location-arrowFont Awesome Free 5.0.6 by @fontawesome - http://fontawesome.com License - http://fontawesome.com/license (Icons: CC BY 4.0, Fonts: SIL OFL 1.1, Code: MIT License)
ClockFont Awesome Free 5.0.6 by @fontawesome - http://fontawesome.com License - http://fontawesome.com/license (Icons: CC BY 4.0, Fonts: SIL OFL 1.1, Code: MIT License)
Alternate FileFont Awesome Free 5.0.6 by @fontawesome - http://fontawesome.com License - http://fontawesome.com/license (Icons: CC BY 4.0, Fonts: SIL OFL 1.1, Code: MIT License)
Mapp & Hession Pharmacy Murwillumbah King Street Chemist Greg Mapp & Paul Hession

Address Line One | Address Line Two | Address Line Three

We are passionate about providing you with all round health solutions.


Please use this resource page as your gateway to better health.  Talk to our pharmacists about ways we can collaborate to support your needs.

Your Health Fact Sheet

Diseases Health Fact Sheets

This is the inability in men to be able to have sexual intercourse.


What to look for

The most obvious symptom is the failure to have an erection. However there are some other factors to consider -

  • if your impotence appears only occasionally it is not usually a serious problem as this is quite common.
  • develops gradually and persistently, there is probably a physical cause
  • develops abruptly, but you still have early-morning erections and are able to have an erection while masturbating, the problem is likely to be psychological.

Impotence, the inability to attain or maintain an erection of the penis adequate for the sexual satisfaction of both partners, can be devastating to your self-esteem as well as your partners. It can affect nearly all males at some time or another.


Causes

There are a number of supposed causes of impotence in men.
The normal aging process can tend to slow a mans ability to sustain an erection. However, experts believe that the cause is more often physical.


The stiffness of an erection is caused by increased blood flow to the penis. Therefore, conditions that block the blood flow to the penis such as atherosclerosis or diabetes can hinder erections. Another vascular cause may be a faulty vein, which lets blood drain too quickly from the penis.


The nervous system has a controlling influence on the male erection, therefore certain prescription drugs which interfere with the nerves (or have this as a side effect) can cause impotence. Among the possible culprits are stimulants, sedatives, diuretics, antihistamines, and agents to treat high blood pressure, cancer, or depression. In addition, alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs, such as marijuana, may contribute to impotence.


With younger men, psychological problems are the likeliest reason for impotence.
Tension and anxiety may arise from poor communication with the sexual partner or a difference in sexual preferences. The sexual difficulties may also be linked to a low self esteem, depression, rejection by parents or peers, or sexual abuse in childhood.


Traditional Treatment

As men age it does take a little longer to become aroused, but if the problem you are having is persistent and severe, seek medical help.
There is a vacuum inflating device that is an option usually for elderly men and your doctor will inform you of the procedure involved.
Another treatment is the injection of testosterone but it is difficult to know how much as each man is different. Ask your doctor about this.
For blood-vessel problems, vascular surgery to open arteries leading to the penis benefits up to half the patients who opt for this treatment.
Men can opt for a penile implant however this should be after all else has failed.
If the cause is judged to be psychological, you could see a qualified counsellor to help you ascertain the underlying causes and help remedy your situation.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Many alternative therapies promote the good health and relaxation needed for a satisfying sex life.


Aromatherapy - Essential oils of clary, sandalwood, and ylang-ylang encourage relaxation and feelings of sensuality. Add 2 drops of each to 4 tsp of massage oil or to a warm bath.


Chinese Herbs - Practitioners believe that too much anxiety can cause energy stagnation in the liver. Golden chamber, a combination of herbs, sometimes with cibot root added, is often prescribed.


Herbal Therapies - Ginkgo, Damiana, and Ginseng are sold in many formulations as sexual stimulants.


Personal Care

  • Try to keep your focus and mind off ‘getting an erection’ while being intimate with your partner. Try to keep the pressure off yourself.
  • Moderate exercise helps relax the body, give you more energy, and stimulate sexuality.
  • Stress or anxiety diverts blood from the sexual organs. Try to relax.


When to seek further professional advice

  • if you are anxious about the problem
  • impotence persists

Impotence

Is the inability to control the passing of urine.


What to look for

  • inability to control urination.


The condition often reflects an underlying disorder and is usually treatable, even in the elderly. Often it was thought that it was a age related condition and inevitable result of getting older. It must be treated however, in order for it to improve.
Incontinence can lead to bladder or urinary tract infections if not treated or if the problem still persists. In those instances where treatment doesn't work there are pads and protection available which can aid your comfort.


Causes

Sometimes there is a continuous leaking of urine as the muscles within this area are unable to contract to hold it back and a person does not know when they need to go to the toilet. This can be the consequence of diabetes in men.
At other times, simple actions such as coughing, sneezing or exercising can cause incontinence problems. The urethra is weak and cannot resist a sudden increase in bladder pressure.


When the bladder is full in other people, it simply contracts and they have no control over the sudden urge to go to the toilet. This can occur in healthy people as well as those with other illnesses involving the central nervous system, such as stroke, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and multiple sclerosis.
A slipped disk, surgery or pregnancy can also contribute to this condition.  Incontinence is a potential side effect of many diuretics, sedatives, antidepressants, antihistamines, and other medications.  Talk to your doctor.


Traditional Treatment

Do not worry about this ailment as in most cases it can be cured or, at the very least, greatly improved with treatment. Both conventional and alternative medicine have effective strategies for dealing with the problem. If you wish, you can try alternative methods first. However, if the condition persists or worsens, see a doctor for a full evaluation and diagnosis.


Many doctors may suggest and show you muscle strengthening exercises to help your incontinence. These treatments are safe and effective.  If your doctor decides you need medication for your condition, the drug he or she prescribes will depend on the cause of the incontinence.  Special devices called pessaries are available for women.  If none of these treatments work, your doctor may recommend surgery. Ask you doctor to describe the various options available to you and to explain any possible side effects as well.  If your incontinence cannot be cured or controlled, you can learn to manage the problem with the help of some specially designed aids that are available.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

These treatments are aimed at strengthening the pelvic muscles to give you more support in this area.


Chinese Herbs - Chinese practitioners may make a mixture of several herbs to treat this condition. They believe herbs that help the body retain fluid are a beneficial treatment for incontinence.


Herbal Treatments - Where there is a lack of bladder control, use corn silk combined with agrimony.


Homoeopathy - Depending on the cause of the condition, homoeopaths have numerous remedies to treat incontinence. Some that are often prescribed include:

  • for stress incontinence, particularly in the elderly, Causticum, which is said to restore vitality to aging tissue.
  • for stress and urge incontinence, particularly when a person is rising from a prone position, Pulsatilla, is thought to restore the urinary parts of the body to proper functioning.


There are additional remedies available.


Dietary Considerations

Maintain your ideal weight.  Avoid constipation by increasing the amount of fibre and water in your diet; eat more whole-grain foods and fruits and vegetables.  Avoid alcohol, caffeine, sugar, spicy foods, and acidic fruits and juices - all of which can irritate the bladder and trigger leaks.


Personal Care

  • Avoid constipation.
  • Do pelvic exercises daily (see women’s health).
  • Retrain yourself to urinate at longer intervals
  • Don't smoke.
  • If you are a woman incontinence, try crossing your legs when sneezing or coughing.


When to seek further professional advice

  • you develop incontinence after an illness or after taking a new medication.
  • self-help remedies for controlling your urination are not working.

Incontinence

Infertility is the inability to conceive a child after a year or more of sexual intercourse without contraception.


What to look for

If after a period of unprotected intercourse, the couple cannot conceive, this is infertility. It can be because of either partner or both.
This can be very distressing for many couples and is taken as a sign of inadequacy. Please keep in mind being infertile does not necessarily indicate sterility.


Causes

Infertility in men can be the result of low sperm production, no sperm or sperm which do not swim as they should do as well as a tubes blockage.
In women, infertility can be caused by a failure to ovulate due to a hormone failure. Interruption of an egg's progress through the fallopian tube from ovary to uterus may also be a cause.
Women’s age is a factor: as after 35 years of age it is often more difficult to conceive. Being overweight, or underweight, can also play a role.
In both men and women, fertility can be diminished by psychological factors, such as anxiety and depression, and by environmental agents.


Treatment

Your doctor will perform many tests on both partners to determine the cause of the infertility.
There are not ways to increase the chances of conception.
Couples are often advised to have intercourse just before ovulation.
Ovulation can be induced with the use of fertility drugs or hormones.
Certain disorders occurring in men can be treated with a doctors help.
IVF (in vitro fertilisation) is an option for couples who are infertile. The egg is fertilised outside the woman's body, then placed in the womb or fallopian tube.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

A variety of alternative treatments may enhance fertility.

  • Relaxation Techniques - Stress can often hinder conception and there are different relaxation techniques can reduce stress which sometimes contributes to infertility.
  • Dietary Considerations - Zinc is important for fertility in both sexes; a supplement may help. Vitamin C has been shown to aid men whose sperm clump together, and it may improve sperm count. Ask for professional advice with regards to the appropriate doses.
  • The diet of both partners should include plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit and a high potency multi-vitamin. Men need more vitamin C. Reduce the amount of caffeine and alcohol as they make the system more acidic.
  • Herbal Treatments - As mentioned above, Zinc is often recommended as well as vitamin E. Take goldenseal, raspberry leaf or red clover tea.


Personal Care

For women:

  • Don't douche.
  • After intercourse, remain lying down for a few minutes.
  • Avoid becoming too tired or too stressed.


For men:

  • Avoid excessive alcohol.
  • Stay healthy; a bad cold or flu can depress sperm count for up to three months.
  • Keep testicles cool; avoid saunas, hot tubs, and close-fitting underwear.


When to seek further professional advice

  • · you desire a child but have not conceived after a year of trying

Infertility

Difficulty in getting to sleep, interrupted sleep, or waking up too early.


What to look for

  • inability to fall asleep.
  • waking up throughout the night.
  • waking up too early.


Insomnia is a rather common complaint and can be a short term problem where there is a temporary disturbance of one's normal sleeping pattern. Short-term insomnia, usually lasts two or three weeks, and can accompany worry or stress and typically disappears when the apparent cause is resolved. It is not harmful but it can become a habit - hard to break.
Chronic insomnia is a more complex disorder in which the cause must be isolated by a doctor. This form of insomnia can have potentially serious effects especially upon the immune system.


Causes

Most commonly, insomnia is caused by stress, worry and depression. However other causes include excessive caffeine consumption, terrible pain, abuse of alcohol or drugs and poor sleeping habits such as napping during the day.
Physical ailments can interfere with your sleep, especially disorders of the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, pancreas, and digestive system. Other important physical causes include heartburn and breathing disorders. Insomnia often accompanies menopause. Abnormal blood sugar levels can cause people suffering from diabetes or hypoglycaemia to wake up during the night.
Sedentary behaviour and keeping an erratic schedule can contribute to insomnia. Over-the-counter drugs and prescription medications can interfere with sleep.


Traditional Treatment

Transient insomnia usually disappears when you return to a regular sleep pattern. Short-term insomnia, which may be caused by the items listed above, may be treated with natural sleep aids or medication.
If your insomnia is more serious, your doctor will need to examine you and try to identify the cause. It may be necessary that you see other experts in this field as well.
There are medications available to enable you to sleep, however, doctors are hesitant to prescribe them in all cases as they can be highly addictive.
 

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Usually people who are unable to sleep need help to relax and take their mind off their problem. Alternative therapies attempt to relax the individual.


Aromatherapy - A relaxant effect may be provided by oils of chamomile (Matricaria recutita), lavender (Lavandula officinalis), neroli, rose, and marjoram. Add a few drops to your bathwater or sprinkle a few drops on a handkerchief and inhale.


Massage - Can promote relaxation and better sleep.


Herbal Therapies - Half an hour before bedtime, drink a calming herbal tea made with chamomile (Matricaria recutita), St.-John's-wort (Hypericum perforatum), lime blossom, passionflower (Passiflora incarnata), or hops (Humulus lupulus).
For insomnia from nervous tension, use vervain or scullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora). Valerian(Valeriana officinalis) is highly effective as well.


Homoeopathy - A homoeopathic practitioner may prescribe Nax vomica for insomnia caused by anxiety or restlessness, Ignatia for grief, or Muriaticum acidum for emotional problems. Other remedies are available, depending on the type of insomnia that is suffered.


Lifestyle - Exercise three or four times a week will help you sleep better and give you more energy.


Meditation and yoga - Can reduce tension and promote better sleep.


Dietary Considerations

Calcium and magnesium taken 45 minutes before bedtime have a tranquillising effect. As well as natural formulas such as valerian.  Avoid coffee, tea, cola drinks and alcohol.
High or low blood sugar can disrupt sleep patterns so avoid sweets and soft drinks before bed.
Warm milk may help in putting the restless person to sleep but do not drink too much as it is reported to be mucus forming.


Personal Care

  • Be sure your bedroom is quiet and dark.
  • Earplugs
  • eye shades may help.
  • relax in a warm bath, listen to soft quiet music just before bed
  • try some Aromatherapy oils put on just before bed such as Marjoram.
  • do not stress if you wake up in the middle of the night, perhaps try to do some light reading to get back to sleep.
  • Ensure you have enough ventilation and you feel comfortable in your room


Remember, a few nights of poor sleep do no long-term harm. Even if you toss and turn trying to get to sleep, you are probably getting more periods of sleep than you think.
 

When to seek further professional advice

  • you experience disturbed sleep for more than a month without apparent cause.
  • your insomnia is associated with an event
  • your sleep medication is no longer effective.
  • you never seem to get enough sleep.

Insomnia

A condition which causes abdominal pain and disturbs bowel action.


What to look for

  • constipation or diarrhoea shortly after meals, usually accompanied by cramps or bloating and gas.
  • abnormal bowel movements.


Your digestive system seems totally out of control. Either you can't stay out of the bathroom, or your stomach is tied in knots. Your bowel movements alternate between loose and hard.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most common of all digestive disorders. The symptoms mentioned above usually follow the consumption of foods. Whatever the specific symptoms, your digestion seems normal but your bowel movements become abnormal and stay that way for several weeks or longer.


Causes

As part of the digestive process, the intestines move food through the intestinal tract by contractions called peristalsis. Irritable bowel syndrome occurs when peristalsis becomes irregular and awkward, disrupting the normal digestive process resulting in smaller ill-formed motions and a feeling that you have not quite emptied your bowels. IBS usually strikes without warning, and most sufferers have bowel movements more frequently than normal, although some become constipated.
There is no known cause of IBS. However many authorities consider stress is the culprit and even depression. While others are adamant that food sensitivities and allergies are the cause.


Overeating, or binge eating, is known to aggravate IBS, as is too much fat in the diet.
Lactose intolerance, eating irregularly or too quickly, and smoking may all be factors in IBS. Some sugar substitutes, antibiotics and other drugs may have diarrhoea as their side effect.


Traditional Treatment

Doctors focus mainly on relief of symptoms as the cause of the ailment is still a mystery.
Your diet may by examined first of all and if it is inadequate, your doctor may suggest a more balanced and healthy one for you.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Various herbal and dietary remedies may be effective in preventing or soothing the discomfort of diarrhoea and constipation.


Exercise - try to get routine exercise as this can get your system moving as well as relaxing the body.


Herbal Therapies - To calm an overactive gastrointestinal tract, peppermint oil capsules are a favourite of many people. Try peppermint tea. Infusions of chamomile (Matricaria recutita), marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis) root, bayberry (Myrica spp.), or slippery elm (Ulmus fulva) also are soothing to the intestinal tract and can be made the same way. 
Ginger is another herb reputed to be beneficial for this problem.  Try plain yogurt daily to get your digestive tract in order.


Homoeopathy - Ignatia may be helpful if you are having spasms of pain and diarrhoea after emotional upsets. If you are passing offensive-smelling gas and mucus in the motions, take Mercurius vivus. I f sudden cramp like pains are relieved by bending over, take Colocynthis. If your stools are soft but you have to strain to pass them, try Nax vomica.


Lifestyle - A number of techniques have been found helpful for this complaint, including training in muscle relaxation.
Of all the relaxation techniques, the most familiar may be hypnotherapy. A practitioner uses the power of suggestion to teach a patient in a hypnotic state how to relax the smooth muscles of the intestines. Guided imagery, often taught by yoga instructors and massage therapists may also teach you new ways to relax yourself.


Dietary Considerations

Certain foods may contribute to IBS by irritating your gastrointestinal tract. Fatty foods are very hard for some people’s digestive systems to handle and consequently can cause this problem Other known irritants to some people's digestive tracts are eggs and dairy products, spicy foods, and coffee, especially decaffeinated.
Increase the amount of fibre in your diet by eating more fresh fruit and vegetables.
A diet rich in grains such as oats, fresh fruit and vegetables, cooked dried beans. Live yoghurt helps this condition.


When to seek further professional advice

  • you discover blood in your stools
  • you have a fever, or you have been losing weight unexpectedly
  • you have mucus in your stools

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

It is normal for you and your child to come into contact with bacteria and viruses on a regular basis. Some of these microbes can cause serious problems.
Immunisation protects your baby from serious diseases and illnesses. It is safe and easy to administer.


How immunisation can help…

When you are vaccinated, your body responds by creating antibodies that defend it against that disease in the future. It builds up a defence system that destroys the bacteria and viruses before they cause illness.


Which diseases shoould you be immunised against…

Whooping Cough (pertussis) - this is an infectious disease spread by coughing and sneezing. Breathing becomes difficult with distinctive coughing spasms. This can be fatal for children and babies.


Diphtheria - this is a bacterial infection spread by droplets from the nose. The bacteria produces a toxin which spreads throughout the body and causes heart failure or paralysis.


Polio - a virus of the gastrointestinal area. A serious disease which is not under control however it can make another appearance if children are not vaccinated from it.


Tetanus - caused by a bacteria made toxin which is found in soil and animal manure. Serious side effects are spasms, lockjaw, breathing problems and convulsions.


Mumps - virus spread by saliva. Is serious if complications set in - such as swollen brain and infertility.


Measles - caused by a virus. Highly infectious and spread by coughing and droplets from nasal passages. Can have serious side effects and complications can cause encephalitis or pneumonia.


Rubella (German measles) - dangerous if spread to pregnant women. Therefore very important to have your child immunised against it.


Hib - a bacterial infection that can cause other more serious diseases in children and infants.


Hepatitis B - this immunisation is available for your baby. It is a virus that attacks the liver and can be the cause of liver cancer.


These diseases are very serious and can often be fatal. Your child needs protection from them from an early age.


When does Your Child need to be immunised …

Age and what to get immunised against…
2 months diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, Hib.
4 months diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, Hib
6 months diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, Hib
12 months measles, mumps, rubella
18 months diphtheria, tetanus, Hib
4 - 5 years diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio
10-16 years measles, mumps, rubella, hep B
one month later hep B (2nd dose)
six months later hep B
15-19 diphtheria, tetanus
every 10 years diphtheria, tetanus


Are there any side effects involved…

  • a slight fever
  • a sore arm
  • feeling a little unwell

Are there times when you should not have your baby immunised…

Not many… Always tell your doctor if your child has a fever and is quite sick, is having any form of treatment that can affect their immune system, has a disease such as AIDS/HIV, Leukaemia, cancer. Your doctor will be able to recommend the appropriate course of action.


IMPORTANT NOTE: - There are some who worry that the whooping cough immunisation may cause brain damage in children. There have been studies conducted which show that this is probably not the case. If it were true, the chances would be less than one in a million. However, it is reported that for every 300 children who are not immunised against whooping cough and are unfortunate enough to catch the disease, two will probably develop encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and one will die.


This points out that it is more important to get your child immunised.
Reference: The Australian Immunisation Handbook, 6th edition.


Immunisation

The immune system protects us from bacteria, fungi and viruses entering the body.


What to look for

People with poor immune systems will commonly be afflicted with:-
colds and flu and various other
infections;
tiredness;
allergies.


There are disorders of the immune system which are also covered in this series please go to the appropriate sections - AIDS, allergies, Arthritis, Asthma, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Diabetes, hay fever, Lupus, and Multiple Sclerosis.
The immune systems main task is to protects us from infection an invasion by all sorts of bacteria, viruses and other substances. In fighting off these trespassers, your body produces symptoms of illness.
When an invading bacterium or virus enters the bloodstream, the cells of the immune system absorb it, then two other types of immune cells… B cells and T cells.


B cells produce antibodies to fight the invader directly.
T cells help in various other ways. These cells secrete interferon, increasing their cell killing ability. As well as this, the T cells no when enough is enough and to stop all action. Once the immune system remembers an invader, they attack and repel it automatically - this is when we become resistant to disease.


In most cases, the immune system does its job well, but occasionally there are problems in its response to the environment.
An overactive immune system, for example, results in autoimmune disorders. In these cases, the immune system mistakes normal, healthy tissues for foreign invaders and attacks them.
Examples include rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, Type 1 diabetes, and scleroderma. Researchers suspect that chronic fatigue syndrome and Lou Gehrig's disease may be autoimmune diseases as well.


Another type of immune error occurs when the system overreacts to something harmless, as with allergies.
The opposite occurs when the immune system fails to respond enough, resulting in disease such as AIDS.
For people who are generally healthy, it's possible for the immune system to become temporarily affected and you may as a result come down with conditions quicker and for a longer time.


Causes

There are certain triggers that can interfere with the proper functioning of the immune system. Theses are toxins, stress, poor diet, lack of exercise and sleep, and abuse of alcohol, emotional stress and cigarettes. Certain medications, radiation therapy, and too many antibiotics can hamper your immune system. Scientists believe the problem may be genetic as well.


Traditional Treatment

Your doctor will perform tests on you to properly diagnose the condition. He or she may also suggest that you alter your eating habits as well.
Your doctor may discuss with you any stressful events or situations that are adversely affecting your health and suggest making necessary lifestyle changes.
One option is the use of medications and injections to give your immune system a jump start. You will need to discuss the options with your doctor.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

There are a number of things that can help immune disorders. You should view the sections on multiple sclerosis, arthritis, lupus, allergies and diabetes for possible remedies. Always consult your Health Professional before trying alternative treatments.


  • Chinese Herbs - Dried slices of polyporus, from the mushroom Polyporus umbellatus, can be made into a tea and drunk for a tonic effect on the immune system. Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) tea or tincture may help combat viral infections and enhance the functioning of immune cells. The traditional Minor Bupleurum Combination, taken as a tea or in tablet form, may strengthen the immune system. Ginseng (Panax ginseng) may improve immune functioning by protecting against the damage caused by free radicals.


  • Aromatherapy - Try inhaling lemon essential oil in a vapouriser, or as a blend with carrier oil. This can be used in a massage. 


  • Herbal Therapies - Echinacea (Echinacea spp.) may have antiviral and antibacterial properties. Garlic (Allium sativum) has anti-infective and immune-enhancing qualities. Shiitake (Lentinus edodes), enokidake (Flammulina velutipes), and reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) mushrooms may promote production of antibodies. Studies have shown that feeling positive and happy can have a beneficial effect on the immune system while negative emotions have the opposite effect.


Dietary Considerations

It is wise to eat a diet low in fats and high in fresh fruit and vegetables, brown rice, fish, poultry and also to have plenty of filtered water. Avoid too much coffee and carbonated drinks. Fresh garlic boosts your immune system and is a natural antibiotic. Also you may wish to try supplements such as vitamin B complex, vitamin C and E, and Echinacea.


Personal Care

Identify the things that cause you stress in your life and try to avoid them, or reduce the affect that they have on you.


PREVENTION

Change your habits to include things that actively promote good health.
Avoid overeating and overindulging in alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco. Get plenty of rest, exercise regularly, and eat a balanced diet.


When to seek further professional advice

  • You suspect you have an immune system disorder.

Immune Problems

It is normal for you and your child to come into contact with bacteria and viruses on a regular basis. Some of these microbes can cause serious problems.


Immunisation protects your baby from serious diseases and illnesses. It is safe and easy to administer.


How immunisation can help…

When you are vaccinated, your body responds by creating antibodies that defend it against that disease in the future. It builds up a defence system that destroys the bacteria and viruses before they cause illness.


Which diseases shoould you be immunised against…

Whooping Cough (pertussis) - this is an infectious disease spread by coughing and sneezing. Breathing becomes difficult with distinctive coughing spasms. This can be fatal for children and babies.


Diphtheria - this is a bacterial infection spread by droplets from the nose. The bacteria produces a toxin which spreads throughout the body and causes heart failure or paralysis.


Polio - a virus of the gastrointestinal area. A serious disease which is not under control however it can make another appearance if children are not vaccinated from it.


Tetanus - caused by a bacteria made toxin which is found in soil and animal manure. Serious side effects are spasms, lockjaw, breathing problems and convulsions.


Mumps - virus spread by saliva. Is serious if complications set in - such as swollen brain and infertility.


Measles - caused by a virus. Highly infectious and spread by coughing and droplets from nasal passages. Can have serious side effects and complications can cause encephalitis or pneumonia.


Rubella (German measles) - dangerous if spread to pregnant women. Therefore very important to have your child immunised against it.


Hib - a bacterial infection that can cause other more serious diseases in children and infants.


Hepatitis B - this immunisation is available for your baby. It is a virus that attacks the liver and can be the cause of liver cancer.


These diseases are very serious and can often be fatal. Your child needs protection from them from an early age.


When does Your Child need to be immunised …

Please see our immunisation chart.


Are there any side effects involved…

  •  a slight fever
  • a sore arm
  • feeling a little unwell


Are there times when you should not have your baby immunised…

Not many… Always tell your doctor if your child has a fever and is quite sick, is having any form of treatment that can affect their immune system, has a disease such as AIDS/HIV, Leukaemia, cancer. Your doctor will be able to recommend the appropriate course of action.


IMPORTANT NOTE: - There are some who worry that the whooping cough immunisation may cause brain damage in children. There have been studies conducted which show that this is probably not the case. If it were true, the chances would be less than one in a million. However, it is reported that for every 300 children who are not immunised against whooping cough and are unfortunate enough to catch the disease, two will probably develop encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and one will die.

This points out that it is more important to get your child immunised.
Reference: The Australian Immunisation Handbook, 6th edition

Immunisation Considerations

Indigestion is a type of pain and sick feeling after eating food.


What to look for

  • heartburn.
  • gas or burping.
  • abdominal pressure and flatulence.
  • mild nausea.
  • vomiting.


We should not normally notice the digestion process. Indigestion is a term that covers a large variety of assorted stomach problems but mostly it means pain after eating food, usually accompanied by a bloated and sick feeling.
Indigestion is either a symptom of a disease or the result of eating unfavourable foods.


Indigestion may be occasional or occur daily. Though uncomfortable, indigestion itself is not life-threatening. However, this condition should not be left untreated.


Causes

This is a disorder which everyone will feel occasionally.
It has many causes such as

  • too much food consumption
  • overindulging in alcohol;
  • frequently using analgesics and other pain relievers;
  • eating while stressed;
  • eating food that does not agree with your system.
  • eating in a hurry and not chewing your food properly


Obesity and smoking are two major causes of chronic indigestion.


Traditional Treatment

There are many treatments available to help indigestion and the right one depends on your symptoms. Your doctor or Pharmacist will advise which course of action to take.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies - Various teas may calm digestive distress. To reduce stomach acidity, drink meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) tea.


If you also feel stressed, add lavender (Lavandula officinalis) or chamomile (Matricaria recutita).
If bloating or gas is a problem, try a tea of peppermint (Mentha piperita), chamomile, or lemon balm (Melissa officinalis).
Certain herbs are able to help with digestion and heartburn. About 30 minutes before eating, drink 1/2 cup of tea made from goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), barberry (Berberis vulgaris) bark, gentian (Gentiana lutea) root, or Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium) root.
Ginger is another herb with properties that can aid digestion.


Dietary Considerations

Try a low fat diet with less protein from fatty foods, highly spiced foods, sugars, alcohol, tea and coffee. Do not drink too much fluid with your meals. Chew slowly. Try Acidophilus Bifidus to maintain good levels of friendly intestinal flora. Fruits that have digestive enzymes are pawpaw, kiwi fruit and pineapple. It is wise to start eating natural live yogurt as well.


Personal Care

  • Refrain from smoking.
  • For occasional indigestion with heartburn, use antacids if recommended by your doctor or try an alternative solution - see above
  • Try one or several of the herbal teas above to relieve your specific symptoms.
  • Relax during and after eating.
  • If you frequently chew gum, stop for a while to see if your symptoms dissipate.
  • Avoid the foods mentioned above to improve your digestion.
  • Drink more fluids - filtered water is best - during the day but try not to have too much fluid while eating as this can dilute the digestive enzymes.


Prevention

Indigestion is universal; it's almost impossible to avoid it forever. You can encounter it less often, however, if you watch your weight; avoid overeating or overindulging in alcohol; avoid your 'trigger' foods; and abstain from smoking.


When to seek further professional advice

  • any abdominal pain continues for more than six hours
  • you experience indigestion with any other problematic symptom
  • you have repeated bouts of severe indigestion
  • your indigestion consistently follows your eating dairy products.

Indigestion

What to look for

Fever, chills, sweating, headaches, muscle aches, and fatigue are symptoms common to many infections, however there are symptoms specific to different types of infections.
Viruses and bacteria are constantly battling with our bodies and trying to invade. Once on or inside the body, they try to survive and reproduce. Most do not succeed as our body has a good defence system.


Those that survive do so by preying on healthy cells and tissue. The process of invasion, growth, and our body's reaction to them is what is meant by infection.
For a more full description of the function of our immune system please go to the entry ‘immune problems’.
Our body’s quick response usually stops all infections. However, sometimes this does not occur as the body’s immune system is weak and not functioning as it should.


Causes

Bacteria, viruses, fungi are what cause infections by invading body tissue, stealing nutrients from healthy cells, and releasing toxins some parasites kill healthy cells.
These micro-organisms readily infect the eyes, ears, mouth, genitals, and the skin itself. Some enter straight into the bloodstream.


Food poisoning occurs when pathogen (invading bacteria) enter the gastrointestinal tract, usually through contaminated food or water.


Most respiratory infections, including common colds, flu and mild forms of pneumonia, are caused by inhaling or ingesting viruses.
The urinary tract usually flushes out pathogens but is prone to infection when it is swollen, irritated, or obstructed. Ailments ranging from common bladder infections to serious kidney infections are usually bacterial.
Most infections stay localised but some can spread throughout the entire body.
Your doctor will do tests to determine where your infection is and it’s severity.


Traditional Treatment

Minor infections are of short duration and usually clear up on their own, but serious infectious diseases require medical treatment.


Antibiotics are the usual treatment against bacterial infections however this course of action will not work against viral infections. In these cases the doctor can usually only relieve the symptoms and help the body to heal itself.
Over-the-counter and prescription medications can relieve typical symptoms and speed recovery from minor infections.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Good nutrition, rest, and stress-reducing activities can help prevent and combat infection.


Herbal Treatments - Some herbs which are particularly helpful for infections are - aniseed, Echinacea, eucalyptus, garlic, goldenseal, horseradish, myrrh, pau d’arco, tea tree oil. 


Aromatherapy - Try a warm compress on the affected area with geranium in it, for coughs and colds, try inhaling grapefruit oil, lemongrass, lime or lemon oil. For more information on the essential oils.


Homoeopathic Treatments - Pulsatilla is great for ridding the body of mucus or discharge - ask for the required dosages.


Dietary Considerations

The most incredible diet in the world will not always protect you from every germ or bug going around, but it will definitely help your body cope with some of them.


Try to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables - especially the foods rich in vitamin C (citrus fruits), vitamin E (wheatgerm, seeds and seed oils), vitamin A (red, yellow or orange coloured fruits and vegetables, or dark-green leafy vegetables). Selenium will be present in wheat, brown rice, poultry and low-fat dairy produce. You could eat more beans, fish, liver, brewer’s yeast and nuts, oysters, cheddar cheese, and lentils which are rich sources of zinc and cysteine.

Avoid refined foods, alcohol and caffeine.


Prevention

  • Proper vaccinations need to be performed to prevent infections.
  • Be careful with meats and always keep them refrigerated - also wash hands before and after touching them.
  • Practice good personal hygiene.


When to seek further professional advice

  • you or your child develops a high fever
  • you have any of the symptoms listed above and they do not respond to treatments

Infections

A condition whereby the nail grows into the skin of the toe instead of over it.


What to look for

  • pain, swelling, and redness around a toenail, usually the big toe.

Ingrown nails usually affect the toenails and can be very painful.
People who have curved or thick nails are most susceptible, although anyone can suffer from ingrown nails as a result of an injury or because of shoes which do not fit properly.
Diabetics need to be aggressive in treating and preventing minor foot ailments because they can develop into serious medical problems.


Causes

Ingrown nails are most frequently caused by cutting your toenails too short or rounding the nail edges, or by wearing ill-fitting shoes that press the nail into your toe. You can also develop an ingrown nail after an injury such as stubbing your toe.


Traditional Treatment

This can be prevented by wearing shoes that fit well, and by taking proper care when you cut your toenails. Care must be taken to ensure the area does not become infected.
If this does occur, you will probably be put on a course of antibiotics and be given an ointment to help the infection.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Herbal Therapies - Medical herbalists may suggest soaking the toe in a warm solution of calendula (Calendula officinalis) and tea tree oil.


Personal Care

  • When you cut your nails, put a small ‘V’ in the middle with the scissors. This will allow the nail to grow in towards the middle and not spade out to cause trouble.
  • soaking your foot in warm salt water and then applying an over-the-counter topical solution for ingrown nails
  • Lemon is said to act as a natural softening agent. If you want to try a natural remedy, tie a fresh lemon slice around the toe and leave it on overnight.


Prevention

Proper grooming is the first step in preventing ingrown nails.
Soak the feet first to soften the nails. Do not cut the nails with a downwards slope at the sides as this can cause the problem.


Call Your Doctor If:

  • the ingrown nail becomes infected

Ingrown Nail

Jaundice is a yellowing of the skin and eyes - it is not a disease but a symptom of a disorder.


What to look for

  • a yellowish or greenish tinge to the skin.
  • yellowing of the whites of the eyes
  • dark-colored urine.
  • in some cases, generalised itching.


Jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, is not a disease itself but a symptom of an underlying disorder.
Bilirubin, a substance which is involved in the breakdown of red blood cells, accumulates in the bloodstream and causes the yellow discolouration. In a normal healthy body, bilirubin and bile (a digestive juice) mix and pass safely out of the body through the digestive tract. But if the liver is not functioning properly or the passage of bile is obstructed (perhaps by gallstones), bilirubin backs up into the blood. Jaundice can signify a more serious problem.


Causes

This disorder can happen to newborns in which case it is fairly normal as the liver has to suddenly function on its own and it has a few teething problems. In rare cases, excessive amounts of bilirubin can damage the child's brain. So even though it is normally harmless in these cases, it must still be checked out by your doctor.


If the jaundice is the result of a disorder, it is usually more serious. The liver malfunctioning (in the case of cirrhosis ) can cause this problem.


Other factors or conditions that can disrupt liver function and lead to jaundice include hepatitis, certain drugs and toxins, pregnancy, and congestive heart failure. In some cases, gallstones can also cause it.


If jaundice shows up in school-age children or adults, the doctor may take a blood sample to check for liver damage.


Traditional Treatment

Usually the best way to treat this disorder is to pinpoint the cause. Your doctor will examine you and give you an indication of what is going wrong with your liver.


If your baby has jaundice as a result of an illness he or she will have to be hospitalised and treated accordingly.
Treatment for illness-related jaundice in older children and adults will depend on the cause.


Alternative/Natural Treatment

The underlying cause must be known before any treatment can occur.


Chinese Herbs - A Chinese practitioner may treat jaundice with various combinations of herbs. These remedies must be prepared only by a trained professional.


Herbal Therapies - Various herbs, including dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), vervain (Verbena officinalis), and milk thistle (Silybum marianum), are used for this complaint.


Homoeopathy - A number of homoeopathic remedies are appropriate for treating jaundice; the exact prescription will depend on the underlying cause. Consult a homoeopath for the preparations and dosages that are right for you.


When to seek further professional advice

  • you notice jaundice in your infant
  • you notice jaundice in yourself, in another adult, or in a school-age child

Jaundice

What to look for…

  • reddish or cloudy urine.
  • dull pain in the abdomen, back, or side.
  • a mass or lump in the lower back that feels smooth and firm but does not necessarily hurt.
  • intermittent fever, vomiting, appetite and weight loss.


The kidneys are a pair of organs positioned above the waist on either side of the spine. The outer portion of each kidney cleanses the blood and produce urine. Benign cysts often develop in this area; much less often, a malignant tumour forms.
Renal cell carcinoma, the most common type of adult kidney cancer, starts in a kidney's outer portion. Transitional cell carcinoma, originates in the interior of the kidney, where urine collects. Cancer cells may eventually spread to other organs.


Causes

Kidney cancer is strongly linked with a number of other health problems.

  • congenital defects of the kidney or bladder
  • frequent urinary tract infections
  • kidney disease requiring long-term dialysis
  • von Hippel-Lindau disease.
  • smokers more likely to develop kidney cancer
  • exposure to industrial agents
  • diets high in fat and protein
  • obesity.


If your doctor detects a mass in the abdominal or kidney region or using a stethoscope hears an unusual noise over the renal artery, he will check for kidney cancer.


Traditional Treatments

If it is caught early, a kidney tumour will be removed surgically. The surgeon tries to remove only the cancerous area but may have to take out the entire kidney along with surrounding fat, lymph nodes, and possibly the adrenal gland.
Radiation therapy and chemotherapy can reduce tumour size but are not consistently effective in preventing the spread of kidney cancer.


Unfortunately, neither radiation nor chemotherapy is particularly successful in treating advanced kidney cancer.
New therapies are being tested constantly in the hope of improving cure rates for this and other cancers.
When patients reach remission stage, they must be checked regularly for recurrence or complications.

Prevention

Stop smoking immediately. Maintain your ideal weight and limit high-fat foods, and red meat. Always toss out foods that become mouldy or rancid, including nuts, seeds, or rice.


When to seek further professional advice

  • you experience any symptoms of kidney cancer.

Kidney Cancer

Kidney disease a the inability of the kidneys to perform their normal functions.


What to look for

  • frequent thirst and urge to urinate.
  • the passing of very small amounts of urine.
  • swelling of the hands and feet, and puffiness around the eyes.
  • unpleasant taste in the mouth and urine like odour to the breath.
  • persistent fatigue or shortness of breath.
  • loss of appetite.
  • increasingly higher blood pressure.
  • pale skin.
  • excessively dry, persistently itchy skin.
  • in children: increased fatigue and sleepiness; decrease in appetite; and eventually, poor growth.


The kidneys perform a vital function for the human body. They cleanse the blood, maintain the correct balance of various body chemicals, and help regulate blood pressure.
When the kidneys become diseased or damaged, they can suddenly or gradually lose their ability to perform these vital functions. Waste products and excess fluid then build up inside the body, causing a variety of symptoms. It is essential that kidneys in this state are treated.


Causes

The causes of chronic kidney disease (the slow, gradual impairment of the organs) are usually the result of another disease such as diabetes. High blood pressure or Atherosclerosis, or Lupus may also trigger kidney disease by causing the kidneys to become inflamed.


Some chronic kidney diseases are inherited. Others are congenital, meaning something the person was born with that makes the victim susceptible to kidney diseases.
If you habitually take medications or drugs (including illegal drugs) you may also contract this disease. Researchers also suspect that excessive amounts of vitamin D and protein may harm the kidneys. But in many chronic cases, the precise cause remains unknown.


Acute kidney disease (kidney disease that develops suddenly) can occur immediately following the onset of any medical condition that suddenly and dramatically reduces the flow of blood to the kidneys. Examples are a heart attack, a traumatic injury, a serious infection, or a toxic reaction to a drug.


Inhaling or swallowing certain toxins, including methyl, or wood, alcohol; carbon tetrachloride; antifreeze; and poisonous mushrooms, can also cause the kidneys to suddenly malfunction. Marathon runners and other endurance athletes who do not drink enough liquids while competing in long-distance athletic events may suffer acute kidney failure due to a sudden breakdown of muscle tissue, which releases a chemical called myoglobin that can damage the kidneys.


You will need to undergo a blood and urine test and/or other tests at your doctors surgery.


Traditional Treatment

It is imperative that you seek conventional medical advice with kidney complaints as they can be fatal. Alternative therapies should only be used as supplement to your traditional treatment.


Medications can sometimes help slow the progress of chronic kidney disease also certain diets may halt the disease. But if these measures fail, and the kidneys may worsen to the point where they are totally dysfunctional. There are then only two treatments: dialysis, in which artificial devices clean the blood of waste products, or a kidney transplant.
If you are diagnosed with one of the more serious forms of kidney disease, your doctor may prescribe several medications.

Your doctor may also prescribe an iron and a calcium supplement if those levels have fallen in your blood
Always consult your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medications as these can have a worsening affect on your kidneys.
Restrictive diets which avoid protein can often have very positive affects on the kidneys however, this approach is still very controversial in medical circles.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Kidney disease is a serious disease therefore you should bear in mind that alternative therapies are only a supplement to your traditional treatment. You should also talk over with your doctor before starting any other supplements or medication as these can have a profound affect on your kidneys.


Chinese Herbs - Traditional Chinese health practitioners use several herbs in the treatment of kidney disorders. However, because many herbs can be harmful to the kidneys, you should always consult your physician before taking the advice of an herbalist or ingesting any herbal remedies.


Homoeopathy - Homoeopathic remedies are generally safe for the treatment of chronic kidney conditions.


Dietary Considerations

A special restricted diet can decrease the workload on diseased kidneys, keep body fluids and chemicals in balance, and avoid a build up of waste products in the body. These diets are individualised for each patient but they are usually centred around the reduction of protein, potassiumphosphorus and sodium. It is very important to drink lots of filtered water. Foods which should be avoided are cocoa, tea, rhubarb, beets, parsley.
Calcium supplements are frequently recommended in order to counteract the bone weakening that frequently accompanies kidney disease.


Chemicals That Can Damage The Kidneys

Several of the chemicals found in common household products have been linked to both acute and chronic kidney disease. By becoming aware and reading the labels on all products in the home you can also avoid exposure to these.


Cadmium - (used in production of ) pesticides, rubber tyres, plastics, paints, and other products. Because of its industrial uses, it is now widely found in water and food supplies.


Carbon tetrachloride


Chloroform - This chemical can be found in drinking water as a by-product of chlorination and found in the air as the result of automobile and industrial pollution. Chloroform is also still used as an ingredient in some cough syrups, toothpaste, liniments, glues, pesticides, and other consumer products. To avoid:
Ethylene glycol


Oxalic acid -found in some heavy-duty household cleaning products. Several freckle-fading and skin-bleaching cosmetics contain this chemical.


Tetrachloroethylene - dry cleaning fluid


When to seek further professional advice

  • you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed in the description section.

Kidney Disease

Occurs when bacteria or other infectious organisms enter the kidneys and cause infection.


What to look for

  • continuous pain that usually begins in the back above the waist and spreads down into the groin.
  • rapidly rising fever
  • frequent urge to urinate, even though the bladder is empty.
  • cloudy or bloody urine.
  • severe nausea or vomiting.


Kidney infections cause the kidney to swell and become inflamed.
This ailment can be extremely dangerous and should always be treated. If they are left untreated, they can lead to permanent kidney damage or blood poisoning.


Causes

Kidney infections are usually caused by the bacteria that reside in the large intestine. In a number of cases the infection starts in the bladder and spreads to the kidney.
The use of catheters can also increase the risk of kidney infections.
Your doctor may perform a urine/blood test on you to determine if you have an infection as well as the cause.


Traditional Treatment

If you suspect that you have a kidney infection, do not hesitate to seek immediate medical treatment; as delay in clearing the body of infection can lead to serious complications.
Usually antibiotics and bed rest are often all that is required to bring an acute kidney infection under control within 48 hours. Your physician will also ask you to drink large quantities of water to help flush out the bacteria from your urinary tract.
Only in rare cases are people hospitalised, usually to ensure that they get enough fluids and antibiotics.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Because kidney infections are so serious, most naturopaths will insist that you seek conventional medical care. If you decide to use alternative treatments in addition to conventional ones make sure you communicate to your doctor which supplements and herbs you are thinking of starting.


Dietary Considerations

Until you are cured of the infection, avoid foods that might irritate the urinary tract and put undue stress on the kidneys. Food to avoid are alcohol, coffee, salt, black tea, chocolate, carbonated beverages, citrus fruits, tomatoes, spicy foods, vinegar, artificial sweeteners, and sugar are all considered potential irritants. (See also Bladder infections/Cystitis.)


Prevention

Because most kidney infections start in the bladder, prevention begins with keeping bacteria out of the entire urinary tract.

  • Clean yourself thoroughly after using the toilet. Women should wipe from front to back to avoid spreading bacteria to the opening of the urethra.
  • Urinate as soon as possible when you feel the urge and empty your bladder completely.
  • Do not wear synthetic underwear that traps heat in the crutch area.
  • Drink plenty of liquids.
  • Drink cranberry juice everyday. Research suggests that cranberries have properties that help fight off urinary tract infections. (See Bladder Infections.) you may even wish to take cranberry tablets.


Women:

  • Empty your bladder after intercourse to flush any bacteria
  • If you use a diaphragm, make sure that it fits properly and only leave it in for the required time - no longer.
  • Avoid using scented soaps, bubble baths, and vaginal deodorants.


When to seek further professional advice

  • you have symptoms that lead you to think you have a kidney infection,
  • you notice blood in your urine

Kidney Infections

These are deposits that form in the kidney or bladder when substances which are normally dissolved in the urine turn into solids.


What to look for

  • sharp pain.
  • nausea and vomiting.
  • profuse sweating.
  • blood in urine.


If there is an infection present as well…

  • fever.
  • frequent urge to urinate.
  • painful urination.
  • cloudy urine which can be odorous.


Kidney stones are created when certain substances in urine (including calcium and uric acid) crystallise clump together. Small stones, rather like gravel, are able to pass out of the body in the urine and often go completely unnoticed with no symptoms. But larger stones irritate and stretch the ureter as they move toward the bladder, causing agonising pain and blocking the flow of urine. Sometimes a stone can be very large, in which case it remains lodged in the kidney, creating a more serious condition.


If you've had a kidney stone once, you are likely to get one again. For this reason it is vital that you attempt to prevent it through various means.


Causes

Acquiring kidney stones can be hereditary, it can also occur in people who are also suffering from gout, urinary tract infections (cystitis) and certain bowel diseases. Not drinking enough water can also cause it.
If you use antacids consistently you may be prone to kidney stones. Dietary deficiencies in vitamin B6 and magnesium, and excessive amounts of vitamin D also may be factors in the formation of stones.
Doctors will normally perform a urine/blood test on you to confirm the presence of a stone and to determine the possible cause.


Traditional Treatment

Always seek the advice of your doctor if you have the above symptoms and he or she will advise you on the best course of action. In most cases, however, bed rest and a mild medication or pain killer will help. But your doctor will need to perform a test to confirm the composition of the stone and this will indicate the best type of treatment.
If complications develop, such as an infection or total blockage the stone must be surgically removed.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

These remedies can help in relieving the pain of kidney stones.
Chinese Herbs - Practitioners of Chinese medicine sometimes prescribe star fruit (Averrhoa carambola) to help relieve pain and promote urination.


Dietary Considerations

  • Take daily supplements of vitamin B6, vitamin A and C, kelp, lecithin, silica and magnesium
  • Avoid anchovies, sardines, organ meats, chocolates, celery, grapes, green capsicum, beans, tea, strawberries, brewer's yeast.
  • Eat a low-protein diet.
  • Avoid antacids.
  • Reduce salt
  • Avoid vitamin D supplements
  • Drink plenty of filtered water every day.
  • Avoid foods containing calcium oxalate, as too much of this can cause the stones to worsen (chocolate, celery, grapes, beans, strawberries, spinach, asparagus, black tea). Ask your doctor about limited your calcium intake at this time.


When to seek further professional advice

  • you think you have kidney stones;
  • you are experiencing any pain or difficulty with urination
  • you notice blood in your urine

Kidney Stones

Laryngitis is the inflammation of the larynx caused by an infection, or by over-use of the voice, or by irritation.

What to look for

  • hoarseness and loss of voice.
  • pain when speaking.
  • raw feeling in the throat.
  • a constant need to clear the throat.
  • flu or a cold

The first indication that you have laryngitis is that you lose your voice.


Causes

Anything that makes your vocal cords swell can result in laryngitis. Viruses and bacteria are frequently responsible. Allergies and exposure to certain harsh chemicals or toxins can also cause the vocal cords to swell. As well as overuse. Tumours or growths can also cause this, however it is only in rare case.


Traditional Treatment

Viral laryngitis usually goes away by itself in a few days without any treatment except rest for the voice.
However, if your physician diagnoses a bacterial infection has set in, you'll most likely be given antibiotics. Be sure to complete the entire course.


For most allergies, doctors usually prescribe antihistamines, which reduce swelling and inflammation.
No medication is necessary if your laryngitis is caused by simple overuse; in that case, the best solution is to rest your voice.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Your immune system will be the object of treatment with alternative practices, in order to prevent this condition occurring again. They will also attempt to relieve the discomfort you feel.


Herbal Therapies - To help restore the voice, try gargling with a tea made from red sage, bayberry or white oak bark. Echinacea (Echinacea spp.) also helps the immune system


Aromatherapy - Try using the essential oil of thyme to relieve the symptoms. Use in vaporiser, inhalation or in a carrier oil via massage. 


Dietary Considerations

Drinking plenty of filtered water, eating lots of raw fruits and vegetables, and reducing your intake of refined carbohydrates may help speed your recovery from laryngitis. To boost your immune system, supplement your diet with vitamin C, garlic tablets and Echinacea.


Personal Care

  • Do not speak at all - rest your voice totally.
  • Drink plenty of liquids, such as water or tea mixed with a little honey or lemon.
  • Inhale steam from a pot of boiling water.


Prevention

Try not to overuse your voice - give it lots of rest. Do not smoke or locate yourself next to smokers.


When to seek further professional advice

  • laryngitis lasts more than a week
  • you develop laryngitis after being exposed to environmental toxins
  • a child's hoarseness turns into a sharp, barking cough

Laryngitis

Leukemia is cancer of the blood which may start in the bone marrow or the lymph system. White blood cells do not reproduce themselves but after living for a few days or weeks, they are replaced by new cells. Leukemia affects this process in two ways. Firstly, the leukaemic cells do not ever mature into blood cells which are able to fight infection. 


Secondly, too many of these cells are produced. Eventually the overproduction of these cells causes the bone marrow to become clogged, (the bone marrow is where billions of new blood cells are produced everyday - more red than white) then they spill into the blood and invade the lymph system, liver and spleen. The production of normal red and white blood cells is reduced as the bone marrow is clogged. 


In fact, eventually the body does not have enough red cells to supply oxygen, or platelets for proper clotting, or enough normal white cells to fight infection, making people with leukemia anaemic and susceptible to such things as bruising, bleeding and infection.


Leukemia, is different from other cancers in that it does not produce tumours.


What to look for…

Leukemia can be classified as acute or chronic. In acute leukemias, cancer cells start multiplying excessively before they become mature cells. While chronic leukemias develop more slowly, with cancer cells progressing to full maturity. Leukemias are further classified according to the type of white blood cell involved. Acute lymphocytic, (childhood leukemia), is the most common type of cancer in children; acute myelogenic leukemia is the most common leukemia in adults. Without treatment, acute leukemias can be fatal within a short period of time. The effectiveness of treatment depends on the type of disease and the stage it is at, however, the younger the patient, the greater the chances of remission. (In leukemia, remission means that no more cancerous cells are present and the bone marrow seems normal).

Chronic leukemias usually affect adults. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is the most benign, slowly progressing type. It may be controlled effectively with medication. Chronic myelogenic leukemia develops faster and with more force. Average survival time is about four years as it is more difficult to halt its progression.

Unfortunately, there are many types of leukemia that do not produce obvious symptoms in early stages. Eventually once the bone marrow becomes affected, symptoms may include any of the following:

  • Anaemia - fatigue and generally feeling unwell.
  • Bruising or bleeding easily, this includes bleeding from the gums or nose, or blood in the stool or urine.
  • Swollen lymph nodes, typically in the throat, armpits or groin.
  • Susceptibility to many types of infections (including respiratory).
  • Loss of appetite and weight.
  • Discomfort or a lump under the left lower ribs.


In advanced stages, symptoms become more severe and may include such things as high fevers coming on suddenly, confusion, seizures, inability to talk, difficulty moving arms or legs.


Causes

The cause is unknown but with acute leukemia, researchers believe that it maybe the result of a virus. It is believed that the onset of a viral infection may change the vulnerability of certain people or may even change the surface structure of the immune cells that fight infection. Some also believe it could be genetic. Heavy exposure to atomic radiation or an element in petrol has been linked to incidences of leukemia. 


Other factors that may increase the risk of leukemia include smoking, exposure to various chemicals and also exposure to low frequency electromagnetic fields (however the proof is not available at this time).


Traditional Treatment

Treatment is with modern equipment and medications. Being diagnosed with leukemia is not necessarily a death sentence and with advances in medical science it is possible to cure certain types of leukemia and significantly extend the life expectancy in others. Childhood leukemia cases are the most successful due to advances in medicine. The treatment goal with leukemia is usually remission. Chemotherapy is usually undertaken for several weeks. Your doctors will advise on the types of drugs and other treatments that will need to be undertaken in addition to the chemotherapy.

With some forms of leukemia, the best chances for survival are to obtain a bone marrow transplant.


Prevention

No applicable


When to Seek Further Professional Advice

  • You notice any of the symptoms listed above it is imperative that you see your doctor immediately.

Leukemia

Lice are parasites that live by infesting humans and sucking their blood. There are several types of lice.


What to look for

  • head lice: intense itching on the scalp, especially behind the ears and at the nape of the neck.
  • body lice: unexplained scratch marks on the body, hives, eczema, and red pimples.
  • pubic lice: continual itching around the pubic area.


Lice are not usually dangerous but they do cause considerable annoyance and irritation. They are also very contagious and should be treated to avoid spreading the parasite.


Head lice (nits) are highly contagious and frequently affect school children because they can easily jump form child to child. The lice are about the size of a sesame seed and can be easily seen. However, their eggs are not so easily seen.


Pubic lice (crab lice) are crab like insects which cling to the pubic hair and transmitted by close personal or sexual contact.


Body lice are nearly identical in appearance to head lice but are more difficult to find. They occur less often than head lice and need to feed regularly. They thrive in condition in which the person does not change clothes very often. When not feeding, they tend to hide in clothing and bedding.


Causes

Contrary to common belief, lice are not related to poor hygiene, except occasionally in the case of body lice. Lice will transfer from host to host and especially thrive in densely populated areas.


Traditional Treatment

Your doctor will attempt to remove the lice - this can take time as they can also be in clothes and bed linen.
There are treatments available in pharmacies that will get rid of head lice. They are usually in the form of a shampoo.
In the meantime, it is advisable that people infected with lice stay away from others to avoid spreading the lice. Continually wash and sterilise all bed linen, clothing and towels and face washers.


To treat body lice, wash the entire body with soap and water. If this is not effective, you may have to use an insecticidal preparation, which usually kills all the lice. As above, wash all clothing and bed linen, towels and face washers.


Pubic lice is treatable by over-the-counter preparations and the same applies as above. Also you should let any partners know about the lice so they can take all the necessary treatments and precautions.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

Several alternative treatments may make it easier to get rid of lice.


Aromatherapy - For treatment of head lice, wash the hair and rinse slowly with 6 drops each of essential oils of rosemary and red thyme mixed in a litre of warm water. You may substitute this combination with 12 drops of essential oil of lavender.


Dry the hair naturally, then comb with a fine-toothed comb. For prevention, soak your comb in water with 10 drops of essential oil of red thyme, and comb hair thoroughly.


Prevention

It is vital to try to prevent major outbreaks of this condition, especially head lice. Notify your school authorities if you suspect your child has head lice.


When to seek further professional advice

  • you are unable to get rid of lice or if scratching has led to infection

Lice

What to look for…

Like most cancers, liver cancer usually has no initial symptoms, but may eventually cause:

  • pain, swelling, or tenderness in the upper right section of the abdomen.
  • jaundice.
  • body itching.
  • swollen legs.


In the advanced stage, symptoms may also include fever, appetite and weight loss, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, general weakness, and loss of libido.


The liver’s job is to filter the circulating blood. It converts nutrients and drugs absorbed in the digestive tract into chemicals that the body can use straight away. Another job it has is to remove toxins and other chemical waste products from the blood and gets them ready for excretion. All the blood in the body must pass through the liver, therefore, it is very accessible to cancer cells travelling in the bloodstream. Unfortunately, the liver cannot cleanse itself of cancer.


Very rarely does cancer start in the liver, normally liver cancer is secondary, (meaning the tumour originated elsewhere in the body).


Causes

When primary liver cancer does occur, it tends to result from livers damaged by congenital defects or diseases such as hepatitis B and C, and cirrhosis. In fact, most people told they have primary liver cancer already have cirrhosis.
There are some carcinogens which are linked with primary liver cancer, these are some cholesterol-lowering drugs, herbicides, and other chemicals such as vinyl chloride and arsenic.


If you believe you are in a high risk group, it is wise to speak with your doctor who may perform a liver test on you.


Traditional Treatments

Liver cancer is not easy to treat or to cure. Primary liver cancer is not usually detected early, when it is most treatable and secondary liver cancer has already spread so it is also difficult to treat. Most therapy centres on improving the patient’s quality and length of life.


If the tumour is caught early enough, surgery may be possible and this is the patient’s best chance of being cured. Unfortunately, when most cancers are diagnosed it is almost too late, either the cancer has spread too much or the liver is too badly diseased to be saved.


Radiation or chemotherapy can often be used to reduce the size of the tumours to a size which is able to be operated on. Patients in remission must be monitored closely in case of a recurrence.

Complementary Therapies

Complementary therapies that may help relieve some of the pain include massage, relaxation techniques, hypnotherapy, and acupuncture.


Prevention

  • Get immunised against hepatitis B.
  • Only drink alcohol in moderation.
  • Before taking iron supplements, check with a doctor to make sure you really need them as overdosing on these has been linked to liver cancer.
  • Do not use anabolic steroids unless medically necessary.


When to seek further professional advice

  • you develop symptoms that suggest liver cancer.

Liver Cancer

What to look for…

As with most cancers, lung cancer normally has no symptoms until it has spread significantly to other parts of the body.

  • the ‘smoker's cough’.
  • blood in mucus.
  • recurring bronchitis or pneumonia.
  • shortness of breath, wheezing, persistent chest pain.
  • hoarseness.
  • swelling of the neck and face.
  • pain and weakness in the shoulder, arm, or hand.
  • if cancer has spread to other parts of the body - fatigue, weakness, loss of weight, fever, very bad headaches, and pain.


This disease is extremely common and is also one of the most preventable kinds of cancer. Nearly all cases of lung cancer have had their cause firmly linked with smoking.


Lung tumours almost always start in the bronchi, the airways of the lungs. And as such is called a primary cancer.


Causes

There are reputed to be certain causes of this cancer. They are -

  • your genetic pattern.
  • smoking has been proven to cause lung cancer
  • passive smoking can also cause lung cancer, giving non-smokers who are with smokers a somewhat higher lung cancer risk than others.
  • workers who are exposed to asbestos, silica, mineral dusts, coal dust, arsenic, or the radioactive gas radon on a daily basis are much more likely than the average person to develop lung cancer.
  • diet may also influence lung cancer risk.


Traditional Treatments

If surgery is an option, the patient has an excellent chance of surviving.
The challenge comes in detecting lung cancer early enough to make surgery possible. 


There are a few factors to consider before performing surgery. The doctor must look at the type of lung cancer and how far it has spread and also on the patient's overall health. As well as that other diseases and conditions may prevent surgery from being performed such as heart problems.


Complementary Therapies

Once conventional treatment is under way, you may try alternative therapies to alleviate the pain, fear, and discomfort of cancer.

  • support-group therapy
  • improved nutrition and diet
  • massage, yoga and meditation.


Dietary Considerations

Some nutritional studies suggest that certain vitamins and minerals offer protection against lung cancer. Various antioxidants, including vitamins C and E as well as beta carotene (vitamin A) and some other carotenoids, are believed to protect the lungs from the harmful effects of tobacco smoke and other carcinogens.


Prevention

The best way to prevent lung cancer is not to smoke.


When to seek further professional advice

  • you develop any of the symptoms mentioned above.

Lung Cancer

What to look for

  • profound fatigue
  • muscle or joint aches
  • skin rash.
  • sun sensitivity.
  • weight loss.
  • nose, mouth, or throat ulcers.
  • enlarged lymph nodes.
  • poor circulation in fingers and toes.
  • bald patches.
  • discoloured urine, or frequent or blocked urination.


Lupus is a disease of the immune system in which the body fights part of itself instead of concentrating on the invaders only. Discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE), causes a skin rash that is particularly sensitiv to sunlight. The other kind, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), is more serious.


It affects the skin and other vital organs, often causing a raised, scaly butterfly-shaped rash across the bridge of the nose and cheeks that can leave scars if it goes untreated. This type of lupus may also damage the connective tissue in the joints, muscles, and skin, as well as the membranes surrounding the lungs, heart, kidneys, and brain.
This disorder can afflict people on and off and for different periods of time. It’s intensity can range from annoying to debilitating.


Causes

The causes for lupus are unknown. All that researchers know for sure is that the disease is associated with abnormalities of the immune system.


Environmental elements, ranging from viral and bacterial infections to severe emotional stress or overexposure to sunlight may help trigger the disease.


You will need to contact your doctor for a proper diagnosis and tests.


Traditional Treatment

Your doctor will no doubt suggest you take a Pain Killer for any pain associated with the joints and a medication for the rashes.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

There are a number of alternative solutions for relieving the symptoms of this disorder.


Dietary Considerations - Researchers suggest to avoid any foods that may cause food allergies.
Try cutting down on red meat and dairy products, and increasing consumption of fish high in omega-3 fatty acids. Alfalfa may aggravate the symptoms so avoid this food.


The following supplements may benefit lupus patients:-
Vitamins B5, C, and E; and preparations of slippery elm (Ulmus fulva). Beta carotene (see vitamin A) may help as well. Receive professional advice for suggested dosages.


Personal Care

Avoid sun exposure by wearing protective clothing and sunscreen.


When to seek further professional advice

  • you have several of the symptoms listed in the description section
  • you have a family history of lupus

Lupus

What to look for…

Hodgkin's disease, one type of lymphoma, may cause no symptoms. When symptoms are present, they may include:

  • swollen lymph nodes.
  • fever, chills, night sweats, loss of weight and appetite, persistent fatigue, and general weakness.


The symptoms of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, in addition to those listed above, include:

  • swelling or fullness in the abdomen from an enlarged spleen.
  • enlarged lymph nodes in the groin.
  • tiredness
  • changes in bowel habits or bleeding from the rectum
  • nasal congestion, sore throat, or difficulty swallowing


The lymph system is responsible for defending the body agianst infection and is part of the immune system.
This disease affects the lymph cells or lymphocytes ( a type of white blood cell which fights infections). The lymphocytes are found in the blood and bone marrow and come together in the lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, groins, chest and abdomen. These lymph nodes are responsible for filtering the fluid and initiating the body's immune response.


Occasionally in certain individuals the lymphocytes can become cancerous and start multiplying out of control. This causes the nodes to enlarge and swell. Some types of lymphoma begin as a malignant tumour in a lymph node and spread through to other lymphatic tissue and possibly to organs outside the lymphatic system.


Left unchecked, the cancerous cells multiply and eventually replace the healthy lymphocytes, suppressing the immune system.


The term lymphoma refers to a varied group of diseases that range from slow-growing chronic disorders to rapidly evolving, acute conditions. There are generally two classifications of lymphoma - Hodgkin's disease, and non-Hodgkin's lymphomas which include all other types besides Hodgkin’s disease.


Hodgkin's disease tends to spread from one cluster of lymph nodes to the next. It usually starts in lymph nodes in the neck or just under the collarbone; spreads into the other nodes later as the disease progresses.
There has been a very good success rate in curing Hodgkin's disease, especially if it is treated early. Non-Hodgkin's lymphomas are typically more difficult to cure and can normally be controlled for a period of time.


Causes

The cause of Hodgkin's disease is unknown. There may be a genetic link. Some researchers have indicated a virus may be the cause.  Doctors do not know how to detect lymphoma before it starts causing symptoms. Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin usually indicate its presence.  Doctors can perform blood or urine tests to determine if the disease is present. And if cancer is found, further testing can determine how widespread it is.


Traditional Treatment

Radiation and chemotherapy are the treatments that are usually used for this type of cancer and have proven to be very successful in eradicating and stopping the disease from spreading.


Since success depends on high doses of toxic drugs and radiation, treatment frequently results in unpleasant side effects and can cause residual complications such as infertility.


People who are now in remission should have regular check ups with their doctor.

Complementary Therapies

The standard treatment for lymphoma - radiation and drugs can do damage to the immune system. There are benefits in also seeing a naturopath who can advise on alternative relief as well as techniques to build up the immune system again.
Rest, relaxation, and good nutrition are the basis of good health.


Personal Care

The side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy are nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fatigue, and vulnerability to infection. Your doctor can prescribe medication to address some of these problems. But you can do a number of things to relieve symptoms…

  • Eat light meals.
  • Avoid dairy products and sweet, fried, or fatty foods.
  • Drink plenty of liquids before and after meals.
  • If the smell of cooked food makes you feel nauseated, try eating cold foods.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing.
  • Rest whenever you feel the need, but otherwise keep yourself busy with activities that will help take your mind off the immediate discomfort.


Prevention

Nobody knows enough about lymphoma to be able to suggest what to do to prevent it. However, by staying as healthy as possible may reduce your risk for cancer in general. Standard advice includes eating a well-balanced diet, keeping your weight in check, trying to reduce stress, exercising regularly, and getting adequate sleep. All these measures contribute to healthy immune function.


When to seek further professional advice

  • you detect any symptoms associated with lymphoma.

Lymphoma

Infertility is the inability to conceive a child after a year or more of sexual intercourse without contraception.


What to look for

If after a period of unprotected intercourse, the couple cannot conceive, this is infertility. It can be because of either partner or both.  This can be very distressing for many couples and is taken as a sign of inadequacy. Please keep in mind being infertile does not necessarily indicate sterility.


Causes

Infertility in men can be the result of low sperm production, no sperm or sperm which do not swim as they should do as well as a tubes blockage.


In women, infertility can be caused by a failure to ovulate due to a hormone failure. Interruption of an egg's progress through the fallopian tube from ovary to uterus may also be a cause.  Women’s age is a factor: as after 35 years of age it is often more difficult to conceive. Being overweight, or underweight, can also play a role.

In both men and women, fertility can be diminished by psychological factors, such as anxietyand depression, and by environmental agents.


Treatment

Your doctor will perform many tests on both partners to determine the cause of the infertility.  There are not ways to increase the chances of conception.  Couples are often advised to have intercourse just before ovulation.  Ovulation can be induced with the use of fertility drugs or hormones.  Certain disorders occurring in men can be treated with a doctors help.
IVF (in vitro fertilisation) is an option for couples who are infertile. The egg is fertilised outside the woman's body, then placed in the womb or fallopian tube.


Alternative/Natural Treatments

A variety of alternative treatments may enhance fertility.

  • Relaxation Techniques - Stress can often hinder conception and there are different relaxation techniques can reduce stress which sometimes contributes to infertility.


  • Dietary Considerations - Zinc is important for fertility in both sexes; a supplement may help. Vitamin C has been shown to aid men whose sperm clump together, and it may improve sperm count. Ask for professional advice with regards to the appropriate doses.


  • The diet of both partners should include plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit and a high potency multi-vitamin. Men need more vitamin C. Reduce the amount of caffeine and alcohol as they make the system more acidic.


  • Herbal Treatments - As mentioned above, Zinc is often recommended as well as vitamin E. Take goldenseal, raspberry leaf or red clover tea.


Personal Care

For women:

  • Don't douche.
  • After intercourse, remain lying down for a few minutes.
  • Avoid becoming too tired or too stressed.


For men:

  • Avoid excessive alcohol.
  • Stay healthy; a bad cold or flu can depress sperm count for up to three months.
  • Keep testicles cool; avoid saunas, hot tubs, and close-fitting underwear.


When to seek further professional advice

  • · you desire a child but have not conceived after a year of trying

Infertility