Category Archives: HEALTH

Here’s Why You Keep Getting UTIs (& What To Do)

Mary Hilliard
4 minute read

If you find yourself dealing with frequent urinary tract infections, know you’re not alone.

UTIs are the second most common infection, according to Everyday Health, and account for millions of doctor visits annually. If you find yourself dealing with multiple UTIs—specifically, more than twice in a span of six months—this is considered a recurrent UTI. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases estimates that one in five women have a recurring UTI. So, how are you supposed to deal with what seem like non-stop infections? We’re here to help.

First of all, what is a UTI?

Essentially, a UTI is when bacteria enters the urinary tract, resulting in frequent trips to the bathroom or burning feeling when you pee.

“A UTI is an infection of the bladder or kidneys,” says Dr. Darria Long Gillespie, a clinical assistant professor at the University of Tennessee School of Medicine. “When healthy, neither of these have bacteria in them, so an infection occurs when bacteria gets into the urethra, which connects the outside of the body to the bladder, and proceeds up the body into the bladder or kidney. UTIs are more common in the bladder, and more common in women.”

According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, symptoms of a UTI include:

  • Frequent urgency to pee
  • Burning sensation when you go
  • Pee that is tinted or has a strange odor

Why do you keep getting recurring UTIs?

1. You don’t pee when you should

A key factor in preventing a UTI is peeing. Basically, peeing is part of your body’s self-cleaning process (another reason why you shouldn’t be using hygiene products besides simple soap and water). It’s meant to flush out your urinary tract and get rid of harmful bacteria, like the kind that causes a UTI. Trying to hold it when you really have to go can result in a UTI.

2. You don’t drink enough water

Dehydration means infrequent trips to the bathroom, and then your body can’t execute its self-cleaning process. Drinking enough water everyday will keep harmful bacteria from infecting your urinary tract by keeping your peeing cycle regulated.

“Staying hydrated is always a good idea,” says Gillespie.

3. You don’t pee after sex

Again, peeing is a cleansing process!

“One of the easiest ways to prevent UTIs is to always urinate shortly after intercourse,” says Gillespie. “Since UTIs happen when bacteria travels up the urethra and into the bladder (and the bacteria can be introduced with intercourse), think of this as a way to ‘flush out the bacteria’ before it has a chance to settle and create an infection.”

Related: 5 Myths You Probably Still Believe About Your Vagina

4. You use scented feminine hygiene products

Since your body has its own self-cleaning plan, douches and deodorants are unnecessary. If you do use those products and they are scented, they can actually do your body more harm than good because they can mess with the balance of healthy and harmful bacteria. Plus, the fragrances can cause irritation.

5. You wipe from back to front

This can transfer harmful bacteria towards your urinary tract instead of cleaning things up—so make sure you wipe from front to back.

6. You wear the wrong kind of underwear

Cotton underwear can help prevent recurring UTIs because it’s a more lightweight and breathable material, so it isn’t super sweaty and gross down there.

7. You use the wrong kind of birth control

Sometimes the pill can be preferable to other forms of contraception. “Consider a new method of birth control if you use spermicide, particularly if you also use a diaphragm, as that may increase your risk of recurrent infection,” Gillespie advises.

Treating a UTI

As soon as you experience any symptoms, head to your doctor to get tested so you can be prescribed an antibiotic.

“One thing I see is that women mistake another infection (such as a yeast infection or other condition) for a UTI, since they may have similar symptoms,” Gillespie says. “However, they have very different treatments! So, especially if you have not had a UTI before, it’s important to see your doctor to get tested, so you can get treated appropriately.”

Recurrent UTIs can occur when the first one isn’t treated soon enough. Your usual family doctor or healthcare provider can treat a UTI. Do NOT wait to go to the doctor—UTIs can quickly progress into bladder infections. Regardless of what the internet tells you, cranberry juice will not cure your UTI!

Preventing a UTI

Essentially, drink lots of fluids throughout the day to keep your urine flow consistent and flush out your urinary tract, so when you gotta go, go. Keep things clean down there with soap and water—nothing scented. Taking a probiotic can help regulate the balance between good and bad bacteria by boosting healthy bacteria that can then kill off any harmful bacteria. According to Women’s Health Specialists of California, eating acidic foods such as berries, citrus, and apples can also help prevent an infection.

And that urban myth that cranberry juice can prevent or treat a UTI? Not so much.

“When it comes to cranberry juice and cranberry products, there is not strong evidence that they help,” Gillespie says.

UTIs may be uncomfortable to talk about, but they are even more uncomfortable (and even painful) to deal with. Taking precautions to keep your urinary tract healthy now will save you in more ways than one. If you’re frequently dealing with UTIs, try the preventative measures suggested and try to determine the cause. Gillespie advises talking with your doctor if you continue to deal with a recurring UTI, as it may actually be something more serious, or you may be put on a preventative antibiotic.

Curated from Her Campus
Advertisements

A Beginner’s Guide to The Pill: Everything You Need to Know

By Jenni Whalen and Emily Platt
7 minute read 

 

So, you’re considering going on The Pill. And with a name as ominous as that, who wouldn’t have questions? Fear not, collegiates—we’ve got the answers. We got some advice from the experts, and we’re here to give a run-down on everything you should know before delving into the world of oral contraception.

Birth control pills can help us with everything from preventing pregnancy to eliminating acne and minimizing menstrual cramps. It’s important to remember, however, that there are also risks associated with these pills. Rozalyn Yannacone, a Registered Nurse Practitioner at Bucknell University who specializes in gynecological services, shares some tips on how to deal with the ups and downs of birth control.

The Pill, Explained

So, what is the Pill, anyway?

Basically, there are two types of pills—combination pills (containing estrogen and progestin) and progestin-only pills (sometimes called mini pills). Like any hormone, ingredients contained in the Pill can have profound effects on your body, and frankly we’re not qualified to delve into the science specifics! At the basic level, though, the Pill works in a few different ways:

  • It thickens the mucus in your cervix, making it nearly impossible for sperm to access your eggs.
  • It thins your uterine lining, meaning that even if an egg is fertilized, it won’t be able to attach to your uterus
  • It can ovulation (science-talk for when your egg leaves the overies and becomes available for fertilization)

​The final bullet is extremely important to note, because if you do notice any signs of ovulation while on the Pill, it may not be working! Consult your gynecologist stat and she’ll work with you to figure out what’s going on—it will all depend on what type you’re taking.

No matter what pill you’re on, you’ll be required to take it (or a placebo if you’re on a combination brand) every single day—and most likely at the same time everyday! So, if that sounds like something you’re not ready to commit to, you should reconsider choosing the Pill as your form of birth control. When it comes to the Pill, forgetting a dose can completely ruin the pack’s efficacy!

Benefits of the Pill

By now you’ve probably figured out that the Pill prevents pregnancy. But what you may not know is that pregnancy-prevention is far from the Pill’s only benefit! In fact, the Pill is often prescribed to collegiettes for reasons other than contraception. Here’s the low-down of some awesome Pill-related benefits:

  • Got killer cramps? Not anymore!
  • Sick of hormone-induced acne? Say buh-bye!
  • Suffer from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome? The Pill can help!

Ask your gynocologist for an explanation about the reasoning behind these benefits and whether or not she thinks that the Pill can produce them for you. If you’ve got debilitating cramps, aggitating hormone imbalances or flare-up acne that just won’t settle down, the Pill may be the answer to your prayers. Thanks, birth control!

Starting Your Birth Control

According to Yannacone, the first three months of taking birth control pills—as well as other birth control methods including the ring and patch—can be difficult. It often takes time for your body to adjust, and most women experience at least a few negative (albeit totally minor) symptoms. During the first month, adjustment bleeding is common. With adjustment bleeding, it is common to see some unexpected spotting even if you aren’t technically on your period. Alternatively, the opposite can occur—some women will stop menstrating altogether! Finally, many collegiettes may also experience nausea, breast tenderness and turbulant emotions during their first few days on the Pill.

So, if these symptoms are initially normal, when should we expect them so stop? “By the third month with the pill, what you see is what you get forever,” says Yannacone. She notes that it’s important to remember that you may have to stick it out for a few months in order to see how your body will react to the Pill. Of course, if her patients are experiencing symptoms like extreme and overwhelming nausea or severe weight gain within the first few days of their pill packs, Yannacone will usually switch them to a different type of pill fairly quickly. In general, however, by the third month, emotional fluctuations should be fairly nonexistent and nausea should no longer be a part of daily life. Breast tenderness should also disappear, although collegiettes may experience increased breast fullness (it’s apparently rare, but many of us are convinced it’s happened to us!) for the entirety of the time that they remain on the Pill—we’ll take it!

But what if you’ve already started and have been mysteriously symptomless? That’s totally normal too! You’re simply one of the lucky ducks out there who go through the transition as seamlessly as possible—congrats!

Finding the “Perfect Pill”

As it turns out, finding the right pill is no one-and-done deal. “There is no way to pick a perfect pill for everybody,” says Yannacone. “It’s trial and error.”

Although she always starts collegiettes with a low dosage, Yannacone says that she will switch them to different types of pills or dosages of pills if they are still experiencing negative symptoms like nausea, breakthrough bleeding or excessive mood swings after three months (or less than three months, depending on the severity of those symptoms).

The necessity of upping the dosage of the Pill makes sense once you understand the biology of the birth control pills. Most pills have the same estrogen hormones but different brands have different levels and types of progestins. If a woman is having trouble with her pills—say she is experiencing spotting even when she is not having her period—an increase of progestin (or perhaps a different type of progestin) can help the uterine lining thicken, meaning that the breakthrough bleeding will stop.

“It all has to do with the makeup of the body and how each person responds to pills,” says Yannacone. A birth control pill that works great for one of her patients can cause nausea and weight gain for another—so it really is a gamble at first!

It’s also important to realize that the brand of pill may not be the problem. In fact, you may not have chosen the right form of birth control. Some collegiettes experience nausea from the Pill that never, ever subsides. For these women, options like NuvaRing or an IUD may be a better bet. There’s tons of options out there, including shots, patches, and of course, condoms—only you and your gyno will truly know which method works best with your lifestyle.

Ramifications of Using the Pill

Those rumors about the Pill causing infertility? Totally false, according to Yannacone. “Birth control pills do not affect your ability to have children.”

There is a nuance, however, for a specific subset of women who suffer from over suppression. Over suppression occurs only in women who have irregular periods while on the Pill (as in 7 to 10 periods a year instead of 11 to 13). These women often have a difficult time getting pregnant once they stop using the Pill because it can take a while for their bodies to begin ovulating again. While the average woman typically begins ovulating and getting regular periods about 3 to 6 months after they stop using the Pill, women who experience over suppression will have irregular periods for far longer. So, if you’re not on a period-suppressing pill (remember, some can purposely stop them altogether!) and you experience fewer than 10 periods a year, check in with your doctor about switching to a different method of contraception, just to be safe.

In addition, Yannacone says that the only real infertility danger for most women occurs because of STDs. “Many women think that because they are on the Pill, they don’t need to use condoms. As a result, they get STDs (most commonly Gonorrhea or Chlamydia) that damage their reproductive organs and result in infertility.” Here that, collegiettes? STDs are not something to mess around with, which is why the safest method of birth control always involves doubling up with condoms. After all, is it really worth the risk?

The Pill’s Biggest Danger

While the Pill is relatively safe, often super beneficial, and taken by millions of women each and every day, there is one major health concern you need to be wary of.

Keara, a Hamilton collegiette, can’t take birth control pills because of the potential of blood clots. “I can’t take birth control and I think that it’s important that other girls are aware of why,” she says. “Nobody in my family knew that we hada genetic predisposition to blood clotting called a Protein C deficiency. My sister started taking birth control to help regulate her period, and ended up having a pulmonary embolism.”

According to Yannacone, birth control pills actually change the body’s clotting mechanisms, meaning that collegiettes who are on the Pill may be more prone to strokes and heart attacks—both of which result from blood clots.

Don’t worry too much though, girls! We’re trying to inform you, not terrify you! Luckily, there are five danger signs that can immediately help you identify an issue: migraine headaches, blurred vision, leg pain, chest pain and abdominal pain. These five warning signs are indicative of a possible stroke or heart attack as a result of blood clots, so if you or one of your friends experience any of these symptoms while taking birth control, see a doctor immediately.

The Big Picture

All in all, if you’re sexually active you should be using some form of birth control. “In college, you are at a time in your life when a pregnancy is not ideal,” says Yannacone. “So it is important to protect yourself in some way.”

Birth control pills can be great—they can help you have clearer skin, shorter periods and milder menstrual cramps. They can protect you from pregnancy and prevent excessive mood swings. They can even increase your breast size by a cup size or two.

But with every perk comes some downsides, so stay tuned in to your body as you begin to take the pills. If you’re still experiencing nausea, breast tenderness and adjustment bleeding after three months (or severe symptoms before those three months have passed), see your doctor to discuss changing pills or changing birth control methods. And if you experience migraine headaches, blurred vision, leg pain, chest pain or abdominal pain, head to the doctor immediately as you may be experiencing the Pill’s biggest danger: blood clots.

Finally, it should go without saying that you should never rely solely on web searches when trying to understand any health process—birth control included! It’s absolutely necessary that you find a gynecologist that you feel totally comfortable with and discuss your options, symptoms, questions and concerns on a regular basis. Trust us, she’ll love to help!

Article curated from HerCampus.com | Featured image credit https://www.serafincontreras.com

Students urged to prioritise check-ups

Mashudu Mambo | Sunday News
UNIVERSITY students have been urged to constantly check their health to reduce the risk of suffering from diseases such as breast cancer as they can be treated if detected early.

Speaking during a breast cancer awareness campaign at the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) American Space on Friday, United Bulawayo Hospitals gynaecologist Dr Taurai Gunguwo urged students to take their health seriously by constantly checking and going for cancer screening.

“Breast cancer is very rare before the age of 40, making it risky to those over 40. One can detect cancer by feeling their breasts for lumps and cancer screening is for free at UBH,” he said.

“… there is a need for hospitals to train nurses and doctors to interact with their patients so as to fully understand their problems…”

Dr Gunguwo said cancer is caused by cells that can grow fast and sometimes the body can fail to control those cells resulting in breast cancer, especially among pregnant women or women who breast feed.

“The number one cause of breast cancer are genes which you are born with that expose you to cancer.The risk factors of breast cancer include age, family history, obesity, heavy consumption of alcohol and smoking,” he said.

“Most of the cancers in urban areas are rare in rural areas because of the food that those people eat, therefore reducing the risk of breast cancer among those in rural areas.”

Dr Gunguwo said chemotherapy could be used at any stage and breast cancer should be treated at stage one.

“The myth that when people come for chemotherapy worsens the condition of the patient depends on the stage of the cancer for example if breast cancer is at stage one there are 100 percent chances for survival because we can either remove the lump or the breast and you would have a five-year survival period.

“At stage four it is the palliative stage and at this stage it is when we have accepted that you will die and all we will be doing is to improve your life for the few months or years that will be left for you to live,” he said.

Dr Gunguwo said there was a need for the hospitals to train nurses and doctors to have some time to interact with their patients so as to fully understand their problems.

“I believe our hospitals must be like the ones in Europe where most exams for doctors are about interactions with the patients and information on breast cancer. We are now teaching doctors to interact with the patients and we should learn from other countries,” he said.

The discussion was part of Campus Conversations which are a series of panel discussions which bring together college students and experts to discuss various issues that affect young people. The interactive sessions are meant to engage students and foster a culture of healthy sexual behaviour and attitudes.

 CHLAMYDIA AND SUB-FERTILITY

Neddy Makonza| Nust-ZW

Thandiwe is a graduate from a prominent University in the country. Her wedding was so extravagant that all girls wished they were in her shoes. Being married to a renowned businessman in the city was her dream and a door to endless opportunities.

Ben, her husband, was so eager to have children and was disappointed when their first pregnancy was ectopic, a complication in which the embryo attaches out of the womb. However, they did not lose hope. They tried again and Thandiwe got another complication. The couple was hopeful that they would have a baby the natural way, hence, they refused the doctor’s advice on trying Assisted Reproductive Therapy(ART).

The sad couple later decided to seek medical counselling from a professional. They sat and held each other’s hands for comfort as Dr Newton looked at them above her spectacles.

Dr Newton gave them an endless list of the possible causes of tubal blockage, ectopic pregnancy and subfertility. She tried by all means to make the couple understand how vast the pathophysiology can be. However, the most common cause especially in Thandiwe’s age group and background was PELVIC INFLAMMATORY DISEASE (PID). It is very common amongst young ladies below 25 years and the most common cause are infections especially by Gonorrhea co infected by Chlamydia. The long-term effects of PID affects the reproductive tract leading to subfertility (difficulty in having a child), chronic pelvic pain and ectopic pregnancies in the future.

The couple was reassured and they agreed to try using ART was available at most clinics in the country.

This lead to a discussion of STIs,  in particular Chlamydia. JUST BECAUSE IT DOES NOT SHOW DOESN’T MEAN ITS NOT THERE.

The scariest thing about Chlamydia in particular as an STI is that most people who have chlamydia have no symptoms (about 75% women and 50 % men).

What is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium, Chlamydia trachomatis. Chlamydia infections are extremely common affecting both females and males.

You can get chlamydia by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has chlamydia even if the male partner does not ejaculate. It can also be passed on to baby from an infected mother at childbirth and causes drastic damage to the baby. Any sexually active person can be infected with chlamydia. The greater the number of sex partners, the greater the risk of infection. If you get treated, it does not give you immunity to reinfection.

How can one reduce the risk of getting Chlamydia? The best answer is abstinence thus no risk to all STIs. However, measures can be taken to prevent acquisition and long term complications of the disease. Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and has negative STD test results; Using latex condoms every time you have sex and getting treatment early can be greatly effective to preserve the reproductive system.

The scariest thing about Chlamydia in particular as an STI is that most people who have chlamydia have no symptoms (about 75% women and 50 % men). If you do have symptoms, they may not appear until several weeks after you have sex with an infected partner. Even when chlamydia is asymptomatic, it can damage your reproductive system.

Symptoms

  • An abnormal vaginal discharge or from the penis
  • A burning sensation when urinating.
  • Pain and swelling in one or both testicles (although this is less common)

If the infection spreads from the cervix to the fallopian tubes some women still have no signs or symptoms; others have lower abdominal pain, low back pain, nausea, fever, pain during intercourse, or bleeding between menstrual periods.

Chlamydia can be cured by a dose of antibiotics prescribed by the doctor. Care should however be taken not to abuse these medications as resistance to them can occur. Treatment of all the partners is vital to eliminate the disease completely and also retest to make sure there is no reinfection. Abstinence from sex until treatment is complete prevents further spreading. Having multiple infections increases a woman’s risk of infertility

The most common test to detect chlamydia infection in women involves taking a swab from the cervix during a speculum exam and the swab is tested for chlamydia DNA. The problem with this test is that it does not tell the physician how long the infection has been present or how severe the infection is and whether the woman with the infection has sustained tubal damage. The swab test can also miss an infection that has moved up into the uterus or tubes and is no longer in the cervix.

Blood tests can also be performed to detect the antibodies the body makes when exposed to the Chlamydia bacteria. These blood test are fairly predictive for finding women with tubal damage during laparoscopy. These tests are not so reliable thus ‘PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE’

ART is available but very expensive thus not accessible to everyone. Therefore, it is better to keep your tubes open and prevent infection by abstaining from sex, practicing safe methods of sex, being faithful to one partner and getting treatment early.

CHLAMYDIA CAN BE INVISIBLE BUT THE CONSEQUENCES CAN BE CATASTROPHIC.

 

Zimbabwe students fighting GBV on campus

Sex Rights Africa Network | @SexRightsAfrica

When female students at tertiary colleges and universities in Zimbabwe call for action against gender-based violence (GBV) and sexual harassment (SH) on campus, they need up-to-date statistics to back up their claims that this is a widespread problem.

Research undertaken by the Female Students Network Trust (FSNT) in Zimbabwe in 2015 presents a clear picture of the nature and extent of GBV and SH that students endure, and make recommendations for protecting survivors and holding perpetrators and authorities accountable for the abuse.

FSNT’s baseline study, conducted in universities, polytechnics and teachers’ colleges, with support from the Czech Embassy and the Students and Academics International Help Fund, covered ten tertiary institutions and included 3425 students and staff. It confirmed the students’ claims that GBV and SH were ‘rampant’ on campus, particularly sexual harassment of female students by male lecturers, fellow male students and non-academic male employees.

Key findings from the research include:

Of the 2114 female students who participated through the questionnaire, 94% reported having encountered SH, compared to 3% of the 672 male students;

    Of the 1987 female students who had encountered SH:

        16% of female students said they had been raped by male students and 5% had been raped by male lecturers and non-academic staff;

        13% of female students reported date rape in relationships with older men (lecturers and non-academic staff) and 46% in relationships with male students;

        16% reported having been forced into unprotected sex in sexual encounters with lecturers; 10% in sexual encounters with non-academic staff and 43% with male students;

        32% of female students reported having been coerced into drinking alcohol or injecting drugs by older men (lecturers and non-academic staff) during date outings and thereafter sexual assaulted. 48% of female students reported the same during date outings with male students;

        64% of male students said they had given money or gifts in exchange for sex in the last year and 42% of female students reported that they had received money or gifts in exchange for sex in the last year. (In focus group discussions, men said that having ‘invested’ in female students they would resort to violence if their partners refused to have sex with them or had sex with someone else);

        85% of respondents reported knowing female students who were once forced by campus-men to abort an unintended pregnancy;

        74% of female students encountered offers of ‘favours’ (good grades/marks, extra academic help and study aids) by lecturers and 83% encountered offers of ‘favours’ (food, accommodation, transport and money) by non-academic staff and students, all in exchange for sex or sexual relationships;

        67% experienced unwanted physical contact (touching, patting and hugging) by lecturers, non-academic staff and students;

        93% experienced inappropriate remarks about their gender and sexuality (including sarcastic criticism of their weight, body parts such as breasts and buttocks, skin complexion, hairdo, cosmetics, dressing) by mostly male students;

        91% encountered wolf whistling – and of the 672 male students who completed the questionnaire, 90% reported having wolf whistled at a female student;

        79% of female students reported being intentionally excluded from meetings and processes because they were being held at gender insensitive environments and times.

The vast majority (94%) of female students who experienced GBV or SH said that they would not report to the authorities. Most (63.5%) said they had disclosed to someone (family member, friend, intimate partner, room mate, fellow church member).

The main reason given for not reporting was not knowing how to do so. However, female students also reported that campus security were more concerned about preventing student unrest that dealing with issues of GBV and SH.

Reporting to intimate partners seldom resulted in cases being taken up through the college/university system and would often result in physical gang fights between involved males. Female students said that being identified as victims of GBV and SH through reporting would jeopardise their current and future intimate relations and social image, and subject them to campus gossip and further male student bullying.

Responses to questions about the reasons for GBV and SH reflect an entrenched patriarchal culture, with fixed, unequal gender norms and normalised victim-blaming. Both female and male students said wolf-whistling was due to young women wearing tight or revealing clothing. The males said they were less likely to wolf-whistle at students who dressed ‘decently’. The main reason given for unwanted physical contact by both male and female respondents was that female students had ‘unknowingly sent a wrong message’ to offenders, who were generally people they knew.

 The study found that ‘female students fail to live their college lives fully making unreasonable behavioral and life style adjustments fully because of fear of SH in their living and learning environments’.

 However, it seemed this strategy would be unlikely to protect them since male students reported intense pressure – from both male and female lecturers – to outperform female students, to show contempt, competition and indifference towards female students, and to call a male who did not perform ‘woman’. Female students who outperformed males would be called tom-boys or labelled as having ‘balls’. Some female students would behave in a submissive way to avoid this.

 Both male and female students during FGDs said that male lecturers viewed sex with female students as part of their supplementary job benefits just like medical aid in the context of low and often delayed salaries. Male lecturers in interviews denied this though they said it was part of beer talk. A high proportion of male lecturers said female students ‘enticed them’ into relationships.

The report notes that there have been some efforts by the Zimbabwe government to demonstrate its commitment to eradicating GBV and SH Government – for example the creation of a separate ministry responsible for gender and women affairs, which has put in place a national GBV strategy.

FSNT has used the findings of the study to formulate a Sexual Harassment Monitoring Mechanism (SHMM) for tertiary institutions and to provide recommendations for improving accountability of authorities on GBV. FSNT

 Director Evernice Munando says the Trust has been advocating and lobbying strongly for SH policy formulation and effective implementation, engaging Zimbabwe’s parliamentary portfolio committees on Gender and Education to expedite the processes. Munando reported in April 2016: “Some universities and colleges are responding well [and] Midlands State University (MSU) has recently made its policy.”

 Let’s orange Campuses and advocate to stop Sexual Harassment 

 Article first published on 04 May 2016 at http://www.sexrightsafrica.net

Video published by ItsOnUsCampaign

Tragic death for NUST student

 A Second year Faculty of Medicine student at the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) collapsed and died while jogging in Bulawayo on Friday last week.

Bryan Ncube was jogging along Selous Avenue in North End suburb with his colleague Andile Dube, a third year student in the same faculty, when tragic struck.

Nust’s director of marketing and public relations Mr Felix Moyo described the incident as shocking saying Ncube was one of the most intelligent students in the country.

“We’re told that he got up in the morning and was jogging with his friend Andile Dube, a part three student in the Faculty of Medicine. He started complaining of chest pains and looked tired. Andile rendered first aid to him before asking people from neighbouring houses to call an ambulance,” said Mr Moyo.

He said medics in the ambulance confirmed him dead.

Police officers took statements before taking the body away. The staff members comprised Nust’s acting Vice Chancellor Professor Samson Sibanda, student division members Mr Peter Khumalo and Ms Stylish Magida.

Mr Moyo said the institution had informed Ncube’s family in Chiredzi of the tragic incident.

He said his death is a blow to the country and Nust as only extremely intelligent students are accepted in Nust’s Faculty of Medicine.

“It is a blow to us. To have a young person who qualifies for Nust’s Faculty of Medicine means he was a jewel of Zimbabwe. Having spent two years training with us means he had spent two fifths of his academic life with us,” Mr Moyo said.

He said Nust would counsel his classmates and Andile as the incident was traumatic to them.

“His classmates all came and our students division led by Peter Khumalo and Stylish Magida will ensure that they get counselled, in particular Andile who was with him,” said Mr Moyo.

Source: The Chronicle

 

TWISTED IN THE GOLDEN HOUR

by Neddy Makonza | NUST-ZW

THE most embarrassing thing to do is tell someone about your manhood. Can you however live with telling someone about the disability of your manhood? This can happen if you feel excruciating pain around your groin area and decide to be strong and not seek help.

torsion-of-testis

Testicular torsion is a true urologic emergency and must be differentiated from other complaints of testicular pain because a delay in diagnosis and manage­ment can lead to loss of the testicle. Al­though testicular torsion can occur at any age, including the prenatal and perinatal periods, torsion is most frequent among adolescents with about 65% of cases presenting between 12 – 18 years of age. It occurs in about 1 in 4,000 to 1 per 25,000 males per year before 25 years of age. , it is the most frequent cause of testicle loss in that population.

The testicles are 2 organs that hang in a pouch of skin called the scrotum which sits below the penis. This is where sperm and male sex hormone (testosterone) are made. The blood supply for each testicle comes from the spermatic cord. This cord starts in the abdomen and extends into the scrotum. This cord also contains the vas deferens, which carries sperm from the testicles to the urethra. Damage to these structure is detrimental as they determine the fertility of an individual. However luckily one has two of them.

Testicular torsion occurs when a testicle rotates, twisting the spermatic cord that brings blood to the scrotum. The reduced blood flow causes sudden and often severe pain
and swelling..

Testicular torsion occurs when a testicle rotates, twisting the spermatic cord that brings blood to the scrotum. The reduced blood flow causes sudden and often se­vere pain and swelling due to ischaemia. The testicle is deprived of oxygen and also swelling occur causing compression of the structure and pain. This occurs in about 17% of males and is bilateral in 40%.The following features are associated with higher likelihood of torsion :

  • Pain duration of less than 24 hours
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • High position of the testicle
  • Transverse lie of the affected testis
  • Abnormal cremasteric reflex

 

Embarrassment in the young patient may prevent disclosure of scrotal pain, and scrotal pain referred to the lower abdomen may be perceived as not being of scrotal or testicular origin. For this reason, any young male who com­plains of lower abdominal pain should undergo examination of the external genitalia to rule out the possibility of scrotal or testicular pathology.

In contrast intravaginal torsion most commonly occurs in adolescents. It is thought that the increased weight of the testicle after puberty, as well as sudden contraction of the cremasteric muscles (which inserts in a spiral fashion into the spermatic cord), is the impetus for acute torsion. Testicular torsion is also associated with testicular malignancy, especially in adults; one study found a 64% association of testicular torsion with testicular malignancy. This is thought to be secondary to a relative increase in the broadness of the testicle compared with its blood supply.

This is a urological emergency; early diagnosis and treatment are vital to saving the testicle and preserving future fertility. Testicular torsion requires emergency surgical treatment to prevent further ischemic damage to the testis. If treated quickly, the testicle can be saved. But when blood flow has been cut off for too long, a testicle might become so badly damaged that it has to be removed.

@kidshealth

 

To prevent loss of the testicles the patient must present within 6 hours after onset of symptoms. Salvaging of the testicle in this instance is possible. This period is called the ‘golden hour’ as it determines whether the testicle survives or not. However if pa­tient delays and present within 24 hours there is a very slight chance to save the testicle but it is indefinite. Presentation after 24 hours the testicle is most likely damaged so nothing can be done to revive the testicle.

History and physical examination are imperfect in ruling out testicular torsion. However very useful and time conscious as patient is quickly taken to theatre if torsion is suspected. Imaging studies (eg, ultrasonography, nuclear scans) may be useful when a low suspicion of testicular torsion is noted. Surgical exploration should not be delayed for the sake of performing imaging studies as this will eat into the golden hour.

Complications that can occur due to un­treated testicular torsion are ;Testicular infarction( death of testicle), Scrotal ab­scess (pus in the scrotum and infection), Gangrene of testis (death and loss of testi­cle), Recurrence, Chronic epididymitis.

In conclusion immediate action in the golden hour is vital to save one’s testicles, fertil­ity, pride and prevent future marital problems.

SILENT KILLER DISEASES: A WAR AGAINST MANKIND

By Caroline Chiimba | Nust-ZW

THEY say ‘ignorance is bliss’, but perhaps not when it comes to matters of health.     A woman who once weighed 98kg and noticeable from afar in her snow white Johanne Masowe church garment, now looks tiny and unrecognisable.

Siphakeme Maphosa (34) never considered going for regular health check-ups. She always felt that she was very healthy since she was constantly gaining a lot of weight. But little did she know that her days as a voluptuous woman were coming to an end.

Maphosa recalls that fateful day, two years ago, when she almost lost her life due to a sudden diabetic attack which she was unaware of.

“I started feeling very weak and short of breath on a Tuesday evening when my husband was away in Harare. I never took it seriously, as I thought it would go away in a few days,” said Maphosa, with a slight frown on her face.

“But, after two days I realised that my clothes were becoming too big for my body size and this is when I realised that my health was getting worse.

“The night my husband returned, on Friday the same week, I even got worse to the extent that I was grasping for air,” said Maphosa, with her eyes wide open and moving her hands with great force.

“I remember my sister helping me to get into the car, while my husband opened the gate, and then everything went blank!”

Maphosa was rushed to the Marondera Polyclinic, a private surgery in Bulawayo, before being transferred to Mpilo Hospital after losing consciousness.

“She was resuscitated with a lot of difficulty as the doctors almost gave up on her, and I was shocked to find out that her sugar levels were as high as 17 instead of the normal five,” said Cosmas Mhandu, Maphosa’s husband, with his eyes wide open.

However, not everyone is as lucky as Maphosa.

Many people have lost their lives to non communicable diseases (NCD).Most of the diseases are diagnosed too late when death is knocking on the door.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), NCD which are popularly known as silent killer diseases, because of their nature of killing people claim almost two-thirds of all deaths in the developing world. In Zimbabwe alone, 30 percent of all deaths are caused by silent killer diseases.

However in African countries, there are several mysteries including witchcraft which are associated with sudden illness or death that result from silent killer diseases.

Some of the silent killer diseases are diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack, ovarian and liver cancers. These diseases are characterised by hideous symptoms and signs which usually start to show at a later stage.

The Zimbabwe Diabetic Association estimates that close to 7 000 lives are lost per year, while close to 1,5 million people are living with diabetes.

“Our society is still overwhelmed with this belief that regular health check-ups are Eurocentric, thus ignoring the slightest health problems they encounter on a daily basis,” said Dr Timothy Mumbengegwi, a health practitioner who runs his own surgery in Bulawayo.

“Only a few in Zimbabwe go for health check-ups when they feel something is not right. The majority delay until they are critically ill, which sometimes result in tragedy befalling them.”

According to WHO, 82 percent of people who die from heart attacks and strokes due to undiagnosed and uncontrolled hypertension are mainly from the developing countries.

“Diabetes seem to be opening doors for other silent killer diseases like hypertension and heart attack, so it is important for people to do regular health check-ups if one is living with diabetes so as to prevent other diseases,” explained Dr Mumbengegwi.

Further studies by WHO have found that the rapidly changing lifestyle of people and their food habits also increases health risks. These include taking in unhealthy sprinkled salt during braais as it is advised that salt should be added during cooking, not upon eating.

braai
meat on a braai stand showing rapidly changing lifestyles of people: photo credit-jasonbagely.com

Along with consuming a lot of alcohol in a bid to reduce stress, and abuse of tobacco which results in hypertension and heart diseases, people are risking their lives.

A lot of people are familiar with, and some have knowledge about breast and cervical cancer, but little do they know about liver and ovarian cancer since it is less common in Zimbabwe.

Liver cancer originates from the liver or in other parts of the body and then spreads to the liver. Liver tumours are discovered on medical imaging equipment (often by accident) or present themselves symptomatically as an abdominal mass, pain, yellow skin, nausea or liver dysfunction.

The leading cause of liver cancer is excessive intake of alcohol. The majority of people who get liver cancer look healthy from the outside and show no early signs or symptoms, and for this reason liver cancer is called ‘the silent killer’.

Due to the difficulty in diagnosing liver cancer at an early stage, the survival rate is estimated at 3 to 6 months.

Ovarian cancer is more deadly than cervical cancer and other gynaecologic cancers.

It is not easy to detect because ovaries are situated deep within the abdominal cavity.

Symptoms are often misdiagnosed as they can be confused with symptoms of other less severe illnesses like gastrointestinal complaints.

Earliest warning signs of ovarian cancer include abdominal bloating, pressure, and pain, feeling abnormally full after eating, increased urination and an urge to urinate.

Other general symptoms are fatigue, constipation, menstrual irregularities, painful intercourse, back pain, indigestion and heartburn.

True to the adage, prevention is better than cure, Maphosa says this message should be people’s daily prayer.

“Since the day I was diagnosed with diabetes, I always encourage my family members to do regular health check-ups because I don’t want them to experience the same fate as mine,” said Maphosa, gazing down and looking defeated.

“Currently, I have been struggling with kidney failure and high blood pressure which came as a result of uncontrolled diabetes.”

Despite being a wife to a prophet, diabetes caught Maphosa by surprise, proving that these silent killer diseases know no creed, age, race, status or religion. Anyone can succumb to them at any given time.

Silent killer diseases are a war against mankind.

CAROLINE CHIIMBA is a second year student in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies at the National University of Science and Technology. | cover image: davideconroy.weebly.com

 

DATING AND FEAR IN AGE OF HIV???

                      Chronicle report

    aids

ALMOST half of University of Zimbabwe students who recently underwent voluntary HIV testing were positive, a revelation which has forced the institution to limit inter-residence visits between male and female students.
The shocking statistics came out during a recent exercise conducted by the country’s oldest university where 47 percent of students who underwent testing and counseling tested HIV positive.
This follows recent reports that Midlands State University students’ reckless sexual behaviour had been singled out as the major driver of the HIV prevalence rate from 20 percent in 2014 to 23 percent in 2015.
Confirming the results and mitigatory measures being implemented to reduce the spread of HIV and sexually transmitted infections, UZ Vice Chancellor Professor Levi Nyagura said allegations that his management style was heavy-handed and infringed on the individual rights of students would not deter him as he could not be seen to be condoning promiscuity.
“The grim statistics of sexually transmitted diseases at the institution have forced us to have a limit for inter-residence visits between female and male students. We have consulted lots of parents and all of them do not want to promote promiscuity by allowing students to enjoy married life-styles by staying with their girlfriends in the halls of residence,” Prof Nyagura said.
“You may be interested to know that not so long ago, we had a survey here which revealed that 47 percent of students who went for voluntary HIV testing were found to be positive. As a parent, that’s a worrisome stat. At some stage I was surprised that Swinton Hall had almost become like a maternity wing with hordes of students pregnant,” he said.
“While we acknowledge that this is an adult institution, we don’t think it’s good for us to encourage cohabitation of male and female students.”
Jimmy Wilford, the director of Saywhat, an organisation that raises awareness on HIV, said while he was not aware of the UZ survey, it could send a wrong message as some students could have been born with HIV.