Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What's bugging your gut, part 3: Entamoeba histolytica

File:Entamoeba histolytica 01.jpgConsidered pathogenic, this amoeba is a single-celled organism that constantly changes shape. It is pathogenic and can infect the intestines as well as other organs (via the blood-stream) such as the liver.

Transmission of this bug is usually through faecally-contaminated food, water, or hands, as the cysts are passed in faeces and can survive in the environment outisde of the host for anywhere from days to months. Once the cyst is ingested, the trophozoite is released into the intestinal tract where it can bore into the intestinal lining and cause symptoms, even going further and ending up in the blood-stream, where it will be deposited into other organs, such as the liver, lungs, brain, spleen, etc. It is found using a stool test.

File:Entamoeba histolytica life cycle-en.svgSymptoms include a gradual onset of abdominal pain, diarrhoea, weight loss, fatigue, and bloody stools. In severe cases, fever and dysentery can be found. When deposited into the liver, it causes amoebic liver abscess, which can be fatal if left untreated. it is not uncommon for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) to be diagnosed when actually, this little bug is the poblem.

Like other intestinal parasites, this amoeba can be treated using pharmaceutical anitbiotics, however herbal medicine can also be beneficial, used in the appropriate dosages and in the appropriate manner. The standard protocol of clearing the gut and boosting the immune system using medicinals such as Chinese wormwood, Black walknut, cloves and turmeric. The gut then needs to be re-built using pre- and pro-biotics.

To make abooking to have your digestive system brought back into harmony, call Discover Chinese Medicine on 03 9013 1777, or click here to make an online booking.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Get your Mo on for men's health!

It's that time of year again when men around town start sporting odd-looking facial hair, looking like someone out of a barbershop quartet or a bikie!

No, it's not a cyclical trend of course - it's Movember, where men grow moustaches in support of promoting men's health. The global, month-long charity which had its humble beginnings in Melbourne specifically raises money for research and awareness into prostate cancer and male mental health.

The statistics are quite frightening,  with rises in the diagnosis and treatment of depression (linked inextricably to incidences of suicide in seemingly-happy males). Male life expectancy is about 5-6 years less than women; The suicide rate in males is four times higher than women; and it is estimated that five men die prematurely each hour from potentially preventable illnesses.

The Movember movement has shown to be effective not just in raising awareness about andrological health in mens' minds, but also in making significant changes in their lifestyle - the most important being actually visiting a doctor and getting a health check! As I've written on this site before, men are often reluctant in going to see a doctor in order to get checked out, let alone if they are actually starting to feel sick. Prevention is far better than the cure, not just for the individual, but also is thought to significantly make a difference to the national budget on health and take the strain off an already struggling health system.

Chinese Medicine of course has as its fundamental axiom the principle of preventing disease before it happens. The idea of treating sickness was likened to trying to fill a well when the village is dying of thirst. With our unique diagnostic system, such as the observation of the pulse, the examination of the tongue, palpation of the channel system, and the interpretation of various signs and symptoms as part of a larger 'pattern', we are able to gain subtle insights into the state of an individual's health. Often, some of these signs reveal the beginnings of more serious conditions, signs that the average person wouldn't think twice about, or consider a sign of becoming something more serious.

These Signs include constant headaches, persistent lower back pain, dribbling after urination, decreased libido or sexual function, feelings of discontent, waking up tired, unable to fall asleep, bloating after meals, changes to regular bowel habits, putting on weight, constant irritability or short tempers, greying and loss of hair, inability to cope with stress, feeling overwhelmed, rib-side pain, acid reflux, indigestion, shoulder and neck tension, recurring colds and 'flus, and so on.

On their own, these things seem innocuous and harmless. But when there is a pattern of these symptoms occurring more than once or twice, they point to what Chinese Medicine practitioners refer to as a 'pattern of disharmony'. A presenting pattern may be nothing that causes a disruption to one's normal daily routine, but if left unaddressed it can progress on to other more serious and chronic conditions.

Being able to see these patterns and treat them is part of the preventative process. Treating these disorders gently and natural with Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture means reversing the disharmony gently, and then building the body, mind, and emotions up to be strong. Strength in men is important, as it allows us to be authentic individuals, to bring out our natural protective tendencies and to hold the space effectively for our wives, sisters, daughters, and mothers.

So whilst your grow your Mo this Movember, don't forget to come into the clinic for some preventative acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Take control of your health, your body, mind, and spirit, and start your new life with good health and happiness.

Click here to make a booking with our practitioners at Discover Chinese Medicine.