Lupus & Pregnancy: 8 Important Things To Know

Lupus & Pregnancy- 8 Important Things To Know| Dr. Lori Gore-GreenLupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that isn’t discussed nearly as much as it should be.

This condition is a complication whereby an individual’s immune system attacks your organs and tissues. The joints, skin, blood cells, brain, kidneys, lungs, and heart, are touched by inflammation.

Unfortunately, lupus can be challenging to diagnose. The symptoms and signs can be difficult to distinguish, although there’s a distinctive sign of lupus that isn’t found in all cases, which is a facial rash resembling a sprawled-winged butterfly across each cheek.

Lupus can uniquely impact pregnant women. So, if a woman with lupus happens to become pregnant, there are many precautions that she must take, as there are potential risks to both the mother and child. It’s important to speak with one’s physician early and often, but more than that, it’s important to think about medications, it’s important to chat with an obstetrician, and significant to discuss delivery methods during the early stages of pregnancy or even ahead of pregnancy.

According to Doruk Erkan, MD, MPH of the Barbara Volcker Center for Women and Rheumatic Disease, there are ten points to consider to optimize the outcome for who are pregnant while having lupus. Read on for a paraphrasing of eight of those crucial pointers:

  1. Successful pregnancies are possible when one has lupus. Educating oneself and taking professional advice is essential for lupus patients, who are more likely develop complications than non-lupus patients. Rheumatologists and obstetricians experienced in managing high-risk pregnancies are necessary for discussion. Also, consultation with a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit as well as other advanced facilities is essential as a child may require specialized care. It’s also important to lean on the support of family, who may ease impending challenges.
  2. Consider what might be the right time to conceive. Ideally, conception should occur when you’re at peak health, and at least six months after disease activity, particularly that involving kidney disease. Visit with your doctor for blood tests and complete physical examination.
  3. Lupus flares can take place during pregnancy and following delivery. Thankfully, a majority of these flares aren’t life-threatening and can be treated with steroids.
  4. One can identify lupus flares during one’s pregnancy by looking for patchy hair loss, redness across cheeks and the nose, fatigues, body aches, and fever. Pain and swelling in the joints are also generally reported. The retention of fluid usually leads to the swelling of ankles, feet, and hands.
  5. For some patients, complications appear in the form of pre-eclampsia, HELLP syndrome (Hemolysis, Elevated Liver Enzymes, Low Platelets), hypertension, urinary tract infections, diabetes, and renal insufficiency. Frequent urination, headaches, abdominal pain, and blurry vision are additionally experienced. The heightened risk of pregnancy loss should also be acknowledged.
  6. It’s important to note that lupus patients give birth to healthy children, who don’t face an increased risk of mental retardation or congenital disabilities. It’s important to consult your physician about undergoing regular ultrasounds to monitor intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) and low birth weight.
  7. Discuss any medication with your with your doctor to ensure that it won’t worsen your lupus or cause damage to your child. Consult about steroids, blood thinners, anti-inflammatory drugs, and other medications.
  8. Mothers with lupus can breastfeed, and if they find it to be a challenge, they shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to a trusted health care professional, who will likely advise against breastfeeding if a mother is on azathioprine, cyclosporine, cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, or mycophenolate mofetil.

Beyond the items listed above, lupus patients should also discuss the possibility of vaginal delivery as an option for delivery ahead of giving birth. Broach vital topics on birth control options, child care, and other necessary issues.

Maximize Your Days Off & Improve Your Outlook

4 Ways to Maximize Your Days Off & Improve Your Outlook | Dr. Lori Gore-GreenScheduling your workout routine and developing your diet are essential for you and your body. More than that, you need to direct attention inward and make sure you’re doing things on your R&R days to improve yourself.

Your health, outlook, physical wealth, psychological health, and overall well-being depend on your ability to rest and recover. Those rest and recovery days, though few and far between, prepare you to propel forward and do what you need to do during the rest of your week.

Exercise and Move Around

Yes, you do indeed deserve some time to relax into your couch and binge a few episodes of your favorite show. However, it’s also important that you don’t don’t just sit still the entire time. Metabolic waste, muscle stiffness, hydration, and delayed onset muscle soreness become an issue. Active recovery demands that you increase circulation and hydrate during your day off because your body needs it. Alleviate tightness by doing light exercise or low-impact activities for thirty minutes or so. Try something relaxing, such as yoga or cycling, which can build strength and improve flexibility.

Massages

What’s more relaxing than having someone rub the soreness from your joints? Seek out a certified massage therapist, especially a sports massage therapists, who can tend to tight areas. Treat target areas, such as piriformis and the thoracic spine to mobilize muscles. There are neurological benefits to a massage, it readying the body to rid itself of metabolic waste and encouraging the body to heal from recent activities.

Snack Smart

Rather than reaching for bags of popcorn or other carb-loaded snacks, find your way to the grocery store and pick out nutritiously-smart superfoods, such as blueberries and almonds. Improve your metabolic process with dark-colored fruits, cruciferous vegetables, and leafy greens. These things and hydration will help with everything from digestion to metabolism.

Soak

Relieve your stress by taking a long soak in the bath with some Epsom salt, which will lower cortisol levels and reduce bloating. Additionally, a hot soak can burn up to 140 calories an hour, and it can reduce blood sugar by 10 percent –incredible!

 

If you have any thoughts or tips for how on how to maximize your R&R days, please share!

5 Foods to Increase Your Vagina Health

Increase Your Vagina Health | Dr. Lori Gore-GreenThere are many factors to your vaginal health. What you may not realize is that food is one of the largest and easiest to control factors. Whether it’s a smell that you would prefer not to have, dryness, or just not feeling very fresh, food just might be the answer. Taking the time to add certain healthy foods to your diet can greatly improve your well being down there.

So which foods should you be eating and for what reasons?

  1. Garlic

Consuming garlic is a great way to combat vaginal infections. This includes the dreaded vaginal yeast infection. The reason garlic helps heal is because it has strong antibacterial properties. This helps give your body the edge it needs to fight bacterial and fungal infections. Look for ways to incorporate more garlic into your daily diet to not only cure but prevent vaginal infections.

  1. Cranberry Juice

Cranberry juice is highly beneficial for your feminine well-being. Drinking a glass (or two!) of cranberry juice helps your body work hard to fight against harmful bacteria. This makes it a viable option for curing and preventing issues like Urinary tract infections. However, be sure to choose an all natural, no sugar added cranberry juice. High sugar content and unnatural dyes can do the opposite of helping cure your problems.

  1. Flax Seeds

Flax seeds contain phytoestrogens which help increase estrogen levels in the body. This can help your body keep your feminine area healthy. It may also aid in added wetness if you’re feeling a little drier than you should down there. Because flax seeds contain these fantastic phytoestrogens, they are great for your overall female upkeep as well. They are definitely worth taking advantage of!

  1. Kale

Kale is rich in kaempferol which has been shown to help reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. Other healthy foods that contain kaempferol include broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and green tea. Incorporating these healthy foods into your daily diet is a huge step to taking care of your vagina and overall female health.

  1. Greek Yogurt

Leaving the best for last, Greek yogurt might just be the greatest food you can eat for your vagina! Greek yogurt contains live and active cultures. This good bacteria makes it a super star for helping keep your pH balanced down there. Overall this will aid in keeping your vagina feeling fresh and healthy. If you’re experiencing itchiness, dryness, or just general discomfort, try adding more Greek yogurt to your diet!

It is absolutely vital to take care of your vagina and overall female well-being. Simply adding these five beneficial foods to your diet will go a long way in helping you take care of your own beautiful body today.

Nutrition Advice for Women

vegetables

Vegetables are an extremely important part of your daily nutrition and can give you increased health benefits.

Maintaining a healthy diet is vital for feeling good and having energy to get through your day, and plus, it keeps you looking your best.  For women in particular, eating healthy food reduces PMS, boosts fertility levels, fights stress, is beneficial for pregnancy in many ways, and helps reduce menopausal symptoms.  No matter how old you are, eating nutritiously throughout your lifetime is important, and there’s no better place to start than right here, right now.  Here are a few nutrition tips for you to kick start your healthy eating habits:

First, make sure your diet is properly balanced.  A lot of women think that depriving themselves from certain food groups will boost weight loss.  While that may be true, it is only true temporarily, and in the long run will have negative effects on your body.  So, make sure that your diet is well-rounded and contains whole grains, vegetables, healthy fats, protein, and fruit.  To start, you want to think about eating lots of leaves and foods that are plant-based.  Legumes, along with beans and grains, are great at keeping yourself feeling full because they are filled with fiber, an extremely important item in your diet that will keep you from overeating.

Next, make sure you are getting your calcium fix.  As women, bone loss is common (osteoporosis), so you want to make sure that you are getting an adequate amount of calcium each day.  Apart from dairy products, which can actually have a negative impact on bone loss in the long run, focus on eating foods like broccoli, kale, and brussel sprouts.  If you aren’t a veggie person, learn to become one.  Increasing the amount of vegetables you eat each day will leave you feeling awesome, and if you don’t believe this – try it.  At least for a week, you’ll be sure to see a huge difference in the way you feel.

The next tip might be upsetting, but it’s important to cut back on caffeine and alcohol.  Especially during the winter when there are a plethora of holiday events and the last thing you want to do in the morning is leave your cozy bed and face the cold.  But, caffeine consumption and alcohol consumption can both lead to bone loss, so try your best to limit yourself to one glass of alcohol and one cup of caffeine per day.  Of course, there are going to be exceptions depending on your schedule, but as a lifestyle change this is really rewarding advice.

Lastly, be sure to get enough iron incorporated into your diet – many women don’t get enough.  This is particularly important during menstruation when women tend to lose a lot of iron.  Eating red meat, poultry, lentils, almonds, and spinach are all great sources of iron.  So when it’s your time of month, be sure you fill your diet with iron.  And remember, too much red meat is not good for you, so try to limit yourself to red meat only twice a month.

For more information on nutrition and health advice for women, read this article published by Help Guide.

Hormone Treatment Options – Bioidentical Hormones

Bioidentical Hormones

Bioidentical Hormones are identical in molecular structure to the hormones naturally occurring in women

A trial completed by the Women’s Health Initiative, otherwise known as the WHI, combined estrogen and progestin—as Prempro—for hormone therapy, with the aim of preventing later life ills.  However, the trial was stopped shortly after it started, in 2002, due to the fact that the hormone users were found to have a higher risk of breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, and blood clots.  This risk was found to be small; however, clinicians decided that even the minimal risk involved was too much to risk continuing the hormone treatment.  As a result, many of those participating in the trial found that the typical treatments involved with menopausal symptoms—such as hot flashes and sleeplessness—returned worse than possibly ever before. While hormone therapy is still considered the best treatment for these symptoms, many women are concerned about possible side effects and, as a result, are seeking alternatives, according to an article recently completed by Harvard Health Publications.

Several alternative choices in treatment are presented in the article.  Often, women pursue such treatments that are referred to as “natural” alternatives.  However, the article cautions that that term can be used loosely.  Technically, Any product whose principal ingredient has an animal, plant, or mineral source can be considered natural.  One example is in the form of the soy plant, which is the source of supplements that some women take to ease menopausal symptoms.  In addition to this, it’s also used to make the estrogen in the FDA-approved hormone drug Estrace.  However, seeking the use of soy plants is a risky endeavor, despite being the “natural path of choice; soy supplements aren’t regulated and haven’t been rigorously tested in humans, making it relatively impossible to know whether they’re safe or effective treatment options.

Another possible alternative discussed is bioidentical hormones.  This treatment plan was prompted by the pursuit of natural treatment options, as bioidentical hormones are identical in molecular structure to the hormones naturally occurring in women.  They are, however, not found naturally; are made, or synthesized, from a plant chemical extracted from yams and soy.  Even knowing this, the process is often referred to as “natural hormone therapy,” as bioidentical hormones act in the body just like the hormones naturally produced and occurring.  Despite the fact that the composite used to produce bioidentical hormones muddles the natural, the treatment is still able to maintain the title, as the body can’t distinguish bioidentical hormones from the ones produced by the ovaries.  The treatment has several benefits, namely allowing the estrogen levels to be monitored more precisely and, therefore, allowing treatment to be individualized accordingly.  However, skeptics alternatively counter this argument, saying that it hardly matters, as no one knows exactly what hormone levels to aim for; therefore, opponents of the treatment believe symptoms, not hormone levels, should be treated and monitored.