Archive For 12/22/2014

Pregnancy Stretch Marks: What You Should Know About

Stretch marks are a skin problem that affects a large number of people. While they can also affect men, they are more commonly seen among women especially those who have already undergone pregnancy. Pregnancy is perhaps one of the most common causes of stretch marks, appearing on the breasts and abdomen. Many of you may already have seen how a stretch mark looks like, especially if you are a husband, daughter or son of a mother who has one.

I have seen some men who have stretch marks, but usually the appearance is not as noticeable as those I have seen among mothers. Understanding pregnancy stretch marks will not only be useful among women but also among men so that we may be able to help some of the women we know deal with this condition.

What Are Pregnancy Stretch Marks?

Pregnancy stretch marks are depressed small streaks in the skin that normally occur in the abdomen and breasts during the last trimester of pregnancy when there is a rapid expansion of the abdomen to accommodate the unborn baby. They usually start to appear in brown, pink or purple color and then later on fade and become light silver. They do not totally disappear.

Who Can Develop Pregnancy Stretch Marks?

It is hard to predict who could develop stretch marks during pregnancy. Certainly, they appear in more than 50 percent of pregnant women. However, certain factors may increase your risk of stretch marks. For instance, if your mother and other sisters have developed them during pregnancy, there is a big probability that you will too. Also, younger pregnant women are more prone to this condition. Additionally, the faster you gain weight and expand your belly during pregnancy, the more chances that you will have stretch marks.

How Can You Prevent Stretch Marks?

Unfortunately, most preventive measures for stretch marks do not really work. Even topical lotions and creams which claim to be effective in preventing stretch marks among pregnant women seem to not work.

Moreover, it is always best to keep your skin hydrated during pregnancy to make it look more toned and smoother. Drinking more fluid especially water can also help keep your skin healthy and may help in reducing your risk of having stretch marks.

How to Remove Stretch Marks?

Although stretch marks are highly visible during and right after pregnancy, they usually reduce in appearance after one year. They normally become lighter in appearance even without applying any skin care products. However, if they bother you and you would like to reduce their appearance faster, there are several treatment options available including light therapy and the use of stronger topical medications. You could talk with your dermatologist about the most suitable option for you.

Pregnancy stretch marks generally do not require medication or medical attention unless you are bothered by their appearance. However, if you intend to use any topical medication to get rid of them while still pregnant, it would be better to first seek the advice of your doctor as some topical medicines may be harmful to your unborn child.

5 Simple Ways to Prevent Kidney Stone Formation

Kidney stone is a condition that is not new to me. I know of friends and even family members who have developed kidney stones in the past. Some of them were able to pass their stones without any medication while others had to seek medical attention. I do not know how kidney stones feel like, but I read about them from the people at Some of the people I know who had them complained of severe pain especially during urination while others said that they did not have an idea they had kidney stones not until their doctor told them.

Kidney stones are minerals present in the urine that crystallize and form into tiny stones, the most common of which are uric acid and calcium. The stone formation normally happens when the urine becomes so concentrated with these minerals because of inadequate fluid in the urine to dilute them.

Many people believe that there is no way to prevent kidney stones. However, I have read a number of resources online that say you can prevent them from happening. And here are some ways to do it:

  1. Drink plenty of water.

One of the risk factors for developing kidney stones is not having adequate liquid intake that can dilute the minerals in the urine. Water is the most vital liquid that a person should take. Drinking at least eight glasses of water daily can make the urine less concentrated. Juices from fruits and vegetables can also help. To know if you have adequate liquid in your system, check the color of your urine. It should be light yellow. If you are taking vitamin B supplements or multivitamins, the color of your urine should be bright yellow.

  1. Avoid sugar.

A high sugar diet also makes a person prone to forming kidney stones as sugar interferes with magnesium and calcium absorption. The consumption of soda and other unhealthy sweet treats is one of the reasons why many young children also get kidney stones. And this is supported by a South African study which shows that soda can exacerbate the condition in the urine, which results in the formation of kidney stones, particularly calcium oxalate stones.

  1. Ensure adequate magnesium intake.

Magnesium is an essential mineral that is responsible for numerous biochemical reactions in the body and it is believed that magnesium deficiency has a lot to do with kidney stone formation. One of the important functions of magnesium is in preventing the oxalate from combining with calcium, which in turn prevents calcium oxalate stone formation. Eating green leafy vegetables as well as consuming vegetable juices is one way to boost your magnesium intake. Magnesium supplements are also available.

  1. Exercise regularly.

Sedentary or bedridden people are more prone to kidney stones because their lack of movement causes their bones to give out more calcium to the system. Exercising regularly helps keep the balance of calcium in the body. Also, exercising helps prevent high blood pressure, a condition which doubles a person’s risk of kidney stones.

  1. Reduce intake of calcium supplements.

Calcium from foods is beneficial to the body but it is a different story with calcium supplements. Calcium supplements are found to increase your risk of kidney stone formation by about 20 percent.

These simple tips are useful for preventing new stone formation and as home remedies for kidney stones. However, if you are in doubt that you may already have kidney stones, it would be best to seek the advice of your doctor regarding your condition.