Mouth sores are shallow ulcers that usually occur inside the mouth, along the lining of the inner cheek, tongue and soft palate (back part of the roof of the mouth). In acute mouth ulcers, no specific treatment is required as it will often heal on its own. In chronic, recurring cankers sores in the mouth, treatment may be necessary to treat ulcers that are not resolving spontaneously as well as preventing any new mouth sores from forming.
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What Is Sciatica?
Sciatic pain (sciatica) is a pain in the lower back, buttock, leg and/or foot, usually on one side at a time, caused by one of disorders affecting the sciatic nerve:
- Pinched nerve due to:
- Bulging or herniated disc
- Degeneration disc disease (DDD)
- Spinal stenosis (narrow spinal canal)
- Fracture of one or more of spinal vertebra or direct injury of the nerve
- Tumor of the spinal cord or spine
- Spondylolysthesis (slipping disc – from several reasons)
- Piriformis syndrome (pressure from piriformis muscle that extends from the sacrum to the outer hip bone)
- Spondylosis – degeneration due to wear and tear of spinal vertebra
- Spondylitis – inflammation of spine
- Tuberculosis or osteomyelitis of spinal vertebra
- Peripheral neuropathy e.g. from diabetes or alcoholism
Urine with a reddish color does not always indicate the presence of blood or bleeding within the urinary tract. Similarly, the presence of blood in the urine may not be visible to the naked eye. In order to differentiate between reddish brown discoloration of urine and bloody urine, it is important to test for the presence of red blood cells.
Red blood cells in the urine is a clear indication of bleeding, usually within the urinary tract. The bleeding may stem from the kidneys, ureter, bladder, prostate (males) or urethra. The presence of red blood cells in the urine is known by the medical term, hematuria (hema ~ blood, uria ~ in urine). Hematuria is not always a cause for concern and may resolves spontaneously with no treatment. However persistent blood in the urine usually indicates a more serious problem that requires further investigation and the appropriate treatment.
Bloating – stomach distension due to gas built in the stomach or bowel – may be caused by certain foods, intestinal disorders, bacterial overgrowth or food poisoning with bacteria or parasites.
What Causes Bloating Shortly After Eating?
Bloating in the upper abdomen appearing within minutes after starting a meal may be caused by:
- Carbonated drinks, like soda or beer
- Baking soda
- Helycobacter pylori infection of the stomach. Infection with this bacterium is common and may cause nausea, early satiety, bloating and burping shortly after starting a meal
- Slow stomach emptying, caused by:
- Fibrous tissue (resulting from chronic infection, ulcer or surgery) obstructing the exit of the stomach (pylorus)
- Atherosclerosis of abdominal vessels or damage of abdominal nerves in long lasting diabetes, or smoking
Nipple discharge affects many women who are not pregnant or breastfeeding and the presence of breast secretions do not always indicate any serious problem. While breast milk is expected in pregnancy and after child birth, other secretions from the breast may also occur in women of any age. Young women may experience nipple discharge without any cause for concern but persistent discharge in older women may be a sign of an underlying condition.
What Is Capsule Endoscopy?
In capsule endoscopy, you swallow a pill-shaped camera (PillCam) that then travels through your gut and makes pictures of your small intestine (1).
Picture 1. A capsule camera to swallow in capsule endoscopy
A capsule camera is 28 mm (about an inch) long and 11 mm wide. It has a slippery coating when wet to ease swallowing a bit. The cost of the camera and procedure is about $500 (without insurance).
When Is It Done?
Capsule endoscopy may be done when small bowel disease like celiac or Crohn’s disease or bowel bleeding that cannot be detected by upper endoscopy or colonoscopy is suspected. Capsule endoscopy can be done in a patient after 10 years of age (2), including pregnant women (3).
What Is Folliculitis?
Folliculitis is an inflammation of the hair follicles, from which the hair grow. Folliculitis is not the same as acne (Picture 1). Acne primarily involve only oil (sebaceus) glands that are clogged with oil (sebum) and shed skin cells. Acne may subsequently get infected and affect the whole hair follicle, though.
Picture 1.In folliculitis (left), a hair follicle is inflamed;
in acne (right) a sebaceus gland is filled with oil
but the hair follicle is intact
continue reading Folliculitis
Blood, fluid and other secretions from the ear is known as otorrhea or commonly referred to as ear discharge. In otorrhea, the discharge exits through the ear and should not be confused with natural ear wax (cerumen) that occurs within the ear canal. Ear discharge should not be ignored, especially if there is constant secretions of blood, discharges stained with blood or clear, thin or sticky fluid that may be cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).
What Is Leprosy?
Leprosy is a chronic infection caused by bacterium Mycobacterium leprae that usually affects skin, peripheral nerves (usually in the limbs and face), upper airways and eyes. Another name for leprosy is Hansen’s disease (after Dr. G.A. Hansen who discovered it in 1873) (1).
The first sign of a disease is usually one or more discolored patches of the skin with reduced sensibility. Later, disfiguring plaques and nodules may appear. Because of damaged nerves in the limbs, affected person may lose a sense of touch and pain and may not be aware of injuries what may in long term lead to permanent damage of limbs.
A nasal polyp is a small outgrowth of the mucous membrane tissue that lines the nasal passages and sinus cavities. When this tissue is constantly inflamed and swollen, a polyp may develop although the exact cause of the polyp formation is not known. While the term ‘growth in the nose or sinus’ seems serious, nasal polyps are not cancerous tumors but may sometimes occur in cases of neoplasms of the nose or paranasal sinuses.
Certain conditions like hay fever, infections or sinusitis cause a swelling of the nasal and sinus lining. This mucous membrane lines the entire nose and sinus and usually produces mucus to keep the lining moist and trap any foreign matter entering through the nose. When irritated, the mucus membrane lining will often swell and produce excess mucus (‘runny, leaky or stuffed nose’). In these situations, a polyp may form from this inflamed nasal lining and starts off as a tiny ‘bump’ which can slowly grow into a small ‘lump’.
Characteristics of Gallbladder Pain
Pain arising from the gallbladder or bile ducts usually appears below the right lower rib, 3-5 inches (7-12 cm) from the vertical mid-line. It may spread into the right lower or upper back, shoulder blade or shoulder. Other causes of right upper abdominal pain are liver, right kidney, ureter or adrenal gland, stomach, duodenum, pancreas, skin, muscles and ribs in affected area.
A major concern for many parents as the mother approaches full term is the complications that may arise after delivery, particularly breathing problems that may affect the newborn. At birth, the focus of the attending physician is to assure healthy and spontaneous breathing of the newborn as any impediment may result in damage to the brain tissue or even death.
However in certain cases, problems with adequate ventilation may arise, especially in high risk pregnancies.
Upper GI Endoscopy = Esophago-Gastro-Duodenoscopy (EGD)
Upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy is a diagnostic procedure enabling your doctor to see inside your esophagus, stomach and duodenum (the first part of the small intestine), using a flexible viewing tube – gastroscope. Gastroscope has a light and camera on the end and enables direct observing, viewing on the monitor and taking pictures or videos.
When Is Upper Endoscopy Done?
Upper endoscopy may be used to find a cause of unexplained excessive belching, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, difficulty swallowing, upper abdominal pain, anemia (due to bleeding), poor appetite or unintended weight loss. With an upper endoscopy a doctor can detect:
In severe acute abdominal pain, plain X-ray of the abdomen is usually the first investigation. X-ray can show:
- Kidney stones
- Gallstones (if they are large and calcified)
- Pancreatic calcifications (in pancreatic cyst or chronic pancreatitis)
- Air under the diaphragm (in stomach or bowel perforation)
- Air in the bowel (in bowel obstruction)
No preparation is needed for the investigation. There are no absolute contraindications, but, if possible, abdominal X-ray should be avoided in females until the end of reproduction period and pregnant women to prevent radiation exposure.
Intestinal Absorption Tests
- Lactose intolerance.
- Fructose malabsorption.
- Food allergies and food intolerances (Tests)
- Food poisoning, parasites, Crohn’s Disease (stool analysis and blood work results)
- Glucose or galactose malabsorption
- Fat malabsorption. Fecal fat test, D-xylose test
- Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Test
- Short bowel syndrome (SBS). Test
Tests for Lactose Intolerance
When you suspect dairy products cause chronic bloating and diarrhea you have, you may ask your gastroenterologist to perform hydrogen breath test. Test is described in food allergy and food intolerance tests.
Hemosiderosis is a chronic iron overload or excess iron levels in body tissues, either throughout the body or only in specific tissues and organs. If this chronic overload begins to cause tissue damage, it is known as hemochromatosis or commonly referred to as iron toxicity.
Iron is an abundant element in the human body and in conjunction with proteins, it forms hemoglobin, an essential compound in red blood cells that is responsible for gas transport (oxygen and carbon dioxide) in the blood. However excess iron intake or abnormal iron deposition can cause an iron overload (hemosiderosis) and eventual iron toxicity (hemochromatosis) if not attended to in the acute stages.
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