Archive for 8th May 2009

ENDOMETRIOSIS: THE NORMAL MENSTRUAL CYCLE

During the second half of the menstrual cycle—the two weeks that begin with ovulation and end with menstruation—the endometrium, or lining of the uterus, prepares for conception. Activated by the ovarian hormones estrogen and progesterone, the lining becomes swollen with blood and glandular tissue. Estrogen, the first female hormone, essentially primes the body for ovulation and fertilization. Progesterone changes the uterine lining, preparing it for the eventuality of nourishing a fertilized egg by turning the lining soft and spongy and increasing it to about ten times its normal thickness.

The cycle begins this way: immediately after menstruation, the hormone FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) is released from the pituitary gland and stimulates the ovaries to produce estrogen. On approximately the fourteenth day of the cycle, when the estrogen level is sufficiently high, a second hormone—LH, or luteinizing hormone—is released from the pituitary and triggers ovulation, that is, the release of the egg from the ovary. This egg is one of about four hundred eggs, from a reserve of almost half a million eggs, that will ripen during a woman’s lifetime.

If the egg is not fertilized by sperm, resulting in pregnancy, the endometrium follows another course. First, the female sex hormones drop and a third hormone, prostaglandin, is released. Then the enriched endometrial tissue breaks down. The menstrual cycle starts as the uterus begins its rhythmic contractions. The unused endometrial tissue detaches from the womb and is normally flushed out of the body in the form of menstrual blood.

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PSYCHE AND THE SKIN TREATMENT: RELAXATION EXERCISES

These exercises are very beneficial in promoting a general feeling of well-being and relaxation. In fact, they combine a mixture of hypnotic induction and yoga with reassuring suggestions about inner calmness. These exercises can be learnt under the auspices of the Council of Adult Education, at the Cairnmillar Institue, and elsewhere.

A useful adjunct to this type of treatment is the series of tape-recordings put out by the Australian College of Recorded Education in Sydney. One of their medi-talk series is called, for example, ‘How to relax’.

Hospitalization. Occasionally, a patient requires hospitalization for the treatment of a severe skin disorder. Not infrequently, children with bad eczema require five to ten days in hospital to bring their condition under control and help their mothers learn to manage.

Many other skin disorders subside dramatically following hospitalization. This no doubt is due to a change in environment and the escape from the daily stresses and strains, as well as to the psychological effect of the patient turning himself over to physicians and nurses, who then fulfil the role of parent substitutes.

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MAIN FOOD SOURCES OF FAT: DIETARY FAT

The major food sources of fat in the Australian diet as determined by the CSIRO Division of Human Nutrition. The personal pattern of fat intake will need to be considered when advising individuals about eating for fat loss.

What is dietary fat? Dietary fats or triglycerides are made up of three fatty acids joined together by a glycerol molecule. Oils are fats in liquid form and these have the same energy value (i.e. 9kcal/g) as ‘hard’ fats. Hence all fats and oils have been generally thought to have the same effect on body fat storage, although there is now some controversy about this. In terms of other health issues such as blood cholesterol level, the type of fat is known to be more important. Fatty acids in foods can be divided into two major categories: saturated and unsaturated. Within the unsaturated category, there are also two major classes: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.

Fats in food contain a mixture of all types of fatty acids but in different proportions. For example, com oil contains around 14 per cent saturated, 32 per cent monounsaturated and 52 per cent polyunsatured oil and butter contains about 52 per cent saturated, 23 per cent monounsaturated and 1 per cent polyunsaturated fat. It’s a common misconception that only animal fats are saturated. Most plants and oils contain some saturated fat and in coconut and palm kernel oil, the saturated fats are the dominant ones (based on the fatty acid of greatest concentration).

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TREATMENTS TO HELP MANAGE PAIN: REFLEXOLOGY AND BEING POSITIVE

Thoughts about pain which are negative can lead to anxiety, tension and stress and ultimately more pain.

If negative thoughts and emotions can be removed and your perception of pain is altered then your coping abilities and lifestyle improve, often leading to a significant decrease in actual pain.

You have to accept that there is no instant cure for your pain and discomfort and that you need to take steps to do something positive about dealing with it.

Included in this chapter are some suggestions on how you can act more positively and counteract your negative feelings.

Reflexology

Reflexology is again similar to acupressure and is derived from the belief that discomfort and pain arises from blockings of the body’s vital energy.

It is believed that every organ of the body has a corresponding point on the foot. To treat problems affecting a particular part of the body, the appropriate point is located on the foot and then manipulated and massaged. This massage results in a stimulation and improvement of the energy flow to the affected organ and therefore brings about pain relief.

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WHAT ARE SYMPTOMS OF ENDOMETRIOSIS: OVULATION PAIN, PAIN DURING VAGINAL EXAMINATIONS, BLEEDING

Some discomfort at the time of ovulation is common. Many women with endometriosis experience significant ovulation pain, often lasting for several days. The pain is probably due to stretching and pulling of adhesions on the ovary when the ovary enlarges slightly at the time of ovulation.

Pain during vaginal examinations-Some women with endometriosis may experience pain vaginal examinations.

Bleeding-The more common bleeding problems associated with endometriosis are heavy bleeding, clotting, prolonged bleeding, premenstrual spotting, irregular cycles and irregular bleeding. A significant proportion of bleeding problems in women with endometriosis may be due to the presence of another condition, such as adenomyosis, fibroids or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

Heavy bleeding, with or without clotting, is a common symptom of endometriosis. Fifty-eight per cent of women surveyed believed they had experienced heavy bleeding. There is much debate amongst doctors as to just what constitutes heavy bleeding, but it would seem reasonable to assume that any woman could be said to have heavy bleeding if her menstrual loss caused anaemia or if it interfered with her normal lifestyle.

Premenstrual spotting is staining which is noticeable for at least 24 hours before the onset of menstruation. It has been reported that about 80% of women with premenstrual staining are subsequently diagnosed as having endometriosis.

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