Archive for August, 2015

Fertility Testing 101: Part II

infertility testingAs discussed previously, there are many, many factors that can have effect on fertility. Tests and procedures are common to determine a cause or abnormality that may occur in the male or female. Blood tests are usually the first step accompanied by sperm analysis since these tests are the least invasive and least uncomfortable. However, other tests or procedures for infertility testing may also need to be completed. These could include:

  • Laparoscopy – This procedure requires general anesthesia and is much more invasive than other tests. A laparoscope is inserted into the abdomen and looks for endometriosis, scarring or other abnormality.
  • Endometrial Biopsy – A biopsy of the uterine lining is called an endometrial biopsy. This would be a normal procedure to determine if an embryo could be placed there. A sample of tissue is removed and examined. This procedure is definitely uncomfortable and requires painkillers.
  • Transvaginal Ultrasound Exam – This exam is an ultrasound that determines whether the follicles in the ovaries are working normally. The exam is performed 15 days before the expect menstrual period to provide accurate results.

Many of these tests can determine if a cause of infertility can be rectified or resolved or if other forms of conception may need to be considered. Some of infertility testing can be uncomfortable or even painful. These tests are determined by the physician and can accommodate to your needs.

Fertility Testing 101: Part I

fertility testingWhen discussing fertility options with your doctor many questions usually arise. The beginning is usually a physical exam, routine blood tests to measure female hormone levels, thyroid hormones, prolactin, male hormones, HIV and hepatitis. Further procedures are then usually considered. Here are a few tests and procedures that are customary in fertility testing.

  • Blood Screenings – In both men and women, Follicle-Stimulating Hormones (FSH) are measured. This controls the production of eggs in women, as well as the production of sperm in men. Both parties will have their FSH levels monitored through blood testing. Also, Luteinizing Hormone will also be measured through a blood test as this can also play into female menstrual cycle regulation, as well as male testosterone production.
  • BBT Charting – This would be basal body temperature charting. BBT including checking ovulation. It cannot always be accurate; however, it is a customary recommendation of a physician since it can be performed at home and causes no discomfort.
  • Hysterosalpinogram – A hysterosalpinogram is also known as a HSG. This procedure includes a series of x-rays taken of the fallopian tubes after a dye is injected. It can show blockages to the uterus, as well as defects.

All of these tests can help to determine fertility status. A physician will guide the patient to see which tests are necessary for each situation. Most testing can be 80% conclusive in deciding fertility of a couple.

Bone Scans: Bone Density Testing Part II

bone density testingAs mentioned previously, bone scans are performed to discover abnormal metabolic activity within the bones. This can be due to infection, cancer, etc. Consider a bone test to be the factor that establishes how the bones are behaving and how they heal. The second part of this article is dedicated to how the bone scan is actually performed. Here are the steps involved in bone metabolism tests:

  • Radioactive dye is injected into the arm. Then, within 2-4 hours, imaging may then begin. The dye is not harmful and can circulate freely throughout the body without worry of injury or side effects.
  • A technician then scans the bones. Damaged bone will show up on the scan due to the fact that the dye is attracted to it. They then appear as dark spots on the scanner.
  • These steps can then be repeated if the physician decides that the test was inconclusive or unclear.

If abnormalities are seen on the scan, it would then be customary to continue testing to what could be the root cause of the problem in the scan. The full procedure takes approximately an hour and can be slightly uncomfortable but not painful. The test can be helpful to determine issues with bone density and the measurement of bone metabolism.

Bone Scans: Bone Density Testing Part I

bone-density-testingBones are the structure and armor of the body. Our bones protect our organs and keep us without significant injury. However, bones do age and can break and/or become brittle. It is necessary to find out if the bones will heal properly and within what timeframe. Bone density testing is then used to determine and document the abnormal metabolic activity of the bone structure of your body. A physician would order a bone scan for many different reasons including:

  • Arthritis
  • Avascular necrosis (bone death from decreased blood supply to the bone)
  • Bone cancers
  • Cancer from other organs that has spread to the bones
  • Infection
  • Breaks/ fractures
  • Paget’s Disease (bone breakdown)

Bone pain is the main reason when considering a bone density test. This could be due to many factors and can be narrowed down by an examination. A bone density test shows issues with bone metabolism which can dictate how the bone breaks down, as well as how it heals itself. It can also show how the bone is reacting to infection, cancer, etc. Having a bone density test allows for so much information to be found about your bones that it is necessary when experiencing any form of bone pain.