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Migraine

Nearly everyone gets headaches. But while some are tension headaches or headaches caused by a cold. Migraine headaches tend to be severe and recurrent and are often accompanied by nausea. What begins as a pain on one side of the head may spread to both sides. Most migraine headaches are caused by a change in the blood flow pattern to the brain.


Triggered by stress or other factors, arteries supplying blood to the brain may constrict. Serotonin, a chemical may also have a role to play since it is released from nerve fibers that coil around the blood vessels. To tackle this, certain arteries within the brain may dilate to accommodate better oxygen supply. This dilation may result in migraine headaches. While anyone can get migraine headaches, they are more common in women.


Causes of migraine

Often changes in weather or altitude can cause migraine headaches. If you have irregular sleeping patterns (too much or too little), it may be the cause for migraine headaches. An interruption of your regular sleep pattern may bring on a headache. Strong odors, bright lights and loud noises are known to be triggers for a migraine attack. Fasting is yet another triggering factor for migraine headache. Women may experience migraine headaches on account of their menstrual cycle, birth control pills or hormones. Women who are on oral contraceptive pills are more likely to develop migraine headaches as a side effect.


Symptoms of Migraine

  • Throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stiff neck
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Visual hallucinations such as zigzag lines and flashing lights
  • Tiredness, irritability and confusion
  • Mood swings
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Diarrhea and increased urination


Treating Migraine

Medication to treat migraines can range from ergots like ergotamine or triptans like sumatriptan and rizatriptan. Sometimes isometheptenes are also prescribed. Ergotamines narrow the blood vessels to reduce the throbbing pain. Triptans perform the dual function of narrowing the blood vessels as well as balancing the chemicals in the brain. Eat a healthy diet and keep your weight under check. Obese people are more likely to suffer migraine headaches. Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can bring on severe migraines.


Some anti migraine drugs work by constricting blood vessels in the brain. These drugs should not be take by patients with coronary heart disease or circulatory problems. Sometimes migraine attacks may not respond to the treatment. If the headache lasts longer than 3 days it could be a condition called as Status Migrainosus which may call for a different level of treatment involving hospitalization as the patient might suffer dehydration owing to nausea and vomiting.


Alternative Treatment For Migraine: Some herbal remedies have been reported to be effective against migraine in some cases. Feverfew - Tanacetum Parthenium, a herb reduces the intensity of a migraine attack as well as its frequency. However it may not alleviate the pain once it occurs. Petadolex - a preparation made from Butterbur root - Petasites Hybridus is another herbal remedy to control migraine.


Gingivitis

Gingivitis involves inflammation of the gums surrounding the teeth. Due to this, the gums become soft and swollen and usually red instead of a healthy pink. The inflammation of the gums is a defense mechanism put up by the body's immune system to prevent the growth of bacteria which along with the remnant food particles and plaque form tartar. This cannot be removed by simple brushing or flossing.


What Causes Gingivitis Disease?

The primary cause of gum disease is plaque. However, there are various other reasons why gingivitis disease develops.


  • Gums become sensitive when there are hormonal changes in the body, such as during puberty, pregnancy, menopause and menstruation. During pregnancy, hormonal changes and tartar induce excessive growth of gum tissues resulting in the formation of lumps commonly referred to as pregnancy tumors. These tumors prevent bacteria from being removed effectively during brushing, thus resulting in gingivitis disease.

  • In post-menopausal women, a painful condition called desquamative gingivitis may develop, for reasons yet unknown. In this condition, the outer layers of the gums come away from the teeth and lose their solidity, resulting in the exposure of nerve-endings which causes acute pain.

  • Long-term use of contraceptive pills can also result in gingivitis.

  • Diseases that affect the immune system such as HIV or cancer may also affect the gums. Diabetes when uncontrolled, can affect the gums. On the other hand, gingivitis disease may also be a pointer to systemic disorders.

  • Some medications can also cause gum disease as they restrict production of saliva which prevent the formation of tartar. Some medications used in the treatment of angina and seizures can cause abnormal growth of the tissues in the gums.

  • Habits, such as smoking, do not facilitate the easy self-repair of the gums. A severe form of gingivitis, known as Trench mouth or ANUG (Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis) is mostly found in the case of smokers. ANUG is also reported in the case of incapacitated persons under severe stress. Acute pain, swelling, bleeding and bad breath develop very quickly in this condition and also the gums turn grey.

  • If gingivitis runs in the family, then there is a greater chance of a person getting it. Poor oral hygiene is a major contributor to gingivitis.

  • Dental appliances not properly fitted or improper alignment of teeth may also cause gingivitis.

  • Dietary imbalances, vitamin deficiencies, and drug reactions can also result in gingivitis.

  • Gingivitis disease is also often caused by fungal and viral infections.


Symptoms of gingivitis

There is usually no pain associated with mild form of gingivitis. Hence it may go unnoticed. However, there are certain symptoms that warn that treatment for gingivitis is needed:


  • When the gums are swollen, soft, or red.

  • When gums bleed during, or after brushing.

  • When bad breath or bad taste in the mouth persists even after brushing and flossing.

  • When the gums recede.

  • Deep pockets are formed between teeth and gums.

  • Visible deposits of tartar.



If the dentist finds that someone is particularly prone to formation of plaque, he may recommend use of special implements to remove plaque, such as toothpicks, electric toothbrushes etc. This treatment for gingivitis would suffice when the gingivitis disease is in the early stages.

For reducing the pocket depth between teeth and gums, which can also cause gingivitis, dentists undertake root-planing and scaling. In addition dentists may also administer minocycline microspheres. For women who have desquamatic gingivitis, hormone replacement therapy could be beneficial. However, adverse effects of the therapy could prevent their recommendation. Instead, corticosteroid rinses and pastes which can be directly applied on gums may be more commonly recommended.

Pericoronitis is acute, painful inflammation of the gingival tissue over a partly erupted tooth (as in the case of a wisdom tooth). The treatment for this would include removal of the debris beneath the gingival flap and irrigation with saline. This may be followed up with extraction, particularly when there is recurrence of the episode.


Metrorrhagia

Metrorrhagia is dysfunctional uterine spotting or bleeding between menstrual cycles. This erratic bleeding can occur due to various reasons and can be inconvenient and worrying. Typical causes for Metrorrhagia include endometriosis, hormonal fluctuations, polyps, fibroids, cervical cancer and Adenomyosis. Often an ectopic pregnancy can lead to such irregular spotting. Women who are on the IUD might notice such irregular bleeding in case the contraceptive has shifted. Mid-cycle bleeding can occur sometimes during ovulation. Other causes include trauma and sexually transmitted diseases. Acute or excessive alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking can shorten menstrual cycles. In many cases, no medications are necessary for Metrorrhagia. Oral contraceptive pills are often prescribed to treat irregular bleeding. They help in regulating the menstrual pattern. Lifestyle modification might help in some cases.

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Bibliography / Reference

Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: November 19, 2019