Canary in the coal mine

This is an expression that describes when miners would carry birds (canaries) down into the mine tunnels with them. If dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide collected in the mine, the gases would kill the canary before killing the miners, thus providing a warning to exit the tunnels immediately

 

New research suggests that  infertility can be the canary in the coal mine for men . 

B31CC3FC-072F-441B-BEB0-228F36AD18A1.jpeg

Men with infertility are at higher risk of prostate cancer. In particular, men who needed IVF technology for male factor were more likely to develop prostate cancer and at an earlier age than men who fathered pregnancies naturally. This finding does not mean that fertility treatments themselves raise men’s prostate cancer risk. 

 

Men with infertility should tell their other doctors that they have infertility. Because infertility may be the canary in the coal mine for other medical conditions, including prostate cancer. 

 

Stress is not a cause of infertility

5747241A-1D64-43F2-B166-2FFCDD511141.jpeg

 Stress is not a cause of infertility

 

Infertility is caused by things like a male factor (low sperm count) or female factor (blocked fallopian tubes, endometriosis, low egg number). But stress is not a cause of infertility. 

 

Stress is very common when trying to conceive. As many as 57% of patients have clinical depression or anxiety before they even start fertility treatments. Stress during infertility can also be severe: many couples report higher stress levels with infertility diagnosis than those with a new diagnosis of cancer. 

 

Stress is something we need to consider because it is common in couples with infertility and because it impacts the chances of being successful with treatment. Stress reduction can increase chances of success with treatment and  improve pregnancy rates. This is true regardless of stress reduction technique: yoga, meditation, acupuncture, and/or therapy. 

 

I take a pro-active approach and talk about stress with all of my patients. At the new visit, I review how common stress is with infertility and provide resources. I also will try to check in on my patients during fertility treatments and ask “How are you doing with the emotional aspects of your treatment?” At times, I recommend pausing fertility treatments to optimize mental health. 

 

The best way to have a healthy uncomplicated pregnancy is to start with a happy healthy family before conception. You are not alone. Your mental health is worth taking care of and so are you.  ❤️

Is IVF bad for my health?

Is IVF bad for my health? 

 

No.

0A056BD8-91FF-4708-88A5-9401B72DC1F6

Every month a woman’s body loses the same number of eggs, regardless of whether they are doing IVF or on birth control pills. So you don’t lose any more eggs doing IVF than you do each month on your own. Doing IVF will not make you run out of eggs sooner, or go through menopause earlier. 

 

The hormones used for IVF are similar to the hormones your body naturally makes each month. You are on these hormones for a limited time period. The impact of this is small on your overall health.

 

IVF does not cause cancer.

✔️Women who are doing IVF are often using these technique because of infertility and endometriosis; these conditions in themselves increase the risk of ovarian cancer.
✔️IVF does not  increase the risk of breast cancer, even in women predisposed to cancers due to genetic mutations like BRCA

✔️IVF does not increase the risk of thyroid cancer, melanoma, lymphoma, cervical, or colon cancer

 

As with any medical procedure, there are risks. But the risks of complications in IVF is low. 

IVF patients are exposed to endocrine disrupting chemicals⁣

7B71D2F4-043D-4754-9698-194D61DA1589

A recent study found that women doing IVF are exposed to multiple EDCs. In particular, they found that women who were exposed to chemicals found in plastics called phthalates, had lower chances of success in IVF. Previous work from this group has shown that women who are exposed to phthalates have fewer eggs at egg retrieval and fewer embryos. 

 

What you can do:

✅Limit your exposure to phthalates, particularly if you are going to be doing IVF

✅Start simply by removing phthalate exposure in your kitchen

✅Use personal care products that are phthalate free. 

This post is for educational purposes only.

The power of social media

8ADC11BB-C635-4B68-9B9A-B6EBBD771C58.jpeg

As a busy physician in private practice and working mama of 3 boys, my life is busy. And at times, I’ve questioned myself: “Why am I spending the time to do social media?” And then a study like this comes along and I am reminded. 

Whether we healthcare professionals like it or not, social media is here to stay for sharing information on specific health diagnoses

Reddit is a social media website with 330 million active monthly users. A recent study in JAMA found that there were over 16,000 posts asking for “crowd-diagnosis” of a sexually transmitted disease; many of these were requesting a diagnosis as a second opinion after seeing a healthcare professional. 87% got a response to their question, and it usually took less than 3 hours. The old medical dogma of calling your doctor’s office with a question and waiting a week for a response is gone. Social media is the new way that our society wants to embrace medical information. 

✅It’s common to look at social media for answers to medical questions

✅We want our answers fast

✅We need to help patients find reliable sources of information. We need to protect them from misdiagnosis from responders who may lack medical training. This is particularly important with STD screening which can impact their lifelong fertility if misdiagnosed.
✅I need to continue to evolve and challenge myself with the use of social media

 

𝒟𝑜𝒸𝓉𝑜𝓇𝓈 𝒶𝓇𝑒 𝓅𝑜𝑜𝓇𝓁𝓎 𝓉𝓇𝒶𝒾𝓃𝑒𝒹 𝒾𝓃 𝓃𝓊𝓉𝓇𝒾𝓉𝒾𝑜𝓃 ⁣ ❗️

1E7C0D5A-D9F7-4A2C-85C4-3DAFB101A80A

A poor diet outranks smoking as the number one killer in the US. But this recent study shows that medical students are poorly trained in nutrition prior to becoming physicians. It’s possible that improved diets could prevent more than 1 in 5 deaths every year. Physicians can help by providing their patients with dietary advice, but they lack the necessary training. 

 

In my field of infertility, we know that nutrition impacts a couple’s chance of success with fertility treatments as well as their opportunity to have an uncomplicated pregnancy. Other studies have shown that how healthy we are prior to pregnancy not only impacts the future child, but also our grandchildren. As a REI, I have an obligation to share this information with patients because the health of our society, and future generations, is at risk. 

This is why I try to talk to all my patients about their nutrition when trying to conceive (TTC)⁣
✔️Improved chance of conceiving naturally⁣
✔️Greater chance of success with fertility treatments⁣
✔️Healthier egg and sperm⁣
✔️Decreased chance of complications in pregnancy⁣

Thank you to @cookingforboards and @flavors4wellnessmd for starting this campaign #foodtoheal⁣