Let’s talk about fertility and reproduction what couples can do do during this time

There are many people trying to have a baby, and without success. Many now are stressed about what they can do to improve their fertility, during the times of COVID 19.

Many are also stressing thinking that they cannot access fertility treatment, when in fact some fertility clinics are providing full services, including IVF.

In this latest video blog, I talk all things fertility and some of the cold hard facts, especially about seeing a fertility expert.

There are many things couples can do at this time and one of them is get your body and mind ready for trying to have a baby. In this video also talk about the importance of preconception care and the importance of using this COVID 19 time to work on couples health, to help with their fertility.

serious complications of low iron

The Serious Health Complications Of Low Iron

In the last couple of weeks I have been talking about the serious complications of people not having their health managed properly. It seems to be a big issue and with my latest post, the issue of unmanaged, or undiagnosed low iron is also becoming a very serious issue indeed. So for this post I will be talking about the serious health complications of low iron.

Two thirds of body iron is present in circulating red blood cells known as haemoglobin. Each gram of haemoglobin contains about 4gms of iron and each ml of blood lost from the body results in a loss of about half a milligram of iron.

Bleeding is the most common cause of iron deficiency.  This could be from either a diagnosed, or undiagnosed gynaecological issues (endometriosis, adenomyosis, fibroids, polyps, other) or it could be from a parasite infection. It could also be from bleeding as part of a gastrointestinal issue, or part of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBS, Crohn’s Coeliac disease).

There could be other reasons for blood loss in the body, or reduction of iron and many of these conditions, and the conditions above, can go unrecognised and then cause iron deficiency anaemia. Some of these issues can be very serious, or even fatal.

Excessive menstrual losses are often overlooked with many women. This is something that should not happen and should be part of the questioning with any low iron status. The problem is, unless the menstrual flow changes, patients typically do not seek medical attention for heavy menstrual bleeding. Sometimes when a healthcare practitioner asks, these patients generally report that their menses are normal. It may be normal to them, but we need to educate women that heavy blood loss is not normal and can lead to anaemia.

Because of the marked differences among women with regard to menstrual blood loss (10-250 mL per menses), patients meed to be asked about their menstrual history and about a specific history of bleeding, blood flow, abnormal bleeding in between cycles,  clots, cramps, and the use of multiple tampons and pads. These are very important questions to ask and sadly many women are not being asked these questions, or having further questioning about their menstrual, or overall health, including dietary intake etc.

What is iron deficiency anemia?

Anaemia occurs when you have a decreased level of haemoglobin in your red blood cells (RBCs). Haemoglobin is the protein in your red blood cells that is responsible for carrying oxygen to your tissues.

Iron deficiency anaemia is the most common type of anaemia that women present with, and it occurs when your body doesn’t have enough iron. Your body needs iron to make haemoglobin. When there isn’t enough iron in your blood stream, the rest of your body can’t get the amount of oxygen it needs. Today in a recent post I talked about iron being like trucks, or the transporters of oxygen around the body.

While iron deficiency may be common, many people don’t know they have iron deficiency anemia. It’s possible to experience the symptoms for years without ever having it diagnosed, or the cause of the iron deficiency diagnosed either. It is a very serious issue that needs some serious attention.

In women of childbearing age, the most common cause of iron deficiency anemia is a loss of iron in the blood due to heavy menstruation or pregnancy. A poor diet or certain intestinal diseases that affect how the body absorbs iron can also cause iron deficiency anemia. Women who adopt a vegan diet will also be prone to being iron deficient and vitamin B12 deficient.

Disruption to the microbiome and leaky gut syndrome can also cause iron deficient anaemia too.

One of the best ways to treat the condition is through iron infusion, and also with iron supplements, or changes to diet. We also need to make sure the cause of the iron deficiency is addressed as well.

Symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia

The symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia can be mild at first, and some people may not even notice them. Many people are completely unaware that they may be low in iron, or are actually iron deficient.

The symptoms of moderate to severe iron deficiency anaemia include:

  • general fatigue
  • weakness
  • pale skin
  • Bruising easy
  • shortness of breath
  • Palpitations
  • dizziness
  • Strange cravings to eat items that aren’t food, such as dirt, ice, or clay
  • Tingling or crawling feeling in the legs
  • Tongue swelling or soreness
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Tachycardia
  • Brittle nails
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Sore joints
  • Brain fog and lack of concentration.

The serious complications of unmanaged iron deficiency.

Undiagnosed, or unmanaged iron-deficiency may cause the following severe complications:

  • Heart problems.If you do not have enough hemoglobin-carrying red blood cells, your heart has to work harder to move oxygen-rich blood through your body. When your heart has to work harder, this can lead to several conditions: irregular heartbeats called arrhythmias, a heart murmur, an enlarged heart, or even heart failure.
    Severe anemia due to any cause may produce hypoxemia and enhance the occurrence of coronary insufficiency and myocardial ischemia.
  • Increased risk of infections- Research has shown that iron deficiency anaemia can affect your immune system (the body’s natural defence system), making you more susceptible to illness and infection.
  • Motor or cognitivedevelopment delays- This mainly occurs in children. Children deficient in iron may exhibit behavioral disturbances.
  • Behaviour issues and mood disorders- Behavioral disturbances may manifest as an attention deficit disorder, or mood disorder such as : Depression Unipolar depressive disorder, Bipolar disorder, Anxiety disorder, Autism spectrum disorder, Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, Tic disorder, Delayed development and other some other psychiatric issues.
  • Pregnancy complications- Iron deficiency can lead to preterm delivery or giving birth to a baby with low birth weight.
    The neurologic damage to an iron-deficient foetus results in permanent neurologic injury and typically does not resolve on its own, or by supplementation.
  • Chronic Health Conditions worsened- In people with chronic conditions, iron-deficiency anaemia can make their condition worse or result in treatments not working as well.
  • Dysphagia (Difficulty swallowing)- This may occur with foods due to abnormal muscle and nerve control. This could result in choking. It can also lead to throat cancers.
  • Atrophic gastritis – This occurs in iron deficiency with progressive loss of acid secretion, and causes inflammation of the gastric mucosa with loss of the gastric glandular cells and replacement by intestinal-type epithelium, and fibrous tissue
  • Tiredness- As iron deficiency anaemia can leave you tired and lethargic (lacking in energy), you may be less productive and active at work. Your ability to stay awake and focus can be reduced, and you may not feel able to exercise regularly.
  • Fainting– Low iron can cause fainting and this could be dangerous in many situations, especially at work places, or working on machinery, or driving a car.
  • Cold Intolerance– Cold intolerance develops in one fifth of patients with chronic iron deficiency anaemia and is manifested by neurologic pain, vasomotor disturbances, or numbness and tingling.
  • Issues with Brain and Optic Nerve– Rarely, severe iron deficiency anaemia is associated with papilledema (optic disc swelling), increased intracranial pressure, and the clinical picture of pseudotumor cerebri. These manifestations are all corrected with iron therapy.
  • Migraines– Research has now shown that there are certain types of migraines caused by iron deficiency
  • Death – Caused by some of the issues mentioned above

The importance of proper management

Hopefully now everyone can see why iron is so important and that people with iron deficiency need to see their healthcare practitioner for proper help and proper management .  Iron deficiency anemia isn’t something to self-diagnose or treat. It needs to be diagnosed, treated and managed properly. In many cases an iron infusion is the best and quickest way to get iron levels back up. Have a read of my post about iron infusions. Click here

Iron infusions are the quickest way of getting iron levels back up

In the case of low, or severely low iron, supplements just are not enough. They take too long to get levels up and the damage to your body in waiting too long can also be serious.  Always see your healthcare practitioner, or specialist, for a diagnosis rather than trying to manage low iron on your own, or just taking iron supplements on your own. Overloading the body with too much iron can be dangerous too, because excess iron accumulation can damage your liver and cause other complications.

Final Word

This is why everyone needs to be managed by a properly trained healthcare professional with any health issue, especially low iron. If your practitioner is not able to assist you, please make sure you get a second or third opinion. Some practitioners may not be well versed in the serious complications of low iron, or know much about iron infusions etc.

If you do need help with managing the symptoms of low iron, you can call my friendly staff and find out how I can assist you. For more information please call +61 07 38328369 or email info@drandreworr.com.au

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Master of Women’s Health Medicince

-Master of Reproductive Medicine

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

 

 

Consequences of PCOS

The Serious Health Complications Of Unmanaged PCOS

Just like endometriosis, there is a lot of the information about PCOS, but it is more about the 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 health complications of unmanaged PCOS.

There have been some big changes to the diagnosis of PCOS, but still it can often take up to 3 years or more to get a proper diagnosis. While it may not take as long as endometriosis to be diagnosed, it still means that many women are being missed and dismissed in those year before they are finally diagnosed.

Like Endometriosis, some women with PCOS are never diagnosed and some women do not have any symptoms and can have very regular cycles etc. Women can have PCOS and endometriosis together, alongside other issues such as adenomyosis as well.

There are serious health consequences with unmanaged PCOS

The main thing I am trying to bring to everyone’s attention is that it doesn’t matter what disease you have, if it is left unmanaged, or not managed properly, it can have some pretty serious consequences of ones fertility, and mental and physical health.

PCOS is not exception. While the symptoms of PCOS are not as bad as those suffered with endometriosis, or adenomyosis, women can still suffer in many other ways. The long-term consequences of unmanaged PCOS can be very serious and can also lead to early death (cardiovascular disease, stroke etc.) and also lead to certain cancers.

Risk factors

PCOS is thought to have a genetic component. People who have a mother or sister with PCOS are more likely to develop PCOS than someone whose relatives do not have the condition. This family link is the main risk factor.

Then there is the insulin resistance factor with PCOS as well. Insulin resistance is a primary driver of PCOS and there is now evidence to show that most, if not all, women with PCOS have insulin resistance by default. Again this appears to be through genetic or family links of someone having PCOS, or having diabetes in the family tree etc.

Excess insulin is thought to affect a woman’s ability to ovulate because of its effect on androgen production. Research has shown that women with PCOS have low-grade inflammation that stimulates polycystic ovaries to produce androgens.

This is why diet and lifestyle interventions are so important in the overall management of PCOS. It is because these changes help with the insulin resistance.

There are other risk factors such as obesity, stress, nutritional deficiencies and sedentary lifestyle. Have a look at my page about more information on PCOS and risk factors etc (Click Here)

The Common Symptoms of PCOS

It is important to know what the common symptoms of PCOS are, so that women and healthcare professionals alike know what to look for.

The common symptoms of PCOS include:

  • irregular menses
  • excess androgen levels
  • acne, oily skin, and dandruff
  • excessive facial and body hair growth, known as Hirsutism
  • female pattern balding
  • skin tags
  • acanthosis nigricans, or dark patches of skin
  • sleep apnea
  • high stress levels
  • depression and anxiety
  • high blood pressure
  • infertility
  • Increased risk of miscarriage
  • decreased libido
  • high cholesterol and triglycerides
  • fatigue
  • insulin resistance
  • type 2 diabetes
  • pelvic pain
  • weight management difficulties including weight gain or difficulty losing weight

Early Intervention and management is crucial

The causes of PCOS are unclear, but early intervention, early diagnosis and early management, can help relieve symptoms and reduce the risk of complications. Anyone who may have symptoms of PCOS should see their healthcare provider, women’s healthcare specialist, or PCOS expert.

Coping with the symptoms of PCOS and managing the treatments can be demanding ands sometimes stressful. But, to then learn there can be serious complications and added risks to your health from PCOS not being managed properly can be distressing.

Be educated and get proper help

Just like any disease state just being aware, and being educated there are added risks is an important first step. Once you have the common symptoms of PCOS under control then you can turn your mind to thinking about ways to prevent further complications.  The good news is that many of the treatments and management strategies you will use for your PCOS will also help to prevent many of the serious complications. A qualified healthcare professional, or a healthcare practitioner who is an expert in PCOS should be managing anyone with PCOS. Nobody should be trying to manage PCOS on their own without some form of professional help.

The serious complications of PCOS

Women with PCOS are thought to be at higher risk of having future heart disease or stroke. They are also at higher risk of diabetes, endometrial cancer and other cancers too.

What are the serious complications of unmanaged PCOS?

Besides the risk factors already mentioned, the serious complications of unmanaged PCOS are as follows:

  • Weight gain or obesity
  • Prediabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Metabolic syndrome (generally having at least two of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, high fasting blood glucose)
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Other cancers (breast, ovarian)
  • Sleep apnoea
  • Inflammation of the liver
  • Infertility
  • Increased Pregnancy induced hypertension and pre-eclampsia
  • Increased gestational diabetes
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Increased risk of sudden death
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Psychological disorders
  • Mood disorders (anxiety, depression)

What you can do

If you are worried about the serious complications of unmanaged PCOS it is helpful to:

  • Get your symptoms of PCOS under control as a first step
  • Discuss any concerns with your healthcare practitioner, or women’s health/PCOS expert.
  • Learn about and understand your risks
  • Learn that early intervention and early healthcare management is the key to assisting any disease state.
  • Have your blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol checked regularly
  • Seek guidance and support to help with weight management and dietary and lifestyle management.
  • Remember that all body types can have PCOS, not just those who are overweight.
  • Do not try to manage the symptoms of PCOS on your own.

Final word

If you do need assistance with PCOS and would like my help, please call my friendly staff and found out how I may be able to assist you. There are options for online consultations and consultations in person.

As mentioned before the key to any disease is early intervention and early healthcare management and you taking the first steps to get the help you need. PCOS also needs a multimodality approach. There are many facets to it. Don’t put off your health. Just pick up the phone and make that appointment today. There can be some very serious consequences if you do, especially for some conditions such and PCOS.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Master of Women’s Health Medicines

-The PCOS Experts

References
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  2. Meyer C et al. Overweight women with polycystic ovary syndrome have evidence of subclinical cardiovascular disease. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005 Oct;90(10):5711-6
  3. McCartney CR, Marshall JC. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. N Engl J Med 2016;375:54-64
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healthy food

The Difference Between The Proper Way To Eat Versus Dieting

The word diet is often misused and people often use it in the context of weight loss and food restriction. In this latest post I talk about the difference between the word ‘Diet’, as in dieting, versus “Diet”- meaning the proper way to eat.

I also show people the wellness pyramid and explains what good nutrition is and that all carbs are not bad carbs. I also talk about waist size, body fat and the perception people have around weight and weight loss. Have a listen to my latest post to here this and so much more.

microbiome for weight loss

Let’s Talk About Prebiotics & Probiotics & Their Role in Health & Weight Loss

In my latest post I thought it was important to talk about Prebiotics and Probiotics and their role in health and weight loss. With the upcoming new years resolutions of weight loss and overall health, I thought it was important to discuss this topic. Strain specific probiotics and prebiotics not only assist with weight loss, but they assist with the mind, the gut, reducing inflammation and overall health. Of course, to lose weight, you also need to cut refined carbohydrates, increase good protein sources and also exercise. Just to be clear on that. But, we also need to acknowledge the role of beneficial bacteria in this process as well.

I’ve talked about the importance of a proper microbiome restore before (click here), but I thought I would explain it in person, rather than just in word form, so that people understand this topic better. Before you start any weight loss challenge, you need to listen to my latest video post first.

If you do need assistance in losing weight, maintaining health and doing a proper microbiome restore, please give my staff a call and find out how I may be able to assist you.

Fertility and a piece of string

Explaining The Facts of Fertility- “How long is a piece of string?”

When people ask me about what is the cause of most couples issues trying to conceive, I always say ” How long is a piece of string?”

There can be so many factors involved and there is never just one clear answer. Many times people are focussing completely on the wrong thing too.

In this video blog below,  I have an honest discussion about fertility on every level. I discuss diet, lifestyle, preconception care, supplements, natural medicines, western medicines, investigations, genetic issues, stress, IVF procedures, Natural killer cells, unrealistic expectations, self sabotage, weight issues and much much more.

So again, when anyone asks what the cause of fertility issues are, I will always answer “How long is piece of string?”

Because in reality, there are so many factors that couple are unaware of, and need to be aware of too.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-Master of Reproductive Medicine

-No Stone Left Unturned

-The International Fertility Experts

Screen Shot 2020 01 10 at 4.53.57 pm

Follow up to my post about making healthy foods and also making excuses

Recently I did a post on how to make good food and doing it in bulk. I talked about how making good food is not hard and it is not expensive.

I also talked about the excuses people make around foods, around exercise and all the things I hear from people about why they cannot do something. So I did a post to call them on it.
But when I call people on something, it is not meant in a bad way. It is meant in a caring way, but firm, and with healthy boundaries. I do it because I care and I want the best for people and their health.

Most people were agreeing with me, but as with any post, you also get the people who misinterpret whatever one says and there are also the naysayers.

I have done a video as a response to my last post so people understand where I am coming from and why I have chosen to do this post.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate.

Bloating

Could Your Bloating Be Caused By Stress, Anxiety, or Your Busy Life?

Many people suffer from bloating very regularly and some suffer it daily as well. While the cause of bloating if often dietary or food related, many are unaware that stress, anxiety and their busy life can actually be causing their bloating too. In many cases, when food and dietary triggers have been ruled out, a big part of peoples bloating is actually stress and anxiety, or even being overly busy. For the sake of this post, I am going to put ‘busyness’ as the same category and stress and anxiety.

Stress, Anxiety and Busyness affects the whole body

Stress, anxiety and constant ‘busyness’ changes the body, not just the mind. Intense stress or anxiety can trigger stomach discomfort, including bloating. Some people may not realise that our mind and gut are linked. So with our busy, on-the-go lives, emotions we experience throughout the day, like stress, can affect our digestive system. As mentioned in a previous post, stress and anxiety can also cause and exacerbate pain in the entire body. (click here to read)

Stomach pain and bloating are more common in people who have stress as well as an underlying condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or other inflammatory gastrointestinal conditions such Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Bloating and abdominal pain is very common in women with endometriosis and is known as “Endo Belly”. This is very commonly exacerbated by stress and anxiety and also disruption to the microbiome.

While abdominal bloating is a widespread complaint, with many possible causes, unless the pain is intense or accompanied by other worrisome symptoms, it is usually safe to see if symptoms disappear on their own. But if you are ever worried, always consult with your healthcare practitioner as constant bloating can be a sign of serious health issues too.

How does stress and anxiety cause bloating?

There is now plenty of research and evidence that the brain and the gut communicate with each other via numerous systems (neural, hormonal and immunological) and do not function independently. Because of this interconnected relationship it means that if one system is ‘disturbed’, or ‘distressed ’it will result in the other system being ‘disturbed’ or ‘distressed also. In simplest terms if you have a busy day at work and it is stressful then mental stress at work = tummy upset. It really is that simple

When someone is feeling stressed and anxious, it may induce a variety of digestive issues and discomfort. Stress and anxiety produce an alteration in the contractility of the gut. This may then cause cramps or pain (increased contractility) and may influence bowel habits, which then causes constipation due to reduced GI contractions. This may then lead to someone being bloated. This could also lead to people also having loose bowels, or alternating bowel movements too.

Additionally bloating may occur without constipation and you could also experience increased heartburn as a result of your stress and anxiety. Decreased stomach emptying accompanied by increased oesophageal contractions may cause acid reflux. This increase stomach acid can then cause bloating and pain. It can also then lead to increase gut permeability and then further lead to leaky gut syndrome.

Reducing the effects of anxiety and stress on the gut

Thankfully, there are several things you can do to reduce the effects of anxiety and stress on your gut.  As I have often talked about, there is a direct link between our microbiota and our stress hormone system. Any alterations in our gut microbiota may lead to a heightened or suppressed hormonal response to stressful situations. I’ve talked about the effects of dysbiotic bacteria and bloating before. You can read one of my previous posts on this (click here)

This is why it is so important to do a proper microbiome restore, to not only to help with bloating and gastrointestinal issues, but to help with inflammation, the immune system and our emotions as well. Of course one still needs to look at their diet and what they are putting in their mouths too. Let’s not forget the impact of alcohol on our gut and digestive system too. I have done a post about this and to find out more (click here).

Identifying triggers

Besides a proper microbiome restore, the best approach would be to identify the ‘stress trigger’ or ‘anxiety trigger’ and try to remove it, or alter its impact, from your daily life, where possible. This can often be hard and will require the help of a qualified counsellor, or psychologist. It is important that people identify this and are real about needing help from a trained healthcare professional.

Use mindfulness and meditation practices

There are things people can do on their own to reduce stress and anxiety too. Mindfulness and meditation exercises can help to alleviate stress and anxiety and something people should practice daily.

Some examples could be the following. If you may get stressed by not being prepared for some activity at work like giving a presentation, just make sure that you allow plenty of time to adequately prepare and rehearse to prevent or reduce anxiety.

Another example could be that you might get stressed by travelling to work in overcrowded public transport. You could ride sharing to work, or give cycling to work a try.

If you feel yourself getting stressed out with any task make sure you take some time out from the activity. Go and sit quietly and just breathe and reassure yourself that everything is ok. You could make yourself a cup of tea, or listen to some soothing music. All these things can help but at the same time, may not always be applicable to all stressful scenario, or where you are anxious.

Final Word

There is more and more evidence now to suggest that many gut issues are affected by stress and anxiety. But, troubles with the gut can also cause stress and anxiety too. The gut-brain axis works both ways and we need for more people to know this.

This is why it is so important to look after our gut health more. We need to be managing our diets better, cut out inflammatory and refined foods, increasing pre and probiotics, managing allergies and intolerances, cutting back alcohol, managing stress and anxiety better, and avoiding foods that we know aggravate stomach issues and cause bloating and pain.

It is also important for people that experience bloating to realise that not all bloating issues are related to food, or their health condition. For many people, their daily bloating and pain is actually coming from either being overly busy, or from their high stress levels, or anxiety. It could be coming from all of these things combined too. If you do not know how to manage your bloating and stress and anxiety levels, it is best to book in a see a healthcare professional who can assist you deal with it properly.

If you do need assistance with bloating and abdominal pain, please call my friendly staff and find out how I may be able to assist you. You can also check out my posts on restoring the microbiome properly too. Something that could be very beneficial for all, especially after the Christmas and New Year festivities.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women and Men’s Health Expert

 

New Years Resolutions

Let’s be real and talk about your “New Year” resolutions

It is just about to be the end of a year, and also an end of a decade. With that comes a lot of memes about walking into the new year and new decade. Let’s face it, the last year was a bit of a shocker and many will be glad to see the end of it. But, is last year just the same as other years, and do we say the same thing every year?

Regardless of how the year ended and how the new decade is seen in, many are vowing to do better, or are wanting better for the year ahead.

But, in order for something to change, something needs to change, and that something is actually one’s self. If we want something to change, we need to change something. But are people really prepared to make the necessary changes, or are those posts and memes just empty words …. just like every other year?

If you are wanting change, and I mean true change, then what are you going to do to make those changes?

Let’s not make those posts and memes empty words. Let’s turn them into action and benefits from those words and actions for better health and a better life moving forward.

Have a listen to my video blog on this very topic

Regards

Andrew Orr

unhappy 389944 1280

Do you sometimes have a good day?

Do you sometimes have a good day?

Sounds like an odd thing to ask someone but the reality is that many people actually wake up each day with the reality that today may not be a good day, or that they only have a good day every now and again. If that is you, you are probably one of the millions of people in this country suffering depression.

More than one million people in Australia suffer depression each year and of those about 160,000 of those are teenagers. Australia has the highest per capita anti-depressants use in the world and seeing we are supposed to be the lucky country, many of us are not so lucky it seems.

Many people wake each day to find themselves not wanting to face the day, but rather stay in bed and hide beneath the doona to escape the day that confronts them. Life can seem dark, gloomy and almost not existent. The thought of facing the day, let alone people, can seems like a day in the dark fires of hell. One minute you can be having a laugh and the next minute someone could say the minutest thing and have you in tears.

While you feel so exhausted, sleep can be very erratic. The exhausting takes over, the negative thoughts set in and everything just seems so damn hard and overwhelming. The back dog takes its huge bite and the spiral into the dark realms of a typical day with depression sets in like ground hog day once again. The feels like there is no end in sight, no help and life seems almost pointless.

For millions of people this is how the day starts and the day ends. If this is you, you most likely have depression. But the good news is that there is help out there and there is a way to end the internal fight within.

Multimodality approach

Before I go into what can help, let me be 100% clear about treating depression. It requires a multi-modality approach to treat it, not just a pill. So many people come to see me for help with depression and just want a pill to help it. While there are treatment (medical and complementary medicine) that help with treating depression, there is no one pill to fix it. Because the medical treatment involves a pill, people get so used to wanting a quick fix of a pill, but the honest truth is that anti-depressants, or a pill of any kind, do not fix depression.

Yes, they help with serotonin levels, but they do not treat the root cause of depression. Worse still, long term use of anti-depressants (while beneficial short term) can lead to cardiovascular disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s and other cognitive conditions.

Alcohol and other stimulants

Secondly, alcohol and other stimulants only make depression worse. They not only interfere and affect medications and are contraindicated while taking medications (SSRI’s), but they also interfere with the chemicals in your brain, making depression worse.

Withdrawal effects of medications

The next thing I need people to know is that when it is time to come off any medications (SSRI’s), you will have side effects, even when tapered down slowly. Medications should never be stopped suddenly and always tapered down slowly.  Like any drug, you will have withdrawal effect and this is the cause of many people getting scared and go back to the safety net of medications again. Withdrawal is a normal process that you are going to go through and if done properly and in conjunction with natural medicines to ease this process, this transition process will take about two weeks and should be much easier.

The only way to assist with helping depression properly and effectively is a combination of counselling, medications, complementary medicines, diet, exercise and lifestyle modifications. If you miss out one of those components then you aren’t going to treat depression properly and the reason so many people do not get their depression sorted out.

Complementary medicines

Research has shown that Acupuncture on its own, by a series of treatments, may be as effective as antidepressants, without all of the side effects. Research has also shown that Acupuncture may be equivalent to talk therapy (counselling) when used in a series of treatment. Chinese herbal medicines may assist depression and you will need to see a qualified Chinese Medicine practitioner to have individualized care, treatments and medicines just for you.

Omega oils have also been shown to help with depression as have many complementary medicines and supplements.

Diet and lifestyle modifications, especially low GI anti-inflammatory based diet will definitely been shown to be of benefit with depression too. As I said before it is about a multimodality approach alongside counselling that is needed to treat depression effectively and properly.

Restoring the microbiome with beneficial good bacteria has also been shown to assist depression and mood disorders. This is due to the gut/brain interconnection. But as mentioned previously,there is no magic pill to make depression go away on its own.

Become creative, dynamic and effective

As one of my old lecturers used to say, the best way to treat depression is making someone creative, dynamic and effective. By that we mean get them into something they love to do (Creative). Get the passion for life back. Get them exercising (Dynamic) to get those natural endorphins, dopamine’s, melatonin and serotonin levels working. Give them the right diet, the right supplements and lifestyle adjustments and they will then be on their way to feeling better all over (Effective).

Nobody needs to suffer with having a good day sometimes. There is help out there and it does require a multimodality approach to assist with better moods and a better life.

If you do need help with having more better days, contact my friendly staff and find out how I may be able to assist you.

If you are in crisis, please call lifeline on (131114). You can also attend your nearest emergency center.

You can also see your general practitioner for a referral to a counsellor, psychologist, or psychiatrist. Beyond blue also have some great resources too.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

 

References

  1. Acupuncture and Counselling for Depression in Primary Care: A Randomised Controlled Trial – https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001518
  2. Hugh MacPherson, Andrew Vickers, Martin Bland, David Torgerson, Mark Corbett, Eldon Spackman, Pedro Saramago, Beth Woods, Helen Weatherly, Mark Sculpher, Andrea Manca, Stewart Richmond, Ann Hopton, Janet Eldred, Ian Watt. Acupuncture for chronic pain and depression in primary care: a programme of researchProgramme Grants for Applied Research, 2017; 5 (3): 1 DOI: 10.3310/pgfar05030
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1551714417306353
  4. The role of inflammation and the gut microbiome in depression and anxiety-https://doi.org/10.1002/jnr.24476