Tag Archives: causes

25 Potential Causes of a Rash (Part 1)

Rashes are a common nuisance we all experience from time to time. Sometimes they are harmless and clear themselves up, but a rash could also be a symptom of a larger underlying condition. Let’s take a look at some potential causes of rashes:

  1. Fungal infection – A yeast or fungal infection normally causes redness, itchiness, burning and soreness. They commonly occur in the genital area, but can occur nearly anywhere on the skin.
  2. Contact dermatitis can occur as a result of a sensitivity to an irritant and often appears as a red, streaky or spotty rash that may be painful and itchy.
  3. Allergies – urticaria (hives) usually present as itchy raised welts or bumps on the skin. There are often several in clusters on the affected area (they can also happen all over the skin).
  4. Fifths disease often causes a bright scarlet-colored rash across the cheeks (“slapped cheek”) that spreads to the rest of the body including the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. This disease commonly affects children.
  5. Shingles (herpes zoster), can cause a burning, painful or tingling rash that presents as a series of clustered blisters which can quickly spread if not treated.
  6. Scarlet fever can cause a rash that appears similar to a sunburn and feels rough to the touch. It usually starts on the upper torso and spreads to the rest of the body.
  7. Measles – usually appear as itchy bumps spread around the body and accompanied by itching eyes and cold-like symptoms.
  8. Chicken pox – looks like tiny red bumps all over the skin that eventually become fluid-filled blisters. These are very itchy, sometimes painful or burning.
  9. Bed bug bites – Often appearing as small clusters of itchy, tiny red bumps, bed bug bites can be tricky to figure out right away. Usually these clusters are on the legs or arms but can be anywhere.
  10. Lupus or other autoimmune conditions can commonly cause a non-specified rash. Lupus in particular causes a malar rash, which is specifically over the bridge of the nose and on both cheeks.

Stay tuned for 15 more potential rash causes next, thanks for visiting DocChat!


Could There be a Medical Cause Behind a Suffering Libido?

In our stressful, fast-paced world, it is no surprise that many people experience a sex-drive drought every now and then. While most cases of suffering libidos are psychological or emotional by nature, sometimes there is a more medical cause. Let’s take a look at some of the potential conditions or medical situations that could cause the unfortunate side effect of a de-railed sex drive:

  1. Fatigue – Whether you are suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome or any other type of fatigue, feeling physically and emotionally drained will almost always negatively affect sexual function and drive.
  2. Type 2 diabetes – Poorly controlled type 2 diabetes can cause both men and women to experience lower libidos as well as impaired sexual function (such as erectile dysfunction in men). Research suggests that people with type 2 diabetes are more likely to experience decreased interest in sex than those without the disease. This may be because of the complicated nature of the disease, comorbid depression, low energy levels as well as medications that can interfere with sexual function.
  3. Sleep or sensorimotor problems – People who have insomnia or sensorimotor conditions like restless leg syndrome that interfere with a good night’s sleep may be too tired much of the time and therefor, generally less interested in pursuing sex than those who regularly sleep well.
  4. Chronic pain – It is hard to be ‘in the mood’ when you experience daily pain. Those with arthritis or other conditions that cause them to be in pain much of the time often experience issues with sexual drive or function because of their near-constant discomfort. If you are always in pain and it is interfering with areas of your life such as sleep or sexual functioning, talk to your doctor (or one of ours!) soon about pain management options.
  5. Menopause – Hormonal imbalances or changes such as those experienced during menopause may cause a woman to have a lower (or higher) sex drive either temporarily, or long term. If you are experiencing changes in your libido because of menopause, talk to your doctor about any medical options such as medications that may help you.
  6. Lifestyle – If you are a moderate or heavy drinker or smoker, you may find yourself unable to, or uninterested in engaging in sexual activity.
  7. Autoimmune diseases can sometimes cause random inflammation all over the body as well as physical problems with the genitals such as vaginal constriction. These problems may lead to a reduced sex drive.
  8. Medications – Many medications such as antidepressants or corticosteroids may adversely affect your sex drive or ability to perform sexual activity.
  9. Dyspareunia – Women who experience pain during sex (dyspareunia) will likely have lower sex drives until the problem is rectified. Certain conditions or anatomical abnormalities may cause pain during intercourse.
  10. Post-surgery – Having to get surgery (especially on the genitals or breasts) often hamper a person’s sex drive, sometimes for long after the surgery is healed.
  11. Heart disease – People with heart conditions may be afraid to engage in sex (or advised not to do so) until their condition is better controlled. High blood pressure medications can cause a lowered libido or sexual dysfunction as they decrease the force of blood flow to the lower part of the body.

There you have some of the potential medical causes of a low libido. Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope you return again soon.







9 Causes of Hair Loss and Thinning

Hair loss and thinning is an extremely common process that can be caused by a variety of factors, or can even be a symptom of a greater condition. Let’s take a look at some underlying causes of hair loss and thinning:

  1. Alopecia areata – is an autoimmune process whereby the body attacks its own hair follicles in small round patches.
  2. AndrogeneticAlopecia – also known as male pattern baldness, is the leading cause of baldness in men. It is caused by a few converging factors including age, genetics and a sensitivity to testosterone.
  3. Vitamin deficiency – certain deficiencies such as vitamin D can cause such symptoms as insomnia, fatigue, depression and hair loss or thinning.
  4. Genetic predisposition – many cases of hair thinning such as male pattern or other types of alopecia are strongly influenced by genetics.
  5. Thyroid condition – hypothyroidism can cause hair loss among many other symptoms until it is corrected by the proper synthetic replacement or medication.
  6. Lupus – one of the characteristic symptoms of lupus is hair loss and thinning, sometimes caused by the disease itself and sometimes caused by the medications taken to control it.
  7. Hormonal causes – Hormonal events such as pregnancy or menopause can cause temporary or permanent hair loss and thinning. Testosterone plays a key role in male baldness as well.
  8. Skin disorders like psoriasis, eczema or certain skin infections can also affect the hair.
  9. Medication or medical treatment – some medications known to cause hair thinning include: corticosteroids, beta blockers, anticoagulants, hormone therapy, certain vitamin supplements, cancer medications and antidepressants, just to name a few.

These are a just few of the many causes of hair loss and thinning, thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope you’ll be back again soon.


Breast Cancer Causes and Risk Factors

Breast Cancer Causes and Risk Factors

Breast cancer develops as a result of mutated breast cells. In approximately 10% of these cases, the mutations are acquired through genetic predispositions, while most cases of breast cancer are influenced by a combination of environmental, lifestyle or hormonal risk factors. In many of these cases the exact cause of the cell mutation will never fully be known.

Risk Factors Versus Causes

The direct causes of breast cancer are not well understood as it is a very complex disease, however we do know that common risk factors often play important roles in the development of different types of cancer. Having one or more risk factors doesn’t necessarily mean you will develop breast cancer, nor does being a carrier of certain genes, however risk factors do put you at greater risk of eventually developing the disease.

Risk Factors for Breast Cancer

Some of the known risk factors that may contribute to the development of breast cancer include:

  • Inheriting certain genes such as BRCA1 and BRCA2
  • Having a close relative with breast cancer
  • Aging. While some women develop breast cancer at a young age, generally your risk increases as you get older.
  • Being female
  • Ethnicity. Research illustrates that African-American women are at a slightly higher risk of getting breast cancer than Caucasian women.
  • Being exposed to radiation
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Drinking alcohol regularly
  • Undergoing hormone therapy
  • Having already had breast cancer
  • Early menstruation or late menopause – It is thought that estrogen exposure has something to do with breast cancer development.
  • Never becoming pregnant or having children late in life
  • Smoking increases the risk of most types of cancer, including breast cancer as there are over 70 known carcinogens in cigarette smoke.

The Bottom Line

These are not the only risk factors, for example, research suggests that women with chronic nutritional deficiencies, exposure to toxins or who suffer chronic inflammation may be at greater risk for developing breast cancer as well. While certain risk factors such as age, ethnicity and genetics are unchangeable, others such as weight or lifestyle choices like drinking and smoking are modifiable. Therefor, it is important to make all the healthy lifestyle choices you can if you wish to put yourself in a lower risk category for breast cancer development.

That concludes our look at the risk factors that can help contribute to breast cancer, keep an eye out for future posts on the topic. Thanks for visiting DocChat!








Non-Contagious Causes of a Sore Throat (Part 2)

We’ve all had a sore throat at some point in time and wondered if we should visit a doctor or if it will go away on its own. Sometimes a sore throat is a result of a passing cold, but other times it may be a sign or side effect of an underlying health condition and treatment may necessary to help it pass. We checked out the bacterial and viral causes of sore throats in our last post, so now here are some other types of sore throat causes:

  1. Allergies can cause the mucus membrane to swell, leading to irritation and soreness or itching of the throat. A more serious allergy-related cause of an uncomfortable throat would be an anaphylactic (life-threatening) allergy response which can cause a swollen, painful throat, hives, swelling and difficulty swallowing or breathing. This condition is life threatening, so if someone is experiencing these symptoms seek emergency medical treatment for them as soon as possible.
  2. Idiopathic or hereditary angioedema (swelling of the lower layers of the skin) can cause swelling in all parts of the body, including the throat. Those with angioedema may have some trouble swallowing on one side of the throat but otherwise may feel okay. However, as with anaphylaxis, symptoms can quickly turn dangerous. If you experience extreme throat tightening, difficulty swallowing or breathing, it is important to seek emergency care as you may need to be given corticosteroid injections or IVs to alleviate the throat swelling.

  3. Sinusitis, rhinitis, and asthma are often affiliated with a related condition called post nasal drip (PND) where excess mucus slides down the back of the throat and gets stuck, causing frequent coughing, tickling and soreness of the throat. If you suffer from sinus issues or asthma and think you may have PND, talk to your doctor (or one of ours) about treatment options today.
  4. Injured muscles – Sometimes if someone has yelled too much or too loudly, or has injured their throat in some way, for example by swallowing a jagged piece of chip, it can be tender and painful for days afterward.

  5. GERD – Those who have gastroesophageal reflux disorder may experience the occasional sore throat due to the bilious acid that repeats back up the esophagus and sometimes into the mouth. This acid can mildly burn or irritate the throat if it happens frequently. Speak to your doctor today if you experience heartburn symptoms along with an intermittent sore throat, or if you know you have GERD but need treatment for your throat as well.
  6. Smoking and other irritants – smoking exposes your throat to thousands of chemicals and irritants, many of which are carcinogenic. It is common for smokers to experience a longstanding sore throat due to this constant exposure. Those who work in jobs involving pollutants and chemicals may experience similar throat issues.
  7. Rare causes – Rarely, a sore throat can be a sign of HIV or a malignant throat mass. If you sore throat doesn’t respond to antibiotics or other treatment and persists for weeks or months, be sure to see your doctor to rule out more serious issues.

There you have the common non-contagious sore throat causes. If you have any questions about the conditions listed in this post, feel free to sign up to DocChat today to speak to one of our experienced, board certified doctors!





Is Another Health Condition Causing Your Headaches?

 While primary headaches don’t have an underlying medical cause, secondary headaches are direct products of other health conditions such as allergies, sinuses, a chronic inflammatory condition or something more pressing.

Are Secondary Headaches Serious?

While primary headaches like migraines can be debilitating, they are not life-threatening. Secondary headaches, however, can be signs of potentially life-threatening health problems in rare cases (such as stroke or cancer). Before you press panic, note that only 10% of the headaches doctors encounter are secondary headaches, and of those, most are due to non-urgent conditions like sinuses or neck problems. Drugs and medications can also be the underlying causes of chronic secondary headaches.

Conditions That Can Cause Secondary Headaches

There are hundreds of medical conditions that may produce headaches, some of which include:

  • Strokea sudden unusual headache accompanied by blurred vision, trouble speaking, mobility problems, face drooping or confusion should never be ignored. A strange, sudden headache along with these symptoms may signal a stroke. Seek emergency medical attention in this instance.
  • Head or neck injury – it isn’t unusual for a person who has sustained a concussion or trauma to the upper body to experience a persistent headache. If you have not been treated for your trauma and are getting a nagging headache, seek medical attention.
  • Sinus problems – one of the least threatening and perhaps most common cause of secondary headaches on our list is sinusitis or rhinitis. These headaches tend to be over one eye, quite severe (sometimes migraine-like), and worsen with pressure. People with chronic sinusitis will likely struggle with chronic headaches unless they find medication that helps better control their sinus condition.
  • Medication (or substance withdrawal)certain medications such as blood pressure medications, pain medications like NSAIDs or opioids or birth control can cause chronic headaches. As can non-medical substances like alcohol, recreational drugs or caffeine. Similarly, withdrawing from any of these substances can also cause headaches temporarily.
  • Structural problem – a structural or muscular problem with the head, neck or upper back can cause headaches as well. Talk to your doctor about physiotherapy or treatment that can help resolve any existing muscular issue, or to ask if surgery can help a structural problem.
  • Psychiatric disorder – many types of mental health conditions can cause chronic headaches such as anxiety disorders, depression, schizophrenia or insomnia, to name a few. Speak to your doctor or psychologist about any medications or therapy that may help these headaches.
  • Infection – a systemic infection can cause headaches as well. If you experience a new type of headache that is persistent and accompanied by symptoms such as fever, inflammation, nausea or chills it is important to seek medical attention to check for an underlying infection.
  • Cranial mass – a benign or malignant tumor or cyst can cause headaches by increasing intracranial pressure. If your headaches are worsening over time and feel like immense pressure in the skull, seek medical treatment to rule out an intracranial mass as it could be serious.
  • Chronic pain disorder – those with systemic chronic pain disorders such as autoimmune conditions, fibromyalgia or arthritis may be more likely to experience chronic headaches either from the stress of dealing with daily pain or because of higher levels of inflammation. Talk to your doctor (or one of ours) about pain management strategies.

When To See The Doc

If you are getting chronic headaches of any kind, you should talk to a doctor about what may be causing it if it is a secondary headache, as well as treatment that may work for you. It is important to remember that the vast majority of all headaches are non-critical, so try not to stress about your headache until you talk to a doctor about your concerns. He or she will be able to rule out any acute problems and prescribe the necessary treatment. However, if you experience severe, sudden headaches or ones with troubling accompanying symptoms, seek medical treatment right away. Remember, our highly qualified, board certified DocChat physicians are here 24/7 to assist you with any medical concerns, so feel free to sign up today. Thanks for visiting!


FAQ – Free Radicals And Your Health

We are constantly hearing the terms “free radicals” and “antioxidants” nowadays, from the television, medical professionals or in articles – but what does it all mean, and more importantly, how can these terms influence your health? Hopefully by the end of this article, we will have answered these questions and more.

What Are “Free Radicals”, Really?

Free radicals are actually normal parts of chemical processes in the body whereby molecules in a cell split apart, creating incomplete and unstable chemicals called ‘free radicals’. These free radicals then try to bond with electrons in other cell molecules, effectively pulling them apart as well which creates more and more free radicals. This process is known as oxidation. The problem lies when free radicals overpopulate in the body, causing a chain reaction of too many imbalanced cell molecules.

Why Are They Harmful?

Free radicals have been gaining attention in recent years because medical research has proven that our environment and lifestyles are causing a disproportionate amount of free radical activity in our bodies. These free radical surpluses react with oxygen and can actually damage or even destroy cells, irreparably altering DNA. This directly contributes to the development of numerous serious diseases and conditions. Oxygen plus free radical overpopulation in tandem with the body’s inability to detoxify these effects quick enough is known as oxidative stress.

What Types of Things Cause Oxidative Stress?

Some of the things that cause oxidative stress which can lead to the development of diseases include:

  • Unmanaged chronic stress
  • Sedentary lifestyles or excess exercising
  • Processed and junk foods
  • Not consuming enough produce
  • Smoking, drinking or recreational drugs
  • Too many prescription medications
  • Pollution, synthetic scents and chemical exposure
  • Sleep deficiencies
  • Sun damage or other radiation exposure

What Health Problems Can Develop As a Result?

One of the more serious and widespread health problems that results from a free radical surplus is cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, if there are too many free radicals loose in the body, they can cause irreparable damage to cells, membranes and even DNA. Once these damaged cells replicate, they change the makeup of all reproduced cells to follow, resulting in cancer. Other serious health problems that can result from free radicals run amok include: atherosclerosis, asthma, dementia, inflammatory diseases, diabetes and eye diseases.

Can Your Doctor Determine Your Level of Free Radicals?

No, unfortunately there is no laboratory blood test to measure the number of free radicals in your body, however, if you are concerned about cancer there are medical tests that will indicate whether your blood cell counts are within a healthy range.

How do Antioxidants Come Into Play?

Antioxidants are nutrients that work to slow oxidation, thus limiting the damage caused to cells by excess free radicals. So, antioxidants essentially help neutralize free radicals. They are found in many fruits as well as other healthy foods. Keep an eye out for our post on anti-oxidant rich foods to find out more.

How Else Can You Neutralize a Surplus of Free Radicals?

Other lifestyle steps you can take to prevent oxidative stress including:

  • Quit smoking and limit alcohol consumtion
  • Exercise routinely
  • Eat healthy (consuming mostly produce)
  • Get better sleep
  • Manage your stress
  • Limit toxin exposure (wear a mask when working with harmful substances)
  • Try to limit exposure to pollutants (check the air quality index)

Keep an eye out for a post on antioxidant rich foods soon! Thanks for visiting DocChat! Feel free to sign up today if you have any health-related questions for our board certified physicians!



Medical Conditions That Can Cause Weight Gain (Part 1)

Most often weight gain is simply that, we all fluctuate in our weight over the course of a lifetime, but sometimes it can be caused by an underlying health concern. If you’ve been exercising and eating the same as you always have but notice the pounds piling on, you may want to look into the following conditions:

  1. Dysthymia (chronic depression)

Also known as persistent depression disorder, dysthymia can cause unwanted weight gain because the brain releases higher levels of cortisol when depressed, which has also been linked to weight gain. If this steroidal hormone is constantly being released over long periods of time it will very likely adversely affect one’s waistband.

  1. Cushing syndrome

Cushing syndrome is a condition that develops from an over active pituitary gland. It causes a collection of unpleasant symptoms including unwanted and sometimes significant weight gain. Because Cushing syndrome presents as multiple smaller diseases, it is often misdiagnosed initially.

  1. Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is an autoimmune condition whereby the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. This underproduction negatively effects the metabolism leading to such symptoms as unwarranted weight gain, lethargy, face puffiness and a slower heart rate.

  1. Oedema

More commonly known as fluid retention, oedema causes different parts of the body to retain fluid and swell which can increase the number on the scales. This can be a symptom of different underlying diseases such as diabetes, a side-effect of a medication or can even be caused by PMS.

  1. Cirrhosis of the Liver

Cirrhosis of the liver is a life-threatening condition that causes the liver to malfunction, ceasing to carry out its routine tasks. This leads to inflammation of the liver and fluid retention which often takes the form of weight gain. Cirrhosis is often caused by alcoholism but sometimes develops as a result of a separate health condition.

  1. Acromegaly

This rare condition is marked by excess production of the human growth hormone (HGH), most often due to a pituitary adenoma. Symptoms include weight gain, fatigue and enlarged organs and body parts. It can cause other health complications as well such as diabetes.

These are just a few of the medical conditions that can lead to unsolicited weight gain, stay tuned tomorrow to read about 4 more, as well as some non-disease causes of weight gain. If you have any medical concerns or questions about any of these conditions, feel free to sign up for a video conference with one of our highly qualified DocChat physicians. Thanks for visiting DocChat today!


8 Surprising Minor Causes of Belly Button Pain

What?! Your belly button hurts? That’s weird…not! There are a number of reasons for navel pain, some perfectly harmless and others which are quite serious. It is a good idea to know some of the symptom differences so you will generally know when to seek medical attention (but please note, everyone is different – medical information isn’t always one-size-fits-all advice, only you know your body so when it doubt, check it out)! Now let’s take a look at some of the surprising reasons for minor navel pain.

Minor Causes of Belly Button Pain

Is your actual belly button paining, or the area surrounding it? How severe is the pain? Is it intermittent? Different pains can mean different things. Some potential causes include:

  1. Bacterial infection – If the discomfort is coming specifically from that strange little cavern and not the surrounding area you may want to look for signs of a navel infection which may include a foul smell, buildup inside the navel, or discomfort and redness on the skin. There are several different types of bacteria living in the bellybutton that can become problematic.
  2. Yeast infection – yeast loves damp, hidden areas of the body. Yeast can easily overpopulate in the bellybutton leading to chapped, red and itchy skin or even pustules around the area.
  3. Chronic skin condition – skin problems such as psoriasis or eczema can cause belly button discomfort, including chapped skin, redness, pain and itching.
  4. Bloating or distention – a common and minor cause of belly button pain may include overeating which can lead to some pretty noteworthy bloating, temporarily causing discomfort in the middle of the stomach.
  5. Urinary tract infection (UTI) – Along with burning and painful urination, UTIs can also cause belly button pain that feels like a string of pain from the navel to the pubic region. UTIs can be minor, but they can also be very serious if left untreated.
  6. Urachal cyst – These very unpleasant cysts occur between the umbilical region and the bladder, they can cause such symptoms as bladder infections, navel pain or even navel discharge.
  7. Trapped gas – another common and minor cause of belly button pain is trapped gas. This can be an extremely painful experience even though it is not a serious one.
  8. Pregnancy – often pregnant women will experience navel pain or tenderness as the stomach expands and everything shifts and grows. Normally this is minor and harmless, but sometimes if the pain is very bad or persistent, it may be a sign of fetus distress and should be checked on.

So there you have some of the minor causes of navel discomfort, next we will look at more serious causes of mid-abdominal pain to watch out for. Thanks for visiting DocChat! If you have any questions or concerns about any of these symptoms or conditions, don’t hesitate to try a video consultation with one of our board certified DocChat physicians today!