Leptin: It’s Role In Women’s Health

What is Leptin and why do recent findings show that it plays a big role in women’s health? Leptin is essentially a hormone that is produced by the body and is responsible for a number of things that happens inside a woman’s body. Leptin has been found to play a huge role in a woman’s neuroendocrine health as well as in her reproductive health. It has even been found to play a role in how a woman gains and looses weight. Let us examine what major roles Leptin does play in the lives of women.

Leptin and Weight Control

The recent findings of some doctors that links the hormone called Leptin with the way a woman loses and gains weight has given some people an insight on how to better lose the weight they put on. The hormone Leptin basically affects a woman’s hypothalamus and it often tells the brain if and when you should be hungry. Leptin is said to be secreted by a woman’s fat cells and such communication between these cells and the brain is the new key to successfully losing weight. Leptin controls the body’s level of fat and glycogen storage, which are the two fuels used by the body for energy. It also controls the way your body uses these fuels at the cellular level, which is to tell your brain that you have to eat because you are running out of fuel. This means that if you have a rather high amount of Leptin in your body telling your brain that you are hungry, you are essentially on your way to weight gain.

Leptin Resistance and Weight Gain

Women who develop what is called Leptin resistance may find themselves gaining weight. Why? You can compare Leptin resistance to insulin resistance. If your body gets too much exposure to certain hormones, like insulin, it builds a certain immunity to that hormone. When a body is treated to constant surges in Leptin and insulin, the cells adjust to these surges and the body begins to adjust to increases in the need for these hormones. This is why people who are insulin resistant develop diabetes because of the body’s adjustment to the higher development of insulin. The same goes for Leptin and a woman who develops Leptin resistance. The body adjusts to the increase of Leptin in the body and an increase in the hormone Leptin coursing through your body will signal the brain that you are hungry hence the feeling that you need to eat.

How to Try and Control Leptin Surges in the Body

The hormone called Leptin is produced the same way that insulin is – with an increase in sugar and carbohydrate intake that can also produce fat when it is not burned up by the body. The reduction of sugary foods as well as foods high in carbohydrates will help keep the production of Leptin in a woman’s body down. You may need to consult with a health professional on how to properly reduce your intake of carbohydrates and sugars to keep your Leptin and insulin at reasonable levels.

Coping With Thyroid Disorders During Pregnancy

Pregnancy can sometimes be seen as a two-faced affair. On one side, it represents the blissful aspirations of a woman to finally give birth to a child, and on the other side, there lurks the dangers associated with the process that could undermine the health of both the mother and her child. As such, despite the joys associated with pregnancy, the stage is nonetheless mixed with an air of caution and vigilance to assure a safe journey to motherhood.

Pregnancy as a process involves numerous risk factors, some of which are potentially fatal if ignored or left untreated. Aside from the serious complications pregnancy brings, there are also the less serious but uncomfortable complaints such as frequent urination and back pains…

Thyroid Disorders in Pregnancy

One of the serious complications that could arise during pregnancy is thyroid disorders. Thyroid diseases affect around 25 percent of all women in their reproductive age.. Not surprisingly, thyroid disorders are a major concern affecting pregnant women. Most thyroid disorders that occur during pregnancy are autoimmune in nature, which means that the body’s own antibodies can take care of such disorders. The body develops antibodies, which are directed against thyroid cells. The action of antibodies on thyroid cells does affect the functions of the thyroid glands..

Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism

In some instances, the antibodies reduce the function of the thyroid glands and the result is known as hypothyroidism, which is a reduction in the function of the thyroid glands. On the other hand, the action of antibodies on the thyroid tissue may stimulate thyroid cell function. This situation is known as hyperthyroidism because it is characterized by an overfunctioning of the thyroid. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are anomalies in the function and state of the thyroid, which may occur during pregnancy and could bring about unwanted effects.

Careful Assessment in Treating Thyroid Disorder

In pregnancies where the mother is experiencing anomalies affecting the thyroids, medical treatment should be administered at once to avoid further complications that may worsen the situation for both mother and her child. However, in case of hyperthyroidism, caution should be exercised in assessing the symptoms experienced by the mother such as palpitations of the heart, sweating, and intolerance to heat. Although such may reveal the presence of hyperthyroidism, they are common in almost all pregnancies and are perfectly normal.

Treatment for Thyroid Disorders During Pregnancy

The following are the treatments for thyroid disorders during pregnancy.

Thyroid stimulating hormone treatment. When hypothyroidism is detected in a pregnant woman, the most common solution employed is the injection of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). The TSH will seek to balance the thyroid activity as doctors take care to religiously monitor the hormone level in the body. One of the common drugs administered is thyroxine. Thyroxine seeks to restore TSH level to normal.

Antithyroid medication. If hyperthyroidism is left untreated, the risks involve fetal death and other maternal comlications. The most commonly used method for treating hyperthyroidism is antithyroid medication. The most commonly used drug to treat hyperthyroidism is propylthiouracil.

Abortion Pill: Recent Increase In Popularity In The U.s.

The Abortion Pill (Mifeprex, RU 486) was discovered and became popular in France in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s for termination of pregnancies between 3 and 7 weeks gestation. More than 50% of women in France and other parts of Europe choose the Abortion Pill method to terminate their pregnancy over the traditional surgical Suction Curettage. The reason that women choose the abortion pill more frequently is because women feel it is more private to have the abortion process take place in their own surroundings where they can be with their support person. It also avoids uncomfortable surgery and sedation and allows women a different choice.

When the FDA approved RU 486 in the U.S. in 2000, it was initially thought that there would be a dramatic increase in the number of medical abortions performed. This did not turn out to be the case for multiple reasons. These included the following:

1) High failure rate:
The original studies of abortion procedures . with RU 486 were done with patients between 4 to 7 weeks (28 to 49 days). A lot of facilities in Europe still do not go past 7 weeks in performing abortions using RU 486. This is because the success rate drops from 95 to 99% success between 4 to 7 weeks, to 88 to 94% success rate between 4 to 9 weeks. This does not seem like a significant difference but it is when it comes to thousands of people using this method to terminate. Especially if the patient is greater than 7 weeks gestation. There is close to a 100% success rate with the surgical abortion procedure. Very rarely retained tissue, heavy vaginal bleeding, or uterine infection occurs which requires a repeat Suction Curettage procedure.

2) May take a long time to complete the procedure:
Patients are told that it could take two weeks or longer for the procedure to be completed. Patients and Physicians alike can become impatient with the length of time it can take for the uterus to become empty after taking the RU486 followed 48 hours later with taking misoprostol which causes the uterus to contract and the fetus is expelled (pushed out of the uterus). There are well known Physicians and clinics that perform abortions that have stopped offering the abortion pill for this reason. It takes too long, and requires too many weekly or bi-weekly trips for the patient to the office in order to make sure that all of the tissue has passed.

3) Excessive or prolonged bleeding.
For most patients, the bleeding after starting the RU486 and inserting the misoprostol vaginally or taking it by mouth 48 hours after taking the RU486 normally lasts from 5 days to 2 weeks. Over 90 percent of patients have stopped bleeding by 20 days but there is still a small percentage of patients that continue bleeding at 30 days (2 to 3 percent). There is even a small percentage of patients (1%) that continue bleeding until their first menstrual cycle begins after the abortion which occurs generally 4 to 6 weeks after first taking the RU486 pill to start the abortion process. Normally with the Suction Curettage, patients less than 6 weeks only bleed for 1 to 3 days. For patients more than 6 weeks, but less than 9, the bleeding usually last 3 to 6 days.

With more women becoming educated about their bodies, and becoming more aware of the various medical abortion procedures , there has been an increase in the request and demand for the medical abortion procedure to be performed. The failure rate is essentially the same, the incidence of retained tissue is less for patients less than 6 weeks. For women who choose the medical abortion procedure over the surgical procedure for 6 weeks or less, there is still excessive bleeding that is associated with the medical abortion procedure. Women who choose the medical abortion procedure are able to accept this as a small inconvenience rather than having to undergo surgery.

Distinguishing The Types Of Abortion

Abortion may be the most distressing event a woman may have to undergo, although certainly, not all women have to undergo the process. The stress on the woman can arise from different factors such as:

1) Incompatibility with religious beliefs, social, and cultural norms. Although abortion has been accepted in some countries, there are still areas that are averse to it, citing that the process must be stopped because it is simply an aberration from the normal and socially approved pattern of doing things. Social pressure may be enormous. Sometimes a woman contemplating abortion may feel the world’s opinion is cast fully against her.

2) Lack of support from partner, parents, and friends. Because abortion is very personal to a woman, she needs emotional support and guidance throughout the whole ordeal. In the absence of support from persons she expects to be supportive during her time of greatest need, the onus of decision making is multiplied greatly. In some cases, a woman may even contemplate suicide, resorting to choices that may cause more harm than good.

When a woman has finally decided on aborting her pregnancy, she may refer to a medical practitioner. In some countries that are traditionally averse to the practice, medical practitioners are explicitly prohibited in performing such an operation. In those countries, most abortions are done underground and in secret places.

The Two Types of Abortion: Providing the Best Option

Abortions are commonly classified into two terms: spontaneous abortion and induced abortion. Their characteristic may be described as follows:

Induced Abortion. An induced abortion means that the pregnancy was intentionally terminated. There are numerous methods of providing abortion to a pregnant woman, the choice of which is sometimes limited by legislation as the law specifically identifies the legal abortion processes in countries where the practice is legal. Induced abortion is classified either as therapeutic or elective. A therapeutic abortion may be conducted for any of the following reasons:

1) To save the life of the pregnant woman especially if the pregnancy involves placing the woman’s health in enormous risk upon delivery.

2)T erminate a pregnancy that was diagnosed to result in a child born with congenital diseases that would be fatal or may cause a significant morbidity in both physical and mental aspects.

3) Although rarely the reason for abortion, the process is also done to selectively reduce the number of fetuses to lessen the risks involved in multiple pregnancies where there is a high possibility of a number of child born with defects. On the other hand, elective abortion is done at the request of the woman for various reasons other than those enumerated above.

Spontaneous abortion is commonly known as miscarriage. It is the expulsion of the fetus from the embryo due to various causes, none of which is deemed intentional. Thedefinition of miscarriages varies among states, depending on the number of weeks of pregnancy prior to its termination.

Why Women Experience More Migraines

Some people may not know this but women do experience migraine headaches lot more than men do. The reasons behind this problem are actually pretty easy to understand when you consider how differently men are from women. Before we tackle the whys of migraines and women, let us first answer the what of this equation.

What a Migraine Is

When you find that you are feeling a pain in your head that throbs or makes you feel nauseated and any sudden movements only intensifies the pain, you are experiencing a migraine. When you find that you are seeing lights or halos around people when you are feeling this headache and the pain you are feeling seems pretty excruciating at times, that may also be a migraine. Nobody really knows for sure what triggers this rather excruciating pain in the head or if there is yet a cure. However, research is currently being done to find out why this kind of headache happens more in women than in men and what can be done to minimize the occurrence and the intensity of the pain.

Why Migraines Happen More in Women

While women may think it is pretty unfair that they get to experience this kind of pain more than men do, it has actually been chalked down to one thing – women have more hormonal changes and estrogen levels than men. Research shows that a lot of the women who suffer from migraines often start experiencing these headaches during their adolescent years, which is when they begin to experience their first menstrual periods. Since hormonal changes and menstrual periods go hand in hand, it is then reasonable to conclude that women tend to suffer more migraines because of the changes in hormonal levels that they experience during these days.

Migraines in Men

Yes, men do get migraines but not as often as women do. It is said that for every one man that suffers a migraine, three women do as well. It has been seen, however, that this ratio is reversed before puberty. Boys had migraines more often than girls did before the age of 11. However, after that stage, the trend reversed itself and showed that females who suffer from this debilitating pain as compared to men.

Relieving the Pain

While there is still no known cure for migraines, many find that there are things that made these painful occurrences happen less frequently or with less intensity. It has been seen that some women suffer less from migraines with the use of oral contraceptives and it has also been observed that some women suffer more migraine attacks with the use of these contraceptives. Some women turn to meditation or stress reduction techniques to reduce the incidence of migraines while others prefer herbal remedies. While there is still no real known cure for migraines, women will have to live with the fact that they do have to undergo this headache more than men do until a cure is indeed found.

Heart Diseases In Women: Understanding Symptoms And The Risk Factors

While many people think heart disease is purely a man’s health problem, they are absolutely wrong. Women are also susceptible to getting a heart disease. In fact, records show that it is the top leading cause of death in women in the United States and more women than men die of heart disease annually. Compared to all cancers combined, heart disease kills more women ages 65 and above.

Knowing the Causes

The most common cause of heart disease in women is the narrowing or complete blockage of the coronary arteries, the main arteries that supply blood to the heart. While the disease may progress gradually, prevention is better than waiting for a heart attack. It is worthy to note that over 60 percent of women can no longer recover after experiencing heart attacks. Age is also a contributing factor in heart diseases in women. The older women become, the more likely they are capable of developing this disease. It does not mean, however, that only aging women should be concerned, women from all ages should take steps to help prevent having a heart disease. Having a healthy lifestyle is the best prevention.

Knowing the Symptoms

As with any illness, heart disease in women also has its own symptoms.. The most common is pressure on the chest that causes difficulty in breathing. Unlike men, this symptom not prominent in women with heart disease. In contrast to the usual chest crushing pain in men, more subtle symptoms are experienced by women because of the tendency to have blockages not just in the main arteries but also in the other smaller arteries that likewise pump blood into the heart. Other signs and symptoms in women are as follows:

�Abdominal, neck, shoulder or upper back discomfort

�Dizziness or lightheadedness

�Nausea or vomiting

�Shortness of breath

�Sweating

�Unusual fatigue

Knowing the Factors Contributing to Risk

�High Triglyceride Levels. High triglyceride level means high cholesterol. Triglyceride is fat in the body. The more of this body fat you have, the more likely it is that these fats would block blood passage into the heart.

�Excessive Alcohol. Low level of alcohol intake is said to mean lower risk of heart diseases than in those women who are excessive drinkers and non-drinkers as well. It is not, however, recommended for the non-drinkers to begin drinking alcohol. Alcohol can possibly contribute to a woman’s obesity, which will increase their triglyceride levels and raise their blood pressure; increasing their risk of having heart attacks or stroke.

Individual Reaction to Stress

Women may respond and react to stress in various ways. Unhealthy reaction to stress leads women to exhibit unlikely behavior like binge eating and smoking.Both can lead to heart disease.

Every woman is vulnerable to heart disease. Understanding the symptoms and knowing the risk factors may help protect against the leading cause of death in women. Fortunately, avoiding the causes and knowing the important symptoms may decrease their risk of having heart disease.