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LADIES – LET US TALK ABOUT INTIMACY AND LIBIDO

By Dr. C Groenewald

Let’s talk about intimacy…

Do you have a healthy sex life? What is a ‘healthy’ sex life? How many times a week/month is ‘normal’? What affects sex drive and libido?

Sex, a topic sure to raise many opinions, questions, fears and uncertainties: questions you may or may not not feel comfortable to raise with your primary health care physician, your spouse or even your friends.

As South Africans, we have come a long way since the reserved ways of our parents/grandparents, but I still find that sex is a difficult subject for many men and women. Join us, for the next few weeks, where I will discuss weekly topic, based on the most frequently asked questions in my consulting rooms. We will be focussing on libido and sex drive; hormones affecting the latter; common causes and contributing factors to anorgasmia; the working mom and all the stress running a house hold entails; anxiety and depression; and lastly, pregnancy and hormones postpartum.

This week, let us focus on libido and sex drive, as well as the hormones that fuel this drive.

1.    Hormones, and the role they play in libido.
A controversial topic, sex drive seems to be the most common complaint in woman suffering from sexual arousal disorder, long believed to be fuelled by our sex hormones, so before we go on, let us take a closer look at the hormones that play a role in female health:

  • Oestrogen: Produced by the ovaries and to a smaller degree, by the adrenal glands (endocrine glands situated on top of our kidneys) and adipose tissue (fat cells). Responsible for the pre-ovulatory thickening of the uterine wall (endometrium), in preparation for implantation of a fertilized egg, as well as growth and development of our secondary female sexual characteristics, including breasts development, armpit hair, regulation of the menstrual cycle and reproductive system. Oestrogen also plays a role in vaginal wall thickness and lubrication, prevention of bone loss and cholesterol levels.
  • Progesterone: Produced by the corpus luteum (remnants of the ovarian follicle, which produces and releases the egg), levels rise during the second part of the menstrual cycle, and is responsible for preparing the body for pregnancy, as well as maintaining the early stages of pregnancy.
  • Luteinising Hormone (LH): Produced by the anterior pituitary gland, the LH is required to stimulate the ovarian follicles, to secrete oestradiol. A surge in LH, causes the ovarian follicle to tear and release the ripe egg.
  • Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH): Also released by the anterior pituitary gland, the FSH is responsible for the growth of the ovarian follicle, as well as secretion of oestrogen.
  • Testosterone and androstenedione, the male sex hormones, are also secreted in small amounts, in women, by our ovaries. Although primarily believed to be male hormones, these hormones not only play an important role in female hormonal regulation, but also the functioning of many organs.

So what does this have to do with your sex drive? Everything and nothing.

Female Sexual Arousal Disorder (FSAD) is defined as a lack of response to sexual stimulation, either from a subjective (mental and emotional) or physical (swelling of labia and clitoris, vaginal discharge, swelling of breasts etc) arousal point of view.
Libido is NOT equal to physical arousal. Libido is a subjective desire, or passion for sex. Woman with little to no libido, can still be aroused physically by genital stimulation and have enjoyable sex and orgasms.
Genital Arousal Disorder (GAD), differs in that women are unable to become aroused physically, in spite of mental and or emotional arousal. They are unable to have an orgasm, and sex is often painful.
Woman often blame their ‘hormones’ for a lack of sex drive and libido, when in fact, there is little to no research to substantiate this. Dr. Michel Jermec, has done extensive research in this field, interestingly identifying Luteinising Hormone as a key component in libido in women. His work suggests, that high levels of LH make woman ‘horny’, while low levels make woman more apathetic to sex. This could explain, why some women are much more easily aroused during certain phases of their cycle, than others, as LH hormone surges before ovulation.

Physical arousal disorder, is much more likely to be hormone driven, considering the role of oestrogen in maintaining vaginal wall thickness, increasing blood flow to the genitals and lubrication. While the role of testosterone is still under discussion, it seems to play a role in the arousal of the clitoris and labia, and ultimately orgasm. That being said, there are other causes for genital arousal disorder and includes, but not limited to:
•    Anxiety, Depression and Stress
•    Effects of certain medications
•    History of sexual abuse
•    Strict religious upbringing
•    Menopause
•    Cystitis and Vaginitis
•    Relationship with partner
•    Self Esteem and Body Image
FSAD, mental, emotional and physical, commonly, has no clear cut cause, that one can pinpoint and treat. It is a multifaceted disease, and should be treated as such. There are many contributing factors, which overlap, and can contribute to the overall lack of libido and sexual drive. Treatment should be aimed at addressing these factors, and not just symptomatic treatment.

To identify probable causes and contributing factors of FSAD, the following assessments may be useful:

  • Overall health, including a physical examination as well as blood tests to access hormonal levels, liver function, cortisol levels, full blood count etc.;
  • Menstrual cycle, menopause, post birth and breastfeeding;
  • The Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory to assess levels of stress and possible depression;
  • Constitutional prescribing;
  • Diet and lifestyle assessment;
  • Medical history and current medications; to name a view.

From a Homeopathic point of view, the most important factor, is homeopathic constitutional prescribing, which entails finding the overall mental, emotional and physical picture, that best describes the patient.

To give an example of such constitutional prescribing, consider the following remedy and the overall mental, emotional and physical pictures, as related to FSAD:
Sepia 
    Apathetic
    Indifference to those best loved
    Very sad
    Weeps
    Aversion to company, yet dreads to be alone
    Aversion to husband
    Irritability from exertion
    Loves thunderstorms
    Anxiety
    Anger from contradiction
    Sensitive to music and noise
    Constipation during pregnancy
    Tendency to miscarriage 5th – 7th month
    Urine thick and foul smelling, urging to urinate, burning during urination
    Bearing down sensation, as if everything would escape through vulva
    Prolapse of uterus
    Aversion to sex, or complaints after
    Dryness of vagina and vulva
    Menses either late and scanty or early and profuse

“Sex is emotion in action” Mae West. ​​

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TOP 10 TIPS FOR BEATING COLDS AND FLU THIS WINTER. AND WHY HAVING MILD FORMS OF FLU AND COLDS IS ACTUALLY GOOD FOR YOU!

By Dr. C Groenewald
M.TECH HOM (UJ)

It is that time of the year again, the congested, stuffy, coughy, miserable season. Colds and flu is miserable, but it is so important to building a strong immune system. When you are exposed to a virus, your body responds by forming antibodies to that specific virus (antibody- antigen reaction). So next time when you are exposed to the same virus, your body has the necessary ammunition to nip it in the butt.

A healthy individual with a strong immune system, should be able to beat a cold in 3-7 days, and flu within 5-14 days. This is so often not the case, and I often see patients who have been suffering for more than 3 months. THREE months??? Why does this happen?

•    Low immunity or immune compromised individuals
•    Repeated use of antibiotics
•    Use of corticosteroids
•    Adrenal burnout with consequent low immune function
•    Lack of sleep
•    Poor diet
•    Leaky gut syndrome
•    Vitamin and mineral deficiency
•    Previous infections
•    Low thyroid function
•    Lack of exercise

What is the difference between a Cold vs Flu?

Common signs and symptoms of the FLU include:
•    KEY: Flu develops rapidly, feels like you have been hit by a bus.
•    Fever over 100 F (38 C)
•    Aching muscles, especially in your back, arms and legs
•    Chills and sweats
•    Headache
•    Dry cough
•    Fatigue and weakness
•    Nasal congestion

The common COLD is a viral infection (more than a 100 viruses can cause the common cold) of your upper respiratory tract — your nose and throat.
Symptoms include:
•    KEY: cold usually develops more slowly, fever is not common.
•    Runny nose,
•    Sore throat,
•    Watery eyes,
•    Sneezing and congestion
•    Possible mild cough due to post nasal drip.
•    Feeling like you ill, but not that ill to not perform normal duties

So how are you going to beat it this year? This does not mean you will not get sick, remember, you want to get a mild form of the cold and flu, to build up your immune system. It is normal and important to get a cold and flu at least 4 times per year…what is NOT normal is to be sick for weeks on end, with secondary bacterial infections and often 3 courses of antibiotics later, still feel like death warmed up. So let us help you get you dose as mildly as possible, so we can have you up and running again in no time.

TOP TEN TIPS FOR BEATING COLDS AND FLU

1.    VITAMIN C
Your first line of defence. There is amazing and exciting research demonstrating the effects of high doses Vitamin C in enhancing the immune function, and reducing the severity of colds and flu by up to 25%.
2.    Ecchinatia
This herbal tincture has both immune boosting, antiviral and antibacterial properties.
3.    Aconite 1 M
A homeopathic ‘prophylactic’ preparation, to be taken 1x per week during high risk season. At the first sign of colds and flu, you can stop a cold in its tracts, by giving Aconite 2 hourly.
4.    Multivitamin 
Especially Vitamin A, C and E, zinc and selenium. These vitamins are essential in maintaining a healthy immune system. Also enquire with your homeopath regarding Vitamin B12 and B complex immune boosting injections during the flu season.
5.    Diet 
No surprises here. A healthy balanced diet with plenty of vegetables, omega rich foods and foods rich in pre and probiotics, is the way to health this winter. Consider making freshly pressed carrot, ginger and apple juice to drink each morning, as this will have amazing immune boosting effects. Soups prepared with homemade bone broth, which does wonders for a healthy gut, and as we know, a healthy gut equals a healthy immune system.  Stay away from foods that can destroy the gut lining, 70% of your immune system resides in your gut. Foods like sugar, wheat and dairy, often have adverse effects on the integrity of the gut lining, so try and steer clear.
6.    Exercise
High intensity exercise is bad! Low intensity exercise is good. Why? High intensity exercise produced high volumes of cortisol secretion, which supresses immune function. So try doing light – moderate intensity training, yoga, Pilates and weight training, to keep you strong and healthy.
7.    Relaxation
As mentioned above. High levels of cortisol, supresses your immune system. Increased cortisol production from your adrenal glands, is as a result of increased levels of stress. Cortisol forms part of the ‘fight and flight’ cascade, and although it can do wonders for our safety short term, long term exposure to high levels of cortisol, can have detrimental health effects. So chill. Meditate. Yoga. Sound therapy. Take a much-needed holiday. Long walks with a loved one. Whatever it takes to manage your stress. There are also numerous herbs that your homeopath can prescribe, that can help nourish your adrenal glands and balance your cortisol.
8.    Sleep
6-8 hours of good quality sleep is crucial for a normal functioning immune system.
9.    Drinking enough water
250ml of water per 10kg of body weight, to support the digestive and renal systems.
10.    Immune boosters
Ask your homeopath about immune boosting biopuncture injections. This is especially useful for individuals who are prone severe colds and flu during winter.

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FLU CORNER – HOME REMEDY KIT

FLU CORNER – HOME REMEDY KIT

April is the time of the year when some countries turn their clocks backwards one or two hours to save daylight. While in South Africa the African gladiolus throws a magnificent display of tall orange flowers, the snow in the northern hemisphere is melting, releasing its locked up water, causing floods…

Why?

Because of the changing of the season!  That is why now is a good time to visit the Naturopathic Health Care Centre. We have a flu corner here providing in all your needs.

Look what is to be found in this basket:

1. Natura Influenzinum 2013-2014 (now available)

Influenzinum is an oral, homeopathically prepared flu shot alternative and a natural treatment option.  It is updated every year and made in accordance with the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia. It is diluted and potentised in the lab and rendered entirely safe and non-toxic. Influenzinum has been used for decades around the world and is praised for its effectiveness without the risks of vaccine side-effects.

2. Natura Pentagen

Pentagen contains a uniquely prepared herbal extract that is made from the roots of Pelargonium sidoides. Scientific research has proven that this South African medicinal plant has remarkable antibacterial properties and that it assists in regulating the immune system.

Clinical studies have also shown that it shortens the duration and reduces the severity of colds and other upper respiratory tract infections. Pentagen also contains key homoeopathic ingredients like Hydrastis canadensis and Kalium bichromium that have traditionally been used to relieve the unpleasant symptoms associated with colds.

For best results, take Pentagen at the first signs of a cold. It should be taken for at least 5 days, and it is recommended that it be taken for 2- 3 days after symptoms have abated to prevent recurrence.

3. Natura Gripless C is a favourite because it tastes nice, it has a soothing effect on the throat and the Ascorbic acid (Vit. C) helps to prevent the spread of infection.

Gripless C acts to prevent acute conditions from progressing and has an anti-inflammatory action that assists in relief of fever and body pain associated with influenza.  It is prescribes for  rattling bronchial mucus with difficult expectoration, burning sensation in the lungs, perspiration and fatigue.  It contains Atropa belladonna that has an anti-inflammatory action on mucous membranes to relieve symptoms of colds and influenza and Bryonia alba acts on mucous membranes to relieve dryness and tough mucus and to treat hoarseness, cough and body pain

4.  Dr. Reckeweg BIO 88 for  viral infections and  87  for bacterial infections

Dr Reckeweg & Co  is an old team player in the field of homoeopathy in South Africa.  We keep their Tegor range for bacterial & Viral infections in our flu basket .

5. Homoeopathic Injectables

There are a wide range of homoeopathic injectables available, from immune boosting to full blown flu-treatment as well as all the other pesters like sinusitis, bronchitis, otitis, asthma, etc.

6. Vit B Comp and B12 injections 

Vitamin B complex injections is prescribed by many doctors and used by many individuals for an immediate boost in energy. These injections are most useful for fatigue caused by nerve damage, diabetes, sciatica, tinnitus, influenza, effects of stress, chronic disease, B12 deficiency and a number of other conditions.

7. Vitamin supplements

What is a flu basket without the basic vitamins and minerals? There are a lot to say for Vitamin C and many other supplements but for this article I want to draw your attention to our STAR product: BRAINCHILD.

BrainChild Multi-vitamin and minerals are vital for all stages of physical and mental development and can assist in preventing health problems. BrainChild chewable multivitamin & mineral tablets for children is a tasty, raspberry flavored, chewable supplement that provides the nutrients your child needs for growing up strong and healthy.  It contains Vit A & C, antioxidants that help protect your body from free radical damage and contribute to normal functioning of the immune system. Zinc supports the immune system to help fight infections.

BrainChild Fish Oil burstlets contains omega 3, derived from coldwater fish (like mackerel, tuna, salmon and sardines), flax seeds, canola oils and soybeans.

BrainChild Combo Pack is availbale at the Naturopathic Health Care Centre

I wish you a happy healthy autumn and I am looking forward to welcome you at the Centre.

Cozy Regards

Sister Alida

To order your Flu Home Kit, please email us on office@nahcc.co.za.

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Posted in Studio.Homoeopathy, Studio.Lean

Top 5 Foods For a Healthy Gut

Hover over imgae for description.

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Posted in Studio News, Studio.Homoeopathy

Treatment of Middle ear infection (Otitis Media)?

Treatment of Middle ear infection (Otitis Media)?

Is antibiotics effective in the treatment of middle ear infection ?

(By: Dr. Chantell Groenewald M.Tech Hom (UJ), Studio.Homoeopathy)

 

Otitis Media is most commonly caused by either a viral or bacterial infection of the middle ear (the space behind the eardrum). The infection may result from a cold or flu, which causes swelling and congestion of the eustachian tubes (the narrow tube that connects the middle ear to the throat). The swelling and congestion in the eustachian tube causes the accumulation of fluid behind the eardrum and it is the infection of this fluid, which causes the symptoms of middle ear infection.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Ear pain, especially when lying down
  • Tugging or pulling at an ear
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Crying more than usual
  • Acting more irritable than usual
  • Difficulty hearing or responding to sounds
  • Loss of balance
  • Fever of 100 F (38 C) or higher
  • Drainage of fluid from the ear
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite

Treatment:

Until recently, antibiotics was the most commonly prescribed treatment for middle ear infection in children. However, the efficacy of antibiotics in the treatment of acute otitis media (AOM) is being questioned, with more and more evidence suggesting that antibiotics is in fact, of little value.

In an article published in Paediatric and Preinatal Drug Therapy (Vol.4 , Issue 2, 2000), Dr. Damoiseaux (GP) concluded, children between 6-24 months should be managed by watchful waiting, as antibiotics seems to have little effect on the symptoms at this stage. Furthermore he stressed the importance of symptomatic treatment in relieving the child’s discomfort.

Another article in The British Journal of General Practice (Br J Gen Prac. 1998) compared antibiotic treatment with non-antibiotic treatment in acute otitis media in children aged under two years using a systematic literature review and a quantitative analysis with an assessment of the methodological quality of published trials. Their conclusion was that the high prescription of antibiotics in children under two years of age in the treatment of middle ear infection is not sufficiently supported by evidence from published trials.

Symptomatic treatment of AOM (middle ear infection):

Homeopathy plays a great role in the symptomatic treatment of AOM.  A Remedy is chosen based on matching the child’s symptom picture to the remedy symptom pictures, some common middle ear infection remedies include:

  1. Aconite: Rapid onset of attack, high fever, sharp pains with bright red ears
  2. Belladonna:  Sudden onset of violent pain and high fever, inflamed right ear, worse 3pm.
  3. Chamomilla: Otitis during teething. Ears red and hot, violent pain which makes the child irritable, child wants to be held.
  4. Ferrum phos: First stage, before exudation, throbbing pain, membrane red and bulging.
  5. Pulsatilla: Otitis with every cold. Copious thick, yellow-green discharge.
  6. Silica: Chronic discharge from repeated infection.

Treatment is further aimed at building up the immune system to allow the body to heal itself. Also of vital importance is treating the gut, often previous antibiotics leaves the gut devoid of the good bacteria, which in itself can cause inflammation and poor immune function.

Conclusion:

There is a time and a place for antibiotic treatment in AOM in infants and babies up to two years of age, especially in infants less than 6 months, or high risk cases, however, 6months- 2years, watchful waiting and symptomatic treatment is the most commonly accepted treatment plan. Children older than two years, there seems to be very little evidence to support treating AOM with antibiotics in children older than 2 years of age. Homeopathy offers an alternative especially for symptomatic treatment of AOM.

 

References:

Damoiseaux, R. (2000), Antibiotics for Acute Otitis Media in Infancy: Based on fears or facts? Peadiatric and Prerinatal Drug therapy, Vol 4, Is 2, pp 58-60

Damoiseaux, R., van Balen, F., Hoes, A., de Melker, R. (1998), Antibiotic treatment of Acute Otitis Media in children under two years of age: Evidence Based? The Brittish Journal of General Practice, 48(437), pp 1861-1864

Mayo Clinic (2014), Ear infection (middle ear). Available from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ear-infections/basics/treatment/con-20014260

Middle Ear Infection

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Posted in Studio.Homoeopathy, Studio.Lean

Stress and weight gain in females

Cortisol, the stress hormone that promotes the accumulation of abdominal fat.

 

Cortisol is a major glucocorticoid hormone in humans. It is secreted from the adrenal glands, situated on top of the kidneys, and is regulated by the Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis in response to stress. Cortisone affects several systems in the body, including metabolic, central nervous system (CNS), immune system and iron transport.

Cortisol stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism i.egluconeogenesis (process by which the level of glucose in the blood stream is increased), to supply the body with ‘fast’ energy during periods of stress. High levels of cortisol during a stress response may initially curb your appetite, however, long term stress and the effects on insulin causes increased appetite. Furthermore, cortisol curbs responses that are not essential to the fight and flight response, altering the immune system response and supressing the metabolism and the reproductive system. Long term exposure to elevated levels of cortisol translates into:

  • Weight gain (specifically abdominal fat)
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Insulin resistance
  • Increased appetite
  • Supressed immune system and repetitive colds and flu
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Problems with memory and concentration

 

Fat deposition around the waist is termed visceral adipose tissue or abdominal fat. This type of fat (adipose) cell is distinctly different form the fat cells in the rest of our bodies (subcutaneous fat). Visceral adipose tissue functions as an endocrine gland, secreting hormones that have an effect on our insulin metabolism as well as good cholesterol (HDL) vs. bad cholesterol (LDL) levels. A combination of insulin resistance, high LDL and low HDL, together with increased abdominal width, is termed metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is directly related to cardiovascular health, and a predictor for cardiovascular accidents as well as stroke.

http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Abdominal-fat-and-what-to-do-about-it.htm

http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=53304

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20046037?footprints=mine

http://dujs.dartmouth.edu/fall-2010/the-physiology-of-stress-cortisol-and-the-hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-axis#.UyBS__mSxAA

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