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In The News
myRisk Is The Next Generation Of Cancer Threat Testing
By Personalized Women’s Healthcare | Monday, August 18th, 2014
Eric Jacoby took time out to introduce the latest in Hereditary Cancer screening by Myriad, myRisk™. This new revolutionary genetic cancer testing mixes both hereditary test status of 8 different cancer genes with individual cancer family tree. This truly is the next generation of cancer threat testing.
Call our office to book an appointment to discuss this revolutionary test – 972.473.2020.
Heavy Or Prolonged Bleeding In Menopause Is Not Uncommon
By Personalized Women’s Healthcare | Monday, May 26th, 2014
By: Miranda Hester
Women undergoing the menopausal transition may be prone to prolonged bleeding with periods of heaviness, according to a new study in BJOG.
Researchers from the University of Michigan School of Public Health and the University of Michigan Health System looked at 1320 midlife women from a variety of races who had participated in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation Menstrual Calendar Substudy. Each woman completed a daily menstrual calendar from 1996 to 2006 that included information about hormone therapy, smoking status, and the level of physical activities. Height and weight were measured every year. Primary outcomes examined included menses of 10-plus days, spotting of 6-plus days, and heavy bleeding of 3-plus days. Multivariable regression and Kaplan-Meier survival analysis were used to analyze the data.
In the cohort, 77.7% (95% confidence interval [CI] 56.7-93.2) reported at least 3 occurrences of menses of 10-plus days. At least 3 occurrences of 6-plus days of spotting were reported by 66.8% (95% CI 55.2 – 78.0) of the women and 34.5% (95% CI 30.2 – 39.2) reported at least 3 occurrences of 3-plus days of heavy bleeding. Each primary outcome was associated with uterine fibroids, hormone use, and ethnicity. Body mass index was associated with 3-plus days of heavy bleeding.
The investigators concluded that the study provided important information about how frequent spotting, prolonged bleeding, and heavy bleeding can be during the menopausal transition. They felt the data could help facilitate clinical decision-making during that time.
– See more here!
PWHCare On Live Love Laugh Today
By Personalized Women’s Healthcare | Monday, May 12th, 2014
Personalized Women’s Healthcare appeared on Live Love Laugh Today Show on Sunday, May 11 – Mother’s Day. The show showcased our newest addition to our services, the Sunetics hair restoration, and Biote hormone replacement therapy.
Managing a High-Risk Pregnancy
By Personalized Women’s Healthcare | Thursday, April 24th, 2014
Most of the time having a baby is a natural process. After a full-term pregnancy, a woman goes into labor on or near her due date and gives birth to a healthy baby. A day or two later she leaves the hospital to begin day-to-day life with her growing family. But not all pregnancies go smoothly. Some women experience what doctors refer to as a high-risk pregnancy.
A pregnancy is considered high-risk when there are potential complications that could affect the mother, the baby, or both. High-risk pregnancies require management by a specialist to help ensure the best outcome for the mother and baby.
Risk Factors for High-Risk Pregnancy
Reasons that a pregnancy may be considered high-risk include:
Maternal Age: One of the most common risk factors for a high-risk pregnancy is the age of the mother-to-be. Women who will be under 17 or over 35 when their baby is due are at greater risk of complications than those between their late teens and early 30s. The risk of miscarriage and genetic defects further increases after age 40.
Medical conditions that exist before pregnancy: Conditions such as high blood pressure, breathing, kidney, or heart problems, diabetes, autoimmune disease, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or chronic infections such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can present risks for the mother and/or her unborn baby. A history of miscarriage, problems with a previous pregnancy or pregnancies, or family histories of genetic disorders are also risk factors for a
If you have a medical condition, it’s important to consult your doctor before you decide to become pregnant. Your doctor may run tests, adjust medications, or advise you of precautions you need to take to optimize the health of you and your baby.
Medical conditions that occur during pregnancy: Even if you are healthy when you become pregnant, it is possible to develop or be diagnosed with problems during pregnancy that can affect you and your baby. Two of the more common pregnancy-related problems are:
- Preeclampsia is a syndrome that includes high blood pressure, urinary protein, and swelling; it can be dangerous or even fatal for the mother or baby if not treated. With proper management, however, most women who develop preeclampsia have healthy babies.
- Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy. Women with gestational diabetes may have healthy pregnancies and babies if they follow the treatment plan from their health-care provider. Usually, the diabetes resolves after delivery. However, women with gestational diabetes are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Pregnancy-related issues: Often a pregnancy is classified as high risk because of issues that arise from the pregnancy itself and that have little to do with the mother’s health. These include:
- Premature labor is labor that begins before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Although there is no way to know which women will experience preterm labor or birth, there are factors that place women at higher risk, such as certain infections, a shortened cervix, or previous preterm birth.
- Multiple births mean you are carrying more than one baby (twins, triplets, quadruplets, etc.). Multiple pregnancies, which are more common as women are using more infertility treatments, increase the risk of premature labor, gestational diabetes, and pregnancy-induced high blood pressure.
- Placenta previa is a condition in which the placenta covers the cervix. The condition can cause bleeding, especially if a woman has contractions. If the placenta still covers the cervix close to delivery, the doctor may schedule a cesarean section to reduce bleeding risks to the mother and baby.
Fetal problems, which can sometimes be seen on ultrasound. Approximately 2% to 3% of all babies have a minor or major structural problem in development. Sometimes there may be a family history of fetal problems, but other times these problems are completely unexpected.
Exercise During Pregnancy
By Personalized Women’s Healthcare | Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014
Maintaining a regular exercise routine throughout your pregnancy can help you stay healthy and feel your best. Regular exercise during pregnancy can improve your posture and decrease some common discomforts such as backaches and fatigue. There is evidence that physical activity may prevent gestational diabetes (diabetes that develops during pregnancy), relieve stress, and build more stamina needed for labor and delivery.
If you were physically active before your pregnancy, you should be able to continue your activity in moderation. Don’t try to exercise at your former level; instead, do what’s most comfortable for you now. Low impact aerobics are encouraged versus high impact.
The physician should closely monitor the pregnant competitive athlete.
If you have never exercised regularly before, you can safely begin an exercise program during pregnancy after consulting with your physician, but do not try a new, strenuous activity. Walking is considered safe to initiate when pregnant.
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise per day on most if not all days of the week unless you have a medical or pregnancy complication.
Who Should Not Exercise During Pregnancy?
If you have a medical problem, such as asthma, heart disease, or diabetes, exercise may not be advisable. Exercise may also be harmful if you have a pregnancy-related condition such as:
- Bleeding or spotting
- Low placenta
- Threatened or recurrent miscarriage
- Previous premature births or history of early labor
- Weak cervix
Talk with your physician before beginning an exercise program.
What Exercises Are Safe During Pregnancy?
Most exercises are safe to perform during pregnancy, as long as you exercise with caution and do not overdo it.
The safest and most productive activities are swimming, brisk walking, indoor stationary cycling, step or elliptical machines, and low-impact aerobics (taught by a certified aerobics instructor). These activities carry little risk of injury, benefit your entire body, and can be continued until birth.
Tennis and racquetball are generally safe activities, but changes in balance during pregnancy may affect rapid movements. Other activities such as jogging can be done in moderation, especially if you were doing them before your pregnancy. You may want to choose exercises or activities that do not require great balance or coordination, especially later in pregnancy.
What Exercises Should Be Avoided During Pregnancy?
There are certain exercises and activities that can be harmful if performed during pregnancy. They include:
- Holding your breath during any activity.
- Activities where falling is likely (such as skiing and horseback riding).
- Contact sports such as softball, football, basketball, and volleyball.
- Any exercise that may cause even mild abdominal trauma such as activities that include jarring motions or rapid changes in direction.
- Activities that require extensive jumping, hopping, skipping, bouncing, or running.
- Deep knee bends, full sit-ups, double leg raises, and straight-leg toe touches.
- Bouncing while stretching.
- Waist-twisting movements while standing.
- Heavy exercise spurts followed by long periods of no activity.
- Exercise in hot, humid weather.
Minimally Invasive Surgery Option: Da Vinci Robotic
By Personalized Women’s Healthcare | Saturday, April 19th, 2014
Common Gynecologic Symptoms
Depending on your gynecologic condition, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Pain – Pain can be described in many ways. It is often measured with a simple 0-10 scale where 0 equals no pain and 10 is the worst pain you can imagine. Describing your pain can help your doctor to pinpoint the condition. Each of the following may indicate a different condition:
- Pelvic discomfort
- Pelvic pressure
- Abdominal tenderness
- Abdominal cramps
- Back ache, back pain
- Painful urination and/or bowel movements
- Pain during intercourse
- Bleeding – Monthly periods are different for each woman. Menstrual bleeding can also be different before and after childbirth, with age, and with any medications you regularly take. The following are examples of bleeding patterns that are linked to specific gynecologic conditions:
- Very heavy or abnormal bleeding
- Bleeding longer than 7 days
- Periods lasting longer than 21 days
- Periods more than 35 days apart
- Spotting/bleeding between periods
- Spotting/bleeding after menopause
- Passing blood clots
- Bleeding after intercourse
- Vaginal discharge tinged with blood
- Other Symptoms
- Difficulty urinating or having bowel movements
- Infertility (cannot get pregnant/miscarriages)
- Feeling of pressure on your bladder or rectum
- Slipping or dropping of your vagina or uterus
- Feeling heaviness or pressure in your pelvis
- Constant abdominal pressure
- Swelling or bloating
- Urgent need to urinate
- Recurrent urinary tract infections
- Pain while standing or walking
- Gynecologic Conditions – A wide variety of benign (non-cancerous) conditions may affect a woman’s reproductive system. Your reproductive system consists of your uterus, vagina, ovaries and fallopian tubes.
Common types of gynecologic conditions such as fibroids (non-cancerous growths in the uterine wall), endometriosis (non-cancerous growths of the uterine lining) or prolapse (falling or slipping of the uterus) – can cause chronic pain and heavy bleeding, as well as other disabling symptoms.
- Excessive Menstrual Bleeding
- Pelvic Pain
- Uterine Fibroid Treatment
- Uterine Prolapse
Benefits of Coffee Do NOT Apply to Pregnant Women
By Personalized Women’s Healthcare | Thursday, April 10th, 2014
By Dr. Mercola
In recent years, research has emerged demonstrating that coffee—in moderation—may have a number of previously unrecognized health-promoting properties. As a result of the rather impressive list of therapeutic benefits, I’ve modified my stance on coffee.
However, it’s important to understand that coffee is both a potent drug, and a whole food provided it’s organically grown, and the drug element of coffee can present problems for pregnant women.
Caffeine can significantly impact the growing fetus as it is able to freely pass through the placenta, and since caffeine does not provide any benefits to your baby, only potential hazards, I strongly recommend pregnant women avoid ALL forms of caffeine.
Unfortunately, most people (pregnant or not) use coffee for its energy-boosting properties, which ends up serving as a band-aid for poor nutrition. If you’re supplying your body with the nutrients it needs, you simply won’t need the extra energy boost.
If this sounds like you, you may want to consider taking a look at your dietary habits. Proper nutrition clearly becomes even more important when pregnant or planning a pregnancy.
Coffee in Pregnancy Tied to Smaller, Later Newborns
In a recent Norwegian study,1 which included data on nearly 60,000 women, coffee and other caffeinated beverages increased the odds of delivering a low birth weight baby and/or extended the gestation period.
Lead researcher Dr. Verena Sengpiel, an obstetrician/gynecologist at the Sahlgrenska Academy of Sahlgrenska University in Goteborg, Sweden, believes the current recommendations from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists should be re-evaluated. American women are currently advised to limit their caffeine intake during pregnancy to two cups of coffee per day.2
According to Dr. Sengpiel, this may be too much, even though her observational study cannot prove a cause-and-effect between caffeine and low birth weight. She told MedicineNet.com:
“We cannot say from our data whether caffeine is the specific substance responsible for the fetus being at greater risk of [becoming a] low birth weight infant, nor did we study if these babies actually had special health problems during the neonatal period.”
Still, higher caffeine consumption was found to be associated with an increased risk for reduced birth weight. Every 100 mg of caffeine consumed by the mother per day equated to a nearly one ounce reduction in the baby’s weight at birth.
Every 100 mg of caffeine also increased the length of the pregnancy by five hours. Interestingly, when the source of the caffeine was coffee, the length of the pregnancy was extended by eight hours. The reason for this difference is unknown. Seeing how your average cup of coffee contains anywhere between 95-200 mg of caffeine, it may be best to err on the side of caution. According to the featured article:3
“Dr. Jennifer Wu, an obstetrician/gynecologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said, ‘Other studies have indicated that caffeine can affect fetal weight, so this is in accord with findings of other studies.’ Why caffeine might cause this effect is unclear, she said.
‘We do know that caffeine crosses the placenta and the baby is not able to metabolize it very well, [so] it may affect some of the factors associated with growth,’ Wu theorized. She advised that women limit the amount of caffeine they consume during pregnancy. The World Health Organization says 300 mg a day, but in the United States the recommended amount is 200 mg a day, she added.”
Caffeine During Pregnancy May Damage Your Baby’s Heart
Previous animal research from 20094 found that drinking the equivalent of just two cups of coffee while pregnant could be enough to affect long-term heart function of the offspring. They also found that this minimal exposure could lead to increased levels of body fat in males, when compared to offspring not exposed to caffeine in the womb. Scott Rivkees, Yale’s Associate Chair of Pediatric Research and a senior researcher on the study, told Medical News Today:5
“Our studies raise potential concerns about caffeine exposure during very early pregnancy, but further studies are necessary to evaluate caffeine’s safety during pregnancy.”
In the study, mice given caffeine during pregnancy produced embryos with “a thinner layer of tissue separating some of the heart’s chambers than the group that was not given caffeine.” Long term, this resulted in a 20 percent increase in body fat in males, and a 35 percent decrease in cardiac function. According to Gerald Weissman, M.D. and editor-in-chief of the FASEB Journal:6
“Caffeine is everywhere: in what we drink, in what we eat, in pills that we use to relieve pain, and even in candy… This report shows that despite popular notions of safety, there’s one place it probably shouldn’t be: in the diet of an expectant mother.”
When You’re Eating for Two…
There is rarely a more nutritionally demanding time during a woman’s life than pregnancy (and later breastfeeding), when your intake of nutrients from foods and supplements are needed not only to keep your body running but also to nourish and support your rapidly growing baby. Proper nutrition is crucial at all stages of fetal development, and if mom doesn’t eat right, her growing baby won’t either.
If you’re a woman in your childbearing years and you’re planning to have children any time soon, it’s imperative that you start eating healthy now. Research7 published just last year showed that women who ate a vegetable-rich diet during the year before pregnancy had a significantly lower risk of having a baby with certain birth defects as women who ate an unhealthy high-sugar diet. Specifically, compared to those who ate unhealthy, women on a healthy diet experienced:
- One-half lower risk of anencephaly, a neural-tube defect that interferes with brain development and often results in miscarriage
- Up to a one-third lower risk of cleft lip
- One-quarter lower risk of cleft palate
- One-fifth lower risk of spina bifida, another neural-tube defect
Unfortunately, the researchers lumped saturated fats in with “unhealthy fat,” when they are actually crucial for pregnant women (and everyone, for that matter), and incorrectly labeled whole grains as healthy, when the majority of Americans need to limit them. So I believe their results may have been skewed and may have shown an even greater benefit if a true healthy diet had been defined.
Crucial Nutrients for Pregnant Women (and Women of Childbearing Age)
Healthy nutrition cannot be limited to a handful of nutrients; it can only be achieved by eating a variety of whole, high-quality foods daily. I cannot stress this enough, as if you seek to make up for a diet of processed foods by taking a multi-vitamin or eating a salad here and there, you are deceiving yourself and missing the point — and the benefits.
For a succinct and easy-to-follow overview of the types of foods and nutrients that will support a healthy pregnancy, read my optimized nutrition plan. Ideally, by the time you enter pregnancy you will already be in the Intermediate or Advanced stage, but even the Beginner stage is far better that the typical American diet. As you’ll see, it is focused on minimizing processed foods while increasing your intake of vegetables, healthy fats and high-quality sources of protein, all of which are ideal for nurturing a growing fetus.
For more detailed healthy pregnancy guidelines, please review my special report: “No-Nonsense Guide to a Naturally Healthy Pregnancy and Baby,” which covers far more than the basic nutrition tips offered here. Some of the highlights you’ll want to be sure to include though are:
Fermented Foods and/or Probiotics: Nearly everyone can benefit from optimizing the balance of good vs. bad bacteria in their gut using probiotics, but if you are pregnant or planning to be, this is of utmost importance to you and your new baby. One of the best ways to do this is to avoid sugar and processed foods and to include fermented foods in your diet.
Research shows giving pregnant women and newborns doses of good bacteria can:
- Radically reduce the risk of developing autism or autism like disorders
- Protect babies from developing eczema in childhood
- Help prevent childhood allergies;8
- Help optimize your baby’s weight later in life;9
- Improve the symptoms of colic, decreasing average crying times by about 75 percent;10
- reduce your risk of premature labor
The best way to ensure optimal gut flora is to regularly consume traditionally fermented foods, which are naturally rich in probiotics. This includes Lassi, kefir, sauerkraut and other fermented veggies, natto, kim chee, and tempeh. A high-quality probiotic supplement is also an option, especially if you don’t eat many fermented foods.
Vitamin D: I’ve included vitamin D here even though your main source of it should be from the sun, not from food. Along with reducing your risk of premature birth, studies have found that vitamin D may protect against a number of birth defects and autism, as well as pregnancy complications like high blood pressure. It is absolutely imperative that pregnant women maintain a blood level of between 50 and 70 ng/ml of 25 hydroxy D, and I am hopeful that in the not too distant future it will be mandatory for pregnant women to receive regular vitamin D blood test levels.
Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is one of the eight B complex vitamins and is naturally present in foods that come from animals, including meat, fish, eggs, milk and milk products. B12 is critical for normal neurological development and maintenance, and shortages can result in permanent birth defects. Note: If you eat a vegan diet, you are likely to be dangerously deficient in vitamin B12.
Folate in the form of Metafolate: Another B complex vitamin (vitamin B9), folic acid deficiency at the time of conception is known to increase the risk for birth defects such as spina bifida. Many women are aware of this and take folic acid supplements in their prenatal vitamins, but many are not aware that in order for folic acid to perform its crucial duties in your body, and for your fetus, it must first be activated into the biologically active form – L-5-MTHF. This is the form that’s most usable by your body and the form that’s able to cross the blood-brain barrier to carry out important brain functions. Nearly half of the population has difficulty converting folic acid to the bioactive 5-MTHF form because of a genetic reduction in enzyme activity, so it’s important to look for metafolate or metafolin in your multi-vitamin instead of folic acid.
Be sure to read the label closely, as many companies don’t use the bioactive form because it is too expensive and about 10 times more costly. Of course even better than a supplement would be a wide variety of healthy, fresh, organically grown vegetables, which will supply not only folic acid in the correct form but all the other important accessory micronutrients.
Animal-Based Omega-3 Fats: Most women have major deficiencies of animal-based omega-3 fat like EPA and DHA, which is unfortunate because fetal cells cannot form omega-3 fats, meaning a fetus must obtain all of its omega-3 fatty acids from mother’s diet. A mother’s dietary intake and plasma concentrations of DHA directly influence the DHA status of the developing fetus.
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is so essential to a child’s development that if a mother and infant are deficient in it, the child’s nervous system and immune system may never fully develop, and it can cause a lifetime of unexplained emotional, learning, and immune system disorders. DHA makes up 15 percent to 20 percent of the cerebral cortex and 30 percent to 60 percent of the retina so it is absolutely necessary for normal development of the fetus in utero, and as a baby post birth.
Studies have shown that sufficient levels of omega-3 fats optimize brain growth in children, especially during the third trimester. But because the fetus depends on the mother’s DHA sources, the constant drain on a mother’s DHA reserves can easily lead to a deficiency and some researchers believe that preeclampsia (pregnancy-related high blood pressure) and postpartum depression could be linked to a DHA deficiency. The DHA in animal-based omega-3 fats will also help to prevent the vast majority of premature deliveries.
If You’re NOT Pregnant, Keep These Coffee Drinking Tips in Mind
Getting back to coffee, I believe there are ways to include coffee in a healthy lifestyle, provided you’re not using it as a crutch to mask symptoms of a poor diet, resulting in flagging energy levels—and provided you’re not pregnant. To learn more, see this previous article on the health benefits of coffee. That said, another major caveat to coffee drinking is quality. You can find a great deal of information at Coffee & Conservation.11 Here are five primary considerations to follow if you want to use coffee for its therapeutic benefits:
- Choose Organic: Coffee beans are one of the most heavily sprayed crops. So, you should select only coffee beans that are certified organic and hence grown without pesticides. This is important, as you will obliterate ANY positive effects if you consume coffee that’s been doused in pesticides or other chemicals. Whenever possible, purchase sustainable “shade-grown” coffee to help prevent the continued destruction of our tropical rain forests and the birds that inhabit them. There are many who say shade grown coffee tastes better as well.
- Whole Bean: You’ll want to purchase whole bean coffee that smells and tastes fresh, not stale; if your coffee does not have a pleasant aroma, it is likely rancid. Grind it yourself to prevent rancidity as pre-ground coffee may be rancid by the time you get it home.
- Drink It Black: If you’re interested in the health benefits, drink your coffee black, without sugar or cream or flavorings. Add sugar and you’ll certainly ruin any of the benefits by spiking your insulin levels, which contributes to insulin resistance. Make sure the water you’re using is pure.
- Coffee Filters: If you use a “drip” coffee maker, be sure to use non-bleached filters. The bright white ones are chlorine-bleached, and some of this chlorine will leach from the filter during the brewing process. Bleached filters are also notoriously full of dangerous disinfection byproducts, such as dioxin.
- Coffee Mugs: Be careful about the container you use. Avoid plastic cups as the BPA will leach into your drink. Styrofoam cups can also leach chemicals. Your best bets include glass and ceramic travel mugs.
Again, remember that while coffee has the potential to be used therapeutically, you need to view it as both a drug and a whole food. As other drugs, caffeine can have a potent impact and should be respected and used with caution. As a whole food, it needs to fulfill certain criteria. Much of the commercial coffee available can be likened to “junk food” in that it’s loaded with pesticide residues and otherwise of poor quality…
The most important caveat is to avoid coffee and other sources of caffeine during pregnancy. There are far too many contraindications during this time, and plenty of evidence that it can cause long-term harm. If you feel like you cannot drag yourself into work without one or more cups of coffee, you may want to address your diet and exercise, which is at the root of your fatigue. If you’re supplying your body with the nutrients it needs, you simply won’t need the extra energy boost.
Reduce The Stress By Getting Some Rest
By Personalized Women’s Healthcare | Tuesday, March 4th, 2014
Life’s pressures can switch on your response triggers to stress and wear you down quickly. When your level of tension ends up being chronic or exceeds exactly what your body can handle, it can impact your physical, emotional and psychological wellness. To help manage these affects of stress and anxiety, attempt a couple of relief techniques, like breathing from your belly, taking a brief walk, getting in a good workout, or take a break and listen to some good music.
Another way that could impact your wellness is getting enough sleep. Many experts suggest that adults get in between 7 to 9 hours each night. You could require more or less, depending on your age and way of life. To remain in good health, try to make sleep a top priority in your life.
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