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Constipation is a common problem for children and usually is temporary. Strictly speaking, a child is constipated if he or she has fewer than three bowel movements per week or if the stools are hard, dry, and unusually large or difficult to pass. Because constipation can make bowel movements painful, youngsters may try to avoid having them. (In addition, about 60 percent of constipated children experience recurrent abdominal pain, a common stress-related condition in youngsters.)



Although by age 8 most youngsters have outgrown bedwetting, a sizeable minority still haven’t. As a matter of fact, 5 to 10 percent of boys still have enuresis (the medical term for bedwetting) by age 10. Enuresis tends to run in families and, when this is the case, children usually outgrow it at the same age as the parent, sibling or other relative who had the problem did.

No one knows what causes bedwetting, although it is sometimes associated with constipation. If so, simple dietary changes such as eating more fruits and vegetables and drinking more water early in the day can help resolve matters. Pediatrician Sandy Newmark, MD, of Tucson, Ariz., suggests making sure that children aren’t drinking any beverages that contain caffeine (such as some sodas) and trying to limit (within reason) the amount of fluids they drink in the evening.



Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

What is ADHD?

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the diagnostic term for a group of related conditions that affect a person’s ability to sit still, focus, pay attention, finish a task and control impulses. It is considered a disorder of the brain that is present at birth or develops shortly afterwards. ADHD used to be called attention deficit disorder or ADD, but the name was changed in 1994 to better reflect the physical manifestation of frequent, intense, unproductive movement that often characterizes the condition.



In the United States, there’s a virtual epidemic of precocious puberty these days – the onset of puberty at very young ages in both boys and girls. Among Caucasian girls today, 1 in 7 starts to develop breasts or pubic hair before she is 8 years old. Among African-American girls, the number is 1 out of 2! Unfortunately, no one knows why this is happening, although there’s plenty of speculation. Precocious puberty can be triggered by tumors in the pituitary gland, hypothalamus, ovaries, or testicles, but these cases are rare. Environmental factors are more likely to blame for the upsurge in cases today. The theory with the most scientific support is that obesity is responsible. I think this may be true, since we’ve long known that overweight girls mature physically earlier than thin ones.




What is vaginitis?

Vaginitis is a general term describing inflammation of the vagina. This most commonly occurs when the normal bacterial flora in the vagina becomes out of balance, allowing overgrowth of other organisms. There are different types of vaginitis, at least three of which are infectious: Candida (yeast) infections, trichomoniasis, bacterial vaginosis (BV), and atrophic vaginitis.

What are the symptoms?

The typical symptoms of vaginitis are itching, discharge, redness and discomfort. With a Candida infection, there is classically a thick, white discharge from the vagina, resembling “cottage cheese” in appearance. It can also be watery. Usually, the discharge has no smell, but the vagina and labia are reddened, and itching is the symptom prompting treatment.



About 10 to 20 percent of women will develop a urinary tract infection (UTI) at some point in their lives. Cystitis (a bladder infection) is a common type of UTI, and is far more prevalent among women than men. It is reported to be one of the most frequent medical complaints among women in their reproductive years.

Causes and Symptoms

The urinary system helps to eliminate waste products and maintain proper water and salt balance in the body. The waste products are filtered from circulating blood by the kidneys, which are attached to the bladder by thin tubes called the ureters. The bladder is responsible for storing urine, which then flows out of the body through another tube called the urethra.



Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) involves a multitude of symptoms occurring during the last week of the luteal phase (the weeks before menstruation) in most menstrual cycles. About half of the women who have PMS report only mild symptoms. For the remaining half, the symptoms are more severe. These symptoms usually disappear a few days after menstruation begins. PMS can occur at any time during the woman’s reproductive years and seems to remain fairly constant until menopause, although symptoms may vary between cycles. The risk for PMS is usually higher in younger women, and in women who have a mother with PMS. In addition, women who have given birth to several children, those who are sedentary and women under stress have increased risks.




Once women reach the menopause years, typically around the age of 50, a variety of physiological changes and menopause symptoms occur that can have a profound impact on their lives. Menopause is a term that refers to the end of menstruation, the result of the natural decline in the hormones (estrogen, progesterone and others) produced in the ovaries. After years of preparing and releasing eggs, the ovaries eventually reach a point where they end their monthly routine. As hormone levels decrease, a number of symptoms may emerge, although their presentation and severity varies greatly from woman to woman. The most common menopause symptoms are hot flashes, depression, insomnia, vaginal dryness, irritability, mood swings and headaches.



Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

What is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease?

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is a bacterial infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes and other female reproductive organs that affects more than one million American women each year. It can cause irreversible damage to the fallopian tubes resulting in scarring, an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy anywhere outside the uterus and typically within the fallopian tube), abscess formation, chronic pelvic pain, and infertility. Women younger than 25 years old who are sexually active are at an increased risk, as are those with more than one sexual partner and those who use vaginal douches.



Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by a generalized, aching pain. About 3.7 million Americans or 5 percent of the population suffer from fibromyalgia, mostly occurring in women of childbearing age. Although this disease was first identified in the early 1900s, it was actually thought to be a form of rheumatism until recently. Still, little is known about the cause or cure of fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia symptoms include aches and stiffness in the soft tissues such as the muscles, tendons (which attach muscles to bone) and ligaments (which attach bones to each other). The pain can occur in any region of the body and may be either widespread or affect only a specific area. Women typically experience more widespread pain, while men tend to develop fibromyalgia symptoms in only one area, such as the shoulder. Although the condition itself is not life-threatening, the fibromyalgia symptoms can cause a great deal of distress.

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