The Human Guinea Pig and Influenza

Have you or a loved one recently been through the harrowing effects of this latest flu? Influenza B they are calling it and did you know that ‘they’ are also saying that it is a rogue infection making it impervious to any flu vax. Interesting don’t you think? That is a whole other topic right there!

I recently contracted this nasty Influenza strain and believe me, my heart goes out to you if you are trying to recover or are caught up in the tsunami of the virus.
It was smack bang at the start of a holiday with a dear friend, who happens to be a trained nurse. I cannot remember ever being this sick, I recall saying to my friend in desperation as a migraine worsened on day two, “am I going to die?”

I guess that you can work out from this blog that I didn’t but boy I was feeling very poorly!

But the reason I am pouring this experience into this month’s blog is the after effects of this virus are mean! The fatigue and accompanying depressive feelings are so depleting and make you wonder if you will ever feel energized again. SO here’s the thing when you are a naturopath and a wellness practitioner, you go into “cure mode” and test the walk to the talk. So the guinea pig stage began. Yes I became my very own human guinea pig for the sake of my patients and that burning desire to heal. The result? You can recover, but how quickly depends on you.

As you can imagine, I have access to many different treatments, and I think that I have used them all! Just kidding, but I have certainly tried and tested many.
I have put together a herbal medicine that is extraordinarily helpful, picking me up in 24 hours while the virus was still trying to take over my body like something out of Alien!

Post initial infection, we must remember that the gastrointestinal tract has already let us down by not fighting the infection in the first place so now we must go in with the big guns to treat the gut.

Pre and Probiotics are essential here and must be taken in high dosage. Increasing your anti-oxidant supplementation, preferably in a powder form for best absorption through the gut and increasing zinc and selenium may also be beneficial.

Now, for your poor broken down nervous system. Although you may feel very flat and depleted, you can recover. Herbal medicine for the nervous system as in adaptogenic herbals and herbals that increase mood may be necessary for the short term.

Simple foods like stewed organic cooking apples with cinnamon are restorative to the gut also as is good quality Greek yoghurt, and yes, they do go well together.
Foods that are easily broken down in the system to allow for optimum bio-availability or high absorption are now required.

So steer away from raw foods and cook up some healthy soups and casseroles with high garlic, turmeric, ginger and cinnamon content. These foods are already broken down in the cooking process so your body can glean the nutritional effects of these quickly.

Now, I wish you a happy recovery, and if you play your cards right, you will feel better than you ever did! This will be your reward for going through this horrendous ordeal. Your immune system has had a fabulous workout and should recover stronger and better than ever.

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Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep

Do you get good quality sleep? Or is it a hovering mirage out in the desert of night that you are starting to believe is unreachable?

Maybe your sleep patterns have changed over the years?

Have you made the connection between your lifestyle choices and your sleep pattern? This is one connection many do not make; it can be the most simple of factors that steal sleep away.

As a Naturopath, I always take a patient’s history at the beginning of the consultation and have often observed that the foods we eat and the time of day we eat them have a massive effect on sleep patterns.

For example, high sugar intake and high fat intake at the end of the day often lead to the Adrenal Stimulation, Reflux or Digestion problems. The result? Sleep disturbance!

Alcohol consumption can also result in a restless nights sleep as it induces tiredness at first but then stimulates the body causing restlessness, interruption of sleep or insomnia, but it is not common knowledge that sugary foods will have the same result. After consuming sugary foods we often have a sugar high, feeling energised but after this subsides, the insulin levels dip, and we feel a bit tired and lack energy.

After retiring for the night,  blood sugar levels may rise once again causing insomnia and hot flushes, and this is a major contributing factor to sleep problems especially in the peri-pausal and menopausal stages for women.

Rich foods, creamy sauces, and high salt content can upset the gut also in the evenings particularly since the gastric acid is at its lowest at this time of day, and we are unable to break our foods down as easily. This will often lead to reflux and indigestion once again causing a disturbed sleep.

So what is one way to fix this problem? Other than heading off get a script for medicine, people overlook the Natural Medicine remedies available.

My first suggestion to you: Keep a food diary for a couple of weeks to chart your food intake!  Keeping track throughout the day of what you consume helps us to see any correlations between disturbed sleep patterns and food/fluid intake.

Your gut, adrenals, and brain need to be relaxed and not under stress for you to have a restful night’s sleep.

Weight gain and insomnia have a close link, and if you understand the physiology of the body a little, you can see why.

TREAT THE GUT is my war cry for everybody regardless of the condition they are presenting with and this rings very true with sleep disturbances/insomnia.

As the gastric juices slow down toward the end of the day, you need to decrease your food and alcohol intake too so as to not over tax your system leading to a disturbed night’s sleep. Going to bed with a full stomach will just be problematic as your gut cannot break foods down easily at this time of the day.

There is an old saying; dine like a King for breakfast, a Prince for lunch and a Pauper for dinner. Just ending your evening meal at a reasonable time around about 6.30 – 7 pm will allow your body the time to process the food and digest it properly. Organic apple cider vinegar before your meal will also help with this process.

If you are still feeling peckish after dinner, try some natural organic yogurt with a few organic blueberries.

Limit your intake of alcohol and caffeinated drinks also as evening rolls on as these will also stimulate the adrenals into alertness just when you want the melatonin to begin it’s job during what should be the restful time of your day.  Melatonin is a hormone that is made by the pineal gland in the brain; it helps to regulate sleep.

Try some Chamomile tea. Most people have heard that Chamomile tea is a relaxing herb, but did you know that it is also an excellent gastrointestinal herbal. This herb will settle down indigestion, colic and gut pain and is loaded with nervous system benefits as well.

Give these recommendations a try and see how your body thanks you. A rested body is a healthy body.

Sleep tight. X

 

There’s Something To Talk About

Something to Talk AboutGeelong

 

As a Natural Health Practitioner, a Nurse and a Naturopath,  NOTHING and I MEAN NOTHING; gets me more excited and enthused than a natural health treatment. So even though I am not one to spruik about business in my blogs, when I heard about this one in particular and after a private tour,  I couldn’t help but make it the focus of this month’s offering.

The business and fab place of wellness in question? Mind Body & Salt in East Geelong.

I had the pleasure recently of a guided tour of this haven with owner Dan Riches. It was a pure delight and I am booking in quick smart to indulge, to enjoy but more importantly reap the health benefits of the state of the art facilities including Salt Rooms and Floatation Pods. Dan had a friend who suffered terribly from Asthma years ago and researched the benefits of Salt therapy; the outcome was astounding. So over a few years and extensive planning, this evolved into an exciting venture that has Geelong talking and visiting in droves. 5000 bookings since the opening? Well this is something to talk about! Alongside the affiliation with Supercats and Geelong Footy Club for remedial recovery, it’s pretty obvious something special has been created here.

So what exactly is a Salt Room and how does it benefit health?

A salt room has walls lined with salt and is created to help a variety of ailments. However, Dan and the team Mind Body Salt have done their sports medicine research and have taken the concept to a whole new level.

MBSalt Room

The formal name given is Halotherapy, derived from the the Greek halos, meaning “salt”. It is a therapy with a lineage that stretches back as far as the twelfth century Poland.

 

According to Aerosol Medical Journal Halotherapy (HT) is a mode of treatments in a controlled air medium which simulates a natural salt cave microclimate. The efficacy of Speleotherapy is associated with the unique cave microclimate. The natural dry sodium chloride aerosol is the major curative factor of the cave microclimate. It is formed by the convective diffusion from salt walls. Other factors such as comfortable temperature and humidity regime, the hypo bacterial and allergen-free air environment saturated with aero ions enhance the therapeutic effect.

Created with comfort in mind, there are rooms for the grown ups and rooms for kids- with salt walls, but more importantly, they are fitted with a filtration system called a Halo generator that also emits the purest and tiniest micro salt particles in the world, pure sodium chloride.

 

P1000786It has created a considerable interest for hundreds of years by clinicians to the development of drug-free respiratory and skin treatments.

Dan tells us that often parents bring kids in if they have the beginnings of a cold, the antibacterial environment prevents spread of germs, while the salt filtration helps to clear and dry up those little noses in a safe and drug-free way. “We have had an overwhelmingly positive response from the people of Geelong, with reports of improved chronic skin conditions, asthma relief, bronchial relief, arthritic relief and even increased lung function. We have also introduced kid’s meditation classes, which have been a big hit.”

MBSalt Pods-2In addition to the Salt Rooms, Mind Body Salt also has Floatation Pods. An incredible experience set in luxe surrounds. With high salt content, the tanks are something to behold and have remarkable rehabilitative and rejuvenating components. “If you can swim in the ocean, you can float in our tanks, with a temperature controlled and nurturing environment, the experience really has people talking.” There is even a couple’s float pool with a synergy of lighting and mood that is heaven for the stressed out human, an Australian first.

My favourite bit: the acclimatisation lounge area Dan has devised to help clients re-acclimatise after such a sensory experience. “People can find it abrupt to go from this completely silent, sensory -dulled environment back into the hectic noise and bustle of the world outside, so we encourage them to take their time in the private lounge area, where they have access to complimentary refreshments including health teas.” MBsalt Lounge

So, from Your Naturopath to You- do yourself a favour and visit this wonderful new edition to East Geelong. We certainly will be! x Susan

For more information about Mind Body Salt Visit: https://www.mindbodysalt.com.au

and on Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/mindbodysalt/

Ref: JOURNAL OF AEROSOL MEDICINE ALINA V. CHERVINSKAYA and NORA A. ZILBER

Saint-Petersburg Pavlov National Medical University, Russia

Joint- Stock Company Aero med, Saint-Petersburg, Russia

Essential Fatty Acids- The Wellness Files

SusanByrne April Blog

Why do we need to include fish or substitute with supplementation to get our Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acid (E.F.A.) intake into our body?

You see, the human brain is nearly 60% fat, and in recent years we have learned that fatty acids are amongst crucial molecules that will determine the brain’s integrity and its ability to perform optimally.

Grilled Fish

These amazing fatty acids are an integral part of our cell membrane (the outer cover of the cell) providing the starting point for making hormones that regulate blood clotting ability, the contraction, and relaxation of the artery walls and inflammation throughout the body.

 

Fatty acids also impact on genetic function.

WalnutsEssential Fatty Acids has shown to help prevent heart disease and Cerebrovascular accident/ stroke. They may help control the auto-immune disease lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Michigan State University researchers recently confirmed that consuming an omega-3 fatty acid called DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, can stop a known trigger of lupus and potentially other autoimmune disorders.

“What we discovered was when lupus was triggered by crystalline silica, a toxic mineral also known as quartz that’s linked to human autoimmunity, DHA blocked the activation of the disease,” said Melissa Bates, one of the study’s lead authors and a doctoral student in MSU’s Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition and the Institute of Integrative Toxicology.

The findings have been published in PLOS ONE.

Essential Fatty Acids may also assist in decreasing eczema and may have a protective role against cancer and other conditions.

According to the Linus Pauling Institute, Micronutrient Information Centre; “ Replacing saturated fat in the diet with a mixture of PUFA (both omega-6 and omega-3) is associated with beneficial effects in the cardiovascular system.”

Fresh spinachLow DHA may also be associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease as well as other forms of dementia. Increasing EPA and DHA may be beneficial in individuals with type 2 Diabetes especially if the condition is associated with elevated serum triglycerides.

E.F.A.’s are required by the body for optimal health, but we are unable to synthesize or make these in our body so must be obtained from dietary sources. These sources include fish, vegetable oils, nuts (in particular walnuts), flaxseed oil and crushed flaxseed and a smaller amount in leafy vegetables.

Fenugreek seeds

 

It is also worth pointing out that there are many commercial supplements on the market that have a ‘one-type-fits-all’ dose. It is very important for your health care to be customised to your body and your needs at the time. A woman in her fifties will have very different nutritional requirements that say a 19 year old male.

So get some fish on your plate or source an excellent quality supplement from Your Naturopath!

 

Ross River Virus- Help is at Hand

Ross River in Townsville, Queensland is the first place the iconic virus was identified. RRV is the most common mosquito-borne disease in Australia and nearly 5000 people are reported to be infected with the virus each year with that number rising. RRV infection cannot spread from person to person.

It is most common from spring through until autumn in particular from January through to May when the mosquito is most abundant.

RRV derives from a mosquito carrying the disease. Mosquitoes are at their most active at dawn and dusk, although some species can be around during the day and a potential risk. RRV is a class of viruses called arbovirus or arthropod-borne viruses, and these are spread predominately by blood-sucking insects.

The symptoms of the virus can be initially be vague or increase with the emergence of a rash, painful hands and/or feet with increasing symptoms of polyarthritis. Nausea, headache, backache and muscle aches are also common symptoms. Lethargy and fatigue can be debilitating, with some people unable to carry out minor activities or even get out of bed. This also illustrates why it is important to first seek medical advice to confirm your diagnosis, as many of the Ross River symptoms could signify a more serious health matter needing attention.

Mosquitoes are considered one of the most dangerous creatures on the planet because of their unique ability to spread deadly diseases so quickly and so far and wide.

The Ross River virus usually lives in native mammals such as kangaroos and wallabies, but can also affect rodents, bats, and horses. These animals act as natural reservoirs for the virus, and when a female mosquito bites an infected animal, it picks up some of the virus.

The virus enters the human bloodstream via the saliva of an infected mosquito. It then reproduces itself in blood cells and builds up in the muscles, joints, and skin, resulting in the symptoms of infection.

DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT

RRV is diagnosed through a blood test. If you have been exposed to RRV you will develop antibodies in your blood. Medically at this time there is no specific treatment for RRV, symptoms are typically treated with pain medication. Bed rest is commonly advised and sometimes getting out of bed is the hardest part of the disease.

NATUROPATHICALL

I use herbal medicine as my first port of call as I can then produce an individual mix to suit the patient and the symptoms that they are presenting with. This may include the use of Astragalus and Siberian Ginseng as these are immune supporting herbal medicines. Particular naturopathic grade vitamins and minerals may also be administered, depending on need and always in a form where-by bio-availability is at its highest for the patient.

Turmeric is another go to to decrease inflammation and the form I use whether it be herbal tincture, capsule or tea depends on the patient’s needs.

We also have formulated a herbal medicine to help optimise the fever process and make the body more adept at dealing with the infection and boost the anti-inflammatory response of the body to achieve a quick recovery . This protocol must only be used by an expert practitioner.

The most important strategy is to get the nutritional intake to optimal levels.

Always remember prevention is better than cure. I highly recommend the use of Australian Made Vanilla Mozi cream, a topical cream that is safe to use on babies, children and adults, and even some pets! Massage this into skin after shower in am and before bed at night, this is particularly good for children as the calming effect of the massage encourages sleep. LeaAnne Crawford, the fo
under of Vanilla Mozi, now stocked in over 600 stores Australia wide, formulated the cream as an answer to a safe and natural repellant to protect her children’s sensitive skin, but it needed to be highly effective.

A quick note too, Mosquitos don’t like the taste of blood that is rich in Vitamin C and B complex I have found so make this a part of your daily supplementation and add copious amounts of garlic to your food or supplement with garlic oil capsules.

Around the home 

Protecting yourself and your family from mosquito bites, however, is still a very important factor in preventing disease.

You can protect your family around the home by:

  • Avoiding known mosquito-infested areas, especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active
  • Screening windows and doors in your home, and making sure these don’t have holes in them
  • Using screened tents when camping, or sleeping under a mosquito net
  • When outdoors, use a natural personal insect repellent and cover-up with long-sleeved shirts and trousers. (Loose fitting clothing is recommended as mosquitoes can bite through fabrics – even denim jeans.)
  • Plant mosquito repelling plants in your garden.
  • Boats, canoes, kayaks and dinghies should be overturned or have the drain plugs removed so that they cannot hold water.

It also pays to check around the house for areas of stagnant water where mosquitoes love to breed. Uncovered ponds and tanks or even undrained pot plants, blocked gutters, and buckets around the garden can be great areas for mosquito larvae. If it’s possible, get rid of the water laying stagnant around the home.

So far we have been bombarded with clients who have contracted RRV, word of mouth about our successful treatment has spread far and wide, so please remember people suffering from symptoms of RRV can become very depleted and depressed from the debilitating symptoms, there is help here! For more information about how you can get assistance with symptoms contact me on 0424 494 949

 

Bio-Availability of Foods

bioavaialability in foods

The bio-availability of foods is the way we break down the nutrients in foods to make them available in our body.

Bioavailability is the degree to which the nutrients in the foodstuff can be broken down and absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract and utilized throughout the body.
This bio-availability is critical and essential to our health.
Lifestyle choices, pre-existing health conditions, pregnancy, and age can all have an immediate effect on our body’s ability to glean the nutrients from our food intake.
It is also a major factor when we are purchasing vitamins and other supplements over the counter. Where these supplements come from, the manufacturing technique used to produce them, if they are sourced from reputable companies and countries that reflect the standards in Australia and the age of the supplements as they can become rancid and there-fore less effective with age.
Another factor is the nutrient/drug interactions. Some drugs or medications may decrease the nutrient availability from our foods and supplements.
People can become nutrient deficient because of the medications that they are taking and this can lead to further health issues. Quite often medications can alter the way our body absorbs nutrients and important components needed to fuel and support the body’s health and balance.
Factors that influence the bio-availability of nutrients by the body include:
DIGESTION: How well an individual can digest foods and supplements.
ABSORPTION: If the gut is unable to absorb a nutrient it becomes worthless to the body.
DISTRIBUTION: The way the nutrient is circulating in the blood throughout the body, how it is then distributed to various components and organs.
ACCESS: The way the specific nutrients has access into the specific body cell, tissue, and fluids in which it becomes physiologically effective.
So, once again, the most important part of our body is our G.I.T. (gastrointestinal tract) or the gut. Everything that goes into the gut affects the body.

Everything starts in the gut, and if the gut flora (good and bad bacteria that lives in everyone’s gut) is compromised by dis-ease, virus, bacteria, medication including the use of anti-biotics and poor food choices then the bio-availability of nutrients is radically decreased leading to further deficiencies and culminating in further dis-ease.

When we do the True Self Weight Management, the results are incredible with overwhelming results, and why do we have genuine results? There’s no trick or treat or special pill. We start with assessing each person’s gut health and the ability of the body to access the bioavailability in foods. It is an entire holistic overhaul of the body, once the body achieves balance, it is restored to a healthy weight.

TREAT THE GUT! My war-cry with every single human and animal!

You do WHAT?!!

 

sb-blog-graphic

 

WHAT I DO AS A NATUROPATH

Many people have a broad idea of what a Naturopath may or may not do. So perhaps you might like to hear what I do?

I see many patients’ that tell me that they have never been to a Naturopath before and have no idea what I do or what I offer in regards to health, but have come along on a recommendation.

Many people have no knowledge of how Naturopathy and Natural medicines can help them. I am an educator of health. The origin of the academic title ‘Doctor’ is derived from the Latin verb docere, which means ‘to teach’.

I use my training in Natural medicine to benefit my patient’s with health improving advice. This information is based on healthy eating and herbal medicine as well as the use of supplementation where necessary.
Every individual has their set of personal circumstances and life history that I take into account during the consultation.

Wellness and feeling truly energised and alive are every person’s goal in life but unfortunately, we so often put this to the back of our ‘to do’ list. Why? Why do we settle for second best when it comes to our health?

This is where I can teach you that without your health, nothing will run smoothly in your day. You know what it’s like when you become unwell and your world grinds to a halt. Allowing your body to become so depleted that ill health looms is what I try to prevent.

Do you have days where you just can’t seem to muster energy? You feel tired, or just like you are running on empty? Maybe you think it’s just a part of life, of getting older.

Tired woman sleeping on the coach at office

Do you feel like you just don’t have time to be going to appointments and investing in health when there’s nothing really ‘wrong,’ well you know, it just isn’t as important? As important as what?

You see this is where the education comes in. We often don’t go to the doctors unless there is something wrong. But what if you could be pro-active with your health? What if I could educate you and help rebalance your body to restore energy, vitality and a good immune system? This is pro-active health!

I can teach you to have a better understanding of your own being and to understand your own personal warning signals.

human-body-with-internal-organs_f1X8bOd_.jpgYou know it’s too late to put more water in the radiator once it has boiled dry and you have a blown head gasket.

Preventative medicine and a healthy understanding of what your human body requires is the difference between ill health and low energy, to glowing health and the energy to do whatever you want to do.

Be well, be aware and remember, your body, your responsibility. This is not a rehearsal!
Blessings.

Turn Down the Heat! – Hot and Cold Bodies

susan-byrne-blog-graphic

Depending on the state of balance within the body; one’s body temperature can experience moments of intense heat. We see this primarily in peri-menopause and menopausal women. The major characteristics of heat are common and are a sign that we may need to cool things down in the body.

  • Person may feel hot and dry
  • Person may prefer cooler climate
  • The tongue may appear bright red sometimes with a yellow coating, the sclera (whites) of the eye may appear red, and often halitosis or bad breath may be present.
  • Person may experience hypertension (high blood pressure), bleed easily or even hemorrhage, may have a fast radial pulse.
  • Person may experience difficult digestion as heat dries fluid in the body, constipation may also be a factor with this.

*As always if you are in doubt please seek medical advice

Now what many people might not know is that different foods can have heating and cooling effects on the body.

 COOLING FOODS IN RESPONSE TO HEAT

 FRUITS

  • apples
  • banana
  • citrus
  • cantaloupe
  • pear
  • watermelon
  • tomato

 VEGETABLES

  • lettuce
  • asparagus
  • radish
  • cucumber
  • spinach
  • eggplant
  • summer squash
  • zucchini
  • sweet corn
  • bok choy
  • cauliflower
  • button mushroom
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Swiss chard

LEGUMES AND GRAINS

  • amaranth
  • soy sprouts
  • soy milk
  • tofu
  • tempeh
  • wheat
  • barley mung beans and their sprouts
  • alfalfa sprouts
  • millet

OTHER COOLING FOODS

  • kelp and edible seaweeds
  • crab
  • yoghurt
  • spirulina and wild-blue greens
  • clam

HERBS AND SPICES

  • peppermint
  • marjoram
  • nettles
  • dandelion greens and roots
  • lemon balm
  • coriander
  • white peppercorn

 COLD CONDITIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR WARMING FOODS

Cold patterns in the body may arise from a number of causes. Insufficient physical activity, partaking in an excess of cooling foods and herbs, or perhaps a constitutional weakness can add to the body having a cold sensation.

The major characteristics of coldness are

  • As the coldness is part of the yin principle and associated with the water element, colder constitutions may suffer from bladder, kidney, bone and emotional sensitivities.
  • Cold in the body may produce a more sedentary person, as ice is hard and motionless, this may effect constitutionally as well.
  • Coldness causes contraction so the person with the colder constitution may move with difficulty.
  • Person may exhibit chill sensations, dislike cold, be attracted to warmer climate.
  • Person is usually over-dressed in many layers and attracted to warming foods and beverages.
  • Complexion is usually pale.

Emotionally we must work with fears and insecurities. Warming foods are nurturing and re-assuring to this constitution.

WARMING FOODS IN RESPONSE TO THIS

Tip: Foods should be cooked rather than raw

FRUITS

  • cherries
  • citrus peel
  • dates
  • Chinese red dates
  • nectarine
  • mandarin peel (dried)
  • coconut meat
  • guava
  • Hawthorn berries
  • lychee
  • mango
  • raspberries
  • peach

VEGETABLES

  • leek
  • chives
  • mustard greens
  • pumpkin
  • squash
  • parsnip
  • cabbage
  • kale
  • onion
  • scallion

GRAINS LEGUMES AND SEEDS

  • oats
  • quinoa
  • spelt
  • sunflower seed
  • walnut
  • pine-nut
  • rice
  • corn
  • buckwheat
  • rye
  • chestnut
  • malt
  • pistachio nut
  • caraway seeds

MEAT, SEAFOOD AND DAIRY

  • butter
  • eel
  • venison
  • goat’s milk
  • cow’s milk
  • lamb
  • beef
  • mussel
  • prawn
  • chicken

HERBS AND SPICES

  • basil
  • chilli
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • fennel seed
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • cloves
  • ginseng
  • cayenne

 

If you feel that you are out of balance or need a check, please don’t hesitate to make an appointment today. Call me on 0424 494 949 to ask me how!

 

Wet Women

 

Ok, I know what you’re thinking but you couldn’t be more wrong!  Today we will talk about urinary incontinence and the way it affects our daily living.

To feel wet at inopportune moments and the necessity to wear incontinence pads as a precautionary measure every day can be really difficult and embarrassing for women. It can impact on self-esteem and even affect the ability to enjoy healthy sexual relationships. Unfortunately, women don’t tend to discuss these common ailments over coffee, therefore so many women consider themselves alone with these problems. But I am here to tell you; you are NOT alone.

Urinary incontinence is so common and occurs in up to 90% of patients we see each year. We often see ‘stress’ incontinence meaning that a sneeze or a coughing fit means some bladder leakage.

Firstly we have to remember that urinary incontinence is not a disease! It’s a symptom. It is important to first ascertain that there are no underlying health conditions as these may cause urinary leakage. This is where it is vital to start with a medical check up to rule out urinary tract infections. Constipation may also be a cause because hard, compacted stools in the rectum may cause the nerves surrounding the pelvic floor to be overactive there-by increasing urinary frequency.

There are many causes but the one we see that normally starts the ball rolling is pregnancy. During pregnancy you may experience some urgency to empty your bladder. In early pregnancy it is because of hormonal changes and as the pregnancy progresses it is more due to the weight of the developing baby. I believe that this is Mother Nature’s way of warning us that we need to start our pelvic floor exercises now!

Child birth, especially vaginal delivery may lead to some weakness of the pelvic floor muscle group. This may lead to a prolapse of the bladder, uterus and even the small intestine in some instances. These protrusions can lead to varying levels of incontinence. An evaluation by a gynaecologist is highly recommended for such prolapses.

Post-Menopausal Women also have some biological changes where-by we produce less oestrogen and therefore may lose strength in the lining of the bladder and the urethra (the tube that runs down from the bladder and into the pelvic area to allow urination). Deterioration of these tissues may increase the incidence of incontinence.

Post hysterectomy can also be the cause for urinary incontinence as the uterus and the bladder are supported by many of the same ligaments and muscles. Any pelvic surgery can have the potential to damage these supporting muscles.

Excess weight is another cause of urinary incontinence, so maintaining all aspects of a healthy body is always vital. Excess mid-range fat puts pressure on the bladder and pelvic floor muscle group.

When I was still nursing and before I became a mum, I worked in Urology. I was very fortunate to work in this area as this is where it brought home to me the importance of Pelvic Floor Exercises. Otherwise known as Kegel exercises, they are repetitive contractions of the pelvic muscles that control the flow of urination in order to strengthen these muscle. Doing these exercises daily is the most effective way to strengthen those muscles! It is interesting to note that these muscles when strengthened can also enhance responsiveness during intercourse- winning J

It’s not as though you need to go to a gym or invest in any expensive equipment, and we all have to remember that if we are lucky, we get the opportunity to age and with age comes many different challenges that we are faced with.

Then, there are things that we can do to reduce the impact of a weakened pelvic floor and make life enjoyable again. There are certain foods, drinks and medications that act as diuretics (stimulate your bladder causing increased passing of urine) in the body.

These include:

  • ALCOHOL
  • ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS
  • DECAFFEINATED COFFEE AND TEA
  • CARBONATED DRINKS
  • HIGHLY SPICED FOODS
  • FOODS WITH HIGH SUGAR CONTENT
  • CITRUS FRUITS (especially oranges and mandarins as these are acidic)
  • CORN SYRUP
  • HEART AND BLOOD PRESSURE MEDICATIONS
  • CAFFEINE

Avoid  heavy lifting during and just after pregnancy as this may increase the impact on the pelvic floor muscles. So share the load when you need to lift, get help from someone to assist you or do it for you.

Tip: Also try to avoid bouncing exercises until you know that your pelvic floor is stronger. The trampoline has seen many a woman come undone!

Some suggestions of supplementation that may assist you with pelvic floor strengthening are:

  • MAGNESIUM (the muscle supporting mineral and also settling to the nervous system)
  • VITAMIN D as this vitamin promotes calcium in the body and supports bone health.
  • OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS (fish oil) anti-inflammatory and also support healthy hormonal function.

AND just in case you require more evidence why smoking is so bad for you, nicotine is a bladder irritant. So QUIT SMOKING!

There is so much to learn about the feminine body through the stages of life, and knowing your body, how to balance it, keep it nurtured and healthy is so important for a happy life. Stay tuned to our blog and Facebook posts as due to high demand we are going to be addressing these stages of womanhood. We will also be doing some speaking events and information sessions in the Geelong area!

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Battle Cold and Flu Naturally with Naturopathic Recipes

So, here we are again coming into another cold and flu season. Are you ready?
I am seeing more and more patients now with  symptoms of cold/flu. Sore throats, lethargy, coughs, sore blocked noses and fevers, the list goes on.

I thought it was helpful to share some tips and recipes to keep your immune system strong and to help you overcome the germs & bugs if they invade your body.
Firstly, a sore throat is often the first sign of a virus entering the body. I always suggest to my patients to have a bottle of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar on hand and to crush 3 cloves of garlic and push them into the bottle. Leave the bottle in your pantry cupboard to allow the ‘Mother’ to form. Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar contains “mother,” strands of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria that give the product a murky, cobweb-like appearance. This is  what makes the vinegar so effective.

At the first sign of a sore throat, gargle and spit the apple cider vinegar. It clears away the bacteria that is beginning the virus in your body. I also suggest this for tonsillitis as it clears all of the muck off the tonsil. It gives immediate relief from pain also.

The reason I add garlic is to give the vinegar a double whammy. Garlic is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and a great source of vitamin C.
Everything you will be needing to give your body the best shot at stopping this thing becoming systemic (through all of your system) in your body.

Garlic is so versatile and of course only choose the best Australian organic garlic to be sure of quality.

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It’s hard for most of us to just chomp on garlic when you feel a virus coming on although I have done it, so I will suggest that one of the best ways to get your raw garlic and all of its goodness is to make a Tzatziki.

Health Booster Tzatziki Recipe
1 cup of organic natural Greek yoghurt.DSC9960-2
2-4 cloves of crushed garlic.
1 smallish organic cucumber
1 small tomato
2-3 chives
1 tablespoon of Organic Australian olive oil.
1 teaspoon of organic white wine vinegar.

Method
Grate and drain cucumber, (keep the juice to add to your morning vegetable juice or smoothie).
Finely chop tomato and chives.
Mix all ingredients into a bowl and enjoy!
Use the Tzatziki as a dip, as a topping or off the spoon. It is delicious and you attain the benefit of all of these herbs and vegetables plus the pro-biotic action of the yoghurt. Win Win.
Also add heaps of garlic to your soups and stews. It loses some of its potency once cooked so add lots.

Another use for the Apple Cider Vinegar is as a digestive. Before you eat, have a dessert spoon in the same amount of water. It will decrease bloat, help heal any digestive inflammation and help with blood sugar regulation.
Now, back to the virus season. If the cold or flu has caught you already what we need is a plan B and this does not involve antibiotics! These can strip away your good gut bacteria and leave your system in poor shape and more vulnerable to fresh disease. Good nutrition, herbal medicine and supplementation are the key ingredients you need to maintain healthy gut bacteria, immunity and resistant to infections.
How is your nutritional intake and do you get enough of the vitamins and minerals to keep your body in tip top condition?

One of the first things that we need to look at if you are a person who seems to ‘pick up’ every virus that enters your world, is your Iron level. Adequate iron levels allow enough circulating oxygen in the body there-fore increasing your bodies defences. If you think of what oxygen does to a fire and then consider that enough circulating oxygen works the same way in our bodies. It allows our blood to burn away invading viruses and bacteria. I always recommend iron supplementation for people who suffer from very heavy periods, post child-birth, post operatively and post haemorrhage. So having a simple blood test to ascertain your iron levels is very important.

Good nutritional sources of iron are: red meat and egg yolks and to a lesser extent dark green leafy vegetables, onion, dark coloured fruit, wheat germ, sesame seeds, kelp, beans, figs, raisins, prunes, bananas and avocado. Vitamin B12 also needs sufficient iron in the body for bio-availability so if you are suffering from low mood, make sure that your iron levels are sufficient.

The next thing that we need to look at is sugar intake. Sugar in the diet causes acidity in the blood therefore allowing viruses, and bacteria plus some very nasty illnesses to take hold, so definitely look at the sugars in your daily diet and decrease where necessary.
I also do Zinc checks to make sure that zinc levels are adequate as a lowered zinc is detrimental to the immune system .

Zinc is known to play a central role in the immune system, and zinc-deficient persons will experience increased susceptibility to a variety of pathogens.

Now, my favourite Vitamin: VITAMIN C!
Vitamin C improves immunity and is a fantastic antioxidant. (remember, the blood needs oxidation to work effectively).
Vitamin C also makes Iron more available in the body so these two are good friends. I suggest to people with low iron levels to squeeze some vitamin C rich lemon juice onto their red meat before consuming. This helps release the iron in the meat.

Vitamin-C

Vitamin C helps Iron Absorbtion

If you consume alcohol on a regular basis or are a smoker (stop!), you will be vitamin C deficient so you will need supplementation for sure.

I recommend very high dose Vitamin C on a two hourly basis to bowel tolerance for many of mypatients presenting with a cold or flu.
And of course there’s herbal medicine. When prescribed professionally either as a tincture or a tea, it works very well to combat colds and flu’s.

A lovely herbal tea that is very effective is Y.E.P. Tea. That’s yarrow, elder and peppermint and it is very effective at treating the symptoms as well as decreasing duration of the virus.

So there you go. Always get advice from a trained Naturopath/Nutritionist and don’t buy over the counter preparations as they may be contra-indicated in your particular case. Holistic Health is all about the whole body individually. Over the counter bottles are a one size fits all dose, and for long term health and body maintenance we recommend professional assistance.

Stay well and keep the Colds at bay folks! – Susan 1569565975001_3728675257001_stay-well-cold-and-flu-600x338-1

Disclaimer: You should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise, supplementation or medication program. If you have a health concern of any kind consult with your health care professional. Information presented by Susan Byrne/Your Naturopath is for educational purposes only. Susan Byrne/Your Naturopath does not make any medical claims or warranties regarding the use of the products listed on this site. The information presented is general in nature and these remedies may not be for everyone. Like other remedies, supplements and herbs do have side effects. You should consult you doctor or health care professional before taking any medication.
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