Monday, 30 March 2015


Mucositis – Side Effects of Chemotherapy

Mucositis is a common side effect of chemotherapy and is also at times caused by radiotherapy when it involves the head or the neck. It takes place when the cancer treatment breaks down the rapidly divided epithelial cells that line up the gastro-intestinal tract, leaving the mucosal tissue open to ulceration and infection.

The mucosal tissue is also known as mucosa or the mucous membrane and is what lines all body passages communicating with the air like the respiratory and alimentary tracts having cells which associate with glands secreting mucus. The section of the lining covering the mouth is the oral mucosa and is one of the most sensitive areas of the body. It is also vulnerable to chemotherapy and radiation and the oral cavity is one of the most common sites for mucositis.

Mucositis is divided into two main types which include oral mucositis and gastrointestinal mucositis. Oral mucositis can cause mouth ulcers or sores with pain or difficulty in swallowing while gastrointestinal mucositis occurs in the digestive system, often causing diarrhoea. There is also a possibility for mucositis affecting the lining of the anus which is a condition known as proctitis.


Oral mucositis is the most, unbearable complication of cancer treatments especially chemotherapy and radiation leading to many problems which includes pain, nutritional issues resulting in inability to eat with increased risk of infection due to open sores in the mucosa.

This has a significant stress on the patient’s quality of life. Individuals that receive radiotherapy for cancer treatment like breast cancer may not develop mucositis since the therapy is not focused near the mucous membranes. The digestive tract tends to be more vulnerable to the harmful effects of radiotherapy or chemotherapy which could damage the delicate lining and if they have to undergo cancer treatment which could cause mucositis, a regular check for the condition is done.

 Mucositis usually is diagnosed after an examination or checking on the symptoms. It is considered that around 40% of the people who tend to receive chemotherapy as cancer treatment may develop some degree of mucositis and it can be more severe in a few cases based on the treatment.


Around 70% of the people who receive high doses of chemotherapy due to stem cell transplant or bone marrow transplant tend to develop mucositis. Treatment for mucositis is to prevent the infection and reduce the pain which is done with the use of painkillers together with good oral hygiene. Other treatments are available to reduce the symptoms of oral mucositis like low-level laser therapy – LLLT and medication while for gastrointestinal mucositis to reduce the main symptoms of the condition like diarrhoea and inflammation, a combination of medicine and self-care measures is essential.

The symptoms of this condition tend to improve after a few weeks on completion of the radiotherapy and chemotherapy though it could take longer. Most of the serious cases could lead to a number of other health conditions and some people with mucositis find difficulty in swallowing food and the need of alternative feeding method like feeding tube may be needed. Mouth ulcers could get infected with bacteria which could spread to the blood and to the other organs which is known as sepsis and could be dangerous to life.

Saturday, 28 March 2015


Hemochromatosis – Inherited Condition with Excessive Iron 

Hemochromatosis is an inherited condition wherein excessive accumulation of iron in the body or an overload arises. Those affected with hereditary hemochromatosis may have no signs or symptoms or could have severe symptoms and signs of iron overload which could include heart failure, pain in the joints, cirrhosis of the liver, diabetes, fatigue as well as darkening of the skin. It is a common genetic disorder among Caucasian in United States and could affect around 1 to 6 individuals in United States.

The body’s normal iron content is three to four grams and the total content of iron in the body is controlled carefully wherein the body tends to lose daily, one mg of iron from sweat and cells that are shed from the skin and the inner line of the intestines. In adults the intestines absorb one mg of iron from food to replace the lost iron, daily and hence there is no excess of iron in the body and when the loss of iron is greater, more iron is absorbed from food. For those with hereditary hemochromatosis, daily absorption from the intestines of iron is greater than the amount needed to make up for the losses. When the normal body is not capable of increasing iron excretion, the absorbed iron tends to accumulate in the body.

Signs and Symptoms 

A person with hemochromatosis at this rate could accumulate 20 grams of total body iron at the age of 40 to 50 and this excess deposit of iron settles in joints, liver, heart, resulting in damage to the organs with signs and symptoms of hemochromatosis.

Women suffering from hemochromatosis tend to accumulate iron at a slower pace than men since they lose more iron then men during menstruation and breastfeeding. During the initial stage of hemochromatosis there are no symptoms and most of them are unaware of the condition and it is only suspected when high level of iron blood is noted through routine blood test. Some signs and symptoms may include

  • In men, the symptoms may not show up till the age of 30-50 years. The iron deposits in the skin and the skin appears dark and since women tend to lose iron through menstrual blood loss, non-menstruating women may develop symptoms 15 to 20 year later.
  • Iron deposits in the pancreas may lead to a decrease in insulin production causing diabetes
  • Iron deposits in the heart muscle could cause cardiomyopathy leading to heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms
  • Iron accumulated in the liver could lead to scarring of the liver or cirrhosis with an increased risk of developing liver cancer.
Diagnosis – Between 30 – 50 

Diagnosis is done between the age of 30 and 50 where 75% show no symptoms. This condition is only discovered when elevated levels of iron in the blood are found at the time of routine blood test or when blood iron levels are measured in screening studies in family members of patients with this condition.

Others are diagnosed as part of the evaluation for abnormal elevation in blood levels of liver enzymes, AST and ALT though the symptoms of skin bronzing or hyperpigmentation, liver disease, diabetes, arthropathy, hypogonadism and cardiomyopathy may be present and are recommended with additional screening test like transfer in saturation and other liver and blood test.

Effective treatment for hemochromatosis is to reduce the iron content in the body by phlebotomy. Diagnosing hemochromatosis early with timely treatment could prevent damage to the liver, heart pancreas, joints and the person can maintain a normal health.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Meningococcal Disease

Meningococcal Meningitis – Bacterial Form of Meningitis

Meningococcal meningitis is a kind of bacterial form of meningitis which is a serious infection of the meninges that can affect the brain membrane. The person tends to suffer from severe brain damage which is fatal in most cases if not treated in time.

Various types of bacteria could cause meningitis and Neisseria meningitidis is one kind which has the potential of causing a large epidemic. Twelve types of sero-groups of N meningitidis which have been identified out of which 6 – A, B, C, D, W; X and Y could cause epidemics. The epidemic potential and the geographical distribution may vary according to sero-group.Being a rare and serious infection, it causes the inflammation of the membrane covering the brain and the spinal cord.

If prompt treatment is not rendered it could be fatal or cause some serious harm. As per the Centres for Disease Control around 15% of those who tend to survive, have some disabilities which includes deafness, brain damage and neurological problem. The two cause of meningitis are bacteria and virus and the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis also known as meningococcus causes meningococcal meningitis. It is very common cause of bacterial meningitis in children and teenagers. In the case of adults it is the second most common cause.

Causes & Symptoms

The meningococcal bacteria could cause infection in a part of the body such as the skin, gastrointestinal tract or the respiratory tract. The bacteria for some unknown reasons could spread through the bloodstream to the nervous system and then causes meningococcal meningitis. The bacteria also tend to enter the nervous system directly after severe head trauma, infection of surgery.

 If the person is exposed to the bacterium which is the cause, or if they have had a recent upper respiratory infection, then the risk of the ailment increases. Toddlers, children as well as teens are also at great risk.

Symptoms of meningococcal meningitis may differ from person to person and the most common symptoms comprise of stiff neck, high fever, sensitivity to light, severe persistent headaches, nausea and vomiting, confusion, joint pain and general poor feeling. Around 5 to 10% of the patients die typically with 24 to 48 hours after the symptoms show up, even when the condition is diagnosed in its initial stage with adequate treatment rendered.

Precaution – Prevention 

A less common though severe form of meningococcal is meningococcal septicaemia that is characterized by a haemorrhagic rash together with rapid circulatory collapse. Reddish or a purple skin rash is a sign to look for in the case of this ailment and if it does not turn white when you press a glass against it, the rash could be a sign of blood poisoning and is a medical emergency.

Once the diagnosis of the condition has been confirmed, the doctor could start with antibiotics by an IV or intravenous line. The person could also need other medication to treat issues related to increased spinal fluid pressure where at times steroids could be prescribed. Antibiotics should be given to prevent infection when in contact with a person suffering from meningococcal meningitis either through their saliva, or any other oral secretions. Precautions should be taken as it important for prevention as the saying goes: `Precaution is better than a Cure’.

Monday, 23 March 2015


Psittacosis – Parrot Fever- Zoonotic Infectious Disease

Psittacosis which is also known as parrot fever and ornithosis, is a zoonotic infectious disease and is caused by a bacterium known as Chlamydia psittaci which is contracted from parrots like budgerigars, cockatiels and macaws and pigeons, sparrows, ducks, hens, gulls and several other species of bird. In some context, the term `pssitacosis’ is used when the disease is transmitted by any species of bird of the Pssitacidae family while `ornithosis’ is used when the other birds are the carriers of the disease.

This ailment is a very rare form of disease and according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, less than 50 confirmed cases per year have been known in the United States since 1996 though several cases could have gone undiagnosed or unreported. A person can suffer from parrot fever from an infected bird in many ways such as by handling the bird or breathing in the fine particles of its faeces or other bodily excretions that could lead to an infection or may also become infected if the person is bit by the bird or one tends to kiss the bird by touching their mouth to their beak.


The symptoms of parrot fever resembles flu or pneumonia and begins around ten days after exposure though would take less or around 19 days for the symptoms to show up and most of the symptoms associated with flu include -

• Fever with the combination of chills
• Nausea and vomiting
• Diarrhoea
• Muscle and joint pain
• Weakness
• Fatigue
• Cough which would be typically dry

Other symptoms which may not seem like flu comprises of chest pain, intolerance to light and shortness of breath and in rare cases the infection could also cause inflammation of various internal organs which may include the brain, liver and areas of the heart. Moreover it could also lead to decreased lung function leading to pneumonia. Since this disease is a rare condition, doctors often tend to overlook the disease at first and hence it is advisable to inform the physician if one has been exposed to any potentially sick bird or have been working in a pet shop, veterinarian’s office, poultry processing plant or any area which is exposed to birds.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Diagnosis of the condition is done through several tests where the blood and sputum could reveal if one has the type of bacteria causing the infection. X ray of the chest or CT scan could show if there are traces of pneumonia which is sometimes caused by the disease. The physician could also order an antibody titer test to detect if there are any antibodies to the bacteria causing the parrot fever and how much of the antibody are present.

Antibodies are proteins that the immune system produces when faced with a foreign, harmful or antigens substance like parasites or bacteria and the changes in level of antibodies could indicate how much the person has been infected with the bacteria,Chlamydia psittaci, causing parrot fever. Parrot fever is treated with the help of antibiotics which are effective against this disease and with timely treatment the person can be restored to normal health.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease – Group of Lung Diseases

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD is referred to a group lung diseases which tend to block the airflow making the breathing difficult. It is the name given for a collection of lung ailments which include chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease. People suffering from COPD have breathing problems which is due to the narrowing of their airways known as airflow obstruction. The symptoms include, increasing breathlessness while they are active, frequent chest infection, persistent cough with phlegm and the main cause of this ailment is smoking.

The chances of developing this disease increases on smoking and the length of smoking period. Smoking tends to cause irritation and inflames the lungs which results in scarring and over a period of time, the inflammation leads to permanent changes in the lungs. The walls of the airways tend to get thicken with the development of more mucus. The delicate walls of the air sacs in the lungs get damaged causing emphysema with the lungs losing their normal elasticity while the smaller airways become scarred and narrowed. All these changes result in the symptoms of breathlessness, cough and phlegm which are associated with this disease. There are other cases of this disease which is due to dust, air pollution, fumes and genetic disorders though they are quite rare.

Common Conditions - COPD

Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are considered the two most common conditions which are responsible for COPD. Chronic bronchitis is the inflammation of the lining of bronchial tubes that carries air to and from the lungs and emphysema takes place when the air sacs or alveoli towards the end of the smallest air passage, bronchioles, in the lungs tends to get destroyed gradually. Damage to the lungs due to COPD cannot be changed or reversed though treatment could be helpful in controlling symptoms which could reduce further damage. The symptom of this disease does not often show up till the damage has occurred to the lungs which usually worsen over a period of time. In the case of chronic bronchitis, the main symptom is cough which one tends to have at least three months in a year for two consecutive years while the other signs and symptoms may include:
  • Shortness of breath which is more pronounced during physical activities
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • The need to clear the throat first thing in the morning due to excess mucus in the lungs
  • A chronic cough which produces sputum which may be clear, white, yellow or greenish
  • Lack of energy
  • Change in colour of blueness of the lips or fingernail beds
  • Frequent respiratory infections
  • Unintended loss of weight which could occur at a later stage
Test & Treatment 

The following test are done for those suffering from COPD which include –

Pulmonary function test – Spirometry being the most common lung function test wherein at the time of this test the person needs to blow into a large tube which is connected to a spirometer and the machine measures how much air the lungs can hold and how fast one can blow out the air from the lungs. It can detect the disease much prior to the symptoms of the ailment and can also be used to track the progress of the disease as well as monitor on the treatment.

Chest X-ray can portray emphysema which is one of the main causes of COPD and can also identify other lung problems or heart failure if any.

CT scan of the lungs could help in detecting emphysema and determine if one would need a surgery for the ailment and could also be used to check for lung cancer which is also common among individuals suffering from COPD.

Arterial blood gas analysis is a blood rest which measures how well the lungs are bringing oxygen in the blood and leaving carbon dioxide.


For all stage of disease, effective therapy available could control the symptoms and reduce the risk of any complications and help in leading an active life. The essential step in the case of COPD is to quit smoking and reduce the chances of getting worse. Doctors may recommend several types of medication to treat the symptoms of COPD which could be taken on regular basis or as the need arises. There are medications which come in the form of inhaler which tends to relax the muscles around the airways and also relieves cough and shortness of breath, making breathing easier.

Inhaled medications could reduce airway inflammation which could help in prevention of exacerbations. Some side effect could include oral infections, bruising and hoarseness. Oral steroids is given to those with moderate or severe acute exacerbation which prevents further worsening of the disease though these medication could tend to have serious side effect like weight gain, diabetes, cataracts, osteoporosis as well as an increased risk of infection. Antibiotic is also given which fights acute exacerbations though it is not clear whether it is due to its antibiotic effect or the anti-inflammatory properties. Surgery is also another option for some people suffering from COPD.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Ocular Migraine

Ocular Migraine – Temporary Vision Loss/Migraine Headache

Ocular migraine also known as retinal migraine or visual migraine causes vision loss or blindness which could last less than an hour together with or following a migraine headache. It causes brief attacks of blindness or visual problem such as flashing lights in one eye. It is a retinal disease accompanied by migraine headache affecting only one eye and is caused by an infract or vascular spasm in or behind the eye which is affected.

These instances could be alarming though in most of the cases they are harmless and short-lived and the eyes gets back to normal after sometime. Terms like `retinal migraine’ and `ocular migraine’ are very often mixed up with an abnormal condition in the brain – cortical spreading depression which could cause similar symptoms like scintillating scotoma which may affect the vision of both the eyes and could also be associated with migraine headaches.

Some may get a retinal migraine every few months but the frequency could vary. The symptoms according to the International Headache Society defined as retinal migraine comprises of vision problems affecting one eye such as flashing lights, blindness in the eye and blind spots in the field of vision. The vision loss could be a complication of retinal migraines.


Headaches which tends to last from 4 to 72 hours could affect one side of the head, which could be felt moderately or could be painful, pulsate in intensity and feel worse when active, physically. Besides these, other symptoms could also include, nausea, vomiting, with unusual sensitivity to sound and light.Several people tend to have a problem in identifying the difference between blindness in one side of their vision or flashing lights though it involves both eyes but these symptoms are only in one eye.

 Regular migraine with an aura which could involve flashing lights and blind spots in vision seems to be a common problem which affects around 20% with migraine though in these cases the symptoms tend to appear usually in one side of their field of vision and in both eyes. Checking with each eye separately could give an understanding on the condition, affecting one eye or both.

Causes of Ocular Migraine

The cause of ocular migraine is not known though some are of the opinion that the problem could be related to spasms in blood vessels in the retina, the delicate lining in the back of the eye or changes that could spread across the nerve cells in the retina. Individual who tend to have these migraines could be at higher risk of developing permanent vision loss in one eye.

Retinal migraine could be triggered by smoking, high blood pressure, stress, hormonal birth control pills, bending over, exercise, dehydration, low blood sugar and excessive heat. After a while the blood vessels tend to relax and the blood flow resumes with the eyesight returning back to normal. There are no abnormalities usually within the eye and permanent damage to the eye is very rare.

Treating this condition involves taking pain relief for headaches as well as refraining from exposure to things which could trigger the retinal migraine. Other medications could also be administered if considered necessary by the physician.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Bartonella Infection

Bartonella – Intracellular Parasites 

Bartonella, a genus of Gram negative bacteria lives in cells and could infect humans, mammals as well as wild animals though not all Bartonella species cause disease in humans. They are intracellular parasites which show preference for erythrocytes and endothelial cells in the human body. Bartonella bacteria are said to be carried by fleas, body lice and ticks and cats are said to be the main reservoir for B. henselae that causes around 20,000 reported case of cat scratch disease every year in the U.S. Cat scratch disease is the most common zoonotic infection which is caused by Bartonella bacteria and cats represent a large reservoir for human infection since they are the main reservoir for Bartonella henselae, Bartonella clarridgelae as well as Bartonella koehlarea. Bactonella spp. are vector borne bacteria and the transmission of B.henselae through cat fleas takes place through infected flea faeces though new vectors such as ticks and biting flies have been identified.

Several Species of Bartonella 

Scientists are of the opinion that ticks are a source of infection in the case of some humans while people with tick bites and no known exposure to cats have also acquired the disease. People who seem to be bitten by ticks have been infected with Lyme and Bartonella though further study needs to be done to identify the role of ticks in spreading the disease. Scientist has come across several species of Bartonella and one is carried by sand flies in Andes Mountain in Peru, Ecuador while another is found worldwide in human body lice. Bartonella bacteria has also been found in European sheep tick and five different types of Bartonella species have been identified in 19.2% of I.pacificus ticks which were collected in California.


Cat spread disease – CSD is clinically diagnosed in patients with signs and symptoms with compatible exposure history. Serology confirms the diagnosis though cross reactivity could limit interpretation in some cases. B.henselae DNA could also be detected by culture of pus or lymph node aspirates on using special techniques while trench fever could be diagnosed by isolation of B.quintana from blood cultured on blood or chocolate agar under five percent CO2 and micro-colonies is seen after a period of incubation of1 – 3 weeks at 37 deg. C.

It can also be diagnosed by serology. Carrion’s disease is diagnosed through blood culture or through direct observation of the bacilli in peripheral blood smears at the time of acute phase of infection.Bartonella is said to be mild though in some serious cases it could affect the whole body where the early symptoms are fever, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite with unusual streaked rash. Swollen glands could be typical around the head, neck and arms.

Bartonella is sensitive to various antibiotic or vitro though the in vivo performance of these antibiotics in humans as well as domestic pets does not tend to co-relate well, with in vitro laboratory research and most likely it stems from two factors – mostly all antibiotics are bacteriostatic against Bartonella instead of bactericidal and the pathogen is often sequestered in erythrocytes.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Some Reasons for Optimism This International Women's Day

Women Changing the World -Power Wielding Influence 

We need to focus on some bleak statistics which highlights the pervasive gender discrimination with regards to high level positions and salary. Though the progress is slow, the fact is that women are achieving a great amount of success and making headway across a diverse array of industries and field.

As the 107th annual International Women’s Day is round the corner, - March 8th, we could focus on some of the few examples of remarkable progress, women have made to the changing world in the face of power wielding influence with positive impact on most of the aspects on the globally connected world. We could take the opportunity to applaud those who have accomplished successes and triumphed, rising up with determination, making incredible progress in the male world.

Though these changes have occurred in great measures, there is still measure of some restrain in certain areas where women still face significant obstacles in achieving the gender parity, intending to hope for, but this should not prevent or overshadow the large steps women are undertaking in the present scenarios in the form of leadership, innovators as well as money earners. Women in fact, have now broken all barriers connected to a male oriented world and have shown excellence in the various field of industryand gradually has proved to be a multitasked worker when compared to men as well as filling in the wage gap.

Women – World’s Billionaires 2015

With regards to political powerhouses, women’s representation is quite high in Washington where women have been making up around one fifth of the 114th Congress. Twenty seats in the U.S. Senate are made up of female lawmakers with a record of 84 seats in the House from 80 at the time of the last Congress.

Newcomers who include Elise Stefanikseem to be the youngest woman ever elected at the age of 30 sworn in, together with Mia Love the first black female Republican. Sixty three percent of the Americans are of the belief that while the presence of women in high political positions would stay ineffective, the country would be governed in a much better way if women were entrusted with the high post at the office level. On Forbes annual ranking of the World’s Billionaires, the year 2015 broke the record for women and in a span of three years, the number of female billionaires had grown by a ninety percent with around 197 women represented in the ranking for that year.

Women – Dynamic Engines for Economic Growth

Some of the notable newcomers worth mentioning were Elizabeth Holmes, who was the founder of the blood testing company, Theranos, the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world, at the age of 31. Women will continue to be most dynamic engines for the purpose of economic growth in the country and the latest report – Open State of Women-Owned Business has estimated over 9 million women owned businesses in U.S which generates revenue of over $1.4 trillion with 7.8 million jobs.

Research carried out indicates that female representation on corporate boards has a strong connection which has improved the financial performance of a company. Credit Suisse’s study showed that companies with a female director performed better than an all-male board by an average of 5% and likely to pay higher dividends to shareholders since 2012.

It was also found that women participating in senior management as well as C-level post seem to positively impact the bottom line. Moreover, Bespoke Investment analysis also portrayed that since the past five years, companies led by women on the S&P, 500 of them have posted a 19.5% gain in stock against a 14.9% uptick, for those managed by male CEOs.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Granuloma Annulare

Granuloma Annulare – A Benign & Fairly Common Skin Rash

Granuloma annulare is a benign and a fairly common long lasting skin rash which seems like a ring of small red bumps, more common in females which usually occur over the back of the forearms, hands or the feet, the cause of which is not known.

This condition tends to occur in healthy individuals and occasionally could be associated with people suffering from diabetes or thyroid disease. It has also been connected with auto-immune diseases like systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis as well as Addison’s disease. It is a self-limited popular eruption which is found among individuals of any ages where the primary skin lesion tends to group papules in an enlarging annular shape and its colour ranges from flesh colour to erythematous.

The rash is the only symptom in the case of granuloma annulare with no other health effects. The rash tends to be slightly itchy and there could be a number of rings on the back of the forearms, hands or feet, mostly centred on the joints or the knuckles, which may grow slowly till they are around 2.5 – 5cm across and become flatter and more purples till they eventually tend to disappear. The bumps are due to the clustering of T cells beneath the skin and the papules begin as very small pimple like a bump that spread over a period of time and grows gradually.


In rare cases, the rash may spread to other areas of the body or there could be one or more lumps under the skin of the arms or legs, which is known as subcutaneous granuloma annulare. Though it may disappear without any treatment within a period of one or two years, it could at times last for many years with new rings showing up. Granuloma annulare is not an infectious disease nor caused by allergies.

The two most common forms of this disease are localized which is found on the lateral or the dorsal areas of the feet and hands and disseminated that is widespread. The localized disease is self-limited and tends to resolve in a span of one to two years while disseminated disease tends to last longer. The localized granuloma annulare being self-limited, no treatment may be needed other than reassurance.

Treatment Based on Patho-Physiology/Case Report/Opinion of Experts

Treatment is based on patho-physiology of the ailment, case reports and the opinion of the experts and for localized disease, liquid nitrogen, injected steroids or topical steroids under occlusion could be recommended. In the case of disseminated granuloma annulare, it could be treated with one of the various systemic therapies together with ultraviolet-A therapy.

People suffering from this condition tend to face discomfit since the papules appear like ringworm which is a slightly contagious itching skin disease taking place in circular small patches together with scaling which is unlike granuloma annulare caused by various fungi. This disease in some cases could draw the attention of others towards these patches causing much discomfit to the victim. In such cases, regardless to the prevailing atmosphere, they are bound to wear attire which may be needed to cover these areas and save them from unwanted glances from the others around them.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015


Hypnotherapy – Trance like Form

Hypnotherapy is a kind of complementary therapy with the use of hypnosis, which is an altered state of consciousness. Hypnosis related to hypnotherapy or hypnotic is a trance like form which involves heightened focus as well as concentration and is usually conducted with the help of a therapist along with the usage of verbal repetition and with mental images.

Whenever a person is under hypnosis, they tend to feel calm and relaxed and are open to any suggestions. It can be referred to a form of psychotherapy which is used to create a subconscious change in a person to form new responses, of thoughts, attitudes, feelings or behaviours. The person when hypnotized portrays certain unusual characteristics compared with non-hypnotized matter with notably heightened suggestibility and responsiveness.

Hypnosis could be used to gain control over any undesired behaviour or to enable a person to handle anxiety or pain and it is essential to know that though a person is open to suggestion at the time of hypnosis, one should not lose control over their behaviour. It is an effective method to handle stress and anxiety specially to reduce the anxiety and stress, prior to a medical process like in the case of breast biopsy.

Hypnosis Promoted as Treatment

For various long term conditions and in order to break certain habits, hypnosis is promoted as a means of treatment though there is no strong evidence to support its uses. However, hypnosis seems to have some effect though there is a disagreement among scientists on how it works.

Some are of the opinion that it is a relaxing technique which uses the power of suggestion, relying on the placebo effect. Studies on hypnosis have been done for other condition which include – pain control which could be beneficial for pain associated ailments of cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, temporomandibular joint problem, fibromyalgia and dental procedures. With regards to hot flashes, hypnosis could relieve the symptoms of hot flashes which could be associated with menopause or in behaviour changes where it is used with some success in the treatment of insomnia, smoking, phobias, bed-wetting and obesity.

Conducted by Health Care Profession/Trained Therapist

When hypnosis is conducted by a health care professional or a trained therapist, it is considered complementary, safe and an alternative medicine treatment though it would not be appropriate to conduct on people having severe mental conditions.

Rare adverse reactions to hypnosis could include headache, anxiety or distress, drowsiness of dizziness and creations of false memories. Care needs to be taken prior to using hypnosis for age regression in order to help one relieve the earlier events of their life and the practice is controversial with limited scientific evidence to support its use.

Hypnosis could cause strong emotions and may alter the memories or even lead to creation of false memories. No special preparation is needed to conduct hypnosis though it is a good idea to be in comfortable clothing which will enable the individual to relax and ensure that one is well rested in order to avoid falling asleep at the time of the session.