A Simple Guide To Palpitations, (Fast Heart Beats) Diagnosis, Treatment And Related Conditions

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HEALTH IN ADOLESCENCE

Adolescence describes the transition from childhood to adulthood, and is ushered in by hormonal changes that occur at about 10 or 11 years of age in girls and a year or so later in boys. Height and weight are gained during adolescence, but more significant is the progression to sexual maturity. In boys, this takes the form of an enlargement
of the genitals and the larynx, and the appearance of body hair; in girls, it involves the development of breasts and body hair, and the onset of menstrual periods. Emotionally and intellectually, adolescence is a time of great change as a teenager veers between dependence and independence, and peers very often become more important role models than parents. Many of the disorders encountered during adolescence result from the great hormonal changes that take place at this stage of life. Ailments may be exacerbated by emotional, academic, and peer-group pressures, and may require long-term, constitutional homeopathic treatment in some cases. Homeopathic remedies and
other self-help measures can help address bodily imbalances in the short term.


INFECTIOUS MONONUCLEOSIS

This viral infection is spread by personal contact. It starts like influenza, with fever, sore throat, headache, and general aches and pains. Within a day or two the lymph glands, especially those in the throat, become swollen and painful and the tonsils enlarged and dirty-looking. There may be a rash, and—in rare cases—jaundice. Although symptoms usually wear off in two or three weeks, full recovery may take longer and lethargy may last for months. Stress, such as that generated by overworking
for exams or the breakup of a relationship, may increase susceptibility to mononucleosis.

SELF-HELP Rest in bed until acute symptoms abate, after which avoid strenuous exercise and do only 75 percent of what you are capable of doing, both physically and mentally, until recovery is complete.

CAUTION See a doctor for a blood test to confirm the diagnosis.


BODY ODOR

Sweat glands in the groin and underarms become functional at about 15 or 16 in girls and a year or two later in boys. Most anxiety about body odor occurs as a result of the unfamiliar smell rather than an excess of perspiration. The odor becomes offensive when bacteria breed in the stale sweat. Perspiration may be increased by stress and during menstruation in girls.

SELF-HELP Wash thoroughly every day using alkaline soap, which will discourage the proliferation of bacteria.

CAUTION If symptoms persist, consult a doctor.


EXAM NERVES

This describes a state of extreme anxiety about taking exams that almost amounts to a phobia. Psychological symptoms include a feeling of panic and an inability to concentrate. Physical symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and headache.The condition may be exacerbated by other problems—for example, difficulty in studying at home or pressure to achieve high grades. Constitutional homeopathic treatment may be required.

SELF-HELP Time management is the key to controlling anxiety. Start studying well in advance; draw up a timetable that divides subjects into manageable units and covers all topics adequately; and always include time out. Also, make sure that you get enough rest.Remedies should be taken on the day of the exam but also for some
days before whenever symptoms appear.

CAUTION If symptoms persist, consult a doctor.

CHILDREN’S HEALTH AND HOMEOPATHY

Babyhood lasts from birth to one year old, a period of extremely rapid growth. The birth weight of a baby can double within six months and triple within a year. By one
year, most babies can stand. Childhood as a stage of human development extends roughly from one to twelve years old. During this period the immune system flexes its muscles,
so to speak, in readiness for puberty and adulthood. Illnesses contracted in childhood help to provide the body with the resistance to, and ultimately immunity against,
many diseases in later life. Parents often prefer to treat their children with gentle, natural products to reduce the risk of side-effects, resorting to conventional drugs only when a child’s immune system is unable to cope with extremely serious ailments. Unless there is a congenital, genetic disability, a child’s immune system should respond well to homeopathic treatment. In most cases, a child’s vital force will enable him or her to deal with many common threats to childhood health. Homeopathic remedies are easily administered to children, and can help them bounce back to health quickly and efficiently.


COLIC
Colic is believed to be spasm of the intestines that causes a baby to scream, pull up its legs, and turn red. Colic occurs at about three months of age, usually in the evening, and for several hours. It may be aggravated by the mother’s tension or her diet (if she is breast-feeding), or by the baby gulping milk or swallowing air.

SELF-HELP If breast-feeding, avoiding foods such as citrus fruits,
strong spices, caffeine, legumes, and cows’-milk products may be
helpful. If bottle-feeding, enlarge the nipple hole.

CAUTION If the baby vomits or has diarrhea, see a doctor within
12 hours. If the baby is pale and limp, call 911.


DIAPER RASH
A baby’s buttocks, genitals, and even thighs may become red and sore due to contact with soiled diapers. This is caused by irritating chemicals released from urine and feces, or in the detergent used to wash nondisposable diapers. The rash may develop into candidiasis as a secondary infection, especially if a baby or breast-feeding mother is taking antibiotics.

SELF-HELP Wash the baby’s bottom with a solution of calendula and hypericum, dry well, and apply calendula cream. Change the baby’s diapers frequently.

CAUTION If the condition does not improve, consult a doctor.


TEETHING

Teething describes the discomfort that may arise during the eruption from the gums of a baby’s milk teeth. This usually starts at the age of about six months and continues until approximately the end of the child’s third year. Symptoms include sore gums, irritability, and upset stomach.

SELF-HELP Combination R tissue salts may be given throughout the teething period.

CAUTION If there is a high fever do not assume that it is a symptom of the teething, and consult a doctor.


TEMPER TANTRUMS

A young child has outbursts of anger, shouting, and crying when thwarted. The causes may be emotional tension within the family, a lack of parental affection, inconsistent disciplining by parents, which may produce insecurity, or simply a child testing the boundaries. Tantrums are exacerbated by teething, allergy, or digestive ailments.

SELF-HELP Discipline a child consistently, and avoid arguments. Give the child plenty of attention except during a tantrum, when unacceptable behavior is best ignored. Distract the child from the undesirable behavior.

CAUTION If problems persist, ask a doctor about family therapy.

SLEEPLESSNESS

Newborn babies need about 16 hours of sleep, 2-year-olds 12 hours, 6-year-olds 10 hours, and 12-year-olds 9 hours. Sleeplessness in babies may be due to being hot or cold, hunger, a dirty diaper, teething, colic, or too much stimulation. In older
children it may be caused by being hot or cold, irregular bedtimes, caffeine in carbonated drinks, other food allergy, noise, stress, or anxiety. Nightmares may result from watching television or videos.

SELF-HELP Keep a baby’s or young child’s room at 64–68°F (16–20°C). Establish a bedtime routine: bath, last feeding, then bed, at the same time every day, and avoid overstimulation. If a child wakes frequently during the night and becomes overtired, bring bedtime forward by 15 minutes every 3 nights until the child sleeps through. Maintain this bedtime, and then gradually put it back by 15-minute intervals. Look for
the underlying causes of sleeplessness. Do not punish a child by sending him or her to a bedroom, which will acquire bad associations.

CAUTION If the problem persists, consult a doctor.


BED-WETTING (NOCTURNAL ENURESIS)

By the end of their second year, most children have a degree of bladder control. Daytime control is usually achieved between 18 months and 3 years of age: nighttime control may take another year. About 10 percent of 4- to 5-year-olds wet the bed regularly. Primary bedwetting means a child has never been dry at night. This may be due to immaturity of the nervous system or to psychological reasons—for example, a child’s diapers may not have been changed often enough, so that he or she did not learn what it felt like to be dry. Secondary bed-wetting means a child was dry for a time but then starts to wet the bed again—because of emotional stress, for example.

SELF-HELP With primary bed-wetting, encourage a child of 7 or over to take control—by changing soiled sheets, for example.

CAUTION If there is a burning sensation on passing urine with secondary
bed-wetting, see a doctor within 48 hours.


FEVER

A rise in body temperature above 98°F (37°C) usually indicates that the body is fighting infection. In young children, however, before the temperature regulation mechanism has matured, temperature may rise simply because the child is overheated. Other symptoms of fever include restlessness and hot skin.

SELF-HELP Remove the child’s clothes and sponge him or her all over with tepid water. Open the windows or use a fan to cool the air. Provide plenty of fluids. If the child’s temperature rises above 102°F (39°C), or if there is a history of febrile convulsions (seizures induced by high temperature), give children’s acetaminophen.

CAUTION If the child suffers a febrile convulsion—abnormal breathing and limb movements, rolling eyes, and a loss of consciousness— try to lower the child’s temperature and consult a doctor. If the child is unconscious for more than five minutes, call Doctor. If fever is accompanied by symptoms of meningitis (inflammation of the membranes around the brain)—severe headache, nausea and vomiting, abnormal drowsiness, oversensitivity to light, a stiff neck, and a rash that does not fade when pressure is applied—call Doctor.

GLUE EAR

Recurrent infections may result in overactivity of the mucous membrane lining the middle ear and inadequate drainage via the eustachian tube. This results in a build-up of sticky fluid and the poor transmission of sounds, hence reduced hearing. Glue ear may
also be due to allergy. The insertion of a grommet (a small tube passed through the eardrum) may be necessary to drain the fluid and aerate the middle ear.

SELF-HELP If symptoms persist, investigate the possibility of allergy to food or atmospheric irritants. If a child is catarrhal, eliminate dairy products from the diet, but only for one month.

CAUTION If deafness persists, see a doctor within a month.


TONSILLITIS

The tonsils are two sacs of lymphatic tissue at the back of the throat that form part of the body’s immune system. They often become infected, especially during childhood. Symptoms include sore or painful throat, fever, and general malaise. The tonsils look bright red at first, then become covered with a slimy, whitish coating. The glands in the neck may become enlarged.

SELF-HELP Encourage the child to rest, drink plenty of fluids, and take garlic preparations. Apply alternate hot and cold compresses around the neck. Gargling with sage tea may soothe the soreness or pain in the throat.

CAUTION If symptoms persist for more than 48 hours, see a doctor. If
temperature rises above 102°F (39°C), see a doctor within 12 hours.


CROUP

Resulting from an infection of the larynx, epiglottis, or trachea, or from an obstruction of the airway, croup causes a sudden narrowing of the larynx, which produces hoarseness, wheezing, stridor (grunting while breathing), and a distinctive, barking cough.

SELF-HELP Humidify the bedroom or, during a coughing fit, put the child in a bathroom with all hot faucets on. Stay with the child.

CAUTION If there is fever, call a doctor within two hours. If stridor is acute with no sign of infection and there are breathing difficulties, call Doctor.


WHOOPING COUGH

This highly infectious, bacterial illness is serious in young children, and is occasionally fatal in babies. The incubation period is 1–2 weeks. A child is most infectious during the first week, and may remain infectious for up to three weeks. A fever is followed by spasmodic coughing characterized by a whooping noise. Complications include pneumonia and brain damage.

CAUTION If you suspect that a child has contracted whooping cough, see a doctor within 48 hours. Antibiotics can minimize severity, but follow up with an acidophilic supplement, such as live yogurt, to reestablish beneficial intestinal bacteria. If a child turns blue during coughing, see a doctor within two hours.

CHICKEN POX

This highly infectious, viral disease is spread in droplets of mucus expelled in coughs and sneezes from an infected child or an adult with shingles. Incubation is 13–17 days. Symptoms are a slight fever for 24 hours, followed by the eruption of a rash and a worsening of the fever. Clusters of small, red, itchy spots evolve into fluid-filled blisters, which heal in 6–10 days. A child is infectious from just before the onset of fever until all the spots heal. Scratched spots may become infected and leave pockmarks. Most children recover completely, but the virus may lie dormant and
be triggered in adulthood as shingles.

SELF-HELP To soothe the spots, rub in honey or vitamin E cream on unbroken skin, dab on baking soda solution (1 tsp soda to ¾ cup water), or take an oatmeal herbal bath.

CAUTION If you suspect that your child has chicken pox, consult a doctor within 24 hours. If the temperature is still high two days after the rash appears, or if the child seems very ill and chesty, see a doctor within two hours because of a risk of pneumonia.

MEASLES

A highly infectious, viral disease, measles is spread in droplets of mucus expelled in coughs and sneezes. The incubation period is about ten days, after which the first symptoms develop—an inflamed throat, runny nose, dry cough, red and watering eyes,
and fever. After 3–4 days, dark red spots appear, which may join up to form blotches. A child is infectious from the first symptoms until five days after the rash develops. Complications include acute middle-ear infection, bronchitis, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), and febrile convulsions.

SELF-HELP Give the child plenty of water and a light diet until the runny nose and the cough clear up. Treat as for fever. Bathe the eyes with a saline solution (1 tsp salt to ¾ cup boiled, cooled water).

CAUTION If fever persists, or if the child feels ill after the rash begins
to fade or has an earache, see a doctor within 12 hours.


MUMPS

A viral infection of certain salivary glands (the parotids in front of the ear and the submandibulars in the lower jaw), mumps is spread by droplets of mucus expelled in coughs and sneezes. The incubation period is 2–3 weeks and a child may be infectious for a week before the symptoms appear. These include fever, headache, and pain in front of the ears as the glands become swollen. The swelling subsides within ten days, during which time a child is still infectious. Complications may include meningitis or inflammation of the pancreas, ovaries, or testes. Rarely, the effect of this disorder
on the reproductive organs results in sterility.

SELF-HELP Avoid acidic drinks, such as citrus fruit juices, since these will stimulate the salivary glands, causing pain.

CAUTION If there is a severe headache, oversensitivity to light, confusion, rowsiness, or any other symptoms of meningitis, see a doctor within two hours. If the testicles or ovaries are painful, see a doctor within 12 hours.

SKIN DISORDER

The skin accounts for 16 percent of the total weight of the human body and as such may be described as its largest organ. Stretched out flat, it would cover 15–20 square feet
(2–2.6 square meters). It protects the internal organs of the body from environmental impact and injury, and acts as a sensory organ, regulating body temperature and metabolism for example, the control of bodily fluids and elimination of waste.The skin contains blood vessels, lymph vessels, and nerve endings that perform its sensory function, glands that manufacture sebum to keep the skin supple and waterproof, and follicles that produce hair and nails. Homeopathic practitioners tend to regard skin complaints as an outer manifestation of what is going on within the body, and look for underlying causes of skin eruptions. Stress,poor diet, and allergies, as well as infections, may all cause outbreaks. Skin conditions may be aggravated by factors
such as lack of exercise; eating sugary foods, refined carbohydrates, or other foods; caffeine and alcohol; constipation; the use of cosmetics; and contact irritants
in the environment.


MILD ACNE

The term acne includes common blemishes such as blackheads (comedones), whiteheads (milia), and yellowheads (pustules). Acne is associated with high hormone levels—for example, at puberty—that increase production of sebum, the skin’s oily secretion, leading to clogged pores. If pores become infected, pimples form. Acne may be exacerbated by taking certain drugs or by stress. If there is a firm swelling beneath the skin, treat as for boils (see below).

SELF-HELP
Sunlight in moderation and fresh air are beneficial. Avoid refined carbohydrates, chocolate, cheese, nuts, carbonated citrus drinks, and processed foods. Wash affected areas thoroughly twice a day. Do not scrub the skin, since this spreads infection, or pick pimples and risk scarring. Use commercial preparations sparingly.

CAUTION
If there is scarring or large, fluid-filled pimples (cysts), treat as for rosacea. If pimples persist for 14 days, or are causing distress, see a doctor.


MILD ECZEMA

Mild eczema is common, especially in children. The skin is inflamed and itchy, possibly with small pimples and scaly patches. If scratched, the skin may bleed. Eczema is commonly found in the flexures, such as the bend of an elbow, and on the face, but it can occur anywhere. It may be an allergic reaction to a variety of chemical irritants, plants, food, or metals, or it may be hereditary. Eczema may be exacerbated by stress, hormonal changes, or dietary factors.

SELF-HELP
Avoid known irritants. Use moisturizing ointments, preferably paraffin-based, to keep the skin soft. Use emulsifying ointments for washing rather than soap. Wear cotton next to the skin. Avoid potentially irritating foods, such as dairy products, one at a time for a month, and see if the condition improves.

CAUTION
If the skin produces a watery discharge, or becomes infected, creating a yellow discharge, or if irritation causes sleeplessness, treat as for severe eczema.



BOILS

A boil is a firm swelling (nodule) beneath the skin caused by the infection of a hair follicle. Thick, white or yellow pus accumulates and comes to a head. Boils may be associated with illness, being run-down, fatigue, or stress. Recurrent boils may be due to an infection or they may be a symptom of diabetes.

SELF-HELP
Bathe a boil with a solution of hypericum and calendula. Never squeeze a boil, and if it bursts, let it drain naturally. Avoid handling food after dealing with boils.

CAUTION
If boils recur, are accompanied by fever or severe pain, or do not heal within a week, consult a doctor.


URTICARIA (HIVES)

This condition consists of raised red patches—sometimes with paler centers—that itch intensely. It may be caused by food allergy, certain drugs, bites or stings, or heat, cold, or sunlight. Urticaria may also be a symptom of stress or leaky gut syndrome.

SELF-HELP
Take a cool shower or place a covered ice-pack on the affected area. Urtica ointment may relieve itchiness.

CAUTION
If the eyes, lips, or throat swell dramatically, call doctor, and take Apis 30c every minute until help arrives.



COLD SORES

Cold sores are blisters on and around the mouth caused by a virus. They are triggered by being run-down or by hot, cold, or windy weather. Accompanying symptoms include ulcers, inflamed gums, a furry tongue, and mild fever.

SELF-HELP
Avoid eating peanuts, chocolate, seeds, and cereals.


WARTS

A wart is caused by a virus that causes cells to multiply rapidly, forming a raised lump. Warts on the feet (verrucas) tend to grow inward as a result of the pressure placed on them.

SELF-HELP
Cover a wart, but not the surrounding skin, with a fabric adhesive bandage. Drip thuja mother tincture on to it twice daily. Over-the-counter treatments can be used with homeopathic ones, except on facial warts. Keep treatments away from the eyes.

CAUTION
If the condition does not improve, and especially if a wart changes size or color, or if it itches or bleeds, consult a doctor.


DANDRUFF

Dandruff is characterized by a flaking scalp, which is sometimes itchy and red. It may be caused by seborrheic dermatitis, a form of eczema. More rarely, it may be symptomatic of psoriasis or a fungal infection.

SELF-HELP
Reduce your intake of refined carbohydrates and animal fats. If the whole scalp itches, place a cold compress soaked in olive oil on the head overnight; wash off with a pure soap shampoo. If all else fails, use a shampoo containing selenium, but follow instructions carefully. Apply calendula ointment to itchy areas around the hair line.


HAIR LOSS

Old hair is lost as new hair grows. Growth may slow sometimes so that hair is lost faster than it is replaced. Thinning often occurs with age, especially in men, and may be hereditary. Hair loss may be associated with thyroid problems, anemia, vitamin or mineral deficiency, stress or shock, or certain drugs.

SELF-HELP
Avoid processes such as dyeing or perming, and do not wash or condition the hair too frequently. Let the hair dry naturally. Scalp massage may help. Eat plenty of protein.

CAUTION
If the condition does not improve, or if there is no explanation for sudden hair loss, consult a doctor.

DIGESTIVE SYSTEM DISORDER

Digestion is a complex process that starts with the chewing of food in the mouth and ends with the passing of waste from the rectum. A healthy, efficient digestive
system is essential for both physical and mental well-being, but it can be upset by many factors. Some can be controlled, such as diet and, to a certain extent, emotional stress or allergy, and some cannot, like infection or inherited problems. Dietary discretion—what a person chooses to eat and eating habits have an obvious impact on digestion. Some foods are difficult to digest, and routines such as eating late
may also cause problems. Minor ailments, such as indigestion, lend themselves to homeopathic self-help, especially if combined with dietary controls. Homeopathic
remedies are concerned with improving the condition of the digestive tract, by adjusting the number of beneficial bacteria; reducing irritation caused by some foods;
improving waste elimination; and maintaining other organs involved in the digestive process, such as the liver. Some ailments, such as hemorrhoids, may need constitutional
treatment, especially if they recur.


INDIGESTION

Indigestion is a blanket term for a number of symptoms that include excessive burping, stomachaches, and heartburn.It may be caused by the defective production or flow of
digestive enzymes, fluids, or hormones, or by something more serious such as a peptic ulcer. Alternatively, it may result simply from eating too much, or eating the kinds of food that the digestive system finds difficult to process. Indigestion tends to worsen with stress and with age.

SELF-HELP
Practice some form of relaxation or meditation before you eat. Do not rush your food, and relax for at least 30 minutes after eating. Avoid coffee, tea, alcohol, carbonated drinks, smoking, and eating late at night. Avoid foods that may cause problems, such as
citrus fruits, tomatoes, onions, beans, nuts, spices, bread, pork, and rich, fatty foods. Cut down on unrefined carbohydrates.

CAUTION
If you experience serious pain radiating toward the back, with or without vomiting, see a doctor within two hours. If you vomit blood, consult a doctor immediately.


HEARTBURN

Heartburn is a common form of indigestion consisting of a burning pain in the stomach or the esophagus and the chest. It tends to worsen with age, and may be associated with a hiatus hernia (protrusion of the stomach through the opening in the diaphragm
into the esophagus). It is exacerbated by stress, and by eating certain foods (see Indigestion, above). Eating too quickly, or eating too much,and swallowing air also aggravate the condition. Heartburn is very common during pregnancy, when digestive efficiency is impaired.

SELF-HELP
Try relaxation or meditation before you eat. Eat calmly, and relax for 30 minutes afterward. Avoid eating late, and do not eat foods that you know upset you. If you smoke, stop. Raise the head of your bed slightly.

CAUTION
If you have serious pain radiating toward the back, see a doctor within two hours. If you vomit blood, consult a doctor immediately.


HICCUPS

Hiccups are caused by spasms of the diaphragm that produce a rush of air into the lungs. This causes the vocal cords to snap shut with a click. The spasms are caused by irritation of the diaphragm due to too much air in the stomach, laughing, being tickled, or emotional stress.

SELF-HELP
Traditional cures include holding the breath, breathing rapidly, breathing into a paper bag, having someone give you a shock,or squirting lemon juice down the back of the throat. Water with a little glucose may help infants.


NAUSEA & VOMITING

Nausea, or the feeling of a need to vomit, is not necessarily followed by vomiting, the involuntary expulsion of the contents of the stomach, but the causes of the two are the same. Nausea and vomiting may be symptoms of digestive disorders caused by
eating fatty foods, drinking too much alcohol, food poisoning, or infections such as gastroenteritis. Stress, migraine, or the hormonal changes associated with enstruation or pregnancy may also trigger these conditions. Nausea and vomiting may also indicate more serious ailments, many of which are digestive disorders, such as a peptic ulcer (erosion of areas of the digestive tract by acidic gastric juices) or cancer of the stomach,but some of which are connected to the brain and nervous system. Self-help treatments are not appropriate in these cases.

SELF-HELP
Drink small amounts of cooled, boiled water frequently and avoid solid foods. If you smoke, stop.

CAUTION
If vomiting persists for more than 48 hours, or is accompanied by fever, see a doctor within two hours. If there is severe abdominal pain or blood in the vomit, seek medical help immediately. If you think you may have vomited prescribed drugs, consult a doctor.


GASTROENTERITIS (GASTRIC FLU)

This inflammation of the digestive tract is usually caused by a virus transmitted directly from person to person or via contaminated food and water. Symptoms of gastroenteritis vary in severity but usually pass within 48 hours. At worst, there is nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and exhaustion. Infants and the
elderly are most at risk because of the danger of dehydration.

SELF-HELP
Rest and drink plenty of fluids, preferably salted, cooled,boiled water (1 tsp salt and 8 tsp sugar to approximately 1 quart/ liter of water), to prevent dehydration. Avoid drinking milk and eating any solid food until the stomach settles. Be meticulous about
personal hygiene.

CAUTION
If symptoms persist for more than 48 hours, or if there is blood in the feces or a fever, see a doctor within two hours. If symptoms are accompanied by severe abdominal pain that lasts for more than an hour, consult a doctor immediately.



BLOATING & FLATULENCE

Bloating and flatulence—a feeling of fullness in the stomach associated with burping or the passing of air out through the anus may be due to constipation (see page 238) or intestinal dysbios (an overgrowth of bacteria or fungi in the intestine). The condition
may be worse prior to menstruation, and is aggravated by anxiety, food intolerance, or swallowing air.

SELF-HELP
Avoid eating legumes, onions, cabbage, and nuts, and use cumin, aniseed, or ginger in your cooking.



DIARRHEA

Diarrhea is the frequent passing of watery or loose stools as a result of the failure of the large intestine to absorb water from undigested material. This may be the result of dietary or digestive problems, such as eating too many prunes or legumes, a lack of vitamin B or folic acid, too much vitamin D, food intolerance, parasites, or gastroenteritis. Diarrhea may indicate a more serious condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome or be a reaction to certain drugs, anxiety, or stress.

SELF-HELP
Drink plenty of boiled, cooled water with a little honey in it or ice water to avoid dehydration. Progress to arrowroot, tapioca, semolina, or slippery elm food, then thin soups. A supplement of acidophilus, or eating live yogurt, is advisable if diarrhea follows taking certain drugs such as antibiotics. Avoid analgesics and vitamin E supplements.

CAUTION
If diarrhea continues for more than 48 hours, or if there is blood in the feces, see a doctor within two hours. Recurrent diarrhea may require constitutional homeopathic treatment.


CONSTIPATION

Constipation is the difficult and/or infrequent passing of stools. It is commonly caused by a diet that includes too little fiber, but it can also result from a lack of exercise, stress, poor bowel training, taking certain drugs, and thyroid or liver problems. Chronic constipation may be due to the recurrent use of laxatives or drinking too much coffee or alcohol, and is viewed in homeopathy as a constitutional problem.

SELF-HELP
Try eating plenty of raw vegetables before resorting to laxatives based on substances such as senna which, over a long period, may irritate the lining of the gut. Increase the amount of exercise you do and amount of fluid you drink.

CAUTION
If a marked change in bowel function is accompanied by a weight loss of more than 1 lb (0.5 kg) in a week, see a doctor within 48 hours. If there is any bleeding from the anus or blood in the stools, see a doctor within 12 hours. If no stools have been passed for several days despite self-help measures, especially if there is pain in the abdomen, see a doctor as soon as possible.



HEMORRHOIDS

Hemorrhoids, or piles, are swollen veins in the lower rectum and around the anus, often due to constipation, but also associated with hormonal problems, pregnancy, childbirth, the overuse of laxatives, and sitting on hard surfaces.

SELF-HELP
Try peony ointment or hamamelis suppositories. Include more fiber in your diet to avoid constipation.

CAUTION
If there is bleeding from the anus, do not assume that it is due to piles until other possible causes have been ruled out. If bleeding persists, see a doctor within 12 hours.

THE MOUTH

Digestion begins in the mouth, where the digestive enzyme amylase, found in saliva, begins to break down carbohydrates. The teeth crush and chew food to break it up
into smaller pieces, and the muscular tongue mixes it with lubricating saliva and rolls it into a ball ready for swallowing. When food enters the mouth, it stimulates taste buds on the tongue. These send signals along nerves to taste centers in the brain, which in turn activate digestive secretions. Bacteria naturally present in the mouth feed on sugary food particles and combine with saliva to form plaque—a sticky
coating on the teeth and gums. If unchecked, plaque eventually erodes tooth enamel. Problems with teeth and gums are common in developed countries, where the diet is
rich in sugar. Many mouth problems can be prevented by regular dental checkups, good oral hygiene, and a diet that includes fibrous, chewy, non-sugary foods that stimulate the production of saliva, which contains infection-fighting white blood cells. Homeopathic treatment includes soothing mouthwashes as well as standard remedies that depend on specific symptoms.

TOOTHACHES

Often an indication of tooth decay, a toothache may also be a symptom of infection such as gum disease, an abscess (a pus-filled sac surrounding the root of a tooth), or sinusitis. The pain may be sharp and shooting or dull and throbbing; it may be continuous, come in waves, or occur only when a decayed tooth comes into contact with sweet foods, or very hot or very cold foods.

SELF-HELP
Rub oil of cloves on the affected tooth and surrounding gums, except when taking a homeopathic remedy, in which case the oil may act as an antidote.

CAUTION
If a toothache is accompanied by fever and swelling of the gums or face, or if a tooth feels loose, see a dentist within 12 hours. If a tooth is sensitive to hot or cold, and to sweet foods and drinks, or if there is pain on biting, see a dentist within 48 hours.


GINGIVITIS

This condition causes the gums to bleed and become darker in color, swollen, and infected. Gingivitis usually occurs because of poor tooth-brushing, but it may be a side-effect of taking drugs, or be due to a vitamin deficiency, a serious blood disorder, or the immune system being weakened by stress.

SELF-HELP
Use a solution of calendula and hypericum as a mouthwash.

CAUTION
If the condition does not improve after three days, see a dentist.


HALITOSIS

Halitosis, or bad breath, can be caused by tooth decay, smoking, gingivitis, indigestion, tonsillitis, sinusitis,or fasting. To test whether your breath smells,
breathe into the cupped palms of your hands and inhale.

SELF-HELP
Avoid foods and drinks that leave a strong odor behind or cause indigestion. If you smoke, stop. Visit your dentist regularly and practice good oral hygiene.


MOUTH ULCERS

Mouth ulcers are inflamed spots that can occur anywhere inside the mouth, and result from careless tooth-brushing, biting the mouth, eating hot foods, allergy, being run down, or stress.

SELF-HELP
Avoid spicy, sweet, or acidic foods. If you smoke, stop.Rinse the mouth with a warm saline solution (1 tsp salt to ¾ cup boiled, cooled water) several times a day.

CAUTION
If ulcers have not healed in three weeks, see a doctor.

SCIATICA

This term describes pain that is transmitted along the sciatic nerve, the principal nerve in the leg and is connected to nerves in the pelvis and spine. Sciatica pain in the distribution of the sciatic nerve may be felt in the thigh or buttock and below the knee. It is usually referred pain from the nerve root or from an abnormal joint such as degeneration of a disk from osteoarthritis or from a prolapsed intervertebral disk, or from spinal stenosis. Sciatic pain is exacerbated by bending, sneezing, or coughing. 

SELF-HELP 
Osteopathy, physiotherapy, or acupuncture may relieve the condition. Rest the back well by lying .at on a fairly hard mattress with a .rm pad 2–3 in (5–7 cm) thick beneath the head. Try placing a hot-water bottle on the affected area. Learn how to lift and carry heavy objects correctly. Swimming may be benecial.

MIGRAINES

An intermittent, severe headache may be a migraine, which usually occurs on one side of the head, and is associated with nausea, vomiting, blurred vision or other visual disturbances such as zigzags, light intolerance, and sometimes tingling or numb arms. Symptoms are caused by the alternate constriction and swelling of arteries supplying the brain. Stress, low blood sugar, and food allergy are common triggers. Migraine affects women more than men, especially premenstrually.

SELF-HELP 
Avoid stress and learn relaxation techniques. Consult a dietician, or eliminate trigger foods such as chocolate, citrus fruits, and cheese from the diet for about four weeks. Reintroduce them and observe any changes in symptoms. If you smoke, stop. If you feel a migraine coming on, splash your face with cold water and lie down quietly for an hour.

HEADACHES

A constant headache may be indicative of a serious ailment, but most headaches are due to anxiety, stress, physical tension, fatigue,stimulants, allergy, eye strain, or low blood sugar. Pain results from strain on the head or neck muscles or congestion (too much blood) in the blood vessels supplying them.

SELF-HELP 
If pain is related to the neck, see a physiotherapist.

CAUTION 
If a headache follows a head injury or if there is drowsiness,light intolerance, or vomiting, call Doctor. If there is a temperature of more than 100°F (38°C) with light intolerance, or a headache behind one eye with blurred vision, see a doctor within two hours. If a headache has lasted for several days, with nausea and vomiting, see a doctor within 12 hours.

INCONTINENCE & FREQUENT URINATION

Incontinence is not an inevitable feature of aging, and is often secondary to a urinary infection such as cystitis, constipation, an enlarged prostate or irritation of the vulva, or the use of drugs. It can also occur after a stroke or problems with the spinal cord. Stress incontinence—a leakage of urine when laughing, coughing, or sneezing as a result of weak pelvic floor muscles—is chiefly a women’s complaint. Associated with advanced senile dementia , incontinence may be more a question of attitude than physical disability. It is often worse for cold, overexcitement, or anxiety. The most common causes of frequent urination are diuretic drugs prescribed for high blood pressure, and drinking tea, coffee, or alcohol.

SELF-HELP

Avoid drinking large amounts, and pass urine regularly. Yoga or osteopathy may help to relax or reposition muscles in the lower spinal area. Exercises for the pelvic floor muscles  will strengthen them.

CAUTION

If symptoms persist for more than three days, or if frequent urination is associated with great thirst, see a doctor. 

SKIN PROBLEMS

With age, the skin loses elasticity and plumpness. It becomes thin, and tiny blood vessels that are nearer the surface as a result are easily damaged. This causes bruising and discoloration, which commonly occur on the backs of the hands, forearms, and lower legs. The discoloration fades but never disappears. The skin may develop pigmented patches, possibly due to faulty fat metabolism. Itchy skin is common with age, and is often due to dryness, eczema , or dermatitis (inflammation of the skin).
SELF-HELP
Extra vitamin C and the application of arnica ointment may lessen bruising, while extra vitamin E may help to reduce the impact of pigmented patches.
CAUTION
If a pigmented patch that is more than 1/3 in (1 cm) in  diameter becomes larger, inflamed, or encrusted, develops an irregular, notched outline or a dark area within it, or itches, oozes, or bleeds, consult a doctor.




NEURALGIA

Nerve pain may occur anywhere in the body but is most commonly associated with nerves providing sensation to the face, mouth, nose, upper eyelids, sinuses, and scalp. Neuralgia consists of a severe, shooting pain on one side of the face that lasts for seconds or minutes. The pain may be linked to infection of the sinuses, ears, or teeth, but often the cause is unknown. It may be referred pain, which is felt in a different area from the location of infection, for example, but in an area that is served by a different branch of the same nerve. Nerves are very sensitive, and neuralgia can be triggered by touch, pressure, chewing, or drafts. It is common in people over 70, in whom it may result from nerve damage.

SELF-HELP

Hold a covered hot-water bottle against the affected area. Try breathing techniques  to relax the muscles and hence relieve pressure on the nerves.

CAUTION

If there is no improvement within two weeks,

consult a doctor.

SENILE DEMENTIA

A general decline in mental ability is caused by the progressive loss of function of brain cells. This occurs if arteries supplying blood to the brain become blocked, or as a result of a number of conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease and stroke . One of the first symptoms is a deterioration in short-term memory so that it becomes increasingly difficult to follow conversations or to read. As the condition progresses, there is a gradual loss of interest in previously enjoyed pursuits, as well as mood swings. There may be a loss of social or sexual inhibitions. Diagnosis needs care, since a deteriorating mental state may be due to a variety of medical conditions, dietary deficiencies, the use of alcohol or drugs, or depression.

SELF-HELP

The diet should be balanced between proteins and carbohydrates, and include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

CAUTION

If symptoms persist beyond a month, see a doctor. 

CONFUSION

Confusion is characterized by an inability to organize thoughts coherently and poor short-term memory. Elderly people are prone to confusion resulting from infection, alcohol, or drugs. Chronic confusion may be due to dementia (see below). Sudden onset may indicate a serious condition, such as hypothermia (fall in body temperature to less than 95°F/35°C), a stroke , a brain tumor, or hypoglycemia (abnormally low blood-sugar levels). 

SELF-HELP

Make sure that the diet is balanced. Try using the breathing techniques used in yoga to reduce stress.

CAUTION

If there is no improvement within three weeks, see a doctor. If there is acute confusion, see a doctor within 12 hours.

DIZZINESS

In later life, dizziness is commonly due to postural hypotension (low blood pressure on standing or sitting) or drugs. It may be exacerbated by osteoarthritis . More seriously,
dizziness may be indicative of Parkinson’s disease (degeneration of nerve centers coordinating movement), cervical spondylosis (bony outgrowths on neck vertebrae restricting blood supply to the brain), or arteriosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of arteries, especially those supplying the brain). These conditions affect balance. Mild, early symptoms may respond to self-help remedies. 

SELF-HELP

Stay physically active and maintain a good diet. Minimize the risk of falls in the home by, for example, securing floor coverings and fitting handrails on stairs.

CAUTION

If there is no improvement within two weeks, see a doctor. If dizziness increases rapidly, see a doctor within 24 hours. If dizziness causes a fall, see a doctor within two hours.

THRUSH

Often transmitted from an infected partner, this fungal infection albicans yeast grows under the foreskin, causing inflammation.

SELF-HELP

Bathe the penis in a solution of hypericum and calendula  four times daily. Apply calendula ointment.

CAUTION

If symptoms persist beyond 14 days, see a doctor. Make sure that your partner also goes for treatment.

BALANITIS

This swelling and soreness of the foreskin may result from the friction of underwear, or from irritation caused by condoms or contraceptive creams. It may be associated with herpes or diabetes.

SELF-HELP

Bathe the foreskin and head of the penis (glans) in a solution of hypericum and calendula every four hours, then apply calendula ointment.

CAUTION

If symptoms persist for five days, see a doctor.

HYDROCELE

A soft, painless swelling of the scrotum, hydrocele is due to a build-up of excess fluid in the sheath surrounding the testes. It may be precipitated by injury, and is common in older men, although in most cases the cause is unknown. The condition may be congenital. The swelling may be caused by inflammation, infection, or, very occasionally, a tumor. Usually hydrocele is just monitored, but fluid may need to be drained off should the swelling become too great.

CAUTION

If symptoms persist beyond a month, see a doctor.

ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION

Problems with erection may result from physical causes, for example injury or surgery to the genitals or spine; from chronic illnesses such as diabetes; from nervous disorders; or from taking
drugs, either medically prescribed or recreational, or alcohol. Erectile dysfunction may also occur because of tiredness, or a lack of appropriate stimulation. Most physical problems occur because there is an insufficient supply of blood to the penis. The stresses of modern life or anxiety about sexual intercourse may further inhibit the ability to initiate or sustain an erection.

SELF-HELP

To reduce the psychological problems that may accompany erectile dysfunction, try to maintain a relaxed state of mind when making love. Forget about penetrative sexual intercourse for a while and concentrate on giving and receiving pleasure in areas of the body  other than the genitals.

CAUTION  

If symptoms persist, see a doctor.

ABSENT PERIODS (AMENORRHEA)

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The absence of periods may be permanent or temporary. If periods have not started by the age of 16 (primary amenorrhea), the cause is delayed puberty. If menstruation is established but periods suddenly stop (secondary amenorrhea), this may be due to anorexia or great weight loss, or excessive exercise (especially if the diet is vegetarian)

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The absence of periods may be permanent or temporary. If periods have not started by the age of 16 (primary amenorrhea), the cause is delayed puberty. If menstruation is established but periods suddenly stop (secondary amenorrhea), this may be due to anorexia or great weight loss, or excessive exercise (especially if the diet is vegetarian). Amenorrhea can also be caused by stress, travel (particularly long-haul flights), shock, emotional stress, coming off the contraceptive pill, or hormonal imbalance. Rarely, it is due to displacement of the uterus, (if it is tilted backward). Periods may also be delayed after childbirth.
CAUTION
If periods are absent for more than 9 months, consult a doctor.

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PAINFUL PERIODS (DYSMENORRHEA)

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Discomfort is common during the first few days of a menstrual period. Symptoms include a dull ache in the lower back or abdomen, or severe abdominal cramps. Pain may be exacerbated by stress, but may improve after childbirth or once a woman reaches her thirties. Sudden pain after years of pain-free periods may indicate pelvic infection, endometriosis (formation of cysts in the pelvic cavity from bleeding fragments of uterus lining) or fibroids. The use of intrauterine devices or coming off the contraceptive pill can also result in painful menstruation.
SELF-HELP
Eat plenty of raw fruits and vegetables. Get plenty of exercise and lose weight if you need to. Between periods, take the occasional short, cold bath; during the week before a period, take a long, hot bath every other night. A physiotherapist or osteopath  may be able to relieve associated back pain.
CAUTION
If periods are consistently more painful, see a doctor.

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PREMENSTRUAL SYNDROME (PMS)

PMS affects 75 percent of women to some degree over several days preceding a menstrual period, and includes physiological and psychological symptoms. Many women continue to lead more or less normal lives despite feeling glum and irritable, but in ten percent of cases symptoms are seriously debilitating. Physical symptoms include tender, swollen breasts and  abdomen, fluid retention, and minor period-type pains. PMS may be exacerbated by hormonal or nutritional imbalance, stress, overwork, allergy, and psychological factors such as depression.

SELF-HELP

Avoid salty or fatty foods, junk foods, sugar, tea, coffee, and alcohol. Eat regular, small, protein-rich snacks, but reduce meat intake. Take 30 minutes of outdoor exercise daily and practice relaxation techniques  or meditation. If you smoke, stop. Pace yourself in order to avoid stress.

CAUTION If symptoms persist, consult a doctor. 

BREAST-FEEDING PROBLEMS

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Several problems may arise during breast-feeding. The breasts may be too full for the baby to be able to latch on to a nipple properly. Expressing milk before a feeding may solve this problem. The milk may be too watery or have a taste that the baby does not like. This may be due to the mother’s insubstantial diet, anxiety, exhaustion, or to strong-tasting foods that she has eaten. Pain as the baby suckles may be due to inflammation of the breast tissue , an abscess, or cracked nipples.

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SELF-HELP
Bathe sore and cracked nipples after each feed with a solution of calendula and hypericum (10 drops of mother tinctures to 10 fl oz/300 ml boiled, cooled water). Do not use soap. Clean and dry the nipples thoroughly and apply hypericum or calendula ointment. Leave them exposed to the air regularly. Wear breast shields during pregnancy to draw out inverted nipples.

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CAUTION
If there is engorgement or hardness, breast pain, fever, and tender glands under the arms, see a doctor within 12 hours.

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LABOR PAINS

Pain is experienced in childbirth as result of contractions of the uterus that move the baby down the birth canal during labor. For most women labor is a painful business; for some it is excruciating. This may be because they have great sensitivity to pain or because the fetus is positioned in such a way that the uterus has to work harder than is usual in order to push the baby out. Labor pains may be exacerbated by exhaustion, fear, anxiety, and sometimes anger. Homeopathic treatment aims to calm the emotions as well as to relieve pain and exhaustion.

SELF-HELP

Learn psycho-prophylactic techniques (preventative measures that combine positive thinking and constructive breathing) at prenatal classes. These may help you to restore a feeling of control in what can be a frightening situation. If you are extremely sensitive to pain, learn other relaxation techniques and consider acupuncture or hypnotherapy.  

MORNING SICKNESS

Nausea and vomiting are fairly common during pregnancy, especially a first pregnancy. It is thought that changing hormone levels during pregnancy activate the vomiting center in the brain. Women often experience nausea and vomiting during the second and third months of pregnancy, although not necessarily only in the mornings. Symptoms usually wear off by about 14 to 16 weeks, although a few women vomit excessively (hyperemesis), which can cause dehydration and chemical imbalances in the body. This condition may, in the worst cases, require hospitalization.

SELF-HELP

Eat small, frequent meals and avoid fatty foods. If there is sickness immediately upon waking, eat a cracker before getting out of bed. The use of fresh ginger in cooking may also help. An acupressure band, available from drugstores, worn around the wrist may also be effective. Get plenty of rest.

CAUTION

If you are vomiting after most meals, consult a doctor.

VAGINAL THRUSH

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Thrush is caused by a fungus, Candida albicans. Symptoms include itchiness or soreness of the vagina and vulva, discharge, and frequent urination. Acidifying, infection-fighting bacteria that occur naturally in the vagina can be destroyed by antibiotics, contraceptives, vaginal deodorants, and medicated douches. Thrush is aggravated by stress, overwork, hormonal imbalance, pregnancy, and wearing tight clothes.

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SELF-HELP
Avoid all potential irritants. Scrub underwear with unsalted detergent before washing it. Use lubrication and condoms during sexual intercourse. Allow air to reach the vagina as often as possible. Avoid sugar and yeast. Follow antibiotics with an acidophilic supplement (such as live yogurt). Douche the vagina three times a day with 5 oz (150 g) natural live yogurt diluted in 1½ quarts (liters) of boiled, cooled water or a weak solution of fresh lemon juice or vinegar (1 tbsp) and water (10 fl oz/300 ml). Acidifying preparations are available over the counter.

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CAUTION
If symptoms persist, consult a doctor.  

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CYSTITIS

This term is used generally to describe increased frequency of urination with pain, but cystitis proper is inflammation of the bladder due to infection from the bowel. It may be accompanied

by fever and a burning sensation when urinating. Cystitis mainly affects women; the female urethra is short and easily invaded by germs. The condition may be exacerbated by stress, antibiotics, contraceptives, poor diet, food allergy, poor personal hygiene, tights or underwear, and sexual intercourse.

SELF-HELP

Increase the alkalinity of the urine by drinking 10 fl oz (300 ml) of cold water every 20 minutes. Avoid tea, coffee, and alcohol. Cystitis may be aggravated by some foods, such as asparagus, beets, citrus fruits, strawberries, milk, ice cream, spicy foods, and junk foods. Never suppress the urge to urinate, and be scrupulous about personal hygiene. Avoid using tampons, douches, and perfumed bath products. Use lubrication during sexual intercourse. Urinate after intercourse.

CAUTION

If there is pain in the kidneys or blood in the urine, or if an attack lasts for more than 48 hours, see a doctor. 

MENOPAUSE


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Menopause is the cessation of menstruation that occurs in women between the ages of 45 and 55. It should not be considered an ailment but rather a fact of physical and emotional life that some women adjust to better than others. Symptoms occur as a result of diminishing hormone production by the ovaries, and include hot flashes, vaginal dryness, aches and pains, dizziness, loss of appetite, weariness, chilliness, and palpitations. Psychological symptoms include tearfulness, irritability, anxiety, nervousness, depression, and insomnia. Menopausal symptoms may be exacerbated by stress. Counterbalancing the reduction in hormone production is the basis of conventional treatment—hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Homeopathy does not view menopause simply in terms of hormones, but adopts a more holistic approach to body imbalances that may have existed for a long time. Constitutional treatment may be required.

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SELF-HELP

Avoid tea, coffee, alcohol, and spicy foods, and eat little and often. Cotton underwear, lightweight clothes, and cool showers or baths will reduce the impact of hot flashes. Do moderate exercise and practice deep breathing or yoga. Ease vaginal dryness with calendula ointment, and increase lubrication during sexual intercourse with a vaginal lubricant.

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CAUTION

If there is any bleeding six months beyond the last period, or prolonged spotting between periods, consult a doctor.

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HEAVY PERIODS (MENORRHAGIA)


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Heavy periods are defined as those with profuse bleeding, or flooding, which quickly soaks through any sanitary protection and may include large clots of blood, or bleeding that continues for more than seven days. They may be due to pelvic infection, hormonal imbalance, fibroids , endometriosis (formation of cysts in the pelvic cavity from bleeding fragments of uterus lining), stress, overwork, or approaching menopause . The use of intrauterine devices can also increase menstrual blood flow.

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SELF-HELP Reduce your intake of tea, coffee, alcohol, milk, and dairy products, and eat plenty of raw vegetables. Take 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day but avoid overexertion.

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CAUTION If your menstrual cycle is regular but the flow is heavier than usual or exhibits some other change, consult a doctor. If you have had sexual intercourse regularly and a period is late and heavier than usual, see a doctor within 12 hours.


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INFERTILITY

Infertility is said to exist if a couple has been having regular sexual intercourse without the use of contraceptives for more than a year and the woman has not become pregnant. About one in seven couples in the developed world have infertility problems; 30 percent because of the male, 30 percent because of the female, and 40 percent due to both.

Symptoms

• Inability to conceive a child despite having regular sexual intercourse without the use of contraceptives.

Causes

Male infertility is usually due to a low sperm count, which may be the result of physiological problems, taking drugs, or environmental factors; malformed sperm; or the inability of sperm to reach the egg. It may also be caused by problems in the testicles or vas deferens, often the result of sexually transmitted disease; or malformation of the testes due to an endocrine (glandular) disorder. Erectile dysfunction or ejaculatory problems may also result in infertility, and this situation may be aggravated by stress, overwork, tiredness, or psychological problems. The most common cause of female infertility is failure to produce eggs. This may be the result of a hormonal disorder, stress, problems with the ovaries such as cysts, damaged fallopian tubes caused by pelvic inflammatory disease, or uterine abnormalities such as fibroids. The cervical mucus may be too stringy for sperm to get through, or it may contain antibodies that kill sperm. Rarely, defective chromosomes are responsible. 

Conventional care

The full medical history of each partner is studied, physical examinations made, and any sexual problems discussed. Semen analysis and a biopsy of the testes can identify a low sperm count. A post-coital semen test can reveal whether the cervical mucus is deterring the sperm. A temperature chart kept by the woman may help to reveal if and when ovulation occurs. Hormone levels will be checked and an ultrasound scan performed. A laparoscopy can explore the fallopian tubes and ovaries. Artificial insemination can solve the problem of defective sperm. Hormone treatment can be given to either sex, and surgery may repair certain damage to the female reproductive organs; in vitro fertilization is also an option. 

Homeopathic medicine

Provided there are no physiological problems, constitutional treatment will try to rectify imbalances in the body systems controlling reproduction. Remedies are determined largely by an individual’s symptoms . In men, Aurum met. is indicated for childhood atrophy of the testes or painful, swollen testicles; and Causticum for infertility associated with testicular pain or blood in the spermatic fluid. In women, Nat. carb. is prescribed for the nonretention of semen; and Sepia when infertility results from a hormonal imbalance and an aversion to sexual intercourse. Although not strictly an infertility problem, Sabina is effective for recurrent miscarriage in early pregnancy. Specific local remedies for men include Agnus castus, for erectile dysfunction and a lack of energy; Conium, for erectile dysfunction, with cramps and cold legs; and Lycopodium, when there is increased sexual desire, but intercourse is spoiled by the anticipation of the failure to conceive. Conium is prescribed for women when infertility is associated with breast tenderness and suppressed sexual desire; and Lycopodium when there is lower abdominal tenderness and vaginal dryness.

Lifestyle

It is advisable to reduce intake of alcohol and caffeine, and desirable to eat organic foods and those that are high in zinc, such as whole grains and nuts. Drugs such as anabolic steroids and tobacco should be avoided. Overexertion is inadvisable, while relaxation techniques, meditation, and stress-reduction methods are all beneficial. Men should not wear tight-fitting pants and, if they have a low sperm count, should abstain from sexual intercourse in the week before the woman ovulates. There is some evidence to suggest that adopting the missionary position during
intercourse, with the woman remaining still for 20 minutes afterward, will increase the chances of conception. Women are advised not to use vaginal douches, and to substitute egg white for KY jelly as a lubricant. 

C A S E  H I S T O R Y

Bob and Alice had two children, the first by a difficult forceps delivery and the second delivered normally after some homeopathic treatment. Alice, 35, had then had two miscarriages, since when she had been unable to conceive. Her periods were irregular, and tests showed that she was not ovulating. Bob, 42, had been diagnosed as having a low sperm count and poor mobility of sperm.

P E R S O N A L  D E TA I L S

The couple had been happily married for 15 years. Alice had been upset by her doctor and hospital staff during the birth of her first child, and she also had problems with her stepmother (her father had remarried after his wife died when Alice was six). Bob was a taciturn, overweight man, who possibly only attended the consultation at his wife’s request.

F O O D  P R E F E R E N C E S

Both had a sweet tooth and ate a lot of refined carbohydrates. Bob drank a lot of coffee. He had a large appetite and felt better for eating. He liked eggs but not fats.

G E N E R A L  D E TA I L S

Bob felt the cold easily, but sweated at night. Alice also felt the cold. She was worse for emotional stress and in the evening, but revived after midnight. She felt better for hot baths, eating, and massage.

P R E S C R I P T I O N   &   F O L L O W - U P

Bob and Alice were put on a diet low in refined carbohydrates and caffeine, and given vitamin and mineral supplements. Bob was prescribed Calc. carb., and Alice Staphysagria. Alice was advised to write, but not send, letters to the medical staff and her stepmother expressing her feelings. On her return a month later, she repor ted that Bob had lost 14 lb (6 kg) in weight and felt healthier. Alice felt emotionally relieved but somewhat detached from reality. She stayed on the diet and was given Anacardium. One month later Alice became pregnant and was given Pulsatilla for morning sickness. She was treated homeopathically to stabilize the pregnancy and  relieve symptoms during the next few months before giving birth to a boy. 

PROSTATE PROBLEMS

Symptoms
• Enlarged prostate: difficulty in starting a stream of urine, weak urine flow, and the need to urinate during the night. In later stages, possible incontinence due to overflow from the bladder and frequency of urination. In severe cases, possible obstruction of urine flow associated with distension of the abdomen.
• Prostatitis: pain when passing urine, increased frequency of urination, possible fever, discharge
from the penis associated with pain in the colon and lower abdomen, and blood in the urine.
• Cancer: symptoms resemble those of an enlarged prostate, but there may be none at all. Possible pain from secondary cancers. If cancer has spread locally, possible urinary obstruction or pelvic pain.

Causes
The precise cause of prostate enlargement with age is unknown, although it may be due to an
excess of a testosterone-type hormone or to a nutritional deficiency. Prostatitis is caused by a
urinary infection, possibly following the use of a catheter or excessive sexual activity. The
causes of cancer are unknown.

Conventional care
Prostate enlargement and prostatitis are diagnosed by examination, ultrasound scanning, urine analysis, and blood tests to check kidney function. Strength of urine flow may be measured. Cancer is detected by examination, scanning, or biopsy. Treatment for an enlarged prostate includes alpha blockers, which relax smooth muscle, thus increasing urinary flow, and testosterone-inhibiting drugs, or surgical removal. Prostatitis is treated with antibiotics, and cancer by the conventional methods.
Homeopathic medicine
Treatment is constitutional for all prostate problems, especially if they result from a hormonal imbalance. The choice of remedy will depend upon an individual’s symptoms . Apis is indicated for an enlarged prostate with urine retention. Baryta carb. is with urine retention. Baryta carb. is
prescribed for enlargement and hardening of the prostate. Conium is often effective for an enlarged prostate accompanied by a discharge of prostatic fluid; and Thuja is used to treat chronic enlargement of the prostate and inflammation associated with infection. Other constitutional remedies commonly used to treat prostate problems include Calc. carb., Lycopodium, Nux vomica, Pulsatilla, and Sulphur. Remedies for the specific symptoms of an enlarged prostate include Sabal, if urination is difficult or if there are spasms of the bladder or urethra; Baryta carb., when there is a frequent urge to urinate, a slow stream of urine, and impotence; Iodum, when there are shrunken testicles, impotence, and the prostate feels hard; and Argentum nit., for prostate problems associated with erectile dysfunction. For symptoms of prostatitis, Sabal is given if the prostate is enlarged and the area around the gland feels cold; Chimaphila, if prostatic fluid is leaking from the penis and there is urine retention; Selenium, when urine dribbles from the penis and there is impotence; and Capsicum for burning pains in the prostate.

Lifestyle
An enlarged prostate may benefit from 1 tbsp of lecithin as instructed, a zinc supplement, and evening primrose oil. The diet should include plenty of oily fish, but no caffeine, alcohol, or refined sugar. Constipation is to be avoided. Sabal is available in an herbal form called palmetto
which is good for prostatitis, as is 2–3 tsp cold, pressed flaxseed oil taken twice a day.
C A S E  H I S T O R Y
George was 74 and had a seven-year history of an enlarged prostate. It caused him to urinate every couple of hours, and he had to get up at least three times a night. Following a biopsy, he had been assured that there was no cancer. He had been generally healthy all his life, apart from having a tubercular lymph node removed when he was in his twenties.
P E R S O N A L D E TA I L S
This rather shy, apprehensive man was something of a perfectionist. Extremely ambitious, George had progressed to become president of one company he worked for and, when seen, had his own consultancy business—for relaxation, he claimed. He found the prospect of addressing large groups of people daunting, but performed well once he had begun.

F O O D  P R E F E R E N C E S
George disliked extremes of heat and cold. Apart from his prostate problem, he was in extremely good health for his age. He experienced a lot of flatulence, and eating even small amounts of food made him feel full.
G E N E R A L   D E TA I L S
George had a very sweet tooth and enjoyed alcohol. He liked his foods warm, and hated cold foods or drinks. Oysters, onions, and brassicas such as cabbage upset his digestion.
P R E S C R I P T I O N    &   F O L L O W - U P
George was prescribed Phosphorus as a constitutional remedy and an herbal form of Sabal for his symptoms. This treatment reduced his urination at night slightly for a couple of months, after which the frequency increased to what it had been before. He was then prescribed Lycopodium, and his condition began to improve generally. He was getting up only once a night—considered to
be normal at his age—and his sexual function also improved. George experienced a setback following minor surgery, but again responded well to Lycopodium. He continues to get up just once a night, and does not suffer from frequency of urination at all during the day. He takes the occasional dose of Sabal if he feels his condition might start to deteriorate.

BREAST PROBLEMS

Symptoms

• Inflammation: possibly with tender glands under the arms, mild fever (mastitis), cysts (fluid-filled growths or swellings), or boils in the areola (brown areas surrounding the nipples).

• Benign lump (fibroadenosis): possible premenstrual tenderness in the breasts.

• Abscess: increasingly tender breast and hard, red, and painful spot, possibly accompanied by mild fever and tender glands under the arms.

• Tumor: a milky discharge (in women who are not pregnant or lactating) or a dark red discharge from the nipple, possibly accompanied by an unusual retraction of the nipple or an outbreak of eczema around the nipple.
Causes
Inflammation of the breast may be caused by a blocked milk duct, or bacteria entering a cracked nipple during lactation, or by infection from an abscess or from elsewhere in the body.Most benign lumps are hormonal in origin.
Conventional care
Mastitis and abscesses are usually treated with painkillers and antibiotics. An abscess may be surgically incised. Ultrasound, mammography, or biopsy are used to investigate lumps. Biopsy involves either the removal of the lump or the aspiration of fluid in order to identify cancerous cells. Discharge from the nipples may be investigated using the methods above or, in order to identify infection, by culturing a sample. Hormone levels are also measured.
Homeopathic medicine
A physical examination and investigative tests will be carried out, and details taken of a woman’s gynecological and obstetric history. A homeopath will also study precipitative factors affecting her general health—especially hormonal balances—in an attempt to identify the underlying causes of breast problems. The choice of constitutional remedy will depend upon individual symptoms.
Silica is effective for abscesses; while Sulphur may be used to treat infection that has entered through cracked nipples, causing mastitis. Calc. phos. is prescribed for painful breast lumps and swelling; and Conium is used to treat hard tumors. Calc. carb. and Pulsatilla are indicated for lumps or inflammation that occur premenstrually or are linked to hormonal imbalances. Other
remedies include Arnica, Causticum, and Lachesis for nipple pain; and Graphites for eczema and cracked, blistered nipples. Local remedies include Belladonna, when an abscess or mastitis is developing and the breast is red, heavy, throbbing, and painful on the slightest movement; and Bryonia, if a breast is hard and painful on the slightest movement. Conium is given for a breast lump causing discomfort that is better for firm pressure, or for a cyst; and Phytolacca is prescribed for cysts that are tender before and during menstruation. 
Lifestyle
Regular self-examination of the breasts is very important. It should be done at the same time every month, first standing in front of a mirror to observe any visual changes to the breasts or nipples, then lying down to feel any lumps, thickening, or tenderness in the breasts or armpits.
Breast-feeding women with mastitis should bathe the affected breast in hot water, then breast-feed with the baby positioned lower than the affected area of the breast so as to drain the area of milk. A fish- and vegetable-rich diet with no caffeine is advisable for women affected by breast lumps.

C A S E  H I S T O R Y
Catherine, a 43-year-old former teacher, first started having mild mastitis after a kidney infection. She was prescribed the contraceptive pill, which helped. She also felt better when pregnant. After a couple of miscarriages, however, the mastitis got worse. She was given vitamin B6 and a hormone regulator, which made the condition worse. Catherine had an irregular menstrual cycle.
P E R S O N A L  D E TA I L S
Catherine appeared to be easy-going, but inside she was a great worrier, and very anxious about what others thought about her. A highly sensitive woman, she was deeply moved by sad stories. At times she felt that she would go mad with pain and discomfort.

F O O D  P R E F E R E N C E S
Catherine had a craving for boiled eggs, especially when she was premenstrual or pregnant. She also had a desire to eat indigestible items, such as chalk, coal, and pencils, and had a sweet tooth.
G E N E R A L  D E TA I L S
Catherine felt the cold very easily, but tended to sweat profusely in bed,particularly on the back of her head so that the pillow would become damp. Her feet were often so hot that she had to stick them out of the bed during the night. She felt worse in cold, northeasterly winds, and
better when the weather was warm and dry.

P R E S C R I P T I O N  &  F O L L O W - U P
Catherine was prescribed a variety of homeopathic remedies, including Conium, Lachesis, and Phytolacca, and advised about dietar y changes, but nothing brought more than temporar y relief. When she was given Calc. carb., however, the mastitis symptoms disappeared completely. After that she had the occasional dose of Calc. carb., but remained largely free of pain and discomfor t. During menopause, Catherine developed the first symptoms of mastitis that she had experienced in five years. She again responded well to Calc. carb., needing just two or three doses during menopause. She has remained symptomfree ever since.