As women, our bodies and minds go on rollercoaster rides in the course of our years. Behnaz Sanjana sheds some light on some of the most common issues women face.
Try as one might, it’s a distant dream to have a Jenifer Aniston-like beach bod. Even the most disciplined of us divas have to face some ugly body truths.
Here are three annoying issues that particularly have women on their radar together with advice on what you can do about them.
Cottage Cheese Thighs – Cellulite
Although not a medical issue, this is one far-from-pretty problem that 80 per cent of all women have. Cellulite is the fat trying to push through the connective tissue under the skin, giving that unsightly, bumpy effect. Contrary to popular belief, cellulite strikes not only behind the thighs and buttocks but also around the abdomen and upper arms.
And here’s the juice on the subject – as cellulite occurs mainly due to weakened connective tissue, thin girls can get it as well.
“Another cause is an acid-alkaline imbalance in the body. Surplus acid is laid in the form of waste in the body which first becomes visible at the exterior of the thighs as an ‘orange peel’ structure,” says Evelyn Mahner, beauty therapist at the German Skin Care Centre.
Men manage to evade the wrath of cellulite as their connective tissue is stronger and runs parallel to the skin, versus that of women, which runs vertically. This causes it to be more tear resistant.
Women are not so lucky when it comes to maintaining smooth skin, as their connective tissue is more elastic. In addition, the hormone oestrogen promotes the development of cellulite.
If you think the products on the supermarket shelves will live up to their cellulite-banishing promises, you may be mistaken. “Baths, massages and anti-cellulite creams can help, but cannot erase cellulite alone,” says Evelyn. She recommends treatments like cupping, radio frequency, cavitation and electro stimulation together with well-balanced acidic-alkaline nourishment and specific muscle-building exercises to banish cellulite.
A healthy lifestyle with good nutrition and exercise is primary. Radical diets that swing the body from fat to thin to fat again put the body’s connective tissue in extreme duress, so you might want to lose weight the correct way.
Evelyn also believes in drinking plenty of water and unsweetened tea to help flush out toxins from the body, keeping the skin supple.
“Swimming, cycling, walking, rope jumping and dancing are cellulite killers,” she says. So there you go ladies – take your pick!
The Rude Shock – Hair Loss
A woman’s hair is her crowning glory. When you see more of your hair on your pillowcase, in your hairbrush or in the bathroom drain, it’s bound to send anxiety levels skyrocketing.
Remember that there are certain times during which women typically lose more hair than usual – childbirth, menopause, illness (especially if there is fever), nervous shock, extreme dieting and with certain medications. But hair loss is temporary.
“Hair loss resulting in thinning is known as alopecia. Male pattern alopecia is characterised by a receding hairline and/or hair loss on the top and front of the head. Female pattern hair loss results in thinning hair on the vertex (top) of the scalp and is generally less severe than it occurs in males,” explains Dr Mehta, dermatologist at AMH, Bahrain.
Iron deficiency, thyroid disorders and certain drugs are common causes of excessive hair fall. But how much is too much? Dr Mehta states that losing more than 100 strands a day signals a problem, and warrants a visit to the neighbourhood dermatologist. Once the underlying cause is identified, appropriate medical care can be administered to save your mane. Bahrain’s desalinated water can damage the hair shaft, leading to breakage and lacklustre hair. Some of Dr Mehta’s patients claim to have benefited by using ‘sweet water’ to wash their hair.
Not So Vein – Varicose and Spider Veins
“Varicose veins are large, raised, swollen blood vessels that twist and turn. They usually develop in the legs and can be seen through the skin. Spider veins are smaller, red, purple, and blue vessels that also twist and turn and are typically visible on the legs and face as well,” explains Dr Bashar Saleh, consultant general surgeon at the Bahrain Specialist Hospital.
These unsightly veins target those who stand for long hours in the day. Think of your teacher, hair stylist, nurse and the factory worker. And yes, they do tend to surface in women more so than men.
Of course, this condition also depends on heredity, obesity, use of birth control pills, hormonal changes of the body and a history of blood clots. Other factors such as conditions causing increased pressure in the abdomen or trauma or injury to the skin and exposure to ultraviolet rays can also contribute to this issue.
“The most conservative approach is simply to wear properly fitting support hose, especially when the veins cause painful or uncomfortable symptoms,” says Dr Bashar. These stockings are available at surgical supply stores and at some pharmacies. They come in below-the-knee, above-the-knee, and pantyhose styles.
Other simple solutions are good skin hygiene, weight loss (if needed) and walking.
Not everybody with varicose or spider veins has pain or other symptoms. They might want the veins removed, however, for cosmetic reasons.
A medical procedure called sclerotherapy is simple, relatively inexpensive, and can be performed in an outpatient setting. It involves a highly concentrated saline (salt) solution or a specially made detergent that is injected directly into the vein, causing the vein to disappear gradually over three to six weeks.
Endovenous laser treatment and radiofrequency occlusion are other ways to get rid of your spider or varicose veins. They require some form of anaesthesia. Surgery is an option to treat very large varicose veins.
Surface laser or intense pulsed light treatments involve devices that use heat energy to selectively damage or destroy abnormal veins. An advantage of these treatments is that no needles or sclerosing solutions are required; however, there may be some minor discomfort. “Side effects do occur, including discoloration or staining and blister formation. The results are often disappointing,” warns Dr Bashar.