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How Does a Hysterectomy Affect Menopause?

07/11/2019 jleff 0

Dear HealthyWomen,

I’m 43 and have been suffering with abnormal and heavy bleeding and pain from uterine fibroids, which were discovered during a pelvic exam and subsequent ultrasound.

After trying various treatments with little improvement o…

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Why Hand-Washing Beats Hand Sanitizers

07/11/2019 jleff 0

THURSDAY, Nov. 7, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Proper hand-washing with soap and water is one of the best ways to protect yourself during the cold and flu season, an expert says.

Wet your hands with water, add soap, cover all surfaces, and rub vigorousl…

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How I Live a Life Of Hope With Multiple Sclerosis

06/11/2019 jleff 0

By Terrie Livingston

Falling

down the stairs was the first sign something was wrong. I attributed that to a herniated disc I had suffered from awhile back. Soon after, I stepped off a curb and fell straight to the ground. I made an exc…

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Get Healthier With a Mental Reset

05/11/2019 jleff 0

HealthDay News

TUESDAY, Nov. 5, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Making the decision to live healthier often involves important steps such as losing weight and exercising more. These are significant goals and everyday lifestyle habits that you should commit to. But there’s another type of “makeover” that can benefit you in equally important ways.

That’s changing your general outlook on life by boosting positivity. This mental tweak will put you in a better frame of mind to meet your physical goals. Here’s how to get started.

Look for ways to find more meaning in your life. You might not be able to change your job, but you might be able to take on work challenges that give you a stronger sense of purpose. If personal and professional commitments have you running in a million directions with none of them emotionally rewarding, reassess your obligations and pare back where you can. Prioritize the tasks that give you a stronger sense of accomplishment.

Next, identify what’s standing in the way of reaching your goals. It might not be complicated. Maybe you want to eat better and exercise more, but you don’t make the time to cook whole foods or go to the gym. Again, re-prioritize and take action to accomplish what’s important to you. Don’t use roadblocks as excuses to stay stuck.

And because people love instant gratification, give yourself a boost by picking a change you can achieve right away, suggest the experts at Berkeley Wellness. Ideas include meditating for a few minutes each day, clocking your steps on your smartphone or standing up for 2 minutes every hour at work. These are baby steps you can build on to ease stress, get more active and improve your health.

Copyright © 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Why Men and Women Feel Pain Differently

04/11/2019 jleff 0

Billie Jean King won the battle of the sexes when she beat Bobby Riggs in a winner-take-all tennis match in 1973, but chances are, if she had sustained an injury in the match, things might have taken a different turn.
That’s because men and women exper…

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Why Men and Women Feel Pain Differently

04/11/2019 jleff 0

Billie Jean King won the battle of the sexes when she beat Bobby Riggs in a winner-take-all tennis match in 1973, but chances are, if she had sustained an injury in the match, things might have taken a different turn.
That’s because men and women exper…

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Sooner Is Usually Better for Gallbladder Surgery

31/10/2019 jleff 0

HealthDay News

THURSDAY, Oct. 31, 2019 (HealthDay News) — If someone is hospitalized for a painful gallbladder attack, new research suggests that surgery probably shouldn’t wait.

Doctors may typically hold off on operating until gallbladder inflammation has gone down and antibiotics have started working on an infection. But the study found that waiting more than 72 hours for surgery led to a higher rate of complications and longer hospital stays.

“These findings suggest that if you can do the surgery early, the results may be better,” said study senior author, Dr. Stanley Trooskin, chief of surgical services at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J.

The gallbladder is a small organ near the liver that stores bile, a substance used in digestion, especially digestion of fatty foods. Gallstones — hard, pebble-like pieces — can form in your gallbladder, according to the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Gallstones can be as tiny as a grain of sand or as big as a golf ball.

Gallstones are very common. They affect up to 15% of the U.S. population, the NIDDK says.

People can often have gallstones and not realize it. But, sometimes, gallstones block the ducts that release bile. This can cause a gallbladder attack — sudden pain in your upper right abdomen. Sometimes your symptoms will go away. But they may come back, and they may come back repeatedly.

Gallstones that keep coming back can lead to complications, such as gallbladder inflammation or infection. Gallstones can also damage the gallbladder, bile ducts or liver, according to the NIDDK.

Surgery to remove the gallbladder is the most common treatment. The gallbladder isn’t an essential organ, like your heart or liver. That means you can live without it, and removing it stops gallstones from forming.

There are two types of surgery — open and minimally invasive (also called laparoscopic). Minimally invasive gallbladder surgery is often done on an outpatient basis. Recovery takes about a week, the NIDDK says.

Open surgery is more complex, and involves a much larger incision. You may need to stay in the hospital up to a week. Recovery can take as long as a month from this procedure.

Dr. Bruce Molinelli, director of the acute care surgery program at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y., said when open surgery was the only alternative, there wasn’t as much concern about when to do surgery. But, now that minimally invasive surgery is preferred, it’s more of an issue because if the gallbladder becomes more inflamed or infected, the surgeon may end up having to do an open surgery.

On the other hand, he said, if you wait and the gallbladder inflammation subsides and the antibiotics are treating any infection, surgery might be even easier.

“A number of big studies have been back and forth on the question of early surgery versus late surgery,” Molinelli said.

He said Trooskin’s study supports what he’s seen in practice. “Gallbladder surgery isn’t an emergency surgery, but it’s probably better to do surgery sooner rather than later.”

The study looked at a national database of surgical procedures done from 2012 to 2016. The researchers took a group of almost 50,000 people who had gallbladder surgery and split them into three groups. One group had gallbladders removed with 24 hours. The second group had their gallbladders taken between 24 and 72 hours. The third group didn’t have their gallbladders removed until 72 hours or more after being admitted to the hospital.

The study team adjusted the data to account for factors such as age, body size, and whether or not someone had diabetes.

Length of stay was an average of five days for those who had surgery after 72 hours compared to just a day for those who had their operations within 24 hours of admission. The group that had surgery between 24 and 72 hours after admission had average stays of two days.

The study also found that blood clots in the legs and lungs, and bloodstream infections (sepsis) were more likely in the delayed surgical group. The odds of being readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of surgery were also higher for the delayed surgery group.

The findings were to be presented Thursday at the American College of Surgeons annual meeting, in San Francisco. Findings presented at meetings should be viewed as preliminary until they’ve been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

SOURCES: Stanley Trooskin, M.D., chief medical officer and chief, surgical services, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, and professor and chief, division of general surgery, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, N.J.; Bruce Molinelli, M.D., director, acute care surgery program, Northern Westchester Hospital, Mount Kisco, N.Y.; Oct. 31, 2019, presentation, American College of Surgeons annual meeting, San Francisco

Copyright © 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Healing Environments Need to Recognize Migraine Triggers

30/10/2019 jleff 0

Patients go to hospitals to heal, but for our patients with migraines, they may be places full of triggers instead. Migraines can be caused by internal factors like stress, fatigue and hormones or external factors like noise, lighting or other disruptions. Thankfully, we’re seeing new trends in hospital design that are leading to changes that increase healing environments.

How can health care providers help people prone to migraines avoid triggers when they visit hospitals or health care provider offices?

First, let’s talk about how “normal” everyday exposures actually don’t feel normal to people experiencing migraines. They can be particularly sensitive to lights, sounds and smells, both before and during a migraine attack.

It’s fairly well-known that people experiencing an active migraine attack prefer a dark room and one of the reasons for that is photophobia. This is not fear of light but a symptom where the patient experiences pain due to light exposure, including sunlight, fluorescent lights or electronic screens. It is so common in migraine that it’s often used in making a diagnosis, and between 80 and 90 percent of people with migraines have reported experiencing it.

Moving away from migraine-triggering overhead fluorescent tube lighting to task lighting, lower ceilings with recessed lighting installed and less glaring LEDs, can help with light sensitivity. The trend toward building design with more natural light is a positive one, which supports patient’s healing but also provides softer light depending on the time of day and the amount entering the room. On the other hand, care must be taken to cut down on glare, so blinds or adjustable window coverings are recommended. Flickering light can be a trigger for migraines, so the ability to block out or avoid light sources is useful as well.

In addition, phonophobia, or being sensitive to loud noises, often comes along with light sensitivity. Patients may manage this by wearing noise cancelling headphones or earplugs, or using white noise machines to insulate their space. But hospitals are taking steps to manage noise as well.

One trend in hospital design right now is to use “pink noise” (which is a different frequency than white noise) to prevent acoustic disturbances like monitors and alarms and also to protect confidential health conversations from being overheard. Pink noise, which might sound like a fan, a steady rainfall or the wind outside, can help promote restful sleep.

Managing noise in hospitals has risen as a priority because it improves patient satisfaction scores as well. Turning down alarms, ringers, paging systems can help keep interruptive noise to a minimum, while pink noise prevents there from being complete silence. Noise also increases blood pressure and can interfere with pain management, a real concern for people experiencing a painful migraine already.

A less common trigger is osmophobia, or a sensitivity to smell, that can be produced in response to chemicals, smoke or artificial fragrances. A shift towards lower strength (but still effective) cleaning products, and better air quality in interior spaces is helpful with this sensitivity.

While patients have some control over their home environments, we as clinicians should try to be good stewards in the environments we create. That means educating staff about changes to the environment, including things like chemicals used in cleaning, or not asking patients about why they may be wearing sunglasses indoors (these filter out red and blue light, which are the colors that are the most stimulating for people with migraines.)

Education for staff might include the different types of triggers for migraines, as well as how to manage those symptoms while patients are visiting their health care provider or admitted for a hospital stay. Promote a culture of quiet with the staff, and have adjustable lighting in each area. Empower staff to identify noises or lighting issues and act to fix them, and coordinate with maintenance staff about when there might be repair work that will create a lot of noise.

Experiencing migraines can also be an additional challenge layered upon another reason for a hospital stay. Intersecting health issues, in addition to stress, might need some additional coordination pre- and post-hospital stay. Working to manage stress, encouraging restful sleep and educating patients about how they can deal with a new environment may help.

The bottom line: we need to be aware of the environments we ask our patients to heal in, and we know that less stimulation is better for our patients dealing with migraines. Let’s do more, and raise awareness that we have a number of clinical environments that need improvement and patients are suffering in the meantime.

It doesn’t mean tearing down and rebuilding new hospitals, but it does mean thinking hard about design that helps patients heal and doesn’t add additional stress and stimulation for people struggling to avoid the impact of migraines.

This resource was created with support from the Allergan Foundation.

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Your Birth Control Questions Answered

29/10/2019 jleff 0

Before the first oral contraceptive was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1960, women had limited birth control methods to prevent unwanted pregnancies. And it actually wasn’t until 1968 that the Supreme Court (in Griswold v. Con…

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De-Bunking Myths About Birth Control

28/10/2019 jleff 0

Although the birth control pill was approved back in 1960 and is both widely studied and used by millions of women, misinformation still surrounds it. It can be tough to know what’s true and what’s not. How to know the difference between fact or hype? …

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How to Reduce Your Breast Cancer Risk

24/10/2019 jleff 0

It’s likely you have a sister, mother, grandmother or friend who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. And that wouldn’t be unusual, as statistics bear this out. Over the course of her lifetime, about one in eight U.S. women (that’s about 12 percent) will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. Out of all newly diagnosed cancers in women, 30 percent of those will be breast cancer.

And although diagnosis, treatment advances and the future outlook for breast cancer have all been encouraging through the years, women are still dying of the disease—nearly 42,000 in 2019.

Are we all at risk?

Just being a woman—and getting older—are the two main risk factors. But there are subsets among that group, of course. (While it’s true that men can also get breast cancer, women’s breasts are constantly being exposed to estrogen and progesterone and are always changing and growing.) But some women will get breast cancer seemingly out of the blue, without any other risk factors they’re aware of.

Like what?

Your risk doubles if you have a first-degree relative—like a mother, sister or daughter—who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. But it’s important to remember that family history is not the sole determining factor, nor does it account for the majority of breast cancer cases. Less than 15 percent of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer have a family member with it.

So, what else raises my risk? And if I know what those things are, will I know how to prevent breast cancer?

Well, there are things that put you at risk that you have no control over, like being a woman, getting older (the majority of breast cancers are found in women over 50) and genetic mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene.

Then, there’s your reproductive history. The longer you’re exposed to hormones (like estrogen), the greater your risk. Meaning that if you started menstruating before age 12 and have a late menopause (after age 55), your risk of breast cancer increases. Also, you’re at higher risk if you had your first pregnancy after 30, never breastfed or never had a full-term pregnancy.

Women who have been previously treated with radiation therapy to the chest or breasts (like for Hodgkin’s lymphoma) are at higher risk later in life, as are women who took diethylstilbestrol (DES), a drug that was given between 1940 and 1971 to prevent miscarriage. (Having a mother who took it can also increase your risk.)

Hopefully there are things you can control. That’s where prevention comes in, right?

Most definitely, and it’s so important to be aware of those things. Because, face it, you’re given a gift here, an opportunity to help yourself. And while there are no guarantees, at least you can do everything in your power to try to stay healthy and keep your risk low.

Make sure to exercise, because women who are inactive have a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Research shows that walking briskly for just 75 to 150 minutes a week can help lower your risk.

If you’re overweight, try to lose weight. That’s because women who are overweight or obese after menopause have a higher risk of getting breast cancer compared to women of a normal weight.

It’s thought that more fat tissue can increase the levels of both estrogen and insulin in your body; both hormones have been linked to a higher risk of breast cancer (and other cancers, too).

Watch your alcohol intake. Studies show that the more you drink, the higher your risk of breast cancer.

Go on …

Both the environment and hormone therapy have been linked to higher rates of breast cancer. Certain hormones taken during menopause (like a combination of estrogen and progesterone) can contribute to the risk of breast cancer if you take them for more than five years.

Also at higher risk are smokers, women who are exposed to cancer-causing chemicals and night-shift workers (due to its effect on melatonin).

OK, I know what I need to do now. I can’t be in control of everything, but I can certainly aim to be healthy and make wise decisions in so many parts of my life, can’t I?

Absolutely. There are so many ways to reduce your breast cancer risk. Doing them will not only lower your risk but will keep you healthy in all aspects of your life and keep you feeling good, to boot.

Always remember that if you feel or notice any changes in your breasts, visit your health care professional. Also make sure to keep up with your recommended screenings. Yes, they frequently change (as well as differ among experts). Click here to see the various guidelines from seven organizations, provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And here is the latest from a few organizations:

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

American Cancer Society

American Society of Breast Surgeons

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

American College of Radiology

American College of Physicians

American Academy of Family Physicians

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How to Improve Your Chances of Getting Pregnant

24/10/2019 jleff 0

By Mary Sabo
For Women’s Health Foundation

Most American women are well-educated about preventing a pregnancy, but many do not know how to encourage one.

We assume we will get pregnant as soon as we stop using birth control, but often it is not so simple. As women, our fertile time is only at ovulation. Do you know when you ovulate? Most of us don’t. How could we? It’s not something that is taught in school, and most gynecologists don’t educate their patients on the changes that take place in a woman’s body around ovulation.

If you’re having sex every day (lucky you!), you needn’t worry, but not many couples do that, and timing is everything with fertility.

Ovulation is the moment when an egg is released from the ovary and quickly swept into the fallopian tube. If it happens to encounter sperm within a few hours, it may get fertilized and work its way into the uterus where it starts the process of becoming a baby. The egg will naturally break down after 12 to 24 hours if it doesn’t encounter sperm, but fertilization usually happens within a few hours of ovulation.

A few hours—that’s the window of time to fertilize that egg! Luckily your body has a special substance to widen that small window. In the days leading up to ovulation, the cervix (the opening to the uterus) softens, opens slightly and secretes mucus that can nourish and sustain sperm, allowing thp to pass into the uterus and wait (sometimes for days) for that egg to be released.

This fertile cervical mucus looks like raw egg white and can appear as discharge in your underwear or on toilet paper after you use the bathroom. It is stretchy and usually comes out in big globs. Sound familiar? When you see this, you know it’s time to “get busy.”

Optimally, you should have intercourse every day once you see the mucus until it is no longer present.

Here are some other helpful tips:

Orgasms boost your chances.

Relaxing (aka cuddling) for 10 to 20 minutes after sex helps your odds.

Foreplay helps improve cervical mucus and lubrication (best to skip the lube if you are trying to get pregnant).

Man on top (“missionary”) position is usually best for baby-making.

So keep the quickies to a minimum and try to enjoy yourselves!

If after 6 to 12 cycles you are still not pregnant or you notice that you never have the white discharge, you may want to learn some ways to improve your fertility. A licensed acupuncturist can help you determine a diet and lifestyle that will make your body more balanced and more likely to become pregnant. Acupuncture is a proven way to increase fertility in men and women.

Want to learn more? Check out Making Babies by Sami David, MD, and Jill Blakeway, LAc, or Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler.

Mary Sabo is an LAc, DACM, with Mary Sabo Acupuncture in New York. She is a board-certified acupuncturist and doctor of acupuncture and Chinese medicine, specializing in fertility, women’s health and stress-related symptoms.

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New Study: Many Reasons Sex Declines After Menopause

23/10/2019 jleff 0

Conventional wisdom is that sexual activity drops off for women after menopause because of things like lack of desire and vaginal dryness. But a new qualitative study affirms my perspective that it’s not that simple (even taking into account th…

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Biosimilars & Women’s Health: Q&A

22/10/2019 jleff 0

In March 2015, the FDA approved the first biosimilar product, which introduced new treatment options and a new term for consumers to wrestle with, particularly those with a condition treated or managed by highly specialized medications known as biologi…

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Could It Be PMS?

21/10/2019 jleff 0

From Women’s Health Foundation

Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, is a set of symptoms that usually occurs one or two weeks before the start of your period. Some women develop PMS in their teens; others develop it later on, even in their 30s or 40s. Three out of four women will experience PMS at some point in their lives.

Symptoms—and their intensity—can vary from month to month. They usually disappear once your period starts.

You may experience a handful of these signs and symptoms:

  • Bloating and weight gain
  • Tender breasts
  • Cramps
  • Headaches
  • Joint, muscle and lower back pain
  • Fatigue
  • Food cravings
  • Acne
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Mood swings
  • Crying spells
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Lack of concentration
  • Change in sex drive
  • Constipation or diarrhea

Read More: Tired of Feeling Bloated? Do These 5 Things

Influences/Causes

Researchers don’t know the exact cause of PMS, but changes in hormone levels over the course of the month are most likely a culprit. Brain chemicals may also play a role. Other possible contributors to PMS include:

  • Stress, which can make PMS worse
  • A poor diet, including consuming too much caffeine, alcohol and sodium and not enough vitamins and minerals
  • Family history and genetics

Treatments/Remedies

Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen can help ease cramps and reduce other symptoms.

You can also help keep PMS at bay by:

  • Avoiding foods high in sodium and sugar and choosing foods rich in complex carbohydrates and calcium
  • Avoiding caffeine and alcohol
  • Exercising on most days of the week
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Managing stress with relaxation activities such as yoga or massage

Resources/Contacts

Office on Women’s Health
Mayo Clinic
Medline Plus

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Realistic Work-Life Balance Tips

16/10/2019 jleff 0

Do you feel guilty when you drop your child off at daycare and head into the office? Do you hate that you have to miss your daughter’s school concert because you have a business trip? Or perhaps you cringe when you get the tennis team schedule, …