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Archive for the month “June, 2012”

The Birth Control Pill Changes A Woman’s Memory and Mind


Researchers at UC Irvine have found that women who take birth control pills appear to remember emotional events in a manner more similar to men.

The hormonal changes resulting from the Pill seem to make women better at remembering the overall gist, like men do, while women not taking the pill are better at remembering peripheral details.

Previous memory studies have found that men are more likely to recall the significant elements of an emotional event rather than the kind of information that women are better at remembering.

Graduate student researcher Shawn Nielsen said studying the differences among women, based on their hormone levels, could help explain why more women suffer from post-traumatic stress than men.

“It’s a really useful setup,” Nielsen said. “A lot of times people will just say men and women are different. Now we’ve got two different groups of women with different sex hormones.”

For the study, groups of women taking oral contraceptives were compared with women who were not. Both groups were shown photos from a fictional car accident (see above).  The women were told a story about a child’s serious injuries, where his legs were severed above the ankles.  A week later, the participants were surprised with a test about what they recalled.

Women on birth control remembered more clearly the significant details, such as efforts to treat the child, while the other women better remembered non-essential details such as a fire hydrant next to the car.

“There’s over 100 million women worldwide on hormonal contraception, and there’s a very limited number of studies looking at the cognitive effect of the Pill,” Nielsen said. “It’s the first one to look at how the Pill affects emotional memory.”

The research was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and appears in the September issue of the journal Neurobiology of Learning and Memory.

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Early Pregnancy Symptoms


Early pregnancy symptoms can sometimes happen before a missed period and before a positive pregnancy test. Especially the 3, 4, 5, and 6 weeks pregnant signs.  Early pregnancy symptoms and signs are usually related to the pregnancy hormone hCG or “Human Chorionic Gonadotropin” which is responsible for pregnancy signs. Even though hCG is usually not detectable in large number until after a missed menstrual period, there are many women who report having typical pregnancy symptoms even before they miss their period. There are early detection pregnancy tests available than can confirm pregnancy as early as 6 – 8 days after conception has occured (well before a missed period).

If you’re like everyone else then you’re trying to figure out what the signs of pregnancy or pregnancy symptoms are and how likely they are to mean that you are pregnant. Read more about a day-by-day appearance of pregnancy signs on the Pregnancy Symptoms Timeline Page. You can ask other people, you can worry in silence, but the best thing is to read through the categories and add up the signs. The more typical early pregnancy signs you have, the more likely you are to be pregnant.

Early pregnancy symptoms and signs differ from one woman to the other and from one pregnancy to the other. The most significant early pregnancy sign is a late or missed menstrual period. However, the only definite diagnosis even with the best pregnancy sign is to have a positive pregnancy test.

Understanding the signs and symptoms of pregnancy is important because each symptom may be related to something other than pregnancy. Some women experience early pregnancy signs within a week after ovulation/fertilization and conception.

In other women, early pregnancy symptoms and signs may develop much later, well after a missed period and after a positive pregnancy test. Other women may not have early pregnancy signs at all.

The first pregnancy symptoms and the time of their appearance are listed here:  

Pregnancy Symptoms Timing of Pregnancy Symptom
Temperature drop (dip) Implantation day
Implantation bleeding or spotting:(a slight staining of a pink or brown color) 8-10 days after ovulation
Lower abdominal cramps / Implantation cramps / hot flashes 8-10 days after ovulation
A positive blood hCG pregnancy test 10 days after fertilization/ovulation
A positive urine home pregnancy test (HPT)
10-14 days after ovulation/fertilization
An elevated BBT 15+ days without a menstrual period
No period. A missed menstrual period
(amenorrhea)
Your period is supposed to come 14-16 days after ovulation
Nausea 2-4 weeks after ovulation
Nipple or breast tenderness 3-4 weeks after conception
Fatigue and tiredness 3-10 weeks after conception
Vomiting 3-10 weeks after conception
Food cravings 1-2 months after conception
Frequent urination Usually after 1-2 months
Softening of cervix 6+ weeks after LMP
Constipation Later
Lower-back pain Later
Darkening of areola (area around breast nipple) After 14 weeks
Fetal heartbeat on sonogram 8-9 weeks after conception
Fetal movements 18-20+ weeks

Most women have uncomplicated pregnancies and their daily routines may not change until the last few weeks before delivery. Other women have difficult pregnancies that change their daily lives right from the start.

Did you have a negative pregnancy test but you think you still could be pregnant? Read  more HERE about what your chances are that you are still pregnant after having a negative pregnancy test.

Small amounts of hCG enter the blood stream several days after implantation, about 8-10 days after ovulation and before a missed period. Thus, typical pregnancy symptoms typically do not appear until the hCG has reached sufficient levels which is about 1-2 weeks after you miss your period (3-4 weeks after ovulation, or 2-3 weeks after implantation), at a time when the hCG has risen enough. That is usually when you develop typical 2WW symptoms. While typical pregnancy symptoms may indicate that a woman is pregnant, nothing will really confirm a pregnancy except a positive pregnancy test.

Many women experience emotional shifts and mood swings. It’s natural to feel doubt, anxiety, and fear about pregnancy and childbirth, as well as happiness, excitement, and anticipation. Keeping a on line pregnancy journal can help you keep track of your emotions. Plus, it will serve as a wonderful keepsake of your pregnancy in the years to come.

As soon as you think you might be pregnant, you should visit a pregnancy help center or clinic right away for a pregnancy test. If you are pregnant it is important to learn more about what to expect from pregnancy and how to care for yourself and your growing baby. It is important to begin taking a prenatal vitamin containing the recommended vitamins and minerals (including folic acid) to ensure your nutritional needs are being met. If you smoke or drink, you should stop immediately — tobacco and alcohol can harm your unborn child. Certain medications can also harm your child. Pregnancy typically lasts 40 weeks, or 9 months. That time is divided into three periods called trimesters (three-month intervals), during which different things happen to your body and to the baby. Below is a list of some of the normal signs and symptoms  a pregnant woman may experience and the changes described here may happen earlier or later than they appear on this list, and some may continue throughout the pregnancy.

Amenorrhea: No Menstrual Period and Not Pregnant


Having a regular menstrual period (menorrhea), bleeding regularly every month, is something that many women expect as part of their normal body function. A regular menstrual period is associated with regular ovulation.

  • If you ovulate, then you will usually bleed within 12-16 days after ovulation if you are not pregnant.
  • If you ovulate and your period has not come 16+ days after ovulation, then chances are high you are pregnant.

If your period has not come on time (amenorrhea), then you should do a pregnancy test:

  1. A positive pregnancy test means that you are pregnant
  2. A negative pregnancy test means you are not pregnant. It should be repeated several days later and if it remains negative chances are that you are not pregnant and the reason for not getting your period is that you did not ovulate.

Not getting your period is called ‘amenorrhea’. If you have amenorrhea and you have had unprotected intercourse or you have been trying to get pregnant then you first need to find out if you are pregnant or not. The earliest method of diagnosing a pregnancy is with a pregnancy test, either in your urine or blood.

  • A positive pregnancy test means that the pregnancy hormone hCG has been detected and that you are pregnant.
  • A repeatedly negative pregnancy test after missing a period means there is no hCG in your body and it usually means that you are not pregnant.

To find out why your period hasn’t come when you are not pregnant, you need to know the physiology or a regular menstrual period. A regular period comes from regular ovulation. And if you don’t ovulate (anovulation) then you either have irregular menstrual periods or no period at all.

  • Regular ovulation = Regular menstrual periods
  • Irregular or no ovulation = Irregular or no menstrual periods
  • No period = Either pregnant or no ovulation or another problem

You can find out if you ovulate by doing a basal body temperature curve, checking for fertility signbs,having blood tests done for progesterone, or having a sonogram done. A biphasic temperature curve means that you ovulate and a monophasic curve means you don’t ovulate.
Not getting a period, having amenorrhea without being pregnant can have different reasons including the following:

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Premature ovarian failure,
  • Hypothalamic-pituitary failure (medications, weight loss, stress, strenous exercise, rarely a tumor in the pituitary or hypothalamus)
  • Adhesions (scar tissue) in the uterus or cervix
  • Cushing syndrom

If you did not get your period, and you are not pregnant, then the following steps are usually taken to find out the reasons:

Amenorrhea Work-Up

  1. A physical examination including weight and any signs of physical problems as well as checking to see if you have galactorrhea (milk production).
  2. Blood tests: TSH, Prolactin, FSH
  3. If TSH is elevated, then the diagnosis could be hypothyroidism.
  4. Progesterone Challenge Test (Provera) to see if you bleed after the test.

Bleeding after progesterone  

  1. Bleeding after progesterone means there is estrogen present and  the diagnosis of the amnorrhea is likely anovulation (no ovulation).
  2. Many doctors feel that a blood LH- and FSH-level and a testosterone and DHEAS test may be helpful at this point.
  3. If the LH is high (above about 10 mIU/ml) and the LH/FSH ratio is above 2:1, this supports the clinical diagnosis of polycystic ovarian disease (PCOS or PCO) although many patients with PCOS do not demonstrate this high LH/FSH ratio. Testosterone and DHEAS levels may be useful in women with PCO, especially in the presence of hirsutism (excess hair) or other signs of hyperandrogenism (excess male hormones).

No bleeding after progesterone:

  1. A blood FSH level is taken: A high FSH indicates premature ovarian failure or menopause.
  2. If the FSH is normal, then a combined progesterone/estrogen dose is given.
  3. Bleeding after progesterone/estrogen may indicate Hypothalamic-Pituitary Failure (medications, weight loss, stress).
  4. No bleeding after progesterone/estrogen requires additional tests such as a hysteroscopy or a hysterosalpingography. This is usually indicative of outflow tract obstruction (scar tissue or adhesions in the cervix or uterus), which means the uterus or cervix are not letting the menstrual flow pass.

DR NITIN KANANI


DR NITIN KANANI
http://m.google.co.uk/u/m/R6JYlC

The Birth Control Pill Changes A Woman’s Memory and Mind


Researchers at UC Irvine have found that women who take birth control pills appear to remember emotional events in a manner more similar to men.

The hormonal changes resulting from the Pill seem to make women better at remembering the overall gist, like men do, while women not taking the pill are better at remembering peripheral details.

Previous memory studies have found that men are more likely to recall the significant elements of an emotional event rather than the kind of information that women are better at remembering.

Graduate student researcher Shawn Nielsen said studying the differences among women, based on their hormone levels, could help explain why more women suffer from post-traumatic stress than men.

“It’s a really useful setup,” Nielsen said. “A lot of times people will just say men and women are different. Now we’ve got two different groups of women with different sex hormones.”

For the study, groups of women taking oral contraceptives were compared with women who were not. Both groups were shown photos from a fictional car accident (see above).  The women were told a story about a child’s serious injuries, where his legs were severed above the ankles.  A week later, the participants were surprised with a test about what they recalled.

Women on birth control remembered more clearly the significant details, such as efforts to treat the child, while the other women better remembered non-essential details such as a fire hydrant next to the car.

“There’s over 100 million women worldwide on hormonal contraception, and there’s a very limited number of studies looking at the cognitive effect of the Pill,” Nielsen said. “It’s the first one to look at how the Pill affects emotional memory.”

The research was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and appears in the September issue of the journal Neurobiology of Learning and Memory.

Implantation Bleeding and Spotting and Symptoms


What is Implantation bleeding?
Implantation bleeding is one of several typical pregnancy symptoms. It usually happens around 6-12 days after ovulation and fertilization.

Implantation Signs and Symptoms
Signs of implantation or possible pregnancy include:

Most women have no subjective symptoms (symptoms that are not precisely measurable) such as bleeding or cramps, at the time of implantation. However, some women report drops of blood and/or light cramping.

These symptoms can happen with or without conception and implantation. These symptoms and chart patterns frequently occur on charts that do not result in pregnancy.

Implantation Bleeding

Why do these Implantation symptoms occur?
Implantation is the attachment of the fertilized egg to the uterine lining. This happens when the fertilized egg (now called a blastocyst) has completed its travel through the fallopian tube and adheres to the lining of the uterus. Implantation happens on average 9 days after ovulation and fertilization with a range of between 6 and12 days.

Implantation bleeding is just one of several typical pregnancy symptoms and happens around the time of implantation. Implantation bleeding is often also called implantation spotting. Implantation bleeding or spotting does not usually look like a regular menstrual period but is scanty and usually a pinkish or brownish discharge. and it usually happens around 6-12 days after ovulation and fertilization, within 1-2 days after arrival of the blastocyst in the uterus, usually around 9 days after ovulation (dpo), with a range of 6-12 days.

At the time of implantation bleeding, the blastocyst is barely visible to the naked eye, probably smaller than the dot above the letter “i.” Once implantation happens the blastocyst becomes the embryo.

The blood pregnancy test usually becomes positive within 3-4 days after implantation, and the urine pregnancy test usually becomes positive 4-5 days after implantation.

What is cervical mucus ?


Normal cervical mucus

Cervical mucus is a jelly-like substance produced by tiny glands in the cervix called cervical crypts. It has a protective function and may prevent bacteria from getting into the uterine cavity. The mucus changes predictably and cyclically during the menstrual cycle. During the first half of the cycle before ovulation, when the hormone estrogen is produced in ever increasing amounts, the mucus made by the cervical glands becomes watery and copious. Sperm can penetrate the watery mucus easily, and when intercourse takes place, they swim through it into the uterus.

After ovulation the quality of the mucus changes because the corpus luteum of the ovary now starts to make the hormone progesterone. Mucus produced under the influence of progesterone is thicker, stickier and its quantity is reduced. Sperm cannot swim through this mucus, and it forms a barrier to sperm entry into the uterine cavity.

Even if intercourse occurs at the time the cervical mucus is at its most favourable, only about 1 in every 2000 sperm enter the mucus. The rest of the sperm remain in the vagina, where they die, because of the acidic pH of the vagina. Those sperm that have entered the mucus can survive there for long periods – certainly for several days after intercourse. Once in the cervical mucus, they steadily swim upwards from it into the uterus over a period of 48 to 72 hours. Thus the cervical mucus acts as a sperm reservoir, to be banked on if intercourse does not take place at ovulation. This is why you don’t need to have sex everyday in order to conceive! The cervical mucus also acts as a filter – and allows only the best sperm to swim through it into the uterus and up towards the egg present in the fallopian tube.

Infertility and Stress


Can stress cause infertility?

Probably not.  Infertility is very stressful, but there isn’t any proof that stress causes infertility. Researchers have looked at the effect stress may have on infertility treatments and the news is reassuring.  A meta-analysis of 14 studies was recently published in the British Medical

Stress

 Journal. These studies included 3,583 infertile women. The results support the view that emotional distress, for example feelings of tension, worry or nervousness caused by the infertility treatment or other life events are unlikely to affect fertility treatment outcomes.

 

Can infertility cause stress?

 

Absolutely yes!  Infertile women report higher levels of stress and anxiety than fertile women, and there is some indication that infertile women are more likely to become depressed.  Studies show many women who are being treated for infertility have as much stress as women who have cancer or heart disease.  The effects of infertility can interfere with work, family, money and sex.

 

What can I do to decrease my stress?

 

Talk to your partner.  Take time to remember what you value about your relationship. Relationships have many positive aspects besides reproduction.  Consider your companionship, emotional support, making a home together, sharing leisure activities, and building a financial future.

 

 

  • Realize you’re not alone.  Talk to other people who have infertility, through individual or couple counseling, or support groups.
  • Read books on infertility, which will show you that your feelings are normal and can help you deal with them.
  • Learn stress reduction techniques such as meditation, yoga, or acupuncture.
  • Avoid caffeine or other stimulants.
  • Exercise regularly to release physical and emotional tension.
  • Have a medical treatment plan with which both you and your partner are comfortable.
  • Learn as much as you can about the cause of your infertility and the treatment options available.
  • Find out as much as you can about your insurance coverage and make financial plans regarding your fertility treatments.

 

 

When should I seek professional help?

 

It may be hard to know when emotional responses to the pain and frustration of infertility are within normal, expected range or are excessive and problematic.

 

If you are experiencing any of the following feelings, you may want to see an infertility counselor or therapist:

 

  • You have felt sad, depressed, or hopeless for longer than two weeks.
  • You have noticed changes in your appetite, either eating more or less than usual.
  • You are having trouble sleeping or are sleeping more than usual. You awaken not feeling rested.
  • You feel anxious, agitated, and worried much of the time.
  • You have panic attacks–particularly related to infertility situations or issues.
  • You feel lethargic or have lost interest in usually enjoyable activities.
  • You have trouble concentrating, are easily distracted, and/or have difficulty making decisions.
  • You have persistent feelings of worthlessness or guilt.
  • You feel easily irritated, angry, and frustrated.
  • You have thoughts of death or dying.
  • You have lost interest in sex and/or fail to have orgasms.
  • Relationships with friends and family are no longer rewarding and enjoyable and you prefer being alone.

Polycystic ovaries and anovulation cause female infertility


Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a common cause of anovulation and infertility in women. Women with this syndrome do not ovulate regularly and have ovaries that contain multiple small cystic structures, usually about 2-9 mm in diameter. This gives the ovaries a characteristic “polycystic” (many cysts) appearance on ultrasound – see images below.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome causes irregularities in the menstrual cycle, and sometimes a total lack of periods – amenorrhea.

The basic problem is that although the polycystic ovaries contain many follicles with eggs, the follicles do not develop and mature properly so that they do not ovulate. Women without polycystic ovaries normally develop one mature follicle each month which ovulates (releases) one egg.

Women with polycystic ovaries are often hyperandrogenic as well. This means that their ovaries produce an excess amount of male hormones testosterone and androstenedione which can cause increased hair growth – hirsutism, and sometimes other problems as well.

The typical story seen in women with polycystic ovaries is irregular menstrual cycles, onset of hirsutism in the teens or early 20s, and gradually worsening excess hair growth.

When they attempt to get pregnant, women with polycystic ovaries will usually have difficulty. Some women with this disorder will ovulate (release a mature egg) occasionally, others do not ovulate at all. In order to conceive, sperm must be able to find and fertilize a mature egg. Therefore, they will usually need to undergo induction of ovulation to get pregnant.

The good news is that pregnancy rates are high for women with this condition. The large majority will be able to have a baby, if they will undergo treatment. Details about use of the medications mentioned below are on the induction of ovulation page.

Many will be able to get pregnant using clomiphene citrate tablets to induce ovulation. This is often given by general gynecologists. About 75% of women with polycystic ovaries will ovulate with clomiphene, but only about 40% will get pregnant with it.

If this fails after about 6-9 ovulatory cycles, the next step is usually injectable gonadotropins. About 90% of women that do not ovulate with clomiphene will ovulate with this medication. The majority will get pregnant as well.

If this fails after about 3-6 ovulatory cycles, the next step is usually in vitro fertilization. The majority of women with polycystic ovaries that have not gotten pregnant with the above treatments will conceive with IVF.

A relatively new method of inducing ovulation in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome is to use oral medications such as metformin in conjunction with clomiphene citrate. Metformin has been used in the past as an oral agent to help control diabetes. Recently, it has been found to facilitate ovulation in some women with PCOS. The medication can have side effects and proper monitoring must be performed. We are currently offering this treatment to appropriate candidates.

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