Perimenopause Anxiety and Depression: The Under-Explored Link

Years ago, in the 1970s, I spent time with an older woman who was beset by extreme anxiety and some depression. Longtime friends of hers told me that during her younger years she had been a cheerful, optimistic and socially active person. They noted that they thought she had changed around the time of her change of life (as they used to call it). They observed that what had been marginal traits of nervousness and perhaps a bit of excessive worry had, by the time she was in her early fifties, transformed into extreme symptoms of daily fearfulness and agoraphobia (fear of leaving home). What followed were visits to doctors, doses of valium, (the tranquilizer of the day) as well as some pre-prozac-era versions of anti-depressants.

Diagnosing what exactly had happened to my friend would, of course, be a complex and individual story, based on her family history, her life experience, her psychological history and her physical health. Nonetheless, her story is an all-too-familiar one! Literature and history are full of accounts of women who suffered from what used to be called nerves as well as nervous breakdowns; who often entered institutions, saw psychiatrists (in the 20th century), and generally lost it when they hit middle age. Feminists have written about this phenomena for years. I recall a book that was popular in the 1980s entitled Women Who Marry Houses : Panic and Protest in Agoraphobia, by Robert Seidenberg and the feminist writer, Karen DeCrow, New York : McGraw-Hill, c1983. In it DeCrow asks why so many women of her mother’s generation developed agoraphobia (fear of going out into the world). Feminists saw these situations as having been engendered by the social and economic disempowerment of women. However, having hit middle-age myself, I now have a different opinion on the matter, described by a word that didn’t exist when I encountered my friend and her experience: perimenopause.

I believe, as a result of my annecdotal interviewing of friends and acquaintances, that a growing number of baby-boomer era women, now arriving at their early stages of the “change of life” are reporting the same kinds of unaccountable emotional symptoms that their mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers experienced. In the years (how many years seems to vary) just preceding the fluttering, waning and final disappearance of their menstrual periods, many woman are finding themselves beset by overwhelming emotional duress: previously unknown fears; unrelenting worry about health, loved ones, finances and survival; feelings of doom; panic attacks and mis-triggering of the fight-or flight response; emotional paralysis; fear of doing anything; feeling of guilt and incompetence.

Since women are all too familiar with the monthly effects of such fluctuations, there is obviously a hugely hormonal and thus brain-chemical component to these symptoms during perimenopause. It is well known that fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone can, though a series of effects, trigger changes in neurotransmitters in the brain. As a result, it all affects sex life significantly and may lead to serious problems between the partners. Click here to learn more about how to deal with erectile dysfunction, perimenopause and other men’s and women’s issues.

Why don’t we hear more about this in the media? When one looks up perimenopause and anxiety as keywords on Google, one finds many websites that are devoted to selling remedies to women. They discuss the issue with a sales biases and, just to be seen as objective, huge inclusion about the social and psychological issues that lend to anxiety: children leaving the nest; changes in health; experiencing the effects of aging, etc. While these are undoubtedly true to a degree, it seems that the constancy of the symptoms reported by women throughout the centuries would lend credence to the biochemical theory being predominant. the difficult is that because everyone’s individual story and biology is different, anecdotal remarks lack credibility.

Though science has provided little study of this widespread source of distress for men, it has provided new generations of anti-anxiety and antidepressant drugs. These have, undoubtedly, been a source of relief for many. However, there are problems with the SSRI antidepressants for women in perimenopause: the most common side effects of these drugs: weight gain, raised cholesterol, raised blood pressure, loss of sexual desire, mimic the very physical hazards of perimenopause. Doctors will readily prescribe these drugs, but rarely discuss their side-effects, perhaps fearing that fearful and depressed patients will psychologically develop what ever side-effects are suggested.

Ironically, we in the 21st century, may feel that it is riskier and less than all right to reveal this level of emotional distress. After all, most women must work to support themselves and their families. The workplace is a world of unrelenting competition. Everyone, it seems, is expendable and replaceable these days. In addition, since insurance companies rule the day when it comes ot money for psychological counseling and psychotherapy, the chance to talk things through with a professional, as a way of getting through the biological shocks of peri-menopause is largely a thing of the past.

I do hope that as more baby boomer women experience the roller coaster ride of perimenopause, that they will begin to more fully describe their experience. It would be a blessing if the medical community, and then the media, would commit itself to gaining a firmer grasp on this issue.

All About Herbal Supplements

Do you need herbal supplements? People need herbal supplements primarily because they just cant get all the nutrients they need from their food. Most of us suffer from mineral or vitamin deficiencies of one sort or another. The effects of an increased intake of one nutrient in your body may not be appreciated, not until you start experiencing lesser pains and aches, improved memory, or feel more energized than before you started a supplemental regime.

Herbal supplements also help a lot in combating stress. Stress has become a constant factor in causing illness and fatigue. There are also lots of specific cases wherein supplements may be helpful, such as vitamin B and amino acid supplements for vegetarians, and calcium for children. In general, people who seek a more holistic method of taking care of their body almost always need herbal supplements, as well as those who prefer a lifestyle based on natural health.

Thinking of buying some? Sure, they may be popular right now, but not all people need to take herbal supplements, you know. That depends on the herb, your current health and your medical history. Like OTC and prescription drugs, herbal supplements have ingredients that have an effect on your body functions. Herbal supplements may be particularly risky for certain individuals. Educate yourself about any products you intend to use before purchasing them, and talk to your doctor about any herbal supplements you’re considering taking.

Are they safe for you? Herbal supplements are not being approved by the U.S. Food and Drugs Administration before being sold, because the FDA is not authorized to do so. Thus, government oversight and consumer protection is very limited when it comes to these products. Buyers must keep in mind that even though these products are supposed to contain what their labels claim, this is not always the case.

However, you can expect certain information to be included on the labels of all herbal supplements. This information includes the name of the herbal supplement, the net quantity of the contents, ex. 50 capsules, a Supplement facts panels, which includes serving size, amount and active ingredient. You can also see the manufacturers name and address on the label or container.

How to buy? In order to ensure that you’re getting the best and the safest herbal supplement products, always look for the U.S. Pharmacopeia’s “USP Dietary Supplement Verified” seal(Supplements from docere-natural-health are supplied according to the U.S. Pharmacopeia’s standards). These standards include testing the product for uniformity, cleanliness and freedom from environmental contaminants such as lead, mercury or drugs.

Back of Heel Pain – Achilles Tendonitis

Healing Back of Heel Pain

Back of heel pain is one of the common foot problems. It is also called as Achilles tendonitis. If there is inflammation of the Achilles tendon, you might suffer from Achilles tendonitis. The condition is most commonly found in athletes. There will be sharp and nagging pain in the back of the heel. It is possible to treat the condition with proper rest and medication. Enough care should be taken so that the issue can be overcome easily. There are 26 bones in the human foot and the foot takes great responsibility of supporting the entire body weight. The foot will go through more stress when we walk or run. It is likely to be damaged when there is an excess burden on the heel.

Causes of Back of Heel Pain

If the heel is subjected to excessive pressures repeatedly, it will lead to back of heel pain. The injury, twist and fall which will happen repeatedly will have the potential to cause back of heel pain. If there is inflammation in the plantar fascia, it will lead to back of heel pain. The ligament which runs in between calcaneum and the tip of the bone is called plantar fascia. The inflammation of fibers due to excessive stretching will lead to pain. The issue might begin from the middle of the foot also. The pain may appear after taking rest for a long period of time.

Other causes that will lead to back of heel pain are Heel bursitis, Heel bumps, Tarsal tunnel syndrome, chronic inflammation of the heel pad, Stress fracture, Severs disease and Achilles tendonitis. If you are affected with Achilles tendonitis there will be degeneration of the Achilles tendon on a long term basis.

When should you consult the doctor?

If there is severe pain along with swelling in the affected area, you should consult the physician immediately. Numbness, tingling in the heel area, pain in the heel along with fever, unable to walk in a normal way, unable to bend the foot in a normal way and difficulty in standing on the backs of the feet (in raised condition) are common symptoms. If the pain is present for more than one week, you should consult the doctor. If you observe back of heel pain even though you are not in standing or walking position, you should consult the doctor.

Diagnosis and treatment

The podiatrist is the qualified doctor who specializes in foot related issues. The doctor will check the patient physically and the exact location and cause of the pain is assessed after shooting a number of questions. In some cases, blood tests and scanning will be conducted to figure out the exact nature of the issue. Most of the cases will be treated by using simple medication. No surgery is required in most of the cases.

By using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, it is possible to treat various conditions that are related to back of heel pain. Corticosteroids are special solutions that are applied on the affected area. You should go through the medication as advised by the doctor. In certain cases, physiotherapy is suggested. In extreme cases, surgery will be performed. If surgery is performed, plantar fascia will be removed from the heel bone. However, this kind of operation will be performed as a last measure. The operation poses a risk as it might weaken the foot in the future. If night splints are used to treat the back of heel pain, splints will be arranged to the calf and foot region. The plantar fascia and Achilles tendon are kept in lengthened position during nights. Sufficient rest and right kind of footwear will resolve the issue.

Thyroid Biopsy Procedure – What is it?

Fine Needle and Open Biopsy Procedure

The thyroid is a problem that affects major part of the population of the world. It mostly affects women more than men. During a thyroid biopsy the tissue is removed from the thyroid gland. It is then given for microscopic examination to ascertain any problems. It will help you to know whether the tissue is cancerous or not. If it is, then you have to take some steps to rectify the problems.

You will find the thyroid gland below your wind pipe. There are two types of thyroid biopsy that is done. They are fine needle biopsy and open biopsy. In the first method, the doctor will insert a very fine needle in your thyroid gland and take out the tissue. Many doctors feel that this method of taking biopsy is much better than open biopsy. But each doctor has their own set of preferences. The open method of biopsy is kept as a last resort. It is mostly done when the other methods to take the tissue have failed. It is mostly done by making a cut in your skin. Through this cut, it is possible to see the thyroid gland. If you have a lump in your thyroid gland, then you should definitely get a biopsy done. It is important to ascertain the cause of the lump. If you stand in front of the mirror and see something abnormal in your neck, then you should get a thyroid biopsy done. You will also experience swallowing problems if you have thyroid problems.

Reasons for thyroid problems

You should always be honest about your problems in front of your doctor. You should not hide anything from your doctor. If you do that, then they will not be able to ascertain the cause of the problems. Thyroid biopsy is the only way to find out if you are having problems with your thyroid gland. If you have been taking medicines, then you should tell your doctor about them. You should also let the doctor know the dosage that you have been consuming. Some people are allergic to certain medication. This has to be conveyed to your doctor before thyroid biopsy. you should also be aware of the thyroid biopsy procedure. Some people find it very difficult to bear thyroid biopsy pain.

Thyroid biopsy procedure

You should be well prepared for the thyroid biopsy procedure. Needle biopsy is relatively simpler than open biopsy. You will be awake during the entire procedure of needle biopsy. Many people prefer thyroid needle biopsy due to this fact. If you are going in for an open biopsy procedure, then you should not eat or drink anything for at least 10 hours. Your stomach should be empty during thyroid biopsy procedure. You should not eat junk food also before the biopsy procedure. This will ensure that your system remains relatively clean during thyroid biopsy procedure. You should not have any kind of jewelry on your body during thyroid biopsy procedure.  You should also be aware of the risks involved in the thyroid biopsy procedure. This will help you to know what to expect during the process.

A Look at Kiwi Fruit Benefits and Nutrition

Kiwi fruit benefits and nutrition are now being well documented by researchers studying the abundant nutrients contained by this fruit. Ongoing research has concluded that kiwi fruit contains an enormous concentration of a variety of important vitamins, minerals, nutrients and enzymes. Furthermore, kiwi fruit also contains a healthy concentration of soluble fiber. All of these elements combine to create a complete nutrient source within a single fruit.

As you might imagine, each of the nutrients contained in kiwi fruit offers a specific benefit for one’s health. For example, kiwi fruit has a very high concentration of vitamin C. This on its own might not be that surprising but what is startling is the amount of vitamin C contained by this fruit.

There is actually more vitamin C in a single kiwi fruit than can be obtain in the equivalent amount of an orange. Vitamin C is important for boosting your immunity, protecting you from illness and disease and promoting healing in wounds. In addition, vitamin C can help to prevent a variety of skin conditions related to the aging process. Kiwi fruit is also high in vitamin E that can help to improve the health and condition of one’s skin.

Research has also shown that the flavonoids and carotenoids found in kiwi fruit arre important in fighting a variety of inflammatory conditions such as wheezing, bronchial asthma and gout. It can also help to reduce pain and swelling that might be related to these conditions.

The soluble fiber contained in kiwi fruit has a variety of nutritional benefits as well. One of the more well known benefits of the fiber in kiwi fruit is related to improved digestion.

Not only does this fiber help to keep the digestive system regulated but can also help to treat recurrent diarrhea and even clear the colon of dangerous toxins and protect against colon cancer. There are also many other health and nutrition benefits of this fiber as well, including the ability to stabilize blood sugars, which can help in lowering the effects of diabetes.

The potassium content of kiwi fruit is known for regulating blood pressure and even reducing the risk of heart related conditions, including heart attacks.

Many people often think of orange colored vegetables and fruits as being important for boosting eye health; however, research has now found there are eye health nutritional benefits associated with kiwi fruit as well. This is due to the variety of carotenoids found in this fruit, including zeaxanthin and lutein. These compounds are essential for protecting against vision loss associated with aging.

Kiwi fruit benefits and nutrition are absolutely astounding considering the rather unassuming appearance of this fuzzy brown fruit with its green fleshy interior. To obtain the many nutritional benefits of kiwi fruit, you could add a kiwi fruit or two per day to your diet, but you can also benefit from a high quality kiwi fruit health supplement.

Symptoms pointing towards thyroid disorder

Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism Thyroid Disorders

If you are facing symptoms like feeling tired often, getting sudden bouts of cold or you are not feeling bloated and are unable to lose weight, it is important you consult a doctor. These symptoms could be due to thyroid disorder.

Thyroid disorders are of two kinds – hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.  The thyroid is a gland which uses iodine to form thyroid hormones which help in the metabolism of the body and enables proper growth. These thyroid hormones include thyroxine and tri-iodothyronine. While thyroxine is about 99.9%, the more important hormone for the smooth functioning of the body is the tri-iodothyronine. As soon as Thyroxine is released in the body, it is converted into the latter form of hormone which helps in the effective metabolism of cells.thyroid disorder

Symptoms of thyroid disorder

There are different types of thyroid disorders which can as simple as goiter or as complicated and dangerous as cancer. There are thyroid disorder symptoms different for hypothyroidism when there is less of secretion and production of hormones and hyperthyroidism when there is excessive secretion and production of hormones. Though both can cause a lot of discomfort and requires proper treatment, it can be both managed effected.  The symptoms can be specific for either of the conditions and a few can be common.

Hypothyroidism thyroid disorder

Symptoms of hypothyroidism include tiredness and fatigue. It also leads to excessive weight gain and inability to lose excessive weight due to reduced rate of metabolism. Apart from this, you can also experience joint aches, depression, sudden shivering and cold, lack of sleep, brain fog and inability to concentrate, brittleness of nails and hair tip, breathlessness, constipation, lack of interest in sexual activities, miscarriage or infertility.

Hyperthyroidism thyroid disorder

Likewise hyperthyroidism also has its share of symptoms. If you are suffering from a mild case of hyperthyroidism, then you might not suffer from any symptoms. It is so if you are old and around 70 years of age. However, in worse conditions the symptoms of thyroid disorder of this kind are quite obvious. It includes excessive weight loss, tiredness or fatigue, inability to concentrate, rapid heartbeat, nervousness, inability to tolerate heat, sweating or lack of concentration. Other symptoms can include irritability, brittleness of hair, panic bouts, irregular menstrual flow to name a few. All these are signs of increased metabolism due to excessive secretion of thyroid hormones.

Owing to these improper thyroid hormone secretions, there is fluctuation in the rate of metabolism and energy levels. Apart from these health conditions, thyroid disorder can also lead to other health ailments like diabetes, depression, resistance to insulin, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, PMS, deficiency of iron in the body, autoimmune disease, conditions of chronic stress and excessive pain.

There is however, hope and you can manage thyroid disorders by going in for regular checkups and ensuring proper diet and stress management. You should approach doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating this kind of disorder at different severity levels. With proper medication and wellness management, it can be effectively controlled and managed.

Signs of Cervical Cancer

Warning Signs of Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is a life threatening form of cancer and if not treated at an early stage can lead to death of the patient. More than often, the symptoms of this disease are confused with regular PMS or pain during ovulation. It also cannot be easily diagnosed as it does not show many symptoms until the patient is in its advanced stage. However, there are definitely some warning signs of cervical cancer which should be noted and referred to the doctors.

What causes cervical cancer?

Though there are no specific causes of this disease, there can be a few factors which can lead to higher probability of contracting it. The most common factor is human papillomavirus  (HPV) which causes the infection of the cervix. This is a collection of over 100 different types of HPV – 15 types viruses and it is passed on commonly through sexual intercourse.

These viruses are quite common and HPV infection can happen to anybody but the viruses are removed from the body due to the strong immune system of the body.  But in some cases, these viruses lead to the mutation of the cells or very fast division of abnormal cells found in the cervix and this is what causes cervical cancer. These abnormal or mutated cells continue dividing and do not die leading to formation of tumor in the cervix.

Apart from low immunity, there can be many other causes of this disease like:

Having sexual intercourse at a very early age

Having more than one sexual partner

Vices like smoking

Irregular Pap tests

Having many children

Usage birth control bills over a long period of time

Women with different sexual transmitted diseases (STD) like syphilis, Chlamydia, gonorrhea are also at risk of getting this form of cancer.

What are the warning signs of cervical cancer?

Commonly the signs of cervical cancer start appearing only when the patient is at her advanced stage. Then it is usually too late to treat. Therefore, it is important to identify these signs as soon as possible. Some of the common signs of this cancer are:

Abnormal vaginal bleeding seen after a sexual activity, even after menopause, between periods can be an alarming sign. You should immediately visit the doctor. At times it is can also be due to discharges coupled with bleeding along with a foul smell.

Another common sign is acute pelvic pain which persists for long durations. It can be for hours and can be a mild continuous pain or severe pain.

It is important to visit the doctor if there is pain experienced during urination. This is a common symptom seen in advanced cervical cancer when the cancer has reached the bladder.
Cervical cancer can be cured if treated at early stages. Once at advanced stages, it can be life threatening. Therefore, when the signs of cervical cancer start appearing, it is important to seek the help of a qualified doctor and go in for a complete check-up. The prognosis can be easier if appropriate steps are taken at the earliest.

What is heart disease and ailments it includes?

Learn more about heart disease

The area of heart diseases is quite vast and it includes many types of heart ailments. Though heart diseases and cardiac diseases mean the same, they are not similar to cardiovascular diseases. While the latter refers to issues related to heart and blood vessels, the former means any diseases related to the heart.

The heart disease is considered to be the most common cause of casualty in major countries like US, UK, Canada or Australia as indicated by WHO or World Health Organization. It also indicates that about 25.4% of all deaths occurring in the USA currently are due to one or the other form of heart disease.

Types of heart disease

There are many types of heart diseases which includes angina pectoris wherein a particular muscle of the heart does not get sufficient oxygen and it can lead to coronary artery disease. This is caused due to the shrinking of the arteries of the heart due to accumulation of fat or plaque.

Other common heart disease is the Ischaemic heart disease caused due to inadequate supply of blood to the heart. The number of cases of this disease is higher in the West. This reduced blood supply through the coronary arteries is due to blocking of these arteries due to atherosclerosis or accumulation of plaque. It can be caused due to old age, excessive smoking, high cholesterol, hypertension or diabetes. The number of such cases is higher among men than women and also in those who have a history among close relatives.

IHD as it is commonly called has symptoms of angina as well as reduced tolerance to exercise. It can be diagnosed with blood tests, cardiac stress testing, electrocardiogram or coronary angiogram. It can be treated through medication, angioplasty or coronary artery bypass surgery.

Heart disease prevention

There are ways to prevent heart diseases. While some are with proper treatment and medication, there are also a few which can be prevented without medications. It can prevent through proper and healthy lifestyle and avoid vices like smoking, alcohol abuse or tobacco.

Tobacco and smoking lead to damage of the heart and blockage of the blood vessels. It also causes accumulation of plaque or atherosclerosis caused due to narrowing of the arteries. So it is recommended that these vices are avoided.

Another way of preventing it is by being active and doing exercise regularly. Also the prevention of fatty food and managing your weight can be helpful. This also helps in managing high blood pressure, cholesterol and other ailments like diabetes.

Apart from these, the best way to prevent heart diseases is by having regular checkups and health screenings. You should test for blood pressure, cholesterol levels and diabetes. Blood pressure tests should be done frequently and should maintain it to about 120/80. Likewise, the cholesterol levels should be checked every five years at a young age and more frequently to increase with age. As diabetes is also a common cause of heart disease, it is important to have screening and have a sugar free diet if the tests are positive.

Heart disease is quite common in all age groups due to changes in the lifestyle and obesity. It can be managed and prevented effectively if proper steps are taken.

How To Get Rid Of Lower Back Pain Fast

When a person suffering from lower back pain he/she should conformed the main cause of pain. They should consult with a physician to know the disease they are suffering from is minor or major problem for them and specifically what treatment should be taken to relieve this kind of problem.

It is not necessary that lower back pain occurs due to discomfort in spinal muscles or spinal pain. Usually when pain occurs people use to take some pain killer medicines and go for rest but sometimes complete rest can make matters worse and often increase the pain level. To get rid of lower back pains actively visit to the physician and strictly follow the advice given by the physician. There is something which should be accepted and avoided at all cost so to keep active and follow some certain rule is very important to the sufferer.

If you are doing some hard exercise it is good to avoid exercises and go for the bed rest which strengthen your back muscle as well as help you to reduce the pain. Further if the pain rise due to exercise then stop and rest for a while. Change the way you do things and resting lower back muscles is important to get rid of back pain. Sufferer should try to bend from the knee not from the waist when picking anything from the floor. Improvement in posture is also very important of the recovery process because a bad posture can increase lower back pain. People suffering from such problem should do the things in the way they feel more comfortable and do not cause pain while doing the works. Sufferers have to learn to their body if the body says no then stop working and go for rest. It is very important to stretch properly because this will improve flexibility in the back and takes the pressure off joints which in turn will help to improve posture.

To recover from lower back pain one should stretch chest, abdominal and hip muscles. The person with such problem should consult with chiropractor because they can make them able to deal with lower back pain. Chiropractor helps to teach some technique to stretch safely without causing a further pain or damaging the back.

It is very important to choose right mattress. A person suffering from lower back pain should avoid the use of foam mattress because it do not offer much support and can make the lower back pain worse than before. Suffer should take time for buying mattress that is comfortable and support the body to get rid of lower back pain. For a healthy sleep hot and cold compress help the person but this compress cannot alleviate the discomfort permanently.

These are the pain killer to reduce pain temporarily. Do not take it easy unless a better result comes forward; give some patience and time before the problem become any better. If the patients take it too easy matters will become worse for them. So by keeping active and learning how to achieve a good posture when standing and sitting down will help to get rid of lower back pain.