WHO
WITHDRAWAL SYNDROME
herpes simplex
or to a bacterial infec-
tion. In some cases, it may be necessary
to drain pus from the abscess.
WHO The commonly used abbreviation
for the
World Health Organization.
whooping cough See
pertussis.
will, living See
living w№.
Wilms' tumour A type of
kidney cancer,
also called nephroblastoma, that occurs
mainly in children.
Wilson's disease A rare, inherited dis-
order in which copper accumulates in
the liver, resulting in conditions such as
hepatitis
and
cirrhosis.
Copper is slowly
released into other body parts, damag-
ing the brain, causing mild intellectual
impairment, and leading to debilitating
rigidity, tremor, and dementia. Symp-
toms usually appear in adolescence but
can occur much earlier or later. Lifelong
treatment with
penicillamine
is needed
and, if begun soon enough, can some-
times produce some improvement. If
the disease is discovered before the
onset of symptoms, the drug may pre-
vent them from developing.
wind A common name for gas in the gas-
trointestinal tract, which may be expelled
through the mouth (see
belching)
or
passed through the anus (see
flatus).
Babies often swallow air during feed-
ing which, unless the baby is “winded”,
can accumulate in the stomach and
cause discomfort.
windpipe Another name for the
trachea.
wiring of the jaws Immobilization of
the jaws by means of metal wires to
allow a fracture of the jaw to heal or as
part of a treatment for
obesity.
When a fracture is being treated, the
jaws are kept wired in a fixed position for
about
6
weeks. For promoting weight
loss, the jaws are wired for as long as a
year. In both cases, the person is unable
to chew and can take only a liquid or
semi-liquid diet. This form of diet treat-
ment often fails because the person
resumes previous eating habits follow-
ing removal of the wires.
wisdom tooth One of the 4 rearmost
teeth,
also known as 3rd molars. The
wisdom teeth normally erupt between
the ages of 17 and 21, but in some peo-
ple,
1
or more fails to develop or erupt.
In many cases, wisdom teeth are unable
to emerge fully from the gum as a result
of overcrowding (see
impaction, dental
).
witches' milk A thin, white discharge
from the nipple of a newborn infant,
caused by maternal hormones that
entered the fetus's circulation through
the placenta. Witches' milk occurs quite
commonly. It is usually accompanied by
enlargement of
1
or both of the baby's
breasts. The condition is harmless and
usually disappears spontaneously with-
in a few weeks.
withdrawal The process of retreating
from society and from relationships
with others; usually indicated by aloof-
ness, lack of interest in social activities,
preoccupation with one's own concerns,
and difficulty in communicating.
The term is also applied to the psy-
chological and physical symptoms that
develop on discontinuing use of a sub-
stance on which a person is dependent
(see
withdrawal syndrome
).
withdrawal bleeding Vaginal blood
loss that occurs when the body's level of
oestrogen
or
progesterone hormones
or
progestogen drugs
drops suddenly.
The withdrawal bleeding that occurs at
the end of each month's supply of com-
bined
oral contraceptive pills
mimics
menstruation but is usually shorter and
lighter. Discontinuation of an oestrogen-
only or progestogen-only preparation
also produces bleeding, which may dif-
fer from normal menstruation in its
amount and duration.
withdrawal method See
coitus inter-
ruptus.
withdrawal syndrome Unpleasant men-
tal and physical symptoms experienced
when a person stops using a drug on
which he or she is dependent (see
drug
dependence
). Withdrawal syndrome most
commonly occurs in those with
alcohol
dependence
or
dependence
on
opioids
,
in smokers, and in people addicted to
tranquillizers
,
amfetamines, cocaine, mari-
juana,
and
caffeine.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms start
6 -8
hours after cessation of intake and may
last up to 7 days. They include trembling
of the hands, nausea, vomiting, sweat-
ing, cramps, anxiety, and, sometimes,
seizures. (See also
confusion
,
delirium
tremens
, and
hallucinations
.)
599
previous page 597 BMA Illustrated Medical Dictionary read online next page 599 BMA Illustrated Medical Dictionary read online Home Toggle text on/off