Sunday, October 4, 2015

Are Girls Right Brained? Really?

Being right brained has lots of implications, the research is not really certain about what it means, but it has lots of implications. We have studied why you chew on one side or the other, why you are right or left handed, and how you respond to light, words and sound with respect to whether you are right brained or left brained. But as for thought processing, we all have some similarities and some notable differences in how we form knowledge and are able to then process that knowledge. And the research on this aspect of brain function, as with most neurological research is not conclusive. In the popular press being 'right brained' means that your thought processes are very creative, imaginative, and that makes your behavior more emotional, more nonverbal and global, and less likely to be analytical and logical. And the old 'girls are more artistic' and 'guys are more mathematical' comes from this idea that girls are more right brained and guys more dominated by the left brain. But we have large and small networks of nerve signals in our brain that allow us to process, and researchers can graph these out to determine which networks work on which thought problems. So one day we can really ask them about the 51% and if she's more creative than the 49% or not!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Maybe the Hormone of Love Needs To Be Applied Not Injected!

Oxytocin is a peptide hormone produced in the hypothalamus section of our brain and most women know it as a medicine that is used to bring on contractions. But it has been called the hormone of love as well. So in a new study they looked at whether the hormone of desire could produce better sexual function as well. In the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm in women with symptoms of vaginal atrophy such as vaginal dryness, pain, itching, discomfort and bleeding during intercourse were treated with vaginal oxytocin for seven days. As with treatments such as estrogen, Osphena, and the MonaLisa Touch treatment there was significant improvement in the health of the vaginal tissues including more of the healthy superficial cells rather than the atrophic basal cell layer. This was a well tolerated treatment and with this study of just one week there were no significant side effects either. It is still a medication with potential systemic effects however, and most women when asked would rather not have another medication if there is a good alternative such as the MonaLisa.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Why Did Charming Billy Care If She Could Make a Cherry Pie

Have you heard that all old sayings, rhymes, myths, and fables have their truths. So what do you think of the fact that charming Billy's love and the apple of his eye could make a cherry pie as quick as a cat could wink's it's eye? Why did charming Billy care if his love could make a cherry pie? A whim, or a nutritionally important choice in a cook you plan to stay with forever/ Cherries, and in particular sweet cherries, are a nutritionally dense food rich in anthocyanins, quercetin, hydroxycinnamates, potassium, fiber, vitamin C, carotenoids, and melatonin. Some of these compounds are fragile, thus buying and eating locally is an important consideration for consuming nutritious cherries. Like with other compounds the amount light and specifically UV concentration when during growing, degree of ripeness, postharvest storage conditions, and processing, each can significantly alter the amounts of nutrients and bioactive components the cherries will have. These constituent nutrients and bioactive food components support the potential preventive health benefits of cherry intake in relation to cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, inflammatory diseases, and Alzheimer's disease. So what's for dessert should include cherries!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Breast Lump that Has Grown? Think About Estrogen Exposure

Breast lumps that are non-cancerous typically are stimulated by the hormone estrogen. Cancerous lumps may be as well, but are much less frequently found than the non-cancerous lumps.  For women with a breast lump that has been stable and suddenly started to grow, the question is, are you getting hormone exposure that you didn't realize? Hormonal stimulation can come from taking hormonal medications or from pregnancy, or from consuming estrogen in foods. Plant estrogen or estrogen found in meats from hormone treated animals are both possible sources of the extra estrogen.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Which burns more, weighs or Treadmill?

We all want to get the most from work outs in the gym. Maybe it's just to relax and have fun with friends, maybe you are trying to fit into the favorite pair of jeans, perhaps you have loftier goals than that. So we really want to ask our selves, which burns more fat, pumping iron or popping on the treadmill? Gynos generally tell their patients: mix it up, you won't get bored, you use different muscle groups for each exercise, and you want to keep your body balanced and limber as well! At Harvard they asked wither the waist would be smaller if you popped on the treadmill or spent extra time on the weight lifting. Aerobic work outs generally burn fat, and anaerobic exercise burns carbs. But in this study waistlines were trimmer if you spent some time lifting! And don't forget,  more you sit on the couch the bigger your tummy is! So if you have questions, come see your gyno, she can help you figure it out!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Simple Way To Reduce Risk of Weight Gain, Breast Cancer, Parkinson's and Now Anxiety and Depression

All our thoughts and all of our physiological functions are run by having proper nutrition and the means to process and use the foods we give ourselves. As we age those thoughts and physiologic functions age as well, and we have to continually fight off an onslaught of challenges from cancers to changes in how we are able to extract and transport nutrition. But from the get go some foods we are not as humans genetically processed to get nutrition from, and some foods don't have much to offer. But we have tools in our body to help us maximize our chance of successfully fighting the challenges of weight gain, breast cancer, Parkinson's, and now even Anxiety and Depression. Of course this new study was in mice, and they were newborns. So we have a long time to go before we can really use this information to diagnose, treat, or cure these conditions. But it may be forging a whole new way to do the 'gut check.'

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Baby Birth Checklist: Transition From the Uterus To Life With Us

The first few critical steps in a baby's new life have been well discussed:
  • Fetal life lungs have fluid, Life with us they must clear the lungs of this fluid and the lungs have to expand to accommodate that fluid
  • In fetal life lungs do not supply oxygen to the baby, the placenta and umbilical blood do, thus the circulation has to shift, the passages for blood to skip the lungs have to be closed and rerouted so the baby can get oxygen from the lung to the heart
Then the next couple of steps in converting from being a fetus to living with us, they no longer have the uterine environment for food and warmth:
  •  Babies have to be kept warm, and now dry as they now live on land instead of water
  • And the food function of mom and placenta has to be replaced with breast milk
And now the newest step in converting to life on earth
researchers are intensely watching is the newborn gut as it has an environment that is differnt from the adult one:
  • The  transition to a full set of gut bacteria and VIRUSES, and not all the viruses are there for the human species, some of the viruses just infect the gut bacteria, creating an entire life realm we have just begun to understand!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

How Endometriosis Causes Infertility

Simple facts show that of women who are infertile about 50% have endometriosis, and of women with endometriosis about 50% of them will be infertile (statistics vary according to the study and exact stage of endometriosis). Once a woman has been diagnosed with infertility, and no other explanation is the cause, then her fertility management includes treatment of endometrosis. Exactly why endometriosis causes infertility is not exactly known.  Endometriosis has been called an inflammatory condition which is caused by implants or lesions of uterine lining-like (endometrium-like) tissue outside of the uterus, usually on the ovary or near the ovary, or if there is tubal blockage then it is easy to understand why this is associated with  infertility. The degree of inflammation may be related to both the number and location of implants and the degree of infertility. Other causes discuss altered hormone and ovulation by an ovary affected by the endometriosis and even leading to defective numbers of eggs and embryos, as well as abnormal transport of the fertilized into the tube. Correcting fertility which is impaired by endometriosis is almost as controversial. Much research states that ovulation induction, and management of that treatment is the most effective and quickest way to conceive. You have to have individual consultation to decide the best overall treatment for both endometriosis and infertility. The more advanced the stage the more likely a woman is to be infertile, so these women probably want treatment of their endometriosis before trying to conceive. Then studies differ on whether to take medication or perform surgery. AS newer medications come on board this may change, but for now, for advanced cases of endometriosis medication, such as lupron which can drastically lower estrogen levels, may be beneficial, although some studies suggest surgery is associated with more rapid times to conception than medication. The other issue is whether you have a case of endometriosis that will progress if not treated. Also endometriosis tends to be a progressive disease and 30-60% of patients will progress without treatment, and we cannot predict which patients will progress
Then it's time to gab with your gyno on what the best way to get pregnant will be.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Answers To Common Gynecologic Questions

At Women's Health Practice we now have a site devoted specifically to patient information, follow up instructions, answers to common gynecologic questions, as well as information about us.
Here is the new link for this:

Specifically to hear about our gynecologist go to


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Female Evolution

We all have some theories about why a woman menstruates: tell a mate she's healthy and fertile? Remind her that she is still fertile (if she wants to be). A cycle of hormones that contribute to our thoughts, emotions, and complexity of character,  Or perhaps you have other theories as to why women have menstrual cycles. Evolutionary biologists say that it was female evolution that created women capable of menstrual cycles. We bear live young, like other viviparous animals, but not all viviparous animals have menses. The basic function of menstrual cycles in human evolution is to prepare a healthy environment for which an embryo can implant. Most of the uterine preparation actually goes on post fertilization, at which time the young human embryo floats in the fallopian tube, and then in the uterine cavity before being able to implant. Hormonal signals of the presence or absence of a conception signals the uterus to continue lining development and be welcoming to an implanting egg, or to simply shed and restart the cycle. Might want to consider what else evolution will bring to femininity.

Non-Invasive Fetal Testing and Perspectives on Prenatal Testing

How healthy is my baby is the first questions parents ask. Many parents will first want to know what the sex is, and then of course what the chromosomes show. Often parents mistake chromosome screen if "Down's Syndrome screening",  as Down's is the most common chromosome disorder at birth. About 2-3% of all pregnancies have structural or genetic fetal abnormalities, and parents want to know how healthy their pregnancy is, and then decisions can be approached with as much education as possible.Older women are at risk for more chromosome disorders. In fact the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists position is that "screening and invasive diagnostic testing for aneuploidy be offered to all pregnant women...regardless of maternal age," this however is not the way most gynos practice, and in fact not reflective of most insurance coverage which varies widely on what tests they will cover for an individual patient. The risks are greater as mom gets older.

If we look at the risks in the whole population, if you are twenty years old and having a baby, then your risk is about 1/1600 of conceiving a baby with Trisomy 21 or Down's Syndrome as it is known. And at age 20 your chance of having a pregnancy with any chromosomal problem is about 1/500. Many of these cases will actually miscarry, so it is a different statistic to ask what is your chance of having a live birth with one of these disorders. By age 35 the risk of Down's is about 1/350, and by age 45 the risk is 1/30, and by age 45 the risk of having a pregnancy with any chromosome disorder is about 1/20. Your gyno can help you with the statistics for your specific age.

There are many ways at each stage of pregnancy to determine sex and the health of the baby, and it is so complex that two organizations have issued a joint position on all the complicated testing during the pregnancy. In truth some testing cannot occur until after delivery, but currently we have many ways of making very accurate diagnoses before delivery. Getting a pelvic ultrasound is a genetic screening test. It is not very sensitive however and it only picks up about 60% of the abnormalities in pregnancy, even if done after all the organs are both formed and large enough to visualize completely. It was discovered 30 years ago that certain birth defects are associated with abnormal blood levels of certain proteins and certain hormones. For many years now we have used this test, combined with more intense testing of older mom's to try to determine which babies have some of the most common serious birth defects.

The Human Genome Project in 2001 brought forward the technology that improved prenatal testing. But testing ultimately, for many women, will mean invasive testing through sampling the amniotic fluid with a test called amniocentesis, especially to confirm other tests that may come up abnormal . Now we have NIPT by testing cfDNA! While this many not on the surface sound "simplified", this testing of mom's blood during early After a woman's 10th week of pregnancy, about 10-15% of all of her blood free fragments of DNA are from the placenta. This test does not pick up all abnormalities, and should not be done without early ultrasound tests of fetal health. This has the ability to revolutionize care, as currently about 80-90% of serious birth defects are not picked up until about 18-20 weeks of pregnancy due to the tests that are most frequently used. But it gives parents an option of knowing the health of the baby in a much safer way than amniocentesis. Several companies are now doing this test, and in fact, one option is to find out the sex of your baby, very reliably, and much earlier than ever before!
pregnancy can determine if your baby's chromosomes are normal. It stands for "None Invasive Prenatal Testing" and it's looking for cell-free fetal DNA circulating in mom's blood.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Depression and Contraception

Oral contraceptive birth control pills have been implicated as a cause of depression and anxiety and mood changes. Depression is listed as a possible adverse reaction in the package insert materials on oral contraception.. If we fundamentally understood all the reasons for depression, researchers could more reliably understand the links between oral contraception and depression. Deficiencies in the chemicals in our brain serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, γ-aminobutyric acid and peptides, probably cause most all of these reactions and some women may have lower levels due to stress or genetics. Few studies have been done to try to link depression, levels of these brain chemicals, and steroid hormones given as contraception. As the dosage of hormones is very low in the modern contraceptive pills, it's possible that we have little to no effect on the natural brain levels of these molecules from taking the currently available contraceptive pills. The CDC currently states there is no contraindication to hormonal contraception for women who have depression. Some research on pills with drospirenone containing pills have been reported in the June 2015 American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecologyto actually improve mood symptoms, particularly PMS. It is therefore important to do three things:
1. Be screened for depression and mood disorders. Planning and preventing pregnancy while you treat any disorders are critical.
2. Discuss how contraception can help improve or at least not worsen depression
3. Discuss mood changes when on (any) new medication with your health care provider. 

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Vaginal Contraceptive Ring

If you are a female between the ages of 18 and 35 you may be eligible for a contraceptive ring investigational contraceptive medication study. Qualified participants will receive study-related medical evaluations and care at no cost. If interested, please call 217-356-3736.

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