Category Archives: women’s health, pregnancy and childbirth

woman standing in a field with bright sunlight

5 gems of women’s health

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.”

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.

 

 

I appreciate your sharing  this post on your social media pages.

And please follow Watercress Words for more information and inspiration to help you explore the HEART of HEALTH.

Thank you for  viewing  the advertisements and using the affiliate links  that fund this blog; with your  help, we can grow, reach more people, and support worthy causes that bring health and wholeness to people around the world.

Dr. Aletha  26952564_10213093560871954_4239554644472378905_o

Advertisements
a middle aged woman and a young woman together

Effective solutions if you experience hair loss

 

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.

IMG_2336.jpg

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.”

IMG_2337.jpg

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

mural of women in costumes

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

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

In this post I review the  Women’s Health Top 10 Stories of 2016 chosen by the NEJM (New England Journal of Medicine) Journal Watch editors. Topics include HPV infection, contraception, pregnancy, hysterectomy, menopause, and osteoporosis. The articles are not ranked by importance.  I’ve also included other links on these topics for your reference.

 I’ve chosen to illustrate this post with photos of art featuring women- all taken by me, on my travels.

statue of young woman

at the Santa Fe, New Mexico airport

Does the HPV vaccine prevent cervical 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.

The HPV vaccine, first released in 2006, was developed in the hope of decreasing cases of cervical cancer. It’s still too soon to tell if less infections will mean less cancers, since cervical cancer develops slowly over time.

statue of a dancing lady

“The Dance” statue at the University of Oklahoma, Norman, OKlahoma

Do birth control pills cause side effects? 

Most women tolerate hormonal contraceptives without problems, but some experience troublesome side effects . In two medical studies of women using various forms of hormonal contraceptives, researchers asked about weight and libido. The women were using all forms of hormone birth control- pills, patch, implant, IUD, long acting progesterone shot, and the vaginal ring.

Based on measurement, significant weight gain did not occur, although women often reported  they had gained weight. Some women reported a change in their interest in sex; however, many factors affect libido so the  hormones might not be entirely to blame.

Neither  study confirmed  hormones caused  weight gain or loss of interest in sex.

crystal statue of a kimono

Oklahoma City Museum of Art

How long are IUDs  effective and safe?

The IUD (intrauterine device) contraceptive  marketed in the United States as Mirena is currently approved for 5 years of use but this study showed it  effective for as long as 7 years with no increase in side effects or complications.

statue of woman with 3 children

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, New York

How can we stop premature delivery of babies?

Obstetricians may  prescribe progesterone to high risk women to prevent premature birth. A study done in the United Kingdom found that women who used a  daily progesterone by vaginal suppository did not have fewer premature births compared to women who did not use it.

This method may not be reliable since  it’s difficult to accomplish regularly; giving a shot may be more effective.

painting of woman in blue dress and bonnet

at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, New York

Are you one of the million women who has a c-section every year?

Obstetricians use several different surgical techniques when performing cesarean delivery, the most common major surgery performed in the United States. After a c-section, some women experience  pelvic pain, painful periods, hernias, infertility and problems with future pregnancies.

In a  review of 15,000 women who had c-sections the chance of having a future problem did not vary  based on the type of  surgical method used. The reviewer suggested that the experience of the surgeon is probably a more important factor.

ice skater statue

Olympic Training Center, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Controlling diabetes during pregnancy makes healthy babies.

Controlling blood sugar in women with type 1 diabetes is challenging and especially important during pregnancy. High blood sugar, hyperglycemia, can harm both mother and baby. 

A small study of British patients used a closed-loop insulin delivery system to control blood glucose (sugar) by adjusting insulin based on measuring glucose levels in the blood .

This glucose sensor and pump controlled by a computer  kept glucose in the target range better than not using the computer. Hopefully, the cost will come down and make it accessible to more patients.

Jesus and a woman-painting

Christ and the woman of Samaria, Houston Museum of Art

If you had or are having a hysterectomy for a benign (non- cancer) problem,should you leave the ovaries behind?

Many pre-menopausal women who need a  hysterectomy- removal of their uterus- keep their ovaries in place, hoping to preserve hormone effects until they would have naturally reached menopause. But the reported study found that after hysterectomy a significant number of women started menopause sooner than those who had not, about 2 years earlier.

Native American woman-painting

at the University of Oklahoma

Is estrogen safe for your heart? 

When the Women’s Health Initiative Study in 2002 suggested estrogen increases the risk of heart attacks, physicians and patients quit using  hormones to treat menopause symptoms like hot flashes.

A new study called ELITE, looked at artery thickness in women on estrogen compared to those not taking it; this is an indirect way to estimate the  risk of heart attacks and strokes. This study found no significant differences, indicating that estrogen is probably safe to use when needed to control symptoms;  but is still not recommended to use routinely for prevention as we once thought it could be.

mural of women in costumes

at the Performing Arts Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma

If you take estrogen, should you take a pill or wear a patch ( transdermal) ?

This article reviewed  5000 women who used either estrogen pills or an estrogen patch for over 10 years. Although  few women in either group had a vascular complication, more women who took a pill had a venous thromboembolism (blood clot in a vein),  heart attack or stroke, than women who used an estrogen patch. The patch is probably safer.

wood carving of african woman

at the Hemingway House, Key West, Florida

Will  your osteoporosis treatment keep  your bones strong enough?

Women often develop thin bones due to postmenopausal osteoporosis (due to loss of estrogen). Thin bones make women more at risk for fractures with a fall.

Doctors diagnose osteoporosis based on low BMD, bone mineral density; the aim of therapy is to increase BMD and prevent fractures. Do you need a repeat test to tell if therapy is effective?

This study suggested yes, since a significant number of patients lost density while on therapy. If this occurs, you may need a different therapy or be evaluated for other problems.

These medical studies produce general medical information to help a doctor and patient make decisions about what is right for her. They are based on current information , but may change as we learn new things. If you deal with any of these issues , please discuss with your doctor before  taking any action. 

Having a baby A to Z for mom and dad- some new books to consider

A few weeks ago I shared  books about pregnancy and childbirth aimed at women. Now I have found one that addresses the challenges of fatherhood, appropriately called The Expectant Father. If that’s you, congratulations; maybe this book will answer questions or confirm what you already know.

If you know someone else who is expecting, consider this as a gift.  I’m including the links to the previous books. Happy reading.

These book suggestions are from Wowbrary; The links are affiliates from which this blog can earn a commission; thank you for using.

     The Expectant Father                                                   The Expectant Father 

By Armin Brott and Jennifer Ash 

“This information-packed, month-by-month guide incorporates the expertise of top practitioners in their fields, from obstetricians and birth-class instructors to psychologists and sociologists. It also draws from Brott’s own experience as a father of three and from the real-world experiences of the thousands of dads he’s interviewed. With the humor of New Yorker cartoons and Brott’s gentle approach, The Expectant Father serves as a friendly and readable companion for dads-to-be seeking confidence, guidance, and joy!”

Taking Charge of your Fertility

The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health

by Toni Weschler

Taking Charge of your Fertility

This new edition for the twentieth anniversary of the groundbreaking national bestseller provides all the information you need to monitor your menstrual cycle–along with updated information on the latest reproductive technologies.Are you unhappy with your current method of birth control? Or demoralized by your quest to have a baby? Do you experience confusing signs and symptoms at various times in your cycle? This invaluable resource provides the answers to your questions while giving you amazing insights into your body. Taking Charge of Your Fertility has helped literally hundreds of thousands of women avoid pregnancy naturally, maximize their chances of getting pregnant, or simply gain better control of their gynecological and sexual health. Toni Weschler thoroughly explains the empowering Fertility Awareness Method (FAM), which in only a couple of minutes a day allows you to: Enjoy highly effective and scientifically proven birth control without chemicals or devices Maximize your chances of conception before you see a doctor or resort to invasive high-tech options Expedite your fertility treatment by quickly identifying impediments to pregnancy achievement Gain control and a true understanding of your gynecological and sexual health This new edition includes: A fully revised and intuitive charting system A selection of personalized master charts for birth control, pregnancy achievement, breastfeeding, and menopause An expanded sixteen-page color insert that reflects the book’s most important concepts Six brand-new chapters on topics including balancing hormones naturally, preserving your future fertility, and three medical conditions all women should be aware of

Common Sense Pregnancy

Navigating A Healthy Pregnancy & Birth for Mother & Baby

by Jeanne Faulkner

Common Sense Pregnancy

“JEANNE FAULKNER has worked in women’s health for 30 years, first in doctor’s offices, free clinics, and classrooms and then as a registered nurse, specializing in obstetrics, labor and delivery, and neonatal care. She began her career as a journalist in 2002 and currently writes the weekly column Ask the Labor Nurse for FitPregnancy.com. She contributes articles about health, medicine, food, parenting, travel, and lifestyle issues to such publications as Fit Pregnancy, Pregnancy, Shape, Better Homes & Gardens, and the Huffington Post and Oregonian newspapers. She’s also the senior writer/editor for Every Mother Counts, a global maternal health advocacy organization founded by Christy Turlington Burns”–

What are you reading? Consider books about having babies.

 Two books about reproduction from Wowbrary

Taking Charge of your Fertility

The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health

by Toni Weschler

Taking Charge of your Fertility
This new edition for the twentieth anniversary of the groundbreaking national bestseller provides all the information you need to monitor your menstrual cycle–along with updated information on the latest reproductive technologies.Are you unhappy with your current method of birth control? Or demoralized by your quest to have a baby? Do you experience confusing signs and symptoms at various times in your cycle? This invaluable resource provides the answers to your questions while giving you amazing insights into your body. Taking Charge of Your Fertility has helped literally hundreds of thousands of women avoid pregnancy naturally, maximize their chances of getting pregnant, or simply gain better control of their gynecological and sexual health. Toni Weschler thoroughly explains the empowering Fertility Awareness Method (FAM), which in only a couple of minutes a day allows you to: Enjoy highly effective and scientifically proven birth control without chemicals or devices Maximize your chances of conception before you see a doctor or resort to invasive high-tech options Expedite your fertility treatment by quickly identifying impediments to pregnancy achievement Gain control and a true understanding of your gynecological and sexual health This new edition includes: A fully revised and intuitive charting system A selection of personalized master charts for birth control, pregnancy achievement, breastfeeding, and menopause An expanded sixteen-page color insert that reflects the book’s most important concepts Six brand-new chapters on topics including balancing hormones naturally, preserving your future fertility, and three medical conditions all women should be aware of

Common Sense Pregnancy

Navigating A Healthy Pregnancy & Birth for Mother & Baby

by Jeanne Faulkner

Common Sense Pregnancy
“JEANNE FAULKNER has worked in women’s health for 30 years, first in doctor’s offices, free clinics, and classrooms and then as a registered nurse, specializing in obstetrics, labor and delivery, and neonatal care. She began her career as a journalist in 2002 and currently writes the weekly column Ask the Labor Nurse for FitPregnancy.com. She contributes articles about health, medicine, food, parenting, travel, and lifestyle issues to such publications as Fit Pregnancy, Pregnancy, Shape, Better Homes & Gardens, and the Huffington Post and Oregonian newspapers. She’s also the senior writer/editor for Every Mother Counts, a global maternal health advocacy organization founded by Christy Turlington Burns”–