A newsletter from El Camino Women’s Medical Group
|2024, Issue 1
|January 8, 2022
Welcome to our first newsletter of 2024! I hope everyone was able to get some time off work to spend doing the things you love.
We have many health goals to add to your 2024 resolutions: Dr. Soohoo writes on a New Start for your Skin, and Juliet, a Health and Wellness Coach, writes on Motivation. We also have a contribution from a licensed clinical psychologist, Sarah Rizvi, PhD about Postpartum anxiety, along with many other fantastic articles. I hope, as always, you find something helpful for your health and well-being.
Some notes about our practice: we will be phasing out our online payment form on the website by the end of the quarter. All future online payments must be made through your Healow app or patient portal. You’ll get a notice as we get closer.
A gentle reminder that we are still in the middle of Santa Clara County’s “Designated Winter Respiratory Virus Period,” which started November 1st, 2023, and will continue through March 31, 2024. This means masking is required for everyone inside a public health building, which includes El Camino Hospital and our office. It also has an impact on visitor policies at the hospital.
Best wishes to all of you and your loved ones for a prosperous 2024
In this issue:
End of the Year Survey
As we enter 2024, we hope to continue to invest in our staff and physicians to provide the best care possible to our patients. Please check your emails for a survey from our office and take 3-4 minutes to give us your feedback. Constructive criticism and feedback are welcome, and we do our best to review feedback promptly and address issues within the office to improve the care our patients receive.
Office Visitor Policy Updates
We allow an asymptomatic visitor to join you at visits. Please do your best to limit visitors to one person. Santa Clara County requires masking in all public health facilities until March 31, 2023.
As we update our online payment systems to make them more efficient, by the end of March of this year, we’ll be phasing out our online payment page, which is accessible by our website. You can pay all bills through your patient portal or the healow app. Payment at the time of check-in for outstanding balances will remain an option.
Don’t forget to follow us on social media to stay updated on office information and women’s health topics. You can follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram. Your feedback on our office practices and physician and staff communication is always welcome.
Online Prenatal and Women’s Health Classes
We are now offering four virtual prenatal classes a month online. These classes cover preparing for childbirth, breastfeeding, and newborn care. These classes have been very popular, and we plan to have them every month. They are also available for women interested in signing up, though we prioritize our patients.
Virtual Breastfeeding Class
This is a 2-hour class presented by Nadia, RN, our lactation educator. The class is a virtual, in-depth review of breastfeeding. Learn how to get the best start, avoid pain, make sure your baby is getting enough, and when to ask for help!
Virtual Newborn Care & Safety Class
2.5-hour class presented by Nadia, RN
Practical tips for caring for a newborn
- Appearance of newborn
- Normal skin conditions
- bathing & diaper changing
- safe sleeping
- Newborn safety:
- Car seat safety
- Choking hazards
- Poison control
- Childproofing your home
Childbirth Preparation Part One
2.5-hour class presented by Nadia, RN:
- The last month of pregnancy
- Preparing for the hospital
- Laboring at home, when to call and when to come in
- Admission to the hospital
- Active labor
- Pain management
Childbirth Preparation Part Two
2.5-hour class presented by Nadia, RN:
- The last stage of labor: pushing
- Vaginal delivery
- Cesarean delivery
- Initial recovery in the hospital
- The postpartum period
You can learn more about these classes or register here.
Research at ECWMG
Stanford University is interested in cord blood samples obtained during delivery. You can learn more about the Sunbeam Study, which aims to learn how environmental and genetic factors play a role in food allergy and eczema development. You can register here.
A New Start for Your Skin
Golden State Dermatology
Los Gatos, CA
The holidays are over, and with the kick-off of a new year, perhaps you’ve begun to re-assess your health and fitness goals. What can you do to improve your skin and appearance in 2024?
Consider the following tips:
- Go slowly. Don’t try a bunch of new products (even if they are expensive and were gifted to you) all at once. Sure, embarking on an updated and promising new skincare routine sounds exciting, but beware of possible fads and even worse, irritation or allergic reactions to products that fail to live up to their IG hype. Try one product at a time (ideally, for at least a week) and apply it somewhere else besides your delicate face and neck. For example, a small dab behind your ear for a week to test it might be a safer approach than applying something new over your entire face.
- Get your whole skin examined by a board-certified dermatologist. Even if you are not worried about a particular mole, skin cancer is the most common human cancer and every adult should have their entire birthday suit checked at least once a year. Remember that early detection and appropriate treatment are your best defenses against all types of cancer.
- Sun protection is the best beauty aid. That includes hats, clothing, and sunscreen. No cosmetic treatment can completely overcome the aging effects of the sun. Wrinkles and brown spots are not only the result of aging. Most of the skin changes we attribute to aging are in fact due to exposure to the sun (even on cloudy days!) and other sources of ultraviolet radiation such as tanning devices.
- Decide what is important to you. Whether it be removing an irritating mole that has been rubbing against your waistband, increasing hair growth on your scalp, or eliminating wrinkles that make you appear tired or stressed, consider seeing an experienced dermatologist who can help formulate a treatment plan that makes sense for you.
- Skin reflects both physical and emotional health. Be sure to take care of yourself by getting adequate sleep, reducing stress when possible, eating a balanced diet, and engaging in regular exercise. These are the most effective ways to improve your sense of well-being and enhance your skin’s appearance.
Best wishes to you for a healthy and happy New Year!
555 Knowles Drive
Los Gatos, CA 95032
Juliet Malray, NBC-HWC
Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coach
Happy New Year! How much are you relying on motivation to help you reach your resolution goals? Fun fact: Research shows that only 9% of Americans who make resolutions complete them; 23% of people quit their resolutions by the end of the first week and 43% quit by the end of January.
Whether you want to start a new exercise routine or change how you eat, you may be relying on your motivation to “start your engine” and keep you going. The truth is motivation is not reliable; it comes and goes due to it being a feeling. The following are some ideas that can help you reach your health goals:
- Find Your Why: Ask yourself “What is important to me about my wellness” and “What will I accomplish when I reach my goal”. When you are clear on what you want and why, it can allow you to overcome obstacles and continue when your motivation ebbs.
- Develop Habits: A great way to do this is to start small and make the habit incredibly easy to do. Then increase your steps little by little. An example is meditate for 2 minutes 1 time a week at bedtime then increase to 5 minutes. You can also break it up into easy “chunks”- Instead of 30 minutes of exercise at one time, you break it up into 3 sets of 10 minutes.
- No Failures Exist: Many of us feel like if we “wobble” and miss a workout or eat cake that is the end all for us. That is not true! It is helpful to let go of the ideology of “falling off the wagon”. There is no perfection and our lives are not linear (neither is weight). Give yourself grace, know that it is normal to not be perfect in your workouts/nutrition, and get back quickly on your health journey.
- Think of Your Future Self: Write down what you want to achieve as if you have already reached the goal; include how you feel, who you spend your time with, any achievements, what you wear, and more. Use “I am” instead of “I want to”. Try visualizing yourself there. When you find your motivation ebbing, re-read what you wrote and/or visualize your future self and your life. It’s about the long-term goal.
- Align with your Values: You can feel inspired and connected to what you do when it aligns with your values. Do you value determination, vitality, curiosity, optimism, productivity, responsibility, fun, success, trust or dependability? When you feel you need direction tap into your values to live with more integrity and drive you toward meeting your goals.
- Be Okay with Being Uncomfortable: Putting off your health goals and sitting on the couch streaming your favorite show and eating chips/cookies/fill in the blank is easy and comforting. It takes time and energy to exercise and prepare healthy meals. Look at this discomfort as a new opportunity to be a better version of yourself. When you are comfortable, you don’t change.
- Make a list of your Non-negotiables: Create a small list (up to 5) of things that you make a priority. The non-negotiables can be daily or on different days of the week. You have the power to control the quality of your life-choose you!
- Reading suggestions: A couple of good books about habits are Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg and Atomic Habits by James Clear
Taking care of your wellness is a priority. As your own expert, you can experiment with the ideas above to find what works best for you. You deserve to feel good and live your dream life! What will you do when your motivation decreases to make it to your wellness goals?
“True behavior change is identity change. You might start a habit because of motivation, but the only reason you’ll stick with one is that it becomes part of your identity.” — James Clear
Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coach
Postpartum Anxiety, A Shadow Over Motherhood
What is Postpartum Anxiety?
Often when we imagine a new mother, we expect that she would be gazing upon her new baby in her arms and feeling intense love, joy, and excitement. While this may be true, 10% of women will also be experiencing another emotion: Anxiety. They may identify as fearful parents and this can be overwhelming. The anxiety can feel like a shadow, darkening what women assume to be a happy period in their lives.
While Postpartum Anxiety is an umbrella term encompassing several types of anxiety, there are some common symptoms that should not be ignored.
|Cognitive (thinking) Symptoms
|Checking behaviors: Keep checking to see if the baby is breathing or doors are locked
|Racing heart rate
|Constant worry something “bad will happen”
|Reluctance to leave the baby with trusted adults.
|Difficulty breathing or catching your breath
|Forgetfulness or difficulty concentrating or
|Being overly controlling
|Can’t sit still
|Difficulty calming the mind during breaks/downtime
|Avoid leaving the house.
|Obsessive thinking, can’t let things go
|Feeling “on edge”
|Thoughts of death or disaster
|Ritualistic behaviors (hand washing, counting, cleaning, hoarding)
For some women, the feelings can be so intense they experience an anxiety attack, clinically known as a Panic Attack. They experience several of the symptoms above all at once, feel out of control and often confuse these symptoms as those of a heart attack. It isn’t uncommon for people to go to the ER because they think they must be dying. It can be a very frightening experience.
What causes Postpartum Anxiety?
Women often blame themselves when they are struggling, but it is not their fault. There is no single culprit for the causation of postpartum anxiety, but it does help to understand the many factors involved.
Biological Factors: Hormones are still fluctuating in the postpartum period and during breastfeeding. Sleep deprivation can also contribute to anxiety.
Psychological Factors: Having a baby really does change everything. Changes in identity and uncertainty in the new role of mother can impact anxiety. Women often feel grief for their past identity during this time of transition. Many women report feeling a great deal of pressure and responsibility.
Social Factors: New mothers are sometimes so caught up in caring for their babies they become isolated. This often happens when they don’t have enough family or friends nearby to provide physical and emotional support. Romantic relationships also change with the arrival of a new baby, and this can be a difficult adjustment and there may be more conflict as the couple tries to find balance.
What can be done about Postpartum Anxiety?
We expect motherhood to be difficult and have its challenges, but if you are experiencing the symptoms of postpartum anxiety, you do not have to suffer alone. While some women hope for it to go away on its own, this isn’t very common and it may be years before it improves. There is so much that can be done today to help you thrive during the postpartum period and get back to feeling like yourself.
Psychotherapy: There are several types of therapy that could be effective. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a gold standard treatment for anxiety and we have a great deal of data showing that it helps women in the postpartum period. There are therapists for moms who provide specialized counseling for women in the perinatal period. Look for the letters PMH-C (Perinatal Mental Health-Certified) after the therapist’s name to identify those who are certified.
Medication: A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in treating mental health issues. A reproductive psychiatrist is even further specialized in working with women in the perinatal period and can help you decide which medicine would work for you and whether or not it would impact breastfeeding.
Support Groups: Having poor support is a social factor that contributes to postpartum anxiety, and being part of a support group can help. These groups can be online or in person at your local hospital or a therapist’s office. Women in the group feel less alone sharing their experiences with people who understand and they also share resources for recovery.
It is important to note that therapists and physicians are licensed by state, so even if they are not in your town, you may be able to still see someone over video anywhere in your state and start getting help from the comfort of your own home.
If you have been experiencing postpartum anxiety, it is important to know that this is not your fault, you are not alone and there are people ready to help you. Often when women start treatment, they feel as if they are coming out of the darkness. Start today by telling your doctor how you are feeling or search for therapists and/or psychiatrists specialized in postpartum anxiety by visiting The Postpartum Support International Provider Directory. Taking care of yourself is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your children.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
233 E. Meadow Drive
Los Gatos, CA 95032
Dr. Sarah Rizvi is a Bay Area psychologist specializing in counseling for mothers, particularly women in the perinatal period. Her office is located in Los Gatos, CA and she treats women all over the state of California via telehealth/video. She provides individual counseling as well as group therapy. To learn more about Dr. Rizvi, please visit www.sarahrizviphd.com.
Board-certified, Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
With school sports and sports leagues back in full swing, nasal injuries are not uncommon. In fact, nasal bone fractures are the most common type of facial fracture simply because the nose protrudes from the face. Nasal fractures can be isolated (the only injury present) or can occur in combination with fractures of other facial bones or other head injuries.
The external nose is comprised of bony and cartilaginous parts. The nasal bones are a pair of bones that meet the frontal bone of your skull. Other parts of the external nose are composed of cartilaginous subunits. Supporting the nose is the septum, the “middle wall” of the nose, which is made of cartilage in the front and bone further back. In general, when a bone is fractured, or broken, the pieces may still remain in good alignment or they can become displaced (out of alignment) to different degrees. They may also be broken into multiple pieces.
The nose has a very robust blood supply and when you sustain a broken nose, there is often an associated nosebleed. Additionally, bruising and swelling of the nasal bridge and even around the eyes can be expected and may often increase in the several days following the initial injury before gradually subsiding.
Assuming there are no other major injuries, evaluation of nasal bone fracture is many times delayed for at least 3-5 days to allow for most of the swelling to decrease so that examination can be more accurate. On exam, the assessment includes evaluation for open wounds, instability of the nose, numbness of the face, and leakage of cerebrospinal fluid which is a very rare complication.
It is also very important to check for a septal hematoma or a blood collection associated with the septum. If this is not identified, the tissue of the septum can die, ultimately causing a perforation or hole in the septum. Additionally, imaging such as a plain X-ray or CT imaging is sometimes but rarely needed for further evaluation of a nasal fracture alone.
While every injury is different, 2 main questions are asked:
- How are you breathing?
- How does the nose look?
If the answer to both those questions is that there is no change from your baseline, then no further treatment is usually necessary and the nose can be left to heal on its own. If the broken nasal bones are significantly out of place, then this could cause either obstruction to breathing and/or a noticeable deformity to the external nose. In this case, a procedure called a closed reduction can be considered. This is a procedure that can “shift” the broken nasal bones closer into alignment. This is optimally performed within 2 weeks of the injury before the bones heal and fixate, making manipulation difficult if not unachievable. Beyond this time frame, the nasal bones may have to be “re-broken” or a formal rhinoplasty surgery performed in order to improve alignment. In more complicated injuries, sometimes surgery to open the nose may be indicated.
Given the location of the nose, individuals participating in contact sports or activities with a risk of facial injury should use appropriate protective gear.
Board-certified, Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
An Integrative Mind-Body Approach to Cancer Prevention
Board Certified Psychiatrist Board Certified Internal Medicine
Board Certified Integrated Medicine
In the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare, integrative medicine stands out as a synergistic approach, integrating the cutting-edge developments of Western allopathic medicine with the diverse, holistic wisdom of complementary and alternative healing practices in a research-informed way. This integrated approach goes beyond treating physical symptoms, encompassing emotional, mental, and environmental dimensions of well-being. This makes it exceptionally effective for the holistic prevention and management of cancer, offering a more complete framework for patient care.
With 1.9 million new cancer cases in the U.S. in 2023 and a 40% lifetime risk, the need for effective prevention is evident. WHO data suggests that 30-50% of cancer deaths are preventable.
By focusing on the whole person and leveraging the strengths of diverse health systems, integrative medicine offers a proactive and personalized strategy for cancer prevention.
Diet and Nutrition: A Cornerstone of Cancer Prevention
Our dietary choices play a pivotal role in cancer prevention. A standout recommendation is the Mediterranean diet, which studies have found to reduce all-cause cancer mortality by 16% and overall cancer risk by 19%. This dietary pattern allows for flexibility based on individual culinary and cultural preferences. It emphasizes a variety of vegetables and fruits along the entire color spectrum, especially those in the Cruciferous family like broccoli, cabbage, and kale. The diet also includes nuts, seeds, healthy fats such as olive oil, whole grains, beans, legumes, and a variety of spices. Oily fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids have significant anti-inflammatory effects.
It’s advisable to avoid foods such as processed meats (bacon, ham), which are Group 1 carcinogens, and red meat, a Group 2A carcinogen. Also, reducing the intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, trans fats, excess salt, and oils with a high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio (like sunflower, corn, soybean, grapeseed, and safflower oils) is beneficial for cancer prevention.
Remarkably, meal timing can affect cancer risk. Eating evening meals earlier, preferably before 9 p.m. or at least two hours before bedtime, can reduce the risk of breast or prostate cancer by 20%, highlighting the importance of aligning mealtimes with natural circadian rhythms for cancer prevention.
Beyond Fitness: How Diverse Physical Activities Shield Against Cancer
Physical activity is a powerful tool in cancer prevention. Engaging in regular exercise reduces the risk of at least 10 types of cancers, including breast, colon, endometrial, kidney, liver, lung, ovarian, pancreatic, stomach, and esophageal cancers.
Insulin resistance, familiar in the context of diabetes, is also intricately linked to cancer. Excessive carbohydrate consumption and consequent high glucose levels in the blood can lead to an overproduction of insulin. Over time, cells may become resistant to insulin, leaving excess glucose and insulin in the bloodstream. This excess insulin stimulates the liver to produce insulin-like growth factors, which can promote cell growth and potentially lead to cancer.
Sleep: An Integral Component in Cancer Prevention
Studies have consistently shown a correlation between sleep duration and cancer risk, particularly breast cancer. The ideal amount of sleep is around 7 to 8 hours per night.
Shift work, which disrupts normal sleep patterns, presents a further risk. The irregular hours and altered sleep-wake cycles common in shift work have been linked to increased instances of breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men. This increase is believed to be partly due to the disruption of melatonin production. Melatonin, a hormone produced in response to darkness, has protective properties against cancer. Therefore, anything that disrupts its normal
production cycle, such as irregular sleep patterns or exposure to light during typical sleeping hours, may increase the risk of developing cancer.
Vitamin D: A Vital Ally in Cancer Prevention
Vitamin D plays a key role in cancer prevention and in the outcomes of those with a cancer diagnosis. Ensuring normal levels of vitamin D not only reduces the risk of developing cancer but also decreases the likelihood of dying from it, particularly in cases of breast, colorectal, and ovarian cancers. Regular monitoring and supplementation, if necessary, are important.
Infections and Cancer: The Link
Certain infections, such as HPV, H. pylori, and hepatitis viruses, are linked to increased cancer risk. Vaccinations and early treatments are effective preventive measures.
The Link Between Stress and Cancer
Chronic stress, the kind that lingers over time, can have a profound effect on physical and emotional well-being. The link between stress and cancer has many dimensions:
Immune System Suppression: One of the key connections between stress and cancer lies in the immune system. The immune system plays a vital role in identifying and eliminating abnormal cells, including those that could potentially become cancerous. When we’re chronically stressed, our immune response can weaken, making it harder for our body to recognize and destroy cancer cells.
Inflammation and Cancer: Chronic stress can lead to chronic inflammation in the body. Inflammation is a known factor in cancer development and progression. When there is a large amount of inflammatory markers circulating, It creates an environment that can support the growth and spread of cancer cells
Behavioral Factors: Stress can lead to unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, poor dietary choices, and lack of exercise. These are established risk factors for various types of cancer. When we’re under stress, we may be more prone to engaging in these habits, increasing overall cancer risk.
Hormonal Changes: Prolonged stress can also disrupt hormone balance, including the release of cortisol and adrenaline. These hormonal changes can have various effects on the body, and some researchers believe they may promote the growth of cancer cells.
DNA Damage: Stress can potentially cause DNA damage through oxidative stress and other mechanisms. DNA damage is a significant factor in cancer development because it can lead to genetic mutations that trigger uncontrolled cell growth.
Managing Stress for Cancer Prevention:
Stress management is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Practices that reduce stress potentially lower overall cancer risk. Relaxation techniques tap into the mind-body connection. The following relaxation techniques have been shown to be effective in managing stress:
- Deep Breathing: Simple yet powerful, deep breathing exercises can instantly reduce stress. Inhale deeply through your nose, hold for a few seconds, and exhale slowly through your mouth. This calms the nervous system.
- Meditation: Mindfulness meditation encourages you to focus on the present moment, letting go of worries and stressors. Regular practice can rewire the brain to handle stress more effectively.
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation: This technique involves tensing and then releasing each muscle group in your body. It’s an excellent way to release physical tension caused by stress.
- Spiritual-based practices: Yoga and Tai Chi, ritual prayer (Muslim daily prayers): These physical practices combine movement and meditation, helping to reduce stress and improve flexibility. They're particularly effective at reducing stress-related muscle tension.
Two keys to incorporating these techniques for managing stress include practicing consistency and creating a specific space in your life for it. Like any skill, relaxation techniques require practice. Make them a regular part of your routine. In addition, it is important to find a quiet, comfortable space to practice relaxation. Create an environment that helps you unwind.
Adopting and Cultivating a Positive Mindset
Recent studies suggest that adopting a positive outlook and mindset may contribute to reducing the risk of cancer and improving overall health outcomes. A positive mindset is a mental and emotional state characterized by an optimistic outlook, resilience in the face of challenges, and an inclination toward constructive thinking. It involves embracing gratitude, optimism, and a proactive approach to life's ups and downs.
Strategies for Cultivating a Positive Mindset:
Practice Gratitude: Start each day with gratitude. Reflect on things you’re thankful for, no matter how small. Gratitude shifts focus from what’s lacking to what’s present.
Mindfulness and Living in the Present: Engage in mindfulness practices like meditation or simply being present in the moment. Mindfulness helps to observe thoughts without judgment and reduce anxiety about the past or future.
Positive Affirmations: Use positive self-talk. Encourage and motivate yourself with affirmations that reinforce self-worth and capability. Repeat them regularly to rewire your thoughts.
Surround Yourself with Positivity: Spend time with people who uplift and support you. Surroundings that radiate positivity can significantly impact your mindset.
Limit Negative Influences: Reduce exposure to negative news, social media, or environments that breed pessimism. Being mindful of what you allow into your mental space helps maintain positivity.
Focus on Solutions: Instead of fixating on problems, shift focus to finding solutions. This mindset shift nurtures problem-solving abilities and resilience.
Engage in Enjoyable Activities: Pursue hobbies or activities that bring joy. Engaging in things you love fosters positivity and acts as a stress reliever.
Practice Self-Compassion: Treat yourself with kindness and understanding. Embracing imperfections without self-criticism builds resilience.
Set Attainable Goals: Define realistic goals and celebrate incremental achievements. Small wins contribute significantly to a positive mindset.
Cultivate Optimism: Train your mind to see possibilities in challenges. Optimism doesn’t ignore difficulties but believes in overcoming them.
By integrating these strategies into daily life, we can gradually reshape our perspective, finding greater joy, resilience, and contentment. Embracing positivity doesn’t eliminate life’s challenges but equips us to navigate them with a more optimistic and empowered mindset. Start small, stay consistent, and witness the transformative power of a positive mindset in your life.
Conclusion: Embracing Mindful Attention for Cancer Resilience
Warding off the daunting threat of cancer doesn’t necessarily require grand or exotic measures. The journey towards a healthier life and increased resilience against cancer lies in consistently paying mindful attention to numerous small yet significant lifestyle choices.
Balancing many facets of health creates a holistic approach that not only reduces cancer risk but also enhances overall quality of life. In essence, it's the daily, mindful decisions we make—covering everything from what we eat to how we cope with stress—that collectively forge our path to a more cancer-resilient life.
About Dr. Malathi and Ayur Integrative Medicine
Dr. Malathi Acharya is the founder and Chief Medical Officer of Ayur Integrative Medicine, where she empowers clients diagnosed with cancer to navigate their journey with strength, resilience, and a renewed sense of purpose. She has over 25 years of patient care experience in the traditional Western medicine system and finds it to be principally disease and medication-based system that misses taking a holistic view of health. To address that gap, Ayur provides a transformative healing experience for its clients in 3 steps: Step 1: Initial Consultation and Comprehensive Evaluation; Step 2: Developing a Personalized Plan, Step 3: Transformation and Empowerment. Get started at www.ayur.today
About Dr. Karim and Peace Tree Mental Health
Dr. Sanjana Karim is the founder and director of Peace Tree Mental Health. In her psychotherapy & psychiatry practice, she helps women facing cancer’s difficult life transitions find hope, strength and clarity. Dr. Karim is dual board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and the American Board of Preventive Medicine and has over 15 years of experience in her field. She is also a writer and public speaker on integrative psychological wellness and an expert in psycho-oncology.
Iron Deficiency Anemia: A Silent Epidemic Among Women
Iron deficiency anemia is a pervasive yet often overlooked health concern, affecting a staggering 35% of women under the age of 50 in the United States. Despite its prevalence, this condition frequently goes undiagnosed due to its subtle symptoms that can easily be mistaken for everyday fatigue or stress—the lack of routine screening compounds the issue. Current guidelines primarily concentrate on anemia during pregnancy rather than addressing the broader spectrum of women’s health. We will delve into the intricacies of iron deficiency anemia, exploring its causes, symptoms, and potential consequences while emphasizing the critical need for awareness and proactive screening among American women.
Understanding Iron Deficiency Anemia
Iron deficiency anemia occurs when the body lacks an adequate supply of iron, a vital component for producing hemoglobin, the protein responsible for transporting oxygen in the blood. In women, this condition is particularly prevalent due to factors such as menstruation, pregnancy, and dietary habits. The body’s inability to maintain sufficient iron levels can lead to health issues, impacting energy levels, cognitive function, and overall well-being.
Symptoms and Recognition
One of the challenges associated with iron deficiency anemia is the subtlety of its symptoms, which often mirror those of everyday stress and fatigue. Common indicators include persistent fatigue, weakness, pale skin, shortness of breath, and difficulty concentrating. Unfortunately, these signs can easily be dismissed or attributed to a hectic lifestyle, leading many women to endure the effects of iron deficiency unknowingly.
Compounding the issue is the lack of routine screening for iron deficiency in standard annual checkups. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) guidelines primarily focus on anemia during pregnancy, leaving a significant gap in addressing iron deficiency among non-pregnant women. As a result, many cases go undetected until the symptoms become severe, emphasizing the urgent need for a broader and more proactive approach to screening. In our office, in addition to pregnancy screening, we screen all women who are not seeing a primary care physician every year with a CBC.
Causes and Risk Factors
Several factors contribute to iron deficiency anemia in women. Menstruation, a natural and cyclical process, can lead to significant iron loss over time. Furthermore, inadequate dietary intake of iron-rich foods, such as red meat, leafy greens, and legumes, can exacerbate the problem. Vegetarian and vegan diets, while beneficial for many aspects of health, may inadvertently increase the risk of iron deficiency if not carefully planned to include alternative iron sources.
Pregnancy poses additional challenges as the body’s demand for iron intensifies to support fetal development. Women who experience heavy menstrual bleeding, have a history of gastrointestinal disorders, or undergo frequent blood donation may also be at a heightened risk of developing iron deficiency anemia.
Consequences of Untreated Iron Deficiency Anemia
The repercussions of untreated iron deficiency anemia extend beyond mere fatigue and weakness. Chronic iron deficiency can compromise the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infections. Cognitive function may also be impaired, affecting memory, concentration, and overall mental acuity. Additionally, women with iron deficiency anemia may experience complications during pregnancy, leading to preterm birth or low birth weight.
Raising Awareness and Taking Action
Given the prevalence of iron deficiency anemia among women and its potential health implications, it is crucial to raise awareness and advocate for routine screening. Public health initiatives should emphasize the importance of maintaining a balanced diet rich in iron, especially for women with additional risk factors.
Educational campaigns can empower women to recognize the subtle signs of iron deficiency and encourage them to seek medical attention promptly. Moreover, healthcare providers must integrate routine iron level assessments into standard blood work during annual checkups, not just during visits for pregnancy.
Iron deficiency anemia represents a significant yet often overlooked health concern, affecting around 35% of women under the age of 50 in the United States. The lack of routine screening and the subtlety of its symptoms contribute to the underdiagnosis of this condition, leaving many women to endure its effects without proper intervention. By understanding the causes, recognizing the symptoms, and advocating for proactive screening, we can bridge the gap in addressing iron deficiency anemia among American women, ensuring a healthier and more vibrant future for all.Top of Form
MonaLisa Touch: A Non-Hormonal, Annual Treatment for Vaginal Dryness and Painful Sex
Over the course of our days spent caring for women across the stages of life, addressing intimate concerns with innovative solutions is increasingly important. Vaginal dryness and painful intercourse are common issues affecting many women, often arising from various factors like hormonal changes, childbirth, or aging. The MonaLisa Touch CO2 Laser has emerged as a groundbreaking non-hormonal procedure offering hope, providing relief, and revitalizing intimate well-being.
Understanding Vaginal Dryness and Painful Intercourse:
Vaginal dryness, a condition characterized by insufficient moisture in the vaginal tissues, can lead to discomfort, itching, and pain during intercourse. This concern is often associated with hormonal changes, such as those occurring during menopause, breastfeeding, or certain medical treatments. When these symptoms are specific to menopause, the condition is called the Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause. Traditional remedies have included hormonal therapies, lubricants, and moisturizers, but the MonaLisa Touch CO2 Laser is revolutionizing the treatment landscape.
MonaLisa Touch CO2 Laser: The Technological Marvel:
The MonaLisa Touch CO2 Laser is a cutting-edge medical technology designed to address vaginal health concerns without the need for hormonal interventions. This fractional CO2 laser system stimulates collagen production and improves blood flow in the vaginal tissues, resulting in enhanced hydration and elasticity. The procedure is minimally invasive and is performed in our office, making it an attractive option for women seeking effective and convenient solutions.
How MonaLisa Touch Works:
The MonaLisa Touch procedure involves the use of a fractional CO2 laser that emits controlled energy pulses into the vaginal tissues. The treatment stimulates the production of collagen, the protein responsible for maintaining the structural integrity and elasticity of the skin. By increasing collagen levels in the vaginal walls, the laser helps restore moisture, improve tissue tone, and alleviate the symptoms of vaginal dryness.
Benefits of MonaLisa Touch CO2 Laser:
- Non-Hormonal Approach: One of the key advantages of MonaLisa Touch is its non-hormonal nature. Many women, especially those unable to undergo hormonal therapies, appreciate this alternative for its ability to address vaginal dryness without introducing hormones into the body.
- Minimally Invasive and Painless: The procedure is performed in-office and is minimally invasive. Most patients report little to no discomfort during or after the treatment, making it a convenient option for women with busy lifestyles.
- Quick and Convenient: MonaLisa Touch sessions are typically short, lasting around 5 to 10 minutes. With minimal downtime, women can resume their daily activities almost immediately, making it a practical choice for those with hectic schedules.
- Long-Lasting Results: Many women experience noticeable improvements after the first session, with optimal results achieved through a series of treatments. The enhanced collagen production triggered by the laser leads to long-lasting benefits, providing sustained relief from vaginal dryness and discomfort.
- Improved Sexual Satisfaction: Beyond addressing physical symptoms, the MonaLisa Touch is associated with improved sexual satisfaction. By rejuvenating the vaginal tissues, the laser contributes to heightened sensitivity and increased comfort during intercourse.
Real-life testimonials attest to the transformative impact of the MonaLisa Touch CO2 Laser on women’s lives. Patients often express relief from the discomfort of vaginal dryness and report an improved quality of intimate relationships. The positive feedback underscores the efficacy of this non-hormonal approach to vaginal health.
The MonaLisa Touch CO2 Laser has emerged as a beacon of hope for women seeking non-hormonal solutions to address vaginal dryness and painful intercourse. By harnessing the power of fractional CO2 laser technology, this procedure stimulates collagen production, enhancing vaginal tissue health and restoring moisture. With minimal invasiveness, convenience, and impressive results, MonaLisa Touch is transforming the landscape of women’s health, empowering women to reclaim their intimate well-being. As the realm of medical technology continues to evolve, the MonaLisa Touch CO2 Laser stands as a testament to the remarkable progress being made in the field of women’s health.If this is a treatment you are interested, please schedule a consultation with any of our physicians at El Camino Women’s Medical Group. If you are ready to schedule, contact our office manager, moc.n1708698956emowo1708698956nimac1708698956le@ra1708698956hS1708698956.
El Camino Hospital Visitor Policy Updates
For the main hospital, El Camino Health allows two daily visitors with patients in Labor and Delivery and nearly all inpatient units. There are minimum age restrictions that vary by unit. Check the link above before coming to the main hospital for any new updates.
For details specific to the Orchard Pavillion, also known as the Women’s Hospital, please read here. As we all know, this pandemic has been through several phases with changing recommendations, so these visitor policies may change. At no point during the pandemic has El Camino Hospital prevented laboring or postpartum women from having at least one visitor with her that met requirements.
Highlights From Our Women’s Health Blog
Our Women’s Health Blog continues to be a very popular part of our website, attracting over two thousand readers a month worldwide. We find our blog a helpful vehicle to provide up-to-date information on relevant women’s health issues. Last quarter an article on paternal age and its relationship to childbearing was the most-read article on our blog. Almost 3,000 people read up on paternal age! An older article on the science behind couples trying to conceive a baby of a certain gender, with over 1,500 people wanting to see if they can influence the gender they conceive. Finally, our third most-read article this last quarter, read by over 1,200 people was the very popular article by guest author Dr. Shyamali Singhal on avoiding cancer-causing chemicals in cosmetics. It’s been the most commonly read article in our blog for almost a year.
We update our blog a few times monthly with information on various women’s health issues. Recent posts have been on Exercising Before Pregnancy to optimize health for mother and baby during pregnancy, a primer on the Nexplanon, as it is becoming increasingly popular among teenagers, and most recently on the major impact of the Flu vaccine in protecting newborns. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram to be informed when we post new articles and stay updated on women’s health news.
General Office Information
|2495 Hospital Dr. Bldg 670
Mountain View, CA 94040