Medical News Today: What to know about caffeine withdrawal headaches

The quickest and easiest way to relieve a caffeine-withdrawal headache is to consume caffeine.

However, people trying to cut back on caffeine can use several other remedies or tricks to reduce caffeine withdrawal headaches.

Taking over-the-counter pain medication

Medicines that are available over the counter, such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and acetaminophen, contain compounds that block pain signals and ease most headaches.

That said, taking pain medication more than two to three times a week may lead to a headache known as a medication overuse headache, or a rebound headache.

Staying hydrated

Dehydration causes the brain to shrink, which can set off pain receptors in the skull. Sometimes even minor dehydration can lead to an intense headache.

Applying ice

Icing an area constricts the underlying blood vessels and slows the transmission of nerve signals.

In one study, researchers showed that applying a frozen neck wrap to the neck reduced pain in participants who were experiencing migraines.

Applying topical menthol

Menthol can numb the skin and reduce pain. Rubbing a few drops of diluted peppermint essential oil on the forehead or temples may be effective.

Getting enough rest

Sleep and sleep disorders are associated with many types of headache, meaning there is generally a link between sleep and headache pain. Getting the right amount of quality sleep each night usually reduces headache pain.

However, getting too much sleep or using sleep medications too often can make headaches worse.


Researchers are not sure how acupuncture eases headache pain, but it may slow down the transmission of pain signals and activate brain pathways that can turn them off.


Acupressure is a technique based on the traditional Chinese medical therapy of acupuncture. It involves manipulating specific pressure points in the body, which may help reduce headaches by improving blood circulation and lessening muscle tension.

Dietary supplements

Researchers have studied many different dietary supplements as potential treatments or preventative options for headaches. They have found only a handful with potentially positive effects:

Most supplements only work when taken regularly over time.

Anyone thinking of trying herbal supplements should talk to their doctor first as some can interact with other medications while others, such as butterbur, may have potentially harmful side effects.

Read more about natural remedies for headaches here.

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Medical News Today: 10 exercises for a pinched nerve in the neck

A pinched nerve is a nerve that has become irritated or compressed. The nerve is not necessarily pinched, but people use this term to refer to a range of symptoms. A pinched nerve can occur at various sites in the body, including the neck. When it affects the neck, doctors call it cervical radiculopathy.

A person with a pinched nerve in the neck may experience tingling, numbness, or weakness in their neck, shoulders, hands, or arms. Pinched nerves often appear with age or due to arthritis or wear and tear on the spine.

Many people with pinched nerves are reluctant to exercise because of pain and tingling. However, staying still can actually make the pain worse because it can cause tension and wasting in nearby muscles.

The following exercises may help relieve the pain and discomfort of a pinched nerve in the neck:

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Medical News Today: How to stop ruminating thoughts

Numerous strategies can help with rumination. People with depression, anxiety, or other mental health diagnoses may find that they need to try several strategies before one works.

It can be useful to keep track of effective strategies so that when rumination feels overwhelming, it is possible to turn to a list of methods that have worked previously.

People may find the following tips helpful:

  • Avoid rumination triggers: Some people find that specific factors trigger rumination. They may wish to limit access to these triggers if it is possible to do so without undermining their quality of life. For instance, a person could try putting themselves on a media diet if the news makes them feel depressed, or they could stop reading fashion magazines if these publications make them feel unattractive.
  • Spend time in nature: A 2014 study found that people who went on a 90-minute nature walk reported fewer symptoms of rumination after their walk than those who walked through an urban area instead.
  • Exercise: Numerous studies have found that exercise can improve mental health, especially over time. However, a 2018 study reported that even a single session of exercise could reduce symptoms of rumination among inpatients with a mental health diagnosis. People may find that pairing exercise with time outside gives them the best results.
  • Distraction: Disrupt ruminating thought cycles with something distracting. Thinking about something interesting and complex may help, while fun, challenging activities, such as complex puzzles, may also offer relief.
  • Interrogation: People can try to interrogate ruminating thoughts by considering that they might not be helpful or based in reality. Perfectionists should remind themselves that perfectionism is unattainable. Those who tend to concern themselves with what other people think should consider that others are more concerned with their own perceived shortcomings and fears.
  • Increase self-esteem: Some people ruminate when they do poorly at something that is very important to them, such as a beloved sport or important academic achievement. By expanding their interests and building new sources of self-esteem, a person can make a single defeat feel less difficult.
  • Meditation: Meditation, particularly mindfulness meditation, may help a person better understand the connection between their thoughts and feelings. Over time, meditation can offer people greater control over seemingly automatic thoughts, making it easier to avoid rumination.

Read about different apps that can help treat mental health issues such as rumination.

Alternatively, therapy may help a person regain control over their thoughts, detect signs of rumination, and choose healthier thought processes.

Some forms of mental health therapy, such as rumination-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (RFCBT), specifically target rumination to help a person gain more control over their thoughts.

While traditional cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on changing the content of thoughts, RFCBT attempts to alter the thinking process instead.

Learn more about cognitive behavioral therapy here.

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Medical News Today: What to know about bowel disorders

There are several types of bowel disorder, including:

Irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) refers to a number of symptoms that affect the digestive system. These symptoms include:

  • intermittent abdominal discomfort or pain
  • diarrhea
  • constipation

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), IBS is a type of functional GI disorder that increases gut sensitivity and changes how the muscles in the bowels react to stimuli.

Increased gut sensitivity can cause stomach pain and bloating, while changes in intestinal contractions can lead to diarrhea or constipation.

Learn about how to cope with the symptoms of IBS here.

Inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an umbrella term that describes several conditions that can cause inflammation in the digestive system.

Inflammation in the digestive tract causes severe abdominal pain, cramps, and diarrhea. It also impairs the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. If a person does not seek treatment for it, over time, IBD can lead to further complications, such as malnutrition and anemia.

The two types of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the GI tract but usually involves the small intestine. Ulcerative colitis affects the large intestine and rectum.

Celiac disease

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that damages the small intestine. Autoimmune conditions cause the immune system to attack the body.

In celiac disease, the body launches this attack when a person ingests gluten, which is a protein present in wheat, rye, and barley. Ingesting gluten triggers an immune response that attacks the villi in the small intestine.

The villi help transport nutrients from food into the bloodstream. Continual damage to the villi can lead to malnutrition, a variety of digestive symptoms, skin rashes, and many other nondigestive symptoms, including irritability and bone loss.

Over time, celiac disease can even start to affect organ systems outside of the GI tract, such as the reproductive and nervous systems.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the inflammation caused by celiac disease may increase the risk of small intestine or esophageal cancer.


Diverticulosis causes inflammation in the colon, which results in the formation of small sacs in the walls of the colon.

Although diverticulosis can cause symptoms similar to those of other bowel disorders, most people with diverticulosis do not experience symptoms.

However, people may notice blood in their stools if one of the sacs becomes inflamed and swollen. If one of these bursts, it can cause severe pain and may lead to sepsis.

People with diverticulosis may develop an infection or inflammation in one or more sacs, resulting in a condition called diverticulitis.

Intestinal obstruction

Intestinal obstructions occur when a blockage forms in the intestines, preventing the normal passage of stools.

Learn more about intestinal obstruction here.

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Medical News Today: 13 snack ideas for Crohn’s disease

When someone has Crohn’s disease, they must think carefully about all of the food they eat each day, including snacks.

Most people with Crohn’s find that eating small snacks frequently throughout the day is better tolerated than three large meals. Aim for a snack or small meal every two to three hours.

Here are some great snack recipes for people with Crohn’s:

Peanut butter banana smoothie

two glasses of Peanut Butter Banana SmoothieShare on Pinterest


  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1–2 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • milk or an alternative, such as soy milk


  1. Add the frozen banana, peanut butter, and a few splashes of milk into a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Add more milk to thin the smoothie, as desired.

Tip: For a different flavor, substitute other frozen fruits, or add yogurt instead of peanut butter. In the summer, try frozen tropical fruits and coconut milk.

A cup of soup

a cup of soupShare on Pinterest


  • 4 cups of broth (veggie or chicken, for example)
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 2–3 cups of diced vegetables, which may be frozen


  1. Add the broth, diced tomatoes, and vegetables to a saucepan.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat, and simmer until the vegetables are tender and cooked through, which should take around 10–15 minutes.

Tip: Try adding a can of beans or 1 cup of barley, lentils, or cooked, shredded chicken for a little variety and to add protein.

Guacamole cups

Guacamole cupsShare on Pinterest


  • 1 avocado
  • 1 small tomato
  • ¼ onion
  • a handful of cilantro
  • 1 lime
  • whole-grain tortilla chips or butter lettuce


  1. Mash the avocado with a fork.
  2. Dice the tomato, onion, and cilantro, and add these to the mashed avocado.
  3. Add the juice of the lime, and mix everything together.
  4. Serve the mixture with whole-grain tortilla chips or scoop it into butter lettuce cups.

Tip: Spread the guacamole on a slice of toast in the morning for a delicious and filling breakfast.

Energy balls

a dish of energy ballsShare on Pinterest


  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • ½ cup of peanut or almond butter
  • 1/3 cup of honey
  • ½ cup of ground flaxseed
  • chocolate chips, raisins, nuts, or a mixture


  1. Mix the oats, nut butter, honey, and flaxseed.
  2. Add the chocolate chips, raisins, and nuts, as desired.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Take a small spoonful of the mixture and roll into a ball.
  5. Continuing with the rest of the mixture, place the balls on the baking sheet.
  6. Put this in the fridge or freezer to allow the energy balls to set.

Deli roll-ups:

vegan deli roll ups Share on Pinterest


  • slices of deli turkey
  • low-fat or lactose-free cheese
  • butter lettuce
  • tomatoes


  1. Place a slice of turkey on a plate.
  2. Place a slice of cheese on top.
  3. Add a slice of butter lettuce and a thin slice of tomato.
  4. Roll this up and place it with the seam toward the plate.

Tip: Try adding a few sliced pickles or switching up the ingredients for variety. To make a faux Reuben, use thinly sliced corned beef, swiss cheese, and sauerkraut. Vegan and vegetarian meat and cheese alternatives are also available.

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Medical News Today: What are the 5 types of Crohn’s disease?


Ileocolitis is the most common form of Crohn’s disease, according to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. It causes inflammation of the lower portion of the small intestine, or ileum, and the large intestine, or colon.

People who have ileocolitis may experience the following symptoms:

  • cramping or pain in the middle or lower abdomen
  • diarrhea
  • weight loss


Ileitis causes inflammation only in the ileum. While Crohn’s disease can cause ileitis, other infections and inflammatory disorders can do so as well.

Ileitis causes similar symptoms as ileocolitis.

People who have ileitis and other forms of Crohn’s may develop gastrointestinal fistulas.

Fistulas are inflammatory channels that create passageways through the walls of the small intestine. Fistulas connect the small intestine to other areas and structures, including into the skin.

Digestive juices can leak through a fistula into the surrounding tissue or other organs. Fistulas can lead to serious health complications, such as severe systemic infection, malnutrition, dehydration, and significant weight loss.

Around 50% of people who have ileitis develop one or more intestinal strictures, which are narrowings of the intestines. Strictures occur when inflammation causes swelling or scarring in the intestinal walls.

Crohn’s colitis

Crohn’s colitis, or granulomatous colitis, causes inflammation only in the large intestine. People who have Crohn’s colitis may develop fistulas, ulcers, and abscesses near the anus.

Symptoms of Crohn’s colitis may occur in other forms of Crohn’s, as well, and often include:

  • diarrhea
  • rectal bleeding
  • bloody stools
  • skin lesions
  • joint pain

Gastroduodenal Crohn’s disease

Gastroduodenal Crohn’s disease affects the stomach, esophagus, and the first part of the small intestine.

Symptoms include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss


Jejunoileitis causes patches of inflammation in the upper half of the small intestine, or jejunum.

Symptoms can include:

  • abdominal pain or cramps after eating
  • diarrhea

Prolonged inflammation can lead to the formation of fistulas in the jejunum.

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Medical News Today: This vitamin D mechanism helps combat melanoma

Scientists have uncovered a biological mechanism through which vitamin D can change the course of melanoma. They found that vitamin D influences a signaling pathway inside melanoma cells that helps them to thrive.

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New research finds a novel mechanism that could explain melanoma.

The researchers suggest that reducing the activity of the pathway could be a way to help the immune system fight this most dangerous of skin cancers.

While scientists have observed that people with melanoma fare less well if they have low levels of vitamin D, they have not known the reason.

The new Cancer Research study provides a molecular explanation.

“This new puzzle piece will help us better understand how melanoma grows and spreads, and hopefully find new targets to control it,” says Julia Newton-Bishop, a professor of dermatology at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom.

“But what’s really intriguing,” she adds, “is that we can now see how vitamin D might help the immune system fight cancer.”

Melanoma starts in melanocytes

Cancer arises when cells grow out of control and proliferate. In the case of melanoma, cancer starts in melanocytes, which are the cells that make the pigment that gives color to skin, hair, and eyes.

Although it is the least common of the skin cancers, melanoma is the most dangerous.

This is because, without early diagnosis and treatment, there is a much higher chance of cancer spreading to other parts of the body.

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), which is one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), around 2.3% of people in the United States will receive a melanoma diagnosis at some point in their lives.

The NCI estimate that more than 92% of people with melanoma survive at least 5 years after diagnosis and that nearly 1,196,000 were living with melanoma in the U.S. in 2016.

Vitamin D and its receptor

For the new study, Prof. Newton-Bishop and colleagues investigated the cell biology of vitamin D in melanoma. They began by looking at what happens when cells lack a protein known as a vitamin D receptor (VDR).

Vitamin D cannot send signals into cells unless the cells have VDRs on their surfaces.

It is the binding of the vitamin D molecule to its matching receptor that releases the signal into the cell.

So, to examine what happens in cells that lack VDR, the team studied the VDR gene that has the instructions for making the protein.

They investigated VDR in samples from 703 human melanoma tumors and in another 353 melanoma tumors that had spread from the original site.

They also looked for links between the gene’s activity and other features, including the thickness of the melanoma tumors and how fast they grew, together with any genetic alterations that might accompany faster tumor growth.

Tumors grew faster with low VDR

Following these investigations, the team then used mice to see how melanoma aggressiveness responded to changes in VDR levels.

The findings showed that human tumors grew more rapidly when their VDR gene expression was low. In addition, these tumors showed lower expression in genes that control pathways that promote immune activity against cancer cells.

The researchers also found that low VDR in tumors corresponded to higher expression of genes that promote cancer growth and spread.

One particularly noticeable gene cluster was the one that controls a signaling pathway called Wnt/β-catenin. This pathway has many cell functions, one of which is to promote growth.

In a further set of experiments on mice with melanoma, the researchers showed that they could reduce the activity of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway by raising VDR expression on the cancer cells. This manipulation also reduced the chances of the melanoma spreading to the animals’ lungs.

Helping the immune system fight cancer

The findings reveal a potential way of using vitamin D to reduce Wnt/β-catenin pathway activity, and thereby help the immune system to tackle the cancer.

“We know when the Wnt/β-catenin pathway is active in melanoma,” Prof. Newton-Bishop explains, “it can dampen down the immune response, causing fewer immune cells to reach the inside of the tumor, where they could potentially fight the cancer better.”

“Although vitamin D on its own won’t treat cancer,” she continues, “we could take insights from the way it works to boost the effects of immunotherapy, which uses the immune system to find and attack cancer cells.”

After years of research, we finally know how vitamin D works with VDR to influence the behavior of melanoma cells by reducing activity of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway.”

Prof. Julia Newton-Bishop

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Medical News Today: What to know about Crohn’s disease and intestinal strictures

Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition that can develop in any part of the gastrointestinal tract, which begins at the mouth and ends at the anus. People with Crohn’s disease can usually manage their symptoms, but this condition may lead to additional health complications, such as intestinal strictures.

In most cases, Crohn’s disease affects the small intestine and the first section of the large intestine. It causes inflammation, which can lead the walls of the intestines to swell, making it harder for food to pass through. This narrowing of the intestines is called a stricture, and it is a common complication of Crohn’s disease.

However, Crohn’s disease is just one of several conditions and factors that can lead to intestinal strictures.

Keep reading to learn more about intestinal strictures, including how they form, their symptoms, and the treatment options.

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Medical News Today: Can saw palmetto help with hair loss?

a woman looking at a hair brush and wondering if saw palmetto might help stop her hair from falling outShare on Pinterest
There is no scientific evidence to confirm that saw palmetto reduces hair loss.

To date, scientific research on saw palmetto for hair loss remains limited. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), there is not enough scientific evidence to support people using saw palmetto for any health condition.

However, some researchers have looked into saw palmetto and hair loss.

According to a 2012 study, saw palmetto might inhibit an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. A medication called finasteride (Proscar) uses this mechanism to treat hair loss in males. By inhibiting 5-alpha reductase, finasteride blocks the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, which is the hormone responsible for male pattern hair loss.

Saw palmetto may also have anti-inflammatory effects on the body, which could offer protection from some causes of hair loss.

In a small 2002 study, researchers gave 10 males with androgenetic alopecia a supplement that contained both saw palmetto and beta-sitosterol. The researchers noted improvements in 6 of the 10 males. As this study was very small, additional research is necessary to support these findings.

In a 2012 study, researchers enrolled 100 males with mild-to-moderate androgenetic alopecia. Over 2 years, one group took 320 milligrams (mg) of saw palmetto each day, while the other group received 1 mg of finasteride daily.

In the end, 38% of those who took saw palmetto had an improvement in their hair loss, compared with 68% of those who took finasteride. This finding suggests that both treatments had an effect but that finasteride was more effective. The researchers also noted that the more severe the hair loss, the less likely saw palmetto was to work.

While smaller studies have shown that saw palmetto might have promise as a treatment for hair loss, there is a need for additional, larger scale studies.

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Medical News Today: What are the best home remedies for fever?

The treatments for fever in children are very similar to those for adults. However, there are a few subtle differences.

For example, to treat a fever, children and infants should try:

Drinking plenty of fluids

Like adults, children with a fever also need plenty of fluids. However, it can be difficult to get young children to drink extra water.

Some more appealing alternatives include:

  • warm chicken broth
  • popsicles
  • flavored jello
  • diluted fruit juice


Children may feel better after taking OTC medications. As a result, they may feel more energetic and playful.

However, it is important to ensure that children rest until the fever or illness has passed.

If a child cannot sleep or relax, parents and caregivers can try reading them a story or playing them some gentle music.

Taking warm baths

Children are unlikely to appreciate bathing when they are sick. An alternative option is to place a warm washcloth on the child’s forehead to help soothe the fever.

People should never apply rubbing alcohol to a child’s skin in an attempt to soothe a fever. Alcohol can be dangerous when absorbed into the skin.

Taking OTC medications

As with adults, medication is not usually necessary for a child with fever. However, taking OTC medications can help reduce a fever and make a child feel more comfortable.

One drug that is suitable for children of most ages is acetaminophen. It is available under the brand name Tylenol.

Tylenol’s manufacturers state that it is suitable for use even in very young infants. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not supply dosage instructions for acetaminophen in children under 2 years of age.

People who wish to treat a young infant should ask their doctor’s or pharmacist’s advice on appropriate dosages.

Some medications are not suitable for children under certain ages. These include aspirin, which is not suitable for people under 16 years of age, and ibuprofen, which is not suitable for children under 3 months of age or those who weigh under 5 kilograms.

Ibuprofen is also not suitable for children with asthma.

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