Medical News Today: What can cause a tingling sensation on the scalp?

A tingling, prickling, or pins-and-needles sensation on the skin is called paresthesia. A wide range of factors can cause paresthesia on the scalp.

In most cases, paresthesia on the scalp is temporary. People may also feel itching, burning, or numbness.

If it lasts for a long time or comes back regularly, paresthesia may result from an underlying nerve disorder or nerve damage.

This tingling sensation on the scalp can arise from a wide range of factors, including:

Paresthesia can also be a side effect of some medications.

This tingling is not always unpleasant. ASMR is a pleasurable tingling sensation that begins in the scalp and moves down the back.

Here, we explore the wide range of factors that can cause a tingling sensation on the scalp. We also describe how a doctor makes a diagnosis and possible treatments.

ASMR

Person with tingling scalp touching top of head and hair
Some people may experience tingling in the scalp as a response to sensory stimulation.

ASMR is a sensory experience, in which an auditory or visual trigger stimulates a tingling sensation on the skin.

This tends to start in the scalp and move down the neck into the back, following the line of the spine and spreading into the arms, as well. Many people describe it as a pleasurable or relaxing experience.

Not everyone experiences ASMR. For those who do, watching online videos can stimulate the sensation and help with relaxation or sleep.

Skin irritation or a sensitive scalp

A common, temporary cause of a tingling scalp is irritation. A trigger for this irritation is often a chemical in a product, such as:

  • laundry detergent or dyes
  • heat treatments for the hair
  • hair dye or bleach
  • highly fragranced shampoos or conditioners
  • other cosmetic products

Also, when too much shampoo or conditioner remains on the scalp, this can cause tingling and itching, so it is important to rinse the hair thoroughly.

Some people have more sensitive scalps than others. This sensitivity may relate to having fewer oil-producing glands on the scalp, making it drier. Or, it may result from having more sensitive nerve endings.

When a doctor can find no other clear cause of scalp tingling, sensitivity may be to blame.


Skin conditions

A range of skin conditions can cause tightness, itching, and a tingling sensation on the scalp. These symptoms often accompany a rash, and they may appear before the rash begins.

Some of these skin conditions include:

  • Seborrheic dermatitis. This causes swollen, red patches of skin that may have white- or yellow-crusted scaling. It can also cause itching and scalp tingling. In infants, doctors call seborrheic dermatitis “cradle cap.”
  • Scalp eczema. Also called atopic dermatitis, eczema causes itchy, dry, thick patches of skin. It is more common in children than adults, and it often affects the nape of the neck.
  • Psoriasis. One form, called plaque psoriasis, causes red patches of skin with silvery scales to develop on the body, and scalp psoriasis is a common manifestation.


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Medication side effects

Paresthesia is a possible side effect of certain medications.
Paresthesia is a possible side effect of certain medications.

Certain medications can cause paresthesia, a tingling sensation on the skin, as a side effect.

This does not tend to be serious, and it does not usually require people to stop using the medication. However, consult a doctor if the tingling is extremely bothersome.

Labetalol, a beta-blocker that treats high blood pressure, can cause a mild, temporary tingling sensation on the scalp or skin. This usually occurs when a person starts taking the medication.

Some medications that treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, also have this side effect. For instance, lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse) caused paresthesia in 2% of participants who took it during a clinical study.

Ringworm

Ringworm is a fungal infection that can cause symptoms in areas with hair, such as the scalp. The infection can cause hair loss, in addition to scalp tingling and pain.

Topical and prescription antifungal treatments are available, including antifungal shampoos.


Head lice or mites

Head lice are small insects that live in a person’s hair and feed on blood from their scalp. Their bites can be very itchy.

One of the early signs of head lice is a tingling sensation on the scalp or the feeling of something moving under the hair. A person may also notice itching and painful red areas of skin where the lice have fed.

People can sometimes see the lice or their eggs near the base of hair shafts. Lice have six legs and are black or whitish gray as adults, while the eggs may appear as small white or yellow dots.

Lice are most common among children. They can pass from person to person and are especially likely to spread in kindergartens, day care centers, and other schools.

Alopecia (hair loss)

Alopecia is a blanket term for conditions that cause hair loss. When hair follicles are damaged or irritated, it can cause itching or tingling, as well as areas of hair thinning.

When tingling, discomfort, or pain in the scalp results from hair loss, the symptom is called trichodynia. It can result from conditions such as telogen effluvium and alopecia areata.


Anxiety or stress

A tingling sensation, or paresthesia, in the scalp is often the result of issues with the nerves, and some people experience nerve-related symptoms due to anxiety or stress.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, panic attacks can cause paresthesia. This may relate to how blood flow changes in response to psychological stress and may also be linked with stress hormones.

Other symptoms of a panic attack include:

  • a rapid heart rate
  • palpitations
  • dizziness
  • chest pain
  • nausea
  • difficulty breathing


Migraine episodes

At the onset of a migraine episode, a person may have a sensory experience called an aura. The sensations may be visual, auditory, or tactile and can include tingling or prickling sensations on the skin.

Visual auras are the most common type, occurring in more than 90% of people who experience auras during migraine episodes. The next most common type of aura involves a pins-and-needles sensation.

Called a paresthesia aura, this sensation travels outward from its origin and generally affects one side of the face or body. People may also experience numbness afterward.

Shingles

Shingles is a medical condition caused by the varicella zoster virus.

It occurs in people who have previously had chickenpox, which results from the same virus. After chickenpox subsides, the virus lies dormant in the body and can reactivate years later, causing shingles.

Shingles is characterized by a blistering rash. This tends to develop on one side of the face or body — including the scalp — and often on a single strip of skin. A person may experience itchiness, pain, or tingling on the skin days before the rash develops.

Shingles also causes the following symptoms:

Nerve issues

The nerves relay sensory information from the skin to the brain. When this signal is interrupted, people may experience unusual sensations on their skin.

A tingling sensation can arise when there is pressure on the nerves, such as when a person sits in a position that causes their legs to “fall asleep.” This is paresthesia, and it goes away when the pressure on the nerve is relieved.

A pinched nerve or nerve injury can cause paresthesia that lasts longer or returns frequently.

Medical conditions that affect the nerves can also cause tingling and numbness in various parts of the body.

One example is multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic nerve condition. In people with MS, paresthesia most often occurs in the arms, legs, or face. Learn about the early signs of MS here.

Some people with diabetes also experience tingling and numbness. Diabetes can cause small blood vessel damage that leads to nerve damage.

The medical term for this nerve damage is diabetic peripheral neuropathy, and it usually affects the feet, arms, or legs, but it can arise in other parts of the body.


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Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia can cause difficulty sleeping and headaches.
Fibromyalgia can cause difficulty sleeping and headaches.

Fibromyalgia is an example of a chronic pain syndrome, and it causes a person to have a heightened response to pain. Fibromyalgia also commonly involves paresthesia.

Other symptoms of fibromyalgia include:

  • headache
  • stiff muscles in the morning
  • poor sleep
  • fatigue
  • cognitive difficulties
  • widespread pain without an obvious trigger

Diagnosis

A doctor will first ask a person about their symptoms, such as when the symptoms appeared and what makes them worse or better. They will also perform a physical exam to look for rashes, bites, burns, and other signs.

If the doctor suspects that a skin condition is causing the tingling, they may take a small sample of skin from the scalp to examine under a microscope. This is called a skin biopsy.

They may also collect some hairs and examine these for signs of affected growth, the presence of lice, or other signs of damage.

If the doctor suspects a condition that affects the nerves, they may perform other tests and assessments.

Treatments

Treatments for scalp tingling depend on the underlying cause.

It may help to use products that do not contain fragrances or harsh chemicals. Switching to a soft-bristled brush and avoiding heat treatments can also help.

Avoid products that contain the following irritants:

  • alcohol
  • parabens
  • phthalates
  • sodium lauryl sulfate
  • sodium laureth sulfate

The labeling for many products refers to sodium laurel and sodium laureth sulfates as SLS.

A doctor can advise about the best treatment when paresthesia results from an underlying condition, such as those involving the nerves or skin, migraine episodes, or infection.


Summary

There are many causes of a tingling sensation on the scalp. For most people, this is a temporary symptom, but if it lasts for a long period or arises frequently, it can indicate an underlying medical condition.

Most causes are treatable, and the treatments vary widely.

Source Article from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325802.php

Medical News Today: Why is my chest itchy?

Itchy skin, which doctors call pruritus, is a common symptom that can affect any part of the body. When it affects the chest, this can indicate a range of causes, including allergic reactions, psoriasis, and kidney or liver problems.

Depending on the cause, the itchiness may either remain confined to the chest or affect the whole body. Sometimes, a person may have the sensation that the inside of their chest feels itchy. Pruritus can occur with or without a rash.

In this article, we explain the various causes of an itchy chest and discuss treatments and home remedies.

Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis causing itchy skin on chest
Contact dermatitis can cause an itchy rash.

Contact dermatitis is a type of eczema that appears when a person’s skin reacts to a certain substance or irritant.

In addition to pruritis, the symptoms of contact dermatitis include a rash, a burning or stinging sensation, redness, and swelling.

Triggers for contact dermatitis on the chest vary among individuals but often include:

  • chemicals or dyes in clothing
  • laundry detergent
  • dryer sheets
  • jewelry, especially nickel
  • cosmetic skin products
  • fragrances

People can try to prevent contact dermatitis by identifying and avoiding their triggers. Topical steroids and antihistamines can help relieve symptoms.

Dry skin

Excessively dry skin anywhere on the body can result in uncomfortable itching sensations. Dry skin can arise due to very cold or hot weather with low humidity. Washing the skin too much or with harsh chemicals can also cause it to become dry.

Symptoms of dry skin include:

  • scaly or flaking skin
  • cracks in the skin
  • gray skin, which may appear ashy in people with darker skin

People with itchy dry skin should avoid scratching it as this can cause breaks in the skin, leading to bleeding and an increased risk of skin infections. Topical moisturizers can usually relieve dry skin.

Read about seven home remedies for dry skin here.


Insect bites

Insect bites are a very common cause of itchy skin. People may not always realize that a bug has bitten them.

Bites from bedbugs, mosquitos, and other biting insects can cause a very itchy, raised, swollen rash around the bite. This rash is called hives or urticaria.

If a person does not cover their chest when sleeping, recurrent itching on this part of the body could indicate bedbugs.

Learn more about bedbug bites and treatments here.


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Shingles

Person with itchy skin on chest touching chest
Shingles can cause a tingling or burning sensation on the chest.

Shingles is a condition that can affect people who have previously had chickenpox. It arises when the varicella-zoster virus, which lies dormant in the body following chickenpox, reactivates.

The first sign of shingles is often a burning or tingling pain, which sometimes occurs alongside numbness or itching. These symptoms tend to appear on only one side of the body, and they typically affect the sides, back, chest, and head.

After 1–5 days, the person will develop a red rash in the affected areas. After a few more days, this will turn into blisters. Once the rash has gone away, people may experience lasting pain called postherpetic neuralgia in the same areas of the body.

People who suspect that they have shingles should see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

Certain medications

Itching can be a side effect of taking a medication. In these cases, it is usually a mild side effect and does not necessarily mean that a person should stop taking the medication.

Examples of medicines that doctors know to cause skin itching as a side effect include drugs to treat high blood pressure and high cholesterol.


Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin condition that causes areas of scaly skin. It can sometimes be itchy.

A form of psoriasis called inverse psoriasis occurs in areas where the skin folds, such as under the arms, below the breasts, and around the genitals.

Treatments for psoriasis include steroid creams and anti-inflammatory drugs.

Sunburn

Sunburn causes skin inflammation and peeling skin. The skin may feel itchy, sore, and hot. People can use soothing moisturizers and cool baths to reduce these symptoms.


Kidney disease

End stage kidney disease can cause a type of skin itching called uraemic pruritus, or chronic kidney disease-associated pruritus (CKD-associated pruritus).

In people with this condition, the itching usually affects the back, head, abdomen, and arms, but it can involve the chest too.

If a person extends the time between their dialysis treatments, they may notice that the skin itching becomes more pronounced.


Thyroid disorder

Thyroid disorders, including hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, can cause skin itching without a rash.

Thyroid disorders often affect the skin, hair, and nails. Depending on the type of disorder, other symptoms may include sensitivity to cold or hot temperatures, fatigue, dry skin, and coarse, dry hair.

Doctors can treat thyroid disorders using medications that rebalance hormone levels.

Breast cancer

In very rare instances, an itchy chest can be a symptom of a more serious condition. An example is breast cancer.

In rare instances, inflammatory breast cancer — a form of breast cancer that grows rapidly — can cause skin redness, inflammation, and itching skin. It can also make the skin appear and feel like an orange peel. If a person is concerned about the appearance of their skin, they should talk to their doctor.

Other causes

According to the British Association of Dermatologists, there are some cases in which skin itchiness has no known cause. This situation is more common among adults over the age of 65 years.

Read about possible causes for itchy skin with no rash here.


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Treatments

Person putting skin ointment, cream, lotion or moisturiser on person's back.
A doctor may recommend topical medication to treat the cause of an itchy chest.

The treatment options for an itchy chest depend on the condition’s underlying cause.

If a person suspects an allergic reaction to a substance contacting their skin, they could try taking an antihistamine, such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine), and ask their doctor about taking topical steroids. Benadryl causes drowsiness, so a person should only take it at night.

If the itching is due to hives, a nondrowsy antihistamine, such as Zyrtec (cetirizine), may be more useful. However, some people can still become drowsy after taking Zyrtec, so it is important to take care when using it.

If the cause of an itchy chest is likely to be a medication that the person is taking, they should talk to a doctor. The doctor can offer advice on whether they should stop taking the medicine altogether or explore an alternative medication option.

Doctors can prescribe ointments for skin itching conditions, such as psoriasis, and drugs to help manage other medical conditions.

Home remedies

People with itchy skin may find relief from their symptoms by adopting the following practices:

  • limiting bathing to 5-10 minutes and using warm rather than hot water
  • using fragrance free detergents
  • using a body wash that is good for sensitive skin
  • applying a cream (such as CeraVe or Vanicream) or an ointment (such as Vaseline) within a few minutes of bathing
  • avoiding using lotions, which tend to be drying
  • avoiding using irritating products on the skin
  • refraining from scratching the skin

If a person experiences a persistent rash or itching that does not respond to home remedies, they should see a doctor.

Read more about ways to relieve itching here.

When to see a doctor

People who have a chronic illness, such as kidney or liver disease, and experience intense skin itching should see a doctor. This symptom could indicate that their condition is not well controlled.

A person with an itchy chest should also see a doctor if they have the following signs and symptoms:

  • an orange peel-like appearance to the chest skin or other breast changes, including new lumps and nipple discharge
  • severe peeling of the skin
  • sudden redness or inflammation on the skin
  • unplanned weight loss or gain
  • night sweats, fever, and chills

If a person’s symptoms do not improve with at-home treatments, they should talk to their doctor about potential underlying causes.


Summary

In most instances, chest skin itching is not a cause for concern. Discontinuing the use of potentially irritating fragrances, lotions, or detergents may help.

If the symptoms continue or worsen despite at-home treatments, a person should talk to a doctor. The doctor may be able to recommend alternative treatments or medications to treat skin itching.

Source Article from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325800.php

Medical News Today: Bison burgers linked to E. coli outbreak

Experts have linked ground bison meat to 21 Escherichia coli infections, which have led to eight hospitalizations. To date, the outbreak has affected people in seven different states.
Raw burger patty
Ground bison meat appears to be behind the recent E. coli outbreak.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), they have traced the outbreak to the production of infected ground bison meat by Northfork Bison Distributions, Inc.

The company have already recalled bison burgers (which some people refer to as buffalo burgers) that they produced between February 22, 2019, and April 30, 2019.

In a Food Safety Alert that the CDC published on July 16, they write:

“Consumers who have recalled ground bison burger patties in their home should not eat them. Throw them away or return them to the store for a refund.”

They continue, “Even if some of the recalled patties have been eaten and no one got sick, do not eat them.”

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How many people has it affected?

So far, 21 people have reported infections with two strains of E. coli — strains 0103 and 0121. These strains produce Shiga toxins, which attack the lining of blood vessels.

People tend to develop an illness 3–4 days after swallowing the bacteria.

Symptoms generally include severe stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea, which is often bloody. Usually, people make a full recovery within 1 week.

However, at-risk individuals, including those who are very young or very old, may be ill for longer and experience worse symptoms.

In some cases, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infections cause hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can lead to kidney failure. However, during this outbreak, no one has developed this condition.

So far, infections have occurred in Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

The CDC used epidemiologic and traceback information to identify Northfork Bison Distributions, Inc. as the source of the outbreak.

This process typically involves gathering information from several different sources. For instance, the CDC will examine the geographic distribution of the illness and look for clusters of cases. They will also physically assess food production plants, farms, and restaurants.

The CDC’s advice

For anyone who has purchased the bison meat products, the CDC recommend sanitizing any surfaces and objects, including refrigerator drawers, with which the meat may have come into contact.

Also, they advise that customers dining out check that the restaurant cooks the burgers “to an internal temperature of at least 160°F.” They also offer advice to doctors:

Antibiotics are not recommended for patients with suspected E. coli infections until diagnostic testing can be performed, and E. coli infection is ruled out.”

Antibiotics may be counterproductive because they can trigger E. coli to produce more Shiga toxins, and an influx of toxins might increase the risk of hemolytic uremic syndrome.

The CDC advise anyone with recalled bison products to discard them or take them back to the store for a refund. And, importantly, anyone who experiences the symptoms above should speak with their doctor.

Source Article from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325787.php

Medical News Today: What to know about masturbating before sex

Masturbation is a natural activity that many people enjoy. It can help people discover their sexual preferences, learn about their body, and provide themselves with pleasure.

Some people may have heard that masturbating before sex can desensitize the penis and make males “last longer.” However, there is no scientific proof of this.

It may work for some people, however, and there are plenty of anecdotal claims to support this.

Masturbating before sex can also be enjoyable foreplay. It may help a person become both physically and mentally turned on before sex. Some people believe that masturbating with another person can help them feel more open and connected to their partner.

In this article, learn about the benefits of masturbating before sex for males and females, as well as some of the things to be aware of.

Males

Many males choose to masturbate before sex because they feel that it can help prolong the duration of sex. However, there are some things to consider.

Sexual dysfunctions

Masturbating before sex
Some people believe that masturbating before sex can help a male “last longer” during intercourse.

Sexual dysfunctions are common among males.

As a study in the journal Fertility and Sterility notes, ejaculatory dysfunctions are one of the most common types of sexual dysfunction. These types of dysfunctions include premature ejaculation, no ejaculation, or other problems surrounding ejaculation and orgasm.

Many people are familiar with the claim that masturbating before sex can help a male “last longer” during the act of sexual intercourse itself.

There may be a few reasons for this. Much of the issue may be psychological. For example, a person may feel pent up or have unreleased sexual tension. This may cause them to have hurried sex, wherein the person may focus on releasing this tension in the form of an orgasm.

By masturbating beforehand, the person can release that built up sexual energy and then feel that they can focus more on enjoying the entire sexual act, rather than just the orgasm.

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Refractory period

A phenomenon called the refractory period may help support this idea. The refractory period is the recovery time a person has to go through after an orgasm before they can orgasm again.

Following an orgasm, males usually cannot have another orgasm right away. Their penis will become flaccid and lose its ability to stay erect. The penis can also be very sensitive to touch after orgasm, causing pain and throbbing if the person or their partner continues with stimulation.

As a study in the journal BJU International notes, this is partly because the body releases more of the hormone prolactin after orgasm. This hormone seems to block off the sexual pleasure a person can feel during the refractory period.

Because of this, some people think that masturbation can desensitize them to the pleasure of sexual intercourse.

In reality, the refractory period is typically short — though it can vary. As the International Society for Sexual Medicine note, the refractory period of younger males is usually only a few minutes. However, older men may need 12–24 hours to recover. After this, they can achieve erections and have orgasms again.

Everyone is different. Some males do feel that it is harder to have a second orgasm than the first one, and they may last much longer during sex because of this.

For older males who experience refractory periods that last hours, masturbating before sex may help prevent them from having an orgasm during sexual intercourse. This may allow them to enjoy much longer periods of sexual intercourse.

This may make masturbating before sex beneficial for some males who tend to experience early ejaculation.

Other issues

For males who experience softer erections or who find it difficult to achieve an erection, masturbating before sex may make it even more challenging to get a second erection in time for intercourse.

People who find it difficult to get or maintain an erection may want to avoid masturbating before sex.

Females

Masturbating before sex female
Masturbating before sex may be a good way for females to reduce tension before the act of sex.

Masturbating before sex may also be a good way for females to reduce tension and find release before the act of sex.

Some females also experience a refractory period after orgasm. However, females have a slightly different experience to males.

Most males can only have one orgasm before their refractory period, and they experience a long refractory period.

Females, on the other hand, tend to experience much shorter refractory periods. During these short phases, the vagina and clitoris may still be very sensitive, and the person may not enjoy stimulation.

However, this phase tends to end quickly. This is why it is not uncommon for females to experience multiple orgasms per sexual encounter.

Some may experience a longer refractory period than others, and they may feel less sexual desire during this time. In these cases, masturbating before sex may not be a good idea, as it may reduce how much a person wants to have sex.


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Benefits

Masturbating before sex does have some additional benefits for both males and females, though each person may experience them in different way.

We cover some of these benefits in the sections below:

Stress or tension relief

Pleasuring oneself before a sexual encounter may help reduce stress, as the brain releases feel-good endorphins after orgasm. This may be helpful for people who are nervous around their partner or who experience sex anxiety.

Masturbating before sex may also help remove any tension from the situation, as a person no longer feels that they have to orgasm to enjoy themselves sexually.

This may be beneficial for both partners, as the sex may become more about the act itself rather than simply orgasm.

Comfort and avoiding premature ejaculation

In males who experience premature ejaculation, masturbation before sex may help them last longer, as it may take them longer to reach their second orgasm. This is not a guarantee, however.

Those who masturbate before sex may also feel greater relaxation and less tension about the act of sex itself.

For females, the vagina may also be more lubricated following sufficient arousal, making sex a more enjoyable experience.

Intimacy and achieving orgasm

Masturbating before sexual intercourse may also help some people achieve orgasm.

People who find it difficult to climax from sexual stimulation may find that masturbation warms them up to sexual intercourse. This may make it more enjoyable or make it easier for them to orgasm.

Masturbating with a partner before sex can also bring two people closer together.

For many people, masturbation is something done alone. However, masturbating with a partner is very intimate, and it allows each person to understand what stimulates their partner.


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Summary

Although there is no scientific evidence to prove that masturbation before sex will make a person last longer in bed, it may work for some people.

Masturbation before sex also has other benefits, such as reducing stress and sexual tension. Doing it with a partner can also be a form of foreplay.

At the same time, it may not be a good idea for males who experience erectile dysfunction, as it may make achieving and maintaining a strong erection more difficult.

The best way to find out the benefits of masturbating before sex is to try it. Everyone’s sexual needs are different. Learning how to explore these sexual needs both alone and with a partner may help lead to a more enriching sexual experience.

Source Article from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325794.php

Medical News Today: What are the differences between naproxen and ibuprofen?

Naproxen vs. ibuprofen: Similarities and differences

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Medical News Today: What causes a pulse in the stomach?

For some people, feeling a pulse in the stomach may be a regular harmless occurrence. For others, it may be a sign of something more serious.

In some cases, a pulse in the stomach, or abdomen, might be due to an abdominal aortic aneurysm. An aneurysm occurs when a weakened area of a blood vessel swells, forming a bulge. In people with an abdominal aortic aneurysm, this occurs in part of the aortic artery in the abdomen.

People with this condition rarely experience any other symptoms unless the swelling tears or ruptures, which is a medical emergency.

In this article, we outline the causes of a pulse in the stomach and explain when to see a doctor. We also provide information on abdominal aortic aneurysms, including the symptoms, risk factors, diagnosis, and treatment.

Common causes

Holding the stomach to feel a pulse
A person who is at increased risk of cardiovascular problems should see a doctor if they can feel a pulse in the stomach.

Feeling a pulse in the abdomen can be normal for some people, particularly older adults with a healthy body mass index (BMI). These individuals may notice this sensation when they are lying down or if they gently press down between the ribs and the navel.

However, those who are at increased risk of cardiovascular problems, such as heart attack and stroke, should see a doctor if they have this symptom.

Many of the risk factors for cardiovascular problems overlap with those for aortic aneurysms. These include:


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Abdominal aortic aneurysm

An aortic aneurysm is when the aorta bulges outward. The aorta is the largest artery in the body. It begins at the heart and extends down through the chest and abdomen.

The abdominal aorta is the section of the aorta that sits deep inside the abdomen, just in front of the spine.

Certain factors, such as aging or disease, can lead to the walls of the aorta weakening. Blood pumping through the artery may cause the weakened section to bulge outward.

If the bulging occurs in the abdominal aorta, it is called an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Without treatment, the aneurysm may weaken to the extent that it tears or ruptures.

What causes it?

Most abdominal aortic aneurysms are due to atherosclerosis, which is when fatty deposits build up along the insides of artery walls, restricting blood flow through the artery.

Other causes include injury and infection.

Risk factors

The following factors may increase the risk of an abdominal aortic aneurysm:

Sex, age, and lifestyle factors

Senior man smoking
Older men who smoke may be most at risk from an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

People with the highest risk appear to be men aged 65 years and over who smoke or have previously smoked.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that male smokers or ex-smokers aged 65–75 years get an abdominal ultrasound screening, even if they have no symptoms.

The authors of a 2014 review concluded that these screenings lead to fewer incidents of abdominal aortic aneurysm rupture and a decrease in mortality rates relating to the condition.

Family history

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 1 in 10 people who develop an abdominal aortic aneurysm have a family history of the condition.

People who have a first degree relative, such as a parent or sibling, with the condition have a 20% chance of developing the condition.

Other risk factors

Other risk factors include:

  • high cholesterol
  • high blood pressure
  • atherosclerosis
  • inflamed arteries
  • emphysema, a lung condition
  • Marfan syndrome
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome

Symptoms

Abdominal aortic aneurysms usually develop gradually over many years. Most people who develop one do not experience any symptoms besides a pulse in the stomach, although even this is rare.

For this reason, experts recommend ultrasound screenings for people with specific risk factors.

When symptoms do occur, they are often sudden. The following symptoms are usually the result of a tear or leak in the aorta:

  • intense or persistent pain in the abdomen or back
  • pain that radiates down to the buttocks and legs
  • a rapid heart rate
  • low blood pressure
  • difficulty breathing
  • fainting
  • nausea and vomiting
  • feeling sweaty or clammy
  • dizziness
  • sudden weakness on one side of the body
  • shock

A severe tear or rupture in the aorta is an emergency, so anyone who has the above symptoms or witnesses someone else experiencing them should call for immediate medical help.

Diagnosis

Senior man having an abdominal ulrasound
A doctor may order an ultrasound to diagnose an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

People should see a doctor if they suspect that they have an abdominal aortic aneurysm or if they have a higher risk of developing one.

A doctor will examine the abdominal area and may listen to the abdomen with a stethoscope.

To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor may order one or more of the following diagnostic tests:

  • Abdominal ultrasound: This imaging technique uses sound waves to see tissues inside the body and can help determine the size of the aneurysm.
  • Doppler ultrasound: This type of ultrasound uses sound waves to assess blood flow through arteries and veins.
  • Abdominal and pelvic CT scan: This scan combines a series of X-ray images to give a detailed picture of tissues inside the body. It helps determine the size and extent of an aneurysm.
  • Angiography: This test combines X-ray, CT, or MRI scans with a contrast dye to show major blood vessels inside the body.

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Treatment

Treatment options will vary depending on the size and location of the aneurysm. The doctor will also take other factors into account, such as the person’s age and health.

For people with an aneurysm that is smaller than 5 centimeters (cm) in diameter, a doctor may recommend the following treatment plan:

  • follow-up ultrasounds or CT scans every 6–12 months
  • medications to control high blood pressure
  • medications to lower cholesterol
  • treatments to help with quitting smoking

A doctor may recommend surgery for an aneurysm that is more than 5 cm in diameter or is growing rapidly or leaking. Surgical options include open surgical repair (OSR) and endovascular aortic repair (EAR).

When to see a doctor

Some people with a healthy body weight may be able to feel a pulse in their stomach. This symptom is often harmless, especially in those without any cardiovascular problems.

However, feeling a pulse in the stomach could indicate an abdominal aortic aneurysm. People should see a doctor if they are concerned about their risks, especially because this condition often causes no symptoms.

Having regular medical check-ups is vital for people who are at increased risk of developing aneurysms.


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Summary

In some cases, feeling a pulse in the stomach is not a cause for concern. Many people who are at a healthy weight and do not have risk factors for cardiovascular issues can feel their pulse in their abdomen.

In other cases, it may indicate a serious issue called an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

People who have an abdominal aortic aneurysm rarely experience any symptoms before it ruptures, and they may not know that they have the condition.

Not being aware of an aneurysm is dangerous because they usually weaken over time and become more prone to tearing or rupturing.

People should see a doctor if they experience symptoms of an abdominal aortic aneurysm, are at a higher risk of developing one, or have a family history of the condition.

A doctor may recommend managing the condition with medication, or they may suggest surgery to repair the weakened artery.

Source Article from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325789.php

Medical News Today: What are the signs of emotional abuse?

Signs of emotional abuse: Situations and relationships

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Medical News Today: Do antidepressants work better than placebo?

Scientists have been debating the efficacy of antidepressants for decades. The latest paper to throw its hat into the ring concludes that there is little evidence to show that they perform better than placebos.
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A re-analysis of a meta-analysis says that antidepressants lack evidence.

In 2017, around 17.3 million adults in the United States experienced an episode of major depression.

Alongside talking therapies such as psychotherapy, many people with depression take antidepressants.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a 2011–2014 survey found that 12.7% of U.S. individuals aged 12 or above had taken antidepressant medication in the previous month.

That equates to almost 1 in 8 people.

Of these individuals, one-quarter had been taking antidepressants for at least 10 years.

Although many people use these drugs, there is still a great deal of controversy surrounding how well they work — and studies have generated conflicting results.

Why the doubt?

To a greater or lesser degree, all the factors below and more have combined to produce a situation where scientists are still not clear whether antidepressants work better than a placebo:

  • Pharmaceutical companies are keen to market the drugs they have spent years designing and testing.
  • Doctors want to provide medication to those with a reduced quality of life.
  • Patients are keen to try anything that might improve their well-being.
  • Journals are more likely to publish studies with positive findings.

The latest analysis to form part of this ongoing battle comes from scientists at the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Denmark. This time, the authors conclude that the current level of evidence in support of antidepressants is not sufficient to prove that they work better than placebo.

The review, which now appears in BMJ Open, is a response to a paper by Dr. Andrea Cipriani and team that The Lancet published in February 2018. In the paper, Dr. Cipriani and team compared the performance of 21 antidepressants.

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They set out to “compare and rank antidepressants for the acute treatment of adults with unipolar major depressive disorder,” as a guide for doctors.

Their analysis was the largest of its kind; it included 522 trials and 116,477 participants. The researchers concluded that, among other things, “[a]ll antidepressants were more efficacious than placebo in adults with major depressive disorder.”

For many, these findings were definitive proof that antidepressants work.

However, “[t]he review received widespread media coverage, largely citing it as finally putting to rest any doubts regarding the efficacy of antidepressants,” explain the authors of the latest BMJ Open paper.

Reopening the data

Led by Dr. Klaus Monkholm, the authors of the new publication believe that the earlier work by Dr. Cipriani did not address certain biases in the data. Dr. Monkholm and others initially penned a critique in The Lancet in September 2018.

In it, the authors outline a number of issues. For instance, in an ideal study, participants are “blinded.” This means that they do not know whether they are receiving the drug or the placebo.

However, because antidepressants have well-known side effects, it is very difficult to conduct studies wherein participants are adequately blinded; in other words, participants are likely to know that they are in the experimental group rather than the placebo group.

Dr. Monkholm and his team believe that Dr. Cipriani did not adequately account for this.

Because so many people use antidepressants, the scientists decided to go beyond the critique. They set out to repeat Dr. Cipriani’s analysis, but this time, they would account for the biases they believe the team missed the first time.

The authors explain that they “aimed to provide a more comprehensive assessment.”

New look at a recent analysis of an old query

Dr. Monkholm and his team unearthed a range of concerns in the original Lancet analysis. Below, we have outlined just a few.

Firstly, in the original paper, Dr. Cipriani and his team reported that they followed the protocol set out in the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions — the gold standard approach to these types of analysis.

However, Dr. Monkholm points out occasions where their work deviated from these guidelines.

The new BMJ Open paper also explains how Dr. Cipriani’s work did not adequately address publication bias. The authors write:

Publication bias of antidepressant trials is pervasive and distorts the evidence base. Many industry funded antidepressant trials remain unpublished or are inadequately reported.”

They continue, “Cipriani et al. included 436 published and 86 unpublished studies, but as many as a thousand antidepressant studies may have been conducted.”

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The debate will go on

Overall, Dr. Monkholm argues that the studies involved in the meta-analysis had short durations and were therefore not necessarily applicable to people who take antidepressants for years.

Also, effect sizes were relatively small, and although statistically significant, they may not be clinically significant.

The authors also note that in the groups that took antidepressants, there were relatively high drop out rates in many of the studies. According to the authors, this suggests “that the benefits of antidepressants may not outweigh the harms.”

Alongside flaws in the analysis, the authors also claim that “their results were nontransparently presented.” This meant that it was not possible to work out how some of the analyses were conducted.

Taken together, the evidence does not support definitive conclusions regarding the efficacy of antidepressants for depression in adults, including whether they are more efficacious than placebo for depression.”

Although the authors do not claim that antidepressants do not work, they conclude that the evidence is still not strong enough. They call for larger, longer, more rigorous studies. A question as crucial as this is likely to receive ongoing attention.

Source Article from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325767.php

Medical News Today: What to know about eye floaters

Eye floaters are dots or specks in a person’s vision that seem to float away when the person tries to look directly at them. They are made up of the vitreous of the eye, and in most cases, they are completely normal. The vitreous is the clear, gel-like substance that fills out most of the eye.

Eye floaters do not usually require treatment, as they themselves do not cause any harm to the sight. However, in some cases, eye floaters may make it difficult to see and will require removal to restore sight.

Eye floaters may also be an early sign of an underlying issue, such as damage to the retina.

Symptoms

Man looking at a sunset who may have eye floaters
Eye floaters are a normal part of the aging process.

The main symptoms of eye floaters are small areas in a person’s field of vision that seem out of place.

Floaters can take different shapes, including:

  • shadowy dots or specks
  • small lines
  • rings
  • cobweb shapes
  • other irregular shapes

They may also appear as a dark or lighter area of vision. Sometimes, the area where the floater is will look slightly blurry compared with the rest of the field of vision.

Floaters are tiny but can significantly affect the vision, as they are very close to the input of the eye.

One characteristic of eye floaters is that they seem to dart back and forth across the field of vision. Trying to look directly at a floater will cause it to move away in the direction the person looks.

When the person rests their eyes, the floaters seem to drift on their own.


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Causes

Eye floaters are a natural phenomenon due to the vitreous body of the eye. The vitreous helps give the eye its round shape.

Floaters occur when this vitreous body starts to shrink. As it shrinks, little fibers can break away and become stringy. This is what doctors call vitreous detachment.

This detachment causes stringy masses of vitreous that can disrupt light coming into the retina. This casts a tiny shadow into the eye, which is what makes floaters noticeable.

Eye floaters are a normal part of the aging process. The American Society of Retina Specialists note that conditions such as vitreous detachment, which causes more floaters, are more common after the age of 60.

Everyone can get eye floaters at some point, though most people ignore them. Many may only notice them when they look at a blank, bright surface or area such as the sky.

Although they can be distracting at first, most eye floaters tend to settle down to the bottom of the eye, beneath the field of vision.

However, the American Society of Retina Specialists recommend that a person who notices sudden symptoms such as floaters get checkups with an ophthalmologist within the first few months after the symptoms appear, to check for any signs of more serious issues.

Retinal detachment

Although some floaters in the eye may be a normal part of the aging process, experiencing a sudden increase of floaters in the eye may be a sign of another issue, such as retinal detachment.

When retinal detachment occurs, it is not uncommon for people to experience other symptoms along with eye floaters. They may experience flashes of light that are not there, especially in the side of their fields of vision. They may also experience a loss of vision in the sides of their eyes.

Retinal detachment is serious and may lead to blindness without treatment. Anyone who notices a sudden and noticeable increase in floaters, along with other symptoms, should see an eye doctor immediately.

Other causes

There are also more serious causes of floaters in the eye, including:

Anyone who notices a sudden increase in eye floaters should see an eye doctor to obtain a complete diagnosis.

Prevention

Although it may not be possible to prevent eye floaters, it is still helpful to follow some basic practices to keep the eyes healthy. These include:

  • maintain a healthy weight or lose weight
  • eat a varied, nutritious diet
  • quit smoking
  • wear sunglasses outdoors
  • wear protective eyewear when necessary
  • rest the eyes frequently


Treatments

Eye floaters
A person may need surgery for eye floaters if they disrupt their vision.

Eye floaters do not require treatment in most cases.

Although floaters may be irritating when a person notices them, they do not pose any direct threat to the sight.

In most cases, floaters settle down to the bottom of the eye, beneath the field of vision. The Columbia University Department of Ophthalmology estimate that it can take up to 3 months for a person’s first floater to completely detach.

Surgery

In rare circumstances, floaters may become very dense and potentially disrupt a person’s vision. In these cases, a doctor may recommend a procedure called a vitrectomy.

During a vitrectomy, a healthcare professional will surgically remove the vitreous gel causing the floater. They will then replace this vitreous gel with a saline solution, or a bubble filled with gas or oil. Most people notice no difference between the vitreous and the saline solution after surgery.

Doctors generally reserve this procedure for serious circumstances, as it comes with its own set of potentially serious complications. These include cataracts and retinal detachment.

Alternative treatments

There are some alternatives to surgery for removing floaters.

A laser treatment method called laser vitreolysis may break apart or dissolve larger floaters, making them less noticeable. However, laser therapy is not for everyone.

An ophthalmologist will need to do a complete diagnosis in each case to see if the person could benefit from laser therapy.

Outlook

Many people will experience eye floaters at one point or another. They can be annoying but are often harmless. Eventually, they may settle outside the field of vision, and most do not require treatment.

In very rare circumstances, eye floaters may disrupt vision and require surgical treatment. A sudden, very noticeable increase in eye floaters may also be a sign of other serious issues, such as retinal detachment, which could lead to blindness if a person does not receive prompt medical treatment.

Anyone who notices a sudden increase in eye floaters should visit an eye doctor for a full diagnosis.

Source Article from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325781.php

Medical News Today: What is ulnar deviation?

Ulnar deviation: What it is, causes, and treatment

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