Alison Cullen is a Nutritional Therapist with a special interest in Phytotherapy.
Ali will endeavour to give the best advice based on the information provided. However, it is always advisable to have a face-to-face consultation with a doctor or health care practitioner to obtain a diagnosis of any health matter which is concerning you.
Q I was told by my doctor that I should take some friendly bacteria whilst I was on antibiotics. However, there seem to be so many bacteria-for-your-stomach products, and now I’m confused about what would be best for me! Can you help?
A There are friendly and unfriendly bacteria in your gut, both of which have their roles to play in our digestive processes and general health. It is quite easy, however, for the unfriendly ones to get the edge over the friendly ones, causing our digestion to suffer, e.g. bloating, wind and thrush.
Contributing factors to the growth of the unfriendly bacteria include too much refined sugar or alcohol, eating on the run, stress, low immune function and taking antibiotics. Your doctor is wise to suggest trying to prevent antibiotics from upsetting you (they do so by killing off the friendly bacteria).
Many products provide friendly bacteria for the gut. Ensure that you have first provided a suitable environment where they can thrive. To do this, take a prebiotic supplement such as Molkosan or FOS powder. This creates a healthy internal environment.
Q My mother has had phlebitis for months and nothing seems to be working for it. Her leg is really swollen and we are going on holiday in 3 months. Even though it is only a short plane journey, I am not sure she should be going! Is there anything she can take?
A She should take an extract of Horse Chestnut (Aesculus), and regularly apply a Horse Chestnut gel to the afflicted leg. This should reduce the swelling and start to improve the condition. She should spend 10 to 20 minutes daily with her legs raised above the level of the heart, e.g. on the arm of the sofa. She should also try to walk for at least 10 to 20 minutes and drink 1.5 litres of still water daily.
Q I would like to try using contact lenses but am worried that I might get eye infections – I’ve heard that this can happen if they are not cleaned properly but I’d like to have the option of not wearing glasses sometimes.
A It is true that sometimes, infectious matter can linger in the lens cases and prove resistant to the cleaning solutions. Equally, some people are allergic or reactive to the cleaning solutions. Why not try daily-disposable contact lenses, which don’t require storing or cleaning with chemicals. There are even brands that incorporate a UV inhibitor – an additional eye protection. If you go to www.daysoft.co.uk you can read about other people’s experiences in “What wearers say”. They also offer a free four day trial pack – a good way for you to judge if they suit you.
We regret that it is not possible for us to print answers to all the letters Ali receives. Remember that back issues of Healthy Way articles and Ask Ali are available on this site.