Your Guide to Alternative Cancer Treatments

Your Guide to Alternative Cancer Treatments

Your Guide to Alternative Cancer Treatments : Alternative and complementary are terms used to refer to various kinds of practices, products, and systems that are not considered mainstream medicine. For instance, the term alternative cancer treatments refer to methods used to relieve the symptoms and improve the quality of life of patients with cancer.

Some of these methods are carried out by individuals with formal education and training (i.e., music or art therapy). These can also involve anything from colon therapy to different systems that do not use any of the medical treatments used by doctors.

While some methods can be costly (i.e., traveling to other countries or following strict diets), others are quite affordable and easy to use (i.e., herbs, vitamins, homeopathic remedies).

Why People Use Alternative Therapies

A study published in 2012 revealed that at least half of cancer patients use alternative therapies at one point or another. There are several reasons people use alternative therapies. Some of the common reasons are:

    • It makes them feel better.

      People use alternative therapies to help them feel better and put them in an excellent position to deal with the condition and the treatment. Many alternative therapies focus on relaxation and minimizing stress. They also help cancer patients deal with their emotions better and boost their overall health and well-being.

    • It helps lessen cancer side effects and symptoms.

      There is growing evidence that some alternative treatments can help patients effectively manage some of the symptoms of cancer and some of the side effects of the treatment. For instance, acupuncture has been known to help ease sickness brought about by some chemotherapy drugs.

      Acupuncture is also known to help relieve a sore mouth after treatment for neck or head cancer. It is also known to alleviate pain after lymph nodes removal.

    • It helps patients feel more in control.

      At times, some cancer patients feel like their doctors are making all the decisions regarding their treatment. In similar cases, most patients feel like they don’t have much control over things. With alternative therapies, many cancer patients feel like they play a more active role in their treatment and recovery.

Alternative Cancer Treatments

  • Dietary treatments

    This is one of the most typical forms of alternative therapies used by cancer patients. Dietary treatments are based on the assumption that certain nutrients are required by cancer cells, and they should be avoided.

    Many anticancer diets also stem from the idea that the condition is caused by the accumulation of waste products in the body. Some of the conventional cancer diet treatments include acid-free, raw food, and juice diets.

  • Cannabis oil

    Cannabis oil has been heralded as a treatment option that’s powerful enough to shrink or destroy cancerous tumors. Sometimes referred to as marijuana or hemp oil, cannabis oil is available in various forms and potencies. It can be infused into cooking oil, mixed into food, or its vapors inhaled.

  • Laetrile

    Laetrile was first popularized as a cancer therapy in Russia and the United States more than a century ago. Laetrile is a purified form of amygdalin, an extract derived from apricot pits and some plants and nuts. It is believed that intestinal enzymes break down Laetrile and produce cyanide, thought to kill cancer cells and leave healthy tissues unharmed.

  • Massage

    Some studies have found that massage can help relieve pain in some people with cancer. It can also help ease stress, fatigue, and anxiety. Massages can be a safe option given that patients work with an experienced and competent massage therapist. Many cancer centers have massage therapists on staff. Doctors might also be able to recommend therapists that regularly work with cancer patients.


The decision to use alternative treatment options is an important one and should be decided by the patient alone. However, it won’t hurt to check with your doctor, so you’ll also be guided if it’s the best alternative to compliment your current treatment.




Lauren Cole is the Content Marketing Strategist of Dayspring Cancer Clinic, an alternative cancer treatment center located in Scottsdale, Arizona. When not working and writing content, she enjoys gardening and reading books.









Related Videos about Your Guide to Alternative Cancer Treatments :

What are natural cancer treatments?


Natural health products & cancer treatment


Complementary Therapies for Cancer Treatment


Alternative therapies in cancer care – regulation and risk


Chinese Medicine Approach to Cancer Treatment and Prevention


Your Guide to Alternative Cancer Treatments

i survived cancer without treatment, natural breast cancer treatment vs. conventional treatment, finland alternative cancer treatment, alternatives to radiation therapy for cancer, alternative therapy for cancer ppt, holistic cancer treatment centers near me, alternatives to chemotherapy for breast cancer, naturopathic cancer treatment centers,

Source link

best treatments for your neck

Ephron’s prominent essay may have been top-heavy with eternal neck truths, but some things have changed. “You can put makeup on your face and concealer under your eyes and dye your hair… but short of surgery, there’s not a damn thing you can do about a neck,” is no longer true. The beauty industry has caught up, and necks are no longer a lost cause. So here’s how to feel good about yours.

Think French

The French face, according to lauded Parisian facialists, begins at the nipples and ends at the forehead. Ergo, all the lotions and potions you apply to your face should also be taken down past your chin and down to your chest. It makes sense, you rarely display your face but not your neck, unless you’re wearing one of the aforementioned turtle necks, and in Australia there are only a handful of days when the weather allows it. Committing to take your products halfway down your torso means the ritual needs to take place before you get dressed, so get in the habit of lotioning up straight after the shower. Clean, warm skin is optimal for absorbing products anyway, and this might be the purpose you needed to warrant investing in one of those linen robes you’ve been eyeing off.


Just thinking about your neck means you’ll pay more attention to it, and it will look better for it. You’ll take the time to purposely apply treatments rather than smoothing on whatever is leftover from your face as an afterthought. But if you’re the kind of person that needs to see the word on a jar to remind you, there are a growing number of neck-specific emulsions, creams and masks available at beauty retailers.

The main difference with dedicated neck treatments is some promise of “sculpting”. US brand BeautyBio, newly available in Australia through MECCA, offers a 3-Phase Neck Contouring Treatment, $136. The 45-day treatment is a blend of chemical exfoliants (AHAs) that build in concentration every 15 days. The brand has dubbed it “shapewear for the neck”, which is very enticing. If crepiness is your chief concern, Dr. Dennis Gross’ retinol-fuelled Fortifying Neck Emulsion, $120 slots right into your serum routine, helping to increase collagen production. If you’re partial to a sheet mask, the Shark Tank-famous Wrinkles Schminkles Neck Pad is a silicone mask that holds the area firm overnight.


The neck benefits from some manual stimulation, and as skincare legend Mila Moursi once told me, “hands are the best tools we have”. Always apply your treatments in an upward and then outward motion and if you’re so inclined, YouTube is rich with anti-ageing neck yoga exercises. There are essentially two goals with these routines. First, to stimulate blood flow to the skin, and second, to tone the platysma, the largest muscle in the neck. For the former, use your fingers to gently pinch the neck all over, including under the chin and along the jawline. To tone the platysma, blow kisses to the sky, literally. Tilt your head back and push slow, deliberate kisses to the roof.

A little more lift

If you feel the need for more power, microcurrent facials are still the least invasive treatment with the best results. Microcurrent technology electrically shocks the face and neck muscles to tone them. It’s known as “pilates for the face” and is not as painful as it sounds. The NuFACE is an at-home microcurrent tool with less power than the salon machines, but clinically proven results. The brand has expanded to mini versions, body tools and various connections for the lips and eyes, but the original NuFACE routine really focuses on the jawline and neck.

For one-step before a neck lift, there is the Plasma Pen, which starts at about $450 per treatment. A non-surgical tool that uses plasma energy to regenerate the epidermis while a channel of heat goes deep into the skin, disrupting the dermal structure and causing new collagen to generate. This one comes with a moderate amount of discomfort as each application is the size of a pinpoint, spaced approximately 5mm apart. Each point then scabs so you’ll want to lay low for about eight days till the scabs fall off. Intense, but the results are no joke.

Carina Gross, CEO and Founder of Belaméres in Sydney’s Double Bay, says it’s the only tool worthy of claiming it replaces surgery.


“I’ve been trialling different treatments to tighten the skin and nothing really convinced me or had the results I was after until the Plasma Pen,” says Gross. “It can significantly help tighten areas that are tough to treat without surgery. Particularly droopy eyelids, and the neck and jawline, something almost every client is interested in.”

Why are they interested? “Because you can see the age of a woman on her neck and decolletage,” says Gross. “And her hands.”

Most Viewed in Lifestyle


Source link

Plantar Fasciitis: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Plantar Fasciitis: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Heel pains can be triggered by different causes. One common cause for heel pains among adults is Plantar Fasciitis. If you feel stabbing pain in the morning when getting out of bed, then you may have Plantar Fasciitis. Plantar Fasciitis occurs when there is inflammation in the plantar fascia, a thick, weblike ligament that connects your heel to the front of your foot.

Our plantar fascia ligaments experience wear and tear in our daily activities. But too much pressure on our feet can tear these ligaments. When our plantar fascia gets inflamed, it can cause heel pain which is called plantar fasciitis.

If you are experiencing pain in the bottom of your heel, read on as the professionals from Watsonia Podiatry provide the symptoms, causes and proper treatments for plantar fasciitis.

What are its symptoms?

Most people complain of pain at the bottom of their heels. Most of the time, it can affect only one foot, but there are cases where it can also affect both feet.

Plantar Fasciitis is usually worse in the morning when getting out of bed. You can also feel it if you’ve been sitting for awhile and you stand back up. But the pain will start to diminish after 15 to 30 minutes then it may come and go throughout the day. The pain can also erupt when you are doing a prolonged activity, due to increased irritation or inflammation.

 What causes Plantar Fasciitis?

There are some known factors include age, weight, pregnancy, the kind of activity you engage in, structural foot problems, tight Achilles tendons, or even the type of shoes you wear.

Plantar Fasciitis often occurs in elderly adults. Those who are at the highest risk for developing plantar fasciitis are men and women between the ages of 40 and 70 and who are active. But between the two sexes, plantar fasciitis is more common in women than men to some degree.

Pregnant women are also prone to experiencing bouts of plantar fasciitis, particularly during late pregnancy, because of the weight gain experienced during pregnancy.

Moreover, if someone is overweight or obese, the tendency of developing plantar fasciitis is also greater. Because of the heavy weight, there is an increased pressure in the plantar fascia ligaments, especially when you were previously slim but suddenly gained a lot of weight.

Athletes are also more likely to develop plantar fascia problems, especially those long-distance runners. Overuse is the most common cause of plantar fasciitis among athletes. An increase in weight-bearing activities, especially those involving running, causes microtrauma to the plantar fascia.

Those people with jobs which require them to stand for longer hours or use their feet more often are also prone to plantar fasciitis. These include those who work in factories, in constructions, salespersons at malls, or those restaurant servers. Your plantar fascia receives more pressure when you’re constantly on your feet and when you’re carrying something heavy while on your feet.

Individuals with structural foot problems, or those with low arches or flat feet, or high arches are at greater risk for developing plantar fasciitis.

People with tight calves can pull their plantar fascias and can make their feet have a premature heel rise. Those tendons which are attached to your calf muscles also known as Achilles tendons can also cause a strain to the plantar fascia.

Even the type of shoes you wear can increase the risk of you getting plantar fasciitis because shoes with soft soles and poor arch support can increase the pressure on the plantar fascia. On the other hand, wearing good footwear can lessen the pressure and thus, avoiding tearing of the plantar fascia ligaments and its inflammation.

How can Plantar Fasciitis be treated?

Most people who experience it resort to home treatments like rest, icing, and using braces and anti-inflammatory. However, if the pain does not go away after doing all these, it would be best to consult a medical professional to help you properly diagnose your condition and help you ease the pain as plantar fasciitis is a self-limiting condition. Moreover, early recognition and treatment usually lead to a shorter period of treatment as well as increased probability of success to treat this condition.

When you decide to go to your doctor, be sure to take note of a few important things to properly narrate your condition to your doctor, and in order for your doctor to accurately assess your condition. These details include the time when you started to feel the pain, the degree of pain, the things you tried to ease the pain, and the kind of activities you do on a daily basis. There are little details but are very important for correct diagnosis and for your doctor to provide a proper treatment to your condition.

If you experience heel pains in the morning when getting out of bed, it is important to talk to a professional. You can pay a visit to the experts at Watsonia Podiatry for early diagnosis and treatment.







Related Videos :










Source link

Trump continues to respond to COVID-19 treatments, say his doctors

He revealed that Trump’s oxygen level had fallen again on Saturday to the point that oxygen was required and that scans of his lungs showed some indications of damage, although he insisted they were not of major clinical concern.

US President Donald Trump released a video update on his health on Saturday.Credit:Twitter

Significantly, Conley said the President had been given dexamethasone, a steroid, which some experts had previously said would be a significant development.

Trump offered his own assessment of his status the night before in a video from his hospital suite, saying he was beginning to feel better and hoped to be in the White House soon. He was also back on social media on Sunday morning, sharing a video of flag-waving supporters – most not wearing masks – outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre.

The changing, and at times contradictory, accounts created a credibility crisis for the White House at a crucial moment, with the President’s health and the nation’s leadership on the line.

Trump’s illness has upended the presidential campaign ahead of the November 3 national vote and cast a spotlight on the President’s handling of the pandemic. The Republican President is trailing Democratic rival Joe Biden in opinion polls.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll published on Sunday found that Biden had opened a 10-point lead over Trump nationally, slightly wider than it has been for the past two months.

Some 65 per cent of Americans said Trump likely would not have been infected had he taken the virus more seriously – a view that half of registered Republicans polled supported. Some 55 per cent said they did not believe Trump had been telling the truth about the virus.

Trump’s campaign vowed that Vice-President Mike Pence, who would assume the presidency if Trump were unable to carry out his duties, would take over and lead an aggressive campaign, as would Trump’s three oldest children.

“We can’t stay in our basement or shut down the economy indefinitely. We have to take it head-on,” Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller said on ABC’s This Week on Sunday.


Trump’s Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, has pulled his attack ads off the air during Trump’s hospitalisation, and on Sunday he dispatched senior aides to deliver a largely friendly message.

“We are sincerely hoping that the President makes a very quick recovery, and we can see him back out on the campaign trail very soon,” Biden adviser Symone Sanders said on CNN’s State of the Union.

She added: “This is a glaring reminder that the virus is real.”

Biden was at home in Wilmington, Delaware, on Sunday with no plans for in-person campaigning or other public appearances. Having already tested negative, he was expected to release the results of a new coronavirus test later in the day, and his campaign pledged to disclose those results and all other future test results for the 77-year-old.


On Saturday, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told reporters Trump was “still not on a clear path yet to a full recovery.” In an update Saturday night, Trump’s chief doctor expressed cautious optimism but added that the President was “not yet out of the woods.

Meanwhile, Trump’s handling of the pandemic and his own health faced new scrutiny.

Trump’s medical care is far superior to the average American’s, with around-the-clock attention and experimental treatments. In the hospital video, he defended his decision to continue campaigning and holding large events during a pandemic.

The President is 74 years old and clinically obese, putting him at higher risk of serious complications from a virus that has infected more than 7 million people nationwide and killed more than 209,000 people in the US.

First lady Melania Trump has remained at the White House to recover from her own bout with the virus.

Trump’s administration has been less than transparent with the public throughout the pandemic, both about the President’s health and the virus’s spread inside the White House. The first word that a close aide to Trump had been infected came from the media, not the White House. Aides have repeatedly declined to share basic health information, including a full accounting of the President’s symptoms, what tests he’s undertaken and the results.

Conley declined to say when Trump had last been tested before he was confirmed to have COVID-19 late on Thursday, fuelling speculation that he may have tested positive prior to Tuesday’s night presidential debate.

The two experimental drugs he has received, given through an IV, have shown some promise against COVID-19.

Conley noted that in many cases, COVID-19 can become more dangerous as the body responds. “The first week of COVID, and in particular day seven to 10, are the most critical in determining the likely course of this illness,” he said.

At the same time, the White House has been working to trace a flurry of new infections of close Trump aides and allies. Attention is focused in particular on the September 26 White House event introducing Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.

That day, Trump gathered more than 150 people in the Rose Garden, where they mingled, hugged and shook hands – overwhelmingly without masks. There were also several indoor receptions, where Trump’s Supreme Court pick, Amy Coney Barrett, her family, senators and others spent time in the close quarters of the White House.

Among those who attended and have now tested positive are former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, former White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway, the president of the University of Notre Dame and at least two Republican lawmakers – Utah Senator Mike Lee and North Carolina Senator. Thom Tillis.

The President’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, and the head of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, have also tested positive, though they were not at the Barrett event.

AP, Reuters

Trump Biden 2020

Our weekly newsletter will deliver expert analysis of the race to the White House from our US correspondent Matthew Knott. Sign up for The Sydney Morning Herald‘s newsletter here, The Age‘s here, Brisbane Timeshere and WAtoday‘s here

Most Viewed in World


Source link

Finding could lead to future treatments for hearing loss — ScienceDaily

Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) have conducted a study that has determined the role that a critical protein plays in the development of hair cells. These hair cells are vital for hearing. Some of these cells amplify sounds that come into the ear, and others transform sound waves into electrical signals that travel to the brain. Ronna Hertzano, MD, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery at UMSOM and Maggie Matern, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University, demonstrated that the protein, called GFI1, may be critical for determining whether an embryonic hair cell matures into a functional adult hair cell or becomes a different cell that functions more like a nerve cell or neuron.

The study was published in the journal Development, and was conducted by physician-scientists and researchers at the UMSOM Department of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery and the UMSOM Institute for Genome Sciences (IGS), in collaboration with researchers at the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University in Israel.

Hearing relies on the proper functioning of specialized cells within the inner ear called hair cells. When the hair cells do not develop properly or are damaged by environmental stresses like loud noise, it results in a loss of hearing function.

In the United States, the prevalence of hearing loss doubles with every 10-year increase in age, affecting about half of all adults in their 70s and about 80 percent of those who are over age 85. Researchers have been focusing on describing the developmental steps that lead to a functional hair cell, in order to potentially generate new hair cells when old ones are damaged.

Hair cells in the inner ear

To conduct her latest study, Dr. Hertzano and her team utilized cutting-edge methods to study gene expression in the hair cells of genetically modified newborn mice that did not produce GFI1. They demonstrated that, in the absence of this vital protein, embryonic hair cells failed to progress in their development to become fully functional adult cells. In fact, the genes expressed by these cells indicated that they were likely to develop into neuron-like cells.

“Our findings explain why GFI1 is critical to enable embryonic cells to progress into functioning adult hair cells,” said Dr. Hertzano. “These data also explain the importance of GFI1 in experimental protocols to regenerate hair cells from stem cells. These regenerative methods have the potential of being used for patients who have experienced hearing loss due to age or environmental factors like exposure to loud noise.”

Dr. Hertzano first became interested in GFI1 while completing her M.D., Ph.D. at Tel Aviv University. As part of her dissertation, she discovered that the hearing loss resulting from mutations in another protein called POU4F3 appeared to largely result from a loss of GFI1 in the hair cells. Since then, she has been conducting studies to discover the role of GFI1 and other proteins in hearing. Other research groups in the field are now testing these proteins to determine whether they can be used as a “cocktail” to regenerate lost hair cells and restore hearing.

“Hearing research has been going through a Renaissance period, not only from advances in genomics and methodology, but also thanks to its uniquely collaborative nature among researchers,” said Dr. Herzano.

The new study was funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It was also funded by the Binational Scientific Foundation (BSF).

“This is an exciting new finding that underscores the importance of basic research to lay the foundation for future clinical innovations,” said E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, UM Baltimore, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean, University of Maryland School of Medicine. “Identifying the complex pathways that lead to normal hearing could prove to be the key for reversing hearing loss in millions of Americans.”

Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Maryland School of Medicine. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Source link

Coronavirus lockdown: Theatres, casinos and bowling alleys reopen as more beauty treatments resume | UK News

Theatres, casinos and bowling alleys are opening today as part of the latest easing of lockdown restrictions in England.

The relaxed measures will also mean tattoo studios, beauty salons, spas and hairdressers can offer additional services, including face treatments such as eyebrow threading.

More rules will be eased to allow:

  • Skating rinks, indoor play and soft play centres to reopen
  • Sit-down wedding receptions for up to 30 people to resume
  • Indoor arts and music performances with socially distanced audiences
  • Sports and business events pilots to resume

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had initially planned to ease the lockdown on 1 August, but a spike in coronavirus cases at the time resulted in the measures being pushed back for two weeks.

Further easing of lockdown measures has allowed ice skating rinks to reopen.

While some restrictions are being loosened, people returning to or visiting the UK from France will now have to quarantine for two weeks after infections surged across the Channel.

Travellers from the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks & Caicos and Aruba will also face a two-week quarantine.

An estimated 160,000 holidaymakers were expected to try returning to the UK from France before the measures came into effect at 4am on Saturday, according to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

Coronavirus: Holidaymakers rebook tickets in order to beat the quarantine deadline

Britons rush to beat quarantine deadline

Meanwhile, those who repeatedly refuse to wear a mask could be forced to pay fines of up to £3,200.

Under the current rules, people face a £100 fine, but the penalty will now double for subsequent offences up to a maximum of £3,200.

Organisers of illegal raves may also face a £10,000 penalty.

:: Listen to the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

Businesses have told of their excitement to be welcoming customers back, but some have complained of the short notice given.

Beauty therapist Alice Bellamy, 67, from Calne in Wiltshire, said: “I am indeed delighted. One day’s notice is not amazing but it’s typical of the total ineptitude of this government and its handling of this pandemic.

“But I am overjoyed and so are my clients, my phone has been hot, hot, hot.

Master corrects makeup, gives shape and thread plucks eyebrows in a beauty salon. Professional care for face and eyebrows.
Eyebrow threading is resuming

“I have booked in a facial treatment tomorrow morning already and I have got lots more coming in the next week that I couldn’t do previously.”

Hollywood Bowl confirmed that 48 of its 61 bowling alleys are reopening today, with each operating with reduced numbers of lanes, reduced customer capacity and groups restricted to a maximum of six people.

A member of Staff at Hollywood Bowl in Thurrock, Essex, cleans the bowling balls. One of several potential workplace safety measures being put in place whilst waiting for future UK government guidelines regarding the reopening of leisure businesses
A member of Staff at Hollywood Bowl in Thurrock, Essex

“We’ve been ready to reopen in the fully government-approved COVID-secure way for many weeks and our trained teams are eager to get back to work,” said chief executive Stephen Burns.

“Our centres are spacious and well-suited for social distancing, and we’ve put in place wide-ranging hygiene and sanitisation measures.”

Source link

Functional dyspepsia: Causes, treatments, and new directions – Harvard Health Blog

Functional dyspepsia (FD) is a common condition, loosely defined by some physicians as a stomach ache without a clear cause. More specifically, it is characterized by the feeling of fullness during or after a meal, or a burning sensation in the mid-upper abdomen, just below the rib cage (not necessarily associated with meals). The symptoms can be severe enough to interfere with finishing meals or participating in regular daily activities.

Those with FD often go through multiple tests like upper endoscopy, CT scan, and gastric emptying study. But despite often-severe symptoms, no clear cause (such as cancer, ulcer disease, or other inflammation) is identified.

Acid reflux, the stomach, and the small intestine

Because there is no clear cause for symptoms, treating FD is challenging as well. The first step in treatment is usually to check for bacteria called H. pylori that can cause inflammation of the stomach and small intestine. If H. pylori is present, the person is treated with a course of antibiotics.

For those without H. pylori infection, or with symptoms that persist despite elimination of this bacteria, the next step is usually a trial of a proton-pump inhibitor (PPI). PPIs, which include omeprazole (Prilosec), esomeprazole (Nexium), and lansoprazole (Prevacid), suppress the stomach’s acid production. PPIs may help those patients whose FD symptoms are driven in part by acid reflux disease. PPIs may also reduce the concentration of certain inflammatory cells in the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine), which may also play a significant role in functional dyspepsia.

The brain-gut connection

Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are another class of medications that are often used to treat FD. In some people, FD is thought to be due to an abnormal brain-gut interaction. Specifically, these individuals may have overactive sensory nerves supplying the GI tract, or abnormal processing of pain by the brain. TCAs such as amitriptyline (Elavil), desipramine (Norpramin), and imipramine (Tofranil) are thought to modulate this abnormal brain-gut connection. When used for FD, TCAs are typically prescribed at a low dose, where they do not exert any significant antidepressant effect.

However, a large proportion of people with FD also have ongoing anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions. Addressing these conditions, often with the help of a trained psychiatrist or psychologist, can also improve FD symptoms. Psychological therapy has not been as widely studied as medications for FD. But a small number of studies have suggested that psychological interventions like cognitive behavioral therapy may be even more effective than medication; these interventions were shown to resolve FD symptoms in one out of three appropriately selected patients. In comparison, even the most effective medical treatments lead to symptom relief in approximately one out of six treated individuals.

Stomach accommodation

When you eat, the top part of your stomach relaxes, expanding your stomach volume to accommodate your meal. Many FD patients have an impaired accommodation reflex, and this may contribute to the post-meal discomfort experienced by many people with FD.

Unfortunately, no medications exist specifically for improving stomach accommodation. However, buspirone (Buspar), a medication normally used for anxiety, is thought to improve stomach accommodation as well, and has been shown in a small number of studies to be effective in treating FD. Medications that make the stomach empty more quickly can also be tried for FD. However, many prokinetic medications are associated with significant adverse effects, and only one that has been studied for FD, metoclopramide (Reglan), is available for clinical use in the United States.

Recent research has also suggested that modifying the activity of the vagus nerve (the largest nerve carrying signals between the brain and the stomach), via electrical stimulation of the skin of the ear, may improve gastric accommodation. However, research into this treatment is in its early stages, and its effectiveness in relieving symptoms has not yet been studied in large groups of patients.

Limitations of current treatments open the door for novel treatments

While studies have shown that the above-mentioned treatments work better than placebo, many patients do not experience significant symptom improvement with them. Indeed, even the most effective FD medications only resolve symptoms in one out of six patients. As a result of this limited effectiveness, recent studies have looked at remedies not traditionally used in Western medicine.

For example, a recent Chinese study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, showed that a four-week course of acupuncture treatments eliminated symptoms in a greater percentage of individuals with distress after meals than a similar group receiving sham acupuncture treatments. Though additional studies are needed to confirm these findings, this study suggests that acupuncture could be an option for those with difficult-to-manage FD symptoms.

Understandable frustration, justifiable hope

FD remains a significant challenge for patients and physicians alike. Some may take comfort that FD is not a dangerous condition in terms of putting patients at increased risk of death. (One study of over 8,000 patients followed for 10 years showed no increase in risk of mortality in people with FD compared to those without FD).

Still, the bothersome and frequent symptoms remain a source of frustration for many. Yet hope does exist for those suffering with the condition, both from the judicious use of existing, evidence-based treatments, and the potential emergence of novel treatments in the future.

Source link