By Dr. Kavita Kongara

Q: How does our digestive health impact our mental health?

A: The strong relationship between the mind and digestive system is both a physical and a chemical one that involves two-way communication.

Screen Shot 2019-03-25 at 12.34.31 PMOur digestive system contains millions of neurons in its lining giving it the nickname “second brain.” Like the brain in our heads, it sends and receives impulses, records experiences, and responds to emotions. At the same time, it is managing the elaborate process of moving food through our system and nourishing our bodies.

As many have experienced, stress or neurological disorders can interrupt the natural rhythm of digestion causing symptoms of nausea, constipation, diarrhea, or bloating. In turn, irritations originating in the digestive tract may trigger mood changes.

New research is finding a growing percentage of people who are diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and functional bowel problems also may develop anxiety or depression over time or there might be an overlap between these conditions.

In addition, there has been a lot of attention on how the health of our “gut microbiome” – or the bacteria and other microbes that live in our digestive tract – impacts our mental health. According to the American Psychological Association, the bacteria in our gut produce neurochemicals that our brains use for functions like learning, memory, and overall mood regulation.

Finding and treating the root cause of any digestive symptom – whether physical, chemical, or nutritional – can positively impact our overall health.

Dr. Kongara is a board-certified gastroenterologist with Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates who specializes in motility and functional GI disorders.

1.866.GO.TO.AGA [468.6242], AtlantaGastro.com

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As the occasional warm and sunny day comingles with those late winter weeks, the anticipation of spring draws us to the outdoors. Although the new year is well underway, spring marks the renewal of our favorite lifestyle activities. But have our good habits hibernated for the winter?

Senior man cutting veggies.Clearing the clutter in our health routines should be at the top of the spring cleaning list. Here are a few suggestions to start you on your way:

  • Set up your annual wellness exam if you have not yet done so. Remember, it can often take a month or two to set up this lengthy appointment.
  • Schedule a dentist appointment. Poor dental hygiene is associated with cardiovascular disease. Your mouth harbors bacteria that— when the gums are not healthy—can travel through your bloodstream and damage the vessel walls.
  • Don’t forget about your yearly eye exam, even if you see fine. Your eye doctor can detect early signs of eye diseases before they become noticeable. This exam not only includes a vision test, but also measurement of eye pressure and examination of the retina (back wall of the eye). An eye doctor can also detect early signs of other diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
  • Take inventory of your mental health boosters. Streamline your daily routines, especially at the beginning and end of each day. Also, set aside some time to foster the relationships you have with friends and family.
  • Make a good night’s sleep a priority. Spring is also a good time to rotate and clean your mattress per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Check your medicine cabinet for expired medications.
  • Stock up on sunscreen. Even when the sun is not glaring, we need to protect our skin.
  • Buy a pair of new shoes. You don’t realize that your athletic shoes have exceeded their lifespan until you buy your next pair. A new pair will also motivate you to exercise a little extra.

Screen Shot 2019-03-25 at 11.01.29 AMSpending more time outside will hopefully increase your activity level. Now would be a good time to revamp your exercise routine to include a balance of strength, aerobic, and flexibility training. Check all of these boxes and you’ll be sure to have a spring in your step.

Look for my article on “Men’s Health Recipe: The Secret Ingredient” in the next issue.

Scott D. Miller, MD, is the Medical Director of Robotic Surgery at WellStar North Fulton Hospital. He is a urologist with WellStar Urology in Roswell and has practiced in Atlanta for over 20 years. WellStar North Fulton Hospital offers the Know Your Heart Screening that can determine your risk of heart disease, stroke, and other serious conditions. Call 770-956-STAR (7827) to learn more or schedule an appointment.

Scott D. Miller, MD WellStar North Fulton Hospital • (470) 956-4230 • ScottDMillerMD.com

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By Sheldon Lincenberg, MD

One of Dr. Lincenberg's Mommy Makeover patients who got her pre-pregnancy figure back.

One of Dr. Lincenberg’s Mommy Makeover patients who got her pre-pregnancy figure back.

The physical effects of childbirth take a toll on a woman’s body. While many mothers work-out to lose pregnancy weight and hope to tighten up the stretched skin, there’s often only so much that weight loss and exercise can do. Many women are having Mommy Makeovers today and they are doing so at an earlier age – in their 30s and early 40s – because they want their body to look like it did before their first pregnancy.

What procedures are involved in a Mommy Makeover?
The Mommy Makeover consists of breast augmentation and abdominal shaping and tightening. The actual abdominal procedures would be either a full tummy tuck or mini tummy tuck of the abdomen or liposuction of the abdomen or other areas of the torso. Restoring youthfulness to your breasts may involve breast lift, breast enlargement, a combination of both, or even breast reduction.

Mommy Makeovers are very customized procedures based on your body’s needs. Be sure to be specific about your post-baby body goals during your consult so I can recommend the most appropriate procedures to meet those goals.

How do I know if the Mommy Makeover is for me?
Women coming for Mommy Makeovers cite a stretched-out tummy, a “muffin top,” sagging breasts and other body issues. These issues need help beyond what a healthy diet and exercise have been able to do.

When is the right time to have a Mommy Makeover?
You should wait at least six months after having your last child. If you plan to have more children, wait. Vertical muscles in the abdomen which are tightened during a tummy tuck can re-separate. Also, to optimize the final outcome, if you are trying to lose weight, do so before your Mommy Makeover.

Who’s a candidate for a Mommy Makeover?
The perfect candidate for a Mommy Makeover is someone who has finished having children and is currently pursuing her physical goals through diet and exercise. Sometimes diet and exercise aren’t enough to transform the body into the shape it was in before the pregnancy. I’ve given hundreds of mothers the bodies they imagine, helping them achieve their body image goals. The perfect candidate for a mommy makeover will use this procedure to help her reach her self-image goal, but continue to exercise and eat well to maintain her new body.

Sheldon Lincenberg, MD, is a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon who trained at the prestigious Mayo Clinic. He has 27 years of experience helping patients achieve their facial and body plastic surgery goals using techniques that are proven to give the safest and longest-lasting results attainable. 

Details: Sheldon Lincenberg, MD. One Glenlake Pkwy., Ste. 950., Sandy Springs; 770.730.8222. DrLincenberg.com

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What is the HydraFacial and why is it so incredibly popular?

DG HeadshotThe HydraFacial is a gentle, medical-grade treatment that removes dead skin cells and extracts impurities while bathing the skin with active ingredients that help hydrate, brighten, and protect. According to Dr. Leslie Gray of Dermatology Center of Atlanta, this hydradermabrasion treatment is gentler than traditional microdermabrasion and can be customized for all skin types. —Leslie C. Gray, MD

Details: Dermatology Center of Atlanta, 770-497-0699 9900, Medlock Bridge Road, Johns Creek, GA 30097

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Spring is the perfect time to reorganize your skin care wardrobe with a few simple tips from Tiffany Bioski, Esthetician at SkinReMEDI by Natural Body:

Tiffany performing a Hydrafacial1) Don’t forget to cleanse and protect the skin daily with a serum, eye cream and sunscreen with SPF 40 or higher!

2) To keep skin hydrated and glowing without a heavy barrier, look for lighter-weight products, like Cosmedix Mystic Spray, that can be used over or under makeup.

3) Get that spring ‘glow’ with a Reveal Hydrafacial, which combines liquid microdermabrasion and chemical peels into one treatment, leaving skin plump, hydrated and radiant!

Details: SkinReMEDI.com

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Learn the Power of Positive Thinking with Roswell-based program, "Imagine If..."

Learn the Power of Positive Thinking with Roswell-based program, “Imagine If…”

The Imagine If… Program, a Roswell-based social-emotional educational program, focuses on empowering youth by enhancing their emotional intelligence. Sponsored by the United Intentions Foundation, the course’s 20 units and lessons use discovery-based learning to tackle higher-level goal setting, bullying, character building, and enhancing everyday leadership skills. It is currently being offered at Cumberland Academy of Georgia, The Premo School, and Unity North Atlanta. Parents interested in having their children go through the program can sign up for June and July sessions now.

Details: 11205 Alpharetta Hwy., Ste. F5, Roswell;
ImagineIfProgram.org

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New Sports Motion Analysis technology at CHOA

New Sports Motion Analysis technology at CHOA

Get ahead of sports injuries with the help of the new Sports Motion Analysis technology offered at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta locations. Using video footage taken during in person visits or via cellphone, physical therapists can offer customized exercise plans for young athletes, which will help improve motion inefficiencies now in an effort to prevent injuries in the future.

Details: CHOA.org

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GirlStrong Nation Athletic Apparel features female empowerment messages to inspire women of all ages.

GirlStrong Nation Athletic Apparel

Girls, get dressed for a good cause! The local sustainable clothing and activewear company, GirlStrong Nation Athletic Apparel LLC, features female empowerment messages to inspire women of all ages. Created by fashionistas Lisa K. Crossley and Ayse Sukola, the line’s T-shirts, tanks, hoodies, hats, and leggings are branded with slogans such as, “You can change the world, girl” and “She is fierce.” Whether you purchase something for your daughter or your bestie, you can’t go wrong!
Details: GirlStrongNation.com

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Kim Bearden's new book, "Talk To Me".

Kim Bearden’s new book, “Talk To Me”.

Honest and open communication between parents and children is a crucial part of a healthy relationship, but finding the right words to develop rapport can be far from easy. National Teacher Hall of Fame member and 2011Over 40 & Fabulous! cover winner, Kim Bearden, has released an instructional book to help guardians do just that. In “Talk to Me: Find the Right Words to Inspire, Encourage, and Get Things Done,” the mother of four shares six key principles for effective communication to help adults gain respect, provide support, engage listeners, and more.
Details: KimBearden.com

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Photography by Studio B PhotographyDecluttering your home and office as part of spring cleaning? Why not clear out your makeup bag too? As part of the TrendBossTM pop-up class series, join celebrity makeup artist Scoobie West on March 7. The talented beauty pro will share tips on what to ditch and what to do to achieve a fresh look for the season.

Details: 1500 Southland Cir. NW., Atlanta; TrendBossAtl.com

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