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Constipation: Does rubbing your fists together make you go to the toilet?

A TikTokker has gone viral over her simple hack for helping with constipation. So does rubbing the inner edges of your fists together actually help, or is it a load of crap?

Here in Australia, around 20 per cent of the population suffer from constipation – and live with symptoms like abdominal pains and bloating, and the passing of small, hard stools.

None of the above is pleasant, so when acupuncturist Anita Tadavarthy went viral for her constipation quick fix, sufferers thought all their Christmases had come at once.

„All you’ve got to do is just do this for a couple of minutes a couple of times a day or while sitting on the toilet, and you’ll have a bowel movement,“ she explained while rubbing the inner edges of her fists together. She said the friction between the thumbs sends nerves to the large intestine, leading to a bowel movement.

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But like many viral TikTok hacks, this one isn’t worth the hype, according to the experts.

„No, this is not recommended regularly. I have actually never heard of it before,“ Rabia De Latour, a gastroenterologist told Health.

„There is no proven link to rubbing your fists together that would stimulate a [bowel movement],“ she added.

Dr De Latour did say, however, „There are certain abdominal massage manoeuvres and techniques and yoga poses that are thought to help.“

Diet and exercise can also bring the magic back to your restroom moments. „Two things that often go without credit are adequate hydration and movement; simple movement of the body can stimulate gut motility,” Dr De Latour explained.

Fibre is also a nonnegotiable, dietitian Melissa Meier insisted, adding that there are three types we should consider in our daily diets.

The first is insoluble fibre, „which absorbs water and adds bulk to your stool. Also known as ‘roughage’, this is the type of fibre you want to focus on to keep things moving along,“ she explained.

Then there’s soluble fibre. It, too, dissolves in water, but it forms as a gel in your bowel. „This type of fibre keeps you feeling full, supports a healthy heart by lowering cholesterol levels and even helps to manage blood sugars,“ Melissa explained. 

The third type of fibre to keep on your radar is resistant starch, which gets fermented in the large bowel and produces beneficial compounds that work to keep the lining of your gut healthy. 

She suggested having wholegrain bread as a kitchen staple, along with raw, unsalted almonds. Chia seeds, unpeeled fruits and veggies, and chickpeas are also part of her fibre arsenal. 

Diet and exercise aside, it’s essential to consult your doctor, because we all know that if you’re having trouble going to the toilet, there could be a more serious reason for it.

The same goes for bleeding or unexplained weight loss.

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Research reveals taking the stairs instead of the elevator can provide numerous health benefits

New research suggests those little bursts of daily activities like taking the stairs instead of the elevator can truly pack a punch when it comes to reducing cancer risks.

We all know we should exercise (cue: eye roll), but finding the time to do so can be difficult. What if we could improve our health and reduce our disease risk without adding new tasks to our to-do list?

A recent study published in The Jama Network looks into the potential health benefits of short bursts of vigorous physical activity, which we already do on a daily basis. Power-walking to the bus stop, climbing stairs, doing housework, or running errands are all examples.

The promising findings suggest that health is not limited to structured workouts; by transforming these mundane tasks into micro-workouts, you can watch your health improve without adding anything new to your routine.

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Researchers examined the activity habits of 22,398 participants who had never been diagnosed with cancer and did not participate in any structured leisure-time exercise using data from the UK Biobank. The group was mostly female, with an average age of 62, and factors like smoking, diet, and alcohol consumption were considered.

Participants wore wrist activity trackers for a week, which allowed the research team to assess the intensity and duration of their movement. Over the next 6.7 years, the recorded activity data was linked with cancer registrations and other health records. The team estimated the impact of „vigorous intermittent lifestyle physical activity“ — those daily bursts of movement — on overall cancer risk thanks to this data fusion.

And the results were compelling. Despite not engaging in any structured exercise, approximately 94 per cent of the participants recorded bouts of vigorous activity, 92 per cent of which lasted less than a minute. It turns out that these mini-workouts could have a significant impact on health.

The researchers discovered that even as little as 3.5 minutes of these brisk, incidental daily activities was associated with a significant 17-18 per cent reduction in total cancer risk compared to those who did not participate in such activities. And, for those who were more active, completing at least 4.5 minutes of physical activity per day, the total cancer risk was reduced by 20-21 per cent.

The results were more significant regarding breast, lung, and bowel cancers, the risks of which are known to be influenced by physical activity. The same 3.5 minutes of vigorous activity per day resulted in an astonishing 28-29 per cent reduction in risk, and 4.5 minutes resulted in a 31-32 per cent reduction in risk.

While this study has provided an intriguing window into how we view and use our daily activities, it is critical to recognise its limitations. Because the study was observational in nature, it only recorded outcomes rather than implementing new interventions. It also fails to explain the precise biological mechanisms by which brief bursts of vigorous activity could potentially reduce cancer risk.

This re-evaluation of how we perceive daily activities, no matter how minor or insignificant, is reminiscent of a 2007 published study on the link between mindset and exercise. Despite being active throughout the day, their target audience was hotel housekeepers, who felt they received no exercise at all, a sentiment 67 per cent of them shared.

The researchers divided the housekeepers into two groups: one was informed about the calorie-burning benefits of their daily tasks, while the other was not. The difference in outcomes was startling. Those who were aware of the exercise value of their job saw reductions in body fat, weight, and even blood pressure. They lost an average of 1.3 kg and had lower body fat percentages.

This study demonstrates the potent influence that perception has on our outcomes. Consider this the next time you’re rushing around doing household chores or running errands: it all counts as exercise. If you need me, I’ll be over here trying to figure out how to add ‚domestic tasks‘ or ‚daily activities‘ to my Apple Watch as a recordable workout.

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Was hilft gegen die Lästlinge?

Eine Plage im Sommer

QualitätssiegelNach höchsten wissenschaftlichen Standards verfasst und von Expert*innen geprüft

Fruchtfliegen werden besonders in der warmen Jahreszeit von offenstehenden Nahrungsmitteln angelockt: Die lästigen Insekten vermehren sich schnell und werden oft zur Plage, zu den gefährlichen Schädlingen gehören sich glücklicherweise jedoch nicht. Was dabei hilft, Fruchtfliegen schnell loszuwerden, erfahren Sie hier.

Fruchtfliegen werden von Essen angezogen
© Getty Images/Whitepointer

Kurzübersicht: Fruchtfliegen

Wie bekommt man Obstfliegen weg? Obst- oder Fruchtfliegen werden von gärenden Lebensmitteln wie Früchten ins Haus gelockt. Es gibt Fruchtfliegenfallen zu kaufen, außerdem lassen sich solche Fallen auch selbst aus Wasser, Essig und Spülmittel herstellen.

Übertragen Fruchtfliegen Krankheiten? Fruchtfliegen sind nicht gesundheitsschädlich, allerdings übertragen sie Bakterien und Schimmelpilze auf Lebensmittel und sorgen so für eine frühe Fäulnis dieser.

Im Überblick:

Ungeziefer: Hygieneschädlinge mit Bildern bestimmen

Fruchtfliegen loswerden: Hausmittel und Tipps

Fruchtfliegen loszuwerden ist oftmals gar nicht so einfach, die Plagegeister halten sich hartnäckig und es kommen immer neue hinzu. Neben Fruchtfliegenfallen und weiteren Mitteln aus der Drogerie und dem Baumarkt können einige Maßnahmen helfen, Fruchtfliegen schnell wieder loszuwerden.

Tipps zur Bekämpfung von Fruchtfliegen

  • Fruchtfliegenfalle aus Hausmitteln: Fruchtfliegen werden von Essig angelockt. Mischt man etwa Apfelessig mit Spülmittel und Wasser in einer Schale, tappen die Insekten oftmals schnell in die Falle. Sie fliegen in die Mischung. Durch das Spülmittel wird die Oberflächenspannung des Wassers herabgesetzt, die Fliegen können sich dann nicht mehr befreien und ertrinken in der Flüssigkeit.

  • Bananenschalen-Methode: Auch kann versucht werden, eine Bananenschale als Köder in einem offenen Gefrierbeutel auszulegen. Sind dann viele Exemplare an der Schale, wird dieser verschlossen und nach draußen zum Biomüll gebracht oder anderweitig entsorgt. So müssen die Tiere nicht zwangsläufig getötet werden.

  • Abfalleimer abdecken: Abfalleimer mit Essensresten wie der Biomüll sollten unbedingt abgedeckt bleiben, damit die verwesenden Reste Fruchtfliegen keinen Nährboden bieten.

  • Essen richtig aufbewahren: Was dem Menschen als Nahrung dient, schmeckt auch Fruchtfliegen. Deshalb sollten Lebensmittel sorgsam etwa mit Frischhaltefolie oder einer Plastiktüte abgedeckt oder im Kühlschrank gelagert werden. Eine Fruchtfliegenhaube kann den Obstkorb vor den Fliegen schützen. Außerdem können kleine Duftsäckchen mit Nelken in der Obstschale abschreckend wirken.

  • Fleischfressende Pflanze: Fleischfressende Pflanzen wie Fettkraut, Sonnentau oder die Venusfliegenfalle können die Insekten einfagen und zersetzen. Bei einem großen Befall helfen die Pflanzen jedoch kaum, der Plage Herr zu werden.

  • Getränke abdecken: Säfte, Bier oder Weine sollten ebenfalls nicht offen stehen bleiben. Getränkereste in Gläsern sollten sofort ausgespült werden.

  • Hygiene in der Küche: Arbeitsflächen mit Essensresten sowie schmutzige Töpfe und Geschirr sollten idealerweise schnellstmöglich gesäubert werden. So können sie Fruchtfliegen keinen Nährboden bieten. Außerdem empfiehlt es sich, Spülmaschinenfilter sowie das Waschbecken öfter zu reinigen: Hier finden sich oft Speisereste und auf die Insekten anziehend wirkende Gerüche.

Diese Tipps helfen nicht nur, um die Obstfliegen loszuwerden. Sie eignen sich auch um den lästigen Tieren vorzubeugen. Außerdem halten sie andere Schädlinge wie Küchenschaben fern.

Obstfliegen nicht mit Trauermücken verwechseln

Das Ungeziefer wird häufig mit Trauermücken verwechselt. Trauermücken befallen Pflanzen, ihre Eier legen sie in die feuchte Erde. Ein Befall macht sich oft durch zahlreiche kleine schwarze Fliegen bemerkbar. Anders als Obstfliegen ernähren sich Trauermücken allerdings von Pflanzenteilen, ihre Augen scheinen nicht rot und sie wirken im Körperbau noch kleiner.

Woher kommen Fruchtfliegen?

In Deutschland gibt es rund 50 Arten von Fruchtfliegen, von denen einige perfekt an das moderne Leben von Menschen angepasst sind. Sie gehören oftmals zur Insektengattung Drosophila und werden nur rund drei Millimeter groß. Mit ihren roten Augen und der geringen Größe unterscheiden sich die Lästlinge so optisch deutlich von den großen Schmeißfliegen.

Fruchtfliegen finden ihre Wege in Häuser und Wohnungen etwa über offene Fenster. Neben gärendem, überreifem Obst zieht auch der Duft von Küchenabfällen, süßen Fruchtsäften sowie Essig, Bier und Wein Fruchtfliegen an. Nicht selten werden Fruchtfliegen jedoch auch mit den Lebensmitteleinkäufen in den Haushalt eingeschleppt: Die Eier haften oftmals auf Obst und Gemüse.

Sind Fruchtfliegen gefährlich?

Fruchtfliegen gelten nicht als gesundheitsschädlich. Allerdings übertragen  die Fluginsekten Keime wie Hefepilze und Bakterien, wordurch Nahrungsmittel schneller verderben.

Darüber hinaus nutzen Fruchtfliegen-Weibchen faulige Stellen an Früchten zur Eiablage. Die Larven entwickeln sich prächtig im weichen, gärenden Fruchtfleisch. So können sich Fruchtfliegen besonders schnell vermehren und in der Wohnung zur schwärmenden Plage werden.

Bettwanzen-Bisse erkennen: Sind Sie betroffen?

Haben Sie eine Frage?

Sie möchten Informationen zu bestimmten Krankheitssymptomen oder wollen medizinischen Rat? Hier können Sie Ihre Fragen an unsere Experten oder andere Lifeline-Nutzer stellen!

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What is the 75 Hard fitness challenge and is it dangerous?

TikToker Michelle Fairburn’s recent hospitalisation experience with the ’75 Hard‘ might make you reconsider jumping on fitness trends without a second thought.

Michelle Fairburn, a mother from the United States, recently opened up on TikTok about a serious health scare she suffered due to the popular ’75 Hard‘ fitness challenge.

Fairburn’s traumatic experience included a severe headache, fever, inability to eat or drink, and a „band of fire“ pain in her abdomen and lower back that she described as similar to labour pain. Fairbun’s doctor suspected she had a severe sodium deficiency, a potentially fatal condition caused by the challenge’s high water intake, a whopping 3.7 litres per day.

With a growing fan base, this viral challenge, which is marketed as a „mental toughness program“ rather than a fitness routine, has come under fire for its extreme demands.

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Andy Frisella, entrepreneur and CEO of supplement company 1st Phorm, introduced the challenge in 2019 on his Real AF podcast. In the episode notes, Frisella describes how he has spent over 20 years figuring out how to „master mental toughness“ and put everything he learned into the ’75 Hard‘ program. 

The program’s rules are that each participant must follow a strict diet, perform two 45-minute workouts per day (one of which must be done outside), drink approximately 3.7 litres of water, read 10 pages of a book, and take a progression picture. Above all, it is intended to „cultivate extreme discipline.“

It’s a tall order with no room for error. If you fail to complete any task, the rules state that you must restart the challenge from the beginning. As Frisella says, “If you mess up on day 74, you have to restart it.”

When confronted with her health scare, Fairburn was torn. Unwilling to ‚reset‘ her progress, she admitted to her 49K followers, „I don’t know what to do.“ I don’t want to go back to the first day. I’m not going to be able to drink another gallon of water today.“

Despite the risks, Fairburn decided to continue the challenge, albeit with a different water intake, saying, „I’m still going to do the ’75 Hard‘ challenge, I’m not gonna give up, but he says I have to drink less than half a litre of water a day.“

This ‚predicament‘ raises serious concerns about the value of personal health over viral fitness trends. Listening to your body and taking good care of it should always come first, regardless of any external pressure. 

While there’s no denying the appeal of a structured, goal-oriented program, it’s critical to consider the potential pitfalls and health risks.

Keep in mind that, despite its viral success, this program is not evidence-based. Yes, ’75 Hard‘ promotes consistency, which is a key component of any successful fitness regimen, but its unwavering approach — 75 days of unwavering commitment with no room for health scares or uncertainty — can lead to overtraining injuries.

While discipline and perseverance are admirable qualities, the obsession with perfection can harm one’s well-being. Furthermore, the program offers no specific advice on diet or exercise regimens, leaving participants to figure out what works best for them. This lack of direction can be intimidating, particularly for those who are unfamiliar with fitness or nutritional science.

It allows people to adopt a new, possibly unsuitable diet regimen, adding to the already intense changes brought about by the challenge. 

Consider someone who decides to follow a low-carb diet for the duration of the program. Beginners frequently overlook the importance of replenishing their body’s electrolytes, which can be flushed out when cutting carbs. This imbalance can cause unpleasant symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, light-headedness, dizziness, and muscle cramping, commonly called the „keto flu.“

While the official website of the ’75 Hard‘ challenge advises people to consult a healthcare professional before beginning the program, it’s critical not to lose sight of one’s individual health needs and limits.

While it’s commendable to push your physical boundaries, it’s critical to remember that everybody is unique and may not respond favourably to an intense regime like the ’75 Hard‘.

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Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs becomes first NRL club to offer free menstruation products

The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have announced a remarkable initiative: they will be the first NRL club to provide free menstrual products in female restrooms and locker rooms.

If you get your period en route to the NRL’s Women In League Round at Belmore Sports Ground this weekend, you can breathe a sigh of relief — the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have got you sorted.

The Bulldogs are set to become the first NRL club to provide free ongoing menstrual products in female restrooms and locker rooms. The club has partnered with hygiene experts Rentokil Initial to equip all public restrooms and female locker rooms at Belmore Sports Ground with dispensers and sanitary bins.

So, whether you’re a player, a club employee, a fan, or a visitor, your menstrual needs will be met, alleviating the stress of unexpected periods in the early stressful atmosphere of rooting for your team.

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While acknowledging the progress made by European sporting organisations in providing complimentary menstrual products to employees and athletes, Bulldogs CEO Aaron Warburton is proud to be an Australian pioneer of this dignity-based programme.

Warburton believes that providing these necessities is not only a thoughtful gesture but also an important part of their commitment to assisting women in achieving success on and off the field. „Central to this new partnership,“ Warburton acknowledges, „is a shared vision that menstruation should never be an obstacle for women participating in Rugby League or restrict them from giving their best.“

The decision to provide free menstrual products, according to Lauren Milner, the Bulldogs‘ Female Football Operations Coordinator, is a „no-brainer.“ „I bring period products to every practice and game,“ Milner says because it’s so common for her to be approached by young players who are caught off guard by their period.

Karen Kavanagh, Marketing Director Pacific at Rentokil Initial, asserts, „Washroom dignity is a conversation that has been largely ignored in many businesses for years.“ According to a recent Rentokil Initial and Researchify study, 61 per cent of working women in Australia experience stress and anxiety due to a lack of access to menstruation and incontinence products at work.

More than half of them had to miss work to buy sanitary products, which isn’t always an option for elite athletes and others in demanding professions.

It’s a sign that menstruation is finally being accepted and normalised in sports, and we applaud it! So go ahead and root for your favourite team this weekend, knowing that the Bulldogs have your back.

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Bronny James’ cardiac arrest isn’t as uncommon as you’d think

The rate of healthy, young men suffering sudden cardiac arrest is surprisingly high, as many aren’t aware they have arrhythmias. That number is even higher amongst male athletes.

Up-and-coming basketball star Bronny James, son of the great LeBron James, was rushed to hospital yesterday after suffering a cardiac arrest during basketball practice. 

The 18-year-old University of Southern California student and player was training on campus when the incident happened and was treated on-site before being admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). 

In a statement made on behalf of the James family, a spokesperson said “Yesterday, while practising, Bronny James suffered a cardiac arrest. Medical staff were able to treat Bronny and take him to the hospital. He is now in stable condition and no longer in ICU.

“We ask for respect and privacy for the James family and we will update the media when there is more information. LeBron and Savannah wish to publicly send their deepest thanks and appreciation to the USC medical and athletic staff for their incredible work and dedication to the safety of their athletes.”

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Reports about the incident say Bronny’s cardiac arrest was likely caused by a kind of arrhythmia, which the Mayo Clinic states is an irregular heartbeat caused by asynchronous electrical signs. “The faulty signalling causes the heart to beat too fast (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia) or irregularly.” 

According to St John’s Ambulance Victoria cardiac arrest is the biggest known killer in the modern world. In Australia alone, a first-world country with high-class healthcare, the death rate from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is 90 per cent, and “for every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation, the chance of survival for a casualty decreases by 7 to 10 per cent.”

While many people are aware they suffer from cardiac arrhythmias, as they can be genetic, a lot do not, thus are unable to properly mitigate the risks by avoiding certain strenuous activities. 

Dr Richard Kovacs, a cardiologist with Indiana University Health, told Fox Sports “In the last decade, we’re also seeing a shift toward cardiac arrhythmias that come without what we call structural heart disease,” – meaning they’re incredibly hard to spot. 

The fact that Bronny survived the incident is remarkable. But it’s also a dark reminder that it’s not the first time a young male athlete has suffered a cardiac arrest when they’re seemingly at their physical prime. 

Men, particularly male athletes, are at a higher risk of experiencing sudden cardiac arrest than women, and tragic stories of young men passing away after bouts of physical activity are becoming increasingly common. 

The early symptoms of cardiac arrest are similar to feelings of exhaustion or physical exertion, including shortness of breath, a tightness in the chest, and fast heartbeat. Thus, the warning signs are often ignored or go unnoticed. 

On the American front, cardiac arrest is reportedly the number one cause of death among high school athletes in the US, accounting for around 75 per cent of all students who died during exercise. Meanwhile in Australia, According to research done by the Centenary Institute, an Australian medical research centre in Sydney, every year around 30,000 Australians die from sudden cardiac death. Worryingly, these numbers are particularly high amongst young Australians, with four Aussies between 15 and 35 dying from SCD each week. 

So what can people do to reduce their risk of sudden cardiac arrest? If you have concerns about your heart health, your first port of call should be the doctor, who can listen to your heart and order tests to survey the risk. 

If you know you have an arrhythmia or genetic predisposition to cardiac disease, then screening and regular checkups are a must, along with personal vigilance and awareness of symptoms. 

The Mayo Clinic also suggests the following to foster greater heart health: 

  • Eating a healthy and balanced diet
  • Getting regular checkups
  • Not smoking or using tobacco
  • Being screened for heart disease
  • Controlling blood pressure and cholesterol

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Naomi Watts says she suffered from menopause symptoms at 36

After going through early menopause at the age of 36, the star wants to shed light on the taboo subject and bring the hope and new beginning that it eventually brought her — to other women as well.

Menopause, usually between the ages of 45 and 55, marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years. However, for actress Naomi Watts, this life-changing transition began much earlier — when she was 36 and trying for a baby.

Watts told Hello that perimenopause was “a word I didn’t even know about” when she getting ready to start a family. When she was thrown into this unexpected phase, Watts felt panic, loneliness, and a sense of „very much less-than or like some kind of failure.“ 

Watts, now 54, is speaking out about her experiences in an effort to reshape the menopause experience for women everywhere.

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„Mood swings, night sweats, migraines“ were among her symptoms, and as a result, she told Hello! „I felt like I was spiralling out of control.“The symptoms were not only difficult, but also caused „anxiety, shame, confusion, and panic.“

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to menopause. Every woman’s body and experiences are unique. Hot flushes, night sweats, and mood swings are all common symptoms, which Watts experienced. Anxiety, brain fog, sleep disturbances, vaginal dryness, discomfort during sex, and changes in skin and hair can all be added to this list.

These symptoms typically appear during perimenopause, the period preceding menopause, and can last for three to four years. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) provides some relief through gels, pills, or patches. However, while many women find it beneficial, it is not appropriate for everyone.

Watts remarked on the scarcity of resources available at the time to help women navigate the perimenopausal and menopausal transitions. She explained that there was little doctor intervention aside from „Here’s a patch, gel, or spray.“ And from her friends, she was „met with nervous laughs and shrugging it off, and I thought, ‚Oh wow, no one else is there, I better keep silent,‘ and that’s how it was,“ she says.

Watts turned her adversity into a strength by finding her voice and using it to advocate for herself and others. „Going through this journey led to a deeper understanding of myself, and I came out on the other side feeling more authentically me,“ Watts admitted.

Despite significant progress, Watts believes that much more work needs to be done to educate and raise awareness about menopause. Telling Hello! „I truly believe that if menopause hadn’t been such an off-limits topic when I first started experiencing symptoms, I would’ve had an easier transition.“

Naomi has teamed up with the non-profit Menopause Mandate to provide more midlife support so that no woman feels as alone or as lost as she once did. Watts concluded by encouraging all women to „just be open and honest about what you’re going through.“ Because, as she knows all too well, „hiding is so much more exhausting.“

Watts believes that the big screen has done a poor job of portraying menopause, and she is eager to change that. „How is that not worth writing stories about?“ She inquired, describing the menopause phase as providing „excellent material for meaningful and rich storytelling.“ 

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Doctors warn against dangerous new TikTok of drinking borax

TikTok users are „training“ others to consume Borax, a common ingredient in laundry detergent and household cleaners that has been banned as a food additive in Australia.

Also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate, borax is a colourless crystalline compound comprised of boron, sodium, and oxygen. You’ll find it in your laundry detergent and even as a standalone cleaning agent — where it should belong. Its close relative, boric acid, is widely used as a pesticide against ants and cockroaches.

Despite this, TikTok is flooded with videos of people getting on the „Borax train,“ consuming it in their water, coffee, or baths. Why? They claim that borax can be used to treat inflammation, joint pain, arthritis, lupus, and various other ailments.

None of these health claims are supported by scientific evidence. In fact, they’re all washed up, and you should try to avoid direct contact with borax as much as possible. 

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Borax and its cousin, boric acid, have made quite a name for themselves in everyday household items. They’re found in everything from laundry detergents and wood preservatives to fertilisers and even contact lens solutions. Borax crystals can also be found in supermarkets, hardware stores, and garden centres. 

Borax contains the element boron, which is known to be necessary for the growth and health of plants and some animals. Its role in human health, however, is less clear. Boron is found in some foods, such as grapes and potatoes, but it is not considered an essential human nutrient. It is suggested that consuming a diet high in fruits and vegetables can safely provide our bodies with minimal boron required.

Several studies have been conducted to investigate the relationship between dietary boron, and bone health, brain function, and immune response. However, just because borax is natural does not mean that it is safe to consume or apply liberally to our bodies.

In fact, intentional exposure to borax, whether through skin contact or inhalation, can cause irritation wherever it comes into contact. As far as swallowing goes, this implies it is a no-go. 

First, a quick lesson in science. The median lethal dose, or LD50, is a term used in toxicology to describe the dose required to kill half of a tested population. According to The Conversation, the LD50 for borax in rats is approximately 5g per kilogramme of body weight. That’s a fairly large dose, implying that acute toxicity resulting in human death is unlikely. But just because something doesn’t kill you doesn’t mean it’s harmless or good for your health.

Borax was used as a food preservative in the early twentieth century until research revealed various side effects associated with borax consumption, including headaches, nausea, vomiting, and gastric discomfort.

Now, Borax is classified as a reproductive toxin. This means that it can potentially impair fertility and harm an unborn child. As a result, it has been banned as a food additive in a number of countries, including Australia and the United States.

It also contains precautionary statements, recommendations for appropriate personal protective equipment, and safe storage and disposal methods. Simply put, we should not consume borax. This warning is clear as day in the product’s safety instructions, which include statements like „CAUTION“ and „KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN.“

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Urinary tract infection: What is a UTI and what causes it

While we know chronic stress is doing our physical and mental health no favours, it could also be a contributing factor if you deal with recurrent UTIs.

Many of us have experienced the pain and discomfort of a urinary tract infection or UTI.

For some, they seem to occur more frequently, while other lucky ones may only have it once in their lifetime. Whatever the case may be, when you discover you do have a UTI, you may wonder what caused it.

From birth control to sex and even dehydration, several factors may lead to a UTI – but could stress also be one?

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What is a UTI?

UTI stands for urinary tract infection and, as the name suggests, it affects the urinary system.

“UTIs can involve the lower urinary tract – the bladder – and/or the upper urinary tract – the kidneys and tubes leading up to the kidneys,” Dr Kirsty Wallace-Hor, a GP at Kin Fertility, explains.

“50 per cent of women will have one during their lifetime, and about 1 in 20 men will have one,” she adds.

“Women are at a higher risk because their urethra – the tube leading out from the bladder – is shorter and straighter, allowing bacteria to travel up into the bladder more easily.”

Can stress and anxiety cause UTIs?

The short answer is no. There’s no research that proves that high stress can directly cause a UTI. However, that doesn’t mean the two aren’t linked at all.

“Our sympathetic nervous system is activated by stress and this stress response is associated with weakened immunity”, Dr Wallace-Hor explains.

“This is often why we’re more prone to infection, or flares of infections, such as cold sores when we’re “run down” and stressed. This is worth bearing in mind, particularly if you’re prone to getting UTIs.”

Can you prevent stress-induced UTIs?

It may sound obvious, but preventing stress-induced UTIs is all about learning how to reduce your stress levels.

For most, this is easier said than done and in today’s day and age, we’ll dare say it is impossible to completely avoid stress. However, there are simple ways to manage it and reduce risk factors:

  • Try meditation or breathing exercises. Even just a few minutes daily can help you feel more grounded.
  • Move your body. Yoga is a great relaxing option, but if you prefer high-intensity workouts, go for it. As long as it pumps up your endorphins, it will help your mental health.
  • Opt for healthy, nutritious meals. You are what you eat and so is your mind.
  • Rest. When you don’t get enough (and adequate) sleep, you feel tired, and when you feel tired, you’re more likely to feel stressed. Create a healthy sleep routine and break this cycle.
  • Avoid alcohol, cigarettes and drugs. They may seem like an easy way to escape stress, but they don’t help with what’s most important: addressing the root cause of your feelings.
  • Do something that brings you joy every day. Maybe it’s reading, crocheting or riding a bike. Whatever it is, carve out some “me” time to do something you know will make you happy.

Additionally, stay hydrated, steer clear of vaginal hygiene products, always pee after sex, and wipe from front to back after going to the bathroom. This will all help you keep UTIs at bay, stress-induced or otherwise.

How do I know if I have a UTI?

According to Dr Wallace-Hor, simple bladder infections can cause symptoms like:

  • Cloudy or smelly urine
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Burning or stinging when urinating
  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling the need to urinate urgently
  • Blood in urine 

“These usually resolve quickly with antibiotic therapy. Keeping well hydrated and using simple painkillers like paracetamol will also help,” she explains.

“Symptoms that suggest you might have a more complicated UTI include pain in your side or back, nausea or vomiting, fever, chills or severe fatigue.”

It’s also worth noting that common signs of a UTI can sometimes overlap with other conditions: “If you have some UTI symptoms but are also experiencing symptoms like a vaginal itch, changes in vaginal discharge or painful sex, you should see your GP to exclude other infections, like thrush or sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia.”

Finally, if stress and anxiety have become constants in your life, and no relaxation techniques seem to work, consider opening up to a mental health professional. They’ll help you identify your triggers and equip you with coping mechanisms to lower your stress levels.

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Is vaginal discharge normal? Here’s what your discharge is telling you

Changes in the colour, texture or amount of discharge can sometimes indicate an underlying issue. Here’s how to know what’s considered normal and how to tell when something might be amiss. 

While it is completely normal to have discharge, the colour can tell you a lot about your health. From pregnancy to STIs and yeast infections, different colours can indicate different things.

But we know that learning the ins and outs of your vaginal discharge can be confusing, not to mention slightly embarrassing to talk about. So, we enlisted the help of Dr Kirsty Wallace-Hor, a GP at Kin Fertility, to help you understand what’s healthy and what may be a sign of an underlying condition.

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What is considered normal discharge?

“Normal vaginal discharge usually appears at puberty – about 6-12 months before periods begin – and is reduced with menopause due to the rise in oestrogen in the reproductive years,” Dr Wallace-Hor explains. 

“Normal vaginal discharge includes secretions from the cells lining the cervix, normal vaginal flora, and old cells lining the vagina” and although it “varies from person to person, it’s typically white or clear and either has no or a mild odour.”

But what if your discharge isn’t clear or white? What if it smells fishy or you’re suddenly producing a lot more than usual? “Changes in the colour, texture or amount of vaginal discharge can sometimes indicate an underlying issue,” which is why understanding the rainbow of discharge is so important.

White discharge

Usually, white discharge is nothing to be concerned about. It is typically thinner in the days leading up to ovulation and then thickens up when you start ovulating – and more often than not, it is perfectly normal and healthy.

The same can’t be said about white discharge that’s accompanied by symptoms like clumps, a bad smell, or irritation: “Thrush infections can cause thick, white and usually odourless discharge that can have a cottage cheese appearance. Bacterial vaginosis can cause a thin white or grey discharge which can lead to a fishy odour that is worse after sex.”

Thin, white discharge can also be an early sign of pregnancy, so it’s one to look out for if you’ve been trying for a baby.

Clear discharge

Again, perfectly normal and healthy in most women. Clear discharge is a natural way for your vagina to clean itself and maintain its pH balance, and it is particularly common during ovulation, the time of the month when you’re most fertile.

Red or brown discharge

“Red, brown or pink discharge can indicate bleeding, which you might see during your period, or in the middle of the menstrual cycle during ovulation,” says Dr Wallace-Hor.

It can also indicate an STI, pelvic inflammatory disease, trauma to the vaginal area or, very rarely, cancer. Additionally, if you’re expecting, red or brown discharge could be a sign of pregnancy complications, including a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.

If you’re not on your period and experience red or brown discharge, you reach out to your doctor as soon as possible.

Pink discharge

Similarly to red discharge, pink discharge can indicate bleeding. If it is light spotting, it may be implantation bleeding, which occurs when a fertilised egg implants in the uterus, meaning that you’re pregnant. Other possible causes include hormonal changes due to ovulation or menopause, yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, or STIs.

Pink vaginal discharge can also happen as a result of cervical polyps, which are small growths on the cervix that are usually benign and easy to remove.

Whatever the case may be, talk to your doctor if you experience pink discharge.

Yellow or green discharge

Finally, yellow and green are two of the most concerning discharge colours. If accompanied by a fishy odour, yellow or green discharge may suggest bacterial vaginosis; whereas if it comes with itchiness, burning, painful urination, or abdominal pain, it can be a symptom of an STI like gonorrhoea, chlamydia or trichomoniasis.

Left untreated, infections like these can lead to more serious health problems, so make sure you talk to your doctor as soon as possible to receive the appropriate treatment.

“It’s important to understand that vaginal discharge is normal. Unfortunately, a lot of “feminine hygiene” products prey on people’s insecurities about discharge and odour,” Dr Wallace-Hor recognises.

“However, these products muck around with the vagina’s ecosystem – with its fine balance of good bacteria – and can increase the pH of the vagina. Even excess cleaning with water on its own – for example, douching – can be problematic. The result is increased infections and irritation, which can ironically lead to increased discharge.

“It’s good to know what’s normal for you. If you notice any changes in colour, texture or smell, particularly if you have other symptoms, like vaginal itch, abnormal bleeding, painful sex, or painful urination, you should check in with your GP.”

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