How Cancer Treatments Can Cause Infertility in Women

 Beating a cancer is an extraordinary piece of good new but, for some women, it is actually the beginning of another nightmare. It has been confirmed that some cancer treatments can cause infertility in women. In a chronic situation, women who are suffering from infertility will not be able to conceive and bear a child. In order to avoid this undesirable circumstance, it will be quite helpful to be aware of the possible side-effects of each of the cancer treatments that are currently in use.

           Am I Infertile?

You are possibly experiencing infertility if you have made several, serious attempts within a year to get pregnant, but all to no avail. Your doctor may diagnose you as infertile:

  • If your ovaries don’t have healthy eggs.
  • If you sustain significant damage to the other parts of the reproductive system that may hinder egg fertilization.
  • If an egg that is already fertilized cannot implant and grow inside the uterus.

How Different Cancer Treatments Can Affect Fertility in Women?

Make sure you extensively consult with your physician before eventually deciding on the most appropriate cancer treatment for you. However, highlighted below are the ways some cancer treatments can cause infertility in women:

  • Chemotherapy: It is difficult to predict that a woman may become infertile after undergoing chemotherapy. However, most chemo drugs can damage a woman’s eggs, but the efficacy of this depends on her age, the kind of drugs she takes, and the doses of such chemo drugs.

The chemo drugs most likely to cause egg damage and infertility are:

  • Busulfan
  • Carboplatin
  • Carmustine (BCNU)
  • Chlorambucil
  • Cisplatin
  • Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan ®)
  • Dacarbazine
  • Doxorubicin (Adriamycin®)
  • Ifosfamide
  • Lomustine (CCNU)
  • Mechlorethamine
  • Melphalan
  • Procarbazine
  • Temozolomide

On the other hand, the chemo drugs that have a low risk of damaging the eggs include:

  • 5-fluorouracil (5-FU)
  • Bleomycin
  • Cytarabine
  • Dactinomycin
  • Daunorubicin
  • Fludarabine
  • Gemcitabine
  • Idarubicin
  • Methotrexate
  • Vinblastine
  • Vincristine

Pay attention to the following warnings about chemotherapy: Don’t get pregnant shortly before, during or shortly after your chemo; it could harm your child.

  • Targeted and immune therapies: The drugs used in targeted and immune cancer therapies have not been found to pose serious infertility danger to women but with the exception of Bevacizumab (Avastin®), which can cause ovarian failure. Thalidomide and lenalidomide can cause a high degree of birth defects. Similarly, tyrosine kinase inhibitors(TKIs) like imatinib (Gleevec®) can cause birth defects.
  • Bone marrow and stem cell transplant: This therapy involves using high doses of chemo. Hence, women who are having the bone marrow and stem cell transplant may have already had their bodies invaded by too much radiation.
  • Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy involves using high-energy rays to attack cancerous cells. In this case, such radiation is capable of damaging woman’s ovaries.
  • Cancer surgery: It has been discovered that some parts of the reproductive system may be rendered useless or removed entirely during cancer surgery. For example, uterus or ovaries may be removed as part of the cancer treatment. As a result of this, it will be impossible for the affected patient/woman to be pregnant.
  • Hormone cancer therapy: A cancer-treating drug such as tamoxifen can cause a birth defect. Some hormones actually put women into a temporary menopause.

What Alcohol Does to Your Body

 Less than 1 minute of sipping alcohol, your body will react spontaneously to its intoxicating power. The experience is comparable to a mild electric discharge journeying up to your brain. And once it reaches up there, it will immediately disconnect the processes going on in your brain by slowing down the pathways and chemicals that are required by brains cells for sending out coherent messages. You may become drowsy, experience slow reflexes or lose your mindfulness altogether. There is every possibility that you may become moody, unbalanced, and drunk!

Direct effects of Alcohol on your body

 A small, occasional sip of alcohol may not produce any observable side-effects; in fact, having a little amount of alcohol every now and then is considered to be good for your health. However, binge-drinking of alcoholic drinks may cause the following serious health problems in your body:

  • Too much alcohol may increase your stomach acid level and eventually cause painful ulcers.
  • It may lead to having a chronic Liver Disease.
  • Your brain shrinks if you drink too much alcohol. This means that your ability to think, reason properly, and to remember things may be hampered by too much booze.
  • You may have diarrhea and heartburn.
  • It may cause your kidneys to wear out and make you to urinate every now and then.
  • Too much booze may destroy your pancreatic glands and lead to diabetes.
  • Alcohol may increase your blood pressure.
  • You may have weaker immune system if your drinking is just too much.
  • Alcohol may hinder the smooth functions of your hormones.
  • It may cause you to lose your sharp hearing.
  • Too much booze will thin your bones and produce less muscle.
  • On top of that, you will have a hangover the following day that may render the day boring and unappetizing to you.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described above, it is very essential that you see your doctor. Because it is very dangerous to let your kidney, liver, and pancreatic glands damaged before seeking for a medical intervention.

The War on Opioids: Some Important Facts You Should Know

On Thursday, October 26, 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared opioid addiction in the United States as a “public health emergency.” This scourge of drug addiction and abuse has had significant impacts on people’s lives, their finances, and the public healthcare system. It is reported that about 60,000 people lost their lives in 2016 due to opioid addiction. Highlighted in this article are some important facts everyone should know about this epidemic.

What are opioids?

When prescribed appropriately by doctors, opioids are medications used to lessen the moderate to severe effects of pain. They work by binding to opioid receptors in the spinal cord, brain, and other parts of the body. They reduce the feeling of pain by lowering the quantity of “pain messages” sent to the brain. Some common examples of opioid drugs include but are not limited to codeine, fentanyl, methadone, hydrocodone, morphine, meperidine, and oxycodone. Normally, these are prescription pain-relievers, with certain dosage requirements. However, when people abused its usage by not sticking to their doctors’ recommendations, it may lead to some uncomfortable outcomes, including deaths.

Some side-effects of opioid addiction

Unmanaged opioid treatment may produce the following undesirable side-effects:

  • Death (in extreme circumstances)
  • Constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle pain, irritability, and anxiety

Opioid tolerance versus addiction

Do not confuse opioid tolerance with addiction. After taking certain opioid drugs for some time, your body may require more dosage to achieve the same initial palliative effect. In that case, you are experiencing opioid tolerance. Addiction occurs when you obtain and use the opioid drugs inappropriately; that is, without your doctor’s supervision.

Staying healthy and safe

Proper opioid prescription management is the only surest way you can stay healthy and safe. This requires that you should work closely with your doctor while undergoing opioid drug treatment. Your doctor will be able to know:

  • If your body is responding quite well to the prescribed opioid drug
  • If there are any side effects and promptly remedy the situation
  • If you are using the opioid drug properly
  • If there are other medical conditions in your body that may increase the chances of a disastrous side-effect
  • If you need an opioid drug or not, because not all pains require opioid prescription

Bad Breath Busters: 8 Strategic Things You Can Do to Beat Bad Breath

  Bad breath, otherwise known as halitosis, is a condition whereby bad odor exudes from some people’s mouths. It may be a temporary or a chronic thing. There are different causes of mouth odor or bad breath and we explain, in this article, eight (8) strategic things you can do to rid yourself of embarrassing and mostly debasing mouth odor.

Causes of bad breath

Mouth odors occur due to various factors; however, some of its causes are highlighted below:

  • Poor dental hygiene: If you don’t brush and floss your teeth every day, you may carelessly leave some food particles that may increase the number of bacteria in your mouth. When the food particles are broken down by the bacteria, this process will produce a terrible odor.
  • Mouth infections: You may have bad breath if there is an infection in your mouth such as gum disease, tooth decay, mouth sores, and so on.
  • Foods that produce an odor: Garlic, onion, spices, and other foods the produce natural, offensive odors can cause bad breath.
  • Tobacco products: Smokers and tobacco users tend to have a terrible bad breath from the horrid odor the products produce. Sometimes, a smoker may also be affected by a gum disease.
  • Dry mouth: A condition of dry mouth or xerostomia occurs when there is a reduction in the amount of saliva in your mouth. Normally, saliva is very useful for cleaning the food particles and other disease-causing substances from the mouth. But when the quantity of saliva decreases, your mouth may have an unpleasant odor. Dry mouth normally occurs in the morning before waking up, which somehow makes morning breath to be odoriferous. The chronic dry mouth may be caused by some diseases or a problem in your salivary gland.
  • Medications: Some medications tend to increase the dry mouth condition, which will then lead to bad breath. Other medications may have bad-smelling chemicals that may give your breath an unpleasant odor.
  • Other causes: Bad breath may be caused by some infections or inflammations in the nose, mouth, and throat. Metabolic disorders, chronic reflux of stomach, or some cancers may cause bad breath.

 8 Strategic Things You Can Do to Beat Bad Breath

You can strategically beat bad breath by:

  • Brushing and flossing your teeth more often
  • Keeping your gums healthy
  • Using brush to scrape your tongue every day
  • Rinsing your mouth every now and then
  • Not eating food that is going to give your mouth a bad odor
  • Stopping smoking or using tobacco
  • By drinking plenty of water to moisten your mouth and increase the amount of saliva
  • By avoiding after-dinner chewing gums and mints

If your mouth still has a bad odor after you have carefully carried out the above-mentioned procedures, you should see a dentist.

5 Recurrent Myths about Vaccines Debunked

Vaccines have helped several kids stay alive from diseases that would have claimed their precious lives. Dangerous diseases such as the Flu (Influenza), Hepatitis A & B, Measles, Polio, Mumps, Diphtheria, Whooping Cough (Pertussis), Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Chickenpox (Varicella), and so on can now be prevented or eradicated by using appropriate vaccines. Despite its usefulness since it was introduced in the 1940s, the vaccine has always been dogged by some myths, all of which have already been proved baseless or untrue through countless research and studies. Some of these recurrent myths are highlighted below:

Myth 1: Vaccines have some unsafe toxins

Even though some FDA-approved vaccines contain toxic substances such as mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde, only trace amounts of these substances are used in making the vaccines. This indicates that their presence in the human body is very small and cannot pose any danger to the body. Interestingly enough, human bodies produce a higher quantity of formaldehyde than the amount used in vaccines.

Myth 2: Vaccines can cause autism

The idea that vaccines may cause autism in children was first publicized by a British Surgeon, Andrew Wakefield, in 1997. Andrew has since lost his medical license for impropriety and the journal, The Lancet, that published his findings has since been discredited for improper medical procedures. Recent studies have shown that autism actually develops in the utero, long before the child was born or given any vaccinations.

Myth 3: A vaccine can infect my child with the disease it is trying to fight

Some parents worry that vaccines may infect their children with the same diseases they are fighting. This is not true; it takes one in a million cases for that to happen! Vaccines may cause mild symptoms that may appear like those of the diseases they try to combat. But those mild symptoms should not be considered as a sign of infection. What actually happens in this situation is that those mild symptoms indicate that the vaccinated child’s immune system is responding to the vaccines and not to the diseases.

  Myth 4: Infant immune systems can be overwhelmed by vaccines

Many parents wrongly believe that their infant child immune system may not be able to handle so many vaccines at the same time. This is a baseless argument. Theoretically, a baby can respond to about 10,000 vaccines at one time. Even if 12-14 vaccines are scheduled at once, this will only use up 1.4% of the baby immune system.

Myth 5: Natural immunity versus vaccine-acquired immunity

Some people believe that natural immunity may be better than vaccine-acquired immunity. This may be true to some extent, but its benefits are far less than its possible dangers. Take for instance, if a parent expects his/her child to recover naturally from measles, such a child has 1-in-500 chance of dying. However, when vaccines are used, the child has a one-in-a-million chance of dying from the severe allergic reactions caused by the MMR vaccine.

My baby and vaccines

Make sure you consult your doctor before, during, and after surrendering your baby for vaccinations. It is helpful to be fully aware of all the necessary procedures that will help your child recover completely from its illness.

The Medical Cost of A One-Night Stand

Despite the development in the medical technology, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently sounded a serious alarm that the rate of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) is quite on the rise, with about 20 million infections recorded every year. While it is impossible to claim that all those infections arose from poor judgement usually associated with one-night stands; however, for the fact that half of new Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) occurs among young people aged 15-24, the demographic that are the most sexually-active and fondest of engaging in the heat of one-night stands, whereby two lusty strangers undermined the significance of safe sex and dived into sexual intercourse unprotected.

How are STDs transmitted?

According to Mayo Clinic, sexually transmitted diseases are mainly transmitted through sexual intercourse. Although, it is possible to contract STDs through non-sexual contacts. For example, a newly born child may get any type of the STDs from his/her mother through contact with the mother’s infected blood or body fluids. STIs are caused by bacteria, yeast, viruses, and parasites.

Different kinds of sexually transmitted diseases

There are 20 types of STDs, but the most virulent ones are Gonorrhea, HIV/AIDS, Syphilis, Chlamydia, Genital herpes, HPV, and Trichomoniasis.

(i) Gonorrhea: This STI is caused by bacteria and it can infect the genital tract, anus, or mouth. It is common in young adults, and an infected pregnant woman can pass it to her baby during childbirth. Some symptoms of gonorrhea are:

  • Pain when urinating
  • Discharge from penis/vagina
  • Bleeding between periods for women

(ii) HIV/AIDS: HIV harms your body by weakening your immune system and destroying the white blood cells that fight infections. AIDS is the final stage of HIV, but not everyone develops AIDS. It may be contracted through sexual intercourse or contact with infected blood. Some of the symptoms of HIV are:

  • Swollen glands
  • Flu-like symptoms

(iii) Syphilis: This STI is caused by bacteria. Many people may not notice Syphilis symptoms for years. And some of these symptoms are:

  • Small painless sore
  • Swelling in the nearby lymph nodes
  • Non-itchy skin rashes

(iv) Chlamydia: This STI is caused by bacteria, Chlamydia trachomatis, and it can infect both women and men. Women can get chlamydia in the throat, cervix, or rectum. Men can have it in the rectum, urethra (inside the penis), or throat. Some of the symptoms of chlamydia are:

  • Abnormal, smelly vaginal discharge (women)
  • Pain during intercourse (women)
  • A burning sensation when urinating (both men and women)
  • Discharge from penis (men)
  • Burning or itching around the penis’ opening (men)
  • Swelling and pain in one or both testicles (men)

(v) Genital herpes: This is caused by a herpes simplex virus (HSV), and it can be contracted from having sexual intercourse with someone who has already been infected by the virus. Some of the genital herpes symptoms are:

  • Sores on genital, buttocks, rectal area, or things
  • Pains or itching around the genitals, thighs, and buttocks

(vi) HPV: Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a group of connected viruses, and they are mainly spread through sexual contact. There are 200 types of these viruses, and about 40 of them affect genitals. High-risk HPV can cause various cancers such as vaginal cancer, cervical cancer, penile cancer, vulvar cancer, and so on. Some of the HPV symptoms are:

  • Cause warts on different parts of the body
  • Itching in your genital
  • Bleeding with intercourse
  • Gray or flesh-colored swellings in your genital area

(vii) Trichomoniasis: This STD is caused by a parasite, and can be contracted through sexual contact. It may not show any symptoms within 5 to 28 days after infection. Some of the trichomoniasis symptoms are:

  • Itching in or near the vagina
  • Vaginal odor
  • Discomfort during sex
  • Painful urination
  • Yellow-green or gray vaginal discharge

                                                              STD/STI treatments

If you detected any of the symptoms highlighted above, you should immediately see your doctor for proper diagnosis. STIs that are caused by bacteria such as gonorrhea, Trichomoniasis, Syphilis, and Chlamydia may be treated with antibiotics. There is no cure for HIV/AIDS and HPV, but genital herpes can be treated with antiviral drugs.

                                                        Playing Safe

  According to CDC, the total estimated direct cost of Sexually Transmitted Infections annually in the U.S. is about $1.6 billion. That’s a whole lot of money to be squandered on sexual indiscretion! Play safe by using barriers such as condoms, which may reduce the rate of infection but may not completely stop an STI. Abstaining from sex or/and maintaining a monogamous union can also help you to avoid contracting STIs. If you want to show love to your partner, engaging in low-risk acts such as kissing and cuddling may protect you against STIs than having sexual intercourse. And if you can exercise some patience, you may be lucky to detect that your partner has already been infected with an STD and quickly advise him/her to get tested.

Fever in Children: When to Give the Doctor A Call?

 Every parent should understand that fever itself is not an illness, your child’s body temperature could suddenly go up due to a number of factors, such as overdressing, post-immunization discomfort, and when your child’s immune system is actively fighting some infections. So, when is the right time to call your doctor for help?

Taking your child’s temperature

The best way to detect if your child is down with a fever or not is to take his/her body temperature. Use any of the methods below based on the relevant conditions:

  • Rectal: You can use a rectal thermometer for a child under 4 or 5 months. Your child has a fever if his/her temperature is above 100.4o F
  • Oral: Insert the thermometer into your child’s mouth to read his/her temperature. This is good for a child over 4 or 5 months. Your child has a fever if his/her temperature is above 100.4o
  • Ear: Use an ear thermometer if your child is 6 months or older. This may give you a rough estimate and, in addition, you can use a rectal thermometer to get an accurate reading.
  • Armpit: Putting a thermometer in your child’s armpit may help detect his/her temperature, and he/she has a fever if it is above 100.4o

              How to manage your child’s fever

If your child’s body temperature is above 102o F but below 105o F, there are a few things you can do at home to help bring his/her body temperature down. Make sure you have received prior instructions from your doctor about how to successfully do them.

You may:

  • Bathe or sponge the child with lukewarm water, but do not use alcohol, ice baths or cold water.
  • Give aspirin to a child that is over 18 years; but do not give it to those who are under the age of 18, because this could cause Reye syndrome, a brain disease.
  • Give acetaminophen or ibuprofen to your child based on the package recommendations for weight and age.
  • Dress your child in light clothing and use light blanket to cover him/her.
  • Provide a lot of fluid for your child to avoid dehydration.
  • Let your child have enough rest.
  • Allow your child to stay home instead of going to school or outdoors.

When to call the doctor

Give your doctor a call when your child

  • Is limp or unresponsive
  • Has a seizure
  • Is vomiting and has a stiff neck or a headache
  • Is having difficulty breathing
  • Has blue skin or lips
  • Refuses to drink or too ill to eat
  • Has a chronic medical problem like cancer, sickle cell disease, heart disease, and so on
  • Has a sign of dehydration
  • Has a long-lasting diarrhea
  • Is crying endlessly
  • Is leaning forward and drooling
  • Is having extreme itching or fussiness