All posts by prudencesm

A CUT WORTH IT

 

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Image: HealthMag.com

By Roselyn Dube

Nine months seemed like a long period for me to finally meet my bundle of joy. According to the scans during the doctor’s visits all appeared normal, and the feeling of seeing her move in my tummy was just awesome. She was my first child and therefore l made sure l took every pregnancy-related precaution seriously because I never wanted anything to happen to my baby. Those are the joys of motherhood, knowing that there is little life growing inside of you and dependent on you.

The day of delivery came and lucky enough I had already booked with my personal doctor. However, things did not go according to plan as I had wanted to have a natural delivery. My doctor informed me that my baby was too big for my cervix and therefore I had to have a C-section. A Caesarian Section (C-section) is a surgical procedure which involves the delivery of a baby through an incision (cut) in the abdomen. The procedure went well, but the pain was not something I had expected to go through during and after delivery.

We were discharged from the hospital after 4 days and I was happy to take my bundle of joy home knowing that she did not go through any complications requiring us to spend more days at the hospital than we had expected. The challenge was now with me and taking care of my cut. I experienced the expected after-effects which usually affect women who would have undergone a C-section. These included:

  • Feeling quite sore in my lower abdomen, although the pain lessened as time passed.
  • Finding it difficult to sit up, stand up and do other activities which involved using my abdominal muscles.
  • I had some bruising, minor swelling and redness.
  • Having itchiness or a feeling of numbness along the incision line.
  • Having a small amount of clear discharge from the incision which was not blood or pus.
  • Having vaginal discharge/ bleeding which was bright red for the first 3-4 days, a brownish to pinkish color days 4-10, and yellowish-white color from day 10 to the time I healed.
  • Because I had stitches used to close my incision they dissolved on their own, unlike if I had staples, I would have had to return to the doctor to have these removed a few days after leaving the hospital.
  • I did not experience much of gas pains.

As expected of any mother who would have had an unplanned C-section, I experienced feelings of disappointment and frustration. However, I am thankful that I had my husband to talk about this and he was very understand and helpful. Doctors say that the usual healing process for a C-section is 4-6 weeks, and mine took 5 weeks. During that healing phase, the above effects deteriorated with time. I had light meals, especially sadza, so as to avoid infecting the cut. After healing, that is when l realised that the C-section I had was a cut worth it. We are now both fine with my daughter and she is growing to be more beautiful each day.

To all the expecting mothers who might or will have a C-section, you should be aware of the following infections which usually occur within 30 days of surgery:

  • Superficial: Infection involves only skin or subcutaneous tissue of the incision.
  • Deep: Infection involves only deep soft tissues (e.g fascia and muscle layers) of the incision.
  • Organ/space: Involves any part of the body, excluding the skin incision, fascia or muscle layers that is opened or manipulated during the operative procedure.

The following procedures should be practiced by women who would have had a C-section:

  • Cover wound with an interactive dressing at the end of surgery.
  • Don’t touch the wound unless necessary.
  • Ensure that hands are regularly washed, particularly before and after using the toilet.
  • If infection is suspected, contact local maternity unit (not GP).
  • Remove standard, interactive dressing after 48 hours after the procedure.
  • Alternatively if non-standardised dressing (eg. PICO, leukomed T+) consult manufacturer’s guidance.
  • Assess wound for signs of infection.
  • If the wound is clean and dry no further dressing is required and the patient may shower (or if using a transparent waterproof dressing, the patient may shower when they feel ready to).
  • If the wound is displaying signs of infection (such as redness, in addition to swelling or pus) a wound swab must be taken aseptically and a fresh dressing applied daily. All assessments should be documented in the patient’s record.
  • Aseptic, non-touch techniques must be used when the wound is being redressed.
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Eating Healthy

By Sibonokuhle  P Mpofu

I find developing a healthy eating habit very restrictive and confusing because i really love food, LOL. But today I’m going to give you the 7 keys to a healthy diet.Here are the guidelines for building a healthy diet according to Berkeley Wellness.

  1. Consume a Variety of Foods -Not all the nutrients and other substances in foods that contribute to good health have been identified, so eating a wide assortment of foods helps ensure that you get all of the disease-fighting potential that foods offer. In addition, this will limit your exposure to any pesticides or toxic substances that may be present in a particular food.
  2. Keep an Eye on Portions-  For higher-calorie foods, portion control is the key. In recent years, serving sizes have ballooned. In restaurants, choose an appetizer instead of an entree or split a dish with a friend. Don’t order anything that’s been “supersized.” When reading food labels, check serving sizes: some relatively small packages claim to contain more than one serving, so you have to double or triple the calories, grams of fat and milligrams of sodium if you’re planning to eat the whole thing.
  3. Eat Plenty of Produce- Aim for 2½ cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit a day, for a 2,000-calorie diet. If you consume more calories, aim for more; if you eat fewer than 2,000 calories, you can eat less. Include green, orange, red, blue/purple and yellow produce. The nutrients, fiber and other compounds in these foods may help protect against certain types of cancer and other diseases. Legumes, rich in fiber, count as vegetables, though are moderately high in calories. Choose whole fruits over juice for more fiber. Frozen and canned fruits and vegetables are good options.
  4. Get More Whole Grains- At least half your grains should be whole grains, such as whole wheat, barley and oats. Whole grains retain the bran and germ and thus all (or nearly all) of the nutrients and fiber of the grain. Look for a product labeled “100% whole wheat” or “100% whole grain.” If it doesn’t say that, look for a whole grain listed as the first ingredient, though there still may be lots of refined wheat (also called “white” or “enriched” flour) and/or sugar. Another option is to look for the voluntary “Whole Grain Stamp” from the Whole Grains Council.
  5. Limit Refined Grains, Added Sugar- The refined carbohydrates in white bread, regular pasta and most snack foods have little or no dietary fiber and have been stripped of many nutrients. On food labels, watch out for “wheat flour” (also called “white,” “refined” or “enriched” flour) on the ingredients list. Also, limit foods with added sugar, such as soda and candy. These are sources of empty calories that contribute to weight gain. Many sugary foods are also high in fat, so they’re even more calorie-dense.
  6. Enjoy More Fish and Nuts- Nuts, fatty fish, avocados and vegetable oils supply healthy unsaturated fats. Recent research suggests these foods, though high in calories, tend not to promote weight gain because they are satisfying. Still, it’s best to eat them in place of other high-calorie foods. For instance, substitute olive or canola oil for butter. Fatty fish helps reduce heart disease risks and has other benefits, largely because of its omega-3 polyunsaturated fats.
  7. Cut Down on Animal Fat– Saturated fats, especially from red meat and processed meat, boost LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. To limit your intake, choose lean meats, skinless poultry and nonfat or low-fat dairy products. It’s also a good idea to replace saturated fats with “good” fats, found in nuts, fish and vegetable oils, not with refined carbohydrates such as white bread and snack foods.

This is it for today. Stay healthy, Eat healthy…

How Neonatal Jaundice Affected the first hours of my baby’s life

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By Roselyn Dube

Although labour pains were very tense and extreme, this did not diminish the overwhelming joy l had that in a few minutes l would be carrying my bundle of joy. He was our first born, our son who was to be the bearer of my husband’s surname to the following lineages. We were so happy to have him as part of our lives, and l remember vividly how we celebrated the day we got the news that we were expecting.

As his mother, l had made sure that everything was prepared for the day he would arrive on this earth. I had bought plenty clothes and every baby stuff that was essential. The feeling was mutual, and l could feel even with the way he was playing or responding when his father was chatting with him or when l sang to him. I could feel that he also couldn’t wait to be in our arms.

However, what l had not put in mind was the fact that my blood cells and my blood group type had an effect on the health of my unborn baby. I was not aware of all this till the minute l gave birth to my son. I couldn’t wait to have him on my chest the moment he was born, and his father was there to witness the whole event and even cut his umbilical cord. We got to talk to him when he was lying on my chest before they took him for measurements, weighing and other processes and we did not see anything wrong with his health. He was healthy and bouncing like how all new-born babies look.

When they took him for check-ups, the nurse came telling that our son had jaundice. The world stopped for a moment, and l couldn’t imagine my son in that critical state. I started crying, and although my husband tried comforting me, the only thing l was thinking of was how my baby was feeling. He was too young to go through such and to think that was his first hour of living.

The doctor then explained to us that the cause of neonatal jaundice in my son was due to red cell enzyme defects, which in my case was Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (G6PD). He further explained that this was a rare cause of jaundice in infants, although it was pathological (extreme) at that particular stage which is from onset and less than 24hrs. He also went on to explain other causes of neonatal jaundice which include: Rhesus disease, ABO incompatibility, other blood group incompatibilities (Kell, Duffy, anti – E), and red cell membrane defects (hereditary spherocytosis).

We were very lucky that the illness was noticed early and our son straightway went for Intensive Phototherapy which involves the use of high levels of irradiance delivered to as much of the baby’s surface area as possible. The process usually requires at least 2 banks of phototherapy lights which are special blue fluorescent tubes or specially designed LEDs, or the use of a combination of methods (phototherapy light bank plus biliblanket). Phototherapy is done hourly for first 4 hours and may lead to an elevated isolette temperature. Hence, one should not turn the isolette off, as it is not safe to nurse a baby in an isolette that has been turned off as air no longer circulates. Also during the process, temperature probe should be covered with reflective disc if servo control method is used to monitor temperature. Although it was painful to witness, l was glad that my baby was going to be fine afterwards.

Our son was discharged form phototherapy after 48 hours and we had to attend 2 follow up visits which were between 24 – 72 hours and the second one between 72 – 120 hours. This was not much stressful because those visits were done during our hospital stay. When my baby was now said to be fine, we were then discharged from the hospital and l had the chance to take care of my baby and celebrate his health. He is our blessing and the best gift ever. To those parents who have babies with neonatal jaundice, for treatment they can also opt for exchange transfusion and pharmacological agents.

Expect anything as a mother of a new-born!

‘THE SILENT’ VAGINAL YEAST INFECTION

Cure-yeast-infection2

By Roselyn Dube

It started off as a minor itchiness in my v-jay, with a burning sensation during sexual intercourse with my partner, and even when l was urinating. Firstly l tried to ignore it with hope that the pain would eventually fade away. I started showing disinterest in sex, to the extent that my fiancé suspected that l was cheating on him and giving the “cookie” to someone else. During that time, I did not have the courage to face him and tell him about my challenge. Any normal woman would also feel the same way, all in fear of being judged for being reckless and failing to take care of your vagina, yet you say you are mature and ready for marriage. Again, no man in his right senses would vouch for an unclean “cookie” every night, let alone in his honeymoon. Instead of worrying much on wedding preparations, l started worrying about this itchiness and soreness that l was experiencing.

My fiancé started picking unnecessary arguments, because by then l had said we should just abstain from sex till our wedding day, which was two months away. Deep down l knew l was being unreasonable as we had already started indulging, and l understood that he had every reason to be mad at me. I felt ashamed to consult my family members and my close friends on my problem, as l felt that they would judge me and say it was because l was having lots of sex. Since we were a young couple about to enjoy the benefits of marriage, l couldn’t deny that we kinda had lots of it but l doubt that was the reason why l felt that uneasiness.

I started secreting an odorless, thick and clumpy white discharge which was similar to cottage cheese. Also, the vulva of my “cookie” started swelling a lot and l had to take days off from work after asking my doctor to forge a letter for me giving him an excuse that l wanted to go and buy stuff for the wedding. The discharge did not any signs of stopping, and that is when l knew l had to take a step. I made an appointment with my doctor, and after several check-ups l was told that l had vaginal yeast infection which was caused by a fungus called Candida, that normally lives in a woman’s gastrointestinal tract and vagina.

My doctor explained to me that the infection is caused by too many yeast which grows in the vagina when it becomes less acidic. The acidic balance of the vagina is changed by your menstrual period, pregnancy, diabetes, some antibiotics, birth control pills and steroids. The symptoms that l had are the same symptoms that a woman with vaginal yeast infection develops, including pain during sexual intercourse and redness around the vagina. Vaginal yeast infection is not a virus which one should be ashamed to talk about as someone who is hygienically clean can also have it. It is a natural infection with natural causes like menstrual periods.

After my doctor had explained all the effects on the infection, he proceeded with the treatment. On the first day he applied on me medicine which was in a cream form on my vulva so as to help stop the itching. He then prescribed antifungal medication to be taken orally which l was to buy over the counter, and l was to take it regularly for a few months to prevent more yeast infections. He then made the following recommendations for me so as to avoid having another vaginal yeast infection: to wear cotton underwear and avoid thongs, wipe from front to back after using the toilet, not to use feminine hygiene sprays, to avoid deodorized tampons/pads and bubble baths, and to avoid using colored or perfumed toilet tissue.

When l got home, l now had the confidence to explain to my fiancé what had been happening and why l had been avoiding sexual intercourse. He understood than l had anticipated, but he blamed me for not seeking help or telling him earlier as l had put my health in risk of the infection. The treatment worked wonders for me, and after about 6weeks the infection had gone. I even went to my doctor to get his confirmation, and indeed l was now okay. The following weeks to my wedding were not as stressful as before because l knew that my body was now perfectly fine. The honeymoon confirmed everything for me as l was now celebrating my good health and my new marriage.

To all women, never be ashamed to consult a health expert whenever you feel you there is a change in your body you are failing to understand. It is very important to make sure that you really have a yeast infection before you start taking medicine for it, and partner treatment is not recommended by experts. It is also important to see your doctor when you are pregnant, or think you may be pregnant and you have symptoms of a yeast infection.

VIVA HEALTHY PUNANI!!!

The 7 textures….

By Sibonokuhle P Mpofu

I know there are certain things we really don’t like to acknowledge, certain things that we do but pretend like we don’t do. I’m talking about something natural that everyone does twice a day or more I don’t know. A friend of mine was actually asking me why i was researching on something so weird and disgusting. I then told him that the fact that we don’t like to talk about it persuaded me to write on today’s topic, pooping. I’m sure everyone poops, so I will be discussing the 7 Textures Of Poop And What They Mean. The objective is familiarizing you with what is normal and what your poop actually says about you.

  1. Separate lumps

Hard poop usually comes in separate lumps and very hard to pass. When poop is this texture, it’s a sign that it sat in the large intestine and colon for an extended period of time. In other words, this type of stool often signals that you’re constipated. If this is commonly what you see in the toilet—and you aren’t suffering from another illness that comes with funky bowels—you may have a gastrointestinal condition called Chronic Idiopathic Constipation, or CIC. Drinking more water, making exercise part of your daily routine, and slowly adding more fiber to your diet may help.

  1. Sausage-shaped but lumpy

Firm stools that are connected but still lumpy can also a sign of constipation. Adding fiber to your diet and having more fluids actually helps with constipation.

  1. Sausage-shaped with cracks

This is considered to be a healthy poop. However the cracks indicate that you may have been a bit dehydrated. So it goes back to the issue of water. Drinking water results in a healthy stool.

  1. Sausage-shaped, smooth, and soft

This is referred to as the gold standard. This means you are having a wholesome diet and enough water congratulations.

  1. Soft blobs with clear-cut edges

This is common with people who have bowl movements twice or thrice a day, so it is normal.

  1. Fluffy pieces with ragged edges

According to the Bristol Stool Chart, fluffy, jagged pieces may indicate inflammation of the bowel or an inflammatory bowel disease like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. Consider visiting the doctor if your poop is like this. Be courageous when it comes to your health even for embarrassing topics.

  1. Watery

I usually experience this when I have a running tummy, diarrhea. If this goes on for two or more days consult your doctor.

WEIGHT GAIN

By Sibonokuhle P Mpofu

Once upon a time I weighed more than 90kgs. I didn’t notice the change. My jean size went up two sizes and I still felt good about myself. I ate almost everything and anything that I wanted. I didn’t do any form of exercises; all I did was eat, drink, sleep a little and watch tv, doing pretty much of nothing. I didn’t care much about anything all I cared about was sleep not noticing that kilos were piling up. So, today’s topic is on the conditions that makes you gain weight without noticing.

Sleeping disordersomg

Sleep deprivation from any cause can contribute to weight gain,” says Dr Lisa Neff, an endocrinologist at the Centre for Lifestyle Medicine at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago. Lack of sleep interferes with hormones that signal hunger and fullness, so people who don’t snooze enough are more apt to overeat. Plus, a recent study found people who sleep less find eating more enjoyable—which means you’re more likely to binge on guilty pleasures. Of course, your activity level also tends to dip when you’re tired, so you probably won’t burn off those extra kilojoules, either.  Taking from these findings, this is how I spent my nights eating and watching television. I only slept for 3 hours or less as l will be catching up on my favorite series.

Depression

People who suffer from depression often gain weight for a few different reasons. “Some people find themselves eating emotionally,” I always find comfort in food. Eating comforts me at times. I felt food didn’t judge or neglect me that’s why I ate. Eating emotionally greatly contributed to my weight gain.

 These conditions greatly contributed to my weight gain. I have since lost more than 10 kgs not through exercising but just watching what goes in and out of my mouth. I really try to get enough sleep these days but it has been difficult because of my studies.

Besides the above mentioned conditions; menopause, cushing syndrome, and pain disorders also contribute to weight gain.

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WHO’S PREGNANT

By Sibonokuhle Mpofu

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I think you are wondering what today’s topic is all about. Well today I am on the issue of pregnancy discomforts. “Speaking from experience, pregnancy is not fun at all”, said my aunt, “I am still suffering from my previous pregnancy symptoms though I lost my baby at 12 weeks.” Getting pregnant means that you need to be prepared to have skin breakouts, nausea, moods and constipation just to mention but a few. So, ladies today we are on the discomforts that come with pregnancy. Those who are yet to be mothers are you prepared to go through this.

Nausea and vomiting

About half of all pregnant women experience nausea and sometimes vomiting in the first trimester also called morning sickness because symptoms are most severe in the morning. Some women may have nausea and vomiting throughout the pregnancy. Morning sickness may be due to the changes in hormone levels during pregnancy.

Morning sickness seems to be aggravated by stress, traveling, and certain foods, such as spicy or fatty foods. Eating small meals several times a day may help lessen the symptoms. A diet high in protein and complex carbohydrates (such as whole wheat bread, pasta, bananas, and green, leafy vegetables) may also help reduce the severity of the nausea.

Hemorrhoids
Because of increased pressure on the rectum and perineum, the increased blood volume, and the increased likelihood of becoming constipated as the pregnancy progresses, hemorrhoids are common in late pregnancy. Avoiding constipation and straining may help to prevent hemorrhoids. Always check with your physician or midwife before using any medication to treat this condition.

Varicose veins

 Varicose veins–swollen, purple veins–are common in the legs and around the vaginal opening during late pregnancy. In most cases, varicose veins are caused by the increased pressure on the legs and the pelvic veins, and by the increased blood volume.

Heartburn and indigestion, caused by pressure on the intestines and stomach (which, in turn, pushes stomach contents back up into the esophagus), can be prevented or reduced by eating smaller meals throughout the day and by avoiding lying down shortly after eating.

Gums may become more spongy as blood flow increases during pregnancy, causing them to bleed easily. A pregnant woman should continue to take care of her teeth and gums and go to the dentist for regular checkups. This symptom usually disappears after pregnancy.

Pica
Pica is a rare craving to eat substances other than food, such as dirt, clay, or coal. The craving may indicate a nutritional deficiency.

Pregnancy also comes with swelling. I usually notice pregnant women’s feet and suddenly start feeling  pity for them. Mild swelling is common during pregnancy but severe swelling that persists may indicate preeclampsia (abnormal condition marked by high blood pressure). Lying on the left side, elevating the legs, and wearing support hose and comfortable shoes may help to relieve the swelling. Be sure to notify your physician or midwife about sudden swelling, especially in the hands or face, or rapid weight gain.

Skin changes

My aunt leaves to testify how her skin was during pregnancy. From being even toned and smooth to a skin full of pimples and rash. This is due to fluctuations in hormone levels, including hormones that stimulate pigmentation of the skin, brown, blotchy patches may occur on the face, forehead, and/or cheeks. This is often called the mask of pregnancy, or chloasma, and often disappears soon after delivery. Using sunscreen when outside can reduce the amount of darkening that occurs.

Pigmentation may also increase in the skin surrounding the nipples, called the areola. In addition, a dark line frequently appears down the middle of the abdomen. Freckles may darken, and moles may grow.

Stretch marks
Pinkish stretch marks may appear on the abdomen, breasts, thighs, or buttocks. Stretch marks are generally caused by a rapid increase in weight, and the marks usually fade after pregnancy.

Yeast infections

 Due to hormone changes and increased vaginal discharge, also called leukorrhea, a pregnant woman is more susceptible to yeast infections. Yeast infections are characterized by a thick, whitish discharge from the vagina and itching. Yeast infections are highly treatable. Always consult your physician or midwife before taking any medication for this condition.

Congested or bloody nose

During pregnancy, the lining of the respiratory tract receives more blood, often making it more congested. This congestion can also cause stuffiness in the nose or nosebleeds. In addition, small blood vessels in the nose are easily damaged due to the increased blood volume, causing nosebleeds.

Constipation
Increased pressure from the pregnancy on the rectum and intestines can interfere with digestion and subsequent bowel movements. In addition, hormone changes may slow down the food being processed by the body. Increasing fluids, regular exercise, and increasing the fiber in your diet are some of the ways to prevent constipation. Always check with your physician or midwife before taking any medication for this condition.

Backache
As a woman’s weight increases, her balance changes, and her center of gravity is pulled forward,  straining her back. Pelvic joints that begin to loosen in preparation for childbirth also contribute to this back strain. Proper posture and proper lifting techniques throughout the pregnancy can help reduce the strain on the back.

Dizziness
Dizziness during pregnancy is a common symptom, which may be caused by:

Low blood pressure due to the uterus compressing major arteries

Low blood sugar

Low iron

Quickly moving from a sitting position to a standing position

Dehydration

To prevent injury from falling during episodes of dizziness, a pregnant woman should stand up slowly and hold on to the walls and other stable structures for support and balance.

Headaches
Hormonal changes may be the cause of headaches during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. Rest, proper nutrition, and adequate fluid intake may help alleviate headache symptoms. Always consult your physician or midwife before taking any medication for this condition. If you have a severe headache or a headache that does not resolve, call your health care provider. It may be a sign of preeclampsia.