Thursday, October 23, 2008

Skin Care and MS: Is this Really that Important?

It is very important for those of us who have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis to do all that we can to take good care of our skin. This may not sound that important, but it is very important because healthy skin is our main barrier to protect us against infection. Since the majority of the people, which have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, already have a compromised immune system or weakened immune system, it is especially important for us to do all that we can to minimize or reduce how often we tend to get infections. I realize that we just can’t go around being germ-a-phobic or paranoid about germs, since it is difficult to avoid living conditions that promote the presence or growth of germs, but we need to do what we can to minimize this potential problem for us.

If you have a problem with the skin on your arms, hands, legs or feet drying out and cracking, this sets you up to allow infection to have a direct way through the skin to enter your body and give set you up for frequent infections. Since those that have the symptoms of ms have a weakened immune system, this can set us up for experiencing a vicious cycle of one infection after the other, if we do what we can to take care of our skin.

I don’t know about you and your particular case of Multiple Sclerosis, but I have had a few periods of time where I had one infection after the other for 3 to 6 months at a time and whenever this occurred, I was not able to function enough to be able to do much of anything. What happens with MS is that our immune systems don’t recover very well after each infection we have and if we get a second infection and then a third, one after the other, this sets us up for a “snowball” type of effect that is a horrible vicious cycle that is difficult to break.

Taking antibiotics too often, creates another problem, sice this causes our bodies to become restant to the antibiotics so that they are much less effective in killing the infections. We need to do what we can to minimize infections and find other ways to boost our immune systems so that we don't need to take antibitics as ofen. This is NOT to say that we should avoid taking antibiotics, but I take more of the approach that the use of antibiotics should be more limited (if possible) to use for the more severe infections so that they are effective when we need them the most to come to our aid. I have been fighting against this problem for 12 years and I would like to do what I can to give you a few tips that may help ease this problem, as much as possible -- because it’s no fun when this visicous cycle of one infection after the other occurs.

What can help to reduce this problem of frequent infections?

I have found that first and foremost we need to take care of our skin every day. Washing as much of your skin every day with soap and water is a good start. Pay special attention to thoroughly wash your legs and feet. While doing this thorough cleaning of the skin, pay special attention to any cuts, scrapes or cracks in the skin. If you note any of these, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water, being sure to rinse off the soap, dry the area well and put some type of covering over it (bandage or gauze pads). If you need it, you can also use triple antibiotic ointment on the cut before bandaging it to prevent infection. If the skin around the cut appears to be inflamed or red, wash and dry the area and put the triple antibiotic ointment on it and keep it bandaged for a few days until it heals (make sure you change the bandage each day and clean it off each time and reapply the ointment).

Okay, what if you have dried out skin that is cracking, can anything help to reduce or prevent this from happening? I have tried all kinds of things for this problem, since I tend to have a much bigger problem with the skin on my hands and feet cracking during the winter months. I have tried all kinds of skin creams, lotions, etc. and none of these things helped much. So, try what I found that helps me, to see if it can help to resolve any problems you are experiencing with your skin drying out or cracking.

First, drink at least half a gallon (1.895 Liters - sorry, I don’t think in Liters) of water each day. If you tend to drink more water each day, that’s okay, just keep it less than 1 gallon (3.79 Liters) for each day. If you have any problems with either of your kidneys not functioning very well try to drink half a gallon 1.895 Liters) a day as a maximum. Tea, coffee and soft drinks don’t count, when you are figuring out how much water that you drank for the day. Tea and coffee can actually dehydrate the body, when consumed in larger quantities, and can add extra to the amount of water that your body needs for the day, to make up the difference.

Our public drinking water, where I live, definitely has chemicals in it (like chlorine, iodine, bromine and who knows what else) and it smells like chemicals. Should you drink bottled water? I don’t know that doing this is that much better. A better solution than purchasing bottled water is to get a combination reverse osmosis water filtering system that is called a “whole house” system. This means that where the water supply enters your house if where the filtering system should be installed. If you have well water, instead of public water, it might be a good idea to have your well water tested to see, generally speaking, what may be in your well water that should be removed. The type of filter needed, will be determined, based on the results of the laboratory analysis, to help you to decide what kind of filter that you will need.

Next, add extra virgin coconut oil daily to your food. This is easier to do if the food is hot, since this type of oil tends to be solid at room temperature (unless it’s above 85 degrees Fahrenheit) in the room or outside. I have found that 1 to 2 Tablespoon a day of organic extra virgin coconut oil helps me the best, but you have to determine for you how much it appears that you need to use. Adding extra virgin coconut oil to your diet will help to lubricate the skin from the inside out and as an added benefit, coconut oil helps the body to have an easier time digesting the other fats that you eat. If you have a more severe problem with the skin cracking, I would suggest adding the extra virgin coconut oil to your food, as well as spreading the coconut oil on your legs or where ever your skin is dry before going to bed at night.

I have tried all kinds of creams, lotions and ointments, before, but for me, even the vitamin E oil that was suggested to me a few times, did not help with relieving the problem that I had with my skin on my hands drying out and cracking. The extra virgin coconut oil works much better than anything else than I have tried, but if possible I suggest getting it organic, if you can, and purchasing it with nothing else added to it.

To find out more about what I have learned that has helped reduce the symptoms of MS, go to for information.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What we Focus on is Everything, when it comes to MS

Sometimes, on the days where the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis become so out of control, it can become unbearable or down right discouraging to “deal with” or “live with” the symptoms of ms. What can we do to get through the really tough times where we just feel like throwing in the towel? I don’t know about you, but I find that it can be very difficult for me to “look on the positive side”, when my health just seems to be spinning out of control. Sometimes I feel very frustrated or I just feel like screaming “It is NOT fair!” Other times I just feel like sitting down and “have a good cry” or I just want to find a way to escape the times that it’s been a total nightmare because of what I have struggled with, while dealing with the symptoms of ms.

But, I finally decided, that for me, it’s okay to have a few days off and on where I feel like I am just “melting down” or “losing it” or whatever you call it. But as long as I do not stay “stuck” in these negative states of mind most of the time, this is okay. Just let it be okay, when you are not having a good day, rather than stress out about “what you can't do today”. I know it is easier said than done, since I am guilty so often of not “letting it be okay” when I’m doing less than my best or I am just having “one of those days" (or maybe even "one of those months"?) where I’m not functioning very well because of my symptoms of multiple sclerosis going crazy again. But, I’m working on being more positive more often and you need to work on this too, since sometimes this is easier said than done. It is do-able for you and me to focus our minds and our energies on the positive, instead of the negative. Being positive also helps to calm down the nervous system and boost the response of the immune system, which also helps, those of us with Multiple Sclerosis, to fight off infections more easily and to reduce how severe and how frequent our symptoms of ms can become.

But I have been thinking more about things lately...about how what we focus our minds on has a HUGE impact on our bodies, as far as how our bodies respond to what is going on around us and even inside of us. Somehow our bodies listen to everything that we think about, everything that we say, everything that we hear, everything that we feel and even everything that we choose to believe. I have tested my theory about this several times with both myself and other people in my life over a more extended period of time and I keep coming back to this conclusion – that we need to listen to the signals that our bodies give us that something is just too much for us to handle or it’s time to just rest and replenish, rather than “stressing out” over everything.

Have you ever noticed that so often what we focus on is what we tend to get? How does this work, anyway? I find that sometimes what we focus our thoughts and energies on is a “self fulfilling prophecy”, where we tend to get what we think will happen to us. What we believe, about how we view the world around us and how we interpret the large amount of information that comes in through our 5 senses, changes how our bodies react to everything. If, for one reason or another, we don’t think that we deserve things to go well in our lives, they most likely won’t, since we automatically distort the information that we take in through our 5 senses to “fit” into what we already believe. We automatically, without thinking about it, form a picture in our minds or internally form a picture of how we define everything that we encounter in the world around us. This is how this “self fulfilling prophecy” thing works.

If we change what we focus our thoughts and energies on, we change the outcome. After all, if we think continuously about how terrible we feel on the days that our symptoms of multiple sclerosis flare up, than it actually makes us feel worse. If we focus our minds or “set our minds” on what we CAN do each day or on something more positive each day, then it really can help the tougher days to not be as bad as they could be. As you continue on your quest to wellness, while dealing with the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, remember this one thing – YOU are NOT ALONE in dealing with the symptoms of multiple sclerosis!

I understand how difficult dealing with the symptoms of ms can be, since I have been battling with a more severe case of Multiple Sclerosis for 12 years. But I want you to know that there are things out there, some of which I have found, that can help to reduce your symptoms of ms. My neurologist told me around a month ago, that from a neurological point of view that I AM getting better! I have found Alternative and Natural ways that help to reduce the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis!

To learn more about what I have learned that has helped reduce my symptoms of MS, go to for information.


Monday, October 20, 2008

What can Cause the Fatigue with MS?

Multiple Sclerosis Fatigue or extreme exhaustion is one of the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis that I often struggle with. Why is this particular symptom such a big problem with most cases of Multiple Sclerosis? What can set us up for the fatigue or exhaustion to be so overwhelming? I have been asking the doctors this same question myself, since I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

The explanations that the doctors have given me, when discussing my
symptoms of ms with me included allergies (food, mold, dust, pollen, trees, grasses and pets). I recently had allergy testing done, as far as dusts and molds that went further than just testing to see which dust and mold allergens that I've recently been reacting to. This doctor actually had tests done to see what my level of response to known allergens was. Based on the test results a serum was made up specifically for me to take twice a week to help to reduce and actually neutralize my over reaction to the allergens and help to build up my body's immune system so that over time my reaction to the allergens become less and less. Of course avoiding the potential source of the allergen, as much as possible, is also important for me to do to help my over reactive immune system to calm down.

Other potential problems that we may have, that also can contribute to the often extreme fatigue that is associated with Multiple Sclerosis, can include low levels of the hormones produced by the thyroid and adrenal glands, problems with your body not producing enough of certain enzymes and vitamin deficiencies. There are also other contributing factors to the fatigue that is a symptom of MS, but the ones that I already mentioned appear to be more common sources of much of the fatigue problem. Check with your doctor for you to be evaluated for your specific case of MS to determine what could be causing the fatigue that you are experiencing as a symptom of your
Multiple Sclerosis.

Do you find this post to be helpful?

To find out more about what I have learned that has helped reduce the symptoms of MS, go to for more information.