Hemorrhoids: 6 Ways to Reduce Your Discomfort

Posted: 1421 days ago in Health Wellness

hemorrhoids

My butt hurts and hemorrhoids are to blame.  

Those of you who have been reading my stuff for a while know I am good for sharing TMI, including Another Childbirth Bonus. I’m not pregnant, nor is this a case of ‘Same Sh*t, Different Day.’

Yet, I have a freaking hemorrhoid.  453851401

For those of you unfamiliar with those little darlings, hemorrhoids are bulging veins in and around your anus and rectum. They can itch, bleed and hurt, and make it virtually impossible to wear thong underwear.

Hellllllllo, visible panty lines. What is the deal??!

Since none of the causes of hemorrhoids currently apply to me, the deal just might be that getting old, frankly, can suck.

Hemorrhoids can be caused by:

  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Sitting for long periods of time on the toilet
  • Chronic diarrhea or constipation
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Anal intercourse
  • Low-fiber diet

They are also more likely to happen as we age, as the tissues that support the veins, as well as the veins themselves, can weaken and stretch with age.

Well isn’t that just freaking fantastic.

There is no cure, per se, for hemorrhoids, but there are some things you can do to minimize your discomfort and make the swelling go down – for now:

  1. Keep squeaky clean down there! After bowel movements, use an alcohol-free baby wipe to gently cleanse the area, as dry toilet paper can be very abrasive. And as a side note: please don’t flush the baby wipe as it may clog the toilet!
  2. Bathe daily and wear clean, non-thong underwear with a cotton crotch.
  3. Use a home-made or store-bought witch hazel pad, like Tucks brand. These can be incredibly soothing, and I guess since they call them Tucks, you can tuck ’em right up in there for a bit for some extra relief. Plus, I love their tagline, ‘love the butt’. Couldn’t agree more… p.s. this is not a paid endorsement.
  4. Sitz baths with a little Epsom salts can help.
  5. I’m a big fan of ice packs so here’s the ‘how-to’ on that: put on some granny panties (you know you have them in the back of your drawer), then tuck a soft ice pack way up against your butt where the hemorrhoids are. Then, to hold it in place, put another pair of snug-fitting panties on top of the ice pack. Works wonders for hemorrhoids, and for your girl parts after childbirth, too!
  6. Hemorrhoid creams like Preparation-H contain hydrocortisone, which is very effective at decreasing the swelling.

If those suckers just won’t go away, and/or won’t stop bleeding, though, you may need to visit your doctor….and you won’t be happy with what s/he has to offer you, so get those suckers under control now!

Good luck with that!

My Daily Headache

Posted: 1769 days ago in Health

mydailyheadache


How many times have you uttered – or SCREAMED – “You’re Giving Me a Headache!”?

I can’t tell you how often patients will tell me that they are experiencing great health when asked, and then they casually let drop, “oh, except for my daily headache”.

What?! Like it’s just normal for your head to hurt every day?

(If this is you, let me be clear – it is NOT normal).

Headaches are complex animals. We can get them from stress, eyestrain, dehydration or a food incompatibility. They can also be caused by neck or head trauma, low-blood sugar, hormonal imbalances and vascular issues. And of course, there’s the headache caused by the pain from a brain tumor or stroke that we all swear we must have, when really it’s ‘just’ a migraine or caffeine withdrawal.

What’s a girl (or guy) to do?

Well, the same factors that contribute to good health in general can keep many of us headache-free: eating well, sleeping enough, managing our stress, drinking plenty of water, and exercising, but most of all addressing any repetitive or serious trauma with chiropractic.

Still banging your head against the wall, literally and figuratively?

I urge you to attempt to get to the root of the problem by looking into all of the above instead of popping Advil or Tylenol like a junkie. Over-the-counter medications will cause you far greater problems in the long-term than a headache ever will (except in the case of that brain-tumor).

And if your headache is really coming from the screaming kids / loud music / complaining co-worker – I recommend simply walking away.

It’s just not worth it, and it’s fun to keep them guessing.

Germaphobe’s Anonymous

Posted: 1775 days ago in Health Lifestyle

germaphobes

 

Listening to pediatrician Dr. Bob Sears say that he does not use antibacterial soap, nor does he use hand sanitizer, makes me very happy.

Germs are highly underrated.

Yup, that what’s I said – underrated. So this is a little germaphobe intervention, if you will.

When did we become so fearful of a little dirt or a few foreign organisms? Now, I’m not saying that we should lick a public restroom doorknob, nor should we let our kids play in the cat litter. But with gels and wipes at the ready, I believe we are sanitizing our environments to a fault.

Babies put everything in their mouths, right? Do you think that maybe this is nature’s way for them to build-up their immune systems, little by little? When we were growing up, do you think our moms wiped our hands each time we crawled on the floor or picked up another kid’s toy? Not a chance. With each exposure, your body built up a small arsenal of antibodies to make you stronger and more resistant to disease.

These days, heaven forbid a baby drops her binky on the floor. Mom or dad swoop in and treat it like hazardous waste. I am not ashamed to admit that I might have stuck a few pacifiers in my mouth over the years to lick off the crunchy bits, and pop it right back in my kids’ mouths. Or if they beat me to it, eh – “oh well”.

When we are hyper-vigilant about germs we do our bodies a real disservice. Wearing a face mask when you are sick, gelling your hands until they are raw, and using anti-bacterial everything denies the body the opportunity to gradually build up strong defenses. Then when there is an exposure, BAM! You are the most vulnerable one in the room!

So in matters of dirt and germs – or anything else, really! – reasonable rules the house.

So just relax.

Have You Met My Friend, Arthritis?

Posted: 1781 days ago in Health

arthritisOk, I lied. He’s not my friend, and he’s most likely not a friend of yours, either.

When it comes to arthritis, there are two general types, Osteo and Rheumatoid. Though they both result in joint pain and disfiguration, the similarities end there. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. We’ll talk about that another day.

At some point in our lives, though, the great majority of us will have to deal with osteoarthritis. Also called degenerative joint disease or plain old arthritis, I prefer to refer to it as “wear and tear arthritis”, because that’s exactly what it is. It is not a condition that you catch or a disease that you have, it is simply – though painfully – the result of trauma and/or wear and tear on the joints of your body.

Football players typically have it in their knees, baseball players in their shoulders and elbows, and chiropractors in their wrists. If you work on your feet all day, you might get it in your hips, and if you spend a lot of time on a computer, your neck and fingers might fall victim. If you look at what you do all day, you can pretty much guess what type of arthritis you might be prone to.  If you’ve injured a joint, that will likely accelerate the process;  whiplash leads to neck arthritis, a meniscus tear means your knee will wear down more quickly, and so on.

At the end of the day, who cares what you call it, right? Just make it stop hurting!

Bear with me a little more as I explain.

A joint is where two bones meet. There is cartilage on the ends of your bones to cushion and minimize friction. If your joints have undue stress on them, from injuries or accidents (macro-trauma) or poor posture and repetitive stress (micro-trauma), the cartilage starts to wear down. To better understand this, think about the tires on your car. If the wheels aren’t aligned just so, or if you hit a pothole that skews their alignment, the tires will wear down very quickly. This same principle is what leads to arthritis in your joints. The soft cartilage wears down and bone starts to grind against bone. Just that word, grinding, sounds painful, doesn’t it? Well it is!

The best approach is prevention. Moderate exercise complete with stretching, a non-sedentary lifestyle and regular chiropractic care will keep your joints in tip-top shape. Should you suffer an accident or injury, hightailing it to your chiropractor is even more important.

But you didn’t do that, did you? And now you hurt. There are many medications that can make youtemporarily feel better, and they are pretty darn effective, until they fry your liver and kidneys and then arthritis is the least of your problems. May I suggest some healthier alternatives?

In addition to chiropractic care – acupuncture, massage, along with physical and aqua therapy all work well in relieving arthritis pain, without any of the nasty side effects of over-the-counter or prescription meds. Furthermore, the same things that can help prevent arthritis (that I mentioned above) can also help to manage it as well.

And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, the other factors that I talk about ad nauseam (sleep, great nutrition, stress management) that are essential for great overall health will tend to make your arthritis more manageable.

Is Arthritis your mortal enemy? Share your secrets for giving him an a$$ whoopin’!

I Love You, Dr. Oz, But…

Posted: 1802 days ago in Everything Else Health

drozI’m going to go out on a limb here…

I think every woman needs to have at least one female doctor. This is not meant to be an inflammatory statement from a raging feminist. I just need for my uterus to have a partner in crime. Someone who truly understands.

How can you counsel me on breast health if you’ve never had a mammogram?

Or, expect to know how awful it can be to miscarry a baby?

Or, sympathize to my monthly hormonal fluctuations.
(Understand, it can be bad for you to live with it, but truly, it’s much worse to live in it!)

I know you study women’s health, Dr. Oz, like I’ve studied men’s health. And you can call me a hypocrite if you’d like, but though I may talk about your erectile dysfunction or enlarged prostate, I will encourage men to seek out male counsel in matters down there.

You feel me?

Same Sh*t, Different Day.

Posted: 1806 days ago in Health

constipationMost of us get the urge to poop once a day.  If we ignore that urge, it often won’t return until the next day. 

Not good. 

Babies have it down pat. They have something called the gastro-colic reflux, which means that when they nurse, their colon is stimulated to empty, creating more room ‘down there’. In adults I call this the “ping-pong ball theory.” You know, put a ball in one end of the tube and another pops out the other end?

Do any of you know someone who poops like clockwork? You see them heading down the hall at work with their newspapers; disappearing after their morning coffee (caffeine, BTW, can stimulate the poop reflex, big time!).

If you find yourself struggling with constipation, you might find that creating a ritual can help. Find a time when you can spend a few moments for a good sit-down each day. Bring a magazine with you — (that is why they call it the library, after all)relax, and after a few days, this will quite likely become your ‘go-to’ time.

Warning: Sitting and straining for too long will likely give you hemorrhoids, so do listen to your body.

Still having issues? Make sure that you have enough fiber and fluids in your diet. The fiber in fruits and veggies works to bulk up your poop, helping it to move along nicely. If you have an inner 3 year-old that still wrinkles her nose at produce (shame on you!), psyllium-based supplements are a decent cheat.   psyllium

Positionally, propping your feet up on a step-stool can open up your pelvis a bit and help a sister out. This applies to matters of both pooping and pushing babies, which is why the former usually happens with the latter.

Bottom line; it’s not good to hold in your poop!

If you continually ignore your body’s signals, it will take this as a sign to create a new pattern of less-frequent pooping, and although pooping is not particularly attractive – constipation, with its accompanying bloating, pain, and strain – is markedly less so.