Are We Over-Feeding Our Children and Killing Them with Kindness?

obese child

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ever year of practice, I see children becoming more over weight, more sedentary and being sick more often. Even the children that are not overweight are suffering from more compromised immunity and being set up for an adulthood impaired by illness. Many children see even come into my clinic eating countless packets of tiny teddies, crisps, lollies and all sorts and mum and dad are trying to tell them that the children eat a balanced diet, or they cant understand while their child is sick all the time. Some children quite literally have not eaten vegetable, or fruits and only eat small selections of packet and highly processed foods.

We have gone from letting children climb trees, play in the streets with friends, climb on play ground equipment and hovering over their every move, for fear they may be in danger, or hurt themselves. Thus the term “Helicopter Parent” is born

While we have gone from over protect them in the playground, we have gone to under protecting them in the lunch box, breakfast bowl and dinner plate. While being over concerned about how they may, or may not die in the playground, we are actually starting to slowly lead them to an early grave through the kitchen and their bellies.

Before we go any further, I do know that there are parents with children that do have genuine special needs and how hard it can be for them to make changes. But, even so, I have seen many of these parents make small changes for the better of their children. So if they can, we all can. Plus, there are always circumstances that are contrary to what I am talking about, I get that, but this is more about other children and other parents, who actually do have a choice in what they are putting in a child’s mouth.

Children are now eating more refined foods, more inflammatory grains, more junk foods, more sugars, more sweet drinks, more processed foods that every before. What once was a treat a few times a year, is now a staple foods source for many children and adults. While children once rode bikes and played in the playgrounds and streets, they are now sedentary and the only exercise they get is with their fingers on the controller of the play station, or X-box. Because of this, children’s muscles aren’t being moved properly, they are developing properly, they are more immune compromised and many just are not getting the vitamins, amino acids, proteins, good carbohydrates etc, needed to maintain proper health. Many children are now eating over 100gms of sugars in their diet daily.

Parent’s seem to come up with all sorts of excuses as to why their child eats the way they do, yet never seem to be taking control and actually doing something about it. Denial, defeat, blame and just not wanting to deal with the cries and demands of a child that hates change is all too much and thus the cycle continues. We bury our heads in the sands, the wine glass, the TV, the social media scene and pretend that life is grand. Many parents will even try to convince you that their child will eventually shoot up, lose the puppy fat, grow out of their fussiness and be OK. But, all the while each year their child has grown more overweight, had more illness and cant even walk to the end of the street and back. We are quite literally failing our children, by giving into them and their every demand. Like I said before, if parents with special needs can make changes to a child’s diet and lifestyle and make the effort, often under difficult circumstances, then we can make those changes for other children. It is a choice. But this isn’t about judging parents either. This is a point of saying that they need help, they need to change and educating them on what they need to do to help their child’s future. Help is always here, if you want to receive the help that is being provided.

Childhood obesity is a growing epidemic that not only puts children at risk for a lifetime of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, infertility and many other health issues, but it also creates a huge financial strain on our health system as well. According to a new study published in the journal Obesity, one out of every four children in Australia is overweight, or obese by the time they start school, and it’s costing our health system millions of dollars each year.

In this study, researchers from the University of Sydney in Australia collected all of the medical tests, diagnostics, medicines, and hospital admission data from 350 children in Australia at ages 2, 3 and a half, and 5 years old. They found that the health care costs for obese and overweight preschoolers were 60 percent higher than costs for healthy kids. Obese and overweight children were also nearly three times more likely to be admitted to the hospital for respiratory disorders, ear conditions, nasal issues, colds, flu’s and other disease states, due to poorer immune systems.

The study’s lead researcher Alison Hayes, associate professor of health economics at the University, has stated, “Childhood obesity is a serious public health issue, and is becoming an increasing problem in children under five years old. In addition to the health impacts of childhood obesity, there are major economic impacts, which may occur earlier than previously thought.”

She also says, “We know that children who are obese, or overweight, in early childhood are more likely to be obese, or overweight in later in the their childhood, adolescence and adulthood, which can lead to serious chronic diseases that have a huge impact on our health care system. This can also have impacts on families and future generations too. Early prevention of obesity is important to improve children’s health, but we need to be having more prevention and education to ease the costs and burden on the healthcare system too. We really need to get serious about this crisis in our nations health and start to take our heads out of the sand about an increasing worrying epidemic.

The researchers also noted that throughout the world, 6.9 percent of children under the age of five are either overweight or obese; however, countries such as Australia, America, and the UK have rates as high as 23 percent. According to the Centers for Disease control and Prevention, over the last 30 years in America and countries like Australia, obesity has nearly tripled among children and quadrupled among adolescents.

Children are now being raised in a world that is very different to what it was in our parents generation, 40 to 50 years ago. Parents are now feeding children more refined foods, more junk foods, more sugars, more grains, more fast foods, more sweet drinks, more sugar drinks etc, than every before. What once was a treat to a child 40-50 years ago, is now an every day occurrence, with many children consuming processed foods, sugary foods, grains, and junk foods with every meal. It is really out of control. Some children are not getting fresh foods and sustainable foods in their diets at all. Some children do not even know what some of the basic fruits and vegetables are.

We have become all too lazy when it comes to feeding our children. Childhood obesity is a disease of the environment. It’s a natural consequence of normal kids with normal genes being raised in unhealthy, abnormal environments and this was one of the findings of this landmark study.

According to the Obesity Society, overweight and obese preschoolers are five times more likely to grow up to be overweight and obese as adults. The most recent estimated annual medical costs for obese adults were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight adults. In order to lower the rates of obesity in future generations, we really do need to be looking at preventive measures and better education for children and their parents. We do know that many obese, overweight and unhealthy children have parents that over also overweight, obese, or have unhealthy eating habits and sedentary lifestyles.

This ever-growing issue might seem complex, but we need to start really looking at ourselves as parents and we also need better education in schools and the educations systems. The solution to lowering obesity rates and soaring healthcare costs is teaching adults and healthcare professionals what a healthy diet. We need to be looking at preventative measures and being more proactive, rather than reactive.

We need to get parents of overweight or obese children to consult with a qualified nutritionist and show these parents on ways to improve their everyday diet, which includes cutting empty calories and foods high in bad fats and added sugars. We need to educate parents what an actual good diet looks like and start following more of a clean eating, grain free, lower GI, primal based diet. When parents often question the use of grains and refined foods, I often ask them “How do we fatten up cattle???? ….. We Feed them grains”

Besides teaching adults and children to be eating better, we also need to teach them to be healthier on the inside, as well as outside and also the importance of exercise and also accessing healthy vitamins, probiotics, prebiotics, omega oils, amino acids and drinking water. Good education about eating starts at home and we can’t keep blaming others for all of our problems. These days we have more access to online education about our health than we ever have. It is time we take our heads out of the sand and start admitting that we have a big problem that every parent needs to recognize along with all our healthcare providers as well. We also need some of the organisations promoting health care to get with the program and stop promoting out of date education that is actually increasing the health crisis, not helping it.

At Shen Therapies, we can help parents with diet and lifestyle choices and help keep their children healthy into adulthood too.

Source: Hayes A, Simpson J, Chevalier A, D’Souza M, Baur L, and Wen LM. Early childhood obesity: Association with Healthcare expenditure in Australia. Obesity. 2016.

Excess Body Fat Can Cause Gynaecological Conditions, Lead to Menstrual Irregularities and Also Lead to Infertility

Metabolic table

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When women come to see me for help with gynaecological conditions, or couples come to see me for help with having a baby, one of the first things I ask all of them to address is excess body fats and look at diet and lifestyle modifications. Women, men, and couples who are underweight, need to look at this also, because being underweight can be just as bad as being overweight, but for the purposes of this post, we are going to look at how excess fats can not only interfere with fertility, but they can be a major driving factor in gynaecological and men’s health conditions that many face on a daily basis. Worse still, excess body fat can also lead to many cancers that both men and women get also.

One of my biggest challenges with men, women and couples is getting them to look at how excess body fat is playing a big part in their current health, the gynaecological condition they have, or how it is affecting their fertility. I always get all sorts of excuses from “My friend was overweight and he/she does not have my condition”, or “The next door neighbour is overweight and she has had 3 children” and all many of excuses that seem to be a big block in actually taking responsibility for one’s health. I get that it can be hard to get started and hard to make the steps for a better life, but at the end of the day, all these things I hear are just excuses really. Yes, the next door neighbour may not have your health issue, but they may also have some other health issue, or be at risk of another health issue. Yes, your friend might be overweight and has had a couple of children easily, but they may also be younger than you and many of the health issues they face because of their weight may not have caught up with them yet, but it will. I always have to get people to stop focusing on others and get back to looking at themselves, because other people are different. Other people are not you. We are all different individuals with different weaknesses in the body and what may affect one person, may not affect another, but this does not mean we can sit back and just do nothing about our health, or keep comparing our life to another.

Looking at a person’s overall weight is paramount for any health condition that the body faces and we need to look at the individual, not at the masses. Research shows us that excess body fat can lead to diabetes, heart disease, cardiovascular events, cancers, gynaecological issues, infertility, men’s health issues and many other complaints in the body. It can also lead to an early death too. This is a fact and no matter how many excuses people want to make, nothing is going to change the fact that excess body fat is not good for us and it causes problems with our health and now costing the health systems dearly too.

Excess body fat produces excess estrogens in the body and we are now calling these “Obestrogens”. These excess estrogens can not only have an effect on testicular and ovarian function, but they also interfere with other hormones, increase inflammation in the body and then add as drivers for other health issues in the body. These “Obestrogens’ can also interfere with your DNA and can also be passed on to your future offspring through the DNA of the sperm and eggs and also pass genetic conditions onto them as well.

Eating too many grains, sugars, alcohol and refined foods are a big cause of excess fats in the body. These foods lead to increased blood sugar levels, which in turn lead to excess insulin in the body. This then leads to the body storing fat and also stopping the burning of fat. This then leads to high levels of inflammation in the body and a big driver behind many of the major health complaints in the body and even our leading causes of death, in both men and women. When people ask me how refined foods and grains lead to excess fats I also ask them “How do we fatten up cattle and livestock?” The answer is we give them high amounts of grains which increase hormone levels, which then lead to excess growth and also lead to higher amounts of fats in their bodies.

Excess body fats are a big contributing factor in PCOS, Endometriosis, Fibroids, Cysts, Polyps, Sperm quality issues, Prostate issues, Diabetes, Infertility, Cardiovascular disease, Heart disease and Cancers in both men and women

For women excess body fat can lead to menstrual irregularities and heavy periods too, without necessarily having a known gynaecological condition. These excess fats produce estrogens, which is needed to thicken the uterine lining. But when there are too much circulating estrogens, the lining becomes too thick and unstable, eventually leading to bleeding. This can be unpredictable, and often very heavy, lasting a long period of time. These excess estrogens can then lead to gynaecological conditions such as PCOS, Endometriosis, Fibroids etc, but they can also be a big contributing driver of cancers in women.

These excess fats can also lead to men growing breasts, feminisation, having prostate cancers, prostate issues, sperm issues, diabetes, heart disease, infertility, erectile dysfunction, and many cancers that men face.

With many of the developed western countries have a population with over 70% of its people being overweight, or obese, now more than ever we need to look at ways of educating people about eating better, exercising more and looking after their health. While we need governments to intervene, we also need people to take personal responsibility too. With so much health information about the dangers of refined foods, processed foods, sugars, grains and alcohol, we really do have lots of resources that we never used to have available to us. There really is no excuse any longer. If you really do not know what a good diet is supposed to be, there are qualified health professionals, such as nutritionists etc, who can help you. If you truly are eating a proper healthy diet and exercising, then you shouldn’t be overweight. If you are doing all the right things, then there could be other underlying issues that need to be addressed by an appropriate healthcare professional. But many times I find that what people think is a healthy diet, or appropriate exercise, is very far from what a healthy diet and appropriate exercise is. It is all about what people have been taught by their family and what their perception of a healthy lifestyle is.

If you do have a gynaecological condition, have a men’s health issue, are having problem with fertility, or just need to get healthier, now is the time to act. We can no longer deny that excess fats are a major concern for the population and are causing so many health issues across the board.

Just so people know, it isn’t necessarily about weight and measuring yourself with scales. Scales do not show the amount of body fat we have and muscles weighs more than fat. We need people to get out the tape measure to truly see how much fat they have and start to look at waist measurement, rather than weight measurement.

A health male needs to have a waist measurement of 94cms or below and a woman needs to have a healthy waist measurement of 80cms or below. If a male has a waist measurement about 94cm or more, or a woman has a waist measurement of 80cms or more, both he and she are at increased risk of health issues. A measurement of above 102 cm (for men) or 88 cm (for women) is one of the components of Metabolic Syndrome, which puts you at increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancers.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is vital protection against many of the health issues we face. Regular exercise, limiting alcohol, non-smoking, a nutritious diet, reducing grains and refined foods and stress reduction are all important. The lower GI diets (Primal, Zone etc) have been shown to be much better than others for people who are overweight, obese and have excess body fats. At Shen Therapies we believe that we can give you the best dietary advice available. A healthy diet, nutritional and herbal supplementation has been researched and shown to benefit many people and is a big part of our overall treatment for everybody that comes to see us for help. Please know that we are here to help you, not judge you. Helping you, help yourself have a better life and have better health, is our priority.

Acupuncture Treats, Clears & Prevents Migraines

Acupuncture on skin,Closeup.

 

 

Researchers have successfully documented not only that acupuncture is safe and effective for the relief of migraines, but also how acupuncture achieves positive outcomes.

As a past sufferer (yes past sufferer) of Migraines, I know all too well how debilitating and painful this condition can be when an attack happens. Even when the initial stage of the Migraine subsides, the aura and residual effects can last for days. While pain medication is a much needed part of the process, I also know that if you don’t administer the medication at the right time, the medication sometimes will have little, or no effect, once the migraine takes hold. Worse still, the withdrawal effects of these very strong pain medications can often then induce migraines and headaches, which then require further medication. It really can be a never-ending viscous cycle.

Migraines really do need a multimodality approach to them because the causes of them come from neck dysfunction(sublaxations), diet, blood sugars, hormones, stress and lifestyle. This is why an individual approach is always needed to properly assess, evaluate and treat migraines is needed. Too many people are just patching their condition, with a variety of treatments that really are only just getting them through to the next attack. What people need is a treatment that will not only treat the cause of their migraines, but also help prevent further migraines and give them long term relief and even cure. Acupuncture is just one component in that overall treatment and prevention. So let’s look at how acupuncture can help.

Acupuncture has been shown to induce important biological responses to prevent and alleviate migraines. Imaging studies of the brain using fMRI technology confirm that acupuncture causes specific cortical responses to achieve lasting analgesic effects. In addition, blood level measurements document specific responses to acupuncture that play an important role in preventing and eliminating pain.

Researchers conclude that acupuncture is effective for the prevention and treatment of migraine headaches. A meta-analysis of controlled clinical and laboratory investigations are the basis for the conclusion. In analysis of recent clinical trials, they showed the effectiveness of acupuncture as a treatment for migraines, with less migraine days and less pain intensity levels when acupuncture was administered. Furthermore, no severe adverse effects occurred. A follow-up of up to three months following acupuncture treatments maintained the same results and showed that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of migraines both on the short-term and long-term basis.

In some of the investigation, researchers conducting a clinically-controlled study using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) where they found a significant decrease in the functional connectivity of the right frontoparietal network of migraine patients. This connectivity dysfunctions was found to be reversible after four weeks of treatment using acupuncture. This is another curative effect of acupuncture that is quantifiable in repeated controlled experiments.

For over 7 thousand years, people have used acupuncture in China for the treatment of various pain conditions, including migraines. It is useful, both as a supplementary treatment and as an alternative treatment, in situations where there is no response to drug therapy. Migraines are a headache disorder affecting a broad population that causes many burdens due to associated healthcare costs and people not being able to go to school and work.

Up to 25% of households in Australia and the United States have at least one member who suffers from migraines. The estimated total number of migraine patients in the United States alone exceeds 28 million and half of them have reduced work or school productivity. In Australia millions of people suffer from Migraines daily and it also affects their work, study and general day to day function, with some not even able to leave their homes due to this debilitating condition.

Scientists have uncovered some of the biochemical mechanisms responsible for acupuncture’s pain killing effects. Drugs used for the treatment of migraines not only have a analgesic action, but they also activate a reaction in the cerebral vessels. In the studies analyzed it was found that acupuncture has been found this very same analgesic action and also activated the same process in the cerebral vessels. The studies revealed acupuncture’s ability to regulate key regions of the brain affected by migraines. The areas are essentially the pain circuitry regions of the brain and cognitive components of pain processing. In addition, acupuncture also restores normal serum nitric oxide (NO) levels that have been found to be almost 55% higher in patients with migraines. Excess NO is a potent vasodilator contributing to headaches and acupuncture restores homeostasis. The regulatory effects of acupuncture can be quantified as early as the fifth acupuncture session and the effects are cumulative.

Based on these and other studies in the meta-analysis, the researchers conclude that acupuncture improves patients’ psychological profile, relieves pain, is safe and cost-effective, and has been found to be at least as effective as conventional preventative pharmacologic treatments for migraines.

At Shen Therapies we know how to treat Migraines properly and also help prevent them returning. We use a multimodaility approach that also give an individualized treatment and also looks at the individuals cause. Our aim is to prevent Migraines from happening in the first place and hopefully prevent them from returning for good. With the right care, this can be done and now research is now backing up what we have known for many years.

References:

Wang Y, Xue CC, Helme R, Da Costa C, Zheng Z (2015) Acupuncture for Frequent Migraine: A Randomized, Patient/Assessor Blinded, Controlled Trial with One-Year Follow-Up. Evid based Complement Alternat Med 2015: 920353.

Da Silva AN (2015) Acupuncture for migraine prevention. Headache 55: 470-473.

Vijayalakshmi I, Sjankar N, Saxena A, Bhatia MS (2014) Coomparison of effectiveness of acupuncture therapy and conventional drug therapy on psychological profile of migraine patients. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 58: 69-76.

What You Can Eat During Pregnancy

Pregnant belly 2

 

 

 

“What you can eat during Pregnancy”

Earlier this year, I put up a post to see what people thought that you (can) and (can’t) eat during… pregnancy, or if you were trying to fall pregnant. It was really interesting to see what foods people thought you could not eat during pregnancy. It is really interesting that most people want to tell you want you can’t eat, but hardly anyone tells you what you can eat during pregnancy and while trying to fall.

What prompted this post was that a while back I overheard one of my staff and lovely mother to be, talking to another mother to be about what she has been cutting from her diet while she was pregnant and how her food choices were so limited.

I heard all kind of wonderful things from not eating any seafood; not eating any cold meat, not eating soft cheeses, not eating eggs, not eating nuts and nearly the whole food pyramid was being added.

What many people don’t know is that I actually have a background in food science and that I used to teach about bacteria and food hygiene and the nasty consequences of what bacteria can do to the body.

Most pregnant women have the number one fear of foods containing Listeria. It is a rare form of bacteria but it can be fatal (very rare) to a lady if she is pregnant and cause issues such as miscarriage. So not discounting it at all and some countries around the world do not have the food hygiene standards we have here in Australia. We only see about 5 cases per million people in Australia. Basically there is about 0.3-0.4% chance of getting it and we all make such a big deal about it. Again, this is not to discount it either. Listeria can be found in unpasteurised products such as diary and cheese and can be found in some forms of deli meats mainly.

But if a health issues such as Listeria poisoning is so rare, why do we make such a fuss about it and not warn women of other potentially worse factors that cause more cases per year, and can be potentially fatal too. The problem is if women only hear about the foods they can’t eat, many of them are going to be nutrient deficient all for the fear of a tiny chance of listeria causing an issue with a pregnancy.

The truth is, other bacteria such as Salmonella, Shigella and Camphyobacter have a higher rate of infection per year than listeria ever will and nobody ever talks about them. There are over 25,000 cases of these combined and most of the spread is through person to person contact, not just foods themselves. Basically many food poisoning cases are actually from bacteria being on your own hands, which then at some stage end up in, or near your mouth. This is why smokers are at higher risk of food poisoning.

Then we have a far wider implication of gestational diabetes, which account for about 15,000 plus, pregnant women per year, with an annual increase of 5% per year. When someone eats sugary foods, highly processed foods, grains etc during pregnancy, that are a major cause of diabetes, nobody says a thing. Yet mention the word Brie cheese, cold meats etc and everyone goes nuts.

So what do pregnant women really need to know and what can you eat?

Basically the same food hygiene that is needed when you aren’t pregnant is to be observed when you are. There only needs to be a little bit more caution, not an ‘OMG’ stay clear of everything, that unreliable Dr Google, or ‘Someone’, has told you. I would love to know who ‘Someone’ is because he, or she, causes a lot of problems. Remember temperatures between 5 and 60 degrees C are you danger zone area. This is why foods need to be stored below 5 degrees and heated over 60 degrees C.

So what can you eat?

  • So basically you can eat any deli meats as long as they are cryo-vacced and in date. Cryovacced means the air has been taken out and not even bacteria can live in an non-oxygenated environment.
  • You can eat all seafoods as long as they are cooked and fresh.
  • You can eat all cheeses but need to be more careful around the soft cheeses. New research actually shows that small amounts can be beneficial for you. If you cook soft cheeses there is definitely no issue. Just don’t eat cheeses from unpasteurised sources.
  • You can have any form of pasteurised milk or UHT milk.
  • You can have soft serve ice-cream as long as the place you are getting it from looks hygienically clean. Maybe not a good idea to get them from the old ice-cream trucks that aren’t checked regularly by food standards.
  • You can eat nuts and now there is evidence to show that mums not eating nuts during pregnancy may now be the cause of nut allergies.
  • You can definitely eat eggs and you just have to make sure they aren’t raw. Boiled eggs, poached eggs and fried eggs are all fine. Egg custard is fine because it is cooked
  • You can eat all meats if they are cooked and you don’t have to char it until it resembles an old leather shoe. Medium is fine. You just need to cook all chicken right through because all chicken contains salmonella and cooking it kills it.
  • You can have coffee and tea and you just need to limit all caffeine to no more than two cups per day (remember tea has as much caffeine as coffee)

Basically the healthy food pyramid we teach at Shen Therapies needs to be applied.

1. Take our ConceptShen Multivitamin & Omega 3 Oils daily and take a probiotic

2. Eat 2 handful of nuts daily or two tablespoons of healthy oils

3. Limit you grains to one serve (only) per day or cut them completely (best)

4. Eat 2 pieces of low GI fruits per day

5. Protein with every meal or snack

6. 3 serves of veggies or salads per day (just not from a salad bar)

7. 8 glasses of water

8. 2 serves of electrolytes per day when pregnant

9. 30 -45 minutes exercise 2-3 times per week

# No diet drinks or artificial sweeteners at all

Remember food is to be enjoyed and so is pregnancy. Don’t get too caught up in all the worry of what you can’t eat and look more at what you can eat and stick to those foods.

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Fibromyalgia

acupuncture

 

 

 

 

TCM and Fibromyalgia

Traditional acupuncture takes a holistic approach to health and regards illness as a sign that the body is out of balance. The exact pattern and degree of imbalance is unique to each individual. The traditional acupuncturists skill lies in identifying the precise nature of the underlying disharmony and selecting the most effective treatment. The choice of acupuncture points will be specific and individual to each patients needs. Traditional acupuncture can also be used as a preventive measure to strengthen the constitution and promote general wellbeing.

Fibromyalgia often happens after a chronic illness, or disease state, such as Chronic Fatigue, Ross River Fever etc. Fibromyalgia needs a multi-modality approach to treat it effectively as no single therapy on its own offers a complete fix to this issue. In Chinese Medicine Fibromyalgia is seen as a disharmony of 3 of the major organs (Spleen, Liver and Kidneys). In Chinese medicine when they talk about the Spleen they are talking about the gut and the immune system. The Kidneys is the Adrenals and the Liver is either the physical liver or the emotional side of the liver, being anger and frustration.

The major pattern of disharmony for Fibromyalgia, according to TCM, is called hot Bi-Sydrome. The Chinese believe that excess fluids cause excess fluids to build in the body (called dampness), and this causes inflammation and heat. They also say that internal wind pushes the damp around the system. Think of the wind over a fire. Basically this relates to wide spread inflammation.  Because the organs are in disharmony they cannot transport the fluids properly, detox properly and this cause stagnation in the body. Think of damming a running river and then the water builds up and becomes stagnant. This fluid accumulation, the inflammation and stagnant state cause heat and pain all over the body and this then represents itself as Fibromyalgia.

This is where acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help. The acupuncture and Chinese herbs helps stimulate the organs to work properly, the acupuncture works locally on circulation and pain, and both the herbs and acupuncture reduce inflammation and remove fluids from the body to help in the overall treatment.

On a western medicine perspective, TCM and acupuncture help to release endorphins into the body to help pain and inflammation. They also help with adrenal function and help with any stress response causing inflammation in the body. TCM and acupuncture also help with circulation of the fluids and help with the immune system and gut so that the body functions healthily again.

In modern times with the advent of TENS (Transcutaneous Electro Neuro Stimulation, or Electro stimulation), acupuncture needles can have electro pulses run through them to stimulate nerves and muscles at a local level. It also helps to stimulate more pain helping endorphins into the system and helps to transport the fluid accumulation causing the pain response and inflammation. This electro stimulation helps to increase the efficiency of the acupunctures therapeutic response and helps with increased success in the treatment of pain and arthritic like conditions like fibromyalgia. This can be seen in many of the latest studies on helping pain be electro-acupuncture.

Acupuncture may help relieve pain in patients with fibromyalgia by:

  • altering the brains chemistry, increasing endorphins (Han 2004) and neuropeptide Y levels (Lee 2009; Cheng 2009), and reducing serotonin levels (Zhou 2008);
  • evoking short-term increases in mu -opioid receptors binding potential, in multiple pain and sensory processing regions of the brain (Harris 2009);
  • stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, which leads to release of endorphins and other neurohumoral factors, and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord (Pomeranz 1987, Zhao 2008);
  • reducing inflammation, by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors (Kavoussi 2007, Zijlstra 2003)
  • improving muscle stiffness and joint mobility by increasing local microcirculation (Komori 2009), which aids dispersal of swelling.

The Chinese have been treating Fibromyalgia like symptoms for centuries with acupuncture and Chinese herbs and had great success in doing so. While this modern disease state may be known by another name to Chinese Medicine, the cause is still the same as it was 10,000 years ago. In Chinese Medicine they treat the cause to fix a complaint, not treat the symptoms and hope the cause gets fixed at the same time. Basically stress, diet, poor gut function, poor adrenal function, lifestyle and emotional factors and disease states (chronic fatigue, EBV, Ross River etc) are all the cause and these all need to be addressed to fix Fibromylagia. Just addressing the pain (the symptoms) isn’t going to fix this complex issue.

 

 

The Link Between Endometriosis and Cancer

cancer-8-Endometrial-Cancer

 

 

 

 

The Link Between Endometriosis and Cancer

We all know that Endometriosis is a debilitating disease, but many people don’t realise the possible future implications of this disease, mixed with our highly inflammatory diets and lifestyle. It is a recipe for an inflammatory disease to actually turn into cancerous states. There have been many studies to date showing the link between inflammation and cancer and endometriosis is definitely an inflammatory disease that needs to be treated and prevented before it could turn to cancer.

We need to really take this disease more seriously than our patients, and many in the medical community probably realise. Prevention is always the key to any disease, and endometriosis could possibly be prevented through proper education, looking into family history and looking into the parental mode of inheritance and knowing more about gene expression and expression of disease states in the body. This is why I think all young girls should be educated about what a proper menstrual cycle should be like and that period pain is not normal. Through proper education about diet and lifestyle inflammatory diseases, such as endometriosis, could be prevented from happening and early intervention with herbal medicines and other natural anti-inflammatories, medical treatments, interventions and education could also help to prevent it from becoming worse than it already is. We also need to educate all that young girls can have endometriosis and that early intervention and treatment is their best chance for their future health and fertility too.

Endometriosis, like cancer, is characterised by cell invasion and unrestrained growth. Furthermore, endometriosis and cancer are similar in other aspects, such as the development of new blood vessels and a decrease in the number of cells undergoing apoptosis. In spite of these similarities, endometriosis is not considered a malignant disorder.

The possibility that endometriosis could, however, transform and become cancer has been debated in the literature since 1925. Mutations in the genes that encode for metabolic and detoxification enzymes, such as GALT and GSTM, have been implicated in the pathogenesis of endometriosis and in the progression to carcinoma of the ovary (Swiersz 2006). PTEN, a tumour suppressor commonly mutated (50%) in endometrial carcinoma, is found mutated in endometrioid carcinoma of the ovary, but not in other forms of ovarian cancer. There are data to support that ovarian endometriosis could have the potential for malignant transformation. Epidemiologic and genetic studies support this notion. It seems that endometriosis is associated with specific types of ovarian cancer (endometrioid and clear cell) (Vlahos et al, 2010). The relationship between endometriosis and ovarian cancer is an intriguing and still poorly investigated issue. Specifically, histological findings indicate a definitive association between  endometriosis  and endometrioid/clear cell carcinoma of the ovary (Parihar&Mirge 2009).

A recent study has shown that somatic mutations in the PTEN gene were identified in 20% of endometrioid carcinomas and 20.6% of solitary endometrial cysts, suggesting that inactivation of the PTEN tumor suppressor gene is an early event in the development of ovarian endometrioid carcinoma. In addition to cancerous transformation at the site of endometriosis, there is recent evidence to indicate that having endometriosis itself may increase a woman’s risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, malignant melanoma, and breast cancer (Swiersz 2006).

Women with endometriosis appear to be more likely to develop certain types of cancer. Brinton, PhD, Chief of the Hormonal and Reproductive Epidemiology branch at the National Cancer Institute has studied the long-term effects of endometriosis, which led her to Sweden about 20 years ago. Using the country’s national inpatient register, she identified more than 20,000 women who had been hospitalised for endometriosis.[1] After an average follow-up of more than 11 years, the risk for cancer among these women was elevated by 90% for ovarian cancer, 40% for hematopoietic cancer (primarily non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma), and 30% for breast cancer. Having a longer history of endometriosis and being diagnosed at a young age were both associated with increased ovarian cancer risk (Brinton et al, 1997).

Farr Nezhat, MD, Chief of Gynecologic Minimally Invasive Surgery and Robotics at St. Luke’s and Roosevelt Hospitals in New York City and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Columbia University, spoke on the pathogenesis of endometriosis and ovarian cancer. He said studis suggest that alterations in bcl-2 and p53 may be associated with the malignant transformation of endometriotic cysts (Nezhat et al, 2002). Dr.Nezhat also cited research on the link between epithelial ovarian cancer and endometriosis. According to a 2000 study of women with ovarian cancer by Hiroyuki Yoshikawa and colleagues, endometriosis was present in 39% of the women with clear cell tumours and 21% of those with endometrioid tumours, vs just 3% of those with serous or mucinous tumours. Endometriosis may be the precursor of clear cell or endometrioid ovarian cancer (Yoshikawa et al, 2000).

If you combine inflammation with oestrogen as with both endometriosis and ovarian or uterine cancers, it’s going to be a vicious circle, as the 2 diseases share numerous other characteristics. For example, both are related to early menarche and late menopause, infertility, and nulliparity. Factors that relieve or offer protection against both conditions include tubal ligation, oral contraceptives, hysterectomy, and progesterone exposure.

Some authors also suggest that there is an also increased risks of colon cancer, ovarian cancer, thyroid cancer non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and malignant melanoma in women with endometriosis when compared with the general population (Brinton et al, 2005).

If you do have patients with endometriosis you do need to take into consideration the future implications of this disease, not only the pain and turmoil it causes on the way, but also the future possibility that endometriosis could also lead to cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, or many of the other cancers that can be found in the body.

There are complementary medicine treatments that can also help to suppress and treat microscopic endometriosis implants, but they also help to treat the inflammation fuelling the disease as well. There are also complementary medicines to increase circulation and improve the lining of the uterus and surrounding structures and also help suppress cancerous cells seen with CIN. We need to combine these with medical treatments, interventions and investigations to give patients the best possible chance with beating this disease. The Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists now recommend using complementary medicines such as Chinese Herbal Medicine, Acupuncture and Naturopathy, alongside medical approaches, for endometriosis in their guidelines for the treatment of this disease.

Obviously we all need to get our patients onto a grain free, anti-inflammatory diet to also help with the prevention of these diseases such as endometriosis, plus supplements such as omega 3 oils and antioxidants that also offer protection and prevention against inflammatory diseases too.

Hope this helps everyone to understand a bit more about endometriosis and expand your learning about this disease state a bit more. Gets you thinking doesn’t it.

Take care

Regards

DrAndrew Orr

 

Why Artificial Sweeteners Are Killing You

what if I told you artificial sugars are killing you

 

 

 

 

Recent studies have shown that Artificial Sweeteners increase Obesity, Diabetes, Cardiovascular and Cancer risks and are a major part of one of the many issues slowly killing the us and turning the world population into super obese people.

Right now that can of Coke Zero, diet soda, or Pepsi max doesn’t look so good after all. Neither should it, because the ingredients in those drinks, when consumed, even if just once, or twice per week, are slowing taking years off your life and affecting your health and disrupting your reproductive, metabolic, cardiovascular, endocrine and immunes function.

But it isn’t just these drinks that are the issue. These artificial sweeteners are in are in everything from foods you are eating daily, many popular/fad protein shakes, chewing gum and even kids chewable vitamins. Yes, those vitamins are providing your children with a chemical toxic ingredient on a daily basis, under the banner that it is good for you.

People do need to take the blinkers off and realize that these artificial sugars are in fact a toxic chemical that the body cannot covert properly, tends to store in fat tissue and then covert to other toxic substances in the body. They are worse for you than naturally occurring sugars and that is a scientific and even logical fact. They are chemically engineered and they do not naturally occur in our environment. This doesn’t mean refined sugar is good for you either, but it is definitely better processed by the body and there are better options for sugar than refined sugar cane.

The problem is that most of the population has a sugar addiction and it is slowly killing them, or for some, it is killing them quite quickly. This is not just some conspiracy theory at all. The whole is now facing the fact that most of its population is overweight and resembling the characters off the movie “Wall-E”. But worse still people are now thinking that the chemically laden substitutes are actually a better alternative to sugar. Not so

Consumption of noncaloric, artificially sweetened beverages (ASBs) is associated with an increased risk for disease variety of chronic diseases, according to an opinion article by Susan E. Swithers, PhD, a professor of behavioral neuroscience at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, publishedin Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism

In recent years, some high-profile studies have caused concern, suggesting that pregnant women who use high-intensity sweeteners incur risks, including premature delivery. Studies in mice have highlighted cancers related to ingestion of sweeteners in large quantities and potential diabetogenic effects of artificial sweeteners through microbiota.

“Frequent consumers of these sugar substitutes are at increased risk of excessive weight gain, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease,” Dr. Swithers writes.

The prospective studies Dr. Swithers reviewed found an elevated risk for weight gain and obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and hypertension in those who consumed ASBs..

Participants who regularly consumed ASBs tended to have higher baseline body mass indexes compared with participants who did not.

Similar studies showed that these artificial sweeteners are also putting children at a major health risk and definitely are a part of the obesity epidemic that is fast turning our children in super obese adults.

Hormones, Brain Response Altered

Brain responses are altered in those who consume artificial sweeteners compared with those who consume caloric sweeteners. In addition, studies in humans have found that the release of hormones and other markers need for hormone synthesis and insulin regulation and glucose homeostasis, are disrupted after ingestion of artificial sweeteners. Many of these artificial sweeteners are actually endocrine disruptors that are affecting the conversion of cholesterol into hormones and causing what many know as “The pregnenolone steal”. Basically you aren’t producing your hormones properly and not converting many of our much-needed hormones at all. Plus obesity is causing hormonal disruption by too much fat, which are now being termed as “Obestrogens”.

Current findings suggest that caution and avoidance of about artificial sweeteners is warranted. People need to open their eyes and look at the foods they are consuming on a daily basis. Many of them have hidden artificial sugars and additives in them and worse still, many of the foods children are consuming daily are the same. We all need to start to eat less process foods, avoid refined sugars, avoid artificial sugars, increase vegetable and fruits, increase nuts and seeds, increase our protein and where possible eat fresh organic foods.

Forget global warming killing us off, the world is doing a pretty good job of its own by ingesting chemically laden foods and sugar substitutes such as these artificial sweeteners.

 

 

Increasing Pregnancy Rates With PGD Testing & Shen Therapies Fertility Program

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Increasing Pregnancy Rates With PGD Testing & Shen Therapies Fertility Program

At least three things are required for a successful pregnancy during in vitro fertilization (IVF): a healthy embryo, a receptive endometrium, and careful transfer at the proper time in the cycle. IVF has improved significantly in its almost 40-year history. Different types of hormone and fertility drugs have been developed that are easier to administer and are associated with an improved safety profile. In addition, numerous stimulation protocols are available that allow us to individually tailor treatments. For example, ultrasound-guided embryo transfer using soft catheters and embryo glue (enzyme to assist implantation) has also helped with ensuring better placement of the embryo, without trauma to the endometrium, but very few clinics are actually doing this. Tests can also be used to evaluate the receptivity of the endometrium in order to determine the best time to schedule the transfer.

Despite all these improvements, however, implantation and pregnancy rates with IVF only slowly increase year after year.

The rate-limiting step of IVF is implantation. It requires the proper interaction of a healthy embryo and a receptive endometrium. It often fails due to problems with the embryos. The genetic health of the embryo depends on both its inherited genetic material and on the errors and repairs during the cell divisions. A chromosomally abnormal embryo is unlikely to implant, and when it does it is likely to be lost early on. Many embryos that are transferred have chromosomal abnormalities, even if they look fine on the outside, or are classified as being the best grade prior to transfer. We need people to understand that just because and embryo has reached Blastocyst, or Morella stage and it looks like a good quality embryo from the outside, it does not mean that the inside and the chromosomes inside the embryo are OK. Not every fertilised egg will result in a genetically sound embryo that will go on to become a baby.

We also need people to realise that an embryo is made up the genetic material of two people and that requires the sperm to be healthy both outwardly, but also chromosomally, and this can change with each batch of sperm ejaculated. Sperm quality and the viability of sperm changes and just because something was “OK” last cycle, or two years ago, or last month, or last week, does not mean that it is OK now. People need to face the reality of what happens with the body and reproduction. The health of the sperm is also reflected in the health and lifestyle and age of the male too. Unhealthy males produce unhealthy sperm and higher levels or sperm with chromosomal abnormalities and damage to the DNA. Unless you are testing every batch of sperm for DNA and chromosomal abnormalities, you aren’t going to see this and even then, testing can only see so much.

A healthy embryo also requires a female to be healthy and her eggs to be health chromosomally and on a DNA level. Egg quality is also related to age, diet, lifestyle, environment, and exposure to environmental disruptors, weight, body fat, stress and so many other factors. We need people to be aware of this. Then when you put two unhealthy people’s genetic and reproductive material together, there is a high likelihood that it will produce higher numbers of abnormal embryos, and sometimes it can be all of them. It all depends on the health of the sperm and health of the eggs at time of fertilisation.

Various methods of genetic testing of embryos have been evaluated in past decades. One can test the chromosome content of the polar bodies, but a cleavage-stage embryo (day 3 of development) or a blastocyst-stage embryo can be evaluated as well. In addition, various techniques  are available for assessing the chromosomes.  There are also new testing and new technologies that have addressed the shortcomings of these earlier tests.

The authors of a recent systematic review concluded that comprehensive genetic screening of embryos using day 5 blastocyst biopsy is associated with increased implantation and pregnancy rates. In addition, this technology appears to be a good tool to limit the number of embryos transferred. But embryos can still be tested early on in their development, with good results, too.

Most experts recommend genetic testing of embryos in women with advanced reproductive age, recurrent implantation failure, recurrent pregnancy loss, or severe male factor infertility/DNA issues. This then gives a greater probability of transferring a chromosomally normal embryo and having a higher chance of implantation and pregnancy occurring. But even a chromosomally normal embryos doesn’t ensure a pregnancy. This is often the hardest thing for people to get their heads around. To be honest, much of this comes down to luck and is really in the hands of the gods.

But what you can do to ensure healthy egg quality, healthy sperm quality, healthy embryo quality, healthy uterine lining, decreases stress levels, optimal health at time of transfer etc, is being on our highly successful fertility program, which has been shown to increase a couples fertility and success rates by 96.1% * ( http://shentherapies.com.au/success-rates/ ) and has helped over 12,000 babies into the world.

For more information on our highly successful fertility program, please call the clinic on 07 32795697, or email us at info@shentherapies.com.au.  You can also visit our website and our web page that explains more about our fertility program as well http://shentherapies.com.au/shen-therapies-highly-successful-fertility-program/

References

  1. Mains L, Van Voorhis BJ. Optimizing the technique of embryo transfer. Fertil Steril. 2010;94:785-790. Abstract
  2. Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology. Clinic Summary Report. https://www.sartcorsonline.com/rptCSR_PublicMultYear.aspx?ClinicPKID=0 Accessed April 27, 2015.
  3. Staessen C, Platteau P, Van Assche E, et al. Comparison of blastocyst transfer with or without preimplantation genetic diagnosis for aneuploidy screening in couples with advanced maternal age: a prospective randomized controlled trial. Hum Reprod. 2004;19:2849-2858. Abstract
  4. Mastenbroek S, Twisk M, van Echten-Arends J, et al. In vitro fertilization with preimplantation genetic screening. N Engl J Med. 2007;357:9-17. Abstract
  5. Yang Z, Liu J, Collins GS, et al. Selection of single blastocysts for fresh transfer via standard morphology assessment alone and with array CGH for good prognosis IVF patients: results from a randomized pilot study. Mol Cytogenet. 2012;5:24.
  6. Scott RT Jr, Upham KM, Forman EJ, et al. Blastocyst biopsy with comprehensive chromosome screening and fresh embryo transfer significantly increases in vitro fertilization implantation and delivery rates: a randomized controlled trial. Fertil Steril. 2013;100:697-703. Abstract
  7. Forman EJ, Tao X, Ferry KM, et al. Single embryo transfer with comprehensive chromosome screening results in improved ongoing pregnancy rates and decreased miscarriage rates. Hum Reprod. 2012;27:1217-1222. Abstract
  8. Scott RT Jr, Upham KM, Forman EJ, et al. Cleavage-stage biopsy significantly impairs human embryonic implantation potential while blastocyst biopsy does not: a randomized and paired clinical trial. Fertil Steril. 2013;100:624-630. Abstract

 

Why Early Puberty Is More Common Than Ever

hot water bottle

 

 

 

 

Why Early Puberty Is More Common Than Ever

In today’s modern world we are seeing more and more young girls going through puberty much younger than they used to. We do know that girls as young as 7 years old are getting their menstrual cycle and going through all the changes of puberty, yet these poor children aren’t able to fully comprehend the emotional changes that go with it, or what this means for them on a reproductive level. Researchers Blame Childhood Obesity, Endocrine Disruptors and I will discuss this at length for you all.

It wasn’t that long ago the average girl would begin menstruating around the age of 16 or 17. On average, the general consensus would have been that girls could be starting to begin menstruation around the age of 14 years old. By early 2000’s, that age had fallen to less than 13 years old and now it has fallen again to being as young as 7 years old.

What we forget is that even before a girl gets her first period, there are signs of maturation that signal impending changes, and these come even earlier. So actually, some of these girls are beginning their puberty phase when they are 5 years, or 6 years old. A generation ago, less than 5 percent of girls would see these changes in their bodies— being breast growth, body hair, acne, pubic hair and all the other things that go with puberty. But now many of these young girls are seeing this around 7 years old, with an average age being 8 years old, for all of these changes to start to happen. This is definitely becoming the increasing norm and some experts think this age is still falling. Some doctors see fit to begin assessing girls for puberty-related changes at age 6.

Classically, precocious puberty has defined puberty that begins before age 8 in girls and 9 in boys, but this is no longer universally accepted. In general experts are now saying that 7 years old is now probably a normal age to have some signs of puberty. While they are some that may not agree, we do need to start asking the big questions as to why this is happening?

So far, researchers haven’t proven any physical risks that come with early maturity. Although this could pose a significant risk to their ongoing fertility, bone health and also be putting women into menopause earlier too.

Many researchers have suggested that the main risks that come along with precocious puberty are not biological. Recent studies have found that girls who began the process early had an increased risk of depression during their adolescent years. There are also social risks that can disrupt a girl’s healthy development.

Puberty can be very confusing and emotionally damaging for girls, as they may face “sexual innuendo or teasing” long before they’re ready for it, according to researchers and experts. Early puberty may change the way a girl behaves, along with the way others behave towards her. This could pose other significant risk factors such as early pregnancy, but also exposure to STI’s and many other things these young girls are too young and too naive to know. This could even lead to earlier use of alcohol and drugs as well.

Why Is It Happening?

One of the biggest issues for young girls, and women in general, is changes in diet and higher use of highly processed foods and high intake of grains. This leads to higher levels of insulin and then the body storing more fats and stops the burning of fats and this then also creates inflammatory disease in the body. High insulin levels also lead to higher levels of estrogen in the body too. This is leading to more children being overweight and problem with changes to hormones, their cycles and gynaecological conditions. Childhood obesity rates have increase exponentially in the past 30 years, with more than one-third of children and adolescents weighing in as overweight, or obese. What people fail to realize is these Fat cells produce estrogen ( now known as Obestrogens), which plays a central role in stimulating breast growth in girls, causing problems with hormones, causing gynaecological conditions and playing a major factor in them getting their cycles much younger.

Researchers and experts are saying that obesity is leading to earlier puberty and this theory is well supported by the fact that these girls’ breasts are developing at a much younger age, and the age at which they start to menstruate has declined. The ovaries control menstruation, signaling that earlier breast development may be occurring because of different variables such as diet and environmental factors

There may be are other factors at play, other than diet, lifestyle and obesity though. Girls at a normal weight have been starting puberty earlier as well, though at a lower rate than these girls whom are overweight, or obese. Chemicals known as endocrine disruptors, such as the phthalates used in the production of plastics, as another potential contributor to early puberty have been cited as the most likely cause. They mimic estrogen and also cause disruption to the reproductive function and could therefore cause precocious breast growth and issues with the menstrual cycle. We know that there are over 87,000 chemical found in our foods, plastics, and preservatives and even in our water ways from detergents and even small traces of the contraceptive pill making its way into our water we drink as well. Others have said stress during childhood can play a role in prompting puberty as well.

Many children now face far more stresses that did in generations gone by, with many children growing up in families with a lot of domestic violence, arguing at home, or violence in their neighborhood are more likely to develop earlier. There have been studies and research that has suggested that girls who grew up without their biological father were twice as likely to get their period before age 12.

Scientists are even researching prenatal variables. Researchers now know that the parental mode of inheritance, through genes, is one way parents health, diet and lifestyle is being passed onto children. One study found that overweight mothers who developed gestational diabetes while pregnant gave birth to daughters who would start puberty earlier in life, regardless of what the girls themselves weighed. But, we also now know that the sins of the fathers can play a part in a child’s development. If the father isn’t healthy at the time of conceptions, or has genetic abnormalities, or genetic issues, these can be passed through the sperm and then onto a child, who then is affected with this issues that get expressed later, or now early, in life.

Regardless of whether its cause is environmental, genetic, biological, or some combination, precocious puberty may be reaching a biological breaking point.

This is why we need to be more of our children’s health early on, but we also need to be aware of our own health, before conceiving too, as we can pass our genetic disposition onto our children.

Early intervention and prevention is the centre of managing any issue such as this and this is why we need to teach our children better eating habit, having a healthy active body and also being in touch with their bodily functions and emotions at a young age

Period pain and menstrual irregularities are not normal and we need to teach young girls this. Please see our article of what a proper menstrual cycle should be like to familiarize you and your daughter with this. The earlier you get onto menstrual issues and gynaecological issues, the better long term prognosis they have for their health and future fertility overall. Young girls can have gynaecological issues such as Endometriosis and PCOS. We know this beyond a doubt.

If you or your daughter need help with menstrual issues and know more about better menstrual health, please book in and see me sooner than later. As I have said before, the earlier we start educating young women on what is right, then better is for them later on in life and for their future health and fertility

Take care

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

“The Brisbane Baby Maker” & “Women’s and Men’s Health Crusader”

-Leaving No Stone Left Unturned

44143084 - spa stones treatment scene, zen like concepts.

Sinusitis

treat-sinusitis

 

 

 

 

 

Sinusitis

Sinusitis means inflammation, or an infection of the sinuses (sinus cavities). The sinuses are air-filled spaces (cavities) within the bones of the face and are located in the cheeks, forehead and around the eyes. The sinuses are linked together, and connected to the nose, ears and throat too. One function of the sinuses is to warm and moisten inhaled air before it reaches the lungs. Cold air into the sinus cavities can also cause the nose to block. The sinuses are also lined with cells that help prevent infection by producing mucus to trap particles of dirt and other pollutants that are breathed in. Sometimes this mucus and particles build up and then cause inflammation and infection and this is why regular flushing of the sinuses needs to be encouraged.

Causes of sinusitis

Sinusitis is caused by swelling of the lining of the sinuses and nose, allergy response and too much mucus and particle build up, which can block the narrow channels. This can occur during a cold, or may be due to allergy (for example, hayfever) or irritation of the linings of the sinuses (for example, from chlorine in a swimming pool). Some preservative such as the preservative 220 can cause inflammation and blockages of the sinuses as well. Bacteria can also grow inside the sinuses, causing pain, headache and migraine and sometimes fever. Mucus from infected sinuses can be yellow or green. It often resembles a peanut butter like colour. Some people get sinusitis with most colds, while others get it rarely. Many people that have persistent cold like symptoms may in fact have chronic sinusitis.

Symptoms

Common symptoms of sinusitis include:

  • Blocked nose
  • Feeling of pressure inside the face
  • Facial pain, particularly when leaning forward
  • Headache/Migraine
  • Aching teeth in the upper jaw
  • Yellow or green-colored mucus from the nose
  • Swelling of the face
  • Loss of the senses of smell and taste
  • Persistent cough
  • Generally feeling unwell.

Risk factors

Certain factors increase a person’s susceptibility to sinusitis, including:

  • Frequent colds (especially for young children)
  • Cigarette smoking (active or passive)
  • Regular use of nasal decongestant sprays (for more than two to three days)
  • Untreated hay fever or other allergies
  • Structural abnormalities of the nose
  • Nasal polyps (swellings in the linings of the nose or sinuses)
  • Dental disease, such as untreated tooth abscess.
  • Diet high in inflammatory foods and preservatives.

Treatment options

Decongestants that help with symptoms of colds usually do not help with sinusitis. Nose sprays  and some steroidal sprays can even make the problem worse, if they are used for too long, because they can cause more swelling and thinning of the lining. Antibiotics are often prescribed for sinusitis, but not all sinusitis is caused from infection. Most people will recover fully from sinusitis in a week or so without antibiotics, but they may recover more quickly if effective antibiotics are used. (Some antibiotics are much more useful for sinusitis than others). Other options to manage the symptoms of sinusitis include:

  • Steam inhalation, perhaps including a few drops of eucalyptus oil
  • Nasal flushes such as FLO nasal care
  • Acupuncture provides great relief and management of sinusitis
  • Chinese herbs and complementary therapies can also provide help with sinusitis
  • Comfortably hot compresses held against the face
  • Pain relief medication and sometimes steroids, such as paracetamol, Ibuprofen & prednisone. Sometimes stronger pain relief medication is needed

If you suffer from sinusitis, it’s important to see if there is any trigger which can be treated. For example, hayfever, or dental disease may need to be treated, or you may want to avoid irritants found in your diet and around your environment. Some people may also need to do desensitisation to allergies affect them.

People with persistent sinusitis should also be getting a CT scan of the paranasal sinuses to make sure the sinus cavity isn’t completely blocked, or they have nasal polyps, which will require surgery. Surgery to drain the pus and improve the flow of mucus from the sinus may be an option for persistent cases of sinusitis. Some people also have what we call nasal polypoid disease which is a growth of fungus that causes the sinuses to be blocked, inflamed and be infected and this will require surgery to treat. It may grow back without proper management.

At Shen Therapies we can help with all the symptoms and treatment of sinusitis and help with allergic rhinitis and hayfever. We know how to treat sinusitis effectively and know how to fidn the cause of your problem.  If you suffer from any of these on a regular basis and aren’t getting the help you need, then you need to book in and have a consultation and treatments to help you fix the cause of your sinus issues.