A lot of the information about endometriosis, is more about it’s symptoms, time to diagnosis and future fertility outcomes. While it is necessary to educate people about these things, nobody is really talking about the serious complications of unmanaged endometriosis. This is not to scare people, or create fear, but at the same time it does need to be talked about and for all concerned to know how serious this disease state can be at its worst.
We know that many women are missed and dismissed when it comes to endometriosis. It often takes up to 10 years, or even more for some women, before they are definitively diagnosed. Some women are never diagnosed and end up suffering a terrible life because of it. Some women with endometriosis are asymptomatic (meaning no symptoms) and often only get diagnosed as part of fertility evaluation, when they may be having trouble conceiving.
The symptoms of endometriosis are easy to see
The symptoms of endometriosis are very easy to see, if someone knows what they are looking for and knows the right questions to ask. Sure, a definite diagnosis via laparoscopy is still needed, but there are some very clear-cut pointers that a woman may have the disease. But due to lack of education and lack of true experts in this area means that lots of women are missed and dismissed, and that is a fact.
The vicious cycle of mismanagement
But while there are inadequacies in the healthcare profession when it comes to endometriosis, not all mismanagement can be blamed on healthcare professionals. There are people who are not seeking proper help soon enough, and some not at all, and this can lead to long-term complications too. We also have women trying to manage their own disease through advice of friends, social media groups and Dr Google as well. This then creates one hell of a mismanaged cycle that does not help anyone.
I can see the issues from all points of view, especially those who suffer the disease. But as a healthcare professional with a special interest in Endometriosis, I have had my fair share of non-compliant patients too.
While many have been let down through mismanagement, lack of funding and education, being missed and dismissed etc, there are many women who are self sabotaging as well. I have seen many not take on advice, recommendations and proper management of their disease, that could help them, then these same people scream high and low that the system has let them down. There are some who are just happy to live with the disease, as it is their only way of seeking attention. This is a fact also and we need to talk about it.
This is what has prompted me to do this post so that all concerned get to know what the serious side of mismanaged endometriosis is. Sometimes it is only via the serious harsh side of reality, that all concerned may actually get some help and some serious attention be bought to this disease state.
The common symptoms of endometriosis
We know that many women suffer greatly at the hands of this disease. Women with endometriosis can get the follow common symptoms:
- Period pain
- Pain with intercourse
- IBS like symptoms
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Chronic constipation
- Chronic diarrhoea
- Pain on bowel movement
- Bleeding from the bowel
- Chronic abdominal pain
- Severe bloating (endo belly)
- Chronic bloating
- Aversion to foods (even if they are not the trigger)
- Ovulation Pain
- Ovary pain
- UTI like symptoms (with no infection present)
- Migraines and headaches
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Pelvic and rectal pressure feeling
- Musculoskeletal pain
- Chronic nerve pain
- Fluid retention
- Iron deficiency
- Mood swings
- Mood disorders
- Other symptoms
Early intervention and management is crucial
Women’s lives are greatly impacted by this disease and it is important that not only healthcare professionals understand this but also sufferers of the disease. Early intervention and proper ongoing management is the key to helping this disease and everyone needs to be aware of this. Being missed and dismissed, or waiting too long to help, can really have some serious consequences if this disease is left to grow and spread and cause serious damage in the body
The serious consequences of mismanaged/unmanaged endometriosis
While we have talked about the common daily symptoms that many can put up with, we also need to bring attention to just how serious this disease can get. Let’s face it, it can and does spread like cancer and it can spread to every organ in the body. It has been found in the joints of bones, fingers, in the liver, around the lungs, around the diaphragm, around the heart, on the bowels, on the bladder, on the ovaries, on the pelvic, in the fallopian tubes, one the retina in the eyes and it has even found in the brain.
There is no doubt that this disease can be very devastating for anyone who has it, but what happens in the worst cause scenario, if it is left unmanaged.
The following can be serious complications of unmanaged endometriosis:
- Haemorrhage from the ovaries
- Ruptured ovaries
- Ovarian torsion
- Obliterated fallopian tubes
- Ruptured endometrioma
- Endometrioma infection
- Pelvic infection
- Obliteration of the pelvic cavity
- Compacted bowel
- Obstructed bowel
- Perforated bowel
- Bowel haemorrhage
- Torsion of the bowel and intestines.
- Ureteral Obstruction (Blocked ureters)
- Renal infection
- Bladder obstruction
- Painful bladder syndrome
- Severe adhesions
- Significant scar tissue build up
- Significant fluid build up in the pelvic cavity.
- Multiple organs adhered together
- Diaphragmic adhesions
- Liver damage
- Perihepatic adhesions
- Pericardial endometriosis
- Cardiovascular events
- Chronic nerve pain
- Pudendal nerve neuralgia.
- Chronic musculosketal, or spinal pain
- Arthritic like pain and associated symptoms
- Chronic Migraine and neurological events.
- Malignancies and cancers (rare but more research being done)
- Recurrent miscarriage
- Absolute infertility
- Opioid dependency and addiction
- Death from opioids medications
- Complications from medications and hormonal treatments
- Psychotic disorders
- Suicidal tendencies and thoughts
- Death (rare from endometriosis directly, but can be from associated factors related to endometriosis and also taking ones own life)
Women with endometriosis need to see an “Endometriosis Expert”
This is why endometriosis needs to be managed properly and managed by a healthcare professional that specialises in the management of endometriosis and associated symptoms. You need to see and Endometriosis Expert.
People cannot treat, or manage the symptoms of endometriosis on their own. This is why it is so important to have the right care and also have a multimodality/team approach to endometriosis. No amount of google searching is going to help people treat endometriosis on their own. You need to find an endometriosis expert.
At the same time more education needs to be given to GP’s and other healthcare professionals about endometriosis. Too many women are being missed and dismissed because of lack of practitioner understanding and education at the front line. Women need to see healthcare professionals that specialise in endometriosis and endometriosis experts for this disease, not just a GP. Women also need access to advanced trained laparoscopic surgeons who specialise in excision surgery, not just a regular gynaecologist who is not advanced trained. I have talked about this often.
Endometriosis is not just about period pain
Lastly, we need to educate ‘all’ that endometriosis is not just about period pain. Endometriosis can present with many different signs and symptoms ranging from gastrointestinal symptoms, extreme bloating, bladder issues, bowel issues, IBS symptoms, migraines, fluid retentions, pain with intercourse, pain on bowel movement and so many other symptoms mentioned before. There is also the long-term impact on fertility for up to 50% of women too.
This is why early intervention and management of teenagers presenting with the disease symptoms is crucial. The longer the disease is left, the more damage it can do and all women deserve to be mothers (if they chose) and deserve a normal happy life. We also need to recognise the psychological impact of the disease and how this can present in someone with the disease as well.
Women are dying because of being mismanaged/unmanaged
Let’s face it, there are women dying because of this disease. Maybe not as direct result, but definitely indirectly. No woman should ever be pushed to the point where she cannot handle her pain and symptoms any longer and be only left with the choice of taking ones own life. This is exactly we need to bring more education to all about this disease. This means both healthcare practitioners and people with the disease itself too.
People need to be managed properly and by professionals. We need to start bring education and attention to this, so that people do not try to manage this disease on their own, and practitioners are held more accountable for dismissing women as well. Because if we don’t the complications of this can be very severe and sometime they can be fatal also.
Endometriosis awareness month is next month and I want to see all women with endometriosis being managed properly and seeking the right help. There are endometriosis experts out there who can help you if you have the disease and the associated symptoms. No woman should be doing this on their own.
Let me help you
If you so need help with managing endometriosis and the associated symptoms of endometriosis, please give my staff a call and find out how I can assist you. I have options for in-person consultations and online consultations. I use a multimodality/team approach and I also work in with some of the best medical healthcare professionals and surgeons in the country. I will always make sure you get the best care, best support and best management possible. I will also hold your hand every step of the way and make sure your every concern is listened to as well.
-No Stone Left Unturned
-Master of Women’s Health Medicine
-The Endometriosis Experts
One of the things I find myself saying to parents often is “Please don’t let your daughter suffer with the wait and see approach for period pain.”
The reason I often say this is because daily I get messages from parents, mainly mothers, asking if they should wait and see if their daughters pain (and other symptoms) is miraculously going to go away. Many of these young girls have been putting up with pain for months, or longer, and still many parents are using the “wait and see” approach.
Many of these messages often start with the story that their daughter is laying on the bathroom floor in excruciating pain. The stories usually add in that their daughters may also have symptoms of nausea, headaches, vomiting and even stories of these poor young girls passing out with pain.
Then there is the usual response of “I used to get period pain and associated symptoms like this and I just had to learn to live with it”
Then comes the question I always hear so often- “Do you think I should wait and see if this just goes away, or do you think I should take her to someone to have her checked out?”
I often have to bite my tongue when responding to questions and stories such as this. If my daughter was laying on a bathroom floor each month, and in excruciating pain, there is no way I would be waiting and seeing if her pain is going to miraculously disappear. The first time she had pain, I would be off doing something about it, and I would not be taking no for an answer.
Many parents suffered period pain themselves
There is always several ways to look at this and why I always offer an empathic response. Many parents were in pain themselves and went through similar experiences. Many of these same parents were told to suck it up and that this is what a woman has to put up with each month. So to them, this is reality. This is their norm. They suffered, so it is natural for them to believe that their daughter just has to wait and see and suffer it out too.
But, as I say to these parents, these symptoms that your daughter is experiencing are not normal. Period pain and all the other terrible associated symptoms are not normal. No woman, young or older, should have to put up with excruciating pains related to her cycle, or an undiagnosed gynaecological condition.
I then go on to explain that I have daughters and that there is no way I would wait and see, before getting help. I also explain that on a health perspective, there are many dangers in letting a young woman suffer such a horrible experience.
The cause of period pain could affect future fertility
I often have to explain the implications of leaving a disease and not intervening early enough. The explanation of by not getting early intervention could mean that they may not ever have grand children, is usually enough to spur many a mother into prompt action. But, it should not have to take these words to prompt someone into action.
Gynaecological conditions cause period pain
The facts are clear now. There is enough education out there. The simple fact is that period pain (and associated symptoms) is not normal and this usually means that there is an undiagnosed gynaecological condition causing the issue. One of the most common causes being endometriosis, or adenomyosis, or both combined. There could be other facts such as pelvic congestion syndrome, or worst still, though rare, there could be something more sinister such as cancer.
Sexually Transmitted Infections
The other thing that parents may not like to admit is that their daughter may actually be having sex and has a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI). I often have parents interject when asking if a teenager is sexually active. Many a parent answer “No” on the teenagers behalf, only to then learn that their little girl is having sex.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STI’s) can cause permanent damage to reproductive organs and future fertility if not treated early enough. The reality is that many young girls, and boys, are having sex at a very young age, regardless of what parents may believe. Parents do need to open to the possibility that their child’s pain could in fact be related to being sexually active.
The things parents need to know
The things I am trying to educate all parents on are the following:
- No matter what anyone tell you, health professional included, ‘period pain is not normal’
- Please do not use the wait and see approach when your daughter is in pain, and has been for months.
- Women do not needlessly need to put up with pain each month.
- Early intervention is the key to treating and managing any disease or health issue
- Teenagers are not too young to have endometriosis, or other gynaecological issues.
- Many gynaecological issues are hereditary, so if a parent had period pain, or a diagnosed gynaecological issue, then there is a good chance their daughter will have the same.
- Parents should not feel guilty, or blame themselves for passing on hereditary issues. All of us have faulty genes.
- Regardless of upbringing, or moral stances, teenagers are having sex earlier these days
- Teenagers can have sexually transmitted diseases
- The earlier intervention is enacted and proper treatment and health management administered, the better the future fertility and health outcomes are for young woman.
- Without early intervention, some parents may never become grandparents.
- General practitioners are no gynaecologists, so please make sure you get referred onto a proper specialist. If not, find another GP.
- If you don’t get help with the first healthcare practitioner you see, please remember the value or a second, or tenth opinion.
I do get that many parent’s have been led to believe that period pain, and other associated symptoms are just part of live and something that I woman just has to put up with. I am sorry for those that were told this and then have put up with this when they didn’t have to.
Period pain is not normal
Please know that you daughter does not need to put up with these symptoms. Period pain is not normal and early intervention is the key to help your daughter live a happy and pain free life. It could really also help save her from the heartache many women have to live with daily. It could also help with her being able to have children of her own.
Do not use the wait and see approach for period pain
Never use the wait and see approach when it comes to period pain and the other associated menstrual symptoms. You daughter will thank you one day and I am sure her children will thank you too. Lead by example so that your daughter can lead by example to daughter, or daughters too.
If you do need help with your daughters period pain, and other associated symptoms, please give my friendly staff a call and find out how I may be able to help. There are in person and online consultation available. Conditions may apply with online consultations. My staff will explain all this to you when you make your enquiry, or book a consultation.
-No Stone Left Unturned
-Master of Women’s Health Medicine
-The Women’s Health Experts
More and more couples are now struggling to fall pregnant. The causes of this can be varied and this is why proper investigations and seeing a fertility expert is important. But, there are things couples can do to increase there chances of having a baby. Here are my 8 tips to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.
One of the biggest cause of fertility issues and cycles not working is stress. This includes being busy all the time too. Stress and being on the go all the time, increases cortisol and adrenalin and these can affect your hormones. Stress can also interfere with blood circulation into the uterine environment, which can then affect implantation. We know that in animals, stressed animals do not conceive during time of stress. The same goes for humans.
It takes two people to have a baby
Biology 101 tells us that it takes a man and a woman to have a baby, meaning it takes a sperm and an egg. Unless you are a single woman, or a same sex female couple, using donor sperm, the man needs to be make sure his sperm is healthy and checked out properly too. Over 50% of fertility issues are related to male factors and up to 85% of miscarriage issues can be related to chromosomal and DNA factors relating to to sperm.
Sperm quality also changes by as much as 20% in each month so it is just as important for a male to continue on supplements etc to keep his sperm healthy. Men often bury their heads in the sand when it comes to fertility issues and we need them to be more proactive and not just leave it to the woman to do all the work and take all the burden on. There will always be a bit on each side when it comes to fertility, so men need to get their act together and support their partner and support the process more.
Seeking the right advice and proper investigations
All too often couples wait too long to seek advice and treatment for fertility issues. Early intervention, investigations and management is the key to any issue we face on a health perspective. The wait and see approach isn’t always the best advice that is given to couples. You also need to see the right healthcare professionals too. Fertility evaluation needs to be done for both the woman and the man, not just the woman. This is why it is important to see a fertility expert if you are having trouble falling pregnant.
Getting a second opinion
If someone asked you how many quotes would you get to renovate your house etc, how many quotes would you get?
Most people will say about 3-5 quotes, yet when it comes to their health, or fertility issues, they are only seeking 1, possibly 2 quotes, which means they place more importance on their houses etc. If something or someone isn’t helping you, then it is so important to get a second opinion. Just because someone is nice, or has all your health history, does not mean they are worth staying with, especially if they aren’t helping you fall pregnant. A second opinion, or even a third, fourth, or fifth, could just be what is needed to get you the right advice and see someone who is more suitable to helping you. Things do get missed and something I see daily, so please never underestimate the power of another opinion.
Eat more protein and Essential Fats
Protein and essential fats are the essential building blocks for life. They are also the building blocks for making your hormones and making healthy eggs and sperm. Increased protein also helps prevent ovarian hyper-stimulation and also dampens down inflammatory response caused by over eating highly refined sugars and refined carbohydrates.
Increase your Electrolytes
Water alone will not stop you from dehydrating. Electrolytes are a very important part of the body chemistry and hormone therapy, certain drugs and medications drastically reduce them. It is important to keep the cells body hydrated at all times and especially during an IVF cycle and during pregnancy. Electrolytes consumption during IVF cycles also helps prevent ovarian hyper-stimulation.
Regular climax, self induced, or with a partner, (also before and especially after embryo transfer) assists with implantation and health blood supply to the uterus. An embryo feeds off blood supply from the uterus and regular climax helps optimise this blood flow and with increasing hormones such as oxytocin. Without a healthy blood supply to the uterus and circulating hormones the embryo will die.
Regular sex also helps with men as well, by improving sperm quality. Storing it up does not help sperm quality and actually makes it worse. Lastly regular sex and climax also helps with a healthy relationship and bonding as a couple.
Not having enough sex and not at the right time
One of the biggest myths is that all women ovulate around day 14, or in the supposed fertile window between day 10 and day 17. A landmark study published in the British Medical journal showed that more than 70% of women were ovulating before day 10 and after day 17 of their cycle and there was actually only a 10% probability of being fertile in the supposed fertile window (day 10 to day 17). Couples need to be having regular sex, at least every second day, from the time the menses finish right up until the woman is due for her menses again.
An egg dies 24 hours after it is release so if there is no sperm there, then the egg cannot be fertilised and the egg dies. That is the facts. And no… sperm do not last up to seven days etc. Most of the three to five hundred million sperm that set off are dead after an hour. Less than 20 sperm actually make the journey to the fallopian tubes and even less make the journey to meet the egg.
Getting the right help
If you are having trouble conceiving, then give my friendly staff a call and find out more about how my fertility program may be able to assist you. For more information, please call +61 0738328369 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
-No Stone Left Unturned
-Master of Reproductive Medicine
-The International Fertility Experts
New research is emerging to show that many medications significantly affect the microbiome and lead to long term health implications through disruption of healthy gut bacteria.
As mention already in my previous post about the importance of proper restoring the microbiome for optimum health, many medications and hormones actually have a toxic affect on the microbiome and can cause dysbiosis. It is crucial to for all of us to understand the consequences of medication use in the gut microbiome. I’ll talk about this in my next post.
A new study has found that many common drugs — including those that treat diabetes, digestive problems, bacterial infections, and even depression — could actually predispose people to certain types of infection by affecting the balance of their gut microbiome.
A new study from the University Medical Centre Groningen and the Maastricht University Medical Centre, both in the Netherlands, has found evidence to suggest that many common drugs — from antibiotics to antidepressants — have a significant impact on the gut microbiome. They can even disrupt the delicate balance of bacterial populations.
The researchers compared the results of people who took prescription drugs with those of people who did not. They also looked at the effects of individual medications versus combinations of drugs.
They found that 18 common drug categories have a significant impact on the bacterial composition of the gut microbiome, which could lead to serious health issues. These health issues included intestinal infections, obesity, gastrointestinal conditions and various conditions linked to gut health.
Many Medications Disrupt The Microbiome
While pain medications, steroids, antidepressant and hormones (contraceptives and hormone replacement) were shown to significantly impact the bacterial balance in the microbiome, four drug categories appeared to have the strongest impact. These were:
- Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which reduce the production of stomach acid
- Metformin, which helps people manage the symptoms of type 2 diabetes
- Antibiotics, which fight bacterial infections
- Laxatives, which help treat constipation
The analyses revealed that people who took PPIs had more upper gastrointestinal tract dysbiotic bacteria, and that their bodies produced more fatty acid. Meanwhile, those who took metformin had higher levels of Escherichia coli, a bacteria that can cause diarrhoea and urinary tract infections. One of the reasons many stop Metformin is because of significant gastrointestinal symptoms and pain. Long term it can also damage the liver.
Antibiotics Significantly Impact The Microbiome
We have always know that antiobiotics have an major impact on the gut and microbiome, but many people are unaware that all medications have the potential to disrupt the microbiome and cause significant harm to our health long term.
When it comes to antibiotics, alarmingly Australians are amongst the highest users of antibiotics in the world with 46% of the population taking one course of antibiotics annually.
A single course of antibiotics can disrupt the gut microbiota quantity and composition for up to four years. The loss of microbial balance leads to a breakdown of endothelial barrier protection, increased intestinal permeability, and subsequent immune dysregulation.
Proper Microbiome restore needs to be done properly
As mentioned in my previous post, the good news is although a dysfunctional microbiome can come about rapidly, you can begin to restore a healthy microbiome just as quickly through strategic microbiome restore.
As I have said before, when it comes to proper microbiome restore, it isn’t just as easy as taking any old probiotic, or a combination of probiotics. Microbiome restore requires and individualised and strain specific approach and it needs to be done in stages with antimicrobials, gut repair and prebiotics as well. Dysbiotic microbes can be hard to treat effectively because they have evolved and adapted to life inside human beings. Consequently, elimination of these organisms requires a similarly evolved and adapted approach. This is all part of the microbiome restore protocol I use with my patients.
If you would like to find out how to restore your microbiome properly, please give my friendly staff a call and find out how I may be able to assist you.
-No Stone Left Unturned
-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate
One of the things I teach my patients is the importance of properly restoring the microbiome for optimum health and also reducing inflammation in the body.
Many people’s daily bloating, fluid retention, gastrointestinal symptoms, health issues, chronic disease states are being exacerbated by an unhealthy balance in this unique ecosystem we call the microbiome.
The problem is that many people do not really understand the importance of the microbiome, and even many healthcare professionals do not fully understand how to help with proper microbiome repair and restore.
Many people are also led to believe that by just taking probiotics, that this is enough to restore the healthy bacteria in the gut/microbiome.
I wish it was that easy, but it isn’t and this is why many people continue to have gastrointestinal issues, inflammation and chronic health issues, despite thinking that are doing the right thing for their gut health.
What is the Microbiome?
The human gastrointestinal tract (GIT) is host to an extraordinary amount of microorganisms composed of bacteria, viruses and microbes, collectively known as the microbiome. The microbiome is the name given to all of the genes inside these microbial cells.
Every human being has anywhere between 10 trillion and 100 trillion microbial cells all working together in a symbiotic relationship. This benefits both the microbes and their hosts, as long as the body is in a healthy state.
Recent scientific advances in genetics mean that humans know a lot more about the microbes in the body. There has been lot of time and money put into researching the interactions within the human body’s ecosystem and their relevance to health and disease.
The two terms ‘microbiota’ and ‘microbiome’ are often used to mean the same thing and are used interchangeably. I will explain the differences between them and how both are being used and researched in modern medicine.
You exist in a symbiotic relationship with your bacterial ecosystem, and there is a two-way relationship that makes your health inseparable from that of your microbiome and vice versa.
The benefits of a healthy microbiome/microbiota
The benefits of a healthy microbiome/microbiota, extend beyond the gut and digestive system and has a significant systemic impact on some the following:
- Nutrient metabolism
- Body composition (weight)
- Cardiovascular health,
- Chronic disease states
- Inflammation in the body
- Pain pathways
- Mental Health
- Neuroendocrine function
- Gene Expression
What is the Microbiota
The gut microbiota used to be called the microflora of the gut. The importance of the microbiota has been known for a long time, but now medical science is discovering just how important it is, and it is now becoming a cornerstone of preventive medicine.
The gut microbiota contains over 3 million genes, making it 150 times more genetically varied than the human body. The gut microbiota of each individual is very unique and it has a major contribution to how a person fights disease, digests food, and even his or her mood and psychological processes.
This symbiotic relationship greatly benefits humans. The presence of this normal flora includes microorganisms that are so present in the environment that they can be found in practically all animals from the same habitat.
However, while there are good bacteria found within these native microbes, some of these microbes also include harmful bacteria that can overcome the body’s defences that separate them from vital systems and organs. There are beneficial bacteria in the gut, and there are harmful bacteria that can cross into wider systems and can cause local infections of the GI tract. These infections can then cause infection and inflammation and can also worsen disease states in the body.
What is dybiosis?
The microbiome plays an important role in resisting intestinal overgrowth of externally introduced populations that would otherwise cause disease. In our microbiome, the “good” bacteria compete with the “bad,” with some even releasing anti-inflammatory compounds.
Bacterial dysbiosis produces an endotoxin called lipopolysaccharide (LPS). It is one of the most inflammatory substances known. LPS is also major contributor to the inflammation, which then drives many chronic health conditions and disease states.
These bad bacteria are called dysbiotic bacteria and cause a process called ‘dysbiosis’.
Broadly speaking, dysbiosis indicates the existence of either the wrong microbiota (e.g. overgrowth of bacteria, fungi and/or parasites) and/or the wrong numbers of the right microbiota (imbalances in composition), or either, in the wrong place.
Dysbiosis causes increased gut and intestinal permeability, which can lead to what we call leaky gut, or leaky gut syndrome. Dysbiosis can also consequent lead to up-regulation of inflammatory pathways and lead to increased inflammation in the body.
Dybiosis is implicated in many chronic diseases
Dysbiosis is very common it the western culture and bacterial dysbiosis is now being linked to causing, or exacerbating many health conditions and disease states. Research has found links between bacterial populations, whether normal or disturbed, and the following diseases:
- Auto-immune conditions
- Celiac disease
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Crohn’s Disease
- Heart disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Metabolic Syndrome
What Causes Dysbiosis?
There are many things that lead to bacterial overgrowth, which then leads to dysbiosis. This is why many people suffer bloating, reflux, nausea, constipation, inflammatory bowel symptoms, and many other gastrointestinal symptoms daily.
Day-to-day risk factors include a western-based diet, overly hygienic living (being too sterile), alcohol, certain medications, hormones and the use of antibiotics.
Mood disorders, stress and being overly busy are also a big factors with creating dysbiosis and something that many overlook, or do not even realise. Yes, stress is a big factor in many gastrointestinal symptoms people experience daily.
With all these factors it means that almost everyone will have some degree of dysbiosis at some point in their life.
Many constantly have dysbiosis and why they often have long-standing digestive symptoms such persistent pain and bloating, constipation, alternating diarrhoea or other digestive imbalances. We also commonly see this with endometriosis and the dreaded “endo belly”
Medications Cause Dysbiosis and Significantly Affect The Microbiome
As mention already, many medications and hormones actually have a toxic affect on the microbiome and can cause dysbiosis. It is crucial to for all of us to understand the consequences of medication use in the gut microbiome. I’ll talk about this in my next post.
The good news, however, is although medications can cause a dysfunctional microbiome quite rapidly, you can begin to restore a healthy microbiome just as quickly through strategic microbiome restore.
Proper Microbiome Restore Protocols
When it comes to proper microbiome restore, it isn’t just as easy as taking any old probiotic, or a combination of probiotics. Microbiome restore requires and individualised and strain specific approach and it needs to be done in stages with antimicrobials, gut repair and prebiotics as well. Dysbiotic microbes can be hard to treat effectively because they have evolved and adapted to life inside human beings. Consequently, elimination of these organisms requires a similarly evolved and adapted approach. This is all part of the microbiome restore protocol I use with my patients.
A New Understanding
When it comes to the perfect microbiome, researchers have discovered there is no ‘one size fits all’ across various populations. It is important to recognise that not all strains are created equal when it comes to their ability to rebuild a healthy microbiome.
What is now known is that there are only certain types of good probiotic bacteria that have benefit for our gut and microbiome, and that some strains of probiotic bacteria have no benefit. These new finding mean that we need to adopt a strain specific approach when repairing and restoring the microbiome.
From recent investigations and research, the best results are gained by introducing strain specific influential probiotic that have beneficial functions. These specifically influential strains are able to restore each patient’s unique microbiome by promoting the growth of key commensal (symbiotic) groups, but also by improving overall GIT function.
The Importance of Prebiotics
In addition to prescribing a specific probiotic formulation, prebiotic therapy is needed to help support and encourage the establishment of healthy microbiota by significantly increasing the numbers of beneficial bacteria. Without prebiotics, the probiotic bacteria do not grow and this is why they are essential for microbiome restore. Prebiotics are not talked about enough and many people do not realise their importance and often wonder why their probiotics are not working effectively enough.
Prebiotics are also needed to promote the growth of healthy microbiota, begin refurbishment of gut mucosa and improve gastrointestinal immunity. Prebiotics also help with inflammation and also support the integrity of the intestinal barrier, provide healthy immune responses and promote intestinal microbiome balance.
Microbiome Restore Protocols
With emerging research now highlighting the significance of developing and maintaining a healthy microbiome, it is important that everyone knows the importance of appropriate probiotic and prebiotic combinations. By supporting the restoration and repair of our micriobiome, we can all optimise our health, improve treatment outcomes and also help with reducing the risk of many chronic disease states.
If you would like to find out how to restore your microbiome properly, please give my friendly staff a call and find out how I may be able to assist you. Online and in person consultations are available. Some conditions apply.
-No Stone Left Unturned
-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate
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I always have a little bit of a chuckle to myself when people call my clinic and try to tell my staff that they know everything there is to know about fertility and that they don’t need to have any other investigations etc, because they have had them all done.
Then when I check, not only have they not had them all done, but the person actually only knows the bare basics about fertility. It is perception versus reality and a degree is doctor google, does not make one an expert. I often have to say to these people that if they really did know everything, then why aren’t they falling pregnant, the truth is generally a reason why.
The truth is, there is generally a reason why, and it is because they don’t know and they actually need help from someone who does not, and someone who is an expert in reproduction.
There is no easy way when it comes to fertility
I wish it was that easy, because that way I would not have had to study to obtain a Master Degree in Reproductive Medicine, done countless hours of clinical research, and done hands on experience over the last 20 or more years to know what I know now.
The truth is, unless you are a fertility specialist, have extra post graduate training in fertility, and actually work in the field of fertility and reproduction, you just cannot know all there is to know about fertility. It would be like me doing a google search on astrophysics, or any other field I am not qualified in, and then saying that I am now an expert because I have done a few google searches. We really need to put all of this into perspective and be real about this. I am all for people being educated, but really, you cannot be an expert without years of study, training, ongoing research and hands on experience.
Doctor Google does not have all the answers
I also know that not everyone in the fertility profession is well qualified either and this is due to the lack of regulation in this profession. But, even so, you cannot just do a google search, or do a few IVF cycles, or get advice from some support page, and then call yourself and expert. Just remember that a lot of the information on Dr Google is actually wrong, or only partially true and that support groups often contain members of the general public, who have no medical experience what so ever. Yet these days, many are taking the medical advice given on these pages and that is absolutely dangerous. I don’t mean for this to sound harsh, because support groups are a great thing, but we need to be real about who and where we get our medical advice from, especially when it comes to fertility.
Fertility is complex with multiple variants
Fertility is not just about putting and egg and a sperm together and it just works. Let’s be real about this. Making a baby is not as easy as our parents and teachers used to tell us. There is a science behind it and it requires the right timing the right conditions and also optimum health of the parents physically, mentally and also genetically.
Age is one of the biggest factors with fertility
Age is also a huge factor. The older we are, the more issues we have with sperm and eggs and the more random genetic and chromosomal errors we get with embryos.
Genetics is very important when it comes to fertility
Genetics is also something many do not understand and something that many overlook. At present I test couples for 180 different genetic mutations , genetic variants and genetic issues that could be affecting a couples chances of pregnancy.
Not to mention Karyotyping to see if the couple is in fact male and female, or don’t have translocation issues on their X & Y chromosome, or other genetic issues such Turners syndrome, Kleinfelters syndrome etc. Then there is cystic fibrosis screening and many other genetic screenings that most people have never had tested and without proper training would not be able to understand how to interpret them either.
Then we have IVF and Assisted reproduction, which is not as simple as giving someone some hormones, and putting a sperm and an egg together. I wish it was that simple. There are many variants with the whole IVF process that the general public just do not understand and if you don’t know what these are, things can go wrong very quickly. Let’s face it, if you don’t get hormones and everything right, women have died on IVF cycles, or become very critically ill in the process.
The science of embryology takes years of study
We also have scientists who have done years of study to understand embryology and the very intricate details of what it takes to create an embryo. Even when an embryo is created, it does not mean it will go on to become a baby and there are many reasons behind this. This sort of stuff the general public just do not understand and cannot understand with a mere google search.
When an embryo is created, it is then a mixture on egg, sperm and all the chromosomal and genetic variants from the male and female. Many things can go wrong. There can be random errors, there can be arresting of the embryo growth process and then there are also nutrients and so many other factors that are needed for an embryo to just making it to day 5 ( which is called a blastocyst). That is if it actually makes it that far, which many don’t. Regardless of the classification system and grading system for embryos, it does not mean that the embryo is chromosomally viable, nor does it mean it will go on to become a baby.
Sometimes science cannot explain everything
Some technology surrounding embryo quality and viability we just do not have yet. So in essence, one an embryo is formed; it compacts and grows, and then makes it to transfer. What happens after this really is up to chance. Sure, there is a science behind it all, and that science is very intricate and precise, but there is also an element that is “left up to the gods”, so to speak
The same actually goes for natural conception too. It is exactly the same processes really, except it is all done in the body. The only difference is that we do not know if the sperm and egg are actually meeting and forming an embryo month after month. It is a waiting game to see what happens just the same as it is for those doing IVF who also have to wait to see if a transfer is successful.
You need a real degree, not a google degree to understand reproduction fully
There is so much to fertility and conception that many will never be able to comprehend, unless they undertake the study to do so. Even then you need to be doing the actual hands on work on this profession too. There is a huge difference between what one reads in a text book, to what actually happens in practice. It is a marriage of theory, study, research and practical experience that is needed to actually call one an expert in reproduction and fertility.
Education is important, but be careful who your source is
When I say all this, this is not to discourage people from being educated, asking questions and finding out as much as they can on their journey to become parents. Education is important and this is why I do my fertility program, so that couples are educated on everything they need to know about fertility and what is needed to have a baby.
My fertility program covers what no google search every will
In my fertility program and education for couples, I go through everything from medical procedures, genetics, pathology, chromosomes, egg quality, sperm quality, male and female health, gynaecological issues, male fertility issues, surgical interventions, counselling, supplements, dietary and lifestyle changes, diet plans, IVF and assisted reproduction, hormones, medications, complementary medicines, scientific procedures (andrology, embryology, ICSI etc) and so much more that can only be given to couples by multiple degrees, post graduate degrees in Reproductive medicine, and over 20 years’ experience in helping couples have babies.
The importance of seeing a reproductive medicine expert
As I have tried to explain, there really many things that are needed to ensure optimum fertility and better chances of a successful pregnancy outcome. I wish it was as easy as doing a google search and that all answers could be provided. There are lots of underlying reasons that couples are not falling pregnant and this is why it is important to see someone who knows what they are talking about and who is an expert in reproductive medicine. They also need to be appropriately qualified and certified, because the fertility profession is largely unregulated. Like any profession, there are lots of bad practitioners out there too. This is in both the medical and complementary medicine.
Do you your homework, but don’t rely on google
Do your homework on whom you are thinking about going to see, but please remember that your google search does not make you an expert. Google does not have all the answers when it come to the very complex and intricate details of the world of fertility and reproduction. Please see someone who is trained properly, who has years of experience, who is caring, who does listen, and who can guide you through every step of the process in your journey to having a baby.
Final word about fertility and reproduction
Last but not least, when it comes to treating a couple for fertility, both the male and female need to be investigated and managed as part of legal and ethical requirement for fertility services. We cannot just see the female as males are 50% of the fertility equation. If a male is not on board, then females need to be asking some big questions of their partner, not the fertility clinics they are trying to go to. Biology 101 tells us that it takes a sperm and egg to make a baby, and not just an egg and this is something that I talk about often.
If you do need help and assistance with having a baby, and need to find out all the proper information and answers regarding reproduction, please give my friendly staff a call and enquire how I may be able to assist you in your journey to becoming parents as part of my fertility program.
-No Stone Left Unturned
-Master of Reproductive Medicine
-The International Fertility Experts
Each day we are seeing more and more gluten free products lining the supermarket shelves. Today you can get everything from gluten-free bread, chips, pizza bases, cookies, cakes and other gluten-free products. But are there benefits to cutting out gluten, which is found in most of our grains such and wheat, oats etc?
While many consume gluten in many of the foods and products they are consuming daily and don’t realise the the affects on their health and digestive system. For many it is also a molecule that can wreak some serious havoc when consumed by the wrong person.
While many people look at gluten free products as now being a health food, the fact is that many of the gluten free products people are consuming, have more additives, have less vitamins and minerals, and contain more sugars than the gluten containing products.
Should we just be going grain free instead of trying to use gluten free products?
Are these gluten free products healthier for you?
With marketing focusing more and more on the sales of gluten free products and the high prices that are charged for these products, we really need to look at what are in these products and ask the question…… Are these products really healthier for us?
I would say no, but let me explain why.
What Are Grains and What Do They Do To Our Health?
The word “Grains” does cover many of the common foods we eat now. Grains include wheat, corn, rye, rice, barley, oats, amaranth, buckwheat, millet and sorghum – and many others. These grains are used in so many products these days and part of the reason we are having so many problems with health issues. Bread, pasta, breakfast cereals, cakes, biscuits, pastries, crackers and so many other refined products consumed by many of us are all made with these inflammatory grains.
Let’s not forget that we give grains to cattle and livestock to fatten them up, make them grow faster (due to the hormone response from insulin) and add more fats into the meat for extra flavour.
The grain is the reproductive part of plant; it therefore needs to protect itself to enable future generations. The big difference with fruit; which is designed to be eaten by humans, is that when digested seeds are consumed, they are then spread further to ensure future generations.
As part of this overall protective mechanism, grains contain anti-nutrients, such as phytates, lectins, and other incomplete proteins. This is our major problem with grains. Even when gluten is removed from food products, these other inflammatory agents remain and most people are complete unaware of this and how much they are causing problems with their health and disruption to their digestive systems.
Phytates bind to minerals, vitamins and enzymes preventing them from being absorbed in your body. The Lectins found in grains have a significant impact in the gut, resulting in inflammation and poor absorption of nutrients – as well as insulin & leptin resistance.
The inflammation that these anti-nutrients cause, is now known to be the cause of many modern diseases. But lets not forget that many of our grains that we consume daily are also genetically modified and this in itself is causing major disruption to our health and bodily functions. This alone could be a major factor in the increase of many disease states we are now seeing.
Refined grains are converted to sugar very quickly, which requires insulin to bring down the blood sugar level in the blood. High insulin levels cause the body to store fats and then stop the burning of fats. The high insulin also causes inflammation and insulin resistance – which is the cause of many of our health conditions.
It can be the underlying cause, or exacerbate chronic disease states such as PCOS, Endometriosis, Depression, Diabetes, Heart Disease and many other health issues in this modern day. Consuming such a high refined carbohydrate load with every meal results in unstable, fluctuating blood sugar levels and this then results in hunger that is satisfied by consuming another high carbohydrate meal.
There is also differences between what we term as “Carbs”. “Good carbs” are fresh fruits and vegetables and naturally growing foods in their normal form. “Bad Carbs” are basically anything that is refined – (Breads, cereals, flour products, sugar and most of our packet based foods)
So what is Gluten and why is it so bad for our health?
Gluten is another protein that causes a lot of problems and is found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, and oats (other grains have similar, troublesome proteins). Gluten is the only protein in food that’s indigestible and those who suffer from celiac disease experience adverse side effects from consuming and — in severe cases — touching gluten. Gluten can slip through the intestinal lining, causing chronic damage, inflammation, nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain, and vomiting in these sufferers.
There’s also evidence suggesting that people without coeliac can have a sensitivity to gluten, which still causes complications and forces them to live on a strict gluten-free diet. Whilst a lot of people may test negative for the autoimmune disease Coeliac, there is evidence to suggest most people do not handle this incomplete protein well.
Gluten causes gut irritation and inflammation and many people will not even realise that their problems are caused by gluten. Gluten has been linked to many autoimmune and health conditions.
The problem with Gluten Free products is that they are still highly refined and they still cause inflammation, due to high insulin, even with the gluten removed. The inflammatory lectins and leptins are still there too.
Many gluten free products are also full of additives, fillers, binding agents and lots of sugar. Currently, there are no medications, treatments, or cures to successfully treat any form of gluten intolerance. But so long as they don’t consume any foods containing gluten molecules, both coeliac disease and gluten sensitivity sufferers can live a relatively normal and otherwise healthy life.
But the bottom line is that Gluten-free diets don’t necessarily mean you’ve chosen a healthier route, especially when you run the risk of losing out on essential nutrients.
This is why a grain free, not gluten free, is the best option. If you truly want to be gluten free, just don’t eat the wheat grain, or other gluten containing and inflammatory grains in the first place.
The best thing any person could do for their body, as the first step towards better health, would be to cut wheat grain from their diet completely. You will be much healthier for it in the long run. This is part of my healthy lifestyle and healthy eating called the “PACE diet” (Primal Ancestral Clean Eating Diet)
If you do want to know more about how to follow a wheat free/grain free diet, then give my clinic staff a call and find out how I can assist you.
Take care and stay healthy
-No Stone Left Unturned
-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate
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.
- 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
- 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.
The cause of IBS is not known, but certain things can trigger its symptoms, including:
- Depressed mood
- Food poisoning
- Tummy bug
- 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.
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 at 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 traditionally 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 may be assistance 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 symptoms better, please give my friendly staff a call and they will explain how I may be able to assist you.
-No Stone Left Unturned
-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate
- 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
- VSL#3 Probiotic-Mixture Induces Remission in Patients with Active Ulcerative Colitis- (American Journal of Gastroenterology 2005;100:1-8)
- Investigations and treatment of Endometriosis- Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists 2008
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- 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.
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- 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.
- Chen DZ. Tong Xie Yao Fang with additions in treating 106 cases of irritable bowel syndrome. Nanjing Med University J.1995;15:924.
- 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.
The key to preventing obesity in future generations is to make their parents healthier before they conceive, leading health researchers suggest.
In a series of papers, published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, the researchers say that the time before couples conceive represents a missed opportunity to prevent the transmission of obesity risk from one generation to the next. They argue that a new approach is needed to motivate future parents to live a healthier lifestyle.
There is now a wealth of evidence that the risk of obesity and its associated conditions, such as heart disease diabetes and some cancers, could impact the developing baby. In turn, when the child becomes a young adult they may pass the risk of obesity on to their children — it is a vicious cycle.
The nature of this problem is not adequately appreciated. Many young people, whilst appearing outwardly healthy, are nonetheless on a risky path to obesity and chronic disease and more likely to pass this risk to their children, the researchers warn.
Many pregnancies are unplanned, and the special needs of adolescents and young people at this important time are not sufficiently recognised. Far from helping them to prepare and plan for pregnancy and parenthood, many public health programmes assume that their needs are similar to the general population and require no special measures or provisions.
In a comment piece accompanying the research papers, Professor Mark Hanson of the University of Southampton, says an entirely new approach is needed that engages parents-to-be and encourages them to be part of the solution.
Engaging future parents in leading healthier lives will not only promote their health later, but will give their children a healthier start to life.
Getting couples to have a healthier diet and lifestyle and manage weight is all part of my fertility program and something we have always promoted. We know that the health of the parents gets passed onto the offspring and why we are so focussed on helping a couple be the healthiest they can be. So many couples are choosing to overlook the obvious because it is all too hard. Well… so they think.
A moderate weight loss of 10% body fat, or an increase for those underweight, can increase a couples chances of conception by 50%. That is huge.
I have helped and assisted over 12,500 babies into the world, via my fertility program. Part of the fertility program is about preconception care and getting the parents healthy before they try to have a baby. Healthy parents produce healthy babies.
If you do need help have a baby, please call my friendly staff about how the fertility program may assist you in having a baby.
-No Stone Left Unturned
-The International Fertility Experts