Author Archives: Kristina Calligan, FNP

About Kristina Calligan, FNP

Kristina Calligan is a sub-specialty nurse practitioner in Women’s Health. A native to Arizona she obtained her Bachelor of Science in nursing in 2006 at Grand Canyon University in Glendale, Arizona. Never one to stop striving and achieving all that she could, she completed two master degrees in Nursing Science and Business Administration in 2012. Ms. Calligan joined Arizona Gynecology Consultants in 2009. Prior to working at Arizona Gynecology Consultants, she worked as a nurse in labor and delivery at several local hospitals and a research coordinator in women’s health care. Read More About Kristina Calligan, FNP

Healthy Snacks

Healthy Snack Ideas That Won’t Break Your Diet

Many factors can make or break a diet’s success, but a primary concern for many of us is what to do when hunger creeps up between meals. You may also find that even though you are eating healthily and getting regular exercise, your energy levels are low, and you are in need of a pick-me-up at certain times of the day. Unfortunately, many people are accustomed to consuming readily available, highly processed snack items or fast food out of habit. If you’re eating low-carb to lose weight, it’s crucial to have something healthy on hand to curb cravings.

If you are looking for healthy snack ideas that won’t ruin your diet and fall into the low-carb category, you aren’t alone! Many people look to low-carb diets to jump-start their weight loss journey, control blood sugar spikes, and create healthier eating habits centered around whole, unprocessed food that provides the right fuel for their bodies. Low-carb diet plans are popular and effective because they typically promote weight loss without drastically reducing calories, improve HDL “good cholesterol,” and can help your body balance its blood sugar. The tricky part is finding snacks that are low in carbohydrates, tasty and satisfying, and easy to prepare, transport, and reach for when you need them.

Fortunately, there are many delicious snacks that you can work into your daily routine that will support your health goals, even if you’re a vegetarian. Snacks that offer protein, healthy fats, and small amounts of healthy, non-processed carbohydrates can pack a nutritious punch while giving your body a boost of nutrients. Arizona Gynecology Consultants has gathered an extensive list of the best healthy snacks for weight loss so you can stick to your diet even when hunger and cravings crop up.

Best Healthy Snacks for Weight Loss

Healthy snacks to help with weight loss

If you’re on a low-carb diet and find that your stomach is rumbling a couple of hours after a meal, a mid-morning or afternoon snack can still be on the menu. Healthy snacks for weight loss generally fall under 200 calories, and for low carbohydrate plans, it’s important that they’re high in protein and healthy fats to fill you up and counteract cravings. Snacks with a combination of fiber, protein, and healthy carbohydrates will ensure you feel satisfied without becoming sluggish or falling victim to the crash and burn that accompanies high-sugar foods.

One bit of advice to start with is to choose foods you already enjoy that are full of flavor and abundant in nutrients. If you are willing to try new things, that’s wonderful, but start with a small amount in combination with something you already find palatable. That way, if you don’t like the new option, you don’t wind up in the lurch with nothing in sight until mealtime.

So, What Snacks Can You Still Eat While Dieting?

There are actually a variety of snacks you can eat while dieting that fall into the low-carb category. For fiber, nutrients, and healthy carbohydrates, think of fresh fruits and vegetables that you can prepare and take with you to work, in the car, on outings, and wherever else your day takes you. Fresh fruit will satisfy sugary cravings, while veggies are there to satisfy with their crisp crunch and hydrating abilities, giving you fullness without bloating and empty calories.

Still, other low-carb snacks can be found in protein-rich foods like nuts and nut butter, protein bars and shakes, eggs, seeds, and even meats like beef jerky and smoked salmon. Read on for an extensive list of delectable low-carb bites for in-between meal times, post-workout, or even social events!

Low-Carb Snack Ideas

Hopefully, your low-carb meals are packed with protein, fiber, healthy fats, and hydrating nutrients – but if you need to fight a craving or satisfy a few hunger pangs between meals or after a workout, here are some delicious and easy-to-prep options for snacking:

Hard-Boiled Eggs

Packed with protein and easy to prep and store, stash one or two hard-boiled eggs in a cold bag if you need to eat them away from home or on the go. If you find them bland on their own, add a dash of salt and pepper and even mix up the experience by smashing them in a bowl with another food or a condiment such as hot sauce, avocado, or a sprinkling of cheddar cheese.

Nuts and Nut Butters

Mixed nuts, especially lower-carb ones such as macadamia nuts, are a satisfying and high-protein treat. If you enjoy nut butter, look for all-natural, no-sugar brands that will give you all the taste and none of the unhealthy additives. Nuts are easy to grab on the go, and many brands of nut butter now come in single-serve packs for spreading on fruit and veggies or eating solo.

Raw Vegetables

It couldn’t be easier to prep some raw veggies like celery, red peppers, radishes, and carrots to add to your snack stash. These are great options to keep your crunchy cravings satiated and to add nutrients and hydration to your daily routine. You can munch these to your heart’s content and not worry about calories, and it’s fun to experiment with different low-carb dips to add even more flavor.


Berries such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries are nature’s candy and truly a delight. Best of all, they’re much lower in carbs than most fruits. Add a dollop of heavy whipping cream or a scoop of cottage cheese if you need a bit of protein, and let the natural sweetness satisfy your snack attack.


Olives are rich in vitamin E, a natural antioxidant, and delightfully salty and rich tasting. You can eat them on their own or crush them into a tasty tapenade with capers, garlic, and olive oil for a creamy, low-carb dip or spread.


Smoked salmon and tuna are excellent sources of protein and nutrients for a low-carb snack. Both can be eaten on their own, or you can easily blend with a bit of low-carb mayonnaise, chopped celery, salt, and pepper for a tasty salad. Enjoy these options wrapped in lettuce or alongside raw veggie sticks.

Beef Jerky

If you love a salty snack, look for beef jerky that is low in sugar or with no added sugar to keep your carb count low. Beef jerky is a chewy and satisfying way to get quick protein during the day and satisfy any errant cravings or hunger pangs between meals.

High Protein Dips

Plain cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, heavy whipping cream, and no-added-sugar nut butter make excellent low-carb dips in moderation. If you find yourself wanting to try new tastes or add extra flavor, opt for dips like tzatziki (Greek yogurt and cucumber dip) and garlic aioli. Or, experiment by adding condiments to your dips like hot sauce, salsa, flavored olive oil, cinnamon, protein powder, or chopped olives.

What Can I Snack on All Day and Still Lose Weight?

Snacks that you can eat while dieting

If you notice you are hungry between meals and need something to stifle cravings, reach for snacks that are high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats. These foods will help fill you up so you don’t feel uncomfortably empty between meals. They will also give your body a burst of nutrients to keep your energy levels consistent and your blood sugar from spiking and dropping.

One key factor in sticking to a low-carb diet plan is to plan ahead. Make sure you have plenty of easy-to-grab, pre-cut fruits and veggies in the fridge to pop into an insulated bag for work, errands, or other events, and stock your pantry with mixed nuts, nut butter, beef jerky, and dried fruit. Whenever possible, opt for fresh produce, but shelf-stable types can suffice in a time crunch.

The Healthiest Foods To Snack On

Snacks offer you the opportunity to add more whole foods to your routine and to develop a taste for fresh, nutrient-rich foods–even ones you haven’t tried before! Keep an open mind when it comes to fruits, veggies, and foods that are high in fiber and protein. If you find avocado or hard-boiled eggs too bland, consider adding some salt and pepper–or even mixing them with a favorite seasoning! If certain fruits don’t fill you up, try switching to water-rich vegetables to get a boost of hydration and quell hunger pangs, all the while paying attention to how your body responds to its new fuel.

Switching up your snacks is also essential. Our brains crave novelty, so if you find yourself sighing in boredom over the same old snack of cashews and carrots, try out a new protein bar or switch to grapes and Greek yogurt to soothe your thrill-seeking urges. Dieting is all about creating and maintaining new, better habits that promote sustainable goals. As you make more and more progress in your weight loss journey, you will begin to equate your food choices with your slimmer physique, higher energy levels, and other positive effects on your body and mind.

When Junk Food Cravings Strike

Junk food cravings strike for a variety of reasons, some of them due to lifestyle habits you may not even be aware of.

To avoid falling victim to sudden urges for empty calories, try the following things:

  • Plan ahead for meals and snacks
  • Eat more protein and fiber
  • Hydrate more often
  • Don’t skip meals
  • Get plenty of regular sleep
  • Grocery shop on a full stomach
  • Practice mindfulness during meals
  • Unwind and de-stress for at least
    a few minutes each day

Cravings are completely common and not a sign of weakness; they are rather a signal from your body that it is missing out on something to help it feel better, more balanced, and self-regulated. Explore ways from the list above to make your body feel healthier, and you will no doubt see your cravings begin to dissipate.

Healthy Snacks That Fit Your Weight Loss Goals

Snacks that help with your health goals

Snacks are not the enemy, even if you’re on a low-carb diet plan. Your body is a dynamic and ever-changing entity whose needs shift due to a variety of factors. The only thing you need to focus on when it comes to snacking is whether or not the food you reach for will fuel your body with protein, healthy fats, fiber, and nutrients.

At Arizona Gynecology Consultants, we know how important it is that women have accurate information about how to support their weight loss goals and create sustainable healthy habits. A healthy body, inside and out, can not only enhance your physique but can also complement your mental health and other aspects you may wish to improve upon, such as blood pressure and energy levels.

If you are ready to reach out to our professional medical staff at Arizona Gynecology Consultants, do not hesitate to contact our Phoenix or Mesa locations to schedule an appointment in person or via telehealth. Your well-being matters to us, and we look forward to helping you on your weight loss journey.


  1. Hofmann, S. G., & Gómez, A. F. (2017). Mindfulness-based interventions for anxiety and depression. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 40(4), 739–749.
  2. Blanck, P., Perleth, S., Heidenreich, T., Kröger, P., Ditzen, B., Bents, H., & Mander, J. (2019). Effects of mindfulness exercises as stand-alone intervention on symptoms of anxiety and depression: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 115, 37–48.
  3. Goldberg, S. B., Tucker, R. P., Greene, P. A., Davidson, R. J., Wampold, B. E., Kearney, D. J., & Simpson, T. L. (2019). Mindfulness-based interventions for psychiatric disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 59, 52–60.
Sexual Health for Women over 40

Sexual Health for Women Over 40: What You Need to Know

This entry was posted in Health FAQs and tagged , on by .

Women over forty years old are at a stage of their lives that features a great deal of change. In particular, those experiencing menopause will notice that their bodies undergo many physical changes. However, there is nothing to fear about “middle age” when it comes to your sex life.

In fact, the belief that women are past their sexual prime in middle age is becoming quickly outdated as society has come to understand that your 40s are a time to explore new aspects of your sexuality. This is true even as you approach and move through menopause. Your 40s may be the perfect time to reflect on all you have learned thus far, embrace your feelings as an accomplished woman, and concentrate on overcoming challenges you may be facing in your relationship and your sexual health. Here’s how.

A Time for Surprisingly Positive Change

Whether you’re in the midst of menopause or awaiting its beginning, life in your 40s may actually include the best sex of your life. Exploring new ideas in sexuality, allowing yourself the permission and motivation to try new things, and growing in confidence in yourself are just some of the incredible advantages of sexuality at this stage in life.

The same can be true for couples just as it can for individual women. As couples move through their 40s, they may begin to have a stronger awareness of themselves as sexual beings and may experience a desire to explore the playful side of intercourse and physical pleasure. As people (especially women) age, they can also lean into the ability to form deeper emotional bonds, which can contribute to more meaningful and passionate sex.

Although sexual desire and episodes of sexual intimacy can wax and wane, this is also completely natural. For women in their 40s who are in long-term relationships, there are bound to be lulls from time to time, and this is not typically attributed to age.

Long-term couples may unwittingly become lax about the routines around sex that served them in their younger years, such as going out on dates, dressing up for sex, flirting with their partner and exploring sex play with toys and accessories. In this way, the comfort couples experience after they have spent years together can actually lead to a decrease in communication about sexual needs and desires. Fortunately, the 40s are a prime time for a couple to look for opportunities to reconnect and explore their needs together.

What Sexual Changes Happen in Women at 40?

Although every body is different, 40+ women’s bodies eventually undergo certain physical changes that contribute to shifts in their sexual health. Some of these changes are further spurred on by a woman’s experiences in life and her sense of self-worth. For example, an increase in confidence and comfort with her own body coupled with hormonal changes can work together to impact a woman’s ability to achieve orgasm more quickly and easily. Women may even find that their orgasmic experience is enhanced by their lifted inhibitions as they discover a second phase of their sex life.

Let’s explore two of the most significant contributors to these changes: hormonal and mental shifts.

Hormonal Shifts in Your 40s

As women approach and move through menopause, typically in their 40s, hormonal shifts are one of the most impactful changes they’ll experience. Fluctuating estrogen levels and increasingly irregular periods can actually cause the vaginal walls to thin and become more easily irritated. In addition, these tissues are more likely to bleed and tear due to the increased dryness that occurs naturally with age.

That means one key to having comfortable and pleasurable sex in your 40s is to invest in some quality lube. Make sure you do a little research to find one that contains all-natural ingredients that are compatible with your intimate areas. You may even consider trying out several different types to find out what works for you, including some newer CBD-infused lubricants with added botanical aphrodisiacs to enhance the entire sensory experience.

The thinning of vaginal tissues also carries an increased risk of exposure to STDs. If you are having intercourse with multiple partners, keep in mind that your vaginal environment is more susceptible to infection due to your body’s hormonal changes. Even if you aren’t concerned about getting pregnant, use condoms with any new partner to protect yourself from unwanted pathogens. If you are using any kind of lubrication in conjunction with a condom, make sure it isn’t an oil-based one, as this can degrade the material of the condom.

Mental Shifts in Your 40s

As women age, their mental limitations may decrease as they shift their focus away from what others think of them. This can mean women choose to drop some of their inhibitions as they search for satisfaction in other areas of life, including sex. Acquiring a greater sense of flexibility about sex itself is one of the most rewarding benefits of reaching 40. Even as physical limitations may increase with age, a reduced preoccupation with body image or pleasing your partner will increase your own sexual satisfaction as you let go of previous fears and worries and enjoy the physical sensations themselves.

Fantasies and erotic dreams are also not uncommon for women in their 40s or those experiencing menopause. These fantasies and dreams may include experiences you haven’t yet had in real life, such as having sex with someone of the same sex, having sex with someone in an unusual location, or having sex with more than one partner at the same time. As your hormones cause physical changes, these shifts can affect your conscious and unconscious mind. Leaning into these fantasies with a supportive partner can lead to increased sexual pleasure and satisfaction and help you grow in confidence about expressing your sexual preferences and deepest desires.

The natural aging process, coupled with the lingering emotional impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, has had an effect on both men and women. Older adults, in general, are seeking an increased connection with their significant other, especially after the pandemic. For most, this includes both quality time and romance.

Reflecting on the importance of relationships and connections in your life is a valuable way to honor the changes you are going through during menopause and embrace your sexuality. Telling your partner you love them, celebrating special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries, taking vacations, giving and receiving gifts, and simply setting time aside to be with one another are essential to mental health and keeping romance alive with your partner. Doing so can help you feel more comfortable exploring or settling into your sexuality together.

All About Menopause in Your 40s

Menopause Symptoms

Of course, one phenomenon looms over any discussion of sexual health in your 40s: menopause. There are three stages of menopause: perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause. In everyday terms, these refer to three stages that describe when changes begin, when your menstrual cycle stops, and your new normal after the changes are complete.

Here’s a look at what happens during each stage:

Perimenopause: The First Stage

Perimenopause, or premenopause, is when symptoms of menopause begin to appear. This is a stage that occurs quite a few years before actual menopause – as many as eight years prior. When you enter perimenopause, you’ll probably start to notice some early menopause symptoms, like changes to your period or mood shifts. These changes happen because your body’s estrogen and progesterone levels are starting to naturally decline. Your body will gradually adapt to these changes, just as it did when you started puberty.

Menopause: The End of Your Menstrual Cycle

At this point, your periods stop completely. This phase lasts for one year, because once you’ve gone 12 consecutive months without a period, you enter post-menopause. It also signals the end of your body’s ability to become pregnant.

Although the average age for menopause is about 51, many women experience menopause in their 40s. Genetics plays a role in the timing of your menopause, so talking to family members who have gone through it may be helpful. Similarly, medical factors can influence the timing of menopause; autoimmune disorders, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and ovary removal can also impact its onset.


Post-menopause simply means “after menopause,” and you reach this point when it’s been 12 months since your last period. You will be in this stage for the rest of your life, as you are no longer able to become pregnant. This is due to the end of ovulation, although your ovaries will continue to produce low levels of the hormones progesterone and estrogen.

After your last menstrual cycle, you may still experience symptoms of menopause for anywhere from 2-7 years. At this time, symptoms will most likely become milder as they eventually taper off completely.

Keep in mind that women in the post-menopause stage are at a higher risk for certain health conditions. Heart disease and postmenopausal osteoporosis may be risk factors, so speak to your doctor about a plan to prevent or manage these conditions in the event they occur.

How Can I Improve My Sexual Health at 40?

As mentioned, sex drive does decrease naturally with age in both men and women. However, women are more likely to experience a decline in desire, especially as they enter their late 40s and early 50s. Of course, this effect varies by individual. There are some women who experience an increase in their sex drive, especially if they are experiencing other life changes such as children leaving home, freedom from worrying about pregnancy, and an increase in confidence due to life experiences and success.

However, it’s important to note that menopause brings physical effects to women’s bodies, such as falling estrogen levels. Reduced estrogen typically contributes to vaginal dryness, hot flashes, night sweats, and other uncomfortable sensations. These physical symptoms can lead to a shift in sex drive and sexual sensation. Moreover, the age-related decrease in testosterone can also lead to a reduction in desire in women.

Some women may undergo menopause suddenly due to other health-related events, such as chemotherapy or ovary removal, which then causes an immediate drop in both estrogen and testosterone. This often reduces desire as the body works to cope with its new normal.

Although some women do not feel a great impact on their sex life during menopause, others may be troubled by their decrease in sexual thoughts. If this is the case and you are feeling frustrated, or as though your relationship with your partner is suffering, you may be experiencing something called “hypoactive sexual desire disorder.” Speak to a medical professional about your concerns regarding any component of your sexual health.

If you are wondering how to keep the spark alive in your 40s and throughout menopause, read on for some helpful ideas.

But First, What Exactly is Sex Drive?

Sex Drive Components

Your sex drive is divided into three major components:

  • Drive – This is the biological component that manifests as sexual thoughts and fantasies, erotic attraction to others, the seeking out of sexual activity, and genital tingling or sensitivity. Sex drive varies widely from woman to woman and from day to day based on an individual’s daily activities, stress, and overall health.
  • Beliefs, Values, and Expectations About Sex – Your natural drive may be influenced by your personal attitudes toward sex. These attitudes are shaped by culture, religion, family, friends, and media consumption. A positive attitude toward sex will increase your desire for both sexual encounters and sensations.
  • Motivation – This is your willingness to behave sexually at a given time and with a given partner. Motivation is complex because it is influenced by emotion and interpersonal factors. For many women, a caring relationship is often a necessary component to experiencing sexual desire.

Igniting Your Sex Drive

Even when coupled with menopause, increased age does not mean less sex. Sex in your 40s and beyond is all about acceptance and adaptation. Here are a few tips.

Consider and Explore

Take into consideration what it means for you to give and receive affection in the bedroom. If you feel that you are limited physically in ways you weren’t in your 20s, for example, explore how you can experience sexual pleasure at this new stage of your life. This can take shape in many forms, from making time in your calendar for sex or date nights, to exploring new toys, clothing and accessories, and to opening up to your partner about your desires, curiosities, fantasies, and needs.

Reframe Your Thinking

Consider your 40s as a powerful peak in your life instead of the end of the road. There are many ways physical intimacy can grow, just as you have, in other forms of self-care like exercise and healthy eating. Although hormone levels may be declining, both men and women can opt to explore what makes them feel aroused and sexually satisfied. Understanding that an increase in stimulation during sex, or a more focused engagement in pleasuring a certain part of your body, may assist in maximizing your sexual arousal.

Shift Your Focus

On the other hand, the focus can shift from physical sensations to other pleasurable experiences, such as connecting with your partner. Take the time to slow down, focus on what you like, and let go of the sense of urgency that may have followed you from earlier in your life. Sex isn’t fast food, after all; it can be a multi-course meal complete with new tastes, sensations, and surprises.

Adjust Your Physical Well-Being

Another crucial consideration is your physical well-being and activity level. Regular aerobic exercise and strength training can relieve stress, improve your body image, and boost your libido. Exercise also produces endorphins, which lift your mood naturally and can help you feel energized and ready to engage with your partner on a personal and physical level.

Schedule a Consultation

Schedule your Consultation Today

Whether you are experiencing symptoms of menopause in your 40s or you feel you need to address your sexual well-being, reach out to schedule an appointment with a trusted gynecologist. Together, you can explore ways to maintain or improve your sexual health according to the unique hormone changes and life events you’ve experienced. For more information about sexual health after 40 and during menopause, contact Arizona Gynecology Consultants to schedule an appointment.

Eating for Hormonal Balance

Eating for Hormonal Balance: Foods to Incorporate into Your Diet

This entry was posted in Hormonal Issues and tagged on by .
Hormones are a variety of chemical substances created by the body that function as messengers on a molecular level. They travel from one area of the body to another to influence how bodily cells, tissues, organs, and systems do their work. From a gynecological standpoint, these critical chemicals play a part in everything, from regulating your menstrual cycle and boosting fertility to attenuating medical issues like endometriosis. For that reason, keeping your hormones in balance is a useful tool in the fight for gynecological health.

One of the simplest ways you can improve your health with your hormones in mind is to eat the right foods for hormonal imbalance. While establishing a healthy diet is no substitute for regular visits to your gynecologist, a proper diet with vegetables and other foods for hormonal imbalance can help you address some of your medical issues and feel healthier.

Jump to a Food for Hormonal Balance

What Are Some Foods That Can Help With Hormone Balance?

It is important to point out that no one food can fix a hormonal imbalance or alleviate all your symptoms. However, developing a diet full of foods that can help balance your hormones can help you to feel healthier. We’ve created a list of the best foods to improve hormonal balance; while you don’t have to try to incorporate every food on the list, the more you eat, the better you’ll likely feel.

1. Flaxseed

If you have PCOS, consider looking into flaxseed. Studies have supported the positive benefits of flaxseed for women with PCOS. For example, flaxseeds contain lignans, a polyphenol chemical compound that can help you balance your estrogen levels and reduce PCOS symptoms. A serving of just two tablespoons a day could show health benefits.


Getting flaxseed into your diet is as simple as putting them in some of the foods you’re already making. For instance, you can add some flaxseed to your breakfast cereal in the morning or include it on a spread for a sandwich. You could also consider incorporating it into your favorite baked goods or sprinkling over a salad.

2. Avocados

Avocados are a delicious superfood that has numerous health benefits. Avocados are full of monounsaturated fats and help with hormone production in a natural way. While you may not be able to make a meal out of an avocado, it pairs well with many other foods and dishes and can improve your health.


Adding avocado to your diet isn’t too difficult, as you can find it in much of Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, whether through guacamole or as a topping on a taco. Additionally, you can spread an avocado on toast instead of cream cheese or butter for a tasty and healthy breakfast or lunch option.

3. Spinach

Eating any leafy green is a good way to kickstart a healthy diet, but spinach is one of the best for you. Leafy greens provide you with plenty of phytonutrients – compounds produced by plants to help them fight bacteria, viruses, and fungi. This food can be especially useful for women dealing with PCOS and other hormonally-influenced conditions, as studies show it can assist you with hormone balance.


One of the simplest ways to add spinach is by including it as one of your greens of choice in a salad. Spinach also has the benefit of acting as a food chameleon, and it can be easily incorporated into many recipes. You can add it to a savory dish by cooking it down or toss it into a blender with your morning smoothie for added nutrition.

4. Broccoli

Broccoli, as well as any other food in the brassica family like cauliflower, cabbage, kale, bok choy, turnips, and Brussels sprouts, have been shown to improve liver health, which can help your body address hormone metabolism. Broccoli also improves gut health, which can reduce the imbalances in gut bacteria and nutrient deficiencies that contribute to the hormone imbalances that cause menstrual cycle irregularities.


This is especially true in women with PCOS, although anyone can benefit from adding broccoli to their diet. Broccoli does well as a side dish for any lunch or dinner, especially if you steam it or roast it. You can also use raw broccoli as a snack or an addition to a salad. Broccoli also works well in most stir-fry or pasta dishes.

5. Green Tea

Green tea has several health benefits thanks to its natural antioxidants. Perhaps most importantly, green tea can help reduce the body’s resistance to the insulin hormone and improve blood sugar control. Hormone balance and blood sugar control are directly linked, as many hormones affect blood sugar, while too-high or too-low blood sugar can be a cause of hormone imbalance.

Green Tea

The easiest way to get green tea into your diet is to have a cup or two throughout the day; just try not to load your green tea with additional sugar or sweeteners. Green tea supplements are also becoming increasingly popular as a simple way to add green tea to your daily regimen.

6. Salmon

Food scientists and nutritionists have long advocated for the value of adding fatty fish to your diet, but salmon has received some much-deserved special attention as studies have linked the fish with numerous health benefits. Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, selenium, and iodine.


These nutrients can help women metabolize estrogen and prevent its storage in the body, which can be helpful for women with PCOS or women facing the menopausal transition. Integrating any fish into your diet is a bonus, but salmon reigns as one of the best. You can serve salmon as a main dish for dinner, or you could try to incorporate smoked salmon into a simple breakfast or lunch.

7. Blueberries

Much like green tea, blueberries have plenty of antioxidants that provide health benefits by reducing the oxidative stress on your cells that causes early cell death. One word of caution: while fruits are good for you, consuming too many may lead to a hormonal imbalance.


Try to add blueberries to your diet in moderation. Blueberries are a perfect addition to muffins or a smoothie in the morning. Or you can incorporate them into your diet as a snack at any time.

8. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is unique on our list as a spice rather than a food you eat. Still, it has several health benefits, including reducing inflammation and improving blood sugar levels. Adding cinnamon to your diet is as easy as incorporating it into some of your favorite dishes.


For instance, Indian food often uses cinnamon as part of garam masala seasoning, so consider adding Indian food or spices to your meals. You can also make cinnamon tea by steeping a cinnamon stick in hot water.

9. Lentils

Lentils have numerous health benefits for women, including helping to balance blood sugar and improving gut health. These two functions are key ways to improve hormonal balance. Lentils are naturally a source of starch and fiber, as well.


Incorporating lentils into your diet is as easy as adding them to a soup to increase heartiness. You can also use lentils as a meat substitute in certain recipes. Try subbing lentils for ground meat in a sloppy Joe.

What Foods Should I Avoid When Trying to Establish a Hormone Balance?

We’ve listed many foods for hormonal imbalance, but there are others that will have the opposite effect. You’ll want to avoid certain foods that can contribute either directly or indirectly to hormonal imbalance. Some of the foods to avoid include:

  • Soda and other sugary beverages – Avoiding as much sugar as you can is a good policy for maintaining hormone balance. Scientists have linked inflammation and hormone imbalance, and sugary drinks can increase inflammation and affect your health.
  • Red meat – While the occasional steak or hamburger is okay, you should avoid an excess of red meat in your diet. Red meat can put stress on the liver and can negatively affect your hormonal balance if you eat it too regularly. Opt for fish or white meat like turkey instead of red meat.
  • Processed foods – Processed foods are full of additives that can negatively affect your hormone balance and lead to poor gut health. You should try to avoid overly-processed foods as much as possible and stick with natural, whole foods.
  • Trans fats – While it’s often impossible to fully avoid them, you should try to limit trans fat consumption. These fats can increase inflammation, which can lead to hormone imbalance and other health issues.
  • Alcohol – While having a drink in moderation isn’t much of an issue for most women, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to issues of inflammation and poor gut health. Both of these factors can lead to hormone imbalance and poor health.

What Are Some Other Methods For Balancing Hormones?

While diet is an excellent place to start with fixing hormone imbalance, it isn’t the only way you can address your hormone levels. There are several other things you can do alongside improving your diet that can lead to better overall health and hormone balance.

Get Routine Exercise

Exercise has numerous health benefits, including adjusting insulin levels and helping to address insulin resistance. To start, try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days during the week. While it may not always be possible to hit the gym to lift weights or complete strenuous cardio, just walking can help with controlling your hormone levels.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

As mentioned, insulin resistance is bad for your overall health and can have a negative effect on your hormone balance. Scientists have linked obesity with insulin resistance, and you should attempt to maintain a healthy weight as best as you can. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can assist you with maintaining a healthy weight, and a doctor can give you personalized ideas on what weight to shoot for.

Stress Reduction

Our bodies produce the hormone cortisol to help us deal with excess stress. When you have a normal amount of stress in your life, this hormone does its job, and the body ceases to produce excess cortisol. Studies show that if you experience excess stress for a prolonged period, your body’s cortisol production can reach elevated levels, disrupting hormone balance.

Reducing stress isn’t an exact science, and you’ll have to find a relaxing activity that works for you. You can try to practice meditation or yoga, or you may want to listen to music that relaxes you. Make relaxation time a scheduled part of every day.

Arizona Gynecology Consultants: Women’s Health Services You Can Trust

Doing your best to balance your hormones can be a great way to improve your overall health and feel better throughout the day. In addition, hormone balance is key to many aspects of your gynecological health. With the right foods for hormonal imbalance, you can positively influence your health.

Remember: adjusting your diet isn’t a substitute for regular gynecological check ups. If it’s time to address your gynecological health, schedule Arizona Gynecology Consultants for a consultation or appointment with our expert, caring staff. Contact us today to learn more or schedule an appointment.


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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

What Every Woman Needs To Know About Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

This entry was posted in Hormonal Issues and tagged on by .

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common issue many women of reproductive age experience. It represents a set of symptoms caused by a hormonal condition that includes elevated androgen hormone levels, follicle overgrowth in the ovaries, and irregular periods. Secondary symptoms are also common, such as excessive hair growth on parts of the body where hair does not normally grow excessively in women (e.g., on the face, neck, chest), acne, infertility, or lack of ovulation in menstrual cycles.

While any woman of reproductive age can experience PCOS, the condition typically starts in adolescence. However, most women are not diagnosed until much later, as symptoms can fluctuate and become more severe over time. The origin is unknown, but a family history of PCOS can put women at higher risk, as can type 2 diabetes.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) – Symptoms and Causes

PCOS is associated with other health conditions that can have long-term effects on a woman’s physical and mental well-being. While PCOS is an incurable and chronic condition, there are treatments, medications, and lifestyle changes that can dramatically improve symptoms.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 8% to 13% of women of reproductive age are affected by PCOS worldwide, and 70% of women who are affected by PCOS remain undiagnosed and/or untreated. For this reason, it is important for women to become informed on the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for PCOS. Below, you will find information and insight on PCOS as well as tips for women managing the condition.

What Triggers Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

Causes like Hormone Imbalance can lead to PCOS

The absolute cause of PCOS is not yet known, but doctors and researchers believe it originates from a combination of issues with genetics, insulin resistance, and imbalanced hormone levels.

Hormonal Imbalance

Many women who experience PCOS are found to have specific hormonal imbalances. These can include:

  • Increase in Luteinizing Hormone (LH) – This hormone plays a significant role in the reproductive cycle in that it stimulates ovulation. Too much of it may have a negative effect on the ovaries.
  • Increase in Testosterone – Women produce small amounts of this hormone, which is the primary male hormone. Too much of it can wreak havoc on a woman’s body and cause many of the most common PCOS symptoms.
  • Increase in Prolactin – This hormonal imbalance is only found in some women with PCOS, but this is the hormone that stimulates milk from the breast glands during and after pregnancy.
  • Decrease in Hormone-binding Globulin (SHBG) – This sex hormone is a protein that is found in the blood that binds to testosterone and weakens its effect.

Although these hormonal changes are well documented, the cause of PCOS remains a mystery because researchers do not know what causes the hormonal changes in some women. Some experts suggest the problem starts in the ovaries, while some believe it starts in endocrine system glands. Yet others believe it may be the part of the brain that is responsible for telling the glands how much hormone to produce. While these are all very likely possibilities, the cause of PCOS could be related to another potential hormonal issue: resistance to insulin.

Resistance to Insulin

Insulin is also a hormone. It is produced by the pancreas, and its job is to control the amount of sugar in the blood. Essentially, it assists in the transfer of glucose from the blood to the cells; the cells then break down the glucose, which is used to make energy. When someone experiences insulin resistance, it means quite literally that the tissues in the body are resistant to the effects of insulin, which means the body (the pancreas) must make more insulin to compensate for the resistance.

To exacerbate the problem, resistance to insulin and the production of too much insulin can also cause weight gain, and excess body fat leads the body to produce even more insulin. These are all contributors to PCOS and can make symptoms of PCOS worsen.

Another problem with too much insulin in a woman’s body is that it causes the ovaries to produce more testosterone, which interferes with follicle development. Follicles are located in the ovaries and are the sacs where eggs develop. Women who have PCOS often have enlarged follicles, and these conditions are not ideal for healthy, normal ovulation. As a result, enlarged follicles are not conducive to fertility. For this reason, many women with PCOS have a very hard time getting pregnant before they learn to manage their symptoms. In fact, many women who have PCOS do not get diagnosed until they approach a doctor to treat infertility.


Doctors also believe genes are one potential contributing factor to PCOS. Sometimes, it appears that PCOS can run in the family, and when female members of an individual’s family have been diagnosed with PCOS, their risk of also developing PCOS is heightened. However, scientists have not yet identified a specific gene associated with the condition. Still, more recent research conducted on animals suggests that PCOS may be the result of chemical or genetic changes that occur when a female embryo is still inside the womb.

Symptoms of PCOS

Symptoms of PCOS

Symptoms of PCOS often cause embarrassment for women and result in lower self-esteem and even depression. Alone, these symptoms can be embarrassing or irritating, but together, they can be debilitating – especially because many women do not know what is causing them. Symptoms of PCOS include weight gain, acne, excessive and misplaced body hair, and a skin condition referred to as acanthosis nigricans.

Acanthosis nigricans is a direct result of a resistance to insulin or too much testosterone production in the body and causes dark, velvety patches of skin, usually found in skin creases under the arms and around the neck area. The clinical term for excess body hair is hirsutism, in which hair growth is found on areas of the neck, chin, abdomen, chest, or back. Like acanthosis nigricans, hirsutism is a direct result of the overproduction of testosterone.

One of the most common symptoms of PCOS is infertility. Most women discover they have PCOS in seeking an answer to why they are having a hard time getting pregnant. A PCOS diagnosis is often a relief for most patients because while PCOS is an incurable condition, its symptoms can be managed by adjusting lifestyle, taking supplements and/or medications, and receiving proper medical care and treatment. Once PCOS is diagnosed and treated, most women can experience success in conceiving.

PCOS Diagnosis

Diagnosing PCOS can sometimes be difficult because the symptoms linked to PCOS have multiple possible causes. Furthermore, other conditions like thyroid disease, non-classical congenital adrenal hyperplasia, and other conditions mimic the clinical description of PCOS. However, there are three required criteria that an individual’s condition is measured against when diagnosing PCOS.

For a PCOS diagnosis, two of the three following criteria must be met:

  • Irregular menstrual cycle
  • Clinical signs or blood test results showing excessive androgens
  • Polycystic ovaries

A variety of tests may be performed in the diagnosing of PCOS, as there is no one test designed specifically to detect PCOS. Diagnosis will begin with a doctor making a note of a patient’s symptoms. Next, a pelvic exam can reveal masses or growths on the reproductive organs. An ultrasound is also a good indicator of specific physical indications of the uterus and ovaries. This test uses a wand to send soundwaves to the reproductive organs via the vagina and emits images back to a computer screen to check the thickness of the uterine wall and the appearance of the ovaries.

A blood test is almost always administered when a physician is making a potential PCOS diagnosis because it measures hormone levels such as testosterone and insulin in the blood. A blood test is also important because it can help rule out other potential diagnoses. Cholesterol, triglyceride, and glucose tolerance are additional blood tests that can help confirm PCOS.

What Are the Four Different Types of PCOS?

In diagnosing PCOS, it is helpful to identify which of the four types an individual is experiencing. Type A PCOS is the most severe type and the most common type. Type D is the least severe. With proper treatment and management, it is possible for someone to move from a more serious category to a milder one.

Each type is described below.

Type A

  • Type A PCOS is identifiable due to symptoms caused by high levels of androgens.
  • Patients with Type A PCOS have irregular periods and ovulation.
  • Patients also have polycystic ovaries.

Type B

  • Patients exhibit many symptoms caused by high androgen levels.
  • Patients experience irregular periods and ovulation cycles.
  • These patients have normal ovaries.

Type C

  • Patients present symptoms associated with high androgen.
  • Patients have regular period cycles that last less than 35 days.
  • Type C patients exhibit polycystic ovaries.

Type D

  • Type D PCOS patients have normal androgen levels.
  • Patients experience irregular periods and ovulation cycles.
  • Patients have polycystic ovaries.

Does PCOS Go Away?

Young lady watching the sunset

There is no cure for PCOS, but with treatment, medication, lifestyle changes, and even alternative treatments, PCOS symptoms and the trouble they cause can be mostly alleviated if managed properly. To treat PCOS, it is recommended that individuals with a diagnosis focus on the symptom that is most concerning to them, whether it be infertility, acne, obesity, or excessive hair growth. Individuals wanting to treat PCOS symptoms should discuss which of the treatments described below are best for their medical condition.

Lifestyle Modification

Weight loss through a daily low-calorie diet and exercise can essentially maintain PCOS symptoms to the point of basically curing an individual of PCOS; however, if healthy habits and lifestyle changes stop, PCOS symptoms will return.

Physical Activity

Exercising in any form or fashion is very important in managing PCOS symptoms. Swimming, walking, cycling, jogging, or other physical activities can reduce type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular risks. They can also improve sensitivity to insulin and reduce PCOS symptoms. Exercise can also improve menstrual and ovulation cycles.


In some cases, doctors prescribe combination birth control pills to regulate periods. Birth control pills containing both estrogen and progestin decrease the production of androgens in the reproductive system and help regulate estrogen. By regulating hormones, patients can correct irregular menstrual and ovulation cycles, reduce excess hair growth, and minimize acne. Alternatively, progestin-only pills will regulate your periods but do not help to balance androgen and hormone levels.

For women diagnosed with PCOS and wanting to treat infertility, a doctor may recommend they take other medications to induce ovulation. Alternatively, for patients not trying to get pregnant but wanting to treat other symptoms of PCOS, such as acne or excessive hair growth, there are several medications and creams that can be effective in treating these symptoms. Hair removal treatments may also be effective for some individuals.

Alternative Treatments for PCOS

Many women have success in treating PCOS with alternative treatment options such as using herbal supplements like those below or others recommended by a doctor. A list of some of the most common supplements include the following vitamins and minerals:

  • Ashwagandha
  • B Vitamins
  • Basil
  • Carnitine
  • Cinnamon
  • Coenzyme Q10 (Co-Q10)
  • Fenugreek
  • Fish oil
  • Ginger
  • Inositol
  • Magnesium
  • N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC)
  • Probiotics
  • Shatavari
  • Turmeric
  • Vitamin D
  • Zinc

It is important that anyone suffering from symptoms akin to those of PCOS get diagnosed and treated by a gynecology practice that has experience treating PCOS and has successfully helped patients manage symptoms. Diagnosis is important to rule out other medical conditions.

Tips for Managing PCOS

With the advice of a medical professional, it is possible to safely manage PCOS symptoms almost to the point that they are virtually unnoticeable. The treatments described above, whether used individually or in conjunction with others, seem to work well for most women with PCOS. Below are some additional tips that can increase the potential for successful management of symptoms.

  • Be conscious of your diet – Even a 5% to 10% weight loss can make enough of a difference to regulate periods. A change in diet is one of the most effective ways to alleviate symptoms.
  • Consider adding the following foods to your meals – Broccoli, lean protein like fish, chicken and tofu, high-fiber foods that slow digestion and lower blood sugar like almonds, arugula, and beans, and anti-inflammatory foods like tomatoes, kale, spinach, olive oil, almonds, walnuts, strawberries, blueberries, salmon, sardines, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, lentils, pumpkin, red and green peppers, red leaf lettuce, sweet potatoes, and winter squash.
  • Avoid the following foods – refined carbohydrates, which increase resistance to insulin, like breads, muffins, anything made with white flour, sugary snacks and drinks, and pasta made with semolina or durum flour. Also, avoid inflammatory foods such as red meat and processed foods.
  • Read labels and avoid anything with the following ingredients – Dextrose, high fructose corn syrup, or sucrose.
  • Consume fiber – This is an excellent way for women experiencing PCOS symptoms to lose weight and reduce excessive body fat. Reducing insulin resistance will also improve all other symptoms.
  • Get ample protein.
  • Significantly reduce carbs.
  • Visit a gynecologist regularly to help manage symptoms effectively.

Schedule a Consultation

Woman meeting with her Gynecologist

If you believe you may be experiencing PCOS symptoms, it is crucial to schedule an appointment with a trusted gynecologist to confirm or rule out PCOS. Then, you can begin addressing the symptoms that have affected you the most. For more information regarding PCOS or to begin participating in regular gynecological exams, contact Arizona Gynecology Consultants to schedule an appointment.


  1. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. (n.d.). Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Retrieved from
  2. World Health Organization. (n.d.). Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Retrieved from,a%20leading%20cause%20of%20infertility
  3. NHS UK. (n.d.). Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Causes. Retrieved from,by%20the%20resistance%20to%20insulin.
  4. Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Diagnosis & Treatment. Retrieved from
  5. Harvard Health Publishing. (2021, April 29). Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and the Skin. Retrieved from,around%20the%20neck%20and%20underarms.
  6. World Health Organization. (n.d.). Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Retrieved from,a%20leading%20cause%20of%20infertility.
The Vital Link Between Fertility and Gut Health

The Vital Link Between Fertility and Gut Health

It’s common for women to go years without any inkling of an issue with their reproductive health, only to experience difficulties when trying to conceive. While there are many avenues to exploring and treating infertility, the first question your doctor has may be regarding your diet. In fact, fertility specialists often recommend that you make adjustments to your diet, but this isn’t always related to your weight. Often, dietary changes are intended to help you improve your gut health, which has a unique relationship with fertility.

At Arizona Gynecology Consultants, we frequently work with women who are struggling to conceive. If this describes you, our compassionate team will take a thorough look at your overall health and help you make the changes necessary to increase your chances of pregnancy. Gut health is often overlooked when it comes to fertility, but by improving gut health for infertility, you, too, may be able to conceive. Get started by learning more about the link between fertility and gut health.

The Gut and Your Health

The gut consists of more than just your stomach. The gut is actually a long tube that begins at your mouth and travels through your esophagus, stomach, intestines, and finally, your anus. Supporting organs include the liver, kidneys, and pancreas. Anything you swallow, including food, drink, and medications, travels through your gut, where it is digested. Nutrients are absorbed through the gut lining and into the bloodstream to be processed into energy before the waste is expelled at the end.

The Gut and Your Health

A crucial component of your gut includes microbes like the bacteria that populate your digestive system and particularly the large intestine. Microbes are responsible for aiding in gut movement, digesting foods, synthesizing and extracting vitamins and nutrients, and much more. Gut microbes also secrete an enzyme called glucuronidase, which allows estrogen to function properly throughout your body. A healthy microbiome, the collection of all the bacteria in your gut, can not only help you protect yourself from disease but also help you maintain your other bodily functions, including fertility.

How Can Your Gut Become Unhealthy?

There are several contributing factors that lead to an imbalanced gut:


Stress and anxiety can affect how your gut and brain interact with each other. Failure to conceive can be stressful, and your daily responsibilities and other stressors in your life can only make the problem more difficult to deal with. Worse, stress and impacts on the gut microbiota can cause serious disruptions in the chemical messengers responsible for maintaining important bodily functions, including gamete production, digestion, and more, causing a cycle of stress and physical issues. Stress can trigger symptoms in your gut by releasing stress hormones like cortisol, which directly interfere with gut microbiota. In turn, disruptions in gut microbiota can cause other conditions that increase stress.


Most women know just how essential it is to eat a healthy diet while pregnant, as the nutrients you consume can affect your child’s health long-term. However, diet is also just as important for your gut health, especially if you’re trying to conceive. Eating too much processed food, sugar, and other junk food can kill healthy bacteria in your gut, which are needed to ensure you are absorbing nutrients at the proper rate and producing the chemical messengers essential for all body functions.

Lack of Exercise

Exercise can be beneficial for both your physical and mental health. When you refrain from exercise, your gut becomes weaker, and you may even disrupt the delicate balance of microbes in your gut microbiota, making you more susceptible to various diseases and illnesses. Additionally, poor blood flow can prevent your gut from functioning optimally and inhibit your absorption of essential micronutrients for reproduction.


Drinking while trying to conceive can negatively affect your gut health, increasing your chances of infertility. For example, heavy drinking can lead to irregular periods, which can make it more difficult to conceive. Alcohol can also disrupt the gut microbiota, affecting the reproductive hormones so essential for conception and pregnancy.

How Fertility and Gut Health are Linked

There’s a link between fertility and gut health, and when your gut is unhealthy, you can experience problems with conception. In fact, gut imbalances can directly affect ovulation, ovary health, the fertilization process, the chances of implantation, and more. This occurs because the gut microbiome can be considered an endocrine organ in itself. It frequently interacts with sex hormones such as testosterone, androgen, estrogen, and estradiol, which support your reproductive health. Thus, when your gut health is compromised, the resulting sex hormone imbalances can lead to reproductive disorders or infertility.

An imbalanced gut microbiome can contribute to the following reproductive health conditions:

  • Cancers
  • Irregular Periods
  • Vaginal Infections
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Endometriosis

It’s important to note that poor gut health doesn’t only affect women. In men, poor gut health can affect sperm quality, which can lead to a double dose of fertility difficulties. The microbiome can affect the body’s ability to produce sperm, which could affect his ability to conceive with you.

Gut Health and Pregnancy Complications

It’s important to remember that the importance of gut health doesn’t diminish once you conceive. In fact, poor gut health can cause issues with pregnancy and inhibit embryonic development. Researchers have revealed that the important “good” microbes in the gut are also present in the reproductive tract, including the vagina, uterus, and even the placenta that nourishes the fetus. As a result, disturbances in the gut microbiota can cause disruptions in the microbiota in the reproductive tract.

Gut Health and Pregnancy Complications

Issues with these two interlinked microbiomes can negatively affect the fetus’ developing microbiome and may continue to have an effect after the baby is born. In addition, disruptions can cause infections, affect placental health, inhibit fetal growth and development, and cause premature birth. Babies born to mothers with microbiome imbalances have lower birth weights and decreased survival rates.

How to Improve Gut Health

If you’ve been having trouble getting pregnant, you may be able to make lifestyle changes to improve your odds of pregnancy. One of the simplest changes involves addressing your diet and lifestyle for gut health. Consider consuming probiotic and prebiotic foods, limiting alcohol use, improving your exercise routine, and addressing both sleep and stress.

Eat Probiotic Foods

Probiotic foods contain microorganisms that improve gut health when ingested. They are typically created from fermented food in order to add “good” bacteria into the body. Fortunately, probiotic foods have existed for thousands of years and are readily available in your local supermarket.

Probiotic foods to consider incorporating into your diet include:

  • Milk products such as yogurt, buttermilk, kefir, sour cream, and cheese
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Kombucha
  • Miso
  • Tempeh

Probiotic foods

The listed foods have been shown to positively influence the gut microbiome and benefit the rest of your health, as well. When improving gut health for infertility, you can also consider supplementing probiotics if you can’t eat foods with probiotics naturally included. However, because there are plenty of probiotic supplements available, it’s important to choose those that specifically address infertility. If you decide to supplement probiotics, talk to your doctor and our team at Arizona Gynecology Consultants to inform your decision.

Suggested Reading: Keto Diet for Beginners

Eat Prebiotic Foods

Prebiotic foods provide a non-digestible fiber that feeds your healthy gut microbes. If you ingest plenty of probiotics but neglect prebiotics, your probiotics won’t provide any meaningful effects.

Prebiotics are mostly found in plant-based foods, including:

  • Oats
  • Rye Bread
  • Watermelon
  • Garlic
  • Asparagus
  • Onions
  • Chickpeas

To keep your gut in optimal health, consider incorporating the above foods into your diet. In doing so, your microbiome will remain healthy and able to process food and nutrients. Subsequently, you can take a prebiotic supplement if necessary. Both prebiotic and probiotic supplements come with one main advantage over other food sources: you can maintain a consistent dose of the supplement and tailor them to your specific needs. Supplements may also help treat reproductive tract infections while addressing your gut health. As previously mentioned, speak with your doctor and our team about supplementation.

Limit or Stop Alcohol Use

Alcohol can negatively affect your gut microbiome and cause complications with fertility. It can create microbe imbalances and even overgrowth, put extra pressure on your liver, and cause inflammation, so it’s recommended to lower your consumption while trying to conceive. To keep your gut as healthy as possible, consider eliminating most alcohol from your diet.

Exercise Regularly

Frequent exercise improves blood flow and oxygen absorption, which in turn helps your gut function better. You don’t need to do heavy lifting or run several miles daily – a 30-minute session of moderate exercise that raises the heart rate is enough to help your body stay healthy. Don’t push yourself too hard, and be sure to find some physical activity that can keep you physically and mentally fit.


Reduce Stress

We know this is easier said than done; infertility struggles can be stressful enough, and other outside stresses can further complicate things. However, increased stress results in higher levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, which can cause issues in the gut microbiota. If you can find ways to reduce your stress, your gut health and fertility may improve.

Fortunately, there are plenty of strategies to consider for reducing stress:

  • Exercise – Aside from its physical benefits for gut health, exercising can help reduce stress. By exercising even a small amount, your body will release endorphins that make you feel better and improve coordination.
  • Meditation and Mindfulness – Meditation and mindfulness practices allow you to focus on your breathing and break away from stressful distractions, helping you remain balanced and improve your mental health. You can practice meditation or mindfulness anywhere, though we recommend a quiet environment.
  • Yoga – Yoga involves stretching your body into different positions to help release tension and keep you focused on the present rather than on stressful contributors.
  • Counseling – If you’re unsure how to proceed with a stressful situation or are hesitant to discuss your infertility with others, speaking with a licensed counselor or therapist may help you navigate your situation and find a way forward.

We know how challenging it can be to reduce your stress, but doing so can help you improve your chances of conception.

Get Plenty of Sleep

An adequate amount of restful sleep every night is crucial in reducing stress and maintaining proper gut health. Some people find that they sleep better after taking steps to reduce stress. Sleeping properly allows your body, including your gut, to recharge and rest. Poor sleep can cause issues with the gut microbiota, while gut issues can lead to poor sleep. Doing what you can to interrupt this cycle can help you improve your chances of conceiving.

More Gut Health Tips

Prioritizing your gut health can be an essential step in addressing your difficulty in conceiving. Still, the exact route necessary to boost your gut health to increase fertility rates is still the subject of much research. Taking simple steps to improve your diet, like eating lean proteins, plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats while avoiding processed, high-fat, or sugary foods, is a great start. Then, add probiotic and prebiotic foods to help your microbiota flourish.

Remember: it’s essential to use caution and take your time when making any lifestyle change. Eating too many probiotic and prebiotic foods can cause an upset stomach and imbalances. Take your time and let your body slowly make adjustments.

Arizona Gynecology Consultants Can Help Address Your Infertility

For several years now, we’ve slowly begun to understand the link between fertility and gut health. Research is ongoing, and we may soon find new strategies for addressing infertility and gut health. Still, there’s a lot of information available already, and your gynecologist can help you determine whether an unhealthy gut may be contributing to your infertility struggles.

The compassionate medical team at Arizona Gynecology Consultants can help you evaluate your overall health and determine potential causes of infertility. Adjustments to your lifestyle and daily routine, including those necessary to address gut health, could help you become pregnant without the need for other interventions. For further help, view our Arizona gynecology services and schedule an appointment.


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  3. Lundy, S. D., Vij, S. C., Rezk, A. H., Cohen, J. A., Bajic, P., & Ramasamy, R. (2020). The microbiome of the infertile male. Current Opinion in Urology, 30(3), 355–362.
  4. Qi, X., Yun, C., Pang, Y., & Qiao, J. (2021). The impact of the gut microbiota on the reproductive and metabolic endocrine system. Gut Microbes, 13(1), 1894070.
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  7. Mayo Clinic . (2021, March 18). 12 Tips to Tame Stress. Mayo Clinic; Mayo Clinic.
#1 Rating in Women’s Health in Arizona

#1 Rating in Women’s Health in Arizona

This entry was posted in News and tagged on by .

Here at Arizona Gynecology Consultants, extensive care is so important to us that we’ve gone above and beyond to improve patient lives from birth through menopause and beyond. We’ve worked very hard, and we’re proud to announce our recognition for providing top care.

Comprehensive healthcare for women is incredibly important, and with modern technology and new advancements every day, providing the best gynecological service is crucial. No matter the age of the woman or her specific needs, offering the best care possible is of more than the utmost concern – it’s our mission.

From the online polling source Ranking Arizona, we received the top place for women’s health providers. We couldn’t be prouder to continue offering the best in women’s healthcare. From minimally invasive procedures to an experienced staff who recognizes how important it is to care for women and their specific needs, you can get the quality care you need from Arizona Gynecology Consultants.

Understanding that each person’s situation is unique to them is a crucial first step to excellent healthcare. To us, no patient is just a number. They’re each unique in their own way, with special concerns and needs. We take an individualized approach to women’s healthcare that allows our patients to feel more comfortable and helps to improve their overall health. Because of this approach, we’ve gotten the vote of the public.

Getting Recognized by Ranking Arizona

Recognized by Ranking Arizona

Ranking Arizona is the largest business poll in Arizona. While we strive to provide quality care, a good reputation means everything when it comes to reaching the most women possible. Without the excellent care that we provide, we wouldn’t be on the radar of a company like Ranking Arizona. They ask the simple question: “With whom would you recommend doing business?” and allow the voices of the public to shine through. This lets the ultimate decision rest on the people who receive our care.

The staff at Ranking Arizona makes the initial decisions on who to include as polling options; however, the ultimate decision is left up to the people of Arizona. These opinions aren’t based on Arizona Gynecology Consultants’ size, number of employees, or revenue. When the people of Arizona voted for us, they meant that they’d recommend us to their friends, families, and coworkers. Being voted #1 means we’d be picked first over all others and that our commitment to providing excellent care to our patients is exceptional.

How Our Outstanding Care Speaks for Our Reputation

To ensure that our patients receive the best care possible, we use cutting-edge yet proven medical techniques. For many years, women’s healthcare has been incredibly outdated and nearly barbaric. Too often, gynecological care has been provided by either providers with little real understanding of women’s bodies or minimal concern and care for their well-being and comfort level during basic tests and exams, surgeries, and procedures.

Instead of allowing this practice to continue, we take healthcare for women seriously. We provide a comfortable and safe environment for our patients to discuss any issues they have and work hard to minimize intrusive methods when it comes to testing and other procedures. Providing accessible care is one of our core tenets, and through accessible care, knowledgeable providers and staff, and the use of modern technology, we’re able to show women the care they deserve throughout their lives.

We also take our patients’ concerns seriously. Sometimes, it can be difficult to explain issues you’re experiencing, or it may be that other providers you’ve seen in the past haven’t listened to your history or concerns. For us to develop a complete picture of your health, we must listen to what you have to say regarding your history, symptoms, and other concerns. We work with you to create a specialized plan to best treat any issues so you can return to your best health.

Women’s Healthcare Services We Offer

From exam consultations to contraception and more, we cover all areas of women’s healthcare. No matter what care you’re seeking, you can know that you’ll receive the very best in top-of-the-line care from our team of skilled specialists.

We strive to take care of all the needs of the individual, no matter how routine they are. All our patients deserve the best care possible. That’s why, even if it’s just a checkup, our team of surgeons and healthcare professionals use their extensive knowledge and experience to treat each unique concern and situation.

Some gynecology services we offer include:

  • Well-Woman Care – During this service, we take the time to get to know our patients, their histories, and their health concerns so we can understand what kind of treatments may be necessary.
  • Pelvic Pain – At some point in a woman’s life, they’ll likely experience some kind of pain in the pelvic region. This can be incredibly uncomfortable, and it may be possible to alleviate it.
  • Vaginal Prolapse – Over time, a woman’s muscles in the vagina may experience stretching or weakening. When this happens, they can prolapse. With the right treatment, this can be helped.
  • Cosmetics – As with any part of the body, it’s possible to make some cosmetic adjustments that may assist with vaginal function in many ways, including sensitivity.
  • Weight Management – We offer a medically assisted weight loss program for women in Arizona, customized and focused on strategies that bring consistent results.

Suggested Reading: Weight Loss Education

Our Innovative Surgical Services

Innovative Surgical Services

With the best in medical methods, we strive to offer innovative services. There are many parts of women’s health and procedures that have always felt archaic. For many years, reducing the impact on a woman’s body wasn’t a focus of women’s healthcare. We’re working hard to change that.

One of the most successful changes has been laparoscopy for hysterectomy procedures. Through this method, a smaller incision can allow for a much less invasive procedure. There are several reasons why this is important. First of all, the recovery time is much shorter with this procedure. Often, recovery time can be reduced by as much as half the traditional recovery time. In addition, because the site of the incision is smaller, there is a reduction in pain, risk of infection, bleeding, and fewer complications.

Our services aren’t just limited to laparoscopic hysterectomies, however. We offer hormone replacement as a treatment for menopause. By giving your body the estrogen it often needs to work normally, many of the negative symptoms can be combated. We also recognize that endometriosis is a real and incredibly difficult illness to have.

Many women encounter issues when trying to seek a diagnosis for endometriosis. Instead, with frequent office visits, a treatment plan can be created, and symptoms can be managed. Finally, we also recognize how important it is to try innovative methods for treatment. Sonata? offers a better treatment option for uterine fibroids. This method requires no surgical intervention, is an extremely versatile alternative, and allows for a much shorter time for recovery.

Why Gynecological Services Are Important

Early detection and treatment are imperative for receiving the best outcomes for many illnesses and conditions. That’s absolutely true for women’s health. Much of the time, conditions may be mistaken for other issues or be ignored altogether. Preventative care and early detection are so important that the CDC says that up to 40% of deaths from the five leading causes could be prevented with early detection, including cancer.

Women’s healthcare isn’t a one size fits all situation. For many people, screenings for cancer, as well as other physical screenings, are recommended at certain ages or in the presence of other risk factors. However, each person’s body is different. While it’s great to have a basic, scheduled outline of when you should be screened or tested for certain things, it’s also important to keep in mind that that schedule may be different if there’s a family history or other health factors at play.

Changes in health can happen quickly, and women don’t have to live in pain. Whether from painful urination or extreme periods, suffering in silence is no longer necessary for many. Women need providers and a care team who trust them and who will get down to the very bottom of a problem when it’s happening. Having progressive care helps women feel more comfortable addressing issues that they have so they no longer feel like they must quietly live in pain.

Our Approach to Women’s Healthcare

Our approach to healthcare for women includes comprehensive and safe care where women can feel comfortable in their own skin. It’s incredibly important to us that our patients receive the care that they often desperately need and that they know we can be trusted with their health.

Throughout women’s lifetimes, we need different kinds of treatment. For women, this doesn’t mean that healthcare ends with having children. We’re here for our patients early on, whether they’re an adolescent experiencing pelvic pain or a woman struggling with menopause and beyond. We understand that even scheduling an appointment can be stressful, as you’re concerned with your reproductive health. However, we also work to educate so that each person can have a better understanding of their body so that they can understand their health.

By utilizing the best tools we have available, we’re able to provide our patients with the best care. Improving outcomes with minimally invasive techniques, doing our very best to take comprehensive histories, and creating a care plan that works for our patients are all a part of what we offer and what prompted the people of Arizona to vote for us.

Leaders in Gynecological Services in Arizona

With new and innovative treatment methods and tried and trusted approaches, we’ve been able to provide a multidisciplinary team to tackle any concern and do so while offering a comfortable and caring environment. We want what’s best for you, and with that in mind, we strive to work with our patients regarding the issues that are unique to them.

Our skilled staff has extensive experience in a wide area of women’s health, with a major focus on minimally invasive procedures. We understand that minimizing the pain and discomfort frequently experienced during procedures for women and using the best tools at hand is paramount for offering care for women. With nearly a full team of women providing care at Arizona Gynecology Consultants, we have first-hand knowledge of the importance of excellent care. Learn more about our team, their specialties, and their excellence and qualifications, and let our team get your health on track.

Our team of surgeons takes a special interest in minimally invasive procedures and are leaders in their own rights. Through education, medical device design, and allyship, the expert staff is a prime example of what makes Arizona Gynecology Consultants so great.

Suggested Reading: Staff at Arizona Gynecology Consultants

Arizona Gynecology Services

Arizona Gynecology Consultants Staff

Ranking Arizona ranks businesses across the state, and they admit how difficult it can be to say who’s best in any industry. Letting one person or a small group of people decide isn’t the best way to determine anything. However, Ranking Arizona left their result up to the people of the great state of Arizona, and the people have spoken.

We are proud of the Arizona gynecology services we can provide, and we’re proud that the Arizonan populace believes in us.

Laparoscopic Abdominal Cerclage

Laparoscopic Abdominal Cerclage: A Better Option

Laparoscopic abdominal cerclage (LAC) is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to prevent preterm birth in pregnant women at risk of delivering too early. Individuals with a history of cervical insufficiency, second-trimester miscarriages, and preterm labor are the primary candidates for this procedure, and it is preferred for patients with a prior failed vaginal cerclage.

The goal of laparoscopic abdominal cerclage is to provide a supportive structure that can hold the cervix in place to carry the pregnancy to term. The procedure is most successful when performed prior to conception but can be performed during pregnancy between 8-12 weeks. It is considered a safe procedure and an effective way to reduce the risk of preterm labor and delivery.

What Is Cervical Insufficiency?

The cervix is the bottom-most part of the uterus that opens to the vagina and should remain firm and closed throughout most of the pregnancy. Cervical insufficiency is the premature softening and weakening of the cervix, resulting in its inability to maintain pregnancy during the second trimester. It is also characterized by the absence of labor signs, clinical contractions, or both.

Though cervical insufficiency can appear at any time, it is often recognized around 16 to 18 weeks of pregnancy.

What Are the Benefits of a Laparoscopic Abdominal Cerclage?

Benefits of a Laparoscopic Abdominal Cerclage Benefits of a Laparoscopic Abdominal Cerclage

The primary benefit of laparoscopic abdominal cerclage is a full-term pregnancy and successful delivery. This procedure is a beneficial treatment for women who have had multiple pregnancy losses, either due to a diagnosis of cervical insufficiency or a shortened cervix. The purpose of laparoscopic abdominal cerclage is to remedy these circumstances, and it has proven to be a successful treatment option for many women. In fact, this type of cerclage is the preferred treatment for insufficient cervix because it has a higher success rate compared to traditional vaginal cerclage.

Other benefits of laparoscopic abdominal cerclage include the following:

Higher Placement of Sutures

Compared to traditional methods of securing the cervix, the suture is placed in better proximity to the internal os at the top of the cervix, as opposed to the bottom. This placement has better results in closing and supporting the cervix for the full term of pregnancy. It provides greater mechanical support and has a decreased chance of suture migration during pregnancy.

Reduced Risk of Infection

Since the procedure is performed laparoscopically, there is less risk of infection compared with vaginal surgery. A transvaginal procedure requires the presence of a foreign object in the vagina, which creates more potential for bacteria. The transabdominal laparoscopic procedure is a safer option.

Reduced Loss of Blood

There is significantly less bleeding associated with laparoscopic abdominal cerclage than with other methods. Primarily, this is because the suture is much smaller than with traditional cerclage. Consequently, there are fewer risks associated with less blood loss.

Reduced Recovery Time

Laparoscopic abdominal cerclage can be performed as an outpatient procedure because it is minimally invasive gynecology. The procedure involves only a small incision, so recovery time is shortened. Patients can go home the same day the procedure is performed, with the potential to return to normal activities much sooner than alternative methods allow. There is also less pain and discomfort during recovery, as well as less scarring with laparoscopic abdominal cerclage.

How Is a Laparoscopic Abdominal Cerclage Performed?

How a Laparoscopic Abdominal Cerclage Performed

A laparoscopic abdominal cerclage is a type of minimally invasive gynecology in which a doctor uses a laparoscope inserted through a small incision in the abdomen. The laparoscope allows the surgeon to view the uterus and cervix internally and determine the best placement for the suture. Once the proper position is determined, a suture is placed around the cervix to ensure that it remains closed through the rest of the pregnancy. After the procedure is complete, the incision is closed.

What Are the Risks and Complications Associated with a Laparoscopic Abdominal Cerclage?

While a laparoscopic abdominal cerclage procedure can be highly effective, like any surgical procedure, there are risks. It is important for individuals considering this treatment to understand the associated risks and unlikely but potential complications. Then, it is possible to make an informed decision.

Infection is the most common risk and can be caused by bacteria entering the abdomen during the procedure. Infections are most likely to occur at the incision site, though they can also occur elsewhere in the body. If an infection occurs, antibiotics are usually prescribed to treat it. Some patients have trouble urinating after the procedure, along with increased pain in the abdominal area. Scarring of the uterus is also a possibility, although this is typically minor and does not cause any long-term issues.

Experienced surgeons using practiced techniques limit the risk of complications. To fully understand the potential risks associated with laparoscopic abdominal cerclage, it is important for a patient to discuss these risks with the doctor performing the surgery before having the procedure.

What Are the Success Rates of a Laparoscopic Abdominal Cerclage?

The success rate of a laparoscopic abdominal cerclage depends on several factors, including the severity of the cervical insufficiency, the timing of the procedure, and the patient’s overall health. Pre-conception laparoscopic abdominal cerclage proves to be more successful in preventing repeat losses and preterm labor. It also has less risk of complications, both surgically and pregnancy-related. However, having the procedure done during pregnancy is still extraordinarily successful.

The success rate of a laparoscopic abdominal cerclage is generally good. While the success rates of doctors and practices that perform the procedure are 90% or above, an average of multiple studies have found that the procedure has a neonatal success rate of up to 96% and a gestational age of about 37 weeks at the time of delivery.

This means that in most cases, laparoscopic abdominal cerclage successfully corrects cervical insufficiency. It is important to note that success rates can vary depending on the individual case. It is also possible for the procedure to fail in some cases, so it is important to understand the risks involved before undergoing surgery.

How Long Does It Take to Recover From Laparoscopic Abdominal Cerclage?

Recovery time from a laparoscopic abdominal cerclage procedure can vary depending on the individual, but it typically takes 3-4 weeks to fully recover. Recovery is typically uncomplicated, but during this time, it is important for patients to follow their doctor’s instructions for post-operative care.

These may include resting, limiting physical activity, avoiding strenuous activities like exercise, and avoiding lifting heavy objects that could strain the abdomen. Some doctors prescribe pain medications, but non-narcotic medications should suffice. Antibiotics are sometimes prescribed to help treat a potential infection. Patients should take any medications as prescribed for optimal success.

To achieve a successful recovery and outcome, it is also important that patients attend all follow-up appointments to monitor recovery and the success of the procedure. Patients should watch for any signs of infection or other complications, such as fever, swelling, redness, or drainage at the site of the incision. If any of these symptoms do occur, the doctor should be notified immediately.

While it is typically normal for patients to return to work within a few days, it may take up to a week or two for some to feel completely normal. Most people can expect a full recovery and can return to their normal activities within four weeks.

Patients may also be given specific instructions for post-operative care, such as how often to change dressings, when to shower, and how to monitor incisions for signs of infection. It is important that patients follow these instructions carefully to ensure recovery goes smoothly. When recovery is closely monitored, the prognosis following laparoscopic abdominal cerclage is generally positive.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of a Laparoscopic Abdominal Cerclage?

Despite the benefits of this procedure, it is not often the chosen initial treatment option for cervical insufficiency because it eliminates the possibility of a vaginal birth and ensures a cesarean delivery will be necessary. This is because a vaginal delivery requires a baby to pass through the cervix to enter the birth canal and exit the vagina. A cerclage closes off the cervix to keep the baby from entering that pathway prematurely and resulting in a miscarriage. Thus, the pathway into the birth canal is closed, and the baby must be delivered via C-section.

C-section deliveries have the potential for more complications, and they may affect the delivery method for future pregnancies, so most attempts to avoid them are made. Unless necessary or unless a previous pregnancy resulted in an emergency C-section, vaginal delivery is preferred. This is a variable for many patients and should be considered carefully by the physician.

Can a Laparoscopic Abdominal Cerclage Be Left-In?

The cerclage band is a very durable material that is highly compatible with the human tissues of the cervix. Therefore, the suture can be left in. It may also be removed following delivery. If removed, subsequent pregnancies might require another cerclage procedure, but if not, vaginal delivery would be a possibility.

In cases in which the cerclage band is left on the cervix, it can remain for future pregnancies and can even be used with contraception until the patient is ready to conceive again, though it would, again, prevent a vaginal delivery. There are rare risks associated with leaving the cerclage in, and these risks should be discussed with a physician before deciding to leave it in after pregnancy.

What Are the Alternative Methods to a Laparoscopic Abdominal Cerclage?

Transvaginal cerclage is another option for this specific procedure, and there are multiple methods used to perform a transvaginal cerclage. Vaginal methods place sutures on the cervix via vaginal laparoscopy, which presents several disadvantages over placement via abdominal laparoscopy. For instance, transvaginal placement of sutures is significantly lower on the cervix and is much less supportive. It also involves more risk of infection due to entry via the vagina, with a greater potential for bacteria to enter the body. Recovery time and success rate are also decreased in laparoscopic vaginal cerclage.

What Should Patients Expect After a Laparoscopic Abdominal Cerclage?

Immediately after the procedure, patients may experience some soreness and discomfort at the site of the incision, as well as mild cramping. Discomfort may continue for a few days. It’s important to know that pain is a common side effect following the procedure, but over-the-counter pain medication can help manage this. Additionally, some women may experience difficulty urinating or have difficulty passing gas. These symptoms usually resolve on their own within a few days. Antibiotics may be prescribed to reduce the risk of infection.

It is important to rest and follow the doctor’s post-operative instructions after the procedure to ensure a smooth recovery. Again, this will include avoiding strenuous activities such as heavy lifting, running, or any other activity that puts strain on the abdominal muscles. It is also important to take medications as prescribed by the doctor to help reduce inflammation and discomfort.

Finally, it’s important to recognize that pregnancies should be considered high-risk following laparoscopic abdominal cerclage.

Is Laparoscopic Abdominal Cerclage Right For You?

Laparoscopic Abdominal Cerclage Doctor

Overall, laparoscopic abdominal cerclage is a safe and effective treatment option for women experiencing certain fertility issues. It can reduce the risk of preterm birth, provide a quicker recovery time, reduce the risk of infection, and improve the chances of a successful pregnancy and delivery.

Arizona Gynecology Consultants for Laparoscopic Abdominal Cerclage

If you have an insufficient cervix or a history of preterm birth or miscarriage, you should know that laparoscopic abdominal cerclage is a successful, safe, and practical way to correct some cervical conditions that contribute to preterm labor and miscarriage.

It is not the ideal procedure for every pregnancy or pre-pregnancy, but when it is recommended by a medical professional, it is very successful in prolonging labor in the 1% of pregnancies that end early due to cervical insufficiency.

Contact us to schedule an appointment to discuss your options and determine if this procedure is right for you.


Below the Belt Film Screening

Arizona Gynecology Consultants Hosting Film Screening of ‘Below the Belt’

This entry was posted in News and tagged on by .

Arizona Gynecology Consultants hosting Film Screening of the Groundbreaking PBS Documentary Below the Belt March 29th in Phoenix Arizona.


Arizona Gynecology Consultants is excited to host a screening educating the community about the life impacting disease of endometriosis. The PBS documentary “Below the Belt” shares four patient stories and the struggles they faced trying to be validated for their symptoms while navigating a broken healthcare system and the complexity of their disease.

From societal taboos and gender bias to inadequate training of many providers and surgeons, profit-driven healthcare, and a general lack of prioritizing women’s health by government, the film explores how so many vulnerable women are effectively dismissed and ignored. This often leads to a life of chronic pain, infertility, and other potentially preventable diseases. The film exposes widespread problems in our healthcare system forcing millions to suffer in silence.

Arizona Gynecology Consultants is committed to a different experience for these women and has always supported early surgical diagnosis and effective, individualized post-surgical treatments.

The event will take place at the end of Endometriosis Awareness Month on March 29th at 6pm at Chateau Luxe Event Venue 1175 E. Lone Cactus Dr. Phoenix, AZ 85024 and will be a wonderful community filled evening.

In addition to screening the film, we will have an open reception with artists, refreshments, vendors supporting the early diagnosis of the disease and effective therapies, and a panel featuring experts and special guests who will discuss the urgent issues presented by the film.

We cannot do it alone and are proud to sponsor the screening of this film. We hope that this event will encourage our community partners to join with us to create awareness.

For tickets, register below.

For more information or if you are interested in being a vendor for this event, please contact Ariana Davis at 602-358-6959 or email [email protected]

Below the Belt

Gynesurgical, llc

To Register for Tickets:

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Beginner's Guide to Keto

A Detailed Guide: Keto Diet for Beginners

A lot of questions rise related to a ketogenic diet, especially a keto diet for beginners. If you are looking to find a diet that supports a healthy lifestyle, includes tons of meal options, and allows for long-term consistency with weight loss or maintenance goals, the keto diet can be a great choice. The keto diet (and its variations) is a highly popular way to achieve health goals appealing to athletes and non-athletes alike. However, keto can be a bit intimidating for new adopters. If you are considering adopting the keto diet, we’ll help you learn all you need to know about getting started and tips for how to thrive while changing your diet to meet keto standards. This beginner-friendly guide is great for anyone looking to embark on a keto diet. You’ll learn what the diet entails, what foods are sanctioned, and what foods are not. Furthermore, you’ll discover how to thrive during the first week of keto, so you can make those first few days easier to manage and your adjustment to the diet less stressful.

What Is the Keto Diet?

The ketogenic or keto diet consists of a very high-fat diet that is also very low in carbohydrates. This combination of low carbs and high fats helps many people shed excess body fat while staving off hunger which is a very common occurrence in other weight loss plans. A ketogenic diet is also great for helping individuals with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes improve their health. When you eat a ketogenic diet, your body is forced to burn through the fats in your diet to create fuel to power your daily activities. This occurs in place of burning the carbs that are usually used for the process. When you adopt a keto diet, you are essentially telling your body to run on fats instead of sugars. When your body begins to burn fats instead of carbs, you enter a state known as ketosis.

What Is Ketosis?

Ketosis is one of the most important concepts of a ketogenic diet. The metabolic state of ketosis occurs when the liver takes the fats from your diet and metabolizes them into tiny molecules of energy, also called ketones. Ketones are used by the brain and other bodily organs to perform the necessary functions of daily life. Your body typically prefers to utilize blood sugar or glucose for energy. However, during ketosis, the body pulls the majority of the energy needs from the ketones because your carbohydrate levels are greatly reduced. To reach a state of ketosis, most people must eat 50 or fewer grams of carbohydrates a day. However, the carb intake needed for ketosis varies for each person; for some, the number may be as little as 20 grams of carbohydrates per day.
To induce ketosis, the keto diet encourages the elimination of carbohydrate-dense foods, including:
  • Legumes
  • Grains (rice, pasta, cereals, white bread)
  • Candy
  • Fruit (small portions of berries are allowed)
  • Potatoes
  • Sugar-sweetened soft drinks and other beverages sweetened with sugar
  • Sugar-sweetened condiments, like barbecue sauce, honey mustard, and ketchup
When followed correctly, the ketogenic diet can be highly beneficial, but it is not an easy lifestyle change for many. To help, we’ve compiled the following information to assist beginners as they make the necessary steps to transform their eating habits from carb-filled to ketogenic.
Keto Diet Foods

Guidelines: Keto Diet for Beginners

Fats, Carbohydrates, and proteins are known as macronutrients, and each one has a unique effect on the process of ketosis. This is because these three macronutrients are digested differently and have separate effects on blood glucose levels.
  • Carbs raise both glucose levels and insulin levels and are considered 100% non-ketogenic. Therefore, carbs must be drastically reduced or eliminated from the daily diet for the body to reach ketosis.
  • Proteins are both ketogenic and non-ketogenic in composition. Over 50% of protein derived from food is turned into glucose in the bloodstream and raises insulin levels.
  • Fats are 90% ketogenic and 10% non-ketogenic. This makes fats the optimal choice for a ketogenic diet because non-ketogenic nutrients can be converted from triglycerides and glucose if the brain needs them.
Once you understand the role of each of these macronutrients, you can begin to understand how ketogenic foods work under the basic guidelines of a ketogenic diet. Below are five basic steps for implementing a keto diet plan that will help you simplify the process as a beginner.

1. Determine the Fitness Goals You Want to Reach

This step is vital no matter what type of diet you are beginning, but it is especially important for a keto diet because the nutrient requirements are fairly strict. The first step you want to take is to identify the personal reasons you believe keto is for you. Defining your why will help you focus on the lifestyle changes involved in moving towards keto. Your why will also help you decide how you will measure your progress to see if your dietary changes are paying off.

2. Calculate Daily Calorie Goals

Once you have determined your primary health goals, your next step is finding out how many calories you need each day to reach your goal of losing, gaining, or maintaining weight. There are several ways to easily calculate your daily caloric needs, including online calculators and fitness and wellness apps. You can also speak to your doctor or a nutritionist to set healthy caloric goals.

3. Calculate Your Macronutrients (Macros)

In addition to setting a target number of daily calories, you must also find your ideal macronutrient consumption amounts, also known as calculating your macros. This will tell you how many grams of protein, fat, and carbohydrates you need to consume to maintain ketosis each day. How many carbs you can have a day on keto will be determined by the type of keto diet you choose and what your body’s unique needs require from your diet. It is crucial to maintain your carbohydrate intake each day to reach ketosis.
Being strict with your macros helps you maintain ketosis and reach your goals. For most people adopting a ketogenic diet, the breakdown of macros is as follows:
  • 70% of daily calories from fat
  • 25% of daily calories from protein sources, and
  • 5% of daily calories from carbohydrates
Your current level of fitness, metabolic health, and other individual factors will determine the exact percentage of macronutrients you should consume.
Ketogenic diet breakdown

4. Plan Your Menu

Once you know your goals, calculate your daily calories, and determine your daily macronutrients, the next step is planning your menu with low-carb recipes. Before you start piling on heavy foods like cheese and bacon, take into consideration the quality of the high-fat foods you will consume on keto. You must think about your overall health and incorporate nutritious foods that will also help you meet your daily intake needs. A keto diet should be much more than a weight-loss plan—it should also contribute to your overall well-being. If you fail to eat nutrient-rich foods, your goals will be much harder to reach. Eating a nutrient-rich low-carb diet will also ensure you have energy, stabilize your mood, and lower hunger and food cravings—all things that will help you stick to a ketogenic diet.

5. Be Consistent With Your Goals

It is important to understand that planning your keto menu is the start, but sticking to eating according to your ideal calorie and macro levels is how you reach the finish line. You also must stick to your keto diet for more than a couple of weeks to see results. Consistency is key. Willpower will help you with your goals, but you must dedicate yourself to developing healthy habits over time. Your success will rely heavily on you making healthy food and fitness decisions for your long-term wellness. You don’t have to stress yourself to maintain perfection, but you do want to focus on being consistent if you want to see progress. Sticking to your dietary goals consistently will pay off if you keep going. One thing to note—don’t allow a day of not hitting goals to deter you from your long-term progress. Each day is a new opportunity to make healthier decisions!

Why Beginners Adopt a Keto Diet?

Weight Loss

This is the most common reason for someone to start a ketogenic diet. If your goal is to lose weight, maintaining a calorie deficit is key to your success. When you stick to your weight loss goals using keto, you will see weight changes. These may come as a lower number on your scale and/or a change in how your body is shaped (body composition).

Improved Performance

For athletes and others looking to naturally boost their energy levels, keto can be used to help increase efficiency and performance. If you want to see a positive change in your energy levels with keto, you must focus on timing your nutrient intake and getting enough nutrients. You can measure improved performance by assessing your fitness performance and/or testing for metabolic efficiency.

Improved Health

While improved health may seem like a given, it is a very valid and common reason for choosing a ketogenic diet. Due to the ketogenic diet’s restrictive nature, getting adequate amounts of nutrients can prove challenging. To see improved health on a ketogenic diet, you should focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods. Measuring progress for your improved health can be done through a health assessment (biometric testing).
Keto Foods

Are There Different Types of Keto Diet?

When you follow a keto diet, your body goes into the metabolic state of ketosis. This is where your energy gets pulled from the stored body fat to run effectively, usually within four days of beginning the diet. Before you begin making dietary changes, you must understand that there are several different versions of the diet that are differentiated by the proportion of protein, fat, and carbs allowed for daily intake. The following are the four common types of keto diets you can follow:
  • The Standard Keto Diet (SKD) – The standard ketogenic diet requires low carb intake, moderate protein intake, and high fat intake. The typical macronutrient for a standard keto diet is 20% protein, 10% carbohydrates, and 70% fat.
  • Cyclical Keto Diet (CKD) – The cyclical ketogenic diet requires cycling days of high carbohydrate nutrient intake (known as “refeeds”) with typical ketogenic days.
  • Targeted Keto Diet (TKD) – The targeted ketogenic diet makes allowances for carbohydrates before or after intense exercise.
  • High-protein Keto Diet (HPKD) – The high-protein ketogenic diet is similar to the standard keto diet, but the protein intake is higher, usually a ratio of 5% carbs, 35% protein, and 60% fat.
The standard keto diet and the high-protein keto diets have received the most scientific attention, likely because they are the most commonly used methods. The targeted and cyclical diets are newer variations of keto, mostly used by bodybuilders and athletes. intense exercise

What Should I Do During the First Week of Keto?

The first week of your keto diet can be challenging, especially if you are transitioning from a much less structured way of eating. The nature of the keto diet requires many people to make lifestyle changes that can feel a bit overwhelming early on. It is vital to remember that keto, like many other diets, requires an adjustment period. This is where your body will make a huge shift from using dietary sugars for energy to using fats for energy, leaving you feeling a bit under the weather. The “Keto Flu” is a real possibility, but with the proper preparation, you can overcome it and thrive in your first week. If you do feel a bit under the weather, the flu-like symptoms may last several days. With your keto-approved menu and consistency, you can make your first week a positive experience. In addition to eating your menu of keto-friendly foods, you should also use these keto diet tips for your first week.
  • Hydrate. Switching to a ketogenic diet will cause your body to lose the excess water stored from your former diet of high carbs and sugar. Drinking plenty of water or taking sugar-free electrolyte supplements can help your body adjust to changing water levels.
  • Focus on hitting your calorie and macronutrient requirements. Get enough protein and fat to reach ketosis, and you will feel better and less hungry.
  • Get adequate fiber. You want to maintain your gut health to avoid gastrointestinal issues, so consume your greens. Having a salad each day can help you feel full and keep you from becoming bloated or constipated.
  • Limit pre-packaged and processed foods to stay on target for your carbohydrate intake. Hidden carbs can throw off your macros and prevent you from reaching ketosis, so it is important to limit the amount of sugar you consume if you want to be successful in your first week.
Drink Water

You Can Kick Off Your Keto Diet and Find Success

The switch to a ketogenic diet should ultimately be seen as a lifestyle change that will lead to long-term health and wellness. Set your goals and make a plan to be consistent but give yourself grace as you transition into a new way of using food for fuel. The tips from this guide can help you go from a beginner with keto to a successful keto lifestyle in less time and with less difficulty. You, too, can reap the benefits of ketosis and healthy weight management.


Myths and Facts About Sun Exposure

Myths and Facts About Sun Exposure

This entry was posted in Healthy Aging and tagged , on by .
It’s official: summer is here. And knowing Arizona weather, it’s only going to get warmer and sunnier for longer periods of time, so it’s important to protect yourself from the effects of sun exposure. It’s particularly important since we live in Arizona, where the sun is out for a greater percentage of the year, and since we receive much more sun here than in most other states. Summer is not the only time you need to protect yourself and your skin, but it’s still a good time of year to get updated information about skin protection, as ultraviolet radiation is stronger during this time of year. Knowing the myths and facts about sun exposure is necessary to stay safe each summer, and to stay updated on how best to protect yourself from the dangerous effects of sun damage to your skin.

Sun Exposure: More Dangerous Than It Seems

Sun exposure seems like a good idea, as we often think of the sun as the thing that gives us life, warmth, light, and happiness. After all, without the sun, this planet would never have become inhabitable for us. While all of this is true, the sun can still cause serious damage to your skin after even short amounts of exposure. To prevent damage, you need to be aware of the dangers related to sun exposure. Examine sun damaged skin Sun damage comes in the form of solar and ultraviolet radiation and its molecular damage to your skin, causing short-term issues like photosensitivity or sunburn that can irritate and injure your skin; or long-term issues like photoaging, where the damage affects your skin at a much deeper level, and could lead to skin cancer as well as other permanent skin deterioration and health effects. [1]Gonzaga, E.R. Role of UV Light in Photodamage, Skin Aging, and Skin Cancer. AM J Clin Dermatol 10, 19–24 (2009).

Myths Related to Sun Exposure

It’s important to know the commonly circulated myths related to sun exposure, so you know the risks for the summer and what you can do to stay safe

Myth: Sun Exposure Is Only a Problem in Summer, Not When It’s Cold or on Cloudy Days

It’s a common assumption: it’s colder in the winter, and you don’t feel the effects of the sun on your skin, so you won’t experience sun damage, right? While people don’t tend to get sunburned as much in the winter because of the angle of the sun, most equate fewer burns with the colder temperatures. As a result, many people think that cooler days in the summer also offer a respite from sun exposure. However, it isn’t true — the damage caused by the sun is a result of the ultraviolet rays, not the amount of heat in the air. While UV levels vary based on the time of year and the angle of the sun, colder temperatures do not affect the levels of UV.  [2]Farman, G. (n.d.). Ultraviolet (UV) / Ozone Frequently Asked Questions. Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved May 25, 2022, from Because of this, days in the summer where the weather is cloudy, windy, or a little colder than average will still cause skin damage unless you take steps to protect your skin

Myth: People With Dark Skin Don’t Need Sunscreen to Protect Their Skin From the Sun

UV radiation causes skin damage on all types of skin Many people with dark skin believe their skin has sufficient protection from sun exposure, or that they don’t suffer the same consequences of sun damage to their skin. However, UV radiation causes skin damage on all types of skin, regardless of color. [3]Taylor, S. C., & Alexis, A. F. (2022). Misconceptions of photoprotection in skin of color. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 86 (3) S9-17. Wearing proper protection against radiation exposure can make your skin healthier, and lessen the physical effects of skin damage like hyperpigmentation or dark spots. Applying sunscreen can go a long way for the beauty of your skin and, more importantly, its long-term health and protection against UV exposure effects.

Myth: Fake Tans Are Sufficient Protection From Sun Damage and Can Replace Sunscreen

While many people who use spray tans and tanning lotions believe that these products are a safer alternative to sunbathing, they in fact are more likely to receive sunburns than people who don’t use spray tans and tanning lotions. This is because the products provide a very small amount of UV protection that people believe to be enough, but they don’t provide enough protection for the skin. They must be used with high-SPF sunblock to prevent damage from sun exposure. [4]Brooks, K., & Brooks, D. (2006). Use of artificial tanning products among young adults. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 54 (6), 1060-1066. It’s much safer for your skin and long-term health to use sunscreen in addition to tanning lotions, reapplying the sunscreen every two hours to best protect your skin from harmful rays.

Myth: The More Exposure to Sunlight, the Less Vitamin D Deficiency You Suffer

While Vitamin D is important for the health of your body and mind, that doesn’t mean you or your family needs long stretches in the sun unprotected. In fact, you should never spend time in the sun unprotected. Many people are confused about how much protection from the sun they should employ when there are health benefits to sun exposure. [5]Littlewood, Z., Greenfield, S. (2018). Parents’ knowledge, attitudes and beliefs regarding sun protection in children: a qualitative study. BMC public health, 18 (1), … Continue reading So, is sun exposure healthy? The truth is that you will still boost your levels of Vitamin D with minimal exposure while using sun protection. The higher amounts of UV in the middle of the day mean you don’t need as much sun exposure to get your healthy dose of Vitamin D, so moderation is important—limit your exposure as much as possible, and always use sunblock. [6]Tsiaras, W. G., & Weinstock, M. A. (2011). Factors influencing vitamin D status. Acta dermato-venereologica, 91 (2), 115–124. There are also other, safer ways to get your Vitamin D without exposure to UV and solar rays that harm your skin’s health.

Myth: Glass Provides Protection From the Sun

Glass that can completely block all UV radiation Glass seems like a barrier against the effects of sun exposure, but this is almost never the case. While some types of glass can limit the amount of UV radiation, there are still types of UV rays that can enter. Glass that can completely block all UV radiation is not commonly installed in most cars or buildings. [7]Almutawa, F., Vandal, R., Wang, S. Q. Lim, H. W. (2013). Current status of photoprotection by window glass, automobile glass, window films, and sunglasses. Photodermatology, photoimmunology … Continue reading Because of this, your skin can still be harmed with long periods of sun exposure ,even behind glass. In fact, the left side of the face and left arm are more affected by sun damage as a result of the driver’s side window exposure. Even if you’re behind glass, be sure to adequately cover your skin with clothing or sunscreen to keep it protected.

Protect Your Skin

The more informed you are about these myths, the more you understand about what amount of sun exposure is good for you and what’s dangerous to your health. Even more importantly, you’ll need to learn how to stay safe from UV and solar radiation. While there are health benefits to a small amount of sun exposure, it’s all about moderation. You need to keep your skin safe from any sun radiation exposure lasting longer than a few minutes. Keep your skin covered to protect it from UV rays during both summer and winter months.  Apply sunscreen and sunblock regularly There are many things you can do to protect yourself from the effects of sun damage.
  • Wear protective clothing—protective clothing and coverings like long-sleeved shirts, pants, and hats will completely block UV rays from reaching your skin.
  • Avoid the points of the day that have the strongest UV radiation, which is often the six hours surrounding the highest point of the sun, or noonday.
  • Applying sunscreen and sunblock regularly to exposed skin is imperative, but applying it once a day is not enough; finding the adequate sunscreen for your skin, applying it thoroughly and evenly to yourself, and reapplying every two hours is the best way to protect your skin from sun exposure damage.
  • Pay attention to your skin—if it’s irritated or sunburned, you need to be using more protection from solar radiation.

Rid Yourself of Myths Related to Sun Exposure

Stay safe and protected this summer when you’re out in the sun, and spread the word about the facts of sun exposure. The more people who expose the myths surrounding sun exposure, the safer everyone will be from the negative effects of solar and UV radiation, and then everyone can enjoy the summer sun properly, while keeping their future health and the health of others safe. Protecting your skin, along with visiting an experienced gynecologist, should be a part of every woman’s routine.


1 Gonzaga, E.R. Role of UV Light in Photodamage, Skin Aging, and Skin Cancer. AM J Clin Dermatol 10, 19–24 (2009).
2 Farman, G. (n.d.). Ultraviolet (UV) / Ozone Frequently Asked Questions. Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved May 25, 2022, from
3 Taylor, S. C., & Alexis, A. F. (2022). Misconceptions of photoprotection in skin of color. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 86 (3) S9-17.
4 Brooks, K., & Brooks, D. (2006). Use of artificial tanning products among young adults. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 54 (6), 1060-1066.
5 Littlewood, Z., Greenfield, S. (2018). Parents’ knowledge, attitudes and beliefs regarding sun protection in children: a qualitative study. BMC public health, 18 (1), 207.
6 Tsiaras, W. G., & Weinstock, M. A. (2011). Factors influencing vitamin D status. Acta dermato-venereologica, 91 (2), 115–124.
7 Almutawa, F., Vandal, R., Wang, S. Q. Lim, H. W. (2013). Current status of photoprotection by window glass, automobile glass, window films, and sunglasses. Photodermatology, photoimmunology photomedicine, 29 (2), 65–72.