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Women’s Health: Texas Senate Holds Hearing To Congratulate Itself On Women’s Health ‘Achievements’

Supreme Court-Texas Abortion Restrictions

Laura Bassett

As the Texas state Senate held a hearing Thursday to tout its “legislative achievements” in women’s health care, women’s health advocates sought to remind voters of the more than 70 family planning clinics and 12 abortion clinics in the state that the legislature has forced to close in recent years.

“It’s laughable that the same politicians that have devastated Texas women’s access to health care — cancer screenings, birth control, and safe, legal abortion — are now touting their so-called achievements in women’s health,” Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, told The Huffington Post in an email. “If that’s what they call help for Texas women, we’ve had quite enough of it.”

Read More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/20/texas-womens-health_n_4823697.html?utm_hp_ref=womens-health

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Women’s Health: A Double Mastectomy Convinced Me to Stop Bad-Mouthing My Body

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Mary Darling Montero, LCSW

Mary Darling Montero is a psychotherapist trained in EMDR for trauma resolution, a writer, and a cancer survivor.

It is a Sunday, four days after my double mastectomy and three weeks after finishing six rounds of chemotherapy. I am standing in front of my bathroom mirror, about to look at the surgery site for the first time. I take off the surgical bra and see two large, rectangular bandages. I pinch their corners and breathe in, then out. I pull them off.

I stare at the terrain of my chest. There are two wide, horizontal incisions. Bruising. Swelling. There are two hard, breast-like mounds, which are temporary implants partially filled with saline and supported by a substance called AlloDerm, molded beneath my skin.

Read More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mary-montero/a-doublemastectomy-convinced-me-to-stop-bad-mouthing-my-body_b_4732102.html?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women

Women’s News: The Age Your Fertility Really Begins To Decline — And Why You Shouldn’t Freak Out

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The nation’s obstetricians and gynecologists have once again publicly underscored the role that age plays in women’s fertility.

In a revised opinion released Wednesday, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists emphasized that women’s ability to have babies declines gradually “but significantly” beginning around age 32, then more rapidly after age 37.

Read More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/19/age-female-fertility-declines_n_4817609.html?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women

Women’s News: What I Know About Being Single Now That I’m In My 40s

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Melanie Notkin

Founder and national bestselling author of Savvy Auntie. Author, Otherhood, March 4, 2014,

I’m smiling as I write this, which is a good sign. I certainly had never expected to be single in my 40s. Still, I find myself remarkably happy most of the time. There are moments, of course, of frustration and grief over not having love, marriage and children. But I have come to realize that I’m happy despite the fact that my life did not turn out as expected. Here are some of the reasons why:

Read More:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/melanie-notkin/what-i-know-about-being-single-now-that-im-in-my-40s_b_4747843.html?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women

Women’s Health: The Shriver Report and Access to Breast Cancer Care

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Judith A. Salerno

President and CEO, Susan G. Komen

Maria Shriver’s report this past week on the economic crisis plaguing American women reinforces what those of us who work with vulnerable women see every day. By “vulnerable,” I mean women without insurance, without enough insurance, or without financial resources to access the health care system. Their plight is even more desperate when they are trying to access care because of a lump they’ve just discovered in their breast.

Shriver’s report is crucial to understanding a wide range of issues of vital importance to the women, families and future of this nation. To me, two lines in this report sum up key messages: “Access to affordable health care is essential to women’s economic security and well-being;” and “Leave out the women, and you don’t have a full and robust economy. Lead with the women, and you do.”

At Susan G. Komen, we work with low-income and uninsured women in thousands of communities across the country. Getting them the services they need has been a priority for our organization for all of our 32 years. And so it is enormously disheartening, in this day and age, to see women in our country at one of our free mammogram clinics with breast tumors that are likely to be advanced cancer — even some with tumors breaking through their skin. Had their cancers been detected earlier, they might have had more options or perhaps a better prognosis.

We don’t know all of the reasons why women delay seeking care, but we have good anecdotal insights. Fear and denial certainly play a role — some think that ignoring the problem may make it go away. As a practicing physician, I unfortunately saw that all too often.

But economics, especially among women, is likely the overriding issue. As Shriver’s report notes, a third of American women are living at or near poverty levels. Many are single working mothers. And women hold 62 percent of minimum-wage jobs, where taking a sick day could mean the end of the job. Those who don’t qualify for Medicaid, and who don’t have insurance, are told to bring the money for their procedures to the clinic ahead of time. The $200 that a mammogram might cost could pay for food for the family, forcing these moms to make tough choices. As a result, too many women delay seeking help.

Unfortunately, with cancer, the longer the wait, the fewer the options.

The economic impact of this unequal access to breast cancer care is considerable: the C-Change organization estimates we can save at least $674 million annually in direct medical costs alone by reducing the disparities in breast cancer access and treatment. This is money spent on the expensive, prolonged therapies that late-stage disease often requires. C-Change estimates at least another $116 million in indirect costs of these disparities in terms of lost wages and productivity.

Members of our Scientific Advisory Board estimate that we could reduce breast cancer death rates by a third if everyone had access to and utilized high-quality cancer care. That translates to roughly 12,000 women and men who might otherwise survive.

I’m hopeful that some of these roadblocks will be reduced through the Affordable Care Act, which will make health insurance available to more women living on the brink, offer mammograms without a copayment, and may result in women accessing health care early enough to make a difference in their outcomes.

As the Shriver report points out, expanding access to Medicaid services would also help substantially, although only about half of the states have expanded their programs. This is why we at Komen have included expanded Medicaid access as one of our advocacy priorities for 2014. We also will continue efforts to preserve the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program that provides screenings for low-income and uninsured women, and we’ll advocate for other measures, such as oral chemotherapy legislation that can make cancer treatment more affordable and convenient for all women.

President Obama will be using findings from the Shriver report to inform a summit on working families this spring. We hope that women’s access to quality health care is high on the summit agenda. In the meantime, we’re grateful to Maria Shriver for spurring the national conversation on the economic challenges of women in our nation.

If you need breast health services and can’t afford them, please contact Komen’s national helpline at 1-877-GO-KOMEN (1-877-465-6636) or contact a local Komen Affiliate. You can find a Komen Affiliate in your area at this link.

Women’s Health: Coming Out of the Mental Illness Closet

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Literally, Darling

Online magazine for twenty-something women

The content of this post may be sensitive to some readers.

By Kelsey Wallour

Originally posted on Literally, Darling

As a rule, I do not generally tell people about the items in my mental illness closet. Like never ever, except for my close friends. So consider this a maiden voyage into the world of being a more authentic self — a world fraught with peril, but I still think it might be better.

I have struggled with anorexia nervosa, restricting type, for over eight years now. For most of my life I have also dealt with generalized anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, dermatillomania (skin-picking), and bipolar II tendencies. Oh, and to top it all off I started self-harming about two-and-a-half years ago, and when I’m really depressed, my suicidal ideations increase. I have written about my eating disorder and self-harm anonymously on my friend’s blog, so I’m not going to rehash that all here. I’ve been in an inpatient facility where I had a nasogastric (NG) tube; my weight has fluctuated through a 50-lb. range over the past eight years; I’m on three psychotropic medications that help keep the cray-cray at bay; and I’m like a freakin’ walking calorie book. I’ve been working on this whole eating disorder recovery process for almost three years now with a psychologist, dietitian, and psychiatrist.

Furthermore, I’m a second-year nutrition graduate student and I’m working so I can earn my registered dietitian (RD) credentials. Awkward, right? I’ve been studying hardcore nutrition for over five years and I’ve only very recently been able to consistently, and adequately, feed myself. I’m awesome at helping other people eat better, but on a standard day I struggle to apply those principles to myself. But you see, I am intelligent, insightful, sensitive, and I’m going to be a kick-ass dietitian that’s going to help other patients with eating disorders when I graduate.

I’m sharing this with you because, for better or for worse, my mental illness is an intrinsic part of who I am today — it is a biopsychosocial problem. There are experiences that people normally encounter in high school and college that I was mentally and/or physically absent from — like dances, partying, dating, and more. But, I have not disappeared from the normal developmental “curve,” and lately I’ve been moving forward in leaps and bounds. Ahem, hence this post. I am owning my shit and moving forward with what I want my life to look like. Yes, there are people that I know, or will know, that will be rude and insensitive about this to my face, or behind my back. But the way I figure is that regardless of the information that I share with certain people, if they’re going to bash me behind my back then they’re going to do that no matter what facts they know about me. So I don’t care because those people’s opinion of me is insignificant.

I am slowly beginning to accept that I can make my life look however I want, but under no circumstances can I sit back and wait for things to get better. Life is what you make of it. You have a choice. I didn’t have a choice regarding the fact that I was struck with severe mental illnesses, but with awareness of the situation comes increased responsibility. I know my triggers and, therefore, I can choose how to respond to what life throws at me. Some days I cave and fail at recovery, or depression crushes me and I walk around like a zombie; but more often these days I succeed and I own that accomplishment.

Maybe you have items that are collecting dust in your closet. Maybe they are a heavy burden on your soul and relationships, and every day you wish they didn’t exist. Maybe you feel shame for existing, shame that courses through your and blood and bones. Shame thrives in secrecy, and it leeches the joy out of life. You deserve to have more in life than dusty items in your secret closet, a shame monster, and a humdrum to miserable existence.

Just start small by finding those safe people in your life who love you despite, and for, everything that comes with you being you. You can’t do life alone, and that is OK. Draw from your support to build up your confidence, and eventually maybe you’ll take on the world. Be you, and screw what the rest of the world thinks.
If you’re struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Literally, Darling is an online magazine by and for twenty-something women, which features the personal, provocative, awkward, pop-filled and pressing issues of our gender and generation. This is an exact representation of our exaggerated selves.

Read More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/literally-darling/coming-out-of-the-mental-closet_b_4455097.html?utm_hp_ref=womens-health

Women’s Health: STD App, Hula, Lets Users Learn (And Alert People) About Their Status With A Tap

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Scientific American

By Dina Fine Maron

“I can’t tonight, I have chlamydia.” With those words Miranda, a character on the racy television series Sex and the City, doused her partner’s lust and reminded the TV audience of just how awkward conversations about sexually transmitted diseases can be.

Miranda’s admission aired 13 years ago, but the challenges of negotiating those conversations persist. More recently, the marketplace of ideas has churned out a bevvy of digital tools meant to help consumers anonymously inform past sex partners that they have been exposed to an STD (often via no-fun e-cards that carry the bad news) or to help people easily access their own test results—both for their own reference and to share with bedmates.

All told, about 10 such Web- or phone-based electronic services have come online, and more are in the works. To varying extents they all either help provide people with STD test results or allow them to anonymously inform partners of risk. Don’t Spread It, inSPOT and So They Can Know, for example, send anonymous exposure notifications to partners of infected individuals. And they have garnered the early approval of some health experts. (The San Francisco Department of Public Health was an early partner in developing inSpot almost a decade ago, easing STD diagnosis sharing among sex partners. Also, the Baltimore City Health Department is now working with the makers of So They Can Know to create their own portal to allow people to see their own STD test results online and separately inform at-risk partners of the need to be tested.) And services called Chexout and ChecMate allow health providers to securely upload test results, which are then shared privately with patients who subscribe.

A new free mobile app, the first of its kind, provides broader tools than the others, earning it praise from public health experts for promoting STD testing and awareness. The cutting-edge program, however, is also stoking some concerns about privacy, legality and what message its services send. It is called Hula, like the Hawaiian dance, because, its developers say, it helps “get you lei’d.” (Also, lest you forget, “horizontal hula” is slang for sex.) The app provides names, addresses and other information about local STD testing services, and collects the results in one place. To access your results or show them to others in a fairly light-hearted way, you go to a screen covered by the image of a closed zipper and unzip the image with your finger, gradually revealing the information underneath. Or, you can “friend” others to allow them to securely see the results via their digital devices. The app also lets users review STD testing centers with Yelp-like reviews about their experiences.

The app aims to address what its backers call a “broken system,” acting as the middleman between a user and the clinic by helping patients get their test results (when they otherwise may not) and interpreting them so patients can understand. With a user’s permission, labs upload raw results to Hula. Then a trained Hula employee taps the results into a set template so that it will be understandable. Instead of a syphilis test finding saying you are “nonreactive,” for instance, the app will say that the person is “negative” for syphilis. Because of understaffing at health clinics across the country, a de facto norm has been “no news is good news”—with clients either being explicitly told or assuming that if they do not hear about their results, there is nothing wrong. Yet positive results can fall through the cracks that way. An automatic app like this can ensure that results get to their destination. And Hula’s backers say they hope that the app will promote further testing, because it sends out reminders of the need for regular checkups.

Hula’s medical advisor, Jeffrey Klausner, says he sees the app as an important public health tool. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates that a staggering 20 million new STDs are diagnosed in the U.S. every year, costing the U.S. health care system some $16 billion in medical costs annually. Right now, more than 110 million sexually transmitted infections are circulating among men and women across the nation. “When you are thinking about the millions of people in the U.S. who have infections and don’t know it, an effort that will promote easier screening and change the way people deal with test results is going to help,” he says. Klausner, a physician, was the former director of STD Prevention and Control Services at the San Francisco Department of Public Health and is a current professor of medicine and global health at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The CDC and public health officials also acknowledge the potential benefit of apps that make people more aware of the need to be tested for STDs and to share the outcome with sexual partners. Such actions are needed more than ever these days, the CDC notes, with people now looking to phone apps to seek sex partners. Mary McFarlane, a research behavioral scientist in the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, predicts, too, that new mobile apps could help to reduce STD cases if they reduce the stigma of infection and of seeking sexual health care. But whether this type of app would provide the most accurate information and adequately protect patient privacy has yet to be determined, the CDC told Scientific American in an email.

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When asked about Hula, public health departments have similarly been somewhat measured in their support. Susan Philip, chair of the board of directors of the National Coalition of STD Directors and director of the Disease Prevention and Control Branch of the Population Health Division at San Francisco’s public health department, called the model “interesting and provocative,” echoing CDC’s approval of efforts to improve contact with people who are at risk of STDs who may be more likely to use such apps. Still, legal concerns about turning over STD results to someone other than the patient prompted her city’s STD testing services to turn away patients’ requests to send test information to them via Hula—even though Hula facilitates filling out a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act form that gives clinics permission to share the data for each Hula user. “We are speaking with our city attorney about it and getting some clarifications. A lot of people are in the clarification stage,” Philip says.

Another concern that gives some public health experts pause is that a list of negative test results can give the test-taker and the individuals’ sex partners a false sense of security. Hula’s test data comes with time stamp, but even if the tests were fairly recent, they don’t necessarily mean the person is infection-free at the time they get the data. The individual could have unknowingly become infected after the test, could have taken a more recent test that was not reported to Hula or might have been tested in the period before an existing infection would show up in the results. Take HIV infection, for example: the immune system can take several months after viral exposure to make enough anti-HIV antibodies for the standard clinical HIV test to detect and indicate infection. Each time Hula posts results it warns users about such time-sensitive problems, states that a negative result does not guarantee a person is STD-free and urges people to “play safe.” But health officials still worry that some people may be misled by the initial impression that a tested person who is actually infectious is in the clear. “It’s an innovative concept and it’s targeting the right age, but my concern is it gives the suggestion that you are [STD-] negative,” says Patrick Chaulk, acting deputy commissioner for the Baltimore City Health Department Division of Disease Control.

“The message we want people to take is we definitely want people to get tested but not to take [good results] as a carte blanche to do anything they want,” he says. Baltimore has already recognized that it needs to improve its communication of STD results akin to Hula’s mission, admitting that to contact everyone who has taken a test is not easy. “We try to get ahold of everyone. We have about 33,000 tests a year in two clinics, so our priority is to contact everybody who has a positive test—gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis and HIV,” he says. Boosting users’ access to negative and positive results is why Baltimore’s health department is currently partnering with Sexual Health Innovations to build a Web site that will allow clinic users to access their test results by a laptop or a smartphone. So They Can Know is also helping the city to set up a text messaging or e-mail service that will send out the results that way, if users consent to such services. No STD clinic patient has yet asked about Hula, Chaulk says.

For its part, Hula is currently offering its services for free, although it hopes to eventually be able to turn a profit. Right now, its makers are looking for ways to expand the uses of the app to make further inroads into preventing STDs. It is working with the Los Angeles Unified School District to promote teaching teens about STD testing and safe sex, and teachers have the option to let students know that Hula is out there for those who are or will later become sexually active.

Hula is also hoping that it can help to reduce the risk of sex with people met through the proliferating location-based dating apps. Last month it announced that it was partnering with the gay sex app MISTER, which has a geolocator that helps men find other men by location. MISTER is currently publicizing the Hula service on its app and encouraging users to tap it to find local testing centers and obtain test results. MISTER is also encouraging users to link to Hula from within their profiles, making their test results available to online “friends.” Verified test results on gay sex apps would be a big change from current approaches, where it is common for individuals to self-report that they are HIV-free on their profiles. “In the not too distant future you’ll be able to see a badge on someone’s dating profile showing they’ve verified STD status by Hula,” says Hula founder and CEO, Ramin Bastani. “That can help you make better decisions about how you want to connect.”

But Carl Sandler, CEO of MISTER, says they are currently “proceeding carefully” about how to further integrate it into their app. “Verified results should be the start of a longer discussion, not a litmus test,” Sandler says. “I think in the future people will be more likely to ask for verified data, but that’s not something we’d require. There is too much prejudice and stigma against STDs and HIV, and verified data is only part of the safer sex equation.”

“When it comes to STD prevention, Hula is in no way a ‘silver bullet,’ and we never suggest that our users are STD-free,” Bastani says. “Like a condom, Hula is just another tool in your STD prevention toolbox. We feel the tools we provide are much better than the status quo—which is either self-reporting or not reporting at all. In our view, some information is much better than no information.”

Read More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/21/std-app-hula_n_4317509.html?utm_hp_ref=womens-health

Women’s News: U.S. Ranks Near Bottom Among Advanced Nations In Efficiency Of Health Care Spending

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The Huffington Post  |  By 

While the great health care debate continues across the nation, a new study shows our struggles for health care go far beyond just the quarrels in Washington.

Researchers at McGill University and the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health analyzed the efficacy of health care systems across the world and found the U.S. ranks 22nd out of 27 high income nations when it comes to increasing life expectancy.

The analysis, published in the American Journal of Public Health , defined health efficiency by the increase in life expectancy relative to health care dollars spent. In the U.S., every additional $100 spent on health care increased patient life expectancy by around half a month, while in the most efficient nations life expectancy grew by over four months with the same cost. Germany topped off the list of most efficient nations, followed by Switzerland and Italy, while Luxembourg and Greece fell at the bottom.

The inefficiency of U.S. spending is particularly staggering, although not necessarily surprising, given that in 2009, publicly-financed health care expenses reached $1.14 trillion, up from $646 billion in 2001. It’s one of the top countries when it comes to health care spending by capita in the world, trumped only by Switzerland.

But there’s more.

“While there are large differences in the efficiency of health spending across countries, men have experienced greater life expectancy gains than women per health dollar spent within nearly every country,” study author Douglas Barthold said in a release.

When it comes to increasing female life expectancy, the U.S. ranking dropped down further to 25th place while it fared slightly better for men’s health care efficiency at 18th place. Troublingly, women pay $1 billion more than men annually in insurance costs according to one report.

The findings raise several questions on how a more advanced nation can have such an inefficient health care system and why there is such a substantial gender disparity. But the key to a more efficient system could be treating it as a health care system rather than a “sick care” system, Huffington Post blogger Susan Blumental wrote. “Costs are compounded by preventable chronic illness… tobacco use, obesity and lack of physical activity — have overwhelmed the American health care system,” Blumenthal wrote.

Researchers say the findings warrant further research on the gender disparities and the lack of investment in preventive medicine.

Read More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/12/us-health-care-efficiency_n_4430101.html?utm_hp_ref=womens-health

Women’s Health: 13 Health Studies From 2013 Every Woman Should Know About

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The Huffington Post  |  By 

The thing about research developments is that they are exactly that — developments. Studies need to be replicated, with more participants, better controls and in more direct ways, then replicated again (and again), before they’re considered definitive.

But that’s not to say that studies aren’t oftentimes fascinating, or that the scientific process doesn’t have value. We at HuffPost Women believe in staying up on personal and public health research, reading it critically and discussing it with our health care providers to see what implications, if any, it may have for our wellbeing.

With that in mind, and with 2014 lurking just around the corner, we’re pausing to look back at 13 of the most interesting things researchers learned about women’s health in 2013.

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1. IUDs are safe for teens.
Intrauterine devices, or IUDs, are small, t-shaped contraceptives that are inserted into a woman’s uterus to help prevent pregnancy. Not only are they very effective (Planned Parenthood estimates that less than 1 in 100 women will get pregnant each year using an IUD), they’re also safe for teens, according to a major study that included more than 90,000 participants, and found that serious complications occurred in less than 1 percent of women with an IUD.

2. Birth control may cost more in poorer neighborhoods.
startling public-health investigation that looked at the cost of birth control control prescriptions in Florida found significant differences in cost: Nearly every prescription contraceptive cost less in wealthy zip codes than in low-income areas. Though the study was preliminary and only focused on one state, it raised big concerns about women’s access to low-cost contraceptive options.

3. … And the need for it is enormous.
Figures released in a United Nations study last March found that by 2015, a whopping 233 million women worldwide will have an unmet need for modern contraceptive options — i.e. the pill, IUDs, condoms, vaginal barrier methods, emergency contraception or male and female sterilization. As one reproductive health expert put it, “Contraception is the single most cost-effective intervention that can reduce maternal mortality … improve maternal and child health and help women and families achieve their desired family size.”

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4. Berries may slash women’s heart attack risk.
An investigation published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association found that women who ate at least three servings of blueberries and strawberries each week had a 32-percent reduction in their heart attack risk when compared to women who ate them once a month or less — even when those women ate plenty of other fruits and veggies. Researchers hypothesize that the reduced risk is due to a certain type of flavonoid in berries that may help prevent plaque build up, so it’s possible that other fruits and vegetables (and even wine) could have similar effects, too.

5. Inflammation-spurring foods may increase depression risk.
An investigation that followed more than 43,000 women between 1996 and 2008 found that women who ate the most inflammation-linked foods and beverages (think refined grains, like bagels and pasta, soda and red meat) had a 29 percent higher risk of depression compared to those who ate the lowest amount. Of course, it’s possible that depression may lead women to eat more of these foods, although researchers excluded women who had depression when the study started in order to help control for that effect.

6. Women’s mercury levels are down.
A comprehensive report released by the Environmental Protection Agency this year showed that levels of mercury in the blood of women in the U.S. have dropped — not necessarily because women are eating less fish overall, but because they’re making smarter choices about the type of fish they eat. (Mercury has been linked to kidney and neurologic disorders.) Large, predatory fish, like shark and swordfish tend to be high in mercury.

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7. Sleep (or lack thereof) can affect women’s fertility … 
Research presented at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology’s annual meeting found that women who work irregular shifts have a higher risk of infertility and greater menstrual disruption, while those who worked nights could have an increased risk of miscarriage. Though the study in no way establishes clear cause and effect, it’s possible that disruptions to a woman’s circadian rhythms, or internal clock, are to blame. Another 2013 study that focused on women undergoing in vitro fertilization found that moderate sleepers (i.e. women who got between seven to eight hours per night) had better pregnancy rates than those who slept too little (under six hours) or too much (nine to 11 hours).

8. … But surviving cancer doesn’t necessarily have to.
An encouraging study found that many women who had cancer as girls are able to have babies later on. When researchers looked at more than 3,500 sexually-active female cancer survivors between the ages 18 and 39 (who were diagnosed when they were 21 or younger), they found that two-thirds of those who tried to get pregnant for at least one year, but were unable to, eventually went on to conceive. Still, experts say there needs to be far more fertility preservation counseling provided to young women with cancer.

9. Exercising during pregnancy = a good thing.
Getting just 20 minutes of moderate exercise three times a week may help boost babies’ brain activity, according to a study released in the fall. Though the study is preliminary, and researchers don’t fully understand the underlying mechanisms, experts say that moderate exercise likely helps create an all around healthy fetal environment, which in turn is good for babies’ brain development.

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10. In some cases, lumpectomy is best.
According to a study by researchers at Duke University, women with early-stage breast cancer who are treated with lumpectomy (sometimes called breast conserving surgery) and radiation may have better survival rates than women who have a mastectomy. While independent experts cautioned against over-interpreting the findings, one told Medscape Medical News that the findings could serve a powerful purpose, “educat[ing] patients who do not require mastectomy, but choose it for psychologic reasons.”

11. Young women haven’t been swayed by mammography recommendations
It’s been several years since the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force changed its guidelines to say that most women aged 40 to 49 should no longer get routine mammograms, but the revision doesn’t seem to have changed what women do. A study published in the journal Cancer found that between 2008 and 2011, overall mammography rates only increased slightly, and did not decrease at all among that 40 to 49 demographic.

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12. Women are more prone to allergies than men.
Post-puberty, women are more likely than men to have rhinitis (basically, nasal congestion), asthma and food allergies, according to findings presented at the 2013 annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. The reasons why women appear to be disproportionately affected are complex, but genetics and sex hormones both play a role in determining who develops allergies and asthma, a release for the research explained.

13. Bras make breasts … sag?
One of the buzziest health stories of 2013 (albeit a light one) came out of France, where researchers claimed that bras provide no benefits, and may, in fact, be harmful to women’s breasts over time — concluding that women who eschewed them developed more muscle tissue, which helped provide natural support. In case you were looking for one, perhaps this is a reason to celebrate “No Bra Day” should it return next year?

Read More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/02/womens-health-2013_n_4338940.html?utm_hp_ref=womens-health

News You Need To Know: 11 Ways The American Workplace Is Still Really, Really Sexist

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The Huffington Post  |  By 

We no longer live in the ‘Mad Men’ era, but the modern workplace is certainly still responsible for some Mad Men-style sexism.

That’s true in a variety of ways: Women often earn less, have more trouble obtaining high-level positions and face greater harassment threats in the office. That’s not all:

  • Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer is an exception to the rule. Women make up only 21 of the S&P 500’s CEOs — that’s just 4 percent.
  • Women get paid 77 cents on the dollar for every dollar a man makes, according to a recent study from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. That’s a difference of more than $10,000 per year on average.
  • That wage gap starts early in a woman’s career. Among recent college graduates, women make 82 percent of what men make, according to a report from the IWPR. In their first year of work after graduating college, men make $7,600 more than women on average, according to a fact sheet from Congress’ joint economic committee.
  • The trend continues even as women rise up the corporate ladder. Female workers made up just 6.2 percent of the top earning positions in 2010, according to a report from Catalyst.
  • Making matters worse, almost half of all workers are prohibited or strongly discouraged from discussing pay information, according to an IWPR report. That means women workers can’t find out if their male colleagues are earning more than they are.
  • If women want to make more money, they generally have to try harder than their comparable male colleagues. Women workers have to pay closer attention to their strategy than men when asking for a raise, according to a recent study in the Psychology of Women Quarterly.
  • The gender pay gap also hurts women outside of the workplace. Student loans are a higher percentage of women workers’ earnings, according to the joint economic committee report.
  • In addition to making less money than men in comparable jobs, women are also more likely to end up doing low-paying work. Sixty percent of minimum wage workers are women. And nearly two-thirds of part-time workers are women, according to the joint economic committee report, and part-time workers earn less per hour than their full-time counterparts.
  • Women face a variety of unconscious stereotypes in the workplacethat hold them back, like: They don’t need more money because they’re not the primary breadwinners, they can’t do certain jobs that are considered “men’s work,” their supposed to act a certain type of feminine in the workplace, they’re not committed to their jobs because their the primary caregivers to their kids. In addition, office cultures are often dominated by norms better suited to men.
  • Women also face more safety risks at work than men. Of the 11,717 sexual harassment charges brought in 2010, 83 percent came from women, according to AOL Jobs.

 

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