few rare types of “Hydrocele” and “Blepharitis”
And my thoughts on these health Disorders
by Carl R. Littmann, written 5-1-2003
I am not a doctor, and do not have, nor treat, patients. I personally know of only two cases where a person has suffered from a rare form of an uncommon disorder. The person obtained great relief each time he put into effect certain ‘protocols’. The person had a return of pain or discomfort every time he discontinued the protocols. This was observed hundreds of times.
If (by a very unlucky chance) a person should have either disorder, I have some suggestions that they might consider. Of course, I recommend they check with their doctor first, even though all or most of my suggestions entail ‘naturalistic’ actions. (i.e., actions that a person might normally do or try, unless they were told specifically not to, by their doctor). Incidentally, if any of my suggestions are deemed ok, and tried and don’t bring great relief in 2 hours; disregard my suggestions. Also, disregard my suggestions, if complication seems to occur.
((Also, I wish to attest to how fortunate we are in the modern world to have many doctors with the capability of providing well-established solutions to many well-established great health disorders, (i.e., or at least they ‘were’ great problems, until 20th century medical progress). This seems true from my feet (with doctor-prescribed ‘orthotics’); up to my head (i.e., with dental work--teeth, and corrective glasses--vision); and for much in between. Thus, I attest to the progress and blessings of modern medical science and many good doctors.))
Topic 1: Very persistent, painful, and very troublesome ‘Hydrocele’ or ‘hematocele’, in an adult, previously free of the disorder--is unusual. ((The pain is chiefly in the (male) scrotum; and related conditions may also cause pain in the abdomen, a hip ligament, and/or back areas as well)). In the case, per previous paragraphs; large amounts of Calcium Ascorbate powder, mixed into orange juice, and taken ‘regularly’ (and one or two multi-vitamin pills, per day – spaced-out) alleviated the problem. By taking that juice with dissolved powder ‘regularly’, I mean when the pain would have otherwise (periodically) tended to reoccur -- perhaps every few hours when the condition was most acute. (The multi-vitamin pill presumably, enhanced the effects of ‘vitamin C’, among other benefits.) Although this article will speculate about the cause of the disorder, and why the ‘solution’ worked; that part is merely speculative and separate from the entirely ‘empirical solution’--the main point.
Topic 2: Very persistent painful, extreme ‘Blepharitis’, affecting the eye, aggravated greatly by over-average humidity, heat, and/or sun or cold; and complicated by ‘dry-eye’, and other disorders--is very unusual, (hopefully). Avoidance of non-moderate conditions, like wind, dust, pollen, pollutants, cold, heat, and prolonged sun is helpful. But most empirically helpful was maintaining a low or, at most, moderate humidity! Doing the opposite of what I described as helpful, proved (empirically) painful and troublesome. (i.e., that is, in the case observed per previous paragraphs, see under ‘Goal...’). Some of the above or below may seem contrary to generally accepted expectations. Other helpful ‘adjunct’ actions that are likely at least slightly helpful are also described in the below article, including vitamin D pills. Again, any ‘theory’ or explanation that I offer in this article is strictly speculative; the empirical solution’ is the main point! (Incidentally, getting enough sleep is essential for nearly everyone in order to manage satisfactorily too many disorders and challenges to list. And satisfactory sleep may require a doctor’s prescription for some ‘sleeping aid’ pill, like Trazodone, although the specific choice and amount may depend upon a patient’s propensity to tolerate non-ideal side effects of most drugs.
Addendum 1-20-2011: While mentioning vitamin D pills for the eyes, I should also mention vitamin A. The importance of vitamin A for eyes has long been recognized, and reasonable use and description are often provided on the ‘pill bottle’ or per doctor’s advice. (It may take months to note positive affects; and less vitamin A should likely be taken if pregnant.) Many years ago, people who took ‘cod-liver oil’, or some other things, ‘automatically’ got a nice natural dose of vitamin A along with their vitamin D! But recently many ‘single supplements’ deliver only vitamin D, without vitamin A, thus especially motivating my ‘addendum’
The primate male reproductive organs, the testicles, are located in the scrotum. Normally the testicles are protected by a moderate amount of fluid between a double-layered sheathing, which surrounds each testicle. The amount of fluid is just enough to provide lubrication, but not so much as to cause great swelling, weight, and pain. If, for some reason, the fluid accumulating exceeds the amount being easily carried away; great pressure, enlargement, added weight, and pain can result. This disorder is called ‘Hydrocele’. In some cases, hydrocele and its problems occur rather suddenly, and the bad situation is very severe and prolonged. In that case, it may have been caused by trauma, injury, or by an invasive surgical procedure which, perhaps, did not go as smoothly as desired and/or a complication arose due to an uncommon circumstance or side-issue. (Sometimes some blood residue is also present in the subject area, i.e., ‘Hematocele’.)
There is an ‘operation’ to permanently relieve prolonged, painful, troublesome, hydrocele. But ‘operations’ are also an ‘aggravation’, perhaps more so to some people than to others. Also, operations bring about non-ideal periphery alterations, even if slight; and carry risks, even if also slight. Thus, if a person can be freed of excessive hydrocele symptoms indefinitely; some of the body’s naturalistic capacity to self-correct or self-compensate may occur in half a year or so. Thus, although that may require many months or even a year; an ‘operation’ might be avoided. (Of course, that is, presumably, only if a person can be freed from very troublesome symptoms indefinitely—say, by some simple expediency; and better yet, if it has other benefits as well).
In the subject case (see under ‘Goal..’); such a helpful ‘expediency’ was empirically discovered to be as follows: About 1500 mg of Calcium Ascorbate powder dissolved in ½ cup of good quality orange juice, and taken (initially) about every two hours, during the day. One multi-vitamin pill (which contains folic acid, among other things) was also taken once or twice a day. (Calcium ascorbate is a ‘neutralized’ form of vitamin C.) After many months, as some long-term improvement was noticeable and felt, the calcium ascorbate dose was tapered off to about every three or four hours, instead of two hours. ((An anti-acid pill, like ‘Tums’ may be taken if the orange juice drink, with calcium ascorbate dissolved in it, seems not quite neutralized to the stomach. Presumably, if diarrhea occurred (from the large vitamin C dosages); one would then reduce the dosage; and if that didn’t solve all above problems, then disregard all my suggestions.))
Why were the large dosages of calcium ascorbate (and associated ‘protocol’ above) effective for the hydrocele problem, (in the case above)?
Perhaps, the protocol works by neutralizing or removing poison, toxins, and allergic reactions to them, which may have been causing excessive amounts of fluid to be produced, and to flow into the hydrocele. (Hydrocele involves more fluid flowing in, than can easily flow out). Perhaps, the protocol helped eliminate impediments inside the lymph vessel or inside little veins, to expedite the fluid flow out.
Perhaps, the calcium ascorbate reduced swelling greatly in tissues near lymph vessels, thereby enhancing the flow of lymph or fluids out from the hydrocele. (Exactly, why it may reduce tissue swelling so much—I would not fully understand). Maybe, it improved lymph vessel peristalsis also. It seems as if some foods, such as oils and sugar cane, tend to cause temporary swelling.
Perhaps, because vitamin C is a ‘vasodilator’, it further opened little veins, and that expedited the flow of fluid, in lymph vessel and veins, away from the hydrocele.
Perhaps, a combination of some of the above helped, or yet something else of more importance than the above.
Addendum (added 1-20-2005) In some cases, after breast surgery to treat cancer; women may encounter a troublesome side effect, somewhat analogist to some men’s hydrocele. The problem may occur after about one-third of the lymph nodes are removed from a woman’s arm. In such cases, this significantly impairs the fluid flow that normally drains from the women’s arm. And, among other things, it sometimes results in ‘lymphedema’, a painful and severe arm swelling that sometimes reoccurs throughout a woman’s life. (That is the description I read in a newspaper article about some recent studies to determine the pro’s and con’s of removing fewer lymph nodes, in special cases.)
One could raise a strictly hypothetical question as to whether ‘mega-dozing’ on vitamin C (and a daily multi-vitamin pill) would also help the above women, as it did for the man (in the hydrocele case described in this article)? But, last I heard; many researchers believed that large vitamin C doses interfere with some radiation and chemo treatments for cancer. Thus, in those cases, I can not recommend going off on any tangential path (vitamin C mega-dozing, etc.) away from the envisioned protocol; that is--I give deference to one’s specialized physician and his/her protocol.
(Optional) Miscellaneous Other Speculations: I have read assertions that in about 80% of male humans—that the left testicle hangs slightly lower, and is slightly bigger than the right testicle. I have also read that humans’ left internal spermatic vein drains into the left renal vein, and that it is thus 8 to 10 centimeters longer than the right spermatic vein, (which drains into the inferior vena cava, instead). Thus, it is believed that this asymmetry causes a somewhat higher pressure backwards to the scrotal ‘pampiniform plexus’, causing certain problems to more likely occur on the left side than the right. I speculate further that if certain somewhat adverse events first arise in the scrotum or abdomen—that there may be a slightly higher chance of one’s left backside being sensitive to it, than one’s right. (That is, if one’s back is effected at all). I also speculate that the vein asymmetry and downstream pressure, described above, may be a causal statistical factor in the testicular positional size-asymmetry, also describe above.
(However, maybe instead, the above sizing and position relationship is just directly ‘genetic’. If the reader has heard any expert opinions on the curious question; the reader should give deference to the expert’s opinions.) Also note that if circulation in the abdomen or scrotum is not ideal; one might consider the following suggestions especially speciously: Not sitting too long; rather walking or changing position; and making sure one’s belt is not squeezing one while sitting. (Again, as usual, I encourage one to consult one’s own professional healthcare provider, and give it deference.)
The conventional description of ‘Blepharitis’ involves a particular type of eyelid inflammation or problem which will tend to adversely affect the cornea (or the white) of the eye. It is regarded as a long-term (chronic) condition, and to be long-term ‘managed’, (i.e., not possible to ‘cure’). It has a propensity to be most severe in people who have been plagued from birth with skin problems; for example, an extreme dandruff problem. The ‘skin’ is actually a human’s ‘largest organ’. Blepharitis may make one feel like there is often something irritatingly stuck in one’s eye.
(Miscellaneous opinion: The ‘evolutionary challenge’ to evolve or develop a well-protected and smooth-working eye with good eyesight -- must have been a difficult, almost contradictory, specification. At least, that is how it makes some people feel, occasionally. Some animals that dig up dusty dirt even have their eyebrows situated below their eyes.)
Normally some bacteria reside on everyone’s skin. But problems may arise for individuals when huge numbers of bacteria thrive in the skin at the base of the eyelashes or inside the oil glands of the eyelid. These glands may have abnormal secretions; including too much secretion, or plugged glands with too little. ((In my opinion, the eye’s ‘tearing’ system is very complex, and it includes complicated combinations of water, oil, and mucus lubrication, subtle styles of applying each, and germ inhibitors, regulation by nerves, etc. But, I think that the tear system can often handle the potential problems caused by imperfect eyelid region. This tear system is usually working well when we are young.
As we get older, I believe that eating adequate amounts of certain light (Mediterranean) oils with main meals can help keep some people’s eyes well lubricated; again avoiding or delaying some otherwise adverse effects of some eye complications (for example some keratitis). Thus, eating some Italian salads (with their ‘vinegar & oil’ dressings over it) may help overcome some keratitis or other eye problems. (I realize that may seem to contradict some experts’ beliefs). And for ‘dry-eye’ associated with aging; drinking extra amounts of water may be helpful.)) Blepharitis may be associated with dry-eye, and/or exacerbated by it, and also exacerbated by rosacea, and other imperfections. Blepharitis also compromises the quality and effectiveness of (otherwise helpful) tear lubrication.
Now a few words about ‘traditional management of blepharitis’: I have read that this involves ‘special hygiene’, (application of warm washcloth, gentle scrubbing of lids, maybe special applications of special antibiotics or the like). ((Of course, many humans likely awaken with only somewhat uncomfortable eyes, and (almost instinctively) find that cleaning ones face with a very warm wash cloth is soothing, eliminates discomfort, and is refreshing)). Where blepharitis is associated with the complication of dry-eye; some people have told me that they have finally found an ideal ‘this or that’ superior ‘eye-drops’ that works effectively for them. ((I think some doctors (likely wisely) are reluctant to resort to ‘tear duct plugs’ when a particular type of severe blepharitis is combined with dry-eye, because they believe that the residues (associated with that blepharitis) should be encouraged to flow away from the eyes promptly, without blocked paths.)) The point is this: For blepharitis sufferers who get satisfactory relief from ‘traditional management of blepharitis’; that’s great, congratulations!! (And they should disregard my suggestions.) However, for those who still cannot find enough relief—they may find the below special case expediencies interesting.
For the case (under ‘Goal..’), the expediencies were as follow: Avoiding prolonged exposure to environmental non-moderate conditions, like breeze, dust, pollen, pollutants, cold, sun and heat--was helpful. But most empirically helpful was maintaining a low or, at most, moderate relative humidity, about 20% to 50% humidity! (Of course, warm showers were an exception to the above, and were very helpful. Showers included a good shampoo and shampooing, with eyes closed). Normal room temperatures (except for the shower room) generally ranged from 69-71 Deg.F , with little variation from that. In the case, it was helpful to avoid prolonged exposure to outdoor sun, high outdoor humidity, heat, cold, wind, dust, pollen, and pollutants, so far as possible. Partial shielding of the eye was done momentarily, occasionally.
(I realize that the low humidity, in the case above, might seem counter to the general management for ‘dry-eye’ complications. It would have seemed, on first thought, that low humidity would exacerbate dry-eye, blepharitis, and maybe other complications. Under ‘Speculative Theory’ below; I try to argue for exceptions to traditional ‘first thought’).
((Addendum added 6-1-2010: Since recommending ‘a little vitamin D’ each day (see below); large amounts of information has ‘come to light’; indicating that more than just a little vitamin D is likely often helpful for avoiding a great range of health problems! In fact, people’s bodies in sunny southern climates produce great amounts of vitamin D, which is now thought to be why southerners fare better than northerners in avoiding many health problems despite the challenge of hot weather. Admittedly, it seems ironic – people who get non-trivial amounts of strong sun exposure produce vitamin D in their skin, and that (or vitamin D from pills too) might help people avoid ‘blepharitis’ and perhaps related problems. And that, in turn, might help them to tolerate bright lights and even a bright sunny day without eye discomfort and pain.))
In the case discussed above; it is possible that drinking mainly distilled water, instead of only regular, typical water, may have helped a little bit. But one should take supplemental minerals like magnesium and potassium if one resorts almost exclusively to distilled water. Also, maybe a little vitamin D each day may have helped a little bit -- in fact, more than just a little vitamin D would have likely been even more helpful – see Addendum above. (Of course, drinking lots of water, even more than ‘just quenching the thirst’, seems helpful for many eye problems and other problems too; and is often recommended, especially for older patients, by many doctors.)
(((To expedite effective sleep during nights; a generic pill, (the smallest available, and made by reliable companies, with a relatively safe long history, -- was taken, per a doctor. It was an anti-depressive drug (Trazodone) not strictly speaking in the ‘SSRI’ class.)) A little magnesium supplement was taken with it. At times, sleeping with the side of the head (associated with the most affected eye) down against the pillow or the like; ((i.e., so that those tears (i.e., lubrication) flowed presumably away from the nose, toward the far eye ‘margin’ and pillow))—seemed helpful. It was also helpful not to wait an unusually long time between one meal and the next, (maybe because of circulation and metabolic factors).
Incidentally, I concur empirically with most of the mainstream protocol for blepharitis, including--that eating some foods exacerbate it; and that too long of day exacerbates it (because tear production declines during a very long day). I realize, (regarding the case under “Goals..”); that my many ‘suggested expediencies’ often entail forgoing various long exposures (i.e., including some long-duration outdoor activities that were often previously enjoyed, and that is disappointing). But see Addendum above – some outdoor enthusiasts might produce a good amount of vitamin D, due to the sun, and that might help them to avoid a blepharitis problem in the first place.
(One more word about ‘anti-depressive’ pills whether to aid sleep or other purposes: Mood may affect the body’s chemistry and immunity; and that might affect bacteria buildup near the eyelid that is associated with blepharitis. Speaking of mood, it is interesting to note that Lincoln’s wife suffered extreme eye-pain following Lincoln’s death’, and it persisted for a very long time afterwards. That finally improved significantly when she returned to live in the South with a relative, the culture and area of her original upbringing!)
Optional -- Speculative Theories and Thoughts:
In some instances below, I will just ‘let roll’ various speculative thoughts, theories, questions, and comments, which might, in some cases, seem ‘tangential’ – i.e., even though I regard some as seemingly irrelevant, even bordering on the absurd, and even occasionally seeming to contradict a previous thought. (Thus, I throw out some extra ‘food for thought’.)
There is a type of Staphylococcal bacteria, (an anaerobe bacterium of a ‘facultative’ type). This means that although it can live without oxygen, it ‘prefers’ the luxury of oxygen. Under certain circumstances, they will come to the surface in far greater numbers than usual, and I presume ‘enjoy’ the eyelid regions discussed previously. They presumably produce toxins that irritate the cornea of the eye, etc.
We then ask, “What causes these bacteria to ‘wish to’ move, from places not significantly irritating to us, to places more irritating to us, like to the eyelid surfaces?” I speculate that, maybe, the person’s internal oxygen level and effectiveness has dropped a little, due to aging or something. (Perhaps, this might also ‘express itself’ in a few percent drop in ‘Oximeter’ point readings, over many months or so). Or perhaps there is some ‘poisoning’, due to something we are eating or that has gotten inside of us by exposure. Perhaps that has caused the bacteria to want to shift locations. Or maybe there was a compromise in the circulation to the eyelid and eye area, and that made the bacteria want to transfer locations. Perhaps the compromised circulation was caused by an accident or aging. And in males, we might frustratingly ask this question: Consider that the hair on our head begins to thin a lot (~age early 50s), and still more (~age, late 50s). If nature cannot maintain for us a ‘normal’ head of hair (on the skin of our scalp)—how can we expect nature to maintain a ‘normal’ eyelid (skin) condition, a few inches down from that—anyway? (Of course, we could wonder about our seemingly ‘bazaar’ reproductive system, too—regarding the previous topic.)
Now, we speculatively address a previous question regarding a ‘high humidity’ vs. a ‘low humidity’ environment, and their ‘expected’ relationship to blepharitis and dry-eye. Now, I suppose the ‘reining paradigm’ would go something like this: Since ‘dry-eye’ is bad, and since low humidity will presumably dry out eyes even more; then (supposedly) medium or high humidity would be generally helpful. But I think that reasoning is over-simplistic, confuses the malady with a symptom of the malady, and is often the wrong approach!
For those people, who have really found that medium and high humidity helps them and their eyes, I think that’s great!! But I think there are many exceptions, and for various reasons. I speculate that (admittedly) some people’s ancestors lived and evolved well for thousands of years in areas as humid as rain forests, however challenging. Others evolved from an area with little rain; almost dessert-like. Likely the internal ‘defense’ systems of the different peoples are somewhat different, (i.e., usually sufficient for, say, one group when caught in a changed environment when they are young—but this or that evolved group finds out later that they were always too close to marginal--as middle age approaches, under certain conditions).
Historically, I think humid conditions in some localities have generally greatly impeded attempts to easily control bacteria there. In the 1800s, people with tuberculosis were often advised to go to the dry Southwest states, instead of staying in the humid Southeast states—presumably to impede the bacterial multiplication and problem. ((Incidentally, some people with some imperfect lung conditions, find effective breathing difficult or impossible in high humidity conditions, and easier in modest or low humidity. I mention that in case anyone mistakenly thinks that observation (or measurement) in only one environment, say low humidity, will also predict how well they function in another, i.e., often it won’t!.)) Getting back to the subject of bacteria; presumably the humid conditions in the Southwest Pacific in World War 2 probably exacerbated problems in controlling bacteria there, and led to lots of additional deaths of soldiers (who were not from the tropics).
We thus speculate that for at least some people; maintaining a low humidity may have been one way in which the multiplication and aggravating activities of bacteria was impeded. Therefore, there is some seemingly logical reason to expect that low humidity might be helpful for some people who suffer from some type of blepharitis. ((Miscellaneous opinions: I also suspect that some good shampoo manufactures who make different types of shampoos for various head/hair conditions: dry, oily, etc., etc., do a good and smart job, and have quite a bit of ‘proprietary’ knowledge that I don’t. (Similarly, the case for some chefs who prepare excellent Italian salads and their Italian (Mediterranean) salad dressings).))
I also believe that some environmental comfort experts have very successfully incorporated air cleaning, humidity and temperature control in some buildings. And so successfully, that visitors feel much better within minutes after entering some buildings, and the visitors don’t know why. I have heard that some people have achieved that in their own special homes. I have no experience with such comprehensive systems; I rely on merely air conditioners, pretty good sealing between inside and out, heaters, and cheap room thermometer/humidity gauges. I know that many manufacturers of dehumidifiers and air conditioners assert that their machines also ‘clean’ the air, and it seems plausible.))
I occasionally wonder if we have been living (for the last 10 years, or so) in an environment with more chemicals that are converted to a more irritating structure by strong sunlight -- than in previous decades. Yet, I thought we had made progress with such problems as ozone, etc. Or maybe, I’m just fooled by ‘inversions’. Perhaps, the complicated reaction of plants and their pollination (to sunlight and to the environment) adds a factor too complex for me to track. I do not believe I have as effective of ‘handle’ on this, (‘topic 2’ of this article), as on ‘topic 1’.
The following would probably come as ‘no surprise’ to the ‘eyelid bacteria’: Hair is so sensitive to changes of humidity, that hair absorbs it, expels it, and changes its length as it reacts to varying humidity. Therefore, inexpensive humidity gauges incorporate hairs, and use humidity-induced hair-length changes to indicate humidity. I strongly believe that some ear aches (and likely associated infections) may suddenly arise in an hour and recede in a hour--because of very sudden humidity rises and falls. (That is, humidity may be an important factor affecting health, under certain circumstances.)
I speculate that (however improbable) some earlier eye injury might slightly affect eye tear quality or application, or nerves regulating it. Further, that by itself, that would not necessarily ever cause a problem--if all other related organs, etc., continued functioning well. But, in exceptional cases, where other related organs, etc., decline, and their functioning becomes mediocre; that decline might throw the person’s old seemingly minor injury to ‘below its minimum trouble-free baseline’ or safety net.
I have heard than some doctors reassure youngsters and their parents that the removal of their tonsils, adenoids (and, I guess, appendix) will not compromise their future health, and likely will help it. I can see, logically, how one can give people ‘high-probability’ type assurances. But logically, I don’t see how (regarding some operations) one can ‘guarantee’ a specific individual of his individual future without the following: Say, putting the tonsils, etc., etc., back in that person after a few years, allowing, a year of observation, taking them out again, and repeating that many times on that same individual. And without compromising the tonsils, etc., etc., during the ‘test’. But even if repeated surgeries were a simple as ‘old-time vacuum-tube removal and insertion into sockets’ (i.e., old ‘radio repair’); even that might not ‘prove’ the hypothesis 100.00% for the individuality, anyway. I think it unlikely that removal of these (probably immunity related ‘adjuncts’) would significantly adversely affect things in later decades. But in this part of this article; I must still mention that it might be, say, one of a hundred possible factors, that might slightly influence our immunities, or our bacteria fighting ability, as we get older.
I speculate, finally, that in some other cultures; herbal experts, etc., treat some types of eye discomfort as follows: They give the troubled person something to ingest that promotes some internal warmth, heat, or increased circulation from the inside. I think that often helps, at least, a little bit. One of several reasons may be as follows: Consider this analogy: Suppose the outside of your car window is ‘fogged up’, so that the fogged-up area grows too much bacteria. For fast elimination of the foggy window coating (for old-time cars), you turn on your car’s heating-window defroster. This heats up your car window from the inside. Much of that heat conducts through the window to the fogged-up outside surface of the car window. There the fog-moisture coating (i.e., the energized water molecules) ‘jump’ off the surface of the window into the surrounding air. (They don’t re-condense back on the car window because the car window is now much warmer than the air outside of the car.) In this ‘analogy’, the bacteria on the car window’s outside surface do not proliferate well in lower humidity, or fly off into the surrounding air.
Incidentally, simply by watching a very exciting or funny movie, or by some other occasional recreation or exercise; one may also enhance internal circulation and warmth, and thereby (sometimes to a degree) accomplish the like. Of course, a baseball pitcher and football ‘passer’ realizes the importance of maintaining good body temperature, including to their extremities, and the former may even wear a coat while ‘on base’.
Of course, in the case of extreme blepharitis; one may do well to avoid getting the eye hit by a significant wind, a lot of sweat, or subject to long-duration excessive (frictional) movement.
Carl R. Littmann
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