Intellectual Leopold Bloom Versus Intellectual Stephen Dedalus

Did Bloom discover common factors of similarity

between their respective like and unlike reactions

to experience?

Both were sensitive to artistic impressions musical

in preference to plastic or pictorial. Both preferred

a continental to an insular manner of life, a cisatlantic

to a transatlantic place of residence. Both indurated

by early domestic training and an inherited tenacity

of heterodox resistance professed their disbelief in

many orthodox religious, national, social and ethical

doctrines. Both admitted the alternately stimulating

and obtunding influence of hetero sexual magnetism .(U 586)

The above quotation from Ulysses represents part of similarities and dissimilarities of the two protagonists of the novel very accurately. Thus, James Joyce himself seems to be interested in comparing these two together. Although, Joyce substitutes the two names as stoom and Blephen to suggest the possibility of their final unification of souls, he at the same time believes in their individual differences. He reveals this through a question and answer in the novel: “what two temperaments did they individually represent? The scientific. The artistic” (U 603). Bloom represents, in Joyce’s opinion, a logical, father-like figure with mixed womanly emotions for children. He is not an academic or a formally educated man. His education as Blades also notices is a “simple, basic one” and actually he is a “self-educated” (125) man. One of his friends, for example, notices Bloom’s buying a book about astronomy and regards it as Bloom’s intellectuality and his difference of thoughts and beliefs. On the other hand, Stephen representing the artist tends to be a young, academically trained man. The language he uses is definitely different from that of Bloom, in spite of some similarities of their ideas to some extent. Blades in How to Study James Joyce mentions this primary difference quite cleverly as follows:

Where Stephen’s interior monologue clearly reveals his

erudition, in its sophisticated sequence of academic

allusions, that of Mr. Bloom tends to be wandering,

unfocused, piling up perceptions on top of each other

in an agglomeration of material. Generally, the contents

of Bloom’s monologue arise more often from

his immediate environment. It is characteristically

speculative and most often it focuses on people and

objects. Its component units tend to be shorter than

Stephen’s. (Blades 127)

Joyce again within the novel emphasizes that “though they did not see eye to eye in everything, a certain analogy there somehow was, as if both their minds were traveling, so to speak, in the one train of though” (U 577).

Edward Said opens up his celebrated book Representations of the Intellectual by giving Antonio Gramsci’s definition of intellectuals. According to Gramsci, all people could be regarded as intellectuals, but only some of them have the role of intellectuals in society. Regarding this definition, both Bloom and Stephen could be classified among the intellectuals. Besides, considering Said’s illustration of the intellectuals too, both Bloom and Stephen retain some intellectual characteristics.

Leopold Bloom, the kind-hearted, considerate, and self-educated Jewish Dubliner represents some intellectual signs. Bloom’s consideration for other people’s ideas is a basic one. This is what Molly mentions in her final soliloquy, comparing Bloom’s behavior with Boylan’s. Besides, Bloom stands for love, mutual love and understanding. Consequently, he believes in equality of all people, from any religion or any race. In this way, he definitely resists against authoritarian powers, from his very weak position, of course. This “speaking truth to power” and resisting “injustice” and cruelty is among the intellectual representations mentioned by Said. Furthermore, another outstanding feature of Bloom’s personality is his tolerance. He declares that he “stands for union of all, Jew, Moslem, and gentile” (462). What he yearns for is, somehow, utopian and reformists ideals rather than assassination and omission. This is what an intellectual should desire for human societies; Union of all, no superiority of any race or any nationality over others. Besides, his definition of nation “same people living in the same place . . . or also living in different places” (22-3) shows his open-minded and democratic view of differences among nations. Obviously, he rejects all the traditional definitions of, for instance, nation, race, country, or religion, because most of these traditional definitions tend to be pious and biased. Bloom stands fervently not only for a united nation, but he is severely against racism of any kind. He states, “it is a patent absurdity on the face of it to hate people because they live round the corner and speak another vernacular, so to speak” (U 563). In spite of his vulnerable position in Dublin, as a Jew and of a Hungarian origin, he speaks for international freedom, love, religious unity and justice. He does not easily incline to the conservative and prejudiced mass ideas of the majority of Dubliners. According to Said, Bloom could be an intellectual, because of his struggles to retain his individuality. Another important factor creditable about Bloom, regarding Said’s views on intellectuals is the fact that he can not be classified easily in defined existing groups. He breaks down the “stereotypes and reductive categories”. According to Howes, the reader will admire Bloom’s kind desires for all and his universality and “understands that this universalism’s ‘big words’ have an historical, troubling, and often hidden relationship to violence, both imperialist and nationalist” (263). Therefore, Bloom could be a simple Everyman intellectual. Bloom is one of those intellectuals who do not have a role of intellectual in society, but his illuminating ideas and views are comprehensive for simple men. He is not one of those intellectuals lost in a world of jargons and professionalism, demanding translation and interpretations to understand their words.

The other intellectual in exile is the young Stephen Dedalus. He is known as one of the most radical young intellectuals of modern times. The revolutionary Stephen Dedalus questions and denies the simplest issues accepted by the majority of people: “paternity may be a legal fiction. Who is the father of any son that any son should love him or he any son?” (U 207). This is in addition to Stephen’s rejection of all the traditional nets of Irish life: family, religion, and nationality. The nonconformist Stephen Dedalus, like Bloom, struggles very hard to retain his individuality and independence. The difference is that Stephen has fervent ambitions to fulfill his artistic ideals, while Bloom does not seem to be demanding of something for his self. Stephen is according to Said ,one of those intellectuals who “will not adjust to domesticity or to humdrum of routine” (17). Consequently, Stephen as an intellectual figure confronts “orthodoxy and dogma” and tries to “break down the stereotypes and reductive categories.” Therefore, a young, modern intellectual like Stephen is not “fit for domestication” (16). Besides, Stephen stands against authoritarian symbols and professes for individual liberation of thought and action. According to Said, an intellectual’s main career is related to education and freedom.

In Ulysses, Joyce introduces two different types of Dublin intellectuals and makes them meet each other. Joyce seems to be very excited and interested about their meeting. He repeatedly compares them. Joyce declares “though they didn’t see eye to eye in everything, a certain analogy there somehow, was, as if both their minds were traveling, so to speak, in one train of thought” (U 577). The main difference between these two protagonists’ intellectual ideas comes from the difference between their personalities. One of them stands for the artist and the other for the scientist. One is more radical and emotional, the other more logical and forward-looking with fatherly affections toward the younger artist. One of them is more of an academic intellectuals’ background whose specialized vocabulary in expressing his ideas is definitely different from the simple words of the “Everyman” character. Of course this categorization is not absolute, because Joyce mentions in the novel “there is a touch of the artist about Bloom” (U 234) and Stephen “proves by algebra that Hamlet’s grandson is Shakespeare’s grandfather and that he himself is the ghost of his own father” (U 24). Edward Said believes that a critic that is called by him a “public intellectual” must “refuse to be locked into the narrow professional specializations which produce their own arcane vocabulary and speak only to other specialists” (U 35). In this sense, Bloom is more a “public intellectual” than Stephen is; While Stephen at times is trapped in the “narrow professional specialization.” However, the young intellectual Stephen is hailed everywhere in Dublin society. This connotes the fact that Stephen’s language is not so much professional for them. However, he is more an academic intellectual in comparison with Bloom, the Everyman symbol.

Seamus Dean in an article in Semicolonial Joyce also mentions that the contrast between the two protagonists is one of the major dynamic elements in Ulysses:

The contrast between the abstract and speculative Stephen and

the physically immersed Bloom is one of the governing features

of the opening episodes. Eating, drinking, urinating, defecating,

burping and farting, bathing luxuriating in sensations of warmth

and taste, scent and odor, sexual fantasy and longing, Bloom is

grounded to a comically extravagant degree in the world of the

body, of the city-world and its streets, of the stereotype of

l’homme moyen sensual. With a comparable emphasis, Stephen

belongs to the world of theorist-intellectual who longs for a world

disembarrassed of the physical and the sexual, where the self can

achieve a purity of origin that radically distinguishes it from the

common or dominant forms of society. (Deane 32-33)

However, although there are some differences between Bloom and Stephen’s personalities, as Joyce himself mentions, there are some certain similarities as well, such as their isolation and dislocation in Dublin. Their exilic life and isolation in Dublin life is, of course, the result of various reasons, but they have been exiled from one common society. The similar features relating these two post-colonial people as intellectuals in exile is their insistence to retain their individuality and independent opinions, each one in its own personal style. Sherry also mentions this difference in an interesting manner,

Bloom’s idiom provides a usage as expansive and

comprehensive (and inexact) as his Everyman character

; this sense of word stands manifestly at odds with that

of the neo-scholastic Stephen, who is a lover (successful

or not) of linguistic precision, and whose words seek a

meaning as integral and well defined as the individual

he fables in the myth of the solitary, transcendent artist

Daedalus. (Sherry 85)

Joyce’s two protagonists in Ulysses are living an exilic life in colonial Dublin; both of them experience a physical, as well as, a spiritual exile at home. In their one day wander in Dublin there are some implications of their searching for a surrogate father and an adopted son. Bloom and Stephen’s sense of loneliness, alienation, miserable family life, and some distinguishing intellectual features in their treatments, as well as, an oppressing colonial life at a deeper level, sends Stephen and Bloom to a marginal position, in which, they choose an exilic life.

Shuttlecock Woes – A Layman’s Guide to Common Badminton Injuries

A rather common opinion about badminton is that it is one of the safest games possible-a fun, family game innocent of malice and devoid of any real danger of injury. Such notions are highly probable, given the immense popularity of the game worldwide, as entertainment for children during playtime as well as a serious Olympic sport.

However, contrary to popular opinion, badminton players are also prone to injury-some so intense in nature that they may take months to heal completely. According to one study conducted by a Denmark-based group of doctors and published in 2006, badminton injuries occur at an average rate of 2.9/person every 1000 hours of play time. Despite being a non-contact sport, where there is no physical contact between the opposing players, badminton injuries happen frequently-mostly due to over use of certain parts of the body and sometimes because of accidents happening suddenly and painfully. Mostly they occur in players who wear the wrong shoes, do not warm-up, warm-up more than required, sport bad technique, are overweight or generally unfit. Injuries are witnessed in players who have not indulged in sport for a while as well as in seasoned players who have overused body parts such as wrists, ankles, knees and elbows to name a few.

Acute/Accidental injuries:

Ankle Sprains- Although still wanting in detailed statistical studies, some research papers have shown that on an average, ankle sprains constitute more than half of all reported badminton injuries. An ankles sprain can be described as the stretching and or tearing of ligaments and muscles in the ankle. In extreme cases, there may also be damage to tendons, bones and other joint tissues. The resulting bleeding within tissues can cause sudden edema and swelling of the ankle, which in third degree sprains, often takes more than 6 months to heal completely. Ankle sprains are accidental in 99% of the incidences and happen when the player lands on his partner’s foot or on the floor with his own foot turned inwards, outwards or flexed. The extremely quick directional changes required during badminton, often cause the feet to roll over or twist, resulting in a sprained ankle. Fatigue, extra body weight and shoes with more than normal ‘grip’ are frequent contributors to such injuries.

Meniscus Tear- This also goes by the layman-friendly alias ‘Torn Cartilage Knee Injury’ and is as painful as a sprained ankle. During the intricate footwork required during a badminton game, the meniscus or cartilage, which provides a soft cushioning between the thigh and shin bones, sometimes ruptures, causing pain in the joint-line of the knee, swelling and inability to flex the leg completely. This may sometimes also be accompanied by an injured or totally ruptured ligament, which increases the pain factor and healing time. Normally, the swelling and pain settles down easily for most people. However for some sportspersons, the knee can become prone to knee locking or ‘giving way’, in which case, surgery is required.

Muscle Strain- Unexpected movements, such as a sudden overhead smash, may put muscles in various parts of the body under pressure, thereby causing a disruption of fibres in the affected muscle. This can result in pain, swelling, bruising and in extreme case, loss of function. Muscles commonly affected are the hamstring, knee, shoulder and calf, to name a few.

Ocular hurt- A Malaysian study reportedly called badminton the ‘sport which presented the greatest ocular hazard in Malaysia’. Another Canadian study backed up these claims saying that 30-58% of all eye injuries in Canada caused by racquet sports were attributed to badminton. This may seem funny to a layman, since a shuttlecock looks anything but devious, with its lightweight feathery appearance, compared to the heavier balls used in tennis and squash. Although the frequency of eye injuries on an average is more in squash than in badminton, the latter does account for injuries which are greater in severity. This is partly because the bottom round of the shuttlecock fits into the eye orbit and also because of the extremely high speeds achieved during badminton. Badminton is widely considered to be the fastest racquet sport in the world and shuttlecocks have been known to reach speeds of more than 300 km/hour. On 25 September 2009, Malaysia’s Tan Boon Heong set the international smash record of 421 km/hour in the men’s double’s category at the Japan Open 2009. This is 1/3rd the speed of sound at sea level, so one can imagine the effect of a shuttlecock travelling at that speed and hitting one’s eye. It would be painful to say the least.

Fractures- Fractures are fairly rare in badminton, although some have been reported. They normally happen when another player’s racquet hits a player’s arm or leg or if the player himself falls down heavily or if another player missteps and falls/steps on him/her.

Chronic/overuse injuries:

Achilles Tendonitis- Loosely defined, Achilles Tendonitis or Achilles Tendonipathy is an inflammation of the heel cord of the foot. In reference to badminton, it can be described as a chronic degenerative change in the Achilles Tendon (a cord of inelastic tissue connecting bone and muscle running from heel to calf) occurring due to repetitive jumping and running, worsened by poor warm-up techniques. More common as one ages, it also tends to worsen with activity.

Tennis Elbow- Do not be mislead by the nomenclature of this particular injury. Tennis Elbow is often seen in sports other than tennis and very frequently among badminton players. The injury, known as Lateral Epicondylosis among the medical fraternity, is a chronic overuse injury which occurs due to the inflammation of the tendons of the forearm on the outer part of the elbow. Players who indulge in repetitive backhand strikes are often subject to Tennis Elbows. Change of grip size, lack of recovery and excess stretching tend to make them worse.

Golfer’s Elbow- This particular injury is similar to Tennis Elbow in mostly all respects except for the location of the injury. While Tennis Elbow causes inflammation on the outer part of the elbow, Golfer’s Elbow usually occurs on the inner side of the elbow with the pain sometimes radiating along the forearm. It is also a chronic degenerative problem, mainly caused by an overuse of the wrist.

Jumper’s Knee- As the name suggests, this injury often comes on due to repeated jumping on hard surfaces. Known in medical terms as Patellar Tendonitis, the Patella Tendon located below the knee cap is affected over a long period of jumping and landing during badminton. Activity normally worsens the tendon damage and a rupture may sometimes follow with lack of rest

Rotator cuff injury- The most prominent shoulder injury to affect badminton players over time, typically a rotator cuff injury is brought on over time by repeated stress to the shoulder area while playing overhead shots in badminton. It usually begins as a lingering irritation in the shoulder known as an ‘impingement syndrome’, which if left uncared for, worsens to develop partial tears in the rotator cuff muscles. Further activity and stress can cause a complete tear in one or more muscles in the area.

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction- The Sacroiliac Joint connects the sacrum at the base of the spine to the ilium of the pelvic region. Continuous badminton playing with low core stability causes an anatomic issue in this joint, which results in chronic lower back pain. The condition is known as Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction and affected players are advised to refer a physician for a complete evaluation of the condition.

Neck sprains- Focusing on the shuttlecock for long durations and turning one’s neck accordingly in various directions, can cause the neck to be extended beyond the normal angles, especially while playing smashes and strikes around the head, thereby causing neck sprains.

Cramps- A cramp can be described in a badminton player as a sudden and intense pain caused mainly in the leg area due to major loss of fluid, overheating of the muscle and fatigue. Although the suddenness of a cramp could warrant it to be placed in the “acute injury” category, it is considered to be a chronic injury, since it happens after playing badminton for a long time.

Abrasions and blisters- Common yet less malignant as compared to the rest of the above-mentioned conditions, abrasions occur mostly on the hands and knees due to direct contact with hard surfaces when the player falls or scratches himself. Blisters occur due to pus or fluid formation under the skin caused by extended periods of gripping a racquet, an abrasion not being cleaned or healed properly and heels or toes being continually encased in shoes or being in direct contact with a hard surface for long periods.

Prevention and cure:

It would be wise to adhere to the oft heard rule in the exercise arena “You don’t get fit to play a sport, you play a sport to get fit!” Therefore it is advisable for badminton players of all ages and levels to take a few important pre-game precautionary measures, which include but are not limited to increasing fitness levels, better nutrition, decreasing weight, getting the proper shoes, grips and other attire, warming-up before playing and improving playing technique.

One cannot stress enough the importance of a good warm-up session before and cool-down session after a heavy game of badminton. A typical warm-up should include about 5-10 minutes of gentle jogging , spot walking or skipping, followed by short stretches of 30 seconds each, slightly longer stretches on the tighter muscles ending with stretches for certain individual muscle groups like shoulder, hamstring etc. If the player wishes, he/she may also follow this with certain specific exercise drills such as push-ups, sit-ups and the like. Stretching releases tension within muscles, allows freer movement and circulation and not only prepares the body for heavy-duty badminton, but also the mind. Begin the game with around 5-20 minutes of gentle shots with your partner and then gradually increase the pace and tempo of your game. Ideally one must end a game with cool down exercises and stretches too.

Shoes and grips especially are of utmost importance in preventing ankle and elbow injuries respectively. Gripping a racquet too hard or long can bring on a Tennis Elbow, while wearing heavy grip non-supportive shoes cause ankle sprains and Achilles Tendonitis.

To prevent elbow issues, take extra care to buy a good quality racquet which fits precisely into the palm of your hand. Turn your racquet into a powerful, injury-preventing instrument by adding more grip to the handle, taking care not to add too much to disrupt the racquet balance. For those of you, who already have suffered from Tennis Elbows before, it would make sense to wear a Tennis Elbow Compression Strap, which works by reducing tension on the elbow tendons.

Badminton requires the player to slide across the court and hence it would be a good idea to get shoes which have a good arch support, shock absorbers to prevent injury to the ankle, heel cups to keep the heel protected and special soles which do not provide much room for friction with the ground below. Take care to buy a shoe which has a combination of these qualities in order to be assured of all rounded protection. Never wear jogging or basketball shoes for your badminton game and make sure you keep a pair of good badminton shoes aside meant solely for badminton.

A few other recommended products for badminton injuries include orthotics and insoles, knee and Achilles straps, ankle braces, shoulder supports and blister socks.

To prevent eye injuries, many research scientists recommend that certified plastic polycarbonate glasses be worn by beginners and experienced badminton players alike.

Lastly, as a generic rule, make sure you are always well stocked up on water or isotonic sports drinks, especially while playing badminton in hot weather, since like all other sports, badminton too tends to sap the fluids and cause dehydration.

When a badminton injury has already happened, quick and correct procedures are essential for a speedy cure. In case of acute injuries like sudden sprains, strains and tears, the first step towards healing is correct diagnosis. This must be followed by the rest, ice, compression and elevation protocol which is absolutely necessary for recovery. Special care must be taken to keep weight off the injured area and lengthy periods of rehabilitation are a must. In case of a sprained ankle a removable plastic cast walker may be necessary to provide the required support. Tennis Elbows can usually be alleviated by rest and ice therapy, but in the more severe cases, pain relief and anti inflammatory medication and sometimes corticosteroid injections are required. Golfer’s Elbow on the other hand is usually treated with tape, elbow guards, manual therapy and stretching. When Achilles Tendonitis occurs, ice packs are normally helpful, but a minimum rest period of three months is required for the body to produce the collagen tissue in order to repair the injured tendon.

Sounds scary? It doesn’t have to be! Badminton can continue to be a fun sport for all those who have even a smidgen of interest in it. The fear of injury need not come into the picture at all, if the necessary precautions are taken and if players choose to keep themselves intelligently informed about the protocols to be followed- in case of injury.

Keep the shuttlecock flying fearlessly and treat yourself to a great injury-free badminton blast!

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy As a Form of Alternative Medicine

Groundbreaking brain research has led some doctors to focus on alternative medical solutions as a means to treating the same type of common, everyday problems a primary care physician might, without the type of evasive or chemically induced solutions being prescribed at the average doctor’s office. Many health care providers offer the same types of drug-based answers to normal problems like ADD/ADHD, anxiety, depression, and weight gain, and when these solutions fail to meet expectations or differ from the health and mindset of interested parties, it is time to try alternative means.

Patients who are uninterested in pills and unnatural medical treatments find themselves at a crossroad looking for safe, spiritual, and/or non-invasive healing to their ailments, and clinics specializing in brain study can be just the solution they are looking for. Built on techniques of brain imaging, these alternative clinics provide a clear path to treatment after carefully analyzing and diagnosing what they see throughout your own study. Personalized testing allows the doctor to pinpoint problems and create a direct course of action towards correcting it. The sophisticated brain imaging study, called SPECT, can be used to diagnose and aid everything from attentional problems, anxiety issues, mood problems, autism, obsessive compulsive disorder, addictions, obesity, memory, learning and even simple behavioral problems.

Staffed with highly-trained, board-certified professionals, these types of clinics have helped people all across the country continue to fight battles where traditional medicine has failed them. A common treatment treatment suggestion to first timers at alternative medicine clinics is often Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (hbot). Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (hbot) is an alternative treatment for a variety of issues and is a cost effective, non-invasive, safe method of delivering pure oxygen at greater than atmospheric pressure to improve or correct virtually any condition where the body is affected by poor circulation.

Patients suffering from air or gas embolism, carbon monoxide and cyanide poisoning, clostridial myositis and myonecrosis (gas gangrene), crush injury, Compartment Syndrome, and other acute traumatic ischemias, decompression sickness, blood deficiency (anemia), intracranial abscess, necrotizing soft tissue infections, osteomyelitis (refractory), delayed radiation injury (soft tissue and bone necrosis), compromised skin grafts and flaps, and more can sit in a Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (hbot) chamber to increase the delivery of oxygen throughout the body, enhance white blood cells’ ability to fight infection, help the body build new connective tissue, and kill certain types of harmful bacteria.

As one form of treatment to these ailments, as well as traumatic brain injuries, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, strokes, head injuries, cerebral palsy, sports injuries, multiple sclerosis, lyme disease, cosmetic surgery healing, ADD/ADHD, autism, and psoriasis, it’s surprising more patients don’t give Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (hbot) a go alongside their other efforts.

Do You Have Trading Analysis Paralysis?

A man has been going to the horse races for 25 years. Before he goes, he researches everything he can find about the horses and the jockeys – their age, weight, wins, and losses. He knows what the weather will be and if the condition of the track will be affected. He knows the odds on each race. Confidently, he places his bet. Next to him is a young man who is attending his first horse race. In fact, he just arrived 15 minutes ago. Placing his bet next to the old timer, he picks a horse from random. Lo and behold, the new kid's horse wins. The old timer, with a tone of frustration mutters, "Beginner's Luck."

As a novice trader, you probably have had your fair share of "lucky breaks." You've probably also had times when you have pored over endless amounts of market information and made a "sure trade" – and then lost your investment. Either way, it's not a good way to approach the game of trading. There needs to be a healthy balance of analysis and just trading. Sure, if you make a mistake, you can lose your money – on that trade. But if you are a prepared trader, those losses should be rare, and besides, a loss helps you learn for the next time.

Analysis paralysis is an informal phrase applied when the opportunity cost of decision analysis exceeds the benefits. When your hard-earned money is on the line, there's a strong urge to be extremely careful. But, if you constantly search for more statistics, reports, studies, evaluations and data, you will come to little real decision-making because more "study" or "research" always needs to be done!

One trader we know says, "For a while I could not come up with a trading plan because at first I was making it too simple and I thought there was more to it. Well I found out that being simple was right to begin with . I know that I am a good technical analyst and I know that I am right a good portion of the time. I have begun to embrace uncertainty and admit that I do not need to know where the market will go next. If I stick with my trading plan and setups then I will survive. There are thousands of tools ranging from market profile, to candlestick analysis that will aid me to figure out what will happen next but at the end of the day it could be one trader that changes all of it and makes me wrong. The more I accept this reality the clearer I see the markets and the opportunities presented to me every day. "

Most traders are not worried about losing all of their money, but instead have a fear of being wrong. They expect perfection of themselves, and when they do not achieve it (as they never will), they feel like a failure.

Research has shown that it is actually detrimental to fall into "analysis paralysis" when making a decision. Dr. David Armor and Dr. Shelly Taylor found that it might be wise to just quickly choose an alternative and focus all your energy on achieving an objective.
So when you start to see yourself over-analyzing and becoming paralyzed, stop! Just make the trade. You will feel free, and will trade more profitably in the end.

In the mean time, Good Luck on your journey to success …

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Hiatal Hernia, Acid Reflux, GERD, Heartburn: The Causes And The Symptoms

Causes

Hiatal hernia can be caused by a number of things, often unique to each sufferer. One common cause, however, can be described as “mechanical”: that is, caused by lifting improperly, heavy bouts of coughing, attacks to the abdomen, tight clothes, or poor posture. Lifting a heavy item whilst holding your breath (which happens often amongst people not trained in proper lifting techniques) can force the stomach into the esophagus and cause a hiatal hernia.

Another common cause of hiatal hernia is to do with the ileocecal valve. This is situated between the small and large intestines. Its function is to allow material to pass from the large intestine into the colon, but not vice versa. The ileocecal valve can become swollen and irritated; this causes it not to close properly, and permit material to travel back into the small intestine from the colon.

Although it cannot be determined whether a faulty ileocecal valve or hiatal hernia occurred first, a problem with this valve is known to further aggravate a hiatal hernia. Diet is a major factor in this: overeating, eating when upset, and poor combination of food can lead to this condition.

Interestingly, as well as “eating when upset” as being a contributory factor, emotional stress in itself has been raised as a possible cause of hiatal hernia – particularly the emotion of anger. One theory states that when some people get angry, they breathe and suck air upward, and then fail to release it properly. This results in the stomach remaining up, and repeated instances causing a hiatal hernia.

Symptoms

The stomach is forced into the sphincter that is designed to stop acid or food returning into the mouth or throat. The sphincter does not close properly and its function is compromised. This allows acid to travel into the esophagus and cause burning sensations, also known as heartburn or acid reflux.

The condition can also cause stress to the vagus nerve. Its function is to control the release of hydrochloric acid. As it may not work properly, this can cause either too much or too little acid to be secreted.

The diaphragm muscle’s movement is impeded. Its function is to pull downward to cause the chest capacity to expand and fill the lungs with air. A hiatal hernia sufferer may find that their diaphragm muscle is affected to the degree that they experience shallow breathing unless they help the process consciously using their chest shoulders and take a deep breath.

The esophagus has been known to form a kink. This would then cause difficulty in swallowing. Sufferers may get the sensation that material is often stuck in their throat.

Through the vagus nerve, which has significant links to a number of other organs in the body, such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, and even the external genitalia, imbalances can be spread throughout the patient’s body and other important systems.

Hiatal hernia sufferers often experience poor digestion. This leads onto rotten food staying in the body longer than it should be, and causing toxicity in the patient. Naturally, there is a lack of nutrition and the usual symptoms of this, such as constipation, allergies, and immune weakness.

Hiatal hernia can also aid the development of asthma and heart disease. As previously mentioned, the lungs’ capacity is affected. Intestinal gas can put pressure on the hernia and then the heart, and can in severe cases bring on a heart attack.

There are ways to treat a hiatal hernia and acid reflux naturally and safely. For more information visit: http://www.hiatalherniahelp.com

Sandhi Sudha Plus: For Healing a Sore Back and Related Conditions

Our lower back is created by some expansive structures which are overlapping, and also interconnected. These include soft tissues like tendons, which connect bones to muscles, and ligaments, which connect bones to other bones.

Similarly, the structures in our back include the nerve roots, and also the nerves that branch out from our spine to all parts of our body. While these structures have some joints that are small and complex, within the vertebrae of the spinal cord are the intervertebral or spinal discs. These discs have a jellylike inner core which enables our spine to be flexible.

Pain in the lower back is an extremely common condition and nearly 90% of us are smitten by the same at some or the other point of time in our lives. But the symptoms, and also the severity are likely to vary from one individual to another. In many cases, a disorder like a degenerative disc causes discomfort which is mild, and goes away by itself in some time.

In general, there are a different set of lower back issues that smite seniors. Among people who are over 60 years of age, back pain, particularly in the lower section of the back is more likely to be associated with a disorder caused by joint degeneration, such as ailments like osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis or even a compression fracture.

But lower back pain among adults aged between 30 to 60 years could be caused by a muscle strain or a strain in the soft tissue. Alternately, lower back pain among this section of adults could be caused due to a disorder associated with disc space, such as lumbar disc herniation or degenerative disc disease.

Most cases of lower back pain are classified as non specific back pain, and the patient is not required to see a doctor, as the symptoms leave by themselves in some time. But one must seek medical attention if lower back pain is caused by a traumatic event like a car accident, or along with the pain, one experiences fevers or chills. Similarly, one must consult a doctor if the lower back pain is accompanied by some unexplained weight loss, any form of leg weakness or persistent abdominal pain.

Non invasive treatments, including physical therapy and self care are invariably the initial methodology for lower back pain treatment, unless the pain is not very severe. And these treatments are oriented towards restoring the normal functioning of the spine, such that the healing process is accentuated.

Sandhi Sudha plus is a tremendous topical remedy which has helped thousands of people across the world overcome all types of joint pain, and lead pain free and substantial lives. This is 100% herbal oil, and is created by handpicked herbs, using a tried and tested formula.

Sandhi Sudha plus can work wonders for your lower back pain treatment and all related conditions, such as sciatic leg pain or arthritis. This not just relieves pain, but makes the spine stronger, and allows one to carry on with the day without being bothered by pain. Being an herbal remedy, Sandhi Sudha plus nourishes the back while it heals and as it is topically applied, it does not cause any side effects like dizziness, nausea or even allergic reactions. This makes it one of the most preferable methodologies for healing a sore back.

Shingles Pain Treatment

If perhaps you’re currently suffering from Shingles and searching for the most effective Shingles pain treatment, you’re in the correct place. It’s really important to start treating Shingles as soon as you possibly can, as it can certainly lessen the severity of the condition as well as the length.

In the following paragraphs, I am going to reveal to you several easy Shingles pain treatment which you can use immediately.

1) Ice Pack Or Wet Cloth

Numerous Shingles affected individuals have reported using an ice pack or a wet cloth can in the short term be utilized for a Shingles pain treatment. You want to make sure that the skin and also infected area is thoroughly clean just before utilizing an ice pack or wet cloth, since you don’t want to have an infection. However the ice pack may help relieve any pain or even discomfort by numbing the actual infected nerve area.

2) Calamine Lotion

You may apply calamine lotion around the infected region as a Shingles pain treatment, which will help ease virtually any pain, burning or even itching.

3) Eat 2 Pears A Day

Pears are full of caffeic acid, that is commonly used as a natural antiviral treatment and can assist being a Shingles pain treatment. You either can eat the pears whole or even juice them or even consume an all natural pear juice for great results. But, be sure you’re eating pears throughout the day!

4) Lysine

Take in a minimum of two 500 milligram tablets of Lysine several times daily. Lysine is an anti-viral amino acid that can be present in green spinach, lentils, peas, carob as well as soybeans. Lysine may be effective in getting rid of any kind of signs and symptoms and as a fast Shingles pain treatment.

Not to mention there is Ibuprofen, Tylenol or even Aspirin which will help reduce any pain you may be going through. There are also additional prescription medications you are able to take that your doctor can present you with, nevertheless, much research has shown that those medications can be harmful to your body and could not be worth putting yourself at that level of risk. Presently there are many natural, safe and effective treatments for Shingles.

Sacroiliitis: Cause of Back Pain

Sacroiliitis is a condition characterized by the inflammation of the sacroiliac (SI) joints, which form where the sacrum meets the large pelvic bone (ilium) on each side of the lower back. It is important to distinguish sacroiliitis from sacroiliac joint dysfunction, which involves abnormal range of motion in the SI joints. These conditions can cause each other, but they are not the same.

A common symptom of sacroiliitis is pain in the lower back, buttocks and leg. Leg pain may radiate to the front of the thigh. Stiffness in the hips and lower back may be experienced. Symptoms are generally worsened by sitting or standing for prolonged periods of time. Pain may be worst when waking up in the morning.

Causes

Four of the most common causes of sacroiliitis are: spondyloarthorpathy, osteoarthritis, trauma and pregnancy. Spondyloarthropathy is defined as an inflammatory joint disease affecting the spinal column. The cause of this condition is not known for sure, but is thought to be genetic. Osteoarthritis signifies arthritis of the spine, and is caused by the wear and tear joints undergo, either due to simple aging or high levels of activity. Physical trauma to the SI joints, such as incurred during a car accident or hard fall, can cause inflammation in the joints. Finally, the loosening of pelvic joints experienced during pregnancy can cause the SI joints to inflame. Infection is another possible but less common cause.

Treatments

The key to treating sacroiliitis is to reduce inflammation. Exact treatment methods will depend on the cause of the condition. General treatment techniques include the application of ice and sleeping on the side with a pillow between the knees to keep the joints aligned properly.

Some people may choose to use over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications like NSAIDS to temporarily help reduce inflammation; others with more severe pain may opt for steroid injections directly into the joint.

These attempts to eliminate inflammation must be coupled with treatments designed to eliminate the cause thereof. If you are affected by a spondyloarthropathy, you may be prescribed a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD). Though their exact mechanisms are not known, in some way DMARDS slow the progression of rheumatic disease and increase the likelihood of a good outcome. Immobilizing the joint and reducing inflammation with ice is the first step of treatment, and should be followed by exercise to keep nutrients flowing to the joint and supporting muscles and ligaments strong.

People whose osteoarthritis is causing inflammation of the SI joint may also be prescribed a DMARD. Water therapy is a great way for people with osteoarthritis to stay active and increase joint range of motion without jarring the sensitive joints. Supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin may be taken to strengthen cartilage and keep joints lubricated. A physical therapist can be of great assistance to anyone with osteoarthritis or spondyloarthropathy.

If an injury has caused sacroiliitis, rest and ice are the primary treatments. After two days, it is essential to get moving again; otherwise, supporting muscles will weaken.

Pregnant women experience a loosening of pelvic joints caused by the hormone relaxin. This loosening makes room for the baby to grow and to be delivered. The change in the range of motion experienced by the SI joint can cause inflammation. After delivery and the necessary period of rest to recover, new moms need to re-strengthen their pelvic muscles and ligaments that support joints. A postnatal Pilates class would help any new mom on her way to recovery.

For every cause, effectively treating sacroiliitis involves three steps: demobilization, reduction of inflammation and remobilization. Whether the result of an injury or part of a larger condition, you can help your SI joint repair itself with ice and targeted exercises. Consider seeking out a physical therapist to guide you in the exercises that are best for you.

Are Indoor Humidity Levels Affecting Your Health?

The ideal indoor humidity level is either 35% to 45% or 40% to 50% depending on who you ask. Thankfully, the human body is quite flexible and you do not have too aim at an exact figure. The important thing is to avoid extremes. Living indoors is not entirely natural. The artificial environments that we create for ourselves can sometimes cause extremes of humidity to occur. For short periods of time this is nothing to worry about, but the long term effects can be quite unpleasant.

If the humidity level regularly exceeds 50% you are likely to experience a rapidly increasing dust mite population, which will affect allergy sufferers. Permanently damp rooms tend to have a musty smell. The damp air is a perfect breeding ground for mold, mildew and fungus, which can cause serious health problems. Where ever possible the cause of such conditions should be removed, but it is not always that simple and a dehumidifier may be required. A modern dehumidifier with built in humidistat can be programmed to maintain a humidity level below 50%. There are a wide variety available, so it is important to find the correct type for your situation. A useful guide to dehumidifiers can be found at DehumidifierTips.com

Consistently low humidity levels are also bad. This tends to occur when the weather is cold outside and we turn up the heat in our homes. The most noticeable effects are a sore throat and sinus pain, symptoms that are common in modern society at certain times of year. You can also get dry skin and itchy eyes. The solution is to buy a humidifier that will put moisture back into the air. Like dehumidifiers, these can be programmed to operate automatically, and there is a huge range available that make the most of a variety of different humidification techniques. These techniques are explored in detail at HumidifierInformation.com together with everything else you need to know on the subject.

If any of these symptoms sound familiar, maybe you should buy a hygrometer (humidity meter) and take some readings to find out if humidity is the cause. With modern technology at your disposal there is no need for your health to suffer.

Effects of Bulimia Nervosa

Effects of bulimia can be divided into long term and short term side effects. Also you can then subdivide the side effects of bulimia to correspond with the system or the organs bulimia affects: e.g. psychological problems, mental, gastro-intestinal, cardio-vascular system, kidney, skin, bones and hormonal problems.

Now, let’s look precisely at each of them separately.

First of all bulimia affects the sufferer psychologically. Some would say that psychological problems are the culprits that lead to bulimia and it is why people get bulimia in the first place.

So, what kind of psychological problems are common in most bulimia sufferers? Here the list of most common ones: poor body image, out of control feelings, depression, anxiety, unable to eat with others , constantly thinking about food (even dreaming about it), avoidance of other people, mood changes. It is also not uncommon for bulimics to have different kinds of addiction as well, like alcohol, drugs, smoking etc. Being prone to an addictive nature is one of psychological traits of bulimics.

Mental effects of bulimia can include poor concentration, loss of memory, irritability and luck of coping strength and strategies.

Gastro-intestinal tract can also be affected badly especially in long-standing bulimia cases. These include problems with food digestions, constant reflux, stomach ulcers, aches and pains in the abdominal area, bloating, and esophageal problems.

Teeth get damaged from the ongoing contact with stomach acid. Salivary glands get enlarged as they need to work hard to cope with regular vomiting.

Bulimia effects on cardio-vascular system are irregular heart beats, possible heart blocks, and broken small blood vessels. Long standing bulimia can cause weakening of the heart muscle and weakening of major blood vessels of the body.

Kidney’s can be damaged due to electrolytes deficiency caused by constant vomiting. In long standing cases of bulimia kidney disease is a high possibility.

Skin and bones get damaged mostly in long standing bulimia cases. Bulimics often have dry and cold to touch skin as body temperature decreases the longer one has bulimia. Osteoporosis can be a side effect of bulimia for those who have it for many years.

Hormonal irregularities appear to be obvious in long-standing and short-standing bulimia. People complain of menstrual problems due to estrogens insufficiency. Adrenal glands can slow down producing hormones causing sleepiness, weakness of the whole body, lethargy and inactivity. Ovaries start producing inadequate amount of sex hormones which can cause problems with conserving and carrying pregnancy full term. Infertility, miscarriages, and low sex drive – all these problems could be relevant to long term bulimics.

And another important bulimia effect is immune system damage: it can occur after a few years of bulimia. People’s reaction to a suppressed immune system can be having frequent colds, flu, tonsillitis or other infections anywhere in the body. Immune system damage could be a consequence of severe vitamins and mineral deficiency experienced by bulimics.

To sum it all up, bulimia has a number of dangerous side effects on the human body. Some of them appear sooner, some appear later as the disease progresses. It is important for anyone who has bulimia to stop the progression of their bulimia and don’t let the severe effects of bulimia appear in the first place. By educating yourself about the effects of bulimia you can avoid the dangerous long-term problems associated with this disease.

Natural Cure For Insulin Resistance – 4 Proven Effective Methods

In conventional medicine, it is generally known among diabetes patients that there is no cure for Type 2 diabetes which is caused by a type body abnormality known as insulin resistance. The doctors often tell the patients that their diabetic condition is harmless as long as the blood sugar level is properly managed with the help of some medications.

The pathetic fact is that not only the diabetic condition cannot be controlled by those fancy drugs, it actually becomes worse and eventually develops to some diabetic complications such as renal failure, diabetic neuropathy, blindness, and finally death. This kind of distressing situations can be seen in almost every hospital around the world.

For those who can foresee where the chemical drugs will lead them to, they are more open for some alternative homeopathic treatments to treat their diabetes. They are constantly searching for the natural cure for insulin resistance which has no side effects and more effective in the long run. Is it possible to have an ultimate cure for insulin resistance?

Instead of blindly follow the folklore health advices and try some of the unknown herbs, you should begin by gaining a better understanding about insulin resistance and the root cause of it. According the Asian health researches, we have solid proofs that insulin resistance is rooted from the change of internal body environment which gradually decrease the sensitivity of the insulin receptors in the surface of the body cells. When the insulin receptors cannot effectively bond with insulin to open up the glucose channels, and glucose is returned to the blood stream and causes hyperglycemia.

The main cause of the change of the internal environment is a process known as acidosis which is the accumulation of acidic toxins in the body due to unhealthy eating habits and unbalanced more lifestyle. With that in mind, here are 4 types of proven effective natural cure for insulin resistance you can consider trying:

Ionized Alkaline Water

Since diabetes can cause serious dehydration, you should make sure you drink enough water during the day. Instead of drinking normal neutral water, you should drink ionized alkaline water to neutralize those toxic acids in your body.

Foot Reflexology Therapy

Liver, pancreas and kidneys are the organs that regulate the hormones that control the glucose level in the body. In order to return their capabilities and effectiveness in regulating your blood glucose level, you should frequently give them some good ‘massage’ to stimulate them. The only way you can massage the internal organs is through reflexology therapy.

Hand Acupressure Therapy

Since it is quite inconvenient to have foot reflexology everyday, hand acupressure therapy is a more convenient way to stimulate the related organs. You can perform it anywhere, anytime.

Calcium Ion Supplement

Calcium is the most important mineral element in human body. Beside being the main building material for our bones, calcium ion is also important as a buffer to neutralize the excessive acids in the body.

All the methods mentioned above are logically make sense and had been tried out by hundreds and thousands of people with insulin resistance, especially in the Asia region. The result is very encouraging, more than 90% of them show positive improvements. The other 10% did not experience any significant result because they did not have the discipline to follow through, these are the people who are looking for a magic pill that can cure insulin resistance immediately. God bless them.

10 Foods Diabetics Should Avoid

Most diabetics know to avoid sugar. It only makes sense: if your blood sugar is too high you shouldn’t complicate the situation by ingesting more of the same.

But sugar in your diet is not the only food that will raise your blood glucose. Carbohydrates and alcohol raise your blood sugar (blood glucose level) about as quickly as eating sugar straight from the bowl. Proteins and fat are converted into energy for the body as well but don’t raise the blood sugar nearly as much nor nearly as quickly.

Of course, sugar in the blood is not exactly the same as sugar in your food. The human body uses glucose as its energy source. Table sugar is sucrose, fruit sugar is fructose, and milk sugar is lactose. There are other sugars as well, but basically these sugars are converted to glucose in the human body.

Not everyone has a sweet tooth, but I certainly do. It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that diabetics should avoid eating anything made with sugar or high-fructose corn syrup including: candy, cake, cookies, ice cream, donuts, marshmallow cream, circus peanuts, soda pop, Kool-aid, sports drinks, sweet tea or fruit drinks, hot chocolate, caramel corn, candy corn, jello, pudding, Popsicles, sherbet, syrup, whipped cream, pie, Cracker Barrel chocolate cake, custard, jelly, Nutella, milkshakes, Captain Crunch, etc. If I missed your favorite, add it to the list.

The following 10 foods should be avoided as well.

1. White bread. The processed flour turns to glucose almost as quickly as sugar itself. In fact, white bread is rated the same as glucose on the glycemic index. The glycemic index is a ranking according to how quickly a particular food raises blood glucose levels. High is bad, low is good. Both glucose and white bread are rated 100. Stone-ground whole wheat bread and pumpernickel bread have a much lower glycemic index.

2. White bagels. They look a lot like white bread, don’t they? The yummy bagels are much higher in calories than regular bread, too. Two slices of bread equals about 150 calories whereas a good-sized bagel is twice that. Not that you can’t eat bagels, but get a whole-grain variety and remember that eating a big bagel is like eating 4 slices of toast.

3. Saltine crackers. If you were the baker, you’d notice that white bread, white bagels, and crackers all start off with white flour. The same is true of standard pretzels. Whole grain crackers and pretzels are better for diabetics and non-diabetics alike.

4. White potatoes. Strangely, sweet potatoes have a lower glyemic index and raise the blood sugar less than white potatoes do.

5. White rice. Are you noticing a pattern here? Some diabetic patients choose to avoid anything white.

6. Most breakfast cereal. Unless it’s made with whole grains, breakfast cereal, too, will be processed like sugar. Even quick oatmeal raises blood sugar. Stone-cut oatmeal is much better for you and is now available in standard grocery stores, right next to the “regular” oatmeal. However, the stone-cut variety takes much longer to cook, easily half an hour or more to soften the grain to the consistency of regular oatmeal.

7. Instant pasta or macaroni mixes. Almost anything “instant” or processed breaks down into sugar more quickly than the natural forms.

8. Popcorn. Yes, another white item – however, amount is the key. A cup of popcorn (unbuttered) won’t raise your blood sugar much whereas eating a large theater popcorn is like eating a few candy bars.

9. Sweet fruits. The especially sweet fruits like watermelon and pineapple contain more fruit-sugar than the less sweet fruits, but again, amount is the key. A few bites won’t hurt you.

10. Alcohol. Not only does it elevate your blood sugar, but it may impair your judgment regarding your diabetes. Best to avoid this altogether.

Copyright 2010 Cynthia J. Koelker, M.D.

Statistics of Child Obesity – Child Obesity Statistics Are Alarming

Obesity can cause several serious health problems, such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Statistics of child obesity are growing at an alarming rate. Do you know when to start worrying about your child’s weight? Around 25 million kids are overweight or on the brink of becoming so. That is a third of U.S. children and teens, this is the highest amount ever recorded by the government.

Childhood obesity rates have tripled over the past twenty years. The calorie dense, fatty, salty diet consumed by American children is the primary cause. The other part of the problem is a major lack of physical activity, 25% of kids under the age of 10 have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or some other heart disease. A new report has issued a warning that if this trend continues, children’s lives will be shorter than their parents’.

When people are obese, their morality is increased and they are at risk for a number of diseases.What is obesity? An excess of fatty tissue on a person’s body is called considered obese. The obese people are not alone even overweight people have an excess of fat as well, with a slightly lower risk than those who are obese. The main cause for obesity is the result of not maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but medical conditions, social factors and genetics may also be factors.

Today’s children don’t get enough exercise or play outside like their parents did in their childhood days. A lack of exercise or inactivity has a direct correlation with an increase in weight. Statistics of child obesity also say that over half of today’s children are not active enough for their age, not getting enough activity at school.

Solutions

With careful attention, healthy lifestyle and diet there is a good chance the problem will be solved. Some solutions to change the statistics of child obesity include:

o Exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes, three times a week. Daily exercise is the best.

o Healthy diet plan, including home-cooked, low-fat meals with a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables.

With careful attention, healthy lifestyle and diet there is a good chance the problem will be solved.

Poison Ivy – 5 Tips For Effective Treatment

The itch is driving your crazy! You need help now!

Rashes due to poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac all look about the same – raised, reddened, blistering bumps in areas of exposure. All are caused by hypersensitivity to plants containing urushiol. The rash and itching begin 24 to 48 hours after exposure, worsening over the next several days. Assuming you’ve had a shower by the time the rash has appeared, poison ivy is not contagious. The only way to share it is if the plant oil is still on your skin and you touch another person. Blister fluid is not contagious.

Though in some cases people worry about their appearance, for most the itch is what drives them to seek medical care.

Here are 5 tips for quick relief.

1. Use an OTC antihistamine. Over-the-counter antihistamines are every bit as good as prescription antihistamines. The primary benefit of using these is decrease in itching, though they may decrease swelling a little. The main side-effect is drowsiness with certain antihistamines, though this can be a benefit if the itch is keeping you awake. The non-sedating antihistamines are Claritin (loratadine) and Zyrtec (cetirizine). The sedating antihistamines are Benadryl (diphenhydramine), chlorpheniramine, and doxylamine (found in sleep aids and Nyquil). If these are effective in decreasing your symptoms and the appearance of the rash is not a concern, an antihistamine may be all you require. The rash will go away on its own if you can wait it out – which usually takes 2 to 4 weeks.

2. Use an OTC topical preparation. Calamine lotion and oatmeal baths help relieve the itch but do not actually decrease the rash. 1% hydrocortisone cream is effective at reducing the itch and healing the rash in mild cases. For a more severe reaction, prescription medication may be needed. Hydrocortisone decreases the body’s reaction to the offending oil, making the rash appear less red and irritated. Any of these may be used in addition to an antihistamine.

3. Call your doctor for a prescription. Your doctor may be willing to prescribe you medication over the phone, or may require you to come in for an appointment to make sure your self-diagnosis is correct. Prescription options include stronger steroid creams, steroid shots, and steroid pills. For small areas of rash, the creams are most appropriate. However, for larger areas or rash on the face (especially if the eyes are swollen shut) steroid injections or oral medications are appropriate. Usually the rash begins to improve by 24 to 48 hours after initiating treatment. Don’t make the mistake of stopping the medicine as soon as the rash appears better – it will likely return if you quit too soon. A five day treatment plan is the minimum, but often 10 to 14 days of medication is advisable.

4. Watch for secondary infection. Any open area of skin can become infected. If the area of redness is increasing, or especially if you see pus (not just clear blister fluid), see your doctor to learn if you need an antibiotic.

5. Do not use triple antibiotic ointment or Benadryl cream. When applied to the skin, both the neomycin in triple antibiotic ointment and the active ingredient in Benadryl cream (diphenhydramine) can cause a rash that looks just like poison ivy. Many a patient has made the problem worse or confused the diagnosis by using these over-the-counter preparations. (Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) taken orally does not cause this problem.)

Lastly, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Avoid contact with the leaves, stems, and roots of the plants, all of which contain urushiol. If you pull the plants out, use disposable gloves and throw both the plants and gloves away. Burning the plant can put the chemical in the air and cause a serious rash to anyone exposed to the smoke.

Copyright 2010 Cynthia J. Koelker, M.D.

Penis Blisters 101 – Identifying and Banishing Painful, Unsightly Sores

Penis blisters can have a variety of causes, and not all sores on the penis are symptoms of sexually transmitted infections. However, most penis blisters have a pathological cause and should be treated by a qualified medical professional. Understanding the possible causes of penis sores can help men to help their doctors identify the underlying problem and develop an appropriate plan for treatment. In addition, following some common-sense penis care rules can help men to avoid most types of sores in the first place.

Some of the most frequently-seen types of penis blisters are described here:

  1. Herpes- the herpes simplex virus (HSV) one of the most common causes of blisters in the pelvic region. It is spread through intimate contact and can cause watery blisters that tend to burst and then crust over, as well as itching and redness. Individuals with HSV will require lifetime treatment to control the symptoms, as there is currently no cure.
  2. Syphilis- another common sexually transmitted infection, syphilis is caused by a bacteria and can cause additional symptoms such as fever, skin rash, swollen lymph glands, and hair loss. If left untreated, this disease can lead to loss of cognition, blindness, and even death. Syphilis can be cured with antibiotics if caught in the early stages.
  3. Scabies- this parasite infection can cause extreme itching, rash, and blisters on the genitalia and other parts of the body. The parasite is most often spread via intimate contact, but sharing bedding, clothing or other personal items may also lead to transmission. Treating scabies generally involves prescription skin creams or oral medications; infected individuals are also advised to thoroughly disinfect all clothing, bedding, carpeting and other materials where the scabies parasites may be concealed.
  4. Yeast infection- the Candida yeast that is best known for feminine yeast infection can also cause yeast overgrowth in men. A yeast infection can cause itching, redness, swelling, white blisters on the penis, and a thick, sometimes chunky discharge. Treating Candida yeast involves topical antifungal creams; if an infected individual is in a sexual relationship, his/her partner will need to be treated as well.
  5. Folliculitis- infected follicles may cause the appearance of pus-filled blisters, usually around the hair shaft. Folliculitis is not contagious and generally clears up on its own, although proper attention to hygiene and use of moisturizers may help to resolve the problem more quickly.
  6. Cancer- Skin cancer of the penis may be characterized by blisters or penis sores. In the case of cancer, these sores generally do not heal, and may ooze fluid or bleed. While less common than the other issues discussed here, cancer can be serious, so any unusual penile symptoms should be evaluated by a doctor.
  7. Friction- Finally, dry rubbing during manual stimulation can build up friction, causing blisters to raise on the outer layers of skin. Using a lube and keeping the skin well-moisturized at all times can help to eliminate this problem.

How to care for the penis and promote good health

All men can benefit from treating the penis right, and this starts with playing it safe. Men who are sexually active should exercise caution in their choice of partners and talk openly and honestly about any potential health issues before engaging in intimacy. Unless a couple is committed and monogamous, it is best to use barrier protection for every encounter to avoid contracting a communicable disease or infection.

Beyond practicing safe sex, the penis and entire genital area should be washed daily to remove built-up grime, sweat and other body fluids that may have accumulated. On the other hand, ordinary soaps are generally too harsh for the delicate skin in this area, so using a mild cleanser, or simply going over the area with a soft washcloth and warm water, is recommended.

In addition, applying a targeted penis nutrient cream (most health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil) can supply the penile skin with vital moisture and nutrients that can help to prevent chafing, increase resistance to communicable diseases, and leave the skin soft, smooth and supple. A specially formulated vitamin cream should be used every day after showering or bathing for maximum benefit.