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Women with PCOS Have Four Times Higher Risk of Developing Type 2 Diabetes

One of the hardest things I find that is hard to get through to women with PCOS, is their risk factors for type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes and their increased risk of cardiovascular disease. They just aren’t being educated about it either.

It has long been known that the major driving factor behind PCOS is insulin resistance and this also increases the risk factor of developing diabetes for those with this endocrine/reproductive disorder.

Polycystic ovary syndrome is an endocrine/reproductive disorder that affects millions of women of reproductive age worldwide, and a new study has shown that it also put these women at a significant risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

PCOS is also the leading cause of female infertility and many women with this condition are often misdiagnosed, or do not know that they have it. PCOS is also a risk factor for miscarriage too. Please see my other posts about signs and symptoms of PCOS.  (Click Here)

All women with PCOS will have insulin resistance, either hereditary insulin resistance, or purely caused by diet and lifestyle choices. Insulin resistance is a condition wherein the muscles, fat, and liver do not respond properly to the hormone, so the body keeps producing more of it.

Excessive insulin production is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes. This is why it is so important for women with PCOS to follow a modified low GI/low inflammatory/ style diet and that the number one treatment for assisting PCOS (as recommended by the World Health Organisation) will always be diet and lifestyle changes.

Young women with PCOS at risk

This new study investigated 54,680 women in total and found that younger women with PCOS are now more at risk of developing diabetes than older women with the disease. The study found that the risk factor for developing diabetes is four times greater for younger women. This is probably due to poor diet and lifestyle choices that many young women are choosing these days.

The increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes is an important finding and this is something that women with this disease should know, especially those who are obese and have PCOS as well. But it is important for women that are of normal weight, or even underweight to know that they are also at an increased risk as well. Just because you are underweight, or of normal weight, doesn’t mean you cannot have PCOS, or be at risk of diabetes.

This new research was carried out by Denmark-based scientists and the findings were published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

If you do need help with managing PCOS and dietary and lifestyle changes, then please call my friendly staff and book in for a consultation with me.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-Women’s and Men’s Health Crusader

-“No Stone Left Unturned”

-The Women’s Health Experts

Iron Infusion

Could you need an Iron Infusion?

Iron infusion: Uses, benefits, and what to expect

As a healthcare practitioner I am used to seeing women with really low iron, due to various gynaecological conditions.

Many women do not even know they are low in iron until they get bloods tests to show that they are. Being low in iron can be very dangerous for a woman on so many levels.

Many women who are suffering from fatigue are actually low in iron.

Symptoms of low iron can include

Fatigue

Dizziness

Fainting, or feeling of feeling faint

Pale skin

Breathless

Frequent headaches

Palpitations, or racing heart

Easily irritated

Difficulty in concentrating

Cracked, or reddened tongue

Loss of appetite

Strange food cravings

Risk Factors For Low Iron

Heavy menstrual bleeds

Endometriosis

Adenomyosis

Fibroids

Coeliac disease

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Pregnant and Breast Feeding Women

Certain Cancers

Vegetarians and Vegans

Girls going through puberty

Certain illnesses

Sometimes when Iron gets too low, supplements just will not be enough to get iron levels up to where they should be quick enough. This is where iron infusions can be very effective.

So what is an Iron Infusion?

An Iron infusion is when iron is delivered via an intravenous line into a person’s body.

Increasing the amount of iron a person has in their blood can cure anaemia, or increase a low red blood cell count.

The body uses iron to make hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is an important part of red blood cells and helps carry oxygen around the body.

If a person does not have enough hemoglobin, they can feel tired, or have symptoms mentioned previously. An iron infusion may be used for someone with an iron deficiency when supplements do not work.

As discussed before, there are a variety of medical reasons can cause low iron levels, so your doctor, or healthcare specialist will order iron studies and other tests to see what may be causing someone to be deficient in iron.

An iron infusion may be given if a person’s blood counts are so low that taking iron supplements or increasing their daily intake of iron-containing foods would be ineffective or too slow in increasing their iron levels.

What to expect

A person will go to a doctor’s office, hospital, or another healthcare facility to have an iron infusion. This is done intravenously and the infusion will take between 15-30 minutes if it is given in amounts of 200-300 milligrams (mg). In days gone by iron infusions would take hours to do and would have to be done in a hospital setting.

The new rapid iron infusions allow iron into the body much quicker and have little to no side effects compared to the older solutions that took hours to administer and were not as good as the new versions used now.

What happens after an iron infusion?

An individual can experience some mild side effects after an iron infusion. The symptoms are usually mild side effects such as headaches, metallic taste in the mouth, or some mild joint pain. Some people can feel faint and nauseas after an infusion but this is usually people who do not tolerate having blood taken, or having needles given. Reactions to infusion are rare, but your healthcare provider will explain all this too you. There are some people who may be allergic to iron, just like people can be allergic to certain foods.

Most people will only need one infusion done, but sometimes people with very low iron may need multiple infusions done. This will be after careful monitoring and testing to see where your iron levels are.

Usually iron levels will return to normal and symptoms of iron deficiency will decrease several weeks after the infusion. A doctor will regularly check the person’s iron levels and blood counts to ensure the iron infusion is working.

Iron infusion vs. injection

Doctors can administer iron to someone via an injection or an infusion.

Iron injections are given intramuscularly, but while iron injections may be faster than iron infusions to administer, they can have some unpleasant side effects. Some of the side effects can be pain at the site of the injection, bleeding into the muscle, and permanent discoloration at the injection site. This is why more doctors are now recommending iron infusions over the injections

Before and after the Infusion

Most people do not need to fast or stop taking their medications beforehand, and can also resume their everyday activities after an iron infusion.

If a person is taking regular iron supplements, however, a doctor will usually tell them to stop taking these about a week before the procedure. This is because the supplements may prevent the body from absorbing the iron from the infusion efficiently.

A person will need to resume iron supplements at some stage after the receiving iron infusions, t ensure levels stay where they should be. Your healthcare provider will tell you when to do this.

People who have a genetic issue called haemochromatosis should not ever have an iron infusion.

Iron infusions are now being used more and more, when iron levels are low and people are not responding to supplementation and adjustments to their diet. I recommend them to many of my patient who have low iron due to many varying reasons. Like I said said before, many of my gynaecology patients, fertility patients and pregnancy patients have very low iron levels and will actually need an infusion to get their levels up quickly.

If you are feeling tired, lethargic and may be at risk of low iron, have a talk to your healthcare provider about finding out if you are low in iron and also discuss having an iron infusion if your levels are really low. Your healthcare practitioner may not know about the new iron infusions and that they are now a great option to use and have very little side effects compared to the older methods and solutions. Some GP clinics now specialise in administering iron infusions too.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

Dr Andrew Orr Logo Retina 20 07 2016

implantation

What is Implantation Bleeding?

Implantation bleeding: Causes and symptoms

Implantation bleeding occurs when a fertilized egg attaches to the lining of a woman’s uterus to start the growth process of pregnancy. Some women’s lining can be more affected and be more prone to bleeding during a pregnancy. It is a normal occurrence in pregnant women, yet many women are completely unaware of what it is. Obviously it can be a bit worrying for anyone when they are bleeding during a pregnancy and I will discuss this later.

Some women may confuse the bleeding with spotting from menstruation, as the two can appear similar. What women also need to know is that getting a menstrual cycle, or the appearance of what looks like a menstrual bleed, does not mean you aren’t pregnant. You can have a bleed and still be pregnant.

Usually when it is implantation bleeding. The bleeding is very light and will usually require no medical attention. In some cases, however, implantation bleeding may require a visit to your specialist, midwife, or healthcare provider

What is implantation bleeding?

Implantation bleeding can just before the expected menstrual cycle, or around the early stages of pregnancy. It can also happen again when the embryos is growing and impacting on the lining of the uterus.  Again this is a normal part of pregnancy for many women. Some women may not get any bleeding, or signs of implantation either.

The process of implantation starts  shortly are fertilization. Once a sperm has fertilized an egg, it is called an embryo. The embryo travels through the fallopian tube towards the uterus. During this time, the embryo multiplies, becoming a blastocyst, which usually takes about 5-6 days to reach this stage.

About 1-2 days after an embryo reaches blastocyst stage, it will then attach itself in the wall of the uterus and this is called implantation. During this implantation stage, the embryo can cause disruption the uterine wall and this then cause what we know as implantation bleeding.

As the embryo and growing foetus grows even bigger, it can then cause further bleeding later on in the first trimester as well. While this is considered normal, it can cause distress for women and any bleeding should be checked by your healthcare provider.

Signs and symptoms

Implantation bleeding is one of the earliest easily identifiable signs of pregnancy. It is also a normal part of pregnancy and all women should be aware of this. As explained before, women can still have a normal menstrual bleed and still be pregnant. It is usually a lighter bleed, but some women can actually have quite heavy bleeds and still maintain a pregnancy. About 1 in 4 women actually have a bleed during their pregnancy.

Despite all that, there are some distinct signs and symptoms to help women identify implantation bleeding:

  • Early bleeding: Implantation bleeding will often occur a few days before the expected menstruation cycle. This is not always the case, however, and many women confuse the two. As discussed, it is not uncommon for women to actually get their normal menstrual bleed and still be pregnant. Never think that just because you get a period, that you cannot be pregnant.
  • Unusual coloured bleeding, or discharge: Implantation bleeding produces an unusual discharge that varies in colour from pinkish to very dark brown or black.
  • Very light bleeding: Bleeding and discharge caused by implantation will usually not last no more than about 24 hours. It can last a bit longer for some women though. Many women experience just a few hours of spotting or one spot or streak of discharge. Obviously any bleeding should still be checked by your healthcare provider.
  • Cramping: Implantation can also cause mild and temporary cramps. Some women who are doing IVF may also be on progesterone gels that can also cause bleeding and cramping too. Cramping and bleeding does not always mean a miscarriage. If you do experience this and are worried, please always consult with your healthcare provider.
Other signs

As implantation is an early sign of pregnancy, a woman may also experience other pregnancy-related symptoms. Early signs of pregnancy can vary from woman to woman and may include:

  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches and Migraine’s
  • Tender, swollen breasts
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Changes to the bowels (constipation, or loose bowels)
  • Heightened sense of smell
  • Food cravings and aversions
  • Increased body temperature
Treating implantation bleeding

Implantation bleeding is a normal sign of pregnancy and is not usually dangerous. Because of this, there is no need for treatment. As I have stated before, if you are unsure, you should always consult with your healthcare provider.

Bleeding caused by implantation usually clears up within a couple of days with no treatment necessary. Abnormally heavy bleeding may be a sign of menstruation or a pregnancy complication.

As I have previously shared, some women who are doing IVF, may be on progesterone gels and other medications, which may also cause some bleeding and cramping.

Some women with signs of abnormal bleeding may need the same medications to help with hormonal levels. Some bleeding could be a sign of something more serious so please consult your healthcare provider.

If you are experiencing heavy bleeding along with pain, please present to your nearest emergency centre as this may be signs of a miscarriage, or ectopic pregnancy.

Complications of implantation bleeding

Implantation bleeding is not usually a cause for concern most of the time. It is just a sign of embryo implanting into the lining of the uterus.

Women who are still uncertain about whether they have experienced implantation bleeding should consult their healthcare provider and take a blood test to see if they are pregnant, or not.

Please do not rely on home pregnancy tests as these can be inaccurate in the early stages of pregnancy. The most accurate way to determine pregnancy is to do a blood test. This is very important for women undergoing IVF treatment too.

Too often women will do a home pregnancy test and think they are not pregnant, when in fact they are. The issue is that the home pregnancy tests won’t pick up pregnancy hormone in the urine if it is too early. This can cause a woman much distress at the time and then when she finds out later on through the blood test, that she is actually pregnant. Please never rely on urine based home pregnancy tests.

Please note that if you experiencing heavy bleeding during any stage of pregnancy that this can be a sign of a complication and women should seek medical attention.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-Women’s and Men’s Health Crusader

“No Stone Left Unturned”

-The International Fertility Experts

Dr Andrew Orr Logo Retina 20 07 2016

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How the Christmas, New Year & Easter Festive Seasons Can Affect a Woman’s Menstrual Cycle

We have not long gotten over the Christmas and New Year period and we are about to embark on the fast train into Easter holiday and festive season.

While many are getting ready for the sugar fest ahead, with Easter eggs and hot cross buns galore, we need to take the time to understand how this may affect our bodies afterwards, especially for women and their menstrual cycles.

Worse still it could even affect pre-existing gynaecological conditions that women live with on a day to day basis, some of which impact women’s day life terribly.

Christmas and Easter times always pose great problems for women and their menstrual cycle, and year after year many women never make the correlation why.

Year after year I see women coming back to see me, after Christmas and Easter,  scratching their heads as to why all of a sudden their menstrual cycle has gone haywire and they are getting the worst PMS symptoms they’ve had since starting goodness knows

So why do so many women have problems with their menstrual cycle after Christmas and Easter?

The answer is blatantly obvious. Stress, Poor diet and Lifestyle factors!

The lead up to Christmas and Easter, is always a busy time and no matter how much people try to deny it, it is very stressful. People are rushing madly to meet deadlines before everyone goes on holidays and then the mad Christmas and Easter shopping rush that follows.

Then there is the stress of what to buy everyone, followed by the mad catering panic. People literally go mad and one would think the end of the world is imminent, with supermarkets being emptied by the marketing hype of these two festive seasons.

Then the big day arrives. Everyone forgets the basic principles of a healthy diet and engorge themselves on any food they can lay their hands on. Basically it is a licence to eat as much bad food as we can put in our mouths, and then use the basic excuse of “Its Christmas” or “It’s Easter” and “It is only just one day and it won’t really matter and I had to do it”.

Then one day leads into two, and then this leads into a week and then before we know it, it has been more than just one day of bad eating, or drinking alcohol. The sad fact of that statement is that some people eat and drink alcohol like it’s Christmas and Easter every day.

With Christmas we can have many portions of baked dinner, crackling, seafood, Christmas pudding, chocolate and any other sugar substance that can be consumed it all had to be washed down with a nice alcoholic beverage, or two. Many bottles of bubbly, or choice of poison later, and we now have a stomach full of sugar, fat, cholesterol and alcohol all churning quite nicely. Diabetes and heart disease here we come.

Then approximately 1 week later it is New Years Eve and the licence, to drink like fish and eat like a ravenous bear, is pulled from the pocket and waived around once more. “But it’s Ok”, we say.

The New Year’s resolution will be to not do it again, until next year when all resolutions are forgotten. Meanwhile the system had short circuited, the gut has gone into melt down, the cholesterol levels are rising, the sugar levels have reached diabetes status and the brain cells have been reduced yet again.

Several months later when the system has started to recover, Easter arrives and the sugar binge begins; with Easter eggs and all manner of chocolate, sugar laden delight. Let’s not forget the alcohol added to the mix, that we used to self medicate from the stress of the lead up to the Easter break. The body short circuits itself again and will take until Christmas to recover and then it starts all over again.

Now, I wonder why the menstrual cycle would be affected?

Hmmm, I wonder?

There are only a few things that will affect a menstrual cycle and cause PMS, irregularities and pain. The trouble is many of them can be unknowingly self- inflicted. Yes, many monthly menstrual related problems can be unknowingly self- inflicted.

Let’s not forget that many people do have gynaecological issues that they suffer on a daily basis though. But even still, this high amount of burden on the system will exacerbate these pre-existing conditions and make them worse, due to the resulting high levels of inflammation.

What I am trying to do is just make people aware of how conditions can be worsened and how these high levels of inflammation, from high levels of sugars etc, can cause havoc with a woman’s cycle. This is not about blame. It is about education and prevention. I am here to help, not hinder. Please remember this.

As I said there are only a few things that affect, or exacerbate, a woman’s menstrual cycle and I’m going to list them below. So that way if you are wondering why you can’t get enough Naprogesic into your body, when you get your cycle, please remember the list below.

Please also read my article on “What a proper Menstrual Cycle Should Be Like”. If it isn’t like the one I describe you better book in to see me soon.

What Affects a Menstrual Cycle

  1. Poor diet – Foods such as high sugars and junk foods all cause inflammation in the body and lead to hormonal irregularities and pain with the menses
  2. Alcohol – Most alcohols contain high sugars and they also cause inflammation in the body. It also interferes with your hormones and affects the liver too. In Chinese medicine the Liver governs the menstrual cycle. Excess alcohol leads to SOL ( Shit on Liver)
  3. Poor Sleep– Sleep deprivation leads to reduction in hormones such as serotonin and then effect the moods etc. Lack of sleep also stops the body from repairing and can lead to other health issues
  4. Trauma – Things such as surgery, a virus, cold/flu etc, or where the body has to repair, can lead to menstrual irregularities. The body shuts down the menses so that it can repair itself first
  5. Weight gain or weight loss– It is a well known fact that many athletes do not get a menstrual cycle because of lack of body fat. The same goes for people who are overweight too. Too much, or too little, body fat interferes with your fertility. All your hormones are made from fats and protein.
  6. Emotional Issues– Bottled up emotions such as anger & frustration cause blockages in the system & then cause pain. Emotional issues, such as anxiety also cause problems with hormones and lead to further pain and inflammation. Emotions can be a major issue in any health condition, or can affect hormones.

What a proper menstrual cycle should be like

A proper menstrual cycle should be 26 –32 days in it’s length. It should be 4 days flow, 5 at the most. Any shorter than 4 days is too short and any longer than 5 days is too long. This isn’t good.

You shouldn’t get any pain at all, you shouldn’t get clotting, spotting, breast tenderness, bloating, fluid retention or changes to the moods such as teariness or irritability. These are all signs of irregularities that may need to be addressed.

Some of the things that exacerbate menstrual issues are listed above.

Lastly, please know that Period Pain IS NOT Normal and neither are some of the other irregularities women have. If you are suffering pain, or irregular cycles, or any other issue that doesn’t seem right to you, you need to get it checked out.

If you would like to book in a consultation with me, please call my friendly staff, or using the automated emails system on the website.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-Women’s Health Expert

-Master of Women’s Health

-“Leaving No Stone Left Unturned”

-“Period Pain IS NOT Normal”