Head And Face Conditions
Diseases And Conditions Which Affect The Face And Head

Health Topics

Head of a female

See also, diagram of the human body.

Disorders Of The Head and Face

Contents

HEAD: Headaches, Mood Changes and Dizzy Spells.
HAIR: Thinning hair to female pattern baldness.
EYES: Eye pain, cataracts, conjunctivitis, inflammation.
EARS: Earaches, ringing in the ears and infections.
NOSE: Blocked sinuses.
MOUTH: Sjogrens syndrome, swallowing difficulties.
THROAT: Coughs, tickles, goiters and cancer.
SKIN: Acne, rashes and hot flashes.


HEAD

Headaches

Tension Tension Headaches: Cause moderate pain, usually felt all over the head and tend to worsen as the day progresses. They respond (though not always completely) to over the counter headache medications like aspirin or ibuprofen. These types of headaches have no serious underlying cause, although if they occur frequently they can interfere with daily life. About 75 percent of all headaches women experience are tension headaches. It was originally thought that they were caused by bad posture but there is no evidence to support this. In fact, we still don't know what causes them. What we do know, is that tension headaches are far more common in women than in men.
Migraines Migraines: Severe throbbing pain, usually on one side of the head, often behind the eye. Also sensitivity to bright light and may be accompanied by nausea. A migraine attack can last from hours to days. Very often certain foods can trigger an attack. The most common culprits are red wine, champagne, whisky, cheese, chocolate, coffee, dried fruit and bacon products.
Meningitis Meningitis: Severe headache accompanied by a stiff neck (self-test: do you have difficulties bending your neck to touch your chest?). Can also be fever, nausea or vomiting. This is a very rare but serious condition. Contact your doctor immediately if your headache is accompanied by any of the other symptoms, particularly if they appear suddenly.
Brain tumor Brain Tumors: A dull continuous headache that tends to be worse when you lie down or when you wake up. May also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, problems with balance and vision as well as numbness, weakness or seizures. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms, he will order a CAT or MRI scan.
Stroke Stroke Induced Headaches: Severe headache, accompanied by weakness on one side of the body or face (ask the person to smile, does one side of the face droop?). There may also be mental confusion, and speech is slurred. If your headache is accompanied by any of these symptoms dial 9-1-1 immediately. Read: Symptoms of stroke.
Hypertension High Blood Pressure Induced Headaches: In rare instances if someone has unmanaged hypertension, it can lead to a dangerous condition characterized by headaches, dizziness, tiredness and nosebleeds. See: Symptoms of high blood pressure.
Fibromyalgia Fibromyalgia Induced Headaches: Frequent headaches are common in fibro patients, occasionally they turn into migraines. Pain is accompanied by widespread muscle pain and fatigue. See: Symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Mood Changes

Menopause Mood that occurs at the same time as menstrual cycle changes, low libido and hot flashes may be related to menopause. Read: Effects of menopause.
Anxiety disorders If you unrealistically anxious about 2 or more life circumstances for at least 6 months and have at least 3 of the following symptoms, you may be suffering an anxiety disorder: irritability, fatigue, insomnia, concentration problems, muscle tension and restlessness.
Depression Depression is defined as being in a low mood that you can't shake, no interest in activities you used to enjoy. Also accompanied by one or more of the following: loss of energy, thoughts of death or suicide, weight loss/gain, feeling worthless, insomnia or sleeping much more than normal. See effects of depression.
During pregnancy If you are pregnant and you experience the above symptoms of depression you may be suffering perinatal depression. This condition can cause you to neglect your own health and that of your baby, so you should seek medical help.
After childbirth Postpartum depression: symptoms of depression which occur within 4 weeks of delivery and childbirth, and last every day for at least 2 weeks. You may also feel over-anxious about your baby so that you can't sleep. See, postpartum depression.
Bipolar disorder Extreme emotional swings from feeling completely dejected to completely elated. Other signs: thoughts racing, talking very fast, less need for sleep, excessive indulgence in harmful activities like sex, spending money, inflated self-ego and increased goal-directed activity. See also, is electric shock therapy still used to treat depression?
Forgetfulness Alzheimer's: Mood changes accompanied by forgetfulness that impacts your daily life (more than the normal forgetfulness that older people suffer). See Alzheimer's disease.

Dizzy Spells

dizzy spell Dizziness: Feeling light-headed, like you are about to faint. This has many causes. It can signal low blood sugar and prediabetes, or diabetes. Or it can indicate blockages in the veins of the neck, so consider vascular screening to prevent strokes. It can be an indication of low blood pressure, but this is not normally dangerous - although it can be caused by taking too high a dose of blood pressure drugs.
Vertigo Sudden dizziness and loss of balance. Also ringing in the ears, loss of hearing, nausea or vomiting. Vertigo can be caused by menieres disease, migraines, stroke, diabetes or viral infections.
In Pregnancy Dizzy spells are very common in the first trimester of pregnancy but can continue right through to the third trimester. It is not usually something to worry about unless accompanied by severe sharp pain, vaginal bleeding (indicating pregnancy complications) or impaired speech (stroke in pregnancy). Read: Dizziness while pregnant.
HAIR
Female pattern baldness: (androgenetic alopecia) is where a woman's hair recedes at the sides (temples), front or crown. Unlike men they rarely go completely bald. It tends to be genetic and runs in families. Doctors grade hair loss from 1 to 3, 1 being mild loss and 3 severe loss. Although there are some topical lotions, there is little that can be done to halt hair loss.
  Sudden hair loss: Notice more hair on your hairbrush or in the shower in the past week? If you are shedding more than normal, it can be caused by certain medications (such as heparin, lithium or isotretinoin); stress, illness (and surgery) or crash dieting.
  Major hair loss: If your hair starts falling out alarmingly in clumps you may have telogen effluvium. This condition can occur in pregnancy or at severe times of stress or illness. No treatment is required, typically it clears within 2 or 3 months, although your doctor may want to rule out hyperthyroidism.
  Thinning hair: Generally thinning hair accompanied by gradual weight gain and brittle nails is a sign of hypothyroidism. Read: Symptoms of thyroid disease.
  Menopause hair loss: Hair loss accompanied by changes in menstrual cycle may be related to hormones and the changes of menopause. See: Hair loss during menopause.
  Patches of hair loss: Small round bald patches that appear on the scalp is called alopecia areata. It is thought to be an autoimmune disorder and is treated with steroids which take about 3 months to work.

When to see your doctor: Gather all the hairs from your hairbrush, shower and plug holes and start counting. If you count more than 700 hairs in a week, it's time to contact your doctor. See, also: Treatments for female hair loss.

EYES
conjuctivitis picture Red, itchy eyes with discharge. This is a common sign of conjunctivitis or 'pink eye'. While it causes sore eyes it does not affect vision. Conjunctivitis caused by bacteria is treated with eye drops and viral conjunctivitis cannot be treated but usually clears within a few weeks.
Yellow fatty skin Deposits of yellow fat around the eye called xanthelasma (picture) were once thought to be linked to heart disease. This is no longer the case, now it is considered a sign of unmanaged diabetes. See: Symptoms of diabetes.
Inflammation Inflamed red eyes can be a sign of Graves Disease, the most common form of hyperthyroidism. You may also experience tears that form easily, sensitivity to bright light and pain like you have a dust particle in your eye. Double vision is rare unless the disorder has seriously progressed. See Graves Disease.
Gray ring A gray ring around the eye called arcus corneas (picture) is linked to high cholesterol in younger people and requires cholesterol lowering drugs. In older people it doesn't appear to be linked to cholesterol and doesn't require treatment. Vision is not affected.
Cloudy pupils If your pupils are cloudy, your sight is blurred and objects look red or yellowish you may have a cataract. Nearly every woman over 65 will get a cataract at some stage, but fortunately they are very treatable. Usually one eye is more affected that the other.
Eye pain Eye pain accompanied by loss of vision, bulging iris (due to accumulation of fluid behind it) and an aversion to light are signs of glaucoma. It is rare under the age of 40 but 10 percent of women develop it after the age of 80. Seek urgent medical attention if you have these symptoms as it can cause blindness.
Yellow eyes Skin and whites of the eyes turn yellow, a condition called jaundice. This is a sign of liver disorders like hepatitis, alcohol liver disease or cirrhosis. It can also be a sign of gallstones. Seek immediate medical advice.
Dry eyes and mouth Tear and saliva glands dry up causing dry mouth and eyes, a condition called sjogren's syndrome. It can also cause aching joints and tiredness. This is the most common autoimmune immune disorder in women after rheumatoid arthritis. It is more likely to affect women between the ages of 40 and 60.
EARS
picture of earache Painful ears which are itchy and produce pus is a sign of otitis externa. This is a common infection of the inner ear canal and is sometimes called swimmers ear because it can develop after swimming. Read, how to treat earaches.
Sudden earache with hearing loss Otitis media is a common infection of the middle ear which usually starts after a flu or common cold. You develop a sudden earache and the ear feels full causing hearing loss, there may also be fever. More common in children but adults can also develop it.
Ringing ears Tinnitus is a constant ringing or pulsing noise in the ears. It can be a side effect of anemia or taking aspirin. If it is accompanied by dizziness it may be vertigo.
Hearing loss Hearing loss can run in families, inherited types often results in the need for a hearing aid. Temporary loss can be due to viral infections (like mumps or measles), loud noise, otitis media or inflammation.
NOSE
blocked nose Blocked nose with sore throat, bad breath, loss of taste, cough, pain behind the eyes and headaches that worsen when you lean forward are signs of sinusitis. This condition can be painful, but it is rarely serious and usually clears up on its own.
MOUTH
mouth pictures Difficulties swallowing as though food or liquid gets jammed behind your breastbone within seconds of swallowing. There may also be chest pain or a burning feeling which feels like it is coming from the heart. These are typical signs of esophagus disorders. Possible causes include muscles in the esophagus not working correctly (achalasia or diffuse esophageal spasm); or esophagus cancer.
Dry mouth and eyes Sign of sjogrens syndrome.
Slurred speech Sudden speech impairment accompanied by facial dropping, weakness and impaired vision. See: Strokes in Women.
Dry mouth with thirst Dry mouth with increased thirst: as well as blurry vision and frequent urination. See: Type 1 diabetes.
White patches White patches on the tongue: Signs of a yeast infection called oral thrush. See: Thrush.

THROAT
diffuse goiters pictures Lumps, swelling or enlargement: of the thyroid gland can be a sign of goiters. Large goiters can cause swallowing or breathing difficulties, hoarseness and a persistent cough. See: Goiters.
Lumps Small lump(s), difficulties swallowing and tickling cough that won't clear up can be a sign of thyroid nodules, thyroid cancer, or throat cancer.
Acid taste After eating you develop an acid taste in the mouth as well as heartburn. You may also have a persistent sore throat, cough and difficulties swallowing. These are all signs of acid reflux - also called GERD.
Sore throat Sore throat with sneezing: as well as blocked nose and a cough. Likely cause: Cold.
Sore throat Sore throat with fever: You have symptoms of a cold in addition to a fever (temperature over 102F/39C), muscle aches and sore throat. Likely cause: Flu.
Loss of voice Sore throat with a loss of voice: Likely cause: Laryngitis.
SKIN
Butterfly rash: A rash which appears across the nose and cheeks is a sign of lupus. Other common signs include joint pain, tiredness, hair loss, fever, weight gain and mouth ulcers. There is no cure for this disease but it can be managed.
Hot flashes Hot flashes occur suddenly and last between 30 seconds and a few minutes. Heat starts in the chest and flows up to the neck and face; usually accompanied by sudden sweating. It is one of the first signs of menopause and is also a common side effect of hysterectomy whether or not the ovaries were removed. See: Hot flashes and hysterectomy side effects.
Red itchy skin Red itchy skin with swollen patches of scaling or blistering skin. Appears on the face, behind the ears, elbows, knees and neck. Cause: Dermatitis.
Oily skin Excessive oily skin with blackheads, whiteheads, red spots and pus pimples is a sign of acne (vulgaris). It typically starts in the teenage years and can continue into adulthood, although it usually subsides by the age of 25. It is linked to a hormone imbalance but it also tends to run in families.
Red skin Flushing which starts on the cheeks, nose and forehead and develops into a persistent redness of the face. Condition is called rosacea and there may also be outbreaks of spots and broken blood vessels (it can look like acne). More common in women over 30 and typically it runs in families.
melasma pictures Brown patches: Dark patchy brown areas of color which appear on the face, usually on the cheeks, forehead or chin. This condition is called melasma and is common in pregnancy or in women taking the contraceptive pill.

Skin Care Questions: Discover your skin type, best treatments for dry skin, waxing advice and more.
How To Treat Seizures: Fits and convulsions in adults and children.
How To Treat Nosebleeds: First aid for stopping blood flow.
How to Stop Hiccups: Old remedies for curing hiccups.

Other Useful Guides

Recommended Health Screenings For Women: Tests recommended for all age groups, including mammograms.
The Female Body: Diagrams and pictures of a woman's body.
Chest Problems: Check your symptoms, chest pain to breasts and lung conditions.
Abdominal and Stomach Problems: Cramps, pains and changing bowel habits. Check your symptoms.
Back Pains: Upper and lower back problems, check your symptoms.
Hospital Departments Explained: Understanding what each department diagnoses and treats.
Reproductive System Disorders: Guide to problems from irregular bleeding to signs of gynecologic cancers.
Joint and Bone Problems: Symptom checker to pain in the joints and bones. Also, bones of the body.
Respiratory System: How we breathe, lots of diagrams. What can go wrong with respiration.
Latest Health Statistics: How long you are likely to live and what is likely to kill you.
Main Causes Of Death In Women: Stats by age and ethnicity.

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