Ibuprofen Makes You Stupid

October 29th, 2007

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Despite earlier reports that ibuprofen makes you smarter, the latest evidence is that it makes you dumb enough to crash your car:

Next time you take a headache tablet, take care on the roads. New research reveals that taking everyday drugs such as ibuprofen can increase the chances of a car crash by 50 per cent.

I’ve wondered about this myself. Sometimes, after Advil number eight or nine, I do feel a little foggy. Of course, that probably has something to do with the amount I’m taking. Of course. And yet…

When Relief Was Within Reach

October 16th, 2007

The Florida Ledger plays remember when:

Once upon a time, you could buy just about anything at the neighborhood drugstore.

“Doc,” as the pharmacist was called a century ago, could dispense medications like marijuana or opium.

Imagine—you get your period and a wicked case of menstrual cramps, and just go skipping into the pharmacy for a powdered opiate. Your great-grandmother could. But not you.

Eventually the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938 limited the sale of dangerous drugs to prescription-only status. But the definition of dangerous is surprisingly arbitrary.

Ibuprofen, once considered dangerous, is now sold by the cartload, and I’m glad of it. But some days, you just need more.

A Cramp in My Schedule

October 15th, 2007

I’ve had to take a break from posting, because I got this cool new job. On the last day of my second week, I had a spell of menstrual cramps so awful I curled up on the floor of a multistall bathroom—how do you spell desperation?—and could not get up.

A very helpful coworker asked if she couldn’t bring me back into the office to lie down on the couch. I told her I was too sick for that, and she said, “Meaning you can’t walk?” Which was part of it. But if you’ve ever had the hurlies to go with a crushing period, you’ll know there was more to it than that.

This woman, for better or worse, did not abandon me. While I lay there on the white tile wondering whether a person could actually die from pain, she decided to offer some advice. When she was younger, she said, she had terrible cramps. “But then I started taking calcium and magnesium, and the cramps really decreased. See, magnesium is a muscle relaxer . . .”

Hurl. (That was me.)

So look, I’m not sure if that whole episode was a sign from on high that I should keep trying to do this blog or if I should just give up. For now, please know that if anyone is interested in collaborating on a blog about cramps, or even in taking one over completely, I am so ready for the help.

Watch That Inflammation

September 25th, 2007

With so little research being done into plain old menstrual cramps, let alone a biggie like endometriosis, we have to look for parallels with other conditions. ScienceDaily reports on a a new insight into one cause for chronic stomach aches, and it’s none other than our old friend inflammation.

[I]n a small but novel study, researchers have found evidence that an abnormal amount of inflammatory cells populates the upper intestine of affected individuals, which suggests a fresh way of understanding the common complaint.

Scientists theorize that the swelling could be caused by an allergic reaction to certain kinds of food, and that changes in diet—coupled with anti-inflammatory drugs, could help.

ScienceDaily: Stomach Ache?

Pravda: Sex Cures Menstrual Cramps

September 25th, 2007

Very little I can add here, since the Russian news service covers (uncovers?) it all. Money quotes:

Some people say that instead of anesthetic pills prescribed by doctors a woman can try having sex to ease pain during menstruation. The anesthetic effect of sex is connected with relaxation of organism and output of endorphins that are universally known as ‘hormones of happiness.

Sounds perfect. Or not.

Unfortunately orgasm does not produce a universal effect on all people. Some women on the contrary may feel more intense menstrual pain after having orgasm. Menstrual pain arises from a disbalance between sex hormones, progesterone first of all and prostaglandins that stimulate uterine contraction. An excessive amount of prostaglandins causes spasms of smooth uterine muscles and consequently pain. Oxytocins that also upsurge during orgasm produce the same effect upon uterine muscles that prostaglandins do.

In other words, it is difficult to say beforehand what will be the balance between hormones of every particular woman having menstruation and experiencing orgasm. But it is a mistake to believe that sexual activity may help women suffering from serious pains because lingering and excruciating pain may be the symptom of serious gynecological diseases.

Sex treats everything

Modern Medicine Woman

September 20th, 2007

You got cramps, PMS, fibroids, endometriosis, general grumps, and a bad boyfriend? Irish healer Leigh Maxwell is ready to fix you. You’re maybe on your own with the boyfriend part, but check this out:

A client who suffers from endometriosis came for two treatments and “phoned me very excited, thanking me, because for the first time in 20 years her menstrual cycle just arrived unannounced, without the pain she suffered 48 hours beforehand each month. I was very pleased to have helped.”

Bonus: Maxwell was conceived six months after her mother had an ovectomy. Never give in, never give in, never give in. . . .

A natural woman

They’ll Ping-Pong Your Fibroids

September 19th, 2007

These folks have been advertising on the New York City subway system. Sounds great to me. And maybe it is, I don’t know. The pitch:

“Skip the long recovery, end the symptoms.”

Here comes uterine fibroid embolization, y’all. As the Web address suggests, all you have to do is ask.

Ping-pong your fibroids away

Take Two Advil and Call Us in a Decade

September 18th, 2007

Noting that something like six percent of women end up diagnosed with endometriosis, Australian newspaper The Age adds an important “eventually”:

Symptoms typically started at 16 but it took three years before they first saw a doctor, another five years before they were referred to a gynaecologist, and three more years to diagnosis.

“That’s eleven years from the first onset of pain to knowing what is going on,” Lone Hummelshoj, secretary-general of the World Endometriosis Society told a national health conference.

Waiting that long to treat endometriosis is of course bad for your fertility, but the pain from menstrual cramps, etc., is bad for your whole darned life. I passed out from cramps for the first time when I was 14 years old. And I guess I’m lucky, because I got a diagnosis at 17. Not long after, I stopped my periods by taking birth control nonstop. God, am I glad.

Endometriosis diagnosis takes 10 years
World Endometriosis Society

The French Pine Bark Cure?

September 17th, 2007

Buried in this British article about the health benefits of drinking Bordeaux (beyond increased sanity) is a bit about French maritime pine bark:

Recently scientists have discovered that, tucked away beneath its red bark, there is a unique mixture of antioxidants of the procy-anidin bioflavonoid group and other organic acids.

. . .

It has, for example, been described as nature’s gift to women because Pycnogenol prepared from maritime pine bark eases menstrual pain, the pain of endometriosis and peri-menopausal symptoms. At the same time as a woman’s mood swings, abdominal pain and bloating may be helped by Pycnogenol, so may greater elasticity of their skin save it from so many wrinkles.

I’m not saying it’s yummy, but it might be good for you.

Let’s go, Bordeaux

Lupron Will Have Its Revenge

September 17th, 2007

From Canada, a sort of jaw-dropping tale of a pedophile man who took Lupron to suppress his sex drive and valiantly suffered through the side effects of brittle bones, etc., so he could stay in a treatment program:

He always told the circle volunteers it was worth it to stay in the community.

A miserable drug for a miserable man.

‘A monster’ no more
Lupron haters
Lupron for prostate cancer

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