Month: June 2018

Facts about Functional Medicine

Friday, 01 Jun 2018

Have you heard about functional medicine? Julia Ward, MD, a primary care physician in Sugar Land, would like to introduce you to this holistic way of restoring health.

Functional medicine considers each individual as a whole — including nutritional habits, vitamin deficiencies, hormones, and sleep patterns — and searches for the underlying causes of illness. A doctor who practices functional medicine will uncover what may have caused the illness to begin with, and then determine how to best restore function and vitality.

For example, imagine you have a chronic condition like asthma. (The term “chronic” means that it’s persistent and long-lasting). In traditional medicine, you would see a doctor for an evaluation, diagnosis, and medication to control your asthma.

A functional medicine doctor looks deeper, beyond just the medication. The solution may also include supplements, bioidentical hormones, and nutritional therapy, as well.

With over 20 years of experience as a primary care physician, Dr. Ward practices functional medicine in Sugar Land, partnering with her patients for a more holistic approach to treating chronic illness. Having experienced functional medicine as a patient herself, Dr. Ward truly believes it is the most effective way to bring patients to better health and wellness.


All of our body’s systems are intricately connected, and what affects one system may cause illness in another. Here are a few examples:

  • Adrenal fatigue, caused when adrenal glands are overworked and depleted (most often due to chronic stress and poor diet), can lead to tiredness and decreased functioning.
  • Poor digestive health, brought on by unhealthy choices in food, bacteria, and antibiotics, often leads to “leaky gut” and an impaired immune system. Your body may not process hormones, vitamins and minerals properly, leading to a host of medical concerns.

With a careful assessment including medical history, examination and screenings, Dr. Ward can get at the root cause of your illness and help you overcome it.

Now back to our asthma example.

Chronic wheezing can be caused by a number of things, including allergens, pollutants, food additives, reflux, and stress. Dr. Ward may recommend lifestyle changes to help you overcome the chronic asthma for good, including supplements to boost your immune health and energy, an eating plan to help heal your digestive tract, and help for managing the stress in your life.

Functional medicine considers every aspect of your body’s care. Would you like to know more?

Schedule time to meet with Dr. Ward at her medical practice, Balanced Body Image, in Sugar Land, Texas. It’s her goal to help patients live fulfilled, productive, and healthy lives.

Contact Balanced Body Image at 281-710-3380 today.

Probiotics and Digestive Health

Friday, 01 Jun 2018

Many of us spend a good part of each day washing our hands to avoid potentially harmful germs, so the notion that we should be eating bacteria might be confusing. Yet, according to digestive health specialists, that’s precisely what we should do! “Good” bacteria helps to combat the “bad” bacteria found in the gut, which is often the source of digestive troubles and other health issues. By infusing your diet with the good bacteria found in probiotics, you can prevent, and even treat, some health conditions.

The Importance of Gut Health
Keeping the digestive tract healthy is a cornerstone of good health in general. The body’s immune system, for one, is linked to the digestive tract, and when gut health is suffering, there’s a strong likelihood the immune system is too.

Many digestive problems, like heartburn or diarrhea, also occur when there is an imbalance of bacteria. This is often the result of a poor diet that’s high in sugars, alcohol, and caffeine, which can cause bad bacteria to quickly multiply and cause digestive discomfort.

“Good” bacteria wages war on the bad, and when in good supply, can bring your body into a better, more healthful balance. Probiotics can help relieve all sorts of digestive troubles including heartburn, gas and diarrhea.

Good Gut Health and Beyond
Numerous medical studies have demonstrated that the benefits of probiotics extend beyond the gut.

First, probiotics support the immune system, which results in a more robust defense against infections. Some studies have also shown that probiotics may help prevent common ailments like yeast infections. Other benefits of a diet rich in probiotics may include better skin health and weight loss.

Holistic Treatments for Gut Health
At Balanced Body Image, a functional medicine practice in Sugar Land, Dr. Julia Ward employs holistic strategies to help patients achieve optimal gut health.

In many cases, Dr. Ward prescribes probiotics to help restore the balance of good and bad bacteria in the digestive tract. She may also suggest lifestyle changes and better choices in food and beverages to promote better health.

Are you experiencing chronic digestive issues? Consider a holistic approach to your health. Contact Balanced Body Image at 281.710.3380.

Is Your Metabolism Healthy?

Friday, 01 Jun 2018

“Metabolism” is a word we commonly use but may not quite understand. Scientifically speaking, metabolism involves chemical processes that enable our bodies to break down molecules and synthesize the essential compounds we need to thrive. In plain speaking, metabolism describes how our bodies break down the food we eat for the energy and fuel we need to function every day.

Whether due to age, illness, or other factors such as hormonal imbalance, your metabolism can slow down and cause numerous symptoms that are hard to ignore.

Common Signs of Metabolic Malfunction
In addition to constantly craving sweets, common symptoms of a metabolism in distress include inability to lose weight (despite your best efforts), constant hunger (even right after a meal), dry skin, and brittle fingernails.

You may also experience what is known as metabolic syndrome. Factors contributing to metabolic syndrome include high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and increased blood pressure. Any of these factors in and of themselves are serious, affecting health with conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

If you are experiencing any of these common signs of a faulty metabolism, it may be time to seek medical care.

Julia Ward, MD established her functional medicine practice in Sugar Land, Balanced Body Image, to offer patients a holistic, healthy way to address metabolic function and other illnesses and health concerns.

At Balanced Body Image, Dr. Ward offers a personalized approach to patient care that recognizes and treats the root causes of most illnesses such as hormonal imbalance, poor choices in diet and exercise, or significant stress. Dr. Ward’s holistic treatments begin with a thorough evaluation and diagnosis followed by a comprehensive plan of care.

Patients diagnosed with metabolic syndrome may be prescribed lifestyle changes such as clean eating, regular exercise, and supplements. With holistic services that consider the entire body and the way all systems work together, Dr. Ward strives to bring better health and vitality to every patient.

If you are concerned about your metabolic health, consider an appointment with Dr. Ward at Balanced Body Image. With careful assessment and holistic therapies, you can achieve better health at any age.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy May Impact Prostate Cancer

Friday, 01 Jun 2018

Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer and the third leading cause of cancer death for American men. It’s a very serious disease, but with early diagnosis and treatment, the outcome for many men is positive.

Knowing the symptoms of prostate cancer and getting regular screenings is crucial for detecting cancer in its earliest stages. First, though, a brief lesson about the prostate gland, how it works, and the role of the male hormone, testosterone.

The prostate is a complex and important gland in male anatomy. In addition to influencing male reproduction, the prostate gland affects urination and bladder control. An enzyme produced in the prostate also combines with testosterone to manufacture an even stronger hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is responsible for the onset of puberty and adult male characteristics such as body hair and a deepening voice.

The Importance of Testosterone
Testosterone is a chemical messenger that triggers many important bodily functions such as red cell production, bone density, muscle size and strength, and fertility. However, advancing age causes all types of changes, including shifts in body chemistry. Just as women experience menopause and decreasing levels of the female hormone estrogen, men may experience low energy, fatigue, difficulty focusing, and depression due to declining levels of testosterone.

Although men are often embarrassed to seek help and discuss such symptoms, a doctor can determine the cause and present possible treatment considerations. If low testosterone is the diagnosis, hormone replacement therapy is one option for restoring health and vitality. Hormone replacement therapy is not just for women experiencing menopause and the loss of estrogen; men with low testosterone can benefit as well!

Testosterone Replacement and Prostate Cancer
Another reason to consider hormone replacement therapy? Recent research reports that men with low levels who receive testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) have a lower incidence of prostate cancer. In prostate cancer cases diagnosed while receiving TRT, the cancer was often found to be less severe.

Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
Men, do you know the symptoms of prostate cancer? Women should recognize them, too, and remind the men in their lives to be vigilant. Because early stages of prostate cancer often do not produce symptoms, regular screenings, like the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test, are the first line of defense. It is only after prostate cancer has advanced that men may notice symptoms like difficulty urinating (such as slow or weak stream or the need to urinate frequently) or blood in the urine.

There are other illnesses that may cause urinary symptoms such as these, some of which are not as serious as cancer. However, never put off a visit to the doctor if you experience anything new or out of the ordinary. Even illnesses that are not cancer should be treated immediately for the best possible outcome.

Holistic Medicine in Sugar Land, Texas
Julia Ward, MD is medical director of Balanced Body Image, a medical spa in Sugar Land. Dr. Ward provides safe and effective bioidentical hormone replacement therapy for both men and women, and it’s her goal to improve health and prevent premature aging with natural and healthy alternatives, including bioidentical hormones.

Bioidentical hormones come from organic sources, such as plants, and are more readily recognized by your body as a helpful agent. Hormones that are synthetically produced in a lab are not a natural substitute for the chemicals your own body produces.

Find out more about men’s health issues, including low testosterone and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Call Balanced Body Image at 281.710.3380 and learn about healthy, productive aging.


Get Your ZZZZZ’s! The Benefits of Restful Sleep

Friday, 01 Jun 2018

Many people understand that sleep deprivation can leave them feeling cranky or even unable to function well at work or school, but missing out on quality sleep on a regular basis can definitely detract from one’s well-being. At Balanced Body Image, Julia Ward, MD counsels her patients on the importance of getting a good night’s sleep. By ensuring that you’re getting plenty of rest, you can actually safeguard your mental and physical health.

Reduce Inflammation
Medical research has demonstrated links between poor sleep and inflammation. Adults who get less than six hours of sleep tend to present with higher levels of inflammation-causing proteins. Inflammation is associated with conditions like arthritis, diabetes, and even heart disease. By getting plenty of sleep, you can reduce inflammation and, ideally, help keep these life-altering conditions at bay.


Improve Concentration
The key to improving cognitive function is getting plenty of rest. Studies have shown that an optimum amount of sleep leads to better memory retention as well as improved concentration. If you aren’t getting good rest, you may find that concentrating on tasks is more difficult. To ensure that you don’t make critical errors during your day, be sure to get eight hours of restful (and that means uninterrupted) sleep each night.

Sunny Mood
When you don’t get enough sleep, you may find it more difficult to regulate your mood and emotions. People who experience frequent bouts of insomnia may find that they’re on an emotional roller coaster with increased negative emotions like anger or anxiety. Those who feel pressured by stress find that sleep helps enhance coping skills.

Improved Weight Control
Did you know that getting adequate sleep could help you maintain a healthy weight? Studies have shown that a lack of sleep could wreak havoc with a particular hormone associated with feelings of fullness. People who don’t get enough sleep produce less of this hormone, so they may feel hungrier than when they are well rested.

Dr. Ward practices holistic medicine in Sugar Land, and it’s her mission to improve the lives of her patients through natural, healthy alternatives. If you’re having difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, Dr. Ward will get to the root cause of your troubles. Once any medical conditions have been ruled out as the origin of your insomnia, she’ll help you change your lifestyle to include better nutrition and improved good sleep habits.

Convincing yourself that good sleep is important to your body’s ability to restore and regenerate itself each day is key. Visit Dr. Ward at her Sugar Land medical spa and get ready for a good night’s sleep! Call us today for an appointment at 281.710.3380.

Balanced Hormones for Better Health

Friday, 01 Jun 2018

Many health issues can surface due to an imbalance of hormones, and this is especially true for women. Balanced Body Image, a medical spa in Sugar Land, offers medical services that address hormonal imbalance, including bioidentical hormone replacement and pellet therapy. When hormones are balanced, many health benefits can be enjoyed.

 How Do Hormones become Unbalanced?
Hormonal balance isn’t something most of us think about on a daily basis. However, as we go about our lives and run up against its inevitable stresses, we could be at risk for developing a hormonal imbalance. Our hormones are highly effective chemical messengers, but when we deal with chronic stress, we force them to work overtime, and sometimes they simply burn out. The result is that we might have difficulty relaxing, feel tired even after getting sleep, and suffer from wavering moods. And during certain stages of life, menopause, for example, we may be at an even greater risk.

 Some of the symptoms of hormonal imbalance include:

  • Low energy and constant fatigue
  • Inability to lose weight
  • Foggy thinking
  • Low sex drive
  • Decreased bone density and increased risk for osteoporosis
  • Weakened immune system

 Bioidentical Hormone Replacement
Bioidentical hormones are not synthetically produced; rather, they are the product of natural sources (such as plants). Because bioidentical hormones are more organic, they are more similar to the hormones generated by our own bodies. At Balanced Body Image, Dr. Julia Ward offers bioidentical replacement therapy to help her patients achieve improved quality of life.

 Pellet Therapy
Pellet therapy is one way to safely and effectively administer bioidentical hormones. Every three to six months, a pellet is inserted just under the skin where it releases small and consistent doses of a bioidentical hormone. This form of hormone replacement is highly effective in sustaining hormone levels and improving health.

Dr. Ward specializes in holistic and functional medicine for both men and women, meaning that she diagnoses – and treats – the underlying causes of symptoms. Her goal is to improve overall health with natural and healthy alternatives, including bioidentical hormones and nutritional therapy. By identifying the underlying triggers that cause illness and premature aging, Dr. Ward assists her patients in achieving better health and vitality.

Learn how you can feel better, function more optimally, and age with grace. Contact Balanced Body Image at 281.710.3380 today.