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Category: Health

May 3, 2018

Have you decided that it’s time to make your family of two an official family of three or more? The decision to start trying to get pregnant is exciting, but it’s easy for hopeful mamas to get discouraged after a few months without seeing those two little lines. Studies have shown the link between stress and a woman’s ability to conceive, so the first step in trying is an easy one – relax and enjoy the process.

Preconception Counseling Visit preconception appointment

Next, visit your doctor for a pre-pregnancy checkup. Also referred to as a preconception counseling visit, this appointment is your opportunity to discuss your current lifestyle, weight, medications and medical history with your doctor. Together, you discuss how all these factors affect your chances of getting pregnant. He or she can also recommend changes you can make to help you get pregnant faster.

Here are some additional steps you can take to get pregnant sooner:

  • Start taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid. Start taking prenatal vitamins at least a month before you officially start trying to conceive. Most prenatals contain the 400 micrograms of recommended folic acid, but check the label just to make sure. Folic acid is also naturally found in leafy green veggies, citrus fruits, beans and whole grains, so doubling up is always a plus.
  • Improve your diet. Healthy babies start with healthy moms. Try to avoid junk food and load up on fresh fruits and veggies, which will aid in both helping you maintain a healthy weight and give you the energy to maintain a baby-friendly exercise plan.
  • Start limiting your caffeine intake. If you’re a 2-or-more-cup a day gal, it’s best to start cutting back, as the recommended daily intake of caffeine is 200 milligrams while pregnant.
  • Have your teeth cleaned. A rise in hormones causes gums to bleed more often than usual during pregnancy, causing what’s known as pregnancy gingivitis.
  • Get to know your cycle. Knowing when you ovulate will increase your chances of timing intercourse, which should be during the three to four days around your most fertile time of the month. There are lots of ways to track, including free apps for your phone or the good ‘ol fashioned way – with pen and paper.

Quick Conception Numbers

Overall, around 70% of couples will have conceived by 6 months, 85% by 12 months and 95% will be pregnant after 2 years of trying. Only about 8% to 10% of couples get pregnant within a one-month time frame, and the ‘per month’ rate for a normally fertile couple is around 20%.

With all these facts and figures, it’s important not to stress out to give it time and try to relax and enjoy the time you have alone with your partner. By meeting with your physician during a preconception counseling appointment before you start the process of trying to conceive, you can ensure that every possible precaution is taken to prevent future problems throughout gestation, labor, delivery and even afterwards.

Your peace of mind combined with our experience experience and expertise is our ultimate goal so that you may enjoy a safe and healthy pregnancy. For any additional questions or concerns, or to schedule your preconception counseling appointment, call us at 770-720-7733.

 

 

January 24, 2018

Polycystic ovarian syndrome, commonly known as PCOS, affects nearly 1-in-10 women of childbearing age. PCOS is a hormonal imbalance where the ovaries or adrenal glands produce an excess of the male hormone, androgen. Fluid-filled can cysts grow on the ovaries due to the imbalance.

PCOS Symptoms

Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Irregular Menstrual Periods
  • Pelvic Pain
  • Cysts on One or Both Ovaries
  • Infertility
  • Weight Gain
  • Acne
  • Excess Facial or Body Hair
  • Patches of Thick Skin

Many of the above symptoms can be signs of something bigger. It’s important to schedule regular check-ups to maintain a overall healthy well-being. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you may be having in regards to your health.

If you experience severe pelvic discomfort or pain, seek medical attention immediately.

Causes of PCOS

While the exact cause of PCOS is still unknown, there are several key factors that are linked to the hormonal disorder.

  • Obesity – Polycystic ovarian syndrome is more common in women who are overweight or obese. Weight loss can have a positive impact on reducing symptoms.
  • Genetics – Women who have a close relative that has PCOS is more likely to be afflicted with the condition. Also some ethnic groups have higher risks of PCOS, including South Asians and Hispanics.
  • Lifestyle Factors – Sedentary Lifestyle, consumption of hypoglycemic index foods

Polycystic ovarian syndrome can be diagnosed through several methods. If you or your doctor thinks you may have PCOS, they will first perform a physical and pelvic exam. The next step would then be a pelvic ultrasound or laboratory tests.

Treatment for PCOS

Once it’s confirmed that PCOS is present, there are several treatment options available. Unfortunately, PCOS is not curable but with medical intervention, symptoms can easily be managed.

Depending on the severity of your symptoms and plans for children, you may be prescribed one or more of the following medications and lifestyle changes:

Exercise can help with PCOS symptoms

  • Exercise and low glycemic diet – Diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes can help control the symptoms associated with PCOS. If you are obese, weight loss is the preferred method of treatment. Talk to your doctor about what treatment options might be right for you.
  • Hormonal Based Birth Control. Birth control that contains both estrogen and progesterone are ideal for treating the majority of PCOS symptoms. Women who are not considering children in the near future can benefit from hormonal based birth control.
  • Anti-Androgen Medication. Although these medicines are not FDA-approved for all PCOS symptoms, they can be prescribed to reduce unwanted hair growth and acne.
  • Metformin. Over time, metformin can help lower insulin and androgen production. After several months, the medicine may help restart ovulation. Metformin has no effect on excess hair growth or acne symptoms.

Complications Associated with PCOS

Women who suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome are often at a higher risk for other health problems and potential pregnancy complications. Among others, type-2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and certain cancers are all potential problems down the line. If you have PCOS, it is important to maintain regular doctors visits for preventative and diagnostic care.

Questions or concerns about your health? Schedule an appointment with one of our skilled healthcare providers today at our Woodstock and Canton locations.

 

 

If your doctor looked at your face discoloration that has been worrying you and quickly murmured the word, ‘melasma’, you have nothing to fear. It is not only treatable but oftentimes, it is temporary and in no way a health risk.

What is Melasma?

Melasma is a skin issue that most often affects women, but men can experience it too. Brown or brownish-gray blemishes, or inflamed, red patches (erythrosis pigmetosa faciei) begin to appear in a typically recognizable configuration and hue that physicians can easily identify in areas such as:

  • The jawline (mandibular pattern)
  • The cheek (lateral cheek pattern)
  • Nose, cheeks, upper lips and forehead (centrofacial pattern)
  • Nose and cheeks (malar pattern)
  • Upper arms and shoulders (acquired brachial cutaneous dyschromatosis)
  • The sides of the neck, usually after the age of 50 (poikiloderma of civatte)

What Causes Melasma? Melasma is a common skin condition during pregnancy

The cause is unclear, but there is speculation that hormonal factors, combined with heat, sun, and light exposure, may create an imbalance of cells in the body called melanocytes. These melanocytes normally create the skin pigmentation, melanin, which decides the uniform color and shade of your skin. When melasma occurs, it is thought that the confused melanocytes sense some sort of disruption and command the melanin to generate more pigment. This results in patches of off-color skin.

Who Gets Melasma?

Melasma is completely impartial. Anyone, male or female can get it, but it is more commonly found in:

  • Pregnant women: This form of melasma is known as ‘chloasma’ or ‘the mask of pregnancy’.
  • Women taking contraceptives: Because progestin and/or estrogen found in birth control pills fool the body into believing it is in a state of pregnancy, women taking these medications are also prone to chloasma.
  • Women taking hormonal replacement drugs or steroids
  • Women using intrauterine devices or other implants
  • Women using certain medications for cancer and other problems that may make them more vulnerable to solar rays (photosensitivity)
  • Women using essential oils or certain toiletries, hygiene, and cosmetic products such as soaps, deodorants etc. that may result in skin reactions (phototoxicity) when exposed to the sun’s rays.
  • Darker skin-toned women such as females of Middle Eastern, North African, Latin, Mediterranean, Asian, and Indian descent
  • Women whose backgrounds may include a family history of melasma
  • Women between the ages of 40 to 60 and beyond who have been regularly exposed to the sun.
  • Women suffering from hypothyroidism or other medical issues
  • Women suffering from stress.

How is Melasma Diagnosed?

Melasma is easily identifiable and usually only requires a visual diagnosis, especially if you are obviously pregnant, or if any of the abovementioned criteria apply to you. However, if there is any doubt on the part of your doctor, certain tests can be performed.

One is called a Wood’s lamp examination. This lamp emits a particular light that, when scanning a targeted mottled section, can enable your physician to evaluate the depth of skin affected by the suspected melasma. Treatment would then depend on those findings.

Once the number of skin layers affected by melasma is determined, the Wood lamp results are usually categorized into one of these three classifications:

  • Epidermal melasma which responds very well to treatment
  • Dermal melasma which can be difficult to treat
  • Mixed melasma which can be treated partially.

If the doctor is still not positive that you are presenting with melasma, an additional procedure of removing a small skin sample for further analysis (biopsy) may be required.

Is Melasma Dangerous?

Not at all. Melasma poses no physical health risks whatsoever. It is purely a visual cosmetic issue. Its impact is more emotional and psychological due to the fact that it is predominantly a facial discoloration that is always noticeable. Women with severe melasma often suffer from low self-image, social discomfort and even depression depending on the severity of the condition.

Is There Any Treatment For Melasma?

Absolutely! With pregnancy-related melasma, the condition often disappears by itself after giving birth. Drug modification or complete cessation of medication containing steroids, hormones, or other melasma triggers can eliminate the problem as well.

Minor cases can be addressed through home remedies made with items found in your pantry or spice rack that contain natural bleaching or exfoliating properties. Many recipes are available online and include such ingredients as:

  • Turmeric
  • Papaya
  • Oatmeal
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Almonds
  • Onion juice
  • Horseradish
  • Lemon juice
  • Sandalwood
  • Aloe Vera gel
  • Mulberry extract

Over the counter preparations can help too. Your doctor may prescribe oral medications or creams containing medicinal ingredients.

For more stubborn or resistant melasma, there are other, more aggressive options that your doctor may discuss with you such as:

  • Dermabrasion
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Topical glycolic or acid peels
  • Fractional lasers
  • Intense pulsed light (IPL)

Does Melasma Always Go Away Completely?

Unfortunately, not all the time. Usually, the gentler interventions mentioned are enough to eliminate the problem altogether or lighten it to a more acceptable level. Some cases of melasma, however, are difficult to correct. They may require several treatments, and even ongoing care to minimize large or extremely dark blemishes. Every case is different and only a specialist can determine your unique needs.

Is There Anything I Can do to Make Sure I Don’t Get Melasma?

There are definitely precautions you can take to lower your risk of getting melasma. You can:

  • Wear SPF 30 or higher sunscreen daily, reapplying it every 2 hours
  • Select make-up that also includes sunscreen
  • Avoid extreme exposure to the sun
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat, and make sure your neck, shoulders, and arms are covered or protected outdoors
  • Discuss all medications you are taking with your physician to see if any of them may make you more prone to developing melasma. Sometimes a simple adjustment can prevent the condition from occurring.
  • Avoid rough or abrasive cleansers and soaps
  • Apply moisturizer regularly if your skin is dry

 

If you have already been diagnosed with recurring melasma, or have been unable to eliminate all traces of it, there are now excellent camouflage cosmetics available that greatly reduce the appearance of darker discolorations. As well, if you are experiencing psychological repercussions that often accompany more severe cases. It may be to your benefit to join a support group that can help you share and possibly overcome these issues.

Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists Can Help You if You Have Melasma

At Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists, our doctors can diagnose most cases of melasma. Honest, open, confidential dialogue regarding all your concerns allows us to give you the best possible attention and discuss treatment options you deserve.  We can help you. Melasma can be treated and controlled, and we are available to make that happen.

To book an appointment to discuss melasma with one of our doctors, call (770) 721-6060.

January 9, 2018

As women approach mid-life and start to experience menopause, many often wonder if hormone therapy is the right choice for them. Hormone Therapy is an important consideration for women, and for many, the choice as to which type to use, can be quite confusing. There are basically two types of hormone therapy: traditional, or the more natural approach, which is called bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT).

Traditional hormone therapy, sometimes referred to as “synthetic,” are FDA approved medications that have been most commonly prescribed for hormone replacement. Bioidentical hormone therapy, or sometimes referred to as “natural”, are compounded at special pharmacies. With natural bioidentical hormones, there is good evidence that women can find relief from symptoms of hormonal imbalance without the risks that come along with synthetic hormones.

What are Bioidentical Hormones? 

Bioidentical hormones are derived from naturally occurring sources, such as soy or yams, and are designed to replicate the same chemical structure as the hormones that are produced naturally by our bodies. Based on your hormone levels, a compounding pharmacy can individually tailor a bioidentical hormone regimen specifically designed for you by your physician. BHRT allows for the greatest ability to create custom therapy best suited for you as an individual. Typical cost should be $40-$45 per month.

Are Bioidentical Hormones Safer, More Effective than Synthetic Hormones?

Bioidentical hormones are more suitable to most when dealing with menopause because they are derived naturally and our bodies can metabolize them properly. Another advantage of using bioidentical hormones is that they are specifically designed to match your individual hormonal needs – unlike synthetic hormones, which often uses a one-size-fits-all approach to symptom relief.

There is much supportive literature that suggests bioidentical hormone therapy is safer and more effective than synthetic hormone replacement. However, it’s important to remember that no drug or supplement is completely safe – that is where the expertise of a women’s specialist is needed to decide the best approach for you and your specific medical needs. At Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists, our physicians are board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and are experts in menopausal management.

What are the Benefits of Bioidentical Hormone Therapy? 

Some of the day-to-day benefits are as follows:

  • Stops hot flashes
  • Diminishes night sweats
  • Increases energy
  • Helps control anxiety and irritability
  • Decreases brain fog
  • Controls loss of hair, brittle nails and dry skin
  • Helps lift mood or depression symptoms
  • Helps manage weight
  • Increases libido
  • Reduces vaginal dryness

Hormone therapy also has long-term benefits that significantly impact life:

  • Protection of your heart (#1 killer for women)
  • Protection for your bones
  • Decreases risk of colon cancer
  • Good evidence suggests it decreases the risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia

How Do I Know What Hormones and What Amounts are Right for me?

Based on your age, history, symptoms, whether you’ve had a hysterectomy, and other factors, one or more hormones will be suggested. On occasion, a blood test will be performed to check the hormone levels. Again, it is very important that you choose an OB/GYN that is an expert in menopause management and is up-to-date on the latest medical information.

What is the Best Way to take Bioidentical Hormones and How Long?

Usually the best route to take bioidenticals is through the skin, such as a roll-on gel or cream. Occasionally, oral medication or pills will be given. We know that menopause accelerates the aging process and causes challenging daily symptoms. Additionally, there are known health benefits of being on hormone therapy, so for most, it is recommended to be on HRT for the rest of your life.

Why Should You Choose Cherokee Women’s Health to Manage Bioidenticals?

Our method of managing your hormone therapy has your best interest in mind. We limit visits and lab tests to only what’s needed, using symptoms to monitor most of your progress. In an office visit and possibly a basic blood test, you can be given a prescription for bioidentical hormone therapy and be on your way to feeling your best. If your symptoms remain, we can tweak the dosage until your are at your optimal health.

At Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists, our goal is to help women live the best life possible. When you give your body the attention and support it needs, you’ll look better and feel better because of it.

With bioidentical hormones and the help of our highly trained physicians, you can be on your way to feeling your best in no time.

Call our office at (770) 720-7733 for an appointment with one of our menopause management expert physicians.

November 22, 2017

Cervical cerclage is only done in a small percentage of pregnancies.

It is the placement of stitches in the cervix to hold the area closed to prevent preterm labor or pregnancy loss for women who have a weak or incompetent cervix.

Cervical cerclage can be done as early as 12-weeks as a preventative measure for women who have had miscarriages due to a weak cervix. It can also be done as an emergency measure after the cervix has dilated. Typically, this procedure is not done after the 24-week mark.

When is Cervical Cerclage Recommended?

This procedure is recommended for women to prevent pregnancy loss or premature birth. Stitches are used to close the cervix around the second-trimester and typically removed no later than week 37.

Your doctor may suggest cervical cerclage if you qualify as a high-risk pregnancy.

During pregnancy, your cervix gradually softens, decreases in length, and begins to dilate in preparation for your baby. However, in rare cases, your cervix may open too soon putting you at risk for premature labor.

Your healthcare provider will assess your risk level based on the following circumstances.

  • If you’ve had one or more 2nd-trimester pregnancy losses related to dilation.
  • If you have had cervical cerclage during previous pregnancies.
  • If you have been diagnosed with painless cervical dilation during your second-trimester.

Generally, cervical cerclage is done through the vagina (transvaginal cervical cerclage). But, in some cases, it can be done through the abdomen (transabdominal cervical cerclage). Ask your doctor what is better for you and your baby.

Cervical cerclage and high-risk pregnancyIs Cervical Cerclage Right for You?

Your doctor may discourage cervical cerclage for any number of reasons. You may want to reconsider this procedure if you have vaginal bleeding, preterm labor, an intra-uterine infection, a rupture in the amniotic sac, or are carrying multiple babies.

Risks Associated with Cervical Cerclage

There are many side effects associated with cervical cerclage. Having the procedure doesn’t always prevent premature birth.

Women who experience premature dilation of the cervix during the second-trimester may have one or a number of these problems whether they opt for cervical cerclage or not.

Here are a few side effects that are occasionally associated with a cervical cerclage procedure. Consult your doctor about your risk factor based on previous pregnancies and what you can do to minimize side effects.

  • Infection
  • Vaginal Bleeding
  • Tear in the Cervix
  • Leakage of Amniotic Sac (Prior to week 37)
  • Miscarriage
  • Preterm Labor or Birth

If you experience bleeding or leakage after your cerclage procedure, seek medical attention immediately. In such cases, your OB-GYN may recommend the removal of stitches early.

Closing Thoughts

Cervical cerclage is not for everyone. Talk to your healthcare provider to learn more about the options available to you. Ultimately, it’s up to you to make the right decision about what’s right for you and your baby.

Whether you’d like a second opinion about your cervical cerclage recommendation or have other pregnancy-related questions, don’t hesitate to contact us today. Here at Cherokee Women’s Health, we offer a full range of services to help you along the way.

Many people are afraid to ask important questions when it comes to their sexual health. But it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Separate fact from fiction when it comes to STDs and STIs.

Today, we’ll walk you through how STDs are spread so you can learn the best ways to treat and prevent them. Ask your doctor to clarify facts on any questions you might have regarding STDs and STIs.

Who Can Get STDs?

Anyone who is sexually active can get an STD or an STI. You are considered sexually active if you have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

More young people have an STD than older adults. Nearly half of everyone under the age of 25 has an STD or STI. This is especially alarming considering this age bracket only makes up for one-quarter of people having sex.

Many STDs and STIs do not have any symptoms. Talk with your partner and get tested together before becoming sexually active.

How to Prevent STD/STIs?

The only way to 100% prevent STDs and STIs is to abstain from sexual activity.

However, you can reduce the risk of contracting a sexual disease by using a condom.

Even if you are on birth control, you should consider STD protection. While birth control can prevent you from becoming pregnant, it will not aid in the prevention of STDs.

How Are STDs and STIs Diagnosed? 

If you think you might have been exposed to an STD, get tested right away. The only way to know for sure is to get tested.

Remember, STD and HIV testing is not always a part of your regular doctor visit. If you’re sexually active, don’t assume you are STD-free without getting tested.

Testing for STDs is confidential, quick, and easy. For example, you can get tested for HIV with a simple oral cotton swab and know your results in as little as 20-minutes. Other STDs can be tested by a urine test, vaginal swab, or a quick blood test.

What if I have an STD?

Having an STD isn’t the end of the world. All STDs including HIV are treatable. Most are even curable.

It’s important to be open with your sexual partner. Having an honest conversation before sex (whether it be vaginal, anal, or oral) can help stop the spread of STDs.

While these conversations may seem hard, it’s better to have a responsible talk sooner than later. This way, you can both be vigilant in protecting against STD transfer to an uninfected partner.

Concerns About Sexual Health

When it comes to sexual health, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you think you may have been exposed to an STD or STI, see your doctor right away.

Untreated, STDs can lead to serious health problems down the road. Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about symptoms you may be having.

Still have questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us with concerns regarding your symptoms. A member of our trained staff can answer questions about your sexual health or schedule a confidential appointment.

Self-breast exams are important for adult women. Approximately 1-in-8 US women will develop invasive breast cancer during her lifetime. Regular breast exams can help familiarize yourself with your body and provide early detection for breast cancer in many women.

How Often to Do a Self-Breast Exam

Feel free to do a self-breast exam as often as you like. The more familiar you are with your breasts, the easier it is to recognize noticeable changes. Typically, adult women should complete a self-exam at least once a month.

Breast cancer cannot be prevented but it can be detected early and caught before it spreads. If you discover changes in your breasts, seek medical attention as soon as possible for a professional evaluation.

What to Look for During a Self-Exam Breast exams are an important part of a woman's health and wellness.

Breast cancer can look different for many women. However, some of the things you should be looking for when doing a self-exam are the following;

  • A lump or hardened knot
  • Thickening or discoloration of the skin
  • Redness, soreness, or swelling
  • Changes in the contour of the breast
  • Changes in nipple color or inverted nipple
  • Unusual discharge from nipple

Keep in mind, not all symptoms of breast cancer are the same. If you suspect anything out of the norm when completing a breast exam, schedule a consult and mammogram with your physician immediately.

Self-Breast Exam Techniques

Some women prefer to do a circular motion using the pads of their fingers. Start at the center of your breast using a medium-firm pressure. Be sure to cover the entire area of the breast from armpit to cleavage.

Another way to evaluate your breasts is using a top to bottom method. Again, use a medium-firm pressure to run your fingers up and down your entire breast region. Start at your collarbone and glide your fingers down to your abdomen.

Where to Complete a Self-Breast Exam

An accurate self-breast exam will require three simple steps in 2-3 positions. When done correctly a self-exam shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes of your time.

In of the Mirror

Standing in front of a mirror allows you to visually inspect your breasts. Start with your arms at your sides and look at your breasts from the left, right, and frontal positions. After you’ve completed this portion of your exam, repeat the process with your arms high above your head.

Lying Down

For the second portion of your breast exam, you’ll need to be in a lying position. Lying down is advantageous because your breast tissue is flat against your chest cavity making it easier to spot something unusual.

Once you’re lying on your back, place a pillow under your right shoulder (or whichever side you’d like to examine first). Then, fold the same arm behind your head. Take the opposite hand and begin to use your preferred examination technique.

After you’ve covered the entire breast area, repeat the process with your other side.

In the Shower

During the final step of your exam, you’ll need to be standing upright. Many women find it easier to complete this stage of the self-examination in the shower where the skin is wet and slippery. Once again, use a medium-firm pressure to feel for anything out of the norm on both breasts.

At this time, lightly squeeze your nipple feeling for lumps and looking for any time of discharge.

Final Thoughts

Don’t hesitate to give us a call for further guidance regarding your self-breast exam. If you’ve discovered something unusual that you want a professional to evaluate, call to schedule a consultation immediately.

November 21, 2017

Your diet impacts every aspect of your body. And, yes, that includes your vagina as well. Making healthier choices can boost your sexual health, reproductive health and even help women navigate menopause with less severe symptoms.

A healthy vagina has naturally healthy acidic pH levels. A vagina that’s in good health has a host of healthy bacteria known as probiotics. These good bacteria ward off infections and keep your reproductive system working smoothly.

Today, we’ll take a look at several simple dietary adjustments you can make to maintain optimal vaginal and sexual health.

Alleviate Painful Cramps

Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help ease your period pain. Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that reduce period symptoms such as cramps. Some omega-3 rich foods to add to your diet include:

  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Avocado
  • walnuts

If you’re craving something on the sweet side, try fresh fruit like strawberries or raspberries.

If you’re experiencing cramps related to your period, you may want to avoid these foods; fatty foods, alcohol, caffeine, and salt.

Ward Off Yeast Infections

Probiotic-rich foods have been shown to promote a good pH balance within the vagina. The good bacteria Lactobacillus improves overall vaginal health and can help prevent yeast infections.

The best probiotic-rich foods to try for the prevention of yeast infections are:

  • Greek yogurt
  • Kimchi
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kefir

While you’ve probably heard about the benefits of cranberry juice in the treatment of yeast infections, it’s also packed with unhealthy amounts of sugar.

Put an End to UTIs

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can cause annoyingly frequent bathroom breaks and a painful burning sensation. About half the women in the US have (or will have) a UTI at some point in their life.

Keeping your body hydrated by drinking lots of water is a great way to flush bad bacteria from your kidneys, bladder, and uterus. Another great way to keep UTIs at bay is to consume plenty of antimicrobial-rich foods such as green tea and ginger.

Avoid acidic foods such as tomatoes, oranges, limes, and lemons.

Counteract Menopause Symptoms

There are even foods that can help you navigate menopause with less severe symptoms. Vaginal dryness, for example, is caused by reduced estrogen levels. Phytoestrogens (a natural plant-based estrogen replacement) can help reduce irritating vaginal dryness.

Some good phytoestrogen-rich foods include soy products such as:

  • Edamame
  • Tofu
  • Miso
  • Tempeh

These soy-based products are also hydrophilic, or natural lubricants, that attract moisture to your tissue.

Final Thoughts

Healthy foods equal a happy, healthy vagina. But keep in mind, the foods you eat only affect your body for 2-3 days after consuming them. It’s important to maintain a healthy diet for optimal sexual and vaginal health.

To learn more about your sexual health, give us a call. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have or schedule a nutritional consultation.

November 16, 2017

proteinWe all need it but can too much protein in your diet be deadly? Almost all of us grew up hearing that you can have too much of a good thing. As children, we probably learned that the hard way by drinking too much soda, or by stuffing ourselves with extra Halloween candy. The result was never pleasant. Though overdoing sensible portions may not always be dangerous, it can certainly have disagreeable repercussions. This applies to most over indulgences, including food the body may need such as fats, carbohydrates — even proteins.

What are Proteins and Why Do We Need Them?

To imagine what a protein looks like, picture an open charm bracelet lying on a table from a distance. Each charm is visible but indistinguishable from the one next to it. As you get closer, those charms begin to have distinct shapes and sizes, each with their own meaning.

Under a microscope, proteins resemble that bracelet. They are long strands linking together their own ‘charms’ called amino acids, and each one has its own unique formation and ‘memory’ to perform its purpose.

There are twenty different amino acids essential to the human body, and each protein can have all or only some of the ones you need to remain healthy. All twenty of those amino acids linked to proteins are vital to overall health and body function. Some proteins have the complete twenty, while others have only a few. This explains the different sizes of strands attached to each protein. Any or all amino acids can also appear on the same strand hundreds to thousands of times in varying sequences.

These amino acids literally keep you alive, creating enzymes, hormones, and multiple body chemicals. They build and repair tissue, blood, muscles, cartilage, and bones. Protein provides energy and even reproduces more protein such as your hair, skin, and nails.

Where Do We Get Protein?

Mother Nature, in her wisdom, has provided this planet with everything we need to sustain human life, and that includes numerous sources of protein. Though the body produces many of the twenty vital amino acids, you still need roughly half from various foods. There are only a few complete food sources, and these are:

  • Poultry
  • Seafood
  • Red meat
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Quinoa
  • Soy

Other foods rich in protein include beans, pulses, nuts, seeds, and legumes. The following are only a fraction of foods that fall into these categories:

  • Hummus
  • Lentils
  • Kidney beans
  • Alfalfa
  • Clover
  • Fresh peas
  • Chickpeas
  • Edible Beans
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pistachios
  • Almonds
  • Peanuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Cashews
  • Flax seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Sesame seeds

Yet another excellent source is protein powder.

How Much Protein Do I Need?

The recommended daily protein guideline is 1.6 grams per kilogram of weight. This means that a woman weighing 50 kg or 110 lbs. would require 80 grams or 2.8 ounces. This amount is not carved in stone. Many factors, such as lifestyle, activity level and individual health come into play. You may need more if you are very athletic, or possibly less if you lead a more sedentary life.

What Happens if I Don’t Get Enough Protein?

Not enough protein intake can cause the body to work less efficiently, especially if the composition of those proteins does not meet your basic physical needs with the necessary amount of amino acids. Though they may be high in protein, nibbling on handfuls of walnuts all day, may make you deficient in the other amino acids it lacks. By doing this, you may find yourself experiencing such negative effects as:

  • Sluggishness
  • Difficulty focusing or concentrating
  • Trouble learning or absorbing new information
  • Fatigue or listlessness
  • Lack of energy
  • Lowered metabolism
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty healing
  • Joint, muscle, and bone pain
  • Immune deficiencies
  • Changes in blood sugar with a danger of developing diabetes
  • Difficulty losing weight or gaining muscle mass.

Can Too Much Protein be Deadly?

Though ingesting too much protein may have undesirable effects, there are no reported cases of excessive amounts of protein resulting in death. In rare instances, when massive protein consumption was reported to be fatal, it was later learned that there was an underlying disorder or disease that contributed to the event.

The body is unable to store protein for later use. Any surplus you don’t need is first turned into energy and then to fat. That, in turn, is stored away, causing weight gain. Overloading on protein rather than eating a balanced diet can also run the risk of you not getting other nutrients you need in the form of fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals vital to good health.

Too much protein won’t kill you. You may, however, have some unpleasant reactions such as:

  • Irritability
  • Brain fog
  • Constipation
  • Thirst
  • Bad breath (Halitosis)
  • Dehydration

Copious amounts of protein are only usually dangerous if you have a genetic, hereditary, or pre-existing problem. Excessive protein intake may accelerate further problems if you already suffer from weakened or compromised kidneys, liver, pancreas, or heart. Tainted or diseased food containing protein can be lethal in small or large amounts depending on the severity of the toxin. In short, too much protein can contribute to complications, but simply eating too much of it does not have deadly consequences.

If you have nutritional questions, call us at 770.720.7733.

BMR Rate CalculatorStatistics say that the average weight gain over the holidays is 15 pounds but understanding your BMR may help you boost weight loss over the holidays. You may have stumbled across the words, ’Basal Metabolic Rate’, more commonly referred to as BMR, in one of your many quests for a permanent weight loss program. The explanation regarding BMR probably seemed a little too scientific or complicated to completely understand, so you went on to look for something less confusing. If, instead, you researched and tried a few fad diets, lost weight and then gained it back with more, it might be time to take another look at that BMR information.

With the holidays quickly approaching, your caloric intake is probably on your mind —along with the fear of caving once you get to that food-laden table. Grandma or Mom will start circling your favorite pie under your nose, using their other hand to wave that delectable scent to your nostrils; someone will insist you be the judge of the best of three stuffings – and, oh my goodness, did Aunt Carol say she was bringing her famous candied yams?

What is BMR?

Very simply put, your body needs a certain amount of energy in order to function. Even while you’re sitting perfectly still or sleeping, calories are needed for all your organs to operate correctly – for your heart to beat, blood to circulate, kidneys to filter and flush waste. Even breathing requires energy. Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the minimal amount of calories necessary to perform these functions when your body is in a state of complete rest and inactivity.

Why is This Important Regarding Weight Loss?

We’ve been taught that in order to maintain our ideal weight, women need to consume about 1,200 calories a day and that anything above and beyond that is excessive and leads to extra weight. This is not the case at all. The truth is that you may need more than that merely to keep your body running. Those factors include:

  • Your Gender – Women typically have more fat and less muscle than men, so their BMR will be a lower number.
  • Your Height
  • Your Present Weight
  • Your Age – As you age, activity levels typically drop, leading to more fat than muscle and a decline in metabolic rate.

Your Body is a Well-Oiled Machine

The human body doesn’t think. It’s a machine and its main function is to survive. It needs fuel (food and drink) to run properly. To do that, it needs a certain number of calories to do its job adequately. If you feed it more than it needs, it converts the excess into fat and stores it, much like a squirrel hiding nuts for the winter.

If you begin dieting before knowing the minimal calories you need just to keep everything working, your body feels deprived and begins to deplete its stashed hoard until it runs out of fuel. Once that reserve is gone, it starts to work less effectively. It doesn’t know you are eating less because you want to lose weight. All it knows is that, suddenly, its accustomed level of mandatory nutrients has decreased and it doesn’t have enough ‘fuel’ to keep things running smoothly.

By knowing your BMR, you have a starting point to begin a healthy lifestyle of diet and exercise with a greater potential for permanent results. Weight gain is usually a slow process. It stands to reason that weight loss will be equally slow. However, as you start to eat sensibly, cut back on calories safely, and work out a little, your BMR level will drop accordingly until you reach a desirable number and can maintain your weight.

Are BMI and BMR the Same Thing?

No, BMI stands for body mass index. The number calculated from the body mass index formula is used by physicians to measure the amount of muscle, fat and bone in an individual. It determines if a person is obese, overweight, underweight or right on target. BMI numbers alert doctors to identify if their patient is at risk for potential problems such as diabetes, heart disease, anorexia or other disorders. BMI, along with BMR, is also helpful for nutritionists and dieticians in helping you plan a healthy weight loss program.

How is BMR Calculated?

Many BMR calculators are available online, but if you prefer to figure it out manually, this is the formula based on a woman who weighs 140 pounds, is 5’4”’ tall (64”), and is 35 years old.

Step 1) Multiply weight in pounds by 4.35.  (4.35 x 140=609.)

Step 2) Add 655 to the total.  (609 + 655 =1264) write down this total

Step 3) Multiply height in inches by 4.7. (4.7 x 64=300.8)

Step 4) Add this total to the amount in step #2 (1264 + 300.8=1564.8) Write this total down.

Step 5) Multiply age by 4.7. (4.7 x 35=164.5)

Step 6) Subtract the total in step #5 from your total in step #4. (1564.8 – 164.5=1400.3).

In short, based on this random woman’s gender, weight, height and age, this would be her formula to follow: 655+ (4.35 x 140) + (4.7 x 64) – (4.7 x 35) = 1400.3. The total of 1,400.3 is the basic number of calories she would need simply to maintain body function at complete rest. To determine your BMI number, you only need to substitute your own information.

Your daily activity level is equally important in calculating this result, and once you have your BMR number, you need to multiply it by the following numbers based on your personal lifestyle:

  • Very Inactive – If you work at a desk job with very little movement throughout the day, multiply BMR by 1.2.
  • Mild – If you do minimal exercise or participate in light sports once or twice a week, multiply BMR by 1.375.
  • Average Activity – If your exercise regimen or sports participation is moderate 3-5 days a week, multiply BMR by 1.55.
  • Heavy – If you exercise daily or participate in sports 6-7 days a week, multiply BMR by 1.725.
  • Extreme – If you exercise very heavily, have a physical occupation, body train, or practice extreme sports, multiply BMR activity by 1.9.

How We Can Help You

We offer individual medical weight loss packages and counseling and customize each program based on your specific needs. We assess your eating habits, modifying any vitamin, mineral or protein deficiencies with appropriate supplements. If stronger intervention is required, FDA-approved and natural appetite suppressants, fat-fighting injections, and HCG therapy are also available. We recognize that your needs are as unique as you are, and we treat you accordingly.

Call today to schedule your free weight loss consultation at 770.720.7723.

 

 

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