Diseases & Conditions
Easy-to-understand answers about diseases and conditions
A microscopic parasite called Blastocystis can reside in your digestive tract. Researchers are trying to determine if Blastocystis causes any diseases. Some people with gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea and abdominal pain have Blastocystis in their stool. However, Blastocystis usually exists in a person’s digestive tract without causing any harm. Blastocystis can be transmitted through food, water, or contact with feces from humans or animals. It is more common in developing countries and among those who work with animals. Previously, Blastocystis in humans was identified as a single species, Blastocystis hominis. Researchers have since discovered various variations, including different species or strains within a species. The current scientific name for Blastocystis is Blastocystis spp, which means “multiple species.” Blastocystosis is the term used to describe a Blastocystis infection.
Blepharitis is the inflammation of the eyelids, which usually affects the edges of both eyes. This condition is commonly caused by clogged oil glands near the base of the eyelashes, resulting in redness and irritation. While various diseases and conditions may lead to blepharitis, it is often a chronic and challenging condition to treat. While it can be uncomfortable and unsightly, it is not contagious and does not cause permanent damage to your vision.
Bipolar disorder, or manic depression, is a severe mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings. These swings can include emotional highs like mania or hypomania and lows like depression. During a depressive episode, you may experience sadness, hopelessness, and disinterest in activities. During a manic or hypomanic episode, you may experience euphoria, high energy levels, or become irritable. These mood swings can significantly impact your sleep, energy, activity levels, judgement, behaviour, and thinking abilities. Episodes of mood swings may occur infrequently or happen multiple times a year. While some people may experience emotional symptoms between episodes, others may not experience any. Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition that requires the management of mood swings and other symptoms through a treatment plan. Typically, bipolar disorder is treated with a combination of medications and psychological counselling (psychotherapy). Following your treatment plan to manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life is crucial.
Have you ever heard of a black hairy tongue? It’s a harmless oral condition that gives the language a dark, furry appearance. This unique look is caused by a buildup of dead skin cells on the tongue’s tiny projections containing taste buds. These papillae projections can become more prolonged than usual and easily trap bacteria, yeast, tobacco, food, or other substances that can stain them. Even though a black hairy tongue might look scary, it’s typically not harmful and doesn’t cause any health problems. Most of the time, it’s painless. The condition can be resolved by identifying and eliminating possible causes or contributing factors and practising good oral hygiene.
Bladder cancer is a frequently occurring cancer that originates in the cells of the bladder. The bladder is a muscular sac in the lower abdomen that stores urine. The most common form of bladder cancer begins in the urothelial cells that line the bladder’s interior. These urothelial cells are also in the kidneys and the tubes connecting them to the bladder. While urothelial cancer can occur in the kidneys and ureters, it is more prevalent in the bladder. Early diagnosis of bladder cancer is common, and treatment is highly effective. However, it can reoccur even after successful therapy of early-stage bladder cancer. As a result, individuals with bladder cancer usually require follow-up tests for several years after treatment to detect any recurrence.
Bladder exstrophy is a rare congenital disability where the bladder develops outside the fetus. Due to this, the exposed bladder cannot function properly, and urine leakage (incontinence) occurs. The severity of the problems caused by bladder exstrophy can vary. It can lead to defects in the bladder, genitals, pelvic bones, intestines, and reproductive organs. Bladder exstrophy can be detected during pregnancy through a routine ultrasound. However, there are times when the defect is only visible after the baby is born. Surgery is necessary to correct the deficiencies in babies born with bladder exstrophy.
Bladder stones are solid formations of minerals that can develop in your bladder. They arise when the minerals in concentrated urine solidify and create stones, which can occur when you struggle to empty your bladder. While small bladder stones may pass without medical intervention, larger ones may require medication or surgery. If left untreated, bladder stones can result in infections and other complications.
Baby acne refers to the development of acne on a newborn’s skin, typically in the facial and neck regions. This condition is common and temporary, and its occurrence cannot be prevented. However, it usually clears up on its own without leaving any scars.
Many people seek medical help or miss work due to back pain, a leading cause of disability worldwide. However, some measures can prevent or relieve most episodes of back pain, particularly for people under 60. If prevention fails, simple home treatment and correct body posture can often heal the back within a few weeks. Surgery is seldom necessary to treat back pain.
If you experience discomfort or pain in your vagina could be due to bacterial vaginosis (BV). This occurs when the natural bacteria levels in your vagina are imbalanced. Maintaining balanced levels of bacteria is essential to keep your vagina healthy. When certain bacteria begin to overgrow, BV can develop. Bacterial vaginosis can occur at any age but is more common during the reproductive years. Hormonal changes during this time make it easier for bacteria to grow. Additionally, those who are sexually active are more likely to experience BV. However, it’s unclear why engaging in unprotected sex and douching can increase your risk of developing BV.
Having bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be a source of embarrassment and even anxiety for some people. The abundance of gum, mints, mouthwashes, and similar products on store shelves to combat bad breath is unsurprising. However, many of these products only provide temporary relief because they need to address the underlying cause of the problem. Certain foods, health conditions, and habits are some reasons you may have bad breath. In most cases, consistent and proper dental hygiene can help improve the situation. If self-care techniques don’t work, it’s best to see your dentist or physician to ensure that a more severe condition is not causing bad breath.
As we age, the tissues around our eyes weaken, including some of the muscles that support our eyelids. This often leads to mild swelling or puffiness under our eyes, commonly known as bags under the eyes. These bags are caused when the fat that helps keep our eyes in place moves into the lower eyelids, making them appear puffy. Additionally, fluid may accumulate below our eyes, contributing to this condition. Bags under the eyes are usually a cosmetic concern and seldom a sign of a severe medical condition. However, it can be bothersome. At-home remedies such as cool compresses can help improve the appearance of under-eye puffiness. If the problem persists, eyelid surgery may be an option to consider.
Have you heard of a Baker cyst? It’s a fluid-filled growth that can be found behind the knee, causing a noticeable bulge and tightness. Sometimes this type of cyst can also cause pain, worsening with activity or when you fully straighten or bend your knee. Typically, a Baker cyst results from an underlying issue with the knee joint, such as arthritis or a cartilage tear. This can cause the knee to produce an excess amount of fluid. While a Baker cyst can be uncomfortable, treating the root cause of the issue can provide relief.
Experiencing balance problems can cause dizziness, unsteadiness, and lightheadedness, as if the room is spinning or you might fall. These sensations can occur while lying down, sitting, or standing. Balanced physical systems, including muscles, bones, joints, eyes, nerves, heart, and blood vessels, are necessary for maintaining proper balance. When any of these systems are not functioning properly, balance problems can arise. While various medical conditions can cause balance problems, most cases are attributed to issues within the balance organ of the inner ear, also known as the vestibular system.
If you experience acid reflux, it could damage the flat pink lining of the esophagus, which connects the mouth to the stomach, causing it to thicken and turn red. The LES, a valve between the esophagus and stomach, is crucial, but it may fail over time, leading to GERD or acid and chemical damage to the esophagus. This can cause Barrett’s esophagus, which may increase the risk of esophageal cancer. Although the risk is low, it’s essential to have regular checkups with imaging and biopsies to detect precancerous cells. If caught, treatment can prevent esophageal cancer.
The Bartholin’s glands are located on either side of the vaginal opening and produce a fluid that aids in lubricating the vagina. Unfortunately, these glands can become obstructed, leading to a painless swelling called a Bartholin’s cyst. However, if the cyst becomes infected, it can result in a collection of pus surrounded by inflamed tissue, known as an abscess. Bartholin’s cysts and abscesses are frequent occurrences, and the treatment depends on the size and level of pain or infection. Sometimes, home remedies may be enough, but surgical drainage of the cyst may be necessary in more severe cases. Antibiotics can also help treat any infection from Bartholin’s cyst.
Did you know that basal cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer that typically begins in the basal cells? These cells produce new skin cells as old ones die off. If you notice a slightly transparent bump on your skin, it could be a sign of basal cell carcinoma. This type of cancer is most commonly found on areas of the skin exposed to the sun, such as your head and neck. Experts believe long-term exposure to UV radiation from sunlight is the primary cause of basal cell carcinoma. Avoiding prolonged sun exposure and using sunscreen regularly is best to prevent this type of cancer.
Bed-wetting, or nighttime incontinence or nocturnal enuresis, is when a person involuntarily urinates while asleep after the age where it is expected to stay dry at night. It is common for many households to experience soggy sheets, pyjamas, and a child feeling embarrassed. However, bed-wetting does not indicate that toilet training has gone wrong. It is usually a regular part of a child’s development. Typically, bed-wetting before age 7 is not a concern as your child may still be developing nighttime bladder control. If bed-wetting persists, treating the problem with patience and understanding is essential. Lifestyle changes, bladder training, moisture alarms, and sometimes medication may help to reduce bed-wetting.
Small, reddish-brown bedbugs are blood-sucking insects that don’t have wings. If you get bitten by a bedbug, the bite usually goes away within one to two weeks. While bedbugs are not known to spread diseases, they can cause some people allergic or severe skin reactions. Bedbugs are roughly the same size as an apple seed and are known to hide in the cracks and crevices of beds, box springs, headboards, bed frames, and other objects around the mattress. They come out during the night to feed on human hosts. If you frequently visit places such as hotels, hospitals, or homeless shelters, you have a higher risk of encountering bedbugs. If you suspect bedbugs in your home, it is recommended to seek professional extermination.
Injuries to the skin and underlying tissue caused by prolonged pressure on the skin are known as bedsores, pressure ulcers, or decubitus ulcers. These sores usually develop on bony body parts, such as the hips, heels, tailbone, and ankles. Individuals with medical conditions that restrict their ability to change positions or spend most of their time in a bed or chair are at greater risk of developing bedsores. Bedsores can occur within hours or days and can be treated successfully. However, some may not heal completely. There are steps you can take to prevent bedsores and promote healing.
Bee stings can be a common annoyance when spending time outdoors. Usually, they are not severe and can be treated with simple home remedies to alleviate pain. However, if you are allergic to bee stings or are stung multiple times, you may experience a more severe reaction that requires immediate medical attention. You can take several precautions to prevent bee, hornet, and wasp stings. Additionally, knowing how to treat a sting if you get stung properly is essential.
Have you heard of Behcet’s disease, also known as Behcet’s syndrome? It is a rare condition that causes inflammation in the blood vessels throughout the body. This inflammation can cause various symptoms that may not seem related at first. These symptoms include mouth sores, eye inflammation, skin rashes and lesions, and genital sores. Fortunately, medications are available to help manage the symptoms of Behcet’s disease and prevent severe complications like blindness. If you or someone you know may have this condition, you must speak with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Bell’s palsy is a medical condition that results in sudden muscle weakness on one side of the face. This weakness is typically temporary and improves significantly over several weeks. As a result, half of the face appears droopy, with one-sided smiles and the affected eye resisting closure. Also known as acute peripheral facial palsy of unknown origin, Bell’s palsy can impact anyone, and its exact cause is still unknown. However, experts believe that swelling and inflammation of the nerve responsible for controlling the muscles on one side of the face may be the cause, possibly caused by a reaction to a viral infection. Fortunately, Bell’s palsy symptoms usually improve within a few weeks, with full recovery occurring in approximately six months. However, a few individuals may continue to experience symptoms for life. It is crucial to note that while rare, Bell’s palsy can occur more than once.
Suppose you suddenly feel like you or the inside of your head is spinning. In that case, you may be experiencing vertigo, often caused by benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), one of the most common types. BPPV can result in brief episodes of mild to severe dizziness when you move your head in specific ways, such as tipping it up or down, lying down, turning over, or sitting in bed. Although BPPV can be unpleasant, it’s usually not serious except for the increased risk of falls. You can get effective treatment for BPPV during a visit to your doctor’s office.
As men age, they may experience a health condition called Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), also known as an enlarged prostate. The prostate gland, located just below the bladder and helps with semen production, may become more prominent with age. Unfortunately, an enlarged prostate can lead to troublesome symptoms like difficulty urinating and may even cause bladder, urinary tract, or kidney issues. BPH can benefit from many therapies. These include prescription drugs, surgeries, and other treatments. You can get guidance from your healthcare practitioner. The best choice is determined by factors like:
Your prostate’s size.
Various other health issues could exist.
When digestive liquid produced in your liver (bile) flows back into your stomach and sometimes into the tube that connects your mouth and stomach, it is called bile reflux. This may also occur alongside stomach acid reflux, leading to a severe condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), causing inflammation and irritation in the esophageal tissue. Unlike gastric acid reflux, lifestyle changes and dietary modifications cannot entirely control bile reflux. Treatment usually involves medications and, in severe cases, surgery.
Binge-eating disorder is a severe condition characterised by the frequent consumption of large amounts of food and an inability to stop eating. While many people occasionally overindulge, such as during holiday meals, for some individuals, this behaviour becomes a regular occurrence and feels out of control, indicating a potential diagnosis of binge-eating disorder. Individuals with this disorder often feel embarrassed by their overeating and may make promises to stop, yet they cannot resist the compulsive urges to continue binge eating. Fortunately, treatment is available to help those with binge-eating disorders.