Archive for Author menopause

Vitamin E Boosts Women’s Heart Health

Researchers have discovered that vitamin E is still a knock-down, steadfast antioxidant that promotes women’s heart health. Antioxidants are the healthy phytonutrients in plants that seek out and neutralize harmful free radicals. Left unfettered, free radicals can damage DNA and lead to early aging.

Vitamin E Supports Heart Health for Women

In 1993 a Harvard Medical School study of about 87,000 healthy, female nurses, ages 34 to 59, concluded that those who took vitamin E supplements for more than two years had a 41% reduced risk of heart disease. The New England Journal of Medicine reported this study on May 20, 1993.

The intriguing Women’s Health Study reported in the July 2005 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), of approximately 40,000 healthy women, found that half the women given 600 IU of natural vitamin E supplements on alternate days for 10 years had a 24% decline in heart disease deaths.

Amazing Results for Women Over 65

The Women’s Health Study, the longest and largest study of vitamin E supplementation, found a 34% reduction in heart attacks for women over 65 who took the natural vitamin E supplements (alpha-tocopherol). That age group also had a striking 49% reduction in heart disease deaths compared to the placebo group.

Vitamin E Supplementation Bias

Incredibly, the researchers noted in JAMA did not recommend vitamin E supplements for healthy, older women. Maret Traber, Ph.D., a vitamin E expert at the Linus Pauling Institute, believes the study result is a significant one for older women over age 65 because heart disease is their number one cause of death. More examples of vitamin E bias (in the treatment of lung cancer) with both food and supplements, and selective media reporting, are here.

Vitamin E Food Choices

Most people do not get enough of this potent vitamin in their diet. Fortified cereals, almonds, sunflower seeds and leafy greens are top choices for vitamin E. The recommended dietary allowance for vitamin E is 23 IU (about 15 mg) which is the minimum amount that avoids a deficiency. Many experts suggest a daily maintenance value – 400 IU. Most multivitamins contain varying amounts of vitamin E.

Women, Heart Health and Research

Research backs up vitamin E supplementation support for a 41% decreased risk of heart disease in presently-healthy, middle-aged and older women. Healthy women over 65 had a 34% less risk of heart attacks and a 49% lowered risk of heart disease deaths. The key point to a possible decreased risk of heart disease is to consider taking vitamin E supplements while still healthy. It is important to take charge of your own health, and determine the truth in an era of possible media manipulation and supplementation bias.

Vitamin E can act as a blood thinner; always seek the advice of your health care provider, especially if taking prescription drugs. This article is for educational purposes only.

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The Acupuncture Facelift

acupuncture facelift

The energy flow through the face during an acupuncture facelift is also restoring the balance of energy in the body as well. On June 8, 2001, Good Morning America invited the acupuncturist Russell Korda and Deborah Musso, the director of the Sea Change Healing Center in New York, to explain how the facelift works. ‘Sagging skin can be caused by weakness in the spleen and circles under the eye is often linked to liver or stomach weakness. So by putting needles in the pressure points relating to these organs, we can treat the underlying cause,’ explained Musso.

What to Expect

The procedure is done with needles that are ultra-fine and not painful. It is so relaxing that it is considered a great stress reliever as well. Results can be seen after one session but it is advised to have a series of 10-12 sessions to get the full benefit.

You will experience a more natural and toned appearance if that is what you are seeking, without any downtime or swelling. You may experience a firmer jowl line, a reduction of fine lines and deeper ones will be softened. The skin will be plumper due to the stimulation of collagen, the neck toned and bags under the eyes firmed.

Results are known to last up to 3-5 years. Your practitioner may advise you to come in for periodic treatments to maintain the lift, plus this will also keep your body in balance. The balanced energy of the body is known as ‘Qi’ (pronounced “Chee”) in Chinese Medicine.

Overall Benefits

Facial acupuncture is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, so one’s overall health is taken into consideration. Expect a full consultation with your practitioner. An acupuncturist views health from the energetic balance or imbalance, and will assess this flow along points of the body called meridians. There are needles used along the meridian points in the hands and feet as well as the face during a facial treatment. The needles help with circulation and blood flow, so you may also experience increased energy as a side benefit.

When your circulation is increased, the skin is nourished and younger looking. The needles cause the body to form additional natural collagen, which is what creates a more youthful look.

So many women and men are afraid of going under the knife for facial surgery, and acupuncture is a viable, safe option, free of side effects. If you have had botox injections and want to prolong the effects, an acupuncture facial treatment may be the answer, and save you money.

Teaching and Training

Virginia Doran is an expert in the field of acupuncture and facial rejuvenation. She is an international teacher and practitioner.

Virginia created the Ultimate Facial Rejuvenation Program which consists of: the Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture, Facial Massage and Acupressure, Aromatherapy, Herbology, Nutritional Supplements and Self Care Counseling. Her website offers her schedule for training and certification for facial rejuvenation acupuncture.

Facial Rejuvenating Acupuncture has been performed for thousands of years in China. Baby boomers are not so eager to have a traditional facelift procedure, and alternative options are very appealing.

Acupuncture is available mainly for medical reasons, but what a great way to be introduced to this healing modality via some facial rejuvenation!

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The Facts About Lyrica®

lyrica

Lyrica®, also called pregabalin, is a prescription anti-seizure medication. It may also be called an anticonvulsant or anti-epileptic drug. This medication works by slowing down the brain impulses that cause seizures, and also affects the chemicals the brain produces to send pain signals. While Lyrica® is prescribed to treat patients who have seizures, it is also used to treat Fibromyalgia, and pain caused by diabetic neuropathy and herpes zoster.

Lyrica® Warnings

It is important to note that patients should continue to take Lyrica® even if they feel well. Stopping this medication suddenly may cause an increase in seizure activity, seizures to become worse, and withdrawal symptoms such as headache, sleep problems, and diarrhea. Consult a physician regarding how to safely stop taking Lyrica®.

If a patient is taking Lyrica®, a card or medical ID bracelet stating so should be with the patient at all times. Doctors, emergency medical teams, and any other medical providers need to be made aware that the patient is taking this medication.

Lyrica® has caused suicidal thoughts in some patients. Make sure that regular appointments are kept with the prescribing physician, as the physician will monitor mood and check emotional health during these appointments.

Special dosage or tests may be required for those who have congestive heart failure, diabetes or kidney disease to safely take Lyrica®. The physician needs to be made aware if the patient has any of these conditions.

Lyrica® should not be used when trying to become pregnant or while pregnant. This medication may be harmful to the unborn child, and if the father is taking the medication, the child may have birth defects. A patient that is taking Lyrica® should discuss this and birth control options if there is a risk of pregnancy.

Do not drink alcohol with Lyrica®. Alcohol can potentially increase side effects of the medication.

Lyrica® Side Effects

If signs of an allergic reaction are experienced, get emergency medical attention immediately. These signs include swelling of the face or lips, hives and difficulty breathing.

If the patient feels or exhibits signs of the following symptoms contact the prescribing physician immediately. These signs are:

  • Mood or behavior changes
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling agitated, hostile, restless or hyperactive
  • Have thoughts of suicide or hurting oneself

The following serious side effects have been reported with Lyrica®:

  • Muscle pain, weakness, or tenderness
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Swelling of the hands or feet
  • Rapid weight gain

If any of these symptoms are experienced, the physician should be contacted as soon as possible. Do not stop taking Lyrica® without first speaking to a physician.

The following more common side effects have also been reported:

  • Dizziness or drowsiness
  • Mild anxiety
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Problems with concentration and memory
  • Dry mouth
  • Skin rash
  • itching
  • Constipation
  • Stomach pain
  • Increased appetite
  • Joint or muscle pain

Remember that Lyrica® has been prescribed because the physician felt the benefits of the medication outweighed the side effects. If any symptom becomes intolerable, contact the prescribing physician.

Lyrica® Drug Interactions

Taking Lyrica® with cold medicine, allergy medicine, narcotic pain medication, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers or any other seizure medicines will increase drowsiness and dizziness. Do not operate heavy machinery, drive, or perform any task that requires alertness while taking Lyrica® and one of the above types of medications.

No specific drug interactions have been reported by the FDA regarding Lyrica®.

Not all side effects or drug interactions may have been reported. If side effects not mentioned here are experienced or if a drug interaction is suspected, contact the prescribing physician or a pharmacist for assistance.

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What is Osteopenia?

osteopenia

Defined for the first time in 1994 by the World Health Organization (WHO), osteopenia refers to an early state of bone loss where a person’s bone mineral density (BMD)-a measurement that determines bone density and strength-is lower than normal peak BMD, but not low enough to be classified as osteoporosis.

A diagnosis of osteopenia means that there is a greater risk for developing osteoporosis later on, but not everyone diagnosed with osteopenia develops osteoporosis. As a result, the medical community does not view osteopenia as a disease, but as a potential marker for further bone loss and fracture.

What Causes Osteopenia?

Several factors lead to a diagnosis of osteopenia, but it is important to note that both men and women naturally lose bone density as they age because the body reabsorbs bone cells faster than it can make new bone. This process makes bones weaker and more susceptible to fracture because it robs them of minerals, mass and structure. All people start losing bone mass after they reach peak bone mineral density at about age 30. The stronger and thicker your bones are by age 30, the better off your long-term prognosis is for healthy bones later in life.

That said, some people are more prone to osteopenia than others. Women are more likely than men to develop osteopenia because they have lower bone densities, and the loss of bone mass speeds up as women reach menopause and experience numerous hormonal changes. Moreover, some people diagnosed with osteopenia may not have bone loss-they may just naturally have a lower bone density.

Aside from the natural aging process and the subsequent loss of bone density, some factors can directly contribute to osteopenia:

  • eating disorders or metabolism problems that rob the body of essential vitamins and minerals
  • chemotherapy or medications such as steroids
  • exposure to radiation
  • family history of osteoporosis
  • being white (Caucasian), or, to a lesser degree, being Asian
  • being thin
  • being bedridden or inactive for a long period of time
  • smoking
  • drinking excessively
  • having a diet low in calcium and vitamin D

How is Osteopenia Diagnosed and Treated?

Osteopenia is diagnosed with the use of a bone mineral density test, typically a DEXA (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) scan. A diagnosis of osteopenia is confirmed when bone density measurements are between one standard deviation and two and a half standard deviations below the bone density of a normal young adult. The standard deviations for osteopenia are generally referred to as “T-scores” between -1 and -2.5. Osteoporosis is defined as a T-score below -2.5.

The World Health Organization recommends that women over the age of 65 and men over the age of 70 be screened for osteopenia and osteoporosis. Men and women who have more than one risk factor (e.g. an eating disorder or alcohol addiction) should be screened earlier.

While treating osteopenia with drugs like bisphosphonates remains controversial, people diagnosed with osteopenia can slow further bone loss with the following lifestyle changes:

  • eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and calcium-enriched foods
  • supplementing diet with calcium and vitamin D
  • performing weigh-bearing exercises such as walking, hiking, jogging and resistance training
  • quitting smoking
  • avoiding excessive use of alcohol and cola

Whether you are over 30 or in your mid-60s, it is never too late to make lifestyle changes. A balanced diet and plenty of exercise today can mean slower bone loss tomorrow.

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What Women Need to Know About Long-Term Care

osteopenia

The Caregiver Burden Falls on Women

According to a report issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2000) more than 50 million people provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year.

Approximately 60 % of family caregivers are women, many of whom are middle-aged, married, employed, and caring for an elderly parent who does not live with her. To avoid jeopardizing their financial future, women should educate themselves about caregiver economics.

Caregiver Economics

Did you know?

On average, women can expect to devote more than 30 hours a week providing “free” care to a loved one. Forced to either withdraw from the workforce or reduce hours, the loss of income can be substantial. In 2000, for example, the typical working family full time caregiver lost $109 per day in wages and health benefits.

An ill spouse, who needs costly medical care, can quickly deplete family assets, leaving no money for his surviving spouse to afford care for herself.

According to the Wiser Report, there are no public or private retirement programs that “grant credit” for care giving when calculating retirement benefits.

Medicare will not pay for extended long-term care services and provides only limited assistance when a person is recovering from an illness. Typically Medicare kicks in after a minimum of a three day stay in a hospital.

Medicaid provides for care, but only after most of a person’s assets are spent down, the care is up to the government’s discretion and is limited to a nursing home.

Tips Selecting Long-Term Insurance

  • Choose a company with an excellent rating.
  • Choose an agent who is knowledgeable and best represents your situation.
  • Choose a plan which provides the options of care at home, in an assisted living facility, an adult day care center, or a nursing facility.
  • Make sure to choose inflation protection which increases your daily benefit amount each year by 5% compound or 5% simple, depending on your age at the time of purchase.
  • Involve your children in the process, for they will ultimately be emotionally and financially affected by it.

With more families today depending on two-incomes, many women cannot afford to reduce their earnings to stay home to care for a chronically ill spouse or parent. It is prudent to at least explore the cost/benefits of long-term care insurance while they are young enough to be insurable since women will not only be the caregivers but also the recipients of care in their lifetime.

Sources: Judith Blaustein, CLTC, Stucki, B.R. and Mulvey, J., “Can Aging Baby Boomers Avoid the Nursing Home? Long-term Care Insurance for Aging in Place.” American Council of Life Insurers, March 2000; National Caregivers Association

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What Women Look For In Men

This article is a truncated, yet genteel exegesis to and for all men attempting to declassify the female psyche.

As the great philosophical Empiricist John Locke would argue, everything must be derived from experience and so to attempt to jauntily accentuate the female wonderings and musings it is necessary to go deep into the soul.

Make Her Feel Comfortable

Of paramount importance is the ability to make the woman feel comfortable. Seems obvious perhaps, however, this is not always the case! Time and time again men fall into the trap of putting the opposite gender in a position they feel too alien in. If the woman is quite reserved do not take her out to a booming night scene, likewise, if she is more extroverted ensure that all that inner-energy can be released constructively.

Never touch a woman unless she explicitly or indirectly gives the man permission to and certainly do not attempt to posses them.

There is nothing a woman hates more than a man who tries to control her – those types who insist on driving them anywhere and everywhere when they can walk with their mates, or those who constantly ring them up seeking to cow the other half. Men, relax! She is fine and she does not need a dummy!

Give Moderate Praise to Women

Of other significance is excessive praise. If a woman is relatively good-looking, do not praise her looks. She has heard it all before thus it comes across as churlish and lacking in ideas. Beauty is, like suffering, a subjective thing. The most beautiful looking girls can never be secure in their beauty as they constantly compare themselves with other females. A girl praising another girl’s looks is much more powerful than a man praising a girl’s looks!

Women Want a Sense of Adventure

Women also seem to want to be put on edge. They need a sense of adventure with a man, a feeling of “something different” to what she has grown up to and known. Attraction is illogical and so the man must do illogical things – within the realms of sanity!

For example, men everywhere, ensure that whilst in a lavish department store with her, put her on edge. Pose with schmancy clothes; get her to take photographs as a pair, and more pertinently of herself in front of the watching people! Although some women are shy to such things, they will do so only if they feel comfortable in and around the man’s presence.

Women Need a Good Listener

It goes without saying that women want a man who can listen to them, who is sensitive enough not to laugh and at the same time women want men who they feel can make sense of all their issues. So men everywhere need be good listeners and have a great memory! Women love men who can remember the finest details such as why her favourite colour is red, what school she went to, her first kiss and why she hates her uncle’s wife’s sister!

Lastly, men everywhere ought to remember Carl Jung’s theory of the “archetype”. This postulates that deep in the collective unconscious lies the notion of an “archetype”. The archetype reflects a psychological need and women everywhere need something or someone in their lives to fulfill the role of nurturing them and providing them with comfort in times of stress.

Things for Singles, People Looking for Serious Relationships to Remember

Quite simply, women desire men more than they care to admit and so seek to find one who mirrors and then absorbs all their fears, insecurities, ambitions, views, aspirations, catharsis and zaniness!

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Women and Emotional Counseling

emotional counseling

Sometimes talking with other female friends, writing down thoughts and frustrations, or counting to ten are not enough to keep female depression and anxiety at bay. Circumstances are often beyond simple control: unemployment, high-stress work, post-partum blues, divorce/separation, female mid-life crisis (not just for the men), death, chronic illness, acute disease, identity crisis and so on.

To deal with such issues, it’s sometimes necessary to meet with a psychological therapist. Although each type is beneficial, not all therapists are designed for the same kind of treatment. The more education a therapist has (example: a psychiatrist), the more likely they deal with the scientific side of therapy, such as administering medication. Social workers, on the contrary, deal with therapy as well as community outreach and aid. The following therapists counsel and treat women for depression and/or anxiety:

Psychiatrists

Psychiatrists are MDs, or medical doctors. Having gone through medical school, clinical rotation, and residency, these professionals have the most amount of medical education. Psychiatrists focus on the medical side of female emotional health, and currently concentrate on medication dispension and monitoring.

Psychiatrists will know the most about the medical and physiological side of depression and anxiety. Unless the case is very serious, a psychiatrist might not be the initial therapist worked with. The following types of therapists can make recommendations for a patient to be evaluated by a psychiatrist.

Psychologists

Psychologists are highly trained in women’s emotional counseling, psychological problem-solving, and rehabilitation. Their education focuses on clinical therapy, although they do have knowledge about the medical side of depression.

Psychologists have doctoral degrees in psychology, so although they are highly qualified to counsel patients, they are not licensed (like psychiatrists) to dispense medicine. A psychologist can determine if a patient might benefit from medication, and then he or she can refer the patient to a psychiatrist for this purpose.

Counselors and Social Workers

Counselors are trained in psychology and therapy practices. They often work for psychiatrists or at clinical practices. Counselors often have excellent resources at their fingertips, including support group contacts, community outreach programs, and such.

Social workers are similar to counselors in that they work to provide counseling, community outreach, and social welfare programs for women.

Both counselors and social workers usually have a master’s degree level of education. They do not dispense medication, but instead refer patients to psychiatrists for medicinal analysis.

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Understanding How Bones Work

how bones work

Osteoporosis is a progressive disease that causes the bones to deteriorate and eventually lead to fractures.

The word osteoporosis defines itself. “Osteo” means bone, and “porosis” means the porous bone structure that results from the gradual loss of bone density. Osteoporosis causes the bones to gradually loose bone mass resulting in porous, brittle bones.

The different causes of osteoporosis usually interrupt the bone remodeling process. An interruption in the bone remodeling process causes the bones to become brittle and thin. To understand osteoporosis, you must understand how this process works.

The actual breaking down and rebuilding of bone tissue is performed by two groups of cells called osteoclasts and osteoblasts. Bone remodeling occurs when small amounts of bone are broken down by cells known as osteoclasts. After the bone has been broken down and reabsorbed in the body, cells known as osteoblasts move in to the area and start building new bone. The process where old bone is reabsorbed and new bone is built is called the remodeling process.

  • Osteoclasts The first group of cells called osteoclasts is responsible for the destruction of existing bone. They appear at a specific area to break down existing bone. Osteoclasts make pinhead holes in the bone to release calcium into the bloodstream which eventually leads to the break down of the bones. The entire process of the bone removal process is referred to as bone resorption.
  • Osteoblasts Osteoblasts are the bone building cells of the body. Osteoblasts place a matrix made up of collagen in the tiny holes left by the osteoclasts. The collagen matrix will begin to go through a hardening process, also known as the mineralization phase. During this phase, calcium and phosphorous mix with the collagen matrix in the form of calcium phosphate crystals. The calcium phosphate during this hardening phase contributes to the density in the bones. The process of building bones during the bone remodeling process is known as the bone formation phase.

Osteoporosis is not a natural part of aging. Due to a loss of bone mass and tissue, bones that were once strong may be unable to endure the stress of a normal activity. Basic activities such as bending, twisting or coughing can cause a fracture. Until recently osteoporosis was thought of as a natural part of aging. But there’s nothing natural about breaking a bone by simply laughing, coughing or sneezing.

Types of osteoporosis:

  • Type I, also known as primary osteoporosis occurs in post-menopausal women, and is due to estrogen deficiency.
  • Type II, also known as secondary osteoporosis occurs in both men and women, and is due to aging or calcium deficiency. Type II can also be due to certain diseases, medications or surgical procedures that accelerate bone loss.

The consequences of osteoporosis: Each year osteoporosis is responsible for more than 1.5 million fractures. These fractures usually occur in the spine, hip or wrist, but they may occur in other bones as well. Osteoporosis fractures can be debilitating, painful and sometimes can result in death. Only one-third of the people who break a hip ever return to being as active as they were before the fracture.

Prognosis: There is no cure for osteoporosis. However, there are medications available that help stop the break down of current bone and help aid in rebuilding new bone. Bisphosphonates, hormones (hormone replacement therapy “HRT”),selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), calcitonin and teriparatide are all medications used for treating osteoporosis.

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What is PCOS?

PCOS

PCOS is a syndrome, not officially a disease, although some medical professionals consider it a disease and are actively campaigning for it to be recognized as such. Women with PCOS produce increased levels of androgens, or male hormones, and the ovaries contain tiny cysts that don’t go away causing absent periods. While there is no known cause or cure, the syndrome is manageable and millions of women have erased their symptoms with the help of medical research and health professionals.

Women with PCOS are usually misdiagnosed with other diseases or conditions before discovering they have the syndrome; from Hashimoto’s (Thyroid) disease, to pre-diabetes, and on and on. In fact, most doctors will not diagnose PCOS until all other possible conditions have been eliminated, according to an interview with Dr. Vivian Lin, an OB-GYN in California who not only treats patients with PCOS, but who has also been diagnosed with the syndrome.

According to Dr. Lin, she can “almost tell just by looking at a patient that they have PCOS.” Many symptoms are often manifested in physical appearance:

  • quick and substantial weight gain
  • male-pattern hair thinning
  • excessive body hair growth
  • acne
  • skin tags

While these symptoms seem easy to spot, the distinguishing symptom — countless tiny cysts on both ovaries — is often not spotted until an ultrasound is administered. The ultrasound test is commonly used to diagnose women with PCOS since PCOS is also linked to infertility.

Treatments for PCOS

PCOS does not create an immediate and innate health risk on its own, but it can lead to debilitating diseases like type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease, as well as inherently causing infertility, which, for many couples, can be just as tragic. The first thing women can do after being diagnosed is to get their weight under control and back to a healthy level. This will usually restore their menstrual cycle to a normal rhythm and increases their chances of becoming pregnant. Some women gain as much as 40 pounds in a three month period, so this is no small feat, but it can be done through diet, exercise and a little help from your pharmacist.

Recently, PCOS has been linked to insulin resistance, whether one causes the other, or vice-versa, doctors aren’t certain, but they do know that “treating insulin resistance helps control symptoms of PCOS,” explains Dr. Lin. Insulin is a hormone that helps metabolize carbohydrates, lipids (fats), and proteins in the body. When the body becomes resistant to insulin, more and more is needed and produced to keep the same effects. When the body does not produce more insulin, it can’t metabolize the nutrients taken in (usually causing the rapid weight gain characteristic in PCOS patients). Insulin resistance is often treated with Metformin, also a diabetes medication. Dr. Lin, as well as her colleague, Dr. Brian Gray, have been prescribing Metformin to their PCOS patients for the past three years and it has successfully helped them reduce their weight and bring other symptoms to a more manageable level.

“Really, the key here is weight management. With PCOS, managing weight will manage your hormones and, in turn, all of the negative symptoms,” says Dr. Lin. How much weight loss is enough weight loss? Both doctors suggest losing 10% of the patient’s body weight, and Dr. Gray says “once your periods are back and they are at normal intervals, you know you’re on track.”

Living with PCOS

While PCOS can be debilitating with its effects — diabetes, infertility, high cholesterol, to name a few — its diagnosis doesn’t have to mean distress. Finding a doctor who knows about the disease and available treatments can help patients immensely, but plain and simple weight management can reverse the effects of this syndrome.

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Will Metformin Cause Gastrointestinal Problems?

metformin

The most common side affect of Metformin is diarrhea. Metformin may also cause nausea, upset stomach and gas. These side effects usually only occur during the first few weeks of taking Metformin. Of course, a few weeks can feel like an eternity to someone suffering from serious diarrhea and may cause many to stop using Metformin before realizing its benefits. If you can make it through these first few uncomfortable weeks, Metformin can help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, increase fertility and help women with PCOS and/or insulin resistance lose weight. There are several steps you can take to reduce or eliminate the likelihood that you will suffer from diarrhea when you first begin taking Metformin.

Easy Methods to Prevent or Minimize Diarrhea Sometimes Caused by Metformin

Diarrhea is the most common side effect of Metformin. In one study, diarrhea occurred in 41% of the patients studied and caused 6% of those patients to drop out of the study. If you are one of the people who suffer from diarrhea or gastrointestinal problems related to Metformin, there are ways you can reduce or eliminate those problems. Your health care professional will determine the dosage and timing of Metformin that is right for you. However, the gastrointestinal side effects suffered by many people are shown to be much reduced where Metformin is started at the lowest dose, usually 500 mg a day, and then slowly increased to the recommended dosage. An extended release version of Metformin, Glucophage XR, is also now available and may help reduce gastrointestinal problems through a slow release process.

Diarrhea, nausea and upset stomach are also greatly reduced when Metformin is taken with a meal. This slows the release of the drug into your system.

It is important to reduce the amount of fats and sugars ingested while taking Metformin. In fact, consuming a diet high in fat or carbohydrates while taking Metformin can exacerbate gastrointestinal upset or diarrhea. People who take Metformin in conjunction with a low-carbohydrate diet find that any gastrointestinal upset is minimal. People who take Metformin in conjunction with a low-carbohydrate diet also lose more weight than those taking Metformin with no modifications in their diet.

If stomach upset and diarrhea persist, such symptoms can be treated with over the counter anti-diarrhea medications such as Imodium. Such medications will temporarily resolve these gastrointestinal problems during the time it takes your system to adjust to the Metformin. Fortunately, diarrhea and gastrointestinal upset related to Metformin usually only lasts a few weeks. If these conditions last longer and do not resolve with a modified diet, your health care practitioner may need to lower your dose.

If you are suffering from diarrhea, it is important to take steps to prevent or immediately resolve any resulting dehydration. Dehydration is one risk factor that may lead to a rare but serious side effect of Metformin, a condition called Lactic Acidosis.

Lactic Acidosis is a Rare but Serious Side Effect of Metformin

Lactic Acidosis is a condition resulting from the increase of lactic acid in the blood. This usually only happens to elderly people with kidney problems. For this reason, Metformin is not recommended for anyone over the age of 80 or anyone with kidney problems.

Other conditions also increase the chance of developing Lactic Acidosis including consumption of a large amount of alcohol (binge drinking for a short time or drinking on a regular basis), serious dehydration, liver problems, serious heart conditions including those being treated with heart failure medications, x-ray procedures that require injection of dyes or are scheduled for surgery. If you have any of these conditions or suspect that you might, talk to a health care practitioner about them before you begin taking Metformin.

If you have healthy kidneys and liver, the risk of developing Lactic Acidosis is very low. However, some symptoms of Lactic Acidosis include feeling very weak or tired, unusual muscle pain, difficulty breathing, feeling unusually cold, stomach discomfort, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, slow or irregular heartbeat. If you develop any of these symptoms while taking Metformin, stop taking it and contact your health care practitioner immediately. Lactic Acidosis is rare but potentially fatal and should be taken seriously.

Metformin Is The Miracle Drug For Women With PCOS

Metformin is the only drug currently available shown to address most of the symptoms of PCOS. It helps women lose weight, restore menstruation and ovulation and increase fertility, among other benefits. It has also proven helpful in resolving insulin resistance and preventing the onset of diabetes in women with PCOS. For these reasons, any woman who is struggling with diarrhea or gastrointestinal problems related to Metformin should carefully weigh the pros and cons of discontinuing the medication for this reason alone. This is especially true considering that most patients report that these symptoms resolve within a few weeks of beginning Metformin. Considering the overall benefits provided by Metformin to women with PCOS, a few weeks of gastrointestinal upset might not be such a big price to pay.

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