HEALTH & FITNESS

How to avoid urinary tract infections
Dr Meenal Kumar

Urinary tract infections are very common in women in the menopausal zone, and the prevalence is expected to increase as the number of the aged is going up in India. Such infections are the result of an overgrowth of bacteria in the urethra, bladder or kidneys. The problem has become common, treated by gynaecologists, urologists and others.

Early rehabilitation prevents chronic shoulder pain
Dr Ravinder Chadha

Shoulder injuries are often the result of accidents, lifting of heavy weights or post-repetitive over-head activities vis-a-vis bowling (cricket) and serving (tennis). On experiencing pain/discomfort during over-head activity or restriction of movement in the shoulder joints — like difficulty in scratching the back — it is wise to consult a doctor. If overlooked, this condition can quickly progress to chronic shoulder pain which is difficult to treat.

The correct method of brushing teeth
Dr H. S. Chawla

Increased bacterial count in the mouth is the main cause of dental cavities and gum disease. If you are not brushing effectively, the bacterial number will increase tremendously and become disease-producing.

Health Notes

 

 

Top







How to avoid urinary tract infections
Dr Meenal Kumar

Urinary tract infections are very common in women in the menopausal zone, and the prevalence is expected to increase as the number of the aged is going up in India.

Such infections are the result of an overgrowth of bacteria in the urethra, bladder or kidneys. The problem has become common, treated by gynaecologists, urologists and others.

Urine is generally very acidic, which helps to kill bacteria. After menopause, the acidity of urine drops, allowing bacteria to flourish. The number of lactobacilli in the urinary tract will also drop. Lactobacilli are protective organisms that help to stop foreign bacteria.

A decrease in natural lubricants in the genital area is conducive to local injury of the structures and growth of infections. However, besides the menopausal women, urinary tract infections are fairly common during pregnancy and adolescence as well.

Diagnosis of infection of the urinary bladder (acute cystitis) is usually based on symptoms like burning or pain during urination, frequency, urgency and pain above the genital area. Although urine culture is the gold standard to diagnose this problem, it is seldom required in uncomplicated infections. Microscopic urinalysis to detect pus cells often facilitates diagnosis. Urine culture is required for patients with recurrent infections. It is necessary to detect other abnormalities such as urethral diverticulum, infected stone, cystocele, papillary necrosis and pyelonephritis. Patients with a complicated problem often require more intensive antibiotic therapy, including long-term prophylaxis, post-coital treatment.

Some highlights

  • Bacteria that ascend from the vagina, perineal or perianal areas, account for urinary tract infections.
  • Most common bacteria are E coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Enterococcus species, Proteus mirabilis, Citrobacter species and Staphylococcus aureus.
  • Clean-catch urine specimen is most often used to diagnose such infections. Patients requiring hospital admission include those severely ill or markedly debilitated, showing an uncertain diagnosis, women who are pregnant, those unable to tolerate oral intake, and those for whom there is concern about compliance with the prescribed antibiotic regimen.

Tips for prevention

You can avoid urinary tract infections by following these preventative measures:

  • Drink lots of water. Water will flush out your system, preventing the growth of bacteria.
  • Urinate when you have to. Ignoring the call of nature can cause your bladder to stretch and weaken. This can prevent the complete emptying of your bladder, leading to infections.
  • Urinate after sex. Any bacteria that was transmitted during intercourse will be washed away.
  • Wipe from the front to the back. This will prevent bacteria from your rectum being passed on to your urethra.
  • Avoid wearing tight clothing, bathing suits, or nylon panties for extended periods. They can trap moisture and cause bacteria to collect.
  • Don't use moisturisers, douches, or heavily perfumed soaps around your urethra. This can cause irritation and may trap bacteria.

The writer is a senior gynaecologist based in Chandigarh. 


Top

Early rehabilitation prevents chronic shoulder pain
Dr Ravinder Chadha

Shoulder injuries are often the result of accidents, lifting of heavy weights or post-repetitive over-head activities vis-a-vis bowling (cricket) and serving (tennis). On experiencing pain/discomfort during over-head activity or restriction of movement in the shoulder joints — like difficulty in scratching the back — it is wise to consult a doctor. If overlooked, this condition can quickly progress to chronic shoulder pain which is difficult to treat.

Symptoms

  • Pain/discomfort during over-head activity.
  • Pain during sleep.
  • Restriction/ limitation of shoulder movement.
  • Recurrent pain/tenderness in the shoulder joint associated with weakness in the arm.

Acute shoulder pain is usually treated with rest for a short period of time in a sling. The vital aspect of treatment is initiating exercises as soon as possible and not to procrastinate till the shoulder starts hurting. In the present scenario physical activity is advised as soon as pain is alleviated to prevent muscle wasting thereby facilitating motion in the shoulder joint.

Causes for shoulder injury

Technique — Injuries to sportsmen are generally caused due to wrong/incorrect technique/swing while bowling/throwing/serving, etc. Correcting the technique and repeated practice is the key to overcoming the defect in the game through the coach/video recording, etc.

Flexibility — Lack of flexibility in shoulder muscles can also lead to restricted movement and shoulder injury. To improve flexibility, the following stretching exercises help tremendously:

lInferior capsular stretch: Holding the involved arm overhead with a bent elbow and arm straight ahead. Using the uninvolved arm, stretch the arm further overhead. On feeling a stretching sensation, hold it for five seconds and repeat the same.

lPosterior capsular stretch: With the unaffected arm, grasping the elbow of the affected arm. Pulling the affected arm across the chest, stretching the back of the affected shoulder. Hold on at the end point for five seconds.

lAnterior capsular stretch: Standing in a doorway, hold on the doorframe, keeping the elbow straight, walking through the doorway until a stretching is felt at the front of the shoulder. Hold for five seconds and repeat.

Rotator cuff strengthening: Strengthening of rotator cuff muscles is extremely important to effectively improve the stability of the shoulder joint. The rotator cuff exercises are crucial for rehabilitation.

Lying on the bed on the stomach, hang the arm holding a weight. Keeping the elbow bent slowly, raise your hand till it reaches the level of the shoulder. Then lower the hand slowly, repeat this till tired.

Lying in the side on position, keeping the affected arm at the side with the elbow bent at 90 degrees and the forearm resting against the chest. Lifting the forearm till it reaches the shoulder level. Lower slowly and repeat it till tired.

While standing, hold a weight and raise the affected arm to about 45 degrees. Slowly return to the original position. Repeat it 10 to 15 times.

Individuals suffering from shoulder pain should not depend on medicines alone, but rather focus on initiating rehabilitation exercises to improve flexibility, enhance strengthening and improve the range of motion early in the course of the problem. This would go a long way in alleviating pain.

The writer runs a pain management clinic in Chandigarh. Email- chadha_r2003@yahoo.co.in


Top

The correct method of brushing teeth
Dr H. S. Chawla

Increased bacterial count in the mouth is the main cause of dental cavities and gum disease. If you are not brushing effectively, the bacterial number will increase tremendously and become disease-producing.

No single method of brushing can remove dental plaque from all the nooks and corners of the teeth. Just as it requires more than a single stroke of the broom to remove dust at the meeting point of wall and floor in a room, different directional strokes are required to remove bacterial colonies sticking between the teeth.

The main purpose of brushing is to remove dental plaque and reduce the bacterial number to the minimum possible level in the mouth. Dental plaque is the aggregation of bacteria on the teeth. The bacteria are also present on the upper surface of the tongue and also gingival sulcus. Gingival sulcus is the vertical small space of 1 to 3 mm running below the gum at its meeting with the tooth, and it runs all around the tooth.

Brushing methods

As a matter of fact, the following three different methods, used jointly, are required to effectively remove the dental plaque.

Short horizontal stroke method: Here the bristles are held at the right angle to the teeth, discreetly directed towards the gums. The brush is not kept on the gums. The bristles are moved in short horizontal strokes of 2-3 millimetres in back and forth movements. After five or six strokes, the brush is moved forward by 2 to 3 millimetres. Begin from one corner of the mouth and move to the other side of the arch in a row.

With this method, the brush bristles automatically clean the gum spaces (gingival sulcus)

Roll method : The bristles are again kept at right angles to the tooth firmly sticking between the inter-dental spaces. The brush head is moved in a short circular movement first in a clock-wise direction followed by a counter clock-wise motion

Gum downwards/up-wards method: This is popularly known as Stillman’s method among dentists, and is the most popular one.

Here all the bristles of the toothbrush are so placed on the teeth that all of these are 3-4 millimetres on the gums pointing upwards towards the nose for the upper teeth and downwards towards the chin for the lower teeth. The bristles are pressed. Next, while being under pressure, the handle of the tooth brush is twisted downwards (counter clock-wise) for the upper teeth and upwards for the lower teeth (clock-wise) so that all the bristles pass over the teeth being brushed.

All the above three methods either can be used separately — brushing all the teeth first with one method, followed similarly by the second and third methods. These methods can be used together. What is important is to remember that all these three methods are required to effectively remove the plaque.

How to brush is a vital aspect of brushing. The upper and lower arches are brushed separately. It is important to start from one corner of the mouth and move to the other side without breaking the continuity of brushing. If you break the continuity, and move the brush from one segment of teeth to another, you are likely to miss a few teeth. This is followed by likewise cleaning of the lingual sides of the teeth. Special attention should be given to the back teeth in your mouth.

I am often asked if datun (green stick) is as effective a method to clean the teeth as a toothbrush. The truth is that datun cleaning is only 45 per cent efficient compared to the cleaning proficiency of the tooth brush.

The writer is Head, Dental Department, The Apollo Clinicx, Chandigarh, and Permanent Visiting Professor, the University of Leeds, U.K. Email:chawlahs@gmail.com

Top

Health Notes
Scientists trying to tap liver to cure Alzheimer’s disease

Washington: It may soon be possible to treat the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease taking the aid of their livers, say researchers. In Alzheimer's disease, the brain accumulates a molecule called A-beta that can be toxic to its cells, and finding ways to clear A-beta may be a key to its treatment or prevention.

An international team of researchers from University of Washington and University of Hong Kong provide fresh insights into the way A-beta in the peripheral blood stream affects A-beta clearance in the brain. They have found that when circulating A-beta levels in the blood stream of rats were elevated, known amounts of radioactively tagged A-beta were swept from the brain more slowly. — ANI

Don’t sleep to relieve headache

Washington: A new study by researchers at Rush University Medical Center has revealed that using sleep or napping to cope with chronic pain caused by tension-type headaches could lead to chronic insomnia. In the study, researchers found that napping to relieve headache pain could serve as a behavioral link between headaches and sleep disturbance. For the study, they compared a group of 32 women who were confirmed to have tension-type headaches, as classified by the International Headache Society System, to a control a group of 33 women who experience minimal pain.— ANI

Self-assembly of molecules

Washington: Northwestern University researchers have come up with an approach to deal with some of the major health problems — gather raw materials and then let them self-assemble into structures that can address a multitude of medical needs. Samuel I. Stupp, whose laboratory has devised the novel approach, says that at the core of the research are peptide amphiphiles (PA), small synthetic molecules that Stupp first developed seven years ago. — ANI


HOME PAGE

Top