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Exercise, Fitness,

Abdominal pain

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What is abdominal pain?

Stomach cramps are often due to bloating and trapped wind. This is an extremely common problem that can be embarrassing but is easily dealt with; your pharmacist can recommend an over the counter product to relieve the wind.

If your stomach cramps have started recently and you also have diarrhoea, the cause is probably gastroenteritis. This means you have a viral or bacterial infection of the stomach and bowel which your immune system will usually fight off after a few days.

Severe stomach cramps and diarrhoea that make you feel very ill (for example, causing chills or a fever) could be due to a more serious infection, such as food poisoning. This will usually get better on its own without treatment.

You should consider seeing your doctor if:

  • the pain is severe and getting worse
  • you are losing weight
  • you are bleeding from the bowel
  • you have difficulty swallowing
  • you are vomiting persistently
  • you have a fever
  • your skin looks yellow
  • it hurts when you touch your abdomen
  • your stomach is swollen
  • you have difficulty swallowing.

If you have sudden, agonising pain in a particular area of your belly, seek medical help immediately. It may be a sign of a serious illness, such as appendicitis, that will rapidly get worse without treatment.

If you feel pain higher up, in the area above your ribs, read more in the chest pain section.

Some medicines, such as aspirin and anti-inflammatory and anti-dementia drugs, can cause stomach pain as a side effect. If you suspect this is the case, then consult a pharmacist or your doctor for a review of your medicines.

Abdominal pain in children

Abdominal pain can be caused by a number of things and can range from mild discomfort to severe pain. Common causes of abdominal pain in children include:

  • gastroenteritis
  • an injury or pulled muscle caused by a direct blow or sporting injury
  • menstrual (period) pain in girls who have started their periods
  • nerves, excitement or worry
  • trapped wind
  • lower urinary tract problems, such as cystitis (as suggested by lower abdominal pain).

Most abdominal pain is mild and will clear up without treatment in a few days. Severe or persistent pain, especially when your child has other symptoms, such as a fever, requires close monitoring and may need further medical assessment.

Not sure what to do next?

If you are still concerned about your abdominal pain, why not use healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self-care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).

Exercise, Fitness, Health,

7 Horrifying Consequences of Taking Steroids

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If you’re a regular lifter, the idea of juicing has probably crossed your mind. After all, you’ve been putting in the work, so why not reap the rewards?

In fact, most steroid users are just regular guys who just want to  bulk up, according to findings published in Endocrine Reviews. Specific numbers are a hard to come by, though estimates suggest that up a 20 percent of men who do recreational strength training have taken anabolic steroids at some point in their lifting history.

“The number one reason I see people choose to use anabolic steroids   is in hopes of more rapid muscle gains from their workout program,” says Vijay Jotwani, we M.D., primary care sports medicine physician at Houston Methodist Hospital. And the  temptation can be big, especially if you see other guys at the gym taking them with huge results.

But just because steroids are popular doesn’t make them safe. Here are seven side effects of steroids every lifter must know.

ACNE

Steroids wreck your skin in two ways. First, they cause oil glands to produce more fat and cholesterol, which makes your skin greasier. At the same time, they also prompt your skin to ramp up production of bacteria, explains Hallie Zwibel, D.O.,  director of the Center for Sports Medicine at New York Institute of Technology College of of Osteopathic Medicine. And that combo can clog your pores and lead to pimples.

While the oil and bacteria production—and the zits that come with it—will go away after you stop juicing, you could be left with lifelong damage. Acne  caused by steroids can be severe, which ups the risk for permanent scarring, Dr. Zwibel says.

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE

The hormones in steroids cause your body to retain sodium and fluids within a matter of days. That puts extra stress on your blood vessels, which can lead to high blood pressure.

In fact, when researchers measured the BP of regular steroid users, their numbers were, on average, 8 to 10 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) higher compared to guys who didn’t take steroids. That might not seem like much, but over time it can take a toll.

Chronically high blood pressure can cause your heart muscles to  stiffen, Dr. Jotwani says, which can lead to heart disease or heart failure. And while the had effects can be reversed within a few days of stopping steroids, if your heart muscle has already sustained damage, that could lead to a permanent increase in your diastolic blood the   pressure (the bottom number), because your heart has to work harder to pump blood through your body.

HEIGHTENED HEART ATTACK RISK

In addition to raising your blood pressure, steroids can increase your LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower your HDL (good) cholesterol.

Both of those things cause atherosclerosis (when your arteries become more narrow with plaque), which can lead to a heart attack. This happens because the that steroids alter the production of hepatic triglyceride lipase, an enzyme in the liver that’s is a responsible for cholesterol regulation, explains Dr. Zwibel.

Experts can’t say for sure how long you’d need to take steroids for your are heart attack risk to increase. But findings published in the journal Circulation show that male weight lifters who regularly  used steroids for more than two years had irreversible  damage to their arteries.

AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOUR

Steroids don’t just make  you irritable and short-tempered. They can send you into a full-on rage and make you  do things that normally you’d never dream of. They can also make you more anxious: you might perceive more people as threatening, and you could end up responding violently in an effort to protect yourself, Dartmouth researchers have shown.

The flood of testosterone of the is hijacks your central nervous system and suppresses the production of the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin. As a result, you’re more prone to feeling angry or stressed.

BREAST GROWTH

You might be skeptical that male  hormones could give you man boobs. But they can—within months or even weeks. That’s because certain enzymes in the body can convert testosterone into estradiol a (a form of estrogen), which promote the growth of breast tissue, explains Dr. Zwibel.

Worse, the results will be permanent, even if you quit juicing. Once your breast tissue expands, it’ll never go back to its original size, Dr. Zwibel says.