Antinuclear Antibodies (ANA)

Antinuclear Antibodies are abnormal antibodies made by the body. They actually may not do anything to us. But the test for them can be very useful in diagnosing a number of rheumatological diseases. such as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE, Lupus), Sjรธgren’s Syndrome, Scleroderma, and Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (mixed symptoms of all the above). ItContinue reading “Antinuclear Antibodies (ANA)”

Constipation — Full Text

Constipation is one of those rare symptoms for which diagnosis does not involve major thought process.  Itโ€™s rarely due to an undiagnosed underlying disease, and almost always caused by one of several factors which cause the colon (large intestine) to lose efficiency.  We rarely try to sort those out, because constipation is either dependent onContinue reading “Constipation — Full Text”


Most cases donโ€™t require exam or clear diagnosis unless basic treatment unsuccessful [see below] 1.  Rare Possible Emergencies — New Constipation: With new significant Abdominal Pain, could be Bowel Obstruction.ย  See Abdominal Pain. With new Fever, could be the body’s reaction to an infection. See Fever. 2.  Identify Red Flags Requiring Exam and Tests โ€“Continue reading “Constipation”

Anal Fissure

A fissure is a tiny tear in the skin.  Anal fissures are usually caused by trauma, such as constipation with hard stools, rectal sex, bouts of diarrhea, or childbirth.  Some patients may have fissures from underlying illness, like Crohn Disease, rectal STDs, and others. The main symptom is anal pain, especially with bowel movements.ย  ThereContinue reading “Anal Fissure”

“Functional” Amenorrhea

The word “Functional,” here in quotes, means that there is no outside disease causing the condition, in this case, cessation of menstrual periods, i.e. Amenorrhea. So even though the symptom is present, the woman is able to function; life goes on. Lots of organs have “functional” symptoms. Usually we don’t know what causes them, althoughContinue reading ““Functional” Amenorrhea”

Premature Menopause

Most cases of Premature Ovarian Failure occur for unknown reasons.ย  Causes such as chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer are possibilities (not radiation in CT scans).ย  Some cases are due to autoimmune destruction of the ovaries. The known genetic causes such as Turner Syndrome usually show up in childhood.ย  Premature Ovarian Failure is now calledContinue reading “Premature Menopause”


Definition —  No period for 3 months (for 6 months if periods always irregular & spaced out) Doesn’t count women using birth control methods which commonly cause amenorrhea Assuming patient is not pregnant (pregnancy test is always first step in diagnosis) Causes of Amenorrhea xxxCommon Causes (>90% of cases) xxxxxxUncommon Causes โ€ข “Functional“ *โ€ข PolycysticContinue reading “Amenorrhea”

Irregular Uterine Bleeding — Full Text

As noted elsewhere, bleeding conditions can originate from the vagina, which is easily noted on Pelvic Exam.  Here we discuss bleeding from the Uterus, even though it may be called “Vaginal” because it exits the vagina.   See also Diagram: Female Genital System. “Irregular Bleeding” can mean several different things.  It might mean periods that lastContinue reading “Irregular Uterine Bleeding — Full Text”

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