Pregnancy Fatigue is Real – How Can I Feel Less Tired?

pregnancy fatigue dr torbatiPregnant mothers who have already had children before know just how exhausting 9 moths of pregnancy could be. There are many issues that could arise during pregnancy, so it’s vital to keep in frequent contact with your gynecologist to make sure everything is as smooth as possible. Unfortunately, an issue most of us simply cannot dodge is the concept of “pregnancy fatigue”.

What is “Pregnancy Fatigue”?

This unofficial term is used to describe the tired feeling females experience as a direct result of pregnancy. You drag your feet all day; you plop into bed as soon as you arrive home from work or being out, or you have extreme difficulty taking your head off the pillow. It’s starting to affect you in more ways than one. This is essentially pregnancy fatigue in a nutshell.

It’s no surprise that pregnancy is hard work. It’s also no surprise that pregnancy would cause such a phenomenon. But to take a deeper look, the issue is often felt in the first trimester of pregnancy. And the reason this is the case is because a lot of our body’s energy is used to create the life support system for our soon-to-be-child. This takes a tremendous amount of resources from our body to maintain. By around week 9, it’s common for pregnant females to feel absolutely drained or “pooped”.

How to Improve Pregnancy Fatigue

Pregnancy fatigue is no fun. It takes away your drive to accomplish even the most simple of tasks during the day. As a result, it’s important to bounce back from this groggy, tired feeling. There are a few ways to tackle this issue.

Don’t keep pushing yourself.

Most of us will try and work through the fatigue and continue to push ourselves to our limit. When in reality all you’re really doing is further harming yourself and your child. During pregnancy, you should be resting as much as you can so don’t feel bad if you’re sleeping all of the time.

You need the right fuel.

Eating the right foods and drinks are vital to fueling your pregnancy. We encourage you to consume long-lasting energy boosters such as proteins and complex carbohydrates (i.e. whole grains, nuts, oats, etc.). Sugar and caffeine will only cause you to crash harder when their effects wear off. You should also keep your calorie intake high as opposed to low.

Light exercise.

Light exercise such as a walk around the park or a short jog could go a long way in keeping you prime during your pregnancy. It’s very difficult to perform any exercise when you feel so tired, but trust us – your body will appreciate it.

Should I See a Doctor?

If you feel your fatigue is more severe than what you believe it should be & you experience symptoms such as breathlessness or fainting spells, then you should follow up with your gynecologist. You may be suffering from a common condition during pregnancy known as iron-deficiency anemia, which is very treatable, or prenatal depression which could leave a lasting impact on your energy levels.

When Should I See a Gynecologist for My First Time?

when to see gynecologist first timeVisiting a gynecologist – a doctor who specializes in women’s reproductive health – means that you’re being responsible for your body. Seeing a gynecologist offers numerous benefits, like:

  • Helping you understand the changes in your body and how to take care of yourself
  • Learning to protect yourself when you’re sexually active
  • Ensuring that your reproductive system is healthy and problem free
  • Helping you avoid problems in future

So, when should you visit a gynecologist for your first time?

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, teenage girls should start seeing a gynecologist between the ages of 13 and 15 years, irrespective of whether or not they’re sexually active.

Most gynecologists recommend that women schedule their first visit by the age of 21, usually within two or three years of being sexually active. Return visits can be scheduled once a year or every three years depending on whether you have any concerns, including after menopause, until around the age of 70 years.

Other Times to Schedule a Visit

There are certain situations that could prompt you to visit your gynecologist more than once a year, like:

  • Regular pelvic pain – There are multiple likely causes of pelvic pain or abdominal discomfort, including a ruptured ovarian cyst, an infection, a dangerous ectopic pregnancy (foetus developing outside the uterus), uterine fibroids, or endometriosis. When you see your gynecologist, you should tell them what kind of pain you’re experiencing to help them make a proper diagnosis.
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  • Bleeding between periods – Occasional spotting between periods is common and not a cause of alarm. But when the bleeding is heavy, painful, and lasts for days, you should call your gynecologist. Mid-cycle bleeding could indicate a miscarriage, injury to the vagina, or cancer of the uterus or cervix.
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  • Unusual bleeding – Any bleeding that is not associated with your period, like bleeding during or after intercourse, or bleeding during pregnancy, you should consult your gynecologist immediately.
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  • Changes in your period – If your period suddenly becomes heavy, soaking through pads in only a few hours or the period lasting longer than 7 days, you should call your gynecologist. Missed periods should also be checked, as they may indicate pregnancy or another medical condition that needs attention.
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  • Unusual soreness or discharge in the genital area – Vaginal discharge is normal and helps keep your vagina clean and healthy. But if the discharge is yellow, grey, or green, has a foul smell, or causes itching around your vagina, you should see your gynecologist.
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  • Painful sex – Can be in the form of soreness in your genital area or deep pelvic pain.
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  • Problems with bowel movements – Difficulty moving your bowels can indicate pelvic floor problems.

Dr. Torbati has been practicing obstetrics and gynecology in Tarzana for several years, developing a full understanding of what the most common gynecologic problems are and the best approaches in treating them. His impeccable bedside manner combined with his vast knowledge of gynecology make him one of the best gynecology doctors in the area.

Is Your Family at Risk for Breast Cancer?

family lifestyle portraitIt is estimated that 7 out of every 100 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer by the time they reach 70 years of age. That said, statistics from the CDC suggest that breast cancer mostly occurs in older women, with about 10 percent of cases involving women under the age of 45. In addition, there are a few vital differences when breast cancer affects young women, including:

  • Breast cancer in young women is more likely to be hereditary, passed through inheriting a BRCA gene mutation.
  • Breast cancer in young women is more likely to be detected at a later stage, at which point it will be more aggressive and challenging to treat
  • Young women are at risk of facing other issues when diagnosed with cancer, such as concerns about fertility, body image, isolation, and finances.

The American Cancer Society has proposed guidelines for the early detection of breast cancer as a way to improve the chances of early diagnosis and successful treatment. Many doctors believe that early detection tests, or screening, save thousands of women every year who do not have any symptoms yet. Breast cancers that are detected because of their symptoms tend to be larger and more severe. They are likely to have spread to other areas beyond the breast, which is what makes them harder to treat.

How to Detect Breast Cancer
Women with close relatives who have breast cancer are at higher risk of getting the disease. Having a first-degree relative, like a mother, sister, father, or brother with breast cancer almost doubles your risk, while having 2 first-degree relatives with the disease increases your risk about 3-fold. That said, less than 15 percent of women with breast cancer have a family member with the disease, which implies that the vast majority (85%) of women with breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease.

There are many risk factors for breast cancer, including breast tissue density, diagnosis with certain nonthreatening breast conditions, and lifestyle-related factors, such as age of giving birth, use of birth controls, physical activity, weight, and alcohol use, among others. While there is no actual way to prevent breast cancer, changing the risk factors can help to make the cancer detectable at an early stage, when it is more treatable.

Common signs of breast cancer include:

  • A new mass or lump in the breast – could be hard or soft, painless or tender, rounded or irregular
  • Swelling of part or all of a breast – with or without a lump
  • Breast or nipple pain
  • Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the breast skin or nipple
  • Nipple retraction
  • Nipple discharge – not milk
  • Swelling around the collar bone – caused by the cancer spreading to lymph nodes under the arm

These symptoms can also be caused by other conditions besides breast cancer so it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis if they occur.

Dr. Torbati provides early detection cancer screening tools such as mammograms at his private OBGYN practice located in Tarzana, CA. Mammograms are the best way to detect cancer in its early stages, which dramatically increases the success rate of overcoming the disease.

What To Expect During Menopause – Symptoms & Treatment

Filled with confidenceWhile menopause is a normal part of aging for women that occurs between the ages 45 and 55 years, not all women know what to expect when their ovaries stop producing eggs and the menstrual cycles dwindle, eventually coming to a complete halt.

The medical definition for menopause is when a woman has not had a menstrual cycle for 12 months. During this transition, there is reduced production of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone, which is what causes the periods to become increasingly irregular until they stop, resulting in multiple physical and psychological symptoms in women.

Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of menopause usually appear in the perimenopause phase, which is several years before you reach menopause. Different women experience different symptoms, and to varying degrees. That said, there are some that are more common among many women, indicating the approach of menopause and beyond. These include:

  • Hot flashes – about 75 percent of women have reported an increase in temperature due to changes in estrogen level. It usually leads to sweating.
  • Mood swings, anxiety, irritability, and occasional memory loss – some women occasionally find it hard to concentrate or remember things, which may cause reduced self-esteem or depression.
  • Mild incontinence – some women experience reduced bladder control during peri-menopause and beyond, leading to minor cases of urine leakage, like when sneezing or laughing.
  • Changes to appearance – decreasing levels of estrogen hormone lead to increased wrinkling and other physical changes, such as thinning hair, loss of breast fullness, and increased abdominal fat.
  • Sexual changes – lower estrogen can also caused reduced vaginal lubrication or dryness, which may cause painful intercourse. Additionally, reduced blood flow to your sexual organs may cause lower sensitivity.
  • Sleep disturbances – around 40 percent of women have reported different types of sleep disturbances, such as sleep apnea, or difficulty falling or staying asleep.
  • Irregular periods – changes to your menstrual cycles typically occur before completely stopping. They may become shorter, longer, lighter, or heavier.
  • Fatigue or joint pain.

Some women may also experience chronic medical changes due to the changes in their bodies. Possible menopause-related complications include weight gain, cardiovascular disease, incontinence, and osteoporosis.

Treating the Symptoms

Women who have reached menopause usually experience more severe symptoms than those approaching it (perimenopause), usually due to the complete lack of estrogen. Some of the symptoms can be managed by replacing the missing estrogen, but the symptoms should resume once you stop taking the drugs.

The simplest way to manage the symptoms is by staying in good health. This entails:

  • Regular exercising – 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity
  • Healthy eating habits – take a balanced diet that is rich in calcium and vitamin D, and avoid sugars, oils, and saturated fats.
  • Getting enough sleep – exercise, avoid caffeine, and use relaxation techniques.
  • Lifestyle changes – stop smoking.

Maintaining a varied diet is particularly important after menopause. Consume whole grains and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Dairy products are good for calcium, while 20 minutes of sunlight should provide you with vitamin D to help the body absorb calcium.

Pap Smear Testing – The Who, What, When, Why, and Where

Dr. Torbati offers pap smear hpv testing for abnormal cervical cancer cellsBy now, there’s plenty of information on the subject of Pap smear testing. To help clear any confusion, I wanted to outline the 5 W’s that make it easy to digest what the Pap smear procedure is all about.

The Who

Of course we aren’t talking about the popular English band but rather, who are the people you should be seeing for a Pap smear test. Typically, any doctor with the right certifications may administer the test. But often you will find that specialists, called OB GYNs (Obstetrician and Gynecologist), are the main doctors who provide Pap smear testing.

The What

Pap smear is a procedure that women receive in order to identify and prevent cervical cancer. A small sample of cells are taken from the cervix and then sent to diagnostic labs for testing. No incisions are made, no surgery is required. A special instrument is used to brush off a sample of cells. It’s a quick and painless procedure – just slightly uncomfortable.

The When

The American Cancer Society guideline breaks it down nicely:

• Begin testing at age 21.
• 21-29 years old – every 3 years (no HPV testing required).
• 30+ – women should receive both a Pap smear and HPV testing.
• All women should NOT be screened every year for any method.
• Even if you are vaccinated from HPV, you should still receive the test.

The Why

Why are Pap smear tests performed? Why do I have to get a Pap smear? Do I even absolutely have to get one?

These questions are commonly asked and I reply with the same answer almost every single time: it’s performed as a pre-cautionary method to make sure you are safe from a condition that can be easily preventable through routine testing.

The Where

Pap smear testing can be performed in your doctor’s office. The whole procedure is generally quick and you are free to leave home the same day.

All this talk about STDs… ?

The notion that Pap smear testing is also done for STDs can be misleading. Perhaps some OB GYNs offer this service as part of a routine Pap smear, but a large majority simply test for cervical cancer or other abnormal cells present in the cervix or vagina.

You can visit my website for more detailed information on Pap smear HPV testing and other procedures.