Uterine Fibroid FAQs and Treatment Info Blog Image

Uterine Fibroids: FAQs + Treatment Information

Uterine fibroids are muscular tumors that grow on the walls of the uterus. Most of the time, fibroids don’t cause symptoms. In some cases, however, they can grow large enough to cause pain, irregular periods and even fertility problems. 

Many women with fibroids experience severe enough symptoms that they require specialized treatment.

The Fibroid Treatment Center at Georgia Vascular Institute in Stockbridge, Georgia offers multiple diagnostic and treatment options for women suffering from uterine fibroids.  

Today, we’re answering some of the most common questions patients with fibroids may have. 

What Causes Uterine Fibroids?

Fibroids are caused by a number of factors. 

Estrogen and progesterone (natural hormones that spur the development of the uterine lining during the menstrual cycle) are thought to contribute to the formation of fibroids. This is because estrogen and progesterone markers are higher in fibroid tissue than in normal uterine tissue. 

Other factors, such as insulin-like growth factor, genetics, and stress, can also contribute to the growth of fibroids. 

Typically, fibroids improve after menopause, as the amount of reproductive hormones in the body naturally decreases.

Are There Different Kinds of Uterine Fibroids?

There are four types of uterine fibroids:

Intramural fibroids are the most common types of fibroids. They grow between the muscles of the uterine wall.

Suberosal fibroids develop on the muscles of the outer uterine wall. This allows them to grow outward, potentially pressing on other organs. This can cause pelvic pain and pressure and abdominal heaviness. 

Submucosal fibroids are the least common type of fibroid, developing just beneath the uterine lining and can protrude into the uterus.

Pedunculated fibroids are attached to the uterus by stalk-like growths that can sometimes become twisted. 

What Are the Symptoms of Uterine Fibroids?

Many women with fibroids experience no symptoms and require no treatment. Sometimes, however, fibroids grow large enough to cause symptoms that interfere with a person’s life. 

The most common symptoms of fibroids include:

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Periods that last longer than 7 days
  • Abnormal bleeding between periods
  • Pelvic pain
  • Pelvic pressure
  • Painful intercourse
  • Frequent urination 
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Pain in the lower back
  • Pain in the bowel or rectum

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to visit your doctor. He or she can help you find treatment options or refer you to a doctor who specializes in the treatment of  uterine fibroids. 

Are Uterine Fibroids Cancerous?

The majority of fibroids are benign. In fact, only about 1 in 1000 fibroids is cancerous. 

When a fibroid is cancerous, it is known as a leiomyosarcoma. 

How Are Uterine Fibroids Diagnosed?

Uterine fibroids can be diagnosed through a number of tests and exams. 

Because the tumors can change the shape and size of the uterus, irregularities in the uterus can often be felt during a routine pelvic exam. 

Even if fibroids are not detectable during a pelvic exam, many women still have symptoms. In these cases, doctors may recommend other diagnostic measures, such as ultrasound and MRI, to diagnose fibroids. 

How Are Uterine Fibroids Treated?

There isn’t a single treatment for managing fibroid symptoms that works for every woman. It’s important to track your own symptoms and talk with your doctor about the best approach for you. 

Many women who are diagnosed with fibroids are scared of needing a hysterectomy to get relief from their symptoms. Fortunately, hysterectomy is no longer necessary for most women. In fact,the number of treatments developed to relieve fibroid symptoms has soared over the last few years. 

There are currently numerous other treatment options for fibroid symptoms, including:

  • Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist – The medications work by blocking the body’s production of estrogen and progesterone, two hormones that contribute to the growth of fibroids. Treatment with GnRH agonists is brief. Long-term treatment can cause side effects like hot flashes and bone loss. Fibroids typically grow back quickly once treatment is stopped. Typically, GnRH medications are used to stop excessive bleeding or to shrink fibroids in preparation for surgery. 
  • Intrauterine devices that release progestin – The progestin in an IUD can help control heavy bleeding associated with fibroids. IUDs do not shrink fibroids.
  • Myomectomy – A myomectomy removes fibroid tissue from the wall of the uterus while leaving the uterus intact. Fibroid tissue is removed through a surgical incision in the lower abdomen.
  • Hysterectomy – A hysterectomy completely removes the uterus. As it is a major surgery, most women require significant downtime. 
  • Uterine fibroid embolization (also known as uterine artery embolization) – This minimally invasive, outpatient procedure can help relieve a variety of fibroid-related symptoms, including heavy bleeding and severe pelvic pain.

During a uterine fibroid embolization, a fluoroscope is used to send small particles (embolic agents) into the uterine arteries using a thin tube called a catheter. These particles block blood flow to uterine fibroids, causing them to shrink. 

UFE has a number of benefits. It doesn’t disturb the tissues of the uterus, so fertility is not affected. Additionally, fibroids don’t regrow after a UFE procedure, as they sometimes do with more invasive procedures like myomectomy.

Georgia Vascular Institute in Stockbridge is one of Georgia’s leading providers of uterine fibroid embolization. 

Dr. Kevin Carson at Georgia Vascular Institute was one of the first doctors to perform uterine fibroid embolization in the Southern Crescent. His expertise earned him the honor of being named a top doctor by his fellow physicians at Southern Regional Medical Center in 2005. 

The Fibroid Treatment Center at Georgia Vascular Institute

Are you searching for fibroid treatment in Atlanta? The Fibroid Center at Georgia Vascular Institute can help you. 

Contact us today at (770) 506-4007 to learn more about our fibroid treatments or schedule your appointment today.

Exhausted worn woman relieving symptoms of uterine fibroids after menopause.

What You Need to Know about Uterine Fibroids after Menopause

Known to develop in the uterine walls or inside the uterus, uterine fibroids are growths or tumors that, according to the UCSF Medical Center, can affect as much as 50 percent of women.

But it’s important to note that this medical condition does not disappear along with the reproductive years. In fact, women sometimes have issues with fibroids long after they begin menopause. Here are a few things you should know about uterine fibroids after menopause.

1. Uterine Fibroid Growth Tends to Stop After Menopause

Since there is a drop in estrogen levels in the body during this physiological change, uterine fibroid growth stops. In some cases, the fibroids will actually shrink and relieve some of the associated symptoms.

2. Symptoms of Fibroids Stay the Same After Menopause

No matter how old you are, the symptoms of fibroids can still be the same. You may experience things like:

  • Abdominal enlargement
  • Lower back pain
  • Bladder or bowel pressure
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Fatigue
  • In severe cases, fibroids can even cause anemia and pain in the legs.

However, some women have fibroids and never or rarely experience symptoms.

3. Hormone Replacement Therapy Can Allow Fibroids to Continue Growing       

The artificial hormones found in replacement hormones act just like estrogen in the body, which means they encourage the growth of fibroids. Speak to your doctor if you are concerned about this side effect of your menopause treatment.

Overall, fibroids after menopause can still be a problematic thing, but not always and not for all women. If you are concerned about uterine fibroids after menopause, call the Georgia Vascular Institute at 770-506-4007  or click here to schedule an appointment.            

varicose veins on female leg closeup, having medical professionals question if varicose veins are dangerous.

Are Varicose Veins Dangerous?

Varicose veins affect up to 35% of people in the United States. These occur when veins close to the skin’s surface become enlarged and appear more prominent. Many people who have these are most concerned about how they make the legs appear. This makes sense since the twisted, blue or purple appearance can be a bit unpleasant when you want to wear shorts or other summer clothing.

The good news is that, for the most part, varicose veins are harmless and can go away with time and good health management. However, the reality is that for some people, varicose veins are more than just a problem in appearance. They can often indicate a serious medical issue.

We’re diving into the instances when varicose veins can become dangerous below.

When Do Varicose Veins Become Dangerous?

If you are experiencing varicose veins, it’s vital to speak with your physician to see what the issue might be. Often times varicose veins can point to more serious issues, while other times they are harmless and only a physical annoyance.

However, here are a few instances when varicose veins become dangerous and why a trip to the doctor’s office is required:

  • Pain and Aching Legs: Painful, tired, and aching legs are often caused by varicose veins. When your veins are not functioning correctly and the blood is pooling within, it can make it hard for you to feel rested and relaxed.
  • Hyperpigmentation: If varicose veins are left untreated, they can cause excess blood leaking into the leg tissues. This will lead to painful swelling, inflammation, and discolored skin.
  • Lipodermatosclerosis: Often times, varicose veins cause inflamed tissues in the leg. When they are left like this for a long period of time, the tissues then become heavy, firm, and more tender. This then makes it difficult to move or relax.
  • Phlebitis: This is an inflammation of the veins. With phlebitis, blood pools inside the veins and can clot to form a “thrombus.” These are painfully hard, yet tender, lumps in the leg.
  • Venous Leg Ulcer: Overtime, varicose veins can lead to these ulcers that cause the skin to break down and reveal flesh underneath. These ulcers only get worse over time as well.
  • Excessive Bleeding: Did you know that varicose veins tend to break down the walls of the skin over time, therefore bringing them closer to the surface of the skin? When this happens, it often leads to excessive bleeding at the smallest scratch. It only gets worse over time.
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis: Caused by blood clots, physical symptoms of this are pulling sensation in the legs, nerves being pinched, increased redness, and swelling. When the blood clots travel further up the blood, it requires emergency care and can even lead to death if it is not caught quickly enough.

While for many people varicose veins are simply a nuisance and an appearance issue, it is vital you realize the dangers. Because of this, if you are bothered by varicose veins, you should make sure you mention the problem to your doctor right away so that together you can create a plan to help rid yourself of this nuisance.

If this sounds like something you should do, click here to schedule an appointment with our expert team at Georgia Vascular Institute.

Varicose veins in pregnant women. Woman sits on bed and points her finger at swollen veins.

How Does Pregnancy Affect Varicose Veins?

Up to 50 percent of American women may be affected by varicose veins at some point in their lives, according to the American College of Phlebology. Considering that varicose veins are a potential side effect of pregnancy, it’s no wonder many pregnant women commonly experience this medical issue. However, if you already have varicose veins, pregnancy can irritate and enlarge them even further.

If you’re worried about how varicose veins might affect you or a loved one during their pregnancy, keep reading below to find out more.

What are Varicose Veins?

To help understand how varicose veins affect pregnancy, it’s important to define exactly what varicose veins are. Varicose veins are twisted, swollen veins that primarily occur in the legs. Veins have one-way valves that control the direction of blood flow to the heart, so, when too much pressure is placed on veins, these valves can weaken and cause a back up in blood flow. This causes them to swell and enlarge, thus creating varicose veins.

Women can develop vulvar varicosities due to the changes in the body’s blood flow, increased blood flow in the pelvic region, and decreased blood flow from the lower extremities to the heart. As an example, hemorrhoids, a common side effect of pregnancy, are varicose veins in the rectum.

It’s important to note that every woman’s experience with varicose veins is extremely different. Some women may feel pain with their varicose veins, and some women may not even know they have them. This difference in experience is especially true for any woman who is pregnant.

Varicose Veins During Pregnancy

Varicose veins affect about 10 to 20 percent of pregnant women. The good news is that they are usually harmless and shrink back down to normal size after pregnancy. There are several reasons why varicose veins occur during pregnancy: increased blood volume, the weight of the growing baby pressing on blood vessels in the pelvis, and hormone changes slowing blood flow and impacting smaller veins in the pelvis and upper legs.

The third trimester is the most common time period for varicose veins to develop since that is the time that blood flow is the most affected. In addition, hemorrhoids, a common form of varicose veins for pregnant women, increase with straining or pushing due to constipation and giving birth.

If you notice that you have varicose veins during your pregnancy, speak with your doctor. This is important, as sometimes varicose veins are a sign of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), otherwise known as blood clots. These can be harmful to you and your baby during the pregnancy, so it’s important to discuss any risks with your provider.

How to Treat Varicose Veins During Pregnancy

If you’re a pregnant woman experiencing varicose veins, there are a few things you can do to help promote healthy circulation for your veins.

  • Stay away from wearing high heels, as these can interrupt healthy circulation for your feet and calves.
  • Don’t cross your legs while sitting.
  • Sleep on your left side to help relieve pressure on certain areas that commonly experience varicose veins.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Eat fiber if you are having issues with constipation.
  • If you’re prone to sitting or standing in the same position for long periods of time, make sure to switch it up and take breaks.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Wear specific maternity support hosiery that stimulates blood flow in your legs.

If you or someone you love are experiencing varicose veins during pregnancy, the experts at Georgia Vascular Institute are here to help. Click here to schedule an appointment if you still have concerns or questions about how pregnancy affects varicose veins?.

US Marine Corps Veteran Navigates Multiple Health Issue with the Support of GVI’s Dr. Sendhil Subramanian

Not all medical success stories start with a single issue and end with a single treatment –particularly in the complex field of vascular health. A perfect example of that is Alicia Fielder, a United States Marine Corps Veteran and current Dental Assistant and Office Manager in the Brookhaven area.

Alicia had debilitating pain and swelling in her left foot that just wouldn’t go away. She visited her podiatrist regularly to receive cortisone injections. While these worked for a few days at a time, her nagging pain would always return.

Alicia and her podiatrist finally decided to take an x-ray to see if they could uncover the source of the problem. When the x-ray returned, Alicia’s podiatrist knew they were dealing with something more significant. Alicia was then recommended to Dr. Sendhil K. Subramanian of Georgia Vascular Institute (GVI).

From there, her story of pain and swelling finally began to change. However, it would still take many steps and complications before Alicia found relief.

The Diagnosis

Through an ultrasound in her first appointment, Dr. Subramanian and GVI discovered Alicia had May-Thurner Syndrome. A medical condition that causes a compression in the veins of the pelvis which can prevent the proper flow of blood back to the heart. This can result in severe swelling and pain in the leg (s) and can cause blood clots.

Luckily for Alicia, she had one of the best physicians in the field supporting her.

“Dr. Subramanian saved my life, plain and simple,” Alicia reported. “I truly believe he was my Godsend. His level of high-quality patient care is just out of this world. I’ve never seen anything like it, and I’ve been in the medical field for 33 years. There’s no one better than him at what he does.”

Once they had a diagnosis, Dr. Subramanian recommended putting a stent in Alicia’s veins to get the blood flowing properly again. The first stent was placed on May 6th, 2015. For more than a year, she felt better.

The Swelling Returns

Unfortunately, things began to regress in July 2016, when Alicia and her husband took their grandchildren to Disney World. After a six-hour car drive, Alicia’s leg and foot were so swollen she couldn’t even bend her toes.

“Back when I first met Dr. Subramanian, he gave me his cell phone number,” Alicia explained. “The two of us would text and call each other if he needed to check up on me or if I had a medical question. You just don’t get that level of care anymore. I called him in Orlando, and he asked me to head to the emergency room just to make sure everything was okay.”

However, the staff at the emergency room couldn’t find anything majorly wrong, like a blood clot. She was released, but things began to get worse when Alicia couldn’t get a single drop of blood out of her finger to check her blood sugar levels. After their vacation, Alicia went right to Dr. Subramanian for another scan and blood work.

The diagnosis hit Alicia hard: polycythemia vera, a slow-growing blood cancer in which bone marrow creates too many red blood cells. As someone who had already beaten ovarian cancer, Alicia knew this would be hard to overcome.

More Stents

While this diagnosis allowed Alicia to start a treatment plan for her polycythemia, there was still the unresolved issue of her leg swelling. Dr. Subramanian decided to put in two more stents in hopes that it would allow blood to flow properly.

After completing this next procedure, the team quickly realized that the flow through stents was still too sluggish due to the thickness of Alicia’s blood despite being on blood thinners.

After consulting with a hematologist, the solution came in the form of stronger blood thinners, which reduced the swelling in Alicia’s leg by 50 percent. From there, continual use of a leg pump was able to get the rest of the swelling down over the next month.

One Last Hurdle

Just a few months later in October 2016, Alicia experienced extreme groin pain, and her leg swelled back up while she was at work. She called Dr. Subramanian right away and got an appointment for that afternoon to come back into the GVI office.

Dr. Subramanian was able to immediately identify the problem — Alicia’s stents became narrowed. Dr. Subramanian performed a balloon procedure on the stents that day, and again in a few months’ time.

Finally, Alicia was able to find sustained relief.

“It’s currently 2018, and I’ve not used my leg pump in four months. For the first time in three years, I finally have two ankles again. You really take those things for granted when they’re taken away from you,” Alicia said.

Alicia’s progress continues to hold strong thanks to her treatment with GVI and regular check-ups to see Dr. Subramanian. She is able to return to her work as a Dental Assistant and Office Manager, enjoying travel with her husband of 25 years, and spending time with her five children and seven grandchildren.

Georgia Vascular Institute’s goal is to provide our patients with the best and most comprehensive care available. If you would like to meet with Dr. Subramanian to fix another vascular health medical issue you may have, either call us at 770-506-4007 or click here to schedule an appointment.

Older black woman sitting on a couch, wondering What are the Different Types of Fibroids?

What are the Different Types of Fibroids?

Non-cancerous, uterine fibroids are quite common and impact many women. Most people who develop them remain symptom-free, but some may experience heavy menstrual bleeding and pain. Understanding the different types of fibroids and their symptoms is the first step in being able to appropriately treat them.

What Are Fibroids?

Fibroids are muscular tumors that grow in or on the wall of the uterus. They can vary in both size and number. The location of a fibroid within the uterus defines the type of fibroid and the course of action to take if necessary.

Submucosal Fibroid

Just below the thin layer of tissue found in the uterus is the submucosa. When a fibroid forms in this location, it protrudes into the uterine cavity and is often linked to infertility problems. This is the rarest type of fibroid.

A hysteroscopy myomectomy is a minimally-invasive procedure typically performed to treat submucosal fibroids. This is the most common form of treatment for this kind of fibroid, but other options may be available depending on what your doctor recommends.

Pedunculated Fibroid

Inside the uterine cavity or outside the uterus, stems or stalks may develop by attaching themselves to the uterine wall. This type of fibroid is referred to as a pedunculated fibroid. As the pedunculated fibroid increases in size, the likelihood of the fibroid becoming twisted and causing pain increases.

If a pedunculated fibroid causes intense discomfort,  a uterine artery embolization procedure may be performed to cut the blood supply to the fibroid. In some instances, a myomectomy may be carried out in an attempt to remove the fibroid.

Intramural Fibroid

The most common type of fibroid is the intramural fibroid. These may develop in the front, back, or upper part of the uterus and grows between the muscles. As with other fibroid types, symptoms of an intramural fibroid may range from none to being very mild. This type of fibroid may drastically affect a woman’s quality of life.

For those seeking treatment, childbearing plans and the severity of symptoms will determine whether medication or surgery is the best course of action. Procedures commonly used to remove intramural fibroids are uterine artery embolization and myomectomy. A hysterectomy is the last resort to improve the overall health condition.

Subserosal Fibroid

Commonly found to cause bladder pressure or back pain, a subserosal fibroid grows outside the lining of the uterus. As it protrudes outward, the subserosal fibroid will often grow to be the largest of the above-mentioned fibroids. Naturally, symptoms will increase in severity as a fibroid grows in size.

Again, the severity of the symptoms determines whether to perform a myomectomy. In some women, cutting the blood supply to the fibroid will be attempted.

Providing patients with the best comprehensive care, Georgia Vascular Institute utilizes minimally-invasive techniques to treat various types of fibroids. If you or someone you love is dealing with fibroids, the experts at Georgia Vascular Institute can help. Give us a call at 770-506-4007 or schedule an appointment.

Healthy food in containers (chicken, avocado, walnuts, and apples), good examples of a uterine fibroids diet.

What Kind of Diet Should I Follow if I Have Uterine Fibroids?

While the cause of uterine fibroids is unknown, it’s common knowledge that fibroid growth is largely fueled by estrogen. One of the best ways to control the estrogen count in your body is by eating a certain diet, which means this diet can also increase or decrease the risk of fibroid development.

Adding certain foods and making simple changes to your diet are great ways to balance your hormones, therefore helping to manage fibroid symptoms on top of improving overall health. If you’re wondering what kind of diet you should follow if you have uterine fibroids, we’re outlining the best foods to eat plenty of and the ones to avoid.

Fill Your Plate with Fruits and Vegetables

Regularly eating fruits which are high in antioxidants, such as apples and tomatoes, may help decrease the risk of fibroids. In addition, consuming green, leafy vegetables that contain the substance indole-3-carbinol can have a positive effect on the way your body metabolizes estrogen. Great examples of these are kale, cabbage, and broccoli.

Fill up on these veggies and fruits, and you’ll lower the risk of developing estrogen-driven fibroid tumors.

Eat More Vitamin D Rich Foods

Research suggests that incorporating Vitamin D into your diet is a great way to reduce the risk of fibroid development, as the vitamin has been known to shrink the volume and size of fibroids. If you have a job that requires you to sit at a desk all day or live in a cooler climate that doesn’t get a lot of sunshine, chances are you already have a Vitamin D deficiency.

The good news is that you can easily incorporate more Vitamin D into your diet through supplements and eating vitamin-rich foods like salmon, tuna, fortified cereals, egg yolks, and cheese. Drinking more milk and fortified orange juice can greatly reduce your symptoms and risk of fibroids, as well.

Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine

Your body’s ability to effectively metabolize estrogen is greatly influenced by the health of your liver. Both alcohol and caffeine add unnecessary stress on your liver, and alcohol triggers inflammation and raises certain hormone levels that contribute to the development of fibroids. Women seeking to alleviate fibroid symptoms should consider limiting or avoiding the intake of alcohol and caffeine.

Avoid Salt

According to research, high blood pressure is linked to the development of severe fibroids. Avoiding salt and limiting packaged and processed foods with high sodium are ways to balance your blood pressure. Instead of salt, which is also hard on your liver, choose spices and herbs for food flavoring.

Managing fibroids with diet and lifestyle can only do so much. The fibroid treatment center at Georgia Vascular Institute provides the most comprehensive care available and offers a wide range of treatment options. Give us a call at 770-506-4007 to learn more or click here to schedule an appointment.

Common Signs of Vascular Problems

Your body’s complex vascular system consists of arteries, veins, and capillaries. Any issue that interrupts this highway of blood vessels can cause a multitude of problems. Ignoring the symptoms of vascular disease can lead to severe pain, disability, and even death. Knowing what the common signs of vascular problems are and when you should seek treatment are important to your health and overall well-being.

One of the most common types of vascular disease is peripheral artery disease, also commonly referred to as PAD. This disease can affect both men and women and can occur at any time. The disease is the result of fatty deposits in your arteries causing your arteries to become narrowed, therefore reducing the blood flow to your limbs. Although the limbs are most commonly affected, circulatory problems linked to PAD are likely an indication that there is a more widespread buildup of fatty deposits in your arteries.

We’re explaining the common symptoms of peripheral artery disease below.

Leg Pain

Leg pain that can be mild all the way to debilitating when walking is the most common symptom of PAD. Most often, the pain is triggered by an activity that leads to cramping and muscle pain.

The most common location for pain is in the calf area. Although at times, it may be felt in the thigh, hip, and buttock.


A numbness or tingling sensation in the legs or feet may be a warning sign of peripheral artery disease. The sensation comes as a result of the body’s inability to pump blood through the narrow arteries. In addition to the numbness and tingling, an individual may experience leg weakness that is persistent or unpredictable.

Appearance in Legs

A marked temperature difference in the lower leg or foot compared with the other leg or to the rest of your body is another indication that blood flow is being restricted and is likely not nourishing other organs and tissues. If you notice the thinning of leg hair or your toenail growth has slowed, you may be encountering the earlier symptoms of PAD.

Don’t Ignore the Common Signs of Vascular Problems

Often times those who experience only mild symptoms of PAD (like symptoms that disappear after resting or symptoms that come and go) may dismiss them and just assume it is just part of the natural aging process. However, any symptoms should not be ignored. PAD can often be treated with simple lifestyle changes, such as eliminating tobacco use, exercising, and incorporating a healthy diet.

As soon as you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, it’s important to seek help from vascular experts like the physicians at Georgia Vascular Institute. Our staff is well trained in the field of vascular disease, and we are here to help you manage your symptoms and prevent the disease from progressing. Give us a call at 770-506-4007 or click here to schedule an appointment.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.