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V: Conditions & Diseases

 

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Vaginitis
Varicose Veins
Variola
Venereal Warts

 

Vaginitis
Other names: Vulvovaginitis, vulvitis

Vaginitis is the inflammation of the vagina, which may be caused by an infection, irritant, tumor, poor personal hygiene or other factors. It is a common condition that most women experience at least once. If the vulva is inflamed, the condition is called vulvitis, and if both the vagina and vulva are inflamed, the condition is known as vulvovaginitis. Symptoms of vaginitis include:

  • A smelly white, grey or yellowish discharge
  • Irritated, itchy vulva
  • Painful intercourse
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Vaginal dryness

In diagnosing vaginitis, your physician may perform a complete physical exam to discuss your symptoms with you. The physician may swab the vaginal area and study the sample under a microscope. Other lab tests may include urine and blood tests.

Treatment of vaginitis, which is different from a yeast infection, may include vaginal suppositories, creams or oral medications to cure the infection. Also, you probably will be asked to avoid sexual intercourse until the infection has cleared up.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)

Varicose Veins
Other names: Varicosity, varicosis

Varicose veins are enlarged veins that develop when improperly functioning valves allow blood to seep back and collect in the veins. Varicose veins, and smaller versions called spider veins, occur most often on the legs, where the veins have the greatest challenge carrying blood back to the heart against the forces of gravity and under the pressure of body weight.

Several factors may increase one’s risk of developing varicose veins, the most significant of which is that some people are born with weak vein valves . Other factors include aging, obesity, injury and standing for extended periods of time. Symptoms include:

  • Pain in legs
  • Visible, enlarged veins
  • Swollen legs and feet
  • Itching and burning on legs and ankles

Varicose veins are usually diagnosed based on their appearance. However, your physician may order an ultrasound exam to determine the severity of the condition. Treatment is not often required, but if varicose veins become uncomfortable or appear to be leading to more serious conditions, your physician may recommend one of several types of surgical treatment. Current treatments have a high success rate.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)

Variola
Other name: Smallpox

Variola, or smallpox, is a highly contagious viral infection that can be fatal.

Symptoms of smallpox do not usually appear for a couple of weeks. Once other symptoms begin to appear, a rash that resembles chicken pox follows in a day or two. The disease is most contagious during the first two weeks of the rash. Smallpox is more severe than chicken pox, and the rash is more prominent on the face and limbs, rather than on the chest and abdomen as is the case with chicken pox.

Most people born after 1971 probably did not receive the primary immunization for smallpox and are susceptible to the disease. Those who were immunized would have a less severe case and lower mortality rate. Recently, there has been discussion about the possible use of smallpox as a biological warfare agent.

Symptoms of small pox include:

  • High fever
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Backache
  • Rash that begins in mouth and throat

Removing fluid from one of the blisters and checking the fluid for the virus under a microscope may aid in the diagnosis of smallpox. Blood tests for antibodies to the smallpox virus may also be conducted.

There is no cure or definitive treatment for smallpox. Medical care usually consists of bed rest and treatment of the symptoms. IV fluids may be used to prevent or treat dehydration, sedatives may calm patients and aspirin or codeine may relieve pain. Antibiotics such as penicillin or tetracycline may also be used to treat infections. To minimize scarring, the sores are kept clean and warm with antiseptic baths.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)

Venereal Warts
Other names: Condyloma, genital warts, human papilloma virus (HPV)

Venereal warts are fleshy growths in the genital and anal areas that are caused by a virus. This is the most common type of sexually transmitted disease, and between 500,000 and 1 million new cases are diagnosed each year.

Venereal warts are spread by direct contact during vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who is infected. Venereal warts are usually diagnosed in those between the ages of 15 and 30 who have had more than one sex partner. Often venereal warts are painless and cannot be seen by the naked eye. It may take several months after contact with an infected person for symptoms to develop. Research indicates that venereal warts increase the likelihood of developing cervical or anal cancer. Symptoms of venereal warts include:

  • Pain in the affected area
  • Itching in the affected area
  • Bleeding
  • Odor

Venereal warts are diagnosed by their appearance and by examining a sample under a microscope. A cure for venereal warts does not exist, but the condition can be treated and controlled with various types of topical creams or gels. Venereal warts may also be surgically removed or frozen off with liquid nitrogen.

Please note that this material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or instruction. Consult your healthcare professional for advice relating to a medical problem or condition. (return to top)