Why It’s Important for Pregnant Women to Have a Flu Shot

Cooler weather, the falling of leaves and an increase in coughs and sneezes are all signs that the dreaded flu season is here once again. Flu season in the United States runs between October and May, and new strains of the influenza virus appear every year, meaning vaccinations should be repeated annually.

If you’re pregnant you may have wondered if you were able to get the flu shot this winter. The flu shot is safe and highly recommended for pregnant women, here’s why:

Why should pregnant women get a flu shot?

Influenza (the ‘flu’) can be very dangerous for pregnant woman as they are at greater risk of having severe complications like pneumonia which are dangerous for the mother and could, in turn, lead to an increased risk of miscarriage.

If you get vaccinated in your third trimester a flu vaccination also helps protect your baby from the flu until they are old enough to have a shot themselves at 6 months old.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends all pregnant women get a flu vaccination. 

Pregnancy Women & The Flu Shot

Is it safe and are there side effects?

A flu vaccination administered with a needle has been approved for pregnant women and has been given to millions of women with good safety records.

However, the nasal spray vaccination is not recommended for pregnant women. This is because the nasal spray (FluMist) contains a live virus, and the needle vaccination does not.

Multiple studies have shown women who have a flu shot do not have an increased risk of miscarriage, while contracting influenza while pregnant would be more likely to put the mother and baby at risk.

The flu shot may have some minor side effects, which are no more likely for pregnant women or babies than they are for other individuals. Side effects may include headaches, aches, pains, or a slight fever. 

If you are prone to dizziness or fainting when having injections or seeing needles, you should tell your doctor or nurse before having your flu shot.

What is thimerosal?

Some flu vaccines contain a mercury-based preservative called thimerosal which is added to vaccines to prevent bacteria growth. Thimerosal has been used in vaccines for over 70 years as a preservative to inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi in vaccines.

Most studies have shown the small amount of thimerosal in vaccines does not cause harm to an expecting mother or her baby and does not increase a risk of autism. 

Some people may have a rare allergy to thimerosal and may experience redness at the injection site. There is thimerosal-free flu vaccine available for people who want to avoid thimerosal.

Can breastfeeding Moms get a flu shot?

You can safely get a flu shot while breastfeeding and this will help protect both yourself and your baby. Mothers could pass the flu to their baby from breastfeeding, so a flu shot administered while breastfeeding will help protect both mother and child until the baby is old enough to have their own shot at six months old.

 More information on having the flu shot while pregnant:

To learn more about women’s health services call Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com.   

 

 

 

Choosing A Contraception Method That’s Right for You

Nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned and it’s easy to become overwhelmed when choosing contraception. Understanding the options available is the first step in choosing a contraception method that’s right for you.

Contraception options can fall into two key categories, contraception for birth control, or contraception that aims to prevent both pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).  Both parties in a sexual relationship should be aware and in agreement about the method of contraception you decide to use.

Contraception

Short-Term Contraception Options:

Abstinence:
Abstinence is a decision to refrain from sexual intercourse for a period, or completely.

Pros: A natural, free method and the only contraception method that is 100% effective.
Cons: Abstinence needs to be practiced consistently to be effective, which can be a difficult decision for individuals or couples to maintain. You should be prepared to use other contraception should you decide to end a period of abstinence.

Condoms:
Male condoms are a well-known contraception option which also help prevent against STIs, they act as a barrier to stop sperm during sex.

Pros: Condoms protect against pregnancy and STIs most of the time, although they are not 100% effective, and should always be used in-date and checked for any rips. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to apply.
Cons: Some men and women may have an allergic reaction to common latex condoms and may need to use non-latex versions. You need to have a condom handy in moments of spontaneity, so you should keep well-stocked.

Female Condoms:
Female condoms are plastic pouches that are inserted into the vagina to prevent sperm entering, similar to the male condom.

Pros: These are widely available and can be inserted up to 8 hours before having intercourse.
Cons: These do not protect completely from STIs and are less effective than male condoms. Like male condoms, female condoms can’t be re-used.

If you are confident that both yourself and sexual partner have undergone STI checks and are clear of any infections, then you may wish to use one of the following contraception only options:

Natural Family Planning:
Natural family planning, or fertility awareness, involves monitoring a women’s natural fertility cycle and abstaining from sex at the times she is fertile.  

Pros: A free and natural option which may suit women who are opposed to taking drugs, have previously suffered from side effects of other options, or for women who are taking other medication which might interfere with contraceptive drugs.
Cons: Successfully monitoring your cycle can be difficult and WebMD reports around 25% of women still get pregnant. Speak to your doctor to gain more information on managing your fertility cycle.

Spermicide:
Spermicide is a gel or foam that is inserted into the vagina before sex.

Pros: An easy to use option which is relatively inexpensive.
Cons: Regular use can cause irritation or tissue damage, which can increase your risks of contracting an STI if not used alongside a condom.

Diaphragm or Cervical Cap:
Diaphragms and cervical caps are fitted into the vagina and used alongside spermicide to prevent sperm reaching the cervix. The cervical cap is slightly smaller and has a higher failure rate for women who have previously had children.

Pros: Can be reused and are cost effective over time.
Cons: Both options need to be fitted by a doctor and they do not offer STI protection. They can’t be used during your period as it may increase your risk of toxic shock syndrome. Both the diaphragm and cervical cap have failure rates of 15% or more, and a higher likelihood of failure if you have previously had children.

Birth Control Pills:
This is a medication taken daily to prevent pregnancy. There are many different options on the market, with varying side effects or benefits. The side effects and benefits of birth control can differ between individuals.

Pros: Many women find birth control helps to regulate periods and diminishes period flow, period pain, cramps or acne. Some women can stop their periods completely while using birth control pills.
Cons: Birth control pills can be more expensive than other contraception, depending on the type of pill you’re using and how often you are having sex. Some women experience side effects of the medication, including weight gain, breast tenderness, blood clotting or increased blood pressure.

You should always speak to your doctor about taking birth control pills, as some women may be pre-disposed to increased side effects. Women over 35 who smoke are often advised to avoid contraceptive pills.

Withdrawal/Pulling Out:
Withdrawal is a technique where the man withdraws or ‘pulls out’ from intercourse before ejaculating.

Pros: This is a natural and free birth control option.
Cons: Withdrawal can be difficult to time properly and is often ineffective, especially if practiced incorrectly.

Long Term Birth Control Options:
If you are looking for long term birth control then there are several options available, however these do not protect against STIs.

  • Vaginal Ring: lasts one month
  • Birth Control Shot: lasts three months
  • Birth Control Implant:  lasts three years
  • IUD: lasts four to 10 years

Permanent Birth Control:
If you never want to have children, or have decided not to expand your family, then you may consider permanent birth control options such as:

  • Tubal Ligation
  • Tubal Implants
  • Vasectomy (Male)

Emergency Contraception:
Emergency contraception pills can be taken up to 5 days after intercourse. Over the counter pills usually need to be taken within 72 hours. Prescription varieties can be taken up to 5 days after intercourse. Both options are more effective if taken as soon as possible. Emergency contraception is not as effective as condoms or birth control pills. They should not be taken as your regular contraceptive, but are back-up when other methods have failed, for example if a condom breaks.

Read more:

To learn more about women’s health services and family planning options, call Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com.

Iron-Deficiency Anemia and Your Period: 5 Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Do you frequently feel tired and weak? Are your periods heavier than normal? Keep reading to find out more about iron-deficiency anemia and how this common condition is treated.

Iron Deficiency Anemia and Your Period

Question #1: What is iron-deficiency anemia?

Answer: Anemia is a condition characterized by a lack of healthy red blood cells. Iron-deficiency anemia is a common type of anemia caused by a lack of iron in the body. If you don’t have enough iron, your body can’t make enough hemoglobin, the substance found in the red blood cells that allows them to carry oxygen to the tissues throughout your body. If you have anemia, chances are you often feel sleepy, weak and moody.

Question #2: What causes iron-deficiency anemia?

Answer: Iron-deficiency anemia is often caused by blood loss from the following: heavy menstrual periods, gastrointestinal bleeding, peptic ulcers, hiatal hernias or colon cancer. Also, you may develop iron-deficiency anemia if you lack a sufficient amount of iron in your diet or stop absorbing iron. Pregnancy can also cause this condition.

Question #3: How does your period impact iron-deficiency anemia?

Answer: If you have a heavy blood flow during your menstrual cycle, you have a greater risk of developing iron-deficiency anemia. Why? Because a heavy flow can cause excessive blood loss, depleting your body’s iron stores.

So how do you know if your period is too heavy? A heavy flow can cause you to soak a pad or tampon every hour for several hours. You may also experience menstrual bleeding that lasts longer than a week. This bleeding may be accompanied by severe menstrual cramps and/or large blood clots that are passed through the menstrual blood.

Question #4: How is iron-deficiency anemia diagnosed?

Answer: If you think you’re getting fatigued or foggy, visit your doctor to be screened for anemia and tested for an iron deficiency. Your doctor will likely order a blood test to check the amount of red blood cells, hemoglobin and iron in your blood.

Question #5: How is iron-deficiency anemia treated?

Answer: To treat iron-deficiency anemia, your doctor may recommend an iron supplement and/or dietary changes.

Foods rich in iron include the following:

  • Meat (e.g., poultry, beef and lamb)
  • Seafood (e.g., clams, sardines, shrimp and oysters)
  • Beans, legumes, nuts and seeds
  • Dark molasses and green leafy vegetables
  • Cereals, grains and breads that are fortified with iron

You should consume iron-rich foods along with a source of vitamin C (e.g., citrus fruit/juice or tomatoes) to enhance absorption. Remember that dairy products, coffee and tea are known to decrease the body’s absorption of iron.

It’s important to remember that iron supplements and food changes won’t affect an underlying cause of excess bleeding. If heavy periods are behind your iron-deficiency anemia, your doctor may prescribe a birth control pill to help control your heavy flow.

Read more:

If heavy bleeding is causing anemia or other issues that are affecting your lifestyle, contact your AOA provider for many options to help improve your life and health: call 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com.   

5 Reasons Why Americans Are Having Less Sex

Few would argue that the U.S. is characterized by a sexually-charged culture. Thanks to technology, sex is abundantly available via digital entertainment. Dating apps make it easier than ever for people to “hook up” for casual sexual encounters. Birth control and accepting attitudes toward sexual behavior are also plentiful.

5 Reasons Why Americans Are Having Less Sex

In spite of the amount of sex we are surrounded by, Americans are actually having less sex than they did 20 years ago. According to research published by the Archives of Sexual Behavior, American adults had sex about nine fewer times per year in the early 2010s compared with the late 1990s. Surprisingly, the publication concluded that the decrease in sexual frequency was not caused by an increased use of pornography or longer working hours. So, you may wonder, why are we getting it on less than previous generations?

Reasons Why We’re Having Less Sex

Here are some possible reasons behind the decrease in sexual frequency:

  1. Singles: Fewer people have a steady or marital partner. If you don’t have a committed partner, you may have to work harder to have a sexual encounter.
  2. Couples: There’s a decline in sexual frequency among couples—living together or married.
  3. Parents: Today’s parents are busy and highly involved in the lives of their children. Plus, people are having children later in life, which naturally leaves them less energy for sexual activities.
  4. Technology: In the bedroom, couples are spending more time looking at their devices than each other.
  5. Health: Many medications and chronic health problems have sexual side effects. Some cancer survivors, in particular, have to cope with the sexual side effects caused by cancer treatment.

Finding the Magic Number

If you’re wondering what’s normal for sexual frequency, you’re not alone. But the truth is that this number varies from couple to couple. In fact, sexual needs vary from person to person. It’s even difficult for researchers to determine if happy couples have sex more often or if having sex more often increases their level of happiness. CNN published an article in 2016 that explained how having sex more than once a week didn’t generate more happiness in the relationship. Thus, once a week is probably a good starting point for most couples looking to improve their sex life in terms of quantity.

Read more:

To learn more about women’s sexual health, call AOA at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com.   

Don’t Rely on Your Pap Smear Schedule for Chlamydia Screening

If you’re sexually active, you’ve probably heard about the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). That’s why you faithfully follow your doctor’s recommendations for regular checkups and Pap smears. But a recent change in testing frequency has decreased the amount of diagnoses of the most common bacterial STD—chlamydia. And doctors are worried.

Undiagnosed Chlamydia

Reduction in Pap Smear Frequency

Back in 2012, the United States Preventive Services Task Force changed its guidelines for cervical cancer screenings (using Pap smears) from every year to every three years. The organization made this change to help reduce the number of false positive test results and unnecessary biopsies. Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) is still recommending annual well-woman exams despite the Pap testing change.

The problem with the reduction in Pap smear frequency is that the test was also used to detect chlamydia. Therefore, since 2012, women have been screened much less frequently for this dangerous disease.

How Screening Frequency Impacts Diagnosis Rate

To determine how the decrease in Pap smears had impacted chlamydia diagnoses, medical researchers studied the health records of several women in Ontario, Canada from 2012 to 2014. Here’s what they found when comparing 2014 data with 2012 data:

Age

Chlamydia Screenings (2014)

Chlamydia Diagnoses (2014)

15 to 19

26% fewer

17% fewer

20 to 24

18% fewer

14% fewer

The results of this study were recently published by the Annals of Family Medicine. According to Dr. Michelle Naimer, a physician who co-led the study, “It’s not that the actual incidence has gone down, it’s just you’re not identifying them.” The long-term impact? “The risk… is that down the road, it will just spread more and you will have more cases in the future,” she explained.

The Dangers of Chlamydia

Why is chlamydia so dangerous? For one thing, it often doesn’t cause symptoms, so you might not even know that you have it. Plus, if left untreated, it can spread to your uterus and fallopian tubes, causing lasting damage to your reproductive system.

Untreated chlamydia can lead to:

  • Difficulties getting pregnant
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease, which can cause ectopic pregnancy and chronic pelvic pain
  • Pregnancy-related complications
  • An increased risk of developing HIV

Recommendations for Screening

Besides practicing safe sex, one of the best ways to protect yourself from the dangers of chlamydia is to increase your screening frequency. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends annual screenings for chlamydia.

Pap smears aren’t the only way to screen for chlamydia. You can also take a simple urine test.

Read more:

To learn more about women’s health screening, call AOA at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com.   

5 of the Germiest Places in Your Home

Most of us do our best to keep household germs in check. But it’s important to be reminded of the dirtiest places where germs could be lurking. Why? So you can keep these germs at bay and prevent them from wreaking havoc on your family’s health.

Who in your family is especially at risk? Household germs are particularly dangerous to those with weak immune systems. That’s why it’s vital to keep children and the elderly free from contamination. 

Germs Kitchen

Before we talk about the top spots for germs, let’s consider the germs themselves. According to Healthline, the following are the most dangerous household germs:

  • Yeast
  • Mold
  • Staph
  • Salmonella
  • E. coli
  • Fecal matter

You might think that the germs listed above are mostly lurking in your bathroom, since the bathroom is the prime spot for washing yourself and doing your business. However, the kitchen is actually the top breeding ground for household germs. Keep reading to discover some additional germ sources that may surprise you.

  1. Kitchen. According to a 2011 study conducted by NSF International, more than 75 percent of dish sponges and rags, 45 percent of kitchen sinks, 32 percent of counter tops and 18 percent of cutting boards contained coliform bacteria (a family of bacteria that includes Salmonella and E. coli). Remember that food prep surfaces are prime targets for germs. The coffee maker, stove knobs and refrigerator handle are also important areas to keep clean.

  2. Bathroom. The warm, moist environment of the bathroom is a perfect storm for germ activity. Of course, cleaning showers, tubs and toilets regularly is important. But don’t forget about the bath towels, faucet handle, toilet handle, light switch and toothbrush holder. The NSF International study found that 27 percent of toothbrush holders contained coliform bacteria.

  3. Playroom. Your kids’ playroom is full of germ-infested surfaces. Remember to clean toys, drawer handles and toy boxes regularly to keep kids healthy.

  4. Pet bowls and toys. While we love our pets, it’s important to remember how germy they can be, especially if they spend time outdoors. Wash pet bowls daily with warm, soapy water. Clean pet toys regularly, using hot, soapy water for hard toys and your washing machine for soft toys.

  5. Personal items. Your cell phone, car keys, lunch box and TV remote can harbor some serious germs. Disinfecting wipes can keep these items safe. Keep in mind that you may need to buy special cleaning supplies designed for electronics. 

When cleaning your home, shared surfaces that people touch often present the biggest danger to your family. Since these places may seem small or insignificant, germs can sneak past your regular cleaning routine. When you’re ready to start cleaning a room, walk through a typical visit to that room, tackling the shared surfaces first. Disinfecting wipes are a great tool for spot cleaning hard surfaces. Also, teach your family about the importance of handwashing before and after any activity that involves contact with household germs.

Read more:

To learn more about women’s health services, call Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com.

6 Ways to Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease, the Leading Cause of Death

There are many myths regarding heart disease. Some think it’s just a man’s disease that doesn’t really affect women. Others think that it can be cured with surgery or medication.

The facts reveal the reality of heart disease and its deadly impact. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that about the same number of women and men die each year of heart disease in the U.S. For women in the U.S., it’s the leading cause of death. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), heart disease is a chronic condition that causes death or disability in many women. Once the damage is done, you’re more susceptible to future heart problems—regardless of surgery or medication.

The good news is that decisions you make every day greatly impact your risk of developing heart disease. Keep reading to find out how to prevent and control heart disease in your life.

Woman Heart Disease

Heart Disease Defined

According to the NIH, heart disease (also called coronary heart disease) is a disorder of the blood vessels of the heart. When an artery becomes blocked, it prevents oxygen and nutrients from getting to the heart, causing a heart attack. Beyond heart disease, other cardiovascular diseases include high blood pressure, stroke and angina (chest pain).

Heart disease may or may not cause visible symptoms in its victims. If you have heart disease, you may experience pain or discomfort in the chest, neck, jaw, throat, upper back or abdomen. Or you may not experience any symptoms until you have a heart attack.

Risk Factors for Heart Disease

Certain risk factors, including health conditions and lifestyle choices, increase your risk of developing heart disease. Over time, the following risk factors may lead to serious artery damage: 

  • High blood pressure
  • High LDL (“bad”) cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Having diabetes
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Physical inactivity
  • Poor diet
  • Excessive alcohol use

How to Fight Heart Disease

Making healthier lifestyle choices and properly managing any other medical conditions are vital to lowering your risk of developing heart disease. Follow these simple steps to optimize your heart health:

  1. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Choose a variety of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, low-fat or fat-free dairy and lean meats. Limit your intake of saturated fat, added sugars, cholesterol and salt.
  2. Get sufficient, regular exercise. The CDC recommends 150 minutes of activity each week.
  3. Quit or avoid smoking. According to Mayo Clinic, “smoking is a greater risk factor for heart disease in women than it is in men.”
  4. Limit alcohol use. The CDC recommends no more than one drink per day for women.
  5. Know your family history. Having close family members with heart disease may increase your chances of developing this condition.
  6. Manage your medical conditions. For example, Mayo Clinic reveals that women with diabetes have a greater risk of developing heart disease than men with diabetes. Keeping diabetes under control can help safeguard your heart health.

Read more:

To learn more about heart health screening services, call Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com.

7 Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer that No One Should Ignore

New scientific research from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute reveals that colorectal cancer is on the rise among individuals born after 1990. In fact, the organization reported that those born around 1990 have double the risk of colon cancer and quadruple the risk of rectal cancer—compared with adults born around 1950. This is especially surprising since the rates of colorectal cancer in older adults have been declining for decades.

So why are younger people getting colorectal cancer? According to Lisa Ganjhu, an associate professor from NYU Langone Medical Center, “It could be related to stress, or diet or other behaviors; more research is being done to help us understand the rise.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that colorectal cancer is currently the third leading cause of cancer death among women. However, it’s also one of the most preventable types of cancer. That’s why it’s so important to pay attention if you experience any of the symptoms commonly associated with colorectal cancer, regardless of your age.

According to the American Cancer Society, the following are the most prevalent symptoms of colorectal cancer:

  1. Changes in bowel habits that last for more than a few days; these may include constipation, diarrhea or a narrowing of the stool
  2. Persistent urges to have a bowel movement that are not relieved by doing so
  3. Rectal bleeding
  4. Dark stools or blood in the stool
  5. Pain or cramping in the abdomen
  6. Unintended weight loss
  7. Fatigue and weakness

To prevent colorectal cancer, people of all ages should practice healthy eating, reduce stress and engage in an active lifestyle. To enable early detection and optimize patient outcomes, the Journal of the American Cancer Institute suggests starting colorectal screening in patients under age 50 who have a family history of colon or rectal cancer. If you think you may have colorectal cancer, your AOA provider can help you get a referral to a gastroenterology doctor.

Read more:

To learn more about gastroenterology referrals and other health services, call Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com.

Manage Your Health Anytime, Anywhere with AOA’s Patient Portal

AOA Patient Portal

Sometimes interacting with your healthcare provider can be a real pain. If you’re busy with your job and your family, you probably don’t have extra time to wait on the phone to get your lab results or to request a prescription refill. If you’re getting ready for an appointment with a new doctor, you probably don’t have extra time to arrive early to fill out a bunch of paperwork.

To save patients time and hassle, AOA is now offering a patient portal to allow virtual interactions with its experienced healthcare team. A best practice in the healthcare industry, this portal will improve and enhance your healthcare experience every time you use it.

5 Key Features of the Patient Portal

  • Lab results. View results as soon as they’re available without a follow-up appointment or extended phone calls.
  • Messages and refill requests. Secure messaging allows you to ask your doctor’s office questions or request prescription refills with complete privacy.
  • Appointment requests. Request appointments online for added convenience, time savings and privacy.
  • Check-in. Save time by completing health history and consent forms on the portal before your appointment.
  • Bill pay. Pay bills with a click instead of a check. Opt into eStatements to save paper. Keep credit card info on file for future use.

If you’re ready to start managing your health using our portal, follow these four easy steps to register:

  1. Visit our patient portal page and click “Sign up today” to create a new account.
  2. Enter your name, date of birth and contact information.
  3. After our system sends you a temporary passcode (via email, call or text), enter the temporary passcode in the appropriate field.
  4. Create your new password. Your password must be 8–20 characters and include one upper case letter, one lower case letter and one number/symbol.

You can rest assured knowing that our portal is completely secure and private. Plus, it’s available on your schedule whenever and wherever you need it!

Please remember that our patient portal is only intended for communication related to routine medical issues. If you have a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1.

To learn more about our patient portal, call Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com.

5 Signs that Food Sensitivity May Be Hurting Your Health


Hives. Itchy eyes. Runny nose. These are the symptoms commonly associated with an allergic reaction. However, sensitivity to certain foods can cause other symptoms. In fact, foods such as dairy, eggs, corn, peanuts, shellfish and gluten can cause physical and mental problems that may surprise you.

Allergy vs. Intolerance

Before we can discuss the most common symptoms, we must consider the difference between an allergy and an intolerance/sensitivity. Basically, it comes down to the immune system versus the digestive system.

According to Cleveland Clinic, food allergies trigger an immune system response in about 1 percent of adults and 7 percent of children. When you eat a food ingredient that you’re allergic to, your body mistakes the particle as harmful and creates IgE antibodies to attack it. This makes it relatively easy for doctors to test for the presence of the antibodies. On the other hand, food sensitivities or intolerances often trigger a digestive system response and aren’t as easy to detect with testing. They are much more common than food allergies.

Top Food Sensitivity Symptoms

  1. Digestive distress. Intolerance to lactose (sugar found in dairy products) is the most common food intolerance. Lactose can create significant irritation in the digestive tract. Also, researchers are finding that diets high in processed foods might alter the composition of gut bacteria. An out-of-balance gut can cause gas, weight gain, bloating and constipation.
  2. Skin issues. Acne, rosacea and dark circles can be caused by food. For example, researchers have found a connection between dairy and acne. Rosacea may also be triggered by consuming dairy products.
  3. Fatigue. If you continually eat foods that your body can’t use for energy, you may experience inflammation or other negative effects. When your body has to work harder to digest certain foods, it saps your energy and makes you feel tired.
  4. Moodiness or brain fog. If you’ve ever tried to give up gluten, dairy or sugar, you may have experienced withdrawal symptoms that impacted your mood or brain function. That’s because these foods release morphine-like substances when metabolized. At first, your body won’t like it when you take them away.
  5. Joint pain. Unfortunately, dairy, soy and gluten production often involves genetically modified organisms (GMOs), antibiotics and pesticides. These substances often trigger inflammatory responses—especially in the joints.

Food Sensitivity Solutions

With so many people quick to follow a new diet or experiment with supplements, it’s important to consult your doctor about your suspected food sensitivity and develop the right plan of attack. Most physicians will recommend an elimination diet followed by the reintroduction of potential trigger foods to determine which item is causing the problem. Once you can pinpoint your trigger(s), you may want to consult a registered dietician to devise an eating plan that will optimize your health.

Remember to keep a food diary that outlines what you ate and when, tracking your reactions and other important factors such as mood, exercise and menstrual cycles. Your healthcare team can use this information to get your health back on track as quickly as possible.

Read more:

To learn more about health and wellness strategies, call Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com.