The case of the violently itching vagina in a 4 year old – yes, you read it here first.

Every now and then when I have the time and wherewithal to write up a case, I’ll do it. Let me tell you, what a long strange trip it’s been this winter; I’ve been treating acute illnesses non-stop: influenza, not-influenza-but-something-that-looks-just-like-it, strep, effects of strep, stomach virus, sinus infections, and now…. THE CASE OF THE VIOLENTLY ITCHING VAGINA.

Yes, my 4 year old daughter was twitching madly, calling out and crying and pulling at the crotch of her pjs in her sleep. The whole thing escalated as she ever more loudly and increasingly restlessly tossed about her bed. She shares a room with her 2 year old sister, so my anxieties about a) what could be afflicting her, and b) waking up her sister – were neck in neck.

My daughter, whether she is having trouble pooping, has a 104 degree fever, has a hangnail, stubs her toe, or in this case, experiences a strong itch, reacts as if she’s being tortured. It’s just who she is in the world. She’s intense and loud. So this went on for a good hour, as I desperately rifled through thoughts of remedies that might help her. First I started with Candida Albicans, just jumping at what might be the actual culprit – yeast. However, this is not good homeopathy – as a matter of fact, I rarely am grounded enough to do good, systematic homeopathy when it comes to my own family since I’m often too close to see the picture clearly and evenly, and there is an element of desperation felt, mostly by them though admittedly a bit by me too. Hence I completely understand when my young clients’ parents are worried or freaking out. It’s just so stressful when your kids are ailing.

I examined her for worms – none, thankfully. A bit of redness, but everything looked normal. So after no change with the candida remedy, I thought of Cantharis – the Spanish Fly, and one of homeopathy’s great urinary tract infection remedies, known for burning pain and extreme restlessness with the UTI. Hazel was practically jumping out of the bed with these periodic, violent stitches. I asked her, inside the body or outside? Inside. She yanked her underwear off, she put it back on, she wanted a tissue to use to itch it; she wanted to itch it, she wanted me to itch it. Not burning, just itching she said. We drank water together, we went to the bathroom. I compiled her symptoms in the program I have that gave me basically 20 remedies to consider and Cantharis was in there. I gave it.

Guess what? No change at all.

I looked back at the other remedies that came up on my original compilation of her symptoms and there was Rhus Toxicodendron, made from the poison oak plant. So, so restless. This is a remedy often used for restless sleep and skin rashes…. but I saw it had violent, female itching of the vagina, labia, and in between. (What’s the diff really?) But that all described what was going on. I gave one dose, and she was quieter longer, able to move through itching episodes with slightly less of an outburst. Then I gave another, and she was quieter still. Then she screamed again in extreme restlessness once more. I all but gave up, thinking, what would my mother do? As a homeopath, believe it or not, I can get too focused on a remedy picture and forget to take the whole picture into consideration. I had put cream on her, but was there something obvious that could help that I was missing? As a child, I had recurrent bladder infections, and I remember my mother getting up night after night, rocking me in her rocking chair and drinking tea with me.

“Do you want to have tea with me?” I blurted out. Yes, she said quietly. Amazing, as she’d rejected all my previous suggestions of sitting up with me, rocking in my arms, etc. I went to put on the water for a small pot of chamomile tea. I came right back in to check on her and lo and behold, she was fast asleep in my bed. Was it the Rhus? I think so. And am I up writing this post and drinking tea? You know it.

Homeopathic effectiveness in upper respiratory tract infections, and more – published on PubMed.gov

This good news of a study recently appeared on a reputable medical site, so I thought I’d share it! You can see below or visit the link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26251722?utm_source=Copy+of+October2015&utm_campaign=midOct2015–cough&utm_medium=email

Does additional antimicrobial treatment have a better effect on URTI cough resolution than homeopathic symptomatic therapy alone? A real-life preliminary observational study in a pediatric population.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The effectiveness of a homeopathic syrup on cough has been demonstrated in an adult population in a previous double-blind randomized study. The present prospective observational study investigated children affected by wet acute cough caused by non-complicated URTIs, comparing those who received the homeopathic syrup versus those treated with the homeopathic syrup plus antibiotic.

OBJECTIVES:

The aims were: 1) to assess whether the addition of antibiotics to a symptomatic treatment had a role in reducing the severity and duration of acute cough in a pediatric population, as well as in improving cough resolution; 2) to verify the safety of the two treatments.

METHODS:

Eighty-five children were enrolled in an open study: 46 children received homeopathic syrup alone for 10 days and 39 children received homeopathic syrup for 10 days plus oral antibiotic treatment (amoxicillin/clavulanate, clarithromycin, and erythromycin) for 7 days. To assess cough severity we used a subjective verbal category-descriptive (VCD) scale.

RESULTS:

Cough VCD score was significantly (P < 0.001) reduced in both groups starting from the second day of treatment (-0.52 ± 0.66 in the homeopathic syrup group and -0.56 ± 0.55 in children receiving homeopathic syrup plus oral antibiotic treatment). No significant differences in cough severity or resolution were found between the two groups of children in any of the 28 days of the study. After the first week (day 8) cough was completely resolved in more than one-half of patients in both groups. Two children (4.3 %) reported adverse effects in the group treated with the homeopathic syrup alone, versus 9 children (23.1 %) in the group treated with the homeopathic syrup plus antibiotics (P = 0.020).

CONCLUSIONS:

Our data confirm that the homeopathic treatment in question has potential benefits for cough in children as well, and highlight the strong safety profile of this treatment. Additional antibiotic prescription was not associated with a greater cough reduction, and presented more adverse events than the homeopathic syrup alone.

KEYWORDS:

Anti-bacterial agents; Antitussive agents; Cough; Homeopathy; Respiratory tract infections

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26251722?utm_source=Copy+of+October2015&utm_campaign=midOct2015–cough&utm_medium=email

Speaking Event: Ask a Homeopath

Ask a Homeopath

Does it seem as if your toddler has had a cough and runny nose this entire winter? Are you wondering if there’s a better, more holistic way to treat these ailments than using Tylenol or other drugs? Join us for an evening discussion with Erika Simonian, a board-certified classical homeopath with a private practice in Manhattan. Erika has years of experience treating children, and she will discuss how to use homeopathic remedies—which are FDA approved, nontoxic, and non-invasive—to treat common ailments like the cold, cough, and flu. She will also note common first aid remedies to have in your home tool kit, as well as speak about ways to naturally boost your child’s immune system, reducing their overall susceptibility to recurrent illness. A Q&A will follow Erika’s talk, so come with questions!

Friday, February 27th
7 p.m. – 8 p.m.
The Stomping Ground
636 Classon Avenue

Tickets:
$15 for members of The Stomping Ground
$25 for non-members

Space is limited! Get your tickets today: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1294660

Erika Simonian, CCH,  is a board-certified classical homeopath with a private family practice in Manhattan. She is a graduate of the School of Homeopathy, N.Y., and her post-graduate study includes clinic work in India with Rajan Sankaran’s Bombay School. For more information, visit her website at ny-homeopathy.com.

Aaaah! The Stomach Flu and Prophylaxis

So, I think I posted my first flu post 2 weeks ago and have been treating it non-stop ever since. It turns out my daughter had the stomach flu; this is an addendum to my last post, when I thought she had the flu-flu.

So the painful pooping would pass early each morning, upon waking. Other symptoms included fever, extreme nausea, vomiting and weakness and diarrhea – though my daughter only had the fever, weakness and diarrhea symptoms.  The urgent need to get to the toilet, with painful cramping in the lower abdomen, alleviated once she had a bowel movement, were her remaining symptoms.This lasted 3 or 4 days beyond the initial onset with fever. I treated her periodically with remedies but nothing really affected this one symptom. ) Her pediatrician told me kids were getting sick for a full week, so maybe whatever I gave her helped to move her through it, but I don’t know. Maybe she had a milder case than others, or maybe she’s just plain tough. Franky, any of the three seem possible.

Because no remedy I gave arrested the stomach flu in its tracks, I don’t want to spout off what I tried. Nothing was a bullseye, however, one thing I can say about it is, if someone near you has it, Nux Vomica 30c (2 pellets under the tongue, let dissolve, no food or drink for 10 minutes before and after taking it) seems to nip it in the bud every time. Nobody else in our family got sick, luckily, and the minute I knew any of my clients had it, I advised others in the family to take a prophylactic dose of Nux Vomica, and nobody else in those families fell sick either. Worth it’s weight, that Nux Vomica.

That’s, as they* say, “All the news that’s fit to print.”

——

* The New York Times

The Flu

Well, I’ve been looking for time to write this post for the past two weeks, to no avail, no-fat-on-my-operation, no time when I wasn’t actively working on clients’ cases or caring for my children. Tonight was actually a night when we had a babysitter, we were going to go out to a friend’s place for dinner, etc. and THEN….

Daughter #1 came down with the flu. She’s asleep on the couch right now, in fact. I figured, no time like the present then to write my influenza post.

There are a lot of scare tactics employed these days when it comes to the flu, and I think that’s mainly because it’s a virus, and western medicine doesn’t have a cure for it, other than what we all did in the old days – rest, fluids, rest, fluids, rest, fluids and more rest and fluids. Those two elements are super important, and a good homeopathic remedy combined with rest and fluids can turn this dreadful disease from a 5-7 day illness into a 12 or 24 hour one.

I thought I’d share the remedies that I’ve been using that seem to be making a difference. I’d be curious to hear what other homeopaths are noticing, as I have only four subjects so far, starting with myself.  Two weeks ago I found myself on the subway going to a music rehearsal, and felt extremely nauseous getting off the train. I am prone to a certain amount of motion sickness and thought it could be because I sat in a backward facing chair on the train car, but before I knew it, I was sitting on a couch in the rehearsal studio unable to move. I’d also bought chicken soup on the way in, thinking it would help stabilize me, but I could barely eat any of it; I was steadily becoming more and more nauseous. My husband dutifully went to the corner drugstore and picked me up some oscillococcinum, the homeopathic remedy made from the flu virus, and I took a whole vial under the tongue. Oddly, I found myself 10 minutes later able to stand up and start setting up my guitar, etc. My husband asked if I wanted to sit and play, and I opted to stand. This told me my energy had totally changed, and by the middle of the 2 hour rehearsal, I felt completely back to normal. That remedy, when taken early for true flu symptoms, works like a charm. I’ve used it twice in my life to this effect and can’t sing it’s praises highly enough, but it must be taken as soon as there are symptoms or it will not be effective.

The next day, I had a lingering headache, for which I took Gelsemium Sempervirens. This remedy, though effective for a range of symptoms and situations, is also a known flu remedy. A flu needing gelsemium will be of slower onset, and characterized by an extreme heaviness, just listlessness. Arms are so heavy it just feels impossible to even lift them. Eyelids are heavy, too heavy to keep open. Weakness, weakness, weakness. I frankly didn’t take the time to look at my own symptoms too closely and just took Gelsemium for what I felt was an unfinished flu and luckily my headache went away.

Two days later, a client of mine called me with extreme weakness, swollen neck glands and felt she was coming down with the flu. I instructed her to take oscillo first, which helped her, then followed with Gelsemium. She felt much, much better after that. A day later she said while her sickness symptoms had abated on Gelsemium, she still felt extremely tired. After repeating Gels a bunch of times, I looked at her symptoms again and prescribed Phosphoric Acid. She reported the next day feeling an energy that she hadn’t felt in quite a while, even on a constitutional level.

Meanwhile, this client’s 6 year old daughter had fallen into compete exhaustion that evening, and this is VERY unlike her! I know this from having treated her in my practice for the past few years, she has vitality. So though I probably could’ve gone straight to Gelsemium and skipped the Oscillo, I was hesitant to mess with the cocktail that had been working for the others. Oscillo first, then followed by Gelsemium, repeating every 15 minutes for 2 hours.

I do not generally prescribe one to take a remedy with such frequency, but when it comes to an acute illness as strong as the flu, I am relentless. My former homeopath, Tina Quirk, is retired from private practice now, but she used to say, ‘When there’s an acute, we want to chase it away.’ I always recall that when something as tenacious and painful as the flu strikes! We want to chase it right out of the schoolyard.

The 6 year old girl was better the very next morning. My client called me saying that she could not believe the difference between her daughter’s state the prior night and her energy and vitality that morning. We were both elated, HOWEVER, by afternoon, we realized we’d celebrated a little too soon; the little girl was complaining of a sore throat, tickling like a feather, worse on swallowing, and extreme tiredness like her mother’s. I suggested one dose of Phosphoric Acid for her, as it covered all the symptoms she described, and that evening, she was back to normal.

So naturally I’ve done the Oscillo/Gelsemium combination tonight with my daughter who is currently sleeping on the couch. All I can say so far is that her fever went from 102.4 to 99 after 3 sips of diluted Gelsemium, and I’ll report in on what transpires.

Breastfeeding – The Case of the Plugged Duct

I feel compelled to write about Silica, the remedy that saved the day this week when I was suffering from an extremely stubborn plugged duct.

My baby nurses pretty regularly throughout the day, so when I started to feel the soreness and bruising on the right side of my breast, I did all the practical things I regularly advise others to do – hot compresses, massage the breast into water, get the baby to nurse a lot, (I didn’t have potatoes or cabbage in the house, but those are good poultices that I’ve used in the past-), and drink lots of water. I have resolved plugged ducts in myself this way whenever I’ve had them in the past and never needed a homeopathic remedy to go further.

But this time was shaping up to be different. From Saturday morning to Sunday night, I did all those things repeatedly, but nothing was happening. If the duct isn’t clearing, you’re basically stimulating milk production with all the above tactics and the breast is filling more and more with milk. This was just adding to my anguish over the whole thing. Not to mention the pain – it felt as though my breast was going to burst. Suffice it to say that scary images were going through my head.

Most people reading this blog know I’m a homeopath, and they would assume I know how to take care of and prescribe for myself. But I had been caring for my children all weekend and not drinking enough water, had gotten dehydrated, etc. etc. And its difficult to be an ‘observer’ of my own case or symptoms, because when you’re in a state, you’re IN it. But, grabbing a moment to quickly evaluate, I tried anyway. I started with a dose of Phytolacca, a common mastitis remedy for lumpy breasts. No change. Then I tried Arnica, because my breast felt so bruised, as if it was injured. Still no dice.  So I called my friend and colleague, Rebekah Azzarelli to help me out.

She took my case – right side of the right breast, very hard lumps, feels like a bruise. As the baby was nursing, I observed that it felt a little bit like glass – like a sharp burning, but without the heat – dragging throughout my breast. But this had made sense to me since it is crystallized milk that causes a plug. Anyway, when looking for a homeopathic remedy, we’re always looking for what is UNUSUAL about a person’s experience of their malady – not what makes sense. Anyway, all this to say that crystallized milk traveling through the breast seemed like it WOULD feel like shards of glass in there. I had considered Silica when I first recognized that sensation, but didn’t feel confident that I could trust my own judgement due to the accompanying anxiety I was experiencing while watching my breast grow in size by the hour.

Rebekah asked me a few more questions and confirmed Silica, or Silicea, 30c in water, repeated frequently. One of the keynotes of this remedy is that it ejects foreign bodies from the body. So, splinters, perhaps even, could it be, crystals? Well, YES.

It was about 8pm on Sunday when I sipped my first sip, and started my pumping and breast massage ritual again. 3 more sips down the road and I was watching a little crystal going in and out of the nipple, trying to come out. I took one last sip and it broke loose, and all the backed up milk that had been making me miserable was able to come out, and the pain went away instantly.

I was free! And now I had a lovely example of watching a remedy stimulate my system just enough to work alongside all the regular things I was doing. I just needed that extra push this time from the homeopathic remedy who’s specialty is kicking out the bad guys and slamming the door on their butts as they leave!

Ebola

Its hard not to freak out with the news of this hemorrhagic fever spreading from West Africa to various spots around the globe, and it seemed just a matter of time before it reached the US. Positive results first in Texas, and now New York, have provoked some real fear, though we all know Ebola is not an airborne illness (we all know this, right??), Well, in NYC we live right on top of one another.

Homeopathy has a few resources in its back pocket that may be able to help boost resistance to, and even move one through, hemorrhagic fevers. Infection with Ebola virus starts with seemingly regular flu-like symptoms: fever, body aches, vomiting and diarrhea; in cases that progress, bleeding of internal organs follows. Professionals in all walks of the medical world are still coming to terms with the best ways to treat the virus and its outbreaks, and while homeopathy hasn’t yet had proven contact with the present outbreaks in Africa (though a team of four homeopaths landed in Liberia just two days ago!), we have had success treating disease pictures that are very similar. And there are a number of remedies, listed below, that have been successfully employed for other hemorrhagic fever diseases such as Cholera, Malaria and Typhoid. This suggests that these remedies, historically used to treat these diseases, would also helpful against Ebola.

It’s been mentioned in the homeopathic community that taking a dose of Crotalus Horridus 30c daily in the occurrence and region of an outbreak can be helpful in boosting immune response toward this virus. As homeopathy relies on the entire symptom picture of the diseases to select the correct remedy, these pictures vary slightly and no one remedy has been named as of yet as the ‘Ebola remedy’. Please feel free to get in touch if you’d like to discuss these various symptom pictures and what they might look like. (The hemorrhagic fever remedies I would suggest having on hand are Crotalus Horridus, Phosphorus, Mercurius Corrosivus, Bothrops, Lachesis, Nitric Acid and China.)

BUT, to my second point and an equal inspiration for this post, FEAR: it is important to understand the ways in which Ebola is transmitted – that it is contracted through bodily fluids only. (You can read all the symptoms and contagion periods on Ebola’s Wikipedia page).  I recently read an article in Think Progress, entitled 4 Pieces of Good News About Ebola that Have Gotten Lost in the Hysteria. This is no longer breaking news, but it’s essential that we keep these storylines of hope in mind. The point that stood out most to me was that Senegal and Nigeria have both contained and beaten Ebola outbreaks, primarily by being prepared and having adequate healthcare facilities in place.

Here’s to all the professionals risking their lives in service of a similar outcome in West Africa today.