Natural Health: My baby has cradle cap; elderly mum struggling with urinary continence

Natural Health: My baby has cradle cap; elderly mum struggling with urinary continence

My 12-month-old son has cradle cap. I’ve used coconut oil as a remedy but it keeps returning. Is there another natural treatment I could use?

This is one of those issues where some children seem to be moresusceptible than others.

There was a commonly held belief that babies who had less hair were more prone to developing cradle cap, however, there is no evidence that hair (or lack of it) is a contributing factor.

One of the links that studies have shown is that infants who are likely to develop cradle cap are typically deficient in biotin (one of the B vitamins).

Egg yolks and liver are two of the best sources of biotin, but these are not typically recommended for babies under 12 months.

If you are still breastfeeding, then you can take a biotin supplement yourself, or up your dietary intake of eggs and liver. If you choose to supplement, you will want to take 5-10mg (5,000-10,000mcg) daily.

It might help you to know that this is very common in little ones during the first year. Cradle cap is also known as seborrheic dermatitis and iscategorised as an eczema-related condition.

It can also appear in patches around the face — especially the eyes, ears, and neck.Coconut oil can be quite drying in some cases, so I tend to recommend using hemp seed oil for topical use with this type of skin condition.

The other option which many mothers find great success with is borage (starflower) oil, this can be a little more difficult to source but is worth it if you can find it. Apply 10-15 drops of oil on the affected area, then massage in gently morning and night.

Food sensitivities can also be an issue, and fortunately these tend toresolve on their own over time. It can be useful to keep a notebook of dates and times foods are given, and also a note of when the cradle cap flares up, to see if there is any potential link.

Shampoo, body wash, soaps, and even toothpastes can all play a part in skin conditions. Choose products that are as natural as possible, organic if you can, and opt for fragrance-free.

My elderly mum is struggling with urinary continence. There have been a couple of accidents which she finds deeply embarrassing. What would you recommend?

As women age, the drop in oestrogen causes more issues than just those we usually associate with the menopause.

One of these issues is difficulty in maintaining muscular pressure around the urethra — leading to urinary frequency and stress incontinence. Detrusor instability is where the muscle surrounding the bladder wall no longer functions effectively.

This is not only an issue with ageing and declining hormone levels, but is very much linked to diet, caffeine consumption in particular.

Drinking more than a single cup of coffee daily contributes to bladder irritation and incomplete bladder emptying, and even more so if milk and sugar are added.

One study showed that women over the age of 55 years doubled their risk of weakened bladder muscle tissue simply by ingesting around four or more cups of coffee daily (caffeine equivalent to 12 cups of black tea).

It is important to note heavy caffeine consumption weakens the detrusor muscle at any age.

Fortunately, magnesium supplementation can help restore stability to this area.

Incontinence symptoms in women have been shown to improve when supplementing with 250mg of magnesium three to four times daily.

When we empty a bladder that is not full, it actually leads to a reduction in capacity, which triggers issues of urgency, frequency, and incontinence. Women are more likely to use the toilet ‘just in case’ or attend the bathroom in numbers of two or more as part of a practice known as ‘social voiding’.

Prescription medications can also be linked with urinary incontinence, so it is worth double checking to see if your Mum is on any meds that may have this as a known side-effect.

If at any time you suspect urinary troubles are linked with an infection (cystitis, UTI) or kidney troubles, seek medical help immediately.

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