Man suffering from one of the common migraine triggers.

Common Migraine Triggers and How to Avoid Them

If you suffer from migraines, you know the symptoms can sometimes be incapacitating. Common symptoms often include nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and sensitivity to light, sound, and odors. By identifying the signs of a migraine onset, though, you can learn to identify your specific triggers. More importantly, you can implement preventive tools to help you manage this debilitating condition and possibly avoid future attacks. Here is a closer look at the common culprits shared among migraine sufferers and how you can avoid them.

Stress

Stressful situations are often beyond our control, but how we react is important in warding off migraines. Learning techniques to reduce stress can be beneficial, too. Methods such as relaxation therapy, meditation, and doing things you love can often reduce stress and change the way your body responds to stress.

Exercise is key to being healthy and is a great stress reducer, but it is imperative that you choose activities that don’t put overwhelming amounts of strain on the body. Water aerobics, yoga, and tai chi are excellent examples of low-stress exercises you can do to reduce the onset of migraines.

Diet

Many people find their migraines symptoms intensify because of food and drink choices, and hunger and dehydration both serve as triggers for migraine headaches. This is why it’s important to eat regularly and to avoid skipping meals. You should always make sure to eat within one hour after waking and then every three to four hours. Keeping a food diary to identify foods that trigger symptoms and avoiding those foods can be a preventive tool as well.

Common ingredients that often trigger a migraine attack include foods that contain MSG and histamine. Several common foods identified to cause migraine symptoms are cheese, chocolate, artificial sweeteners, and cured meats. Being mindful of caffeine or alcohol consumption can help identify what amounts can lead to a migraine onset. It’s also recommended to sip on water all day long and track your fluid intake to prevent dehydration.

Sleep

There is an undeniable connection between a migraine and sleep patterns. Sleep helps to renew and repair all parts of the body, including the brain, which explains why an irregular sleep schedule can trigger a migraine onset. It is important to have a regular bedtime and get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night to avoid migraines. However, going to bed and going to sleep are two different things. Try to avoid texting, reading, and watching television at bedtime to ensure adequate sleep is achieved.

According to the American Migraine Foundation, nearly half of all migraine attacks occur between 4:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., which places migraine sufferers at a greater risk for developing a sleep disorder. Even getting too much sleep can trigger a migraine, so waking up at the same time daily is important too.

Remember, everyone has different migraine triggers and will experience a migraine differently. Avoiding severe symptoms can often be as simple as a change in your lifestyle and diet. By learning what to avoid, you can learn to keep your migraines under control. Talking openly with your doctor and identifying your triggers can assist your doctor in giving you an accurate diagnosis and will be of the utmost help in creating the best treatment plan.

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 migraine treatment options can help you. 

Male understanding the relationship between Understanding the Relationship Between Smoking and Male Fertility with help of family

Understanding the Relationship Between Smoking and Male Fertility

Ask any regular smoker or chewer of tobacco, and most will agree it takes only a short amount of time to become addicted to nicotine. A nicotine habit like smoking has been linked to a multitude of adverse health issues and those using tobacco are highly encouraged to stop. Keep reading below to understand the relationship between  smoking and male fertility.

Understanding the Relationship Between Smoking and Male Fertility

The relationship between nicotine and male infertility has sparked interest with many researchers. It is estimated 15 percent of couples face some form of infertility when trying to have children, and according to certain studies, cigarette smoking can have a damaging effect on the volume, sperm count, and ability of sperm to move properly to reach an egg.

Studies also confirm DNA fragmentation is increased in the sperm of smokers. This could play a role in complications with embryo development as well as be a contributing factor to increased miscarriage rates. Furthermore, researchers have suggested the number of cigarettes a male smokes on a daily basis is related to the impairment of semen quality.

A Closer Look at Smoking and Male Fertility

In an attempt to explain the connection, researchers suggest smokers have lower zinc levels than nonsmokers and this plays a role in the irregular semen parameters. Researchers also suggest men who smoke are exposed to metals that contain toxins, which can lead to the development of high levels of cadmium and lead, both of which have been linked to decreased fertility.

Also noteworthy is the fact that smoking can have adverse effects on the success of certain techniques like in-vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic sperm injection. Couples seeking assisted reproduction techniques should take into account the negative impact smoking plays on male fertility.

In addition to the aforementioned effects, researchers claim exposure to cigarettes in utero may influence a man’s eventual fertility in the future. This means if a male is born to a mother who smoked during her pregnancy, he may be at risk for poor sperm health and may have difficulty conceiving a child later on in life.

Conclusion

Reduced semen health doesn’t always mean infertility but evidence points to the fact that men who are having trouble conceiving should be encouraged to stop smoking in order to optimize their fertility outcomes. If a man is already at risk for infertility, smoking may be the factor that determines his ability to conceive or not conceive a child. Dropping the habit will improve a couple’s chances of having a child.

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. 

Mother and daughter discussing period and uterine fibroids

Tips for Talking With Your Daughter About Periods and Uterine Fibroids

For many young girls, understanding what’s happening with their bodies while going through puberty is very important to them. A planned outing or a special weekend getaway can be an ideal opportunity to discuss such personal changes.

Girls should know what to expect when puberty hits, and if possible, they should feel confident in the relationship they have with their parents to ensure they feel comfortable sharing personal information and have intimate and private conversations. A young girl is likely to have a ton of questions regarding her period, including lots of inquiries about pads, tampons, and panty liners. There is a lot of helpful information online that can make teaching how to insert a tampon quite simple.

What Happens During Puberty for a Girl?

During puberty, the body will go through many changes, with most girls starting their periods between nine and 16 years of age. It’s during this time that the ovaries begin to release eggs, and as a result of this, a girl’s body will build up a thick layer of tissue in the uterus. Unless a sperm fertilizes the egg, the thick tissue is not needed and will then turn into a blood-like fluid and flow out of the vagina.

Talking About Health Concerns, Especially Fibroids

Many young girls have no idea what signs to watch for in regards to health concerns and puberty. When talking about periods this is a good time to educate your daughter on uterine fibroids. Early knowledge and awareness can lower the risk of medical problems later in life. A large number of girls with uterine fibroids don’t show any symptoms, but there are some who experience pain with their period along with heavy and prolonged bleeding. This is why you should encourage your daughter to inform you of any pain and heavy bleeding when she’s on her period. Uterine fibroids don’t normally lead to fatal outcomes, but they can cause an immense amount of pain and sometimes require surgery to have them removed. The sooner these fibroids are diagnosed, the sooner they can be treated.

It may not be a topic you want to discuss over dinner, but periods and fibroids are definitely subjects you and your daughter need to discuss.

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. 

how to find a good healthcare specialist

5 Things You Should Look for When Seeking a Specialist

Having a go-to healthcare specialist is paramount to your overall health. With the help of a specialist, you can rest easy knowing you are in the hands of a competent medical professional who can address any concerns you may have. And not only is a specialist helpful in answering questions, but also preventative tests, tools, and resources can be accessed through a healthcare provider, which is vital in catching and treating conditions in a timely manner. For now, let’s take a quick look at the top five things you should look for when seeking a specialist.

Is the specialist in your network?

If you have insurance, you will need to contact your provider and ask for a list of physicians and specialists who are in your network. If you opt for a specialist outside of your network, you may find yourself reaching deep into your pocket to pay for office visits and treatments. A simple call to your provider is the simplest way to narrow down the list of available specialists who will be covered by your insurance.

Does the specialist specialize in your area of health needs?

If you’re seeking a specialist for arthritis, you, of course, want to choose a physician that has many years of experience and extensive knowledge in treating patients suffering from arthritis. There are many types of healthcare providers available, most of which will fall into one of the following categories:

  • Family practice
  • Internal medicine
  • General practice
  • Specialist

Ideally, you will need to assess the type of care you are in need of to help determine which type of provider to choose. If you are having trouble determining the exact type of provider you need, you can always turn to the assistance of a general practitioner to guide you in the right direction.

Have you asked your friends and family for recommendations?

Your friends and family along with your coworkers are excellent sources of information regarding local specialists. You can ask them for recommendations and easily narrow down your list of providers to help you choose one who has a strong reputation among the people you trust most, like your friends and family.

Do you feel comfortable with the specialist?

Before you choose a specialist to meet your healthcare needs, it’s a good idea to meet the doctor in person and see if you feel comfortable or not. Since you will be sharing personal and medical information with the person, it’s of the utmost importance that you be comfortable and be able to communicate clearly to ensure the best treatment can be obtained.

Have you checked the experience and credentials of the doctor?

Lastly, you need to make sure and verify the experience and credentials of the specialist. The more experience and the more credentials the doctor has, the better.

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. 

poor circulation circulatory problems

The Symptoms and Effects of Poor Circulation

Poor circulation can be a major problem for many people today, especially when other medical problems are present. Often, people don’t even realize that they have circulatory problems because the symptoms aren’t very well known. This blog focuses on helping you identify the signs of poor circulation — and when you should reach out for help.

The Signs of Poor Circulation: What to Watch Out For

Some of the signs of poor circulation are quite hard to deal with while others may be more subtle, at least in the beginning. The most common indicators that you may be suffering from poor circulation include:

  • Numbness in your hands and/or feet
  • A “pins and needles” sensation in your hands and/or feet
  • Your hands and/or feet feel colder than the rest of your body
  • Your feet and/or ankles are swollen
  • You’re having memory problems or can’t focus
  • You feel run-down or even exhausted all the time
  • You have joint pain
  • You experience muscle cramps often
  • Your skin color changes in some areas of your body
  • Your skin’s texture changes, becoming thicker and tougher in some places

It’s quite common to have several of these symptoms simultaneously. It’s not unusual for the symptoms to be worse at some times than others. However, improvements are usually short-lived unless you seek out treatment for your circulation problems.

How Poor Circulation Can Affect Your Life — and When to Get Help

Poor circulation can impact your life in many negative ways. You may find that untreated circulatory problems keep you from doing anything that requires standing for any length of time. Exercise — even walking at a moderate pace — can become nearly impossible when your feet are numb, tingling, or uncomfortably swollen. Even driving a car can be difficult if you’re dealing with circulatory problems that impact your feet. Small tasks that require holding an object, for example cutting up food with a knife, can be terribly difficult when your hands are freezing cold, numb, tingling, or swollen.

If poor circulation is causing you to miss out on your normal daily activities, it’s time to ask for help. With today’s highly advanced treatments, you don’t have to live this way any longer.

If you’re dealing with poor circulation, contact Georgia Vascular Institute at 770-506-4007 for help. As a referral center that aids in both diagnostics and treatment, we can help with everything from lifestyle change recommendations to surgery for poor circulation. Schedule an appointment online now!

uterine fibroids and pregnancy

How Uterine Fibroids Affect Pregnancy

Uterine fibroids are abnormal, non-cancerous growths that can appear in a woman’s uterus. The exact cause of their development is not known; however, some professionals believe it relates to a woman’s hormones or genes. Having yourself checked for uterine fibroids is an excellent precautionary choice to make being that numerous side effects can cause harm to your body. It is suggested to get checked for uterine fibroids because it is likely you might have them. In fact, some sources like UCLA Health claim these fibroids occur within 20 to 50 percent of women.

Why Do Uterine Fibroids Go Undetected?

Women are often unaware of having a uterine fibroid until an initial routine ultrasound is performed when expecting a child. This is because fibroids sometimes do not cause any symptoms. Although they are quite common, it is unusual for the fibroids to cause any complications during a woman’s pregnancy. If symptoms are present, they most often are experienced by the mother and can display themselves as nausea, pain, fever, vomiting, and infrequently, as an elevation of white blood cells. Even though complications are rare with fibroids, it’s still wise to be aware of possible problems. Unfortunately, due to risks involved with the uterus bleeding more than normally, once a woman is pregnant, the fibroid cannot be removed.

Side Effects of Uterine Fibroids

As previously mentioned, pain from the fibroid is one symptom an expectant mother may experience, especially as the fibroid becomes larger. This growth is often caused in part by the fibroid’s response to progesterone and estrogen hormones, both of which increase dramatically during pregnancy. The location of the fibroid is another determination of possible complications, both during pregnancy and at delivery. The risk of complication increases if the fibroid is located directly next to the placenta, which can translate into a decrease in the blood supply to the fetus.

A lower than normal blood supply could cause a baby to be born at a lower than normal birth weight; this increases the likelihood of breathing problems and an abnormal body temperature in the newborn. In more severe cases, an early delivery may be warranted if the blood supply is extremely compromised. A C-section may also be necessary if the fibroid is positioned in a location close to the cervix and obstructs delivery or causes the baby to be in a breech position.

Conclusion

If you are pregnant, it is imperative to have yourself tested for uterine fibroids. Detecting the fibroids can be essential in choosing the appropriate delivery method for your child.

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. 

GVI patient who suffered from migraines but found relief

Patient Success Story: Finding My Migraines 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 migraines 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.

couple wondering if someone is showing signs of infertility after failed pregnancy

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. While the indicators tend to be more obvious in women, men can also show surprisingly revealing signs. Read about the signs of infertility in both women and men below:

Signs of Infertility in Women

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

Signs of Infertility in Men

The signs of infertility in men can be more challenging to recognize, and in fact many men don’t suspect it 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 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.

woman in pain and wondering about treatment for uterine fibroids.

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 for uterine fibroids. 

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 for Uterine Fibroids 

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 treatment for uterine fibroids and how you can benefit, contact Dr. Carson at 770-506-4007 today to make an appointment with Georgia Vascular Institute.