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Foods That Can, and Do, Cause Constipation

Many people have trouble moving their bowels on a daily basis and are none the wiser as to why this happens to them. Many do not realise how bad for their health it is not to move your bowels daily and many people just think it is normal for them to not need to get things moving each morning.

Of course some people have conditions, that cause constipation, and these need to be ruled out too.

Conditions such as Endometriosis, Pelvic Inflammatory disease, IBS and other bowel disorders can all cause chronic constipation and inflammation in the bowel

But for most people the clogging of the back passage is caused by what they are eating and lack of foods that contain real fibre and water to keep the bowels moving.

Lack of proper hydration and stress is also a factor too. But when it comes to proper fibre, many people are just eating the wrong foods. Many of the foods people are having on a daily basis, thinking it is fibre, are actually closer to being cardboard and the effects on the bowel are just as bad.

So what are the foods that are causing a blockage in peoples elimination pipes.

1.Fast Or Prepared Foods

Those ready made meals and takeaway meals may be convenient, but they could cause a backup. Most are low in fiber, which you need to help food move through your system.

2.Fried Food

Fried foods are full of fat, lack fiber and are hard to digest. When food moves through your colon slowly, too much water can be taken out of it. That makes for a hard, dry stool.

3.Cakes, Sweets and Pastries

Pastries, cookies, and other treats with refined sugar are low in fiber and fluids, and high in fat. Many people think that because they contain grains, that they are good for you. But nothing could be further from the truth. Wheat grains are actually inflammatory and cause disruption to the digestive system. There is actually more fiber in whole foods such as fruit and vegetable. Grains are refined grains are not good if you’re having trouble keeping things moving. Satisfy your sweet tooth with some fresh fruits and yogurt. Your tummy will thank you for it.

4.Breads

Bread is basically made from flour and water and what does flour and water make? Glue that’s what it makes! That is what it turns to in your stomach and bowel too. Plus refined flours are made from inflammatory grains and these cause disruption to your digestion and bowel too. Too much bread will give you hard, dry stools and also mess with your digestion. It’s also made with low-fiber flour. The whole grain variety may be a little bit better, but not much. If your digestive system is shot and you are having trouble getting things to move, time to ditch the bread. We don’t need to eat it anyway.

5.Caffeine

A couple cups of teas coffee makes some people race to the bathroom, but it can have the opposite effect, too. The caffeine in coffee and tea are diuretics and soft drinks can keep your body from holding onto water, and you need water to stay regular. If you’re constipated, check how much tea and coffee you might be drinking and make sure you drink plenty of water after each cup of caffeine.

6.Alcohol

Alcohol can definitely dehydrate the body make it hard for your body to hang onto water. This can then cause gastrointestinal inflammation, upset the liver function and then cause constipation.

7.Eggs

Eggs are really good for us and they are high in protein but low in fiber. But, you don’t have to stop eating them though. Just add some high-fiber foods into the mix. Add some greens with them when you eat them. Try an omelet with fresh spinach and tomatoes.

8.Well Done Meat

Meat is a great source of protein but when its well-done and over cooked, it is lacking in fiber, that juicy steak needs to be a little less cooked (medium rare) and balanced with a side of nice green veggies, or salad. This will help get it comfortably through your digestive system.

 

Some Fiber Facts.

Veggie and whole Fruits (not dried fruits) have more fiber than cereals and grains and as they contain water and other nutrients needed to keep the bowel hydrated and moving properly. Time to ditch the cereals and start eating some more whole foods instead.

Oh… and don’t forget the prebiotics and probiotics to keep healthy gut flora/microbiome and keep the digestive system functioning properly.

Of course we should drink plenty of water and also make sure you get some electrolytes into your diet daily too. This will help keep your bowels working the way they should work, rather than the way they have been.

If you are having trouble with chronic constipation and getting your bowels to move daily, then give my clinic a call and book in a consultation where we can help you get your digestion back on track again.

Take care

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Expert

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Western Diet Permanently Alters the Immune System & Alters Gene Expression

For many years we have been trying to explain to people how their diet is a major factor in their current health and how a poor diet can actually cause expression of many inflammatory disease states within the body. There is now research which shows how the western diet permanently alters the immune system and alters gene expression.

New research has shown that our immune system responses to the Western diet very similar to how it reacts to infection by dangerous bacteria. The research was led by the University of Bonn in Germany and published in the journal Cell.

One of the disturbing results of the study is that the longer we consume a high GI, highly refined foods, and Western diet, that it can make the immune system become hyper-responsive to inflammation triggers. We know that a diet in highly processed foods and refined carbohydrates actually causes high inflammation in the body.

The longer we eat this way, these long-term changes may contribute to type 2 diabetes, arteriosclerosis, inflammatory bowel conditions, cancers,  gynaecological conditions,  and several other conditions wherein inflammation is thought to play a part, and which have been linked to consumption of a highly refined Western based diet.

The Western diet altered gene expression

The new research showed that just after just 1 month, there were changes throughout the bodies that are similar to the strong inflammation reactions that occur in bacterial infections. The researchers showed that an unhealthy high GI/highly refined diet led to increases in certain immune cells, which were a sign of inflammation and an infection like process. They also found that the Western diet had switched on many genes in the body that would also express many disease states and inflammatory processes in the body.

The researchers concluded that  findings highlight the dramatic impact that the wrong kind of food can have, and that they have important implications for society, especially for children who grow up with this highly inflammatory based diets and consume them longer.

The researchers concluded that adults and children have a choice of what they eat every day. We should enable everyone, especially children,  to make conscious decisions regarding their dietary habits. The new research also highlighted that dietary habits and the foundations of what a healthy diet is, need to become more prominent in our education system and it needs to start at a younger age. We also need to re-educate adults on what a healthy diet is as well

At my clinic, we can help people to know what a healthy diet is and this education is also passed onto people we help with inflammatory disease states.

We always promote a Primal/Low GI/grain free diet to all our patients so that they can be healthier, have less inflammation in their bodies and live longer and happier lives.

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Expert

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Reasons You May Be Gaining Weight

Weight loss is something that I get asked about often and not many people understand that it is more about fat loss, rather than weight loss, when it comes to being healthy. There are many reasons that people may be gaining weight and most of the common cause are lack of exercise and what people put in their mouths.

There are health issues that may affect your weight also, but at the end of the day, dietary and lifestyle changes are still needed to remain in the healthy weight range for your health. In this article I will look at the many factors that could be causing someone to gain fat and not be able to lose it.

It May Not Just Be Your Food Intake

If you started taking in more calories than usual, or increase your high GI foods, or cut back on exercise, you wouldn’t be surprised if the numbers on the scale crept higher. Just remember that scales aren’t an accurate assessment of body fat and that muscle does weigh more that fat. It is the waist size that is the true measurement we want people to focus on. We should be more worried about waist gain, rather than weight gain.  But what if you’re doing everything the same as you always do, and your weight still goes up? It’s time to delve a little deeper into what else might be going on.

Lack of Sleep

There are two things that can affect your when you aren’t getting enough sleep and may have an impact on weight gain. First, if you’re up late, the odds are greater that you’re doing some late-night snacking, which means more intake of foods that may not be appropriate. The other reason involves what’s going on in your body when you’re sleep-deprived. This leads to running on adrenalin and increased cortisol levels as well. Changes in hormone levels increase hunger and appetite and also make you feel not as full after eating.

Stress

When life’s demands get too intense, our bodies go into survival mode. That fight or flight response kicks in and adrenalin and Cortisol, the “stress hormone,” is secreted, which causes an increase in appetite. Cortisol also makes you store fat. And of course, we may reach for high-calorie comfort foods in times of stress as well. This combination is a perfect breeding ground for weight gain.

Antidepressants and other Medications

An unfortunate side effect from some antidepressants is weight gain. Most antidepressants will give people a weight gain of around 3kgs per year of taking them. Talk to your healthcare practitioner about making changes to your treatment plan if you think your antidepressant is causing weight gain. There are natural options that can help with depression, without all the side effects. But never stop or change your medication on your own. Realize that some people experience weight gain after beginning drug treatment simply because they’re feeling better, which leads to a better appetite. Also, depression itself can cause changes in weight.

Steroids and Hormones

Anti-inflammatory steroid medications like prednisone are notorious for causing weight gain. All of the fertility hormones and hormone replacement drugs are steroidal based and cause weight gain too. Fluid retention and increased appetite are the main reasons. Some people may also see a temporary change in where their body holds fat while taking steroids.  Places like the face, the belly, or the back of the neck are all areas where you can see increase fluid retention. If you’ve taken steroids for more than a week, don’t stop them abruptly. That can lead to serious problems. They need to be tapered down slowly and weaned off properly. Check with your doctor first. Drugs That May Cause Weight Gain.

Several other prescription drugs are linked to weight gain. The list includes antipsychotic drugs (used to treat disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder), along with medications to treat migraines, seizures, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Work with your doctor to find a medication that treats your symptoms and lessens side effects.

The Contraceptive Pill

Combination birth control pills (estrogen and progestin) do weight gain and fluid retention. There are other contraceptive methods that do not cause weight gain and fluid retention and have lower side effect profiles. If you’re still concerned about possible weight gain, talk to your healthcare practitioner.

Thyroid Issues

Thyroid issues can definitely be a big factor in weight gain. If your thyroid (the butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck) is not making enough thyroid hormone, you’re probably feeling tired, weak, and cold, and gaining weight. Without enough thyroid hormone, your metabolism slows, making weight gain more likely. Even a thyroid functioning at the lower end of the normal range might cause weight gain. Treating hypothyroidism with medication may reverse some of the weight gain.

Menopause

Most women do gain some weight around the time of menopause, but hormones probably aren’t the only cause. Aging slows your metabolism, so you burn fewer calories. We need women to realise this reality, which isn’t always easy to accept. Changes in lifestyle (such as exercising less) play a role in weight and waist gain. But where you gain weight may be related to menopause, with fat accumulating around your waist more than your hips and thighs. There are ways to control this in menopause too.

Cushing’s Syndrome

Weight gain is a common symptom of Cushing’s syndrome, a condition in which you are exposed to too much of the stress hormone cortisol, which in turn causes weight gain and other abnormalities. You can get Cushing’s syndrome if you take steroids for asthma, arthritis, or lupus. It can also happen when your adrenal glands make too much cortisol, or it could be related to a tumor. The weight gain may be most prominent around the face, neck, upper back, or waist.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a common hormonal problem in all women of childbearing age. It is the most common gynaecological disorder in women and is becoming more prevalent due to our high GI diets and being passed on through genetic and hereditary link. Some women with PCOS grow many small cysts on their ovaries, some do not and only have the syndrome and associated symptoms. The condition leads to hormone imbalances that affect a woman’s menstrual cycle and can lead to extra body hair and acne. Women with this condition are resistant to insulin (the hormone that controls blood sugar), so it may cause weight gain. Many women with PCOS are normal, or underweight too. Women with PCOS are also at higher risk of diabetes. The weight tends to collect around the belly, putting these women at greater risk for heart disease and diabetes.

Quitting Smoking

Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health. When you quit, you may gain some weight, but perhaps less than you think. On average, people who stop smoking gain less than 10 kilograms. You should stop feeling hungrier after several weeks, which will make it easier to help lose any weight you gained.

Rules If You Do Gain Weight

Rule 1:

Don’t stop taking any medications without first consulting your doctor. Recognize the importance of the drug you’re taking. It may be critical to your health. Also, something else may be causing you to gain weight. Your doctor can help you figure out what’s going on. There are also natural options that you may take also.

Rule 2:

Don’t compare yourself to other people taking the same drug. Not all people experience the same side effects on the same drug. Even if a drug caused someone else to lose weight, the same might not be true for you. Please do not Dr Google, or take advice off anyone other than a qualified healthcare professional.

Rule 3:

Remember that if the weight gain is just from water retention, it’s not permanent weight or fat. Once you’re done taking the drug or your condition is under control, the puffiness from fluid retention may ease. Stick to a lower GI diet in the meantime too. High GI foods such as breads, cereals, cakes, pasta, sugars etc, all make the body store fats and stop the burning of fats and cause inflammation.

Rule 4:

Check with your healthcare practitioner about another medication you can take. In many cases, your healthcare practitioner can switch you to another medication that might not have the same side effects. There are also natural options that you may be able to take without all the nasty side effects of your medication

Rule 5:

Learn if the weight gain is from a decrease in metabolism — from either a medical condition or medication. And if so, take the time to participate in metabolism-raising activities. Get moving!

Also realise that it is waist gain you need to worry about, not weight gain. Many people obsess unnecessarily over weight gain and the scales. When you start to exercise, you may in fact be putting on muscle (which is great) and this will equate to the scales being heavier.

Fat does not weigh as much as muscle per square centimeter , so sometimes you wont realise you have actually lost fat and gained muscle. This is why waist measurement, not weight measurement, is the most accurate way to measure proper fat lose and proper waist and weight management.

A woman’s healthy waist size should be 80cm’s, or below and a man’s healthy waist size should be 94cm’s, or below. Take from the belly button level.

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A kilo of fat, versus a kilo of muscle

At my clinic we can help you with weight management and more importantly waist management. We have specially tailored fat loss and weight loss programs to help you burn fats, increase muscle and do weight loss the correct way.

If you want to get healthy, feel great and look great for next summer and years to come, please give the clinic a call and book in for a consultation.

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Expert

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11 BS Facts About Protein Bars & Protein Shakes People Believe Are True

In this day and age everyone wants a quick fix with everything. This quick fix approach, not only applies to our health, but it also applies to our foods. Nobody wants to spend time on anything anymore and to be honest, many just do not have the time to prepare wholesome foods. Well ….. So they think.

Protein Bars and Shakes have now become a staple in many people’s lives, opting for supposed healthy foods and nutrients in a packet, over delicious prepared fresh foods.

What is worrying, is how these Protein Bars and Shakes are being marketed and what people now believe they are eating when consuming these highly refined supplements.

While Protein Bars and Protein Shakes can be a source of getting extra fuel into the body prior to, or after a workout, or exercise…….eating or drinking them, while being sedentary, many be akin to eating the affects of eating junk foods.

People may look at this as being a bit of an alarmist statement, but if you take the time to see how many additives, fillers, gums and sugars are in the bars and shakes you are eating on a daily basis, it might just change the way you view those supposed health bars and shakes you are consuming. People are being sold a lie and we need to really look at how clever marketing could be affecting ones health.

There are so many Bars and Shakes on the market these days and because of clever marketing and labelling, many of the Bars and Shakes can promote themselves as being a Protein substitute. Many of them actually have very little protein in them at all and are jammed packed with calories and sugar content to equal some of the products in the confectionary aisles.

There are also the latest trends of shakes and bars being marketed through Multi-level marketing (MLM), promising miracle cures, miracle body transformations etc, while being nothing more than a cash cow for a big corporation. Worse still these products are full of fillers, additives, gums, preservatives, sugars and goodness knows what else, all sold as a miracle cure for weight loss and a healthy meal replacement. They also use a cult like, brain washing, marketing spiel behind it to make the old Amway hard sell look like pre-school play.

Before I go into the 11 BS facts about these Protein Bars and Snacks, I do have to make one thing clear. Nothing can replace the amazing benefits of freshly prepared, wholesome, nutritious, clean foods. Nothing!

Can Protein bars and Protein shakes be of benefits to people?

The answer is sort of, but they should never ever be used as a meal replacement and should only be used as a tool to get extra nutrients and proteins into the body, much the same as we use vitamins to assist nutrient deficient diets and foods. They are called a supplement for a reason. They are there to supplement a need for extra nutrients, glucose, proteins etc. They should never ever be used as a meal replacement.

Nothing can replace real foods, or real drinks. You also need to do some thorough research to find ones that have little additives, small amounts of sugars and have good quality proteins and ingredients in them. They are out there, but you really need to search for them. To be honest, I not a big fan and I will always promote healthy fresh foods. I personally believe that using protein shakes for meals is a lazy way of believing you are doing something healthy for the body.

If you are going to use Protein bars and Protein shakes, they should really be only used on days when we are exercising, or just before a workout, or just after, to help get in extra energy and help muscle repair. Too many people these days are relying on them as a food substitute and a meal substitute and wondering why they are putting on weight and rebounding when they come off these so called weight loss -shake plans. These shakes are not food and they are not a health product. They are drink that contains proteins and additives and many of these additives are not always good for us.

The worst part about these Protein Bar and Shakes, is that it doesn’t teach healthy eating. These products just teach us to be lazy (most of the time) and we then forget the value of freshly made foods. Many shakes and smoothies you could make from scratch are far healthier and contain more live nutrients and proteins than any Protein Powder or Protein bar could ever provide. Not to mention the beneficial enzymes and vitamins that fresh foods provide. But, even then you do need to limit home made smoothies as they can be high in fructose and giving you a big sugar hit.

There is always time to make healthy clean eating foods and it just takes preparation and commitment to do so. Having the pantry and refrigerator stocked with healthy foods, rather than unhealthy options, is a good start. Seeing a nutritionist or health care practitioner is a good idea as well to help you have a plan and teach you healthy eating habits. Many people actually just don’t know what healthy foods are. This is why it is important to sit down with a healthcare professional and learn what healthy eating and healthy food options are.

So let’s look at 11 BS facts about Protein Shakes and Protein Bars

  1. Protein Bars and Protein Shakes are not a meal substitute and should never be used as such.
  2. Many of the shakes and bars on the market (not all), are filled with artificial flavours, sugars, gums, trans fats, additives, preservatives, fillers, phyto-estrogens and all many other nasty things
  3. Just because it is labelled as a protein bar, or shake, does not guarantee it is healthy. Many have little amounts of protein and are full of sugars that are the equivalent to candy bars.
  4. Most of the Multi-level marketed shakes and bars are full of harmful ingredients and worse still they are being prescribed by non-qualified lay people who are not trained in any form of health care, or health management. Many are not even listed with regulatory bodies such as the TGA, or FDA.
  5. They aren’t good for controlling carvings and controlling hunger. Because so many are filled with hidden artificial sugars and additives, most of them will have you craving more sugar than you normally would without them.
  6. Just because it has a celebrity, or health industry PT marketing them, doesn’t mean they are a healthy food choice.
  7. Protein Bars and Shakes should never replace good clean health foods. Never!
  8. Protein Bars and Shakes do not teach healthy eating habits. They teach us to be lazy.
  9. Just because they are made from supposed raw ingredients, doesn’t mean they are necessarily healthy for you. Raw ingredients that are highly refined, are still refined processed foods.
  10. Making homemade doesn’t necessarily make them healthy either. Might not have all the fillers or additives, but it could still be high in sugars and calories. Dried fruits, coconut sugar, agave, honey etc is still sugar. Sugar is sugar no matter what form it comes in.
  11. Protein Bars and Shakes are not always a weight loss, health management product. Nothing should replace a healthy diet and real foods.

I hope that helps explain a little more about this supplements and how they are not a healthy food choice. Nothing can ever replace healthy fresh foods.

If you do need help with meal plans and knowing what healthy food choices are, please see a nutritionist, or book in an consultation with me through my clinic staff.

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

-No Stone Left Unturned

-PACE Diet

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Living With Pain.

There are lots of people who suffer with pain daily and the one thing I do know for sure, as do many professionals I work with, is that many people who are in pain, or have inflammatory pain conditions, are not being managed really well.

There are so many aspects to pain and so many drivers that make it worse. Everything we do and are exposed to daily can drive, or exacerbate pain. Diet, lifestyle, alcohol, stress, drugs, medications, our environment, chemicals, additives, bad bacteria, disease states, moods and the way we think etc, can all drive and exacerbate pain.

In previous blogs and articles I have explained about how pain works, how long term medications can actually make it worse and also some of the alternatives to some of the hard-core pain medications.

  1. Alternative ways to assist pain and help with pain management
  2. Lets’s talk about pain, pain medications, dependency, detox and withdrawal symptoms

Again in this video I talk about pain and want to let everyone know there is help out there to help you better manage pain.

Please know you do not have to do this alone and that there are professionals out there who can help you better manage your pain levels and get your quality of life back.

If you do need help and assistance in dealing with pain, please give my clinic a call and book in a consultation.

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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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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The Importance of Electrolytes

The reason for this post is to talk about Electrolytes and how important they are for the body. I also need to let people know what proper electrolytes are.

Electrolytes are so important for the body and we actually need to replenish them on a regular basis. Water alone is not enough to hydrate you properly and therefore we need electrolytes for proper hydration and to carry fluids around our body. They also have so many other important actions.

Every single one of us needs electrolytes to be able to survive. Many of our bodily functions require an electric current to function, and electrolytes provide this charge. Electrolytes are substances that help to conduct electricity when it is dissolved in water. These Electrolytes also interact with each other and the cells in the tissues, nerves, and muscles. A balance of different electrolytes, in the right ratios, is so important for everyone to function daily and to support optimum health.

What are Electrolytes and what do they do for us?

As mentioned before, electrolytes are chemicals that help to conduct electricity current in the body and they also regulate our nerves and help our muscles to function. They also help with the rebuilding of damaged tissue. Muscles and tissue rely on electrolytes to hydrate the cells and the fluid inside them. The heart, muscles and nerves cells also use electrolytes to carry electrical impulses to the cells and other parts of the body.

Their most important function of Electrolytes is hydrating the body, but they also help to balance blood acidity and blood pressure as well. Without proper electrolyte balance people can die. This is why they are so important and people need to know about them. As mentioned before, while water is important for hydration, electrolytes are just as important.

Common electrolytes include are sodium, potassium, calcium , bicarbonate, magnesium, chloride and phosphate. When these substances become imbalanced, it can lead to either muscle weakness or excessive contraction. All our muscles needs calcium, sodium, and potassium to contract. The heart, muscle, and nerve cells use electrolytes to carry electrical impulses to other cells.

These electrolytes also need sugar to help transport them and I will talk about this later. To maintain hydration, there needs to be a balance of electrolytes and sugar, in very specific ratios.

Symptoms of Electrolyte Imbalance

Symptoms will depend on which electrolyte is out of balance. The symptoms of electrolyte imbalances can show as the following:

  • Muscles Spasms and cramping
  • Muscles Twitching
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Dry mouth and throat
  • Not able to quench ones thirst
  • Irregular heartbeat and palpitations
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Bone disorders and aching bones
  • Confusion and lack of mental clarity
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Seizures
  • Numbness
  • Nervous system disorders
  • Convulsions
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Feeling faint
  • Dizziness
  • Moodiness and Irritability

Causes of Electrolyte Imbalances

There are many reasons for an electrolyte imbalance and especially those suffering from dehydration symptoms. These include:

  • Prolonged periods of illness, such as vomiting and diarrhea
  • Severe Dehydration
  • Not staying hydrated before and after exercise
  • Prolonged periods in Air-conditioning (due to drying affect)
  • Bladder issues (excessive urination, frequent urination, incontinence)
  • Pregnancy (due to frequent urination)
  • Kidney disease
  • Poor diet and nutrition
  • Incorrect acid and alkaline balance in the body
  • Congestive Heart failure
  • Cancer treatments
  • Some drugs, such as diuretics steroids
  • Eating disorders
  • Menopause
  • Age, as the kidneys become less efficient as we get older

Monitoring and Testing for Imbalances

If you are feeling any of the symptoms above, or have any of the known causes of electrolyte imbalance, taking a proper electrolyte solution is a good idea. If you are feeling symptoms of dehydration, you should take an electrolyte solution anyway.

There are ways to tests for electrolyte imbalances and these are more fined tuned for which electrolyte may be out of balance. This test is called a Electrolyte panel and this is used to screen for imbalances of electrolytes in the blood and measure acid-base balance and kidney function. Your doctor may order this test to also monitor the progress of treatment relating to a known imbalance. Many drugs and hormone treatments can affect our electrolyte imbalance and it is important to monitor these effects.

Oral Hydration Therapy

Most people will know of oral hydration solutions for dehydration, or after long periods of illness. This treatment is used mainly for people experiencing an electrolyte shortage alongside dehydration, normally following severe vomiting or diarrhea.

It is important to know what proper electrolyte solution is because some of the so called sports drinks (Powerade, Gatorade) are not electrolytes and should not be used as such. These are really just highly colored cordials with a bit of extra salt in them.

Those so called sports drinks are not electrolytes and are really over commercialized cordials. They are not even allowed to call themselves an electrolyte solution and nowhere on the bottle will you find the word ‘electrolyte’. They may be able to call themselves re-hydration fluids, but they cannot call themselves and electrolyte, because that would be false advertising. Any drinkable fluid can call itself a re-hydration fluid.

People taking these so called sports drinks thinking they are an electrolyte, could be seriously putting themselves in danger using them thinking they have a therapeutic value.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has approved a solution to be used in oral re-hydration therapy that contains:

  • 6 grams (g) of sodium
  • 5 g of potassium chloride
  • 9 g of sodium citrate

These are dissolved in 1 liter (l) of water and given orally.

There are now proper electrolyte solutions available through chemists and drugs store.

The ratios of Electrolyte solutions are important

When using a proper electrolyte solution, it is important that the ratios of electrolytes are in the right proportion. It isn’t just about taking an isolated electrolyte, especially when it comes to dehydration. The world health organisation has standards that these electrolyte ratios should be at, especially for proper hydration after illness.

Electrolyte levels can change in relation to water levels in the body as well as other factors. Important electrolytes are lost in sweat during exercise, if someone is urinating too much, through air-conditioning, illness, certain medications, taking hormones and so much more.

The most common electrolytes imbalances are usually sodium and potassium. The concentration can also be affected by rapid loss of fluids, such as after a bout of diarrhea or vomiting. Water alone will not hydrate someone after an illness and if someone is dehydrated. This is why it is important to get proper ratios of electrolytes into a person after an illness otherwise they could become severely ill, or even die.

Sugars Role in Re-hydration

These days people are worried about any solution that contains sugar. I often get people telling me they don’t want to have proper electrolyte solutions because they contain sugar. But, all electrolyte solutions need to have a certain amount of sugar in them. This is the one of the only times I will look at sugar in a positive light. Sugar plays an important role in replenishing and transporting electrolytes around the body and into cells. What many people do not understand is that rapid and effective hydration depends on the active co-transport of glucose and sodium molecules through the small intestine. In other words, this means that the sugar is needed to help you absorb the electrolyte. If there’s no sugar in your electrolyte solution, it will not activate the co-transport of glucose and sodium for your body to rapidly replace fluid and electrolytes you’ve lost through sweating, illness, or other factors. It is all about the ratios of what is in the electrolyte solution and these need to be very specific to have a therapeutic value.

When there is too much sugar, such as in these so called sports drinks, you can be left feeling bloated and uncomfortable. Too many of them can also put your diabetes risk up too.  Because there are not proper ratios of electrolytes in these drinks, you are not getting a therapeutic value out if it either. Research has shown that drinks with high sugar concentrations can lead to unpleasant feelings of fullness, and delayed emptying of the stomach. These sugar drinks can also lead to other health issues as well. Many of them are full of additives and colourings as well. This is why it is important to know what a proper electrolyte solution is, and know the difference between sports drinks and a proper therapeutic electrolyte drink

Coconut Water

While coconut water does contain some electrolytes, we cannot regard it as a therapeutic electrolyte. Too much coconut water can also cause stomach upset as well. Coconut water can be used as part of your daily hydration and is another way of maintaining some crucial electrolytes in the body.

Foods and Electrolytes

There are many foods that we eat daily that contain sodium, calcium, potassium, chloride and magnesium. It is still vital to have these foods to maintain electrolyte balance in the body. Just remember that when you are sick, or are severely dehydrated these electrolytes get depleted and this is why you need an electrolyte solution for rapid hydration.

Fertility, Gynaecology, Pregnancy and Electrolytes

Many of the hormones used in IVF and gynaecology can interfere with our electrolyte balance and why I recommend the use of electrolytes to my patients.

Long term pain, use of steroids, pain medications, hormones etc, can all interfere with certain electrolytes and their absorption into the body. Some medications and hormones actual cause depletion of crucial electrolytes too.

Electrolytes can help with pain management and muscle spasms etc, that many gynaecological conditions, such as endometriosis can cause.

Electrolytes are also needed for a dangerous condition called Ovarian Hyper-stimulation Syndrome (OHSS). This dangerous condition is caused by hormones hyper-stimulating the ovaries, which can lead to the painful and sometimes fatal condition. Yes, OHSS can kill you if it isn’t monitored and managed properly. One of the things that helps with the prevention, and the treatment of this syndrome, is proper therapeutic electrolyte solutions.

Pregnancy is also a time where electrolytes can be out of balance. This can be due to excessive urination and also because the baby stripping you of nutrients and electrolytes also.

If you are Pregnant, or undertaking IVF, or fertility treatments, have a gynaecological condition etc, electrolytes should be a part of your treatment and management.

Final Word on Electrolytes

Electrolytes are a very important and vital part of a person’s chemical makeup, and an imbalance can affect the body’s ability to function properly. Regular monitoring and consuming electrolytes after intense exercise, profuse sweating, illness and even certain medications can help to preserve your body’s levels.

So next time you are drinking lots of water and not quenching your thirst, it may be time to get some electrolytes into you. If you feel faint, or dizzy, or have muscles cramps etc, this could be one of the reasons also. We all need them on a regular basis. Just make sure they are a proper electrolyte and not the lolly water rip offs that line the supermarket shelves. Please remember to stay hydrated at all times and while water is needed for this to happen, electrolytes are a very important part of this also.

Take care and stay hydrated and healthy

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

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Why Early Puberty Is More Common Than Ever

In today’s modern world we are seeing more and more young girls going through puberty much younger than they used to. We do know that girls as young as 7 years old are getting their menstrual cycle and going through all the changes of puberty, yet these poor children aren’t able to fully comprehend the emotional changes that go with it, or what this means for them on a reproductive level. Researchers Blame Childhood Obesity, Endocrine Disruptors and I will discuss this at length for you all.

It wasn’t that long ago the average girl would begin menstruating around the age of 16 or 17. On average, the general consensus would have been that girls could be starting to begin menstruation around the age of 14 years old. By early 2000’s, that age had fallen to less than 13 years old and now it has fallen again to being as young as 7 years old.

What we forget is that even before a girl gets her first period, there are signs of maturation that signal impending changes, and these come even earlier. So actually, some of these girls are beginning their puberty phase when they are 5 years, or 6 years old. A generation ago, less than 5 percent of girls would see these changes in their bodies— being breast growth, body hair, acne, pubic hair and all the other things that go with puberty. But now many of these young girls are seeing this around 7 years old, with an average age being 8 years old, for all of these changes to start to happen. This is definitely becoming the increasing norm and some experts think this age is still falling. Some doctors see fit to begin assessing girls for puberty-related changes at age 6.

Early Puberty

Classically, precocious puberty has defined puberty that begins before age 8 in girls and 9 in boys, but this is no longer universally accepted. In general experts are now saying that 7 years old is now probably a normal age to have some signs of puberty. While they are some that may not agree, we do need to start asking the big questions as to why this is happening?

So far, researchers haven’t proven any physical risks that come with early maturity. Although this could pose a significant risk to their ongoing fertility, bone health and also be putting women into menopause earlier too.

Many researchers have suggested that the main risks that come along with precocious puberty are not biological. Recent studies have found that girls who began the process early had an increased risk of depression during their adolescent years. There are also social risks that can disrupt a girl’s healthy development.

Puberty can be very confusing and emotionally damaging for girls, as they may face “sexual innuendo or teasing” long before they’re ready for it, according to researchers and experts. Early puberty may change the way a girl behaves, along with the way others behave towards her. This could pose other significant risk factors such as early pregnancy, but also exposure to STI’s and many other things these young girls are too young and too naive to know. This could even lead to earlier use of alcohol and drugs as well.

Why Is It Happening?

One of the biggest issues for young girls, and women in general, is changes in diet and higher use of highly processed foods and high intake of grains. This leads to higher levels of insulin and then the body storing more fats and stops the burning of fats and this then also creates inflammatory disease in the body. High insulin levels also lead to higher levels of estrogen in the body too. This is leading to more children being overweight and problem with changes to hormones, their cycles and gynaecological conditions. Childhood obesity rates have increase exponentially in the past 30 years, with more than one-third of children and adolescents weighing in as overweight, or obese. What people fail to realize is these Fat cells produce estrogen ( now known as Obestrogens), which plays a central role in stimulating breast growth in girls, causing problems with hormones, causing gynaecological conditions and playing a major factor in them getting their cycles much younger.

Researchers and experts are saying that obesity is leading to earlier puberty and this theory is well supported by the fact that these girls’ breasts are developing at a much younger age, and the age at which they start to menstruate has declined. The ovaries control menstruation, signaling that earlier breast development may be occurring because of different variables such as diet and environmental factors

There may be are other factors at play, other than diet, lifestyle and obesity though. Girls at a normal weight have been starting puberty earlier as well, though at a lower rate than these girls whom are overweight, or obese. Chemicals known as endocrine disruptors, such as the phthalates used in the production of plastics, as another potential contributor to early puberty have been cited as the most likely cause. They mimic estrogen and also cause disruption to the reproductive function and could therefore cause precocious breast growth and issues with the menstrual cycle. We know that there are over 87,000 chemical found in our foods, plastics, and preservatives and even in our water ways from detergents and even small traces of the contraceptive pill making its way into our water we drink as well. Others have said stress during childhood can play a role in prompting puberty as well.

Many children now face far more stresses that did in generations gone by, with many children growing up in families with a lot of domestic violence, arguing at home, or violence in their neighborhood are more likely to develop earlier. There have been studies and research that has suggested that girls who grew up without their biological father were twice as likely to get their period before age 12.

Scientists are even researching prenatal variables. Researchers now know that the parental mode of inheritance, through genes, is one way parents health, diet and lifestyle is being passed onto children. One study found that overweight mothers who developed gestational diabetes while pregnant gave birth to daughters who would start puberty earlier in life, regardless of what the girls themselves weighed. But, we also now know that the sins of the fathers can play a part in a child’s development. If the father isn’t healthy at the time of conceptions, or has genetic abnormalities, or genetic issues, these can be passed through the sperm and then onto a child, who then is affected with this issues that get expressed later, or now early, in life.

Regardless of whether its cause is environmental, genetic, biological, or some combination, precocious puberty may be reaching a biological breaking point.

This is why we need to be more aware of our children’s health early on, but we also need to be aware of our own health, before conceiving too, as we can pass our genetic disposition onto our children.

Teenagers and younger women are not too young to have gynaecological issues

Early intervention and prevention is the centre of managing any issue such as this and this is why we need to teach our children better eating habit, having a healthy active body and also being in touch with their bodily functions and emotions at a young age

Period pain and menstrual irregularities are not normal and we need to teach young girls this. We know that teenagers and younger women are not too young to have gynaecological issues such as Endometriosis and PCOS. Please see our article of what a proper menstrual cycle should be like to familiarize you and your daughter with this. The earlier you get onto menstrual issues and gynaecological issues, the better long term prognosis they have for their health and future fertility overall.

If you or your daughter need help with menstrual issues and know more about better menstrual health, please book in and see me sooner than later. As I have said before, the earlier we start educating young women on what is right, then better is for them later on in life and for their future health and fertility

Take care

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

“The Brisbane Baby Maker” & “Women’s and Men’s Health Crusader”

-Leaving No Stone Left Unturned