Tag Archives: Food and Drug Administration

Straight, No Chaser: Natural Colon Cleansing (Colonics) as a Means of Detox

C’mon. Be honest. You knew we’d end up here (no pun intended). Isn’t colonic cleansing one of those things that makes you wonder who the Greek guy was who first thought of this centuries ago? Perhaps even more interesting would be talking to the first guy who volunteered for this …  I promise to (try to) do (most of) the rest of this post with a straight (no chaser) face.
What Is It? Colon cleansing is done primarily via two methods.

  • You can take supplements by mouth that will stimulate expulsion of the contents of your intestines.
  • You can have a tube inserted through your rectum to irrigate your intestines.

Why Do It?  Allow me to set the table by explaining the premise for colonic cleansing. It’s actually a pretty simple and linear train of thought.

  • You have toxins in your intestines from undigested food.
  • Over time, those toxins can get reabsorbed back into your blood and cause damage to your organs (as previously discussed here).
  • You’d like to get rid of the toxins by flushing and irrigating them out of your system.

Proponents of colonic cleansing claim potential benefits such as weight loss, improved immunity and mental outlook and reduction of the risk of colon cancer.
The Methods
Oral colon cleansing (through supplements, oral laxatives, or enzymes) and colonic irrigation (through inserting of a tube) are variations of the same theme. Oral cleansing stimulates massive contractions of your intestines with subsequent massive bowel movements. (Think of the effects of Draino – and please don’t try taking any Draino and say I told you to; it’s just an analogy.)
Colonic cleansing involves placement of a tube through the rectum into the colon and irrigating the colon with several gallons of the chosen solution (sometimes including herbs, enzymes, caffeine or probiotics) until the contents are clear, suggesting the stool has been removed (like a high power wash or enema – again please don’t do that at home…).
At the end of either process, all we can say for sure is that you will have a lot less stool in your intestines.
The Risks
I love the phrases “Natural doesn’t necessarily mean safe” and “Safe doesn’t necessarily mean effective.” They especially come to mind when I see the phrase “natural colon cleansing.” Colonic cleanses, even if effective, are risky. Keep in mind the following.

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate these colonic procedures.  Don’t ask me why, but that means that nothing about the procedure has been quality checked in the same way medicines and medical procedures have to be. To be fair, there is a massive case history of these procedures being done safely in the overwhelming number of cases.
  • If you decided to get a colonic, you may be receiving one from someone who’s not licensed, depending on the state or country. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but ask to see credentials before you allow someone to give you a colonic … and please speak with your primary care physician about options.
  • Consider the fact that this is a medical procedure. Even in the hands of the best therapists, things go wrong. If and when something happens, will the therapist be able to address the issue? Ask your therapist what will happen if you have an allergic reaction to any solutions being used.
  • Other risks include dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, infection, rupture of the intestines and depletion of probiotics. (You may recall that in my previous post that I discussed that the intestines have toxin-repellent mechanisms already in place. Probiotics are part of that internal process.)

You should not be undergoing colonics without your physician’s approval under any circumstance and not even then if you suffer from any of the following:

  • Any lower digestive tract tumor (cancer)
  • Any recent surgery, especially of the intestines
  • Specific digestive tract conditions, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulosis or diverticulitis
  • Bad hemorrhoids (as opposed to the good ones)
  • Significant heart, lung or kidney disease (You will be receiving a medical procedure in a place not equipped to deal with emergencies should one occur, and no one can tell you that one won’t happen while you’re on the business end of a rectal tube.)

Does it work?
I can make the following comments with complete confidence and no equivocation.

  • There has been very little medical research on the benefit of colonic cleansing. Therefore, any global claims of benefit, include those listed above, are unjustified when placed against the standard by which the medical community judges these things. It is very unlikely that will ever change, as I don’t exactly foresee a sufficient number of research subjects lining up (or backing up) for a randomized, double-blinded study anytime soon … That’s not to say it doesn’t work, and there is a theoretical basis for why it would work. It’s just that sufficient medical evidence that it works hasn’t been put forth.
  • I know individuals (and not just the colonic hydrotherapists/hygienists who are obviously incentivized to promote the procedure) who swear they feel better getting this done. Of course, this could be attributable to a placebo effect. Alternatively, here’s something that proponents of colonics don’t seem to discuss that is quite reasonable. There are specific medical ailments related to the nervous system (which has several trigger points in the intestines) that are improved by relieving constipation; clearly colonics do that. Perhaps proponents don’t want to see the procedure reduced to a complex way to provide an enema.
  • I know there are natural methods of cleansing that are at least as effective as colonics.  I’ve discussed these here.

So what does all this mean?  Given the last bullet point above, the issue can be addressed with either of two analogies.

  1. If you wash a car that already has rust on it, you aren’t really fixing anything.
  2. If you repair a car that still functions as new, you aren’t really improving anything. I’m all for maintenance, but when you’re discussing the body, if you take care of it, it sustains itself rather well.

In my “toxin summary post” tomorrow, I will answer your questions on the entire toxin and detoxification series and add a few final thoughts.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser US Dietary Guidelines

Dietary-Guidelines-16-x-9

The guidelines on eating recommendations are jointly released every five years by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Overall, these guidelines advise Americans to follow an eating pattern that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables, grains (at least half of which should be whole), a variety of proteins (including lean meats, seafood, nuts), and oils. However, these recommendations come with a bit of nuance to which you’d be well advised to pay attention.

dietary-guidelines

Here are the details, with simple rationale attached:
Alcohol: Moderate alcohol consumption now can be quantified up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. The recommendation is you stay at or under this amount.
Dairy products: If you’re eating dairy, the guidelines continue to recommend low and no-fat dairy products.
Dietary cholesterol: In a new recommendation, the guidelines no longer recommend a specific limit for dietary cholesterol. Among the foods you may frequently eat, dietary cholesterol is present in eggs and other animal products.
Fruit juice: The guidelines say one cup of 100% fruit juice counts as 1 cup of fruit. However, be advised that fruit juice is lower than whole fruit in dietary fiber and other nutrients, and it is typically very high in sugar, which you are now advised to limit, as noted below.
Red meat and processed meat: In an interesting reversal of the recommendation of its Guidelines Advisory Committee, the final recommendations suggest no limit is recommended for the consumption of red meat or processed meat. Be advised that recent evidence strongly link these foods with heart disease and cancer.
Saturated fats: The guidelines do not encourage a low total fat diet, but do recommend a low saturated fat diet. You should consume less than 10% of your calories per day from saturated fats. The evidence is clear that replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
Sodium (Salt): The guidelines recommend you limit sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day.
Sugar: For the first time, the guidelines advise Americans to consume less than 10% of your daily calories from added sugars. You certainly are aware of sugar’s impact on the development of diabetes, high blood pressure and other diseases.

diet guidelines-pmpng-208055af61a3dd99

Eat healthy and be healthy. That’s the simplest recommendation I can offer. Here’s to your health!
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Understanding Food Poisoning (Foodborne Illness)

FoodPoisoning

We make a decision with everything we place into our mouths. We also exhibit a large amount of trust that the food we eat is safe. Most of the time that’s true, but unfortunately sometimes it’s not. Here are some questions and answers to understanding the scope of food poisoning.
How frequent is food poisoning?
According to 2011 data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year in the U.S. approximately 1 in 6 Americans (almost 50 million people) gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases.

food poisoning

What causes food poisoning?
Over 250 different foodborne diseases have been described, most of which are infections. The most common foodborne illnesses are caused by norovirus and by the bacteria SalmonellaClostridium perfringens, and CampylobacterStaph Aureus (yes, that Staph) is another prominent but less common cause of food poisoning. Poisonous chemicals or other harmful substances can cause foodborne diseases if present in food.
What are the most common symptoms of food poisoning?
Even though there are many different foodborne diseases, they share a commonality of entering your system through your gastrointestinal tract. As a result, the first symptoms are caused and expressed from there and typically include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps.

foodpoisoning traceback_900px

Why do foodborne diseases seem to occur in outbreaks?
Actually, the overwhelming majority of cases of food poisoning don’t occur in outbreaks, but of course you wouldn’t know that because having diarrhea is not something people typically will tell you… When outbreaks occur, it’s because a group of people happened to eat the same contaminated item. This would explain how instances of groups of friends or strangers could have been involved. Contamination that occur closest to the food supply’s distribution result in the widest outbreaks. Look at the above picture. If contaminated food from the producer makes it all the way through the distribution chain, individuals in multiple states could end up with the same infection.

   foodpoisoningfoodsimage

What foods are most associated with foodborne illness?

  • Foods that mingle the products of many individual animals: Raw milk, pooled raw eggs and ground beef have increased risk because contamination in any one of the multiple animals involved can contaminate the entire mixture.
  • Raw foods of animal origin: Foods such as meat, poultry, shellfish, eggs and unpasteurized milk are the most likely foods to be contaminated.
  • Raw fruits and vegetables: Washing reduces but doesn’t eliminate pre-existing contamination, such as that occurring from the fresh manure that fertilizes vegetables. Furthermore, water itself may be contaminated.
  • Shellfish: Because “filter-feeding” shellfish strain microorganisms from the sea over many months, they are particularly likely to be contaminated if there are any in the seawater.

An additional Straight, No Chaser will discuss treatment options. Refer to this post for preventative tips.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Natural Colon Cleansing (Colonics) as a Means of Detox

C’mon. Be honest. You knew we’d end up here (no pun intended). Isn’t colonic cleansing one of those things that makes you wonder who the Greek guy was who first thought of this centuries ago? Perhaps even more interesting would be talking to the first guy who volunteered for this …  I promise to (try to) do (most of) the rest of this post with a straight (no chaser) face.
What Is It? Colon cleansing is done primarily via two methods.

  • You can take supplements by mouth that will stimulate expulsion of the contents of your intestines.
  • You can have a tube inserted through your rectum to irrigate your intestines.

Why Do It?  Allow me to set the table by explaining the premise for colonic cleansing. It’s actually a pretty simple and linear train of thought.

  • You have toxins in your intestines from undigested food.
  • Over time, those toxins can get reabsorbed back into your blood and cause damage to your organs (as previously discussed here).
  • You’d like to get rid of the toxins by flushing and irrigating them out of your system.

Proponents of colonic cleansing claim potential benefits such as weight loss, improved immunity and mental outlook and reduction of the risk of colon cancer.
The Methods
Oral colon cleansing (through supplements, oral laxatives, or enzymes) and colonic irrigation (through inserting of a tube) are variations of the same theme. Oral cleansing stimulates massive contractions of your intestines with subsequent massive bowel movements. (Think of the effects of Draino – and please don’t try taking any Draino and say I told you to; it’s just an analogy.)
Colonic cleansing involves placement of a tube through the rectum into the colon and irrigating the colon with several gallons of the chosen solution (sometimes including herbs, enzymes, caffeine or probiotics) until the contents are clear, suggesting the stool has been removed (like a high power wash or enema – again please don’t do that at home…).
At the end of either process, all we can say for sure is that you will have a lot less stool in your intestines.
The Risks
I love the phrases “Natural doesn’t necessarily mean safe” and “Safe doesn’t necessarily mean effective.” They especially come to mind when I see the phrase “natural colon cleansing.” Colonic cleanses, even if effective, are risky. Keep in mind the following.

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate these colonic procedures.  Don’t ask me why, but that means that nothing about the procedure has been quality checked in the same way medicines and medical procedures have to be. To be fair, there is a massive case history of these procedures being done safely in the overwhelming number of cases.
  • If you decided to get a colonic, you may be receiving one from someone who’s not licensed, depending on the state or country. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but ask to see credentials before you allow someone to give you a colonic … and please speak with your primary care physician about options.
  • Consider the fact that this is a medical procedure. Even in the hands of the best therapists, things go wrong. If and when something happens, will the therapist be able to address the issue? Ask your therapist what will happen if you have an allergic reaction to any solutions being used.
  • Other risks include dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, infection, rupture of the intestines and depletion of probiotics. (You may recall that in my previous post that I discussed that the intestines have toxin-repellent mechanisms already in place. Probiotics are part of that internal process.)

You should not be undergoing colonics without your physician’s approval under any circumstance and not even then if you suffer from any of the following:

  • Any lower digestive tract tumor (cancer)
  • Any recent surgery, especially of the intestines
  • Specific digestive tract conditions, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulosis or diverticulitis
  • Bad hemorrhoids (as opposed to the good ones)
  • Significant heart, lung or kidney disease (You will be receiving a medical procedure in a place not equipped to deal with emergencies should one occur, and no one can tell you that one won’t happen while you’re on the business end of a rectal tube.)

Does it work?
I can make the following comments with complete confidence and no equivocation.

  • There has been very little medical research on the benefit of colonic cleansing. Therefore, any global claims of benefit, include those listed above, are unjustified when placed against the standard by which the medical community judges these things. It is very unlikely that will ever change, as I don’t exactly foresee a sufficient number of research subjects lining up (or backing up) for a randomized, double-blinded study anytime soon … That’s not to say it doesn’t work, and there is a theoretical basis for why it would work. It’s just that sufficient medical evidence that it works hasn’t been put forth.
  • I know individuals (and not just the colonic hydrotherapists/hygienists who are obviously incentivized to promote the procedure) who swear they feel better getting this done. Of course, this could be attributable to a placebo effect. Alternatively, here’s something that proponents of colonics don’t seem to discuss that is quite reasonable. There are specific medical ailments related to the nervous system (which has several trigger points in the intestines) that are improved by relieving constipation; clearly colonics do that. Perhaps proponents don’t want to see the procedure reduced to a complex way to provide an enema.
  • I know there are natural methods of cleansing that are at least as effective as colonics.  I’ve discussed these here.

So what does all this mean?  Given the last bullet point above, the issue can be addressed with either of two analogies.

  1. If you wash a car that already has rust on it, you aren’t really fixing anything.
  2. If you repair a car that still functions as new, you aren’t really improving anything. I’m all for maintenance, but when you’re discussing the body, if you take care of it, it sustains itself rather well.

In my “toxin summary post” tomorrow, I will answer your questions on the entire toxin and detoxification series and add a few final thoughts.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Understanding Food Poisoning (Foodborne Illness)

FoodPoisoning

We make a decision with everything we place into our mouths. We also exhibit a large amount of trust that the food we eat is safe. Most of the time that’s true, but unfortunately sometimes it’s not. Here are some questions and answers to understanding the scope of food poisoning.
How frequent is food poisoning?
According to 2011 data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year in the U.S. approximately 1 in 6 Americans (almost 50 million people) gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases.

food poisoning

What causes food poisoning?
Over 250 different foodborne diseases have been described, most of which are infections. The most common foodborne illnesses are caused by norovirus and by the bacteria SalmonellaClostridium perfringens, and CampylobacterStaph Aureus (yes, that Staph) is another prominent but less common cause of food poisoning. Poisonous chemicals or other harmful substances can cause foodborne diseases if present in food.
What are the most common symptoms of food poisoning?
Even though there are many different foodborne diseases, they share a commonality of entering your system through your gastrointestinal tract. As a result, the first symptoms are caused and expressed from there and typically include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps.

foodpoisoning traceback_900px

Why do foodborne diseases seem to occur in outbreaks?
Actually, the overwhelming majority of cases of food poisoning don’t occur in outbreaks, but of course you wouldn’t know that because having diarrhea is not something people typically will tell you… When outbreaks occur, it’s because a group of people happened to eat the same contaminated item. This would explain how instances of groups of friends or strangers could have been involved. Contaminations that occur closest to the food supply’s distribution result in the widest outbreaks. Look at the above picture. If contaminated food from the producer makes it all the way through the distribution chain, individuals in multiple states could end up with the same infection.

   foodpoisoningfoodsimage

What foods are most associated with foodborne illness?

  • Foods that mingle the products of many individual animals: Raw milk, pooled raw eggs and ground beef have increased risk because contamination in any one of the multiple animals involved can contaminate the entire mixture.
  • Raw foods of animal origin: Foods such as meat, poultry, shellfish, eggs and unpasteurized milk are the most likely foods to be contaminated.
  • Raw fruits and vegetables: Washing reduces but doesn’t eliminate pre-existing contamination, such as that occurring from the fresh manure that fertilizes vegetables. Furthermore, water itself may be contaminated.
  • Shellfish: Because “filter-feeding” shellfish strain microorganisms from the sea over many months, they are particularly likely to be contaminated if there are any in the seawater.

An additional Straight, No Chaser will discuss treatment options. Refer to this post for preventative tips.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Natural Colon Cleansing (Colonics) as a Means of Detox

coloniccolonics

C’mon. Be honest. You knew we’d end up here (no pun intended). Isn’t colonic cleansing one of those things that makes you wonder who the Greek guy was who first thought of this centuries ago? Perhaps even more interesting would be talking to the first guy who volunteered for this …  I promise to (try to) do (most of) the rest of this post with a straight (no chaser) face.
What Is It? Colon cleansing is done primarily via two methods.

  • You can take supplements by mouth that will stimulate expulsion of the contents of your intestines.
  • You can have a tube inserted through your rectum to irrigate your intestines.

Why Do It?  Allow me to set the table by explaining the premise for colonic cleansing. It’s actually a pretty simple and linear train of thought.

  • You have toxins in your intestines from undigested food.
  • Over time, those toxins can get reabsorbed back into your blood and cause damage to your organs (as previously discussed here).
  • You’d like to get rid of the toxins by flushing and irrigating them out of your system.

Proponents of colonic cleansing claim potential benefits such as weight loss, improved immunity and mental outlook and reduction of the risk of colon cancer.
The Methods
Oral colon cleansing (through supplements, oral laxatives, or enzymes) and colonic irrigation (through inserting of a tube) are variations of the same theme. Oral cleansing stimulates massive contractions of your intestines with subsequent massive bowel movements. (Think of the effects of Draino – and please don’t try taking any Draino and say I told you to; it’s just an analogy.)
Colonic cleansing involves placement of a tube through the rectum into the colon and irrigating the colon with several gallons of the chosen solution (sometimes including herbs, enzymes, caffeine or probiotics) until the contents are clear, suggesting the stool has been removed (like a high power wash or enema – again please don’t do that at home…).
At the end of either process, all we can say for sure is that you will have a lot less stool in your intestines.
The Risks
I love the phrases “Natural doesn’t necessarily mean safe” and “Safe doesn’t necessarily mean effective.” They especially come to mind when I see the phrase “natural colon cleansing.” Colonic cleanses, even if effective, are risky. Keep in mind the following.

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate these colonic procedures.  Don’t ask me why, but that means that nothing about the procedure has been quality checked in the same way medicines and medical procedures have to be. To be fair, there is a massive case history of these procedures being done safely in the overwhelming number of cases.
  • If you decided to get a colonic, you may be receiving one from someone who’s not licensed, depending on the state or country. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but ask to see credentials before you allow someone to give you a colonic … and please speak with your primary care physician about options.
  • Consider the fact that this is a medical procedure. Even in the hands of the best therapists, things go wrong. If and when something happens, will the therapist be able to address the issue? Ask your therapist what will happen if you have an allergic reaction to any solutions being used.
  • Other risks include dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, infection, rupture of the intestines and depletion of probiotics. (You may recall that in my previous post that I discussed that the intestines have toxin-repellent mechanisms already in place. Probiotics are part of that internal process.)

You should not be undergoing colonics without your physician’s approval under any circumstance and not even then if you suffer from any of the following:

  • Any lower digestive tract tumor (cancer)
  • Any recent surgery, especially of the intestines
  • Specific digestive tract conditions, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulosis or diverticulitis
  • Bad hemorrhoids (as opposed to the good ones)
  • Significant heart, lung or kidney disease (You will be receiving a medical procedure in a place not equipped to deal with emergencies should one occur, and no one can tell you that one won’t happen while you’re on the business end of a rectal tube.)

Does it work?
I can make the following comments with complete confidence and no equivocation.

  • There has been very little medical research on the benefit of colonic cleansing. Therefore, any global claims of benefit, include those listed above, are unjustified when placed against the standard by which the medical community judges these things. It is very unlikely that will ever change, as I don’t exactly foresee a sufficient number of research subjects lining up (or backing up) for a randomized, double-blinded study anytime soon … That’s not to say it doesn’t work, and there is a theoretical basis for why it would work. It’s just that sufficient medical evidence that it works hasn’t been put forth.
  • I know individuals (and not just the colonic hydrotherapists/hygienists who are obviously incentivized to promote the procedure) who swear they feel better getting this done. Of course, this could be attributable to a placebo effect. Alternatively, here’s something that proponents of colonics don’t seem to discuss that is quite reasonable. There are specific medical ailments related to the nervous system (which has several trigger points in the intestines) that are improved by relieving constipation; clearly colonics do that. Perhaps proponents don’t want to see the procedure reduced to a complex way to provide an enema.
  • I know there are natural methods of cleansing that are at least as effective as colonics.  I’ve discussed these here.

So what does all this mean?  Given the last bullet point above, the issue can be addressed with either of two analogies.

  1. If you wash a car that already has rust on it, you aren’t really fixing anything.
  2. If you repair a car that still functions as new, you aren’t really improving anything. I’m all for maintenance, but when you’re discussing the body, if you take care of it, it sustains itself rather well.

In my “toxin summary post” tomorrow, I will answer your questions on the entire toxin and detoxification series and add a few final thoughts.
Feel free to ask any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser In The News: New US Dietary Guidelines

Dietary-Guidelines-16-x-9

In the news are the 2015 guidelines on eating. The recommendations are jointly released every five years by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Overall, these guidelines advise Americans to follow an eating pattern that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables, grains (at least half of which should be whole), a variety of proteins (including lean meats, seafood, nuts), and oils. However, these recommendations come with a bit of nuance to which you’d be well advised to pay attention.

dietary-guidelines

Here are the details, with simple rationale attached:
Alcohol: Moderate alcohol consumption now can be quantified up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. The recommendation is you stay at or under this amount.
Dairy products: If you’re eating dairy, the guidelines continue to recommend low and no-fat dairy products.
Dietary cholesterol: In a new recommendation, the guidelines no longer recommend a specific limit for dietary cholesterol. Among the foods you may frequently eat, dietary cholesterol is present in eggs and other animal products.
Fruit juice: The guidelines say one cup of 100% fruit juice counts as 1 cup of fruit. However, be advised that fruit juice is lower than whole fruit in dietary fiber and other nutrients, and it is typically very high in sugar, which you are now advised to limit, as noted below.
Red meat and processed meat: In an interesting reversal of the recommendation of its Guidelines Advisory Committee, the final recommendations suggest no limit is recommended for the consumption of red meat or processed meat. Be advised that recent evidence strongly link these foods with heart disease and cancer.
Saturated fats: The guidelines do not encourage a low total fat diet, but do recommend a low saturated fat diet. You should consume less than 10% of your calories per day from saturated fats. The evidence is clear that replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
Sodium (Salt): The guidelines recommend you limit sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day.
Sugar: For the first time, the guidelines advise Americans to consume less than 10% of your daily calories from added sugars. You certainly are aware of sugar’s impact on the development of diabetes, high blood pressure and other diseases.

diet guidelines-pmpng-208055af61a3dd99

Eat healthy and be healthy. That’s the simplest recommendation I can offer. Here’s to your health!
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Straight, No Chaser: Understanding Food Poisoning (Foodborne Illness)

FoodPoisoning

We make a decision with everything we place into our mouths. We also exhibit a large amount of trust that the food we eat is safe. Most of the time that’s true, but unfortunately sometimes it’s not. Here are some questions and answers to understanding the scope of food poisoning.
How frequent is food poisoning?
According to 2011 data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year in the U.S. approximately 1 in 6 Americans (almost 50 million people) gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases.

food poisoning

What causes food poisoning?
Over 250 different foodborne diseases have been described, most of which are infections. The most common foodborne illnesses are caused by norovirus and by the bacteria SalmonellaClostridium perfringens, and CampylobacterStaph Aureus (yes, that Staph) is another prominent but less common cause of food poisoning. Poisonous chemicals or other harmful substances can cause foodborne diseases if present in food.
What are the most common symptoms of food poisoning?
Even though there are many different foodborne diseases, they share a commonality of entering your system through your gastrointestinal tract. As a result, the first symptoms are caused and expressed from there and typically include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps.

foodpoisoning traceback_900px

Why do foodborne diseases seem to occur in outbreaks?
Actually, the overwhelming majority of cases of food poisoning don’t occur in outbreaks, but of course you wouldn’t know that because having diarrhea is not something people typically will tell you… When outbreaks occur, it’s because a group of people happened to eat the same contaminated item. This would explain how instances of groups of friends or strangers could have been involved. Contaminations that occur closest to the food supply’s distribution result in the widest outbreaks. Look at the above picture. If contaminated food from the producer makes it all the way through the distribution chain, individuals in multiple states could end up with the same infection.

   foodpoisoningfoodsimage

What foods are most associated with foodborne illness?

  • Foods that mingle the products of many individual animals: Raw milk, pooled raw eggs and ground beef have increased risk because contamination in any one of the multiple animals involved can contaminate the entire mixture.
  • Raw foods of animal origin: Foods such as meat, poultry, shellfish, eggs and unpasteurized milk are the most likely foods to be contaminated.
  • Raw fruits and vegetables: Washing reduces but doesn’t eliminate pre-existing contamination, such as that occurring from the fresh manure that fertilizes vegetables. Furthermore, water itself may be contaminated.
  • Shellfish: Because “filter-feeding” shellfish strain microorganisms from the sea over many months, they are particularly likely to be contaminated if there are any in the seawater.

An additional Straight, No Chaser will discuss treatment options. Refer to this post for preventative tips.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, AmazonBarnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2015 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Understanding Food Poisoning (Foodborne Illness)

FoodPoisoning

We make a decision with everything we place into our mouths. We also exhibit a large amount of trust that the food we eat is safe. Most of the time that’s true, but unfortunately sometimes it’s not. Here are some questions and answers to understanding the scope of food poisoning.
How frequent is food poisoning?
According to 2011 data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year in the U.S. approximately 1 in 6 Americans (almost 50 million people) gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases.

food poisoning

What causes food poisoning?
Over 250 different foodborne diseases have been described, most of which are infections. The most common foodborne illnesses are caused by norovirus and by the bacteria Salmonella, Clostridium perfringens, and Campylobacter. Staph Aureus (yes, that Staph) is another prominent but less common cause of food poisoning. Poisonous chemicals or other harmful substances can cause foodborne diseases if present in food.
What are the most common symptoms of food poisoning?
Even though there are many different foodborne diseases, they share a commonality of entering your system through your gastrointestinal tract. As a result, the first symptoms are caused and expressed from there and typically include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps.

foodpoisoning traceback_900px

Why do foodborne diseases seem to occur in outbreaks?
Actually, the overwhelming majority of cases of food poisoning don’t occur in outbreaks, but of course you wouldn’t know that because having diarrhea is not something people typically will tell you… When outbreaks occur, it’s because a group of people happened to eat the same contaminated item. This would explain how instances of groups of friends or strangers could have been involved. Contaminations that occur closest to the food supply’s distribution result in the widest outbreaks. Look at the above picture. If contaminated food from the producer makes it all the way through the distribution chain, individuals in multiple states could end up with the same infection.

   foodpoisoningfoodsimage

What foods are most associated with foodborne illness?

  • Foods that mingle the products of many individual animals: Raw milk, pooled raw eggs and ground beef have increased risk because contamination in any one of the multiple animals involved can contaminate the entire mixture.
  • Raw foods of animal origin: Foods such as meat, poultry, shellfish, eggs and unpasteurized milk are the most likely foods to be contaminated.
  • Raw fruits and vegetables: Washing reduces but doesn’t eliminate pre-existing contamination, such as that occurring from the fresh manure that fertilizes vegetables. Furthermore, water itself may be contaminated.
  • Shellfish: Because “filter-feeding” shellfish strain microorganisms from the sea over many months, they are particularly likely to be contaminated if there are any in the seawater.

An additional Straight, No Chaser will discuss treatment options. Refer to this post for preventative tips.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what 844-SMA-TALK and http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress. We are also on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Straight, No Chaser: Natural Colon Cleansing (Colonics) as a Means of Detox

coloniccolonics

C’mon. Be honest. You knew we’d end up here (no pun intended). Isn’t colonic cleansing one of those things that makes you wonder who the Greek guy was who first thought of this centuries ago? Perhaps even more interesting would be talking to the first guy who volunteered for this …  I promise to (try to) do (most of) the rest of this post with a straight (no chaser) face.
What Is It? Colon cleansing is done primarily via two methods.

  • You can take supplements by mouth that will stimulate expulsion of the contents of your intestines.
  • You can have a tube inserted through your rectum to irrigate your intestines.

Why Do It?  Allow me to set the table by explaining the premise for colonic cleansing. It’s actually a pretty simple and linear train of thought.

  • You have toxins in your intestines from undigested food.
  • Over time, those toxins can get reabsorbed back into your blood and cause damage to your organs (as previously discussed here).
  • You’d like to get rid of the toxins by flushing and irrigating them out of your system.

Proponents of colonic cleansing claim potential benefits such as weight loss, improved immunity and mental outlook and reduction of the risk of colon cancer.
The Methods
Oral colon cleansing (through supplements, oral laxatives, or enzymes) and colonic irrigation (through inserting of a tube) are variations of the same theme. Oral cleansing stimulates massive contractions of your intestines with subsequent massive bowel movements. (Think of the effects of Draino – and please don’t try taking any Draino and say I told you to; it’s just an analogy.)
Colonic cleansing involves placement of a tube through the rectum into the colon and irrigating the colon with several gallons of the chosen solution (sometimes including herbs, enzymes, caffeine or probiotics) until the contents are clear, suggesting the stool has been removed (like a high power wash or enema – again please don’t do that at home…).
At the end of either process, all we can say for sure is that you will have a lot less stool in your intestines.
The Risks
I love the phrases “Natural doesn’t necessarily mean safe” and “Safe doesn’t necessarily mean effective.” They especially come to mind when I see the phrase “natural colon cleansing.” Colonic cleanses, even if effective, are risky. Keep in mind the following.

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate these colonic procedures.  Don’t ask me why, but that means that nothing about the procedure has been quality checked in the same way medicines and medical procedures have to be. To be fair, there is a massive case history of these procedures being done safely in the overwhelming number of cases.
  • If you decided to get a colonic, you may be receiving one from someone who’s not licensed, depending on the state or country. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but ask to see credentials before you allow someone to give you a colonic … and please speak with your primary care physician about options.
  • Consider the fact that this is a medical procedure. Even in the hands of the best therapists, things go wrong. If and when something happens, will the therapist be able to address the issue? Ask your therapist what will happen if you have an allergic reaction to any solutions being used.
  • Other risks include dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, infection, rupture of the intestines and depletion of probiotics. (You may recall that in my previous post that I discussed that the intestines have toxin-repellent mechanisms already in place. Probiotics are part of that internal process.)

You should not be undergoing colonics without your physician’s approval under any circumstance and not even then if you suffer from any of the following:

  • Any lower digestive tract tumor (cancer)
  • Any recent surgery, especially of the intestines
  • Specific digestive tract conditions, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulosis or diverticulitis
  • Bad hemorrhoids (as opposed to the good ones)
  • Significant heart, lung or kidney disease (You will be receiving a medical procedure in a place not equipped to deal with emergencies should one occur, and no one can tell you that one won’t happen while you’re on the business end of a rectal tube.)

Does it work?
I can make the following comments with complete confidence and no equivocation.

  • There has been very little medical research on the benefit of colonic cleansing. Therefore, any global claims of benefit, include those listed above, are unjustified when placed against the standard by which the medical community judges these things. It is very unlikely that will ever change, as I don’t exactly foresee a sufficient number of research subjects lining up (or backing up) for a randomized, double-blinded study anytime soon … That’s not to say it doesn’t work, and there is a theoretical basis for why it would work. It’s just that sufficient medical evidence that it works hasn’t been put forth.
  • I know individuals (and not just the colonic hydrotherapists/hygienists who are obviously incentivized to promote the procedure) who swear they feel better getting this done. Of course, this could be attributable to a placebo effect. Alternatively, here’s something that proponents of colonics don’t seem to discuss that is quite reasonable. There are specific medical ailments related to the nervous system (which has several trigger points in the intestines) that are improved by relieving constipation; clearly colonics do that. Perhaps proponents don’t want to see the procedure reduced to a complex way to provide an enema.
  • I know there are natural methods of cleansing that are at least as effective as colonics.  I’ve discussed these here.

So what does all this mean?  Given the last bullet point above, the issue can be addressed with either of two analogies.

  1. If you wash a car that already has rust on it, you aren’t really fixing anything.
  2. If you repair a car that still functions as new, you aren’t really improving anything. I’m all for maintenance, but when you’re discussing the body, if you take care of it, it sustains itself rather well.

In my “toxin summary post” tomorrow, I will answer your questions on the entire toxin and detoxification series and add a few final thoughts.
Call us at 1-844-SMA-TALK or login at www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com to chat with your expert nutritionists about these matters, especially now that we’re in National Nutrition Month.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what  http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: Do You Take Antidepressants? Learn About the "Black Box" Warning Label.

antidepressantblackbox

It’s important to note that most recent group of antidepressants known as SSRIs are a marked leap forward in safety from their predecessors. Even still, they retain undesired effects, particularly in adolescents and young adults. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted a comprehensive review of controlled clinical research trials of antidepressants that involved nearly 4,400 children and adolescents. The review revealed that 4% of those taking antidepressants thought about or attempted suicide, compared to 2% of those receiving placebos (a simulated but medically inactive treatment).
In 2005, this information prompted the FDA  to adopt its most serious level of warning on all prescription antidepressant drugs, known as a “black box” warning. This warning means to alert the public about the potential increased risk of suicidal thinking or attempts in children and adolescents taking antidepressants. Specifically, makers of all antidepressant medications must post the warning regarding users up through age 24.
What does this mean for you? Regardless of your age, during the initial treatment period (e.g., the first month), you should have a family member closely follow you and look for any abnormalities or changes in behavior. In particular, worsening depression, suicidal thoughts or action, insomnia, increased agitation or withdrawal should be noted and considered a prompt to receive immediate medical attention.
In the event you’re wondering why such drugs would still be available to the public, it’s basically the risk/benefit ratio. These considerations aren’t taken lightly. It’s a testament to positive benefits of these medications that they remain popular and continually used for children and young adults (in particular) with depression and anxiety. Just be sure to have a detailed conversation with your physician or psychiatrist prior to use. These are not medications that you should just receive a prescription for and walk out of the office.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress. We are also on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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I just got prescribed an antidepressant. About what should I be concerned?

antidepressant_medications_sign AntidepressantsCartoon4

For the answer to this concern, let’s go straight to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) site, which roughly states the following:
Antidepressants are safe and popular, but research and case history demonstrate that they may have unintentional effects on some people, especially adolescents and young adults. During the first one to two months of initial treatment, patients of all ages taking antidepressants should be watched closely.
Possible side effects to look for are the following:

  • suicidal thoughts or behavior
  • worsening depression that gets worse
  • unusual changes in behavior such as insomnia, agitation, or withdrawal from normal social situations.

If you or a loved one witness or exhibit any of these types of changes shortly after taking antidepressants, please seek medical help immediately. A life could be in the balance.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress. We are also on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Straight, No Chaser: Bye-Bye, Trans Fats

Toxic-Trans-Fat

In news you can use: the Food and Drug Administration has decided to eliminate trans fats from the American diet. What does this mean? Why should you care? Read on…
Substances known as trans fats, trans fatty acids or partially hydrogenated oils serve the purpose of making liquid vegetable oils more solid. You know and love them because they make food taste good. It’s largely why some of you love and crave foods that are deep fried. What types of foods am I describing? Think about French fries, pizza, pies, doughnuts, pastries, microwave popcorn, cookies and popcorn creamer. Are you using stick margarine? Not for long! Enjoy it while it lasts – or better yet, don’t.
Trans fats raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lower your good (HDL) cholesterol levels. Eating trans fats increases your risk of developing heart disease and stroke. It’s also associated with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
This move will eliminate 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths due to heart disease per year. However,  you know what won’t die? Your taste buds. Options always exist, and food manufacturers will find healthier ways to make food just as tasty as it has always been. By the way, you can do the same even now with just a little effort.
Before you start thinking about whether you can ingest trans fats in moderation, the answer is no. Trans fats occur in sufficient amounts naturally that you’re already eating the limits of what would be acceptable. Adding industrially made trans fats simply adds to your risk of disease and avoidable death.
Now if we can only get you to exercise…
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your Friends on WordPress, and we can be found on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

From the Health Library of SterlingMedicalAdvice.com: Are there herbal therapies for anxiety disorder?

Kava-Home-Page3

Yes. Two herbal treatments for anxiety disorders that I’ll mention now include kava kava (also called kava) and valerian.
Kava has been used to relieve anxiety and improve sleep, but it appears to increase the effects of alcohol, so do not drink when taking it. Typical doses of 200 to 250 mg per day are considered safe and effective, but you must follow pharmacist or physician’s directions when considering usage. Kava use has also shown some links to liver toxicity, so the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued warning regarding its use.
Valerian is a mild sedative with milder side effects than Kava. Valerian’s side effects are reported to be minimal when used at the recommended dose of 300 to 500 mg per day.
Be reminded that the effectiveness of these and most herbs have not been proven by medical research, and benefits have not been directly compared to those of prescription drugs.
 
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) will offer beginning November 1. Until then enjoy some our favorite posts and frequently asked questions as well as a daily note explaining the benefits of SMA membership. Please share our page with your Friends on WordPress, and we can be found on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2013 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: The Sexually Transmitted Cancer

HPV

I want to thank my friend and colleague, Dr. Julius Ellis, noted Ob/Gyn physician for contributing to this post. Let’s start this with two simple statements:

  • Cervical cancer has basically been shown to be caused by an infection.
  • There soon will be no reason that anyone has to have cervical cancer.

The most common sexually transmitted infection is now caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Some of you will recognize HPV as a cause of genital warts. (Secondary syphilis is another cause. This means if you ever develop warts, go get checked immediately.)
Even more importantly, certain HPV strains have been shown to cause virtually all cervical and anal cancers. HPV also causes some cancers of the vagina, penis, and oropharynx (a certain part of the throat—and yes, this is what Michael Douglas was referencing about having obtained throat cancer by performing oral sex).
Let’s address this topic in Q&A format:
1) Am I at risk for HPV? How do you get this?
Everyone having sex or who has ever had sex is at risk for HPV. In fact, nearly all sexually active men and women get it at some point in their lives. HPV is passed on through genital contact, most often during vaginal and anal sex, but also through oral sex and genital-to-genital contact without intercourse. HPV can be passed on between straight and same-sex partners even if and when the infected person has no signs or symptoms.
2) If I get genital warts, will I get cancer?
Not necessarily, but the possibility is high enough that you need to get treated. Most HPV infections actually resolve on their own. It’s the ones that linger that are the concerns.
3) If I do have warts, what increases my risks for these cancers?
Smoking, a weakened immune system, having had many children (for increased risk of cervical cancer), long-term oral contraceptive use (for increased risk of cervical cancer), and poor oral hygiene (for increased risk of oropharyngeal cancer) all increase the risk for developing cancer after an HPV infection.
4) How do I get this and how do I prevent it?
The most reliable way to prevent infection with HPV is abstinence, avoiding any skin-to-skin oral, anal, or genital contact with another. If you are sexually active, a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner is the strategy most likely to prevent HPV infection. However, because of the lack of symptoms, it’s hard to know whether a partner is currently infected with HPV. Use of condoms reduces the transmission of HPV between partners, although areas not covered by a condom can still be infected.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two HPV vaccines, branded as Gardasil (for the prevention of cervical, anal, vulvar, and vaginal cancer, precancerous lesions, and genital warts in these areas) and Cervarix (for the prevention of cervical cancer and precancerous cervical lesions caused by HPV). Both vaccines are highly effective, but neither has been approved for prevention of penile or oropharyngeal cancer. And yes, it’s safe and effective as young as age 9, although the Center for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends vaccination between ages 11–14. You must contact your physician for additional details on these important medications.
5) How do I treat HPV infections?
There’s no treatment for HPV itself, but the problems HPV causes can be treated. We’ll address the two major ones:

  • Genital warts may be treated topically by you or a healthcare provider. If not treated, they may multiply, go away, or stay the same.
  • Cervical cancer may be treated by your gynecologist, but be warned: Prevention is best, and early detection gives you the best chance for the best outcomes. Continue those annual exams.

There will soon come a time when all boys and girls are receiving vaccinations at around ages 11–12, and cervical cancer (in particular) will become a rare entity. That only happens if you get your family immunized. The science is in. There’s no good reasons left to wait.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) will offer beginning November 1. Until then enjoy some our favorite posts and frequently asked questions as well as a daily note explaining the benefits of SMA membership. Please share our page with your Friends on WordPress, and we can be found on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2013 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: The Sexually Transmitted Cancer

HPV
I want to thank my friend and colleague, Dr. Julius Ellis, noted Ob/Gyn physician for contributing to this post. Let’s start this with two simple statements:

  • Cervical cancer has basically been shown to be caused by an infection.
  • There soon will be no reason that anyone has to have cervical cancer.

The most common sexually transmitted infection is now caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Some of you will recognize HPV as a cause of genital warts. (Secondary syphilis is another cause. This means if you ever develop warts, go get checked immediately.)
Even more importantly, certain HPV strains have been shown to cause virtually all cervical and anal cancers. HPV also causes some cancers of the vagina, penis, and oropharynx (a certain part of the throat—and yes, this is what Michael Douglas was referencing about having obtained throat cancer by performing oral sex).
Let’s address this topic in Q&A format:
1) Am I at risk for HPV? How do you get this?
Everyone having sex or who has ever had sex is at risk for HPV. In fact, nearly all sexually active men and women get it at some point in their lives. HPV is passed on through genital contact, most often during vaginal and anal sex, but also through oral sex and genital-to-genital contact without intercourse. HPV can be passed on between straight and same-sex partners even if and when the infected person has no signs or symptoms.
2) If I get genital warts, will I get cancer?
Not necessarily, but the possibility is high enough that you need to get treated. Most HPV infections actually resolve on their own. It’s the ones that linger that are the concerns.
3) If I do have warts, what increases my risks for these cancers?
Smoking, a weakened immune system, having had many children (for increased risk of cervical cancer), long-term oral contraceptive use (for increased risk of cervical cancer), and poor oral hygiene (for increased risk of oropharyngeal cancer) all increase the risk for developing cancer after an HPV infection.
4) How do I get this and how do I prevent it?
The most reliable way to prevent infection with HPV is abstinence, avoiding any skin-to-skin oral, anal, or genital contact with another. If you are sexually active, a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner is the strategy most likely to prevent HPV infection. However, because of the lack of symptoms, it’s hard to know whether a partner is currently infected with HPV. Use of condoms reduces the transmission of HPV between partners, although areas not covered by a condom can still be infected.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two HPV vaccines, branded as Gardasil (for the prevention of cervical, anal, vulvar, and vaginal cancer, precancerous lesions, and genital warts in these areas) and Cervarix (for the prevention of cervical cancer and precancerous cervical lesions caused by HPV). Both vaccines are highly effective, but neither has been approved for prevention of penile or oropharyngeal cancer. And yes, it’s safe and effective as young as age 9, although the Center for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends vaccination between ages 11–14. You must contact your physician for additional details on these important medications.
5) How do I treat HPV infections?
There’s no treatment for HPV itself, but the problems HPV causes can be treated. We’ll address the two major ones:

  • Genital warts may be treated topically by you or a healthcare provider. If not treated, they may multiply, go away, or stay the same.
  • Cervical cancer may be treated by your gynecologist, but be warned: Prevention is best, and early detection gives you the best chance for the best outcomes. Continue those annual exams.

There will soon come a time when all boys and girls are receiving vaccinations at around ages 11–12, and cervical cancer (in particular) will become a rare entity. That only happens if you get your family immunized. The science is in. There’s no good reasons left to wait.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) will offer beginning November 1. Until then enjoy some our favorite posts and frequently asked questions as well as a daily note explaining the benefits of SMA membership. Please share our page with your Friends on WordPress, and we can be found on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2013 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Five Important Questions About Contact Lenses

eyeinfxncontacts
Question: Which is better: disposable or regular contact lenses?
The development of disposable contact lenses has lessened the risk of various eye problems. This isn’t the same as saying regular lenses aren’t good or even just as good. Daily use (i.e. disposable) contacts don’t require cleaning solutions, which were commonly used for contacts in the past to increase the longevity of them. When you’re next ready for lenses, ask about silicon hydrogel lens. Evidence suggests they are even better for comfort and lower risk for eye problems.
Question: Can I wear my contact lenses when I go swimming?
You can, but you shouldn’t, according to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Swimming can cause absorption of chemicals (including chlorine) and bacteria from the water, leading to an eye infection. Additionally, contacts can adhere to the eye after swimming. This can lead to ulceration of parts of the eye (e.g. cornea).
Question: Can I wear my contact lenses while I sleep?
You can use extended wear contacts while you sleep if this has been approved in advance by your optometrist or ophthalmologist; they can be used for up to seven days if recommended as such. Daily wear contacts must be removed prior to sleep – even a nap.
Question: What steps help prevent fungal infections caused by contact lenses?
First, you should understand your risks, which include prior eye damage or a diminished immune system. Fungal infections are a particular concern for those wearing soft contact lens with risk factors. To reduce your risk, be sure to thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water. Be especially careful to avoid lint on your hands before handling your contacts. Avoid extending the use of your contact lens beyond the recommendations of your eye provider. Be sure to keep your lens case clean, and replace the case every 3-6 months. In the unlikely event you’re still using Bausch & Lomb ReNu ® with MoistureLoc® Multi-Purpose Solution, discard it. It’s been recalled due to an increase rate of eye fungal infections.
Question: How do I know if my contact lenses have caused an eye infection?
Be on the lookout for redness, swelling, tearing and/or eye discharge, light sensitivity, blurred vision and pain that doesn’t improve after removal of the contacts. If you have symptoms like this, remove the contacts and get medical assistance.
Remember to pause before inserting anything in your eyes. The consequences of bad decisions can be devastating and irreversible. I welcome your questions or comments.
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