A naturopathic physician's take on treating rosacea

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A naturopathic physician's take on treating rosacea

Postby Aurelia » Fri Nov 09, 2007 12:55 am

Hi,

We don't normally copy posts across from our email board, but I am going to do that with two really fascinating recent posts, for the benefit of members who don't also read the RSG.

Kind regards,

Aurelia

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http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/ro ... sage/97787

Nov 6, 2007

"Julie" wrote a post titled "Interesting article on rosacea".


Hello, everyone,

My cousin sent this article to me. I think it's very interesting.

DAILY HEALTH NEWS - November 5, 2007
In This Issue...

Saving Lives
Dr. Stengler's Medical Mystery: Getting to the Root of Rosacea -- The Real Reason Why Her Face Was Red.....


Dr. Stengler's Medical Mystery: Getting to the Root of Rosacea

Rosy cheeks are adorable on children playing in the snow, but for the 14 million Americans who suffer from the irksome and persistent skin condition called rosacea, having reddened cheeks, nose, chin or forehead is embarrassing and at times painful. Many people never visit a doctor for treatment of this facial redness, which is sometimes accompanied by pimples, because they don't realize it is a telltale sign of a medical condition. This was how "Maria," a 42-year-old stay-at-home mother, initially responded to the unwelcome changes in her skin. Her husband had been sent on a dangerous military assignment and within a few weeks of his departure, Maria's chin and forehead began to break out and turn red. She assumed this unusual eruption was a result of her anxiety about his safety, but after he returned several months later, her skin condition remained. At that point she began to realize this was more than stress in action or adult acne.

Maria initially consulted with a dermatologist who told her that she was suffering from rosacea, which typically affects people between the ages of 30 and 50. He explained to her that at present there is no cure for the condition although some patients find the problem diminishes considerably over time, since it is often due to stress, dietary or environmental factors. Unfortunately, for other patients the opposite happens -- their rosacea gets worse, causing physical discomfort and leaving them so self-conscious they become reluctant to go out in public. When Maria agreed that treatment was in order, the dermatologist presented her a lengthy list of possible medical approaches including both oral and topical medications. He wanted her to take an oral antibiotic such as tetracycline, in an initially high dosage that would be tapered off. But this attempt to kill the bacteria backfires, since even the good antibiotics lose effectiveness over time as bacteria becomes resistant -- so she could also use one or more topical creams such as metronidazole (MetroCream) to reduce inflammation and kill or prevent bacteria growth. Another option would be topical antibiotics including erythromycin or clindamycin (Cleocin) both of which also often become ineffective over time. Other possibilities include topical tretinoin (Retin-A) or oral isotretinoin (Accutane), both prescription medications that treat acne but with significant side effects.

Maria felt overwhelmed by the dizzying array of medications, since she knew these medicines have risks. She had visited Mark Stengler, ND, a number of times in the past and because he is a naturopathic physician, she hoped he might be able to treat her rosacea naturally rather than with standard prescription drugs. When she called for a consultation, Dr. Stengler told her that rosacea can often be helped - - sometimes even eradicated -- by using natural medicines to treat one of several possible root causes including food sensitivities or a hormone imbalance.

TREATMENT -- STAGE 1

Because Maria was already on a natural form of the hormone progesterone to control her irregular menstrual cycle, Dr. Stengler did not consider any other hormone treatment. Rather he started her on the following, all at once, a regimen that had been successful with many of his patients previously:

Burdock root -- for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects that heal the skin.

Fish oil -- combination omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA to reduce inflammation in the skin.

Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) -- helps reduce skin inflammation.

Betaine hydrochloride capsules -- these vitally important digestive enzymes are used to help improve stomach acid levels, stimulate the liver and pancreas, and promote absorption of protein and minerals. This results in improved digestion, which means less inflammatory reaction by the immune system. Additionally, Dr. Stengler advised Maria to avoid common triggers of rosacea flare-ups including spicy foods, alcohol and hot beverages. He also reminded her to avoid too much sun exposure, wind, emotional stress, hot baths, caffeine and coffee, since these can be triggers as well.

TREATMENT -- STAGE 2

Maria stayed with the regimen for four months, but had only mild improvement. Consequently, Dr. Stengler decided to take a more aggressive approach, since rosacea acts differently in different people. She stayed only on fish oil and GLA, and he prescribed a topical facial cream that contained alpha lipoic acid (ALA) and vitamin C, both with anti-inflammatory properties, to be prepared by a compounding pharmacy. She was to apply this to the affected area of her face twice each day.

Her rosacea improved noticeably with this new treatment and by the end of eight weeks it had virtually disappeared. At the end of a year Maria's skin was still clear. She was able to discontinue use of the topical ALA cream, but Dr. Stengler says he has other patients who use it on an as-needed basis for occasional flare-ups.

IN SEARCH OF THE CAUSE

Researchers continue to pursue the causes of rosacea, and it looks like there are several. In fact, a study just published from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, found that overproduction of two inflammatory proteins results in excessive levels of yet a third protein that can cause rosacea symptoms. When the researchers evaluated levels of this third protein in rosacea patients, all had higher-than-normal levels. But, as Dr. Stengler points out, researchers must first learn more about overproduction of the triggering proteins. Some studies have also indicated that a stomach infection caused by the H. Pylori bacteria might be associated with rosacea and many natural medicine practitioners suspect that low stomach acid may be a cause as well.

In the meantime, Dr. Stengler says that while conventional medical treatment can help manage symptoms, most of the products prescribed have potential side effects, including the digestive problems caused by antibiotics, possible weakened immunity, skin irritation and sun sensitivity from pharmaceutical topical and oral treatments. Therefore, he doesn't advise use of such conventional medications long-term. Instead he prefers a well-rounded holistic approach, which is the way he treated Maria. He also reminds anyone with rosacea to use natural skin products as much as possible, noting these are less likely than synthetics to exacerbate the rosacea. They should also be sure that all facial products, soaps, moisturizers and sunscreens are free of alcohol or other irritating ingredients such as fragrances and preservatives including methylchloroisothiazolinone and methylisothiazolinone.

Source(s):

Mark A. Stengler, ND, a naturopathic physician and leading authority on the practice of alternative and integrated medicine. He is director of the La Jolla Whole Health Clinic, La Jolla, California, and associate clinical professor at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, Portland, Oregon. He is author of the newsletter Bottom Line Natural Healing, http://www.DrStengler.com.
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Re: A naturopathic physician's take on treating rosacea

Postby tompkin86 » Fri Nov 09, 2007 4:15 am

Thanks for the repost. If only there was a little more detail about her symptoms and final outcome.

Maria's chin and forehead began to break out and turn red ... Her rosacea improved noticeably with this new treatment and by the end of eight weeks it had virtually disappeared. At the end of a year Maria's skin was still clear. She was able to discontinue use of the topical ALA cream, but Dr. Stengler says he has other patients who use it on an as-needed basis for occasional flare-ups.


It's not entirely clear what her symptoms were -- p&p with surface irritation, or p&p and true erythema. And when they say her skin was clear except for occasional flare-ups, does this just mean the p&p came under control, or did any erythema clear up as well?

Yes, I'm still desperate for a real treatment for erythema. Yes, I'm grumpy. :-)
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Re: A naturopathic physician's take on treating rosacea

Postby Lisamouries » Fri Nov 09, 2007 10:10 am

Hi Aurelia.
I found that article really interesting too. Would have loved to try it out but am a bit far away with no chance to go to California or Oregon in the near future (although the £1=$2.10 is very attractive!)
I am planning however to see a homeopath in France who is apparently very good. So will keep the forum posted if anything interesting arises. I have tried homeopathy in the past and herbology, and acupuncture for chronic cystitis in my youth and it did eventually work but as I was also taking antibiotics so I'm not sure what finally clinched it. I suspect it was a mix of everything.
Take care.
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Re: A naturopathic physician's take on treating rosacea

Postby David Pascoe » Sun Nov 11, 2007 2:50 am

topical facial cream that contained alpha lipoic acid (ALA) and vitamin C, both with anti-inflammatory properties, to be prepared by a compounding pharmacy.


It would be interesting to find out a bit more about what this is and if anyone here has ever tried it.

I don't have too much faith in Naturopathic Doctors and how much they can treat rosacea in particular. I'm stoked to read a positive article though, and would gladly become less skeptical if some good treatments were promoted.

(See also Do Naturopathic Treatments Work For Rosacea.)
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