Ask Dr. Ikenze
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End of Life Care
Q. Do you have experience with palliative/ end of life care? Or do you know any homeopaths who do? I am a nurse practitioner who understands and uses homeopathy for my family. My neighbor is dying from a brain tumor (told he has 6months). I am sure homeopathy could help alleviate some of the symptoms during his dying process. They are interested but I said I would research who has experience with this.
A. Yes I do have experience with end of life management with homeopathy, which makes an enormous difference in the quality of life for the patient and the family, as well as easing the transition. Homeopathy can also often extend the active and effect span of life significantly, even in end-stage disease. Feel free to call my office and I will answer any other questions you may have.
Chronic Kidney Disease
Q. Hello Dr. Ikenze. I have chronic kidney disease, which I realize isprogressive, but I have wondered if homeopathy might help retainkidney function. Thank you!
Q. I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis almost 1 year ago, and have experienced almost no relief with the medications i’am currentlyprescribed (Lialda,prednisone). After last talking to my Gi, hesuggested that i start a drug called remicade, but after doing someresearch on it, it seemed like the side effects weren’t really worth the risk as of right now. I was wondering if you have had success intreating this disease with a natural approach.
Hypertension, Insomnia and Irritability
Q. I have hypertension and have since a young adult. Medication does not work nor does accupuncture have any lasting effect. I am at my wits end with this disease as it results in insomnia, digestive problems and irritability, not to mention constant worry about it. Please help!
Skin Rash, Mastocytosis
Q. I’ve had a skin rash for two years that I had biopsied and diagnosed as mastocytosis. It’s all over the trunk, butt and down the legs. Otherwise my health is great at 59. Could homeopathy help this condition for which there is no know medical cure?
A. Yes homeopathy can treat mastocytosis quite well and bring about a correction of the underlying disorder in the immune system that leads to the rash. You will need a comprehensive initial evaluation for a constitutional remedy. If you have more questions, feel free to call me at my office 415 258 9600.
Q. Our 16 year old daughter has been recently diagnosed with
Hashimoto/hyperthyroidism and has been taking Synthroid for 1
month. Can you help with an alternative treatment plan?
A. Yes I have treated Hashimoto Thyroiditis and Hyperthyroidism quite successfully without Synthroid or other thyroid hormones.
August 27, 2011
Q. My husband suffers from extreme bouts of gout. He is on conventional medicines, which have nasty side effects and only partially keep the
gout under control. Have you treated gout with success?
A. Gout is a form of arthritis that is related to improper metabolism of certain foods. I have found that the offending foods vary from person to person. I have treated gout successfully with homeopathy and some minor dietary changes. But the mainstay of treatment is in the dietary changes.
Q.I have just read the remarkable story of your patient in the San Jose Mercury News. I lived in Germany & London from 1970 to 1999. While there I became familiar with Homeopathy and believe it to be the first choice in the treatment of any ailment. Since moving to CA in 1999 I have cared for a family of 3 in Belmont, all of whom suffer from Lyme Disease. The young daughter in the family is disabled, mostly bedridden and in constant extreme pain for the last 2-3 years. Her Lyme specialist holds little hope for her ever regaining a normal life. My question for Dr. Ikenze is; have you ever treated Lyme or do you have any idea that homeopathy might help? I would be very grateful for a response.
A.Yes, I have treated Lyme disease with homeopathy with good results. But as you know, it will involve an initial in depth assessment of the patient to arrive at the necessary remedy that will help. Please feel free to call our office at 415 258 9600 if you have more questions that I might be able to answer.
Q. I enjoyed your article on vaccinations in Grail World. I have a few questions. What age would you recommend starting the vaccinations, and regarding the vaccine cocktail what does three related agents mean and could you explain exactly what vaccine combination you would give every three months?
A. It is best to discuss your child’s vaccination schedule with your pediatrician and tailor it to your lifestyle as well as the environment in which your child lives. For this reason there is no hard and fast rule. It is generally safest to start at about 3 months of age when your child’s own immune system is active, and give an interval of 3 months between shots. That way the immune system is able to recover before the next onslaught of microbial antigens in the vaccines. Combination vaccines are the DTaP, the MMR and the DTaP/HIB/Pneumococcus. Since the MMR is a combination of 3 live viruses, it is safest not to give any other vaccine on the same day as the first dose of MMR, and to wait until at least 15 months or preferably 18 months of age to administer it. If you allow 3 month intervals between vaccines and give only one vaccination at a time you will have to make a trip to your pediatrician once very 3 months for the first two years of your child’s life. But you will be able to get all the required vaccinations completed before 3 years of age.
Breast Cancer Treatments
Q. Do you have a special focus on treatments for breast cancer? I am post surgery, chemo, and currently taking Arimidex. My main concerns have to do with the side effects from Arimidex.
A. Yes, I use homeopathy and nutritional counseling as part of an integrative approach to help women who are undergoing breast cancer treatment. Homeopathy strengthens the entire immune system and metabolic systems to better fight the cancer, and helps mitigate the deleterious effects of the drugs used in cancer treatment. If you wish to integrate homeopathy in your treatment program, please call our office at 415.258.9600 for an appointment.
Q. I am off Prozac and have been using 5-htp for the last couple of months. It has been working quite well however I have read some things about possible liver issues with long term use (not sure if that is true…) and also about the benefit of taking breaks from it. I am considering alternating with Rhodiola – say 2 or 3 weeks on one then the other – or a few months on one then the other. I would greatly appreciate your opinion on the matter. Could maybe do the same thing with Rhodiola and St John’s Wort instead of 5-HTP???
A. First of all I must inform you that it is risky for you to stop your medication without your doctor’s knowledge and consent. So please speak to your doctor and inform him or her of what you are doing. In answer to your specific question about 5HTP and St John’s Wort, both have been shown to help one’s mood. Like all biologic substances, prolonged use can result in a negative effect. So it is a good idea to take a break after several months. This way you can take them alternately for a few months at a time. I do not have much information on Rhodiola, so I cannot give you advice about it.
Mysterious Eye Infections
Q. Over the past 10 years I have had 3 mysterious eye infections resulting in corneal abrasions. While the corneal abrasions healed, the mystery and fear surrounding these infections (which came out of nowhere and came on very suddenly) have crushed my spirit. I believe the eye infections were Keratitis, or Herpetic keratoconjunctivitis (ocular herpes or eye herpes or eye shingles). I saw an Opthamologist, but he was not sure. I also recently had a chalazion/stye, which was quite distressing to me. My eyelids are often red and puffy and the skin around my eyes is often red and puffy. I consulted with a homeopath, who recommended Positronium, but I wanted an opinion from another homeopath, especially regarding keratitis. Can you recommend a remedy for ocular keratitis?
A. If you have had keratitis 3 times already, I think it is important that you actually have a thorough homeopathic consultation to get to the bottom of the cause. In your case, a complete health evaluation and a single constitutional remedy chosen for you would have the greater success than suggesting an acute remedy for keratitis.
For a single acute case of keratitis you must follow the treatment given by your opthalmologist. You may also supplement with the remedy, Nitricum Acidum 200C , 3 pills 3 times day until you have your followup eye check with the opthalmologist, to ensure that the keratitis has truly resolved.
However, because of the recurrent nature of your problem, it would be in your best interest to have a complete evaluation by a reputable homeopath for a remedy that will prevent any future recurrences. Because of the serious potential for permanent damage to your vision it is important that you see your opthalmologist frequently for monitoring, regardless of whether you chose to supplement with homeopathy or not.
Q. My son gets poison oak a lot and I was wondering if there was anything he could take as a preventative?
A. Yes. The best approach is to desensitize your son to poison oak and poison ivy. You should buy the homeopathic remedy Rhus Toxicodendron 6C at your health food store. Give your son 3 pills under his tongue once a day especially during the seasons of outdooor activity. With taking the remedy everyday he will notice that he becomes GRADUALLY less reactive to poison oak. He may still get attacks initially but over a period of months you begin to notice that he is no longer reactive when exposed. you may have to give the remedy daily for two or more years. It is important that the potency is no more than 6C. If he does have an outbreak you can still treat it conventionally. The purpose of this approach is to prevent future reactions.
Q. I have a persistent stinging sensation on my skin – all over – that varies in intensity. There is no visible rash or associated itch; a dermatologist was of no help. This began out of the blue and has not let up for the past 10 days. I am 53, 5 yrs into menopause. Have you heard of this and/or treated this?
A. Yes, I have seen and treated complaints similar to yours. It sounds like you are experiencing a form of neuritis i.e. an irritation of the nerves that go to your skin. It may be related to hormonal changes in your body. It could also possibly be a side effect from a medication or cosmetic you are using. I suggest you try a homeopathic remedy called Urtica Urens 30C. Take 3 pills under your tongue 3 times a day. Do not put anything in your mouth i.e. no food or drink for 15 minutes before and after each dose, and try to avoid coffee for the period that you are taking the remedy. If you notice a slight improvement after a few days you should continue the remedy 3 times a day until your symptoms are all gone, after which you may take the remedy as needed if symptoms reappear. If you do not notice any improvement after a week you will need to see a homeopathic practitioner for an in-depth assessment and constitutional treatment.
Stress Relief For Children
Q. Since my six-year-old made the transition from kindergarten to first grade in a new school she seems to be more anxious and irritable. I have given her Ignatia Amara for grief. Is there anything else I can do to help her?
A. Children experience stress just as much as adults. Children as young as three years, can experience anxiety, fear, sadness, loss, etc., in connection with everyday occurrences around them. Today especially, our children are pressured to compete and succeed intellectually and socially right from preschool. For this reason most children live in a state of constant stress. We, as adults are able to recognize our stress and seek outlets for stress relief, such as introspection, meditation, yoga, and prayer. But are we able to recognize stress in our children? Better yet, are we able to help our children learn to cope?
When we meditate, practice yoga, Qi Gong, or pray we are acknowledging a part of ourselves that needs replenishment in order to continue with life’s struggles. Children, being human, are no less in need of this replenishment than are adults. Children as young as three can be guided to learn more about themselves and find that solace that comes with self-awareness. Yes, children can learn to meditate for very short periods and practice mindfulness especially if they are given an opportunity to connect with nature.
A few minutes of quiet time outdoors before or after playing in the park or in the back yard suffices to bring a child’s internal compass to balance. It helps open the child up to the wonder of life which is very far removed from the daily societal pressures that we have created and live in, almost like mice on a wheel. One can also create a ritual of five to ten minutes of quiet time before bed to allow a child to ask and receive answers to questions that may be on his or her mind. These are very brief but extremely valuable moments for your child’s spirit. Try it and see the result for yourself!
Dry Eyes After Pregnancy
Q. I was wondering if other mothers have experienced dry eyes after pregnancy and breast feeding. If so what have you done to treat it?
I have never had dry eyes in the past not during the pregnancy. Three months after giving birth i began experiencing severe dry eyes, I only nursed three months after giving birth then I stopped. Out of nowhere I developed keratitis on my both eyes. My ophthalmologist then told me it’s cured. The Keratitis did cured in one month, but more than one year from then, my eyes still feel dry and hurt very often. I stopped wearing contacts and my vision did not changed, but the eyes always feel painful, itchy and tired. And my life has been changed upside down because this obsession feeling of uncomfortableness on my eyes.
I been seeing more than 7 ophthalmologists in 3 countries, (not that I am crazy, my eyes turn red and yellowish after a long flight trips), all of them would told me “well, your eyes look fine, they are dry but not too bad, we don’t know what ‘s the cause,” and then prescribed artificial tears (the one without preservation) . When I asked if this could be the cause of imbalance of hormones with pregnancy or breast feeding, they did not explain.
I did some internet research and found its supposed to be due to hormonal changes. But how long could it last? Who could help? As much as we are thinking about a second baby, I am afraid my eyes will getting worst. And the quality of life will be not the same.
It has been quite a struggling year with this dry eyes and I felt very frustrating and alone with this issue. Any sharing or advice will be highly appreciated.
A. Dry eye syndrome following pregnancy is not as rare as you may think. It is often caused by the drop in estrogen that follows the delivery. Changes may occur in the mucus membranes of your eyes, and sometimes in the mouth, which persist beyond the immediate post-partum period. Do not despair of a cure. You can help yourself with a homeopathic remedy called Natrum Muriaticum 30C, which you can buy at most health food stores. You should put 3 pills under your tongue 3 times a day and let it dissolve. Do not take eat or drink anything, including water, for 15 minutes before and after each dose. I also recommend that you avoid coffee while taking a homeopathic remedy since coffee tends to antidote the remedy. But you can drink tea of any kind. You should notice an improvement after a few weeks, at which point you can go to taking the remedy once a day or as needed. This problem may not necessarily occur with your next pregnancy. But if you’re worried, you can start taking the same remedy after your next delivery if you notice any signs of dryness at all. Homeopathic remedies are safe during pregnancy and lactation, and do not require a prescription.
Dr. Ifeoma Ikenze is a San Francisco based holistic physician. Since 1990, she has worked as medical director of the the Elizabeth Medical Clinic in San Anselmo, CA – a holistic practice encompassing both traditional allopathic medicine and homeopathy. She also leads retreats and workshops for people striving for greater health and spiritual well-being. Her book, Menopause & Homeopathy: A Guide for Women in Midlife, is available from Amazon.com.
Ask Dr Ikenze
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