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It’s personal

Some health issues are of an intimate nature, but your local health store is a great source of advice and support. Bernadette Cass from health store The Fruit ‘N Nut Place in Portlaoise looks at combatting a number of embarrassing personal issues

Bad breath

Good bacteria in the form of probiotics will help to kill off the bad bacteria causing bad bacteria. Good advice is to limit sugar intake, brush teeth twice daily, floss and gargle with sage herbal tea. Sage is an antiseptic and will kill off any bad bacteria. Eat kefir and sauerkraut – fermented products will help to replenish good gut health and in turn help digestive health too.

Candida and thrush

Diet is so important when it comes to candida and thrush as the yeast overgrowth thrives on sugar, so try to eliminate it if you can. Anti-fungal foods like garlic and herbs such as oregano are easy to add in to your diet, and good bacteria like kefir and probiotic supplements can also help.


Flatulence is caused by swallowing too much air, not chewing properly or changes in the gut microflora. Charcoal, fennel and yarrow are all good for reducing flatulence. Avoid drinking water or any other fluids when you’re eating. Taking your time eating will help too.

Other good advice is to take an oregano supplement and liver-supporting herbs such as artichoke and dandelion which help with the breakdown of food. Drink lots of water, and eat enough fibre.

Sweating and BO

Very common on warm days and approaching menopause, fluctuating oestrogen levels can affect your body’s ability to manage temperature. Sage is a herb that regulates perspiration. Applying lemon juice under a clean armpit can be a natural alternative to deodorants. Natural cream versions of deodorants usually have bicarbonate of soda and essential oils which make them very effective with no chemicals.

The skin is a detoxifying organ and we sweat out toxins, so allowing your body to sweat is important. Keep your daily hygiene regime going and wear clothes made from natural materials like cotton.

Urinary problems

Pregnancy and childbirth increase the likelihood of having bladder weakness, and this is common for women during menopause as oestrogen levels drop. Oestrogen keeps the vagina and muscles of the pelvic region strong.

Keep adequately hydrated with water, but avoid ice cold drinks, tea and coffee. Horsetail, goldenrod and dandelion herbal teas will help to support better kidney function. Keep an eye on your protein intake, especially animal protein. Excess animal protein has to be broken down by your kidneys and this can put additional pressure on these delicate organs. Do pelvic floor exercises every day – you may benefit from taking advice from a female physio.


UTIs occur when a bacteria called escherichia coli (Ec) adheres to the bladder, grows and causes an infection. Risk factors include sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise, obesity and weak pelvic muscle tone.

Drink plenty of room temperature water and cranberry juice with no added sugar. Choose herbal teas such as goldenrod, knotgrass and dandelion. There are cranberry and probiotic combinations available in capsule form and specific good bacteria aimed at treating and preventing UTIs.

Vaginal dryness

This is an issue for menopausal women due to lower oestrogen levels. Omegas are good to help moisturise from the inside out. Omega 7 sea buckthorn oil is specifically helpful for vaginal dryness. There are suppositories available made of natural ingredients like aloe vera.

Foods rich in phytoestrogens may help reduce the symptoms of reducing oestrogen. These include flaxseeds, legumes, apples, nuts, seeds and soybeans.

Period options

On average a woman will use 1,000 throwaway tampons during her lifetime, and the bad news is that many tampons and sanitary wear contain plastic which is bad for the environment. Plastic does not allow your skin to breathe and can cause intimate irritation, rashes and itchiness. Period pads and tampons also contain synthetic colourants, chlorine, artificial fragrances, plastic-based fibres and dioxins.

Several natural sanitary product brands are available using organic cotton and with plastic-free applicators. Reusable sanitary pads made from bamboo, cotton and other fabrics are a much more environmentally friendly alternative to tampons. Reusable period cups are made from silicone or latex and last five years.

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