Category Archives: Ailments: I-J

Infertility

Infertility unfortunately can affect many couples trying to conceive a baby.  It is the inability to conceive a child after a year or more of sexual intercourse without contraception.

What to look for

If after a period of unprotected intercourse, the couple cannot conceive, this is infertility. It can be because of either partner or both.

This can be very distressing for many couples and is taken as a sign of inadequacy. Please keep in mind being infertile does not necessarily indicate sterility.

Causes

Infertility in men can be the result of low sperm production, no sperm or sperm which do not swim as they should do as well as a tubes blockage.

In women, infertility can be caused by a failure to ovulate due to a hormone failure. Interruption of an egg’s progress through the fallopian tube from ovary to uterus may also be a cause.

Women’s age is a factor: as after 35 years of age it is often more difficult to conceive. Being overweight, or underweight, can also play a role.

In both men and women, fertility can be diminished by psychological factors, such as anxiety and depression, and by environmental agents.

Treatment

Your doctor will perform many tests on both partners to determine the cause of the infertility.

There are not ways to increase the chances of conception.

Couples are often advised to have intercourse just before ovulation.

Ovulation can be induced with the use of fertility drugs or hormones.

Certain disorders occurring in men can be treated with a doctors help.

IVF (in vitro fertilization) is an option for couples who are infertile. The egg is fertilized outside the woman’s body, then placed in the womb or fallopian tube.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

A variety of alternative treatments may enhance fertility.

  • Relaxation Techniques – Stress can often hinder conception and there are different relaxation techniques can reduce stress which sometimes contributes to infertility.

  • Dietary Considerations – Zinc is important for fertility in both sexes; a supplement may help. Vitamin C has been shown to aid men whose sperm clump together, and it may improve sperm count. Ask for professional advice with regards to the appropriate doses.

  • The diet of both partners should include plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit and a high potency multi-vitamin. Men need more vitamin C. Reduce the amount of caffeine and alcohol as they make the system more acidic.

  • Herbal Treatments – As mentioned above, Zinc is often recommended as well as vitamin E. Take goldenseal, raspberry leaf or red clover tea.

Personal Care

For women:

  • Don’t douche.

  • After intercourse, remain lying down for a few minutes.

  • Avoid becoming too tired or too stressed.

For men:

  • Avoid excessive alcohol.

  • Stay healthy; a bad cold or flu can depress sperm count for up to three months.

  • Keep testicles cool; avoid saunas, hot tubs, and close-fitting underwear.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you desire a child but have not conceived after a year of trying

     

Immunisation

It is normal for you and your child to come into contact with bacteria and viruses on a regular basis. Some of these microbes can cause serious problems.

Immunisation protects your baby from serious diseases and illnesses. It is safe and easy to administer.

How immunisation can help…

When you are vaccinated, your body responds by creating antibodies that defend it against that disease in the future. It builds up a defence system that destroys the bacteria and viruses before they cause illness.

Which diseases should you be immunised against…

Whooping Cough (pertussis) –   this is an infectious disease spread by coughing and sneezing. Breathing becomes difficult with distinctive coughing spasms. This can be fatal for children and babies.

Diphtheria –  this is a bacterial infection spread by droplets from the nose. The bacteria produces a toxin which spreads throughout the body and causes heart failure or paralysis.

Polio – a virus of the gastrointestinal area. A serious disease which is not under control however it can make another appearance if children are not vaccinated from it.

Tetanus – caused by a bacteria made toxin which is found in soil and animal manure. Serious side effects are spasms, lockjaw, breathing problems and convulsions.

Mumps – virus spread by saliva. Is serious if complications set in – such as swollen brain and infertility.

Measles – caused by a virus. Highly infectious and spread by coughing and droplets from nasal passages. Can have serious side effects and complications can cause encephalitis or pneumonia.

Rubella (German measles) – dangerous if spread to pregnant women. Therefore very important to have your child immunised against it.

Hib – a bacterial infection that can cause other more serious diseases in children and infants.

Hepatitis B – this immunisation is available for your baby. It is a virus that attacks the liver and can be the cause of liver cancer.

These diseases are very serious and can often be fatal. Your child needs protection from them from an early age.

Please use this link to learn more
    
http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/  

Impotence

This is the inability in men to be able to have sexual intercourse.

What to look for

The most obvious symptom is the failure to have an erection. However there are some other factors to consider –

  • if your impotence appears only occasionally it is not usually a serious problem as this is quite common.

  • develops gradually and persistently, there is probably a physical cause

  • develops abruptly, but you still have early-morning erections and are able to have an erection while masturbating, the problem is likely to be psychological.

Impotence, the inability to attain or maintain an erection of the penis adequate for the sexual satisfaction of both partners, can be devastating to your self-esteem as well as your partners. It can affect nearly all males at some time or another.

Causes

There are a number of supposed causes of impotence in men.

The normal aging process can tend to slow a mans ability to sustain an erection. However, experts believe that the cause is more often physical.

The stiffness of an erection is caused by increased blood flow to the penis. Therefore, conditions that block the blood flow to the penis such as atherosclerosis or diabetes can hinder erections. Another vascular cause may be a faulty vein, which lets blood drain too quickly from the penis.

The nervous system has a controlling influence on the male erection, therefore certain prescription drugs which interfere with the nerves (or have this as a side effect) can cause impotence. Among the possible culprits are stimulants, sedatives, diuretics, antihistamines, and agents to treat high blood pressure, cancer, or depression. In addition, alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs, such as marijuana, may contribute to impotence.

With younger men, psychological problems are the likeliest reason for impotence.

Tension and anxiety may arise from poor communication with the sexual partner or a difference in sexual preferences. The sexual difficulties may also be linked to a low self esteem, depression, rejection by parents or peers, or sexual abuse in childhood.

Traditional Treatment

As men age it does take a little longer to become aroused, but if the problem you are having is persistent and severe, seek medical help.

There is a vacuum inflating device that is an option usually for elderly men and your doctor will inform you of the procedure involved.

Another treatment is the injection of testosterone but it is difficult to know how much as each man is different. Ask your doctor about this.

For blood-vessel problems, vascular surgery to open arteries leading to the penis benefits up to half the patients who opt for this treatment.

Men can opt for a penile implant however this should be after all else has failed.

If the cause is judged to be psychological, you could see a qualified counsellor to help you ascertain the underlying causes and help remedy your situation.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Many alternative therapies promote the good health and relaxation needed for a satisfying sex life.

Aromatherapy – Essential oils of clarysandalwood, and ylang-ylang encourage relaxation and feelings of sensuality. Add 2 drops of each to 4 tsp of massage oil or to a warm bath.

Chinese Herbs – Practitioners believe that too much anxiety can cause energy stagnation in the liver. Golden chamber, a combination of herbs, sometimes with cibot root added, is often prescribed.

Herbal Therapies – GinkgoDamiana, and Ginseng are sold in many formulations as sexual stimulants.

Personal Care

 

  • Try to keep your focus and mind off ‘getting an erection’ while being intimate with your partner. Try to keep the pressure off yourself.

  • Moderate exercise helps relax the body, give you more energy, and stimulate sexuality.

  • Stress or anxiety diverts blood from the sexual organs. Try to relax

When to seek further professional advice

  • if you are anxious about the problem

  • impotence persists

     

Incontinence

Is the inability to control the passing of urine.

What to look for

  • inability to control urination.

The condition often reflects an underlying disorder and is usually treatable, even in the elderly. Often it was thought that it was a age related condition and inevitable result of getting older. It must be treated however, in order for it to improve.

Incontinence can lead to bladder or urinary tract infections if not treated or if the problem still persists. In those instances where treatment doesn’t work there are pads and protection available which can aid your comfort.

Causes

Sometimes there is a continuous leaking of urine as the muscles within this area are unable to contract to hold it back and a person does not know when they need to go to the toilet. This can be the consequence of diabetes in men.

At other times, simple actions such as coughing, sneezing or exercising can cause incontinence problems. The urethra is weak and cannot resist a sudden increase in bladder pressure.

When the bladder is full in other people, it simply contracts and they have no control over the sudden urge to go to the toilet. This can occur in healthy people as well as those with other illnesses involving the central nervous system, such as strokeAlzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.

A slipped disk, surgery or pregnancy can also contribute to this condition.

Incontinence is a potential side effect of many diuretics, sedatives, antidepressants, antihistamines, and other medications. Talk to your doctor.

Traditional Treatment

Do not worry about this ailment as in most cases it can be cured or, at the very least, greatly improved with treatment. Both conventional and alternative medicine have effective strategies for dealing with the problem. If you wish, you can try alternative methods first. However, if the condition persists or worsens, see a doctor for a full evaluation and diagnosis.

Many doctors may suggest and show you muscle strengthening exercises to help your incontinence. These treatments are safe and effective.

If your doctor decides you need medication for your condition, the drug he or she prescribes will depend on the cause of the incontinence.

Special devices called pessaries are available for women.

If none of these treatments work, your doctor may recommend surgery. Ask you doctor to describe the various options available to you and to explain any possible side effects as well.

If your incontinence cannot be cured or controlled, you can learn to manage the problem with the help of some specially designed aids that are available.

Complimentary Treatments

These treatments are aimed at strengthening the pelvic muscles to give you more support in this area.

Chinese Herbs – Chinese practitioners may make a mixture of several herbs to treat this condition. They believe herbs that help the body retain fluid are a beneficial treatment for incontinence. Chinese practitioners may make a mixture of several herbs to treat this condition. They believe herbs that help the body retain fluid are a beneficial treatment for incontinence.

Herbal Treatments – Where there is a lack of bladder control, use corn silk combined with agrimony. Where there is a lack of bladder control, use corn silk combined with agrimony.

Homoeopathy – Depending on the cause of the condition, homoeopaths have numerous remedies to treat incontinence. Some that are often prescribed include: Depending on the cause of the condition, homoeopaths have numerous remedies to treat incontinence. Some that are often prescribed include:

  • for stress incontinence, particularly in the elderly, Causticum, which is said to restore vitality to aging tissue.

  • for stress and urge incontinence, particularly when a person is rising from a prone position, Pulsatilla, is thought to restore the urinary parts of the body to proper functioning.

There are additional remedies available.

Dietary Considerations

Maintain your ideal weight.

Avoid constipation by increasing the amount of fibre and water in your diet; eat more whole-grain foods and fruits and vegetables.

Avoid alcohol, caffeine, sugar, spicy foods, and acidic fruits and juices – all of which can irritate the bladder and trigger leaks.

Personal Care

 

 


  • Avoid constipation.

  • Do pelvic exercises daily (see women’s health).

  • Retrain yourself to urinate at longer intervals

  • Don’t smoke.

  • If you are a woman incontinence, try crossing your legs when sneezing or coughing.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you develop incontinence after an illness or after taking a new medication.

  • self-help remedies for controlling your urination are not working.

Indigestion

Indigestion is a type of pain and sick feeling after eating food.

What to look for

  • heartburn.

  • gas or burping.

  • abdominal pressure and flatulence.

  • mild nausea.

  • vomiting.

We should not normally notice the digestion process. Indigestion is a term that covers a large variety of assorted stomach problems but mostly it means pain after eating food, usually accompanied by a bloated and sick feeling.

Indigestion is either a symptom of a disease or the result of eating unfavourable foods.

Indigestion may be occasional or occur daily. Though uncomfortable, indigestion itself is not life-threatening. However, this condition should not be left untreated.

Causes

This is a disorder which everyone will feel occasionally.

It has many causes such as

  • too much food consumption

  • overindulging in alcohol;

  • frequently using analgesics and other pain relievers;

  • eating while stressed;

  • eating food that does not agree with your system.

  • eating in a hurry and not chewing your food properly

Obesity and smoking are two major causes of chronic indigestion.

Traditional Treatment

There are many treatments available to help indigestion and the right one depends on your symptoms. Your doctor or Pharmacist will advise which course of action to take.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies – Various teas may calm digestive distress. To reduce stomach acidity, drink meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) tea.

If you also feel stressed, add lavender (Lavandula officinalis) or chamomile (Matricaria recutita).

If bloating or gas is a problem, try a tea of peppermint (Mentha piperita), chamomile, or lemon balm (Melissa officinalis).

Certain herbs are able to help with digestion and heartburn. About 30 minutes before eating, drink 1/2 cup of tea made from goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), barberry (Berberis vulgaris) bark, gentian (Gentiana lutea) root, or Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium) root.

Ginger is another herb with properties that can aid digestion.

Dietary Considerations

Try a low fat diet with less protein from fatty foods, highly spiced foods, sugars, alcohol, tea and coffee. Do not drink too much fluid with your meals. Chew slowly. Try Acidophilus Bifidus to maintain good levels of friendly intestinal flora. Fruits that have digestive enzymes are pawpaw, kiwi fruit and pineapple. It is wise to start eating natural live yogurt as well.

Personal Care

  • Refrain from smoking.

  • For occasional indigestion with heartburn, use antacids if recommended by your doctor or try an alternative solution – see above

  • Try one or several of the herbal teas above to relieve your specific symptoms.

  • Relax during and after eating.

  • If you frequently chew gum, stop for a while to see if your symptoms dissipate.

  • Avoid the foods mentioned above to improve your digestion.

  • Drink more fluids – filtered water is best – during the day but try not to have too much fluid while eating as this can dilute the digestive enzymes.

Prevention

Indigestion is universal; it’s almost impossible to avoid it forever. You can encounter it less often, however, if you watch your weight; avoid overeating or overindulging in alcohol; avoid your “trigger” foods; and abstain from smoking.

When to seek further professional advice

  • any abdominal pain continues for more than six hours

  • you experience indigestion with any other problematic symptom

  • you have repeated bouts of severe indigestion

  • your indigestion consistently follows your eating dairy products.

     

     

Infections

What to look for

Fever, chills, sweating, headaches, muscle aches, and fatigue are symptoms common to many infections, however there are symptoms specific to different types of infections.

Viruses and bacteria are constantly battling with our bodies and trying to invade. Once on or inside the body, they try to survive and reproduce. Most do not succeed as our body has a good defence system.

Those that survive do so by preying on healthy cells and tissue. The process of invasion, growth, and our body’s reaction to them is what is meant by infection.

For a more full description of the function of our immune system please go to the entry ‘immune problems’.

Our body’s quick response usually stops all infections. However, sometimes this does not occur as the body’s immune system is weak and not functioning as it should.

Causes

Bacteria, viruses, fungi are what cause infections by invading body tissue, stealing nutrients from healthy cells, and releasing toxins some parasites kill healthy cells.

These micro-organisms readily infect the eyes, ears, mouth, genitals, and the skin itself. Some enter straight into the bloodstream.

Food poisoning occurs when pathogen (invading bacteria) enter the gastrointestinal tract, usually through contaminated food or water.

Most respiratory infections, including common colds, flu and mild forms of pneumonia, are caused by inhaling or ingesting viruses.

The urinary tract usually flushes out pathogens but is prone to infection when it is swollen, irritated, or obstructed. Ailments ranging from common bladder infections to serious kidney infections are usually bacterial.

Most infections stay localised but some can spread throughout the entire body.

Your doctor will do tests to determine where your infection is and it’s severity.

Traditional Treatment

Minor infections are of short duration and usually clear up on their own, but serious infectious diseases require medical treatment.

Antibiotics are the usual treatment against bacterial infections however this course of action will not work against viral infections. In these cases the doctor can usually only relieve the symptoms and help the body to heal itself.

Over-the-counter and prescription medications can relieve typical symptoms and speed recovery from minor infections.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Good nutrition, rest, and stress-reducing activities can help prevent and combat infection.

Herbal Treatments – Some herbs which are particularly helpful for infections are – aniseed, Echinacea, eucalyptus, garlic, goldenseal, horseradish, myrrh, pau d’arco, tea tree oil. (Go to our Herbal Page)

Aromatherapy – Try a warm compress on the affected area with geranium in it, for coughs and colds, try inhaling grapefruit oil, lemongrass, lime or lemon oil. For more information on the essential oils – see our aromatherapy section)

Homoeopathic Treatments – Pulsatilla is great for ridding the body of mucus or discharge – ask for the required dosages.

Dietary Considerations

The most incredible diet in the world will not always protect you from every germ or bug going around, but it will definitely help your body cope with some of them.

Try to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables – especially the foods rich in vitamin C (citrus fruits), vitamin E (wheatgerm, seeds and seed oils), vitamin A (red, yellow or orange coloured fruits and vegetables, or dark-green leafy vegetables). Selenium will be present in wheat, brown rice, poultry and low-fat dairy produce. You could eat more beans, fish, liver, brewer’s yeast and nuts, oysters, cheddar cheese, and lentils which are rich sources of zinc and cysteine.

Avoid refined foods, alcohol and caffeine.

Prevention

  • Proper vaccinations need to be performed to prevent infections.

  • Be careful with meats and always keep them refrigerated – also wash hands before and after touching them.

  • Practice good personal hygiene.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you or your child develops a high fever

  • you have any of the symptoms listed above and they do not respond to treatments

     

     

Ingrown Nails

Is a condition whereby the nail grows into the skin of the toe instead of over it.

What to look for

  • pain, swelling, and redness around a toenail, usually the big toe.

Ingrown nails usually affect the toenails and can be very painful.

People who have curved or thick nails are most susceptible, although anyone can suffer from ingrown nails as a result of an injury or because of shoes which do not fit properly.

Diabetics need to be aggressive in treating and preventing minor foot ailments because they can develop into serious medical problems.

Causes

Ingrown nails are most frequently caused by cutting your toenails too short or rounding the nail edges, or by wearing ill-fitting shoes that press the nail into your toe. You can also develop an ingrown nail after an injury such as stubbing your toe.

Traditional Treatment

This can be prevented by wearing shoes that fit well, and by taking proper care when you cut your toenails. Care must be taken to ensure the area does not become infected.

If this does occur, you will probably be put on a course of antibiotics and be given an ointment to help the infection.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies – Medical herbalists may suggest soaking the toe in a warm solution of calendula (Calendula officinalis) and tea tree oil.

Personal Care

 

  • When you cut your nails, put a small ‘V’ in the middle with the scissors. This will allow the nail to grow in towards the middle and not spade out to cause trouble.

  • soaking your foot in warm salt water and then applying an over-the-counter topical solution for ingrown nails

  • Lemon is said to act as a natural softening agent. If you want to try a natural remedy, tie a fresh lemon slice around the toe and leave it on overnight.

Prevention

Proper grooming is the first step in preventing ingrown nails.

Soak the feet first to soften the nails. Do not cut the nails with a downwards slope at the sides as this can cause the problem.

Call Your Doctor If:

  • the ingrown nail becomes infected

Insomnia

Difficulty in getting to sleep, interrupted sleep, or waking up too early.

What to look for

  • inability to fall asleep.

  • waking up throughout the night.

  • waking up too early.

Insomnia is a rather common complaint and can be a short term problem where there is a temporary disturbance of one’s normal sleeping pattern. Short-term insomnia, usually lasts two or three weeks, and can accompany worry or stress and typically disappears when the apparent cause is resolved. It is not harmful but it can become a habit – hard to break.

Chronic insomnia is a more complex disorder in which the cause must be isolated by a doctor. This form of insomnia can have potentially serious effects especially upon the immune system.

Causes

Most commonly, insomnia is caused by stress, worry and depression. However other causes include excessive caffeine consumption, terrible pain, abuse of alcohol or drugs and poor sleeping habits such as napping during the day.

Physical ailments can interfere with your sleep, especially disorders of the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, pancreas, and digestive system. Other important physical causes include heartburn and breathing disorders. Insomnia often accompanies menopause. Abnormal blood sugar levels can cause people suffering from diabetes or hypoglycaemiato wake up during the night.

Sedentary behaviour and keeping an erratic schedule can contribute to insomnia. Over-the-counter drugs and prescription medications can interfere with sleep.

Traditional Treatment

Transient insomnia usually disappears when you return to a regular sleep pattern. Short-term insomnia, which may be caused by the items listed above, may be treated with natural sleep aids or medication.

If your insomnia is more serious, your doctor will need to examine you and try to identify the cause. It may be necessary that you see other experts in this field as well.

There are medications available to enable you to sleep, however, doctors are hesitant to prescribe them in all cases as they can be highly addictive.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Usually people who are unable to sleep need help to relax and take their mind off their problem. Alternative therapies attempt to relax the individual.

Aromatherapy – A relaxant effect may be provided by oils of chamomile (Matricaria recutita), lavender (Lavandula officinalis), nerolirose, and marjoram. Add a few drops to your bathwater or sprinkle a few drops on a handkerchief and inhale. A relaxant effect may be provided by oils of chamomile (Matricaria recutita), lavender (Lavandula officinalis), nerolirose, and marjoram. Add a few drops to your bathwater or sprinkle a few drops on a handkerchief and inhale.

Massage – Can promote relaxation and better sleep. Can promote relaxation and better sleep.

Herbal Therapies – Half an hour before bedtime, drink a calming herbal tea made with chamomile (Matricaria recutita), St.-John’s-wort (Hypericum perforatum), lime blossom, passionflower (Passiflora incarnata), or hops(Humulus lupulus). Half an hour before bedtime, drink a calming herbal tea made with chamomile (Matricaria recutita),St.-John’s-wort (Hypericum perforatum), lime blossom, passionflower (Passiflora incarnata), or hops (Humulus lupulus).

For insomnia from nervous tension, use vervain or skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora). Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is highly effective as well.

Homoeopathy – A homoeopathic practitioner may prescribe Nux vomica for insomnia caused by anxiety or restlessness, Ignatia for grief, or Muriaticum acidum for emotional problems. Other remedies are available, depending on the type of insomnia that is suffered. A homoeopathic practitioner may prescribe Nux vomica for insomnia caused by anxiety or restlessness, Ignatia for grief, or Muriaticum acidum for emotional problems. Other remedies are available, depending on the type of insomnia that is suffered.

Lifestyle – Exercise three or four times a week will help you sleep better and give you more energy. Exercise three or four times a week will help you sleep better and give you more energy.

Meditation and yoga – Can reduce tension and promote better sleep. Can reduce tension and promote better sleep.

Dietary Considerations

Calcium and magnesium taken 45 minutes before bedtime have a tranquillising effect. As well as natural formulas such as valerian.

Avoid coffee, tea, cola drinks and alcohol.

High or low blood sugar can disrupt sleep patterns so avoid sweets and soft drinks before bed.

Warm milk may help in putting the restless person to sleep but do not drink too much as it is reported to be mucus forming.

Personal Care

  • Be sure your bedroom is quiet and dark.

  • Earplugs

  • eye shades may help.

  • relax in a warm bath, listen to soft quiet music just before bed

  • try some Aromatherapy oils put on just before bed such as Marjoram.

  • do not stress if you wake up in the middle of the night, perhaps try to do some light reading to get back to sleep.

  • Ensure you have enough ventilation and you feel comfortable in your room

Remember, a few nights of poor sleep do no long-term harm. Even if you toss and turn trying to get to sleep, you are probably getting more periods of sleep than you think.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you experience disturbed sleep for more than a month without apparent cause.

  • your insomnia is associated with an event

  • your sleep medication is no longer effective.

  • you never seem to get enough sleep

     

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

A condition which causes abdominal pain and disturbs bowel action.

What to look for

  • constipation or diarrhoea shortly after meals, usually accompanied by cramps or bloating and gas.

  • abnormal bowel movements.

Your digestive system seems totally out of control. Either you can’t stay out of the bathroom, or your stomach is tied in knots. Your bowel movements alternate between loose and hard.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most common of all digestive disorders. The symptoms mentioned above usually follow the consumption of foods. Whatever the specific symptoms, your digestion seems normal but your bowel movements become abnormal and stay that way for several weeks or longer.

Causes

As part of the digestive process, the intestines move food through the intestinal tract by contractions called peristalsis. Irritable bowel syndrome occurs when peristalsis becomes irregular and awkward, disrupting the normal digestive process resulting in smaller ill-formed motions and a feeling that you have not quite emptied your bowels. IBS usually strikes without warning, and most sufferers have bowel movements more frequently than normal, although some become constipated.

There is no known cause of IBS. However many authorities consider stress is the culprit and even depression. While others are adamant that food sensitivities and allergies are the cause.

Overeating, or binge eating, is known to aggravate IBS, as is too much fat in the diet.

Lactose intolerance, eating irregularly or too quickly, and smoking may all be factors in IBS. Some sugar substitutes, antibiotics and other drugs may have diarrhoea as their side effect.

Traditional Treatment

Doctors focus mainly on relief of symptoms as the cause of the ailment is still a mystery.

Your diet may by examined first of all and if it is inadequate, your doctor may suggest a more balanced and healthy one for you.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Various herbal and dietary remedies may be effective in preventing or soothing the discomfort of diarrhoea and constipation.

Exercise – try to get routine exercise as this can get your system moving as well as relaxing the body. try to get routine exercise as this can get your system moving as well as relaxing the body.

Herbal Therapies – To calm an overactive gastrointestinal tract, peppermint oil capsules are a favourite of many people. Try peppermint tea. Infusions of chamomile (Matricaria recutita), marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis) root, bayberry (Myrica spp.), or slippery elm (Ulmus fulva) also are soothing to the intestinal tract and can be made the same way.  (See Our Herbal Page) To calm an overactive gastrointestinal tract, peppermint oil capsules are a favourite of many people. Try peppermint tea. Infusions of chamomile (Matricaria recutita), marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis) root, bayberry (Myrica spp.), or slippery elm (Ulmus fulva) also are soothing to the intestinal tract and can be made the same way.  (See Our Herbal Page)

Ginger is another herb reputed to be beneficial for this problem

Try plain yogurt daily to get your digestive tract in order.

Homoeopathy –  Ignatia may be helpful if you are having spasms of pain and diarrhoea after emotional upsets. If you are passing offensive-smelling gas and mucus in the motions, take Mercurius vivus. I f sudden cramp like pains are relieved by bending over, take Colocynthis. If your stools are soft but you have to strain to pass them, try Nux vomica.Ignatia may be helpful if you are having spasms of pain and diarrhoea after emotional upsets. If you are passing offensive-smelling gas and mucus in the motions, take Mercurius vivus. I f sudden cramp like pains are relieved by bending over, take Colocynthis. If your stools are soft but you have to strain to pass them, try Nux vomica.

Lifestyle – A number of techniques have been found helpful for this complaint, including training in muscle relaxation. A number of techniques have been found helpful for this complaint, including training in muscle relaxation.

Of all the relaxation techniques, the most familiar may be hypnotherapy. A practitioner uses the power of suggestion to teach a patient in a hypnotic state how to relax the smooth muscles of the intestines. Guided imagery, often taught by yoga instructors and massage therapists may also teach you new ways to relax yourself.

Dietary Considerations

Certain foods may contribute to IBS by irritating your gastrointestinal tract. Fatty foods are very hard for some people’s digestive systems to handle and consequently can cause this problem Other known irritants to some people’s digestive tracts are eggs and dairy products, spicy foods, and coffee, especially decaffeinated.

Increase the amount of fibre in your diet by eating more fresh fruit and vegetables.

A diet rich in grains such as oats, fresh fruit and vegetables, cooked dried beans. Live yoghurt helps this condition.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you discover blood in your stools

  • you have a fever, or you have been losing weight unexpectedly

  • you have mucus in your stools

     

Jaundice

Jaundice is a yellowing of the skin and eyes – it is not a disease but a symptom of a disorder.

What to look for

  • a yellowish or greenish tinge to the skin.

  • yellowing of the whites of the eyes

  • dark-coloured urine.

  • in some cases, generalised itching.

Jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, is not a disease itself but a symptom of an underlying disorder.

Bilirubin, a substance which is involved in the breakdown of red blood cells, accumulates in the bloodstream and causes the yellow discolouration. In a normal healthy body, bilirubin and bile (a digestive juice) mix and pass safely out of the body through the digestive tract. But if the liver is not functioning properly or the passage of bile is obstructed (perhaps by gallstones), bilirubin backs up into the blood. Jaundice can signify a more serious problem.

Causes

This disorder can happen to newborns in which case it is fairly normal as the liver has to suddenly function on its own and it has a few teething problems. In rare cases, excessive amounts of bilirubin can damage the child’s brain. So even though it is normally harmless in these cases, it must still be checked out by your doctor.

If the jaundice is the result of a disorder, it is usually more serious. The liver malfunctioning (in the case of cirrhosis ) can cause this problem.

Other factors or conditions that can disrupt liver function and lead to jaundice include hepatitis, certain drugs and toxins, pregnancy, and congestive heart failure. In some cases, gallstones can also cause it.

If jaundice shows up in school-age children or adults, the doctor may take a blood sample to check for liver damage.

Traditional Treatment

Usually the best way to treat this disorder is to pinpoint the cause. Your doctor will examine you and give you an indication of what is going wrong with your liver.

If your baby has jaundice as a result of an illness he or she will have to be hospitalised and treated accordingly.

Treatment for illness-related jaundice in older children and adults will depend on the cause.

Alternative/Natural Treatment

The underlying cause must be known before any treatment can occur.

Chinese Herbs – A Chinese practitioner may treat jaundice with various combinations of herbs. These remedies must be prepared only by a trained professional. A Chinese practitioner may treat jaundice with various combinations of herbs. These remedies must be prepared only by a trained professional.

Herbal Therapies – Various herbs, including dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), vervain (Verbena officinalis), and milk thistle (Silybum marianum), are used for this complaint. Various herbs, including dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), vervain (Verbena officinalis), and milk thistle (Silybum marianum), are used for this complaint.

Homoeopathy – A number of homoeopathic remedies are appropriate for treating jaundice; the exact prescription will depend on the underlying cause. Consult a homoeopath for the preparations and dosages that are right for you. A number of homoeopathic remedies are appropriate for treating jaundice; the exact prescription will depend on the underlying cause. Consult a homoeopath for the preparations and dosages that are right for you.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you notice jaundice in your infant

  • you notice jaundice in yourself, in another adult, or in a school-age child