For the up to 16 million Americans living with IBS-D, it is often an uncomfortable disorder that can reduce a patient’s quality of life. IBS-D affects twice as many women as men and often occurs in people younger than 45. It can cause interference with daily activities and avoidance of certain foods. If you’ve experienced these symptoms, Dr. Howard Franklin, MBA, vice president of medical affairs and strategy at Salix Pharmaceuticals. offers two important steps you can take.
(BPT) - "As a doctor, I want patients to have open conversations with me about any symptoms they may experience without feeling uncomfortable," said Dr. Howard Franklin, MBA, vice president of medical affairs and strategy at Salix Pharmaceuticals. "But, I understand that patients may sometimes choose not to talk about symptoms they find embarrassing."
Such is the case when it comes to discussing bowel movements. For people who experience abdominal pain and diarrhea, it is important to discuss these symptoms with your doctor as they may be signs of irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D).
A report published by the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that up to 75 percent of individuals living with irritable bowel syndrome may be undiagnosed. You are not alone.
For the up to 16 million Americans living with IBS-D, it is often an uncomfortable disorder that can reduce a patient’s quality of life. IBS-D affects twice as many women as men and often occurs in people younger than 45. It can cause interference with daily activities and avoidance of certain foods.
If you’ve experienced these symptoms, Franklin offers two important steps you can take.
Understand the disorder
IBS-D is a disorder of the large intestine and though the precise cause is unknown, it is believed that there are various factors that can play a role in creating symptoms. Stronger, longer muscle contractions in the intestines and poorly coordinated signals between the brain and the intestines are all possible causes for IBS-D. Often, IBS-D is triggered by food, caffeine, stress, carbonated drinks, artificial sugars or infectious diarrhea.
Changes in bacteria in the gut have also been linked to symptoms of IBS-D. In a healthy state, the microbiome and the human host have a mutually beneficial relationship as the host intestine provides the bacteria with an environment to flourish and the bacteria provides physiological stability. A change in the number of bacteria and in their type can disrupt this relationship.
Talk to your doctor
Don’t hesitate to initiate the conversation with your doctor if you experience symptoms of IBS-D.
It’s time to talk to your doctor if:
* Your abdominal pain keeps coming back at least one day per week in the last three months
* The frequency of your bowel movements, and/or the way your stool looks has changed
Here are a few ways you can prepare for a conversation with your doctor:
1. Write down your symptoms and triggers.
2. Make a list of all your medications.
3. Plan questions in advance, such as: What are the likely causes of my symptoms? Should I make any changes to my diet or lifestyle? What treatment options do you recommend for me?
There is no need to suffer with IBS-D in silence. Speak up to your doctor and, together, find ways to manage the disorder. For more information about IBS-D, visit www.LetsTalk-2.com.
While all of us have experienced the dull pain of a headache and some know the recurrent pulse and throbbing of migraine, few people can understand the severity of pain associated with cluster headache, also known as “suicide headache.”
(BPT) - While all of us have experienced the dull pain of a headache and some know the recurrent pulse and throbbing of migraine, few people can understand the severity of pain associated with cluster headache, also known as “suicide headache.”
What is cluster headache?
Cluster headache is an extremely painful primary headache disorder characterized by recurring unilateral attacks, or attacks that occur on one side of the head. It is called “cluster” headache because headaches typically occur in bouts (or “clusters”) for 6 to 12 weeks, often at the same time each year or day, and are more frequent at night. It begins as sharp pain centered at the eye, temple or forehead, and can be as brief as 15 minutes or as long as several hours. Attacks can strike up to 8 times a day.
The condition, which affects about one to two people in every 1,000, predominantly occurs in males, with symptoms typically manifesting by the age of 30. Those at greater risk of cluster headache include heavy smokers and individuals with a family history of the condition.
“Cluster headache is one of the most painful conditions an individual can experience, known for being potentially more excruciating and debilitating than migraine,” said Stephen Silberstein, M.D., from the Jefferson Headache Center at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “Sadly, patients diagnosed with cluster headache commit suicide twenty times more than the national average as the pain can be described as unbearable.”
Diagnosis and treatment
Unfortunately, diagnosis of cluster headache may be delayed significantly due to patients and physicians mistaking the end of a bout for resolution of a separate, standalone condition.
Historically, even after the proper diagnosis is made, there have been very few viable therapies for cluster headache, making prevention and treatment strategies a challenge. While the exact cause of cluster headache is unknown, it is typically treated with injectable sumatriptan, a combination of oxygen and various drugs and/or nerve blocks. These methods are associated with barriers to use including a myriad of pharmaceutical side effects. Not surprisingly, 79 percent of patients have been dissatisfied with available treatment options.
Today, patients now have a novel treatment option called gammaCore®(nVNS). gammaCore, the first non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation therapy applied at the neck for the acute treatment of pain associated with migraine and episodic cluster headaches in adult patients, offers a way to treat symptoms without many of the side effects and dose limitations observed with commonly prescribed treatments or the need for invasive and costly procedures. Patients prescribed gammaCore can have reliable access to treatment for up to four cluster attacks per day for 30 days.
“gammaCore has shifted the paradigm by allowing patients to self-administer non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation therapy for acute treatment of cluster headache, resulting in the reduction of pain,” notes Dr. Silberstein. “gammaCore’s efficacy and safety profiles, along with its self-administered mode of delivery, have the potential to not only reduce the side-effect burden associated with other medications but also bring much needed relief to patients.”
For more information on cluster headache and treatment with gammaCore (non-invasive vagus nerve stimulator), please visit http://gammacore.com/.
Important Safety Information
gammaCore (non-invasive vagus nerve stimulator) is indicated for the acute treatment of pain associated with episodic cluster headache and migraine in adult patients.
gammaCore is available by prescription only. U.S. Federal Law restricts this device to sale by or on the order of a licensed healthcare provider.
 *Survey conducted in October 2016 to assess the impressions and perspectives on current treatments and interest in new acute treatment options. A total of 291 subjects participated in the survey, with 177 of them suffering from episodic cluster headaches and 111 suffering from chronic cluster headaches, and 3 patients refrained from answering this question.
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who suffers from a chronic illness that requires using needles or sharps outside of the doctor’s office, you may question how to dispose of them safely. There is plenty of information available, but the proper disposal method may be different depending on where you live, work or travel.
How to Safely Dispose Needles and Medical Sharps
(Family Features) If you’re one of the millions of Americans who suffers from a chronic illness that requires using needles or sharps outside of the doctor’s office, you may question how to dispose of them safely. There is plenty of information available, but the proper disposal method may be different depending on where you live, work or travel.
To help ensure people who use needles and sharps at home or on-the-go know how to dispose of them easily and safely, NeedyMeds, a national non-profit organization that provides health care information to consumers, developed tools at SafeNeedleDisposal.org.
“Most people want to do the right thing, but they need specific, succinct information on safe sharps disposal,” said Richard J. Sagall, MD, president of NeedyMeds. “For local guidance presented in a way that is easy to follow, our website is a one-stop-shop.”
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, sharps that are not disposed of properly may cause injury. In order to increase awareness and minimize risk, people who use sharps are encouraged to learn more about local regulations and disposal options.
In many states and communities, people who use sharps may dispose of them by following these three simple steps:
“Some locations have different disposal regulations, which may require people in those areas to take used sharps to special collection points,” Sagall said. “SafeNeedleDisposal.org helps people learn how to get rid of used sharps safely, wherever they happen to be.”
To learn more about disposing used needles and sharps safely, visit SafeNeedleDisposal.org.SOURCE:
To help shed light on the growing national problem with opioid drugs, Dr. W. Michael Hooten, a Mayo Clinic anesthesiologist and Pain Clinic specialist, lends his expert insight on what people need to know about opioids.
(BPT) - While a decade ago you may not have heard much about opioids, today they make headlines daily. The nationwide epidemic crosses generations and socioeconomic lines, and it's affecting your family, friends and neighbors.
"Opioids have long been used clinically to treat pain, but prior to the 1990s they were primarily reserved for patients with a limited life expectancy, such as for someone with cancer or in a hospice setting," says Dr. W. Michael Hooten, a Mayo Clinic anesthesiologist and Pain Clinic specialist. "The potential problems associated with long-term use were secondary considerations."
To help shed light on this growing national problem, Dr. Hooten lends his expert insight on what people need to know about opioids.
Opioids are prescribed for various reasons
Opioids are used to treat a variety of pain disorders. While they are commonly prescribed after an operation, opioids are also used to treat a host of chronic pain conditions including musculoskeletal, abdominal, pelvic, and neuropathic pain.
Length of use varies
"Following surgery, up to one in four patients may use opioids longer than anticipated," says Dr. Hooten. "How long, exactly, depends on several clinical factors."
He notes that after an operation, a patient might use opioids to manage acute pain for three to five days.
"When opioids are used for acute postoperative pain, patients should try to use the lowest possible dose." After this short time period, opioids should be replaced with non-opioid pain medicines including Tylenol scheduled to be taken every six hours."
There are alternatives for pain management
There are many alternative options for chronic pain. Dr. Hooten suggests talking with your doctor about:
* Non-opioid analgesics (non-opioid pain medications).
* Interventional treatments such as image-guided spine injections or nerve blocks. * Acupuncture.
* Low-impact exercise such as walking, yoga, Pilates. Consider working with a physical therapist to develop a structured exercise program.
* For advanced pain treatment, spinal-cord stimulation can disrupt the pain stimuli and provide sustained pain relief.
* Work with a pain psychologist who can help teach individuals how to use specialized behavioral and cognitive techniques that could lead to improvements in daily functioning and quality of life.
Opioids can be deadly if misused
"Approximately 90 people per day die in the U.S. from a prescription opioid and/or an illicit opiate overdose," says Dr. Hooten. Many of those are accidental overdoses. “People who take prescription opioids will inadvertently mix them with benzodiazepines (e.g., Valium and Xanax). Dr. Hooten warns that these two drug classes should never be taken together, as the combination can suppress the central nervous system and put the individual at risk of an accidental overdose.
Addiction can happen to anyone
As Dr. Hooten notes, “No one plans to get addicted, but it happens. Using opioids requires a high level of vigilance for the signs and symptoms of addiction."
There are many signs of over-reliance or misuse that families should be aware of. These include an increased preoccupation with the drug, concern about the timing of the next dose or refill, hiding use of the drug, and signs of intoxication like slurred speech and excessive sleep.
If you notice these warning signs, alert your loved one about your concerns. "This might be enough to prompt a change," says Dr. Hooten. "Otherwise relay this information to the prescriber and tell them what’s going on. They can take the correct next steps."
For more information on pain medication and alternatives, or to make an appointment, visit www.mayoclinic.org.
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