The word hormonal imbalance might sound broad and women are overwhelmed by the prospect of even trying to understand what it is all about. What are hormones? Hormones are chemicals produced by different glands and tissues they form a part of the endocrine system (a system made up of many glands including the pituitary gland and master gland that is responsible for sending messages from your brain to other glands in your body). These chemicals travel around your bloodstream and inform the tissues and glands on what to do. They help control different major processes in the body including metabolism and reproduction.   Hormonal Imbalance Hormonal imbalance occurs when these chemicals are too much or too little in the body. Once there is a change in these hormones in the body, it could lead to serious effects and this should be an utmost concern to both men and women. Hormonal imbalance can be associated with many problems such as period irregularities, unwanted hair growth, fertility struggles, polycystic ovarian syndrome(PCOS), weight gain, and even difficulty sleeping. In this articles, our focus point will be on PCOS as many women do not know if they have it or not. We will also be talking about the right nutrients or medicinal product to tackle it and manage these problems. According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, one major health problem that affects 1-10 women of childbearing age (15-44) is PCOS (POLYCYSTIC OVARY SYNDROME). PCOS is a condition in which the ovaries produce an abnormal amount of androgen, male sex hormones that are usually present in women in small amounts. The name polycystic ovarian syndrome describes numerous small cysts (fluid-filled sacs) that form in the ovaries. Ovulation occurs when mature eggs are released from the ovary. If the eggs are not fertilized, it is sent out of the body during your period. In some cases, a woman doesn't make enough of the hormones needed to ovulate. When ovulation doesn't happen, the ovaries can develop many small cysts. These cysts make hormones called ANDROGENS, although this process is normal in all women it becomes a problem when the androgen levels become high in a woman’s body, it causes more problems with the woman’s menstrual cycle. Causes of PCOS The cause of PCOS is not fully known but studies suggest that the disorder may be linked to a genetic abnormality. The hormonal imbalance in patients with PCOS is thought to be the result of either the overproduction of male hormones by the ovaries or an inability to regulate insulin levels. This is known as ''INSULIN RESISTANCE''.   PCOS symptoms Due to the increase in the number of male hormones and irregular female reproductive functions that are associated with the disorder, PCOS can create undesirable symptoms beyond infertility. Women who are diagnosed with this disorder may present symptoms that include:
  • Rapid weight gain and obesity
  • Irregular or absent ovulation (anovulation)
  • Depression
  • An increase in irregular hair growth especially on the face, arms, back, and legs
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Pelvic pain
  • Male pattern baldness
  • Diabetes
  • Acne
Nutrients / medicinal products to tackle hormonal imbalance
  • Diet change: Eating a nourishing diet like fruits, vegetables, whole grains such as barley, brown rice, bulgur, millet, wheat, etc. can help regulate your hormone and your menstrual cycle.
Eating proteins also help to stimulate insulin production while eating processed, heavily preserved food can contribute to inflammation and insulin resistance.  
  • Weight loss: many women with PCOS have difficulty managing their weight. Increased weight gain can lead to higher levels of androgen and insulin resulting in worse physical symptoms. Losing weight can have a significant impact on PCOS symptoms such as reduced insulin and testosterone level, improved irregular periods, etc.
  • Exercise: this is an important component of weight loss. Regular exercise can help reduce insulin levels and keep blood sugar levels low. Exercise is also beneficial to heart health and it can improve mood and help regulate sleep patterns.
  • Supplements: nutritional supplements such as omega 3 fish oil, chromium, selenium, vitamin D, calcium, B complex, and inositol are said to help control PCOS symptoms but it is important to speak with your pharmacist or health care experts as these supplements may interfere with other medications or medical conditions.
  • Herbal products: studies have made us know that some herbal supplements such as Vitex agnus-castus (chaste tree) and Cimicifuga racemosa ( Black cohosh) are most effective in managing irregular ovulation. While Cinnamomum cassia may help treat metabolic complications like insulin resistance in women with PCOS.
  • Probiotics: millions of bacteria live in the intestine which causes alteration in the gut environment. Studies have found that these alterations may affect sex hormones including androgen and oestrogen, suggesting that the bacteria may have a role in developing PCOS. So probiotic supplements help to reverse symptoms associated with PCOS.
  PCOS is a complicated syndrome. While there is no cure, many conventional treatments can help manage the symptoms and any complications, it is always a good idea to speak with your healthcare provider to help get the best management regimen for you.


HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR KIDNEYS Here are some things you can do to help keep your kidney’s healthy:
  • Do not use over-the-counter pain relievers for more than 10 days for the treatment of pain or more than three days for the alleviation of fever. If you have pain or fever over an extended period of time, you should see your doctor.
  • If you are taking analgesics, avoid drinking alcohol.
  • Avoid prolonged use of analgesics that contain a combination of painkilling ingredients, like aspirin, acetaminophen and caffeine mixtures in one pill.
  • Monitor your weight regularly and eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
People who are overweight or obese are at a risk of a number of disease conditions. These include diabetes, heart diseases, and kidney disease. A healthy diet that is low in sodium, red and processed meats, may help reduce the risk of kidney damage. It is advisable to focus on eating fresh ingredients that are naturally low-sodium, such as cauliflower, cabbage, grapes, fish, whole grains, etc.  
  • Drink lots of water
There’s no magic behind the cliché advice to drink at least eight glasses of water in a day, but it’s a good goal precisely because it encourages you to stay hydrated. Regular, consistent water intake is healthy for your kidneys. Water helps clear sodium and toxins from your kidneys. It also lowers your risk of chronic kidney disease.
  • Control your blood sugar. High blood glucose, also called blood sugar, can damage the blood vessels in your kidneys. When the blood vessels are damaged, they don't work as well.
  • Choose foods that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Decrease the use of trans-fatty acids since they can raise LDL cholesterol like fish, chicken, turkey, lean meat, beans, lentils, peas etc. If you eat red meat, limit to no more than three servings per week and choose meat offals.
  • Monitor your blood pressure regularly.
  • Take certain supplements like:
  • Resveratrol; Resveratrol, a polyphenol found in berries, grapes, and peanuts, exerts antioxidant, cardio protective, and kidney-protective activity. Researchers propose that resveratrol may target the inflammation and oxidative stress associated with CKD.
  • Alpha lipoic acid (ALA)is an antioxidant that may help address one of the complications seen in kidney disease, cardiovascular disease (CVD).
  • Moringa: studies demonstrate that moringa leaf extract may protect against kidney toxicity caused by acetaminophen, an over-the-counter medication also known as Tylenol or Paracetamol.
  • Probiotics: Beneficial bacteria can do more than just enhance your gut health. They can also help protect against the complications of CKD by decreasing inflammation and the production of uremic toxins. This dual action improves kidney function. Probiotics may also protect against leaky gut syndrome, a common condition in people with CKD that allows harmful bacteria to “leak” from the intestinal tract into the blood. Supplementing with a multi-strain probiotic may improve the bacterial balance in your gut, lessen the permeability of your intestinal barrier, and reduce the complications of CKD.
  • NAC: Technically known as n-acetyl cysteine, NAC is a precursor to glutathione, commonly called the body’s master antioxidant. It’s also an antioxidant in its own right that protects kidney cells from heavy metals and other damaging toxins. Research shows that NAC can also limit the damage from advanced glycation end products or AGEs. AGEs are formed when glucose (sugar) reacts with proteins in the walls of your blood vessels, including those blood vessels within the kidneys. The resulting damage includes oxidative damage that can contribute to CKD. But proactively including NAC in your supplement routine can help protect against the negative effects of AGEs.
  • Andrographis; This kidney-supportive herb likely is not top of mind when indulging in favorite alcoholic beverage, but maybe it should be. Findings in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology suggests that two compounds in andrographis—andrographolide and arabinogalactan proteins—protect the kidneys from alcohol toxicity. If you enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, a beer or two with friends, or the occasional cocktail, taking a dose of andrographis before you drink may provide the protection your kidneys need.

Feminine Intimate Healthcare: What you need to know about your Vagina

Feminine Intimate Healthcare: What you need to know about your Vagina.

“What's the big mystery? It's my vagina, not the sphinx! “

-Sex and the City.

It’s not easy being a woman. Women are primary care givers and nurturers in any family. Those who work outside have the additional challenge of juggling domestic responsibilities with professional aspirations. However, even as women effortlessly go about their varied roles, many end up neglecting their own health. And the one aspect of health that is perhaps the most neglected is “Intimate Care” with over 75% of all women being completely unaware of the need for a separate intimate care regime. Most women seek curative measures and visit a doctor only when they experience discomfort and irritation in their intimate areas. Poor intimate health can get in the way of having a pleasurable sexual experience for those who are sexually active. Also, this can affect the overall sense of well being because of the discomfort that comes with it all. Luckily, understanding a bit about intimate wellness can help with any issues you may have which in turn will boost your confidence as a woman. Intimate health can refer to a number of different aspects of a woman's reproductive and sexual health. This term may be used in references to a variety of different conditions that affect the female genitalia or her reproductive organs (such as STI’s, yeast infections, vaginitis, etc). These are issues that make it difficult for a woman to enjoy sexual intercourse. For women, sexual changes are often a part of aging and menopause. “Feminity is your greatest power. Embrace it!” -Stacey Martino. The following are common problems women may have with intimate wellness:
  • Vaginal dryness : this occurs due to decreasing  estrogen (the major female hormone which promotes the development and maintenance of the female characteristics). This may be associated with menopause and some medications may also cause this.
  • Vaginal laxity: this is a looseness that occurs in the vagina. It can happen after vaginal childbirth but it may also be associated with menopause or aging. Laxity can cause a loss of sensation during sexual intercourse.
  • Low sex drive: this may be caused by physical factors such as hormone imbalance or vaginal discomfort. Other issues related to menopause like fatigue, insomnia and mood swings can also contribute to a low libido.
  • Vaginal infections: these are the most common intimate health conditions.  They include; chlamydia, bacterial vaginosis, thrush, pelvic inflammatory disease, trichomoniasis, cystitis etc.
Three in four women will experience thrush at least once in their lifetime, one in three women will suffer bacterial vaginosis and one in two women will get symptoms of vaginal dryness after menopause, according to Bayer Pharmaceuticals, the producers of Canesten. The term  “Toilet infections” is a non-medical term used to describe a majority of symptoms associated with intimate health. Most of these symptoms include; burning sensations, itching and foul smelling vaginal discharge. These symptoms are commonly termed toilet infections because majority of people believe they originate from the use of dirty toilets. However, these symptoms are not limited to the use of dirty toilets. These infections occur as a result of a distortion in the microbial Flora of the vagina. The normal or “friendly” vaginal bacteria is dominated by various lactobacillus species. Lactobacilli helps to keep the vagina healthy by producing lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide and other substances that inhibit the growth of yeast and other unwanted organisms. They maintain the vagina at a health pH of around 3.8 – 4. This acidic environment helps protect against infection and so do the other substances they produce. These bacteria are an important part of a healthy vaginal ecosystem. Women should give importance to intimate hygiene no matter what stage they are in life. No woman wants to go through the day with unrelenting itching or feeling like their vagina is on fire. Got burning questions about your intimate health and hygiene? Well, we’ll help you douse the flames with our resourceful guides that help you answer them all.  “Through Knowledge we gain power over our lives. With options we have possibility, with acceptance we find a new freedom”
  • Lucy .H. Pearce.
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