Constipation

 

Passing stool is a very important part of our life and daily routine, if someone doesn’t pass stool in their routine they always feel discomfort and disturb their routine and mind too.
Constipation means hardening of stool and because of hardening of stool there is difficulty in emptying of bowel usually associated with painful defecation. Constipation is a condition of the digestive system where an individual has hard feces that are difficult to expel. So constipation is a symptom not a disease. Constipation may be acute (recent onset) or chronic(long duration).

Symptoms
Patient may have:
 Few bowel movements
 Trouble having a bowel movement (straining to go)/painful defecation
 Hard or small stools
 A sense of incomplete emptying.
Belly bloating/nauseous
Abdominal cramps
 Losing appetite
Pathology behind Constipation
Slower digestion of food will lead to slower movement through digestive tract and will lead to increase water absorption from the food which causes hardening of stool.

Causes of constipation

1. Decreased water intake
A healthy adult needs to drink at least 2-3 liters of water a day, but decreased intake of water will lead to decreased food digestion process and less hydrated body will make the feces hard, so we should keep hydrated in order to have good digestion and normal feces formation.
2. Physical inactivity
Physical activity keeps metabolism high, so less physical activity will slower metabolic rate and physical inactivity will lead to very slow metabolism.
Physical inactivity also causes constipation, because during physical activity our body muscles including abdominal muscles contract and relaxes which causes intestinal stimulant for contraction and relaxation.
People with sedentary lifestyle, older people, and bed ridden patients usually suffer from constipation.
3. Decreased intake of fibers
Fibers help in digestion and they promote bowel movements, low fiber diet will lead to constipation. It is very important to consume fiber rich diet like salads, fruits, multigrain flour should be part of our diet.
4. Medicines
Some medicines that doctors prescribe to treat other health problems can cause constipation. Medicines that can cause constipation include
Antacids—used to neutralize stomach acid—that contain aluminum and calcium
Anticholinergics—used to treat muscle spasms in the intestines
Anticonvulsants-phenytoin (Dilantin) and carbamazepine (Tegretol) iron supplements—used to decrease abnormal electrical activity in the brain to prevent seizures
Antispasmodics—used to reduce muscle spasms in the intestines
Calcium channel blockers diltiazem (Cardizem) and nifedipine (Procardia)—used to treat high blood pressure and heart disease
Diuretics—used to help the kidneys remove fluid from the blood
Iron supplements—used to build up higher iron levels in the blood
Medicines used to treat Parkinson’s disease
Narcotics—used to treat severe pain
Antidepressants (amitriptyline and Imipramine)
5. Life change from daily routine;
Sometimes because of travel , or any change from your daily routine habits eg; irregular meal time or sleep time, during pregnancy and change in food habits may also cause constipation.
6. Ignoring the urge to have a bowel movements
If individuals ignore the urge to have a bowel movement, the urge can gradually go away until the individual no longer feels the need to go. The longer it is delayed, the drier and harder the stool will become. In kids this is the most common cause of constipation.
7. Overuse of laxative
Some people believe a person should go to the toilet at least once a day – this is not true. However, to make sure this happens, some people self-medicate with laxatives. Using them regularly allows the body to get used to their action and gradually the dose needs to increase to get the same effect. Laxatives can be habit-forming. When a person becomes dependent on them, there is a significant risk of constipation when they are stopped.
8. Certain health problems
Diseases that tend to slow down the movement of feces through the colon, rectum, or anus can cause constipation eg Thyroid disorders (hypothyroidism), Diabetes, some neurological disorders, gastrointestinal disorders like diverticulitis or inflammatory bowel diseases and in certain cancers.
9.Aging
As a person gets older, the metabolism slows down, resulting in less intestinal activity. The muscles in the digestive tract do not work as well as they used to.

Diagnosis of Constipation
Diagnosis of constipation in patient made by full medical, surgical history, family history, complete dietary history, physical examination and by performing some diagnostic tests if need. For example, if defecation is painful, the doctor knows to look for anal problems such as a narrowed anal sphincter or an anal fissure. If small stools are the problem, eating foods low in fiber may be the cause. If the patient is experiencing significant straining, then pelvic floor dysfunction is likely. Depending upon the medical history and symptoms doctor may order for different tests

Blood tests – for thyroid hormones or calcium, or if blood loss from feces then CBC.
Abdominal X ray
Large amounts of material in the colon usually can be visualized on simple X-ray films of the abdomen, and the more severe the constipation, the more visualized on X-ray.
Barium enema
A barium enema (lower gastrointestinal [GI] series) is an X-ray study in which liquid barium is inserted through the anus to fill the rectum and colon. The barium outlines the colon on the X-rays and defines the normal or abnormal anatomy of the bowel and rectum. Tumors and narrowing (strictures) are among the abnormalities that can be detected with this test.
Flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy.
Anorectal Studies
Anal Manometry– for this test, a health care professional puts a thin tube that has pressure sensors and a balloon on its tip into your anus. Once the balloon reaches your rectum and the pressure sensors are in your anus, the health care professional slowly pulls the tube out to measure muscle tone and contractions. The test takes about 30 minutes.
Balloon expulsion tests consist of a health care professional filling a balloon with different amounts of water after he or she places it into your rectum. The health care professional will give you a stopwatch and instructions to go to the restroom and measure the amount of time it takes you to push the balloon out. If you can’t push out a balloon filled with less than 150 milliliters of water, or it takes longer than 1 minute to push the balloon out, you may have a problem pushing out stool.
Defecography -emptying of the rectum can be tested in the laboratory or with special x-rays.
Sometimes depending upon the condition and other results doctor may order for CT scan or MRI too.

Treatment
In the majority of cases, constipation resolves itself without any treatment or risk to health.
The goal of treatment in constipation should not to have bowel movement every day, but one every two to three days without difficulty (without straining).
Treatment for constipation depends on
• The cause of constipation
• how bad your constipation is
• how long you’ve been constipated means it is acute or chronic
Treatment of constipation should be start with natural remedies
1. Change of dietary habits which include eating more fibers, fruits and vegetables.
2. Intake of water should be increased. Try warm liquids, especially in the morning.
3. Prune juice, act as natural laxative.
4. Lifestyle changes and increasing physical activity. Exercising every day may help prevent and relieve constipation.
5. Flax seed oil as a natural lubricant and laxative.
6. Use of Probiotics/yogurt/buttermilk.
7. Don’t ignore the urge to have a bowel movement.
OTC Laxative
Use of laxative should be as a last resort.
Stimulants: These make the muscles in the intestines contract rhythmically. These include Correctol, Dulcolax, and Senokot.
Lubricants: These help the stool move down the colon more easily. These include mineral oil and Fleet.
Stool softeners: These moisten the stool. Stool softeners include Colace and Surfak.
Fiber supplements: These are perhaps the safest laxatives. They are also called bulk laxatives. They include FiberCon, Metamucil, Konsyl, Serutan, and Citrucel and should be taken with plenty of water.
Osmotics: These facilitate the movement of fluids through the colon. These include Cephulac, Sorbitol, and Miralax.
Saline laxatives: These draw water into the colon.
Chloride channel activators: These require a prescription and include lubiprostone (Amitiza).
5-HT-4 agonists: They increase the secretion of fluid in the intestines and speed up the rate at which food passes through the colon. They include Prucalopride.
If the constipation does not respond to any treatment, as a last resort, surgery to remove part of the colon may be undertaken. In the procedure, the segment of the anal sphincter or rectum that causes the constipation is removed.

Complications
Constipation on its own can be uncomfortable but not life-threatening. However, severe constipation can develop into more serious conditions, including:
1. rectal bleeding after continually straining to pass stools
2. anal fissure, or a small tear around the anus
3. hemorrhoids, or swollen, inflamed blood vessels of veins in the rectum
4. fecal impaction, in which dried stools collect in the anus and rectum, leading to an obstruction in the path stool would take to leave the body
5. Dealing with constipation before it becomes one of these conditions can prevent further discomfort.

Please note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional.
Content source –https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/150322.php,  https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/constipation, https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/digestive-diseases-constipation#1

Advertisements

PCOS/PCOD/Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS is a hormonal endocrine disorder of ovary in women in all over the world. Other name for PCOS is Stein-Leventhal Syndrome. As the name indicates multiple cysts in the ovary is called polycystic ovary syndrome, and the size of ovaries in women with PCOS are 2 to 5 times the normal size.
Undiagnosed and untreated PCOD is a leading cause of female infertility. PCOS affects 4 to 6% of women, the full-blown syndrome of hyperandrogenism, chronic anovulation and polycystic ovaries. Because of wide variety of clinical symptoms and biochemical features exact definition of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is least understood and can be confusing. According to Rotterdam criteria definition of PCOS contains two out of three following criteria:
1. Oligomenorrhea or Anovulation
2. Hyperandrogenism (clinical/biochemical)
3. Polycystic ovaries with exclusion of other etiologies.

Hormonal and biochemical changes are responsible for PCOS symptoms. There may be abnormality in the four active compartments: a) ovary, b) hypothalamus-pituitary compartment, c) peripheral fat or d) adrenal glands. Abnormality in ovarian compartment is responsible for hyperandrogenism in PCOS. Ovaries in women with PCOS are 2 to 5 times the normal size.

Hormonal changes in PCOS
1. Hyperandrogenism – Increased level of total and free testosterone.
High intraovarian androgen concentration inhibits follicle maturation results in inactive granulosa cells with minimal aromatase activity for conversion to estrogens.
2. Increased LH without increase in FSH leads to Increase LH/FSH ratio.

Clinical symptoms

1. Menstrual dysfunction – From amenorrhea to oligo menorrhea. Menarche tends to be delayed, irregular menstrual cycles or 4 to 6 menstrual periods per year.
2. Acne – Severe acne in teenage years is very common finding of PCOS.
3. Obesity – About 50 % women with PCOS found obese. Obesity in PCOS linked to insulin resistance, diabetes mellitus and increased risk of cardiovascular disease in later life.
4. Hirsutism – Excess hair growth on the face and body.
5. Alopecia – Hair loss and male pattern baldness.
6. Acanthosis nigricans – Hyperpigmentation of the skin.
7. InfertilityInfertility is the common problem in PCOS women.

How to Diagnose?

1. Symptoms and clinical features are most important in early diagnosis. Patient gives history of irregular menstruation, acne, excess facial hair growth and weight gain (high BMI). During reproductive age women may have history of infertility.

2. Laboratory tests – Blood tests to know the level of some hormones, Blood sugar, Insulin and IGF 1, cholesterol and triglycerides level in PCOS women.
Criteria for metabolic syndrome in PCOS women
• Abdominal obesity (waist circumference >88 cm or 35 inches)
• Triglycerides >150 mg/dl
• HDL-C <50 mg/dl
• Blood pressure > 130/85
• Fasting blood sugar of 110-126 mg/dl and 2-hour glucose from oral glucose tolerance test of 140-199 mg/dl

3. Ultrasonography – Ultrasonographic examination is a useful method for early detection of PCOS and follow-up. Generally, ovarian size is increased. The most important ultrasonographic finding is a bilaterally increased number of microcysts measuring 0.5 to 0.8 cm with generally more than five microcysts in each ovary.

Management

The management of PCOS depends upon clinical symptoms and presenting problems.

Menstrual irregularities
1. Weight loss – In obese women weight loss should be the first line of treatment. A reduction in body weight of 5-10 per cent will cause a 30 per cent reduction in visceral fat, which is often sufficient to restore ovulation and reduce markers of metabolic disease.
2. Oral contraceptives – Often OCPs can have the benefits of contraception, protection against endometrial cancer and improve skin manifestations such as acne and hirsutism.

Acne
Mild acne can be treated topically with keratinolytics such as azelaic acid, retinoids or with antibacterials erythromycin 2 % gel or clindamycin 1 % lotion. Severe forms can be treated by oral antibiotics or isotretinoin.
But in PCOS antiandrogens are most effective because acne occurs as a result of hyperstimulation of sebaceous glands by androgens. Cyproterone acetate, Spironolactone Flutamide and Finasteride have antiandrogenic properties. Cyperoterone acetate can be combined with OCPs.

Hirsutism
Hirsutism can be treated by physical therapy such as bleaching, shaving, plucking, depilatory creams or electrolysis and laser. Combined Oral contraceptive is useful for prevention of excess hair growth.

Alopecia
Psychological supports and hairstyling are the treatment for alopecia. Drugs such as minoxidil, cyproterone acetate, spironolactone has limited role.

Infertility
Main cause of infertility in PCOS is anovulation. So methods of inducing ovulation are reduction of insulin concentrations, FSH (follicular stimulating hormone) stimulation and reduction in LH (luteinizing hormone) concentration.

Weight loss
Weight loss is the mainstay therapy for induction of ovulation. Weight loss improves endocrine profile and the likelihood of ovulation and a healthy pregnancy. Diet plan and exercises should be encouraged.

Clomiphene citrate
Clomiphene citrate 50 mg orally for 5 days is a common method to induce ovulation. Serial transvaginal ultrasound is used to look for follicles or urinary LH test can also be done to know fertile period.

Metformin
For treating hyperinsulinemia in PCOS women Metformin 500 mg 8 hourly is an effective treatment.
In patients who do not ovulate with clomiphene citrate and metformin, doctor can advise for laparoscopic ovarian drilling or parenteral gonadotrophic therapy.

Laparoscopic ovarian drilling
Laparoscopic ovarian drilling is a simple procedure whereby several punctures are made in one or both the polycystic ovaries.

Gonadotropin therapy
Gonadotrophin therapy is indicated for women with anovulatory PCOS who have been treated with antiestrogens, either if they have failed to ovulate or if they have a response to clomiphene that is likely to reduce their chance of conception. Patients are started with very low dose gonadotrophin (FSH) and the dose is gradually increased. When the leading follicle reaches 14 mm, the FSH threshold dose is reduced by half.
In some patients, invitrofertilisation (IVF) or even intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) may be the only option for pregnancy.

Complications

PCOS patients are increased risk of developing chronic diseases which are directly linked to obesity in PCOS.
Non-insulin dependent Diabetes mellitus (NIDDM)
Cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension and coronary heart disease
Endometrial cancer
Infertility
Depression and anxiety

Because of the risk of chronic disorders, PCOS patients are advised to continue follow-up every 6 months.

Please note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional.

Content source – Jeffcoate’s Principles of Gynaecology 7th edition

Acne or Pimples

Acne or commonly known as pimples are very common skin problem in teenage and late teenage groups, though any age group from newborn to adults or sometimes older people can also have acne, usually women complains about acne but common in men too. Acne has negative effects on selfesteem due to cosmetic reason and it gives scars when goes off.
Acne is a chronic inflammation of pilosebaceous units (hair follicles and accompanying sebsceous glands) due to increased sebum production. Acne may present as various forms include seborrhea, comedones, papules, pustules, nodules, pseudocyst and after that scars when acne goes off.

Pathogenesis
There are four major pathogenic factors in the development of acne
1. Increased sebum production
2. Follicular hyperkeratinization (follicular plugging with sebum and keratinocytes)
3. Propionibacterium acne (P. acne) colonization
4. Release of multiple inflammatory mediators

Factors that may cause acne
Severity of acne depends upon sebum excretion rate which increases in puberty. There are multiple factors which can cause acne.
1. Hormonal factors – Sex hormones androgens, progesterone and testosterone increases sebum production rate. At puberty, level of these hormones increases thus cause acne formation. Estrogen reduces sebum production. But most patients have normal hormone profiles.
2. Genetic factors – sometimes if anyone in family had bad acne that may run in to family.
3. Environmental factors – high humidity, heat and sweating may also cause acne.
4. Stress and depression – Psychological stress and depression may disturb the hormonal level and may cause acne.
5. Lack of sleep – Insufficient sleep also stimulates sebum production and acne formation.
6. Certain cosmetics which contain lanolin, vegetable oils, butyl sterate or lauryl alcohol and oleic acid are another cause of acne.
7. Some products which are irritants on skin or allergic to skin also cause acne.
8. Dietary habits – High intake of dairy products, meat, sugars, junk food also cause acne.
9. Hair dandruffs also cause acne so hair washing frequently advised to prevent acne.
10.Certain medications also provoke acne.

Signs and symptoms
Local symptoms are pain tender and erythema. Acne vulgaris typically affects the areas of skin with the densest population of sebaceous follicles (eg, face, upper chest, back). Acne vulgaris may have a psychological impact on any patient, regardless of the severity or the grade of the disease.
Acne or pimples may be in different forms
Comedones are sebaceous plugs impacted within follicles. Depending on wheather follicle is closed or dilated(open) at skin suface comedones are of two types closed comedone or whiteheads and open comedones also called blackheads.
Plugs are easily extruded from open comedones but are more difficult to remove from closed comedones. Closed comedones are the precursor lesions to inflammatory acne. Whiteheads (closed comedones) are flesh-colored or whitish palpable lesions 1 to 3 mm in diameter; blackheads (open comedones) are similar in appearance but with a dark center.
Papules and pustules are inflammatory acne, usually occurs after propionibacterum acne colonization in closed comedones, these are red lesions around 2-5 mm in diameter, papules are relatively deeper and pustules are superficial.
Nodules or small eruptions which are solid and painful. Cysts are suppurative nodules.
images5
Acne fulminans – It is rare but severe presentation usually associated with fever, joint pain and swelling. It is usually found on the trunk.
Acne Conglobate – Severe acne, characterized by multiple comedones, nodules, abscess, sinuses, cysts and marked scarring without the presence of systemic symptoms. More commonly present in adult males on the trunk and upper limb.
Acne Excorii- Self inflicted excoriation of skin due to repetitive touching , picking and pricking of preexisting acne lesions. Most commonly presents in teenage girls and people suffering with psychological stress or depression.
Pyoderma faciale (also called rosacea fulminans) – occurs suddenly on the midface of young women. The eruption consists of erythematous plaques and pustules, involving the chin, cheeks, and forehead.
Secondary acne– acne caused by either greasy or irritant cosmetics, exposure to oil and dust or some medications like corticosteroids, anticonvulsants, lithium. Polycystic ovary syndrome, menstrual irregularities and premenstrual period are usually associated with acne.

Diagnosis
Signs and symptoms along with medical history, menstrual history, any medications, psychological stress or depression and environmental history.
Local examinations of acne and scars
Laboratory tests for female menstruating patients to check hormone levels of total and/or free testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, luteinizing hormone (LH), and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).

Treatment
It is important to treat acne to reduce the extent of disease, scarring, and psychological distress.

A. Naturotherapy (Natural way of treatment for simple acne and prevention of severe acne).
1. Affected areas should be cleansed daily.
2. Change dietary habits avoid oily food, reduce intake of dairy products and sugar. Food should be rich in fibers and fruits.
3. Drink plenty of water.
4. Full sleep for 6-8 hours.
5. Pranayama (deep breathing exercises) helps to reduce stress and thus acne.
6. Avoid irritant cosmetic products.
Follow healthy lifestyle and health tips.

B. Pharmacotherapy
Consultation with a specialist may be necessary. Treatment should involve educating the patient and tailoring the plan to one that is realistic for the patient. Treatment failure can frequently be attributed to lack of adherence to the plan and also to lack of follow-up.

Topical therapy is useful in mild and moderate acne, as monotherapy, in combination and also as maintenance therapy. Systemic and physical therapy depends upon severity of acne.
1. Benzoyl peroxide – Mild acne usually managed with topical therapy. Initially started with low concentration topical benzoyl peroxide for short duration then gradually increased if tolerated.
2. Topical retinoids – Topical retinoids target the microcomedo–precursor lesion of acne. Tretinoin and isotretinoin are commonly used topical retinoids.
3. Topical antibiotics – Many topical antibiotics formulations are available, either alone or in combination. They inhibit the growth of P. acne and reduce inflammation. Topical antibiotics such as erythromycin and clindamycin are the most popular in the management of acne.
4. Other topical agents – Azelaic acid, Salicylic acid, Lactic acid/Lactate lotion, Tea tree oil 5%, Picolinic acid gel 10%, Dapsone gel 5% can also be used either single agent or in combination therapy.
5. Systemic antibiotics – Oral antibiotics are indicated in mainly moderate-to-severe inflammatory acne. Tetracyclines and derivatives still remain the first choice. Macrolides, co-trimoxazole, and trimethoprim are other alternatives for acne. Gastrointestinal upset and vaginal candidiasis are most common side effects. Doxycycline can be associated with photosensitivity. Minocycline may produce pigment deposition in the skin, mucous membrane, and teeth. Autoimmune hepatitis, systemic lupus erythematosus-like syndrome, and serum sickness-like reactions occur rarely with minocycline.
6. Hormonal therapy – Used in female patients suffering with androgenic alopecia, hirsuitism, seborrhea, and proven ovarian or adrenal hyperandrogenism.
Oral contraceptives – Anti-acne effect of oral contraceptive governed by decreasing level of circulatory androgens through inhibition of luteinizing hormones (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH).
Spironolactone – functions primarily as a steroidal androgen receptor blocker.
Cyproterone acetate– it is first androgen receptor blocking agent used in combination with ethinyl estradiol to treat acne in females.
Flutamide – used to treat acne in females with hirsuitism.

7. Oral isotretinoin – used to treat modereate to severe acne which in not responsive to conventional therapy.

C. Physical treatment-
Intralesional injections of triamcinolone acetonide may be required for inflamed acne nodules or cysts, which can also be incised and drained, or excised under local anaesthetic.
UVB phototherapy or PDT can occasionally be used in patients with inflammatory acne who are unable to use conventional therapy.

Summary of treatment

• Comedones: Topical tretinoin
• Mild inflammatory acne: Topical antibiotics, benzoyl peroxide, or both
• Moderate acne: Oral antibiotics
• Severe acne: Oral isotretinoin
• Cystic acne: Intralesional triamcinolone
• Oral contraceptives are effective in treating inflammatory and noninflammatory acne in females.

Effective treatments aim to improve the condition and prevent worsening (including later scarring), and to restore emotional well-being and self-esteem. The psychological impact of acne must not be underestimated and should be considered in management decisions.

Please note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional.

Content source –  Davidson’s Principles and Practice of Medicine(22ndedition), Indian Journal of Dermatology, http://www.merckmanuals.com, http://www.dermnetnz.org

How To Fight With Depression

In my previous blog I have discussed about the depression and its causes, here I will talk about treatment that can help a depressed person overcome depression. So if you have not read that then click here

Treatment-
The worst thing about depression is that it a real illness which can be very serious but best thing about this is that it is treatable. If your symptoms are severe enough then a make a doctor appointment and talk to doctor in detail. The choice of treatment depends on the pattern, severity, persistence of depressive symptoms and the history of the illness. As with many illnesses, early treatment is more effective and helps prevent the likelihood of serious recurrences. Depression must be treated by a physician or qualified mental health professional.

Few natural tips of treating Depression
1. If you feel you are sad and have the symptoms of depression, talk to the person you trust more, talk to your friend, or your loved one or who is in your close relation (like your parent, or your spouse, your best friend), Don’t be isolated, involve in social gathering, go for outing, meeting with your friends this will help you reminding past and nice memories.
2. Being optimistic- you know what is the cause or may not, but you have to be very positive towards your life, your job and in everything you are involved. Boost your mind by thinking positive only. Make your will power very strong.
3. Go near to the nature- Nature is such a precious gift in our life, nature will make you feel better in all ways it rejuvenate you to feel emotionally and physically. IT will boost your inner strength. Naturo-therapy is the best treatment for depression.
4. Yoga and Meditation– Yoga has uncountable benefits, it not only builds your inner strength and awareness but provides many mental and physical benefits. It focuses your attention on your body’s abilities at the present moment. Yoga is known for its ability to soothe tension and anxiety in the mind and body. But it can also have an impact on a person’s exercise capacity. So if you want to get rid from depression and anxiety you must practice Yoga every day. Everyday 30 minutes yoga is good for you.
5. Daily routine- You should fix your goal. Every day in the morning make “to do list” and try to do all those things within your time limit with full enthusiasm. You have to fix your daily routine from time you wake up to time you go bed, good sleep is important so try to sleep early and wake up early but never too late. Fix your meal time.
6. Hygiene- You should follow hygienic habits. Keep your room nice and clean, Open the windows in your room for fresh air and natural sunlight which helps to fight depressive mood. You can use some Quotations on your wall which boost up your mind. Clean your bed every day and change your bedsheet frequently, do not use dark and dull color bedsheets, use light and colorful bedsheets.
7. Eat healthy- Always eat healthy food rich in protein, fibers like green leafy vegetables and fruits. Drink plenty of water, 2-3 liters water every day to flush out the toxins. Eat healthy, think healthy and stay healthy.
8. Dance and Music- turn on any soothing light music while at home, dance on music can help you to feel better physically and emotionally.
9. Avoid caffeine after 4 pm, if you have difficulty in sleeping.
10. Never take alcohol.

Medical treatment-
If symptoms are severe then doctor may prescribe you antidepressants which are of different types and some medications may take few weeks or longer to take full effect.
Different kinds of antidepressants-
SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors), SNRIs (Serotonin Nor-epinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors), NDRIs (Nor-epinephrine Dopamine Reuptake Inhibitors), MAO (Mono Amine Oxidase) inhibitors, Atypical antidepressants, Tricyclic antidepressants.
All these medication have some side effects and MAO inhibitors also have some food restrictions (cheese containing food, wine) because of drug interactions. So always discuss about side effects of the drugs with your doctor or pharmacist.

Doctor may choose to treat you with either combinations of two antidepressants, or one antidepressant and one mood stabilizer or antidepressants with antipsychotic drugs.

Guidelines for antidepressants-
1. All antidepressants have side effects so always discuss about the drug and its side effects with your doctor.
2. Keep patience, because sometimes drugs may take week or longer to show full effect.
3. Some foods are restricted in MAO inhibitors like cheese and wine, so never take this if you are taking the drugs.
4. If you want to take any other medicine please ask your doctor first.
5. If you become pregnant or planning to get pregnant or you are breastfeeding inform your doctor, because some antidepressants may pose risk to your unborn child or nursing baby.
6. Be careful while driving or using machinery, especially if your medicine makes you sleepy.
7. Never stop antidepressants without doctor’s advice, sudden stopping of drugs may cause sudden worsening of symptoms or withdrawal like symptoms. They should be stopped gradually and according to your doctor’s instructions.
8. If you develop any new symptom please inform your doctor.
9. During treatment or before treatment anytime if you have any thought of hurting yourself or suicidal thought, inform the doctor immediately.

Please note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional.

 

Depression

What is depression?
Depression is a simple word but it has deep and vast meaning, In my words Depression is a feeling generated by your state of mind, it is a sad feeling, or feeling low, not feeling good, not feeling energetic are usually used to express depression and person say I am depressed. Depression is very common problem nowadays. It is a real medical illness which comes in many forms and really needs attention.
Though it is a feeling in your mind state but it may be a real illness or disease. So you have to know what depression is. Life is full of ups and down and sometimes person may not accept all aspects of life and can feels sad or goes in to depression, which not only affect the person who is depressed but also his surroundings or family members who are very close to the person.
Usually people think, feeling sad or feeling dull is depression, but it is more than that, there are few signs and symptoms which can help you to diagnose depression.
1. Persistent sad feeling or anxious, loneliness, emptiness.
2. Loss of interest in daily activity and hobbies. Person may lose the interest in daily activities and he or she may lose the interest in his or her favorite activity or hobby also. He may lose interest in sex too.
3. Sleep disturbance – problem in falling asleep or problem in waking up or disturbed sleep.(Either sleeping too much or less)
4. Fatigue, low energy – person will always feel tired (fatigue), or dull. No motivation to work. Ability to think and speak are slowed down which may affect body movements too.
5. Guilt or feeling of hopelessness or worthlessness.
6. Poor concentration – person cannot concentrate on work, affects ability to take decisions, impacts memory, person finds hard to remember or recall things.
7. Suicidal thought or harming himself by any mean
8. Change in appetite- Though decrease in appetite is common but in some people there may be increase in appetite. So weight loss and weight gain both can be seen.
9. Other psychological disturbances like irritation, agitation, mood changes may be seen.
10. Unexplained body aches may also be seen like headache, pain in abdomen or in any body part.
For diagnosis at least five of these symptoms should be present during most of days, almost every day for at least two weeks and severely interrupting daily activities. If you have these symptoms then make a doctor appointment and talk to doctor in detail.

It is not necessary that all these signs will be present in a depressed person but only few of them may also present so counselling and asking questions related to all these symptoms are very important for diagnosing the problem. And if you are asking questions you have to take the patient under your confidence and make sure that information provided by the patient will not go outside. The most important question asking about suicidal thoughts or any thought to harm him-self or her-self.

Causes-
There may be different causes of depression from genetic, biochemical, environmental to any life event. Depression can occur in any age but more often starts by the age 16. In teenagers stress may be related to school life, studies or friends, any trauma, love relations, loss of loved one or any other. In adults causes may be related to family life, stressful situation between partners, work load in the office, competition everywhere, infidelity, not getting success at work, unsatisfactory jobs, any trauma or loss of loved one and much more. Sometimes depression is medication induced, related to medical problems and long term illness. In women depression may be due to hormonal changes during menstrual cycle, before menstruation known as pre menstruation syndrome (PMS). After delivery of baby depression is called as postpartum blues which is more common in women due to hormonal and physiological changes in body and adding another responsibility in her life of taking care of baby.

Depending on symptoms, duration and cause depression may be of different varieties-
Major Depression- Symptoms are severe enough to interrupt daily activities, and presents at least two weeks with noticeable change in previous level of functioning.
Bipolar I Disorder-Mood disorder in which patient experiences manic symptoms (elated mood) for at least one week that cause significant distress or impairment in his/her level of functioning.
Dysthymic Disorder-It is a chronic disorder characterized by depressed mood that presents most of the time during the day and present on most days for at least two years.
Cyclothymic Disorder- A chronic disorder characterized by many episodes of depressed mood and in between many episodes of hypomanic mood (Mild elated mood) for at least two years.
Seasonal Affective Disorder-It is characterized by depressive symptoms usually in winter months and in snowy places,when there is absence of sunlight, people can not go outside, all the activities are limited inside the closed home.
Post traumatic depression- After any trauma or because of loss of loved one .It is different from Grief in which usually return of normal baseline functioning within two months but in depression patient do not returns to his baseline level functioning.
Postpartum Depression- Symptoms starts within one month after giving birth to baby and may continue for long time.

Diagnosis-
Usually symptoms and physical exam can diagnose the Depression ,no lab tests are necessary but sometimes to rule out medical causes doctor may order for lab tests.