Your period-what’s normal, what’s not

Most cases of abnormal bleeding have a straight forward cause which can be determined by the history, examination, and appropriate testing. Most are treatable and not life threatening. However, since a few cases will be due to cancer, don’t ignore this important symptom.

Abnormal menstrual bleeding is one of the most common problems that brings women to their physician. But what exactly is “normal”? When should you worry about your periods?

According to American Family Physician journal (Volume 99, Number 7)

“abnormal uterine bleeding falls outside population-based 5th to 95th percentile for menstrual regularity, frequency, duration, and volume.”

Or, you could say -“normal” is that periods vary widely for most women

How doctors talk about normal

Doctors sometimes use medical terms to describe abnormal bleeding-menorrhagia, metrorrhagia, even meno-metrorrhagia, which are imprecise and often misunderstood. In 2011 FIGO, the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics developed standard definitions and descriptions of menstrual bleeding, also endorsed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

This post will outline the FIGO definitions. Anytime you are concerned about your bleeding you should talk to your doctor. This information may help you describe your concerns to your doctor and understand what is “normal” for you.

The frequency, regularity, duration, and volume of a period are all important to determine if they are normal.

What is Your Menstrual Cycle?

The Menstrual cycle is the length of time from the first day of a period until the next one starts; in other words, from day 1 to day minus 1. You can also think of this as the frequency-how often you have a period. Every 24 to 38 days is considered normal.

  • Infrequent->38 days
  • Normal 24-38 days
  • Frequent <24 days

The regularity of the menstrual cycle is how much the length varies over time, usually 12 months. Is it always 24 days, 28, 32? Or does it vary, sometimes 24, or sometimes 38? Either can be normal, but if your pattern suddenly changes, it may indicate something has happened.

  • Regular cycles vary by 2-20 days over 12 months
  • Irregular- cycles vary >20 days over 12 months

What is your menstrual period?

The duration or length of your menstrual period is how many days you bleed, no matter how much or how little. Again, what’s important is your usual pattern; for most women this stays consistent, so a change is usually noticed.

  • Short <4.5 days
  • Normal 4.5-8 days
  • Prolonged >8 days

How heavy is your period?

The amount, or volume of a period is how much blood you lose. From 5-80 ml , or for Americans 1 teaspoon to 3 ounces, is considered normal although most of us find counting pads or tampons per day is easier to understand.

  • Light <5 ml
  • Normal 5-80 ml
  • Heavy >80 ml

Amenorrhea means no bleeding for 90 or more days. Once a woman has not had bleeding for 12 months, this is menopause. (This does not apply if she stops bleeding because her uterus is removed, a hysterectomy. Menopause is defined differently in that case. )

What can change the cycle length or regularity, or the period length, duration, or amount of bleeding?

  • Using some form of hormonal birth control
  • Recent pregnancy
  • Breast feeding
  • Vigorous or intense physical activity
  • Serious illness, injury, or surgery
  • Starvation
  • Peri-menopause (the months prior to menopause)

If you doctor determines that your bleeding is “abnormal” she may evaluate you for the common causes-

  • complications of pregnancy-miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy
  • uterine fibroid tumors-leimyomata
  • cervical or uterine cancer
  • bleeding disorders
  • hormone dysfunction, including PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome)

Where to learn more about menstruation

Familydoctor.org offers this easy to understand outline of the causes and treatment of abnormal bleeding.

Abnormal uterine bleeding

Información en español – from the CDC

Sangrado menstrual abundante

Most cases of abnormal bleeding have a straight forward cause which can be determined by the history, examination, and appropriate testing. Most are treatable and not life threatening. However, since a few cases will be due to cancer, don’t ignore this important symptom.

Keeping track of your periods

You can use any blank paper or digital calendar to keep track of your periods but digital apps are a convenient way to keep track of your periods.

Flo Period & Ovulation Tracker

Flo Period Tracker, Ovulation & Fertility Calendar!

It’s a smart and simple female period tracker, helpful pregnancy week by week app, accurate ovulation and fertility calendar and PMS symptoms tracker for women all over the world. Flo Period Tracker not only tracks your period accurately, but it’s also a reliable pregnancy calculator, ovulation calendar, and true fertility friend for you. It’s the first period app, pregnancy calculator, fertility and ovulation calendar for women that uses machine learning (AI). All women, even those with irregular periods, can rely on this health tracker. Log your menstruation days in a handy period calendar, ovulation and fertility tracker, schedule menstrual cycle reminders, record moods and PMS symptoms, use a due date calculator, follow a pregnancy calendar and take full control of your health.

However you do it, take your menstrual record with you every time you visit your doctor.

photo from LIGHTSTOCK.COM, an affiliate link

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

                              Dr. Aletha 

These are affiliate links you may find helpful and which help fund this blog with a commission when a purchase is made using them.

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2019 women’s health update- new meds to control pain and prevent disease

In this post I review some new drugs that treat conditions exclusive to or common in women.

In a previous post I gave you updates about hormones, the heart, and HPV. Here is the link-

Women’s health update, part 1

In this post I’ll review some new drugs that treat conditions exclusive to or common in women.

I’m illustrating this post with covers of books written by women; I have reviewed all of these books on my blog, so I’ll include those links also. Please note these are affiliate links, so if you do happen to use them for a purchase you will help me fund this blog.

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Relieving the pain of endometriosis

Women with endometriosis suffer infertility, excessive bleeding, painful periods and pelvic pain unrelated to periods. In endometriosis, uterine tissue grows outside the uterus. It can be difficult to diagnose, requiring invasive procedures to discover. Treatment depends on the goal, whether pregnancy, pain relief, or both. Short of surgery, hormonal therapy has been the mainstay of treatment.

A new hormonal drug released last year, elagolix, brand name Orilissa, is the first of its kind specifically developed and approved to treat “moderate to severe” endometriosis pain. It does not help with infertility. AbbVie, the pharmaceutical company which developed the drug, has priced it at $844 per month, or about $10000 per year, retail.( per Reuters report) Patients may pay less depending on insurance.

 

Stop bleeding fibroids

Researchers are studying elagolix and another hormonal drug ulipristal for treating uterine fibroids. Fibroids are growths within the uterine that can cause pain and excessive bleeding. Initial trials show both of these drugs can significantly decrease bleeding and pain. However, neither is currently FDA approved for treating fibroid.

Easing dyspareunia

After menopause many women develop atrophy of the vagina, making it thin, dry, and easily irritated, leading to painful sex, or dyspareunia. A new intravaginal medication, prasterone,brand name Intrarosa, can help relieve the discomfort. Studies show it may also help improve sexual desire and arousal, but it is not labeled for this.

Manufactured by AMAG Pharmaceuticals, it is for “moderate to severe” symptoms. Also known as DHEA, it is a steroid that transforms into estrogen in the vagina ,administered as a once daily vaginal insert at bedtime, applied with an applicator. According to goodrx.com,a 30 day supply costs about $213.

DHEA can be purchased as an over-the-counter, non-regulated product, whose effectiveness and safety are unknown. A one-month supply of 50 mg tablets may cost $5.

Other options for treating vaginal atrophy symptoms are oral or vaginal estrogen and/or vaginal lubricants.

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Prevention of migraine pain and disability

Migraine, although not exclusive to women,occurs much more frequently in them than men. For infrequent headaches,non opiate pain relievers are effective and recommended. But for severe, frequent, or persistent symptoms prevention is recommended to improve quality of life. Several oral meds are effective but two new injectable drugs show promise.

Botox, onabotulinumtoxin A, has been FDA approved for treating chronic migraine, meaning patients with frequent headaches and other migraine symptoms for at least 3 months.

Yes the same drug used to treat wrinkles,Botox, can prevent migraine

Manufactured by Allergan, a vial containing 200 units costs $1452, per goodrx.com. For migraine, the drug is injected in the upper facial muscles by a physician specifically trained in its use.

Another novel therapy uses the immune system to fight migraine. Monoclonal antibodies bind to a calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor which is responsible for transmitting migraine pain. The antibodies are produced in a laboratory but work like antibodies naturally produced by the body. They are being used to treat cancers and some forms of arthritis.

Three of these drugs are available

  • Erenumab-brand
  • Fremanezumab-Ajoovy
  • Galcanezumab-Emgality

 

They are administered as subcutaneous injections (under the skin) monthly. According to a Medscape, average cost is $600 per month.

You may want to review my previous post about non-drug ways to manage migraine.

Simple and effective ways to manage chronic pain

Preventing cervical cancer with the HPV vaccine

I mentioned this in my previous post about women’s health but it fits here also.

Infection with the HPV, human papillomavirus, causes genital warts and changes in the cervix called CIN which can lead to cervical cancer.

According to a review of clinical trials by Cochran, vaccination against this virus effectively prevents infection and thus fewer cases of CIN. Since a significant percentage of CIN progresses to cancer, we can expect fewer women will develop invasive cervical cancer, the 4th most common cancer in women worldwide.

The vaccine, Gardasail 9, originally approved for use in females ages 9 to 26 years,received FDA approval for use up to age 45 years.

Stopping shingles with the zoster vaccine

And speaking of vaccines, a new zoster (shingles) vaccine, Shingrix, prevents the painful rash much more effectively than the original vaccine Zostavax. It ranges in effectiveness from 91% to 97% at preventing shingles, depending on age. The first vaccine was 51% effective.

Zoster is a reactivation of the varicella virus that causes chickenpox. It causes a painful rash known as shingles;the pain may continue after the rash is gone. It can happen at any age, but symptoms tend to be worst in older persons.

exploring the HEART of health through books

Thanks for joining me to review new steps in women’s health and review some fine women authors. I hope you will follow the links to my reviews and read some or all of these books. When you do, I would love to know your reaction. I might use your comments in an update.

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

This blog may earn a commission if you use these affiliate links from Barnes & Noble , AvaCare Medical, and Aaptiv.
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2019 Women’s health update- hormones, the heart, and HPV

results of the Nurses Health Study over 18 years shows no increase in incidence of these complications in women who used vaginal estrogen, suggesting this is a safe option for women who elect to use estrogen. (from the journal Menopause)

Multiple health issues impact women exclusively or differently than men, so new and updated information is important to share. The issues we women face vary with our age, stage of life and health status.

Let’s look at some medical news about women’s health issues, information I picked up recently from several medical journals I follow.

This is current, general medical information that helps a doctor and patient make decisions about what is right for her. Medical recommendations and practice changes as we learn new things.
If you deal with any of these issues , please discuss with your doctor before  taking any action.

I’m illustrating this post with photos of art featuring women. I’ll tell you more about the source at the end.

statue of a woman holding an infant

Human papillomavirus and cancer 

Infection with the human papillomavirus, HPV, can cause  genital warts and cervical cancer.

The percentage of young women with confirmed HPV (human papillomavirus) infection  in the United States fell significantly from 2006 to 2012. Women who had received the HPV vaccine showed the greatest decline in infection rates, compared to those who had not. Even one dose was effective, even though 2 or 3 are recommended.

A new study reported by the New England Journal of Medicine shows that women who become infected with the HPV strains 16 and 18 have a much higher risk of changes in their cervix called CIN-cervical intraepithelial neoplasia-which can be a precursor to cancer. These changes may not be picked up by a Papanicolaou (Pap) test.

Thus, protection against infection with HPV should also provide protection against cancers caused by HPV.

Human papillomavirus vaccine

Gardasil, a vaccine which targets the HPV has been available to females and males from 9 years old to 26 years old. Now the age has been extended through age 45 years for both genders.

Here is a link to detailed information about HPV vaccination from the National Cancer Institute.


Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccines

statue of a pioneer woman with rifle and infant

Long-acting reversible contraception-LARC  

Two forms of long-acting reversible contraception are available to women in the United States.

Nexplanon, a contraceptive implant, slowly releases the hormone progestin and does not have estrogen. It can be used in women who cannot take estrogen, such as those with uterine fibroids or endometrial cancer.

Intrauterine devices, IUDs, containing copper only are appropriate for women with past or present breast cancer, ischemic heart disease, and women at risk for blood clots.

Use of LARCs accounts for 12% of all contraceptive use. Additional benefits include controlling excessive menstrual bleeding, potentially saving women from surgery.

Here is a link to Quick Fact about intrauterine devices and other forms of contraception from the Department of Health and Human Services

Intrauterine Device

statue of woman, holding infant, standing next to a child

Hormone therapy and prevention of heart disease

A 2015 Cochrane review of 40,410 postmenopausal women examined the use of oral hormone therapy (estrogen with or without progesterone) taken for at least six months, compared with placebo (no real drug), to determine the effect on death from any cause, and deaths caused by heart disease, stroke, and blood clot in a leg or lung.

The review found no benefits for preventing heart attack (fatal or nonfatal), or death due to any cause.

In women who took hormones they found

 
1 in 165 women had a stroke
1 in 118 women had a blood clot in the leg or lung
1 in 242 women had a blood clot in the lung

The women in this study were all older than 60 years old, so it is possible there might be benefit in younger women.

statue of woman with arm raised and holding an infant

Vaginal estrogen and heart health

While estrogen replacement after menopause is effective at controlling the undesirable effects of night sweats, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness, it potentially increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease-heart attacks and stroke, and some cancers-breast and uterine.

However, results of the Nurses Health Study over 18 years shows no increase in incidence of these complications in women who used vaginal estrogen, suggesting this is a safe option for women who elect to use estrogen. (from the journal Menopause)

The photos- a tribute to women

I took these photos during a recent visit to Woolaroc ,a museum and wildlife preserve located in the Osage Hills of Northeastern Oklahoma. Woolaroc was established in 1925 as the ranch retreat of oilman Frank Phillips. 

These statues displayed there were all models considered for a larger project now known as the Pioneer Woman Statue in Ponca City, Oklahoma.

What do you think? Would you have chosen one of the other statues for the final version?

More women’s health info

exploring the HEART of women’s health

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

a statue of a woman holding a child, "CROSSING THE PRAIRIE"
“CROSSING THE PRAIRIE” by Glenna Goodacre, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Shop To Fight Breast Cancer! Every Purchase Helps Give Free Hospital Mammograms To Women In Need!

AAPTIV- what I’m using to stay fit now.

This post contains affiliate links which, by paying a commission if used for a purchase, help me fund this blog and share the HEART of health around the world.

 

How common meds can hurt your skin

Medications, both prescription and over the counter, can relieve symptoms, hasten healing, and save lives. Even so, adverse reactions are always a risk with any drug. Some of these adverse reactions can involve the skin.

In a previous post I told you how smoking and sunlight affect our skin- premature aging, dryness, and increased risk of skin cancer. Here is a link for you to review or read if you missed it.

How smoking and sun affect your skin’s look and feel

Layers of the Skin diagram

Here is a review of the skin’s layers

Medications and skin -help and harm

In this post I’ll talk about ways medications can adversely affect skin health.

Medications, both prescription and over the counter, can relieve symptoms, hasten healing, and save lives. Even so, adverse reactions are always a risk with any drug. Some of these adverse reactions can involve the skin.

So it is vital that patients and doctors avoid unnecessary or inappropriate use of medications.

Sun sensitivity due to medication

As mentioned in the previous post , some medications can make your skin more sensitive to sun exposure, called drug-induced photosensitivity.

Any drug can cause a reaction, even if you have taken it before without a problem. Some of the more common “skin reaction drugs” include

  • Anti-inflammatory medications, the NSAIDs
  • Psychiatric medications
  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Blood pressure lowering meds
  • Antibiotics
  • Statins-cholesterol lowering drugs

Reactions can vary from scaly rashes, blisters, redness, dryness, itching, to severe eruptions all over the body that can be painful and occasionally life threatening.

This is what your skin looks like under a powerful microscope.

Melasma-drug induced skin color change

Melasma (muh-LAZ-muh) is a common skin problem. It causes brown to gray-brown patches, usually on the face. It is much more common in women, probably because it is triggered by female hormones, so it often starts in pregnancy. Women of color are also more susceptible.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Melasma can be caused by

  • Sun exposure
  • Hormone medications-birth control pills, post -menopause hormonal therapy

Here is an excellent discussion and photos of melasma from the American Academy of Dermatology

Use antibiotics wisely for your skin’s sake

Probably the most common drugs that cause a rash or other adverse effects are antibiotics, probably because they are used so often. A

Antibiotics such as penicillin, amoxicillin, sulfa, tetracycline, and ciprofloxacin can cause several skin reactions .

  • urticaria, also known as hives
  • photosensitivity, mentioned above
  • a scaley rash that may peel off
  • a measles-like rash, called morbiliform
  • blisters

So doctors prescribe antibiotics only for infections that are serious enough that the risk of adverse reaction is worth the possible benefit.

Colds,  flu, and bronchitis are caused by viruses and don’t respond to antibiotics. Even sinus and ear infections don’t always need an antibiotic to resolve. Please don’t pressure your doctor for an antibiotic when you don’t need it. Read more about antibiotic misuse at my previous post

How to navigate the antibiotic highway

6 smart facts about antibiotic use
graphic created by the Centers for Disease Control, http://www.cdc.gov

The American Academy of Dermatology shares

10 skin care secrets for healthier skin

What you should and shouldn’t do now

Please understand I am not saying we should never use these medications as sometimes they are the best choice for our overall health. You should be aware of the potential for reactions and report them promptly to your doctor if they occur.

If you are taking any of the drugs listed here, do not stop without talking to your doctor.

exploring the HEART of healthy skin

Thanks for joining me to explore skin problems and the HEART of health. Even if it’s winter where you live, don’t forgo sunscreen; the sun doesn’t take a holiday from damaging skin.

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

a cute monkey checks out his face in a mirrow
We all care about our appearance, including this cute monkey. Photo by Andre Mouton on Pexels.com

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Arbonne makes no promises or guarantees that any Independent Consultant will be financially successful, as each Independent Consultant’s results are dependent on their own skill and effort.
You should not rely on the results of other Arbonne Independent Consultants as an indication of what you should expect to earn. The annual typical earning statement is contained in the Arbonne Independent Consultant Compensation Summary (ICCS) available iccs.arbonne.com.

New Year’s Resolutions Approved by Grandmas

I’m a stickler for definitions so I checked to see what “resolution” means. It is a “firm determination to do something” or the “act of solving a problem.”

With people living such long lives now, most of us will spend a large portion of it as grandparents, even great-grandparents. But today’s grandmothers aren’t just sitting in rocking chairs knitting.

checkerboard between 2 rocking chairs

Modern grandmothers do everything. They run businesses and run for office.

There are grandmothers in Congress and on the Supreme Court.

Grandmothers run marathons, teach yoga, and compete in ballroom dancing (like me). 

Some retire from long successful careers and some start new careers.

And some grandmothers write blogs.

New Year's resolutions approved by grandmas

 

 

 

 

  These grandmothers’ blogs cover a variety of subjects

home,marriage, family, travel, cooking, fitness, retirement, faith, genealogy, crafts, gardening, books, health, DIY, and of course grandchildren.

find hidden opportunities hidden in each new day
Michael Josephson-ethics law professor– affiliate link 

 

 

 

2019 New Year’s Resolutions

Several of the other grandmother bloggers I know shared their new year’s resolutions online. Here is what I wrote-

I’m a stickler for definitions so I checked to see what “resolution” means. It is a “firm determination to do something” or the “act of solving a problem.”

So I don’t do New Year’s resolutions because I think we should be doing resolutions all the time; if we think of it as just a once a year process, we miss multiple opportunities to accomplish new things or solve problems.

So, I do resolve to continue learning new things and improving my skills. In 2019 I will be required to recertify as a family physician, so I have a “firm determination” to pass the exam.

I also want to improve my ballroom dancing skills, learn new steps and routines.

I want to update old blog posts with newer information and address important medical topics that I haven’t tackled before.

I want to spend quality time with my friends and family, nurture my faith and find new ways to give back to my community.

This bright new year is given to me to live each day with zest-William Arthur Ward
William Arthur Ward- author and pastor– affiliate link 

 

 

 

More grandmothers’ resolutions 

Here are summaries of what other grandmothers  shared with a link to their blogs.

Kimberly – Passing Down the Love:

  • finalize my retirement plans,
  • move my feet a little more and
  • look for happiness in the little things.

Donna – Retirement Reflections:

        healthy diet and increased exercise.

Sylvia – Grace for a Gypsy:

      to organize and publish my family research

Angie – Flippin Fanchers:

      fully transition my DIY blog to a grandma blog.

Louise – Going Ba-Nanas for Baby:

  • To pray with consistency, and not just when I need help.
  • To thank God for my blessings instead of complaining about my challenges
  • To request, each and every day, that my loved ones and I will be watched over from above, and always kept in the light of divine grace.

Marilyn – Marilyn’s Treats:

  • To simplify my life.
  • To spend more time taking care of “me” so I can be there to enjoy family and friends.

Cathy – Life of 2 Snowbirds:

      Start my healthy diet and exercise more.

Nikki – Gwin Gal Inside and Out:

     to host more family get-togethers much more frequently in the coming            months.

Renee – Grandmommin:

      to be more verbally appreciative

Pat – Mille Fiori Favoriti:

  • to live even more healthfully, with more exercise, and to
  • be proactive about going to exams and tests to monitor our health.

Marisa – All Our Way:

  •          I’m signing on with an agent which leaves me free to work on my blog
  •          I  want to double my page view by next year.

Christie – So What? Now What?:

 to accomplish or experience things during 2019, focusing on  health, joy, learning, and relationships.

Beverly – Across the Boulevard:

for blogging, to re-evaluate what I want to accomplish and to take steps that puts it on the path I want for it.

Your turn to resolve-

How about you? What do you resolve, plan, hope, or want to achieve in 2019? And why not ask your grandmother what her resolutions are?

The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year, but a new you.

the HEART of health

Thanks for joining me to explore New Year’s resolutions and the HEART of health. Will you resolve to share this blog post and follow Watercress Words? I appreciate your support.

The graphics and photos in this post are from Lightstock.com, an affiliate that helps me fund this blog. Thank you for considering. 

Happy New Year. 

cheesy-free faith-focused stock photos

Photos and graphics in this post are from Lightstock-quality photos and graphics site- start free trial and get 4 free credits here. 

(This is an affiliate link)

                              Dr. Aletha 

Wednesday AIM Link Party

5 gems of women’s health

5 gems about women’s health-finding a doctor, mental health, miscarriage, breast health, foot care

Some  health issues impact women exclusively or differently than men, so we should be aware of new and updated information .  The issues we women face vary with our age, stage of life, and current health status.

In this post I offer “gems” on women’s health issues from women who are “gems” themselves- women physicians who practice medicine as well as take time to write about important health issues. 

 I’m illustrating this post with photos of women from one of my affiliates, Lightstock, a stock photo site. You can help support this blog by purchasing from this link. Click now to get 5 free downloads. According to Lightstock,

“Our library is large enough to cover all of your needs, but our faith-focused stock is one of a kind. No other company comes close to matching our quality and quantity.”

Cheesy free faith-focused stock photos
Lightstock.com

This post also has Amazon affiliate links.

Dr. Danielle Ofri offers

A Doctor’s Guide to a Good Appointment

Dr. Ofri explains how to find a doctor – online ratings sites are not always reliable. A good first step is -Check with your insurance to find a doctor who is in network.

Next she lists steps to prepare for the appointment. Establish goals for the visit, make a list, and gather any recent, pertinent medical records.

She goes to give some practical tips on what to do and say during the interview and physical exam. Read her post to learn more.

Dr. Ofri practices in New York City where she is also a professor at a medical school. She writes extensively and has spoken for TED Talks. You may want to read Dr. Ofri’s book, What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear. Here is my review . 

 

you cannot love without giving. Amy Carmichael

 

OBdoctormom explains

8 Things Your Doctor Wants You to Know About your Miscarriage

“Miscarriage is one of the hardest (and most common) challenges women face. If you have not had a miscarriage yourself, you most certainly have a best friend, sister, or daughter who has. There are many myths floating around the internet, however there are a few important truths everyone should know about miscarriage.”

woman sitting in a cemetery
photo from the Lightstock.com collection, an affiliate link

A psychiatrist, Dr. Melissa Welby lists and discusses

3 New Year’s Resolutions to Benefit Your Mental Health

  • Sleep better
  • Volunteer
  • Exercise

5 gems of women's health-Watercress Words.com

 In Go Pink ,Secret Life of an OB/GYN

answers typical patient questions about breast cancer and mammograms, including the latest recommendations for screening.

“Only 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers are familial (someone in your family has it). That means 90 to 95 percent are spontaneous, with NO family history. So don’t let your lack of family history of cancer lull you into thinking you have no risk and no reason for screening.”

a middle aged woman and a young woman together
Breast cancer can strike women of any age, although happens more often in older women.

Dr. Barbara Bergin, an orthopedic surgeon, offers tips to prevent foot pain and injury in an interview for Massage magazine.

  • Buy healthy shoes(and wear them)
  • Wear the right socks
  • Stand on a floor pad
  • Keep your feet warm

an African American young woman smiling

And a bonus gem-

Dr.Diana, an allergist who blogs at WHITE COAT PINK APRON

offers this recipe for ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH GARLIC , a vegetable I love. But if they’re not your favorite vegetable (or your family’s) , here is one for ZA’ATAR ROASTED CARROTS White Coat, Pink Apron web site

You may also want to review my previous post about women’s health

The “art” of women’s health- news from 2016

where I covered hormone therapy, the HPV vaccine, birth control pills, IUDs, hysterectomy, and osteoporosis.

The human heart tells us that we are more alike than we are unalike. quote Maya Angelou
graphic by Lightstock. quote by author Maya Angelou 

 

 

RoboForm Password Manager. (this is an affiliate link)

You’re likely reading this post on a computer, tablet, or mobile phone, so you visit sites that require a password. How do you remember them all? You don’t have to if you use RoboForm Password Manager.

My husband introduced me to RoboForm years ago and I am glad he did. I have used it continually to remember my passwords so I don’t have to. It syncs to both my computer and my phone so my passwords are always available. It will even generate passwords for me.

Go to this link to try RoboForm Free; if you like it you can upgrade to RoboForm Everywhere version with all the features I mentioned above. With Roboform, you will have one less thing to feel stressed about.

 

 

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Dr. Aletha  26952564_10213093560871954_4239554644472378905_o

Effective solutions if you experience hair loss

causes and treatment for hair loss-and a brief book review

 

My Sister’s Keeper- a novel

I recently enjoyed reading a novel  by Jodi Picoult My Sister’s Keeper ,which touched on  several medical themes including cancer, genetic engineering, organ donation ethics,  and medical autonomy.

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The story is about Kate, an adolescent who as a toddler developed a rare form of leukemia, and has spent the majority of her life either in the hospital getting treatment or recovering from them. After yet another chemotherapy regimen, she has lost her hair.

One day her mother, Sara, offers to take Kate and her younger sister Anna to the mall for a day out. Kate refuses.

“Don’t say it. Don’t tell me that nobody’s going to stare at me, because they will. Don’t tell me it doesn’t matter because it does. And don’t tell me I look fine because that’s a lie.” Her eyes, lash-bare, fill with tears. “I’m a freak, Mom. Look at me.”

Sara looks at her and says, “Well, we can fix this.”

“She walks out of the room followed by Kate and Anna. She finds a pair of ancient electric grooming clippers, plugs them in, and cuts a swath right down the middle of her own scalp.

“Mom”, Kate gasps.

With another swipe of the razor, Kate starts to smile. She points out a spot Sara missed. Anna crawls onto Sara’s lap. “Me next,” she begs.”

As Sara later remembers:

“An hour later, we walk through the mall holding hands, a trio of bald girls. We stay for hours. Everywhere we go, heads turn and voices whisper. We are beautiful, times three.”

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photo of book cover by Dr. Aletha

 

Alopecia- hair loss

You’ve known people who lost their hair due to cancer chemotherapy-you may even be that person. The medical term is anagen effluvium, which means hair loss during the anagen, or active phase of hair growth. 65% of people who receive chemotherapy will lose their hair.

Fortunately, anagen effluvium is reversible; the hair usually grows back in 1-6 months. While waiting, sometimes women wear wigs, while others wear colorful scarves and turbans on their heads. And some simply do as  Kate, her mother and sister did- show their heads proudly.

 

Stress and hair loss

Telogen effluvium is similar, except this hair loss occurs during the telogen or resting phase. It is not a myth that stress can cause hair loss. Any type of physical, mental, or emotional stress can cause hair to fall out. Probably the most common stress that precipitates this is pregnancy. Others include

  • surgery,
  • serious illness,
  • disorders of the thyroid, kidneys, or liver,
  • iron or zinc deficiency.

This hair loss is also reversible with the hair usually growing back within 2-6 months after the condition resolves or is treated.

a middle aged woman and a young woman together
Hair loss can occur at any age and with any type of hair. (Lightstock)

 

Genes and gender

The most common type of hair loss in both men and women is considered a “normal physiologic variant”- that being androgenetic alopecia. It tends to run in families, hence the “genetic” connotation. As many as 50% of men and 30%-40% of women may experience hair loss with increasing age.

There are two forms. (click on the links to see an illustration.)

Male pattern hair loss– affects the temples, front, and top of the scalp

Female pattern hair loss– causes diffuse thinning on the top and sides of the scalp

 

Two treatments are approved by the FDA.

Minoxidil- a topical solution applied daily to the scalp, causing increased hair growth within 6-12 months, and is used indefinitely. This is effective for both men and women.

Finasteride is a pill approved for use in men only, if minoxidil does not work. It can have undesirable side effects which limit its use.

Another option for both men and women are hair transplants.

5 people young men and women with arms overlapping their shoulders
Hair loss can happen to men and women,; men may start losing hair as young as 30 years old. (Lightstock)

 

Less common causes of hair loss

Alopecia areata is believed to be an autoimmune disorder. It may resolve spontaneously, or there are several medical therapies that can help. Application of lavender may be helpful.

Trichotillomania results from repeatedly pulling, twisting, or twirling the hair. Treatment is difficult.

Trichorrhexis nodosa results from trauma to the hair, including excessive brushing, tight hairstyles, and use of heat and chemical products on the hair.

What to do if you are losing hair

If you experience unexplained hair loss, see your doctor for an evaluation. It’s best not to assume that it is just a hair issue.

It is especially important to determine if there is some underlying condition, such as a thyroid disorder, that needs treatment.

Consider your family history. Have your grandparents, parents, or siblings experienced hair loss?

Evaluate your lifestyle to see if there are nutritional, traumatic, or stress factors that may contribute to hair loss. Remember, these may have happened as long as 6 months ago.

a smiling woman working on a laptop computer
Tightly braiding hair can lead to damage if done often enough. (Lightstock)

 

Consider the way you care for, style, and wear your hair; do these traumatize your hair frequently or excessively?

 

 

 

 

Arbonne carries  hair care products  that  help keep our hair healthy and attractive.

 

FC5– everyday basic care for all hair types

 

 

 

 

Pure Vibrance- especially for hair that has been colored but any hair type will benefit

 

 

 

 

 

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult was also made into a major motion picture starring Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin, and Joan Cusack.  my sister's keeper- DVD

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lightstock  photos at this affiliate link 

Cheesy free faith-focused stock photos