Saturday, October 14, 2017

Overactive Bladder and Urinary Incontinence

Overactive bladder is a common condition that affects every 1 in 5 Canadians, males and females, between the ages of 35 and 65. Overactive bladder occurs when the muscles of the bladder, known as the detrusors, start to contract more frequently/involuntarily, which results in the urge to urinate.

In some cases you may also develop a condition that is known as urinary incontinence – which is characterized by an involuntary loss of urine and is a component of overactive bladder. There are three main classifications of urinary incontinence. Urge incontinence, stress incontinence, or mixed symptoms where overactive bladder and urinary incontinence are combined. 

Similar to overactive bladder, urge incontinence also occurs as a result of involuntary contraction of the bladder muscles, leading to the uncontrollable urge to urinate. It can result in accidental wetting, and is also more likely to happen in the evening while you are sleeping. In cases of stress continence, the bladder muscles become weak. Something as simple as coughing or sneezing can result in urine leakage. Stress incontinence is more common after childbirth as well as during menopause. It’s also important to remember that stress incontinence and overactive bladder are two different conditions with different causes.

How family physicians like Dr. Ali Ghahary treat overactive bladder and urinary incontinence depends on the severity of the symptoms. In cases where the symptoms are minor and non-disruptive to the patient’s everyday routine, Dr. Ghahary recommends trying pelvic muscle exercises and using absorbent pads. In severe cases of overactive bladder and incontinence, or if it becomes disruptive to your daily life or your ability to get a good night’s rest, medications to help relax the bladder muscles may need to be prescribed.

You can also try some simple at-home remedies to try to relive the symptoms of overactive bladder and urinary incontinence. For example, reduce your intake of caffeine, avoid alcohol, and stay away from artificial sweeteners and spicy foods as these can all aggravate the symptoms. Obesity can also increase symptoms of urinary incontinence, so it is important to reduce your weight. This will also be helpful in other areas of you health in the long-term.

If all of these treatment methods try without success, speak to your GP about being referred to a specialist. A specialist may be able to offer you with alternative treatment options, and in some cases may even suggest surgery.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

How to Prevent Laryngitis

Laryngitis is a condition that occurs when the voice box, which is also known as the larynx, becomes swollen, resulting in temporary loss of voice. Typically, laryngitis is virus-related – usually the result of the common cold or flu. However, it can also be caused by overuse of your voice – particularly if you are a public speaker or singer. You may also be at a greater risk of developing laryngitis if you have acid reflux – this is due to acid traveling from the stomach all the way up to the throat and causing the larynx to become irritated, as well as if you are a smoker.

Along with voice loss, other common symptoms of laryngitis include sore throat, coughing, swollen glands and a low-grade fever.

In order to overcome laryngitis as fast as possible, Dr. Ali Ghahary, a family physician currently practicing in the Greater Vancouver area, recommends resting your voice as much as possible – including whispering, as this can also put more strain on your voice.

You should also make sure that you are drinking plenty of water to help prevent dehydration, while avoiding things like alcohol and caffeine, which can actually decrease fluids from your body. Using a humidifier or inhaling stream from a bowl of hot water or a shower can also help alleviate laryngitis, as can making certain lifesttle changes, such as quitting smoking and making healthy changes to your diet (i.e. avoiding spicy foods and eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.)

While laryngitis will typically get better on its own after ten to fourteen days, you may require treatment should it persist or worsen. In some cases, your physician may prescribe corticosteroids. Corticosteroids can help to reduce inflammation caused by laryngitis, though they are not meant to be taken on a long-term basis.

As always, any concerns you have with your health should be reported to your family physician.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017


What is Angina?

Angina, the medical term used to describe chest pain, occurs when not enough oxygen gets to the heart muscle, resulting in a feeling of discomfort, squeezing or pressure in the chest. Angina is also a warning sign of potential heart disease; a condition that causes the build-up of plaque in the arteries and prevents proper blood flow.

Angina typically occurs during physical activity, so it is important to stop what you’re doing and take a break. Angina can also occur due to exposure in colder environments, as well as after eating large meals. 

What Are the Symptoms of Angina?

Along with chest pain, other symptoms of angina include shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, and even abdominal pain. All of these are red flags that should not be ignored. If left untreated, you only put yourself at an increased risk of heart attack. It is, however, also important to also understand the difference between angina and heart attacks. While a heart attack can cause damage to the muscles of the heart, angina does not. Instead, it is a precursor to the potential of suffering a heart attack at some point in your life.

What’s the Difference Between Angina and a Heart Attack?

Heart attacks and angina can have similar symptoms – including chest pain, pain or discomfort that spreads to different areas of the body such as the jaw, arms, back or shoulders, as well as dizziness and weakness. The one way you can tell the difference between angina and a heart attack, however, is the duration. An angina attack will typically last for anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes, while a heart attack will typically last for more than 30 minutes.

How Do You Prevent Angina and Heart Attacks?

The best way to prevent angina and heart attacks is by living a healthy lifestyle. Dr. Ali Ghahary, a family doctor in Vancouver, recommends eating healthy meals (lots of fruits, vegetables, and high-fibre foods) and getting regular exercise as part of your daily routine – this can be low-impact exercise such as walking, jogging, swimming, or even yoga. You should also avoid smoking and limit your alcohol consumption.

Dr. Ali Ghahary is happy to answer any questions and help patients interested in making healthy changes to their lifestyle. You can find Dr. Ali Ghahary’s walk-in schedule by visiting