Archive for February, 2007

Bunions- Big Foot Pain You Can Relieve

Posted in Health & Fitness on February 27th, 2007

Sometimes a bone spur isn’t the only bony bump your foot can grow.  A bunion is another type of bony growth that can form on the joint located at the base of the big toe.  Bunions can develop for various reasons, but the most common cause is related to wearing shoes that are too small or too tight to the feet.  Bunions can also result from injury or stress of the foot, or from some other medical condition.

A bunion occurs when the big toe joint enlarges and forces the toe to push against the rest of the toes.  The enlargement puts pressure on the big toe joint and pushes it outward beyond the limits of your foots natural shape.  In addition to the big toe joint, bunions may also form on the joint of your baby toe which are known as “bunionettes”.  Despite the area where a bunion may occur, bunions are quite painful.

If you think you may have a bunion, here are common signs and symptoms you can watch for:

• A bulging bump on the inside joint at the base of the big toe
• Thick skin at the base of the big toe
• Calluses or corns that resulted from the first and second toe overlapping
• Frequent or irregular pain
• Restricted motion of the big toe

Pain that results from a bunion may be mild or severe, and it is often difficult for affected individuals to walk in regular shoes.  This is because the area that surrounds the bunion is also often inflamed and swollen.   If left untreated, a bunion can also affect the other toes and cause the smaller ones to become claw-like, and calluses may form on the bottom of the foot.   Without proper treatment, bunions can interfere with normal activities, can become larger, and require surgical treatment.

The method in which bunions are treated depend on the severity of the condition, and how early it is diagnosed.  Therefore, as soon as you see signs or symptoms, visit your doctor so you can be treated and cut your risk of developing joint deformities.

The following are common treatments:
• Comfortable shoes – wear shoes that are not only made to fit your feet, but also provide your toes with plenty of space to move about.
• Pad and tape your foot – To help minimize pain you can pad a bunion.  Your doctor can recommend pads and even help you tape and pad your foot in a natural position to help decrease the stress on the bunion and alleviate pain.
• Medication – Your doctor may recommend painkillers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen to reduce inflammation.
• Physical therapy – whirlpool baths, ultrasound therapy and other forms of physical therapy can help relieve inflammation and pain of a bunion.
• Orthotics – A padded shoe insert known as an orthotic can help your foot achieve normal movement and can reduce the symptoms caused by a bunion.  Orthotics can also prevent a bunion from becoming larger.

Surgery is usually the last treatment option recommended for bunion sufferers.  Although there are different types of surgeries, the most common is a bunionectomy.  This involves the removing of swollen tissue around the joint of the big toe; straightening the big toe by removing a portion of the bone; and permanently connecting the bones of the affected joint.

If you have a bunion, your best option is to talk to your doctor about effective treatments, and avoid further aggravating your bunion by giving your toes the freedom to move.
By Dave Wilson. Sign up for a free newsletter & discover how to treat your footpain with natural cures for footpain. Discover how to relieve the pain of bunions.  

Acidophilus vs Candida

Posted in Health & Fitness on February 26th, 2007

Regardless if antibiotics or a person’s diet causes Candidiasis, the fact of the matter is that a Candida overgrowth needs to be treated.  Acidophilus supplements are often used to help clear up Candidiasis and related infections.  Acidophilus is “good bacteria” that is naturally found in the small intestine, and exists in certain notorious foods we ingest.  The gut requires a certain quantity of acidophilus in order to maintain good health.

Acidophilus maintains a balanced gut flora by keeping harmful bacteria under control. It assists in protein digestion, a process that inhibits pathogenic organisms with the natural antibiotic substances lactic acid, enzymes and hydrogen peroxide.  Acidophilus also produces B vitamins and has an antibacterial effect that can aid in the detoxification of harmful substances.

Research has found that Acidophilus offers the body many benefits including:
- Helps create a healthy intestinal environment
- Improves bowel function
- Destroys waste toxins within the intestine
- Helps sooth upset stomach and indigestion
- Acidophilus produces lactase that corrects lactose intolerance
- Controls bad breath
- Improves acne
- Reduces cholesterol
- Stops Candida overgrowth and prevents yeast infections.

Since many of us have poor diets, acidophilus supplements are often recommended for both children and adults to take.  However, there are different brands of acidophilus on the market, and not all products are alike.

Keep the following in mind when looking for the best acidophilus products:

- Freeze dried – This method improves the stability of the product
- Glass bottles that are nitrogen flushed – A nitrogen flushed bottle is absent of oxygen which is better for the acidophilus.  Furthermore, glass bottle are better than plastic as plastic can be porous.
- A guarantee of 1 – 2 billion CFU - Usually if the product has 1 – 2 billion CFU (Colony Forming Unit) it is considered good.  In fact, doctors generally recommend the average adult take 1-2 capsules of this product daily.  Products without guarantees cannot be trusted as they could contain higher CFU counts which usually mean they’ve combined acidophilus with other bacteria.
- Single bacterium – Many acidophilus products contain multiple bacteria.  The problem with taking products with more than one bacterium is the bacteria may not be compatible with one another or be acceptable to the body.  Thus, these products may not provide you any benefits.
- Take non-dairy acidophilus if you have a milk allergy
- Don’t trust false claims for marketing purposes – All you want is a product of acidophilus that can survive stomach acid, and stays and multiplies in the intestines.  It should produce hydrogen peroxide, lactic acid and natural antibiotics.
- Capsules or chewable tablets - Although acidophilus is also available in powder form, capsules and tablets are better because they are less likely to become contaminated and provide the same dosage each time.

What about yogurt and acidophilus milk?  Although most yogurts on the market contain “active bacterial cultures” in their ingredients, as does fortified milk with acidophilus, they are often not a significant source of acidophilus.  Furthermore, when yogurt is left to sit on shelves for days, it begins to produce acid that kills the bacteria.

When should acidophilus be administered?  It should be taken once daily, but should be taken more often by people with digestive disorders, when on antibiotics, or when curing a yeast infection (speak to your doctor about recommended dosage at these times).  It is best to take it in the morning, on an empty stomach, before meals.

What is the recommended dosage? For the average adult taking acidophilus products with 1 -2 billion CFU, 2 capsules or tablets are recommended per day.  The recommended dosage for children is determined by the age and body weight of a child.  Note.  It’s always best to speak to your doctor and carefully read all instructions before taking any acidophilus supplement.
By Jane Symms. Sign up for a free newsletter that has proven methods for tackling Candida, Candidiasis and yeast infections head-on at Eliminate Candida Naturally. On the site you’ll also find more about the different candida treatment options available and information on the benefits of following an anti candida diet

Can Oral Contraceptives Cause Candida?

Posted in Health & Fitness on February 22nd, 2007

Acidophilus is certainly a great way to take care of Candida overgrowth, but what if you don’t know you have Candidiasis? The truth is a Candida infection causes symptoms that closely resemble a slew of other illnesses. To make matters worse, many people continue to have an overgrowth of Candida in their system without knowing the cause. For instance, if you’re a woman taking birth control pills, did you know that you have a 20% higher risk of developing Candidiasis related infections than other women?

What is the relationship between Candida overgrowth and the Pill?
Birth control pills effect hormones and induce hormonal changes that lower a woman’s ability to control Candida overgrowth, which can trigger yeast infections.

Research has discovered that yeast cells have estrogen receptors which are stimulated by hormones in the birth control pill, and can cause the growth of yeast.

Most women who develop yeast infections from the Pill tend to have an outbreak when there is significant hormone chance such as when they –
- First begin taking oral contraceptives
- Are close to their period
- Change oral contraceptives
- Go back on the Pill after discontinuing use.

However, the vast majority of women who take the pill don’t develop yeast infections. Furthermore, yeast infections may develop due to other causes such as diet, antibiotics or other product use.

You can reduce the development of Candidiasis when taking oral contraceptives by:

- Sticking to cotton undergarments – Make sure your panties have cotton lining, but it’s best to wear all-cotton underwear. Nylon traps moisture against your skin and doesn’t absorb moisture like cotton does to keep skin dry. Trapped moisture breeds bacteria growth. You should also avoid nylon and spandex leotards when working out.

- Change out of exercise clothing – After you’ve exercised remove your clothing and put on dry clothes as soon as possible, even if you can’t take a shower.

- Sleep without underwear – This will help your vaginal area to breath.

- Minimize the use of panty liners – Wearing panty liners every day can increase the risk of yeast infection because the plastic on the bottom of the liners locks in moisture. Also, when on your period, change your pad frequently.

- Lower the sugar in your diet – Refrain from eating foods that contain high sugars, as sugar encourages the growth of yeast. It’s also a good idea to add yogurt that contains “active bacterial culture” to your diet to help replenish the good bacteria you need in your system that helps control yeast overgrowth.

- Avoid perfumes – Do not use scented toilet paper or feminine hygiene products this can cause irritation. In addition, if you are sensitive to perfume you also shouldn’t take scented baths.

- Avoid douching – This washes out the good bacteria and creates an imbalance making you open to infection.

When to see your doctor

- If you have never had a vaginal yeast infection before - you should make sure you have is a yeast infection. Some sexually transmitted diseases like Herpes, can present symptoms similar to a yeast infection. Additionally, if you’ve never had a yeast infection, it’s best to ask your doctor what over-the-counter product they recommend to help clear your infection.

There are many products and not all work to eliminate yeast. Two of the more effective and recommended products available are those that contain miconazole (Monistat 7) and clotrimazone (Gyne-Lotrimin).

- If you have repeat yeast infections (4 or more per year) – If you are taking oral contraceptives and are developing frequent yeast infections you may want to discuss other methods of birth control with your doctor, and carefully consider your diet and lifestyle. You may also want to have your male partner checked for a yeast infection, especially if he is not circumcised, as he may be passing it on to you.

By Jane Symms. Sign up for a free newsletter that has proven methods for tackling Candida, Candidiasis and yeast infections head-on at Eliminate Candida Naturally. On the site you’ll also find more about Candidiasis symptoms and information on the various candida treatment.

10 Great Toys for an Autistic Child

Posted in Health & Fitness on February 19th, 2007

Have you considered a toy for autistic child? Regardless if a child has autism, another disability or not, all children love toys. Of course, no child is alike. Therefore, what may be enjoyed by one child may not hold the interest of another. Thus, the trick is to figure out which toys your autistic child will enjoy playing with, and will help them develop skills.

The following are 10 great toys for autistic children. The first 5 are suggestions are for children age 3-7 and the second 5 are for children age 8 – 12. Following each basic toy description is examples of where you can find them -

Ages 3-7
1. Paints and/or coloring pencils with large paper – This is a great way for an autistic child to express him/herself in color. Knowing what colors your child responds to may be helpful when it comes to learning. Check Toys R’ Us, Sears, or Wal-Mart.

2. Building blocks – any toy for autistic child that can be stacked helps them improve their motor skills. Great toys to consider include “Lego”, alphabet blocks, colored shapes, etc. Check Toys R’ Us, Sears, or Wal-Mart

3. Stories with Repetition and/or Rhyme –These books help in the development of speech skills. Good book examples you can consider include “Dr. Seuss” and “Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes”. Book stores, online at Amazon.com, or your local library.

4. Mix and Match toys – Toys that involve sorting and grouping together matching numbers, colors, shapes, etc. help improve cognitive skills. One interesting toy for autistic child is “Match & Spell 3 – Letter Word”. This game teaches a child how to spell basic words by putting together matching colored cards that create a picture of the word. This game can be found online at the autism toy store stars4kidz.com.

5. Toys that light up – Toys such as the “flashing molecule ball” are good for visual stimulation. When the ball is squeezed, the colorful balls light up and flash. Check online at stars4kidz.com or Toys R’ Us.

Ages 8 – 12
1. “Calculator Cash Register” – This is a perfect pretend toy for autistic child. This particular toy comes with a working calculator, pretend money (bills, coins and credit cards). This toy encourages creativity and math skills. Check online at Stars4kidz.com or local toy stores.

2. Musical toy instrument – If your child has an interest in music, consider getting a toy instrument such as drums, guitar, recorder or piano with sheet music. These toys teach cognitive, motor, creative and sensory skills. Check local toy stores, Toys R’ Us or Wal-Mart

3. Picture books - Picture books such as “I Spy” are great ways to engage your child’s imagination. “I Spy” has a collection of picture riddle books based on different themes. Check your local bookstore, online at amazon.com, or library.

4. Classic board games –There are many classic board games to choose from including “KerPlunk”, “Scrabble Jr.”, “Monopoly Jr.”, “Trouble”, “Yahtzee”, etc. Board games can be a toy for autistic child that helps to improve social skills, and depending on the game, may help to develop cognitive and motor skills. Check Toys R’ Us, Wal-Mart and Sears.

5. “Stretch-Eze” – This is a unique sensory toy that is ideal for stretching, exercise, and making creative movements. The “Stretch-Eze” is a stretchy circular band that comes in different sizes and colors. Look for it at Stars4kidz.com

Keep in mind that the toys listed above are only toy for autistic child suggestions. You don’t need to base the toys you give your child on their age. In fact, many parents of autistic children find that any toy is acceptable if their child responds to it regardless of the age specifications on the box. Note: The only exception is choking hazard age warning.

By Rachel Evans. To find out more about autism toys and for information on toys for autistic child please visit The Essential Guide To Austism, where you can also sign up for a free newsletter focusing on managing autism.

What to Do After an Autism Diagnosis for Your Child

Posted in Health & Fitness on February 19th, 2007

If you’re child has received an autism diagnosis, you may feel like all of the hopes and dreams you had for your child’s future have ended. These feelings of guilt, grief and fear are normal for parents when they first discover their child is autistic. However, you need to know that you’re not alone and there is help out there for both you and your child.

To help you cope with the autism diagnosis, the following are 10 guidelines for you to take into consideration:

1. Don’t Panic – Feeling overwhelmed is natural at first, but this drowning feeling will pass. You need to remember autism - although a challenging condition - is not a life threatening illness. Autism isn’t the end of the world; take the time to calm down and rationally think things through.

2. Your child is still the same – An autism diagnosis doesn’t mean your child is any different than he/she was prior to your knowledge of his/her condition. A diagnosis has only provided you with the chance to better understand your child, so you can provide him/her with the support that will allow him/her to have the best life. The love you have for your child and all the good you see in him or her will remain their forever. No diagnosis can change that.

3. Educate yourself – Find out everything there is to know about autism. You can find information in books and articles in your local library, bookstore and online. The internet is a fantastic resource for autism.

4. Ask questions – don’t forget to address any questions or concerns you may have with your doctor.

5. Find out what your child needs – Depending on the type of autism diagnosis your child receives he/she may have many or few special needs. Carefully analyze your child’s behaviors and discuss them with your doctor to determine the best course of action for treating the issue. For instance, does your child have sensory problems? Speech delays? Social deficits? Etc.

6. Find out what is available – Just because you discover what your child needs, doesn’t mean you’ll have immediate access to the therapies required, or even know how to work them into your lifestyle if they are available. . You also need to find out if your medial insurance will cover any of the therapies your child will need. Once you have everything sorted out, you can begin to set up a program that can meet your needs.

7. Stick to basic therapies – When you research therapies, you will discover that there are numerous treatments. Instead of becoming overwhelmed, focus on the basic therapies that are readily available, appropriate to your child, and funded. The basics usually include speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. There may also be therapies offered within schools.

8. Introduce treatment slowly – Remember, most therapies are a slow process that take weeks or even months until you begin to see a difference in your child. Therefore, try not to introduce too many therapies after the autism diagnosis. When you take it slow you are able to observe how your child responds to each, and determine what is successful and what isn’t.

9. Relax – The wellbeing of your child is important, but so is yours and the rest of your family. It’s imperative that you find ways to relieve your stress, take breaks, and enjoy your own life. You will be able to better care for your autistic child when you are well rested.

10. You’re not alone – There are many autism support groups you can join both locally and online after receiving an autism diagnosis. Talking to other parents with autistic children, and hearing and sharing your experiences can be very helpful and therapeutic to you and your child.

By Rachel Evans. To find out more about autism diagnosis and for information on autism characteristics please visit The Essential Guide To Austism, where you can also sign up for a free newsletter focusing on managing autism.

Could Bacterial Overgrowth Be the Cause of Your IBS?

Posted in Health & Fitness on February 10th, 2007

Managing stress in your life is a great way to help get your negative emotions under control, but unfortunately, stress is only one of many IBS causes. In fact, research that has been conducted over the past few years has found that IBS may also be related to Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO).

What is SIBO? It is an overgrowth of bacteria that naturally occurs in the small intestine. The small intestine contains a small amount of bacteria that is essential to the proper functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. However, when too much bacteria exists, problems such as fat malabsorption occur. In addition, it also stops carbohydrates from being absorbed, leaving them to rot in the intestines causing a number of unpleasant and often foul-smelling symptoms including bloating, pain, gas, mucus in stools and diarrhea.

Bacterial overgrowth can lead to nutrient deficiencies, food allergies and digestive enzymes that barely function. It is a common condition that usually goes undetected for years, even when symptoms are present. Why? Most people who have chronic digestive problems and have bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation are typically diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome. Doctors rarely consider bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine as the problem.

What causes bacterial overgrowth? There are many different factors that can lead to SIBO. Some of the following conditions that could cause an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine include:
• Reduction of motility in the small intestine – condition caused by too much dietary sugar and chronic stress. This condition can also occur from diabetes, scleroderma and hypothyroidism.
• Structural abnormalities within the small intestine – abnormalities may be caused by small intestinal diverticula, gastric bypass surgery, and intestinal obstruction. etc.
• Hypochlorhydria – As people age, they produce less stomach acid. Stomach acid helps to eliminate bacteria in the small intestine. Thus, if there is a decline, the acid won’t be able to eliminate enough of the bacteria.
• Other causes – stress, prolonged use of steroids, antibiotics, antacids, birth control pills and other medications, immune deficiency, pancreatic enzyme deficiency and a diet insufficient in fiber.

Are IBS and SIBO related?
One study that was conducted by researches at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in California involved 202 participants with IBS. Each participant was tested for bacterial overgrowth with a lactulose breath hydrogen test. A person with bacterial overgrowth produces high levels of methane or hydrogen gas. The lactulose hydrogen test analyses the gas in breath, and is the best test for diagnosing SIBO.

At the end of the study it was found that of the 202 participants, 157 tested positive for SIBO. When the 157 people that were diagnosed with SIBO were treated for the condition, and the extra bacteria within their intestine were eliminated, 48% of them had an improvement in their IBS symptoms.

Although it has been found that bacterial overgrowth and IBS can co-exist, researchers are still determining whether or not IBS symptoms are caused by SIBO. Some theories suggest that the high levels of methane or hydrogen gas that are caused by the overgrowth of bacteria produce IBS symptoms. However, the theories are yet to be proved.

How do you treat SIBO?
Excess bacteria are eliminated through the use of antibiotics. Unfortunately, although antibiotics can control bacteria overgrowth it isn’t a cure. Like IBS, SIBO symptoms often return when medication is ceased. Thus, antibiotic treatment is often a continuous process.

If you think you may have SIBO, talk to your doctor about taking a lactulose hydrogen test. If you find that SIBO is related to your IBS causes, or even if it’s not, it is a good idea to look into other alternative and complimentary forms of therapy to treat your symptoms such as acupuncture aside from medications.

By Susan Reynolds. To find out more about ibs diet and for information on Irritable Bowel Syndrome please visit Natural Irritable Bowel Syndrome Relief , where you can sign up for a free newsletter focusing on managing Irritable Bowel Syndrome naturally.