Tag Archives: treatment

Is Dysmenorrhea Cramping your Style?

Dysmenorrhea is the fancy medical term for intense period cramping caused by the release of prostaglandins. These chemicals trigger inflammation accompanied with monthly uterine contractions. These contractions can be so severe it may feel like one’s uterus being squeezed in some invisible giant’s hand like a stress ball. Not all women experience such miserable menstruation, some are lucky enough to have light, pain-free periods. But the unfortunate reality is that many women do go through this stress-ball ordeal monthly. So, what can be done to help ease the distress of dysmenorrhea? Let’s have a looksee…

Exercise? Are You Serious?!

While some studies on exercise and dysmenorrhea are inconclusive, other studies seem to show that exercise can help ease period cramping. It may seem counterintuitive to head to the gym or walking track when you just feel like curling up in a ball until the pain subsides, however, science seems to tell us time and again that exercise incites the release of feel-good endorphins which can help ease pain. Ergo, exercise may be beneficial to some women experiencing dysmenorrhea. So, why not see for yourself if it helps? The next time you’re cramping to the max, try heading out for a brisk walk or do some yoga and take note of how you feel afterwards!

Home Remedy Heaven

There are many non-medicinal remedies that have been used for years as dysmenorrhea relief including:

  • Certain foods such as chamomile tea may provide some cramping relief. Ginger and other anti-inflammatory spices like basil have also shown promise when it comes to easing cramps.
  • Massage helps trigger the release of endorphins as well as relax the muscles around the lower belly. Back and hip massages may help, as many dysmenorrhea sufferers also experience related hip and back discomfort.
  • Vitamins and nutrients such as vitamin D, magnesium or omega-3 capsules have been linked to cramping relief (only try these once you’ve spoken with your doctor to ensure they are safe for you and don’t conflict with any medications or medical conditions).
  • Heat helps relax the muscles of the uterus, helping ease cramping. Invest in a good heating pad if you experience bad cramping!
  • Cuddles or any pleasurable physical contact can help promote the release of natural analgesics in the brain that will help combat the pain of menstruation.

Avoid These Antagonists

Caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes have all proven to be exacerbators of menstrual cramping. Try to avoid these substances if you’re experiencing dysmenorrhea. Try to stick to a healthy diet, avoiding excess salt or fatty foods. Unfortunately, you should also resist the urge to eat too much chocolate, as it may actually aggravate dysmenorrhea symptoms.

Medications May be Necessary for Some

Women who experience moderate period cramping that doesn’t seem to respond to remedies may find relief from with OTC medications like Midol or Advil. However, some women have severe menstruation-related pain or accompanying reproductive conditions like endometriosis may require prescribed NSAIDS like naproxen or other medications to obtain some relief. Some moderate-to-severe sufferers are prescribed birth control to help ease serious dysmenorrhea. Talk to your doctor (or one of ours) about prescription options if you fall into this category.

If All Else Fails…

Round up all of the chocolates, your cuddliest PJ’s and Netflix for a day or two of comfortable distraction until the worst is over! Thanks for visiting DocChat!



Knowing the Signs of Deep Vein Thrombosis Can Save Your Life

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is an acute, potentially dangerous condition whereby a blood clot abnormally forms in a vein found deep within the body, such as a major vein running through a leg or arm. They can also develop in other areas such as the groin or brain, but occur most commonly in the leg. The CDC estimates that approximately 900,000 Americans develop DVT annually, causing between 60,000 and 100,000 deaths each year. DVT can travel to the lung, leading to a life-threatening complication called a pulmonary embolism (PE) if it is not effectively treated in a timely manner.

Signs and Symptoms of DVT

  1. Persistent, worsening pain or tenderness in one of your legs (or arms)
  2. Swelling of the area (often leg swelling goes the length of your leg, right to your ankle)
  3. Warmth and redness or discoloration (particularly behind the knee)
  4. Leg cramps or trouble straightening the leg
  5. Worsening of pain when bending your foot in the direction of your knee (or bending the arm if the DVT is located in an arm vein).

Symptoms of a Pulmonary Embolism

A pulmonary embolism (PE) occurs when the blood clot dislodges itself from the deep vein and travels through the system, reaching the blood vessels in a lung. It is important that you seek emergency medical treatment if you have DVT and suddenly experience the following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid heart rate or hyperventilation
  • Sudden heavy perspiration
  • Sudden piercing chest pain that worsens when breathing in or exerting pressure (sneezing or coughing)
  • Signs of shock
  • A cough that produces blood or red-colored sputum
  • Syncope (fainting)

Other Potential Complications of DVT

Aside from the most serious complication (PE), other complications may include: an increased risk of developing another DVT in the future or post-thrombotic syndrome (long term symptoms in the affected area such as pain or tenderness). It is important to keep the lines of communication open between you and your doctor after going through DVT, to help minimize or catch any future consequences of the condition.

What Causes DVT?

There are many potential causes of deep vein thrombosis, but sometimes the cause is unknown. Some factors that increase a person’s risk of developing the condition include: a genetic predisposition, certain medications, pregnancy, obesity, smoking, being sedentary for long periods of time without moving enough to circulate the blood, injury or surgery or an abnormal immune response.

Treatment For DVT

There are different treatments and therapies for DVT, but the most common course of action includes medications called anticoagulants which thin the blood and slow or stop the clot’s growth. The clot will slowly go away with time, but some medications help prevent it from changing or moving to another area of the body such as the lungs. Often people are given injectable forms of blood thinners (such as Warfarin) for months after the initial clot. Patients may find the progress is slow. They may have swelling, discoloration and pain for a long time after the initial episode. Even though exercise is painful, it is of utmost importance that the person remain as active as the doctor suggests to help the clot pass more quickly and not get worse.

Prevention: The Best DVT Medicine 

Blood clots often develop because a person remains sedentary for long periods of time (such as sitting for a 12-hour plane flight) and doesn’t get enough circulation of the blood. Getting regular exercise (even standing to stretch every once in a while) will help lower your chances. Losing weight if you are obese and making other healthy lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking will also serve as good preventative measures.

If you are experiencing some of the above-mentioned symptoms, seek medical treatment soon. Thanks for visiting DocChat!



When Should You Worry About a Black Eye?

A black eye, medically known as periorbital hematoma, usually develops when there is blunt-force trauma to the upper face, resulting in bruises that form around the eye(s). A black eye will likely change colors as it heals, perhaps starting red and changing to black, blue, green or yellow with time. Most black eyes resolve themselves within a week or so and don’t cause any significant medical trouble, but sometimes they cause dangerous complications if not immediately treated.

Potential Dangers of a Black Eye

Potential complications that can arise from a black eye (and would require immediate medical attention) include:

  • Detached retina
  • Retinal damage
  • Traumatic uveitis
  • Damage to the optic nerve
  • Hyphema (bleeding in the eye)
  • Skull fracture
  • A concussion
  • Internal bleeding

10 Signs There May Be Trouble

Some of the key signs that you need to seek immediate medical treatment for one of the aforementioned complications include:

  1. Signs of a concussion
  2. Redness, swelling or discoloration to the eye itself
  3. Visible blood in your eyeball
  4. Blurred or double vision or trouble seeing
  5. Vision changes such as bright flashes or ‘floaters’
  6. Excessive pain
  7. Excessive bruising around both eyes
  8. Bleeding from the nose or ears
  9. Pain when looking back and forth
  10. Signs of infection

Dos and Don’ts of Black Eye First Aid


  • Start with a cold compress for 10-15 minutes
  • Apply heat to the area after a couple days (this will help blood flow return to normal)
  • Take acetaminophen for the pain
  • Get it checked out by a professional


  • Apply raw meat to the area – unless you’re hoping for an infection to develop!
  • Take NSAIDS (like Advil) as they may increase bleeding
  • Press on or poke at the injured area

The best thing to do is to get a doctor to take a look at any black eye, even if you don’t think it is serious so he or she can decide the status of the injury for themselves, as well as the appropriate treatment. Thanks for visiting DocChat!

New Developments in SAD Treatment

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of seasonal depression, often syncing up with fall and winter and easing off again in the spring. Winter brings days that get shorter and darker, weather that often leaves us stuck inside more, and trees that are barren and colorless. The sun can be a scarce commodity during gray winter days as well, so it makes sense that many people struggle with the season.

How Common is SAD?

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, SAD is quite a prevalent mood disorder. While 4-6% of the population experiences severe SAD, up to 20% of Americans may have a mild form of the condition. It is more common women and most often affects adults aged 20 years and older.

How Was It Traditionally Treated?

SAD has been approached similarly to depression in the past, with a combination of talk therapy and antidepressants. The benefits of light therapy have also been used for years in combination with other treatment. In many cases, light therapy can even work as the sole treatment for SAD.

New Developments in Light Therapy

Trial and error experimentation with light therapy over the years has led us to the modern treatment dosage of half an hour of 10,000-lux diffused fluorescent light each morning as well as natural light whenever possible. According to Columbia University Psychologist, Michael Terman, a patient’s remission rate sky rockets to 80% if the light therapy is personalized to the person’s sleep-wake cycle.

New Ideas on Therapy

There has actually been some interested in the idea of negative ions in the supplemental treatment for SAD in recent years. It appears to have a positive impact on some SAD and depression sufferers, though its effect on depression has not yet been empirically proven. You can buy light boxes with built in negative ionizers.

Vitamin Deficiencies and Depression  

When you’re deficient or a little low on certain essential vitamins such as vitamin D or some of the B varieties, it can drastically alter your mood. Many people who live in northern environments lack vitamin D because of shorter daylight hours and less sunlight exposure. A vitamin D deficiency can cause depression-like symptoms such as fatigue or moodiness. It also plays a research-established role in depressive disorders.

Other Tips That Can Help SAD Sufferers

  • Try to exercise outdoors
  • Try massage
  • Eat healthy, mood-boosting foods (such as those that contain omega-3 fatty acids)
  • Make sure you manage your stress
  • Make plenty of time for leisure

That concludes our look at new developments in SAD treatment. Thanks for visiting DocChat!




Asthma Vs Chronic Bronchitis

We took a look at acute bronchitis in our last post. Next up is chronic bronchitis, which is characterized by a mucus-producing cough and related symptoms that last longer than 3 months. In cases of chronic bronchitis, inflammation of the respiratory tract is persistent and never resolves itself completely. Over 80% of cases are caused by smoking or long-term second hand exposure to smoke. In other cases, long-term exposure to chemical irritants or heavy pollution may cause chronic bronchitis (which is a subtype of COPD).

What are the symptoms of bronchitis?

  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath or tightness in chest
  • A dry or productive cough
  • Excess mucus production
  • Feeling of general malaise
  • Mild chills or fever
  • Headache
  • Fatigue

Is it Bronchitis or Asthma?

If you seem to continually get bouts of acute bronchitis, there may be more at the heart of the matter. Often people who are diagnosed with bronchitis several times a year actually have asthma (or a COPD-related condition). There are different types of asthma such as exercise induced, allergic-asthma and seasonal asthma, all of which produce symptoms that can mimic bronchitis. Because asthma also causes excess mucus and swelling (of the muscles surrounding the bronchial tract), flare-ups can be easily mistaken for acute bronchitis.

Asthmatic Bronchitis

Alternately, it is very possible to experience both conditions simultaneously. Asthmatics are prone to a special type or bronchitis called asthmatic bronchitis. This happens when the lining of the airways is swollen (bronchitis), along with the muscles surrounding the airways (asthma). This double respiratory whammy can be very serious and is often treated with steroids. Asthmatic bronchitis is typically not contagious (unless it was initially caused by a virus).

What is the Difference Between Chronic Bronchitis and Asthma?

While both chronic bronchitis and asthma are chronic conditions of the respiratory system that involve swelling, chest tightness, coughing and shortness of breath, they do have some marked differences as well:

  1. Asthmatics typically experience more symptoms in the night times such as wheezing and chest tightness, while COPD sufferers have a characteristic morning cough that produces sputum.
  2. Asthmatics commonly have related allergies and sensitivities that sometimes act as triggers for asthma attacks, whereas chronic bronchitis is most often associated with long-term exposure to harmful chemicals.
  3. While doctors may prescribe some similar puffers to help control both conditions, treatment can be quite different.
  4. The most notable difference between the two conditions is the prognosis. Generally speaking, asthma is more controllable and does less damage than COPD-related conditions like chronic bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis is more of a progressive disease that can leave destruction of the lungs in its wake. When a person has an asthma attack, the structures of the lungs return to normal with treatment. However, the lungs of a person with COPD may keep deteriorating slowly.

Both conditions require long-term maintenance and follow-up to ensure the treatment plan in place is still effective. Our DocChat physicians are standing by 24/7/365 to provide any assistance you may need. Thanks for visiting!




A Look at Acute Bronchitis

Bronchitis is a common respiratory condition which can cause temporary or chronic illness. Most people will develop acute bronchitis at some point in their lives. Let’s look at the in’s and outs of bronchitis:

What is Bronchitis?

Bronchitis is a condition marked by inflammation of the lining of the airways (bronchial tubes). Bronchitis triggers the production of more mucus in the airways which leads to a productive cough. It is usually acute (comes on quickly and intensely but only lasts for a short period of time), but can also be a chronic condition.

What Causes it?

Acute bronchitis is most often viral and develops when germs from a cold are left behind and make their way past the cilia (the hair-like structures on the mucus membrane that help filter out harmful particles) and down into your lungs. Few cases of acute bronchitis are bacterial by nature. Antibiotics will only help those few cases, taking antibiotics will not help with viral bronchitis and may contribute to antimicrobial resistance.

What are the symptoms of bronchitis?

  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath or tightness in chest
  • A dry or productive cough
  • Excess mucus production
  • Feeling of general malaise
  • Mild chills or fever
  • Headache
  • Fatigue

Treatment for Bronchitis

Treatment for bronchitis depends on your doctor’s evaluation of the nature of your bronchitis. Someone who gets bronchitis frequently, has moderate trouble breathing or has a comorbid lung condition may be prescribed corticosteroids like prednisone to help clear the inflammation in their lungs more quickly. If a doctor suspects your bronchitis is bacterial by nature, he or she may prescribe antibiotics. A doctor may also prescribe a temporary puffer. Some cases of bronchitis resolve themselves.

Things You Can Do to Help Your Bronchitis Pass

  • Drink plenty of fluids to help thin out the mucus and make it easier to pass through the system
  • Give your body plenty of rest
  • Inhale steam (sometimes with essential oils like peppermint) to help get the mucus off your chest
  • Take OTC medications like NSAIDS to help control any fever that may be present (never give children Aspirin)

When to Call the Doc

If you’ve recently had a cold and it seems to have migrated to your lungs, you should check with a doctor (or one of ours) as you may have bronchitis. Or if you have a nagging cough and are producing mucus, it may be time to check in as well. Anything that seems to extend beyond the normal course of a cold for you is worth checking out!

Thanks for visiting DocChat! Check back for our post on chronic and asthmatic bronchitis next!



Endometriosis Fast Facts

Endometriosis is a complex reproductive condition that causes endometrial tissue to grow outside the uterus in places like the ovaries, bowel or even the lungs. This abnormal overgrowth causes inflammation and pain. Some other facts about endometriosis include:

  • Approximately 5 million American women have endometriosis (nearly 1 in 10).
  • Endometriosis is most common amongst women in their 30’s and 40’s, but can occur any age between menses and menopause (sometimes even after menopause).
  • Endometriosis can adversely affect fertility. Some women have to undergo fertility treatment or adjust their medications to better chances of pregnancy.
  • Endometriosis can cause lesions or scar tissue that sometimes requires surgery to eradicate.
  • Symptoms of endometriosis include: pain during and after sex or during ovulation, heavy bleeding, fatigue. It can also significantly impact mental health.
  • Pregnancy or a hysterectomy can sometimes relieve symptoms but not in all cases.
  • Women with endometriosis may be at greater risk of developing certain types of cancer.
  • Endometriosis is not considered an autoimmune disease, despite the immunological abnormalities it causes.
  • Endometriosis can be a very frustrating condition as treatment isn’t effective for everyone and little is understood about it and doctors don’t all agree on all aspects about it.
  • It can be a very frustrating disorder fraught with treatments that don’t work well.
  • Synthetic hormone treatments may help some of the symptoms of endometrioses but they will not cure it long term.

There you have some fast facts about endometriosis There is so much we don’t yet know about the painful condition, but medical researchers are still hard at work to get more answers. Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope you stop by again soon.

What is Raynaud’s Phenomenon?

Raynaud’s is a blood vessel disorder that causes more rapid, responsive and extreme vasoconstriction when exposed to cold. It primarily targets the blood vessels in the fingertips and toes, often changing the color of the affected areas. There are two types of Raynaud’s: primary, which has no underlying condition triggering it and secondary Raynaud’s, which is linked to a larger underlying (usually autoimmune) condition. Let’s take a look at some facts about Raynaud’s:

  • The most common form, primary Raynaud’s, is usually milder and shows up earlier in life. It is referred to ask Raynaud’s disease.
  • Secondary Raynaud’s, more often referred to as Raynaud’s phenomenon is more severe as it is triggered by a comorbid disease and often comes on later in life.
  • Most Raynaud’s attacks are caused by exposure to cold temperatures or episodes of great stress.
  • Raynaud’s affected fingers and toes usually change color when exposed to cold because of decreased blood flow or vasospasm. Often the fingers or toes will turn white, then red or blue when starting to thaw. This is usually a highly unpleasant sensation.
  • Secondary Raynaud’s can be triggered by such conditions as rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, lupus or other arthritic, autoimmune conditions.
  • Niacin (also known as vitamin B3) can help increase blood flow for those with Raynaud’s, but be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any supplements.
  • Symptoms include: pain, tingling, numbness, freezing, throbbing and discoloration.
  • Both types of Raynaud’s usually affect the hands and feet. Less commonly, Raynaud’s can affect the ears, nose, lips, nipples and knees.
  • Smoking and certain medications can cause or worsen Raynaud’s as well.
  • Attacks usually only last minutes, but can last several hours in extreme cases.
  • In serious cases (usually with secondary Raynaud’s) open sores can result from the vasospasms, potentially even leading to amputation.
  • Diagnosis of Raynaud’s can be made by ruling out other similar conditions via blood tests, or performing a nailfold capillaroscopy test (when the capillaries under the nails are examined via microscope), or a cold stimulation test whereby the doctor will attempt to induce an attack by intentionally exposing the patient’s hands to cold water.
  • Treatment of Raynaud’s mostly consists of prevention. Some of the key ways to prevent attacks are to: keep the hands and feet as warm as possible at all times, engage in stress management to reduce the number of stress attacks, quit smoking and to exercise regularly to help increase blood flow. These measures should help reduce frequency and severity of attacks which will help limit damage to the extremities.

If you have symptoms of Raynaud’s, be sure to see your doctor for further evaluation to rule out any serious underlying conditions as Raynaud’s is often the first symptom of a larger autoimmune disease. Thanks for visiting DocChat!




Epilepsy Awareness

Epilepsy is a complex and prevalent neurological disorder marked by abnormal brain activity, recurrent seizures and other sensory disturbances. Let’s take a closer look:

  • Epilepsy is a shockingly common condition, striking approximately 1 in every 100 Americans with nearly 150,000 new diagnoses each year.
  • Anyone can develop epilepsy. The disorder can just as easily develop in elderly people as it can in children (or anywhere in between).
  • Seizures can begin after another type of medical trauma such as a stroke.
  • DO: roll a seizure victim on their side gently, try to support their head and make them comfortable, as well as monitor your vitals.
  • DON’T: Despite common misconception, never try to put something in the mouth of a seizure victim as it may make them choke or hurt their jaw or teeth.
  • Contrary to commonly held belief, it is actually impossible to swallow your tongue during a seizure.
  • People with epilepsy can hold down most steady jobs (except some that may be a safety hazard in the case of a seizure on the job, such as construction).
  • Epilepsy can’t be cured but it can be successfully treated in many cases.
  • Unfortunately, a fair number of people with the disorder do not respond to treatment and live with uncontrolled epilepsy. However, it is entirely possible with rapid medical advancements that there may be better treatment in the near future.
  • It is possible to die from an epilepsy complication called sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP).
  • Sadly, up to 42,000 people die from SUDEP each year in the United States.
  • Symptoms of epileptic seizures include: trans-like staring, abrupt jerking of the limbs, temporary loss of consciousness or awareness, repetitive movements, dizziness or light sensitivity, just to name a few.
  • The two main types of seizures are focal and generalized. Each have various subtypes.
  • The most commonly known type of seizure is a grand mal (tonic-clonic) generalized seizure.
  • If a person is having their first seizure, a seizure that lasts longer than 5 minutes or has another seizure following the first, has an additional medical condition, or appears to have been injured during the seizure call 9-1-1 immediately.

Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope we’ve answered some of your questions about epilepsy. We hope you’ll be back again soon!


What You Need to Know About Shingles

Shingles (also known as herpes zoster) is an extremely painful and dangerous viral condition that is caused by the spontaneous reactivation of the chickenpox virus that usually lay dormant in the body. A whopping 1 in 3 Americans will be affected by shingles at some point in their lifetime.

Symptoms of Shingles

According to the Mayo Clinic, many of the symptoms only affect one section or side of the body. These symptoms may include:

  • A few fluid-filled red blisters that crust over once broken
  • A rash of blisters that most commonly appears as a stripe around the torso
  • Itching
  • Skin or eye sensitivity
  • Pain, numbness, burning or tingling (pain is usually the first sign)
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • General malaise

Important facts About Shingles

  • Shingles can cause permanent eye damage if it occurs near the eye and isn’t treated right away.
  • Advanced age increases your risk of contracting shingles.
  • It can cause problems with the nerves, tissue and skin of the affected area and is best when caught and treated early.
  • Shingles can cause pain that last for years.
  • There is a shingles vaccine available now. The CDC recommends anyone over 60 receive the vaccine.
  • If you seek medical treatment at the very first onset of shingles symptoms, you have better chance of catching it before it turns ugly.

That’s all for now, if you have questions about shingles or any other medical condition, our board certified DocChat physicians are standing by 24/7/365 to assist you!