Gut Instinct: How Bacteria Plays an Important Role in Your Body

“The relationship between bacteria and our bodies plays a role is everything that happens to us.”

In fact, there are a greater number of bacteria in your intestines than there are cells in your body. Did you know that intestinal bacteria allows us to obtain greater nutrients from out food, develop sophisticated immune systems, and balance cognition and emotions? Several studies showed germ-free mice who were inoculated with specific bacteria generated and delivered neurotransmitters to the brain, affecting anxiety, corticosteroid production, and colitis symptoms. Human studies using yogurt with probiotics showed emotion and sensitivity were statistically different when probiotics were consumed.

What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics are good bacteria that are either the same as or very similar to the bacteria that are already in your body. Your lower digestive tract alone teams with a complex and diverse community of these bacteria.

What Are Prebiotics?

Prebiotics are natural, non-digestible food components that are linked to promoting the growth of helpful bacteria in your gut. Basically, they are “good” bacteria promoters.

Finally…

Future uses of colon bacteria to improve health include:

  • Creating intestinal bacteria which promotes endocrine functions, like insulin production
  • Produce highly selective non-absorbable antibiotics
  • Invent drugs to alter bacteria to bacteria communication
  • Understand probiotics to manipulate health and disease
  • Transplant stool from thin people for treatment of obesity
  • Improve nutrient absorption to end starvation

The bottom line: Your gut is the first line of defense when you consume a potentially harmful pathogen. Good gut flora can protect you in several ways, while a poor gut can allow these pathogens to wreak havoc on your body. Contact us if you have any questions, or to schedule an appointment.

Warning Signs of Ovarian Cysts Every Woman Needs to Know

The ovaries are two small organs located on either side of a woman’s uterus. An ovarian cyst is a sac or pouch filled with fluid or other tissue that forms on the ovary. It is normal for a small cyst to develop on the ovaries. In most cases, cysts are harmless and go away on their own. In other cases, they may cause problems and need treatment.

Signs of Cysts

Most ovarian cysts are small and do not cause symptoms. Some cysts may cause a dull or sharp ache in the abdomen and pain during certain activities. Larger cysts may cause torsion (twisting) of the ovary that causes pain. Cysts that bleed or rupture may lead to serious problems requiring prompt treatment. In rare cases, a cyst may be cancerous. In it’s early stages, ovarian cancer often has no symptoms, so you should be aware of it’s warning signs.

Diagnosis

An ovarian cyst may be found during a routine pelvic exam. If your health care provider finds an enlarged ovary, tests may be recommended to provide more information.

  • Vaginal ultrasound: This procedure uses sound waves to create pictures of the internal organs that can be viewed on a screen. For this test, a slender instrument called a transducer is placed in the vagina. The views created by the sound waves show the shape, size, location and makeup of the cyst.
  • Laparoscopy: In the type of surgery, a laparoscope – a thin tube with a camera – is inserted into the abdomen to view the pelvic organs. Laparoscopy can also be used to treat cysts.
  • Blood tests: If you are past menopause, in addition to an ultrasound exam, you may be given a test that measures the amount of a substance called CA 125 in your blood. An increased CA 125 level may be a sign of ovarian cancer in women past menopause. In premenopausal women, an increased CA 125 level can be caused by many other conditions besides cancer. Therefore, this test is not a good indicator of ovarian cancer in premenopausal women.

If your health care provider thinks that your cyst may be cancer, more tests may be ordered. It may be recommended that you see a doctor who specializes in gynecologic cancer.

Treatment

If your cyst is not causing any symptoms, your health care provider may simply monitor it for 1 – 2 months and check to see whether it has changed in size. Most functional cysts go away on their own after one or two menstrual cycles. If you are past menopause and have concerns about cancer, your health care provider may recommend regular ultrasound exams to monitor your condition.

Finally…

Many women have ovarian cysts at some time during their lives. Most ovarian cysts present little or no discomfort and are harmless. The majority of ovarian cysts disappear without treatment within a few months. Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment.

Osteoporosis and Women: How to Prevent Weak Bones

Osteoporosis is a medical condition in which the bones become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue, typically as a result of hormonal changes, or deficiency of calcium or vitamin D. Osteoporosis develops gradually, usually without symptoms. A broken bone that occurs with minor trauma, such as a slight blow to the wrist, for example, is typically the first symptom. Approximately one in two women and one in four men over age 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their remaining lifetime.

Bone Density Testing

If you are age 65 or older, you should get a bone density test to screen for osteoporosis. If you are younger than 65 and have risk factors for osteoporosis, ask your doctor or nurse if you need a bone density test before age 65. Bone density testing is recommended for older women whose risk of breaking a bone is the same or greater than that of a 65‑year‑old white woman with no risk factors other than age. 

A bone mineral density (BMD) test measures the strength of your bones to help assess your future risk of fractures. This test is not usually performed until after menopause unless you have an unusual clinical situation or are at high risk for osteoporosis. It is quick, painless and noninvasive.

Preventing Weak Bones

The best way to prevent weak bones is to work on building strong ones. No matter how old you are, it is never too late to start. Building strong bones during childhood and the teen years is one of the best ways to keep from getting osteoporosis later. As you get older, your bones don’t make new bone fast enough to keep up with the bone loss. And after menopause, bone loss happens more quickly.

But there are steps you can take to slow the natural bone loss with aging and to prevent your bones from becoming weak and brittle. There are five simple steps to reduce your risk for osteoporosis:

  • Increase the amount of calcium and vitamin D in your diet.
  • Exercise regularly; bones and muscles respond to physical activity by becoming stronger. Weight-bearing exercises like walking and weight lifting are the most beneficial.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight. Being underweight or losing weight increases your risk of bone loss and fracture, and ultimately, of developing osteoporosis.
  • Quit smoking. Cigarette smoking (nicotine) can reduce bone mass and increase the risk of fracture, thus increasing your risk for osteoporosis. Ask your health care professional to recommend methods to help you quit.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation, if you drink. Excessive consumption of alcohol increases your risk of osteoporosis and fractures from falls.

For some women, medication may also be helpful for preventing additional bone loss. Ask your health care professional what the best osteoporosis prevention strategy is for you.

Finally…

The importance of beginning bone loss prevention at a very young age is now well understood. Bone health programs are being developed and implemented that targets girls as young as nine to 12 years of age and their parents, focusing on promoting good nutritional choices and participating in regular physical activity. Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment.

(Some information provided by Healthywomen.org)

Breast Cancer: Risks and What to Watch For

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. Most cases occur in women over the age of 50 but breast cancer can occur in younger women, especially if they have a family history of it. It’s important to be mindful of your body and stay aware of signs of early detection. If you notice any lump or change to your normal breast then you should see a doctor promptly.

Risk Factors

Women with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop breast cancer. A risk factor is something that may increase the chance of getting a disease. Some risk factors (such as drinking alcohol) can be avoided. But most risk factors (such as having a family history of breast cancer) can’t be avoided. Having a risk factor does not mean that a woman will get breast cancer. Many women who have risk factors never develop breast cancer.

BRCA: The Breast Cancer Gene

All inherited traits are passed down through genes. Each person has two copies of every gene: one gene from each parent. Since each parent passes down exactly half of their genes to each child, any of the parent’s genetic traits has a 50% chance of being passed on to their offspring.

The name “BRCA” is an abbreviation for “BReast CAncer gene.” BRCA1 and BRCA2 are two different genes that have been found to impact a person’s chances of developing breast cancer.

Every human has both the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Despite what their names might suggest, BRCA genes do not cause breast cancer. In fact, these genes normally play a big role in preventing breast cancer. They help repair DNA breaks that can lead to cancer and the uncontrolled growth of tumors. Because of this, the BRCA genes are known as tumor suppressor genes. However, in some people these tumor suppression genes do not work properly. When a gene becomes altered or broken, it doesn’t function correctly. This is called a gene mutation.

Early Detection: Signs and Symptoms

Most people who have breast cancer symptoms and signs will initially notice only one or two, and the presence of these symptoms and signs do not automatically mean that you have breast cancer.

By performing monthly breast self-exams, you will be able to more easily identify any changes in your breast.  Be sure to talk to your healthcare professional if you notice anything unusual.

  • A Change In How The Breast Or Nipple Feels
  • A Change In The Breast Or Nipple Appearance
  • Any Nipple Discharge—Particularly Clear Discharge Or Bloody Discharge

Women 40 and older should have mammograms every 1 or 2 years. Women who are younger than 40 and have risk factors for breast cancer should ask their healthcare professional whether mammograms are advisable and how often to have them.

Treatment

Do your research. Speak with support groups and breast cancer survivors. The more information you gather about your treatment options, the better decisions you’ll make. Your treatment options depend on the stage of your disease and these factors:

  • The size of the tumor in relation to the size of your breast
  • The results of specific pathology tests (hormone receptors, HER2 receptors, grade of the cells, proliferation rate of the cells)
  • Whether you have gone through menopause
  • Your general health
  • Your age
  • Your family history or other risk factors associated with a predisposition for developing breast or ovarian cancer

Remember that while your doctors can make recommendations and provide options, the final decisions regarding your treatment are yours. With good research, you can have confidence in the path you take. By embracing your part, you’ll give yourself the best odds for a long and healthy life.

Finally…

If breast cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, there is a good chance of a cure. In general, the more advanced the cancer is (the more it has grown and spread), the less chance that treatment will be curative. However, treatment can often slow the progress of the cancer. Her Care encourages women to take charge of their health! Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment. 

(Some information provided by the National Breast Cancer Foundation).

To All The Ladies: Your Unique Healthcare

adc-womens-health-her-care

Some information provided by the National Institute of Health.

Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic offers health services that exclusively focuses on women and their life transitions. ADC offers gender-specific medicine simply because women and men experience health and disease differently. HerCare offers a variety of different Woman’s health solutions including:

  • Sexual health including sexual dysfunction
  • Preoperative risk assessment
  • Cardiovascular risk profile and prevention
  • Midlife hormone management therapy
  • Osteoporosis and treatments including Bisphosphonate alternatives
  • Vulvar diseases
  • Well-woman exams

Gender Specific Science

It’s no secret that there are vast differences in reproductive health between men and women, however, there are also several other ways that men’s health differs from women’s. For example, men and women both experience different symptoms for the same medical problem. Men are also at higher risk of developing certain conditions, such as toxic occupational exposure, and women are at higher risk of developing others, such as osteoporosis, or thinning bones. Because there are differences in men’s and women’s health, different approaches are sometimes taken to prevent and treat various health conditions.

Women’s Health

Did you know that studies have shown that women live longer than men? Women live an average of 5 years longer, but they tend to be “sicker” than men. Despite a longer lifespan, there are conditions that might affect women primarily or more severely than men. For example, almost 12% of women in the United States are at risk for developing breast cancer during their lifetime. Male breast cancer accounts for less than 1% of existing breast cancer cases. Certain health issues and their different effects on women are listed below:

  • Alcohol abuse: While men are more likely to become dependent on, or addicted to, alcohol than women are throughout their lifetime, the health effects of alcohol abuse and alcoholism (when someone shows signs of addiction to alcohol) are more serious in women.
  • Heart disease: Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. Although heart disease is also the leading cause of death for men in the United States, women are more likely to die following a heart attack than men are.
  • Mental health: Women are more likely to show signs of depression and anxiety than men are.
  • Osteoarthritis: Arthritis is the leading cause of physical disability in the United States. The condition affects almost 27 million people, and affects more women than men.
  • Reproductive health: Women are able to carry and deliver babies.
  • Urinary tract health: Women are more likely than men are to experience urinary tract problems. For example, urinary incontinence affects twice as many women as men due to the way the female urinary tract is structured.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases: The effect of STDs/STIs on women can be more serious than on men. Untreated STDs/STIs cause infertility in at least 24,000 women each year in the United States.
  • Stress: According to a recent survey by the American Psychological Association, stress is on the rise for women. Women are more likely to report having stress, and almost 50% of all women in the survey, compared to 39% of the men, reported that their stress had increased over the past 5 years.
  • Stroke: More women than men suffer a stroke each year.

Women and men experience health and disease differently, which is why “Her Care” matters. Take control of your health today! Contact us if you have any questions or to set up an appointment.

3 Fascinating Facts about Bacteria

1. Humans are 99.9% bacterial

Nearly everything that happens in our body is a result of something happening with bacteria in our bodies. Even though we are “germ crazy” it’s interesting to note that our bodies are in fact bacterial. The term “Mutualism” refers to the study of how different kinds of bacteria work together to perform functions that help support things like: attaining nutrients from food, sophisticated immune systems and balancing of emotions and cognition.

2. Breast Milk: The original probiotic

Breast milk contains over 600 types of bacteria, all of which are beneficial for newborn babies to develop important functions in the body. The milk also contains a rich amount of Saccharides, or “milk sugars”, that break down in the baby’s colon to provide nutrients and food to the growing baby.

3. Nutrients can only be absorbed with the help of healthy bacteria

Bacteria of many kinds will clump around by the thousands in your colon. Why? Because much of what we eat cannot be absorbed without the help of these thousands of kinds of bacteria. It’s an interesting part of who we are. Theoretically, a germ-free human would be by definition malnourished since bacteria is required.

Updated – Free Lecture “Hormone Cookbook” Feat. Dr. Joanna Wilson

Jan 2014

What: FREE LECTURE

When: Friday, January 10, 4:00 – 4:45 p.m.

Where: Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic, Lobby, Building B

Topic: Hormones and Women’s Health

News Feature: “Glycemic Index” w/ Dr. Joanna Wilson, HerCare

Dr. Joanna Wilson, D.O. is a doctor for HerCare at Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic. HerCare is primary care for women with an emphasis on the biological differences of men and women in health and medical care. It’s clinical emphasis is mainly on contraception, menopause, osteoporosis, sexual health, pelvic floor issues and nonsurgical gynecologic issues. Learn more at www.HerCareatADC.com

On Glycemic Index

This Friday: “Gut Instinct” Event (Feat. Dr. Joanna Wilson)

Gut Instinct Lecture (HerCare)

Gut Instinct Lecture (HerCare)

New Pap Smear Guidelines (Feat. Dr. Joanna Wilson)

Interview Dr. Joanna Wilson, ADC | KFDA, News Channel 10, Amarillo

Interview Dr. Joanna Wilson, ADC | KFDA, News Channel 10, Amarillo

Joanna Wilson, D. O. Internal Medicine specializing in Women's Health

Joanna Wilson, D. O.
Internal Medicine specializing in Women’s Health

Annual exams are now not really annual. The recommendations for Pap Smears have changed.

It’s recommended now that Pap Smear screening should start at age 21 and for most women, they can stop screening at age 65.

The reason for this is because the quality of Pap Smear screening has improved so much. No longer are we taking samples and smearing them on a slide to examine them. Now, they can take all the cells and examine them thoroughly with more sensitivity. Therefore, we can know that exams don’t have to be annual since the samples are quality. The samples are much better quality now then they once were.

The ability to reduce screening while increasing sensitivity is a unique thing in this day and age. It means you don’t have to be anxious about getting a Pap Smear once a year. For people who aren’t comfortable skipping their annual exam, by all means go to the annual exam to learn the other things you need such as blood pressure, weight and other things.

But the quality of the samples are so good now, and since we know so much more about the human papillomavirus – how it changes the cells an  what the timeline is  – we can, with very good science, say that screening every 3 years without the HPV add-on, or we can screen every 5 years with that test. We’re in good hands.

To learn more, visit http://www.ADPCA.com