Ask Dr. Rachna Pande

Dear Doctor, I have been using some mixtures for detoxifying drinks. Does this pose any health risks?

Dear Doctor,

I have been using some mixtures for detoxifying drinks. Does this pose any health risks?

 

Anitha

 

Dear Anitha,

 

There is a growing fad of detoxifying the body. This way, it is believed that substances that damage the body (toxins) are removed. Toxins can be internal and result from metabolism or damaged tissues. External toxins arise from infectious microbes, heavy metals, chemicals, external pollutants, alcohol and tobacco. 

The liver is involved in clearing these toxins and hence bears the brunt of their presence in the body. Most times, specific antibiotics are used for clearing microbes but there is nothing much specific to clear other toxins. Therefore an intrinsic system tries to eliminate them and that is why it is important to keep health and away from toxins like alcohol and tobacco.

Sometimes detoxifying drinks are used to rejuvenate the body. They help in preventing wear and tear of tissues. They also reduce ongoing inflammation. Some of them contain essential nutrients that are needed for weight loss.

Ginger, carrot, fresh green vegetables, fruits like orange, guavas, nuts, contain antioxidants which act as natural detoxifiers. While using detoxifying drinks one should check the contents. There should be natural detoxifying substances and no chemicals. Freshly prepared juices from vegetables and fruits are better choices.

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Dear Doctor,

Sometimes I experience striking pain in my head. I don’t know what the problem is, should I be worried that it could turn out to be serious?

Ritah

Dear Ritah,

You have not specified how long you have been living with this headache, and the part which is affected. Is it related to some activity, does it occur in morning or is there a specific period when it becomes more unbearable. Is it throbbing and associated with a sense of heaviness, nausea or vomiting?

The commonest cause of unilateral headache in a young adult is migraine. It is common in women and occurs due to narrowing of blood vessels as a result of mental stress. The pain is excruciating and associated with colored spots in front of eyes, nausea and vomiting. Fortunately, one gets relief after resting in a dark room for some hours.

Severe headache in a young adult is at times directly related to tension. Here the pain appears in form of tightness or squeezing around the head and may radiate posteriorly down to the neck. Sleep deprivation, hunger or irregular meal timings are other causes. Cluster headaches occur on both sides around the eyes in young adults and become severe when one is woken from sleep in the night. They occur intermittently at fixed times. Alongside such symptoms, the person gets a running nose and redness of eyes.

Excruciating headache can also result from inflammation of air sinuses (air filled sacs in skull). This happens as a consequence of recurrent cold. The pain is severe in morning but worsens on looking down.

Brain tumors can cause headache, which intensifies as the tumor grows. The pain becomes more in morning and associated with vomiting. Eye problems, particularly glaucoma, where intraocular pressure is raised can also cause severe pain.

Treatment of stress related headaches involves relaxation, use of anxiolytic drugs and specific treatments including drugs and surgical interventions. Before choosing to self medicate for headache, it is advisable to go for medical tests.

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Dear Doctor,

My wife had two successive miscarriages this year. Both were in the first trimester of pregnancy. This has reduced my expectations for a second born yet there was no such problem with our first child. What should I do?

Morris

Dear Morris,

A miscarriage is indeed a very unfortunate event in a couple’s life. It is very distressing losing a pregnancy. Miscarriages in the 1st trimester (around the 3rd month) occur in 30-50 per cent of pregnancies worldwide. Most times, specialists have not been able to identify the causes.

However, successive miscarriages can be due to chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus, uterine abnormalities, opening of the cervix (lower part of uterus) or placental abnormalities. Hormonal abnormalities like those of the thyroid gland or in polycystic ovarian syndrome can also result into miscarriage around the 3rd month. 

Uncontrolled diabetes, high blood pressure during pregnancy could cause a miscarriage in the first trimester. Use of alcohol, tobacco or excessive caffeine, during pregnancy puts a woman at a high risk of miscarriage.

One can abort due to chronic pelvic infections although sexually transmitted infections carry similar risks.

It is advised that your wife should undergo all possible tests to identify a potential treatable cause of these miscarriages. If advised by a doctor, let her rest enough during the first trimester.

******

Dear Doctor,

Sometimes when I finish eating food at the work canteen, my stomach starts grambling immediately. It is more common with the groundnuts. Sometimes I am scared that there could be residual food poisoning, what should I do?

Marcus

Dear Marcus,

Rumbling of stomach occurs due to peristaltic movements of the gastrointestinal tract as food is propelled. It can be due to various reasons. It can simply be a result of indigestion or dyspepsia. One may have a sense of bloating of the stomach, which is associated with nausea, vomiting, burning pain in chest or a combination of these symptoms. Skipping meals and eating a heavy quantity at once contributes to this problem.

Eating heavy meals in the night, eating very late in the evening towards bed time are other risk factors for indigestion. If the bowels are not evacuated regularly, they can cause this problem as well. Swallowing air while eating or drinking can also cause rumbling/growling sounds in stomach. 

Infections of the intestines like amoebiasis or giardiasis can also cause spasmodic pain and rumbling sensation in stomach after meals. This can be diagnosed easily by a simple stool test and effectively treated by antibiotics. 

On the other hand, such feeling could arise from allergies. Allergy to food commonly occurs because of proteins that are present in the groundnuts you have mentioned. Some people are allergic to milk products, eggs or chemicals present in processed foods. 

There is nothing to worry about this kind of discomfort since it is treatable. Take small meals but frequently. These should include adequate fiber. Evening meals need not be very heavy and should be taken early enough, at least an hour before sleep. A stool test will reveal any infection if present. Regarding food allergies, try to exclude one item from food for 2 to 3 days. (like ground nuts in your case) . If the problem does not recur then it can be linked to allergy caused by that food item.

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