Physical Symptoms of Depression

Depression is often called “mental illness” and most of us know about the emotional symptoms of depression. However, clinical depression frequently causes physical symptoms as well. In fact, a lot of people with depression feel pain or other physical indications, which include:

Headaches. These are somewhat widespread physical symptoms of depression in people. If one already suffers from migraine headaches, these become worse when they are depressed.

Muscle aches and joint pain. This is one of the physical symptoms of depression which is aggravated with depression; chronic pains become worse with depression.

Back pain. People suffering from back pain gets it more often when they are depressed.

Chest pain. Apparently, it is very essential that one experiencing chest pain should be checked by a specialist immediately because it can be a sign of a serious heart problem. However, chest pain is also one of the physical symptoms of depression.

Sleeping problems. Several people suffering from depression can no longer sleep well; they either wake up too early or have trouble sleeping when they go to bed. Others have excessive sleeping.

Digestive problems. One of the common physical symptoms of depression are feeling queasy or nauseous, including having diarrhea or becoming chronically constipated.

Exhaustion and fatigue. The feeling of being tired or worn out no matter how much sleep one does is one of the physical symptoms of depression. Even getting out of bed may seem very difficult if not impossible to do.

Change in appetite or weight. Weight and appetite are also affected with depression. Some people lose appetite and weight, but for some they find cravings for certain foods like chocolates and carbohydrates, therefore they gain more weight.

Dizziness or lightheadedness. Depressed people may experience being lightheaded or dizzy when they wake up in the morning or during the day.

A lot of people who have depression never get help because they are not aware that their physical symptoms may be caused by depression, and a lot of doctors miss the symptoms as well. The physical symptoms of depression are not “all in your head”, it can cause real changes in the body that can result to a lot of physical problems.

Some cases of depression require treating it with therapy or medicine or both, which will also resolve the physical symptoms. Just make sure to inform the health care provider about any physical symptoms, and don’t assume that it will go away on its own. It may need additional treatment; the doctor may recommend antianxiety medications for insomnia that will help in relaxation and better sleep. Other treatments can also help with the painful physical symptoms of depression such as focused therapy that can teach ways to cope better with the pain.

The Phobia Dream

Sally could not believe it! How did this happen? Here she was in this four-by-four foot enclosure, alone, surrounded by four solid walls. It was pitch dark. Her anxiety increasing by the minute, she groped around for a door, a window, a hole a crack…anything to connect me to the outside world but found none. Just solid wall. How did she get in there in the first place? She wondered. At her wit’s end now she started screaming as she continued searching, then suddenly….. a bright light….

She woke up. The sound of her own voice and the light her sister, Sheila, with whom she shared the bedroom had just switched on woke her up. ‘Thank God, it was only a dream,’ Sally thought, ‘but what a nightmare!’ When she woke up Sally found herself standing on her bed next to the wall, searching it frantically with both hands. She was sweating and could sense the pounding of her heart. The commotion had woken Sheila up. Being a light sleeper, Sheila was not amused at being woken up at such a time, as she would have trouble falling asleep again. She’d asked Sally what the matter was, but got no response as she was busy wailing. She then turned on the light, which together with Sally’s noise woke her up. She then realized her sister had been dreaming when she woke up with a start. The sight she saw made her laugh uncontrollably. Now it was Sally’s turn to get angry. Sheila just kept laughing and telling her how funny the whole incident was. “No it’s not,” Sally retorted. “You know I nearly died!” Her sister laughed again before finally composing herself and saying, “You know, Sally, you should get a hold of yourself and try and get rid of all these fears of yours. You see now they’re even affecting your sleep, not to mention mine!

Yes, Sally had some nagging fears that at times caused unnecessary inconveniences and seemed quite irrational. Other than a morbid fear of enclosed places, Sally was scared stiff of heights and preferred taking a longer route to get to a nearby shopping mall than a shorter route which involved crossing a bridge. She also dreaded being in the middle of a crowd. If this happened, she would suddenly appear rather anxious and seemed to have trouble breathing. So if she had to be in a crowded room she would make sure she sat or stood close to an exit.

So what’s with all these fears Sally had?

Sally had several phobias. A phobia is an irrational fear that leads to a conscious avoidance of the feared situation, activity or subject. Phobias are the most common anxiety disorders and can range in severity from very mild to severe. As seen in Sally’s case most phobias don’t standalone, they tend to bring other fears on board. The scientific Latin names for the fears described in Sally’s case are: claustrophobia (fear of enclosed places), acrophobia (fear of heights) and agoraphobia (fear of situations where one cannot easily escape should need arise, for example crowded places).

What causes phobias?

A number of researchers have come up with different explanations as to why phobias occur. One group attributes them to increased activity in certain areas of the brain, another to abnormal transmission of signals in specific areas of the nervous system and yet another to adaptive reaction to an initial embarrassing social event or experience. Phobias also tend to run in families, so inheritance is thought to play a role as well. Phobias occur uniformly in all races, with preponderance in females. Most specific phobias develop during childhood and gradually disappear. Phobias that persist into adulthood rarely resolve without treatment.

How Do You Spell (Anti-Anxiety) Relief?

Natural Anti-Anxiety Relief can be provided in many ways. Making sure that you get plenty of good food, sleep and adequate exercise goes a long way towards and provides a good basis for natural anti-anxiety relief. If your body is well nourished and fully exercised, there is less of an extreme response to  anxiety  and stress, and the body will tend to recover physically from any  anxiety  provoking event more quickly.

Practicing meditation and relaxation techniques provides relief from  anxiety . People seeking an antidote to the stress of modern life often find the martial arts both release a lot of pent up tension and develop self control. Anything from tai chi to karate provides a method of becoming in tune with your body and teaches an assertive, non aggressive way of being in the world, whilst keeping you fit at the same time.

People often can find that a hobby, taken up deliberately to help with stress relief can be very helpful. There are specific courses that you can take up in many community centers. Painting and pottery, mechanics or woodworking all provide an outlet for creativity and will help to release tension by taking your mind off other issues and provide a physical outlet for your energy. A man who was a tense, compulsive overachiever at work was encouraged to take up painting. He was asked how it was going. “Just fine” he said, “I managed to do ten paintings last night and expect to do another ten this evening”.

Sometimes it is not easy to modify our habits and no one should expect change overnight, but by using a variety of methods of natural anti-anxiety relief change is possible and it will happen with time. It is simply a case of experimenting to find what suits you best and what activities you find most relaxing. Many people find that when they are able to involve themselves fully in another activity it provides more balance in their life and sources of  anxiety  can seem less threatening or demanding.

Assistance with  anxiety  and stress reduction can be obtained by using natural health therapies. Trained herbalists can make up a variety of products, and there are many packaged products on the market, which help to alleviate stress. Products containing valerian help to promote restful sleep, lavender is most refreshing. St John’s Wort is one of the traditional anti-anxiety herbal products. Chamomile tea is familiar to most people, and herbs such as basil used routinely in cooking. Herbalists may follow Chinese tradition and practices, or follow the old European styles.

Natural anti-anxiety relief can be obtained from massage, from acupuncture, reiki, and a variety of other natural techniques which help restore natural harmony and balance. When body and mind are calm and relaxed, incidents of stress and  anxiety  can be observed and acted upon more objectively than when we are all caught up in a tangle of stresses and ever increasing levels of  anxiety .

Many courses are available which teach life skills such as time management, budgeting and homemaking skills. There are also courses which teach assertiveness, anger management and for building self esteem. Some workshops will help you to learn how to express your feelings and challenge negative ways of thinking. Some courses offer visualization techniques to help you to achieve life goals.

Overcoming  anxiety  is often about self esteem and having the confidence to believe that you can manage and even bring about improvements in your life. Life is a challenge, and no one can change that. All you can do, and the best thing that you can do, is to change those attitudes, beliefs and habits that you have which hold you back in life and which cause or contribute to you having excessive levels of  anxiety .

The Truth About Treating Insomnia

 Insomnia  is when a person is unable to sleep, or stay asleep for a desirable amount of time. Usually someone who is an insomniac complains of not being able to just close their eyes for a few minutes at a time. Prolonged or chronic  insomnia  can also affect a person’s physical appearance, often making them look tired and sluggish.

 Insomnia  is misunderstood to be a disorder, however, to the contrary, it is a symptom of an underlying problem.  Insomnia’s  main causes can vary, but usually they are fear, stress, worry, anxiety, illness, medications and caffeine.

Treatment for  Insomnia 

There are several ways to treat  insomnia . Traditionally, insomniacs have looked toward taking sleeping pills and other sedatives; claiming they can only sleep by using them. However, in recent years, many people have become cautious of using prescription or over-the-counter drugs because of risk of dependency and other side-affects.

Natural treatments are becoming more common, as people consider their health while seeking relief from  insomnia . Plants with calming agents such as, Valerian, Chamomile, Lavender, Hops, and/or Passion-flower are frequently used to treat stress and anxiety; which are common reasons for  insomnia .

What’s important about these natural remedies is that they do not make a person feel tired or drowsy the next day; and do not encourage addiction. Also, since natural remedies are derived from plants, flowers and vegetables, they are more beneficial our health when it comes to treating various ailments.

Aromatherapy, including lavender oil and other relaxing essential oils, may also help induce a state of restfulness. Relaxation tactics such as, meditation (a procedure for taking stress from the mind and body to induce a peace, uninterrupted sleep)

For more on natural remedies to treat  insomnia , see below.

Disclaimer:

The information presented here should not be interpreted as medical advice. If you or someone you know suffers from chronic  insomnia , please seek professional medical advice for the latest treatment options.

What Causes Cold Sores

It is believed that approximately 80% of Americans have the cold sore virus. Of that number, approximately 20% will have an outbreak. But what exactly is a cold sore, where do they come from, and why do they break out every now and then?

Cold sores are also known as fever blisters or to give them a medical name Herpes Simplex 1. There is also a Simplex 2 but this is genital herpes, and although they belong to the same family, they are slightly different. Regardless of the fact that they are different, simply because they both come from the herpes family people mistakenly believe that they have a cold sore because of sexual activity. This is not the case as cold sores are very common in children as well as adults.

One of the key issues that you need to be aware of with a cold sore is that they are highly contagious when they break out. If you suffer an outbreak please be considerate and refrain from kissing or having oral sex with your partner. Other precautions you should take when you have an outbreak is not to share any eating utensils or napkins. In fact the virus is so contagious that I would recommend that you should avoid sharing the following as well :

Drinking out of the same glass as someone else

Sharing a towel

Sharing a razor

Using the same pillow as someone who has an outbreak.

Now I appreciate that may all seem a little extreme, but really, the virus is that contagious. For instance it is documented that one of the ways it spreads so quickly among children is by them touching their effected area with their hand and then touching the hand of another child who inadvertently then puts their hand around the mouth area.

So now you know what the virus is, what is it that triggers an outbreak? Well there are several factors that can spark a cold sore off. The most common are when you are tired or stressed . Other times they can be triggered are if your immune system is down from say a cold or flu (although they are not called cold sores because of this). One final thing to add to this is that once you have the herpes simplex virus, it is with you for life as at present there is no cure.

Over the Counter Nail Fungus Medication

What is over the counter  nail   fungus  medication? Strictly speaking, it is a remedy for toenail fungal infections that can be purchased without a prescription. When we talk about OTC medications, we are usually talking about commercial products specifically manufactured for self care of a medical condition. In the case of fungal  nails , however, the definition might well be broadened to include a number of everyday household products manufactured for other purposes but used as  fungus  medicine.

Prescription drugs are available, but the cost of these drugs is so prohibitive that many people turn to over the counter  nail   fungus  medication. Many more avoid the pharmaceutical medications because of the risk of side effects. The next best alternative, at least in the opinions of the medical profession, is toe  nail   fungus  medication available in pharmacies – lotions, creams and ointments for  nail  treatment.

Another group of products include natural remedies like Tea Tree oil and other essential oils, available from homeopathic dealers and shops. An antifungal mud called Saprox, apparently produced in the Czech Republic, is another possibility.

Finally, there are many household products that people have used with varying success. Some of them are available in pharmacies for other problems, but are not strictly over the counter  nail   fungus  medication. Vicks Vaporub, Listerine mouthwash, and dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) are good examples. Hydrogen peroxide is a first aid item that has been reputed to cure fungal infection.

Grocery items are on the list for toe  nail   fungus  medication as well. Many folks will tell you to soak your feet in vinegar – white vinegar straight from the bottle. Others drink apple cider vinegar for an oral home cure. You might want to soak your feet in beer: one home remedy calls for a potion of stout, vinegar, and Lactobacillus acidophilus, a strain of bacteria used in making yogurt.

One thing can be said of virtually every type of toe  nail   fungus  medicine: it takes a long time to work, if it works at all. Most variations of over the counter  nail   fungus  medication are applied topically, which means that the medication has to penetrate the  nail  and get at the  fungus  in order to work. In many cases it does not come into contact with the  fungus . This is also true of topical prescription drugs – only the oral drugs get around the problem. Even if the medication reaches the  fungus  and arrests its growth, toe  nails  grow so slowly that it’s months before the toenail looks normal again.

Yoga Injuries: 5 Tips for Preventing Strain and Sprain

Eager anticipation is what most of us feel on signing up for the next yoga class. Often, though, excitement can lead to impulsiveness, and injury. Staying safe means you can enjoy yoga for many sessions to come.

Some people are typically more injury prone than the rest of the population, and need a little extra instruction. If you’ve had muscle injury, muscle strain or sprain, you know that sometimes it can take months to heal. The pain and discomfort never mind the debilitation, can last several months, keeping you from frequenting your favorite class.

Here are 5 tips for preventing unnecessary injury in your yoga practice.

  1. Listen to your Yoga Instructor’s cues Your instructor may give cues such as:- In the equestrian pose (lunge), be sure that the front knee is straight above the ankle. – Lift your knee caps up by contracting the front upper thighs (quadriceps).- Keep the knees directly over the ankles, the hips over the knees, the shoulders over the hips, etc.All cues are given for you to fully experience your body in the pose, to be aware of the normal position of the muscles, and to keep you safe from an injury that could keep you ‘out’ for months.
  2. Listen to your body: – Be aware of your muscle strength or weakness when you are working at your edge. Some people like to work at the edge, working towards and expanding the body’s limits. Expanding your boundaries takes consistent practice and time. Injuries take much more time, and can cause you to lose much of the strength and flexibility, that you’ve gained over time. You may as well take your time and get continued, measurable results, then to have your dreams, or your classes come to an abrupt halt indefinitely.
  3. Clear away anything you may fall on, or against: How romantic… doing yoga by the fireplace, by candle light, in the dark, balancing on one leg. Yes, I’ve done it. Maybe it’s not the best idea. A little more light, a little less brick, moving to a central location where if you do fall you won’t set your hair on fire, or break a limb. Having a look, and clearing out your yoga space prior to practice should avoid any unnecessary injury.
  4. Have NO intoxicants before practicing yoga: Part of the beauty of yoga is being able to feel your body, to notice how it functions, and to experience a true meditation. While performing yoga poses (stretching, strengthening, holding of poses, twisting, balancing and moving in meditation, how easy would it be to lose balance, fall, pull something out of alignment? All of a sudden you are in agony and heading to the hospital emergency ward. Intoxicants are dangerous when performing yoga. Don’t do it.
  5. Practice with a sticky yoga mat: During yoga, depending on the type of class, or how much you overheat, there can be sweating and slippage. It is easy to lose your grip, (hands or feet) on a slippery floor surface. A yoga mat has a non slip surface on top and bottom, so it won’t slide on the floor either. Before I started my first yoga class, I thought it might be more economical to buy a bathmat with a non-slip underside.Big mistake! Planting one’s face into the floor is the result of slipping, or worse. Buy a good quality sticky yoga mat.

During your yoga practice, it is important to follow your instructor’s guidance, to clear your immediate surroundings of clutter, and to tune in to the body’s messages.

* Please let the instructor know prior to class, if there are changes to your medical history or, if you have any new injuries, so he/she can continue to keep you safe in practice.

Common Forms of Birth Injury

A new addition to the family is usually a joyous time. Birthing a baby is a very big event, involving several months of preparation and readiness. However, most mothers have a sixth sense that they use in order to detect when there is something wrong with the baby. It may cry a bit more than usual, because it’s in pain or it might develop a bump on the head. These forms of injury could potential cause great harm to its overall welfare. And the worst part is that its innocent life was put into danger simply because it was born.

Birth injury is happening less and less with time as healthcare technology keeps getting better, pushing performance levels to the edge in an attempt to save lives. Some parents may not know that the injury their baby sustains came at birth. While most of them are harmless, it is important to know what they are so you can take appropriate action. Here are some of the more common forms of birth injury:

Caput Succedaneum

This form of injury occurs when there is severe swelling of soft tissues of the scalp. The condition develops as the baby passes through the canal. The swelling usually goes away within a few days.

Cephalohematoma

Cephalohematoma is bleeding underneath one of the cranial bones. It usually appears several hours after birth as a bump or lump on the head. If the lump is particularly large, there is a risk that the baby could develop jaundice, especially if it is left for too long.

  Bruising  and Forceps Marks

Sometimes, when the birthing process is especially difficult, the doctor will use forceps to help the baby along. This is considerably dangerous it can cause  bruising , potential brain damage, nerve damage, and temporary lacerations. If the doctor isn’t careful, he could damage the babies life for a long time, if not the rest of its life.

Facial Paralysis

The cause of facial paralysis is the  bruising  of particular nerves in the face and around the head. It is usually notice immediately once the baby cries, because only one side of the face is moving. However, the injury is sometimes much worse and surgery may be required.

The threat of birth injury is still very real. Although, technology and lessened its occurrence, over half of birth injuries can be prevented with careful medical patient care.

Heartburn Medication Side Effects

Various Nexium side effects are known to occur. Below is a look at some side effects which have been categorized by body system.

Gastrointestinal – Gastrointestinal side effects that may occur as a result of taking nexium include bowel irregularity, dyspepsia, aggravated constipation, dysplasia, epigastric pain, dysphagia, eructation, anorexia, esophageal disorder, frequent stools, gastroenteritis, GI hemorrhage, rectal disorder, increased appetite, ulcerative stomatitis, vomiting as well as certain reported cases of pancreatitis.

Nervous System – Nervous system adverse effects occurring as a result of taking nexium include: dizziness, confusion, insomnia, hypoesthesia, migraine aggravation, paresthesia, sleep disorder, tremor, somnolence and vertigo.

Cardiovascular – Cardiovascular adverse effects reported as resulting from Nexium include hypertension, chest pain, angioedema, tachycardia and substernal chest pain.

Musculoskeletal – Musculoskeletal adverse effects as a result of taking Nexium include arthralgia, cramps, aggravation of arthritis, arthropathy, hernia, fibromyalgia syndrome, polymyalgia rheumatica, hypertonia, back pain, as well as some reported incidences of myalgia and hip fracture. Studies have shown an increased risk of hip fracture from taking Nexium – which risk was significantly high among patients who had been prescribed long-term high PPIs.

Hematologic – Hematologic adverse effects that occur from taking Nexium include anemia, hypochromic anemia, epistaxis, cervical lymphadenopathy, leukopenia, leukocytosis, thrombocytopenia, as well as certain reported cases of agranulocytosis and pancytopenia.

Hepatic – Hepatic side effects as a result of using Nexium include bilirubinemia, abnormal hepatic function, an increase in SGOT and SGPT, as well as reported cases of hepatitis, with or without jaundice.

Metabolic – Metabolic adverse effects that occur as a result of using Nexium include excessive thirst, glycosuria, hyponatremia, hyperuricemia, increased alkaline phosphatase, vitamin B12 deficiency, as well as weight increase/decrease.

Genitourinary – Genitourinary adverse effects resulting from using Nexium include cystitis, impotence, abnormal urine, hematuria, albuminuria, dysuria, micturition frequency, moniliasis, genital moniliasis, vaginitis, dysmenorrhea, menstrual disorder and polyuria.

Psychiatric – Psychiatric side effects from using Nexium are confusion, apathy, aggravated depression and nervousness, as well as a rare reported case of loss of libido. In this case loss of normal sexual function leading to complete unresponsiveness was reported in a patient taking Nexium.

Respiratory – Respiratory side effects that have been reported as a result of using Nexium include coughing, aggravated asthma, pharyngitis, dyspnea, larynx edema, rhinitis and sinusitis.

General – General side effects that occur as a result of taking Nexium are fatigue, hot flushes, malaise, flu-like disorder, leg edema, pain, earache, fever, tinnitus, otitis, parosmia, loss and perversion of taste and enlarged abdomen.

Ocular – Ocular side effects reported as a result of taking Nexium are conjunctivitis, abnormal vision, and visual field defect, along with cases of blurred vision.

Dermatologic – Dermatologi adverse effects occurring as a result of taking Nexium include skin inflammation, acne, pruritus, dermatitis, erythematous rash, maculopapular rash, increased sweating, as well as reported cases of alopecia and erythema multiforme. There have also been further reported cases of esophagitis, duodenitis, gastric ulcer, esophageal stricture, hernia, esophageal ulceration, esophageal varices, gastritis, benign polyps or nodules, Barrett’s esophagus and mucosal discoloration.

Hypersensitivity – Less than 1% of hypersensitivity side effects as a result of taking Nexium have included allergic reactions.

When Good Bugs Go Bad

When Good Bugs Go Bad

Small bowel overgrowth (SBO) is a condition of the small intestine that allows too many bacteria, typically Lactobacillus, to develop and thrive. “So what”, you ask? Well the “so what” is that Lactobacillus bacteria are not welcome in that area. They compete with the host (that would be you) for food and the bacteria typically win the fight. Remember that bully in grade school who would always swipe your PB&J from you? You got pretty hungry by the end of the day didn’t you? It’s like that with SBO because if the bacteria eat your lunch repeatedly you run the risk of malnutrition and a host of unpleasant symptoms.

The small intestine is where the digestion and absorption of your food occurs. Digestion breaks down your meals into the basic carbohydrate, fat and protein macronutrients that a healthy body needs to function at optimum efficiency. As food moves from the early part of the small intestine (duodenum) through the middle (jejunum) and latter parts of the small intestine (ileum), the bacteria increase from relatively small numbers until they reach their highest levels in the large intestine, the colon. In the small intestine, enzymes, acids, hormones and other chemicals manufactured by the body are added to the food mixture (now called chyme) and are there to help digestion and absorption. The presence of these digestive juices, especially the acid, is why only a few bacteria would be expected to be found in a healthy small intestine.

The colon is where all the unusable material from your food is collected and where the bacteria are most numerous. The water content of this material is about ¾ of the total mass. Of the remaining ¼, approximately 30% is bacteria by weight. The bacteria would include the lactobacillus and other probiotic species as well as approximately 400 other species. The weight of all the bacteria in the gut is about 15 pounds. The large intestine is where the bacteria belong.

The beneficial effects of this large biomass on human health cannot be underestimated. The bacteria promote a cleaning of the intestinal cells, manufacture some vitamins like riboflavin, thiamine, B-12, and, perhaps most importantly, produce vitamin K, which is important in blood clotting and bone formation. Short chain fatty acids (used as a fuel for colonic cells) are also produced. The downside of all this bacterial activity is the amount of toxic waste produced while the bacteria work for us. If the toxins build up, it definitely would qualify as a Superfund site.

In a normally healthy gut, when intestinal cells are functioning in an optimal fashion, the cells are able to absorb the bacterial toxins and neutralize them directly or pass them on to other sites in the body for detoxification. We get sick when the cells and body can no longer neutralize the poisons such as when pathogenic bacteria are present in overwhelming numbers (Montezuma’s Revenge) or when the normal ratio of “good versus bad” bacteria is altered (dysbiosis). If the toxins accumulate without control, and the acid/base balance in the colon is significantly altered and disrupted, serious diseases like cancer can result.

We see a decrease in the numbers of the good bacteria, and the development of dysbiosis, in those cases where there is an overuse of antibiotics, antacids, NSAIDs, poor diet, lack of proper nutrition, stress, or in association with hidden food allergies. When colonic dysbiosis occurs, the symptoms you see would include the typical non-specific bloating, gas, diarrhea (sometimes constipation), nausea, and general malaise. There are instances in gut ecology where, because of changes in the intestinal environment, bacterial populations, especially the probiotic Lactobacillus, can migrate into the small intestine. Environmental changes in the gut can happen because of aging when gastric acid production is in decline. As the stomach acid reduces more Lactobacillus survive the journey through the stomach and into the upper gut and it is easier for them to thrive there. The elderly are more prone to SBO than a younger population and, as a result, develop more issues with nutritional deficiencies. Environmental changes can also happen in cases of pancreatic insufficiency with diseases like pancreatitis or liver diseases like hepatitis. Diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver, Crohn’s Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, intestinal surgeries and Scleroderma are also suspected of contributing to SBO.

When SBO occurs, the symptoms would include the typical non-specific findings of bloating, gas, diarrhea, nausea, and general malaise. Sound familiar? The symptoms are pretty much the same as you would see in colonic dysbiosis and even in Irritable Bowel Syndrome or a Candida overgrowth. In addition, severe cases of SBO can lead indirectly to malnutrition by decreasing the intestine’s ability to digest fats and, ultimately, proteins and carbohydrates. With severe, chronic SBO we also see weight loss, B-12 deficiency induced anemia, bone softening, and impaired night vision as the body fails to absorb vitamins because of the diarrhea. In fact chronic diarrhea is considered to be the hallmark of SBO. A recent study in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology show SBO to be the causative factor of chronic diarrhea in up to 67% of reported cases. In another study in the same journal 48% of cases were diagnosed with SBO. A separate study showed that up to 83% of patients diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome had SBO instead. SBO is definitely good bugs gone bad.

So how do you know if you have SBO? How is it diagnosed? More importantly, if you have it what do you do about it? If you have the symptoms described above and these symptoms have persisted for more than several weeks you should see a physician who is familiar with functional testing. As its name implies, functional testing refers to lab testing that helps determine the function and interplay of a total organ system rather than an isolated portion of that system. Functional tests ask the question “Why”! Traditional testing asks “What”! When you ask “what” is wrong, it only allows for symptom management. If you ask “why” it’s wrong, it allows for the complete management of the cause of the symptoms.

There are several types of functional tests important in SBO. One invasive procedure cultures a bacterial sample taken directly from the contents of the duodenum. Stool microbiology offered by some labs identifies an overgrowth of bacteria by direct observation of the bacteria cultured from a stool sample. There is also a breath test that identifies, indirectly, the metabolic waste of the bacteria. Lastly, your doctor can order an evaluation of your urine collected first thing in the morning. This test looks directly at the waste products given off by the bacteria. If SBO is present, several of these waste products will be elevated.

Once diagnosed, your physician can then determine the next steps to take. You certainly don’t want to take Lactobacillus containing probiotic supplements until the overgrowth is controlled. You’re simply feeding the fire if you do. In some severe cases, antibiotics may be necessary to control SBO. In less severe cases the natural compound approach may be best. This could include various bactericidal herbs like Oregano, Goldenseal, and Garlic. Adding digestive aids like proteolytics, pancreatic enzymes as well as Betaine HCl may be of benefit. Changing your diet to exclude Lacto-fermented and “aged” foods temporarily as well as reducing high glycemic carbohydrates would be advised. It would be important to resolve the underlying cause for the overgrowth if possible. If the condition that allowed the overgrowth to occur in the first place is not considered then the above dietary changes will only offer temporary relief. After the overgrowth is reduced to normal and the causative factors are controlled, it’s OK, and advisable, to return the fermented foods and probiotics back into your diet.

So while you may not have heard a lot about SBO, it does mask itself as several other conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Candida, contributes to the symptom picture in many other conditions, and its proper control can certainly make your life a lot easier.

Candidiasis Hypersensitivity (Systemic Candida) – Is It Really a Fraud

A number of authors promote the diagnosis and treatment of a syndrome they call Candidiasis Hypersensitivity (sometimes also called “systemic Candida“, or “systemic yeast infections.”

This diagnosis earned a spot on the Quackwatch.com “Top 10 Health Fraud” list.

Yet thousands of people are absolutely convinced that a long list of generalized symptoms, for which their medical doctor has no remedy, are caused by Candida yeast.

Dr. William G. Crook, who wrote The Yeast Connection and started an organization called The Candida and Dysbiosis Information Foundation, is probably the most famous promoter of this illness, which has never been accepted by mainstream doctors.

Dr. Crook listed many possible symptoms that he claimed were associated with this illness, including lethargy, fatigue, food cravings, depression, infertility, and more. Some authors list as many as 30 vague and generalized symptoms for this syndrome.

Very serious systemic yeast infections are quite common in AIDS patients and others with a compromised immune system, and can be fatal. However there is no proof that Candida yeast will cause the list of generalized symptoms claimed for this syndrome in the general population.

Although authors have claimed to be experts in treating this syndrome for the 29 years, the only common illnesses that scientists have proven to be caused by Candida yeast in individuals without a compromised immune system are skin, vaginal and male yeast infections, and oral thrush. However, some promoters of this syndrome claim that up to 30% of all people suffer from excess Candida yeast.

Dr. Crook himself quotes The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI), who looked into this issue and found that:

The Concept is speculative and unproven.

a. The basic elements of the syndrome would apply to almost all sick patients at some time. The complaints are essentially universal; the broad treatment program would produce remission in most illnesses regardless of cause.

b. There is no published proof the Candida albicans is responsible for the syndrome.

c. There is no published proof that the treatment of Candida albicans infection with specific antifungal agents benefits the syndrome.

It is also interesting to note that, in spite of the numerous, (and complicated) “Candida diets” that have been promoted as a possible cure for this syndrome, Dr. Crook based the diet and cookbook he himself recommended on the nutritional research done by Nathan Pritikin, a man Dr. Crook greatly admired.

The Pritikin diet was not developed in response to yeast infections – it was designed to reduce the incidence of heart disease, and research has proven over many years that it is highly effective in reaching that goal.

As the AAAAI suggested in their findings, many, if not all, of the generalized symptoms associated with the so-called candidiasis hypersensitivity syndrome could go away simply from eating a healthy, nutritious diet, such as the one Mr. Pritikin developed. There is no way to prove that the symptoms are actually caused by yeast, or if they are simply the body’s natural response to poor eating habits, obesity, and a lack of exercise.

Although the “Candida diets” may actually make you healthier, the herbal antifungal remedies that are also suggested for people suffering from the fatigue, lethargy, and other symptoms listed by these authors should cause some concern.

True yeast infections of the vagina, penis, skin and mouth are often the result of the use of antibiotics, which kill the body’s beneficial bacteria. These bacteria are needed by the digestive system, and they’re your first line of defense against yeast infections.

The herbal remedies that are often recommended by “Candida experts” are known to damage the beneficial bacteria, and this could actually lead to more severe vaginal yeast infections and oral thrush in the future.

It is also known that Candida yeast evolves very quickly to become drug-resistant. The use of any antifungal medications, including herbal remedies, should always take this into account.

This is the reason why your doctor will always prefer to prescribe a topical antifungal medication, instead of one taken by mouth, unless a systemic drug is really needed.

When Candida becomes drug resistant, the next infection is much more difficult to treat, and you could find yourself the victim of chronic vaginal or male yeast infections that can make your life miserable.

For these reasons, it is always a good idea to have a very frank talk with your doctor before beginning any herbal course of treatment for generalized symptoms that popular authors blame on Candida. If you take these herbal remedies without your doctor’s advice, you may discover to your dismay that you have created an even bigger problem for yourself, including very unwelcome and hard-to-cure chronic yeast infections.

No Menstrual Period After Stopping Birth Control Pill

If you are on the birth control pill, the first step in trying to get pregnant is to stop the pill. After all, the pill works by preventing ovulation, and you need to ovulate first if you want to get pregnant.

But what’s going on if you stop the pill and you don’t get your period for some time? Is there something wrong?

Missing your period is also called amenorrhea. And the very first thing that comes to mind when you don’t have your period if you could be pregnant.

Even without getting your period first there might be a chance you are pregnant. Taking a pregnancy test will pretty much tell you whether your are pregnant or not. A negative pregnancy test, especially if it’s repeated over a week or so, usually means that you are not pregnant.

But is there anything wrong if your period hasn’t come for 2-3 months after stopping the pill? And when should you see your doctor?

First of all let me reassure you. The sort of delay you’re experiencing after going off the pill is quite common and here’s what’s going on:

Combined contraceptives, containing both estrogen and progesterone, are the most commonly used oral contraceptives. They prevent ovulation by maintaining certain hormone levels and suppressing other natural hormones that would otherwise stimulate the ovaries to ripen and release an egg. By taking combined oral contraceptives, you prevent an egg from developing, or being released, for that cycle.

While a woman is on the pill, the menstrual period doesn’t come – as it usually does, as a result of ovulation – but because of the sudden decrease in hormone levels during the one week per month when the pills she takes are placebos, when they don’t contain any hormones.

Because their cycle is controlled by the pills, women taking oral contraceptives are used to getting regular menstrual periods every 28 days.

When you stop taking the pill entirely, the constant hormone level that suppresses ovulation stops. Your body has to start its own hormone production and may sometimes need some time to regain its normal rhythm. The ovary itself has to get ready so that an egg can mature and can be released.

While there are several hundred thousand eggs in the ovaries ready to mature, they may need some time before your first new ovulation.

Your regular menstrual period is usually the result of ovulation, not the other way around.

Menstrual bleeding usually results from a decrease in natural hormone levels about 14 days after the ovulation, if you’re not pregnant. The average woman takes one month to three months to start ovulating again after stopping the pill. Sometimes ovulation may occur sooner; other times, it may take longer. So the first sign that your ovulation has returned is usually the reappearance of your regular menstrual cycle, a couple of weeks after ovulation.

“Post-pill amenorrhea,” the absence of a menstrual period after you stop the pill, is seen in about one in 30 women after they stop the pill. Until you start menstruating regularly, it’s going to be difficult to tell exactly when you’ve ovulated, unless you start checking for other signs of ovulation.

To improve your chances of predicting the day of ovulation, you may want to do the following:

  • Use a basal body temperature thermometer and create a temperature chart
  • Check your cervical mucus for signs of ovulation
  • Add an ovulation-prediction kit (OPK)

You might want to have sex regularly, once a day or every other day, around the time you think you might be ovulating or when the ovulation-prediction kit shows you are about to ovulate, just to make sure you don’t miss the important day of ovulation.

If your menstrual period doesn’t return, or if it continues to remain very irregular for several months, that may be a sign that you haven’t started ovulating regularly yet.

If your menstrual cycle has not returned by three months, or more, after you stop the pill, you probably want to see your Ob-Gyn and discuss what to do next.

Cures for the Mouth Ulcer

The most uncomfortable, painful and annoying condition to have must be those horrible white volcanoes that appear inside the mouth. Yes of course, I mean the mouth ulcer! In many cases, the origin of the ulcer will be unknown, other times it is a bad reaction to certain foods. Learning the origin of the ulcer may be of interest to some people, but I am sure most would be more interested in learning how to cure that nasty that is making them wince every time they move their mouth.

Keep in mind, while most mouth ulcers are benign, they can be more serious forms of mouth ulcers that are not easily treated nor go away quickly. For minor mouth ulcers, a few tips can be offered.

Firstly, it should be brought to the fore what the worst type of mouth ulcer cure is. Purchasing external cold sore ointment and rubbing it into the inside of the mouth. I know, the packaging clearly says “For External Use Only”, however many cases have been reported of people mistakenly believing that “cold sore” and “mouth ulcer” are the same and ending up with a mouthful of completely un-useful and unhelpful ointment.

If one is looking for a common mouth ulcer cure that actually works, then it would be wise to try out some ordinary remedies that will help alleviate the ulcer. Such mouth ulcer cure remedies include rinsing with Listerine, using antiseptics and also using hydrogen peroxide. Another popular method is taking TUMS stomach medicine and crushing it and applying it directly on the ulcer in the mouth. This is a surprisingly effective means of eliminating a mouth ulcer that many people endorse.

Doctors can prescribe medicines to help treat a mouth ulcer that gets worse or just won’t go away. This mouth ulcer cure may not be necessary in most cases, but in some it will be the only way to go and should not be cast out of hand without due consideration.

Acid Reflux vs LPRD

GERD and LPRD. They sound like top-secret government programs, or maybe the names of computer programs. But they’re actually very common medical conditions, and chances are you’ve suffered one or both of them. What are they? And what’s the difference between them?

GERD stands for gastroesophogeal reflux disease, commonly known as acid reflux or just heartburn. LPRD is laryngopharyngeal reflux disease. To understand their causes and their relation to each other, let’s look at how the body is assembled.

At the back of your throat is a sphincter (or muscle) that opens when you swallow something, allowing the material into the esophagus. Then, at the bottom of the esophagus, there is another sphincter that opens into the stomach. Both of these muscles are closed most of the time, opening only when something is supposed to pass through. There is no open-door policy with the esophagus; you have to knock every time.

One of the purposes of that lower sphincter is to keep the stomach’s digestive acids from splashing up into the esophagus. The stomach is lined with material to protect it from its own acids, of course, but the esophagus has no such protection. So when something happens to compromise that sphincter, allowing acid to rise up where it doesn’t belong, you feel it. That’s heartburn, or GERD.

Now, if the acid comes up into the esophagus and then KEEPS GOING, coming all the way up past the upper sphincter and into the back of the throat, that’s LPRD. In layman’s terms, you could consider LPRD to be what happens when the acid from GERD doesn’t know when to quit bubbling up.

You’d think that you wouldn’t feel LPRD without feeling GERD first, but in fact most people who suffer from LPRD don’t notice any significant heartburn. This is because for it to be LPRD, the acid must have passed all the way through the esophagus and up into the back of the throat. Had it lingered in the esophagus, it would have done some damage and caused heartburn. But since it kept going, it basically skipped that process altogether.

The symptoms of LPRD are hoarseness, frequent throat-clearing, problems with swallowing, a bitter taste in the mouth, and a pain in the throat. It’s very much a throat-related syndrome, whereas GERD is felt more in the chest area.

However, while GERD and LPRD have different symptoms, they can be prevented exactly the same way. They are both caused by acid rising up from the stomach, so if you can stop that from happening, you’ll prevent both conditions. Avoid eating huge meals or lying down immediately after eating. Avoid fatty foods, caffeine, alcohol, tobacco and chocolate — yeah, yeah, all the fun stuff, but it comes with a price. Tight clothes or belts can also cause reflux simply by physically forcing acid up from the stomach.

If you find yourself burdened with either GERD or LPRD, don’t fret. In almost all cases, both ailments are fairly easily treated. Finding the cure that works for you specifically may take some doing, but it’s a small price to pay to keep your stomach happy.

Foods For a Person With No Gallbladder

My internist, Dra. Joan Singidas, gave me this list before I underwent a gallbladder removal through lap chole (laparoscopic cholecystectomy) surgery.

The list of foods to avoid and foods to include

She told me to just avoid the foods in the foods to avoid column and observe within one week if would experience again another gallstone attack. That was Sept. 15, 2009. But 3 days later, my wife’s friend arrived from Manila and invited us for lunch. Although I only ate seafoods; fish and shellfish that belong to foods to include, I was not spared with gallstone attack. I then realized that there is also one food under foods to avoid that gives flavor to one of my favorite, baked scallops – the butter. And maybe cheese and oil.

And 3 days after, I ended in the clinic of Dr. Don Edward Rosello (General & Upper Gastrointestinal Surgery, Advanced Laparoscopic Surgery, Surgical Endoscopy, Bariatric Surgery), to ask for his opinion. To which, I was scheduled for laparoscopic cholecystectomy procedure last Oct. 1, 2009.

Three months later, on Dec. 22, 2009, Dr. Singidas handed again the same food list after I was hospitalized last Dec. 12 to 15, 2009 for epigastric and back pains. And with a frown and pity on her face because I can’t enjoy the holidays – Christmas and New Year.

Here is the list of 2 food groups, the foods to avoid and the foods to include. Although this list is specifically addressed to “patients with acid-related diseases”, but because I no longer have gallbladder and the secretion of bile is continuous with no reservoir, Dr. Singidas strongly advises me to follow the list.

Foods to avoid:

– Strongly flavored spices and condiments

– Caffeine containing beverages – coffee (regular or decaf), tea, cocoa, colas

– Tomatoes

– Citric juices – orange, calamansi, grapefruit

– Fatty foods – fried meats, deli meats, potato chips, french fries, fatty or fried pastries like doughnut

– Alcoholic drinks

– Dairy products – whole milk, butter, cheese

– High fat salad dressings – sour cream, cream cheese

– Gas-forming vegetables – broccoli, brussels, sprouts, cabbage, garlic, onion, cauliflower, cucumber, green pepper, turnips

Foods to include:

– Caffeine-free tonics

– All lean, tender meats

– Skinless poultry

– Fish, shellfish

– Eggs

– Soy beans (including tufu)

– Low-fat and skim milk and products

– Whole grain crackers, graham crackers

– White or brown rice

– Noodles/spaghetti

– All vegetables except tomatoes