Hormones and Infertility

Birth control, family planning, infertility, PCOS

Hormones, infertility, PCOS, ovulation, fertility, IVF, IUI

For most women, starting a family is one of the most joyous times in life. For some women, however the pain of infertility can turn one of life’s greatest joys into an emotional and heart-wrenching endeavor.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Survey of Family Growth, an estimated 7.3 million women have used infertility services[1]. This number is staggering. Some may believe that these women are just unfortunately unlucky. However, if we look into infertility in more detail we may find that women can reduce their chances of infertility through a number of methods, many of which are naturopathic in nature.

Birth Control and Infertility

Birth control, family planning, infertility, PCOS

From pills to patches and shots to IUDs, the variety of birth control currently available to women has grown. In addition, approximately 62% of women of reproductive age are using one form of birth control or another[2]. Most studies will tell you that birth control does not affect fertility, however when we alter the natural way our bodies were made to function, there is always a risk that something may go wrong.

Most birth control releases hormones into the body. When birth control is used for long periods of time and then discontinued once a woman is ready to have children, hormonal imbalance may result in the body.

Hormonal imbalance is one of the leading causes of female infertility. Symptoms that one may experience as a result of hormonal imbalance include irregular menstrual cycles, excessive or little bleeding, the absence of menstrual periods for long periods of time, pelvic cramps and excessive weight gain or weight loss.

If you are considering the use of birth control, non-hormonal options are a safer bet if fertility may be a concern in the future. If you suspect that you might be suffering from a hormonal imbalance or fertility issues, Balanced Care can help. We will run a thorough hormone panel to help determine any imbalances. Once identified, natural remedies will be recommended to balance your hormones and improve fertility.

PCOS

PCOS, infertility

Polycystic ovarian syndrome, better known as PCOS, is a health detriment that many women experience. PCOS occurs when cysts grow on the ovaries. As a result of this growth, hormonal balance and menstruation are disrupted, making it hard to get pregnant.

The cause of PCOS is not well known, but your risk of PCOS can increase if you are overweight or if PCOS runs in your family. PCOS causes infertility problems because it can interfere with your ovulation cycle. Some women with PCOS will ovulate occasionally, while others don’t ovulate at all.

PCOS symptoms include irregular menstrual cycles, excessive hair growth, acne and obesity. Women who are of normal weight can have PCOS too. If you are having infertility issues and can identify with the symptoms of PCOS, you may benefit from getting tested. Once diagnosed, we can help you determine the treatment for PCOS that will be most beneficial to you. We do everything we can to use natural remedies for PCOS treatment.

Secondary Infertility

What often gets overlooked when discussing infertility is the fact that some women who are facing infertility are already moms. When infertility strikes while attempting to conceive a second or third child, this is known as secondary infertility. Women undergoing secondary infertility did not have fertility issues when conceiving their previous children.

Although secondary infertility can be correlated with age, sometimes there are bigger issues that go undiagnosed. To determine the cause, consult your naturopathic physician if you are still unable to get pregnant.

In addition to getting pregnant, women experiencing secondary infertility may also have trouble carrying a baby to term. Both of these issues are hard to deal with. After having successfully birthed children, some women may be in a denial with regard to their fertility issues. However, like any health issue, it’s best to not wait too long to seek treatment.

The Emotions of Infertility

Struggling with fertility issues is incredibly emotional. The disappointment and sadness can be very intense.

At Balanced Care we do everything we can to use natural medicine to increase your fertility. Our goal is to provide you with natural healing remedies and help relieve some of the stress and frustration you are feeling. Get started on your natural fertility journey today.

 

Katie Corazzo, naturopath, naturopathic doctor, holistic, homeopath

Dr. Katie is a Naturopathic Doctor practicing in Edina and Woodbury, MN. The goal is to address the underlying cause using natural medicines and nutrition. Call to schedule 612-564-2218.

 

 

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/infertility.htm

[2] https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr060.pdf

Sunscreen & Vitamin D

sunscreen, skin care, acne, vitamin D

sunscreen, skin care, acne, vitamin DThe official start of summer in Minnesota is only a couple of weeks away, so it is probably safe to say that the sun is finally here to stay – for the next few months at least.  With that said, we should all be thinking about and protecting our bodies’ largest organ – our skin. More time outside means more sunscreen for a lot of people. With hundreds of brands on the market, how can we determine which one is best?

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. They recommend that sunscreen should be used as a last resort. Dressing properly and spending time outdoors in the early mornings or late evenings when the sun is not at its peak are more natural ways to avoid sunburn. Most sunscreens contain an abundance of chemicals. The effects of many of these chemicals on human health have not been studied well enough to deem them truly safe for use.

The EWG’s Guide to Sunscreen

Each year, the EWG publishes a sunscreen guide. The guide offers the general public information on specific sunscreen brands. The guide also provides the EWG’s picks for best and worst brands. Brands are chosen based on their ingredients, consideration of potential health hazards, and how well they actually work.

According to this year’s Guide to Sunscreens, one chemical that we should all avoid when purchasing sunscreen is oxybenzone. Oxybenzone is a common active ingredient that was found in over half of the sunscreens that the EWG studied this year. Oxybenzone is known to cause allergic skin reactions. It has also been linked to hormone disruptions such as altering sperm production in men. Additionally, it has been associated with endometriosis in women. Given these findings, when considering your sunscreen purchases you should avoid those that contain oxybenzone.

On top of the endless list of chemicals in most sunscreens, some individuals must be even more cautious because of their higher risk of getting sunburn. These include women on birth control, babies and toddlers and individuals with fair skin. These individuals should be especially careful with their sun exposure and would probably benefit the most from using natural holistic remedies for sunburn and sun protection, such as monitoring the amount of time spent in the sun and finding and using shade often.

The toxins and chemicals from sunscreen can be absorbed through the skin.

The Sunshine Vitamin

Despite the fear of the sun that has been instilled upon most of us, the sun is not all bad. It is the source of almost all of the earth’s energy and can provide humans with the vitamin D we require.  Spending a short amount of time in the sun each day can give our bodies the vitamin D we need. This is why vitamin D is referred to as the sunshine vitamin. This is also one of the reasons why it feels so good to step outside after many hours indoors. The sun’s rays are a providing us with an essential vitamin.

Vitamin D, depression, anxiety

Unfortunately when sunscreen is applied it prohibits the skin from absorbing the sun’s rays and producing vitamin D in the body. Vitamin D is vital to regulating and absorbing certain minerals such as calcium. Vitamin D deficiency can cause soft bones in children and bone loss in adults. On top of the physical detriments, vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to depression here.

According to a 2009 study, about three-quarters of teens and adults in the U.S. are vitamin D deficient. At the same time, the use of sunscreen has increased dramatically. Because there are many factors associated with getting vitamin D from the sun, it is often hard to measure.

What Can You Do?

Vitamin D deficiency symptoms range and many are vague. Common symptoms include: fatigue, aches, pains, and pain and weakness in the bones, depression, decreased immunity. Some people may not have symptoms at all.

If your skin isn’t getting daily exposure to the sun without sunscreen, vitamin D supplements can be taken. I recommend having your vitamin D tested through a simple blood test. As naturopathic doctors in MN, Balanced Care offers testing for vitamin D deficiency. If you do not fall in the optimal range we will use natural treatments to increase your vitamin D up to its appropriate level.

Did you miss a spot? Aloe to the rescue!! Apply aloe vera right away and continue applying for a few days. Skip the green goo and go for the organic stuff 😉

Katie Corazzo, naturopath, naturopathic doctor, holistic, homeopathWe offer naturopathic medical services in Minnesota. Located in Edina and Woodbury. Dr. Katie specializes in addressing the root cause using natural medicines and nutrition. For a complimentary 15 minute consultation you can schedule online here.

Sugar Free February

sugar free diet, weight loss, health, insulin, stress

Motivation for a One-Month Sugar Free Diet

Say it with me “I am so done with the sugar!” Yep, you said it, it’s time to cut out the sugar. The holidays can do a number, not only on our waistline, but our health too. You know sugar isn’t good for you, but you eat it anyway because you can and because it tastes good and because you deserve it and because your coworker brought it to share and the list goes on. Here is your chance to join me in saying “no” to the sugar this February.

Sweets, sugar, weight loss, health, insulin, stress

Need motivation? Here are a few good reasons to ditch the sugar in favor of a sugar free diet:

  • Low energy and fatigue. Feeling exhausted?
  • Inflammation. That is not water retention, but swelling from the inflammation sugar causes. I had it too and guess what? It goes away quickly once the sugar is gone!
  • That spring break trip coming up…swim suite required
  • Prevention (and treatment!) – why wait until you have a serious or uncomfortable health concern like diabetes, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, constipation, or reflux just to name a few.

According to the American Heart Association, American consume “20 teaspoons of sugar a day according to a report from the 2005–10 NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) database. Teens and men consume the most added sugars. Average daily consumption for men: 335 calories, women: 230 calories, boys: 362 calories, girls: 282 calories.” That is almost 3 cups of sugar per week! No wonder cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in the US.

Mobile, app, nutritionListen, your body deserves better than a few cups of sugar each week to help deal with the fatigue, stress, or (insert sugar craving cause). Follow along with me on Instagram @balancedcare and Facebook @Dr. Katie Corazzo throughout the month of February. I will offer tips, inspiration, and recipes to help you quit the sugar and begin feeling light and health again.

 

naturopath, natural medicine, holistic, edina, woodburyDr. Katie is a Naturopathic Doctor practicing in Woodbury and Edina, Minnesota. With a focus on addressing the underlying cause using natural medicines and nutrition, Dr. Katie can help you too. Appointments can be made online here.

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

healthy thanksgiving recipes

Family dinner, holiday, thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is almost upon us! Are you worried about what you are going to make or what you are going to eat? Being on a restricted diet, regardless of the reason – food sensitivities, celiac, weight loss, digestive issues, hormonal reasons, or wanting to just stay healthy – it can make the holidays even more stressful.

I scoured the internet for healthy and allergy friendly recipes for this Thanksgiving. I know everyone has their favorite Thanksgiving dish (find out mine in the recipes below!) and did my best to include them all. I have not tried some of these recipes, but assure you that they look delicious!

RECIPES ARE:

  • Gluten free
  • Dairy free
  • I had patients ask for recipes that are acceptable if following a diet to treat candida overgrowth, and those will be noted.
Here are your healthy alternatives to a traditional meal!

APPETIZER – Spinach and Artichoke Dip with cashew cream. Be sure to soak the cashews over night which will make it easier to blend them into a cream. You can serve this with veggies and gluten-free crackers. If your guests are thirsty, you might remember this skinny beverage. **Ok on candida diet

Creamy Spinach-Artichoke Dip (Paleo & Vegan)

 

THE TURKEY – Step one is purchasing a healthy turkey. Free-range, organic, and locally raised are best. Check with a local farmer or a health food store. Beware of turkeys with pre-injected base as these often contain gluten. Try this Gluten Free Turkey.Your turkey will be more moist and flavorful if you let it sit in the brine over night. *Skip the sugar in the dry rub and this is candida friendly.

Turkey

STUFFING: I suggest cooking this outside of the turkey. This is a simple dish to make vegetarian if you need to. For my candida readers, skip this dish and load up on the others! 

Create your own adventure with this fun recipe. You can purchase gluten free bread from a local bakery or health food store.

https://www.seriouseats.com/2011/11/how-to-make-the-best-gluten-free-stuffing.html

POTATOES and GRAVY: Have you tried Mashed Cauliflower yet?? Sooo worth it! And these mashers are more simple than they sound.

EXTRAS: Dairy Free Sour Cream and Paleo Gravy

 

SWEET POTATOES: The best part of the meal right here! My favorite dish growing up was always yams with marshmallows on top. Here is an upgraded version of a traditional dish –  Sweet Potato Casserole! *Candida diet – bake a plain sweet potato instead!

 

GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE: Is this one of your favorites? Here is a gluten and dairy free spin on the casserole! *Skip this dish if you are on the candida diet.

 

 That should have you covered for the most part! Thank you all so much for reading! I am so grateful to practice medicine I feel so passionate about. I am thankful for every single patient, and if that is you, thank you for trusting me with your health. It is a responsibility I do not take lightly. 

 

Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!Katie Corazzo, naturopath, naturopathic doctor, holistic, homeopath

With a grateful heart,
Dr. Katie Corazzo

Optimize Your Insulin and Prevent Diabetes

insulin, cortisol, blood sugar, stress, adrenal

Insulin has been a popular hormone recently. I keep talking about this because it is so important. There is a big focus on sugar, but the real problem is what sugar does to insulin. Insulin resistance and diabetes are big problems in our culture today. In 2014, the CDC reported that 29.1 million people have diabetes and 8.1 million of those people are still undiagnosed.(1) 1.7 million adults were diagnosed in 2012 alone.

insulin, cortisol, blood sugar, stress, adrenal

Insulin resistance occurs when more and more insulin is needed to “unlock” the glucose channel seen above. The insulin receptor is no longer as sensitive to the insulin.
Don’t let yourself become part of the statistic. Here are a few natural ways to prevent diabetes and improve your health:
  1. Eat only 3 meals per day with 1 optional snack. This goes against contrary beliefs that we need to eat least 6 meals per day, I get it. But, how does that make sense when you look at it from an insulin’s point of view? Every time you eat a carbohydrate/sugar, insulin increases and your body goes into a “fat storage” mode. So do you want to do that 4 times per day or 6 times? I’ll let you be the judge!
  2. Do not eat past 7 PM. I mean who hasn’t heard this? This will help improve your sleep too.
  3. Eat your carbohydrates earlier in the day.
  4. Exercise – Studies show that even if you do not lose weight, exercising will still improve insulin resistance. The longer you exercise, the more sensitive your insulin becomes at a moderate-to-vigorous pace. Work up to this if you are just beginning an exercise program. (2)
  5. Limit or avoid processed foods – this includes chips, candy, crackers, pasta, baked goods, bread, and even processed meats. Opt for foods like brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, steel-cut oats, free range chickens, grass-fed beef, and more and more veggies.
  6. Sleep at least 7 hours per night – even just 1 night of sleep deprivation causes insulin resistance! (3)
  7. Manage your stress – if we can’t avoid stress, then we need to learn how to deal with stress. This means developing healthy coping mechanisms. Make it a habit by practicing when you are not feeling stressed. Create a list of 10 things you can do – reading, going for a walk, taking a bath, mediation, grabbing coffee with a friend, writing, painting, reflect on what you are grateful for, stop to breathe and refocus for 5 minutes, yoga, exercise. What is on your list?

If you are unsure if you have insulin resistance or diabetes or you are struggling to control your blood sugars, Dr. Katie can help. She uses natural treatments for insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. You do not need to do this alone.

dr-katie

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/statsreport14/national-diabetes-report-web.pdf
  2. http://ijbnpa.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1479-5868-10-10
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20371664

Lose the Weight ~ Eat Bacon?!

Kissing Pig, bacon, health

Kissing Pig, bacon, health

Obesity is a major issue in the United States today. In fact, as of 2013, 25-30% of Minnesota adults were considered obese according to the CDC.1 That’s 1 in every 4 adults! And, let’s face it – losing weight is difficult. According to the Monte Nido Eating Disorder Treatment Center, “95% of diets fail and most will regain their lost weight in 1-5 years”.2 So that begs the question – what can we do?! How can we go about losing excess weight and living healthier lives? 

The answer to losing weight is quite simple – ditch the carbohydrates according to Gary Taubes in his book, “Why We Get Fat”.3 Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t fat that causes us to be overweight, but those pesky carbs. But how can this make sense? The answer lies in a little chemical called insulin.

Insulin is a hormone with a simple job – stimulate our cells to take in extra glucose from our bloodstream after a sugary snack. Insulin is surely our friend – continually keeping our blood sugar in balance…until it doesn’t. Insulin is also related to fat metabolism, or fat burning, in our body.3

The hormones lipoprotein lipase (LPL) and hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL) are also directed by insulin. The first, LPL, is a cell membrane protein responsible for pulling the fat from our bloodstream into fat cells. Insulin activates this protein, especially in our abdominal regions, which causes more fat storage in the body. The second hormone, called HSL, is inhibited by insulin activity. HSL is responsible for breaking fat down to be used for energy.

Therefore, when insulin is around, we do two things:

  1. Store more fat

  2. Stop the body from burning fat.3

It seems that avoiding carbohydrates could surely help our body in burning its fat stores. Therefore, a great way to shed some excess weight would be to avoid foods that spike our blood sugar (and insulin secretion) such as bread, cereal, pasta, beer, fruit juice, soda, potatoes, rice, and corn.3 Furthermore, don’t be afraid to eat fat and protein – they have no effect on insulin secretion and will keep you from feeling hungry for a longer time period. If you want to lose weight, it may be time to exchange that breakfast cereal for a little bacon!

 

Health

 

 

Meet Dr. Kelsey Perreault ~ She is a chiropractor at ChiroCenter in Bloomington, MN. Helping her patients reach their health goals through Gonstead chiropractic care is one of her passions.

 

 

  1. http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/prevalence-maps.html
  2. http://www.montenido.com/pdf/montenido_statistics.pdf
  3. Taubes, Gary. “Why We Get Fat”.

Chiropractic Corner – Disc Degeneration

Disc Degeneration

Written by: Kelsey Perreault, DC from ChiroCenter Bloomington

If you visit your chiropractor, you will most likely hear about this thing called the “intervertebral disc”. When I think of these discs, I think of the shrill voice of my Spinal Anatomy professor from chiropractic college – “Good Morning, Doctors!” he used to say loudly into his microphone at 7:30 AM. Ugh. Anyways…I thought I should write a blog post about these little buggers because they are so important in understanding spinal health and chiropractic care in general.

In your spine, you have 24 intervertebral discs found between adjacent vertebrae. In fact, the discs make up approximately 1/3 of the height of the spinal column. (1) These discs do a few things for our spines – they absorb shock (including gravity which is always pressing down upon us), allow free movement in the spine, and give height to the joint to protect nerves exiting the spinal column. You can think of disc anatomy much like a jelly donut – there is an outer ring of tough fibrous cartilage called the annulus fibrosis and a soft, gel-like center portion called the nucleus pulposus.

The reason we chiropractors care about the discs so much is because they are involved in subluxation. Vertebrae can slip out of alignment on top of these discs causing disc bulging and subsequent nerve irritation. In the low back and neck, vertebrae tend to slip back and tip backwards on top of the disc while in the midback, vertebrae tend to slip back and tip forwards. If the disc bulges too much, disc herniations can occur. With this, the annulus fibrosis (outer donut layer) can tear causing the nucleus pulposus (jelly center) to ooze out. Disc herniations oftentimes cause debilitating back pain as the disc contents come in contact with nerves or the spinal cord. They are basically a really intense version of a subluxation.

When subluxation is present in the spine, normal weight distribution will not occur on the discs (think about if your car tires are out of alignment – they will wear unevenly) According to P. Prithvi Raj in his article, “Intervertebral disc: anatomy-physiology-pathophysiology-treatment”, “abnormal mechanical loads are thought to provide a pathway to disc degeneration.”1 Put more simply, when you have spinal misalignment your discs will not wear evenly and will degenerate more quickly. This is one reason why it is so important to have your spine routinely checked, even when you don’t have symptoms. If you get checked for subluxation, you can correct issues before this degeneration occurs.

 

1. Raj PP. Intervertebral disc: anatomy-physiology-pathophysiology-treatment. Pain Pract. 2008 Jan-Feb;8(1):18-44

 

The Insulin – Cortisol Connection

Adrenal fatigue

Do you have stress in your life? I think it would be fair to say that we are stressed at varying levels. But how does stress and insulin affect your energy, weight, cravings, or fat distribution? I talk about this with my patients all. the. time. Let me break this down.

stressed women, adrenal, fatigue, motivation, depression

First, let’s talk about insulin. Insulin is famous for its relationship with glucose. As a hormone, it shuttles glucose into fat, muscle and the liver to be stored for use at a later time. We eat various forms of sugar and carbohydrates → increases blood sugar → pancreas secretes insulin → insulin directs glucose into cells → blood sugar levels decrease. → Make sense ← Check out this 1 minute video for a visual:

 

Fat production is increased by insulin while burning fat is inhibited.Exercise, health, weight lift, running, cardiovascular

Insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes develop from a diet rich in processed foods and sugar. Eventually, if left unregulated, the pancreas will struggle to make enough insulin. This is prevented and treated with a proper diet and regular exercise. It really is that simple…Or is it?

Enter cortisol, insulin’s bestie. Remember that little thing called stress? Working too much, not getting enough sleep, life, kids, a marriage, bills to pay, a car to fix, a sick parent – we all have it. As you try to balance life, cortisol is there to help. Cortisol is released from the adrenal glands during times of stress to help you “survive”. The adrenals are part of the ‘fight or flight response’.

Chronic stress can cause a kink in the system. The adrenals start sending out too much or too little cortisol and at the wrong times of the day, resulting in adrenal fatigue. The consequence? Fatigue, sleep issues, weight gain (especially abdominal), and cravings.

stress, adrenal fatigue, anxiety

THE CONNECTION – if cortisol increases, so does insulin. A study looked at 766 Chinese men and women to see if cortisol and insulin are related. The study showed that the men and women who reported having “demands” and “insecurity” at work had higher levels of cortisol AND insulin resistance. The results “showed that chronic stress was associated with insulin resistance and may contribute to the development of insulin resistance.”

The reverse can cause problems too – when insulin is around cortisol triglycerides accumulate in the abdomen resulting in abdominal obesity.

Even if you are of normal weight or maybe a little over weight, but do not have insulin resistance, cortisol will still behave the same way for you.

Follow these simple tips to make the cortisol and insulin work FOR you and not AGAINST you:

1. Eat 3 meals per day with 1 optional snack ONLY. Snacking or eating several times throughout the day causes more spikes in your glucose and insulin throughout the day. Your metabolism will be A-OK with eating only 4x per day.

2. Find effective coping techniques to relieve stress – this will help reduce your cortisol and protect your adrenals. A bath, bike ride, meditation, walk, yoga, reading, painting or drawing are just a few ideas.

 

3. Stop eating so much sugar. Just stop! It is in everything so even if you think you aren’t eating it, you probably are. Indulge once in a while, but make sure it is very limited in your regular diet. Remember sugar spikes your insulin.

4. Eat balanced meals: tons of veggies, 4-5 ounces of meat or 20 grams of protein, and healthy fats.

kale, veggies, health, nutrition, holistic, naturopathic

5. Have 5-9 servings of veggies daily!

6. Sleep! Your adrenals need sleep to repair and recover from stress. A study showed that for every 1 hour of sleep lost per day there is an increase of .35 in body mass index (BMI). This is about 2 pounds in a 35-year-old female who is 5’4” and 160 lbs. Sleep duration may also be a predictor of weight gain, insulin resistance, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

PCOS, infertility, dysmenorrhea, irregular menses, women's health

 

 

Katie Corazzo, naturopath, naturopathic doctor, holistic, homeopathIf you are looking to dig deeper into this issue, please contact me for an appointment – I would love to help. We offer saliva hormone testing to help evaluate metabolic function with dramatic changes in patients energy, food cravings, weight, blood sugar, and overall healthy. I hope to hear from you soon! To schedule visits, including complimentary 15 minute in-person or phone visits at my Edina or Woodbury locations, visit this link.

 

 

5 Post-Partum Home Care Tips

Bath tub, postpartum, sitz, magnesium, epsom

Written by: Jen Wittes of Welcome Baby Care

1. DIY Sitz Bath

Bath tub, postpartum, sitz, magnesium, epsom

There are many Sitz Bath “mixes” on the market, as well as recipes for you to follow at home. Most contain comfrey, lavender and raspberry leaf. Not up for the hassle and expense? You can DIY with tea bags in shallow warm water – chamomile, lavender or raspberry leaf. NOT peppermint or ginger…OUCH!

2. Easy Postpartum Pads

Whether you have a hospital or home birth, your nurses and midwives will give you cold packs to soothe your sore (and possibly torn and sutured) perineum. When the supply of cold packs runs out and you are at home, alone and healing, you can make your own by dipping maxi pads in a solution of witch hazel, aloe vera gel and lavender essential oil before freezing them.

3. Eat Your Soup

Healing, soup, postpartum, food, medicine

Doulas know that the traditional postpartum meal across many generations and cultures is hot soup. Why? The Chinese believe it restores your heat or “chi” which is said to leave in the process of childbirth. In Western cultures, we find that soup – often rich in nutritious ingredients – just makes us feel better. When you’re tired, hot liquid foods are easier to stomach and make you feel relaxed.

4. Hydrate Like Crazy

Lemon Tea, hydrate, postpartum, anxiety

During birth, you lose quite a bit of blood and fluid. After birth, your body continues to expel the fluid retention of pregnancy through frequent urination and sweating. Both breastfeeding mothers and those trying to suppress milk production need to replenish the fluids lost in lactation. Heavy hydration also helps aid in muscle recovery and involution (or the return of the uterus to pre-pregnancy size). Water, water, water! Tea is great too. I also like a simple restoration smoothie of frozen blueberries, spinach and coconut water.

5. Ask for and Accept Help 

Love, support, family, planning, infertility, fertility, postpartumSoup is not the only multi-generational, multicultural postpartum tradition. It is customary to surround the new mother and child with abundant love, support and practical help. In the U.S., we have fallen away from this to the detriment of our women. The expected quick return to work and participation in a continuously plugged in word only exacerbates the problem. Whether sought out and hired or volunteered, postpartum support is crucial. YES to the neighbor’s offer to walk the dog. YES to every casserole. YES to anyone or anything that helps you get in a nap and a hot shower.

 

naturopath, natural medicine, holistic, edina, woodbury

Dr. Katie Corazzo is a Naturopathic Doctor practicing throughout the Twin Cities in Edina and Woodbury, MN. She specializes in women’s health and fertility. Natural medicines and nutrition are used for treatments.

Strength Training and Cardiovascular Health

bigstock-Gym-woman-strength-training

This post is from  Discover Strength  a premier personal training gym. They focus on science-based strength training with time-efficient affordable workouts. Dr. Katie trains with them and absolutely loves it. Check this article out about how strength training can not only improve your fitness, but your cardiovascular health as well.

It is well established that aerobic exercise increases the elastic properties of the arteries.  This is a very positive adaptation as the compliance of our blood vessels plays an important role in predicting cardiovascular events.

Until recently, physicians and researchers assumed that intense resistance training reduces the compliance of our major blood vessels; of course, this is a bad thing as increased “stiffness” of the blood vessels predisposes us to cardiovascular disease.  However, very little research has existed to support this contention.  Authors of a recent research study published in the Journal of Hypertension (February 2014) sought to determine the impact of long-term, intense strength training on arterial “stiffness.”  The researchers concluded,

“Long-term intense resistance training in men decreased aortic stiffness… and preserved cardiac structure/function when compared with well matched untrained healthy controls.”

This important study contributes to the growing body of literature that represents a paradigm shift from defining the benefits of resistance exercise as increased muscle strength, bone health, and body composition, to a more robust profile of cardio-metabolic health benefits.   Indeed, “strength training” is more properly coined, “resistance exercise.”

  • It is well accepted that aerobic exercise increases the elastic properties of central arteries (elasticity in our vessels is important in preventing cardiovascular disease!)

  • The research and/or opinions on whether or not strength training is good or bad for the elasticity of our vessels is mixed (and much of the thought is that strength training REDUCES elasticity AKA “compliance” of the vessel… and this is why many cardiologists have been anti-strength training. This was a longer term study with trained runners and trained strength training subjects (and the strength training group had to have been strength training 5 times per week!)… The researchers even speculated that half of the strength training participants were on steroids! Subjects were in their mid-30’s.

human-heart

  • Endurance running led to improvements in vascular function – “We confirmed that long-term endurance training is associated with the classical cardiovascular and hemodynamic adaptations and with decreased aortic stiffness.”
  • Main finding:  Our main finding was that long-term intense resistance training men presented decreased aortic stiffness (PWV values similar to endurance runners) and lower cAP, a trend to longer T1 and Trw, normal central aortic pressures, and preserved cardiac structure/function when compared with well matched untrained healthy controls.
  • In conclusion, besides the benefits of improvements in the musculoskeletal functions, it seems that long-term IRT is not associated with detrimental effects on central artery elastic properties or wave reflection or cardiovascular structure and function of healthy individuals.

bigstock-Gym-woman-strength-training

Take home message in simplest terms:

It has long been assumed that intense strength training over a long period of time has a negative impact on artery/vessel elasticity and function (this is a bad thing). However, the results of this study show that intense strength training actually improves elasticity (i.e. Decreased aortic stiffness) in healthy adults (a good thing!).