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polycystic-ovarian-syndrome

The new kid on the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome block: Letrazole

May 5th, 2016
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Blog, Fertility, Food, Healthcare News

 

 

You’ve probably heard of Clomid? One of the most common drugs used in fertility medicine. It’s been around since the 1960s, so we’ve had a lot of experience with this medication. We use it to help women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) ovulate and less commonly it’s used to improve men’s sperm counts.

It’s time to move over though, Clomid. There’s a new kid on the block called Letrozole. When new drugs arrive on the fertility medicine scene we get a little excited because it doesn’t happen that often, especially when it’s an improvement on existing options. Both of these drugs are used with the aim to cause egg release (ovulation) and hence, pregnancy.

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Supplements and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

April 7th, 2016
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Blog, Fertility, Food, Healthcare News

There’s more to managing Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) than just the pill. In fact, I rarely start patients on the oral contraceptive pill as a first line treatment. Why? Because women with PCOS don’t suffer from a deficiency in the pill. Also, you can’t be taking the pill if you are trying to conceive.

Important issues to address first are diet and making positive changes to daily eating habits. Supplements are used to support dietary changes. Remember, you can’t have a terrible diet and expect miracles by just taking supplements. The changes I recommend are regardless of whether women want to fall pregnant or not.

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6 things you should never do to your vagina

March 11th, 2016
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Blog, Fertility

Originally posted on The Glow website www.theglow.com.au on 29/10/2015.

When it comes to health and beauty fads, vaginas seem to be all the rage at the moment. Thanks to the growing popularity (and celebrity endorsement) of everything from vagina facials (vajacials to the uninitiated) to vagina contouring, no longer is the focus on downstairs just about, you know, function.

While it can be easy to get swept up in the trendiness of vaginal treatments, there are some things you should steer well clear of.

1. Steaming

Gwyneth Paltrow may endorse steaming your vagina to “balance female hormones”, but gynaecologist and certified reproductive endocrinologist Dr Natasha Andreadis certainly doesn’t.

“Whenever I think of steaming I think of the potential for burning. The skin in our vagina is the same as the skin on our face. Squamous epithelium. Sensitive. The last thing you want to do is burn it. It would seriously be awkward and hard to treat this area if was to become burnt,” she says.

“I have no idea how this would balance your hormones.” 

2. Dyeing your pubes

Remember that iconic Sex and the City episode involving Samantha and an unfortunate red dye job downstairs? While it’s fun to experiment with hair on your head, extra caution is required if it’s anywhere near your lady parts.

In fact, Dr Andreadis advises not using conventional hair dyes full stop.

“They contain harmful chemicals which can be absorbed and lead to toxin build-up and hormonal disruption. If one must dye pubic hair choose less harmful dyes like henna,” she says.

3. Rough play

Sex toys are a fun, but not if they’re used in a rough way. We know it might seem like it goes without saying, but take care.

“I have seen so many women come into emergency with vaginal tears and bleeding. Be gentle,” says Dr Andreadis.

4. Douching

You’ll often hear about how the vagina needs to be “cleaned”, but even if you’re self-conscious about the smell, relax – your vagina is more often that not perfectly capable of looking after itself.

Douching is meant to cleanse the vagina but issues are that it can disturb the natural pH and balance of good over troublesome bacteria,” explains Dr Andreadis.

“Douching may also introduce the risk of vaginal infections and those higher up in the genital tract such as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (P.I.D).” 

5. Using certain foods for fun

Introducing foods like whipped cream and chocolate into the bedroom are magazine sex tip favourites, but certain foods are best left to the exterior of your body.

“What would happen if you left a bit of food accidentally in there and it decomposed and acted like compost? Perhaps using things externally to spice things up is okay, but I would avoid insertion,” advises Dr Andreadis.

Noted.

6. Piercings

Unsurprisingly, this is not something experts condone.

“Infection, bleeding and trauma during intercourse are just some of the dangers of vaginal piercings,” says Dr Andreadis

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Your top 5 questions about sugar and fertility, answered

March 17th, 2015
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Food and Nutrition, I Quit Sugar

Original blog posted on www.iquitsugar.com/blog on 3/03/2015.

Along with seeking to improve their health, wellbeing and weight, many women in our community are also trying to navigate a natural way to better fertility and reproductive health.

Today we’re going to address some of the most popular and recurring questions we get asked about sugar and fertility here at our office.

Lucky for us, we have a number of talented and experienced experts in our orbit, including Doctor Natasha Andreadis, a Sydney-based fertility specialist and gynaecologist. Below Dr. Natasha gives her professional insight on questions you have asked.

1. “I’m trying to get pregnant but I’m overweight. Does quitting sugar help?”

Quitting sugar helps weight loss. Generally, overweight woman have a harder time falling pregnant, both naturally and with assistance. There is a lot of good evidence that proves this.

When a woman is trying to lose weight, I encourage them to eat whole foods, organic produce that is fresh and in season, reduce refined sugars, and ensure they don’t eat an excess of natural sugars (for example fruit). This will absolutely help with weight loss.

2. “Have you seen correlations between sugar and symptoms like PMS in your practice?”

Yes. I find that the worse the PMS, the worse the sugar cravings. Conversely, the higher the added sugar intake, the more severe the PMS. Hence, to manage PMS we recommend removing refined and added sugars from the diet.

Too much sugar can destabilise blood glucose levels; when blood sugar drops too low, moodiness, anxiety, depression, headaches and fatigue rear their ugly heads. These are common symptoms experienced in PMS.

3. “Will quitting sugar help my hormonal acne?”

Women with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) often have acne. This is related to the high androgen (male hormone) levels in those suffering from this syndrome. However when women quit sugar, they will invariably lose weight and this usually reduces levels of male hormones and hence improves hormonal acne.

Even without PCOS, high sugar and high glycaemic load are linked to bad skin. Too much sugar causes spikes in insulin which promotes sebum production (oily skin). It can also promote and feed skin infection.

So if you have hormonal acne, address your diet.

4. “After quitting sugar, what would be the secondary diet advice you would you give to women trying to conceive?”

To eat organic, seasonal, fresh and full-fat wholefoods.

It’s important we check the source of our food too. Pesticides, chemicals and toxins have detrimental effects on our health by disrupting normal hormonal function.

These nasties end up in our blood stream, and are found in placentas, umbilical cords and breast milk. Scary stuff.

5. “If I stop eating sugar, will my body bounce back or is the damage to my fertility permanent?”

To my knowledge, there is no evidence that sugar consumption directly and permanently damages fertility, although there was a very interesting study published last year in monkeys that showed added sugar affects fertility.

As we’ve seen, if we eat large amounts of sugar, we are likely to be overweight. This then has flow on affects – inflammation that affects most organs in our body. Inflammation is thought to be the cause of heart, liver and thyroid disease, to name a few conditions. It is also thought to play a key role in PCOS.

Quitting sugar will aid with weight loss and even if a woman is not overweight, in the case of PCOS, by removing sugar this may help the resumption of regular menses.

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Fertility and Food

March 6th, 2015
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Fertility, Food and Nutrition, I Quit Sugar

Originally posted on Genea website www.genea.com.au on 10/10/2014.

Fertility, food and fashion – are these three of your favourite topics?

They sure are mine but you might be wondering – what do they have in common with each other?

Food informers like Sarah Wilson (I Quit Sugar) have made it very trendy to be sugar free.  I recently saw her speak at an event hosted by Business Chicks (an organisation Genea is proud to partner with). Sarah sure has made quitting sugar a health trend. But is this a foodie fashion trend? Will it last? What ever happened to the Atkins diet? Has it been superseded by the likes of Wilson, Pete Evan’s Paleo or the 5:2 diet?

If it is, I don’t think it really matters. What these trends do is make us stop and think about how and what we eat. And that’s a good thing. Even if they don’t last, that’s okay – food like fashion, repeats itself. The more important thing to do is pay more attention to what we are eating, as at the end of the day, we are living through a food revolution.

The science of food is also evolving and this is linked to the change people are making in their food choices. There’s good reason for this – we are more overweight than ever despite the increased health consciousness of the community.

We have to change – for our children and their children.

In the fascinating world of genetics, a new branch of science has emerged called nutritional genomics. It is the relationship between the human genome, nutrition and health. Nutritional genetics is the study of genetic variations and the interaction between diet and health.

With these new branches of science, the era of personalized nutrition has emerged.

Genes makes proteins that tell our bodies what to do – from how to breathe to how to breed. Genes are very sensitive to the environment, including the food and beverages we consume.

Now, it’s a fair assumption that because you’re reading the Genea blog you’re trying to get pregnant or at least considering it. You may very well be taking folic acid (also known as folate). Folic acid is a B group Vitamin (vitamin B9). It is important for DNA replication, cell growth, division and for making red blood cells. It also prevents neural tube defects such as spina bifida. We don’t consume enough folate in our diet, so we have to take supplements when preparing for pregnancy.

A natural and powerful option, spinach is more than just a beautiful shade of deep green (and the greener the better). It is also a significant source of folate.

I recently gave a talk to my colleagues at Genea called Diet, DNA and Disease; a topic close to my heart. Why? Because we have the power to make positive changes with our food choices and through these to limit the risk of certain diseases and physical maladies. We have control of what we eat, unlike the tick tock of age and declining egg numbers.

One issue I discussed was sugar. Sugar may negatively affect the quality of our eggs. In a recent published study, monkeys were fed extra table sugar (sucrose) for six months. They were given doses equivalent to the average American woman’s diet. These monkeys were then put through an IVF cycle. They had their eggs harvested and the quality of their eggs compared to other monkeys who were not fed added sugar. The monkeys exposed to sugar had significantly less mature eggs and fertilization rates than those who were not exposed to added sugar. Babies can only be made using mature eggs.

Perhaps this is the case in humans too?

The study of nutrition is complex because food is complex and our relationship with food even more so. But this study made me really think. Quitting sugar not only helps one shed kilograms but it may have a positive impact on egg quality. It was enough for me to remove the lollies I had in the waiting room for my patients. I may replace them with Brazil nuts but that’s another story.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”

Hippocrates.

References

Chaffin CL, Latham KE, Mtango NR, Midic U, Vandevoort CA. Dietary sugar in healthy female primates perturbs oocyte matura- tion and in vitro pre-implantation embryo development. Endocrinology. 2014;155:2688–2695.

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