How to treat an infected cartilage piercing

A cartilage piercing is a penetrating tiny hole on the higher regions of the ear. The ear part is primarily the preferred location because it has a lower risk compared to other parts of the body. It is commonly known as“ear piercing” or earsplitting.

Different parts of the ear lobe like antitragus, conch, daith, helix, rook and snug can be pierced too. There are people who like a nostril piercing. The piercing is done in the high part of the nostril.

A cartilage is a hard-flexible tissues found mostly on the nostril, ear region (underneath the rook of the ear part), the neck area, and some parts of the forehead. Many people have piercings as a way of expressing their character and personality. (1)

Infection of cartilage piercing

About 34% rate of cartilage piercing has a possibility of getting infected. The infection is caused by the Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa pathogens. Infected cartilage piercing should be treated right away to avoid further infection, which could worsen the condition. The common reasons for infected cartilage piercing are:
  • Use of non-sterile equipment for piercing.
  • Not observing sterile techniques such as touching the pierced site without wearing gloves.
  • Wearing of very tight clothes and jewelries, which could restrict the flow of blood, making you vulnerable to infection.
  • Poor hygiene, making you susceptible to infection.
  • Used of substandard piercing equipment such as fancy jewelry.
  • Swimming in dirty water.
  • Harbored bacteria in the hospital or so-called nosocomial infection.
  • Improper piercing techniques (2, 3)

Image 1 : An infected cartilage piercing on the ear region characterized by redness and swelling.
Photo Source : heydoctor.org


Figure 2 : A severe infection of the cartilage piercing. There are multiple piercings and the infection is severe.
Picture Source : www.inkdoneright.com

 

Signs and symptoms of infected cartilage piercing

  • There is a noticeable redness and swelling on the affected part.
  • The infected part and its surrounding tissues are tender to touch.
  • The patient complains of severe pain.
  • There could be some discharges, which are yellowish to greenish in color.
  • hyperpyrexia (a very high fever)
  • bleeding
  • formation of crust or scab on the surface (4)

Secondary complications of infected cartilage piercing include the following:
  1. formation of abscess
  2. Sepsis (infection in the blood)
  3. Boils
  4. Hepatitis B or C
  5. Hypertonic disfiguring
  6. Keloid formation
  7. Mental Sensitivity (5)

How to treat an infected cartilage piercing

Before choosing the best treatment remedy for infected cartilage piercing, it is important to know the root cause of the problem. Infected cartilage piercing can be treated using a combination of medical remedies and home remedies. The recommended treatments include the following:
  • Antibiotics – Antibiotics are very good at treating infection, especially cartilage piercing infection. A medical practitioner will thoroughly assess the infected part to verify if the infection is caused by a bacteria. However, ordinary antibiotics may not work due to restricted blood supply in the cartilage area. A stronger antibiotics should be used.
  • Warm compress – To increase the blood supply in the cartilage, a warm compress should be applied. It would help a lot if you are going to prepare a mixture of warm water and sea salt. Basically, you will have a saline solution. To further boost the circulation of blood to the infected part, you have to eat nutritious foods and avoid bad vices such as smoking and drinking alcohol.
  • Anti-bacterial ointments – Do not just resort to ordinary ointment. Before applying any ointment on the infected part of the body, you have to make sure that it is safe and effective. To be sure, you need to seek the approval of your doctor prior to using any types of ointments. Keep in mind that the ointment has a direct impact on the draining process, which could unfortunately slow down the healing process. (6, 7)

Is it necessary to remove the jewelry if the piercing gets infected?

Your instinct will tell you to remove the jewelry once you notice the signs of infection. Well, this is a wrong move. The jewelry can actually help in the draining process and so you shouldn’t remove it. If you remove the jewelry, it could close up the pierced channel and an abscess will form.

There will be pain and swelling along with hardening and darkening of the surrounded tissues. If the infection gets severe, you should immediately see your doctor or at least a professional piercer. The piercing will only be removed if there is a severe destruction of the tissues surrounding the piercing site. (8)

 

Proper way of cleaning an infected cartilage piercing

The cartilage does not have that much supply of blood, which requires it more time to heal. To somehow hasten the healing process, you should observe proper hygiene and proper care. Keep the piercing site clean at all times.

When cleaning the piercing site, you should use a saline solution. You can create your very own saline solution by mixing warm water and sea salt. You have to be very gentle when cleaning the area. Make sure you thoroughly yet carefully remove the dead tissues, debris, dirt, pus, and foreign object. You might also want to consider using antibacterial soap. (8)

 

How to prevent cartilage piercing infection?

  • Be very gentle with your cartilage piercing. The piercing site is an open wound and it definitely takes time to heal. Hence, you have to make sure you keep it clean to prevent infection. Clean the piercing site with a saline solution or an antibacterial soap. If you have a sensitive skin, then you should use gentle soap and wash the piercing site two times a day. Rinse and pat dry using a disposable paper product. Do not use cloth as it can harbour harmful microorganisms.
  • As much as possible, you should avoid being exposed to substances that might cause infection to the pierced site. Keep your clothing clean at all times. If the piercing site is on the ears, then you have to be very mindful when it comes to using telephone and pillowcase. See to it that anything that gets in contact with the piercing site is clean.
  • Avoid putting cosmetics near the pierced site. Before using any cosmetic products, you have to make sure that the piercing site is completely healed. (9, 10)
References:
  1. http://www.allhealthsite.com
  2. www.livestrong.com
  3. http://medmum.com
  4. http://www.allhealthsite.com
  5. http://www.lightskincure.org
  6. http://www.nhs.uk
  7. http://mrdoctor.org
  8. http://www.medhealthdaily.com
  9. http://www.skin-artists.com
  10. www.healcure.org
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Cyst on the Forehead

A cyst on the forehead signifies that something is not right in your body. It is a sign of infection. It is a sac-like structure and its size varies. Large cyst can be a source of embarrassment.

A cyst can be filled with liquid, gaseous, and semi-solid material. It looks like a small pea underneath the skin surface. At a glance, it looks like a pimple, but cyst is rooted deep in the skin. (1)

Causes of cyst on the forehead

The cyst on forehead causes vary. Some of the common causes include the following:
  • Sebaceous cyst – It is caused by a swollen hair follicle. It starts from the sebaceous gland, the moved to the surface of the skin, move deeper and multiple causing the formation of cyst.
  • Basal cell nevus – It is a genetic condition affecting various parts of the body, including the skin, bones, nervous and endocrine system. In the United States, the basal cell nevus or also known as Gorlin Syndrome or NBCCS (Nevoid Basal Cell Carcinoma Syndrome) is the most common type of skin cancer. (1, 2)
  • Gardner’s syndrome – It is a genetic condition common in people with APC gene defect. It affects the growth of cells, especially cell division which leads to abnormal growth of tissues. It is characterized by cyst under the skin in various parts of the body including hard cyst on forehead, multiple growth in the colon, and colon cancer. (3)
  • Milia – It is a small white bump commonly found on the face, especially on the cheeks, nose, lips, and forehead. It occurs when the keratin is trapped beneath the skin’s surface. Milia is common in babies, especially newborns and goes away on its own. However, milia in adults is linked with excessive use of steroid, burns, sun damage, and blisters from injury.
  • Surgical wound - Cyst on forehead under skin can be caused by cuts and incisions in the skin. It could be secondary to surgical procedure or skin opening caused by draining of pus from skin lump.
  • Acne Vulgaris – It is a severe form of pimple. It is a long term skin infection common in people aged 12 to 25. The prevalence is higher in adolescents. A severe form of acne could lead to the development of acne cyst on forehead and other parts of the body. (2, 3,4)

Image 1 : A flesh colored cyst on the upper part of the forehead
Photo Source : clinicalgate.com

 Picture 2 : A cyst on the forehead filled with pus
Photo Source : www.healthedition.org

Cyst on Forehead Treatment

Topical ointment

 A skin ointment or cream can hasten the healing process. It contains benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, which help in reducing the infection. (4)

Corticosteroid Injections

 If the cyst is inflamed, one of the best remedies is corticosteroid injection. Corticosteroid is a potent anti-inflammatory medication, but it does have side effects. It could lead to shrinking of soft tissues and loss of skin color. (5)

Incision and Drainage

 Cysts are filled with fluid. One of the approaches used by medical professionals is draining the cyst. The doctor punctures the cyst and remove the content of the cyst. It does have a downside though. There is no guarantee that the cyst won’t recur anymore. To prevent secondary infection, the doctor will thoroughly clean the wound. (6)

Cyst on Forehead  : Home Remedies

  • Cold Compress - A lump on the skin secondary to injury usually heals on its own. To ease the pain and discomfort, you should apply an ice pack and keep the affected part elevated. Cold temperature helps constrict the blood vessels, which helps in alleviating swelling and inflammation. (6)
  • Hot Fomentation – It should be applied on the forehead after 24 hours of cold compress. It should be applied for at least a few minutes. The purpose of hot fomentation is to improve the circulation of blood and hasten healing.
  • Steam – Boil water and transfer in a basin. While the steam is evaporating, you should place your face directly on the steam. The temperature of the steam opens the pores, which aids in draining the cyst naturally. A hot shower or a steam bath also help in removing the cyst naturally. (7)
  • Hydration – You should drink plenty of water to help flush out the toxins from the body. Aside from water, you also need to increase your intake of natural fruit juices.
  • Tea Tree Oil – This essential oil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory property. Apply a liberal amount of tea tree oil on the cyst to prevent infection. You can also mix tea tree oil and carrier oil and apply on the cyst three times a day. (7, 8)

Cyst on Forehead Removal Cost

The cost of removing cyst on the forehead varies from one doctor to another. There are a few considerations too such as the size and nature of the cyst. Large cysts cost more, especially if the cyst is infected. The cost ranges from $500 to $1,000. The cost is also affected by geographic location. If there are a lot of surgeons in the area, the cost fluctuates because there are a lot of competitors.


On the other hand, if only a few surgeons are there, the cost is quite high. Cyst removal is typically performed in the doctor’s clinic. Many surgeons accept insurance, but they only accept a certain amount. With every surgical procedure, there is a corresponding insurance code. The code varies depending on the size and position of the cyst. (9)

 

When a cyst on the forehead becomes alarming?

  • Cyst on the forehead usually resolves on its own. There is really nothing to worry about. However, there are warning signs you should be aware of. Once you notice any of the following warning signs, then you have to contact a doctor right away:
  • If there is a serious wound in the cyst area
  • A clear fluid or blood is coming out of the ears, nose, and mouth
  • If you feel unconscious for a couple of hours
  • You are experiencing visual disturbances
  • Complaining of severe headache
  • The pupils are unequal in size
  • The speech is slurred
  • You are having problems with balance and coordination (9, 10)

References:
  1. www.skincareorg.com
  2. www.healthedition.org
  3. www.tandurust.com
  4. www.wikihow.com
  5. www.webmd.com
  6. www.steadyhealth.com
  7. https://homeremedyshop.com
  8. www.allure.com
  9. www.yogawiz.com
  10. https://healdove.com
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Poikilocytosis

Definition

Poikilocytosis is a condition characterized by presence of abnormally shaped red blood cells (poikilocytes) in the blood. 

The poikilocytes make up 10% or more of the total population of red blood cells. It is rare in humans, but common in domestic animals. The shape of a normal red blood cells is round and looks like a flattened disk. Normal RBCs are thinner in the middle as compared to the edge. 

An increased number of abnormal red blood cells can cause various problems. It could interfere with the proper circulation of blood including the transfer of oxygen and supply of nutrient. The supply of oxygen in the blood will significantly reduce, which could lead to the development of various health disorders. (1)
 

What causes abnormally shaped red blood cells?

Poikilocytosis can be caused by many factors. It primarily linked with vitamin deficiency and reduced folic acid in the blood. If the blood lacks folic acid, vitamin deficiency follows.

 

What is the meaning of Anisocytosis?

Anisocytosis pertains to red blood cells that are different in sizes. What is the difference between anisocytosis and Poikilocytosis? With anisocytosis, the size is unequal whereas in Poikilocytosis, it is the shape that is irregular. Unequal size of red blood cells possess danger to your health because it can greatly affect the transport of oxygen. The red blood cells will have a hard time disseminating oxygen in an efficient manner. (2, 3)

 

What are the causes of Anisocytosis?

  • Anemia
  • Vitamin deficiency, specifically vitamin A, B12, and folate deficiency.
  • Iron deficiency (3)

 

What are poikilocytosis symptoms?

Poikilocytosis symptoms are somewhat similar to that of anisocytosis. The patient will experience anemia-like symptoms including the following:
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Easy fatigability
  • Pale skin
  • Weakness
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Poor concentration due to lack of oxygen supply in the blood (4)
Picture 1 : Red blood cells in their degenerative forms.
Image Source : 1.bp.blogspot.com

Figure 2 : A microscopic view of the normal structure of red blood cells
Photo Source : www.pathologystudent.com

Classifications of Poikilocytosis

  • Teardrop cell (Dacrocytes) – The shape of the RBC is similar to teardrop. It is linked with diseases like myelofibrosis with myeloid metaplasia.
  • Target cells (Codocytes) – The red blood cells are like bull’s eye. In the center of the cell, you will see the haemoglobin. It is linked with liver cirrhosis, splenectomy, anemia, thalassemia, iron deficiency anemia, and hemoglobinopathies.
  • Spherocyte – The RBCs are small and rounded (sphere-shaped), which is linked with anemia, severe burn, jaundice in newborn, immune mediated haemolytic anemia, and genetic spherocytosis.
  • Sickle cell (Drepanocytes) – The RBCs look like thorns and the haemoglobin is S-shaped. It is linked with sickle cell anemia.
  • Schistocyte – The RBCs has no definite shape and size. It is linked with platelet disorders like purpura, thrombocytosis, haemolytic uremic syndrome, coagulation disorder, and severe burn.
  • Acanthocyte – The red blood cells are irregularly arranged and has irregularly spiked cell membranes. It is associated with severe liver disease, microangiopathic haemolytic anemia, vitamin E deficiency, hypothyroidism, and abetalipoproteinemia.
  • Stomatocyte (mouth cells) – The RBCs are cup shaped and have a split in the center making them look like kissing lips. They are linked with diseases like hereditary stomatocytosis, alcoholism, and hepatic disorder.
  • Ovalocyte – The red blood cells look like a pencil. It is linked with anemia, hereditary elliptocytosis, and thalassemia.
  • Bite cell (Degmacytes) – It looks like a bite is taken out from the red blood cells. If the cells look like a bite, it is because the patient is suffering from haemolytic anemia, G6PD, liver cirrhosis secondary to excessive intake of alcohol, and poisoning.
  • Echinocyte/burr cells – The RBCs are abnormally small and have rounded structure at the outer edge. This indicates that the patient is suffering from severe stomach disease such as cancer, uremia, pyruvate kinase deficiency, and ulceration.
  • Semilunar bodies – The cells have a crescent shape. The haemoglobin is completely loss that is why it is also called the ghost cells or phantom cells.
  • Microspherocytes – The diameter of the cell is smaller than the usual, but it is thicker.
  • Pyropoikilocytes – This type of cell is sensitive to heat.
  • Keratocytes – This is caused by severe trauma. Before the cells become keratocyte, they have blisters and ruptures. A keratocyte cell looks like a helmet with a strap. (2)

 

How to diagnose poikilocytosis?

Blood Film Test

This test is done to check if the number of abnormal shaped red blood cells is higher than usual. A blood sample is drawn and the medical technician will create a thin layer of blood film on the slide. Using a microscope, the shape of the red blood cells will be thoroughly examined.

Depending on the result of the test, the doctor might request for further blood work to thoroughly assess the condition of the patient and to be able to come up with the best treatment management. (5)

Differential Blood Count

The purpose of this test is to count the number of abnormal cells in the blood. This is usually ordered together with the blood film test.

Blood Composition Test

This test is used to detect the root cause of the deficiency. To find out the exact composition of red blood cells, a haemoglobin test is ordered. This test gives a clear picture as to how severe poikilocytosis is. Hemoglobin is the main protein composition of the red blood cells.

The ideal number of haemoglobin ranges between 14-18 milligrams/deciliter. If the result turns out to be lower than the average, then you are suffering from haemoglobin deficiency. (6)

Prognosis

A patient with poikilocytosis is advised to change his diet and lifestyle. The focus of care is to improve the vitamin and nutrient level in the body. This can only be achieve through diet and lifestyle modification. As with the underlying cause of poikilocytosis, the doctor will come up with the best possible remedy to cure the underlying cause. (7)

If the number of abnormal shaped red blood cells goes out of control, it could indicate a more serious problem. The patient could be suffering from celiac disease, sickle cell disease, or anemia. The underlying medical condition should be treated with drug therapy and lifestyle change.

For vitamin deficiency, the patient should take folic acid supplement and essential vitamins like A, C, and B complex. The patient is strongly advised to eat healthy and nutritious foods. Nutrients from foods and supplements can be easily absorbed by red blood cells. Hence, after a few weeks, the red blood cells will go back to their normal range. (8)

 

The importance of folic acid in the blood

For patients with poikilocytosis, it is a must to manage nutritional deficiency. For the red blood cells to be healthy, it is important to have sufficient amount of vitamins, especially folic acid and vitamin B12. These vitamins facilitate the absorption of essential nutrients in the small intestines. Folic acid, in particular plays a major role in the blood.

It affects the growth and development of red blood cells. If you have poikilocytosis, it could also mean one thing, you don’t have enough folic acid in the blood. This is the prime reason why there is a deformity in the structure of red blood cells. To significantly improve the condition, patients are strongly advised to eat folic acid rich foods and take folic acid supplement religiously. 

As mentioned above, dietary changes should be made. There are foods you should include in your diet as well as foods you should completely eliminate from your diet. Foods you need to include in your day to day diet include protein rich foods like soy products, protein from animal sources, whole grains, and lentils. Folic acid rich foods are also important.

Examples of folic acid rich foods are broccoli, spinach, almond, and beetroot. Patients should also increase their intake of green leafy vegetables. There are certain food groups patients should avoid such as gluten rich foods. It should be strictly followed by patients whose poikilocytosis is caused by celiac disease. You will need the help of a nutritionist to lay out the best diet plan for poikilocytosis secondary to celiac disease. (9, 10)

References:
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org
  2. ehealthhall.com
  3. diseasespictures.com
  4. www.healthboards.com
  5. healthncare.info
  6. poikilocytosis.net
  7. www.healthcaretip.com
  8. www.quora.com
  9. www.medhelp.org
  10. www.hxbenefit.com
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Exploding Head Syndrome - Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

What is exploding head syndrome? It is a parasomnia wherein an undesired event comes along with sleep. It usually is in the form of a loud noise that you suddenly hear before falling asleep. Sometimes you imagine the noise in your head as you wake up in the night. 

The loud noise could be in the form of a crashing cymbals, a bomb explosion, or a sound of a gun. (1)

What are exploding head syndrome symptoms?

  • A perception of loud sound with bright flashes just before falling asleep or after waking up in the middle of the night
  • Anxiety
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Difficulty of breathing
  • The noise in your head suddenly wake you up with a sense of fright
The symptoms vary from one person to another. According to the American Sleep Association, physical pain is not present in EHS. (2)
Image 1 : A woman who is having trouble sleeping at night because of exploding head syndrome
Photo Source : www.crystalinks.com


Figure 2 :A polysomnogram procedure in a patient suffering from exploding head syndrome
Picture Source : thehealthysleep.in

 

Who are at risk?

Exploding head syndrome (EHS) can affect anyone, but the prevalence is higher in women. Those who are 50 years old and above are at risk too. However, even as young as 10 years old could experience a sudden exploding head syndrome. (3)

 

Causes of exploding head syndrome?

The actual cause of EHS is still unknown up to this time. It could be associated with stress and fatigue (physical and mental). It could be caused by minor seizures that affect the temporal lobe of the brain. A sudden shift in the components of the middle ear might also lead to episode of exploding head syndrome. (4)

 

Is Exploding Head Syndrome dangerous?

Exploding head syndrome can be very alarming to someone who heard or read it. Will it cause the head to explode? The truth of the matter is there is no explosion and not possess any danger. However, it can interfere with your sleep.

In fact, some people become anxious when going to sleep because they feel like they will experience another episode of exploding head syndrome. EHS is a true condition and it needs to be addressed the best way possible.

Exploding head syndrome usually occurs in the state wherein the person is in the middle of sleep and complete alertness. As a person drifts to sleep, there will be an involuntary spasm of the muscle (hypnagogic jerk). It could occur abruptly or can be triggered by an external stimulus such as a sound or a light. Those experiencing exploding head syndrome have hypnagogic jerk episode as a natural response of the body as it transits from a state of alertness. The nerves go awry during the transitional phase. (4, 5)

 

Exploding head syndrome and sleep paralysis

Exploding head syndrome and sleep paralysis are often linked together. In the case of sleep paralysis, you are feeling awake, but you cannot move your body. What’s common between sleep paralysis and EHS is the changeover between the state of alertness and sleep.

As with the sleep paralysis condition, a part of the brain is in the rapid eye movement sleep while the other areas of the brain are in the conscious state. In layman’s explanation, it is like you are dreaming while you are awake. What makes it even scary is you are experiencing auditory hallucination. You hear things and sometimes feel things that are not actually there. (6)

 

Diagnosis

If you are experiencing exploding head syndrome and it disrupts your sleep, then the best thing to do is to consult a sleep specialist. This is necessary, especially if exploding head syndrome is making you feel anxious and distressful.

The doctor will thoroughly assess your condition by asking a few information such as how and when the episode began and how long the episode lasts. The doctor will also review your past medical history and past surgical history, including the medications you’ve taken in the past as well as today. (7)

If you suffered from sleep disorder before, then you have to inform your doctor. The same things goes if you have a family history of sleep-related conditions. Trace your sleeping pattern by filling out a sleep diary for 15 days. Give the diary to your doctor to properly assess your sleeping pattern and find out what problems could possibly lead to exploding head syndrome.

In addition, the doctor will conduct a polysomnogram, or overnight sleep study, especially if the exploding head syndrome is disturbing your sleep. The polysomnogram will chart the brain waves, breathing, and heartbeat while you are asleep. The purpose of this study is to find out whether the sounds you hear in your head correlates with other sleep disorder. (7)

 

Exploding head syndrome Treatment

What is the cure for exploding head syndrome? The root cause of the problem should be addressed first. If the exploding head syndrome is caused by fatigue or stress, the doctor will come up with stress management methods for the patient to try. This includes taking a hot bath before going to bed at night, drinking warm milk, meditation, and yoga.

Reading books or going for a short walk before going to bed also improves sleep. Do not take alcoholic beverages before going to bed as it can cause sleep disturbances. (8)

According to American Sleep Association (ASA), some drugs cause sleep disturbances. If you are taking any medications, you should use it moderately to significantly improve the symptoms of exploding head syndrome. If you have tried the relaxation techniques mentioned above, but nothing seemed to work, the best thing to do is to ask medications from your doctor or sleep specialist. Sometimes, the doctor recommend clomipramine, one of the drug of choice for exploding head syndrome.

Some studies revealed that clomipramine can help in the treatment and management of exploding head symptoms. You should see a sleep specialist of a doctor if you want to take medications for exploding head syndrome.

In many people, exploding head syndrome problem disappear on its own. To significantly lessen the episode of exploding head syndrome, you have to limit your exposure to sleep and get enough sleep. The average sleep an adult need is between six and eight hours of sleep per night. (9, 10)

References:
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org
  2. www.sleepeducation.org
  3. www.sleepassociation.org
  4. www.livescience.com
  5. www.theatlantic.com
  6. www.nosleeplessnights.com
  7. https://syndromespedia.com
  8. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  9. medicalfuturist.com
  10. io9.gizmodo.com
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Essential Oils for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is one of the most common musculoskeletal conditions characterized by muscle and joint pain. If the symptoms are not managed, it could lead to depression and social isolation. 

To effectively manage the symptoms of fibromyalgia, you need to know the cardinal signs and symptoms or also known as the fibromyalgia syndrome. These include the following:
  • The joints become tender to touch
  • You easily get tired
  • There is a widespread pain
  • Anxiety
  • Depression and mood disturbances
  • Restlessness
  • Chronic headaches
  • Noticeable pain in the abdomen
  • Incontinence
  • Numbness and tingling sensation in the feet and fingers
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold objects
  • Poor concentration

Picture 1 : Pressure points in a patient suffering from fibromyalgia
Photo Source : www.sleep-apnea-guide.com

 Image 2 : Helichrysum oil
Picture Source : images-n82bjc1.netdna-ssl.com


Most of the time, fibromyalgia is confused with other disease because of similarity of symptoms and clinical manifestations. In some instances, fibromyalgia is confused with osteoarthritis and tendinitis. According to research, more than 12 million people in America suffers from fibromyalgia, but the prevalence is higher in women than men. (1)

 

Test and Diagnosis

To properly and accurately diagnose the condition, the doctor will conduct a thorough physical examination and will draw information about your past medical history. Certain diagnostic procedures should be done to confirm the diagnosis of fibromyalgia.
  1. FM/a Test - Some medical institutions use FM/a test. What it does is it identifies the markers produced by the blood cells in patients suffering from fibromyalgia. This test is quite expensive. It can range from $700 to $1000.
  2. Complete blood count (CBC) – The doctor will ask for a CBC to rule out more serious disease condition. In some instances, the doctor will also ask for a glucose test to find out any disease that causes similar problems to that of fibromyalgia.
  3. Thyroid Test – If a patient has hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), it can cause symptoms similar to fibromyalgia. Hence, a thyroid test is done to detect whether the patient has fibromyalgia or thyroid problems.
  4. Other laboratory tests should be done to rule out fibromyalgia and other serious illnesses like rheumatoid factor, antinuclear antibodies, Lyme titers, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and level of calcium and vitamin D. (2, 3)

 

Fibromyalgia syndrome as outlined by the American College of Rheumatology

A widespread pain that has been around for three months. The pain is felt all over the body including the chest, entire back, neck, and other parts of the body. Mood swings, sleep disturbances, and fatigue should be assessed too, especially the severity of the symptoms. (4)

 

How to treat fibromyalgia?

Up until now, there is no cure for fibromyalgia. The treatment is yield towards the management of fibromyalgia symptoms. To best manage the symptoms, a combination of medical remedies is used, which include traditional and alternative treatments. There should be a combination of medication, exercise, and behavioural modification and therapy.

The drug of choice for pain relief secondary to fibromyalgia include Lyrica and Cymbalta, as per the recommendations of the American College of Rheumatology. Aside from drug therapy, essential oils can also be used to calm the nerves, relax the muscles, and alleviate the signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia. (5)

 

The potential benefits of essential oils in the symptomatic relief of fibromyalgia

The use of essential oils for various diseases started a long time ago. In the ancient times, essential oils were used to alleviate pain and discomfort. They are applied on the affected parts of the body, especially during night time.

Today, there are tons of ways to use essential oils. They can be added to the water bath. They can also be used as a massage oil, release into the air in the form of a diffuser, inhaling the scent, and many more. If you are going to apply the oil directly to the skin, you have to use a carrier oil such as jojoba oil and coconut oil. (6)

Below are the ideal essential oils for fibromyalgia

  • Helichrysum oil – This essential oil is helpful in decreasing muscle pain brought by fibromyalgia. It also improves blood circulation and promotes nerve tissue healing. If you are looking for the best essential oil to help manage the symptoms of fibromyalgia, the answer is Helichrysum oil.
  • Lavender essential oil – A patient with fibromyalgia is under emotional stress. To alleviate stress and discomfort, a rub of lavender essential oil is needed. It can also be used to reduce the pain and calm the nerves. (7)
  • Rosemary oil – This oil is known for its analgesic and brain tonic properties. The analgesic property makes it very effective in alleviating pain, inflammation and discomfort. It promotes skin healing, relieves headache, promotes hair growth and reduce the build-up of cellulite.
  • Thyme oil – It is one of the common ingredients of many dishes, but it does have cosmetic and medicinal benefits too. Thyme oil promotes strength and well-being. It promotes proper blood circulation and has a calming effect to the body. Thyme oil is perfect for people with fibromyalgia because it alleviates joint and muscle pain. It is an essential oil of choice not only for fibromyalgia, but as well for rheumatism and arthritis. (8)
  • Eucalyptus oil – This essential oil has been proven effective in promoting proper blood circulation. The symptoms of fibromyalgia such as muscle pain and stiffness are caused by poor circulation of blood. Hence, eucalyptus oil can help alleviate such symptoms. Eucalyptus oil is a potent anti-inflammatory agent, which helps in alleviating muscle pain. Furthermore, it helps the body in flushing out toxins from the body.  (9)
  • Peppermint oil – it has uplifting and refreshing property, which makes it helpful in combating physical fatigue and improves mental alertness. If you are experiencing muscle and joint pain, all you need to do is to massage the affected area using a peppermint oil and after a few minutes, you will notice a relief from pain and discomfort. You can also add peppermint oil to your night time bath. (10)
References:
  1. www.mayoclinic.org
  2. www.webmd.com
  3. www.healthline.com
  4. https://medlineplus.gov
  5. www.rheumatology.org
  6. www.healthdirect.gov.au
  7. www.medicinenet.com
  8. www.aromahead.com
  9. www.massagetoday.com
  10. Fibromyalgia Self-care Management: Use of Essential Oils by Regina Ann Sacco Izu
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Muffled Hearing

Muffled hearing is a feeling like you have cotton in your ears. It reduces the ability of the patient to properly discern sounds frequencies. Muffled hearing and ringing can be sudden or gradual. It can affect only one ear or both ears. If you are wondering what causes muffled hearing in one ear, they will be discussed below.

  1. Plugged ear – A sudden muffled hearing in one ear could mean that your ear is plugged with earwax or other debris. As the wax begins to build up, the intensity of muffle gets severe. It is not only one ear that is affected, but could also be both ears. (1)
  2. Asymmetric hearing loss - In this condition, the hearing is worse in one ear than the other. The ear that has poor hearing quality has a muffled sound.
  3. Ear infection - It is one of the causes of muffled hearing in one ear. If you have outer or middle ear infection, there could be a build-up of fungi or bacteria in the ear. It could significantly affect the quality of hearing. The sound is muffled in the affected ear.
  4. Eustachian tube dysfunction – The middle ear space is connected to the nose and throat by a small tube. To equalize the pressure in the two air-filled spaces, the tube opens and closes. It is the reason you have a popping feeling when the airplane is going up or when you are scuba diving. If you have sinusitis, the Eustachian tube has difficulty to open and close. This creates a feeling of clogging in your ears, which results to a muffled sound. Muffled hearing in ear due to sinusitis improves once the Eustachian tube clears. If it does not improve, then it could be an indicator of Eustachian tube dysfunction, but the condition will be thoroughly assessed by EENT physician. (4)
  5. High frequency hearing loss - People with high frequency hearing loss has a difficulty hearing high pitched sounds. These people can actually hear the sound but they have a hard time understanding what the sound is. To confirm the diagnosis of high frequency hearing loss, you need to see an audiologist.
  6. Eardrum perforation – Muffled hearing can be an indicator that something is not going right in your eardrum.
  7. Abnormal growth in the ear – Muffled hearing can be associated with abnormal growth in the ear such as a tissue build-up or a tumor. (5)

Image 1 : The ear and its different components such as the ear canal, tympanic membrane, and Eustachian tube.
Photo Source : s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com


Picture 2 : A professional device used by audiologist to help get rid of excessive earwax.
Photo Source : www.maxiaids.com

 

What does aural fullness mean?

Aural fullness is a feeling of pressure in the ear. It feels like your ear is congested or stuffed, especially if you swallowing or yawning. Aural fullness has something to do with the structure of the ear or a problem in the internal auditory canal. You will also feel a pressure in your ear if there are debris, cerumen, or hair in the ear canal.

It could also suggest an ongoing infection in the ear. To detect the problem, a microscopic visualization of the ear should be done. Usually, the problem is resolved by simply cleaning the ear using a special instrument or through aspiration. Aural fullness is also possible in patients suffering from sudden sensorineural hearing loss. (2, 3)

 

What is sudden sensorineural hearing loss?

Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL) is an abrupt loss of hearing. It is also called sudden deafness. The hearing becomes more muffled. You could hardly hear the sound because it is so faint.
 This type of hearing loss only affects one ear. (6)

 

What causes SSHL?

A sudden deafness occurs when there is damage in the structures of the inner ear including the nerve pathways between the ear and the brain. The exact cause of sudden sensorineural hearing loss cannot be pinpointed because there are over a hundred causes of SSHL.

Some of them include trauma to the head, injury to the head, inner ear malformation, exposure to loud noise for a long period of time, abnormal growth of tissues, side effects of aging, Meniere’s disease, multiple sclerosis, side effects of medication (ototoxic medication), and congenital SSHL.

Babies with SSHL acquire the disease because of the infection of the mother during pregnancy such as herpes, rubella, and syphilis. A low birth weight can also cause sudden deafness. (7)

 

How to get rid of muffled hearing?

 If your earing is muffled, you have to address the problem right away before it gets worst. Muffled ear home remedies are vast and they include the following:

  • If your hearing is muffled after swimming, then you have to check the affected ear for presence of fluid. You can easily drain the water by leaning towards the shoulder of the affected side.
  • If you are suspecting a build-up of earwax, gently remove it using clean cotton buds.
  • You might want to consider using an ear wax softening solution. It can be readily purchased over the counter at the leading drugstores.
  • A warm bath and gentle massage can help relax the surrounding muscles of the ears. This method can somehow ease the problem with muffled hearing.
  • Use the Valsalva maneuver technique. It is performed by closing the mouth and pinch the nostrils closed. Take a deep breath through the mouth and blow air through the nose. You will then hear a popping sound, which indicates that the Eustachian tube is now open. Valsalva maneuver alleviates pain and relieves stiffness.
  • Use olive oil. This essential oil has the ability to soften the earwax, making earwax removal an easy process. To use the olive oil, you have to warm it up, use a dropper, and put at least two drops of oil in the affected ear. Leave it there for a few minutes, just enough to soften the ear wax. After which, you have to keep your head sideways to facilitate the drainage of the oil and earwax. You might also want to use mineral oil as an alternative to olive oil. Warm compress
  • Warm compress to alleviate the pain, soften the earwax, and facilitate drainage. It also helps in muffled hearing secondary to sinus congestion or colds. To apply warm compress on the affected ear, you should soak a washcloth in a warm water. Wring out to get rid of excess water. Place the washcloth on the affected ear and leave it there for about 10 minutes. (8, 9,10)
If you have tried the above-mentioned remedies and nothing seemed to work, the best thing to do is to consult your audiologist. The doctor will determine the root cause of the problem and will come up with the best possible solution.

References:
  1. www.top10homeremedies.com
  2. www.everydayhearing.com
  3. www.hearingdirect.com
  4. www.simple-remedies.com
  5. www.healthyandnaturalworld.com
  6. www.speedyremedies.com
  7. www.home-remedies-for-you.com
  8. www.healthline.com
  9. www.ehow.com
  10. www.healthyhearing.com
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Dermatographism (dermatographic urticaria, Skin writing) - Causes and Treatment

Dermatographism or dermatographia is a skin condition characterized by skin writing. If a person with dermatographism scratches his skin, it reddens and a raised wheal that looks like hives appear. The marks take 30 minutes to completely disappear.

 

Dermatographic urticaria causes

The exact cause of dermatographism is still unknown at this time. There are a few factors that can trigger its appearance such as infection, side effects of medications/allergy to medications, and emotional upset.

When the skin of a person is stroked, the mast cell will release histamine, which causes allergic reaction. In severe cases, it is not just the histamine that is involved, but also other chemical mediators. Some even have antibody in their serum. (1)

Dermatographism Pictures


 Image 1 : Dermatographia clinical manifestation in a female patient
Photo Source : www.visualnews.com

A skin writing at the back of the patient.image
Picture 2 : A skin writing at the back of the patient
Photo Source : s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com

 

Dermatographic urticaria symptoms:

The clinical manifestations of Dermatographic urticaria include the following:
  • mation
  • Raised red lines
  • Swelling and inflam on the skin
  • Itchiness
  • Hive-like welts
Dermatographism affects any age group, but commonly affects young adults. It starts gradually, but it can develop over a few days. Dermatographism can be linked with other disease conditions such as thyroid disease. It some instances, it can be related to anxiety, agitation, and worrying situation. The possibility of experiencing dermatographism is high in hot weather condition.

People with sensitive skin may experience dermatographism after taking a warm bath. It can also appear after exercising, towelling after taking a bath, pressure on the skin secondary to tight fitting clothes, energetic kissing, and other activities that cause too much pressure on the skin. (2, 3)

The appearance of raised red lines gives the patient an itchy sensation. Once you scratch a particular area of the skin, the surrounding skin will be affected too. Usually, the welt is on the surface, but in some cases, the welt can go deep which lead to the development of giant welts.

The condition can go away after a few hours. Others may take months or years. For patients with dermatographism for a long period of time, the welt is significantly reduced and there are no other associated symptoms at all. (4)

 

When you should contact a medical expert?

If the clinical manifestations of dermatographism are bothersome, then by all means you need to see your doctor. The doctor will thoroughly assess the severity and extent of the condition and will prescribe medication to manage the symptoms.

Medical experts believed that the symptoms, especially the skin lesions are a result of too much histamine in the blood. It is the very same reason why the doctor prescribe antihistamines. (5)

 

Who are at risk?

It can affect people of any age, but is more common in teenagers and young adults. People with dermatitis or dry skin are also prone to dermatographia. You are also at risk if you have a skin condition that causes you to scratch your skin frequently. (6)

 

Tests used to diagnose dermatographism

A simple test is performed to diagnose the presence of dermatographism. The doctor will use a tongue depressor and will draw across the skin of the back or arm. Dermatographism is confirmed if the skin becomes red and a swollen line or welt appear a few minutes after doing the test. The skin’s sensitivity is measured too using a dermographometer, a spring-loaded instrument.

 

Dermatographism Treatment

As mentioned above, dermatographia symptoms usually go away on their own without requiring any treatments at all. Medical measures are needed if the symptoms are bothersome and go out of control. The medical practitioner will usually prescribe antihistamines such as cetirizine, diphenhydramine, and fexofenadine.

Aside from antihistamines, dermatologic therapy is also needed. It includes gentle and thorough skin care routine, especially moisturizing the skin to get rid of itching and improve the dryness of the skin. In severe instances, the doctor will prescribe cromolyn, a drug that stabilizes the cell membrane that is responsible in releasing histamine. (7, 10)

 

Dermatographic urticaria home remedies

  • Coconut oil – Virgin coconut oil is very good at keeping the skin moisturized. You can also swish the oil in your mouth like a mouthwash to help pulls toxin off the mouth. Not to mention, coconut oil can improve the color of your teeth.
  • Gently scrape the tongue twice a day – Scraping the tongue in a gentle motion using a copper tongue scraper two times a day can help remove toxins off the tongue. Toxins in the body can actually trigger dermatographism.
  • Use mild soap – When taking a bath, you should use mild soap. Choose the soap specially formulated for sensitive skin. Instead of bar soap, you can use organic shower gel or cream.
  • Work on your diet – Make sure you eat a healthy and nutritious food. Include healthy fat in your diet. It would also help if you cut out gluten completely. Gluten foods have inflammatory effect to the body, especially if you are sensitive to gluten. Hence, cutting out gluten from your diet will significantly improve your condition.
  • Hydration – Make sure you drink plenty of fluids every day. Consume at least two to three liters of water to help your body in flushing out toxins from the body.  Stay away from carbonated beverages. You also need to avoid sugar-rich drinks and foods. Water alone is very good in hydrating the body. You might also want to drink natural fruit juices, especially those rich in vitamin A, C, and E. (6, 8)

 

How to prevent Dermatographic skin?

  • Make sure you do not irritate your skin. There are things we unconsciously do that might irritate the skin such as wearing tight fitting clothes, wearing clothes made from substandard fabric, using of soap with strong chemicals, and taking hot showers.
  • Avoid scratching your skin. Doing so will further aggravate the condition.
  • Keep your skin healthy. Dry skin is the culprit of other skin conditions. Hence, it is a must to keep the skin moisturized. Use gentle soap when taking a bath and do not forget to apply hypoallergenic creams and lotions. (9)

References:
  1. http://www.mayoclinic.org
  2. www.healthline.com
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org
  4. www.skintome.com
  5. www.dermnetnz.org
  6. www.home-remedies-for-you.com
  7. www.drugs.com
  8. howshealth.com
  9. www.dermanities.com
  10. www.gleneaglesglobalhospitals.com
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