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 My doctor has told me to come off HRT. I've been on it for 12 years and, with all the publicity, it seems a good thing to do. I'm worried about coming off as I had a lot of menopausal symptoms before I went on it and I don’t want to get them again.
A My first and most important point is please don’t come off HRT all at once! Do it gradually, and you will save yourself a heap of trouble. Ask your doctor to help you – you can change to a lower dose for a while and then gradually take the dose at wider intervals. If you are on patches, you can reapply them less often, making the intervals between renewal longer and longer over a period of several months. Taking a couple of months to gradually reduce the dose will make it much easier for your body to adapt, which will save you from unpleasant symptoms.
Avoiding or minimising stress is also important, as your adrenal glands (which respond to stress) are capable of manufacturing some back-up hormones, but they won’t do this effectively if you are stressed out. There are plenty of stress remedies in health stores, if some stress is unavoidable.
Q I would appreciate your advice regarding a product to treat a scalp fungal infection which causes an itch and scaling similar to dandruff. It was diagnosed by my GP who prescribed Daktocort and coal tar shampoo. This improves the condition on a temporary basis but it returns very quickly.
A Concentrated whey can help with fungal infections. I recommend taking one teaspoonful three times a day in water or fruit juice, before meals. You can also dilute one teaspoonful of concentrated whey in four teaspoonfuls of water and apply to the scalp before bed. Watching your diet is also very important. Try to avoid high sugar foods, processed foods, alcohol and caffeine. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and make sure you drink plain water every day.
Q My hair is thinning on top. How can I prevent this from getting worse?
A Make sure you are eating healthily (lots of fruit and veg to supply vitamins and minerals), taking particular care that your iron levels are sufficient (green leafy veg and dried fruit, as well as red meat). Regular exercise (it doesn’t have to be extreme, just regular) is important, to ensure blood supply to the scalp. Scalp massage may also help in this respect. Refined sugar should be cut out, and stimulants such as caffeine avoided, as they increase adrenalin in the system and this kind of stress is bad for scalp tension.
There is some belief that Saw Palmetto can reduce a tendency to male pattern baldness, although this has not yet been proved. It does also reduce the risk of prostate enlargement, so it is a useful thing for men to take anyway.
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 website.