Posts Tagged ‘graph of menstrual cycle’

Smoking affects the menstrual cyclic profile as captured by the Ovulona™, monitoring might help with smoking-cessation

February 21, 2012

80 percent of the 201,773 women who die prematurely from tobacco-related illnesses each year began smoking while they were adolescents. Evidence shows that those young people, who begin to use tobacco, do not understand the nature of the addiction. They believe they will be able to avoid the harmful consequences of tobacco use. They don’t know that “some researchers feel nicotine is as addictive as heroin. In fact, nicotine has actions similar to heroin and cocaine, and the chemical affects the same area of the brain.”

As someone has written, when most girls begin smoking, they are usually caught up in the immediate experience of what appears to be a “cool”, “adult”, or even “glamorous” behavior. They are naive about the powerful addictive nature of nicotine, which, for some adolescents, takes hold after only a few cigarettes.  Among those who had tried to quit smoking, 82 percent were unable to do so.

The tobacco industry spends vast sums of money on persuading people to take up or continue smoking. In its own words, the industry is “a monster which has to be fed”. The industry sees women as a territory to be conquered, and a large portion of the total marketing expenditure is aimed in their direction.

Women appear to be more susceptible to the addictive properties of nicotine and have a slower metabolic clearance of nicotine from their bodies than do men. Women also appear to be more susceptible to the effects of tobacco carcinogens than men, including higher rates of lung cancer.

Girls and women are significantly more likely than boys and men to feel dependent on cigarettes, and more likely to report being unable to cut down on smoking. While various smoking-cessation treatments and strategies appear to work similarly for both sexes, women may face different stressors and barriers to quitting smoking, such as greater likelihood of depression, weight control concerns, and child-care and family issues.

It is estimated that about 30% of deaths from cervical cancer are caused by smoking. Smoking and taking the Pill in combination can increase the risk of heart disease by up to ten times.

Jiří Anderle, Láska za lásku / Love for Love

Jiří Anderle, Láska za lásku / Love for Love lept, pastel / etching, pastel, 1996, opus 535, 13 x 17 cm 7.400,- Kč / CZK

Smoking is damaging to women’s reproductive health. It is associated with infertility, complications during pregnancy, and an earlier onset of menopause.

The estimated 20 percent of pregnant women who smoke during their pregnancies subject themselves and their fetuses and newborns to significant health risks, including miscarriage, stillbirth, pre-term delivery, low birth weight infants, and higher rates of infant mortality.

Smoking while pregnant has serious effects on the health of the baby. Untold adverse consequences affect the lives of those children and the people around them. A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that smoking during pregnancy also increases the risk by 50 percent of having a child with mental retardation; this increased risk rises up to 85 percent among those who smoke a pack or more of cigarettes each day. The risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) increases among infants who are exposed to intra-uterine smoke and to second-hand smoke after pregnancy.

The younger an adolescent is when she begins to smoke, the more severe her nicotine addiction is likely to be. Additional health effects of smoking are: respiratory problems (and decreased physical fitness), dental problems (including periodontal degeneration), coronary artery disease, mental health effects (including nervousness, depression, more high-risk behavior, etc.), health-damaging behaviors, and other negative effects on quality of life (bad breath, wrinkled skin, stained teeth, and other negative effects that influence how she looks and feels).

We have preliminary evidence on how the smoker’s lifestyle affects the FIV™ menstrual cyclic profile captured by the Ovulona™.

Non-baseline profiles flanking baseline subject's AM&PM profile

Baseline cyclic profile of a healthy 30-years old non-smoker woman (who, as a baseline subject, is not taking any medication or contraception) shown here between two cyclic profiles of a smoking mother. The baseline profile was taken twice a day, morning and evening, and the AM and PM records show not only the reproducibility but also how the post-ovulation follicular waves develop between the morning and evening hours. The smoker’s consecutive profiles are similar to the baseline but exhibit significant differences. Cycle 4 record captured a delayed ovulation and short luteal phase. Cycle 5 shows also a short luteal phase, an abnormality (the luteal phase should be about 14 days long, give or take a day or two).

Image file URL: https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/smoking-affects-the-menstrual-cyclic-profile-as-captured-by-the-ovulona-which-might-help-with-smoking-cessation/non-baseline-profiles-flanking-baseline-subjects-ampm-profile-t/

We can imagine that a young woman trying to quit smoking may be helped in her effort by the Ovulona device. The Ovulona could be prospectively proffered for that purpose as a kind of biofeedback tool.

It is envisaged that tobacco interference with the fertility cycle will be recognized and accepted as a powerful motivator in the hard battle with the extremely strong addiction. “Is appearing ‘cool’ worth the resulting difficulty in getting pregnant, having a healthy baby?”

With public health education, the healthcare providers will be able to use the FIV cyclic profiles of the addicted patients to point out the affected features, and to monitor effects of treatment. “We really want to see this part of your cyclic profile to look more like this…”

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Stress and fertility

December 22, 2007
Please click through to the 2019 revision of this post at
https://biozhena.wordpress.com/stress-and-fertility-fertile-window-ovulation/

How stress affects the inherently narrow fertile window

Stress can do unwanted things to a woman and her menstrual cycle. In a nutshell, stress can make a woman completely infertile in this menstrual cycle (e.g., LPD, see below), or it can change the timing of her fertile window (the time of ovulation included) within the menstrual cycle. Any of this can cause problems and lead to more stress…

The medical term is stress response, and it refers to the overall reaction of the organism to any adverse stimulus, whether it be of physical, mental or emotional kind, internal or external. The purpose is to adapt to challenge, and this goes on all the time. (C’est la vie! Real life is a never-ending series of stress responses.) Should the compensating reaction of the organism be inadequate or inappropriate, a pathological disorder may result.

The HPA axis, the immune system and the sympathetic nervous system are involved in the stress response. Don’t get stressed by some undecipherable abbreviations or unknown words — look up The Alphabet of bioZhena, you may find it or them in there!

Just remember, this is no Alphabet of Ben Sira!

( /2007/11/28/the-alphabet-of-biozhena/)

021r from The Book of Urizen

Stress and the menstrual cycle

“It is a matter of conventional wisdom that perturbations in the external or internal environments – that is stress – can interfere with the normal course of the menstrual cycle.” To further quote the expert, “disturbances in the menstrual cycle occur in response to exercise and physical demands, stress and emotional demands, and diet and nutritional demands” [citation below, ref. 17].

As Michel J. Ferin writes, with reference to the brain component of the female reproductive control system, “with minimal reduction in (GnRH) pulse frequency, small undetected defects in the follicular maturation process may occur, whereas with a higher degree of pulse inhibition the follicular phase may be prolonged, and luteal phase deficiency, anovulation, and amenorrhea may develop.”

A micro-glossary: The follicular maturation process is also called folliculogenesis. GnRH is a brain-produced hormone involved in folliculogenesis. A maturing follicle is a small, protective sac, gland, or cluster of cells in the ovary, in which an egg (ovum) develops towards ovulation, in order to have a chance to be fertilized.

 

What is folliculogenesis - like EKG

 

And here is for you a baseline picture of how our folliculogenesis-in-vivo technique captures the course of folliculogenesis in baseline subjects (healthy and chemically clean i.e. no medication, less than 35 years old). Take your time to study the wealth of information particularly in the right-hand part of the image (use the linked slide):

 

 

For better legibility, click on the image. For more detail (presented in a PDF of 3 slides better viewed – incl. presenter notes – in Firefox, not in Chrome), go to:  https://biozhena.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/wealth-of-info-elucidation-silent-3-slides-animated-ed.pdf .  For the animation and narration of the first two slides, go to: https://biozhena.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/wealth-of-info-elucidation-3-animated-slides-2-narrated.pps (again, Firefox works while Chrome does not, at least here for me).

As for the scientific background of our work:  https://biozhena.files.wordpress.com/2007/12/what-is-stress.pdf is an ad hoc selection of a few abstracts from my files in (or before) 2007 on papers addressing ovulation, reproduction, folliculogenesis and stress. I referred to said area of biomedical science as psychoneuroimmunoendocrinology. Your perusal of the material with my markings (highlights) will help you understand the significance of the bioZhena technology for women’s healthcare and self-care. (The footer in the document shows obsolete email and physical addresses.)

Stress and the OvulonaTM

As introduced above, our electrochemical sensor of the ectocervix, the OvulonaTM, is a smart tissue biosensor for women’s reproductive self-help. It records menstrual cycle vital sign  signature data for OBGYN, PRIMARY CARE, RE and other healthcare providers’ use when needed.

Results obtained with our Ovulona prototypes lead to the conclusion that the technique appears to detect such phenomena as referred to by Dr. Ferin.

This is not merely the detected different rates of follicular maturation in different menstrual cycles, but even more significantly the delayed ovulations in those cycles where it takes longer than 1 day to reach the ovulation marker trough (minimum), as observed in some non-baseline subjects’ cyclic profiles. And the unprecedented  detection of the absence of dominant follicle maturation, which makes the woman infertile in the present menstrual cycle. Click on the composite image below for a better resolution of the contents.

Short luteal phase and LPD examples of the Ovulona(TM)'s diagnostic power

Here (in the upper image) is the detection of Ferin’s “minimal reduction in (GnRH) pulse frequency, small undetected defects in the follicular maturation process may occur”.

Whereas (lower image), “with a higher degree of pulse inhibition the follicular phase may be prolonged, and luteal phase deficiency [LPD], anovulation, and amenorrhea may develop” – and, indeed, we have seen the LPD, the extended follicular phase and short luteal phase, and other aberrations in the cyclic profiles of different women over the years.

bioZhena’s technique is basically detecting non-pathological stress responses in menstrual cycles through monitoring cervical end-organ effects. Pathological stress responses are captured as well.

Abnormal cyclic patterns of the end-organ effects may serve as an early warning of pathological disorders. This remains to be systematically investigated. Anecdotal evidence in non-baseline cyclic profiles is compelling.

For a hint of how this came about, including samples of data from two pilot studies by independent investigators testing our prototypes, refer to these five  slides (they take a few moments to open; some browsers such as Firefox seem better for it): Five slides selected for bioZhena weblog

The five slides are as old as the text of the original blog post, so perhaps a recent more detailed explanatory illustration (clickable for better legibility) might be in order:

 

Ovulona detects delayed ovulation

 

For better legibility of the contents and for links to the references, see the PDF of the slide shown in the image: https://biozhena.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/single-slide-ovulona-detects-delayed-ovulation-w.-links.pdf  (You can enlarge the contents using the browser zoom, or use the PPS slide show version of the slide (it takes a few moments to open): https://biozhena.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/single-slide-ovulona-detects-delayed-ovulation-w.-links.pps)

In general, the non-baseline cyclic profiles present certain quantitative deviations from baseline: e.g., their post-ovulation (luteal) phase can be not of the normal length of about 14 days (12 to 16) as in one of the illustrated cycles above. In such abnormal cycles with short luteal phases (<11 days, observed more often in older women), there is a lack of synchrony due to a mismatch between the ovarian steroids and the pituitary peptides [S.K. Smith et al., J. Reprod. Fert. 75:363, 1985].

Here is an example of a non-baseline cyclic profile of a woman with a short luteal phase (8 days); for comparison, the woman’s BBT profile in the same cycle is also shown:

Short luteal phase cyclic profile

A woman’s history of amenorrhea and/or of ovarian cysts is pertinent to the case of abnormally short luteal phase, but so is stress and its effect on the GnRH hormone generator in the hypothalamus of the brain, which affects the output of the pituitary peptides.

For example, it is known in a general way that norepinephrine and possibly epinephrine in the hypothalamus increase the GnRH pulse frequency. Conversely, the endogeneous opioid peptides, the enkephalins and beta-endorphin, reduce the frequency of the GnRH pulses. These interactions are particularly important at the time of the “mid-cycle” LH surge, affecting its timing and intensity [W.F. Ganong, Review of Medical Physiology, 17th edition, Appleton & Lange, 1995, Chapter 23].

The slow rate of descent of the Ovulona signal – seen in slides 1 and 2 of the 5 slides  above – descent from the short-term predictive peak to the ovulation marker trough (minimum) is a useful diagnostic feature that is indicative of an extended period of time required for the two “clocks” (the circhoral and the circamensual) to become synchronized as a precondition of ovulation.

Activation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA)-axis by physical, chemical, and psychological perturbations is known to result in elevated levels of serum corticosteroid hormones. Corticosteroids are the principal effectors in the stress response and are thought to be responsible for both adaptational and maladaptational response to perturbing situations. They have profound effects on mood and behavior, and affect neurochemical transmission and neuroendocrine control.

Stress double whammy

Cortisol, the predominant corticosteroid in primates, is often regarded as the “stress hormone” and consequently serves as a marker of stress. Cortisol can be measured in blood, urine, and saliva. For information about the adrenal gland and stress, go to http://arbl.cvmbs.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/endocrine/adrenal/index.html .

We logically mentioned stress in the post on Sub-fertility (or Reduced Fertility), in the following reminder. The endocrinologist professor Brown may be quoted:

“Failing to conceive when wanted is stressful and therefore favours infertility. It should be remembered that, apart from a few conditions such as blocked fallopian tubes, absent sperm and continued anovulation, most couples will conceive eventually without help. However, the modern expectation is one of immediate results, and the main function of assisted reproduction techniques is therefore to shorten the waiting time for conception.”

To which we would add that bioZhena aims to offer a more affordable and safer alternative to the A.R.T. approach. Besides offering to women’s healthcare providers the diagnostic technique with the capabilities outlined in the foregoing.

References as excerpted from our White Paper:

[17] Michel J. Ferin, “The menstrual cycle: An integrative view”, Chapter 6 in [2], pages 103 – 121.

[2] Eli Y. Adashi, John A. Rock, and Zev Rosenwaks, editors, “Reproductive Endocrinology, Surgery, and Technology”, Lippincott – Raven, 1996.

Terminology reminder:

Luteal phase is the phase after ovulation. Follicular phase is the phase before ovulation. Referencing the phases of the menstrual cycle. Amenorrhea = abnormal absence of menstrual bleeding. GnRH = gonadotropin releasing hormone. See The Alphabet of bioZhena at /2007/11/28/the-alphabet-of-biozhena/


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