Everything You Need to Know About Vitiligo

Everything You Need to Know About Vitiligo

Brittni Devlin |Mar 30, 2021

What is Vitiligo?

Especially in recent years, where media is striving for representation, you may have noticed a few actors or models with contrasting skin pigmentation. Many individuals with these discolored patches of skin have vitiligo. While this condition has only recently been receiving more acknowledgment and visibility, people all over the world have had vitiligo for many years.

Symptoms of Vitiligo

Individuals with this condition exhibit patchy skin color. Many are often born with a monotone skin pigment, and symptoms manifest over the years. Every person suffers from the condition differently, involving a wide range of severity and affected areas. Different types can affect different parts of the body:

  • Universal vitiligo: nearly all of your body
  • Generalized vitiligo: many parts of your body (often symmetrically)
  • Segmental vitiligo: only one side of your body
  • Localized (focal) vitiligo: affects just a few targeted spots on the body
  • Acrofacial vitiligo: affects just the hands

While the loss of skin color can appear anywhere, some areas of the body are often affected first. These areas include the hands, face, and parts of the body surrounded by openings (such as the genitals).

It may also manifest as the premature loss of color in the hair. Although graying hair is expected with age, vitiligo may cause this to happen much earlier, such as in adolescence or teen years.

Some people may only exhibit symptoms when they are older; however, a vast majority of cases appear before the age of 30. Sometimes, the skin will regain its color over time with treatment. In other cases, the condition progresses. It’s difficult to gauge how vitiligo will impact a person.

Although the disease itself is not life-threatening, there are certain complications individuals suffering from this condition should keep in mind. Vitiligo increases the risk of sunburn, hearing problems, and eye problems. Additionally, the social stigma surrounding the condition sometimes forces individuals to endure social and psychological stress.

What Causes Vitiligo?

On a microscopic level, vitiligo refers to the death of melanocytes. Melanocytes are pigment-producing cells that give skin, eyes, and hair their natural color. When these cells die, the skin is left incredibly pale in appearance. Researchers are not sure of the exact cause of this cell death; however, there are several different theories why one would suffer from the disease.

Autoimmune Disorders

Some experts speculate that immune system disorders are responsible for abnormal behavior. The immune system is responsible for keeping the body safe and healthy. Some believe that when the body’s defense accidentally attacks healthy tissue, it can cause some damage. If the immune system happens to target melanocytes, this theoretically results in loss of pigmented tissue.

Genetics

Researchers found a connection between heredity and this condition. It’s possible that an inheritable genetic mutation is responsible for symptoms.

Environmental Factors

A traumatic triggering event may cause it. Triggering events can include stressful situations such as severe sunburns or contact with an incredibly corrosive chemical.

How to Get Diagnosed

Diagnosis of vitiligo involves a medical examination. A trained physician can assess your case. If you notice patchy pigmentation abnormalities appearing in your skin, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor. Although there is no cure for vitiligo, there are several treatments that may help with symptoms.

Treatments for Vitiligo

There are no treatments that stop vitiligo; however, some treatments may get color back in some cases. Depending on the medical assessment you receive, a doctor may suggest anti-inflammatory medication, light therapy, photochemotherapy, or depigmentation. However, these may have side effects to consider and are not guaranteed to be effective.

Above all when answering, it’s important to remember that vitiligo’s symptoms are more superficial than anything. Treatments are available to offer patients desired solutions, but vitiligo is not a dangerous condition that requires much treatment. Aside from taking extra care when the skin is exposed to the sun, if you are comfortable with your condition, there is no need to seek treatment.

If you are unhappy with the appearance of patchy spots, using makeup can help blend your skin colors together. Many individuals found happiness and success from embracing their vitiligo versus struggling to cover it up and blend in.

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Sinead Carey | March 30, 2021

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8 Symptoms of an Ectopic Pregnancy

Sinead Carey | March 30, 2021

Symptoms of Ectopic Pregnancy Pregnancy can be an exciting and life-changing event in a person’s life. However, it also comes with many risks and challenges. So, while focusing on the positive aspects of the process is important, you need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of possible complications, such as the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, an ectopic pregnancy should be considered an emergency and is one of the leading causes of maternal death in the first trimester. Though the occurrence can be difficult to measure, the March of Dimes estimates that 1 in 50 pregnancies in the U.S. is ectopic. Considering that just under 4 million babies are born in the U.S. each year, this is a significant number of people suffering from it. Though this is something no one wants to think about, recognizing the signs of an ectopic pregnancy can mean the difference between life and death. What is an Ectopic Pregnancy? The word ectopic means “out of place.” Therefore, an ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilized egg forms in the wrong place — in other words, outside of the womb. Most ectopic pregnancies are defined as “tubular” because more than 90% of ectopic cases happen in the fallopian tubes. In a normal pregnancy, the sperm and egg meet, become fertilized and travel down to attach to the lining of your womb. This is where your baby will grow for nine months. In a tubular pregnancy, the fertilized egg attaches to the fallopian tube before it manages to reach the womb. It is also possible for an ectopic pregnancy to occur in the ovary, cervix or even somewhere else in your belly. The problem is that these areas don’t have space or the environment to promote your baby’s growth. As a result, an ectopic pregnancy can cause heavy bleeding or a burst fallopian tube, which is potentially fatal to the mother. The unfortunate truth is that all ectopic pregnancies are non-viable and end in the loss of the pregnancy. 8 Signs of an Ectopic Pregnancy In some cases of ectopic pregnancy, the mother may not be aware that they are pregnant. However, signs and symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy can start the same as signs of a normal pregnancy, so it is vital to be aware of them. Signs and symptoms include: Abnormal vaginal bleeding. Sudden pain in the abdomen or pelvis. Cramping pains in the pelvis. Lower back pain. Tender breasts. Nausea and vomiting. Dizziness and fainting spells. Shoulder pain. [youmaylike] Causes and Risk Factors It is still not known why some people suffer from ectopic pregnancies and others don’t. However, there are many risk factors known to increase your chances of having an ectopic pregnancy. Risk factors: Aged 35 years or older. Smoker. Previous ectopic pregnancy. Fertility treatments, such as IVF. Pelvic inflammatory disease. Scarring from prior pelvic surgery. Fertility drugs to treat infertility. Pregnancy while using an intrauterine device (IUD). Treatments Options There are two main approaches to the treatment of an ectopic pregnancy. Medication This form of treatment is less common and can only be done in certain situations. However, as an ectopic pregnancy is potentially fatal, it often requires rapid and comprehensive treatment. Medication can be effective if it is caught before the pregnancy is too far along. Your doctor will also ensure that there has been no rupture or immediate risk of a rupture. The primary medication used to treat ectopic pregnancies is methotrexate. This drug works by stopping the cells from growing. Your body will absorb the pregnancy over the course of a few weeks, and it does not require any surgery if it is successful. Surgery More often than not, emergency surgery is required. For example, in the event that your tube has ruptured, you will be required to undergo immediate surgery. This type of surgery is usually done laparoscopically, which is another word for keyhole surgery. The ectopic pregnancy is removed during surgery. In some cases, it may also be necessary to remove the ruptured fallopian tube. How to Seek Medical Help The main takeaway from this is that an ectopic pregnancy is an emergency, life-threatening situation. All of the symptoms listed above are cause for concern. If you experience severe, sudden abdominal pain accompanied by vaginal bleeding, dizziness or shoulder pain, you should seek help immediately. Likewise, if you suspect you may have an ectopic pregnancy, you should go to the emergency room without delay.

5 Ways to Treat Nail Fungus

Krista Bugden | March 30, 2021

Treatment for Nail Fungus Nail fungus, in the simplest of terms, is a fungal infection that impacts your toenails. You can also get nail fungus on your fingernails, although it is uncommon. While not serious, nail fungus can lead to brittle nails which may eventually fall off. So, what can you do about it? In this article, we’re going to examine what nail fungus is and treatment for nail fungus. What is Nail Fungus? Nail fungus, as mentioned above, is an infection that often appears as a yellow spot under the nail. When this infection spreads, the nail may fall off. Additionally, if the fungus impacts the skin, it is known as “athlete’s foot.” Some common symptoms of nail fungus include: Thickening nail. Yellow, brown, or white discharge. Distorted nail. Brittle or “crumbling” nail. A foul smell. The main cause of nail fungus is dermatophyte fungi. While you can get fungus at any age, it is more common to happen in people later in age. It’s theorized that reduced blood flow and weakened immunity may play a role in the development of nail fungus. Additionally, heavy sweating is associated with the development of fungus. 5 Treatments for Nail Fungus It’s important to treat nail fungus to avoid it from getting worse. Most cases also won’t resolve on their own. Here are a few medical and home remedies you may want to consider: 1. Tea Tree Oil Tea tree oil has many uses. And if you’re into the all-natural realm of things, this might be the route you want to take to treat your nail fungus. Some research, via small clinical studies, demonstrates that tea tree oil could potentially treat nail fungus. Apply tea tree oil to the nail twice daily, using cotton swabs or something similar. 2. Snakeroot Extract Snakeroot extract is used medicinally for a variety of reasons, including high blood pressure and mental illness. It’s also shown great promise in treating nail fungus due to its potent anti-fungal effects. In fact, research even shows how snakeroot extract might be more effective than the commonly prescribed ciclopirox. 3. Vicks VapoRub This one might come as a bit of a surprise! However, Vicks VapoRub, which includes eucalyptus and camphor, may have a positive effect on nail fungus, and studies even back this up. Like other remedies, applying this once or twice a day directly to the nail can help your fungus disappear. 4. Oral Anti-Fungal Drugs If you book a visit to your doctor, they may prescribe you medication that targets the fungi, such as terbinafine and itraconazole. These oral drugs help a healthy nail grow in after the fungus-infected part of the nail grows out. [youmaylike] Unfortunately, these medications must be taken for about 6–12 weeks for them to be effective. In some cases, it may even take four months for the fungus to disappear with oral medication. Additionally, you want to be cautious using these medications since they can have various side effects including liver damage and skin rashes. For those with skin conditions and liver diseases, your doctor probably won’t recommend these drugs and may opt for more all-natural remedies. 5. Medicated Nail Polish or Nail Cream Ciclopirox is one of the most common prescriptions for nail fungus. Like nail polish, you simply paint it on your nail once each day. You do this for a week, before wiping it off with alcohol and starting the process over again. For severe cases, an individual may have to do this for a year or more. Then, there are nail creams that are antifungal. These are usually applied after you’ve briefly soaked the nail. For this option, you can get over the counter or prescription creams. Preventing Nail Fungus While treatment can help you combat a current fungus infection, what can you do to prevent a future one? Here are a few tips: Make sure to wash both your feet and hands regularly. Trim your nails and file them down regularly. If you sweat excessively, change your socks. Wear shoes that allow your feet air to breathe. Wear flip-flops or swim shoes in changerooms and shared pools. Avoid nail polish and fake nails. In severe cases of nail fungus, surgery may be required to remove the nail and apply the topical medication directly to the affected area. Additionally, removal of the nail may be necessary if your pain becomes debilitating.