Exercise For Beginners

You’ve decided to start exercising. That’s great. Cheers to your first step to better and healthier body and mind

Exercise can help you lose weight, trim your body, prevent and even cure some diseases.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to follow a strict, time-consuming regimen the gym. There are many different types and levels of exercise that have great benefits, if you know how.

Remember that any physical activity is going to be of great benefit to your health.

Your exercise options are endless, including walking,dancing, jogging, running, biking — even doing the household chores. The important thing is to enjoy sports so that it would become a habit, so that you can reap its benefits.

And how much exercise should you do? For heart health at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, such as walking, at least 5 days a week.

But even if you’re getting less than that, you’re still going to see benefits. Even 5 or 10 minutes of moving around is good for your health.

The first step to any workout routine is to evaluate how fit you are. At this phase It’s wise to consult an internist and get a blood test for iron and perhaps other evlautions as advised by your doctor.

If you have any health risks, or older than 45 years should get a medical checkup before strating to exercise. But no matter what your health condition is, you can usually work out in some way.

After evaluating your fitness level, you will have to set goals.

Ask yourself: Why do I want to exercise?

For example, do you want to lose weight? Keep your weight? Gain weight? Look slimmer? Correct your posture? Compete in a sport? Treat a health condition?

Set goals. Make sure your goals are SMART

  • Specific – I want to lose 5 Kg
  • Measurable – by running 4 Km a day.
  • Attainable – you can’t lose 5 Kg in a week. You just can’t.
  • Realistic –  think of your budget and available time.
  • Time-related – by end of the year.

Start low and increase your level gradually over the course of days and weeks.

Many beginners make the mistake of starting out too aggressively, only to give up when they end up tired, sore, or injured. And this is wrong. What you really want to do is to develop some new habits that you can stick with on the long run.

All the best!

Alyaa Gad

Depression – 10 Conditions

Suppose that you go to your doctor and complain of fatigue, guilt, worthlessness, irritability, insomnia, decreased appetite, loss of interest in regular life activities, persistent sadness, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide, you would probably leave your doctor’s office with the diagnosis of depression, and a prescription for Zoloft, Prozac, or another anti-dpressant drug.

But is this always the right diagnosis for such symptoms?

The answer is: NO!

Those same symptoms belong to a variety of other conditions that require treatments other than antidepressants and psychotherapy.

They may certainly look and feel like clinical depression to the outsider, but they require a different way of treatment.

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Here are 10 conditions that might show the same symptoms as clinical depression:

  1. Vitamin D deficiency

A good doctor will order a blood test to see if a patient is low on vitamin D before sending him off with a prescription for Prozac because so many of us are lacking adequate amounts of this critical vitamin.

Studies are increasingly showing that most people are Vitamin-D deficient, and that there’s a close association between vitamin D levels and depression symptoms.

The best source of vitamin D is early morning sun. If you have no high risk for developing skin cancer, do expose large areas of your skin without applying sunscreen for around 15 minutes.

And if you can’t be in the sun, supplements are available at the local drugstores.

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  1. Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is also easily mistaken for clinical depression. You feel tired and exhausted, worthless, irritable, and incapable of making a decision. Getting through each day without naps is a major accomplishment.

Hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid, is one of the most undiagnosed and misdiagnosed health problems in the world.

A note to my medical colleagues, TSH testing is not enough to diagnose thyroid malfunction.

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  1. Low blood sugar

People who experience fluctuations in blood sugar  blood sugar levels on a daily basis are usually insulin-resistant, a precursor to Type 2 diabetes.

Insulin resistance has been recently linked with depression. But the good news is that simple diet modifications — like eating low-carb, high-protein foods every few hours — will help alleviate symptoms.

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  1. Dehydration.

Our thirst sensation doesn’t really appear until we are 1 or 2 percent dehydrated. By then dehydration is already setting in and starting to impact how our mind and body perform.

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  1. Food intolerance

Certain foods can trigger inflammation in our bodies, just like toxins from the environment would.

Our bodies react differently during those inflmmatory responses. So, while some people sneeze or break out in hives, others get sad and anxious.

Keep a food journal and try to figure out whether you feel bad after eating certain foods, especially red meat and dairy, and eliminate them from your diet to rgain your healthy mood.

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  1. Caffeine withdrawal.

That anxiety and depression you feel hours  after having coffee is probably because your body is going through withdrawal, and for those who are chemically sensitive to all amphetamine-like substances that raise dopamine levels, that withdrawal translates to tears, shaking, and panic attacks.

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  1. Some medications.

If you think a drug you’re taking might be causing your depression, you may be right. Certain medications prescribed for various medical conditions do cause such feelings as sadness, despair, and discouragement. And those are feelings that are often associated with depression.

Medications that cause depression appear to alter brain chemicals in some way. And even though the drugs may be necessary to treat the condition, the side effect is hardly acceptable. As an example, Accutane, which is prescribed for the treatment of acne, has been found to also sometimes cause depression. So have oral contraceptives, high blood pressure drugs, and even statins that treat high cholesterol.

If you think that your medication is causing your to get depressed, talk to your doctor about changing it.

  • Accutane
  • Alcohol
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Beta-adrenergic blockers
  • Calcium-channel blockers
  • Interferon alfa
  • Norplan
  • Opioids
  • Statins
  • Varenicline
  • Zovirax

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  1. Iron deficiency.

If you have any type of iron deficiency, one psychological symptom could be signs of depression. While an iron deficiency may not be the sole cause of depression, it can cause symptoms similar to depression such as a lack of appetite, irritability, extreme fatigue, headaches and mood swings.

Also, anxiety is a psychological issue that can stem from having low iron levels. If you have low iron levels, it could trigger panic symptoms, leading to a panic attack. Panic attack symptoms include feelings of dread, fear of dying, chest tightness, headache, fear of fainting, choking symptoms, muscle weakness, insomnia and visual disturbances.

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  1. Lack of sleep.

Normal sleep is a restorative state. When sleep is disrupted or inadequate, it can lead to increased tension, vigilance, and irritability.

Physical or emotional trauma and metabolic or other medical problems can trigger sleep disturbances. Poor sleep can lead to fatigue. With fatigue, you exercise less and that leads to a decline in your fitness level. Eventually, you find yourself in a vicious cycle of inactivity and disturbed sleep, which causes both physical and mood-related symptoms.

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  1. Heavy Metal Poisoning

Heavy metal toxicity can disturb your brain chemistry causing depression and anxiety.

Heavy metal toxicity can have a wide range of negative effects. Mercury, can cause depression and add to anxiety; mercury and cadmium (main source: smoking) can significantly compromise your immune system. Amalgam fillings still present a significant risk of mercury poisoning, mercury toxicity can also cause allergies

Lead poisoning particularly contributes to anxiety, lead also dulls your intelligence.

Lead, cadmium (from smoking) and arsenic disturb dopamine. This neurotransmitter gives the brain energy, motivation and the capacity for pleasure, when it becomes deficient you can get a low energy demotivated depression.

Aluminium

Aluminium pots and pans slowly dissolve metal into the food. Use either high quality stainless steel or glass and earthenware.

To reverse this build-up and actively eliminate this type of toxin requires taking supplements over several weeks.

I wish you the best of health!

Alyaa Gad

Inducing Labor Naturally

Only around 5% of babies are born on their expected delivery date and about half of them in the 2 weeks after the EDD.

If you’ve reached or passed your expected delivery date (40 weeks of pregnancy), natural methods of induction are possible to stimulate labour or to ripen the cervix, especially when this is done to avoid undergoing a caesarean section.

Every development day your baby spends in your womb is important, particularly for their lung development, but after the 42-weeks mark, it becomes dangerous for the baby to stay inside the womb, and labor has to be induced.

But please be warned that: Inducing labor before 39 weeks increases the risk of complications of prematurity including difficulties with respiration, infection, feeding, jaundice, neonatal intensive care unit admissions, and perinatal death.

Important note prior to trying any labor induction method is to get a medical checkup and to have an approval from your doctor, especially if your pregnancy is high-risk.

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So here are some methods for natural induction of labour

1. Sex

Sex is commonly suggested for natural induction due to semen containing prostaglandins – which help to ripen the cervix.  But just make sure that ejaculation happens inside the vagina and that the membranes are intact (in other words, your water didn’t break).

Also, the female orgasm can be effective.

Orgasm induces the release of oxytocin– the labour hormone.  So, feel free to pleasure yourself.

2. Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been used successfully to induce labor in overdue pregnancy.

Induction using acupuncture generally works within 6-48 hours of having your treatment. You might end up needing one to three sessions though.

3. Acupressure and Induction Massage

A Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner can show your partner how to apply acupressure or  induction massage to induce labor.

4. Nipple Stimulation

Nipple stimulation produces oxytocin and can produce some strong effects, so you can try stimulating your nipples (including your areola, as a baby would when sucking) with your fingers, massaging one at a time. You can also ask your partner for some help!

Massage the first nipple for 5 minutes, then wait around 15 mins before doing more.

5. Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) زيت زهرة الربيع المسائية

Evening Primrose Oil has similar effect to prostaglandin, which helps to induce labor.

It can be used orally and/or vaginally.

An oral dosage is 2 of 500mg capsules daily.

If you are taking  it vaginally, you can do it by inserting 2 capsules directly to the cervix before bed.

You might like to wear a pad or liner as it can get messy.

6. Castor Oil

Castor oil acts as a stimulant to the bowels, which irritates the uterus and causes contractions.

The side effects from castor oil can include:

  • diarrhea
  • vomiting

Some practitioners do not recommend castor oil because of potential side effects like dehydration (from loose stools and/or vomiting), fetal distress and meconium in the baby.

It is always wise to talk to your midwife or doctor about how to use castor oil before doing so.

You can blend the castor oil with various fruit juices and ice. Though the higher volume of drink, the more you have to drink. Some women prefer just to do shots of castor oil and wash it down with juice or another drink. Some suggest that you use a warmer drink to remove the oily film from your mouth. You can also add it to an omelet with salsa.

Typically mothers spend a lot of time in the bathroom with diarrhea before noticing contractions. Though these contractions do not always progress to full blown labor. This can be seen as a type of cervical ripening agent anyway, which is a good step towards inducing labor soon.

7. Black Cohosh عشبة الكوهوش السوداء

Black Cohosh is a herb used to encourage contractions and facilitate labour. Please note that the wrong dose may cause problems, so always consult your therapist.

8. Raspberry Leaf ورق التوت

You can drink it as a tea. It’s safe and can be taken from the 12th week of pregnancy.

9. Spices: Curry and Cinnammon

Can get the labour started. But be aware of the fact that it can cause diarrhea. Add to a meal of your liking.

10. Dates!

A study has found out that the consumption of 6 dates daily in the last 4 weeks before labour significantly reduced the need for induction and augmentation of labour.

11. Pineapples: eat fresh pineapples.

Tropical fruits like pineapple, mango and papaya contain an enzyme that is said to help soften the cervix, stimulate muscle contractions, and for shortening labor.

Eating large amount of fresh pineapple can also kick start your digestive system, which is also said to be a way to kick start labor.

12. Walking, and belly dancing help, but take some rest the night labour starts.

I wish you the best of health!

Alyaa Gad

Kegel exercise

Kegel Exercise is away to train and improve the muscle tone of your pelvic floor. It was named after Dr. Arnold Kegel, an American gynaecologist, and it’s meant to improve your sexual function as well as the control over your urine and faeces. This applies to men and women.

So, the benefit of Kegel Exercise is mainly to treat some cases of urinary incontinence in women, and also fecal incontinence (very mild cases), and also to treat pelvic prolapse, especially in women who have suffered severe prolapse with the pregnancy. You can train the pelvic muscles to improve the muscle tone. Also to improve your sexual function as a woman who has difficulties reaching orgasm, or after giving birth and you’re noticing that your vagina has become a bit wider than normally. In men we can treat fecal and urinary incontinence (minor cases of it), and also we can help men, by doing it, to improve or laten their ejaculation, so for premature ejaculation; it’s a way to delay the ejaculation.

So this exercise strengthens the pubococcygeus muscle and also the levator ani muscle. Mainly these two muscles are affected by this exercise you’re making.

You can do it without any tools, but women can use balls, like this one for example, and they can introduce it into the vagina and do the exercise.

What we need to know now is how to do it. First you need to find the pelvic floor muscles. Let’s see here. They’re supposedly here in women, in this area, in the lower part of the pelvis, and by men you can see it with the arrow.

What you need to do is learn how to find the muscle, and the first time you find it; it would be easy to do it while you’re urinating. Try mid-stream to stop the urine from flowing. So, stop it mid-stream. So what happens is that when you stop it you’ve actually made the muscle contract. This muscle is what we’re looking for. So what you need to do is contract it as strong and often as possible but not during urination or defecation. Only the first time, when you try to locate it. Don’t make a habit of it cause this might cause problems.

Second thing is to perfect your exercise. So you do it as often as possible, and concentrate that you’re only working on that muscle and not working with other muscles, like abdominal wall or leg muscles or anything. Just that muscle. So try to count and find the muscle and keep contracting it.

The third step is to maintain your focus, so, only that muscle, and to keep repeating. So repeat: Ten seconds the contraction, and then ten seconds relaxed, and then ten seconds contraction… Try to make it as many times as possible, at least three time a day.

When to do this and where? When you’re sitting at your desk or when you’re reading emails, or in the car or when you’re waiting for the bus. You can just do the exercise about anywhere you want.

This method is not recommended for people with urinary tract infections, chronic constipation or prostate problems.

Try to repeat Kegel Exercise as often as possible and you’ll find results within 4-5 months.

Best of luck!

Alyaa Gad

Menopause

So, what is the menopause? Menopause stands for “menstruation stopping”. “Meno” → menstruation, “pause” → pausing.

All women will experience menopause at a certain point of their life, as they get older. It means that your ovaries are actually shrinking, producing less and less estrogen, that’s the female hormone. The ovaries are also losing their main function and that is making eggs for you to have babies with them. The average age of reaching the menopause is about 50, so ‘round the age of 50 you will start experiencing special symptoms that are a sign that you are going into your menopause. These symptoms that happen before the menopause and maybe after it’s complete, we call it perimenopausal symptoms.

Some women would experience menopause earlier, younger than 40, and in this case we call it early menopause. These women might be having a certain disease like ovarian failure or have had cancer and have had radiation therapy or have undergone hysterectomy, and all this can lead you to also going through your menopause.

The menopause itself is a physiological phenomenon but can cause some health problems and some symptoms that might bother you as you go through it.

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What are the symptoms of menopause? How do you know that you are going through the menopause?

The first thing you might notice is that your periods will be different. You might have abnormal vaginal bleeding, which means that your period will be heavier or lighter, or more frequent, or less frequent

You will also notice hot flashes, which are waves of feeling very hot all over your body, and sweaty, and red, and it might be embarrassing sometimes. At night you might notice night sweats, which might disturb your sleeping pattern and give you insomnia.

Sometimes you will also notice vaginal dryness or itchy vagina and you will experience maybe some difficulties having sexual intercourse.

You might also suffer from stress incontinence, which means that as soon as you cough or sneeze you might leek some urine.

You might also experience fatigue, lack of concentration, mood swings and other symptoms, because you’re feeling sad, depressed that you’re getting a bit older.

There’s also a fact that when the estrogen is less you will experience the effect of relatively more testosterone in your body, and that’s the male hormone, which means that you’ll experience some acne, also some hair on your chin or moustache area.

You might also experience some weight gain, especially around the area of your tummy, so, in the abdomen here, or sometimes around the waist. This is a defense mechanism from your body, because the fat is being stored around the area where actually the estrogen can be stored from the ovary. So it’s actually a reserve for your hormones. So, what you need to do there is not panic, just chance your diet habits a bit and do some sports and everything will be fine

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What are the complications of menopause?

What we worry about is more also the complications that might happen with the menopause. These complications are two main things: that you might be having a higher chance of getting blood problems like clods or heart diseases, and you might also have problems with your bones, so you might have osteoporosis, which means that you are more prone to breaking your bones easier. We also heave to deal with that.

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What are the treatment options for menopause?

There are actually no blood tests to diagnose the menopause. We actually find out that the lady is going through her menopause by hearing her history and knowing the symptoms she’s suffering from. The most important thing is to replace or try to correct the levels of the estrogen in your blood.

Medicine is offering options from hormonal replacement therapy, so we give the women estrogen and progesterone, but the problem is that it has side effects and some women are not allowed to take it – those with history of cancer or health problems that might be affected by estrogen, if you take extra of it or synthetic estrogen.

There is a new line of treatment called bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, which is using estrogens that are actually from natural sources, and they’re doing very well in this line and hopefully we would be able to treat a lot of women with them.

There’s also the oral contraceptive pills, the birth control pills. Some women use them, because they have hormones in them, and are happy with the results.

There’s also vaginal creams containing estrogen that you can use to treat vaginal dryness or itchiness.

And some women who are suffering from psychological problems can use antidepressants, and all under the medical supervision of your doctor.

You might be able to receive collagen injections at your doctor’s office to treat the urinary incontinence.

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What are the alternative therapies for menopause?

There are also alternative home treatments for menopausal symptoms. First of all, we can use plant estrogens, so, female hormones that are available from plants. So, what are those? Any soy products, you can have those in the form of capsules or eating certain things like beans chickpeas and lentils. Those contain soy, isoflavones or fitoestrogens that are very good for you in very minimal levels. They’re not as much as you would get from the doctor’s prescription drugs but they are estrogens, from natural sources. But always consult your doctor, even before using natural products.

Also vitamin E is very good for your over-all wellbeing and your skin condition, so I would suggest that you use vitamin E for your skin, just as lotion but also to administrate in capsules.

I would also suggest using omega 3 capsules. They would be containing also vitamin E added. Also, if you use anything with vegetable oils, they are your friends, so, olive oil and all the other vegetable oils containing very good amounts of vitamin E that is very good for your skin.

There’s also natural things like black cohosh or wild yam. Women use it, but it’s not scientifically proven yet that they are good for their menopausal symptoms. But some women are happy with the results. It comes in capsule forms or in cream forms. You can read the instructions and consult your doctor about them. Some women also are happy with the results of acupuncture, and that’s all alternative treatments, but it’s worth trying.

Changes in your lifestyle are very important. You have to sport more, because sports will bring your hormones into balance and also keep your weight and will make you feel good about yourself, which is very important. There is also the right nutrition. Try to eat healthy stuff like nuts, ginger is very good, and all types of seeds are very good for you.

For your over-all health, especially bone health, you have to concentrate on getting more vitamin D3 that’s the sun vitamin. You can sit in the sun, or use it in capsule form. And it could be a good idea to add calcium, extra calcium, to your diet, either in tablet form or take more dairy products. Some women also use whole food multivitamin capsules if they have a hectic lifestyle, which is also a good idea if they are not able to eat healthy food all the time.

Some women who suffer from urine incontinence say that they are very happy with Kegel exercise.

In Japan women suffer very little from the menopause, and it could be because of their lifestyle; healthy soya products, probably they’re more active than Western women. Also the fact that the Japanese culture values the woman as she gets older, because her role in life is not only bearing children. So I’d like you to think that as we get older we have a different role in life and life is still beautiful and it doesn’t mean that all the stereotypes of beauty have to apply to all of us. We just have to have some peace in our lives. Sport, eat well, and everything will be fine.

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Enjoy life!

Alyaa Gad

Daughters and Puberty

Our children grow so fast. One day they’re babies and next day they’re going through puberty. This video is about preparing your daughter to go through puberty in a peaceful and healthy way.

You have to start early. The first thing you have to do is start at the age of four, telling your daughters about the difference between girls and boys, anatomically speaking. So, how boys look like and how girls look like on the outside and that they are different body wise.

Later on the girl will find out on her own that she is different because she likes to play with dolls perhaps and boys like to play with cars and trains. So she will start to notice the difference between her and boys. In that meantime it’s very important to make her think and feel that she is equal to the boy, in the sense that they’re two equal human beings, she’s not weaker or she’s not less intelligent. You always have to be careful with making your daughter understand that she’s just as good as a boy. In some cultures this is a very big problem because they make their daughters feel that they are weaker and less, and that affects the girls throughout their lives.

You also have to start gradually to tell your daughter about her body as she approaches the puberty, that you tell her that things are going to change in your body. You have to pick the good times to talk to your daughter, so, if she’s not interested or if she’s embarrassed or too shy or she pulls away and she doesn’t want to talk about it, please respect her feelings. So, every time you get the chance to talk to her about a piece of information about her body, pick the right time. For example when you’re together in the car driving, this is a good moment because you’re not looking her in the eyes and so she’s not that embarrassed. And you go and just driving and enjoying the way and talking about maybe embarrassing things.

While cooking you will have to stress with your daughter on the fact that she needs healthy food and encourage her to understand the relation between eating healthy and looking healthy.

Also, if you’re watching movies together, you can explain your opinions about life and morals and love, via commenting on the people or the characters in the film. So, you will be watching a love story and you will explain the good thing about love and the bad things about sexuality or the good things about it. So you can tell her, convey the message to her, via your comments on the characters in the movie.

Puberty has many aspects of development. Not only physical, but also emotional and social. Don’t forget to prepare your child for the emotional and social aspects, as well as the physical, of course.

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THE PHYSICAL ASPECTS

Let’s start with the physical aspects and developments. Puberty is because of the hormones, so the hormones are happening all around your child’s body and she is experiencing a different person who lives inside of her, because of these hormones.

Of course she’s looking at her body and she’s changing. You can give her a book about it and she can read and look at the images of how her body will change. If she gets very confused about it you can also take her to the doctor, a gynaecologist or psychologist, and introduce the aspects of development to her via another person.

It’s also important that if she feels insecure, that you assure her and tell her that girls grow at different paces. So if her schoolmates are different she shouldn’t compare herself to them, because girls are different until the age of, perhaps, eighteen. They have different phases of physical development.

Also, you should encourage her to do sports, because sport will make her more secure about her body and will make her feel much more relaxed with the hormonal changes. Be very practical in that phase, because it’s about time to show the girl practically that she’s a woman.

A good chance at this phase is to buy a book, maybe about anatomy and physiology of the human body. And in this case she will feel more free to know more information on her own.

Around the age of nine it’s a good moment to start to talk about menstruation with your daughter, especially if you have had en early menarche. Menarche is the age at which the girls experience their first menstruation. So if you’ve had an early menarche your daughters’ chance is higher to having an early menarche as well. So you will talk to her about starting menstruation always before it starts, because the experience of the menstruation is sometimes traumatic, very stressful to some girls, and it’s very important that they are physically and mentally ready for it.

Another important experience is the phase of buying her a new bra and new underwear that is fitting for her. So a good thing is to try to measure her size and go together to buy a new bra, it’s a very important experience for a daughter.

And then it’s time to buy pads. I would suggest to always use pads, the cotton ones, or the fabric small towels, because they are healthy and will not have the side effects that tampons can cause. I would not recommend to use tampons. So you can buy her all the things that are important for her menstruation phase, like the pads and the nice water bottle, it’s inside this cute little bear. You can make it yourself if you like.

There’s also the idea of changing in the body odour to your daughter. So it’s important to teach her about personal hygiene, that she should wash everyday and use mild soap. So the soap has to be of a ph that is close to her skin ph. So this soap is ph 5.5, you’ll find it in the pharmacies. That’s better than these aggressive soaps, especially around the genital area.

It’s also important to teach her to be strict with trimming her body hair and brushing her teeth regularly and using deodorant. Some girls would prefer using the roll-on deodorant, some the spray deodorant, but I would prefer to always use natural deodorants. That’s why I’m recommending that you would make your own at home, using for example lemon, baking soda and ginger in a mix. And you can put it in a bottle for your daughter here, like this one.

Your daughter will also wonder about waxing and shaving the bikini area. While it’s good to trim the hair with save scissors like those or to shave it with a shaver, like an electric shaver, the epilation, so, removing the hairs from the root is actually not very healthy because this hair protects her against the mechanical rubbing of the skin against her tight clothes and it also protects her partly against the bacteria. So, having trimmed pubic hair is much better then shaving it or epilating it completely.

It’s also very handy to teach your daughter about the trouble that comes with menstruation. So, you can provide her with painkillers like paracetamol or panadol. I would not suggest her to use aspirin until she’s twenty-five.

Another important aspect of her health development – physically wise – is that she will start to notice skin changes, in the form of acne or maybe other changes like stretch marks and so on. So skin care is very important in this phase. One thing to know is that skin care comes first from inside, so healthy nutrition is a must for young people, as well as everybody, but young people have to understand that healthy food is very important for their appearance as well as the inside. A good way to teach your children to eat healthy food is that you eat healthy food yourself, set a good example, but also explain to them that omega 3 in the form of capsule or gummies, here, will give them very good skin.

At this phase of physical development your daughter will also have problems with her body movement. So she might become a little bit jerky and goofy and will drop things and forget things and so on. So it’s very important to be patient with her and not get angry at mistakes that she might make.

So at this phase it’s important to help her set her priorities and make a to do list, perhaps. And it’s good that she makes it herself, so that realizes that she’s now responsible person.

Now it’s the time to talk about sexuality and how sex happens. At the age of around nine or ten the child fully understands that people have sex. So you can explain to her the importance of sex in reproduction. Use scientific terms and a very serious attitude, and in the meantime a very respectful attitude of the role of sexuality in our lives. You are the source of information, and be sure that if she doesn’t know from you, she will know from other sources. So you’d better tell here the good information that you want her to know

You can give your daughter the values you would like to give her, about virginity, for example, but it’s very important that you don’t scare her of, for example doing sports because she might lose her virginity. The idea is to explain to her that sexual intercourse would affect virginity, but it’s very important, and even more important, to know about sexually transmitted infections. So, she should be aware of the sexually transmitted diseases and the possible ways of getting pregnant, not only be afraid of virginity and losing it.

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THE EMOTIONAL ASPECTS

The emotional aspects of puberty are mainly involving the mood and identity of the child. The girl will have a lot of mood swings because of those hormones, so please put up with her and be a loving and caring parent instead of having an opponing position.

Now the identity of the girl is becoming clear and obvious within the family especially. So her identity forming, at this phase it’s very important that you are focused on this, in a sense of being a positive supporter for her. So what you do is that you are telling her how much you are proud of her and explain to her her role in the family. She’s for example, perhaps, the big sister, the small sister or the middle sister. She is responsible for doing things around the house that are her tasks. So all this identity feelings that she is developing should be your focus as a parent.

Also the fact that she needs emotional and mental supporters all the time. You need to work on that every day.

The decision making process, also. She needs to understand that she can make her own decisions now. And she will start rejecting your authority. That’s okay. Put up with that and support her in it.

The daughter will also start to fall in love and feel emotionally and physically attracted to movie stars or maybe other kids around the block or whatever. So, you have to respect this phase and not make fun of her taste or tell her that it’s not good to be in love with a guy or whatever. So you have to be also positive about her feelings towards the other sex.

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THE SOCIAL ASPECTS

The social aspects of development include the guidelines and the rules that you have to set for your child in order to be able to deal with the society in the best way possible.

You also have to set your rules about mixing with boys and whether you need to talk to her about having sex, and birth control. It’s good to know from her what she’s doing, and of course you should set the limits whether this is acceptable or not.

Remember that peer pressure can cause a lot of situations for her that she would not be able to judge whether it’s right or wrong. So it’s better to know from you whether things are acceptable or not when you are not around. Like when they’re outside the house and going out to party or whatever, she needs to know what’s good and what’s not from you, not from her friends.

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This was a brief discussion of the aspects of development of the child around the puberty time. There is a detailed video about menstruation, if you’d like to look at it, and for more information about personal care during menstruation.

I wish you all the best of health!

Alyaa Gad

Vitamin D

I’d like to explain to you the importance of vitamin D for our body. Vita is life, amin is protein. So a vitamin is a very important for our lives.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means that if you don’t have enough fat in your body or if you don’t eat enough fat vitamin D will have a problem. It will not be able to function so well. Remember that.

It’s a fat-soluble vitamin that is mainly made through exposure to sunlight, so if we sit in the sun we make enough amounts of vitamin D for our bodies. There’re also some other sources for vitamin D in our food, like from fish, cod liver oil, some sorts of milk and butter, especially if they’re fortified. Fortified means added to something else and in this case fortified with vitamin D. So, read always on the packs and see if the food is fortified with good elements like vitamin D. You can also get vitamin D from supplements, especially if you live in a place where there isn’t enough sunlight, you can always rely on supplements.

So, why is vitamin D important for our health? It’s very important for the health of our bones, because if we don’t have it we don’t have enough calcium in our bones. I’ll explain later why. And it’s also important for other systems in our body. Our immune system depends on vitamin D for many processes. SO, if you don’t have enough vitamin D you get often sick, like with viral infections, bacterial infections and also on the long run, we found out, that people deficient in vitamin D can have higher risk for cancer.

Our nervous system is also depending on vitamin D for many vital processes. That’s why people who don’t have enough vitamin D can experience symptoms of depression. Our intestinal functions also need vitamin D and calcium. That’s why people who have problems with vitamin D can suffer from problems with absorption of food, chronic constipation or problems in general with their colon. We’ve also found out that vitamin D plays a role in prevention of multiple sclerosis, diabetes I and II, glucose intolerance and hypertension.

So, let’s see how vitamin D works in our bodies. Imagine that you’re on holiday, you’re sitting in the sun with your chest, back and arms exposed. You have no sunblock on your skin and you’re enjoying a relaxed time. If you’ve been eating omega 3 and omega 6 (fats in your food), that’s very good. It will protect you against sunburns, but it’ll also help your skin make better amount of vitamin D. Now, your skin in making, under the influence of ultraviolet rays, vitamin D, and this will go to your liver, because it’s not so active. In the liver, using the healthy fats, vitamin D will become vitamin D2. But it’s still not an active form. That’s why it goes to the kidneys and healthy kidney can transform it into D3, and that’s the active form of vitamin D. This is the form that can do the job to go pick up the calcium. Now, you’ve been drinking calcium in your milk, or cheese. So, the building blocks of calcium that you eat in your food and drink in your milk goes on vitamin D3 and they get transported into your blood stream, to the organs that need it, and gives them out. These organs are: your bones, your brain, your immune system, your intestines. So many organs need your calcium, and it’s only possible through vitamin D3. So, in order to have healthy levels of vitamin D, or vitamin D3, you need to sit in the sun, have enough omega 3 and omega 6 in your diet have a healthy liver and healthy bile, have healthy kidneys, and when all those organs working together you will be having enough vitamin D3 in your body, otherwise you will have a problem with it.

So, why do we sometimes get to little vitamin D in our bodies, when does that happen? One reason is not having enough sunlight because we are to scared of having skin cancer or because we don’t want to get a sunburn, also because we’re to busy working, so there’s no time to go in the sun. Another reason is that some people have cultural reasons or religious reasons to cover their bodies, and then they don’t expose to enough sunlight. Also some people are too scared of cancer, so they use to much sunblock on their bodies, and then there’s no chance for the ultraviolet rays to get into your skin and make vitamin D. If you eat too little fat in your diet or the wrong fats in your diet, then you will end up having a problem with vitamin D. If you have too much stress in your life you make too much cortisone, and then the cortisone is responsible for blocking the action of vitamin D. If you have dark skin, like me or darker, then you need to sit longer in the sun to get healthy amounts of vitamin D. So, very dark skin people need much longer time in the sun to make enough vitamin D.

If you are breastfeeding you might need extra vitamin D, using supplements, you and your child as well. If you’re suffering from any health problems, especially liver disease and gall bladder problems, if you have chronic kidney disease, parathyroid or thyroid problems, or intestinal problems in general, you could be having problems with your vitamin D. So, talk to your doctor about checking your vitamin D in the blood, if you have any of these diseases.

I wish you all the best!

Alyaa Gad

Recovering from Antibiotics

“How to recover from antibiotics.” – What does that mean? If you’ve been treated with a course of antibiotics for a long or a short time, or if you’ve been using food that has antibiotics in it, without you knowing, or if you’ve been misusing antibiotics in any way, you might start to have health problems. You might suffer from certain complaints that will make your life a little bit more difficult.

Side Effects of Antibiotics

Let me discuss the complaints that you might have from use of antibiotics. The most affected organs would probably be your intestines. That’s because the antibiotics are going to kill the bacterial flora, which is the friendly bacteria in your intestines that is responsible for digestion and making vitamin K, which is important for you. So, you will notice that you’re having trouble in your gut, so, you will start to have bloating, gas, irregular bowel movement, so, you will have constipation, then diarrhea and then bloating again and so on. You might also suffer from heartburn and feeling generally unwell. You might also start to notice bleeding from the gums or from the nose. That’s also related to the lack of vitamin K. You might also suffer from yeast infections, which is a fungal infection that can be anywhere on your body, either on your skin or in your mouth or in the genital area. All that is because your bacteria flora – the friendly bacteria in the gut – has been affected by the antibiotics.

So, what we need to do now is correct the level of bacterial flora in your gut. How do we do that?

First of, you will need to lead a healthy lifestyle. So, you drink a lot of water. Avoid bad foods. Bad foods are rich in sugar, carbohydrates that are unhealthy, like pasta, packed foods, processed foods – these are all unhealthy foods. Instead of that you should eat vegetables, fruits, grains, healthy fats (that’s vegetable oils mainly)

Probiotics and Prebiotics

You can also use probiotics. These are very healthy foods that are fermented, so that helps the growth of the good bacteria in the gut. Probiotics are mainly: yogurt, kefir and yeast. If you are suffering from any problems with kefir or yeast, I would suggest that you take it slowly. So you start with very small amounts, like one spoon a day, and then increase it gradually. If you go to the shop and want to buy probiotics, look for the name lactobacillus on it – that’s the good bacteria for you.

You can also use foods that are called prebiotics. Prebiotics are foods that help the growth of bacteria, because they don’t get absorbed in the body, they stay for a long time in the intestines. Like, leeks (garlic, onions), honey, bananas, these are all very good foods for your bacteria flora.

You can also try fermented fresh vegetables. That means, pickles that are pickled in a healthy way. So, you can try to pickle at home. So, try for example the ginger, to pickle it at home, or maybe cucumbers, also are healthy. But don’t add too much salt. So, pickled vegetables are very good for your gut flora.

If you’re a fan of soups you can try bone broth or gelatin soups. You can buy bones from the butcher, and what’s inside – the broth – you can make soups with it, and that’s very good for your gut flora. You can also add onions to it, or any vegetables of your choice.

It’s very important to know that your gut flora affects the function of your intestines, and healthy intestines affect the whole body. So it’s very important to replace the gut flora that has been affected by your antibiotic abuse.

I wish you all the best!

Alyaa Gad

Cradle Cap

Cradle cap is patches of thick, oily, skilly and flaky skin that you can find on the head, ears and eyebrows of the newborns. It could stay for months and usually disappears on its own. Although cradle cap is not harmful or contagious or painful to the newborn, many mothers are annoyed by its appearance. So they try to remove the flakes to make the baby look cleaner. In this, video I would like to describe what you can do to treat the cradle cap, and what to avoid when you try to remove it.

First of all, there are many assumptions as to what is causing the cradle cap. The first one is that it could be secretions of sebaceous glands to protect the baby’s head in the womb and right after birth. Some assume it could be a fungal infection.

Either way it can be removed using the same method, which is continuously massaging the affected area with natural oils. These affected areas are usually the head, eyebrows or ears. Please remember that the bones at the topside and the back of the head of the baby are not fully closed. These areas are called the fontanels. At these spots your baby’s brain is right under the scalp, so try to avoid heavy pressure and to much rubbing in this area. And do not use any chemicals on the scalp, because they are dangerous to your baby’s brain.

What you should really avoid using on your baby’s skin is any of the following:

  • Baby Oils: They are mineral oils, which are byproducts of the distillation of gasoline.
  • Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
  • Salt
    I’ve also seen that some mothers in online forums are suggesting to use salt, which is actually very dangerous and perhaps can cause bleeding around the baby’s brain.

Natural vegetable oils are the best option to use. And I would suggest that you use either olive oil or coconut oil.

Please keep in mind that the cradle cap will not go away immediately and you will have to be patient and might need to repeat the use of the oils for several times before it totally goes away.

Biological coconut oil has anti-fungal properties, so it might be a bit more expensive in comparison to olive oil, but with the anti-fungal properties it will eliminate the possible fungal infections. During cold days coconut oil will solidify, but you can melt it by putting the amount you wish to use in a small plastic or glass container in warm water for several minutes.

To use, dip a cotton pad into the oil of your choice and gently pat on the affected areas with it. Leave it to work for eight hours or over night. Wash it out with a gentle shampoo in the morning. You can use a clean disinfected comb to gently scrape your baby’s scalp. Never scratch the cradle cap with your nails, as it might lead to dangerous bacterial infections. So, be gentle and patient, do not brush to hard into your baby’s scalp, in order to avoid any infections or injuries

Cradle cap should go away after a while. Be patient and stick to using the natural oils only. No salt, no baby oils and no anti-dandruff shampoos.

I wish you all a healthy life!

Alyaa Gad

Gynaecomastia

Gynecomastia is a problem that could occur at any age, from a newborn baby to a teenager or even an older man. The problem highly affects the self-confidence of many men who might for example stop going swimming because of their negative body image. Gynecomastia however, doesn’t affect the self-confidence only. It has other related issues that I would like to bring your attention to.

Breast enlargement could happen due to a pathological reason, which means that it could be a sign of a serious disease, especially if it appears acutely. In other words, if the patient has had no history with a bigger size of his breast and then it became suddenly enlarged. So always bear in mind that the sudden enlargement of a man’s breast could be a warning sign. And that is why I’d like to bring your attention to this aspect of your health.

In order to better understand Gynecomastia we need to first get to know the anatomy of the mammary gland, which is the gland of the breast. As you can see here on the board, this is a female breast and a male breast. In both cases they have the same components. They do? Yes! They have the same components. The only difference is the size. So let’s see: Both male and female breasts have skin, fat (colored in green here, under the skin), and then milk ducts and milk glands, or mammary glands. This is a side view of the breast and these yellow circles seen here are the rips. The pink is the muscle behind the breast. Here are the milk ducts and the mammary glands – so yes, even males have them too, but they’re atrophied because men don’t need to use them. And of course they can be seen larger in the female body.

In this case we can say that the Gynecomastia appears in one of two ways, either in the fat that is in the breast, or in the mammary (or milk) glands. This is why it’s very important to know the cause of the enlargement of the breast. Is the increase in the breast size due to the fat or is it because of the mammary glands? The only person who could specify the reason is your doctor, via medical checkup.

The first reason, enlargement due to fat deposition, is mostly a result of extra-weight. So when a male is overweight and has a bigger than normal breast size and this increase of the size of the breast is homogenously or evenly distributed, which means that it can be observed in the breast as a whole, we say it’s a breast enlargement due to fat deposits, and we would initially recommend that the patient reduces his weight.

So let’s have a look at this. As you can see here, one breast is enlarged while the other one is only enlarged in the area around the nipple, called the areola. Hence, we suspect that this enlargement is due to a problem in the mammary glands shown here. This is a result of the second reason why the male breast could be enlarged, which is hormones. This appearance means that there is some imbalance in the patient’s hormones, which causes the male hormones to become less effective or the female hormones to become more effective. And this has caused enlargement of the breast. This is why when your doctor first examines you he/she will manually check the breast and then will ask for a blood test to check for any hormonal imbalance. They also may ask for an ultra sound and might need to examine the testicles because they produce the sex hormones that might be of effect on the breast size. After that we need to know if the hormones are coming from a tumor in your body or an organ malfunction, especially the liver or the kidney.

Breast enlargement could also be due to a medication that you’re currently taking, or even something that you’re eating. Some weight loss drugs, anti-depressants, anti-acidity medications, supplements taken by bodybuilders, which could have hormonal content, or drugs like weed or heroin. All of the above can cause hormonal imbalance, and that might lead to breast enlargement.

Unfortunately you could be having these hormones from the food you’re eating. For example some kinds of meat contain hormones. Those hormones were given to the animals for profitability purposes. Chicken or red meat might contain the female hormones and can affect your male functions. That’s why I’d recommend that you pay a lot of attention while buying your food. A safer option is to buy biological products, and if they are too expensive try to minimize the consumption of meats in general. In some places the locally bread animals might be better fed and more natural than those coming from big companies.

After hormonal analysis we would like to make sure that the patient doesn’t have any other health problems in the liver, the kidneys, the testicles or the breast itself, as it might have a tumor. You might also need to recall if you’d ever had, in some point in your life, received a physical trauma on the testicles, because this could affect the function of the testes and therefore the hormones in your body.

So, how is gynecomastia treated?

First of all we need to find out the cause, in the light of a physical examination, the blood test results and perhaps other clinical tests. Then we make sure that the patient reaches a healthy weight by following a diet and a sports program when necessary, so as to reach a lower percentage of body fat. If it has been detected that the breast enlargement in your case is a result of hormonal imbalance due to the gland functions your doctor might prescribe medications. And if the enlargement is cosmetically embarrassing, the patient can opt for surgery and with the modern technology, there is laser surgery for fat removal that obtains very good results. Now, if the size of the glands is the cause of the enlargement, those glands can also be surgically removed. Surgeries to improve the breast appearance must be done by a plastic surgeon or a skilled general surgeon. Don’t be embarrassed to discuss the problem of breast enlargement with your doctor if it’s annoying you or affecting your self-confidence. Because it not only could affect the quality of your life, but also can be a sign of a serious underlying condition. It is very important to seek immediate medical advice if the breast enlargement happens suddenly over the period of days or weeks.

I wish you the best of health!

Alyaa Gad