Why Artificial Sweeteners Are Killing You

what if I told you artificial sugars are killing you





Recent studies have shown that Artificial Sweeteners increase Obesity, Diabetes, Cardiovascular and Cancer risks and are a major part of one of the many issues slowly killing the us and turning the world population into super obese people.

Right now that can of Coke Zero, diet soda, or Pepsi max doesn’t look so good after all. Neither should it, because the ingredients in those drinks, when consumed, even if just once, or twice per week, are slowing taking years off your life and affecting your health and disrupting your reproductive, metabolic, cardiovascular, endocrine and immunes function.

But it isn’t just these drinks that are the issue. These artificial sweeteners are in are in everything from foods you are eating daily, many popular/fad protein shakes, chewing gum and even kids chewable vitamins. Yes, those vitamins are providing your children with a chemical toxic ingredient on a daily basis, under the banner that it is good for you.

People do need to take the blinkers off and realize that these artificial sugars are in fact a toxic chemical that the body cannot covert properly, tends to store in fat tissue and then covert to other toxic substances in the body. They are worse for you than naturally occurring sugars and that is a scientific and even logical fact. They are chemically engineered and they do not naturally occur in our environment. This doesn’t mean refined sugar is good for you either, but it is definitely better processed by the body and there are better options for sugar than refined sugar cane.

The problem is that most of the population has a sugar addiction and it is slowly killing them, or for some, it is killing them quite quickly. This is not just some conspiracy theory at all. The whole is now facing the fact that most of its population is overweight and resembling the characters off the movie “Wall-E”. But worse still people are now thinking that the chemically laden substitutes are actually a better alternative to sugar. Not so

Consumption of noncaloric, artificially sweetened beverages (ASBs) is associated with an increased risk for disease variety of chronic diseases, according to an opinion article by Susan E. Swithers, PhD, a professor of behavioral neuroscience at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, publishedin Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism

In recent years, some high-profile studies have caused concern, suggesting that pregnant women who use high-intensity sweeteners incur risks, including premature delivery. Studies in mice have highlighted cancers related to ingestion of sweeteners in large quantities and potential diabetogenic effects of artificial sweeteners through microbiota.

“Frequent consumers of these sugar substitutes are at increased risk of excessive weight gain, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease,” Dr. Swithers writes.

The prospective studies Dr. Swithers reviewed found an elevated risk for weight gain and obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and hypertension in those who consumed ASBs..

Participants who regularly consumed ASBs tended to have higher baseline body mass indexes compared with participants who did not.

Similar studies showed that these artificial sweeteners are also putting children at a major health risk and definitely are a part of the obesity epidemic that is fast turning our children in super obese adults.

Hormones, Brain Response Altered

Brain responses are altered in those who consume artificial sweeteners compared with those who consume caloric sweeteners. In addition, studies in humans have found that the release of hormones and other markers need for hormone synthesis and insulin regulation and glucose homeostasis, are disrupted after ingestion of artificial sweeteners. Many of these artificial sweeteners are actually endocrine disruptors that are affecting the conversion of cholesterol into hormones and causing what many know as “The pregnenolone steal”. Basically you aren’t producing your hormones properly and not converting many of our much-needed hormones at all. Plus obesity is causing hormonal disruption by too much fat, which are now being termed as “Obestrogens”.

Current findings suggest that caution and avoidance of about artificial sweeteners is warranted. People need to open their eyes and look at the foods they are consuming on a daily basis. Many of them have hidden artificial sugars and additives in them and worse still, many of the foods children are consuming daily are the same. We all need to start to eat less process foods, avoid refined sugars, avoid artificial sugars, increase vegetable and fruits, increase nuts and seeds, increase our protein and where possible eat fresh organic foods.

Forget global warming killing us off, the world is doing a pretty good job of its own by ingesting chemically laden foods and sugar substitutes such as these artificial sweeteners.



Increasing Pregnancy Rates With PGD Testing & Shen Therapies Fertility Program





Increasing Pregnancy Rates With PGD Testing & Shen Therapies Fertility Program

At least three things are required for a successful pregnancy during in vitro fertilization (IVF): a healthy embryo, a receptive endometrium, and careful transfer at the proper time in the cycle. IVF has improved significantly in its almost 40-year history. Different types of hormone and fertility drugs have been developed that are easier to administer and are associated with an improved safety profile. In addition, numerous stimulation protocols are available that allow us to individually tailor treatments. For example, ultrasound-guided embryo transfer using soft catheters and embryo glue (enzyme to assist implantation) has also helped with ensuring better placement of the embryo, without trauma to the endometrium, but very few clinics are actually doing this. Tests can also be used to evaluate the receptivity of the endometrium in order to determine the best time to schedule the transfer.

Despite all these improvements, however, implantation and pregnancy rates with IVF only slowly increase year after year.

The rate-limiting step of IVF is implantation. It requires the proper interaction of a healthy embryo and a receptive endometrium. It often fails due to problems with the embryos. The genetic health of the embryo depends on both its inherited genetic material and on the errors and repairs during the cell divisions. A chromosomally abnormal embryo is unlikely to implant, and when it does it is likely to be lost early on. Many embryos that are transferred have chromosomal abnormalities, even if they look fine on the outside, or are classified as being the best grade prior to transfer. We need people to understand that just because and embryo has reached Blastocyst, or Morella stage and it looks like a good quality embryo from the outside, it does not mean that the inside and the chromosomes inside the embryo are OK. Not every fertilised egg will result in a genetically sound embryo that will go on to become a baby.

We also need people to realise that an embryo is made up the genetic material of two people and that requires the sperm to be healthy both outwardly, but also chromosomally, and this can change with each batch of sperm ejaculated. Sperm quality and the viability of sperm changes and just because something was “OK” last cycle, or two years ago, or last month, or last week, does not mean that it is OK now. People need to face the reality of what happens with the body and reproduction. The health of the sperm is also reflected in the health and lifestyle and age of the male too. Unhealthy males produce unhealthy sperm and higher levels or sperm with chromosomal abnormalities and damage to the DNA. Unless you are testing every batch of sperm for DNA and chromosomal abnormalities, you aren’t going to see this and even then, testing can only see so much.

A healthy embryo also requires a female to be healthy and her eggs to be health chromosomally and on a DNA level. Egg quality is also related to age, diet, lifestyle, environment, and exposure to environmental disruptors, weight, body fat, stress and so many other factors. We need people to be aware of this. Then when you put two unhealthy people’s genetic and reproductive material together, there is a high likelihood that it will produce higher numbers of abnormal embryos, and sometimes it can be all of them. It all depends on the health of the sperm and health of the eggs at time of fertilisation.

Various methods of genetic testing of embryos have been evaluated in past decades. One can test the chromosome content of the polar bodies, but a cleavage-stage embryo (day 3 of development) or a blastocyst-stage embryo can be evaluated as well. In addition, various techniques  are available for assessing the chromosomes.  There are also new testing and new technologies that have addressed the shortcomings of these earlier tests.

The authors of a recent systematic review concluded that comprehensive genetic screening of embryos using day 5 blastocyst biopsy is associated with increased implantation and pregnancy rates. In addition, this technology appears to be a good tool to limit the number of embryos transferred. But embryos can still be tested early on in their development, with good results, too.

Most experts recommend genetic testing of embryos in women with advanced reproductive age, recurrent implantation failure, recurrent pregnancy loss, or severe male factor infertility/DNA issues. This then gives a greater probability of transferring a chromosomally normal embryo and having a higher chance of implantation and pregnancy occurring. But even a chromosomally normal embryos doesn’t ensure a pregnancy. This is often the hardest thing for people to get their heads around. To be honest, much of this comes down to luck and is really in the hands of the gods.

But what you can do to ensure healthy egg quality, healthy sperm quality, healthy embryo quality, healthy uterine lining, decreases stress levels, optimal health at time of transfer etc, is being on our highly successful fertility program, which has been shown to increase a couples fertility and success rates by 96.1% * ( http://shentherapies.com.au/success-rates/ ) and has helped over 12,000 babies into the world.

For more information on our highly successful fertility program, please call the clinic on 07 32795697, or email us at info@shentherapies.com.au.  You can also visit our website and our web page that explains more about our fertility program as well http://shentherapies.com.au/shen-therapies-highly-successful-fertility-program/


  1. Mains L, Van Voorhis BJ. Optimizing the technique of embryo transfer. Fertil Steril. 2010;94:785-790. Abstract
  2. Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology. Clinic Summary Report. https://www.sartcorsonline.com/rptCSR_PublicMultYear.aspx?ClinicPKID=0 Accessed April 27, 2015.
  3. Staessen C, Platteau P, Van Assche E, et al. Comparison of blastocyst transfer with or without preimplantation genetic diagnosis for aneuploidy screening in couples with advanced maternal age: a prospective randomized controlled trial. Hum Reprod. 2004;19:2849-2858. Abstract
  4. Mastenbroek S, Twisk M, van Echten-Arends J, et al. In vitro fertilization with preimplantation genetic screening. N Engl J Med. 2007;357:9-17. Abstract
  5. Yang Z, Liu J, Collins GS, et al. Selection of single blastocysts for fresh transfer via standard morphology assessment alone and with array CGH for good prognosis IVF patients: results from a randomized pilot study. Mol Cytogenet. 2012;5:24.
  6. Scott RT Jr, Upham KM, Forman EJ, et al. Blastocyst biopsy with comprehensive chromosome screening and fresh embryo transfer significantly increases in vitro fertilization implantation and delivery rates: a randomized controlled trial. Fertil Steril. 2013;100:697-703. Abstract
  7. Forman EJ, Tao X, Ferry KM, et al. Single embryo transfer with comprehensive chromosome screening results in improved ongoing pregnancy rates and decreased miscarriage rates. Hum Reprod. 2012;27:1217-1222. Abstract
  8. Scott RT Jr, Upham KM, Forman EJ, et al. Cleavage-stage biopsy significantly impairs human embryonic implantation potential while blastocyst biopsy does not: a randomized and paired clinical trial. Fertil Steril. 2013;100:624-630. Abstract


Why Early Puberty Is More Common Than Ever

hot water bottle





Why Early Puberty Is More Common Than Ever

In today’s modern world we are seeing more and more young girls going through puberty much younger than they used to. We do know that girls as young as 7 years old are getting their menstrual cycle and going through all the changes of puberty, yet these poor children aren’t able to fully comprehend the emotional changes that go with it, or what this means for them on a reproductive level. Researchers Blame Childhood Obesity, Endocrine Disruptors and I will discuss this at length for you all.

It wasn’t that long ago the average girl would begin menstruating around the age of 16 or 17. On average, the general consensus would have been that girls could be starting to begin menstruation around the age of 14 years old. By early 2000’s, that age had fallen to less than 13 years old and now it has fallen again to being as young as 7 years old.

What we forget is that even before a girl gets her first period, there are signs of maturation that signal impending changes, and these come even earlier. So actually, some of these girls are beginning their puberty phase when they are 5 years, or 6 years old. A generation ago, less than 5 percent of girls would see these changes in their bodies— being breast growth, body hair, acne, pubic hair and all the other things that go with puberty. But now many of these young girls are seeing this around 7 years old, with an average age being 8 years old, for all of these changes to start to happen. This is definitely becoming the increasing norm and some experts think this age is still falling. Some doctors see fit to begin assessing girls for puberty-related changes at age 6.

Classically, precocious puberty has defined puberty that begins before age 8 in girls and 9 in boys, but this is no longer universally accepted. In general experts are now saying that 7 years old is now probably a normal age to have some signs of puberty. While they are some that may not agree, we do need to start asking the big questions as to why this is happening?

So far, researchers haven’t proven any physical risks that come with early maturity. Although this could pose a significant risk to their ongoing fertility, bone health and also be putting women into menopause earlier too.

Many researchers have suggested that the main risks that come along with precocious puberty are not biological. Recent studies have found that girls who began the process early had an increased risk of depression during their adolescent years. There are also social risks that can disrupt a girl’s healthy development.

Puberty can be very confusing and emotionally damaging for girls, as they may face “sexual innuendo or teasing” long before they’re ready for it, according to researchers and experts. Early puberty may change the way a girl behaves, along with the way others behave towards her. This could pose other significant risk factors such as early pregnancy, but also exposure to STI’s and many other things these young girls are too young and too naive to know. This could even lead to earlier use of alcohol and drugs as well.

Why Is It Happening?

One of the biggest issues for young girls, and women in general, is changes in diet and higher use of highly processed foods and high intake of grains. This leads to higher levels of insulin and then the body storing more fats and stops the burning of fats and this then also creates inflammatory disease in the body. High insulin levels also lead to higher levels of estrogen in the body too. This is leading to more children being overweight and problem with changes to hormones, their cycles and gynaecological conditions. Childhood obesity rates have increase exponentially in the past 30 years, with more than one-third of children and adolescents weighing in as overweight, or obese. What people fail to realize is these Fat cells produce estrogen ( now known as Obestrogens), which plays a central role in stimulating breast growth in girls, causing problems with hormones, causing gynaecological conditions and playing a major factor in them getting their cycles much younger.

Researchers and experts are saying that obesity is leading to earlier puberty and this theory is well supported by the fact that these girls’ breasts are developing at a much younger age, and the age at which they start to menstruate has declined. The ovaries control menstruation, signaling that earlier breast development may be occurring because of different variables such as diet and environmental factors

There may be are other factors at play, other than diet, lifestyle and obesity though. Girls at a normal weight have been starting puberty earlier as well, though at a lower rate than these girls whom are overweight, or obese. Chemicals known as endocrine disruptors, such as the phthalates used in the production of plastics, as another potential contributor to early puberty have been cited as the most likely cause. They mimic estrogen and also cause disruption to the reproductive function and could therefore cause precocious breast growth and issues with the menstrual cycle. We know that there are over 87,000 chemical found in our foods, plastics, and preservatives and even in our water ways from detergents and even small traces of the contraceptive pill making its way into our water we drink as well. Others have said stress during childhood can play a role in prompting puberty as well.

Many children now face far more stresses that did in generations gone by, with many children growing up in families with a lot of domestic violence, arguing at home, or violence in their neighborhood are more likely to develop earlier. There have been studies and research that has suggested that girls who grew up without their biological father were twice as likely to get their period before age 12.

Scientists are even researching prenatal variables. Researchers now know that the parental mode of inheritance, through genes, is one way parents health, diet and lifestyle is being passed onto children. One study found that overweight mothers who developed gestational diabetes while pregnant gave birth to daughters who would start puberty earlier in life, regardless of what the girls themselves weighed. But, we also now know that the sins of the fathers can play a part in a child’s development. If the father isn’t healthy at the time of conceptions, or has genetic abnormalities, or genetic issues, these can be passed through the sperm and then onto a child, who then is affected with this issues that get expressed later, or now early, in life.

Regardless of whether its cause is environmental, genetic, biological, or some combination, precocious puberty may be reaching a biological breaking point.

This is why we need to be more of our children’s health early on, but we also need to be aware of our own health, before conceiving too, as we can pass our genetic disposition onto our children.

Early intervention and prevention is the centre of managing any issue such as this and this is why we need to teach our children better eating habit, having a healthy active body and also being in touch with their bodily functions and emotions at a young age

Period pain and menstrual irregularities are not normal and we need to teach young girls this. Please see our article of what a proper menstrual cycle should be like to familiarize you and your daughter with this. The earlier you get onto menstrual issues and gynaecological issues, the better long term prognosis they have for their health and future fertility overall. Young girls can have gynaecological issues such as Endometriosis and PCOS. We know this beyond a doubt.

If you or your daughter need help with menstrual issues and know more about better menstrual health, please book in and see me sooner than later. As I have said before, the earlier we start educating young women on what is right, then better is for them later on in life and for their future health and fertility

Take care


Dr Andrew Orr

“The Brisbane Baby Maker” & “Women’s and Men’s Health Crusader”

-Leaving No Stone Left Unturned

44143084 - spa stones treatment scene, zen like concepts.









Sinusitis means inflammation, or an infection of the sinuses (sinus cavities). The sinuses are air-filled spaces (cavities) within the bones of the face and are located in the cheeks, forehead and around the eyes. The sinuses are linked together, and connected to the nose, ears and throat too. One function of the sinuses is to warm and moisten inhaled air before it reaches the lungs. Cold air into the sinus cavities can also cause the nose to block. The sinuses are also lined with cells that help prevent infection by producing mucus to trap particles of dirt and other pollutants that are breathed in. Sometimes this mucus and particles build up and then cause inflammation and infection and this is why regular flushing of the sinuses needs to be encouraged.

Causes of sinusitis

Sinusitis is caused by swelling of the lining of the sinuses and nose, allergy response and too much mucus and particle build up, which can block the narrow channels. This can occur during a cold, or may be due to allergy (for example, hayfever) or irritation of the linings of the sinuses (for example, from chlorine in a swimming pool). Some preservative such as the preservative 220 can cause inflammation and blockages of the sinuses as well. Bacteria can also grow inside the sinuses, causing pain, headache and migraine and sometimes fever. Mucus from infected sinuses can be yellow or green. It often resembles a peanut butter like colour. Some people get sinusitis with most colds, while others get it rarely. Many people that have persistent cold like symptoms may in fact have chronic sinusitis.


Common symptoms of sinusitis include:

  • Blocked nose
  • Feeling of pressure inside the face
  • Facial pain, particularly when leaning forward
  • Headache/Migraine
  • Aching teeth in the upper jaw
  • Yellow or green-colored mucus from the nose
  • Swelling of the face
  • Loss of the senses of smell and taste
  • Persistent cough
  • Generally feeling unwell.

Risk factors

Certain factors increase a person’s susceptibility to sinusitis, including:

  • Frequent colds (especially for young children)
  • Cigarette smoking (active or passive)
  • Regular use of nasal decongestant sprays (for more than two to three days)
  • Untreated hay fever or other allergies
  • Structural abnormalities of the nose
  • Nasal polyps (swellings in the linings of the nose or sinuses)
  • Dental disease, such as untreated tooth abscess.
  • Diet high in inflammatory foods and preservatives.

Treatment options

Decongestants that help with symptoms of colds usually do not help with sinusitis. Nose sprays  and some steroidal sprays can even make the problem worse, if they are used for too long, because they can cause more swelling and thinning of the lining. Antibiotics are often prescribed for sinusitis, but not all sinusitis is caused from infection. Most people will recover fully from sinusitis in a week or so without antibiotics, but they may recover more quickly if effective antibiotics are used. (Some antibiotics are much more useful for sinusitis than others). Other options to manage the symptoms of sinusitis include:

  • Steam inhalation, perhaps including a few drops of eucalyptus oil
  • Nasal flushes such as FLO nasal care
  • Acupuncture provides great relief and management of sinusitis
  • Chinese herbs and complementary therapies can also provide help with sinusitis
  • Comfortably hot compresses held against the face
  • Pain relief medication and sometimes steroids, such as paracetamol, Ibuprofen & prednisone. Sometimes stronger pain relief medication is needed

If you suffer from sinusitis, it’s important to see if there is any trigger which can be treated. For example, hayfever, or dental disease may need to be treated, or you may want to avoid irritants found in your diet and around your environment. Some people may also need to do desensitisation to allergies affect them.

People with persistent sinusitis should also be getting a CT scan of the paranasal sinuses to make sure the sinus cavity isn’t completely blocked, or they have nasal polyps, which will require surgery. Surgery to drain the pus and improve the flow of mucus from the sinus may be an option for persistent cases of sinusitis. Some people also have what we call nasal polypoid disease which is a growth of fungus that causes the sinuses to be blocked, inflamed and be infected and this will require surgery to treat. It may grow back without proper management.

At Shen Therapies we can help with all the symptoms and treatment of sinusitis and help with allergic rhinitis and hayfever. We know how to treat sinusitis effectively and know how to fidn the cause of your problem.  If you suffer from any of these on a regular basis and aren’t getting the help you need, then you need to book in and have a consultation and treatments to help you fix the cause of your sinus issues.

Do You Have PCO or PCOS?








Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

The most common gynaecological complaint that I see in my clinic these days is Polycystic Ovaries/Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Some women only have the cysts (PCO), while others have no cysts but have the syndrome (PCOS). Some have both. The one thing that they all have in common is that they all have insulin resistance. For the sake of this article I am going to call this complaint PCOS so people don’t get confused. If you or someone in your family suffers from Irregular cycles, gets hormonal acne, gets extra hair etc, then there is a good chance they have it. They also need to get it looked at and treated early before it affects future fertility. You only need 1-2 of the symptoms to have the syndrome too.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a reproductive disorder characterised by multiple cystic growths on the ovaries. PCOS develops when the ovaries are stimulated to produce excessive amounts of male hormones (androgens), particularly testosterone, either through the release of excessive luteinising hormone (LH) by the pituitary gland or through high levels of insulin in the

blood (hyperinsulinaemia) in women whose ovaries are sensitive to this stimulus. It can also be caused by oestrogen dominance too.

PCOS is characterised by a complex set of symptoms with research to date suggesting that insulin resistance is a leading cause. A majority of patients with PCOS (some investigators say all) have insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a common finding among both normal weight and overweight PCOS patients. Many years ago it was thought that you had to be overweight to have PCOS, but now we know that many normal and underweight women have too. Their elevated insulin levels contribute to or cause the abnormalities seen in the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis that lead to PCOS. Specifically, hyperinsulinaemia causes a number of endocrinological changes associated with PCOS too. Anyone with polycystic ovaries does have a more than 50% chance of developing diabetes later on as well

Despite the link between insulin resistance and diseases states like PCO/PCOS, there is also a genetic link and this is mostly through the parental mode of inheritance. Someone in your family blood line will have had this disease. Some may know about it, others may not. Many of our parents and grandparents generation thought that menstrual irregularities were just a normal part of life and many were told it was normal and that they just had to suck it up. This is why we have so many issues with common gynaecological conditions today not being diagnosed properly, because some of this ignorance is still filtering through the medical system, or being passed down as what women class as normal. Menstrual irregularities are not normal and women need to know this. The other thing that we need to teach women, is that once a disease like PCOS, endometriosis is expressed out into the body, it is there. It is then up to the woman to get help in treating and managing the disease. The good thing with PCOS, is that it is now known to be reversible through diet and lifestyle changes, but in order to do so, one must be very strict in what one eats and how one keeps the body healthy, both physically and emotionally too.

PCOS is the most common cause of oligomenorrhoea and amenorrhoea, although 20-25% of normally menstruating women have PCOS. These women may have reduced fertility and an increased risk of miscarriage.

Risk Factors

Major causative factors and risk factors that can contribute to the incidence of PCOS include: Insulin resistance

Please note that women of normal weight, or those underweight, or lean can still have PCOS. PCOS is not limited to those that are overweight.
Family history of PCOS

Family history of diabetes Stress
Nutritional deficiencies High glycaemic load diet Sedentary lifestyle

Symptoms & Signs

Common signs and symptoms of PCOS include:
Irregular menstrual cycles – i.e., oligomenorrhoea or amenorrhoea
Infertility, generally resulting from chronic anovulation (lack of ovulation)
Elevated serum (blood) levels of androgens (male hormones), specifically testosterone, androstenedione, and dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEAS) Central obesity – “apple-shaped” obesity centred around the lower half of the torso Androgenic alopecia (male-pattern baldness)
Acne, oily skin, seborrhoea

Hirsutism ( Excess hair growth), Hair Loss,  Acanthosis nigricans
Prolonged periods of PMS-like symptoms Sleep apnoea

Multiple cysts on the ovaries
Enlarged ovaries, generally 2-3 times larger than normal, resulting from multiple cysts Chronic pelvic pain
BGL dysregulation – e.g., hypoglycaemic episodes, diabetes, etc

*Please be aware that sometimes only 1-2 symptoms are needed for diagnosis. Some women are actually asymptomatic and would not even know that they have PCO, or PCOS. While PCO and PCOS can affect fertility, not all women with this disease will struggle to have a child either. Like other gynaecological issues like endometriosis, the symptoms do not always correlate to the severity of the disease

Diet and Lifestyle

Dietary and lifestyle changes are a must in the management of PCOS. The world health organisation recommends that dietary and lifestyle changes are the number one treatment for PCOS along with other therapies

By consuming reduced amounts of low glycaemic index carbohydrates, keeping protein levels up to maintain muscle mass and eating ‘good’ fats, insulin levels are reduced and fat stores can be accessed as fuel for energy production (thermogenesis).

The Wellness/Zone/Paleo/Primal style diets that I promote in my clinic help women with PCOS to maintain steady blood sugar and insulin levels and will assist in weight loss and also maintain body mass for those underweight. A diet composed of mainly low-GI foods combined with regular exercise will also help to combat the effects of insulin resistance. This is why the Paleo/Primal style diets are the best diets to follow. To be honest people with PCOS should get rid of grains altogether. Years go, we would have just called these style of diets clean health eating, but now we have names attached to them
Refined carbohydrates including sugar, sweets, fruit juices, white breads, pasta and should be avoided. These foods have a high glycaemic index and are damaging in any amount for PCOS sufferers. What PCOS sufferers need to know is that they do not metabolises sugars like other people and that even the smallest amount of it can play havoc with their bodies and their hormones. Basically it is like being highly sensitive, allergic, or intolerant to sugar. Women with this disease really need to keep this is their minds. Sugar and refined foods should not be consumed at all.

A diet high in vegetables (non-starchy), small amounts of Low-GI fruits, essential fatty acids and lean protein sources provides essential phytonutrients, antioxidants, magnesium and helps to control inflammation and hormonal dysregulation.
Smoking cessation is the highest priority in currently smoking patients.

Regular resistance training, or high interval exercise, is a must too (starting slowly and increasing as patient’s fitness improves)


Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal medicines, Nutritional supplements etc, are also a big part of the treatment on a complementary medicine level and can help dramatically.  There is lots of research to support use of supplements and complementary medicines that can help PCO/PCOS. At my clinic I also have our own herbal medicine formulas to treat PCOS too. Some women may need a combination of complementary medicine treatments alongside medical treatments too and this is something I assess in my consultations with women.

Medically, insulin-regulating medications (metformin), hormone treatments (Pill, HRT) are used to regulate the cycle, control insulin resistance and prevent further cysts developing. There are natural supplements you can use that are far better for you and without the side effects of Metformin.

You can also now get a procedure called “Ovarian drilling” to laser the cysts and help with the healing of the ovaries in severe cases. Some women may need surgery to help this disease and some women also have other gynaecological conditions such as endometriosis at the same time as having PCO/PCOS and this again warrants surgical intervention. Disease states like PCOS and Endometriosis often go hand in hand and are often triggered by the same causal factors.

While many women are put on the oral contraceptive pill (OCP), please remember going on the pill does not fix this problem, it just masks it. You don’t want to just mask a condition, with out treating it at the same time and this often what leads to long term issues with fertility later on.

This is why anyone with irregular cycles should see a women’s health specialist like myself, or a gynaecologist, not just your GP. You need to see someone who specialises in this area and knows what to look for and how to treat it properly.
If you need any help or advice with PCOS, or irregular periods then message, email, or phone my clinic and let me help you get the help you need to get on top of this disease that affects women all around the world.

Take care


Dr Andrew Orr (Reproductive Medicine & Women’s Health Specialist)

“The Brisbane Baby Maker” & “Women’s & Men’s Health Crusader”

“Leaving No Stone Left Unturned”

Tips For People To Cut Most Of The Additional & Hidden Sugar From Their Diet






Sugar is one of the hardest things to cut from a person’s diet and often why it is likened to coming off hard drugs. To be honest, many times it is just as hard as coming off hard drugs and the side effects of doing so can feel just as bad for some people. There is no doubt that sugar is a drug, because so many people are addicted to it and cannot live without it. It is an addiction on epidemic proportion and it is causing so many health issues for us as a population.

So how do you get rid of it out of your diet?

Well, firstly, we need to recognise that the body does need small amounts of sugar, but it needs to come from whole foods and not be refined, or from processed sugars. Secondly, we need people to read the back of packets of food they are buying and start to see how much additional sugar they are getting in their diet. Lastly, we need people to recognize that no matter what sugar substitute they use (honey, dates, dried fruits, splenda etc) it is still sugar and it still reacts in the body the same way. Sugar is sugar and we need people to recognise this. People have this perception that using dates, honey etc in their foods, makes the food more healthy and OK to eat. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sweets and still treats no matter what form they come in.

We also need to get people to look at what they are eating and see if you are eating a well balanced diet. Oftentimes, people crave sweets and sugar because their diet is too low in protein and fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition, if you are eating a lot of refined and processed foods and sugar you will crave more sugar as the sugars burn off and then you hit a sugar low.

Here are some helpful tips to reduce added sugar intake:

  1. Always start your day off with protein. Whatever you start your day with, regulates your sugars for the rest of the day. If you start your day with sugar (cereals, toast, sweet things, and high GI carbs) then your day will be one big sugar ping pong session. Starting your day with protein helps regulate your sugars and stops those sugar cravings throughout the day.
  2. We need to make sure that every meal on snack has protein with it. We also need to make sure we have at least 2 handfuls of nuts and seeds per day, two tablespoons of healthy oils per day and have two servings of fruit per day. Especially berries, green apple, oranges etc. You also need to be eating 3 cups of vegetables per day (including salads). You should be drinking at least 8 glasses of water per day and also adding some electrolytes to your water at least once per day to help stop dehydration.
  3. Omit all sweetened beverages. Just stop drinking them and go cold turkey. You can also just start replacing them daily. Replace with water, coconut water, sparkling water or herbal teas. Make up jug of water with some lemon and mint and keep it in your fridge. The lemon and mint add flavour to the water, but they also have health benefits too.
  4. If you add sugar to coffee or tea, slowly cut down the amount that you put in by half each time until you find you no longer need it. You can also start by adding Rapadura sugar to your coffee, or tea (which is unrefined sugar cane juice that is crystallised and not as sweet, or processed as refined sugars). You can then slowly reduce this.
  5. Replace sugary foods with real whole foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
  6. Don’t skip meals. This is where most people go wrong and when their sugars and energy levels get low; their body then craves to be topped up. Unfortunately many people make the wrong choices in what they then eat. It is important to make sure you eat at regular intervals throughout the day to keep your blood sugar stable. People should be eating 5 small meals per day and eating every 3-4 hours to ensure they maintain their energy levels and stop sugar fluctuations and sugar cravings.
  7. Add spices and herbs to your foods and cut out the refined sauces. Use spices and herbs such as pepper, cayenne pepper, parsley, basil, oregano, turmeric, ginger, garlic. Any spice or herbs you can think of.
  8. Make sure you exercise at least 3-4 times per week, but if you can start your day with some sort of movement, this will help with your metabolism and sugar cravings too. It will also help maintain healthy weight and keep your body healthy too.
  9. Eat whole foods and omit as many processed foods as possible.
  10. Make sure you are getting enough sleep. Aim to get between seven and eight hours of sleep each night. If you are sleep deprived, your body will crave more sweets/sugar. When the body is tired, it just wants sugars and to fuel up quickly.
  11. Take some sugar regulating herbs and supplements. Supplements such as chromium and herbs such as cinnamon help with controlling blood sugars too.
  12. Take a Prebiotic and Probiotic daily to help with god gut health. With good gut health, you won’t crave sugars as much either.

If you need help with controlling sugar craving, or wanting to know how to cut sugar from your diet, then please give us a call and make an appointment to help you get your diet and health back on track now



What Affects a Menstrual Cycle- Part 1 (Non Gynaecological Factors)

woman on bed with pillow







What Affects a Menstrual Cycle- Part 1 (Non Gynaecological Factors)

After my post I have had lots of people asking what the cause of their menstrual irregularities are. Most of the causes can be broken into two causes being:

  1. Non Gynaecological Factors- Meaning things you do, or may have done to exacerbate current conditions, or throw your cycles out of balance
  2. Gynaecological Factors- Disease states such as Endometriosis, PCOS, Fibroids, Polyps, Adenomyosis, Cancers and other causes.

I’ll talk about the factors (Non-Gynaecological Factors) in people control so that they may be able to identify some of those things they may be doing on a daily basis to exacerbate current underlying issues, or just interfere with their hormones and lead to problems with their cycle. These ones you can work on and be aware of in case your cycle isn’t regular, or your pain is worse in a mont. This way you can look back and go “Oh….. Now I know why my cycles wasn’t so good this month”

I’ll talk about the Gynaecological Causes of irregular, or painful cycles in my next post. For now here are the Non-Gynaecological causes.

  1. Poor diet – Foods such as high sugars and junk foods all cause inflammation in the body and lead to hormonal irregularities and can exacerbate, or cause pain with the menses
  1. Alcohol – Most alcohols contain high sugars and they also cause inflammation in the body. It also interferes with your hormones and affects the liver too. In Traditional Chinese medicine, it is believed the Liver governs the menstrual cycle and the Live also controls the emotions. Excess alcohol leads to SOL ( Shit on Liver) and thus the moods and cycle get affected.
  1. Poor Sleep– Sleep deprivation leads to reduction in hormones such as melatonin, which is a precursor to serotonin and then effect the moods etc. Lack of sleep also interferes with the other hormones in our body too. Lack of sleep also stops the body from repairing and can lead to other health issues. We know that shift works do have a lot more disturbances with their cycles and also have lower fertility rates.
  1. Trauma – Things such as surgery, a virus, cold/flu etc, or where the body has to repair, can lead to menstrual irregularities. The body shuts down the menses so that it can repair itself first. Emotional trauma can also cause the menses to shut down, or become irregular too.
  1. Weight gain, or weight loss– It is a well known fact that many athletes do not get a menstrual cycle because of lack of body fat. The same goes for people who are over-weight too. Eating disorders can also cause irregularities and infertility. Too much or too little body fat interferes with your fertility. All your hormones are made from fats and protein.
  1. Emotional Issues– Bottled up emotions such as anger & frustration cause blockages in the system & then cause pain. Emotional issues also cause problems with hormones. Emotions and stress are a major cause of menstrual irregularities. Bottled up emotions can cause SOL too ☺
  1. Drugs/Hormones- Both pharmaceutical and recreational drugs can also cause menstrual irregularities and can stop the menses completely. Recreational drugs can also lead to permanent infertility.
  1. Travel- Travelling over time lines and even just interstate can cause issues with your cycle too. The body has to cope with adjusting to different times zones, different foods and water etc and the pressures from flying can also throw the cycle out.

Hope this help explain a little bit more about how our diets and lifestyle can affect your cycles each month too. Next I will talk about the gynaecological conditions which can causes issues with your cycle.

Take care


Dr Andrew Orr

“The Brisbane Baby Maker & Women’s and Men’s Health Crusader”


What A Proper Menstrual Cycle Should Be Like (Revisited)

proper menses






What a proper Menstrual Cycle should be like -By Dr Andrew Orr

I have been traveling around this country presenting to both healthcare practitioners and as part of women’s health work shops and I am still amazed that many healthcare practitioners and the general public alike still do not know what a proper menstrual cycle should be like. So many women, both healthcare providers and the general public, still believe that many of the abnormal symptoms they put up with daily are actually normal and believe that they just have to put up with them. OMG, if the healthcare providers have no idea, then how to we expect everyone else to know. Tis is why we are seeing so many women put up with gynaecological conditions such as Endometriosis, Adenomyosis, PCOS and many other symptoms they face on daily basis.

Every day I also get emails from women, or see them in clinic, asking me if PMS, menstrual irregularities and period pain is normal and I have to tell them it is not. To put it bluntly, PMS, severe PMS (known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)), irregular cycles and period pain are not normal, and women should not experience any pain at all during your menstrual flow, and you shouldn’t have to put up with all the horrible symptoms leading up to your cycle as well.

The fact is that only 20-25% of women actually get menstrual pain and severe symptoms of PMS. Once there are a greater number of people with a condition, medically the condition is then classed as normal, meaning that wider portion of the population get it. But the problem is menstrual pain and irregularities are not normal and these are signs of problems in the body that need to be checked out by a gynaecologist, reproductive medicine, or women’s health specialist such as myself. The sad thing is even then, some women are being missed, or offered the supposed quick fix, or patch, that will not fix their issues. The worse things is, my line of work is that when these things are missed and masked and left for too long, women wake up one day and want babies, and cant have them, or struggle to have them.


Once again menstrual pain and irregularities are not normal and no matter what mum, your best friend, or you GP says, women should not have to put up with it. It is not normal. Going on the oral contraceptive pill will not fix the cause of the issue either and this is why women need to see a gynaecologist or a women’s health specialist for any gynaecology issue.

So I am going to tell you what a proper a menstrual cycle and I’m going list what it should be like below. So that way if you are wondering why your menstrual cycle has gone crazy and you cant get enough Ibuprofen, or naprogesics, into your body when you get your cycle, then please remember the list below. It is so important that I tell everyone what a proper menstrual cycle should be like. If it isn’t like the one I describe you better book in to see me soon.

But, for those who may be trying to have babies, or think that all is OK, don’t be fooled into think that you don’t have a gynaecological issue because you don’t have pain, or irregularities either. Up to 80% of women with endometriosis are asymptomatic (Meaning no symptoms). Many women with PCOS also have regular cycle and all body types can have this disease, not just overweight women. It is so important for all women to get regular gynaecological check ups by a gynaecologist, or women’s health specialist such as myself, especially if you are trying to have babies and nothing is happening.

What a proper menstrual cycle should be like

  • A proper menstrual cycle should be 26 –32 days in it’s length.
  • It should be 4 days flow, 5 at the most. Any shorter than 4 days is too short and any longer than 5 days is too long. This isn’t good.
  • You “Should Not” get any pain at all.
  • You shouldn’t get clotting, spotting,
  • You shouldn’t get severe breast tenderness, bloating, fluid retention, or changes to the moods, such as teariness or irritability.

These are all signs of irregularities and need to be addressed and many of the causes are above. Just remember that if you do get bad period pain, or your periods are irregular there is a good chance you may have endometriosis, or PCOS, and these need to be investigated.

Take care


Dr Andrew Orr

(The Brisbane Baby Maker & Women’s Health Crusader)

“Leaving No Stone Unturned”

At Shen Therapies Dr Andrew Orr specialises in the treatment and of menstrual irregularities and menstrual and gynaecological conditions that cause irregular periods. He uses a combined approach of western medicine diagnostics and complementary medicine treatments to offer a truly multi modality approach to give the best help possible. He also works in with a team of the best health care professionals there are, if other services are required. Please see his profile on our page.

If you need help with menstrual issues, or gynaecological issues, please give our clinic a call on 07 32795697, or email info@shentherapies.com.au


Weeding Out Endometriosis

Weeding Out Endometriosis




Weeding Out Endometriosis – By Dr Andrew Orr

Explaining endometriosis to people is not always easy and sometimes you have to use analogies that seem strange at first, but once you get the gist of where I am going with it, it will all make sense. But before I start, I always like to say that please take the personal out of things and just know that what ever analogy I use, it is with good intention and always about helping others.

I just know that when I used the “Endo is like Rust” analogy, which is what it is like, a few people took it to heart as though they had a rusty uterus and this is what I was saying. Not so. Please know that I have loved ones with this horrible disease, so I am here to help, and my main aim now is to help as many people as possible with what I know, and how to treat people properly. I am also about getting the message out there so that women to not have to remain silent about this disease any longer. My motto is, and always will be, “Period Pain is Not Normal”

So, sit back, take out the personal and know that I am writing from a place of caring and sharing and a place of getting the message out there to help you all. Sometimes you just have to tell it how it is, in order for people to sit up and listen, so here we go  😉

Many of you have read my article of “Rust Never Sleeps and Neither Does Endometriosis” and the reason I wrote this is because endometriosis and how it attacks the body, is very much like how rust attacks metal. If you haven’t read the article, please do so that you can see what I am trying to convey.

Recently I have been doing lots of speaking events and seminars on Women’s Health and also presenting for workshops on Endometriosis. It is so great to get the message out to the world, so that both the public and healthcare professionals can be educated on this subject. We need to stop having this disease “Missed” and women being “Dismissed” as I am always saying now. This disease should not be taking 8 years from onset to definitive diagnosis. It used to be 12 years. This is disgusting, to say the least, and there is no excuse for this to be happening, except poor education, sloppy diagnosis, lack of training, negligence and dismissive egos that need an attitude adjustment.

But, in saying that, we also need to teach women to be empowered and not just put up with being told “This is normal”, or “Just go on the pill and it will fix it”. That is bullshit (sorry). But it is true. There needs to be a better way and we need to stand up and say “Enough”. But we also need to not let the disease define you and get caught up in the blame game either. We also need to get people to stop “Dr Googling” too, as this is also spreading the misinformation. It is great to be educated, but good old “Dr Google” is full of false information and research shows that up to 75% of the health information that the public can access on google, is either wrong, or only partially true.

Now that I have had my little rant about the injustices of many, I would like to share what I have been sharing to others about what endometriosis is really like and how hopefully we can prevent it from returning, hopefully for good. I do know this is possible with the right care, right follow up treatments and right team of people helping. I see it daily and know what I share to be true. But, again it requires the person to follow the advice given and then to get the information out there. It also requires people to not be defined by their disease and break free from these chains to open their minds to the possibilities of new thought, new treatments and new ways of doing things. We need to not be caught up in what may cause the disease, but what we can do to help those with it now.

Of course prevention is crucial and so important, but once the disease is expressed in the body, what caused it is irrelevant. We can argue about the hypothesis of what may be the initial causal factor until the end of time, but that isn’t helping those with the disease now. The most important factor is how we can help those with it live a normal life and hopefully be free of the disease completely. At least we can look at hopefully giving people a better quality of life than the one they are living each day. From my experience, I do know that this is possible with the right team of people working the help the individual.

To be honest, the most likely cause of this disease is now known to be genetic links, or chromosomal, most likely through the parental mode of inheritance. Gene therapy is probably going to provide the biggest breakthrough in this disease in the years to come. But like any breakthrough, we just have to wait and see what happens there. You heard it here first. I do believe genetics does play a big part, but like any disease, it is not the only contributing factor. But, all this aside, we need to focus on the here and now to help those who need help now. In order to make change, you need to make those changes required. If you change nothing, nothing will change. I also get how hard it is for those whom have suffered so long to pick themselves up, to make those changes. Believe me, as someone who has been through a major life threatening illness and pain and crawled their way back to good health and do what I do now, I get it. I’ve been to that point of wanting it all to just stop and I get what many women put up with on a daily basis. Pain is pain, no matter where it has stemmed from.

Getting back to the subject at hand, I have now been explaining that Endometriosis is like a weed. Why would I explain it like this?

Like a weed, endometriosis grows and spreads. You can physically remove the weed (surgical), but unless you control the regrowth, seeds have been dropped (endometriosis regrowth) and then the weeds pop up again and start to grow once more. Sound like endometriosis too you?

Like any weed, it needs certain things for its regrowth. We have just talked about the dropping of the seeds ( regrowth) but it needs a food and fuel source to make it grow (estrogens, insulin, inflammatory response from external factors, stress etc). Then once the seeds are fed, the regrowth continues and then the garden is infested with the weed plague once more. Then you need to try and physically removed the weeds again once more and so the cycle begins again. Are you seeing what I am getting at yet?

Just like these weeds, endometriosis is often removed and many people then either believe they are fixed, or they do not do anything post surgery to prevent that regrowth. Before they know it, they again have to go back for more surgery. Often when people to control the regrowth (Progestins, Mirena etc), they are only employing one method, for which is either not effective enough, or the weed (Endo) is now resistant too.

This is why we need to employ a multimodality approach post surgery to hopefully complete eradicate the weed regrowth and halt the life cycle of these seeds being spread and to start growing again, thus starting the horrible cycle all over again

Now that we can see how endometriosis is really like a weed that can spread throughout our garden, we need to look at what we can do to hopefully stop it coming back, or spreading into other parts of the body.

Like I said, treatment must be individualised, using a multimodality approach, taking the clinical problem in its entirety into account, including the impact of the disease and the effect of its treatment on quality of life. Pain symptoms may persist despite seemingly adequate medical and/or surgical treatment of the disease.

The real focus needs to be on prevention and treatment strategies post surgery. Even better still, lets prevent it before it starts

There is an ancient Chinese saying – “To try and treat a disease once it is fully expressed into the body is like trying to forge arms once a war has already started, or like trying to dig a well once you are already thirsty – Yellow Emperors Classics of Internal Medicine”

The same goes for endometriosis. Once the disease is there and expressed into the body, it is hard to treat, especially is known methods of treatment are failing and this individualised, multimodality approach is used.

A Multimodality Approach Needs To Include:

  • Surgery
  • Pain Management
  • Hormone Therapy
  • Counselling
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Exercise
  • Pilates/Yoga
  • Changes to Diet
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Acupuncture
  • Holistic Medicine
  • Anything people have tried and has worked for them

The Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologist guidelines for the “Investigations and Management of Endometriosis” have the following quote:

“Many women with endometriosis report that nutritional and complementary therapies such as homeopathy, reflexology, traditional Chinese medicine or herbal treatments, do improve pain symptoms. They should not be ruled out if the woman feels they could be beneficial for her overall pain management and/or quality of life, or work in conjunction with more modern medical therapies.”

This is why it is vital to take careful note of the woman’s complaints and to give her time to express her concerns and anxieties, as with other chronic diseases, just as I do for all of my patients. Healthcare providers actually need to listen to the woman and her concerns. Women need to be listened to and be heard and be nurtured

It is also important to involve the woman in all decisions, to be flexible in diagnostic and therapeutic thinking, to maintain a good relationship with the woman and for healthcare providers to seek advice where appropriate from more experienced colleagues. This is something that I try to educate all my patients with and something I also try to educate healthcare providers with when I do my seminars and speaking events about Women’s Health issues and diseases like endometriosis.

But while there are thing that healthcare providers need to do, there also things you must do also. These include

  • Reducing Stress
  • Look at Emotions and How They Affect You
  • Exercise
  • Get “You Time”
  • Eat more protein and less High GI Carbs
  • Eat less process and package foods that we now call “Carbage”
  • Loss some weight if you have excess fats (which spike estrogens)
  • Gain some weight if you are underweight.
  • Do Something You Love (At least once per week)
  • Laugh Often (Even if some days you feel like crying)
  • Spend Time With Friends and Loved Ones
  • Make Love J ( Climax and Oxytocin are your friends)
  • Do Not Let The Disease Define You
  • Don’t Buy Into The Label
  • You are more than this disease
  • If something is helping, then continue with it, no matter what anyone tells you
  • Just remember that “You” are uniquely “You”

Please remember these words :

  • Do Not Let The Disease Define You
  • Don’t Buy Into The Label
  • You are more than this disease
  • If something is helping, then continue with it, no matter what anyone tells you
  • Don’t buy into everything you read on the internet, social media, or “Dr Google. To be honest, I ban “Dr Google” with my patient (haha)
  • Make sure you have a good laugh each day, but remember it is also OK to have a good cry too
  • It is OK to unplug every so often
  • It is OK to take the “Superwoman” cape off every so often too.
  • Remember “You” are uniquely “You”
  • Do not give up hope, because there is always help out there

This is why it is so important to not get caught up in what others have done, or tried and may not now be working for you either. We need to look at you as an individual and treat you as such. What works for one person, may not work for another. This is why an individualised multimodality approach is needed to help prevent and treat this horrible disease and we often need a team of people, on the same page, to help treat this properly.

Don’t forget to “Get A Second Opinion”, or a Third, or Fourth, or Tenth one if needed

In many other areas in life we will get multiple quotes, and opinions. Yet, when it comes to our health, we often only get one quote, or maybe two.

Just because someone has your history, or is nice to you, or maybe recommended by a friend etc, does not make them a good practitioner. It does not mean that you cannot get another opinion. If someone isn’t helping you, then you need to look at changing, no matter who they are, or how well they know your history. Not every specialist you see is a good surgeon either, so please remember this. You need to have someone who specialises in endometriosis and who has done advanced surgical training, not just minimal training. There is good and bad in every profession and the medical profession is not exempt from this either. Neither is the complementary medicine profession, or allied health care profession exempt from this either. Your health is important and so is the value of another opinion. Not every practitioner has all the answers. If someone isn’t helping you, then don’t be scared to change.

Lastly please remember to know that there is always help out there. I am always here to help and I am a specialist in this area, alongside many other Women’s Health issues and Gynaecological issues. You can always come and see me in person, or make an appointment via skype, for those who live at a distance. I have a great team of people I work with to give you the best help possible. I have a team of some of the best health care professionals there is and I make sure all of them are at the top of their game in their chosen profession.

Let me be the conductor of your health issues and help you get the treatment and advice you so desperately deserve. I am here to listen to you and hear you. I make sure you don’t have things “Missed” and aren’t “Dismissed “ and why my treatment motto is “Leaving No Stone Unturned”. I am out there as a voice for women and being a crusader for women’s health everywhere. I don’t mind stepping on a few toes, and ego’s to get you the best help possible J

Take care and remember that “Period Pain Is Not Normal” and neither are and other “Menstrual Irregularities” that women face on a daily basis. I know what you go through daily and I am out there making sure you all get heard. Let’s end the silence on this horrible disease for you, and the ones close to me whom I love, adore and care about also J


Dr Andrew Orr

“The Brisbane Baby Maker” & “Women’s Health and Endometriosis Crusader”

Reproductive Medicine and Women’s Health Specialist (MRMed, MWHMed)








Helping you with Women’s Health & Reproductive Issues


Gestational Diabetes


Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. I am seeing more and more of this during pregnancy these days and it is definitely on the increase, most probably due to our high carbohydrate diet and lack of proteins.

Diabetes is a very common condition where there is too much glucose in the blood. Insulin (continuously produced in the pancreas) is the hormone responsible for lowering blood glucose levels. Insulin transports glucose from the blood stream into cells of the body for energy. Due to our poor diets these days, we are now putting ourselves at more risk of gestational diabetes and also type 2 diabetes, which can occur one you have had gestational diabetes.

In pregnancy, the placenta produces hormones that help the baby grow and develop. These hormones also decrease the action of the mother’s insulin. This is called insulin resistance. Because of this insulin resistance, the need for insulin in pregnancy is two or three times higher than normal.

Insulin resistance can also be hereditary and if there is a family history of diabetes you have high chance of having insulin resistance by default. Women with PCOS and those doing assisted reproduction (IVF, IUI, ICSI etc) also have higher risk of developing Gestational Diabetes. Consequently, during pregnancy, the mother’s body needs to produce higher amounts of insulin to keep her blood glucose levels within the normal range. If her body is unable to produce more insulin to meet her needs, gestational diabetes develops. After the baby is born, the mother’s blood glucose levels usually return to normal

Unfortunately many women think they can eat whatever they like during pregnancy and this also puts a greater load on insulin and insulin sensitivity, leading them to be at more risk of gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is very much a preventable disease and strict diet needs to be adhered to for optimum health of mother and child.

Definition Depending on the specific population, abnormal maternal glucose regulation occurs in 3-10% of pregnancies. Recent studies suggest that the prevalence of diabetes among women of childbearing age is increasing in the Western countries. To be honest the rates are probably up around 50% these days, given how many people are seen with this disease. Australia is now one of the fattest countries on the planet and our diabetes levels have increased exponentially.

This increase is believed to be attributable to (1) more sedentary lifestyles, (2) changes in diet, (3) continued immigration from high-risk populations, and (4) the virtual epidemic of childhood and adolescent obesity presently evolving.

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is defined as any degree of glucose intolerance with onset or first recognition during pregnancy. Untreated GDM can lead to foetal macrosomia, hypoglycaemia, hypocalcaemia, and hyperbilirubinaemia. In addition, mothers with GDM have increased rates of caesarean delivery and chronic hypertension

To screen for GDM, a 50g glucose screening test should be done at 24-28 weeks of gestation. This is followed by a 100g, 3-hour oral glucose tolerance test if the patient’s plasma glucose concentration at 1 hour during screening is greater than 7.8 mmol/L.

Normalisation of glucose levels in women with gestational diabetes will reduce the risk of complications such as macrosomia, birth trauma, need for caesarean section, and neonatal hypoglycaemia. If diet modification fails to improve glucose values, insulin therapy may be needed. Oral hypoglycaemic agents arecontraindicated during pregnancy

Subsequent pregnancies can be affected, and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes is increased. If maternal glucose levels are uncontrolled, the infant can suffer central nervous system defects, organ failure,  cardiac or renal anomalies asphyxia, respiratory distress, increased blood volume, hcongestive heart failure, hypocalcaemia, hypomagnesaemia, hypoglycaemia, or hyperbilirubinaemia, or the child may be stillborn. The effects of Gestations Diabetes are not good.

Aetiology / Risk Factors

  • Family history of type 2 diabetes: having a first-degree relative with type 2 diabetes leads to lifetime risk of 40%; similarly 25% to 33% of all type 2 diabetics have a family history of the condition.
  • Age older than 40 years
  • Excess body fat, particularly truncal obesity with waist circumference >88 cm
  • Sedentary lifestyle with diet high grains and refined carbohydrates
  • Glucose intolerance, dyslipidaemia, hypertension
  • History of gestational diabetes
  • History of polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • History of assisted Reproduction (IVF, IUI, ICSI etc)
  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, Pacific Islander, Indian or Chinese, African American, Hispanic American, and Native American descent.
  • Low birth weight and/or malnutrition in pregnancy may cause metabolic abnormalities in a foetus that later lead to diabetes.

Symptoms of gestational diabetes Gestational diabetes usually has no obvious symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they can include:

  • unusual thirst
  • excessive urination
  • tiredness
  • thrush (yeast infections).

Management and Prevention of gestational diabetes

Health professionals such as an Endocrinologist, Nutritionist, Naturopath, or Diabetes specialist can help you understand what you need to do and will support you in managing your gestational diabetes. The same principles apply for the prevention of Gestational Diabetes as well. Some advice may include:

  • Diet – You need to follow a strict Low GI diet and the best diet to follow is a grain free diet such as the Paleo/Primal/Zone Diet. This way you are cutting out the inflammatory foods that spike your blood sugars and then spike your insulin. Basically you should be having 5-7 small meals per day. You need to have 2 serves of nuts per day, 2 tablespoons of healthy oils per day (coconut, olive oil etc), only on serve of starchy carbs per day (rice, potatoes etc-No wheat grains at all), every meal or snack should have some form of protein in it (meats, fish, avocado, cheese, nuts etc), 5 serves of veggies per day (including salads), 2 pieces of low GI fruit per day (Berries, Strawberries, Apples etc), 8 glasses of water per day and some form of electrolyte daily.
  • Physical activity – such as walking, yoga, pilates etc, helps to keep you fit, prepares you for the birth of your baby and will help to control your blood glucose levels. Check with your health care professional before starting a new or particularly strenuous exercise regimen
  • Monitoring your blood glucose levels – is essential. It gives a guide as to whether the changes you have made to your lifestyle are effective or whether further treatment is required. A diabetes nurse educator can teach you how and when to measure your blood glucose levels and discuss the recommended blood glucose levels to aim for. Your health care profressional, or diabetes educator, can help you link in with the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) for cheaper blood glucose strips. Regular contact with your health care practitioner, diabetes educator, or doctor is recommended
  • Take a good multivitamin, some omega 3 oils, a probiotic and an insulin regulating formulation to help with staying healthy, providing adequate nutrients to the baby and help in preventing gestational diabetes. Acupuncture is also great in the prevention on gestational diabetes.
  • Insulin injections – may be needed to help keep your glucose level in the normal range. In Australia, blood glucose lowering tablets are generally not used in pregnancy. Insulin is safe to take during pregnancy and does not cross the placenta from the mother to the baby
  • Education – including information and support from your diabetes educator or doctor, regarding the action of insulin, insulin injection technique, insulin storage, signs and symptoms of hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose levels) and its treatment, as well as safe blood glucose levels for driving.

After the baby is born (If you have Gestational Diabetes)

After their baby is born, most women will no longer need insulin injections, as gestational diabetes usually disappears. Breastfeeding is encouraged. The best way to control GD and prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes in the future is by diet and lifestyle changes Blood glucose levels are measured before breakfast and two hours after meals to make sure that these are within the normal range. An OGTT is done six to eight weeks after the baby is born to make sure that the mother no longer has diabetes. Following the birth of your baby, it is important that your baby’s blood glucose levels are measured to make sure that their blood glucose is not too low. If it is, this can be treated by feeding your baby breastmilk, or formula if necessary. A baby whose mother had gestational diabetes will not be born with diabetes. However, they may be at risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. This is why all children should be shown healthy eating habits from a young age so that they reduce the risk of inheriting disease states from their parents.

Reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes

Women who have gestational diabetes have a high chance (almost one in two) of developing type 2 diabetes within 10 to 20 years. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented, so it is important to take steps to reduce your risk. You should:

  • maintain a healthy eating plan
  • maintain a healthy weight for your height
  • engage in regular physical activity
  • have a follow-up blood test (OGTT) every year.

Things to remember

  • Gestational diabetes is diabetes that occurs during pregnancy.
  • When the pregnancy is over, the diabetes usually disappears.
  • Women who develop gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • A healthy lifestyle with a grain free diet, is important for both mother and baby to reduce their risk of diabetes in the future.
  • In future pregnancies, an OGTT will be performed early in the pregnancy to make check that your blood glucose levels are in the normal range. If this test is normal, then a repeat OGTT will be done, usually between 22 and 28 weeks gestation.

Prevention is the best way to deal with gestational diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes. Preconception preparation with good foods, good supplements, exercise and a healthy lifestyle should be adopted before trying to fall pregnant. These healthy eating and lifestyle changes should then be followed into the pregnancy as well. At Shen Therapies we can help you with gestational diabetes and also prevention of this condition also.