Archive for the ‘Infertility’ Category


10 Warning Signs of Endometriosis

Monday, October 12th, 2015

Endometriosis is a painful, chronic disease that affects at least 6.3 million women and girls in the U.S.  Many women suffer from endometriosis throughout their lives, often misdiagnosed as simply suffering from ‘painful menses’, or with their symptoms ignored completely.

One recent study of several hundred women diagnosed with endometriosis revealed that they had suffered since adolescence, but were undiagnosed until their 40’s.

Endometriosis is a common, painful and for some, debilitating condition. But it CAN be treated.

For more information, please give us a call at 503-287-4970 to schedule a complimentary consult to see how we can assist you.


10 Common signs of Endometriosis: 

1)   Monthly menstrual cramping- Cramping that begins before, continues during, and lasts after your menses is the most common symptom of endometriosis.

2)   Pelvic pain Pain that is diffuse, located deep in the pelvis, dull and aching is suggestive of endometriosis. In women with pelvic pain, the rate of endometriosis is 40%-50%. You should never ignore pelvic pain!  

3)   Back and thigh pain- Pain that begins in the back, radiates to the thighs and may be associated with rectal pressure is suggestive of endometriosis, particularly if associated with #1 and #2.

4)   Painful sex and/or pain with deep penetration- Dyspareunia (painful sex) that occurs immediately prior to onset of menses is associated with endometriosis. Endometriosis associated dyspareunia is most intense with deep penetration.

5)    Pain with bowel movements-  Painful defecation is associated with endometriosis that involves the area behind and between the uterus and large intestine.                                          

 6)   Pain with urination, urgency or increased frequency– Are associated with a variety of concerns, including endometriosis involving the bladder. Such symptoms should be assessed by a healthcare provider without delay. 

7)   Abnormal monthly bleeding- Persistent heavy flow, menstrual bleeding lasting longer than 7 days, passing large clots, and/or spotting/bleeding between expected menses are all suggestive of disordered uterine bleeding. There are a variety of potential causes, including endometriosis.

8)   Infertility- Often the first (maybe the only) sign of endometriosis is difficulty getting pregnant. Almost 40% of women with infertility have endometriosis. Although many women overcome endometriosis related infertility.

9)  Onset in Adolescence- Endometriosis pain can begin with the very first menstrual period. 50% of adolescents with chronic pelvic pain and painful menses have endometriosis. Yet, it is most often diagnosed in women in their 30s and 40s .

10)  Irritable Bowel Diagnosis- Endometriosis can coexist with, or be misdiagnosed as, irritable bowel syndrome or pelvic inflammatory disease (Fritz &Speroff, 2011).

American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists. 2012. Gynecologic Problems: Endometriosis.

Fritz, M., and Speroff, L. Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology and Infertility 8th ed. 2011. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Tharpe, N., Farley, C., Jordan, R.. Clinical practice guidelins for midwifery & women’s health. 4th ed. 2013. Jones & Bartlett Learning.

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Sunday, September 21st, 2014

As frightening as it might first seem, it can be empowering for a woman to learn that she has Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Discovered sooner rather than later, there are many opportunities for intervention.

While there are many medications and even natural remedies to treat PCOS, taking charge of lifestyle changes will often have a profound impact, and for many, can reverse the presentation of PCOS symptoms. Including infertility.

Any treatment focused on reducing insulin levels in both lean and obese women with PCOS may be beneficial.

Exercise is key to this.

Increasing muscle mass improves glucose regulation (and reduces insulin levels), which in turn can stimulate ovulation.

So, through increasing activity level from sedentary to moderate daily activity, women may see a fall in ovarian androgen secretion and an improvement in cyclic pituitary-ovarian function, which may reduce hair growth and restore menstrual regularity, and presumably fertility.

Exercise and a whole-foods diet can also improve cardiovascular function by lowering high LDL and triglycerides and raising protective HDL. By increasing cardiovascular and weight bearing exercises, choosing whole foods rich in fruits, veggies,and whole grains over processed foods high in fat, sugar, and processed foods, a woman can not only lose weight, but may also improve hormone regulation and longevity.

For overweight or obese women with PCOS, weight loss alone can be the biggest catalyst for change in symptoms like infertility.  A healthy BMI is associated with a reduction in serum testosterone concentration, improved glucose regulation, ovulation, and optimally increases one’s ability to achieve spontaneous pregnancy.

With support, a woman with a PCOS diagnosis has many tools available to increase her chances for conception. While weight loss is only one of those tools, with appropriate support it is often a key tool to help regulate cycles and improve ovulation.

If you think you may have PCOS, or already have a diagnosis, give us a call today to schedule an appointment with our women’s healthcare specialist to talk through the tools right for supporting YOUR health needs.

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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

2646438199_b309cffd65In honor of Women’s Health Month, I felt it important to discuss a syndrome that, like women, is elusive, complex, and foolish to ignore. The syndrome is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

PCOS appears in between 4 and 12% of women seen in American clinics (1. 2) and in 20% of obese women (3). These numbers may be inaccurate, though, because of the variety and inconsistency of criteria for diagnosis in the past, and the myriad of subtle symptoms that go unreported or overlooked.

Symptoms such as acne, mild facial hair or nipple hair, irregular periods, heavy periods, difficulty conceiving, or intermittent pelvic pain may seem unremarkable or easily treatable by themselves, but collectively, they point to a very important diagnosis.

This is disturbing because not only are we at risk for missing the mark on its prevalence, but we may also be missing the diagnosis of PCOS all together.

The possibility of misdiagnosing or ignoring PCOS has significant implications.  There is increased risk for Type 2 diabetes, increased thickening of the endometrial lining and hyper-estrogen related cancers, and cardiovascular disease.

Treatments typically include pharmaceutical hormone regulators such as oral contraceptives and metformin, as well as a recommendation for weight loss in the overweight or obese PCOS patient. While medications have been beneficial for some, many women are opposed to the use of prescription medications unless absolutely necessary.  And women often do not like the side effects associated with these treatments.

More and more, women are asking the question, “Are there any alternative therapies?” The good news is that for many women the answer is yes.

We take an integrated approach to treating PCOS, we use the most effective treatments for your health needs. These can include  lifestyle changes, nutritional therapy, herbs, acupuncture, Chinese medicine, as well as conventional therapies.

Our goal is to get you the best possible outcome.

Regardless of the approach, the goals for treatment are; decreasing circulating insulin and androgens, restoring ovulation and menstrual regularity, weight loss, improving cardiovascular profiles, supporting liver function, and improving the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.

If you believe you have symptoms of PCOS, or you already have a diagnosis and are looking for a more holistic approach to treatment, we encourage you to give us a call today.

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