Wellness Guides
Guide

Embarrassing Health Problems – Some Conditions Are More Private Than Others

Lesson 1

There are health conditions, and there are health conditions. Some are happily discussed in any social setting, some are even almost proclaimed with pride.

However, there are quite a few conditions that, as well as being quite unwanted, almost everyone wants to keep private. Some are personal in nature, some have been made embarrassing by so-called ‘social norms’, and others simply have a bit of an ‘icky’ factor.

This guide reports on ten of these conditions. For each one, there is discussion on causes, symptoms, and who is most at risk. Most importantly, there are tried and tested suggestions for alleviating the problem.

Many of them can be totally overcome and cured. For all, the symptoms can be managed to make the condition less of a problem.

Flatulence

Have you ever experienced flatulence? Whether you outright admit it or not, as long as you’re normal, you may have in one way or another passed gas, which either resulted in burping, or passing gas through the mouth, or flatulence, which is passing gas through the anus.

What is Flatulence?

Flatulence is passing intestinal gas through the anus. Due to the food we eat, especially the combinations of food we eat, and through the natural process of our digestive system, we produce gas.

Many people feel embarrassed at the thought of expelling gas through the anus. In most social scenarios, this is a cringe-worthy situation for anyone to be caught in. Even though it is a very natural phenomenon experienced by everyone, it is one of those things that most people attempt to minimize, at least in company.

It’s simply not something you’d willingly do in most social settings. Even burping is considered bad etiquette in most cultures, with the exception of very few countries. Flatulence creates a more embarrassing and awkward experience in a social setting.

Causes of Flatulence

Our bodies naturally create gas in two ways. First, by swallowing air every time we eat and drink; and second, whenever the bacteria in our large intestine is involved with digestion. Every time you swallow either food, drink, or saliva, air is swallowed as well and accumulates in the digestive tract. This accumulated air has to get out somehow! It is normal for people to release gas about 5 to 15 times a day.

But there may be times when you don’t notice passing gas because it doesn’t always smell, or may be released in very small amounts. When flatulence is accompanied by an unpleasant smell, it may contain sulfur and other elements. Flatulence in large quantities, which can create a loud sound and/or unpleasant smell, is usually due to food that’s hard to digest or swallowing larger quantities of air than normal.

Some foods are more likely to cause you to pass gas than others. Carbohydrates, dairy products, whole grains, beans, broccoli, onions, cabbage, fruit drinks, and soft drinks are also more likely to produce gas. On some occasions, bloating could be combined with the experience of flatulence or burping.

Symptoms of Flatulence

On top of typically experiencing flatulence with a smelly odor or some distinct sounds, flatulence may also come with the feeling of being bloated, a pain in the abdomen, or on the sides. On some occasions, associated pain can be intense enough to mistake it for appendicitis or an impending heart problem.

While flatulence is a very normal experience and nothing to be alarmed about in most cases, it could also be a sign of a more serious underlying health problem.

Recurring flatulence or a chronic expelling of gas could be due to digestive tract issues like an ulcer, acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, known as GERD. In these instances, the sufferer should seek advice from a health professional to obtain an accurate diagnosis.

Treatments for Flatulence

In most cases, flatulence is nothing more than a natural by-product of digestion. This results from the food we eat and is more prevalent if food is not fully digested. This occurs more when foods that digest at different rates are eaten together.

The best way to lessen the unpleasant natural experience of flatulence is to change the diet by removing the foods that mainly cause the production of these gases.

If you’re lactose-intolerant, avoid eating dairy products. In most cases, avoiding or at least reducing gas-causing foods such as whole-grains, dairy food products, fruits and vegetables like broccoli, onions, cabbage, and beans may help.

Also, experiment with food combinations. The foods listed above may not cause flatulence if eaten alone, or even with one another. However, if eaten with other foods that are easier to digest, those ‘problem’ foods might be moved to the large intestine earlier than is ideal. Try eating them in different combinations to see if they are still problematic.

Back in the Day

Your grandmother may suggest charcoal to help minimize flatulence, and burnt toast was a common remedy.

There is science to support this, as the carbon contains microscopic pockets that absorb the air, as well as other impurities in the gut. Not unlike how an aquarium filter works. Charcoal tablets are also available at pharmacies specifically for reducing gas.

Other treatment options for minimizing the unpleasant experience of flatulence are through medication or over-the-counter treatments. Some of these include:

Antacids

Over-the-counter medications such as antacids, especially one containing simethicone, joins the gas bubbles within the stomach, so it is expelled or belched away more easily. This may not reduce the incidence of flatulence, but will help regulate, as well as helping overcome any discomfort associated with bloating.

Beano

Another over-the-counter medication to help treat extreme flatulence, especially after you’ve eaten beans, is Beano. Beano is a dietary supplement that can help break down some complex carbohydrates, especially those produced from beans.

Lactase

Simply chewing lactase tablets, or a few drops of lactase added to milk before drinking it may enhance the digestion of foods that have lactose content. Milk with reduced lactose content are also now widely available. This can be very helpful for people who are lactose-intolerant.

Probiotics

Eating probiotic-rich foods or taking probiotic supplements may ease flatulence symptoms through the good bacteria that it carries, resulting in improved and better digestion.


Common Vaginal Problems

It can be tough being a woman. Apart from the fact that women are uniquely gifted with the capacity to physically deliver new life by giving birth, going through menstruation, and also menopause cycles, women also have their share of a most irritating problem - the phenomenon of common vaginal issues.

Many women develop minor vaginal problems due to several factors, including age, menstruation, medicines, sex, infection, birth control methods, hormonal imbalances and changes after pregnancy.

Two of the most common vaginal problems encountered by many women are vaginal yeast infection and bacterial vaginosis.

Vaginal Yeast Infection

Vaginal yeast infection is a fungal type of infection affecting 3 out of 4 women at some point in their lives. It is also known as vaginal candidiasis and typically, it comes with intense itchiness of the vulva and the vagina, together with some vaginal discharge.

Caused by an overgrowth of yeast cells in the vagina, yeast infection affects many women more than once in their lifetime. Although it isn’t considered to be a sexually transmitted infection, a woman’s first regular sexual activity could put her at risk of vaginal yeast infection.

Bacterial Vaginosis

Another common type of vaginal problem that affects many women is bacterial vaginosis or vaginal bacteriosis. It is a condition that is commonly experienced by women of child-bearing age. Bacterial vaginosis, as the name indicates, is a vaginal infection mainly caused by bacteria.

Most of the time, women don’t develop bacterial vaginosis on their own; it is a common problem that arises from sexual intercourse. Although it is also not considered as a sexually transmitted infection, bacterial vaginosis increases the risk of developing an STI later on.

Causes

A vaginal yeast infection is a fungal infection. A certain fungus known as candida albicans is mainly responsible for causing yeast infections. It is classified as a pathogenic yeast and this is commonly part of the human gut flora.

 
It can survive outside the human body, and it is present in the digestive tract and in the mouth of several healthy adults. Yeast infections may arise from a woman’s first regular sexual encounter.

The vagina typically has a flourishing, balanced mix of bacteria and yeast that includes candida albicans. When this fungus reproduces more rapidly than is normal, it causes a yeast infection.

A vaginal yeast infection could also develop during pregnancy, from taking antibiotics, due to an impaired immune system, from taking birth control pills, or from hormone therapy.

Bacterial vaginosis is a bacterial infection. It is also caused by an upset balance of naturally occurring organisms typically present in the vagina. The vagina is balanced with the presence of several beneficial bacteria, often known as lactobacilli. Lactobacilli produce lactic acid, keeping the vagina somewhat acidic and keeping the harmful bacteria off the area.

Bacterial vaginosis happens when the vagina becomes less acidic, causing harmful bacteria to thrive. Bacterial vaginosis comes with a foul-smelling odor and a discharge. This infection, however, naturally goes away on its own within a few days. Otherwise, antibiotics may be used for treatments.

Common Symptoms

It is helpful to be able to determine when either a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis is present.

These are the common symptoms of vaginal yeast infection:

  • intense itching of the vagina and vulva
  • burning sensation while urinating
  • swelling of the vulva with some redness
  • soreness of the vagina or vaginal pain
  • white, thick vaginal discharge that looks like cottage cheese

Sometimes, bacterial vaginosis may occur without any symptoms.

But in the presence of mild symptoms, here are its common signs:

  • watery, thin, vaginal discharge
  • strong, fishy vaginal odor
  • a burning sensation upon urination
  • itching outside the vagina

Treatments

The big point to note is that neither of these causative organisms needs to be or should be eliminated. They are both essential for vaginal health. It is only when they increase their populations and cause an imbalance that a problem occurs.

Vaginal yeast infections may be treated using over-the-counter anti-fungal treatments which could come in the form of vaginal creams, pessaries, or suppositories. Home and natural treatments include probiotics such as Greek yogurt or probiotic supplements, boric acid, tea tree oil, coconut oil, garlic and apple cider vinegar.

If you have recurring yeast infections more than four times in one year, it is best to see a doctor. This is even more important if a yeast infection results in other symptoms, or is persistent.

Bacterial vaginosis, on the other hand, could go away on its own even without any treatment. Many people don’t experience any symptoms, but in the presence of mild ones such as vaginal discharge, it is best to see a doctor.

Seeking medical treatment is important in preventing further complications that may arise during pregnancy. It is also important not to self-diagnose in order to rule out other, more harmful infections like trichomoniasis or gonorrhea.


An Overactive Bladder and Urinary Incontinence

There are several myths surrounding an overactive bladder.

Some of these imply that needing to urinate all the time is a normal part of getting older, or this only concerns women, or that it’s caused by a tiny bladder, and worse, that you should only drink up to 4 cups of water a day!

The truth is, an overactive bladder is indeed very inconvenient. It can cause people with this condition multiple disadvantages that can often bleed into their personal, relational, and professional lives.

There is no reason to be happy about having an overactive bladder, but also no reason to have it affect your life to the point of having to live inside a bathroom just to prevent accidents.

Here are some things you might need to know about an overactive bladder.

What is an Overactive Bladder & What Causes It?

An overactive bladder is the name of a group of urinary symptoms. It is a condition characterized by a bladder that can no longer hold urine in a normal way. People urinate about six to as many as ten times a day on average.

However, those with an overactive bladder condition can urinate more than ten times in 24 hours, sometimes causing them very sudden and strong urges to urinate.

They may feel incapable of postponing urination, which could result in wetting accidents. The condition of having an overactive bladder happens when a certain muscle in the urinary bladder contracts more than normal.

This muscle is known as the detrusor, and is mainly the cause why people with this condition consistently feel an overwhelming urge to urinate, even when the bladder is not necessarily filled. With an overactive bladder, the fluids you’re drinking are often not the ones to blame, but the detrusor muscle itself.

Symptoms of an Overactive Bladder

The obvious sign that you may have an overactive bladder is the frequent urge or need to urinate. In the case of an overactive bladder, this urge is something you can’t simply ignore if it comes.

You constantly need to heed your body’s calling every time it happens, which seems to be all the time, or you run the risk of wetting your pants. The understandable fear of a highly inconvenient and potentially embarrassing wetting incident causes you to constantly relieve yourself and urinate as often as you can.

The three most common symptoms of overactive bladder are frequency, that being the need to urinate more than ten times per day, urgency , which is the very strong, sudden urge to urinate, and wetting incidents, which is also known as urge incontinence.

Of the three symptoms, most people with an overactive bladder only experience urgency and frequency symptoms. It is estimated that only about one-third of sufferers actually experience wetting accidents, on top of their frequency and urgency symptoms.

What About Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is not a condition in itself, but it happens every time a person loses control of their bladder and leak urine. The older people get, the greater the chances of experiencing urinary incontinence.

Apart from being a natural thing that increases with age, other factors such as stress, obesity, coughing and laughing hard, pregnancy and post-pregnancy, and urinary tract infections are all potential causes of urinary incontinence.

There are two types of urinary incontinence - urge incontinence and stress incontinence.

Urge incontinence is simply one of the symptoms of an overactive bladder. Due to the overactivity of the detrusor muscle, the bladder contracts involuntarily and leaking urine inevitably happens.

Stress incontinence is caused by weakened muscles around the urethra. These muscles should keep the urine from escaping when bladder pressure rises with every abdominal pressure. When these muscles weaken, simply laughing, coughing, or sneezing can cause some leaking of urine.

It should be noted that stress incontinence is different from an overactive bladder. Both of them have different causes and treatments. Urge incontinence cannot be simply treated using the same method as treating stress incontinence, and vice-versa.

Treatments

Overactive Bladder or Urge Incontinence

There are several ways to treat an overactive bladder ranging from behavioral adjustments, medications, nerve stimulation, to surgery. Behavioral treatments include conducting kegel exercises, losing excess fat or weight, and bladder training.

There are also medications that help reduce the inconvenient episodes of urge incontinence that can be prescribed by a medical doctor. Bladder injections, nerve stimulation procedures, and surgery are other treatment options.

Stress Incontinence

Seeking medical treatment to help address stress incontinence is as important as seeking treatment procedure for an overactive bladder. Treatments range widely, from behavioral therapies which include kegel exercises, healthy living, bladder training and fluid consumption, as well as medications, devices, and also surgery.

If you suspect you have a bladder condition, seeking your doctor’s advice is best for a successful treatment.


Gynecomastia (Man Boobs)

Gynecomastia is the medical term for what is more popularly known in colloquial terms as “man boobs.” Man boobs is actually a very real condition affecting men of various ages. This condition is characterized by an enlargement of the male breast tissue.

Gynecomastia is a condition that can affect men across various phases of life. It can affect newborn baby boys, puberty stage boys, and grown men in their mid-life and beyond.

For many males, it is an awkward and embarrassing phenomenon. Boys in their puberty stage with this condition especially tend to feel embarrassment. If you or a man close to you have gynecomastia, it is worth learning how this happens, and the availability of treatment that could help address the condition in the long term.

What Causes Gynecomastia?

Gynecomastia is normally caused by an imbalance in the ratio levels of the sex hormones. Testosterone, the major male sex hormone, regulates the male qualities including muscle mass, body hair, facial features, and voice pitch. Estrogen, a major female hormone, controls female qualities like breast growth.

Men and women possess both sex hormones in varying amounts. In the case of gynecomastia, the estrogen levels in the man are either too high or off-balance compared to their testosterone levels. The dominance of female hormones in men primarily causes gynecomastia or man boobs.

Quite often, there is nothing to be worried about as the imbalances tend to resolve on their own as hormone levels normalize, usually within a couple of months. In the case of adolescents, this temporary situation is a side effect of the rush of hormonal changes that occur at that time. These balance and settle of their own accord, but of course in the short-term, add to the mix of unsettling changes taking place.

In other and typically rare cases, gynecomastia could be the symptom of a more serious health condition including liver cirrhosis, chronic kidney failure, testicular cancer, hyperthyroidism, sex organ diseases or infections, and even poor nutrition. Some medications can also lead to the development of gynecomastia, and these will be noted by your doctor when seeking a medical diagnosis.

Usual Symptoms of Gynecomastia

The primary symptom of gynecomastia is the enlargement of male breast tissue. Either one or both breasts amongst men with gynecomastia grow to a size that is beyond normal by most male standards. There can also be tenderness that may be evident, but it is typically painless.

Another physical symptom of gynecomastia is the presence of hardened lumps under the nipples. Gynecomastia can cause the nipples to grow and appear more prominent, due to the presence of excess estrogen.

Diagnosing gynecomastia is mostly conducted through the detection of these physical symptoms. A male breast exam and a review of a person’s medical history and past medications may also be looked into by a healthcare professional. Other tests may also be ordered by your doctor, including a series of blood tests to determine your hormone levels, and possibly a mammogram to rule out other conditions such as breast cancer.

Treatment for Gynecomastia

Gynecomastia is typically due to an imbalance of male and female sex hormones, and it often goes away on its own within months or as soon as the hormones normalize. Treatment is available but it is not always recommended. Unless there is an underlying medical condition that is causing gynecomastia, it may be best to leave it on its own.

Other times, gynecomastia is a result of taking medications. Upon diagnosis, the doctor will examine your medical history and if this is identified, you will normally be prescribed a different medication that can ease the man boobs side effect.

Surgery as treatment is an option, but this is not usually recommended unless the condition is causing pain, too much tenderness, extreme discomfort, or severe embarrassment.

For men who are unable to deal with the psychological effects of gynecomastia, counseling can be a desirable option prior to a more permanent surgery. Counseling can help men understand their condition and deal with the psychological stress, anxiety, or depression that may come with it in a much better way.


Hyperhidrosis (Excessive Sweating)

The main function of sweat is to regulate body temperature. Although it is a normal body mechanism experienced by everyone, it can be inconvenient, and our culture has also made it embarrassing, which helps to sell a lot of products!

Some people tend to sweat more than others and in excessive amounts.

Excessive sweating is a condition that can bring a person greater embarrassment or extreme inconvenience in many areas of life, especially within social settings.

Due to its prevalence and the inconvenience it brings, excessive sweating has become a named disorder known as hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating creates discomfort, awkwardness, and embarrassment amongst people who bear this condition.

Excessive sweating is often centralized in one part of the body, such as the armpits, the palms, the groin, or soles of the feet, as there is a high concentration of sweat glands within these body parts.

This is known as focal hyperhidrosis.

When excessive sweating is distributed over the entire body, it is known as generalized hyperhidrosis.

Symptoms and Signs of Hyperhidrosis

The following are typical signs and symptoms of this uncomfortable condition:

  • Excessive sweating that causes clothes to be soaked
  • Frequent sweating
  • Consistently wet palms
  • Smelly feet due to wet soles
  • Excessive sweats in parts of the body such as the groin, armpits, palms of the hands, and soles of the feet

Additionally, these other conditions may also exist as a consequence of the excessive sweating:

  • Skin rashes (either due to fungal or bacterial infections)
  • Staining on clothes due to sweat
  • Low self-esteem and self-consciousness due to a sweaty condition or body odor
  • Social withdrawal and isolation that causes anxiety and depression
  • Always needing to change clothes and wipe wet skin

Causes of Excessive Sweating

Hyperhidrosis may be a hereditary condition, or it can develop later in life. Primary focal hyperhidrosis happens due to the overactivity of the nerves that trigger the sweat glands.

This type constantly induces perspiration unnecessarily in localized parts of the body. This type is not caused by any underlying medical condition, nor is it a side effect of medication.

Secondary generalized hyperhidrosis can often be a side effect of medication or can be due to a specific medical condition. Health conditions that can induce secondary hyperhidrosis include the following:

  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Fever (with no determined cause)
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Gout
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Heart problems
  • Hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid gland)
  • Leukemia
  • Malaria
  • Menopause
  • Mercury poisoning
  • Obesity
  • Stress
  • Tumor
  • Tuberculosis

Hyperhidrosis can also be a side effect of certain medications.

Available Treatment Options for Hyperhidrosis

If you sweat excessively, there are recognized treatments and remedies that can offer help.

Here are various treatment approaches.

Antiperspirants

Antiperspirants are easily available over-the-counter. You may also try prescription-strength antiperspirants that contain aluminum chloride hexahydrate if the simpler formula is ineffective.

Oral medications

They are also known as Anticholinergics. Anticholinergics that are used to alleviate hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating include glycopyrrolate cream and oxybutynin oral tablets.

Botox

Not only a beauty treatment! Injection of botulinum toxin A or botox is another treatment option to ease excessive sweating. It is approved for treating excessive sweating in the armpits, soles of feet, and palms of hands.

miraDry

This alternative technique or procedure helps alleviate excessive sweating through the use of microwave energy. It permanently kills the sweat glands.

Laser

Laser is another viable treatment option. It can help kill the overactive underarm sweat glands.

Surgery

Thoracic sympathectomy is a surgical procedure that can be used as a last resort for treating excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis condition. This surgical procedure destroys certain parts of the nerve responsible for the action of the overactive sweat glands.


Hemorrhoids and Anal Itching

A very common condition that affects many people is anal itching.

Although it is quite common, it is rarely talked about, and for a very obvious reason - it can be quite embarrassing for people who experience it to talk about their condition openly. Anal itching is also known as pruritus ani.

Anal itching is an itch within or around the anus, mainly due to skin irritation located right at the opening of the anus’ canal where stool passes upon excretion. It can be so uncomfortable that it causes people affected by it to have to scratch themselves constantly.

It is believed to be caused by hemorrhoids, skin-related problems, or either washing too much or due to lack of good hygiene. The itch can be so intense that people can’t help but scratch it. This irritation may also be a natural chemical reaction to the stool, possibly indicating some inflammation in the anus.

Diagnosing pruritus ani necessitates an examination of the anus. The most common causes include hemorrhoids, anal fissure, psoriasis, skin cancer, and infectious diseases like pinworms.

What are Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins within the anus or the lower rectum. They are also known as ‘piles’ and are traditionally believed to be caused by straining too much and exerting too much effort when having a bowel motion.

By the time many people reach the age of 50, they will have already experienced hemorrhoids. Although it may be a very common experience, hemorrhoids can also feel very uncomfortable.

There are two common types of hemorrhoids – internal and external. Internal hemorrhoids typically develop in the lower rectum, while external hemorrhoids usually develop outside the anus.

Internal hemorrhoids do not usually cause pain but they cause bleeding from inside, which is why it is common to see a small amount of blood on the tissue or toilet bowl after you use it.

The hemorrhoid can also extend beyond the anus and cause irritation. Instead of relieving the itch or pain, constant wiping only worsens the problem.

External hemorrhoids are painful. The pain felt can often be due to a blood clot from inside it. This blood clot also typically disappears on its own but leaves behind an excess of skin.

Causes of Hemorrhoids

Experts have identified several possible causes of hemorrhoids, including diarrhea, a build-up of sweat, allergy, exerting too much effort when relieving bowels, prolonged sitting on the toilet due to constipation, spicy foods, or simply a higher tendency due to genetics.

Indeed, family history can play a role in raising the chances of getting hemorrhoids. Obesity and constantly lifting heavy objects can also make a person more prone to hemorrhoids.

Symptoms of Anal Itching or Hemorrhoids

Anal itching, particularly that caused by hemorrhoids, is not life-threatening. However, hemorrhoids can cause extreme discomfort and embarrassment due to its very nature. To diagnose this condition, one will need to have their anus checked and examined.

A few possible signs of hemorrhoids include a feeling of extreme itchiness or pain around the anus, feeling the presence of a lump near the anus, seeing blood in the toilet bowl or tissue right after using the toilet, and stool incontinence.

Treatment Options for Hemorrhoids

Having hemorrhoids can be extremely uncomfortable. To help address the pain and discomfort that goes with hemorrhoids and anal itchiness, soak in warm water.

A suppository or medicated cream that is usually readily available over-the-counter can be effective for relieving the soreness that usually comes with the itchiness.

Using a cold compress on the anus may help ease inflammation and pain. For analgesic and anti-inflammatory relief, OTC pain relievers such as ibuprofen or aspirin can be helpful. However, these medications for whatever purpose should be considered temporary.

Long-term usage is damaging to the liver and overall health. If you are using them regularly, look harder at other options, especially lifestyle changes such as diet.

Anal itching or hemorrhoids can also be a likely complication from constipation. If this is the case, having a diet with more fiber or taking fiber supplements can ease the problem. More fiber has to be taken with sufficient fluids as well in order to be effective.

A diet that is high in fiber may help reduce irritation and inflammation. This is only true to a certain level. If too much fiber is consumed, it can cause more irritation and exacerbate the problem.

For more advanced cases, hemorrhoids can be addressed through medical procedures. A rubber band ligation causes the hemorrhoid to shrink from a loss of circulation while injection therapy or sclerotherapy may reduce hemorrhoid size directly.

Your doctor can explain these options more fully and help you decide if they are appropriate to you.


Toenail Fungus

Toenail care is often one of the things we take for granted. However, the state of our nails can give us some important feedback about our state of health.

A very common condition, toenail fungus, can happen to absolutely anyone. This fungal infection can cause the toenails to thicken and discolor and also possibly hurt and smell. Nail fungus is also known as onychomycosis.

This fungal infection gets into the body through any breaks in the skin or through cracks in the nails. It is easy for various kinds of fungi and bacteria to thrive in the toes as it is a frequently damp area.

Toenail fungus typically starts as a white spot under the tip of the nails. As the infection goes deeper, it can cause the nails to thicken and discolor, become brittle and possibly even crumble at the tip. Not all toenail fungus conditions need treatment, however.

Some outbreaks can be mild and not necessarily bother those affected. But if toenail fungus is causing pain and the unhealthy growth of brittle, thick and discolored nails, it is best to get treated. Toenail fungus can infect areas between toes, reaching the skin on your feet. This is known as athlete’s foot. The reverse can also occur, whereby the fungal skin condition can migrate to the toenails.

The Cause of Toenail Fungus

Although a fungus is the causative organism, the real cause is more environmental. The fungus can be ever-present, yet not take hold if the environment is not conducive to its growth. If the foot is not wet for lengthy periods, and nail health is otherwise good, infection is unlikely. But if the foot is warm and damp for long periods, and nails are cracked and uncared for, toenail fungus can easily take hold.

Although toenail fungus is possible at any age, older people are more prone to suffering from this type of fungal infection. With aging, the entire body becomes more susceptible to diseases, and on the lower extremities of the body, this is commonly expressed as toenail fungus. Fast fact - 10% to 20% of older people are suffering from toenail fungus.

Nails can also get more brittle, dry, and more susceptible to fungi, yeast, and molds with the presence of cracks and breaks in the skin. Other factors that put anyone at higher risks of toenail fungus are poor blood circulation, wearing ill-fitted footwear, a weak immune system, heavy sweating, minor skin or nail injury, psoriasis, diabetes, and walking barefoot in damp places.

Signs and Symptoms of Toenail Fungus

Nail fungus is not limited to toenails. Fungal infections can affect the fingernails as well, but they’re simply more common in the toenails. If a dark color starts to appear underneath your nails, it could be a sign of nail fungus. Toenail fungus can also be painful. People with type-2 diabetes are especially prone to getting toenail fungus.

Treatment for Toenail Fungus

Toenail fungus may range from mild to severe. Some people may not even be aware if they have a toenail fungus, especially when it is inconspicuous or doesn’t inconvenience them in any way. However, nail fungus can go deeper and cause the nails to thicken further and become discolored, even crumbling at the edge. Toenail fungus is not only an unpleasant sight, but it can also spread to the other nails.

Treating toenail fungus is important to prevent it from spreading and leading to other complications. Mild toenail fungus may be treated with an over-the-counter antifungal topical medication. This can simply be applied to the toenails and is effective at killing fungi.

However, if the fungal infections have already grown and penetrated into deeper levels of the nails, OTC topical medications may not be enough to kill the fungus. Repeatedly applying OTC topical medications or upgrading to a prescription-based stronger product may be necessary.

To successfully treat advanced toenail fungus, it would be best to seek consultation from a podiatrist. A podiatrist is a physician who specializes in the treatment of foot, ankle and lower extremity disorders. This doctor can devise a treatment plan to medicate and treat toenail fungus successfully.

Prescribed solutions range from debridement or removal of some portions of the nails, topical medication, oral medication, to surgical removal of toenails. In more serious cases where surgical removal of toenails is prescribed, artificial nails are then used as a temporary covering right after.

Alternatively, nails can also be melted with acid, and this is performed to a portion of the infected nails for the purpose of growing back the healthier parts.


Verruca Vulgaris or the Common Wart

Warts are small lumps that commonly grow in the skin in various parts of the body from the face, to the neck, to the hands and feet. They also differ in appearance, but typically, it comes in a lighter or a darker color than the skin surrounding it.

Verruca Vulgaris is a viral skin infection that affects the skin’s foremost layer, the epidermis, causing it to thicken and produce a benign growth. The common wart or verruca vulgaris typically grows on the knuckles, knees, or the soles of the feet. They are usually oval-shaped and grow singularly or in clusters, appearing like a cauliflower.

Possible Causes of Verruca Vulgaris

Although warts are non-cancerous and aren’t life-threatening, they can be highly conspicuous. A very close skin-to-skin contact, using towels or the shoes of a person with warts, can increase the risk of developing the viral infection as well.

Verruca vulgaris is specifically caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). This virus comes from the human papillomavirus family and causes the excessive growth of keratin, a type of hard protein that thrives in the epidermis and is responsible for the production of verruca vulgaris.

Warts are more common in children and teenagers than in adults because they thrive in a weakened immune system and are less likely to survive in people with more fortified immunity, like most adults. Warts are also not especially contagious, except when you have a weaker immune system than normal.

The chances of being infected with warts from close skin to skin contact and in using another person’s belongings increase with weakened immunity. People with HIV or AIDS are especially prone to developing warts. Those taking immuno-suppressants are also at high risk of being infected with the common wart.

Symptoms of Verruca Vulgaris

Warts do not typically cause pain, but they can be very noticeable and are often bothersome to the affected individual. They develop as small protruding lumps, so there is a greater tendency to want to get rid of them by rubbing or scratching them frequently. There are many types of warts, and most people tend to scratch them until they bleed.

Verruca vulgaris, specifically, can be painful due to where it is located. They are often situated within pressure points of the feet such as the balls or soles of the feet. They also come in a round shape, is usually rough and firm in texture, and can differ in size. The common wart can be as tiny as 1mm or grow to as much as 10mm in diameter.

If they grow on the soles of the feet, they will no doubt become painful every time you stand or walk, making it very uncomfortable and unbearable for the affected individual.

Treatment Options for Verruca Vulgaris

Several types of warts disappear on their own, even without treatment. They can linger for an average of 2 years in your skin, before they eventually disappear, without causing any harm.

Although most types of warts are harmless and painless, verruca vulgaris is the type that is difficult to ignore. To get rid of the common wart, it is best to seek the advice of a physician.

A podiatrist would usually be best consulted for cases like verruca vulgaris, because they can do an extensive examination and rule out other potentially harmful conditions. In some cases, examinations may even include some blood tests.

It should be noted that not all treatments used to get rid of warts are effective. Sometimes, it can successfully remove the wart; sometimes, it only causes further irritation and kills the skin’s cells.

The most common treatment options for verruca vulgaris include salicylic acid, cryotherapy, and some chemical treatments. Salicylic acid is the most common ingredient typically available amongst the many types of creams, plasters, and gels prescribed by doctors to treat warts. Cryotherapy sessions may also be ordered.

They are a form of treatment that uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the infected skin cells. One session of cryotherapy lasts for about 5 to 15 minutes. Big-sized warts need more than one session of cryotherapy to be successfully removed.

Other chemical treatments may be prescribed as well, including silver nitrate, formaldehyde, and glutaraldehyde. They are applied to the wart, killing the infected skin cells around it. Other methods include laser therapy, light therapy, as well as acupuncture.


Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction happens when a man experiences the inability and difficulty of getting an erection, maintaining an erection that is necessary for sex, and consistently experiences a lack of sexual desire.

Mere inability to get an erection does not automatically constitute erectile dysfunction; it can naturally happen every now and then to any men of any age. However, it becomes a real concern when it consistently impairs an individual’s sexual performance, affecting the person and his relationships, both psychologically and emotionally.

This condition is also more commonly known as impotence.

Impotence or erectile dysfunction may be a common disorder amongst older men because sexual erectile capacity also naturally decreases with age. But living with erectile dysfunction is not easy. It causes stress and may lead to relational problems. Often, impotence can also signal an underlying health condition.

Causes of Erectile Dysfunction or Impotence

The nature of sexual arousal in men involves the nervous system, brain, hormones, muscles, emotions and blood vessels. Issues in any of these can affect male sexual arousal and potentially cause impotence.

There are several causes linked to erectile dysfunction. Physiological causes include damage to the blood vessel, atherosclerosis, multiple sclerosis, stroke, diabetes mellitus, trauma, obesity, heart disease, and other cardiovascular health problems. Additionally, several prescription-based drugs and medications may also lead to impotence such as the case of taking antidepressants and diuretics.

Impotence is also sometimes a direct result of certain psychological conditions such as stress, relationship problems, poor communication, anxiety, depression, and performance anxiety, among others.

Older men are at high risk of this condition due to the declining nature of erectile capacity. Additionally, smoking, use of drugs, alcohol abuse, prescription-based medications, and being overweight can all contribute to the likelihood of erectile dysfunction or impotence.

Erectile Dysfunction Symptoms

Most of the time, determining if an individual is bothered by this problem is based on the nature of their sexual experiences. Sexual impotence is composed mainly of three symptoms; the inability to achieve a normal erection, inability to sustain an erection which is necessary for sexual intercourse, and the lack of sexual desire.

These things can happen every now and then and still be considered normal, but a perpetual nature of sexual frustration derived from these perennial problems can signify erectile dysfunction. It’s when these things occur more regularly and frequently that they signal real and concerning problems to the individual and their relationship.

Erectile dysfunction also creates emotional symptoms because this problem goes beyond being merely sexual and physical incapacity. Men suffering from sexual impotence may also be feeling emotions such as embarrassment, chronic frustration, performance anxiety, depression, shame, and a lack of interest in the act of sexual intimacy with their partners.

Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction or Impotence

Erectile dysfunction is a very common problem; with that, there are also several treatment options known to address and cure it successfully.

Sexual impotence can be addressed by taking a category of drugs known as PDE-5 or phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors. These are prescription-based drugs or pills that men can drink at least 30 minutes to an hour before sex.

The most popular PDE-5 inhibitor is Viagra. Before prescribing Viagra or similar drugs to impotent men, doctors need to check into their medical history, presence of allergies, or any heart conditions that may be affected by this drug.

Another known treatment for impotence is vacuum erection devices. These physical devices are mechanically used to cause sexual erection amongst impotent men. These are often used as a secondary option for men who cannot take PDE-5 inhibitors orally or those having difficulty in letting the drugs work for them.

Treatments for impotence and erectile dysfunction can also be as advanced as surgery. In cases where taking prescription drugs or using vacuum erection devices prove to be futile, penile implants can be an alternative option. Also, vascular surgery is also another surgical treatment option. Vascular surgery attempts to address blood vessel issues that contribute to the problem.


Loss of Libido

Men and women of different ages and backgrounds all have one thing in common - the presence of libido in their genetic make-up. Libido or sex drive plays an important role in how we all came to be in this world. It’s something we’re all born with and for a reason - to participate in the natural procreation process.

Although it isn’t always talked about, libido plays a key role in maintaining a healthy and happy sexual life.

Libido is also greatly influenced by several factors. Natural biology, emotional, social, and psychological factors help influence high or low sexual desire.

Meanwhile, there is a condition known as loss of libido or sex drive that can have a huge impact on people’s lives.

What Causes Loss of Libido

A loss of libido is a very common problem that affects men and women equally at various stages in life, although it is more common amongst older couples.

Older men are more prone to erectile dysfunction, while older women deal with various hormonal fluctuations and menopausal conditions. Both of these affect sexual drive.

There is not one parameter for describing a normal sex drive as people’s libido can vary greatly. A high or low sex drive can look and feel very different to most people. Not everyone with a low sex drive is negatively impacted by it.

However, when either a man or woman experiences a significant decrease of sexual drive, to the detriment of their disposition in life or their relationship, loss of libido, in this case, is causing a lot of distress that affects them more negatively.

Loss of libido is also very closely linked to stress, fatigue, health issues, medications, or relationship problems. These factors are common causes why people experience loss of sexual drive despite being in happy partnerships even for the longest time.

Nonetheless, when it happens, it not only strains relationships but it also negatively impacts men's and women’s disposition. Sex can be a great source of pleasure and relaxation to many people and it is a common bonding activity amongst happy and healthy couples.

Signs and Symptoms of Loss of Libido

If a loss of libido is not a cause for concern, there isn’t always a need to address it unless it signals an underlying health issue.

Sexual drive naturally fluctuates at various points in life for several reasons.

But if this phenomenon is causing a lot of distress, straining your relationship with your partner, and causing negative psychological effects on you and your relationship, you can be proactive about it and address it with the help of a doctor.

The following symptoms are telltale signs of a low sex drive or apparent loss of libido.

  1. 1
    Lack of interest in any form of sexual activity
  2. 2
    Feeling distressed about your apparent lack of sexual desire and being worried about how it might affect your partner
  3. 3
    Feeling abnormal for not having any thoughts or fantasies that are sexual in nature – even when you used to have them

Treatment Options for Loss of Libido

Diagnosing a sexual dysfunction in the case of a loss of libido is possible through conducting a series of blood tests that will determine a person’s level of sex hormones.

Levels of estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, and DHEA are necessary in the right amounts to normally sustain a sexual drive; otherwise, an apparent lack of these hormones may cause a loss of sexual drive.

If the loss of libido is caused by hormones, hormone therapy may help regulate this problem and restore a person’s libido.

Treatment for loss of libido goes hand in hand with the cause of the problem.

If a loss of sexual drive is caused by an underlying health condition or medications, the individual or couple must consult a doctor for necessary treatment. The health problem must first be addressed before attempting any cure for sexual dysfunction.

In cases where the loss of libido is directly a result of relationship problems, the couple may either seek to resolve their relationship problems themselves or go through counseling or therapy.

When loss of libido is impacted by relationship problems, it may be due to either unresolved conflicts, lack of trust, lack of communication, or power imbalances resulting in deep-seated resentments.

Sex in itself is a form of physical communication between partners, so a lack of emotional connection may dramatically unveil that as truth.

Sometimes, loss of libido can be due to a high amount of stress, having anxiety, depression, fatigue, and other common negative symptoms. Although sex can be a great form of relaxation, a person’s libido can also be greatly affected by stress.

Treating it may necessitate a shift towards making healthier life choices, nourishing your body with good food, and getting enough sleep. Habits such as smoking and excessive alcohol can also negatively affect a person’s libido.


Conclusion

If you have read this complete publication, you may have noticed a common thread. For many of the conditions there is a causative organism, or something external that triggered the problem.

However, in every case, there is a personal environmental factor. This means that we have the ability to affect not only our susceptibility to the problem, but also to overcome it if we are already subject to it.

Lifestyle factors. We hear this every day. It is hard to accept that the way we live - our diet, exercise and sleep patterns – are a bigger factor than the scientifically recognized organism that is ‘responsible’ for the condition.

In most cases, this also true of the conditions that don’t have an infective source, including those that may appear to be mental or emotional in nature. Our lifestyle affects all aspects of our health and wellbeing, and provides the circumstances that greatly provide the environment for the condition to exist.

Medical and pharmaceutical solutions have been described for many of the conditions, and they can be effective. Sometimes, they may even be necessary or essential.

However, there is almost nothing to lose and everything to gain by making positive changes to our habits and behaviors that affect our health.

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