Patient Success Story: Finding My Migraine Puzzle Pieces

At Georgia Vascular Institute, we love to hear stories of success from our patients.

In our latest testimony, patient Susan McManus tells her story of suffering from migraine for 18 years before visiting with Dr. Sendil Subramanian. Read more

GVI Features Partners in UFE Treatment and Awareness on “The Weekly Check-Up”

Georgia Vascular Institute was proud to feature two partners in uterine fibroid treatment and awareness on “The Weekly Check-Up with Dr. Bruce Feinberg” on WSB-AM 750 and 95.5 FM. Dr. Soyini Hawkins, a uterine fibroid expert, and Tanika Gray, founder of The White Dress Project, sat down with host Dr. Bruce Feinberg on the May 13th show to discuss uterine fibroids, which are non-cancerous growths that are found in the uterus that often cause severe pain and discomfort.

Dr. Soyini Hawkins of Fibroid and Pelvic Wellness Center of Georgia is a graduate of the Morehouse School of Medicine and found her calling in the treatment of uterine fibroids due to fibroids impacting her daily life during her medical training. Dr. Hawkins highlighted the symptoms of fibroids and discussed the disruption of a woman’s life caused by the condition. “When most people think about fibroids, they think about heaving bleeding. They can also cause bulk symptoms including back pain, urinary urgency, urinary leakage, and pain during intercourse,” she said. Dr. Hawkins mentioned the impact of fibroids have on women of color and chose Atlanta to help bring treatment options to the community.

Dr. Carson of the Georgia Vascular Institute has echoed these statistics in women of color in a recent interview. “80 percent of women of color and 60 percent of most other women will develop fibroids. Most women will not experience symptoms,” Dr. Carson said. “Of the 80 percent of women of color that will develop fibroids, 20 percent will develop symptoms and about 10-15 percent of other women will develop symptoms.”

Tanika Gray of the White Dress Project also joined in on the conversation to talk about her organization that promotes the awareness of the condition. The White Dress Project is an organization committed to educating and empowering women across the globe who have uterine fibroids. Their project’s mission is to help women feel confident enough to wear white dresses, a simple action that many women with suffer from uterine fibroids feel they cannot do. In doing so, Tanika hopes to foster a bigger conversation around the issue. Tanika posed an striking question as she started the project several years ago: “If so many women are suffering, why isn’t there a national conversation and outcry?”

Listen to the conversation we started with these women on The Weekly Check-Up and learn about uterine fibroid treatment offered by GVI.

Signs of Infertility in Men and Women

Infertility is diagnosed in cases where a couple isn’t able to conceive a child after trying for 6-12 months. While diagnosing infertility depends largely on charting how long it takes to get pregnant without success, there are also many other potential signs of infertility. While the indicators of infertility tend to be more obvious in women, men can also show surprisingly revealing signs of infertility. Read about the signs of infertility in both women and men below:

Infertility in Women: The Signs

The main sign of infertility in women is an inability to conceive for 6-12 months of unprotected sex. You may also notice other symptoms, including:

  • Erratic periods 
  • More or less bleeding than usual during periods
  • Skipped periods
  • Unusually painful periods

If the infertility is connected to a hormone deficiency or excess, the symptoms may also include:

  • Increase in skin breakouts
  • Increase or decrease in sexual desire
  • Increase in hair growth, particularly on the face
  • Rapid weight gain even though diet hasn’t changed
  • Hair loss

Infertility in Men: The Signs

The signs of infertility in men can be more challenging to recognize, and in fact many men don’t suspect infertility until they’re trying to have a child with their partner. Some other changes that can be indicative of infertility in men may include: 

  • Chronic respiratory issues
  • Overdevelopment in chest (gynecomastia)
  • Sexual dysfunction: this can include impotence, erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, or unusually small quantity of ejaculate.
  • Testicular pain
  • Swelling in the testicles
  • Lumps in the testicles

It’s not uncommon for men to have fewer of these signs — or even none of these signs at all. Therefore, if you’ve been trying to have a child with your partner for 6-12 months without success, it’s best that you both see a doctor to diagnose the problem.

When you seek professional help, infertility is often a treatable condition. Your doctor can first get the the source of the problem to resolve the infertility, and can also help raise your odds to conceive when you’re ready to do so.

We Can Help With Infertility in Men and Women

If you’ve noticed one or more of the signs of infertility described above, contact Georgia Vascular Institute at 770-506-4007 for help today. As a referral center that helps with diagnosis and treatment of all types of medical conditions, we’re here to help you get the answers you need. Contact us anytime to arrange a consultation.

What You Need to Know: Seeking Treatment for Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are quite common. In fact, about 75 percent of women will get at least one during their lifetime. Fortunately it is possible to have these fibroids treated. There are many benefits to be gained from seeking uterine fibroid treatment. Let’s take a quick look at the benefits of treatment and understanding when you should seek treatment. 

Reduced Risk of a Complicated Pregnancy

Many women wonder whether or not uterine fibroids complicate pregnancy. Studies have shown that the fibroids don’t necessarily make it hard to conceive, but they can lead to complications, including preterm labor and miscarriage. It is also known that the fibroids can cause the fetus to lay in the wrong position in the womb. If you have fibroids and intend to become pregnant, it is recommended that you seek treatment before conceiving. 

Decrease In Occurrence of Unpleasant Symptoms

Uterine fibroids have also been known to cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms. For some women who have them, it can lead to frequent urination. There are also complaints from women relating to back aches, difficulty urinating, problems with constipation, and prolonged menstrual periods. 

No Scarring

Another benefit to seeking uterine fibroid treatment is that you can take advantage of an option that will result in no scarring. Uterine fibroid embolization is less invasive than surgical removal. Most women who undergo uterine fibroid embolization experience very little pain, heal quickly, and have no scarring. 

Enhanced Body Image

Due to the size of some uterine fibroids, they can cause a woman’s abdomen to appear bloated or pooched. Once fibroid removal treatment is sought, however, the size of the abdomen often shrinks. It all depends on how large the fibroids were prior to removal. If they were large and caused abdomen protrusion, the stomach will likely become flatter after removal. 

Understanding Your Treatment Options

There are several treatment options for uterine fibroids. One option consists of taking medication that decreases the size of the fibroid. In some instances, medicine is used to prevent the fibroid from becoming larger. There are also radiologic procedures that block blood from flowing to the fibroids, which prevents them from becoming larger. Surgical procedures and embolization are available, with the latter being the most-preferred because it does not require the use of anesthesia. 

If you have any additional questions about uterine fibroids and how you can benefit from treatment, contact Dr. Carson at 770-506-4007 today to make an appointment with Georgia Vascular Institute.

The Georgia Vascular Institute now offers FREE uterine fibroid embolization consultations

For a limited time, The Georgia Vascular Institute is excited to offer FREE consultations for patients interested in uterine fibroid treatment. These initial consultations will be completed by Dr. Kevin Carson. Normally, initial consultations cost around $100 to a patient, depending on a patient decided to self-pay or pay with an insurance copay. The GVI has now waived this cost and is looking forward to improving the quality of life for women in the community.

At these free consultations, Dr. Carson will discuss any symptoms a patient may be experiencing and will determine if she needs an MRI. Dr. Carson will also discuss treatment options, including uterine fibroid embolization. Uterine fibroid embolization is a non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure in which an interventional radiologist inserts a catheter into the femoral artery, which blocks the blood flow to the fibroid tumor, causing it to shrink and eventually go away.

Dr. Carson and the practice decided to offer these free consultations so women in the community could receive the care they need more easily. There is also more of a concern for women of color to be able to take advantage of these free uterine fibroid embolization consultations since they are more prone to the condition. With the goal of helping women of the community live healthier lives and not have to worry about wearing white, GVI is excited to do what they can to empower women in seeking treatment for their health.

If you’re interested in receiving a free consultation with Dr. Carson for uterine fibroid embolization, call Georgia Vascular Institute  at 770-506-4007 or schedule an appointment with GVI here.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Migraines

Migraines can be debilitating to those who get them. They can range in symptoms from throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head, nausea, vomiting, to extreme sensitivity to sound and light. Attacks can last for hours, even days, keeping you from work or regular activities. Some people get warning symptoms before the headache begins, such as blind spots, tingling, or flashes of light. Read below about 5 things you may not know about migraines.

1. Migraine causes are undetermined.

Science does not yet know what causes migraines although environmental factors and genetics can have influences. Changes to the brainstem and how it interacts with the trigeminal nerve may contribute to them. Brain chemicals such as serotonin may also contribute to migraines. Research is ongoing as to how these parts of the brain play a part in migraine headaches.

2. Migraine triggers can set off a headache.

There are many common triggers of migraine headaches. Managing and being aware of these triggers is one way to reduce migraines. These triggers include hormonal changes especially in women, foods and food additives, alcohol and caffeine, stress and sensory stimuli, sleep patterns, physical exertion, weather or barometric fluctuations, and some medications.

3. Managing migraines can cause additional issues.

Managing migraines reduces pain and other symptoms, but can also cause additional problems. Some pain relievers can cause abdominal upset including ulcers. Overuse of medications can cause addiction or overuse symptoms. Some migraine medications can cause serotonin syndrome, which can affect cognition, behavior, muscle control, and even may result in death.

4. Lifestyle changes can prevent migraines.

Some lifestyle changes have been proven to help reduce or eliminate migraines in patients including:

  • Learn to cope strategy
  • Consistent daily schedule
  • Regular exercise
  • Reducing estrogen
  • Using transcutaneous supraorbital nerve stimulation device (t-SNS)

5. Migraine symptoms may mimic other disease symptoms.

Migraine symptoms often mimic symptoms of other conditions. These symptoms include:

  • Vision loss
  • Pins and needles in legs or arms
  • Weakness in face or part of body
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Hearing sounds or music
  • Jerking uncontrollably

Since getting a migraine is a serious condition, it is important to seek a physician trained in migraine care such as a vascular doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Migraines can last from four to 72 hours on average.

If you suffer from frequent migraines, the Georgia Vascular Institute is here to help. GVI uses a SphenoCath device to provide a procedure called a sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) block. This quick, simple, and comfortable in-office procedure provides immediate relief to migraine and headache pain through administering anesthetics to the nasal cavity. This procedure blocks the pain without needles, cotton swabs, or harsh medicines. With low risks and high success rates, it is safe for adults and children alike.

The professionals at GVI are here to halt the pain and disruptions to everyday life that migraines cause. Reach out to our migraine specialists today by scheduling an appointment. We have several convenient locations in the metro Atlanta area including Atlanta, Forest Park, Stockbridge, and Jonesboro.

What to Do When You Have a Foot or Leg Ulcer

Ulcers are open sores or wounds on your feet or legs that won’t heal or keep coming back after healing. They are painful and can keep you from physical activity. They are also a place that can become easily infected. Learn what you can do when you have a foot or leg ulcer below.

Causes

Foot and leg ulcers can be caused by many medical issues including:

  • Insufficient or poor circulation in the legs or feet
  • Venous insufficiency (congestion in leg veins caused by valve failure)
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney failure
  • High blood pressure
  • Swelling in the legs and feet
  • Inflammatory diseases such as lupus
  • High cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • History of smoking (even if you quit)
  • Lying in one position too long (such as bedridden patients)
  • Genetics
  • Malignant tumor
  • Infection
  • Medications

Prevention and Treatment

Prevention

To keep ulcers from forming, you’ll need to adopt a healthy lifestyle by reducing the risk factors. Start by:

  • Managing your blood pressure
  • Quitting smoking
  • Maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Limiting salt
  • Managing diabetes
  • Maintaining a healthy weight

Prevention and treatment go hand-in-hand. To prevent further ulcers, begin by taking care of your legs and feet regularly. People with diabetes must check their own feet daily and have their physicians check them periodically. Sores that are discovered early are easier to manage. Wash your feet and legs daily with mild soap and lukewarm water. If you have an ulcer, washing will help any debris loosen and drainage clear. Gently dry skin thoroughly.

Examine your legs and feet daily thoroughly including between toes. Look for any cuts or cracks, ingrown toenails, corns, or calluses. Use a lanolin-based cream to moisturize your skin in the morning and before bed. Don’t apply lotion on open sores or cuts. Cut toenails regularly after bathing when they are softer. Cut straight across and smooth with emery board or file.

Treatment

Treatment will relieve pain, and help sores heal faster. Your doctor will prescribe individualized treatment depending on the causes and types of ulcers you have. Treatments can include any or all of the following:

  • Antibiotics for infection
  • Medications to prevent blood clots
  • Topical care for ulcers
  • Compression stockings (to increase circulation)
  • Orthotics or prosthetics

For more information on foot and leg ulcers, make an appointment with Georgia Vascular Institute today by calling 770-506-4007. We have several convenient locations in the metro Atlanta area including Atlanta, Decatur, Forest Park, Stockbridge, and Jonesboro.

What is Interventional Radiology?

The field of interventional radiology focuses on using minimally invasive radiological techniques and procedures to identify and treat many different types of diseases all over the body. Because interventional radiology procedures are so much less invasive than their historic counterparts, patients get the benefits of lower risk, reduced pain levels, and even reduced recovery time. 

Interventional Radiology Procedures

Interventional radiology procedures can be used to diagnose and treat many different conditions, including: 

Uterine Fibroids: While traditional uterine fibroid surgery requires a long recovery and considerable pain, a fibroid embolization treatment — a common interventional radiology procedure today — can resolve the problem much more easily. This minimally invasive procedure goes through the leg, using an ultra-thin catheter to essentially shut off the blood supply that allows the fibroids to grow. After that, they’ll shrink and eventually stop causing symptoms. 

Peripheral Arterial Disease:  Peripheral Arterial Disease causes insufficient blood flow, and it may cause symptoms like slow healing sores or coldness in the feet. This condition can be diagnosed and treated with the help of an interventional radiology procedure in which the damaged or diseased arteries are widened, repaired, or otherwise corrected to restore normal blood flow. 

Infertility: Infertility in both men and women can be diagnosed and treated with the help of interventional radiology procedures. For example, blocked fallopian tubes in women can be unblocked with a recanalization, a simple procedure in which tiny tubes are moved into the fallopian tubes to eliminate the blockage. For men who suffer from infertility due to a varicose vein problem in the testicle and scrotum, the varicocele embolization is a simple non-surgical procedure that can restore fertility and alleviate other symptoms. 

Interventional radiology physicians offer some of the most advanced and effective procedures and treatments being performed in the medical field today. When compared with open surgery, the recovery rate can be days less — maybe even weeks less in some cases. Thanks to the highly sophisticated tools and techniques used by your interventional radiologist, you can expect to get the answers and the treatments that you need much more easily than you might expect.

Georgia Vascular Institute is a referral center that can help with many types of health concerns. We can help with veins, fibroids, infertility, migraines, osteoporosis, cancer treatment, foot and leg ulcers, and many other conditions. Contact us anytime to learn more about how interventional radiology can help you. 

Georgia Vascular Institute Offers Telemedicine Appointments to Uterine Fibroid Patients

Georgia Vascular Institute is proud to introduce the newest service offered to Dr. Kevin Carson’s patients: telemedicine appointments. This easy-to-use and easy-to-understand appointment feature allows Dr. Carson to videochat with his patients that may be candidates for uterine fibroid treatment, combining convenience and medical expertise. All a patient has to do is click “Schedule a Telemedicine Appointment” on the GVI homepage and follow the step-by -step instructions. A patient can schedule an online appointment, receive email confirmation, and sync the appointment time with their calendar all in one place.

When it comes time for the telemedicine appointment, all the patient has to do is logon with a computer that has microphone and webcam capabilities and use our secure videoconference software, DoxyMe. The Doxy Me software link is located in the confirmation email as well as on Step Two of the “Schedule a Telemedicine Appointment” page. It’s as easy and simple as that!

We offer this service as a way to speak to patients who otherwise might not be able to make it to see Dr. Carson in person, for those struggling with a long commute or other issues strict work schedules. These patients now have the option to stay at work or at home while still receiving high-quality healthcare.

It is our hope to be able to reach more and more patients with this opportunity. Check out this innovative service yourself by clicking here!

5 Questions Women Should Ask About Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are a common condition in women, but they elicit a number of important questions. Here’s what you may wish to ask your doctor if you suspect you have fibroids.

Who Is Most At Risk for Uterine Fibroids?

Women ages 35 and older are at a higher risk for these fibrous tumors, with 20 to 40 percent of women in this age group having fibroids that are of significant size. For African-American women, the risk is even higher. Up to 50 percent of women in this group have significantly sized fibroids.

What Are the Symptoms?

Pelvic pain is the most common symptom. Heavy menstrual periods that go on longer than normal, and that may contain clots, can be a sign of fibroids. There may also be pelvic pressure, pain in your legs and back, pressure on your bladder that leads to frequent urination, bloating, an enlarged abdomen and constipation. The symptoms that are present will depend on the number of fibroids present, their location, and their size.

Do All Fibroids Require Treatment?

These non-cancerous growths are caused by estrogen, and they are extremely common in women. Only about 10 to 20 percent of women with these growths need treatment for them. Most of them don’t cause any symptoms at all; however, when they do begin to grow large enough to cause symptoms, treatment may be needed.

How Are They Diagnosed? 

An ultrasound is generally the first diagnostic tool used to check for uterine fibroids. Once they have been located, an MRI will give your doctor a better look at the size and positioning of the tumors. Both of these imaging tests are non-invasive and completely painless.

What Treatments Are Available?

The treatment that you may need for fibroids will depend on the size and placement of them. Small uterine fibroids may require no treatment at all. For many women, a non-surgical uterine fibroid embolization is a non-invasive way to treat the condition and ease the symptoms. With this treatment, the patient is sedated but does not have to undergo general anesthesia. A tiny incision is made allowing the doctor to place a catheter into the femoral artery. This catheter releases tiny particles into the uterine arteries that feed the tumor. These particles block the flow of blood to the growth so that it will shrink and go away.

If you have any additional questions about uterine fibroids, feel free to contact Dr. Carson at 770-506-4007 today to make an appointment with Georgia Vascular Institute. We have several locations in the metro Atlanta area including Atlanta, Forest Park, Stockbridge, and Jonesboro.