A key component of health for any woman is how you feel. A very simplistic but effective way to look at health is to ask yourself “how do I feel on a daily basis?”. Hormones are a strong determinant of this and dictate your behavior. They influence things such as your menstrual cycle, adverse cosmetic developments in the form of hair loss or acne, your mood and energy levels and determine whether you gain or lose weight. Other issues have to do with common infections that cause pain and discomfort. With that said, let’s evaluate some garden variety challenges experienced by women.
Poly cystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
This is a common problem with women of childbearing age that has a group of symptoms impacting the ovaries and ovulation such as cysts in your ovaries, elevated male hormones, and irregular or missed periods. Other issues experienced with PCOS are excessive hair growth, acne and weight gain. Ultimately it imbalances your hormones and creates this confusion in your body.
Possible Fix: A hormone blood test can confirm the suspicion of PCOS based on symptoms discussed above. You'll likely be prescribed something hormonal to help control things. Other tips include general exercise for 30 mins per day, eating better by eliminating processed food (don't eat from cans or plastics), improving your sleep habits😴 to stabilize your hormones and maintain a healthy weight. On the aspect of food it's simple: If it didn’t come off your stove or an identifiable tree🌳 (fruit) or place in the ground (vegetables) it shouldn’t go in your mouth. Eat as naturally as possible and when it comes to nyama ⚠️be wary of dressed chickens the size of microwaves. Grass fed animals, fish and village chickens are the best ndiyo.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
PMS is a common problem with highly irritable women which comes with food cravings, bloating and fatigue. Natural shifts in your hormone profile during the month in the build up to your period cause this. Being aware of it when it happens is the first step to managing it.
Possible Fix: Reduce your portion sizes of food and limit salt on your meals and opt to eat more frequently to manage bloating and stave off cravings. Eat more fruit for the natural sugar in it so it gives you a lift and helps you in the fight against fatigue. Sleep😴 off your foul mood and consider going for a massage at Juvenix Spa to feel better. Exercise intensely for 10-20 mins as it can trigger a dopamine release and help lift your mood. For other tips on how to deal with overwhelming gas issues read those here.
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
This is a bacterial infection of the urinary tract. You likely have a UTI when you experience pain or discomfort when urinating.
Possible Fix: avoid public toilets. Where this is not possible, be mindful of the water 💦splashes from the toilet when you pee. A ghetto hack is to cushion the landing of urine with toilet paper before you pee. Pair this with wiping from front to back when you're done and you have a decent defense against UTIs. If you already have a possible UTI then a urine test at a healthcare facility can confirm this and provide you with medication usually in the form of anti-biotics to clear it up. You can also consider increasing your water intake to induce frequent urination and subsequent 'flushing' of bacteria. This step is of great importance particularly after an encounter with the opposite sex.
The thyroid hormone is excreted by the thyroid gland and it controls the speed of your metabolism which means that it regulates how fast you burn calories. This makes losing or gaining weight damn near impossible for those with over-active (hyperthyroidism) or under-active (hypothyroidism) thyroid glands. Unexplained changes in weight is one of the most common symptoms of thyroid issues - weight gain may indicate low levels of the thyroid hormone while weight loss may indicate the opposite. Other problems experienced with hypothyroidism are brain fog, constipation, dry skin, thinning hair. Other issues experienced with hyperthyroidism are insomnia, excessive sweating, irritability and high levels of anxiety. Despite intermittently fasting, keto diets, low carbs etc. you can’t drop weight? Despite munching on everything in sight you can't gain weight? Your thyroid hormones are likely sabotaging your efforts in either scenario.
Possible Fix: get a blood test done and your doctor will advise accordingly. Treatment may involve prescription of thyroid hormone pills in order for you to obtain the right balance.
This is a fungal infection that causes irritation and discharge from your private area. It's not an STD and is typically caused by anti-biotics, contraceptives, diabetes and/or a compromised immune system.
Possible Fix: See a doctor and you'll be advised accordingly. Initial treatment usually involves prescription of an over-the-counter anti-fungal cream to apply so you don't necessarily have to see a doctor as you could go to any local pharmacy to get what you need but I don't encourage self-diagnosis. It might be something else making you itch... A basic supplementary aid to whatever your doctor tells you is to stop wearing tight fitting underwear.
Cosmetic Health Concerns (hair loss, acne, stretch marks, wrinkles)
Various hormonal issues create various different outcomes. Many of these can be more cosmetic in nature and since many women attach great importance to their appearance this matter certainly warrants inclusion when we evaluate the question of "how do I feel today?".
Possible Fix: Hair health? My lovely wife and hair guru at Your Hairs Goals Zambia 🙍🏽♀️🇿🇲 (www.yourhairgoalszambia.com) got you covered with everything from hair consultation to hair products - fyonse fye. Acne? Debra Scott at the Skin Care Hub can clear that up real quick as well as any other skin related issues. Wrinkles & stretch marks? Juvenix Spa will set you straight with assorted treatments and products available to address your situation.
Behavioral Shifts on Contraceptives
For those that take contraceptives, please, napapata, ask your partners if you’re a reasonable human being and acceptable wife. Tuma mood twako might be triggered by the pills you’ve been prescribed😒.
Possible Fix: Discuss with your partner then discuss with your doctor. You may be unknowingly punishing your partners and despite what some alangizi (or even your fellow disgruntled friends) might tell you, constant conflict in a home is not normal. So be sure to check your pills before they sink your relationship. A favorable change might even compel your husband to openly declare 🗣️ ichupo chisuma 🔥.
Other general health tips
Don’t assume irregular periods, fouls moods, hair loss, acne and uncontrollable weight gain or loss are normal. That’s not your portion. Actively look to fix it to live your best life. For those with deeper pockets or premium insurance cover opt for a complete hormone profile blood test. It'll expose everything, even problems you didn't know you had. Other useful blood tests to consider are a full lipid panel test and blood sugar test. Check your BP while you're at it. Gents, this is not ammunition for you to take shots at your partner. Be aware of hormonal shifts and learn to be understanding - ma comments like "is it that time of the month?" should not be expressed. You must silently adapt to put out fires, not fan them.
NB: Men who have found themselves here can proceed to re-direct to the Men's Health blog here.
I made my way to the gym the other day and proceeded to take a shower 🚿🧼before my session. A friend of mine was puzzled😧 by this approach and asked why I bothered to shower before breaking a sweat . I explained my reluctance to strut around the gym with a ‘ka whiff’ 🌪👃🏾as the reason why I did what I did. This reluctance extends beyond a gym setting and I’m hoping to raise awareness on this issue to help others that may be unknowingly ‘disturbing the peace’ in whatever environment they find themselves in.
What determines body odor?
Your nutrition. The frequent ingestion of processed foods lends a very heavy hand on how you naturally smell. Additionally, those spicy foods and add-ons to food that give it flavor or an extra kick do more than just enhance taste; they influence your scent.
Your activity level. Are you a busy body? Motion generates sweat.
Your personal hygiene. Opt to bath once a day (or less for some) and you’re doing your personal hygiene levels a great disservice.
Your clothing choices👕the wrong material affects how you ultimately smell when paired with activity. Some material tends to trap sweat.
How can you improve your body odor?
Your overall hygiene practice is a strong determinant of how you smell. Develop a better relationship with water🚿and soap🧼. Mu kazi samba please.
A little roll on doesn’t hurt
It’ll help manage the sweat situation and consequent smell from higher activity levels and basic motion by keeping you dry and fresh. Buy yourself antiperspirant roll on and USE IT.
Mind your nutrition
To make things simple - if it smells strong before you eat it’ll smell strong when you excrete it. Alcohol 🥃 and tobacco 🚬 also make strong contributions to how you smell. If you love a drink at night be sure to hydrate and sleep it off properly or run the risk of having your pores expel the happy juice you were consuming via sweat. Like to smoke? Have a pack of sugar free mint gum in your pocket, it goes a long way to masking the strong smell of tobacco.
Wear appropriate workout gear
This aspect is commonly overlooked and many active individuals tend to just grab whatever old clothing they don’t mind sweating in. Your clothing material choice has a significant impact on how you smell so listen up 👂🏿:
People won’t tell you when your scent gets overwhelming so please don’t assume that you don’t smell; put measures in place that limit the possibility.
Gents, every day that passes we age. What that means is things don’t function as optimally as they used to. If we let things slide we’ll accelerate our physical depreciation a lot faster than we need to.
How do you know things are no wino wino?
Check your flag in the morning. If it’s at half mast or doesn’t rise at all upon waking up you might have an issue with your hormone profile that needs addressing. Other issues may include low energy, low motivation & drive, and a low libido.
How can you address a stubborn flag (and other issues)?
Exercise to improve circulation
I strongly encourage cardiovascular activity such as running🏃or cycling🚴🏾♀️and heavy strength training with weights🏋🏾♂️for 30-60 mins at least 5 days a week. Heavy lifting should be primarily focused on compound lifts (squats, deadlifts, bench press and standing military presses).
Clean up your diet
This can be done by managing/reducing your sugar intake, increasing your fat intake from healthy fat sources such as avocado 🥑, nut butters such as peanut butter & extra virgin olive oil and incorporating more fruits and vegetables. For fruits and vegetables I specifically view watermelons 🍉, pomegranates, various berries, and beetroot as useful flag raisers. Natu nsaba twa five kwacha tu tandiza maningi. Revise your intake of dairy milk downwards and avoid soy milk.
Tip: for items such as olive oil and nut butters you can easily squeeze them into your smoothies. A tablespoon of this and that goes a long way. No pun intended.
Got a belly? The belly must go. Got man boobs? Those gotta go too. Use the exercise and nutrition advice outlined above for assistance with this.
Nutrition summary 👉🏾Sugar is the enemy of male performance, fats optimize your hormone profile, fruits and vegetables ensure a healthy foundation for a more favorable male response.
Stop/Reduce alcohol intake and smoking 🚬(this includes shisha)
Alcohol inspires desire and restricts performance so drink in moderation. Drinking in moderation translates differently for different people so perhaps stopping at the ‘happy point’ will be generally viewed as moderate or no more than 4 beers for those that can’t self regulate.
Smoking is detrimental to your blood circulation due to its ability to constrict blood vessels, while raising both blood pressure and cholesterol so consider dropping the habit if you want to rediscover your form. A common occurrence for those that smoke is erectile dysfunction so if you smoke know that you're only a cool guy with your clothes on.
Improve your stress levels
Meditate more, journal, pray more if you’re that way inclined, get therapy. Being a man isn’t easy ma pressure ni yambili. The stress you feel manifests physically so get it under control.
What I mean by this is 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep 😴a night. Switch off your devices and turn off the lights 30 mins before bed. I struggle to fall asleep and when I do I tend to wake up at some point in the middle of the night. To mitigate this I take zinc, magnesium & melatonin to get a proper night’s rest. As an active male zinc and magnesium serve to replenish what I lose through sweat and help with relaxation before bed while melatonin is a natural sleep 😴supplement that knocks me out in 20 minutes flat.
Get out more🌞
Sun exposure is incredibly beneficial so get out more and soak it all in for optimal Vitamin D intake. Aptly named, Vitamin D will help support your testosterone production.
Check your blood work
Specifically cholesterol levels, blood sugar, testosterone levels. Be sure to check your blood pressure as well. If something isn’t right then your doctor will advise accordingly. Don’t assume things are okay, go and check. I check on things every 6 months or so as I prefer not to surprise myself. I want to know what's going on beforehand,
You can correct the situation and return to the roaring lion 🦁you once were in your younger years. You can choose to stand strong and enhance your quality of life by adopting the tips outlined above. The manlier you feel, the better.
I was at the mall the other day looking for something nutritious to feed my body after a 16 hour long fast and I settled on a ‘detox smoothie’. End result: I found my way to the bathroom 🚽in a hurry shortly thereafter and you know what? I felt brand new! Before you scramble for a box of laxatives or overpriced commercially sold smoothies let me explain the process.
Detox - What is it?
Detox is the process of removing toxins from the body. It’s an ejection process that can be done through sweat, urine or poop. The toxins are primarily introduced via your diet (processed foods, commercially grown foods that are bathed in pesticides & alcohol).
What are the benefits?
Reduced inflammation, elevated energy levels, mental clarity & some weight loss (and better digestion) from the absence of processed food & an improved relationship with the toilet🚽. Anyone that’s ever been constipated can attest to the feeling of relief (both physically and mentally) once congestion has cleared.
How can you do it?
Sample Detox Smoothies
Easiest way to do this is through juicing and/or blending. So, you need to drink your food. Blend with plain water or unsweetened almond milk and note that the order of the smoothies listing below is of no significance.
1st detox smoothie - 1 cupful of chopped spinach (or any other green leafy vegetable),
1 cup of chopped beetroot, 1 cup of chopped pineapple 🍍, 1 tablespoon of flax seeds, 1 tablespoon of honey🍯
2nd detox smoothie - 2 stalks of celery, 1 handful of blueberries, 1 handful of strawberries 🍓, 1-2 bananas🍌, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, 2 tablespoons of stevia or cinnamon
3rd detox smoothie - 2 stalks of celery, 1 cucumber🥒, 1-2 apple🍎🍏, 2 carrots🥕, 1-2 tablespoons of honey (to neutralize the celery), handful of ginger
4th optional basic detox smoothie - half lemon 🍋& 2 cucumbers🥒blend topped off with some mint leaves and ice❄ for a cool, refreshing taste.
5th optional basic detox smoothie - cinnamon, ginger & carrot🥕
How often should you do it?
As often as you feel you need. Duration typically lasts from 1 day to 3 or more days. If you’re not supplementing with a fast or going at it the whole day then take any of these smoothies first thing in the morning. I personally do an all day smoothie detox once a week on weekends.
Who’s it best suited for?
Whoever feels like they need it. Assess your own energy levels and general sense of well-being.
Your body’s pretty good at self regulating and cleansing but giving it a little help doesn’t hurt so please consider giving your body a bath 🛁🧼 on the inside every now and then.
*This blog complements my last one on overcoming gas issues. Read it here.