PCOS, What is it anyway?

Did you know September is PCOS month?

 

But, what in the world is PCOS and why do I care?

PCOS is a syndrome with a publicity problem. The name PCOS sounds a bit mysterious and does little to describe the condition. Perhaps we should call it The Condition That 10% of Women Don’t Know They Have. Unfortunately, not only can this condition cause unpleasant symptoms such as obesity, excessive hair growth, acne and infertility, it is also linked to serious medical conditions including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

What is PCOS?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. What is it anyway? Medical experts debate the exact criteria for diagnosis, so that should tell you how much confusion there is about this condition. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is basically a hormonal condition in which women experience irregular menses, usually too far apart, plus signs or symptoms of excessive androgens or male hormones. Such symptoms may include excessive hair growth in areas such as the face or abdomen, obesity, acne, infertility, glucose intolerance. Yes, 10% of women have this condition. And many don’t even know about it. There is a real need to find better treatment options for PCOS.

 

 

What is Polycystic?

Polycystic just means multiple cysts or fluid-filled sacs. Well, we’ve all had cysts of various kinds, right? Have you ever had a pimple? That’s a cyst! The normal, routine job of ovaries is to make a group of cysts every month, one of which releases an egg—this is ovulation! So, what’s abnormal about PCOS ovaries? During the process of making a several small cysts, in preparation for releasing an egg ready for fertilization, PCOS cysts never reach the proper conditions for releasing the egg. It’s like these cysts are stuck in a pre-ovulation stage. These small cysts accumulate every month, which means on ultrasound they appear as polycystic ovaries.

When the cysts get stuck like this the body responds by trying harder, the ovaries make more and more small cysts while the brain structures responsible for managing the ovaries try harder and harder to get them to ovulate. More and more hormones are released, but not in the proper amount or sequence to stimulate normal ovulation. This leads to a delay in the menstrual period, and the unreleased ovarian cysts also lead to an increase in male hormones such as testosterone. This ramping up of the body in response to the abnormal cycles then leads to the obesity, hirsutism, infertility, and other symptoms common in PCOS. These conditions then contribute to the abnormal menstrual cycles. An endless loop or circle of abnormal stimulation and erroneous feedback continues.

Treatments for PCOS

Treatments so far have been aimed at treating the symptoms of PCOS rather than the cause of the disorder. Many doctors prescribe hormones to regulate menses, medications to reduce hair growth, and medications to improve glucose control. However, rather than just treating symptoms of PCOS, promising new medications for PCOS may help correct the central defects in the pathways of the brain’s hormonal management. This exciting approach aims to affect the hormonal stimulation that is causing the ovary to ‘misfire’ its ovulatory cysts.

Future Developments for PCOS

Aventiv Research is currently conducting a trial of an investigational study medication using this new approach for treating PCOS. If you or someone you know have irregular menstrual periods or the other symptoms described above, you may qualify for participation in this study. There are many reasons to consider volunteering for a research study. You may gain access to new treatments or find a treatment option with fewer side effects. You may contribute to discovering important treatments to help others. Volunteers also value the extra time our medical staff spends with them, providing medical care and education about their condition. Our studies provide free medical care, and many provide monetary compensation for time and travel. Please contact us for more information at 614-501-6164 or visit us at www.aventivresearch.com.

Where Acne Occurs And What It Means

Have you ever wondered why your chin repeatedly breaks out? Are you curious as to why your acne is so prevalent in your T-zone? Read on to learn what causes acne and why it tends to occur on specific areas of the face and body.

Why Do People Get Acne?

Your pores contain oil glands. These glands produce sebum, an oil that lubricates your skin and hair. Typically, your pores make just the right amount of sebum. However, when your hormones are active, your oil glands produce additional sebum. And unfortunately, when there’s an excess of sebum and dead skin cells, bacteria gets trapped inside the pores, causing acne.

What Causes Jawline and Chin Acne?

Adults with acne typically experience it on the chin and along the jawline. While both men and women can be affected, women tend to experience chin and jawline acne more often. This is typically due to the increase in male hormones they experience around the time of their periods.
When men experience acne in this region, it can be related to shaving. Shaving with a dirty razor can cause bacteria to enter the skin, and certain shaving creams can clog pores.
To minimize chin and jawline acne, we recommend you avoid touching this area, hold your cell phone away from your face, and take care when introducing a new face wash or makeup, particularly if you have sensitive skin.

Why Do I Get Forehead Acne?

As with chin and jawline acne, forehead acne can also be triggered by hormone fluctuations. However, other culprits include hats, headbands, unwashed pillowcases, the hair products you use, and makeup or sunscreen that isn’t oil-free.

What Causes T-Zone Acne?

Along your forehead, nose, and chin, also known as the T-zone, there are more oil glands. Unfortunately, more oil glands means more opportunities for clogged pores. That’s why acne commonly can be found in this area.

Why Do I Have Acne on my Back?

While most people with acne experience it on the face, some acne sufferers also have acne on their bodies, particularly their backs. The main factors that determine whether you’re likely to have “bacne” are hormonal fluctuations and genetics.
To limit acne in this area, shower regularly with a gentle soap (especially after exercise), thoroughly rinse off hair conditioner, and avoid excessive sun exposure, which can worsen acne.

Why Do I Keep Getting a Pimple in the Same Spot?

Cystic acne refers to pimples that swell under the skin but never reach its surface. Your pore—which is shaped like a long tube—has branches. When oil travels down one of these branches away from the skin’s surface, the branch inflates or deflates, depending on the amount of oil you’re producing.

This can occur in the same area, and unfortunately, the only way to treat this type of acne is to wait it out or to seek treatment from a dermatologist.

What Can I Do to Prevent Acne Breakouts?

To prevent acne breakouts, we recommend you limit your consumption of dairy, avoid over-drying your skin, and choose mineral-based makeup. For more information on how these behaviors can help, check out our post, Three Tips to Limit Acne Breakouts.
We would also encourage you to consider participating in an acne research study at Aventiv. Participants have the opportunity to learn more about their condition, see a board-certified physician at no cost, and receive great care and treatment tips along the way.

To learn more about participating in one of our acne studies or enroll, call us at 614.501.6164, or visit our current acne study page.

How to Cope with COPD – A Letter to the Doctor

Dear Dr. Arora,

Hello, I’m a 46-year-old mother of two in Columbus, OH. My husband, Chad, is 53 years old and was just recently diagnosed with COPD. Chad has worked in a fiber glass factory for the past 23 years and has smoked cigarettes since I can remember. Upon his recent diagnosis, we were told that smoking and breathing in toxic fumes over a long period are the two leading causes of COPD in adults today.

After leaving the doctor’s office with his new inhaler, he vowed to quit smoking and to be more careful at work by wearing a fume mask. Well, that lasted about a month and now he is back to smoking and doesn’t see COPD as a big deal at all. In fact, he just treats it as a bad cough rather than the debilitating lung disease that it is. He can hardly do anything with our children without wheezing for air and becoming very fatigued. I’ve done a ton of research and I know that male smokers are 12 times more likely to die from COPD than non-smokers. The thought of our children growing up without a father is something that keeps me up at night.

Do you have any advice for how I can better support my husband (and ease my fears) through this?

Worried Wife

Dear Worried,

I am terribly sorry to hear about your husband’s recent diagnosis. The state of Ohio has a 7.7% rate of COPD diagnoses and the rate is increasing day by day. While the inhaler is a great first step to take, if your husband is continuing to smoke it may not be as effective as it needs to be.

COPD is not a condition you can wish away. Soon the shortness of breath and fatigue could turn into emergency room visits and oxygen tanks if he continues the path he’s on. The best thing for the two of you to do is to educate yourselves on COPD and the complications that being diagnosed with it can have on the daily lives of yourselves and your children.

As I mentioned earlier, nearly 8% of our adults have been diagnosed with and are living with this complicated lung disease, so you are not alone. You can find comfort and hope in the fact that there are other options out there for him besides the typical steroid and oxygen treatments.

In fact, Aventiv Research, right there in Columbus, OH, has a COPD research study that they’re enrolling for right now. It may be in your family’s best interest to reach out to them today to see if he can qualify.

-Dr. Arora

CLICK HERE TO ENROLL IN A NEW RESEARCH STUDY
http://www.aventivresearch.com/studies/pulmonary/copd/

Smoking and COPD

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You’re at a fork in the road. You have the desire to quit but maybe not the self-control, or maybe you choose to justify your smoking as a social activity and minimize the heightened level of risk at which you’re putting your own health. Trust me, as a former smoker myself, I understand the predicament. It’s easy to want to quit but it certainly isn’t easy to do so. Do you need some added motivation? Here you go:

Smoking is far and away the largest preventable cause of death among Americans, and it’s not even close. As the leading cause of death in our country, smoking kills over 480,000 Americans every year – 41,000 of those deaths are from exposure to second hand smoke. That statistic alone should tell us something, this stuff is so bad for you that just being around it can greatly jeopardize your health.

Often people shrug off any coughing, wheezing, and fatigue as symptoms of just “getting older”, but these are early signs of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Eleven million Americans were diagnosed with COPD last year and there are millions of others unaware of their own diagnosis because they don’t know the warning signs. COPD is often not detected until much later, in its advanced stages. If you’re worried you may have COPD and want more info on its symptoms, follow this link http://www.aventivresearch.com/studies/pulmonary/copd/ for insight on a brand new clinical research trial that will help assist you on a path to better health.

CLICK HERE TO ENROLL IN A NEW RESEARCH STUDY
http://www.aventivresearch.com/studies/pulmonary/copd/

A Real Pain in the Back

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Back pain is more than just a pain in the back.

Those that struggle with chronic back pain can attest to the toll it takes on everyday life. Daily tasks become a chore and even getting out of bed becomes a struggle. If you are trying to figure out the cause of your back pain, read on for a list of possible culprits.

Gaining Weight + Inactivity

A recent study shows what most of us already know – we gain weight during the winter. When the weather gets cold, we all want to stay inside which means we limit our physical activity. The lack of activity means more pressure is put on our back and knees, resulting in wear and tear on joints and pain. Once the pain sets in, many people just stop being active, and the cycle continues.

Exercises that put less pressure on our joints, such as swimming, yoga and walking, can help us maintain an active lifestyle and keep those extra pounds off. Core work can also help to strengthen muscles around our middle, helping to prevent back pain, as well.

Common Medical Conditions

Inactivity and weight gain are more obvious reasons for back pain, but common medical conditions like kidney stones and urinary tract infections can also cause short term back pain. If you are experiencing back pain and can’t figure out the cause, it may be a good idea to check in with your doctor to be sure you are in good overall health.

Accidents Can Cause Back Problems

Slipped disks, degenerative disk disease and joint inflammation are common causes of back pain, particularly in the lower back area. Slipping on ice, lifting incorrectly or even a car accident can cause many of these issues.

Most physicians suggest over the counter medications, physical therapy, injections or even a visit to the chiropractor.

Check Out a New Option

While there are several options out there, treatment is not one size fits all. If you are seeking a new option to address lower back pain, clinical trials may be able to help.

Those that participate are seen by board-certified physicians, have access to possible new treatment and are compensated for time and travel. To learn more about opportunities in Columbus and surrounding areas, visit aventivresearch.com or call 614-501-6164.