Stop Worrying About Whether Or Not You Locked the Door

Well, did you lock the door? Did you really lock the door or do you just think you did?

A pal was describing to me how her mum has to keep going back to check she locked the door and has been diagnosed with OCD. In this post I am going to talk about what starts the obsessive process and how full blown obsessions develop (and also how to start getting rid of them).

WORRY

The ‘itchy’ nature of things that bug and worry us is how obsessive thinking is initially triggered. Obsessive thinking, fuelled by unreleased negative emotional energy, lays a foundation for full blown obsessions to develop later. The important thing to concentrate on here is ‘fuelled by’. Take away the fuel of your worry-engine and you take away the worrying. I will explain how to do this near the end of the post.

Worrying About Worrying

There comes a point when we know for sure that door is definitely locked but the worry keeps grabbing our attention and then we start to worry about why we are worrying. It is not the actual lock that bothers us but the emotional attachments held within the body linked to multiple dire and painful possibilities. We do not think we could cope with our own emotional responses to those possibilities if they ever happened.

The brain likes to represent things for us (it is very efficient and effective like that) and represented behind the focal point of that little door lock, and the little key we keep with us, is a whole host of scary stuff we imagine lies in wait if we get that door-locking-process wrong. Criticising yourself for worrying about the lock distracts you from facing up to the real concerns behind it – those things you do not believe you could cope with such as:

  • finding your home ransacked by burglars and even worse finding them still in your house when you arrive
  • losing things you have worked for all your life
  • precious memories tainted (eg jewellery from your mother) by having items stolen
  • loss of the belief your home is ‘safe’
  • wondering if the burglars will come back and what kind of evil people do such things
  • the concern you will be irreversibly damaged by the event.

These are all representations – products of our imagination. Knowing that is all they are causes us to criticise ourselves for being emotionally attached to them and refusing to feel the emotional responses associated with those underlying representations. We regard our emotional responses as ‘over-reacting’ and consciously try to stop worrying; we try to freeze the process. We attempt to stop both the thinking and the feelings involved.

Trying to Stop The Thinking Does Not Work

Fighting worrying thoughts with additional counteractive thinking such as ‘I should not be thinking about this repeatedly because it only exists in my imagination’, and then trying to distract yourself by deliberately focusing on nice things to think about instead means you must first think about what it is you are trying to avoid thinking about – and this keeps re-creating it. Doh.

Un-think a pink elephant – can you do it? Try again. Try again. Later when you are around the thing you do not want to think about, such as that lock, you think ‘I hope I do not think about it otherwise all those negative sensations will come back with it’. Guess what you just did. Yes, you thought about it.

Feelings Are The Key to Stopping Worrying

You are actually designed to cope with all of your feelings in all real-life scenarios regardless of content or intensity. Feelings work in a specific way. They appear, you feel them, and they eventually move through and out of you – if you let them. When you try to stop this process in its tracks you develop an ‘I would not be able to cope with my feelings in that situation’ belief system (in truth it is because you do not want to feel your negative feelings, rather than because you cannot, but who can blame you for not wanting to?). Nevertheless, to heal this worrying you must feel your feelings out.

By refusing to acknowledge these imagined scenarios as being a valid part of your built-in emotional response system you refuse to release the emotional charge attached and you keep the festering ‘I could not cope’ message running in your brain and body. When you set out to deliberately destroy these worries, because you see them as ‘wrong’, you then risk creating secondary emotional responses.

SECONDARY EMOTIONAL RESPONSES

Secondary emotional responses cause obsessions; panic attacks; phobias and a whole host of other anxiety-related disorders. Although they are intended to remove a primary emotional response they merely cement it further in place – they fail to work in the same way trying to un-think thoughts fails to work and they keep regenerating the problem.

In most cases a secondary emotional response is a repeat of the primary response: we can generate anger at being angry (rage attacks); fear of being afraid (panic attacks). We can also generate fear of feeling disgust and also anger towards feeling fear. It is often easier to notice the second type of secondary emotional responses because they produce different physical sensations, whereas ‘fear of fear’ and ‘anger at anger’ can seem to blend into an overall painful mass and we have difficulty seeing which is a primary and which is a secondary response.

When you have a secondary emotional response your thinking and feelings have been geared up for war against your own original emotional response. The determination not to have the primary response is so strong you are trying to physically remove the entire thinking/feeling process from your body. This cannot be done. Instead you must aim for the goal of flowing the energy through your body until the overspill is down to a reasonable level and your mind stops regarding the situation as a problem.

In the case of a phobia of door locks, for example, you have created a secondary response that causes you to emotionally fight every door lock you come across just in case it causes you to have a fearful emotional response. In the case of an obsession you have the image of a door lock repeatedly flashing in your conscious mind attached to the most extreme emotionally intense responses you are capable of producing. And because you know it is not ‘real’, you keep fighting it.

HYPERVIGILANCE

Hypervigilance, or being super-aware, is designed to keep you alive in long-term immediately life threatening situations. You are unconsciously driven to look for evidence of things even slightly related to the perceived threat. When you are hypervigilant your holistic thinking is shut down as you focus solely on looking for sensory signals related only to the trigger.

Feeling hypervigilant is the difference between seeing a wild, hungry lion on your television and having a wild, hungry lion in your home. Lions on the telly engage your conscious thinking brain in seeing nature at its most powerful and beautiful; lions in your home engage your unconscious emotional brain in contemplating the painful deaths of you and your loved ones and cause you to have powerful physical responses.

A heavy breath; a moving shadow; scratching claws; sharp teeth. In hypervigilance your unconscious emotional brain runs you and automatically produces the signals that tell your senses ‘danger!’. But you do not need a real lion in your home to become hypervigilant. All you need to achieve this state in normal every day life is to refuse to engage your conscious thinking brain in working with your negatively charged emotional issues.

Refusing to consciously work with an emotional issue does not make the issue go away – it forces the issue downwards into your unconscious emotional brain.

Because your unconscious emotional brain does not know the difference between imagined and real scenarios it assumes it has received the information because the scenario is real. When your unconscious emotional brain takes control of dealing with issues you refused to deal with consciously your risk of hypervigilance is greatly increased.

Two other things that can increase the risk of hypervigilance are:

  • the feared event, or something similar to it, actually happening or having happened in the past so your unconscious mind has evidence such a threat could be real
  • having your sense of control over the prevention of such imagined events being undermined; for example a partner who always leaves the door unlocked when they go out.

Becoming hypervigilant towards triggers you know to be false in the present moment means you have emotional reactions you do not want or understand. Your unconscious brain creates imagery, sounds and sensations that appear in your conscious brain against your conscious will and you have physical reactions, driven by extreme emotional responses, that exactly mimic the false situation as if it were real. If there were an actual lion in the room you would welcome this reaction because it could keep you alive – but when you know these reactions are happening around imagined events you continue to fight them; continue to try and force them out of conscious awareness but send them repeatedly down into your emotional brain for unconscious processing.

To undo this unconsciously driven nightmare you have to do just one thing: consciously reclaim your feelings. The earlier you start the better.

HOW TO STOP WORRYING ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT YOU LOCKED THE DOOR

When a person develops OCD or an obsession in regard to whether or not they locked the door they’ve taken what started out as a fear-laden area of worry, refused to spend time with it, started to fight it and then turned that fight into an unconscious long-term habit supported by secondary emotional responses that defend against the undoing of that habit.

This habit actually restructures both your brain and your emotional release system. Specific emotional responses are blocked from leaving the body while thought patterns are created that act like ‘shields’ trying to stop you from thinking about certain areas of life. But like any other habit it can be reversed if you’re willing to pay the price and give it the time required.

Here’s an example of a strategy you can use to remove the initial obsessional worrying process:

Step 1: Focus On the Door Lock

Accept it is not your thoughts but your feelings that keep driving you to pay attention to the lock. The feelings we’re talking about here are feelings already present in your body waiting to be released – I’m not talking about deliberately generating new feelings. If when you focus on an object you have feelings automatically come up they are already present in your body and they will keep asking you to pay attention to the issue they represent until they are released.

Step 2: Explore Your Feelings and the Issues to Which They Relate

Explore the threat of burglary and how you would react; explore the threat of feeling stupid after the event if you forgot to lock your door; having the police come round and point security issues out to you that you should have been thinking about and did not – explore the embarrassment all that entails. Explore the issues and feel the feelings in depth. Do this consciously and this reduces the need for your unconscious emotional mind to keep getting involved.

Step 3: Tell Yourself You Would Cope if These ‘Terrible’ Things Happened

Because you would. You would hurt; but you would cope. The feelings you have while imagining the scenario are roughly the same as you would have if the scenario were real, if you can cope with the imagined scenario you can cope with the real version.

Step 4: Accept that Locking the Door is an Important Thing You Need to Concentrate on When You Are Doing It

Sometimes the reason we worry is because we are distracted by other things fighting for our attention and our memory of having performed an important act is blurred. Our unconscious is telling us we did not pay enough attention to the door at the time of locking. What is happening here is your unconscious is working in line with your deepest value systems and reminding you to keep in line with them.

Step 5: Replay Issues and Release the Emotional Responses Attached to Them Until They Stop Grabbing Your Attention

Do not wait until the issue reappears and you say ‘oh no, not again’. Set aside a regular time slot each week where you deliberately go searching for issues; deliberately seek to feel the feelings attached.

Step 6: Do Not Self-Criticise

Self-criticism about this process is like telling yourself it is wrong to feel pain when you cut yourself. Almost all people I have met who worry or who develop anxiety disorders tell themselves ‘I have gone wrong’ on the basis of their experiencing negative feelings. You get a broken leg, it hurts physically. You imagine a harmful life event, it hurts emotionally. It is not desirable, but it is not ‘wrong’. When you catch yourself telling yourself this, challenge it. The self-criticism needs to be repeatedly stopped when it surfaces – eventually it will be become a habit not to do it.

Step 7: Rinse and Repeat

If you follow this process over and over again you will find your worries eventually disappear. That lock no longer keeps grabbing your attention.

Ice Bath Treatment For Anxiety – Does it Work?

It may seem like a bit of a radical idea, but many are starting to look at ice baths as a treatment for certain types of anxiety or panic attacks. Looking at it on the surface, it would almost seem like some sort of torture, but after looking into it a little more, you can understand how this can be an effective treatment.

Have you ever watched sports on TV and then seen the locker room interviews where the athletes are all iced up? The other thing you sometimes see are athletes that will immediately take full ice baths after a game or a hard workout. Why is that?

One of the main reasons is that it ice is believed to cool the body down and help with the relaxation of tense muscles. In their situation, the body is hot from the exertion and the muscles have become tense from strain. Obviously the body heat is eating away at the liquids that would normally naturally cool them off. The ice bath offers almost instant relief and relaxes their muscles so they can recover from their physical activities. While a panic attack is not an athletic event, it often shares some of the characteristics in that the victim will be begin sweating, become very flush and their muscles tense up and sometimes totally lock up. If this treatment works for athletes, why would it not work in the relief of a panic attack?

While this may not be a widely used approach to treating panic attacks and anxiety symptoms, it is proving effective for some. When doing research on the topic, results are difficult to find, but it is being reported by some people who have used the treatment with some success.

Each and every day, panic attacks are increasing. They are being taken more seriously and research is being conducted to not only find the causes, but the cures. The world presents emotional, physical, and mental challenges today like never before and we are all exposed to so much more in our daily lives. Being able to deal with the stress of life is proving to be more and more difficult for so many people. The result is an ever increasing number of people ending up with anxiety and panic disorders. As they become more prevalent, so does the search for treatments that work. While ice baths as a treatment for anxiety seems wild, it’s just one of numerous natural treatments for the symptoms of the condition.

How Could H Pylori Make You Feel Tired?

H. pylori may cause, or at least contribute to, many symptoms outside the digestive system of infected people. These symptoms are known as ‘extragastric manifestations’ of H pylori. Research is uncovering associations with more and more extragastric symptoms and diseases. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Depression & anxiety
  • Low energy / fatigue
  • Lethargy
  • Heart palpitations
  • Brain fog
  • Headaches
  • Sleep problems
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Weight gain
  • Skin problems such as urticaria and rosacea
  • Pain between the shoulder blades
  • Sinus problems

When we take the time to understand how our bodies work, it is easy to see how H. pylori infection may lead to symptoms elsewhere in our bodies. Science is now uncovering some very interesting links between H. pylori and seemingly unrelated symptoms and health conditions. Whilst an ‘association’ does not mean that H pylori infection causes these symptoms and diseases, it suggests that the infection may play a role in their development, or aetiology.

Can you recall a time when you had a common cold, or a ‘flu’ infection? I’ll bet you felt extremely tired and you may have even been bed-ridden for a couple of days.

There is a good reason for this. When you have an infection, your body has to mount an immune response in order to try to eliminate the infectious organism. That organism can be a parasite, a virus or a bacterium like H pylori, for example.

The immune response requires a lot of energy and so your body naturally diverts its energy production to fuel the fight against the invading ‘bug’. It doesn’t really matter whether this invader is a common cold or a digestive infection – the result is exactly the same.

The problem is that H pylori bacteria are extremely difficult for your body to deal with and the immune response may not be enough to clear it. Whilst it’s there, however, a continuous response is required and this takes its toll on your energy levels.

In addition to the immune response, H pylori can exert other negative influences on your body that may lead to you feeling tired and drained.

First, it causes inflammation (in the stomach, this inflammation is called gastritis). Studies have clearly shown that chronic day-to-day inflammation can lead to fatigue and many other symptoms. One such study was conducted by Su et al, where patients were given therapy with a chemical that is known to cause inflammation (called interferon gamma). The researchers asked the patients what symptoms developed as a result of them being “inflamed”. The symptoms reported included:

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritic pains
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Insomnia

By definition, if H pylori causes chronic inflammation, it has the potential to lead in the long term to all these symptoms and, indeed, that’s what I’ve seen in my clients year after year.

It should also be noted that H pylori infection can cause a decline in hydrochloric acid production in your stomach. If you don’t have enough acid, it can be a lot harder to digest food. Research has demonstrated time and time again that infection with H pylori bacteria can lead to iron-deficiency anaemia and B12 deficiency, both of which can also make you feel tired.

Finally, some studies seem to indicate a relationship between H pylori infection and autoimmune thyroid disorders. The thyroid gland is very important for regulating energy levels, motivation and ‘drive’. If its function is compromised, lethargy and fatigue can develop.

In conclusion it is clear that digestive infections such as H pylori are not responsible for digestive symptoms alone. In fact, the digestive symptoms that are caused by the likes of Helicobacter infection are just the tip of the iceberg. If you are infected with H pylori and you feel tired or have mood imbalances like depression and anxiety, eradicating H pylori could be the missing link for you.

Foot Arch Pain – Why Does it Hurt and What Can I Do About it?

What Is The Foot Arch?

The foot arch is located between the heel bone and the ball of the foot. It is formed by the bones, ligaments, muscles, fascia, and tendons of the foot. Its purpose is to support the weight of the body and to help propel the body forward while walking. To do this, the foot requires both a high degree of stability and a great deal of flexibility, which is provided by the arch.

There are three arches that help form the overall foot arch.

1. The medial longitudinal foot arch runs along the inside of the foot from the front to the back and is the one most people think of when they think of their arches. Part of its job is to absorb most of the shock that occurs upon impact and support the structure of the foot.

2. The lateral longitudinal foot arch runs in the same way as the medial longitudinal arch, but it is located on the outer edge of the foot. For most of us it is fairly horizontal and contacts the floor along its entire length when standing. It can be seen best in people with high arches.

3. The transverse foot arch, also called the metatarsal arch, unlike the first two, runs from the outside to inside (lateral to medial) across the mid/front part of the foot and also helps provide support and flexibility.

General Foot Arch Classifications

There are three general classes of foot arch, primarily based on observation of the medial longitudinal arch (the main arch at the inside of your foot).

1. Normal arch

2. High arch (associated with supination)

3. Low arch (flat feet, associated with overpronation)

Low arches, or flat feet, known as pes planus, usually occurs when the arch disappears upon standing or taking a step. In a smaller percentage of people it remains low whether they are standing on it or not. People with low arches or flat feet are often overpronators. With too much pronation, the ankle turns inward and the arch collapses upon standing. It can give a knock-kneed appearance.

In individuals with a high arch, known as pes cavus, you can see a big gap between their foot and the ground at the inside (medial longitudional) arch, and sometimes even on the outside (little toe side) as well. This condition often leads to the ankles rolling slightly outward and giving them the appearance of being bow-legged. Both of these conditions change the mechanical approach to walking and can cause painful arch symptom.

How Can I Tell What Type of Foot Arch I Have?

To estimate what type of arch you may have, look at your feet in a standing position. If you have a clear space between the ground and your foot arch, even on the outside (little toe side) you may have a high arch. If you have absolutely no defined medial (inside) foot arch, you are most like flat-footed.

You can test this by stepping on a dry surface with a wet foot. If your footprint shows only a thin strip along the outside of your foot connecting your heel and ball-of-the-foot area, you have a high arch. If the connecting strip is approximately half the width of the foot you most likely have a normal or medium arch. If most or all of the sole of the foot touches the floor between the heel and the ball-of-the-foot area, you have a low foot arch or flat foot.

What Problems are Associated With Foot Arch Position?

The foot is the primary part of our body that absorbs the force when we hit the ground. So the arch has a lot of work to do and can become injured fairly easily. Direct force can cause injury, or when the ligaments or the muscles of the foot are overstretched. Overuse can also result in a significant amount of irritation and pain. Poor biomechanical alignment can cause pain not only to the arch of the foot, but to other parts of the foot, ankles, knees, hips, and lower back. Arthritis of the joints in the area may also occur if your arch is improperly aligned.

Injury leading to inflammation of the plantar fascia is a common source of pain as well. The plantar fascia is a thick band of fibrous tissue that extends from the heel to the toes and acts as a support platform, making up one of the main components of the foot arch. Excessive pronation or supination generally caused by having flat feet or a high arch, can cause micro-tears and tension where the plantar fascia attaches to the heel. When this happens, the point of insertion into the heel becomes inflamed and plantar fasciitis pain occurs.

Foot Arch Pain: How Is It Treated?

If you are having pain, a visit to your doctor may determine the best course of action. Often for foot arch problems, foot orthotics or arch supports will be prescribed. Foot orthotics work to distribute your weight more evenly when you are walking and to adjust poor biomechanical alignment that is contributing to your pain. For a flat foot, your arch supports will have longitudinal arch support, and may have angles built in to tilt your foot in a better position. For a high foot arch, your orthotic insoles will cushion the heel and help absorb some of the shock.

Other treatments include stretching exercises, heel cups or heel cradles, plantar fasciitis night splints, and proper fitting footwear.

If you know you have a high or low foot arch but have no pain, you may never develop a problem…or you may develop problems over time. Make sure you don’t ignore even slight foot arch symptoms. Over the counter arch supports (off the shelf arch supports) may bring the symptoms under control before they become a bigger problem, or they may be able to help prevent foot arch problems before they occur in the first place.

If you are getting over the counter arch supports for foot arch pain, make sure they are designed with enough stability to actually support the arch. Many products on the market today add a bit of cushion, but very little support.

DermaTend – Is It The Most Effective of the Over The Counter Mole and Wart Removal Creams?

There are almost as many ways to get rid of your skin moles, wart and skin tags as there are reasons for removing them. Some require surgery, some use over the counter creams and other preparations, and some you can make up at home.

Many of these really do work, and work rather well, but the problem is making up your mind what might suit you best.

I’m going to refer only to moles from now on, but as far as DermaTend is concerned you can substitute warts or skin tags as appropriate.

Before looking closely at DermaTend, let’s have a quick look at surgical ways of removing moles. One of the main advantages is that a doctor or dermatologist will check your moles and make sure any cancerous moles or similar skin cancers or melanomas are properly removed. Even if you are determined to remove your moles at home, you should have them examined beforehand, as the consequences of identifying a melanoma as a mole and treating it yourself can be very severe, even fatal.

OK, so now you know that your moles are normal and harmless. Maybe the thought of the inconvenience and cost of surgery puts you off getting a doctor to remove your moles for you, and the cheaper and more convenient do it yourself treatments are appealing.

And you’re in luck, because several over the counter products do a very good job of removing moles quickly and safely, and they are not all that expensive.

One of the good ones is DermaTend. It is one of a group of treatments where the active ingredient is the somewhat corrosive sap of a plant which, when applied to a mole, basically eats it away. DermaTend has several active ingredients, but the main one is bloodroot.

It is very easy to use, but you must follow the instructions exactly for best results.

Basically, what you do is….

  • Roughen the skin with an emery board or needle, but not to the point of bleeding.
  • Clean with warm soapy water.
  • Dry.
  • Apply DermaTend to the entire surface of the mole, but not the surrounding skin.
  • Leave on for 20 – 30 minutes.
  • Wash off gently and apply a band aid to protect the scab which should have formed.

Sounds simple enough.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind though. Firstly, expect some stinging for 5 – 10 minutes after you have applied the cream. If you don’t feel a little pain you may need to repeat the roughening part of the preparation and reapply DermaTend.

Secondly, it is important to restrict the cream to the mole itself, and not let any get on the surrounding skin. Vaseline or the healing cream which comes with most packs of Dermatend can be smeared around the mole to prevent this happening.

The only other thing to remember is to leave the scab alone and let it drop off naturally. A band aid will protect it from accidental knocks. If the scab is allowed to fall off naturally the chance of scarring is minimal. You may see some redness around where the mole was, and maybe even a slight depression in the skin, but both of these will disappear quite quickly.

That’s about it. Used with care, DermaTend has been a very effective mole remover for many people.

But it may not be for everyone. Some of you may have heard bad reports about bloodroot as an active ingredient. These reports arose when it was used for home treatment of skin cancers, or was taken internally. It is just one of a group of caustic plants which are used in mole, wart and skin tag removers, and seems be no better or worse than the others.

However if you are worried by the ingredients, you could try the similar Wart Mole Vanish.

And if the thought of using caustic creams on your moles is itself a worry, there are a number of preparations based on non caustic plant oils which you could try, as well as many home made treatments. Many of these require regular applications and can take weeks or more to work.

But DermaTend has a good record, and come with a 60 day guarantee. But where can you get it?

It’s not available from shops, but they do have a website. Even better, and sometimes cheaper, is Amazon, where you will also find lots of reviews of this effective product. While most reviews are very favorable, some are not, but it is obvious that in many of these the cream hasn’t been applied properly, and that is really important.

Dr. Stephen L. Barrett, DPM, FACAS, Phoenix, On Sports Injuries And Their Treatment

Dr. Stephen L. Barrett, DPM, FACFAS, Phoenix, is considered to be one of the world’s experts in the treatment and diagnosis of heel pain. Dr. Barrett is the first surgeon to introduce minimally invasive endoscopic surgery to the foot in addition to several other surgical techniques which he has invented.

Dr. Barrett is an accomplished physician certified in foot and ankle surgery by The American Board of Podiatric Surgery. He is the U.S. Patent holder for the development of two endoscopic surgical procedures: endoscopic plantar fasciotomy (EPF) and endoscopic decompression fasciotomy (EDIN). He has trained over 5,000 surgeons throughout the word in his surgical techniques. He is a contributing editor for The Journal of the American Podiatric Association and Practical Pain Management as well as serving on the board of Podiatry Today.

We were fortunate enough to take a few minutes of Dr. Barrett’s time to ask him about the diagnosis and treatment of common sports injuries to the foot and ankle.

Dr. Barrett, what is the most common sports injury you encounter in your practice?

DR. BARRETT: Easily it would be a sprained ankle.

What is the usual cause and treatment? What are some of the misconceptions people normally have about this kind of injury?

DR. BARRETT: Something they do in their sport causes their ankle to roll in. For example, in basketball, they may come down on somebody else’s foot or land on the inside of their foot. We call that an inversion ankle sprain. For a runner, a little hole in the sidewalk or that type of thing will cause the same effect.

The way to treat it if it’s mild is just with what we call RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. If it’s a very mild injury, this regimen usually will resolve the inflammation and pain within a few days. If it’s a moderate sprain or strain, it could take longer to start to feel better. You can usually tell how bad it is by the amount of bruising and the amount of pain and swelling. If it’s more than just a mild ankle sprain, still very painful after a day or so with no change in pain, then they should get it evaluated. It is important to have x-rays taken and make sure there’s no fracture or any other type of injury.

Do you find that individuals will let something like an injury go for too long? In other words, they think that it’s minor but in reality it’s something that needs to be addressed?

DR. BARRETT: Everybody’s different, everybody has different pain tolerances and athletes are usually much tougher individuals than non-athletes. They try to get back to their program quicker than somebody who is not as hardcore of an athlete. But what happens occasionally is that, with an inversion ankle sprain, there are a few injuries that will not show up until the sprain itself has healed.

One such possible injury is called an osteochrondral lesion of the talus (ankle) bone. What that means is a little piece of the top of the ankle bone where there’s cartilage on top of it gets bumped or impacted, and it often times this won’t show up until maybe six weeks after the injury.

By that time, the sprain has healed but the area is still nagging them and the patient can’t figure out why, why is this still hurting after this period of time? Most sprains or strains are completely healed after six weeks, so pain that persists past that time is a red flag. There are two other injuries that are commonly associated with this type of problem. One is called Sinus Tarsi Syndrome. There’s a little hole between the ankle bone and the heel bone and there’s some little tiny nerves in that area that will get stretched and pulled with that type of injury.

These nerves can send pain signals back to the brain. It’s not truly the ankle joint that’s affected, it’s actually the joint below the ankle joint called the subtalar joint but it’s so close anatomically that most patients can’t figure it out. They just think “well, my ankle” because it’s literally maybe a centimeter or two centimeters from the ankle joint itself. So that’s another injury that’s very common. Usually six months down the line they’ll come in and say “you know, my foot just hurts on the outside top of it and I had this ankle injury or ankle pain six months ago, and it’s still bothering me… “

The third condition is what we call a common peroneal nerve injury. If you go just below your knee to the outside of your leg you can feel a little bump. That’s the fibular head, or the top of the long, skinny bone of the leg. There’s a nerve that runs right around that area called the common peroneal nerve. It’s a very important nerve because it allows people to be able to bring their foot up. When that nerve gets injured, sometimes a person will develop what is commonly called a “drop foot.” They are almost paralyzed, so to speak, from not being able to bring their foot up.

That injury can sometimes be very latent, from months to even years where a patient will just have a nagging sensation or they may feel a little weakness. Sometimes the patients describe that they “feel like my foot is slapping on the floor”. Over time, the nerve damage, if left untreated, causes the nerve to degenerate, and then we have less options for helping the patient. If a few months after a strain, you are having trouble bending your toes towards your ankle, please see some one trained in peripheral nerve.

So, those are some of the things that you have to factor in with that particular injury.

Doctor, let’s talk a little bit about footwear for athletes like runners. How important is the right footwear for injury prevention for somebody who is active like a runner?

DR. BARRETT: It’s extremely important. There’s different biomechanics just like we have different genetics. Every foot is different. If you put a foot in the wrong shoe and you put enough mileage on it, you’re going to get some biomechanical breakdown. That’s pretty intuitive, I think, that everybody would agree with that. The shoe companies have become extremely sophisticated in what they’re trying to do with controlling people’s biomechanics.

The problem is that’s more of a generic type of blanket coverage, so to speak, and the shoe chosen may not actually take care of the user from a stress standpoint, number of cycles standpoint, or it may in fact be the wrong shoe for them entirely. You need to look at that from a biomechanical standpoint, what kind foot does this patient have and is that shoe that they’re wearing really suited for them?

One of the things that I always recommend is that if somebody has an unusual foot condition, have it evaluated by somebody who knows biomechanics. Then, instead of trying to have the shoe take care of the problem, have a custom orthotic made by somebody who understands your specific biomechanics. That orthotic can be transferred from shoe to shoe so it actually ends up saving you money in the long run.

Invariably, there are a lot of folks out there who will come in with a bag of 8 or 10 pairs of different shoes, and they’ll try to find a shoe that fixes their problem when in fact no shoe will fix their problem. They actually need more of a significant treatment.

To wrap this up, what do you feel is the most important consideration that one should make when choosing a podiatrist for treatment?

DR. BARRETT: Well, I think that there are a couple of things. Podiatry is a very interesting profession because it’s a young profession and it’s a highly specialized profession so there are people within the podiatric profession that specialize just in children, people who specialize just in biomechanics, people who specialize primarily in surgery, included very specific areas such as peripheral nerve surgery for the lower extremity. If the patient really knows what their problem is, they should do a little bit of research to find out if that particular doctor has a focus or an interest in that area.

That makes perfect sense. Thank you, Dr. Barrett, for taking the time to speak with us today.

DR. BARRETT: You’re very welcome.

Dr. Stephen Barrett, DPM, FACFAS, Phoenix, can be contacted at his clinic in Phoenix at 480-478-0780. His business website is your-feet.com.

By Kevin Nimmo –

Kevin Nimmo is a writer and online media strategist. He interviews subject matter experts and educates his readers based on information provided by experts in their respective fields. He is also Executive Editor of The Western Medical Journal.

Emotionally Unavailable, Irresistible and Fabulous

Females are taught from birth, that men are supposed to be the pursuers, while women are supposed to be coy, quiet, and apprehensive. As nature has made us, women tend to be sexually selective and play hard to get, while men fight each other for the reproductive opportunities we offer them in order to make sure the species survives. Women are therefore presumed to be predestined as the picky sex and men have the role of winning them over with their worth and charm. Winning them over that is, when they’re not too busy being aloof and calling the shots as to the tempo in the relationship. Well, at least that’s what many biological and evolutionary theorists argue anyway. Personally, I think they might all have been dropped on their heads at birth, but that’s a debate for another time.I’ve recently discovered another itty bitty well kept secret in the relationship wheel of fortune…a nugget of wisdom that will aid many travelers on the road not taken…the art of being Emotionally Unavailable, or EU for short.

“You should bottle this emotional unavailability thing…it’s better than perfume and a mini-skirt for attracting men and getting noticed.” Such was a friend’s reaction to the flood of attention I received from men at one point in time, all because for a year or more, I became completely, utterly, totally emotionally unavailable (EU). The results of this emotional “scent” have been rather baffling to my friends. After all, isn’t it men who are usually the emotionally unavailable gender? Aren’t we females supposed to be giving THEM signals that we are interested instead of giving off an essence that we’re not?

When it comes to being EU however, we’re not talking about being selective or playing hard to get. (and if that’s your game, know that playing hard to get DOES NOT work.) Men have equally strong opinions of the hard-to-get as they do of the easy-to-get women. Your best strategy is to play selectively hard-to-get if you really want a guy. This kind of woman is always the most popular among men if she knows how to use such strategies in a skillful way…think seduction and discretion. The thing with the emotionally unavailable woman is that she really and truly DOESN’T care if she’s involved with anyone…she really has no need for a relationship at the moment and would rather focus on other things. She’s either too busy, too tired, being pulled in too many directions, or has recently been too emotionally burnt or scarred to have the desire to play or engage in any games, pursuit, or selection process.

The irony of all this becomes, when a woman is truly emotionally unavailable, the men start dropping like flies. In a lot of ways, this woman is now his dream girl. Amongst the flock of women throwing themselves at him, not only does she present a challenge (something men love), but she also offers no threat of things getting too emotional or heavy any time too soon. Furthermore, she’s not frigid, mean, or impossible to get along with due to mood swings, she just doesn’t care where things go or what happens..she’s politely detached. She has no agenda, no mission to get a ring on her finger, no vision of him meeting her parents, no plans to start popping out babies anytime soon, if ever… you get the picture.

So how does one become emotionally unavailable? While there are tons of ways to become “EU,” I thought I’d start with the Top 5 suggestions for achieving your goal:

1. Stay busy, maintaining a jam-packed schedule. If you don’t have the time to think about relationships, then they can’t become a priority and you are less likely to stress over your status. This will make you less likely to respond to his email or return his phone call, at least any time soon. Ultimately, you’ll stay on his radar longer because you’re not giving him your full attention from the get-go and are in the driver’s seat in whether or not things will happen.

2. Travel, a lot if possible. People who are always on the road (or in the air) have difficulty maintaining any kind of relationship. The fact that you’re always out of town will excuse you from not being overly attentive to a beau, but not rule out any potential. You just don’t have the time to get serious right now, literally. You avoid dealing him an ego bruise, which will keep the door open. This tip will also make it easier to avoid even starting a relationship in the first place, if that is what makes things easier.

3. Go on a relationship hiatus. Make a pledge to yourself that for the next “X” weeks or months, you will only be involved with yourself, taking the time to do everything you’ve been wanting to do to better yourself, take care of yourself, and love yourself. This will help you deflect any eager beaver attempts on his part until you’re ready for them, upping the anticipation for him. This may be lonely, especially in the dark hours of the night when your mind has time to think..but in the long run will do a lot of good if you decide to come out of hiatus. You’ll be more prepared to start something new with no residual baggage.

4. Throw yourself into a long-term project. Choose to write a book or screenplay, plot world domination, move or redecorate your house, do something which will demand 99% of your attention and focus. When you finally DO make the time to surface for some fun, make sure your friends get first dibs on your remaining 1%. Any males can join your posse in tow if they’re up for it. It’s the only way you can “squeeze” him in.

5. Look dynamite whenever you go out. If you’re giving off the aura that you could care less if you meet somebody, men will be even more intrigued that you’re all dolled up, but for whom? What purpose does this serve, he will wonder. What does this woman have going on that I need to know about? An air of mystery is always sexy and alluring…and the best part is, you could really care less at this point. You’re not playing hard to get, you ARE hard to get. It’s more alluring than any other lure you can imagine.

Of course, being emotionally unavailable “should” only happen for random periods of time in a perfect world. For some of us, it’s permanent after a while if we keep up the shields for too long. You have to realize that at some point if you want to not be alone, you will have to emerge from the self-imposed hiatus and take a chance on life and love again. After a while, you’ll have so many men falling at your feet that you’ll be forced to begin to entertain the thought of getting involved with at least one of them a little more seriously. In the meantime, see being EU as a way to focus on yourself, tend to the non-relationship needs in your life, and as a means to let guys come after you. You may be surprised by the end result.

Getting an Easy Introduction to Complex Ovarian Cysts

While simple ovarian cysts are generally more common and harmless, complex ovarian cysts can be dangerous if not diagnosed earlier in their life cycle because there is a possibility they can lead to ovarian cancer. When discussing this subject matter, it is important to first understand the different kinds of complex ovarian cysts and how they can affect your medical diagnosis. It is also crucial that the information is presented in a very simple format, without the complications of introducing medical jargons. This is one mistake doctors often make when talking with patients with complex ovarian cysts, and that is, to not provide a basic definition and move straight into the subject of the different kinds of treatment options available.

Unlike simple cysts, complex ovarian cysts are, well, more complex. There are 3 types of cysts that make up the latter group. The first type is called a Dermoid Cyst and it contains developmentally mature skin which includes hair follicles, sweat glands, and even hair, blood, skin, teeth, eyes, and thyroid tissue. The good news is that because it contains mature tissue, a dermoid cyst is almost always benign. Another type of complex ovarian cyst is the Endometrioid Cyst. Most women know this type of cyst as a chocolate cyst and it is most typically caused by endometriosis (a medical condition where the endometrial cells are deposited in areas outside the uterine cavity). It is usually formed when a small piece of endometrial tissue bleeds, becomes transparent, and grows inside the ovaries. The last type of complex cyst is a Cystadenoma and this is essentially a benign tumor derived from glandular tissue where secretions are retained and accumulate in cysts.

So you can understand now that complex ovarian cysts originates from different circumstances and can develop into various forms. So what are some of the characteristics of complex ovarian cysts? For one, they usually have septations (or thin membranes or walls dividing an area into a number of chambers). They are also echogenic (a term used in ultrasound that describes complex patterns within a cyst). In addition, they have the appearance of buds into the cyst cavity (also referred to papillary projections). Lastly, they are most commonly associated with cancer, especially after menopause. While this last characteristic may be the one women fear the most, remember that knowing the characteristics is only one step towards knowing if you have cancer so the best course of action would be to talk to your doctor immediately and run a number of additional tests. The good news is that if you are post-menopausal, there is no risk associated with ovarian cancer.

There are a number of reasons why complex cysts develop, and the most common are due to genetic predisposition, weakened immune system, obesity, ignorance/neglect, the existence of other conditions or diseases. When it comes to treating this type of cyst, the medical community is currently advocating surgery, or in less serious cases, the use of drugs or prescription medicine to manage the condition. Some patients, however, prefer to explore more natural remedies and turn to herbal treatments. If you have complex ovarian cysts and you are not sure which course of action to take, your first source of advice should always come from your doctor or physician.

Twenty Most Common Signs and Symptoms of Male Yeast Infection and a Simple Test

Male yeast infection is a topic that is not discussed widely. Too frequently, information focuses on vaginal candida infections and fails to address the fact that males can experience penile yeast infection as well as yeast infections on other parts of the male genitals.

When a man gets a candida infection he may experience no symptoms at all. But often there are symptoms which may not cause the male to think that the cause is yeast at all. The symptoms may or may not involve the penis or genital area.

Symptoms of Male Yeast Infection Involving Penis and Genitals

The major symptoms involving the male genitalia can be the same as symptoms which can indicate a much more serious sexually transmitted disease (STD) such as syphilis. However, the simple test provided at the end of this article can help determine if yeast is the culprit. The symptoms are:

1. Glan, the head of the penis, may become red and inflamed.

2. Urination may be slightly painful. This symptom usually do not cause the severe pain associated with more serious STDs but can be annoying. This symptom can also indicate a urinary tract infection.

3. Jock itch may develop in the genital area.

4. The male may experience sexual dysfunction not normally experienced.

Symptoms of Male Yeast Infection Not Involving Genitals

Here we will continue the list of symptoms, but focus on symptoms and signs which do not involve the genitals, often causing the man to fail to identify the source of the problem:

5. Digestive problems may appear because of the lack of intestinal flora balance due to the over growth of yeast.

6. Constipation may occur.

7. Bad breath may appear even though good oral hygiene is practiced.

8. Bloating due to yeast bacteria over-growth in the digestive tract may appear.

9. Frequent intestinal gas is another indication of the yeast imbalance.

10. Diarrhea may be a sign of infection.

11. Loose stools may be present but no actual diarrhea.

12. Irritability due to general health changes are common.

13. Mood swings in a man who does not normally experience mood swings can be a sign of male yeast infection.

14. Abnormal fatigue without unusual levels of activity may signal an infection.

15. Lack of energy in a male who is normally energetic can be a sign of a yeast outbreak.

16. Memory loss is sometimes a symptom.

17. Unusually dry, flaky skin which is itchy can indicate yeast growth.

18. Athlete foot outbreaks, caused by similar bacteria can be indicative of a male yeast infection.

19. Sudden onset of prostate-like problems such as frequent urination urges may be present.

20. An unusual craving for sweets or carbohydrates because the yeast bacteria want to be fed.

Simple Test for Male Candida Infections

This is a very simple, easy to perform test to help a man determine if the signs and symptoms he may be experiencing are in fact caused by a yeast infection. To prepare for the test, simply place a glass of water next to the bed before retiring for the night.

Upon awakening, before getting out of bed, spit into the glass of water two times. During the next 15 minutes, watch the saliva in the water carefully. If the saliva dissipates into the water, there is most likely no infection. But, if the saliva becomes cloudy, stringy, sinks to the bottom of the glass, or takes on an appearance of spider webs, there is most likely a male candida infection present in the man’s body.

The appearance of these saliva indications is very noticeable, so a man with a yeast infection will have no difficulty recognizing the signs. Do not worry that the signals may be unclear. Usually, within the first five minutes, it will be very clear whether indicators of yeast infection are present.

How Traditional Chinese Health Beliefs and Chinese Culture Influence Health and Illness?

Traditional Chinese health beliefs adopt a holistic view emphasizing the importance of environmental factors in increasing risk of disease. According to Quah (1985), these factors influence the balance of body’s harmony, yin and yang. These are two opposite but complementary forces and, together with qi (vital energy), they control the universe and explain the relationship between people and their surroundings. Imbalance in these two forces, or in the qi, results in illness.

In order to restore the balance, traditional remedial practices may be needed. For example, excess `hot’ energy can be counterbalanced by cooling herbal teas, and vice versa. These beliefs are deeply ingrained among the Chinese, and have been found to be unchanged following migration to Singapore.

Lee, et. al. (2004), found that patients with specific chronic diseases, namely arthritis, musculoskeletal diseases and stroke, were more likely to use Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). This was strongly determined by the ‘chronic disease triad’, perceived satisfaction with care and cultural health beliefs.

Hence the use of TCM is not associated with the quality of doctor-patient interaction. Astin (1998) also agreed that it was seen as being more compatible with the patients’ values, spiritual and religious philosophy, or beliefs regarding the nature and meaning of health and illness.

In traditional Chinese culture, taking medication is thought to be aversive, hence medications tend to be taken only until symptoms are relieved and then discontinued; if symptoms are not obvious, medications will probably never be taken.

Apart from parental cultural beliefs, minor side effects of certain antibiotics such as stomach upset may contribute to the poor adherence of medication. The use of “leftover”, “shared” antibiotics and over-the-counter purchase of antibiotics by parents are common situations in the community.

They think that their children suffer from the same illnesses judging by the similar symptoms, so they would give the “leftover” or “shared” antibiotics to their children and only bring them to their doctors if there is no improvement (Chang & Tang, 2006). This may cause their conditions to deteriorate and may necessitate aggressive treatments later which may have unnecessary side effects.

However, there are small groups of Chinese who also blamed ill-health or misfortunes on supernatural forces, or on divine retribution, or on the malevolence of a ‘witch’ or ‘sorcerer’ (Helman, 1994). Such groups will usually seek cures from their religions.

In Singapore, the Ministry of Health has drawn up the TCM Practitioners’ Ethical Code and Ethical Guidelines to prevent any unscrupulous practitioners from preying on their patients and taking advantage of their beliefs, for example, molesting ignorant patients.

The degree of acculturation has been evidenced in the following case. An old man was brought into our hospital with a week-long history of malaise, nausea and vomiting, and sudden jaundice. He was diagnosed to have an obstructive mass in the liver.

A biopsy revealed hepatocellular carcinoma. The serological test suggested chronic active hepatitis B. When the news broke to his son that his father had cancer, he requested not to disclose that to his father.

When we discussed end of life issues such as hospice care and “do-not-resuscitate” (DNR) orders, the son tried to divert the discussion to other issues such as when his father could go home.

Cultural Issues that may be involved in this case are:

The Chinese tend to protect the elderly from bad news.

Believing in karma – the older folk believe that discussing illnesses or death/dying is bad luck. They think that talking about something bad will cause it to come true.

There is an increased incidence of liver cancer resulting from Hepatitis B due to delayed treatment in the elderly, as it may take a long time for them to accept the initial diagnosis.

Reference:

Astin JA. (1998). Why patients use alternative medicine. J Am Med Assoc 1998; 279: 1548-1553.

Chan, G. C. & Tang, S. F. (2006) Parental knowledge, attitudes and antibiotic use for acute upper respiratory tract infection in children attending a primary healthcare clinic in Malaysia. Singapore Medical Journal, 47(4):266

Helman, C. G. (1990) Culture, Health and Illness. Wright, London.

Quah, S. R. (1985) The Health Belief Model and preventive health behaviour in Singapore. Social Science and Medicine, 21, 351-363.

Lee GBW, Charn TC, Chew ZH and Ng TP. (2004). Complementary and alternative medicine use in patients with chronic diseases in primary care is associated with perceived quality of care and cultural beliefs. Family Practice, 21(6): 654-660.

Clinical Examination in Respiratory Disorders

Cough with or without expectoration, chest pain, dyspnea and hemoptysis are the most frequent respiratory symptoms. Cough with expectoration is a prominent symptom in inflammatory lesions such as bronchitis and pneumonia or in irritative and allergic lesions of the respiratory tract. Pharyngitis, laryngitis, tracheitis and early stages of bronchitis give rise to cough without expectoration. In some infections like Bordetella pertussis and Klebsiella, paroxysms of cough are followed by a long inspiratory whoop caused by laryngeal spasm. Cough elicited by change of posture (Postural Cough) is characteristic of bronchiectasis, lung abscess, and bronchopleural fistula, “Bovine Cough” or “gander Cough” is the term used to denote cough devoid of its explosive (tussive) phase. This occurs in bilateral adductor paralysis of the vocal cords. In asthma cough and dyspnea tend to recur regularly at night. In left sided heart failure with pulmonary edema, cough occurs in the recumbent posture. Development of a sudden and uncontrollable paroxysm of cough in an otherwise healthy person should suggest the possibility of an aspirated foreign body.

Cough is generally a protective reflex designed to keep the airway patent and clear the exudates. Sometimes irritant cough becomes troublesome, interfering with sleep and causing severe annoyance to the patient. Other unto-wards effects of cough include syncope (cough syncope), penumothorax, mediastinal and surgical emphysema and rib fractures (cough fracture). In children paroxysmal cough may lead to sub-conjuctival hemorrhage.

Sputum
The material expectorated from the respiratory tract is called sputum. In healthy individuals the secretion of the respiratory passages is less than 100ml in 24 hours. And this is just adequate to provide a protective lining, and there is no expectoration. Expectoration in excess of 10-25 ml of sputum in 24 hours, should raise the possibility of disease. Copious amounts in excess of 300 ml are seen in bronchiectasis and lung abscess. Character of the sputum often suggests the underlying pathology. Sputum is serosanguinous in pulmonary edema, mucoid and sticky in asthma and chronic bronchitis, thick and purulent in bronchiectasis and lung abscess, creamy yellow in pulmonary tuberculosis, blood stained in carcinoma, tuberculosis, bronchiectasis, mitrial stenosis and pulmonary infarction, rusty in pneumonia and black in coal worker’s pneumoconiosis. Foul smelling sputum is suggestive of bronchiectasis, lung abscess or gangrene of the lung.

Presence of blood in the sputum is termed “hemoptysis”. In true hemoptysis blood is derived from the airways or the lungs. The quantity of blood may be small as in mitral stenosis or massive as in cavitary pulmonary tuberculosis or neoplasm. Sometimes blood is derived from the upper respiratory passages or mouth and this is termed “spurious hemoptysis”. Hemoptysis is a manifestation of serious underlysing disease warranting full investigation. Though rare, massive hemoptysis results in considerable loss of blood demanding emergency management in non-respiratory hypertension occurring in mitral stenosis, acute pulmonary edema, pulmonary infarction, trauma and hemorrhagic diseases. Rarely massive and fatal hemoptysis may develop when an aortic aneurysm erodes into the trachea or a bronchus. Spurious hemoptysis is commonly resorted to by hysterical individuals to attract medical attention.

management of hemoptysis:
The patient should be hospitalized as an emergency and a rapid clinical examination is done to determine the cause. It is important to avoid percussion, which may worsen the hemoptysis. The patient is put to bed and sedated with diazepam 10mg administered intramuscularly. Respiratory depressants such as morphine should be avoided since they impair expectoration. Blood loss and its effects are assessed by monitoring the volume of blood expectorated and the pulse, respiration and blood pressure. If the blood loss exceeds 200-300ml in 24 hours and it is persistent, blood transfusion is indicated.

In the majority of cases the underlying cause can be made out by clinical examination and chest radiography. Specific treatment is instituted early (e.g antituberculosis drugs in abscess, etc) in conditions where such treatment is available, majority of cases subside with rest, sedation, and blood transfusion. In conditions like pulmonary neoplasms, bleeding tends to persist, In such cases emergency bronchoscopy is done to locate the lesion and bleeding is located and the opposite lung is normal, induction of collapse by artificial pneumothorax serves to arrest bleeding promptly.

Digital clubbing (Hippocratic fingers)
This is caused by increase in the volume of soft tissue in and around the distal phalanges of the fingers and toes, especially the nail beds. This leads to increased curvature of the nails. Severity of clubbing varies and this has been graded for clinical purposes.
Grade 1: Fluctuation of the nail can be elicited on the nail bed.
Grade 2: The normal angle between the nail and nail bed is lost.
Grade 3: The terminal portion of the phalanx and nail appears as a drumstick or a parrot beak.
Grade 4: In addition to digital clubbing, other regions show pulmonary osteo-arthropathy.

Causes
• Respiratory diseases- suppurative lesions like bronchiectasis, lung abscess, emphysema, and infected cysts; advanced tuberculosis with bronchiectatic changes, bronchoganic carcinoma, pneumoconiosis, fobrosing alveolitis, and pleural fibroma.
• Cardiovascular disorders- Cyanotic congenital heart diseases and infective endocarditis.
• Alimentary disorders- Malabsorption states, ulcerative colitis, cirrhosis of the liver, hepatomas and amoebic live abscess.
• Miscellaneous groups- Clubbing may develop in thyroxicosis. At times it may occur nonpathologically in several members of a family (familial clubbing). Repeated trauma to the finger tips as occurring in carpenters and blacksmiths leads to occupational clubbing.

Tonsillolith Or Tonsil Stone – A Smelly Lump Coughed Up From Your Tonsils?

A tonsillolith, also commonly known as a tonsil stone or tonsil rocks is a whitish/yellow lump, which forms within the tonsil crypts and eventually works its way out where it is either coughed up or swallowed. They can be an unpleasant annoyance at times giving the sensation of a foreign body stuck in the back of the throat and are often associated with bad breath issues and a dry metallic taste in the mouth.

If you squash a tonsil stone between your fingers they give off an awful smell a bit like rotten eggs or vomit. This is because they contain quantities of sulfur-producing bacteria that are found at the back of the tongue, which is often the cause of many bad breath problems. The stones vary in size from tiny up to around the size of a pea, but can be even larger and very uncomfortable in extreme cases.

What exactly is a tonsillolith and why do they form? They are generally made up of bits of food, dead skin cells, dead white blood cells, saliva and sulfur-producing bacteria that collect in crevices found in the tonsils. Over time they gradually get larger until they finally dislodge and fall out. There are some who try to squeeze them out using a moistened cotton bud but this tends to make you gag and can lead to soreness of the tonsils if you are not careful.

Tonsil stones are more common in adults than in children and tend to turn into more of a noticeable problem during later teenage years. They only normally materialize in individuals who still have their tonsils but this does not mean you should take drastic action to have your tonsils removed. It is estimated that around a quarter of all adults who still have their tonsils suffer from this condition at sometime during their lives. Symptoms can be a dry metallic taste in the mouth, sore throat, repeatedly coughing to clear the throat, referred ear pain or itching within the ear, bad breath and of course coughing up the tonsilloliths.

It does not make any difference if you have good dental hygiene, this in itself will not get rid of tonsil stones. At best, toothpaste, mouthwash or mints may mask any bad odours for a couple of hours but will do nothing to combat and eliminate your problem for good. The only way is to fight back and use a quality tonsil stones treatment plan. You need to get hold of the best cure available and give it a go.

The main problem more often than not is people are naturally lazy and put off doing something positive about their disorder for another day. This day never comes and they carry on through life just complaining rather than doing. If you have a problem with a tonsillolith or tonsil stone and don’t want to waste any more time, then do something positive now, don’t be one of those who leave it for another day. There is a solution to your problem and it’s worth giving it a try.

The Only Real Cure For Irritable Bowel Syndrome

In this article I will talk about irritable bowel syndrome specifically IBS-D which manifests itself in loose bowel movements or alternating diarrhea and constipation. I will not talk about IBS-C which appears to manifest itself in solely bloating and constipation.

If you have landed on this page it will be because you like many millions of others have either been trying to self diagnose your condition or more likely that you are looking for a cure. I must warn you in advance, although I have an academic background I am not a medical health professional and you should always consult a doctor before embarking on any form of treatment however mild.

In this article I will be covering my battle with IBS for approximately 10 years and how I finally found a cure that works. Everybody has a different story when it comes to IBS-D but as I found out, we all have something in common. I will go on to discuss this in the following paragraphs but I just want to start by saying a little bit about me.

About 10 years ago I was a young university graduate and decided to join a job that first seemed exciting with infinite possibilities. I soon learned that this job was very stressful and required a 24 hour commitment. I didn’t have a problem with working hard but I had a problem with my work environment. Many people at work were miserable, anxious, and horrible to one another and constantly testing their bodies to the limit. It seemed the norm to be constantly stressed out, have a poor diet and feel like you had no control over your life. My work was my life and my life was nonexistent.

Within a few months I started to come into work and make my way straight to the toilet. As any sufferer of IBS-D will known this meant constant diarrhea. It didn’t matter what I ate or drank I would always have diarrhea. It was not uncommon for me to visit the toilet three or four times a day having eaten little to nothing and immediately have diarrhea.

Slowly I just got used the feeling and for whatever reason I thought nothing more of it. As soon as I would eat I would not feel at ease until I had gone and empties my bowels after which I immediately felt better. Along with the diarrhea I would lose water from my body which I never had time to replace so I looked like a dried out prune. Over 5 years I continued to do this to my body hoping that I would find a better role in my job and finally this would all stop.

It certainly did not go away in fact into my 6th year of IBS-D suddenly out of nowhere I started getting debilitating cramps followed immediately by diarrhea. I would have these cramps 5-10 times a day and would literally need to run to the toilet or feel like I was about to soil myself. This made it difficult to be effective at my job which then created a vicious cycle causing my IBS-D to completely go out of control.

I suddenly thought that I had developed cancer and stated reading everything on the internet about what disease matched up with my symptoms. I found quite a few which is why self diagnosis is not such a wise idea. I went to my doctor and we stated off with a course of antibiotics as he thought I might have developed in infection after an episode of food poisoning.

This didn’t have any lasting effect and soon I was back to him demanding more in depth tests. This started a with a breath test to rule out food allergies and went onto multiple blood tests to eventually eliminating ulcers, colitis, coeliac disease, Crones disease gut infections, etc. I then went to the next and final step which was endoscopy of both the upper and lower digestive tracts. This all came back negative too. Finally I was diagnosed with severe IBS-D. In one way I was relieved to know that I didn’t have something like colon cancer but at the same time I was depressed thinking IBD apparently has no cure.

The next chapter of my life involved trailing a long list of medicines in the hope that they would resolve this issue. Now I want to tell you that of the drugs that I took, there are many people out there that rave about some of these drugs and what it has done for them. That is great as everyone’s body is different and what works for you may not work for me.

I am addressing the huge numbers of sufferers worldwide who like me have tried everything under the sun and were unable to find a cure. Now the following is a non exhaustive list of drugs which I tried and the results by their side.

Fibre (ineffective) Made things worse

Pre & Probiotics (ineffective) At first seemed promising but quickly stopped working

Exercise (ineffective)

Drinking Lots of water (ineffective) Made things worse

Exclusion diet (ineffective) Some foods like cheese, chocolate, spice made my IBS worse but exclusion of all the culprits did not resolve matters.

Anti Spasmodic (ineffective) Lots of different brands but all useless

Imodium (ineffective) Helped a little with the diarrhea but certainly not the cramps

Tri Cyclic Anti Depressant (ineffective) Has a drying up effective at first but quickly runs out

Hypnotherapy (ineffective) Very insightful and relaxing but not enough by itself

At this point the consultant G.I specialist had run out of ideas and I was left to suffer on my own.

Having done countless hundreds of hours of research I came across the answer. In Islam we believe that for every single disease God has made a cure so go seek it.

These are my opinions on IBS-D;

IBS-D will not kill you, it can easily be treated and there is nothing seriously wrong with you

IBS-D Is a functional disorder which is caused 99% by stress be it conscious or subconscious

IBS-D can only ever be treated by dealing with the cause behind the problem and not the problem itself

IBS-D affects people generally in the Western world where the 24/7 lifestyle and pressures of society cause people to be stressed out beyond limits and this is often brushed off as mild anxiety or depression.

So here is the magic bullet you have all been waiting for that worked for me and if my concept is correct should work 100% without fail for genuine IBS-D sufferers.

First accept that you have IBS-D because you are under pressure consciously or subconsciously and this is your body’s way of warning you that enough is enough.

I spoke to my G.P and asked for Venlafaxine XL which is an SNRI antidepressant. I choose this specifically because it had constipation as one of its side effects; it was a powerful antidepressant and reduced visceral hypersensitivity.

Within 6 months at 150mg a day I had completely 100% recovered from any symptoms of IBS-D.

So how did it work? It is simple; the vicious cycle of stress, followed by cramps followed by diarrhea was broken. I no longer worried every time I went out if I had been food poisoned or where the nearest toilet was. It just let me get on with life without thinking about IBS and soon I was able just stop worrying about IBS and that is it.

Every single person reacts differently to different antidepressants so try them and see which one works best for you. Whilst you are on them you could try using hypnotherapy to make you understand that if you take the stress away then you break the cycle. It’s your thoughts that control your bowels. Controlling your thoughts will help control you’re IBS but as I said before hypnotherapy is ineffective on its own.

The only other drug that I have used when coming off Venlafaxine was a benzodiazepine called Alprazolem, brand name XANAX. In the UK this is not prescribed on the NHS so you will have to get it by private prescription. This drug can be addictive but if you have good self control it is an excellent drug to use on a controlled as needed basis. One tablet of 0.5 mg and I would be saying what IBS? You have to be very very careful not to increase your dose or develop a habit for this drug. You should also know it can develop tolerance and so you will then need to start increasing your does. Use it like it is supposed to be used as a treatment for IBS and not recreationally for you pleasure and you will have no problem.

Finally I’d like to conclude by saying that if I didn’t have God in my life I probably would have given up long ago. Now I have my life back and am free from IBS-D. God always gave me hope so never give up the search for treatment and treatment starts with knowledge of your condition. So don’t make the mistakes I made and loose ten years of your life before realising that we are all human and we all have breaking points. If you have gone past that breaking point your body will tell you one way or another so listen to your body.

Drink Tea to Help Your Acid Reflux and Indigestion

Indigestion is often a sign that there are other problems in the body like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gallbladder disease, or ulcers, rather than it being a condition or disease of its own. Indigestion is a reoccurring pain that is persistent and in the middle of the abdomen.

Symptoms of indigestion include burning in the stomach, stomach growling, nausea, vomiting, belching, gas, acidic taste in mouth, bloating, and abdominal pain. Most often people get a burning feeling in the chest called heart burn. All of these symptoms may worsen when stress levels increase.

Everyone can get affected by indigestion, even children and elderly. It’s a very common problem; it is mostly common among alcoholics and drug users. There are many causes of indigestion though, not just substance abusers get indigestion. Ulcers, stomach cancer, stomach infections, IBS, and thyroid disease can all cause indigestion as well. Even certain medications can cause indigestion, some of these include, aspirin, estrogen and birth control, steroid medications, antibiotics, and thyroid medications can all contribute to causing indigestion.

Eating to much food can factor in indigestion. Stress levels and fatigue can cause it as well. Swallowing excessive air while eating and drinking and pregnancy can be causes as well. Indigestion is not caused by to much stomach acid in the body and not every can find a known cause for there indigestion.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, other wise known as acid reflux or GERD, is a condition where the liquid content in the stomach backs up into the esophagus. It is a chronic condition and it normally lasts the entire life of the person. Most often the reflux occurs in the middle of the day when the person is standing or sitting upright.

Gravity, swallowing, and saliva are protective to the esophagus but this only works if the person is in the upright position. When lying down say at night sleeping gravity is not in effect, people don’t swallow while they are sleeping, and the amount of saliva produced is decreased. So at night when the reflux occurs the acid and contents are going to stay in the esophagus longer causing more damage to it.

Causes of acid reflux are complex and in most cases has many causes put together to cause the disease. Most people that have acid reflux however, produce large amounts of stomach acid. Some things that can contribute to it are the lower esophageal sphincter, hiatal hernias, esophageal contractions, and emptying of the stomach. Symptoms of acid reflux are heartburn, regurgitation, and nausea. More severe complications can arise from not treating acid reflux. Ulcer, strictures, barrett’s esophagus, asthma, inflammation of the throat and infection in the lungs can all happen.

Changing eating habits can help to treat GERD. Avoiding things like peppermint, chocolate, alcohol, and caffeine can all help. Fatty foods are not good either. However, chewing gum can actually help treat acid reflux, the chewing of gum can stimulate production of saliva and increase swallowing. After swallowing saliva it neutralizes in the esophagus. Antacids can help as well; they neutralize acid in the stomach so that there isn’t any acid to reflux. There is also foam barriers and surgeries that can help in really severe cases.

Another thing that can help to treat acid reflux and indigestion is Acid Reflux and Indigestion Tea by Bell. It makes a soothing and relaxing action in the stomach that promotes good digestion and relieves abdominal pain as well as gastrointestinal tract spasms. It is also an antacid. It can also prevent bloating, promotes digestive enzymes, prevents cramping, stomach pain, and reduces inflammation in the digestive system.

Acid reflux and Indigestion Tea is all natural and safe to use, some of the ingredients in it are anise seeds, fennel, chamomile, dill, cumin, peppermint, ginger, sage, and orange peel. Acid Reflux an Indigestion Tea can be found at Alterative Health Supplements.

Acid Reflux: The Symptoms To Watch Out For

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a condition wherein the chyme (the semi-digested food in the stomach) goes up in to the esophagus which is primarily caused by dysfunctional lower esophageal sphincters (LES), abnormal contractions of the esophagus, and delayed emptying of the stomach.

Esophagitis, or inflammation of the lining of the esophagus, may result from GERD. This is primarily due to the reflux of acid from the stomach to the esophagus. Repeated acid reflux would normally irritate the esophagus since the pH of this acid is low enough to cause redness, swelling, warmth, pain, and loss of function (collectively known as inflammation) to the esophagus.

Heartburn results from the reflux of acid due to a dysfunctional LES. It is called a heartburn not because the actual heart burns, but because it imitates the symptoms of a heart attack since the esophagus is just near the heart. Once the acid goes up in to the esophagus, it produces a burning sensation in the chest which usually occurs after meals.

Nausea or the urge to vomit also occurs in GERD since the reflux of chyme from the stomach stimulates the esophagus to push the chyme back up to the mouth.

Regurgitation of chyme or vomiting of undigested food also occurs in GERD which is also due to dysfunctional LES. This, in turn, produces an acid taste in the mouth.

Untreated GERD could cause esophageal ulcers primarily due to the continuous irritation of the esophagus caused by acid reflux. This results to bleeding of the esophagus. If bleeding is not corrected, it can cause shock and death. Esophageal bleeding would lead to hematemesis, or blood in the vomitus, and melena, or dark, tarry stool. Untreated esophageal ulcers will also lead to esophageal perforation, which also results to shock and death if left untreated.

Barrett’s Esophagus can also occur in GERD. This is primarily due to the repeated injury of the esophageal lining caused by acid reflux, which causes metaplasia of the lining. This, however, is said to be a defense mechanism of the esophagus since it will become more resistant to injuries.

The repeated reflux of acid to the esophagus would cause spasm of the larynx resulting to dyspnea and cough. Sometimes, severe acid reflux could also cause aspiration pneumonia due to aspiration of the vomitus which causes lung damage. There are a few instances wherein the presenting manifestation of GERD is cough, rather than the heartburn.