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Infactual Articles » 2006 » July


Archive for July, 2006

Coping with the Emotional Impact of Menopause

Posted in Living on July 31st, 2006

Menopause. The mere mentioning of this completely natural and unavoidable condition strikes fear into the hearts of many women. Don’t be afraid – menopause is part of nature’s grand scheme and should be approached from this perspective. The bulk of women experience the onset of menopause between the age of 45 and 55. It does not mean menopause cannot begin earlier or later, but the condition usually manifests within this range. When the female body enters menopause it heralds an end to the reproductive cycle.

Menopause occurs because the female body no longer produces progesterone and estrogen at the same rate. The production of these important reproductive hormones decreases dramatically leading to a variety of changes. Women know that it won’t be long before they never have to endure the symptoms of PMS or their menstruation cycle again. This may sound like a great event – but there are other symptoms that occur including leading up to this point: fluctuations in appetite, insomnia, hot flashes, hazy or foggy thinking, depression, anger, emotional problems, and mood swings.

Perhaps the most difficult of the symptoms to deal with are emotional in nature. Many women report feeling not like themselves. Depression, anger, and mood swings are common and can present many problems.

Fortunately, there is a way to cope with these problems. You are not alone in your struggle. There are millions upon millions of other women experiencing menopause. In fact, statistics state out that each day more than 4,000 women in the United States alone experience the onset of menopause.

This being said, the options for you to seek help are extensive. If the emotional symptoms you are experiencing are severe or last for a long time it is probably a good idea to seek some help. Emotional disturbances due to menopause do not mean you are crazy: it is a natural process that hits some women harder than others. Counselling can help you get in touch with your feelings. Do not try to battle menopause without some sort of support network.

Relaxation may also be key in your battle against emotional difficulties. Try treating yourself to an afternoon at a local day spa or a relaxing massage. It sounds trite but can really make the difference to your overall mood. If you have access to a Jacuzzi the warm water and the jets can put you into a relaxed state. Sound therapy, light therapy, hydrotherapy, aroma therapy, acupuncture, and acupressure can also provide relief – both emotional and physical. Hypnosis has a good track record in helping women manage emotional stress due to menopause.

It is very important that you enlist the support of your friends – many of whom are most likely going through what you are, and also your partner and close family members. Explain to them how you are feeling. Once they understand why you’re being snappy, angry or rude they are more likely to be understanding and help you through what can be a challenging time. In addition, there are support groups available where you can get things off your chest and experience a feeling of solidarity.

Besides more traditional hormone replacement therapy (HRT) there is a wide selection of natural supplements on the market which can provide both physical and emotional relief from menopause.Make sure you take care of yourself. If you do not take the first step in learning to cope with the emotional side-effects of menopause, nobody will take it for you.

Resources:

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Smoking vs IBS

Posted in Health & Fitness on July 23rd, 2006

Just as all stimulants seem to affect IBS sufferers harder than those without IBS, tobacco is one of the most extreme. Whether you smoke or chew, tobacco is a powerful gastro-intestinal stimulant, irritant and carcinogen. Because people with IBS have extremely sensitive intestinal tracts anyway, tobacco should be avoided at all costs. But even if you don’t have IBS, the effect tobacco has on your GI tract is severe.Tobacco has shown to be harmful to the entire digestive system. Two of the most common ailments caused by smoking is heartburn and acid reflux, which are conditions that people with IBS are already more likely to suffer from. Tobacco weakens the sphincter in the oesophagus, therefore allowing stomach acid to flow upward into the oesophagus. Tobacco has also been known to double your chance of developing a peptic ulcer and chemicals in tobacco also hinder the healing of ulcers and make sufferers more likely to develop additional ulcers later in life. The exact increase is unknown but it’s thought to be as high as 10 times as likely. Doctors also believe that there is a link between the development of Crohn’s disease and the possible development of gallstones in tobacco users.
The addictive and poisonous part of tobacco, nicotine, can cause many health problems on its own. Additional weakening of the sphincter of the oesophagus, increased acid production in the stomach and a decrease in the pancreas making sodium bicarbonate, which neutralizes stomach acid. But nicotine isn’t the only problem with tobacco. There are over 400 toxins and at least 43 known carcinogens in tobacco, all of which will hit someone with IBS harder than they would hit a healthy person. A seldom considered side effect of smoking is increased air consumption, which can lead to bloating and flatulence.And of course, the most common result in long-term cigarette smoking or tobacco chewing is the development of cancer, including cancer of the digestive tract, such as colon, bladder, pancreas, kidney and stomach cancer. It’s not known if IBS sufferers are at a higher risk to develop cancer of the digestive tract, but the additional irritation and stimuli to the body tends to not be favourable for IBS patients.

The addictive and poisonous part of tobacco, nicotine, can cause many health problems on its own. Additional weakening of the sphincter of the oesophagus, increased acid production in the stomach and a decrease in the pancreas making sodium bicarbonate, which neutralizes stomach acid. But nicotine isn’t the only problem with tobacco. There are over 400 toxins and at least 43 known carcinogens in tobacco, all of which will hit someone with IBS harder than they would hit a healthy person. A seldom considered side effect of smoking is increased air consumption, which can lead to bloating and flatulence. And of course, the most common result in long-term cigarette smoking or tobacco chewing is the development of cancer, including cancer of the digestive tract, such as colon, bladder, pancreas, kidney and stomach cancer. It’s not known if IBS sufferers are at a higher risk to develop cancer of the digestive tract, but the additional irritation and stimuli to the body tends to not be favourable for IBS patients.Tobacco irritates the lining of the intestines, which can cause diarrhoea, intestinal cramping, pain, bloating and gas in IBS patients. Nicotine has been reported to highly increase the frequency of stomach cramps in IBS sufferers. Tobacco use also decreases the efficiency of food digestion and it can also dramatically slow down the metabolism of those with IBS. This can alter bowel movements, which are already a huge problem for those with IBS, and cause bloating. Withdrawal from nicotine can cause both constipation and diarrhoea, again, already a big problem for those with IBS.

So for those people with IBS, sometimes just a small amount of stimuli to the digestive tract can be too much. The effects of tobacco use are universally negative for an average person and can be dramatic for those with IBS. There is no known cure for IBS and treatment options are not widely agreed upon, even by experts. But one treatment everyone can agree on is to reduce or eliminate tobacco use, even if you don’t have IBS!
If you are a smoker and suffer with IBS, now is the time to quit! But don’t worry, help is at hand Click Here For More Information .

4 Common Gout Drugs

Posted in Health & Fitness on July 16th, 2006

It is not generally advised for prescription drugs when treating hyperuricaemia as these drugs are generally used when there is an attack on the kidney stones. The following are four common drugs that are used to keep gout symptoms under control.

  1. Allopurinol – This inhibits uric acid synthesis and has been associated with eruptions of the skin and blood vessels as well as toxins in the liver. Renal function tests and overall complete blood counts of the patient should always be done before giving the patient Allopurinol.
  2. Colchicine This drug is used to alleviate gout attacks. But this drug has side effects which can be very serious and in some cases can cause death if the dose is too high. Many stomach problems can occur when taking this drug such as diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and cramping. Some of the more serious side effects of the drug are problems occurring in the marrow of the bone, inflammation of the muscle, and anemia. If a patient has kidney function problems than Colchicine is generally not used or the doses are adjusted accordingly.
  3. Indomethacin – This drug is an anti inflammatory drug which is not steroid based. Indomethacin is the drug that is used the most when the onset of gout attacks occurs. This drug also has a very high toxicity but by measuring the doses correctly the drug is a one that is very successful in the short term.
  4. Prednisone – Prednisone is a drug that is becoming more widely used these days to treat gout. Prednisone is an immunosuppressive drug that is needed in some cases and is sometimes associated with long term side effects such as bone loss, cataracts, a weakening of the immune system, as well as others. Osteoporosis is a serious side effect that can occur with bone loss. The general side effects are longer healing and longer time fighting infections throughout the body with weakening of the immune system, retention of sodium, acne, night sweats, muscle and bone problems, and higher blood sugar.

 

As you can see from the above, although drugs will help to alleviate gout symptoms they are not without there side effects. If you are interested in avoiding or limiting the use of such drugs then there are natural ways to treat this condition. 

High levels of uric acid in the blood can bring about gout so it is advantageous to try to limit the food intake if it is high in purine. Alcohol should definitely be cut out completely or at least limited as it is very high in uric acids, especially during a flare-up.

One way to help avoid getting gout is to flush out your system by trying to drink at least two to three liters of fluids every day. By drinking lots of fluids you can aid in diluting the uric acids that can bring about gout.

Try to moderate your protein intake such as fish, meat, and poultry. There are other foods rich in proteins which are low in purines such as dairy products and are lower in fat as well, like eggs and even tofu. Try to limit the amount of fat that you eat by choosing meats that are leaner and meats and foods that are prepared with less oil.

By following a diet that takes into account these suggestions it will aid your body in keeping uric acid levels low. If you can keep your gout under control through natural methods it means you can avoid the nasty side effects that come with the gout drugs mentioned above.

Please bear in mind that you should always consult a physician prior to making any dietary changes and you should never stop taking any prescribed medication without gaining physician approval first.

 

For more information about Gout and the natural treatments available take a look at Homeopathic Remedies for Gout

Foot Pain Explained

Posted in Health & Fitness on July 5th, 2006

The human foot is made up of 26 different bones (25% of all the bones in the body), 22 distinct joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. The foot can be broken down into six separate sections: the heel, the instep, the sole, the ball of the foot, the toes and the toenails. Since this section of the body is so complex, many different ailments take place in the feet.

Pressure related problems: An average day of walking around is the equivalent of hundreds of tons of pressure to your feet. Injuries like fallen arches can result after a lifetime of being on your feet all day, every day. Long term effects of fallen arches can result in chronic knee pain and shin splints. Traumatic injuries: As any professional athlete can tell you, traumatic foot injuries can be a pain in the, well, foot. Broken toes and foot bones can take months to heel, and Achilles tendon injuries can be debilitating for life. One of the most common injuries to the foot is simply dropping something heavy onto the foot and crushing one or more bones in the process.

Ingrown Toenails: An ingrown toenail is when the side or the corner of the toenail end up digging into the skin and causing moderate to severe pain, swelling, redness and in extreme cases, infection. They can usually be cured by simply soaking the toe in hot water for about 30 minutes and then placing thin fabric under the nail to keep it from digging into the foot. In serious cases, minor surgery might be needed to remove the nail from the foot.

Plantars warts: Plantar warts are small, usually round warts that appear on the sole of the foot and are caused by the HPV virus. They sometimes have small black specks with them that will bleed when the surface is punctured. The wart is usually covered by a layer of hard skin due to the pressure on the foot during periods of standing and walking. It can be spread by use of common showers or around swimming pools. They are usually treated by using regular over-the-counter wart medicine containing acid.

Arthritis: Arthritis in the foot is extremely common in older people since the foot alone has 33 joints. Any sort of traumatic injury to the foot can cause arthritis in the future.

Heel conditions: The two most common causes of severe pain in the heel belong to plantar fasciitis and bone spurs in the heel. Bone spurs are caused by a calcium deposit attached to the bone of the heel. They can go from mildly annoying to excruciating depending on the size. We’ll discuss plantar fasciitis later.

Athelte’s Foot: Athlete’s foot is caused by a fungus that attacks the feet. It ranges from being almost painless to causing extreme burning and itching all over the toes and sole of the foot. There are many different over the counter remedies for Athlete’s foot, but if you use many common areas barefoot, you may have to treat it over and over again as it’s easy to catch.

Nerve Problems in the feet: Most nerve problems in the feet are caused by the long-term effects of diabetes. The nerves in the feet are the longest nerves in the body and are susceptible to neuropathy and other ailments brought on by diabetes.

Diabetes: Other than the aforementioned nerve problems, diabetes seriously effects the circulation in the body and many serious diabetes sufferers have lost fingers, toes and even feet due to lack of circulation due to a lifetime of diabetes.

Congenital foot conditions: Birth defects can range from misshapen feet to bone protrusions, to nerve problems. Most congenital problems can be dealt with through surgery.You can see from this brief overview how many aspects there are to the feet and why foot pain can be such a common and complicated problem for many people.

For more information on all varieties of Foot Pain and how to effectively treat them, please visit: Foot Pain Relief