Monday, July 15, 2013


Infertility is not something that you have to be ashamed or embarrassed about. It is incredibly common in women, in fact over 10% of women in the world suffer from it. That's about 6.1 million women. The causes can vary in different women and in men. Infertility in men is caused by many different factors:
  • Heavy Alcohol Use
  • Drug Abuse
  • Smoking Cigarettes
  • Age
  • Health Problems
  • Medicines
Infertility is mainly caused by blockage of the fallopian tubes in women, but can also be caused by physical problems with the uterus and also uterine fibroids. Other causes of infertility in women can vary:
  • Age
  • Smoking Cigarettes
  • Heavy Alcohol Use
  • Stress
  • Poor Diet
  • Being Overweight or Being Underweight
There is hope for men and women who have been diagnosed as infertile. Most cases of infertility have been medical treated and these patients have gone on to have very successful childbirth. Blood tests, given by doctors, can help patients to better understand what is the blatant cause of their infertility. Once this is answered, doctors can pose many solutions to this problem. A few of the most successful routes to cure infertility have been:
  • Medical Therapy: Women are prescribed drugs that can help them with their ovulation process. Specific drugs can also enhance fertility by helping women to produce more eggs.
  • Intrauterine insemination: Semen in collected then placed in the uterus during ovulation. Any extra embryos that are formed can be frozen if the couple so wishes.
  • In vitro fertilization: Egg is placed in a culture dish, sperm is collected and added to it, then the egg is fertilized and placed into the uterus.
  • Egg donation: If a woman's eggs are the sole reason for her infertility, eggs can be donated by other women who are fertile. These eggs can be fertilized, then placed into the uterus in hopes that this will cure the infertility.
Medical therapy and in vitro have been the best two ways of curing infertility, but doctors take each case differently. Infertility is nothing to be scared of, with technology today, it is is hopeful that there will be a cure someday.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

Do you know what not to eat during your pregnancy? Here are the foods and drinks to avoid when you're eating for two:

  • Raw eggs - Avoid eating raw eggs or recipes that call for using raw eggs such as homemade dressings, homemade desserts such as: mousse, meringue, and tiramisue, or raw, unbaked cookie dough. Opt for store bought versions or cookie dough flavored ice cream. The CDC estimates one in 20,000 eggs is tainted with salmonella bacteria.
  • Soft cheeses - Soft cheeses made with unpasteurized milk can harbor listeria bacteria, which can be dangerous or even life-threatening for you and your baby. It's best to avoid Brie, Camembert, feta, blue cheese, queso blanco, queso fresco, and panela, unless the label says that it is pasteurized.
  • Undercooked meat - Raw or undercooked meat can harbor toxoplasma and a variety of bacteria. When dining out, make sure your meat is steaming hot and thoroughly cooked. At home, the temperature should reach at least 145 ºF for whole cuts, 160 ºF for ground meats like hamburger, and 165 ºF for chicken breasts.
  • Fresh juice - Fresh-squeezed juice in restaurants, juice bars, or farm stands may not be pasteurized to protect against harmful bacteria, including salmonella and E. coli. Some markets also sell raw, unpasteurized juice in the refrigerated case – look for the required warning label and steer clear. Pregnant women should opt for juice that is pasteurized. Juice in boxes and bottles on your supermarket shelf is also safe.
  • Sayonara, sushi - Although seafood is a great source of protein, raw seafood can be a source of harmful parasites and bacteria. The FDA recommends pregnant women only eat fish and other seafood that has been cooked thoroughly.
  • Fish with mercury - Fish is good for you and your baby, but make smart choices about the fish you eat. Swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel, and shark contain high levels of methylmercury. This metal can be harmful to your baby. You can safely eat up to 12 oz. of seafood a week, so choose fish that are low in mercury: Catfish, salmon, cod, and canned light tuna. If you like albacore (white) tuna, limit yourself to 6 ounces per week. Check with Dr. Almaguer before taking fish oil or any other supplements while pregnant.
  • Deli meats - Unlike many other foodborne germs, listeria can grow at the temperatures inside your fridge. For this reason, you should avoid perishable, ready-to-eat meats, such as cold cuts and hot dogs, when you're pregnant. You can make these foods safe by heating them until they are steaming hot and eating them right away.
  • Unwashed fruits/veggies - Now is the time to load up on fruits and veggies! Just be sure to rinse them thoroughly under running water. A parasite called toxoplasma can live on unwashed fruits and veggies. It causes an illness called toxoplasmosis, which can be very dangerous to your baby. Don’t use soap to wash produce. Instead, scrub the surface with a small vegetable brush. Cut away any bruised areas, because these may harbor bacteria. To avoid the listeria bacteria, scrub and dry cantaloupe before slicing it.
  • Smoked seafood - Refrigerated smoked seafood is vulnerable to listeria. This includes smoked salmon (often labeled nova or lox), as well as smoked trout, whitefish, cod, tuna, or mackerel. It is safe to use smoked seafood in a cooked meal.
  • Raw shellfish - Raw shellfish is one of the top causes of illness from seafood. The culprits include parasites and bacteria that are generally not found in cooked seafood. So skip the oysters on the halfshell. As long as you cook shellfish thoroughly, it's safe to eat during pregnancy. Cook oysters, clams, and mussels until the shells open. If they do not open, throw them away.
  • Fish from local waters - It is very difficult to know which local streams and lakes are unpolluted, so it is best to avoid eating fish that you catch yourself altogether. Some lakes and rivers are contaminated with industrial chemicals. Locally caught bluefish, striped bass, salmon, pike, trout, and walleye may be affected. You can always check with your state's fish and wildlife department to get more information.
  • Food from banquets - You may not want to insult your friends by avoiding their meal offerings, but there is a reason for concern if the food is left unrefrigerated for too long. Follow the 2-Hour Rule: Don't eat homemade dishes that have been sitting at room temperature for longer than two hours. When temperatures are above 90° F, the cut-off should be one hour.
  • Doggie bags - Unless you’re headed straight home from the restaurant, don't ask for a doggie bag. The inside of your car can get warm quickly, allowing bacteria to multiply. If you do take home leftovers, put them in the fridge within two hours of when the meal was originally served.
  • Caffeine - Good evidence now shows that a moderate amount of caffeine is safe during pregnancy, but the jury is still out on whether higher amounts of caffeine can increase the odds of a miscarriage. The March of Dimes recommends women who are pregnant or trying should limit caffeine to 200 mg per day. That's one 12-ounce cup of coffee. But remember, caffeine is also found in soda, tea, chocolate, and many energy drinks.
  • Alcohol - You already know that heavy drinking during pregnancy can lead to serious birth defects. What you may not know is that even small amounts of alcohol could be harmful. No amount of drinking has been found to be safe during pregnancy, so it's best to avoid all forms of alcohol. This includes wine, beer, coolers, and traditional egg nog, which contains alcohol and raw eggs.
  • Unpasteurized milk - Freshly collected milk has not yet been through the pasteurization process that protects it from listeria. That can be dangerous for you and your baby. Buy milk, cheese, or dairy products from a local farm only if the label says “pasteurized.”
  • Raw sprouts - Don't eat any raw sprouts, including alfalfa, clover, and radish. Bacteria can get into the seeds before the sprouts begin to grow, and these germs are nearly impossible to wash away. At the deli, check sandwiches to make sure they don’t contain raw sprouts. At home, cook sprouts thoroughly to destroy any bacteria
  • Fresh pre-stuffed poultry - A pre-stuffed turkey or chicken offers a great short-cut when you're pressed for time. But the juice from fresh, raw poultry can mix with the stuffing and create a great place for bacteria to grow. Cooking usually offers protection, but pregnancy makes it harder to fight off infections. A safe alternative is buying frozen pre-stuffed poultry. Be sure to cook it directly from frozen and don’t let it defrost first. The thigh meat should hit 180 ºF.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Why Am I So Tired? Possible Causes of Fatigue

Getting your energy back could be easier than you think--or your fatigue could be caused by something more serious. Start by seeing if you can relate to the top three reasons for feeling drained.

Top 3 Reasons

The most common reasons for fatigue can be caused by your daily habits.
  • How much you sleep:
    Here is an obvious cause of fatigue, though sleep deprivation is a serious matter. It's no secret that we live in a 24/7 society. Many people don't get enough sleep. If you're one of them, avoid caffeine and alcohol in the hours just before bedtime, steer clear of distractions, and keep your bedroom quiet and restful.
  • What you eat:
    Caffeine and sugar can leave you more fatigued as your blood sugar levels fluctuate drastically. Instead, go for a more balanced, healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein. Eating healthy also means you'll carry less weight, and obesity is a big contributor to fatigue.
  • How much you exercise:
    If you think that exercise would just make you more tired, think again: Exercise breeds energy. Almost all the studies that have looked at this question have found the same thing: Sedentary people who start exercising feel much less fatigue than those who stay idle. It's one of those surprising truths: move more and you'll get more energy.
    We recommend getting 40 minutes of exercise at least four days a week. Once you start moving, you will notice some improvement. Stick with it for three to six months more, and you should feel much better.
    If you follow your exercise prescription for at least a month -- and you're also making enough time for sleep -- and you're still feeling drained, look into other causes. It could be caused by something more serious.

Is it Something Else?

The most common reasons for feeling so tired all the time are those we've just discussed. Don't start thinking that you've got a medical condition until you've tried those strategies and really given them a chance. If you still feel exhausted, talk to Dr. Almaguer at your next consultation. Chronic tiredness is linked to many different medical conditions, such as:
  • Anemia:
    This is a very common cause of fatigue and very easy to check with a simple blood test. It is a more common problem for women, especially those who have heavy menstrual periods. You can treat anemia with an iron-rich diet, heavy in meats and dark, leafy greens, or supplements if you have a chronic iron deficiency.
  • Deficiencies in key nutrients, such as potassium. This can also easily be checked with blood testing.
  • Thyroid problems.
    Over- and under-active thyroids both can cause fatigue. A blood test for your level of thyroid-stimulating hormone can help evaluate your thyroid function.
  • Diabetes:
    You may be experiencing fatigue if you have uncontrolled diabetes. If you feel draggy and you're also having blurred vision or lots of urination, you should get that checked with a blood test.
  • Depression:
    If your feelings of exhaustion are accompanied by sadness and loss of appetite, and you just can't find any pleasure in things you once enjoyed, you may be depressed. Don't keep that to yourself. Talk to Dr. Almaguer about what feelings you are experiencing and he can start you on the path back to recovery and recommend a great counselor for you.
  • Sleep problems:
    If you never feel rested, and nothing seems to fix that, you might look into visiting a sleep lab, especially if you snore. Snoring can be part of obstructive sleep apnea, in which people briefly stop breathing several times a night. There are treatments for that.
  • Undiagnosed heart disease:
    Tiredness can be a sign of heart trouble, particularly in women. If you have trouble with exercise you used to do easily, or if you start feeling worse when you exercise, this could be a red flag for heart trouble. If you have any doubts, schedule a consultation.
    But again, start with the basics: your sleep, your diet, and your activity level. Sometimes the simplest fixes are all it takes.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Pelvic Pain

Many women experience pelvic pain at some point in their lives. It can take on many characteristics – either sharp or dull, and occurring sporadically, cyclically, or chronically. Often, it is non-threatening and associated with menstrual cramps or a harmless ovarian cyst. But for some, pelvic pain can be a sign of a serious underlying medical condition. Examples of some causes of pelvic pain include:
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Endometriosis
  • Poly-cystic ovarian syndrome
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage
  • Ovarian cancer
For many women, an exam will reveal that pelvic pain is not related to the reproductive organs, but instead a complication or disease of the digestive or urinary tract. Urinary tract infections, kidney stones and irritable bowel syndrome are just some of the potential causes of pelvic pain outside the reproductive system.

When to Seek Treatment for Pelvic Pain

It is important to make an appointment with Dr. Almaguer if you experience chronic pelvic pain lasting six months or longer, or if you suddenly begin experiencing sharp or severe pain in your abdomen. He may conduct various screenings and a pelvic exam to help pinpoint the source of your pain. This may include an ultrasound or other diagnostic tests to either rule out or confirm the source of pain. Keep in mind that it is of utmost importance that you are open and honest about your symptoms, their frequency, and your family’s medical history, as these can all be clues in helping Dr. Almaguer identify the cause of your pelvic pain.
Treatment options vary according to your diagnosis. In many women, it is not possible to identify the source of pelvic pain. If your pain persists without diagnosis, you may be able to manage your discomfort with a combination of physical therapy, lifestyle changes, relaxation techniques, alternative therapies, medications, or even surgery. Talk with Dr. Almaguer about which methods are right for you.

Friday, May 31, 2013

The Importance of Exercise

Did you know that getting in shape can make your pregnancy and delivery easier? Exercise does wonders during pregnancy. Not only does it help to reduce pregnancy aches and pains, but it also boosts mood and makes it much easier to get back in shape after your baby is born. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days. Walking, swimming, dancing, or joining a prenatal exercise class are all great ways to work out. Keep in mind that you need to approach working out with extra caution and make sure your activities don't put your baby at risk. Talk to Dr. Almaguer about safe ways to exercise that will keep your baby healthy.

Monday, December 12, 2011

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