Tuesday, 21 August 2012

FAQs for Baby Eczema

What can I expect from a consultation?

Our consultation process considers your child's"Whole Health". We take a detailed history to establish what is the cause of your child's condition. Physical, Psychological, Emotional, Historical. We will consider the role of Epigenetics, Family history, Birth story, Baby and childhood milestones, other illnesses, diet and lifestyle as well as comprehensive body system review.  We want to understand the progression of your child's condition and whether there are other health concerns that run concomitant.  We will review blood work done by your GP and may order other functional testing to be performed.  We will explore the role of environment and look to find links between where your child spends time and how this may affect their health. The process is thorough and comprehensive but will produce effective results.  

What to expect by way of medicines

  • We do not prescribe cortisone but rather, effective alternatives that will not harm your baby.
  • We herbal and nutritional medicines to help improve symptoms while also addressing the causes.
  • We help you make dietary and lifestyle changes that will support your child's condition to improve. 
  • The aim is to re-establish or encourage a state of homeostasis (physiological balance)

What is Eczema?
Eczema is an inflammatory condition that affects the skin and can be red, itchy and either dry or wet in nature.  It can be quite uncomfortable and stems from multiple causes which must be assessed thoroughly. Eczema has an association with asthma and allergy and if poorly managed can result in a trio of the three, known as the Atopic march.

How is a Holistic approach different from Conventional medicine?

We take time..................to consider..............and listen..............to your story. There are many aspects of being healthy, getting well and achieving lasting good health. Holistic natural medicine is not a prescription pad practice. It considers how diet and lifestyle as well as attitude play a role in a healthy body and mind.  We consider the role that family and home environments play as well as other important environments such as school and daycare settings. Our medicines are nature derived and many have been tested in clinical trials to be effective.  All are safe to use and will support your child to thrive and be well.  Most importantly, our approach considers your child specific physiological tendencies, we make these appraisals during consultation via examination but also using functional pathology testing if necessary.

What if my children don't like the herbal or other natural medicine?

In our practice in Melbourne http://www.cmchealth.com.au/about/page_info.php/6/37 and Healesville http://www.eluvi.com.au/ we use an array of herbs, supplements and homoeopathics to help babies and beyond.  Very rarely do we experience children that cannot take the remedies. We have many tricks up our sleeve to help with this so that results come fast. This help parents feel confident and relaxed which in itself improves compliance.

How long will it take to achieve results?

Results can be difficult to determine but we do our best to give parents a clear prognosis.  When parents are committed to an integrated holistic approach improvement comes quickly.   For example we have had babies covered head to toe in eczema who have experienced 80% improvement in several weeks, without cortisone! When parents take on board the recommendations and make the necessary changes to diet and lifestyle factors and take all the prescribed medicines success is imminent.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

By Tim Howden ND BHSc MNHAA
Current research indicates that babies exposed to significant inter-utero stress are likely to have a lowered ability to cope with stress as well as a higher chance of inflammatory diseases later in life.  Many situations can lead to an increase in pre-natal stress hormones in the mother.  For example, a partner being made redundant, moving house, going through a break-up, the death of a loved, fleeing a war torn country as a refugee.  The list can be endless but what is important, is that if the mother experiences significant stress during her pregnancy this is passed onto her baby.

We know that prolonged stress alters Gut function and compromises immunity as well as mental emotional wellbeing.  This is known as the Gut-Brain Axis.

In real terms this may explain the tremendous rise in Depression, Anxiety, Diabetes and Neuro-Immunological conditions like ADD/ADHD and Autistic Spectrum Disorders.

Inflammatory Eczema...The Guts of the Matter

By Tim Howden ND BHSc MNHAA
"All Disease begin in the Gut" - Hippocrates 460-370 BC
Right now we are experiencing a dramatic increase in the number of babies and children who are developing eczema.  This uncomfortable condition is largely driven by an immune imbalance that is mediated via the digestive system.  There is a correlation between food sensitivity, food allergy and eczema as well as a higher prevalence in babies who are bottle fed on cows milk formula as opposed to being breast fed.  
Babies who were born via C-section, given antibiotics in early life and who are bottle fed have lower numbers of beneficial  bacteria in their digestive tract making their system more vulnerable and susceptible to infection and more prone to developing inflammatory conditions like eczema.

But lets go back a couple of steps for a tic.  This is where things get interesting.  You see, a process called "epigenetics" may help explain the rising prevalence in these conditions. In essence prenatal diet and lifestyle events appear to alter gene expression, making certain individuals prone to certain sets of illness.  Here is an example of how it works. A mothers gut health has a direct relationship to the development of her baby's digestive and immune function. Take for example a woman who uses the oral contraceptive pill prior to pregnancy or who has had antibiotics, has a diet high in refined processed foods with a history of high stress.   She is a prime candidate drug and lifestyle-induced dysbiosis, which is poor colonization of beneficial gut flora. Because of this her baby has a much greater likelihood of developing an inflammatory condition like eczema.  A baby's digestive health is determined to some extent by the mums health. 

Its not all doom and gloom though.  But it is certainly ineresting to look at some of the priming epigenetic factors that may make our kids prone to certain illness. Measures taken pre-natally to ensure good digestive heath have found to have positive effects. And good evidence supports the use of specific foods as well as nutritional medicines such as probiotics and essential fatty acids to help support infant digestive health, reducing inflammation and ultimately the expression of eczema.