Dr.Karol, MD

The doctor with alternative solutions

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Discussing Pregnancy Health

It goes without saying that when it comes to pregnancy, everyone hopes for a healthy baby and a healthy delivery. However, being aware of potential roadblocks is essential for everyone involved, especially the new baby. Of all common concerns, birth defects are  a complex concept. Neural tube defects are among the most common form of birth defects. Fortunately, in most cases they are completely preventable with adequate intake of jamieson folic acid. Essentially, these defects are due to the failure of proper fusion of the vertebral column around the spinal cord. The consequences vary from insignificant to severe, causing complete lack of the brain in the skull upon birth. The best preventative medicine is early pregnancy detection and appropriate supplementation.

pregnancy health


But there are many other developmental conditions that cause birth defects. Some are genetic such as Down Syndrome (trisomy 21), Patau syndrome (trisomy 13), Edwards syndrome (trisomy 18), Cri du chat syndrome (missing part of chromosome 5), Turner syndrome (missing the X chromosome in a female) and so on. The term “trisomy” refers to the presence of 3 chromosomes of the same type instead of 2. The symptoms of these conditions are inevitable since they are genetic, although the severity of symptoms varies among individuals.

Many factors, both controllable and uncontrollable, play a role in pregnancy health. One of the most commonly discussed health factors is in regards to the age of the mother.. The optimal age for child bearing is between the ages of 18 and 30. Women past the age of 30 have an increasingly higher chance of the fetus acquiring these mutations. That certainly doesn’t mean you can’t decide to start a family past the age of 30. However, paying attention to genetic testing becomes of higher importance. Testing can be conducted by chorionic villus sampling (taking a cell sample from the placenta) and then a little later on by amniocentesis (sampling the fluid that the baby swims in). Other important tests for these conditions are routine abdominal ultrasounds.

city baby


The third types of birth defects are caused from exposure to toxins during pregnancy. The most common are tobacco smoke (which leads to growth retardation), alcohol (which can lead to growth retardation and fetal alcohol syndrome), most prescription medications (this is complex and should be discussed prior to conceiving with ones doctor), cocaine and other stimulants such as crystal meth, heroin and other opioids, and environmental toxins and pollutants. The last category includes obvious toxic substances such as paints, varnishes, gas fumes, other chemical fumes, heavy metals and so on but it also includes less well thought of substances such as food preservatives, food pesticides and food herbicides. Even fluoride in tap water is toxic to the fetus.

So the take home message is this: Once pregnancy is detected, begin taking folic acid, and of course quit smoking, drinking alcohol, or engaging in illicit drugs. If you take prescription medications consult with your doctor. Request a referral to a gynecologist/obstetrician and schedule all appointments for the entire pregnancy. If your partner smokes, encourage him to quit or be sure he never smokes near you. Eat healthy: meaning lots of wild fish, Jamieson fish oils, fruits and vegetables. Try and cut out all processed foods or junk food. Try switching to an organic diet, if possible. Be sure to drink adequate fluids. The less stress throughout a pregnancy, the better, so maintaining a stable and calm environment is extremely important. And remember, if you’re over the age of 30 you are able to obtain genetic testing in addition to what is offered by our free (yet limited) health care system. Good luck on a healthy and happy pregnancy.

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Boosting your Libido Part 2: Natural Alternatives to Cialis and Viagra




Last week I discussed how drugs such as Cialis and Viagra are double-edged swords. On the one hand they effectively increase the blood flow to the penis, thus combating erectile dysfunction. However, they are linked to some potentially serious side effects, such as penis damage due to a prolonged erection, as well as dangerous drops in blood pressure. They also involve discussing intimate issues in order to procure a doctor’s prescription, which many men are reluctant to do.

Some dietary supplements, although not as potent as Cialis and Viagra, rarely present with uncomfortable side effects and may have health benefits in addition to their sexual enhancement effects. Continue reading


Options for upping your libido: Viagra and Cialis vs. natural alternatives




Many men suffer from erectile dysfunction, lack of libido, (i.e., sex drive), and premature ejaculation due to overexcitement or sexually related anxiety. In the absence of sexual partners, this may be seen as a blessing. But for those of you wanting frequent and satisfying intimate relations, it can be a serious burden. Many turn to prescription medication to help this condition. But there are natural alternatives too.

The sexually enhancing properties of certain plants have been backed by well-conducted human clinical trials. These plants go by the name of Eurycoma longifolia, Tribulus terrestris, Maca, and the plants of the ginseng family.

The prescription route

So why search for natural, plant-based remedies when we have such miraculous prescription medications such as Viagra and Cialis? Well, for one, these are prescription medications and they involve the hassle of going to a doctor and discussing intimate issues, which many men are reluctant to do. Some perceive these conditions as a threat to their manliness.

Those who opt for the more anonymous online route should know that ordering these medicines without a prescription poses serious health risks. Usually such medicines are shipped from Asia or India where there are no stringent regulatory standards in place to ensure that the drug produced is safe for human consumption and that it actually lives up to its claims. These medicines may be contaminated with harmful compounds or manufactured in a manner that produces a toxic byproduct. Continue reading

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Tips for Increased Fertility, Part 1




Today many couples have problems conceiving. If the problem is simply mechanical, there is the option of in vitro fertilization. This process entails extracting an egg from a woman’s ovary and sperm from a man. Then the sperm is then injected into the egg in a laboratory setting. This stimulates the fertilized egg to undergo cellular divisions and this is how life begins. When the egg becomes a ball of cells, it is injected into the uterus of the woman for it to undergo implantation into the uterine wall. Once implanted, it continues its development to become a fetus.

This all sounds great and in fact, it is. But it does not work when there is a problem with either the egg or the sperm. Such problems can be genetic or environmental. When genetic, there is really not much that can be done at the present with the state of our technology. The only options in such cases are to take a healthy sperm or egg from a donor or to adopt a child. If the problem is environmental, it can have many causes that can be eliminated for increased fertility.

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Vaginal Health




In June we have been focusing on Women’s Health, and today’s topic is vaginal health. It is a topic not commonly discussed due to the sensitivity of the subject, but it is very important to know and to openly discuss in a professional manner.

The five major areas of possible concern are yeast infections (medically termed vaginal candidiasis from the name of the yeast that causes it), cervical pre-cancerous and cancerous changes, urinary tract infections, dryness of the vagina during and post menopause, and (usually later in life) possible cancerous changes of the outer vagina.


Let’s start with the yeast infection. It is caused by yeast called Candida albicans. It’s a normal inhabitant of the vagina in most women but normally it is kept in check by the invisible good bacterial flora such as thelactobacilli. When this healthy flora is hindered, the Candida has “room” to multiply and flourish. Continue reading

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Radical Remedies: Healthy Fertility




Fertility is a big issue in our society. With more and more processed foods and artificial preservatives in our diet, the lack of nutrient-based foods, and progressively older age of women and men becoming parents for the first time, it is little wonder that this is a growing concern.

Fortunately in the vast majority of cases, simple changes in diet, exercise and lifestyle can increase fertility to the point of conceiving without resorting to expensive techniques such as in vitro fertilization.

The following supplements have been shown to enhance fertility:

Red Raspberry Leaf in capsule form or as a tea

Red Clover

Nettle Leaf

Maca which also increases libido (should not be used during pregnancy)

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Radical Remedies: Natural Testosterone Boosters





There is renewed hype about testosterone replacement therapy. At first, a lot of middle-aged men jumped on the bandwagon because testosterone replacement offered a quick fix to improve vitality, energy, stamina, strength and sexual performance.

Now, lawyers and critics are not far behind as more and more TV ads about testosterone replacement causing increased risk of strokes and heart attacks appear. Other potential side effects are increased risk or exacerbation of prostate cancer, decreased sperm count, acne and hair loss.

The story of testosterone replacement is probably just too good to be true.

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