February 8, 2017

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a condition of intense burning pain, stiffness, swelling, and discoloration that most often affects the hand. Arms, legs, and feet can also be affected by CRPS. It is caused by damage to, or malfunction of, the peripheral and central nervous systems.

The central nervous system is composed of the brain and spinal cord, and the peripheral nervous system involves nerve signaling from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body.  CRPS is characterized by prolonged or excessive pain and mild or dramatic changes in skin color, temperature, and/or swelling in the affected area.

CRPS symptoms vary in severity and duration. Studies of the incidence and prevalence of the disease show that most cases are mild and individuals recover gradually with time. In more severe cases, individuals may not recover and may have long-term disability.

Types of CRPS

There are two types of CRPS –

  • CRPS Type 1 – Used to be known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy, Sudeck’s atrophy, reflex neurovascular dystrophy, or algoneurodystrophy. No damage has occurred. It is triggered by an apparent trivial injury, such as a fractured or sprained ankle.
  • CRPS Type 2 – Used to be known as causalgia. This is triggered by a more serious injury, such as a broken bone or some surgical operation. It may also be caused by a serious infection. In all cases there is clear evidence that nerve damage has occurred.

Anyone can get CRPS. It can strike at any age and affects both men and women, although it is much more common in women. The average age of affected individuals is about age 40. CRPS is rare in the elderly. Children do not get it before age 5 and only very rarely before age 10, but it is not uncommon in teenagers.

Causes

The exact cause of CRPS is unknown but may result from irritated and damaged nerves of the sympathetic nervous system. Even relatively minor trauma to a body part may lead to CRPS.

The sympathetic nervous system is a division of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) which controls unconscious bodily functions including digestion, regular beating of the heart, blood flow, sweating and salivation.  In CRPS dysfunctional sympathetic nerves are thought to send inappropriate messages to the brain. These interfere with normal messages regarding sensation, temperature and blood flow.

A number of different events can trigger the condition. These include –

  • Trauma (injury)
  • Surgery
  • Some forms of arthritis
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Nerve entrapment conditions
  • Shingles
  • Shoulder problems
  • Breast cancer

CRPS also occurs in some people with fibromyalgia.  A common nerve entrapment condition that can trigger CRPS is carpal tunnel syndrome.  In approximately one third of all cases, no trigger can be identified.

Symptoms

CRPS can affect the nerves, skin, muscles, blood vessels and bones simultaneously. Symptoms can be gradual or rapid in onset and can vary in severity. They normally occur in three stages: acute, dystrophic and atrophic.  Signs and symptoms occurring in these three stages may include –

  • Stage 1 of CRPS – Typically lasts from 1 to 3 months. There is a severe, burning pain in one of the limbs. There may be muscle spasms (involuntary muscle contractions), joint stiffness and fast-growing hair and nails. Skin color and temperature may also change as blood vessels in the area are affected.
    • Burning pain
    • Swelling of an extremity
    • Vasospasm (constriction of blood vessels) affecting skin colour and temperature.
    • Excessive sweating
    • Tenderness.
  • Stage 2 of CRPS – Usually lasts for 3 to 6 months. Pain in the affected limb, hand or foot may get worse, as may alterations in skin texture and color. Muscle tone may weaken. Inflammation and stiffness may worsen.
    • Intensified pain
    • Shiny skin
    • Thickened skin
    • Contracture development (tightening and shortening of muscles)
    • Diminished swelling.
  • Stage 3 of CRPS – Changes that have occurred so far are usually irreversible at this stage. There will be significant loss of muscle tone in the affected limb, bones may have become contorted, while the joints have become stiffer. The patient will likely find it very hard to use the affected limb. Patients who receive prompt treatment for CRPS early on are very unlikely to ever reach this stage.
    • Skin changes become irreversible
    • Significant osteoporosis can be shown on x-ray
    • Thinning of the fatty layers under the skin
    • Restricted movement due to contractures
    • Pain unyielding and may have spread to other areas of body

Other possible signs and symptoms include –

  • Changes in skin temperature – the skin may be sweaty on some occasions, and cold and clammy in others.
  • Changes in skin color – there may be blotches or streaks on the skin. It may range in color from very pale to pink. Sometimes the affected area of skin may take on a blue tinge.
  • Skin texture – the skin may sometimes seem thin and shiny.
  • Nails and hair – hair and nails may grow at unusual speeds (too slow or too fast).
  • Joints – the affected joint(s) may be painful, stiff and inflamed.
  • Mobility – the patient may find it harder to move the affected limb or part of limb.

Complications

  • Muscle atrophy (muscle withers) – if a limb is not used for any reason, which in this case would be pain, the muscles begin to waste.
  • Contracture – the hand, fingers or foot, depending on which area is affected, may contract into a fixed position as the muscles gradually tighten.
  • CRPS may spread – CRPS symptoms may spread to the opposite limb, hand or foot (mirror-image type), to a distant part of the body (independent type), or to a nearby site (continuity type).

Treatment

Medications – Doctors often try medication first. Because each person responds differently to medication, your doctor may try a variety of doses and drugs. Medications range from over-the-counter pain relievers, such as aspirin, acetaminophen and anti-inflammatory steroids to stronger pain medicines. These may include –

  • NDSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) – OTC (over-the-counter, no prescription required) NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, naproxen sodium or aspirin may relieve pain and inflammation.
  • Antidepressants – such as amitriptyline may be prescribed for neuropathic pain (pain caused by a damaged nerve). Should not be taken by those with a history of heart disease. Side effects may include drowsiness, dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation and problems urinating. Individuals who feel drowsy should not drive or operate heavy machinery.
  • Anticonvulsants – these were originally designed for epilepsy treatment. As side effects may include loss of coordination, drowsiness, dizziness and fatigue, patients may have to refrain from driving or operating heavy machinery.
  • Corticosteroids – such as prednisone may reduce inflammation.
  • Bone-loss medications – such as alendronate (Fosamax) and calcitonin (Miacalcin) may also be prescribed.
  • Opioid medications (opiates) – Opioids (opiates) are a class of drugs that are commonly prescribed for their analgesic or pain-killing, properties.
  • Sympathetic nerve-blocking drugs – an anesthetic may be injected, blocking the nerve fibers in the affected nerves.
  • Topical analgesics – topical means “applied onto the skin”. Several types of creams, such a lidocaine, or a combination of ketamine, clonidine and amitriptyline may reduce hypersensitivity.

Surgical Treatment – If nonsurgical treatment fails, there are surgical procedures that may help reduce symptoms.

  • Spinal cord stimulator – Tiny electrodes are implanted along your spine and deliver mild electric impulses to the affected nerves.
  • Pain pump implantation – A small device that delivers pain medication to the spinal cord is implanted near the abdomen.

Physiotherapy attempts to build or recondition muscles – allowing the person to move more normally and with less pain. The doctor may recommend passive physical therapy, such as massage and applying heat/cold, or active therapies, such as exercise.

Medical Devices – Medical devices, such as neurostimulators or drug pumps (intrathecal drug delivery systems), are surgically placed devices that modulate pain signals before they reach the brain.

Alternative Treatment

Nutritional supplements – Vitamins, minerals, and added antioxidants may be recommended by a nutritional specialist. These supplements are thought to improve and strengthen the immune system, which may in turn have a positive influence on CRPS symptoms.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Fatty acids are essential nutrients derived from dietary intake of fats. They are an important source of energy for the body, and serve a variety of other biologic functions. Conversely, excessive levels of omega-6 PUFAs, such as arachidonic acid, are associated with inflammatory activities, an effect that can be offset by the simultaneous consumption of omega-3 PUFAs.

Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) is a plant-derived omega-6 most abundant in seeds of an Eastern flower known as borage. GLA plays an important role in modulating inflammation throughout the body, especially when incorporated into the membranes of immune system cells.

B Vitamins – Vitamins B1 (thiamine), B6 (pyridoxine), and B12 (cyanocobalamin/ methylcobalamin) are not only beneficial for managing pain that may result from a vitamin B deficiency, but are also effective (alone or in combination) with other conventional medications for various painful diseases.

Vitamin C – Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), a versatile antioxidant, may act as another natural shield against pain. Accumulating evidence indicates that free radicals play a role in the exaggeration of pain hypersensitivity.

Vitamin D – Vitamin D is a prohormone version of an important hormone called 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol or 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D, also known as calcitriol (Dusso 2005). Vitamin D, once converted into calcitriol, inhibits inflammation by regulating some of the genes responsible for producing pro-inflammatory mediators.

Proanthocyanidins – Proanthocyanidins (tannins) belong to a group of chemical compounds called “flavonoids”, which provide a variety of beneficial functions for humans (e.g., their well-known antioxidant and anti-inflammatory affect). Grape seed is an especially rich source of proanthocyanidins, which have been associated with symptom reduction in a variety of painful diseases.

Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that is synthesized by the pineal gland and regulated by the environmental light/dark cycle. Melatonin can reduce pain through its beneficial effect on sleep, as well as its analgesic properties. It is also a potent antioxidant, and has been shown to reduce the pain associated with a variety of chronically painful conditions.

Methylsulfonylmethane – Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is an organic sulfur-containing compound. Among its many beneficial functions, MSM has been shown to display anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and pain management.

Acupuncture or acupressure – These treatments utilize thin needles to relieve pressure points in the affected area.

 

Reference –

http://painhealth.csse.uwa.edu.au/pain-condition-complex-regional-pain-syndrome.html

https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/guidelines-policy/pain-complex-regional-pain-syndrome

http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/health/c/rsd/

http://www.bodyinmind.org/what-is-complex-regional-pain-syndrome-in-plain-english/

http://rsds.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/deMosM_SturkenboomMCJM_HuygenFJPM.pdf\

https://www.southerncross.co.nz/AboutTheGroup/HealthResources/MedicalLibrary/tabid/178/vw/1/ItemID/193/Complex-regional-pain-syndrome-CRPS.aspx

http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/complex-regional-pain-syndrome.html

http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00021

 

 

February 8, 2017

Chelation therapy is a chemical process in which a synthetic solution-EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid)-is injected into the bloodstream to remove heavy metals and/or minerals from the body. Chelation means “to grab” or “to bind.” When EDTA is injected into the veins, it “grabs” heavy metals and minerals such as lead, mercury, copper, iron, arsenic, aluminum, and calcium and removes them from the body. Except as a treatment for lead poisoning, chelation therapy is controversial and unproved.

Chelation Therapy is used for following –

  • Memory problems or “brain fog”
  • Heart disease: Angina & chest pains; arrhythmias; heart attack; stroke
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Diabetes
  • Heavy metal toxicity
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia & autoimmune disorders
  • Kidney disease
  • Leg cramps / walking problems
  • Hearing / vision loss
  • Shortness of breath
  • Hormone dysfunction
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Poor circulation / cold feet and/or hands
  • Slow-healing sores

The word “chelate” is derived from the Greek word for claw and apparently refers to the alleged removal of plaque and calcium deposits from arteries and veins by EDTA. The therapy involves a series of intravenous infusions of the organic chemical ethylenediamine tetra acetic acid (EDTA) and various other substances to cure ailments. These medicines bind to the metals in the blood stream; this metal-chelator compound is then eliminated in the urine. While chelators are valuable drugs, they have side effects which limit their use to only a few medical conditions involving heavy metal toxicity, especially those due to lead, mercury, arsenic, and iron.

Chelation Therapy is used for –

  • Heavy metals such as Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, Arsenic, Nickel, and Antimony have been shown to relentlessly accumulate in human tissue over a lifetime. Aluminum has been implicated as a possible factor in the causation of Alzheimer’s disease. These poisonous metals disrupt the normal biochemical processes. They insinuate themselves into the active sites of enzymes thereby altering such enzymes’ activities, and they initiate “free radical reactions,” which produce noxious chemicals that damage cellular structures such as proteins, cell membranes and DNA. The results at the level of the whole organism are the development of degenerative diseases-arteriosclerosis, arthritis and cancers. The removal of these poison metals with Chelation Therapy is probably a major mechanism by which Chelation normalizes biochemical activity thereby improving circulation and energy.
  • Essential metals such as iron, copper, manganese, and zinc are rearranged in the various body compartments resulting in improved enzyme activity at the cellular level.
  • Calcium deposits are removed from vessels and intracellular membranes leading to increased blood flow and better functioning of the enzyme systems imbedded in those membranes. The result is, again, improved organ function, vitality and energy level.
  • The blood clotting elements known as platelets are made less sticky, reducing clots in the vessels and leading to improved circulation and reduction in the thromboses that occur during heart attacks and strokes.
  • D.T.A. binds trace elements like iron, which are known initiators of “free radical reactions”. These free radical reactions are thought to be the chemical origin of arteriosclerosis, cancer, and inflammations. In general, they are thought to be the cause of aging and its concomitant degenerative processes. With respect to #3 above, realize that a slight increase in the internal diameter of an occluded vessel results in a large increase in blood flow through that artery.

What does it include?

The Chelation agent, E.D.T.A. is administered intravenously in a solution of dilute salt water or in sterile water. Besides the E.D.T.A., the following substances are added to the bottle:

  • Vitamin C — This vitamin acts as an antioxidant and is needed to activate enzymes and assist in connective tissue synthesis and turnover.
  • Magnesium Sulfate — This mineral is added to counteract the effects of low calcium induced by E.D.T.A. and to replace magnesium, which is almost always deficient in the diet and in total body stores. Magnesium is needed to operate most enzyme systems and in particular, to improve heart function.
  • B-Complex Vitamins — These vitamins act as cofactors in all energy transformations in the body.
  • Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) — This vitamin is needed for most biochemical steps in amino acid metabolism, especially in the processing of the cardiotoxic substance known as homocysteine. Some theories of atherosclerosis hold that abnormal elevations of homocysteine initiate vascular disorders.
  • Hydroxycobalamin (Vitamin B12 — Cyanocobalamin) — This vitamin is needed for brain function, blood formation and in the synthesis of genetic material.
  • Procaine — This substance is added to inhibit burning at the site of infusion.
  • Heparin — This substance is added to prevent vein inflammation.

 

February 8, 2017

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a broad term for a range of diseases affecting the heart and blood vessels. A heart attack or stroke may be the first warning of an underlying disease. It includes all the diseases of the heart and circulation including coronary heart disease, angina, heart attack, congenital heart disease and stroke. It’s also known as heart and circulatory disease.

The cardiovascular system, also called the circulatory system, is the system that moves blood throughout the human body. It is composed of the heart, arteries, veins, and capillaries. It transports oxygenated blood from the lungs and heart throughout the whole body through the arteries. Blood goes through the capillaries – vessels situated between the veins and arteries.

When the blood has been depleted of oxygen, it makes its way back to the heart and lungs through the veins.

The circulatory system may also include the circulation of lymph, which is essentially recycled blood plasma after it has been filtered from the blood cells and returned to the lymphatic system. The cardiovascular system does not include the lymphatic system. In this article, the circulatory system does not include the circulation of lymph.

CVDs are the number 1 cause of death globally: more people die annually from CVDs than from any other cause. An estimated 17.5 million people died from CVDs in 2012, representing 31% of all global deaths. Of these deaths, an estimated 7.4 million were due to coronary heart disease and 6.7 million were due to stroke. Over three quarters of CVD deaths take place in low- and middle-income countries. Out of the 16 million deaths under the age of 70 due to non-communicable diseases, 82% are in low and middle income countries and 37% are caused by CVDs. Most cardiovascular diseases can be prevented by addressing behavioral risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet and obesity, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol using population-wide strategies. People with cardiovascular disease or who are at high cardiovascular risk (due to the presence of one or more risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, hyper-lipidaemia or already established disease) need early detection and management using counseling and medicines, as appropriate.

Types of CVD

Coronary heart disease – Also known as ischemic heart disease, this is the most common form of heart disease in America.

The two major forms of coronary heart disease are heart attack (also known as acute myocardial infarction) and angina. A heart attack is caused when blood supply to the heart is blocked completely, often causing damage to the heart muscle and its function.

Angina is a chronic condition where short episodes of chest pain occur periodically, caused by a temporary shortage of blood supply to the heart. Angina is not usually life-threatening, but can be associated with increased risk of heart attack.

Heart failure & cardiomyopathy – Heart failure is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the heart is unable to maintain a strong enough blood flow to meet the body’s needs. It usually develops over many years, although it can also occur more suddenly. Heart failure can result in chronic tiredness, reduced ability for physical activity and shortness of breath. Cardiomyopathy occurs when the heart muscle becomes thickened, enlarged or stiff which can reduce the effectiveness of the heart. Cardiomyopathy and heart failure commonly occur together.

Congenital heart disease – A broad term for any defect of the heart or central blood vessels that is present from birth. It can include abnormalities of the heart or heart valves, such as a hole between chambers of the heart, or narrowing of major blood vessels, or combinations of disorders.

Rheumatic heart disease – Rheumatic heart disease is caused by one or more attacks of rheumatic fever, which then do damage to the heart, particularly the heart valves. Rheumatic fever usually occurs in childhood, and may follow a streptococcal infection. In some cases, the infection affects the heart and may result in scarring the valves, weakening the heart muscle, or damaging the sac enclosing the heart. The valves are sometimes scarred so they do not open and close normally.

Inflammatory heart disease – Inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis), the membrane sac (pericarditis) which surround the heart, the inner lining of the heart (endocarditis) or the myocardium (heart muscle). Inflammation may be caused by known toxic or infectious agents or by an unknown origin.

Hypertensive heart disease – High blood pressure of unknown origin (primary hypertension) or caused by (secondary hypertension) certain specific diseases or infections, such as tumor in the adrenal glands, damage to or disease of the kidneys or their blood vessels. High blood pressure may overburden the heart and blood vessels and cause disease.

Peripheral vascular disease – This term refers to disease of large arteries that supply blood to the peripheries and can be caused by blockage of arteries due to cholesterol or fatty substances, or caused by widening of the arteries such as the aorta, which in severe cases can lead to rupture of the arterial wall.

Stroke – Stroke is a type of cerebrovascular disease and occurs when an artery supplying blood to the brain either suddenly becomes blocked or begins to bleed. This may result in part of the brain dying, leading to sudden impairment of one or more capacities, such as speaking, thinking and/or movement.

Causes

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure) – this is the one major risk factor for CVD by far. If hypertension is poorly controlled, the artery walls may become damaged, raising the risk of developing a blood clot.
  • Radiation therapy – Studies suggest that radiation therapy can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease later in life.
  • Smoking – Regular smoking can narrow the blood vessels, especially the coronary arteries.
  • Lack of sleep – People who sleep less than 7.5 hours each day have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
  • Having a partner with cancer – A person whose partner has cancer has a nearly 30% higher risk of developing stroke or coronary heart disease.
  • Diabetes – This includes both types 1 and 2. High blood sugar levels can harm the arteries. People with type 2 diabetes are often overweight or obese, which are also risk factors for cardiovascular disease. People with diabetes are 2 to 4 times more likely to die from heart disease than non-diabetics. Experts say that blood glucose control measurements can help predict a diabetes patient’s cardiovascular disease risk.
  • Unhealthy eating – Diets which are high in fat combined with carbohydrates, especially if they consist mainly of fast foods, can accelerate the accumulation of fatty deposits inside the arteries, which raise the risk of obesity, hypertension and hyperlipidemia. Diets which lack adequate amounts of fruit, vegetables, fiber, whole grains and essential nutrients are not good for cardiovascular health.
  • Physical inactivity – People who lead predominantly sedentary lives tend to have higher blood pressure, more stress hormones, higher blood cholesterol levels, and are more likely to be overweight. These are all risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.
  • Drinking too much alcohol – People who drink too much tend to have higher blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels.
  • Stress – Hormones associated with (mental) stress, such as cortisone, raise blood sugar levels. Stress is also linked to higher blood pressure.
  • Air pollution – Studies suggest that air pollution causes about the same number of heart attacks as other individual risk factors. The investigators assessed 36 separate studies that focused on air pollution.
  • COPD and reduced lung function – People with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) have a significant risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
  • The age of first menstruation – Females who start menstruating early are more likely to become obese, and have cardiovascular disease risk factors.

Symptoms

Cardiovascular disease is caused by narrowed, blocked or stiffened blood vessels that prevent your heart, brain or other parts of your body from receiving enough blood. Cardiovascular disease symptoms may be different for men and women. For instance, men are more likely to have chest pain; women are more likely to have symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea and extreme fatigue.

Symptoms can include –

  • Chest pain (angina)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain, numbness, weakness or coldness in your legs or arms if the blood vessels in those parts of your body are narrowed
  • Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen or back
  • Fluttering in your chest
  • Racing heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • Slow heartbeat (bradycardia)
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting (syncope) or near fainting

Serious congenital heart defects — defects you’re born with — usually become evident soon after birth. Heart defect symptoms in children could include –

  • Pale gray or blue skin color (cyanosis)
  • Swelling in the legs, abdomen or areas around the eyes
  • In an infant, shortness of breath during feedings, leading to poor weight gain

Less serious congenital heart defects are often not diagnosed until later in childhood or during adulthood. Signs and symptoms of congenital heart defects that usually aren’t immediately life-threatening include –

  • Easily getting short of breath during exercise or activity
  • Easily tiring during exercise or activity
  • Swelling in the hands, ankles or feet

Treatment

  • Statins are medicines which lower cholesterol levels in people who cannot control them by diet alone. They also help to balance the amounts of good and bad cholesterol. They prevent many strokes and heart attacks.
  • Anticoagulants are medicines which help stop the blood clotting too easily. They are useful for preventing clots forming when people are at risk of heart attacks or strokes – for example if they suffer from atrial fibrillation.
  • Bypass surgery replaces blocked coronary arteries with healthy blood vessels from somewhere else in the body, often the legs or the chest. The surgery restores the blood supply to the heart muscle and prevents angina pain and heart attacks. This surgery involves opening up the chest of the patient to get at the heart so it takes a long time, costs a lot of money and carries a risk to the patient. In recent years doctors often avoid the need for bypass surgery by the use of stents.
  • Stents are special mesh tubes which can be inserted into an artery affected by atherosclerosis. The stent is opened up using a tiny balloon which inflates. This squashes the fatty deposits and opens up the blood vessel so the blood can flow freely again. Stents can be put in place in the coronary arteries by feeding them in through the blood vessels in the leg. This doesn’t need an operation so it is faster, safer for the patient and cheaper. Some stents are now made which contain medicines which reduce the risk of blood clotting even further.
  • Artificial Pacemakers are put into the body with two wires running to the heart. It’s job is to take over the function of natural pace maker region if it goes wrong. The pacemaker has a battery and sends a small shock into the heart muscle at regular intervals to stimulate it to beat normally.
  • Clot busting Medicines (thrombolytic medicines) are given to people to dissolve the clots in the coronary arteries that are causing a heart attack (or stroke). The sooner they are given, the more effective they are. If the ventricles of the heart stop pumping blood properly, or the heart stops completely, a defibrillator can be used. This gives the heart an electric shock and may start it beating again in a normal rhythm. Defibrillators are often used by doctors or paramedics in ambulances and hospitals. However every minute that passes after a cardiac arrest reduces the chances of survival by 14%. Automated defibrillators are sometimes found in pubs, swimming pools and shopping centres. They can be used by members of the public as they give clear automatic instructions about what to do to save a life.

Alternative Treatment

Chelation Therapy – Chelation therapy is a medical treatment commonly used to rid the body of heavy metals, like treating lead or mercury poisoning. Its use in treating heart disease is controversial and questionable. During chelation treatments, an amino acid called EDTA (ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid) is injected. It binds to heavy metals and minerals and leaves through the urine.

Niacin – This B vitamin works in the liver to reduce the fatty acids that form cholesterol. Niacin can help lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and triglyceride levels while boosting HDL. Potential side effects include nausea, intense flushing, and liver problems. Niacin should only be taken under a doctor’s supervision since special blood tests are necessary to monitor for liver damage.

Red yeast rice – Researchers have found that this Chinese supplement can lower LDL and triglycerides. Red yeast rice contains monacolin K, which is a statin — a chemical compound that lowers cholesterol. In fact, monacolin K is the principal ingredient in the prescription cholesterol drug lovastatin (Mevacor).

R-Lipoic Acid – R-lipoic acid improves endothelial function by, and the antioxidant also enhanced the benefits of a drug used to treat heart disease.

Curcumin – Curcumin is world-renowned for reducing inflammation and pain. Curcumin is the active ingredient in Turmeric.

Multivitamin – Vitamins help to prevent unnecessary blood clots that can block arteries. It is also necessary to control the amino acid homocysteine which appears to damage artery linings and encourage heart disease. itamin B12 deficiency has been associated with elevated levels of the dangerous homocysteine. Elevated levels of homocysteine, an amino acid produced by the body, can damage the inner surface of arteries. This can be treated and/or prevented with vitamin B12, vitamin B6 and folic acid. Many cardiologists are now using B-vitamins to help prevent coronary artery diseaseFolic Acid – Folic acid helps to control homocysteine, an amino acid that seems to play a major role in clogging the arteries.

Calcium – Calcium is believed to help keep cholesterol under control and may prevent dangerous blood clots. Too much calcium may increase the risk of heart disease, especially if there is much too much calcium in relation to magnesium.

Magnesium – Magnesium deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of CVD, heart attacks and improper heartbeats (ventricular tachyarrhythmias).

Phytosterols – These are found in unrefined vegetable oils, whole grains, nuts, and legumes. Eating foods enriched with at least 0.8 grams of plant sterols or stanols daily can reduce your LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Omega-3 fatty acids, derived from fatty fish, are thought to reduce inflammation in your body. Inflammation is a contributing factor in heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids may also decrease triglycerides, lower blood pressure, and boost immunity.

Flax and flaxseed oil also contain beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, though studies have not found these sources to be as effective as fish. The shell on raw flaxseeds also contains soluble fiber, which can help lower blood cholesterol.

Selenium – The amount of selenium in the blood and red blood cells may be related to the risk of CHD and heart attacks. Lower the level of selenium, the more the risk. Selenium is an antioxidant that helps to prevent the conversion of LDL into its more artery-damaging, oxidized form. It may also help to “thin” the blood,” minimizing the blood clots and the heart attack.

Co-enzymes – Adequate levels of CoQ10 is necessary for a well functioning system. When the levels of CoQ10 drops below optimum levels, the disease takes over or already had done so. Heart muscle biopsies in patients with various cardiac diseases showed a CoQ10 deficiency in 50-75 percent of the cases. On the corollary, all the well functioning hearts had an adequate amount of CoQ10 in the tissue. When supplemental CoQ10 was introduced into the ailing hearts, they started getting signs of new life. CoQ10 increases oxygenation of heart tissue.

 

Reference –

http://www.world-heart-federation.org/fileadmin/user_upload/documents/Fact_sheets/2012/CVD_terms.pdf

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Caregiver/Resources/WhatisCardiovascularDisease/What-is-Cardiovascular-Disease_UCM_301852_Article.jsp#

http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/guide/heart-disease-symptoms-types

http://www.world-heart-federation.org/cardiovascular-health/cardiovascular-disease-risk-factors/

http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/guide/heart-disease-symptoms-types

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/basics/symptoms/con-20034056

http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/chronic-cardio#tre

http://my.clevelandclinic.org/services/heart/prevention/emotional-health/holistic-therapies

 

 

 

February 8, 2017

Cardio-metabolic syndrome (CMS) is characterized by a group of cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors. ​Cardio-metabolic syndrome is a combination or cluster of risk factors that, together, increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The risk factors that make up this cluster include –

  • Central obesity (waist circumference greater than the desired target level)
  • High triglycerides
  • High blood pressure
  • High fasting blood glucose
  • Low HDL (good cholesterol)
  • High LDL (lousy cholesterol)

If an individual has at least three of these conditions, the patient likely has metabolic syndrome, and the risk of developing cardiovascular disease or diabetes is greatly increased. That means an increased risk of complications, including loss of eyesight and kidney failure from diabetes, and heart attack and stroke from cardiovascular disease. This means that it is extremely important for people to work with their healthcare professional team to make changes to their lifestyle and possibly their medical care.

A wide range of traditional and newly recognized risk factors contribute to cardiometabolic disease, and it is important to review all of them during a patient examination.

Traditional cardio-metabolic risk factors –

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Family history
  • Hypertension
  • Dysglycemia
  • Dyslipidemia
  • Smoking

Other cardio-metabolic risk factors –

  • Abdominal obesity (measured by waist circumference)
  • Insulin resistance
  • Inflammation (measured by high-sensitivity C-reactive protein levels)
  • Lack of consumption of fruits and vegetables
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Psychosocial stress

Causes       

Genetics – Some people are genetically more inclined to develop insulin resistance, which can lead to metabolic syndrome. People from Asian, African-Caribbean and Hispanic (Latin-American) backgrounds have a higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome. People with a family history of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and early heart disease are are also more susceptible.

Obesity/overweight – Especially if the person continues gaining weight every year and has too much belly fat (abdominal obesity).

Physical inactivity – Lack of exercise is a major contributory factor towards metabolic syndrome risk. Women are more likely to develop metabolic syndrome due to lack of exercise than men.

Diet – Some studies have linked sugary drinks with metabolic syndrome. High-fat diets can also induce insulin resistance, even after a few days.

Age – Metabolic syndrome rates are much higher among older people. Over 40% of people aged 60+ years have metabolic syndrome, compared to less than 10% among twenty-year-olds. However, metabolic syndrome can occur at any age.

Sleep apnea – People with sleep apnea are more likely to suffer from insulin resistance, which in turn raises the risk of metabolic syndrome.

Hormonal imbalance – People with hormonal problems may have a higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome. An example is PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome).

Others

  • Sources of inflammation in the body
  • Existing nutrient deficiencies
  • The production of free radicals inside your body

Symptom

The symptoms include –

  • Obesity – especially if you have an apple shape, with too much fat built up around the waist, known as “central obesity” or “abdominal obesity”. A man’s waist will be at least 102 centimeters (40 inches) and a woman’s 89 centimeters (35 inches). The waist circumferences can vary, according to the height and frame of the individual.
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure) – blood pressure of at least 130/85mmhg. Some countries, such as the UK place the threshold at 140/90mmHg .
  • High blood sugar – a fasting blood glucose of at least 5.6 mmol/L (100 mg/dL). The person’s body is unable to control blood sugar levels, also known as insulin resistance.
  • Abnormal blood cholesterol – low levels of HDL, also known as high-density lipoprotein or “good cholesterol”, less than 40mg/dL (1.04mmol/L)
  • High blood triglycerides – triglycerides are a form of circulating fats. Levels of at least 150mg/dL or 1.7mmol/L.

People with metabolic syndrome also have a higher risk of deep vein thrombosis, and tend to develop inflammation.

Treatment

Lifestyle Modification – Lifestyle modification is the primary management strategy for cardiometabolic syndrome. This can be challenging to implement in a primary care practice because it requires simultaneous counseling on physical activity, diet, and smoking cessation with regular follow-up over a long period of time. Clinical guidelines recommend that lifestyle modifications be continued for 3 to 6 months before considering pharmacotherapy unless patients are at high risk. The importance of continuous, lifelong behavior change should be communicated to patients, even if they receive pharmacotherapy.

  • Eat better
  • Get active (exercise)
  • Lose weight
  • Take medications
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Stop smoking

Nutritional Supplements

Protein and bioactive peptides – Milk protein, especially whey protein, has been shown to improve body composition and to have a positive impact on muscle protein synthesis. It has been demonstrated that whey protein helps in controlling blood glucose levels.

Vitamin D – Several epidemiological studies have demonstrated that adequate vitamin D intake and status may be protective against metabolic syndrome. Many mechanisms have been proposed to explain how vitamin D may modulate cardiometabolic health. These include the reduction of dyslipidemia through the maintenance of calcium homeostasis, the stimulation of insulin production and release, and the regulation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, which helps in blood pressure control.

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and milk fat – Milk fat appears to improve the ratio of HDL-cholesterol to total cholesterol. Saturated fatty acids present in milk fat also have a favourable impact on triglyceride levels.

Calcium, potassium and magnesium – Evidence suggests that calcium may improve the blood lipid profile through the potential mediation of fecal fat excretion.

 

Reference –

http://www.repertoiremag.com/cardiometabolic-syndrome.html

http://www.sld.cu/galerias/pdf/servicios/hta/hypertension_and_the_cardiometabolic_syndrome_in_chile_a_review_of_concepts_and_consequences_for_the_developing_world.pdf

http://halleinstitute.emory.edu/combating_cms/

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11892-006-0036-5#/page-1

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11892-006-0036-5

http://bmchealthservres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1472-6963-10-71

http://www.healthsciences.okstate.edu/com/cme/pdf/Sun%203%20Chad%20Edwards%20DO%20Metabolic%20Syndrome.pdf

http://www.slideshare.net/hosamatef9/cardiometabolic-syndrome

 

February 8, 2017

Atherosclerosis is a complex chronic disease characterized by the accumulation of lipids within arterial walls that eventually go on to form plaques, which can cause narrowing, hardening, and/or complete blockage of arteries.

Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood.  Over time, plaque hardens and narrows your arteries, reducing blood flow to your organs (such as your heart) and other parts of your body.  This can lead to serious problems, including heart attack, stroke, or even death. Atherosclerosis can affect the medium-sized and large arteries of the brain, the heart, the kidneys and the legs. The effects of atherosclerosis differ depending upon which arteries in the body narrow and become clogged with plaque. If the arteries that bring oxygen-rich blood to your heart are affected, the person may have coronary artery disease, chest pain, or a heart attack. If the arteries to the brain are affected, the person may have a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or a stroke. If the arteries in the arms or legs are affected, the person may develop peripheral artery disease. There are chances of developing a bulge in the artery wall (aneurysm) too.

A partial blockage of an artery in the heart by atherosclerosis leads to a type of chest pain called angina. If that blockage becomes complete and a part of the heart muscle dies, the result is called a heart attack also known in medical terms as a myocardial infarction. When atherosclerosis causes the total obstruction of an artery in the brain, the result is a stroke. Atherosclerosis, then, is the underlying cause of most serious heart and circulatory problems.

Causes

The exact cause of atherosclerosis isn’t known. Research suggests that atherosclerosis starts when certain factors damage the inner layers of the arteries. These factors include smoking, high amounts of certain fats and cholesterol in the blood, high blood pressure, and high amounts of sugar in the blood due to insulin resistance or diabetes.

Many researchers believe it begins with an injury to the innermost layer of the artery, known as the endothelium. Researchers believe the following factors contribute to the damage:

  • High blood pressure
  • Elevated LDL (“bad”) cholesterol
  • An accumulation of homocysteine. An amino acid produced by the human body, thought to be a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, diabetes, and dementia.
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Inflammation
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Lack of exercise
  • Family history of heart disease

Once the artery is damaged, blood cells called platelets build up there to try and heal the injury. Over time, fats, cholesterol, and other substances also build up at the site, which thickens and hardens the artery wall. The blood flow through the artery is decreased, and the oxygen supply to organs also decreases. Blood clots may form, blocking the artery and cutting off blood supply to other organs.

Environmental Causes – Heavy metal toxicity plays a role in atherosclerosis. Zinc deficiency, copper deficiency, or cadmium toxicity, weaken arterial walls and as a compensatory measure, the body deposits calcium or fatty substances to reinforce arterial strength. Imbalance in the calcium/magnesium ratio or an elevated calcium level may be associated with deposits of calcium in arteries. This response to toxicity and nutrient deficiencies hardens the arteries.

Many other toxins screw up cholesterol chemistry and contribute to hardening of the arteries. Phthalates in soft plastics and water bottles leach out into food and water that then sit in your cells and damage their ability to properly metabolize cholesterol. Teflon from your frying pan or mercury from fish and dental fillings also damage your cholesterol chemistry. There are thousands of industrial chemicals working synergistically to destroy your body and its ability to protect itself. The only answer is to educate yourself on toxic substances, avoid them and detox your body of these poisons.

Who is at Risk?

Risk factors for atherosclerosis may include –

  • Being male
  • If female, being past menopause
  • High blood pressure
  • High LDL (“bad”) cholesterol or triglycerides (fats in the blood)
  • Low HDL (“good”) chol esterol
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • A family history of heart disease, stroke, or arterial disease
  • Elevated homocysteine levels
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Diets high in saturated fat and trans fatty acids (trans fats)
  • Depression
  • Obstructive sleep apnea

Symptoms

Many times, people with atherosclerosis do not have any symptoms until an artery is 40% clogged with plaque. Symptoms vary depending upon which arteries are affected.

Symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • Chest pain – usually located in the centre of your chest and giving the sensation of pressure, tightness or squeezing
  • Pain in other parts of the body that can feel as though it is travelling from your chest to your arms (usually the left arm, although both arms can be affected), jaw, neck, back and abdomen
  • An overwhelming sense of anxiety (similar to a panic attack)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling sick
  • Lightheadedness
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting

If the artery is narrowed rather than blocked, atherosclerosis usually doesn’t cause symptoms until the inside of the artery has been narrowed by more than 70%. In this case, the first symptom is often pain or cramps whenever the blood flow can’t keep up with the muscles’ need for oxygen. This can cause chest pain (angina) while exercising if the heart muscle is affected, or leg pain while walking if the leg muscles are affected.

Complications

Coronary heart disease (CHD), also called coronary artery disease, occurs when plaque builds up in the coronary arteries. These arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart. CHD can lead to angina (chest pain) and heart attack. CHD is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women.

Carotid artery disease occurs when plaque builds up in the carotid arteries. These arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your brain. Carotid artery disease can lead to stroke.

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD occurs when plaque builds up in the major arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to your limbs and pelvis. PAD can lead to numbness and pain and may cause infections.

Treatment

  • Medications – The doctor may prescribe medications to prevent the build up of plaque or to help prevent blood clots (anteplatelets). Other medications such as statins, Niacin (nicotinic acid), Bile acid sequestrants, Cholesterol absorption inhibitors, Fibric acid derivatives, may be prescribed to lower cholesterol, and Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors to lower blood pressure.
  • Surgeries – Severe cases of atherosclerosis may be treated by surgical procedures, such as angioplasty or coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). Angioplasty involves expanding the artery and opening the blockage, so that the blood can flow through properly again. CABG is another form of surgery that can improve blood flow to the heart by using arteries from other parts of the body to bypass a narrowed coronary artery.

Alternative Medicine – This treatment helps improve heart condition and the condition of arteries.

  • Multivitamin – Vitamins help to prevent unnecessary blood clots that can block arteries. It is also necessary to control the amino acid homocysteine which appears to damage artery linings and encourage heart disease. itamin B12 deficiency has been associated with elevated levels of the dangerous homocysteine. Elevated levels of homocysteine, an amino acid produced by the body, can damage the inner surface of arteries. This can be treated and/or prevented with vitamin B12, vitamin B6 and folic acid. Many cardiologists are now using B-vitamins to help prevent coronary artery disease.
  • Folic Acid – Folic acid helps to control homocysteine, an amino acid that seems to play a major role in clogging the arteries.
  • Calcium – Calcium is believed to help keep cholesterol under control and may prevent dangerous blood clots. Too much calcium may increase the risk of heart disease, especially if there is much too much calcium in relation to magnesium.
  • Magnesium – Magnesium deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of CHD, heart attacks and improper heartbeats (ventricular tachyarrhythmias).
  • Selenium – The amount of selenium in the blood and red blood cells may be related to the risk of CHD and heart attacks. Lower the level of selenium, the more the risk. Selenium is an antioxidant that helps to prevent the conversion of LDL into its more artery-damaging, oxidized form. It may also help to “thin” the blood,” minimizing the blood clots and the heart attack.
  • Co-enzymes – Adequate levels of CoQ10 is necessary for a well functioning system. When the levels of CoQ10 drops below optimum levels, the disease takes over or already had done so. Heart muscle biopsies in patients with various cardiac diseases showed a CoQ10 deficiency in 50-75 percent of the cases. On the corollary, all the well functioning hearts had an adequate amount of CoQ10 in the tissue. When supplemental CoQ10 was introduced into the ailing hearts, they started getting signs of new life. CoQ10 increases oxygenation of heart tissue.
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids – Omega-3 fatty acids helps to reduce inflammation, lowers blood lipids (especially triglycerides), improve blood viscosity, and normalize heart rhythms.
  • Garlic – Long revered for its health benefits, garlic is rich in antioxidants and increases nitric oxide production.
  • R-Lipoic Acid – R-lipoic acid improves endothelial function by, and the antioxidant also enhanced the benefits of a drug used to treat heart disease.
  • Curcumin – Curcumin is world-renowned for reducing inflammation and pain. Curcumin is the active ingredient in Turmeric.

 

Reference –

http://www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/documents/vascularsurgery/files/diagnosis1%5B1%5D.pdf

http://www.med.ucla.edu/champ/athero.PDF

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/public/heart/atherosclerosis_atglance.pdf

http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMra043430

https://www.bhf.org.uk/~/media/files/publications/heart-conditions/g962_quick_guide_to_atherosclerosis.pdf

https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/atherosclerosis

http://www.lifeextension.com/protocols/heart-circulatory/coronary-artery-disease-atherosclerosis/page-01

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/atherosclerosis/Pages/Introduction.aspx

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/arteriosclerosis-atherosclerosis/basics/definition/con-20026972

http://www.medicine.virginia.edu/clinical/departments/medicine/divisions/digestive-health/nutrition-support-team/nutrition-articles/Parrish_March_12.pdf

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/WhyCholesterolMatters/Atherosclerosis_UCM_305564_Article.jsp

 

February 8, 2017

Polycystic (pah-lee-SIS-tik) ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a health problem that can affect a woman’s menstrual cycle, ability to have children, hormones, heart blood vessels and appearance. Women with PCOS typically have high levels of androgens, also known as male hormones which may become the reason for the body to stop ovulating, reason for getting acne, and grow extra facial and body hair. They also have higher levels of insulin production that can result in excess weight gain and increases your chance of getting diabetes. They may have enlarged ovaries that contain small collections of fluid called follicles located in each ovary as seen during an ultrasound exam.

The term “polycystic ovaries” refers to the many tiny cysts, or bumps, in the ovaries. These cysts themselves are not harmful and do not need to be removed. Most women with PCOS grow many small cysts camera.gif on their ovaries. That is why it is called polycystic ovary syndrome. PCOS is also known as ‘Stein-Leventhal syndrome’.

Hormones are chemical messengers that trigger many different processes, including growth and energy production. Often, the job of one hormone is to signal the release of another hormone. For reasons that are not well understood, in PCOS the hormones get out of balance. One hormone change triggers another, which changes another.

Between 1 in 10 and 1 in 20 women of childbearing age has PCOS. As many as 5 million women in the United States may be affected. It can occur in girls as young as 11 years old.

Causes

Although the exact cause is unknown, it is known that PCOS is a result of a hormone imbalance in the brain and ovaries. Also, many women with PCOS have too much insulin, a hormone that turns food into energy. Having too much insulin may cause the body to make too much testosterone. This high testosterone level would account for some of the symptoms, like excess body hair or irregular periods.

  • Resistance to insulin – Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas to control the amount of sugar in the blood. It helps to move glucose from blood into cells, where it’s broken down to produce energy. Insulin resistance means the body’s tissues are resistant to the effects of insulin. The body therefore has to produce extra insulin to compensate. High levels of insulin cause the ovaries to produce too much testosterone, which interferes with the development of the follicles (the sacs in the ovaries where eggs develop) and prevents normal ovulation. It can also lead to weight gain, hence making the symptoms worse.
  • Hormone Imbalance – This includes:
    • Raised levels of testosterone– a hormone often thought of as a male hormone, although all women usually produce small amounts of it
    • Raised levels of luteinising hormone (LH)– this stimulates ovulation, but may have an abnormal effect on the ovaries if levels are too high
    • Low levels of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) –a protein in the blood, which binds to testosterone and reduces the effect of testosterone
    • Raised levels of prolactin(only in some women with PCOS) –  hormone that stimulates the breast glands to produce milk in pregnancy
  • Genetics – PCOS sometimes runs in families. If any relatives, such as your mother, sister or aunt, have PCOS, then the risk of you developing it is often increased. This suggests there may be a genetic link to PCOS, although specific genes associated with the condition haven’t yet been identified.
  • Low-grade Inflammation – It has also been found that women with PCOS have low-grade inflammation, which may be a cause for insulin resistance. White blood cells produce substances to fight infection, this is known as inflammatory response. In some predisposed people eating certain foods, or exposure to certain environmental factors may trigger an inflammatory response. When inflammatory response is triggered, white blood cells produce substances that may contribute to insulin resistance and atherosclerosis.

Symptoms

The symptoms of PCOS can vary from woman to woman. Some of the symptoms

of PCOS include:

  • Infertility (not able to get pregnant) because of not ovulating. In fact, PCOS is the most common cause of female infertility.
  • Infrequent, absent, and/or irregular menstrual periods.
  • Hirsutis— increased hair growth on the face, chest, stomach, back, thumbs, or toes.
  • Cysts on the ovaries
  • Acne, oily skin, or dandruff.
  • Weight gain or obesity, usually with extra weight around the waist.
  • Male-pattern baldness or thinning hair.
  • Patches of skin on the neck, arms, breasts, or thighs that are thick and dark brown or black.
  • Skin tags —excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck area.
  • Pelvic pain
  • Anxiety or depression.
  • Sleep apnea – when breathing stops for short periods of time while asleep.

While not symptoms of the disease, many women with PCOS have other concurrent health problems, such as diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol. These are linked to the weight gain typical in PCOS patients.

PCOS and Menopause

PCOS affects many systems in the body. So, many symptoms may persist even though ovarian function and hormone levels change as a woman nears menopause. For instance, excessive hair growth continues, and male pattern baldness or thinning hair gets worse after menopause. Also, the risks of complications (health problems) from PCOS, such as heart attack, stroke, and diabetes, increase as a woman gets older.

Women with PCOS appear to have higher rates of:

  • Miscarriage
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Pregnancy-induced high blood pressure (preeclampsia)
  • Premature delivery

Babies born to women with PCOS have a higher risk of spending time in a neonatal intensive care unit or of dying before, during, or shortly after birth. Most of the time, these problems occur in multiple-birth babies (twins, triplets).

Treatment

Treatment goals are based on the symptoms, whether or not a woman want to become pregnant, and lowering the chances of getting heart disease and diabetes. Many women will need a combination of treatments to meet these goals. Some treatments for PCOS include:

  • Lifestyle modification – Women with PCOS are generally over- weight or obese, that may result in health problems. This modification may include –
    • Limiting processed foods and foods with added sugars
    • Adding more whole-grain products, fruits, vegetables, and lean meats to your diet

This helps to lower blood glucose (sugar) levels, improve the body’s use of insulin, and normalize hormone levels in your body. Even a 10 percent loss in body weight can restore a normal period and make your cycle more regular.

  • Birth Control Pills – For women who don’t want to get pregnant, birth control pills can:
    • Control menstrual cycles
    • Reduce male hormone levels
    • Help to clear acne

Since the menstrual cycle will become abnormal again if the pill is stopped, women may also think about taking a pill that only has progesterone like Provera, to control the menstrual cycle and reduce the risk of endometrial cancer.

  • Diabetes Medication – The medicine metformin (Glucophage) is used to treat type 2 diabetes. It has also been found to help with PCOS symptoms. Metformin affects the way insulin controls blood glucose (sugar) and lowers testosterone production. It slows the growth of abnormal hair and, after a few months of use, may help ovulation to return. Recent research has shown metformin to have other positive effects, such as decreased body mass and improved cholesterol levels. Metformin will not cause a person to become diabetic.
  • Fertility medications – Lack of ovulation is usually the reason for fertility problems in women with PCOS. Several medications that stimulate ovulation can help women with PCOS become pregnant. Even so, other reasons for infertility in both the woman and man should be ruled out before fertility medications are used. Also, some fertility medications increase the risk for multiple births (twins, triplets). Treatment options include:
    • Clomiphene (Clomid, Serophene) — the first choice therapy to stimulate ovulation for most patients.
    • Metformin taken with clomiphene — may be tried if clomiphene alone fails. The combination may help women with PCOS ovulate on lower doses of medication.
    • Gonadotropins — given as shots, but are more expensive and raise the risk of multiple births compared to clomiphene.
    • Another option is IVFe. vitro fertilization.
  • Surgeries – Ovarian drilling is a surgery may increase the chance of ovulation.

Alternative Treatment

Many of the conventional treatments being utilized are not specific for PCOS but have been used because the mechanisms of action indicate a potential benefit. There are a number of natural products which may have potential benefit without the possible side effects of abnormal uterine bleeding, weight gain, and liver failure seen with some of the conventional approaches.

  • Dietary Fiber – The health benefits of dietary fiber in reducing the risk of chronic disease have been well-established. Several characteristics of dietary fiber have been established, including the bulking effect that increases fecal volume, limits caloric intake, slows stomach emptying, and dilutes the content of urine. Dietary fiber also has the capacity to bind and eliminate organic compounds, which could reduce the interaction of potentially carcinogenic compounds within the intestinal mucosa. Several lines of evidence also suggest that dietary fiber may play a key role in the regulation of circulating insulin levels. Fiber reduces insulin secretion by slowing the rate of nutrient absorption following a meal. Studies show that insulin sensitivity increases and body weight decreases in people on high fiber diets.
  • Flaxseed – Flaxseed is one of the most significant sources of plant lignans, one of the main classes of estrogenic compounds called phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens represent a family of plant compounds that have been shown to have both estrogenic and antiestrogenic properties. Flaxseed and its isolated lignans have been shown to have numerous chemoprotective effects both in vitro and in vivo. Many of the chemoprotective effects may be mediated through their influence on endogenous sex hormone production, metabolism, and biological activity.
  • Fish Oil – Adjusting the quality of food eaten – specifically fats – appears to be an important component of treatment of PCOS. The fatty acid components of dietary lipids not only influence hormonal signaling events by modifying membrane lipid composition, but fatty acids may directly influence molecular events that govern gene expression. It is thought that this regulation of gene expression by dietary fats has the greatest impact on the development of obesity and insulin resistance. Fish oils, which are comprised of the essential fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), fall into a larger category of fats called polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs).
  • D-chiro-inositol – Studies suggest that women with PCOS may have insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia due to a D-chiroinositol deficiency. D-chiro-inositol is a component of a phosphoglycan that has been shown to mediate the action of insulin.
  • Chromium – Chromium is one of the most widely studied nutritional interventions in the treatment of glucose- and insulin-related irregularities. While research shows a clear link between chromium and glucose metabolism, evidence for its interaction in insulin resistant states is a bit more ambiguous. Chromium picolinate is the form of chromium which has been used in a number of studies on insulin resistance.
  • Amino acid glutamine – Is reputed to improve blood sugar control.
  • Evening Primerose Oil – Evening Primrose Oil helps to increase cervical mucous and metabolic function.
  • Calcium and Vitamin D – Both calcium and vitamin D play significant roles in the health of many parts of the body. Where PCOS is concerned, calcium protects cardiovascular health. Vitamin D plays a role in glucose metabolism. Studies have shown that people with type 2 diabetes are often deficient in vit. D. Calcium can be found in kale, turnips, collards, mustard greens, kelp and wakame seaweed.
  • Herbs – These include –
    • Licorice Root – Helps the body to maintain proper hormone production and release. Licorice also supports healthy insulin levels and liver health which is important for women with PCOS.
    • Maca – Maca works to balance estrogen and progesterone in the body which may help to encourage a healthy menstrual cycle. Maca is an adaptogen and an incredible fertility superfood. It helps to balance the hormones, but does not contain any hormones itself. It is able to do this by nourishing the endocrine system.
    • Vitex – Helps encourage regular ovulation in infertile women when used prior to ovulation. This herb has been found to be wonderful in aiding women with menstrual irregularities, improving the timing of the entire menstrual cycle.
    • White Peony – Helps in relaxing muscles, reducing painful menstruation, as well as lowering serum and free testosterone levels in women with PCOS.

PCOS is a complex female health issue. It consists of many different health concerns and risks. If alternative treatment options are implemented, these risks and health issues may become obsolete.

 

Reference –

http://www.healthline.com/health/polycystic-ovary-disease#Overview1

http://www.healthline.com/health/polycystic-ovary-disease#Overview1

http://www.eijppr.com/may_jun_2012/15.pdf

http://www.eijppr.com/may_jun_2012/15.pdf

http://www.eijppr.com/may_jun_2012/15.pdf

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Polycystic-ovarian-syndrome/Pages/Treatment.aspx

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Polycystic-ovarian-syndrome/Pages/Treatment.aspx

 

http://www.medicinenet.com/polycystic_ovary/article.htm

http://www.medicinenet.com/polycystic_ovary/article.htm

 

February 8, 2017

The metabolic syndrome is a cluster of the most dangerous heart attack risk factors: diabetes and raised fasting plasma glucose, abdominal obesity, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. When a patient presents with these risk factors together, the chances for future cardiovascular problems are greater than any one factor presenting alone.

The term “metabolic” refers to the biochemical processes involved in the body’s normal functioning. Risk factors are traits, conditions, or habits that increase the chance of developing a disease.

Metabolic syndrome is a serious health condition that affects about 34 percent of adults and places them at higher risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke and diseases related to fatty buildups in artery walls. The underlying causes of metabolic syndrome include overweight and obesity, physical inactivity and genetic factors.

The condition is also known by other names including Syndrome X, insulin resistance syndrome, and dysmetabolic syndrome. According to a national health survey, more than one in five Americans has metabolic syndrome. The number of people with metabolic syndrome increases with age, affecting more than 40 percent of people in their 60s and 70s.

Causes

Metabolic syndrome has several causes that act together. A person can control some of the causes, such as overweight and obesity, an inactive lifestyle, and insulin resistance.

People can’t control other factors that may play a role in causing metabolic syndrome, such as growing older. The risk for metabolic syndrome increases with age.

People also can’t control genetics (ethnicity and family history), which may play a role in causing the condition. For example, genetics can increase the risk for insulin resistance, which can lead to metabolic syndrome.

People who have metabolic syndrome often have two other conditions: excessive blood clotting and constant, low-grade inflammation throughout the body. Researchers don’t know whether these conditions cause metabolic syndrome or worsen it.

Researchers continue to study conditions that may play a role in metabolic syndrome, such as –

  • A fatty liver (excess triglycerides and other fats in the liver)
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (a tendency to develop cysts on the ovaries)
  • Gallstones
  • Breathing problems during sleep (such as sleep apnea)

Risk Factors

The following factors increase the chances of having metabolic syndrome –

  • Age – The risk of metabolic syndrome increases with age, affecting 40 percent of people over the age of 60.
  • Race – Hispanics and Asians seem to be at greater risk of metabolic syndrome than are people of other races.
  • Obesity – Carrying too much weight increases the risk of metabolic syndrome
  • Diabetes – People are more likely to have metabolic syndrome if they had diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes) or if they have a family history of type 2 diabetes.
  • Other diseases – The risk of metabolic syndrome is higher if people have ever had cardiovascular disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or polycystic ovary syndrome.

Symptoms

Clinical manifestations of metabolic syndrome include the following –

  • Hypertension
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Hypertriglyceridemia
  • Reduced high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C)
  • Abdominal obesity
  • Chest pains or shortness of breath: Suggesting the rise of cardiovascular and other complications
  • Acanthosis nigricans, hirsutism, peripheral neuropathy, and retinopathy: In patients with insulin resistance and hyperglycemia or with diabetes mellitus
  • Xanthomas or xanthelasmas: In patients with severe dyslipidemia

Complications

  • Arteriosclerosis – This happens when cholesterol hardens and begins to build up in the walls of arteries, causing blockages that can lead to high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.
  • Poor kidney function – The kidneys become less able to filter toxins out of the blood, which can also increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, or stroke.
  • Insulin resistance – This occurs when the body’s cells don’t respond to insulin (the hormone that helps to regulate sugar in the blood) normally, and that can lead to high blood sugar levels and diabetes.
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome – Thought to be related to insulin resistance, this disorder involves the release of extra male hormones by the ovaries, which can lead to abnormal menstrual bleeding, excessive hair growth, acne, and fertility problems. It is also associated with an increased risk for obesity, hypertension, and — in the long-term — diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
  • Acanthosis nigricans – A skin disorder that causes thick, dark, velvet-like patches of skin around the neck, armpits, groin, between the fingers and toes, or on the elbows and knees.

Treatment

Lose weight – Moderate weight loss, in the range of 5 percent to 10 percent of body weight, can help restore your body’s ability to recognize insulin and greatly reduce the chance that the syndrome will evolve into a more serious illness. This can be done via diet, exercise, or even with help from certain weight-loss medications if recommended by your doctor.

Exercise – Increased activity alone can improve your insulin levels. Aerobic exercise such as a brisk 30-minute daily walk can result in a weight loss, improved blood pressure, improved cholesterol levels and a reduced risk of developing diabetes. Most health care providers recommend 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week. Exercise may reduce the risk for heart disease even without accompanying weight loss.

Consider dietary changes – Maintain a diet that keeps carbohydrates to no more than 50 percent of total calories. Eat foods defined as complex carbohydrates, such as whole grain bread (instead of white), brown rice (instead of white), and sugars that are unrefined (instead of refined; for example cookies, crackers).

Alternative Treatment

 

Reference –

http://umm.edu/health/medical/ency/articles/metabolic-syndrome

http://www.liebertpub.com/overview/metabolic-syndromebrand-related-disorders/115/

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases_conditions/hic_Metabolic_Syndrome

http://patient.info/doctor/metabolic-syndrome

http://www.emedicinehealth.com/metabolic_syndrome/article_em.htm

http://www.liebertpub.com/editorialboard/metabolic-syndromebrand-related-disorders/115/

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/MetabolicSyndrome/Metabolic-Syndrome_UCM_002080_SubHomePage.jsp

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/ms

https://www.pritikin.com/your-health/health-benefits/reverse-metabolic-syndrome/1381-metabolic-syndrome-cleaning-up-a-mess.html

http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/metabolic-syndrome.html

 

 

February 8, 2017

Menopause is an important milestone and may be one of the first times a woman seeks medical advice around issues of long-term health promotion and disease prevention.

Menopause is a normal part of life, just like puberty. It is the time of your last menstrual period. You may notice changes in your body before and after menopause. The transition usually has three parts: perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause.

Women are born with about a million eggs in each ovary. At puberty approximately 300,000 eggs remain, and by menopause there are no active eggs left.

On average, a woman will have 400-500 periods in her lifetime. From about 35-40 years of age, the number of eggs left in your ovaries decrease quickly and you ovulate (release an egg from the ovary) less regularly until your periods stop.

Natural menopause is the permanent ending of menstruation that is not brought on by any type of medical treatment. For women undergoing natural menopause, the process is gradual and is described in three stages –

Perimenopause or “menopause transition” – Perimenopause can begin 8 to 10 years before menopause, when the ovaries gradually produce less estrogen. It usually starts in a woman’s 40s, but can start in the 30s as well. Perimenopause lasts up until menopause, the point when the ovaries stop releasing eggs. In the last 1-2 years of perimenopause, the drop in estrogen accelerates. At this stage, many women can experience menopause symptoms. Women are still having menstrual cycles during this time, and can get pregnant.

Menopause – Menopause is the point when a woman no longer has menstrual periods. At this stage, the ovaries have stopped releasing eggs and producing most of their estrogen. Menopause is diagnosed when a woman has gone without a period for 12 consecutive months.

Postmenopause – These are the years after menopause. During this stage, menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, can ease for most women. But, as a result of a lower level of estrogen, postmenopausal women are at increased risk for a number of health conditions, such as osteoporosis and heart disease. Medication, such as hormone therapy and/or healthy lifestyle changes, may reduce the risk of some of these conditions. Since every woman’s risk is different, talk to your doctor to learn what steps you can take to reduce your individual risk.

Hormones and Menopause

Hormones are chemicals made in your body, which relay messages through the blood stream. They alert the body that it is time to do something. They help control many body functions such as growth, energy, repair of cells, reproduction, sexual function, digestion and the body’s temperature. They alert the body to eat, to stop eating, to sleep, to wake up, to grow, or when hormone levels decrease, to stop growing.

The three hormones of particular relevance at menopause are –

  • Oestrogen – The hormone oestrogen is made up of a group of three hormones: oestradiol, oestrone and oestriol. It is produced from the cells around the eggs in your ovaries. Oestrogen acts in the vagina, uterus, skin, bowel, liver, heart, blood, brain and throughout most of the body. The production of oestrogen fluctuates during the transition to menopause (perimenopause).
  • Progesterone – Progesterone, another natural female hormone, decreases toward menopause. Progesterone is responsible for changes to mucus in the cervix, from thin to thicker. It reduces acidity levels in the vagina, works on milk cells in the breast, and also can make us more moody.
  • Testosterone – Testosterone is produced by the ovaries and in other parts of the body, such as the adrenal glands (which sit above the kidney). Rather than a sudden or dramatic drop at menopause, testosterone decreases gradually with age. In some women, levels fall by half between the ages of 20-40 years.

Menopausal symptoms are created by changes in the levels of these hormones. These changes usually happen over months or years as you approach menopause. If you have menopause induced by surgery or cancer treatment, there can be a sudden drop in some of these hormones, causing symptoms to be more severe.

Menopause, when it occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, is considered “natural” and is a normal part of aging. But, some women can experience menopause early, either as a result of a surgical intervention (such as hysterectomy) or damage to the ovaries (such as from chemotherapy). Menopause that occurs before the age of 45, regardless of the cause, is called early menopause. Menopause that occurs at 40 or younger is considered premature menopause.

Causes

Natural Menopause – Natural menopause occurs at the expected age of around 51-52 – it is considered a natural life event due to ovaries running out of eggs.

Induced menopause – Chemotherapy & radiotherapy induced menopause. Menopause may happen as a result of chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy treatment for cancer because the treatments can cause ovaries to stop working.

Primary ovarian insufficiency (POI) – When periods stop spontaneously, either prematurely or early, this is referred to as ‘primary ovarian insufficiency’. This can be the result of several conditions or an unknown cause.

Menopause due to surgery

  • Removal of ovaries – Menopause occurs when a woman who is still having periods has surgery to remove both ovaries (oophorectomy). When the ovaries are removed, the levels of oestrogen and progesterone fall. These are hormones produced from eggs and ovulation (the release of an egg). Because ovaries are the main source of the hormone testosterone, these levels can also drop.
  • Hysterectomy – Sometimes there is confusion about whether having a hysterectomy (the removal of the uterus) will put you into menopause. If your uterus is removed but you still have your ovaries, you will not necessarily go straight into menopause. 10-12% of women who have a hysterectomy and keep their ovaries have menopause approximately one to four years earlier than their expected menopause.

Other Causes

Some women may experience premature menopause – their ovaries fail earlier than they are supposed to (before the age of 45). Ovarian failure can occur at any age – but very rarely – and often the doctor and patient will never find out why. Some who experience ovarian failure may still have periods and some degree of fertility for a while. Premature menopause may be caused by –

  • Enzyme deficiencies
  • Down’s syndrome
  • Turner’s syndrome
  • Addison’s disease
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Some infections – such as mumps or TB (tuberculosis), malaria and varicella. However, in all cases risk of ovarian failure is extremely small.
  • Genetic factors – scientists have been able to identify genetic factors that influence the age at which natural menopause occurs.
  • Being a twin – twins are more likely to have a premature menopause.

Smoking can lead to early menopause.

Symptoms

The hormone changes that happen around menopause affect every woman differently. Also, symptoms sometimes are not caused by menopause but by other aspects of aging instead. Some changes that might start in the years around menopause include –

Irregular periods – This is usually the first symptom; menstrual pattern changes. Some women may experience a period every two to three weeks, while others will not have one for months at a time.

Hot flashes (or flushes) – This is a sudden feeling of heat in the upper body. It may start in the face, neck or chest, and then spreads upwards or downwards (depending on where it started). The skin on the face, neck or chest may redden and become patchy, and the woman typically starts to sweat. The heart rate may suddenly increase (tachycardia), or it may become irregular or stronger than usual (palpitations). Hot flashes generally occur during the first year after a woman’s final period.

Trouble sleeping – Sleeping problems are generally caused by night sweats, but not always. Sleep disturbance may be caused by insomnia or anxiety. Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep increase as women go through menopause.

Night sweats – If the hot flashes happen in bed they are called night sweats. Most women say their hot flashes do not last more than a few minutes.

Vaginal Dryness – This may be accompanied by itching and/or discomfort. It tends to happen during the peri-menopause. Some women may experience dyspareunia (pain during sex). The term vaginal atrophy refers to an inflammation of the vagina as a result of the thinning and shrinking of the tissues, as well as decreased lubrication, caused by a lack of estrogen.

Low Fertility – During the peri-menopausal stage of a woman’s life, her estrogen levels will drop significantly, lowering her chances of becoming pregnant.

Mood changes – Moodiness often goes hand-in-hand with sleep disturbance. Experts say that most mood disturbances are triggered by poor sleep.

Urinary Problems – Women tend to be more susceptible to urinary tract infections, such as cystitis. Having to urinate may also occur more frequently.

Changing feelings about sex – Lack of interest in sex.

Problems focusing and learning – Some women may also have short-term memory problems, as well as finding it hard to concentrate on something for long. Some women may not be able to learn as well shortly before menopause compared to other stages in life.

Women who are still in the menopause transition (perimenopause) may experience the above as well as –

  • Breast tenderness
  • Worsening of premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Irregular periods or skipping periods
  • Periods that are heavier or lighter than usual

Some women might also experience –

  • Racing heart
  • Headaches
  • Joint and muscle aches and pains
  • Changes in libido (sex drive)
  • Difficulty concentrating, memory lapses (often temporary)
  • Weight gain
  • Hair loss or thinning

These symptoms can be a sign that the ovaries are producing less estrogen. Not all women get all of these symptoms. However, women affected with new symptoms of racing heart, urinary changes, headaches, or other new medical problems should see a doctor to make sure there is no other cause for these symptoms.

Complications

Osteoporosis – Day in and day out, your body is busy breaking down old bone and replacing it with new healthy bone. Estrogen helps control bone loss, and losing estrogen around the time of menopause causes women to lose more bone than is replaced. In time, bones can become weak and break easily. This condition is called osteoporosis.

Heart disease – After menopause, women are more likely to have heart disease. Changes in estrogen levels may be part of the cause. But, so is getting older. As you age, you may gain weight and develop other problems, like high blood pressure. These could put you at greater risk for heart disease.

Urinary incontinence – The menopause causes the tissues of the vagina and urethra to lose their elasticity, which can result in frequent, sudden, strong urges to urinate, followed by urge incontinence (involuntary loss of urine). Stress incontinence may also become a problem – urinating involuntarily after coughing, sneezing, laughing, lifting something, or suddenly jerking the body as may happen when we temporarily lose our balance.

Low libido – This is probably linked to disturbed sleep, depression symptoms, and night sweats, a study found.

Overweight/obesity – During the menopausal transition women are much more susceptible to weight gain. Experts say women may need to consume about 200 to 400 fewer calories each day just to prevent weight gain – or burn of that number of calories each day with extra exercise. The chances of becoming obese rises significantly after the menopause.

Breast cancer – women are at a higher risk of breast cancer after the menopause. Regular exercise after menopause significantly reduces breast cancer risk.

Treatment

Paroxetine for the treatment of hot flashes caused by menopause, the first non-hormonal treatment to be FDA-approved for hot flashes linked to menopause.

HRT (hormone replacement therapy) – Also known as HT (hormone therapy), this is very effective for many of the symptoms that occur during the menopause, including vaginal dryness, vaginal itching, vaginal discomfort, urinary problems, bone-density loss, hot flashes and night sweats.

Low-dose antidepressants – SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) have been shown to decrease menopausal hot flashes. Drugs include venlafaxine (Effexor), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), paroxetine (Paxil, others), citalopram (Celexa) and sertraline (Zoloft).

Omega 3s – Omega-3s may ease psychological distress and depressive symptoms often suffered by menopausal and peri-menopausal women.

Gabapentin (Neurontin) – This medication is effective in treating hot flashes. It is commonly used for treating seizures (epilepsy).

Clonidine (Catapres) – This can be taken either orally as a pill or placed on the skin as a patch. It is effective in treating hot flashes. The drug is commonly used for treating high blood pressure (hypertension). However, unpleasant side-effects are common.

Osteoporosis treatments – Depending on individual needs, doctors may recommend medication to prevent or treat osteoporosis. Several medications are available that help reduce bone loss and risk of fractures.

Vaginal estrogen – Vaginal estrogen may be applied locally using a tablet, ring or cream. This medication effectively treats vaginal dryness, discomfort during intercourse, as well as some urinary problems. A small amount of estrogen is released and absorbed by the vaginal tissue.

Alternative Treatment

Black cohosh may work for hot flushes and night sweats but more studies are needed to see whether there is a real benefit. It can have minor side effects such as stomach upsets or rashes. Serious side effects affecting the liver are rare. You should stop taking black cohosh immediately if you have jaundice (yellowing of your skin and eyes), if you have severe stomach pains with nausea and vomiting or if you go off your food.

Chasteberry (agnus castus), selenium, vitamin C and herbs such as ginkgo biloba, hops, sage leaf, liquorice and valerian root are taken by some women but there are very few studies on whether any of these work for menopausal symptoms.

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) may have a positive effect on your sense of wellbeing, improving your memory, sexual libido and potentially reducing vaginal dryness. However, the longterm effects are unknown. Further studies are needed to see whether DHEA helps hot flushes.

Calcium, as estrogen levels decline with menopause, women are at risk for osteoporosis. Calcium citrate seems to be more easily absorbed by the body, but it has less elemental calcium than calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate, however, needs an acid environment to be absorbed, so is best taken with a glass of orange juice.

Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease. Women who are at greater risk of heart disease after menopause may want to ask their doctor whether they should take a fish oil supplement, or simply increase the amount of fish they eat.

Phytoestrogens are plant substances that have similar effects to estrogen.

Acupuncture – Several studies show acupuncture may help many women with symptoms of menopause, particularly with hot flashes and mood changes.

Reflexology: there have been very few studies of reflexology and whether it helps menopausal symptoms and more studies are needed to see whether it helps.

 

Reference –

https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/about-menopause

http://www.menopause.org.au/

http://www.medicinenet.com/menopause/article.htm

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/pht_facts.pdf

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases_conditions/hic-what-is-perimenopause-menopause-postmenopause

https://www.aace.com/files/menopause.pdf

https://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/menopause-treatment.pdf

https://www.womentowomen.com/menopause-perimenopause/am-i-in-menopause-2/

http://www.webmd.com/menopause/

 

February 8, 2017

During a woman’s reproductive years, a normal menstrual cycle usually lasts anywhere from 21 to 35 days, with approximately seven to eight days of bleeding, and usually expelling approximately two to three ounces of blood. For the majority of women, the color of the blood or the amount of bleeding is not as important as how regular her menstrual periods are and whether there is any bleeding between periods. Menstruation is the time of month when the womb (uterus) sheds its lining and vaginal bleeding occurs. Periods vary widely from woman to woman. Some periods are punctual, some are unpredictable. On average, a woman gets her period every 21 to 35 days. A period usually lasts about three to five days. Irregular periods may require treatment.

Irregular Periods

To have an irregular cycle means that the interval between periods varies each month. That is, sometimes they come every 28 days, sometimes every 20, sometimes every 30.

Having irregular periods is very common. The causes can range from something insignificant to something that requires treatment. For example, if a girl is in her teen, her body’s hormones can fluctuate and take some time until they find a balance. Therefore, it’s normal to have an irregular period during adolescence or, sometimes, for the period not to arrive in a given month.

Women may have irregular periods if –

  • Periods that occur less than 21 days or more than 35 days apart.
  • Missing three or more periods in a row.
  • Menstrual flow that is much heavier or lighter than usual.
  • Periods that last longer than seven days.
  • Periods that is accompanied by pain, cramping, nausea, or vomiting.
  • Bleeding or spotting that happens between periods, after menopause, or following sex.

Types of irregular Periods

  • Amenorrhea is a condition in which a woman’s periods have stopped completely. The absence of a period for 90 days or more is considered abnormal unless a woman is pregnant, breastfeeding, or going through menopause (which generally occurs for women between ages 45 and 55). Young women who haven’t started menstruating by age 15 or 16 or within three years after their breasts begin to develop are also considered to have amenorrhea.
  • Oligomenorrhea refers to periods that occur infrequently.
  • Dysmenorrhea refers to painful periods and severe menstrual cramps. Some discomfort during the cycle is normal for most women.
  • Abnormal uterine bleeding may apply to a variety of menstrual irregularities, including: a heavier menstrual flow; a period that lasts longer than seven days; or bleeding or spotting between periods, after sex, or after menopause.

Causes

Age – During the first few years after menstruation starts, periods are often irregular while the hormones that control menstruation reach a balance. They may also be irregular at the end of menstrual years when women reach perimenopause and menopause – menopause starts when it’s been 12 months since a menstrual period.

Those irregularities are normal and common. But there are other times in women’s lives and other conditions that can lead to irregular menstrual cycles.

Pregnancy – The most common cause of a missed period is pregnancy. Until the woman knows for sure if she is pregnant or not, she should treat herself as though she is. This is one instance when she should be called OB/GYN or midwife. she can use an at-home pregnancy test, but the healthcare provider can use other tests to determine whether she is pregnant.

Medical Conditions – Two common causes of irregular menstrual periods are polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and hypothyroidism.

PCOS is a hormone imbalance that can affect ovulation, cause issues with a woman’s period and make it more difficult to get pregnant. If the doctor determines this is the cause of the irregular periods, treatment may include birth control pills or other hormones to restore hormonal balance.

Hypothyroidism, a.k.a. underactive thyroid disease, is caused by the thyroid gland not producing enough of its hormone. Similar to PCOS, treating hypothyroidism involves supplementation of thyroid hormones.

Other medical conditions include-

  • Uterine polyps or fibroids – Uterine polyps are small benign (noncancerous) growths in the lining of the uterus. Uterine fibroids are tumors that attach to the wall of the uterus. There may be one or several fibroids that range from as small as an apple seed to the size of a grapefruit. These tumors are usually benign, but they may cause heavy bleeding and pain during periods. If the fibroids are large, they might put pressure on the bladder or rectum, causing discomfort.
  • Endometriosis – The endometrial tissue that lines the uterus breaks down every month and is discharged with the menstrual flow. Endometriosis occurs when the endometrial tissue starts to grow outside the uterus. Often, the endometrial tissue attaches itself to the ovaries or fallopian tubes; it sometimes grows on the intestines or other organs in the lower digestive tract and in the area between your rectum and uterus. Endometriosis may cause abnormal bleeding, cramps or pain before and during periods, and painful intercourse.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a bacterial infection that affects the female reproductive system. Bacteria may enter the vagina via sexual contact and then spread to the uterus and upper genital tract. Bacteria might also enter the reproductive tract via gynecologic procedures or through childbirth, miscarriage, or abortion. Symptoms of PID include a heavy vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor, irregular periods, pain in the pelvic and lower abdominal areas, fever, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • Premature ovarian insufficiency – This condition occurs in women under age 40 whose ovaries do not function normally. The menstrual cycle stops, similar to menopause. This can occur in patients who are being treated for cancer with chemotherapy and radiation, or if you have a family history of premature ovarian insufficiency or certain chromosomal abnormalities.
  • Uterine cancer or cervical cancer.
  • Medications, such as steroids or anticoagulant drugs (blood thinners).
  • Medical conditions, such as bleeding disorders, an under- or pituitary disorders that affect hormonal balance.
  • Complications associated with pregnancy, including miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy (the fertilized egg is implanted outside the uterus; for example, within the fallopian tube).

Lifestyle Conditions

  • Excessive weight loss or gain – Although low body weight is a common cause of missed or irregular periods, obesity also can cause menstrual problems
  • Eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia
  • Increased exercise – Missed periods are common in endurance athletes.
  • Emotional stress
  • Medicines such as birth control methods, which may cause lighter, less frequent, more frequent, or skipped periods or no periods at all
  • Hormone problems – this may cause a change in the levels of the hormones that the body needs to support menstruation
  • Illegal drug use
  • Problems with the pelvic organs , such as imperforate hymen, polycystic ovary syndrome, or Asherman’s syndrome
  • Breastfeeding – Many women do not resume regular periods until they have completed breastfeeding.
  • Complications
  • Anemia – Menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding) is the most common cause of anemia (reduction in red blood cells) in premenopausal women. A blood loss of more than 80mL (around 3 tablespoons) per menstrual cycle can eventually lead to anemia. Most cases of anemia are mild. Nevertheless, even mild-to-moderate anemia can reduce oxygen transport in the blood, causing symptoms such as fatigue, lightheadedness, and pale skin. Severe anemia that is not treated can lead to heart problems.
  • Osteoporosis – Amenorrhea (absent or irregular menstrual periods) caused by reduced estrogen levels is linked to osteopenia (loss of bone density) and osteoporosis (more severe bone loss that increases fracture risk). Because bone growth is at its peak in adolescence and young adulthood, losing bone density at that time is very dangerous and early diagnosis and treatment is essential for long-term health. Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by progressive loss of bone density, thinning of bone tissue, and increased vulnerability to fractures.
  • Infertility – Some conditions associated with heavy bleeding, such as ovulation abnormalities, fibroids, or endometriosis, can contribute to infertility. Many conditions that cause amenorrhea, such as ovulation abnormalities and polycystic ovary syndrome, can also cause infertility. Irregular periods from any cause may make it more difficult to conceive. Sometimes treating the underlying condition can restore fertility. In other cases, specific fertility treatments that use assisted reproductive technologies may be needed.
  • Quality of Life – Menstrual disorders, particularly pain and heavy bleeding, can affect school and work productivity and social activities.

Treatment

The treatment of abnormal menstruation depends on the underlying cause:

  • Regulation of the menstrual cycle – Hormones such as estrogen or progestin might be prescribed to help control heavy bleeding.
  • Pain control – Mild to moderate pain or cramps might be lessened by taking an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Aspirin is not recommended because it might cause heavier bleeding. Taking a warm bath or shower or using a heating pad might help to relieve cramps.
  • Uterine fibroids – These can be treated medically and/or surgically. Initially, most fibroids that are causing mild symptoms can be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers. If a woman experience heavy bleeding, an iron supplement might be helpful in preventing or treating anemia. Low-dose birth control pills or progestin injections (Depo-Provera) may help to control heavy bleeding caused by fibroids. Drugs called gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists may be used to shrink the size of the fibroids and control heavy bleeding. These drugs reduce the body’s production of estrogen and stop menstruation for a while. If fibroids do not respond to medication, there are a variety of surgical options that can remove them or lessen their size and symptoms. The type of procedure will depend on the size, type, and location of the fibroids. A myomectomy is the simple removal of a fibroid. In severe cases where the fibroids are large or cause heavy bleeding or pain, a hysterectomy might be necessary. During a hysterectomy, the fibroids are removed along with the uterus. Other options include uterine artery embolization, which cuts off the blood supply to the active fibroid tissue.
  • Endometriosis – Although there is no cure for endometriosis, over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers may help to lessen the discomfort. Hormone treatments such as birth control pills may help prevent overgrowth of uterine tissue and reduce the amount of blood loss during periods. In more severe cases, a gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist or progestin may be used to temporarily stop menstrual periods. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove excess endometrial tissue growing in the pelvis or abdomen. A hysterectomy might be required as a last resort if the uterus has been severely damaged.

Alternative treatment

Multivitamin and Mineral – A good quality multivitamin and mineral would form the foundation of the supplement programme to make sure that the body is getting a ‘little bit of everything’.

Vitamin B – These are often called the ‘stress’ vitamins because they can help to cope with the pressures of everyday life. As stress can be such an important factor in causing irregular periods it is important that you have some help in dealing with it. Vitamins B2, B3 and B6 are also necessary for thyroid hormone production and B5 (pantothenic acid) is essential for optimum adrenal function. Both imbalances in thyroid function and stress can affect the cycle.

The easiest way to make sure that the body is getting a good supply of these vitamins is to take them in the form of a good B-complex tablet. B vitamins are synergistic, which means that they work together.

Antioxidants – Antioxidants are particularly relevant with irregular periods. It is believed that antioxidants have the ability to prevent cells from mutating. In other words, they prevent cells from becoming ‘abnormal’. This is extremely important if a woman has been diagnosed with thickening of the womb lining (endometrial hyperplasia) because she does not want the cells to mutate. Antioxidants include vitamins A, C and E and the mineral selenium. Their effects have been proven – women with womb tumours have been shown to have less of both selenium and vitamin E than women without them so make sure that the body is getting enough of these valuable nutrients.

Magnesium – This mineral has been classed as ‘nature’s tranquilliser’, so it is an essential inclusion in the diet of anyone suffering from irregular periods. In fact, anyone in today’s hectic society will benefit from a magnesium supplement. Stress is often a factor in period irregularity, and this mineral will help to redress the balance of a stressful lifestyle.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids – Flaxseeds (linseeds), which are an excellent source Omega-3 fatty acids, have been shown to encourage regularity of the cycle. Even if hormonal imbalance is not at the root of the problem, it is worth adding these fatty acids to the diet. There are many factors that are now known to affect the way fatty acids are used by the bodies, including high adrenaline levels (in the case of stress), high alcohol consumption, and high levels of cholesterol.

Herbs and Supplements – Generally, manufacturers of herbal remedies and dietary supplements do not need approval from the Food and Drug Administration to sell their products. Just like with drugs, herbs and supplements can affect the body’s chemistry, and therefore have the potential to produce side effects that may be harmful.

  • Black cohosh (also known as Cimicifuga racemosa or squawroot) contains a plant estrogen and is the most studied herbal remedy for treating menopausal symptoms, including dysmenorrhea, although most studies have indicated it is ineffective. Headaches and gastrointestinal problems are common side effects. It should not be taken for more than 6 months.
  • Ginger tea or capsules may help to relieve nausea and bloating.
  • Magnesium supplements may be helpful for relieving dysmenorrhea. Some women also report benefit with vitamin B1 (thiamine) supplements.
  • Aromatherapy with topically-applied lavender, sage, and rose oils may help ease menstrual cramps, according to some small studies.
  • Pycnogenol, an extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree, may help reduce menstrual pain and discomfort, according to some small studies.

Acupuncture and Acupressure: Some studies have reported relief from pelvic pain after acupuncture or acupressure, a technique that applies small pins or pressure to specific points on the body. More research is needed.

Yoga and Meditation: Yoga and meditative techniques that promote relaxation may help relieve menstrual cramps.

 

Reference –

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Periods-irregular/Pages/Causes.aspx

http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/many-possible-causes-of-irregular-periods/

http://www.webmd.com/women/guide/treating-irregular-periods

https://www.womentowomen.com/menstruation/irregular-periods-and-natural-ways-to-maintain-a-regular-menstrual-cycle/2/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/297126-herbal-treatments-for-irregular-periods/

http://naturalnewsonlinefull.naturalnewsforwomen.com/index.php/2009/01/01/natural-remedies-for-irregular-periods/

http://www.compmed.umm.edu/cochrane/menstrual.asp

https://theory.yinyanghouse.com/treatments/acupuncture_for_irregular_menstruation

http://www.top10homeremedies.com/home-remedies/home-remedies-irregular-periods.html

http://www.marilynglenville.com/womens-health-issues/irregular-periods/

https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/pcos/irregular-periods-management-treatment

https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/pcos/irregular-periods-management-treatment

 

 

 

February 8, 2017

Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive a pregnancy after 12 months of unprotected sexual intercourse. Infertility is a disease that results in the abnormal functioning of the male or female reproductive system. Infertility affects approximately 10% of the population. Since infertility strikes diverse groups-affecting people from all socioeconomic levels and cutting across all racial, ethnic and religious lines- chances are great that a friend, relative, neighbor or perhaps you are attempting to cope with the medical and emotional aspects of infertility.

Causes of infertility are many and varied and involve male, female or a combination of factors. This includes problems with the production of sperm or eggs, the structure or function of male or female reproductive systems; and/or hormonal and immune conditions.

In 40% of couples the cause of infertility is attributed to a sperm factor, in another 40% the cause is found within the female reproductive system, and a third will have a combination of male and female factors.

Pregnancy is the result of a process that has many steps. To get pregnant –

  • A woman’s body must release an egg from one of her ovaries (ovulation).
  • The egg must go through a fallopian tube toward the uterus (womb).
  • A man’s sperm must join with (fertilize) the egg along the way.
  • The fertilized egg must attach to the inside of the uterus (implantation).
  • Sufficient embryo quality

Finally, for the pregnancy to progress to full term the embryo must be healthy and the woman’s hormonal environment adequate for its development.  If just one of these factors is impaired, infertility can be the result. The diagnosis of infertility is usually given to couples who have been attempting to conceive for at least 1 year without success.

About 6% of married women 15–44 years of age in the United States are unable to get pregnant after one year of unprotected sex (infertility). Also, about 12% of women 15–44 years of age in the United States have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term, regardless of marital status (impaired fecundity). Studies found that 7.5% of all sexually experienced men younger than age 45 reported seeing a fertility doctor during their lifetime—this equals 3.3–4.7 million men. Of men who sought help, 18% were diagnosed with a male-related infertility problem, including sperm or semen problems (14%) and varicocele (6%).

Risk Factors

  • Age – A woman’s fertility starts to drop after she is about 32 years old, and continues doing so. A 50-year-old man is usually less fertile than a man in his 20s (male fertility progressively drops after the age of 40).
  • Smoking – Smoking significantly increases the risk of infertility in both men and women. Smoking may also undermine the effects of fertility treatment. Even when a woman gets pregnant, if she smokes she has a greater risk of miscarriage.
  • Alcohol consumption – A woman’s pregnancy can be seriously affected by any amount of alcohol consumption. Alcohol abuse may lower male fertility. Moderate alcohol consumption has not been shown to lower fertility in most men, but is thought to lower fertility in men who already have a low sperm count.
  • Being obese or overweight – In industrialized countries overweight/obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are often found to be the principal causes of female infertility. An overweight man has a higher risk of having abnormal sperm.
  • Eating disorders – Women who become seriously underweight as a result of an eating disorder may have fertility problems.
  • Being vegan – If a person is a strict vegan you must make sure your intake of iron, folic acid, zinc and vitamin B-12 are adequate, otherwise your fertility may become affected.
  • Over-exercising – A woman who exercises for more than seven hours each week may have ovulation problems.
  • Not exercising – Leading a sedentary lifestyle is sometimes linked to lower fertility in both men and women.
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) – Chlamydia can damage the fallopian tubes, as well as making the man’s scrotum become inflamed. Some other STIs may also cause infertility.
  • Exposure to some chemicals – Some pesticides, herbicides, metals (lead) and solvents have been linked to fertility problems in both men and women.
  • Mental stress – Studies indicate that female ovulation and sperm production may be affected by mental stress. If at least one partner is stressed it is possible that the frequency of sexual intercourse is less, resulting in a lower chance of conception.

Causes

In Men –

Infertility in men can be caused by different factors and is typically evaluated by a semen analysis. A specialist will evaluate the number of sperm (concentration), motility (movement), and morphology (shape). A slightly abnormal semen analysis does not mean that a man is necessarily infertile. Instead, a semen analysis helps determine if and how male factors are contributing to infertility.

Conditions that can contribute to abnormal semen analyses include—

  • Varicoceles, a condition in which the veins on a man’s testicles are large and cause them to overheat. The heat may affect the number or shape of the sperm.
  • Medical conditions or exposures such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis, trauma, infection, testicular failure, or treatment with chemotherapy or radiation.
  • Ejaculation disorders – for some men it may be difficult to ejaculate properly. Men with retrograde ejaculation ejaculate semen into the bladder. If the ejaculatory ducts are blocked or obstructed the man may have a problem ejaculating appropriately.
  • Unhealthy habits such as heavy alcohol use, testosterone supplementation, smoking, anabolic steroid use, and illicit drug use.
  • Environmental toxins including exposure to pesticides and lead.

In Women

Ovulation – Regular predictable periods that occur every 24–32 days likely reflect ovulation. Ovulation can be predicted by using an ovulation predictor kit and can be confirmed by a blood test to see the woman’s progesterone level. A woman’s menstrual cycle is, on average, 28 days long. Day 1 is defined as the first day of “full flow.”

A woman with irregular periods is likely not ovulating – This may be because of several conditions and warrants an evaluation by a doctor. Potential causes of anovulation include the following –

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Functional hypothalamic amenorrhea (FHA)
  • Diminished ovarian reserve
  • Premature ovarian insufficiency
  • Menopause
  • Salpingitis (Pelvic inflammatory disease) caused by sexually transmitted disease.

Treatment

Frequency of intercourse – The couple may be advised to have sexual intercourse more often. Sex two to three times per week may improve fertility if the frequency was less than this. Some fertility experts warn that too-frequent sex can lower the quality and concentration of sperm. Male sperm can survive inside the female for up to 72 hours, while an egg can be fertilized for up to 24 hours after ovulation.

For Men

Erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation – Medication and/or behavioral approaches can help men with general sexual problems, resulting in possibly improved fertility.

Varicocele – If there is a varicose vein in the scrotum, it can be surgically removed.

Blockage of the ejaculatory duct – Sperm can be extracted directly from the testicles and injected into an egg in the laboratory.

Retrograde ejaculation – Sperm can be taken directly from the bladder and injected into an egg in the laboratory.

Surgery for epididymal blockage – If the epididymis is blocked it can be surgically repaired. The epididymis is a coil-like structure in the testicles which helps store and transport sperm. If the epididymis is blocked sperm may not be ejaculated properly.

For Women

Ovulation disorders – If the woman has an ovulation disorder she will probably be prescribed fertility drugs which regulate or induce ovulation. These include –

Clomifene (Clomid, Serophene) – This medication helps encourage ovulation in females who do not ovulate regularly, or who do not ovulate at all, because of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or some other disorder. It makes the pituitary gland release more FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone).

Metformin (Glucophage) – Women who have not responded to Clomifene may have to take this medication. It is especially effective for women with PCOS, especially when linked to insulin resistance.

Human menopausal gonadotropin, or hMG, (Repronex) – This medication contains both FSH and LH. It is an injection and is used for patients who don’t ovulate on their own because of a fault in their pituitary gland.

Follicle-stimulating hormone (Gonal-F, Bravelle) – This is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland that controls estrogen production by the ovaries. It stimulates the ovaries to mature egg follicles.

Human chorionic gonadotropin (Ovidrel, Pregnyl) – This medication is used together with clomiphene, hMG and FSH. It stimulates the follicle to ovulate.

Gn-RH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone) analogs – For women who ovulate prematurely, before the lead follicle is mature enough during hmG treatment. This medication delivers a constant supply of Gn-RH to the pituitary gland, which alters the production of hormone, allowing the doctor to induce follicle growth with FSH.

Bromocriptine (Parlodel) – This drug inhibits prolactin production. Prolactin stimulates milk production in breast feeding mothers. If non-pregnant, non-breast feeding women have high levels of prolactin they may have irregular ovulation cycles and have fertility problems.

Fallopian tube surgery – If the fallopian tubes are blocked or scarred surgery may repair them, making it easier for eggs to pass through them.

Laparoscopic surgery – A small incision is made in the woman’s abdomen. A thin, flexible microscope with a light at the end (laparoscope) is inserted through the incision. The doctor can then look at internal organs, take samples and perform small operations. For women with endometriosis, laparoscopy removes implants and scar tissue, reducing pain and often aiding fertility.

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is an infertility treatment that is often called artificial insemination. In this procedure, specially prepared sperm are inserted into the woman’s uterus. Sometimes the woman is also treated with medicines that stimulate ovulation before IUI. IUI is often used to treat—

  • Mild male factor infertility.
  • Couples with unexplained infertility.

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) includes all fertility treatments in which both eggs and sperm are handled outside of the body. In general, ART procedures involve surgically removing eggs from a woman’s ovaries, combining them with sperm in the laboratory, and returning them to the woman’s body or donating them to another woman. The main type of ART is in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Alternative Treatment

Supplements

Vitamin D- Vitamin D deficiency is very common in America, especially during the winter, and can be very detrimental to overall health. Recent studies link inadequate vitamin D with infertility and miscarriage.

Vitamin C– A potent antioxidant, vitamin C is good for both male and female infertility.

Folic Acid– Folic acid is well known as a necessary vitamin in early pregnancy to prevent complications, but it is most beneficial when taken for several month before the pregnancy as well as during. It helps cell division and promotes ovulation.

Zinc– It is very important for cell division including sperm production and ovulation.

Selenium– Helps protect the body from free radicals and protects sperm and egg.

B-Vitamins– Deficiency of b-vitamins is common in anyone who consumes large amounts of processed foods, grains or sugars. Optimizing b vitamin levels can increase lutenizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone to improve fertility.

Bioflavonoids – Helps strengthen the uterus by promoting healthy blood vessels.

Flaxseed oil – A healthy fat that can help normalize hormones and is essential to health.

Herbs

Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa)—Balances hormones.

Chaste tree (Vitex castus)—Raises progesterone levels, lowers estrogen levels, and helps correct ovarian dysfunction.

Dong quai (Angelica sinensis)—Nourishes and balances the female reproductive system.

False unicorn (Helonias dioica)—Has a reputation for promoting fertility, is recommended for ovarian dysfunction and as a uterine tonic.

Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)—Balances hormones and is anti-inflammatory and sweet tasting (good flavoring for teas).

Red raspberry (Rubus strigosus)—Nourishes and strengthens the female reproductive system.

Squaw vine (Mitchella repens)—Also known as partridge berry. Recommended for fertility as a uterine tonic.

Wild yam (Dioscorea villosa)—Has a reputation for promoting fertility.

To Avoid –

Avoid Estrogen – Estrogen can have a negative effect on the development of the male reproductive tract, semen volume, and sperm count. Therefore, it is important to reduce or eliminate excess estrogen or estrogen-like chemicals in your body. Avoid all dairy products where cows have been fed hormones. The drop in sperm counts since the 1940s parallels a rise in the consumption of dairy products.

Chemicals, such as PCBs, dioxin, etc. are weakly estrogenic and degenerate very slowly, they hang around for years in our environment. Avoid the use of toxic substances such as fertilizers, cleaners. Also avoid all fatty animal products where chemicals may be stored up without being degraded.

Avoid Heavy Metals – Sperm are affected by lead, cadmium, arsenic, and mercury. There are many sources of exposure to these heavy metals such as deep-sea fish, cigarette smoke, and water from old pipes. Just as with men, lead, cadmium, or mercury can impair fertility by affecting sex hormones.

Avoid free radicals – We have all heard that free radicals (the hungry and unstable oxygen in our bodies) can cause cancer, heart disease, and increase the aging process. Like –

  • Cigarette smoke
  • Sunlight
  • Unsaturated oils (corn oil may be the worst)
  • Heating oils to too high a temperature when cooking
  • Foods left out of the refrigerator (oxidation causes butter to turn a slight yellow and cut apples to turn brown)

Caffeine and Alcohol – Both can impair female fertility. Excessive alcohol causes prolactin to rise and too much or too little prolactin is associated with infertility. Caffeine causes a decrease in serum prolactin. Caffeinated soft drinks may also reduce the chance of conception.

Others

  • Flower Essences – The flowers of plants may be prepared in a similar way to homeopathic remedies so that the “essence” of the plant is harnessed in a medicinal way. An example is Pomegranate. Its use is described as a treatment for imbalance, i.e., women who are ambivalent or confused about the focus of feminine creativity, home or career, creative or procreative, those who attempt to balance both possibilities may feel drained and the psychological tension may be profound resulting in physical illness especially in the female organs.
  • Stress Reduction/Relaxation Therapies
  • Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercise

 

Reference –

http://ivf.com.au/about-fertility/infertility-treatment#causes-of-female-infertility

http://www.resolve.org/about-infertility/what-is-infertility/?referrer=http://www.resolve.org/about-infertility/what-is-infertility/?referrer=https://www.google.co.in/

http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/infertility/pdf/drh_nap_final_508.pdf

http://www.aafp.org/afp/2007/0315/p849.pdf

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/165748.php?page=2#causes_of_infertility_in_men

http://www.emedicinehealth.com/infertility/page4_em.htm#infertility_treatment

http://www.infertile.com/

https://www.reddit.com/r/infertility/

https://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/infertility.html

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Infertility/Pages/Introduction.aspx