Ask Dr. Rachna Pande

Dear Doctor, I have trouble sleeping yet I go to bed late. And recently, I started getting many dreams while sleeping which used not to be the case before. Is this normal?

WHAT CAUSES ONE TO DREAM A LOT?

Dear Doctor,
I have trouble sleeping yet I go to bed late. And recently, I started getting many dreams while sleeping which used not to be the case before. Is this normal?

 

Derrick

 

Dear Derrick,

 

What precisely causes a dream has not been found out so far. Why one gets many dreams, while another gets it once a while is also a matter of speculation. Normally one gets a dream during (rapid eye movement), sleep. This occurs 3 to 4 times during the night. It is said that dreams are based on fears, suppressed desires or anxiety of a person.

The experience of some people shows that dreams also guide one to measures for future success or point to something important to begin in life.

Mental stress, something new in life of which one is apprehensive about, having heavy meals late in night, excess of caffeine and alcohol, these have been variously implicated in causing disturbed sleep and recurrent dreams.

Dreams as such do not harm a person’s health. Some people dream but have no memory of it after getting up. Some remember their dreams very vividly. It varies from person to person.

One may not dream much during a sound deep sleep. It is advisable to have an early dinner, avoid alcohol and caffeine before sleeping. Some people find drinking hot milk before sleeping to be soothing and ensuring deep sleep.

Practice relaxation regularly. Regular physical exercise, sports played in the evening also ensure good deep sleep and maybe no dreams.

***

WHY DOES MY STOMACH RUMBLE A LOT?

Dear Doctor,
I normally experience a lot of rumbling sounds in my stomach. At times it is so loud that it makes me feel embarrassed whenever I imagine the people who sit next to me at the workplace hear the rumbling. What causes it?

Loyce

Dear Loyce,

Rumbling or growling sounds are produced in the stomach due to peristaltic movements of the intestine. This occurs as muscular walls of the intestines squeeze, contract and propel the food forwards the process of digestion. Rumbling sounds can be heard from one to several hours, after intake of food and also sometimes due to hunger. When one is hungry, neurochemicals in the brain send signal to the body, causing contraction of the muscles of gastro intestinal tract, manifesting as rumbling sounds. 

Loud rumbling sound (borborygmi) can be normal as occurs after eating high fat food or taking a very heavy meal. Foods like fruits, beans, broccoli,whole grain products and cauliflower, among others, can cause this problem due to much flatulence. Sodas, carbonated drinks, ulcers in the stomach or intestine, food allergies, infection or inflammation of the alimentary system, diarrhoea, are other conditions which can cause loud rumbling sounds in the stomach. It may also occur due to use of laxatives. 

Rarely loud growling sounds from the abdomen can be due to serious conditions like obstruction of the bowel, where there is hyper peristalsis before the site of obstruction. Bleeding from the intestinal tract can also cause loud rumbling sounds. It can also be a manifestation of low blood potassium. 

Hernia, where part of some adjacent organ pushes through weak part of stomach lining, any tumor of stomach or intestine, can have loud rumbling sounds as manifestation. 

The problem can be corrected by correcting the diet. One can try removing food substances like artichoke, beans and milk products, among others, from the diet and see the response. If removing an item improves the problem, then that should be avoided. It is good to avoid sodas and soft beverages.

If the rumbling continues, if there are associated other problems like diarrhoea, vomiting, burning abdominal pain, severe abdominal pain after food, then it is advisable to consult a doctor for diagnosis and treatment of underlying pathological condition.

***

MY BABY GETS SKIN IRRITATION WHEN SHE PLAYS WITH OUR DOG

Dear Doctor,
We have dogs at home but every time my three-year-old daughter gets in contact with them, she gets a skin irritation yet everyone else remains normal. Why is this so and is there any cure for such reactions?

Ritah

Dear Ritah,

Dogs make adorable pets and very loyal guards. But they can also cause some health problems. The body of a dog is different from that of a human being and is very hairy. One can have allergy to the fur of a dog, which manifest as asthma, cold and skin rash. Paws of dogs can have many infectious microbes. Somebody in close contact with a dog can get infected by these germs. 

Skin rashes can occur due to ascaris and other parasites due to allergy. There is also susceptibility to develop scabies and skin infection due to ticks present on a dog’s body. These can also cause rashes along with itching.

Why you are getting it and no other family member depends on susceptibility to allergy. This tends to run in families. You may have inherited the susceptibility from someone among your blood relatives. 

Prevention is the best way to avoid such allergy. Avoid close physical contact with the dog. It is vital to prevent the dog from using the same space you use, that is, sitting on chairs, beds and sofas, among others. The dog’s hair or fur tends to be shed and stick on the surface of the place wherever it sits. They may be small and not clearly visible. But still their presence can provoke allergy, manifesting as skin rashes. Maintain good hygiene, that is, after handling the dog or cleaning its kennel, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water. 

It is also important to keep the dog very clean. It should be bathed and combed regularly and ticks should be removed very regularly. 

Some dog owners also give antihelmenthic treatment to their pets on a regular basis. See to it that the dog does not get in contact with street dogs as it can acquire skin diseases from them and infect the owners.

Treatment of rashes consists of using anti allergy and corticoid ointments for a week or so till they clear. In severe cases, anti allergy and corticoid tablets can be used. Avoid scratching the itchy part to avoid secondary bacterial infection.

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