Final Word About Closing Shen Therapies at Jamboree Heights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final Word about closing Shen Therapies at Jamboree Heights.

– By Dr Andrew Orr

I just wanted to say a few words to everyone before we closed our doors at the Jamboree Heights Clinic this Thursday. We will be seeing our last patient at the Jamboree Heights clinic location this Thursday afternoon, 29th June 2017 and will be moving the clinic to St Andrew professional suites at Spring Hill.

We hope to be opened on the Monday 10th July 2017, if all goes well with the builders and the renovations. Please stay tuned for updates. The address will be Suite 282, ground floor, St Andrew’s Place. 33 North Street. Spring Hill. Q. 4074.

I do want to let people know that we aren’t moving just because people have asked us to move. That is part of it, but it really isn’t the sole reason we are moving.

For me, the move is a mixed bag of emotions for a few reasons. We started Shen Therapies back 1995 as a family business with my ex-wife Nicole and we started work from our small family home in Jindalee. During this time we also went to live and work in China work and study in 2 major hospitals in southern China. We had a toddler and one on the way when we returned. We then moved to Riverhills and then to the family home at Jamboree Heights, where we had the business set up downstairs at home. From there we bought the current clinic 6 months before my youngest daughter was born. We had outgrown running a home based business and needed the space to work from.

From there the business took off and we had lots of successes with Fertility, Pregnancy and health in general. We had lots of media attention over the years and we achieved our milestone of 10,000 plus babies, which was featured in the courier mail and on A Current Affair. This bought lots of couples to see us from all over Australia and worldwide. At one stage we were seeing 40 new couples per week for our fertility program. It really was mad. One of the TV stations websites crashed with the response and they came and did another story about this days after the initial story ran. So this has led to where we are today, with having helped over 12,500 babies into the world through our program

While Fertility, Women’s Health and Pregnancy has been our speciality area, we have helped lots of people with many different conditions over the years using a multi-modality approach with our treatments. Over the years I had studied medicine, Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, Naturopathy, Nutrition, Seitai, Sports medicine, sports injury management and so many things that have let me be able to treat so many conditions. I have also had some great mentors along the way as well. Then I went back to medicine and completed a Masters in Reproductive Medicine and a Masters in Women’s Health Medicine. This has led me back to where I am today and just about to embark on the next stage of my journey.

Many people have asked why I am moving and I just want to be open about this so that people know why I have decided to move. It hasn’t been an easy decision to make. It was actually a hard one, but I believe fate has stepped in and led to part of this decision as well.

Over the last 6 years I have gone through a divorce, which is always hard and sad, and the clinic holds many memories, good and bad , so that is one of the reasons I decided to look at moving. I wanted a change and to get away from old energies and try and create a new life too. So I tested the market to see if I could sell the clinic and 2 days later it sold. Yep, 2 days. Big sign there.

I have also moved out of the Jamboree Heights area and I have 2 children who have finished school and venturing into University and my youngest in year 8, so there is that side of it too. Not living in the area and my kids growing up also made me think about moving and creating that change I needed for me.

I also did lots of study and hard work to complete a Masters in Reproductive Medicine and a Masters in Women’s Health Medicine and I also felt I was wasting some of that where I was too. People still saw me as just a natural medicine practitioner and not as a Reproductive Medicine & Women’s Health Specialist, which is what my qualifications entitled me to be called. My passion has always been in helping couples have babies and help women with reproductive and gynaecological and hormonal issues. But, I still loved helping people with other health complaints too. So there was that dilemma for me too

So after lots of thought I thought about rebranding and closing the Shen Therapies part of my business and decided to rebrand as just me. The business will now be called “Dr Andrew Orr”. I know I talked about this last time.

The old Shen Therapies was run as a family business and husband and wife team for many years, but now it was just me. So it made sense to bring my qualifications to the forefront and also just rebrand as me. All those years of study and time spent after hours, time away from family, and all the money spent needed to be now becoming the shining light and so it was time to close the old part of that chapter of my life. It was time for change on every level.

We were in at St Andrews a few years back, but obviously it just wasn’t the right time. But now it is. It is time for change and time for me to shine as just me. It will be great to be back with all the network of colleagues I work with and refer to and it will also help many of you with inter-referrals and so much more. Btw, the parking isn’t that bad, so please read the section about parking too

So for those that wanted to know, I am not moving just because people have asked us to move to the city. As you can see there are many factors have led to this and it is just time. The clinic house has been sold, so we had to move anyway

This is going to be a good move for myself and my staff and things will be a bit different when people come to see me. I am stepping it up a notch and it will be so much better for our patients on so many levels. It will also be good for me on a professional level. It is where I now need to be for so many reasons

So as we box up the clinic on Thursday afternoon, for the final move on Friday, it will be a box of mixed emotions for me. I will not only be closing doors on a place I have called work and a family business and in some ways a second home.

On Friday, Shen Therapies will also be ending and ‘Dr Andrew Orr’ will be beginning. While the name is changing, the heart and soul of what Shen Therapies was, will still continue you. It will be the same, but different

I just wanted to say thank you to all of you that have supported myself and my family over the years at Jamboree Heights. I have helped so many people over the years and helped so many babies and health conditions. Some of those babies are now grown up and coming to see me as teenagers. It has been so great to see families come to see us over the years and continue to come. I thank you all

I also want to thank all the staff that have worked for me. Some have been amazing, like Katie, Meg, Michelle, Susan, Nicola etc and some… well… all I can say is thanks anyway.

Thanks to all the wonderful practitioners over the years like Kertu, Kylie, Lisa, Devan (iron hands), Will, Krissi, Cara, Ryan and Anthea. I need to thank anyone who helped us along the way and there have been many.

I do need to thank Nicole and my kids for all their support into getting Shen Therapies where it is today. Without them, Shen Therapies would not have ever existed. Even though things have changed for all of us, I can say that we are still a family who started a really good business and still support each other.

I need to thank all my mentors and colleagues and also my current staff, Sereena and Rhiannon. I also want to thank all of my family and loved ones who have supported me over the last couple of years and along the whole journey.

The last few years and last few months have been a bit of a whirlwind and I am looking forward to having some of that settle down and enjoy some of the quiet life too.

So before the curtain closes on one chapter and reopens on the next chapter, I want to thank all of you and I hope that I continue to see you all at my next location and new chapter on my life. Please don’t be a stranger and remember that Spring Hill really isn’t that far to travel for those that live in Brisbane.

We really do have a unique service and something that others just cant provide on so many levels. Stick with the best and you will get the best results

Take care and thanks once again

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

Reproductive Medicine & Women’s Health Specialist and so much more

– “No Stone Left Unturned”

 

Endometriosis Awareness – Ending the Silence

Endometriosis Awareness 

This month is Endometriosis awareness month and I have been invited to be a guest speaker for Endometriosis Australia and their endometriosis awareness campaign called “Ending the Silence.” Our aim is to bring awareness about this disease that is often overlooked. It is an issue myself as an endometriosis expert feels very passionately about. I treat women suffering from this disease every day and I hope that one day, endometriosis can be a word of the past.

Through awareness and education, let’s try and get women the early intervention and help they need sooner, rather than later.

What is Endometriosis
Endometriosis, which is an inflammatory gynaecological disease, by which endometrial like tissue grows outside the endometrium. It can spread outside the endometrium into the pelvis, bowel and intestines. It has even been known to get into the brain, joints and around the heart.This disease affects 1 in 10 women, often causing immense pain for them.

According to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologist Guidelines for the Management of Endometriosis, it can cause the following symptoms:

Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
Period Pain
Pain with sex
Ovulation Pain
Irritable bowel like symptoms
Bladder issues
Chronic fatigue
Pain with bowel movement

The disease can also cause other symptoms such as :

Bloated belly that looks pregnant around your period (known as endo belly)

Bloated belly that looks pregnant and you are told it is from certain foods, but it isn’t, or may be a combination of food and inflammation from endometriosis (also known as endo belly)

UTI like symptoms that aren’t a UTI

Bleeding from the bowel with your period

Low Iron with no explanation

Being told you have IBS, but you don’t have IBS

Migraines/Headaches that are worse around your period

Irrational mood swings

There are so many other symptoms that could also be pointers to endometriosis. 

This disease can also play major havoc with hormones and the libido. Many women with can have pain on intercourse which further lessens the desire around sex.
Women with endometriosis often have painful periods and can’t get out of bed, so if you experience this, there is a good chance that you actually have it.
Women with endometriosis can also have other hormonal disturbances such as mood swings, fatigue, restlessness etc. They can also have other symptoms such as migraines, headaches, dizziness, constipation, pain with bowel movements, joint pains and all manner of symptoms created from the inflammation that endometriosis is caused by and also creates

How Many Women Suffer from Endometriosis?
Endometriosis has now reached an all time high in its ever-growing presence. While the current research says that 1 in 10 women are affected by endometriosis, as an endometriosis expert, I believe, as do many others, that these figures may be grossly under exaggerated. Research also shows that a significant portion of women affected with endometriosis are asymptomatic (no symptoms) and may only ever get diagnosed if they are having issues with having a baby, or they may never be diagnosed at all. In addition to this, many women diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome actually have endometriosis and not IBS.

Many women have also been told period pain is normal and hence many never seek help for a condition that can be debilitating on their life and those around them. Women who suffer period pain and other menstrual related symptoms caused by endometriosis are often ‘missed’ and ‘dismissed’ by multiple healthcare professionals and it can take up to 12 years from onset of symptoms to a definitive diagnosis being made. Women with period pain caused by endometriosis have to live a life of pain, trauma and physical and emotional torment. Many of these women are barely getting through a day, let alone a whole month of exhausting symptoms related to this disease. Some sadly even turn to suicide.

The Western Medicine Approach on the Causation and Treatment of Endometriosis
To date, Western medicine does not know how or even why it occurs. The only solution that has been offered in the past was to laser it. This usually has a recurrence rate of up to 80%. Recently many doctors have been treating this disease by excising (cutting it out), which offers better relief with less recurrence. I do need to stress that when a surgeon is needed, it needs to be done by an advanced trained laparoscopic surgeon, who has had extra specialised training, and is an expert in endometriosis excision and management, and is not just any gynaecologist. This is where many go wrong and haven’t had the disease treated properly.

Despite the increased success in treating endometriosis through a surgical procedure, it still usually recurs in a majority of women.

So why isn’t the medical option alone working?

Primarily it is because they are just treating the symptoms and not the cause. You can take away most physical symptoms very easily, but if the real cause isn’t addressed at the same time, you have no chance of a full recovery. This includes emotional factors. In addition, many of the hormones that women are put on after surgery, mask the problem and can actually make it worse. By actually stopping the period, like many of these hormones do, there is an increased risk of further endometriosis growing. Sure, while you have no period, you have no pain or symptoms, but internally it is still there waiting to flare up again. Oral contraceptive pills containing estrogen must be avoided as they only add to making the problem worse. Progesterone only options should be looked at rather than a combined pill, if using hormones. These treatments also have limitations that include side effects in some women and contraceptive action for women desiring to conceive.

The Traditional Chinese Medicine Approach on the Causation & Treatment of Endometriosis
Firstly, I can only pass on what the Chinese have known and studied for 10,000 or more years, much longer than western medicine. They had the body and its internal organs mapped out longer before medical science in the west did.
In Chinese Medicine, they believe the liver governs the menstrual cycle, and that it also governs our emotions.They believe that through poor diet, lifestyle, medicines, environment etc, that these can then cause disruption to an organ in the body. Emotions such as anger, frustration, resentment, stress, irritability etc, can also cause the liver to be in disharmony. In Western Medicine terms, we know that poor diet and emotional factors can unlock predisposed hereditary issues, or dispositions through DNA recoding. Yes, diet can affect your DNA coding and so can emotional issues. Similarly we can reverse some disease states, and reprogram DNA coding through a healthy diet and fixing our emotional health.

When the liver is in disharmony, the Chinese believe it can cause blockages in our system. Western medicine now also believes that emotions can cause physical symptoms and we often see this is psychiatric, or body-mind medicine. These blockages then cause what we call stagnation. The Chinese believe that when the Qi (energy) becomes stagnant, it causes what they call Liver Qi Stagnation, and this is the cause of many gynaecological conditions such as endometriosis and PMS. As the Qi stagnation is left long term, it then affects the blood and turns it stagnant too. Imagine damming a river and the longer the water sits, the more stagnant it becomes because it no longer flows. This is where the Liver Blood Stagnation comes from and what they believe endometriosis is manifested from. When we look at endometriosis, it does present as blood clotting and pain. Basically it is like a varicose vein that has all that old, stagnant blood in it. The circulation is no longer moving and the blood now turns dark and causes pain.

Chinese medicine believes that not only is diet and herbal medicine needed to move the stagnant blood and help prevent the disease coming back, it also believes that the emotional component behind it also needs to be addressed. In Chinese medicine they use lots of warming and blood thinning herbs that are also anti-coagulants, but are also anti-spasmotics. The Chinese medicine also has herbs to help the liver function and also help with emotional wellbeing.

Chinese VS Western Medicine
The only difference between Chinese Medicine and Western medicine is the treatment principles. Chinese medicine looks at treating the cause of the issue, which means the symptoms get sorted by addressing the cause. Western medicine only treats symptomatically and therefore the cause of the issue is often not treated. That huge difference is why Chinese Medicine does get such great results. But like anything, it also depends on who you see and their experience in that field. But, I must stress that both medicines are equally as important and both are needed to get the best results possible. It is about a team effort and using a multi modality approach. It is also about finding your rich team too. I will talk about this now. 

Dr Andrew Orr’s Recommended Approach to Treating Endometriosis
Endometriosis has a highly variable disease state, and thus a multi-modality approach is needed to treat it. Targeting different pathways is likely to be important to move toward precision health (personalized medicine) in endometriosis. People with endometriosis need a team of people looking after them, not just one person and one approach.
For severe cases you will need to see a good advanced laparoscopic surgeon to get as much of the endometriosis cut out (not lasered). Surgery is a much needed option if the pain is severe because it helps get rid of the endometriosis that can be seen. However, it does not deal with the microscopic implants of endometriosis that can’t be seen, and this is why endometriosis is likely to occur again. This is where the Chinese Medicine can help. You then use the Chinese medicine to treat the microscopic implants of endometriosis and stop it progressing further and therefore treat the cause. This will be the primary treatment after surgery and help stop it from recurring. This can be done along side medical hormone treatments as well.

Following the correct diet can also aid this healing process. The modern Western diet consists of many foods with high GI levels, causing inflammation to the body and therefore fueling conditions such as endometriosis. There are all sorts of diets out there attesting to be the cure for endometriosis, but half are them are actually making it worse. Unless the diet is about reducing grains, high GI carbs, sugars, and increasing proteins, then it isn’t going to help endometriosis.

Lastly, see a good counsellor. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine will help both the physical & emotional side, but sometimes solution-based talk therapy is needed for the best results. I provide clients with a list of preferred gynaecologists and counsellors within my appointments with them.

To support my view on the treatment of endometriosis, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists guidelines for treating endometriosis now states that Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine is a recommended therapy. A multi modality approach really can help, but for anything to work more effectively, you too, have to make a commitment.

Who I am and Why this Means so Much to Me
I am a Reproductive Medicine and Women’s Health Specialist, and an Endometriosis Expert with over 20 years of experience in Women’s Health Medicine and treating and managing endometriosis. I know all too well the trials and tribulations women have to go through before someone actually listens and gives these poor women a proper diagnosis. I also have loved ones with this disease and have also lived with a chronic painful disease too. While I may not fully understand and feel what women with endometriosis actually goes through, I do know what it is like to live daily life with a painful chronic inflammatory disease that can rule your life on every level. 

The one thing I do want all women to know is that “Period pain IS NOT normal” and all too often women are told that period pain is normal. Nothing could be further from the truth. We need to educate women and young girls that period pain is not normal.

I have a motto of “Leaving No Stone Left Unturned” and I apply this to every patient I see with period pain, and those potentially suffering from endometriosis. I would like to see better education and awareness for the general public, but I would also like better education and awareness for healthcare professionals. I would like to see all healthcare professional use my motto and make sure that no woman is ever missed, or is dismissed with this horrible disease ever again.

I would like to conclude with one last message “ Women need to know that period pain IS NOT normal and that early detection and early intervention and treatment is the key to treating any disease properly.”

Lets end the silence about this horrible disease. Please support Endometriosis Awareness and this month please support Endometriosis Australia with their High Teas to promote endometriosis awareness. These High Teas will be run nationally on March 25th and in every capital city and some smaller cities also. Please see the Endometriosis Australia website for details (www.endometriosisaustralia.org) 

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

The Brisbane Baby Maker, Endometriosis Expert and Women’s Health Crusader

“Leaving no Stone Unturned”

“Period Pain IS NOT normal”

Parental obesity linked to delays in child development

Date- January 2nd 2017

Over 70% of adults in Australia are now overweight, or obese and not only did this pose significant health impacts for this adults, but studies are now showing that the genetic mode of inheritance is now having a huge physical, psychological and developmental impact on children of these adults.

 

Children of obese parents may be at risk for developmental delays, according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health. The investigators found that children of obese mothers were more likely to fail tests of fine motor skill — the ability to control movement of small muscles, such as those in the fingers and hands. Children of obese fathers were more likely to fail measures of social competence, and those born to extremely obese couples also were more likely to fail tests of problem solving ability.

The study, appearing in Pediatrics, was conducted by scientists at the NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

The researchers noted that studies indicate that obesity during pregnancy may promote inflammation, which could affect the fetal brain. They also added that some studies have indicated that obesity could affect the expression of genes in sperm and this is passed on via the genetic and paternal mode of inheritance.

Because of the link between parental obesity and developmental delays being confirmed, physicians should be taking parental weight into account when screening young children for delays and early interventional services.

At Shen Therapies, lifestyle and weight management is part of our Fertility program and a major focus for the couple with their preconception care. Healthy eggs and healthy sperm come from healthy parents, which then goes on to make healthy children. I

If you need help with lifestyle, weight loss and help getting ready to have a baby, then call us at Shen Therapies today. We have helped over 12,000 plus babies into the world with our high successful Fertility Program and we can help increase your chances of having a successful pregnancy by 96.1%.

 

 

 

 

New Type of Migraine May Be Due to Low Iron

As a women’s health specialist, on a daily basis I see women who have migraines and some are related to their menstrual cycle and some aren’t. Many migraines are blamed on all sorts of things from intolerances, certain foods, alcohol, preservatives, hormones and whatever else people may think that is causing their head to pound.

I know I have successfully treated Migraines for years and it does require and individualised approach and a multi-modality approach of many things.

But there is a type of Migraine that I do see often and is easily treated with a simple supplement. I often see this is vegetarian, vegans and women whom have had prolonged, heavy menstrual bleeds. A new study has given this migraine a name and also confirmed a treatment that I have used for years.

In a paper published in the journal Headache, Anne Calhoun, MD, and Nicole Gill, DO, Carolina Headache Institute Durham, North Carolina, describe a new type of headache dubbed “end-menstrual migraine.”

Many women who have migraine toward the end of menstruation may be best treated with iron supplements, a new study suggests.

They believe that end-menstrual migraine is not hormonally mediated but rather causally related to menstrual blood loss, resulting in a brief relative anaemia with consequent migraine. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), this type of migraine was identified thousands of years ago and long known to scholars and doctors of TCM. It was called a blood deficient headache, or migraine, because is was often seen after a loss of blood, or those who were anaemic (blood deficient)

According to the researchers: “This is migraine which occurs at the end of the menstrual period — maybe on the last few days of bleeding or after the bleeding has stopped,” Dr Calhoun, who runs a menstrual migraine clinic, explained online. “It is not the same thing as menstrual migraine, which generally occurs on the day or two before menstruation or on the first day or two of bleeding and is known to be hormonally mediated. If migraine occurs 5 days or more after the onset of bleeding this is not classic menstrual migraine.”

The menstrual migraine is very common, is normally caused by the withdrawal of estrogen, and can be treated with hormone therapy, or naturally with hormone regulation. But, this new ‘end menstrual migraine’ is different. Women getting this type of migraine will not respond to hormone treatment, or hormone regulation. Some women have both menstrual and end-menstrual migraine. Up to 25% of women will have this type of migraine.

The best way to fix this type of Migraine is with iron supplements and iron rich foods. In Traditional Chinese Medicine they would use blood-tonifying herbs that are rich in iron.

With any type of migraine, you should always consult your healthcare practitioner to check what is causing them. Many times it can be a combination of things that require several different modalities of treatment to get the best results.

At Shen Therapies we can treat all types of Migraines and will help you get the best results possible and get your quality of life back. 

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

 

 

 

 

The Prevention of Childhood Obesity Must Start Before a Couple Conceives.

overweight-mother-and-child-2

The key to preventing obesity in future generations is to make their parents healthier before they conceive, leading health researchers suggest.

In a series of papers, published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, the researchers say that the time before couples conceive represents a missed opportunity to prevent the transmission of obesity risk from one generation to the next. They argue that a new approach is needed to motivate future parents to live a healthier lifestyle.

There is now a wealth of evidence that the risk of obesity and its associated conditions, such as heart disease diabetes and some cancers, could impact the developing baby. In turn, when the child becomes a young adult they may pass the risk of obesity on to their children — it is a vicious cycle.

The nature of this problem is not adequately appreciated. Many young people, whilst appearing outwardly healthy, are nonetheless on a risky path to obesity and chronic disease and more likely to pass this risk to their children, the researchers warn. Many pregnancies are unplanned, and the special needs of adolescents and young people at this important time are not sufficiently recognised. Far from helping them to prepare and plan for pregnancy and parenthood, many public health programmes assume that their needs are similar to the general population and require no special measures or provisions.

In a comment piece accompanying the research papers, Professor Mark Hanson of the University of Southampton, says an entirely new approach is needed that engages parents-to-be and encourages them to be part of the solution.

Engaging future parents in leading healthier lives will not only promote their health later, but will give their children a healthier start to life.

Getting couples to have a healthier diet and lifestyle and manage weight is all part of the Shen Therapies Fertility program and something we have always promoted. We know that the health of the parents gets passed onto the offspring and why we are so focussed on helping a couple be the healthiest they can be. So many couples are choosing to overlook the obvious because it is all too hard. Well… so they think. A moderate weight loss of 10% body fat, or an increase for those underweight, can increase a couples chances of conception by 50%. That is huge.

This is why we have helped over 12,000 babies into the world and it is because we get the parents healthy before they try to have a baby. Healthy parents produce healthy babies.

Reasons You May Be Gaining Weight

Digital Bathroom Scale Displaying OMG Message

It May Not Just Be Your Food Intake

If you started taking in more calories than usual, or increase your high GI foods, or cut back on exercise, you wouldn’t be surprised if the numbers on the scale crept higher. Just remember that scales aren’t an accurate assessment of body fat and that muscle does weigh more that fat. It is the waist size that is the true measurement we want people to focus on. We should be more worried about waist gain, rather than weight gain.  But what if you’re doing everything the same as you always do, and your weight still goes up? It’s time to delve a little deeper into what else might be going on.

Lack of Sleep

There are two things that can affect your when you aren’t getting enough sleep and may have an impact on weight gain. First, if you’re up late, the odds are greater that you’re doing some late-night snacking, which means more intake of foods that may not be appropriate. The other reason involves what’s going on in your body when you’re sleep-deprived. This leads to running on adrenalin and increased cortisol levels as well. Changes in hormone levels increase hunger and appetite and also make you feel not as full after eating.

Stress

When life’s demands get too intense, our bodies go into survival mode. That fight or flight response kicks in and adrenalin and Cortisol, the “stress hormone,” is secreted, which causes an increase in appetite. Cortisol also makes you store fat. And of course, we may reach for high-calorie comfort foods in times of stress as well. This combination is a perfect breeding ground for weight gain.

Antidepressants and other Medications

An unfortunate side effect from some antidepressants is weight gain. Most antidepressants will give people a weight gain of around 3kgs per year of taking them. Talk to your healthcare practitioner about making changes to your treatment plan if you think your antidepressant is causing weight gain. There are natural options that can help with depression, without all the side effects. But never stop or change your medication on your own. Realize that some people experience weight gain after beginning drug treatment simply because they’re feeling better, which leads to a better appetite. Also, depression itself can cause changes in weight.

Steroids and Hormones

Anti-inflammatory steroid medications like prednisone are notorious for causing weight gain. All of the fertility hormones and hormone replacement drugs are steroidal based and cause weight gain too. Fluid retention and increased appetite are the main reasons. Some people may also see a temporary change in where their body holds fat while taking steroids.  Places like the face, the belly, or the back of the neck are all areas where you can see increase fluid retention. If you’ve taken steroids for more than a week, don’t stop them abruptly. That can lead to serious problems. They need to be tapered down slowly and weaned off properly. Check with your doctor first. Drugs That May Cause Weight Gain.

Several other prescription drugs are linked to weight gain. The list includes antipsychotic drugs (used to treat disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder), along with medications to treat migraines, seizures, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Work with your doctor to find a medication that treats your symptoms and lessens side effects.

The Contraceptive Pill

Combination birth control pills (estrogen and progestin) do weight gain and fluid retention. There are other contraceptive methods that do not cause weight gain and fluid retention and have lower side effect profiles. If you’re still concerned about possible weight gain, talk to your healthcare practitioner.

Thyroid Issues

Thyroid issues can definitely be a big factor in weight gain. If your thyroid (the butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck) is not making enough thyroid hormone, you’re probably feeling tired, weak, and cold, and gaining weight. Without enough thyroid hormone, your metabolism slows, making weight gain more likely. Even a thyroid functioning at the lower end of the normal range might cause weight gain. Treating hypothyroidism with medication may reverse some of the weight gain.

Menopause

Most women do gain some weight around the time of menopause, but hormones probably aren’t the only cause. Aging slows your metabolism, so you burn fewer calories. We need women to realise this reality, which isn’t always easy to accept. Changes in lifestyle (such as exercising less) play a role in weight and waist gain. But where you gain weight may be related to menopause, with fat accumulating around your waist more than your hips and thighs. There are ways to control this in menopause too.

Cushing’s Syndrome

Weight gain is a common symptom of Cushing’s syndrome, a condition in which you are exposed to too much of the stress hormone cortisol, which in turn causes weight gain and other abnormalities. You can get Cushing’s syndrome if you take steroids for asthma, arthritis, or lupus. It can also happen when your adrenal glands make too much cortisol, or it could be related to a tumor. The weight gain may be most prominent around the face, neck, upper back, or waist.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a common hormonal problem in all women of childbearing age. It is the most common gynaecological disorder in women and is becoming more prevalent due to our high GI diets and being passed on through genetic and hereditary link. Some women with PCOS grow many small cysts on their ovaries, some do not and only have the syndrome and associated symptoms. The condition leads to hormone imbalances that affect a woman’s menstrual cycle and can lead to extra body hair and acne. Women with this condition are resistant to insulin (the hormone that controls blood sugar), so it may cause weight gain. Many women with PCOS are normal, or underweight too. Women with PCOS are also at higher risk of diabetes. The weight tends to collect around the belly, putting these women at greater risk for heart disease and diabetes.

Quitting Smoking

Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health. When you quit, you may gain some weight, but perhaps less than you think. On average, people who stop smoking gain less than 10 kilograms. You should stop feeling hungrier after several weeks, which will make it easier to help lose any weight you gained.

Rules If You Do Gain Weight

Rule 1:

Don’t stop taking any medications without first consulting your doctor. Recognize the importance of the drug you’re taking. It may be critical to your health. Also, something else may be causing you to gain weight. Your doctor can help you figure out what’s going on. There are also natural options that you may take also.

Rule 2:

Don’t compare yourself to other people taking the same drug. Not all people experience the same side effects on the same drug. Even if a drug caused someone else to lose weight, the same might not be true for you. Please do not Dr Google, or take advice off anyone other than a qualified healthcare professional.

Rule 3:

Remember that if the weight gain is just from water retention, it’s not permanent weight or fat. Once you’re done taking the drug or your condition is under control, the puffiness from fluid retention may ease. Stick to a lower GI diet in the meantime too. High GI foods such as breads, cereals, cakes, pasta, sugars etc, all make the body store fats and stop the burning of fats and cause inflammation.

Rule 4:

Check with your healthcare practitioner about another medication you can take. In many cases, your healthcare practitioner can switch you to another medication that might not have the same side effects. There are also natural options that you may be able to take without all the nasty side effects of your medication

Rule 5:

Learn if the weight gain is from a decrease in metabolism — from either a medical condition or medication. And if so, take the time to participate in metabolism-raising activities. Get moving!

Also realise that it is waist gain you need to worry about, not weight gain. Many people obsess unnecessarily over weight gain and the scales. When you start to exercise, you may in fact be putting on muscle (which is great) and this will equate to the scales being heavier. Fat does not weigh as much as muscle, so sometimes you wont realise you have actually lost fat and gained muscle. This is why waist measurement, not weight measurement, is the most accurate way to measure proper fat lose and proper waist and weight management.

fat-versus-muscle-1

 

A kilo of fat, versus a kilo of muscle

 

At Shen Therapies we can help you with weight management and more importantly waist management. We have specially tailored fat loss and weight loss programs to help you burn fats, increase muscle and do weight loss the correct way.

If you want to get healthy, feel great and look great for summer and years to come, please give the clinic a call and book in for a consultation.

 

 

8 More Cancers Linked To Obesity & Being Overweight

overweight-mother-and-childEight More Cancers Linked to Obesity 

At Shen Therapies, we have long known the health implications of excess abdominal fats on everything from minor health complaints, right through to decreasing your fertility. Excess abdominal fats lead to inflammatory diseases processes in the body and they also lead to excess bad hormones and we are now calling these “Obestrogens”. This is why health authorities are worried about the increasing weights and abdominal fats in adults and in children, because it is quite literally leading them to early graves.

In April 2016, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reevaluated the impact of weight control through modifiable dietary and lifestyle risk factors on lowering cancer risk. They defined overweight and obesity as abnormal or excessive body fat accumulation negatively affecting health.

Obesity affected approximately 640 million adults worldwide in 2014, a 6-fold increase from 1975, and 110 million youth in 2013, doubled since 1980. Deaths caused by overweight and obesity worldwide in 2013 were approximately 4.5 million. Among North American, European, and Middle Eastern women, up to 9% of the cancer burden is thought to be related to obesity.

Being overweight or obese is already known to increase the risk for certain cancers, but this association has just become much wider. Another 8 cancers have been added to the list, joining the 5 already there.

The new findings come from the IARC, which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO). They are published in the IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention, Volume 16: Body Fatness, which provides an update of part of IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention Volume 6: Weight Control and Physical Activity, published in 2002.

A summary was published online August 25 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Rather than saying that overweight and obesity increase the risk for cancer, the IARC has presented its findings another way: “the absence of excess body fatness reduces the risk of cancers.”

The IARC confirmed its previous findings (published in 2002) for 5 cancers: colorectal, esophageal (adenocarcinoma), renal cell carcinoma, breast cancer in postmenopausal women, and uterine endometrial cancer.

Now, from a new evaluation of published scientific literature, the agency has added 8 more cancers to that list: stomach (gastric cardia), liver, gallbladder, pancreas, ovarian, thyroid, meningioma, and multiple myeloma.

There is also limited evidence suggesting a link for 3 other cancers: fatal cancer of the prostate, breast cancer in men, and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.

Several mechanisms linking excess body fat with carcinogenesis were identified, including chronic inflammation and dysregulation of the metabolism of sex hormones, the IARC notes.

“The identification of new obesity-related cancer sites will add to the number of deaths worldwide attributable to obesity,” the IACR warns.

In 2013, there were an estimated 4.5 million deaths worldwide attributable to overweight and obesity, it adds.

Worldwide Obesity Epidemic

It is a worldwide problem — globally, more people are overweight or obese than are underweight, the agency notes. Up to 40% of the population is overweight or obese in some countries or regions.

Worldwide, an estimated 640 million adults were obese in 2014, which is a 6-fold increase since 1975. There were 110 million obese children and adolescents in 2013 (a 2-fold increase since 1975).

At Shen Therapies, we know what a proper diet should be like and we have also helped thousands of people change their diets, change their lifestyle, lose weight and become the healthiest they can be. If you, or your family (children included) need help losing excess abdominal fat, excess body fats and excess weight, then give the clinic a call and let us help you lose fat the right way with our healthy weight loss program.

 

Could your health issues be coming from your Thyroid?

E5PRGR Doctor examining the thyroid gland of a patient.

Thyroid issues are common, especially in women and especially if there is a family history of thyroid disorders in your family. When your thyroid goes out of balance, it can cause all sorts of symptoms and issues in your body. You need to know what to look for.

When Your Thyroid Goes Awry

Does fatigue drag you down day after day? Do you have brain fog, weight gain, chills, or hair loss? Or is the opposite true for you: Are you often revved up, sweaty, or anxious? Your thyroid gland could be to blame. This great regulator of body and mind sometimes goes haywire, particularly in women. Pregnancy and post partum is when it can also go haywire too. Getting the right treatment is critical to feel your best and avoid serious health problems.

What Is the Thyroid Gland?

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck. It produces hormones that control the speed of your metabolism — the system that helps the body use energy. Thyroid disorders can slow down or rev up metabolism by disrupting the production of thyroid hormones. When hormone levels become too low or too high, you may experience a wide range of symptoms.

Symptom: Weight Gain or Loss

An unexplained change in weight is one of the most common signs of a thyroid disorder. Weight gain may signal low levels of thyroid hormones, a condition called hypothyroidism. In contrast, if the thyroid produces more hormones than the body needs, you may lose weight unexpectedly. This is known as hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism is far more common.

Symptom: Swelling in the Neck

A swelling or enlargement in the neck is a visible clue that something may be wrong with the thyroid. A goiter may occur with either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Sometimes swelling in the neck can result from thyroid cancer or nodules, lumps that grow inside the thyroid. It can also be due to a cause unrelated to the thyroid.

Symptom: Changes in Heart Rate

Thyroid hormones affect nearly every organ in the body and can influence how quickly the heart beats. People with hypothyroidism may notice their heart rate is slower than usual. Hyperthyroidism may cause the heart to speed up. It can also trigger increased blood pressure and the sensation of a pounding heart, or other types of heart palpitations.

Symptom: Changes in Energy or Mood

Thyroid disorders can have a noticeable impact on your energy level and mood. Hypothyroidism tends to make people feel tired, sluggish, and depressed. Hyperthyroidism can cause anxiety, problems sleeping, restlessness, and irritability.

Symptom: Hair Loss

Hair loss is another sign that thyroid hormones may be out of balance. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause hair to fall out. In most cases, the hair will grow back once the thyroid disorder is treated.

Symptom: Feeling Too Cold or Hot

Thyroid disorders can disrupt the ability to regulate body temperature. People with hypothyroidism may feel cold more often than usual. Hyperthyroidism tends to have the opposite effect, causing excessive sweating and an aversion to heat.

Other Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism can cause many other symptoms, including:

  • Dry skin and brittle nails
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands
  • Constipation
  • Abnormal menstrual periods

Other Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism can also cause additional symptoms, such as:

  • Muscle weakness or trembling hands
  • Vision problems
  • Diarrhea
  • Irregular menstrual periods

Thyroid Disorder or Menopause?

Because thyroid disorders can cause changes in menstrual cycle and mood, the symptoms are sometimes mistaken for menopause. If a thyroid problem is suspected, a simple blood test can determine whether the true culprit is menopause or a thyroid disorder — or a combination of the two.

Who Should Be Tested?

If you think you have symptoms of a thyroid problem, ask your doctor if you should be tested. People with symptoms or risk factors may need tests more often. Hypothyroidism more frequently affects women over age 60. Hyperthyroidism is also more common in women. A family history raises your risk of either disorder.

Thyroid Neck Check

A careful look in the mirror may help you spot an enlarged thyroid that needs a doctor’s attention. Tip your head back, take a drink of water, and as you swallow, examine your neck below the Adam’s apple and above the collarbone. Look for bulges or protrusions, then repeat the process a few times. See a doctor promptly if you see a bulge or lump.

Diagnosing Thyroid Disorders

If your doctor suspects a thyroid disorder, a blood test can help provide an answer. This test measures the level of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), a kind of master hormone that regulates the work of the thyroid gland. If TSH is high, it typically means that your thyroid function is too low (hypothyroid). If TSH is low, then it generally means the thyroid is overactive (hyperthyroid.) But just measuring TSH levels is not enough. People with thyroid disorders can have normal TSH levels and the other thyroid hormone levels and this is why thyroid antibody testing is probably the most important testing to be done. High thyroid antibodies mean you have a thyroid condition and your thyroid gland is under attack. Hopefully doctor will want to check all the other thyroid hormones in your blood. If he/she doesn’t, make sure they do. They should always check TSH, Free T3, Free T4, Reverse T3 and Thyroid antibodies. In some cases, imaging studies are used and biopsies are taken to evaluate a thyroid abnormality.

Hashimoto’s Disease

The most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s disease. This is an autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks the thyroid gland. The result is damage to the thyroid, preventing it from producing enough hormones. Hashimoto’s disease tends to run in families. This is why thyroid antibodies needs to be checked because people with Hashimotos disease can actually have normal TSH levels and normal Free T3, Free T4 and reverse T3 levels.

Other Causes of Hypothyroidism

In some cases, hypothyroidism results from a problem with the pituitary gland, which is at the base of the brain. This gland produces thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which tells the thyroid to do its job. If your pituitary gland does not produce enough TSH, levels of thyroid hormones will fall. Other causes of hypothyroidism include temporary inflammation of the thyroid or medications that affect thyroid function.

Graves’ Disease

The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is Graves’ disease. This is an autoimmune disorder that attacks the thyroid gland and triggers the release of high levels of thyroid hormones. One of the hallmarks of Graves’ disease is a visible and uncomfortable swelling behind the eyes. Again this is why testing thyroid antibodies is so important.

Other Causes of Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism can also result from thyroid nodules. These are lumps that develop inside the thyroid and sometimes begin producing thyroid hormones. Large lumps may create a noticeable goiter. Smaller lumps can be detected with ultrasound. A thyroid uptake and scan can tell if the lump is producing too much thyroid hormone.

Thyroid Disorder Complications

When left untreated, hypothyroidism can raise cholesterol levels and make you more likely to have a stroke or heart attack. In severe cases, very low levels of thyroid hormones can trigger a loss of consciousness and life-threatening drop in body temperature. Untreated hyperthyroidism can cause serious heart problems and brittle bones.

Treating Hypothyroidism

If you are diagnosed with hypothyroidism, your doctor will most likely prescribe thyroid hormones in the form of a pill. This usually leads to noticeable improvements within a couple of weeks. Long-term treatment can result in more energy, lower cholesterol levels, and gradual weight loss. Most people with hypothyroidism will need to take thyroid hormones for the rest of their lives.

Treating Hyperthyroidism

The most common treatment for hyperthyroidism is antithyroid medication, which aims to lower the amount of hormones produced by the thyroid. The condition may eventually go away, but many people need to remain on medication for the long term. Other drugs may be given to reduce symptoms such as rapid pulse and tremors. Another option is radioactive iodine, which destroys the thyroid gland over the course of 6 to 18 weeks. Once the gland is destroyed, or removed by surgery, most patients must begin taking thyroid hormones in pill form.

Surgery for Thyroid Disorders

Removing the thyroid gland can cure hyperthyroidism, but the procedure is only recommended if antithyroid drugs don’t work, or if there is a large goiter. Surgery may also be recommended for patients with thyroid nodules. Once the thyroid is removed, most patients require daily supplements of thyroid hormones to avoid developing hypothyroidism.

What About Thyroid Cancer?

Thyroid cancer is uncommon and is among the least deadly. The good thing with thyroid cancer is that it is encapsulated, so it won’t spread. Once the thyroid gland is removed, the cancer is removed also. The main symptom is a lump or swelling in the neck, and only about 5% of thyroid nodules turn out to be cancerous. When thyroid cancer is diagnosed, it is most often treated with surgery followed by radioactive iodine therapy or, in some cases, external radiation therapy

Complementary Medicine For Thyroid Issues

There are many complementary medicines that can assist thyroid issues and Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal medicine has successfully treated thyroid disorders for centuries. There are also supplements and other herbal medicine to assist thyroid function, or balancing the thyroid hormones. Diet and lifestyle changes are also very important for thyroid health, as is working on the gut to reduce inflammation in the body and assist the immune system as well. There are also compounded natural thyroid medications we can discuss with you also

At Shen Therapies, we specialise in all hormone issues and can help you with thyroid testing, blood tests etc  and thyroid management.

Do you suffer pain with sex (dyspareunia)

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Do you suffer Dyspareunia?

Pain with sex, Intercourse pain, or dyspareunia, can cause problems in a womans life and it can be a cause of problems in couple’s sexual relationship. In addition to the physically painful sex, there is also the possibility of negative emotional effects. Then even when a woman may feel aroused and wanting sex, the fear of the pain can cause the whole process of wanting sex to stop.

How many people get Pain with Sex

It is estimated that about 20%-25% of women suffer vaginal pain with foreplay or intercourse. Pain can be acute, intermittent or chronic and can stem from a wide variety of causes that will be covered shortly. Unfortunately when women complaining of pain during sex, they are often dismissed as being inhibited, having psychiatric issues, or merely just making it up to get out of having sex. Many men would like to boast that it is them being well endowed that is causing the problem (they wish) but in fact if your partner is in pain, then you need to actually stop and listen to the reasons why. The fact is most of the time, their symptoms are related to legitimate medical issues that need to be investigated and treated accordingly. So guys, get your hand of it and start listening to your partner if she says she is getting pain.

What causes pain with Sex (Dyspareunia)?

In many cases, a woman can experience painful sex if there is not sufficient vaginal lubrication. There could be many reasons for this and one that is commonly seen in menopause. When this occurs, the pain can be resolved if the female becomes more relaxed, if the amount of foreplay is increased, or if the couple uses a sexual lubricant. Issues like this can easily be overcome, but there are some medical and gynaecological issues that could be causing the pain and being very much overlooked.

So what are the other causes of Pain with Sex

Endometriosis – This is a condition in which the endometrial like tissue (lesions) that lines the uterus grows outside the uterus. It can cause all sort of pain in the pelvis, bowel and rest of the body, but it can cause pain with sex. It is one of the leading conditions that does cause pain with sex. Many women with endometriosis may not have symptoms of it, or may only have one symptoms like pain with sex. Symptoms do not correlate to the extent of the disease either. Some people with small amounts get lots of pain, while others can have lots of it and have no pain. Endometriosis can only be properly diagnosed via surgery (laparoscopy)

Adenomyosis – is a condition which is very similar to endometriosis. It is a conditions in which the inner lining of the uterus (the endometrium) breaks through the muscle wall of the uterus (the myometrium). Adenomyosis can cause menstrual cramps, lower abdominal pressure etc, before the menses and can result in heavy periods.  It can also cause pain with sex. The condition can be located throughout the entire uterus, or localized in one spot

Vaginismus-  This is a common condition. It involves an involuntary spasm in the vaginal muscles, which closes up the vagina and prevents penetration from happens. It is sometimes caused by fear of being hurt.

Vaginal Infections-  These conditions are common and include yeast infections such as thrush and candida and these can cause inflammation to the vagina and cause pain with sex and also localized bleeding.

Vaginal skin conditons– Dermatitis arroudn the vulva and also a condition called Lichen Sclerosis can all cause pain with sex due to the inflammation of the skin.

Problems with the cervix (opening to the uterus). In this case, the penis can reach the cervix at maximum penetration. So problems with the cervix (such as infections) can cause pain during deep penetration.

Problems with the uterus. These problems may include polyps, cysts, fibroids etc that can cause deep intercourse pain.

Problems with the ovaries – Problems might include cysts on the ovaries, or tubal disease.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) – Often referred to as penis injected disease. With PID, the tissues deep inside become badly inflamed and the pressure of intercourse causes deep pain.

Ectopic Pregnancy – This is a pregnancy in which a fertilized egg develops outside the uterus, or into the tubes. It can cause immense pain and even death if not death with properly.

Menopause- With menopause, the vaginal lining can lose its normal moisture and tone and become dry. The vagina, uterus and surrounding organs can all suffer atrophy, which can cause bleeding and pain. It can also cause prolapse.

Intercourse too soon after childbirth, or surgery – Trying to have sex too soon after childbirth, or a surgery,  can cause pain during sex.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s) – These may include chlamydia, genital warts (HPV), genital herpes, or other STI’s.

Injury to the vulva or vagina- These injuries may include a tear from childbirth or from a cut (episiotomy) made in the area of skin between the vagina and anus during labor.

How Can Painful Sex In Women Be Treated?

Some treatments for painful sex in women do not require medical treatment. For example, painful sex after pregnancy can be addressed by waiting at least six weeks after childbirth before having intercourse, or when a women feels she is ready again. Make sure to practice gentleness and patience. In cases in which there is vaginal dryness,  or a lack of lubrication,water-based lubricants will help. In the cases of some conditions such as menopause, topical estrogen creams may be needed to bring tone back into the vaginal wall, along with lubricants during sex.

Some of the conditions such as endometriosis, PID, fibroids, or trauma to the vagina and will require surgery and adjunct therapies such as hormones and other medications.

Other issues such as vaginal infections, bacterial infections, skin conditions, STI’s etc may just need medications such as antibiotics, antifungals, steroids and other medications for their treatment

Some conditions like vaginismus, or psychological traumas (sexual abuse), may require a person to see a counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, or sex therapist.

There are also natural medicines such as Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal medicine, naturopathy, herbal supplement etc than can help with pain, either on their own, or in combination with medical treatments and talk therapy

If you do have pain with sex, you need to go and speak to your healthcare provider, or seek the help of a gynaecologist, or women’s health specialist.

Pain with sex is not normal, and you need to find out the cause of these issues and not put it off.

At Shen Therapies, Dr Andrew Orr can help you if you are having pain with sex. Dr Andrew Orr is a Reproductive Medicine and Women’s Health Medicine Specialist (medical), who also has qualifications in complementary medicine such as Traditional Chinese Medicine, Naturopathy and Nutrition.

 

 

Could you be suffering Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)?

pms

 

 

 

Could you be suffering Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)?

Do you suffer any of the following symptoms?

Are some of these symptoms worse around your menses, or mid-cycle?

  • Mood swings (worse around your menses, or mid-cycle)
  • Depressed mood or feelings of hopelessness
  • Marked anger, increased interpersonal conflicts, the anger can be worse at certain times of your cycle, or near your period. You may even feel violent with the anger.
  • Tension and anxiety
  • Irritability, especially with your menses, or even mid cycle.
  • Decreased interest in usual activities
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Change in appetite
  • Feeling out of control or overwhelmed
  • Sleep problems
  • Physical problems, such as bloating, breast tenderness, swelling, headaches, joint or muscle pain.

If you do, then you may be suffering a condition called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). Premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or PMDD, is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). The symptoms of PMDD are similar to those of PMS but are severe enough to interfere with work, social activities, and relationships. It is often a very much overlooked hormonal issue and often misdiagnosed. PMDD can actually cause women to have extreme anger and extreme mood swings and even become physically violent towards a partner, or loved ones.

How Common Is PMDD?

PMDD occurs in up to 10% of menstruating women, but it may be much higher than this.  Women with family history of premenstrual syndrome or PMDD are at greater risk for developing PMDD as there appears to be a strong genetic component. There can be underlying gynaecological conditions exacerbating, or contributing to PMDD too and we will talk about this later

What Causes PMDD?

As with PMS, the exact cause of PMDD is not known. Most researchers believe PMDD is brought about by the hormonal changes related to the menstrual cycle. Hormones can be affected from anything form dietary changes, increased stress, medications, lack of exercise, increased abdominal fats and also consumption of alcohol.  Recent studies have shown a connection between PMDD and low levels of serotonin, a chemical in the brain that helps transmit nerve signals and helps regulate moods, sleep and even pain. Changes in serotonin levels can lead to PMDD symptoms.

How Is PMDD Diagnosed?

PMMD is diagnosed by seeing a healthcare professional who knows what signs and symptoms to look for. Usually this is a gynaecologist or women’s health specialist.  PMMD can be diagnosed by charting mood swings at certain times in  the cycle, along with other changes to the body during this time.

Before a diagnosis of PMDD is made other emotional problems, such as depression or panic disorder, need to be ruled out first, as these may be a cause of all of the symptoms.  In addition, underlying medical or gynecological conditions, such as endometriosis, fibroids, menopause, and hormonal problems that could account for symptoms, also must be ruled out.

For the diagnosis of PMDD to be made usually at least five of the  listed symptoms listed before (including at least one of the first four) occur for most of the time during the seven days before menstruation and go away within a few days of the start of the menstrual period. If these symptoms are present every day and do not improve with menstruation, they are unlikely due to PMDD.

How Is PMDD Treated?

Many of the same strategies used to treat PMS may also be helpful in relieving symptoms of PMDD. The main ones to focus on are:

Good nutrition –  High Gi carbohydrates and highly refined grains increase insulin levels and this then in turn causes disturbances with hormone levels and can also cause inflammation. This then exacerbates the symptoms of PMDD. It is recommended that women with PMDD limit their intake of refined sugar, and alcohol. There are vitamins and nutritional supplements that will help with PMDD as well.

Exercise – Moving the body is so important  for PMDD and it is important to do some sort of weight bearing exercise, or resistance work such as weights. Exercise such as walking, or swimming appears to improve premenstrual symptoms too. Exercise will also have other benefits to the body and overall health as well.

Medications-  Medically PMDD is usually treated with medications such as antidepressants and hormone therapies. Some over-the-counter pain relievers may help some  of the symptoms of PMDD,  such as headache, breast tenderness, backache, and cramping. Diuretics, or water pills, can help with fluid retention and bloating. Hormones can be used to treat PMDD but it is unclear whether this approach is effective.

Natural Medicine– Various Herbal medicines and vitamins and nutritional supplements have all been researched and shown to reduce the symptoms of PMS and PMDD. Always consult with with a qualified natural medicine practitioner for proper treatment and advice.

Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)–  Research published in the BMC (Effects and treatment methods of acupuncture and herbal medicine for premenstrual syndrome/premenstrual dysphoric disorder: systematic review) showed that Acupuncture and herbal medicine treatments provided a 50% reduction in symptoms in the first month of treatment and symptoms continued to reduce with subsequent treatments.

Counseling-  Counseling and psychology need to be a big part of the overall treatment therapy to help women with PMDD develop effective coping strategies.

Other Therapies– Relaxation therapy, meditation, reflexology, and yoga may also help, but these approaches have not been widely studied.

At Shen Therapies, Dr Andrew Orr can help you with PMDD and PMS with a combined integrative approach of using western medicine and complementary medicine and therapies. Dr Andrew Orr is a Reproductive Medicine and Women’s Health Specialist (medical) but also has qualifications is TCM, Naturopathy and Nutritional medicine. If you need help with PMDD, please give our clinic a call on 07 32795697, or email info@shentherapies.com.au