Monthly Archives: March 2009

SPECIAL EXCLUSION DIETS: AVOIDING YEAST

To avoid yeast, you have to stop eating the following foods:

Bread Vitamins based on yeast

Breaded food (e.g. fish, ) Oxo cubes chicken legs

Breadcrumbs Bovril Stock cubes

Yeast bakery (e.g. crumpets, Vinegar

muffins, doughnuts, croissants) Pickles

Alcohol of all kinds Sauerkraut

Ginger ale, ginger beer

Yeast spreads (e.g. Marmite)

Brewers’ yeast

Yeast is often contained as an ingredient in all kinds of processed foods, biscuits and baked goods. Read labels and avoid any foods containing the following.

Hydrolysed protein Hydrolysed vegetable protein Leavening

If you are highly sensitive to yeast, it may also benefit you to leave out other mould- and fungi-containing foods (including cheese, mushrooms and malts).

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CHALLENGE TESTS OR ALLERGIES

Challenge or provocation tests are tests in which the individual is exposed in various ways to a potential allergen and any reactions are recorded.

Nasal and bronchial challenge tests are used most commonly to test inhaled allergens such as pollens or house dust mites. In the nasal challenge test, a tiny amount of a suspected allergen is applied to the lining of the nose and reactions are recorded. The results are measured by counting sneezes in the first 15 minutes, measuring nasal discharge and by examining the inside of the nose. Instruments measuring nasal airflow can also be used.

In the bronchial challenge test, more sophisticated techniques are used, involving inhaling measured quantities of suspect substances, and then recording reactions and measuring lung function. There is a risk of adverse reaction and these tests are usually done in hospital as an in-patient, in case adverse or delayed reactions occur. Tests of this kind are time-consuming and can be risky.

Oral challenge tests are used to identify food allergy or food intolerance. There are a number of ways to undertake these; and unless you are seriously ill, or have severe multiple allergies, you will be able to do them at home yourself in the form of an elimination diet under medical guidance.

The main principle of an elimination diet is to go on a low-allergen diet, or to fast for some time, and then reintroduce and eat suspect or problem foods, monitoring your symptoms.

Oral challenge tests can be organised on a double-blind basis, so that the food eaten is disguised and neither the person testing the food, nor the doctor or nurse supervising the test, knows what food is being tested. This is expensive and not always easy to arrange – you can disguise lentils easily, but not carrots or beetroot, for instance – so it is not commonly used.

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ALLERGY TO CLOTHING: IF YOU ARE SENSITIVE TO BLEACHED FABRIC OR TO OTHER CHEMICALS

If You Are Sensitive to Bleached Fabric

Try wearing unbleached cotton and linen clothes if you are sensitive to bleached fabric. Sources of these are given below. Unbleached cotton fabric is more flocky than ordinary cotton and can upset you if you are very sensitive to cotton.

If You Are Sensitive to Other Chemicals

If you are generally chemically sensitive, it is better to avoid chemical treatments, such as fire retardants, moth repellents and germicides, as far as possible. Cotton winceyette is often treated and is best avoided.

Dyes rarely cause allergy or sensitivity but a group known to cause problems are mostly chemicals known as the Disperse azo dyes. These are rarely used on cotton, viscose, rayon or wool, but commonly on synthetics. Colour is unfortunately no guide to the chemicals in question. Dyes in nylon stockings and tights are known to cause reactions. You can get dye-free nylons and wearing these may help you to work out if dyes rather than fibres are causing your symptoms. Avoid overprinted fabrics, or T-shirts with placement prints if you are very sensitive. The dyes or fabric inks used in these can be troublesome.

Some mordants are known to sensitise. These are metallic salts used to fasten a dye to a fabric. Chromates (salts of chromium) are known to produce reactions. They are a common cause of occupational dermatitis, having wide industrial uses. If you know you react to chromates, these may be behind unexplained reactions to clothing.

Workwear, such as overalls or uniforms, is often treated with fire retardants, germicides or other protective chemicals. These may be the source of problems.

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ALLERGIC REACTION TO BEDDING: HOW TO INVESTIGATE YOUR BEDDING

If you really want to be sure of what you are doing with your bedding, and to avoid expensive mistakes, there is no alternative to a systematic approach. Diagram 10 is a step-by-step flow chart, guiding you through the questions you need to ask at each stage, and what your choices are.

The three crucial questions you will need to answer to find your cheapest and easiest options are:

• Am I allergic to house dust mites?

• Am I sensitive to chemicals?

• Am I allergic to cotton?

A Shortcut

If you are daunted by such a systematic approach, a shortcut is to go straight to question three and to test pure cotton, either by doing the Pillow Test, or by using a few pure cotton items for a while.

Why pure cotton?

Pure cotton is not totally safe from allergy, nor is it an automatic choice for avoiding allergies, but it is often the best choice for a number of reasons. Pure cotton bedding is for most people the easiest and cheapest alternative if they are chemically sensitive. It is a good option for avoiding house dust mites because cotton blankets can be washed at high temperatures. It is cheaper and more practical than wool, linen or silk. It is Jess likely to cause allergy than wool or feathers. Allergy to cotton is known, but is not common. Test it out before you make any major move and if you react to it, use alternatives.

If Life Gets Complicated

If you follow through the chart and find that you have multiple sensitivities and react to many things, you will have to find a way of choosing between materials that upset you, without spending a fortune trying expensive things. Read on from here on how to cope with multiple allergies and where to find unusual products.

Be careful to check the material of covers of pillows and duvets if you are buying new ones.

You can buy the fillings for duvets and refill an old one. This can be cheaper as a means of replacing old dust mite-full duvets, or of using a different material. Limericks sell these fillings.

If you can only use pure cotton bedding, a sleeping bag liner in pure cotton can be useful to take with you if you go away on holiday, on visits or for work. The Healthy House sell these.

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ALLERGY TO PLANTS AND TREES: WOOD AND GRASS

You can be sensitive to touching, coming into contact with, plants and trees, or to touching or inhaling their products. This is caused predominantly by natural chemicals given off as vapour, or exuded by the plants and trees. The symptoms can be either those of allergy or of chemical sensitivity.

This section deals with sensitivity to wood and grass; to fragrances, oils, resins and terpenes from plants and trees; and on how to avoid problems.

Wood

Sensitivity to wood itself is actually quite rare. It is known for people to be allergic or sensitive to resinous woods – such as pine, cedar, iroko – which give off traces of volatile fumes from the wood. If these types of wood are sealed with varnish or paint, however, the fumes do not gas out, and the wood should not give any problem. If you appear to react to sealed wood surfaces, the cause is much more likely to be the paint or varnish used than the wood itself.

Problems with resinous woods can arise with furniture of pine or cedar, in which sometimes the inside surfaces (such as drawers or cupboards) are not sealed. They can arise from floorboards which are not sealed, but usually only when these are new and the fumes are still gassing out. Wooden pencils or crayons are sometimes made of cedar wood; the wood in their tips, being unsealed, can be aromatic and sometimes cause trouble. If you work extensively with wood, you can become allergic or sensitive to wood dusts – of wood of any kind, not just resinous woods. Sawn wood also harbours moulds and lichens, and these can cause allergy. These are dispersed when wood is cut or handled (say during construction or repair work), but will disappear as the wood dries out.

If you become sensitive to turpentine, the natural resin in pine wood, you may cross-react to other chemicals and plants that are chemically related to it.

Grass

If you appear to be sensitive to grass, but your reactions do not correspond to situations or times when grass pollens are high (for full information, >POLLENS), then the cause may be grass sap or terpenes – the natural chemicals in grass that rise when the grass is growing. Some people develop problems on touching grass; others are sensitive to inhaling the vapours.

Grass sap starts to rise before pollen is produced and if you are extremely sensitive, it will bother you when you are close to grass from April, or even March, when grass starts growing, and also into the autumn until grass stops growing. Grass sap is also given off strongly into the air as grass is mown and just after. Some rush mats, baskets made of grass, and bales of hay, give off traces of grass terpenes for a while.

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STAYING POTENT:

SIX GUIDELINES FOR FUTURE SEXUAL SUCCESS

There’s no reason why most men can’t enjoy potency well into old age. Your chances of enjoying intercourse in your later years are determined largely by your genetic heritage, your daily habits and your emotional well-being. While there’s nothing you can do about your gene pool, you do have a lot of control over your lifestyle. You can live in a way that puts the odds for maintaining potency in your favor, or you can set yourself up for problems. The choice is yours.

If you want to prolong your potency, try to follow these essential guidelines:

• Eat a low-cholesterol, low-fat, high-fiber diet.

• Maintain your proper weight.

• Keep your blood pressure normal.

• Exercise regularly—at least three times a week,

• Don’t smoke, chew or sniff tobacco.

• If you drink alcohol, drink moderately.

Let’s take a closer look at these suggestions.

The Potent Lifestyle

The link between lifestyle habits and loss of potency is supported by the work of some French physicians who studied 440 men with erection problems. The doctors found that men with erection problems are likely to have one or more of the following: diabetes, high cholesterol levels, high fat levels and high blood pressure. Many also smoke. In fact, the doctors found that every man they studied who had two or more of these major risk factors also had low blood pressure in his penis, which indicates poor blood flow, one cause of erection problems.

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PENILE SHORTS: AN UNEXPECTED BONUS

Sometimes the shots give an added bonus. After three or four injections in the doctor’s office, some men find that their erections actually return to normal and they don’t need the shots anymore. Others still need the shots, but not on such a regular basis. Right now, researchers don’t understand why some men are fortunate enough to be affected this way. One study found that men with blood-flow and psychologically caused problems were the most likely to get erections on their own after a few shots, while those with nerve damage were most likely to need a shot each time they had sex.

Sidney, 62 years old, is a good example of a patient for whom the shots worked well. He had been married for almost 30 years, and first noticed problems with his erections 5 years before he visited a clinic. He was distraught that he was now completely unable to get any erection. Sidney had read a lot about the new advances in treatment for erection problems, and he announced his decision before he even sat down: He wanted a penile implant.

It wasn’t clear just what was causing Sidney’s problem, and the doctor decided that a penile shot could give important diagnostic information. Sidney responded to his first injection with a very poor erection, and he was clearly disappointed. Other tests showed that Sidney had a lower-than-normal flow of blood to his penis, a condition probably caused by important arteries being partially blocked. Sidney’s hormone levels were fine, and he didn’t suffer from any chronic diseases which could cause such a potency problem.

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ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION: ATTITUDE COUNTS

Men’s Health-Erectile DysfunctionKnowledge alone isn’t enough. The attitude of your doctor is critical to your sexual success. Some people, doctors included, can talk about anything—except sex and death. But a doctor who’s embarrassed discussing sexuality won’t do you much good, no matter how much he knows about the subject. Your doctor should be at ease when talking about potency.

And the reverse is true. A doctor who’s easygoing, intent, respectful, talkative and kind but doesn’t know much about what does and doesn’t make a man potent won’t be of much use to you. Because the erection process is complicated, and currently the subject of much exciting research, ifs essential that you find an expert who treats potency problems frequently and keeps up with the latest findings. Many physicians have received little or no formal training in this area, and the information they do have may be out-of-date. For example, when a patient told one young physician about the usefulness of penile shots, the doctor initially thought it was a joke. But there are physicians, psychologists, sex therapists and other professionals who are well trained and equipped to help you.

We recommend that you start with a urologist who specializes in treating impotence. Or, if you meet all the criteria for psychologically caused impotence we gave in chapter 6, you may want to start with a trained, qualified sextherapist. But even if you suspect your problem may be psychologically caused, we recommend that you have an urologist do a thorough physical evaluation. Many of the physical causes of erection difficulties are subtle and easy to miss.

The only way to find a good urologist who specializes in potency is to ask around. Here are some places to start:

• Ask your family doctor for a referral.

• Call the urology department of the nearest university medical school and ask them for advice.

• Contact your local medical society for a list of doctors who treat potency problems.

• Contact support groups such as Impotents Anonymous.

Once you find a doctor who might be good, if s time to ask some serious questions. Don’t be afraid to quiz your doctor. Remember, you deserve the best. If a doctor “doesn’t have the time to be bothered” with your questions, you should consider looking for someone else.

Here are some questions to ask:

• What training have you received specifically related to erection problems?

• How-do you keep current on the subject? For example, do you attend continuing education courses on impotence, do research into the problem or routinely review medical journals for the latest findings?

• How much of your practice is devoted to treating problems like mine?

• Do you regularly consult other experts?

You should be able to tell from the answers how experienced the doctor is in treating erection problems.

Another important tip is to steer clear of anyone who’s a proponent of just one particular treatment for all potency problems. Unless he’s already seen a complete physical workup of you and thoroughly understands how the problem is affecting you, the doctor should not assume on your first visit that he knows the solution to your problem.

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WHY MEN CAN’T TALK ABOUT POTENCY

It may seem far fetched that a couple could go for years without discussing so vital a matter as a major change in finances. But many couples react in just this way when it comes to vital sexual matters. Erection problems may be particularly difficult to talk about, because in our culture, many men equate erectile ability with being a man. Even a man who is basically secure may find himself questioning his professional and personal competence when he faces an erection problem. He may suffer reduced confidence, lack of self-esteem and depression.

The importance of erections to many men’s self-image is clear when we look at the comments of some men who used to have erection problems, but are now potent. For some, the significance of erectile ability goes far beyond sex.

One elderly man says that even though intercourse, because of ill health, is no longer a priority with him and his wife, he feels that restoration of potency was important. “It relieved some stress on my mind,” he explains. “The idea of being able to perform helps me a lot.”

Another man attributes his newly returned ability to get erections to a dramatic change in his whole attitude: “Now I feel that I can continue to function as a man. I fly an airplane and travel. I feel very special. I now move about in my social circles with confidence and pride. I am able to cope with life without embarrassment or doubts, and I enjoy every day as it occurs.”

Breaking the Ice

You and your partner can talk about erection problems, even if the subject has been completely off limits up until now. In fact, you must talk. Here are some tips to make your first discussion a little easier:

• Pick a time when you are both relaxed.

• Make sure you have plenty of privacy.

• Start by telling your partner how much you value your relationship.

You may want to bring up the questions below. The goal is to use this time to listen to your partner. Don’t try to change the way she feels, just try to understand. Questions to consider:

• Does the potency problem change the way you feel about me?

• What can I do to help the situation—and you?

• How has my behavior changed since the problem started?

• How does this change make you feel?

• What should we do about the problem?

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THE VIRILITY SOLUTION: WHAT MY PATIENTS HAD TO SAY

During the drug intervention trials, I interviewed a number of men and women, not only to gauge the physical effectiveness of the medication, but to get an idea of the psychological impact on them both.

The most immediate effect was on the men’s renewed perception of themselves as fully functioning sexual beings. Story after story bore this out. One often-voiced comment was that the ED medication allowed men to bring their own personal style to their sexual encounters. With their confidence restored, they could relax and, sure that their erections wouldn’t fail them, shift part of their focus to the pleasure of their partners.

One forty-one-year-old man who had injured himself in the gym and was unable to have sex for ten months told rne, “I feel liberated. That’s the only word for it. And because I was ‘damaged’ while exercising, I haven’t been back to work out. I used to be so proud of how I looked; but once I was hurt I didn’t care anymore. Now I feel whole again and I’m no longer fearful of the machines. I’m taking care of myself once more and I’m just so relieved that my lover didn’t lose interest in me. Because of that, and the fact that I can perform again, I feel that he and 1 have something even better.”

This man’s story had a happy ending because of a supportive

partner. Sadly, that is not always the case. For many men whose erections have been lost, especially for a long period of time, suddenly being able to achieve intercourse may not be the solution to a disintegrating relationship. “It’s not just a matter of having an erection and saying, ‘Let’s go for it, honey,’” says Robert Broad, a New York psychologist who treats many patients with sexual dysfunction issues. “First and foremost, the patient must honestly assess the general health of his sexual relationship and determine whether he and his partner are in sync and ready to work together toward the same common goals.

“Oftentimes, when the male is restored, new pressures are exerted on the relationship. Making the assumption that both partners are interested in intercourse is often a false one,” says Dr. Broad. “Many men are surprised to find that their partners are not happy to resume intercourse on a regular basis. What I often hear from female patients whose husbands have been successfully treated for ED is, ‘Why do I have to have sex all of the time now? I was happy the way it was.’

“There are also some women who have never viewed themselves as sexual—and prefer to stay that way. Many women are readily able to accept a partner’s ED because it is more in keeping with their own sexual appetite. Some are not sympathetic to their husband’s frustration at the loss of his ability—and they are not at all excited at its restoration.

“I find that the best interpersonal relationships are built upon constant communication between partners,” Dr. Broad states. “Sex is not just about being good in bed or having a hard erection; rather it has to do with two people caring, caressing, and accommodating changes in the area of physical abilities. It also has to do with accepting, rejoicing in, and celebrating the all-important gender differences, recognizing, too, the uniquely different sensibilities that men and women bring to lovemaking.”

People who have suffered with ED often lose sight of this, solely and unfairly equating ED with a loss of manhood. When this viewpoint is stuck in place, it is the erection—not the relationship—that becomes more important than anything else. In some cases it can irrevocably lead to an inability to trust any sexual partner, with the idea of sustaining a relationship a distant dream.

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