Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Are you the perfect Man?

Everyone knows that one frustratingly perfect man; the guy who can squat 120k and gets that promotion; the guy who has impeccably smart style and has a different woman on his arm every day of the week, but is still thought of as respectable and charming. Follow these tips and become your very own, real-life superman  

Get a superman look

Every superman needs to look good. If you think spending time on your appearance is unmanly then you need to reassess. Face it, the days when men could shave their heads and go for a run once a week and get called “well-kept” are gone. The modern man has to have style and looks if he wants success.

The number one area to spend time on is your face. Most men neglect their face, but it’s one of the key areas women look at. If you shave, then make sure you use pre-shaving oil before you take a razor to your face. Baby oil is a cheap option. Next, tidy up your brows. A good way to sharpen your eyebrows is to take some tweezers and a pencil. Place your pencil at the bridge of your nose and hold it vertically. The spot where the pencil ends should be where your eyebrow also ends. Pluck any hairs that stray past your pencil border.

Get a superman job

In our lives, we will probably spend more time with our colleagues than we spend with our mates. So you have to love your job. If you’re unhappy at work assess the situation and try to come up with a solution. Make a list of all the things you like about work and then another list of things that you dislike.

If your likes column outweighs your dislikes then it’s great news. All you need to do now is tackle the areas you hate. If you don’t like the people you work with see if a transfer is available, either to a new location or a different department. If you don’t like certain tasks then arrange a meeting with your boss and explain how you feel that the tasks you dislike are not your strong points and suggest that you should spend more time doing those things you excel at.

If your dislikes column is longer than your likes, then it’s time to search for something new. You can visit a careers adviser or even consider starting up your own business.

Get a superman diet

If you eat healthily, you will undoubtedly feel healthy too. Sometimes, though, it can be hard to know what it is you should and should not be eating. The best rule to use when you are trying to eat healthily is to prepare everything yourself. That way you know what is going onto your plate and you can control your portion sizes.

If you struggle to make your own meals because you lack time then make big batches of food at once. You can knock up a healthy chicken and bean filling in 25 minutes and store it in a plastic box in the fridge. Then all you need to do is add this some whole meal wraps for a low fat and filling meal. If you struggle to make your own meals because you lack the skills invest in one or two simple cooking lessons – you’ll be surprised what you can do.

Get a superman budget

Money, money, money; we could all do with some more of the stuff but getting your hands on it can seem impossible at times. Rather than getting more a great way to bolster your budget is to try and cut back on what you spend it on.

Take out your bank statements and work out the five things you spend the most money on. Is it travel, your rent, or nights out? Now you’ve worked out where you spend your money try to think of ways to reduce the cost. So, if you spend a small fortune on rent can you re-locate to somewhere cheaper or get a roommate?

If your car guzzles all of your funds could you downsize, change insurer or use public transport. A great way to save a lot of money is to cancel gym memberships and invest in some kettle bells, a skipping rope and some resistance bands. You can do a lot of great workouts with this kind of cheap and simple equipment and save at the same time. Plus you can do these workouts in front of the TV.

Get a superman body

Looking like an action man doll isn’t an option for most of us, but being happy with the way you look is. Start to take a more active approach to life. If there’s an option to climb the stairs or take an elevator, take the stairs. Try to walk around at least once an hour; even if it’s just a cheeky trip to the gents.

Moving around regularly will raise your metabolic rate and help with your circulation. Humans weren’t built to sit at a desk for eight hours a day. You could also buy some gym equipment and keep it in your living room.

That way, when you watch TV you can work out whilst watching the show or just during the ad breaks. If you’re on a budget and can’t afford equipment get creative. Make your own sandbag or pea shingle bag as an alternative to weights or kettle bells. Use a chair for dips and you can work your abs by just doing the plank.

Get a superman mind

We’re not talking about superpowers – although admittedly we all want to be able to do telekinesis – we’re talking about the state of your mind. Ever heard the theory that people who think of themselves as lucky people actually have more fortune than those who think of themselves as unlucky?

The mind is powerful and therefore having a good, optimistic attitude is bound to have a positive impact. The trick to achieving this smiley state is to keep busy; don’t dwell on the past, but focus on what could be. Volunteering and helping others is another way to make life seem more fulfilling.

Sometimes negative thinking also becomes a habit; a rut you can’t climb out of. To break it, become more aware of yourself. You could keep a grumbling journal and log how many times a day you moan.

Get a superman girl

Where would superman have been without his Lois Lane? We may never admit it, but every guy needs a girl and if you’ve been flying solo for too long, or are unhappy with your current lady, it’s time to start addressing the issue. The biggest obstacle to finding Miss Right is often you.

Are you in a good place? Can you handle the ups and the downs of a romantic relationship? If the answer is no, then think twice before you pursue anyone. It will only end badly. The second obstacle is finding your wonder woman. Sometimes it feels like all the decent women are hiding somewhere far, far away.

To find Miss Right be open-minded. Chat to strangers and consider girls you may not normally date. Parks and coffee shops are great places to meet girls.


Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Things your body is telling you.

Sometimes your body is trying to tell you something - such as that it is suffering from a vitamin shortage, that it's not getting enough sleep and that it's really sick and tired of hamburgers and chips.

Check this out and see if it helps

Signs or symptoms
Possible deficiencies
Foods to eat
brittle or split nails
iron, zinc, essential fatty acids
meat, legumes, fish
dry eyes
vitamin A, essential fatty acids
dairy products, green, yellow and orange fruit, vegetables
cracked corners of the mouth
iron, vitamins B12, B6, folic acid
meat, legumes, dairy products, green vegetables
mouth ulcers
iron, vitamins B12, B6, folic acid
meat, legumes, dairy products, green vegetables
cracked lips
vitamin B2
dairy products, meat
enlarged taste buds
vitamins B2 or B6
dairy products, meat, fish, poultry
red greasy skin on face
vitamins B2, B6, zinc or essential fatty acids
dairy products, meat, fish, poultry, shellfish
pimples on upper arms and thighs
vitamin B complex, vitamin E, essential fatty acids
animal products, fortified cereals, poultry, seafood
poor hair growth
iron or zinc
meat, legumes, dairy, shellfish
vitamins C, B6, zinc, essential fatty acids
citrus fruits, meat, fish, poultry, dairy products
dairy products, shellfish
bloodshot eyes
vitamins A, B2
dairy products, green, yellow and orange fruit, vegetables, meat
slow wound healing
dairy products, shellfish
vitamin B6
meat, fish, poultry


Ask for help if you are not sure.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Sleep Problems- Natural Remedies

It is important that we get between seven and nine hours of good quality sleep every night. This is because when we sleep, a number of essential physiological changes occur. Join the club (duvet). You are not alone in your state of sleep deprivation - there are millions of other zombies out there that also get less than seven hours of shut-eye a night.
But sleep and getting enough of it needn't become a nightmare; just a few small natural lifestyle adjustments will teach you how to undo the effects of missed sleep. Soon you could be having hours of deep, refreshing sleep every night.
These restorative processes repair and replenish the body systems, so if you're not sleeping properly, your body will be not be functioning at its full, healthy capacity. It is vital that you have a sound sleep so that you can wake up refreshed and bursting with energy to help you face the day.
Natural steps to healthy sleep (check the evidence rating)
*** Good evidence of a health benefit
** Some evidence of a health benefit
* Traditionally used with only anecdotal evidence
Change your sleep time habits ***
Make sure that what you eat or drink before bed does not interfere with sleep ***
  • Don't consume any alcohol, caffeine and nicotine before bedtime
  • Don't go to sleep on an empty or a full stomach
Vitamins and minerals
These nutrients have been shown to help sleep:
  • 5HTP**
  • Magnesium**
Sleep-inducing herbs include the following:
  • Valerian ***
  • Lavender *
  • German Chamomile *
  • Passion Flower *
  • Oats *
  • Ginseng *
Homeopathic remedies to induce sleep:
  • Belladonna will help with general insomnia *
  • Cocculus takes the yawn out of jet lag and interrupted sleep patterns *
Alternative/complementary therapy
The most commonly used complementary approaches to sleep problems include:
  • Meditation***
  • Yoga**
  • Acupuncture**
  • Aromatherapy*
Serious sleep problems
Chronic sleep deprivation can exacerbate age-related ailments, like high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and memory loss. Consult your doctor straight away if you have any of the following symptoms:
  • If you haven't slept properly for more than three weeks, you may be suffering from chronic insomnia. You might need to go to a sleep clinic.
  • Send a snoring partner to a GP because it is your sleep pattern that is disrupted and ultimately you that suffers.
  • If you grind or clench your teeth in your sleep, you might have sleep bruxism. This is not such a serious condition, but it could impact negatively on your teeth. A doctor might be able to recommend relaxation techniques and other ways to stop the grinding.
  • Hyperinsomnia is a condition in which you are excessively sleepy over about a six-month period. A doctor can prescribe behavioural changes to help you.
Less severe symptoms of sleeplessness include things like headaches, blurred vision, weepiness, mood swings and irritability.
Natural remedies
Doctors will always recommend that finding the cause of your insomnia, before they treat the symptoms, but while they are searching there are some natural remedies that can promote peaceful sleep.
Change your sleep time habits ***
  • Get into bed only when you feel sleepy.
  • Take the TV out of your room.
  • Get into a specific pre-bedtime routine, whereby every night, you might meditate, drink a cup of herbal tea or listen to soothing music. These will all act as cues to your body that it is time to sleep.
  • Try not to nap, but if you can't resist an afternoon snooze, don't sleep for more than an hour and if you do, make sure it's before 3 p.m.
  • Go to bed and get up at the same times every day to try and correct your body clock and get a sleep pattern going.
  • Exercise at least four hours before your head hits the pillow.
  • Instead of relying on an alarm clock that puts you in a bad mood the minute you open your eyes, use the sun to wake you up and set your biological clock. As soon as you get out of bed go outside and turn your face towards the sun for about 15 minutes. If it's too cold to do this, or there is no direct sunlight, leave your curtains ajar so that you allow natural sunshine to gently wake you up.
  • Never sleep with all the windows tightly shut, even in winter. Your bedroom should always be cool because a drop in temperature will ensure a deep sleep.
Make sure what you eat or drink before bed does not interfere with sleep ***
  • Don't drink consume any alcohol, caffeine and nicotine before bedtime.
  • Don't go to sleep on an empty or a full stomach
  • Why not try a cup of delicious herbal tea? Correctly called tisanes, herbal teas are made from flowering plants without woody stems. Herbal infusions can include flowers, herbs, fruit and spices. These infusions are caffeine-free unlike all other types of tea. Examples of sleep-promoting herbal teas include chamomile, hops, limeflower, passionflower or valerian.


Wednesday, 21 November 2012



What causes rickets?

Initially rickets in infants and children, or brittle-bone disease and osteomalacia in teenagers and adults, was solely attributed to vitamin D deficiency. Additional research in many countries, including South Africa, has now shown that a diet lacking in calcium can also cause rickets even if the vitamin D status is adequate. Vitamin D deficiency can be caused by a lack of vitamin D in the diet, insufficient exposure to sunlight, or malabsorption of dietary vitamin D caused by other diseases and conditions that interfere with nutrient uptake, such as coeliac disease and intestinal bypass surgery. Calcium deficiency is primarily due to a diet lacking calcium-rich foods (milk and dairy products), dependence on a single staple food such as maize meal (compounds called phytates in cereals prevent the absorption of calcium) as was found in South Africa and Nigeria in young children after weaning, and in teenagers who drink large quantities of cold drinks instead of milk. Excessive excretion of calcium in the urine due to illnesses such as inherited kidney disease (hypophosphataemia, Fanconi syndrome), kidney dysfunction or kidney tumours, can also cause rickets. The latter conditions are relatively rare and most cases of rickets are linked to dietary deficiency of vitamin D and/or calcium, lack of exposure to sunlight or coeliac disease.

The following factors contribute to development of rickets/osteomalacia/brittle-bone disease

  • Maternal vitamin D and/or calcium deficiency
  • Diets lacking in vitamin D and/or calcium and reliance on a single staple food with a high phytate content
  • Modern lifestyles, spending daylight hours indoors working, attending school, playing computer games and watching TV instead of working and playing in the sunshine. Lack of physical activity and time spent outside.
  • Air pollution which limits sun exposure
  • Geographic location (latitude and altitude)
  • Seasons (rickets are more prevalent in spring and early summer after winter when sun exposure is limited)
  • Darker skin colour
  • Religions and social customs which prevent exposure of the skin to sunlight
  • A family history of rickets and bone deformation
  • Genetic factors that result in reduced uptake of calcium
  • Coeliac disease which prevents adequate uptake of vitamin D from foods
  • Kidney disease, dysfunction and tumours
  • Bypass surgery that reduces vitamin D and calcium absorption

Who gets rickets and who is at risk?

Rickets is more common in children (highest prevalence 3-18 months), and in Southern Africa this condition tends to occur in infants and children who are either exclusively breast-fed by mothers deficient in vitamin D and calcium, or fed an inadequate diet or are kept indoors for long periods of time and not exposed to sunlight. The incidence is higher in the Western Cape during winter and in infants who are swaddled so comprehensively that they do not get a chance to synthesise vitamin D under the skin. Teenagers who spend most of the day in school, playing video games and watching TV thus no longer exposing their skins to sunlight, and eat diets deficient in vitamin D and calcium (drinking cold drinks instead of milk), have an increased risk of developing rickets or brittle-bone disease and stress fractures.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women who eat a diet deficient in vitamin D and calcium, and seldom expose their skins to sunlight, are at risk of developing adult rickets or osteomalacia.

Older people, especially those who are institutionalised and/or bedridden may be at risk of developing osteomalacia if their diets lack vitamin D, and/or calcium and they are not exposed to sunlight.

Patients suffering from coeliac disease or those who have undergone intestinal bypass surgery may be at risk if their condition interferes with the absorption of vitamin D from the digestive tract.

Rickets is no longer as prevalent as it was during the last century (in the early 1900s until after the First World War), when it reached epidemic proportions in malnourished populations living in areas with little sunshine. However, there has been an upsurge in the incidence of bone disease related to vitamin D and/or calcium deficiency in recent years, particularly in infants and mothers in the Middle East (Qatar, Turkey), and in infants and children in many developing countries (Ethiopia, Nigeria, Yemen and Bangladesh). In the latter countries sunlight exposure is adequate, but a monotonous cereal-based diet which lacks variety and contains few or no dairy products, is held responsible for the increase in rickets. In the latter cases provision of calcium supplements are able to cure the condition.

Symptoms and signs of rickets

Rickets causes malformed bones and teeth. In babies the skull remains soft and the bones do not close properly. The bones of the skeleton are soft and the ends of the long bones of the legs and arms are enlarged. Characteristic symptoms of rickets include bow legs, a condition called “rachitic rosary” in which knobs of bone stick out of the chest, pigeon breast (protruding breast-bone) and a curved spine. The wrists, knees and ankle joints may be enlarged.

Rickets is also associated with weak, poorly developed muscles, lack of muscle tone, a protruding tummy, and a delay in walking. Infants are often restless and irritable.

Dental caries and misshapen teeth may be linked to rickets.

How is rickets diagnosed?

Your doctor will do a physical examination to determine if the bones of the skeleton are malformed and if any of the characteristic signs of rickets or osteomalacia are present. He or she will also test your muscles to detect weakness, and will probably take a blood sample for analysis and ask for X-rays of the skeleton to be done. In rare cases, a biopsy (tissue sample for laboratory analysis) of the bone tissue may be performed.

While taking a case history, the doctor will ask you about your/your child’s diet and if you/your child are/is getting enough sun exposure.

Can rickets be prevented?

Rickets caused by dietary deficiency of vitamin D and calcium can be prevented by eating a balanced diet that includes egg yolk, oily fish and margarine that contains added vitamin D, and milk, yoghurt, maas, cottage cheese and other cheeses to provide readily available calcium. Make sure that you and your children spend some time outdoors every day, so that the body gets a chance to manufacture vitamin D under the skin when it is exposed to ultraviolet rays.

Don’t wrap up babies so tightly that they never get a chance to produce vitamin D. Pregnant and breastfeeding women and older individuals should also spend time outdoors every day, particularly in winter.

Cod liver oil tablets are a rich source of vitamin D and your doctor may prescribe them if he/she suspects that you or your children are at risk of developing a vitamin D deficiency. Always take cod liver oil tablets as prescribed and do not increase the dose, as cod liver oil also contains large quantities of vitamin A, which is stored in the human body. Excessive intake of cod liver oil can be harmful because of build-up of vitamin A in the body.

Nowadays vitamin D supplements which contain only vitamin D may be prescribed, or you may have to take a combined calcium and vitamin D supplement.

Due to the increase in rickets and brittle-bone disease, regular provision of vitamin D supplements to infants, children, teenagers, pregnant and lactating women, and the aged, is being considered. It has been suggested that healthy infants, children and adolescents should take at least 400 IU of vitamin D a day to prevent deficiency and rickets.

The question if staple foods should be fortified with vitamin D is currently under discussion in countries such as India. In Southern Africa, maize meal and wheat flour and bread, are not fortified with vitamin D at present.

How is rickets treated?

If you ( your child) have (has) been clinically diagnosed with rickets, your doctor will advise you to increase your ( your child’s) vitamin D and calcium intake by eating a healthy, balanced diet containing plenty of milk, cheese, dairy products, egg yolk and fish. Make sure that the margarine you are using contains vitamin D. Cod liver oil tablets, vitamin D supplements and combination supplements which contain both vitamin D and calcium may be prescribed to supplement vitamin D and calcium intake. Calcium supplements alone may be prescribed if your (your child’s) vitamin D status is adequate, but you (your child) have (has) a calcium deficiency.

Also, spend about half an hour outside the house every day to expose your body to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. (However, remember to avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. during the Southern Africa summer, especially if you are fair-skinned, because of the associated risk of skin cancer).

Research in India and the USA has indicated that people with dark skins are more susceptible to vitamin D deficiency and that such individuals should spend more time in the sun.

What is the outcome of rickets?

If treated in time, the bone and tooth malformations in infants can to a great extent be reversed. In adults, exposure to sunlight and provision of adequate nutrition, including vitamin D and calcium supplements, should also reverse skeletal malformation. Dental damage may not respond to treatment and affected teeth may have to be extracted.

What is the outcome of rickets?

If treated in time, the bone and tooth malformations in infants can to a great extent be reversed. In adults, exposure to sunlight and provision of adequate nutrition, including vitamin D and calcium supplements, should also reverse skeletal malformation. Dental damage may not respond to treatment and affected teeth may have to be extracted.

When to call the doctor

Consult your doctor if:

  • You suspect that your baby’s bones and teeth are malformed or not developing properly.
  • Your child has any of the symptoms listed above.
  • You suspect that you and/or your child eat a diet that does not contain sufficient vitamin D or calcium.
  • You and/or your children never go out of doors and you notice any bone or muscle changes.
  • You are bedridden, suffer from coeliac disease or have had intestinal bypass surgery.

Written by Dr I.V. van Heerden, D.Sc.


Agarwal N et al. (2010). Vitamin D status of term exclusively breastfed infants and their mother from India. Acta Paediatr. June 7 [Epub ahead of print].

Ashwell M et al. (2010). UK Food Standards Agency Workshop Report: an investigation of the relative contributions of diet and sunlight to vitamin D status. Br J Nutr. Vol 104(4):603-11.

Babu US, Calvos MS (2010). Modern India and the vitamin D dilemma: evidence for the need of a national food fortification programme. Mol Nutr Food Res. Vol 54(8):1134-47.

Bener A et al (2010). Vitamin D deficiency in healthy children in a sunny country: associated factors. In J Food Sci Nutr. Vol 60 (Suppl 5):60-70.

Garrow, JS, James, WPT, Ralph, A (2000). Human Nutrition & Dietetics, 10th Edition. Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh.

Pettifor JM (2004). Vitamin D and Health in the 21st century: Bone and beyond. Nutritional rickets: deficiency of vitamin D, calcium, or both? Am J Clin Nutr. Vol 80(6):1725S-1729S.

Proudfit, FT & Robinson, CH (1962). Normal and Therapeutic Nutrition, 12th Edition. MacMillan Co., New York.

Thandrayen K, Pettigor JM (2010). Maternal vitamin D status: implications for the development of infantile nutritional rickets. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. Vol 39(2):303-20.

Unuvar T, Buyukgebiz A (2010). Nutritional rickets and vitamin D deficiency in infants, children and adolescents. Pediatr Endocrinol Rev. Vol 7(3):283-91.


Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Anger Management for Men

Do you suffer from frequent, uncontrollable outbursts of aggression, frustration and anger? Do you let such emotions build up inside you until you reach a breaking point when you just don’t know how to deal with them anymore?

Anger can threaten your relationships with others, your career, your happiness and your physical health. Research has shown that unresolved anger issues can lead to anxiety and depression, as well as a range of health issues including heart complications, high blood pressure, headaches and digestive problems.

Men are particularly prone to suppressing anger and having to deal with the unpleasant consequences. Studies indicate that men with chronic anger issues are six times more likely to suffer a heart attack by the time the reach 50.

Anger management involves the conscious effort to learn to recognise your feelings of aggression, identifying their causes and dealing with them in healthy ways. Doing so is a skill that you need to learn and work on through constant practice. We have a couple of suggestions to help you get started.

Step away

Timeouts aren’t just for children! Sometimes the best way to release building anger is to physically remove yourself from the situation that is causing it to give yourself the chance to calm down. Don’t just stomp off in a sulk, though. Tell the other person or people involved that you need a break to think things over and go for a walk in the park or ensconce yourself in a peaceful space to listen to some relaxing music

Take a deep breath

Often you can’t just walk away from the cause of your anger, but you can slow things down and take a moment to compose yourself. Take a few slow, deep breaths and feel the soothing effect as the air flows in and out of your chest. Quietly or in you mind repeat some calming words to yourself – “relax”, “take it easy” – until your anger subsides. You may want to practice other calming techniques like counting down from 100.

Take another look

In the middle of an argument that is threatening to drive you ballistic, get yourself to mentally step away from your own point of view and try to see the issue from the other person’s perspective. This may help you understand where they’re coming from, calm you down and assist you in finding an amicable solution to the infuriating problem. While you’re at it, take a good look at your own behaviour and learn to laugh at the funny situations you find yourself in at times.

Spit it out

All too often we leave the unpleasant business of dealing with the things that make us angry until they’ve built up to such epic levels that they can only end in a cataclysmic meltdown. Don’t let things get that far. Talk about your feelings before they reach unmanageable levels. Speak to your partner, a sympathetic family member or a trusted friend. You’ll find that talking openly about your frustrations will not only make you feel better, but will allow others who care about you to lend you their support and help you get over the issues involved. Facing your problems and talking about them is the first step towards resolving them.


Scientists have found evidence that suggests that exercise may help to mitigate an angry mood. Anger and aggression are associated with low levels of the body’s calming chemical serotonin, while exercise tends to raise the serotonin levels in the brain. Even if it simply acts to distract you, a brisk walk, a run, a swim, a cycle or a yoga session can take your mind of things, help you relax and release your anger harmlessly.

Harness your anger

Turn your anger into positive energy! When you feel the rage in you reaching crisis levels, go and chop some fire wood, paint the garage door or plant a tree in your garden. While you’re doing so, learn how to consciously put aside your angry emotions until you can deal with the situation more rationally. Realise that you may actually be at fault, try to forgive yourself and others and be prepared to reach compromise solutions.

Seek professional help

If none of these suggestions work for you, it’s probably time to seek professional help. Psychologists and other mental health care practitioners will be able to assist you in identifying the underlying reasons for your angry tempers, either in one-on-one sessions or in group meetings, and they’ll facilitate you in your efforts to explore appropriate anger management skills.


Sunday, 18 November 2012

Sex and Pregnancy

Sex and Pregnancy

Are you making the most of it? Sometimes it is difficult to know the best way of having sex especially the first pregnancy.

Pregnancy affects everything in your body, so it’s not surprising that your sex life can be shaken up a bit. Some of the changes that pregnancy brings can be very sexy.

 Many women say it’s the first time in their lives that they have a full cleavage. And for some women the hormonal changes at different times may make them feel hornier than usual.

The opposite is also true, though. Some women find that their libidos are not fired up, especially in the first and third trimesters when pregnancy can make you particularly tired and emotional.

 When you are in the mood, take full advantage, although as your belly gets bigger you might have to experiment with different positions.

From a physical point of view, there’s nothing to fear from having sex when you’re pregnant – as long as you don’t have any complications and your pregnancy is normal.

 If you have any doubts, don’t be shy to ask your doctor directly if it’s fine to have sex. If you have a history of miscarriages or have had bleeding during the pregnancy, the doctor may advise you to try other means of pleasing each other – your hands and mouth aren’t pregnant!



Thursday, 15 November 2012

Effective Wake Up Exercise

While exercise studies have shown that vigorous exercise in the morning can compromise the immune system, gentle activity helps to wake up the brain and body, mobilising joints, activating the postural muscles and raising body temperature and heart rate. Here's the guide on how to successfully, and safely, exercise in the morning.


This exercise workout sequence will take you just a few minutes – perform it on waking to start your day feeling energised.

1. Before you even get out of bed, take a few deep breaths and have a stretch, right from the tips of the fingers to the toes.

2. Now draw your knees into your chest and hug them. Drop your knees down to the left-hand side, taking your head over to the right; take a breath here, and as you exhale, bring the knees back through centre and drop them to the right, taking the head to the left.

3. Swing your legs off the bed and with feet hip distance apart and flat on the floor, drape your torso over your thighs, allowing arms to drop to the floor. Hang here for a moment then grasp your lower legs with your hands and pull up, so that you are rounding your back, and stretching through the shoulders. Release and roll back up to an upright position. Now link your hands together behind your back and straighten them, feeling a stretch across the chest and front of the shoulders. Hold for a moment and then release.

Stand up with feet below hips

4. Next, stand up and with feet below hips, begin to swing your arms around your body (left arm goes behind left hip while right arm crosses over the body, then reverse), allowing the torso and hips to rotate from side-to-side but keeping the tummy engaged. Let the head follow the movement, and keep it relaxed and rhythmical. Count to 30 while you do this.

5. Now link your hands together and lift them overhead, with palms facing down. Keeping your tummy engaged and hips centred, drop your torso to the side, take a breath and then as you exhale, come back through centre and drop to the other side.

6. Next, grab your pillow and place it between your thighs, just above the knees. With weight evenly dispersed between heel and forefoot, bend the legs into a half-squat, squeezing the cushion and pressing the buttocks together. Pause for a couple of seconds, then stand up, rising up on to the balls of the feet, before lowering into the next repetition. Do this 10 times, squeezing the cushion throughout – you may feel a bit silly but this great exercise to wake up the large muscles in the legs and buttocks.

Allow your knees to bend

7. Still standing tall let your knees slightly bend and drop your arms by your sides. Take a breath and as you exhale, draw the chin to the chest and begin to roll forwards through the neck vertebrae, the upper back, the mid back and finally the lower back, until your head and arms are hanging down by your feet. Pause to take a breath and as you exhale, ‘rebuild’ the spine by rolling back up to a standing position. Imagine the spine is like a wheel turning. Do this three times, but on the last one, when you roll down, go all the way to the floor, bending the knees and taking your hands to the floor.

8. Walk your hands out until you are lying flat on the floor, face down. You can rest your forehead on your hands. Keeping your hipbones pressing down into the floor, bring each foot alternately into the bottom and out straight again. Do this rhythmically, counting to 30.

9. Next, push yourself back onto your hands and knees, so that you are on all fours, hands under shoulders, knees under hips. Gently pull in the tummy and round the back up, allowing the head to drop. Pause, then arch the back – lengthening it out as much as you can – and lifting the head. Repeat this three times and then rock back to your feet and keeping knees slightly bent, roll back up to standing.

10. Give your shoulders a roll, shake out your arms and legs and go jump in the shower! Although you can’t really class this as a full-on workout, it’s a great way to start the day and prepare your body. So instead of taking a few minutes for that extra cup of coffee to give you the boost – energise with a bit of exercise! Try it tomorrow and see if it makes a difference to you and your day.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Lost Interest In Sex?

I keep on getting ladies asking me what to do as they have lost interest in sex. I am no sex expert and it is true that lack of interest in such matters can make or break a relationship.

Many factors influence sexual energy. In the past, when birth control pills contained much higher doses of hormones, some women described a lowered libido and decreased signs of sexual arousal (such as less vaginal lubrication).

While unlikely as a cause nowadays, it may make sense to speak with a gynaecologist or women's health nurse practitioner to talk about changes in your sex drive and a possible relationship to your oral contraception. Perhaps another birth control pill could be prescribed that may create a difference in the way you feel.

Since the pill is also an elective medication, it's something a woman chooses to take for contraception. Often, women on birth control feel more sexual since their concern about pregnancy decreases. Sometimes, women who have the additional hormones circulating through their system can experience an increase their libido.

Medication and fatigue to blame?
Decreased sexual energy is a common side-effect of a number of medications. If you started taking any new medication around the same time that you began to notice a difference in your sex drive, mention this to the health care provider who prescribed the medication. You may need to change the dosage or even try a different medication instead. Do not stop taking your medication without first talking with your provider.

One of the most common causes for a decrease in sex drive is fatigue. Tired people, especially women who balance hectic lives, can — understandably so — be less interested in sex. Has anything been happening in your life lately that is causing extra stress and leaving you tired? You might want to think about your schedule and stressors in your life. Sometimes just making a list can help you see what's making you feel stressed. Books or workshops on stress management can be helpful resources if you think undue stress and/or being tired might be having an impact on your sex life.

Beyond being tired, depression, as well as anxiety disorders, especially undiagnosed and untreated, often affect one's libido. Take some time to think about how you've been feeling lately; separate from the obvious frustration at not being as sexually charged as you want to be.

Relationship problems add to problem
What else is happening in your life? Arguments between partners, a lack of trust or intimacy, communication problems, or other issues that cause friction in a relationship can easily make a woman (or a man, for that matter) lose interest in sex.

 You may want to work with your partner(s) to fix barriers to intimacy, which may include seeking couples counselling that can provide you with perspective as well as doable approaches.

Many people go through periods of decreased arousal in their lives (how long has this lasted for you?). Focusing too much on what your body isn't doing might just exacerbate the problem. If you want to be sexual and find that you're dry, using a little lube for masturbation or penetration can help.

 Finally, if none of the things mentioned here seem to be relevant to you, schedule an appointment with your health care provider to talk more in depth about issues more closely related to your own unique medical and sexual history.

Look for help


Sunday, 11 November 2012

Migraine and Pregnancy

I am sure this might help those tormented by migraines because I know how it feels.

Migraine is an extremely common disorder, affecting about 18% of women. Because of the various factors influencing the condition, the diagnosis and treatment of migraine is not a simple matter. During pregnancy, these problems are further complicated because of the additional precautions that are necessary.

The frequency of migraine attacks has actually been shown to decrease during pregnancy. In a study carried out by researchers at the Institute of Nervous Diseases at the University of Rome, the results confirmed previous studies, that during pregnancy, migraine sufferers had fewer attacks than before their pregnancy. As the pregnancy progressed, the attacks became fewer and fewer, so that during the last three months, 80% of the patients in the study experienced no attacks at all. Not only did the frequency of attacks decrease, but also, the intensity of the pain was not as severe.

Those migraine sufferers who experienced an aura before the attacks, showed no improvement during pregnancy. The aura consists of seeing flashing lights, or patchy loss of vision, or in some people inability to speak properly. In fact in migraine with aura, the attacks may even worsen during the pregnancy.

After birth
Unfortunately in most cases, the migraine returned after the birth of the baby. What emerged from the study, however, was that the rate of recurrence of the migraine following the birth was strongly influenced by the type of feeding. With breastfeeding, 43% of patients reported the recurrence of their migraines within a month.

With bottle-feeding however, there was a 100% recurrence in the first month. Once breastfeeding stops though, the migraines usually resume their old pattern.

The migraine was also twice as likely to return in women having their first child, as in those having their second or third child. Women below the age of thirty were also twice as likely to experience a recurrence.

With regard to treatment options during pregnancy, medication is discouraged due to the potential harmful effects on the foetus. Even common over-the-counter drugs such as aspirin must be avoided, as it may increase the chances of bleeding. The only headache medication that is considered to be safe during pregnancy is paracetamol (Panado), but in most cases this is inadequate for the intense pain of migraine.

Some medications commonly used in migraine contain ergotamine. This drug can stimulate the muscles of the uterus, and lead to abortion. Often, the “migraine kits” obtainable from pharmacies without a prescription, contain ergotamine. Even codeine, an ingredient of many painkillers, has been associated with congenital malformations.

One of the biggest problems with regard to headache medications is the lack of information on their possible effects on the unborn child. The reason for this is that pregnant women are usually excluded, for obvious reasons, from drug trials. So when a new drug comes on the market, pregnant women are advised not to use it, because it hasn’t been adequately tested during pregnancy.

Herbal remedies
Many people today look to herbal or “natural” remedies. These must under no circumstances be taken during pregnancy. The therapeutic effect of even the most natural of substances is due to the active chemicals they contain. A number of easily obtainable herbal preparations can be harmful to the pregnant woman or to the foetus.

Treatment of migraine during pregnancy has to focus on non-drug therapies. The best way to approach the problem is to diagnose from which structure the pain originates, so that one can treat the source of the pain. This is a highly specialised diagnosis, and must include an assessment of the amount of tension in the muscles of the head and neck, which are often the main source of the pain. If muscle tension is present, there are a number of non-drug treatment options available.

The first choice is a specially constructed intra-oral appliance, that sits comfortably in the palate, and relaxes the muscles of the head and neck. In most patients, no further treatment is necessary. The other treatment options are physiotherapy, postural training, and appropriate exercise. It may be necessary in some cases to inject a little local anaesthetic into the muscle trigger points – this can be safely performed at any stage of the pregnancy.

The other structures that must be assessed are the arteries of the scalp. This can only be done while the pain is present, and, as it is a highly specialised diagnosis, can only be done by doctors who have received special training.

The aim of treatment is prevention of the migraine, so that potentially harmful medication is no longer necessary.

Simple rules
It may, however, be possible to reduce the frequency and intensity of attacks by observing a few simple rules. Scrupulous avoidance of known headache triggers can greatly reduce the number of attacks. Not everyone has the same triggers though, and this will only help if you have identified your particular triggers. Alcohol should be avoided, and skipping meals is discouraged, as a drop in blood sugar levels can sometimes trigger a migraine attack. Some migraine sufferers benefit from simply increasing their water intake, a healthy alternative to drugs.


Friday, 9 November 2012

Migraine( Headache)


I spent the last three day in bed with a migraine. Each time I get an attack it feels like they are getting worse. For those who do not get migraines hearing a person say he or she has a headache might sound like a very good excuse for not going to work, but boy o boy migraines are debilitating. When I was young some people around me used to think I was faking it. It takes another migraine sufferer to know the kind of torture migraines can be. I am one of those people who might stop having migraines maybe after menopause. The cause of migraine is unknown but there is evidence that suggests that it is caused by a genetically transmitted disturbance of the blood flow to the brain and the scalp. The symptoms may vary in frequency and intensity from person to person. The headaches may be lateralised or generalized, dull or throbbing, and may be associated with loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision and increased sensitivity to light and sound.
Sometimes patients see flashing lights or shimmering zig-zag lines around an area of lost vision, from one or both eyes. Pins and needles in the hands and difficulty of speech may also occur.


Headaches are four times more prevalent in women and often linked to hormonal fluctuations. The frequency and severity of headaches declines with advancing years. Migraines are more common in adult women than in men, often occurring just before or during menstrual periods and usually waning after menopause. A migraine sufferer usually has his or her first attack between the ages of 19 and 30 years. People with primary headache, such as tension-type, migraine or cluster headache will usually have a normal physical examination. Keeping a headache diary may help to identify headache triggers, and is also useful for evaluating the effectiveness of treatment. Symptoms of a migraine include intense, throbbing pain in the forehead, temple, ear, jaw or even around the eye. It usually starts on one side of the head, but eventually spreads to the other side. It is sometimes preceded by an aura. The migraine is often accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and visual disturbances. Each instance lasts two to 72 hours – averaging 12 to 18 hours – and may be incapacitating enough to disrupt daily activities.

Step 1: Understanding the relationship between migraine and food
The cause of migraine is unknown but there is evidence that suggests that it is caused by a genetically transmitted disturbance of the blood flow to the brain and the scalp.
Certain trigger factors have been identified and include the following:
  • Certain foods, especially coffee, chocolate, nuts, dairy products, red wine, preservatives in cured or processed meat, biltong, chocolate, citrus fruits and aged cheeses, fried foods, shellfish, spicy foods, peanuts and yeast.
  • Emotional and physical stress. This includes anger, anxiety, depression, and excitement. Migraine headaches often start during the "let-down" period after a stressful time, such as a weekend or vacation.
  • Lack or excess of sleep.
  • Missed meals or fasting.
  • Loud noises.
  • Glaring or flickering lights (water reflections, television, rave parties).
  • Alcohol.
  • Oral contraceptives.
  • Menstruation.
  • Weather fluctuations – particularly from dry to humid conditions and bright overcast days.
  • Changes in temperature – such as when taking a hot bath.
  • Allergies – watch out for preservative allergies, and food allergies.
  • Smoking cigarettes.
Step 2: Adopting new healthy habits:
  • Know your migraine triggers and limit your exposure when and if possible
  • Eat correctly to avoid migraine
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Exercise three to four times weekly
  • Learn to relax
Step 3: The basic dietary guidelines to avoid migraine
  • 1. Eat a balanced diet and five smaller meals per day instead of two to three big ones
  • 2. Keep a food/drink diary to help you figure out if you are sensitive or allergic to certain foods, drinks or food additives
  • 3. In the aftermath of a migraine, simple, light, non-fatty food (such as fresh fruit) and plenty of water help you to recover more rapidly
  • 1. Avoid foods rich in tyramine:
    • Cheeses, especially cheddar
    • Red wines
    • Biltong
    • Avocado and bananas
  • 2. Avoid foods with Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) and other preservatives and colourants like processed meats
  • 3. Avoid coffee, chocolate and lemon meringue pie
  • 4. Avoid nuts
  • 5. Avoid diary products
  • 6. Avoid yeast products

It is difficult to nail exactly how to avoid migraines and certain things work differently for different people. Remember do not skip meals as low sugar makes it worse.

Monday, 5 November 2012


Does anyone remember those days at school when people used to be scared of head  lice. My mum being OCD would not even let you bring anyone’s stuff back home. Lice were a menace to those not so lucky. The problem obviously being once they wreck havoc in a home, they would take long to leave. People lost friends because of lice and when I was growing up it was like a curse. I thought I would have a look at this parasite.

Lice are barely visible, wingless insects between 1 and 3 mm in size that lives on human beings and feed on blood. These parasites seldom cause serious medical problems, but are annoying and very contagious, spreading easily from person to person by body contact and shared clothing and other personal items. Every four hours or so, a louse bites into a tiny blood vessel for a meal. Because it injects an anaesthetic, you won’t feel the initial bite. However, as its saliva gets under your skin, bites begin to itch. Intense scratching often breaks the skin, and can lead to bacterial infections.

Head lice

Head lice (Pediculus humanus capitis) are about the size of a sesame seed, and can easily be seen, although they hide quickly when exposed to light. Their eggs, called nits, are barely visible whitish ovals cemented to hair shafts.

Head lice are spread by personal contact and by shared brushes, combs, hats and other personal items. The infestation sometimes extends into the eyebrows, eyelashes, and beard. Head lice are a common scourge of school children of all social strata.

Body lice

Body lice (Pediculus humanus corporis) look very much like those found on the head, but are actually a different species. While they aren’t as easily transmitted as head lice are, they are more difficult to spot, hiding in the seams of clothing and folds of bedding when not actually feeding.

Body lice infestation is usually found in people who have poor hygiene and those living in close quarters or crowded institutions. These lice can carry diseases such as typhus, trench fever and relapsing fever.

Pubic lice

Pubic lice (Phthirius pubis) are yellow-grey insects found in the pubic region, and are typically spread during sexual contact. The size of a pinhead, they are slightly translucent and barely visible against light-coloured skin. With their shorter, rounder body shape and crab-like claws with which they cling to hair, they resemble crabs – hence their popular name. The eggs, which are barely visible, are tiny white particles glued so firmly to hair shafts that they cannot be removed by normal washing.


Contrary to popular belief, contracting lice is not related to poor hygiene – in fact, head lice are thought to prefer clean hair to dirty hair. However, good hygiene can combat body lice.


  • Head lice: intense itching on the scalp, especially behind the ears and at the nape of the neck. Children may hardly notice head lice or may have only a vague scalp irritation in the beginning. With advanced infestation, the scalp may become red and inflamed, with swollen glands near the area where the lice are living.
  • Body lice: itching is generally most intense on the shoulders, buttocks and abdomen. Signs of lice include unexplained scratch marks on the body, hives, eczema, or small red pimples on the shoulders or torso. If the lice are not treated, welts may develop.
  • Pubic lice: Pubic lice causes continual itching around the penis, vagina and anus, and perhaps a rash.


Lice live successfully all over the world, wherever people gather in close proximity, for example in schools.


Once you have been infected with adult lice, they will attach their eggs (nits) to hair shafts on various parts of the body. The nits hatch in eight to ten days, producing more lice. Lice can live up to a week on items such as bedding, sleeping bags, clothing and towels.


  • Head lice: itching and scratching is the hallmark of this condition. Your doctor will examine the scalp for tiny grey insects, usually at the nape of the neck or back of the head where there is the most hair. The doctor will also look for shiny, small, greyish-white oval-shaped eggs (nits) firmly stuck close to the base of hair shafts. They look like flakes of dandruff that cannot be brushed off.
  • Body lice: Because body lice are difficult to spot, intense itching on the shoulders, buttocks and abdomen, together with unexplained scratch marks on the body, hives, eczema, and small red pimples on the shoulders or torso are taken as signs of their presence.
  • Pubic lice: Pubic lice are particularly difficult to find and may appear as tiny bluish spots on the skin. However, they do leave a scattering of miniscule, dark-brown specks (louse excrement) on underwear where it comes into contact with the genitals and anus, and these can form the basis of a diagnosis.


The goal of treatment is to remove all lice and nits. This usually requires repeated efforts, because a few adult lice may escape by hiding in clothing or bedding, and eggs are difficult to kill.

Head lice

The most common treatment for head lice is to kill the adults with an insecticidal shampoo and to clear out the nits with a special fine-toothed comb. Of the medications for lice, permethrin is the safest, most effective, and most pleasant to use, and is available over the counter. For best results, follow the directions exactly. Other family members should be treated too – about 60% of infected children have relatives who carry lice.

To eliminate all lice and successfully prevent re-infection, wash all clothing, towels and bed linen in hot, soapy water, and dry them in a hot dryer. You can also disinfect bedding and other items such as hats and clothing by placing them in a sealed plastic bag for 14 days; the nits will hatch in about a week and die of starvation. Brushes and combs can be disinfected by soaking them in hot, soapy water for 10 minutes.

If you prefer to avoid the use of insecticides, try a "combing only" technique. Wash the hair with an ordinary shampoo and conditioner and leave wet. With a fine-toothed comb, stroke slowly outward from the roots through one lock of hair at a time. Lice will land on the back of the comb, get caught between the teeth, or fall off. Space at least 30 strokes over the head. Repeat every three days. Because new-born lice do not lay eggs for the first week, all lice should disappear after about two weeks of combing.

Body lice

To treat body lice, wash the entire body with soap and water. If this is not effective, you may have to use an insecticidal preparation, which usually kills all the lice. Wash all clothing and bedding in hot water and dry them in a hot dryer. Store clothes for two weeks in sealed plastic bags or place them in dry heat of 60 °C for three to five days.

Pubic lice

Pubic lice can be treated with non-prescription medications containing pyrethrins (natural insecticides). Sexual partners will also have to be treated. "Crabs" are sometimes found on eyelashes and eyebrows, where they are difficult to treat. Remove them with tweezers, or use an ophthalmic ointment such as physostigmine. Ordinary petroleum jelly may kill or weaken lice on eyelashes too.


Prevention of head lice is difficult, especially among children, since lice spread quickly from head to head. To help prevent lice, prevent children from sharing hats, hooded coats, scarves, combs, brushes, pillows, and soft toys. If you discover lice on your child, notify school or day-care authorities immediately, since classmates are likely to be infected. Infected children should be kept home from school until they are treated.

The best way to prevent lice in the genital area is monogamy or avoidance of intimate sexual contact. Condoms are not a good protection against lice because they do not cover the hairy areas where the lice live. You should also avoid contact with contaminated clothing, bed linen and toilet seats.