By Desireé McCarthy-Keith, MD, MPG, FACOG

Before birth, a baby girl’s ovaries contain six to seven million developing eggs. By the time she enters the world, her egg count has dropped to around one million. From birth on, she will have a steady decline in her egg supply until menopause, at which point her egg supply is exhausted and her fertility ends. This is a natural process for all women. cute baby

At the same time that their egg counts are dropping, many women are choosing to put off having children in favor of education, career or personal goals.  For others, unfortunate circumstances like a sudden cancer diagnosis may force them to delay their plans for a family. And then there are women who are still waiting for Mr. Right or wish to maintain their child-free lifestyle a little longer. Women who find themselves in any of these life circumstances may consider freezing their eggs.

No medical therapy can halt natural ovarian aging, but thanks to advances in modern reproductive medicine, women can now freeze their eggs and “preserve” their fertility for later. Oocyte cryopreservation (“egg freezing”) is a medical procedure through which a woman’s eggs can be harvested, frozen, and at a later date, thawed, fertilized and transferred to the uterus as embryos. An egg freezing treatment cycle lasts approximately four to six weeks, and the technique is the same as for in-vitro fertilization. A woman self-administers hormone injections for about 10 to 12 days to stimulate egg growth. Once the eggs are developed, a needle is inserted into the ovary and the eggs are removed. Once eggs are frozen, they can be safely stored for years until the woman is ready for pregnancy.

Due to aging effects on egg number and egg quality, the best time for a woman to freeze her eggs is when she is in her mid-thirties or younger. Laboratory methods for egg freezing have improved considerably in the last 10 years, and pregnancy rates with frozen eggs may be comparable to those with fresh eggs.  Pregnancy rates are not affected by the woman’s age when she returns to use her frozen eggs.

Any woman considering egg freezing should consult with a fertility specialist without delay. A simple ultrasound and blood work can determine if her egg supply is normal and if she would be a good candidate for egg freezing.

 

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By Dalia Kinsey

the Farmhouse at Serenbe

Atlanta is an exceptional food city for a variety of reasons. A bustling international airport that channels fresh ingredients from all over the world into the city on a daily basis, ethnic diversity, along with an abundance of organic produce from gardens in and around the city are just a few of factors contributing to Atlanta’s epic food city status.

The National Restaurant Association consulted with over 1,000 professional chefs to predict the top restaurant trends of 2014. Here are the top five trends, along with Atlanta options for sampling them.

1. Locally sourced meats and seafood The meat they used at Farm Burger and Greenwood’s Restaurant come from local farms who raise grass-fed cows. www.farmburger.net, www.greenwoodsongreenstreet.com

2. Locally grown produce Connect with the farmer and the land at Miller Union, where their menu is based around the farmer’s weekly harvest. www.millerunion.com

3. Gluten-free and allergen sensitive cuisine As awareness about the gravity of food sensitivities spreads, restaurants like Gluten Free Cutie will as well. www.glutenfreecutie.com

4. Hyper-local sourcing (e.g. restaurant gardens) While several restaurants feature local ingredients, restaurants like The Farmhouse at Serenbe and Horseradish Grill takes the trend one step further by growing ingredients on site. www.serenbefarmhouse.com, www.horseradishgrill.com

5. Educational culinary experiences If you would like to experience some of Atlanta’s rich food culture, a plethora of culinary experts in Atlanta can help you do just that. Chinese Southern Belle (pictures above) is a perfect example of a business offering educational food experiences like food demos and local market tours.  www.chinesesouthernbelle.com

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Halo Salon‘s Liz Anthony is here to give you her best advice on how to get your hair ready for summer!

Liz Anthony

How can people maintain healthy hair in summer?

No matter what the season, healthy hair starts at the scalp. Do scalp treatments to help exfoliate, remove any build-up and restore moisture. Then, after swimming in the pool, use Phyto Plage shampoo to restore hair’s pH.

What should someone avoid overdoing?

The top of the list for overdone is the use of the flat iron. Most individuals have never been trained to use the flat iron properly. It is often abused and used daily without protective sprays.

If someone is looking to revamp her hair, where can she start?

Seek out a stylist that can pair your best features with the latest, trendiest colors and cuts. It’s a win-win.

What are the must-try summer hair trends?

The must-have accessory is lots of scarves. Scarves can be run through braids, wrapped through short, fun haircuts, and can transform the simplest ponytails.

What hair colors will be hot this summer?

Hot colors for the summer are tone-on-tone highlights with bits of corals, pinks and lavenders mixed in the highlights.

 

 

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Close your laptop. Turn off the TV. And now, perhaps the hardest of all, step away from your phone. In this day and age, many of us struggle to set boundaries with technology. The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project reveals that, as of 2012, “67 percent of cell owners find themselves checking their phone for messages, alerts, or calls even when they don’t notice their phone ringing or vibrating.” What’s more, “44 percent of cell owners have slept with their phone next to their bed because they wanted to make sure they didn’t miss any calls, text messages or other updates during the night.”

Suffice it to say that most of us could use a break from the screens. This summer, take advantage of the “Power Down” package at The Lodge and Spa at Callaway Gardens, just outside of Atlanta. This digital detox offers you the chance to stash your electronic devices and, instead, reconnect with nature through a wide variety of unplugged activities. Activity options include watching hundreds of butterflies flutter through the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center, perusing the vegetable gardens, or strolling through the art and colorful blooms in the Sibley Horticultural Center. Lodge at Callaway

The highlight of the package is an old-fashioned picnic for two including delicious fare like black-eyed pea hummus and sanwiches with sweet tea marinated chicken. The picnic is packed with a keepsake blanket, and you can enjoy your meal in the gardens. You’ll be surprised how much you enjoy connecting with your partner face-to-face rather than through Facebook. Perhaps when you return, you will notice more opportunities to ditch your devices and prioritize real-life fun. Package rates start at $199 per night and are available now through August.

Details: 5887 GA Highway 354, Pine Mountain, GA, (706) 489-3300, www.callawaylodgeandspa.com

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The holistic restaurant True Food Kitchen opens its first Atlanta location in Lenox Square Mall next month. True Food KitchenFollowing the principles of Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet, True Food Kitchen’s menu will feature organic produce, sustainably raised meats and ingredients like sea buckthorn, kale and quinoa that pack a healthy punch. The full bar will even offer juice blends like “kale-aid” that blends kale, apple, cucumber, celery, lemon and ginger juice. Eating meals with ingredients like these may help you overcome symptoms of inflammation like fatigue, headache and joint pain. It’s true!

Details: 3393 Peachtree Road N.E., Atlanta, GA, www.foxrc.com

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Dr. Marianna Kovitch from Atlanta Smiles and Wellness answers a reader’s question about how to get over your fear of going to the dentist.

Dr. Marianna Kovitch

Q: I have a terrible fear of going to the dentist, yet I know I need to. What should I do?

A: Dental phobia is common, but the good news is dentists now have better tools and techniques. Here are some tips to ease your anxiety: schedule a consultation with a dentist to make sure he or she understands your fears. At your appointment, ask for headphones to minimize the noises and a stress ball to help your hands relax. Ask for nitrous gas, which will also relax you, and to have numbing medicine placed prior to the anesthetic injection. Lastly, don’t do everything at once. Break your treatment down into several appointments to avoid long visits.

Do you have questions for our doctors? If so, please email them to editorial@bestselfatlanta.com.

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Dr. Ruth Celestin from Georgia Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, PC, answers a reader’s question about how to choose the implant size that best suits your body.

Dr Ruth Celestin

Q: What is the right implant size for me?

A: Many women considering breast augmentation say they desire a “full C” cup size. However, plastic surgeons don’t go by cup size when planning surgery. We measure implants in cubic centimeters of filler and take into consideration your body type, the appearance of your natural breasts and how you want to look. That is why you should consult with an experienced plastic surgeon to determine what breast implant size is right for you.

Do you have questions for our doctors? If so, please send them to editorial@bestselfatlanta.com.

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By David Martin, RN, CRNFA

If your grandmother or grandfather complained of aching legs and feet, wore heavy “support socks” or stockings, and had gnarled and distended veins, you may have a genetic predisposition toward venous insufficiency, or the failure of delicate valves in your legs. These valves are meant to keep blood from flowing backward as it is being pumped back up the legs to your heart and lungs. compression sleeve

This failure causes some blood to reflux, or flow backwards. Blood may pool, causing legs to feel heavy, tired and restless. The condition may also cause veins to collapse and become ropey and swollen. Treatments for venous insufficiency have changed dramatically in just the last dozen years. And when it comes to those therapeutic hose and socks your grandmother may have worn – let’s just say she might not even recognize today’s compression wear.

Old-fashioned compression stockings or socks, while effective in providing symptom relief, were not very attractive and were sometimes uncomfortable. Today, you can enjoy therapeutic levels of support in “intelligent sportswear” – garments that provide support as well the promise of increased performance to runners. Perhaps equally as important to fashion-conscious athletes: this compression sportswear looks great. So while you’re enjoying reduced times on your 5Ks and marathons, you’re also wearing a hot trend in athletic wear with the colorful compression “sleeves” for your calves or running tights on your entire lower body.

Likewise, today’s vein treatments have improved too. Old-fashioned treatments for varicose veins were horrific, involving surgery and several days in the hospital, but today’s treatments are office-based, requiring little or no downtime, with insurance covering most procedures.

With these easier, next-generation treatments for venous insufficiency, 50- and 60 year-olds won’t just “live with” leg pain, swelling, restlessness, or the varicose and spider veins that make them feel and look older. Instead, they will seek treatments that can make the next third of their lives healthier and happier. Bottom line? New products and procedures make leg health an easier way than ever to outrun aging.

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Condition Kettlebell Gym’s Delaine Ross is here to give you her best advice on how to get in shape for summer!

Delaine Ross

What aspects of fitness should people pay extra attention to for spring and summer?

People sometimes neglect just getting outside and playing, It’s important to get out, move and have fun.

If someone is looking to revamp her health, where can she start?

Although exercise is necessary for revamping your body, diet is a huge piece of the puzzle. Start by keeping a food journal so you are conscious of exactly what you put in your body.

What should someone avoid overdoing?

People should avoid overdoing cardio. Weight training is very important for calorie burning. People who spend all their time on an elliptical and never hit the weight room won’t reach their fitness goals!

What do you do to personally to get ready for summer?

I do kettlebell swings and get-ups to prepare for the summer months. Swings offer strength and cardio at the same time, and get-ups give strength and mobility.

What fitness trends will be hot this summer?

For recovery, Icebox Cryotherapy is where it’s at. You spend three minutes in a chamber to reduce inflammation and muscle soreness. Also, get out and walk or bike the BeltLine.

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By Cynthia S. Rudert, MD, FACP

 
Through closer attention to your medications and diet, you can enhance your digestion and avoid common digestive complaints.yogurt

The Good

Ninety percent of the cells responsible for our immune system are found in the digestive system. Our immune system is enhanced by the presence of good bacteria, which should number in the trillions. When we’re in balance, our bodies contain approximately 10 times more bacteria than our own body cells.

The Bad

When these organisms are not in balance (dysbiosis), this may result in a commonly missed condition called small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Bacterial overgrowth can result from antibiotic therapy and may also be found in people with lactose intolerance, celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency and decreased gastric acid production. Unfortunately, symptoms of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth such as gas, bloating and loose stools are easily confused with irritable bowel syndrome.

The Solution

Evaluate your medications. Many medications have gastrointestinal side effects like constipation to diarrhea or fecal incontinence, and virtually all antibiotics can negatively affect normal bacterial balance. In addition to taking stock of medicinal influences, people should examine their diets. Patients should avoid high fructose corn syrup, which can aggravate bacterial overgrowth. To restore that balance naturally, nothing beats yogurts and other fermented foods like sauerkraut and pickles, all of which contain a variety of good bacteria.

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