Category Archives: Ailments: S-T

Toxic Shock Syndrome

Toxic Shock Syndrome is a sudden and dangerous condition started by the release of toxins caused by the staphylococci bacteria.

What to look for

  • high fever.

  • low blood pressure

  • vomiting and/or diarrhoea.

  • a rash resembling a sunburn with peeling skin on fingers and toes.

  • dizziness or mental confusion.

It usually affects menstruating women, especially those who use super absorbent tampons. This is a potentially fatal disease if left untreated.

A few women actually died from this disease in the 1970’s because they used super absorbent tampons and left them in too long.

A woman who has recently given birth is also at increased risk for developing toxic shock as well as anyone exposed to Staphylococcus aurous bacteria while recovering from surgery, a burn, or an open wound.

If you have had toxic shock syndrome you are likely to suffer a recurrence sometime in your life. The reason for this is unclear but it is wise to know the symptoms and seek help if they start.

If you are menstruating and have a high fever with vomiting, especially if you have been wearing tampons, you must get medical help right away. Remove your tampon or diaphragm straight away.

Causes

The primary cause of toxic shock syndrome is a toxin produced by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. This bacteria can reside in the vagina under normal circumstances.

Exactly why and how Staphylococcus aureus causes this disease is not completely understood but for the disease to occur two things are necessary. First, the bacteria need an environment in which they can grow rapidly and release toxins and then the toxins must have a way of getting into the bloodstream.

A tampon, it is believed is a perfect medium for the bacteria to grow.

The toxins then only have to enter the bloodstream for the disease to develop.

Traditional Treatment

Toxic shock syndrome requires immediate hospital care – 
Call 000 immediately.

Prevention

When using tampons, make sure that you do not leave them in too long. Change them every few hours. Also stick to the least absorbent ones. If you can tolerate sanitary napkins – use them instead. You should always use sanitary napkins at night.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have the symptoms listed above

     

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection affecting any organ through the lymph nodes and bloodstream.

What to look for

  • a mild cough.

  • fatigue and loss of weight.

  • a bloody cough.

  • fever and night sweats.

  • pain in the chest, back, or kidneys.

Tuberculosis is usually found in the lungs.

The bacteria present will eat away at the tissue of infected organs and this can be fatal. If you receive proper care and treatment the organisms can lay dormant forever.

The disease is contagious but not to the extent that colds and flu are. You have to be in close personal contact with the organisms over a period of time to catch the disease and even then you may not come down with any symptoms. The infection could be dormant. It is still wise to receive medical attention as the disease can become active eventually. treatment.

If you have TB (in its active or dormant state) you must seek conventional medical treatment.

Causes

Tuberculosis is generally caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

You may have no symptoms if you are infected with TB.

Traditional Treatment

Usually antibiotics are the standard drug used in the treatment of tuberculosis.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

If you have TB, you must go to a doctor. Alternative therapies may help alleviate some symptoms of the disease, but they cannot replace medical treatment.

Herbal Therapies – Echinacea or Pau d’arco may be recommended. Echinacea or Pau d’arco may be recommended.

Dietary Considerations

A good balanced diet may help you build strength to avoid this disease.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you exhibit any of the symptoms listed in the description section.

  • you have been exposed to someone with active tuberculosis

     

Scabies

These are tiny mites living on the skin, which feed off dead skin cells.

What to look for

When the female mite start to breed, the symptoms will be as follows:

  • intensely itchy rash located between the fingers or around the wrists, elbows, navel, nipples, lower abdomen, and genitals.
  • scabs that tend to form over scratched areas.

The primary symptom, itchy, red lacerations result when the female mite tunnels into the skin and deposits eggs and faeces. Environments such as nursing homes and childcare centres provide perfect breeding grounds for the mite, which needs a human host to survive.

Causes

Scabies mites are very difficult to get rid of once they infest you. They transfer to other people via close personal contact. You will not usually get these mites from your dog or cat. The symptoms usually appear two weeks after infestation and are your body’s reaction to the mites.

Always see your doctor for an accurate diagnosis, as you may not receive the tell-tale red lines.

Traditional Treatments

Treatment is usually a simple case of applying the lotion which your doctor recommends to you. Anybody you have been in contact with should also be treated at the same time. The whole household will have to be treated. The mites can live on any surface for about 3 days, therefore all areas and surfaces must be vacuumed and cleaned thoroughly. The mites can also live in toys and books etc.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

There are particular herbs that are useful for relieving the itching and redness.

Herbal Therapies  –  Application of tea tree oil diluted in a calendula carrier oil will often rid this ailment.Application oftea tree oil diluted in a calendula carrier oil will often rid this ailment.

Personal Care  –  Rubbing lavender oil into your sores can also help relieve itching. Rubbing lavender oil into your sores can also help relieve itching.

Prevention

The best way to prevent getting scabies is to avoid contact with the mite. If you contract the parasite, take basic steps to avoid reinfection and infecting others:

  • Apply a over-the-counter from the neck down and leave it on for at least eight hours.
  • Wash all linens, towels, and clothes in hot water; store stuffed animals and other hard-to-wash items in bags for at least a week.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you suspect you have scabies.
  • your lesions appear to ooze or show other signs of infection

Scarlet Fever

Scarlet Fever is an infectious bacterial disease.

What to look for

Scarlet fever occurs most frequently in children. Its symptoms include:

  • bright red or scarlet rash, usually beginning on the neck or chest.

  • high fever.

  • sore throat.

  • tongue coated with red spots.

  • infected tonsils

  • vomiting.

Scarlet fever is a childhood disease that was once fatal and now has been controlled by antibiotics.

It usually starts with a very high fever. Next a distinctive scarlet rash appears, first on the neck and chest and then all over the body. The tongue also becomes swollen and turns bright red. After three days the rash and fever usually disappear, but the tongue may remain swollen for several more days.

You must take your child to the doctor if you suspect he or she has this disease.

Causes

Scarlet fever is a contagious infection that is caused by streptococcal bacteria. It is spread by contact with an infected person or inhalation of the bacteria.

Traditional Treatment

Unless treated with antibiotics, scarlet fever can have serious complications. As well as taking antibiotics, your child should get plenty of bed rest and drink lots of fruit juice to flush out his/her system.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

A child with scarlet fever must take an antibiotic to kill the infection. Other remedies may help to reduce symptoms and help him or her recover.

Aromatherapy  –  Lemongrass in a vaporiser or in a carrier oil and applied through a massage can help reduce any fever. Lemongrass in a vaporiser or in a carrier oil and applied through a massage can help reduce any fever.

Herbal Therapies  –  Catnip contains chemicals that are thought to reduce fever. Catnip contains chemicals that are thought to reduce fever.

Echinacea and tea tree oil may help combat the bacteria, ease the rash, and help clear chest congestion.

Homeopathy  –  Use only one of the following, and only when prescribed by a Professional. 
Ailanthus glandulosa – if an irregular shaped, livid red rash is applicable, that disappears when touched.
Apis mellifica if the sufferer has a rosy red skin that is sensitive and sore, breaks into sweat often. 
Belladonna when the skin is bright red and dry. The child may be delirious and have a rapid heart rate. Pupils will be dilated. Use only one of the following, and only when prescribed by a Professional. 
Ailanthus glandulosa – if an irregular shaped, livid red rash is applicable, that disappears when touched.
Apis mellifica if the sufferer has a rosy red skin that is sensitive and sore, breaks into sweat often. 
Belladonna when the skin is bright red and dry. The child may be delirious and have a rapid heart rate. Pupils will be dilated.

Dietary Considerations

Proper nutrition boosts the body’s immune system and helps it fight infection. Citrus juices and other fluids will help flush the bacteria out of the system

Prevention

Stay away and keep your child away from people who have scarlet fever.

When to seek further professional advice

  • your child develops symptoms of scarlet fever

     

Schizophrenia

This is a mental illness characterised by severe irrationality in thought and behaviour.

What to look for

A diagnosis of schizophrenia is considered when a person experiences at least two of the following symptoms:

  • delusions.

  • hallucinations.

  • disorganised speech.

  • irrational behaviour, rigidity, or floppiness of limbs.

  • negative symptoms, such as inaction, silence, loss of will.

These symptoms are usually accompanied by a substantial decrease in the ability to interact with others.

The onset of schizophrenia is usually characterised by the psychotic symptoms listed above or by strange behaviour or the symptoms can be less in severity.

Most report a sense of being different and not connected with others. They are often lonely and anxious and they do not know why they feel this way.

A person with this illness may have their own way of communicating and may not be able to stick with one idea, they may flit from one thought to another rapidly and not make sense to a person who is listening to them. These people can often be suspicious and can hear voices speaking to them.

Causes

There are many theories with regard to the cause of schizophrenia. Most specialists agree that symptoms are provoked by chemical disturbances of brain function. Genetics is another possible cause as well as particular family upbringing.

Traditional Treatment

A combination of medication and psychotherapy is usually required to help the patient resume a normal life and interactions with people.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Because schizophrenia is such a serious and complex disorder, few natural therapies are known to be effective. However, research interest in schizophrenia has grown rapidly in recent years.

Dietary Considerations

There are possibilities that certain supplements are able to help people with this illness. They are B complex, Choline, Zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E, and manganese. (See our Vitamin Section)

When to seek further professional advice

  • you or someone you know experiences the symptoms listed in the description section

Sciatica

This condition occurs as a result of a slipped disc or other reasons

What to look for

  • pain radiating through your buttock, down the back of your thigh and leg, often to your foot. Activity may make it worse.

The disc may bulge because of normal working activity or lifting, housework or washing. The disc presses on a nerve in the spinal column and the sharp pain may be felt down the leg and through the buttocks.

Causes

Pressure on a sciatic nerve may be due to a slipped disc or a number of other reasons such as poor posture, muscle strain, pregnancy, being overweight. The sciatic nerve may also be inflamed due to arthritis.

Traditional Treatment

Your doctor may suggest several types of pain killers to alleviate the pain.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies  –  Teas made from white willow bark or meadowsweet may relieve joint pain; try black cohosh for muscle spasms. Teas made from white willow bark or meadowsweet may relieve joint pain; try black cohosh for muscle spasms.

Other herbs which may relieve sciatica are St John’s wort, Jamaican dogwood, calendula and yarrow.

If your pain is severe, use ointment containing rue. Rub well on the affected areas 3 times per day.

Homoeopathy –   For stiffness that is worse in the morning and at night but improves with heat, try Rhus toxicodendron. For severe shooting pain extending from your lower back to your ankles that worsens with motion, consider Bryonia. Make sure that you get professional advice for proper dosages and courses of treatment. For stiffness that is worse in the morning and at night but improves with heat, try Rhus toxicodendron. For severe shooting pain extending from your lower back to your ankles that worsens with motion, consider Bryonia. Make sure that you get professional advice for proper dosages and courses of treatment.

Dietary Considerations

High doses of calcium and magnesium at bedtime, with vitamin C, may be beneficial. Taking vitamin B6 three times a day for one week only may also help. You will need Professional guidance on taking supplements.

Personal Care

The following remedies might help reduce pain.

  • Apply ice to the affected area

  • Rest as much as you can and try a hard board under your mattress for more support.

  • Lie in a warm bath for 25 minutes with your favourite Aromatherapy oil. Some suggestions are peppermint, marjoram and lavender.

  • During periods of acute pain, don’t pick up anything heavy.

Prevention

  • Sleep on a firm mattress on your back or side; avoid sleeping on your stomach.

  • Make sure your chair has firm back support – do not slouch and make sure your feet are flat on the floor.

When to seek further professional advice

  • the pain is severe and doesn’t respond to over-the-counter analgesics;

  • the pain persists for more than three or four days

     

Scoliosis

Scoliosis is an excessive backwards or sideways curvature of the spine.

What to look for

  • the entire body seems to tilt to one side.

  • the shoulders, hips and legs appear uneven.

  • from the front the ribs appear more prominent.

Scoliosis is a progressive sideways curvature of the spine. People with scoliosis have an S bend curve to their spine.

This is not usually a painful condition but it can cause problems later on if not treated such as – arthritis, disk and other back problems. In severe cases the heart and lungs are affected.

Causes

it is not known exactly what causes this condition but genetics may play a part according to researchers. Children who have suffered from diseases of the muscles, bones, or nervous system, such as polio or cerebral palsy, may also develop scoliosis.

Traditional Treatment

The standard treatments for scoliosis are exercise, orthopaedic bracing, and in severe cases, surgery. It is important for treatment to begin early.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Only conventional medical treatment seems to help these patients at this stage. It is vital that your child wear the brace as instructed in order for the treatment to be successful. It may be hard for them, and they will need your support and the support of other family members and friends. Help your child adhere to exercise programs written by your physical therapist or doctor in order to keep their muscles toned and supple.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you see any of the symptoms listed in the description section

     

Sexual Dysfunction

This is the inability of either or both partners to fully enjoy sexual intercourse.

What to look for

For men, you may have a sexual problem if you:

  • ejaculate prematurely

  • do not ejaculate.

  • are unable to have sustain an erection; see Impotence.

  • feel pain during intercourse.

  • lack sexual desire consistently

For women, you may have a sexual problem if you:

  • lack sexual desire consistently.

  • have difficulty achieving orgasm.

  • feel anxiety or pain during intercourse.

  • feel vaginal or other muscles contract involuntarily before or during sex.

  • have inadequate lubrication.

It can be traumatic for couples who are unable to fully enjoy sexual intercourse. The affects this can have upon the relationship itself can be distressing as well as the implications it may have for the conception of children.

This type of problem is common. And while it is not often fatal, it can drain both partners emotionally and cause stress and anxiety. It is wise to seek professional help for this problem.

Men are often anxious and feel under pressure to perform and to ‘give’ their partner an orgasm. If this does not happen, he may feel inadequate.

Another common sexual problem for men is premature ejaculation, in which orgasm occurs before or immediately after the penis enters the vagina.

Although quite rare, it is possible for men to consistently ejaculate too late.

The inability to experience pleasure from sex is a common problem for a woman. This should be talked over with a therapist and your partner.

Another similar problem is when woman can become aroused but does not achieve an orgasm. But the common fact is that women often find it difficult to orgasm particularly without stimulation of the clitoris.

Occasionally a woman will experience pain during intercourse. This may be a physical problem, an infection, or psychological.

Causes

There are many things which can affect sexual performance and functioning. Physical illnesses, drugs, alcohol are common culprits. Other more deep-rooted causes include a poor self-image, past traumatic events, guilt, depression,fatigue, certain religious beliefs, or being in a dysfunctional relationship or even problems within the relationship.

The causes of premature ejaculation are usually psychological. And this area needs to be explored to uncover the underlying fears.

Painful intercourse for men is usually physical – an infection, or an allergic reaction to something.

Problems with female arousal and orgasm may have either physical or psychological causes. Among the most common are day-to-day friction towards one’s partner and inadequate stimulation.

Pain during intercourse can occur for any number of reasons and should be investigated by your doctor to rule out any possible illness or disease.

Traditional Treatment

Communication is vital when there is a sexual dysfunction in the relationship. Both are involved and both need to know exactly what is happening with the other partner.

A procedure for halting premature ejaculation has been very successful with a considerable number of couples. When you are about to ejaculate, withdraw from your partner’s vagina or ask her to stop stimulating you and gently squeeze the head of your penis to curb the orgasm. Keep going after about half a minute.

You may also wish to speak with a therapist about this problem to rule out any psychological reasons for ejaculating early.

When a man lacks sexual desire, the cause may be physical illness, fatigue, hormonal abnormality, or medications. There may also be psychological causes which a therapist may help identify.

A therapist can help women who do not feel any sexual desire. This involves both partners. It is vital to speak with a qualified and experienced therapist who you feel rapport with.

For painful intercourse in postmenopausal women, reduced lubrication can easily be corrected with over-the-counter creams.

For pain during intercourse in pre-menopausal women, first make sure there is adequate stimulation and lubrication. Also consult your doctor is pain persists after this.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Some problems with sexual function are normal. Others are not and do require assistance from either a doctor or a sex therapist or counsellor.

Aromatherapy  –  For relaxation, soak in a warm bath; add 5 drops of essential oil of lavender or sweet orange, lime and ylang ylang. (See our section on Aromatherapy).For relaxation, soak in a warm bath; add 5 drops of essential oil of lavender or sweet orange, lime and ylang ylang. (See our section on Aromatherapy).

Yoga and meditation provide relaxation and can relieve anxiety. Massage is extremely helpful and sensual.

Herbal  –  A lack of iodine in the system can cause a lack of desire for sex as well as impotence – this is available in kelp. Carotene (the natural derivative of vitamin A) is also an important substance for sexual desire. A lack of iodine in the system can cause a lack of desire for sex as well as impotence – this is available in kelp. Carotene (the natural derivative of vitamin A) is also an important substance for sexual desire.

Chinese Herbs  –  The Chinese have used Ginseng for thousands of years as a general tonic for anything related to sexual functioning. It is available in tablet, fluid or extract form. It is also available in teas but it is of doubt how much genuine ginseng would be in the tea. You should be very careful how much of this herb is taken.The Chinese have used Ginseng for thousands of years as a general tonic for anything related to sexual functioning. It is available in tablet, fluid or extract form. It is also available in teas but it is of doubt how much genuine ginseng would be in the tea. You should be very careful how much of this herb is taken.

When to seek further professional advice

You or your partner has:

  • concerns about your sexual life.

  • pain during intercourse.

  • been exposed to sexually transmitted diseases.

  • been sexually abused.

  • a prolonged erection unaccompanied by sexual desire

     

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

These are a wide range of different disease which are all acquired as a result of having sexual intercourse with a person who has already contracted the infection.

What to look for

 

 

  • a white, yellow, green, grey, or blood-streaked discharge that may have a strong smell.

  • genital and/or anal itching.

  • a rash, blisters, sores, lumps, bumps, warts on or around the genitals.

  • burning during urination.

  • swollen lymph glands in the groin.

  • pain in the groin or lower abdomen.

  • vaginal bleeding.

  • testicular swelling.

  • flu like symptoms.

  • painful intercourse.

See also AIDSChlamydiaGenital HerpesGenital WartsGonorrhoeaSyphilis, Trichomoniasis.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are common and contagious diseases.

As the name of this group of diseases implies, these infections can be contracted by means of vaginal, anal, or oral sex. You are at high risk if:

  • you have more than one sex partner.

  • you don’t use protection while having sex.

  • you share needles if injecting drugs.

Most sexually transmitted diseases can be cured or controlled if they are treated early. But you may not realise you have an STD until it has damaged your reproductive system, vision, heart, or other organs. Also, having an STD weakens the immune system and leaves you more vulnerable to other infections.

CAUSES

Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, and syphilis are caused by bacteria, while AIDS, genital herpes, genital warts, and hepatitis B are caused by a virus. The pathogens that cause STDs are found in bodily secretions such as semen, blood, vaginal fluids, and sometimes saliva. Most of the organisms are spread by either sexual or personal contact.

If you are in a risky group always have regular tests.

Traditional Treatment

Never attempt to treat an STD yourself. These diseases are contagious and dangerous. You must see a doctor.

Bacterial STDs can be cured with antibiotics if treatment begins early enough. Viral STDs cannot be cured, but you can manage symptoms with medications. There is a vaccine to prevent hepatitis B, but it will not help if you have already contracted the disease.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

See entries for specific sexually transmitted diseases for information on alternative therapies. But remember always seek conventional medical help first.

Personal Care

  • Douche with vinegar, yogurt, or lemon juice solutions to relieve vaginal distress.

  • Take zinc and vitamins AC, and E to boost your immune system.

  • Practice relaxation techniques to ease stress.

  • Take warm baths and analgesics.

  • Ask your doctor or Pharmacist about other over-the-counter remedies.

PREVENTION

Always avoid sex with anyone who has genital sores, a rash, a discharge, or other disease symptoms. If you are in a high-risk group you should:

  • Use condoms and water-based lubricants. Remember that condoms are not 100 percent effective at preventing disease.

  • Wash before and after intercourse.

  • Get a vaccination for hepatitis B.

  • Avoid sharing towels or items of clothing.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have any of the symptoms listed in the description section

     

Shin Splints

What to look for

Shin splints are characterised by pain occasionally swelling anywhere in the lower leg.

Usually any pain in the lower leg is referred to as shin splints. It is to do with the muscles that enable the foot to move. Injuries that result in damage to the fibres of these muscles bring on shin splints.

Causes

Any sudden or repetitive stress to the lower leg can bring on the complaint. Any person who is active and uses their legs a great deal are susceptible – athletes, dancers, aerobic enthusiasts, bike riders etc.

Joggers who persist in running on hard surfaces such as bitumen or concrete will no doubt suffer from this problem. Poorly cushioned shoes and poor posture can contribute as well.

Traditional Treatment

Most treatments focus on rest, followed by a program of exercises to stop it from happening again. Get treatment straight away to avoid complications.

Crutches are occasionally used to keep weight off the injured leg, and pain killers to reduce inflammation and pain.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Here are some of the alternative treatments that complement the conventional therapies described.

Chinese Herbs –  A Chinese herbal practitioner might apply a poultice of gardenia, flour, and wine to reduce swelling and to promote healing.    Also perhaps helpful is a massage technique in which the ball of the thumb is used to alternately press hard and rub lightly on the sore area. A Chinese herbal practitioner might apply a poultice of gardenia, flour, and wine to reduce swelling and to promote healing.    Also perhaps helpful is a massage technique in which the ball of the thumb is used to alternately press hard and rub lightly on the sore area