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September 29, 2017

What is Tubal Ligation?

Commonly referred to as “getting your tubes tied,” tubal ligation is a permanent surgical procedure that is performed to prevent pregnancy. More formally, it’s also known as female sterilization. In recent years, the term “tubal sterilization” is most accurate, since the technical definition of the word “ligation” refers to a specific surgical technique that is no longer used in most sterilization surgeries.

Whatever the term you prefer, the procedure involves closing off a woman’s fallopian tubes to prevent eggs from traveling down to the uterus, and prevents pregnancy.

When Can Tubal Ligation be Performed?

Tubal ligation can be done in conjunction with childbirth, since the advantage is that it can be performed at the same time as a C-section or within 48 hours of a vaginal delivery. Many surgeons prefer to do the surgery after birth because you’re already in the hospital, and your abdominal muscles are still relaxed from having just given birth.

If you decide later on that a tubal sterilization is the procedure for you, it can also be done as an outpatient procedure separate from childbirth via interval tubal ligation. This process uses a laparoscope, a thin tube with a camera lens and light on the end. The procedure involves general anesthesia to prevent any pain or discomfort.

What to Expect During the Procedure

If you have an interval tubal ligation as an outpatient procedure, either a needle is inserted or an incision is made through your navel so your abdomen can be inflated with gas (carbon dioxide or nitrous oxide). Then the laparoscope is inserted into your abdomen.

In most cases, your doctor will make a second small incision to insert special instruments. Using these instruments passed through the abdominal wall, your doctor seals the fallopian tubes by destroying segments of the tubes or blocking them with plastic rings or clips.

If you have a tubal ligation after vaginal childbirth, your doctor will likely make a small incision under your navel, providing easy access to your still-enlarged uterus and fallopian tubes. If you have a tubal ligation during a C-section, your healthcare provider will use the same incision that was made to deliver the baby.

What to Expect After the Procedure

If your abdomen was inflated with gas during the interval tubal procedure, the gas will be withdrawn. You may be allowed to go home several hours after the procedure. If you have the procedure in combination with childbirth, the tubal ligation isn’t likely to add to your hospital stay.

You may have some discomfort at the incision site afterwards. Other symptoms you may experience include:

  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Gassiness or bloating
  • Shoulder pain

You may take acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) for pain relief, but avoid using aspirin, since it may increase bleeding. Your doctor will most likely permit you showering or bathing 48 hours after the procedure, but will advise against straining or rubbing the incision for a week.

You should also avoid strenuous lifting and sex for one to two weeks, but can resume your day-to-day activities gradually as you begin to feel better. Your stitches will dissolve and won’t require removal.

If you have any concerns that you aren’t healing properly, it’s important to call your doctor to see if you need a follow-up appointment. Additionally, contact your health care provider immediately if you experience:

  • A temperature of 100.4 F (38 C) or greater
  • Fainting spells
  • Severe abdominal pain that’s persistent or gets worse after 12 hours
  • Bleeding from your incision that’s persistent or gets worse after 12 hours, despite use of pressure and bandages
  • Discharge from your incision that’s persistent or gets worse

Who is the Ideal Candidate for the Procedure

Tubal sterilization is considered a permanent surgery, so it’s a good option only if you’re completely sure you don’t want any more children.

If you’re not entirely sure if you’re done having children, you might consider other less permanent forms of birth control. While you may have heard of women who successfully get their tubal sterilizations reversed, it isn’t guaranteed to be effective, and involves a second invasive surgery.

Additionally, because tubal sterilization is a surgery, your doctor may advise against the surgery if you’re obese, have chronic health conditions such as heart disease, or if you’ve had complicated abdominal surgeries in the past.

Complications from Tubal Ligation Procedures

If you think you may be pregnant after your tubal ligation procedure, you should contact your health care provider immediately. While tubal ligation is highly effective in preventing most pregnancies, it isn’t an absolute in preventing pregnancy. An estimated 1 out of every 200 women will become pregnant after tubal ligation.

Complications related to tubal ligation include an increased risk of an ectopic pregnancy, which happens when a fertilized egg implants in the fallopian tubes instead of traveling to the uterus. An ectopic pregnancy can be dangerous, and can cause a rupture in the fallopian tube, resulting in internal bleeding.

Considering Tubal Ligation? Start a Conversation

In 95% of cases, tubal ligation is an effective permanent form of birth control. Before deciding if this procedure is the best fit for you, it’s important to consider all the possibilities and know your options. If you think tubal ligation might be the right permanent birth control option for you, we invite you to contact your doctor to start a conversation.

September 28, 2017

Imagine this: You’re pregnant and wake up with a horrible backache, or have lingering pain from a previous injury. You think, “I may still have some hydrocodone that my doctor prescribed for me, that might do the trick.” Stop–before you take any medicine, it’s imperative that you learn the dangers of opioid use during pregnancy or if you’re considering starting a family. Why? Opioid Use Disorder is on the rise in pregnant women, and many have no idea of the potential dangers.

Opioid use during pregnancy has increased dramatically over the past ten years. In fact, according to a recent United Nations report, Americans use more than 99% of the world’s hydrocodone. These startling facts are the reason more and more OB-GYNs are alerting patients to the serious complications associated with opioid misuse and opioid disorder.

While many people are familiar with hydrocodone, there are lot of different drugs that fall under the category of opioid. Many of them are prescription medications used for pain relief, often prescribed after surgery, dental work, or an injury. In addition to hydrocodone, other opioids include oxycodone, hydromorphone, codeine, methadone, propoxyphene, and buprenorphine. You may be surprised to learn that heroin is also an opioid.

The Dangers of Opioid Use During Pregnancy

Opioid Use Disorder is another name for opioid addiction. Symptoms of opioid addiction include using more than the amount of the drug that is prescribed for you; having work, school, or family problems caused by your opioid use; and feeling a strong urge or desire to use the drug.

Taking opioids during pregnancy can cause serious complications for the baby, including a drug withdrawal known as neonatal abstinence syndrome after the delivery. NAS occurs when your newborn baby, who is no longer receiving the drug from your bloodstream, may have withdrawal symptoms for days to weeks after being born. Symptoms of the syndrome include: shaking/tremors, crying, fever, poor feeding, diarrhea, vomiting, and sleep problems.

Other complications for babies related to opioid use during pregnancy may include:

  • Spina bifida
  • Hydrocephaly (excessive fluid in the baby’s brain)
  • Glaucoma
  • Gastroschisis (a hole in the abdominal wall from which the baby’s intestines stick out)
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Placental abruption, growth problems, preterm birth, and stillbirth

Opioids: If You’re Pregnant

It’s very common for women to experience pain during pregnancy, such as pelvic pain, low back pain, or migraines. At your first pregnancy well-check visit, your doctor will provide you with a list of approved medications that are safe to take during pregnancy.

If you’re experiencing pain during pregnancy, it’s very important to have an honest and thorough discussion with your doctor, especially before deciding on a pain management option.

This is because there are many unknowns surrounding safe opioid doses for pregnant women. Because of these unknowns, even if you use an opioid per the exact instructions from your healthcare provider, it still may cause NAS in your baby.

Additionally, if you’re pregnant and are on opioids, it is not recommended to stop taking them without talking to your healthcare provider first. Attempting to quit “cold turkey” or without any warning can cause severe problems for your baby, including preterm labor or death. The most important step is to talk to your doctor about your opioid use, and together, come up with a plan to keep you and your baby as healthy as possible.

Treatment for Opioid addiction during pregnancy involves medication-assisted therapy, or opioid-assisted therapy. Long-acting opioids are given to reduce the “cravings”, but they do not cause the pleasant feelings that other opioids cause. Examples of these medications are methadone and buprenorphine. Treatment for opioid addiction also includes drug counseling, which helps people avoid and cope with situations that might lead them to relapse.

Opioids: Trying to Conceive

If you’re trying to conceive or are considering getting pregnant and are currently using an opioid medication, use effective birth control until you’re no longer taking the medicine. Let your doctor know all of the medications you take to make sure you are as healthy as possible before getting pregnant.

At Cherokee Women’s, it’s important to each of our physicians to have open, honest communication with our patients. If you’re concerned about opioid use during pregnancy, contact our office to schedule an appointment to discuss your concerns with one of our physicians.

September 27, 2017

You think you may have an ovarian cyst. Or, could it be a uterine fibroid?

Ovarian cysts and fibroids have many of the same symptoms and can be difficult to self-diagnose. You may experience pelvic pain during certain activities, dull or sharp pain in your abdomen, or no symptoms at all.

Unless you’re a trained professional, you probably don’t know the differences between the two. In fact, many women often don’t know they’ve got either until their OB-GYN does a routine pelvic exam.

Ovarian cysts are very common and typically go away on their own. While uterine fibroids are not an issue for some women, others experience problems such as changes in their menstrual cycle and even infertility.

In this article, we’ll discuss the most obvious ways to tell which of the two you have. We’ll also cover several treatment options to consider for both.

Overview: Ovarian Cysts

An ovarian cyst is a sac or pouch filled with fluid or other tissue and is caused by your menstrual cycle. As you’ve probably guessed it forms directly on your ovary.

Each month your body grow normal follicles (a cyst-like structure). These follicles produce hormones such as estrogen and regulate the timing of releasing an egg during ovulation. Cysts occur when a normal follicle continues to grow.

Because of this, ovarian cysts are most common for women who are at the childbearing age or going through menopause. You are also at a higher risk of getting ovarian cysts if:

  • You’re taking fertility drugs
  • During pregnancy
  • You’ve had a severe pelvic infection
  • You’ve had ovarian cysts in the past

Most ovarian cysts go away on their own within 1-2 menstrual cycles.

You may experience little to no symptoms when you have an ovarian cyst. However, they can also cause dull or sharp pain in your abdomen during certain activities.

Treating an Ovarian Cyst

When your doctor diagnoses you with an ovarian cyst they will typically suggest treatment if your cyst becomes large, is causing problems such as pain, or if cancer is suspected.

There are two types of treatments for ovarian cysts.

  • Watchful Waiting. This is a process of monitoring your cyst for changes in size or appearance through scheduled ultrasounds.
  • Minimal Invasive Surgery. Typically, your OB-GYN won’t suggest surgery unless the cyst continues to grow or doesn’t go away on its own.

Uterine fibroids can cause discomfort and impact a woman's fertility.Overview: Uterine Fibroids

A uterine fibroid is a growth from muscle tissue. Fibroids can appear as single growths or clusters. They vary in size, shape, and location. Some grow rapidly, while others take years to form.

Unlike ovarian cysts, fibroids can form anywhere throughout the uterus. Fibroids can be found within the uterine walls, on the outer surface, or even attached to the stem-like structure.

Doctors still aren’t exactly sure what the cause of uterine fibroids is. However, research has led to several factors being involved such as genetic changes and hormonal changes.

Women of childbearing age are most affected by uterine fibroids. Often, fibroids will decrease in size after menopause due to reduced hormone production.

Although most women have had at least one uterine fibroid throughout their life, many aren’t aware because often symptoms don’t occur. Other women aren’t as lucky. Fibroids can have numerous adverse health effects including:

  • Abdominal pain or cramps
  • Difficult or frequent urination
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Pelvic Pain
  • Infertility

You may experience one, all, or none of the above symptoms if you have a uterine fibroid. It’s important to have regular visits to your doctor including routine pelvic exams.

Treatment for Uterine Fibroids

Your healthcare provider will suggest seeking treatment for your fibroid if you’re noticing symptoms. Rarely are uterine fibroids found to be cancerous.

There are a few treatment options available to you. Talk to your doctor about which of the following is the best approach.

  • Drug Therapy. Often your doctor will suggest birth control pills or other hormone altering drugs.
  • Myomectomy. This is the surgical removal of the fibroid. During this procedure, your uterus is left in place.

More abrasive approaches include:

  • Hysteroscopy. This is an outpatient procedure that destroys fibroids within the uterine walls through electricity or a laser.
  • Endometrial Ablation. This procedure is intended to destroy the lining of the uterus and in turn, the fibroids.
  • Hysterectomy. This is the surgical removal of the uterus. Sometimes doctors will leave ovaries in place for hormonal reasons. Speak to your doctor about this possibility.

Final Thoughts

Women experiencing pain or other symptoms from either ovarian cysts or uterine fibroids should seek medical advice. Once you get an official diagnosis, your healthcare provider can help you decide on a plan for treatment.

Still have questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us with questions regarding your symptoms or to schedule an appointment. A member of our trained staff will be happy to help you in any way possible.

September 26, 2017

Can post pregnancy exercise help a woman get back to her post-pregnancy weight.If you’re like many new moms, you’re ready to shed that extra baby weight… and now! It’s a perfectly natural feeling but if you’re not careful it can lead to a never-ending cycle of harmful weight loss that doesn’t last.

There is hope, however.

A healthy combination of nutrition and exercise can get you back to pre-baby weight in a matter of mere months. Be sure not to rush it though. Remember, it took 9-months to get to where you are now. Don’t expect lasting weight loss to happen overnight.

Incorporate Exercise into Your Daily Routine

Exercise can be a wonderful tool for new moms for many reasons. Physical activity can help reduce stress and help you sleep while keeping your muscles and bones strong.

Before starting a new routine, take care to get proper guidance on what to you can expect from your post-baby body. Heading to the gym for a workout right away can be harmful to your body, especially if you’ve had a c-section.

So what can you do?

  • Start slow. Having a newborn doesn’t leave you much time for anything, much less exercise. Try incorporating 30 minutes of walking into your daily routine broken into short 10 minute breaks as you can.
  • Incorporate strength training into your routine. Strength training with medium to light weights can help increase bone density as well as building muscle.
  • Don’t go it alone. You’re more likely to stick to an exercise program if you’ve got support from friends, family, or other new moms. Try joining a gym that has classes dedicated to new mothers.
  • Avoid jumping into old routines. Instead of worrying about what you could do before your pregnancy, focus on what your body can handle now. While you’re pregnant your body releases hormones that loosen your ligaments, making giving birth easier. It can take time for them to get back to normal.

Remember, don’t start any exercise until you feel ready. Women that have had c-sections or complicated births should consult a medical professional before starting any exercise programs.

Create A Healthy Diet Plan

Although exercise plays a strong role in meeting your weight loss goals, healthy nutrition is a primary factor for lasting weight loss. No matter how much you workout, exercise does not counteract an unhealthy diet.

It’s often hard to eat right when balancing life with a newborn. But it doesn’t have to be.

Try some of the following tips to get on the right track for reclaiming your body through healthy eating.

  • Eat at least 1,800 calories a day, especially if breastfeeding. Avoid crash diets. Pushing yourself to the max can leave you stressed which actually promotes weight gain.
  • Stock up on healthy snacks. Noshing on foods like sliced fruits, veggies or wheat crackers throughout the day is a healthy way to keep cravings at bay.
  • Choose a well-balanced variety of foods. Stick to foods high in the nutrients you need while low in calories and fats. Try a variety of lean meat, chicken, and fish as your primary source of protein to keep your energy levels up.
  • Drink lots of water. Not only does water keep you feeling full but some studies have shown that water can also aid in speeding up your metabolism.

When you were pregnant you likely changed your eating habits to support your baby’s growth and development. Making the change back to your old routine can seem daunting. Seek support from friends, family, or other new moms when necessary.

Final Thoughts

Don’t be afraid to ask for help with your post-baby weight loss. Every woman and every situation are unique. Here at Cherokee Women’s Health, we have a medically supervised weight loss program designed especially for women.

We can help nursing moms like you find a sustainable diet plan. Feel free to give us a call to learn more about our weight loss programs tailored just for you.

September 20, 2017

“When I started the program at Cherokee Women’s Health I had already lost 16 pounds but it had taken me over 5 months and then I plateaued in my weight loss journey.”

This part of Wendy’s story is not uncommon. Many people begin diet and weight loss programs and see early successes but have a difficult time reaching their goal. At Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists our doctors have formulated a plan specifically for women and their unique needs. The program includes personalized meal plans and nutritional education.

“One big thing that I learned from the program is the relation of calories in food to how many calories my body actually burns and that every calorie counts. I used to let food control me but now I control the food.  It really puts calories into perspective and this program has given me the tools I need to not only lose the weight but to keep it off!”

Each patient gets a personalized plan that can include supplements along with the nutritional counseling, and regular check-ins giving women the skills they need for long term success.

 Goal for the Bridesmaid: Pounds and Dress Size… Going Down!

“In the last 4 ½ months I have lost an additional 38 pounds with Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists. When I began the program, I was shopping for and being fitted for a dress for my sister’s wedding and initially I was going to be in a size 18-20 dress. By the time the wedding came around I had a size 14-16 and still had to have the dress taken in some before the wedding.

The program gave me a huge boost in my weight loss journey. I now have more confidence, I’m happier, I feel better, and best of all I have more energy to run around and play with my kids without feeling so tired.”

Our medical weight loss program is designed to be an effective life style change that puts the power in our patients’ hands. With nutrition counseling, exercise plans and accountability, the medical weight loss plan gets results for women.

Call 770-720-7733 to schedule your free consultation today.

September 6, 2017

by James Haley, MD, FACOG, FPMRS

Dr. Haley photo

Dr. Haley

As many as 86 million people in the United States have prediabetes, yet 90% of them don’t even know it. Prediabetes is the condition that exists when you have higher than normal blood sugar levels, but not high enough to classify as diabetes. Someone with prediabetes has a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and other serious health issues, including stroke and heart disease.

Since this condition has no symptoms, it can easily go undiagnosed. However, there are risk factors to look for, and certainly ways you can decrease your risk of becoming a Type 2 diabetic. Type 2 diabetes is a major public health issue, and more people need to know they are at risk.

Know the Risk Factors for Prediabetes

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has guidelines that list a total of 11 specific risk factors that determine if you should be screened for prediabetes. They include:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) over 25
  • History of Heart Disease
  • Physical Inactivity
  • 1st Degree Relative with Diabetes
  • Over 45 years old
  • Had Diabetes in Pregnancy (gestational diabetes)
  • African-American race
  • Latino ethnicity
  • Asian-American race

bmi-photo

If you’re over 45 and have any of the other risk factors, you should see your doctor. A simple blood test can let you know if you are prediabetic. Unfortunately, most Americans these days have a body mass index (BMI) over 25, not realizing the risks associated with it. If you have a calculator, you can easily figure your BMI. Below is the standard formula. If you are in good shape and have extra muscle, it may be a little off. Nevertheless, it is still a good method and will give you a close estimate.

How to Calculate Your BMI

  1. Figure out how many inches tall you are. (Example: if you are 5’4″ you are 64 inches).
  2. Multiply the number by itself. (Example: 64 x 64 = 4096)
  3. Write the total down and clear your calculator.
  4. Now, punch in your weight in pounds and divide by that saved 4-digit number (For a 125 woman, 125 divided by 4096 = .03051758)
  5. Multiply your result by 703. (.03051758 x 703=21.4538)
  6. Here, 21.45 is the BMI

If the result you get is less than 18.5, you are considered underweight. If your BMI is between 18.5-24.9, you are normal weight. But if your BMI is 25-29 you are considered overweight, and over 29 is considered obese.

No matter how undesirable you find your calculations, don’t despair. Make today the first day of positive changes. It’s never too late to start a sensible diet and exercise plan. Change begins with that first step. Get committed!! Get going!

For guidelines on nutrition and weight loss, discuss your concerns with your doctor at your next annual exam.

by James Haley, MD FACOG, FPMRS

Dr. Haley photo

Dr. Haley

As a physician and fitness enthusiast, I’ve read a plethora of articles, books, and journals on weight loss. My patients continually tell me their struggles with dieting, lamenting that the weight always returns, usually along with a few extra pounds. Personally, I can relate. It’s not a dilemma exclusive to women. Men struggle, too. As you age, you just can’t eat like you used to – even if you exercise regularly.

After reading numerous books and trying different diets myself, I finally discovered an author who not only pinpoints the problem of obesity, but also the answer to those last ten pounds.

In his book, ‘The Obesity Code’, Dr. Jason Fung, a nephrologist, states that the real culprit of weight gain isn’t overeating. It’s excessive insulin. He is emphatic that many of his patients would need less medical intervention if they lost weight. Since most of his patients are Type 2 Diabetics, a disease associated with too much insulin, he has been able to determine the common link – SNACKING.

In the past few decades, the number of times we eat daily has increased. People have gone from eating three meals a day to about six, counting snacks. Go on, admit it. It’s what you do – what I’ve done. it’s a cycle, and it makes sense once you understand the reason why. Every time you eat, you stimulate insulin, keeping it at a constant high level. This fools the body into thinking it’s always hungry. Your body is constantly thinking you are hungry because your insulin stays in a high range.

woman weighing on scaleObesity is a hormonal disease. Insulin, a hormone, tells you how much to eat and how much to burn. The body behaves as if the weight is set on a thermostat. So, obesity is not about caloric imbalance. Thus, it makes sense that the idea of cutting calories is totally wrong.

You may not be obese. Maybe you have a few obstinate pounds that won’t melt – a jiggle around the middle resistant to diet and exercise. ‘Fat’, ‘plump’, ‘chubby’ – whatever you call it, a surplus of insulin is causing it. The longer you have higher amounts of it, the more resistant your body becomes, which produces even more and causes that crazy, never-ending cycle.

So what’s the solution?

  • Avoid insulin-stimulating foods like sugar and refined grains. These are the enemy.
  • Eliminate between-meal snacks.
  • Designate mealtimes.

Meal timing and insulin levels work together to regulate our weight. We need periods of time when we aren’t eating, so insulin can go down, leaving our bodies in energy burning mode. If we leave more time between meals…. we burn energy.

And when we burn energy, we lose weight.

To learn more about the other secret to regulating insulin for weight loss, read here.

 

September 5, 2017
Dr. Haley photo

Dr. Haley

by James Haley, MD, FACOG, FPMRS

I have always had a personal interest in nutrition and fitness, and more so after I became a doctor and needed that knowledge to benefit my patients. After reading volumes of research on these subjects and hearing my patients’ struggles with weight gain, I came across nephrologist Dr. Jason Fung’s book, ‘The Obesity Code’.

Most of Dr. Fung’s patients are Type 2 diabetics, and he explains clearly how obesity is a problem due not to caloric intake, but to constant high levels of insulin in the body retained through frequent eating.

In short, Dr. Fung states that the more often you eat, refueling with snacks between meals, the longer your insulin levels remain elevated. Since insulin is a hormone that tells your body how much to eat and how much to burn, high insulin levels fool the body into thinking you are always hungry. Those messages cause you to eat more, and of course, gain weight.

How do you overcome this vicious circle?

1. Stop Snacking

This is the first step. Avoid especially the sugary and refined, processed foods which make your insulin levels spike and fall all day, perpetuating the cycle of hunger and sluggishness, making you think you’re hungry.

2. Stay Hydrated and Eat Well  

Drink plenty of water and eat healthy foods like vegetables, nuts, salads, fruit and protein-rich chicken and fish, which keep your insulin levels steady.

woman fasting fruit photo3. Fast

Fasting! The word may make you shudder. I’m not talking about a three-week, Gandhi-type fast. Dr. Fung suggests a “mini- fast”: going without breakfast. And yes, this goes against everything you’ve ever been told, that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You don’t need to do it daily, but skipping breakfast gives your body about 14 hours of fasting from the night before. We need periods of time when we aren’t eating, when insulin can go down, leaving our bodies in energy burning mode. This one step will dramatically lower your insulin, which in turn acts to lower the body’s set weight. You’ll start to feel better, have more energy – and you may just get rid of that last, lingering ten pounds.

4. Consult Your Doctor

Fasting is never recommended for pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, or people with certain diseases.

If you simply need a jump start to weight loss, try the mini-fasting route and let your body’s insulin levels drop to burn energy. You will be surprised at how much better you feel. Once you change your mindset about food, regulate your insulin, and time your meals, you will see many positive results. Whether you need to lose weight or not, you will definitely have more energy, and hopefully live a longer, healthier life.

To learn more about the other secret to regulating insulin for weight loss, read here.

Sherene Harati after the Teal Trot.If you go to our Canton office, there is a good chance you have met Sherene. Her bright smile and helpful attitude keeps her teammates and patients in high spirits.

What you may not know about Sherene is that she is an Ovarian Cancer Survivor. She was diagnosed in 2014 after getting a second opinion for her PCOS. She felt the doctor she was seeing at the time didn’t take her concerns about her symptoms seriously. When she saw a new doctor she mentioned her symptoms again. This time the doctor recommended an ultrasound.

During the ultrasound they identified a mass. Sherene had just graduated from college and didn’t fit the demographics of the women who usually develop Ovarian cancer, so her doctor wanted to keep an eye on the mass. It would have been easy for her to sweep it under the rug, but her doctor followed up, and Sherene kept all of her appointments.

Sherene lost one of her ovaries, but they caught the cancer early. After completing her treatment, including chemotherapy, Sherene is cancer free. It’s been almost three years and Sherene sticks to her follow-up appointments every few months to make sure she is still healthy.

Sherene’s Take Home Message

Sherene’s biggest message? Listen to your body! If you think something isn’t right, talk to your doctor. It’s okay to get a second opinion, especially if you think you aren’t being heard.

Now Sherene is dedicated to spreading the message about Ovarian cancer. Every year she participates in the Teal Trot 5k in Atlanta. She raises money and awareness and has fun in the park with her friends and family. Sounds like a great day!

 

Sherene kept a positive attitude during treatment.

Sherene kept a positive attitude during treatment.

Still smiling! Sherene participates in her first Teal Trot.

Still smiling! Sherene participates in her first Teal Trot.

Sherene gets the word out about Ovarian Cancer Awareness with teal hair.

Sherene gets the word out about Ovarian Cancer Awareness with teal hair.

August 9, 2017

It often takes longer for women to lose weight.While losing weight can be a challenging feat for both sexes, women have a few additional physiological hurdles from the start that men simply don’t. For women, it may take more of an initial lifestyle change to accomplish weight loss than it would for men.

Don’t worry though. All hope is not lost.

Staying focused on hitting your first health related goals can be empowering and keep you on the right track to shedding unwanted pounds down the line.

You may not come out of the gate dropping pounds left and right like your male counterparts, but in most cases weight loss will even out over time.

Physiological Reasons Initial Weight Loss is Harder for Women

Initially, it can be discouraging for women who decide to lose weight with male friends, family, or partners. It may seem as if you’re male weight loss partner is losing weight with little or no effort while you’re struggling to drop that first couple pounds.

Well, it turns out there’s a reason.

Let’s take a look at some of the biological reasons women have a tougher time getting rid of excess weight and looking slimmer at first.

  • Men have a height and weight advantage over women. Performing even simple tasks requires the body to burn more energy the larger the person is.
  • Men typically have a faster metabolism than women due to testosterone levels. Lean muscle tissue can burn more calories than fat even when resting.
  • Women’s fat stores are often spread throughout the body. It’s more difficult to lose weight when fat stores are spread over the entire body rather than held in one place such as the belly like it often is in men.
  • Women have larger fat stores to help during pregnancy. A perfectly fit woman will hold and extra 6-11% more body fat than a perfectly fit man simply due to biology.
  • Post-workout cravings. After a workout women’s ghrelin levels (the hormone that tells us we’re hungry) increase. Meanwhile, our leptin (the hormone that tells us we’re full) drop significantly. This hormonal fluctuation isn’t as prominent in men after exercise.

Don’t despair. Women have some advantages over men too. For example, women tend to burn more body fat when they exercise than men do.

Pushing Through Physiological Obstacles

Whether you want to commit to dropping a significant amount of weight, restore your optimal body weight after a pregnancy, or just live a healthier lifestyle overall, there are several things you can do to expedite the process.

  • Incorporate strength training exercises into your workout and benefit from more muscle mass too.
  • Focus on healthier post-workout snacks to tame cravings.
  • Banish negative thoughts and focus on the positive to nix emotional eating.
  • Have a balanced workout that includes plenty of cardio (at least 20 minutes a day).

Getting your mind in the right place can be helpful during your weight loss journey as well. One thing you can do immediately is to stop thinking of it as a competition. Celebrate and encourage both parties weight loss achievements equally.

Final Thoughts

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t lose weight as quickly as the men around you. Remember, weight loss isn’t a race. It’s a slow and steady process to regaining your optimal well-being and taking control of your life.

Although guys may have an initial head start, your partner’s weight loss will eventually plateau and you should be on the same page over time.

Losing weight doesn’t need to be daunting. Talk to your health care provider for guidance on how to accomplish weight loss and other health-related goals. Feel free to give us a call regarding any questions you may have through your weight loss journey. We’d be happy to schedule an appointment with your doctor for a consultation.

You’ll soon be on the road to feeling great!

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“Dr. Litrel was a fantastic doctor. I had my first exam with him, although at first I was skeptical about a male doctor for my GYN. But after I met him I’m glad I kept an open mind, and I couldn’t have dreamed up a better doctor. He cares about you as a person and not just a patient. The front desk ladies and nurses were very friendly and it’s a great office, very clean and not intimidating. I highly recommend Cherokee Women’s Health.”
– Vicki