Women’s Health News

May is the Month for Women – A good time to focus on Women’s Health

In honor of Mother’s Day and National Women’s Health Week Dr. Lela Emad of Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group offers timely insights for staying healthy.

With the goal of empowering women to make health a priority, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office celebrates National Women’s Health Week beginning on May 14th – which is also Mother’s Day. This weeklong event is offered to encourage women to take steps to improve health with a focus on annual screenings, lifestyle choices and prevention.

“It is certainly important for women to be vigilant about testing for conditions that are most successfully treated when caught early, including breast cancer and colon cancer. And, another good way to stay healthy is to have routine check-ups to screen for the basic health concerns,” says Dr. Lela Emad obstetrician & gynecologist. “Heart disease is still the top killer of women in the U.S. therefore it is equally important for women to monitor blood pressure, cholesterol levels and to be aware of any potential for diabetes.”

Life expectancy in the U.S. for women now averages a full eight decades – barring accidents or major health issues. With all that living to look forward to, it’s a good idea to adopt healthy habits as early in life as possible. A look at the trends to better health reveals that there are some very simple ways to optimize health, and make life worth living.

Schedule an Appointment

One important step consists of scheduling a visit to a healthcare provider for a well-woman checkup that includes preventive screenings. Health professionals recommend adolescent girls and women start routine, annual gynecologic visits around the age of 14 unless otherwise indicated by their general practitioners. These important checkups give women an opportunity to discuss both gynecologic and general health concerns. This type of screening can include the following:

  • Blood pressure, Height, Weight
  • Lipid Panel (cholesterol and triglycerides)
  • Breast Cancer Screening
  • Cervical Cancer Screening
  • A hemoglobin test, an indicator for anemic
  • Pap & HPV tests

Exercise – Be more active!

Sitting for prolonged periods at a desk or in front of the computer may be a necessity for many a woman’s livelihood, but it’s not good for the body. Research shows that women who sit for more than six hours a day have a 40 percent higher risk of dying from any cause when compared to women who sit for fewer than three hours—regardless of their fitness levels.

Exercise is hands-down the best thing both men and women can do to improve health. And the best way to get fit and stay fit is to get moving. Exercise increases energy and releases endorphins—which in turn increases a person’s happiness quotient. Several recent studies indicate that staying active is associated with a longer life expectancy.

Exercise doesn’t need to be drudgery, a good way to incorporate a routine that endures the test of time is to choose activities that are fun. Simply going for a 20-minute walk with a friend is extremely beneficial to overall healthfulness. Just 2.5 hours weekly (about 20 minutes a day) of moderate aerobic exercise such as walking provides all the major health benefits a body needs to stay healthy.

Eating for Life

Research proves that eating more fresh vegetables is one of the simplest way to improve overall healthfulness. A vegetable-rich diet can help protect the body from arthritis, heart disease, stroke, dementia and a variety of cancers – and it might also slow down the aging process. In fact, one study found that people who consume at least seven portions of fresh vegetables and fruit each day have as much as 42 percent lower risk of dying from any cause, compared to those who eat one portion or less.

Breast Health

Routine breast exams and general awareness of how to maintain breast health are important elements in maintaining a healthy lifestyle for women. Screening methods such as regular self-breast exams, breast checks during routine gynecologic exams, and screening mammographies can all help to detect breast problems early-on.

For National Women’s Health Week, the office of Women’s Health US Dept. of Health & Human Services also recommends that women pay attention to mental health, get plenty of sleep and take steps every day to manage stress. And, of course avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, texting while driving, and not wearing a seatbelt or bicycle helmet.

About Women’s OBGYN Medical Group

The provider team of expert OB/GYN physicians, certified nurse midwives, family nurse practitioners, and medical assistants provides unmatched care to patients in our region. As women proudly serving women, we understand the needs and expectations of our patients. For more information call (707) 579-1102 or visit the Women’s OB/GYN website.

Good outcomes for older women who give birth at home or in a birth center

Women with some characteristics commonly thought to increase pregnancy risks — being over age 35; being overweight; and in some cases, having a vaginal birth after a cesarean section — tend to have good outcomes when they give birth at home or in a birth center, a new assessment has found.

However, women with some other risk factors, a breech baby and some other cases of vaginal birth after cesarean or VBAC, may face an increased risk of poor outcomes for themselves or their babies, researchers at Oregon State University have found. The study is believed to be the first to examine these risks and the outcomes. About 2 percent of all births in the U.S., and about 4 percent in Oregon, occur at home or in a birth center, rather than in a hospital setting. Generally, women who are considered “low-risk” are good candidates for home or birth center births, also referred to as community births, if they are attended by a midwife or other trained provider and timely access to a hospital is available.

However, there is little agreement among health providers on what should be considered low- or high-risk, and some women choose to have a community birth despite potential risks, said Marit Bovbjerg, a clinical assistant professor of epidemiology at Oregon State University and lead author of the study.

Medical ethics and the tenets of maternal autonomy dictate that women be allowed to decide where and how they wish to give birth. That’s why it’s important to have as much information as possible about potential risks, said Bovbjerg, who works in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU.

There are also risks associated with hospital births, such as increased interventions, which means there aren’t always clear answers when it comes to determining the best and safest place to give birth, said Melissa Cheyney, a medical anthropologist and associate professor in OSU’s College of Liberal Arts.

The goal of the research was to better understand the outcomes for women and babies with some of the most common pregnancy risk factors, to see how those risk factors affected outcomes.

“There’s a middle or gray area, in terms of risk, where the risk associated with community birth is only slightly elevated relative to a completely low-risk sample,” Cheyney said. “We’re trying to get more information about births that fall in that middle zone so that clinicians and pregnant women can have the best evidence available when deciding where to give birth.”

The findings were published recently in the journal Birth. Other co-authors are Jennifer Brown of University of California, Davis; and Kim J. Cox and Lawrence Leeman of the University of New Mexico. Using birth outcome data collected by the Midwives Alliance of North America Statistics Project, commonly referred to as MANA Stats, the researchers analyzed more than 47,000 midwife-attended community births.

They looked specifically at the independent contributions to birth outcomes of 10 common risk factors: primiparity, or giving birth for the first time; advanced maternal age, or mother over age 35; obesity; gestational diabetes; preeclampsia; post-term pregnancy, or more than 42 weeks gestation; twins; breech presentation; history of both cesarean and vaginal birth; and history of only cesarean birth.

The last two groups are both considered VBACs and hospital policies and state regulations for midwifery practice usually make no distinction between the two types. However, the researchers found a clear distinction between the two groups in terms of community birth outcomes.

Women who delivered vaginally after a previous cesarean and also had a history of previous vaginal birth had better outcomes even than those women giving birth for the first time. On the other hand, women who had never given birth to a child vaginally had an increased risk of poor outcomes in community birth settings.

“That finding suggests that current policies that universally discourage VBAC should be revisited, as the evidence does not support them,” Bovbjerg said. “Women who in the past have successfully delivered vaginally seem to do just fine the next time around, even if they have also had a previous C-section. That’s really important because some medical groups totally oppose VBACs, even in hospital settings, and many hospitals don’t offer the option of a VBAC at all.”

Researchers also found that women whose babies were in breech position had the highest rate of adverse outcome when giving birth at home or in a birth center.

There was only a slight increase in poor outcomes for women over age 35, or women who were overweight or obese, compared to those without those risk factors. In some categories, there were not enough births in the data set to properly evaluate a risk’s impact, such as with gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.

“As is appropriate, women who face high complication risks such as preeclampsia tend to plan for and choose a hospital birth, rather than a community birth,” Bovbjerg said. “But even for these women, it’s important to remember that they can choose a community birth if their faith, culture or other considerations dictate that is the best choice for them.”

The researchers emphasized that the new information about risks and outcomes can serve as an important tool in decision-making for families making very personal choices about where to give birth. “These findings help us to put information and evidence, rather than fear, at the center of discussions around informed, shared decision-making between expectant families and their health care providers,” Cheyney said.

Researchers next plan to examine how the healthcare culture and standards of care in different locations within the U.S. affect outcomes of home and birthing center deliveries.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Oregon State University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Marit L. Bovbjerg, Melissa Cheyney, Jennifer Brown, Kim J. Cox, Lawrence Leeman. Perspectives on risk: Assessment of risk profiles and outcomes among women planning community birth in the United States. Birth, 2017; DOI: 10.1111/birt.12288

Read this article on Science Daily: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170413154439.htm.

Inadequate sleep may increase risk of bone loss in women

Insufficient sleep, a common problem that has been linked to chronic disease risk, might also be an unrecognized risk factor for bone loss. Results of a new study will be presented Saturday at the Endocrine Society’s 99th annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.

The study investigators found that healthy men had reduced levels of a marker of bone formation in their blood after three weeks of cumulative sleep restriction and circadian disruption, similar to that seen in jet lag or shift work, while a biological marker of bone resorption, or breakdown, was unchanged.

“This altered bone balance creates a potential bone loss window that could lead to osteoporosis and bone fractures,” lead investigator Christine Swanson, M.D., an assistant professor at the University of Colorado in Aurora, Colo., said. Swanson completed the research while she was a fellow at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Ore., with Drs. Eric S. Orwoll and Steven A. Shea.

“If chronic sleep disturbance is identified as a new risk factor for osteoporosis, it could help explain why there is no clear cause for osteoporosis in the approximately 50 percent of the estimated 54 million Americans with low bone mass or osteoporosis,” Swanson said.

Inadequate sleep is also prevalent, affecting more than 25 percent of the U.S. population occasionally and 10 percent frequently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

The 10 men in this study were part of a larger study that some of Swanson’s co-authors conducted in 2012 at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Mass. That study evaluated health consequences of sleep restriction combined with circadian disruption. Swanson defined circadian disruption as “a mismatch between your internal body clock and the environment caused by living on a shorter or longer day than 24 hours.”

Study subjects stayed in a lab, where for three weeks they went to sleep each day four hours later than the prior day, resulting in a 28-hour “day.” Swanson likened this change to “flying four time zones west every day for three weeks.” The men were allowed to sleep only 5.6 hours per 24-hour period, since short sleep is also common for night and shift workers. While awake, the men ate the same amounts of calories and nutrients throughout the study. Blood samples were obtained at baseline and again after the three weeks of sleep manipulation for measurement of bone biomarkers. Six of the men were ages 20 to 27, and the other four were ages 55 to 65. Limited funding prevented the examination of serum from the women in this study initially, but the group plans to investigate sex differences in the sleep-bone relationship in subsequent studies.

After three weeks, all men had significantly reduced levels of a bone formation marker called P1NP compared with baseline, the researchers reported. This decline was greater for the younger men than the older men: a 27 percent versus 18 percent decrease. She added that levels of the bone resorption marker CTX remained unchanged, an indication that old bone could break down without new bone being formed.

“These data suggest that sleep disruption may be most detrimental to bone metabolism earlier in life, when bone growth and accrual are crucial for long-term skeletal health,” she said. “Further studies are needed to confirm these findings and to explore if there are differences in women.”


Story Source:

Materials provided by The Endocrine Society. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Read this article on Science Daily: The Endocrine Society. “Prolonged sleep disturbance can lead to lower bone formation.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 April 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170402111317.htm>.

Most Women of Child Bearing Age Lack Knowledge of Healthy Diet Says New Study

Dr. Lela Emad of the Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group discusses the latest findings on diet and nutrition among women and offers some guidelines for women planning for pregnancy.

A new study by the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences uncovers a national trend toward a less than optimal diet among women prior to pregnancy. “This information is particularly concerning for women who intend to conceive,” says Dr. Lela Emad of the Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group of Santa Rosa. “It’s imperative that prior to pregnancy, women follow a higher standard of nutrition for several reasons; to ensure healthy growth of the fetus, to reduce risks associated with premature birth, and to avoid the possibility of preeclampsia and maternal obesity – both of which carry added risks to the mother and baby.”

The study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, assessed more than 7,500 women participants using the Healthy Eating Index-2010, measuring quality of diet including the intake for key food groups, while also measuring the consumption of less desirable aspects of a typical American diet such as refined grains, salt and calories from solid fats and sugars from food as well as from alcohol consumption.

Ultimately, more than a third of the calories the women in the study consumed came from ‘empty calories’ from such things as;

  • sugar-sweetened beverages,
  • pasta dishes
  • grain desserts
  • Soda
  • beer, wine and spirits

“This list consists of just about everything we would recommend a woman who was in a preconception phase to avoid,” Dr. Emad points out. “A healthy diet goes a long way toward ensuring a healthy pregnancy, and planning ahead for pregnancy by participating in a Preconception Healthcare Plan is one of the best things a woman can do both for her baby and for herself.”

What is Preconception Healthcare

Preconception healthcare describes medical care provided to a woman that is designed to increase the chances of having a positive pregnancy experience and a healthy baby. Preconception healthcare is uniquely designed for every individual, customized for personal needs and circumstances. It typically offers an introduction to guidelines for a healthy diet as part of the overall education and planning process.

“We encourage parents – that is, both parents – to begin making healthy lifestyle changes up to one full year prior to trying to get pregnant,” explains Dr. Emad. “This process improves a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant and prepares her body so it can provide the best environment for her infant.” During a preconception care visit, the OB/GYN healthcare provider will focus on lifestyle, medical and family history, previous pregnancies and currently prescribed medications. In addition to diet and exercise, topics may include alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine use; recreational drug use, birth control, family histories, genetics as well as health issues and other concerns (diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, obesity, etc.)

Healthy Diet and Supplements

“We also encourage our patients and their families to adopt a nutrient rich and calorie conscious diet prior to and during pregnancy. This is the best way to prevent excessive weight gain and cut the potential risk of obstetric complications,” says Dr. Emad. “Planning ahead and taking steps to ensure optimal pre-pregnancy health is a great way to create a healthy family.”

Learning how to make smart food choices as well as being mindful about food preparation is important, as is knowing which foods to avoid or limit during pregnancy. Foods that contain sources of folic acid (vitamin B9) are important nutritional elements to incorporate into both the preconception and pregnancy diet. Folic acid helps to prevent some birth defects – particularly those affecting the brain and spinal cord. Folic acid is best taken before pregnancy and in the very early stages of pregnancy.

Although the bulk of nutrients should ideally come from eating fresh healthy foods, it is generally recommended that women start taking a prenatal vitamin supplement before pregnancy. Prenatal vitamin supplements are specifically formulated to contain all the recommended daily vitamins and minerals needed before and during pregnancy.

About Women’s OBGYN Medical Group

The Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group strives to better the lives of all women with a holistic approach to women’s health. To learn more about these fine physicians and the many services provided by the Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group visit the website. Call for an appointment at (707) 579-1102.

Can eating soy products affect breast health?

Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers have used animal models to reveal new information about the impact — positive and negative — that soy consumption could have on a common breast cancer treatment.

The scientists have uncovered the biological pathways in rats by which longtime soy consumption improves effectiveness of tamoxifen and reduces breast cancer recurrence. But they also show why eating or drinking soy-based foods for the first time while being treated with tamoxifen can, conversely, reduce effectiveness of the drug, and promote recurrence.

The study, published in Clinical Cancer Research, uncovers the molecular biology behind how soy consumption, especially its most active isoflavone, genistein, affects tamoxifen — both positively and negatively.

It also mirrors what has been observed in breast cancer patients, says the study’s senior investigator Leena Hilakivi-Clarke, PhD, professor of oncology at Georgetown Lombardi.

“There has long been a paradox concerning genistein, which has the similar structure as estrogen and activates both human estrogen receptors to a degree. Estrogen drives most breast cancer growth, yet high soy intake among women in Asian countries has been linked to a breast cancer rate that is five times lower than Western women, who eat much less soy,” she says. “So why is soy, which mimics estrogen, protective in Asian women?”

More than 70 percent of the 1.67 million women diagnosed with breast cancer worldwide in 2012 was estrogen-receptor positive, and tamoxifen and other endocrine therapies meant to reduce the ability of estrogen to promote cancer growth, are the most common drugs used for these cancers. Although endocrine therapies can be highly effective in preventing or treating breast cancer, about half of patients who use them exhibit resistance and/or have cancer recurrence.

Employing a more advanced rat model of breast cancer and tamoxifen use than has been used in past studies, the researchers found that the timing of genistein intake is the central issue.

Longtime sustained use of genistein before development of breast cancer improves overall immunity against cancer, thus protecting against cancer development and recurrence, says the study’s lead researcher, Xiyuan Zhang, PhD.

“It also inhibits a mechanism called autophagy that would allow cancer cells to survive, which explains why it helps tamoxifen work,” says Zhang, a member of Hilakivi-Clarke’s laboratory when this study was conducted. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the National Institutes of Health.

Previous studies in women show no evidence of adverse effects of soy intake on breast cancer outcome, the researchers say, adding that research has also shown that Asian and Caucasian women who consumed as little as 1/3rd cup of soymilk daily (10 mg. of isoflavones) had the lowest risk of breast cancer recurrence.

The animal studies suggest it is a different story when soy consumption begins after breast cancer develops.

Starting consuming genistein in a diet after breast cancer develops in the animals did not trigger anti-tumor immune response to eliminate cancer cells, Zhang says. “We do not know yet why this made the animals resistant to the beneficial effects of tamoxifen and increased risk of cancer recurrence,” she continued.

Animals consuming genistein as adults on had a 7 percent chance of breast cancer recurrence after tamoxifen treatment, compared with a 33 percent recurrence with rats exposed to genistein only after breast cancer developed.

“We have solved the puzzle of genistein and breast cancer in our rat model, which perfectly explains the paradox seen in earlier animal studies and patients,” says Hilakivi-Clarke. “While many oncologists advise their patients not to take isoflavone supplements or consume soy foods, our findings suggest a more nuanced message — if these results hold true for women. Our results suggest that breast cancer patients should continue consuming soy foods after diagnosis, but not to start them if they have not consumed genistein previously.”


Story Source:

Materials provided by Georgetown University Medical Center. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Read this article on ScienceDaily: Georgetown University Medical Center. “Understanding when eating soy might help or harm in breast cancer treatment.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 February 2017. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170201092711.htm.

Study concludes: Grilled meat deadly for breast cancer survivors

Findings published in JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute indicate that higher consumption of grilled, barbecued, and smoked meat may increase the mortality risk among breast cancer survivors. In the study, entitled “Grilled, Barbecued, and Smoked Meat Intake and Survival Following Breast Cancer,” Humberto Parada, Jr., MPH, and colleagues evaluated the link between grilled/barbecued and smoked meats and the survival time after breast cancer.

High-temperature cooked meat intake is a highly prevalent source of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and other carcinogenic chemicals and has been associated with breast cancer incidence, but this study assessed whether intake is related to survival after breast cancer.

In a study population of 1508 Long Island women with breast cancer, subjects were interviewed and asked about their consumption of four types of grilled, barbecued, and smoked meat. The women were asked about their intake in each decade of life and were asked to specify the seasons in which the foods were most frequently consumed. At the five-year follow-up, participants responded to the same questions, which asked about the time period since the original questionnaire.

Findings include:

  • Among the 1508 case women, 597 deaths were identified, 237 (39.7%) of which were related to breast cancer, after a median duration of follow-up of 17.6 years.
  • Compared with low intake, high intake of grilled/barbecued and smoked meat prior to diagnosis was associated with a 23% increased hazard of all-cause mortality.
  • High vs low intake of smoked beef/lamb/pork intake was associated with a 17% increased hazard of all-cause and a 23% increased hazard of breast cancer-specific mortality.
  • Lifetime grilled/barbecued and smoked meat intake and prediagnosis annual intake of grilled/barbecued beef/lamb/pork and poultry/fish were not associated with mortality.
  • Compared with women with low prediagnosis and low postdiagnosis intake of grilled/barbecued and smoked meat, continued high intake was associated with a 31% increased hazard of all-cause mortality.
  • The increase in risk of death from any cause was similar in magnitude among women who reported high prediagnosis and low postdiagnosis intake of grilled/barbecued and smoked meat.

The study’s findings support the hypothesis that high consumption of grilled, barbecued, and smoked meat may increase mortality after breast cancer.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Oxford University Press USA. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Humberto Parada, Susan E. Steck, Patrick T. Bradshaw, Lawrence S. Engel, Kathleen Conway, Susan L. Teitelbaum, Alfred I. Neugut, Regina M. Santella, Marilie D. Gammon. Grilled, Barbecued, and Smoked Meat Intake and Survival Following Breast Cancer. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2017; 109 (6): djw299 DOI: 10.1093/jnci/djw299

Read this article on ScienceDaily: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170105212820.htm

Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group of Santa Rosa Focuses on Cervical Health Awareness Month

Dr. Lela Emad offers hope for women concerned about cervical cancer risks, and shares important tips for staying healthy.

Healthy Women January is Cervical Health Awareness Month and there’s good news for the 13,000 women in the United States who are expected to be diagnosed with cervical cancer this year; early detection increases the 5-year survival rate for women with invasive cervical cancer (the worse-case scenario) by up to a whopping 92 percent. “To catch it early, a woman must get screened annually,” explains Dr. Lela Emad OB/GYN, “This is an important factor for the four out of five women who do not receive routine check-ups that includes a Pap Test.”

What is cervical cancer

At one time, cervical cancer was the most prominent cause of cancer death for American women. But, thanks to early detection and new treatment options developed over the last 40 years, the cervical cancer death rate has been cut in half. The real hero in this story is a simple test most women are very familiar with; the Pap test. This screening procedure makes it possible for healthcare professionals to catch minute changes in the cervix well before it has a chance to develop into cancer. Pap tests can also find cervical cancer early – when it is in its most curable stage – giving women with a positive diagnosis an even better chance of beating the disease.

The latest statistics from the American Cancer Society estimates that in the United States;

  • About 12,820 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed
  • About 4,210 women will die from cervical cancer

What causes cervical cancer?

The vast majority of both women and men will become infected with the Human papillomavirus or HPV at some point during their lifetimes and HPV is found in about 99 percent of cervical cancers cases. Although most HPV infections are benign and disappear on their own, some persist. Of the more than 100 different types of HPV most are considered low-risk and do not lead to cervical cancer. But some high-risk HPV strains persist to cause cervical cell abnormalities and go on to develop into cancer. The two types of the virus HPV-16 and HPV-18 are consider the most high-risk HPV strains.

Who gets cervical cancer

Most cases of cervical cancer are found in women between the ages of 20 and 50, and even women who have entered into menopause may still be at risk. About 20 percent of all cervical cancers are found in women over the age of 65. Cervical cancer rarely occurs in women who have received routine screenings for the disease during the years before they turned 65. In the United States, Hispanic women are most likely to get cervical cancer, followed by African-Americans, American Indians and Alaskan natives, and whites. Asians and Pacific Islanders have the lowest risk of cervical cancer in this country.

What is cervical cancer?

Cancer initiates in the body when otherwise normal cells begin to grow out of control, and it can affect any part of the body and even spread to other areas of the body. Cervical cancer begins in the cells lining the cervix — the lower part of the uterus (womb). Although cervical cancers start from cells in the pre-cancerous stages, only some of the women with pre-cancers of the cervix will go on to actually develop cancer. It normally takes a number of years before cervical pre-cancer turns into full blown cervical cancer, but it can happen in less time in some women. For most women, pre-cancerous cells resolve on their own without any treatment. But, treating all cervical pre-cancers can prevent almost all cervical cancers.

Symptoms of cervical cancer

Symptoms of the more advanced disease have been known to include abnormal or irregular vaginal bleeding, pain during sex, and/or unusual vaginal discharge. Abnormal bleeding symptoms outside of regular menstrual periods, after sexual intercourse or douching and bleeding after a pelvic exam can be symptoms of cervical cancer as can bleeding after menopause. Other symptoms include pelvic pain not related to the menstrual cycle, heavy or unusual discharge, increased urinary frequency and pain during urination. Of course, these symptoms could also be signs of other health problems not related to cervical cancer, but the best way to find out is to talk to a healthcare provider.

Prevention

Precancerous cervical cell changes and early cancers of the cervix generally do not cause any unusual symptoms. For this reason, routine screening through Pap and HPV tests is the best way to catch precancerous cell changes early, thereby preventing the development of cervical cancer.

“Pap test screening is obviously the first line of defense against cervical cancer,” says Dr. Emad. “We recommend Pap tests for women on a semi-annual basis after turning 21.” Regular gynecological Pap tests are the best way to detect most abnormal cell changes due to HPV well before they become cancer.

“Early detection of precancer cells makes it possible for a woman to be effectively treated before it becomes malignant, but unfortunately not every woman in committed to receive a regular Pap Test. This needs to become a priority for every woman, and particularly those who are intent on staying healthy.”

About Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group

Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group offers comprehensive testing with the latest available technology to screen for a full-spectrum of diseases and symptoms, and to monitor conditions as they develop in order to maximize patients’ health and well-being. The Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group strives to better the lives of all women with a holistic approach to women’s health. Visit the website to learn more or call 707-579-1102 to schedule an appointment.

The Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group of Santa Rosa focuses on Gestational Diabetes for National Diabetes Month

Dr. Lela Emad shares insight into gestational diabetes and what pregnant women need to consider when it comes to diabetes to ensure a healthy pregnancy.

November is National Diabetes Month and is observed every year to bring attention to diabetes and its impact on millions of Americans. As part of this year’s theme Managing Diabetes – It’s Not Easy, But It’s Worth It the Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group is focusing on Gestational diabetes, a form of glucose intolerance that is diagnosed during pregnancy.

Nationally, about seven to 14 percent of all pregnant women develop gestational diabetes. And, according to the California Diabetes and Pregnancy Program, ethnic groups such as African American, Asian American, East Indian, Latina/Hispanic and Native American are more vulnerable to developing gestational diabetes, as are women who are overweight or have type 2 diabetes in the family.

“Diabetic women have more risk for complications both during and after pregnancy,” explains Dr. Emad. “It is important for pregnant women who know they have diabetes to manage symptoms, and for all women either pregnant or considering pregnancy to get checked for diabetes to avoid any potential complications.”

Gestational diabetes also increases the risk that the mother and the baby may develop type 2 diabetes later in life. Additional complications to pregnant women due to diabetes can include:

  • high blood pressure
  • eye disease
  • kidney disease
  • too much weight gain
  • severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)

Babies can also be at risk for complications including; high birth weight, birth defects, delivery complications and jaundice. Diabetes can lead to higher rates of miscarriage and stillbirth, so it is very important to manage symptoms early in the pregnancy under the care of a healthcare provider. Ongoing treatment is necessary to bring maternal blood glucose to normal levels and to help avoid any potential complications for the baby.

Managing Diabetes

Following a well-balanced, healthy diet is an important component to a healthy pregnancy and for women with diabetes, diet plays an especially important role. Not eating properly can cause glucose levels to fluctuate from too high or too low, which can result in some fairly serious symptoms. Glucose levels can be controlled with a combination of eating right, exercising and taking medications as directed by a health care provider. Check-ups may also need to be scheduled more frequently.

Hypoglycemia

Pregnant women with a history of diabetes, or who have developed gestational diabetes, are more likely to experience low blood glucose levels (hypoglycemia) and it usually occurs when skipping a meal, or when altering eating routines. Hypoglycemia can also manifest following vigorous exercise. Typical symptoms include; dizziness, sudden hunger, sweating, feeling shaky or general weakness.

 Exercise

Adopting and maintaining an exercise routine will help to support normal glucose levels. Exercise also helps to control weight; improves energy levels, aids sleep, and reduces symptoms including; backaches, constipation and bloating.

Medications During Pregnancy

Insulin dosages for women with pre-existing diabetes will usually increase during pregnant. Insulin is considered safe to use during pregnancy and does not cause birth defects.

Diabetes, Labor and Delivery

If problems with the pregnancy arise, labor may be induced prior to the due date. During labor, glucose levels are closely monitored. Occasionally insulin through an intravenous (IV) line may be required during labor.

Diabetes and Breastfeeding

Whether or not diabetes is a factor, experts highly recommend breastfeeding as it provides the baby the best means of nutrition and it is good for the mother as well. Breastfeeding can help reduce extra weight gained during pregnancy. It is also hailed by researchers for helping to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer.

“Working with a specialist to manage blood sugar before and during pregnancy can be a life saver,” says Dr. Emad. “It an important measure to take to decrease the risk of complications, and to provide the best outcomes for both mother and baby.”

About the Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group

When thinking about having a baby, The Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group of providers encourages women to begin making healthy lifestyle changes one full year prior to trying to get pregnant. This process improves the chances of becoming pregnant soon after beginning to try, and prepares a woman’s body to provide the best environment for her infant.

For women who may be considering having a baby it’s important to schedule an appointment with a physician or certified nurse midwife to receive expert guidance from the start. The Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group strives to better the lives of all women with a holistic approach to women’s health. Visit our website to learn more or call 707-579-1102 to schedule an appointment.

Zika Virus in the U.S.: How to Stay Safe

New cases in Florida were likely caused by local mosquitos.While the spread of the Zika virus this summer has been terrifying, we were at least comforted by the fact that the disease-carrying mosquitos hadn’t arrived in the U.S. That is, until now: On Friday, July 29, Florida health officials said there’s a high likelihood that four cases of the mosquito-borne virus in the state were transmitted locally.

We do know that Zika can be transmitted via sex. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are currently 14 reported cases (one of these is from a female to a male) of this type of transmission in the U.S. Always, always, always practice safe sex.

Read the full story here …

The Women’s OB/GYN Medical Group strives to better the lives of all women with a holistic approach to women’s health. Call for an appointment today: (707) 579-1102.

Are women treated less aggressively for Cardiac Arrest?

Surviving Cardiac Arrest Could Depend On Your Gender

“Traditionally women have not been treated as aggressively as men,” said lead author Dr. Luke Kim, of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart’s electrical system malfunctions and the heart suddenly stops working, according to the American Heart Association.

More than 300,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of hospitals in the U.S. each year, the researchers write in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Survival rates after out-of-hospital cardiac arrests have risen from about 6 percent in 2005 to about 8 percent in 2012. For the new study, the researchers reviewed data from 2003 to 2012 on nearly 1.44 million cardiac arrests. Some of the patients had been in the hospital when their heart stopped. Others had survived long enough after a cardiac arrest out in the community to be brought to a hospital.

About 45 percent of the patients were women, who tended to be older and sicker than the men. Over the course of the study, in-hospital deaths fell from about 69 percent to about 61 percent in women and from about 67 percent to about 57 percent in men. Read the full story here: