Early pregnancy symptoms vary from woman to woman. Some are able to experience pregnancy signs and symptoms within days of conception whereas it takes weeks for others to experience even the earliest sign of pregnancy.
Nausea and Vomiting: Many women experience illness in the morning as the early symptom of pregnancy. Though this particular symptom is referred to as morning sickness, some women tend to feel nauseous throughout the day. This early sign of pregnancy can be tackled to some extent by eating small frequent meals. This earliest symptom of pregnancy is at its peak around 8 to 10 weeks when the hormone levels are highest. Hyperemesis gravidarum is a severe form of morning sickness that affects some women and results in dehydration and even hospitalization.
Increased sensitivity: Another early symptom of pregnancy is tenderness in the breasts. Increasing amount of HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) hormone is responsible for this symptom. A pregnant woman may find herself highly sensitive to certain aromas and smells. This symptom of pregnancy is also a result of the increasing estrogen in the system. Food aversions and cravings are common when a woman is pregnant. This may manifest itself in the early period of pregnancy or last throughout the pregnancy.
Frequent urination:Since a growing uterus applies pressure on the bladder, there may be a need for frequent urination. This early sign of pregnancy is felt within a week or two of conception.
Fainting or Dizzy spells: Blood pressure may drop on account of the growing fetus compressing the major arteries. HCG levels move from 0 - 250, 000 in a short span of time. This is accompanied by increased amounts of progesterone in the body, which accounts for tiredness and sluggishness when a woman is pregnant.
Mild bleeding: Spotting sometimes can occur when the fertilized egg burrows into the endometrial lining. This pregnancy symptom leads many a woman to believe that they have had their menstrual period. This is referred to as 'implantation bleeding' and is experienced by only few women when they are pregnant.
Heartburn and Constipation: Bowel functions are slowed so as to gain maximum absorption time for vitamins and nutrients. This condition can sometimes last throughout the pregnancy. A swollen uterus along with increasing levels of HCG lead to slower digestion and heartburn is a resultant condition.
Missed period: This is the most obvious and early sign and symptom of pregnancy. This will also coincide with high basal body temperature. A home pregnancy test can be taken to confirm the pregnancy by women if they think they are pregnant. There are rare cases of women even women having their period throughout their pregnancy.
Lactose intolerance refers to a digestive condition in which the body cannot digest lactose sugar present in food products. Lactose is a disaccharide (large sugar molecule). It is made up of two important sugars glucose and galactose respectively. The absorption of these sugars takes place in the small intestine through finger-like projections called villi. The villi produce enzymes such as lactase to convert lactose obtained from milk and other dairy products to glucose and galactose.
Lactase enzyme deficiency can trigger the onset of lactose intolerance. This disorder which is closely associated with lactose intolerance may be because of congenital or acquired reasons. Congenital abnormalities of lactase deficiency are because of mutations in the gene coding for lactase. Secondary causes many be due to underlying conditions such as Crohn’s disease and celiac sprue. Infants, particularly premature babies are more prone to lactase deficiency as the levels of lactase increase only in the third trimester of pregnancy.
Lactose is sugar which can cause severe bowel disturbances if undigested because of its osmotic laxative nature. This initiates the onset of abdominal pain, foul smelling gas and sometimes diarrhea. Flatulence and bloating occurs when bacteria present in the intestine utilize the lactose sugar as their substrate. This phenomenon is directly associated with the amount of lactose intake in a day. The exact reason for the occurrence of lactose intolerance is very difficult to identify because many pre-existing causes can induce similar symptoms. Patients suffering lactose intolerance experience bloating, gas and discomfort for period of 30 minutes to 2 hours. These symptoms may increase in severity to diarrhea and vomiting causing loss of electrolyte.
Diagnosis and management of Lactose intolerance
Hydrogen test: This test is done to evaluate the hydrogen levels in the exhaled breath of person. Low levels of hydrogen are detected in normal conditions. In lactose intolerance, the levels of hydrogen are high and other factors such as smoking and alcohol can interfere with absolute diagnostic parameters.
Stool examination: Stool examination is done to detect the amount of sugars present as it indicates the presence of undigested lactose and glucose present in the gut. This test is very useful to identify the digestive functionality in children. Lactose intolerance treatment and management is associated with dietary habits. Patients are advised to minimize diary product consumption. The calcium requirement of the body can be supplemented through other food products such as sardines, tuna, oranges, broccoli, lettuce and fortified calcium supplements. In some cases lactase enzyme is added in the food for digestion.
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Bibliography / Reference
Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: March 20, 2023