Bloating could be a sign of this terrible illness: Women warned to visit doctor

Persistent bloating is one of the main signs that a woman may be suffering from ovarian cancer but a new poll has found that some women would be more likely to make changes to their diet than visit their GP if they were regularly bloated. 

A survey of 1,142 women on behalf of Target Ovarian Cancer found that 50 per cent of British women would change their diet if they were persistently bloated. 

This includes cutting out certain foods like gluten or dairy, starting to consume certain foods such as probiotic yoghurts or peppermint tea, or go on a diet. 

But just 34 per cent said that they would visit a GP if they had concerns about regular bloating. 

Previous research by the charity has found that only one in five women even know that persistent bloating could be a sign of ovarian cancer. 

The charity said there is an “awareness gap” surrounding the symptoms of the disease. 

As a result, two thirds of British sufferers are not being diagnosed until their disease has spread, making it harder to treat, the charity added. 

Annwen Jones, chief executive of Target Ovarian Cancer, said: “A probiotic yoghurt should not be preventing a woman from visiting the GP promptly if something is worrying her. 

“Women should not be risking their lives because of the enduring awareness gap around the symptoms of ovarian cancer. 

“If women know ovarian cancer symptoms such as persistent bloating and are able to link them to ovarian cancer early on, lives will be saved.” 

Other symptoms of ovarian cancer include: pelvic or abdominal pain, feeling full quickly and/or a loss of appetite or needing to wee more than usual.



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What is a hacking cough and how can you get rid of it?

A hacking cough is a severe type of dry cough. You should always see a GP if you have a hacking cough, according to the NHS.

The cough can irritate your throat and lungs, and cause a tickling sensation in the lower part of your throat.

Other symptoms of a hacking cough include a burning sensation and a restless night’s sleep.

But, you could relieve symptoms of the cough by drinking honey in hot tea.

“Unlike productive coughs - coughs that can be helpful by bringing mucus up and out of the lungs - dry hacking coughs tend to needlessly irritate your throat and lungs,” said medical website Livestrong.com.

“It causes tickling and burning sensations that can make your days difficult and your nights sleepless.

“Fortunately, there exists many practical methods for relief, which can be done both with your physician's help, as well as at home to relieve this difficult type of cough.”

WebMD added: “Dry, hacking coughs respond to honey in hot water, tea, or lemon juice.”

Most coughs go away by themselves within three weeks, the NHS said.

For a normal, everyday cough, there’s usually no need to see a GP.

Getting plenty of rest, drinking plenty of fluids and drinking hot lemon with honey could help to relieve symptoms.

But, babies and children younger than one year old shouldn’t be given honey with hot water, the NHS warned.

If you’ve had a cough for more than three weeks, you should see a GP.

If the condition gets worse very quickly, or if you have chest pain, you should also see a medical professional.

See a doctor immediately if you’re coughing up blood.

Most coughs are caused by a cold or flu. You could lower your risk of developing a cough by regularly washing your hands.



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Cancer warning: NINE signs of bladder cancer that you should get checked by a GP

Bladder cancer is the seventh most common cancer in the UK, according to the NHS.

The disease is caused by abnormal tissue growing in the bladder lining.

The tumour can spread into the surrounding muscles.

Lower back pain could be a sign of bladder cancer.

“If bladder cancer reaches an advanced stage and begins to spread, symptoms can include pelvic pain, bone pain, unintentional weight loss, and swelling of the legs,” said the NHS.

“Blood in your urine is the most common symptom of bladder cancer.

“You may notice streaks of blood in your urine or the blood may turn your urine brown.

“The blood isn't always noticeable and it may come and go.”

Other bladder cancer symptoms include urinating more frequently, and having sudden urges to pass urine.

A burning sensation when passing urine may also be a sign of the disease.

You should see a GP if you ever find blood in your urine, the NHS recommended.

While the symptom isn’t always a sign of bladder cancer, it’s best to get it checked out.

About 10,000 people are diagnosed with bladder cancer in the UK.

People over 75 years old are most at risk of developing the disease.

Men are also more likely to get bladder cancer than women.

You can lower your risk of the condition by eating a diet high in fruit and vegetables, and low in fat.



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Haemorrhoids? You can treat unwanted piles with this cheap gel

Haemorrhoids, or piles, are swellings of inflamed blood vessels. They’re found in and around the rectum and anus, according to the NHS.

Symptoms are usually difficult to spot, and some people don’t even realise they have piles.

But, they can cause bleeding after passing a stool, or a mucus discharge after passing a stool.

Aloe vera gel could be used to treat the condition, it’s been revealed.

“Haemorrhoids are an extremely common problem,” said medical website Healthline.

“To make them more tolerable, you can use home remedies to treat them.”

The Cleveland Clinic added: “The anti-inflammatory properties of aloe vera may help soothe inflammation of haemorrhoids.

“Although research isn’t available for its use for haemorrhoids specifically, it has shown some benefit for other inflammatory skin conditions.”

Witch hazel may also tighten the skin and acts a natural anti-inflammatory.

The gel could even reduce pain, itching and bleeding until haemorrhoids disappear.

Submerging the buttocks and hips in warm water is one of the best home remedies for getting rid of piles, said the Cleveland Clinic.

“Generally, experts recommend people with painful haemorrhoids sit in warm water for 15 minutes, several times a day — especially after a bowel movement.”

Haemorrhoids aren’t usually painful, unless their blood supply is interrupted or slows down.

See your GP if you’re showing persistent or severe signs of piles.

The doctor can diagnose the condition by a quick and easy internal examination of your back passage, said the NHS.

While the condition usually clears up by itself, some simple treatments can be bought at a pharmacy without a prescription.



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Arthritis drugs prescribed by doctors to treat hand pain don't actually work

Hand osteoarthritis is estimated to affect nearly a third of people over the age of 70.

But the first-line treatments - paracetamol, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or opioids - are often not effective and some patients experience adverse reactions.

Doctors have instead been using hydroxychloroquine as an off-label alternative.

But a study led by the University of Leeds found no benefit in taking hydroxychloroquine to control debilitating pain when compared to a placebo.

Prescription drugs are licensed for certain conditions, but off-label use means doctors are using them to treat illnesses outside of that designated or authorised list.

Researchers said it is not clear how often doctors use hydroxychloroquine off-label although it is believed to be a common practice.

The study involved 248 patients at 13 NHS hospitals in England. All of them had the condition for at least five years and had changes to the joints in their hands consistent with osteoarthritis.

The participants all reported moderate to severe pain on at least half of the days in the previous three months to the study commencing.

The study found that patients initially reported a small reduction in the severity of pain before the improvement plateaued. However, that change was seen in both the group receiving the medication and the group taking the placebo.

Measurements of grip strength and the structural damage existing in patients' joints were similar for both groups.

Lead researcher Dr Sarah Kingsbury said: "There is some scientific basis as to why hydroxychloroquine could be an effective drug agent.

"It is known to target inflammation in the joints and is a recognised and licensed treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.

"There is increasing evidence that inflammation is a factor in osteoarthritis. So doctors have used hydroxychloroquine off-label, in a way that it was not licensed for, to try and control symptoms and pain.

"But until now, there has not been a large-scale study into whether using hydroxychloroquine works. And our evidence shows that for most patients it is not an effective treatment."

Osteoarthritis of the hand is a painful and disabling condition which tends to affect people as they get older.

It can stop people from carrying out everyday activities and can limit their quality of life.

The study, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, was funded by Arthritis Research UK.

Figures from Arthritis Research UK show 8.75 million people over the age of 45 have sought treatment for all types of osteoarthritis.

One third have to stop working or reduce their working hours because of the pain of the condition.

According to the charity, hand osteoarthritis is more commonly seen in people whose occupations required increased manual dexterity.

Dr Natalie Carter, head of research liaison and evaluation at the charity, said: "While this drug is known to be effective for some forms of inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, this study does not back up its use for hand osteoarthritis.

"Hand osteoarthritis can have a huge impact on a person's life, limiting their ability to live independently and carry out everyday tasks such as dress, wash and cook for themselves.

"It is vital that we invest in research to improve the treatment options available to people with this condition. Anyone concerned about the effectiveness of their treatment should seek advice from their doctor."



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Arthritis pain? FIVE sports to relieve painful joint inflammation

Arthritis symptoms include joint pain, stiffness, inflammation, and restricted movement, according to the NHS.

It’s caused by a wearing down of cartilage that lines the joints.

Regular exercise helps to keep joints strong and flexible.

These activities are the best ways to relieve painful joints, while not causing yourself injury.

Golf

Golf includes plenty of walking, while also working your upper back, legs, shoulders, wrists and hands, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

“To warm up, stand in place and gently rotate your body to the right and left as you pretend to swing a club,” it said.

“Try a few gentle swings with a light iron and then do the same with your heavier driver.”

But, if your joints begin to hurt after a few holes, it’s best to stop playing, it warned.

Shuffleboard

Using your legs to push forward, and your arms to push the cue, means that playing shuffleboard could help to ward off painful arthritis symptoms.

“Wear comfortable, non-slip shoes. Don’t overdo it and don't push yourself beyond a comfortable range of motion.

“This could aggravate shoulder or elbow arthritis if you push the puck too hard, and knee arthritis if you lunge too deeply.”

Cross-country skiing

Unlike downhill skiing, there’s not much twisting and turning of the knees in cross-country skiing, said the foundation.

“You can get a moderate to vigorous total-body workout [by doing cross-country skiing],” it said.

“A lesson is the best way to learn how to coordinate your arms and legs and how to fall and get back up with minimal strain.”

But, you shouldn’t do the sport if you have severe arthritis in the upper or lower body.

Water walking

“Walking in waist-deep water lessens weight on joints by 50 percent compared with walking on land,” said the Arthritis Foundation.

“Take a class with an instructor who can teach you proper form.”

But, make sure you don’t over-exercise by doing water aerobics, and joints can become fatigued and aggravated.

Bocce ball

Similar to bowls, bocce ball is done in a relatively upright position, so bending is kept to a minimum.

The social aspect of the game may help to keep your mind off joint pain, too.

The best way to play, without injuring your joints, is to avoid bending your knees, or extending your arm, beyond what feels comfortable.



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Skin cancer: Hairdressers and beauticians being trained to spot killer disease

The move aims to make beauty professionals the “first line of defence” against skin cancer in under-35s.

Melanoma - a potentially deadly skin cancer - is one of the most common cancers among young people aged 15 to 34.

While people from this age group may rarely see a GP, they typically visit a salon around every eight to 12 weeks on average.

Cancer charity Skin has launched the move in a bid to make the most of the regular contact younger people have with their hairdresser or beautician.

Its training programme MASCED - short for Melanoma and Skin Cancer Early Detection - provides therapists with training materials and a 45-minute e-learning course. 

Claire Dale, MASCED campaign manager, said: “Hair, health and beauty professionals are expertly placed to help spot what could be the early signs of cancer which could improve prognosis and save lives.

“The MASCED programme is about empowering those professionals to feel they can communicate any concerns they may have to their client, so medical advice can be sought quickly.” 

Therapists who complete the course will be granted a certificate of professional accreditation. 

Customers will be able to choose salons which have accredited staff who have gone through the additional cancer-spotting training.

Skin said beauticians and hairdressers will not be expected to diagnose cancer or be responsible for spotting it, but the programme aims to educate them to notice the signs and advise clients as to what should be done about it. 

The charity hopes all hair, beauty and health professionals - including physiotherapists and masseuses - who have regular contact with the skin of their customers will undergo the training.

Around 2,000 professionals have already signed up, despite the programme not officially launching until next week.

It will be started later this month at the Professional Beauty London event which is attended by 33,000 beauty professionals.

Mark Moloney, managing director of the event, said: “Too many people are lost each year to a cancer which is treatable with early detection. 

“We know that people regularly start using salons and having treatments from a young age, meaning our professionals could be the ones to help those younger people survive this cancer.”  

Melanoma is the fifth most common cancer in the UK. 

Incidence rates have more than doubled since the 1990s, as more Britons have taken to going on sunshine holidays abroad.

Experts estimate that by 2035, rates will rise by 7 per cent to make melanoma one of the major forms of cancer. 

There were 15,900 new diagnoses of melanoma skin cancer in 2015 and more than 2,400 people die every year from the disease in the UK.  



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Apple cider vinegar can help boost digestion - nine other foods to improve gut health

Looking after your gut health is one of the most crucial ways of looking after health as a whole. 

An upset in gut health can impact digestion and cause you a great deal of discomfort. 

Speaking to NHS Choices, Dr Anton Emmanuel, a consultant gastroenterologist at University College Hospital in London said there’s a wide choice of pharmacy remedies for heartburn, indigestion and similar problems that are very good for the short-term relief of symptoms. 

But nutritionist Cassandra Barns has revealed 10 gut friendly foods to boost your digestion that could be hanging around in your cupboard. 

Apple cider vinegar

Contrary to what you may have thought, it’s more common to have too little stomach acid than too much. Having low stomach acid can cause many of the problems that people associate with indigestion, including burping, nausea and even heartburn symptoms. Taking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a small amount of water before a meal can help to balance stomach acid levels. However, do not try this if you are already taking a prescribed medication to reduce stomach acid.

Garlic 

Garlic has potent anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. It can help keep in check any ‘bad’ bacteria in the gut and can also be beneficial in cases of candida (yeast) overgrowth in the gut.

Raw sauerkraut or kimchi

Sauerkraut is a traditional fermented food usually made with shredded cabbage. It naturally contains gut-friendly bacteria – it’s basically a natural probiotic! Kimchi is similar to sauerkraut but usually made with a combination of vegetables and the addition of spices such as ginger and red chilli flakes. Make sure you get raw sauerkraut or kimchi; if it doesn’t say raw on the label, it’s probably been pasteurised, which kills all the beneficial bacteria.

Kombucha

We’re learning more and more about the importance of the ‘friendly’ bacteria and other microbes that live in our gut. They’re thought to influence our immunity, mood and weight, as well as our digestion of course. Raw, organic and unpasteurized, Equinox Kombucha is £1.80 from Waitrose. 

Jerusalem artichoke

These knobbly vegetables are one of our best sources of inulin, a type of soluble fibre. Inulin has a prebiotic effect, helping to ‘feed’ the good bacteria in our gut.

Raw Cacao

For something a little sweeter but still guy friendly, try OMBAR 72 per cent which is packed full of friendly bacteria called, Lactobacillus acidophilus, a dairy free treat you and your gut will love.

Ginger

Ginger can stimulate production of stomach acid and digestive juices, as well as helping to keep food moving through the gut. It can also help relieve nausea. Use ginger in stews, stir-fries, soups, vegetable juices, grated on salads, or in curries (but keep them light to benefit your digestion) Hot ginger tea made with fresh grated ginger is a fantastic digestive tonic too.

Bone Broth

Traditionally prepared bone broth is made by simmering leftover meat or fish bones for at least 8–12 hours. This process leaves us with a highly nutritious broth containing valuable minerals and gelatin that come from the bones. Gelatin can help to restore a healthy gut lining, and the amino acids it contains may also help to improve stomach acid levels.

Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc, which is vital for good gut health. Raw pumpkin seeds have also been used as a traditional remedy for parasites. Try Grinding up Clearspring’s Organic Tamari Roasted Pumpkin Seeds before eating to get the most benefit. 

Oats

We need fibre for a healthy gut and good bowel movements. But wheat bran can be quite harsh on the gut, causing digestive problems for some people. Oats can be a better source of gentle fibre. As a bonus, the fibre in Nairn’s Gluten Free Super Seeded Crackers have also been found to help lower cholesterol levels and help control blood sugar.

Constipation pain and bloating can make your stomach feel stretched and uncomfortable. But, taking these cheap probiotic supplements everyday could help to boost your immune system and help with digestion.



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Diabetes type 2 - REVERSE high blood sugar by following this diet plan

Diabetes type 2 is caused by the pancreas not producing enough insulin, or the body not reacting to the hormone properly.

Without enough insulin, not enough glucose in the blood is converted into energy.

Signs of diabetes can include feeling very tired, feeling very thirsty and passing more urine than normal.

But, you could reverse the condition by eating a low-calorie diet, scientists have revealed.

An intensive, low-calorie, diet-based, weight management programme could put type 2 diabetes into remission, Diabetes UK has revealed.

The diet is made up of four soups or shakes a day, totalling 800 calories.

Patients are on the low-calorie diet for between eight and 20 weeks.

After that, they gradually reintroduce normal food, and get expert support to help them maintain their weight.

Almost 90 per cent of diabetes type 2 patients that lost more than 15kg of weight saw their condition go into remission.

Of those that lost between 10 and 15kg, 57 per cent went into remission.

The diet plan could “transform” the way diabetes is treated in the future, said Diabetes UK.

But, you should speak to a GP before deciding to swap to a low-calorie diet, the charity warned.

“These findings demonstrate the potential to transform the lives of millions of people,” said Diabetes UK’s Director of Research, Dr Elizabeth Robertson.

“We’re very encouraged by these initial results, and the building of robust evidence that remission could be achievable for some people.

“The trial is ongoing, so that we can understand the long-term effects of an approach like this.

“It’s very important that anyone living with type 2 diabetes considering losing weight in this way gets support and advice from a healthcare professional.”



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Best supplements for low sex drive: Five natural remedies to boost libido

Everyone’s sex drive is different and low sex drive can be caused by a variety of reasons including hormonal changes, low energy, stress and alcohol. 

Relationship issues or tiredness can also be linked to loss of libido alongside an underlying medical problem. 

If a lack of desire for sex is distressing or it’s affecting your relationship, it’s often a good idea to get help. 

But for those looking to try a natural enhancement, nutritionist Rick Hay revealed the supplements that can offer a helping hand to Healthista. 

Vitamin E

Rick says vitamin E is important in increasing sex drive because it increases testosterone levels which therefore increases stamina and also helps raise desire. 

He added: “For men, it also enhances sperm count and motility. Research published in the Archives of Andrology shows that study participants who took 400mg of vitamin E in connection with 225 mpg of selenium showed improvements in sperm motility. 

“Increased testosterone levels also help with blood flow and oxygenation of the body.” 

Polyphenols 

These are recommended by Rick to help get you in the mood, and berries, dark red grapes and red wine 

He said: “According to a study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine women who drank a glass of red daily reported higher levels of sexual desire and vaginal lubrication, compared with those who sipped any kind of alcohol only occasionally or those who didn’t drink at all.”

B vitamins and Zinc 

B vitamins will help to nourish the nervous system and boost mood, according to Rick. 

He said: “Zinc can help raise testosterone levels which will also helps raise sexual desire – a study in the Journal of Human Reproductive Sciences found male rats taking zinc took longer to ejaculate compared to a control group.”

Omega 3s

Rick explained: “Research has shown that Omega 3 fatty acids can help decrease anxiety and depression which in turn means that if these two are decreased your desire may be be increased. Omega 3 fatty acids can also help increase dopamine levels too. This can improve mood but also help to trigger arousal. 

“Omega 3 can also help with the moisturisation of the skin and also help to moisturise mucus membranes which helps to reduce dryness and create lubrication needed during menopause and the years leading up to it. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in oily fish as well as flaxseeds and in concentrated levels in good quality supplements.”

Ginkgo 

Rick said: “I’ve used Gingko Biloba, a popular ancient Chinese herbal remedy, for many years successfully with my clients for low sex drive. It aids blood circulation and it’s crucial to have good blood circulation to the sexual organs to help with sexual function. 

“Ginkgo also reduces platelet aggregations which means that it helps to clear blood vessels and promote vasodilation (widening of the blood vessels essential for for erectile function) this is thanks to components called terpenoids and ginkaloids that it contains. 

“A very small study on men also found that taking 50mg ginkgo biloba twice a day could help men who had antidepressant induced low sex drive (SSRI antidepressants can cause low libido as a side effect).”

High blood pressure can put you at risk of heart disease, heart attacks, stroke and heart failure. It’s important to make changes to your lifestyle and diet to help reduce symptoms, but while adding more calcium and potassium in your diet is a positive thing, taking supplements isn’t recommended.



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High blood pressure symptoms - how to check if you have hypertension WITHOUT equipment

High blood pressure affects more than 25 per cent of UK adults, according to the NHS.

The condition, also known as hypertension, puts extra strain on blood vessels and vital organs.

It increases your risk of heart attacks, heart disease and strokes.

But, you could get an approximate blood pressure reading at home without any equipment.

Your blood pressure is recorded with two numbers; systolic and diastolic blood pressures.

Systolic pressure describes how hard blood is being pumped around the body by the heart.

Diastolic pressure is the resistance to the flow of blood in blood vessels.

An ideal blood pressure is between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg.

You could get an approximate systolic blood pressure reading without a blood pressure cuff (a sphygmomanometer), according to health website Blood Pressure Nutrition.

But, it’s not possible to get a diastolic blood pressure reading without equipment.

First, find your pulse along your left arm. You’re looking for a radial pulse, which is below the thumb, and a little above your wrist.

If you can feel the pulse without any difficulty, your systolic blood pressure is at least 80mmHg.

To get a more accurate reading of your blood pressure, you should get it checked using equipment, the NHS said.

Your GP or pharmacist may be able to help you take your reading.

All adults over 40 years old are suggested to get their blood pressure checked every five years.

You’re more likely to have hypertension if you’re over 65, are overweight, or are of African or Caribbean descent.



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