E-cigarette usage may impair fertility and pregnancy outcomes

E-cigarette usage may impair fertility and pregnancy outcomes, according to a mouse study published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society.

Many young and pregnant women are using e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to smoking, but little is known about the effects on fertility and pregnancy outcomes. E-cigarettes are driving increases in tobacco product use among youth. According to the CDC, the number of middle and high school students using e-cigarettes rose from 2.1 million in 2017 to 3.6 million in 2018—a difference of about 1.5 million youth.

“We found that e-cigarette usage prior to conception significantly delayed implantation of a fertilized embryo to the uterus, thus delaying and reducing fertility (in mice),” said the study’s corresponding author, Kathleen Caron, Ph.D., of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, N.C. “We also discovered that e-cigarette usage throughout pregnancy changed the long-term health and metabolism of female offspring—imparting lifelong, second-generation effects on the growing fetus.”

In this study, researchers examined whether e-cigarette exposure impairs fertility and offspring health. After exposure to e-cigarette vapor, female mice showed decreased embryo implantation and a significant delay in the onset of pregnancy with the first litter. Female offspring exposed to e-cigarettes in utero also failed to gain as much weight as control mice by the 8.5 month mark.

“These findings are important because they change our views on the perceived safety of e-cigarettes as alternatives to traditional cigarettes before and during pregnancy,” Caron said.

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How to make infertility care affordable

According to RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, “In most cases (not all of course), it is not a fertility diagnosis that stands directly in the way of becoming a parent, it is the ability to afford the treatment and other family building options that becomes the biggest barrier. Sadly, this disease already is emotionally exhausting. Add in the heavy, financial burden that most people end up carrying alone and two-fold the impact of infertility can be crushing.”

However, there are many ways to help cover the cost of care. RESOLVE has complied some great tools and information on a few alternative options to help make infertility affordable. You can find them on their web site.

We also have a page on our site describing how we can help make treatments affordable. You can read about those here.

And of course, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call one of our offices for a free phone consultation.

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Scientists find new way to study endometrial diseases

Biomedical researchers have found a new way to study endometrial diseases such as endometriosis and cancer. They were able to grow three-dimensional cell structures from diseased tissue of patients. The biobank can be used to unravel the disorders and test drugs.

Diseases of the endometrium are an important cause of infertility. One example is endometriosis, which is characterized by growth of endometrial-like tissue outside the uterine cavity, resulting in chronic abdominal pain and painful sexual intercourse. Up to half of the patients are subfertile or infertile. Treatment usually requires surgery and permanent hormonal therapy, which is incompatible with pregnancy.

Another important disorder is endometrial cancer, the most common gynecological cancer, with tumors growing in and from the endometrium. We need a better understanding of, and more effective treatments for both diseases. But in order to make progress, researchers have to be able to grow and study the endometrium in the lab.

Researchers at KU Leuven, a research university in Belgium, developed “organoids” from a healthy endometrium. These three-dimensional cell structures are grown in a petri dish from tissue fragments and cells of clinical biopsies. The organoids accurately replicate the original endometrial tissue from a broad spectrum of endometrial diseases, including endometriosis and endometrial cancer.

“The organoids form ‘avatars’, as it were, of the diseased tissue and can also be used to test the effect of drugs and new drug candidates,” senior author Hugo Vankelecom explained. “Our study shows that endometrial cancer organoids of different patients are each in a specific way sensitive to chemotherapeutic drugs. Further research will show whether such tests can be of help in the clinical treatment of individual patients. This is an example of what we call personalized medicine. Our new research model offers the potential to better understand and eventually treat uterine diseases such as endometriosis.”

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Couple is ‘forever thankful’ for RSCNJ care

“My husband and I first came to Dr. Martinez’s office in 2017,” a patient of ours writes. “Over the next two years, we would get to know him and his office staff very well. Our appointments were always thorough, never rushed, and everyone at the office was gentle with us during our time there. The office was always attentive and supportive, and never let us lose hope. Dr. Martinez even called me from home on a Saturday afternoon when I got sick during IVF, and Krista at the front desk was always waiting for me with a smile and a hug. Kim, Marianela, and Domenica always made me feel so welcome and comfortable.

“After much consideration, Dr. Martinez finally convinced me to have fibroid surgery, and a few months later we were absolutely thrilled and shocked to find out that we were pregnant naturally. It is so important to find an office that is sensitive and compassionate during this time, and I could not imagine anywhere else meeting the standards of the RSC office. I would recommend them to anybody, and I can truly say that I miss the staff there and wish I could stay there for the rest of my pregnancy! We will forever be thankful for Dr. Martinez’s office and the staff will always be an important part of our family.”

We are also thankful for her kind words. You can find more reviews like this one on our web site.

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Know the symptoms of PCOS

This month, we are supporting PCOS Awareness Month. Held every September, this event is intended to increase awareness of and education about polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, among the general public, women, girls and healthcare professionals. That starts with knowing the symptoms of PCOS.

PCOS may begin shortly after puberty, but can also develop during the later teen years and early adulthood. Because symptoms may be attributed to other causes or go unnoticed, PCOS may go undiagnosed for some time.

People with PCOS typically have irregular or missed periods as a result of not ovulating. Although some people may develop cysts on their ovaries, many people do not.

Other symptoms include:

  • Weight gain. About half of people with PCOS will have weight gain and obesity that is difficult to manage.
  • Many people with PCOS report increased fatigue and low energy. Related issues such as poor sleep may contribute to the feeling of fatigue.
  • Unwanted hair growth (also known as hirsutism). Areas affected by excess hair growth may include the face, arms, back, chest, thumbs, toes, and abdomen. Hirsutism related to PCOS is due to hormonal changes in androgens.
  • Thinning hair on the head. Hair loss related to PCOS may increase in middle age.
  • PCOS is a leading cause of female infertility. However, not every woman with PCOS is the same. Although some people may need the assistance of fertility treatments, others are able to conceive naturally.
  • Hormonal changes related to androgens can lead to acne problems. Other skin changes such as the development of skin tags and darkened patches of skin are also related to PCOS.
  • Mood changes. Having PCOS can increase the likelihood of mood swings, depression, and anxiety.
  • Pelvic pain. Pelvic pain may occur with periods, along with heavy bleeding. It may also occur when a woman isn’t bleeding.
  • Hormonal changes prompt headaches.
  • Sleep problems. People with PCOS often report problems such as insomnia or poor sleep. There are many factors that can affect sleep, but PCOS has been linked to a sleep disorder called sleep apnea. With sleep apnea, a person will stop breathing for short periods of time during sleep.

To learn more about PCOS, got to our special PCOS web page.

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Compassionate care during fertility treatment

Here at the Reproductive Science Center of New Jersey, we seek to meet the special needs of each couple experiencing fertility problems. Our patients are made to feel like guests in our home, and the entire RSC staff takes part in the emotional journey. We will go to any extent to answer your questions, allay all fears, share with you the joys and disappointments of the infertility process and help identify the best treatment to help you get pregnant.

Our experienced staff fully understands the difficult emotional and medical challenges that confront infertility patients. They strive to make patients feel calm, comfortable, and confident throughout their course of treatment.

If you’re ready to start on the road to parenthood, we can help. Schedule an appointment today.

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September is PCOS awareness month

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a serious genetic, hormone, metabolic and reproductive disorder that affects women and girls. It is the leading cause of female infertility and a precursor for other serious conditions including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and endometrial cancer.

PCOS Awareness Month, held every September, is a federally designated event created to increase awareness of, and education about, PCOS among the general public, women, girls and healthcare professionals. The aim of PCOS Awareness Month is to help improve the lives of those affected by PCOS and to help them to overcome their symptoms as well as prevent and reduce their risks for life-threatening related diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and cancer.

The National Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Association is the sponsoring organization for PCOS Awareness Month and offers supporting resources, information and events. They encourage you to sign up as a PCOS Awareness Month partner to receive updates and access to its PCOS Awareness Month Toolkit including social media graphics, infographics and educational materials.

You can sign up here.

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Problems conceiving, part 3: Medical conditions

Getting pregnant may seem simple, but the act of conceiving a child can often be very difficult.

The primary causes of failure to achieve pregnancy fall into three categories. Last week, we talked about the first one, lifestyle factors. In this post, we will address medical conditions that cause problems conceiving.

Males and females have different medical issues and conditions, some present at birth, that can cause trouble getting pregnant. One medical condition may also lead to another illness or disorder that inhibits infertility. You can click on the highlighted conditions for more information on our web site.

Male medical issues include:

  • Sperm problems are the primary medical cause of male infertility
  • Infections, tumors, medications, surgeries
  • Hormonal problems
  • Erectile dysfunction and ejaculation issues
  • Structural problems, including undescended testicles and varicocele

Female medical issues include:

  • Ovulation disorders: these are the most common medical cause of infertility in women
  • Structural defects:

– Fallopian tube issues (hydrosalpinx)

Uterine fibroids

Ovarian cysts

– Anatomical uterine abnormalities

  • Diseases and conditions that can result in some of the causes above:

Endometriosis

Polycystic ovary syndrome

– Factors that make a woman prone to miscarriage

For more about the factors that interfere with conceiving, visit our web site.

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New podcast: Sexual dysfunction

We have a new podcast posted to the RSCNJ website.

The podcast was recorded by Dr. Alan Martinez, who discusses how sexual dysfunction affects men and women, and the types of treatment options available.

Listen to it here.

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RSCNJ staff are “angels on Earth”

This patient has some wonderful things to say about her treatment:

“The Reproductive Science Center of New Jersey took what was the most painful time in my life and brought me hope. Dr. Mensah was a complete joy, from the moment we first said hello until our bittersweet goodbye. Her optimism brought light in darkness and helped keep our spirits high, I wouldn’t change my experience with her for the world. Dr. Martinez made me confident when I questioned my ability to become pregnant and made me laugh through my entire seven-week scan. The entire staff were kind and warm, every single person I spoke with on the phone and had the honor to meet made me feel at home. Every single person working for this practice are truly angles on Earth. My husband and I are eternally grateful for our time at The Reproductive Science Center of New Jersey.”

We thank her for taking the time to share her feelings. You can read more reviews of our care and services on our web site.

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