Stress and fertility

Busyness, Stress and Anxiety Affecting Fertility & Pregnancy Outcomes

It is now known that modern day busyness, stress, anxiety and depression can significantly impact a couples chances of conceiving. When helping couples with fertility and achieving a pregnancy, one of the biggest issues I see overlooked is a couple’s emotional health. During the assessment of anyone’s fertility, depression, anxiety and stress scores (DASS) should be taken into consideration. Other assessment methods to look at anxiety and heightened adrenalin should also be utilised. It is so important to touch base on the topic of emotional health and make couples (or those who are single) aware of emotional factors that may be affecting their chances of conceiving.

I always recommend seeing a counsellor/psychologist

I always recommend that everyone should check in regularly with a counsellor/psychologist, but less than 10% of people do. What many do not realise is that their underlying stress, anxiety and other emotional concerns are actually a big part of them not being able to conceive, and that looking after our emotional health is just as important as looking after our physical health. There is research to suggest that a parent’s emotional state can be passed onto a child via the sperm, eggs and the parental mode of inheritance. Everything we put in our body, physically and emotionally, can be passed on to the unborn child. This is crucial to understand before considering having children because at the end of the day, it could affect them greatly.

Identifying the impacts of busyness, stress and anxiety

Another common observation I see when people are trying to conceive is they are adamant that they are not stressed, yet their mood/stress scores say otherwise. Many people have normalised their busyness and running on high levels of adrenaline to the point where they do not equate their heightened emotional states as being stress or anxiety. From an outside perspective, I can physically see how anxious and stressed some people are, but it is often hard for people to self-reflect and understand their emotional state.

Control issues exacerbating anxiety and stress levels

Statistically speaking, women have a higher likelihood of being the driving force behind wanting a baby/family so it is easy to see why they may be more focussed or driven in this regard. This also means that they carry a lot of the stress that comes with that. Unfortunately it is becoming more common to see said people struggle with letting go of control and feeling out of control which leads to underlying stress and anxiety. Occasionally this too leads to stress and instability in their relationships, especially if their partner isn’t stepping up.

The one thing I try to explain to all couples is that when it comes to IVF or assisted reproduction, nobody is in control. Everything is timed and controlled by hormones and medications and nobody can control that. Trying to control everything leads to high stress levels, activated adrenalin, heightened anxiety, and a vicious cycle of feeling like more control is needed. The only thing people can control is what they put in their mouths (food, medications, and supplements), how much they exercise, and how well they care for their emotional health. That is it.

Making the changes you need to do now

So many people try to justify their actions and behaviours with statements such as, “I will slow down and make time for myself once I am pregnant, or once I have the baby.” Any parent will tell you that once a child is born, there is hardly any time for yourself and things get a lot busier. The reality is that you need to work on yourself now, while you have the chance. It is not only important for you, but also for your child.

One of the things I say to future parents is this: “If I gave you your baby right now, what would you have to do to ensure its survival and yours? What changes in your life would you have to make?”

I then let them sit and think carefully about it because in reality, it would mean many changes to one’s life. The honest truth is that despite change often being uncomfortable, changing your life is exactly what you have to do right now to create the baby as well. I also tell parents that if you don’t have time for yourself, to do self-care, or to work on yourself, then you really need to question if you have time to have a child too. I don’t mean this in a bad way. I say it with absolute care and understanding of how demanding life gets when one is a parent.

Counselling needs to be mandatory

This is why it is so important to do counselling whether you are going through IVF or trying to conceive naturally. It is my personal belief that for the benefit of the parent/s and the child, counselling should be mandatory as many issues of not falling pregnant actually stem from high stress levels, anxiety, adrenaline, and an inability to slow down. It all stems back to control, and then lack of control, which then creates anxiety and stress. There can also be relationship dynamic issues that need to be addressed prior to having a baby. All this and more is not a good recipe to make a baby, or achieve a successful pregnancy outcome.

Stress animals don’t conceive and it applies to humans as well

The one thing we know from basic biology is that stressed animals do not conceive or will not carry a pregnancy. Many of our breakthroughs in fertility medicine actually come from vet science, where animals have undergone IVF or forms of assisted reproduction. We often forget as humans, that we too really are just animals.

Numerous studies have indicated how anxiety, stress and heightened adrenaline (common states of existence for many people) have a detrimental effect on egg quality, sperm quality, embryo quality, implantation, and overall pregnancy rates.

How busyness, stress and anxiety affect fertility and pregnancy outcomes

Going through IVF, or just trying to fall pregnant, is often described as the most stressful event in the lives of some couples. This is even more heightened if there are difficulties in achieving a pregnancy. There is increasing evidence that psychological factors, such as busy lifestyle, stress, anxiety and depression, have a negative impact on IVF and pregnancy outcomes.

Research studies have shown that the high levels of stress, anxiety and depression are significantly related to the treatment outcome in IVF and also achieving a natural pregnancy (Expert Review of Obstetrics & Gynaecology.2008- See diagram for how stress affects pregnancy outcomes).

Stress pathway

The autonomic nervous system is affected by busyness, stress, anxiety and depression. This also leads to increased neuroepinephrine and increased epinephrine, which then leads to vasoconstriction and decreased blood flow into the uterus. It can also lead to increased stress within the uterus itself.

The immune system is also affected by increased Tumour Necrosis Factor (TNF), which is a cell signalling protein (cytokine) involved in systemic inflammation. The immune system is also affected by increase in Natural Killer Cells and increased activated T cells, which then lead to reduced implantation and a stressed uterine environment.

The indirect effects of stress are that people will drink more alcohol, smoke, exercise less, sleep less, eat more junk foods and generally have a poor diet and lifestyle, all of which have a direct effect on fertility also.

In summary

In summary, lifestyle interventions and taking care of one’s emotional wellbeing can help reduce stress, anxiety and adrenaline. This should be a priority for all couples trying to conceive, or for those having difficulties conceiving. Body-Mind Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine have long understood that stress, diet, lifestyle and emotional factors are a huge cause of infertility. Modern medicine and research is now validating this and advocating for proper preconception care. By addressing the known possible emotional and lifestyle factors that affect fertility by utilising preconception care and a multimodality approach (including counselling and psychology), people can greatly improve their fertility, successful pregnancy outcomes, as well as improve their overall health.

Final Word

If you are having trouble conceiving please call our friendly staff and find out how our fertility program may assist you in having a baby. Our fertility program uses a multimodality, ‘no stone left unturned’ approach which looks at both the male and female aspects of fertility, is used alongside medical interventions, and also gives you access to counsellors and psychologists who have a special interest in fertility.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Master of Reproductive Medicine

-The International Fertility Experts

-The Experts Program

References

  1. Paulson JF, Bazemore SD. Prenatal and Postpartum Depression in fathers and its association with maternal depression: a meta-analysis. JAMA. 2010;303(19):1961-1969. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.605
  2. Effects of caffeine, alcohol and smoking on fertility, http://yourfertility.org.au/resource/effects-of-caffeine-alcohol-and-smoking-on-fertility/
  3. Evans J, Heron J, Francomb H, Oke S, Golding J. Cohort study of depressed mood during pregnancy and after childbirth. BMJ. 2001;323(7307):257-60.
  4. Akioyamen LE, Minhas H, Holloway AC, Taylor VH, Akioyamen NO, Sherifali D. Effects of depression pharmacotherapy in fertility treatment on conception, birth, and neonatal health: A systematic review. Journal of Psychosomatic Research. 2016;84:69-80.
  5. Cesta CE, Viktorin A, Olsson H, Johansson V, Sjolander A, Bergh C, et al. Depression, anxiety, and antidepressant treatment in women: association with in vitro fertilization outcome. Fertility and Sterility. 2016;105(6):1594-602 e3.
  6. Sejbaek CS, Hageman I, Pinborg A, Hougaard CO, Schmidt L. Incidence of depression and influence of depression on the number of treatment cycles and births in a national cohort of 42,880 women treated with ART. Human Reproduction. 2013;28(4):1100-9.
  7. Ververs T, Kaasenbrood H, Visser G, Schobben F, de Jong-van den Berg L, Egberts T. Prevalence and patterns of antidepressant drug use during pregnancy. Eurpean Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 2006;62(10):863-70.
  8. Grigoriadis S, VonderPorten EH, Mamisashvili L, Tomlinson G, Dennis CL, Koren G, et al. The impact of maternal depression during pregnancy on perinatal outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 2013;74(4):e321-41.
  9. Deave T, Heron J, Evans J, Emond A. The impact of maternal depression in pregnancy on early child development. BJOG. 2008;115(8):1043-51.
  10. Ross LE, Grigoriadis S, Mamisashvili L, VonderPorten EH, Roerecke M, Rehm J, et al. Selected pregnancy and delivery outcomes after exposure to antidepressant medication. A systematic review and meta-analysis. Outcomes after antidepressant use in pregnancy. JAMA Psychiatry. 2013:1-8.
  11. Rich-Edwards JW, Spiegelman D, Garland M, Hertzmark E, Hunter DJ, Colditz GA, Willett WC, Wand H, Manson JE. 2002. “Physical activity, body mass index, and ovulatory disorder infertility.” Epidemiology 13:184-190.
  12. Palomba, S, Falbo A, Valli B, et al. 2014. “Physical activity before IVF and ICSI cycles in infertile obese women: an observational cohort study.” Reproductive Biomedicine Online, 29(1): p. 72-9.
  13. Ferreira RC, Halpern G, Figueira Rde C, Braga DP, et al. 2010. “Physical activity, obesity and eating habits can influence assisted reproduction outcomes.” Womens Health [Lond Engl] 6:517-524.
  14. Kucuk M, Doymaz F, Urman B. 2010. “Effect of energy expenditure and physical activity on the outcomes of assisted reproduction treatment.” Reproductive Biomedicine Online 20:274-279.
  15. Morris SN, Missmer SA, Cramer DW, Powers RD, McShane PM, Hornstein MD. 2006. “Effects of lifetime exercise on the outcome of in vitro fertilization.” Obstetrics and Gynecology 108:938-945.
  16. Green BB, Daling JR, Weiss NS, Liff JM, Koepsell T. 1986. “Exercise as a risk factor for infertility with ovulatory dysfunction.” American Journal of Public Health 76:1432-1436.
  17. Gudmundsdottir SL, Flanders WD, Augestad LB. 2009. “Physical activity and fertility in women: the North-Trondelag Health Study ” Human Reproduction 24:3196-3204
Endo Belly

Let’s Talk About Endo Belly

Endo belly is a term used to describe the uncomfortable, often painful, swelling and severe bloating that’s associated with endometriosis. Many women with Endo Belly will look like they are pregnant, when in fact they are not.

All too often, Endo Belly is misdiagnosed as being something that it isn’t, and this is something we see with endometriosis in general. Too often women and missed and dismissed and misdiagnosed by those who do not have experience with endometriosis and those who are not really an endometriosis expert.

For this article I thought it was important to focus on the topic of Endo belly, as it is rarely talked about, but it’s often a very distressing symptom.

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue that’s similar to the lining inside the uterus, called the endometrium, is found outside the uterus where it doesn’t belong. Endometriosis is really just normal tissue, growing in abnormal areas, but it can cause debilitating symptoms and affect the life of suffers in many ways. (see -The Facts about Period Pain and Endometriosis)

Endometriosis is more than just period pain

Endometriosis is often only talked about in terms of period pain and we need to start talking about all the other associated symptoms such as Endo Belly. Many women with endometriosis suffer extreme gastrointestinal symptoms, severe bloating, abdominal pain, pain on bowel movement, pelvic and rectal pressure feeling, IBS like symptoms, nausea, vomiting, UTI like symptoms, mood swings, anxiety, depression, and a whole range of symptoms that affect their daily life. Endometriosis is more than just period pain and we need to start getting this information out there.

The interesting fact is that a significant portion of women with endometriosis are asymptomatic and do not have any symptoms at all. Many of these women are diagnosed by accident, or may not even be diagnosed at all. Even then it often takes up to 10 years, or more, for many women to be diagnosed and so many are missed and dismissed along the way. The only way to definitely diagnose endometriosis is via surgical intervention, and usually by a laparoscopy.

Endo belly is often missed and dismissed

Every day I see pictures of women with swollen belly’s posted in social media as many are just trying to get an answer to the swollen belly and other associated gastrointestinal symptoms that they experience often, or even daily. I also see many of them then misdiagnosed and given wrong advice, when as an expert in endometriosis, it is plain to see that these poor women are suffering an endometriosis flare and that they have endo belly.

So often women are misdiagnosed as having the following:

  1. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  2. Gluten intolerance/ and or Coeliac disease
  3. SIBO (Small Intestine Bacteria Overgrowth)
  4. Food intolerances
  5. PMS (premenstrual syndrome)
  6. Pregnancy

While some women may in fact have some of these issues in conjunction with endometriosis, or some of these conditions may be exacerbating their symptoms, the real cause of their swollen belly is endometriosis. If this is overlooked, which is often the case,  and their symptoms are never addressed properly and they will continue to have flares not matter what they do. Women with endometriosis could have the best diet in the world and still have endo belly and flare, if the endometriosis implants are not properly excised and regrowth of microscopic endometriotic implants suppressed from growing again. It is all about having a proper multimodality treatment and management approach when it comes to endometriosis and why it is important to see an endometriosis expert.

Women with Endometriosis need to see an Endometriosis Expert

The problem for many women with endometriosis is that they are not seeing a healthcare practitioner who has the appropriate post graduate training in women’s health medicine, and who is not an expert in endometriosis. Many are also taking advice of people in social media groups too, which also leads to wrong diagnosis, or misdiagnosis. It is a big issue and why so many women suffer for years, all because of the wrong advice, seeing the wrong person and not being managed properly by an endometriosis expert.

What are the main symptoms of Endo Belly?

The main symptom of endo belly is severe bloating, and swelling of the abdomen. This may also be associated with severe pain. Some women with endo belly may even need to be admitted into hospital to control their endometriosis flare and pain.

  • Endo Belly can be worse during, or right before your period, but flares can happen at any time in the cycle and by triggered by multiple factors.
  • Endo Belly is when the abdomen fills with air or gas, making it looks larger. It may also feel tight, or hard to the touch through the bloating of the belly. As mentioned previously many women with endo belly can in fact look like they are pregnant.
  • Endo belly can cause discomfort, pain, and pressure in your abdomen and refer into a woman’s back and pelvis. Endo belly can cause the stomach to swell for hours, days, or even weeks on end if not managed properly.
  • Endo belly is just one gastrointestinal symptoms of endometriosis. As previously mentioned, many women who experience endo belly often have other gastrointestinal symptoms, such as gas pain, nausea, constipation, diarrhoea, vomiting and pain on bowel movement. Some women even get severe bleeding from the bowel as well.

What causes Endo Belly?

Endo Belly is caused by inflammation in the intestines, caused by endometriosis, and build-up of dysbiotic bacteria that cause gas and the swelling of the intestines and abdomen. These dysbiotic bacteria also add to further inflammation in the gut/microbiome and why they need to be cleared and replaced with good strain specific probiotic bacteria. There is now good research to show the role of the microbiome with inflammation, weight gain and even mood disorders. This is why I recommend women with endometriosis and endo belly should be doing a proper microbiome restore, to address the dysbiotic bacteria and also increase the growth and colonisation of the good bacteria.

What Things Can Trigger an Endo Belly Flare?

Inflammatory based refined foods and foods that cause gas in the gastrointestinal tract and intestines lead to bloating and abdominal pain. Foods and drinks that are known to exacerbate endometriosis, cause gas and inflammation, and cause endo belly are the following:

  1. Legumes (beans, chickpeas, lentils etc)
  2. Refined Grains (such as wheat, cereals, pasta, oats etc)
  3. Some vegetable (such as cabbage and Brussel sprouts)
  4. Products containing yeast (bread, beer, vegemite etc)
  5. Soft drinks and sodas
  6. Some fruits
  7. Alcohol
  8. Some forms of dairy

To help and assist endo belly as part of a multimodality approach it also usually require looking at a woman’s diet and making dietary changes. Fad diets have been shown to be of little benefit to women with endometriosis. Women with endometriosis and endo benefit from and individualised, low inflammatory based diet with lot of whole foods and cutting out pro-inflammatory refined foods. I recommend the PACE diet (Primal, Ancestral, Clean-Eating Diet) to all my patients with endometriosis, as they comment that it the most helpful in assisting their symptoms and overall health.

What can help Endo Belly

Endometriosis and endo belly need to be properly managed by an endometriosis expert and via a multimodality approach. This can involve surgical interventions, hormones, pain medications, complementary medicines, diet and lifestyle changes, counselling, pelvic floor therapy, exercise, meditation and mindfulness. All treatments and management of endometriosis and endo belly require an individualised care approach as women with endometriosis all have similar, but differing symptoms. Again, for proper care management an endometriosis expert with experience with endometriosis should be consulted to help you and assist you properly.

Final word

Endo belly refers to the painful abdominal bloating that’s associated with endometriosis.

Women can manage the symptoms of endo belly with a multimodality treatments mentioned above alongside dietary and lifestyle changes. It is important that endo belly is managed proper, by management of endometriosis, the underlying condition and underlying. This needs to be done by seeing an endometriosis expert, and working in with them to assist you manage endometriosis properly.

If you have abdominal bloating that’s painful, frequent, or lasts longer than a few days, be sure to see your healthcare specialist and see about getting a referral to an endometriosis expert, or women’s health specialist.

It’s also important to keep in mind that other conditions can cause a bloated or swollen belly. Your healthcare practitioner will be able to properly diagnose the cause and prescribe the right type of treatment plan. Please do not google your symptoms or take the advice of friends on social media. That can be dangerous and even be fatal if a serious health issues is missed.

If you do need help with endo belly and the associated symptoms of endometriosis, then please give my friendly staff a call and find out how I can assist you.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Master of Women’s Health Medicine

-The Endometriosis Experts

-The Experts Program

Men too deserve to be spoiled.

Let’s celebrate the gift of men too

I have been thinking about what I was going to say on this post and to accompany this saying. It is not always easy to explain the gift of men, especially in this day and age where men are often put down and many times even hated.
 
It is men’s health week so it is important to talk about men and it is a great time to talk about them as well. But even so, I have still found it hard knowing what to say and worrying about people being negative, which is not what I want to convey here. This post is about good men, so please let’s keep it to that and not negative projections.
 
But, before I continue, I urge each and every one of you (male or female) to read my favourite awaken man and writer extraordinaire, Daniel Nielsen’s post about The Awakened Man. I am going to put a copy of it in the comments section below. It will give you an insight into what a consciously awakened man is, and that they do in fact exist. It will give you an insight into the gift that this sort of man is also.
 
It is something that myself and many other men I know aspire to be daily and continually do the inner work to evolve and be even more consciously aware. It is also something that I have taught me son, and know he is the same. I want my son to believe that he is a gift too, as are everyone else sons. Remember that our son’s grown into men and how your groom them and teach them now has a huge impact on who they become. We need to remember that we want them to be an amazing partner to someone, not anything else.
 
The thing is, despite some of the negativity I see, men are as just as much a gift as women are. Men need to be told how special they are and adored for who they are too. All to often these days we see the emasculation of men and the negativity towards men going on, and it really needs to stop. While some (a small section) probably deserve it, many do not.
 
Despite that we should be leading and educating with kindness, compassion and understanding and showing those that need it the pathway to being a better man, not putting them down.
 
In many cases, not all, this negativity is purely genderising a projection of someone’s own hurts and traumas and unresolved issues within themselves. It just blaming someone else for ones own issues, and it adds to the divide and perception and more negative reinforcement, and that never helps anyone. Let’s face it, gender should not even enter into things. Humans are the issue and not a certain gender. We should not be generalising just because of our perception of a certain gender.
 
To be honest, I am the first one to admit that some men need to step up more (especially in my line of work where some guys need a rocket up their behind), evolve more and be the man that women are searching for, or need their partner to be.
 
Regardless, I do have to say that there are many guys who really know their own self worth and are doing all they can to be a better person each day. We also need to remember that not everyone has had good role models, and like some women, some men are just who they are, and where they are at, and just doing the best they can and are still descent human beings.
 
I know I have always tried to instil into my own son the virtues of being a gentleman and also being consciously aware. I don’t want him to think that he is seen anything other than a gift and to continue in being the amazing caring human being that he is.
 
I remember one of my proudest moments was one night we shared a train ride home. On the train there was this young girl sitting near us, who was a mess, and was drunk, and could not even find her purse, or even remember her password for her phone. She wasn’t in a good way. My son quietly got up and sat in front of her and politely introduced himself.
 
He then calmly asked if he could help her get her phone open, or help her call someone. The poor thing was crying and had lost her bank card and had no idea how to get home after the train ride. We got to our stop and my son said to me he was staying on the train and would be home later. I got off the train and waved him on and as I was I did hear two people making smart remarks about that he must be trying to win on to this girl. I knew this was not the case, and just kept my mouth shut and went home. Their opinion meant nothing, but none the less, the perception was there.
 
Later on that night when my son got back home, he told me he had made sure this young girl had got to her station, then had called for an Uber on his own Uber account, and made sure she got to her home safely. This was half an hour out of his way and he got back on the train and got home later on.
Later on I asked him how it all went and why he stayed on the train. He said “Dad, I helped her home because nobody else would have and something bad could have happened to her. I did it because that could have been one of my sisters, and I hope some other male would do the same for them”.
 
Seriously melted my heart to hear this and I realised then and there my job as a parent on one level was done. Honestly, ask yourself this… “Wouldn’t you want that kind of man looking after your daughter?”
 
If the answer is yes, then make sure you teach your son’s exactly the same and instil being a good man from a young age. Teach them to be a good future partner too.
 
I also felt some sadness knowing that things like this are not always seen and the good deeds of men are not always appreciated. There were the negative comments on the train by others. I didn’t want him to be subjected to the harshness of some people’s words, through their own past and own projections. I didn’t want him to be knocked so badly that he stopped being that man, regardless of the cruel words of others. This is why I am so passionate about telling this story today and getting people to not generalise about men, or the perceptions of men based on their choices, or projections of their past.
 
Men, real men, need to be valued, thanks, acknowledged, loved, adored and recognised for who they are too. Show your partners, your husbands, your brothers, your friends, or your sons, that they are a gift and deserve to be recognised for the gift that they are to the world as well.
 
Let’s not focus of the negatives and focus on the positives and be teachers of good men. If you are finding it hard to find “that man”, then maybe it is time to start being the mirror of what you are wanting in another. Just remember that we often receive what we mirror and men can’t be the blame for all areas in someone’s life. It is about working on ourselves and doing the inner work to be whom we are wanting to receive. It is about letting go of the past and opening the heart, allowing our self to receive, and being present to be the best version we can be.
 
So let’s see more posts showing the better side of men that are working on themselves, do treat women like a goddess, do all the right things, do the inner work and need to be recognised for who these men really are.
 
When was the last time you appreciated a man’s efforts, your man’s efforts, your brother’s efforts, your son’s efforts, and made them feel the way you would also like to be treated and valued?
 
Validation, kindness and care can be great teachers and motivators of men, and all humans alike.
 
It is time to restore the best qualities of women and men and acknowledge that we are all gifts no matter what gender, race, or colour of skin we are.
Endometriosis complications

The Complications That Can Result From Unmanaged Endometriosis

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
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mood disorders
  • Infertility
  • 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
  • Peritonitis
  • Sepsis
  • 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
  • Stroke
  • 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)
  • Hysterectomy
  • Recurrent miscarriage
  • Absolute infertility
  • Opioid dependency and addiction
  • Death from opioids medications
  • Complications from medications and hormonal treatments
  • Psychotic disorders
  • Mania
  • Incapacitation
  • Suicidal tendencies and thoughts
  • Suicide
  • Death (rare from endometriosis directly, but can be from associated factors related to endometriosis and also taking ones own life)
  • Other

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.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Master of Women’s Health Medicine

-The Endometriosis Experts

 

 

 

 

 

mother and daughter 1

Parents, Don’t Let Your Daughters Suffer With The Wait & See Approach For Period Pain

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:

  1. No matter what anyone tell you, health professional included, ‘period pain is not normal’
  2. Please do not use the wait and see approach when your daughter is in pain, and has been for months.
  3. Women do not needlessly need to put up with pain each month.
  4. Early intervention is the key to treating and managing any disease or health issue
  5. Teenagers are not too young to have endometriosis, or other gynaecological issues.
  6. 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.
  7. Parents should not feel guilty, or blame themselves for passing on hereditary issues. All of us have faulty genes.
  8. Regardless of upbringing, or moral stances, teenagers are having sex earlier these days
  9. Teenagers can have sexually transmitted diseases
  10. The earlier intervention is enacted and proper treatment and health management administered, the better the future fertility and health outcomes are for young woman.
  11. Without early intervention, some parents may never become grandparents.
  12. General practitioners are no gynaecologists, so please make sure you get referred onto a proper specialist. If not, find another GP.
  13. 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.

Final word

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.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Master of Women’s Health Medicine

-The Women’s Health Experts

 

 

 

 

Untitled design 9

8 Tips To Increase The Chances Of a Successful Pregnancy

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.

Reduce stress

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

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 info@drandreworr.com.au

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Master of Reproductive Medicine

-The International Fertility Experts

Medications affecting the microbiome

Many Medications Significantly Affects The Microbiome

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.

New findings

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.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

 

Microbiome

The Importance Of Properly Restoring The Microbiome For Optimum Health

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
  • Immunity
  • 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:

  • Endometriosis
  • Adenomyosis
  • PCOS
  • Asthma
  • Autism
  • Auto-immune conditions
  • Cancer
  • Celiac disease
  • Colitis
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • IBS
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Eczema
  • Heart disease
  • Malnutrition
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Arthritis
  • Obesity
  • 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.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

References
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Fertility and Google

Fertility- “When your google search is just not going to cut it”

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.

Assisted Reproduction

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.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Master of Reproductive Medicine

-The International Fertility Experts

Gluten Free

Are Gluten Free Products Healthier For Us?

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

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate