How to Calculate Window Tint Visible Light Transmission (VLT)

Window tinting films are measured in visible light transmission levels (or VLT). This means that when we discuss a particular film, be it for fitting to a car or any other application, we normally refer to it with it’s VLT value. VLT is measured in percentage ( % ), so if you hear about a tint product being referred to as a percentage, it is the VLT that defines that percentage value.

For example, a tinting film referred to as Charcoal 5% is a charcoal coloured tint with a VLT of 5% and likewise a film referred to as green 50% is a green coloured tint film with a VLT of 50%. But what does the number actually mean?

Well, in simple terms the VLT value is the percentage of visible light that will be allowed to travel through the window tinting film from the exterior face side of the film to the interior side. This means that a 5% film will only allow 5% light travel through and a 70% film will allow 70% light to travel. In effect, this means that lower VLT films will appear darker. For instance, it is normally 5% tints that we will see on limousines for privacy.

So, fitting a 5% tint to a window will allow 5% light to travel through the glass from outside to inside, right? NO! Because we need to take into consideration the actual VLT of the window before the tint is even installed. There is no such thing as a piece of glass, no matter how clear it appears, with a VLT of 100%. This is because glass naturally filters out a little bit of visible light.

Lets look at car window tinting as this is one area where we speak of VLT often due to the fact that many countries have laws in place limiting how dark car windows should be tinted. Most modern cars come from factory with windows reading a VLT somewhere between 72% and 78%, depending on manufacturer, model and country. Say, our example car’s windows read at 72% and we add a 50% window tinting film, what is the new and final VLT of our car’s windows after installation?

The sum is very simple: V1 x V2 = V3 (Where V1 is the original VLT of the glass before tinting, V2 is the VLT of the window tinting film and V3 is the final VLT value of the glass with tint film applied).

Our car’s windows original VLT = 72% and the tint = 50 %, thus V1 = 72 and V2 = 50

The sum is 72 x 0.50 giving us 36, which we will express as a percentage. So a window with an original VLT of 72% will then have a VLT of 36% after application of a 50% film.

Antenatal Classes – Pelvic Floor Exercises

Most of the pregnant women are probably hearing how important it is to have strong core muscle. If you have never come across core stability exercises, Pilates, Yoga and you are first time pregnant it is not easy to understand and start strengthening the muscle. Many pregnant women hear about the pelvic floor muscles and Kegel Exercise but not many are told where they are, how to find them and most importantly how to train them.

So let’s make it simple!

What is pelvic floor?

They are a sling of muscles that sits underneath the bladder and runs from the base of the spine (coccyx) to the pubic bone at the front.

What do they do?

The main purpose of your Pelvic floor muscles is to give your organs support and help to improve your bladder/bowel control and improve or prevent any leakage.

The pelvic floor muscles relax when you contract the bladder to let the urine out.

Why are they important for pregnant women and women who have children?

The pelvic floor muscles can weaken during pregnancy as they relax from the weight of the baby and a hormone called relaxin that softens the connective tissue of the pelvic structures in preparation for birth. During childbirth vaginal delivery may further weaken or stretch some of the supporting structures in the pelvis.

Can I do anything to help protect my pelvic floor from weakening?

Yes start your pelvic floor exercises straight away!

How do I know I am actually working my Pelvic floor muscles?

There are two ways to check that you are correctly contracting the pelvic floor:

Stop test

While going to the toilet you can try and stop the flow of urine, if you can then you are contracting the pelvic floor muscles correctly, but do not stop the flow of urine every time you go to toilet. This is a good way of seeing if you are exercising the correct muscles, but may cause problems with your bladder if you are doing the test more than once a fortnight. Remember this is a test and you must not exercise your pelvic floor muscle while urinating!

Squeeze test

You can also feel if your pelvic floor muscle is contracting by putting one or two fingers into your vagina whilst having a bath or shower. Tighten your muscles so they squeeze your fingers.

How often should I do my exercises?

Practice five pelvic floor exercise contractions five times a day

There are two types of pelvic floor exercises; low twitch and fast twitch. It is important that you do the slow twitch first and then the fast twitch each time you exercise your pelvic floor muscles.

Prepare to exercise:

Sit on a chair/toilet seat/toilet lid. Make sure your feet are flat on the floor and your legs slightly apart:

To perform the slow twitch exercises:

1. Close and draw up the muscles around the back passage as if you are trying to stop passing wind. Make sure you do not contract your buttock muscles whilst doing this.

2. Now close and draw up the muscles around the vagina, as though you are trying to stop the flow of urine.

3. Hold for a count of five, breathing normally and trying not to hold your breath.

4. Slowly relax and let go.

5. Repeat five times in total.

6. When you can repeat five contractions for five seconds, start to build up the hold to ten seconds, increasing by one or two seconds each time.

To perform the fast twitch exercises:

1. Pull up your pelvic floor muscles as before.

2. Hold for one second and relax.

3. Repeat five to ten times or until your muscles feel tired.

If you are performing slow twitch exercises and you find your muscles ‘let go’ too quickly and you cannot hold for a count of five then just hold them for as long as you can.

When performing pelvic floor exercises it is important NOT to:

1. Squeeze your buttocks together.

2. Bring your knees together.

3. Hold your breath.

4. Lift your shoulder/eyebrows/toe upwards.

5. Perform the exercises while urinating.

If you do any of the above then you are not contracting your muscles correctly.

Any other benefits of performing these exercises

Yes! For women, strong pelvic floor muscles can also mean increased sensitivity during sex and stronger orgasms.

How to Have Clutch Power

The key to your motocross bike’s performance lies in the clutch. You may be an ace as a motocross player but if your clutch is not doing its part, you may find your engine difficult to control. The following are some tips for an excellent clutch.

First of all, take out those Factory Clutch Springs and substitute them with stiffer ones. Bike factories never use maximum performance parts when assembling the clutch. High performance parts usually cost more money than those being used by factories. But keep in mind that you don’t have to change every spring. Usually two or three will do but you can experiment on what works for you.

Do not neglect your   transmission  oil. It’s not the same as cars and trucks wherein you can change the oil once a year only. Ideally, your oil must be replaced every two or three races. It may sound too much for you, but changing the oil is cheaper than a  transmission  overhaul. Remember that the crud that you pick up on the track accumulates and will put early stress on your clutch plates.

Always carry extra shims for emergencies. You’ll never know when you’re going to need these things. It might happen in the middle of a race and you won’t be able to remedy the situation. You can simply insert the right washer under the bolt. The added thickness will preload your springs and take away that spongy feeling in your clutch.

You can top off your  transmission  to the proper level with Automatic  Transmission  Fluid, that is, if it is GM compatible. But don’t use a Ford type fluid. The difference between the two is GM fluid grips better than a Ford fluid which is slick as molasses.

Never use factory-installed aluminum clutch plates. These plates are suitable only for regular use but not tough enough for extended motocross use. They don’t hold up as well as steel plates which are heavier but more durable. There are two drawbacks for aluminum plates. One, they wear more quickly than steel leaving metallic deposits in the oil, thus, hastening mechanical wear. Two, aluminum warps easily when subjected to extreme heat generated in motocross.

Aging plates build up a glaze layer on the surface which makes them slip more noticeably. When this slippage is noticed, take out your fiber clutch plates and sand the surface to remove the slippery glaze. Reinstall after cleaning.

Make sure your clutch lever isn’t set too tight. Set it so that a quarter can slide between the lever perch and the lever without catching the clutch cable.

Diflucan Yeast Infection

Yeast is a type of fungus that may be present normally over the skin. The specific type of yeast that causes many a diseases in human is Candida albicans. This is a normal flora, mainly showing their presence in the moist areas of human skin like armpits, mouth, groin, sexual organs (both in male and female) and fold of the buttocks. It is seen that 20-50% of any normal healthy female carry yeast in their vaginal area.

Candidiasis, or yeast infection can be localized to the skin or there may be severe systemic infection in patients having reduced immunity. These patients usually suffer from AIDS, cancer or cancer patients receiving chemotherapy drugs.

It is estimated that almost 75% of the female population will suffer from vaginal yeast infection at any point of their lifetime. This is again aggravated by previous or secondary bacterial infection like Gonorrhea and protozoal infection like Trichomonas. Some external irritants like vaginal douches or the internal hormonal disturbances derange the normal vaginal flora and there is excess production of the acid producing bacteria like lactobacilli. Regular intake of oral pills, pregnancy, stress, vaginal sex immediately after anal sex and private part lubricants containing glycerin are some predisposing factors of vaginal yeast infection.

Men can also suffer from genital yeast infection. The causes are unclean prepuce, engaging in excessive anal sex and not cleaning after that.

Oral candidiasis can occur in immunocompromized patients. This may also transmit to any person if engaged in oral sex with the infected partner. Long standing diabetes is one of the most contributory factors of oral yeast infection.

Use of antibiotics and steroids (which lowers the immunity) is the two most common causes of yeast infection of mouth cavity and private parts due to indiscriminate use by the doctors and also by the quacks. To kill this offending fungus we need some medicine called antifungal agents. Diflucan is one of them.

Diflucan, or scientifically known as Fluconazole, is an imidazole related antifungal agent which shows primary a fungistatic (inhibiting the growth of fungus) action. But in higher concentrations, Diflucan can also acts as a fungicidal agent (killing fungus). It helps to destroy the cytoplasmic membrane of the fungus and the fungal growth is retarded.

Bioavailability of Diflucan is not affected by presence of food in stomach. After absorption, it promptly shows its presence in skin, tears and urine. The concentration here are at least 10 times more that in sputum, saliva and vaginal fluid. This delineates the excretory process of Diflucan through urine and sweat. This is the reason Diflucan is preferred by doctors treating the cases of skin and vaginal yeast infection.

Patients having irregular heart rate and liver diseases must not take Diflucan as there may be aggravation of the problem. Although Diflucan is well tolerated generally, people can suffer from nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhea infrequently.

The major complications of Diflucan are reduced urine output, ulcerative condition of the lips and gums (Steven-Johnson’s Syndrome). Presence of Diflucan is noted in the breast milk, so nursing mothers should not take this medicine. Diflucan can lead to fetal malformations, therefore the pregnant mothers and those who are planning to have a baby in near future should avoid using Diflucan.

Diflucan is a good medicine in Yeast infection but the side effects are the restrictive factors for the wide use of this drug.

2 Major Factors Affect Learning Outcomes

It’s been public knowledge that the quality of our education around the world has been very low due to many reasons that are never heeded by our world education experts including Indonesia one of the biggest world countries whose schools and universities outnumber other world countries’ but their quality has not improved.

From my observation, interviews, teaching and lecturing at schools, colleges and universities in Indonesia, there are many factors which I think are very important to consider by our world educators in order to improve the quality of our education. There are at least 3 factors that affect the success or failure of our education: internal, external and instrumental factors. I believe that if we pay particular attention to these three factors, the quality of our education will better in terms of quality in our education.

The first factor is internal factor which refers to the learners who are learning. It includes (a) their individual interest in learning, (b) learning motivation implanted in the learners who are learning with other learners who have the same interest. This learning motivation is also influenced by several factors, that is learners’ learning ability, conditions, environmental conditions, dynamic elements in learning, and efforts of their teachers in teaching the learners in addition to other circumstances such as the learners’ physical condition, and their psychological state, their attention, attitude and learning habits, toughness in learning, social and economic stance as well as cognitive ability.

The second factor is called the external factor which is not separable from the first factor that guarantees learning outcome. This factor includes social environment where the learners, stakeholders I mean the schools or universities and the teachers and lecturers are, and those are present with the learners. The presence of other people at the time of learning should often be in line with the purposes of the learners’ activities that they should not interfere or prevent them from learning, in other words the presence of the people around the learners should be supporting their learning experience and activities, and the environment such as peers, classmates from the same and different classes, school administration/management, their teachers and other employees of the school as well as the headmasters very much influence the learning process to account for learning outcomes. Another important thing which is also related to the success of learning is the curriculum, the course structure, and the infrastructure available as means or media of learning as well as teachers as designers of learning and those are surely guaranteed for learning outcomes supported by devices or tools that are ready at hand that have to be well designed in such a way that they will meet the requirements of the learning activities.

In conclusion, those are the two very important factors which account for the success of learning we as world educators and education stakeholders should pay attention to in order to guarantee success in our world education.

Biker Lifestyle – Building the Perfect Custom Harley Chopper

If you ride to live, then you know what it means to own a custom Harley chopper, and I am not talking about some add-on chrome bike either; Anyone with some cash can drop by your local Harley Davidson dealer and ride away on a new Road King, or other of their other factory models.

A real custom Harley chopper is a one of kind custom built masterpiece that is created from the ground up, a 100% all original work of American beauty that reflects the personality and lifestyle of the proud owner. Hard core bikers know what I am talking about; the painstakingly hard work of creating and shaping a one of a kind statement of riding to live, and living to ride, wrapped around the perfect custom Harley chopper.

Building the perfect Harley doesn’t happen over night either, everything must be the perfect balance of frame, forks, the right rake and extension, rolling on tires and wheels that support the whole design. Every thing matters when building the perfect custom Harley, and if you are truly hardcore, then to complete the full extension of machine to man could mean 100% custom parts, engine, tank, and chrome. Nothing but the best will do.

So what does it take to build the perfect custom Harley motorcycle? First off it takes a boatload of cash, then you gonna need to find the right craftsman to hand all that cash to, and then brother you need some patients; you gonna have to sit down and talk with your craftsman, and help him understand how you are, what is important to you, so he can put pen to paper to form up some rough ideas. These ideas will be shaped and tweaked and considered until your Harley craftsman has the design that is truly you, and no one else.

Every nut, bolt, piece of molding, the right handlebars, and grips, absolutely everything will be well thought out, and nothing will be left to chance, or just thrown in. The perfect ride height that flows with a saddle that is made to fit your backsides contour, and all of the remaining pieces that are build around the heart of your custom chopper, the engine and   transmission .

With you custom Harley almost complete, there will hours and hours of assembling and disassembling, fine tuning, tweaking, and testing until the final phase will be applying the richest paint job and graphics that turn thousands of dollars of hard earned cash and countless hours of laborious love, sweat, busted knuckles, and blood into the work of beauty that is your custom Harley chopper.

OK so where do you find this custom chopper craftsman? Well I am sure you already know the answer, and this isn’t an overnight decision either, we have read every biker rag, went to all of the top bike shows, studied every custom bike we come across, and after we have researched all of our options, we pick up the phone or ride out to our craftsman and after a serious conversation or two we close the deal by shaking hands, signing some paperwork, and dropping that that big fat wad of cash we have been saving for who knows how long.

Those of you who have lived that dream of building and owning the perfect custom chopper know what I am talking about. Those of you still working on the dream will very soon know as well. The love of our lifestyle is but a reflection of how we live, carry ourselves and the bike we ride, the rest of this love is in our hearts!

What Is The Difference Between Investment Management and Stockbrokers?

The investment services industry can be daunting and ambiguous for individuals who seek a return on their capital. After working hard earning your wealth, it is important to understand the different services offered by professionals and what solutions fit you personally. One of the main questions we get asked here is:

“What is the difference between investment management and stockbrokers?”

Firstly, let’s discuss what stockbrokers are – we all have a much better, clearer, idea of what they do and who they represent. Stockbrokers are regulated firms that offer financial advice to their clients. A stockbroker buys and sells equities and other securities like bonds, CFDs, Futures and Options on behalf of their clients in return for a fee or commission. A brokerage / stockbroker will receive a fee on each transaction, whether the idea is profitable or not.

A brokerage can specialise in any investment niche they wish for example:

  • FTSE All-Share stocks,
  • AIM stocks,
  • European Stocks,
  • Asian Stocks,
  • US Stocks
  • Combinations of the above
  • Straight equities,
  • Straight derivative trading (CFDs, Futures & Options)

The main reason why investors choose stockbrokers over any other professional investment service is simply down to control. Due to the nature of a brokerage firm, they can only execute a trade after you instruct them to do so. This means it is impossible for a brokerage to keep buying and selling securities without you knowing – known as churning for commission. This doesn’t however prevent stockbrokers providing you with several new ideas a week and switching your positions to a new idea.

However, there are natural flaws with the brokerage industry is that because trading ideas can only be executed after being instructed to list a few flaws;-

  • you may miss out of good opportunities due to moves in the market,
  • you may get in a couple of days later because you were busy and not make any money after fees,
  • you may receive a call to close a position but unable to without your say so.

The above are examples that can happen when investing with brokerage firms, but this is due to the reliance of gaining authorisation from their clients. So if you are ultra busy or travel a lot then you could potentially miss out on opportunities to buy or sell.

What are investment managers?

Now we understand what stockbrokers / brokerage firms are about, let’s discuss what investment management services can do for individuals.

Investment management firms run differently to brokerages. The core aspect to these services is that the professional investment managers use their discretion to make investment decisions. As a client of an investment management firm you will go through a rigorous client on boarding process (just like a brokerage firm) to understand your investment goals, understanding of the services being used, risk profile, angering to the investment mandate and allowing the service to manage your equity portfolio. The sign up with the service may seem long winded but it’s in your best interest to ensure the service is suitable and appropriate for you. In reality, it’s not a long winded process at all. Once you agree to the services offered then you will only be updated on the on-going account data and portfolio reporting in a timely manner. This means no phone calls to disrupt your day-to-day activities and allows the professionals to focus on your portfolio.

Investment management firms usually have specific portfolios with a track record, into which you can invest your capital according to you appetite for risk. These portfolios will focus on specific securities, economies, risk and type of investing (income, capital growth or balanced). All of this would be discussed prior or during the application process.

Another method used by investment management firms is different strategies implemented by their portfolio managers. These strategies are systematic and go through thorough analysis before investment decisions are made.

The fees usually associated with investment management firms can vary from each firm. There are three common types of fees and are usually combined, fees can be;-

  • Assets Under Management Fee – This is where you pay a percentage of the portfolio per year to the firm, usually an annual fee. E.g) 1% AUM Fee on £1,000,000 is £10,000 per year.
  • Transaction Fee – This is a fee associated with each transaction made through your portfolio – similar to the brokerage firm’s commission.
  • Percentage of Profits Fee – This is where any closed profits generated over a set time will be charged to the firm. E.g) 10% PoP Fee – the firm generates you closed profit of £10,000 in one quarter – you will be charged £1,000.

The main benefits provided from investment management firms is that after the service understands your needs and tailors the service around you, it is their job to build a portfolio around you. It is also the job of the investment management firm to adhere to the investment mandate you agreed on, we’ll take about this later, so you understand of the time frame given what you should expect. Another bonus why high-net worth individuals choose investment management services is because they are not hassled by phone calls every other day with a new investment idea.

The difference…

The main difference between investment management and stockbroking firms is:

  • Investment Managers offers discretionary services; no regular phone calls about stock ideas.
  • Stockbrokers give you more control as you can personally filter out ideas you think won’t work.
  • Investment Managers offer an investment mandate; this is where the investment management service provides a document of what they are offering you in return of managing your portfolio. You will understand what exactly they are targeting over the year, based on what risk, and should they achieve it – then they have fulfilled their service. E.g) the mandate could state that the strategies used and based on 8% volatility (risk), they seek to achieve 14% capital return.
  • Stockbrokers do not offer an future agreements but look to deliver growth during the time you are with them. They are not bound by their performances like investment managers.
  • Investment management firms have a track record for all of the strategies and services used, stockbrokers do not.

Which to choose?

Both services provide professional approaches to investing in the stock markets. Stockbrokers are chosen over investment managers by people who like to be in control and receive financial advice. Stockbrokers generally do not have a systematic approach to the markets but use selective top-down approaches to select stocks.

Investment managers are chosen by investors who want an agreement on their performances over the year and understand the risk up-front. Usually more sophisticated investors that wish to take advantage of the track-record and gain an understanding of the systematic approach used by the investment management firm.

Feel free to learn more.

DISCLAIMER: The above is not considered financial advice or any endorsement to use any particular service. If you wish to use any of the services mentioned, please seek independent advice.

RISK WARNING: Spread betting, CFD, futures and options trading carries a high level of risk to your capital and can result in losses that exceed your initial deposit. They may not be suitable for everyone, so please ensure that you fully understand the risks involved. Past performance of a managed service is not a guide to future performance.

Heartburn Can Be Easily Cured

Do you suffer from heartburn, reflux or burping? Perhaps you rely on a medicine to help settle your tummy. I have written on digestive disorders on several occasions previously, but this time I would like to write specifically on a little bacterium called Helicobacter pylori. Helicobacter pylori bacterial infection is recognised as the most prevalent bacteria to infect the human population in the entire world. You may well identify the following problem, and if you do, don’t despair. It actually is possible to free from heartburn, reflux or a low grade queasiness, which affects so many people.

Helicobacter is a clever little bug

In 1982, when Australian Dr. Barry Marshall identified a new bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (HP) as an infectious agent responsible for peptic ulcer disease, it completely transformed medicine’s understanding of the microbiology and disease of the human stomach. Your stomach is protected from its own gastric juice by a thick layer of mucous that covers the stomach lining. HP takes advantage of this protection by actually living in the mucous lining. Once this clever little bug is safe in this mucous, it is able to fight the stomach acid that does reach it with an enzyme it possesses called urease. Urease converts urea, of which there is an abundant supply in the stomach (from saliva and gastric juices), into bicarbonate and ammonia, which are strong (alkaline) bases. This creates a cloud of acid-neutralizing chemicals around the H. pylori, protecting it from the acid in the stomach. This cloud is also part of the reflux and burping process that occurs, which many HP people complain of.

Contributing to the protection of HP is the fact that the body’s natural defenses cannot reach these bugs in this mucous lining of the stomach. The immune system will respond to an HP infection by sending “killer T-cells”, (white blood cells), and other infection-fighting agents. However, these potential H. pylori eradicators cannot reach the infection, because they cannot easily get through stomach lining. They do not go away – the immune response just grows and grows over time. White cells die and spill their destructive compounds onto cells lining the stomach lining. More nutrients are sent to reinforce the white cells, and the H. pylori can feed on this. Within a few days, gastritis and perhaps eventually a peptic ulcer results in the lining of your tummy. And of course, the person who suffers is often blissfully unaware, takes an antacid or an acid-blocking drug long-term, and continues to eat and drink foods which only aggravate the healing process long term. So they go back to the doctor, only to be told to stay on the medicine. After a few years, the person resigns themselves to the fact that they will always require this “medicine” to cure their condition. Yeah right, and Alice lived happily after in Wonderland.

To confirm that HP caused the gastritis and peptic ulceration, Marshall swallowed cultures of the bacteria and contracted gastritis (inflammation of the mucus membrane of the stomach). He then underwent endoscopy (internal examination of the stomach), and provided biopsies from which the suspected bug was re-isolated.

Changing medical belief and practice takes time. For nearly 100 years, scientists and doctors thought that ulcers were caused by lots of stress, spicy foods, and copious alcohol. Treatment involved bed rest and a bland and boring diet. Later, researchers added stomach acid to the list of causes and began treating ulcers with antacids when they became fashionable.Unfortunate for poor Barry, nobody believed him. In fact, he was actually treated with ridicule and disdain when he first proposed the idea that a bacteria actually lived the hostile environment of the stomach. Before 1982, the accepted medical paradigm was “no acid, no ulcer”, and that stomach ulcers only occurred when excess acid damaged the stomach wall and that all treatment should be aimed at reducing or neutralising all that bad acid. Surely you remember the advertisements on TV with the man drawing on his tummy with a felt tipped pen, telling you that the acid has to “stay down there”. These commercials generally came on after dinner, the time when your tummy is most likely to play up, I can’t help but thinking how many of those sufferers possibly have an undetected H.pylori infection. There is still a lot of drug promotion regarding this acid reflux problem. Unfortunately, many such patients today are still seen as having “too much stomach acid”, and treated with antacids or stomach-acid blockers as front-line therapy, when in my clinical experience actually the opposite applies, they don’t have enough or have an infection which needs sorting. Gastric juice is composed of digestive enzymes and concentrated hydrochloric acid, which can readily digest food or kill microorganisms. Low levels of stomach acid increase the chance an organism’s survival. It used to be thought that the stomach contained no bacteria and was actually sterile, and it took an Aussie GP to prove all the world’s experts wrong.

It seems pretty silly to treat the acid problem perpetually, without enquiring into actually why this burping, reflux and upper abdominal discomfort is occurring in the first place. Albert Szent Györgyi, (1937 Nobel Laureate in Physiology and Medicine) said that: “Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.” Today it is an established fact that most cases of peptic ulcers and gastritis, diseases that affect millions of humans worldwide, result from this HP infection, and not “too much acid” in the stomach at all.

“Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.” Albert Szent Györgyi

HP infection and prevalence

H. pylori is believed to be transmitted orally. Did you wash your hands? Many researchers believe that HP is transmitted orally by means of fecal matter through the ingestion of tainted food or water. In addition, it is possible that H. pylori could be transmitted from the stomach to the mouth through gastro-esophageal reflux or belching, all common symptoms of gastritis. The bacterium could then be transmitted through oral contact.

HP infection remains a huge problem, is extremely common and infecting more than a billion people worldwide. It is estimated that half of the American population older than age 60 has been infected with H. pylori at some stage and the economic effect of ulcer disease in the US (as measured back in a study of 1989 data) showed that the illness cost then nearly $6 billion annually. ($2.66 billion for hospitalisation, not including doctor ‘s fees), outpatient care ($1.62 billion), and loss in work productivity ($1.37 billion).

One in five Aussies and Kiwis have HP, according to Dr. Barry Marshal, infection usually persists for many years, leading to ulcer disease in 10 % to 15% of those infected. H. pylori is found in more than 80% of patients with gastric and duodenal ulcers. You can imagine what this common complaint in NZ and Australia is costing, in terms of medication, doctor’s visits and lost productivity at work. Early research on HP characterised much of the work to come, the data that emerged from the study of all these samples was quite unexpected. It showed that HP is actually a common bacterial agent and that an amazing 30-50% of the world’s population are colonised with it.

How do you know if you have the HP bug?

The infection manifests differently in different individuals. In some people, it produces more acid in the stomach, and ulcers may result. In others, stomach acid suppression or complete lack (which we call achlorhydria) may result, and these people may be at a greater risk of gastric cancer. It is unclear why some people respond one way or the other.

Typical manifestations of a Helicobacter pylori infection:

· Nausea, or a low-grade feeling of being queasy. Could be vomiting.

· Avoidance of chilli, garlic or a specific food which “does not agree” with your tummy.

· Bloating worse after meals. Feeling worse after meals or certain foods.

· Recurring abdominal pain, intestinal cramps.

· Peptic or duodenal ulcers (over 90% of all cases have HP)

· Burping, this can be pretty bad. The person may have developed a reputation!

· Heartburn, and perhaps reliant on Quick-Eze or Gavascon, Losec, etc.

· Diarrhea or constipation after several years of infection.

· Disturbed sleep, perhaps waking up with a hollow feeling or heartburn. I have known some patients to prop up the head of the bed with a few bricks even.

· Symptoms worse at night, or worse lying down.

· Vitamin B12 deficiency. Have your practitioner test for this, you may well be deficient.

· Altered appetite, some times you may feel like eating, other times you don’t.

· After being infected for several years, you may have develop mineral deficiencies which can lead to a myriad of health problems.

· Helicobacter pylori is implicated in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

· Migraine headaches (40% of migraine sufferers are positive, and eradication subsides the headaches).

· Acne rosacea. Helicobacter pylori is suspected of causing rosacea (eradication of HP often results in a significant reduction in rosacea symptoms).

Is it any wonder how an ailing stomach is supposed to do its job, i.e., digesting and absorbing foods efficiently when a bacterial infection is causing such dysfunction? Your doctor may have initially prescribed a medicine such as Losec, Gavascon or Mylanta for your stomach, serving to block acid or dilute it. How is your tummy supposed to work at all now? Then you go back and complain that the symptoms are unchanged. What then? You can see what I mean, after many years of this infection you can feel quite unwell. I see one person or more each week like this, and have done so for many years. When I wrote an article to our local newspaper several years ago regarding HP, I received nearly ten calls. And almost al these patients had a HP infection, all were on either Losec, Quick-Eze, Gavascon or Mylanta.

Conventional HP Therapy

Please note that it is extremely important to obtain an accurate diagnosis before trying to find a cure of your heartburn or reflux. Many stomach or digestive diseases and conditions share common symptoms: if you treat yourself for the wrong illness or a specific symptom of a complex disease, you may delay legitimate treatment of a serious underlying problem, yes even stomach cancer. In other words, the greatest danger in self-treatment may actually be self-diagnosis. Always work with your health-care professional, preferably one who is experienced in gastrointestinal disorders. If you do not know what you really have, you simply can not treat it!

I have always had a great concern regarding the extensive use of antibiotic drugs required to treat HP infected individuals. The conventional medical clearing of HP from the stomach requires therapy from 10 to 14 days with multiple drugs. My concern is that prolonged or recurrent antibiotic treatment alters the normal microbial population of the entire gastrointestinal tract, eliminating many beneficial bacteria as well as HP, allowing the sufferer to develop a gut environment which may contain bugs like Candida albicans, proteus, or a whole host of other undesirables. You get rid of one problem, only to create yet another.

Triple Therapy

The use of only one medication to treatH. pylori was never recommended by Dr. Marshall. At this time, the most conventional treatment is a 2-week course of treatment called “triple therapy”. It involves taking two antibiotics to kill the bacteria and either an acid suppressor or stomach-lining shielding drug. Two-week triple therapy reduces ulcer symptoms, kills the bacteria, and prevents ulcer recurrence in many patients – but the recurrence can be as high as 75%. Complete eradication is difficult, I have had many patients who have come to me after having had triple therapy many years ago with average to poor results, and were placed on an acid blocker for many years after.I do recommend this for some resistant cases, and have been know to send some patients to a GP for triple therapy, then follow-up with natural treatment for 6 weeks. I have found that some patients may find triple therapy complicated because it involves taking 3 kinds of drugs, and as many as 20 pills a day. Also, the antibiotics and bismuth drugs used in triple therapy may cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dark stools, metallic taste in the mouth, dizziness, headache, and yeast infections, particularly in women.

HP Testing

The diagnosis of H. pylori infection has traditionally involved endoscopy with biopsies of the stomach’s mucosa. There are three ways to test for HP currently in NZ. To be honest, I only occasionally authorise a HP test these days, and generally have a “gut feeling” a person has this bug once they come into my room and complain of the above mentioned symptoms. Common sense – the patient will soon tell you if they are or are not improving, and it only takes about three to four weeks to really know what is going on. Just because the test results come back negative, you could still have this bug. You know me by now, please don’t get paralysis from analysis! If you feel significantly better after a HP treatment whether it be pharmaceutical or natural – you probably have HP regardless of what the test results say. Remember – up to one in five New Zealanders have this infection, so the odds are reasonably high you have it.

· The Urea Breath Test method of diagnosis relies on the Urea reaction being present, as mentioned earlier. This is a sound test – 90 – 95% successful in picking up the HP bug.

· Blood tests measuring HP antibody levels have been developed. However, these tests have suboptimal sensitivity and specificity (85% and 79%).

· Stool tests for antibodies – again, many factors can affect the outcome of this test, stay with breath testing. Many experts say that the fecal antigen test is bullet proof, but in my experience I have seen many “false negatives” with testing. That is, the results come back all ok, but the patient responds dramatically after HP treatment.

Natural HP Eradication

No clear indications exist for specific treatment of each and every individual case of HP associated gastritis. I have found the following treatments to be effective, and employed many different therapies over the years. Here are some treatments which I have found to work in various HP cases. Remember, recurrence rates are quite high, so you may want to persist with treatment until you feel much better, then hang in there for a few more months (lower grade treatment) to be absolutely sure. I recommend treatment in blocks of 6 weeks, then wait 2 -3 weeks, then another 6 week period of treatment. A good clinical tip for you: always treat this infection by taking something with meals, and also something in-between, or away from foods. This is designed to really drive the “kill” treatment home, and lets the treatment have access to the HP bugs in the gut with as well as away to some extent from foods and gastric juice involvement. I have a saying in my clinic: persistence breaks resistance. Remember Winston Churchill? – never give in, never give in, never give in.

· Manuka honey, which has high levels of hydrogen peroxide and has been shown in studies to be active against H. pylori. Go for the Comvita high UMF factor Manuka honey.

· Propolis works really well for some, but is dismal for others.

· Vitamin B12 – get this checked in your blood! You may well be deficient here.

· After antibiotic treatment is finished, (triple therapy) it makes sense to rebuild the gut flora with lactobacillus species. They won’t cure the condition, however. (A 2002 trial demonstrated that a mixed acidophilus preparation failed to eradicate the H. pylori infection in the patients upon whom it was tried).

· DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) – you can get this in capsules or liquid.

· Aloe Vera helps to heal the mucous lining of the gastrointestinal tract.

· Berberine is found in the herb Goldenseal, and it may be used as a natural herbal antibiotic.

· Eat grapefruit seeds, for some this is very effective long term. The extract is even better.

· Digestive enzymes may also be useful – especially with achlorhydria (low stomach acid)

· Gum mastic is a natural substance from the sap of the Mediterranean evergreen tree, Pistacia lemniscuses. Mastic gum has been shown to be effective in protecting the digestive system, healing peptic and duodenal ulcers, and eradicating H. pylori from the gut. I use this a lot, and give two capsules twice daily in between meals.

· Bismuth. It displays anti-inflammatory action (due to salicylic acid) and also acts as an antacid and mild antibiotic. Don’t freak out – It can also cause a black tongue and black stools in some people who take it, when it combines with trace amounts of sulfur in their saliva and gastrointestinal tract. This discoloration is temporary and absolutely harmless.

My favourite HP treatment regime? I would have to say gum mastica between meals, and with meals a preparation of Bismuth,deglycyrrhizinated licorice, grapefruit seed extract and goldenseal. I often recommend aloe vera and activated charcoal as well.

Do you get that annoying heartburn, and want to try and find a cause and ultimately a cure? Consult your naturopath or nutritional-friendly doctor who can check you out carefully and thoroughly and who will actually treat the cause, not the symptom. They should generally recommend a course of treatment and a specific diet designed for the individual, with promising results for many patients. And what a relief, to be free of heartburn, bloating and that “awful feeling in the tummy” again!