Mar 31, 2015

Powerbank That Can Jump Start A Car

These days we have things for about everything. It’s rare that truly new and innovative gizmos hit the market, and the most we’re getting are upgrades of previous devices or hybrids of two different gadgets.

Most hybrids that have become commonplace are powerbanks, and as competition for it rises, everyone is trying come up with a better half to make theirs stand out. CD-R King is among those retailers.


Portable Car Power Jumper

CD-R King isn’t exactly the ideal top-of-the-line shop for gadgets and accessories. But they have provided things needed at an affordable rate. Going back to powerbanks, we just spotted one that shocked us. It’s a large 16,800mAH powerbank that not only charges mobile devices but can also jump start cars. It was novel concept we just had to try it for ourselves.

It’s official name from CD-R King is the Portable Car Power Jumper. It ships with its own tools such as a car jumper cable and a small bag where you can bring along. It wasn’t that hard to find an old vehicle with an older failing battery. If you’re familiar with jump starting cars via battery series, the procedure is technically the same. Just attach those red and black grips to their respective positive and negative sides of the battery, make sure the Power Jumper is on, and chill out for a while.

It also features a red and blue emergency LED lighting for safety during unwanted nighttime driving incident. Its own charging time is around 5 hours, which isn’t too bad. It should be noted that this works for cars that do not exceed a 2.8L engine displacement.

This device won’t fix any problem. It is a temporary fix that will get you home safely or to the nearest mechanic. Things like these can be a real life saver and from that, we give this nifty gadget two thumbs up. Of course, CD-R King offers other car jumpers, but not as cool as being part powerbank. Just make sure it’s always fully charged.

Understanding The Causes of Leukemia

Leukemia is a cancer of the bone marrow and the lymphatic system. There are different types of leukemia that can affect the health of a patient. Of these types, certain leukemia generally affect children and about 30% affect adults. Leukemia usually involves white blood cells that causes them to divide abnormally. These cells do not function properly and do not die like the normal blood cells. This causes them to crowd in the system and affect the number of normal cells. This Buzzle article will help you learn more about the leading causes of leukemia.

Causes
Leukemia causes extensive damage to the bone marrow, by displacing the normal bone marrow cells with a huge number of immature white blood cells resulting in a lack of blood platelets that are important in the process of blood clotting. This means people with leukemia will be easily bruised and bleed excessively, or develop pinprick bleeds (petechiae). White blood cells, which are involved in fighting pathogens, may be suppressed putting the patient at the risk of developing infections. The red blood cell deficiency leads to anemia, which may further cause dyspnea. However, the exact cause of leukemia is not yet understood. There are a number of factors that scientists feel are responsible for its occurrence.

These factors cause mutation in the DNA of blood cells. This causes them to grow and divide rapidly. Their life span is also more than the normal blood cells. Thus, they crowd the healthy blood cells and lead to appearance of signs and symptoms of leukemia.

Factors that Lead to Leukemia
Numerous risk factors may be responsible for DNA damage within the blood cells. The risk factors believed to have the strongest associations with leukemia include the following major causes:
  • Age - Roughly 60-70% of leukemia occur in people who are older than 50.
  • Radiation - A high risk of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) is caused among people who have been exposed to high doses of radiation.
  • Chemicals - Workers who are exposed to benzene are prone to having acute leukemia. If exposed to some other solvents, herbicides, and pesticides can also cause this deadly disease.
  • Viruses - The human T-cell leukemia virus I (HTLV-I) is related to acute T-cell leukemia. It can also affect humans through animal viruses.
  • Genetics - Risk of Leukemia is seen among children with Down's syndrome, which is a genetically linked chromosomal abnormality which means an extra chromosome 21. Three rare inherited disorders like Fanconi's anemia, Bloom's syndrome, and ataxia telangiectasia, also can cause leukemia.
Leukemia is also found among racial and ethnic groups with different genetic make-ups. Other factors that are suspected to be possible causes of leukemia are as follows:

a. Cigarette smoking
Cigarette smoking is a risk factor for leukemia. Chemicals in tobacco smoke include benzene, polonium-210, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) are absorbed by the lungs and are spread via the bloodstream. It is estimated that one in four cases of acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) is the result of cigarette smoking.

b. Cancer therapy
Individuals who have undergone chemotherapy and radiation therapy for previous cancers have a greater chance of getting secondary leukemia. Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) has been reported after chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy for various solid tumors (breast cancer, ovarian cancer), blood malignancies, and nonmalignant conditions. The chemotherapeutic agents most often associated with secondary leukemias are procarbazine, chlorambucil, etoposide, mechlorethamine, teniposide, and cyclophosphamide.

The risk is increased when these drugs are combined with radiation therapy. Most secondary leukemia cancers are developed within 9 years after treatment of Hodgkin's disease, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, or childhood CLL. Further chemotherapy often is ineffective in patients with secondary AML; their prognosis is less favorable than that of typical AML patients.

c. Other medical therapy and events
Use of the antibiotic chloramphenicol has been linked with the development of childhood leukemia. Other medications, such as growth hormones and phenylbutazone, also have reportedly shown some associations with leukemia. Leukemia and lymphomas have been observed in recipients of organ transplants, and certain immunodeficiency syndromes are associated with leukemia (e.g., infantile X-linked agammaglobulinemia and lymphatic leukemia).

Researchers have studied the many cellular changes associated with leukemia; however it is unknown why these changes occur. Many risk factors are involved and most of them are unmodifiable (beyond control). Other factors (e.g., environmental, lifestyle-related variables) are controllable (modifiable).

d. Miscellaneous
All cancers, including leukemia, begin as a mutation in the genetic material- the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), within certain cells. The abnormal leukemia cells remain in an immature blast form that never matures properly. They do not die off like normal cells, but tend to multiply and accumulate within the body like I included in the first paragraph of this article.

e. DNA errors
DNA errors may occur in the form of translocations. Damage produced when part of one chromosome becomes displaced and attached to another chromosome. Translocations disrupt the normal sequencing of the genes. As a result, oncogenes (cancer-promoting genes) on the chromosomes may be "switched on," while tumor suppressors (cancer-preventing genes) may be switched off. Much leukemia contains translocations that affect the blood cell chromosomes. Physicians often test for these translocations to help diagnose leukemia, determine a patient's prognosis, and identify the error.

Symptoms
  • Joint pain
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Easy Bruising
  • Swollen or bleeding gums
  • Swollen tonsils
  • Enlarged liver and spleen
  • Loss of appetite and/or weight
  • Frequent infection
  • Bone pain
  • Fever, chills, night sweats and other flu-like symptoms
  • Neurological symptoms (headache)
Until we find the cause or causes of leukemia, there is no way to prevent the disease. Even when we figure the cause, they may prove to be things which are not readily controllable, such as naturally occurring background radiation, and therefore not especially be helpful for prevention purposes. It is thus, not always possible to use preventive measures in case of leukemia.

Symptoms of Leukemia in Children

Leukemia usually starts in the bone marrow, where white blood cells (WBC), red blood cells and platelets are produced. When, for certain reasons, the bone marrow starts making or producing a large number of white blood cells, the condition is termed as 'leukemia'. Every cell in the body is given a set of instructions such as when to grow, reproduce, mature, and die, by its DNA. Due to some reasons, the DNA develops mutation, and instructs the cell to grow and multiply rapidly without dying, unlike normal cells which die after a certain period of time. Such abnormal blood cells are known as 'leukemia cells'. They are not matured enough when they are produced thus, do not perform the work of normal white blood cells. They continue to reproduce themselves and over time, tend to crowd out or outnumber the normal blood cells. This, in turn, causes severe repercussions such as anemia, bleeding and infections. Scientists are unsure about what triggers such a mutation in the DNA.

Leukemia has its forms divided into four different types. They are acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), and chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). Among all these, children are mostly affected by ALL and AML.

Leukemia in Children

# The most common symptom of leukemia that is found in children is increased incidents of developing fevers and infections, and that too over a short space of time. This happens because the infection-fighting white blood cells are defective thus, do not provide any kind of protection against any attack of illness.

# Perspiration could become a common occurrence, and profuse during nights.

# The patient could develop tiny red spots on his/her skin.

# As mentioned earlier, leukemia in its later stage, results in the children becoming anemic. They may appear pale, and remain tired most of the time. They may also experience abnormal incidents of shortness of breath. This happens as the leukemia cells also affect the oxygen carrying red blood cells, which are being produced in the bone marrow. This may be accompanied by poor appetite and abnormal weight loss.

# Not only are the red-blood cells affected, the production of platelets is also hampered due to leukemia. Due to this, problems with blood clotting is also one common symptom of leukemia in kids. Frequent nosebleeds, bleeding for a longer period, and the tendency to bleed easily, are other symptoms.

# Affected kids may suffer from bone or joint pain. The pain arises due to the buildup of leukemia cells in the bone marrow. Note that, not every affected child has such kind of pain.

# The abnormal white blood cells may also get collected in the liver, kidney and spleen. The abnormal multiplication of the cells in these organs causes them to enlarge, and this leads to abdominal distress.

# Apart from suffering from dyspnea (difficult or labored respiration), swollen lymph nodes in the armpit, neck or groin are some symptoms that may surface.

Treatment Options

Treatment for leukemia is governed by the patient's age, white blood cell count, and chromosomal abnormalities. It also varies according to the type of leukemia. However, chemotherapy is the common option for the treatment and this in some cases, is followed by radiation. Stem cell or bone marrow transplantation is the other form of therapy that most doctors prefer to employ for the treatment of leukemia. The main aim that goes behind the treatment is to destroy the leukemia cells, and restore the growth of normal cells in the bone marrow.

Depending on the severity of the disease, other forms of treatment may include intrathecal medications/chemotherapy, and biological therapy. Leukemia treatment may cause severe side effects in the body, and in order to prevent or treat the damage, the patient could be put on additional medications. Blood transfusion, to make up for the RBCs and platelets, and antibiotics to prevent infections, are also included in the treatment plan.

Symptoms of leukemia should not be ignored. They are important for getting the condition diagnosed and treated as early as possible. As with most types of cancers, the earlier the treatment is initiated, the brighter the prognosis is. Post-treatment, uninterrupted care and continuous follow-ups are necessary for a speedy recuperation for the patient.

Symptoms and Early Signs of Leukemia

Leukemia is a type of cancer that starts in the blood forming cells. New blood (red and white) cells are formed in the bone marrow, a soft tissue found in most of the bones. White blood cells are often described as soldiers of our body as they are a part of the immune system and protect the body from various infections. They produce antibodies and destroy the invading bacteria. Leukemia is a condition in which the bone marrow starts producing abnormal white blood cells in large numbers. These cells grow in an uncontrolled manner and do not function properly, as a result of which, serious problems can develop.

In leukemia, although the cancerous cells, initially form in the soft region of the bone (bone marrow), they swiftly multiply and spread into the blood. Thus, through the bloodstream the cells reach different organs and initiate damage.

Symptoms

The symptoms of leukemia will differ depending on its type. Acute leukemia symptoms are apparent within a short period of time. Symptoms that you may notice also depend on where the abnormal white cells accumulate. For instance, if the cancer cells have spread into the brain, then the person may experience symptoms like headache or eyesight problems. Leukemia cells that reach the skin often cause rashes. Joint pain is inevitable when the leukemia cells have made their way into the joints. On the other hand, bone pain indicates that the abnormal cells are very close to the surface of the bone. In general, the common symptoms of this type of cancer are:
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Poor eyesight
  • Vomiting
  • Frequent and recurrent infections
  • Swollen lymph nodes of the groin or neck
  • Unusual fever
  • Loss of weight
  • Sweating at night
  • Lack of hunger
  • Enlargement of the spleen or liver
  • Tenderness of bones
  • Difficulty in breathing
Children with leukemia often have anemia. They look pale, weak and lose their ability to fight infections. In some patients, unusual skin rashes and sores around the eyes can also be observed. Acute leukemia can also have an adverse effect on the lungs and other body parts.

Skin Discoloration: With dipping platelet count, the blood's ability to clot decreases significantly. This eventually triggers internal bleeding that typically causes development of bluish and black marks below the skin. Thus, patients with leukemia bruise easily, which has often been attributed to low platelet count. Apart from easy bruising, red spots resembling the size of pinhead may also appear under the skin.

Slow Healing: Due to low platelet count, minor injuries take a long time to heal. Thus, leukemia can cause heavy bleeding from minor cuts. Besides, excess bleeding, the cuts are predisposed to infections because of less number of healthy white blood cells.

Fatigue: WBCs require energy to carry out their tasks correctly. However, due to increased production of immature WBCs, the energy requirements of the body dramatically rise, which unfortunately cannot be fulfilled. Hence, the person feels tired all the time, despite eating healthy, energy dense foods.

In chronic leukemia, early signs and symptoms may not be apparent for months. Even if the symptoms appear, they are initially mild and gradually become severe. A routine checkup by a cancer specialist is helpful to determine whether the person has chronic leukemia. In this type of leukemia, the white blood cells slowly spread to different parts of the body. That is why it may take years to develop chronic leukemia. White blood cells collect gradually, affecting the kidneys, digestive tract and central nervous system.

Causes

Doctors have not been able to identify the exact causes of leukemia. However, there are certain factors that are known to trigger leukemia. You are likely to develop leukemia as a result of any of the following:
  • Exposure to chemicals like benzene
  • Over exposure to certain harmful radiations
  • History of genetic disorders
  • Smoking
Leukemia Diagnosis

Early detection of signs of leukemia can definitely help to diagnose this disease. Blood tests are helpful in finding out whether an individual has leukemia. The level of white blood cells increases tremendously in leukemia and can be detected through blood tests. A bone marrow biopsy provides key information about the type of leukemia. Chest X-rays can also help in the early detection of leukemia. MRI scan, CT scan and ultrasound are some of the diagnostic methods that help to find out damage to organs like brain, liver and kidneys due to leukemia.

Treatment

There are a number of treatment options. Doctors decide the treatment considering the patient's general health, age, the type of leukemia and most importantly, how far the disease has spread in the body. Here are some of the therapies commonly used to combat leukemia.

Chemotherapy: This form of treatment uses anticancer drugs to destroy the cancer cells. The drugs are either taken orally or injected into the vein.

Radiation Therapy: The patient is exposed to high-energy rays in order to damage the cancer cells and stop their growth.

Biotherapy: In this therapy, the patient is treated with substances that boost the body's natural defense system to fight against cancer cells. This treatment uses antibodies to target the leukemia cells.

Bone Marrow Transplant: This procedure restores normal cells that have been destroyed during radiotherapy or chemotherapy. In bone marrow transplant, the affected bone marrow needs to be replaced.

Individuals diagnosed with leukemia, should ensure that they seek medical advice from doctors who are specialized in treating this disease. Early diagnosis and suitable treatment can definitely control leukemia.

Mar 30, 2015

Undeniable Facts About Leukemia

It is in the bone marrow, which is the spongy, soft matter in the center of the bones, that these blood cells are formed. New or immature blood cells are known as blasts. While some of these remain in the marrow in order to mature, others travel and mature in other areas of the body. In the normal course of things, the production of blood cells occur in a controlled and orderly way, according to the requirements of the body. However, when leukemia strikes, large amounts of abnormal blood cells are produced. These abnormal cells are generally white blood cells, in most types of leukemia. Apart from not functioning properly, leukemia cells also look different as compared to normal blood cells. Practically all patients affected by leukemia develop anemia, a deficiency of red blood cells. Also, because the white blood cells are impaired, it affects the ability of the body to fight infections. Besides, a shortage of thrombocytes, or platelets, causes easy bleeding and bruising.

Types of Leukemia
  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL): This occurs most often in those aged over 55 years, and almost never in children.
  • Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML): This type occurs mainly in adults.
  • Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL): This is most commonly seen in children, and sometimes in adults.
  • Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML): Both adults and children can get this disorder.
  • Hairy Cell Leukemia (HCL): This is a very rare type of leukemia, which grows slowly in the blood.
Lymphocytic and Myeloid refer to the type of cancer cells involved. Leukemia is characterized by the accumulation of these cells in the blood, albeit the treatment and history of each differ. Acute leukemia indicates that the disease progresses rapidly, and if not treated, the life expectancy can be from just a few weeks to perhaps a few months only. Chronic leukemia, on the other hand, is the type that progresses slowly, allowing more numbers of functional, mature cells to be produced. After the onset of this type of blood cancer, life expectancy can be as high as 20 years, or even more.

Causes
  • The exact reasons for the cause(s) of leukemia are not known but, it is suspected that large doses of irradiation and long-term exposure to benzene can be the reason that triggers this off.
  • Hereditary factors also might increase chances of getting leukemia.
  • Smoking cigarettes can increase the risk of AML.
  • Blood disorders also play a prominent role in an individual getting leukemia.
Symptoms
  • Easy bleeding or bruising, due to the deficiency of platelets.
  • Fatigue and paleness, due to anemia.
  • Recurrence of minor infections or inadequate healing of minor wounds or cuts, due to inadequate white blood cells.
  • Nosebleeds or other types of hemorrhages, and weight loss, is common. These symptoms can occur suddenly in children.
  • People with chronic leukemia might not exhibit these symptoms and may get diagnosed during a regular medical check up.
These symptoms can be caused by other conditions too, apart from leukemia. However, they do need to be evaluated medically when they occur. Since the symptoms resemble those that occur in other conditions too, which are often less serious, it can often be difficult to diagnose leukemia early. When leukemia is suspected, the cells in the marrow or the blood need to be examined, which is done by means of a biopsy of the bone marrow and blood tests.

Treatment
  • One of the most effective treatment for leukemia is chemotherapy.
  • Anti-cancer medication is also available, which is either used by itself or in combination.
  • Along with this, there are other treatments like antibiotics, and transfusion of components blood can also be carried out.
  • Bone marrow transplant and stem cell transplant is a treatment for certain types of leukemia.
  • Biological treatment, which means treating the immune system, so that it recognizes and kills the cancer cells, is also an option.
  • Radiation therapy, which uses X-rays or other high-energy beams, help in damaging the cancer cells, thus arresting their growth.
  • Targeted treatment, which is using certain drugs, targeting susceptible cancer cells and stopping their growth and multiplication, can be resorted to.
Incidence
  • Around 275,000 people have been estimated to be living with, or in remission from leukemia, in the US.
  • It is the tenth-most frequently occurring type of cancer in all races and ethnic groups.
  • Around 30% more men are living with leukemia than women.
  • Incidences of AML is lower in children and adolescents below the age of 14 years, than it is with individuals aged 14 and above.
  • The most common types of leukemia in adults are AML and CML, whereas in children it is ALL.
  • The incidence of leukemia is highest among whites, and lowest among American Indians, and the Asian and Pacific Islander population.
  • From 1997 to 2006, incidence rates for leukemia have greatly dropped in the white, Asian and Pacific Islander population.
  • Hispanic children of all races under the age of 20 years have the highest rate of leukemia.
Survival Rate
  • Chances of survival vary according to a person's age at diagnosis, gender, race, and type of leukemia.
  • Around 1 in 3 deaths due to cancer among children under 15 is due to leukemia, which is the most common type of cancer in this age group.
  • In the United States, 1 person is diagnosed with a type of blood cancer every 4 minutes, and someone dies from this condition every 10 minutes.
  • The overall five-year relative survival rate for leukemia has nearly quadrupled in the past half a century.
  • In the early sixties, the five-year relative survival rate among whites with leukemia was 14 percent.
  • In the mid-seventies, the five-year relative survival rate worldwide was 35 percent, and from 1999 to 2005, went up to 54 percent.
  • From 1999 to 2005, the approximate five-year relative survival rates overall were:

CML - 53 percent
CLL - 79 percent
AML - 23 percent overall and 60 percent for children younger than 15 years
ALL - 66 percent overall and 91 percent for children younger than 5 years.

If detected in its early stage, the prognosis and chances of survival of cancer are definitely better, and there is a greater chance of the cancer going into remission. The importance of a timely diagnosis and treatment cannot be stressed enough. Medical assistance must be sought immediately if an individual exhibits symptoms that may be indicative of cancer.

Symptoms of High Uric Acid

Purine is a chemical that is naturally present in the body, and is also found in certain types of foods. The body produces uric acid as a waste by breaking down purine. The uric acid is then carried in the blood, filtered out by the kidneys, and eliminated in the urine. However, in some cases, the kidneys may not get rid of the uric acid normally, or the body may start producing too much of it. This increases the level of uric acid in the blood. This condition of high uric acid level is clinically known as hyperuricemia.

What is Too Much Uric Acid in Blood
If your uric acid level exceeds the normal range (listed below), then you have hyperuricemia.

In men: 3.1-7.0 mg/dL
In women: 2.4-6.0 mg/dL
In children: 2.0-5.5 mg/dL

*mg/dL = milligrams per deciliter

Symptoms of Hyperuricemia
Mostly, a high uric level causes no harm. However, in some cases, people may develop complications such as gout, kidney stones, or even kidney failure. Note that, it is these conditions that trigger various unpleasant symptoms.

Gout
When uric acid starts accumulating in the blood, it may begin to build up in the form of crystals that are hard and needle-like. These urate crystals form within joints or the surrounding tissues, and trigger symptoms, which may include:
  • Inflammation, swelling, tenderness and redness, mostly in the big toe. Joints in the foot, ankle, knees, hands and wrists may also be affected
  • Intense and sharp pain in the affected joints. Most people experience the attack at night, when they are asleep
  • The pain might be intensified even by the touch of something as light as a sheet
  • Lingering attacks of gout pain that may last for a few days or weeks
Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are hard lumps formed by accumulation of waste products in the blood. When uric acid levels are elevated, they can form into hard, stone-like deposits inside the kidneys. Kidney stones do not cause any symptoms until one or more of these stones travel down the ureters to the bladder. The symptoms that occur may include:
  • An intense pain that has an abrupt start and ending. The pain is usually felt at the back or side of the abdomen
  • Pain in regions such as the groin or testicles
  • Pain that may last for minutes or hours, with intervals when there is no such pain
  • Painful urination; may or may not be accompanied by a burning sensation
  • Abnormal urine; foul-smelling, cloudy, red, brown or pink
  • Nausea, vomiting, and if an infection is present, then fever
  • Frequent urination, and increased urine output
Chronic Kidney Failure
High uric acid in the blood may cause kidney stones, which may advance to a more severe condition called chronic kidney failure. In this condition, the kidneys gradually lose their ability to filter waste products from the blood. Symptoms usually show up, when the condition has reached an advanced stage. It is in routine medical checkups, that a case of chronic kidney failure is usually detected. The symptoms that occur include:
  • Swollen limbs (occurs from fluid retention)
  • Itchy, dry skin
  • Malaise, fatigue
  • Loss of appetite, unintended weight loss
  • Headaches, nausea
  • Breathing difficulty (a sign of fluid getting accumulated in the lungs)
  • Hematuria (blood in urine)
  • High blood pressure
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Decreased urine output
  • Cognitive problems
What Causes Too Much Uric Acid in Blood?
Hyperuricemia may be linked to factors such as:
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Malfunctioning kidneys that do not filter waste normally
  • Genetics
  • Water pills
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Cancer treatment
  • Supplements such as niacin or vitamin C
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Obesity
  • Psoriasis
  • A diet high in purine-rich foods such as meat, fish, poultry, beer, etc.
  • Starvation
  • Lead poisoning
Note that, having a high uric acid level in blood, does not necessarily predispose a person to develop conditions like gout, kidney stones or kidney failure. But, taking early treatment measures to manage such symptoms, does mitigate the risks of developing all such complications.

Dissolving Kidney Stones Naturally

Kidneys filter the blood and help to excrete the toxins through urine, which contains various chemicals that form hard crystals. These crystals are referred to as kidney stones. They are usually smaller in size during the early stages, and as they grow gradually, excruciating pain during urination can be experienced by the affected person. Calcium, oxalate, phosphate, and uric acid are the most common components of kidney stones. Majority of people opt for home remedies to dissolve them in a natural manner.

Shock waves and tunnel surgery are some of the medical procedures used to remove kidney stones. The severity of the conditions may vary from person to person depending upon the number and size of the stones. In serious cases, they are removed surgically. X-ray and other tests help to detect them. After discussing the symptoms with your doctor, you may opt for simple home remedies that may help to remove them.

Natural Removal Methods
  • Exercise: These activities are necessary for proper functioning of the body. Regularly performed exercises help to run the body systems more effectively and efficiently. They also help to prevent formation of kidney stones, and to get rid of the existing ones.
  • Fluid Intake: Drink plenty of water (8-10 glasses per day) and increase your fluid intake. This will help to flush out the stones. Increase in the intake of milk, buttermilk, soups, juices, milkshakes is recommended for prevention of this ailment.
  • Phosphoric Acid: Kidneys play an important role in removing excess acids from the blood. But you can use an acid to dissolve the stones (only under the guidance of your physician). Phosphoric acid, present in soft drinks can help in a faster dissolution process. Drinking soft drinks along with a vegetable puree (rich in dietary fiber) is the most effective way of breaking, dissolving, and passing these stones through urine.
  • Diet: A low oxalate foods help reduce the size of the stones, and also prevents their formation. Include lots of fresh and raw vegetables and fruits in your diet. A high fiber diet helps get rid of them effectively.
  • Herbal Teas: Dandelion or diuretic teas made from corn silk, fennel seed, nettle leaf, and oat straw help to dissolve kidney stones fast. Herbal teas made from hydrangea root, wild yam root, cramp bark, joe-pye weed, yarrow leaf, plantain leaf, etc., work great for these stones. Joe-pye weed, meadow-sweet, sarsaparilla, and plantains have been traditionally used in Chinese medicines to remove excess uric acid from your body. The North Americans use the wild herb called goldenrod to break larger stones into small fragments, which can be passed through urine. But, some people can be allergic to this herb. Watermelon seed tea and celery seed tea also help dissolve or break them up into smaller sized ones.
Surgical procedures usually lead to lot of inconvenience and pain. Medications prescribed by doctors can cause dizziness, nausea, and other side effects. It is always better to opt for safe home remedies to dissolve kidney stones in a natural manner.

Kidney Stones Natural Remedies

Kidney stone is a common disorder of the urinary tract. On an average, about 10 percent of the world's population gets kidney stones at some point of time. In medical terms, it is called renal calculi. As the name suggests, kidney stone is a hardened mass, resulted from the accumulation of acid salts and minerals present in the urine. The composition may vary according to the type of kidney stone. The most common type contains calcium, uric acid, oxalate, and phosphate. In rare cases, these stones are developed due to the infection in the urinary tract. These stones are referred to as infection stones or struvite.

It is observed that some people are more susceptible to formation of these stones than others. Though it is claimed that certain foods promote stone formation, it is yet unknown, exactly which foods aggravate the condition. An individual having a family history of stones is at a higher risk of developing them. People with underlying kidney problems are also susceptible to this disorder. The symptoms include bloody or smelly urine, nausea, vomiting, frequent and painful urination, and pain in the abdomen, side, and back. In case of infection, chills and fever may accompany.

Effective Remedies

This condition is detected by conducting X-ray imaging test of the kidneys and urinary tract. Small stones pass in the urinary tract, and leave the body without causing any noticeable symptoms. Though there are surgical approaches to remove large stones, many people prefer to opt for natural remedies to combat the disorder. In many cases, natural treatment is effective in flushing out these stones.

One of the most effective remedies is to drink lots of water (about 3 liters) and increase overall fluid intake. Water and other liquids help in diluting the urine, which in turn, reduces the substance concentration that is responsible for the formation and enlargement of a stone. The ideal urine output for the patient is about 45-50 ounces per day.

The diet should consist of fresh fruits and vegetables. However, green leafy vegetables like spinach and parsley are not recommended, as they contain high amount of oxalate. Other foods that are to be avoided are peanuts, beets, strawberries, wheat bran, chocolates, cola, caffeine, nuts, and pasta. In addition, one should reduce the intake of salt, sugar, soda, alcohol, dairy products, and refined foods.

Uric acid stone formation is exacerbated in people, whose diet consists of large amounts of animal protein. An effective way to combat this problem is cutting down meat and sea fish in the daily diet. Excess vitamin C is harmful for people with kidney stones, as this vitamin converts into oxalate (in higher doses). Hence, it is advisable to rely on foods rich in vitamin C, rather than administering the supplements.

Over-the-counter antacids are mostly based on calcium; the use of these medications may worsen the problem. It is always better to avoid calcium containing antacids. Some of the popular home remedies are coconut water, pomegranate juice, tomato juice, apples, basil juice, and herbal tea prepared by using silky tassels of sweet corn. Another effective natural remedy is to exercise regularly. Physical activities facilitate the movement of calcium from the bloodstream to the bones, thus lowering the chances of stone formation.

Following these remedies will help in expelling the stone out of the body. In case of a stone that does not pass on its own even after using these natural remedies, the physician may conduct certain laboratory procedures to remove it. Some of the common procedures include, shock waves (waves given to break a large stone into smaller particles), tunnel surgery (removal of the stone by creating a small tunnel in the back) and ureteroscopy (cutting and removing kidney stones by inserting a device called ureteroscope, in the urethra).

Symptoms of Kidney Stone in Women

Kidneys are the filtering organ of our body that remove waste materials from the blood, which are then excreted from the body in the form of urine. Stones or stone-like hard masses develop, when minerals and acids present in the urine crystallize and accumulate inside the kidneys. If the stones are small, they can easily pass through the urinary tract, and then out of the body without causing discomfort. But, large stones can get stuck inside the urinary tract, and produce a host of symptoms, including severe pain. It has been observed that the occurrence of kidney stones is less in women than men. Nevertheless, women can also get these stones due to numerous reasons, and experience the painful symptoms.

Did you know?
A single kidney can execute the functions, that in normal circumstances two kidneys perform. When we lose one kidney, the nephrons (the individual filter of the kidney) manage to filter as much blood as two kidneys would.

Symptoms of Kidney Stones

Kidney stones symptoms in women are more or less similar to those experienced by men. These symptoms are usually produced when the stones gets stuck in the kidney, or come out of the kidney and enter the ureter and cause blockage and irritation. Such a situation can produce a number of symptoms, which are mentioned below.

Lower Back Pain
The pain caused by kidney stones can be mild or severe, depending on their size. The small kidney stones can produce mild cramping pain in the lower abdomen and the back, which many women may confuse with the pain that they experience during menstruation. On the other hand, the large stones can cause blockage of the ureter, which in turn can result in muscle spasms, and dilation of the ureter and the renal pelvis. This can manifest in a type of sudden cramping pain in the lower abdomen and the groin area, that comes in waves. It is known as renal colic, and many women compare it with the pain of childbirth.

Painful Urination
This symptom occurs when a kidney stone gets stuck in the ureter, and blocks the passage of urine either partially or completely. Along with pain, one can also experience a burning sensation while trying to pass urine.

Frequent Urge to Urinate
Like painful urination, this symptom is also produced when the stone gets lodged inside the ureter, and pushes against the wall of the ureter.

Bloody or Cloudy Urine
Presence of blood in urine (hematuria) can indicate an infection caused by kidney stones. Blood can also be present, when the stone becomes lodged in the urinary tract, especially inside the ureter and cuts the lining of the ureter. Some people having kidney stones can pass cloudy urine having a foul smell, which can be a symptom of kidney infection and/or a blocked ureter.

Fever
As mentioned above, kidney stones can cause infection at times, in which case, one can experience fever as well. The fever can be accompanied by chills. Infection usually results when a kidney stone blocks the passage of urine, or causes irritation in the urinary tract.

Nausea and Vomiting
Passing a kidney stone can be very painful, due to which one can get nausea and vomiting. Likewise, presence of an infection and fever, and the associated weakness can produce such symptoms.

Causes of Kidney Stones

There are different types of kidney stones, such as - calcium stones, oxalate stones, struvite stones, uric acid stones and cystine stones. Usually, kidney stones form when the urine becomes too concentrated and it contains more calcium, oxalate and uric acid than fluid. This allows such substances to crystallize and deposit in the kidney, eventually forming stones. Any factor that blocks the excretion of urine can cause the formation of kidney stones.

Sometimes, frequent urinary tract infection can also cause the development of kidney stones, which are known as struvite stones. Calcium stones are usually found in the form of calcium oxalate, and sometimes also as calcium phosphate. Calcium stones are the most common type of kidney stones which are formed when calcium, not used by the body, combine with phosphate or oxalate. Similarly, high levels of oxalate in the body can contribute to the formation of oxalate stones. Oxalate is a naturally occurring salt that can be found in a number of foods such as nuts, whole wheat, oatmeal, and chocolates.

Uric acid stones, on the other hand, are formed due to dehydration and over-consumption of foods rich in animal proteins, and alcoholic drinks. Medical conditions like, gout and certain metabolic disorders can promote the formation of uric acid stones, by increasing the level of uric acid in the urine. Cystine stones are quite rare. Usually people having a hereditary disorder (where the kidneys expel more cystine from the body, thereby increasing its level in the urine) are more susceptible to the formation of these stones.

Risk Factors

Certain factors have been observed to increase the risk of developing kidney stones. These factors are:
  • Dehydration
  • A family history of kidney stones
  • A personal history of kidney stones
  • A diet rich in protein, sugar, and sodium, but poor in fiber
  • Obesity
  • Having an intestinal bypass surgery
  • Consuming calcium and vitamin D supplements in excess
  • Diseases of the digestive system such as diarrhea and inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Infections of the urinary tract
  • Medical conditions like hyperparathyroidism, cystinuria, gout, renal tubular acidosis, hyperoxaluria, hyperuricosuria, and hypercalciuria
  • Certain medications such as antacids, aspirin, and protease inhibitors
Diagnosis and Treatment

Clinical diagnosis of kidney stones is made on the basis of the symptoms, X-ray, and CT scan of the urinary tract, urine tests, and blood tests. The treatment for kidney stones depends on the type and the size of the stones. If the stone is small, then increasing fluid intake can help to flush it out from the body. Mild pain caused by small stones can be managed with the help of pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen. But, if the stone is large and is causing considerable pain, bleeding, and infection of the urinary tract, then invasive treatment would be required, which can involve the following procedures.

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL): This procedure uses ultrasound waves to create vibrations, which are strong enough to break the stones into pieces, so that they can easily pass through the urine. Such vibrations are called shock waves. The procedure can, however, cause pain. That's why, it is performed under light anesthesia. If the stone has lodged in the ureter, then it is captured with the help of a ureteroscope, which is passed into the ureter through the urethra and the bladder. Once the stone is captured, it is removed or broken down into smaller pieces with laser beam or shock waves.

Ureterorenoscopy: This procedure is used when the kidney stones get stuck in the ureter. It involves passing a ureteroscope into the ureter through the urethra and the bladder in order to locate the stone. Once the stone is located, it is either removed by using a specialized instrument, or is broken down into small pieces by the application of laser beams.

Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy (PCNL): If the kidney stone is very large, then it is removed surgically, through this procedure. For surgical removal of the stone, a small incision is made in the back, through which a nephroscope (a telescopic instrument) is inserted into the kidney. Once the stone is located with the help of nephroscope, it is taken out of the body, or broken down into pieces by the application of laser or pneumatic energy. This procedure is usually employed for stones having a diameter of 21-30 mm, and also when the patient is obese and so, and not suitable for ESWL procedure.

Open Surgery: Open surgery for removing kidney stones is used only in rare instances, when the stone is abnormally large and is not possible to remove it with any of the aforementioned procedures. The same goes for some people with unusual anatomy, which makes them unsuitable for other treatment options. Open surgery is carried out by making a cut in the back, in order to gain access to the kidney and the ureter, so that the stone can be removed with the appropriate surgical instrument.

In addition to these four treatment options, sometimes surgery is performed to remove tumor/tumors developed in the parathyroid glands. A tumor formed in the parathyroid glands can cause hyperparathyroidism (overproduction of parathyroid hormone). This can result in the recurrence of calcium stones, as a high level of parathyroid hormone can increase the level of calcium in the body.

Preventive Measures

These simple tips can prove helpful in preventing the recurrence of kidney stones:
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day, as it will help to keep urine diluted and minimize the risk of getting kidney stones. This can help to flush out small kidney stones as well.
  • Reduce the intake of coffee and tea.
  • Avoid over-consumption of foods rich in oxalates, especially if there is a recurrence of calcium stones. Some oxalate rich foods are asparagus, rhubarb, beetroot, celery, parsley, leeks, spinach, sweet potatoes, soy products, nuts (almonds, cashew nuts and peanuts), oatmeal, whole wheat, berries and chocolates.
  • Reduce the consumption of animal proteins (meat, poultry, and fish), if kidney stones are found to be caused by a high level of uric acid.
  • Always take calcium supplements only after consulting your doctor, as these supplements have been observed to increase the risk of getting kidney stones.
  • Reduce the intake of salt.
  • Drinking some fruit juices, especially the citrus juices (orange or grapefruit juice) may lower the risk of stone formation in the kidneys.
  • Don't neglect the symptoms of a urinary tract infection. Seek your doctor's help to treat such an infection and prevent their recurrence.
A basic idea or knowledge about the kidney stones symptoms in both women and men is quite important to ensure early detection, and removal of the stones. So, be sure to seek immediate medical attention, if you experience symptoms like, an excruciating pain in the lower back area, blood in urine or pain while urinating, cloudy urine with a foul odor, and a pain accompanied by fever and chills. Remember that, kidney stones can sometimes lead to complications like, blockage, infection and inflammation, which can result in kidney damage.

Symptoms of Renal Calculi

If you have ever experienced passing a kidney stone, it's not likely that you will ever forget it, as it can be agonizingly painful. Kidney stones, also known as renal calculi or renal stones, have afflicted humans since ancient times. They can be traced back to the era of the Egyptian pyramids, and yet, they are still as common today. However, it has been observed that incidences have been on the rise in recent decades. Although it is not clear what exactly the reasons for this are, most experts agree that lack of fluids and dietary choices are important contributory factors for the increase.

Vital Information

The kidneys are bean-shaped organs, which are located on either side of the spine in the rear side of the abdomen. Their chief function is removing waste from the blood, inessential electrolytes, and surplus fluid in the form of urine. The urine is carried from the kidneys to the bladder via the ureters. The urine is stored in the bladder until it is eliminated from the body.

Usually, stones form when the urine becomes concentrated to a great extent. This results in minerals, along with other substances, to form into crystals, which occur in the inner surface of the kidneys. In time, these crystals have the tendency to combine, forming a hard, small mass, or a kidney stone.

The crystals have a propensity of forming when the urine has high concentrations of particular substances such as uric acid, oxalate, calcium, and sometimes, cystine. Kidney stones can also form if the body has low levels of magnesium and citrate, which help in preventing crystal formation. Crystals can also form if the urine is too alkaline, too acidic, or if it becomes too concentrated.

Signs and Symptoms

Most people with kidney stones do not experience any symptoms until one gets lodged in the urinary tract or the kidney's calyces, which then triggers off the agonizing renal colic mentioned above. Many types of stones, especially phosphate stones are 'silent' or asymptomatic, unless an obstruction occurs or there is an infection.

Common Symptoms
  • Fluctuating, excruciating pain
  • Blockage in the flow of urine
  • Pain along the sides, just under the ribs, or back pain.
  • Dull ache in the area of the kidneys or loins (pain aggravates during movement and subsides during rest)
Some of the other symptoms are:
  • Excessive sweating along with pallor occurring with pain
  • Nausea as well as vomiting
  • Chills along with fever
  • Cloudy or blood tinged urine
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • A constant need to urinate
  • Recurring urinary infection
Preventive Measures

Rather than suffering from the debilitating effects of kidney stones, and then undergoing expensive treatment, it is best to prevent them from occurring in the first place. One of the best ways of doing that is to drink plenty of water. For instance, if you have already had a history of stones, it is recommended that you drink up to 10-12 glasses of water per day. Water helps in flushing away the substances that form into renal stones.

Depending on an individual's medical history and the cause of the kidney stones, medications and dietary changes may also be recommended to lessen the chances of renal stones occurring again. If a stone is passed, it is particularly helpful to get an analysis done on it in a laboratory, in order to ascertain the precise type of kidney stone so that specific preventive measures can be devised. If the stone lodges in the ureter, it can lead to severe pain. This pain can rise steadily, peaking in a few minutes, and radiating to the testis or labium, and the flanks.

Mar 29, 2015

Side Effects of Ketosis

Normally, our body gets energy from various dietary sources of carbohydrates. When the carbohydrate content is reduced in a diet, our body is forced to obtain energy by burning the body fat. The specialized metabolic mechanisms for the breakdown of fat molecules in the adipose tissue are activated in order to achieve this. Such a breakdown of fats to obtain energy results in the production of beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) and acetoacetate. Acetoacetate further breaks down to acetone which is utilized to fulfill the energy requirements of the body. These three molecules are collectively termed as ketone bodies. In the initial few days, the excess ketone bodies are excreted through urine, and the level of ketones in the body remain balanced. Later on, the continuous rise in ketones leads to their accumulation in the body. This condition is referred to as ketosis. The state of ketosis is not only associated with weight loss, it may also prove beneficial in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and epilepsy seizures in children.

How Does Ketosis Help in Weight Loss?

Many people who are willing to lose weight through dieting, opt for a ketogenic diet. In this diet plan, the fat intake is high and the intake of carbohydrate is very low. Research studies suggest that such a diet leads to weight loss by reducing hunger, triggering the utilization of fat reserves in the body, and depletion of glycogen reserves in liver along with water loss. However, these effects have been evaluated on a short-term basis only. The long-term effects of such a diet is a debatable issue as yet.

Side Effects of Ketosis
There are several side effects which are observed in people who are following a ketogenic diet. Most of the side effects show up 3-7 days after starting the diet. The most obvious side effect that people talk about, is loss of hunger. Some people rejoice on this effect as it helps them to lose weight but many of them cannot tolerate it. This lowers their energy levels so much that they feel unwell. They suffer from minor problems like headache, nausea, irritability, sudden dizziness, and so on. They may also experience sluggish mobility, as more energy is required in breaking down the fats for production of usable energy for the body. Dehydration and constipation are often observed in the beginning of the diet program. These problems are resolved by drinking plenty of water and eating fiber-rich foods.

Bad breath is another side effect of ketosis which is triggered by the abnormal increase in the ketone bodies. The body gets rid of the excess amount of acetone through breath resulting in halitosis. In fact, breath acetone serves as a diagnostic measure for ketosis.

Ketone bodies are precursors for a toxic metabolite called methylglyoxal. A study conducted at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center revealed a 2-fold increase in the levels of methylglyoxal in people on a ketogenic diet. This molecule induces oxidative DNA damage and also alters protein structure and functions resulting in damage of various tissues and blood vessels.

Ketosis has also been associated with mild euphoria. At the beginning of the diet, people often experience a feeling of well-being. This has been attributed to the increased levels of BHB, which is an isomer of gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), popularly known as liquid ecstasy or the date rape drug. GHB is also naturally present in our body and plays a major role in neurotransmission. A detailed study of the effects of BHB and GHB has shown that BHB indirectly induces GHB-like effects but with a lesser intensity.

If a low-carb high-protein diet program continues for a long time, it may lead to other health complications. A high protein intake may lead to diarrhea in some. This can happen due to increased intake of dairy products in which case, one is unable to digest lactose. If protein intake leads to decreased intake of other nutrients, especially fiber, it may lead to loose motions. Also, if increased protein consumption is coupled with increased fat intake, the fatty foods may cause diarrhea. A high protein diet leads to high uric acid levels, and hence has been identified as a risk factor for gout and kidney stones. Moreover, the excretion of these acids through urine requires calcium. Hence, an increased acid level corresponds to increased calcium excretion, which alters the bone density and poses the risk of calcium deficiency and osteoporosis. Ketosis has also been associated with heart palpitations.

Diabetics and Ketosis
Type 1 diabetes is characterized by the inability to utilize glucose as an energy source due to a lack of required insulin levels. In such individuals, the body responds to this state by utilizing the fat reserves to fulfill the energy requirements; and by increasing glucose levels in blood. The obvious outcome of this is high levels of ketones in blood and urine to an extent that the acid-base balance in urine also disrupts. Such condition characterized by high glucose levels, acidic urine and high ketone levels is known as Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA). Type 2 diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance and rarely leads to DKA.

In such cases, when the individual is already prone to ketosis, a ketogenic diet is best avoided. However, it is essential to keep a check on the carbohydrate intake, and consult the appropriate medical professional to understand and fulfill the metabolic and nutritive needs of the body.

Ketosis during Pregnancy
After the 12th week of pregnancy, a state of insulin resistance is observed which leads to breakdown of body fat. This helps the developing fetus in two ways: glucose is spared for the fetus and the maternal ketones serve as an additional energy source. Therefore, it is normal to observe ketone bodies in urine. However, a ketogenic diet should be followed only with the consent of the expert since it may cause premature birth, still birth or abnormalities in the fetal development.

The effects of ketosis are different for every individual. Some people have the natural ability to deal with them but others may not be able to cope up with the changes associated with it. People with liver and kidney diseases should avoid a low carbohydrate and high fat or high protein diet. Therefore, at any point of time, if dieters feel that they are unable to tolerate these effects, they should abandon the diet program immediately.

Symptoms of Ketosis

Our body produces energy from the glucose we get from the consumed carbohydrates. But when glucose is not available, the liver produces ketone bodies to provide the body with the required energy. Although ketones are always present in the body, their levels can rise during a period of prolonged fasting. This condition is called ketosis.

The most common cause of ketosis is following a low-carb diet. When one switches over from a high-glycemic diet to a low-glycemic diet, their body enters into a stage of ketosis. The body does not immediately start producing ketones, but if carbohydrates are not included in the diet for a long time, say two days or more, the body starts utilizing the energy from its fat stores. The glucose is thus preserved only for dire conditions like preventing protein and muscle breakdown.

The initial stage of ketosis is considered relatively harmless. In fact, ketosis has also been deliberately induced through a ketogenic diet to treat epilepsy. However, prolonged ketosis is harmful for the body and is highly discouraged.

Symptoms
The most common symptoms of ketosis include:
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Excessive thirst
  • Nausea accompanied by abdominal pain
  • Problems with sleeping
  • Bad breath
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Metallic, sweet, or fruity taste in the mouth
  • Strong smelling urine
  • Loss of appetite
  • Temporary sense of euphoria
Diagnosis
A confirmatory urine test can be done to see whether the body is in a state of ketosis. One can purchase ketosis strips that are easily available in the market. The strip changes color if ketone bodies are present in the urine.

Side Effects
A prolonged state of ketosis can cause major health problems like:
  • Calcium deficiency
  • Osteoporosis
  • Gout
  • Kidney stones
  • Liver damage
Controversy Surrounding Ketosis and its Symptoms
Most people claim that going into ketosis and exhibiting its symptoms is no reason for alarm, and simply denotes a different and specific phase of metabolism that the body is going through. This is the main reason that people still strongly advocate going in for low-carb diets, and even go to the extent of claiming that certain organs function better during the state of ketosis. However, research says that ketone bodies are acidic compounds, and their accumulation in the blood could lead to toxicity. It is an aggravation of symptoms that lead to the potentially life-threatening condition called ketoacidosis.

Doing Away With Ketosis
The easiest way of reversing ketosis is by including carbohydrates in the diet. One has to make sure that they do not start consuming carbohydrates suddenly, but increase the intake gradually, after consulting a health professional. Eating smaller and frequent meals help mitigate the symptoms to a large extent. Another important thing is to keep the body hydrated to help dilute the urine and, in turn, flush out the ketone bodies.

To avoid conditions like ketosis and other medical complications, it is always advisable that you consult a health professional before making any extreme changes in your diet. He/she would best know what is suitable for you and guide you accordingly.

Recovering From Prostate Surgery

Many men suffer from prostate related problems and this number is increasing rapidly in all parts of the world. Not just the old men, the youngsters too are prone to prostate problems. The prostate surgeries are suggested by the doctors, after studying all the aspects related to the case such as the age of the patient, his current health issues and the previous health history. Surgery becomes imperative for treating prostate cancer, as there is always a threat of the cancer spreading to the other parts of the body. Now, let us talk about recovering from prostate surgery in detail.

Recovery From Prostate Surgery

In the case of a patient having undergone prostate cancer surgery, the time to be spent in the hospital depends largely on the nature of the surgery and the condition of his health after the surgery. In the surgery recovery, the catheter will be used for holding the urine of the patient till the track of urine becomes completely okay. You may be prescribed the pain-killer medicines for proper recovery from the surgical procedure. After the improvement in control of urine and the reduction in the problem of swelling, you will be advised by your doctors to do light exercises. These light exercises will improve the circulation of blood to all the parts of your body.

The recovery after the surgery will be faster if the patient follows the vital instructions such as refraining from lifting heavy objects for a few months, maintaining a good and healthy diet with fruits, fruit juices and drinking water in adequate quantities. Though there are many side effects such as bowel dysfunction, urinary dysfunction, pain, bleeding, premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction and infertility, this surgery has helped many people to lead a normal life by reducing the risk of prostate cancer.

Recovering From Laser Surgery

The recovery from laser prostate surgery may take seven to fifteen days. Your doctors will suggest you to take complete rest for a few days, once you are done with the surgery. You may not need a catheter for holding the urine for too long. The medicines which will be prescribed to you will include antibiotics and pain-killer medications, which should be taken as per the instructions. You should avoid doing any sort of heavy-duty activities such as running, weightlifting, playing sports or driving, as doing so can aggravate the situation. While recovering from this surgery, you might experience problems such as need for frequent urination, blood clotting, burning sensation with urination or blood in the urine. These signs should be reported to the doctor, to think of some preventive measures without wasting any time. You may also have to deal with high fever and general pain during the process of recovering from the surgery. You may also be advised not to indulge in sexual activity till your recovery is complete.

Recovery From Robotic Prostate Surgery

The recovery from robotic prostate surgery takes lesser time as compared to the other types of surgeries. Many people manage to walk even after a few hours after the surgery, while doing the regular daily activities is possible in a few days. The reason for this is, that the incisions which are made are very small and gas under pressure is used to restrict the bleeding to occur. You can get a discharge from the hospital in just one day after this procedure.

The number of people opting for the prostate surgery for enlarged prostate and prostate diseases is increasing rapidly. Apart from the surgery, cleanliness, and personal hygiene play an important role in maintaining the prostate health.

Side Effects of Prostate Surgery

There are many people who experience certain side effects after a prostate surgery, as per the reports of many doctors and health care institutions. Before we discuss these side effects, let us know exactly when should a person decide to have a prostate surgery.

When is the Right Time to Undergo Prostate Surgery?

The decision of whether to undergo prostate surgery or not can be quite difficult at times and you must consult and act as per your doctor's guidelines. There are countless men who face prostate problems in their life. The prostate problems occur more in men when they are aging. The enlargement of the prostate takes place steadily over the years and the symptoms of enlarged prostate gland are evident with this enlargement. The concepts of enlarged prostate and prostate cancer are different, and doctors do suggest the removal of prostate cancer by surgeries. In the case of an enlarged prostate, there are plenty of other options available to get rid of the problem instead of going for the surgery. Drug therapies and non surgical options are available for treating enlarged prostate. Thus, one should take the right decision about having a prostate surgery after considering all the aspects of the case which involve general health of the patient.

Side Effects

Urinary Dysfunction
Urinary dysfunction is one of the side effects which is basically caused due to the pain while urinating. This side effect is seen among many undergoing prostate surgery.

Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction is another major side effect experienced by many men. This occurs because the nerves which are present near the prostate get removed during the surgery. However, there are treatments available for treating erectile dysfunction.

Bowel Dysfunction
Apart from urinary dysfunction and erectile dysfunction, bowel dysfunction can be the result of a prostate surgery. This side effect is seen due to the damage caused to the rectum.

Pain and Bleeding
Suffering from pain and bleeding are very common side effects seen in many patients who undergo the surgery. In normal cases, the pain and bleeding disappears after a few weeks or in a few months. But, some alternative treatments may be required if the pain and bleeding does not stop.

Infertility
Infertility can be one of the side effects of prostate surgery, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. The reason why infertility is seen in some people is due to the removal of the seminal vesicles and also the removal of the prostate, which have a direct effect on the fertility. A lot of trauma might be experienced by many people undergoing the surgery, which may be one of the reason for the infertility.

Premature and Retrograde Ejaculation
Premature ejaculation which involves the release of the semen before a man climaxes, is also a side effect. However, in the case of retrograde ejaculation, instead of entering the urethra, the semen wrongly enters the bladder and finally mixes with the urine. The final exit of this semen is through the urine. This is considered as one of the rarest side effects in the medical circles, and is believed that it does not cause any harm. Both of these can be termed as the sexual side effects of prostate surgery.

The side effects of laser prostate surgery include frequent urination, infections of the urinary tract, loss of the control of the bladder and also the formation of the scar tissue in the urethra. The formation of these scar tissues in the urethra and also in the bladder cause blockages, which result into difficulties while urinating. On the contrary, the enlarged prostate surgery side effects include pain during urination, TURP syndrome, frequent urination, blood in the urine, narrowing of the bladder neck and facing problems with erection.

It's not necessary that the side effects mentioned in this article occur in all people undergoing the surgery. Positive attitude and maintaining a good lifestyle are the keys of maintaining good and sound health.

Symptoms of Prostate Infection

The prostate gland is located just below the bladder in men. An infection of the prostate is often called prostatitis. One of the basic symptoms of prostate infection is difficulty in urination. At the same time, it can also be a symptom of prostate cancer. Prostate infection symptoms are normally found in men above the age of fifty. It does not mean that younger men are not affected by this condition. The infection may either be discovered by the person himself, or may be diagnosed by the doctor during routine examination.

☛ Classification of Prostate Infection Symptoms

Prostate infection spreads from the urinary tract. In this case, the bacteria makes its way from the urethra up to the prostate gland causing infection. It is seen that the infection can be caused after certain medical procedures as well. Prostatitis is classified into four types.

1. Acute bacterial prostatitis

This infection is the easiest to diagnose. It is generally observed that the urinary tract has an infection in this case. Urine is examined for the presence of bacteria and white blood cells in it. In advanced acute bacterial prostatitis, difficulty in passing urine is the main symptom. Acute bacterial prostatitis is generally treated with antibiotics. The common symptoms in this prostate infection are:
  • Fever
  • Pain in the genitals
  • Lower back pain
  • Frequent urination
  • Burning sensation during urination and/or painful urination
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • Difficulty in bowel movement
2. Chronic bacterial prostatitis

Chronic bacterial prostatitis infection is uncommon. This type has recurring infection or inflammation. The recurring infection is an indicator of some flaw in the functioning of the prostate. The chronic bacterial prostatitis infection can spread to the bladder as well. It is important that the condition is diagnosed correctly before any treatment is given. Prescribing antibiotics is the preferred treatment for this condition as well. Many times, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are given to supplement the antibiotics. The symptoms are similar to that of acute bacterial prostatitis. They are:
  • Urgency in need to urinate
  • Pain during or after urination
  • Pain in the lower back
  • Testicular pain
  • Muscle and joint pain
3. Chronic nonbacterial prostatitis

This is the most common form of prostatitis. Its occurrence is nearly eight times more than that of bacterial prostatitis. In this type of prostate infection, the tests give negative result. Chronic nonbacterial prostate infection is found in men of all age groups. This type of prostate infection is normally detected in case of infertility. However, the symptoms go away only to recur. The symptoms noticed in this infection are listed below:
  • Burning sensation during and after urinating
  • Pain in the genital area
  • Bowel movement problem
  • Pain while ejaculation
4. Prostatodynia

Prostatodynia is also called chronic pelvic pain syndrome. There is no visible bacterial infection in the prostate or the urinary tract. The symptoms are normally treated with antibiotics. But the antibiotics are unable to really eliminate the root cause of the problem. The symptoms are:
  • Impotence
  • Pain in the pelvic region
  • Blood in urine and/or semen
  • Pain during ejaculation
  • Urgent need to urinate
  • Fever
  • Lower back pain
☛ When to Seek Medical Help

If the following symptoms are accompanied with high fever and chills then you need to rush to the doctor immediately.
  • Pain in the genital areas
  • Burning and pain while urinating
  • Problems in beginning urination
  • Pain and discomfort during ejaculation.
☛ Treating Prostate Infection
  • Antibiotics are normally prescribed for treating prostate symptoms. But it has been observed that many a time, physicians have problems in diagnosing whether the prostatitis is bacterial or nonbacterial. This problem is faced due to the antibiotics taken previously for a similar problem.
  • Rarely a surgery of the urethra or the prostate is advocated. But it is advisable to seek a second opinion on the same.
  • Foods rich in vitamin E should be consumed to maintain prostate health. It is an antioxidant and fights the free radicals in the body.
  • Caffeine and alcoholic drinks including beer, should be avoided.
  • Consumption of soy products should be increased. Soy contains isoflavones, which prevents prostate enlargement and prostate cancer.
  • Foods rich in zinc should be consumed. Zinc is said to reduce the inflammation and other symptoms of prostate infection. Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of zinc.
  • Flaxseed oil prevents inflammation and swelling.
  • Some patients are advised against cycling in case of prostate symptoms.
  • Warm tub baths for the pelvic muscles help in alleviating the pain and help in relaxing the lower abdominal muscle.
Most of the symptoms of prostate infection are common. In case of the above mentioned symptoms, it is advisable to seek medical help immediately. Do not miss or discontinue your antibiotic course even if you feel better, as it may reduce the effectiveness of that particular antibiotic on your body. Complete the entire course as prescribed by your doctor. Initially you can go to a general physician for medicines but if the infection is recurring, consult a urologist. It is better to arrest the infection in the latent stage, than curing it in the advanced stage.

Side Effects OF Flomax in Men

Flomax, scientifically known as tamsulosin hydrochloride, is a medication that is used to treat the symptoms of enlarged prostate or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). BPH is an ailment related to the prostate gland, an important gland in the male reproductive system that surrounds the urethra. This condition is more commonly seen in older men between 50 to 60 years of age. The gland starts growing in men as they reach puberty, and since then it continues to grow throughout their adulthood. However, as men reach their fifties and sixties, due to this continued growth, the gland enlarges and squeezes the urethra which intervenes with the flow of urine. This may further result in other ailments like urine dribbling, pain, and burning sensation while urinating, urine retention, incontinence, etc.

Flomax, when used to treat enlarged prostate, functions by blocking the alpha-adrenergic receptors in the smooth muscles of the gland, which relaxes the muscles. Hence, flomax basically doesn't shrink the enlarged prostate gland, rather it improves the urine flow, and decreases the severity of other BPH symptoms. However, like all medication, flomax is also known to cause some adverse side effects.

Side Effects of Flomax

The side effects can either be mild or severe, depending on the age and overall health of the patient. Hence, before consuming this medication, it is essential to know what they are, and how severe they can be.

Generic
Research shows that patients taking flomax experience certain common side effects that are mentioned below:
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Back pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Chest pain
  • Sleepiness
  • Overall body pain
  • Strep throat and stuffy nose
  • Insomnia
  • Upset stomach
  • Blurred vision and vertigo
Most of the above-mentioned symptoms arise as the drug tends to lower the blood pressure of the patient. Hence, the patient should avoid high-energy activities like running, driving, and jumping after taking this medication. Since these side effects are generic, they could be a result of other illnesses like common cold, or viral fever. Hence, it is important to consult a doctor for proper diagnosis.

Severe
Some patients may suffer from severe side effects that might require immediate attention and medical assistance. Such symptoms are listed below.
  • Abnormal ejaculation: Under this condition, the person is unable to ejaculate, or has reduced ejaculation.
  • Retrograde ejaculation: It is a condition wherein, the ejaculate enters the bladder instead of ejecting from the penis.
  • Priapism: It is a condition wherein, the penis tends to be erect in the absence of any sexual stimulus. It is usually a painful medical condition in which the penis does not return to its flaccid state within 4 hours.
  • Sexual problems: It has been reported that men using flomax have had reduced sexual capacity and performance. Reduced sexual desires is another associated problem.
  • Cataract complications: Flomax have been known to complicate surgeries and other treatment methods for cataract removal. Hence, it is important for men, taking this drug, to inform their doctors about this, and any other medication or herbal products that they may be using.
To conclude, we can say, if you are taking flomax, and notice any of the aforementioned side effects, do not delay in contacting your doctor to elucidate the case, and prevent the long-term ill effects. Also, it is recommended to consult your doctor prior to taking the medication, and never exceed its prescribed dosage.

Young Men Prostate Problems

Prostate problems are often encountered in the form of infections in the prostate glands. In some cases, these problems are also found to be in the form of prostate cancer. Prostate infections, also known as Prostatitis, are characterized by pain and inflammation in the prostate glands due to the infections caused by certain bacteria present in the large intestine, while prostate cancer signifies the growth of cancerous cells in the prostate glands. Prostate problems are more widely observed in men who are around 70 to 80 years old. However, prostate problems in young men have become a common observation nowadays, as many people around the age of 30 are experiencing this problem too. Let us focus our discussion on the causes, symptoms, and the relevant treatment of prostate problems in young males.

Causes of Prostate Problems

Some of the probable reasons for prostate problems can be listed as under.
  • The presence of prostate stones in the glands
  • Bacterial infection in the prostate gland
  • Allergies towards certain food and drinks
  • Uric acid disorders
  • Yeast infections
  • Increased estrogen levels
  • Excessive masturbation
Symptoms of a Prostate Problem

There are two types of prostate problems, and the symptoms of both the problems are almost same. However, only the intensity of those symptoms will vary. Some of the prostate problems symptoms are listed below.

Symptoms of Prostatitis
The common symptoms of prostatitis are:
  • Feeling of pain in the pelvic region.
  • Frequent urination, and pain while urinating
  • Sensation of burning during urination
  • Pain while ejaculating
  • In cases of severe prostatitis, people also suffer from fever and chills.
  • Enlarged prostate
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer does not show any severe symptoms in its early days. These symptoms tend to become serious over a period of time, and the cancer spreads to all the other parts of the body. It is found that prostate cancer affects mostly older men, and it is also believed that prostate cancer is more prevalent amongst the African-American men. But it is important for men from all the age groups to know the symptoms of prostate cancer, as young men are not immune to it either.
  • Enlargement of the urinary bladder
  • Difficulty while urinating, and frequent sessions of urination
  • Effect on sexual health, as pain is experienced while ejaculating
  • Formation of a lump in the prostate gland
  • Other physical problems such as cough, chest pain, and abdominal pain are also observed in the advanced stages of prostate cancer
Prostate Problems and Treatment

Fortunately, there are many herbal as well as surgical treatments to treat prostate problems. See that you consult a doctor before opting for any of these treatments, and also know about the side effects of all the treatments.
  • Quercetin: Quercetin is a type of flavonoid mostly found in onions and apples. Scientific studies have revealed that quercetin is effective in the treatment of prostate cancer, as it stops the growth of cancer cells in the body.
  • Saw Palmetto: Another herb found to be useful in treating prostate enlargement is saw palmetto. This herb has been in use since a long time and has helped people who faced urinary problems. It improves the urine flow and also stops frequent urination.
  • Surgery Based Treatments: Sometimes, herbs and other domestic medications do not work. For such cases, there are many therapies and surgeries available that cure the prostate problems. Certain therapies such as chemotherapy, which involves the use of chemicals to kill the growth of cancerous cells, radiation therapy, that involves the external beam therapy to kill cancer cells with the aid of radiations, are used. Other popular treatments for prostate problems include proton therapy and cryotherapy.
These are the main symptoms and treatments associated with prostate problems in young men. Another common problem is an enlarged prostate. This can even be experienced by men as young as 30. But the probability of occurrence increases with age. As of now, there are no standard preventive measures prescribed against these problems. However, it is believed that personal hygiene and cleanliness can help you keep such problems away, and help in maintaining your prostate health. If you experience any of the symptoms, a checkup should be done at the earliest. The treatments mentioned here are for informative purposes, and a proper diagnosis by a doctor should be done to check your specific case, and determine further course of action.

Back Pain Herbal Remedies

Herbal remedies for back pain are safe, effective and have minimal side effects, if any. However, before starting any herbal treatment, it is essential to consult a herb specialist. He may also guide you in choosing the right herb to cure your backache.

Red Pepper
Also known as cayenne pepper, it can work wonders to ease your back pain. A paste of red pepper, gently rubbed on your back, can help alleviate the pain. Red pepper contains a pain-relieving ingredient known as capsaicin. Creams that contain capsaicin can also provide considerable relief.

Another herbal remedy that can be made at home, is by mixing red pepper into a cold cream. Keep on adding pepper until the cream turns pink and then massage it onto your back to get relief. An alcohol red pepper rub is also useful in this regard. What you need to do, is put an ounce of red pepper into one quart of rubbing alcohol. Allow the mixture to remain as it is, for about 3 weeks. Then apply it on the affected area.

Epsom Salts
A good hot bath with epsom salts, is another herbal remedy for backache, as it increases circulation and reduces swelling in arthritis patients. The best way to get effective results, is to add two cups of epsom salt in your bath water. Bathing with hot water that contains epsom salt, can certainly help soothe your backache.

Ginger
Ginger contains 12 anti-inflammatory compounds that can help to ease your back problem. Cut a piece of ginger into thin slices and soak them in clean water. Now boil the mixture. When the mixture starts boiling, simmer it for about 30 minutes on a low flame. Allow the mixture to cool and then pass it through a strainer to separate any solids. Drink this strained mixture. One can also add honey, if needed.

Devil's Claw
Devil's claw is said to have anti-inflammatory properties, hence using this herb in the form of a pill or a capsule can help to reduce your back pain.

White Willow Bark
This herb has a compound which is very similar to the one found in aspirin. Drinking tea made from the willow bark plant is also an effective way to lessen your back pain.

Other herbs that can provide relief from backaches are some pungent herbs like peppermint, cayenne, and eucalyptus. Herbs such as chamomile, echinacea, and licorice, taken in the form of a capsule or as tea, is also helpful to treat backaches. Herbs are applied topically as a rub, soak or a plaster, to reduce back pain.

The aforementioned remedies can indeed impart relief to serious back problems. You can also include back exercises in your daily routine to strengthen and improve the flexibility in your back muscles.

Mar 27, 2015

Lemongrass Tea for Cancer Patient

Lemongrass, as the name suggests, is a tropical grass that has a lemon like fragrance. It is commonly found in India and Sri Lanka and is also popularly used in Asian cuisines. It is one of the most common ingredients of curry in Thai cuisine. Similarly, the lemongrass tea has also been savored as a cool as well as hot drink since a long time. However, along with its culinary uses, lemongrass has been used extensively for its health benefits.

Lemongrass Tea Benefits for Cancer

Some of the common benefits of lemongrass plant include its use in treating indigestion and enhancing immune system. It helps in maintaining a healthy skin and treating acne. At the same time, lemongrass is used for the treatment of blood pressure, arthritis, and rheumatic fever. It also has anti-bacterial and antifungal properties and is rich in antioxidants. However, according to recent studies, researchers and scientists have claimed that lemongrass actually helps in the treatment of cancer.

Scientists have claimed that lemongrass helps in destroying cancer cells in vitro. According to the studies, lemongrass tea promotes the cancer cells to kill themselves which indirectly helps in the prevention of cancer growth. This occurs due to the presence of a substance known as 'citral' in lemongrass. Secondly, the damaged cancer cells do not release any harmful substances, and hence, do not possess any threat to their surrounding environment. It has also been found that the amount of citral required for the same is very less, i.e., only one gram of citral helps in carrying out this function. Therefore, it is believed that having a cup of lemongrass tea not only helps in treating some forms of cancer but also helps in providing other health benefits. Here are two recipes for the same.

Lemongrass Tea Recipes

Recipe # 1

Ingredients
  • 12-15 fresh lemongrass stalks
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 8 cups water
Method of Preparation

Cut the lemongrass in small pieces and get rid of any dry and discolored stalks. Now place the cut lemongrass, sugar and 2 cups of water in a pan and bring to a boil. When the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is boiled, remove from heat and steep for 15-20 minutes. Pour the remaining 6 cups of water in the pan and stir. Blend this mixture finely until the lemongrass is crushed completely. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and serve with ice.

Recipe # 2

Ingredients
  • 5-10 fresh lemongrass stalks
  • 1 cup of water
  • Sugar/milk optional
Method of Preparation

Cut the lemongrass stalks in fine slices. You can either put the lemongrass in a pan along with water and bring to boil or pour boiling water directly on the lemongrass in a cup. Let it steep for a couple of minutes. Your lemongrass tea is ready! You can also add sugar and milk according to your taste.

It is essential to use only fresh stalks for making this tea in order to achieve all its health benefits. It should be noted that there are chances of you hurting your hands while plucking lemongrass stalks and hence, you can consider wearing gloves while doing so. Secondly, although there are no proven side effects associated with lemongrass tea, in case you experience discomfort or side effects in any form, you should discontinue having it immediately. Lastly, those suffering from chronic illness should also consult the doctor before having lemongrass tea.

If you have decided to have it regularly, you should look for genuine products (leaves or stalks) to make it at home. Lastly, also note that although it has numerous health benefits, it should not be consumed in excess. Take care!

My Simple and Tasteful Lemongrass Soup Recipes

Lemongrass is a multipurpose herb, used in culinary and medicinal applications. This tropical grass is widely known for its rich citrus scent. The lemongrass plant itself is not consumed directly, but it is added to add flavor to dishes. So, either you can remove it after cooking, or retain in dishes at the time of serving. While trying to make some lemongrass soup, make sure that you peel off the outside leaves and smash the stalk a little. This will impart a rich lemon flavor to your soup. Given below are some easy soup recipes that you can try making at home.

Corn and Lemongrass Soup

Ingredients
  • Large onion, 1 (chopped)
  • Fresh lemongrass, 1 stalk
  • Water, 5 cups
  • Butternut squash, 4 cups (peeled, cubed, seeded)
  • Fresh corn kernels, 2½ cups
  • Salt and pepper for taste
Directions

While preparing lemongrass, you can trim off the root section and remove the outer leaves. Crush the stalk with a large knife, and cut into larger pieces. In a soup pot, cook lemongrass and onions with some water for 10 minutes over low heat setting, until onion becomes soft. Add remaining water, squash, corn, and seasoning spices. Adjust heat setting to high, and bring the soup mixture to a boiling temperature. Then, cover lid and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes, or till squash can be mashed easily. Remove lemongrass and make a puree. If required, reheat soup before serving.

Coconut Lemongrass Soup

Ingredients
  • Coconut milk, 2 cans
  • Lemongrass, 2 stalks (peeled and sliced into ½ cm. pieces)
  • Garlic, 2 cloves (minced)
  • Lime leaves, 3 (torn into 3 pieces)
  • Red pepper, 1 (cut)
  • Jalapeño, ¼
  • Firm tofu, 1 block
  • Carrots, 2 (peeled and sliced)
  • Small zucchini, 2 (peeled and sliced)
  • Button mushrooms, 1 can (drained and washed)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Sea salt for seasoning
Directions

Take a large soup pot, and add coconut milk, lemongrass, garlic, and lime leaves. Heat till the mixture starts boiling. Then, stir in the remaining ingredients (except salt and lime juice) - red pepper, jalapeño, tofu, carrot, zucchini, and mushroom. Cook on medium-low heat for 30 - 40 minutes. Add lime juice and salt as per your taste. If desired, you can add hoisin sauce to spice up your lemongrass soup. Before serving it, discard lemongrass.

Lemongrass Chicken Soup

Ingredients
  • Large lemongrass stalks, 2 (peeled and cut into 4 inch pieces)
  • Chicken broth, 3 cups
  • Cooked chicken breast, ½ cup (cut into pieces)
  • Button mushrooms, ¼ cup (sliced)
  • Cracked black pepper, ⅛ tsp.
  • Thin fresh asparagus spears, 6 (cut up)
  • Salt for taste
  • Green onions, 2 (thinly sliced)
  • Fresh cilantro leaves
Directions for Preparation

First prepare lemongrass stalks by cutting lengthwise and tying with a cotton string. This way, you can remove them easily at the time of serving. In a cooking pan, add lemongrass, chicken broth, mushroom, and pepper. Heat this mixture till it boils, and reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes, and discard the lemongrass bundle. To the pan, add chicken pieces, asparagus, and salt. Cook over low heat for 3 - 4 minutes, until asparagus turn crispy and tender. Remove the soup from heat, and add spring onions. While serving in soup bowls, you can top with fresh cilantro or basil leaves.

Lemongrass Soup with Shrimp

Ingredients
  • Water, 4 cups
  • Lemongrass, 1 stalk (crushed and cut into 1 inch pieces)
  • Lemon leaves, 4 (torn into 3 pieces)
  • Ginger root, 1 inch (thinly sliced)
  • Sugar, 1 tsp.
  • Fish sauce, 3 tbsp.
  • Chili powder, 1 tsp.
  • Fresh hot chilies, 2 (crushed and halved)
  • Button mushrooms, 2 oz. (quartered)
  • Medium to large shrimp, 16 (shelled and deveined)
  • Lime juice, 3 tbsp.
  • Fresh cilantro leaves for garnishing
Directions for Preparation

Heat the water in a large soup pot and bring it to a rolling boil. Then, add lemongrass, lemon leaves, and ginger. Boil for 2 minutes over high heat. Add sugar, fish sauce, chili powder, fresh chili, and mushrooms, and cook for 4 minutes. Lower heat to medium-high and add shrimp along with the lime juice. Boil for 2 minutes, or until the shrimp turns springy and whitish in color. Spoon into individual soup bowls, decorate with cilantro leaves and serve hot.