What is causing all of this anger towards Kaitlyn? Find out here!

The Bachelorette Gossip, capitals regular font and verdana for %22gossip%22

by,

Suzanne Coleman, MD

There’s been a lot of conversation surrounding the behavior of many fans towards Kaitlyn, the current Bachelorette.  I wanted to take a minute to talk about that.

You might be surprised to learn what the reasons are that some of these people are acting this way.  Have you ever heard of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD)?  You might have heard of obsessive-compulsive disorder because it’s been talked about quite a bit on TV over the last decade or so.  Well, OCPD isn’t the same thing, though they have some things in common.

OCPD is where the word “fan” originally came from, well that was back when the full word was used, “fanatic.”  OCPD are people who are literally obsessed and feel compelled to act on those obsessions.  This can be an obsession with anything or anyone.  It can obsessions with famous people, someone down the street, religious ideas, political issues, and more.  The problem comes when the person isn’t able to see clearly and rationally due to their illness, and then acts in an unhealthy way, for themselves and/or others.

With Kaitlyn, her choices this season (and the choices of the producers of the show “The Bachelorette”) have struck a nerve with a good number of people.  Some of the people who have had a problem with her decisions have lashed out at her, becoming degrading and verbally abusive.  This is their attempt to control her behavior, which obviously they have no right to try and do.  But, because people who behave this way often have OCPD or trait, their obsessive disease forces them to express their opposition to what she has done in forceful ways, and that is called compulsion.

In addition, people with personality disorders are generally inflexible and have difficulty compromising with others.  This often becomes an issue when they cannot accept others’ different points of view or life choices.  So when they are faced with someone who lives their life in a way that isn’t one that they would choose, or that they have been told to believe is “right,” then this causes them a lot of internal angst and they can lash out as a result.

Most people with this disorder aren’t aware that they have it and don’t know how to get the help they need in order to stop the problems that it can cause.  OCPD and other personality disorders are not uncommon, in fact one out of every seven people in the US has a personality disorder.  Those who have them will generally benefit from counseling which can literally change their lives for the better.  It’s important to understand that these are diseases, no different than diabetes and high-blood pressure.  And like those diseases, they also require treatment and monitoring to get them under control.  In this case, counseling with a therapist qualified to treat personality disorders and abnormal personality traits is what is needed.

The people who have these disorders do not choose to be impacted this way by their illness, and no one should lash out at them or be hateful towards them in response.  Instead, look at this as an opportunity to be compassionate towards those who cannot control their impulses, try to lead them to the help that they need in a supportive manner.

Also note that OCPD isn’t the only underlying reason for abusive behavior, but I have found that it is a very common one.  There are other personality types that abuse as well, including borderline PD, anti-social PD, and narcissistic PD.  Helping to increase the understanding of the reasons behind why some people do what they do might just lead some people to get the help they need to live a happier and healthier life.

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*Please note that I don’t know any of the people who have made negative comments about Kaitlyn individually, and no one can make a definitive medical diagnosis without a proper evaluation.  This article is meant to share information on general behaviors and what likely causes them and not to label any individual or individuals.

Never hesitate to seek out help from a professional, it just might be the best thing you ever did!  And I always tell people, if one counselor isn’t working out for you, just find a different one.  It’s your health and it’s your decision.

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Do you Have Neck Discomfort, Depression, Trouble Sleeping Well? Maybe it’s Your Thyroid

The thyroid gland is located at the base of the front of the neck in both males and females.   By Arnavaz at fr.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

The thyroid gland is located at the base of the front of the neck in both males and females.
By Arnavaz at fr.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

by,

Suzanne Coleman, MD

Do tight shirts or necklaces bother the front of your neck?  Does it feel uncomfortable and “tight?”  It might be your thyroid.  The thyroid is an important gland in both males and females that is located at the lower part of the front of your neck.  Sometimes this gland becomes sensitive due to a medical problem.  If you find that this part of your body is uncomfortable to mild pressure, you should go in and have a conversation with your doctor.

If you or someone you know has had this problem, I don’t want you to worry.  Thyroid disorders are very common and usually very treatable.  It’s because they are so common that I wanted to write about them for you today.  I think that too many people don’t realize the signs of thyroid disease, so let’s change that!

There are many different types of thyroid disorders, today I will cover the most common conditions and discuss the most common symptoms.   Please note that not everyone with a thyroid problem will experience the same symptoms.  If you are interested in learning more, there are many other great sites that have additional information that you can read.

Do you feel tired, even though you spent hours in bed?  Do you have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, or trouble going to bed at night?  This can be due to your thyroid.  It can affect the quality of your sleep so that you spend many more hours in bed than you would normally need to in order to get enough sleep, leaving you exhausted or just tired, wondering why you are so tired when you spend so much time in bed?!  [This can also be due to other factors, which I will be discussing in an upcoming article on insomnia.]

Do you feel depressed, or just not excited about your day anymore?  This could be your thyroid.  The thyroid is a critical gland that supplies you with just the right amount of hormone to keep your metabolism balanced.  If you don’t get enough hormone (or if you get too much) you can be tired, depressed, and feel less interest in your life in general.  It can be a gradual process too, so you may not even notice the change in yourself.  It might have even started when you were young.

Have you gained some weight, even though you haven’t done anything differently? What about your sex drive, has it changed so that you are less interested in sex?  Have you noticed that your hair seems drier?  What about your skin and nails?  Do you have breast tenderness?  These are all signs of thyroid disorders as well.

Thyroid disorders run in families.  If one or both of your parents has a thyroid disorder, it’s even more likely that you are at risk of one as well.  Again, don’t worry, they are very treatable.  The key is to see the doctor and get checked out, then follow the treatment plan.

The most common type of thyroid disorder in the United States is called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and it impacts millions of people.  In most cases it causes a person to have abnormally low thyroid hormone levels, this is called hypothyroidism.  Low levels of thyroid hormone can lead to the symptoms discussed above.  This particular disorder is a type of auto-immune disease where the body produces a protein that attacks the thyroid gland.  There is a specific blood test for this disease.  I recommend that if you or someone you know is having symptoms like neck discomfort over a period of time, depression, difficulty getting quality sleep and feeling rested and energetic, weight gain for no clear reason, that you get this particular test checked along with the regular thyroid hormone tests.  This test is called “anti-thyroid antibodies.”  The regular tests are called “TSH” and “T4,” and sometimes they will also check “T3.”

The reason I recommend this extra test is that the general thyroid tests can be normal, but if you are having symptoms, and that extra test is abnormal, you might benefit from treatment.  I don’t want to see patients not feeling their best.  If you get this test and it is abnormal, talk with your doctor about whether a trial of thyroid hormone replacement is possible.  They may or may not be comfortable doing that, depending on their personal experience and what the current research shows for that disease.  If they aren’t, you are always free to get other opinions.

I think it is worth trying the medication if someone has serious symptoms like those I mentioned above.  If it resolves the problems, that is great.  If it doesn’t, then maybe it isn’t going to be helpful.  The only way to find out is to try.

I have seen that someone can experience all of those symptoms including depression, neck discomfort, being overweight, sleep difficulties, and not have their thyroid disorder diagnosed for decades.  Once they are diagnosed and begin the medication, they can see an amazing change in themselves.  Why wait decades if this can be treated right away?

The treatment for low thyroid usually involves taking one small pill every day.  It doesn’t have any real side effects (except that it will usually treat the person’s problematic symptoms and they will feel better).  The treatment requires blood tests every so often to make sure that you are getting the right dose of medication, and regular doctor’s visits so they can check up on how you are doing.

Hopefully this information has been helpful to you.  I’d appreciate hearing back from you.  Please feel free to share the link to this article with others, I hope to reach as many people as possible so that they can be helped.

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Please contact a physician if you have any concerns.  The above information may or may not apply to you and your personal situation, and should not be taken as personal medical advice.

 

 

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Let’s talk about dry skin and lips

 

Chapped_lips

By,

Suzanne Coleman, MD

 

I think we should talk about skin, and for today, specifically dry skin and lips.  It’s that time of year, heaters are running causing dry air, and that leads to dry skin and lips.

You don’t need to suffer these conditions though!  The solution is simple, humidify your air.

It’s the dryness of the air that is sucking the moisture out of your skin and lips, so you need to put that moisture back.  There are several ways to do this.  The simplest one that will work for almost everyone is to go out and buy those small portable humidifiers for your home.  They can usually be found at places like Walmart and Walgreens, but you can also buy them online.  This year I bought two new ones made by Vicks to humidify my home.  I needed two because each unit only fills a certain square footage of air properly; one just wasn’t enough.

If you have a furnace system, you might be able to add on a humidifier right onto it.  I had this type of heating system before and adding the humidifier directly onto the system worked very well to humidify the house, and the price was around $300 installed.

In both of the above cases, the level of humidity is adjustable.  This is important, because depending on the size of your home, you don’t want too much or too little humidity.  When you have too little, that is when you start to see dry lips and skin.  Low humidity can also cause red, dry eyes and painful cracks inside of the nose.  On the other hand, when you have too much humidity you will see condensation on the windows; that is bad because it can lead to mold which can cause health problems and should be avoided.  Some condensation can occur at healthy humidity levels, especially on very cold days if the windows are covered.  But if it continues on an average winter day, you should turn down the level of humidity in that case.

Other ways to humidify are less reliable, but also work.  For one, taking a shower and not using the exhaust fan is a good way to put humidity back into the home.  That is usually not enough humidity in a cold winter though.  You can also use a spray bottle to spray water into the air several times a day.  Other ways to help increase the humidity are to put out pans of water in the home.  If you have radiator heat, this works well.  Just place pans of water on the radiator and the water will evaporate into the air.  It can be messy though if a pan spills, and might cause discoloration or mineral deposits on the pans.

Overall, I recommend the small units or the whole-house furnace unit based on general effectiveness and ease of use.  The small units will need to be refilled on a daily basis when being used, so keep that in mind.  The ones I bought this year make it easier to do this than the ones I used to have.

Also, be aware that there are at least three different forms of small humidifier, based on how they put humidity into the air.  The cold steam ones can leave a white, chalky substance all over everything, so I do not recommend them.  I even tried one that said it didn’t do that, well, it did.  The warm mist ones are the ones I tend to prefer personally.  They also make ultrasonic ones; I tried one once but didn’t like it.  I think it was too loud, but I can’t remember for sure anymore.

The other things to remember in caring for you skin and lips are the following.  If your lips are dry, use something to keep them protected.  They shouldn’t get too dry if your living and working environments are properly humidified, but we all know that sometimes we cannot control our working environments enough to be sure to take care of that.  In those cases, I recommend using Vaseline petroleum jelly.  It comes in small tubes like other lip treatments and is very convenient to take with you anywhere.  Please note, that some lip treatments can actually cause dry lips.  If you try one and your lips seem worse, stop using it.  The Vaseline is good for people who might have sensitive skin or reactions to some lip products like Chapstick and lipsticks.

If you are a parent, your child will appreciate the improved humidity as well.  Plus if they get chapped lips, giving them the Vaseline lip tube to carry around with them will help.  Kids love to lick those lips and this can help!

For the skin, after you bathe, you should apply some type of lotion or oil to keep the moisture at a healthy level.  I have tried many different skin lotions and personally prefer the Vaseline brand no dyes no perfumes type.  It absorbs fairly well (though they keep changing the formula…) and it is not greasy.  Many of the  brands “recommended by dermatologists” actually do not absorb well and are greasy.  The choice is yours.

Another thing to remember in the winter is that washing your hands removes the natural oils, so use lotion after you wash them to avoid chapped, cracking skin.  The whole-home humidity will also help you to avoid this problem.  Also be aware that anti-bacterial soaps are severely drying to the skin, and completely unnecessary in most homes.  Stick with regular soaps and do your skin a favor.

You might also notice that when your home is properly humidified that you and your family may experience less respiratory illnesses like colds and the flu.  Proper humidity is important for your health, all-around.

If you follow the above guidelines you and your family should experience improved skin and lip health.

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Someone asked what is a healthy humidity level.  A healthy humidity level is around 50-55% in the summer, above that you risk mold.  In the winter it may be less, the EPA suggests 25-40% would be a good range, below that may be too dry.  In the summer, some people need to own dehumidifiers (especially for basements) to keep the level from getting too high.  This can cause mold which will lead to allergies and possibly other health problems, plus it can ruin your possessions and your home itself in some cases.

[Note, none of the companies mentioned in this article have provided any compensation or support and the recommendations made are made purely on personal experience.  The above article is written to provide general information,  any specific medical questions or concerns should be brought to the attention of your physician.]

 

 

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Flu Season is Here

 

Doc's Corner, larger

 

 

by,

Suzanne Coleman, MD

 

The flu is here, and it’s earlier than usual this year.  I wanted to take a moment to talk with you about the flu because I have found that many people don’t know what we mean when we say “the flu.”  Many people have told me that they think that the flu means they will have stomach problems, like vomiting, and intestinal problems, like diarrhea.  While this can happen, it usually doesn’t happen with the flu.

What we call “the flu,” short for” influenza”, can be caused by many different viruses which can be circulating around among us at different times.  If you catch one of these viruses, the main symptoms are coughing, runny nose, sore throat, fatigue (feeling very tired), fever, achiness, and sometimes headache.

If you are feeling these symptoms, especially if you are older, have other medical issues, or if the sick person is someone very young, you should go to your doctor to see if you can take a medication that can make the illness less severe.  You should go as soon as possible, the medication is best started within the first 2 days of feeling ill.

This winter the flu virus causing most of the illnesses is a strong one, and they recommend that everyone who can, gets vaccinated to help reduce the symptoms of the illness if they do get sick.

Also, it’s very important if you do get sick that you do your best to not pass the virus on to others.  Be wise, stay home from work, don’t go to the store or other places where you might spread the virus to others.  Especially do not visit older people, babies, women who are pregnant, or anyone who is already fighting any type of serious illness; catching the virus could make them dangerously ill and even lead to their death.

Hopefully you won’t get sick, but if you do, take good care of yourself, drink lots of fluids, stay warm, and get well soon.  Medications like tylenol and ibuprofen can be helpful in reducing symptoms like pain, fever, and aches.

I have included a link to the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) weekly flu-tracker website map.  It shows how widespread the flu is in each state, on a weekly basis.  It is interesting and I thought you might enjoy taking a look at it too.

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/usmap.htm

 

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Please note that the above is for informational purposes only, if you need medical advice, please consult a physician directly.

Doc’s Corner: Know Your Body, BV and Women’s Health

Image © Walt Stoneburner.

Image © Walt Stoneburner.

By,

Suzanne Coleman, MD

 

Ladies, I wanted to talk about your personal health.  I’m writing this to let you know that there is no need to put anything “up there” to clean yourself.  Where?  Your vagina.  Your body takes care of itself, it’s made to keep itself clean.  Anyone who is putting anything up there to “clean” themselves is potentially putting themselves at risk.

I recently read that some women have been putting petroleum jelly up their vaginas.  This stuff, while great for other things, doesn’t belong there.  In the article they found out that people who do this are much more likely to get BV.  What is BV?  It’s that bad fishy smell some women get coming out from their vagina.  It means that the normal healthy environment that exists in the vagina has been messed up by something.  People who end up with this need to go to the doctor to get antibiotics to treat it.  The full name of BV is bacterial vaginosis.

Many women who come in to be treated for this end up getting it over and over again.  This might explain why!  If they keep doing something that isn’t good for their body, then the body reacts.

Also, I know of no evidence that douching is necessary for women, in fact, it is potentially more harmful than anything.  Putting chemicals inside your body in this way isn’t the best idea, unless your doctor recommends it for some reason, and I have never heard of even one doctor who has recommended that.  Like I said, your vagina is made to keep itself clean.

So I wonder if those people who are are using petroleum jelly in their vaginas are doing it to try and provide lubrication during intercourse?  If so, they should try something else that is healthier, like the products made especially for intercourse.  Check out the water-based lubricants at the local drug store, or ask your doctor what products she recommends for this.

Petroleum jelly is something that you never want to use with a condom.  This is because it will react with the condom and can cause it to break or weaken, therefore allowing sperm and infections to possibly get through.  This is true for anything that is oil-based (including butter, cooking oils etc.), so you should not use anything like that with a condom or you are putting yourself at risk.

So there you have it, some good info to know!  Go forth and be happy and healthy.  If you have any questions, make sure to ask your doctor, don’t feel awkward about asking us, it’s what we do.

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Source article on medscape.com (you may need to register to see it):  http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/780461?nlid=29037_1341&src=wnl_edit_dail

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