Category Archives: Ailments: S-T

Teething Problems

This is the time when teeth break through the surface of the gums in an infant.

What to look for

  • crying more than usual.

  • dribbling increases

  • chewing on fingers and rubbing the mouth.

  • swollen and red gums.

  • loose bowel movements – but should not be diarrhoea

  • pulling on ears

  • refusal to suck on breast or bottle.

  • there will be NO fever

Starting at about 4 or 5 months onwards you may notice the start of some of the symptoms above. By approximately 7 or 8 months of age, your child will usually be teething tirelessly.

Causes

The new teeth grow upwards towards the surface of the gums and break through the skin causing pain.

Traditional Treatment

There are certain things which can be done to relieve the discomfort of this stage in life.

This is a normal stage in the growing up of your child and you do not need to see a doctor unless the child shows signs of illness or extreme continual distress.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies  –  You may be recommended marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis) root syrup for inflamed gums; use 3 tsp in your child’s food or drink daily. You may be recommended marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis) root syrup for inflamed gums; use 3 tsp in your child’s food or drink daily.

Homoeopathy  –  Homoeopathic teething remedies are available over the counter. Chamomilla (camomile) is the most commonly used homoeopathic remedy for teething children. Homoeopathic teething remedies are available over the counter. Chamomilla (camomile) is the most commonly used homoeopathic remedy for teething children.

Lifestyle  –  When your child begins teething, start cleaning her teeth with a soft toothbrush. This will get her used to good oral hygiene from an early age. Give your baby a toothbrush as a toy when the teeth first come through.When your child begins teething, start cleaning her teeth with a soft toothbrush. This will get her used to good oral hygiene from an early age. Give your baby a toothbrush as a toy when the teeth first come through.

Do not give sweet drinks when your child is thirsty, try water or soy drinks instead.

Personal Care

  • Teething rings or a chilled wet washcloth can ease soreness.

  • Rashes can easily start to occur from drooling, use vasoline or petroleum jelly around your baby’s mouth and chin.

  • Avoid feeding your child salty or acidic foods, which can aggravate sensitive gums.

  • Rub ice or lemon juice on gums.

When to seek further professional advice

  • There are other symptoms as well, such as diarrhoea, fever or chills.

  • no teeth are present by 12 months of age

     

Tendonitis

What to look for

  • painful tenderness and/or stiffness at a joint.

  • in some cases, numbness or tingling.

  • occasionally, mild swelling at the joint.

Tendonitis is an inflammation in or around tendons, bands of strong fibrous tissue that holds muscle to bone.

Tendons are strong and can usually take whatever we do to them but occasionally they can become swollen because of overexertion, disease, or injuries. The fibres can become damaged and torn and consequently the pain we feel can be enormous. The more we use a damaged tendon after it has been damaged, the worse the pain will become and the longer it will take to heal. Usually tendonitis will take about 2 weeks to resume normal functioning.

Causes

Tendons can become swollen if they are overworked for any reason. Sudden exercise when you are not used to it, lifting heavy weights, sports injuries and repetitive stress can all contribute to tendonitis.

Traditional Treatment

Your doctor will probably recommend you rest your sore tendon to allow it to heal. You can apply cold compresses immediately after the problem occurred. You may also need to take a pain killer.

There may be appropriate exercises to perform to strengthen the areas around the tendon and the tendon itself. Ask a trained physical therapist for advice.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Aromatherapy  –  Chamomile essential oil applied on the affected area may soothe and reduce the inflammation.Chamomile essential oil applied on the affected area may soothe and reduce the inflammation.

Herbal Therapies  –  For pain, you may be prescribed   white willow (Salix alba) taken orally. Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapples, is sometimes taken orally with the aim of reducing inflammation in soft tissues. For pain, you may be prescribed   white willow (Salix alba) taken orally. Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapples, is sometimes taken orally with the aim of reducing inflammation in soft tissues.

Homoeopathy  –  Among the over-the-counter homoeopathic remedies suitable for tendonitis symptoms are Arnicaas an anti-inflammatory and Ruta as an antispasmodic. Among the over-the-counter homoeopathic remedies suitable for tendonitis symptoms are Arnica as an anti-inflammatory and Ruta as an antispasmodic.

Dietary Considerations

Research suggests that certain vitamin supplements may help heal tendonitis. Ask your doctor about taking daily supplements of vitamin Cbeta carotene,  zincvitamin E, silicon and selenium .

Personal Care

Rest, Rest, Rest… You need to keep your weight off the affected area to help it heal.

Prevention

Always warm up before exercising or lifting heavy items.

When to seek further professional advice

  • your pain doesn’t ease up in 7 to 10 days or is very severe and swelling

     

Testicular Cancer

What to look for…

The earliest warning signs of testicular cancer usually include:

  • a change in their size or shape.

  • swelling or thickening of the testicles.

  • a firm, smooth, painless, slow-growing lump in a testicle.

  • a feeling of testicular heaviness.

Other symptoms of testicular cancer may include:

  • urinary problems.

  • an abdominal mass or abdominal pain.

  • persistent coughing, possibly with blood-tinged sputum.

  • shortness of breath.

  • loss of weight or appetite

  • fatigue

  • lower-back pain

  • tenderness in the nipples or breast enlargement.

  • very rarely, infertility.

The two testicles, or testes, are glands on a man that produce his hormones and sperm. They hang behind a man’s penis in the scrotum. Although Testicular cancer is rare, it is the most common type of cancer in men between the ages of 15 and 35.

Almost all testicular cancers begin in the testicles themselves rather than spread there from another organ. Testicular cancer can spread slowly or rapidly but can easily spread throughout the body to the lungs, the liver, bones, and possibly the brain.

Fortunately, most cases of this type of cancer are treatable, highly curable and are not fatal.

Causes

It is not known exactly what causes testicular cancer. Some men who develop this type of cancer have been born with an undescended testicle. Some researchers believe this type of cancer is hereditary. It is said that men with fertility problems are more likely to develop benign testicular tumours. There are other possible risk factors…

  • a sedentary lifestyle

  • early puberty

  • previous mumps

  • testicular injury

  • overexposure to pesticides or radiation

It is a very good idea to go through the process of self-examination at least once per month. If you do not know what to look for, go to your doctor to have him explain to you how to examine yourself. If you do have testicular cancer, the affected testicle will be removed and analysed to see what type of cancer it is. There will also be examinations to see if the other testicle is affected.

Traditional Treatments

Because it is required for diagnosis, surgical removal of a testicle is unavoidable. If cancer is found, a second operation is performed, and these two operations are often enough to cure limited testicular cancer. Very severe cases are treated with chemotherapy as well. Nearly all testicular cancer patients are cured, but they are urged to have frequent follow-up examinations.

(See Cancer for more information on treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.)

Complementary Therapies

Although conventional medicine is highly successful at curing testicular cancer, simply learning that you have cancer can be emotionally traumatic and stressful. Many patients find counselling helpful.

Prevention

Regular exercise is said to help prevent testicular cancer. Other research suggests that correcting an undescended testicle surgically before a boy turns 10 reduces the cancer risk.

Most important, however, is regular testicle self-examination.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you detect any sort of unusual lump or swelling in the scrotum

     

Tetanus

This is a condition caused by bacteria usually found in the soil.

What to look for

If you have a cut or wound and any of these things occur – call your doctor

  • stiffness of the neck, jaw – lock jaw, and other muscles

  • uncontrollable spasms of the jaw and neck muscles.

  • painful, involuntary contraction of other muscles.

This bacteria can also live in animal manure, house dust and the human intestines. If you incur any injury tetanus spores can be implanted into the skin. Regardless of how small or insignificant the accident or injury is, tetanus spores can still enter the broken skin.

The bacteria survive in areas with no oxygen. The bacteria make a toxin which is dangerous. From the wound where the bacteria entered, the toxin travels via the blood to the spinal cord and the brain. If the toxin reaches the nervous system, it cannot be controlled by any treatments.

Some people may experience only pain and tingling at the wound site and some spasms in nearby muscles. Most people however, suffer stiff jaw and neck muscles, irritability, and difficulty swallowing.

Causes

Bacteria enter the body via wounds, create a deadly toxin which travels to the spinal column and the brain.

Traditional Treatment

If you suspect you may have tetanus – go immediately to a hospital.

Prevention

The best method of avoiding this disease is by being adequately immunised. Also if you are wounded, clean the wound but if you are worried about contracting tetanus, only us light dressing as the bacteria will die upon exposure to the oxygen in the air.

You do not automatically get tetanus just because you stood on a rusty nail for example. It depends on how deep the wound it and whether you have been immunised recently for the disease, also on how clean the wound is.

Always dress wounds properly – this means all cuts, abrasions and punctures. If the object which contributed to your wound came from the ground – dress the wound as best you can and see a doctor immediately. He or she will advise you further and possibly give you an updated tetanus shot if you haven’t already been immunised in the last 5 years.

Make sure you have your whole family immunised against tetanus and keep records.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have a wound or have been bitten by a cat or dog and have not been properly immunised against tetanus

     

Throat Cancer

What to look for…

As with most cancers, in the beginning, throat cancer does not cause any symptoms. The early warning signs are similar to the symptoms of a chest cold.

Symptoms caused by a tumour in the upper or lower throat may include:

  • nagging cough.

  • hoarseness.

  • persistent sore throat.

  • difficulty swallowing.

  • traces of blood in mucus.

  • pain in ears.

  • swollen lymph nodes.

Additional symptoms resulting from a tumour directly behind the nose may include:

  • partial hearing loss.

  • nasal obstruction

  • nosebleeds.

  • ringing in the ears.

  • middle ear infection type symptoms.

The throat is the hollow tube that allows food and liquids to pass from the mouth to the stomach. It also lets air travel to and from the lungs. The throat is divided into three distinct sections: the area behind the nose; behind the mouth (including the tonsils) and the lower throat.

Cancers of the throat most often develop in the cells of the mucous membrane lining the throat. Eventually if left untreated, the abnormal cells penetrate through to the surrounding tissues. It is relatively easy for the cancer to spread from here to the lymph nodes in the neck, then on to the other organs.

A growing tumour may interfere the senses and swallowing. Unfortunately, cancers of the nose area and lower throat often spread early, before symptoms are apparent. Cancers behind the mouth will usually not spread to much at first.

Causes

There are some risk factors associated with throat cancer. These are smoking and heavy drinking of alcohol. These cause most cancers in and around the mouth region. Another cause of cancer is the prevalence of a virus – a type of herpes virus.

Also subjecting yourself to coal or other mineral dust, asbestos, and diesel fumes may further increase the chances of sustaining throat cancer. Poor oral hygiene and regular consumption of salted meats may also contribute.

Traditional Treatments

Provided the throat cancer is detected early enough, treatment usually will work to remove the cancer. This is provided that the cancer has not spread beyond lymph nodes by this time. There are a number of risks associated with this type of cancer, it being the area that allows the patient to speak, eat and perform other necessary purposes.

The exact type of treatment usually depends on the severity of the cancer and its location. Radiation treatment is usually performed and usually cures most cancers in this area.

If the cancer does not respond adequately or is too far advanced, surgery is necessary together with chemotherapy.

Personal Care

If radiation treatment causes discomfort try the following –

  • Ask your radiation specialist about medications and advice on how to ease side effects.

  • Eat soft or liquid foods and drinks throughout the day.

Alternative Choices

You may wish to speak with your naturopath about taking anti-oxidants which have been successful in helping to fight cancerous cells.

Prevention

  • Stop smoking .

  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you notice any of the symptoms listed above.

  • you are a heavy smoker and or drinker – have a thorough examination from your doctor to rule out any possible problems.

     

Thyroid Problems

The thyroid gland is situated in the neck and can be seen or felt as the Adam’s apple

What to look for

Hyperthyroidism:

  • weight loss despite increased appetite.

  • increased heart rate, higher blood pressure, and increased nervousness, with excessive perspiration.

  • more frequent bowel movements, sometimes with diarrhoea.

  • muscle weakness, trembling hands.

  • development of a goitre.

Hypothyroidism:

  • lethargy, slower mental processes.

  • reduced heart rate.

  • increased sensitivity to cold.

  • tingling or numbness in the hands.

  • development of a goitre.

Subacute thyroiditis:

  • mild to severe pain in the thyroid gland.

  • the thyroid feels tender to the touch.

  • pain when swallowing or turning your head.

  • appearance of these symptoms shortly after a viral infection, such as the flumumps, or measles.

If there are problems with the thyroid gland, (and it is very common), rest assured that usually it is easily cured. Most problems are mild however it is always wise to have any symptoms thoroughly checked out to rule out any other more serious illness. The thyroid produces hormones and because of this, it impacts upon all the metabolic processes within your body. The conditions most common are hyperthyroidism – too much hormone production. And hypothyroidism – insufficient hormone production.

Although the effects can be unpleasant or uncomfortable, most thyroid problems are not serious if properly diagnosed and treated.

Causes

Hyperthyroidism is the result of an overproduction of thyroid hormones. This condition can be brought on by Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder (see Immune Problems) or the development of toxic adenomas in the thyroid gland which all aid in the production of either too many or an imbalance of hormones.

Hypothyroidism results from an underproduction of thyroid hormones. Hypothyroidism can result when the thyroid gland has been surgically removed or destroyed by chemicals or if you are exposed to excessive amounts of iodide. It is vital that this condition be treated.

Although cancer of the thyroid gland is quite rare.

A doctor can diagnose hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism by looking at the levels of certain hormones in your blood.

Another ways of determining whether you have thyroid problems is to monitor your temperature. To track your basal temperature accurately, you must closely follow certain guidelines: Shake the thermometer below 35°C at night and place it near you so you do not have to move much to get it in the morning.

The next morning, before you get out of bed, take your temperature via your armpit for 10 minutes while staying as still as possible. Keep records of your temperature for at least 7 days. (Women should do this during the first two weeks of the menstrual cycle, as their basal temperature may rise during the latter half).

Normal body basal temperatures fall between 37.4° C and 37.8° C. If your basal temperature is consistently low, you could be mildly hypothyroid.

Your doctor may also check for thyroid cancer.

Traditional Treatment

For thyroid disorders stemming from the over or under production of thyroid hormones, the treatment is relatively simple and lasting.

Treating hyperthyroidism requires suppressing the manufacture of thyroid hormone, while hypothyroidism demands hormone replacement.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

These treatments may assist in strengthening your thyroid.

Chinese Herbs  – Several herbal mixtures may help relieve symptoms in cases of hyperthyroidism: Several herbal mixtures may help relieve symptoms in cases of hyperthyroidism:

  • baked licorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis) combination,

  • bupleurum (Bupleurum chinense) and dragon bone combination,

  • or bupleurum and peony combination.

You will need professional guidance.

Herbal Therapies – For relief from the symptoms of hyperthyroidism, try a combination of  bugleweed (Lycopus spp.), motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca), skullcap (Scutellaria spp.), and  hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) Once again you will need professional guidance. For relief from the symptoms of hyperthyroidism, try a combination of  bugleweed (Lycopus spp.), motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca), skullcap (Scutellaria spp.), and  hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) Once again you will need professional guidance.

For insomnia because of hyperthyroidism, you could try a combination of valerian (Valeriana officinalis) andpassionflower (Passiflora incarnata) in a tincture and take just before bedtime.

Lifestyle

Aerobic exercise for 15 to 20 minutes a day is excellent for maintaining good thyroid function.

Dietary Considerations

For hypothyroidism, avoid cabbage, peaches, soybeans, spinach, peanuts, and radishes, as these foods can interfere with the manufacture of thyroid hormones. Supplements of vitamin Cvitamin Eriboflavin (vitamin B2)zinc,niacin (vitamin B3)pyridoxine (vitamin B6), and tyrosine might help boost thyroid production.

However, if you have hyperthyroidism, eating the foods listed above might help lower your body’s production of thyroid hormone.

Yoga  –  This form of exercise may help keep the thyroid in top conditionThis form of exercise may help keep the thyroid in top condition

When to seek further professional advice

  • you experience any of the symptoms above

     

Tics and Twitches

These are involuntary contractions of a muscle or muscles.

What to look for

  • a brief, flicking sensation confined to a small part of the body, such as the eyelid; usually indicative of a harmless involuntary muscle contraction.

  • a repetitive, uncontrollable, purposeless contraction of an individual muscle or group of muscles, usually in the face, arms, or shoulders.

  • more severe trembling.

Tics and twitches are involuntary contractions of a muscle or group of muscles. They come in many forms and have a variety of causes, some mild and some serious.

Causes

Movements such as mouth twitching, and excessive blinking may be signs of a minor psychological disturbance. They are usually childhood afflictions and the child will normally grow out of it.

Tics or twitches are sometimes caused by neurological disorders. This condition may result from brain damage at birth, head trauma, or use of certain medications.

If you drink too much coffee, or are withdrawing from alcohol abuse, you may also experience trembling or shaking of your body or limbs.

Traditional Treatment

Tension-related tics or twitches usually disappear on their own, especially if you take steps to reduce stress. If the twitching is the result of taking certain medications, speak with your doctor who may be able to switch you onto something else.

If tics are severe and persistent and there is no clear physical cause, your doctor may prescribe other medication to control it for you.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies  –  Taking hops may relieve symptoms of facial tics and twitches. Taking hops may relieve symptoms of facial tics and twitches.

Dietary Considerations

Avoid excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption. Try to eat well and exercise regularly.

Personal Care

Avoid fatigue, stress, and caffeine. Replace coffee and tea with herb teas, coffees made from roasted cereal grains and dandelion roots, and carob.

When to seek further professional advice

  • your tic or twitch is persistent or recurs often

     

Tinnitus

Tinnitus a sensation of ringing in the ears or the head.

What to look for

  • a noise in the ears, such as ringing. It may come and go or be continuous.

  • hearing loss occasionally.

With tinnitus, the noise heard can be so soft that the person can hear it only when trying to sleep or so loud that it is audible at all times.

Tinnitus is very common and can be quite annoying for people afflicted with it. Sometimes the noise is so disturbing that the person cannot sleep or carry on a normal conversation.

Sometimes infections or blockages in the ear can cause this condition and it is a simple matter of treating the cause. However there may be instances when the ringing does not cease once the infection or blockage is removed.

Causes

There are many things which can cause tinnitus, such as…

  • Too much wax in the ear

  • Infections

  • A hole in the eardrum

  • A tumour or growth

  • Too much exposure to loud noise – this is the most common cause. (You only have to be exposed to a loud concert to experience tinnitus instantly. The noise can last for days afterwards. )

  • Certain medications can cause tinnitus.

  • High blood pressure

  • Allergies

  • Anaemia

  • Underactive thyroid.

Traditional Treatment

Speak with your doctor to have the condition examined. There may be an illness that is causing it which needs to be treated.

If the tinnitus is still there after all other ailments have been treated, there are a few more things you can do to help the condition…

  • Get your doctor to clean out your ears – there may be excess wax inside them.

  • There are certain medications available which may help.

  • Hearing aid type devices which mask the annoying sound of tinnitus.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies  –  Ginkgo has been found useful in minimising the distress of tinnitus. Don’t expect immediate results from ginkgo; you may need to take the remedy for several weeks before experiencing any relief. Ginkgo has been found useful in minimising the distress of tinnitus. Don’t expect immediate results from ginkgo; you may need to take the remedy for several weeks before experiencing any relief.

Homoeopathy –  Several homoeopathic remedies are prescribed for tinnitus. You may be prescribed one of the following: Several homoeopathic remedies are prescribed for tinnitus. You may be prescribed one of the following:

  • If the noise is a buzzing or hissing sound, Chininum sulphuricum.

  • If the noise is a ringing sound with no other symptoms, Kali iodatum.

  • If the noise is a roaring sound and is accompanied by some hearing loss, Salicylicum acidum.

  • If roaring sounds are accompanied by a tingling sensation and by the feeling that the ears are blocked, Carboneum sulphuratum.

Lifestyle

Regular exercise that increases blood circulation to the head may help bring some relief from tinnitus.

Hypnosis has been known to work for some tinnitus sufferers.

Dietary Considerations

To improve blood circulation to your ears, reduce the saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet. And keep eating a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables.

Vitamin B12 and vitamin A supplements may be at least partially effective against tinnitus.

Personal Care

  • Avoid loud noises

  • Avoid alcohol, smoking, and caffeine.

  • Lessen the salt in your diet.

  • If you have trouble sleeping buy a white noise tape or CD which will cover up the unwanted noise in your ears.

  • Avoid too much aspirin.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have tinnitus;

  • the noise is accompanied by pain, dizziness or pus in the ear

     

Tonsillitis

Infection of the tonsils caused by bacteria or a virus.

What to look for

  • fever.

  • a very sore throat with red, swollen tonsils with white discharge or spots on the tonsils.

  • swollen and tender lymph nodes in the neck under the jaw.

  • headache.

  • severe pain at the roof of the mouth, and difficulty swallowing.

  • muffled speech

The tonsils are part of the lymphatic system. They are present at birth and grow during the early years of life and regress later on at puberty.

When they become infected, the resulting condition is called tonsillitis.

Tonsillitis most commonly affects young children as the tonsils are apparently at their most potent and strong, taking in any foreign material that threatens the body. But as the child grows, the tonsils shrink, and infections become less common.

Causes

Tonsillitis is caused by the streptococcus bacterium. Cold or flu viruses sometimes also cause tonsillitis.

Traditional Treatment

You can check your child’s tonsils by asking the child to open their mouth and looking at them at the back of the throat. If they are red and swollen, go and see your doctor.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Some alternative therapies are effective in relieving the symptoms of tonsillitis.

Herbal Therapies  – To reduce inflammation, medical herbalists suggest drinking a tea made from cleavers: A gargle made from sage is thought to help fight infection: To reduce inflammation, medical herbalists suggest drinking a tea made from cleavers: A gargle made from sage is thought to help fight infection:

Homoeopathy  –  BelladonnaHepar sulphuris, or Mercurius vivus; for chronic enlarged tonsils, Baryta carbonica orCalcarea carbonica. BelladonnaHepar sulphuris, or Mercurius vivus; for chronic enlarged tonsils, Baryta carbonica orCalcarea carbonica.

Personal Care


  • A saltwater gargle can relieve soreness.

  • Ice cream or frozen yoghurt

Prevention

Your child’s tonsils may have to be removed if the tonsillitis is a recurring problem otherwise the condition will usually improve with time and treatments.

When to seek further professional advice

  • your child has symptoms of tonsillitis

     

Toothache

What to look for

  • soreness in teeth, gums, or jaw.

Tooth decay cannot be cured but it can be controlled by looking after your teeth properly and regularly visiting your dentist.

Other causes of dental pain include impacted teeth and gum disease.

CAUSES

The most common cause of toothache is decay. Decay is dental plaque which corrodes the protective enamel on your teeth. Plaque is made up of the bacteria, acids, and sugars in your mouth. Eventually every time that you eat something, you will feel pain.

If decay goes untreated, an abscess can develop and eventually blood poisoning.

Sometimes when the wisdom teeth grow they become impacted and cause pain. This is common in people in their late teens or early twenties. You may need to get your wisdom teeth taken out if they cause too much pain and discomfort.

Toothaches may also be caused by sinus congestion.

Traditional Treatment

You will need to go to the dentist for treatment for decay. Usually the dentist will remove the part of the tooth which is decayed and fill it with a hard material. However, in the event that there is too much decay to work on, you may need either a root canal or extraction.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Always see a dentist for pain in your teeth, however, rubbing clove oil or myrrh around the tooth will help to numb the pain.

Personal Care

Try the following remedies to relieve your pain:

  • Rinse or floss gently to remove anything in between your teeth.

  • Numb your gums: Sucking on ice or by using the herbs described above.

Prevention

  • Brush and floss after meals.

  • Cut down on sweets and carbohydrates.

  • Get your teeth cleaned and examined professionally every six months

When to seek further professional advice

  • your gums are painful, red, and swollen.

  • your tooth throbs