Friday, 29 June 2012

An Obsession with being Skinny- My story

Eating Disorders: My Story

Today I thought I should write about an issue some of us try to avoid. I know it has been said so many times but this is my story. I for example try to avoid talking about eating disorders because everyone I know thinks I do have an eating disorder because I eat less. I never really vomited my food or avoided eating but I was just picky. I hated eating certain food and that worried my family. There was a point where I had to be watched while I was eating and got holiday promises whenever I ate a good amount because I was slim. Fortunately I was not anorexic. I was not obsessed with being slim or attracted to the model pictures in the magazines. I simply had an appetite of a canary. Even now my eating as an adult makes people uncomfortable because they think it’s too little and from time to time bad as it I go after cakes and other fattening foods without any sign of putting on weight. Could be my genes. Anyway so much for me. People are different. However there are many signs that parents can check to see if their kids have eating disorders. It is after all both a physical and psychological problem that can be sorted out once discovered early.

What causes eating disorders?

Eating disorders may develop partly in response to difficult life experiences such as abuse or social pressures arising in puberty and in growing up. They are also more common in cultures where it is considered desirable to be slim. Genetic factors seem to be important, especially in anorexia. Sometimes people with an eating disorder are depressed, and they may have obsessions.

Anorexia: a psychological disorder characterized by somatic delusions that you are too fat despite being emaciated.

Anorexia generally starts in the middle teenage years, and by the age of 15, can affect as many as one girl in every 150 a research found out. Often they've been mildly overweight, and perhaps teased about this. Although it is rare, anorexia can occur in boys too.

It usually starts with normal dieting, but for the anorexic, dieting becomes a central aspect of life, and continues until the girl is far below the normal weight for her age and height. There is evidence that the anorexic's perception of her size and shape becomes distorted, so while to others she looks gruesomely skeletal, she may still complain of looking and feeling "fat".

Signs that a child may be anorexic include:

  • She prefers baggy and enveloping clothes that disguise how thin she is.
  • She may take great interest in buying food, collecting recipes, and cooking for others.
  • She may make a great show of eating salads and anything else that will contribute very little towards gaining weight.
  • A layer of fine downy hair may start growing all over her body.
  • She stops menstruating.
  • She may exercise intensively.
  • She may take slimming medicines and laxatives to drive her weight down.
Seek Help.

Bulimia: a cycle of overeating, Does this sound familiar?

This is another case but it affects adults and teenagers as well.

The prevalence of bulimia among teenage girls and young women is 1% to 3%, and the rate of occurrence in men is approximately one tenth that seen in women. According to Prof Simpson, bulimia may arise on its own or develop in someone already anorexic.

In addition to behaviours typical of anorexia, bulimics have episodes of "binge eating", when they consume huge amounts of fattening foods, then privately vomit it all up, feeling deeply guilty. These chaotic eating patterns may cause fluctuating weight, and they may maintain an average closer to the norm, and thus be less noticeable.

Signs that a person may be bulimic, include:

Recurrent episodes of binge eating, which may involve eating in a discrete period of time (e.g. within any two-hour period) an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat during a similar period of time and under similar circumstances.

  • A sense of lack of control over eating during the episode.
  • She may exercise intensively.
  • She may take slimming medicines and laxatives to drive her weight down.
If you are worried that your child could be anorexic or bulimic, check his/her behaviour against these signs and symptoms. If you can identify a pattern of behaviour that fits in with the signs and symptoms, your child needs help. Both anorexia and bulimia can have a serious negative impact on health and may cause severe organ damage.


Anorexia and bulimia are complex disorders that can dramatically impact a person's thoughts, feelings, behaviors and health. While no solitary cause is known for eating disorders, a number of factors contribute. If you or a loved one exhibit signs of anorexia or bulimia, such as obsession with weight loss, depression or a distorted body image, seek guidance from your doctor.

Negative Influence of Others

Family members, peers or others who pressure a person to lose weight or place excessive value on aesthetic appearance or body size increase a person's risk for developing anorexia or bulimia. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), perpetual prodding by a parent to lose weight increases a child's risk for eating disorders significantly. Criticizing a child's weight may increase her risk for binging and purging behaviors later in life. Coaches who emphasize weight loss as a means of improving athletic performance, particularly in activities such as gymnastics, dancing, wrestling and cross country running, may also trigger the onset of anorexia or bulimia.

Psychological Factors

Psychological factors, such as low self-esteem, depression and anxiety, may contribute to anorexia and bulimia. According to NEDA, a sense of personal inadequacy or helplessness to control situations may also contribute. People with eating disorders often respond to negative self-perceptions and beliefs by attempting to control their body weight and food intake. They commonly place a high value on thinness and believe that weight loss is the remedy for their problems. These harmful coping mechanisms lead to obsession with weight loss and dietary restriction, which further perpetuate psychological disturbances.

Cultural Pressure

United States media and culture tend to celebrate and emphasize thinness and specific types of aesthetic beauty. According to research published in the "International Journal of Eating Disorders" in 2006, an investigation of America's current societal depictions of the ideal female physique revealed that "Playboy" magazine centerfolds and Miss America pageant contestants have been reducing in body weight since the 1980s, at which time the women pictured were 13 to 19 percent below the anticipated body weight. Meanwhile, fad diet and exercise-themed articles in women's magazines have increased substantially. While health-related magazines and media are not considered negative, NEDA suggests that the narrow way in which women are personified throughout the media may contribute to eating disorders.
Let's face it,the skinny jeans culture is affecting many people.

 Hereditary Genes

A family history of eating disorders increases a person's risk for developing anorexia and bulimia. According to UMMC, anorexia is eight times more likely to occur in people related to someone with the disorder. In addition, certain chromosomes have been identified that may be associated with anorexia and bulimia. While additional research is needed, some doctors believe that genetic factors are a primary cause of eating disorders. The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) suggests that individuals with eating disorders may have unbalanced brain chemicals that relate to hunger, appetite-control and digestion
Eating disorders have no boundaries so be on the lookout for relatives and friends who might have this problem and support them where ever you are. A friend of mine had bulimia and because of lack of support committed suicide so take it seriously. Whatever the case might be please seek help.

Remember help is there.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Time Wasters in Relationships

I am loving this and I hope you will find it interesting. We have all have had our expectations dashed at some point.

Sometimes your friends set you up and sometimes you do it to yourself. But there are things to look out for on a first date to make sure that you don't end up spending years of your life on someone who just wasn't worth it. It would be nice to get it right the first time but it doesn’t not often work out like that.

The starters have just arrived, and you wish you could go home already. You have a vague sense of unease that you can't quite place and you're starting to plot an escape route. Here follows a short guide to people you shouldn't date more than once.

-Boozing Bob. If Bob isn't sober on your first date, he's never going to be. Look out for a sign of excessive alcohol consumption– is he incoherent; does he drive erratically; has he gone to the car with some weak excuse during the evening; have you only had one glass of the bottle you shared?  Alcoholism is a disease and Bob isn't going to stop boozing because you ask him nicely. He doesn't need a date – he needs rehab. Why take this on?

-Tell-all Mary. You've known Mary for all of half an hour. When she hasn't been SMSing friends, she's talked non-stop about herself. She's told you how many relationships she's had before (14), she's told you what she earns, that her brother is in rehab – in short everything except her grandmother's inside leg measurement (38 cm). Whereas she doesn't even know what your surname is, or what you do for a living. Where's the mystery? Get out while you still can.

-Spongeing Sipho. Sipho likes going to fancy places. Problem is, he doesn't much like paying for them. You would have been happy with the local hamburger joint, but he booked at the expensive Greek restaurant three miles away. Only when it came to settling the bill, his wallet was nowhere to be found. Surprise. And you got the feeling that this 'loan' was never going to be paid back. And you were right. Sipho isn't ever going to pay his way. In fact, you think he should write a book called "Spongeing, a user's guide". Change your phone number or run away as fast as you can.

-Latecomer Leo. Unless there is a real excuse such as an accident or a serious hailstorm, Leonard cannot be excused for being late. He might be using his late coming to get you off-balance, or to try and make you think that he is more important than you are. Drop Leo. If he can't be on time for the first date, a life with him will be a sheer hell of waiting around in parking lots, or missing the first 20 minutes of every movie you go and see. Just don't go there.

-Bragging Linda. If you've cut your hand, hers was so bad, it became gangrenous. You've got a stomach pain, but it doesn't quite match up to her suspected intestinal tumour. Linda brags non-stop about everything – from her family, to her finances, to her cushy jobs. Nothing you do can come close to what she's experienced. Linda has devastatingly low self esteem, which is why she finds it necessary to do a constant PR job on herself. Hit the road – you don't feel like propping up someone's sagging self-esteem for thirty years

-Babbling Bob. Bob doesn't stop for a second. After twenty minutes of being in his company, you feel as if you've been koshed on the head. He talks like a dam sluice in a flood. You can feel your heart beating in your chest, a sense of claustrophobia is setting in and your left eye is roaming the room, searching for an escape route. For Bob there is only one person on earth – and that's him. And Bob also has achievement issues – he's been everywhere, done everything, got all the T-shirts. And in all his endless tales he somehow always emerges as the hero. (Funny that he's living in someone's backyard flat and has had seven jobs in the last year). Bob doesn't need to go out on dates – he probably needs a therapist and medication. And a head-on collision with reality.

-Ex-obsessed Edmore. Edmore's ex-wife drank, had affairs, and neglected the children. She is also set on making Edmore's life a living hell. Or so he says. Over and over again. By the end of the evening you know everything about the ex-wife, but nothing about Edmore. Drop him. His obsession with his ex-wife bodes ill for any future with someone else. He possibly needs help – not a new girlfriend. And have we mentioned that he constantly fiddles with his cell phone in case the ex phones? Imagine having to structure your life around his hatred for his ex-wife. Lose his number fast.

-Moaning Lilie. Nothing in Lilie's life is going right – she complains about the weather, her flat, her family, her job, her boss, her ex-boyfriend. And you didn't even ask. Lilie is a victim of note. Everyone and everything is against her. The litany of woes is never-ending, but Lilie never actually realises that the only common denominator to all of these disasters, is her. Lilie revels in disaster, as it gives her the right to play the role of victim. And if it doesn't happen all by itself, she will create it. She's desperately looking for the knight on the white horse. Make sure it's not you.

-Gossipy Patrick. Patrick's mantra in life is "If you don't have anything good to say about anyone, come and sit here by me." Patrick is viciously poisonous and is far more concerned with the tabloid aspects of gossip, than with the truth. If Patrick spends your first evening together slating all and sundry, many of whom are strangers to you, spend some time considering what he's going to say about you two weeks down the line. Patrick is the local Mr BBC – if you want something to get around, tell it to him, but ask him to keep it quiet. It will have done the southern suburbs by lunchtime tomorrow. Watch what you say on this date, as it will be repeated. Make Patrick a once-off experience.

-Bad Mannered William. Anyone who makes a scene in a restaurant spoils the evening not only for his date, but for everyone around him or her. I'm not saying that you shouldn't ever complain, but there is a way in which to do this. And that does not include being rude, sarcastic or superior to the waiter. The waiter is not in a position to tell you where to get off, which is why he is an ideal target for this person who has a low self-image, issues with food and with social status. In short, someone who is nice to you, but horrible to the waiter, is simply not a nice person.

Comments on a type of Athritis - Gout

I didn't think I will be saying this but then why should I not. You will be surprised that my stories involve cousins and friends. I come from a big  extended family where everyone is either an aunt or uncle which I am proud of. Anyway here is my story:

 I once visited a cousin whose husband seemed to everyone lazy bugger. All he did was mourn about pain. His wife seem not to understand what was happening. He did not seek help but eventually consulted the ''traditional medicine man''. Typically all sorts of noises were made of witchcraft  and how another cousin was causing all this. No medical tests were done and the the families were ripped apart because of the witchcraft accusations.It was later that I realised that my cousin's husband had gout- bad lifestyle-a lot of boozing and not eating well which might sound familiar to some of you. I thought I would look in to this for my cousin.

What is gout?Gout is a type of arthritis which usually affects only one or two joints in the body. The most characteristic joint in which gout develops is the big toe. Usually gouty inflammation of the joints only last for a few days, but it can be so excruciatingly painful that sufferers never forget an episode. Unfortunately gout attacks have a habit of recurring.

What causes gout?

Gout is caused by deposits of urate crystals in the joints. Urate is one of the breakdown products of compounds called purines. Ideally the human body should break urates and uric acid down completely to form a substance called allantoin which can be excreted by the kidneys. Sadly humans and primates have lost the enzyme which breaks down urates and uric acid to allantoin. People who suffer from gout tend to either produce more urate than normal or to excrete less in the form of uric acid. Gout is usually accompanied by a condition called hyperuricaemia.
Who is susceptible?
Men are much more prone to develop gout than women, although post-menopausal women also run an increased risk. Gout tends to be inherited and 25% of the relatives of gout patients develop this condition and/or raised blood urate levels. Older people tend to be more susceptible to gout than younger men and women.

Cipitating factors

Factors that can precipitate a gout attack, include:
  • overweight - many patients who suffer from gout are overweight or obese
  • alcohol - acute attacks of gout are often precipitated by overindulgence in alcohol
  • dietary purines - eating foods rich in purines (meat, fish, fish roes) can cause an attack
  • starvation or very-low-energy diets - blood urate levels rise dramatically when body proteins are broken down due to starvation or very low energy intake
  • kidney disease - any disease, such as chronic renal failure, which prevents the kidneys from functioning properly and excreting sufficient urate can cause gout
  • other diseases - diseases such as leukemia or psoriasis can cause increases in urate production
  • drugs - chemical compounds which decrease the excretion of urates, such as the so-called thiazide diuretics, can cause a gout attack


a) Anti-gout drugs
Nowadays there are drugs available which can successfully lower blood urate levels and increase excretion by the kidneys. These medicines need to be taken for months or years at a time. If your doctor has prescribed drugs to treat your gout, please use the medicine as instructed.

b) Dietary treatment

Reduce weight:
Patients who are overweight should try to reduce their weight gradually and steadily, using a low-fat diet and exercise. Remember that fasting, starvation diets, and drastic energy restriction, are dangerous because they are likely to cause an acute attack. People with gout should, therefore, also not use detoxification or purification diets as these may also precipitate a flare-up.

Avoid alcohol:
Cut down on alcohol intake drastically. If necessary avoid all alcohol or restrict drinking to less than two drinks a day. A harsh, but effective way of preventing gout.

Avoid gorging:

Avoid rich, heavy meals which contain lots of fat and purines - i.e. the typical Christmas dinner is an excellent example of a meal laden with fat and purines.

Avoid purines:
Avoid high-purine foods like liver, kidneys, sweetbreads, sardines, and meat extracts.

Drink water:
Drink six or more glasses of water throughout the day and a glass at night before going to bed to help the kidneys excrete urates.

Go easy on caffeinated drinks:
Don't overdo tea and coffee drinking and switch to rooibos tea if you find your joints start aching after a coffee/tea binge.

Moderation and abstinence from alcohol - those are the solutions to gout.
Hopefully this will help.I am by no means no medical person but wnated to share.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Pride,Ignorance and Prejudice- My story.

Welcome back!

I thought it woulfd be fair to explain my intentions with my blog. I have pointed out before that I will always speak for the under dog,raise issues that affects people who have no platform to air out their concerns. This of course does not mean I will not have fun. Simply my blog will be there to motivate and entertain. So watch the space.

Today I thought I might share something about myself. I came to the UK in 2006 and like most people who find themselves living abroad had expectations.I was shattered by the reality that faced me. I had at a very early start wanted to do my driving test so I made contact with an instructor called Val. She seemed a very nice lady at first,very understanding and friendly. I was happy .She would come and pick me up from work and we would do our lesson. We talked as one does and I realised she was not as nice as I thought. She did her lessons mostly with ethnic minorities in the UK-Asians ,Africans etc and I think she verbally bullied people by what came out of her mouth.She was ''Mrs- Know-it-all. She knew what was there to know about other cultures and countries.

 She had done with a couple of Africans and when we started talking she wanted to let me know how good she gets on with Africans. I have always found such an explanation unnecessary so I ignored Val. She has never been to Africa and her knowledge of Africa and Africans was based on what she saw on TV and what her driving pupils told her. Her idea of Africa was of people who still wore loincloths. Of course what she knew was so patchy and I don't know why she swore she knew a lot about Africans. That didn't matter to me. All I wanted after work was to do my lesson and go home and rest. She had this picture of a wild untammed and uncivilsed Africa she even asked me how I got to UK.

''Do you have airports in your country or you had to go to South Africa?''she asked. For her the only country that was developed was South Africa. The rest was a bush full of different tribes squating and moving from place to place. Where she got this idea,I haven't got a clue and I realised it was a waste of my time and energy to try and talk to her. She had answers on everything.

I also learnt that some times Africans enjoy being made fun out of. She had been told by one of the African lady she had given lessons how bad things were in most parts of Africa. Well things are bad everywhere and it's no point seeking pity to the extend of  exaggerating facts. I know things can be bad home but sometimes people exaggerate facts for pity.

At first I didn't care until she said my headaches (always had migraines) were a result of my upbringing.

''What do you know of my upbringing Val?'' I asked.

''I mean living in the forest, no proper food and all the suffering in your country,it must be hard.Maybe you will get better now since you are here'',she said

I was shocked but I laughed. It is ignorance I could tell but it was the way she pretended to know everything that made me laugh. She had no idea what she was talking about. She had been a primary school teacher before she retired to become a driving instructor but I had no idea people could be that ignorant. Then I remembered what a friend told me when I came to the UK. When this friend got pregnant she told people at her work place. They were all happy for her but one said, ''That must be a relief for you to have the baby here''.
''What do you mean?'',the friend asked.
''Well the way I know Africa,you might have had to have this child in this bush. Now you can relax because you have the comfort of the NHS''.

Like me this friend of mine was shocked that people claim to know things when they actually know nothing.

I am not saying everyone has this mentality of Africa of course. I have met people who appreciates the beauty of other cultures and countries. These are of course people who either had been to Africa or just think outside the box.

As far as I am concerned,it is ignorance that make people paint  a continent withso many different cultures and people with one brush.

It's called ignorance and prejudice.Food for thought.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

On Women and Healthy lifestyle

Welcome back!

Today I thought I should talk about myself and how I managed to lessen the headaches I used to get by eating well. I don’t mean I didn’t well but I simply drank a lot of tea at the expense of proper food. The sugar gave me a buzz of course and I took more and more but each week I had 3-4 days of headaches. I didn’t enjoy life socially and the more painkillers I took, the more worried I became until I thought of visiting a dietician. I thought I should share this with men and women out there .I used to bad eating habits and get headaches until I followed the advice from a dietician. It worked for me and I do get less headaches than before and therefore less stress at work, so why don’t you try it? For women it is important especially with those hormonal changes that occur every month during menstruation.

If you rely on coffee or Red bull to make it through the day, it’s time to change up your routine. Sure, you’ll get an instant buzz, but by the time your hands stop shaking, you’ll discover that you’re even more exhausted than before.
So put down that mug or Red bull, step away from the vending machine and give these six simple strategies a try. They’re proven to get you energised -- and keep you that way.

1. Do not skip Breakfast. When it comes to stocking up on stamina, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. During sleep, your body uses up its energy stores. Eating first thing in the morning is important for refuelling.  For a longer-lasting boost, pair lean protein with filling with wholegrain like whole-wheat toast topped with peanut butter and a banana, or a bowl of oatmeal with fruits and nuts.

2. A touch of spinach. Instead of the usual iceberg or romaine, use spinach in your family’s salads and sandwiches. This dark leafy green is high in magnesium, a mineral your body uses to convert food into energy. Women should aim to get at least 310 to 320 milligrams of the nutrient daily, or approximately six servings of various high-magnesium foods like dark leafy greens, nuts, beans, cereal and yoghurt.

3. Drinking water

Sipping on water regularly will prevent you from becoming dehydrated. Women need about 12 cups of fluid per day, according to the Institute of Medicine’s Dietary Reference Intakes. And being dehydrated by just 1 percent - the point where you just start to get thirsty -- can make you feel like you’re dragging. You don’t need to get all of that liquid from plain H20, she says: Milk, tea, soup and juicy fruits, like oranges and watermelon, can also help you meet your quota.

4. Do not stop taking carbohydrates

 Passing on breads and pastas may help you drop a few kilos, but it won’t do much for your productivity.  Carbohydrates are the easiest way for your body to get energy

So when you don’t eat them, you feel sluggish. It has been suggested that aiming for 130 grams (or about six servings) a day and always choosing fibre-rich whole grains. If you are Gluten-intolerant opt for beans, fresh fruit and sweet potatoes.

5. Get some iron

 Even a slight deficiency of this mineral can make you feel run-down.

Women need about 18 milligrams of iron a day -- twice as much as men. Red meat is one of the best sources, so have beef or steak a few times a week. Or load up on vegetarian sources, such as fortified cereals, whole-grain bread and beans. It is recommended that pairing these foods with another one rich in vitamin C, like orange juice or tomatoes, to help your body absorb the mineral better.

6. Exercising

 Heading to the gym may be the last thing you feel like doing when you’re sluggish, but for putting more pep in your step, it can’t be beat. In fact, University of Georgia researchers found that working out regularly kept people more energised than staying sedentary.  Exercising at any time during the day will get you going, but if you’re looking to beat that late-afternoon slump, doing some cardio at lunchtime is perfect.

And while you don’t want to do anything so strenuous that it will actually tire your muscles out, challenging your body will fire you up and release those feel-good endorphins that will leave you glowing.

Where ever you are in the world eating well is important. Try it and see for yourself. The body needs looking after and it will look after you too.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Marriage of Convinience or Love?

Welcome Back.

After promising myself that I would want to blog everyday after work I thought I might today look at this interesting topic on love and marriage. I am not an expert but from my experiences and those of others I have learnt quite a lot. Marriage of convinience or love,that is the question?

When I first came to the UK, as a student I did some part time work when I was not at University. One day as I sat at work with a cup of tea during my break I had a scuffle behind me. I was quick to my feet only to see two of my workmates fighting. I moved away as I did n't want to be part of the scuffle but near wnough to see what was happening as one does.
In their shouting and fighting I managed to pick what was going on. One of the girls was angry because she had been told she had married somebody for a chance to settle in the UK. The woman in question was angry because not only was she accused of marrying for convinience but she had also married a very old man.Not that age matter really if people are truly in love but it was the words ''marriage of convinience'' that broke her.She was obviously offended and whether this was true or not it was not the nicest thing to be told by anybody.

Back in Africa when I was growing up we were always told not to fall for men from certain parts of Africa as they were popular for marrying people for visas. It was when the country had its dollar power and people wanted to stay longer. It never occured to me that really people can marry for convinience. Convinience here does not only mean visas and a permanent stay in a country but anything that is benefitting the other person. I think people should  marry for love.

Marriages from time back have been known to stem from many factors ranging from love to money/dowry especially in some cultures. As a matter of fact in some of these culture one had to think of the future first before love- was the woman/man in question rich enough to provide for the family. There was no such thing as ,''well the newly weds can work together and accumulate stuff together''. One had to have the money if they were to find someone respectable to marry. In some cultures though( e.g Southern Africa and many other) marriages were for people who actually had fallen in love,informed their elders and bride price would be paid. Bride price was never really meant to enrich anybody but just a token of appreciation. Now it's more like a money making venture. I dont want to open a can of worms but things have been happening differently now especially for people living in abroad/diaspora. There is always talk of marrying for convinience. Have human beings become so desperate and selfish or is it a survival issue here? Some of you might know what I mean but some might not so I will explain. I don't intend to offend anybody but it has been known stastically that some people choose to marry certain people knowing they will benefit directly from the union either by getting visas and a stay in the country they want to settle or even for the money.

I don't know whether there is a difference in people 's behaviours once the union is influenced by benefitting somebody. The question is then what happens with true love? Would one chose rather to be married for convinience and be miserable for the rest of their life or for love?
In my experience I have seen such marriages not lasting for long but again I could be basing my argument on a culture that I know.

Needless to say in the UK,there has been reports by Immigration of marriages that were fake and only meant for benefitting those intending to stay permanently in the country.It's not only happening in Europe but all over the world and some parents have even been known to let off their daughter with money just for the convinience of the older generation.
It is a harsh world but surely love is love we all need ito be genuine.

Just food for thought!

Monday, 11 June 2012

What defines a Healthy Woman-(Bacterial Vaginosis)

What defines a healthy woman

First and foremost excuse my language. No offence intended but only to inform.

I am sure someone somewhere will find this information important and to my critics, vaginosis has no geographical boundaries. You have to be a woman to know that some of these infections are shared by many women. For the poor it’s a nightmare because there are no antibiotics to clear the infection. I wonder how they deal with this

 If what they say is true, that is (Bacterial vaginosis is linked to transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, so this is a potentially significant risk factor for acquiring sexually transmitted diseases, then no wonder HIV/AIDS has prevalence in poor communities)

Bacteria that live normally in the vagina differ from woman to woman and can even change dramatically in short periods of time in the same woman, a new analysis reveals.

The findings are likely to alter the one-size-fits-all diagnosis and treatment of vaginal infections that currently prevails among obstetricians and gynaecologists.

This certainly changes the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of vaginosis (bacterial infection in the vagina).

Among other things, this makes vaginosis much harder to diagnose. If (vaginal bacteria) change over time, how sure are you that this really is vaginosis?

Not all vaginas are equal

In the practise of medicine, all women have been considered pretty much the same when it comes to vaginal microbiota, with the same treatment. Antibiotics typically are prescribed to treat vaginosis.

Research shows in some people treatments work really well, and in some they fail.

Now we know it's because not all women are made equal.

Prior research by the same group had identified five basic microbial communities in the vagina. The researchers also found that these communities tended to vary according to ethnicity.

The balance of microbial communities is vital in protecting women from infections, including sexually transmitted diseases.

But bacterial vaginosis - when one type of bacteria thrives and dominates other types, which raises the risk of infection - is extremely common.

How the study was done

Ravel and his co-authors collected vaginal bacterial samples from 32 healthy, reproductive-age women twice a week for four months, and then analysed the samples using genomic techniques.

Again the researchers found five basic bacterial communities, and also noted that some changed rapidly in the same woman while others stayed stable.

In some cases, the collection of bacteria seen in a particular woman would have indicated the presence of bacterial vaginosis, although these women were healthy and not experiencing any symptoms.

This change what has been considered to be a normal bacterial community in the vagina.

Changes in bacterial communities tended to correspond with oestrogen levels at different points in the menstrual cycle, the particular composition of bacteria in a woman's vagina and sexual activity.

It's also likely that what a woman eats or the environment in which she lives will affect microbial composition.

The authors postulated that microbiota that fluctuated regularly may make a woman more vulnerable to infection.

Bacterial vaginosis and STDs

Bacterial vaginosis is linked to transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, so this is a potentially significant risk factor for acquiring sexually transmitted diseases.

Interestingly, vaginal bacteria also can affect pregnancy and fertility. The composition of vaginal microbiota and of a man's sperm could mean that a woman is fertile with one man and infertile with another, an accompanying editorial suggested.

There is need to rethink the way we approach women's health and treatment and diagnosis.

Think of those poor women from poor communities and how they manage vaginosis. Please read and retweet.It’s better to know than to be ignorant of something that affects many women out there.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Women and anxiety disorders

Did you know about this? I thought you might find it informative!!

Women and Anxiety disorders

In a discovery that could help in the identification and treatment of anxiety disorders, Michigan State University scientists say the brains of anxious girls work much harder than those of boys.

What the findings mean

The finding stems from an experiment in which college students performed a relatively simple task while their brain activity was measured by an electrode cap. Only girls who identified themselves as particularly anxious or big worriers recorded high brain activity when they made mistakes during the task.

Jason Moser, lead investigator on the project, said the findings may ultimately help mental health professionals determine which girls may be prone to anxiety problems such as obsessive compulsive disorder or generalised anxiety disorder.

“This may help predict the development of anxiety issues later in life for girls,” said Moser, assistant professor of psychology. “It’s one more piece of the puzzle for us to figure out why women in general have more anxiety disorders.”

The study, reported in the International Journal of Psychophysiology, is the first to measure the correlation between worrying and error-related brain responses in the sexes using a scientifically viable sample (79 female students, 70 males).

How the study was done

Participants were asked to identify the middle letter in a series of five-letter groups on a computer screen. Sometimes the middle letter was the same as the other four (“FFFFF”) while sometimes it was different (“EEFEE”). Afterward they filled out questionnaires about how much they worry.

Although the worrisome female subjects performed about the same as the males on simple portions of the task, their brains had to work harder at it. Then, as the test became more difficult, the anxious females performed worse, suggesting worrying got in the way of completing the task, Moser said.

Brains are being kind of burned out

“Anxious girls’ brains have to work harder to perform tasks because they have distracting thoughts and worries,” Moser said. “As a result their brains are being kind of burned out by thinking so much, which might set them up for difficulties in school. We already know that anxious kids – and especially anxious girls – have a harder time in some academic subjects such as math.”

Currently Moser and other MSU researchers are investigating whether oestrogen, a hormone more common in women, may be responsible for the increased brain response. Oestrogen is known to affect the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in learning and processing mistakes in the front part of the brain.

“This may end up reflecting hormone differences between men and women,” Moser said.

In addition to traditional therapies for anxiety,  other ways to potentially reduce worry and improve focus include journaling – or “writing your worries down in a journal rather than letting them stick in your head” – and doing “brain games” designed to improve memory and concentration.

Try it you may never know.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Dedication: A Brave Woman's Story in fighting Cancer

Welcome Back

I was not intending to blog today but after seeing my cousin who had been fighting cancer I thought I should share this. My cousin was 28 years last year when she was diagnosed with a form of cancer called lymphoma.

Lymphomas are cancers of the lymphatic system, which forms part of the body’s immune system. There are many different types of lymphoma, although they are broadly categorised as Hodgkin or non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The cause of lymphoma is unknown.
  It can occur at any age but is most common in people under 30 and over 55. The incidence of lymphoma is increasing year on year but it is not known why this is happening.
The most common symptom of lymphoma is a painless lump or swelling, often in the neck, armpit or groin. Other common symptoms include excessive sweating (especially at night), fevers, unexplained loss of weight, loss of appetite, unusual tiredness, a cough or breathlessness and persistent itching.

 I had sleepless nights over this. ''Why her? Life is not fair'', I kept thinking over and over. She did not deserve this and it was sad for friends and family. Her husband was also a rock in this.Many a time I have seen women go through hell on their own,even abandoned by husbands that claimed to have loved them once but,yes my cousin had all the support from the man in her life.

It is difficult to have such an illness when one is faraway from home and loved ones. People back in Zimbabwe were worried and so were we in the UK. All over the world cancer has been known to kill and I think most of us were fearing the worst.

Whenever I visited her I would really be upset and tried so hard not to cry and it was hard. She had to stop work,she started putting on weight because of the steroids she was given before starting chemotherapy. She lost her hair and looked really different as the illness progressed. While her body was changing,my cousin 's demeanor didn't change. She stayed the same,positive,happy and cheerful.

I have heard many times my mother saying fighting an illness is both a physical and psychological battle and one has to win both. People have been known to take placebos and just because they believed felt healed. So the battle of the mind played a role in my cousin's fight. She believed and never gve up My cousin was positive all the time and she even made plans for the future as if life was normal.I realised she was going to win the battle. There was never a time she was down. I was surprised  at how calmly she took everything. When she lost her hair she was still smiling,when her nails were breaking she was still smiling. I honestly think I might not have taken it so calmly like she did. She could not have a normal sleep and felt breathless and never sid she complain.

Emotional effects

A diagnosis of cancer often means people experience a whole range of emotions. These may include shock, anxiety , sadness , relief, uncertainty| and for some people, depression|.

I did learn a lot from my cousin, being positive all the time makes many situations manageable.Many times we are so embroiled with worry we think negative and then bad things really happens. Whatever I go through I feel encouraged by my cousin.How could she have managed to take things so calmly when she potentially could die?

In April this year she was given the all clear by her doctor and now we have to see but it was nice seeing her hair growing,nails polished in pink-her favourite nail polish colour. I was so proud of her today and to make it even more inspiring,she is to running in the RACE FOR LIFE for Macmillan cancer to raise money for cancer patient . I am really happy she has come this far and I really believe part of her winning was her positivitiness. Such a brave woman. I am proud to have her as a cousin and friend.You got to be inspired by people like this surely.

My message for people in any situation like this is to stay positive and all will be well. Worry will only make things worse. My cousin is to me very inspirational and to see another inspirational story please follow the link for another extraordinary story, ''Married to a Devil''

Married to a Devil is now available on Amazon (Kindle Edition). Please follow the link below,

Friday, 8 June 2012

On Bullying and it's phychological impacts

Welcome back.

I have to comment on this after I was bullied myself and believe me it’s not a good thing to go through. Parents should be on the lookout for their kids’welfare at school as this really is a nasty experience. People 's lives have been changed by bullies and some of the worst affected have even turned into alcoholics, manic depressive etc after the experience.

What is bullying?

Bullying can take many forms: from teasing and spreading rumours to pushing someone around and causing physical harm. It often happens in front of other people.

It includes name calling, mocking, kicking, taking belongings, writing or drawing offensive graffiti, messing around with people’s belongings, gossiping, excluding people from groups, and threatening others.

Why are people bullied?

Children and young people are bullied for all sorts of reasons. It can be due to their race, their religion, their appearance, their sexual orientation, because they have a disability or because of their home circumstances. People are bullied for being black, white, fat, clever, gay or just being different from what is considered the norm. These are a few examples.

But people are sometimes picked on for no reason.

Cyberbullying is increasingly common inside and outside school as well as at home. It also happens to adults so be careful of whom you deal with. With social networking bullying can now happen anywhere and anytime.

Cyberbullying is any form of bullying that involves the use of mobile phones or the internet. For example, sending offensive text messages and emails, circulating degrading images on the internet, or impersonating someone on social networking sites such as Facebook.  

Actually the reason I have decided to comment is because I was bullied on Facebook recently. This person asked to be a friend and him being from home I accepted. Little did I know what he was up to. At first it was the occasional ‘Hi, how are you doing when I was on line until one day he said,

‘’I hate people who are living abroad. You are traitors. You and your families deserve to be killed. I was petrified’’.

A wolf disguised as a lamb. I still do not understand why he did that but I simply blocked him. I am still scared on how extreme his views are on people living abroad.

The effects of bullying

The effects of bullying are horrific.

Bullying makes the lives of its victims miserable. It undermines their confidence and destroys their sense of security. It takes away life from people and they can actually grow to be unsettled men and women leading to serious mental health issues.

Bullying can cause sadness, loneliness, low self-esteem, fear, anxiety and poor concentration, and lead to self-harm, depression, suicidal thoughts and, in some cases, suicide.

Bullying can also affect children and young people's attendance and progress at school.

Please let’s all stop this kind of behavior as it simply makes other people’s lives a misery. If you are being bullied seek help before you are dragged down and to bullies it’s time you take responsibility. Bullies are actually cowards themselves and only seek to make it up by making life hard for others.

Shame on all bullies!

Monday, 4 June 2012

Comments on Depression-a common mental illness

Being a Chipmunka Author I thought I should touch on Mental Health here but please I am not a qualified practitioner and am basing my comments on observation so if you think this is all to familiar seek professional help.

There are various psychiatric conditions and illnesses. If you think that you might suffer from one, please seek professional help.

We all experience loss, sadness, stress, anger, heartbreak, irritation, grief, a sense of unfulfilling and general unhappiness at some point in our lives. It's the human condition. After all, life is hard, and everyone we know will die, if we don't beat them to it.

So when does one know whether it is a problem needing help or just one of those days when one gets miserable a bit or sad because of a loss of a loved one.

I think the following five symptoms might be an indication.

You don't enjoy things anymore. Even the things you used to enjoy

It's called anhedonia and it is the clinical term for lack of pleasure. So if, for example, you used to enjoy cooking, or going out with friends, or reading,etc and you suddenly find yourself not enjoying it anymore, it might spell trouble. Of course if you are in the middle of grieving then it’s normal.

You're eating too little or too much

Depression often goes hand in hand with lack of appetite. Sometimes, if you're really, really, really unlucky it might go with an increased appetite. So a marked change in diet and weight is something to look out for.

You can't sleep or you can't wake up

Like eating habits, sleeping habits also manifest as 2 sides of the same coin. Either you can't sleep or you can't stay awake - even if your very life depended on it.

You're a burden on your nearest and dearest, or you ignore them completely –Mood Swings

Sometimes even the people who love you the most will eventually get exhausted with your sadness, your low opinion of yourself, and your selfishness (depressed people can only see their own pain) and eventually you will alienate even your staunchest supporters.

You don't care about important stuff

You keep on messing things at work, missed an important deadline. You could be just slow but maybe it’s time to see a doctor for a chat.

Whether it be meds or therapy or a variety of alternative treatments, or all of the above I urge anyone who felt this article struck a chord - either for yourself or a loved one, to visit someone who specialises in Mental Health. There is help out there. Don’t be afraid of being labelled.

Friday, 1 June 2012

The Curse of being a Woman - Adultery

Welcome Back!

I hope you found my blog yesterday informative. I didn't mean to write anything today but then I was horrified to read about a woman in Sudan who has been sentenced to stoning for adultery. If you are wondering where this is leading  but if you have been following me I guess you might know the subject of my discussion. Yes you heard me right- stoning means death but in a painful way. There are some states in America and countries around the world still having death penalty and I am not going to go in that debate. Adultery has always been there since time began and its just part of life and people go separate ways over that but death-it's just not right.

What made me want to share this with you is the fact that in this particular case it is only the woman being stoned to death. The man this woman had a sexual relationship with is alright. Life goes on for him while this woman  go through such a painful untimely death.

We need to think about these things and respect and protect people whether female or male. Why then does this law only apply to women? Is it not another way of abusing women? Who has the right to judge anyway? Would she not just been left to go about her way? What then happens to  a man cheater. Life goes on for men. I am not saying adultery is good but surely is stoning this woman to death the right thing to do? It is strange how we justify bad way by being worse than those we are accusing.

This woman could have committed adultery for many reasons but obviously she was not happy in the marriage.

It is still a men's world in many parts of the world and it is so wrong to stone a woman to death. Besides it's her body she is using anyway so why should she die? She is not her man's possession and like I said before,''What happens to the man she had a sexual relationship with?

Things like this should not be happening at all in the 21st Century.