Having oily skin can be very frustrating. And things can get even worse when summer rolls around. When you have oily skin, it’s very difficult to keep makeup from sliding off your face. This can make you feel more stressed which, in turn, would aggravate the oil production of your face! So what are you to do?

Well, you can consider using a primer for oily skin. This is the default solution for women who have this skin type. Of course, not all primers are created equally. But if you find one which is suitable for your own skin, it can change the way you apply makeup to your face. Also, a good primer can keep the makeup from sliding off because of the oiliness of your face. Read on to learn more about primers for oily skin which will give you a smoother and more balanced complexion.

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61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • Becca ever matte poreless priming perfector
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Controls excess oil and reduces shine
61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • Benefit Cosmetics POREfessional Pro Balm Face Primer
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Pro Balmto Minimize the Appearance of Pores
61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • e.l.f cosmetics Studio Mineral Infused Face Primer
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Fills in fine line and creates a flawless finish
61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • Hourglass Cosmetics Veil Mineral Primer
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Free of oils, fragrances and parabens

Becca Ever Matte Poreless Priming Perfector

This is an excellent primer that’s free of silicone. It can help control the excess oil on your face which, in turn, would also help reduce the shine. When applied, it will give you an instant metrifying effect along with a feeling of skin tightening. With all the benefits it offers, it’s truly one of the best primers for oily skin available.

The Becca ever matte poreless priming perfector will reduce if not, eliminate the appearance of pores on your face. It will also provide you with a matte and smooth surface all throughout the day. This primer is made with a lightweight formula sans the alcohol, fragrance, and oil.

You can use this primer on its own, before applying your foundation or after applying it. When you use this product, it will be much easier to apply makeup on your face even if you have oily skin. And since it’s silicone-free, you don’t have to worry about that product and its potential adverse effects.

Pros

  • An excellent primer that’s silicone-free and helps control excess oils.
  • Provides an instant mattifying effect along with tightening of the skin.
  • Will give your face a smooth, matte texture for the whole day.

Cons

  • May cause dryness.
  • It has a thick consistency.

Benefit Cosmetics POREfessional Pro Balm Face Primer

This primer can help reduce the appearance of fine lines, pores, and more to make your skin look smoother. It’s a silky and lightweight product that you can wear on your own, under your makeup or over it. The primer has a no-oil, translucent formula which compliments different skin tones. Also, it will help your makeup stay put!

The Benefit Cosmetics POREfessional Pro Balm Face Primer contains vitamin E which is very beneficial to the skin. It’s also easy to apply, just make sure that your skin is clean and has been lightly moisturized. Simply pat the primer on lightly to your skin and start blending.

It’s best to apply this primer in the morning so your face will look smooth and fresh all through the day. But you can also apply this primer whenever your pores start to emerge. The special formulation of this product will help give you a complexion that’s beautifully-refined. And all you need to apply is a thin layer of the primer on your skin.

Pros

  • The lightweight primer is made with a no-oil formula to make your complexion more refined.
  • You only need a small amount for it to clean and moisturize your skin.
  • Helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and pores.

Cons

  • Doesn’t apply smoothly.
  • May cause rashes in some people.

e.l.f Cosmetics Studio Mineral Infused Face Primer

With this primer, you can transform your face into a smooth and flawless canvas. The e.l.f Cosmetics Studio Mineral Infused Face Primer is specially formulated to combat flaky dryness, enlarged pores, fine lines, and, of course, excess oil. It’s a clear, mineral-infused, multipurpose primer for oily skin that will help prepare the skin for better makeup application. Aside from providing the perfect canvas, it will also give your face a satin finish that lasts long.

Pros

  • This primer can give your face a smooth and flawless texture.
  • Designed to combat enlarged pores, excess oils, fine lines, and flaky dryness.
  • Makes your skin smooth for easier makeup application.

Cons

  • May cause breakouts in some people.
  • Doesn’t glide on as smoothly as other primers.

Hourglass Cosmetics Veil Mineral Primer

This is a mineral primer for oily skin with SPF 15. Just like the other products on our list, it helps prepare the skin for an easy and flawless application of makeup. Aside from that, the Hourglass Cosmetics Veil Mineral Primer will also protect, hydrate, and nourish your skin. It will smoothen the appearance of fine lines and enlarged pores, diminish the shine on your skin, and allow your makeup to last longer. Also, it’s totally free of fragrances, parabens, and oils.

Pros

  • Doesn’t contain parabens, oils or fragrances.
  • Has a lightweight and silky texture.
  • Helps minimize the shine while protecting against UV damage.

Cons

  • Some say it makes the face white.

Innisfree No Sebum Blur Primer

This primer will give your skin a smoother texture while making it look brighter. It will give your skin a blur effect by covering the bumps caused by fine lines, wrinkles, and pores. Use this Innisfree No Sebum Blur Primer on your skin before applying makeup for best results. With this primer, you can have comfortable, supple, and clean skin. The Jeju ingredients will help tighten your pores.

Pros

  • The primer will leave your skin feeling comfortable and clean.
  • Tightens the pores to give the skin a smoother texture.
  • Doesn’t contain parabens, artificial fragrances or colors.

Cons

  • May cause irritations in some people.

Smashbox Photo Finish Oil Free Foundation Primer

This primer has a colorless formula which will help prepare your skin for foundation application. It will help fill in your pores and fine lines to make your skin appear smoother and softer. In fact, it will leave your skin with a velvety finish. It’s best to apply this primer over clean skin which has been moisturized. You can wear it on its own, over makeup or under it. This primer will help your concealer glide on smoothly and stay there all day.

Pros

  • Fills in pores and fine lines to make your skin look softer.
  • Leaves the skin smooth and velvety.
  • The oil-free primer also moisturizes the skin.

Cons

  • Some say it has a greasy consistency.
  • Leaves a residue on the fingers.

COVER FX Mattifying Primer

This is a water-resistant, lightweight, gel-primer which will give your skin a matte finish. It will help minimize the appearance of pores and fine lines. The COVER FX Mattifying Primer will help blend as well as extend your foundation while also healing and preventing acne blemishes. Aside from giving you an instant mattifying effect, it will also leave your skin looking smooth and flawless. It’s a clinically-tested product that’s vegan and free of fragrance, parabens, mineral oil, talc, and gluten.

Pros

  • A lightweight and water-resistant primer which gives a matte finish.
  • Minimizes the appearance of pores and fine lines.
  • Gives your skin a smooth and flawless look.

Cons

  • Some don’t appreciate the smell.

MAKE UP FOR EVER Step 1

 

This makeup primer will help assist with the balance of your skin’s tone and texture. The MAKE UP FOR EVER Step 1 primer will make your skin more even and smoother. Also, this primer will allow your makeup to last for a longer time. Aside from that, it will also address the concerns of your skin to make it a perfect canvas for your makeup application. It’s a creamy and lightweight primer which can help increase the hold of your foundation.

Pros

  • Assists with balancing the tone and texture of the skin.
  • Prepares the skin for easier and more effective makeup application.
  • Lightweight, creamy, and hydrating.

Cons.

  • Not suitable for those with dry skin.

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer

This primer for oily skin is also suitable for those prone to breakouts and blemishes. The Laura Mercier Foundation Primer is a water-based product with a lightweight, gel texture. It has a non-drying, soothing formula which will maintain the balance of your skin. It contains Salicylic Acid which will help enhance the appearance of the blemishes on your face. Also, it will control the shine and reduce the appearance of pores. Applying this primer will create an even and smooth surface for perfectly flawless application of makeup.

Pros

  • A lightweight primer that’s oil-free and water-based.
  • Made with a non-drying formula that’s soothing too.
  • It’s also suitable for those who have blemish-prone skin.

Cons

  • Doesn’t give much of a glow.

jane Iredale Smooth Affair for Oily Skin Facial Primer

This primer makes use of a PoreAway Technology that’s revolutionary and extremely effective. It’s made with a mineral science which will visibly reduce the shine on your face to create a perfect canvas for your makeup application. The Jane Iredale Smooth Affair for Oily Skin Facial Primer will also help soothe blemishes and reduce the appearance of pores. It will provide you with a smooth, matte finish along with an even skin tone. The wheat-free and vegan primer also has anti-aging benefits to boast.

Pros

  • Promotes skin radiance and luminosity while providing an anti-aging benefit.
  • Reduces shine for an easier makeup application.
  • Also, reduces the appearance of blemishes and pores.

Cons

  • Some don’t appreciate the texture.

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61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • Becca ever matte poreless priming perfector
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Controls excess oil and reduces shine
61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • Benefit Cosmetics POREfessional Pro Balm Face Primer
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Pro Balmto Minimize the Appearance of Pores
61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • e.l.f cosmetics Studio Mineral Infused Face Primer
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Fills in fine line and creates a flawless finish
61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • Hourglass Cosmetics Veil Mineral Primer
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Free of oils, fragrances and parabens

Who Needs Primer for Oily Skin?

When it comes to beauty products, the industry keeps on coming up with new and improved innovations. From mineral foundations, setting sprays, BB creams, CC creams, primers, and more. Also, new technologies in the beauty industry have emerged and it’s now more difficult to determine which are genuine and which are fake.

Just a couple of years ago, people didn’t even know what makeup primers are. But these days, they’re all the rage among women especially the beauty elite. But do people with oily skin need primer? The short answer is, yes. As a matter of fact, those with oily skin need such products more than those who have other skin types.

When applying nail polish, have you ever tried applying a base coat first before actually polishing them? If you have, then you already comprehend the concept of primer. The primer will create an even, smooth, and slightly sticky surface for your foundation and your makeup to stick.

The right primer will glide over the subtle imperfections on your skin and fight the oil as well. Also, the right product will give your skin a fresh start which will help extend the life of your makeup and your foundation. This is excellent news for those who have oily skin as this skin type tends to melt the foundation a lot quicker.

What Are the Benefits of Primers for Oily Skin?

Primers don’t just work on solving specific issues of the skin. Generally, primers all give the same skin benefits. Although some people don’t think that such products are too useful, those who use primers will definitely disagree. One of the main benefits of primers for oily skin is to make the skin smoother and evener. But let’s take a look at the other benefits of these products.

One excellent benefit of primers for oily skin is that they can help keep your makeup in place for a longer time. The primer will serve as an excellent base before applying makeup. This is a fact because when you use a primer first, it will maintain the quality of your makeup for a longer period of time.

Another benefit of primers is that they make the skin look even. This makes the primer a game-changing product. Primers can fill-in enlarged pores and they can also conceal or at least reduce the appearance of skin imperfections. Therefore, if you also have an uneven skin texture aside from oily skin, then primers would be very beneficial for you.

Instead of using heavy makeup to conceal your blemishes, you can go for a primer which also has color-correcting benefits or one which will reduce any issues in specific areas on your skin. This will then give you a more natural effect while making your skin more even. Just make sure you use the primer correctly to get the results you desire.

Primers can also benefit the pores. Usually, people with oily skin also have enlarged pores. These skin issues typically occur alongside each other. The good news is that primers can target both these issues, especially the ones which are meant specifically for oily skin.

There are some primers out there which can help reduce the appearance of enlarged pores to make your skin smoother. Of course, you need to select a primer which will specifically target this skin issue. There are also some primers which contain special vitamins which can help reduce your pore size effectively.

Another great benefit of primers is that they will give your skin a healthy glow.

This benefit is applicable for different skin types, not just for those who have oily skin. Primers will help make your skin brighter while giving it a natural and healthy appearance. As a matter of fact, just the primer would be sufficient. You don’t even have to apply makeup to enhance the appearance of your face.

Primers are also very versatile products. This benefit is why primers are so popular. Even though there are different kinds and forms of primers out there, they will all give you the same benefits as long as you choose a product that’s right for you. Generally, primers will target specific issues which plague different skin types and not just oily skin.

There are some primers which also have additional benefits. Some have hydrating properties, some can protect your skin from the damages of the sun, and more. And all you have to do is apply the product to your skin each time. The best part is, you only need to apply a light layer of primer to your skin. You don’t have to slather on too much to enjoy all the benefits.

Finally, since primers for oily skin are meant for those with oily skin, then the last benefit you can enjoy is that the primer can help eliminate the oily slow. After removing this oily glow, the primer will replace it with a natural effect. Primers help absorb the oils of the skin which will eliminate the shine.

What Are Primers for Oily Skin?

Whenever summer rolls around, the weather gets hot and those with oily skin get more and more frustrated with their condition. Of course, those who naturally have an oily skin type deal with this issue all year round. Fortunately, there’s hope since primers have become available.

A primer is typically used as a base before applying makeup or foundation. Applied properly, primers can help make your skin look smoother. You can think of such products as a glue which will strengthen the hold of the makeup on your skin. Therefore, this will allow the makeup to stay in place for a longer time.

Aside from extending your makeup’s longevity, primers can also help reduce the appearance of blemishes and other imperfections on your skin. Because of this, the makeup will glide onto your skin a lot easier after you’ve applied the primer for oily skin to it. This is why beauty experts all recommend that you use such a primer as one of the first steps in your makeup routine.

Usually, primers come in the form of creams. They’re also colorless which means that they won’t interfere with the different colors and shades of your makeup or foundation. The primer creates an invisible layer on the skin to make it a perfect canvas and also, to enhance your skin’s final appearance.

One excellent feature of primers is that there are many different kinds available and they all perform various functions. So whether you have oily skin or you have other skin issues, you’re sure to find a primer you can use. Some primers can give you a dewy effect while others will give you a matte finish.

Of course, if you have oily skin, it’s better for you to go for the ones which have mattifying effects. There are also some primers out there which will color-correct your skin aside from hiding your imperfections. There are many other features out there but all primers have the same basic benefits.

Another thing about primers to consider is that a specific product won’t provide the same appearance when used on different skin types. That’s why it’s extremely important to know your own skin type before you start choosing a primer to use. For instance, if you have normal skin, you have a lot of primer options to choose from.

If you have dry skin, go for a primer which will also provide moisturizing benefits to your skin. Something that’s creamy and light and will give your skin the right amount of hydration. For combination skin, choosing an appropriate primer can be quite challenging. In fact, you may have to use 2 different primers to use on the different areas of your skin.

People with mature skin will benefit a lot from using primers. This is because primers can effectively conceal and blur wrinkles. Still, you need to find a product which will go on light, moisturize your skin, and one which doesn’t have a shimmering effect. It’s also beneficial to select a product which has anti-aging and sunscreen benefits.

There are also people with sensitive skin. Primers are also very beneficial for this type of skin too. This is because the primer will help give your skin an additional layer of protection. Of course, you also need to be very careful because there are many products which may cause irritations on your skin.

And of course, there is oily skin. When you have this type of skin, choose a product which will give you a matte finish. This will help prevent your skin from having a shiny or greasy appearance. There are different skin types out there and there’s a product for each and every one. The task is to identify your skin type so you can choose the best product for you.

When you have oily skin, it’s very difficult to let your makeup stay on your skin especially as the weather changes. Fortunately, there are products such as primers which will help make the task easier. Primers are convenient products which you can use on their own, under your makeup or over it.

When you apply the primer to your face, this will help make your face smoother. A primer helps create the perfect canvas for makeup application. Then after you’ve applied your makeup on top of it, you’re left with a natural finish sans the shine.

The primer also allows the makeup to last a lot longer and it will also prevent any makeup from entering your pores. So if you have oily skin (or any other skin type), you should consider using a primer if you want to enjoy all of these benefits.

How to Properly Use Primer for Oily Skin?

Primer for oily skin will be the answer to your prayers. That is if you use it properly. There’s no point in purchasing a primer for oily skin only to realize that you don’t know how to use it properly. First of all, it’s always important to wash your face first before you use the primer. This will help prevent any makeup to clog your pores.

Next, make use of a brush applicator to spread the primer on your face evenly. Apply some small dots using the primer all over the face. Then blend the primer evenly using the brush applicator. You only need to use a pea-sized amount of primer each time. Do this so you won’t run out of the product quickly.

One tip so your makeup will last longer is to use a translucent loose powder. After the primer, use a damp sponge to apply a coat of the powder lightly. This will help absorb excess oils before you apply your foundation. A setting spray can be very helpful too. Just make sure to use the oil-control variety as this is more suitable for oily skin.

Can You Color-Correct Your Skin Using a Primer for Oily Skin?

There are different primers available on the market now. And they all have different features to boast. In fact, there’s one primer for every type of skin issue. For instance, if you have enlarged pores, there’s a primer for you out there.

There are also primers available with color-correct features. And the great news is that they are also meant for oily skin. A green primer can make red hues more subtle. On the other hand, a yellow primer would work well for under-eye circles as well as to make dark patches lighter.

Important Factors To Keep In Mind

Your Own Skin Type

Anyone with oily skin has experienced this situation – as soon as you apply the foundation, it doesn’t stay on your face as long as you want it to. Then the makeup makes your pores look bigger and your face looks like a pan with a lot of grease. Honestly, who wants that?

This is why you need a primer. But before you make a choice, you need to consider a number of important factors. The first thing to consider is your own skin type. If you have oily skin, a good primer will serve you well. It will help cover those enlarged pores while controlling the oiliness of your skin.

Without a primer, your skin might end up looking and feeling greasy even if you use a matte foundation. The primer will help ensure that the foundation you apply will set properly and stay in place throughout the day. Then you won’t have to worry about your makeup sliding off your face after you’ve applied it.

For the sake of arguments, let’s also discuss the kind of primer to use if you have other skin types. When you have dry skin, the foundation makes you look patchy and this is where the primer comes in. Choose a product which also has hydrating properties. One with a creamy texture to make your skin dewy for your makeup application.

Those with combination skin have issues too. Combination skin means that the face is dry except for the T-zone which is oily. So you’re actually dealing with the dry and oily skin at the same time. Therefore, finding the right primer can be quite difficult. Choose one which won’t mattify or overly hydrate your skin. The main purpose of your primer is for you to be able to let your makeup glide on smoothly.

But if you have sensitive skin, you also have to be careful when choosing a primer. Ideally, you should select a correcting primer which won’t be too harsh for your sensitive skin. Choose a product which will not only prime your skin but also keep your foundation in place for a long time.

Environment And Skin Issues for the Primer for Oily Skin

After identifying your own skin type, the next things to consider are your own environment as well as any skin issues that you have. When it comes to makeup, the environment and the weather in your place can have a significant effect on how your makeup will look and how long it will last on your face.

If you live in a place where it’s always sunny and hot, it’s best to select a primer which will provide you with adequate SPF protection. If you live in a place that’s always humid or somewhere where it constantly rains, choose a primer that’s both water and sweat-proof.

Also, when you’re looking at primers for oily skin, it’s important for you to find out all your skin issues. Then you will be able to choose a product which can solve those issues. For instance, if you frequently experience acne breakouts, try to select a primer which contains salicylic acid and other similar ingredients that can help prevent acne.

Silicone Content of the Primer for Oily Skin

The silicone derivative content is another important factor to look out for when choosing a primer for oily skin. Silicone is typically added to primers to provide lubrication and make the product feel smooth and soft. Also, silicone can act as a filler in order to fill-in your skin’s pores as well as the uneven texture. This component also provides a blurring effect to make the skin smoother.

If you want to identify any of the silicone derivatives, check the list of ingredients. The derivatives usually have names which end in -cone. Unfortunately, such primers aren’t suitable for those with oily skin. In fact, it’s better to choose a product which is more flowy and viscous as compared to primers that contain silicone which have a more creamy texture.

Therefore, if you have oily skin, it’s better to select a primer which contains water and other humectant components such as glycerin. Humectants are important because they have the ability to drat the moisture from the environment to your skin to provide it with ample hydration. Usually, those who have oily skin lack sufficient hydration.

One more thing, when choosing a primer, stay away from those which contain alcohol. Although this component may provide a cooling effect as well as a dry-touch feel. Therefore, choosing a primer which contains alcohol might end up drying out your skin or increasing your skin’s sensitivity. Of course, since you already have oily skin, it’s also best to stay away from primers which contain oils.

Longevity of the Primer for Oily Skin

Ideally, a good primer for oily skin should last for at least 8 hours. If you want to choose a product which will really last long, you may have to try different ones. The good news is that you already know that you have oily skin so you can select a primer which will help your makeup stay on your face for a longer time.

Consistency of the Primer for Oily Skin

Your main purpose for using a primer is to create a smooth and even canvas for your makeup application. Therefore, the primer can also serve as a barrier and protect your makeup from excess oils which will cause it to wear away or slip away during the day.

Therefore, the consistency of the primer is also important. The formula shouldn’t contain any artificial ingredients or dyes which will aggravate the oil glands of your skin. Choose a primer that’s both oil-free and non-comedogenic for best results. Such products will help make your skin look healthy and fresh. Also, select a primer with a smooth consistency and not one which is too thick.

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  • Becca ever matte poreless priming perfector
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  • Controls excess oil and reduces shine
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  • Benefit Cosmetics POREfessional Pro Balm Face Primer
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    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Pro Balmto Minimize the Appearance of Pores
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  • e.l.f cosmetics Studio Mineral Infused Face Primer
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  • Fills in fine line and creates a flawless finish
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  • Hourglass Cosmetics Veil Mineral Primer
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  • Free of oils, fragrances and parabens

Conclusion

As you can see, even if you have oily skin, your situation isn’t hopeless. If you want to apply your makeup and make it last longer, then you can use a primer that’s specially designed for oily skin. These products are very convenient and there’s a lot for you to choose from.

Before you select a product to use, make sure that you know what you’re getting. We’ve discussed some important factors you should consider if you want to make a wise choice. Then you can choose from the different products we’ve reviewed at the beginning of the article. No matter which one you choose from our list, you’re guaranteed an excellent product.

 

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Genital warts are an infection caused by the human papillomavirus and get transmitted sexually. Over time, genital warts can disappear but they tend to heal faster when an infected person seeks treatment for them. Genital warts look like bumps around the person’s genitals. They’re flesh in color and feel soft when touched.

The human papillomavirus or HPV is a common sexually transmitted infection. As a matter of fact, it’s the most common STI. When a person gets infected, he can’t ever get rid of the virus. But not everyone who has HPV will also have genital warts. As one of the symptoms, warts may come and go. Although there is no cure available for genital warts, one can manage them through different kinds of treatments such as applying creams.

As aforementioned, genital warts can go away even without treatment. Usually, it would take a couple of years before warts disappear. Without treatment, there’s a higher likelihood of genital warts returning more quickly. Therefore, if a person wants to get rid of them and prevent them from coming back right away, he should seek treatment for the condition.

What Are Genital Warts

Genital warts are actually a symptom of those who are infected with HPV. Genital warts are medically known as condyloma acuminata. These are soft and moist bumps which are generally flesh or pinkish in color. Genital warts can be flat, raised, or cauliflower-shaped if they happen to grow in groups or clusters. These warts, which can also be known as anogenital warts may appear throughout a person’s anal and genital areas.

In women, genital warts can either grow outside or inside of their anus or vagina. These warts can also appear on the around these areas or in their cervix. In men, genital warts can also appear outside or inside of their anus, as well as on their scrotum or penis. In both genders, genital warts may even develop in the throat and mouth or on the lips and tongue.

Condyloma acuminata is extremely contagious. Genital warts are normally passed on through sexual contact but it may also get transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. This means that even if a person has sexual intercourse with a partner who has genital warts without penetration, there’s still a risk of transmission. Although condoms can be very helpful, they don’t cover all areas and, therefore, there’s still a risk of getting infected.

Causes and Risk Factors of Genital Warts

Simply put, genital carts are caused by the human papillomavirus or HPV which, as we’ve said, is a common sexually transmitted infection. This may come as a surprise to many people but HPV isn’t just one virus. Rather, it’s a group of over 150 viruses which are related. Around 40% of all the types of HPV can potentially cause genital warts. But the majority of genital warts cases are caused by HPV 6 and HPV 11. The other types of HPV can cause warts of the other body parts.

A person can acquire genital warts if he has sex with someone infected with HPV. The person may have contracted the infection even if he doesn’t have visible warts or other noticeable symptoms. Generally, genital warts found within the anus occur in people who have receptive anal sex. But genital warts in this area can also occur in people who haven’t had any history of anal sexual contact.

We’ve already mentioned how most cases of genital warts are caused by HPV 6 and 11, which are two types of HPV. These two types of HPV are also considered as “low risk” types because they have a low potential for causing cancer. On the other hand, there are other types of HPV which can cause premalignant changes as well as cervical cancers in women. HPV types which are considered as “high risk” are HPV 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59, and 68. These “high risk” HPV types are also known as oncogenic types of HPV. There’s some helpful information for you, but let’s go back to genital warts.

Common warts differ from genital warts and they’re caused by different types of HPV which can also infect the skin. When it comes to genital warts, there are vital particles which can penetrate the mucosal surfaces as well as the skin in one’s genital area through any microscopic abrasions. This penetration of particles happens while when people engage in sexual activity. When the cells in the body get invaded by HPV, there’s a quiet period that occurs known as the latency period which may last for months or years. During this time, the person won’t manifest any symptoms and there’s no evidence that there’s an infection.

Generally, around two-thirds of those who have sexual intercourse with someone who has genital warts will develop them too in three months or less. Sometimes, genital warts are associated indirectly with birth control use. This is because there is an increase in sexual contact without the use of protection, several sex partners, and even having sex at a very early age.

According to the CDC, there are around 360,000 cases of genital warts each year in the US. The prevalence of the condition among males aged 15 -39 years in the US has significantly increased between the years 2003 to 2009 but maintained stability in 2010 based on a report published in 2013. On the other hand, the prevalence of the condition among females of different ages has seen a variety of decreases and increases through the years. Overall though, the number of cases has decreased in females aged 15-24 years and this is most likely because of the HPV vaccine. A person has an increased risk of developing or spreading genital warts if:

  • pregnant
  • is feeling very stressed and has another type of viral infection
  • has a weakened immune system because of certain medications or different kinds of health conditions
  • drinks alcohol or uses tobacco
  • is sexually active at an early age
  • has unprotected sex with several partners
  • has another type of sexually transmitted disease or infection

Over a number of years, sometimes even decades, an HPV infection which is persistent can end up causing cancer in a person. In fact, HPV is responsible for almost all the cases of cervical cancer. Also, this viral infection is linked to:

  • more than 90% of anal cancers
  • more than 70% of vaginal cancers
  • more than 70% of cancers in the back of the throat including the tonsils and the tongue’s base
  • more than 65% of vulvar cancers
  • more than 63% of penile cancers

The CDC notes the links of HPV in these cancer cases. But these estimates don’t essentially mean that HPV is actually the cause of these cancers. For instance, some types of cancers also have links to alcohol and tobacco use. It’s also important to note that the HPV types which cause genital warts vary from the HPV types which cause cancer. Still, if one has genital warts, it’s still recommended that he gets screened for these types of cancer. This is because the person may also have the HPV type that causes cancer aside from HPV 6 or 11 which cause genital warts.

Common Symptoms of Genital Warts

Genital warts don’t cause pain but they can be quite bothersome because of their size, location, and the fact that they can cause itchiness. The size of genital warts varies and they may also join together or form clumps. Usually, people who have genital warts will complain about the itching, discharge, and the appearance of painless bumps. In rare cases, a urinary obstruction or bleeding can be the primary problem and this occurs when the wart emerges on the opening of the urethra.

Warts which appear in more than one part of the body are common. This usually happens in people who have a previous history or a concurrent sexually transmitted disease. Although there are common symptoms, there are also symptoms which occur specifically in men and in women. These include:

Symptoms in Men

  • Genital warts can appear on the penis, urethra, rectal area, and scrotum.
  • On a man’s penile shaft, genital warts can appear as soft and raised masses with a smooth surface.
  • On a man’s anus, genital warts can appear rough with several fingerlike projections.
  • Sometimes, genital warts can appear cauliflower-like, rough or pearly with a surface that’s slightly dark.
  • Most of the lesions would be raised but some of them would be flat or only slightly elevated.
  • In some cases, the lesions may be concealed by hair or within the inner part of the foreskin in uncircumcised men.

Symptoms in Women

  • Genital warts would have a similar appearance but would typically occur in moist areas such as the vaginal opening or the labia minora.
  • The lesions would be visible on the outer parts of the genitals but they can also occur in the cervix, the anorectal area, and the vaginal canal.
  • Most of the time, vaginal warts occur without manifesting any symptoms.
  • In rare cases, women may experience bleeding, vaginal discharge or itching after having sexual intercourse.

Diagnosing Genital Warts

Usually, doctors would base their diagnosis on their findings from the appearance of warts and the patient’s history. There are also other ways doctors can diagnose the condition. These include:

  • In some patients, the lesions can only be seen through an enhancing technique known as acetowhitening. This technique would involve the doctor applying a 5% acetic acid solution to the suspected area for up to 10 minutes. Areas which are affected would then turn white.
  • A colposcopy or a magnification of the affected area. With this technique, the doctor uses a scope in order to see all the lesions. In women, this technique may be used so the doctor can find lesions on their cervix or in their vaginal canal.
  • Doctors may also perform a Pap smear on women to search for any evidence on an HPV infection or for any abnormal cells on their cervix.
  • Another method would be to perform a biopsy if the lesion has an unusual appearance or it recurs after the treatment.
  • There are also some special lab tests which can be used to confirm an HPV infection in a person.

Treatment Options for Genital Warts

The appearance of genital warts may occur within weeks, months, or even years after a person gets infected with HPV. If one experiences an outbreak, he will notice genital warts anywhere in the areas surrounding his genitals. For some people though, the outbreak can even appear on the person’s tongue, mouth, lips or throat. We’ve already stated that treatment for the condition can help hasten the disappearance of genital warts. Aside from this, the treatment can also:

  • ease the itching, irritation, and pain that typically comes with genital warts
  • lower the risk of the person spreading HPV to others

When it comes to genital warts, there is a number of treatment options available. For those who have the condition, it’s important to be aware of these options so that they can determine which one they’d like to try. The treatment options include:

Cryotherapy

This treatment option involves the doctor making use of liquid nitrogen in order to freeze off genital warts. The nitrogen would actually cause blisters to form around warts and when they heal, warts will fall off too. This method is effective and quick though some people may need several treatments over time in order to maintain the results. Some side effects of this treatment include a swelling of the affected area, a mild burning sensation or pain.

Electrodesiccation

For this treatment option, a surgeon would use an electrical current to burn off genital warts. After the tissues dry up, they would be scraped off to leave the patient free of warts. Before the procedure, the patient would receive a general anesthetic. The healing time for this type of treatment may take a couple of weeks. This is considered a very effective treatment option. Its side effects may include scarring, changes in skin color, bleeding or infection.

Laser Surgery

Finally, one may also opt for laser surgery. A surgeon would perform this procedure by using a laser light. This would burn away the tissues of genital warts so the patient would also receive either a general or local anesthesia. The type of anesthesia would depend on the size and the number of the patient’s warts. Typically, a doctor would recommend this treatment option if the warts are extensive, prominent, not easily accessible or are difficult to treat using the other treatment options. After the laser surgery, the patient may need up to 4 weeks for recovery. The side effects of this treatment include scarring, irritation or soreness in the affected areas, bleeding or pain.

Topical Creams

Doctors may prescribe a type of topical cream or recommend one which the patient can purchase over-the-counter. Keep in mind though that the OTC remedies for ordinary warts won’t be able to treat genital warts. Some topical creams one can use to treat genital warts are:

Sinecatechins. This is a topical cream that’s made from green tea extract. It’s usually prescribed for the treatment of anal and external genital warts. The person would have to apply the cream to the affected area three times each day for up to 4 months. This is a highly effective cream and most patients are able to tolerate it well. The side effects of this cream include redness, itching, discomfort or pain in the affected area or a burning sensation.

Imiquimod. This is another topical cream which helps eliminate external genital warts. Some people also use it for the treatment of some types of skin cancers. The person would have to apply the cream directly on warts at least 3 times each week for up to 4 months. This cream can also give a boost to the immune system of the person which, in turn, encourages it to fight the infection. However, studies show that this cream is only effective 50% of the time. Also, it seems to work better for women than for men. Some side effects of this cream include tenderness, itching, scabby or flaky skin, swelling or redness in the affected area or a burning sensation.

Although genital warts may fade away without treatment, HPV remains to be infectious. Therefore, it’s essential for infected men to wear condoms when having sexual intercourse. Aside from eliminating genital warts, treatment may also reduce the risk of outbreaks in the future. There may also be times when the person would need multiple treatment session for them to be effective.

Is There a Vaccine for Genital Warts?

In the year 2006, a vaccine for HPV came out named Gardasil and it was approved by the FDA. Until now, it’s recommended for people between the ages of 9-26 years old. The vaccine is highly effective and safe in preventing the infection of the most common types of HPV namely HPV 6, HPV 11, HPV 16, and HPV 18. It’s especially effective for women who haven’t had any previous exposure to HPV. Unfortunately, it’s not as effective for those who have already been infected with the virus and it won’t protect people against all the HPV types.

There’s another vaccine called Cervarix which is effective against HPV 16 and HPV 18. It was also approved by the FDA and it’s very effective for women between the ages of 10-25 years old. However, this vaccine was withdrawn from the market in the US back in 2016. There is no treatment out there that’s completely effective. That’s why it’s more important to prevent the transmission of the virus which causes this condition as much as possible. For instance, the transmission of the virus can be lessened if men use condoms whether they are infected or they have sex with someone who has genital warts. Better yet, an infected person should abstain from any sexual activity until he has completed the whole course of treatment.

Natural Treatments for Genital Warts

Generally, genital warts don’t manifest any other symptoms aside from when they appear on the specific body parts. When it comes to this condition, there’s very little need for home remedies. However, people infected with the condition must recognize that they have it. Then they will be able to take any necessary precautions in order to prevent trauma to the affected area which, if not prevented, can lead to bleeding. Also, when a person knows that he is infected, he can be careful so as to prevent transmission to others through sexual intercourse. If a person has genital warts, he should avoid touching them all the time because warts themselves are highly infectious. It’s important never to squeeze or pick at warts.

Genital warts are very common. In fact, records have shown that there are almost a million new cases of the condition diagnosed every year in the US alone. And who knows how many people aren’t even aware that they have genital warts? If one has genital warts, he must consult with his doctor right away. This is the best way to get treatment and to lower the risk of spreading the disease too. This may come as good news to many as there is a number of natural treatments one can use at home to treat genital warts. These include:

Tea Tree Oil

This type of oil comes with a lot of health benefits. It’s a type of essential oil which has been studied for use because of its antifungal properties. Tea tree oil is very useful against fungus and other types of organisms like head lice. Also, this oil can be beneficial in the treatment of genital warts. Just apply a drop of diluted tea tree oil right on the wart or warts.

Since some people are allergic to this oil, one should test it first by applying a small amount on his arm first then observe if there are any reactions. If the person doesn’t get any reaction for at least a whole day, then it should be safe. Tea tree oil may cause irritation, inflammation or burning. But this is also why it can reduce the size of warts. However, the person shouldn’t consume tea tree oil internally through the mouth or even through one’s vagina. Also, the infected person may have to apply the oil several times for a number of weeks. But if it becomes too irritating, it’s time to stop using the oil.

Green Tea

This type of tea has been found to be effective in the treatment of genital warts. Remember the topical cream named Sinecatechins? Well, its main component is green tea that’s been concentrated and included in the cream. A doctor can prescribe this cream to the patient if he sees the need for it. Also, people can purchase green tea extract, add coconut oil to it, then apply it directly to warts.

Garlic

Some evidence suggests that applying garlic extract on warts can help make them disappear. One can either apply the extract on warts directly or soak a couple of gauze pads in a mixture of oil and garlic. Then the person can let the gauze pads sit on genital warts.

Apple Cider Vinegar

One may also use this healthy vinegar to treat genital warts. Think about it as something like the prescription medications which utilize acidic components to eliminate the virus. Simply soak a cotton ball, gauze or a q-tip in the apple cider vinegar then apply it directly on warts.

Aside from applying natural remedies topically, one can also consume foods or make changes in their lifestyle which can help improve the treatment of genital warts. These include:

Consuming Vegetables

Vegetables are generally good for people in various ways. If one has genital warts, it would be beneficial to eat a lot of veggies like kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. These vegetables would be beneficial to those with genital warts because they contain indole-3-carbinol or I3C which can help clear up the condition. For people who suffer from genital warts, it’s recommended that they consume at least 4 servings of these vegetables daily.

Take Vitamin b12 and Folate

There is a link between vitamin B12 and folate deficiency and the increased risk of getting infected with HPV. Therefore, taking vitamin B12 or folate supplements may help the body fight off an infection of HPV or even clear up genital warts.

Dietary and Lifestyle Support

When a person has genital warts, it puts a lot of strain in his body. Therefore, it will be very difficult for the body to defend itself against any other health problems one might contract while he has genital warts. If the person wants to heal at a faster rate, one should eliminate any immune stressors such as unhealthy or processed foods or bad habits like smoking. To stay healthy against genital warts, try eating foods such as whole grains, lean meats, beans, almonds, and other dark leafy greens like kale and spinach. These types of foods can give the immune system a boost and also reduce the risk of HPV recurrence. On the other hand, a person should avoid foods such as red meat, caffeine, refined foods, potential food allergens, and processed foods which contain trans fats.

Keep in mind that even if one gets rid of the external genital warts, that doesn’t mean that he’s no longer infected. In some rare cases, HPV can be the cause of genital warts and other diseases such as cervical cancer. There’s even a possibility that the person is infected with more than one type of HPV. That’s why it’s still important for people to consult with a doctor if he has genital warts along with these natural treatments. HPV doesn’t just cause genital warts but it can also remain dormant in a person’s body for a long period of time. This means that even if a person treats warts, they can come back.

How Does One Prevent Getting Genital Warts?

A person can get infected with genital warts when he has sexual contact with someone who already has it. The best ways to prevent getting genital warts or at least lower the risk of getting it are by using condoms and getting the HPV vaccine.

The first thing a person must do is to have a conversation with his doctor about getting the vaccine for HPV. Most brands of the vaccine would protect one against the HPV types which usually cause genital warts. Getting this vaccine is one of the best ways to avoid any issues related to HPV such as genital warts.

Genital warts can get transmitted through sexual skin-to-skin contact with a person who has it. This includes anal, oral, and vaginal sex. This means that the only sure-fire way one can avoid getting the condition and other types of STDs is to abstain from having any sexual contact with a person’s genital or mouth if that person is infected. But this is easier said than done. Most people would still choose to have sexual intercourse even if they know that there’s a risk. In such cases, then people should practice safe sex. One can use different forms of protection such as dental dams or condoms when having sex with an infected person. This can help lower the risk of getting the virus or any other type of STD.

Also, one can avoid having sex with another person if that person has any warts on the anus or on the genitals. This is important because these are the areas where the virus spreads easily. Still, the disease can get transmitted even if the person doesn’t have any visible warts so it’s still more prudent to abstain or, at least, use the right protection. Also, it would be wise to have oneself tested after having sex with an infected person.

Talking to One’s Partner About Genital Warts

Talking about one’s own disease can be very challenging. This is especially true when the person has an STD or an HPV infection. However, genital warts are actually common and they don’t generally lead to serious health issues. Therefore, people shouldn’t feel too stressed or embarrassed about being infected. When it comes to talking to one’s partner about genital warts or any kind of STD for that matter, here are some tips which may prove helpful:

  • Just stay calm and explain the situation. A lot of people have this condition and most of them are in happy relationships. In fact, having genital warts isn’t a big issue for a lot of couples. When having the conversation, start it off with a calm and positive attitude. Think of the condition as a health issue which doesn’t change who one is as a person.
  • Don’t just make it a one-way conversation. Keep in mind that this is a common condition. Who knows, maybe the person’s partner has it too. So it would be helpful to start the conversation off by asking if one’s partner has already been tested or if he has ever had an STD in the past.
  • Know all the facts. Sadly, there’s a lot of misinformation about genital warts and STDs. If one wants to strike up a conversation with his partner, it’s best to learn all about the condition before doing so. Not only will the person be able to set the record straight, he will also be able to answer any questions his partner may have about the condition, the safety, the risks, and more.
  • Talk about it at the right time. There’s nothing worse than starting a conversation with the wrong timing. Choose a time when there’s no chance of getting interrupted or distracted. Also, find a private place to talk where both people feel relaxed. If one is feeling nervous, he can talk about his condition with one of his friends first or even practice talking about genital warts to himself. This may sound silly but it’s actually effective. When the person says the words out loud, it can help him know exactly what he wants to say to his partner. Then, he will feel more confident when it’s actually time to start the conversation.
  • Put safety first. If a person as fears about his/her partner hurting him/her because of the condition, having the conversation with the person might not be considered safe. In such cases, it would be better for the person to call, text or email the partner. In more extreme cases, then maybe it’s best not to tell them at all.

So when is the “right time” to tell one’s partner about genital warts? Well, one doesn’t have to tell his partner about it the first time they go on a date or hang out. But one should inform his partner before they have sex. So if the person feels like they’re going down that path and he feels like he can trust his partner, then that would be a perfect time.

It’s normal to feel worried about how one’s partner will react to the news. Unfortunately, there’s no way a person can escape the issue. If the person’s partner freaks out or has a violent reaction, the person should remain calm and talk about his condition to his partner fully. In some cases, a person may have to give his partner some space and a little time to process all the information. Again, this is normal. The person should just be calm about it and reassure his partner that genital warts are common and non-life-threatening.

Finally, it’s never a good idea to play the blame game when talking to one’s partner. If a person is in a relationship and he contracts genital warts for the first time while in the relationship, this doesn’t necessarily point to infidelity. Also, it doesn’t mean that the person got genital warts from his partner. Keep in mind that genital warts can infect a person then stay there for long periods of time without manifesting any symptoms. If, while in a relationship, one gets genital warts, then the best thing to do is talk about it and get checked.

Preventing the Spread of Genital Warts

If a person discovers that he has genital warts, that doesn’t mean the end of the world. It just means that one just needs to be more careful so that he doesn’t spread it to other people. Here are some ways to do so:

  • A person can encourage his partner about the HPV vaccine. Most of the brands out there can protect one against some HPV types which cause genital warts.
  • Always use protection when having anal, vaginal, and oral sex.
  • Never have sexual activity when one has visible warts, even with protection. This is because the dental dams or condoms might not be able to cover all the parts which have genital warts.
  • Be honest with one’s sexual partners. If a person knows that he has the condition, he should inform his partner first before engaging in sexual intercourse.

The post The Complete Guide to Genital Warts appeared first on Positive Health Wellness.

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More studies are being conducted on the role that nutrition plays in relation to mental health. The correlation between nutrition on physical health has been long-established. One of the first means of tackling physical illnesses is to adjust a patient’s diet. Research is finding that these same dietary recommendations that are made for common physical diseases can also be beneficial and relevant for mental disorders.

Although mental illness is a complex, multifaceted problem, improving diet can have an impactful effect and used in conjunction with additional treatment to improve a patient’s quality of life. With problems such as depression, the symptoms can eventually become worse and anything that can be done to improve symptoms would be welcome. It has been found that dietary counseling can be a welcome addition to traditional treatment for those that are suffering from depressive symptoms.

The interesting part of psychiatric nutritional studies is that the same foods that have always been touted for physical health are the same ones that seem to have the most positive effect on mental health. A diet which includes colorful vegetables, fruit, legumes, whole grains, raw nuts, fish, lean meats, and the sparing use of healthy fats such as olive oil are found to overall be the healthiest. On the other hand, processed foods, refined carbohydrate, and unhealthy fats were equally found to have a negative impact on the brain and body. Additionally, it would seem that gut health, promoted by the ingestion of fermented foods, which is not only gaining popularity for physical health benefits can also be beneficial to mental health.

Studies increasingly show us the ways in which diet influences symptoms of depression. Nutrition is a straightforward variable to control, so it can be understood that improving this part of health may be a very impactful way to address overall health.

Eventually, the therapeutic aspect of improving nutrition will likely become a significant part of mental health treatment. Many professionals are beginning to advocate for a holistic approach that recognizes the significant aspect of diet and nutrition as a central theme for physical and mental health.

How Foods Can Affect How You Feel

Food affects all parts of our bodies, so it should be no surprise that it has an impact on our brain function and emotional well-being. If we think about nutrients and food as the fuel that keeps us going, we can imagine the impact the type of foods we choose to eat might have on our system.

We have a greater understanding of some of the ways in which certain chemicals found in food react to our bodies. For example, if you have ever had a cup of coffee to stay awake during the day you already know that what you ingest can have a cause an effect. The same can be said of the quality of our diet and what we choose to eat.

It has been shown time and again that the best diets for us as humans tend to include natural foods high in nutrients. This has been long-known to be true when addressing physical health, but it is now shown to be true of mental and emotional health. It is becoming more widely accepted that what you eat can impact the functions of the brain, and ultimately influence your moods as well.

This is an important notion for people who may be suffering from depressive symptoms. Rather than only going the traditional route of psychotherapy for emotional issues, choosing a healthier diet may help with symptoms. In a similar manner that exercise and movement are suggested to boost the feel-good chemicals, nutrition is another way in which these bodily processes can be adjusted for the better.

You may be wondering how this is possible that what you eat would have an impact on your mood. Well, one way this might occur is related to the neurotransmitter called serotonin. Also known as the ‘happy chemical’ this is the substance in the body that helps regulate appetite, sleep, moods, and inhibit pain. It turns out 95% of the serotonin produced in the body is formed in the gastrointestinal tract. It is directly related to your digestive system. When your gut health is good, your body can function in a normal manner. If the environment of your gastrointestinal tract is imbalanced through poor nutrition, it can cause inflammation and alter normal function. To simplify, it is possible that poor nutrition may have an impact on your body’s ability to produce chemicals such as serotonin and would then affect your emotional health.

Knowing what we know about chemical imbalance and how it can affect mood, it is understandable that nutrients can impact our mental health as well.

What Studies Are Beginning to Show

Researchers are becoming increasingly interested in learning more about how food and nutrition affect our behavior. In the field of nutritional psychiatry, they are finding that what you eat can have an impact on how you feel and your emotions.

One of the most important findings has to do with the inflammation and oxidative stress caused by diets that are higher in refined sugars. This seems to worsen depressive symptoms and mood disorders in those participating in the studies. This is very much in line with the studies also done on high sugar diets in relation to physical health as well.

Dietitians are further encouraged to recommend a healthy diet for the prevention and lessening of depressive symptoms in chronic cases. Traditional diets such as a Mediterranean diet in which the emphasis is on fruits and vegetables are thought to be the best for overall health.

The scientific literature is still incomplete, but growing evidence shows that there might be good reason to tackle nutrition and diet when creating a strategy to handle the challenges of mental health issues.

What You Should Be Eating

Luckily, the same foods that are meant to be good for our physical health are the same ones that have been shown to improve mood. The key theme is to pack your diet with high quality, high nutrient foods that are natural. The more of this you have in your diet, the better your body will be able to perform its normal functions. Here are some of the foods that are suggested as well as some of the ones that are found to be best to avoid:

What to Eat:

Colorful fruit and vegetables. The bright vegetables and fruit are the ones with the most nutrients. Their color often indicates the type of chemical compounds found in them and so a good rule of thumb is to eat the rainbow, having some of each color will give you a good variety of nutrients.

Whole grains. Fiber is an important part of gut health, those grains that are the least processed will be the best choices.

Lean meats or vegetarian protein. Protein is an important building block for the body, avoid those types of meats high in saturated fats.

Fish. Studies have shown that communities that have a higher rate of consumption of fish also showed lower levels of depression. The omega-3 fatty acids are known to optimize brain function.

Vitamin B foods. Lower levels of vitamin B intake has been linked to an increased risk for depressive symptoms.  Ensuring you eat foods rich in vitamin B1, B2, B12, and folate may help. This includes seafood, beef, chicken, pork, eggs, and milk.

Fermented foods. Foods such as sauerkraut, pickled vegetables, kimchi, and kombucha are known to promote gut health, and balance of chemicals in the brain and body depend on a healthy digestive system.

What to Avoid:

Processed foods. Manufactured foods often have fewer nutrients and fiber than those that occur naturally. The research has indicated that diets rich in processed foods are linked to a higher risk of depression.

Foods high in sugar. This is one the most important findings of the research that has been done on dietary intake and mood. Decreasing your consumption of sugar, as well as artificial sweeteners, can be beneficial to brain function and mental state.

You can see that this list of suggested foods and foods to avoid are very much in line with current healthy diet standards for physical health.  Just as our heart and liver are organs, so is our brain and it makes sense that it requires the same level of nourishment and care that other parts of our body do. If we want to remain healthy, we need to fuel it with the right mix of nutrients for optimal performance.

What Do These Dietary Suggestions Mean for You?

A holistic approach to mental health that includes attention to dietary habits can be beneficial for those suffering from depressive symptoms and other challenges. In your own life, you may want to pay more attention to what you are eating and notice how you feel after changes are made to your diet. One suggestion is to see if your moods are greatly impacted by diet by trying a ‘clean’ diet (where you cut out processed and sugary foods) for a few weeks and note down any changes you feel in a diary over that time. Then you can begin introducing other foods gradually to note down if it affects your mood.

Overall, there is very little downside to adjusting your diet, especially given the fact that diet and nutrition are increasingly seen to play a major role in both mental and physical health.

About the Author

“Dr. Stacey” is a highly-experienced psychologist with a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology. She’s currently an editor for E-counseling.com – a mental health resource with self-help guides on stress, anxiety, depression, and many other areas.

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Basal cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer that affects the basal cells. These are the cells that line the epidermis. Their role is to replenish the skin with new cells as the old ones get removed. When you have this type of cancer, you notice tumors on the surface of your skin. The tumors can take the appearance of a sore, scar, red patch or bump.

Unlike most cancers, basal cell carcinoma doesn’t metastasize or spread to other parts of the body. However, there are some cases where the victims have been disfigured. In rare cases when basal cell carcinoma spreads to other parts of the body, it can be fatal.

Given that more than 4 million people are diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma each year in the US alone, this is one of the most common types of skin cancers known.

Basal Cell Carcinoma Symptoms

Basal cell carcinoma generally forms on the parts of your body that are exposed to the sun frequently. This means that it can happen on your arms, scalp, neck, shoulders, ears or the face. There are some rare instances where it can also develop on parts of the body that are not usually exposed to the sun.

Other than the fact that you might notice changes in the appearance of your skin, basal cell carcinoma is painless. Take note that there are different types of basal cell carcinoma, and each of these has unique characteristics as shown below:

Superficial Basal Cell Carcinoma. You will notice a red patch on your skin. The patch is scaly and flat. Over time, the patch becomes raised as it grows, especially on the chest or your back.

Pigmented Basal Cell Carcinoma. This forms like a black, blue or brown lesion on the skin, with a raised translucent border.

Non-Ulcerative Basal Cell Carcinoma. This tumor forms a bump on your skin. It is either pink or white. You can see the blood vessels underneath the tumor as it is translucent. It forms mostly on the face, ears, and the neck, and is very common. It has the tendency to bleed, rapture or scab.

Basosquamous Basal Cell Carcinoma. This form of basal cell carcinoma resembles squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma. It is a rare type of cancer but has a high likelihood of metastasizing.

Morpheaform Basal Cell Carcinoma. This is a rare form of basal cell carcinoma. The lesion looks like a scar, without a defined border. It has a white, waxy appearance. It is an invasive form of cancer and can result in disfiguration.

Basal Cell Carcinoma Causes

Basal cell carcinoma, like most skin cancers, are formed by prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays or the sun. They can also be caused by periodic intense exposure to the sun, which results in sunburn.

There are other rare factors that might cause basal cell carcinoma, including the following:

  • Radiation exposure
  • Arsenic exposure
  • Chronic inflammatory skin conditions
  • Complications from tattoos, burns, scars, vaccinations, and infections

Once you have basal cell carcinoma, there is always a high likelihood that it might recur later on in life.

Risk Factors

There are a number of factors that put you at risk of developing basal cell carcinoma, including the following:

  • Predominant light skin
  • Genetic history of basal cell carcinoma
  • Skin that burns or freckles easily
  • Inheriting disorders that increase your risk of skin cancer, like disorders of the endocrine glands, nervous system, and the skin
  • People with light colored eyes, fair skin, blonde or red hair
  • Radiation therapy
  • Severe sunburn in your childhood
  • Chronic exposure to the sun
  • Living in a sunny area or in a high latitude area
  • Using immunosuppressant drugs after surgery

Diagnosing Basal Cell Carcinoma

You need to see a dermatologist so they can confirm whether the growth on your skin is basal cell carcinoma or not. They will look for discoloration on the skin. Your dermatologist will want to know whether you have a history of skin cancer in the family, and will also check your medical history.

The dermatologist will be looking for concerning growths or discoloration. A biopsy of your skin will be done. This is done by injecting a numbing agent into your skin so they can take a sample for testing. If you have skin cancer, the dermatologist will tell you after this.

In case you have basal cell carcinoma, your dermatologist will remove the growth. If your basal cell carcinoma is aggressive, they will need a biopsy of the lymph nodes, so they can check for metastasis.

Basal Cell Carcinoma Treatment

Effective treatment for basal cell carcinoma means removing the tumor. Some of the factors your doctor takes into consideration before recommending a treatment procedure include the size of the lesion, the type of basal cell carcinoma you have, and the location where the lesion forms. The following are some of the treatment options that are available:

Cryosurgery

This procedure is used for most cancers that do not extend deep into the skin. The doctor uses liquid nitrogen to freeze and kill the cancer cells. You might experience nerve damage in the application area, and even lose sensation for a while.

Anesthesia is provided for this procedure, though no cutting is done. The growth will crust over or blister. It is a procedure often used for basal cell carcinoma patients who have bleeding disorders. It is a highly effective treatment procedure, with up to 90% success rate.

Excisional Surgery

The doctor uses a scalpel to remove the tumor and the border of normal skin surrounding it. You will need stitches to cover the surgical area. It is recommended for people who have advanced basal cell carcinoma, especially that which can advance to other parts of the skin that were not originally affected. You might have a small scar after the cut, but this procedure has a 95% success rate.

Curettage and Electrodesiccation

In this case, the growth on your skin will be scraped off with a curette. The doctor uses an electrocautery needle to burn the tumor site. It is very effective and is recommended for small lesions. However, it might not be a good option for basal cell carcinoma in high-risk areas, or an aggressive carcinoma. You will have a scar after the treatment, and it has a 95% success rate.

Mohs Micrographic Surgery

In this procedure, the thin layer of tissue that contains the tumor is removed. The doctor will freeze this and map it under a microscope. This is done on the cancerous section. It is a procedure that protects healthy tissue and has a success rate of 99%. It is advisable for tumors that occur in places that are highly visible like the neck or your face, or for large tumors.

Recovery from Basal Cell Carcinoma Treatment

More often, the treatments for basal cell carcinoma are minor, and you should recover in a short while. You might experience pain at the point of excision or surgery for a while until it heals. You can also expect to have a scar at the point of treatment. In order to manage the scars and reduce their appearance, the doctor will provide some after-treatment instructions that you should follow keenly.

You should always keep the excision site as clean as possible. To help with this, apply ointments like Neosporin and Vaseline several times a day, and cover the site with a bandage. To help the would heal faster, try and keep it moist.

Basal cell carcinoma has a very high chance of recurrence. For this reason, take measures to protect the skin from unnecessary UV exposure.

Home Remedies for Basal Cell Carcinoma

Millions of people across the globe have basal cell carcinoma. This is primarily because a lot of people do not realize the risk that exposure to the harsh rays of the sun puts their skin through. There are some natural healers that most people have in the house but never realize how important they are, or that they can save your life. Here are some home remedies that might help you manage or heal basal cell carcinoma.

Hydrogen Peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide works on the affected part through oxygenation. Hydrogen peroxide is an oxygen agent. The oxygen creates an environment where the carcinoma cells will die a natural death.

Soak a cotton swab in hydrogen peroxide then rub it on the cancerous part until it saturates and turns white. Soak another cotton swab in hydrogen peroxide and cover the cancerous part with it. leave it on until it dries. This treatment should be done once a day.

Vitamin C. This is one of the most effective remedies for skin cancer. It helps the body get rid of the cancerous cells, while the normal cells are left intact. There are antioxidants in Vitamin C that do not just protect your skin, but the whole body.

To use this, prepare a mixture of Vitamin C and dimethyl sulfoxide. Apply this to the parts of the body that are affected several times a day for around 3 weeks.

Baking Soda. This is an alkaline agent, making it an effective remedy for basal cell carcinoma. It changes the pH of the affected part of the body, making it difficult for cancer cells to keep growing. As a result, it helps you heal.

You can prepare a mixture of baking soda with water or coconut oil, and apply the paste on the cancerous part of the body one or two times a day. Leave it on until it dries.

Vitamin E. There are studies that have shown a regular intake of Vitamin E helps to protect the skin from harmful UV rays. If possible, take Vitamin E each day. Your doctor can also advise you on the exact amount that you should consume daily.

Apple Cider Vinegar. Apple cider vinegar features on this list because of the nutrient capacity it contains. Other than basal cell carcinoma, it is a useful component in your home remedy arsenal given that it contains potassium and lots of enzymes that your body needs. The nutrients in apple cider vinegar help the body regenerate the soft tissues. Apple cider vinegar also changes the pH level of the affected part in the same way that baking soda does, making it easier for the body to fight basal cell carcinoma.

You can take apple cider vinegar as a topical application or an oral supplement. Swab the affected parts of your skin daily. Apart from that, you can soak a cotton swab in apple cider vinegar and apply it on the affected part, leaving it to dry.

Another option is to prepare a mixture of apple cider vinegar with distilled water, which you can drink at least once a day.

Vegetables. If you have not been eating a lot of vegetables, you need to change your diet to include veggies to help you fight basal cell carcinoma. Some of the best components that you can consider include cabbages, hot pepper, sea vegetables, soybeans, beans, whole grains, rosemary, grapes, garlic, tomatoes, green tea, citrus fruits, onions and licorice roots.

These are foods that contain good antioxidants which help in boosting your immune system and fighting cancer.

Folic Acid. Doctors recommend that taking between 400 and 800 micrograms of folic acid daily will help you treat basal cell carcinoma.

Selenium. A lot of studies have shown in the past that oral or topical use of selenium can help the body reduce the free radicals in the body, hence reduce your risk of getting basal cell carcinoma. It is, therefore, a preventive mechanism. If you already have basal cell carcinoma, you need around 100 micrograms of selenium daily.

Vitamin B – Complex. This vitamin has always been effective in treating skin cancers. In case you are already suffering from basal cell carcinoma, 100 milligrams of this vitamin will help you heal faster.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids. If your diet does not contain foods that have Omega-3 fatty acids, it is time you considered including them in your meal plans. At the same time, reduce your consumption of food that is rich in Omega-6 fatty acids. Try and stay away from corn oil, safflower oil, and sunflower oil, and instead increase your consumption of fish oil and olive oil.

According to experts, it is safer for you to use butter that is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, than using corn oil for your meals. The reason why you are advised against using Omega-6 fatty acids is that they usually make the condition worse, and increase the size of your tumor. Try to eat fish once a week, and where possible, prepare your food with olive oil.

Zinc. Zinc has always been one of the natural ingredients useful in treating basal cell carcinoma. Make sure you eat around 50 milligrams a day.

Pancreatic Enzymes. You should take these enzymes between your meals. When released into the bloodstream, they break down scar tissue and help the body fight basal cell carcinoma. If you have basal cell carcinoma, chances are high that your pancreas might not be working properly. The enzymes fight basal cell carcinoma by helping the pancreas digest proteins.

Frankincense Oil. This is another natural healer that can help you fight basal cell carcinoma. There are a lot of studies that have been carried out, and proven that it has so many uses. It kills the cancerous cells on your skin, bladder, and breast. There are more than 15 active agents in frankincense oil that kill the cancer cells. It also helps you reduce the severity of the symptoms.

Black Raspberry Seed Oil. Raspberry is loaded with antioxidants which help in fighting cancer. Other than supporting your immune system and killing the cancer cells, raspberry seed oil also acts on the tumor. This is why it is one of the most recommended remedies for basal cell carcinoma.

Myrrh Oil. Myrrh oil is one of the best natural healers available. Other than basal cell carcinoma, it is also useful in treating lots of other diseases, including prostate cancer and breast cancer. It is safe for application on your skin. In case you have sensitive skin, you should apply it directly to the tumor with a carrier oil like coconut oil.

Eggplant Extract. According to experts in the field, eggplant has around 10% concentration of solasodine rhamnosyl glycosides, which are effective in treating basal cell carcinoma, keratosis, and squamous cell carcinoma.

This component is also present in potatoes, tobacco, bell pepper, and tomatoes, hence their use as natural remedies for basal cell carcinoma. To prepare this remedy, mix a tablespoon of organic eggplant extract cream with 5 ml myrrh oil, or frankincense oil, or black raspberry oil. You can also add a few drops of essential oils to this mixture, then apply it two times a day to the affected part of the skin.

Basal Cell Carcinoma Complications

Recurrence is the most common complication that you might experience from basal cell carcinoma. Even after you have been treated successfully, basal cell carcinoma might still appear, and in the same place. If it was not treated properly or as soon as possible, basal cell carcinoma can cause disfiguration.

Having basal cell carcinoma means you are at risk of developing other forms of skin cancer. It gets worse because you can develop melanoma, which can be fatal if it metastasizes.

There are some rare forms of basal cell carcinoma that are so aggressive, they can affect your body beyond your skin. These forms can destroy the muscles, nerves, and bones. In even rare instances, basal cell carcinoma can metastasize and affect body organs, increasing the risk of fatality.

Preventing Basal Cell Carcinoma

You can take precautionary measures to prevent basal cell carcinoma. One of these is to limit your exposure to UV light or avoid it all together. During the brightest times of the day, try and avoid direct sunlight, especially lying on tanning beds.

Even if you are stepping outside for a few minutes, always use sunscreen regularly. Make sure the sunscreen product you are using has an SPF rating no less than 15. To protect your skin, put on hats and lightweight clothing. For newborns, keep them out of the sun when necessary. Remember that sunscreen should never be used on infants under 6 months.

The earlier basal cell carcinoma is detected, the sooner you can get treatment and reduce the level of scarring that you will have when the tumor is removed. Try and get a skin cancer screening from your doctor or dermatologist annually. Make sure you carefully examine your skin from head to toe frequently and consult your doctor if you notice any changes on the skin.

Maintaining a Healthy Skin

The skin is the largest organ in the body. A healthy skin offers many layers of protection. However, when compromised, the ability to offer protection is affected. You should look into ways of keeping your skin healthy so that it can continue protecting you.

Proper skin care requires a few simple changes to your normal routine. More often, if you are sick or suffering from any condition, the skin is the first place where the effects will be felt. A lot of things can be deduced from your skin about your health.

The following are some of the things that a healthy skin will help your body achieve:

  • Protection from pollutants, viruses, bacteria and chemical substances
  • Regulating body temperature
  • Maintaining the body’s fluid balance
  • Controlling moisture loss
  • Protection from UV rays

The skin also helps you recognize sensations of pain and warns you of impending danger. There are a lot of factors that affect the skin, including hormones, genetic factors, natural aging and conditions like diabetes. While you might not be able to change or influence things like genetics, there are external factors that you can influence, hence their impact on your skin. The following are some simple ideas that you should look into, which will help you maintain a healthy, flawless skin.

Balanced Diet

There are lots of products out there that promise to keep your skin looking healthy, young and radiant, fighting off all signs of aging. However, these moisturizers only work on the surface of the skin. Things like aging take place at a cellular level.

The food you eat is just as important as the products that you will apply on your skin. A good, healthy diet can help you improve the quality of your skin from within. Therefore, the first step towards a healthy skin would be to keep a healthy diet.

There are lots of healthy foods that you can include in your meal plans. Mangoes, for example, have antioxidant properties, which help to protect the collagen on your skin. Tomatoes help in preventing cancer, reducing the risk after UV rays exposure by up to 50%.

You should try and eat tomatoes daily. Other than that, tomato paste can also protect you against sunburn. Tomatoes are red in color because of the presence of lycopene. This ingredient also helps protect you from the risks of UV exposure.

Olive oil is highly recommended, given that it reduces your risk of cumulative damage to the skin, including dark spots, wrinkles, and discoloration, which are linked to prolonged exposure to sunlight.

Stress Management

Stress is one of the silent killers today. Pay attention to your skin especially before an important event. If you notice a pimple on your face, this could be a sign of stress. According to scientists, people who are under a lot of stress tend to develop skin problems.

Apart from that, people who are under intense stress are often at a high risk of developing severe acne. Stress increases the production of sebum in the body. Sebum is that oily substance that blocks the skin pores, thereby making the acne worse.

Reduced stress levels can help you have clearer skin. In case you live a high-stress lifestyle, consider engaging in relaxing techniques like meditation, yoga and tai chi.

Moisturize the Skin

Moisturizers are important in that they keep the top layer of your skin hydrated, and help to seal in the moisture. Moisturizing products have humectants which attract and retain moisture on your skin and smoothen the spaces between your skin cells.

In order to keep your skin properly moisturized, preventing dry, itchy and red skin, you should do the following:

  • Moisturize right after showering to lock the moisture in
  • Keep your showers or baths no longer than 5-10 minutes. Intense washing removes the oily layer of the skin, leaving it dry
  • Instead of hot water, use warm water
  • Use a fragrance-free cleanser instead of harsh soap
  • Avoid abrasive scrub brushes, washcloths, and bath sponges because they damage the surface of your skin
  • Use a towel to pat your skin dry after showering
  • After showering, use creams, lotions, and ointments soon after drying off, to trap moisture
  • To reduce the risk of irritation, use creams or ointments instead of lotions
  • Do not scratch your skin. Instead, use a cold compress to control the itch
  • Put on non-irritating clothes. Or use cotton or silk clothes underneath wool and other rough materials.
  • Try and use hypoallergenic laundry detergent
  • Do not sit too close to a fireplace or any other source of heat that can dry your skin

If you do not get relief from these simple procedures, get in touch with your dermatologist so they can advise you on specific treatments for your case.

Stop Smoking

Smoking is not just bad for your lungs but it’s bad for your skin too. Smoking affects your facial skin and makes your blood vessels on the surface of the skin narrower. Narrow blood vessels reduce the flow of blood, making sure the skin does not get the oxygen and nutrients it needs to stay healthy.

When you stop smoking, you can improve the health of your skin, and prevent the formation of wrinkles. Elastin and collagen provide elasticity and strength that the skin needs. Smoking affects the elasticity of your skin by reducing the production of collagen and breaking down collagen.

Beauty Sleep

Try and get uninterrupted sleep as often as you can. People who get enough sleep barely experience the formation of dark circles around their eyes. This will help to improve your skin tone. Besides, most of the products you need to improve your skin will cost you. However, sleeping is free and yields amazing benefits not just to your skin, but your health in general.

Even if you have a very busy schedule, try and get the recommended sleep hours a day. This will help you get and maintain a good complexion. According to the Natural Sleep Foundation, adults need 7 – 9 hours of sleep a day. If you continuously get less than this, you will be harming yourself.

Some of the common risks of chronic sleep deprivation include immune deficiency, obesity, cancer, and diabetes. According to experts, proper quality sleep can have a positive impact on aging and your skin function.

People who do not sleep well usually experience premature aging and their skin lacks the ability to repair itself properly at night, especially when faced with environmental stressors like exposure to the sun.

When sleeping, the body attempts to repair and regenerate blood, muscles, skin and brain cells. If you do not get sufficient sleep, you will not be able to produce sufficient amounts of collagen, yet collagen is important in preventing the skin from sagging.

Remember that keeping a healthy and vibrant skin does not always mean you have to spend on expensive products, like lotions and creams. These simple things will go a long way in protecting your skin and keeping it radiant.

While on the subject of a healthy skin, remember to stay hydrated. Drinking the recommended glasses of water in a day will go a long way in helping your skin stay healthy.

Basal cell carcinoma is manageable. The only time you might struggle with it is if you do not detect it early enough, and realize when it has spread to other parts of the body. Manageable cancers like this one should not weigh you down. With early detection, you can seek treatment as soon as possible and manage the symptoms better. While there is a risk of recurrence in the future, who knows, with early detection, treatment, and management, your basal cell carcinoma might just go away for good.

The post The Complete Guide to Basal Cell Carcinoma appeared first on Positive Health Wellness.

Source: Postive health Welness

Many people take for granted the issue of sleep deprivation. For one reason or another, some of us find it difficult to catch even e few hours of sleep at night. If this continues for long periods of time, the functioning of the body could be compromised. Sleep allows the body time to grow and recover from injuries sustained during the course of each day. This makes it essential to have those eight hours or more of sleep time every day.

One can either have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Or it could be both. Fortunately, these days, you can get over this problem through over-the-counter sleep aids. It’s as easy as that. There are no wires or gadgets or machines that could offer you that ticket to dreamland.  Visit your friendly drugstore and inquire about sleep aids. There is a wide assortment available.

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  • Peak Life Somnapure PM Natural Sleep Aid
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
  • GET RELIEF FROM COMMON ACHES
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  • Zenwise Calming Sleep Support
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • KEEP CALM & REST EASY
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  • Vicks ZzzQuil Nighttime Sleep Aid
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Sleep Soundly. Wake Refreshed
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  • Natural Vitality Natural Calm Calmful Sleep
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • A Relaxing Nutrient Formula

Somnapure PM Natural Sleep Aid

This natural over-the-counter sleep aid will help you fall asleep and stay asleep all throughout the night. Each capsule contains an effective blend of ingredients which will enhance the different aspects of your sleep cycle. With this sleep aid, you also won’t have to worry about tossing and turning all night because of aches and pains.

With the Somnapure PM Natural Sleep Aid, you’ll wake up in the morning feeling energized and refreshed. It contains melatonin along with other essential ingredients which will help regulate the body’s natural patterns of sleep. Also, this product will help you fall asleep faster because of the key ingredients it contains such as l-theanine and valerian root.

This sleep aid contains ingredients which have been clinically-tested and which will help you stay asleep for a longer time. It’s a non-habit-forming product which means that you won’t get addicted to or dependent on it. It doesn’t contain any controlled substances either so your safety is definitely guaranteed.

Pros

  • Non-habit-forming sleep aid which will help you fall asleep faster.
  • You will stay asleep for a longer time.
  • With this product, you’ll awaken feeling energized and refreshed.

Cons

  • Some don’t appreciate the smell.
  • The capsules are quite big.

Zenwise Health Natural Sleeping Aid

This is another natural over-the-counter sleeping aid which is suitable for both men and women. With this, you can achieve a deep, restful sleep without feeling sluggish the next morning. It’s a non-habit-forming sleep supplement which will promote a steadier and easier slumber. It also promotes a balanced and healthy cycle for sleeping.

The Zenwise Health Natural Sleeping Aid will help you rest easy and keep calm. It contains soothing components which will make your mind more settled in order to encourage a better-quality sleep so you can feel well-rested the next day. It will definitely help reduce the frequency of your sleepless nights.

The sleep aid contains 5-HTP and magnesium glycinate which will settle you down by releasing tension. It also contains other relaxing ingredients such as melatonin, chamomile flower extract, GABA, and l-theanine. This product serves as an optimizer which also supports the natural sleep cycle of the body. All you need to take is a single pill before going to bed and you can enjoy all its benefits.

Pros

  • Help you rest easy and keep calm throughout the night.
  • Supports the natural sleep cycle of the body.
  • Contains natural ingredients which will help calm you down to prevent anxiety and stress.

Cons

  • Some say it may cause headaches.
  • Also, some claim that it contains too much melanin.

Vicks ZzzQuil Nighttime Sleep Aid

This sleep aid will also help you get a good night’s sleep. It will provide you with relief when you experience occasional sleeplessness. The sleep aid will help you sleep soundly so that you’ll wake up the next day feeling refreshed. The Vicks ZzzQuil Nighttime Sleep Aid makes it easier for you to fall asleep and stay asleep so you get enough rest at night. However, this non-habit-forming sleep aid isn’t for pain, it’s just for sleep.

Pros

  • Fast-acting sleep aid which will help you fall asleep in less than half an hour.
  • A non-habit forming product which is specially designed to help you sleep.
  • Allows you to get enough sleep throughout the night.

Cons

  • Some say it might cause weird dreams and nightmares.

Natural Vitality Sleep Support

This sleep aid contains key ingredients which will help give you a better-quality sleep. For one, it contains suntheanine which is a form of l-theanine that will relax the body. It also contains magnesium glycinate which will promote better rest and GABA which enhances calmness. The Natural Vitality Sleep Support is another excellent product which comes in an organic berry flavor and gets its sweetness from organic stevia.

Pros

  • Helps restore the levels of magnesium while supporting the health of the bones and the immune system.
  • All-natural sleep aid which comes is also gluten and GMO-free.
  • Helps relax the body to promote a restful sleep.

Cons

  • May cause bloating in some people.
  • Some people don’t appreciate the taste.

Pure Naturals Melatonin

Melatonin is a common ingredient added to sleep aids because it’s very effective. Studies have proven this which is why doctors often recommend melatonin supplements to those who have trouble sleeping. The Pure Naturals Melatonin will help you fall asleep quicker and it will also help you stay asleep all through the night. This product can also aid in the maintenance of the body’s regular sleep cycle while producing a calming effect.

Pros

  • Contains melatonin which helps induce as well as maintain sleep.
  • Doesn’t contain any preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, and the common allergens.
  • High-quality sleep aid which provides a relaxing effect on the body.

Cons

  • Some don’t appreciate the smell.
  • Some issues with the coating of the tablets.

LUNA Natural Sleep Aid

This is a powerful over-the-counter sleep aid even though it doesn’t contain melatonin. Therefore, it’s perfect for those who have a melatonin-sensitivity. The LUNA Natural Sleep Aid contains a harmonious combination of l-theanine and relaxing herbs which promote an ease and restful sleep. It won’t cause restlessness or strange dreams and it won’t cause grogginess the next morning either. This product contains valerian root, lemon balm, chamomile extract, hops, and passionflower.

Pros

  • Potent sleep aid which is made with all-natural ingredients.
  • Contains an herbal blend which helps induce sleep naturally.
  • Also, contains l-theanine which soothes the body to promote relaxation.

Cons

  • It may cause headaches for some people.
  • Some say that it’s not as effective as the non-melatonin-free version.

Sleep MD-NightTime Sleep Aid

This sleep aid will deliver a restful sleep sans the drugs whenever you need it. If you’re one who suffers from infrequent sleeplessness, then the Sleep MD-NightTime Sleep Aid is right for you. This drug-free product was developed by medical doctors to help tackle this issue. It’s effective and it will allow you to wake up the next morning feeling more refreshed.

Pros

  • Helps deliver a restful sleep without having to take drugs.
  • Perfect for those who experience occasional sleeplessness.
  • Will help you sleep faster and wake up refreshed.

Cons

  • May cause lethargy in some people.
  • Some claim that it causes weird dreams and nightmares.

Ambitropin – Sleep Aid

This product is an all-natural answer to your sleepless nights. It’s specifically designed to be effective and it doesn’t come with any harmful side effects. The Ambitropin – Sleep Aid is made with a perfect balance of nature and science. It’s formulated with ingredients that are powerful and help with sleep. It will help you fall asleep quickly and stay asleep all night. The all-natural sleep aid won’t leave you feeling drowsy the next day either.

Pros

  • All-natural sleep aid which is also non-prescription.
  • Specially designed to help you fall asleep without causing harmful side effects.
  • Helps you stay asleep throughout the night.

Cons

  • Not very effective for those who suffer from chronic insomnia.

Kirkland Signature Sleep Aid

This over-the-counter sleep aid comes from a well-known brand. With it, you will be able to fall asleep faster and stay asleep through the night. The Kirkland Signature Sleep Aid is safe to take and proven quite effective. All you need to take is a single tablet and it will help you with your sleeplessness. You can take this product if you’re having difficulties falling asleep or you frequently wake up during the night.

Pros

  • Effective sleep aid which will help you fall asleep fast.
  • It’s safe and you only need to take a single tablet.
  • Comes from a well-known brand in the industry.

Cons

  • May cause dizziness in some people.
  • Some don’t appreciate the morning-after feeling.

Tylenol Simply Sleep Nighttime Sleep Aid

Finally, this is another great product which will provide you with relief for occasional sleeplessness. Everyone has this problem every now and then and it’s beneficial to have an over-the-counter sleep aid on-hand so you can take it as needed. The Tylenol Simply Sleep Nighttime Sleep Aid is non-habit-forming and it will help you sleep better so you can wake up the next morning feeling fresh.

Pros

  • Effective, safe, and non-habit-forming sleep aid.
  • Helps you fall asleep fast so you can awaken refreshed the next morning.
  • Contains a special sleep ingredient preferred by pharmacists.

Cons

  • Some claim that it’s not very effective.

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61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • Peak Life Somnapure PM Natural Sleep Aid
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
  • GET RELIEF FROM COMMON ACHES
61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • Zenwise Calming Sleep Support
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • KEEP CALM & REST EASY
61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • Vicks ZzzQuil Nighttime Sleep Aid
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Sleep Soundly. Wake Refreshed
61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • Natural Vitality Natural Calm Calmful Sleep
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • A Relaxing Nutrient Formula

Who Needs Over-The-Counter Sleep Aids?

Each of us has experienced what a good night’s sleep can do. We wake up feeling refreshed, alert, and in a pleasant mood. This is carried over to the office where we can perform better. Sadly, a lot of us are not getting that required sleep time and the condition is prevalent.

Insomnia happens when there is a disturbance in the quality and quantity of sleep, whether it’s occasional or chronic. This is further manifested by awakenings at night. This, in turn, can lead to fatigue, anxiousness, irritability, sleepiness, depression, and difficulty in paying attention or focusing during the day. Often, one may even experience gastrointestinal issues and headaches.

The human body requires a number of hours of sleep and this can vary with each individual. On the average, seven to eight hours is considered normal. The main culprit of insomnia is stress but other factors can also cause the disorder. These can include anxiety and depression, health conditions which may cause discomfort and pain, and even medications being taken.

The functioning of the brain is immediately affected when one is deprived of sleep. Some studies have indicated that there is a link between chronic insomnia and certain conditions. These include a weakened immunity, greater risk of Alzheimer’s disease, fibromyalgia, heart attacks, and weight gain.

If you are experiencing insomnia that lasts for more than four weeks, it’s recommended you visit your doctor. Earlier would be better, especially when you start feeling insomnia’s daily symptoms. The doctor will usually make sleep performance assessments to find out if you will need a sleep specialist. However, if the sleeplessness should last for only a couple of days, over-the-counter sleep aids can be a ready solution. Just make sure you strictly follow the instructions and warnings on the package.

What Are the Benefits and Risks of Over-The-Counter Sleep Aids?

The feeling of frustration always comes to haunt you when you cannot fall asleep, more especially if you are expecting a busy day ahead. Sometimes, one pill is not enough and you would be reaching out for another. This is a natural reaction to the stress brought about by sleeplessness. When the condition lingers, you would be looking for a fix that is quick and effective.

As mentioned earlier, sleep is important for the normal functioning of the body. Definitely, you will get benefits when you use sleep aids to help you through the night.

One excellent benefit of such products is that they work quickly. Taking sleep aids offers a fast and effective relief. Not much effort spent, just read the directions, follow them, and wait for sleep to come. Taking these aids can also help you in breaking sleeping habits. There is no problem sleeping with aids and their use can break bad sleep patterns.

They’re great for those experiencing sleep maintenance insomnia. There are sleep aids that can target the exact cause of sleep maintenance insomnia. For instance, there is a sleep aid which can easily and effectively solve the problem of those who often wake up in the middle of the night.

Convenience is another benefit of sleep aids. You can acquire them as over-the-counter items or even order them through the internet. Health problems brought about by sleeplessness can be remedied with sleep aids. Because they are being used by millions, the risks and side effects are well-known. It’s best to consult your doctor about using sleep aids. They usually will tell about the risks.

Of course, like any other products out there, sleeping aids can also have potential negative effects.  For one, they may have troublesome effects on the health and might even increase the risk of cancer or death. When taken frequently, the body might rapidly build a drug tolerance. This means that for the drug to work effectively, you will have to increase the dosage.

Some drugs may have an addictive effect and, eventually, will be hard to stop taking them. Insomnia can become even worse if you decide to stop taking the drug and this can have an effect on your mental state.  You will experience lower concentration levels which can lead to a higher risk of accidents.

Sleeping pills may help you fall asleep and also stay asleep. But are you getting the right kind of sleep? There is no guarantee that you are. For instance, taking sleep aids can lessen the quantity of deep and restorative sleep because they may interact with other medications you are taking. You must then be careful with sleep aids if you are on other medications. Best consult with your physician.

Taking sleeping pills while drinking alcohol is often a very bad idea. We have heard about the effects of combining these. It’s a formula for disaster. Make it a point not to drink if you decide to take sleep aids for your insomnia. Sleep is very important, especially for those who have required daily routines. It’s no wonder that despite the side effects and risks of drugs, millions of people still depend on them for those much-needed sleep hours.

Using sleep aids will definitely help you fall asleep easily and quickly, even though the quality of sleep falls short of the ideal. They’re easy to use, as aforementioned. Just strictly follow the directions and the pills will do the rest. There are no other redundant routines that need to be done.

What Are Over-The-Counter Sleep Aids?

Many of us want to live a healthy lifestyle, complying with the needs of the body. Regular exercise, healthy diets, avoiding caffeine, taking a shower before bed, and more. Yet despite all these, many cannot get a good night’s sleep. Often times, we run out of sheep to count and are still wide awake. Perhaps this is one reason why many resorts to pills to get their necessary rest.

Millions now take pills to help them sleep. Doctors usually recommend them to help one fall asleep, stay asleep longer, wake up in the middle of the night less frequently or improve their sleep’s quality. After trying behavioral changes as well as other methods of treatment which are non-medical with no effective results to cure your insomnia, then sleep aids can be good for you.

Sleep aids are recommended for short-term insomnia. For instance, you may find it difficult to fall asleep after a short-term change in your work schedule or when experiencing jet lag or when you’re preparing for a special event in advance. Your doctor can prescribe a specific sleep aid once he has determined the probable cause of your insomnia.

Talk to your doctor about any health or psychological consequences that can arise because of your lack of sleep. Always keep in mind that healthy sleeping habits cannot be replaced by sleep aids. For one, these habits are the basis for the treatment of insomnia. This is especially helpful for those whose insomnia is long-standing where there is a need to use approaches which are non-medical like sleep hygiene and cognitive behavioral treatments.

Many believe that combining behavioral and medical treatments is one of the best ways to manage the symptoms of insomnia. Others adhere to the use of sleeping aids at the start of the treatment then behavioral treatments could come later as part of a long-term treatment.

How to Safely Use Over-The-Counter Sleep Aids?

There are several factors which should be taken into account to make sure that you are using the right sleep aid. First of all, it’s best to ask your doctor what type of aid should be used, the proper dosage, and a good treatment plan. In doing this, the doctor will consider how old you are along with other factors related to your health and to the core cause of your insomnia. All this data will determine the sleep aid that would best suit you.

Aside from the sleep aid suggested, always make it a point to also apply approaches to insomnia which are non-medical. These can include cognitive behavioral treatments, exercises for relaxation, and general tips for sleep that can help in establishing healthy patterns for sleep. Approaches with a number of components to facilitate and maintain your sleep are generally accepted as an excellent approach in the treatment of insomnia.

Although sleep aids are helpful in giving primary relief for insomniacs, most doctors will not recommend them for indefinite use. Based on observations, the doctor may help you determine how long you have to take sleep aids.  Ideally, it should be for the shortest possible duration without depriving you of the benefits of proper sleep.

Those sleep aids acquired over-the-counter are meant only for short-term purposes. They are never meant for long-term use or as a permanent solution to insomnia. To be sure you are on the safe side when using sleep aids, follow the directions and guidelines which can be found in the product’s packaging. If the language is too complicated, ask your physician about precautions that you should know which could affect your health.

At times, taking over-the-counter sleep aids will not help or improve your insomnia. The doctor, at this point, may recommend treatment at a sleep clinic. Whatever sleep disorders you may have will be diagnosed after you’ve had a complete medical and psychological evaluation and after examining a week’s journal of your sleep performance. The most common treatments of long-term insomnia are behavioral techniques which include relaxation exercises, scheduling of sleep, and even cognitive therapy.

Medical prescriptions may also be required for some patients. These can include benzodiazepines, temazepam or zopiclone. These should be administered to patients at the lowest possible dosage for only a short time. Patients who have complicated psychiatric conditions may be needing different kinds of drugs long-term.

What Are Some Important Facts to Know About Over-The-Counter Sleep Aids?

Never try to abuse using over-the-counter sleep aids. Just because they are available without prescriptions, that doesn’t mean you should buy and use them at will. As we have mentioned earlier, these sleep aids can be harmful to the body. Remember that these are drugs and frequent use may lead to addiction.

Antihistamine is often the main active ingredient found in sleep aids like Benadryl. Taking this may help you get some shut-eye but it has its side effects like dry nasal passages and mouth, and sinus headaches. Taking too much of the drug can damage the liver. This is also true with prescription sleep aids and in some cases, the side effects could be worse.

The danger of taking sleep aids have been researched on and their use has been linked to many traffic accidents caused by drivers falling asleep while driving. The same study has indicated that many such accidents account for thousands of deaths yearly.

Psychological dependence is also becoming a problem with OTC drugs. This means that those who take the drug will start to believe that without sleep aids, they won’t be able to sleep or stay asleep. Insomnia is a problem that can cause many health problems. Moreover, depending too much on drugs can lead to another more serious problem. Try looking for a better solution, like herbal remedies or natural sleep aids.

Before starting to use sleep aids, try to identify first what’s causing your sleeplessness. For many, it’s what’s known as “poor sleep hygiene.” When treating insomnia, doctors will usually include a number of factors when assessing a patient’s sleep hygiene. This may not even happen at all if your doctor is the type who just reaches for his prescription pad.

For doctors who really care about their insomnia patients, they will recommend other alternatives before suggesting the use of over-the-counter sleep aids or some other drugs. Again, this should only happen after all venues to cure insomnia have been exhausted, the last resort. Furthermore, doctors should also provide follow-up care for their patients.

It’s wrong to assume that OTC drugs are completely safe because they can be purchased without prescriptions. For most OTC sleep aids, there will always be side effects.  Taking sleep aids can prove even more harmful if used by persons who have health problems like sleep apnea. This is a disorder where breathing intermittently stops while the person is asleep. The additional relaxation caused by sleep aids could lead to death. This is a case which demonstrates that OTC sleep aids aren’t completely safe. That’s why it’s best to consult with a doctor before using OTC sleep aids.

Important Factors to Keep In Mind

Type of Over-The-Counter Sleep Aid

Let’s take a look at some of the more common over-the-counter sleeping aids. Antihistamine-based sleeping remedies are familiar medications which we take for allergies. Unknown to most, this remedy contains diphenhydramine hydrochloride, an antihistamine with sedative powers which directs brain receptors to relax. Its effect usually last between six to eight hours.

Sleep aids which are melatonin-based are available too. Melatonin is naturally found in the human body. It’s a hormone that’s secreted by your pineal gland which helps in regulating the body’s sleep-wake cycle. The levels of melatonin in the body increase in the evening so we can fall asleep then they drop off during the daytime.

Two different types of synthetic melatonin formulas are available and are used to remedy insomnia: those that are released all at the same time and those that are time-released, where the release happens over a number of hours. Presently, there is no data yet on which type is more effective and how long will the effects of both types last.

Melatonin formulas do have their side effects and these can include drowsiness, headaches, and dizziness. Contrary to some reports, melatonin isn’t linked to any type of severe toxicity. Again, it would be best to consult with your doctor, especially if you are on other medications. Some studies have shown that melatonin can make the symptoms of depression worse. Logically, this shouldn’t be used on those who have depression or have a history of seizures.

You may also try mineral and herbal sleep aids. Almost all the remedies in this category contain some form of magnesium. This is an important mineral which is part of different chemical reactions in the human body and many of these related to relaxation and sleep. Unknowingly, a lot of us are magnesium deficient and this is because of stress and poor diet.

Again, it’s important to consult your pharmacist or doctor on this remedy, especially if you’re taking other types of medications. Using this aid may leave you with a headache or feeling groggy in the morning. The sleep aid’s full potency can be felt after a couple of weeks.

Safety of the Over-The-Counter Sleep Aid

Always be in-the-know about an over-the-counter sleep aid. How safe are they and what do they contain are factors to consider. Read the labels. Some types of sleep aids have antihistamines which may have an effect on your body. Be on the side of caution by talking to your doctor when using over-the-counter drugs. This will prevent any allergic reactions to the sleep aid’s contents. Again, comply with instructions, especially if you’re taking other medications.

Effectiveness of the Over-The-Counter Sleep Aid

The effectiveness of the over-the-counter sleep aid is also important to consider. When you’re looking at different products, you’ll see that the descriptions are all positive. This is understandable, of course, since the manufacturers are trying to market their products in the best possible way. If you want to know the effectiveness of the product, try reading the customer reviews.

When purchasing over-the-counter sleep aids on Amazon, there’s a section there where you can read the different customer reviews. This is a convenient section as you can read what real people have to say about the product. If a lot of people have a lot of good things to say about the sleep aid, then chances are, it’s pretty effective.

Negative Aspects of the Over-The-Counter Sleep Aid

Not all sleep aids have positive aspects that can help you get over sleeplessness. Some of these can be addictive. Many sleeping pills can lead to addictions, sometimes even those using them are not cognizant of it. Many have tried a number of times to quit. But they crave for sleep medications and will try their best to acquire more than a single prescription. These are addictive behaviors and the users may be suffering from addiction. Doctors may help prevent such pill addictions.

Much worse to overdosing on sleep aids is mixing them with alcohol or other medications. If you don’t know how effective or how potent the sleep aid is, this can result in overdosing. Patients who overdose have almost always the same symptoms.  Seizures can also happen when sleep aids are abused. One needs to know and understand these symptoms to prevent fatal consumption.

Ingredients of the Over-The-Counter Sleep Aid

Melatonin, a hormone which is naturally produced by the brain, is important to get a good night’s sleep. For some reason, if there are any natural ingredients in sleep aids, these may not be revealed to consumers. If you are curious as to what types of natural ingredients the sleep aids contain, you can ask your doctor.

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61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • Peak Life Somnapure PM Natural Sleep Aid
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
  • GET RELIEF FROM COMMON ACHES
61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • Zenwise Calming Sleep Support
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • KEEP CALM & REST EASY
61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • Vicks ZzzQuil Nighttime Sleep Aid
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • Sleep Soundly. Wake Refreshed
61UsR2MdJpL._SX522_
  • Natural Vitality Natural Calm Calmful Sleep
  • Our rating
    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • A Relaxing Nutrient Formula

Conclusion

Not getting enough sleep for one night can make one feel restless and irritable the next day. What more if this happens for long periods? For whatever reason, sometimes it gets really difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. It’s a good thing that today, we have medications which can help us get those precious sleeping hours.

Sleep aids are now available at your local drugstore and many can be purchased over-the-counter. Relief is easy and fast. Just follow directions and in no time, you will be snoring. Sleep aids, as much as they can help you with insomnia, have also their downsides. They have their limitations and side effects.

The best thing that an insomniac can do is to consult with the doctor on the type of sleep aid he/she will need, the proper dosage and for how long it should be taken. Just follow directions on the labels, coupled with your doctor’s recommendations. You should come out sleeping soundly tonight.

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The cranial nerves are the nerves responsible for connecting your brain to the various parts of your neck, trunk, and head. There are 12 nerves all in all and each is named according to its structure or function. Each nerve also comes with a corresponding Roman number from I to XII. The number is based on where they are located, from the front towards the back. For instance, if your olfactory nerve is near the front of your head, then this will be assigned with “I”.

The functions of the nerves are often categorized as either motor or sensory. Motor nerves are responsible for controlling the function and movement of the gland muscles.

Read on to learn more about the 12 different cranial nerves and how they work.

Olfactory Nerve

The Olfactory Nerve is responsible for transmitting sensory information towards your brain regarding the smells you have encountered. Once you start inhaling aromatic molecules, they get dissolved immediately in a moist lining at the roof portion of your nasal cavity, known as the olfactory epithelium. This is what stimulates the receptors responsible for generating the nerve impulses, which move into your olfactory bulb. The olfactory bulb is oval shaped and contains specialized nerve cells.

From the olfactory bulb, the nerve would pass towards your olfactory tract, which is located right below your brain’s frontal lobe. The nerve signals are then sent to the areas of the brain responsible for the memory as well as the recognition of smells.

Optic Nerve

The optic nerve is responsible for the sensory nerve involving the vision. As soon as the light gets into your eyes, it will get into contact with your retina’s special receptors known as the cones and rods. The rods are often found in large numbers and they are the most sensitive to light. They are more specialized for the night vision or the black and white vision.

On the other hand, cones present in smaller numbers than rods. They tend to have lower light sensitivity unlike rods and are often more involved with the color vision.

The information that the cones and rods would receive is transmitted from the retina towards the optic nerve. Once they are in your skull, both the optic nerves will meet in order to produce the optic chiasm. In the optic chiasm, the nerve fibers coming from half of each retina will create two separate optic tracts.

Through each of the optic tract, the nerve impulses will eventually get into your visual cortex and this will then process the information it receives. Your visual cortex is often found at the back portion of your brain.

Oculomotor Nerve

The Oculomotor nerve comes with two motor functions and these are the pupil response and muscle function.

Pupil Response. This also helps in controlling the size of your pupil and the manner it responds to light.

Muscle Function. The oculomotor nerve provides a motor function to 4 of the 6 muscles in your eyes. These muscles assist your eyes in moving and focusing on certain objects.

Trochlear Nerve

The trochlear nerve is responsible for controlling the superior oblique muscle. This muscle is responsible for the inward and downward movements of the eyes. It comes from the back portion of the midbrain. Just like the oculomotor nerve, this nerve moves forward until such time that it reaches your eye sockets and this is where it stimulates the muscle for the superior oblique.

Trigeminal Nerve

The trigeminal nerve is the biggest part of your cranial nerves and it has both the motor and sensory functions.

This nerve has three divisions and these are the following:

Ophthalmic. This sends sensory information coming from the upper portion of your face, which includes the scalp, forehead, as well as your upper eyelids.

Maxillary. This part communicates the sensory information coming from the middle part of your face, which includes your upper lip, nasal cavity, and cheeks.

Mandibular. This has both the motor and sensory function and it works by sending sensory information coming from your lower lip, chin, and ears. It’s also responsible for controlling the movements of the muscles in your ear and jaw.

The trigeminal nerve comes from a group of nuclei, which is a collection of nerve cells, within the midbrain and the medulla area of your brainstem. Soon, the nuclei will come up with a separate motor and sensory root.

The motor root of the trigeminal nerve passes underneath the sensory root and is distributed into the mandibular division. On the other hand, the sensory root branches towards the maxillary, ophthalmic, and the mandibular divisions.

Abducens Nerve

The abducens nerve is responsible for controlling another muscle that’s linked to the eye movement known as the lateral rectus muscle. This is the muscle that’s involved in the outward eye movement. For instance, this is what you’ll use if you’re looking to the side direction.

The nerve, which is also known as the abducent nerve, begins in your brainstem’s pons region. It will soon get into your eye socket and will begin controlling the lateral rectus muscle.

Facial Nerve

The facial nerve is responsible for providing both motor and sensory functions, which include the following:

  • Communicating the sensations coming from the outer parts of your ear.
  • Moving the muscles used for facial expressions including some muscles in your jaw.
  • Providing glands in your neck and head area, including the tear-producing glands and salivary glands.
  • Providing a sense of taste for the most part of your tongue.

Your facial nerve consists of a very complex path, which originates from your brainstem’s pons area and this is where it has both the sensory and motor root. Soon, these two nerves will combine together in order to form a facial nerve.

Vestibulocochlear Nerve

The vestibulocochlear nerve consists of the sensory functions that involve balance and hearing. This consists of two parts, the vestibular portion, and the cochlear portion.

Vestibular Portion. This is a set of special cells that are capable of keeping track of both the rotational and linear movements of your head. The information is then passed into the vestibular nerve in order to adjust your equilibrium and balance.

Cochlear Portion. These are specialized cells in your ear and are capable of detecting vibrations coming from the sound based on the pitch and loudness of the sound. It generates nerve impulses that get transmitted towards the cochlear nerve.

Both the vestibular and cochlear portion of your vestibulocochlear nerve comes from the separate areas of your brain. The cochlear begins in the part of your brain known as the inferior cerebellar peduncle.

Glossopharyngeal Nerve

The glossopharyngeal nerve includes the following motor and sensory functions:

  • Provides a sense of taste for your tongue’s back portion.
  • Sending sensory information coming from your sinuses, parts of your inner ear, back of your throat and at the back part of your tongue.
  • Stimulating for the voluntary movement of the muscle that’s at the back of the throat.

The glossopharyngeal nerve comes from that part of your brainstem known as the medulla oblongata. Eventually, it extends towards your throat and neck region.

Vagus Nerve

 

The vagus nerve is a truly diverse nerve and it has both the motor and sensory functions that include:

  • Allows motor control of the muscles in your throat.
  • Communicating sensation information coming from your ear canal and some parts of your throat.
  • Provides a sense of taste at your tongue’s root.
  • Sending sensory information coming from the organs in your trunk and chest, including your intestines and heart.
  • Stimulating the muscles of the organs in your trunk and chest that includes those that move food within your digestive tract.

Of all the cranial nerves, it is the vagus nerve that tends to have the longest pathway. It comes from the head and extends all the way to the abdomen. It came from the part of the brainstem known as the medulla.

Accessory Nerve

The accessory nerve is a motor nerve responsible for controlling your neck muscles. The muscles allow you to extend, flex and rotate both your shoulders and neck.

It’s divided into two parts, the cranial and the spinal. The cranial portion begins in your medulla oblongata while the spinal portion comes from the upper part of the spinal cord. These parts would briefly meet before the nerve’s spinal part will move to supply the muscles of the neck.

Hypoglossal Nerve

The 12th cranial nerve is the hypoglossal nerve and it’s responsible for the movement of most of the muscles in your tongue. It begins in the medulla oblongata and then it moves towards the jaw before reaching the tongue.

Top 10 Foods for Your Nervous System

Eating healthy is important for both our physical and mental wellbeing. Yet there are times that our body would require specific nutrients for it to be healthier and more active. Since the brain is an important part of our body, it would also require some nutrients for it to be able to function well. So here’s a list of foods that can help to improve the functioning of both your brain as well as your nervous system.

Green Leafy Vegetables

Leafy greens are a good source of Vitamin C, B complex, Vitamin E, Magnesium, and all the other essential nutrients for the proper functioning of the nervous system. Vitamin B is important in circulating and synthesizing the neurotransmitters. These are brain chemicals that help to regulate respiration, digestion, and heartbeat. Magnesium also helps to calm the nerves while Vitamin C and E act as anti-aging.

Fish

The nerves are kept protected by the myelin sheaths, which has a high level of fatty acid. Thus, people who are fatty acid deficient could suffer from damages to their nerves. Fish contains a good amount of Omega 3 Fatty acid, which helps in the healing of the nervous system and the nerves.

Dark Chocolate

Not all chocolates are created the same. As a matter of fact, 70% of the chocolates in the market is highly processed and don’t have that many benefits. But this is not the case with dark chocolates as it’s filled with anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties can help to lower blood pressure and improve the flow of blood in both the heart and the brain. Milk chocolates and white chocolates must be avoided when it comes to chocolates. Instead, opt for the dark chocolates that have at least 70 percent of cocoa since they are minimally processed and can benefit your brain.

Broccoli

Broccoli is high in Vitamin K, a nutrient that’s known to improve cognitive skills and brainpower. Several studies show that because broccoli contains a good amount of glucosinolates, a compound that can minimize the breakdown of neurotransmitter that the central nervous system needs to be able to function properly, it can help keep our memory sharp and our brain healthy.

Eggs

A study done at Boston University has observed 1,400 healthy adults who were asked to consume eggs daily. Results show that regular consumption of eggs could lead to better performance in a memory test. Eggs are rich in B vitamin and choline and the choline from the eggs is what the brain will use to produce acetylcholine. This is a neurotransmitter that’s essential for the communication and memory of our brain cells.

Salmon

As mentioned above, the Omega 3 fatty acid plays an important role in the cognitive functioning. As stated by the NY Times Journal, a low level of the omega 3 could lead to poor mental performance. Furthermore, a research done in the University of Pittsburgh has shown that a group of adults who have increased their intake of the Omega 3 fatty acids over a 6-month period has shown great improvement in their test results.

Avocados

Avocados are rich in both Folate and Vitamin K. They help to prevent blood clot and can, therefore, protect you against stroke. In addition, avocados also help to improve concentration and memory, and the best thing about avocados is that they have high protein but less sugar content, unlike other fruits.

Almonds

Almonds contain high levels of the Omega 3 fatty acids, which greatly help to keep the brain healthy. Just like salmon, almonds are also rich in Vitamin E.

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a great source of copper, iron, magnesium, and zinc. Aside from this, the seeds are rich in powerful antioxidants that keep the brain and the body protected against free radical damage. The magnesium in pumpkin seeds is also essential for memory and learning and having a low level of magnesium has been linked to several neurological diseases, which include depression, migraines, and epilepsy.

Nuts

A study in 2014 has shown that nuts can greatly improve cognition skills while helping to prevent neurological disorders. Furthermore, another study has also found that those who eat nuts on a regular basis have sharper memory unlike those who don’t eat nuts. There are plenty of nutrients that one can get from nuts and these include antioxidants, healthy fats, and Vitamin E. All these are good for the brain.

How to Relax the Nervous System Naturally

In this modern life we live in, we’re often bombarded with information and lots of sensory input and this triggers our “fight or flight” response. As a result, the hypothalamus will trigger the adrenal glands to release stress hormones like the cortisol and adrenaline. The stress hormone level that’s chronically elevated could lead to anxiety, high blood pressure, obesity, insomnia, and depression.

Yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises can all help in relaxing the nervous system while maintaining a good physical and mental health.

Achieving Balance

You may not be able to avoid stress entirely but exercising regularly can somehow help you to manage it. Performing aerobic exercises can help to improve the flow of oxygen and blood in your body, which in turn normalizes your level of blood pressure and heart rate. This also helps to reduce fatigue and boost your energy level. Performing physical activity can also help to lower the level of cortisol, a stress hormone, and helps to stimulate the release of endorphins, a mood-elevating hormone.

Health experts recommend performing at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, such as swimming, bicycling, walking, or playing tennis. These activities can help to get your heart rate pumping and minimize tension.

Breathe Deeply

There are certain breathing exercises that can help to calm the nervous system down. While stress stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, performing breathing exercises can help to supply the brain with an increased oxygen level. As a result, the parasympathetic system will be stimulated and elicits a relaxation response.

Serenity Instead of Stress

Meditation is a great way to quite your mind. It allows you to focus your thoughts, which calms your nerve in the process. Most of our daily stresses are out of our control. With meditation, you’ll learn to take charge of where your thoughts and energy should flow.

Meditation that includes guided imagery or visualization, as well as chanting, can help to clear your mind. Studies on neuroimaging have shown that meditation can greatly help to relieve pain, stress, and anxiety, which is beneficial for the brain.

Reach Out

Having an adequate social support has also been shown to enhance a person’s ability to cope better and manage life’s challenges and setbacks. One study has found that people who would often reach out to others fur support are more likely to be able to adopt healthy behaviors when it comes to managing stress. They are also more optimistic and confident about the future.

This is why the American Psychological Association has recommended talking your problems out to family members, friends, and co-workers. If you believe that you can benefit from stress management assistance, you may need to consult with a licensed psychologist or a mental health professional.

How to Hack Your Nervous System

Our vagus nerve is an important nerve, which not a lot of people know that they have.

The vagus nerve is basically long and meandering sensory fibers and a bundle of motors which connect the brain stem to the lungs, heart, and gut. It also branches out to connect with the spleen, liver, gallbladder, female fertility organs, ureter, ears, neck, kidneys, and tongue. The vagus nerve powers our involuntary nerve center and controls some of the unconscious body functions, including everything that’s keeping our heart rate constant, from breathing, sweating, to food digestion. Furthermore, it also helps to regulate the level of blood glucose and blood pressure and promotes proper functioning of the kidney. It also helps to release bile, testosterone, and assists in the secretion of saliva.

The vagus nerve comes with fibers that innervate all of the internal organs in our body. Processing and managing emotions take place within the vagal nerve in between the brain, gut, and the heart, and this is why we tend to have a strong gut reaction towards intense emotional and mental states.

Dysfunction of the vagus nerve can also result in a lot of problems in the body. This includes obesity, difficulty in swallowing, fainting, gastrointestinal diseases, mood disorders, chronic inflammation, deficiency of B12, seizures, and impaired cough.

On the other hand, the vagus nerve stimulation has also been shown to improve certain conditions, like:

  • Alcohol addiction
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Bad blood circulation
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Leaky Gut
  • Migraines
  • Mood disorder
  • Obesity
  • Tinnitus

A Closer Look at this Super Nerve

The vagus nerve is the longest of all the 12 cranial nerves and almost 80% of its nerve fibers work by driving information coming from the body towards the brain. However, its fifth lane runs towards the opposite direction and shuttles signals coming from the brain towards the different parts of the body.

The vagus nerve is anchored in the brain stem and travels into the neck and the chest and splits into the right and left vagus. Each of the lanes is composed of up to 10,000 of nerve fibers branching into the lungs, heart, pancreas, stomach, and in almost every organ at the abdomen.

The vagus nerve makes use of the acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that stimulates the contraction of muscles in the parasympathetic nervous system. Neurotransmitter works like a chemical messenger that’s released at the end of the nerve fiber and allows for signals to be moved from one point to another, which helps to stimulate the various organs in the body. For instance, if your brain won’t be able to communicate with the diaphragm for the release of the acetylcholine coming from the vagus nerve, then that’s when we stop breathing.

There are certain substances that could intervene with the production of the acetylcholine. Examples are Botox and heavy metal mercury. Botox is said to trigger the possibility of shutting down of the vagus nerve that could cause death. On the other hand, mercury attaches with the thiol protein that’s on the heart muscle receptors, which makes it difficult for the heart muscles to receive the electrical impulse for vagus nerve. This will then lead to problems in the cardiovascular system. Furthermore, the mercury that gets into the atmosphere could interfere with the production of acetylcholine. Vaccines that are laden with mercury also could also affect the vagus nerve and may lead to autism among children.

The damage to the vagus nerve may also happen as a result of alcoholism, diabetes, and upper respiratory infections, or have part of the nerve accidentally severed during the operation. Stress can also lead to the inflammation of the nerve, as well as anxiety and fatigue.

Many also believe that diet plays an important role in the overall health of the vagus nerve. A cafeteria diet that comprises of high-fat and high-carb food full of junk has the tendency to reduce the sensitivity of the vagus nerve.

A Feeling in Your Gut

to as the second brain or the backup brain that’s centered within our solar plexus.

Keeping the vagus nerve and the gut healthy can greatly impact our mental health. A recent study shows that antibiotics could make us aggressive if they upset our gut’s microbiome balance. A significant study done last year in Ontario Canada has found that certain beneficial gut microbes can help to prevent PTSD. Probiotics can also help to keep the vagus nerve and the gut signals healthy, as per the reports of the NCBI or the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Boosting with Electricity

Doctors have long been exploiting the nerve’s influence on the brain. Electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve, also known as the vagus nerve stimulation or VNS, is sometimes used to treat depression and epilepsy. The VNS is designed to help prevent seizures by sending mild and regular electrical pulses towards the brain via the vagus nerve.

A device that works like a pacemaker supplies the electrical pulses. This device is placed below the skin of the chest wall and a wire will run from it to get into the vagus nerve at the neck. A group of researchers who have been studying the effects of vagus stimulation in treating epilepsy have noticed that patients experienced another benefit that’s not related to seizure reduction, for their moods have also improved.

A study in 2016 has shown how stimulating the vagus nerve using the bio-electronic device can significantly improve the measures of the disease activity among patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic inflammatory condition that affects more than a million people in the US and has cost billions of dollars for the treatment.

Vagus Nerve Stimulation Techniques

The vagus nerve does not need to be shocked to shape. Just like the muscles, it can also be strengthened and toned.

Below are some of the things that you can do to significantly improve your health.

Positive Social Relationships

In one study, participants were asked to think compassionately about others and were asked to silently repeat positive phrases regarding their family and friends. The meditators have shown an overall increase in their positive emotions, such as joy, serenity, and hope right after they have completed the class. The positive thoughts they show unto others have led to the improvement of the vagal functions as seen in the variability of heart rate.  The results also show a more toned vagus nerve as compared to when merely doing meditation.

Cold

Studies have shown that once your body adjusts to cold, your sympathetic system will decline and your parasympathetic system will increase. This is thanks to the vagus nerve. Any type of acute cold exposure, which includes drinking ice-cold water, could help to increase the vagus nerve activation.

Gargling

Another home remedy used for an under-stimulated vagus nerve is gargling. Gargling can help to stimulate the muscles of the pallet that are fired by the vagus nerve. Patients will typically tear up a bit, which is a good sign. This has resulted in an improvement of the working memory performance.

Singing and Chanting

Mantra chanting, humming, and singing, can all increase the HRV or heart rate variability.  When you sing, you’re like initiating a vagal pump, which sends out relaxing waves. If you sing at the top of your lungs, the muscles at the back of your throat will be worked on and this will activate the vagus. Singing in groups, which is usually done in churches, also helps to increase the vagus function and the HRV.

Massage

The vagus nerve can also be stimulated by massaging your feet, as well as your neck, along with the carotid sinus, which is located at the carotid arteries on any side of your neck. Neck massage can also help to minimize seizures, while a foot massage can help to lower blood pressure and heart rate. Pressure massage can also help to activate the vagus nerve.

Laughter

Laughter and happiness are both natural immune boosters. Laughter can also help to stimulate the vagus nerve. Research shows that laughing can help to improve the HRV in a group environment.

There are several case reports about people fainting as a result of too much laughter and this may be due to the overstimulation of the vagus nerve. Fainting may also happen after urination, swallowing, coughing, and bowel movement. All of these activities are helped by the vagus activation.

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