NAVIGATING THE RIP OF COVID-19 ISOLATION

 

A beep signalled an SMS with the awaited results of my recent PCR test. I was struck immediately with shock, surprise and disbelief. It was positive. Throughout my life, during challenging times, I have always defaulted to pragmatism rather than panic. So, on receiving this news, I took a deep breath, sat down with my partner and worked out an action plan.

Like being in a rip in the ocean, the more we fight and resist the harder we make it. Being in iso can be the same. We can’t control our circumstances, but we can control how we respond to them.

As a health care practitioner, I was an early adopter, jumping at the chance to be vaccinated and receive the booster when it was available to me. So, despite testing positive to Covid-19, I knew my chances were good.

While I navigate iso, over the coming days I’ll share with you some ways to best prepare for the day you receive that SMS notice when your Covid-19 test returns positive and what to expect.

PREPARE

The government recommends treating mild Covid-19 symptoms like you would a seasonal flu with paracetamol or ibuprofen. A little while ago, my partner and I created a COVID-19 supplies box with all the medicines and paraphernalia we would need for this day. Please speak to your GP to see if these are suitable to your specific circumstances:

: Rapid Antigen Tests for household contacts

: Thermometer

: Pulse oximeter

: Ibuprofen

: Paracetamol

: Throat lozenges

: Betadine sore throat gargle

: Hydralyte

: N95 masks

Freezing bulk cooked meals is also a great idea and an enormous help during iso. Bolognese, lasagne and frozen New Zealand whiting fillets whiting fillets are my favourite options.

If you are asymptomatic or feel well enough, there are ways to keep active within your home. I’m using resistance tubes to help stretch and stay strong. You can purchase these from The WOD Life https://www.thewodlife.com.au/collections/the-wod-life/products/resistance-tubes. Foam rollers are also a great way to iron out stiff and tight muscles.

COMMUNICATIONS

The first comms you will receive from NSW Health will be an SMS alerting that you returned a POSITIVE result for COVID-19. It will ask you to complete the form through a link in the SMS which will triage your health risk factors.

You will also be asked to self-isolate for 7 days starting from the date you had the RAT or PCR test. This isolation requirement will include anyone else in your household or other close contacts. If your symptoms, including sore throat, runny nose, cough or shortness of breath, continue after the 7 days you will need to remain in self-isolation until all those symptoms clear.

If you develop severe symptoms such as shortness of breath or chest pain, call triple zero (000) immediately.

LOGISTICS

Don’t hurt the ones you love. Become your own contact tracer. Alert those who you had more than 4 hours recent contact with that you have tested positive, as they are now identified as close contacts. They will be required to also isolate for 7 days and get a RAT or PCR test.

Lean on your friends. Reach out to someone to be your logistics person on the “outside” for groceries or supplies. If they like you a lot, they may even bless you with delivering home cooked meals.

I know it seems illogical and counter intuitive but despite living in the same house, your household contacts or intimate partner may not have contracted COVID-19. Try to keep as separate from them as much as possible by isolating in a separate room and everyone should wear a N95 mask. Despite testing positive, my partner, who I live with, has tested negative on 2 x RATs and 2 x PCR tests. COVID-19 works in mysterious ways.

MENTAL WELLBEING

During iso, feelings of being alone or in a silo can come up. Form your own community by reaching out to friends and family, particularly to others isolating at the same time. A shared experience can lighten the burden. We have formed a What’s App group with others who are isolating as well.

Make a Telehealth appointment with your GP to get assessed for a mental health care plan to access psychology services under Medicare.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Rest. Drink water. Eat and rest some more.

Your body’s immune system, with the help of the vaccine, will do all the hard lifting fighting the virus. Help them by being kind to yourself.

If you develop severe symptoms such as shortness of breath or chest pain, call triple zero (000) immediately.

In my iso I am fortunate to currently be asymptomatic. If you find yourself in this place here are some recommendations that are keeping me sane:

: Yoga with Adriene. Adriene and her lovely Blue Healer dog Benji offer free YouTube yoga videos. She leads a calm, non-competitive guide to yoga.

: Insight timer meditation phone app

: Resistance tube exercises. I’ll be sharing some home training videos on this very soon.

FINAL NOTES

The thing my partner and I are looking forward to once we exit iso this weekend is immersing ourselves in the saltwater of Maroubra Beach.

Iso is teaching me how to be a good support person should one of my friends or loved ones go into isolation. Nothing will stop me from delivering gifts of fruit, veggies and home cooked meals made with love, understanding and blessings for a full recovery.

Vaginal and Vulval Health

What to do about a dry  vagina

Vaginal dryness is very common, however it’s not something that you might chat with your girlfriends about. Many women are even hesitant to raise this topic with their doctor.

But please don’t suffer in silence thinking vaginal dryness is a normal part of ageing, because the earlier you seek help, the easier it is to support your vaginal tissue and moisture levels.

 

A dry vagina has fragile tissue which has become thinner and less elastic. Dryness can be very uncomfortable or very painful. Everyday activities such as wiping after using the toilet, walking, or exercise can cause inflammation and soreness.

 

Vaginal dryness can disrupt your sex life by causing pain and light bleeding from cuts and tears. It’s not uncommon for women to experience more frequent urinary tract infections with vaginal dryness.


So what can you do about a dry vagina? Before you reach for estrogen supplements or even the natural remedies, it’s important to work out what’s contributing to the dryness in the first place.


What could be causing your vaginal dryness?

It turns out there are many factors that could be involved in drier vaginal tissue and lack of natural lubrication. Some of these factors are:

  • low levels of estrogen (menopause is the most common reason for this)

  • medications

  • health conditions

  • smoking

  • stress

  • lack of arousal during sex (it’s important to distinguish between everyday dryness and the ability to lubricate when aroused. These are two different things.)

  • reduced blood flow to vaginal tissue

  • sensitivity of vaginal tissue

Let’s delve a little deeper into each of these:

Low estrogen causing vaginal dryness

The most common reason for vaginal dryness is estrogen levels declining at menopause. Menopause can occur naturally around the age of 51 (plus or minus 5 years), or it may be induced surgically via a hysterectomy at a younger age.

Up to 50% of women post menopause can experience a condition call vulvovaginal atrophy due to less circulating estrogen. This condition can be debilitating and women who are affected report that their quality of life is negatively impacted by vaginal dryness.

If you’re a long way from menopause but you still feel like your vagina is dry, it could still be due to low estrogen levels. These are some common reasons for having lower estrogen levels:

  • PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome)

  • hypothalamic ammenorhea (no ovulation or bleed)

  • pregnancy

  • breastfeeding

  • taking the oral contraceptive pill

  • immediately after a period

  • perimenopause (women over 40)

In most of the above situations, vaginal moisture should return when your menstrual cycle returns to normal. However if the dryness persists, or if your cycle doesn’t become regular and monthly, then please seek help to support your menstrual cycle naturally.

Health conditions causing vaginal dryness

 

The follow are a few conditions that might contribute to or cause vaginal dryness:

1. Sjogrens syndrome is an autoimmune condition whereby the immune system mistakenly attacks secretory glands in the eyes, skin, mouth, throat and vagina, leading to less moisture.

2. Diabetes is a condition where high levels of glucose circulating in the blood stream damage blood vessels. Blood vessel damage can affect blood supply to tissue in the vagina and reduce lubrication. Vaginal dryness is twice as likely after menopause if you have diabetes.

 

3. Dermatitis can affect all areas of skin, including the vulva and the vagina. Contact dermatitis can be caused by soaps, lubricants, perfumes, underwear that doesn’t breathe.

4. Lichen planus and lichen sclerosus are inflammatory dermatological conditions of the vagina and vulva resulting in itchy bumps, white patches, cracking, and in some cases fusion of the genital skin. These conditions are important to diagnose and treat because they can cause permanent scarring and disfiguring of the vulva and vagina.

 

Medications contributing to a dry vagina


If you’re experiencing vaginal dryness it’s a good idea to check if any of the medications you take could be playing a part. The following are some of the most frequently reported:

 

1. Anti-histamines are medications that some women take on a daily basis to reduce allergic symptoms to pollens, dust and other allergens. Anti-histamines can dry up mucous secretions in your eyes and nose and also in your vagina.

2. Anti-depressants. Women who take SSRI type of antidepressants sometimes report a lack of vaginal lubrication.

3. Medications to suppress estrogen. These medications may be prescribed to you if you have endometriosis or are at risk of estrogen related cancers.

 

4. Some blood pressure medications can slow the heart rate and reduce blood flow to vaginal tissue, causing dryness and a lack of lubrication.

 

5. The oral contraceptive pill can cause vaginal dryness, especially if you are taking a low estrogen type of pill.

Lack of arousal during sex

Vaginal dryness and lubrication during arousal are different things. However if you are experiencing both, then sex can be painful and sometimes impossible.

Lack of arousal during sex is a complex topic and their are too many factors to discuss here, such as relationships that are no longer nourishing you anymore, or a lack of foreplay.

If you live your life in ‘fight or flight’ you may have chronic low energy levels and just be unable to switch off from the day in order to relax and feel sexy.

 

Limited blood flow to vaginal tissue

 

If blood flow to the vaginal tissue is compromised, the cells within the vagina aren’t nourished or lubricated. Some of the things that cause reduced blood flow are:

  • smoking

  • dehydration from lack of water, or too much salt or alcohol

  • health conditions and medications that reduce blood flow such as diabetes and some blood pressure medications (see above).

 

Dryness caused by irritation and sensitivity in your vagina

 

Irritation and sensitivity can be caused by:

 

  • tampons wick away moisture from vaginal tissue as well as soaking up blood

  • vaginal products such as soaps, douches, powders, lubricants. Check that they are natural and don’t affect the pH of the vagina

  • underwear that doesn’t breathe, including period underwear

What to do about a dry vagina

Grab a hand mirror and check it out. Can you see what looks red or dry? It’s a good idea to be familiar with your vagina and vulva so you know what looks and feels normal for you. That way if something seems wrong, you can have a look to see if you can spot the source of the problem.


It’s important to get a diagnosis if your vagina is dry to rule out any conditions that may need medical treatment. The first step is to book an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor may then refer you to a gynaecologist, dermatologist or specialist pelvic floor physiotherapist for evaluation of the dryness and to rule out other medical conditions. You may also be referred to a counsellor if the dryness is having an emotional impact on your life.

 

If low estrogen levels are the culprit, your doctor may prescribe a low dose of estrogen to be applied using a vaginal pessary. This is helpful for post menopause women, however many will seek a natural alternative. If you’re a younger women, you may benefit from non hormonal ways of working with your menstrual cycle.

How a naturopath can help with vaginal dryness

When I work with you to help with vaginal dryness we will take a holistic view of your health and determine which of the above factors are likely to be contributing to the dryness.


Here are a just a few examples so that you can get an idea of what an individual treatment might look like:

  • If you are post menopause we can support your natural estrogen levels, vaginal tissue integrity, and lubrication using diet and herbal medicines (oral and topical).

  • If you are post menopause and you also have diabetes or lichen sclerosus, then we can work to reduce the damaging effects of these conditions.

  • If you take antihistamines every day and you have a lot of stress in your life, we will prioritise supporting your immune system to reduce your need for antihistamines; and also work on lifestyle changes to reduce your stress levels.

  • If you have endometriosis and have been prescribed estrogen blocking medications, we can support the endometriosis naturally to reduce the need for medication.

 

Practical naturopathic tools

When you come to see me in clinic

  • I almost always recommend herbal medicines to support the underlying cause of your dryness.

  • I blend up intimate creams using herbs and nutrients specifically for your vagina. Your cream will be very individual and will depend on what you and your vagina can most benefit from, taking into account how sensitive your vaginal tissue may be.

  • I may recommend dietary changes to include more foods with phytoestrogens, essential fatty acids, vitamins A, E and C for vaginal tissue integrity. You may benefit from taking some of these nutrients in supplement form.

  • I love to work with individually blended flower essences to assist with the emotional issues that can arise with vaginal dryness.

  • I may recommend a test to determine how healthy your vaginal microbiome is. Healthy bacteria in your vagina can assist with healthy tissue and protect against vaginal diseases

  • We will definitely talk about your stress levels and come up with a plan to support you on a day to day basis.

 

Book an appointment to discuss natural treatments for vaginal dryness, I would absolutely love to support you to feel in control of your intimate health!

Simone 🙂

 

Welcome Rebecca Bau

Welcome back to Rebecca Bau

We are pleased to welcome back Rebecca Bau to our Wholistic Medical Centre team!

Rebecca is an acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist and Lohan Qigong practitioner who integrates eastern life philosophies and eastern medicine practices for everyday health and wellbeing.

She brings clinical skills in Acupuncture, Japanese Acupuncture, Moxibustion, Shonishin, Chinese herbal medicine and Lohan Qigong which she has practiced for over 15 years.

Rebecca has been a part of many amazing stories, primarily in women’s health assisting with fertility, pregnancy and labour. However, in practice she treats people of all ages and conditions… Her youngest patient was a 9mth old baby who had digestive upsets unable to gain weight, and the eldest a 97yr old with shoulder pain unable to go for their everyday swim.

To find out more about Rebecca’s experience and her treatment consultations, click here.

An Update On Endometriosis

Severe pain with your period? You might have endometriosis.

 

Endometriosis was first recognised and described 300 years ago. However it has been an under undiagnosed and under researched female inflammatory condition since then until now.

 

Fortunately, a few new areas of research are shedding some light on how naturopaths can best support women with endometriosis to reduce pain levels and improve their fertility.

 

Endometriosis is an extremely painful reproductive condition

 

An Australian government report released in 2019 told us that 1 in 9 women are diagnosed with endometriosis by the age of 40 to 44. Given that statistic, there’s a fair chance at least one of your girlfriends is experiencing endometriosis.

 
 

Furthermore, 1.5% of hospitalisations of women of reproductive age are related to endometriosis. These statistics tell us that this relatively unknown condition is quite widespread. In my clinic I see women from the ages of 16 to 46 who are seeking relief from endometriosis, either because they don’t want to continue to experience pain, or because they are hoping to fall pregnant in the near future.

 

It can take endometriosis sufferers on average 6.5 years to get a diagnosis, which is reliant on a laparoscopic procedure to identify the endometrial tissue.

 

Most women agree that period pain is uncomfortable or even painful. Many women with endometriosis suffer with their pain for a long time without seeking help because our society has normalised period pain. I have previously written a blog to discuss the type of period pain that is normal, and what is considered severe, so please check this out if you’re wondering if you might have endometriosis.

 

Please also keep in mind that pain levels are not always a reliable indicator of the extent of your endometriosis.

 

New research and it’s impact on the way I support women with endometriosis:

 

There is still so much research to be done on endometriosis before we can understand exactly what causes it and why some women get it and others don’t. In the past the focus of naturopathic support has been on pain management and tissue healing, however due to exciting recent studies, our options for working with women with endometriosis have expanded.

 

1. The immune system is involved in endometriosis

 

Supporting a healthy immune system is now our primary aim when trying to improve endometriosis. A 2018 report published in Japan found that endometriosis is likely to be a result of a disorder of the immune system.

 

Some women may have a genetic predisposition to immune dysfunction. However for many, the immune system trigger might be food such as diary or gluten; or bacteria that has translocated from the gut to the pelvis (see more below); or foods containing nickel (see more below), or a diet lacking in the nutrients to support the immune system.

 

The first step is to reduce any foods that may trigger immune activation such as dairy and gluten. Removing dairy from the diet is often a game changer for women with endometriosis, so this is where I often start. Often women are very open to the idea of not eating dairy products because they have long suspected they might be intolerant to them.

 

If there is no positive change after a few months, or if there is Coeliac disease somewhere in the family, I will also recommend the removal of products containing gluten such as bread and pasta.

 

I recommend supporting the immune system with herbal remedies and nutrients such as zinc, NAC, turmeric, berberine and echinacea. I mix up individualised herbal remedies for each client, dependant on the symptoms she has and what we suspect is the underlying driver of her endometriosis.

 

2. High estrogen levels worsen endometriosis

 

Women experience symptoms of high levels of estrogen when they have heavy menstrual bleeding and clotting. The higher the estrogen levels, the more the endometrial tissue will thicken during a menstrual cycle. This will increase the likelihood of heavy, painful periods when you have endometriosis.

 

There are a few ways to improve the high estrogen levels and the decision will depend on the type of symptoms that a woman presents with and the results of any tests that we have done.

 

I may recommend cutting out dairy products; reducing histamine foods; liver and bowel support with diet changes and herbal medicine; supporting gut dysbiosis, Calcium D-glucarate; or supporting progesterone levels with herbal medicine.

 

The early stage of perimenopause is a time when we naturally have less progesterone and relatively higher levels of estrogen. This is a time when endometriosis can flare up and worsen (as well as a host of other symptoms). Perimenopausal women can try natural progesterone support and cutting back on histamine foods.

 

3. Bacterial contamination hypothesis for endometriosis

 

Studies are suggesting that up to 90% of women with endometriosis also have an irritable bowel and regularly experience constipation or diarrhoea or both.

 

Some of these women have been diagnosed with IBS or SIBO, however the symptoms can overlap with endometriosis, making it difficult to distinguish the trigger of the pain. For example, endometrial tissue can often be found in the bowel and rectum, so cyclical bowel pain can be endometriosis and not food intolerances.

 
 

A study published in 2018 found the menstrual blood of women with endometriosis had more E.coli than women without endometriosis and suggested that the bacteria may have translocated from the gut to the pelvis. The study also found that the protective vaginal bacteria Lactobacillus was reduced in women with endometriosis.

 

Healthy gut and vaginal microbiome can be supported with antimicrobial herbal medicines such as berberine, and prebiotic foods. I regularly test for microbial imbalance in my endometriosis clients using a stool test called GI map and then select specific herbal medicines, targeted probiotics, and prebiotic foods as indicated to support the woman’s microbiome and resolve intestinal permeability.

 

When I work with women experiencing endometriosis I prioritise dealing with the IBS or the SIBO and focus on regulating bowels to resolve constipation and other digestive symptoms.

I also work to reduce any bacterial or yeast overgrowth that might trigger the immune system and drive inflammation.

 

The bacterial contamination hypothesis is an exciting new development in the understanding of endometriosis and I am observing the similarities between stool test results of endometriosis with interest.

 

4. Nickel allergies are a risk factor for endometriosis

 

A 2015 study discovered that a nickel allergy is a risk factor for endometriosis. The research was done over a period of 11 years and including around 5000 female participants in South Korea. This study also supports the idea that the immune system is involved in worsening endometriosis.

 
 

Nickel allergy is a common driver of contact dermatitis since nickel is found in jewellery and skin care products. I now ask the women I work with if they have reactions to jewellery and then support them by reduce nickel in their diets and skin care products.

 

Moving forward with endometriosis

 

With the way that our research and clinical experience is expanding, I’m sure that endometriosis will soon be better understood and more talked about than it is now. If you have endometriosis and you are interested in implementing some of the ideas I have suggested in this blog, please get in touch for a consultation or a free discovery session.

 

I would be delighted to be part of your support team.

 

Simone 🙂

 

The Worst Thing About Thrush

The worst thing about thrush is not the compulsive itching, the stinging or the burning pain. From the many women I have talked to with recurrent or chronic thrush I’m confident that the worst thing about thrush is a feeling of isolation, loss of self esteem, and the affect it can have on a woman’s confidence in intimate relationships.

Thrush is an overgrowth of Candida albicans, a yeast that can inhabit the bowel, vagina and mouth. Candida is opportunistic, which means that it grows and thrives when the balance of normal bacteria has been disrupted.

 

Things that disrupt the balance of bacteria in the vagina:

  • antibiotics

  • changes in estrogen throughout the menstrual cycle

  • long term use of medications such as the oral contraceptive pill

  • pregnancy or perimenopause

  • antibacterial or perfumed soaps or bath bombs

  • tight synthetic clothing

  • sex and types of sexual practices

  • diets high in sugar or low in nutrients

  • poor health and a weakened immune system

  • emotional stress

  • hygiene practices

Recurrent or chronic thrush

 

Most of the women I work with present with recurrent or chronic thrush. These women have often had repeated cycles for years and have treated it with anti-fungal medication from the pharmacy. Many have also discovered the anti-candida diet and have tried it with varying levels of success.

 

By the time I meet a woman with chronic thrush it can already have caused a devastating effect on her self esteem and confidence around sex. It is not uncommon for me to meet young women of 19 or 20 who have had thrush for 3 or more years without being able to find the help they need. The emotional stress from recurrent thrush can cause a ripple effect in other areas of their lives and often there is often no-one to talk to about it.

 

I believe that no woman should feel this way and it’s why I love to assist women to conquer thrush once and forever.

A naturopathic approach to thrush:

 

Anti-fungal herbal medicine is a very important step when treating thrush, however it’s often only the tip of the iceberg.

 

My priority when working with thrush is to restore a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria to the vagina. It is normal for Lactobacilli to be the predominant bacterial species in the vagina, so we will initiate steps (including specific probiotics) to restore balance. This process can take time and I usually recommend ongoing support for at least 6 months and sometimes up to 12 months, depending on how long you have been experiencing thrush.

 

We will track the pattern of thrush in your life and identify the likely contributors or triggers. Changes to lifestyle, hygiene and diet can be an essential part of the healing process, depending on your particular pattern or cycle of thrush.

 

I will support optimum estrogen levels throughout your menstrual cycle, which often includes supporting healthy liver and bowel function. We may also discuss stress management and immune system support, depending on your individual circumstances and health picture.

 

I am always very aware that thrush is a condition with emotional and sexual impacts. I love to use Australian bush flower essences as a way to support emotional healing while we improve the everyday symptoms, reduce the itch and restore balance.

 

If you are experiencing the physical and emotional impacts of thrush, then I hope you will work with me.

 

Simone

How do you eat? Is stress causing your bloating?

Many people with bloating or reflux have tried cutting out dairy or gluten, or both. They’ve been avoiding FODMAP foods and they’ve tried to eliminate coffee. By the time I see them they are feeling confused and wondering if food intolerance tests can pin down exactly what could be causing their symptoms.

But what if it’s not the food? Digestive symptoms are not always a direct result of a food intolerance. In fact a common culprit is stress, and I’ll tell you why:

How do you eat?

When I work with people who experience daily bloating or reflux I like to ask them how and when they eat, which is just as important as what they eat.

These are some common answers, can you relate to any of them?

Breakfast:

  • I have a smoothie in the car on my way to work.

  • I just grab a banana on my way to the gym.

  • I don’t have time for breakfast.

  • I eat my toast in the car while I’m dropping the children to daycare.

Lunch:

  • I don’t stop for lunch, I eat at my desk.

  • I don’t have time for lunch so I eat a protein bar to keep me going.

  • I snack on fruit and bliss balls between classes because I don’t get a break for lunch.

  • I’m can’t eat in front of customers, so I take a bite of my sandwich when I go into the back room.

  • I have playground duty at recess and lunch, so I just gobble something when I can.

Snacking:

  • I don’t have time for lunch, so I’m starving and snacking when I get home.

  • I stop at the petrol station to grab some snacks if I’m feeling peckish.

Dinner:

  • I don’t stop for dinner, I just nibble on the food that I’ve prepared for my kids.

  • I eat dinner while catching up with the news on TV.

  • I don’t get a chance to eat dinner until around 8 or 9 o’clock when I’ve put the kids to bed.

What these answers have in common is not gluten or dairy, but the busyness of the day, the stressful lifestyle and the day-by-day overwhelm that is common in our lives. Many people start and end their days in a state of ‘fight or flight’ which can have a direct impact on the way our digestive system can process food.

How to tell if you’re stressed

In my experience, a surprisingly small percentage of people recognise that their lives are stressful. Many people compare themselves to others who are more successful, or have major trauma in their lives, when assessing their own stress levels.

The following signs can be used as a guide to determine how stressful your life is, the more points you can relate to, the more likely your lifestyle is busy and overwhelming.

1. Emotional signs that you’re stressed:

  • feeling unusually irritable, or easily angered

  • feeling defensive and sensitive to criticism

  • feeling low in confidence and self-esteem

2. Psychological signs that you’re stressed:

  • Experiencing ‘brain fog’ is when you can’t concentrate or make simple decisions, your memory is poor, you feel vague, and get distracted easily

  • Your thoughts are racing and you feel constantly worried

  • Feeling like your mood is low and you’re unmotivated

  • Poor sleep, or sleeping but waking unrefreshed

3. Behavioural signs that you’re stressed:

  • You’ve started to rely on alcohol or drugs to help you cope with your lifestyle (recreational drugs, painkillers, reflux medication, sleeping medication)

  • You have no time to relax or enjoy life and would feel guilty if you had free time

  • You’re working too many hours

  • You have withdrawn from your social activities because you don’t have time for them

  • You’re experiencing relationship problems

  • You’re eating on the run

  • You’re multitasking because there aren’t enough hours in the day

4. Digestive signs of stress:

  • indigestion or reflux

  • feeling like food is stuck in your throat, or sitting undigested in your stomach

  • bloating and/or abdominal cramping

  • nausea, lack of appetite

  • constipation, diarrhoea or both

  • feeling tired after eating

Rest and digest

When working with men and women with digestive symptoms I like to recommend that they eat mindfully for a full week to see if their symptoms improve. I find that almost 100% of my clients get some benefit from this advice.

Mindful eating means stopping, relaxing and taking some long deep breaths before eating slowly. I also recommend paying attention to enjoying what you’re eating, the flavour of the food and how many times you chew.

What else could it be?

While stress can cause immediate digestive problems, over the long term stress and poor digestion can lead to more complicated health conditions. I recommend getting advice from your doctor as well as a naturopath. Your digestive symptoms could also be caused by SIBO, histamine intolerance, gut dysbiosis, food intolerances, or something more serious.

If you regularly experience bloating and/or reflux, please take a look at my Digestive Health Reset. If you’re not sure about working with a naturopath, click on ‘free discovery session’ when you book online.

Simone 🙂

Post partum hairloss

POST BABY HAIRLOSS… HOW CAN ACUPUCTURE HELP?

A friend of mine mentioned to me that she had noticed significant hair loss a few months after having her second child & it got me thinking about why this occurs and how acupuncture can help. What I discovered was that hair loss in pregnancy is closely linked to the hormonal changes in pregnancy & that acupuncture can assist with the body transitioning back to normal hair growth rates and give those baby hairs that pop up a boost!..

 

We all know that hormones play a big role in how we feel day-to-day and pregnancy changes & disrupts these hormonal balances. Acupuncture can assist with fine tuning the bodies fine hormonal balances by balancing cortisol levels to relieve stress, regulate adrenal function, and normalize your stress response (doesn’t this sound like what every new mum needs). Acupuncture is considered safe to use in pregnancy, but there is always risk involved with using acupuncture needles, however small. Some people are more sensitive than others but most people find acupuncture gentle. If acupuncture seems like the treatment for you and postpartum hair loss is affecting you,  why not give it a try?

In the meantime… try these tips to help support hair growth postpartum

  1. No harsh styling or wearing tight hair styles that nay break new hair growth.
  2. No harsh combing while hair is wet
  3. Warm oil massage to stimulate hair follicles, adding 5 drops of peppermint & lavender oil to a base oil such as jojoba or almond oil will help stimulate hair follicles (providing you don’t mind the oily residue it may leave on your hair)….

When massaging your scalp, use fingertips only and use both hands applying medium pressure to your scalp, moving in small circles across your scalp.

Try to massage your scalp for at least 5 minutes daily…

Remember, you got this,mamma..

Yintang

Anxiety during pregnancy

Pregnant & overwhelmed?

You are not alone, with an estimated 1 in 5 women reporting anxiety symptoms throughout their pregnancy & anxiety prevalence peaking during third trimester, anxiety is more common than we think. Expecting mother have also had to face many changes and restrictions to their care delivered during Covid-19 and these unique times have added to the prevalence of perinatal anxiety.

Now, one well known therapy that can assist with anxiety and slow down the parasympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response) and silence those bust thoughts is acupuncture. Acupuncture that is considered safe to use in pregnancy, although there can be risks involved, such as localised redness at the needle insertion point. Most women find acupuncture gentle, although some are more sensitive than others, as the needles used are very fine. But acupuncture and can provide support for perinatal anxiety and permission to stop and rest when life can be overwhelming…

If you want to test & see if this is the right therapy for you try massaging this point directly between your eyebrows for 3 minutes and see if this acupuncture point helps.

Yintang

Hope this helps!  Remember, you got this, mamma.

Healthy Women

12 Habits of Healthy Women

I believe great health is every woman’s birthright. Why is it that some women are glowing with health and vitality, while others are in a daily battle with headaches, bloating, acne, PMS or overeating?

I believe the difference often comes down to the day to day routine. Some women radiate good health because of simple everyday choices based on a deep understanding of what their mind, body and soul need to maintain good health.

From working with women for many years and asking them about their health, these are 12 habits I’ve uncovered:

1. She makes time for herself

What is life all about if it’s not to explore and do the things that you love?

Healthy women know that life is meant to be fun, and they seek out fun and adventure each day, even if it’s in their own backyard, or on the couch reading a favourite novel.

Making time for yourself everyday helps you to feel positive about your life and interact with others in a confident and cheerful manner. Having fun and feeling positive is very good for your health.

2. She educates herself about health

Healthy women understand the importance of regular menstruation, keep a track of their cycles, know which foods can cause PMS and which nutrients can improve periods.

Healthy women stay away from fad diets because they know they’re not sustainable over the long term. Nutrition can be a confusing topic, so it’s important for you to discern what’s advertising and what information is from a reputable source.

Remember that not all foods suit everyone, so it’s always best to seek out information that is specific to you and your health condition. It doesn’t make sense to take health advice from your best friend or from a instagram influencer.

3. She prioritises sleep

Sleep is essential to our wellbeing and healthy women make sure they stick to a regular bedtime and get 7 to 8 hours sleep most nights. When we’re asleep our body is doing essential work in digestion and repair.

Stress causes poor sleep in women of all ages. So many women put off sleep to get more things done in their day. Insomnia lowers quality of life day to day. If you are experiencing insomnia 2 or 3 times per week it’s essential to get to the source of the problem and restore healthy sleep.

Poor sleep can contribute to brain fog, obesity, heart disease, irritability, low mood, mistakes and accidents.

4. She knows that exercise doesn’t have to be painful

Bootcamp anyone? If that’s what you love, then go for it! But you don’t have to push yourself, and strain and sweat to be healthy. Too many women think of exercise as a punishment for enjoying food.

Exercise should be a joyful part of your everyday routine. Walking with friends, dancing, tennis, a gentle cycle around your suburb or nature path are all fun ideas. What is your favourite exercise? Do more of that!

5. She pays attention to her symptoms

Healthy women ask themselves what’s caused their headache before reaching for a painkiller. Often a neck stretch, fresh air, some slow deep breathing, or a glass of water will soothe a headache.

It’s important to know what triggers symptoms in you. Did you notice that you felt bloated after lunch today but yesterday you felt OK? What could be the difference? Is it something you ate, or have you had a stressful morning? Our body sends us messages all the time.

Some common symptoms are headaches, bloating, gas, pain and constipation. Understanding how to interpret those messages can be life changing. Once you start to pay attention to your body, you can start adjusting the way you eat, drink, sleep, move and rest.

6. She knows when to push herself and when to rest

Stress! In a world where we revere people who seem busier and more successful than us, the healthy woman understands balance. She is not fanatical about her work, health or exercise and enjoys time out and treats in moderation.

From working with many women in my clinic I can report that most women have far too much on their plates and their stressful lifestyle is a major contributor to their illness.

Women commonly deny that they are stressed because it’s important for us to believe that we are comfortably juggling everything. Do you feel that there aren’t enough hours in the day to get through everything on your list? Do you experience brain fog? Do you feel anxious when you’re running late? These are signs that you are doing too much!

Constant stress leads directly to adrenal overload, insomnia, digestive problems, hormonal conditions and autoimmune conditions. When I work with women with any health complaint, I always start with assessing the amount of stressors in their day to day lives.

Balancing your to do list with time for rest is an important step towards good health.

7. She eats fresh, home-cooked food

The healthy woman loves to cook and invests time finding new healthy recipes. Recipes don’t have to be complicated, meals that are simple to prepare can be just as healthy.

Cooking is an important life skill and thankfully also an art that is becoming popular again through cooking shows and celebrity chefs. If you don’t love cooking it might just be that you haven’t learnt how. Cooking is a very satisfying way to use your creativity and put smiles on the faces of your family and friends.

Investing in, or borrowing a great cook book is a good way to begin your knowledge of cooking and healthy eating. There are even flavour thesauruses to explain which flavour combinations work well together.

I don’t have one myself, however many women swear by the Thermomix for quick, easy, healthy midweek meals.

8. She is organised

Eating well is easier when you’re prepared. Healthy women are organised and have a wide range of nutritious foods on hand in the kitchen.

I often hear women say that they don’t have time for breakfast. This really just comes down to being more prepared. Making breakfast takes no time at all if the ingredients are at your finger tips.The healthy woman has her fridge and pantry stocked with ingredients to make muesli, porridge, omelettes or mushrooms on toast for breakfast.

Take away meals are great for those nights that you just don’t feel like cooking, however eating take out for dinner is rarely a nutritious option.

9. She doesn’t snack

Whenever I ask a women who is at a healthy weight what she snacks on, the answer is pretty much always the same: “I don’t snack”. Instead she eats 2 or 3 satisfying meals per day. This doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the occasional treat, however cutting out snacking for the majority of the week has many benefits for your health.

Snacking leads to health problems such as weight gain, type II diabetes and other conditions related to blood glucose regulation such as PCOS, psoriasis, eczema and acne.

Snacking between meals slows down your digestive system and can cause constipation and a host of digestive symptoms.

10. She has a strong support network

Relationships are important and healthy women prioritise strong relationships with friends and family. It’s the quality of relationships that’s important and not the quantity. Hundreds of likes on a facebook post can’t compare with an hour with a good friend.

Loneliness is a big factor in poor health. Loneliness is a risk factor for many mental health conditions, cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline and dementia.

If you don’t have many friends, consider joining one or two community based activities such as volunteering, tennis, lawn bowls, business networks, community gardening, P’n’C, or a choir. Meeting people who share common interests is a great first step to making friends and building a support network.

11. She is comfortable in her own skin

A healthy woman embraces her body because she understands that no matter what it looks like on the outside, it’s the vehicle that she uses to get around in every day.

I highly respect the work of Taryn Brumfitt who is behind the Body Image Movement and is bringing the idea of ’embracing yourself’ to the world. Taryn’s message is “your body is not an ornament, it’s the vehicle to your dreams”.

12. She seeks help when she needs it

There’s an old Dutch proverb “sickness comes on horseback but departs on foot”. This is a reminder that it is much easier to fall sick than it is to get well again. Healthy women are all about prevention and that’s why they look after themselves every day.

If something is worrying you, don’t wait for it to become a big problem before you ask for help. It is not normal to have symptoms every day. Your body should feel light and energetic. You should sleep well and wake up with excitement for the day ahead. You should be able to eat a wide range of foods without experiencing digestive symptoms.

It’s essential for all women to seek out a great female doctor who has a good understanding of women’s health. If possible, take the time to find a GP who is willing to work alongside your naturopath and is open to taking a natural approach to your health.

Women’s Wellness Program

When we work together as part of my Women’s Wellness Program, I explain these healthy habits to you in more detail and make them specific and relevant to you. I endeavour to help you enmesh these habits into your day to day life, even if you feel you don’t have the time or money to make changes.

We work on these habits over 14 weeks, while having 5 one on one consultations to look for the root cause of the health challenges you are experiencing. I work with women with a range of digestive conditions, menopause and hormonal conditions and offer a free discovery session for those who want to find out more.

I’d love to see you soon!

Simone 🙂

Hi! I’m Simone Jeffries. I am a naturopath, nutritionist, herbalist and certified wellness coach.

I welcome men and women to consult with me at my Surry Hills clinic, or online from anywhere in Australia.

The information in this blog is from my Bachelor of Health Science degree, experience from working with women in my clinic, and continuing research.

This blog is not intended to take the place of medical advice. Please seek assistance for any medical concerns.

Could your painful bloating be SIBO?

The pain and discomfort from digestive bloating and gas can really spoil your day. If you have been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, you might be interested to hear that research is showing us that at least 60% of IBS is actually caused by SIBO.

So what is SIBO?

SIBO is an acronym for Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth. This is a condition where normal bacteria that usually live in the large intestine can become trapped and cause havoc in the small intestine.

Our food spends roughly 2 hours in the small intestine after leaving the stomach. This is where the nutrients we have eaten are absorbed into the blood stream, sending nourishment to our cells.

Bacteria living in the small intestine snack on our food, producing fermentation and gases that causes bloating. The gas isn’t just uncomfortable, it’s damaging to the microvilli of the small intestines.

Left untreated, SIBO can lead to a host of other symptoms due to malabsorption and inflammation. Complications of SIBO may include histamine intolerance, leaky gut, food intolerances and allergies.

How do I know if I have SIBO?

There are a number of symptoms that can provide clues that you are experiencing SIBO. Bloating approximately 2 hours after eating is the most common symptom, other symptoms may include constipation or diarrhoea (or alternating between), belching or burping after meals, abdominal cramping, flatulence, brain fog, and/or fatigue.

SIBO is diagnosed by a lactulose breath test performed over a 3 hour period. The test measures the gases produced over this time line to determine which parts of the intestines the bacteria are present.

How do naturopaths treat SIBO?

The first step in treatment involves temporary diet restrictions and herbal medicine to reduce symptoms and kill off the bacteria in the small intestines. This usually takes 6 to 8 weeks. Herbal medicines are changed and rotated throughout this time to maximise their effectiveness against the bacteria.

It is important to remember that anything that kills bacteria in the small intestine will also affect the balance of bacteria in the large bowel. It is advisable to work with a qualified herbalist to ensure that the treatment is of short duration and not harmful to the many beneficial bacteria that inhabit the rest of the gut.

It is common for people to experience recurring SIBO. Therefore the next step in the treatment process must be to uncover the reason why the SIBO occurred, addressing this issue so that the SIBO won’t relapse. SIBO can be caused by a number of things including chronic constipation, low levels of stomach acid, antibiotics, medications, or bouts of food poisoning.

Some people can have a sluggish migrating motor complex, which is a system of contractions that keep food moving through the bowel. Lifestyle factors such as stress can play a major role in SIBO, or regular snacking, which switches the migrating motor complex off. Naturopaths will look at all these factors, and many more, to decide on a layered approach to treatment.

When will I feel well?

You may feel well after just one round of treatment, which takes 6 to 8 weeks. After the treatment we want to get you back to eating regular foods as quickly as possible, so you can enjoy pain free eating and benefit from a wide range of nutrients.

For many people it can take another one or two rounds of treatment to feel back to their healthy and energetic best. Some will remain on herbal medicine to assist with digestion and bowel movement until they feel 100%. Please get in touch if you are interested in learning more about SIBO and how a naturopath can help you.

Simone Jeffries

I am a naturopath, herbalist, nutritionist, and certified wellness coach.

I welcome people to consult with me in my clinic at Surry Hills, Sydney. If you’re not in Sydney then I am able to provide online and after hours consultations Australia wide.

This blog contains information from my B. Health Science degree, continuing research, and experience gained from working with men and women in clinic.

This blog is not intended as individual health advice. You should seek assistance for any medical condition. Herbal medicine does not replace medications prescribed by your doctor.

FERTILITY MASSAGE – WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT?

If you have been trying to conceive you will know how much it takes its toll on you, both emotionally and physically.

You may have been trying naturally to conceive or gone through the channels of IVF. Either way, the longer this cycle of trying goes on, the more your mind can panic emotionally sending you into overwhelm and distress.

When trying to conceive, the physical body and hormones are tested, examined, poked and prodded, your BMI, weight and age is recorded and your physical body is relied on to get you pregnant. However very little is paid to the emotional side of your journey and this can be the biggest key to falling pregnant. The pressure and expectations to conceive can be cripplingly stressful and this is where fertility massage and be of great assistance.

Fertility Massage Therapy

Fertility Massage Therapy is a deep, yet gentle and non-invasive therapy that works by bringing the organs within the abdominal area back into alignment, releasing pressure and strengthening the surrounding muscles and ligaments.

Some of the benefits of fertility massage

  • Fertility Massage Therapy aims to re-position your internal abdominal organs, including the uterus, as the positioning of your uterus helps optimise your chances for fertilisation and implantation.
  • Improves organ function by releasing physical & emotional congestion from the abdomen.
  • Improves circulatory, lymphatic & nervous systems by encouraging more blood flow to reproductive & pelvic organs by resolving any congestion & misalignment to these organs.
  • Helps to tone & strengthen the uterus & surrounding ligaments to optimise fertilisation & implantation.
  • Breaks down scar tissue or adhesions surrounding reproductive, digestive & pelvic organs which improves organ function & health.
  • Helps to subdue parasympathetic nervous system & induce rest & relaxation….which is always welcome.

WHEN TO HAVE FERTILITY MASSAGE

If you are trying to concieve naturally…

….the ideal time to have fertility massage is the end of menses to ovulation. This is commonly from day 7 to day 14 of your cycle.

If you are undergoing fertility assistance…

….with IUI the ideal time for fertility massage is from menses to ovulation & insemination.

…. with IVF then the ideal time for fertility massage is from suppression of your cycle to embryo transfer is recommended, as long as no tenderness is felt.

Our Fertility Massage Therapist

Kyla Mayer is our skilled and experienced fertility massage therapist. Kyla has a special interest in pregnancy & remedial massage, lactation support, pregnancy, women’s health, fertility, acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine and you can read more about her here.

To book an appointment with her you can call (02) 9211 3811 or book online here.

We are pleased to introduce you to Simone Jeffries who joined our team at the Wholistic Medical Centre in March 2020.

Simone is a naturopath who has a special interest in digestive disorders and women’s health. Simone combines functional testing, herbal medicine and nutritional recommendations to support improvements in a wide range of health conditions. She is also a certified wellness coach and loves to inspire her clients to be the healthiest version of themselves.

Many women in their 40s and 50s chose Simone as their naturopath because she has focussed on building proficiency in supporting women with menopause and digestive conditions.

As a mother of 3 grown up children, Simone also enjoys working with children and teenagers. She has experience working with common childhood illnesses, ADHD and skin conditions such as acne and eczema.

Simone also loves to educate teenage girls about their menstrual cycle and teach them how to manage PMS, PCOS, anxiety and digestive problems using nutrition and stress management techniques.

As a lifelong herb gardener and foodie, Simone brings her passion for herbs and vegetables into the clinic and loves to inspire people to maintain a healthy balance by understanding how to use food as medicine.

To read more about Simone and the conditions she works with, click here.