HEALTH & FITNESS

Piles: non-surgical options
Dr Pankaj Garg
Piles is a common disease, more common than most of us think. Perhaps, mankind is paying the price for the erect posture it acquired during evolution thousands of years ago. The standing posture leads to an increase in the pressure in the rectal veins, which perhaps contributes to the development of piles.

Don’t ignore it if your teeth need scaling
Dr H.S. Chawla
There are normally 28-32 teeth in a person’s mouth. The teeth are bathed in saliva, which contains many components like trace elements, enzymes and salts to protect against dental disease.

Managing pain in the rear
Dr Ravinder Chadha
Pain in the rear pertains to the discomfort in the area of the lower part of sacrum, coccyx and anus. Pain in or around the coccyx is called coccygodynia or tailbone pain. Patients are often uncertain to call it tailbone, hip or back pain.

Homoeopathy and You
Hope for children suffering from autism 
Dr Vikas Sharma
The treatment of autism with homoeopathy has gained a lot of popularity in recent years. This is mainly due to the fact that homoeopathy can be very effective in treating autism.

Eating fish, bread and cereals makes kids smarter

Health Notes

 

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Piles: non-surgical options
Dr Pankaj Garg

Piles is a common disease, more common than most of us think. Perhaps, mankind is paying the price for the erect posture it acquired during evolution thousands of years ago. The standing posture leads to an increase in the pressure in the rectal veins, which perhaps contributes to the development of piles. Apart from this, chronic constipation and pregnancy are the most common causes. It is estimated that one in every third person suffers or shall suffer from piles!

Unlike piles, its surgery (open) is quite painful and is associated with a high recurrence rate. This thought is strongly embedded in the psyche of our population. The likely reason for this is that the conventional open surgery being done for many decades was indeed very painful and cumbersome. It led to the creation of multiple wounds, which required dressings for four-six weeks. But now minimally invasive surgery (surgery involving no or a minimal cut and wound) like that with the Stapler and DHAL has changed the scenario dramatically. These procedures are quite painless, associated with a low recurrence rate, and the person can resume work in a couple of days.

But the important point to understand is that most of the cases of piles can be cured without surgery/operation. The non-surgical methods (banding, sclerotherapy, infrared, cryotherapy, etc) offer a treatment of choice in the early stages of piles. However, even in late stages a significant proportion of suffering patients can get relief without surgery. This depends on the correct choice of the procedure used and the expertise of the treating surgeon. The latter factor is more important because there is no dearth of quacks. Not only are their qualifications dubious, they even pose a major threat to the cause of health.

So often we see patients’ simple disease getting complicated due to their misadventure. Their main mode of survival is publicity due to which the naďve population is attracted towards them. So it is of paramount importance that before getting consultation and treatment for piles, one should carefully scrutinise the qualifications and experience of the doctor. He or she should ideally be a colo-proctologist (an expert in this field) or at least a qualified surgeon.

Unlike earlier days, piles is no longer considered a taboo. It is a disease like all other diseases and can be cured easily as well. People are now coming out for treatment like never before. Early treatment prevents complications and the advancement of the disease.

The writer is a senior colo-proctologist and laparoscopic surgeon at Fortis, Mohali.The article is based on the paper he presented on painless treatment of piles at an international conference organised recently by the Association of Surgeons of India at Ludhiana. Email drgargpankaj@yahoo.com

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Don’t ignore it if your teeth need scaling
Dr H.S. Chawla

There are normally 28-32 teeth in a person’s mouth. The teeth are bathed in saliva, which contains many components like trace elements, enzymes and salts to protect against dental disease.

Essentially, the consistency and quantity of saliva have an important bearing on the health of teeth and gums. Thin, watery saliva in a larger quantity is preferable to a thick but reduced amount of saliva.

One of the saliva components, glyco-proteins, starts depositing and forming a film on the teeth almost immediately after brushing is done. This sticky layer on the teeth attracts bacteria normally present in everybody’s mouth. The bacteria accumulate on this film of glyco-proteins. Calcium and other salts from the saliva also settle on this collected material. Initially, this whole mass is soft. Gradually, it starts hardening /calcifying. This is the beginning of the formation of scales on the teeth, called “tartar” or “calculus”. With the passage of time, tartar accumulation increases with the accumulation of more salts from the saliva. It also hardens further.

Is it necessary to get scaling done?

Actually, what the dentists call “scaling” is “de-scaling” of the collected scales on the teeth. If a person is completely negligent of oral hygiene, the tartar deposition has been seen to fully cover the teeth. The tartar deposition can be seen by the naked eye as dark brown or yellow deposits.

The bacterial population also goes up with an increase in the mass of the scales/tartar deposits. As a result of the interaction of bacteria with the food, there is the production of harmful enzymes. These enzymes destroy the bone that surrounds the tooth.

If you have tartar deposits, it is necessary to get the scaling done. Scaling is a procedure by which the dentist removes the scales from the teeth. It can be achieved with ultrasonic scaling instruments and also with the use of manual/hand scalers. Most of the time, both scaling procedures are needed to remove the tartar deposits and achieve effective de-scaling.

Tartar is a hard substance. If there is massive deposition of tartar on the teeth, it would fasten the teeth and give a false sense of teeth being firm. In fact, it is not so. Gum disease continues unabated underneath the tartar deposits, without you being aware of it. The gums and the bone gradually get destroyed; there is no pain during this process of destruction.

In cases where an excessive formation of tartar is removed, you may feel that the teeth have become a little loose. But this is temporary: teeth become disease-free after the removal of tartar, and will become gradually firmer and definitely would last longer than left without the removal of tartar. In the case of minor tartar formation, there would be no sensation of loosening of teeth at all on its removal. Whether tartar deposits are heavy or light, scaling of teeth is essential as it helps remove the nidus for bacterial collection and stops further damage to the underlying gums.

Teeth become longer

It there is excessive formation of tartar, on its removal the visibility of the teeth becomes more and these do look a little longer. However, if no action is taken, tartar will definitely lead to gradual weakening of teeth and, ultimately, extraction.

The teeth can sometimes become sensitive following scaling. This is because upon the removal of tartar, the hard layer of cementum, covering the roots of the teeth, becomes exposed to the oral environment. This sensitivity gradually disappears on its own or gets cured with the application of desensitising toothpastes or mouth rinses which the dentist prescribes. Development of temporary sensitivity following scaling is a small price to pay for the benefits of scaling.

Calculus accumulation occurs in the absence of adequate oral care. Once formed, it generally adheres too firmly to the teeth to be removed with anything available to an individual at home. The people who suspect calculus formation on their teeth must visit their dentist so that this harmful deposition can be removed.

The writer, Head of the Dental Department, The Apollo Clinic, Chandigarh, is Permanent Visiting Professor, The University of Leeds, UK. Email: chawlahs@gmail.com



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Managing pain in the rear
Dr Ravinder Chadha

Pain in the rear pertains to the discomfort in the area of the lower part of sacrum, coccyx and anus. Pain in or around the coccyx is called coccygodynia or tailbone pain. Patients are often uncertain to call it tailbone, hip or back pain. It frequently affects women more than men because the coccyx is more exposed and prominent in women than in men.

Female with a thin body can either sustain direct trauma to the coccyx or injury can occur during childbirth.

The result is partial dislocation of the sacrococcygeal junction that causes abnormal movement of the coccyx, especially while sitting when the pressure increases to this region.

Causes

l Pain after a fall onto buttocks.

l Injury to the ligaments during pregnancy, delivery, etc. At the end of the third trimester, certain hormonal changes increase mobility of the coccyx which may result in stretching of the ligaments and muscles that surround and attach to the coccyx.

l Repetitive strain from cycling causes neuropathic pain.

l Prolonged sitting in a slouched position is responsible for pain in the tail bone. Repeated pressure on the coccyx when sitting can arise in slim patients who have small buttocks with little fat padding.

l Obesity can cause muscle strain, pinching of nerves or dislocation of the coccyx causing pain to the region of coccyx.

l Chronic hemorrhoids can aggravate pain.

Symptoms

Pain aggravated by sitting on hard surface, lying on the back or when rising from a seated position, etc.

Painful bowel movements.

Pain starts during late in the pregnancy.

In women pain due to dyspareunia particularly during the start of the intercourse.

Sometimes the pelvic floor muscles refer the pain to the genital structures i.e. vagina and base of the penis. Some patients may feel pain and feeling of fullness in the rectum and the pain can be referred to back of the thigh.

Treatment

l Doughnut pillow.

l Mobilisation of the coccyx through the anal route is very effective and brings immediate relief.

l Ultrasound massage.

l Stripping massage through the anal route.

Exercises

Lying face downwards with heels rotated outward, press the buttocks together with a little force for a count of 10 and then relax. Repeat 10 times 2-3 times a day.

Posture

Slumped seated posture should be avoided. One should sit with back straight.

Conventional medical treatments may help relieve the symptoms of coccygodynia, but they do not address the root of the problem.

The writer runs a pain management clinic in Chandigarh. chadha_r 2003@yahoo.co.in 


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Homoeopathy and You
Hope for children suffering from autism 
Dr Vikas Sharma

The treatment of autism with homoeopathy has gained a lot of popularity in recent years. This is mainly due to the fact that homoeopathy can be very effective in treating autism. However, not all cases respond very favourably to medication.

A certain percentage (although not very high) shows little or no improvement. But for those autistic children who start improving, it can really alter their life. The best part of their recovery with homoeopathy medicines is that there is totally zero side-effect and their physical and mental development is in no way adversely affected.

Autism is a developmental disorder that begins early in childhood . It is usually detected between the ages of 18 months and three years. Some children may develop normally in the first few months or years of life before they start showing signs of autism.

As there is a great variation in the symptoms and severity of this disorder. It is nowadays referred to as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ASD is characterised by problems in the child’s verbal, cognititive, social and behavioral development.

Though each child with ASD shows a unique pattern of behaviour, there are some symptoms that are very typical. Delayed onset of speech or no speech at the age of 30 months, loss of already acquired speech, inability to interact with kids of the same age group, poor or no eye contact, etc, are among the symptoms.

The treatment is a slow process and can take months and at times even an year or so before major results are achieved. So it can be frustrating for parents of an autistic child who already are facing a difficult situation. I would like to answer some genuine questions that would arise in their minds regarding homoeopathic treatment: what factors govern the improvement?

To what extent can the child become better with homoeopathy? How will one know whether the child is responding to treatment or not?

After having dealt with more than 500 cases of autism during the last 10 years or so, I can say that the age of the child and the degree to which the social, verbal, cognitive and behavioral development have been affected determine the outcome of the child’s improvement. In other words, the age of the child (lesser age would mean greater chances of recovery) and also the severity of autism are the two main governing factors.

It is very difficult to predict the extent to which the child can become better.

Some autistic kids can improve so much that after some years they may merge with mainstream kids. When the child starts responding to homoeopathic treatment, the first improvement that most of the parents report is that the child is more aware of the surroundings and seems to be less in his “shell”. In some cases, execution of command suddenly becomes better. Development of speech is slow and comes only after the child’s cognition has become better.

The writer is a Chandigarh-based homeopath. Email: vikas@drhomeo.com

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Eating fish, bread and cereals makes kids smarter

Wellington: Wondering how to make your kids smarter? Well, giving them fish once a week and feeding them with bread and cereals four times a day can make a lot of difference, claims a Kiwi study.

The study from the University of Otago revealed what parents should feed their children to make them smarter.

It suggests that eating certain types of food may boost or significantly lower kids’ IQ.

Eating margarine has shown strong links with lower IQ scores.

The thesis by research fellow Reremoana Theodore calls for further research into margarine and says that children from disadvantaged families could be most at risk as margarine is often cheaper than other spreads. — ANI 



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Health Notes
Why some people become fat and others don’t

London: Researchers at Imperial College, London, the French National Research Institute (CNRS) and other international institutions have discovered three new genetic variations that increase the risk of obesity, giving new insight into the reasons why some people become fat and others do not.

They suggest that if each acted independently, these variants could be responsible for up to 50 per cent of cases of severe obesity.

According to researchers, the new findings should ultimately provide the tools to predict which young children are at the risk of becoming obese. — ANI

Plant cells to churn out anti-cancer compound

London: American scientists have successfully engineered plant cells to churn out several chemical compounds, some of which are similar to cancer drugs.

“Plants already make compounds for us. The question is can we try to manipulate those pathways a little bit to get them to make variations on some of those compounds,” New Scientist magazine quoted Sarah O’Connor, a biochemist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as saying. — ANI

Stem cell surgery offers corneal blindness cure

London: British scientists have developed a revolutionary new stem cell surgery that may restore vision to millions of people with corneal blindness.

The researchers are testing the novel treatment on human guinea pigs in the world’s first trials, and hope that their advances will lead to cures for other types of blindness. — ANI

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