Molluscum contagiosum (contagiosa) is a commonly found skin infection, which looks like small, round, firm, pearl shaped, umbilicated , painless bump like eruptions on skin. It is a viral infection. If the bumps are scratched or injured, the infection can spread to surrounding skin.
Though most common in children, molluscum contagiosum can affect adults as well, particularly those with weakened immune systems. In adults, molluscum contagiosum involving the genitals is considered a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
Molluscum Contagiosum can affect any area on the body but is usually observed on the face, arms and legs. . Molluscum contagiosum spreads through direct person-to-person contact and through contact with contaminated objects. The bumps associated with molluscum contagiosum usually disappear within a year without treatment but doctor-assisted removal is also an option and the best recommended is homeopathic treatment.
Molluscum contagiosum is caused by DNA poxvirus called the Molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV).
- It is a benign self-limiting infection which presents in the form of rounded, pearl shaped eruptions. The lesions are flesh-colored, dome-shaped, and pearly in appearance.
- They are usually 1.5 millimeters in diameter, with a dimpled center.
- They are generally not painful, but they may itch or become irritated.
- If it bursts, it can become painful and even may get infected due to some secondary bacterial infection. Picking or scratching the bumps may lead to further infection or scarring and bleeding.
- In about 10% of the cases, eczema develops around the lesions. They may occasionally be complicated by secondary bacterial infection.
It is made on the clinical examination by experiences eyes. No blood test or biopsy required.
Homeopathy has effective treatment for a range of viral infections which includes Molluscum contagiosum. The properly selected constitutional homeopathic medicines will harmonize your immune response, improving your body’s ability to fight the virus. Your body will also recognize the wart or corn as a foreign body and expunges them from within. Homeopathy works wonders in curing this ailment and should be opted for its beneficial and safe curative effect.
Male infertility refers to the inability of a male to achieve a pregnancy in a fertile female. In humans it accounts for 40-50% of infertility.
Male infertility is diagnosed when, after testing of both partners, reproductive problems have been found in the male partner. For about one in five infertile couples the problem lies solely in the male partner (male infertility).
In most cases, there are no obvious signs of an infertility problem. Intercourse, erections and ejaculation will usually happen without difficulty. The quantity and appearance of the ejaculated semen generally appears normal to the naked eye.
Male infertility can be caused by problems that affect sperm production or the sperm transport process. With the results of medical tests, the doctor may be able to find a cause of the problem.
Known causes of male infertility can be:
- Sperm production problems:
• Chromosomal or genetic causes
• Undescended testes (failure of
the testes to descend at birth)
• Torsion (twisting of the testis in scrotum)
• Varicocele (varicose veins of the testes)
• Medicines and chemicals
• Radiation damage
• Unknown cause
- 2. Blockage of sperm transport:
• Prostate related problems
• Absence of vas deferens
- Sperm antibodies:
• Injury or infection in the epididymis
• Unknown cause
- 4. Sexual problems:
• Retrograde and premature ejaculation
• Failure of ejaculation
• Infrequent intercourse
• Spinal cord injury
• Prostate surgery
• Damage to nerves
- 5. Hormonal problems:
• Pituitary tumours
• Congenital lack of LH/FSH
(pituitary problem from birth)
• Anabolic (androgenic) steroid abuse
- Tobacco smoking, Alcohol.
The diagnosis of infertility begins with a medical history and physical exam by a physician. Typically two separate semen analyses will be required. The provider may order blood tests to look for hormone imbalances, medical conditions, or genetic issues.
The volume of the semen sample, approximate number of total sperm cells, sperm motility/forward progression, and % of sperm with normal morphology are measured. This is the most common type of fertility testing. Semen deficiencies are often labeled as follows:
- Oligospermia or Oligozoospermia – decreased number of spermatozoa in semen
- Aspermia – complete lack of semen
- Hypospermia – reduced seminal volume
- Azoospermia – absence of sperm cells in semen
- Teratospermia – increase in sperm with abnormal morphology
- Asthenozoospermia – reduced sperm motility
- The history should include prior testicular or penile insults (torsion, cryptorchidism, trauma), infections (mumps orchitis, epididymitis), environmental factors (excessive heat, radiation, medications, and drug use (anabolic steroids, alcohol, smoking).
- Sexual habits, frequency and timing of intercourse, use of lubricants, and each partner’s previous fertility experiences are important.
- Loss of libido and headaches or visual disturbances may indicate a pituitary tumor.
- The past medical or surgical history may reveal thyroid or liver disease (abnormalities of spermatogenesis), diabetic neuropathy (retrograde ejaculation), radical pelvic or retroperitoneal surgery (absent seminal emission secondary to sympathetic nerve injury), or hernia repair (damage to the vas deferens or testicular blood supply).
- A family history may reveal genetic problems.
Usually, the patient disrobes completely and puts on a gown. The physician will perform a thorough examination of the penis, scrotum, testicles, anus and rectum.
Common hormonal test include determination of FSH and testosterone levels.
Treatments vary according to the underlying disease and the degree of the impairment of the male fertility. Further, in an infertility situation, the fertility of the female needs to be considered.
Homeopathy effectively deals with the root cause of the disorder and provides lasting solutions. In addition, certain changes in the lifestyle can go a step further and relieve the patient of his problems successfully without opting for any make-shift treatment. It is strongly suggested that patients suffering from erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, sperm production problem, blockage in the transport or other sexual dysfunctions which leads to infertility should seek homeopathy early on to experience the benefits of this science to the fullest. Lastly, constitutional homeopathic treatment helps in tackling systemic causes of infertility such as obesity, diabetes, hormonal problems, etc.
Self care tips
Some strategies suggested or proposed for avoiding male infertility include the following:
- Avoiding smokingas it damages sperm DNA
- Avoiding heavy marijuana and alcohol use.
- Avoiding excessive heat to the testes.
- Sperm counts can be depressed by daily coital activity and sperm motility may be depressed by coital activity that takes place too infrequently (abstinence 10–14 days or more).
- When participating in contact sports, wear a Protective Cup and Jockstrap to protect the testicles. Sports such as Baseball, Football, Cricket, Lacrosse, Hockey, Softball, Paintball, Rodeo, Motor cross, Wrestling, Soccer, Karate or other Martial Arts or any sport where a ball, foot, arm, knee or bat can come into contact with the groin.
A Lipoma is a benign (non-cancerous) tumor composed of fatty tissue. They are generally painless, soft, round, mobile and doughy to feel.
They are situated just below the skin and the overlying skin looks normal. They are more commonly observed on back, extremities, and chest. It can occur in any tissue that contains fat but most commonly it occurs in the subcutaneous (beneath the skin) tissue. Lipoma is more commonly observed in age group of 40-60 years. Single Lipoma is more commonly seen in women and multiple Lipomas (Lipomatosis) more common in men.
Cause – The cause of lipomas is not known, but genetic factors may play a role.
Often, treatment of a lipoma is not necessary, unless the tumor becomes painful or restricts movement. People opt for treatment largely for cosmetic reasons.
Earlier you treat it, better are the results. Homoeopathy helps in preventing formation of new lipomas and reducing size. Occasionally lipomas can cause neurological discomfort and pain which can be relieved homeopathically.
Fibroids are tumors of the muscle lining the wall of the uterus (womb). They are therefore also known as “myoma” or muscle tumors. Fibroids are almost always benign (not cancerous) and can be solitary or multiple. They vary is size and only in unusual cases become very large.
Fibroids are most common in women during the middle and later reproductive years. While most fibroids are asymptomatic, they can grow and cause heavy and painful menstruation, painful sexual intercourse, and urinary frequency and urgency. Some fibroids may interfere with pregnancy although this appears to be very rare.
Types of Fibroid
Depending on their location fibroids are classified as:
Submucosal fibroids – which grow into the uterine cavity.
Intramural fibroids – which grow within the wall of the uterus.
Subserosal fibroids – which grow on the outside of the uterus.
Fibroids, particularly when small, may be entirely asymptomatic. Symptoms depend on the location of the lesion and its size.
- Abnormal gynecologic hemorrhage, heavy or painful periods,
- Abdominal discomfort or bloating, painful defecation.
- Back ache
- Urinary frequency or retention.
- Pain during intercourse, depending on the location of the fibroid.
- In some cases, infertility.
- During pregnancy they may be the cause of miscarriage, bleeding, premature labor, or interference with the position of the foetus.
While a bimanual examination typically can identify the presence of larger fibroids, gynecologic ultrasonography (ultrasound) has evolved as the standard tool to evaluate the uterus for fibroids
Homeopathic treatment of uterine fibroids can be very effectual and is highly recommended, often the only treatment required especially when treated early when the fibroids are of small to medium size.The location too plays an important role and fibroids which are within the uterine cavity (submucousal) and within the uterine wall (Intramural) are easier to treat. Intramural (within the wall) fibroids can be reduced in size and cannot be expunged or dissected naturally like those in the uterine cavity (submucousal). All fibroids have a network of blood vessels which keep the fibroid live as well as help it grow in size.
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It causes inflammation of the lining of digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea and even malnutrition. Inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease can involve different areas of the digestive tract in different people.
Crohn’s disease is a rare disorder that has auto-immunity playing an important role in its initiation. A genetic component has been suggested to cause this condition.
Crohn’s disease is a systemic disease, hence apart from gastro-intestinal symptoms, it can also cause complications outside of the gastrointestinal tract.
- Diarrhea. Diarrhea is a common problem for people with Crohn’s.
- Abdominal pain and cramping. Mild Crohn’s disease usually causes slight to moderate intestinal discomfort, but in more-serious cases, the pain may be severe and include nausea and vomiting.
- Blood in stool. Bright red blood or darker blood mixed with stool or occult blood.
- Ulcers. Crohn’s disease can cause small sores on the surface of the intestine that eventually become large ulcers that penetrate deep into and sometimes through the intestinal walls.Ulcers in your mouth similar to canker sores.
- Reduced appetite and weight loss. Abdominal pain and cramping and the inflammatory reaction in the wall of bowel can affect both appetite and ability to digest and absorb food.
Other signs and symptoms
People with severe Crohn’s disease may also experience:
- Eye inflammation
- Mouth sores
- Skin disorders
- Inflammation of the liver or bile ducts
- Delayed growth or sexual development, in children
- Bowel obstruction.
- Anal fissure.
- Colon cancer.
Homoeopathic treatment is strongly recommended for the treatment of Crohn’s disease. It is a constitutional disorder; hence it calls for in-depth constitutional homeopathic medication. The homeopathic medicine selected on the basis of the individual case study helps to improve the symptoms of the disease and control of the further progress of the condition
While treating Crohn’s Disease, the treatment needs to be targeted at the level of the immunity of the patient and the treatment must be able to restore the altered immunity back to normalcy. Homeopathic treatment precisely does this.
Cervical Spondylitis (also called Cervical Spondylosis) is derived from Greek words that mean neck (cervical) and vertebra (spondylo). It is a common degenerative condition of the cervical (neck) spine and associated intervetebral disc separating the vertebrae. Nerve compression, degeneration of the intervetebral discs and loss of normalcy of the spine curvature may lead to pain and stiffness of the shoulder muscles, loss of muscle strength and a constant discomfort or stiffness in the back and neck muscles.
Vertebrae are bones that join together to form the entire backbone. In between the vertebrae are cushion-like structures called “intervertebral discs”. Age related wear and tear can cause the joints between the vertebrae to degenerate. In addition, it also causes the gradual destruction of the intervertebral discs.
Long standing degeneration (wearing away) of the vertebrae and the intervertebral discs is the primary cause behind this disorder. Now this can be triggered due to a number of reasons such as:
- Advancing age
- History of neck injury in the past
- Occupational trauma – lifting heavy loads on head, gymnastics, working on the computer for long hours
- Sleeping in sitting position repetitively during journeys
- Occupations requiring minute concentration wherein people work with bent neck for long time
- Holding the telephone between the ears and shoulders for long durations repeatedly
- Any kind of odd postures that put a strain on the neck – when these are taken up over and again, they can lead to progressive degenerative changes
- Congenitally fused spine, Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome may be risk factors for developing cervical spondylitis
- Genetic cause may be possible since cases running in families have been seen
- Smoking may be one of the risk factors
Whatever be the trigger for cervical spondylitis, the common changes that are seen in the cervical spine are as follows:
- Abnormal growths or ‘spurs’ on the vertebrae
- Dehydration and subsequent loss of elasticity in the intervertebral discs
- Bulging of the discs from between two vertebrae
- Stiffness of neck ligaments (tissue connecting the neck bones and muscles)
The most common symptom is intermittent persistent neck and shoulder pain. The pain can be chronic or episodic, associated with long periods of remission.
- Chronic or episodic pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulder region.
- Neck pain is often accompanied by stiffness which progressively worsens. Pain may also radiate to the shoulders or to the occiput. Many patients present with interscapular pain, pain in the arm, forearm, and/or hand pain.
- Non-specific headaches occurring mostly in the sub-occipital region (lower part at the back of head) and this pain radiates to the base of the neck and to the vertex (top) of the head.
- Along with pain, there may be abnormal sensations (tingling numbness), loss of sensation,weakness in any of the above regions.
- Patients without any history of trauma present with pain, loss of sensation, abnormal sensations and weakness, or a combination of these symptoms. These symptoms are often present in the shoulders, arms and rarely in the legs.
- Occasionally, the pain may be atypical and present as chest pain or breast pain (false angina).
- Patients with myelopathy can present with symptoms such as difficulty in writing; nonspecific, diffuse weakness; and abnormal sensations.
- Sensation of loss of balance
- Occasionally there may be atypical pain presenting as chest pain or breast pain (false angina)
The doctor may find certain clear pointers to this disease on examination of the patient:
- Spasm of the neck muscles
- Limited range of movements of the neck – bending forward, backward, sideways, rotating the head are all limited
- Weakness of muscles of the arms, forearms
- Altered sensation in the shoulder region, arms, forearms, neck, etc.
- Atypically pain may radiate to the chest, cause difficulty in swallowing or loss of control.
Cervical spondylitis can cause increased pressure on the spinal cord over a period of time and this is one of the major complications. It can result in symptoms such as:
- Inability to control the passage of stools (fecal incontinence)
- Inability to control the passage of urine (urinary incontinence)
- Progressive loss of muscle function
- Loss of sensations of the skin
- Unsteady gait
- Spastic movements
- Permanent disability (rare)
- X-ray of neck (cervical spine) which may show development of spurs (bony outgrowths) on the vertebrae.
- CT (Computerized Tomography) scan
- MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) can be done to confirm diagnosis and judge the extent of neural damage, if any.
- EMG (Electromyelography) can help in diagnosing cervical radiculopathy.
- Myelography is used to demonstrate nerve root lesion.
Homeopathy is strongly suggested for all cases of cervical spondylitis especially those of recent origin. Clinical studies have demonstrated the efficacy of homeopathy in the treatment of persistent musculoskeletal pain. The medicines can offer significant pain control and improve the quality of life of patients. The medicines provide with significant relief in the pain and stiffness that is associated with the disease.Other symptoms such as tingling, numbness and weakness are also seen to improve in most cases.In addition, the treatment can also help to slow down the progress of the ailment over a period of time and range of mobility of the neck can get better.
Self Care Tips
- Maintain healthy weight and reduce extra weight if any.
- Eat a varied diet including plenty of calcium rich foods (sesame seeds, green leafy vegetables, ragi)
- Whole grains, fruits and vegetables should be taken in adequate amounts
- Alcoholic beverages weaken bones. Consuming more than two alcoholic drinks per day increases a person’s chances of developing weakened bones and hence this should be limited
- Decrease your intake of saturated fat (dairy, red meat), salt and sugar
- Exercise regularly to maintain neck strength, flexibility, range of motion
- Always wear your seat belt while travelling in a car
- When working on a computer or watching TV, take frequent breaks and avoid long periods of inactivity
- Use thin pillow and avoid placing more than one pillow under your head, sleep on a firm mattress
- Avoid sitting for prolonged period of time in stressful postures.
- Do not lift heavy weights on head or back.
- Avoid habit of holding the telephone on one shoulder and leaning at it for long time.
FALLOPIAN TUBE OBSTRUCTION / TUBAL BLOCKAGE
Fallopian tube obstruction is a major cause of female infertility.
Eggs from the ovary pass through the fallopian tubes into the uterus. Blocked fallopian tubes are unable to let the ovum and the sperm converge, thus making fertilization impossible. Fallopian Tubes are also known as oviducts, uterine tubes, and salpinges (singular salpinx).
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- infections after childbirth
Types of tubal blockage
There are two types of tubal blockage:
- Proximal tubal blockage – It is located close to the uterus. Proximal tubal blockage can be caused by previous pelvic infection, a thickening and inflammation of the tubal wall called salpingitis isthmica nodosa (SIN), mucus plugs, or endometriosis.
- Distal tubal blockage- It is located away from the uterus. It is generally caused by pelvic inflammation, which may be secondary to infection or endometriosis. Scar tissue may also be present in woman who have undergone previous abdominal or pelvic surgery.
- Hysterosalpingography – It is an x-ray study in which a liquid, dye-like solution injected through the cervix so that the inside shape of the uterus and fallopian tubes can be viewed
Homeopathy cannot be used to reopen previously blocked or scarred tubes and needs to be done surgically. However, homeopathy can definitely help in minimizing scar formation after surgery as well as control the infection. If you have normal ovulation and a patent tube on one side you may start homeopathy to improve your chances of conception as well.
Warts are small, non-cancerous growths on the skin that may vary in size, shape and color. Warts can appear nearly anywhere on the body and they differ in appearance, size, and shape Some warts present as small, flat and smooth lesions whereas some may appear as rough and hard growths on the skin.
Warts are generally skin colored though they can be darker or lighter than the skin color. The surface may be smooth or rough. The shapes may also vary significantly, some of the warts being flat, others being larger and fleshy and yet others being thin, long and cylindrical.
Children and young people are more prone to develop warts and being contagious in nature, they spread easily from one person to another. Warts also tend to spread easily from one part of the body to another in the same individual.
Warts are caused by a virus called human pappiloma virus (HPV). The human pappiloma virus causes the top layer of skin to grow rapidly, thereby giving rise to the formation of a wart.
Types of Warts
Several types of warts are seen in clinical practice and some of the common variants have been described here:
Common warts (verrucae vulgaris)
Common warts are small, grainy skin growths that occur most often on your fingers or hands. Rough to the touch, common warts also often feature a pattern of tiny black dots sometimes called seeds which are small, clotted blood vessels. As the names suggests, these are the most common variety of warts and can affect people belonging to all age groups.
Flat warts (verruca plana):
As compared to common warts, these warts are small and only slightly raised above the skin. They can be flesh colored or whitish and appear smooth (unlike common warts that appear rough). Flat warts are generally the size of a pinhead and may appear in clusters. Common locations of flat warts are face and legs. When they occur on the face, they tend to spread rapidly especially with activities like shaving. Teenagers and adults are more prone to develop flat warts.
Filiform warts are long, narrow and filamentous warts. They tend to affect the face and neck more often. They generally appear in clusters and have a tendency to grow rapidly. Filiform warts also spread easily especially by sharing face towels or facial products
Plantar warts (verruca plantaris):
One of the painful varieties of warts, plantar warts occur on the soles of the feet. Plantar warts often develop beneath pressure points in feet, such as the heels or balls of feet. This pressure also may cause a plantar wart to grow inward beneath a hard, thick layer of skin (callus).
Genital warts (condyloma acuminata)
Warts that affect the genital region are called genital warts and they are amongst the most common sexually transmitted diseases. Typical locations in male patients include the penis and in case of women, the vulva, vagina and cervix may be affected. Occasionally the warts may even spread to the anal region or the pubic region in both the sexes.
Genital warts are seen as flat raised lesions or cauliflower-like bumps that are generally flesh colored. They may be small in size making them difficult to spot at times; in other cases they may be larger and itchy. There may be tenderness or a burning sensation in the affected region. In case of genital warts on the cervix, the woman may experience bleeding after sexual intercourse.
Genital warts may occur singly or in clusters. They are highly contagious and they spread easily through sexual contact (vaginal or anal) or oro-genital contact (oral sex). Genital warts are one of the most common types of sexually transmitted infections.
Viral warts and other wart like growths
Viral warts can be confused at times with other skin growths such as skin-tags (benign skin tumour), molluscum contagiosum (growths on the skin which look like white pearls; caused by another group of virus; often observed in children), moles, birth-marks, lichen planus, etc. A careful look by a trained doctor makes the diagnosis clear.
Homeopathic treatment helps patients to get rid of warts safely and effectively without the use of any conventional methods. Whether it is getting rid of the existing warts, preventing the formation of new ones or healing the tendency to wart formation, homeopaths have solution for all.
Prognosis of homeopathy treatment varies from case to case – some warts disappear readily with medication whereas others require long-term treatment and are slow to disappear. The important thing about Homeopathic treatment is that besides healing them, it prevents the warts from spreading to other parts of the body. Proper constitutional treatment removes the tendency for wart formation from the roots thereby giving lasting results.
Overall, the treatment of warts with Homeopathy gives good results in most cases and the best part are that the treatment is safe and without any side-effects. Homeopathy is strongly suggested for all cases of warts.
Self care tips
- Avoid picking at warts since they spread faster like this
- Avoid shaving areas that have warts to keep the virus from spreading
- In case of children, cover the warts with an adhesive bandage – this will keep them from picking the warts
- Children must be encouraged to wash hands properly after they finish playing
- Keep the affected area dry since warts tend to thrive better in moist environment
- If you have accidentally touched someone else’s warts (or even your own) , wash your hands properly after that
- If you or your partner has genital warts, abstain from sexual activity since genital warts are highly contagious. Some physicians recommend using condoms but these do not provide complete protection from genital warts (since warts may be in areas not completely covered by the condom).
- Don’t share personal care objects (such as towel, comb, nail clipper, etc.) with someone who has warts (or if you have warts, do not allow others to use your stuff). This helps to avoid the spreading of the virus.
The vocal cords are the folds of mucous membrane in the larynx which vibrate to make a range of vocal sounds such as those during speaking and singing.
A vocal cord nodule is a mass of tissue that grows on the vocal folds (vocal cords). Typically, this mass will appear on the junction of the anterior 1/3 and posterior 2/3 of the vocal fold, where contact is most forceful.
Vocal cord nodules are benign (noncancerous) growths on both vocal cords that are caused by vocal abuse. Over time, repeated abuse of the vocal cords results in soft, swollen spots on each vocal cord. These spots develop into harder, callous-like growths called nodules. The nodules will become larger and stiffer the longer the vocal abuse continues. A vocal cord nodule reduces or obstructs the ability of the vocal folds to create the rapid changes in air pressure which generate human speech. They may appear on either one or both of the vocal cords. Vocal cord nodules develop mostly in adult females, and children of both sexes.
- Extensive use of voice. Those commonly affected include singers, teachers, actors, Public speakers etc. and therefore, also known as ‘singer’s nodules’.
- Excessive yelling and coughing.
- Chronic allergic reactions and infection of the larynx.
- Cigarette smoke and inhaled industrial irritants.
- Drinking caffeine and alcohol (dries out the throat and vocal cords)
- Hoarseness or harshness of voice
- A “rough” voice
- A “scratchy” voice
- Shooting pain from ear to ear
- A “lump in the throat” sensation
- Neck pain
- Decreased pitch range
- Painful speech production
- Voice and body fatigue
- Frequent vocal breaks
Conventional treatment may include, voice rest, speech therapy and voice training.
Complete cure and prevention of vocal cord nodules (polyps) possible with homeopathy. Cases when treated early when the nodules are small and of recent origin respond faster and can be completely cured in a relatively shorter period of time. Besides reversing the condition, the medicines prescribed also help those prone to recurring growths as seen commonly in those who perpetually strain their voice.
Prevention of Vocal Cord Nodules
- Eliminate strain and monitor your voice tone
- Avoiding yelling, loud talking and even whispering
- Ensuring you treat your allergies and throat infection if any
- Speaking softly and in a range comfortable to you
- Avoid smoking and inhaling irritant pollutants
Urticaria also called nettle-rash or hives or wheals in a common language, simply means itching with rash. Medically, urticaria may be defined as skin eruption, which is allergic (or non-allergic) in origin and is characterized by profound itching, red circular or irregularly shaped eruptions on any part of the body.
The typical description of urticaria is an itchy skin eruption that is characterized by ‘wheals’. The wheals usually have with well-defined red margins and pale interiors. The wheals can last for several hours or even the whole day before fading off. When the wheals disappear, they do so without any trace.
These eruptions can remain on the body for variable period, anywhere between few seconds to even hours. They have tendency to disappear and reappear. They tend to disappear without leaving behind any trace.
The cases may be acute in nature (lasting less than 6 weeks) or may run a chronic course (for more than 6 weeks).
Urticaria is a hypersensitive reaction due to the histamine release. The primary mechanism that leads to development of an urticarial rash is the release of histamine (a chemical) by the human immune system into the blood. In response to histamine, blood plasma leaks out of small blood vessels in the skin resulting in swelling.
A large number of things can trigger the onset of Urticaria and some of them have been discussed here:
- Allergens: A number of food allergens, environmental allergens, etc. can trigger Urticaria; however reactions may vary in different individuals
- Foods: Some of the common culprits are fish, crabs, oysters, shell fish, prawns, milk, cheese, eggs, nuts, chocolates, citrus fruits, spices, yeast, food additives and preservatives like tartazine, berries, wheat, tomatoes, pineapple, strawberries, alcohol, etc.
- Environmental: Pollen, dander, fungi, house-dust are few of the common reasons
- Drugs: A number of drugs can trigger an Urticaria rash and these include morphine, codeine, aspirin, other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen), certain antibiotics, vaccinations, contraceptive pills, etc.
- Stings of insects such as bee stings commonly cause acute urticarial rashes
- Infections: Parasitic worm infestations such as round worms, tapeworms, etc; bacterial infections, etc can also cause Urticaria
- Cold Urticaria is one variant that results from exposure to extremely cold climates
- Solar Urticaria – results from exposure to sun
- Pressure on the skin such as that caused by tight clothes may lead to pressure Urticaria
- Physical exertion, exercise, hot shower, perspiration may trigger Cholinergic Urticaria
- Direct physical stimulation of the skin by vibrations, firmly stroking or scratching the skin, etc.
- Abnormal functioning of the immune system (auto-immunity) – has been considered to be a trigger for chronic Urticaria. Other auto-immune systemic illness such as thyroid disorders, systemic lupus erythematosus, etc. may be linked to Urticaria
- Idiopathic – In about 80% of chronic Urticaria cases, the cause is unknown
The clinical presentation of urticaria is usually acute or acute-on-chronic or recurring. The patient may present with usually sudden, acute skin eruption with swelling, redness, intense itching, burning and anxiety.
They can occur anywhere on the body and have the following features:
- Irregular shaped, red, raised rashes – small or large in size
- The rashes may have a central clearing
- Intensely itchy – may lead to disturbance at work, sleeplessness, irritability, restlessness, impatience, etc.
- Burning or stinging pain in the areas of affection
- May be surrounded by a red flare
- Lasting from few hours to the whole day
- The frequency of the rashes is also not fixed – some people experience it once in a while whereas others may get rashes several times daily
Some of the variants of Urticaria that differ in presentation are discussed here:
- Cholinergic: triggered by physical exertion or a hot bath or shower, this is marked by hundreds of small itchy bumps. These occur quickly and disappear in the same manner. Cholinergic Urticaria is seen more often in young people.
- Dermographism: This literally means ‘skin writing’. The hives in this case are produced by direct physical stimulation of the skin such as stroking with a blunt object.
- Angioedema: This is a severe variant also known as ‘Giant Urticaria’. Large areas of affection are seen and swelling occurs around the eyes, lips, hands, feet, genitalia and inside the throat. When the wind-pipe in involved due to swelling in the throat, it can obstruct breathing and this is a medical emergency (Anaphylactic shock)
Clinical diagnosis is made by close examination of the skin eruptions. Once observed and experienced, the patients can also recognize urticaria.
No tests are usually required for this. However, to detect the cause of Urticaria, physician may ask patient to get certain tests done such as:
- Allergy tests: To check if the Urticaria is related to specific allergic triggers
- Blood tests: Tests to rule out thyroid disease, other auto-immune diseases, etc.
a number of cases that have seen excellent relief with homeopathy also provide clear evidence that homeopathy works effectively in allergic diseases like Urticaria. The treatment for Urticaria may vary from cases to case – some requiring short-term whereas others requiring long term treatment. The duration of treatment depends on various factors such as the severity, duration and extent of the illness, nature of treatment taken for the same and general health of the patient. Some forms are obstinate and need more patience on part of the patient. Over a period of time, we can taper and even stop the conventional medications being taken by the patient.
Homeopathy also helps to deal effectively with the psychological aspects of this illness such as depression, irritability, aggressiveness, etc. Overall, patients report significant change in their physical and mental health with continued treatment.
Self Care Tips
- For relief from the burning and itching, apply cool compresses or wet cloths over the affected areas
- Stay in cool (not very cold) environment as far as possible
- Wear cotton garments and preferable loose-fitting ones
- Avoid known triggers such as foods or food additives, alcohol, medications, temperature extremes, stress, etc. that can trigger an attack
- Keep a diary of your activities to help your doctor identify triggers
- Avoid foods that contain high levels of histamine naturally such as eggplant and spinach. Food additives such as preservatives, etc. also mediate the release of histamine.