What do you do to deal with cystitis (honeymoon syndrome)?

If you’re a fan of the movie The Green Mile and have seen the way the Tom Hanks character suffers you’ll know that it isn’t just women who suffer from cystitis.

However, when you survey discussion forums for answers it’s generally women who pass on suggestions like cranberry juice or barley water. One solution that often comes up is Potters Antitis – which is a herbal remedy used for the relief of urinary or bladder discomfort and infections.

Antitis is made of several natural ingredients including Buchu and Uva Ursi (diuretic and urinary antiseptics), Clivers (a diuretic which also controls bleeding in the urinary tract), Shepherds Purse (a urinary antiseptic with anti-haemorrhaging action) and Couchgrass (a diuretic specific to cystitis).

It’s not a pleasant experience but anyone can experience it, so it’s worth knowing Antitis can help. If you have any other solutions you’d like to share, feel free to add a comment.

Pesticides and fertility

Men’s fertility could be adversely affected by pesticides on fruit and vegetables. This alarming report is the result of a tests carried out by the University of London School of Pharmacy on behalf of the  European Commission.

The study is revealing that pesticides sprayed onto fruit & veg could be doing untold damage to male fertility. The research tested 37 crop chemicals, 30 of these were seen to  interfere with the action of testosterone, which is critical to reproduction. These results are significant and very worrying.

What does this mean? Potentially the effects could be severe, for example,  in the womb a lack of testosterone may be feminising unborn boys, raising their risk of reproductive defects at birth as well as a tendency towards low sperm counts & testicular cancer later in life.

This situation has arisen because, although the pesticide industry follow the law for pesticides the omission in the law means that presently the the law does NOT require pesticides to be tested for their effects on hormones. This seems rather short sighted in the light of these results

The ‘Environmental Health Perspective’ journal say many of these hormone disrupters are fungicides sprayed on strawberries, lettuce, grapes and other fruit and vegetables. Their full effect as hormone disrupters is still being established.  My take on all this is so obvious. Boys – eat organic fruit and vegetables which will not ever have been sprayed with these pesticides, not one of the 37 will have been near your food. Surely the small price difference is a small price to pay for such consequences?

More info and research on pesticides

Buy Organic fruit and vegetables


Tell your fella – grow a moustache for Movember!

What better way to talk about men’s health?

Movember (mo is short for moustache) is the increasingly popular event of the year where lots of men abandon their razors to raise awareness of prostate cancer.

Lesley supports Movember
Lesley supports Movember

You can help change the face of men’s health by supporting men who take up the challenge to  grow a moustache for 30 days. It’s a bit like wearing a ribbon.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. In the UK, 36,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year. So become a Mo Bro or Mo Sista and donate to change the future of men’s health.

There’ll be a big night at the end of November when everyone goes out to show off their new Mo!

Cliff Richard’s secret

‘Cliff Richard is 70 next month…’

'Congratulations' Cliff Photo by MandyHallMedia
'Congratulations' Cliff Photo by MandyHallMedia

The office is unusually silent at this announcement… There’s even a slight embarrassed reaction. Could it be that women still go weak at the knees over his strong jaw, captivating eyes and boyish looks?

Apparantly he keeps himself slim by taking lecithin, a vital substance which helps your body reduce its fat content. He also follows a blood-type diet, exercises regularly, drinks wine and takes a daily multi-vitamin.

I look at those photos and can only hope I’ll be half the looker he is when I’m his age. I’ve got a bit of catching up to do!

Men’s Maintenance

Compared to as little as ten years ago, the amount of information that is out there for men to keep tabs on their health is much better. Research has shown that men find it harder to talk to their friends, family, and even their doctor about their health problems, especially in the nether regions. We take a look at common health problems and what you could consider with a health practitioner…

Do you…

(all ages)

  • Have heart trouble, diabetes or hyperthyroidism?
  • Drink excessively, work excessively, worry excessively?
  • Find it hard to get close to people sexually?
  • Find it hard to maintain an erection?

…then see below

Data from 1998 shows that only one man in three with this condition seeks help within the NHS, but there really is no reason to shy away from this problem. There is often more than one causal factor, so it’s important to talk to identify key issues.

Dilation of blood vessels is vital for healthy erectile response, and this is why herbs which increase circulation, such as ginkgo, are popular. Because each case of erectile dysfunction is so different, see a herbalist to assess the right intake for you.

Products which help with relaxation are vital. Try calming and relaxing essential oils such as frankincense, or patchouli. Make sure you rest for at least half an hour each day.

For emotional issues, why not speak with a homeopath or a practitioner using flower remedies. They might sound a bit girly, but are designed to help with emotional and physical problems.

Do you…

(in older age)

  • Feel the need to urinate more often?
  • Find that the force is less when you urinate?
  • Get frequent urinary infections?

…then see below

Prostate problems are most commonly found in men over the age of 50.

Half of all 50 year old men have Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (enlargement).

See a nutritional therapist to discuss taking essential fatty acids (one tablespoon of linseedoil per day) alongside vitamin E supplementation. Amino acids could also be recommended, especially glycine, alanine and glutamine acid, which may reduce swelling of the prostate gland.

Consider saw palmetto – well known to decrease urinary flow (dribbling). It would be sensible to talk to a healthcare practitioner about this, to check contraindications with medication, and to get the right intake for you.

Some men take pumpkin seeds, as they are a rich source of zinc. These are helpful, but, in addition, consider taking 15mg zinc daily as a supplement. A practitioner might recommend more – so do check first.

Do you…

(all ages)

  • Drink excessive alcohol or smoke?
  • Sit all day?
  • Have a diet rich in refined junk food?

…then see below

All these mean that you could be compromising your sperm quality.

Keep cool. High temperatures can decrease sperm count.

Take Vitamin C 1000mg daily if you smoke. Vitamin C reduces sperm ‘agglutination’ (sticking together), which reduces sperm motility. This was found in research to be especially applicable to men who smoke.

Consider taking the amino acid L-arginine, as research shows that taking it for several months can increase sperm count and quality.

Ask a herbalist whether it is suitable for you to take Korean ginseng. It is widely taken to encourage fertility, via its ability to increase sperm count and motility.

Note: Please be diligent and check with your GP to discuss a treatment plan before taking any supplements or remedies.

Natural Lifestyle © Natural Lifestyle in connection with Natural Health Week

Men’s Health

Are you a man? Do you care about one? Do you know what health problems they have, or could have, or how to tackle them?… Natural Lifestyle finds out.

What all men need to know…

From an early age, men need to start taking good care of themselves. Research studies have highlighted stark differences in men and women’s health, and it makes a surprising read. Men are slightly more likely to smoke than women, men are more likely than women to be overweight, men are about three times more likely to kill themselves than women, men are more likely than women to drink alcohol excessively and men are more likely to use illegal drugs. But why?

Is it that men are still brought up to believe that they must be strong and tough, and behave as if they are indestructible? What’s more, men don’t need to see a doctor to get contraception, have smears, see a midwife or have mammograms. And even when they do want to see a doctor, most GP’s surgeries only open at times when men are likely to be at work. Are we surprised, then, that many men turn to natural health products to manage health conditions?

Whilst this should be no substitute for proper medical care, there are some useful remedies and recommendations that could help.

Looking after your heart…

If you’ve got a family history of heart trouble, it makes sense to take good care of your own. More exercise, a healthy diet and stopping smoking are essential for heart health. Nutritional supplements based on antioxidant nutrients such as vitamins A, C, E, selenium, magnesium and sometimes plant extracts such as quercetin or pycnogenol, which guard against free radical build-up (a precursor to development of atherosclerotic plaques) should be considered. If you have high blood pressure, don’t forget low sodium products as re placers for table salt, and advise men to jazz up their diets with a few spices just to keep food interesting. Other formulations that might be recommended to you by a healthcare practitioner include:

  • A supplement containing vitamin B12, B6 and folic acid will reduce heart disease risk (by keeping levels to homocysteine in the blood low).
  • Vitamin E (at least 400iu daily) should be taken to reduce risk of heart attack in those with established heart trouble.
  • Olive oil capsules were launched onto the market about four years ago and help displace high intakes of saturated fats in the blood, as well as decreasing “bad” LDL cholesterol, and increasing “good” HDL cholesterol. Other options for cholesterol balance include: red yeast rice, beta sitosterol, octosanol, wild yam and artichoke.
  • Fish oils at around SOOOmg daily (in split intakes of 1000mg) can also be chosen and linseeds also have a good ratio of omega 3 oils, so should be eaten in the diet, as should soya products, which provide isoflavones which are heart protective.

Never forget your nethers!

When it comes to prostate and sexual health, it really is important that men realise that modern lifestyles and diet have been taking their toll. Lack of exercise (which promotes healthy circulation, a factor in reproductive health) and poor diet has led to what the papers called the “great sperm disaster”. Sperm counts are getting lower, and the emphasis should shift from formulations which promise men they’ll reach new heights in the bedroom, to an overall health and diet plan including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, organic foods, plenty of nuts, pulses and the famous pumpkin seeds which are rich in minerals especially zinc for healthy sperm formation and prostate health).

Other items of interest

Take a look at what manufacturers have to offer:

  • Some formulations are broad spectrum, including all major vitamins and minerals for general health, with enhanced levels of zinc, vitamin E, possibly B vitamins for energy, antioxidant nutrients and amino acids such as arginine and glycine.(These nutrients are often recommended in higher amounts for infertility).
  • Look for products that may be specific to reproductive health, including herbs such as Africanum pygeum (frequency of urination and inflammation), ginger or ginkgo biloba (circulation), Korean ginseng (sexual performance – especially erectile dysfuntion).
  • Many products are marketed for prostate health in later life for urinary tract infections or Benign Prostatic Hyerplasia (think of Saw Palmetto, which can be used for male urinary discomfort).
  • Soya supplements may be specifically marketed for helping to maintain healthy prostate, as research shows a clear link between intake of isoflavones and prostate cancer risk. These formulations are often based on Red Clover.

Anxiety, stress and depression

At any one time in the UK, 45% of those being treated for anxiety are men, and 40% of those for depression.

Natural therapies can work wonders for stress-related conditions, taking a holistic approach to stress, anxiety and depression, including aromatherapy, acupuncture, t’ai chi, reflexology and are sure to recognise how popular medical herbalism has been for these conditions (think of the role of St John’s Wort, Kava Kava and ginseng to name just three). Nutritional programmes where caffeine is cut out (recommend caffeine free drinks), plenty of slow-release carbohydrates (recommend beans and pulses) and an all-round healthier diet (plenty of organic produce, fruit and vegetables) will help. There are many “hectic lifestyle”, “busy people’s” formulations – which are essentially designed for stress (though not allowed to say it) that you can suggest and will often include increased levels of B vitamins and antioxidants. As well as tackling the stress itself, manage a poor diet, which is often a knock-on effect from lack of interest in, or time to prepare good meals. Flower remedies may be used for emotional/mental aspects of stress, anxiety and depression and Australian Bush Flower Essences can be recommended for people who are always over-committed and who need to mate time for themselves and their relaxation.

Natural Lifestyle © Natural Lifestyle