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  • How to Prevent or Reduce Jet Lag

    How to Prevent or Reduce Jet Lag

    Those who frequently travel abroad are very familiar with the impact of ‘jet lag’, also known as ‘time zone change syndrome’ or ‘jet lag disorder’.

    These terms describe the range of symptoms that occur following a flight to a new time zone. It happens when the internal body clock gets disrupted after crossing several time zones.

    Your internal body clock finds it difficult to adjust to rapid travel and a new time zone. The body needs anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to get familiar with and adapt to the new time zone.

    Your internal body clock influences your sleeping and waking pattern as well as appetite, digestion, bowel habits, urine production, body temperature and blood pressure.

    A disturbed sleep pattern is one of the most common symptoms of jet lag. Other symptoms include fatigue, digestive problems, nausea, muscle soreness, poor appetite, headaches, memory lapses, impaired judgment, poor concentration, and irritability.

    Symptoms vary from person to person and can last up to 5 or 6 days if you have traveled across nine or more time zones, particularly in an easterly direction.

    Anyone can suffer from jet lag, but certain factors can increase the likelihood of experiencing it. Such factors include the more number of time zones crossed, traveling to eastern time zones, dehydration, drinking alcohol and caffeine during the flight, lack of sleep, excess stress and being over 60 years of age.

    Jet lag is temporary, but it can significantly reduce your comfort during your vacation or business trip. Fortunately, there are some tips and lifestyle changes that can help reduce the severity and duration of the symptoms.

    1. Change Your Sleep Routine before Departure

    It is also important to change your regular sleep pattern a few days before your departure. This will help your internal body clock adjust easily to the new time zone.

    Alter your sleep pattern to closely match the sleep times that you will follow after arriving at your destination.

    For instance, if you are travelling east, go to bed an hour earlier than your usual time, and if you are travelling west, go to bed an hour later. Make these changes, a week before your departure.

    Also, be sure to get enough rest and sleep before you travel to combat tiredness, which can make the jet lag feel worse.

    Avoid a busy schedule the night before your departure. Prepare for your trip ahead of time and avoid last-minute packing.

    2. Enjoy Daylight upon Arrival

    If you arrive at your destination during the daytime, it’s important to spend some time in the natural sunlight.

    Exposure to daylight will help your brain adjust to the new time zone. In fact, daylight is the most powerful natural tool for regulating the sleep-wake cycle, which in turn will help reduce jet leg symptoms.

    Morning exposure to daylight helps the body adjust to an earlier time zone, such as when you travel eastward. Early evening daylight helps your body adjust to a later time zone when you travel westward.

    Try to get as much daylight as you can, but this does not mean that you need to be out directly in the sunlight. Stay in shaded areas or in a room where you get plenty of natural sunlight.

    Also, do not forget to apply sunscreen generously on exposed body parts before going out in the sun to reduce the risk of sunburn.

    3. Stay Hydrated by Drinking Water

    Staying hydrated is the first and most important step for preventing jet lag. In fact, you need to keep your body properly hydrated before, during and after travelling.

    Air travel seems almost designed to squeeze water out of the body, and the dry, cabin air on the flight doesn’t help. The lack of humidity can make your body dehydrate quickly and worsen the symptoms once you land.

    To stay hydrated, water is the best option. You can even try flavored water or lemon water.

    As an added bonus, drinking more water will ensure frequent trips to the bathroom, so you’ll have a reason to get up and move around.

    4. Limit Caffeine and Alcoholic Beverages

    A few days before your scheduled travel and also when you are on the flight, limit your intake of caffeine and alcoholic beverages. Such drinks can lead to disturbed sleep, one of the major side effects of traveling abroad.

    Caffeinated drinks and alcohol can increase fatigue and tiredness. Plus, these drinks can dehydrate your body, which will only add to your woes upon arrival.

    So, no matter how tempting it seems to take full advantage of the trolley service during the flight, make sure to avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages.

    However, upon arriving, you can drink beverages with caffeine, such as coffee, espresso and sodas, to help offset daytime sleepiness. But be sure to avoid an excess of caffeine.

    5. Eat Sensibly

    Just like your sleep cycle, traveling to places with different time zones can affect your digestive routine. This is why you need to keep a close eye on what you are eating.

    If possible before you go, eat meals closer to the time you will be eating them at your destination.

    Also, jet lag diets are quite popular among frequent fliers. A jet lag diet calls for eating a heavy diet for a few days before your scheduled travel and having no diet (fasting) on the day you are to take the flight.

    When indulging in a heavy diet, though, don’t eat high carbohydrate or fatty meals close to bedtime as they may cause digestive problems and disrupt your sleep during the night.

    On reaching your destination, have a protein-rich meal to help with alertness and to maintain energy.

    Try to eat light and healthy meals – sprouts, soups and salads- according to the new time zone to keep your digestive tract functioning properly.

    Large, rich meals will make it more difficult for your digestive system to work smoothly, which can trigger symptoms like constipation and diarrhea.

    6. Consider Taking Melatonin

    Melatonin is a hormone that the body produces naturally around your scheduled bedtime. In fact, this hormone controls the internal body clock and sends signals to the body about when you need to go to sleep and when you need to wake up.

    By taking a melatonin supplement, you can reset your body’s internal clock. It should be taken prior to bedtime for several days after arriving in a new time zone to ease the transition.

    A 2002 study published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews states that melatonin is remarkably effective in preventing or reducing jetlag, and occasional short-term use appears to be safe.

    It is recommended for adult travelers flying across five or more time zones, particularly in an easterly direction.

    However, it is essential to consult your doctor before taking melatonin supplements to be sure it’s safe for you.

    7. Take Regular Walks

    Get up and move around while you are on the flight.

    While flying long distances, make sure to take regular 10-minute walking breaks around the cabin to prevent poor blood circulation. Frequent walks will also help reduce your risk of developing deep vein thrombosis.

    Also, do small twisting and stretching exercises in your seat to reduce discomfort, especially swelling in your legs and feet. Stretching exercises also help reduce muscle strain and pain upon arrival.

    Get off the flight at stopovers if possible, and do some exercise or take a walk.

    8. Use Sleeping Aids on Flight

    If you are traveling overnight or flying west to east, make sure to get some sleep on the flight.

    Traveling can be extremely tiring for many people. Thus, the more sleep and rest your body gets en route, the more your body will be prepared to handle jet lag symptoms.

    However, sleeping on a flight is not easy. To help you get quality sleep, use blindfolds and ear plugs or headphones to block out light and noise. Neck rests and blow-up pillows will make your sleeping posture more comfortable.

    You can even kick your shoes off to ease pressure on the feet.

    9. Take a Shower

    Traveling overseas can make you extremely tired. To overcome this tiredness, a shower or bath is what you need.

    Opt for a warm shower if you have reached your destination and it’s close to bedtime in that time zone. A warm bath or shower can ease sore muscles from traveling and help you relax and wind down. The drop in your body temperature after the warm shower may also make you sleepy.

    If you land at your destination early in the morning or during the daytime, a cold shower will help keep you awake and alert so you feel much better for the rest of the day.

    10. Wear Light, Loose Layers of Clothing

    Dress sensibly for your travel time, especially when flying long distances. Wearing loose, comfortable clothing in layers is essential.

    Airplane seating arrangements are snug and the temperature inside the cabin can fluctuate drastically. Moreover, the dry air in the cabin can make you itchy and uncomfortable. Layering helps you remove or add clothes to keep you comfortable as the temperature changes.

    Until and unless you are comfortable, sleep is impossible, which can worsen the symptoms.

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  • How to Make Your Hair Grow Faster

    How to Make Your Hair Grow Faster

    There are no shortcuts to growing luscious, long locks. On average, hair grows about a half an inch per month. Your general health, well-being, and genetic factors affect your rate of hair growth.

    You can encourage hair growth by maintaining healthy hair through a good diet and proper hair care. Certain herbs can help make your hair grow faster, too.

     

    1. Eat a healthy diet

    Eating a diet rich in protein and vital vitamins and minerals is an essential prerequisite to healthy hair growth. Opt for foods high in vitamins A, B, C, and E, iron, zinc, copper, magnesium, and selenium. Vitamin B-complex, in particular, is extremely important for making your hair grow faster.

    So, include a variety of foods like milk, cheese, yogurt, chicken, eggs, whole grains, salmon, spinach, broccoli, bell peppers, cabbage, parsley, grapefruit, avocado, brown bread, oats, and alfalfa in your diet to nourish your hair and scalp. Plus, drink fresh fruit and vegetable juices, such as orange, grapefruit, carrot, beet, and lettuce juice.

    Fish, flax seeds, walnuts, beans, winter squash, olive oil, and other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are also good for hair growth as about 3% of a hair shaft is made up of omega-3 fatty acids.

    Avoid nutritional deficiencies because they tend to affect your hair adversely. For example, vitamin E and zinc deficiencies lead to hair thinning and loss.

    2. Use castor oil

    Being rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids, especially omega-9 fatty acids, castor oil promotes hair growth naturally.

    • As this oil is quite viscous, mix the castor oil with an equal amount of coconut, olive, or almond oil. Massage your scalp with it and leave it on for 30 to 45 minutes. Then shampoo your hair.
    • You can also add essential oils, especially rosemary, peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender, or thyme oil, to the castor oil and then put it in your hair.

    3. Massage your scalp

    Massaging promotes blood flow to the scalp, which in turn stimulates the hair follicles. In addition, deep condition your hair once a week with a hot oil treatment or deep conditioning hair mask.

    1. Apply the oil (preferably warm) or conditioner to your hair.
    2. Gently rub your fingers on your scalp in a circular motion for three to five minutes.
    3. Rinse the oil or conditioner out of your hair.

    4. Flip your hair upside down

    This is one of the most popular tricks to promote faster hair growth. Just flip your hair upside down by flipping your head over for two to four minutes daily. It is believed to work by improving circulation.

    5. Stay stress-free

    Stress is one of the most important factors that contribute to hair loss. It is believed that stress can disrupt the normal hair cycle and trigger hairs to enter the telogen or fall-out phase. Thus, when striving for faster hair growth, minimize the stress in your life.

    To manage stress, you can use meditation, breathing exercises, or other relaxation techniques. Plus, be sure to get your beauty sleep as the growth hormone is released during sleep.

    6. Whip up an egg mask

    Eggs are highly beneficial for faster hair growth because they are packed with protein and also contain iron, sulfur, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium. You can use an egg hair mask at least once a month.

    • Whisk an egg. Mix in four tablespoons of grapeseed oil and a few drops of lavender oil. Apply it to your hair and scalp and leave it on for half an hour. Finally, rinse it out and shampoo your hair as usual.
    • Apply a mixture of two egg yolks and two tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil on your scalp. Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes. Wash it out with cold water and then shampoo your hair.
    • Alternatively, whisk an egg and add one cup of milk, two tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, and the juice from half a lemon to it. Apply it on your scalp and leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes before washing it out and shampooing your hair.

    7. Infuse your hair with herbs

    Herbs like rosemary, catnip, nettle, burdock, horsetail, and sage promote faster hair growth. Rosemary, in particular, is excellent for hair growth because it stimulates the hair follicles. It also adds luster to your locks.
    Furthermore, the polyphenols and anti-inflammatory properties of green tea are also linked to hair growth. Plus, most herbs stimulate hair growth by improving circulation.

    • Prepare an herbal infusion by steeping any of these herbs in hot water for 10 to 20 minutes. Use it as a final rinse after shampooing and conditioning your hair. In addition to encouraging hair growth, it will strengthen your hair and make it soft and manageable.
    • You can also mix herbal infusions or essential oils in your shampoo.
    • Drink herbal teas.

    8. Take vitamin and herbal supplements

    In addition to eating a proper diet, you can take supplements like folic acid, biotin, kelp, fish oil, flaxseed oil, evening primrose oil, ginseng, ginkgo biloba, saw palmetto, and others to augment hair growth.

    Folic acid and biotin are B-complex vitamins (vitamin B9 and B7 respectively) that aid faster growth of hair. Before taking any supplements, though, make sure you consult your doctor.

    9. Nourish your hair with aloe vera

    Aloe vera encourages hair growth and prevents hair loss. It also reduces dandruff and helps restore your hair’s natural sheen.

    • Apply fresh aloe vera gel mixed with a little lemon juice and leave it on for about 20 minutes. Shampoo your hair. Do this once every week or two.
    • You can also combine aloe vera gel with equal amounts of coconut milk and wheat germ oil and then apply it on your hair.
    • Drink aloe vera juice on a regular basis.

    10. Address medical problems

    Your efforts to boost hair growth will not reap good results if you have underlying problems like a thyroid disorder, hormonal imbalance, chronic illness, or a severe infection.

    Certain medications like birth control pills, beta-blockers, anabolic steroids, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and others may also contribute to problems such as hair thinning and hair loss.

    Seborrheic dermatitis and scalp infections cause issues like itchy scalp and mild hair loss. So, identify any underlying issues contributing to hair problems and address them as soon as possible so they don’t hamper your hair growth efforts.

    In addition to these tips, try some home remedies such as Indian gooseberry or amla oil, fenugreek paste, a mayonnaise hair pack, and other healthy hair ideas.

    Maintain healthy hair by following a good hair care routine and using hair products that are suitable for your hair type. Plus, protect your tresses from sun damage and avoid the use of heat styling products.

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  • How to Get Rid of Jock Itch

    How to Get Rid of Jock Itch

    Jock itch, medically known as tinea cruris, is a fungal infection caused by the fungus trichophyton rubrum. Jock itch affects both men and women and commonly occurs on the groin, buttocks, genital area and inner thighs.

    However, it is more common in men. Other factors that increase the risk of developing this problem are being overweight, wearing tight underwear, excessive sweating and having a weakened immune system.

    Some of the symptoms of jock itch are itching, redness, a burning sensation and flaking skin.

    Jock itch is mildly contagious, so do not share personal belongings with others. Even though it is not a serious medical condition, it can be very uncomfortable and embarrassing.

    Fortunately, various natural home remedies can provide relief from this problem. Do not consider these remedies as a substitute for standard antifungal medications, though.

    1. Tea Tree Oil

    Tea tree oil has natural antifungal properties that can effectively treat jock itch along with other types of skin infections. It also has deep cleansing and stimulating elements along with a powerful antibacterial quality. It will also help alleviate itchiness and inflammation associated with jock itch.

    • Use a cotton ball to apply tea tree oil to the affected skin twice daily. Continue for a few days until the symptoms disappear completely. If it causes a lot of burning sensation then you can use mix four or five drops of tea tree oil in one tablespoon of coconut oil and then use it.
    • Another option is to add a few drops of tea tree oil to your bath water and soak in it for about 15 minutes.
    • You can also use soap or shower gel containing tea tree oil.

    2. Apple Cider Vinegar

    Washing the infected skin with diluted apple cider vinegar is a great way to deal with jock itch.

    Apple cider vinegar has strong antifungal and antibacterial properties to cure and control various skin infections.

    1. Mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in two cups of warm water.
    2. Wash the infected area with this solution and allow it to dry on its own.
    3. Repeat this process two or three times daily, especially before going to bed.

    3. Rubbing Alcohol

    Rubbing alcohol is another effective home remedy for jock itch because it kills the fungus causing the infection. Plus, being a drying agent, it helps keep the affected area dry; fungi thrive in warm, moist environments.

    1. Dip a cotton ball in 90 percent isopropyl alcohol.
    2. Dab it on the affected area. You need not wash it off as the alcohol will evaporate quickly.
    3. Do this a few times daily until you are satisfied with the results.

    4. Listerine

    Listerine is an excellent home remedy for fungal infections like jock itch and athlete’s foot, thanks to its antiseptic, antifungal and antibacterial properties.

    1. Use a cotton ball to apply the amber Listerine mouthwash on the affected skin and leave it on until it dries completely. Initially it will hurt, but you will soon get relief from the soreness and inflammation.
    2. Repeat three or four times daily for a few months for complete relief.

    Note: Do not use Listerine on open wounds.

    5. White Vinegar

    White vinegar can also help greatly in dealing with a skin infection like jock itch as it has antifungal and antiseptic properties.

    • Mix one part of white vinegar and four parts of water. Soak a washcloth in this solution and use it to wash the affected area, gently and thoroughly. Allow the solution to dry on its own; you need not rinse it off. Repeat once or twice daily.
    • Another option is to apply a mixture of equal parts of white vinegar and coconut oil on the affected skin. Leave it on for a few hours before washing it off. Do this twice daily until you get rid of the problem.

    6. Bleach

    Bleach has antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal properties that help treat jock itch.

    1. Mix one-fourth cup of bleach in a bathtub full of water.
    2. Soak in it for about 15 minutes daily or every other day, depending upon the severity of the condition.

    Be sure to pat dry your skin after your bath as moisture can worsen jock itch.

    7. Onion

    Due to its antifungal, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties, onion can easily kill the fungus that causes jock itch or athlete’s foot and bring relief.

    • Grind an onion into a paste. Apply it on the infected area. Leave it on for about 30 minutes and then rinse the area thoroughly with lukewarm water. Pat dry the area. Do this once or twice daily until you get relief. In place of onion paste, you can also use onion juice or onion oil.
    • Also, add onions in your cooking to give microbial protection to your whole body.

    8. Salt Bath

    A salt water bath is one of the easiest ways to resolve jock itch. Salt helps control the growth of the fungus and will help the infection heal quickly. It can also be effective in treating boils and blisters. You can use Epsom salts, bath salts or just table salt.

    1. Fill the bathtub with warm water and mix in a generous amount of salt.
    2. Soak in it for 20 to 30 minutes.
    3. Repeat at least twice daily for best results.

    9. Garlic

    Garlic is a great ingredient for treating jock itch due to its antifungal properties. It can also relieve itching and pain.

    • Crush a few garlic cloves and apply the paste on the affected skin. Leave it on for a few minutes and then wash it off. Do this two or three times daily. If you have a sensitive skin then do not use this remedy.
    • Another option is to fry a few garlic cloves in olive oil, cool and strain the oil, and then apply it on the infected area. Leave it on for a few hours before washing it off. Repeat two or three times daily.
    • You can also eat raw garlic to strengthen your immune system and promote healing. If you wish you can take a garlic supplement daily.

    10. Honey

    The antiseptic, antifungal and soothing properties of honey can be of great help in getting rid of jock itch. Manuka honey, in particular, is excellent for fungal infections causing jock itch, nail fungus or ringworm.

    • Apply pure honey, preferably manuka honey, on the affected area and leave it on for at least 30 minutes. Wash it off and pat dry the area thoroughly. Do this once or twice daily until the infection clears.
    • Make a paste of two teaspoons of honey and some minced garlic. Apply it on the infected skin, leave it on for a few minutes and then wash it off. This may cause a stinging sensation, but it will soon stop and you will feel relief from the itchiness and inflammation. Repeat once daily until you are satisfied with the results.

    Along with these remedies, bear in mind that personal hygiene is very important. Good personal hygiene will prevent jock itch from spreading to other parts of your body.

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  • Another milestone achieved by Our Gynaecology Department

    Another milestone achieved by Our Gynaecology Department

    Caesarean scar ectopic is one of the rarest of all ectopic pregnancies. It is defined as when a blastocyst implants on a previous Caesarean scar. Early diagnosis of this can be done by using sonography. It is very important because a delay can lead to increased maternal morbidity and mortality. Early diagnosis leads to prompt management and improves the outcome by allowing preservation of future fertility.

    A 34-year-old female with previous LSCS (Lower Segment Cesarian Section) presented to Department of Gynaecology with chief complaint of two month amenorrhea with server abdomen pain and diagnosed with  scar ectopic pregnancy. The patient was counselled about the diagnosis and immediately laparotomy done due to Bleeding & Scar dehiscence followed by hysterectomy and got discharge in two days.

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  • How to Treat a Hoarse Voice

    How to Treat a Hoarse Voice

    When you talk, yell or sing for a long time, your voice may become hoarse. In simple terms, a hoarse voice or hoarseness means an abnormal change in your voice due to which you cannot make smooth vocal sounds. Your voice may change in pitch and volume, leaving you with a deep, harsh voice or a weak, whispery voice. This change is due to some problem in the sound-producing parts (vocal folds) of the voice box (larynx).

    People of all ages develop this common problem from time to time. In addition to overuse of vocal cords, some common causes of a hoarse voice are laryngitis (upper respiratory tract viral infection),  gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), allergies, drinking excessive amounts of caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, smoking, inhaling respiratory tract irritants, living in an extremely dry place and persistent coughing.

    Other less common causes are polyps (abnormal growths) on the vocal cords, throat cancer, internal damage to the throat, thyroid problems and nerve conditions that weaken the voice box muscles.

    To treat a hoarse voice, the first thing you need to do is stop talking and singing. Even avoid talking in whispers as much as possible. You must fully rest your vocal cords and larynx for a couple of days for quick recovery.

    You can also try some quick fixes and home remedies to recuperate in a short time. If you have persistent hoarseness for more than two weeks, consult your doctor.

    1. Ginger

    Ginger is an effective herb to deal with a hoarse voice. It is very soothing to the mucous membranes surrounding the voice box and alleviates inflammation. It also helps prevent infections in the upper respiratory tract.

    • Eat thin slices of raw, fresh ginger at regular intervals. To enhance the taste, you can sprinkle a little salt and lemon juice on it.
    • Another option is to simmer 1 tablespoon of finely chopped ginger in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Strain and add honey. Drink this up to 3 times a day.
    • Sucking on ginger candy is also helpful.

    2. Honey

    Honey is very effective in dealing with a hoarse voice. It helps coat and soothe the irritated throat and helps reduce inflammation.

    • Simply eat 1 tablespoon of raw, organic honey a few times daily to keep the throat moist.
    • Another option is to mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of honey and a pinch of black pepper powder in a glass of warm water. Drink it a few times a day.
    • Alternatively, mix equal amounts of honey and basil leaf juice. Eat it 3 times daily.

    3. Apple Cider Vinegar

    To ease pain and other discomforts of a hoarse voice, use apple cider vinegar. Also, its antimicrobial properties help fight infection to treat laryngitis, one of the most common causes of a hoarse voice.

    • Mix 1 teaspoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a glass of warm water. Drink it a few times daily.
    • Also, mix equal amounts of apple cider vinegar and water. Use the solution to gargle at least twice a day.

    4. Salt Water Gargle

    Gargling with warm salt water, a few times a day, is an effective treatment to restore your voice to normal. While the salt helps remove mucus from the respiratory tract, the hot water reduces irritation in the throat. Due to its antiseptic properties, salt also helps prevent a throat infection.

    1. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water.
    2. Mix well, until the salt dissolves completely.
    3. Gargle with it 2 or 3 times daily.

    5. Steam Treatment

    A common cause of a hoarse and raspy voice is dryness in your throat. Hence, a steam treatment will help ease discomfort. To make the treatment more effective, you can use a few drops of essential oil.

    1. Heat a pot of water until boiling.
    2. Add a few drops of lavender, chamomile and thyme essential oils.
    3. Cover your head with a towel and inhale the steam rising from the pot.
    4. Do this twice daily.

    6. Cayenne Pepper

    To fight hoarseness quickly, you can also try cayenne pepper. It helps soothe an irritated throat, reduces pain and swelling, and even helps fight a throat infection.

    • Mix ½ or 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder with 1 tablespoon of honey. Slowly eat the mixture off the spoon.
    • Alternatively, you can add ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper and the juice of ½ lemon to a glass of warm water. Drink it slowly.

    7. Lemon

    You can always rely on lemon to relieve a hoarse voice quickly. It helps keep the throat moisturized and relieves soreness and inflammation. In addition, the vitamin C in lemon helps combat the spread of infection.

    • Mix 1 tablespoon each of honey and lemon juice in a cup of lukewarm water. Sip the mixture slowly, a few times daily.
    • Another option is to dilute the juice of 1 lemon in ½ cup of warm water. Use it to gargle at least twice daily. You can also add a little salt to this solution.
    • You can also sprinkle a little salt and pepper on a piece of lemon and lick it slowly.

    8. Garlic

    Garlic is another common kitchen ingredient that can help treat hoarseness. It prevents inflammation, reduces pain and promotes quick healing.

    • Cut 1 clove of garlic in half. Put one half on each side of your mouth and bite down gently. Suck on the juice to reduce irritation and promote healing.
    • Also, add a few drops of garlic oil to ¼ cup of warm water. Gargle with this solution twice daily.

    9. Slippery Elm

    Slippery elm is a wonderful herb that helps coat the mucous membranes and gets rid of hoarseness within a few days very effectively.

    • Add 2 tablespoons of slippery elm powder to 2 cups of hot water. Let it steep for 5 minutes. Drink this tea up to 3 times a day.
    • You can also try slippery elm lozenges.

    Note: Slippery elm is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

    10. Cardamom

    In Ayurvedic medicine, green cardamom is often used to treat a hoarse voice. It helps by fighting inflammation and soothing the mucous membranes.

    • Chewing a pod of cardamom will moisten the mouth as well as the mucous membrane.
    • Alternatively, mix together crushed cardamom seeds from a cardamom pod with 1 tablespoon of honey. Have it daily.
    • Another option is to add 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon and cardamom to a glass of hot water. Mix thoroughly, strain the solution and use it to gargle at least twice daily.

    Additional Tips

    • Suck on frozen fruit-flavored ice pops.
    • Avoid shouting.
    • Avoid clearing your throat, as it will aggravate hoarseness.
    • If you smoke, quit. Also, avoid second hand smoke.
    • Avoid drinking alcohol, as it will dry the throat and aggravate the condition.
    • Use a humidifier in your bedroom to help keep your throat moist while you sleep.
    • To keep the vocal cords moist, drink warm water at regular intervals throughout the day.
    • Take a hot shower, as the steam will help open your airways and provide moisture.
    • Eliminate allergens from your environment, as these can worsen or trigger hoarseness.
    • Do not use decongestants, as these can irritate and dry out the throat.
    • Try deep breathing exercises to reduce blockage and keep the inner lining of the throat moist.

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  • Diaper Rash: Causes, Prevention and Home Remedies

    Diaper Rash: Causes, Prevention and Home Remedies

    Overview

    Given their tendency to poop ten times a day, babies spend most of their initial years with a diaper strapped on until they are old enough to potty train. However indispensable diapers may be, they can also become a source of suffering, both for the baby and the parents.

    Every now and again, your child’s sensitive skin is bound to get irritated within the warm and moist confines of a tightly secured diaper.

    In fact, one of the most common skin problems in babies below the age of 3 is the development of an uncomfortable rash on their bottom.

    This kind of contact dermatitis is a result of prolonged moisture of the nappy-enclosed skin, constant friction of the skin against the diaper, and contact with chemicals in the baby’s urine and stool.

    A diaper rash is characterized by inflamed skin and a rash in the diaper area, which includes the upper thighs, buttocks, and genital area.

    Infants between the ages of 9 months and 12 months are particularly prone to this problem given they spend most of their time sitting, allowing minimal air circulation within the diaper. Moreover, it is at this age that babies are administered solid foods for the first time, which ends up making their bowel movements more acidic.

    Sleepy-head babies that doze off for long hours tend to remain in wet and soiled diapers for longer and therefore show a greater predisposition to this condition. Although most prevalent among infants and toddlers, a diaper rash can afflict people who wear adult diapers or incontinence briefs as well, regardless of their age.

    Distressing as it may be, a diaper rash is generally not considered to be a serious problem, neither is it a sign of parental neglect. All it takes is a few adjustments in your nappy-changing technique along with some tried-and-tested adjunctive home treatments to help manage it.

    However, if this relatively harmless condition is not tended to in a timely and appropriate manner, the rash can get secondarily infected by yeast or bacteria, which may require treatment by your health care provider.

    What are the Common Causes of a Diaper Rash?

    The main cause of a diaper rash is prolonged exposure to a dirty diaper, either moist with urine or soiled with stool. Other common causes are:[1]

    • Fungal or yeast infections caused by the Candida species that thrives in the poorly ventilated, warm, and humid genital region, particularly around the skin creases and folds.
    • Dietary changes such as a transition from liquid to solid foods or the introduction of new foods can alter the acidic composition of your baby’s stool as well as increase the frequency of his/her bowel movements.
    • If the baby is breast-fed, the mother’s diet can also trigger a digestive reaction in the baby.
    • Digestive trouble, in the form of diarrhea, often results in the development of rash around the anus, especially because these loose stools contain certain digestive enzymes that can irritate your child’s sensitive skin.
    • A rash may even develop as an allergic response to the fragrances, elastic, and dyes used in your baby’s diaper brand, baby wipes, laundry detergent, lotion, and soap.
    • Poorly laundered diapers can also aggravate or trigger the development of symptoms.
    • Although less common than yeast rashes, a secondary bacterial infection can also take root if your baby’s skin has been irritated to the extent that its integrity and surface barrier have been compromised. This lapse in the skin’s natural defenses gives way to localized staph and strep bacterial infections that are termed as impetigo and leads to the development of sores, yellow scabs, pimples, or draining pus.
    • Cellulitis is another serious manifestation of a bacterial infection, which spreads into the deeper layer of the skin and is accompanied by redness, swelling, pain or tenderness, warmth, or a combination of these.
    • Antibiotics can also make your baby vulnerable to this problem, by affecting the healthy bacteria that reside in your baby’s gut and that help to prevent the overgrowth of yeast and other bacteria.

    How Can You Tell if Your Baby is Suffering from a Diaper Rash?

    A baby with a diaper rash may show the following signs or symptoms:

    • A mild diaper rash develops in the form of pink patches on the diaper-wrapped skin.
    • A more aggressive rash has reddish hues and may even develop painful open sores if left untreated.
    • The skin enclosed by the diaper may show signs of peeling or scaling and may appear scalded or burnt.
    • The rash can also manifest in the form of bumps on the baby’s bottom and thighs, which may or may not be filled with fluid.
    • The irritated skin in the diaper region may show signs of extreme dryness.
    • If the diaper-enclosed skin tends to be warmer to touch than the rest of the body, it may be taken as a sign of a rash.
    • A severe diaper rash may begin to bleed if not tended to properly in time.
    • If your baby appears to be unusually fussy or tends to cry a lot during diaper change, he/she may be having a diaper rash.

    How Do You Prevent a Diaper Rash?

    You can save yourself and your baby a lot of pain and trouble by proactively adopting certain preventative measures to avoid the development of a diaper rash. To that end, certain oft-recommended steps to include in your daily routine are:

    • Be mindful about the state of your baby’s diaper condition by checking it frequently and preferably changing it every 2 hours.
    • Change your baby’s wet or soiled nappies as soon as possible, to minimize contact with stool or urine that causes the rash in the first place.
    • When changing your child’s nappy, wash his/her bottom with mild soap and warm water in the case of visible soil and simply with water otherwise. Alternatively, you can even use unscented baby wipes to clean the diaper region. Often, a damp and soft washcloth does the job better than most prepackaged wet wipes.
    • Because it’s paramount to keep your baby’s diaper area completely moisture-free, allow your baby’s bottom to dry completely before putting on another diaper. It’s best to rid your baby’s bottom area of moisture by fanning it or patting it rather than rubbing the skin. You can even let your baby go diaper-free for a while to allow the skin to dry on its own.
    • Secure your baby’s diaper in such a way that allows optimum air passage in the enclosed area, that is, neither too tight nor too loose that it comes undone.
    • Strap the diaper in a way that does not allow its adhesive tabs to stick to your baby’s skin.
    • Always wash your hands before and after changing diapers to prevent the transmission of infectious germs.
    • For babies who are prone to getting rashes, it may be useful to apply a generous layer of a suitable barrier ointment to your baby’s bottom region after a rinse, but only after pat drying it. It helps lubricate the diaper-enclosed region and thereby stave off any potential skin irritation. Do not share these ointments and creams with other children.
    • Limit the use of talc, cornstarch, or baby powder on your baby’s bottom because their inhalation can cause respiratory irritation.

    When Should You See a Doctor?

    Despite being an obvious inconvenience, most diaper rashes pose no real threat to your baby’s health. However, a visit to the pediatrician becomes indispensable if the following symptoms occur:

    • Your baby gets a diaper rash in the first 6 weeks of his/her life.
    • The rash fails to subside or show any signs of improvement despite preliminary treatment. The symptoms become progressively worse, and the rash spreads to other areas such as the face, arms, and scalp.
    • If the raised red bumps on your baby’s bum do not respond to initial treatment, it’s possible that he/she is suffering from a fungal/yeast diaper rash, which can only be treated with doctor-prescribed antifungal creams.
    • You notice the development of pimples or small ulcers.
    • The rash shows signs of bleeding or begins to ooze discharge.
    • If your baby looks sick, lethargic (extremely tired), and runs a high temperature, he/she might be suffering from a more severe infection.

    Why are Some Babies More Prone to Diaper Rash than Others?

    Babies, in general, tend to have far more sensitive skin than adults. However, some babies are vulnerable than others as their skin gets aggravated and develop a rash at the slightest sign of irritation. The diaper area is a particularly weak spot for babies with extrasensitive skin and, thus, needs to be tended with adequate care.

    Moreover, a diaper rash is also a frequent occurrence in the case of children that sleep for long hours or are not as expressive about having a diaper that needs changing.

    What are the Treatment Options for a Diaper Rash?

    • Frequently changing your baby’s diaper remains the foundational step for minimizing exposure to stool and urine, which is primarily responsible for diaper dermatitis. By avoiding these precipitating agents, you can effectively protect your baby’s diaper-enclosed skin from developing a rash or becoming secondarily infected by skin bacteria or yeast.
    • In the event that a rash develops, it is recommended to opt for simple cleansing methods using water and soft cloths rather than disposable wipes, which might contain irritants that can aggravate your baby’s distressed skin.
    • Slathering your baby’s diaper region with copious amounts of skin protective and lubricating ointments that contain either petroleum jelly or zinc oxide provides an effective barrier against skin irritants and reduces friction of the affected skin against the diaper.
    • Antifungal creams or medicines, which can only be prescribed by your child’s pediatrician, are warranted to treat a candida infection.
    • Similarly, the doctor may recommend a course of antibiotics, in the case of a bacterial infection.
    • Your doctor may also recommend a mild topical steroid cream or ointment.

    If your child gets a diaper rash, there also are many natural home treatments that you can try to comfort your child and speed up the healing process.

    Simple Ways to Avoid Diaper Rash

    Here are some home remedies for treating a diaper rash.

    1. Give Your Child Diaper-Free Time

    When an infant has a diaper rash, ensuring that they spend some time during the day with no diaper or bottoms on can help the area to dry out and heal.[2]

    People should also avoid putting infants in tight, synthetic, or rubber bottoms while they have a diaper rash.

    Dressing them in loose bottoms made of 100 percent cotton can help to keep the rash dry and allow the skin to breathe.

    2. Rinse the Bottom with Every Diaper Change

    The best way to cleanse your baby’s bottom before every diaper change is to rinse the skin with ample amounts of warm water. If your baby has had a bowel movement, you might want to couple the water with a gentle soap for added cleansing.

    However, using soap often can delay the healing of the rash and is therefore advised only in the case of soiled diapers. Make sure to use a gentle, unscented, or fragrance-free soap. After rinsing your child’s bottom, make sure that the skin is completely dry before strapping on a new diaper.

    When opting for baby wipes, make sure you choose a brand that does not contain any added fragrance or alcohol. Some parents even prefer to use dampened washcloths made from soft fabric to wipe their baby’s diaper region clean.

    Another time-saving tip is to keep your diaper changing table equipped with a squirt bottle or an insulated container of warm water along with cotton balls that come in handy for easy, gentle cleanups.[2][3]

    3. Vinegar Works as a Gentle Disinfectant

    Stale urine is extremely alkaline in nature and can burn a baby’s soft skin, much like an acid. In this regard, vinegar is one of the best ingredients to offset the high pH.[4]

    • If you are using reusable diapers or cloth diapers, rinse them in a vinegar solution. Add 1/2 cup of vinegar to 1/2 a bucket of water and use this solution to rinse your baby’s diapers. This will help get rid of any soap buildup in the diapers as well as any urine smell.
    • Make a very weak vinegar solution by adding 1 teaspoon of white vinegar to 1 cup of water. Use this solution to wipe your baby’s bottom when changing the diaper. This simple step will help to make your baby’s bottom resistant to yeast.

    4. Apply Petroleum Jelly

    Many pediatricians recommend applying a thin layer of protective coating on the baby’s soft skin every time you change a diaper. Petroleum jelly is perfect for this purpose. It will help protect the diaper area from the irritating effects of urine and feces.[5]

    1. After removing a soiled diaper, clean your baby’s bottom with warm water.
    2. Dry it well with a cotton towel, and then apply petroleum jelly.
    3. Do this every time your baby needs a diaper changed, and the diaper rash will heal quickly.

    5. Give Your Baby’s Skin a Gentle Scrub with an Oatmeal Bath

    The high amount of protein in oatmeal soothes a baby’s soft skin and helps preserve the skin’s natural protective barrier. It also contains the chemical compound saponin, which helps remove unwanted oils and dirt from the skin pores.[6]

    1. Add 1 tablespoon of dried oatmeal to the bath water.
    2. Let your baby soak in the water for 10 to 15 minutes.
    3. Then, bathe your baby in the solution. It will have a soothing effect on the baby’s skin.
    4. Do this twice daily to heal the diaper rash.

    6. Use Coconut Oil as a Skin Salve

    Coconut oil has antifungal and antimicrobial properties and, hence, can be used to treat a diaper rash. It can also have a soothing and healing effect on the baby’s soft skin.[7][8]

    • Coconut oil works as a great moisturizer. Gently apply some coconut oil on the diaper area several times a day.
    • You can even add several tablespoons of coconut oil to the bath water for added moisturizing. It will help kill yeast, such as Candida, which causes diaper rashes as well.

    7. Trust the Moisturizing Goodness of Shea Butter

    Shea butter has antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and yeast-killing properties that can help prevent and get rid of a diaper rash. It also has beneficial vegetable fats that can improve the circulation, promote cell regeneration, and helps the skin to heal.[9]

    1. Wash your baby’s bottom with mild soap and lukewarm water. Allow the area to dry naturally.
    2. Rub pure shea butter gently in your hands until it melts. Then, press your hands on the affected area, rubbing the shea butter on the irritated skin.
    3. Leave it on for a few minutes, and then put on a fresh diaper.

    8. Ribwort Plantain Oil Has a Skin-Healing Effect

    Many health experts recommend the use of plantain oil to relieve the pain of a diaper rash. This oil is highly effective for the treatment of a diaper rash resulting from an allergic reaction.[10]

    The oil has anti-allergic properties that can help soothe and relieve inflammation associated with a diaper rash. To treat a diaper rash, you can use plantain oil or the herb.

    • Crush clean, fresh plantain leaves with your hands and put them next to your baby’s skin with each diaper change.
    • Alternatively, you can apply plantain oil directly on your baby’s skin before putting on a fresh diaper.

    If the diaper rash does not get better even after trying these remedies, consult a doctor immediately.

    Diaper Rash Related Questions Answered by Dr. Kathleen Berchelmann, MD (Pediatrician)

    How long does it take for a diaper rash to heal completely?

    It depends on how severe the rash is. The best approach is to get on top of the diaper rash as soon as you notice it. Most diaper rashes will resolve within 2 to 7 days.

    Is toothpaste an effective remedy to treat diaper rash in children?

    I don’t recommend toothpaste; I feel there are many better options.

    Can adults get a diaper rash without wearing a diaper?

    Yes, very much so. This is especially common among athletes, or people who generally wear tight-fitting, poorly breathable athletic clothing and remain sweaty for several hours after exercise.

    Can a baking soda bath help comfort a baby suffering from a diaper rash?

    Putting baking soda in the bath may provide a little bit of symptomatic relief, and I don’t think it hurts anything, but it’s also not very effective for making a rash go away.

    Can a cold compress be used on a diaper rash to soothe the itching?

    Yes, of course, but this is only a temporary solution. The cooling effect will dissipate as soon as the compress is removed, and thus the relief will be rather short-lived.

    What are the various types of rashes?

    General skin breakdown: This type of rash is most common if a baby is left in a dirty or wet diaper too long, or requires frequent diaper changing, especially with diarrhea. This type of diaper rash is best treated with a good barrier diaper cream or ointment.

    Yeast diaper rash: Yeast can grow in the diaper area, especially if it is warm, wet, or sweaty. This causes a red rash which can subsequently develop white bumps, as it progresses. Yeast diaper rash needs to be treated with an antifungal cream, usually prescribed by your physician. If the rash is bad enough, or if the baby also has a yeast infection in his or her mouth, your doctor may recommend an oral antifungal medication.

    Bacterial infections: Everyone’s poop is full of bacteria, and so bacterial diaper rashes are common. They are treated with topical antibiotic ointment, or, if necessary, an oral antibiotic. It is important to understand the difference between a yeast or fungal diaper rash and a bacterial diaper rash. They are treated with different medications.

    Rarely, a bacterial diaper rash can develop into a puss filled pocket, or abscess, that may need to be drained.

    Can a diaper rash in babies exhibit white bumps along with the rash?

    Yes, especially if it is a yeast rash.

    What is the major difference between a normal diaper rash and a yeast-induced rash?

    Yeast rashes are itchy and often have white bumps.

    Please provide some additional tips or inputs regarding diaper rash for the benefit of our readers.

    The best way to prevent diaper rash is to keep your baby clean and dry. The hardest part is really waiting for your baby’s bottom to be dry before you apply the new diaper. Try singing the ABC song with your baby while you wait for his or her bottom to dry. This will help you bond with your baby and teach him/her a thing or two, while making the waiting period more fun and easier to pass.

    About Dr. Kathleen Berchelmann, MD: She is a board-certified pediatrician, wife, and mother of seven children. She is frequently consulted regarding general pediatric issues and pediatric behavioral health issues. You can schedule a secure, live video consultation with her. She offers a free initial 10 minute consultation as well as insurance billed visits.

     

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  • 10 Signs You May Have a Hormonal Imbalance

    10 Signs You May Have a Hormonal Imbalance

    The chemical messengers of your body, hormones, travel to each organ through your bloodstream and regulate vital processes, such as metabolism and reproduction.

    The most commonly fluctuating hormones of your body are estrogen, progesterone and testosterone (sex hormones), thyroid (metabolism hormone), adrenaline (energy hormone), cortisol (stress hormone) and melatonin (sleep hormone).

    Women experience greater hormonal changes than men. While both boys and girls go through puberty, women experience several additional defining stages throughout their lives – menstruation, pregnancy, postpartum, premenopause and, finally, menopause.

    All these greatly change a woman’s body and cause her hormones to fluctuate. Being vital to key processes in the body, hormonal fluctuations significantly affect her overall mental and physical well-being.

    Whenever we hear the phrase “hormonal imbalance”, our mind instantly procures an image of a flustered, hyperactive woman. This is a sad state of affairs as it reflects the negativity and insensitivity associated with this condition.

    While one should consult a doctor when a hormonal imbalance occurs, the first step toward treatment begins with identifying the issue.

    1. Weight Gain or Loss

    If you are noticing fluctuation in your weight, it can be due to hormonal changes in the body.

    The thyroid gland secretes hormones that regulate metabolism and, consequently, weight gain or loss. If chills, fatigue, dry skin and constipation are accompanying symptoms, your thyroid gland might be producing fewer hormones than needed to control your weight.

    Furthermore, when your hormones are out of balance, you stress profusely. This causes your body to pump adrenaline to produce energy and cortisol to maintain that energy.

    Also Read – How to Balance Hormone Levels Naturally

    2. Constant Fatigue and Weakness

    Fatigue is a common symptom of a hormonal imbalance, especially in menopausal and postmenopausal women. Cortisol, a hormone produced in the adrenal glands during times of stress, is often a contributor to fatigue.

    Cortisol levels directly affect the secretion of serotonin – a hormone that makes us happy. Hence, if you’re experiencing depression and worthlessness while also feeling tired, it is a sure-fire sign of a hormonal imbalance.

    Furthermore, fatigue can be due to lack of a thyroid hormone that controls the body’s metabolism.

    3. Hot Flashes and Night Sweats

    If you suddenly feel heat coming from nowhere and spreading through your body, accompanied by sweating, palpitation and body tingling, you might be experiencing “hot flashes”.

    If you also find yourself inexplicably and profusely sweating at night, it might be a case of night sweats.

    The hypothalamus is a part of the brain responsible for controlling several body functions, including body temperature.

    A hormonal imbalance disrupts your body’s levels of estrogen – the primary female sex hormone – and diminishes its production.

    Reduced estrogen levels send confusing signals to the hypothalamus, causing it to suspect body overheating. This causes the hypothalamus to activate its coping mechanism to cool down the body through excessive sweating.

    According to a 2012 study published in the Journal of Women’s Health, hot flashes and night sweats affect 75 percent of perimenopausal women and are the most common symptoms of menopausal transition.

    4. Insomnia and Sleep Problems

    Insomnia is a common symptom of menopause in women. Not one but several hormones are responsible for causing insomnia when they fall out of balance.

    The role of progesterone – a female sex hormone – has recently emerged in hormone-related insomnia. A 2005 study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine states that progesterone has a drowsy, sleep-inducing effect on the body. When progesterone levels drop, we feel alert and awake.

    In addition, estrogen promotes REM sleep – a deep sleep characterized by random eye movements, relaxed muscles and vivid dreams. It also increases the hours of sleep and reduces the number of post-sleep abrupt awakenings.

    Furthermore, estrogen helps regulate the body’s temperature. Therefore, low levels of estrogen cause poor sleep and increase sleep-obstructing night sweats.

    Perpetually high cortisol due to hormonal stress also disrupts REM sleep.

    5. Hair Loss

    While more common among men, hair loss is also a common premenopausal, pregnancy and post-pregnancy symptom in women.

    According to the American Hair Loss Association, testosterone (a male hormone present in women in trace quantities) converts to its derivative hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) by interacting with an enzyme found in hair follicles.

    DHT harms and kills hair follicles, leading to hair loss. A hormonal imbalance accelerates the production of testosterone, causing more DHT conversions and greater hair loss.

    A 2007 study published in the International Journal of Dermatology notes that when hair follicles were treated with 5 microg/ml concentration of testosterone, they exhibited reduced growth and elongation.

    6. Mood Swings and Depression

    A 2011 study published in Psychological Medicine notes that the risk of major depression is higher in women during and immediately after menopause than when they are premenopausal.

    Serotonin and endorphin are your body’s “happiness-producing” hormones. While endorphins are produced by the pituitary gland, serotonin is secreted by the thyroid gland.

    At high levels, these hormones inhibit the perception of pain, while at low levels they inhibit feelings of happiness and positivity.

    Mood swings are caused when these hormones go haywire. A hormonal imbalance can cause your glands to go into overdrive one minute, creating bouts of ecstasy.

    Similarly, your glands may slow down the next minute, inhibiting production of these happy hormones and leading to feelings of misery. 

    7. Indigestion and Gastrointestinal Discomfort

    One of the most overlooked symptoms of a hormonal imbalance is indigestion. Hormones play a key role in practically every function of your body, including digestion.

    Gastrin, secretin and cholecystokinin are three hormones found in the gastrointestinal tract that contribute to digestion by assisting in breaking down food for quick absorption into the bloodstream.

    An imbalance in these digestive hormones leads to poor food breakdown, causing indigestion characterized by bloating, abdominal cramps, a burning sensation in the stomach, belching and nausea.

    Furthermore, a 2012 study published in Gender Medicine notes that gastrointestinal discomforts like abdominal pain, bowel pain and bloating occurring during menstruation and early menopause are mainly due to reduced estrogen and progesterone production.

    8. Loss of Libido

    Hormone production is especially out of balance in women after childbirth, before menopause and after menopause.

    According to a 2001 study published in Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism, testosterone is produced by a woman’s ovaries and directly determines sex drive.

    As the performance of the ovaries declines with age, so does the production of testosterone. This causes a decrease in libido.

    The same hormone regulates sex drive in men. A 2006 study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism finds a positive correlation between reduced testosterone and libido levels in men.

    Reduced testosterone may also cause erectile dysfunction, according to a 2003 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

    Estrogen is another sex hormone secreted by the ovaries, and the age-associated reduced production of estrogen causes poor blood flow to the clitoris, vagina and vulva. This causes vaginal dryness and also inhibits genital nerve response and arousal.

    9. Sudden Food Cravings

    When we undergo a hormonal imbalance, our adrenal gland can have a two-fold effect on our food cravings. On one hand, it can spike the cortisol levels up due to chronic hormonal stress, and on the other hand, it eventually experiences a burnout, leading to an underwhelming production of cortisol.

    Both these situations affect our blood sugar, which in turn affects our hunger. High levels of cortisol induce accelerated blood sugar levels, which lead to hunger pangs.

    Similarly, low levels of cortisol lead to dangerously low blood sugar levels. Since sugar converts into energy in the muscles, low levels of sugar cause fatigue, sending a “hunger” signal to the body.

    Another form of hormonal imbalance occurs when the thyroid gland creates fewer thyroid hormones than needed. This also contributes to low blood sugar and causes sugar cravings.

    Cravings are common symptoms in premenstrual girls, when their bodies undergo a lot of hormonal changes.

    10. Dry Eyes

    Dry eye syndrome occurs when your eyes do not produce enough tears for adequate moisturization, or when the tear film’s substituents (oil, water and protein) are out of balance.

    It is uncomfortable and often painful and can be due to a hormonal imbalance in the body. Hormones help regulate eye function and directly affect eye health.

    Testosterone (androgen) aids the functions of the meibomian and lacrimal glands, situated on the cornea. These glands maintain a healthy tear-film balance and regulate their production.

    When you have a hormonal imbalance causing the testosterone production of your body to decelerate, it induces inactivity in these glands. This leads to dry eyes.

    A 2013 study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism notes that chronic testosterone deficiency is a primary factor in dry eye syndrome.

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  • How to Treat a Jammed Finger

    How to Treat a Jammed Finger

    A jammed finger is a common issue among people who are actively involved in sports. It generally refers to a sprain or injury to one of the three joints in a finger. It usually occurs from an impact injury. Your toes also can become jammed.

    Some signs of a jammed finger include pain, stiffness, loss of range of motion, swelling, inflammation and tenderness to touch.

    Do not dismiss symptoms of a jammed finger. If not treated timely, the injury can be very painful and lead to chronic ailments.

    Minor cases of finger injury can be treated at home. It may take a few weeks for the finger to heal completely.

    This type of finger injury heals relatively quickly, if no fracture has occurred. If there is a fracture, the pain will be unbearable and the healing process will take longer.

    Hence, it is recommended to get X-rays to rule out a finger fracture. Also, if symptoms persist and seem more severe, see a physician.

    1. Ice Therapy

    As soon as you suffer a jammed finger injury, applying ice is a must. Ice reduces the body’s inflammatory response and helps ease pain and swelling to a considerable extent.

    1. Wrap a few ice cubes in a thin towel.
    2. Apply this pack to the injured finger for 10 minutes.
    3. Allow the finger to return to normal temperature, then reapply an ice pack.
    4. Repeat the procedure 2 or 3 more times.
    5. Use ice packs 4 or 5 times throughout the day for the first couple of days.

    Instead of ice, you can use a bag of frozen vegetables. While using ice therapy, you need to rest the affected finger to ensure quick healing.

    Note: Never apply ice directly on your skin. Also, people who have vascular disease, diabetes or decreased sensation should talk with their doctor before applying ice.

    2. Splint the Finger

    Keep the affected finger splinted or immobilized until the pain is completely gone. A splint will keep the affected finger straight and prevent movement while it heals.

    The splint should not be too tight, which can inhibit blood circulation and lead to numbness or tingling sensations.

    If wearing a splint is uncomfortable, you may remove it each day for some time, but be sure not to bend your finger too much.

    You may need to wear the splint for 1 to 4 weeks, depending upon the severity of the injury and how quickly the finger heals.

    For a minor jammed finger, you can even tape the affected finger to an adjacent finger and be sure to restrict usage and allow it to rest.

    3. Keep the Finger Elevated

    When suffering from a jammed finger, keep the affected finger elevated above chest level. This will increase venous return of blood to the systemic circulation, which in turn reduces discomforts like swelling, inflammation and pain.

    Elevation also facilitates elimination of waste products and speeds up the healing process.

    Elevation is one of the elements of ‘RICE’, a mnemonic for 4 elements used to treat soft tissue injuries. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

    While sleeping or sitting, keep a few pillows by your side on which to rest and elevate your hand.

    4. Rest the Finger

    To ensure quick healing, you need to allow the injured finger to rest. Proper rest is a key component for repairing soft tissue damage.

    Continual strain will lead to increased inflammation, pain and possible further injury. Plus, without rest, the healing time will gradually increase.

    Rest the injured finger as much as possible and avoid any jerky, painful movements. Any kind of strenuous activity will only aggravate the injury.

    You can continue exercising the rest of your body and muscles to prevent deconditioning.

    5. Epsom Salt

    Epsom salt consists of magnesium and sulfate that work together to reduce inflammation and pain. It is even effective at reducing swelling, one of the biggest discomforts associated with a jammed finger.

    You can start using Epsom salt 48 hours after the injury has occured. Follow either of these remedies once each day to relax your painful finger:

    • Mix 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt in 1 cup of hot water. Dip the injured finger in this warm solution for 15 to 20 minutes.
    • Another option is to mix 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt in warm olive or coconut oil. Use it to massage your finger for 10 minutes, then soak it in warm water for another 10 minutes.

    6. Turmeric

    Turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory agent that can help reduce pain and swelling. Plus, a compound known as curcumin in turmeric helps improve blood flow throughout your body.

    Proper blood circulation is important for the healing process.

    • Mix 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder with 2 teaspoons of melted coconut oil to make a thick paste. Apply this paste over the affected finger. Cover it with a bandage and leave it on for a couple of hours before rinsing it off with lukewarm water. Repeat 2 or 3 times a day.
    • Also, heat ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder in a glass of milk for 5 to 10 minutes. Drink this before going to bed for about a week to help reduce pain and enjoy proper sleep.

    7. Olive Oil

    Olive oil can also be used to relieve pain in a jammed finger. Olive oil contains a compound that helps prevent pro-inflammatory enzymes, thus reducing inflammation and pain. It also keeps the skin moisturized to promote healing.

    Massaging the affected finger with olive oil helps improve blood circulation and reduces stiffness, which in turn promotes healing.

    • Rub some warm olive oil on the affected finger. Use gentle yet firm strokes to massage the finger for about 5 minutes. Do this 2 or 3 times daily as needed.
    • Alternatively, mix a few drops of camphor oil or lavender essential oil in 1 to 2 tablespoons of warm olive oil. Use it to massage the affected finger once or twice a day.

    Note: If massage makes the pain worse, stop doing it and consult a doctor.

    8. Ginger

    Ginger is one of the best natural painkillers to reduce the discomforts associated with a jammed finger. It contains a compound called gingerol that has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.

    In fact, gingerol’s effect is similar to aspirin or ibuprofen. Ginger also helps block COX-2, a chemical in the body that causes pain.

    Drink homemade ginger tea 2 or 3 times daily for a couple of weeks to aid the healing process and expedite recovery. To make the tea:

    1. Put 1 tablespoon of ginger slices in 2 cups of water.
    2. Boil and then simmer the water for 10 minutes.
    3. Strain, add a little honey and drink it while it is still warm.

    9. Tea Tree Oil

    Tea tree oil, a potent anti-inflammatory agent, can relieve pain and inflammation in the injured finger. In addition, its antiseptic properties will help prevent infection.

    1. Add 5 drops of tea tree essential oil to 1 tablespoon of any carrier oil of your choice.
    2. Apply this oil on the affected area and gently massage for 5 minutes. Make sure the massage does not aggravate the pain.
    3. Apply a hot compress for 10 minutes to improve circulation and reduce swelling.
    4. Repeat this remedy 2 or 3 times daily until the pain and swelling is gone completely.

    10. Aloe Vera

    Aloe vera also helps in relieving inflammation associated with a jammed finger due to its strong anti-inflammatory properties.

    It is effective in reducing the stiffness and soreness in the joints of your finger. The vitamins and amino acids in it also help repair damaged skin.

    • Cut open an aloe vera leaf, extract the gel and apply it on the injured finger. Massage gently to increase blood circulation, then allow it to dry before wiping it off with a wet tissue. Repeat once or twice daily until you see improvement.
    • Also, drink a cup of aloe vera juice twice daily for a couple of weeks to notice reduction in inflammation and pain.

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