Pregnancy presents a swing of emotion, a few unpleasant sensation—aching back, headache, nausea, sore breasts, etc.—that would require women to resort to medications just to feel at ease and comfortable again.
There are medications that are deemed safe to take during pregnancy but there are also some that may have unnecessary effect in both the mother and the baby. It is important to have your health care provider’s affirmation in all medication you are taking so you can weigh what is safe and what is not.
Healthwise Digest, for this issue, has compiled a list of safe, effective remedies for common ailment expectant mothers experience:
Calcium-fortified antacids have been renowned for its morning sickness remedial properties. Mouthwash and breath fresheners are also a good buy for pregnant women. Packing a toothbrush, toothpaste, or bottle of mouthwash help sfreshen up post-puke. Also, B-complex vitamins, most especially vitamin B6 supplements, have proven to alleviate morning sickness symptoms (Dr. Robert Atlas, ob-gyn and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Mercy Medical Center).
Sensitive, Swollen Breasts, Legs or Feet
A warm water bath could work wonders to soothe aching breasts, leg or feet during pregnancy. Make sure the water temperature is below 37 degree Celsius. Also, cold compress is a good immediate relief. When all remedies do not work, take paracetamol.
The new 8-hour Extended Release Paracetamol works wonders in quickly relieving pain. Its a bi-layer configuration (immediate release and matrix formulation) provides a quick 18-minutes action that lasts for 4 hours, and an extended-release that lasts for 8 hours. However, it is not advisable to drink paracetamol, or any other medications, every day without proper advice and recommendation of an OB-Gyn.
There is a possibility of acquiring vaginal bacteria or fungus during pregnancy due to hormonal change in the body. Bacterial vaginosis (grayish-white discharge) or yeast infections (yellowish-white discharge) are common during pregnancy and presents an uncomfortable itchiness. Most health care providers might not recommend anti-vaginal medications for fear of affecting the pregnancy and the baby. However, one highly effective treatment against all types of vaginal infections has been established safe to use during pregnancy and lactation.
Unlike other medication, Dequalinium Chloride, targets and treats all vaginal infective pathogens—bacteria, fungi, protozoan parasite. Effective sanitation of vagina with infections through Dequalinium Chloride provides favourable pregnancy condition and outcome (Grischenko O.V., et. al. Clinical and prognostic aspects of BV treatment in pregnant women, 2006).
A digestive difficulty, such as diarrhea, may frequently occur during pregnancy. Most people might think that diarrhea during this stage could cause miscarriage but this has really no scientific evidence at all. In fact, it is perfectly normal to experience it once in a while. It could be due to certain hormonal changes within the body: changes in the diet to provide the fetus with all the necessary nutrients, the extra water intake for keeping the body hydrated, or maybe because of dietary supplements. However, severe diarrhea is dangerous to expectant mothers as it could result in dehydration and impeded blood flow to the fetus.
One safe medication that can be used is the diosmectite powder. Safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women, it is a natural cleansing clay with a high binding capacity, which binds with the phlegm of the digestive tract mucosa to improve its quality and increase its amount. It is also able to bind toxic substances produced by an infective source of diarrhea. It is not absorbed into the blood, acting within the stomach and intestines. While it is harmless, pregnant women are advised to consult with their respective doctors first.
The percentage of the world’s population aged 65 and older is expected to double in about 30 years. According to the U.S. Census Bureau 2016 Report, the present 61 million people who are 65 and older are expected to rise drastically nearly to a billion more.
On average worldwide, the life expectancy of people is 68 years of age. However, this is predicted to change to 76 years old.
Though this presents a great possibility in 2050, it doesn’t necessarily mean that people are living healthier. The U.S. National Institute on Aging (NIA) stated that the increase in aging population also presents many health challenges that the world should prepare for.
With non-infectious disease being the major concern for elderlies worldwide— i.e. cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis—there is a probable turn where infectious disease could rise up and be a major threat to the aging population as well. Coping with this change is difficult but healthy aging means continually learning to adapt with the change. It is strongly recommended to make healthful lifestyle choices as we grow old, which includes avoiding smoke, eating the right kind of diet, practicing good hygiene and reducing stress in life. Also, following regular medications for an underlying health condition is a must. Drugs, the most common medical intervention, are an important part of medical care for older people. Without drugs, many older people would function less well or die at an earlier age.
Whether it may be for hypertension or for prostate enlargement, many improvements in the health and function of older people are attributed to drugs. There are available vaccines the help prevent many infectious diseases such as pneumonia or influenza. Two vaccines that can prevent pneumococcal disease are the PCV13 (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine) and PPSV23 (pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine). Both are recommended for people 65 years and older. PCV13 protects against 13 strains of pneumococcus bacteria and PPSV23 protects against 23 strains of pneumococcus bacteria. Both vaccines provide protection against illnesses like meningitis and bacteremia. PCV13 also provides protection against pneumonia. Antibiotics are also given to treat the mentioned diseases. Also, with the increasing rate of people with arthritis, there are drugs available to control pain and other symptoms. Some drugs also act as anti-hypertensives to prevent strokes and heart attacks, which is one of the top health diseases contributing to mortality.
Always remember that in order for people to benefit from taking drugs, they must remember that it is not only about the drug intake but also following the right schedule and proper way of taking them.
It is a reality. Children are getting poisoned because medicines are mistaken as candies. Most children could not even tell the difference and some medicines are developed in full bright colors which look even convincingly good enough to eat. According to a study, “Pills that are circular, shiny, and with no identifiable markings are the most likely to be mistaken for candy and children who are unable to read are especially at risk of incorrect ingestion of medicine” (Candy or Medicine: Can Children Tell the Difference?, American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition).
Since there’s no possibility of watching our children all the time, it is crucial to "poison-proof" our homes thoroughly.
First is to always remind our kids not to place anything in their mouth, especially those that they do not recognize. Given this, parents are advised not to drink or take any medications whenever their kids are around. Most kids will think that they can do the same as well.
Keep medications including vitamins locked up and out of our children's reach and sight. Medications that are locked-up and kept in their original packaging are one of the basic ways in poison-proofing our home. Also, never let young children out of your sight whenever we are outside, at our relative’s or friend’s home. Relatives who may have no kids and may easily place their drugs out on bedside tables, countertops, or even in handbags, thereby pose danger to other kids around.
Remember that most circular drugs versus candies (which kids have always eaten and enjoyed) that have similar colors, shine and no distinguishable markings, were most likely to be mistakenly ingested. Let’s keep it mandatory for parents to be educated about safe storage practices of medications.
Let’s face the fact, oftentimes women suffer more from irritating minor conditions than men. This is due to different factors such as one, the physiology of the female reproductive system which is really complex. A given reality on that is women experience menstruation and men do not. Two, women have a complete different lifestyle than men since they are mostly faced with busy family and career issues such as taking care of the kids as well as balancing the financial condition of the family.
And truthfully, they have the lesser time in going to check their health and see a doctor for consultation and as such, many have just directly seek professional advice for treating minor ailments with no other than pharmacists. Pharmacists are rather knowledgeable in over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. They are also trained to give you professional and sound advice to whatever women needed to tackle their minor health problems. Remember that in Cambodia women can always buy OTC medicines without a prescription however, be mindful and always buy from a REGISTERED pharmacy.
Most medicines have two categories. Branded ones are medicines done by renowned laboratories and are most likely promoted and advertised in the market. Meanwhile generic ones are cheaper than branded drugs though some may not indicate of them any less effective. However, choosing branded drugs may be the safest option between the two. Though they are a bit costly, branded drugs have undergone strict regulation and compliance in all its research and development and production. Ironically, most generic drugs do not meet the same level of compliance and quality and a huge number of unbranded drugs are illegally imported and distributed without consent of a government body.
The following OTC products are some of the common medication women purchase and that other women could keep in handy and store at home.
A. Active Ingredient: Dequalinium Chloride
Indication: Belonging to the family of anti-infective and antiseptic drugs, dequalinium chloride is active against the bacteria which cause bacterial vaginosis. It is an anti-microbial antiseptic agent with a broad bacterial and fungicidal activity (*Use of locally delivered dequalinium chloride in the treatment of vaginal infections: a review. Archive Gynecol Pbstet DOI 10.007/s00404-015-39148)
Dosage: Vaginal tablets are inserted daily for 6 days to treat bacterial infection
B. Active Ingredient: Clotrimazole
Indication: Used for relieving external symptoms of vaginal thrush such as candidal vaginitis. It is also used in treating skin infections caused by yeasts molds and other fungi
Dosage: Creams are applied to the affected area(s) of skin thinly two to three times daily and rubbed in gently
Dysmenorrhea (Painful Period)
A. Active Ingredient: Ibuprofen
Indication: Ibuprofen tablets have been shown to reduce elevated levels of prostaglandin activity in the menstrual fluid and to reduce resting and active intrauterine pressure, as well as the frequency of uterine contractions. The probable mechanism of action is to inhibit prostaglandin synthesis rather than simply to provide analgesia.
Dosage: Oral administration of 400mg, three times a day
B. Active Ingredient: Acetaminophen
Indication: A pain reliever that can be used for major pain, which includes menstrual period pain.
Dosage: Oral administration offered at 500 mg-1000mg every 6 hours
Anemia (due to heavy menstruation and red blood cell deficiency)
A. Active Ingredient: Ferrous Sulfate
Indication: An essential body mineral, ferrous sulfate is used to treat iron deficiency anemia (a lack of red blood cells caused by having too little iron in the body).
Dosage: Take ferrous sulfate on an empty stomach, at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal. Avoid taking antacids or antibiotics within 2 hours before or after taking ferrous sulfate.
B. Active Ingredient: Folic Acid
Indication: Used to treat folic acid deficiency and certain types of anemia (lack of red blood cells) caused by folic acid deficiency.
Dosage: Taken at 400 micrograms/day
Always remember that when purchasing medicines, it is your right to ask your pharmacist how your medicines should be used and if there are any major side effects relating to their use. However, it is also a necessary to still read the information of your bought medications by reading its package.
You don’t need to be stressed out and start panicking around when you experience irregular periods, vaginal dryness, hot flushes, mood swings, insomnia, urinary problems and loss of breast size, because all these are the cardinal markers of the menopause.
The two hormones, namely estrogen and progesterone regulates the menstruation cycle. Estrogens chiefly control the menstrual flow and progesterone helps in strengthening and preparing the genital organs for the conception and labor. Both of these hormones are produced and released from the ovaries but when they’re produced in lesser amount, you’ll experience the peri-menopausal symptoms.
When you enter in your 30’s or 40’s, the progesterone and estrogen production starts to shrink to some extent. As you ages, the ovaries become less functional and incapable to produce sufficient amount of estrogen and progesterone. As a result, the dearth of the two major hormones leads towards the complete shutdown of the ovaries, followed by the termination of the menstrual cycle. So, menopause is neither a disease nor abnormality, it is the normal behavior of your system, which every woman faces in her late 40’s or early 50’s.
How hypertension in menopause can be a danger for every organ?
Due to the hormonal imbalance, the blood pressure crisis will also be stimulated. But if you’re already experiencing hypertension, then the chances of any cardiovascular event sooner can be doubled. Thus, your heart will not pump the required demand of the blood and you would prefer sedentary life over the active one.
Estrogen and progesterone also play several other important functions in your body. Researchers still finding the connection between the hypertension and menopause but some studies suggested that the estrogen is responsible for preventing the fatty deposition in your arteries and narrowing of their lumen. Thus, when the estrogen production is diminished, the plaques (fat deposition) will be increased in your arteries; thus, providing the resistance and hindrance to the blood flow.
The arteries are made up of the elastic tissues, which supports the physiological challenges of the body. Similarly, when the blood pressure is raised, your arteries stretch more and more to compensate and overcome with this stretch. But when the stretch is consistent throughout the days and weeks, they become weak and fragile. However, the less functional arteries will supply low volume of blood and it’ll impair the kidney function, promotes sexual dysfunction, weakens the skeletal system and damages the brain.
What are the risk factors that can increase the postmenopausal hypertension?
When your doctor confirms that all these symptoms are due to the menopause, then your first step should be to control your blood pressure. Even, if you’re not bothering this issue before the menopause, then it’s a right time to take this phase of life on a serious note. The tendency of gaining some extra kilos will also increase due to the menopause. So, when you gain weight, the fatty layers embedded beneath the skin also put tremendous pressure on your arteries. Hence, it’ll also lead to the hypertension.
Stress is also another important factor that can boost the hypertension within few minutes. Depression and anxiety have been reported as the dominant pillars of the hypertension. Yeah, you’ll be suffering from the unannounced mood swings but try to stay calm while having the panic and anxiety attacks. You’ll surely feel better and relaxed.
Long standing alcohol and smoking abuse will also augment your condition somehow. Your arteries become narrower and less competent to carry the oxygenated blood to the desired tissue. And if you’re taking high salt diet, then it’ll also trigger your hypertension. Certain medicines can also increase the blood flow; hence, before taking the over-the-counter medications, you should also discuss the side effects of the medicine with your doctor.
Can hypertension be controlled through lifestyle modification
Of course, if you modify your lifestyle and consider every preventive measure, you can manage the hypertension. Though, it would be difficult for you to stick with all the measures but if you’re determined and satisfied, then you can change your life’s pattern all over again. All you need to do is to follow the below listed scientific-baked-secrets for defeating the postmenopausal hypertension.
Do meditation regularly
Meditation is the key for building and strengthening the mind and soul connection. You’ll feel more focused, more energized and more relaxed after completing the meditation session. As you will be confronting the mood swings regularly, the meditation will act like an antidepressant pill, which will de-clutter your mind and soothes your blood vessels. So, wake up early in the morning, sit in the cross legged position on the mat, close your mind and start doing deep breathing. To be successful throughout your first session, just pay focus on your breaths.
Don’t forget to follow the exercise plan. According to the Dr. Paula Harvey, a scientist at Women’s College Research Institute in Toronto, ‘with the age, your body mass index and risk of hypertension also increases’. So, the increment in the BMI is not a good signal and you should include the moderate-impact and low intensity exercises in your daily routine. A 30 minute brisk walking is also the best option to maintain your weight.
Eat healthy food
Too much fatty food can easily increase your weight. So, unhealthy food can also augment the chances of lethal disease. You should try to include the green leafy vegetables, berries, beets, skim milk, oatmeal and bananas in your diet to maintain the normal blood pressure levels. You should also cut down your sodium intake. Try to replace the fatty food with the healthier foods and also shrink your plate size.
Say goodbye to alcohol and smoking
Though, your addiction towards smoking and alcohol is very chronic but if you aren’t leaving them now, it can also give rise to other medical problems as well along with hypertension. So, you should maintain a distance from smoking and alcohol as much as you can.
Visit the gynecologist once in a year.
Along with regular checkups, you should also consult with the gynecologist at least once in a year. Sometimes, many diseases are detected on routine checkups and as early the diagnosis will be confirmed, the greater would be the chances of fast recovery. If you’re experiencing any abnormal symptoms, then don’t ignore them, you should fix the appointment with your gynecologist.
So, Hypertension can be managed, prevented and treated. Your serious attitude towards the control over the postmenopausal hypertension will help you in combating with this problem. Undoubtedly, you love yourself and want to enjoy your life with every single minute. Hence, you should implement all the above listed measures to stay away from the hypertension associated problems. So, be medical–problem-free throughout your life!