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Contraceptive pill

Birth control pills are oral contraceptives that inhibit the body's fertility level through chemical means. The oral contraceptive contains synthetic hormones that alter the woman's hormonal system so that ovulation is prevented. The birth control pill has been around since the 1960s and is popularly used even today. The modern combination pills are popular on account of the fewer side effects and high success rate. But the birth control pill does not offer any protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or HIV and AIDS.


Estrogen and progesterone are the key hormones that keep a woman's menstrual cycle going. The contraceptive pill contains both these hormones, which go into making a hostile environment for an embryo to develop. Modern pills contain less estrogen than their earlier versions. The birth control pill works as a contraceptive by blocking the release of an egg. While a woman is on birth control pill, the brain no longer signals the ovaries to produce an egg each month. In this way, the contraceptive pill seeks to block ovulation so as to prevent a pregnancy. The cervical mucous becomes thick and unreceptive to sperm thereby making its progress through the fallopian tubes difficult. The endometrium also becomes unreceptive to receive the fertilized egg.


The combined birth control pills contain both the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Combination pills prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs. The progesterone-only contraception pills thicken the cervical mucus making it difficult for the sperm to travel. Combination pills are more effective than progesterone only pills. The success rate of birth control pills is about 97 - 99%, if taken correctly. The pill is an easily reversible method of contraception. If the woman is also taking antibiotics such as rifampin or anti-seizure medications, the birth control pill may not be as effective. Some anti-HIV protease inhibitors and anti-fungal oral medication may also affect the efficacy of oral contraceptives.

Varicose Veins

Derived from the Latin word varix, which means twisted, varicose veins indicate a condition where veins swell and raise above the level of the skin. Though they can occur anywhere, varicose veins are most often noticed on the legs and feet. Veins on the lower body are subject to increased pressure while standing and walking and hence they are most likely to succumb to becoming varicose. Varicose veins appear as dark purple or blue cords that are twisted or bulging.


They are easily noticed on the back of calves or insides of the leg. In very severe cases of varicose veins, they rupture and form sores on the skin. If the veins deep within the legs enlarge, it may lead to swelling and pain. Women are more likely to develop varicose veins as compared to men. Birth control pills and HRT can make a woman more susceptible to this condition. People suffering from varicose veins feel throbbing pain and muscle cramping in the lower legs. These symptoms are worsened by prolonged sitting or standing. Venous disease can also cause varicose vein. Varicose veins tend to be more prominent during menstruation and pregnancy. Another condition similar to varicose veins is spider veins. This appears as smaller jagged lines and can be found on the face too.


Varicose veins treatment

Regular exercise can help in building vein strength and improving circulation. Keep weight under control to avoid extra pressure on the legs. Wearing supportive hosiery can help to some extent. Standing for long periods of time can cause varicose veins since the blood flow is impaired due to the stationary position. Shift your weight from time to time if you are standing for long periods of time. If you have to sit for long periods of time, stand up and move around or take a short walk approximately every 30 minutes. Include high-fiber foods to rule out constipation - a contributory factor to developing varicose veins.


Xerophthalmia

In Xerophthalmia or dry eye syndrome, the eye doesn't produce enough tears or the tears have a chemical composition that causes them to evaporate quickly. Dry eye syndrome is common fallout of increasing age since the body produces less oil over time. The oil deficiency has a bearing on the tear film since the water layer over the eye dries faster. This condition is more pronounced in women than men. Women suffering from dry skin or menopausal symptoms may notice dry eyes too.

Causes for dry eyes
  • Hot, dry and windy climate
  • High altitudes
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Side effect to medications such as antihistamines, antidepressants, certain blood pressure medicines, Parkinson's medications and birth control pills
  • Insufficient blinking such as when you are reading or working on the computer
  • Incomplete closure of the eyelids, eyelid disease or deficiency of the tear-producing glands
  • Contact lens intolerance can also be a symptom of dry eye.

Treating Xerophthalmia

A condition of dry eyes is determined by a physician who will measure the production, evaporation rate and quality of tear film. A thin strip of filter paper placed at the edge of the eye, called a Schirmer test, is one way of measuring this. An ophthalmologist can look at the film of tears on your eye using a slit lamp (bio-microscope). Treatment for dry eyes involves trying to preserve as much of the eye's natural moisture as possible. Eye drops act as artificial tears and provide temporary relief. Anti-inflammatory agents are prescribed for more severe cases of dry eyes.

While topical steroids can be used for inflammation, they can cause side effects after prolonged use. Some forms of dry eye syndrome benefit from the placement of tiny plugs in the ducts that drain tears from the eye. These special plugs trap the tears on the eye, keeping it moist. This may be done on a temporary basis with a dissolvable collagen plug or permanently with a silicone plug. For severe cases, special goggles called moisture-chamber spectacles can be worn.

  • Make a conscious effort to blink regularly so as to spread the tears more evenly.
  • Maintain indoor humidity of about 30 - 50%.
  • Keep the body well hydrated with plenty of fluids and water.
  • Do not ignore burning sensations in the eyes or persistent and painful grittiness. Avoid rubbing the eyes.
  • Wear sunglasses with maximum ultraviolet protection.
  • Wear proper eye safety equipment when necessary.
  • If you suffer from dry eyes, inform your health care provider when he prescribes medications for other ills.
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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: June 24, 2019