Customized Medicines

Customized Medicines
Dr. Sonja O'Bryan, Pharm.D., ABAAHP Board Certified Health Practitioner Diplomate-American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine: "Creative Medicines" for Hormones-Weight-Pain-Fatigue-Skin Diseases-Pediatrics-Autoimmune Disorders-Veterinary Needs. Using Complimentary, Integrative, Regenerative, Bio-Identical, and Lifestyle Medicine For Health and Healing.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Aging Gracefully Barbies

Because of the field of anti-aging medicine I practice in, I get a lot of humorous things that come my way regarding menopause and aging.  If the walls of my office could talk this is a lot of what you would hear from women who are honest with 'the change' that's going on in their body.  So, here goes, this post if for the ladies who like to laugh and who can probably relate to this line up of Aging Gracefully Barbies. 

1. Bifocal Barbie: Comes with her own set of blended-lens fashion frames in six wild colors (half-frames too!) neck chain and large-print editions of Vogue and Martha Stewart Living.

2. Hot Flash Barbie: Press Barbie's belly and watch her face turn beet red while tiny drops of perspiration appear on her forehead.  Comes with a hand-held fan and tiny tissues.

3.  Flabby Arms Barbie: Hide Barbie's droopy triceps with these new, roomier-sleeved gowns.  Comes with toning balls and a stretch band for her New Years workout

4.  Bunion Barbie: Years of disco dancing in stiletto heels have definitely taken their toll on Barbie's dainty arched feet.  Soothe her sores with the pumice stone and plasters, then slip on soft terry mules.

5.  No-More-Wrinkles Barbie: Erase those pesky crows feet and lip lines with a tube of Skin Sparkle Spackle from Barbies own line of exclusive age-blasting cosmetics. 

6. Soccer Mom Barbie: All the experience as a cheer-leader is really paying off as Barbie dusts off her old high school megaphone to root for Ashley and Ken Jr. Comes with minivan in robin-egg blue or white, and cooler filled with juice drinks and lunch meat.

7.  Post-Menopausal Barbie: You get to fill in the blanks on this one.  Imagine what this Special Edition Barbie might be described as.  It includes... She is sick and tired of Ken sitting on the couch watching the tube, clicking through the channels.  Comes with Depends and Kleenex.  As a bonus this year, the book "Getting in Touch with Your Inner Self" is included.

I want one of each!!!

May your days be Merry and Bright! 

~Dr. Sonja

Monday, December 19, 2011

Just 5%.......little is BIG! My New Years Resolution

little changes with BIG effects....

What if people would just change 5% of their daily habits, routines, sleep, stress, etc.?  I can tell you, it would have a significant impact on just about everything.   I'm going to show you in this BLOG. 

Goal setting is important and we all do it this time of the year. Everyone is expecting you to share your 'New Years Resolution', right?  I'm just hoping it won't end in the middle of January for you as is common to most.  Here's mine and I've been thinking about this.  I figure we can all reasonably control 5% of flux from the main line of what is ideal in our life.  Yep, just 5% is more than doable.

I'm a numbers person so I began to put this thought and principle to the test and it's HUGE. Here goes....If you do a dedicated exercise routine of 30 minutes a day, a 5% addition would result in 547.5 extra minutes a year. Plus, at a pace of 4mph on the treadmill resulting in 1 mile in 15 min, you could add an extra 36.5 miles a year.  Wow! Here's another one.  If you sleep about 6 hours a day, a 5% increase could add an extra 109 hours of sleep a year.  Double WOW!!  little IS.... BIG!! If you spent 5% more time with your family than watching the TV (based on a 2010 average of about 3.5 hours) then at the end of the year would would spend 60 hours more time with your family.  Incredible!

Then I started pondering the clinical significance of our health and the impact that 5% could have in our society.  What if we all moved the balance bubble just 5% toward the mark? These are some numbers from the National Institute of Health and the American Diabetes Association.  Yikes!

~Approximately 24 million Americans have diabetes. (a reduction of 5% could mean 1.2 million less)
~12.6 million women have diabetes (a reduction of 5% could mean 630,000 less women)
~79 million Americans have pre-diabetes. (a blood glucose higher than normal, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis).  The damage to the body is already occurring, but it is silent at this point. You do the math.
~7.9 million ambulatory care visits are made to physicians offices and hospital outpatient and emergency departments for major depressive disorder each year.  That could be reduced by 395,000 visits.  Imagine the impact that could have on our health care system and expenditures.

Are you considering a 5% shift yet? I hope so.

What are some target areas to implement the +/- 5% rule? 

~Diet (start reducing calories by 5%. If you normally eat 2500 calories a day, then at the end of the year you will save yourself 45,625 calories.)
~Stress and Stress Hormone (cortisol) reduction (change just 5% from the lifestyle your are leading)
~Habits and Routines (TV and computer time, workload and responsibilities, etc.)
~Social Networks (I wrote another BLOG on the impact of social networks.  You might want to check that out and make changes accordingly.  Your friends/spouse might be making you happy, but also fat.)
~Faith and Friendships
~Quiet time

My New Years Resolution is going to be to change my life by just 5%.  If I make a 5% change in all of these areas, the numbers will really be compounded.  Would you consider doing the same?  Now just imagine if everyone would do their part!?!? ---->>  We could ALL see significant change in 2012.

It's been an amazing year in business.  We have prepared over 5,000 customized formulations for all types of needs.  If we increase that by just 5%, that will be 250 more people that we help this year.  How awesome is that?!?! Assess what you do and the impact that just 5% could have on your day to day life and the people that you touch.  You will be in awe at what the numbers show.  Go for just 5%!!!

I hope you have a Happy New Year!
To your good health,
Dr. Sonja

Monday, December 12, 2011

Feel Like Puking Your Guts Out?

That's kind of an intense title I understand, but for someone who is experiencing a bout of the stomach blues, there's just no other way to describe it.  What if I told you that I could prepare a gel that you rub on to your wrist to stop the queasies and prevent episodes of nausea and vomiting?  I can and do. :)
Read on.......... There's nothing worse than being sick at your stomach and this time of the year we typically see a surge in cases of nausea and vomiting as people's immune systems succumb to the pressure of the winter flu bug.  Entire families begin to drop like dominoes as they pass the illness from one person to another.  Moms begin to worry that their kids are going to become dehydrated as they struggle to keep enough fluids on board their sick little bodies. You rarely have warning that it's coming and unfortunately most people's medicine cabinets are not stocked appropriately to handle the invasion and insult.  There are a few good things to have on hand that might just prevent a trip to the convenience store at 2am on a Sunday morning.  Those would include:

Pepto Bismol for upset stomach
Imodium for diarrhea
Tums for gas and indigestion
Emetrol for nausea and vomiting
Pedialyte Popsicles and Liquid
Chicken noodle soup and Sprite (that's for my mom who thinks it's the cure all.  Thanks Mom!)

I also want to mention a prescription remedy for nausea and vomiting that we make in the lab all the time.  It's called Phenergan Gel and you simply rub it on your wrist every 4-6 hours.  Phenergan gel makes it nice for those that are too sick to keep anything (food or medicine) down for any length of time.  We always have phenergan gel on hand and prepare it in various strengths to allow treatment for those 2 years of age and older.  (It comes in a dispensing syringe with 10 doses of medicine contained within.)  I should also share that Phenergan Gel is also very helpful for women who are experiencing nausea and vomiting with pregnancy.  Yep that's right, pregnancy!  Many women have intense nausea with pregnancy and Phenergan Gel helps tremendously in controlling episodes of vomiting.  Pregnant moms think its the BOMB!! For me, it's nice to be able to offer a treatment that is safe and effective for all ages and nausea conditions. 

Remember to check your medicine cabinet for the winter season, and don't hesitate to call if I can answer any further questions on this topic.

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja

Monday, December 5, 2011

Low T? Guys, do you have Low Testosterone?

I can't help but be in tune with all of the Low T commercials appearing on the TV right now because of what I hear in my office everyday.  I am happy that men are being targeted and educated on the physical implications that come about as a result of having a low Testosterone (low T) level.  Throughout the last year especially, more and more men are seeking answers for the crummy way that they are feeling.  The last two guys that came into the office were both in their 40's.  To all of this initiative, I say High Five Guys!

Typically men will mostly complain that they have no energy, no sex drive, a loss of muscle strength, erectile dysfunction, irritability, depression, and weight gain.  These can all be direct symptoms of androgen (male hormone) deficiency.  Another common complaint is a feeling of extreme fatigue.  A few weeks ago a wife called to seek information on testing options for her husband who was cranky she said, '95% of the time now'. She warned him that if he didn't do something about it, that she was going to do something herself.  (I did not ask any further questions.) Yikes!

A peek at what the Medical Literature is showing about Testosterone:
In the Massachusetts Male Aging Study, low hormone levels were found and diagnosed in 38.7% of the study participants who were over 45 years old.  With that high of a statistic, if you are 45 or older, you might want to pay particular attention to this blog. Another study published in 2008 tracked 800 California men 50-91 years old.  Their hormone levels and health was tracked over 20 years.  Guess what?  The men with low T tended to be overweight and had increased risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.  Men with the lowest T had a 40% increase in mortality.  Whoa!! 

What to have checked:
There are OTHER key hormones (other than Testosterone) that should also be looked at in males struggling with the aforementioned symptoms.  *The TV commercials don't tell you that little tidbit of information.*   Did you know that estrogen is not just a female hormone?  Men produce a small amount too.  (Man up guys, it's ok to say you make estrogen.) So what's the big deal with estrogen?  During andropause, a problem can occur as Testosterone declines and estrogen takes the lead.  Estrogen dominance can result due to the imbalance of one hormone to another and can lead to breast and prostate enlargement. Progesterone, another sex hormone, can then look out of balance too as it is responsible for balancing estrogen.  It's kind of a cascade of things as you begin to peel back the layers of the problem.  Stress and thyroid hormones also need to be evaluated to determine if the symptoms are linked to another problem outside of the hormone world.  Work with your doctor or a hormone specialist to find out what is important to check.

What to do:
If you think you may have low T, then by all means get it checked out.  You may be functioning at a lower level of normal than you actually realize.  Who knows how good you might feel if things were appropriately balanced.   The testing is very simple and something that you can actually do right from your own home.  So guys there's really no good excuse to pass up this option.  Please give my office a call to get an informational packet on Andropause and a testing kit mailed to your home today.

Low T does not have to be.

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Super Woman Syndrome

Ladies, do you feel that you should wake up every morning and put on a leotard suit and wear a cape?  Do you feel as if you need to be looking around for a phone booth to change into your Super-She'ro gear?

The dream is that sprouting wings and flying would make things easier at times and if wearing a leotard suit and cape would help, I think most of us would be willing to stretch ourselves and do it 'for the greater good'. Back to reality here and the reality is that the Super Woman Syndrome is the end result of trying to conquer a busy lifestyle and you are going to slide down a slippery slope of physical and health problems if you keep on keepin' on.

How do I know if I might have Super Woman Syndrome?
Here are some key signs to look for: shakiness relieved with eating, sugar cravings, low blood pressure, moodiness, food sensitivity and GI upset, recurrent infections, restlessness, short temper and irritability, emotional lows, abdominal weight gain, hot flashes and night sweats, and fatigue most of the time.

Health consequences?
Altered stress response: elevated cortisol, elevated insulin, hormone suppression, inflammation, rapid aging, weight gain, insomnia, and difficulty resting.

Real life: The circadian rhythm is important, but in the Super Woman Syndrome, the rhythm can get discombobulated causing the body to produce low cortisol through the day and high amounts at night.  The effects will be that you won't sleep, you will be easily fatigued, and you will crave sugar and caffeine to keep yourself going.  Taking salivary cortisol levels 4 times a day can provide answers to the day/night body mix-ups.  The testing is affordable and easy.

What should you do if you have Super Woman Syndrome?
1. Draw some parameters around your life and make GOOD on the commitments you need to make.  Exercise, adequate sleep, R&R time, etc. You know what you need to do.

2. Engage in healthy relationships and disengage when possible from those that are depleting your emotional, mental, and physical reserves.

3. Learn to say NO.  Believe me, I haven't always been good at this myself, but I'm getting BETTER.

4. Get your HgB A1c tested.    Catching blood glucose problems early can lessen the risk of diabetes later. Cortisol can have a huge impact on blood sugar because it's basically a situation of stress on steroids.

5. Get your hormones and cortisol checked.  If you are struggling to function throughout the day, it's a simple way to see what's going on and to help you correct the problem. 

Now, take off the cape and the neoprene suit and rescue yourself and your health today.  I'm here to answer your questions and walk (no flying on this endeavor) you through the process of testing. 

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ready, Set, BLOG!!!!!

Let me just tell you that I'm more than excited to see this BLOG up and running.  It's been laying in the portals of the mind for  some time now and thanks to the marketing and techno teams, we are up and running.  Hip Hip Hooray!!!

The CCRx Team never ceases to amaze me.  In an economy that has people pulling back, we are dedicated to moving FORWARD in patient care, new research and treatments, and doing our THANG for the purpose of creating medicine when other options just aren't sufficient to meet the need.  It's what we do.  I'm proud to be guiding the ship and helping providers and patients find relief through compounded medications for various diseases and problems.

Through this social outlet, I will be sharing some of the treatments we are doing along with some of the questions that I respond to throughout the course of a week.  Sometimes from providers and sometimes from patients.  There are some troubling things out there that people are dealing with.  And, quite honestly, I don't think they have to.  There are options.  We have options Dr. Sonja?  O' yes!!!! We have options.

Please send me your questions or things that you would like to know more about.  I'll do my best to tackle any issue that I can, through the resources that I have available to me.

Hold on to your seats.......HERE WE GO!!!!!

Dr. Sonja O'Bryan

Bad News/Good News

Bad News: These are some of the symptoms of Estrogen deficiency: hot flashes, shortness of breath, night sweats, insomnia, vaginal dryness, dry skin/hair, mood swings, memory loss, yeast infections, painful intercourse, incontinence, and anxiety.

Good news: All treatable

Bad News: Women feel they are the only ones dealing with the 'symptoms I dare not speak of'.

Good News: Normal things I hear in my office.

Bad News: Sometimes physicians aren't willing to prescribe hormone therapy and women are told to 'just get through it the best they can'.

Good News: There are physicians and clinicians who 'get it'.  A study published in OBGYN NEWS (Jan 15th 2009) showed the 'whole picture' results of compounded Transdermal Hormone Therapy at 1 year in 150 women treated for hormone imbalance.  Blood pressures went down, depression scales went down, clotting factors went down, triglycerides went down.

Call me if I can share some Good News about the Bad way you thought you had to feel.


Why Didn't You Tell Me?

I visited with a physician this week who shared that his wife was on bio-identical hormone replacement therapy.  I've heard this so many times over the years, but it always sparks a question in my head...."Why don't you tell your patients about this treatment option?"  I mean he knows about it, the wife knows about it, their doctor knows about it, I know about it, but why aren't patients given this information?"

OBGYNnews published an article (Jan 15, 2009) which highlighted the results of a study done by a physician at the University of Texas.  At the end of one year, not only did the patients symptoms resolve, but blood pressures went down, triglycerides went down, clotting factors went down, depression scales (you guessed it) went down, anxiety decreased and so on.  They were simply balanced with customized transdermal hormone therapy.  Did it make the headlines?  The answer would be a big fat NO!!  I think every female struggling with these symptoms 'we dare not speak of' should be told about something like this.  There is compelling evidence that customized hormone therapy is beneficial in so many ways.

I don't watch much TV, but I am aware that Suzanne Somers, Robin McGraw, Oprah, Linda Evans and others are bringing attention to this in the media.  Yes they are celebrities, but obviously they are transparent enough to share that they are not Super Women forging through the valley of the shadow of Estrogen.  They have the best physicians and treatments available to them at all times.  They choose this plan and you should know about it too.

A typical day for me is sharing this treatment option, discussing personal symptoms with patients, testing their hormones, and working with their physician to provide an individualized treatment plan.  I want you to know about this.  First do your own homework on synthetic versus bio-identical hormone replacement therapy.  That's where you need to start.

Now YOU too know about this highly personalized one size does NOT fit all option.

Trading Testosterone for Diaper Duty

A man's testosterone levels fall when his child is born, researchers have found.

In this week's online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Lee Gettler, a doctoral candidate in anthropology at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and his co-authors followed 624 young men in the Philippines to see whether their testosterone levels changed after becoming fathers.

"The men who started with high testosterone were more likely to become fathers, but once they did, their testosterone went down substantially," Gettler said in a release.

"Our findings suggest that this is especially true for fathers who become the most involved with child care."

Men who spent more than three hours a day changing diapers, giving baths and reading bedtime stories showed the lowest testosterone.

"Our findings suggest that testosterone mediates tradeoffs between mating and parenting in humans, as seen in other species in which fathers care for young," the study's authors concluded.

The men in the study were followed for about 4.5 years.

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation and the Wenner Gren Foundation.
From a report done by CNN.  I'm not making this stuff up. 
~Dr. Sonja

What I found in my 'IN' Box


I am just back from a 3 day conference on BHRT put on by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. Wow! . This week I plan to sign a lease on a beautiful clinic space. My husband and I have been in Texas for a year now. During that time I have been talking to anyone/everyone about BHRT and looking for potential clinic space.

Finally things are moving in a positive direction for me career wise. The job I have had here for the past year to finish out my government comittment was fabulous.

Thank you so very much for introducing me to this positive and fun way of treating patients.

I hope all is well with you.

To your great health
Dr F

My INbox runneth over.  I love getting these kind of notes.

I love educating physicians and practitioners on the benefits that BioIdentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) can bring to their patients.  This particular physician I worked with for many years in Missouri as a colleague and as a BHRT patient of mine.  She has now relocated, educated herself further, and is stepping into the Anti-Aging Medicine path herself.  If something is good you just can't help but tell about it.  It's probably been 6 months since I last visited with her but it's especially nice to know that you help steer others into life changing medicine and they remember to connect you into their life.

"IN"to your health,

Out of Balance, Everyday People

Real People with Real Symptoms

Case #1

39 year old female with hysterectomy 2 years ago (ovaries removed).  Found me through a personal friend and wanted to be tested for hormone deficiencies b/c of troublesome symptoms which included:
all day fatigue, mood swings, loss of libido, dryness, insomnia, weight gain, thinning hair, foggy thinking, and depression.

The patient was on estrogen therapy (patch).

Did a private consultation with the patient capturing past medical history, family history, etc. and sent her out with a hormone testing kit.

Results: Low estrogen, low progesterone, and low testosterone.  Worked with her personal physician to create a customized formulation with each of those components and will reevaluate in 3 months.  Also put the patient on an adrenal regimen to help with the symptoms of fatigue and feeling worn out all the time.

Case #2

49 year old female with hysterectomy (ovaries not removed). Chief complaints foggy thinking, memory lapse, headaches, mood swings, irritability, weight gain, crying spells, recurring yeast infections, increased facial hair, and decreased stamina.

Hormone test results showed: Estrogen (extremely low), Progesterone (extremely low), Testosterone (normal).  Contacted her medical provider (Physicians Asst) and faxed a treatment regimen.  Approved. Received a phone call directly from the patient 2 weeks later.  " Dr. Sonja I have to ask you something! .....(me...concerned).... Is it even possible to feel this much better so quickly?!?!  I cannot believe I have been putting this off.  I'm so happy that I found out about this!!!!  (happy too)

Case #3

49 yo Male (yes I said Male. BTW, I have more and more male patients seeking  help for their symptoms of Andropause.  Hip-Hip-Hooray for the Guys)

Patient referred to me by their personal physician.  Symptom checklist completed by patient includes burned out feeling, hot flashes, weight gain, decreased libido, decreased erections, oily skin, decreased urine flow, decreased stamina, and sleep disturbances.  And thats just section 1 of the questionnaire.

Did a private consultation with the patient gathering necessary medical history, family history, symptoms, etc. and requested a lab draw for him from his doctors office. He had started out on testosterone injections without much improvement.  Also did not like going to the doctor every month for a shot. ( but who does?)

Serum results faxed by the doctor to me indicated very low testosterone.  Clear hypogonadism.  That was in late 2010.  He is still on therapy today and comes in faithfully every month for his customized medicine.

Out of balance, everyday people.

Don't just deal with the symptoms, get it checked out.


Lets hear it from the Boys

Andropause is the gradual decline in the production of androgens, the male sex hormones testosterone and DHEA.  Andropause is a much slower decline in hormone levels compared to menopause and usually begins at about 40 years old and continues for several decades.

Here's what men will often complain of: back pain, decreased muscle strength, decreased endurance, decreased urine flow, depression, erectile dysfuntion, hot flashes, low libido, irritability, moodiness, difficulty concentrating, insomnia, and weight gain.

We prepared customized formulations for tons of male patients.  Men with andropause should be given the same attention as women in menopause.

Call me if you want to be tested for lowT.  Or fill out the online form to see if your symptoms point in that direction.


Vaginal Woes

Vaginal burning, itching, dryness, and discomfort are usually the ways that women describe the pain they feel with this menopause menace.  Hot flashes are the most talked about menopause symptom, but almost 50% of menopausal women experience atrophic vaginitis.  Remember when I say  menopause, I'm talking surgically induced (hysterectomy) and natural (normal aging). The decline in estrogen basically causes thinning and inflammation of the vaginal walls.  Over time and left untreated, this nuisance can lead to other things like discomfort during intercourse, recurrent urinary tract infections, and incontinence.

 So how do you treat it?  Often Estrogen therapy applied vaginally 2-3 times weekly can give resolution.  I customize a therapy all the time for this one problem alone.  It's become a go-to formulation for prescribers looking for an answer to their patient's discomfort.

Today I consulted with a patient who has a condition called vulvar lichen planus.  This goes even further beyond the vaginitis and REALLY affects skin integrity.  These women deal with cracking skin, itchy patches, sores, and other painful matters. For them, the treatment plan often includes a multi-ingredient customized medicine to treat multiple aspects of the pain.

Not long after, I got an email from a prescriber asking for help with a young patient who recently had a baby.  The young mom complained of stabbing pains and constant hurting in the vagina since having the baby.  The approach was much the same with her.  I interviewed her and got a better understanding of what the pain intensity was, when it happened the most, etc. etc.  We were able to go to the lab and make a customized pain formula for her.  Hoorah!!

Very real stuff.  Very treatable.  When I visit with patients one on one, it's amazing to hear the 'hidden' problems they experience.  It doesn't have to be hidden.  Seek help.  Now that's good advice.


Got Wrinkles? Face Lift for $40. Here's a secret...

Estrogen prevents a decrease in skin collagen in postmenopausal women. Therefore estrogen therapy can increase the skin collagen content and help maintain thickness.  Scientific studies validate that diminishing hormone levels play a significant factor in aging of facial skin and that Estriol represents a promising approach.  In a study reported in the International Journal of Dermatology, 58 women, average age 53, applied an Estriol cream to their face and necks over an 8 week period of time and the results showed significant improvements:

96% increase in skin elasticity and firmness
96% increase in skin moisture
89% decrease in wrinkle depth.

I make an Estriol cosmeceutical formulation for many women who want to prevent and minimize the affects of aging.  It's a nice product that you can apply to the face and neck daily and it absorbs well without any residue or greasy feeling.  Many satisfied clients.

You are welcome to call me for more information if you would like to try this product.  417-777-7455


Friends and Family Making You Fat?

A persons chance of becoming obese increased 57% if a close friend became obese.

Among siblings, if one became obese, the chance for the other to become obese increased by 40%

If a spouse became obese, the chances for the other spouse increased by 37%

Study findings in The New England Journal of Medicine, The Spread of Obesity in a Large Social Network over 32 years.

So.....I guess you can blame some of your weight on family and friends.  I'm not making this up.  And WOW!!! The study included 12,000 people and data was collected over 32 years (1971-2003) by sociologist researchers from Harvard University and U Cal San Diego.  That's a large study population and time always tells the truth especially when following people for that long.

One of the first things that I address in my 12 week weight loss program is social networks.  As you see the stats can be stacked against you like a 'triple steakburger with fries' if you don't control how you eat around others.  Ever visited with people and not felt hungry until everyone else started eating?  The answer is Yes!  Why? Because we are influenced by our circle of family and friends.  No doubt about it.


Got Psoriasis? A patient testimonial

"I have suffered with psoriasis for 45 years.  The condition just kept getting worse and the plaque began to build up until it was uncontrollable.  I tried various medications (steroid creams, oral steroids, anti-itch creams, and many over the counter products) but none of them worked effectively for any length of time.  My psoriasis seems to be localized to the knees, elbows, and the back of my head making it obvious to others when I would wear shorts or short sleeves.  It was embarrassing for me to have these areas visible to others.  I sought treatment from the Custom Compounding Center and Dr. Sonja O'Bryan. A multi-ingredient medication was made in a high potency strength for me.  It is something that I could not get as a regular prescription, but something that was individualized to my needs.  It penetrates well into the psoriasis areas and does not leave a greasy residue like some of the other products I have tried.  I'm HAPPY TO SAY that it has stopped the itching, reduced the scaling, and it seems to be going away completely.  I would recommend this treatment for anyone with this or other similar conditions.  It's affordable and effective.  Wow!  I'm pleased!!!
Thank you,

For people suffering with psoriasis, the personal aggravation, embarrassment, and failed attempts at clearing things up can be never ending.  I can remember several patients throughout the years who have suffered with psoriasis in different places on their body.  The knees, elbows, and scalp seem to be the most commonly affected areas for sure.  Raised, red, scaly, and silvery are all ways that patients describe the affected areas.  Psoriasis commonly is diagnosed anywhere from the age of 15-35.  I actually had a small child not long ago with what the doctors think is the early signs of psoriasis.  Thankfully Mom got right on it.  Go MOM!!!

A personal medication history helps me to know what things have been tried in the past and what solutions I might be able to offer in a customized medicine.  Scalp treatments require that I prepare things that can be lathered as a shampoo, while knees and elbows require something that can be rubbed in without a lasting feeling of greasiness as people go about their daily lives.  We can make all sorts of remedies to help subdue the psoriasis flare and often put two or three ingredients together to cover all the bases.

If you suffer from psoriasis call me.  I likely can make a multi-ingredient product 'customized' for less than you will spend on your insurance copay for each of the agents alone.   I will be happy to fax or consult with your personal physician or provider.

Now that's good medicine.


Are you 50? Why you should consider a Shingles Vaccine

98% of adults in the US have been infected with the chickenpox virus, and are at risk for Shingles. Once a person has had chickenpox, the virus can live, but remain active, in certain nerve roots within your body for many years.  If it becomes active later in life, it can cause Shingles.

The first signs of Shingles are often felt and may not be seen.  Itching, tingling, and burning are good warning signs and then a few days later a rash of fluid-filled blisters can appear usually on one side of the body or face.

After the rash heals, Shingles may lead to pain that lasts for months or even years in some people.  This long-term nerve pain, called postherpetic neuralgia, occurs because the virus that causes Singles may damage certain nerves.  We have customized a medicine in our lab that has been helpful to patients dealing with this awful pain.

About 1/2 of the nearly 1 million cases of Shingles each year occur in patients who are 60 and older.
1 out of 2 people who live to the age of 85 will have Shingles.

The vaccination is now approved in people who are 50 and older.  We can bill your Medicare D plan if you are a Medicare enrollee to find out what your copay will be.  And, we will be happy to bill your private insurance to see your out of pocket cost.  For those wanting to pay cash, the cost is just under $200.  We can give the vaccination right here.  Just call us for a designated time.

To your good health,
Dr Sonja

Hormones in Cosmetics?

Yes! Hormones can be found in some cosmetics.

Face creams and shampoos are classified legally as cosmetics, and as such, are not under the close purview of the FDA.  Manufacturers of cosmetics can actually add hormones to their cosmetics, but they are not required to list it on the labels.  I had a patient a couple of months ago who was not using any prescription hormone therapy.  When I had her test her hormones due to some symptoms she was experiencing, her progesterone value came back at a very high level.  I actually called a consultant team that I work with because it was mind boggling to understand why such a high value was seen without any obvious reason.  The final culprit we determined was a cosmetic line that she had been using for some time.  In fact, I recently read an article from a laboratory that tested various cosmetic lines and they found that 90-95% of all submitted creams tested postive for hormones.  She eliminated the cosmetic line and retested in 6 weeks.  Wala! The levels started coming down.

I do formulate cosmeceutical products in the lab, but they are very specific percentages and targeted to patients needs.  I can say, without a doubt, exactly what patients are receiving in their product.  I don't like the 'not knowing' factor when it comes to buying the next 'anti-wrinkle' cream thats promoted out there.  Be careful! You might be getting more than what you paid for.

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja

Worn Out? Running on Empty? Easily Fatigued?

Do you have trouble sleeping? Constant fatigue? Inability to lose weight even with diet and exercise? Crave salty or sugary foods? Have low energy in the morning and afternoon? ......... Did you answer YES? ...........................You may have adrenal fatigue.

Before defining adrenal fatigue, let's review the functions of the adrenal glands.  The adrenal glands are two small glands located on top of the kidneys and their general purpose is to help the body respond to stress.  They produce many different hormones in three major classes-glucocorticoids, mineralocorticoids, and androgens.  These hormones are primarily concerned with controlling you 'Fight or Flight' response to a stressors by stimulating the body so that it has energy to deal with danger or a stressful situation.  This adrenal response involves an initial release of adrenaline, which causes a sharpening of the senses, rapid heart rate, and acute mental alertness.  Adrenaline is quickly converted into cortisol, which circulates in your blood stream for a much longer time.  Cortisol slows digestion, inhibits thyroid function, and increases blood sugar levels, supresses the immune system, and contracts mid-size arteries.  All this is done to help your body deal with a stressful emergency situation.

In modern times these stressors manifest themselves in our fast-paced lives in different ways (see below).  Problems arise when sustained stressors cause the prolonged release of cortisol in the body.  Our bodies were not meant to maintain this 'Fight or Flight' state constantly; and doing so is detrimental to our health.  Eventually, the adrenals are simply not able to mount an effective response to stress, and these excessive cortisol levels decrease to an ineffective level.

Common Causes of Adrenal Fatigue:
Chronic Illness                               Severe/Chronic Stress
Chronic Pain                                    Chronic Pain
Anger                                               Low Blood Sugar
Depression                                      Consistently High Caffeine Intake
Excessive Exercise                        Maldigestion
High Carbohydrate Diet               Sleep Deprivation

Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue:
Imbalance of Sex Hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA)        
Sugar Cravings                      
Shakiness between meals                                           
High Cholesterol                    
Weakened Immune System                                        
Weight Gain                                                                                           
Low sex drive                         
Fatigue especially afternoon                                     
Increased insulin resistance

Women especially complain that they are gaining weight despite exercising and eating healthy. I always respond that their hormones and adrenals need to be evaluated.  Both can make it very difficult to lose weight unless they are in the normal range. 

Call me (417-231-4544) if you have any of these symptoms or feel you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue.  I can provide a testing kit to evaluate both hormones and adrenal hormones.  It's simple and you can do it from your own home.

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja

Hormone Spigot turned off? Progesterone

Progesterone has many roles:
Precursor to other sex hormones (estrogen and testosterone) and cortisone

Maintains the lining of the uterus
It's a natural diuretic.
Promotes thermogenesis. Fat burning for energy
Acts as a natural antidepressant
Aids the thyroid
Normalizes blood clotting
Helps maintain sex drive
Helps maintain normal blood sugar levels
Helps balance estrogen dominance
Promotes bone building and protects against osteoporosis
Helps patients sleep better
and other benefits....

Common symptoms of progesterone deficiency:
Low sex drive
Anxiety (how many patients start anti-anxiety meds as they age??? You don't want to know
Food cravings
Trouble going to sleep
Painful breasts
Weight gain
Water retention
Painful joints
Decreased urine flow

Progesterone tends to decline in women at about age 35.  For surgical menopause patients (hysterectomy), the decline happens after surgery and especially if the ovaries are removed.

CAUTION!!!  There are many over-the-counter formulations of hormones available through the internet and other avenues.  Talk with your healthcare providers about what's truly going on.  It's always best to test hormones before doing any kind of therapy.

Case in point #1: Patient with weeping spells and depression and a host of other symptoms.  Sent to my office by a doctor to evaluate and recommend a treatment plan.  Discovered that the patient was using an over-the-counter progesterone cream and was 5x outside of normal range on the labs that came back to my office.  The patient was using too much of what she thought was a good thing.  What seems to be too little of something can turn out to be too much.  I've seen this more often than I care to share.  Fortunately we were able to taper her down to a normal lab profile.  It all comes down to testing, dosing, consultation with medical providers, and follow up.

Case in point #2: A 63 year old woman that had new onset of bleeding (2 months by the time she came to me).  She had gone through menopause at 53 and had no problems for 10 years.  An herbalist had put her on progesterone and some other supplements and through questioning I found this piece of information out.  I suggested that she immediately get to an M.D. to evaluate her condition because that was abnormal.  Although progesterone may have been low, the bleeding was a concerning issue to me and could point to very serious health problems. 

It's a great day to be able to provide Creative Medicine!

Dr. Sonja

Hormone Spigot Turned Off? Estrogen

Estrogen has about 400 crucial functions in the body.  Of course it would be difficult to list them all on this blog, but here's a few of the major 'need to knows'.

Increases metabolic rate
Helps you sleep more deeply
Dilates your arteries
Maintains the amount of collagen in the skin
Helps with memory
Helps with fine motor skills
Increases energy
Decreases wrinkles
Protects your eyes
Reduces irritability, anxiety, and depression levels

Symptoms of decreased estrogen
The BIGGIES and the reason that women seek help.
Hot Flashes
Night sweats
Rapidly aging/thinning skin
Vaginal dryness
Foggy Thinking
Mood Swings

There are various estrogens that the body produces naturally.  Each can be tested and the benefits of each can be discussed.  Give me a call if you are struggling with the symptoms associated with what might be declining estrogen.


Excessive Sweating aka Hyperhidrosis

Got a call for a physician provider regarding a teenage girl who was having a problem with excessive sweating.  I was asked if I had any options for her.  The problem for the girl had escalated to deep embarrassment amongst peers at school and feelings of depression.  I had the privilege to speak with the mother and daughter to find out more on the issue.  The daughter had been wearing absorbant barriers under the arms to prevent breakthrough sweat on her clothes.  Her fear was that the pads would accidentally fall out or become displaced revealing her secret.  I was thankful that I got the call so that we could go to work on her behalf.  And my answer back to the provider was an emphatic "YES, we can help!!!"

Fortunately in my years of doing customized therapy, I was able to offer a solution.  We had made a similar product for others with the same need.  We quickly went to the lab and made a specialty deodorant product for her.  The secret ingredient is a drying agent (along with other complimentary ingredients for smell and absorbancy) that the girl uses as a rub on deodorant a couple of times a day.  The product works and we are so happy for her.

Sweating from the feet:
Yep!  I've formulated plenty of sweat-busting medicine for hot-wet feet.  ~For teenagers especially.  There are some creams that can be created to dry those sweat glands up a bit and bring the stinky/wet feet problems to a halt. 

Sweating of another kind....
In some cases, and especially in the peri- and menopausal years, women sometimes complain that their head just immediately gets wet with sweat.  (I often notice them in a crowd since I do this for a living.)  They don't even have to be outside to see the towering inferno rage within.   You'll see this surfacing pattern of sweat right at the base of their neck and forehead line and often these women begin to look for fans and devices to cool themself off.  This is totally hormonal and mild doses of hormone therapy can bring the sweats to a halt.  Is this you?  Is your hair ringing wet with sweat?  Give me a call.

Now that's creative medicine!!

Fitting Into Your Genes

Are you aging rapidly?
The rate of aging is genetically determined, but how well you age is very much controlled by diet, lifestyle, hormone balance, and stress control when it comes to our genes.  I'll explain why in this blog.  The pace at which we age is to a large degree controlled by these important little things called telomeres.  Telomeres serve as 'a cap' at the end of chromosomes which make up our DNA.  Each time that a cell divides to make a new copy of itself the telomere is shortened.  When the telomere is basically whittled away to nothing, DNA becomes frayed at the ends and the cell cannot make copies anymore. Frazzled DNA due to poor lifestyle, diet, and stress can expedite the process of aging resulting in shortened telomeres prematurely.

Long telomeres are connected with longevity, but short telomeres have been linked to diseases like heart disease, cancer, Alzheimers disease, osteoporosis, and death. People don't realize it, but cells in your skin are changed out once a month, your liver in 6 weeks, your GI tract 5 days and so on.  So, you will want to keep your DNA in tip top shape (literally because telomeres serves as caps preventing frazzled ends), so you prevent degradation of the cells needed to restore the body.  Telomeres tend to be longer in younger people than in older individuals.  Men tend to have shorter telomeres than women, probably because they tend to burn them up faster in more self-destructive behaviors (smoking, poor diet, alcohol consumption, and lack of exercise, job stress, pushing physical limits).  Researchers think there is a link to telomeres in the men vs women caterogry of aging in the fact that women live 4 to 5 years longer than men.

So how do you prevent the shortening of telomeres and stress on your body?
1) Eat a healthy diet
2) Follow a healthy lifestyle (exercise, activities of enjoyment, sunlight)
3) Take supplements of fish oil and Vitamin D daily.
4) Avoid junk food
5) Keep your waist size down
6) Get plenty of sleep
7) Control stress.
8) Minimize exposure to harmful vapors, smoke, fumes, and chemicals.  Stop smoking!
9) Drink tea daily. Teas provide healthy nutrients to the body.
10) Know your numbers (thyroid, blood pressure, blood sugar, hormones)
11) Avoid artificial sweeteners.
12) Limit alcohol consumption
13) Get your hormones balanced!!!  The impact of hormone imbalance often results in stress to the body (insomnia, poor mood, cravings, lack of energy, wrinkles, decreased hair growth, weight gain)

Have you ever seen someone who went through a major stress and they age 10 years overnight?  Have you experienced sleeplessness, anxiety, poor mood and the other "issues" of the modern day lifestyle?  Then follow these key steps to slow the process down so you can fit into your genes better.

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja

Are You Paying Attention?

Throughout the years, I have fielded many questions regarding attention deficit disorder.  It goes without saying that a parent notices particular behavior patterns in their children, but the scary part comes when a medical provider mentions prescription medication for the disorder.  It really almost makes me cringe to say the word disorder, but for purposes of this article, I'm using it as just a term that is widely accepted in the medical community.  I (and others should) realize that these children are very bright individuals and the 'disorder' is really just 'unconventional order' in their mind.  They tend to be stimulated by things that others don't necessarily pay attention to.  I have family members, friends, and personal contacts who have been diagnosed with A.D.D. and I'm suspicious that if my parents had known about it when I was a kid, I probably would have been diagnosed too.  There are various ways that A.D.D. can present itself.  For some, it's just being easily sidetracked or fascinated by something new.  (that's me).  For others, it's sitting still long enough to complete a task.  (that's me)  But usually the biggies that require medical intervention are poor grades, forgetfulness, inattentiveness, and disruptive behavior.  These kids often need help to stay on target in regards to school and homework.

For those parents that are struggling to say yes to prescription medication, I do have an option.  In the store, we carry a multi-ingredient powder-mix drink that has been clinically tested against Ritalin.  Ritalin, methylphenidate, is a stimulant medication used to treat A.D.D. Some of the side effects of Ritalin have parents asking if there is an alternate method to treat and help their kids do better with the things I mentioned above in this article.  This beverage contains neuro-active ingredients such as choline, GABA, phenylalanine, and taurine.  These are all agents that have been linked to better neuropsychological performance.  The clinical study was also placebo-controlled and double blinded (search for information if you are unfamiliar). That just makes for a better study when possible.  The final results showed this:

The nutritional beverage is as effective as methylphenidate on three of the 4 measures tested.  Mean differences suggest that is not only as good, but MORE effective on all three measures.  WOW!!
I have been fortunate to gain feedback from parents who have tried this option in their kids.  I have plenty of adults who use the product as well to stay healthier and more focused in their roles and responsibilities.  I think it's great when a more natural approach can be taken without unwanted side effects. 

I would be happy to discuss this product, study, or provide more information if you have questions.

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja


Actually YES! I am a germophobe.  I think after reading this article, you will understand why and might join my circle.  Handwashing is a common practice that can protect you from so many things.  I cringe every time I see people leave a restroom, touch doorknobs or railings, eat food, and go about their business without washing their hands.  I've seen little kids walk to the sink in a restroom to try to wash their hands and have a parent snatch them away because they are in a hurry. STOP!!!  Let the kid wash their hands.

Today we are talking Staph Infection.

Sadly, there has been an increase in the amount of Staph infections over the course of the last few years.  I think education is key in preventing and protecting you and your families from this looming offender.  Here's a little 'need to know info' on this bacteria.

There are 2 types of methicillin-resistant (fancy word, but focus on the 'resistant' part of it), Staphylococcus aureus: healthcare-associated MRSA and community acquired MRSA.  So really what that means is you can get it from exposure in the hospital with common places like hospitals, nursing homes, dialysis clinics, etc.  Or, you can get it in the community through skin-to-skin contact with razors, towels, athletic equipment. Athletes can be at a higher risk because of contact-sports and such.  Other places of contact could include day cares, dormitories, military barracks, and tattoo parlors.  Symptoms of Staph typically include a red, tender, warm, and swollen area.  It kind of looks like an insect bite.  Fluid or pus can sometimes appear too. Years ago we had a delivery driver who presented with it on the top of his hands where he constantly put his hands into his pockets to retrieve his keys.  Thankfully he asked me about the red appearing spots and I told him to make an appointment with his Dr. asap because I was suspicious that it was Staph.  And, it was. (sigh)

Treatment can include draining the wound and culturing the site to confirm Staph infection along with antibiotic therapy to prevent worsening of the bacteria and spread to others.  Scary, but Staph infection can also appear in the nose.  In fact, there is a specific product made just for Staph infection of the nose.  Getting a jump on things, can minimize the bad effects that it can cause.

So how do you protect your family?  Well, should I reiterate the handwashing schpeel again?!?!  Ok, Ok, I think you got the message.  But here are some other things to think about: Wash the workout equipment at the gym before using it. Don't share towels or razors with people.  If someone has a wound, ask them to cover it.  (I can't believe someone would have to do that, but hey!, people can lack common sense sometimes... ) Protect your kids by assessing other children who may appear ill or have a wound.

Teach your teenagers to change their bed sheets and wash their hands as regular routine.  And, especially, practice what you preach.  Staph infection is not always preventable, but taking precautionary steps may help reduce the chance of infection.  If you have a loved one in the hospital or nursing home, make sure to be aware of wounds, fever, poor cleanliness practices, and the like.  Report anything that is not in the best interests of your loved ones care.

So are you a germophobe? Because being a germophobe is actually acceptable in my book. :)

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja

When you care about what you do

I had a great encounter this weekend as I was attending a dinner in the community.  It was one of those conversations where you walk away and continue to ponder the discussions that took place. I'll get to the rest of the reason for this blog once I give the background info on where I'm going with this 'caring' thing.

I had taken care of a family a few months ago who was going to be doing some travel and needed some medications to take with them.  Because I have done some international travel myself, I was familiar with the challenges and processes to get things in order before flying the friendly skies.  I've seen people become ill while away from home throughout my years and let me tell you it is not a pretty sight.

Anyway, the entire family needed medicine and maybe because of my experiences they called me to bridge the gap.  I went to work on all the details for them which included coordinating insurance, making a compounded formulation for their youngest, and discussing the how-to's of administration.  I think the angel on my shoulder gave me insight into some of the necessities that others might not think about including clean water, stability, and storage once they arrived.  We came up with a good game plan and everyone stayed healthy.  Woo-hoo!

The conversation included the words, "we are going to transfer our business to you because of how well you took care of us."  I very graciously thanked her for her kind words but felt inside that I was only doing what was right to cover the details for their health and welfare.    It was sort of humbling to hear those words.  This has been happening more and more in our community.  We have seen a tremendous amount of converts into our business over the past few years.  I'm very happy to have another family come on board and I'm certainly thankful that I got the call to intervene.  It was a win-win for all of us.  Keep 'em coming!

I began to think about our business and what I get to do everyday.  We are a unique provider in our community in that we can provide traditional medicine options, but we can also customize therapy to individual needs.  There is absolutely no way to predict my day.  Maybe a young woman needs help sustaining a pregnancy.  Maybe a cat has been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism.  Maybe a child needs something flavored so they will take their medicine.  Maybe a menopausal woman needs an evaluation of hormones to determine if life can return to normal again for her.  Each person (patient, provider, caretaker) that comes in or calls has a particular need that they are concerned about..   In any given day, I can respond to 20 email, Facebook, or texts messages from those in my contact circle.  Most often, it's just a 'Dr. Sonja, what do you think about this?'   Our team is placed in a unique position to be able to help with needs of many kinds.  The drug shortages have opened up deep concerns for patients who need special medicines to control their disease.  We have intervened in some of those areas recently and I'm so happy that we could.  Bottom line, if we lose the focus of care and concern and our 'response-ability' to help with these concerns, then we are 'in it' for the wrong reasons.  This whole encounter reassured me that our team is 'in it' for all the right reasons.  We have an excellent team (over 120 years of experience combined-smile) and reputation in our community and it's encouraging to be here to serve.

We care,
Dr. Sonja

Soak up some sun

Vitamin D is a uique fat-solube vitamin, wchin our body needs to help regulate calcium and phosphorous.  It is uniqe in that our bodies can make Vitamin D through exposure of our skin to sunlight.  Once our bodies make vitamin D or if we take it in through out diet, it is stored in the liver where it must be activated by the kidneys to work.  Long known for it's importance to prevent a childhood disease called Rickets, it is now known to be protective to the body in a lot of other ways.

Disorders linked with Vitamin D deficiency include stroke, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, several forms of cancer, some autoimmune disease , diabetes, depression, and schizophrenia.  A major culprit of vitamin D deficiency is inadequate sun exposure.  Deficiencies of Vitamin D are especially problematic for people who spend a lot of time indoors or who live in colder climates.

Sources of Vitamin D: Salmon, Tuna, Sardines, Milk (Vit D fortified), Margarine (Vit D fortified), Cereal (Vit D fortified), Egg (Vit D fortified), Liver, Cod Liver Oil, and of course Sunlight as mentioned earlier.

Recent findings suggest that levels between 40-60ng/ml are beneficial in preventing diseases linked to
Vitamin D deficiency.  1,000 IU of Vitamin D increases serum levels by approximately 10ng/ml.

Vitamin D deficiency factors:

Diseases: cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, Crohn's disease, and Whipple's disease.

Poor absorption and metabolism: stress, dieting, illness, environmental toxins, digestive disorders, high sugar intake, drug and alcohol consumption, allergies, lack of exercise, aging, and processed and fried foods.

Diseases linked to vitamin D deficiency: Alzheimers, Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, MS, Crohn's, thyroid, psoriasis, fibromyalgia, bowel disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, osteoporosis, tooth decay, bone pain, gluten intolerance, high blood pressure, infertility, Rickets, depression, stress, Parkinsons, Peripheral neuropathy, Polycystic ovary disease, and Premenstrual syndrom to name some.

Compelling Evidence: Vitamin D and Cancer Risk Reduction

1. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Lancet, Cancer Research, International Journal of Cancer, and International Journal of Epidemiology support the role of Vitamin D in cancer prevention.

2007 found 77% reduction in incidence of all cancers with calcium and Vitamin D intake

2007 found 50% reduction in incidence of colorectal cancer with levels of 33 or greater

2006 found 80% reduction in incidence of breast cancer with levels >65

Toxicity with Vitamin D is possible, but extremely rare.  Monitoring levels and following your providers advice are key to maintaining a healthy level of Vitamin D

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja

Polycystic Ovaries

Reposting this BLOG.  I just did a consultation with a 53 year old woman yesterday who is certain that she had PCOS with a long history of female issues and eventually a hysterectomy, but "back then" she stated, they just didn't know it. 

We do know about the implications of PCOS "these days". Read on mothers, daughters, grandaughters, sisters, grandmothers..... you might just help your family member.

This is a SHOUT out to girls and young women who may be dealing with hidden practices and secrets related to polycystic ovaries.  What do you mean(?), you might be asking.  Did you know that it is not uncommon for a woman with this disease to have to shave?  Did you know that they often struggle with depression?  Did you know that they skip menstrual cycles of just don't have them at all?  Did you know that infertility is a huge problem for these patients?  Did you know that PCOS is becoming more prevalent?

Let me just give you a running list of some of the symptoms of PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome).

Infrequent menstrual periods, no menstrual periods, irregular bleeding, infertility because of no ovulation, increased hair growth on the face, chest, stomach, back, thumbs, or toes-a condition called hirsutism. Here's some more: ovarian cysts, acne, oily skin, dandruff, weight gain or obesity (around the waist), insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, male-pattern baldness or thinning hair, patches of thickened or dark brown skin on the neck, arms, breasts, or thighs, skin tags in the armpits or neck area, anxiety or depression due to appearance or infertility, sleep apnea and excessive snoring.  Hidden struggles as you see.... Who wants anyone to notice these things?  It makes me sad to see young women dealing with this syndrome.

There is no single test to determine if a woman has PCOS.  A comprehensive medical history will usually be taken along with a physical exam by the doctor.  I totally recommend that a person have a hormone panel done because there are some key identifiers and values that are helpful in determining if this is the problem.  I remember a 23 year old female that came to my office about 5 years ago.  She was referred by a friend who suggested she come in an get tested.  Thankfully she did.  After reading the lab results, I was able to refer her on to a physician friend of mine who started her on a prescription regimen that gave her quality of life again.  Her depression improved, she lost weight, the hair growth lessened on her face, she just looked brighter overall.  Yeah!!

There are effective treatments for PCOS.  (some prescription, some herbal, some lifestyle modification) If you know of a woman who may be dealing with these troublesome symptoms, please have them give my office a call.  I would love to talk with them.  I can walk them through the testing process, work with their personal physician, and get them on the road to better health.  Time is critical in treating this syndrome.  Call right away!

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja

Monday, November 21, 2011

Be careful what you GOBBLE up

The Thanksgiving Holiday is just 3 days away as I write this blog.  WOW!! I cannot believe another year is about to pass. Can you?

One of the joys of the Holiday Season is to gather with family and friends and indulge in a meal 'to die for' as people often say.  You know I actually kind of researched that topic this morning.  Did you know that there is a surge in deaths near the holidays?  I found out there is a term titled the Merry Christmas Coronary and another called the Happy New Year Heart Attack.  Read about it and you'll be alarmed at the increase in deaths related to overeating, overdrinking, and stress related incidents.  Yikes!

The reason for the blog today is just to give you a little advanced notice on tips to maintain some semblance of control and prevent overindulgance to the point of misery and guilt as you engage in the Thanksgiving meal.  We will all be faced with the challenge of controlling our desires to GOBBLE UP everything that is put out before us on the dinner table but maybe this will help you in some way.

1. Take your time eating.  It takes about 20 minutes from the time you swallow your food for your stomach to register to the brain that you are full.

2. You eat what you see.  If you are tempted 'with your eyes' by the display of food on the table, remove yourself from the kitchen or dining room until it's actually time to eat.

3.  Eat on a smaller plate.  Studies have found that people who eat on a smaller plate actually end up eating less overall.

4.  Separate food from technology.  Eat at the table and not in front of the TV.  You will likely eat more if you are not paying attention.

5. Use your hand as a guide.  The PALM OF YOUR HAND(not including fingers and thumb) is a great guide for a reasonable portion of meat.  A FIST is about 1 cup or about 30 grams of carbs (1 cup ice cream/piece of pie). Your THUMB is about 1 tablespoonful or 1 serving of salad dressing or mayonnaise. And your THUMB TIP is about 1 teaspoon or 1 serving of margarine.

6. Drink plenty of water.  Studies have also shown that taking in a full glass of water or two prior to a meal will reduce actual food consumption.

7. Exercise.  Walking for about 30 minutes can actually help you burn close to 300 calories.  Put your tennis shoes on and hit the streets for a few minutes.

8.  Say no to 'seconds'.  Enjoy a small taste of the things you enjoy, but don't overdo it.  Remember it might take 20 minutes before you realize what you have done to yourself.

I hope this helps you.  I also hope you enjoy your family and some great home cooking this weekend.  Just be smart about it.  Isn't it a wonderful thing to be able to slow down for a day or two and just kick back and relax and enjoy catching up with everyone?

We are thankful for your trust throughout the years.  It's been a great year in business and we are looking to the future with great optimism and excitement to provide even better care for you and your family.  We appreciate you very much and want to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja