Hemorrhoids: Uncomfortable bowel movements

Swollen veins near the rectum and anus are called hemorrhoids. The walls of the blood vessels have been stretched so thin that the veins start to bulge, become swollen, and cause irritation. This uncomfortable feeling is especially prevalent when you have a bowel movement. This can cause rectal bleeding. In most cases, hemorrhoids do go away on their own.  

There are two types of hemorrhoids:

  1. Internal hemorrhoids: A person is not able to see them or feel them because they are very far inside the rectum. They are also hard to feel because there are few pain sensing nerves in that area. Bleeding could be the only indication they exist.
  2. External hemorrhoids: These are found under the skin near the anus. These tend to hurt and bleed because there are more pain sensitive nerves. They might appear as moist bumps that have a pink color. When hemorrhoids prolapse, they become bigger and bulge in appearance. A blood clot can also form on an external hemorrhoid, which is called thrombosis. These can turn purple or blue and feel very painful.

Hemorrhoids may be genetically related. Persons who are overweight or pregnant are more prone to have hemorrhoids due to the buildup of pressure in the lower rectum affecting blood flow. Other causes include straining when picking or lifting something heavy or pushing too hard during bowel movements. They are likely to come during times of constipation or diarrhea. When a person is sick and coughing, vomiting, or sneezing, chances also increase of having a hemorrhoid.

It is important to use the bathroom as soon as you feel the urge. Drinking plenty of water and consuming adequate amounts of fiber help keep stools regular and avoid constipation. Exercise is another good way to increase blood flow and keep hemorrhoids away.

There are home remedies to help with hemorrhoid relief. Taking a warm bath can help. Witch hazel can sooth the pain and has no side effects. Ice can be used. The area should be treated gently and wearing loose fitting under garments is recommended until fully healed. Scratching the itchy area will only make the problem worse. Sitting on a pillow is recommended too during this time of pain. Bowel movements are a normal part of living but are not meant to be painful. Always be aware of your body and any indications that something needs extra attention for optimal health.

https://www.healthline.com/health/hemorrhoids

https://www.healthline.com/health/external-hemorrhoids

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3342598/

everybodysfit

Megan Johnson McCullough owns a fitness studio in Oceanside CA called Every BODY’s Fit. She has an M.A. in Physical Education & Health Science, is a current candidate for her Doctorate in Health & Human Performance, and she’s an NASM Master Trainer & Instructor. She’s also a professional natural bodybuilder, fitness model, Wellness Coach, and AFAA Group Exercise Instructor.

Telehealth In Action

Merging Technology And Healthcare

When the spread of COVID-19 began, many healthcare providers and centers began promoting the idea of telehealth services. But what does that really mean? Telehealth uses digital information and communication technologies in order to support patient care, administrative activities, and health education. Basically, it allows patients and providers to interact when they are physically separated.

The goals of telehealth are to reduce the cost of healthcare services and expand access to care. Theoretically, it can greatly benefit underserved populations and make healthcare more convenient for those limited in mobility, transportation, or time. Telehealth could also give greater access to medical specialists and allow for better communication between a team of doctors and a patient. 

Because of the pandemic, many, if not all, of your regular appointments will likely suggest remote healthcare services rather than in person. This could be a phone call or video chat with your doctor, using your smartphone to log symptoms or medications, or using an online portal to view test results. Telehealth service are available through offerings like a patient portal with your regular provider, or through a third party.

Besides your regular provider, here are some UNH telehealth resources to explore:

  • Health & Wellness: Health & Wellness has services for non-emergency medical appointments, wellness coaching, and substance use education and counseling. All you do is make an appointment online and use Zoom to meet with a professional. 
  • Psychological And Counseling Services: PACS offers counseling over the phone or via video call for UNH students. To schedule an appointment, call the office at 603-862-2090.

Telehealth offers many benefits to consumers, especially during a pandemic. Even though you are not able to meet in person, your physical and mental health are still important. 

WEGO Health Pauses Facebook Advertising

WEGO Health’s Patient Leader members rely on social media, and Facebook especially, for their work supporting their patient communities. A few months ago, we polled our members about Facebook’s privacy issues, and 93% felt their connection to their Facebook patient communities was too important to abandon.

But to keep those communities safe, Facebook needs to do better in its fight against hate speech, calls for violence, and misinformation. In support of the #stophateforprofit movement, WEGO Health will pause all paid advertising on Facebook effective July 1.

We will monitor the situation closely – if Facebook’s positive response allows an early end, we will resume advertising immediately. Otherwise, we will resume advertising on Facebook on August 1.

WEGO Health is proud to be an active supporter of the fight against racial injustice; we see this action as an expansion of that commitment. Any interruption in paid advertising is not good for our business, but at times like this, we must do what’s right.

CDC Updates COVID-19 Risk Factors

Jay Butler, MD, deputy director of infectious diseases, COVID-19 incident response incident manager, CDC, Atlanta.

Robert Redfield, MD, director, CDC, Atlanta.

News briefing, CDC, June 25, 2020.

CDC, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: “Characteristics of Women of Reproductive Age with Laboratory-Confirmed SARS-CoV-2 Infection by Pregnancy Status — United States, January 22-June 7, 2020.”

The Patient Perspective: Patient Influencers and The Impact of Authenticity

As any patient will tell you, there’s nothing like out of touch, unsolicited medical advice from companies to get them to slam the door in your face. When you’re sick and you’re trying to decide how to manage it — there’s simply nothing more infuriating than a tone-deaf portrayal of your illness in a commercial or print ad to make you feel alone, misunderstood and unseen.

Just as we demanded that women stop smiling and frolicking in fields during tampon commercials, so too do we demand a realistic representation of patients telling us how to live and cope with different diseases.

Real people, not actors has become a tagline for authenticity in healthcare. As patient consumers, we’ve become conscious of how gratifying it feels to see our stories represented as they are truly experienced. As we become veterans of our diseases, it becomes our duty to light the way for others as they have lit the way for us.

So who do patients want to get their advice from outside the exam room?

Becoming An Advocate of Influence

Like many others, I became an accidental influencer when I started sharing my story through my blog. I was writing about my highs and lows, my hospitalizations, and helplessness as I fumbled my way through a new diagnosis. I talked about the mental olympics it takes to go from being told “this is how you’re going to treat your disease” to taking an active role in planning your treatment with your doctor. I talked about leaving a place of shame and self-consciousness and asserting my voice in the exam room.

I found myself blogging about how if the patient-doctor relationship was a two-way street, we might actually end up where we wanted to go.

Across the internet, my journey was mirrored by cancer patients, autoimmune patients, chronic pain patients–and so many others. It wasn’t long after I started my blog that I was nominated for a WEGO Health Award. A company that celebrated patient leaders and their contributions to awareness, advocacy, and innovation. I found an entire network of patients like me who were utilizing their social platforms to usher in a new era of support for each other.

We were different from the influencers hawking diet supplements and fashion accessories. We were setting the bar for humanizing healthcare and by sharing our reviews, tips, and honest revelations we were creating a new breed of trendsetters: the proactive patient.

In Sickness and in Social Media

When it comes to patient influencers, it’s not the images of airbrushed and toned models showcasing glittery packaging that comes to mind. Patients who follow other patients that they respect and admire are still thinking, I want what it is that they have. It’s just not always as obvious as new kicks or flashy gadgets. How do you showcase quality of life in a 30-second video or a 120 character status?

Often it’s a patient who’s able to say, “I did find support from my doctor when I came to them with my unmanageable symptoms” or “I found the right tools to help me explain to my family and friends how my disease is making life more complicated right now.” Or simply, “I’m not coping well right now, but I’m not ashamed.”

As it turns out, social media really can be the prescriber in how to live realistically with our disease — outside the scope of what our doctors can suggest for us. And I’m not talking about recommendations of literal supplements or diets, but an example of how real diseases progress in the real world. How they touch on our school, work, relationships, sex lives — how they influence our emotions and choices.

There is a bigger story being told in the captions of our fellow patient’s feeds than we have ever seen in the tagline of a magazine ad for our meds.

Social media can give us a matrix of examples for the difficult choices ahead. These stories can help us to understand our symptoms, explore treatment options, and find our footing in a new world of unanticipated personal responsibility.

Yes, we need our medical experts, and we need support, but we also need these influencers as pivotal allies in our journey.

For years they’ve been establishing their presence across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, transcending the role of support group leaders and becoming influencers for their condition.

And now? They’re ready to open their eyes and @’s to collaborations with pharma.

More than Money, Patient Influencers Make Change

It has not been an easy transition for pharma who is often handcuffed by the restraints of highly-regulated industry advertising standards to partner with patients across social media.

Unlike conventional influencers, patient influencers aren’t going to receive coupon codes for their audiences or free samples of medications to try.

The most valuable “get” from their work with pharma?

“A seat at the table,” says WEGO Health Patient Leader Network VP, Julie Croner. “Patient influencers are trying to make the hardships that patients deal with a little easier. If they work side-by-side with pharma, they have the opportunity for their voices, concerns, and ideas to be heard — and to be paid for it.”

Patients who are chosen for influencer opportunities are often paid not only for their social posts, but for their participation in insight groups, one-on-one conversations with pharmaceutical marketing firms, and survey participation.

They bring key concerns from their disease communities to a forum where pharmaceutical companies can make real change.

In return, influencers open their feeds to conversations about new treatment options.

The goal is to give patients the information they need to become advocates for their treatment plans. Influencer campaigns will aim to inspire patient-doctor conversations that have both parties coming to the table with ideas on how to improve quality of life.

This back and forth can spark a proactive patient towards successful treatment and stops them from being prescribed a one-for-all treatment plan.

When asked what action they would take when someone they consider influential shares information from a pharmaceutical company about a specific medication, 87% of consumers said they would ask a healthcare professional about the medication.

Contrary to popular belief, most patient influencers don’t have an ax to grind with pharmaceutical companies. By the time they become the ones to look to, they understand that disease management involves a need for partnerships with prescribers and prescriptions. Medication keeps patients alive and functional, and while no one is a fan of unwanted side-effects or unsuccessful treatment plans — rarely do we fall into the right solution without flexing the muscles of personal medical experimentation.

The Bridge Between Patients and Pharma

So how do patients go from sharing their stories on social to collaborating with pharma goliaths? How do they retain authenticity in their messaging while expanding their personal brands and social audience?

If they were searching for the bridge between the world of patient advocacy and pharmaceutical might, they wouldn’t need to look much further than the community of WEGO Health, a vast network of patient experts, opinion leaders, influencers, and advocates who are given opportunities to collaborate on a professional level with healthcare.

Patients paid attention when the company started recognizing advocates for their contributions through their annual WEGO Health Awards a decade ago. Now the company has grown to support patient leaders in their careers as social influencers by offering free online education, databases of engaged patient leaders to connect and collaborate with, and a gig marketplace where patients can find relevant paid opportunities related to their disease communities.

The company has been a strong proponent for patients getting paid for their contributions to healthcare marketing and will only broker partnerships between patients and pharma companies if the patient makes a profit from their experience and time.

Now, WEGO Health has launched Pharmaceutical Grade Influencer Marketing: a chance for patient leaders to take the next step in helping their dedicated social audiences make smart treatment choices.

The WEGO Health Pharmaceutical Grade Influencer Marketing product offers services that include influencer marketing, social media management, branding, and photo and video production. The company seeks out the top patient influencers across all disease communities and gives them the expert training they need to kick off a successful partnership, including training on adverse events, comment moderation, and content pre-screened by both parties before posting.

With sponsored posts being boosted by WEGO Health’s proprietary algorithm, patients receive a significant boost in views and follows to their social networks — a benefit that will help them reach new audiences and expand their professional careers as influencers.

The Patient Journey Will Always be Real

While other types of social influencers may grapple with the loss of authenticity as they build their personal brands, this is unlikely to be the case for patient leaders. For these social stars, health concerns are chronic and unlikely to be resolved by a high follower count.

We are all brought back to our vulnerabilities when dressed in a hospital gown, when at the mercy of a pre-operative countdown, when staring down two treatment options and looking outside ourselves for support and guidance.

All we have is the roadmaps of patients who have been there before us, and in particular, those who have been brave enough to post to their feeds about how finding their voice brought them closer to the quality of life we all strive for.

6 Signs Of An Unhealthy Relationship With Exercise

Aren’t we all pioneers of unhealthy relationships? Oops, sorry we didn’t mean to attack anyone like that. Juicy topic apart, we are going to talk about unhealthy relationships with fitness today! Now, this article is for someone who is in absolute love with their gym, like an obsessive lover, and never realized where to draw the line. Hey, hold on, if you’re not a workout-o-holic you don’t need to press the back button yet, give it a read (you won’t regret) and share it with your workout obsessed buddy. We all know one, right?

Your unhealthy fitness practices can burn you out, cause injuries, and even result in a messed up social and personal life. Fitness is meant to make your life better and not to exhaust you, neither cripple your mind with sadness or regret which many of us end up doing without even realizing it.

Following are the reasons why you need to really think about your fitness practices:

1. FOMW (Fear Of Missing Workout)

Yes, you’re right we just invented this term but isn’t it pretty legit? Most of us start feeling terrible for missing a workout even for a day. Do absurd thoughts start crossing your mind like what if I gain weight? What if I lose my muscles? What if I feel lethargic? We want you to calm your mind. Taking a break or missing out on your workout won’t be the end of the world (we promise) and besides, mental and social life is also as important as your physical health. Give yourself a break, healthy one! But ensure that you are consistent enough to get back the next day.

2. Overdoing Or Pushing The Limit

We all come across quotes on Instagram and gym walls that say “push your limit” or “darr ke aage jeet hai”. Well it comes with its own set of conditions that only an expert can tell. (That’s why we are here!) Over-doing any form of exercise won’t help you but only cause fatigue. For example, forcing yourself to do leg workout when you have a knee injury/issues is only going to worsen the situation. An unhealthy approach to exercise will make you more prone to an injury. So doing a couple of extra reps is totally alright and healthy but don’t pu(ni)sh yourself through pain and blood, it’s not fruitful. You can trust us.

3. Workout > Social life

The gym fanatics will agree that they prefer spending more time in the gym than with their friends or family. Well, we do agree that most people are a big-time disappointment and you often end up in a situation that makes you realize that working out was a better option. You need to balance your workout and social lifestyle in order to sustain more things in your life that bring joy. After all, you need people around you to appreciate your physique, don’t you?

4. Being Super Anti-calories

People often talk like burning calories is the only aim in their life and to be honest isn’t it annoying at times? Like we get it Karen, but can you stop talking about calories already and enjoy your birthday cake? Having a healthy lifestyle with sustainable habits are more important than  stopping yourself from enjoying little joys of life. Limit yourself, have a bite, shed it off on a treadmill and while you’re at it don’t shame someone else who enjoys calorie indulgence more than you.

5. Measuring Your Self-worth Only On Weighing Scales

Social media has over-hyped perfect sculpted bodies so much that it has become a measuring scale to judge a person’s beauty quotient. Yes, a sculpted body is always the result of hard work and dedication but things that define a person as a whole, is much more than merely a sculpted body. If you’re working out only to look better than someone else, get more likes on social media, or to be sure that your partner keeps on finding you attractive, let us give you a very important piece of advice – it’s time you care for your worth and your self more than these fragile appreciations, you are worthy the way you are.

6. Binge Eating Shed Off

In contrast to what we mentioned above in ‘anti-calories’, these people are slightly different but are equally in unhealthy relationships with the workout. Binge eating delicious junk food for dinner and working out frantically the next morning in a hope to shed it just not the right direction to get healthy. Sadly, you can call this a millennial trend – this entire cycle only leads to fatigue because your body doesn’t get enough nutrition from the junk binge and above that you overexert your body with over workout. Charge your relationship with food and maintain a sustainable habit that lasts. We don’t suggest you roll your eyes every time you see french fries or a dollop of desserts – instead, enjoy in moderation so that you don’t have to regret the next moment and punish yourself later.

Staying healthy and fit is not about a size zero body – it’s more about building sustainable eating habits, workout routine and enjoying the journey without a speck of regret while you are at it. If you are in an unhealthy relationship with fitness, you are facing issues with unsustainability with your eating and fitness habits. What is more important that brings you results you want is a flexible approach towards fitness, establishing sustainable healthy habits, and indulging in occasional binging too – you need to take the right way but you should know what’s the right way. So, if you are this person, now is the time to realize and put things in order. Or if you know someone who’s going through any of these symptoms, share this article with them, talk to them and let’s make fitness more fun and efficient. Until next time, stay strong! 

Drug Might Relieve Low Back Pain in Whole New Way

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, June 22, 2020 (HealthDay News) — A new nonopioid pain reliever could be welcome news for people who have difficult-to-treat back pain.

Tanezumab is what’s called a monoclonal antibody. And it might offer extended relief from chronic lower back pain, a large, new study finds. However, a serious side effect remains a concern.

Tanezumab works differently from other treatments, as it blocks nerve growth factor, a protein that causes pain, researchers say.

“It appears that we are on the cusp of developing new drugs, which treat chronic pain by turning down the sensitivity of the nervous system, which is a whole new way of approaching the problem of chronic pain,” said lead researcher Dr. John Markman. He’s a professor of neurosurgery and neurology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine in New York.

“This is very important because we haven’t really had drugs with a new way of affecting chronic pain developed in maybe 100 years,” Markman said.

This phase 3 trial was funded by drugmakers Pfizer and Eli Lilly and Co. Twelve-hundred patients were randomly assigned to one of two doses of tanezumab or placebo. Another 600 patients received the opioid tramadol.

The higher dose of tanezumab reduced pain and also improved function, the researchers said.

Currently, opioid painkillers or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen are the only medications for chronic lower back pain. But opioids can be addictive, and NSAIDs can cause serious gastrointestinal bleeding.

If these drugs don’t work, the alternative is spinal fusion surgery, and that’s not always effective, Markman said.

Tanezumab is given by injection about every two months. It has none of the side effects of opioids or NSAIDs.

It does, however, have one very serious side effect that affects up to more than 2% of patients. The drug has been linked to joint deterioration that may require joint replacement.

This concern is the major focus of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s current review of the drug as a treatment for chronic pain from severe osteoarthritis, Markman said.

Continued

The current study was done in 191 sites in eight countries in North America, Europe and Asia. It involved patients who did not get pain relief after trying at least three different pain drugs, including opioids.

Patients underwent treatment for a little over a year. At four months, patients taking 10 milligrams of tanezumab reported significantly more pain relief than those using the placebo.

Also, after four months, more patients taking the experimental drug reported pain relief than those taking tramadol.

Markman said the drug “is very promising and really represents a step forward.”

Lower back pain affects 80% of Americans, and in as many as 20% of cases can become chronic and debilitating and disruptive, said Dr. Yili Huang, director of pain management at Northwell Health Phelps Hospital in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.

“Any potentially effective new treatment is truly exciting,” said Huang, who was not involved in the study.

Many of the currently available treatments for chronic lower back pain act on the same anti-inflammatory or opioid receptors, he said. “Treating a new target along the pain pathway can open the door to potentially safer and more effective treatments,” Huang noted.

Medical treatment of lower back pain is becoming increasingly challenging as many medications may have dangerous long-term side effects that can lead to cardiovascular disease, addiction, and kidney and liver disease, Huang said.

“The efficacy of tanezumab in treating pain in patients who have already failed treatment with these medications, including opioids, is very encouraging, but we must not discount the very small chance of it causing potentially devastating serious joint problems,” he said.

“Like all treatments, we must weigh the risks and benefits before proceeding, but it is a welcome addition to the treatment toolbox,” Huang added.

Because the drug doesn’t yet have FDA approval, Markman said it’s too early to estimate the cost. But like most new drugs, he said it will likely be expensive.

The report was published online June 19 in the journal Pain.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: John Markman, M.D., professor, neurosurgery and neurology, University of Rochester School of Medicine, Rochester, N.Y.; Yili Huang, D.O., director, Pain Management Center, Northwell Health Phelps Hospital, Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.; June 19, 2020,Pain, online

Copyright © 2013-2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Should I Be Taking A Vitamin?

Vitamin And Mineral Supplements 

Here in the 21st century, we are inundated with health advice. From television ads to billboards to magazines, everyone seems to have an opinion on what is best for your body. Vitamin and mineral supplements are becoming more popular among the public, making it pretty confusing when it comes to our health. You may be asking yourself, should I be taking a vitamin? I have been tired lately, maybe I am deficient? So, should I be taking five vitamins? I am here to give you some quick and easy advice to determine whether or not you should be taking a supplement.

Ask yourself the following questions before heading to your nearest drugstore to buy a supplement:

  1. How colorful is your plate? When most people think of vitamins and minerals, they think of pills, but they are most abundant in our food, especially nutrient dense foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  2. Do you eat a lot of fortified foods? To prevent deficiencies in certain nutrients, flour started being enriched in the 1940s with the vitamins niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, and folate, and the mineral iron. Additionally, other foods are fortified with vitamins and minerals for the same reason. Milk and orange juice are two examples of commonly fortified foods with vitamin D.
  3. Do you have an allergy or follow a restricted diet? Those who follow vegan or vegetarian dietary patterns, as well as people on keto or paleo diets (or other “fad diets”) are at a higher risk for vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Additionally, if you have an allergy, you may also want to consider a supplement.

Generally speaking, if you are a healthy individual who eats a varied diet, chances are you do not need to take a vitamin or mineral supplement. If you think you may be in need of one, speak to your primary health care provider or a practitioner at UNH Health and Wellness to discuss your options.

C. diff. Infections Double Death Risk

Check Your Facts on Crohn’s

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Our Plan to Help Fight Racial Injustice in America

WEGO Health recently shared with you our support for the #BlackLivesMatter movement and against racial injustice. As a platform dedicated to the amplification of often-unheard patient voices, we at WEGO Health recognize the importance of raising our own voice when we see injustices occurring across our country. WEGO Health stands with our Black audience, colleagues, and community members. Louder, we say again: Black Lives Matter.

We understand that words hold little weight without action to support them, so we want to share with you some of our plans to actively fight racism and support initiatives to continue the battle.

To start, WEGO Health has made substantial donations to both the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and BLKHLTH, with an additional dollar-for-dollar employee match program. We strongly recommend you check out these terrific organizations and show them your support as well.

Next, we will work actively to recognize health awareness days and months for conditions that disproportionately affect the black and minority communities. We’ll create content to support these efforts and educate our entire community about them, including resources on our WEGO Health Answers channels, beginning with Coronavirus Answers.

For our WEGO Health Awards program, we are actively collaborating with leaders from various communities and ethnicities, working to ensure a comprehensive representation of our network. While the WEGO Health Awards is a crowdsourced program and WEGO Health never intervenes nor has a hand in selecting the winners, we can ensure racial bias has no place in the judging process by promising that at least 30% of minority ethnicities comprise this year’s and all future judging panels. We encourage Network members to nominate Black and minority Patient Leaders to further establish a diverse representation of ethnicities. WEGO Health is committed to ensuring that the collective patient voice is heard.

Internally, each WEGO Health team member has been provided with resources and challenged to take specific, personal action against racial injustice each and every week – not just this week, but in the months and years ahead.

This is only the beginning. We are just getting started. We hope these actions work to address racism and racial injustice at their roots within each of our lives, the healthcare industry, and, ultimately, our country.