Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Skin Problems? Ladies check this out!

Skin Problems? How to have a DIY Spa from Home

Between work and household responsibilities, chances are you’re in need of some relaxation.  A day at the spa might do the trick. In fact, one study in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine found that spa visits were linked to better physical and mental health.
But finding the kind of time and money required for a spa day could cause more stress rather than put you at ease. So instead, set aside an afternoon in your own home and treat yourself to these DIY beauty treatments.

Set the mood

Your bathroom might be the most practical room for an at-home spa experience, but it also may be the least tranquil. Take a few minutes to get rid of anything that reminds you of household chores, like dirty laundry or stacks of toilet paper.

Then, change into comfortable clothes, light a scented candle and cue up some soothing tunes. According to Australian research, music and nature sounds can help reduce anxiety while increasing relaxation.

Kiss chapped lips goodbye

What we put on our bodies should be as safe as what we put in our bodies - especially when it comes to the face, says a beauty expert. Spa treatments made from food-based ingredients - like sugar and salt scrubs - are popular because they’re healthy and all-natural and they’re great for the skin

To make an exfoliating (and edible!) sugar scrub for dry lips, try this recipe: Mix 1 teaspoon of fine castor sugar with 1 teaspoon of sweet almond oil. Gently rub the mixture around the contours of your lips for 30 seconds, then wash off with water and wipe away excess with tissues, which are soft and won’t irritate delicate lip skin.

Go green

Avocados have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties; when applied to your face, the fruit can help reduce inflammation and clean pores. Plus, it can stimulate the growth of collagen and elastin - proteins that keep your skin looking young, shows a study in the journal Phytotherapy Research.

To reap the skin-soothing benefits of avocado, try the favourite exfoliating mask: Mash together one avocado (cut into pieces), the juice from half a fresh orange, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil. Spread evenly on your face and neck, leave on for 30 minutes, and then wash off with cold water.

After all traces of your mask are removed, a toner can help hydrate your skin and seal in moisture. To make sure you don’t overdo it, apply toner to a tissue folded into quarters, and then wipe the tissue across your face for an even application.

Make a full-body exfoliant.

When your skin is feeling dry or rough, scrub it with a mixture of almond oil, sea salt and a drop of lemon oil. Make sure to use sea salt (not iodised salt) with small granules so it doesn’t scratch your skin, and mix with oil until you get a grainy, spreadable consistency.

Don’t have lemon oil at home? Cut a lemon in half and use it: The citrus acts as a natural exfoliant to help slough away dead skin cells. Apply to arms and legs while you’re standing in or sitting on the edge of the bathtub; afterward, rinse off with warm water.

 Put your best foot forward.

A professional pedicure involves more than just painting your nails, but that doesn’t mean you can’t duplicate the process at home. Fill your bathtub with warm water and a soothing bath salt, and let your feet soak as you remove any polish that’s currently on your toenails.

Cut or file your nails straight across, rounding the corners only slightly to avoid ingrown toenails. Then apply cuticle oil to your toes and use a cuticle stick or a nail file to gently push back your cuticles. Be careful here, because you’re not a professional. Pushing too deep, or cutting or peeling off skin, is how you can end up with scabs or an infection.

Next, exfoliate the bottoms of your feet with a pumice stone, allowing the other foot to soak. Then, drain the tub and apply a thick lotion to your feet. Leave the lotion on for at least five minutes, then rinse your feet with fresh water and dry them off. Now for the colour: To help separate your toes, twist up several tissues and wrap them around your toes, creating space between them. With a steady hand, apply two coats of colour followed by a quick-drying top coat.

Leave the tissues between your toes for as long as possible to prevent your nails from rubbing against each other; try to remain still for at least 10 minutes. Use this time to read a magazine, call and catch up with an old friend, or just sit back and enjoy the peace and quiet.

So simple with amazing results!

Monday, 29 October 2012

Sex Life: Are you engaging all your senses?

Did you know that making love is the only endeavour which simultaneously engages and excites all six senses: sight, sound, smell, touch, taste and that sixth sense when you just know this is right or wrong for you?

We are born sensual beings. Studies have shown that babies that are touched and held develop far better and quicker than those who are left alone. Watch any child discover its world through its senses. It will touch and taste everything from sand to perfume.

When our sexuality starts to awaken, we are reprimanded for touching ourselves and whilst doing this in public is not always a good thing, we confuse the instruction and somewhere along the line we begin to believe that it is a bad thing – always. Most of us lose touch with our sensuality. We begin to operate using only one or two senses.

You may be a sight person. Blindfold yourself for half an hour and see how quickly the other senses heighten. Imagine living a life with all your senses heightened? Imagine discovering the power and joy of your own sexuality and then sharing that with your partner. We can learn to re-awaken our senses.

Here are some tips on how to engage those senses:


Wear tantalising underwear, always. Throw out those stretched panties now!

Create a romantic ambience in your home and your office. Fill it with paintings that reflect your personality. Light candles when you eat, when you bath or in the garden.

Watch your favourite sensual movie or just your favourite scene.


Play some soothing music. The best music for that massage shouldn’t have words. You don’t want your partner singing along. ‘I will survive!’ would be so inappropriate.

Three minutes of whispering sweet compliments, appreciation and love declarations into your lover’s ear, is more foreplay than most of us can handle. Do it often.

Why not try your hand at writing an erotic poem and reading it to your partner? If you can’t then what about reading your partner someone else’s.


Always wear perfume. It will give you such joy. If you are a man, know that there is nothing better than a man who smells good enough to eat!

Light incense. Find one that doesn’t smell too sweet and doesn’t give you a headache.

Erotic aromatherapy oils such as Sandalwood, Ylang-Ylang, Rose and Jasmine can all add to that romantic mood. Use them in massage oils or burners. When he closes his eyes he should remember your smell – in a good way!


Nothing tells a girl more about a potential lover that his kiss.

Add delicious delicacies to your lovemaking – strawberries, cream and honey can all be served on your lover’s body parts.

Chocolate body paints – in different flavours - need I say more!

Always make sure that you are fresh enough to eat.


Soft fabrics like silk or fur will serve to heighten your sense of touch. Add a blindfold and watch the goose bumps.

Remember that touch helps to connect – touch yourself and your partner – often.

Indulge in that sensual massage. Learn how to give one and then teach your partner how to return the favour.

Sixth Sense

Fine-tune that sense. You know when something feels right. You also know when a boundary is being crossed. Trust your instinct and say no.

Always have a safe word that your partner knows. When you say that word no matter what you are doing, stop. For a fulfilled sexual experience with yourself or your partner you need to trust.

Try to enhance one of your senses very day. Set aside special sensuality time when you focus on stimulating other senses rather than the genitals only. Be sensually you.

Be happy!


Thursday, 25 October 2012

Healthy lifestyles from across the World

It is important to stay both physically and mentally healthy
From spices to siestas, every culture has their own solutions to staying healthy and managing their weight. To help inspire your healthy living, check out the top 10 global health secrets that could help you stay fit and trim.

Cook with fresh  ingredients

Many of us are guilty of turning to pre-prepared, processed foods when we’re in a hurry, but these are often packed with salt, sugar and additives which are damaging to our health. Instead, we should take our lead from countries such as Italy and Japan who rely on fresh, seasonal produce for their healthy cuisines.

Try frequenting local markets to pick up fresh goods, or you could even take inspiration from Russia where it is common for families to grow their own food.

Choose fish over meat

Red meat is a staple of many of our diets, which is perhaps one of the reasons for the high levels of heart disease across the world. For a healthier protein option, take inspiration from the Japanese and Icelandic diets and stock up on seafood. Not only is fish good for heart health, but a study has suggested that the Icelandic diet – high in Omega-3-rich fish – may be responsible for their unexpectedly low rate of seasonal affective disorder, or the “winter blues”.

Don’t cut out food groups

Many of us drift from one food fad to another, cutting out carbs one week and fats the next. However, we should take note of the Mediterranean diet, which is widely renowned to be one of the world’s healthiest diets and which embraces the idea of all things in moderation. Not only does the Mediterranean diet feature carbs, dairy and wine, but one of its particular characteristics is its abundant use of olive oil.

Rather than cutting out food groups entirely, take inspiration from this diet and try to choose healthier options, such as monounsaturated fats, and eat them in moderation.

Enjoy your food

If you’re prone to eating on the run or in front of the TV, take a lesson from European cultures such as France and Italy where food is savoured and enjoyed in a more leisurely fashion. Taking longer meals and focusing on what you are eating – rather than what’s happening on the TV – will help you to enjoy your food more and cut the risk of overeating. As it takes 20 minutes for your body to register the feeling of being full, this will also help you to eat less. Try also eating with others, which will make you more aware of how much – and how quickly – you are eating.

Stop eating before you're completely full

Taking note of when you start to feel full is one of the most important steps to maintaining a healthy weight. Not only will eating more slowly help you to recognise this feeling, but by stopping eating at the very first signs of fullness you can help to avoid overeating and reduce your appetite. The Okinawans – who are reputed to have the world’s longest life expectancy – traditionally adhere to the practise of eating until they are 80 per cent full; a habit known as hara hachi bu.

Cycle to Work

While lots of us hit the gym a couple of times a week, research shows that regular daily activity could be more effective than sporadic workouts - and this is an area where many of us are lacking. While we’re not suggesting you ditch your workout entirely, to boost your health and fitness try taking inspiration from the Netherlands, where it is said there are more bikes than people and where cycling is a popular method of transport. Try squeezing in more everyday activity like walking or cycling to the shops or work, or simply taking the stairs rather than using the lift.

Drink with meals

We all know the dangers alcohol poses to our health, but drinking wine (particularly red) actually has health benefits when drunk in moderation. Rather than binge drinking to get drunk, try adopting Mediterranean habits of drinking wine in moderation and with meals, and try to savour each glass. Not only will this help to cut the health risks associated with alcohol (not to mention the calories) but drinking wine can also help to increase good cholesterol and cut heart disease risk.

Eat more spices

Whether you love Indian dishes or are more partial to Mexican cuisine, eating spicy foods could help you lose weight and boost your health. According to a study conducted by the University of California at Los Angeles, turmeric – a spice found in many curries – could help slow Alzheimer’s, which may explain the low instance of the disease among the ageing population of India. Chilli peppers meanwhile can help you lose weight by speeding up your metabolism and making you eat slowly; thereby giving your brain more time to register fullness.

Take a nap

The Spanish have a long-held tradition of taking an afternoon siesta, and many Japanese have also embraced the idea of power naps to get them through long working days. So, are we missing out by powering through? According to abundant research, the answer could be yes. Sleep can help you live longer, increase weight loss, boost memory and reduce stress. A six-year Greek study has also discovered that those who took a half hour nap at least three times a week had 37% less risk of dying of heart disease, proving that this may well be a health trend we should take note of.

Have some family time

Research findings published in the journal Plos Medicine have indicated that having strong ties to family and friends can help you live longer, which may be one reason for the renowned good health of Italians, who are known for their close-knit families. A survey of people in 11 different countries – including the US, UK and Australia – also revealed that Brazilians spent the most time with their families (an average of 74 hours per week) and had one of the lowest stress levels. So, take a leaf out of their book and schedule in some family time to give your health a boost.

Thought you might want to know.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Big breasts or Small?

Breast Reduction

Whenever the subject of breasts come about, people think the larger the better, but is it really?

When most women consider breast surgery, they think of breast augmentation. However, bigger is not always better especially for women who have large, heavy breasts that interfere with their daily activities and cause serious back problems.
For women with large heavy breasts, many simple daily activities can become a burden and participating in sport is often impossible.

“Breast reduction surgery removes excess breast tissue, fat and skin, to create more proportionate breasts for each woman's body type as well as to alleviate the medical and emotional stress of large, heavy breasts.”

Why opt for breast reduction?

Large, heavy breasts can have a very disabling effect - causing symptoms such as shoulder, neck and lower back pain, sores caused by excessive skin rubbing, a decrease in physical performance, shoulder bra strap grooving and many more. Not only can big breasts be extremely uncomfortable, but it is usually difficult for overly-endowed women to find bras that fit and their clothing choices are severely restricted.

In addition to these physical symptoms, many women with large breasts report psychological effects such as low self-esteem, embarrassment, anti-social behaviour, and in some cases body dimorphic disorder.

Advantages of breast reduction

Breast reduction is a safe procedure with significant results, which may include the following benefits:

  • The breasts will be smaller, aesthetically proportioned and in better balance with regard to the rest of the body;
  • A reduction will lift the breasts slimming and elongating body shape;
  • Bra and clothing choices are enhanced;
  • Indentation marks on a woman's shoulders from bra straps may be eliminated;
  • There will be less strain on the back and neck, which will often result in the disappearance of associated back and neck pain;
  • Irritation of the skin underneath the breasts should be resolved; and
  • The patient will feel more self-confident and comfortable about her body.

Are there possible complications to breast reduction?

Reduction mammoplasty is a safe procedure when performed by a qualified doctor. However, like any surgery, it has some uncertainty and risk. Bear in mind, that complications, such as bleeding, infection and an abnormal reaction to anaesthetics, are rare but still possible.

What about scarring?

The scar left from this surgery will depend on the technique employed, which directly relates to the size of the breast reduction. Smaller breast reductions typically require vertical scar (lollipop scar) or inverted ‘T’ techniques which will only be visible when naked because a bra or bathing suit will cover the scars.

Larger breast reductions will require longer scars in order to remove more skin and breast tissue, and we typically employ a ‘wise keyhole pattern (anchor scar).

Breastfeeding after breast reduction – is it possible?

A breast reduction may limit a women's potential to breastfeed - lactation usually does occur but is likely to be insufficient, requiring supplemental feeding.

However both hormonal and weight fluctuations, occurring during pregnancy, may result in breast size and shape alterations and therefore where a women is imminently considering having children, breast reduction surgery should be deferred until her family is complete in order to optimize long term breast shape maintenance.

 Breast reduction can be very liberating, both physically and emotionally, for women who have had to go through life making accommodations for their large breasts. The procedure can also lead to a better quality of life because many women find it easier and more comfortable to exercise and participate in other physical activities following breast reduction surgery.

Reasons to not have the surgery include: medical contraindications to surgery; psychological factors; wanting to breastfeed; not being prepared to accept the possibility of nipple sensory loss or not wanting scars after surgery.

I encourage women who are suffering physically or emotionally because of overly large breasts to seek the advice of a board-certified plastic surgeon who has experience with breast reduction surgery to see if this procedure might be beneficial for them.

Thought some people might want to know.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Breast Cancer and Depression

Breast Cancer and Depression
Breast cancer patients are often encouraged to have a positive attitude to help fight the disease. The reality, however, is that many patients are feeling depressed and lonely. It’s not only breast cancer but any terminal illness can be stressful to the point of depression
Are depressed women at a greater risk of breast cancer?
A report released from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in 2000 presented a compelling look at a possible mind-body link in what has been considered a purely physical illness. The link between psychological health and breast cancer has not been consistently found in other research. A study reported in the September 1999 issue of Health Psychology (1999;18;5:1-12), found no connection between depression and breast cancer. 46 studies looking at a potential link were analyzed by researchers at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. They found that anxious or depressed women, women who experienced a difficult childhood, and women who suppressed their anger were no more likely to develop breast cancer than other women.
Can stress increase a person’s risk of developing cancer?
Studies done over the past 30 years that examined the relationship between psychological factors, including stress, and cancer risk have produced conflicting results. Although the results of some studies have indicated a link between various psychological factors and an increased risk of developing cancer, a direct cause-and-effect relationship has not been proven.
Some studies have indicated an indirect relationship between stress and certain types of virus-related tumors. Evidence from both animal and human studies suggests that chronic stress weakens a person’s immune system, which in turn may affect the incidence of virus-associated cancers, such as Kaposi sarcoma and some lymphomas.
More recent research with animal models (animals with a disease that is similar to or the same as a disease in humans) suggests that the body’s neuroendocrine response (release of hormones into the blood in response to stimulation of the nervous system) can directly alter important processes in cells that help protect against the formation of cancer, such as DNA repair and the regulation of cell growth.
There is also mounting evidence, that different forms of stress may influence the cancer risk differently; e.g a single stressful event such a the loss of a partner may have a different effect from chronic, e. g. work-related stress. Another important factor seems to be the time when the stress takes place: there are indications from animal models, that exposure to stress in adolescence may permanently alter the stress response in a way that compromises the body’s defence mechanisms against cancer.
Is there a biological association between breast cancer and stress?

The plausibility of a stress-breast cancer association stems from two important physiological roles of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol plays an essential part in mammary gland development and function, which may sensitize mammary tissues to modulations in cortisol signalling in the presence of stress. It also has an impact on certain aspects of oestrogen activity in the mammary gland, which may initiate protumorigenic changes during periods of stress.
Do all women with breast cancer suffer from depression?
Fear of death, disruption of life plans, changes in body image and self-esteem, changes in social role and lifestyle, and financial and legal concerns are significant issues in the life of any person with cancer, yet serious depression or anxiety is not experienced by everyone who is diagnosed with cancer.
Major depression affects approximately 25% of patients and has recognisable symptoms that can and should be diagnosed and treated because they have an impact on quality of life.
Is depression more common among patients receiving palliative care?
In the Canadian National Palliative Care Survey, 381 patients receiving palliative care for cancer were evaluated for depressive and anxiety disorders and for the impact of these disorders on quality of life.
A significant number of participants were found to fulfil diagnostic criteria for at least one depressive or anxiety disorder (20.7% prevalence for depressive disorder and 13.1% for anxiety disorder).
Participants diagnosed with a disorder were significantly younger than the other participants, had lower performance status, had smaller social networks, and participated less in organized religious services. They also reported more severe distress about physical symptoms, social concerns, and existential issues, suggesting significant negative impact on other aspects of their quality of life.
The importance of psychological issues was underscored by another study conducted in 211 terminally ill cancer patients with life expectancies of less than six months. Investigators evaluated patient “sense of burden to others” and its correlation with physical, psychological, and existential issues.
In multiple regression analysis, four variables emerged predicting perception of burden to others: depression, hopelessness, level of fatigue, and current quality of life. No association between sense of burden to others and actual degree of physical dependency was found, implying that this perception is mainly mediated through psychological distress and existential issues. A sub analysis of patient groups from different settings suggested that these findings were consistent across the inpatient and outpatient settings, with some minor variations.
Are certain coping strategies for breast cancer and depression linked?
Some studies suggest an association between maladaptive coping styles with higher levels of depression, anxiety, and fatigue symptoms. Examples of maladaptive coping behaviours include avoidant or negative coping, negative self-coping statements, preoccupation with physical symptoms, and catastrophizing.
A study examining coping strategies in 138 women with breast cancer concluded that patients with better coping skills such as positive self-statements have lower levels of depressive and anxiety symptoms.
What indicators suggest a need for early intervention?
  • A history of depression.
  • A weak social support system (not married, few friends, a solitary work environment).
  • Evidence of persistent irrational beliefs or negativistic thinking regarding the diagnosis.
  • A more serious prognosis.
  • Greater dysfunction related to cancer.
What behaviours are associated with lower levels of anxiety and depression in family members?
A study of 48 adult cancer patients and their 99 adult relatives indicates that family functioning is an important factor that impacts patient and family distress. Families that were able to act openly, express feelings directly, and solve problems effectively had lower levels of depression, and direct communication of information within the family was associated with lower levels of anxiety.
What characteristics are associated with depression in spouses of women with breast cancer?
A preliminary study investigated 19 potential predictors of depression in spouses of 206 women with nonmetastatic breast cancer. Spouses were more likely to experience depressive symptoms if they were older, were less well educated, were more recently married, reported heightened fears over their wife's well-being, worried about their job performance, were more uncertain about their future, or were in less well-adjusted marriages.
What are the best ways to combat depression when you have breast cancer?
A critical part of cancer care is the recognition of the levels of depression present and determination of the appropriate level of intervention, ranging from brief counselling or support groups to medication and/or psychotherapy. For example, relaxation and counselling interventions have been shown to reduce psychological symptoms in women with a new diagnosis of gynaecological cancer.
Studies suggest that at least one half of all people diagnosed with cancer will successfully adapt. Markers of successful adaptation include maintaining active involvement in daily life; minimizing the disruptions caused by the illness to one's life roles (e.g., spouse, parent, employee); regulating the normal emotional reactions to the illness; and managing feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness, and/or guilt.
Seek help. I stumbled on this research by Professor Justus Apffelstaedt and thought you might want to know.
Any terminal illness has the potential to lead to depression. We all cope differently in different situations but however you feel, help can be available if you seek it.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Sex and Men : When orgasms make you sick

For most of us, having an orgasm is about as pleasurable an experience as we can think of. Now imagine getting ill - for days on end - every time you have one. Sounds like a nightmare.  Well, for some men it’s a horrible reality.

The anti-pleasure syndrome

It’s called post-orgasmic illness syndrome or POIS and nobody really knows exactly how many men are afflicted by it because many sufferers are likely to be too ashamed of the condition to discuss it with their doctors. Some medical researchers believe that as many as one in 100 men may have it. That might not be a huge number, but if you’re one of the unlucky ones, POIS potentially has a devastating effect on your sex life.

The symptoms

POIS was formally documented in the medical literature for the first time in 2002. It comes with both mental and physical symptoms which typically appear within half an hour of having an orgasm and may take several days to disappear.

Common psychological symptoms include:

  • anxiety and irritability;
  • depressed mood;
  • cognitive dysfunction resulting in difficulty reading, concentrating, communicating, remembering words, retaining information and socialising;
  • intense discomfort and a craving for relief; and
  • frightening dreams.

Common physical symptoms include:

  • flu-like symptoms such as feverishness and a runny nose;
  • mild to severe headaches;
  • nausea;
  • back-ache and muscle pain; and
  • allergy-like symptoms such as itchy eyes and nose, sneezing, swollen lips and throat, rashes and hives.


Nobody really knows what causes POIS, but several possibilities have been suggested. Initially, some researches thought the condition was entirely psychological in nature, but more recently, there have been speculations that chemical imbalances in the brain, a lack of progesterone or low levels of testosterone are to blame.

This year, a team of Dutch scientists has discovered what may be the most likely cause: an allergy to semen. They suggest that in men suffering from POIS, the hormones and other chemicals secreted during and after sex cause an auto-allergic reaction and an inflammatory response similar to that one experiences when getting infected with a disease. In short, they claim, men with POIS are allergic to their own semen.


Many men who suffer from POIS avoid sex and orgasms, including masturbation, altogether. Alternatively they schedule them for times when they have several days to recover from any debilitating effects.

Doctors have had some success in treating the condition by administering drugs, including antidepressants and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, just before and just after an orgasm.

The Dutch researchers who belief that POIS is caused by an allergy to one’s own semen have had positive results with a treatment method called hyposensitisation which is used to treat other allergies. Over an extended period of time lasting for as long as several years, the patient is inoculated with small, diluted amounts of his own semen. Progressively less diluted injections are administered, reportedly resulting in a gradual improvement of the symptoms.


Sunday, 21 October 2012

Lactose Intolerance: How much do you know?

What is lactose intolerance?

This is a condition caused by inability to digest one of the carbohydrate components of milk, specifically lactose, due to a lack of the intestinal enzyme lactase, which is essential for the efficient metabolism of lactose (milk sugar).

This condition can first show itself in the neonatal period with vomiting and profuse diarrhoea after milk ingestion, which resolves when lactose-free fluids are fed to the infant. However, it can also show up only in adulthood.

It is not known why some people are deficient in the enzyme lactase.

Because of the lack of lactase, the lactose in milk is not broken down. It remains in the gut, where it causes fluid retention which results in diarrhoea. This, together with bacterial fermentation of the milk sugar in the colon leads to abdominal cramps, distension, and gaseous, acidic stools.

A transient lactase deficiency may develop after an infant has undergone a protracted period of diarrhoea or has had a large segment of small bowel removed.

Lactase deficiency occurs normally in about 75% of adults in all ethnic groups except those of northwest European origin for whom the incidence is less than 20%.

Although statistics are unreliable, most nonwhites gradually lose the ability to digest lactose between the ages of 10 to 20 years. It affects 90% of Orientals, 75% of blacks and Indians, with a high incidence among people from the Mediterranean region

A child who cannot tolerate lactose will have diarrhoea and fail to thrive.

An adult may have bloating, flatus, nausea, diarrhoea and abdominal cramps. When lactose absorption is impaired by deficiency of the enzyme lactase, the resulting diarrhoea may be severe enough to purge other nutrients before they can be absorbed.

A history of milk intolerance may be obtained in patients with lactose intolerance. Some people recognise this early in life and consciously or unconsciously avoid eating dairy products, thus making a diagnostic history more obscure. In others, symptoms may simulate irritable bowel syndrome.

The diagnosis may be suspected if acidic stools (pH lower than 6) are passed or if, after a glass of milk, the patient develops abdominal cramps, distension and watery diarrhoea within 20 to 30 min. It is further substantiated by an oral lactose tolerance test, and can be absolutely confirmed by the finding of low lactase activity in a bowel biopsy specimen.

The disorder is readily controlled by a lactose-free diet, or often simply by avoiding milk drinks. A child who lacks the enzyme lactase can absorb fructose. If a lactose-free diet is continued, oral calcium supplements should be given.


Saturday, 20 October 2012

Down Syndrome: How much do you know?

How much do you really know about Down syndrome?

 Take three minutes and brush up your knowledge.

Down syndrome is a chromosomal disorder arising at the time of conception.

  • There is an extra number 21 chromosome (Trisomy 21) which causes delays in physical and intellectual development.
  • Children who have Down syndrome have broad and flat faces, flattened nose bridges and slanting eyes. They used to be called ‘mongoloid’ because of this Eastern appearance.
  • The incidence of Down syndrome is estimated to be one in every 1 000 live births in developed countries and one in every 650 live births in developing countries.
  • More than 80% of children with Down Syndrome are currently being born to mothers under the age of 35.
  • Due to advanced medical care, the majority of people born with Down syndrome today have a life expectancy of approximately fifty-five years.
  • The majority of people with Down syndrome fall in the mild to moderate range of intellectual disability.
  • Their average IQ is 50, as opposed to a 100 in children who are not mentally impaired.
  • Some children are much more severely affected than others and some kids with Down syndrome manage to cope in normal schools.
  • Several tests can be done on pregnant women to determine their risk of having a Down syndrome baby. A positive screening test can be followed up by an amniocentesis


Friday, 19 October 2012

Relaxation; Do you know how?

We all need to relax even though sometimes we might not know how. Here are some tips

Relaxation tip 1: Try tryptophan

Many of us reach for food when we are stressed out, however this may be no bad thing as certain foods can actually help us to relax. Foods containing tryptophan, an essential amino acid, are great to stock up on when you need to calm down or unwind. The nutrient helps to raise serotonin levels which can elevate your mood, and melatonin, which can help induce sleep. Good tryptophan-rich foods include nuts, cheese, turkey, chicken and soybeans.

Relaxation tip 2: Get active

If you are feeling stressed out, one of the best things you can do is go for a run or hit the gym. Although you may feel more inclined to veg out in front of the TV to relax, exercise is great for releasing mood-boosting chemicals such as endorphins and anandamine, which can help to lower anxiety and increase mental wellbeing. As well as having a great effect on your mood and stress levels, exercise is also good for taking your mind off problems and helping to induce sleep.

Relaxation tip 3: Take deep breaths

If you are short on time, one of the quickest ways to relax is to take a few deep breaths. Anxiety can cause people to breathe more rapidly than normal and taking deep, slow breaths can be an effective aid to relaxation. If you are frequently feeling anxious or stressed, it can be helpful to implement deep breathing in to your regular routine by doing breathing exercises regularly or joining a yoga, Pilates or meditation class; all of which use deep breathing to promote relaxation and wellbeing.

Relaxation tip 4: Listen to music

Many of us are aware that listening to our favourite music puts us in a good mood, and studies have now found that music is also good for reducing stress. Various studies have indicated a strong link between music and lowered stress levels in everyday life, while research has also indicated that music can lower extreme levels of stress in people undergoing surgery, critically ill patients and pregnant women. Rather than seeking out "relaxing" genres of music, it is best to go with your individual taste and choose whatever type of music boosts your mood.

Relaxation tip 5: Stock up on chocolate

Good news for many is that chocolate - one of the world's most popular comfort foods - is also a great calming food. Chocolate is high in magnesium - which can help relaxation - and also contains anandamine, a neurotransmitter which can help you to experience a feeling of peace. With high levels of phenylethylamine, chocolate also raises endorphin levels, so all the more reason to unwind with your favourite chocolate treat.

Relaxation tip 6: Have a hug

Having a hug is a renowned mood booster, and research findings published in Psychomatic Medicine have reinforced what we knew all along - that having a good old cuddle is great for reducing stress. Having physical contact has been found to raise levels of oxytocin - the "love hormone" - and lower levels of stress hormone cortisol, putting us in a more relaxed frame of mind. Human affection is not the only type that counts, however, as owning a pet has also been linked to lowered stress levels, meaning that playing with your pet could be a great way to wind down after work.

Relaxation tip 7: Pamper yourself

One of the best - and most luxurious - ways to unwind is to treat yourself to a spot of pampering. If your budget extends to it, you could have somebody else pamper you by heading to a health spa or beauty salon for a massage, facial or beauty treatment of your choice. Alternatively, you could indulge in a bit of DIY pampering by running yourself a bath, lighting some candles and lying back with a relaxing facemask and some calming music.

Relaxation tip 8: Have a laugh

Laughter is well-known for its therapeutic effects, and many places now offer laughter therapy or laughter yoga classes to those seeking to boost their health and mood. Studies have in fact found that even the anticipation of laughter can help us to relax by lifting our spirits and reducing stress levels in the body. If you are serious about your relaxation, you could consider attending a laughter class, but chilling out with a funny DVD, book or friend is an equally great option to help you relax.

Relaxation tip 9: Try aromatherapy

To really make the most of your senses, turn your home into a relaxing sanctuary with a scented candle or some relaxing essential oils. Some good essential oils for relaxation include camomile, lavender, neroli, bergamot and ylang ylang. Use these oils to aid relaxation by adding a couple of drops to a bath, burning in an oil burner, or adding (sparingly) to water to use as a room spray or skin spritzer.

Relaxation tip 10: Get in the moment

There are various things you can do to help you relax. However, if you are not fully present in the moment, it is unlikely you will fully benefit from any relaxation technique. If you find it difficult to switch off from your stresses and cast off past regrets or future worries, try making a list of anything that needs to be done or thought about at a later date, set a time and date to deal with each item, then switch off your mind, cast your cares aside, and focus for now on simply enjoying the moment.

Look after yourself!



Thursday, 18 October 2012

Colposcopy: Every Woman 's nightmare

One of the most frightening times in a woman's life is when the gynecologist calls and says that her Pap smear results are abnormal. Although you might think an abnormal Pap smear means that you have cervical cancer, the fact is that the majority of abnormal Pap smears are not caused by cervical cancer. The more likely cause of abnormal Pap smear results is inflammation or a vaginal infection.
Because the Pap smear can only screen for potential problems, not diagnose them, your gynecologist may want to take a closer look at your cervix to determine the cause of your abnormal Pap smear results. He will perform an examination called a colposcopy. Your doctor may order this procedure if you have Pap smear results that:
·                        indicate cervical dysplasia or cervical cancer

·                        show evidence of HPV

·                        show first-time or repeat atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance(ASCUS)

Your gynecologist may also order a colposcopy if your cervix appears abnormal during your pelvic exam and Pap smear, or if you have a history of prenatal DES exposure.
Colposcopy is a simple, 10- to 15-minute procedure that is painless and performed in a gynecologist's office. You are positioned on the examination table like you are for a Pap smear, and an acetic acid (such as common table vinegar) is placed on the cervix.
Your physician will use a colposcope -- a large, electric microscope that is positioned approximately 30 cm from the vagina -- to view your cervix. A bright light on the end of the colposcope lets the gynecologist clearly see the cervix.
The Colposcopy Exam
During the colposcopy, the gynecologist focuses on the areas of the cervix where light does not pass through. Abnormal cervical changes are seen as white areas -- the whiter the area, the worse the cervical dysplasia. Abnormal vascular (blood vessel) changes are also apparent through the colposcope. Typically, the worse that the vascular changes are, the worse the dysplasia.
If your physician can view the entire abnormal area through the colposcope, a tissue sample or biopsy is taken from the whitest abnormal areas and sent to the lab for further evaluation.
If you experience any pain during the procedure, it is not from the colposcopy itself -- it's the result of other procedures sometimes performed during colposcopy. These other procedures may cause discomfort, vaginal bleeding or discharge. These procedures include:

The LEEP procedure takes about 20-30 minutes and is usually performed in your physician's office. In some ways it may seem much like a normal pelvic exam because you will lie on the exam table with your feet in the stirrups. A colposcope will be used to guide your doctor to the abnormal area. Unlike a normal colposcopy, a tube will be attached to the speculum to remove the small amount of smoke caused by the procedure.
An electrosurgical dispersive pad will be placed on your thigh. The pad is a gel-covered adhesive electrode which provides a safe return path for the electrosurgical current. A single-use, disposable loop electrode will be attached to the generator hand piece by your physician. Your cervix will be prepared with acetic acid and iodine solutions that enable your physician to more easily see the extent of the abnormal area. Next a local anesthetic will be injected into the cervix; the electro loop will be generated and the wire loop will pass through the surface of your cervix.
After the lesion is removed your physician will use a ball electrode to stop any bleeding that occurs; he may also use a topical solution to prevent further bleeding. You can leave your physician's office soon after the procedure.
After the LEEP you should not:

·                        Have sexual intercourse for as long as recommended by your physician

·                        Lift heavy objects

·                        Use tampons

·                        Douche

·                        Take tub baths--take showers only to prevent infection

It's important for you to remember that having cervical dysplasia does not mean that you have cervical cancer. However, treatment of the abnormal area is imperative to prevent abnormal cervical cells from developing into cervical cancer
Cone Biopsy

Definition: A procedure that involves the removal of a triangle of cervical tissue which contains abnormal cervical cells. Cone Biopsy may be performed in a clinician's office during colposcopy or as an outpatient hospital procedure. Slight bleeding and watery discharge frequently occur following the cone biopsy.


Cervical cryosurgery or cryotherapy is a gynecological treatment that freezes a section of the cervix. Cryosurgery of the cervix is most often done to destroy abnormal cervical cells that show changes that may lead to cancer. These changes are called precancerous cells. Your gynecologist will probably use the term cervical dysplasia.
Cryosurgery is done only after a colposcopy confirms the presence of abnormal cervical cells. Cyrotherapy is also used for the treatment of cervicitis or inflammation of the cervix. Cryosurgery is not a treatment for cervical cancer.
Please see your doctor for advice



Sunday, 14 October 2012

HIV and Genital Herpes: A deadly Combination

Having genital herpes can increase the risk of being infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and it can cause serious problems for people living with HIV.

People who have genital herpes sores are more likely to be infected with HIV during intercourse. When you develop a sore, the immune system tries to heal it, so there are many immune cells concentrated in that spot. Those are the cells that HIV infects. If HIV in semen, vaginal fluid, or blood comes in contact with a herpes sore, the risk for infection is high.

The Compound Effect of Genital Herpes and HIV

HIV and the genital herpes virus are a troublesome duo. One can worsen the effects of the other. Research shows that when the herpes virus is active, it may cause HIV to make more copies of itself (the process called replication) than it would otherwise.

The more HIV replicates, the more of the body's infection-fighting cells it destroys, eventually leading to AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome).

People infected with both HIV and the herpes virus may have longer-lasting, more frequent, and more severe outbreaks of herpes symptoms, because a weakened immune system can't keep the herpes virus under control as well as a healthy immune system can.

Genital Herpes and HIV Treatment Issues

It's more difficult to treat genital herpes if you also have HIV. Higher doses of antiviral drugs are often needed to treat herpes in people with HIV.

Also, many people with HIV have strains of the herpes virus that are resistant to treatment with the standard antiviral drugs.

If you take antiviral drugs for genital herpes and the treatment isn't working, your doctor can test the virus you have for resistance. If the virus is resistant, there are other possible treatment alternatives, including the drugs Foscarnet and Vistide. These drugs can be given through an IV, or a Vistide gel can be applied to the herpes sores.

If you have HIV, ask your doctor if you should be tested for genital herpes. If you already know that you have herpes and HIV, discuss treatment options with your doctor.a pound of cure

Saturday, 13 October 2012

HIV/AIDS and Relationships

HIV/AIDS and Relationships

I have to admit I promised blogging about HIV/AIDS but I keep on getting requests from some of my readers to blog about it, so I have no choice. Living with HIV every day can make you feel differently about yourself and about your relationships. Sorting out your feelings can take time after you’ve been diagnosed.

This will be true for your partner too. You will both have strong feelings about how you’re affected as individuals and as a couple. This is true whether your partner is HIV positive or not.

Who to tell

Because of stigma, many people with HIV think quite carefully about whether to tell people that they have HIV or not. One way that some people avoid experiences of stigma and discrimination is by not telling others that they have HIV.

In a great many situations, HIV simply isn’t relevant and is unlikely to come up in conversation. Many people with HIV decide that the majority of people they come into contact with have no need to know about their health status.

On the other hand, disclosing their HIV status may be the single most powerful thing that a person with HIV can do to fight stigma.

Deciding who to talk to about HIV is a very personal decision, and what is right for one person won’t necessarily be right for another person.

There can sometimes be advantages to telling people you trust or people who will be able to help in some way. If they understand what you are going through, they may be able to give you the love and support you need. Sharing a confidence can sometimes make a relationship stronger and you won’t have the effort of hiding your HIV status.

Here are some questions to ponder about?

Why do you want to tell them?

It’s easier to be sure that telling someone is a good idea if you have a clear idea about what telling them could achieve – what benefits are you hoping for? You might think that if they knew, they could give you some help or support. Think about whether these expectations are realistic.

There may be some people you are very close to who you feel‘should’ know. But think through the following questions, and check that it still seems a good idea.

How will they react?

Try thinking about how this person will feel on hearing the news. Imagine the best way they could react – and the worst.

You might find yourself needing to reassure someone who is upset. You could be asked how you got HIV, and the news could tap into someone’s prejudices about sexuality, morality or illness. You might find it helpful to have factual leaflets about how HIV is – and is not – transmitted at hand to provide reassurance.

Or you may want to tell this person because you are confident that they will be calm, supportive and trustworthy.

What are your options if they react badly?

In some situations, while it would be very disappointing if a person reacted badly, it wouldn’t have serious consequences. For example, you might want to stop seeing the person, but this may be okay if there are other people you can turn to.

But in other cases, you might be considering telling someone that you are financially or emotionally dependent on, or who is important to you in some other way. The consequences of the person reacting badly would be more serious.

For example, if you are thinking about telling someone you live with, what would your options be if they reacted badly and you couldn’t go on living with them?

Can they keep it to themselves?

When you tell people, it may be worth telling them clearly who they can and cannot talk to about your HIV status.

Is this a trustworthy person who understands the importance of confidentiality? Although you can ask someone not to tell others, once you’ve told them, you won’t have much control over what they do with the information.

People you are close to might find the news worrying or upsetting. They may want to get support for themselves. But if they’re not meant to talk about it with anyone at all, this will be hard for them.

How will you tell them?

You might want to think about how you’ll bring the subject up, as well as the best moment to do so. Choose a time and a place where you’ll be as comfortable as possible.

Dealing with reactions

The reactions of partners or sexual contacts can vary from acceptance to rejection, and can either bring you closer or create a distance. It’s important to work out how and when to talk to your partner, and to have an idea of how to deal with their reactions.


  • Many people with HIV are in a strong and loving relationship
  • Relationships grow and change for all of us, including for people with HIV
  • It’s OK not to be in a relationship, but at some point you might meet someone who's right for you


If you have children, their interests will be close to your heart. Think about how much they should and need to know to help them understand what’s happening. Other family and friends can help too.


You may feel anxious about having sex and worry about the risk to your partner or other sexual contacts. There is no reason why having HIV should prevent you from enjoying a full and safe sex life. If your anxieties do put you off sex, talk it through with your partner. Anxieties don’t just arise when first diagnosed, and can occur later or in a different form.

Talking points

  • If your partner’s last test was negative or they have never been tested, do they want to go for a test?
  • Does your partner want you to go with them for the test and for the results?
  • Does this change what we like doing together, sexually or otherwise?
  • How does this affect others in our family or circle of friends, and what should we do about it?

With a new relationship, some of the same feelings and discussions will emerge.

If you’re finding it difficult to have sex, or to use condoms while having sex, talk about it. Support for both partners is available at your clinic. If you need specialist support and help, ask at your clinic which can provide this for you or refer you to an appropriate service..


Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Healthy Eating: Are you having a variety in your meals?

Healthy Eating

The enjoyment of food is one of life’s pleasures. Eating is about more than satisfying hunger, it is also a part of family life, social events and celebrations.

Having a variety makes meals more interesting and helps to ensure that an eating plan supplies all nutrients.

  • Mixed meals are usually eaten three times a day (breakfast, lunch and supper). Eating regular mixed meals, of a similar size, is part of a healthy lifestyle.
  • Healthy eating plans include a variety of foods from each food group, over time.
  • Variety also means including foods from two or more food groups at each meal; these are called mixed meals.
  • Variety also means preparing foods in different ways.


  • Enjoy a variety of foods.
  • Be active!
  • Drink lots of clean, safe water.

Mixed Meals

  • Make starchy foods part of most meals.
  • Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit every day.
  • Eat dry beans, split peas, lentils and soya regularly.
  • Fish, chicken, lean meat or eggs could be eaten daily.
  • Have milk, and yoghurt every day.
  • Use fat sparingly; choose vegetable oils rather than hard fats


Use salt and foods high in salt sparingly. It is believed that a high salt intake leads to an increase in blood pressure in genetically susceptible persons; if the high salt intake is maintained over the long-term it will lead to hypertension.

Some of the salt in the eating plan comes from salt added during cooking and at table, but most comes from salt added when processed foods are produced and when salt based seasonings and sauces are used in home food preparation.

  • A high salt intake is a risk factor for the development of high blood pressure.


  • Use sugar and food and drinks high in sugar sparingly. A small amount of sugar can be added to foods and drinks like soft porridge or tea to improve the taste. Foods made with sugar, like jam, may be used to make a mixed meal or a snack. Sweets and cold drinks may be eaten occasionally but should not be eaten instead of mixed meals, or when a person does not have money for groceries.

  • Frequent consumption of sugar, especially between meals, is a risk factor for dental decay.
  • Frequent consumption of sweetened cold drinks and fruit juice can lead to obesity, when the total energy value of the eating plan is higher than needed.


Water is essential for life. Water is lost through the kidneys, the bowels, the skin and the lungs. Most of these losses occur without us knowing about it. Water that is lost must be replaced by liquids from food and drinks.

  • Drink clean, safe water every day as recommended.
  • Some water may be taken as tea or coffee; if sugar is added, use it sparingly.
  • Keep a water bottle close by during the day; you will drink more water when it is easily available.
  • Drink extra water in hot weather and when you are very active.
  • Limit the number of drinks you have that are high in sugars, this includes fruit juice, sports drinks, energy drinks and cold drinks.

Children and adults need about 6 - 8 glasses
of liquid a day;
most of that should be from water and drinks made with tap water.
There are no health benefits to ‘binge drinking’ water; when excess water is consumed it will be excreted as urine.



Vegetables and fruit are rich sources of vitamins and minerals, fibre and they contain water. Including these foods in meals helps to fill you up without adding too much extra food energy. There are many health benefits of an eating plan that contains recommended amounts of these foods.

  • Eat vegetables in at least one or two mixed meals a day. Fruit can be eaten with meals, or as a snack between meals.
  • Vegetables should be eaten every day, and not only on weekends.
  • Everyone should have one unit of vegetable or fruit a day that provides beta carotene (which becomes vitamin A in the body). Examples are carrots, pumpkin, butternut, spinach, mango, pawpaw, yellow peaches and nectarines. (Note: oranges and cabbage do not contain beta carotene).
  • Prepare vegetables and fruit with little (if any) added fat, sugar and salt. Vegetables with beta carotene should be lightly boiled and served in a meal that has fat, or else have a little oil added.
  • Make soup from fresh vegetables instead of using packet soup; this will be nutritious and low in salt.
  • Vegetable and fruit juice are not recommended as a regular replacement for fresh vegetables and fruit. They do not have much fibre, are high in sugar and vegetable juice may have added salt.

Beans and Lentils

Adding dry beans, split peas, lentils and soya to a meal increases the nutrient content of the meal. Eating foods from this group decrease the risk of a wide variety of degenerative diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and different types of cancer. Eating these foods even helps to combat overweight and they help to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

  • Every week plan to include meals that use dry beans or soya instead of meat or chicken.
  • Use dry beans, lentils, split peas and soya as an ingredient in mixed dishes, such as samp and beans, rice and lentils, beans in vegetable sauce with pasta.
  • Dry beans or soya can be included with meat or chicken dishes; this will improve the overall nutritional value of the dish (less fat, more fibre) and reduce the cost of each serving.
  • Cook dry beans in a wonder box to save electricity.

Fish Chicken and Meat

These foods are popular food choices for many people in South Africa, however these foods do cost more than foods in the other food groups, and should not be used often when the family has a limited budget for food. The guideline explains that foods from this group could be eaten daily – not that they should be eaten daily. The food guide unit serves show that only one option from the list could be included each day.

Cheese is included in this group, but should not be the food type chosen most often. This is because it is high in fat and salt. Organ products from animals, such as liver and kidneys are also part of this food group.

Fish with fatty flesh (pilchards, sardines, mackerel, and salmon) provide omega 3 fatty acids, a nutrient this is found in very few food sources.

Many of these foods also have a high content of fat, most of which is saturated fat. Saturated fat has a negative influence on health, so people are advised to use lean types of meat and to remove fat and skin from chicken.

  • If included, eat these foods in the recommended quantities, not very large portions.
  • Use lean meat, remove skin and fat from the chicken, and limit use of processed meat

Eat well and keep diseases away.