital stays and medical bills. Even if a full recovery is likely, you may worry about possible recurrence of your cancer.

Fortunately, many resources are available to help answer questions and provide support. The key is to remember that you don’t have to face your questions or fears alone.  Some strategies and resources are given below that may make dealing with endometrial cancer easier:

*Know what to expect. Find out enough about your cancer so that you feel comfortable making decisions about your care. Ask your doctor for information about the stage, your treatment options and their side effects. In addition to talking with your doctor, look for information in your local library and on the Internet. Staff of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) will answer questions from the public. You can reach the NCI at 800-4-CANCER (800-422-6237). Or contact the American Cancer Society at 800-227-2345.

*Be proactive. Although you may feel tired and discouraged, try to take an active role in your treatment. Before starting treatment, you might want a second opinion from a qualified specialist. Many insurance companies will pay for such consultations.

*Maintain a strong support system. Strong relationships may help you cope with treatment. Talk with your close friends and family members about how you’re feeling. Connect with other cancer survivors through support groups in your community or online. Ask your doctor about support groups in your area

Prognosis:
Endometrial cancer is usually diagnosed at an early stage. The 1-year survival rate is about 92%.

The 5-year survival rate for endometrial cancer that has not spread is 95%. If the cancer has spread to distant organs, the 5-year survival rate drops to 23%.

Prevention:
To reduce your risk of endometrial cancer, you may wish to:

*Talk to your doctor about the risks of hormone therapy after menopause. If you’re considering hormone replacement therapy to help control menopause symptoms, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits. Unless you’ve undergone a hysterectomy, replacing estrogen alone after menopause may increase your risk of endometrial cancer. Taking a combination of estrogen and progestin can reduce this risk. Hormone therapy carries other risks, such as a possible increase in the risk of breast cancer, so weigh the benefits and risks with your doctor.

*Consider taking birth control pills. Using oral contraceptives for at least one year may reduce endometrial cancer risk. The risk reduction is thought to last for several years after you stop taking oral contraceptives. Oral contraceptives have side effects, though, so discuss the benefits and risks with your doctor.

*Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity increases the risk of endometrial cancer, so work to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. If you need to lose weight, increase your physical activity and reduce the number of calories you eat each day.

*Exercise most days of the week. Work physical activity into your daily routine. Try to exercise 30 minutes most days of the week. If you can exercise more, that’s even better.

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.

Resources:
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000910.htm
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/endometrial-cancer/DS00306
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/in_depth/cancer/womb_cancer.shtml
http://www.emedicinehealth.com/endometrial_cancer/article_em.htm
http://health.allrefer.com/health/endometrial-cancer-endometrial-cancer.html

http://mesotheliomaz.info/endometrial-cancer.html

http://www.medicalook.com/Cancer/Endometrial_carcinoma.html

http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/women/reproductive/gynecologic/138.html

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Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus-castus)

Botanical Name :Vitex agnus-castus
Kingdom: Plantae
Family: Lamiaceae
Common Name : Vitex, Chaste Tree, Chasteberry, or Monk’s Pepper.
Genus: Vitex
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Vitex
Species: V. agnus-castus

Habitat :This plant is native of the Mediterranean region.Southern Europe, in woodlands and dry areas

Description:
Deciduous shrub, up to 20 feet tall (6 m), 20 feet wide (6 m); palmately compound leaves, 3 to 4 inches wide (7.5-10 cm) with 5 to 7 fingerlike leaflets, reminding of Marijuana (Cannabis spp.)

Vitex leaves are hand-sized and consist of five to seven fingers that are dark green above and silvery underneath. While fairly drought resistant, Vitex grows faster and looks lovelier when watered regularly. Grape-colored flowers cover long panicles that can elongate up to 12 inches. Starting in early summer, flowers begin opening from the bottom of the flower stem and continue up the stem over the course of four or five weeks until the bush is completely blanketed in eye-popping bloom. Harvesting these flowers early in the bloom cycle is the best way to preserve them for craft use. They may be used fresh or hung upside down in small bunches for drying.
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As the flowers of summer fade, small dark purple berries follow. In the past these berries have been dried and used as a rather weak substitute for pepper and as an ingredient in Mediterranean spice mixtures. In the 6th century, the ground dried berries were touted as a must for monks trying to maintain their vows of chastity (thus, the common name Monk’s Pepper). Vitex is now considered a vital herb for regulating and relieving menstrual problems and infertility. For a good discussion of the medicinal properties of Vitex,  check in Andrew Chevalier’s book The Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. This book will guide you through the steps of  harvesting and preparing remedies from your garden.

Lavender or white flowers in the spring. They are followed by dry capsules with a peppery smell.

Dark green foliage, moderate littering. The name of Chaste Tree comes from the fact that when used as tea it was supposed to reduce sexual desire. Actually, modern studies show that some of the compounds in the leaves inhibit the action of males hormons. The species name “agnus-castus” comes from the Greek and Latine for “chast”.

Vitex, also a traditional plant in Africa, is a little-known fruit plant that has potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable landcare.

Cultivation: Vitex agnus-castus is widely cultivated in warm temperate and subtropical regions for its aromatic foliage and flowers. It grows to a height of 1-5 meters. It requires full sun or partial shade along with well-drained soil.

Propagation: Seeds or cuttings, cuttings have the advantage of a known flower color.

Constituents: acubin, agnuside, casticin, chrysophanol d, alpha- and beta-pinene, isovitexin and vitexin.


Medicinal   Actions  & use

Herbal medicine
The leaves and tender stem growth of the upper 10 cm (4 inches), along with the flowers and ripening seeds, are harvested for medicinal purposes. The berries are harvested by gently rubbing the berries loose from the stem. The leaves, flowers, and/or berries may be consumed as a decoction, traditional tincture, cider vinegar tincture, syrup, elixir, or simply eaten straight off the plant as a medicinal food.A popular way of taking Vitex is on awakening as a simple 1:1 fluid extract, which is said to interact with hormonal circadian rhythms most effectively.

The berries are considered a tonic herb for both the male and female reproductive systems. The leaves are believed to have the same effect but to a lesser degree.

This plant is commonly called monk’s pepper because it was originally used as anti-libido medicine by monks to aid their attempts to remain chaste. It is believed to be a male anaphrodisiac, hence the name chaste tree. There are disputed accounts regarding its action on female libido, with some claims that it is anaphrodisiac and others that it is aphrodisiac.

It has also been used as a carminative and an anxiolytic.

Back in the 17th century, herbalist Gerard wrote that the seeds and leaves helped with pain and inflammation of the uterus.  The hormonelike substances found in the seeds help to correct female hormonal imbalances, such as those that can occur during menopause, premenstrual syndrome, or menstruation, and also help dissolve fibroids and cysts.  German researchers suggest the berries increase production of luteinizing hormone and prolactin. Another study adds the increase of the hormone progesterone to the list.  The seeds do stimulate mother’s milk flow as shown in a clinical study when 100 nursing mothers taking chaste seeds were compared to those who were not.  Christopher Hobbs suggests its use during the first 3 months only of pregnancy to help prevent miscarriage and, with ginger, to allay morning sickness.  Chaste berries can help regulate periods when there is excessive or too frequent bleeding.  It also reestablishes normal ovulation after contraceptive pills have been used.  In women without ovaries, chasteberry appears to lessen extremes of hormonal imbalance, perhaps through indirect effects on the endocrine system, liver and circulation. Women with PMS with significant depression should probably steer clear of chasteberry.  Some research suggests that PMS with depression is caused by excess progesterone, and chasteberry is said to raise progesterone levels.  Chasteberry may help some women trying to conceive if infertility is due to low progesterone levels.  Most of the research has been done on a chaste berry extract called Agnolyt.  When 53 women with excessive bleeding and short menstrual cycles were given this product, 65% showed improvement and about 47% were cured.  Those over age 20 experienced the most improvements.  Other studies with Agnolyt found the chaste berry helps control acne in both young women and young men

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Clinical evidence

Clinical studies have shown its beneficial effects in the management of premenstrual stress syndrome (PMS). and infertility. The use of extracts of the plant is recommended in Germany.

Its mechanism of action is not well known. A study has found that treatment of 20 healthy men with higher doses of Vitex Agnus-castus was associated with a slight reduction of prolactin levels, whereas lower doses caused a slight increase as compared to doses of placebo. A decrease of prolactin will influence levels of Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and estrogen in women; and testosterone in men.

Chemical analysis
Flavonoids, alkaloids, diterpenoids, Vitexin, Casticin and steroidal hormone precursors have been isolated from the chemical analysis of Vitex agnus-castus. It is believed that some of these compounds work on the pituitary gland which would explain its effects on hormonal levels. A study has shown that extracts of the fruit of VAC can bind to opiate receptors; this could explain why intake of VAC reduces PMS discomforts.

Current uses
Vitex Agnus-Castus is used as an Alternative medicine to alleviate symptoms of various gynecological problems:-

*PMS
*Galactagogue. This use is disputed.
*Potential as an Insect repellent.
*No clinical studies
*Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
*Uterine fibroids
*Menopause
*Infertility
*Luteal phase defect

It is used in some supplements for male bodybuilders as a secondary component because of its effects on testosterone levels.

Contraindications:  It is recommended that Vitex agnus-castus be avoided during pregnancy due to the possibility of complications.

Other types uses:
*Historical uses, uses outside the scope of medicine.

*Galactagogue, historical usage in very low concentrations and not advisable today. However one recent study did find “Oral administration of 70 mg/kg/day of Vitex agnus-castus extract in lactation stages, significantly increased serum prolactin, compared with the control group of rats.”

*Potential use as an insect repellent
Used in supplements for male bodybuilders as a secondary component because of its effects on testosterone levels

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.desert-tropicals.com/Plants/Verbenaceae/Vitex_agnus-castus.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitex_agnus-castus
http://www.mountainvalleygrowers.com/vitagnus.htm
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail213.php

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

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