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Itchy anus

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The scene

Miss OMG just couldn’t wait to hang out with BJ (her boyfriend of 1 month), excitedly they strolled and chatted along, hand-in-hand, shoulder to shoulder squeezing the breeze in between them. Occasionally she had to discretely make her left hand travel to her backside to calm the ferocious itch in her anus. Over and over, again and again she did this until she elicited an embarrassing gaze from passersby and worse still her boyfriend saw her in the act. The fire of romance was quenched and the date was over, well before it started!

What it is

An itch around the butt opening is uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing. If one has anal itch, it may be hard to fight the urge to scratch. But scratching will only make the problem worse. Some health problems, habits or diet may trigger it. Itchy anus is a symptom and not a diagnosis.

Causes and Palliatives

Bathroom Habits If you don’t wipe well after you poop, what’s left behind can cause itching and burning sensation. Gently clean the area and pat dry with toilet paper.

Being ‘Too’ Clean

Wiping too hard can cause itching or make it worse. Don’t use soap, hot water, medicated powders, perfumed sprays, or deodorants, either. They can destroy the oily skin barrier that protects this sensitive area.

Diet

If you drink coffee, you may be more likely to have anal itching. It may loosen the anal muscles, and that can let stool leak out, triggering itch. Other things that may cause anal irritation or itching include: Tea and cola, Energy drinks and beer, Chocolate and nuts, Citrus fruits and tomatoes, Spicy foods and Dairy.

Underwear

If yours are tight or made of synthetic fabrics, you might have a moisture problem down below. Switch to well-fitting all-cotton ones. They absorb better. Change them every day or anytime they get damp, like after exercise. Wash them in fragrance-free detergent.

Your Stools

Passing watery stool and wiping often can irritate the area. You also can itch and have pain if you pass hard stool (constipation). More fluids and fiber in your diet can help keep you regular. If that doesn’t work, talk with your doctor.

Hemorrhoids

These are swollen veins in the rectum or anus that can burn and itch. Straining when you poop or pressure during pregnancy can cause them. Sitting in warm water (a sitz bath) for 15 minutes several times a day may help. Try one after you poop. Drink plenty of water daily and get fiber in your diet so stools are softer.

Anal Fissures

These are tiny cuts or sores (fissures) that open up inside the anus and cause pain and itching. One is more likely to get these if constipated and a hard or large stool tears the lining. Other causes include long-term diarrhea and an inflammatory bowel disease called Crohn’s disease.

Anal Fistula

This is a tunnel that connects an infection inside the anus with skin on the outside. Fluids can leak out and irritate the skin, which triggers pain and itch. Crohn’s disease, cancer, trauma, and radiation can raise the chances of infections and fistulas.

Infections

A fungus, like the one that causes most vaginal yeast infections, can also cause anal itching. And certain kinds of bacteria can, too. For example, a staph skin infection can happen almost anywhere, including the area around the anus.

Warts

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted disease that causes anal warts. They grow inside and around your anus and may spread to the genitals. Itching is a common symptom. If you think you have anal warts, see your doctor. Without treatment, they can grow large and more may show up, if untreated they increase the chances of developing anal cancer

Pinworms

They get in the digestive system through contaminated food and things like bed linens, bathroom fixtures, toys, and sandboxes. It’s commoner in children. The itching usually happens at night, when a female worm lays eggs around the anus. You may see them in your underwear or in the toilet after a bowel movement. They look like tiny pieces of white thread. If a family member has pinworms, then everyone should be treated.

Scabies

The bugs burrow into the top layers of your skin to feed. People usually get scabies from skin-to-skin contact. It spreads quickly where people spend a lot of time close together, like in day-care centers, dormitories, and nursing homes. Sharing clothes, towels, and bedding can spread it, too. Like pinworms, your doctor may suggest treating the family if one member has it.

Psoriasis

If you have this skin condition, it’s possible to get patches of it where the sun doesn’t shine. The skin around the anus may seriously itch, and one may have pain during bowel movements. Other skin conditions, including eczema and seborrhea, can cause anal itch as well.

Antibiotics

You may need them to treat an infection, but some can kill the “good” bacteria that live in the bowels. You need those to keep your gut in natural balance, so diarrhea can be a common side effect. You also may be more likely to get a yeast infection while taking antibiotics. Avoid taking antibiotics indiscriminately.

Other Health Problems

Conditions that affect your whole body can affect your rear end.

These include:

• Type 2 diabetes

• Leukemia and lymphoma

• Kidney failure or liver disease

• Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)

• Anemia (low level of blood in the body)

• Anxiety and Stress

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Perspectives

El-Rufai and the arrogance of power

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Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasiru el-Rufai, likes controversy. And this predilection did not start when he became the governor. He has attracted criticisms from many sources in the past. Some of his critics feel he has unbridled lips or caustic tongue and people with such idiosyncracies are always controversial.

But to his admirers, el-Rufai is smart. He will call a spade a spade rather than describing it as a gardening tool. He is bold, daring and never afraid of carrying out his will once he’s convinced about it. The governor got people talking on Tuesday when the Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Agency (KASAUDA) demolished the house of Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi, the lawmaker representing Kaduna North Central senatorial district. The house was used as the secretariat of a faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state. The faction, which operates under the aegis of APC’s “Restoration” group, is being promoted by the senator.

But how rational is the rationale given by the Director General of Kaduna Geographic Information System (KADGIS), Ibrahim Husseini, that the building was guilty of “flagrant violations of the land use and non-payment of ground rent since 2010?” Is the reason in any way different from the typical give a dog a bad name so as to justify why it deserves to be hanged?

The governor perhaps, must have been pained by the audacity of the “Restoration” group, which issued him a query over alleged anti-party activities and subsequently “suspended” him for six months for not replying the “query.” Could it be that the issuance of “query,” “suspension” of the governor and the demolition of the senator’s house are mere coincidences? For the sake of argument, let me concede that they are.

If they are, they are bad ones that will make the senator attract pity and sympathy while El-rufai is viewed from the prism of a civilian dictator, who still finds Machiavellianism attractive in a democratic setting.

The governor is a smart man and I wondered how he should be worried that a faction he does not belong to suspended him. It was even alleged that the state government had a few months back marked another property of the senator for demolition but the residents of the area prevented the demolition. Could it then be the reason the senator’s property on 11B Sambo Road was demolished with soldiers providing cover for KASAUDA’s officials in the early hours of Tuesday? Of course, if rules had been violated, there should be consequences. But they must not be devoid of the rule of law and due process.

Are outright demolition and revocation of the property’s documents the normal process? While awaiting the court’s verdict on this since the PAC faction had resolved to seek redress in court, I found it curious that state government had issued a 30-day ultimatum to Hunkuyi to pay N30 million as ground rent to avoid demolition of another propert. On the one hand, this shows that the senator’s demolished property could have been precipitately done except if same number of days were given before it was pulled down. On the other hand, if the senator had indeed contravened the laws, he should be ready to bear the brunt and come to the reality that the rich also cry.

That it pleases the state government to look the other way for years if he indeed ran afoul of the law does not make it right that the senator cannot be punished. And it will serve as a lesson that laws respect no one except those who respect themselves and obey the laws. It is not in doubt that in Nigeria, big men choose the laws to obey. And ironically, they expect the common man to obey even the ones they disobey.

My concern is about what the laws say and due process. As long as we continue to emphasise money in our politics, the scenario that is playing out in Kaduna and elsewhere will continue to rear its ugly head. Governors will always want to assume leadership of the political parties they belong to in their states. And this will always generate issues once the party executives want to have a voice of theirs independent of the dictates of the governors.

The same scenario plays out at the federal level where the president is the Alpha and Omega in his party. Political parties lack the courage to discipline errant governors even if there is enough ground to show that parties’ rules have been breached. This explains the difference in how political parties are run in Nigeria and South Africa, where party supremacy is sacrosanct. A Jacob Zuma in Nigeria would have gone away with all his atrocities and may even determine who becomes the party’s chairman.

Unfortunately, the power play in Kaduna is not about good governance. It’s about individuals’ ego and selfish interest. As for Governor el-Rufai, it is in his interest to promote common good instead of fighting battles that will clothe him in the garment of a dictator who hates opposition with passion and will kill a fly with a sledge hammer if it expresses different political ideologies.

For a man who many believe has his eyes on the most exalted political seat in the land, he should avoid issues that can become a reference point, that he is too temperamental to tolerate an opposing view.

His handling of the APC crisis in the state is already making some people to have a re-think on how some governors will make use of state police despite the huge advantages that come with the clamour that truly defines what federalism is. In his book, ‘The Prince’, Niccolo Machiavelli, recommends six character and behaviour for princes. Two of those recommendations interest me, the first being: “it is better to be cruel than merciful.”

This cynical disregard for moral rectitude and promotion of self-aggrandizement appear to be the driving force behind dictatorship. But still talking about how to acquire and maintain political power, Machiavelli postulates that: “Princes must avoid making themselves hated and despised; the goodwill of the people is a better defence than any fortress.”

The two recommendations seem an interesting paradox. But I am more at home with the second one because of its tendency to promote greater good for the generality of the people if leaders make use of it. In his dissection of Machiavellian recommendation that: “it is better to be cruel than merciful,” Professor Dacher Keltner, in his book titled: ‘The Power Paradox,’ took Machiavelli to the cleaners in his “revolutionary rethinking of everything we know about power,” describing some of the Italian author’s recommendations as “old school view,” adding that: “The new science of power shows that our Machiavellian view of status is wrong.”

The celebrated professor of Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, USA, warns that people who feel powerful are more likely to act impulsively and they break the same rule they want others to follow.

Their surroundings are mostly peopled by sycophants and boot lickers who lack modicum of courage to tell truth to the throne for fear of losing out in the corridor of power. Besides, in little or no time, powerful people lose the quality that people saw in them in the first place that made them the obvious choice.

They are induced by seduction of power and the very skills that endeared them to people’s hearts are lost once they assume power. Even if such leaders started well, it is a matter of time before they derail.

There are even cases of complete derailment. They become proud; see things from their world view alone. And the once jolly good fellow, the once revered ‘Man of the people,’ easily becomes an object to despise that nobody wants to touch even with a long pole.

Keltner admonishes that it is in the interest of powerful people to make common good for the generality of the people their watchword and resist the temptation of allowing power go to their heads.

He went ahead to give four warning signs to show leaders who are power drunk. They are: “The leader thinks their rights and needs outweigh those of others and so their decision making is all about what works best for them.

“The leader stops listening to the ideas and opinions of others, believing that their knowledge and insights hold more weight and value than others. “They ignore feedback from people seeing it as unhelpful and irrelevant, rather than reflecting on what is driving the feedback and what they may want to adjust to be more effective. “They believe they are smarter than others and have little more to learn, and so they stop seeking out new ideas and diversity of thought.”

A leader should know how much is too much. And he should always remember that once he starts seeing himself as the smartest person in the room, his instinct should tell him that it’s time to find another room.

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Perspectives

When ‘fake news’ is actually ‘genuine news’

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Last weekend in faraway Madrid, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, told the whole world that with President Muhammadu Buhari piloting the affairs of Nigeria, the country is in very safe and competent hands, and thus there is no cause for alarm.

The Minister, who spoke at a mini town hall meeting with the staff of the Nigerian Embassy in the Spanish capital and a cross section of Nigerians living in the European country on Saturday, added that contrary to the “fake news” being peddled on the Social Media, Nigeria is making steady progress, especially in revamping the economy, tackling insecurity and fighting corruption; the three cardinal programmes of the Buhari Administration
He said: “Don’t believe everything you read on the Social Media. Nigeria is neither at war nor in crisis.

“Contrary to what you may be reading on the Internet, the Buhari Administration is putting Nigeria on a solid footing, after the years that were eaten by the locust.”
Speaking further, he said naysayers are spending millions of naira to distort the true situation of things in Nigeria and to make the administration look bad.

The Minister added that the administration’s achievements should be evaluated against the background of the tough challenges that it has faced since coming into office on May 29, 2015.
“It is said that if you don’t know where you are coming from, you won’t know where you are going,” he said, listing the drastic fall in the price of crude oil, the low foreign reserves at $24 billion, the fact that the Federal Government was borrowing to pay workers’ salaries and the fact that many states were unable to pay salaries as some of those challenges.

Mohammed also said when the administration came into office, unpaid pensions had run into billions of naira in many states, contractors had abandoned sites across the country because they were being heavily owed, infrastructure was in poor state, power generation was 2,690 megawatts, billions were being paid as fuel subsidies to fat cats, corruption was the order of the day, while 20 of the 27 local governments in Borno State were under the firm control of Boko Haram.

Of course, Alhaji Mohammed was doing the job with which his portfolio insists he carries out which is to propagate the positive sides of the government in which he serves.
However, sadly for the Minister his attempts to lump virtually all reports in the Social Media as “fake news” (à la a certain Donald Trump?) is for me taking it a bit too far.

Yes, while it is true that a lot of news in the Social Media is fake and cannot be substantiated, that does not mean that every news item in the Social Media can be dismissed with the same wand.
Only recently, the whole world was tuned into a school in the US state of Florida when another mass shooting at an educational institution took place with the loss of 17 innocent souls by a disgruntled expelled student.
The incident, the 17th school shooting to have taken place in the US this year alone was carried by both the regular media and Social Media platforms.

However, what is even more impressive was the fact that the media (whether regular or Social) did not stop at just reporting the shooting incident, but went further to expose the fact that America’s top law enforcement agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), had been warned of the possibility that Nikolas Cruz, the shooter, was a danger to society, but the agency failed to act with dire consequences.

Now wait for it, rather than the agency in question (FBI) adopting a siege mentality and dismissing the allegations as false (and even hiring people to defend them in the media) they owned up that they had actually received the information but deemed it not serious enough for further action.

The Bureau’s Director, Christopher Wray immediately acknowledged the lapse and promptly released a statement: “It is now clear that the warning signs were there and tips to the FBI were missed. We see the tragic consequences of those failures. We are still investigating the facts. I am committed to getting to the bottom of the incident.”

This is in spite of the fact that the agency receives thousands of reports every day of potential danger, making it not humanely possible to properly treat all of them!
Back home in Nigeria, the Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, lamented just like his Benue State counterpart, Samuel Ortom, that they had got wind of the recent attack in which 39 people were slaughtered in Zurmi Local Government Area of the state, and yet the police and other security agencies failed to act.

Till today, the police have not refuted the governor’s claims or given a reasonable explanation as to why the brutal and callous acts have become an almost daily occurrence.
In fact rather than show some level of contrition, the Police spokesman, Mr Jimoh Moshood, in a very un-PRO-like manner called the Benue State governor a “drowning man”!
The PRO has not been punished neither has the police issued a public apology.

I vividly remember while interviewing the then FIFA Secretary General, Sepp Blatter, in Cairo during the FIFA U17 World Cup, which the North African country hosted in 1997, I asked him how FIFA acted on reports that they used to prevent Nigeria from hosting the U20 World Cup in 1995 and he pointedly told me that besides the regular media channels (back then there was no Social media), they had other sources to verify what is happening in their member nations.

FIFA had withdrawn the hosting rights close to the 1995 edition on the grounds of a meningitis outbreak in Nigeria.
It is the same thing with other governments and potential investors who have their ways of checking on the country they want to put their investments in.
So in as much as Alhaji Mohammed is right to portray the government in a positive light; he should also be quick to acknowledge flaws were necessary; because it is not possible to gloss over the loss of 73 lives in one night in Benue State or the murder of another 39 in Zamfara State or the multiple suicide blasts in Borno which left 18 dead and more than 50 others injured or the recent attack on a girls’ school in Yobe State.
Like we were told in Advertising/Public Relations 101 course, “A good product does not need much advertising or public relations”.

As soon as things generally improve in the country, no minister will need to tell us because both we the citizens living in Nigeria and those in other countries will notice the improvement!

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Perspectives

Stomach ulcer

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  1. Fire! Fire!! Fire!!!
    Fire in my breadbasket,Unquenchable with water,Flaming in my belly

  2. Fire! Fire!! Fire!!!

Fire in my chest,Far from a retardant’s reach,My heart is on fire

  1. Ethanol I gulp,Tobacco I chew,Intensified the agony becomes,I’ve been set aglow within.

  2. Hot pepper I guzzle,Spiced plantain I gobble,Bloated my stomach becomes,I am burning up.

 

 

In the last one week, there’s been an upsurge in stomach related symptoms in a Lagos community which has been ascribed to a new local alcoholic beverage in town. It was said to be a mixture of concentrated alcohol spiced with spicy herbs and alligator pepper!

The scene
Miss OPK walked into the consulting room clutching the upper part of the tummy, complaint was that of central upper abdomen pain. This symptom have been on and off over the last 3 years, usually brought on by hunger and her favorite (fried plantain), but relieved by milk. The most recent episode started 4 days prior to hospital visit.
This is classical of Peptic Ulcer Disease.

What it is
Peptic ulcers are sores that develop in the lining of the stomach, lower esophagus, or small intestine. They’re usually formed as a result of inflammation caused by the bacteria Helicobacter pylori, as well as from erosion from stomach acids. Most ulcers happen because of infection with the bacteria. An ulcer in the stomach is known as a gastric ulcer while that in the first part of the intestines is known as a duodenal ulcer.

The offending bacteria
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a type of bacteria transmitted via contaminated food, water (or other drinks) or utensils. It’s more common in countries or communities that lack clean water or good sewage systems. It can also be picked up through contact with the saliva or other body fluids of infected people.
It was discovered in 1982 and has been found to be the cause of most ulcers. These germs can enter the body and live in the digestive tract. After many years, they can cause sores, called ulcers, in the lining of your stomach or the upper part of your small intestine. Infection with H. pylori is common. About two-thirds of the world’s population has it in their bodies. For most people, it doesn’t cause ulcers or any other symptoms.
After H. pylori enters your body, it attacks the lining of the stomach, which usually protects one from the acid the body uses to digest food. Once the bacteria have done enough damage, acid can get through the lining, which leads to ulcers. These may bleed, cause infections, or keep food from moving through the digestive tract. Many people get H. pylori during childhood, but adults can get it too. The germs live in the body for years before symptoms start, but most people who have it will never get ulcers.

What gives it away
The most common symptoms of a duodenal ulcer are waking at night with upper abdominal pain or upper abdominal pain that improves with eating. With a gastric ulcer the pain may worsen with eating as gastric acid production is increased as food enters the stomach . The pain is often described as a burning or dull ache. Other symptoms may include bloating, belching, farting, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, vomiting of blood or passage of dark stool (both could point to bleeding) weight loss (in gastric ulcer), water brash (rush of saliva after an episode of regurgitation to dilute the acid in esophagus ) and foul breath (halitosis).

Causes
Infection with H.pylori, some types of pain medications (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs-NSAIDS), taking some other medications along with NSAIDS (such as such as steroids, anticoagulants, low-dose aspirin, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors- SSRIs etc) can greatly increase the chance of developing ulcers. Though stress, spicy foods, alcohol, and smoking don’t cause ulcers, they can keep them from healing quickly or make it worse and intake of caffeine/coffee is also said to be less contributory.
The catch
A comprehensive history and examination followed by some tests.
1. Laboratory tests for H. pylori; This is to determine whether the bacterium H. pylori is present in the body. It can be detected using a blood, stool or breath test (Urea Breath Test-UBT) The breath test is the most accurate.
2. Endoscopy; A scope is used to examine the upper digestive system (endoscopy). If an ulcer is detected, small tissue samples (biopsy) may be removed for examination in a lab.
3. Upper GI series; During the procedure, the client stands or sits in front of an x-ray machine and drink barium, a chalky liquid. Barium coats the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine so the shapes of these organs can be seen more clearly on x-rays.
4. Computer Tomography (CT) scan; can help diagnose a peptic ulcer that has created a hole in the wall of the stomach or small intestine.

Negative outcomes
Gastrointestinal bleeding, perforation (leading to peritonitis), Anemia, Stomach (gastric) outlet obstruction and in the long term may lead to cancer.

Treatment
Drugs that reduce acid secretion and appropriate antibiotics to eradicate H. pylori.

Preventive measures
You can protect yourself from getting an H. pylori infection with the same steps you take to keep other germs at bay; 1. Basic hand washing hygiene after using the bathroom and before preparing or eating food. 2. Avoid food or water that’s not clean. 3. Do not eat anything that is not cooked thoroughly. 4. Avoid food served by people who are not hygienic.

Advice
Please visit a doctor as appropriate as other conditions (such as GERD; literally, heartburn) mimic peptic ulcer.

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