Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction

Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction

By: Katie Henderson*

Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, also known as SPD, is a common health condition that causes extreme pain in the hips, back, groin and legs of pregnant women. This painful pregnancy symptom is a result of the aptly named hormone Relaxin. Relaxin helps to naturally make ligaments relaxed and stretchy in order for the baby to ease its way into the world. Many times, relaxin does its job too well, causing the pelvic ligaments to become too loose too soon. As a result,the pelvic joint becomes unstable, causing moderate to severe pain and instability.

Symphysis Pubis DysfunctionAs many as 1 in 3 pregnant women may have this condition to some degree, and may not even recognize it as a condition all its own. More often than not, it is overlooked, as women do their best to endure it as another major discomfort of pregnancy.

Pelvic girdle pain can be anything from a minor ache to a searing sensation that wraps around the back and travels down below the belly. Most women will experience this at some point or another during their pregnancy. As the ever-expanding tummy puts ever-increasing stress on the  bones, joints, and muscles in the pelvis-the pain can hit at almost any point in the pregnancy, and the impact can range from minor aches and pains to debilitating and unbearable misery.

Apart from the lower abdomen and pubic pain and discomfort, SPD may also appear in the following symptoms:

  • Severe pain that tends to get worse when you lift your legs for getting into bed or car.
  • Difficulty to move the lower part of your body when you wake up in the morning.
  • Pain that gets worse when you lie on your back.
  • Reduced range of movement of the hip bones, causing difficulty walking.
  • Pain shooting down your buttocks and legs (sciatica).
  • A clicking sound near the pelvic area while in motion.
  • Urinary incontinence (rare cases).

If you think you may be suffering from this condition, do some research and talk to your Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction 2doctor. Never just endure the pain. Many things can be done to help lessen the symptoms of SPD. Acupuncture is an increasingly  popular way to alleviate all kinds of pregnancy ills, including pelvic girdle pain. Your doctor will almost always instruct you to purchase (and wear) a pelvic support girdle, aka a maternity belt with a special pelvic support built into it.

V2 Supporter

While there are alternatives (albeit none that really measure up in terms of effectiveness, appearance or even cost), the increasingly popular choice for dealing with moderate-to-severe pain of this nature is a product known as a V2 Supporter, or a variation thereof. The V2 Supporter is sold as a standalone compressive therapeutic undergarment, and can also be purchased as a 2-in-1 combo support undergarment such as the Prenatal Cradle Plus V2 Support and the Hip Brace Plus V2 Supporter.

V2 SupporterThis undergarment will  provide much needed support for your belly (and relief for your pelvis). These same products are also used to treat a very common condition during pregnancy called vulvar varicosities, which is effectively vulvar or vaginal varicose veins. While more common among women who are pregnant, many women who are not pregnant and some who’ve never even been pregnant occasionally come down with this most unfortunate condition characterized by painful swelling of the vulvar region.

Back to Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, heating pads and ice have been known to offer significant relief. Choose the right sleeping  position — lie on your side with a pillow between your knees to keep hips aligned. Do what works  best for you and your body. Try doing KEGEL Exercises. Yes, our old friend can do wonders in this  situation. These handy little workouts strengthen the entire pelvic floor, the muscle that stretches  like a hammock across our abdomens and essentially holds all our organs up. The stronger it is, the  better it holds up the growing baby and uterus and the less everything presses on those already  weakened bones. If the pain is severe, ask your practitioner about pregnancy-safe pain relievers (never take any medications unless specifically okayed by your practitioner). Remember, do what  makes you comfortable and what makes you feel better. Work together along with your doctor and  family to make this special experience as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. More tactics to try: Sit  down to get dressed, and avoid heavy lifting and pushing (which you should be doing anyway). Do your best to stay off your feet and try to be patient until the baby comes. For most moms, once the baby is born and relaxin production ceases, your ligaments (and your dance moves) will return to normal in no time.

 

Video: Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction

 

* Written by Katie Henderson under the supervision of Pamela Egan, NP-C, CDE, ABAAHP, MN and edited by Peter F. Egan Jr., Editor-in-Chief.

TTC Questions

What To Know Before You Get Pregnant

By: Katie Henderson

The more you know about your body and how it works, the better you will understand what to expect when you become pregnant. Planning before you get pregnant is very important. Simply put, the healthier you are as you are planning your pregnancy, the more likely you are to have a healthy baby. It is advisable to start planning for pregnancy as soon as you begin to have thoughts about having a baby.

TTC Questions

A baby’s organs begin to form in the first few weeks of pregnancy, before you may know that you are pregnant. As this is a critical phase of development, the more planning you do, the greater the pay off can be in terms of the health of your baby. Unfortunately, there are no foolproof methods for having a healthy baby, but there are many things you can do that may improve your chances of a good outcome.

Planning your pregnancy may help you to:

  • conceive more easily.
  • have a healthier pregnancy.
  • avoid or minimize pregnancy complications.
  • give birth to a healthier baby.
  • recover more quickly and easily after giving birth.
  • have a more pleasant postpartum (post birthing) experience.
  • minimize your child’s risk of future adult health problems.

By planning your pregnancy, you will know that during this important early stage you were taking the best possible care of yourself and your baby.

Before becoming pregnant, you need to know the following:

  • If you have any existing medical conditions that might affect your ability to conceive, have a healthy pregnancy, and/or give birth to a healthy baby.
  • The health of your reproductive organs and breasts.
  • Your fertility status.
  • Your genetic history/heritage.
  • Your metabolism rate.
  • The condition of your heart, blood, lungs, urine, and hormones.
  • If you need any adult immunizations/vaccinations.
  • How current lifestyle choices could affect your pregnancy or your baby.

TTC Difficulties: Trouble Becoming Pregnant?

If a man & woman are having regular sexual intercourse, most women will conceive within 6 months. Almost all women will become pregnant in one year. If you do not become pregnant after a year, it may be time to consider consulting your doctor. Only after a year of trying to conceive would a medical doctor consider your situation as having trouble getting pregnant. All women are different however, so don’t panic – at least not yet.

Having trouble getting pregnant may be due to many factors. These include but are not limited to: timing, stress, age, premature withdrawal or pulling out by the partner, reduced vaginal lubrication, or more complicated medical factors, such as male and/or female infertility issues.

A pre-pregnancy checkup can help you identify which, if any, of these factors could be influencing your ability to conceive. This could save you and your partner a great deal of unnecessary stress. Knowing your body, particularly when you ovulate, helps you plan conception. Immediately before, during, or immediately after ovulation are the best times to conceive. Once you know you’re ovulating, you have a 24-48 hour window of opportunity to become pregnant. Remember, sperm can live 24-72 hours in the woman’s reproductive system, so conception can happen if you make love a day or two before or after ovulation.

How Will I Know When I’m Pregnant?

The most common is a missed or late period. Although, this is not a sure way to tell. About three weeks after conceiving, you will begin to notice these other signs:

  • Tender, swollen breasts.
  • Fatigue.
  • Urge to urinate more often than usual.
  • Nausea, sometimes made worse by certain smells and tastes.
  • Becoming emotional, even teary.
  • Increased vaginal discharge.

What is the soonest I can know for sure?

A blood test at a doctor’s office, 5-7 days after conception is the fastest fool-proof method of getting that definitive answer.

For those willing to wait a couple of extra days, a home pregnancy test can determine if you are pregnant in as little as 10 days after the date on which you suspect conception occurred.

Once you think you’re pregnant, it is very important to schedule an appointment with your health care provider as soon as possible.

How to successfully develop new, healthy lifestyle habits before becoming pregnant

It can take time to establish new healthy behavior patterns and break harmful habits, especially those bad habits that have been repeated for years! The best way is to be motivated by why you are doing it. Sometimes it is easier to make changes for someone you love than for yourself. Think about the baby you are planning for. Don’t indulge in any habits you wouldn’t want your child to have.

What to eat while eating for two

As part of the revised FDA national dietary guidelines for healthy eating, there are two specific recommendations for pre-pregnant women that relate to iron and folate (folic acid):

  • Consume adequate synthetic folic acid daily (from fortified foods or supplements) AND food forms of folic acid from a varied diet.
  • Whether you are planning to get pregnant or not, you must be sure to get enough folic acid.

Folic Acid, also known as folate, is a B vitamin that helps a baby’s neural tube — the part of the embryo that becomes the brain and spinal cord — develop properly. It is critical to start taking it before conception and to continue taking it through the third month of pregnancy, when the baby’s neural tube is developing, to prevent birth defects in the spine and skull.

You can get Folic Acid by taking a high-quality multivitamin daily. You will also find it in fortified breakfast cereals; citrus fruits and juices; dried peas and beans; and green, leafy vegetables.

Eat foods high in heme-iron, iron-rich plant foods, iron-fortified foods, or foods that facilitate iron absorption, such as vitamin C-rich foods.

Iron is important during pregnancy as it prevents anemia, a condition in which the body isn’t able to produce enough healthy red blood cells. Developing infants need a high level of red blood cells in order to receive enough oxygen. And, anemia in the mother can be passed on to her baby.

You can get heme-iron by eating food such as red meats, fish, and poultry (basically, food from animal sources).  Iron-rich plant foods include cooked beans, lentils, and enriched pasta.  Many breakfast cereals are also iron-fortified.

Foods that help iron absorption consist of fruits (oranges, orange juice, cantaloupe, strawberries, grapefruit) and vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts, tomato, tomato juice, potatoes, and green and red peppers). These are especially effective when eaten with iron-rich foods like meat, fish, and poultry.

Is my weight a consideration for getting pregnant?

A healthy body weight promotes general health and reduces the likelihood of developing heart disease, some cancers, and diabetes. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is making an investment in your health, your prenatal health, the health of your future baby, and the well-being of your growing family.

Weight can and will affect a woman’s fertility. Studies have shown that a woman’s ability to become pregnant may be severely compromised by two weight-related extremes:

  • excessive thinness
  • excessive obesity

Once you do get pregnant, your weight affects the baby. Underweight women often have smaller babies. Infants with low birthweight (5-1/2 pounds or less) are at a greater risk of death within the first month of life, as well as increased risk for developmental disabilities and illness throughout their life.

Overweight women may suffer from medical problems, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, that can seriously complicate a pregnancy.  If you are overweight, you have a higher risk of having a baby with certain birth defects (like neural tube defects), experiencing more difficulty during labor and delivery, delivering via cesarean section, and hemorrhaging.

While you are planning your pregnancy is the best time to try to reduce your risks through good nutrition and exercise.  We strongly recommend that you take the time now, before you become pregnant, to assess your diet and eating patterns and begin to make changes that will help you achieve a healthy weight before you conceive.  Once you become pregnant, you should not try to lose weight as it could harm your baby.

Should I have a pre-pregnancy checkup before I try to become pregnant?

A pre-pregnancy checkup is a smart idea. Even if you think you are healthy and ready to get pregnant, a pre-pregnancy checkup is a good opportunity to start asking questions. Make a list of issues before your appointment and ask your caregiver for information.  Your health care provider can help you minimize risks associated with pregnancy and any existing medical conditions that could affect pregnancy. The more you can inform your caregiver before you conceive, the better advice they can give you to help you have a healthy pregnancy.

If you are taking any prescription medications, over-the-counter medicines, or alternative or herbal remedies, your caregiver can advise you about how and why you may need to change your practices.  Some drugs, and even seemingly harmless ones like some acne medicines or certain vitamins, can actually have the opposite affect on you once you become pregnant and/or could affect your baby.

How do my partner and I know if we’re emotionally ready to have a baby?

You’re emotionally ready to have a baby if you’re having it for the right reasons, with the right person, at the right time, and go into it with realistic expectations of yourself, each other, and your relationship.

Empathy in Medicine

Empathy Arguably Single-Most Important Trait for Healthcare, Medical Professionals

One of the most common complaints from patients about the healthcare professionals they look to for help, guidance and sometimes emergency care when sick, injured or otherwise in a state of less-than-ideal health is that too many doctors and medical professionals in general have grown desensitized to the humanity of the patients they treat.

Empathy in HealthcareWhile this may or may not be accurate in any given individual circumstance, the impression – for better or worse – stems from the seemingly robotic approach many people within the healthcare and medical professions be they doctors, nurses, home health aides or even salesmen at the local medical supply store, there appears to the patient to be a desensitized attitude among these professionals regarding issues that to them are extremely important – sometimes even life-or-death.

In order for a medical professional to excel at the highest levels of patient care, that individual need not only make the correct diagnosis, treatment plan, product, etc. By understanding the problems faced by the very people we care for medical professionals can see the issue as though through the eyes of the patient, which can be quite an eye-opening experience for a tenured healthcare pro who has become somewhat numb to the health problems faced by the people for whom we care.

Empathy is arguably among the most important characteristics which in many ways defines great healthcare and medical professionals, separating them from their peers.

The following is a video assembled by the Cleveland Clinic intended to drive home this very point. The video has been described as inspirational and has drawn very positive reviews from those within its intended audience who have had the opportunity to view it.

Empathy: The Human Connection to Patient Care

The Probiotic Prescription

The Probiotic Prescription

Probiotics: Listen To Your Gut

November 08, 2013

Let’s start with the facts behind what probiotics are. The root of the word probiotic comes from the Greek word pro, meaning “promoting” and biotic, meaning “life.” The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) defines probiotics as “live microorganisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.” Yes, they are actually alive, and most of these microorganisms are bacteria. Most people think of antibiotics and antibacterial products when you mention bacteria. Both of those kill bacteria so why would you want to consume anything that has live bacteria in it? It’s all about balance.

Increasing the number of good bacteria in the GI tract by taking probiotics supplements Probiotics Supplementsand eating foods that contain the “good bacteria” may help combat a number of health problems, a growing number of scientists say. New research indicates that specialized strains of these good bacteria could also help alleviate some mood and anxiety disorders.

When University of Toronto researchers gave chronic fatigue syndrome sufferers three daily doses of a Lactobacillus strain for two months, it boosted their levels of good bacteria. “At the same time, we reduced their anxiety,” says lead researcher A. Venket Rao, PhD. When the patients stopped taking the probiotic, their symptoms reverted as well, he says.

Probiotics from YogurtOur stressed-out lifestyle may be our stomach’s biggest enemy. According to María Gloria Domínguez Bello, PhD, a professor of microbiology at the University of Puerto Rico, society’s hectic pace, which leads to our reliance on junk food and overuse of anti­biotics, is throwing our internal ecosystem out of whack; she believes that there’s a link between our gut bacteria and the rise of food allergies and autoimmune diseasesCrohn’s Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis among many others — in the industrialized world. “When there is a loss of balance in the different types of intestinal bacteria, they send signals to our immune system to overreact and become inflamed, leading to disease,” Domínguez Bello says.

See, when it comes to mood, it’s not all in your head — it’s in your gut, too. “The brain influences the digestive tract and vice versa,” says Rebekah Gross, MD, a clinical gastroenterologist at NYU Langone Medical Center. In fact, new research has found that our esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and colon have a big say in how our minds and bodies function and how happy we feel. “The gut is a critical group of organs that we need to start paying more attention to,” says Steven Lamm, MD, the author of No Guts, No Glory. “Doing so may be the secret to improving our overall wellness.”

ProbioticsIf it seems as if your stomach sometimes has a mind of its own, that’s because it does. The gut’s lining houses an independent network of hundreds of millions of neurons — more than the spinal cord has — called the enteric nervous system. It’s so complex and influential that scientists refer to it as “the second brain.” In addition to being in charge of the digestive process, your gut lining is the core of your body’s immune system and defends you against such foreign invaders as viruses and bacteria.

Cells in the gut lining also produce 95 percent of the serotonin in our bodies. (The rest occurs in the brain, where the hormone regulates happiness and mood.) In the gut, serotonin has a range of functions, including stimulating nerve-cell growth and alerting the immune system to germs.

Thanks to serotonin, the gut and the brain are in constant contact with each other. Chemical messages race back and forth between the brain’s central nervous system and the gut’s enteric nervous system. When we’re stressed, scared, or nervous, our brain notifies our gut, and our stomach starts to churn in response. When our digestive system is upset, our gut alerts our brain that there’s a problem even before we begin to feel the symptoms. Scientists suspect that our moods are negatively affected as a result. “The gut is sending messages that can make the brain anxious,” Dr. Gershon explains.

When the digestive tract is healthy, it filters out and eliminates things that can damage it, such as harmful bacteria, toxins, chemicals, and other waste products.

Although more research is needed, there’s encouraging evidence that probiotics may help:

  • Treat diarrhea, especially following treatment with certain antibiotics
  • Prevent and treat vaginal yeast infections and urinary tract infections
  • Treat irritable bowel syndrome
  • Reduce bladder cancer recurrence
  • Speed treatment of certain intestinal infections
  • Prevent and treat eczema in children
  • Prevent or reduce the severity of colds and flu

Side effects are rare, and most healthy adults can safely add foods that contain probiotics to their diet.

Nutrition and Disease Prevention: Poor Nutrition linked to Chronic Disease

Nutrition and Disease Prevention

By: Pamela Egan, NP-C, CDE, ABAAHP, MN

Prioritizing life and health maintenance is essential to achieving health and longevity. Diet, exercise, stress reduction and the avoidance of toxins are all key elements of health.

To operate optimally, the body needs a number of different vitamins, minerals and nutrients. The 13 essential vitamins are divided into two groups, fat soluble and water soluble. Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat soluble and can be stored by the body. B vitamins and vitamin C are water soluble – with the exception of vitamin B12 and they cannot be stored.

Medical foods represent an entirely different scientific and medical approach to managing health conditions. They are formulated with macro-and micro-nutrients that are recognized by scientific principles to support the dietary management of a disease or condition, and are to be administered under the supervision of a physician or license healthcare practitioner. Furthermore, they must be specially formulated and processed to provide nutritional support as part of an ongoing doctor-supervised dietary management program to treat a specific therapeutic or nutritional need. Medical foods contain nutrients in therapeutic amounts that typically cannot be acquired through normal dietary measures.

High quality nutrients are different that low quality nutrients such as those that you find inHigh-Quality Multivitamin, Mineral Supplement the drug store or over the counter.

Many of the negative vitamin studies reported throughout the course of the past decade were conducted using extremely low quality, drugstore and supermarket brand vitamins and nutritional supplements. Medical foods that are manufactured and packaged under GMP-certified conditions assure the highest quality and clinical reliability. Nutrisearch by Lyle MacWilliams is a good comparative guide to nutritional supplements or the lack thereof. The effectiveness of medical food programs have been evaluated in numerous clinical intervention and observational studies and published in well-known healthcare journals.

Medical whole food nutrients have been designed to support the management of a variety of chronic conditions including those associated with:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Leaky gut syndrome
  • Atopic disorders

For questions or more information relating to this article, Ms. Egan can be reached at 985-892-3031 or www.pamelaegan.com.

Egan Medical Supply Receives Two Honors in One Day!

EGAN Medical, the retail online provider of medical equipment, medical supplies, high-quality supplements and maternity support products had quite a day Tuesday, December the eighteenth.

First, the company was named to the HealthTech 2012 Top Healthcare/Medical Companies list – a prestigious honor for which the EGAN Medical family is both proud and grateful.

EGAN Medical SupplyAs if that weren’t enough, however, later in the day it was brought to the attention of EGAN Medical’s CFO Katherine Smith, who informed CEO Peter Egan, that EGAN Medical had achieved PowerSeller status on eBay – one of the highest compliments a seller can receive within the eBay marketplace – and one that is accompanied by more than a few tangible benefits ranging from discounted shipping fees to health insurance benefits.

The complete and official company news release for the HealthTech Top Companies honor can be found at the official EGAN Medical Equipment WordPress blog. The post goes into further detail about the inclusion in such a prestigious list of the web’s top healthcare-related companies, and includes links to the EGAN listing page within the HealthTech website.

The official company news release for the achievement of PowerSeller status on Ebay can be found at the official EGAN Medical Blogger Blog, under the following title: EGAN Medical Achieves PowerSeller Status on eBay!

Egan Medical would like to extend a sincere thanks on behalf of everyone in the organization to HealthTech, eBay, and of course all of the wonderful customers who have kept our doors open and lights on for the past two years and counting!

Thanks to everyone who has helped make us a success, and here’s to another two years of providing the best equipment, supplies and supplements on the web for the best prices and with the best service!

Thank you all and happy holidays!

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), BPA, Leptin Resistance and Other Unknown Health Risks

PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), BPA, Leptin Resistance & Low Vitamin D Represent New, Relatively Unknown Health Risks

By: Pamela Egan, NP-C, CDE, ABAAHP

What Some of the More Surprising and Unknown Health Risks Facing Humanity in the 21st Century?

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Some of the newer research is showing that plastics are major hormone disruptors. Plastics are being blamed for conditions such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) which is an insulin-resistant state. There is a growing body of evidence that technological advancements, particularly as it relates to food packaging, may be having grave and unintended consequences on humans’ hormonal function.

BPA (Bisphenol A) and Dioxins Disrupt Hormone Function

Polycystic Ovarian SyndromeEvery time you microwave a lean cusisine or TV dinner, the heat from the microwave radiates the plastic, releasing BPA (Bisphenol A, an ingredient found in Polycarbonate plastics as well as epoxy resins) and dioxins, both of which disrupt hormone function.

Ask yourself when was the last time you were in the grocery store and observed grape juice being sold in a glass bottle. Everything is packaged in plastic these days! Baked chickens bask in plastic containers under heaters in the grocery stores. Restaurants cover hot casseroles with plastic wrap. Milk sits in plastic under grocery store lights in coolers until someone buys it. Cases of plastic water bottles sit out in the sun all day gas stations and thrift stores, not to mention your car! Some people bake chickens inside of a plastic bag! Many microwavable junk food treats RECOMMEND in the directions that the person about to EAT the food contained within the plastic leave it wrapped in plastic while microwaving it!

PCOS

This author isn’t going to name names, but if you’ve ever been to the grocery or eaten prepared foods you should be well familiar with those products and brands being mentioned herein.

Electromagnetic Radiation

In addition to plastics, pesticides, electromagnetic radiation from computers, cell phones, tablets, electronic notebooks (trying not to use brand-names), et al are also major hormone disruptors.

Leptin Resistance

Leptin Reistance is also fairly new, and a significant health threat that far too many women remain unaware of. Leptin is a hormone that acts in the regulation of energy intake and metabolism. Leptin levels can be easily checked via a simply blood test that can be performed at virtually any diagnostic lab (ask your doctor or nurse practitioner) to indentify whether or not one has leptin resistance.

Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D3 from SunlightVitamin D3 is a hot topic since the majority of Americans are vitamin D3 deficient. Vitamin D deficiency is also a major factor in obesity, insulin resistance, the development of Type 2 Diabetes and about 50 or so other major diseases and illnesses, albeit in many cases science has declined to issue a definitive statement of causality despite overwhelming evidence of a causal relationship between low levels of vitamin D and an increased likelihood of developing any one (or combination) or the four dozen-plus illnesses, diseases and conditions for which indisputable evidence exists linking an increased rate-of-diagnosis with insufficient levels of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D in the blood of diagnosed individuals.

Vitamin D deficiency can be identified by way of a simple blood test, and those suffering from inadequate levels of the nutrient can correct the deficiency through safe sunbathing, or even better, a high-quality and high-potency vitamin D3 supplement.

The reason most scientists believe such a vast majority of the entire population is so dangerously low in vitamin D has to do with the fact that human civilization has evolved to the point of spending the vast majority of time indoors, where the sun cannot make contact with skin, initiating the process through which vitamin D is produced.

On a side-note, anyone seeking to prevent or reverse vitamin D deficiency through the use of supplements should make sure the supplements contain vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol as opposed to ergocalciferol, or vitamin D2. The reason is that the former is far better absorbed and processed for use by the body than is the latter, the usefulness of which as a human nutritional supplement is the subject of much heated debate.

Pamela Egan, NP-C, CDE, ABAAHP

Egan Wellness and Anti-Aging Clinic + Egan Skin Care Spa
1116 W. 21st Ave.
Covington, LA 70433
985-892-3031

Areas Serviced: Covington, Mandeville, Madisonville, Abita Springs, Slidell, Goodbee, Lacombe, Folsom, Franklinton, Bogalusa, Pearl River

Probiotics and Weight Loss

Probiotics and Weight Loss: How Digestive Baceria Can Actually Help People Lose Weight
By: Pamela Egan, NP-C, CDE, ABAAHP

When supplement marketers attempt to explain to the public the value of probiotics, the discussion typically centers around the fact that probiotics can help to establish a regular pattern of bowel movements, helping to relieve diarrhea, curb constipation and establish a happy medium that constitutes something of a middle-ground – that point when bowel movements occur neither too frequently nor too infrequently, with the consistency being neither too hard nor too soft, minimizing the amount of discomfort one experiences in using the facilities.

Another benefit of probiotics, the good bacterial flora long associated with natural, unprocessed yogurt, with which the public is well familiar is the strengthened immune system that typically accompanies a healthy gut. However, a less noted side-effect of one’s digestive system functioning at peak performance is that a healthy gut can actually help one lose weight and keep off the pounds.

Antibiotics wipe out the good bacterial flora in the gut (intestinal tract) which slows down the metabolism, resulting in fewer calories burned relative to the amount of calories ingested. This results in unnatural weight gain.

In addition, the animals are fed estrogen supplements, which causes them to develop a condition known as estrogen dominance, which also brings about a hefty degree of unnatural weight gain. Hence, hormone balance is essential for weight loss, as is metabolic efficiency.

With regard to the latter, there is actually a quite simple solution for humans who have either been on antibiotics, ingested them indirectly via other food sources (such as beef) or for whatever other reason have an imbalance of intestinal flora inside the digestive tract. High-quality probiotics can actually help to restore the balance of what are often referred to as “good bacteria”. This helps aide digestion, which when combined with routine exercise and at least a somewhat healthy diet results in an enhanced rate-of-metabolism.

This enhanced metabolism typically helps bring about weight loss in overweight individuals provided the average amount of caloric intake were to remain constant from the time period prior to the balancing of intestinal flora to the point at which optimal bacterial flora levels are reached.

The math is really pretty simple: Calories, excess amounts of which are stored as fat, are ingested as food and calorie-containing beverages. Calories also power the human body (as well as all other animal life). The amount of calories stored as fat depends upon a couple of factors: 1) The amount of calories ingested; 2) The rate at which the calories are being burned as fuel; and 3) The amount of time unburned calories remain inside the body prior to being expelled in the form of waste (feces). By reducing the amount of time calories remain in the body from the time they are consumed to the time they are expelled, there is less time for them to be absorbed and stored in the form of fat.

The bottom line is that while probiotics are far from a miracle dietary supplement that will make you lose weight just by taking a little capsule, in conjunction with exercise, diet and hormonal balance, these healthy, all-natural bacteria can indeed help accelerate weight loss by regularing the digestive system, preventing constipation and helping one expel waste in a timely manner relative to the time-of-consumption.

The result is this: probiotics are not magic weight loss solution, but when implemented as part of a complete weight loss regimen that addresses all aspects of the metabolic cycle (caloric intake, rate-of-metabolism, hormonal balance and proper digestive function), can indeed help an overweight individual with poor digestive health lose weight and keep it off.

Related: Health Benefits of Probiotics