Womens Health and You

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Reviewed on this page


Normal Female Anatomy

Although the video suggests it's about cancer, it's actually a good review of different parts of maternal anatomy (all of which can be affected with cancer)

Why do women have regular periods (menses)?

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Why do women (humans) have periods?

 Watch this interesting short video showing it's a protective mechanism, to help ensure human reproduction.  Because humans are so complex, miscarriages are relatively common.  Periods 'clean out' the uterine cavity to ensure unsuccessful pregnancy tissue is expelled.  

Why do women have periods?

Female Health

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Why Women are More Complicated

(And why men may never understand)


  • Look at the huge fluctuation of your hormones in your normal monthly menstrual cycle.  The way you feel at different times is understandable.   Progesterone is only made from the corpus luteum.  All the sex hormones can be made from progesterione.  Hormones are essential for your health.  


  • Bleeding is  a sign of health (!).  Can men say the same?  Each month the endometrial lining is shed with bleeding, unless you become pregnant. 


  • Pain is common.  Ovulation itself is a traumatic event, requiring a rupture of the surface of the ovary to release the egg.  Sometimes it causes a twinge, sometimes a pain, and sometimes severe pain when blood vessels break and cause haemorrhage.


  • Your gynecologic organs are mostly hidden inside.  Except for the prostate, men's are visible and easily inspected. This makes it difficult to know when things are not right- like growths of the uterus (mostly fibroids), endometrium (polyps, hyperplasia and even cancer), or ovaries (ovarian cysts, endometriosis, ovarian cancer, and more).


  • Pregnancy and everything that goes with it.  Need I say more?


  • You are born with a finite number of eggs you will use for the rest of your reproductive life.  When ovarian function ceases, menopause ensues.  Male menopause is a more gradual process.  


  • Back to anatomy.  Short urethra means easier to get urinary tract infections (UTIs).


  • Because of the moist environment, easier to get yeast infections.


  • Ovarian cancer rate is higher and has worse prognosis than testicular cancer.  See below and also here



A Word About the C Word

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Early Cancer Detection

Why mention the C (cancer) word on a health page?  


Because that's the time to think about screening and early detection.  Healthy people don't usually give a lot of thought to cancer but that is exactly the right time to give it some thought.  Although most cancers tend to increase with age, cancer doesn't respect age or other characteristics.  There are some things we can do to decrease our risk, and detect it early if/ when it happens to us (50% of people will develop at least one cancer!).   What to do:


  • Good health and nutrition
  • Maintain vitamin D levels.  Vitamin D deficiency linked with over 17 cancers
  • Regular check ups.  Annual gynaecologic exams should be available to all women (see below).  4 of the top 10 cancers in women involve sex organs and 3 are gynecologic.
  • If you're young, make sure you get HPV vaccination to prevent cervical cancer as well as other types of cancer, like had and neck. 
  • Pay for additional screening tests on your 40th and 50th birthdays including a mammogram and possibly colonoscopy.


Gynaecologic exams:  The first step in detection of all gynecologic cancers is a basic gynecologic exam.  Please join me in supporting #checkMeUp which simply asks that annual exams be available for all women.  Many countries might take this for granted but in the UK, we must fight for earlier cancer detection and regular basic exams.  Click on the image or link to be taken to the petition page, and hopefully also make a donation.  

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Ovarian Cancer and Relationship with Your Anatomy


A woman’s lifetime risk of developing ovarian cancer in western countries is about 1 in 50, and the prognosis is poor.  The risk of testicular carcinoma  is about 5 x less and the prognosis is excellent.   Why?


  •  The ‘incessant ovulation’ hypothesis suggests that the number of ovulatory cycles increases the rate of cellular division associated with the repair of the surface epithelium after each ovulation, thereby increasing spontaneous mutations.  Remember, each ovulation is a traumatic event with rupture of the covering of the ovary (epithelium) to release the egg.  This would explain lower rates with pregnancy, and hormonal contraception that suppresses ovulation.  


  • Potential communication with outside world (through uterus and fallopian tubes) may make ovaries susceptible to inciting agents or retrograde flow of menstrual blood.  This would explain substantially lower risk of ovarian cancer with tubal ligation, and increased risk of certain types of cancer with endometriosis. 


  • The ovaries are hidden, not available for examination, so that early detection is difficult.  

Fertility

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Fertility Health



Are Vitamins helpful for fertility?

 

Apart from the well known effects of vitamin D on maintaining calcium homeostasis and promoting bone mineralization, there is some evidence suggesting that vitamin D also modulates human reproductive processes.  Several observational studies reported a better in-vitro fertilization outcome in women with sufficient vitamin D levels (≥30 ng/ml), which was mainly attributed to vitamin D effects on the endometrium. One randomized controlled trial found an increased endometrial thickness in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) receiving vitamin D during intrauterine insemination cycles. Further, vitamin D supplementation had a beneficial effect on serum lipids in PCOS women. Vitamin D treatment improved endometriosis in a rat model and increased vitamin D intake was related to a decreased risk of incident endometriosis. Vitamin D was also favorably associated with primary dysmenorrhea, uterine leiomyoma (fibroids) and ovarian reserve in late reproductive aged women.


A number of studies also suggest that vitamin D is a powerful anti- fibroid agent resulting in inhibition of tumor cell division and a significant reduction in its size, however, the exact role of this compound and its receptor in the pathophysiology of fibroids is not fully understood. According to available studies, vitamin D and its analogs seem to be promising, effective, and low-cost compounds in the management of fibroids and their clinical symptoms, and the anti-tumor activities of vitamin D play an important role in fibroids biology. The synergy between vitamin D and selected anti-fibroid drugs is a very interesting issue which requires further research. 


In women undergoing in-vitro fertilization, a sufficient vitamin D level (≥40 ng/ml) should be obtained. Vitamin D supplementation might improve metabolic parameters in women with PCOS. A high vitamin D intake might be protective against endometriosis and fibroids.  Most people should probably be taking vitamin D supplements. 

More About Fertility

Gynecologic Conditions

gynecologist, women's clinic, women's health clinic, menopause, hormone replacement, bioidentical

 For all women of all ages.  Regardless of your current hormonal status.  For


More About Abnormal Bleeding

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

PCOS, Polycystic ovarian syndrome, ,Women's clinic,Women's health,London Women's clinic,gynecologist

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

 Polycystic Ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is common, affecting at least 15% of women of reproductive age. 


  • One of the central hallmarks of PCOS is an ultrasound scan showing typical findings of multiple small follicles, which can be termed polycystic ovarian morphology (PCOM)
  • There is good evidence that many patients with PCOM but without clinical signs of PCOS are in a pre clinical phase. 
  • PCOS precede serious medical complications including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 
  • Although there is no cure for PCOS, there is good evidence that early intervention with changes in diet and lifestyle can improve symptoms and help avoid some of the complications. 

More About PCOS

Menopause and Hormonal Replacement Therapy

hormone replacement, hormonal replacement, HRT, bioidentical hormone replacement, BHRT, testosterone

Menopause- it's Normal

Menopause is normal and so needs to be discussed in relation to health   How to manage menopause?  Also see more on hormone page  




 Benefits of BHRT

BHRT is typically used as people age and hormone levels drop, particularly for women who are in perimenopause or menopause. It’s used to increase the levels of the hormones that have dropped and improve moderate to severe menopause symptoms, including:

  • hot flashes
  • night sweats
  • mood changes
  • memory loss
  • weight gain sleep issues
  • loss of interest in sex or pain during sex


In addition to helping with symptoms, hormone replacement therapy may also reduce your risk for diabetes, tooth loss, and cataracts. There’s some evidence that it can help improve skin thickness, hydration, and elasticity. 

For those with cancer who have undergone treatments that affect their estrogen levels, BHRT has been shown to be effective in improving their general well-being and quality of life.   In one study people with cancer who underwent BHRT found relief from treatment-related symptoms such as migraines, incontinence, low libido, and insomnia. The study also found their recurrence rate of breast cancer cancer was no higher than average.


Your physician can give you advice on whether you might benefit from hormone replacement therapy, and what type to consider.   Our clinicians have special interest in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (bHRT), which we believe is the safest and most effective.  


Traditional vs. bioidentical


Bioidentical hormones are different from those used in traditional hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in that they’re identical chemically to those our bodies produce naturally and are made from plant estrogens.  The hormones used in traditional HRT are made from the urine of pregnant horses and other synthetic hormones.

Supporters of bioidentical hormones claim their products are safer because they are “natural” and identical in makeup to the hormones the body produces naturally. But most experts believe the risks of BHRT and HRT are similar. Compounded bioidentical hormones may carry even more risks. There’s no credible evidence that BHRT is more effective than HRT.


BHRT can be used to treat men and women when their hormone levels drop or become unbalanced. It’s most frequently used to ease symptoms of perimenopause and menopause.  It may also be used to improve symptoms of cancer treatment or to treat conditions such as:

  • insulin resistance 
  • adrenal and thyroid disorders
  • osteoporosis
  • fibromyalgia 


Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are among those most commonly replicated and used in treatment. Bioidentical hormones come in various forms, including:

  • pills
  • patches
  • creams
  • gels
  • injections


Components of BHRT


Some bioidentical hormones are made by drug companies. Others, known as compounded bioidentical hormones, are custom made by a pharmacy, according to a doctor’s orders. This process is known as compounding. Compounding typically involves ingredients being combined or altered to meet the needs of an individual.  Compounded bioidentical hormones are often considered as being safer and more effective than synthetic hormones.



Talk to your doctor about which form may be best for you and your lifestyle. You’ll likely need to be monitored regularly once you begin BHRT to evaluate your body’s response. 

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Nutritional Health

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Nutrition

 More detailed discussion of selected topics may be found here  Gaining weight and our body shape is not just about genetic predisposition, although certainly our genes are very important and perhaps contribute as much as 70% to our body shape.    This suggests that not all diets are right for everyone and personalized nutrition can help maximize your potential.  Everyone is different and there is no one right way to eat. The right food and nutrition is very important, but so are other factors like our gut bacteria (microbiome),  when we eat, exercise, and sleep.  

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The Incredibly Important Vitamin D

  Vitamin D is incredibly important.  Remember Vitamin D is more than a vitamin- it's an essential hormone.  Vitamin D influences more than 200 human genes, which could be impaired when we do not have enough vitamin D. Modern lifestyle decreases our ability to make and maintain healthy vitamin D levels.  The benefits and associations, to date, linked with Vitamin D can be summarized as:
Cardiovascular health

  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension

Bone and muscle health

  • Rickets
  • Osteoporosis
  • Fractures
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Muscle weakness

Insulin and glucose metabolism

  • PCOS
  • gestational diabetes
  • Type 1 diabtes
  • Type 2 diabetes

Gatrointestinal health

  • Colonic polyps
  • Colon cancer
  • Liver fibrosis
  • Crohn's disease

Immunity 

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Systemic Lupus
  • Crohn's disease

Cancer- at least 17 different cancers including

  • Bladder
  • Breast
  • Esophageal, gatric, rectal, colon
  • Uterine
  • Ovarian
  • Non hodgkins lymphoma

Skin health 

  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Eczema

Childhood conditions

  • childhood asthma
  • reduce the risk of autism, both in animal and human studies

Mental illness, and brain function

  • Mood
  • Alzheimer's
  • schizophrenia
  • autism

Fertility and gynecologic conditions

  • PCOS
  • Fibroids
  • Endometriosis

Pregnancy and placental related 

Most people should be taking vitamin D supplements.    There is ample and compelling evidence that a blood level of 30-50 ng/mL is necessary for optimal health. In the absence of adequate sun exposure, 1,000 IU vitamin D daily for children and adults is required to achieve these levels.
 Gut bacteria and the microbiome may also play an important role in autism.
In one particular study, infants who received 2,000 International Units per day of vitamin D had an 88 percent lower risk of developing type 1 diabetes by the age of 32.  
"Activated vitamin D is one of the most potent inhibitors of cancer cell growth," says Michael F. Holick, PhD, MD, who heads the Vitamin D, Skin, and Bone Research Laboratory at Boston University School of Medicine. "It also stimulates your pancreas to make insulin. It regulates your immune system."
 

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Folate (Vitamin B9)

   Folate (B9), and B12 (which helps folate)  are critical for methylation and production of DNA and RNA regulation-- also especially at times of rapid growth during pregnancy.   But the maximal benefit is when folate is started BEFORE pregnancy, so why not get started now?  Also, if it's so important during pregnancy,  and before pregnancy, shouldn't we also consider it other times?   


Folate (Vit B9) plays a critically important role in DNA synthesis which is important for both fetal and placental development.  Low or deficient levels of folate can lead to many fetal and maternal problems, while folate supplementation has proven to have have these powerful, overwhelming benefits:  

  • Dramatically lowers the risk of neural tube defects (50-70% reduction)
  • Reduces the risk of other cleft type of defects including cleft lip/ palate, and gastroschisis
  • Reduces the risk of some heart defects
  • Reduces the risk of preeclampsia during pregnancy
  • Important for the growth of the placenta, synthesis of DNA and the development of the baby
  • Essential for red blood cell production and helps prevent forms of anemia
  • Possibly reduce the risk of miscarriage
  • Possibly reduces the risk of preterm delivery


Taking folate during your pregnancy is not an option- it's a necessity!   It is one of the few things you can do that can actually affect the outcome of your pregnancy!400 mcg/day of folate is recommended during pregnancy, ideally beginning before conception.   It should be noted that the neural tube closes by the 28th day of conceiving and so many females may not even know that they are pregnant before the neural tube normally closes.    

Nutrition and Your Intestines

INFLUENCE OF YOUR GUT MICROBIOME

 

Fascinating new research has come out about the microbiome in recent years, which is the synergistic community of 100 trillion microbes that live within our bodies, and how the gut microbiome rules women's hormones and menstrual cycles.

The gut is now recognized as another brain in our body which sends signals to all the organs of our body, and our gut health directly effects our mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing.

It's amazing to think that trillions of (mostly) good bacteria within our gut microbiome are working to support our health and whole body nutrition and functioning. 

The microbiome actually is 10 times  the amount of cells in our body than actual human cells. We are mostly our microbiome and interconnected with the natural world around and within us.  Our interdependence upon the microbiome demonstrates how we are so intertwined with the lifeforce of nature.

It shows just how much we are a part of our environment, and how our inner community and outer community are both vital to create balance and health. 

The incredible community of bacteria within our digestive tract is essential for optimal health, immunity, digestion, mental focus, emotional wellbeing, and hormonal balancing.  Awareness of diet can help all women, whether or not you choose hormonal replacement therapy. 


 

Scientists have now identified the gut microbiome as an organ all of it's own - and not only that but it's an endocrine, and may be the master regulator of our hormones! 


In fact there is a secondary microbiome within our gut microbiome that is especially pronounced in women called the estrobolome which governs the levels of estrogen, the primary female reproductive health hormone, in our body. 

Imbalance in the estrobolome causing estrogen dominance can lead to all kinds of women's hormonal challenges from PMS, to PCOS, infertility, mood swings and bloating, as well as may lead to a higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer. 

The new research shows how vital our gut health and a healthy microbiome is for women's health and hormone balancing is vitally important because disruptions to our microbiome from synthetic hormones, chemicals, and artificial foods can cause systemic health challenges that can be hard to identify.



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The best way to nourish a healthy gut microbiome is to eat a diverse array of phytonutrient and fiber-rich organic whole foods, and to reduce the amount of inflammation triggering processed and chemical-laden foods.

 

Food is not just fuel, it's information to your brain, and the rest of your body.    Nourish your microbiome with probiotics, fiber, and healthy fats to help promote health and  wellness.   Your gut microbiome can help promote health for your body, cycles, skin, and mood. 

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Nutrigenomics

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Nutrigenomics

 
 Many factors affect an individual’s overall health and wellness, including nutrition, exercise, and body weight as well as predispositions to a number of health conditions. However, women face additional health circumstances and challenges such as pregnancy, menopause and other gynecological conditions. In order for a woman to achieve optimal health and wellness, it is important for her to understand how her unique genetic profile may be affecting how her body utilizes energy and nutrients, as well as how it responds to certain foods, diets, and exercise regiments. A woman’s genetic makeup can also provide with insights into common health conditions that she may predisposed to, as well as other information that may be helpful during a woman’s lifetime. Genetic testing is available to offer a comprehensive general health and wellness analysis of genetic markers that can provide physicians with valuable information about a woman’s dietary and nutritional needs, optimal exercise regiments, potential response to a number of medications, as well as the risk of developing a number of common health conditions.   


 Genomics is the study of genes and those gene variants. Genomic information, which you get from a genomic test (and why a DNA test is important), tells us which gene variants you have and their impact in your body.  How to choose a DNA test.  



  • Risk of Metabolic Disease (hypothyroidism, insulin resistance, PCOS)
  • Methylation, MTHFR and folate
  • Folic Acid and B12
  • The Fat Gene FTO
  • Hormonal Production and Breakdown


Hormonal, metabolic and vitamin abnormalities in women can produce a number of undesirable affects, such as weight gain, sleep disturbances, infertility, fatigue, and mood disturbances. In some more severe cases, increase risk of cancer, miscarriage, placental separation, preeclampsia, and pulmonary embolisms can occur. Determining your risk of these issues is now much easier with recent development of genetic panels.  Knowing your genetic predisposition allows you and your physician to help determine the proper course of nutrition, hormonal therapy risk and metabolic risk. It can also make you more aware of the signs and symptoms of a possible complications and potential life threatening issues.  


CONDITIONS THAT MIGHT BENEFIT FROM HORMONE TESTING AND  WOMEN’S HEALTH PANEL INCLUDE:


o Irregular Menstrual Cycles

o Weight Gain 

o History of Polystic Ovaries (PCOS)

o Decreased Fertility

o Hair Loss

o Recurring pre-menstrual breast tenderness

o History of Miscarriage

o Fibrocystic Breast

o Excess facial or body hair

o Post-Menopausal Hormone Replacement

o Family History of Infertility or Miscarriage

o Family history of Breast / Ovarian or Endometrial Cancer

o Family History of Hypothyroidism

o Family History of Obesity

o Family History of Pre-eclampsia



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 Did you know....?


Glyphosate is the #1 most common herbicide and crop desiccant used today.

It is now present in 75% of our food supply and has been tested to be present in 93% of American's urine.

It's not only in GMO crops, but sprayed on most crops, as well as in public parks, apartment complexes, lawns, all non-organic grains, water supply, and finds it's way into our guts, urine, bodies, and babies.

It kills enzymes and microorganisms thus destroying the microbiome in our guts, causing disruption of our nutrient digestion, immune system, wellbeing, and mood.  It has also been shown to kill embryonic, umbilical and placental cells, causing challenges to fertility, and adversely effecting development of a baby during the critical primal period. 

Even if we eat organic, we're being exposed to it by living in the modern world through our environment, and cross contamination of organic foods by this pervasive weed killer.

It's important that we take conscious proactive action to reduce glyphosate and chemicals in our food supply and our environment through supporting organic farmers and companies. 

Due to the reduced nutrients in our soil today, and the widespread toxic effects of synthetic chemicals in our environment, eating healthy organic food is of the most importance today for the wellbeing of ourselves and the future generations. 


Commercial fruits containing trace pesticides
Commercial fruits containing trace pesticides

Downloads

Vitamin D and lupus (pdf)

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Vitamin D review (pdf)

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Vitamin D and cancer function (pdf)

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