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Understanding HPV: The Facts, Risks, and Prevention

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Understanding HPV: The Facts, Risks, and Prevention

Unlocking the Link: Understanding HPV and Cervical Cancer

Welcome to our infographic exploring the intricate relationship between Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and Cervical Cancer. Join us on a journey to uncover the facts, dispel myths, and empower individuals with knowledge about prevention and early detection. Let's dive into the essential information that could save lives and promote healthier futures.


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TCM Perspective: Indigestion

In TCM, our digestive system transforms food into Qi and Blood, which are the most important substances necessary for life. Thus, maintaining good digestion is the basis for good health.

Our digestive system includes the functions of the Stomach, Spleen, Large Intestine and Small Intestine.

The Stomach is the main receiver of the food we consume. It is in charge of receiving and breaking down food and liquids for further absorption. If this function is disturbed, disharmonies such as loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting may occur.

The Spleen is the key organ of digestion in TCM. It transforms the nutritive essence from food and liquids in the Stomach into Qi, Blood and body fluids. The Spleen is also responsible for water metabolism. When the Spleen is in disharmony, symptoms like abdominal distention, poor appetite, loose stools or edema may follow.

The Small Intestine receives food from the Stomach to carry out the further absorption of essential nutrients needed by the body. Disharmony in the Small Intestine may give rise to urinary or bowel disorders.

The Large Intestine receives residual materials sent down from the Small Intestine, absorbs the remaining nutrients and essential fluids, then excretes the waste in the form of faeces. Dysfunction of the Large Intestine may result in abdominal pain, loose stools or constipation.

The Bladder stores and excretes urine. Common urinary problems may be manifested as incontinence or difficulty in urination, with a burning or painful sensation.

Digestive Disorder

Lifestyle, stress and dietary factors can put a strain on our digestive system. TCM provides satisfactory relief for digestive disorders through herbal medication, acupuncture and other treatment methods.

Here are some common digestive disorders and their related treatments from the TCM perspective:

(A) Indigestion
Indigestion is a condition caused by food stagnation. Overeating, eating too fast, or having a weak digestive system may also contribute to indigestion. Common symptoms of indigestion include fullness, bloating or aching in the upper, middle or lower abdomen, hiccups, a poor appetite, or breaking wind accompanied with strong and undesirable smells and bad breath.

In TCM, the treatment principles work by nourishing the entire digestive system to improve our digestive functions, as well as inducing bowel movements to remove stagnant food.

Common Chinese herbs used to relieve digestive problems are Hawthorn Berry (Shanzha, 山楂), Barley Sprout (Maiya, 麦芽), Rice Sprout (Guya, 谷芽), Chicken Gizzard Lining (Jineijin, 鸡内金), Unripe Bitter Orange (Zhishi, 枳实), Tangerine Peel (Chenpi, 陈皮) and Areca Seed (Binglang, 槟榔).

Acupuncture, massage, herbal medicines and dietary changes can help to relieve digestive problems too.


(B) Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
IBS is a common gastrointestinal disorder which may manifest itself differently from person to person. Some of the common symptoms of IBS are abdominal bloating, cramping or pain, flatulence, diarrhoea and/or constipation. Common symptoms of indigestion include fullness, bloating or aching in the upper, middle or lower abdomen, hiccups, a poor appetite, or breaking wind accompanied with strong and undesirable smells and bad breath.

IBS can result from eating too much greasy or spicy food, or from emotional factors such as depression, excessive anxiety and insomnia. These emotional factors may be triggered or aggravated by stress.

For symptoms of IBS, TCM prescriptions use herbs such as White Atractylodes (Baizhu, 白术), Tangerine Peel (Chenpi, 陈皮), Poria (Fuling, 茯苓), Siler Root (Fangfeng, 防风), White Peony Root (Baishao, 白芍), Licorice Root (Gancao, 甘草), Chinese Yam (Huaishan, 淮山) and Dried Ginger (Ganjiang, 干姜).

Acupuncture helps by alleviating the pain, regulating bowel movements and preventing abdominal pains or cramps associated with this condition. It also regulates the gastrointestinal functions, which may in turn manage the root of the problem.


(C) Heartburn
Heartburn is a condition where our Stomach acid rises up to the oesophagus. It is also known as acid reflux or acid regurgitation. The acid may cause a burning pain in the chest or throat, and leave a sour taste in the mouth. In TCM, heartburn is regarded as a manifestation of disharmonies in the Stomach and Liver’s functions. The basic treatment principle is to restore balance to optimise the functions of the Liver and Stomach.

Common herbs used to relieve heartburn symptoms are Processed Pinellia (Zhibanxia, 制半夏), Chinese Dates (Dazao, 大枣), Licorice Root (Gancao, 甘草), White Poeny Root (Baishao, 白芍), White Atractylodes (Baizhu, 白术), Peppermint (Bohe, 薄荷), Hare’s Ear Root (Chaihu, 柴胡), Chinese Angelica (Danggui, 当归), Poria (Fuling, 茯苓) and Fresh Ginger (Shengjiang, 生姜).

Ban Xia Xie Xin Wan (半夏瀉心丸) and Xiao Yao Wan (逍遥丸) are two classic formulae commonly used to reduce acid reflux and relieve heartburn symptoms.

Boosting Your Child’s Immunity with TCM

Parents often despair – with good reason – that their school-going children not only catch whatever’s going around, but pass it on quite indiscriminately to siblings and playmates.

As was the case with Ms Winifred Ling, whose two-year-old daughter, Olivia, got sick “almost every month” for a year after she started going to nursery.

“She mostly had colds,” Ms Ling, a psychologist practicing in Singapore, recalls. “She would have a runny nose, lots of phlegm, and would be coughing quite a lot. Sometimes, when she had a hacking cough, she would end up vomiting.” “We would take her to see a paediatrician and she would be alright for a while after taking the prescribed medication, but then she would catch the next virus going around.”

Eventually, Ms Ling took her daughter to see a Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioner who focused as much on resolving Olivia’s symptoms as on boosting her immune system. Olivia was managed with herbs and paediatric tui na, a form of massage therapy that promotes the smooth flow of qi (a person’s vital force) in the body. Together, the treatments not only eliminated the pathogens that caused Olivia’s illness but also strengthened her overall constitution.

“She is five now, and we have continued our regular TCM visits and treatments as they help keep her healthy,” Ms Ling says.

Smoothing out the energy flow

Olivia’s case is not uncommon among children, whose immune systems are still developing and are susceptible to environmental allergens and diseases.

TCM practitioners believe that children have relatively weaker lung, kidney and spleen systems, which can compromise their overall immunity.

“A weak lung system increases the likelihood of respiratory illnesses, while a weak spleen system makes one prone to digestive illnesses,” says Eu Yan Sang physician Quek Yiyan. “That’s why children often catch colds and have stomach upsets.”

In TCM, healthy qi defends against external pathogens. When the flow of qi in organs is not optimal, their delicate yin-yang balance is disturbed. In managing children, TCM practitioners therefore focus on strengthening or restoring the flow of qi, particularly around these vulnerable systems. The objective is to keep the body in a balanced yin-yang state, says Physician Quek.

Like running water in a stream, Qi cannot afford to be stagnant, “If an organ is colonised by bacteria, such an invasion can be imagined as a brackish pond,” she says. “The organ then has to be ‘cleansed’ and the proper flow of qi re-established.”

Re-establishing the flow of Qi can be done using different therapies, including herbal medication, paediatric tui na, or by making adjustments to diet or lifestyle.

A natural way

Herbs are an important cornerstone of TCM treatment and have a variety of effects, such as warming, cooling and strengthening (increasing qi). Although the types of herbs prescribed to children are similar to those prescribed to adults, the dosage and specific formulas depend on the child’s condition, age and weight. This is why a trained and licensed TCM practitioner should always be consulted, Physician Quek says.

Paediatric tui na is also an effective treatment for young children. A trained paediatric physician uses specialized massage techniques to stimulate acupoints that are specific to children, enhancing the flow of qi throughout their body.

Other TCM treatments like acupuncture and cupping are generally not recommended before adolescence. However, a physician may decide on them on a case-by-case basis.

TCM treatments offer a safe and reliable alternative with few side effects, an important consideration for parents keen to ensure the health of their children. Should a child fall sick, TCM also focuses on solving the root cause of the illness, not just the symptoms.

Better habits for stronger immunity

TCM practitioners generally advocate a holistic – and sustainable – approach to building a strong immune system. Besides prescribing herbal medication, tui na, and acupuncture for older children, physicians are likely to also advise on an appropriate diet and lifestyle.

Cold drinks and too much fried, sweet or spicy food should be avoided as they create “dampness” in the body, Physician Quek says. “Excessive amounts of these foods weaken the digestive function of the spleen and stomach, which in turn allows dampness to accumulate,” she explains. Accumulated dampness can, over time, cause blockages and illness. Regular mealtimes should also be observed, as this helps with proper digestion.

Herbs that help increase Qi can be added to soups or stir-fries. These include Poria (Fuling, 茯苓), White Atractylodes (Baizhu, 白术), Euryale seeds (Qianshi, 芡实), Coix barley (Yiyiren, 薏苡仁), Astragalus root (Huangqi, 黄芪) and Chinese yam (Huaishan, 淮山). Chinese yam, in particular, can be consumed daily as a food supplement as it helps improve digestion, Physician Quek says.

Herbs with strengthening properties should not be given to a child who is already ill as “these herbs could strengthen the invading pathogen instead, and make expelling it more difficult”, she cautions.

Qi Strengthening Soup

Ingredients:

  • Astragalus root (Huangqi, 黄芪) 10g

  • White Atractylodes (Baizhu, 白术) 10g

  • Licorice root (Gancao, 甘草) 5g

  • Pork ribs 500g

  • Water 1L

Quantities can be varied to individual liking


Preparation:

  1. Rinse the herbs and blanch the pork ribs.

  2. Place all ingredients into 1L of boiling water.

  3. Simmer over low heat for three to four hours.

  4. Serve.

Good lifestyle habits should also be practiced. These include getting adequate sleep, having moderate exposure to cold weather to “build up the child’s resistance to external pathogens”, and catching some sun to “help boost yang qi, which is important for a child’s development”.

This holistic approach to strengthening immunity is something Ms Ling appreciates – although it took some effort on her part as well.

“When we first started TCM, my daughter had trouble taking the herbs, but now it’s no longer an issue,” she says. “And happily, she doesn’t fall sick so frequently anymore.”

Bridging East & West: Holistic Diabetes Management

In the first installment of our “Bridging East & West” series, we’re diving into how to manage diabetes from both Eastern and Western medicine perspectives. It’s not just about treatments but finding a balance that gives you a full picture of how to manage diabetes.

Article reviewed by:
Dr. Chuah Hui En – Western Family physician at One Wellness Medical @ Sengkang Grand Mall
Physician Kean Chan – TCM Physician at Eu Yan Sang Premier TCM Centre @ Woodleigh Mall and Eu Yan Sang TCM Clinic @ Sembawang

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The rising incidence of diabetes mellitus is an issue of global concern. What exactly is diabetes, and how is it different in Western medicine versus TCM?

Understanding Diabetes in Western Medicine:

Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder due to poor insulin production or insulin resistance, leading to high blood sugar levels.

Diabetes can cause complications in your body, such as nerve damage (neuropathy), eye disease (retinopathy), and reduced kidney function (nephropathy) and you may not know of the damage until you develop symptoms or screen for these complications.[1] 

Types

Description

Type 1 Diabetes

  • An autoimmune condition whereby the body's immune system attacks and destroys the beta cells of the pancreas, making it unable to produce insulin.

  • Not caused by diet or lifestyle.

  • Typically develops in children or early adulthood but can occur at any age.

Type 2 Diabetes

  • Most common form.

  • Occurs when the body's cells do not respond well or are resistant to the body's own insulin.

  • Often associated with overweight and excessive body fat.

  • Develops in older adults, with increased risk above 40 years.

How does TCM view Diabetes?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) does not use the term “diabetes.” Instead, a group of symptoms characterised by excessive thirst, hunger, frequent urination, gradual weight loss, or sweet-tasting urine is referred to as “Xiao Ke” (消渴).

Diabetes falls within the scope of “Xiao Ke” (消渴) in TCM.

TCM identifies 3 primary factors contributing to "Xiao Ke" (消渴):

  • Congenital deficiencies (先天禀赋不足) lead to weak organ systems.

  • Dietary imbalances (饮食不节), especially overeating and a preference for specific foods, with obesity being a significant trigger.

  • Emotional disturbances (情志失调) cause damage to vital fluids (郁火伤津), with prolonged emotional imbalances as a contributing factor to the development and worsening of diabetes.


Treatment of Diabetes

Western Medical Approach:

Insulin:

  • Stomach enzymes disrupt insulin activity, so insulin needs to be injected or pumped into the blood.

Other Medications:

  • Individualised selection based on patients’ conditions, response to medications, and blood sugar control.

  • To stimulate pancreatic insulin production.

  • Prevent the liver from producing and releasing glucose into the blood.

  • Inhibit carbohydrate breakdown to slow absorption.

  • Increase tissue sensitivity to insulin.

  • Prevent kidneys from reabsorbing sugar into the blood.

Traditional Chinese Medical Approach:

Focuses on restoring the balance between ‘Yin’ and ‘Yang’ of the body:

  • TCM diagnosis considers the progression of the disease, tailoring treatment based on specific patterns observed.

  • Focuses on cleansing heat, moistening dryness, generating fluids and replenishing ‘Yin’.

  • Multiple organs including the lungs, spleen (stomach), and kidneys, are implicated.

  • Acupuncture is used to regulate the flow of ‘Qi’ along the lungs, spleen and kidney meridians, helps our organs maintain balance, and reduces dependence on external insulin.

TCM focuses on cleansing heat, moistening dryness, generating fluids and replenishing ‘Yin’.

Chinese herbs can complement insulin treatment to reduce blood glucose, here are some herbal medications for common symptoms:

Abnormally Thirsty

  • Honeysuckle flower (金银花)

  • Ophiopogon root (麦门冬)

Large Appetite yet Loses Weight

  • Gypsum (石膏)

  • Anemarrhena rhizome (知母)

  • Chinese foxglove root (生地黃)

Excessive Urination

  • Processed Chinese foxglove root (熟地黄)

  • Cornelian cherries (山茱萸)

  • Chinese magnolia berries (五味子)

Lifestyle Tips for Diabetic Patients:

  • Regular exercise and a healthy diet are important.

  • Closely monitor blood glucose and carbohydrate intake.

  • Avoid sugar, oil, caffeine and alcohol.

  • Diabetics heal poorly from wounds. Avoid injuries and keep limbs clean to prevent infection.

  • Maintain emotional balance to minimise disrupting the flow of Qi.

TCM Health Report

Early Detection Saves Lives

Get an analysis of your dominant body constitution and lifestyle tips to help improve it. Available in both English and Chinese at all general and One Wellness Medical clinics.

Diabetes is a ‘silent’ disease in its early stages, individuals may feel completely healthy until complications arise. Detect and address potential health concerns early on to stay ahead in your wellness journey.

One Wellness Medical GP x Eu Yan Sang TCM

Explore our holistic diabetes management at Eu Yan Sang One Wellness Medical clinics. Equipped with both TCM and Western family medicine services under one roof – let our integrated expertise provide you with personalized solutions for diabetes management.

Source: [1]  https://www.healthhub.sg/programmes/diabetes-hub/types-of-diabetes

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