Health complaints like bad breath, flatulence and thrush are more common than you might think but many of us are too embarrassed to talk about them with anyone else. If you're one of these people, you're probably still in the dark about how you can wave goodbye to your symptoms.
1. Bad breath
Bad breath may be an extremely undesirable health complaint, but you'd be surprised how many people are affected by it. According to the American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA), as many as 40 million Americans suffer from halitosis (or bad breath, as it's more commonly known).
Bad breath can stem from a number of causes, as ADHA President, Caryn Solie, explains. "Bad breath can be caused by many things, from food and drink to health conditions and medications that can cause dry mouth and sinus drainage, as well as bacteria and plaque in the mouth and on the teeth," she says.
Improve your oral hygiene. Solie advises brushing twice daily with a soft toothbrush (either manual or electric), but she stresses that brushing alone isn't enough to get rid of all bacteria in your mouth. She also advocates flossing to tackle in between the teeth; using an anti-microbial mouth rinse; brushing or cleaning the tongue frequently (with a tongue scraper), and maintaining the recommended dental cleanings from your dental hygienist or dentist.
- Short term fixes. If you're looking for a more immediate solution to bad breath solutions, there are temporary fixes that you can reach for. "Temporary assistance may be obtained by chewing sugar-free gum or using mints after eating," says Solie.
- See your doctor. If the problem still persists after you've taken steps to improve your oral health, it's worth seeing a doctor to determine whether there might be an underlying medical cause.
2. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common digestive problem, which tends to affect women more than men. According to Kenny Tranquille, Nutritionist at the London based Nutritionists, UrBod Nutrition, the typical symptoms of IBS are "abdominal bloating and/or pain associated with or relieved by taking a bowel movement; an altered bowel function, constipation or diarrhea; flatulence; nausea, and varying degrees of anxiety or depression." Generally speaking, these symptoms need to last for at least six months before a doctor is likely to diagnose IBS.
- Diet changes. Tranquille advises taking a good look at your diet. "Fibre intake is something we look at, as well as the type of fibre being consuming. We may discourage the intake of insoluble fibre (such as wheat bran) and if more fibre is indicated, for example in cases of constipation, we recommend foods that are high in soluble fibre such as fruits, vegetables and oats." For some sufferers, certain foods will be a big culprit. "Many clients with IBS find that food intolerance plays a part," says Tranquille. Another options can be to introduce probiotics and friendly bacteria into your diet. "Various studies have demonstrated the beneficial effects on IBS symptoms," highlights Tranquille. It's not just what you eat, but how you eat. "Sufferers will often need to stop skipping meals and to eat regularly. Be mindful when eating -- stop rushing around and sit down when eating," adds Tranquille.
- Drink more. Make sure that you're taking on board enough fluids as part of your diet. "IBS sufferers are often dehydrated, so I advise them to drink enough water -- around 1.5 litres per day -- and sometimes to restrict their coffee, alcohol, fizzy drinks and tea," explains Tranquille.
- Get active. Exercising regularly can improve your bowel movements and lower stress levels Tranquille suggests taking moderate exercise on a daily basis.
- Reduce stress. If you suspect that stress is the main cause of your symptoms, take steps to tackle this. "Activities such as yoga, pilates or meditation may help," advises Tranquille.