Christmas health tips

10 Health Tips for Surviving the Festive Season

Christmas and New Year is fast approach and while I was looking at how to survive and stay healthy during this period, I really should be looking at how to survive the lead up to Christmas as well. So instead I have done up 10 health tips for surviving the festive season.

It is such a busy time of year with schools finishing, Christmas shopping to get finish off, Christmas parties and lastly work is manic trying to finish off everything before Christmas. Sounds all a bit silly to have all that stress for just one day.

Every year people ask me how they can stay healthy during Christmas and New Year and every year I have to tell them the same thing.

Moderation is the key to staying healthy and also staying hydrated.

10 Health tips for surviving the festive season

So what can you do to survive the season and come out the other end actually feeling you have had a break, rather than feeling in desperate need of one?

I have compiled 10 top tips to ensure you get the most out of the festive season and make it through less stressed and maybe a little more healthier.

  1. Plan Ahead– Try and plan to have all your Christmas shopping and all your supplies for the silly season organised well in advance to save on the stress of doing things last minute. Pre-order foods online if you have to and get it delivered.
  2. Deflate the Expectations– Don’t try and make everything perfect because will only lead to stress and anxiety if things do not go to plan. The main thing is to have fun and enjoy the family and friends. Don’t get caught up in buying expensive gifts and trying to overdo everything as this can spoil all your fun and lead to disappointment. Remember it is the festive season, not the stress and disappointment season.
  3. Delegate– Don’t try and do everything yourself. On Christmas day or New Years Eve, get family or friends to bring a salad, or a dessert, or both. When people arrive if someone asks to help, let them. Many hands make light work. If nobody volunteers to help, make sure you ask. You deserve to enjoy yourself too. While you are preparing food a nice glass of wine will ease any stress.
  4. Don’t be on your own– Christmas is a time to be with loved ones, friends or people in your same situation. If you have nothing planned, plan a small party at your place, or go to a friends, or family members place. There is nothing worse than being on your own where depression can set in.
  5. Ditch the pasta and bread– Go with more Paleo/Primal eating for Christmas and eat healthy while enjoying good food. In Australia there is no need to use fillers like bread and pasta, when we have all this healthy beautiful food to fill up on. Replace the chips with nuts containing healthy oils. Go for pistachios etc that keep you busy shelling and they taste good too. Cut up veggie sticks to go in dips and have heaps of lean meats, prawns, salads and veggies to make Christmas healthy and enjoyable. Cut up heaps of fresh fruits for dessert. Lastly remember everything in moderation and the odd dessert isn’t going to kill you.
  6. Rehydrate before and after drinking– Most hang-over’s are caused by dehydration  and regularly hydrating while drinking will make your next day feel so much better on waking. Remember water alone will not keep you hydrated. You need to use electrolytes before and during your drinking session on Xmas and New Years Eve. You need to use a proper electrolyte because Gatorade and powerade are not electrolytes, they are cordials with a bit of salt. Getting some electrolytes into you before and after drinking alcohol will be the difference between waking up with a sore head or not. Have a read of my article on electrolytes
  7. Know your limit with alcohol– Let’s face it you don’t have to write yourself off and embarrass yourself to have a good time. Most people actually feel relaxed and jovial after only a few glasses of alcohol. After the first couple of glasses, limit your alcohol to one glass per hour and drink water and some electrolytes in between. Always eat food before drinking. You will feel better for spacing your drinks, eating food and staying hydrated.
  8. Detox and restore your microbiome after the festive season– After Christmas and New Year is over, your number one resolution should be detox and restore your microbiome with healthy bacteria. All that christmas cheer, over consumption of food, alcohol  and stress all reduce your good gut bacteria and increase your bad bacteria, so you need to restore your microbiome again. You can also find out more about my microbiome restore

Final Word

Christmas and New Year is all about having fun and not getting too stressed with everything. It’s about good food, good company and most importantly it’s about family and friends.  Make sure you enjoy yourself, share some love and remember that moderation is the key to anything to do with keeping healthy and safe during the festive season.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

unhappy 389944 1280

Do you sometimes have a good day?

Do you sometimes have a good day?

Sounds like an odd thing to ask someone but the reality is that many people actually wake up each day with the reality that today may not be a good day, or that they only have a good day every now and again. If that is you, you are probably one of the millions of people in this country suffering depression.

More than one million people in Australia suffer depression each year and of those about 160,000 of those are teenagers. Australia has the highest per capita anti-depressants use in the world and seeing we are supposed to be the lucky country, many of us are not so lucky it seems.

Many people wake each day to find themselves not wanting to face the day, but rather stay in bed and hide beneath the doona to escape the day that confronts them. Life can seem dark, gloomy and almost not existent. The thought of facing the day, let alone people, can seems like a day in the dark fires of hell. One minute you can be having a laugh and the next minute someone could say the minutest thing and have you in tears.

While you feel so exhausted, sleep can be very erratic. The exhausting takes over, the negative thoughts set in and everything just seems so damn hard and overwhelming. The back dog takes its huge bite and the spiral into the dark realms of a typical day with depression sets in like ground hog day once again. The feels like there is no end in sight, no help and life seems almost pointless.

For millions of people this is how the day starts and the day ends. If this is you, you most likely have depression. But the good news is that there is help out there and there is a way to end the internal fight within.

Multimodality approach

Before I go into what can help, let me be 100% clear about treating depression. It requires a multi-modality approach to treat it, not just a pill. So many people come to see me for help with depression and just want a pill to help it. While there are treatment (medical and complementary medicine) that help with treating depression, there is no one pill to fix it. Because the medical treatment involves a pill, people get so used to wanting a quick fix of a pill, but the honest truth is that anti-depressants, or a pill of any kind, do not fix depression.

Yes, they help with serotonin levels, but they do not treat the root cause of depression. Worse still, long term use of anti-depressants (while beneficial short term) can lead to cardiovascular disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s and other cognitive conditions.

Alcohol and other stimulants

Secondly, alcohol and other stimulants only make depression worse. They not only interfere and affect medications and are contraindicated while taking medications (SSRI’s), but they also interfere with the chemicals in your brain, making depression worse.

Withdrawal effects of medications

The next thing I need people to know is that when it is time to come off any medications (SSRI’s), you will have side effects, even when tapered down slowly. Medications should never be stopped suddenly and always tapered down slowly.  Like any drug, you will have withdrawal effect and this is the cause of many people getting scared and go back to the safety net of medications again. Withdrawal is a normal process that you are going to go through and if done properly and in conjunction with natural medicines to ease this process, this transition process will take about two weeks and should be much easier.

The only way to assist with helping depression properly and effectively is a combination of counselling, medications, complementary medicines, diet, exercise and lifestyle modifications. If you miss out one of those components then you aren’t going to treat depression properly and the reason so many people do not get their depression sorted out.

Complementary medicines

Research has shown that Acupuncture on its own, by a series of treatments, may be as effective as antidepressants, without all of the side effects. Research has also shown that Acupuncture may be equivalent to talk therapy (counselling) when used in a series of treatment. Chinese herbal medicines may assist depression and you will need to see a qualified Chinese Medicine practitioner to have individualized care, treatments and medicines just for you.

Omega oils have also been shown to help with depression as have many complementary medicines and supplements.

Diet and lifestyle modifications, especially low GI anti-inflammatory based diet will definitely been shown to be of benefit with depression too. As I said before it is about a multimodality approach alongside counselling that is needed to treat depression effectively and properly.

Restoring the microbiome with beneficial good bacteria has also been shown to assist depression and mood disorders. This is due to the gut/brain interconnection. But as mentioned previously,there is no magic pill to make depression go away on its own.

Become creative, dynamic and effective

As one of my old lecturers used to say, the best way to treat depression is making someone creative, dynamic and effective. By that we mean get them into something they love to do (Creative). Get the passion for life back. Get them exercising (Dynamic) to get those natural endorphins, dopamine’s, melatonin and serotonin levels working. Give them the right diet, the right supplements and lifestyle adjustments and they will then be on their way to feeling better all over (Effective).

Nobody needs to suffer with having a good day sometimes. There is help out there and it does require a multimodality approach to assist with better moods and a better life.

If you do need help with having more better days, contact my friendly staff and find out how I may be able to assist you.

If you are in crisis, please call lifeline on (131114). You can also attend your nearest emergency center.

You can also see your general practitioner for a referral to a counsellor, psychologist, or psychiatrist. Beyond blue also have some great resources too.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

 

References

  1. Acupuncture and Counselling for Depression in Primary Care: A Randomised Controlled Trial – https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001518
  2. Hugh MacPherson, Andrew Vickers, Martin Bland, David Torgerson, Mark Corbett, Eldon Spackman, Pedro Saramago, Beth Woods, Helen Weatherly, Mark Sculpher, Andrea Manca, Stewart Richmond, Ann Hopton, Janet Eldred, Ian Watt. Acupuncture for chronic pain and depression in primary care: a programme of researchProgramme Grants for Applied Research, 2017; 5 (3): 1 DOI: 10.3310/pgfar05030
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1551714417306353
  4. The role of inflammation and the gut microbiome in depression and anxiety-https://doi.org/10.1002/jnr.24476

mother and daughter 1

Parents, Don’t Let Your Daughters Suffer With The Wait & See Approach For Period Pain

One of the things I find myself saying to parents often is “Please don’t let your daughter suffer with the wait and see approach for period pain.”

The reason I often say this is because daily I get messages from parents, mainly mothers, asking if they should wait and see if their daughters pain (and other symptoms) is miraculously going to go away. Many of these young girls have been putting up with pain for months, or longer, and still many parents are using the “wait and see” approach.

Many of these messages often start with the story that their daughter is laying on the bathroom floor in excruciating pain. The stories usually add in that their daughters may also have symptoms of nausea, headaches, vomiting and even stories of these poor young girls passing out with pain.

Then there is the usual response of “I used to get period pain and associated symptoms like this and I just had to learn to live with it”

Then comes the question I always hear so often- “Do you think I should wait and see if this just goes away, or do you think I should take her to someone to have her checked out?”

I often have to bite my tongue when responding to questions and stories such as this. If my daughter was laying on a bathroom floor each month, and in excruciating pain, there is no way I would be waiting and seeing if her pain is going to miraculously disappear. The first time she had pain, I would be off doing something about it, and I would not be taking no for an answer.

Many parents suffered period pain themselves

There is always several ways to look at this and why I always offer an empathic response. Many parents were in pain themselves and went through similar experiences. Many of these same parents were told to suck it up and that this is what a woman has to put up with each month. So to them, this is reality. This is their norm. They suffered, so it is natural for them to believe that their daughter just has to wait and see and suffer it out too.

But, as I say to these parents, these symptoms that your daughter is experiencing are not normal. Period pain and all the other terrible associated symptoms are not normal. No woman, young or older, should have to put up with excruciating pains related to her cycle, or an undiagnosed gynaecological condition.

I then go on to explain that I have daughters and that there is no way I would wait and see, before getting help. I also explain that on a health perspective, there are many dangers in letting a young woman suffer such a horrible experience.

The cause of period pain could affect future fertility

I often have to explain the implications of leaving a disease and not intervening early enough. The explanation of by not getting early intervention could mean that they may not ever have grand children, is usually enough to spur many a mother into prompt action. But, it should not have to take these words to prompt someone into action.

Gynaecological conditions cause period pain

The facts are clear now. There is enough education out there. The simple fact is that period pain (and associated symptoms) is not normal and this usually means that there is an undiagnosed gynaecological condition causing the issue. One of the most common causes being endometriosis, or adenomyosis, or both combined. There could be other facts such as pelvic congestion syndrome, or worst still, though rare, there could be something more sinister such as cancer.

Sexually Transmitted Infections

The other thing that parents may not like to admit is that their daughter may actually be having sex and has a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI). I often have parents interject when asking if a teenager is sexually active. Many a parent answer “No” on the teenagers behalf, only to then learn that their little girl is having sex.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STI’s) can cause permanent damage to reproductive organs and future fertility if not treated early enough. The reality is that many young girls, and boys, are having sex at a very young age, regardless of what parents may believe. Parents do need to open to the possibility that their child’s pain could in fact be related to being sexually active.

The things parents need to know

The things I am trying to educate all parents on are the following:

  1. No matter what anyone tell you, health professional included, ‘period pain is not normal’
  2. Please do not use the wait and see approach when your daughter is in pain, and has been for months.
  3. Women do not needlessly need to put up with pain each month.
  4. Early intervention is the key to treating and managing any disease or health issue
  5. Teenagers are not too young to have endometriosis, or other gynaecological issues.
  6. Many gynaecological issues are hereditary, so if a parent had period pain, or a diagnosed gynaecological issue, then there is a good chance their daughter will have the same.
  7. Parents should not feel guilty, or blame themselves for passing on hereditary issues. All of us have faulty genes.
  8. Regardless of upbringing, or moral stances, teenagers are having sex earlier these days
  9. Teenagers can have sexually transmitted diseases
  10. The earlier intervention is enacted and proper treatment and health management administered, the better the future fertility and health outcomes are for young woman.
  11. Without early intervention, some parents may never become grandparents.
  12. General practitioners are no gynaecologists, so please make sure you get referred onto a proper specialist. If not, find another GP.
  13. If you don’t get help with the first healthcare practitioner you see, please remember the value or a second, or tenth opinion.

I do get that many parent’s have been led to believe that period pain, and other associated symptoms are just part of live and something that I woman just has to put up with. I am sorry for those that were told this and then have put up with this when they didn’t have to.

Period pain is not normal

Please know that you daughter does not need to put up with these symptoms. Period pain is not normal and early intervention is the key to help your daughter live a happy and pain free life. It could really also help save her from the heartache many women have to live with daily. It could also help with her being able to have children of her own.

Do not use the wait and see approach for period pain

Never use the wait and see approach when it comes to period pain and the other associated menstrual symptoms. You daughter will thank you one day and I am sure her children will thank you too. Lead by example so that your daughter can lead by example to daughter, or daughters too.

Final word

If you do need help with your daughters period pain, and other associated symptoms, please give my friendly staff a call and find out how I may be able to help. There are in person and online consultation available. Conditions may apply with online consultations. My staff will explain all this to you when you make your enquiry, or book a consultation.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Master of Women’s Health Medicine

-The Women’s Health Experts

 

 

 

 

3 Phase Fertility Program Facebook 1

New 3-Phase Fertility Program & Why We Are Doing It

We are now offering a step by step new 3-Phase multimodality fertility program for those who need assistance with being able to have a baby. In the next follow-up post I will explain it a bit more in depth and what the phases involve.

We already offering a full multimodality fertility program which covers everything couples/individuals will need for their journey to have a baby. For more information on the full program please click on the link- Dr Andrew Orr’s Full Fertility Program 

My motto is “No Stone Left Unturned” and I don’t offer quick fixes

My motto is “No Stone Left Unturned” and I apply this to every person I see. I also have a master in reproductive medicine and have been assisting couples/individuals with fertility issues for over 20 years. I have helped over 12,500 babies with my program and part of this is because I don’t do things by halves and I look thoroughly into every person’s health and reproductive history.

I don’t do things by halves and with fertility and reproduction there is not quick fixes. If you aren’t able to conceive there is something drastically wrong and it needs to be investigated properly and appropriate management and treatment administered. This goes for both men and women. As I always say, fertility is not just an issue that women need to work on. Men are an equal part of the equation.

While my motto is “No Stone Left Unturned” and I will never do things by halves, or give people the quick fix, unfortunately there are many out there who will. Unfortunately people also want the quick fix and won’t invest in anything that they perceive will take them time. It is just the world we live in these days. Everyone wants a quick fix and immediate gratification. But, when it comes to fertility and reproduction, perception and reality become apparent very quickly and many couples/individuals end up on the fertility round about for years.

My full program and the new idea for the 3 phase program

My full program is very extensive and includes a lot of things than many just do not realise. The program cost is inclusive cost up front and even so, it probably should be twice the price. But, with all that goes into it and what is involved, many couples/individuals find that a bit overwhelming as they want they just want the short cut and answer to have a baby.

My daughter runs my reception and takes all my patient enquiries and a few weeks ago we spoke about creating a separate program, which may be less overwhelming for couples/individuals. This is where we came up with the 3-phase fertility program.

This way couples can do things step by step, rather than everything up front, and pay for each phase they do, rather than an all-inclusive price up front *

The New 3-Phase Fertility Program

Couples/individuals* can now come and see me for an extensive 2 hour consultation and fertility education without having to commit to the full fertility program. This is phase 1. They have to fill out questionnaires prior to coming and will be given a 10-20 page report of findings and ongoing management plan. From there they can then go away and absorb everything and decide if they want to commit to the rest of the fertility program, which is then phase 2 and phase 3.

The cost is a little cheaper than the full fertility program and you pay for each phase, rather than an all-inclusive fee up front. You don’t get everything that is included in the full program, but it is another option for couples who need advice, who are unsure what they want to do next etc.

It would be a little strange to just do Phase 1 only, as you would have all this advice and plan set out, and then not be able to do anything with it. But what it does is allows couples to digest things and talk over all their options etc, before they commit to phase 2 and phase 3.

My mission 

I want every couple, or individual wanting to have a baby to have the best advice and care before heading into the journey of becoming a parent. The new 3 phase fertility program gives another option for this. It also makes things a little less overwhelming while still giving couples the “No Stone Left Unturned” approach that I always provide everyone. I will never do quick fixes, never cut corners, or try to cheapen what I provide to anyone. But, I will always look at ways I can meet people half way and this is what we have done.

Couples/individuals * can still do the full Fertility Program if they want, but now they have another option they can look at also.

I will explain the new 3-phase Fertility program option in a follow-up post. To find out more the best thing to do is call my clinic and get the full information and pricing from my staff. If you do need help with having a baby, or struggling to fall pregnant, please give my friendly staff and they will go over every option of how my fertility programs may be able to assist you. Yes, we do see couples from remote places, interstate and those overseas as well.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Master of Reproductive Medicine

-The International Fertility Experts.

*Conditions apply. Please ask our staff about these conditions. 
3 PhaseFertility Program

New 3-Phase Multimodality Fertility Program Explained

  • Are you struggling to fall pregnant?
  • Have you had multiple failed cycles of IVF, or Assisted Reproductive Therapies?
  • Do you want to know ways to increase your chances of pregnancy?
  • Do you feel like your fertility specialist, GP, or gynaecologist isn’t listening to you?
  • Could you have had things missed in your fertility investigations?
  • Do you just want proper answers to why you aren’t conceiving?
  • Have both you and your partner been evaluated properly?
  • Are you considering IVF, or Assisted Reproductive Therapies and want to know more?

Dr Andrew Orr’s clinic is now offering a “3-phase multimodality fertility program”, which is also part of “The International Fertility Experts” program, for those who don’t wish to join our full fertility program straight away.

Who runs the program?

This new 3-phase program is run by ‘International Fertility Expert’ – Andrew Orr, who has over 20 years of experience in assisting reproductive and women’s health conditions.

Andrew has two medical degrees being awarded a Masters of Reproductive Medicine and a Masters of Women’s Health Medicine through the faculty of medicine at the university of New South Wales (UNSW). Dr Andrew Orr is also a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, nutritionist, integrative medicine practitioner and more. Combining both his western and complementary medicine background, he brings a true integrative/multimodality approach to fertility.

What is involved with the 3 Phase Fertility Program?

Many couples/individuals that come to our clinic are often unsure what to do next when it comes to trying to have a baby. The new 3-phase multimodality fertility program allows couples/individuals to have consultation and guidance about their fertility journey before committing to the next 2 phases of the fertility program.

It also allows people the chance to hear the advice and guidance give and for them to go away and think about what they would like to do next.

1. Phase 1 of the program- “Initial Consultation & Fertility Education (2 hours)”

Phase 1 of the 3-phase fertility program begins with a 2 hour initial “No Stone Left Unturned” consultation/fertility education session with Dr Andrew Orr.

Phase 1 involves:

  • Preliminary workup of case history and questionnaire review.
  • 2 hour consultation and fertility education
  • Comprehensive health questionnaires & online questionnaires (sent prior to initialconsultation)
  • Review of pathology, medical investigations, etc.
  • A 10-20 page report and management plan (written prior to your arrival).

What happens after Phase 1?

After phase 1, people can then decide what they want to do with the information and recommendations that they have been given. Rather than waste the information and advice given, people are recommended to do the next two phases.

*Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the multimodality fertility program are only for those people who to continue with the program after Phase 1. 

We highly recommend that Phase 1 followed by Phase 2 and Phase, which includes preconception care, extensive fertility investigations, multimodality treatments, diet & lifestyle advice, nutrition, medicines and supplementation, acupuncture and herbal medicines, and everything I couple will need to know and do as part of their ongoing fertility management. It is a very extensive multimodality fertility program which includes both medical science and complementary medicines combined.

2. Phase 2 of the program- “Review consultation & medicines/supplements prescribed”

Phase 2 involves:

  • 1-hour review consultation with master of reproductive medicine- Dr Andrew Orr (review of management/treatment plan, further fertility education, questions answered).
  • First lot of medicines and nutritional and vitamin supplements (for both partners).
  • Referrals for fertility testing/investigations/procedures and referral to other specialists if needed.
  • Fertility information pack.

*Please note that testings and investigations will come at an extra cost and are not included in the 3 phase fertility program. 

3. Phase 3 of the program- “Ongoing Treatments & Fertility Management”

Phase 3 involves:

  • Ongoing Acupuncture
  • Ongoing consultations and review consultations (those not local will do online consultations)
  • Ongoing medicines and nutritional supplements
  • Further testing and procedures (if needed)

*Please note that ongoing services, treatments, medicines/supplements, testings and procedures etc, all come at an extra cost. Some services may also be claimable under private health insurance. Online consultations are only available to those people who are not local, or who are living interstate, or overseas. 

Final Word

Please note that the 3-Phase Fertility Program is a little bit cheaper and little different to our full fertility program. Please talk to our staff about these differences and which program would suit you best.

[Special Note- Please note that due to legal and ethical guidelines for fertility management, all males must be involved in any part of investigations and ongoing fertility treatment/management. We cannot see a female on their own, unless they are single and using donor sperm, or in a same sex relationship]

Dr Andrew Orr’s vision is to help every couple, or single patient, get the right care, right investigations, proper treatment and management to help with increasing their chances of conceiving.

Through Dr Andrew Orr’s multimodality management fertility program, that combines ancient and modern science, he aims to deliver his “No Stone Left Unturned” for anyone wanting to have a baby.

For more in depth information about our 3-phase Fertility Program and Full Fertility Program, or to book in, please call our friendly clinic staff on 61+07 3832 8369, or email us at info@drandreworr.com.au

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Master of Reproductive Medicine

-The International Fertility Experts.

 

 

 

 

 

photo of a woman thinking 941555

What Wikipedia Can’t Tell You About Researching Your Health Condition

One of the things I always hear from my patients is that they did all this extensive research, on why they chose a particular place, particular person, or particular treatment modality. But then I then hear that the last place they went to, or person they saw, or last treatment modality that they did didn’t end up helping them much.

So, if that is the case, what went wrong with all their so called research?

Now, before I start on this article, please know that I always promote that people should be educated on their particular health issue and always try to be fully informed. But, the problem these days, as I have mentioned often, is that ‘Dr Google’ is not a reliable source of education, or credible research for that matter. Nor should it replace a qualified healthcare professional’s advice, or proper credible research.

Is it an extensive search, or proper research?

When patients often say to me that they have researched something, it probably more likely means that have done an extensive search. More often than not, it means it is an extensive google search. As I said before, I recommend people search extensively and do their homework and become fully informed. Being informed gives you choices and this is a good thing.

Searching and research are two completely different things. When it does come to finding quality research, one needs to know how to distinguish between good research and bad research. This is where many come undone, unless they have studied how to evaluate proper research methodology and criteria.

Anyone can create a spectacular medical website

Now days anyone can post anything they like on their website, make it look pretty, quote a few research papers and make their page look like it is backed up with valid research. Let’s face it; making a website is pretty easy these days. It is so easy that your grandmother could do it and make out she was a professor with an academic position.

Current research is via subscription only

The other issue is research that is freely available to the public. Most research freely available to the public is often around 7-10 years old. Most current research is not even available to the public, unless you are studying and have access to university journal subscriptions. Current research is usually only available to academics and health professionals who have paid subscriptions, or who have academic positions. So by the time this free research is then made available to the public, it is usually out of date and superseded by current research.

Knowing how to interpret good quality research

We also have the issue that even if many of the general public could access credible current research, they probably would not be able to interpret it properly anyway. I know when I studied statistics and research criteria it took years to fully know how to interpret proper research and all the research terms. Let’s face it, without proper training most people would be flat out knowing what a T score, Z score, or null hypothesis meant, let alone all the other technical data terms.

Abstracts of research can be misleading

We also see abstracts getting cited to back someone’s claims up. The problem with abstracts is that it is not the full research paper and the headings on these abstracts can falsely convey what the actual research team actually found. I see many people “cherry pick” (meaning chose something to suit ones opinion) research and abstracts of research just to validate a personal opinion and also make it sound like it is factual. This is the whole issue with Dr Googling these days. Much of what is out there is not only not factual, but it is a far cry from what the original research paper actually stated.

There are flaws and lots of bias in research

There can also be high levels of bias in research too, based on who funded the research in the first place. A landmark study into the validity of current medical research showed that much of the published medical research is apparently flawed, cannot be replicated and/or has limited or no value. (1)(2)(3)(4)  This is also why it is important to know how to interpret and critic good quality research and know what is good research, or bad research.

The point I am trying to make is that while many people are searching for answers and looking to find good research, the fact is much of what is out there is very questionable indeed.

Finding out more information

When it comes to good research, or finding a good healthcare practitioner etc, it is like anything else in life. You do a lot of searching, then you narrow you choices down and then you go about finding out more information. The only way you are really going to know if you the information you are seeing on some website it factual is to ask to find out more information.

The value of a second opinion

I always tell my patients the value of a second, or third, or tenth opinion. It is like buying a car, or buying anything for that matter. You need to do the search and then go and find out in person. Ask the staff questions and then ask for an appointment to see whom you have searched up and found may be good for you to see. Then you need to meet the person and see if they stack up to how they are portraying themselves online. Do they know their stuff, or it is all just smoke and mirrors and just good advertising?

Get help to interpret research papers

If it is purely research you are looking at, find out if the actual research is factual and done via good research methodology. If you don’t know how to interpret research, then find someone who does. Never just go blindly off abstracts (eg –pubmed abstracts), or second hand research published on newsfeeds, or websites. Honestly, most good research is behind closed doors where you have to pay for it and if you aren’t paying for it, there is probably a good reason why it is being offered freely to all.

What to look for when searching and researching

When doing your searches, or research as many call it, then you need to be looking at the following:

  1. Where did you find the research? – Was it from a reputable source? (eg- paid journal)
  2. Was the information about the research interpreted by someone then posted in their own words? – Did they site the actual research they are referencing?
  3. Does the research have the potential to be biased? – (eg- a research paper stating softdrink is good for you and funded by a softdrink company)
  4. If it is a healthcare facility, or person you are searching, does their research seem like it is legitimate? – Is the information on their website directly created by personal opinion and do they back their words up with research and referencing?
  5. Does the person you are intending to see have backing to show they are an expert in what you are going to see them for? – (eg- do they post blogs on the subject you are needing to see them for, or does their website say that they are an expert in a particular field?
  6. Does the facility, or person, seem genuine, or does their website just seem like money grabbing and a fancy advertising stunt to lure people in?

Final Note

At the end of the day, in this current day and age, everything needs to be met with the caution of “Buyer Beware”. This goes for anyone you are searching (or go to see), or any information you find on the internet. Just do your homework and make sure who you are seeing, or what you are reading is legitimate.

But at the same time, when you do go and see someone, you do need to have an open mind and not go in with resistance either. This could get a genuine person offside and then ruin your chances of getting the help off someone really good. Never project your last experience onto the next person because the next person could be the one to help you.

Just remember that your new degree in Dr Google research may not be as good as the person’s real degree, education and clinical experience you are sitting in front of. But at the same time, the so called expert in front of you may not be an expert, just because they have a great website with all the glitz and glamour on it.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Master of Women’s Health Medicine

-Master of Reproductive Medicine

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

 

References

  1. Protect us from poor-quality medical research- Human Reproduction, Volume 33, Issue 5, May 2018, Pages 770–776, https://doi.org/10.1093/humrep/dey056
  2. Altman DG. The scandal of poor medical research. Br Med J 1994;308:283
  3. Core Outcomes in Women’s Health (CROWN) Initiative. The CROWN Initiative: journal editors invite researchers to develop core outcomes in women’s health. Hum Reprod 2014;29:1349–1350.
  4. Flacco ME, Manzoli L, Boccia S, Capasso L, Aleksovska K, Rosso A, Scaioli G, De Vito C, Siliquini R, Villari P et al. . Head-to-head randomized trials are mostly industry-sponsored and almost always favour the industry sponsor. J Clin Epidemiol  2015;
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8 Tips To Increase The Chances Of a Successful Pregnancy

More and more couples are now struggling to fall pregnant. The causes of this can be varied and this is why proper investigations and seeing a fertility expert is important. But, there are things couples can do to increase there chances of having a baby. Here are my 8 tips to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.

Reduce stress

One of the  biggest cause of fertility issues and cycles not working is stress. This includes being busy all the time too. Stress  and being on the go all the time, increases cortisol and adrenalin and these can affect your hormones.  Stress can also interfere with blood circulation into the uterine environment, which can then affect implantation. We know that in animals, stressed animals do not conceive during time of stress. The same goes for humans.

It takes two people to have a baby

Biology 101 tells us that it takes a man and a woman to have a baby, meaning it takes a sperm and an egg. Unless you are a single woman, or a same sex female couple, using donor sperm, the man needs to be make sure his sperm is healthy and checked out properly too. Over 50% of fertility issues are related to male factors and up to 85% of miscarriage issues can be related to chromosomal and DNA factors relating to to sperm.

Sperm quality also changes by as much as 20% in each month so it is just as important for a male to continue on supplements etc to keep his sperm healthy. Men often bury their heads in the sand when it comes to fertility issues and we need them to be more proactive and not just leave it to the woman to do all the work and take all the burden on. There will always be a bit on each side when it comes to fertility, so men need to get their act together and support their partner and support the process more.

Seeking the right advice and proper investigations

All too often couples wait too long to seek advice and treatment for fertility issues. Early intervention, investigations and management is the key to any issue we face on a health perspective. The wait and see approach isn’t always the best advice that is given to couples. You also need to see the right healthcare professionals too. Fertility evaluation needs to be done for both the woman and the man, not just the woman. This is why it is important to see a fertility expert if you are having trouble falling pregnant.

Getting a second opinion

If someone asked you how many quotes would you get to renovate your house etc, how many quotes would you get?

Most people will say about 3-5 quotes, yet when it comes to their health, or fertility issues, they are only seeking 1, possibly 2 quotes, which means they place more importance on their houses etc. If something or someone isn’t helping you, then it is so important to get a second opinion. Just because someone is nice, or has all your health history, does not mean they are worth staying with, especially if they aren’t helping you fall pregnant. A second opinion, or even a third, fourth, or fifth, could just be what is needed to get you the right advice and see someone who is more suitable to helping you. Things do get missed and something I see daily, so please never underestimate the power of another opinion.

Eat more protein and Essential Fats

Protein and essential fats are the essential building blocks for life. They are also the building blocks for making your hormones and making healthy eggs and sperm. Increased protein also helps prevent ovarian hyper-stimulation and also dampens down inflammatory response caused by over eating highly refined sugars and refined carbohydrates.

Increase your Electrolytes

Water alone will not stop you from dehydrating. Electrolytes are a very important part of the body chemistry and hormone therapy, certain drugs and medications drastically reduce them. It is important to keep the cells body hydrated at all times and especially during an IVF cycle and during pregnancy. Electrolytes consumption during IVF cycles also helps prevent ovarian hyper-stimulation.

Regular climax

Regular climax, self induced, or with a partner, (also before and especially after embryo transfer) assists with implantation and health blood supply to the uterus. An embryo feeds off blood supply from the uterus and regular climax helps optimise this blood flow and with increasing hormones such as oxytocin. Without a healthy blood supply to the uterus and circulating hormones the embryo will die.

Regular sex also helps with men as well, by improving sperm quality. Storing it up does not help sperm quality and actually makes it worse. Lastly regular sex and climax also helps with a healthy relationship and bonding as a couple.

Not having enough sex and not at the right time

One of the biggest myths is that all women ovulate around day 14, or in the supposed fertile window between day 10 and day 17. A landmark study published in the British Medical journal showed that more than 70% of women were ovulating before day 10 and after day 17 of their cycle and there was actually only a 10% probability of being fertile in the supposed fertile window (day 10 to day 17). Couples need to be having regular sex, at least every second day, from the time the menses finish right up until the woman is due for her menses again.

An egg dies 24 hours after it is release so if there is no sperm there, then the egg cannot be fertilised and the egg dies. That is the facts. And no… sperm do not last up to seven days etc. Most of the three to five hundred million sperm that set off are dead after an hour. Less than 20 sperm actually make the journey to the fallopian tubes and even less make the journey to meet the egg.

Getting the right help

If you are having trouble conceiving, then give my friendly staff a call and find out more about how my fertility program may be able to assist you. For more information, please call +61 0738328369 or email info@drandreworr.com.au

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Master of Reproductive Medicine

-The International Fertility Experts

genetics and fertility

Understanding How Genetics Play a Major Part in Fertility & Reproduction

Understanding how genetics plays a major part in fertility and reproduction is very important. Many couples are completely unaware that their fertility issues and inability to conceive may in fact be from genetic, or hereditary issues that have not been screened for.

When it comes to fertility and being able to conceive more and more couples are now struggling. Some of this is due to increased stress levels, poor diet and lifestyle, increase alcohol consumption, lack of preconception care and many other factors. However, one key area that is not often talked about, or even known to many is genetic factors, chromosomal factors and DNA issues passed on through our sperm and eggs.

Fertility and reproduction is one of the hardest areas of medicine to understand. I am sure many people think that they understand it, but even with years of study and clinical experience, some questions just cannot be answered at this present time. No amount of “Dr Google” searching is going to bring answers for many couples and this is something that needs to be discussed more. Unless you have done years of study and clinical research into fertility and reproduction, you cannot understand the finer details and intricacies of conception. Even then, some answers are just not available to anyone at this present time.

The Reality of Fertility and Reproduction

The reality of fertility and reproduction is that just because an egg and sperm are put together, it does not mean that an embryo will be formed. Even if an embryo is formed, it does not mean that it will become a baby. Even if an embryo meets scientific grading categories (grade 1-4 etc), it still does not mean that the inner make up of that embryo is chromosomally viable. Even if the embryo is tested to be chromosomally viable (via PGD/PGS testing), it still does not mean that the embryo will go on to become a baby. This is the hardest thing for people to get their heads around and why we need to discuss this more. Quite simply, something that is supposed to seem easy really isn’t that easy at all. Reproduction and having babies is not as easy as many have led us to believe.

Chromosomal Errors

One of the biggest factors in embryos not developing, or IVF cycles failing, or even natural conception not working is chromosomal errors at the embryo stage. Even if both parents have normal karyoptype (46XX and 46XY) it does not mean that they cannot produce random chromosomal and genetic errors in their sperm and eggs. The thing is, the older we get, the more these errors occur and the harder it is to fall pregnant. An abnormal embryo with and abnormal number is cells is called aneuploidy. When an embryo has the correct number of cells it is called euploidy. Unfortunately, many couples are producing high numbers of aneuploidy embryos and this is why they are struggling to conceive. As mentioned before, just because the outer features of the embryo look fine, it does not mean the inner workings (chromosomes and DNA) are fine.

The Important of Genetic Screening

Speaking about chromosomal and genetics, when couples are struggling with fertility and being able to conceive, one of the biggest factors I see is that couples are not being screened properly. This is screening on all aspects, not just the standard blood tests and fertility investigations. Many couples that come to see me for help for fertility often believe that they have had everything done, yet most times I am finding that they have only had the basics done. Many couples have not even had basic genetic screening for karyoptype and genetic issues such as cystic fibrosis.

Understanding the Coding on DNA

Understanding the coding on the DNA is now having a profound practical impact on the practice of medicine today. This is particularly important in the area of infertility. There is increasing knowledge that there is frequently a major genetic component both from nuclear and mitochondrial DNA in couples with infertility or subfertility.

Significant examples include:

  • The demonstration of microdeletions on the Y chromosome in men with low sperm count (oligozoospermia)
  • The identifications of mutations in the Cystic Fibriosis gene in those with congenital bilateral absence of the vas deferens
  • The high rate of aneuploidy in normally dividing embryos after fertilisation in older infertile couples
  • The presence of an expanded triplet repeat in the androgen receptor in some men with low sperm counts.

Without seeing someone who has all this  knowledge of the molecular and genetic basis  of fertility many couples will continually have troubles trying to fall pregnant and may possible end up with repeated failed cycles in IVF too. There is so much to genetics and it is often overlooked in all areas of fertility these days. No amount of “Dr Google” is going to give you this information, nor will it give you understanding, unless you have a degree in reproductive medicine, or genetics. I do understand that people get desperate for answers, but unfortunately, sometimes these answers cannot be found by an internet search.

Other Genetic Factors Affecting Fertility

There are also other genetic conditions and chromosomal errors such as balanced translocations, reciprocal translocations, Robertsonian translocations, Turner’s syndrome, Kleinfelter’s syndrome, fragile X syndrome and many more. Again, many who are struggling with fertility issues and struggling to have a baby may not have even had some of these genetic screening done.

When I see couples, I also recommend advanced genetic carrier screening which tests for several hundred more genetically inherited mutations. Many fertility clinics do not recommend couples to do advanced carrier screening. Given that 1 in 22 couples are at risk of a hereditary gene mutation, it is really important to screen couples properly and not just do the basics.

Mutations in Genes

A mutation is a change in the information encoded in the DNA sequence. Such a change may result in the production of an abnormal protein, produce a truncated protein, reduce the levels of that protein, or cause it not to be made at all.

A single gene genetic disorder is one where an alteration in the DNA sequence of only one of the genomes 40,000 genes has resulted in significant pathology and disorders that affect the human body.

Such disorders include cystic fibrosis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Huntington disease and familial breast cancer. Although individually these disorders are rare, as a group, they are numerous and therefore important.

Cystic fibrosis, one of the most common autosomal recessive conditions affecting people of Northern European decent has a population incidence of 1 in 2,500.

To date up to 6,000 single gene disorders have been characterized and it is estimated that 14 per 1,000 people suffer from one of these conditions. A person who inherits a mutation in a single gene will carry that mutation in every cell of their body.

Mutations occur when a cell is dividing. The task of correctly copying 6 billion “bits” of information, the number of base pairs in the human genome, is huge and mistakes do occur. It has been established experimentally that these mistakes occur and are uncorrected in one in one billion base-pairs copied (or about 6 errors per cell division).

When a mutation occurs in the coding DNA sequence of a gene it may be a polymorphism with no effect or it may significantly impair the gene function. All mutations are thereafter inherited. Inherited or germ line mutations must be present in the egg or sperm. They are twice as common in sperm as eggs.

 Male Sperm Quality is a Big Part of Fertility Issues

Before everyone jumps to the conclusion that all failed cycles are related to women’s egg quality, I need to make it absolutely clear that men are half of the fertility equation. They are not exempt when conception does not take place, or an IVF cycle fails. As mentioned above many genetic mutations are twice more likely to be present in sperm than eggs. Up to 85% of miscarriage and chromosomally defective embryos are related to chromosomal errors that men have passed through their sperm.

Women’s eggs do have more errors as they get older, and eggs are not as viable as they get older, but men’s sperm are exactly the same. If men are not having their sperm quality managed while trying to fall pregnant, there is half your problem then and there. This is why all men are treated and managed on all levels of their health when doing my fertility program.

Sperm quality is variable and each time a man ejaculates the quality of that sperm can vary by as much as 20% at a given time. This is why men need to be continually looking after their health and sperm health while trying to conceive. Men are actually the bigger part of conception not taking place and we need to talk about this more. Men are not exempt when it comes to making babies.

Creating Life

Life does not begin with conception, but is simply a continuum from living cell to living cell with genetic information being transmitted through the genome from one generation to the next. A failure to achieve this is recognised as infertility.

At conception we are a single fertilized cell resulting from the fertilization of the egg by the sperm. The sperm contributes one copy of nuclear DNA, the egg the other copy and the mitochondrial DNA. That cell proceeds to divide, and over the course of 9 months (32 cell divisions) billions of cells are created, with specialized functions, forming complex tissues and organs that constitute the working human body. That first cell therefore must contain all the information necessary for embryological development, growth from fetus and then growth through to adult life. Without all the right coding and necessary information, life does not get created. This is also the answer to why so many couples are having problems trying to conceive.

The Importance of Seeing a Reproductive Medicine Expert

There are many factors to fertility and reproduction and why it is important that couples see someone who is a fertility expert. The fertility profession is largely unregulated and many who are now practicing in that profession are not experts at all. Many actually do not have further training and qualifications in reproductive medicine and are some of the reason why people are struggling to fall pregnant.

Final Word

Lastly, while we cannot change our chromosomes, or change genetic mutations, we can do things to change and improve our cellular DNA. This is why proper preconception care and preconception programs are so important. Everything we do, we ingest, we think etc, can be passed on to our future offspring via sperm and eggs. Health parents produce healthy sperm and eggs, thus producing healthy babies.

If you need help with being able to conceive, give my friendly staff a call and find out how my fertility program may be able to assist you. I use a ‘No Stone Left Unturned’ approach to assisting couples with fertility issues and will look at every aspect of a couples lives, including genetic and hereditary issues, to help them have the best chance of having a baby.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Master of Reproductive Medicine

-The International Fertility Experts

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Cosmetic/Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture

We are excited to announce that we will be providing cosmetic/facial rejuvenation acupuncture as part of our amazing treatments for our patients. This will be provided as a separate service to our other treatments.

You may have tried acupuncture for pain relief or for other health conditions, but what about for a natural face lift?

Yes, that’s right, cosmetic acupuncture (known as facial rejuvenation acupuncture), has garnered quite the following among a lot of celebrities who are wanting a natural alternative to Botox.

What is Cosmetic/Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture?

Cosmetic Acupuncture is an ancient practice used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and dates back to the Emperors in China. It was a common practice used by concubines and be Geishas in Japan, and it’s still around today!

The reason so many are trying cosmetic acupuncture is because they don’t want to us botox, fillers and all the stuff in between any longer. This technique is completely natural, safe and relatively pain free. Compared to botox, there is no comparison with regards to pain.

Rather than filling your skin with chemical injections, your face will instead be covered with fine acupuncture needles that assist with creating an instant lift and over time, can assist with erasing fine lines and wrinkles. It may also be used for assisting with acne and other skin conditions.

Working with other cosmetic treatments

Already had Botox or fillers? No worries!

Cosmetic acupuncture can work around the beauty treatments you’ve already had, and help to enhance those treatments. 

So how does it work?

Fine needles are placed on your face at specific acupuncture points. One of the ways it works is the ‘microtrauma’ caused by the needle encourages blood flow and the body’s own wound healing processes.

This process results in the rebuilding of collagen under the skin, which can assist with producing visible reduction in fine lines, tighter skin, healthy muscle function and softer wrinkles. Not to mention the other health benefits acupuncture may assist with. 

What Will I feel?

When people call us to find out more about facial rejuvenation acupuncture, one of the main question they ask is……‘Does it hurt?’

Compared to botox injections and fillers etc, there is no comparison. Very fine acupuncture needles are used so that you can hardly feel anything. Some people feel next to nothing and others may just feel a tiny sensation at the base of the needle.

At our clinic we will be working hard to make your experience a very relaxing and blissful experience. Most of my patients will bliss out and nap during their treatments.

How Many Treatments Are Needed?

There is no one treatment fix all for anything to do with our health. A series of treatments are needed to give the best results.

Regular treatments are needed at first. Depending on one’s age, and health, results may take a few treatments to really show the effect. However, most people will see the benefits from the first treatment. Treatment plans may vary depending on the individual, and our staff will explain this too you on booking. 

Treatments usually start with 1- 2 treatments a week for the first six weeks for the best results. We can tailor treatment plans to suit you. 

For those people who are time poor, or always busy, once a week consistently for twelve weeks will also show great effects. It is like anything to do with our health. What you put into it, is what you get out of it.

Monthly maintenance, like most things, is needed for the best results.

Regular treatment combined with proper diet,  lifestyle changes, good sleep habits, exercise, sunlight, and reduction of being busy are all key components to  assisting with good health.

As many are aware, studies have shown that stress is a major component of ageing and inflammation, so reducing stress is particularly important if you want assist with slowing the ageing process down.

What to expect after treatment

 After a treatment most of our patients will notice a bright and refreshed quality that shines out of their faces. Patients will generally see immediate changes in skin contour and tone, lines and wrinkles, brightness and tightness.

Cosmetic acupuncture has also been known to reduce puffiness, increase collagen in the face and soft surrounding areas, relieve stress, give you glowing skin, reduce scarring, and even out pigmentation. All this can be done without the nasty chemicals that many are now not wanting to use.

The only way to find out is to give cosmetic/facial rejuvenation acupuncture a go. Everyone’s health and beauty routine will be different, but acupuncture could really make a difference to how you look at how you feel.

Qi Beauty Products & Take Home Packs

We are combining our acupuncture facial rejuvenation treatments with the amazing Qi Beauty products and take home packs. Qi beauty have a whole range of beauty and facial rejuvenation products that are sustainable skin care, age control, wholistic anti-ageing and optimal skin health.

Qi Nourish                                Qi Beauty Favourites Bundle

The Qi Beauty favourites bundle is a take home pack which includes special static magnets that you can put on specially selected acupuncture points. You can also enhance the repair potential of your skin with the feed skin nutrients for organic recovery with Intense Oil featuring Qi beauty Sea Buckthorn Oil.

We are really excited to be offering this amazing range as part of our cosmetic treatments. 

Other services within your facial rejuvenation treatment

There will also be other treatments we use within your treatment. This can include moxibustion, our customised facial rejuvenation laser therapy unit, and other selected therapies to enhance your skin care.

We also carry a range of vitamins, supplements and nutritional medicines to assist with overall health.

You can also choose to undergo our microbiome restore, to help with better gut health and digestive health as well. Good health always starts with good gut health and a health microbiome. This is not included and comes at an extra cost. Please ask our friendly staff for more information.

Making your appointment

If you would like to give cosmetic/facial rejuventation acupuncture a try, then please give my friendly staff a call and they will be able to book you in and explain more. You can call the clinic on 07 38328369, or email info@drandreworr.com.au.

You do have to come in and have treatment in person as there are no online options for these treatments.

 

Pelvic Congestion Syndrome 1 1

Let’s Talk About Pelvic Congestion Syndrome

Millions of women world-wide suffer from chronic pelvic pain. One of the causes of chronic pelvic pain is a condition called Pelvic Congestion Syndrome and it is not often talked about. I thought it was important to share this information to bring more awareness to this syndrome.

Pelvic congestion syndrome does share many of the same symptoms of endometriosis and adenomyosis and it important to have proper differential diagnosis and rule other causes of pelvic pain out first. Sometimes the varicose veins that cause pelvic congestion syndrome can be present alongside endometriosis and adenomyosis, or other pelvic issues.

In the past, a diagnosis of chronic pelvic pain left many women frustrated with few treatment options and a lack of available resources. Their doctors were often left perplexed, despite the endless negative laboratory test and imaging data as well as inconclusive consultations obtained.

In the last 10 years, improved medical understanding and increased awareness have lessened the confusion surrounding this condition and its distinct association with pelvic congestion syndrome (PCS). There are now more minimally invasive surgical solutions which give affected patients more treatments choices as well.

So what is Pelvic Congestion Syndrome (PCS)?

Pelvic congestion syndrome (PCS) is a chronic condition that occurs in women when varicose veins form below the abdomen within the pelvic region. Pelvic congestion is just like the varicose veins that some women have in their legs, but it affects the veins of the pelvis. Blood backs up in the veins, making them become enlarged and engorged. Pelvic congestion can also cause chronic pelvic pain in some women.

What are the symptoms of Pelvic Congestion Syndrome?

The main symptom of pelvic congestion syndrome is pelvic pain that lasts at least 6 months. The pain may be a heavy or aching feeling. Or the pain may be sharp. Usually the pain is only on one side, usually the left side. At times you may feel it on both sides. The pain is often worse at the end of the day. If PCS occurs in pregnancy it often first starts during or after a pregnancy. It may worsen after a later pregnancy.

Symptoms of Pelvic Congestions Syndrome can include the following.

  • Pain starts 7-10 days before your period
  • Pelvic pain is worse when you sit or stand
  • Lying down relieves pelvic pain
  • Varicose veins around the vulva, buttocks, and legs
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Swelling of the vagina or vulva
  • Tenderness of the abdomen
  • Pain during sex
  • Dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation)
  • Abnormal bleeding during menstruation
  • Backache
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Increased urination
  • Irritable bowel symptoms
  • Hip pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Aches in your legs

The syndrome often causes a constant dull pain in the pelvic area that is said to worsen at different times of the cycle and in different situations. Experts believe it can be the source of pain in up to 30% of women who have chronic pelvic pain.

How is at Risk?

It’s more likely to develop in women who have previously given birth, but it can be found in women who have not had children. It is also hereditary so if someone in the family has it, you may be at a higher risk of having it.

What Are The Causes of PCS?

It is still not fully understood what the cause of pelvic congestion syndrome is. There may be multiple factors and causes.

Enlarged veins in the pelvis seem to play a major role. These large veins do play a major role in those that have chronic pelvic pain, but many women have enlarged veins and no symptoms.

Pregnancy may increase the risk for pelvic congestion syndrome. This is because veins enlarge during pregnancy to support the increased blood flow. This can permanently enlarge the veins and lead to symptoms.

Just like endometriosis and adenomyosis, hormones may also play a role in pelvic congestion syndrome. It is though that estrogen may play a big part of this by making veins wider (dilates). We do know that estrogen does drive disease inflammatory states. We also know that PCS is less common after menopause when estrogen levels tend to be lower.. Other hormones may also cause veins to grow wider and cause symptoms.

Excess weight and increased body fat may also cause increased inflammation and estrogenic response that leads to pelvic congestion syndrome.

Other factors such as dietary and lifestyle factors may exacerbate this condition as well.

How is it diagnosed?

PCS can be quite difficult to diagnose, and will need a multimodality approach to be able to firstly diagnose this properly and then apply appropriate treatment. PCS often requires a multidisciplinary approach because the differential diagnosis is quite long and varied. As mentioned before, some of the symptoms are the same as other inflammatory conditions such as endometriosis and adenomyosis. Multiple diagnostic procedures are needed to eliminate other possible causes for your symptoms. These procedures can include:

  • Ultrasound
  • Laparoscopy (keyhole surgery)
  • CT scan
  • MRI scan
  • Venogram

Ultrasound is often preferred as the first step in diagnosing PCS, as it is possible to detect the varicosities as well as assess the blood flow. The only problem with ultrasound is that is that it may not always pick the varicosities up.

MRI may be needed, but even then, laparoscopy is the only procedure to definitely diagnose this condition. I often explain to women that if they have been in pain for a long time, the best option is a laparoscopy. This can also be used to exclude other pelvic pathology and also check to see if there is endometriosis etc too. Sometimes the varicosities may need to be tied off surgically as well and can be done via laparoscopy. Laparoscopy is the gold standard investigation of the pelvis and why it is the best option.

There may need to be input from other health professionals and modalities such as gynaecologists, anaesthesiologist, gastroenterologist, advanced trained laparoscopic surgeon, neurologist, haematologist, oncologist, psychiatrist, and urologist or urodynamic specialist may also be necessary. If someone sees a lot of this syndrome then they will be able to differentiate this without the need of involving too many other areas of medicine, but all other pathology and disease states do need to be carefully ruled out first.

When I help women with PCS, I have a very specialised team of healthcare professionals I work with that see this syndrome often and know what to look for very quickly and promptly. This is why it is very important to see the right people who know about these particular areas of women’s health conditions.

Treatments for Pelvic Congestion Syndrome 

Treatment for pelvic congestion syndrome is usually aimed at reducing and alleviating symptoms. Unfortunately, like endometriosis, there is no definite cure for the condition, and it can be challenging to treat if you don’t get to see the right healthcare practitioner, or healthcare team.

There are medications available to help relieve symptoms of PCS and these can include:

  • NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
  • chronic pain medications (such as gabapentin plus amitriptyline)

The most successful treatment currently is a minimally invasive surgical procedure called pelvic vein/ovarian vein embolization (PVE/OVE). This procedure blocks off the faulty varicose veins so that they can no longer enlarge with blood, thereby relieving the pain. that are believed to be the source of pain.

Embolization (PVE/OVE) offers a safe, effective, minimally invasive treatment option that is less expensive to surgery and less invasive. It is an outpatient hospital procedure which requires only conscious sedation. Once the procedure is performed, you can return home a few hours later the same day. Medical literature shows that the procedure provides complete or partial relief in approximately 90% – 95% of the cases. As with any procedure, there are risks, and not all women may be appropriate for this treatment option.

A laparoscopy may still be needed to definitely diagnose the varicose veins first, before embolization can be performed. This is why diagnosis and treatment of PCS does require a step by step multimodality approach. This is something that needs to be clearly understood.

Outlook

PCS isn’t a condition that is life threatening, but it does have the potential to significantly affect your quality of life. Symptoms such as chronic pain, pain during sexual intercourse, and dysmenorrhea can lead to a decrease in physical activity, loss of function, and depression. It can make daily life very hard and make it difficult to function in your personal and work life.

A diagnosis does not necessarily mean you will be affected to this extent and PCS varies greatly in terms of severity for each person. Not all women with PCS will have their daily life affected and some do not get pain at all.

The good thing is that there are treatments available to minimize the symptoms and help sufferers cope with this condition. It is important that you talk to your healthcare practitioner if you do have any of the symptoms of PCS.

It’s also important to talk to your healthcare practitioner about counseling, if needed, to help you cope with the significant chronic pain that can go along with having PCS. Chronic pain can impact on an emotional and psychological level and this can then lead to further exacerbation of pain. Many people just do not realise the impact the stress and emotions and mood disorders can have on pain conditions.

Last word

If you do have chronic pelvic pain and need assistance with diagnosis and management please give my friendly staff a call and ask how I may be able to assist you. I also work in with a good network of healthcare professions to help my patients get the best care possible. My motto is No Stone Left Unturned and I apply this to everyone that comes to see me for assistance with their health condition.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Master of Women’s Health Medicine

-The Women’s Health Experts