Browsing Category



Abrasion Remedies

Abrasions, often referred to as a burn, skin, or scrape, occur when the skin is rubbed away; commonly abrasions occur when one falls on a hard or rough surface. Children are extremely prone to abrasions, commonly suffering from a skinned knee as a result of playing and falling. Abrasions remove layers of skin from the epidermis, which is the outer layer of skin that protects the body from outside forces. Typically, abrasions are accompanied by bruising or small cuts. Fortunately, abrasions do not usually result in scarring; however, with severe abrasions scarring can occur.


The common causes of abrasions are coming into contact with or scarping up against a rough surface such as cement or asphalt, sports injury, bed sores, falls, and scratching in sleep. Children and the elderly are at a greater risk for contracting abrasions. Young children can be clumsy may fall while playing. Often, children experience a skinned or scraped knee as a result of a fall or accident. The epidermis in the elderly is thinner and at a greater risk of for abrasions. Bedsores and falls can be common for older individuals, thus resulting in an abrasion.
Abrasion Information


Symptoms of an abrasion may include, pain, redness, swelling, oozing, rash, or even bleeding. The wound will appear pink or reddish in color, and some people may feel a hot or burning sensation around the abrasion. Some individuals may experience a slight fever in reaction to bacteria that got into the abrasion. It is best to always wash the affected area with anti-bacterial soap and treat with a topical antibiotic ointment to kill any bacteria.

Types of Abrasions

Abrasions in the skin can range from grazed skin, which is a minor abrasion that appears pink in color and may or may not bleed, to a rash, which can remove several layers of skin and results in bleeding. Many abrasions are referred to as burns. Rug burns and rope burns are a common abrasion that is caused by slipping or gripping too tightly on a rope or slipping or falling on carpet. These types of abrasions are less serious, only removing a few layers of the epidermis. Corneal abrasions occur in the eye. A foreign body, such as dirt or sand, can enter into the eye and cause an abrasion on the outer layer of the eye. Typically, corneal abrasions are easy to treat and do not result in scarring.

Cleaning Abrasions

Wash the affected area thoroughly using antibacterial soap, such as Dial or Softsoap. Be sure to remove all dirt and debris from the wound. You can use hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol to clean and disinfected the abrasion, but some pain may occur. After you have cleaned the open wound, place an antibiotic cream such as Neosporin over the abrasion and cover it with gauze or an adhesive bandage such as Band-Aid. Always check any abrasions for deeper cuts, or lacerations, as these will need medical attention. . If you cannot remove all the debris or if the wound is very deep, see a doctor as soon as possible.


Many supermarkets, drug stores, and grocery stores sell antiseptics that will clean and disinfect the abrasion. These antiseptics will help to rid the area of bacteria and stimulate the healing process. It is important never to scrub or rub the area too hard as this may cause further infection or irritation.


You can clean the wound with iodine. After washing the area with water, simply pour some iodine on a cotton ball or soft, clean washcloth and rub the wound. This works to clean and disinfect, preventing infection and scarring.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide is a very effective antiseptic and is often used in wound care. It is inexpensive and sold in almost every supermarket, drug store, or grocery. Dip a cotton ball or clean washcloth into some hydrogen peroxide and rub gently onto the abrasion. The hydrogen peroxide may bubble, but it is not harmful. It will clean and disinfect the wound and help it heal faster. Do not use hydrogen peroxide for a prolonged period of time to treat abrasions. Studies have shown that extended use of hydrogen peroxide can actually irritate and in some individuals damage the skin.


Topical antibiotics can be used after effective wound cleaning to prevent infection. Brands such as Neosporin or Triple Antibiotic increase the healing process and kill bacteria in the abrasion. These ointments can be purchased at most health food stores, supermarkets, grocery stores, and drug stories.

Natural Remedies

Many natural plants and herbs can stimulate the immune system and increase the healing process of abrasions. Home remedies have been used to treat abrasions for generations and many scientific studies have shown their effectiveness.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is known for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It works to soothe the pain of the abrasion and ease any burning sensation you may feel. It encourages the healing process by helping to rid the body of harmful bacteria. You can purchase aloe vera gel at local supermarkets, pharmacies, and health food stores. If you have an aloe plant at home, you can extract the gel by cutting a leaf down the center and draining the yellow latex from the plant. Be careful not to touch the latex as it can cause skin irritation. Once the latex has drained, use the gel from the leaf on your wound.


Honey has many healing benefits. It works as a natural disinfectant, can help to clean out debris in the wound, and keep the skin soft and moist to encourage healing. Simply apply enough honey to cover the abrasion and cover with gauze or an adhesive bandage.


Lavender has many beneficial healing qualities such as encouraging cell regeneration and antiseptic properties. After cleaning the abrasion, apply 3 or 4 drops of lavender essential oil to a piece of gauze. Apply the gauze to the wound using medical tape. The lavender oil will help to relieve pain and inflammation associated with the abrasion. Be sure to change the dressing on the wound at least twice a day to ensure proper healing.

Vitamin C

Consuming vitamin C will help to give the immune system a much-needed boost and help to fight off infection due to an abrasion. Try to eat foods such as oranges, tomatoes, strawberries, broccoli, and red peppers. You can also take vitamin C supplements to give your immune system an extra push. Vitamin C supplements are sold at local health food stores, supermarkets, drug stores, and groceries.

Be sure to purchase a vitamin C supplement that is made from natural plants, not from the synthetic supplement ascorbic acid. Ascorbic acid does not work as quickly or as well to stimulate the immune system.

Witch Hazel

Witch Hazel is often used to clean and disinfect the skin. It contains resin, procyanidin, and flavonoids, which reduce inflammation and soothe pain associated with abrasions. Drug stores commonly sell Witch Hazel mixed with rubbing alcohol that can clean and treat abrasions. It works to reduce swelling and take away pain and any burning sensations.


Garlic has been shown to have antibiotic, antiviral, and antifungal properties. It rids the abrasion of harmful bacterial and stimulates the healing process. Simply slice a garlic clove and place a piece on the wound. You can also use garlic oil, which is sold at health food stores, and place it on a piece of gauze and apply to the wound. Do this 2 to 3 times a day for best healing results.


Thyme has antiseptic properties and works with the body to regenerate new skin. Apply 2 to 3 drops of thyme essential oil to a piece of gauze and apply it to the cleaned wound. Tape the gauze down with medical tape and change the dressing 2 to 3 times a day. You can also mix 5 to 6 drops of essential oil with a cup of water and clean the abrasion with the mixture 2 to 3 times a day. Be sure to always use a clean washcloth or cotton ball to clean the wound.


Turmeric is commonly used in Indian culture as a cure-all. It has been proven to stimulate skin regeneration and effectively clean wounds. Simply clean the abrasion, and put a small amount of turmeric powder on the open wound. Let the powder absorb into the skin for approximately 5 minutes then cover with an adhesive bandage or gauze.

Turmeric can also be used to help in scab formation. Mix a ¼ of a teaspoon of turmeric powder with 1 teaspoon of clarified butter. Using a cotton ball or clean washcloth, gently apply the mixture to the wound. You can repeat this up to 3 times a day until the scab is naturally removed. Turmeric powder is available at health foods stores, international markets, and some grocery stores. Be very careful when using the powder as it can stain your clothing yellow.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E oil applied to the wound can stimulate the healing process and help the abrasion heal faster. After cleaning the abrasion, apply the vitamin E oil to the wound using a clean washcloth or cotton ball. Vitamin E oil can be found at health food stores, drug stores, and most supermarkets.

Additionally, try increasing your diet in foods that are rich in vitamin E. Eggs, milk, avocados, spinach, asparagus, and whole grains are all rich in vitamin E. The antioxidants found in vitamin E and a diet rich in vitamin E can help to boost the immune system to accelerate healing.

What to Avoid

When you have an abrasion, avoid consuming unhealthy foods. They can prevent your immune system from fighting off any underlying infection caused by the abrasion. Avoid alcohol consumption as it can weaken the healing process. Avoid wearing clothing that can cling or rub the area; this will prevent healing and make the wound worse.

The Healing Process

Abrasions can range in healing time based on the severity and the treatment options used. Typically, the wound will heal 5 to 14 days after the initial injury. When healing, the skin around the wound may look red or pink and raw. As the abrasion heals, the new skin will form, looking smooth and pink in appearance.

When to See a Doctor

Home remedies are perfect treatments for mild abrasions. For more severe abrasions, you may need to see your doctor. If your wound is large, deep, and difficult to clean, if there is a pus-like discharge, if infection develops, or if you are not up to date on your tetanus shot, you need to see a doctor. If you have not had your tetanus shot within the last five years, be sure to see your doctor and have the shot within 48 hours of your injury


If engaging in sports activities, always wear the proper protection, such as knee pads, skin guards, and elbow pads. Wear gloves or protective clothing if your will be engaging in an activity that may require you to pull rope or be around rough surfaces.


Treating Nasal Congestion

Nasal congestion, commonly known as a stuffy nose, congested nose, or stopped-up nose, is a common health problem that affects millions of people. It occurs when there is a blockage of the nasal passage, usually when the membrane lining inside of the nose becomes swollen from inflamed blood vessels. While nasal congestion may just be a minor annoyance in older children and adults, in many infants, nasal congestion can pose serious health risks. Nasal congestion has many causes and ranges in severity.


Nasal congestion is commonly caused by allergic rhinitis, or hay fever. This occurs when pollen, dust, mold spores, or other allergens are inhaled and irritate the nasal passage. Other causes of nasal congestion include the common cold or flu, a deviated septum, sinusitis or sinus infections, reaction to certain medications. Additionally, nasal congestion occurs in many women during pregnancy. In many individuals, nasal congestion is caused by food allergies. Those who are lactose intolerant often find themselves suffering from a stuffy nose. Your doctor can conduct allergy tests to identify your specific type of food allergy and recommend a new diet. Reducing the amount of dairy in your diet in addition to carbohydrates and sugar can improve the quality of your diet and reduce nasal congestion.
Stuffy Nose Remedies


A stuffy nose, or nasal congestion, is just, a feeling as though your nose is stuffed with something. Symptoms may include difficulty breathing through your nose, a runny nose, and sneezing. Those who suffer from severe nasal congestion can have trouble in sleeping, speaking, and hearing and even experience bothersome snoring.

When to See a Doctor

It is usually not necessary to see a doctor when you experience nasal congestion. You need to seek medical attention if you experience other symptoms such as blurred vision, swelling of the eyes or forehead, a cough that produces yellow or green mucus, a bloody nose, or if your congestion lasts longer than 2 weeks.

Home Remedies

There are many home remedies used to relieve nasal congestion. Simple remedies include using an allergy filter in your air conditioner, using a vaporizer with additives such as vinegar, and dusting regularly. Dusting and allergy filters help to reduce nasal congestion caused by allergies and hay fever while vaporizers work to open the sinuses up using steam.


Many home remedies for relieving nasal congestion center around spicy or strong foods. In many cultures, chicken soup is the perfect cure for nasal congestion. Adding black or red pepper in the chicken soup can help to open up the sinuses, allowing for the inflammation of the nose to decrease. Many spicy foods such as curries, Chinese soups, and Mexican dishes contain peppers and spices that can help relieve congestion. These foods may cause your nose to run, so be sure to keep tissues near you.

Vapor Rub

Vapor rub contains menthol, which helps to temporarily open the nasal passages. Rub a small amount of the vapor rub on your chest or under nostrils works to soothe and relieve congestion. There are many different brands of vapor rub, but all are very similar so any brand will work.

Hot Drinks

Drinking hot drinks such as green tea can help to reduce nasal congestion. The steam from the drink opens up the nasal passages and many warm liquids such as tea or chicken soup are old cures for colds. Try to avoid consuming too much caffeine as it can cause congestion to worsen.

Elevate Your Head

Often, nighttime can be the worst period for nasal congestion. Lying down can also aggravate nasal congestion. Elevating your head with extra pillows at night can help the nose to drain better and open up clogged nasal passages.

Hot Compresses

Placing a hot, moist towel under your eyes encourages sinus drainage. This can relieve congestion and pain associated with allergies or a cold. You can apply warm compresses several times a day as needed to relieve the congestion. Gently pressing on the hot compress can shift the facial bones to allow for better sinus drainage.


When you have nasal congestion, often the best relief is taking a hot shower. The steam from the shower opens up the nasal passageways. You can boil a pot of water on the stove and carefully breathe in the steam to help reduce nasal congestion.

Tomato Tea

Tomato tea works to open the sinuses and give the body a much-needed boost of vitamin C to help improve the immune system. Combine a cup of tomato juice, V8 works great, a teaspoon of minced garlic, ½ a teaspoon of hot sauce, and a teaspoon of lemon juice. You can heat the ingredients in a pot on the stove or in a container in the microwave. Be sure to drink the tomato tea hot. The tomato juice contains large amounts of vitamin C, which helps the immune system. Garlic also works to help fight infection. The hot sauce works to open up the sinuses and reduce nasal congestion.

Oil of Oregano

Oil of oregano is an essential oil known for its ability to strengthen the immune system and improve respiratory health. You can add 2 or 3 drops of oil of oregano to your favorite juice and drink it 3 or 4 times a day to treat nasal congestion. The juice can help boost the immune system in addition to the oil of oregano. You can also add 8 drops of oil of oregano to hot water and breathe in the steam. This will help to open up the nasal passageways to reduce nasal congestion.

Nasal Sprays

Nasal sprays are a great way to relieve the pressure and difficulty breathing associated with nasal congestion. These sprays can be purchased over the counter, prescribed by a physician, or even homemade.

Over-the-Counter Sprays

Nasal sprays such as Afrin offer decongestant properties and work to quickly relieve the nose of congestion. Zicam and Vicks offer a more natural nasal spray. The side effects of these over-the-counter sprays include dizziness, burning, drying of the sinuses, and sneezing. These sprays are available at most supermarkets, drug stores, and pharmacies. Costing approximately $6 US per bottle, over-the-counter sprays are an inexpensive cure for nasal congestion.

Prescription Sprays

For more severe cases of congestion, a physician may prescribe a nasal spray. Products such as Nasonex and Omnaris offer relief from allergies and allergy-caused nasal congestion. Atrovent is used to treat severe nasal congestion in individuals who also suffer from lung problems such as COPD and emphysema.
Side effects of these medications include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Dizziness
  • Bitter taste
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety.

Prescription nasal sprays can be expensive; however, many insurance companies or prescription medical plans can assist in reducing the cost of these medications. Do not take these sprays if you have certain heart conditions, are on medication for hypertension, have high blood pressure, or have thyroid disease.


Saline Solution Saline spray is one of the most common treatments for nasal congestion. It is available in supermarkets, drug stores, and grocery stores. You can even make your own saline solution easily and with little cost. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil and pour in 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized salt and a 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. Stir lightly until the salt and baking soda is diluted, leaving the water a bit cloudy in color. Allow the solution to cool until it is at room temperature and place in a clean and sterilized 8-ounce container. You can use this solution in a neti pot or with a nasal bulb.

Tea Tree Oil

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add approximately 8 drops of tea tree oil. Pour the tea tree oil solution into a bowl and inhale the steam. You can place a towel over your head to create a tent, which will catch the vapors and help to open up the sinus passages.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Placing 8 ounces of warm water into a glass bowl or container, add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a ¼ teaspoon of non-iodized salt. Mix the solution together until the salt has dissolved. Gently tilt your head back and use an eyedropper or nasal bulb to put the solution into your nasal cavity. Breath deeply with your head back, ensuring the solution is able to work to clear the congestion. Then, blow your nose; this will rid your nose of mucus and congestion.

Decongestant Pills

Decongestant pills work to alleviate the nose of congestion. Psuedophedrine and phenylephrine are the most common active ingredients in decongestant pills. Phenylephrine acts directly to reduce inflammation while pseudophedrine acts indirectly on the adrenergic receptors, which helps to reduce the swelling of the blood vessels in the nose. Decongestants are typically paired with antihistamines to treat the two main causes of nasal congestion. Some common brands of decongestants are Claritin D, Sudafed, and Mucinex D.

These pills can be purchased at local supermarkets, drug stores, and pharmacies. They are relatively inexpensive, costing $8 to $12 US per box, depending on the amount and dosage size. The side effects of these medications include dizziness, anxiety, fatigue, stomach cramps, nervousness, and an increased heart rate. Do not take decongestant pills if you certain heart conditions, are on asthma medication, have high blood pressure, diabetes, or kidney disease.

Risk Factors

Those with a weakened or suppressed immune system, young children, infants, and the elderly are at a higher risk of contracting the flu or a cold. This can lead to nasal congestion. Those with allergic rhinitis are extremely likely to suffer from chronic and prolonged nasal congestion. Women who are pregnant can experience nasal congestion due to the increased blood flow throughout the body. Newborn infants often suffer from nasal congestion, which can potentially be harmful. Infants can only breathe through their noses and nasal congestion can interfere with breastfeeding or cause difficulty breathing.


Preventing nasal congestion can be easy. In the winter months, be sure to keep your home comfortably humid with a humidifier. Dry air can aggravate the nasal passageways and cause inflammation. Dusting and riding your home of pollen, dust mites, pet dander, mold, and fungi can reduce exposure to harmful allergens that can cause congestion. Consuming vitamin C can help to boost the immune system to prevent colds. Colds and the flu commonly cause nasal congestion; with a healthy immune system, you are less likely to experience bothersome nasal congestion.

What to Avoid

Certain foods and activities can aggravate and worsen nasal congestion. Always avoid consuming alcohol when experiencing nasal congestion. Alcohol can dry out the nasal passage and increase the rick of inflammation of the blood vessels in the nose. Additionally, avoid swimming in chlorine pools. The chlorine can irritate the mucus membranes in your nose and cause inflammation.

Many foods can cause a stuffy nose, so try to avoid food such as ice cream, cheese, and milk when you have nasal congestion. Caffeine can irritate and dry the nasal passages, further causing nasal congestion.


Types of Eye Infections

An eye infection is a general term applied to many different conditions. Eye infections can be caused by bacteria, viruses, allergies, or other microbiological means. Some common types of eye infections are pink eye, or conjunctivitis, blepharitis, and trachoma. These varieties of infections can spread easily and lead to larger problems including blurred vision, damage to the retina, cornea, or optic nerve, or even blindness.

Human eye anatomy


Individuals who wear contact lenses are likely to contract an eye infection due to the buildup of bacteria. If the lenses are not properly cleaned and disinfected, bacteria are able to build up quickly. Other causes for mild eye infections include viruses, bacteria, fungus, allergies, and other irritants. Common causes of more serious infections include ocular histoplasmosis, sexually transmitted infections, shingles, and inflammation of the cornea.

Ocular Histoplasmosis

Ocular histoplasmosis is a fungal infection of the lungs that can travel to the eyes. This is commonly contracted in the United States; approximately 90 % of individuals living in the southeastern United States have developed this specific type of infection.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as Chlamydia, gonorrhea, or herpes can cause infections and visual damage. The infection can get into the eye through genital fluids or if the eyes are rubbed after handling infected genital areas.


Shingles are a chronic, reoccurring infection that causes chickenpox. After touching an open sore then touching the eye, the infection can move into the eye. Over 50 % of people who have singles will have an eye infection as a result of the infection.

Other Causes

Other causes of eye infections are:

  • Lyme disease
  • Crab lice
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Allergies
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Acanthamoea.


Unfortunately, there is no specific list of symptoms for eye infections. The symptoms vary based on the cause of the infection, which part of the eye is infected, the severity, and the reaction in the individual. Common symptoms of conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye, are redness, crusting of the eyelid, itching, and discharge. For viral cases of conjunctivitis, the discharge is watery or mucous-like and with bacterial conjunctivitis, the discharge is thicker and can be green, yellow, or white in color.

Common symptoms of bacterial infections, or keratitis, include:Eye Infections

  • pain
  • itching
  • redness
  • a yellow discharge
  • swollen eyelids
  • constant, involuntary blinking

General symptoms of eye infections may include excessive tearing, redness, swelling, pain, itching, a feeling of sand in the eye, a discharge, or crusting around the eye.

Often, one can have a mild eye infection that may cause no pain or redness. These are difficult to diagnose and can damage the retina, blood vessels, or optic nerve within the eye if gone untreated.


The most important step you can take in preventing eye infections is to always wash your hands. This will kill any harmful bacteria or viruses you come into contact with on a daily basis. If you know someone has an eye infection, do not share bedding, towels, or pillows as these items may have become contaminated with the infection.

It is best to never share cosmetics such as eyeliner, mascara, or eye shadows as they can be exposed to infectious materials easily. Once the eye infection is diagnosed, dispose of any contacts that may have been exposed to the infection in addition to any eye makeup. Do not wear contacts or eye makeup until the infection has cleared from the eye completely. Additionally, avoid swimming in chlorine when you have an eye infection. The chlorine can further irritate the eye and render medications ineffective.


Diagnosis for eye infections can vary based on the cause of the infection. Often for bacterial infections, a swab of will be taken to identify the bacteria and the best treatment options. Viral cultures may be collected and tested, especially if the infection is seen in clusters throughout the eye. A doctor may do a conjunctival scrape in order to detect fungal infections or infections based on common STIs such as Chlamydia.


Treatment for eye infections vary based on the type and severity of the infection. Typically, eye doctors will not prescribe medications for viral eye infections unless it has progressed into a worrisome state. Viral infections do not respond to antibiotics, which are the most commonly prescribed treatment for eye infections. For bacterial infections and some fungal infections of the eye, a physician may prescribe antibiotic eye ointments or drops.

Bacterial infections such as blepharitis, an inflammation surrounding the eyelid, require a topical antibiotic and a low-dosage topical corticosteroid. Styes, or small, painful lumps that occur on the upper and lower eyelid may require surgical procedures. Styes are caused by blockages of one of more of the oil-producing glands in the eyelid. An eye doctor may need to make an incision and drain the stye if treatments such as antibiotics and steroid drug injections prove to be ineffective.

Over-the-counter treatments are also available and are quite effective in treating infections caused by allergies. Antihistamines and artificial tears eye drops help to reduce debris in the eye and soothe any irritation. These over-the-counter are found at most supermarkets, drug stores, and pharmacies.

Side Effects

The side effects for medications such as steroids and antibiotic ointment and drops include redness, irritation, burning, stinging, nausea, fatigue, and mild itching. Over-the-counter treatments typically have fewer side effects, which include burning, stinging, redness, and irritation.

Home Remedies

Home remedies can be an easy, inexpensive, and effective solution to reducing the symptoms and curing uncomfortable eye infections. These remedies work best for infections caused by debris or allergies, but can also work with viral and bacterial infections.

Boric Acid

Boric acid, a weak and water-soluble acid, is easily found in supermarkets or drug stores. Occurring naturally in many fruits, vegetables, and other plants, boric acid serves as an antifungal, antiseptic, and eyewash. While boric acid is an acid, it is extremely mild and little side effects have been reported. A slight stinging or burning may occur with use.

Do not use Boric acid ophthalmic if you are allergic to boric acid. Also avoid indigestion or use near open wounds.


Flaxseed is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to reduce the body of free radicals and stimulate the immune system help to fight infection. Boil a half-cup of water and add an ounce of bruised flaxseed. Allow the mixture to steep for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Strain the excess water and place the warm flaxseed onto a clean washcloth, cotton square, or piece of cheesecloth and apply directly to the eye. You can repeat this process up to 3 times a day until symptoms are gone.

The flaxseed works to reduce inflammation and soothe the pain in the eye. Do not use this remedy if you are pregnant. There have not been enough studies to show the effects of flaxseed on the fetus.


Tea bags can work to soothe the eye and reduce redness and swelling. Typically, black tea is used but other types of tea such as green or white may be used. Start by boiling the tea bags in hot water. Allow the bags to cool and place one bag the affected eye for 10 to 15 minutes. You can use the tea made by the bags and water as an eyewash and wash your eye out in the lukewarm mixture before applying the teabag compress.

Repeat up to 3 times a day until bothersome symptoms of the infection are gone. Some people have reported a slight burning or stinging associated with using tea as an eyewash. If this occurs, stop immediately stop using the tea to clean the eye.


Chamomile is known for its soothing and calmative properties. Boil 2 chamomile teabags with 3 cups of water. Allow to cool and apply the chamomile tea to the eye – with freshly washed hands – 3 to 4 times a day. You can also dip a clean washcloth in the tea and apply to the eye as a compress for 15 minutes.

This will help to reduce redness and irritation associated with the eye infection. Some burning, stinging, and redness has been reported with the use of this remedy. Cases were mild and lasted shortly. If these side effects persist or are too bothersome, do not continue to use this cure.


Honey has many antibacterial properties and can help to kill the harmful bacteria in the eye. There are several different ways honey can be used to treat eye infections. The first way is to mix equal parts honey with boiled water. Mix the honey and water thoroughly and allow to cool. Using a clean washcloth or cotton balls, apply the solution to the eye. You can use the cloth of cotton balls as a compress and leave on the eye for 15 minutes.

This solution can be used as eye drops or an effective eyewash; simply use 2 to 3 times a day until symptoms have cleared. Another great way to use honey to treat eye infections is to boil 3 cups of water with a few eyebright flowers, which can be purchased at local health food stores. Add 3 tablespoons of honey to the water and eyebright and stir. Allow to cool and apply to the eye with a clean washcloth or cotton balls.

This mixture can also be used as an eyewash. The final way to use honey to help reduce eye infections is to apply a small amount of honey directly to the eye. Do not dilute the honey; applied directly to the eyes, the honey binds to any dirt, debris, or discharge in the eye, cleaning the eye safely and effectively through natural tearing.


Jasmine flowers mixed with boiled or distilled water reduce inflammation, redness, and irritation associated with eye infections. Simply fill a clean glass jar with boiled or distilled water and 8 to 10 jasmine flowers. Cover the jar and allow it to sit over night. In the morning, gently stir the mixture and apply to the eye with an eyedropper 1 to 3 times a day for 3 days. After applying the jasmine water eye drops, you can soak a clean wash cloth or cotton balls in witch hazel and apply to the eye as a compress. Set on the eye for 15 to 20 minutes.

Baby Shampoo

Another home remedy requires you to simply dilute a small amount of tearless baby shampoo in water. Using a clean washcloth or cotton balls, gently apply the mixture to the eye and eyelids. This helps to clean out any debris in or around the eye. For best results, wash eyes with the baby shampoo mixture twice a week.


Herbal Congestion Treatment

Nasal congestion, also known as stuffy nose or stuffed up nose, nasal blockage, blocked nose, or nasal obstruction is a condition that exists when the nasal passages’ membranes, ranging from the exterior nares or nostrils to the interior nares also called choana, become swollen and irritated from inflamed blood vessels in mucosal membranes. Although they may occur separately, nasal congestion and rhinnorrhea or runny nose, often occur together.

Additional Symptoms

Headache and Sinus Congestion Nasal congestion is usually accompanied by excess mucous occurring in the nasal passages as well. However, this may be true occasionally, but it is not the most common reason why the nose gets congested. The most common cause for a stuffy nose is that the tissue lining it (mucous membrane) becomes swollen, usually due to some sort of irritation.

For most non-infant children and adults, this is commonly more of an annoyance than a serious condition. However, for newborn infants, breathing through the nose is crucial and nasal congestion in the first months after birth could interfere with nursing and possibly cause serious breathing difficulty.

Type of Condition

Nasal congestion is an abnormal physiological condition that should not be confused with the human nasal cycle. During a twenty four hour period, the human nostrils will take turns being engorged with blood and swelling, and then shrinking so that only one nostril is working at a time. This cycle of switching from one nostril to another occurs about every four hours and is a normal human physiological process.


The symptoms of a nasal congestion may include an itchy, tingling, or burning sensation inside the nasal passages. Of course, the most obvious symptom is the gradual increase of stuffiness or blockage to the nasal passages. More often than not, nasal congestion itself is considered as a symptom rather than a malady or disease.


There are many causes of nasal congestion. The following is a list of some of the more common and uncommon causes of nasal congestion:

  • Acute sinusitis (sinus infection)
  • Allergies and/or hay fever
  • Decongestant overuse
  • Foreign body in nasal passage
  • Vasomotor rhinitis
  • Viral upper respiratory infection
  • Nasal polyps
  • Pregnancy
  • Complications associated with excessive cocaine use
  • Side effect or reaction to a medication

Risk Factors

Although nasal congestion is often more of a symptom than a disease in itself, there are certain factors that can be considered predispositions to nasal congestion.

Individuals that are prone to frequent sinus infections or upper respiratory infections whether they are bacterial, viral, fungal, or parasitic in nature will often be prone to nasal congestion.

Allergy sufferers can expect bouts with nasal congestion. Of course, not all individuals react to allergens in the same manner, but those who suffer from frequent and ubiquitous allergens (such as dust for example), are more susceptible to developing nasal congestion as a histamine reaction than those who do not suffer from allergies.

Deviated Septum

Certain anatomical conditions can be considered risk factors for nasal congestion. One of the most common of these is a deviated septum.

A deviated septum can cause nasal congestion in one or both nasal passages or nostrils. This condition is usually even more noticeable if the sufferer has a cold. A deviated septum can be congenital (present at birth) or created due to some physical source such as a sports related injury or nasal inhalation of narcotic drugs.

Nasal Growths

Another anatomical condition that could be considered as a risk factor for frequent nasal congestion in inflamed nasal polyps or other nasal growths that are benign or malignant. Even enlarged adenoids can be a risk factor for nasal congestion.

Interestingly, prolonged or excessive decongestant use can cause nasal congestion when stopped. This is due to the membranes in the nose trying to return to a normal state and overcompensating along the way. This is often referred to as a “rebound” effect.

Most cases of nasal congestion are not serious health conditions or life threatening. However, if nasal congestion is accompanied by any of the following symptoms you should seek professional medical advice as soon as possible:

  • Frequent or severe nose bleeding
  • Changed appearance or deformation of the bones of the face
  • Decreased vision or double vision
  • Loose teeth or an upper denture that once fit properly but doesn’t now
  • Facial numbness or dental numbness
  • Any pain, swelling, or inflammation around the nose, forehead, or eyes


It is difficult to prevent nasal congestion without knowing the causal factors responsible for creating the condition. However, there are some steps that can be taken to reduce the risk factor or at least reduce the frequency of nasal congestion.

Individuals with allergies should try to avoid allergens as much as possible. In addition, allergy immunotherapy (allergy shots) may help prevent nasal congestion due to allergic responses. Avoiding irritants (such as cigarette smoke, chemicals, etc.) may also prevent bouts of nasal congestion.

Diagnostic Considerations

Nasal Decongestant Nasal congestion is easy to diagnose, however determining the underlying cause may be more difficult. Your physician will be able to determine the cause of your congestion upon a physical examination. Normally, a primary care physician will examine your nose with a nasal speculum or otoscope and a penlight.

However, this procedure cannot provide a comprehensive view of the entire nasal passage, but is often all that is needed to make an accurate diagnosis. If the primary care physician has suspicion to think that the nasal congestion is caused from a situation that requires a more comprehensive diagnostic procedure, the may refer the patient to an otolaryngologist or ear, nose and throat (ENT) physician.

CAT Scan

In addition to the above mentioned diagnostic procedure, an ENT may order a CAT scan (Computerized Axial Tomography) of the sinuses or may perform an endoscopic examination. A CAT scan will provide x-ray views in slices or cross sections of the sinuses and nasal passages providing a detailed view of the area. An endoscope is basically a narrow tube with a camera on one end that allows the ENT physician to look deeply into the nasal passages.

If a physician has reason to believe a stuffed up nose is caused by a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection, a sample culture swab may be taken to determine the exact cause of the infection.

Treatment Options

Nasal congestion can be treated in a variety of ways including non-pharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and herbal options. Non-pharmaceutical treatment (sometimes called home remedies) for nasal congestion is often desired when pharmaceutical methods could cause undesirable side affects or the condition does not respond well to pharmaceutical therapy.

Thinning the mucous can often relieve nasal congestion or at least make breathing easier. Methods for thinning the mucous in the nose can include the following:

  • Drink plenty of fluids. Warm drinks such as broth and tea for example may help by not only providing fluid but by warming the nasal passages.
  • Use a gentle over-the-counter saline (salt water) spray or a neti pot.
  • Increase the ambient humidity of the air around you by using a vaporizer or humidifier.

Keeping the head in an upright position may be helpful as well. Nasal congestion often increases when the head is in a prone or supine position.

Nasal Strips

Try using adhesive strips to widen the nasal passages. Most pharmacies sell a plastic adhesive strip that is place on the nose. Although it will not cure the underlying cause of nasal congestion, the adhesive strips work by helping to enlarge the nasal passages making breathing easier.

Inhalers may be helpful in relieving nasal congestion. Inhalers can be commercially manufactured or inhalation therapy can be performed by pouring hot water in a bowl and inhaling the steam vapors that rise off from it. Many herbal agents can be used as inhalants. Eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, spearmint oil, and menthol are just a few that have proven successful for many people. Even the smell of a freshly cut onion can have powerful decongestant effects.

Pharmaceutical Treatment Options

Pharmaceutical treatment options for nasal congestion are numerous. Pharmaceutical therapies available for congestion can be classified into over-the-counter and prescribed chemical therapies. Regardless of the pharmaceutical that is used, there are basically two methods of action by the chemical agent.

Most chemicals are either an antihistamine or a vasoconstrictor. An antihistamine inhibits the effects of histamine in the human body. Histamine is produced as an allergic reaction to an allergen; it triggers a response of inflammation. By blocking or reducing the effect of histamine an antihistamine in effect blocks or reduces the inflammation response preventing the nasal passages from becoming congested.

A vasoconstrictor shrinks the blood vessels. Nasal decongestant vasoconstrictors cause the blood vessels lining the nasal passages to shrink, thereby relieving congestion. Nasal decongestants and antihistamines can be administered orally (pill, tablet, or capsule) or can be in the form of a nasal spray.

Over-The Counter (OTC) Pharmaceuticals

The following is a list of the more common over-the-counter oral antihistamines that may be useful for treating nasal congestion:

  • Diphenhydramine – known as trade names Benadryl or Dimedrol
  • Chlorpheniramine – known as trade names Chlor-Trimton, Chlor-tripolon, Piriton and HISTA-12
  • Pheniramine – often combined with other drugs. Maybe known by the trade name Avil
  • Pyrilamine – known as trade names Phena-Plus, R-Tannate
  • Phenindamine – known as trade name Nolahist
  • Loratadine – known as trade names Claritin, Alavert
  • Cetirizine – known as trade name Zyrtec

Most oral antihistamines share the same list of possible side effects, however some specific chemicals may have side effects that are particular to that drug. Almost all antihistamines share a common side effect of drowsiness; however loratadine and cetrizine have demonstrated lower percentages of patient somnolence than many of the other antihistamines listed. Additional side effects from anithistaimes can include dizziness, headache, loss of appetite, stomach upset, vision changes, and dry mouth.

Common OTC Medicine

If you have any questions about whether an over-the-counter medicine is right for you, or about what potential harmful side effects they could cause it is best to seek professional medical advice.

The following is a list of the more common over-the-counter oral decongestants that may be useful for treating nasal congestion:

  • Pseudoephedrine – known as trade name Sudafed
  • Phenylpropanolamine – known as trade name Dexatrim or Accutrim. Phenylpropanolamine also known as PPA, was discontinued for over-the-counter sale in the United States in 2005 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, it is still available as an OTC drub in other countries and may be know as Wick DayMed (Europe) and Alerid-D and D-Cold Total (India)
  • Phenylephrine – although phenylephrine is usually not sold alone, it is one of several ingredients often found in OTC cold/flu remedies. In fact with the curtailment of pseudoephedrine use in the U.S. due to methamphetamine use, phenylephrine has become the most popular decongestant.

Some of the combination remedies with phenylephrine include:

  • Robitussin CF
  • Theraflu
  • Dayquil Capsules
  • Execedrin Sinus Headache
  • Sudafed PE, Codral
  • Demazin
  • Panadol
  • Dimetapp PE
  • Visodron
  • Neo Citran
  • Coristina
  • Lemsip
  • Flutex
  • Demazin.

Both pseudoephedrine and PPA are vasoconstrictors. They cause the blood vessels in the lining of the nasal passages to shrink; however, they do not specifically target these blood vessels. They may cause any of the body’s blood vessels to shrink. Normally this is not significant but can result in tachycardia, difficulty sleeping, tremors or shakiness, dizziness, and unusual weakness. PPA particularly was removed from OTC sale by the FDA in 2005 due to the possibility of stroke when used by young women.

As with the antihistamines, if you have any questions about whether an over-the-counter medicine is right for you, or about what potential harmful side effects they could cause it is best to seek professional medical advice.

Decongestant Sprays

There are primarily two OTC nasal decongestant sprays. These chemicals are sprayed directly into the nasal passages where they contact the tissue and topically employ a vasoconstrictor to shrink the nasal membranes. The two common nasal decongestant sprays are:

  • Oxymetazoline – known as trade names Vicks Sinex, Afrin, Dristan, Sudafed OM, and Mucinex Full Force
  • Phenylephrine – Neo-Synephrine

Side effects from nasal decongestant sprays not only include those already listed above for oral nasal decongestants but may also include burning, stinging, sneezing, and increased nasal discharge, excessive drying of the nostrils, and altered taste sensations.

Prescription Pharmaceuticals

As for the OTC solutions, prescriptions medications follow the same parallel. That is, most prescriptive medications for nasal decongestants are either antihistamines, decongestants, or a combination of the two in either oral or nasal spray forms. Some of these may even be the same medications, but under a medical prescription authorization, the concentration of the key ingredient may be changed.

A few of the prescriptive oral antihistamines that may be effective in treating nasal congestion include:

  • Desloratadine – known as trade name Clarinex
  • Levocetirizine – known as trade name Xyzal
  • Fexofenadinie – known as trade name Allegra

Prescription oral decongestants are normally the same as the OTC types except they may be dispensed at a different dosage and are often combined with other chemicals (such as antihistamines) that are prescriptive. For example, Allegra-D is a prescriptive formula containing time released fexofenadine and pseudoephedrine.

Leukotriene Receptor Antagonist

A different approach to allergy control that may also reduce nasal congestion is an oral medication known as a leukotriene receptor antagonist. Montelukast also known as Singulair is designed to prevent and manage asthma and also relieve symptoms of seasonal allergies including nasal rhinitis or nasal congestion.

Intranasal Steroids

Finally there is one other approach to controlling nasal congestion by the use of prescription medication and that is by the use of an intranasal steroid or INS. These steroids combat nasal congestion by inhibiting the inflammation response of the nasal passage but not by vasoconstriction. Instead these corticosteroids inhibit the immune system’s ability to the inflammation reaction. These medications are normally administered as nasal sprays and may include the following:

  • Ciclesonide – known as trade name Omnaris
  • Fluticasone Proprionate – known as trade name Flonase
  • Fluticasone Furoate – known as trade name Vermyst
  • Budesonide – known as trade name Rhinocort
  • Beclomethasone Diproprionate Monohydrate – known as trade name Beconase AQ
  • Mometasone Furoate Monohydrate – known as trade name Beconase AQ
  • Triamcinolone Acetonide – known as trade name Nasacort AQ
  • Flunisolide – known as trade name Nasarel

Side effects from these medications are rarely serious but may include a burning or stinging sensation in the nose, altered taste sensation, nosebleeds, nasal perforations, and (rarely) slowed growth of children.

Medical Treatment Considerations

Medicinal treatment options costs are as varied between medications as well as their purchase location. In addition, generic medications generally are cheaper than name brands, if the generic version is available.

If you suffer nasal congestion that lasts longer than two weeks or that does not respond to normal OTC medication, it is best to seek professional medical advice. Only your doctor can make an accurate diagnosis of the underlying cause of your nasal congestion and recommend the corrective action necessary to relive the situation.



What is Anemia?

People who suffer from anemia do not have enough red blood cells for the body to function properly. Red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body. When there is iron deficiency, the body does not produce enough red blood cells for this vital function.

Some people do not consume enough iron rich foods, specifically meats like beef that are good sources of iron. Failure to consume adequate amounts of foods with iron can be the result of not being able to afford healthy foods or not being knowledgeable about what makes up a healthy diet. When there is not enough iron in the blood, an individual is known as have iron deficiency anemia. Anemia is known by other names such as iron poor blood, or tired blood.

Symptoms of Anemia

Anemic Blood Donation Generally, the symptoms of anemia include tiredness or a feeling of having no energy. People with anemia may feel fatigued with shortness of breath. Their hands and feet may feel cold much of the time. Anemia may cause an individual to experience headaches, and dizziness. Pale skin and chest pain are also symptoms of anemia. The heart rhythm may also be affected since the red blood cell count is low. As a result, the heart has to work harder to pump oxygen carrying blood to all parts of the body. Risk factors for anemia

Males and females of all age groups and races are susceptible to anemia. Children who are under two are also at risk because their diets don’t usually contain enough iron foods. Those of other age groups who fail to eat iron-rich food may find that they suffer from anemia. The group most at risk for anemia is women who are of childbearing age. Menstruation is the primary reason for this group being at risk. For some women menstrual periods result in the loss of much blood which affects the level of red blood cells in the body.

People with chronic illnesses such as kidney problems, cancer, diabetes and related conditions are at a higher risk for developing anemia.


People with anemia often have unusual cravings otherwise known as pica. Pica is defined as eating non food items like paper, dirt, ice grass, paper and other items. It is not unusual to observe adults with pica chewing on unusual items. Young children with pica exhibit similar behaviors.

How Anemia is Diagnosed

The may be no symptoms in some people who have anemia. A physician may ask questions about a family history of anemia to determine if an individual might be at risk. A complete physical is usually needed to diagnose anemia. This includes a rectal exam or vaginal exam if deemed necessary to determine if there is any loss of blood.

One test that is usually given to diagnose anemia is a complete blood count. The CBC measures the number of white blood cells to determine if there are problems with the blood or if the body is fighting off infection or immune issues. The complete blood count test checks hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen in the bloodstream and the hematocrit, which is a measure of how much space blood cells occupy in the body. If these numbers are low, that may signal that an individual has anemia.

Hemoglobin Electrophoresis

Hemoglobin electrophoresis is an additional test that might be ordered. This test measures the different types of hemoglobin in the blood. This helps the physician determine what type of anemia a person may have. Another test that might be recommended is a reticulocyte test that measures whether bone marrow is making red blood cells as quickly as needed. Iron tests including the serum ferritan and serum iron test can be used to determine the amount of iron in the blood. All of these tests are helpful when a physician is evaluating a patient for anemia.

Causes of Anemia

There is not one specific cause of anemia. Some causes are associated with heredity, while others are related to diseases, hormonal changes and other conditions that result in either not enough red blood cells being made or red blood cells being depleted.

Iron may be lost through normal physiological processes such as during the menstrual period in women. Blood loss is the reason for iron depletion during menstruation. The most common cause of iron-deficiency anemia is blood loss. Blood loss can be the result of bleeding in the urinary tract, cancer, surgery, and trauma

Diet Issues

Diets with little to no iron, folic acid (folate), or vitamin B12 can result in the body not being able to produce enough red blood cells. Other nutrients that help the body make red blood cells are copper, riboflavin and vitamin C.

Cancer & Anemia

When there is not enough of the hormone erythropoietin present the body is not able make adequate blood cells. Erythropoietin is what stimulates the bone marrow to produce blood cells; therefore not enough of hormone can lead to anemia.

Cancer can damage red blood cells and cancer treatment can damage bone marrow and prevent it from producing enough red blood cells to carry oxygen.


It is not unusual for pregnant women to have anemia due to changes that come with pregnancy. Increased plasma in the pregnant woman’s body can dilute red blood cells.

Types of Anemia caused by Heredity

There are other types of anemia that are not specifically associated with diet and cannot be correctly by taking supplements or eating healthy foods. Those anemias are the result of chronic conditions, medications and substances that affect the blood cells or heredity.

Some infants are born without the ability to make enough red blood cells. This condition is called aplastic anemia. Infants and children who have aplastic anemia often need blood transfusions to increase the number of red blood cells in their blood.

In other situations, anemia can be caused by conditions that destroy too many red blood cells. Those with enlarged spleens often have a problem with losing too many blood cells. The job of the spleen is to rid the body of worn out red blood cells. When the spleen is enlarged, it removes more red blood cells than necessary. As a result the individual experiences the symptoms of anemia.


Thalassemia is also known as Mediterranean anemia. With this type of anemia, there are fewer red blood cells and less hemoglobin the body than normal. Thalassemia can cause a person to feel fatigued. Other symptoms of Thalassemia include weakness, pale appearance, slow growth, shortness of breath, jaundice, irritability, dark urine, and protruding abdomen. The condition may not need treatment, but people with serious cases often get regular blood transfusions.

The signs and symptoms you experience depend on your type and severity of thalassemia. Some babies show signs and symptoms of thalassemia at birth, while others may develop signs or symptoms later, during the first two years of life. Some people who have only one affected hemoglobin gene don’t experience any thalassemia symptoms. A healthy diet with iron rich foods can help persons with thalassemias, but if parents suspect that their children have the condition, they should take to child to a doctor for evaluation.

Sickle Cell Anemia

Anemic Blood Donation Another type of anemia is sickle cell anemia. With this type of anemia, the body produces red blood cells that are shaped like a “C” of a sickle. The hemoglobin in these cells causes the sickle shape. It is difficult for these sickle shaped cells to move through the blood vessels. Sickle cell anemia is an inherited, lifelong disease. The sickle shape of the blood cells can cause them to clump together which results in pain and inflammation for those who suffer from sickle cell.

Persons with hemolytic anemia lack enough red blood cells because the body destroys them. Certain hereditary conditions cause hemolytic anemia. Conditions such as infections, immune disorders can cause this type of anemia. Additionally, blood transfusions and certain types of medications can cause hemolytic anemia.

B-12 Deficiency

There can also be anemia due to B-12 deficiency. The body need Vitamin B-12 to make red blood cells. To boost the amount of B-12 in the body, healthy foods should be consumed. Meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy products are all sources of vitamin B-12. Vegetarians must be especially careful to get enough B-12 since those food that are good sources of B-12 would not be eaten. Vitamin B-12 anemia may also be seen in infants with poor diets and in pregnant women.

Severe Anemia

When anemia is severe it can cause problems with the heart including rapid heart beat, enlargement of the heart and heart failure. Persons with severe anemia may need inpatient care to address the issue. Those with severe anemia may experience restless leg syndrome. The legs and arms can also swell when anemia is severe.

How to Prevent Iron Deficiency Anemia

Healthy eating can help prevent iron deficiency anemia. Getting adequate amounts of iron rich foods each day can help improve hemoglobin. Consuming enough iron can help an individual feel more energetic, improve resistance to infections and increase children’s ability to grow and learn. Try to consume at least three or more good sources of iron every day.

Foods that contain iron include liver, lean meat, fish, poultry, dried beans and peas; green leafy vegetables, raisins, tofu and whole wheat bread. Eating foods that are fortified with iron is another way to add iron to the diet. These foods include iron fortified breakfast cereals and enriched breads and grain foods.

Meats contain heme iron which is easier for the body to absorb and use. When eating iron fortified foods, combine them with a source of vitamin C to help the body use the iron from these foods more effectively.

Iron Supplements

When eating iron rich food does not provide enough iron, a doctor may recommend supplements. Iron supplements should be taken only at the advice of a healthcare provider to prevent taking too much. Too much iron can lead to iron poisoning with symptoms of fatigue, nausea, dizziness, weight loss, headache and shortness of breath.

When taking iron supplements choose those that provide no more than 100 percent of the daily value of iron. If you need more, your health care provider will prescribe a supplement. Women of childbearing age are usually prescribed prenatal vitamins with iron.

How Much Iron Do You Need?

Women usually suffer from iron deficiency if they are in their childbearing years due to iron lost during the menstrual cycle. Also during pregnancy iron is lost due to the need for iron in fetal development. Girls in their teens need about 15 milligrams per day and pregnant women need around 27 milligrams per day. Children also need iron for growth and development. Typically, children ages one to three need 7 milligrams a day.


Scabies Information

Scabies is a type of skin infection caused by the sarcoptes scabiei mite, characterized by skin itching. Also termed “sarcoptic mange”, the term scabies is actually derived from the Latin word for “scratch”, scabere. The tiny mites burrow within the skin, causing an allergic reaction which in turn leads to a rash and acute itching. Worldwide, there are an estimated 300 million people infected with scabies at any one time.

History of Scabies

An ancient disease, scabies is thought to be over 2,000 years old. Historians speculate that references to scabies are found in the Bible as well as the writings of Aristotle.
Scabies Itching
The mite affects humans regardless of age, gender, socioeconomic status, or race.

Personal hygiene is often not considered a factor in scabies, although washing contaminated items with hot soap and water can often kill the mites.

Scabies occurs when female mites burrow into the human skin to lay eggs, creating tunnels underneath the surface. The mites feed on human skin and deposit their eggs waste products, which further exacerbate itching.

The eggs, over the course of three to four days, hatch into larvae, which further infect the skin and live on the human host for three to four weeks inside the skin. The scabies feed on the blood of the host to survive, and further burrowing in the skin. The allergic reaction humans have to the mites’ salive, waste, and eggs cause the deep seated and persistent trademark itching of scabies.


The first and most obvious sign of scabies is localized itching. Mites may or not be visible, but usually will leave small red bumps and tiny zig zag pathways where they have burrowed into the skin. These bumps may look like tiny pustles or blisters or resemble small pimples on the skin. Scabies tends to affect areas of skin folds, such as the inside of elbows, between fingers, behind knees, wrists, and other areas.

In patients where the immune system is weakened, scabies can develop to form crusted scabies, an advanced form of the disease where crusted patches of scabs form as a result of infestation. Thickened patches of skin containing hundreds of mites can form in crusted scabies.

Typically, the face and scalp are not affected by scabies. Scabies may remain localized in one area or gradually spread over the surface of the skin.

Risk Factors

Scabies is transferred via skin to skin contact from one human being to another. There have been cases where humans contract scabies from their pets, such as an infected dog or cat, but such occurrences are rare. Highly contagious, scabies mites can live in infected bedding, furniture, mattresses, clothing, keyboards, towels, and literally almost any surface where an infected human’s skin may have rubbed off. Additionally, scabies can survive without a host for up to three days. Once they have infected a human host, the parasitic mites can live anywhere from three to four weeks.

The most common way of contracting scabies is from prolonged physical contact with an infected person. While patients have been known to get scabies from infected bedding or clothing, this is less common. Prolonged physical contact usually means skin to skin contact with an infected person which lasts longer than the average handshake.

High Risk Areas

Scabies often becomes a problem in areas where people exist in close quarters, such as nursing homes, summer camps, or schools. In these environments, one infected individual can spread the disease to anyone he or she comes in close contact with.

The type of scabies that affects humans is different from the mite that infects dogs and cats. Humans typically cannot be infected by the same type of scabies mite that affect pets.


Scabies can exhibit clinical symptoms and external signs from four to six weeks following the initial infestation for patients who have not previously contracted the disease. In cases where patients have previously contracted scabies, symptoms can develop in as quickly as two to four days.

Once patients have exhibited symptoms, several methods can be used to diagnose the symptoms as scabies. Ink from a pen or topical tetracycline ointment can both be rubbed onto the surface of the skin, then wiped off with an alcohol pad. A special light is then shown on the skin; if the characteristic Z pattern appears under the light, the person has scabies.

Skin Scraping

Another method of diagnosis is to do a skin scraping and examine the specimen under a microscope for presence of mites or their waste. Detecting the presence of mites can often be very elusive, and doctors may have to do numerous skin scrapings in order to effectively rule out or confirm the disease. The skin scrapings must often penetrate several layers of skin in order to correctly test for the presence of mites.

Doctors have been known to order treatment for scabies even if microscopy and other detection techniques do not completely verify the infection. Due to the difficulty of detecting mites under a microscope and sometimes unconfirmed external presence, patients who exhibit the majority of symptoms for scabies are best served undergoing treatment as a preventative measure even if skin scraping or skin tests do not precisely confirm presence of the mite.

Weak Immune Systems

In patients with compromised immune systems such as HIV, AIDS, or auto immune deficiency, healthcare providers should be alerted immediately to the possibility of scabies. Secondary infections can occur as complications in these patients who contract scabies, as well as increased likelihood of acute infection.

Treatment Options

It is highly recommended that patients visit a doctor fordiagnosis and recommendations of treatment options for scabies.

Itching from Scabies While some infestations may resolve on their own, left untreated scabies can escalate into a highly unpleasant problem. Increased itching, formation of bloody scabs, and patches of scaly skin may accompany an advanced infestation. In such instances, medical treatment is the most efficient and best option. Scabies can also become resistant to medications over time, though this usually only occurs in repeat infections.

Once an infection is confirmed, the patient’s nails should be cut to prevent scabies from hiding under the fingernails or toenails.

Sulfur Soap

Sulfur soap in concentrations of 6% to 10% is a long standing treatment to combat scabies. Patients should wash thoroughly with sulfur soap at least once daily for four days in order to effectively treat the skin. Bedding, clothing, and any other items should be washed in extremely hot water and soap to prevent recontamination.

Neem Oil

Along with sulfur soap, Neem Oil is another effective homeopathic treatment for scabies. Neem Oil is known to have anti fungal and antibacterial properties, which can help treat or soothe the skin of patients infected with scabies.

Tea Tree Oil and Elimite

Tea Tree Oil has been used but with only moderate to little success. For this reason, prescription medications are often warranted for treatment.

One of the most commonly prescribed topical treatments for scabies is Elimite, a cream that must be applied to all areas of the skin (including under the fingernails and toenails) to effectively penetrate the epidermis. Elimite is topically applied all over the infected individual’s body, taking care to cover all surfaces of the skin. After 10 to 14 hours, the Elimite is washed off of the skin in the shower with hot water and soap. A follow up treatment is usually required one to two weeks after the initial treatment.

Permethrin, Oral Medications, & Antihistamines

Permethrin is another popular topically applied medication for the treatment of scabies. The ointment is applied at night and washed off after eight to fourteen hours.

A newer treatment for scabies is an oral medication Ivermectin, taken twice: once at onset, and then another dose two weeks later to completely eradicate the infection. While Ivermectin has some mild side effects, these disappear after treatment and are typically a minimal trade off compared to the uncomfortable constant itching of scabies. Ivermectin is sold as Stromecol in brand name, and is typically given as two 3mg doses two weeks apart.

Antihistamines may also be prescribed to combat the itchiness that often accompanies scabies outbreaks.

Sterilization of Household Items During and After Treatment

All items the infected person has touched- bedding, clothing, towels, etc – should immediately be washed in very hot water to kill remaining mites. A dryer should also be used on a high heat setting to sterilize washed items. Mattresses, carpets, rugs, toys, and any other items that the infected person has touched should be thoroughly disinfected and washed.

Carpets and floors should be steam cleaned whenever possible. Tile, hardwood, kitchen, and bathroom floors should be washed with hot soapy water and bleach. This regimen of household disinfecting should be performed on a daily basis until the scabies outbreak has been confirmed as cured by a healthcare professional, and on a routine basis for several weeks after to prevent re-infection.

Treatment of Family Members

Due to the highly contagious nature of scabies especially in close quarters, doctors frequently recommend treating the entire family for scabies even if only one member has contracted it. Given the propensity of the mite to spread and populate bedding, furniture, clothing, and other areas, it is highly likely that if one member of a family has scabies, other members either already have it or will have it shortly. Therefore, treating all family members for scabies at the same time is an effective method at preventing continual re-infection.

Care must be taken to ensure that once all family members are treated, scabies does not return and continue to re-infect members of the family. This requires a diligent household cleaning routine during and after treatment as the entire house must be disinfected in order to eradicate the outbreak.

Treatment Cost

Treatment for scabies is relatively inexpensive compared to other skin ailments. A 60ml tube of Elimite retails at around $35; sulfur soaps are much less, at an estimate $10 a bar. An 8oz bottle of Neem Oil has a comparable cost to sulfur soap.

Ivermectin (brand name Stromectol) is typically available in 3mg tablets. Costs for Stromectol are considerably higher (around $110 for treatment without insurance),


There is no vaccine against scabies. Therefore, the best way to prevent scabies is to avoid prolonged contact, or any contact, with people infected with scabies. If scabies contact is suspected, any bedding, clothing, towels, or items the infected person may have touched should be immediately washed in very hot water and soap.

Adding a small amount of borax to laundry can also be helpful. Rugs and floors should be steam cleaned and vacuumed.

Permethrin sprays are often used to treat items or areas that cannot be laundered. A synthetic chemical and pesticide, care should be taken when using Permethrin around infants and pets. The EPA has also categorized Permethrin as a carcinogen in extremely strong concentrations. For household use, however, Permethrin sprays can kill scabies mites, dust miles, fleas, termites, and ticks.

Borax powder is natural remedy than can be sprinkled on carpets, floors, and other areas of the house to prevent and kill mites. While natural, boric acid can still irritate the skin in some individuals and animals, so caution should be used when applying.


Plantar Fasciitis

The plantar fascia is a sheet of very tough material running the length of the bottom of your foot. Basically a long and flat but thick sheet of connective tissue, it attaches your heel to each of your toes. Tissues that connect bones to other bones are called ligaments, so this may also be referred to as the plantar fascia ligament.

Like other connective tissue, it is constructed primarily of a protein called collagen, in this case type I collagen. Other elements of the plantar fascia include: elastin; fibroblasts, which secrete collagen; glycosaminoglycans or GAGs, which are carbohydrates that aid in resilience; water, nerves and blood vessels.

Plantar Fasciitis.

About Plantar Fasciitis

The condition called plantar fasciitis occurs when small tears or ruptures occur in the plantar fascia, causing pain especially on the bottom of the heel. The plantar fascia can also be termed the plantar aponeurosis. When the condition goes beyond inflammation and the damage becomes long-lasting, it is sometimes called plantar fasciosis. A more serious but much less common injury is plantar fascia rupture, which is a serious tear to the entire fascia rather than just micro injuries.

Something else that can damage the plantar fascia are heel spurs. These are sharp pieces of bone formed where the plantar fascia has been pulling away from where it is attached to the heel. Bony tissue is laid down at the points of separation. These can then dig into the surrounding softer tissues.


The pain from plantar fasciitis usually develops gradually and in one foot rather than both. It is felt right in the middle of the bottom of the heel where the plantar fascia has its base of attachment to the heel bone (calcaneus). Pain upon awakening is typical, with eventual lessening with activity. Often standing for a long time or abruptly arising from a seated position can worsen the pain.Foot Problems Plantar


The plantar fascia does more than just attach the heel bone to the toe bones. It also supports the other bones of the foot and has a biomechanical function. It can expand and contract with striding, acting as a springboard to help impel motion and helping to absorb the shock of impact with each footfall. It tensions the bottom of the foot between the heel and the toes.

It is the structure of collagen itself that enables much of this biomechanical function. The collagen is laid down in an ordered way and the strands of collagen I are arranged in a braided or rope-like manner which allows for strength and elasticity. If conditions arise which place undue stress on the plantar fascia, collagen strands can break and begin to unravel.

This results in small tears or ruptures within the plantar fascia. Fibroblasts produce new collagen to repair the damage, but it is collagen III which is not as strong or flexible as collagen I. Eventually the collagen III is replaced by collagen I, but as is typical with connective tissue, healing is slow to occur.

It used to be thought that the pain of plantar fasciitis was caused by the presence of heel spurs, since these were frequently found during diagnostic imaging. However, it has been found that people can have heel spurs without the painful symptoms, which calls this into question. If usual treatments for treating plantar fasciitis don’t bring relief, pain from bone spurs present should be investigated.

Risk Factors

Conditions which can cause tears or ruptures to occur in the plantar fascia are:

  • Wearing ill-fitting or worn-out shoes.
  • Being overweight.
  • Having abnormalities in foot arch structure such as very high arches or low arches.
  • Having an abnormal gait, especially where the feet roll inward while walking (pronation, or having flat feet).
  • Exercise that stresses the heels of the feet, such as running and some types of dancing.
  • Needing to stand or walk on hard surfaces for long periods of time, such as in nursing, teaching, waitressing, military personnel.
  • Being over 40.
  • Being female.
  • Having arthritis, which can cause inflammation to tendons and ligaments.
  • Having diabetes.
  • Being pregnant.

Prevention Tips

Wear shoes that fit your feet and provide good arch support. Take care to replace athletic shoes before the cushioning wears out. If you run, shoes are good for about 500 miles. Avoid shoes with high heels, since these place stress on the heel and Achilles tendon, which in turn affects the plantar fascia. The Achilles tendon attaches the base of the heel to the calf muscles.

Devices which cushion and support the heel. Routine use of arch supports, orthotic devices and cushioning insoles can help prevent plantar fascia injury.

Body weight can be a factor as well so it is important to maintain a healthy body weight.


With the added weight gain during pregnancy and the presence of hormones which cause softening and relaxing of connective tissue, stress is added to the plantar fascia. Care should be taken during this time to not stress out the ligament.

Sudden Changes in Exercise Routines

Before making changes to more rigorous exercises or activities such as in running longer distances, adding extra hours of practice to field sports, or escalating to more demanding routines, consideration should be given to the possibility of injuring the plantar fascia.

Stretching exercises before being active loosens the ligament and helps prevent damage, as does a gradual increase in intensity and duration of activities rather than a sudden onset. As a person ages and tendons and ligaments become more inflexible in general, care should also be taken to stretch before activity.

Correcting Inborn Gait Problems

Working with a podiatrist and/or an orthotic specialist to analyze gait irregularities and then to produce devices to correct them can lessen the likelihood of plantar fascia injury over time.
Foot Problems Plantar
Sometimes, and especially for athletes, plantar fascia taping is recommended. Taping has to be carefully done using a special athletic tape and with the feet dry and clean. It is usually applied before activity that might stress the plantar fascia or at the beginning of a day to give the feet support in general. Tape should not be left continuously in place. It is often used in combination with orthotic supports.

Test & Diagnosis Considerations

The diagnostic heel pain which is worst upon getting out of bed is caused by the tightening of the plantar fascia during sleep. When activity is begun for the day, the ligament doesn’t move well and pain is the result. As movement warms the plantar fascia, pain often decreases. The pain is variously described as stabbing, tearing, or burning.

A physician will often press on the midheel area where the ligament joins with the heel bone to affirm the source of the pain. The foot is examined to check for swellings, tender areas and inflammation. X-rays or MRIs may be taken to rule out bone stress fractures or pinched nerves.

Pain in other areas of the foot such as the ball of the foot should not be confused with plantar fasciitis. Pain in the ball of the foot is usually associated with metatarsalgia, which is inflammation of the tissues which accompany the bones of the arch of the foot (metatarsals). Pain along the back of heel up toward the calf muscle is usually associated with Achilles tendon problems.

Treatment Options

It is important to begin treatments as soon as possible after symptoms are noted to prevent serious lasting damage to the plantar fascia. Symptoms can usually be alleviated by conservative non-surgical methods, but it can take a lengthy period of time to reverse the damage.

One of the possible consequences of not seeking prompt treatment is developing gait changes that can affect other parts of the body while attempting to favor the injured foot. Ankle, knee, hip and back problems can follow untreated plantar fasciitis.

Reducing Inflammation

Immediate icing of the painful area is helpful to reduce pain and swelling. Use something that can conform to body contours such refreezable gel packs or ice bags. Apply the ice for 20 to 30 minutes until numbness sets in; then remove for 20-30 minutes before reapplying. A combination of applying cold while stretching the plantar fascia is of benefit. Freeze water in paper cups or use a can of frozen juice. Roll one of these about under the affected foot, massaging and flexing the bottom of the foot while numbing with coldness.

Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen help relieve symptoms and lessen pain. They do not affect a cure, but they usually allow a person to be more comfortable.

Stretching & Flexibility

Increasing the flexibility of the plantar fascia can help too. There are a series of foot stretches and exercises that can be performed as well as calf exercises. One exercise is to sit down, extend your leg in front of you with the knee bent and grasp the toes in one hand. Gently pull them back toward the top of the foot until you feel a pull in the arch area. This lengthens and stretches the ligament.

A towel stretch accomplishes much the same thing. Loop a rolled towel under the ball of your foot and grasp the ends of the towel in your hands. Gently pull the towel toward your body, keeping the knee straight. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat three or four times.

The towel curl involves sitting down, putting a towel on the floor under the foot and using the toes to gather the towel in folds, push the folds behind the foot. Then work in reverse, using the toes to push the towel forward ahead of the foot. Alternatively, you can also use your toes to “walk” your foot forward across a carpeted surface and then back toward you again. A related exercise is placing some marbles and a cup on the floor. Seated, try picking the marbles up with your toes and placing the marbles in the cup.

Additional Stretching

A simple plantar fascia/calf stretch uses stairs which have a banister or railing. Stand on one stair with the toes and ball of your feet on the tread, allowing the heels to suspend over the lower stair. Hold on to the railing or banister while doing this. Then relax your calf muscles and allow the heels to droop downward. You should feel a pull all along the bottom of your foot, through the back of your leg and to the knee. After about 30 seconds, tighten the calf muscle slightly to raise the heels again. Repeat this several times.

Another stretch is for the calf and Achilles tendon. Facing a wall, brace your hands against it, arms extended at about chest height. Step back with the damaged foot and place the foot flat on the floor. Step forward with the other foot and bend it gradually so you lean toward the wall. When you feel the stretch in your calf down toward your heel, hold for 15 to 30 seconds, then relax. Repeat this several times.

Working the Arch of the Foot

To exercise the area in the arch of the foot, sit down and put a tennis ball or rolling pin on the floor and roll it around using the area in the arch of the foot. If you can balance well, you can try doing this exercise while standing.

All exercises can be repeated several times a day for best results in strengthening the fascia and making it more flexible.

Massage is sometimes helpful. Often people undergo physical therapy to aid in recovery. A physical therapist can work with each individual to provide exercises that work for his or her set of particular circumstances. Acupuncture has also been used to treat persistent pain.

Losing Weight

Weight loss can often alleviate symptoms. Use of orthothic supports which fit inside the shoe can help cushion the heel, distribute weight better and encourage proper gait while the foot is healing. Both custom-made ones for your individual foot and off-the-shelf models work. Favor your feet by not going barefoot, even when you get up for brief periods at night. Slip on a pair of shoes which will provide arch support even for going short distances.

Resting the Foot

Another way of removing the stress, especially when severe pain is present, is to rest the foot, giving it a chance to recover from too much running, jumping, walking, dancing, or whatever behavior brought on the injury. For less severe pain, minimizing the activity for a while until pain abates is advisable. Also consider switching high-impact activities such as jogging and running for low-impact activities such as swimming or riding a stationary or regular bicycle for a while.

Taping of plantar fascia is sometimes done to help alleviate pain, although usually it is considered as primarily a preventative measure (which see).

A device known as a night splint can help lessen the pain upon awakening. The padded night splint fits along the bottom of your lower leg and the bottom of your foot, with straps around your leg and foot holding it in place. This support keeps the plantar fascia stretched while you sleep or rest.

Corticosteroid Use

If these conservative treatments do not work, injections of corticosteriods directly into the painful area may be considered. Steroids act to decrease inflammation and thus reduce pain. Injections do not always solve the problem and may worsen it by further weakening the connective tissue. Another method of providing corticosteriods to the injured area is by putting them on the skin surface and then using an electric stimulus to aid in absorption through the skin. This is called iontophoresis and is not a painful procedure.

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT)

Shock waves (sound waves) are used to bombard the injured area to stimulate it and hopefully hasten repair and recovery of the connective tissue. This is not a widely used treatment and it is still being assessed. It can cause numbness, tingling, swelling or pain over the area in which it has been used.


The treatment of last resort is surgery. If the tissue has been so damaged that repair is unlikely, surgery to disconnect the ligament from the heel bone can be performed. Usually this is done mostly to lessen chronic severe pain when nothing else has worked. Understandably this procedure weakens the foot arch because the tension between toes and heel that the plantar fascia provides is no longer there. Side effects of the surgery can be infection, nerve injury, rupture of the plantar fascia and also no relief of pain.

After surgery support in the form of a brace or cast is needed for a varying length of time for proper healing of the tissue, with several weeks usually being needed before weight can be applied to the heel again. The usual recovery time to normal foot use is about three months.

Endoscopic surgery may also be used for a less invasive procedure. This is where small incisions are made to allow the passage of tools and a lighted camera. This procedure allows location and removal of the damaged part of the plantar fascia with less injury to surrounding tissue.

Coblation Surgery

A newer surgical technique than traditional surgery that has been used for treating plantar fasciitis is coblation surgery. The name is derived from “controlled ablation.” The technique is also called the Topaz procedure. It uses radiofrequency energy combined with a saline solution to remove tissue gently and with minimal destruction to adjacent structures.

If a heel spur seems to be causing pain by pressing into tender tissues near the bottom of the heel, steriod injections can be used here as well followed by surgery to remove the spur if injections do not relieve the pain.

Additional Resources

About.Com Treatment Options
Mayo Clinic, Plantar Faciitis Information
American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine


Menstrual Cramps

Menstrual cramps experienced by a woman during her monthly menstrual period are pains that occur in the abdomen and pelvic area. To some extent, 50 percent of all women are affected by menstrual cramps and approximately 15 percent of these women have severe cramps. Ninety percent of girls still in their adolescence have cramps.

Menstrual cramps can be mild to severe and are different in every woman who has them. Mild cramps are short in duration and are sometimes only slightly noticeable. But some women suffer such severe cramps that it can interfere with their daily activities and may last for several days.

Menstrual Cycle.

Types of Menstrual Cramps

Menstrual cramps can be one of two types: primary or secondary. Primary cramps are the type of menstrual cramps that are most common. Women can begin to have them with the onset of a their first period or they can begin after several years. They are caused by no physical abnormality of any kind. The secondary type of menstrual cramps have an underlying physical basis like pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), fibroids in the uterus, and other conditions discussed later.
Menstrual Cramps

Alternative Names

The medical term for common menstrual cramps is secondary dysmenorrhea and is often just referred to as dysmenorrhea. When there is underlying cause of the cramps, it is referred to as secondary dysmenorrhea.


The pain from menstrual cramps starts in the lower abdomen and the pelvis and can extend to the lower back as well as the legs. For some women the pain may be only a dull ache while for others they are more painful.

Menstrual cramps usually begin before the period actually starts and will normally be the worst about 24 hours after they begin. They generally subside after one to two days. Other symptoms that may accompany cramps are:

  • Headache
  • Nausea, which can rarely be followed by vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea (The prostaglandins cause the muscles of the intestinal tract to contract.)
  • More frequent urination.

Primary Dysmenorrhea

Primary dysmenorrhea happens when the endometrium, which is the inner lining of the uterus, sheds as the menstrual flow each month. During the month, this lining is built up in order to make the uterus ready for a possible pregnancy. When an egg is not fertilized during ovulation to cause a pregnancy, the inner lining is not needed. The levels of estrogen and progesterone in the woman’s body decrease, the uterine lining swells and is released from the body as menstrual flow. When this is completed, the lining is replaced.

During the break down of the uterine lining, compounds known as prostaglandins are discharged, causing the muscles in the uterus to contract. This contraction causes less blood and oxygen to flow into the endometrium which makes it break down and die. When the tissue is dead, the contractions continue in order to push the dead tissue through the cervix and away from the body via the vagina.

Levels of other substances known as leukotrienes increase during this time as well. These chemicals are connected to the body’s inflammatory responses and may also play a role in causing menstrual cramps.

Cramps caused by this monthly process can be particularly severe when pieces of bloody tissue and clots are pushed out through the cervix. Women with a narrow cervical canal may experience these severe cramps.

The severity of cramps can often depend on the level of the prostaglandin in the body. Women with a higher amount of prostaglandin will have cramps while a woman with normal to low levels may not experience menstrual cramps.

There are other issues that can add to the severity of menstrual cramps. Emotional stress has been shown to increase the discomfort felt from cramps, as well as a lack of exercise.

Menstrual cramps caused by primary dysmenorrhea will normally lessen as the woman ages or after giving birth. It is believed that the nerves inside the uterus degenerate as they age. In a pregnant woman, these nerves deteriorate completely in the later stages of the pregnancy and only some of them are restored after childbirth.

Secondary Dysmenorrhea

Secondary dysmenorrhea is caused by some condition usually connected to the reproductive system and usually develops later in life rather when an adolescent begins her menstrual periods. Some of these conditions are:

  • Endometriosis – This is a condition in which the tissue of the uterine lining affixes itself to other areas not in the uterus, causing lesions.
  • Uterine polyps – These are growths that are attached to the inner wall of the uterus and protrude into the cavity of the uterus. They are caused by too much growth of cells in the endometrium.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease – This is an infection of the reproductive organs.
  • Uterine fibroids – These are growths in the uterus whose development may be stimulated by estrogen and progesterone.
  • Using an IUD for birth control.

Risk Factors

There are people who may be at a higher risk of primary menstrual cramps each month. This includes:

  • ·Women who are under the age of 20
  • Women who experienced an onset of puberty at age 11 or younger
  • Having particularly heavy bleeding with their periods
  • Having never been pregnant nor gone through childbirth
  • Being significantly overweight or underweight.
  • Smoking. Smokers have a 50 percent higher chance than women who don’t smoke of suffering from menstrual cramps.
  • Women under high levels of stress.

Prevention Tips

There are ways that may work for some women to keep them from having menstrual cramps or at least reducing their severity. Many of these prevention tips are naturopathic solutions and can be used as treatments when menstrual cramps do occur.

  • Get regular aerobic exercise.
  • Talk to your doctor about taking birth control pills in order to stop the production of hormones that contribute to menstrual cramps.
  • Cut back on coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and black tea, especially in the days before the period begins.
  • Cut back on alcohol consumption.
  • Reduce the amount of meat and dairy food in the diet. They can aid in the production of the prostaglandins that help to cause cramps.
  • Cut back on salt before the period begins.
  • Take a vitamin supplement that contains B3, E, magnesium citrate, and calcium citrate.
  • Eat cold-water fish and/or take a fish oil supplement with Omega 3 and fatty acids. Doing this can inhibit the production of prostaglandins.
  • Practice certain yoga positions to aid the proper balance of the uterine function.
  • Avoid the use of intra-uterine devices (IUDs) as a method of birth control. These devices can increase menstrual cramps.
  • Use sanitary pads instead of tampons.

Test and Diagnosis Considerations

A woman can generally diagnose menstrual cramps herself and it is based on her own perception of the pain. In the case of primary dysmenorrhea, most women know what the signs and symptoms are. However, women who experience more than two painful periods, particularly if the pain is disabling, should schedule an appointment with their gynecologist between periods.

In these cases, the gynecologist will likely perform a pelvic exam to ensure that there are no other causes for the pain.

For older women it is possible that the pain they are feeling is secondary dysmenorrhea and may be due to an underlying issue. Besides a pelvic exam, the doctor may perform an ultrasound to look for unusual growths or cysts on any of the reproductive organs.

If the cause of the cramps is undetermined after an ultrasound, the doctor may also insert a scope through a small cut below the navel in order to perform a more thorough examination of the region. This is called a laparoscopy.

A D&C, which is discussed in the section on Surgical Treatments is sometimes used to diagnose uterine conditions.

Treatment Options

Treatment for menstrual cramps can vary from woman to woman and may require some trial and error before finding the one that is right. Some of the prevention options mentioned previously work for many women like regular exercise, adequate rest and sleep, and yoga exercises. Heating pads and soaking in a hot bath have also been known to help.

There are various pharmaceutical treatments as well as herbal and home remedies and very rarely, surgical treatments that help relieve menstrual cramps. For each treatment, the level of efficacy may be different in every woman.


There are several non-prescription drugs that can help control the pain of menstrual cramps, and in some cases, even prevent them. Aspirin and acetaminophen are enough for some women who have mild cramps. There are over-the-counter drugs made specifically to treat cramps that contain acetaminophen plus a diuretic.
Menstrual Cramps
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the best non-prescription option to treat menstrual cramps. Drugs that fall into this category are ibuprofen, naproxen, and ketoprofen.

It is best to begin taking these before the onset of cramps so the pain does not get too difficult to control. This could mean taking the pills as early as one or two days before the periods is due to start.

The medication should be taken one to two days after the period begins. There are also prescription strength NSAIDS that are available for treatment of menstrual cramps.

Oral Contraceptives

A method often used to treat severe menstrual cramps is taking oral contraceptives. Birth control pills contain estrogen and progestin and prevent ovulation, thus decreasing the amount of prostaglandins that are produced. This can makes the cramps much less severe and has the added advantage of causing a lighter menstrual flow.

While the use of an IUD for birth control can make menstrual cramps worse, one treatment option entails the use of an IUD that releases progestin directly into the uterus. This treatment has been shown to reduce menstrual cramps by 50 percent.

Herbal and Home Remedies

Many of the preventative measures listed for menstrual cramps are also good home remedies for when the cramps do manifest. Those, plus other herbal and home remedies can help to ease the discomfort of painful menstrual cramps.

Some people turn to Acupressure, this practice is based on the principles used in acupuncture, but instead of using needles on the acupuncture points, light pressure is applied. This practice is often recommended by those who practice alternative medicine for the relief of menstrual cramps.

The proper acupuncture point is called Spleen 6 and is approximately the width of four fingers above the bony part of the inner ankle, next to the shinbone and towards the back part of the calf. Slowly increasing pressure should be applied to this point using either the thumb or middle finger. Hold this for 3 minutes.

  • Place a hot water bottle on your stomach. A damp towel heated in the microwave can also be used. This relaxes the muscles that cramp.
  • Abdominal cramping can be relieved through orgasm. The muscle contractions that occur during an orgasm make the blood and other fluids leave organs that are congested.
  • Drink two cups of peppermint or wintergreen tea a day. The mint leaves can be added to any type of tea. Also suck on mint candy on and off during the day.
  • Drinking hot liquids can increase blood flow and relax muscles that cramp. Drink any herbal tea or heat up lemonade. Don’t drink any hot liquids that contain caffeine. Caffeine increases nervous energy and can make menstrual cramps worse.
  • A hot bath with mineral salts can help relax muscles. Soak for at least 20 minutes.
  • Basil has a natural painkiller called caffeic acid and it can relieve the pain menstrual cramping. To make a basil tea, put two tablespoons of basil leaves in a pint of boiling water. Allow this to steep covered until it comes to room temperature. To ease cramps, drink ½ cup to 1 cup of the tea every hour.
  • Cinnamon has antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties. Sprinkle cinnamon in tea or on breakfast food.
  • Calcium is well known to decreasing pain from menstrual cramps. Taking magnesium supplements both before the period begins and during it can help the body more effectively absorb the calcium in food and calcium supplements.
  • Drink plenty of water. Dehydration can make menstrual cramps worse.
  • Getting plenty of rest can help to decrease cramps.

Home remedies have the added advantage of being affordable and easily accessible.

Surgical Procedures

Surgical procedures are not often recommended for the treatment of menstrual cramps. In cases when a woman consistently has uterine bleeding that is unusually heavy and painful, a doctor may perform a procedure called an endometrial ablation. In this procedure, the uterine lining is destroyed using a device that generates heat like a laser beam, electricity, freezing, microwave, or heat produced by radio frequency. After the procedure, scars cause the endometrium to heal and this significantly reduces uterine bleeding and the severe cramps that go along with it.

The average fee for an endometrial ablation is $3,516, which does not include the hospital and anesthesia fees.

Another procedure to reduce heavy bleeding and cramping that used to be done more commonly in the past than it is today is called dilation and curettage (D&C). During this procedure, the cervix is expanded and a surgical instrument is inserted and used to remove tissue from the endometrium. This instrument is either sharp to scrape out the tissue or it sucks the tissue out. A D&C has minimal side effects. The most common is cramping.

If performed in a physician’s office, the cost can be low as lows $400. Performed at a surgical facility it can be as high as $2,000.


The treatment for this type of menstrual cramps may be different depending on what the underlying cause is. Once the condition is diagnosed, the doctor will recommend the proper treatment.


Types of Edema

Edema is the accumulation of abnormal levels of fluid in the circulatory system and the tissues between the body’s cells (interstitial tissue). This condition often causes tissue underneath the skin to swell, and is common when lymphatic blockage occurs.
Edema Information
Swelling occurs in the blood vessels when an excessive increase in the volume of plasma fluid causes the vessels to dilate.

Eventually, blood vessel walls weaken as they dilate, causing lymph fluid to diffuse into surrounding tissue space.

This excess fluid gets trapped in the body’s tissue in a greater capacity than the lymphatic system can eliminate.

Generally, edema is physically unnoticeable until the interstitial fluid volume is approximately 30% above normal (normal fluid volume is 10%).

Many American’s suffer from edema without knowing what it is, and what causes it. Edema is also referred to as oedema, which was formally labeled dropsy or hydropsy.

Symptoms of Edema

Swelling of the Skin

  • Localized or peripheral: swelling is in one specific area. Mainly in one of the legs or arms.
  • Generalized: swelling is in particular regions of the body. Such as in the extremities, a portion or all of the face, abdomen, and the feet.
  • Organ-specific: swelling in a particular organ such as the brain (cerebral edema), the lungs (pulmonary edema) or the eye’s (periorbital edema).
  • Pitting Edema: a severe case of edema which exists if skin retains a dimple after being pressed for 10 to 20 seconds.

The skin may feel tight and stretched. Edema causes the skin to feel tight as a result of being stretched beyond its normal boundaries. In some cases, skin may either feel warm to the touch, or quite cool if there is a blockage in local circulation.

Additional Symptoms to Look For

You may also experience puffiness of the ankles. Boggy ankles are one of the most common signs of peripheral edema; which is characterized by generalized swelling in the extremities.

In addition to ankle swelling, you may also experience swelling of the face or eyes. This can cause the face to become red and swollen. Swelling of the eyes can occur in the cornea of the eye due to glaucoma, conjunctivitis, keratitis, or surgery. Periorbital edema causes puffiness around the eyes, and is most noticeable immediately after waking. Other issues to watch out for are:

  • Weight gain: due to increased fluid retention, and lack of elimination.
  • Increased localized heat radiating from skin’s surface: is commonly associated with a localized infection.
  • Hypertension: or an increase in blood pressure due to blood flow blockage resulting from an influx of fluid levels.
  • Stiff joints and aching body parts: are the body’s reactions to pain, signaling that a disorder has occurred.

Causes of Edema

There can be many causes of Edema, such as:

  • Physical inactivity
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Standing or sitting for long periods of time
  • Surgery resulting in localized inflammation or impaired organ functionalities
  • Burns
  • Heat
  • High Altitudes
  • Pregnancy
  • Certain medications
  • Excessive salt intake
  • Contraceptive Pill
  • Menopause
  • Poor diet
  • Kidney disease/damage
  • Heart failure
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Liver disease
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Thyroid disease
  • Brain tumor
  • Head injury

Risk Factors for Edema

  1. Congestive heart failure – blood accumulation in the legs, ankles, or feet due to the hearts inability to pump efficiently.
  2. Cirrhosis – scarring of the liver that imbalances the secretion of hormones and chemicals regulating fluid levels in the body.
  3. Kidney disease – cause fluid and sodium retention in the legs and around the eyes.
  4. Nephrotic syndrome – kidney damage causing low protein levels in the blood to result in an over accumulation of fluid.
  5. Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) – weakening of the veins and values in the legs, which causes them to lack the proper pumping abilities needed to push blood back to the heart.
  6. Deep vein thrombosis – a blood clot which forms in a vein, mainly in the thigh or lower leg.
  7. Lymphedema – the improper draining of lymph nodes and vessels due to genetic predisposition, or a medical condition such as cancer or an infection.

Tests and Diagnosis

In order to treat edema a doctor has to diagnose what is causing it. However, in cases showing signs of systemic edema (caused by a malfunction of one or more of the systems in the body) or pitting edema, it is wise not to wait to seek the advice of a medical practitioner.
Diagnosing Edema
The initial set of test done by a medical professional is a preliminary evaluation. First, a medical history profile is completed. Then, the practitioner performs a physical assessment, comparing patient’s arms and legs for symmetrical edema and other areas of the body for dependent edema. Last, the medical professional palpates the area affected by taking peripheral pulses, by notating areas of the body that are cold to the touch, and by performing a complete cardiac and respiratory assessment.

If edema is confirmed additional test are recommended, correlating to the area of the body in which the edema occurs.

Testing for Localized Edema

Localized Edema can be determined during a patient consultation, which includes health history questionnaires, and physical assessments carried out by a medical professional. Once localized edema is suspected the following test may be done to diagnose the exact cause:

  1. Impedance phlebography is a noninvasive test that uses electrical monitoring to measure blood flow in veins of the leg. Information from this test helps a doctor to detect deep vein thrombosis (blood clots or thrombophlebitis).
  2. D-dimer testing is a sensitive indicator for active deep vein thrombophlebitis.
  3. Cultures of blood or fluids that are available from the site of the lesion should be taken for patients showing symptoms of cellulitis or osteomyelitis.
  4. X-rays and CT scans should be taken of the involved area.
  5. Bone scans should be taken for patients thought to have osteomyelitis and bone fractures.
  6. Lymphangiography is used to determine if lymphedema exists.
  7. CT scan of the pelvis or abdomen is used when signs of malignant lymph nodes exist.
  8. Thyroid profile detects pretibial myxedema as a result of thyrotoxicosis.

Testing for Generalized Edema

Generalized Edema is systematic. Therefore, endocrine testing is one of the primary components used to make a diagnosis.

  1. Venogram is used to test edema in the upper extremities caused by increased venous pressure.
  2. Doppler or ultrasound study is also used to test venous obstruction of the upper extremities as well.
  3. Computed Tomography (CT) if thorastic outlet syndrome is present. Other options include Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or plain films.
  4. Chest X-ray (CXR) study and ECG are done to detect edema in the arms and legs.
  5. Liver function test are done if cirrhosis is suspected.
  6. Urinalysis and sediment evaluations are done if renal causes of edema are expected.

Organ Specific Edema Test

Organ Specific Edema test vary depending on the organ affected. However, general testing procedures still apply which include.

  1. Complete blood count (CBC)
  2. Urinalysis
  3. Chest films
  4. Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  5. Biochemical screening which include albumin, total protein, liver function tests, total cholesterol, and thyroid function tests

Testing for Pitting Edema

Press and hold the skin for 10-20 seconds. If the dimple impression remains when released then pitting edema may exists. If pitting edema exists for more than 3 months, low serum protein levels may be an underlying factor.

Prevention Tips

At home treatments often times recommended by doctors include:

  • Walk regularly when traveling by car, train, boat or plane
  • Wear support stockings or compression bandaging
  • Do regular exercise
  • Decreasing salt intake
  • If overweight, loss weight
  • Raise legs when sleeping & several times daily
  • Do not stand or sit for long periods at a time
  • Limit the use of alcohol, sugar, caffeine, and dairy products.

Treatment Options

Before determining a treatment plan for edema, a doctor must first determine the underline cause for the swelling, and determine if it is localized to a specific area of the body, or if it is generalized in different regions of the body.

In cases which edema is found to be present, the initial recommendation is to lower sodium intake in foods consumed; or to prescribe diuretics. Bed rest and elevation of the swollen area is also recommended. And, in some situations, elastic stockings are advised as well.

In more severe cases of edema (such as edema associated with heart failure), doctors may prescribe other drugs along with diuretics in order to regulate the circulatory system.

Pharmaceutical Drugs

Pharmaceutical drugs such as antiangiogenesis drugs are sometimes prescribed to help control blood vessel growth. Some antiangiogenesis drugs as well as other prescriptions for edema are as follows:

  • Aldactazide
  • Aldactone
  • Aqua-Ban
  • Aqua-Ban with Pamabrom
  • Aquatensen
  • Aquazide H
  • Bumex
  • Demadex
  • Diamox
  • Diamox Sequels
  • Diuril
  • Diuril Sodium
  • Dyazide
  • Dyrenium
  • Edecrin
  • Enduron
  • Esidrix
  • HydroDIURIL
  • Lasix
  • Lozol
  • Maxzide
  • Maxzide-25
  • Microzide
  • Midamor
  • Mykrox
  • Naturetin
  • Renese
  • Saluron
  • Sodium Edecrin
  • Thalitone
  • Zaroxolyn


Surgery is usually the final option if medications prescribed are ineffective. Edema should never be treated until the underline cause has been properly diagnosed and addressed. Although, edema is sometimes a result of surgery, there are surgical procedures done to treat the edema itself.

  • Brain Surgery: In medical patients with severe traumatic brain injury and malignant middle cerebral artery infarction, doctors sometimes recommend opening the skull (decompressive craniectomy) to reduce intracranial pressure.
  • Testicular Transposition: Is a new treatment used for the treatment of chronic lymphedema following inguinal lymph node dissection.
  • Charles Procedure, Buck’s Fascia, Homans-miller Procedure, Kondoleon Procedure, Sisktrunk Procedure, Thompson Procedure, Lymphedema Microsurgery, Dermal Flap, Miller Sistrunk Procedure, Surgical Therapy: Each of these surgical techniques generally involves stripping out the subcutaneous regions filled with lymph fluid.
  • Thompsons Procedure: Is a surgical procedure done to build an alternative route or bypass for the lymph system.

Herbal Remedies

  • SinEcch™: an oral homeopathic preparation used for more than 10 years, by thousands of surgeons, as an adjuvant treatment for post-surgery edema and ecchymosis.
  • Dandelion: is a diuretic herb that is rich in potassium. However, the diuretic action can also eliminate potassium from the system, so it is good to consume foods and vitamins high in potassium in addition to taking dandelion.
  • Ginkgo: helps to enhance the circulatory system, thereby improving blood flow.
  • Horse Chestnut: acts as an anti-inflammatory by reducing fluid leakage from the capillaries. Subsequently improving overall circulatory health.

Home Remedies

  • Increase overall consumption of whole grain foods, potatoes, grapes, apples, onions, cabbage, oranges, and cucumbers.
  • Increase daily use of vitamins and mineral supplements that act as diuretics to regulate fluid retention.
  • Juice Therapy from organic fruit and vegetables.
  • Hydrotherapy is used by alternating hot and cold compressions daily, and by full body immersion in warm water with Epsom salt.
  • Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) or Omega-6 fatty acid helps to reduce fluid retention and other symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
  • Magnesium helps with edema associated with symptoms of PMS.

Alternative Health Care Remedies

  • Acupuncture: helps to determine the cause of edema and in some cases it helps to reduce the inflammation.
  • Massage Therapy: by a qualified therapist. The pressure must be light to moderate, and movements must flow in the direction of the heart. Massage is a contraindication for systemic and pitting edema, but it is highly recommended for less severe edema.
  • Ayurveda: oils are massaged into the skin to reduce localized swelling in specific areas of the body.
  • Oxygen Therapy: administering oxygen as a medical treatment is good to help assist the body with efficient cell metabolism, and normal physiological functioning through tissue oxygenation. It is very effective in cases where pulmonary edema is present.

Stretch Marks

Stretch marks are visible blemishes that can develop anywhere on a person’s skin. They usually occur when the skin has been stretched because of pregnancy, weight gain or any other reason. Stretch marks affect people of all ages and genders; however, they most particularly affect pregnant mothers.

Alternative Names

The blemishes are most commonly referred to, by both doctors and patients, as “stretch marks”. However, there are several, much more technical, names that refer to this condition. Dermatologists most often refer to stretch marks as “singular stria” or “striae”. Other medical names for this condition include stria destensae, vergetures, lineae atrophicae, and linea albicante. Striae gravidarum is the term that refers to the stretch marks that pregnant women develop.
Stretch Marks from Pregnancy


Stretch marks are thin, wavy lines of any length that appear on a person’s skin. When the marks first appear, they will often be dark red or even purple. The color usually fades with time; in fact, stretch marks can eventually fade to the extent that they only have a slight difference in pigmentation from the rest of the skin.

Although the marks can occur anywhere on a person’s body, they most often develop in places that store excess fat and, particularly in girls, in places that mature at puberty.

Common areas include the thighs, hips, and upper arms. They can also occur on the buttocks and around the knees. Stretch marks will often appear around the breasts of maturing girls. Pregnant women are almost guaranteed to develop abdomen stretch marks (medically known as striae gravidarum) by the beginning of their third trimester.


Stretch marks can occur when a person’s levels of glucocorticoid hormones are raised. These hormones keep the fibroblasts of the skin from forming elastin fibers and collagen, which are two of the skin’s most supportive components. The raised levels can be caused by several factors including weight gain, diet, and common hormonal imbalances. If the skin of a person with too many glucocorticoids is stretched, he or she is almost guaranteed to develop stretch marks.

However, a person can develop stretch marks even if he or she does not have too many glucocorticoids. Anything that causes the skin to stretch will often leave marks. Pregnancy is the most common cause. Other common causes include weight gain and, particularly in girls, puberty. Stretch marks can also be caused by hormone replacement therapy for either menopause treatments or transsexual operations.

Risk Factors

In general, stretch marks do not have any risk factors except, perhaps, loss of self confidence.

Prevention Tips

Unfortunately, stretch marks that occur because of puberty or weight gain cannot be prevented. If treatments are begun the moment the marks appear, their severity may be lessened.

Many dermatologists recommend that pregnant women daily apply a cream with vitamin E to their abdomen. The same recommendation is often made to those who are undergoing hormone replacement therapy.

Treatment Options

Natural and/or Home Remedies

Unfortunately, most natural and/or home remedies will not completely eliminate stretch marks. However, they are much more cost effective as well as much safer than surgeries or chemical options.

Cocoa Butter

For decades, cocoa butter has been considered the number one blemish remover. However, recent studies have shown that, although it is a very good moisturizer, it does not remove or prevent stretch marks, scars, or any other blemishes. Cocoa butter does not, however, cause any adverse effects unless, of course, the person using it is allergic to it. Some people still claim that cocoa butter has lightened their blemishes. Therefore, it is perfectly safe and logical if a person wants to give it a try.

Gotu Kola

Gotu Kola, which is the more common name for centella asiatica, is an ancient Chinese herb. In the ancient world, it was used to treat a number of illnesses and skin maladies, including leprosy. One of the herb’s modern uses is to reduce and/or prevent stretch marks. Dermatologists recommend that a cream with Gotu Kola extract and vitamin E be applied daily before and/or after stretch marks appear. It is particularly recommended for pregnant women and others who can predict the development of stretch marks.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E treats every skin problem, including stretch marks. It can be applied topically or taken as a dietary supplement. When used topically, it is recommended to use either pure vitamin E oil or a mixture that includes Gotu Kola. Those taking a dietary supplement should take approximately 400 IUs per day. Vitamin E oil, soft gels, and other products can be purchased, at a reasonable cost, at nearly every health store as well as from online suppliers.

Vitamin E, in any form, should not cause any adverse effects.

Vitamin K

Although it is not the most recommended treatment, vitamin K can help reduce stretch marks. It is best to apply a 5% vitamin K cream, once or twice a day. The only likely side effect is mild skin irritation.


Zinc is one of the few remedies that have actually been proven to prevent the development of stretch marks. Zinc creams can be topically applied and there are also several zinc dietary supplements that are highly effective. Adults should not ingest more than 50 mg of zinc per day. Children should not ingest more than 30 mg. It is advisable to speak to a medical professional before zinc is administered to young children and infants.

If taken in excess, zinc can be toxic. Also, although it is unlikely, zinc creams may cause mild skin irritation.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera can help prevent stretch marks as well as lighten those that already exist. Aloe vera is an ancient plant from Northern Africa. It is used to treat several conditions and can be purchased in several forms. The most popular forms, however, are pure aloe vera extracts and gels.
Treating Stretch Marks
When treating stretch marks, aloe vera should be applied generously once or twice a day. The only adverse effect it may cause is mild skin irritation that should cease the moment use is stopped. There are many lotions and creams that include aloe vera; however, it will only effectively treat stretch marks if it is applied in large amounts. Also, other ingredients mixed with aloe vera can increase the risk of skin irritation.

Aloe vera capsules and tinctures will have absolutely no effect on stretch marks.

Olive Oil

Although olive oil cannot prevent stretch marks, it can help them to fade after they develop. The oil is rich in vitamins A, D, and E, and has been proven effective in treating many skin problems including acne, eczema, and scarring.

When treating stretch marks, extra virgin olive oil should be applied generously once a day. It is recommended to make a mixture of olive oil and pure aloe vera. Olive oil can also be taken orally although it will not be as effective as when applied topically. Caution should be used because, if large amounts of olive oil are ingested, it can act as a laxative. If the oil is applied topically, it should not cause any adverse effects except, perhaps, mild skin irritation.

Alpha Hydroxy Acid

Alpha hydroxy acid, AHA for short, is a very common, over-the-counter skin care product. It comes in a variety of forms including sprays, gels, and creams. Although most AHA products are available over-the-counter, some, particularly those that are extremely powerful, must be prescribed by a dermatologist.

AHA is, for the most part, perfectly safe. However, it may cause skin irritation such as peeling and blistering.
Also, long term use can lead to photosensitivity.


Prescription Retinoids

Retinoids are used to treat acne, psoriasis, stretch marks, and several other skin conditions. They are most often prescribed by a dermatologist and they come in several forms including pills, gels, and creams.

Retinoids have been approved by the FDA. However, caution should be used because they can cause several extremely serious conditions: in addition to mild or severe skin irritation, retinoids can cause hair loss, bleeding, skin lesions, papilledema (swelling of the optic disc), and hepatosplenomegaly (simultaneous enlargement of the spleen and the liver).


Because the only surgeries for stretch marks are cosmetic procedures, they will usually not be covered by medical insurance. It is unfortunate because most of these procedures are extremely expensive.

Fractional Laser Resurfacing Surgery

Fractional laser resurfacing surgery is particularly recommended to remove stretch marks caused by pregnancy. Laser surgery slowly removes blemishes and/or unwanted skin layer by layer. The procedure usually takes less than an hour and can cost anywhere from $900 to $1,200. Unfortunately, the results are not permanent. When the stretch marks return, the procedure will need to be repeated.

Fractional laser resurfacing surgery can cause several side effects, including swelling, scarring, infection, and changes in pigmentation. This procedure cannot remove extremely deep stretch marks.


Abdominoplasty is a cosmetic procedure that removes excess fat and muscle as well as unwanted skin from the abdomen. It has been nicknamed “tummy tuck”. This procedure can be used to remove stretch marks on the abdomen, particularly those that develop because of pregnancy. An abdominoplasty costs approximately $5,000.

In general, abdominoplasty is considered a safe procedure. It can cause several side effects including abdominal pain and swelling. Unfortunately, these symptoms can last as long as six weeks after surgery.

Other Treatments


Microdermabrasion, often referred to simply as Microderm, is a popular “spa treatment”. During this procedure, a person’s skin is “sanded” with different materials including several types of crystal. Microdermabrasions are usually administered by a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon. The procedure is, for the most part, painless; however, some patients request a light anesthesia.

The procedure is not recommended for children under the age of 14. A physician should be consulted if a person suffers from rosacea, eczema, or any other skin condition. Microdermabrasions can cause skin irritation particularly if a person is allergic to an ingredient used during the procedure. Another possible side effect is changes in pigmentation; in some rare cases, microdermabrasions have caused the skin condition hyperpigmentation.

Microdermabrasions can cost anywhere from $80 to $150 per treatment. Unfortunately, it is very rare for stretch marks to be eliminated after just one Microdermabrasion treatment. There are kits that allow the person to perform the procedure at home; however, they are not recommended because of the possible danger involved.

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels can be used to lessen, if not eliminate, stretch marks. There are several different types of peels, some of which will not effectively remove stretch marks. It is best to use either an alpha hydroxy acid peel or a trichloroacetic acid peel. Both of these peels can cause skin sensitivity and, if not done properly, may cause scarring.

Although many chemical peel solutions can be purchased over-the-counter, it is recommended, particularly when using peels with trichloroacetic acid, that they be administered by a dermatologist, a medical doctor, or some other qualified professional. Chemical peels administered by a doctor usually cost anywhere from $100 to $600 per treatment. The severity of the condition as well as the type of peel used can make multiple treatments necessary.