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Doctor recommends soap for leg cramps


Q: I recently heard from my vascular doctor that I had brewed a piece of soap between the sheets to relieve nocturnal leg cramps.

I started measuring the frequency of my leg cramps since using the bed soap. I am now at zero. I have had no leg cramps in the last three months. I am amazed. I have just read that I have to change the soap as soon as the smell subsides.

I am now a happy and rested woman who does not get up in the middle of the night due to extreme muscle spasms. Whatever it is, even when it comes to matter, this method worked for me.

A: Thank you for sharing this story. For more than a decade, we have been writing soap under the bottom sheet. To hear that a doctor recommends this home remedy is enjoyable.

We do not believe that this is a placebo effect, although many people believe that this is the explanation. Indeed, a doctor tested a skin patch containing soap oil to relieve muscle spasms, menstrual cramps and the pain of fibromyalgia (Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, July 2008, Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare, September 1

, 2008). He achieved good results.

This doctor hypothesized that the soap scent had a biological effect. Are we in agreement. Limonene is a common scent in soap. Scientists report that they can inhibit pain by activating specific TRPA1 channels (European Journal of Pain, August 2016). Even if this explanation is wrong, a piece of soap under the lower leaf seems to be a safe solution to a painful problem.

Q: You recently wrote about how not to cook gassed beans. You did not share my strategy. It never fails!

Cover beans with water and bring to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Pour from the water. Add new water and spices and cook until you are done. You will not have any gas beans.

A: Thank you for your suggestion. Others have suggested a slightly different strategy. Use 9 parts water to 1 part beans. Bring beans to a boil and cook for three minutes. Allow the beans to cool for four hours and discard the water. Add fresh water and heat for half an hour. Dispose of the cooking water again. Finally, add more fresh water and cook until the beans are done, and discard the water the last time.

One reader said Beano is also helpful in counteracting gas production. This product contains alpha galactosidase, which breaks down the complex sugars in beans that cause bloating. Q: Because of cancer, my thyroid gland has been removed. Since then, I've been on Synthroid, even though I told my endocrinologist I'm tired all the time. When I wake up, I feel pretty good. Within an hour of taking Synthroid, I'm ready to fall asleep again.

I've asked my doctor either Armor Thyroid or Nature-Throid, but I'm stuck. She's only interested in lab results, not how I feel. Is there any research that could convince them?

A: There are studies showing that some people do not turn T4 (synthroid or levothyroxine) into the active T3 hormone (Nature Reviews, Endocrinology, November 2015). Our Guide to Thyroid Hormones and our one-hour radio show "Thyroid Mysteries, Controversies and the Latest Research" (Show # 1015) may change your doctor's mind. Both are available at peoplepharmacy.com

Q: What can you tell me about the recall of Valsartan? I take the Solco product for some time. When I talked to the pharmacist yesterday, I was slowed down as if there was no problem. He acted as if the recall was not a big deal and they did nothing about it.

Should we ask customers for advice from the Food and Drug Administration? I am worried that I will continue to take the 90-day prescription that was taken a few days ago.

A: Valsartan (Diovan) is a widely prescribed cardiac and blood pressure medication. The recall is a big deal! Some generic valsartan pills were contaminated with NDMA, a potential carcinogen.

A Chinese company (Zhejiang Huahai) sold contaminated valsartan to a number of generic drug companies around the world. Solco Healthcare U.S. Pat. is a subsidiary of Huahai. Other affected US companies are Major Pharmaceuticals and Teva's Actavis Valsartan.

The FDA states that "Patients who take the recalled valsartan-containing medicines should continue to take their medicines until they receive a replacement product." Your pharmacy should not affect you Valsartan at no extra cost. If there are bottlenecks, your doctor may prescribe a similar medicine as irbesartan, losartan, olmesartan or telmisartan. Our guide to the treatment of hypertension provides information about such medications, along with a number of non-medication options. It is available at peoplepharmacy.com

Q: NasalCrom actually works better for me than the allergy pills that cause side effects. I have told everyone for several years. There are many word-of-mouth recommendations. Maybe that's why we do not see a huge advertising budget for it.

This nasal spray takes several days to get in, but then it's wonderful. Rather than tackling symptoms you already have, it prevents you from having the symptoms at all. I am now again a person who has no allergies!

A: Cromolyn (NasalCrom) stabilizes mast cells in the nose. These cells release histamine and other compounds when exposed to pollen and other allergens. Many other readers also report that nasal spray NasalCrom helps to reduce or prevent allergy symptoms.

Q: I was prescribed clindamycin after a dental procedure. Two days after the end, I had the worst diarrhea and abdominal pain I've ever had in my life.

I was diagnosed with C. difficile infection after having suffered for almost two weeks. Unfortunately, it will take another antibiotic to cure me of this terrible condition. I Will Never Recover Clindamycin

A: Clindamycin (Cleocin) is an antibiotic prescribed for a variety of bacterial infections in the skin, ears, bones, throat, lungs, joints, and teeth. As helpful as it may be, this drug can cause serious or even life-threatening side effects.

One of the worst is the diarrhea associated with Clostridium difficile (CDAD). This is because this antibiotic can alter the ecology of the colon and allow overgrowth of C. diff bacteria. The FDA warns that because clindamycin "can cause severe colitis that can be fatal, it should be reserved for severe infections where less toxic antimicrobials are inappropriate."

Overcoming a C. diff infection can be challenging. Even after successful treatment with another antibiotic a recurrence is possible. In extreme cases, physicians may perform a stool transplant to restore a healthy balance of intestinal bacteria.

Contact the Graedons on peoplespharmacy.com.

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