Category Archives: Women’s Health

Iron

Recommended Dietary Intakes 
Men – 7 mg 
Pre-menopausal women – 12 -16 mg. 
Post-menopausal women – 5 – 7 mg.
Pregnant women – add 10 – 20 mg.

 

This Mineral Is Essential For.

  • transportation and storage of oxygen in the blood and muscles.

  • energy production.

  • immune functioning.

  • growth.

  • produces haemoglobin and myoglobin.

Sources

Red meat, chicken, seafood, eggs and other animal products, dark-green vegetables, avocados, whole grains, nuts, dried fruit, enriched breads and cereals and other plant foods.

Comments

Coffee, tea, soy-based foods, antacids, ulcers and tetracycline inhibit iron absorption. You need to have enough hydrochloric acid in the stomach for iron to be absorbed properly. Other substances required for proper absorption of iron include – vitamin Acopper,manganesemolybdenum, and the B vitamins.

Women need more iron before menopause than after, because menstruation causes iron loss each month. People who have special iron intake needs include menstruating or pregnant women, children under two years of age, vegetarians, anyone with bleeding conditions such as haemorrhoids or bleeding stomach ulcers, and anyone taking the medications listed above.

Deficiency Can Cause…

 

 

  • anaemia

  • fatigue, paleness, dizziness.

  • sensitivity to cold.

  • listlessness

  • irritability and nervousness.

  • poor concentration.

  • heart palpitations.

  • susceptibility to infection.

  • brittle hair or hair loss.

  • digestive problems.

  • ridges running lengthwise on nails.

  • obesity.

Multivitamins will give you extra iron. It is not advisable to take straight iron tablets unless specifically recommended.

Too much iron can also cause problems, such as – inhibited absorption of phosphorus, interference with immune function, and may increase your risk of developing cancer,cirrhosis, or heart attack. Symptoms of iron toxicity include diarrhoea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, fatigue, stomach cramps, and weak pulse

 

Looking After Your Breasts

It is important to always look after your breast as they have to last you a lifetime and endure your monthly cycle as well as childbirth, breastfeeding and age.

A bra which fits well is imperative. It must support the breasts and not be either too large or too small.  A loose bra will not support you adequately and a bra which is too small will rub against your skin and cause friction.

Always wear a well supporting bra when you are exercising or playing sports. You are able to buy special sports bras for this purpose.

To check your proper bust measurements –

Measure the fullest part of your bust, then measure the area above the bust. The difference between these measurements gives the cup size. They are as follows:-

  • A – between 1 – 4 cm difference
  • B – between 4 – 6 cm difference
  • C – between 6 – 9 cm difference
  • D – between 9 – 12 cm difference

When trying on bras, check the following for a great fit –

  • the cup needs to completely cover the breast (unless the design is more cut away). If your skin is bulging over the top or at the sides of the bra, the cup is too small. The sides of the cup should not be filled with space and wrinkled up because the breast does not fill it up.
  • the bra should fit well around the body – not too tight that it will cause friction and also not too loose so it will not give adequate support. You may also loosen or tighten the hooks at the back of the bra for a better fit. Try to wear a new bra on the loosest fitting as the bra will inevitably stretch with use and you can always tighten it up with time. If you start off on the tightest hook, and the bra stretches it will become useless.
  • The centre of the bra should lie against the breast bone if it lies away from the bone the cup is too small for you.

During Breastfeeding

  • Blocked milk ducts 

sometimes this can occur when the breast hasn’t emptied fully, you are not nursing your child in the correct position, missing feeds or the child is not nursing for long enough periods. Your breasts may feel uncomfortable. You can try to express some milk yourself.

  • Engorgement 

this can occur when your breasts are too full. This usually occurs when the mild first comes in. You can usually relieve it by having a warm shower and expressing some of the milk.

Sometimes the breasts are too tight for the baby to feed properly – just

express a little before feeding to soften them up.

  • Sore nipples –

if your baby is not sucking correctly on your nipples, they can become sore. They will heal quickly if the position is corrected. If your nipples are cracked or blistered, feed on the other side. Nipples tend to heal quickly, so try to keep going with your breast feeding. See our Pharmacist for products that may help the soreness and bring you some relief.

Some good products for your breasts while breastfeeding are – either honey or almond oil and calendula ointment.

Homoeopathic remedies include arnica, and calendula taken internally as well as in the form of an ointment. These are available from our pharmacy

 

Caring For Your Hair

Good hair care starts with how you treat your hair, body and scalp.  

Most hair problems are essentially problems with the scalp which can be affected by the over-production or under-production of oils, dermatitis and infections. Stress and how well your body absorbs the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients also affects the hair growth. If your hair is over-oily, too dry, brittle, falling out,  splitting or the general condition is poor – this can be an indication that your general health may need to be examined. 

A nutritional deficiency may be the cause of some hair problems. Some say that our hair is a reflection of our general health.

Your Hair Type

Hair tends to fall into certain categories. Some people have oily hair which means that the sebaceous glands are slightly overactive, producing more oil. This extra oil lubricates the hair and skin and gives them a more ‘greasy’ appearance. Your hair may also be dry with split ends. This is the result of an underactive sebaceous gland. You also may have dry hair as a result of excessive use of chemical products on your hair. You may be one of the lucky ones and have normal hair which is neither too oily or too dry.

Dandruff is also a problem which may be encountered either with oily or dry types. This condition is the result of a disorder in the sebaceous gland in the scalp, which produces more scales of skin than necessary.

Nutrition for Hair

The best way you can care for your hair nutritionally is to…

  • eat plenty of natural foods that come from a balanced diet,
  • get plenty of aerobic exercise,
  • limit your intake of the ‘naughty’ things such as refined foods, alcohol, sugar, caffeine and highly saturated fatty foods.
  • You may consider taking a supplement of essential fatty acids (or eating more apricots, wheatgerm and linseed oils), silica, or a good multivitamin preparation.

Some hair problems can also be caused by a deficiency in zincvitamin Avitamin B12vitamin C or iron. Brewer’s yeast and vitamin B5 are also good for the hair. It is not wise to take the vitamin B’s separately – take them as acomplex or group.

Nutrition for the different hair types-

  • Oily hair types – eat more fresh fruit and foods containing vitamin B2, such as brewer’s yeast, natural yoghurt, cheese, eggs, liver, spinach, brussel sprouts and other green leafed vegetables.
  • Dry hair/split end types – eat more of the essential fatty acids. Such as avocados, nuts, fresh fruit and vegetables, yeast extract, tomatoes and egg yolk, cheese and natural yoghurt, milk.
  • Dandruff types – eat more brown rice, wholegrain breads and pasta, fresh fruit and vegetables, and rich protein foods such as meat, eggs, nuts and milk.

General Hair Care

  • Brushing –

 

 

It is a good idea to brush your hair before washing it to remove the dead skin cells and to remove any tangles. Always be careful of the ends while brushing, to avoid breakages and splitting. Brush slower through the ends and be gentle. Use bristle brushes as these brushes distribute the oils more evenly, coating and nourishing the ends of your hair.

  • Washing Your Hair –

 

Always choose a good shampoo which is suitable for your hair type. You can also add some aromatherapy essential oils to the shampoo to aid certain conditions and hair types.

To wash hair –

  • Use warm water to wet the hair – water which is too hot can burn your scalp and hair.
  • Use only a small amount of shampoo and place into your palm.
  • Smooth the shampoo over your hair with your fingers.
  • Massage the shampoo into your hair for about 1 – 2 minutes. (the massage is great for your scalp and circulation).
  • If your hair is long – don’t lather up the ends as they will get washed as you rinse your hair.
  • Rinse out the shampoo – if there is a lot of lather, your shampoo may be high in detergent and not as good for your hair. Make sure you rinse all the shampoo out.
  • You do not have to shampoo again unless the hair is particularly dirty.
  • Do not brush your hair at this stage when it is wet as the hair is very weak and can break easily.
  • Condition your hair with a conditioner which suits your hair type as well. If your scalp is oily – don’t put the conditioner on the scalp, use on the ends only.
  • Leave the conditioner on for the required time (usually 1-5 minutes) and rinse out thoroughly.

Note – about once per week, invest in a protein conditioner or a more intensive treatment. This is good for dry hair or hair which has been treated with chemicals.  Comb through and cover with a shower cap and towel. Leave for one hour and shampoo out. 
(
see section on aromatherapy for the hair)

Remember also not to brush hair when it is wet – use a wide toothed comb to get out the tangles. This is when the hair is particularly vulnerable and can break easy.

  • Drying Your Hair –

 

If you wash your hair everyday, it is a good idea not to blow dry it everyday as well. This can cause damage to the hair shaft and split ends. Try to let it dry naturally every second time you wash your hair at least. Put the dryer on a low setting and do not use it too close to your hair.

  • Hair cuts –

 

You should have regular cuts – at least every 6 weeks to remove the longest ends. Speak with your hairdresser about the condition of your hair. He or she may also recommend having a conditioning treatment at the same time.

 

Miscarriage

Quite a high percentage of early pregnancies miscarry.  It can occur when you do not realize it – you may think your period was abnormally heavy.

This is often nature’s way of rejecting an embryo that is abnormal or malformed. Miscarriages are often known as spontaneous abortions and people in medical occupations often use the words interchangeably.

Miscarriages in the first 28 days of pregnancy are often caused by a hormonal imbalance. The body does not produce enough of the hormone which will sustain the pregnancy throughout the term. Instead it goes through it’s normal hormonal changes had you not been pregnant. This results in a partial period. You may experience either a heavy or light period, back ache or an ache around the womb area.

Miscarriages can also result from genetic abnormalities in the embryo. The embryo in this case cannot survive and is aborted. The abnormality may have been the result of an abnormality in the egg or the sperm.

Another reason for miscarriage is a week or abnormal cervix. The cervix may not be able to support the pregnant uterus. The cervix is then described as incompetent.

Miscarriages can occur if the mother is suffering from certain illnesses or severe malnutrition.

Signs of miscarriage

  • bleeding from the vagina – the blood may be brighter than normal or a rusty colour.

  • pain

  • contractions of the uterus may start – to rid the body of the embryo

You will need to go to bed immediately and call your doctor. You may also have to go to hospital for observation.

If the bleeding stops, you may still be able to proceed with the pregnancy but if your cervix has dilated, miscarriage will happen.

If the fetus and placenta are completely expelled from your body, you have had what the medical profession call a complete abortion. If they have not removed themselves, you will need to undergo a D & C (Dilatation and Curettage).

In either case your doctor will need to 
examine you immediately


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

     

Uterine Cancer

This is cancer of the uterus or the uterine linings – the endometrium.

What to look for…

Uterine cancer causes no symptoms at onset. They will usually become noticeable as the malignancy begins to grow. But there are some women with uterine cancer who experience no symptoms until the disease spreads to other organs.

The most likely symptoms are:

  • abnormal vaginal bleeding – heavier than normal periods or bleeding in between periods. (if you have had menopause, any bleeding will be abnormal, unless you are on HRT).

  • vaginal discharge.

  • an enlarged uterus.

  • unexpected weight loss;

  • weakness and pain in the lower abdomen, back, or legs. (This occurs once the cancer has spread to other organs).

The uterine lining (the endometrium) in women thickens every month as it prepares to receive a fertilised egg. If no egg is fertilised, the extra tissue and blood are expelled through menstruation. There are a number of conditions that can affect the uterus. These conditions may or may not be cancerous.

Benign problems include fibroid tumours on the uterine wall and women who have them are not at more of a risk for uterine cancer. Endometriosis is the most serious benign uterine condition, and in some women it evolves into uterine cancer. 

The most common place in the uterus for cancers to develop are in the endometrium. This is called endometrial cancer or carcinoma. It is most dangerous if left untreated when it can penetrate the uterine wall and invade the bladder, vagina, fallopian tubes, ovaries or rectum or other organs. Fortunately, endometrial cancer grows slowly and usually is detected before spreading very far.

Causes

Women whose risk of getting uterine cancer is high include postmenopausal women who began menstruating early and went through menopause late, are obese, diabetic, or have high blood pressure, have few or no children, areinfertile, have irregular menstrual periods, or endometrial hyperplasia.

Susceptibility to endometrial cancer is also linked to how much the endometrium has been exposed to oestrogen without progesterone. Oestrogen stimulates cell division, while progesterone suppresses it. With a high level of cell division, the chance of cancer increases. Women on HRT should be monitored regularly for uterine cancers.

Pap smears should be regularly performed as these may detect some uterine cancers before symptoms develop. Otherwise, uterine cancer is usually diagnosed by the appearance of symptoms.

Traditional Treatments

Conventional medicine is usually successful in curing most women of uterine cancer. The type of treatment will vary depending on the stage of the cancer.

Surgery is standard treatment for uterine cancer that has not begun to metastasise, or spread. The usual treatment for early endometrial cancer is total hysterectomy, which means the uterus, cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes are all removed. If the disease has begun to spread beyond the uterus, the patient is given radiation therapy after surgery, in the hope of wiping out the remaining cancer cells.

Patients with widespread (metastatic) uterine cancer are usually given hormone therapy to slow the cancer’s growth. Chemotherapy or radiation might also be given to reduce the size and number of metastatic tumours. Such treatment is rarely curative but can prolong life and relieve symptoms. If it destroys tumours in the other organs, and the cancer is confined to the uterus or close surrounding areas, surgery may then be undertaken.

Patients in remission need checkups every few months for several years. If cancer recurs, it quite often happens within three years.

Caught early, recurrent cancer may be cured with aggressive radiation therapy or further surgery. (See cancer)

Complementary Therapies

There are many support groups to join if you are needing extra help in dealing with this disease. Counselling also may be very helpful for you at this time.

Prevention

Have a Pap smear and pelvic exam annually. If you are of child bearing age, discuss the pros and cons of taking birth-control pills with your doctor.

It is also advisable to exercise regularly and eat sensibly to become as healthy as you can. (See Cancer entry for more information on this illness).

It is reported that certain vitamins and minerals such as antioxidants may have anticancer properties.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you experience abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge. Abnormal bleeding is not a symptom of menopause. It should be brought to your doctor’s attention immediately

     

Uterine Problems

What to look for

  • heavy irregular bleeding, with pain in the lower abdomen or back.

  • difficulty urinating and moving bowels, incontinence, backaches.

  • bleeding between periods.

  • chronic, abnormal bleeding.

The uterus has two parts – the body of the organ and the cervix. It is essentially a strong, hollow, pear-shaped organ which is in the pelvic region behind the bladder. It leads into the vagina.

The endometrium is the lining of the uterus.

The endometrium can bleed abnormally and if so can cause certain mineral deficiencies.

A prolapse of the uterus occurs when the uterus moves downward.

Fibroids are benign growths that can occur in or around the uterus.

Fibroids may cause the uterus to become larger, make it difficult to become pregnant, you may have heavier periods or find it painful to have intercourse.

Causes

Although the cause of fibroids is not known, their growth is related to hormones. Therefore, oral contraceptives, oestrogen replacement therapy, and pregnancy may cause fibroids to grow and expand. Your doctor will be able to confirm their existence when you have a pap smear.

High levels of oestrogen may cause excessive endometrium bleeding. This can be the result of obesity, but it can also occur as a result of other diseases. This should be examined by your doctor.

The most common cause of a prolapsed uterus is the stretching of the support ligaments that hold it in place. This is usually a result of pregnancy and childbirth.

See uterine cancer for more information on this condition.

Traditional Treatment

Fibroid treatment varies and depends on their size and placement and if they are causing you discomfort. Speak with your doctor about the possible ways to treat this problem.

A hysterectomy used to be the standard treatment for most uterine conditions but now there are other ways to treat most problems in this area. A hysterectomy will only be offered as an alternative if other treatments have been exhausted or if the condition is serious and uncontrollable.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Alternative therapies are useful as an addition to conventional methods.

Massage  –  May increase energy flow to the pelvis, which may help shrink fibroids, use rose or jasmine essential oil. May increase energy flow to the pelvis, which may help shrink fibroids, use rose or jasmine essential oil.

Homoeopathy  –  PulsatillaBelladonna, Sabina, and Sepia are among the remedies that may be prescribed for your uterine disorder. PulsatillaBelladonna, Sabina, and Sepia are among the remedies that may be prescribed for your uterine disorder.

Dietary Considerations

You may wish to increase your fibre intake and reduce your intake of fat. This has the benefit of controlling your hormone production and consequently the fibroids. As well as this take supplements of vitamin C, bioflavonoids andvitamins A.

The supplements mentioned above together with a high-fibre, low-fat diet may help balance hormone levels that may contribute to uterine problems.

Aromatherapy  –  Rose or jasmine essential oils diluted in a carrier oil or lotion and massaged on the stomach or used in a compress works wonders. Rose or jasmine essential oils diluted in a carrier oil or lotion and massaged on the stomach or used in a compress works wonders.

Prevention

Try to eat well, get plenty of rest, avoid stress by learning relaxation techniques and get some exercise daily. This will keep your system in great order and be better able to avoid uterine as well as other disorders.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you feel a sharp pain low in the abdomen.

  • your periods are excessively heavy

Vaginal Problems

These are problems that occur in the vagina (a part of the female reproductive system connected to the cervix).

What to look for

 

 

  • your vulva is swollen and itchy.

  • you have white areas on your vulva.

  • there is more vaginal discharge than normal, it smells, burns or itches.

  • abnormal bleeding.

The vagina is like a channel which connects the cervix to the outside area called the vulva. It generates mucus and secretions automatically. It does not need our help to clean it, the secretions flow down along with other dead cells and substances. Discharge is normal and occurs in most women. It is usually clear or white in colour.

Common problems which occur in the vagina region are yeast infections, vaginitis (inflammation), bacterial vaginosis, sexually transmitted diseases, abnormal discharge and vaginal infections.

Bacterial vaginosis commonly occurs in the reproductive years. There may be a fishy-smelling discharge, but there may be no symptoms at all. Ask your doctor to investigate this possibility during your pap smear.

Yeast infections produce cottage-cheese-like discharge. They are very common and most women have or will experience them during their lifetime.

Vaginal infections are not serious usually; sexually transmitted infections such as Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia have been found to be associated with other complications.

Vaginal cancer, can be very serious and can spread to other areas. See our entry on Cancer.

Causes

Stress may cause a change in the vaginal bacteria which can create vaginitis.

Vaginal yeast infections are caused by the Candida fungus. The use of antibiotics can make this infection occur.

Traditional Treatment

Conventional treatment is a must in diagnosing possible vaginal problems.

You will need to be examined and your doctor may prescribe the appropriate medications and/or antibiotics to treat the ailments.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

The following are supplemental therapies that, along with your physician’s prescribed treatment, may ease your recovery.

Herbal Therapies  –  Eat more fresh garlic as it has properties and may be effective in treating vaginitis and vaginal yeast infections.

If itching or minor irritation is a symptom of your vaginitis, bathe with an infusion of fresh chickweed for relief. To reduce inflammation calendula (Calendula officinalis) is often effective.

Homoeopathy  –  Certain remedies aid certain types of vaginal discharges –

A smelly, yellow discharge with burning, swelling, and soreness may be treated with Kreosotum;

A white or yellow discharge, for itching and Sepia  is recommended;

A thick, creamy yellow-green discharge Pulsatilla.

These problems can become serious so if the treatment does not help, see your doctor.

Lifestyle

You may need to avoid using tampons while you have vaginal problems as this can exacerbate the condition. Also avoid sexual intercourse while you have vaginitis or yeast infections.

Dietary Considerations

Natural acidophilus yoghurt is brilliant for ridding the vagina of yeast infections. 

Always wipe from front to back to avoid spreading infection.

Prevention

A good diet, plenty of filtered water, good hygiene and adequate protection during intercourse will help your system avoid getting vaginitis.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have excessive bleeding not at the time of your period or abnormal sharp pain along with fever

     

Varicose Veins

These are veins that are swollen, lengthened and obvious just below the skin.

What to look for

  • prominent dark blue veins, especially in the legs and feet.

  • your legs may ache

Varicose veins are usually fairly obvious and bulge out from under your skin. They usually affect your legs. Varicose veins can be superficial or deep. Superficial veins are visible and swollen. They are painful and can affect your circulation but usually harmless.

Deep varicose veins can be the cause of blood clots and inflammation as they form deeper within the leg.

Causes

People who suffer from varicose veins are thought to have defective valves in the leg. This is a result of too much blood pressure which makes the veins swell. The swollen veins then cause the valves not to seal properly. We rely on the valves to circulate the blood to the heart properly. If they do not function properly, the blood can’t keep flowing and starts to pool in the vein causing the swollen veins that are part of this condition.

There are certain triggers that increase the likelihood of varicose veins.

  • constipation

  • pregnancy

  • obesity

  • too much standing

  • injury

Traditional Treatment

If you have a less severe case you do not need to see your doctor and can treat the condition at home. Support pantihose are usually very helpful and you should leave them on all day. They will support the veins in your legs.

Your doctor may suggest taking a pain killer for the pain of varicose veins. If you notice no signs of having this condition but still have the pain associated with it – call your doctor immediately.

There are numerous options available for this condition – ask your doctor to tell you about them.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Natural therapies can help your system cope with varicose veins and also prevent more from occurring.

Aromatherapy   –  Oil of rosemary massaged gently into an affected area may help stimulate circulation by causing capillaries to dilate. Oil of rosemary massaged gently into an affected area may help stimulate circulation by causing capillaries to dilate.

Oils of cypress (3 drops), sandalwood (3 drops) , peppermint (1 drop) and chamomile (1 drop) may soothe swelling and inflammation and help relieve pain – use a base carrier oil of calendula (5 teaspoons).

See the section on Aromatherapy for more information – certain people should not have particular essential oils.

Massage  –  Regular massage from a trained massage therapist can significantly alleviate discomfort associated with varicose veins. Regular massage from a trained massage therapist can significantly alleviate discomfort associated with varicose veins.

Herbal Therapies –  Many herbs have been beneficial in the treatment of varicose veins, and some have undergone extensive scientific study. Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata), and bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) are all reported to strengthen blood vessels and improve peripheral circulation. Many herbs have been beneficial in the treatment of varicose veins, and some have undergone extensive scientific study. Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), hawthorn(Crataegus laevigata), and bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) are all reported to strengthen blood vessels and improve peripheral circulation.

For the skin irritation linked with varicose veins, try a lotion made of distilled witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana).

To separate the build-up of protein called fibrin that makes skin near varicose veins hard and lumpy, try eating morecayenne (Capsicum frutescens), garlic (Allium sativum), onion, ginger (Zingiber officinale), and pineapple, which contains bromelain, an enzyme that promotes break up of fibrin.

Homoeopathy –  Homoeopath remedies are often used to treat varicose veins.

Pulsatilla is one remedy that is commonly prescribed.

Lifestyle

 

 

 


Take up regular aerobic exercise – this is beneficial for circulation.

Take a hot bath followed by a cold bath to relieve the pain from varicose veins. You can also do the same thing with foot spas.

Yoga’ s stretching and relaxation techniques can be particularly beneficial for varicose veins.

Dietary Considerations

 

 

 


To rid yourself of varicose veins and to prevent them from forming, it is wise to reorganise your diet to include lots of low fat foods and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. A diet low in fat and high in fibre is best.

Drink plenty of filtered water as well. Also reduce the amount of salt, alcohol and cut out cigarettes totally. It is important to keep your weight at your ideal level as extra body fat puts strain on your legs and veins.

Vitamins B, C and E are helpful. As is magnesium, zinc, calcium fluoride, rutin and bioflavonoids, lecithin , kelp and garlic.

Go to our Vitamins Section.

Personal Care

Take some rest if your routine requires that you remain for long periods of time on your feet. Try to avoid high heels as this can also aggravate the problem.

Prevention

  • Exercise regularly.

  • Eat well. Drink plenty of water. Take supplements listed above.

  • Rest often and do stretching exercises if you are on your feet a lot.

  • If you smoke, quit.

  • If you’re pregnant, sleep on your left side rather than on your back to lessen the pressure on your pelvic muscles.

When to seek further professional advice

  • the pain and swelling becomes extremely severe.

  • you have red varicose veins.

  • you cut a varicose vein – see a doctor immediately