How Accurate is a Pregnancy Test
Pregnancy tests are readily available at drug stores or through your doctor’s office, but just how accurate is a pregnancy test?Each type of pregnancy test is a reliable indicator, if used correctly. Common errors include using a test that has expired or not following the instructions. So, be sure to check the expiration date on the package and read all the directions and follow them as indicated.When a fertilized egg attaches to the lining of a uterus, human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) is produced. This hormone enters the bloodstream and is expelled through urine (pee). When you urinate on the stick in a home pregnancy test or the doctor checks your urine sample in the office, it will either be positive (you are pregnant) or negative (you are not pregnant). Some home pregnancy tests state that they are accurate as early as the first day of a missed period but it is probably a good idea to wait at least a day or so before testing to be sure your results are correct. Ovulation may vary from month to month, even if you are very regular. The egg can therefore implant at different times. A good interval is about a week after a missed period.HCG production increases quickly, usually doubling every two or three days. So, if you are a bit patient, you will get a more accurate reading. If the test is positive, you should follow up with a medical professional for a second test of urine and/or blood work. This professional lab work will be able to determine the level or amount of HCG and provide a closer due date.Most home pregnancy tests tell you to place the end of the stick in the urine stream or to dip the stick into a container that has collected the urine. Instructions usually give you a timeframe about how long to wait before checking the results, which is generally two minutes or more. Most tests have an indicator, like a line or symbol, to show that the test is working. If you don’t see that control indicator, the test is not performing correctly. You should likely take another test.Some tests are more sensitive to the amount of HCG than others. This is another reason to wait a day or so before taking the test to confirm the results more accurately.The ultimate results are shown as either a plus or minus sign, or the words “pregnant” or “not pregnant”. There are some medications or fertility treatments that contain HCG and can affect the read out. However, generally antibiotics and birth control pills do not affect the accuracy. Yes, it is possible to get a false positive result. This could be if you take the test too soon after starting fertility treatments, menopause, or problems in the ovaries. Negative results can also be incorrect if you take the test too early in the pregnancy and the test is unable to detect the HCG. Be sure to wait the allotted time to check the results; set a timer. It is also best to take the test the first thing in the morning because your urine will be more concentrated.
3 min read
HPV vs Herpes: What Are the Differences?
When talking about sexual health and sexually transmitted disease (STD), there is no question that is too specific or 'dumb' to ask. The more you ask, the more you learn about sexual health to prevent any negative consequences. Among all the different questions asked, one of the most common is regarding the differences between HPV vs herpes. This is actually a frequent question since HPV and herpes are the two most common STDs. Almost 80 million Americans have human papillomavirus (HPV), while 1 in 8 people between 14-49 years old has genital herpes. To learn more about the difference between these two conditions, read on! HPV vs. HerpesThe reason why many people are unsure of what they have (HPV or herpes) is because both are common STDs that have many similarities. Both of them cause genital lesions or have no symptoms at all. With that in mind, here are some of their key differences: SymptomsThose who have HPV don’t usually experience any symptoms at all. You might not even realize you have it! However, the most common symptom is warts, though since there are over 150 HPV types, the symptoms depend on the type you contracted. Some can cause warts, others may increase the risk of you developing HPV-related cancer. Warts can occur in the genital area or the mouth and throat, growing as single growths or a cluster of growths, even looking like a cauliflower. As for herpes, there are two types: HSV-1 and HSV-2. Both types can affect parts of your body, causing either oral or genital herpes. Similar to HPV, herpes might not have symptoms or very mild to unnoticeable symptoms that you may confuse with other things, like ingrown hairs, skin conditions, or the flu. The symptoms depend on where herpes affects you. Either way, you are most likely to experience flu-like symptoms, redness, swelling, itching, or pain in the infected area, blisters or cold sores, among others. The way it was spread is also different. With HPV, it is through skin-to-skin contact with an infected person through vaginal, anal, or oral sex. With herpes, it can either be skin-to-skin contact or through saliva.To diagnose HPV, you can undergo an HPV test, which is also sometimes used during Pap tests. Or, visual examination of warts may diagnose certain cases. For herpes, physical exams are done if there are lesions taken. Samples may be taken to the lab to diagnose the viral cultures. When treating HPV, the virus can't be cured, though you may be prescribed drugs for warts, or they can be removed when necessary. HPV that was noted from a pap test may have to be managed differently. The same goes for herpes, as the virus can’t be permanently cured as well. There are antiviral drugs that can treat symptoms and reduce any outbreaks. Prevention is similar for the two sexually transmitted diseases. While there isn't a way to eliminate the risk of the conditions, you will need to practice safe sex and make sure to get routine screenings. Make sure to practice safe sex not just for anal or vaginal sex, but for oral sex as well. Wrapping It UpHopefully, you were able to learn more about your sexual health and learn the differences between HOV and herpes. This will help you learn how to observe the symptoms and know what to tell your doctor in case you suspect an STD. Make sure that you use protection and safety precautions before intercourse to prevent this from happening, though! If you have any questions or would like to share your knowledge on sexual health and STDs, do comment below, all your thoughts are greatly appreciated.
4 min read
Reverse Tubal Ligation: What You Need to Know About the Process
Have you went through a tubal ligation procedure but changed your mind after a few years? If that’s the case, you may be able to undergo a tubal ligation reversal. As the name suggests, a tubal ligation reversal would reconnect your fallopian tube’s blocked or cut areas. Surgeons would either reopen, reconnect, or untie your tubes, increasing your chances of conception and having a baby naturally. Unfortunately, not all women are able to have their tubal ligation procedure reversed. Your doctor needs to consider various factors before deciding whether you’re a good candidate or not: • The type of tubal ligation you had before, as some types aren’t reversible • How much of your fallopian tube is undamaged. There is more success if there are more healthy fallopian tubes • Your age, as the procedure is more successful when you’re younger • Body Mass Index, as being obese or overweight will make the procedure less successful • Your general fertility. If you have fertility issues, the reversal may be less successful • If you suffer from other health conditions like autoimmune diseases, which affect conception and/or pregnancy • Your birth history, if you have given birth before and its successIf you have had only a small part of your Fallopian tube removed or if they were closed using clips or rings, you may be a good candidate. The best candidate for the reversal is those younger than 40 years old when they had a tubal ligation after childbirth.The average cost of the procedure in the US is about $8,700. But this can go higher and lower, depending on where you live, the tests required, and the hospital you visit. The costs can range between $5,000 to $21,000.Unfortunately, insurance doesn’t cover the surgery, but the hospital may offer payment plans to make it easier on the wallet.The entire procedure will take between 2-3 hours, requiring general anesthesia. Your surgeon will remove damaged sections of the Fallopian tubes, as well as other devices used for the tubal ligations. They will then stitch the undamaged ends of the Fallopian tubes. If the surgery was successful, you’re able to go home 3 hours after your surgery. The recovery time can take between 1-2 weeks. You may feel some pain and tenderness around your abdomen, which can be remedied with pain medication. Also, you need to avoid sexual activity or heavy lifting, and to wait for two days before taking a bath. Visit your doctor for follow-up checkups weekly until you have completely recovered. When you have recovered, you have a 50-80% chance of a successful pregnancy. BUT, this depends on other factors, like your age, sperm count, and quality, the healthy Fallopian tubes left, sterilization type, among others.Just like any other surgical procedure, the reversal may have complications due to the anesthesia, bleeding, or any infections. However, these are rare and you will discuss such risks with your doctor before the procedure.Besides that, the reversal may increase the risk of an ectopic pregnancy, with the rate being 3-8%. That's why you will need to consider your options carefully.There are also other alternatives to get pregnant, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). Some evidence supports IVF as being the better choice compared to the reversal in women over 40 years old. The same study also shows that the reversal may be better for women under 40 years old. If you’re considering tubal ligation reversal, talk with your doctor about it to see if this is a good procedure for your future.
4 min read
Can You Catch HPV From A Toilet Seat?
HPV is referred to as the human papillomavirus; it is a widespread and common virus. It is easily spread, but the question is, can you get HPV from a toilet seat? There are about 200 types of HPV that affect different parts of the body. Some low-risk types can cause only genital warts. And the high-risk types can cause oral, anal, cervical cancer. Genital warts are the skin growths in the groin, genital, or anal areas. They can vary from different sizes and shapes. There is no known treatment for HPV, but a vaccine can protect against some of the strains of viruses of HPV. In women, genital warts most often appear on the vulva, around the vagina, on the groin, and the cervix. For males, it can occur on the testicles, anus, penis, tongue, and top of the mouth and around thighs and groin.These warts do not hurt, but they can increase your risk of cancer on the skin surrounding areas of infection. To reiterate, HPV is not cancer, but it can cause types of cancer and pre-cancers, which is one of the reasons the vaccine against HPV was created.The risk of becoming infected with HPV by sitting on a public toilet seat seems frightening, and the answer is generally no. It is exceedingly rare to catch HPV from touching surfaces like doorknobs and toilet seats or even towels or clothing. There have been cases where transmission has happened on wet fabrics such as a wet towel, but again it is extremely rare. Usually it is transmitted by skin-to-skin contact with someone who is infected. HPV can also spread from one area to another on the body, such as from the genitals to the mouth. HPV is incredibly common, nearly 80 million people at some point get HPV. Many people don’t know they are infected because it can show no symptoms until many years after exposure. HPV should be taken seriously because it can even increase your risk of certain types of cancers. The HPV vaccine is extremely effective and is recommended to all girls and boys around the age of 9- 12.HPV screening can be done with few tools and the naked eye to detect the abnormalities taking place on the person's skin before it develops into cancer.Practicing safe sexual intercourse, using condoms, and limiting your number of sex partners can help you reduce your risk of HPV.Exercising regularly, eating healthy, avoiding smoking, and maintaining good hygiene with regular health care checkups can prevent you from transmitting HPV or developing cancer from HPV.Maintaining proper sanitation and hygiene practices in general is crucial as this can prevent you from getting this virus and save your life. Use your own towels and clothing, particularly if they are wet and have been recently used by someone else. Wash hands regularly, and don’t touch your face or mouth after using the bathroom or have contact with your genital area unless you have washed your hands thoroughly.Please talk with your health care professional if you have any questions or concerns about HPV.
3 min read
Vulvar Dystrophy: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
Vulvar dystrophy refers to a medical condition that changes the skin of the vulva. Vulvas are skin folds around the opening of the urethra and the vagina.Different types of dystrophy exist that may cause grey or white patches on the skin. Some dystrophy types may cause skin thickening or thin, itchy skin patches, grey skin patches, or painful sores. It left untreated; dystrophy can scar or shrink the inner folds of the vulva. As a result, the opening of the birth canal can get smaller and may even get closed. Thus, it would help if you had the right treatment for Vulvar Dystrophy at the right time.Though there are no clear causes of vulvar dystrophy, it can result from skin irritation. Irritation can result from douching, bike or horseback riding, poor personal hygiene, wearing wet underwear for a long time, and a yeast infection. Skin irritation in the vulva can also result from wearing synthetic underwear, incontinence, or swimming in chlorinated water. Certain vaginal hygiene products can also cause skin irritation. These include topical vaginal creams, laundry detergents, vaginal sprays or douches, perfumed or colored toilet paper. Some other medical factors can be diabetes, herpes, dermatitis, and pubic lice, causing vulvar dystrophy.Patients with vulvar dystrophy may experience symptoms, including:To diagnose, your physician may discuss the symptoms you might be experiencing. A physical examination of your body will help provide accurate insight into this condition. They may perform urinary tests to check out the causes of similar symptoms, such as yeast infection and discomfort in the vagina. Many times, the diagnoses involve a biopsy that takes a sample of your vulvar tissue. The treatment of this condition depends on the type and severity of the dystrophy you have. Usually, your physician will prescribe an impactful steroid cream. You can apply or put this cream on your vulvar area. Make sure you use steroid medicine in the same way as your healthcare provider prescribes. Never use less or more of it than prescribed by the doctor. Also, do not use it for more than the prescribed duration of time. Also, avoid using a steroid without the approval of your physician.Note that practicing good vaginal hygiene is always helpful in reducing symptoms. Use unscented soaps. Rinse your genital area thoroughly after toileting. Keep your vaginal area as dry as possible, and use underwear made of cotton material to make this area breathe easily. Some other ways to take care of you and to avoid or treat vulvar dystrophy are:By following these tips, you can prevent or reduce the symptoms of vulvar dystrophy.
3 min read
Sleep Hygiene Checklist: Tips to Getting Restful Sleep
Instating a sleep hygiene checklist that incorporates both physical and emotional habits that will lead to high quality sleep on a consistent basis. Sleep is important to everyone in order to maintain good mental and physical health. Sadly, many people have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. A good rest will improve productivity and make you feel better in general.You can develop your own sleep hygiene checklist or routine to improve your sleep habits. It may be that you are already practicing some of these items. If you need to alter your pattern, just change one or two things at a time. It will make the transition easier. You may also need to be patient; it can take several days or weeks for the changes to reflect in your life.It may seem odd but a good night’s rest is partially dependent on your daily activities. An orderly process can create a rhythm for your body to understand it is time to go to sleep.Sometimes it is difficult to actually drift off, or you will wake in the middle of the night and find it hard to return to sleep.
3 min read
PCOS is the most common cause of female infertility. During each menstrual cycle, the ovaries release an egg into the womb. This ovulation process occurs once a month. But women with PCOS fail to ovulate or ovulate infrequently, which means absent or irregular periods and difficulty getting pregnant. In women with PCOS, the ovaries develop multiple small follicles that appear as cysts, hence the term “polycystic.” These cysts are immature ovarian follicles that failed to ovulate. Thus, most women discover they have PCOS when they try to get pregnant unsuccessfully.PCOS requires immediate medical attention because, in the long-run, it could lead to health risks, such as depression, high blood pressure, lipid abnormalities, obstructive sleep apnea, and diabetes to name a few. Getting treatment at the right time can reduce or prevent these risks. So, it is important that you know some symptoms of PCOS.While irregular periods and pregnancy failure are the most common signs of PCOS, you may experience random, unrelated symptoms as well. Since it mainly affects your hormones, women with PCOS may experience all or some of the following symptoms:After puberty, if you experience heavy hair growth in uncommon body parts, including face, belly, chest, lower abdomen, and back, it could be a warning sign of PCOS. This condition is termed as Hirsutism. More than 70 percent of women with PCOS grow excessive hair on their body. Making the matter worse, excessive levels of male hormones have opposite effects on the scalp. That means it lleads to hair loss or thinning hair on the scalp, causing male-pattern baldness. When you have PCOS, our body has difficulty using the hormone insulin, causing insulin resistance. Insulin helps convert starches and sugars obtained from foods into energy. PCOS makes the body resistant to insulin. As a result, insulin, sugar, and glucose build up in the bloodstream.Combining this with high androgens levels leads to weight gain, especially around our abdomen and waist. That’s why women with PCOS have more of an apple body shape instead of peach shape. About 40% women, particularly young girls, with PCOS experience anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions. Although there is less or no evidence supporting the direct connection between PCOS and depression, it could be due to the combination of several factors. For instance, one study shows that people with insulin resistance report frequent symptoms of depression, stress, and anxiety.PCOS patients with anxiety may have lower levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin, GABA and acetylcholine, thus worsening the situation. Higher levels of androgens among women play an important role in acne development. It is because androgens cause sebaceous glands in the skin to produce an excessive oily substance called sebum. In order to produce the right amount of progesterone, testosterone, and oestrogen, our body depends on signals from the pituitary gland. PCOS interrupts these signals, leading to increased testosterone levels. It further enlarges sebaceous glands and the production of too much oily sebum. Blood clots during periods are normal. But, if you regularly and abnormally have blood clots the size of 10p piece or larger, it could be a warning sign of PCOS. PCOS also causes heavier blood flow during periods. It is because the uterine lining builds up for longer, causing periods heavier than normal. It can lead to other conditions, including anaemia, fatigue, and bleeding between periods.First of all, see a doctor as soon as possible, especially if you’ve had difficulty getting pregnant, excessive hair growth, and diabetes symptoms. Next, make the necessary diet and lifestyle changes and get regular exercise.
4 min read
Do Women Have A Prostate? A Review Of Female Pelvic Anatomy
The quickest answer is yes! Women have two small anatomical structures called the Skene's glands. These glands are referred to as the female version of a prostate. Skene’s glands are located on either side of your urethra and link your urethra with the vagina. The fluid released by the Skene glands lubricates urethra’s opening. The fluid has antimicrobial properties, and it protects the bladder and urinary tract from potential bacterial infections. However, it is important to note that these glands drain into small ducts in urethra. Like male’s prostate gland, these glands also keep infection under the bay to prevent it from affecting other body parts from infections. Since the Skene glands are situated in the pelvic, it is important to understand female pelvis anatomy. So, let’s get started: Female Pelvis Anatomy The lower part of the torso between the legs and the abdomen is called pelvis. Pelvis supports intestines and contains reproductive organs, bladder, and the Skene’s glands. Parts of female pelvis anatomy are: ● Hip bones: Our body has two hip bones, one on the right side and the other on the right. Hip bones form one part of the pelvis known as the pelvic girdle, and they join to the skeleton’s upper part through attachment at the sacrum. Each hip bone consists of three smaller bones, including Ilium, Pubis, and Ischium.● Sacrum: The sacrum is connected to the vertebrae’s lower part. It consists of five vertebrae, all fused together. The thick sacrum supports our overall body weight.● Coccyx: Also known as the tailbone, coccyx is connected to the sacrum’s bottom by several ligaments. It consists of four vertebrae, all fused into a triangle-like shape.● Levator ani muscles: These are the largest muscles in the pelvis for supporting several functions, such as supporting the pelvic organs. It is a group of three different muscles, including Puborectalis, Pubococcygeus, and Iliococcygeus. ● Coccygeus: It is a small pelvic floor muscle that originates at the ischium. This muscle connects to the coccyx and sacrum. Organs in Female Pelvic Some organs found in the female pelvic are: ● Uterus: This thick-walled, hollow organ is the place where the baby develops. During the reproductive years, the uterus’ lining sheds during menstruation until pregnancy.● Ovaries: Uterus has two ovaries located on either side. This part produces eggs and releases hormones, including progesterone and estrogen. ● Fallopian tubes: Fallopian tubes in women’s bodies connect ovaries to the uterus. Cilia, specialized cells in the fallopian tubes direct eggs from the ovaries toward the uterus.● Cervix: Cervix widens to allow sperms to pass into the uterus. It also produces mucus that prevents bacteria from reaching the uterus.● Vagina: It connects the external female genitalia and the cervix. Also known as the birth canal, the baby passes through the vagina during birth. Final Words To sum up, women have a female version of the prostate that is called the Skene glands. These glands produce the same hormones that men's prostate glands produce. It plays a crucial role in our reproductive systems by working with the pelvic.
3 min read
Heavy Periods - What Are The Common Causes?
Heavy periods, called Menorrhagia in medical terms, can occur due to a variety of factors. Menorrhagia refers to menstrual periods with prolonged or abnormally heavy bleeding. If not managed properly, women with heavy periods may develop more than normal blood loss due to which their risk of anemia, fatigue, and infertility can increase considerably. It may also cause significant mental stress and make them prone to depression. Hence, there is a need to understand why heavy periods occur so that they can be managed in an appropriate manner. Here is a brief discussion about the common causes of prolonged and heavy periods. What are the causes of heavy periods?Hormone imbalances caused due to conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), insulin resistance, obesity, and thyroid problems can lead to heavy periods. Ovarian dysfunctions can prevent the release of an egg during menstrual cycles. As a result, the body does not produce adequate levels of a hormone called progesterone during menstrual periods. This can lead to hormone imbalances and result in menorrhagia.Polyps are tiny growths that occur along the lining of the uterus due to which women may get heavy and prolonged menses.Uterine fibroids are a common causes of heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding.Fibroids are the noncancerous or benign tumors formed in the uterus. These abnormal growths usually appear during the childbearing years of women. In some women, heavy periods can occur due to adenomyosis, a condition that occurs when the glands in the endometrium become embedded within the uterine muscles. Women with adenomyosis may also experience severe pain during menses. Heavy and prolonged menses could also be a side effect of nonhormonal intrauterine devices (IUDs) used for birth control. However, you may choose alternative birth control measures if you develop heavy periods due to IUDs. A single menstrual cycle with the heavy and late flow could be due to a miscarriage. Women may also develop heavy vaginal bleeding during pregnancy due to the unusual location of the placenta or something more dangerous like an abruption. It may occur as a result of conditions like placenta previa or low-lying placenta. If you have any vaginal bleeding when pregnant head to an emergency room or your obstetrician's office right away In elderly women, extensive vaginal bleeding may occur due to uterine or cervical cancer. It is more common in postmenopausal women. Diagnostic methods like Pap smear or a biopsy can help in the detection of these cancers at an early stage. While vaginal bleeding due to cancer can not be considered heavy periods, any bleeding after menopause must be checked out for the correct diagnosis of the underlying causes. Endometriosis, a disorder caused due to the abnormal presence of the tissue lining the uterus called endometrium outside the uterus, can cause heavy and painful periods. Depending on the cause of heavy periods, women may be advised to use medications such as hormonal or other medications in order to treat the underlying cause and symptoms. ConclusionHeavy periods can be treated by identifying the underlying abnormality responsible for it. The treatment should be aimed at eliminating the cause if at all possible. Getting this treated as soon as possible reduces the risk of anemia, mental stress, emotional distress, and other complications related to menorrhagia and even increase the chances of conception in women of childbearing age. Also, it is always good to make sure your symptoms are not caused by something more serious so always call your doctor when you have concerns. References:1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menorrhagia/symptoms-causes/syc-203528292. https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/heavy-bleeding-fibroids-and-polyps3. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=90&contentid=p024374. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/heavy-periods/5. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menorrhagia/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20352834
4 min read
What is Libido? A Quick Review
What is Libido?The term "Libido" simply means the desire for sex. In women and men, libido is linked to androgen hormones. As men have about 40 times as much androgen as women, they often have a more intense sexual drive. According to WHO (World Health Organization), sexual health is a state of physical, mental, social, and emotional well-being in sexuality. That's why libido is now considered a critical indicator of the quality of life and general health. Undoubtedly, sexual health varies from person to person and may even fluctuate in the same person too. Everything from your lifestyle, personal preferences to health history, hormone levels, and medications can impact your libido. Familial responsibilities, job stress, and friend dynamics can also affect libido. While natural fluctuations of libido are normal in everyday life, abnormal libido levels can be a concern. There are both physical and psychological causes of low libido. Physical causes include low testosterone, too much or too little workout, prescription medicines, and excessive substance abuse. Psychological issues include relationship or social difficulties, depression, and stress. Other causes of low libido include aging, chronic illnesses, and dyspareunia. Nearly 4 in 10 men over age 45 experience low libido, while about one-third of women ages 18-59 suffer from the lost sex drive. Clearly, there is no single reason behind the lost sexual desire. It is best to discuss the issue with your doctor for the best advice. If sex is center in your mind every minute, then you probably have a high libido. Though having such a high libido may not be a bad thing, it becomes an issue if it causes problems with your sex life and life beyond sex. High libido can be termed as hypersexuality, sexual addiction, or compulsive sexual behavior. And, there could be some physical and even mental conditions behind hypersexuality. Many people with anxiety can consider sex as a form of self-medication. Deeply entrenched feelings, like low confidence and unresolved embarrassment, can increase sex drive. Moreover, certain drugs may also cause sky-high libido. Drugs like crystal meth, cocaine, caffeine, and ecstasy can jolt your brain like over-the-counter stimulants. Wellbutrin also causes increased libido as its side effect. Treatment of Libido When it comes to low libido, testosterone replacement therapy is considered to be effective. In addition, depending on the actual cause, the following treatments could help: ● Improve your diet● Healthier lifestyle choices● Regular exercise● Proper sleep● Reduce stress● Quit smoking, alcohol, and substance abuse● Change to a new medication● Counseling If you experience high libido, you can try out things like interrupting your sexual urges, use your energy to other areas, find satisfying sex, or talk to someone about this. Your physician may recommend mental therapies in case of a psychological cause. These sessions and therapies can sort out the issues and let you enjoy a happy and satisfactory sexual life. The Bottom Line Understand the behavior of your body and discuss your feelings with your doctor transparently. That’s the only best way to know the root cause of the problem - physical, emotional, social, or if it’s something else.
3 min read
5 Causes of Vulva Pain You Should Know About
The vulva is the area of tissue around your vagina’s opening, including the outer folds of skin. It is not uncommon to experience the occasional pain or discomfort around this area, such as during your period. However, if you have been experiencing pain without any apparent cause, or if it is too painful to bear, this may be due to an underlying health condition. But why would you experience it? Read on we show you some possible causes of vulva pain. 1. You Have a Yeast InfectionAs with most skin and deeper infections, a yeast infection can cause irritation, itching, pain, and discomfort. Symptoms, other than pain, include rash, discharge changes, itching, redness, burning, and inflammation. 2. Physical or Sexual TraumaThe vulvar area and its nerve endings may become damaged from sexual activity (such as rough intercourse, sexual activity without enough lubrication), childbirth, or other activities. Other activities may cause vulvar pain, especially when it puts pressure on your vaginal region. Activities like cycling, spinning, horseback riding, and other similar activities may harm your nerve endings and tissue, resulting in pain. 3. Chronic Pain Conditions or Genetic Disorders Some people may have genetic differences, which case their cells to overreact to hormones or inflammation. This can cause pain, especially when the inflammation occurs around the vulvar area. The inflammation would cause the tissue to swell and fill up with more blood than required, resulting in a hot and sore feeling. Those with chronic pain conditions are also at higher risk of vulvodynia (vulva pain). Women with these types of conditions are up to three times more likely to have other chronic pain conditions as well, such as fibromyalgia or irritable bowel syndome - IBS. Some studies have suggested that these might be inflammatory related diseases, which is why some types of vulvar pain may be related to inflammation. 4. AllergiesProducts you use around your vaginal region can cause vulvar pain as well, due to sensitivity or even an allergic reaction. This is because allergic reactions can cause irritation and inflammation, leading to pain. If you use any soaps, gels, lotions, lubricants, or feminine deodorants, it’s best to stop applying them and introducing such products one by one to see if one of the products is causing the allergic reaction. 5. Pelvic Floor Dysfunction Childbirth, pregnancy, nerve injuries, obesity, pelvic surgery, and trauma to the area can all cause pelvic floor dysfunction. Pelvic floor dysfunction can cause bowel and bladder issues, pelvic organ prolapse, and pain in the vulva as well as the lower back or pelvic area. Wrapping It UpFortunately, treatment for vulvar pain exists, which is why you’ll need to visit your gynecologist to address the issue for suitable therapy or medications. Furthermore, you can also make a few lifestyle changes to try to treat and also prevent vulvar pain from happening again. Make sure that you wear comfortable clothes and underwear, use products that are safe and non-irritating, and minimize activities that worsen your pain. By following your doctor's instructions and proper hygiene habits, you will be able to find the cause and hopefully treat the pain effectively.
3 min read
Sleep and Weight Loss
Losing weight isn’t just about eating properly and working out more. It’s also about getting enough sleep! Researchers report that women who sleep less than five hours a night weigh more compared to those who sleep for seven to nine hours a night. Furthermore, those who sleep six hours a night are 12% more likely to experience weight gain, and 6% have a higher risk of obesity, compared to those sleeping seven hours a night. These are such numbers we can’t ignore, showing how crucial sleep is for weight loss and overall health. But how does it work? Read on as we answer the question, “does sleeping more help you lose weight?” While most people don’t know it, sleep is actually the foundation we need to help support our healthy eating and exercise habits. Here are some points you should consider when it comes to sleep and weight loss: When we don't get enough sleep, it will be challenging to control our behavior and energy levels. Lack of sleep would strengthen the want for rewards, leading to unhealthy eating and to replace exercise for quick fix rewards like watching television. To be more specific, fewer hours of sleep can affect hormones that regulate your appetite. With less sleep, your hormones will stimulate cravings for high-carb food. Plus, the more time we are awake, the more waking time we have to eat! Our sleep would also affect our cortisol levels, which usually spike in the morning for better energy throughout the day. With poor sleeping habits, the cortisol levels are elevated, which negatively affects weight loss and disturbs your sleep cycle. This then makes it difficult to implement and act on a good weight loss program. Furthermore, less sleep can also have us feel more stressed and exhausted, especially when we have to work while lacking sleep. This would have us stress eat or skip workouts from feeling too tired or tense! While lack of sleep can affect your weight, so can TOO MUCH sleep. Sleeping more can help you lose weight if you were previously lacking it. But if you are sleeping for over ten hours a day, this can be a problem. Just like sleeping for less than seven hours daily, it affects your hormone levels, having you crave for carb-rich food. Furthermore, it gives you less time to focus on your work for the day, resulting in skipped workouts and exercise. Now that we know how too little or too much sleep leads to poor eating and exercise habits, how can you sleep well for better weight loss results? Here are some tips to follow to avoid poor sleep habits: • Keep a consistent sleep schedule that allows you at least seven hours of sleep a night • Prioritize relaxing and doing stress-free activities, especially during the evening, which can help wind you down for sleep • Do not perform any stimulating or exciting activities and avoid electronics an hour before bedtime • Reduce or eliminate alcohol and caffeine consumption. Also, consume your last meal two to three hours before bedtime Wrapping It UpSleep affects many aspects of your lifestyle, from weight loss to health. With better sleeping habits, you are more inclined to eat healthier and exercise more, making you feel happy and reach your weight goals! So make sure that you learn more about how you can sleep better and create a consistent schedule to achieve more. Start now, we wish you the best of luck!
4 min read
Essential Oils for Hot Flashes? The Experts Say Probably Not.
A hot flash is an abrupt sensation of extreme heat. It starts when blood vessels located near the surface of the skin widen in an attempt to cool themselves. At that point a woman will frequently start to sweat and her face will turn read. It can also be accompanied by an increase in the heart rate and even chills. Essential Oils for Hot Flashes have not been shown to be effective, though they may smell nice and be a good distraction from the discomfort. We don’t know exactly what causes the hot flash to start but it is thought to be related to circulation. It appears that the hypothalamus section of the brain that involves thermal control sends out a signal for the blood vessels to expand. The body reacts to the rise in skin temperature by producing sweat to cool down. We do know they occur in women as a symptom of menopause, when estrogen levels drop, or medical procedures that cause decreases in those hormones like ovary removals. For men who receive androgen deprivation as a treatment for prostate cancer, they can also experience hot flashes. More than two-thirds of women experiencing menopause and perimenopause report hot flashes and 70% to 80% of males on androgen deprivation report them. Some women don’t experience hot flashes at all but for those who do, they can span a few months or up to 11 years. The average is 7 years. For men, since it is medication induced, they subside when the treatment is over. If you are going to have a hot flash, there is little to stop it, but there are certain triggers to avoid. These include stress, caffeine, alcohol, spicy food, tight clothing, and tobacco smoke. There are also some actions you can take to help with the problem. Your gynecologist may also consider some prescription medications like fluoxetine, clonidine, or hormone therapy. Before you add any supplements or over the counter products, consult with your primary care physician and gynecologist. Used in combination with other medications or treatments they can cause side effects that are far worse than hot flashes.
3 min read
What is Vaginismus - and Why Does it Occur?
Vaginismus occurs due to the spasm or squeezing of the muscles in a woman’s vagina. It typically occurs when something is inserted into the vagina such as the penis during intercourse or a tampon. Vaginismus can be mildly uncomfortable or extremely painful. The most obvious sign of vaginismus is painful sex, also called dyspareunia. The pain occurs most commonly during penetration and usually goes away or reduces after withdrawal. However, in some cases, the pain may persist for a some time after the withdrawal of the penis or other object. Dyspareunia is often described by women as a burning sensation or a feeling as if the penis is hitting a hard wall.It is also common for women with vaginismus to experience discomfort while inserting a tampon or having a pelvic examination at the doctor’s office.Some other common symptoms that can occur due to vaginismus include:· Fear or anxiety of pain · Anxiety before sexual activity · Inability to have penetrative sex · Difficulty in inserting a tampon · Loss of sexual desireThese symptoms tend to be involuntary, which means a woman can not avoid them without proper treatment.While the exact cause of vaginismus is not known, it is believed that it might occur due to the fear and anxiety around sexual activity. However, in many cases, it becomes difficult to ascertain what came first: the anxiety or the vaginismus. Some physical health problems such as infections and excessive dryness of the vagina or cervix can also lead to painful intercourse and cause vaginismus. Physical therapy, sometimes called pelvic physical therapy, involves training the women to control the spams of the vaginal or pelvic floor muscles and it can be highly effective for the management of vaginismus. Exercising at home can also help women to learn to control the contractions of the muscles in the vagina and pelvic floor. This is known as progressive desensitization that allows women to avoid anxiety and gradually feel more comfortable during activities requiring vaginal penetration.Progressive desensitization involves strengthening the pelvic floor muscles by practicing Kegel exercises. This is followed by the insertion of one finger into the vagina, up to the first knuckle, while doing Kegel exercises. Women may apply a lubricant on the fingers before insertion to avoid pain. Starting with inserting one finger, they can work their way up to inserting two and later, three fingers until they can feel comfortable.Once they find the insertion of 3 fingers to be comfortable, they can try putting specially designed inserts called vaginal dilators into the vagina to help the muscles get accustomed to pressure and size. This therapy can be helpful for women who suffer from vaginismus due to fear or anxiety. ConclusionIt is possible to treat vaginismus by identifying the possible causes such as anxiety, infections, or dryness and seeking appropriate treatment. Physical therapy or exercising the vaginal muscles can help to relieve the spasms and provide considerable amount of relief from vaginismus.References:1. aafp.org/afp/2011/0915/p705.html2. nhs.uk/Conditions/Vaginismus/Pages/Introduction.aspx3. mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/painful-intercourse/symptoms-causes/syc-203759674. https://www.webmd.com/women/guide/vaginismus-causes-symptoms-treatments#15. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5913379/
3 min read
Vaginal Atrophy Treatment: Different Remedies You Can Try
Vaginal atrophy, known as atrophic vaginitis, refers to the drying, inflammation of one’s vaginal walls. This may happen when a woman’s body has or produces less estrogen, occurring most often after going through menopause. There many vaginal atrophy treatments, both medical and natural. So read on to learn more about this condition and how you can remedy its symptoms! Vaginal atrophy is caused by a decrease in estrogen production. With less estrogen, it makes the vaginal tissues more fragile and less elastic, feeling thinner and drier. The drop in estrogen may happen due to the following: • Before or after menopause • After the surgical removal of both ovaries • During breastfeeding • Adjustments in medications that affect estrogen levels, like birth control • After chemotherapy or pelvic radiation therapy for cancer • A side effect of hormonal treatments for breast cancer There are also risk factors, such as smoking, having no sexual activity, or no vaginal births. • Vaginal dryness, burning, discharge, and/or itching • Burning urination, as well as frequent and urgency with urination • Urinary incontinence • Recurrent urinary tract infections • Discomfort and/or light bleeding during or after intercourse • Decreased vaginal lubrication during intercourse • Vaginal canal shortens and tightens Vaginal atrophy may increase your risk of urinary problems and vaginal infections, which is why it’s best to have it checked and diagnosed with your doctor if you feel any of the symptoms mentioned above. Fortunately, there are ways to treat vaginal atrophy, such as: 1. Natural RemediesThere are a few lifestyle changes you can follow, which are: • Give up smoking • Staying sexually active can help to increase blood flow to your genitals • Avoid using perfumed products, including deodorants, douches, powders, soaps, and certain perfumed spermicides or lubricants • Keep hydrated and drink eight glasses of water a day to maintain your body’s moisture levels • Exercise regularly and maintain good physical activity to help with hormone balance 2. Your DietRight now, there is still little evidence to support claims about how dietary changes help with vaginal atrophy. However, it’s still best to maintain a healthier diet and if you choose to use herbal supplements and vitamins, check with your doctor beforehand. Some have reported positive effects when consuming probiotics, which can help with urinary problems and vaginal dryness and infections. While further research needs to be done, you may try incorporating probiotics to your diet. 3. Using Moisturizers and LubricantsLubricants can soothe and lubricate your genitals safely. You can try using the following: 4. Medical Treatment Besides lifestyle changes and the mentioned remedies, some medications may help treat vaginal atrophy: • Use topical estrogen cream to the vagina for symptom relief and to reduce exposure of bloodstream to estrogen • Oral estrogen or an estrogen-releasing ring to release hormones properly • Systemic estrogen therapy, which comes as a skin patch, tablets, topical gel, or as an implant under your skin. However, this may have side effects you’ll need to talk about with your doctor Make sure to check with your doctor before putting any products into your vagina or ingesting any supplements or medications. Vaginal atrophy is uncomfortable but treatable and manageable. Try any of these safe treatments under the guidance of your doctor and see what works best for you now!
3 min read
What is Dyspareunia: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments
Dyspareunia is the recurring genital or pelvic pain that occurs when sexual intercourse or other related activities are attempted. Women with dyspareunia may feel a sharp or intense pain in the vagina, labia, or clitoris. The pain can occur during, before or after sexual intercourse. Though both men and women can experience dyspareunia, women are more likely to suffer from it. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, up to 75 percent of women experience it during intercourse at some point. In this post, we will briefly discuss the common causes, symptoms, and treatment of dyspareunia. The intensity of dyspareunia pain varies among women, depending on various factors. Women with this condition may feel superficial pain at the vagina’s entrance, or deeper pain when penis penetrates or thrusts. Pain may occur: ● in the urethra, bladder, or vagina.● during or after intercourse● during penetration● in the pelvis during sex● only during specific circumstances or with specific partners● when using tampon ● feelings of burning, aching, or itching● stabbing pain, or pain like menstrual cramps For some women, dyspareunia can be a sign of a serious health problem. That’s why it is important to understand the underlying causes of dyspareunia. Causes vary based on whether the pain is deep or superficial. The Vagina feels dry when it secretes less fluids and this can cause pain. Also, as women grow older, the vagina’s lining becomes thinner and dry due to decreased estrogen levels. Other causes of superficial pain may include: ● Increased genital sensitivity to pain ● Genital inflammation or infection ● Inflammation of the urinary tract● Genital injuries ● Radiation therapy can cause changes in the vagina that can cause pain● Involuntary contractions of the vagina called vaginismus● Congenital abnormality or a hymen being present● Narrowed vagina due to surgery or injury Deep pain occurs during or after sexual intercourse and can be due to: ● Infection or inflammation of the uterus, cervix, ovaries or fallopian tubes ● Endometriosis● Pelvis tumors and ovarian cysts● Scar tissue between organs in the pelvis Besides these, emotions can also affect sexual activity and pain. Emotional factors of dyspareunia include psychological issues, such as anxiety, depression, and relationship problems. Stress and history of sexual abuse can also cause this pain. There are several ways to treat dyspareunia. Pain caused by underlying infection or conditions can be treated with things like moisturizers, antibiotics, antifungal medicines, and topical corticosteroids. There are several home remedies you can try out: ● Use water-soluble lubricants.● Empty your bladder before sex.● Have sex when both of you are relaxed.● Calm burning after sex by applying an ice pack to the vulva. ● Take a store-bought pain reliever before sex. Make sure you consult with your physician if you feel intense pain. In more severe cases, doctors may recommend therapies, such as sex therapy, vaginal dilation, or desensitization therapy. Though there is no particular prevention of dyspareunia, you can make some changes to try to reduce the pain. After childbirth, do not perform sexual intercourse for at least six weeks to avoid any injury or infection. Use proper hygiene and get adequate medical care. Use condoms to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, and use vaginal lubrication. If required, seek medical care before the issue begins to affect your life and relationship.
3 min read
Hormone Imbalance: Causes, Symptoms, and More
Hormonal imbalances occur if there are too much (or little) hormones in your bloodstream. Since they are a crucial part of your body, even the smallest changes and imbalances can cause discomfort and symptoms. Read on to learn more about hormonal imbalance, from its causes and symptoms, down to what you can do to remedy it. Everyone experiences hormonal imbalance or fluctuations during various parts of their life. There are cases unique to women, related to their reproductive hormones. Such causes include: • Pregnancy and breastfeeding • Menopause or premature menopause • Hormone drugs • Primary ovarian insufficiency • PCOS However, there are also other common causes, such as: • Diabetes • Underactive or overactive thyroid • Conditions affecting your hormones and glands • Hormone therapy • Tumors or certain cancer treatments • Medications • Eating disorders • Stress • Injury or trauma The symptoms of hormonal imbalance depend on the glands and hormones affected. The common symptoms include: • Unexplained weight loss or gain, sometimes bloating • Unexplained sweating and fatigue • Insomnia or difficult sleeping • Dry skin and/or skin rashes • Changes in blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and/or heart rate • Changes in appetite • Brittle or weaker bones and/or hair • Symptoms of depression, irritability, and/or anxiety • More or less sensitive to cold and/or heat • Increased thirst and needing to go to the toilet more or less than before • Reduced sex drive and/or infertility • A puffier face or hair growth on the face • Blurred vision • Deepening of voice in females • Breast tenderness and/or bulge in the neck If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s best to get checked with your doctor for a diagnosis. There is no single test for medical professionals to diagnose hormonal imbalances. During your check-up, you will need to prepare a list of all your medications, vitamins, and supplements you currently take. Furthermore, you will need to describe your symptoms, as well as their timeline. Your doctor will then suggest you take a few diagnostic tests: • A blood test • Pelvic exam and physical exam • Ultrasound • Other additional tests such as an MRI, biopsy, thyroid scan, X-ray There are also home testing kits that measure follicle-stimulating hormones in your urine. These levels would increase as you enter menopause, usually rising and falling during your normal menstrual cycle. This won’t be able to show if you have any serious hormonal imbalance issues, but it can tell whether or not menopause might have begun. Treatments for hormonal imbalance would depend on its cause. Here are some of the treatment options available: • Estrogen Therapy: Your doctor will give a small dose of estrogen, which is usually done for women who suffer from symptoms of menopause • Vaginal Estrogen: These can be in the form of estrogen cream, rings, or tablets. It’s helpful for those experiencing dryness and/or pain during intercourse • Hormonal birth control: This can help regulate your menstrual cycles, as well as improve your skin condition • Thyroid Hormone Therapy: These are for people who are diagnosed with hypothyroidism to balance their hormone levels There are also various lifestyle changes and natural remedies you can try to treat hormone imbalance. • Yoga is known to help regulate hormones while improving your overall balance, flexibility, and strength • If you are overweight, losing weight can improve your menstrual cycle and make your periods more regular • Have a balanced diet and exercise regime, which is crucial for overall health • Decrease the uncomfortable symptoms of hormonal imbalance by using targeted treatments like moisturizers and lubricants, removing unwanted new hair on the face and body, and to avoid any triggers of hot flashes You don’t need to suffer through the pain and discomfort of hormonal imbalance. For those who are experiencing any of these symptoms, do check yourself with a medical professional.
4 min read
Top 5 Causes of Vaginal Itching
Vaginal itching is an uncomfortable and sometimes painful condition that mainly arises due to benign causes like yeast infections. But, there are many other potential causes of itching in the vaginal area. While itching in the vagina can often be treated with over-the-counter remedies, the condition can sometimes grow more serious if overlooked. So, it is important to be familiar with possible reasons for vaginal itching other than yeast infection: Genital itching is one common symptom of many STDs. STDs can occur due to sexual contact with a person who has an infection of some type. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), STDs occur at a very high rate, with millions of cases reported annually. People can reduce the risk of suffering from STDs by: ● Having safe sex (using barrier precautions) ● Getting yourself tested for STDs before having sex● Preventative measures like the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine BV is a common bacterial infection that often affects women after puberty. It occurs when the healthy bacteria in the genitals become unbalanced. Many times, BV does not show any symptoms. But, it can cause watery vaginal discharge with a bad odor and a burning sensation around the vagina.Some known causes of BV are:● Smoking● Douching (can upset the vagina’s natural bacteria)● Bathing with antibacterial or antiseptic products● Using scented products in the vagina or surrounding areas● Using harsh clothing detergentsBV can be dangerous to pregnant women and their fetuses. So, pregnant women must see their gynecologist for any vaginal itching or discharge. The feeling of bugs crawling around any part of your body is really disturbing. This is sometimes caused by public lice, an easily transmittable infestation of tiny, crab-like creatures can make your vagina itch like crazy. Public lice may attach to any body areas covered in hair. Bites or eggs from these bugs can cause vaginal itching and irritation in the surrounding areas. You can treat public lice using store-bought lice-killing lotions. In severe cases, you may need prescription medication.Hormones fluctuate during menstrual cycles and pregnancy. This can lead to drier vaginal tissue than normal, which can result in itching. Besides, perimenopause - the time period before menopause starts, causes a dropped level of estrogen. This can further lead to dryness and itching in the vagina. OTC moisturizers that are gentle and unscented can treat vaginal itching. Your physician may prescribe you an estrogen cream for external vaginal itching if they feel it is caused by your hormones or menopause. Women sometimes have procedures like waxing done to have less hair on their vulvar area. Due to these treatments, you can develop irritation, skin injury, rashes, and ingrown hairs which can all cause itching.If you are using any new treatment for hair removal, consider that they may be causing your itching. The Bottom LineOverlooking vaginal itching is never a good idea, as you may miss a serious cause. So, it is important to consult with your physician in a timely manner to get the appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
3 min read
4 Dangers of Using a Homemade Douche
It’s extremely important to take care of your vagina, but is douching an appropriate precaution? The dangers of using a homemade douche and douching in general can be very serious. One way people try to cleanse their vaginas is through vaginal douching. This is when one washes the inside using a mix of water and fluids. This is to help eliminate odors and further “cleaning” the vagina.Usually, vinegar is mixed with water, with prepackaged douche products containing ingredients like baking soda, iodine, or even antiseptics and fragrances. This is a common cleaning method, with one in five women between 15-44 years old using douches, some even homemade, regularly. Many women choose to use a vaginal douche as a way to “cleanse” their vagina and rid it of odors. Others believe that douching can help prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), rinse away blood from periods, and prevent pregnancy and infections. This is untrue. Douching isn’t necessary to further clean your vagina, nor will it protect you from STDs or pregnancy. In fact, the dangers of homemade douche may be even more severe. This is why the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology does not recommend the use of any douching products. The vagina needs a healthy pH balance and is naturally filled with critical bacteria, known as vaginal flora. These bacteria helps prevent irritation and stop infections. When you reduce the healthy bacteria in the vagina, then the problematic bacteria might flourish, leading to serious complications. Here are the specific risks associated with vaginal douching:Those who douche regularly have more of a chance to experience pregnancy complications, including miscarriage or early childbirth. It may also lead to ectopic pregnancies or difficulty in conceiving.As mentioned, a healthy balance of bacteria in the vagina can prevent vagina yeast from overgrowing. When you eliminate this natural pH balance, the yeast would flourish, causing yeast infections.Those who douche are 5 times more likely to develop infections like bacterial vaginosis compared to women who don’t douche. And for those who believe that washing the vagina can eliminate infection, it can actually worsen it. By douching, you could be spreading the bacteria to other parts of the reproductive system.This is an infection that would develop in your reproductive organs, usually caused by STDs. Using a douche can increase the risk of this disease by 73%, and may also hinder your success conceiving.Cervicitis is the inflammation of the cervix, also caused by STDs. But women who douche are also more susceptible to develop cervicitis. It may also cause vaginal irritation, among other uncomfortable pain.While douching is a common practice, it isn’t something you should do, as there are more negatives than benefits. With many experts advising against douching, it’s best to stay away from the practice. Talk to your Gynecologist to learn how to clean your vagina properly and safely.If you have questions or want to share tips in cleaning your vagina, do share them in the comments section below.
3 min read