AMH Levels

AMH Levels Alone Are Not Indicative of Ovarian Reserve

One of my biggest bug bares is having so called specialists tell women that AMH (Anti Mullerian Hormone) levels alone are indicative of their ovarian reserve and having them freak out that they now have little, or no eggs left. Nothing could be further from the truth.

AMH levels alone ‘are not’ indicative of ovarian reserve. There is no test on this planet that can tell you how many eggs you have left. There never has been and there will probably never will be.

AMH levels are not a definitive diagnosis for ovarian reserve and their predictive value alone is very questionable. It just gives a ‘rough’ guide that someone may be a poor responder to Assisted Reproductive Therapies (ART) and that is it. Even then, you will often see women with low AMH levels still producing 5-8 eggs a cycle many times while doing IVF etc.

What has inspired my to talk about this, is that last year I had a friend come to see me and she told me she couldn’t have children because she had no eggs left. I found this quite disturbing and continued to ask how she had come to this conclusion.

What was most disturbing is that her whole basis for not being able to have children, was based around the fact that some ….ummmm… and I can’t really voice it any other way… but some “A-Hole” specialist had told her she can’t have children because she had low AMH levels.

No other investigations, no trial of IVF to see if she can respond and get eggs, just one lousy blood test.

This is so disgusting and such BS, they I couldn’t contain myself and had to sit this poor woman down and tell her the facts. Worse still this was from a Fertility Specialist who basically calls himself God and believes he is the best specialist here in the city where I live.

This idiot has basically had someone believe they cannot have children based on one single blood test. This is the sort of thing I see everyday and it shouldn’t happen. The saddest part of this story is that this person is no longer with us and tragically lost her life in a car accident. She never got the opportunity to try and have children all based on some egotistical horrible man who has no idea around the facts about fertility.

I always talk about this subject to other healthcare practitioners and as part of my education in my seminars. AMH alone “Is Not”… repeat “Is Not” indicative of ovarian reserve and nobody can tell you how many eggs you have left anyway. It is utter BS.

To get an “Idea” and I mean a “rough idea” of how well you may respond to producing eggs, AMH levels give us a “rough idea” or a pointer to “maybe” how many eggs you may have left, or if you will respond to fertility drugs. It is not a definitive diagnosis on its own.

To get a more accurate picture of Ovarian Reserve, there also needs to be other tests factored in too. All of these things I discuss when I evaluate someone as part of my fertility program and their initial consultation. Then after these levels and a special test is performed for 5 days, then we evaluate all these factors to basically give a rough idea how well a person will respond to produce eggs. Again this is not an exact, or not precise.

Then if it does look like the person is a poor responder, we put them through a stimulated cycle (basically an IVF cycle) and follicle track (check to see if they produce eggs and how many). Then we can truly evaluate a person for ovarian reserve.

But even if you do have low AMH levels, it does not mean you have a limited number of eggs. It means you might be a poor responder and not produce as many eggs. That is all.

High AMH levels are indicative of PCO/PCOS however and could also be signs of a granulosa cell carcinoma (which is what the test was originally designed to detect)

I have women with AMH levels less than 1 ( <1) still producing 5-7 eggs per IVF cycle, then go onto have a child, or several children with low levels like this.

Yet based on this rude, arrogant, obnoxious specialists evaluation, he would have told women with low AMH levels they can’t have children and many of them may have given up, despite the fact that they may have actually been able to have children. This makes me so upset.

AMH levels only give us a rough idea of how you will respond to fertility treatments and how many eggs you may produce. It is an estimate, or should I say “Guess-timate”

I see so many women come to see me who are freaking out after getting low AMH levels and then being told they have little, or no chance of conceiving, when actual fact they might.

Many of these ladies are also Dr Googling too, which is also spreading BS about AMH levels, just through ignorance and perception and lack of understanding of what these levels actually mean.

As someone with a Reproductive Medicine and Women’s Health Medicine Specialisation, please let me tell you the fact and  that AMH levels only give us a small, inaccurate insight into what is going on in the body.

AMH levels are not a diagnostic tool on its own and it is never meant to be a diagnostic on its own. There are many other tests that need to be done first and along side this to come to a conclusion of low ovarian reserve, or being a poor responder. Sure, some women may have low AMH levels and after all the testing, we actually do find out they are a poor responder, but not all women will be poor responders.

I hope this story helps those who might have been given the same diagnosis my late friend was given. This is why everyone should get a second opinion, or a third, or even a 5th, when it comes to fertility treatment.

The fertility profession is not well regulated and there are a lot of underqualified people out there saying they are fertility specialists, when they are not. There are also a lot of “A-Holes” with no bedside manner out there and telling people lots of things that just aren’t true as well.

Sorry for having to use some swear words, but as someone with a Reproductive Medicine & Women’s Health Medicine Specialisation, and who knows the facts, I need for everyone to be aware of this information.

Take care everyone and I’m here to be a voice for anyone wanting have a baby and I’m here to keep the bastards honest as well.

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

-No Stone Left Unturned

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Endometriosis Does Not Always Cause Infertility

Endometriosis DOES NOT Always Cause Infertility

Many women are led to believe that if they are diagnosed with endometriosis, that they will be infertile. The one thing I do want all women to know is that Endometriosis DOES NOT always cause infertility.

Over the years I have helped over 12,500 plus babies into the world and many of the women who went on to have these babies had endometriosis.

I have had women who have been diagnosed with endometriosis being told that they cannot fall pregnant, based on the diagnosis and AMH (Anti-Mullerean Hormone) levels alone, and no other fertility investigations. This is disgusting and should never happen. It is so sad hearing things like this and women believing they are infertile and cannot have a baby, when it fact they actually may be able to.

Endometriosis can make it harder to fall pregnant

While having endometriosis can increase your chances of having fertility issues (about 50%), it does not mean you are infertile. To be honest the word infertility is often wrongly uses. Unless you have absolutely infertility and have been diagnosed with a condition that would render you infertile, then we should really be using the word subfertility. Subfertility is a better word to use for those that may be experiencing difficulty falling pregnant, but may need assistance of some come.

Biology 101 tells us that it takes two people to make a baby

Let’s not forget that just because you have endometriosis, it does not mean that the fertility issue falls solely with you. Men are just as big an issue when it comes to fertility issues and could be the bigger part in you not being able to fall. The problem is that many fertility clinics will solely focus on the women because she has a diagnosed condition and this is wrong. Many times I have seen a women with endometriosis blamed as the main cause of the fertility issue, when in fact it is actually the man’s sperm that is at fault. Please remember this. Biology 101 tells us that it takes a sperm and an egg to have a baby, not just an egg.

Endometriosis can make it harder to fall pregnant and can affect egg quality, fertilisation and implantation, due to the resulting inflammation from the disease. But this is where it gets a bit tricky.

Pregnancy rates are not necessarily related to the extent of the disease

It isn’t always about the amount of the disease either. We know that pain levels and the associated symptoms of endometriosis are not related to the extent of the disease. I will address this in one of the other facts posts sometime in the future. The hard thing is that sometimes stage 4 endometriosis sufferers, with lots of the active disease, will have not issues falling pregnant at all. Meanwhile a woman with stage 1, or minimal disease, may have lots of issues falling.

Then we have the women who are having issues falling pregnant and will not even know that they have endometriosis and then it is found as part of fertility investigations, via a laparoscopy. Just remember that a significant portion of women with endometriosis are asymptomatic (meaning no symptoms).

Like I always say to my patients, Endometriosis can make it harder to fall, but having the disease does not mean that you are automatically infertile, or will have trouble conceiving. This is why it is important to see someone who specialises in Fertility, not just a regular OB/GYN or a GP, and also specialises in the area of endometriosis.

Fertility Program

If you are having issues falling pregnant, please give my clinic a call. I can help you and assist you in receiving proper fertility evaluation and investigations and treatment moving forward. This is for the couple, not just the woman. Like I mentioned before, my multi-modality fertility program has helped and assisted over 12,500 babies into the world and it may be able to help you too.

Take care

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

-The Endometriosis Experts

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Sometimes The Body is Like a Well Sprung Spring & Other Times Not

Sometimes the body is like a well sprung spring, and over time the spring gets stretched, but , bounces back to its original shape, but overtime, one day, it will get to a point where it is slower to recoil to its original state, or, will no longer spring back to its original shape and have no more spring to recoil to its original state. No matter what you do to it, it just will not recoil and will in essence become to a state of non-repair.

As everyone knows, I always use a very integrative medicine/ multi-modality approach to treating people and getting the best for people’s health. I always believe that preventative medicine is the best approach to any health problems, but sometimes medical intervention, in the form of surgery,  is needed for some acute complaints.

It is always hard when someone comes into the clinic and they are doubled over in acute pain from endometriosis, or an acute skeletal issue, and while I can help them, I know that the best thing for their long term health would be intervention in the form of surgery. That is not saying I cannot help and assist people with acute pain, but sometimes the best thing to do is get the person in for surgery to help with the acute pain, and then follow up with preventative and rehabilitation care.

Often it can take several months to help regulate hormonal issues and pain from conditions such as endometriosis, or pelvic inflammatory disease, with more conservative forms of treatments such as pharmaceutical medicines and hormones, complementary medicines, acupuncture, supplements etc. While the outcome after treatment is always great, is it really beneficial for people to endure constant pain for months, when surgery could produce a faster result, for the pain?

In saying that some of these conditions have a high rate of return, so that is where an integrative medicine/multi-modality approach can help post surgery.

I was talking to a medical specialist last week, who promotes complementary medicine for all his patients, and he explains it to his patients like this; “Sometimes the body is like a well sprung spring, and over time the spring gets stretched, but , bounces back to its original shape, but overtime, one day, it will get to a point where it is slower to recoil to its original state, or, will no longer spring back to its original shape and have no more spring to recoil to its original state. No matter what you do to it, it just will not recoil and will in essence become to a state of non-repair.”

I see people in my clinic just like this spring. Some are well oiled, and well sprung, and bounce back into shape very quickly. Some are showing the signs of starting to lose their spring, and then others have just pushed their body to the point or no spring, or worse still to the point of non-repair. Obviously I like seeing people do the right things and use preventative health so that they stay well oiled and well sprung. I do like to see people coming into the clinic when they get the first signs of ill health and the spring is starting to recoil slowly.

The sooner you get onto any health complaint the easier it is to treat. Early intervention is the key to any disease state, or health issue. But, we all know people who push through pain and say “She’ll be right mate” and get to that point where they just can’t recoil anymore. Then we get the ones that have gone beyond that and unfortunately no matter what they do you will never be able to get them back to what they used to be like. So, please don’t ever let your body get to this point if you can.

The reason for this blog was to not only inform people to be proactive with their health but to also make sure people are covered if they do need surgery. It is always such a shame and I always feel sorry for people who need urgent medical attention, but they don’t have private health cover. I know that not everyone can afford it, and I am not pushing it either. But, it is worth considering for anyone who have a long term health issue, or especially for women trying to conceive.

Every woman is going to need to see a gynaecologist at some stage in their life and you don’t want to be relying on a failing public health system that could have you waiting months, or even years, for an appointment, or much needed surgical intervention. Those experiencing fertility issues will need some investigation at some stage so it’s almost necessary to be prepared and well covered.

I’ve seen so many people over the years that come into my clinic, for so many different ranges of acute conditions, that actually do require some sort of urgent surgical intervention, but only to find out they can’t get the necessary treatment they need because they aren’t covered.

The public health system is in such a mess at the moment and wait times are becoming increasingly long. If you have an acute condition, you don’t want to be waiting months, or years for treatment. The other issue is that you don’t get to see a surgeon of your choice and can then end up with the lucky dip of whomever is there on the day. The other issue is that this person may not specialise in the disease state, or issue you are there to have treated. This is what happens to many and this can then have long term health consequences if you aren’t given the right care that you need, or they actually miss crucial issues as well. It is a big issue.

Then when you finally get to having the surgical intervention, it may require multiple surgeries, and the first surgery may be just for investigation only. I’ll give you an example. I had a friend, with acute period pain that got nausea, vomiting and even fainted, (from severe endometriosis) go on a 12 month wait list for surgery in the public system. Finally she got in for surgery only to wake up and find that the operation was one of many to come and the first one was only for investigation purposes only. She would need ‘three’ more surgeries spaced at months apart. So nothing was done with the first surgery, she was still in pain and now had to prepare for further surgeries.

Yet, a similar friend who had a private cover, got to chose the gynaecologist of her choice, got someone who specialised in her disease state, was an advanced trained excision surgeon, had no wait time, had not out of pocket expenses, had everything tidied up and the endometriosis removed on the first surgery. This same lady could then come back to see me straight away to prevent the endometriosis from returning and was now not getting that acute pain anymore. There is a huge difference in the time, the surgeon who this the surgery, the treatment and the amount of surgery needed.

As I said, it is a hard topic to talk about and is by no means a push for private health cover. I am only talking about this to educate people that sometimes it may be a necessary part of your overall health. It just distresses me seeing people who need desperate immediate help, not being able to get it. I know that not everyone can afford it and believe me you have to shop around when you do start looking at it. The big companies are usually the worst to deal with and the smaller companies are usually the best to deal with, and give you better rebates.

In saying that, private health is a sometimes necessary part of overall health care, especially for those with ongoing health concerns and especially those that may require some form of medical intervention. There are some great smaller funds out there that don’t cost that much and give you full hospital cover with an outlay of a couple of dollars per day. You can also look into having extra’s cover as well, which will cover part of the treatments with us also.  Again some of the smaller funds provide better rebates and the best thing would be to give us a call and we can tell you who those funds are. I hate talking about these sorts of things but at the end of the day I care when people aren’t getting the right help and am here to help people with every area of their overall health. It is a very important issue that we all need to consider and that we all need to discuss too.

If you do need help with pain, or  any health condition, or need someone who cares and can help you get the right advice and health management, please give my clinic staff a call. Just book in an initial extended consultation and let’s get you feeling like you again.

Take care

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Expert

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The Importance of Following Through With Advice, Treatments & Change

I see so many people who have been ‘missed’ and ‘dismissed’ and who have suffered in silence with their disease state.

But the biggest shame is when those that are offered real help, then do nothing with that advice and continue on the vicious, merry-go-round cycle of their disease.

My motto is “No Stone Left Unturned” and I apply that to every patient that I see. My initial consults are usually 1-2 hours in length and I also do lots of preliminary work prior to see a patient as well. I make sure all my patients are now only sent health appraisal questionnaires, but are also evaluated with mood and stress questionnaires for their mental health too. I really want to delve into every fine detail of a persons life to see what may be driving their disease state and symptoms. It is to also help with diagnosing those that have not been properly diagnosed either. I then write up a comprehensive report for all my patients, with everything they need to do, the changes they need to make, the medicines they need to take, the investigations and testing they need to have and all their step by step health management moving forward. No Stone Is Left Unturned as I mentioned before

As I mention in this video blog is that the greatest shame is those that come to get the advice and help and then do nothing with it. Just remember that if you do not change anything, or do the work needed, then nothing changes. The key to real change is actually within you.

If you so need help with a particular health issue, or you just aren’t getting the right answers and care, then please book in a time to see me and let me be your guide to better health and getting your life back to normal.

 

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Let’s Talk About Fertility

Dr Andrew Orr has an honest and open chat about his years of experience dealing with couples with fertility issues.

Much of it gets back to couples not having the proper testing and investigations, being on the same page, preconception planning, getting healthy, doing the work and the expectations versus reality.

Have a listen to Dr Andrew Orr’s open and honest discussion about a very serious topic.

If you do need help and are struggling with fertility and not having a baby, Dr Andrew Orr can assist you in your journey to becoming parents and having your little miracle.

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17 Reasons You Should Having Regular Sex and Orgasms

Part of my job as a baby maker and women’s and men’s health specialist is to talk about sex, talk about climax and the benefits of this for a couple, or an individual.

Regular sex, or regular climax, can help have many benefits for an individual, with it helping everything from menstrual pain, right through to increasing pregnancy rates, regulation of the menstrual cycle and even helping moods, sleep and helping your live longer

Here are 17 reasons why you should be having regular climax, or regular sex and many of the health benefits that go with it.

1.It’s Exercise
It’s not necessarily a full workout, but it can be as good for you as moderate exercise. It raises your heart rate about the same as a brisk walk or a slow bike ride.

2.Good for a Woman’s Heart
Women who have sex a couple of times a week are less likely to get heart disease than those who have it once a month. Whether that’s because healthier women enjoy it more often, or because it helps protect a woman’s heart is unclear.

3.May Cure Your Headache
Say goodbye to the old standby “Not tonight, Dear. I have a headache.” It turns out sex can help with pain, and that includes some kinds of headaches, such as migraines. Not feeling frisky? Try: “Not tonight, Honey. I have a highly contagious stomach bug.” Works every time.

4.Lowers Stress
People who have more sex are less anxious when they’re faced with stressful tasks like public speaking or arithmetic. But according to the study, it only works when you have a partner — masturbation doesn’t count.

5.You May Live Longer
One study suggested that married women who climaxed more often had a slight tendency to live longer. Researchers aren’t sure if the sex actually lengthens your life or it’s just a side effect of a healthy lifestyle. But why take any chances?

6.Sharpens Your Mind
Sex has been linked to the making of new brain cells, and that’s a good thing. People over 50 who had more sex were better able to recall numbers and do basic math, and the difference was pretty big. It seemed to help men more than women, but both did better than those who had less sex.

7.Makes You Happy
You don’t have to overdo it — once a week is plenty. More than that, and the effect fades. But scientists only studied couples in committed relationships, so if you’re trying to meet your quota by picking up strangers at your local bar, all bets are off.

8.Bonds You to Your Partner
The hormone oxytocin is released during sex, and it sparks feelings of intimacy, affection, and closeness with your partner. That helps build a strong, stable relationship, which is good for everyone.

9.Keeps You Lean
The more sex you have, the slimmer you’re likely to be. Is that because more sex keeps you trim? Or because lean people have more sex? Scientists don’t really know, but all you need is a partner and a bathroom scale to try to find out.

10.Good for Mental Health
Adults in committed relationships who have more sex are less likely to be depressed or take medication for mental health issues. Orgasm also helps with the release of beneficial hormones such as oxytocin and these help us feel euphoric and also help with other endorphins in the body. These then make us feel better emotionally.

11.Helps Your Immune System
Move over, vitamin C. College students who had sex twice a week had more cold-fighting antibodies in their saliva than those who had sex less often. Couples who have regular sex have healthier immune systems and tend to be healthier overall.

12.Helps You Sleep
Orgasm triggers a surge of endorphins and oxytocin in both men and women, and that dulls pain and relaxes you. Both of those can help you sleep more easily, though according to scientists — and many women — the effect is more pronounced in men.

13.Lowers Risk of Cancer
Men who have more sex may be less likely to get prostate cancer, and women less likely to get breast cancer. Pregnancy and contact with sperm are both linked to the lower risk in women.

14.You Could Make a Baby
If you’re trying to have a baby, the more sex you have, the more likely you are to hit the right time of the month. But more sex may also prime women for pregnancy and improve sperm quality in men, which can speed things along. An egg has but 24 hours to be fertilized otherwise it dies. We also know that ovulation does not occur just mid-cycle either. Couples doing IVF also need to have regular sex as climax helps with implantation (by hormones and increased blood supply into the lining) and sperm also assist in helping with implantation as well. Many couples stop having sex during IVF and this is where they are going wrong.

15.It helps regulate your menstrual cycle
Regular climax nourishes the uterine and vagina with blood flow, but it also stimulates hormones, which help to also nourish the uterus, vagina and reproductive organs. Oxytocin helps with moods but it also helps with keeping your cycle regular. Research has also shown that sperm actually help to trigger ovulation.

16.Climax helps with Gynaecological issues and menstrual pain
Regular climax (not just sex with penetration) helps with increasing blood flow into the pelvic cavity, the uterine lining, vagina and surrounding areas which helps to keep your reproductive organs and muscles healthy. Hormones and increased blood flow also help with pain and circulation too. Climax helps with the microcirculation of the reproductive organs and also helps with keeping ovarian function regular and healthy too. As said before regular climax can help trigger ovulation, keep the cycle regular, but sperm can also help with this also. We do know that some women with endometriosis and adenomyosis do have pain with penetrative sex, but climax does not necessarily need for penetration to happen.

NB-  If you do have pain with intercourse, please make sure you get investigated properly as there are treatments and management to help this.

17.Helps Your Future Health and is Anti-Aging.
People who have more sex may have better quality of life — and not just now, but in the future, too. If you have an active sex life in middle age, you’re more likely to keep it up as you get older, which is linked to better health and happiness. Regular sex and climax is also anti-aging.

Final Word

Please remember that sex and regular climax has more benefits to it that the actual enjoyment part of it. It helps with intimacy, helps bring couples closer together and it helps with many other health benefits in the body. In practice I am seeing a huge disconnect with both men and women and their reproductive organs and this is why we are seeing so many issues with gynaecological conditions, couples not being able to conceive, relationships issues and issues with peoples health and lifestyles.

In a healthy relationship, couples should be having sex at least 1-3 times per week and if you are trying to have a baby, you should be having sex everyday and be going for it multiple times per day to increase your chances of conception. Maybe it’s time to turn off the TV, close the computer, turn off the mobile phone and spend more time in the bedroom with your own lives, then watching someone else’s. You will be healthier and happier for it in the long run.

Take care

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

-Women’s and Men’s Health Expert

-No Stone Left Unturned

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Poor Diet, Stress and Sedentary Lifestyle ups Risk of Developing PCOS

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal/endocrine/reproductive issue  and is on the rise due to unhealthy food habits, low physical activity and high stress levels, a new study has found.

It has long been known that insulin resistance and poor dietary and lifestyle habits increase the risk factors for developing PCOS. While being overweight is a risk factor for PCOS, women can be of any body type and still develop PCOS. Women of all body shape can still have poor dietary and lifestyle habits and this is every increasing in our modern world.

Increased refined foods, increased refined grains, increased refined sugars and a sedentary lifestyle are big factors in developing PCOS and also other health conditions such as Diabetes and Heart disease.

We also know that high stress levels can lead to high cortisol levels and high inflammation in the body and then also be drivers of PCOS and many of the conditions that go with this disease state.

What is PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common hormonal/endocrine/reproductive disorder among women of reproductive age. Symptoms can include include

  • Irregular or absent menstrual cycle
  • facial hair growth and excess body hair (hirsutism)
  • Acne
  • Increase weight and increase body fat (all body types can have PCOS)
  • Infertility and difficulty conceiving

The condition has many physiological implications as well. It also results in emotional and psychological agony in affected women. For more information on PCOS, have a read of my page about “Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome”

A recently concluded study published on the 12th January 2019, has revealed that uncontrolled or untreated PCOS can raise the risk of diabetes, heart disease and infertility. It has also been concluded that psychological issues such as anxiety and depression can also be the consequence of untreated PCOS. This study fits in with many other recent studies and has prompted changes to PCOS guidelines.

The study was conducted on two groups — one group of 150 patients with untreated/uncontrolled PCOS and the other group of 150 women who had controlled PCOS. The study found that those affected with PCOS followed a poor lifestyle, consumed excessive junk food, had no or low physical activity, more intake of refined carbohydrates and high stress levels.

The study also discovered that there was lack of awareness among the affected women and about 40 per cent were seeking information online. This is a major cause of concern as there is a lot of misinformation on the internet and this is leading to women trying to self-diagnose and go off recommendations of friends and internet groups, rather than healthcare professionals who specialise in this area.

During the study, one group was taking probiotics along with maintaining good lifestyle, while the other group was only maintaining good lifestyle. While both groups showed improvement, the group taking probiotics had additional improvement.

Good gut health and restoring the microbiome is something that I have always promoted in women, not only with PCOS, but other gynaecological/reproductive issues as well. New research has shown that healthy levels of good gut bacteria not only help with restoring the microbiome and gut and digestive health, but also help with reducing inflammation, helping with a healthy immune system and helping with psychological health and wellbeing as well.

Women with PCOS need to be properly diagnosed first and then treatments require a multimodality approach with diet and lifestyle interventions as well. Women with PCOS also need to be properly monitored and managed by a healthcare professional and not go off self-diagnosis and recommendation of untrained people.

The long term consequence of mismanaged, or unmanaged PCOS can be damaging on many levels many patients are not aware of this. The problem these days is that everyone wants a quick fix, or a magic pill, and when things don’t seem to be working, they get impatient and either change treatments, or opt advice from untrained people, or friends and this can be very dangerous.

While self-education is very important, self-management can also be detrimental as conditions such as PCOS requires constant motivation, guidance and proper healthcare management. This was also highlight as part of this recent study.

The study also highlighted that the top 3 issues with PCOS were irregular periods, hirsutism and weight issues. Irregular periods, or absent periods affect about 7 in 10 women with PCOS. Hirsutism or the extra hair on face or other parts of body are seen in 70 per cent cases, while 70 per cent to 80 per cent of women with PCOS are either overweight or obese.

But, women of all body types can have PCOS so this also needs to be noted. Many women put off being investigated for symptoms of PCOS because they believe they need to be overweight to have this condition. There also older healthcare practitioners who still believe this to be the case and this is why it often takes up to 3 years for a woman to be properly diagnosed with PCOS.

There are also other symptoms of PCOS that are often overlooked. Acne, dark patches on the skin on back of neck and others areas, skin tags, hair loss, anxiety, depression, difficulty in getting pregnant, recurrent miscarriages and sleep apnoea are other symptoms that a woman may have PCOS.

What the study concluded

Besides the known factors such and diet and lifestyle, the study highlighted that many women with PCOS suffered in ignorance and isolation. Many women with PCOS are often take up to 3 years to be diagnosed and many are misdiagnosed on the way.

The study also showed that many women with PCOS were unaware of the long term fertility and health consequences, and many hardly have any information given to the about this disease. Many women with PCOS are dependent on internet, friends, other people with the disease etc, as their main source of information.

The study also showed that while routine treatments for PCOS are needed, they can be expensive and less effective than proper dietary and lifestyle control.  Poor diet and lifestyle and increased stress levels are a major reason for the rising prevalence of the disease.

In the study diet and lifestyle changes had a comprehensive impact in controlling other health problems like insulin resistance, diabetes, and hypertension. When women were overweight, or obese, and they reduced body fat, there was also improvement in the symptoms and their testing reports.

Probiotic supplementation also had an overall additional benefit in reducing the abdominal fat, LH:FSH ratio, total testosterone, LPS level, menstrual regularity and also preserving the gut and digestive function. The addition of probiotics to any treatment regime for PCOS needs to be looked at as it could be a new PCOS treatment modality in future.

There are many things women can do to help PCOS and the associated symptoms and the short term and long term health consequences of the disease. While diet and lifestyle interventions needs to be part of this and is the number one treatment for PCOS, women with PCOS do need to be carefully monitored by a qualified healthcare practitioner. This then ensures proper care, management and also accountability and also ensures the disease in properly monitored along with any other changes in symptoms. It also helps with monitoring future fertility and future health issues as well.

If you do need help in the treatment, management, or even diagnosis of PCOS, please give my clinic a call, or please a healthcare professional who specialises in PCOS.

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

-Women’s Health Expert

-No Stone Left Unturned

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Excess Body Fat Can Cause Gynaecological Conditions, Lead to Menstrual Irregularities and Also Lead to Infertility

When women come to see me for help with gynaecological conditions, or couples who come to see me for help with having a baby, one of the first things I ask all of them to address is excess body fats and look at diet and lifestyle modifications.

Women, men, and couples who are underweight, need to look at this also, because being underweight can be just as bad as being overweight, but for the purposes of this post, we are going to look at how excess fats can not only interfere with fertility, but they can be a major driving factor in gynaecological and men’s health conditions that many face on a daily basis. Worse still, excess body fat can also lead to many cancers that both men and women get also.

One of my biggest challenges with men, women and couples is getting them to look at how excess body fat is playing a big part in their current health. It can also be challenging to show how excess body fats, or having too little body fat, can affect the gynaecological condition they have, or how it is affecting their fertility.

I always get all sorts of excuses from “My friend was overweight and he/she does not have my condition”, or “The next door neighbour is overweight and she has had 3 children” and all many of excuses that seem to be a big block in actually taking responsibility for one’s health. I get that it can be hard to get started and hard to make the steps for a better life, but at the end of the day, all these things I hear are just excuses really.

Yes, the next door neighbour may not have your health issue, but they may also have some other health issue, or be at risk of another health issue. Yes, your friend might be overweight and has had a couple of children easily, but they may also be younger than you and many of the health issues they face because of their weight may not have caught up with them yet, but it will. I always have to get people to stop focusing on others and get back to looking at themselves, because other people are different. Other people are not you. We are all different individuals with different weaknesses in the body and what may affect one person, may not affect another, but this does not mean we can sit back and just do nothing about our health, or keep comparing our life to another.

Looking at a person’s body fat is paramount for any health condition that the body faces and we need to look at the individual, not at the masses. Research shows us that excess body fat can lead to diabetes, heart disease, cardiovascular events, cancers, gynaecological issues, infertility, men’s health issues and many other complaints in the body. It can also lead to an early death too. This is a fact and no matter how many excuses people want to make, nothing is going to change the fact that excess body fat is not good for us and it causes problems with our health and now costing the health systems dearly too.

Excess body fat produces excess estrogens in the body and we are now calling these “Obestrogens”. These excess estrogens can not only have an effect on testicular and ovarian function, but they also interfere with other hormones, increase inflammation in the body and then add as drivers for other health issues in the body. These “Obestrogens’ can also interfere with your DNA and can also be passed on to your future offspring through the DNA of the sperm and eggs and also pass genetic conditions onto them as well.

Eating too many grains, sugars, alcohol and refined foods are a big cause of excess fats in the body. These foods lead to increased blood sugar levels, which in turn lead to excess insulin in the body. This then leads to the body storing fat and also stopping the burning of fat. This then leads to high levels of inflammation in the body and a big driver behind many of the major health complaints in the body and even our leading causes of death, in both men and women. When people ask me how refined foods and grains lead to excess fats I also ask them “How do we fatten up cattle and livestock?” The answer is we give them high amounts of grains which increase hormone levels, which then lead to excess growth and also lead to higher amounts of fats in their bodies.

How Excess Body Fats Affect Our Health

Excess body fats are a big contributing factor in PCOS, Endometriosis, Fibroids, Cysts, Polyps, Sperm quality issues, Prostate issues, Diabetes, Infertility, Cardiovascular disease, Heart disease and Cancers in both men and women

For women excess body fat can lead to menstrual irregularities and heavy periods too, without necessarily having a known gynaecological condition. These excess fats produce estrogens, which are needed to thicken the uterine lining. But when there are too much circulating estrogens, the lining becomes too thick and unstable, eventually leading to bleeding. This can be unpredictable, and often very heavy, lasting a long period of time. These excess estrogens can then lead to, or be a driver of gynaecological conditions such as PCOS, Endometriosis, Fibroids etc. They can also be a big contributing driver of cancers in women.

These excess fats can also lead to men growing breasts, feminisation, having prostate cancers, prostate issues, sperm issues, diabetes, heart disease, infertility, erectile dysfunction, and many cancers that men face.

With many of the developed western countries have a population with over 70% of its people being overweight, or obese, now more than ever we need to look at ways of educating people about eating better, exercising more and looking after their health. While we need governments to intervene, we also need people to take personal responsibility too. Here in Australia we do have healthy eating guidelines that is set by the government and while they are not perfect, they do tell us about the dangers of excess body fat.

With so much health information about the dangers of refined foods, processed foods, sugars, grains and alcohol, we really do have lots of resources that we never used to have available to us. There really is no excuse any longer. If you really do not know what a good diet is supposed to be, there are qualified health professionals, such as nutritionists etc, who can help you.

If you truly are eating a proper healthy diet and exercising, then you shouldn’t be overweight. If you are doing all the right things, then there could be other underlying issues that need to be addressed by an appropriate healthcare professional. But many times I find that what people think is a healthy diet, or appropriate exercise, is very far from what a healthy diet and appropriate exercise is. It is all about what people have been taught by their family and what their perception of a healthy lifestyle is.

If you do have a gynaecological condition, have a men’s health issue, are having problem with fertility, or just need to get healthier, now is the time to act. We can no longer deny that excess fats are a major concern for the population and are causing so many health issues across the board.

Just so people know, it isn’t necessarily about weight and measuring yourself with scales. Scales do not show the amount of body fat we have and muscle weighs more than fat per cubic cm. We need people to get out the tape measure to truly see how much fat they have and start to look at waist measurement, rather than weight measurement.

A health male needs to have a waist measurement of 94cms or below and a woman needs to have a healthy waist measurement of 80cms or below. If a male has a waist measurement about 94cm or more, or a woman has a waist measurement of 80cms or more, both he and she are at increased risk of health issues. A measurement of above 102 cm (for men) or 88 cm (for women) is one of the components of Metabolic Syndrome, which puts you at increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancers.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is vital protection against many of the health issues we face. Regular exercise, limiting alcohol, non-smoking, a nutritious diet, reducing grains and refined foods and stress reduction are all important.

The lower GI diets (Primal, Paleo, Ketogenic, Zone etc) have been shown to be much better than others for people who are overweight, obese and have excess body fats. Part of any of my treatment plans involve a healthy diet. A healthy diet, along with other nutritional support,  has been researched and shown to benefit health and longevity. It has also been shown to increase fertility and assist with many health issues we all face.  Diet and lifestyle changes are a big part of my overall treatment and health management for everybody that comes to see me for help.

When I help people with weight issues I always say that I am there to help you, not judge you. It is about helping people help themselves have a better life and have better health and that is the main priority.

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Expert

Dr Andrew Orr Logo Retina 20 07 2016

Dr Andrew Orr Logo Retina 20 07 2016

PCOS

Why it is important to manage PCOS properly via a multimodality approach

The one thing I see daily in practice is that many women with PCOS are not being managed properly with regards to their symptoms and future health implications.

Many women, who actually do have PCOS, have been misdiagnosed, undiagnosed, dismissed, or are not being managed properly at all. This is quite concerning as PCOS can have long and short-term term health implications and can also have an effect on fertility.

Every day I see women, who have irregular cycles and symptoms of PCOS (Acne, Hirsutism, weight issues, emotional issues etc), being told that they do not have PCO, or PCOS. Just today a colleague and myself had to call a radiology centre and get their head radiologist to go back and look over a scan of a woman who had been told she did not have Polycystic ovaries, and from the scan that we were viewing actually showed that she did have Polycystic Ovaries. There was a big rush around and a major apology and an updated scan report sent with the notation saying the patient has multiple cysts on the ovaries consistent with PCOS. This is exactly why so many women with PCO and PCOS are misdiagnosed, or not even diagnosed at all.

Just so everyone knows, scans and blood tests are not always accurate in the diagnosis of PCOS and new guidelines, published recently, for the diagnosis of PCOS now highlight this. https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2018/209/7/new-evidence-based-guideline-assessment-and-management-polycystic-ovary-syndrome

The point I am trying to make is that many women are not aware they have PCO, or PCOS and the ones that do have the diagnosis, just are not being managed properly.

The main symptoms of PCOS

  1. Irregular or absent menses
  2. Acne
  3. Hirsutism (excess hair growth)
  4. Weight issues
  5. Emotional Issues (depression, anxiety etc)

Women with PCOS may only have 1-2 of the symptoms, or may have all of the symptoms combined. Up to 90% of women with acne will have PCOS, especially when combined with menstrual irregularities.

Many women with PCO and PCOS are completely unaware of the serious future, and sometimes present, health implications as a result of their disease state.

Women with PCO and PCOS are at very real danger of the following

  1. Type 2 diabetes
  2. Gestational diabetes
  3. Cardiovascular disease
  4. Infertility
  5. Recurrent Miscarriage
  6. Mood disorders (Depression and Anxiety)
  7. Weight issues (Obesity, Eating disorders etc)

All of the above are well known health risk factors for women with PCO and PCOS and this is not often explained to the patient.

Women with PCO and PCOS need to be educated that a multimodality approach is needed to treat and manage their disease state properly. The number one treatment for PCO and PCOS should always be diet and lifestyle modifications and interventions. The main focus should be on treating the main driver, being insulin resistance. Once this is achieved, many of the symptoms of PCO and PCOS will settle down as well. If remaining symptoms do not settle, then other treatments and health care management should be used.

The Pill

While the oral contraceptive pill can offer symptomatic relief of the symptoms of PCOS, it is not going to treat the underlying cause of the disease, nor is it going to be a cure. The other issue is that many women are having their underlying symptoms being masked by the contraceptive pill and completely unaware of the future health and fertility issues that can still be present. Women need to be made aware of this and often aren’t.

Metformin

While metformin is routinely used for women with PCO and PCOS, it does have a high side effect profile. Gastrointestinal and digestive upset are one of the major reasons many women stop taking it. It is also a category C drug and should not be used in pregnancy, as it is could affect the unborn baby. Metformin also has risk factors for depleting Vitamin B 12 and can lead to anaemia if used long term. Long-term use of metformin can also damage the liver and kidneys.

There are some very effective alternatives to Metformin, without the high side effect profile, and these can be discussed with you healthcare practitioner.

Modalities that assist PCOS

As mentioned before, PCO and PCOS can be effectively managed and assisted using a multimodality approach, which could include the following:

  1. Medical treatments and interventions
  2. Hormonal Therapies
  3. Surgical Intervention (Ovarian Drilling)
  4. Diet and Nutritional advice and modification
  5. Exercise
  6. Complementary Therapies and Complementary Medicines
  7. Vitamins and nutritional supplements
  8. Acupuncture
  9. Psychology and counselling
  10. Lifestyle changes
  11. Mindfulness
  12. Relaxation and meditation

Women with PCO and PCOS may need a few of the modalities combined and some may need all of them combined together. It would all depend on the individual and how bad their presenting symptoms are. A healthcare practitioner who specialises in this area will be able to tell you which modalities and therapies will be best for your individual needs.

PCO and PCOS can have long-term and short-term health consequences and some of these can be very serious. We need for practitioners and patients to know this. Education is key for any disease state and the facts also need to be presented as part of this education as well.

New guidelines have just been published by an Australian led international collaboration, to help improve the care, health outcomes and quality of life of women with PCO and PCOS. Key changes in the new guidelines include refinement of individual diagnostic criteria focusing on improving accuracy of diagnosis; reducing unnecessary testing; increased focus on education, lifestyle modification, emotional wellbeing and quality of life; and emphasising evidence-based medical therapy and appropriate fertility management.

A multimodality approach is something that I always talk about and has always been a part of my clinical approach to assisting women with PCO and PCOS. It is also something that I educate my fellow colleagues and practitioners on as well. Women who suffer from PCOS also need to be educated about this as well and why I will always continue to write these posts.

If you do have PCOS, or suspect that you may have PCOS, please make sure you get the help and care you should be getting and do not leave it too long to get that care and assistance as well. Make sure the person that you see also specialises in PCOS as well. If not, then find somebody who does. You can always book in to see me, in person, or via online consult, as well. I help people from all over the world.

 

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Reproductive Medicine and Women’s Health Medicine Expert

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The Journey of Trying To Have a Baby is Sometimes Like a Marathon 1

The Journey to Have a Baby Can be Like a Marathon For Many Couples.

The Journey to have a baby can be like a marathon for many couples. It can be physically, emotionally and financially draining on every level.
 
One of the things I teach my patients, struggling with fertility issues, is that the journey often is like trying to run marathon. I also explain that they also need to prepare for the journey, just like preparing for a marathon too. 
 
I teach them that ‘couples’ (meaning two people) not just the woman unless she is doing it alone, need to get into the best shape possible prior to running the marathon, not just think about it half way through, when they are tiring and the finish line is nowhere in sight.
 
Healthy couples create healthy sperm and healthy eggs, which then go onto to being health embryos and then later health babies.
 
When preparing for a marathon you need to get the body into the best shape possible. That means physically and mentally too. Never overlook the mental aspect and this is why counselling and mindfulness is so important for couples struggling to have a baby. Many times this is the most important, but often overlooked aspect to a couple having success. 
 
Then couples need to get their diet in check, their lifestyle in check, get the body investigated and assessed properly and get the body fully ready to be able to make that finish line.
 
Nobody should ever just decide to run a marathon without proper training, good nutrition, mental preparation and getting the body in shape.
Unfortunately many couples try to run the marathon without the proper preparation and preconception care and then try to patch things as they struggle along the journey. This is when I see many of them. They are struggling on every level and exhausted and ready to give up.
One of the things I mention often is that  I wished that I saw every couple before they even started their journey. This way they are less likely to end up at this point of exhaustion and despair and clutching at straws to make it all work. I see so many out at sea in a leaky boat trying to patch the holes as they go along, when really they should have got the boat sea ready before they head out. Trying to patch things half way through the journey never works. It  just causes desperation and wasted time and money as well. It can also lead to much worse and many couples actually end up breaking up due to the stress of it all.
 
This is why my fertility program is about preparing the couple on every level. Making sure everything is evaluated and properly investigated on a medical front first and then preparing their bodies on a holistic, and physical and emotional level too. It is also teaching the couples the power of intimacy and connection again too. Literally, I make sure “No Stone is Left Unturned” and then I know couples are ready for the journey ahead. For many it is often a short journey afterwards and this is what I hope for everyone trying to have a baby.
 
I always say that the couples that put in the work, get their bodies ready, prepare physically and emotionally, get the right nutrition, change their lifestyles, take all the supplements and nutrients, talk to a counsellor, do mindfulness, get some acupuncture, do some exercise, connect as a couple, have date nights, make love often, and do all the requested investigations and testing etc, they are the one that get that baby they so desperately deserve.
 
I have assisted in helping over 12,500 babies into the world and I know what couples need to do to get their little miracle. I want all couples to have their little miracles and experience the joy of being a parent.If you are having trouble have a baby, or not getting the help you so desperately deserve and need, then it is time to make the change and make that call.
Regards
Dr Andrew Orr
-The Brisbane Baby Maker
-No Stone Left Unturned
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