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Monday, 3 October 2011

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Health Watch

Say no to cancers in the womb!

The womb is the organ where a baby develops when a woman is pregnant. It is a muscular organ with a lining called the endometrial. It is important for women to take a very good care of their wombs since they are vulnerable to womb cancers. There are several types of cancers which occur within the womb.


Dr Gamini Perera

The three commonest womb cancers are cervical cancer, ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer, said Dr Gamini Perera, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist of the Castle Street Hospital for Women, speaking to Daily News.

Cervical cancer

According to Dr Perera, cervical cancer is the commonest, which is often seen among women and it occurs in the neck of the womb. Cervical cancer starts in the cervix, the lower part of the uterus (womb) that opens at the top of the vagina. Middle-aged women (40-50) are mostly worried about this. It stems out of a virus. It can easily be detected during a pre-cancer stage by doing a Pap smear test which is painless at a medical clinic. It is safe, if detected during the pre-cancer stages.

Vaccination is available for this cancer and it should be done during the small ages to prevent from it. Dr Perera noted there are symptoms to identify the cancer. Main symptoms are abnormal bleeding, unusual heavy discharge which could be foul smelling, watery or thick, post-coital bleeding and bleeding in between regular menstrual periods.

If these symptoms are visible, there is a great possibility of a cervical cancer.

“Treatments are available for this cancer. In the pre-cancer stages, the local excision or burning can be done. When it is cancer, extensive surgery to remove a lot of parts of the womb and radiotherapy can be done. Radiotherapy is a treatment to destroy cancer cells with radiation. It can be given externally or internally. But the surgery is effective only in early stages. In the late stages it can be treated only with radio therapy. Cervical cancer associates with early sex and multiple partners,” Dr Perera stated.

Ovarian cancer

Many types of ovarian cancers exist. This can be occurred in very young age, middle age or in old age. So there is no specific age to do tests. This is the dangerous cancer that occurs in the womb since there are no specific symptoms to discover it. Sometimes the patient does not know anything till it gets worst.

It is a risky situation as it is diagnosed late. Abnormal pain and distension may occur. Diagnosis can be done by tests. Lump test and scan test will help diagnose the cancer. This can be occurred due to genetic causes. Family planning pills help reduce the possibility of an ovarian cancer.


Cervical cancer

“The basic treatment is a surgery. If it is done early, you can save some parts of the ovary, but if it is late, we have to remove everything including ovary and other affected parts,” he stressed.

Endometrial cancer

“Endometrial cancer is the third commonest cancer which occurs within the womb. Endometrial cancer starts in the endometrial, the lining of the uterus (womb). Endometrial is the Inner lining of the womb. This also called cancer in the body of the womb. It commonly occurs in old age. Main symptom is bleeding after menopause. If bleeding starts more than one year later to the menopause, probably it can be an endometrial cancer,” Dr Perera emphasised.

As Dr Perera added, the first treatment is removal of womb by a surgery. Radio therapy can also be done. Women who possess an excessive estrogen exposure, who are fat and whose menstruation occur with long intervals, are susceptible to this.

Apart from these common cancers there are some other cancers which rarely occur within womb. Some of them are vulva cancer, vaginal cancer, fallopian tube cancer, hydatidiform mole. These cancers are rarely seen among women.

To prevent from cancers, women should be aware of the cancers and the tests that they can take. Once they take tests, they are safe and can be prevented from cancers related to womb.


Yoga as an alternative therapy for AIDS

There are approximately 3,000 HIV patients in Sri Lanka, 1,250 of them have been clinically confirmed HIV positive cases. According to the statistics there are 40,000 sex workers in Sri Lanka. They serve over 200,000 men daily and each of them caters at least five to six clients per day. In addition there are 40,000 drugs addicts and 20,000 beach boys. This has paved way to add at least one HIV patient daily to the records. The present trend of flourishing tourism industry in Sri Lanka aftermath of the cessation of the war will further increase the number of HIV positive patients manifolds.

This has prompted the Global Fund to battle HIV/AIDS to allocate a huge sum of Rupees 3,550 million for two projects of proposals of Sri Lanka for HIV prevention and strengthening of the health service in Northern province by controlling AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis.

As we all know the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, or AIDS, is perhaps the most dreadful disease that spoils our immunity and gradually takes charge of all body systems. The culprit behind the disease is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) that decreases the efficiency of the immune system gradually and leaves individuals prone to infections and tumors.

Signs and symptoms of AIDS include severe muscular pain, skin infections and rashes with redness all over the body, sores and inflamed lymph and nodes of the patients, severe throat pain with fever and skin infections that do not go away and appear again. Severe weight loss and intermittent cold and cough are two prominent symptoms.

Different symptoms of AIDS may appear in different persons, but they become prominent within six weeks of infection by the virus. Unfortunately, most of the patients are unable to recognize the symptoms in time and the symptoms become chronic thereby making the treatment difficult. However, in most of the cases the symptoms of AIDS are not manifested after the person contracts HIV infection. The manifestation of the initial symptoms may differ from patient to patient. Body’s metabolic rate and immunity generally affect the manifestation of the symptoms. The tenure of appearance of symptoms can be anything from one to ten years in the affected people.

The transmission of HIV – infected body fluids from the affected person to a healthy person is responsible for transmission of AIDS. A person carrying the virus can transmit it to another healthy person if he exchanges body fluid with that person. The most common culprit is the unprotected sex with several partners that increases the chances of contracting AIDS. The intravenous drug users become easy prey to HIV infection.

Body fluids that transmit HIV include blood, semen, pre semen fluid, vaginal fluid and breast milk. HIV can enter the body lining of the anus or rectum, lining of vagina or cervix, opening of penis, mouth that has sores or bleeding gum, cuts and sores, needles (Syringe).

Medical fraternity does not suggest any effective remedy for AIDS, however, Ayurvedic practitioners claim that Ayurveda recognized AIDS 2000 years ago. Named as the king of diseases or Rajayakshma and is defined in Ashtanga Hridayam. To improve body strength and induce appetite, preparations like Indukantham Ghritham and Ajamamsa Rasayanam are recommended. Rasasindoor, a mercury preparation, is given to the patients to increase internal strength.

If the symptoms start diminishing and patients recover, shodhana (Cleansing) techniques are recommended to flush out toxins from the system. This is done through purgation, emesis and enemas. Once the signs of improvement are seen, the patient is given medications that purify the blood. Patients are recommended to consume special non-vegetarian diet to boost strength. Bathing with cold water and application of sandalwood paste is also recommended.

Ayurveda advises rejuvenators and tonics to enhance immunity level of AIDS patients. Healthy and safe sex is what can prevent AIDS to become an epidemic as AIDS is mostly transmitted by sexual means. Condoms are easy way for protection during sexual intercourse. While using injections and syringes, it must be ensured that they are properly sterilized and not shared by others. Though the disease is not curable but practically an HIV infected person can lead a healthy life by choosing a balanced died and maintaining health and body fitness by practicing Yoga.

Constant changes

Modern medicine undergoes constant change, theories alter by minute. Terminologies are modified in each national or international conference. Newer drugs are being discovered to tackle old and new illnesses, old illnesses are vanishing and new ones like AIDS taking their place.

The most effective way to slow down the spread of HIV/AIDS is through changing the sexual and infecting drug risk behaviors that transmit HIV from individual to individual. Drinking alcohol significantly increases the risk of these behaviors in a complex manner. Drinking alcohol encourages adolescents to engage in risky behaviors of unprotected sex. Hence, delaying the initiation of sexual activity and dissuading young adults from using alcohol and drugs are important HIV prevention strategies. Yoga therapy enhances your abilities, makes you give up bad habits and more effectively develop healthier habits. This helps prevention of AIDS transmission to a great extent.

The relation between the psyche and Soma is harmonized by the Yoga Therapy. Drugs may cure illnesses but the basic inner foundation for achieving health, the harmonization of inner psyche, is not established. Yoga Therapy is of more value in this. The fact that Yoga Therapy can prevent and cure many illnesses including AIDS is well-known. Yoga Therapy has never been very easy to define, largely owing to the length and breadth of the subject. Yoga Therapy aims at the holistic treatment of various kinds of psychological or somatic dysfunction inducing ones that could not be managed by Allopathic Medicine. A number of studies have proven the effectiveness of Yoga Therapy. There are various steps like postures (asanas), pranayama (Breathing exercise) and Meditation etc. in Yoga Therapy that contribute for overall well-being.

Depression

When a person is made aware of AIDS he shall experience fear, hopelessness and depression. Yoga Therapy can greatly help in handling and counseling this stress. So as a result when practised regularly it helps cope with stress and building up inner strength bringing about self-awareness through meditation.

”Keep fit and stay healthy” that’s the mantra for the people who are carries of HIV virus. Some specific postures are beneficial in maintaining health. The good thing is that these postures can be easily performed at home not incurring any expenses.

A set of postures tone up the muscles and internal organs. They revitalize system, create overall awareness of the body and its function and help tranquilize the mind. They also energize and stimulate body’s major endocrine glands (ductless glands). By toning up internal organs, they also prevent and cure many illnesses.

They include head stand (Sirasana), supported bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana), simple cross leg (Sukhasana), supported plough (ardha halasana), supported head/knee forward bend (Janasirasana) and corpse (Shavasana). When these postures are practiced regularly they help in improvement of immune system increasing immunity.

Corpse (Shavasana) is a relaxing posture, a process designed to soothe both mind and body. Yoga Therapy holds that “Tension is a disease (a state of unease) and relaxation is health.” To this end shavasana contributes a lot. Shavasana enables you to communicate directly with your subconscious mind to enhance your abilities, more easily give up bad habits, feel less pain, more effectively develop healthier habits. This help AIDS patients to fight with it.

Pranayama

Whenever we think of the term Pranayama, the only thing appears in our mind is that it is a breathing exercise. But, Pranayama means a lot more than just breathing for relaxation. Pranayama is a regulation of incoming and outgoing breath coupled with retention. Cosmic power dominates and controls our body. Pranayama prepares us for the stillness and meditation to come. It helps us control ourselves mentally and physically, attaining purification of body, soul and mind. Purification of Nadis – subtle nerve channels 72,000 in number in subtle body and the result is healthy mind and to its high. Prana in Nadis enhances body’s immunity thereby prevents and cures various chronic diseases including AIDS.

Meditation is an unique technique used to stabilize the mind, increase concentration and willpower, balance cellular and Chakra energy and develop one-pointedness. Doctors are suggesting meditation option as an alternative therapy to improve condition of people suffering from various chronic diseases.

Medication is now considered as a flexible approach towards combating anxiety, stress, depression and other medical conditions arising due to stress from day-to-day activities which steals the inner calmness of an individual. During the meditation the mind gets purified as all other distracting thoughts are removed from the mind. Medical professionals who were unable to attain maximum results in their treatment of stress related health conditions, found meditation to be a valuable too. Today, the value of meditation is being realized worldwide.

Recent studies have indicated that meditation plays an important role in an individual’s physiological and psychological well-being. The reason behind this is that through meditation the mind is drawn to a state of consciousness which promotes healing.

Benefits of meditation

Meditation is found to be beneficial in lowering the heart rate, lowering cortisol level that causes stress, reducing the free radicals that cause diseases in the body, reducing hypertension, reducing cholesterol levels, treating TB that causes death to AIDS patients by improving air flow into the lungs while inhaling, reducing ageing by increasing DHEAS as low levels of DHEAS is correlated to ageing.

Research has conclusively proved the connection between DHEAS (Dehydroeplandrosterone) level and diseases such as diabetes, lymphoma (a cancer that arises in the cells of the immune system) as well as a decreased lifespan. Meditation significantly enhances DHEAS level. DHEAS deficiency contributes to common age related diseases and diminished longevity.

Meditation increases the consistency of the brain wave pattern. In addition meditation decreases stress and anxiety, depression and irritability and increase memory, enhances vitality, emotional stability and promotes self-realization. All these play a significant role for fast recovery from AIDS.

Meditation is being practised in certain hospitals around the world for improving immune function during health conditions like AIDS, cancer etc.

More and more physicians have now begun considering meditation as a key element in health programs and meditation is recommended as part of treatment for a number of health conditions.

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