IBS

Managing Irritable Bowel Syndrome & Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is a problem that affects a staggering 3million people, or more, in Australia and about 20% of people world-wide. It is a condition that has baffled doctors for years. There is no single cause, no specific treatment and, as yet, no cure.

But first let’s look at some general information on IBS.

IBS is more common in women than in men and occurs more often in younger people. IBS is usually ongoing, and there are some times when symptoms are worse than other times. Having IBS does not mean you are more likely to develop colon cancer later in life.

Symptoms of IBS

Some people with IBS mainly have constipation, others have diarrhoea. Many people with IBS alternate between periods of constipation and diarrhoea.

Symptoms include:

  • Cramps and bloating in your lower abdomen, which usually get better after having a bowel motion or passing wind
  • Pain that can be a sharp or dull feeling
  • Constipation: feeling that you have not managed to empty your bowels completely, having bowel motions less often, straining to pass a motion or passing small, hard stools
  • Diarrhoea: having bowel motions too often and passing loose stools
  • Flatulence, or wind, and/or rumbling noises from your abdomen
  • Needing to rush to the toilet
  • Headaches
  • Mucus in your stools

Some of these symptoms can also be from other inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohns disease and Ulcerative Colitis, which sometimes get categories as IBS.

But some of the symptoms above can also be part of having endometriosis and many women who are diagnosis with IBS, in fact have endometriosis. They then have all the testing for IBS, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis etc (colonoscopy etc) as these don’t find anything and then these women are often told by doctors they are at a loss to what is happening. This is why endometriosis often takes up to 12 years for definitive diagnosis, which is terrible.

IBS triggers

The cause of IBS is not known, but certain things can trigger its symptoms, including:

  • Stress
  • Depressed mood
  • Food poisoning
  • Tummy bug
  • Virus
  • Certain foods and drinks
  • Some medication
  • Some people find avoiding alcohol, caffeine and nicotine can reduce their IBS symptoms

As said before some women suffer more acutely from symptoms of IBS just before, or during, their menstrual cycle. IBS symptoms can also mean that they have a condition called Endometriosis. Many times these conditions can be overlooked and they can be present at the same time, along with bladder issues as well.

Lactose and wheat intolerance and wheat may be a cause and needs to be assessed before permanent changes to diet are made. Wheat grains are inflammatory to the bowel anyway and they should be removed if anyone does have inflammatory bowel issues.

Treatments

There are a few medical treatments available but results can be varying. Many people with severe IBS end up on steroids to settle inflammation in the bowel. There are also other medications to slow bowel motility and reduce inflammation as well.

Dietary and lifestyle changes are a must for the treatment of IBS. See my post on what real nutrition should be food what a good diet should be like.

There is, however complementary therapies that can bring great results.

The complementary medicine unit and the University of Western Sydney ran a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled trial to determine whether Chinese Herbal medicine was of any benefit in the treatment of IBS. Chinese medicine has been used for thousands of years to treat many disease states, including inflammatory bowel conditions.

The results were stunning. More than 70% of patients taking the Chinese herbs improved. The results were published in the Journal of the American Medicine Association.

There are also other complementary therapies and treatments that can be used and combined with medical interventions, or other interventions mentioned above.

Studies have shown that strain specific probiotic bacteria have induced remission in inflammatory bowel conditions such as ulcerative colitis and IBS. But, this needs consultation with a qualified healthcare professional to treat disease properly. Self-prescribing is not an option for this disease that affects over 3 million people here in Australia alone.

With any disease state such as IBS, there needs to be an individualised approach, not a one treatment fix all approach, because everyone is uniquely difference in their symptoms they experience and what their triggers are. There also needs to be a multimodality approach because many times IBS overlaps with conditions such as endometriosis for women, and other inflammatory conditions in men.

If you have IBS or inflammatory bowel disease and need help and assistance in managing your disease better, please give my friendly staff a call and they will explain how I may be able to assist you.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

References

  1. Treatment of IBs with chinese herbal medicine -Alan Bensoussan, MSc; Nick J. Talley, MD; Michael Hing, MBBS, FRACP; Robert Menzies, PhD; Anna Guo, PhD; Meng Ngu, PhD http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=188145
  2. VSL#3 Probiotic-Mixture Induces Remission in Patients with Active Ulcerative Colitis- (American Journal of Gastroenterology 2005;100:1-8)
  3. Investigations and treatment of Endometriosis- Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists 2008
  4. Bensoussan A, Myers SP. Towards a Safer Choice: The Practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Australia . Sydney, Australia: University of Western Sydney Macarthur; 1996.
  1. Yu ZX, Wang K, Li FP. Clinical trial of Chinese herbal capsule for 157 cases of irritable bowel syndrome. Chin J Integrated Tradit West Med.1991;11:170-171.
  1. Liu ZK. Chinese herbal medicine treatment for 120 cases of irritable bowel syndrome. Chin J Integrated Tradit West Med.1990;10:615.
  1. Shi ZQ. Combination treatment of Chinese and Western medicine for 30 cases of irritable bowel syndrome. Chin J Integrated Tradit West Med.1989;9:241.
  2. Chen DZ. Tong Xie Yao Fang with additions in treating 106 cases of irritable bowel syndrome. Nanjing Med University J.1995;15:924.
  3. Xu RL. Clinical realisations during the diagnosis and treatment of 55 cases of irritable bowel syndrome. Shanxi J Tradit Chin Med.1995;11:10-11.
Chill Pill

A Special Kind of Pill for Better Health and Increased Fertility

Previously I have mentioned that I was going to talk to you all about a special medicine and a special kind of pill, that can not only help you with gynaecological and other healthy issues, but it can also help with fertility and being able to fall pregnant.

I was going to post this up straight away, but then I had to think more about it, because I know when you mention this subject, people can take a message with the intention of helping the wrong way.

So what is this special pill that I am talking about and not yet available on the market?

Well, it’s called a “Chill Pill” and many of us need to be taking it often, or learning to administer it often.

Now, before anyone gets all up in arms about this and what I am about to say, I need you to listen and take the personal out of this and just hear the reasons why.

I have been on the other end of stress, where it almost killed me, literally and I know how it then affected my health and then exacerbated pre-existing health complaints I had. So I am coming from a place of understanding, but also a place of wanting to help people through my own experienced personally, but also what I see in clinical practice daily. I was one of those people who kept saying that weren’t stressed, or that I don’t feel stressed, yet all the while my body signs were saying something different.

Like any change we need to make, the first part is admitting there may be something wrong in order to enact that change.

The sad fact is that 9 out of 10 people report being stressed and 41% of people feel they experience unhealthy levels of stress. Stress and the body’s response to it, can affect people in different ways. Small amounts of stress that are easily resolved can help to keep us motivated and achieve our goals.

The difference with long term or chronic stress is that it can affect the whole body in a negative way. It is the long grade, low grade stress (or busyness) that often creeps up on us and causes issues. Many people do not even know they are stressed, or that stress is a big factor in their current health issues, because they are either so used to it, or their health issues takes over and they cannot even begin to see the correlation.

The harsh reality of many problems in life is that we are ultimately responsible for our own well-being. Not all people will want to accept this, as it is so much easier to blame someone or something else for our dilemmas.

Nearly every problem we experience in life may have an element of stress to it bought on by ourselves and our busy lives, with many of us not consciously knowing it is at play. That means everything from a common cold to a long-standing illness. Everyone reading this will be by now squirming in his or her seats as the harsh reality of such a statement hits home. But the real problem with this is that it is true. I know I had to face this reality with my own health issues. We can and do cause many of our own health problems, or exacerbate them, either consciously, or subconsciously.

The problem with any health matter is getting people to become responsible for their own self. So much illness is completely preventable if we would just take responsibility for our own actions. It is so much easier to blame someone, or something else with comments such as “ I have tried everything”, “That didn’t work for me”, or “I’ve been everywhere and nothing can help me”.

The problem with many of these blanket statements is that they are all just excuses not to take responsibility for our actions. Maybe it isn’t that the methods you are trying aren’t working. Maybe it is simply a matter of nothing will ever work unless we make that all important change for ourselves first.

Sure, some disease states are hereditary, or someone have a predisposition for them, but even so, once the illness, or disease is expressed in the body, it is our responsibility to do what we can to control it.

Yes, sometimes it doesn’t seem fair, I get that, but sometimes you just have to admit there is an issue that isn’t going away in a hurry, or keeps being flared up, because you need to make some changes in your life to better manage this issue.

I know this is something I had to learn myself. Boy did I fight the reality of this in the beginning too. But, I also acknowledge that some people have seen some pretty shitty healthcare practitioners who have missed and dismissed their issues too. It all compounds and just makes everything seem so much worse. But, at the end of the day you can also find good practitioners who can help you too.

Stress is also a major factor in many couples not being able to conceive. Stress affects cortisol levels and the adrenals and this then has an effect on testicular and ovarian function.

Stress can affect both sperm and egg quality and high stress levels also affects our hormones and our immune system. Stress also has an effect on the uterine environment, which can affect implantation, affect circulation in the uterine lining, and also increase the risk of miscarriage. High stress levels also exacerbate, or fuel many gynaecological and men’s reproductive health issues too.

Looking for the ‘Off ’ Butt on

Stress can affect each of us differently. Perhaps you are suffering from anxiety, feeling worried, depressed or irritable; even feeling exhausted and overwhelmed can indicate you are under stress. As well as affecting your ability to cope, stress may also be causing a disruption to your health. When under stress for a length of time, you may be more susceptible to tension headaches, high blood pressure, frequent colds and flus, digestive disorders or a worsening of an existing condition.

So you can see, there are many reasons why it is so important to manage your stress now, take that “Chill Pill” before it starts impacting your health and wellbeing.

How Resilience Begins

Some people seem to deal with stress better than others. That doesn’t mean that the rest of us need to continue suffering. The ability to increase your resilience to stress is something that can be learned and helped with talking to a counsellor, or psychologist etc.

There are supplements, nutrients, and vitamins to support your body’s individual stress response system too. Many people are lacking key nutrients because of our highly processed diets now and we also know that gut health, and a healthy microbiome is integral to psychological wellbeing and our moods.

Taking a strain specific probiotic and a prebiotic daily can improve gut health and improve your immune system and psychological wellbeing. Omega 3 oils, multivitamins, melatonin, St John’s wort, passion flower, chamomile and many other herbs and nutrients can assist with coping with stress and its impact on the body.

Don’t buy vitamins or supplements off the shelf at the chemist or supermarket as these are so inferior and contain lots of fillers and additives that aren’t good for you. Always see a qualified healthcare practitioner to get proper advice on what nutrients and supplements are needed for your health complaint.

By the way, Dr Google is banned in my clinic. Dr Google is not a reliable way to find out about healthcare products and illnesses. Only a trained healthcare professional should be giving you that advice. But, in saying that, researching where to find a good practitioner is great and also developing and understanding of ones health issues is great too, as long as it doesn’t become an obsession and that is all you focus on. It is about a balance. There is nothing wrong with trying to be informed. But, trying to self diagnose, or self prescribe is not a good thing at all.

Some people may be in such a bad state that medication may be needed to get them over their first hurdles and develop some resilience and coping skills. This should always be done in conjunction with talk therapy as well. To be honest, most of us could do with talking to a good counsellor or psychologist to get some coping strategies to deal with work, business, health, or life better.

Lifestyle Tips to Help Manage Stress

Managing your stress is essential for long-term health and vitality. With proper support, a variety of stress relief techniques can be introduced, in conjunction with a

healthy eating plan to help assist you in stressing less. These may include:

  1. Exercise: Daily movement is essential for brain health. Aerobic exercise including running, swimming or walking is proven to decrease stress hormones. Resistance exercise is also great for stress relief, burning fats, increasing lean muscle and keeping you healthy.
  2. Enjoy the benefits of spending some time in the sun. Being in nature for 30 minutes per day can help reduce stress hormones and assist recovery after a stressful situation.
  3. Meditation and/or yoga can help to increase relaxation whilst benefiting not just the mind, but also the body. Learning to unwind is important for reducing stress.
  4. Favourite pastime: create time for YOU! Do something that you love, like listening to music, enjoying a candle lit bath, watching a movie, or starting a creative project – these fun activities can help you become more tolerant of everyday stress.
  5. Get creative and express yourself in as many different ways as feels good; singing, dancing, and art projects are but a few ways to do this.
  6. Eat seasonally, fresh and organic as much as possible. Include protein at every meal with a variety of fruit and vegetables.
  7. Include good fats such as omega 3s from fish, nuts and seeds, and olive oil to help with brain health and mood regulation.
  8. Drink plenty of water, a minimum of eight glasses per day and avoid excessive alcohol, caffeine, sugar and salt.
  9. See a counsellor, or psychologist to get some coping strategies in place.
  10. Acupuncture has been shown to be as effective as medications for stress and equal to the effects of talk therapy in several major studies.

Stress Less for Good Health

Our modern lifestyle is inescapable. The stress of it however, is manageable. This is why I mentioned the magic “Chill Pill”. All people have to do is take the advice and administer it often.

You aren’t born stressed and being stress isn’t a part of you. It is a learnt behaviour that can be changed. You can become more resilient to the symptoms and long term effects of stress through the aid of individualised lifestyle and dietary changes, together with nutrients, supplement and in some cases medicines that your healthcare providers can help you with.

Talk therapy such as counselling and psychology is an integral part of leaning to cope with stress and dealing with it better too. Mindfulness and meditation can also assist with stress.

Supporting a healthy stress response will allow you to feel more energised, resilient and ready to tackle life, so you can maintain the state of health and wellness that you deserve.

I hope that helps everyone and please remember to take off those superwoman/superman capes regularly, allow space to just breath and shut off the mind and just have some you time. It is OK to just sit there and not feel guilty about it. People need to learn to switch off the “busyness” and close down the 100 boxes they have open. It is Ok just to sit in peace and quietness and not feel guilty about it. Actually, your body needs to do this to maintain your inner health, but also your psychological health.

Every persons health, or disease state is different and while stress may not be the cause of ones particular issue, it can certainly exacerbate it. This is why it is so important to look at every aspect of ones life, not just a small isolated portion of it.

When was the last time you allowed yourself the space to just be, just take some quite time and let the world pass by for a little while without worrying about it?

Take care and relax and don’t work too hard. We work to live, not live to work.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

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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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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. It really is a matter of ‘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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Food additives and emulsifiers may increase inflammation and anxiety

A wide range of foods contain ingredients that we call emulsifiers. A new study has shown that these compounds can produce both physiological and behavioural changes.

Bread and many other common foods we eat daily contain emulsifiers and other additives.

Food additives have always generated a great deal of attention as they can lead to exacerbating many health conditions, or even be the cause of some health issues as well. Recently, emulsifiers have been drawing fire and rightfully so.

Manufacturers have been using these chemicals to alter food’s texture and extend its shelf life for years and they are not good for our health. These emulsifiers are found in many foods such as bread, chocolate, margarine, processed meats, and more.

Earlier studies have shown that emulsifiers can alter the microbiome of mice, causing low-grade inflammation and increasing the risk of obesity and metabolic disorders. But now a study in humans concluded that gut bacteria “can be directly impacted by these commonly used food additives, and these additives also subsequently drives intestinal inflammation.”

Recently, researchers from Georgia State University in Atlanta set out to see if these emulsifiers also influenced mental wellbeing. The focussed on two commonly used emulsifiers — carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) and polysorbate-80 (P80).

The Microbiome and Psychological health

In many recent studies scientists have already described a clear pathway between the gut and the brain. These studies have shown that our gut health and the health of our gut bacteria can have a substantial influence on our mental well-being. Most of the studies concluded that lack of good bacteria in the gut and overuse of antibiotics could significantly alter the microbiome, anxiety levels, and social behaviour over the long-term.

This most recent study investigated whether P80 and CMC might alter our mental state. The team added CMC and P80 to the drinking water of recipients for 12 weeks. They then measured the changes in the microbiome, behaviour and other physiological changes as well. The results showed that these emulsifiers caused general systemic inflammation, which extended to the brain and to behavioural changes. The researchers published their findings in the journal Scientific Reports.

The impact of emulsifiers

The scientists showed that the emulsifiers did impact good gut bacteria, but in different ways for male and females. They also showed that the changes in behaviour were different between the sexes. Males tended to have an increase in anxiety, where the females tended to have a reduction in social behaviour.

While it is not known how these emulsifiers affect behaviour, it is speculated that the inflammation they produce affects signalling pathways in body tissue and parts of the brain. The gut also contains branches of the vagus nerve, which has a direct link to the brain. The researchers said that more research is needed into this very important area of medicine.

In recent years there have been increase levels of anxiety and mood disorders in our western society. While there are many other factors to the increase of anxiety and mood disorders, such as stress and lifestyle changes, the researchers have questioned if these additives may also be playing a part in this as well.

For now, the researchers recommend that we should really look at how these food additives impact our microbiome and gut bacteria and increase systemic inflammation in the body. It is great to see that science has now showing, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the microbiome plays a significant role in our overall health. Not just our physical health, but our mental and emotional health as well.

This is why I always recommend health diet and lifestyle changes for every condition I help with. This is also why I promote the use of healthy beneficial bacteria (probiotics) daily in our diet as well. Good health always starts with good diet. Good health always starts with a healthy gut/microbiome as well.

Take care

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

-Women’s and Men’s Health Expert

-No Stone Left Unturned

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New Year’s Microbiome Reboot & Restore

Most people often need lose the Christmas and New Years Cheer put on through all the goodies we all consume. This also means our gut and Microbiome and Gut health is out of balance and needs to be rebalanced and restored with beneficial bacteria.

Weed, Repair and Restore

This needs to be done properly and involves weeding out the bad bacteria, repairing the gut mucosa and then restoring the gut and microbiome with beneficial bacteria. These good bacteria also need the right food sources to grow and this is all part of repairing and restoring the microbiome/gut.

Microbiome Reboot and Restore Program

We are offering a Microbiome Reboot and Restore to help you with weight management, help your immune system and also get your gut and digestive system working properly again. It will also help reduce inflammation in those with chronic disease states and help with moods and healthy brain function too. The program also incorporates healthy eating principles.

Let’s start the New Year right by getting your gut health right too.

Please give the clinic staff a call for more details and pricing.

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women and Men’s Health Advocate

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Red wine protects your teeth and gums and helps your gut health as well

Researchers have now identified yet another reason why you should keep enjoying a glass of red wine.

While Red wine stains the teeth, a new study says that it might protect your oral health at the same time. The findings were published in the journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

The research was led by M. Victoria Moreno-Arribas and colleagues from Instituto de Investigación en Ciencias de la Alimentación in Madrid, and the Department of Health and Genomics at the Center for Advanced Research in Public Health in Valencia.

Polyphenols to the rescue

We already know plenty of reasons to have a nice glass or red and how good it can be for our health. A recent study said that it could help to keep the brain young, and previous research has tied it to hormonal health as well as heart disease prevention. Studies have also shown that drinking a glass of vino each day may help us to live longer as well. But as we always say, alcohol is good for us in moderation, not in excess and should be consumed with food and not on an empty stomach.

While know that red wine has many health benefits, new research from Instituto de Investigación en Ciencias de la Alimentación in Madrid, and the Department of Health and Genomics at the Center for Advanced Research in Public Health in Valencia have revealed red wine may protect against the formation of cavities and against gum disease.

Many of the health benefits of red wine come from its content of polyphenols, which are a series of micronutrients with antioxidant properties. We know that some of these antioxidants, such as resveratrol, can protect against action of free radicals, which play a key role in the cellular aging process.

But polyphenols are also super nutrients which help our microbiome and help with our good gut bacteria. Some polyphenols can be absorbed into the small intestine and there they interact with the gut microbiota and fend off bad gut bacteria that might threaten our health. The research team found that polyphenols found in red wine and grapes could have a similar, protective effect in the mouth, fending off harmful oral bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease.

What the researchers found was that the two red wine polyphenols caffeic acid and p-coumaric acid were most effective at repelling the harmful oral bacteria and preventing them from attaching to healthy tissue. They also found that phenolic metabolites, which are substances formed as the polyphenols start transforming in the mouth, suggested that these small products may in fact be the “active ingredient” associated with the polyphenols’ protective effect.

This is great news for those that like to have a nice glass of red and this research also adds to more health benefits of drinking red wine. But as said before, red wine is an alcoholic beverage and as such it is important not to overdo it either.

What is your friend, in moderation, can also be your enemy in excess. The good thing is now you can enjoy a nice glass of red in moderation and know you are getting many health benefits from it, and also know that your teeth and gut health (microbiome), are being looked after as well.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

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Alternative Ways to Assist Pain and Help with Pain Management

After my recent posts of the management of pain, pain medications and how pain affects so many people lives daily, it is pretty clear that there are lots of people out there in pain.

Worst still it highlights what I have known for many years, is that many people who are in pain, or have inflammatory pain conditions, are not being managed really well.

Unfortunately many are also trying to manage their own pain conditions and may even be dependent on pain medications. Some of these medications taken long term may in fact be exacerbating their current symptoms, or actually making their pain and inflammation worse. Some of the medications may in fact by shutting off the body’s ability to know that it isn’t actually in pain anymore, but the body actually thinks it is.

It is such vicious never ending cycle for many people and there seems to be no long-term, or short term, solutions for many who have to endure the physical and emotional consequences of all these things combined.

The one thing for sure, is that pain often isn’t managed well and there need to be more done to help those in pain. But, it also requires those in pain to seek proper help too. Again it is a bit of complex issue and many in pain often get dismissed initially as well, or are looked at as people who are dependent on pain medications just seeking more pain meds.

Pain does need proper management and if pain is not managed properly, it can do more damage than the medications health professionals, and the person in pain, are worrying about. But sometimes the blanket pain medication treatments don’t work, or they just aren’t enough, and this is why when it comes to pain, it need to be managed with a multi-modality approach.

It really cannot just be all about taking medication, or telling people to just go and learn to live with their pain and all will be OK. It won’t be OK and we need to start to educate all concerned that there other options that may assist the current medical treatments and management strategies.

Let’s look at some of the alternatives to pain medications and how these things can help assist those in pain and can be used alongside medications to give better control of pain and also help in reducing dependency of pain medications.

1.Watch your diet

Eating the right foods may provide some protection from the symptoms of pain and the disease state that you may have. The role of diet in inflammatory conditions has been investigated in recent years due to the influence of diet on some of the processes linked to certain disease states that are causing pain and inflammation on a daily basis. Many of the so called anti-inflammatory diets out there are now outdated and have outdated nutritional and dietary advice that don’t really help much at all.

Adopting a low GI and anti-inflammatory diet may help  to assist with settling any inflammation and pain in the body and also help the immune system.  A healthy diet also needs to include prebiotic and probiotic bacteria to help with digestive function, immunity and gut health. Regulation and restoration of gut function and the microbiome is so important and assisting with pain and inflammatory conditions.

Excess bad carbohydrates increase insulin response and this then causes the body to store fats and stops the burning of fat. This also leads to inflammatory conditions and more inflammation in the body. Excess body fat, now known as obestrogens (because it is estrogenic) needs to be controlled and managed through diet and exercise too. Excess fat and excess weight all lead to inflammation and stress on the body and this can also exacerbate pain and pain pathway.

Certain environmental estrogens, known as endocrine disruptors,  such as preservatives, plastics, pesticides and insecticides that can be ingested through certain nutrients have been suggested as risk factors for exacerbating pain and creating inflammation in the body too

2.Try complementary medicine and complementary therapies

Many people with pain and inflammatory disease states find symptom relief from using a range of different complementary and alternative medicines. There is some good solid research to show that some natural medicines may help with the management of pain and inflammatory disease states and the associated symptoms.

There is now some good research to support many natural medicines treatments such as Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, vitamins, omega 3 oils, probiotics, chiropractic/osteopathy, Yoga, Pilates and more. (1)

When it comes to assisting pain, Acupuncture and Chinese medicines has been one of the most researched complementary medicines. There is some good research and evidence to shown that acupuncture and Chinese medicine may assist those suffering pain and chronic inflammatory disease and their associated symptoms, alongside medical interventions. (1,2,3,4)

Acupuncture has been widely researched to assist with many pain conditions and is now even used in some emergency departments around the world, for acute and chronic pain. (4)

Certain strains of prebiotics and probiotics have also been shown to help with the immune system, microbiome, bowel, and digestive associated symptoms of some pain conditions. Probiotics have also been shown to not only help with digestive and immune function, but also with the psychological function as well. It does need to be specific strains of probiotics though. Correction of the microbiome, but using pre and probiotics may assist in reduction of inflammation in the body and thus assist with pain and painful disease states.

There are also western herbal medicines and naturopathic herbal formulations that can assist with pain and assist with pain management. There are also certain amino acids and nutritional medicine supplements that have been shown to assist with managing pain and inflammatory conditions. Like any conditions, management need to be done on an individualised approach and what works for one person, may not work for another.

Chiropractic and Osteopathy have been used for centuries to assist with pain and pain conditions. By correction of the sublaxations and correction of posture, this can assist in better nerve functioning, better blood flow to muscles and also help with pain reduction and reducing inflammation.

Just like with medical treatments, when it comes to complementary medicines, it is important to find someone who is a qualified practitioner and who specialises in pain management. Just like in the medical model, this can also be hard to find. Please find someone who is a registered healthcare practitioner, or part of an association for qualified healthcare practitioners.

3.Boost intake of omega-3 fatty acids

The is lots of research on the health benefits of taking Omega 3 fatty acids and a diet high in these healthy fats. Omega 3 fatty acids may assist many inflammatory conditions such as depression, cardiovascular disease, arthritic conditions and many conditions where inflammatory processes are then leading to pain.

Researchers have also found that the type of fat included in your diet makes a difference in your risk factors for inflammation and pain conditions. Studies have shown that people whose diets were heavily laden with trans fats increased their risk of the expression of inflammatory disease by 48 % when compared with individuals who ate the least of these. By comparison, women whose diets were rich in omega-3 oils lowered their risk of inflammatory conditions by 22 % compared with those who consumed the least amount.

Eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, flaxseeds, almonds, and walnuts, may be helpful for pain and inflammatory conditions. Another way to get Omega 3 fatty acids is through supplementation, but please make sure you are using a practitioner only grade omega 3 supplement to ensure higher potency and better quality control.  Just remember, it is all about reducing inflammation.

4.Exercise

Often, people who experience pain fear exercising, in case it causes more problems for them. But over time, regular physical activity may decrease the pain and discomfort that you feel. High-intensity exercise and resistance training may assist in helping to reduce the reducing the symptoms of pain and reducing inflammation in the body.

While resistance training and high intensity interval training may assist in pain management and reducing inflammation in the body, some of the more gentle forms of exercise, such as Yoga and Pilates, may also assist in reducing pain and inflammatory response in the body too.

Yoga and Pilates can stretch and strengthen your muscles, help with core strength, help with circulation, which all may be beneficial for pelvic pain management and stress reduction.There has been lots of research into the benefits of Yoga and Pilates and how it can assist pain and inflammation.

No matter what exercise, you choose, exercise may help those with pain and inflammation in many ways, including:

  • encouraging the circulation of blood to your organs
  • maintaining nutrients and oxygen flow to all your body systems
  • assist with decreasing pain and inflammatory response
  • assist with reducing stress
  • releasing endorphins in the brain, which are pain-relieving, “feel good” chemicals

Research has shown that those who engage in some sort of regular exercise have fewer symptoms of pain and less inflammation that those people who do not participate in regular exercise.

5.Managing Stress Levels

Stress and emotional factors are probably one of the most under rated causes of pain and inflammatory response. Stress and emotional factors, such as anxiety, are big factors in any disease and can make any disease worse. Have a read of my post all about anxiety exacerbating pain.
Not only can stress and emotional disorders be exacerbated by pain and inflammation, but so can pain and inflammatory symptoms be exacerbated by stress and emotional disorders, in a never-ending cycle.

Pain and inflammation could contribute to making your stress levels, or emotion issues worse, due to the impact that the associated symptoms have on all aspects of your life, including family and personal relationships and work.

Stress management, Counselling, Mindfulness and Relaxation techniques may all assist in reducing stress and emotional disturbances that exacerbates inflammation and pain pathways and painful conditions.

People with pain and chronic pain and inflammation need to manage stress and anxiety by using mindfulness and relaxation techniques. These can help you to increase your awareness of your body, refocus on something calming, and reduce the activity of stress hormones and inflammation in the body. It is all about learning coping mechanisms and what works best for you, not what works best for others.

6.TENS and Neuromodulators

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is an inexpensive nonpharmacological intervention used in the treatment of acute and chronic pain conditions. These small battery-powered devices deliver alternating current via cutaneous electrodes positioned near the painful area. The parameters of pulse frequency, and pulse intensity are adjustable and linked to TENS efficacy. TENS activates a complex neuronal network to result in a reduction in pain

Neuromodulation is the process by which nervous activity is regulated by way of controlling the physiological levels of several classes of neurotransmitters. Many pain management specialist now use a common form of neuromodulation involves using a device to deliver electrical current in therapeutic doses to the spinal cord to disrupt pain signals from the spinal cord to the brain, converting them to a more pleasant tingling sensation. This has been proven a safe and effective therapeutic approach for managing chronic pain of the arms and legs, neck and back often after spine surgery, or for other neuropathic conditions.

In Summary

It is important to know that people with pain and disease states that are causing chronic pain, will need a multi-modality, or team approach to deal with this disease.

The team you need and modalities that you will need will be dependent on your individual symptoms. This will mean finding practitioners who will listen to you and also be open to trying some of the alternatives to some of the pain medications and opiates alongside pharmaceutical medications.

As I said before, these alternatives may assist in treating your pain and managing your pain long term and also help with reducing some of the pain medications you may have been dependent on. Try and find healthcare professionals that can offer you a multi-modality approach for ongoing care and support and who also have a team of other people who specialise in the disease you are suffering from too. Again, the approach that you and your pain management specialist, or healthcare provider, choose to take will vary depending on your signs and symptoms.

Before starting any pain management, or new treatment, it is important to know all of your options and the potential outcomes of all of them and to know that the people that you are seeing are specialists in your condition and know how to manage the disease properly. That can often be the hardest thing to find and why you need to do your homework and see people who are specialists in this area of medicine. Too many people are missed and dismissed purely because they are just seeing the wrong people in the first place.

Lastly, if you are in pain and have a pain condition, please do not try and keep managing it yourself, or try to self-medicate. You need to be managed properly and should be getting the advice of a professional, not your friends, family or social media buddies.

Pain needs to be managed and it needs to be managed properly and this also goes for pain medications as well. If you are still in pain and pain symptoms are getting worse, this means that you need to get something done about it because your disease may in fact be getting worse, or your body may not be responding to medication any longer.

Take care

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

References

1.Xue CCL, Zhang TL, Lin V, Myers R, Polus B, Story DF. Acupuncture, chiropractic and osteopathy use in Australia: a national population survey. BMC Public Health. 2008;8:105–112. [PMC free article][PubMed[]

2. Zhu X, Hamilton KD, McNicol ED. Acupuncture for pain in endometriosis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011;9:CD007864. [PubMed[]

3.Zheng Z, Xue CL. Pain research in complementary and alternative medicine in Australia: a critical review. J Altern Complement Med. 2012;19:81–91. [PMC free article] [PubMed[]

4.Zhang AL, Parker SJ, Smit DV, Taylor DM, Xue CCL. Acupuncture and standard emergency department care for pain and/or nausea and its impact on emergency care delivery: a feasibility study. Acupunct Med. 2014;32:250–256. [PubMed[]

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Calling Out The BS Misinformation About Fat Loss

The reason I am writing this post is that I have had many people contact me about losing weight and getting healthy for their New Year’s resolution. It is that time after all.

But, I have also had some people close to me tell me they have diabetes and other health issues that could significant impact their health and shorten their lives. All of these people have completely preventable diseases and would not be there if their diet and lifestyle was in better shape.

It is that time of year again and it seems to be when most people tend to throw out the healthy habits and adopt some not so healthy ones. Many convince themselves that it is “OK” because it is just for a little while, but the truth is that this altered state of perception often leads into weeks and possibly months of overindulgence and bad eating habits. Then New Year’s Eve comes and people go on the roller coaster guilt trip of needing to be healthy to bring in the New Year.

While it may be OK to eat a few unhealthy things for the day of Christmas, having it every day over the festive season could turn into a nasty habit that could have long term implications on one’s health.  Add in some alcohol everyday and all those bad carbs and the weight (namely fat) can pile on very quickly indeed. This could be especially true if excess fat is stored and the exercise stops and next thing you know that you have a years worth of fat to try and get rid of. Worse still, some people are eating like this every day and not exercising and putting on more inflammatory fat and not realising they are a ticking time bomb. These people then have a lifetime of fat to get rid of and that is not going to be an overnight fix by any means.

So many people always try to convince themselves that a little bit of this, or that, won’t hurt. That is absolute rubbish. Yes, a little bit of this and that won’t hurt if you have reached your optimum weight, got rid of all the bad fat around your body, and reached your health goals. Sure. But if you are already overweight, have excess tummy fat etc, yes, that little bit just set you back big time. Excess fat= inflammation.

Excess fat is also estrogenic and part of the reason obesity also unbalances hormones, causes inflammation in all the cells, decreases fertility, but also puts you at increased risk of many of the cancers we get as humans. We will talk about that in later posts.

Before you start making excuses and trying to plead your fat loss case, you might want to stop for a second and actually listen to some cold hard facts and from a qualified healthcare professional, not your next door neighbour pushing the next multi-level marketed shake diet scam. You need to put down your degrees in Dr Google and tell Dr Google to stick his fat loss advice misinformation where the sun doesn’t shine.

Excess fat and a sedentary lifestyle is going to cut your life short and also lessen your quality of life and increase your risks for other diseases that could cut your life even shorter. It is time to cut the BS (Bullshit) and tell it how it is.

On a daily basis I hear every excuse to why someone hasn’t been able to lose weight, or get their life back on track etc. I have heard it all. Even many of my fertility patients just don’t get that their current fat status is hindering their chances of healthy eggs, health sperm, and healthy embryos and having a healthy baby.

I have heard every excuse from “I go to the gym 2 hours per day and still can’t lose weight”, “But my diet is great and I still can’t lose weight”, “I’ve tried everything and seen everyone and still can’t lose weight” and so many other excuses.

Each time I hear the excuses start, the BS meter starts to go off and I feel the need to call people on their story they are living in. Sure, I get it is hard. Sure, I get the excuses. Sure I get it and understand the story being told to me. But seriously, nobody is going to do this for you.

People just need to take ownership and just admit that they are 100% responsible for their own body and now just need to take on the advice and just do it. You cannot keep blaming someone or something and keep shifting the focus off the one things holding you back, which is your self.

If someone is eating correctly (I mean eating a proper diet, not the one you have been conditioned to believe is healthy by clever marketing for big corporation), then you will burn fat and lose weight. You can’t out train a bad diet and you can’t lose fat if you are getting bad advice.

You won’t lose fat if you aren’t being honest with yourself and having chocolate, treats, biscuits, and drinking alcohol and all the other bad carbs along the way. One biscuit here and one piece of chocolate there, adds up to a crap load of sugar and fat storage in a week. Let’s not forget how alcohol is full of sugar and bad carbs and stores fat too.

Nine times out of ten it isn’t the diet that isn’t working for someone, it is the person not working and not doing things properly. Once that is sorted and proper adjustments made, plus moving the body at the same time, people will always lose that fat. They do when I am helping them.

The other big issue I see is people’s perceptions of what a good healthy diet consists of, or what they have been conditioned to believe is healthy. While this may not necessarily be their fault, once they have been told and don’t do anything about it, then there isn’t anyone to blame but self.

We also have the big issues in this country, and other parts of the world, with all of the unqualified wannabe health coaches (and bloody Dr Google) out there pushing the latest fad and not knowing what the hell they are doing and pushing it onto the unsuspecting masses who lap up the latest quick fix craze. We have also had years of indoctrination by cereal and bad food companies getting us to believe their sales pitch lies to boost their profits and keep us all sick.

Let me tell you one thing. There is no quick fix when it comes to fat loss. There is no magic pill, or magic shake, or magic supplement that is going to melt fat away overnight. People need to get that through their brains and start to be real about their expectations versus the reality of weight/fat loss.

It is called eating well, exercising and changing lifestyles, reconditioning the thought processes and learning to live life and love it at the same time. No shake, or quick fix fad, is ever going to replace a healthy diet and healthy lifestyle.

Those shake diets and quick fix fads only last a short time and while you are doing this and then once you stop, you rebound back to where you are. Don’t get me started on how those shakes etc are full of fillers, full of sugars and lack beneficial real nutrients and live enzymes. They aren’t real foods and they will never be real foods and we shouldn’t need to use them. OMG don’t get me started on what many people think are real foods.

One of the biggest issues with people not being able to lose fat is that their gut flora, or what we now call the Microbiome, is just not balanced and healthy and full of healthy bacteria. You can take multiple supplements and shakes and do copious amounts of exercise, but if your gut flora and Microbiome isn’t balanced and right, then nothing is going to work. If the Microbiome is balanced and healthy, then the rest of the body, the immune system and the mind will be healthy too.

Recolonising the Microbiome and balancing the gut flora is something I always start with when people are wanting to get healthy, and or lose fat. It is an absolute must to be able to reduce inflammation, get the digestion working properly, restoring the immune system, restoring optimum brain function, restore fertility and getting the body burning fat properly. Without getting the gut function working properly, nothing else will function properly either

You are all probably wondering why I use the word fat loss, instead of weight loss. That is because weight loss is not the goal to a healthy body. Fat loss is the goal. It is very easy to make someone lose weight, but the problem with most weight loss systems is that they make you lose muscle and body mass, not burn fat. So people lose the weight on the scales and the fat is left behind and then they rebound. It also leaves you a lighter person full of bad fat and full of inflammation that is still causing you to be unhealthy and have an increased risk of disease. You just become a fat skinny person and that isn’t good either.

We need to redefine the model of thinking around weight loss and start to re-educate people that we need fat loss to help the body become healthy. We also need to have a healthy Microbiome and healthy digestive system to achieve optimum health too. So no matter what your disease state is, your health goal is, or what you need to achieve to get your body back into optimum shape, gut health and a healthy Microbiome should be first and foremost.

Whether you want to lose fat, or recover from a disease state, or have a baby, fat loss and a healthy Microbiome are the integral key that you need to use to unlock your health and New Years goal. If you want to do fat loss properly, then book into a properly trained healthcare professional like myself, or a nutritionist and get your life and health back on track this New Year.

I know sometimes this may sound a little harsh, but it is from a place of caring and a place of wanting to give people the facts. We all need a wakeup call every now and then and sometimes there is no other way to do it but say it how it is. It is time to call people on their BS misinformation and excuses and let’s get the facts out there about what it takes to be healthy and what it takes to lose fat properly too.

Take care and here’s to good health this year

Andrew Orr

-Women’s & Men’s Health Advocate

-No Stone Left Unturned