Category Archives: Health

A CUT WORTH IT

 

c section
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…

Implications of inserting traditional herbs in the Vajayjay

By Lisa Masuku

herbs
Picture taken from Nehanda Radio

I was coming from Plumtree town when a commuter omnibus dropped me at Egodini terminus. I rushed to the public toilet before I proceeded to my home. Without paying attention I entered to the toilet to relieve myself.

When I was coming out I bumped into a group of women who were sitting and in front of them there were herbs. I wondered what it was.  As I kept staring one of the old grannies called me “makoti buya uzebona ezokuqinisa umuzi” (come and see medicines for making your home strong).

I also wondered what that meant. I was sacred. I turned and approached her. She showed me herbs and she said all those were meant to boost women’s sex drive and in this way the herbs help keep a ma.

She also continually emphasised that the herbs are the gateway for a woman to consistently work her magic in bed and certainly satisfy her man in that way her man would never think of approaching other women.

I thought to myself how these traditional herbs can do that? I listened…. She described “This is called umchemo wendwangu. If you use it he will never turn against you,” she said.

Beside me, there were a lot of women who were buying such medicines. They were going from $1 price to $5 depending on the type of muthi (herbs) that one wants to purchase.

I chit chatted with her for quite some time as he was trying to convince me to buy the traditional medicines.

I left without buying any. I thought to myself how women use these traditional herbs to make their man want them more

“She told me. You insert it into your vagina before having sex. You can stay with it for three hours or more and remove it after some time,” I told myself what she told me.

I was so worried. I went on and I asked my auntie. She told me they are good traditional herbs to make a man stay and like you.

I thought to myself does this not have health effects on women because most of these people are not traditional medicine experts but they are only after making a livelihood for themselves.

I took turns to ask health experts.

Sitheni Nzima, a nurse in South Africa said these herbs are the ones that cause cervical cancer. Nzima described those herbs as having serious effects on women bodies.

“Women should not use those herbs because they have a great effect on their bodies. Some suffer from cervical cancer because or those herbs. They should not tempt to use them. They have long term effects on people’s bodies,” she said.

Another health expert, Dumiso Mleya, a doctor said it was so worrying that women abuse their bodies just to please men.

Mleya said they risk their bodies by using those natural herbs only to make a man stay without considering the side effects of those herbs.

“Women should be concerned about their bodies. Inserting herbs to your vagina has a great effect as some end up suffering from many diseases. These days we all fear cancer. Such herbs contribute to cervical cancer,” he said.

Above all, the most important thing is for one to love and believe in herself before seeking out love from someone else.

Nail it the right way

nails

Photo credit: Electric Nail Files

By Confidence Matiyenga

According to Mail Online, British women spend £450 for their nails to be done.When we hear of a wedding, birthday party or any special event we want to attend we all want to look good on the day. We even go to our beautician for acrylic nails. The coming of these nails came to the rescue for some of us who are used to nail biting, it even made the nails look extremely lovely. To get acrylic nails (a type of artificial nail) to stick, the surface of your natural nails must be filed until they feel rough. This thins your natural nails, making them weaker. Chemicals in the products used to apply artificial nails can irritate the skin around your nails and elsewhere. To remove artificial nails, you often need to soak in acetone or file them off. If you want to wear artificial nails for more than a few weeks, you’ll need touchups every 2 to 3 weeks to fill in the gaps that appear as your nails grow. Frequent touch ups can seriously damage your natural nails. The list of health risks doesn’t end but in short, artificial nails can leave your nails thin, brittle, and parched.

Thembi a nail artist at House of Glamour salon gave tips on how she reduces thin, brittle, and parched nail damage on her clients:

  • Choose soak-off gel nails instead of acrylic nails. Gel nails are a little easier on your nails because they’re more flexible. This means your own nails are less likely to crack.
  • Ask your nail technician to skip the cuticle trimming. Cuticles are often trimmed when you get any type of manicure but that should not be done. Cuticles protect your nails and the surrounding skin from infection. When you trim or cut your cuticles, it’s easier for bacteria and other germs to get inside your body.
  • Reserve artificial nails for special occasions. It’s hard to say it because clients give us money but artificial nails getting them only for a special occasion can reduce nail problems. Time without artificial nails gives your nails a chance to repair themselves.

Ramifications of HIV and AIDS

By Lisa Masuku

It is every girl’s dream to one day walk down the aisle to meet her knight shinning armour and live happily ever after in an utopian fantasy of their fairy-tale love story.

Nkanyiso Ncube ( not her real name), had the same dreams growing up, but life’s cruelty has shown her nothing but brutality which has left her with bitterness.  She has been burnt so many times in her life and this has left her with permanent scars in her heart, body and soul to a point that she made a vow to herself to go/ remain celibate for the rest of her life.

She is not taking any chances. She feels there is no point in getting married and subjecting herself to the monstrous ways of men who keep subjecting innocent women to pain as they cheat and end up infecting their loved ones with the deadly HIV and AIDS.

She clearly remembers when it all started, when life crushed her bit by bit through ravaging all her loved ones.

This has left her filled with anger and resentment towards men because of three selfish, mean individuals.

aids
Photo credit:  Internet

Nkanyiso bottles it all up inside her.

However, is bottling it all inside a wise decision or is she a ticking time bomb waiting to explode due to all the physical, mental and emotional trauma she has been through her entire life.

Nkanyiso was born in a family of three, however, she has suffered a terrible loss as she has watched all her family member succumb and being ravaged by HIV and AIDS.

She grew up in a society filled with a lot of disdain towards HIV and AIDS

Growing up she notes she always believed HIV and AIDS was a strange curse which was some form of a punishment to promiscuous people because that was what society perceived.

Sadly her innocent mother succumbed to the deadly virus and she blames her father for it. She recalls how she helplessly watched her mother fight a losing battle against HIV and AIDS because of her father who infected her with the virus as he was a very promiscuous man.

As if that was not enough, whilst she was still trying to recover from all the pain which she blames and hates her father for putting her mother through, it’s like the world simply turned its back on her.

She has had to bury both of her sisters who also faced the same agonising predicament faced by their mother, as they were also married to promiscuous men who infected them with HIV.

For this reason, she wants to enjoy a sex-free lifestyle, free from emotional pain and also free sexually transmitted diseases.

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

neonatal-jaundice-14-638

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!!!