Women’s Health: Step away from that soda: Sugary drinks raise cancer risk for women, study finds

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Maggie Fox NBC News

Here’s another reason for ladies to just put down that sugary soda – it raises the risk of endometrial cancer.

Women who drank the most sweet soft drinks had a 78 percent increased risk of the cancer, researchers found. But other sweet treats, such as baked goods, didn’t have an effect. Nor did natural fruit juice, even though it’s full of naturally occurring sugars.

The findings fit in with other research linking sugar intake, obesity and a lack of exercise with the cancer, which kills more than 8,000 U.S. women a year.

“Other studies have shown increasing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages has paralleled the increase in obesity. Obese women tend to have higher levels of estrogens and insulin than women of normal weight,” said Maki Inoue-Choi, who did the study while at the University of Minnesota and now is at the National Cancer Institute.

It has to do with how insulin, which controls how the body uses sugar, affects other hormones such as estrogen.

“Increased levels of estrogens and insulin are established risk factors for endometrial cancer,” Inoue-Choi said.

Inoue-Choi and colleagues studied the records of 23,000 middle-aged women who had gone through menopause. Endometrial cancer is more common in women past menopause.

The women had been taking part in a bigger study of diet, and regularly filled out questionnaires on what they ate and drank every day. They were specifically asked about Coke, Pepsi and other cola drinks; caffeine-free versions of these drinks; 7-Up and similar sugar-sweetened sodas, and other sugary drinks such as lemonade or Hawaiian Punch.

They were also asked about sugar-free drinks such as Fresca, Diet Ginger Ale and other beverages. And they were asked about cookies, brownies, doughnuts, candy and pies.

The researchers arranged the women into five groups, called quintiles, from those who ate none of these things a week to those who ate 60 or more servings a week.

The women showed one known pattern – those who were older, weighed more, who had late menopause or had a history of diabetes were at higher risk of endometrial cancer, which is diagnosed in nearly 50,000 U.S. woman every year.

“In contrast, women who ever smoked or experienced a greater number of live births were at lower risk of endometrial cancer,” the researchers wrote in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Preventionwhich is published by the American Association for Cancer Research.

Women who drank sugary drinks had a higher risk of the most common type of endometrial cancer, called Type I endometrial cancer. The more they drank, the higher the risk, the researchers found.

“The risk was 78 percent among women in the highest quintile of sugar-sweetened beverage intake,” they wrote.

Other studies have found that coffee and exercise reduce the risk, but Inoue-Choi and colleagues did not.

“Fruit juice intake was not associated with the risk of Type I endometrial cancer,” they added. “Similarly, neither sweet/baked good nor starch intake was associated with Type I endometrial cancer risk.”

It might not be anything special about sugary drinks, the researchers say. It might be that women who drink a lot of such drinks have other unhealthy habits, too.

And Inoue-Choi says it’s not clear why drinks and not other sweet foods showed an effect. “One possibility is that sugar from whole foods comes with other nutrients, such as fiber,” she said in a telephone interview. “Sugar from beverages doesn’t come with these nutrients.”

More research will be needed to tease out an explanation. But Inoue-Choi notes that obesity is still, by far, the biggest risk factor for endometrial cancer, causing half of all cases.

A growing body of research shows that women who eat more high-calorie foods have a higher risk of endometrial cancer. A 2011 study in Sweden found women who ate more sweets more likely to develop it.

And last July, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and the World Cancer Research Fund International said sweet, starchy foods like sugar and white bread probably cause endometrial cancer, while coffee probably protects against it.

Estrogen is one known cause of the cancer, which affects the lining of the uterus. Women who take hormones, as in hormone replacement therapy, are usually given a form of progesterone, also, to protect against endometrial cancer.

Fat cells also secrete estrogen and that’s one reason why obesity can cause the disease, experts say.

There are two main types of endometrial cancer, according to theNational Cancer Institute – Type I and Type II. Inoue-Choi and colleagues found that sweetened drinks only affected Type I risk. But Type I accounts for 80 percent of endometrial cancers.

It’s usually diagnosed early, in time for treatment, because in 90 percent of cases the woman has abnormal bleeding, the American Cancer Society says.

Read More:  http://www.nbcnews.com/health/step-away-soda-sugary-drinks-raise-cancer-risk-women-study-2D11641447

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

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

Women’s Health: Link Between Domestic Abuse and Long-Term Women’s Health

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Ludy Green, PH.D

President and Founder, Second Chance Employment Services

The physical and mental health effects of domestic violence can have a devastating and long-term impact on victims. In a recent ABC News report on the long-term health impact from domestic abuse, author Leslie Morgan Steiner commented that she still deals with psychological damage, physical joint pain and some short-term memory loss more than twenty years after suffering horrific abuse from her now ex-husband. Leslie is not alone.

Results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) reports that men and women who experienced rape or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime were “more likely to report physical frequent headaches, chronic pain, difficulty with sleeping, activity limitations, poor physical health, and poor mental health than men and women who did not experience these forms of violence.”

The survey also reports that “women who have experienced these forms of violence were more likely to report having asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, and diabetes than women who did not experience these form of violence.”

Another alarming report was published in September 2013 by an interagency Federal Working Group, created by President Obama in March 2013, to explore the intersection of HIV/AIDs, violence against women and girls, and gender-related health disparities. The report states that “for women living with HIV/AIDs, violence is especially prevalent with over half of the women living with HIV experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV), which is considerably higher than the national prevalence among women overall (55% vs. 36%).”

Awareness and prevention of intimate partner abuse and violence is necessary to stop this cycle of domestic abuse. Increased National awareness and prevention of domestic abuse is improving each year. On September 30, 2013, President Obama declared October 2013 as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The presidential proclamation promotes peace in our own families, homes and communities and calls for our commitment to end domestic violence in every city, every town and every corner of America. This proclamation has strengthened advocates charge to bring an end to domestic violence.

Domestic violence among intimate partners is an epidemic and the perpetrators are like diseases. The National Domestic Violence Hotline National Report, based on hotline calls during the first half of 2013, reported that the hotline received nearly 120,000 calls or an average of 20,000 calls a month. Approximately 64% of the callers were victims or a survivor of abuse from an intimate partner. Additionally, 95% of the victims experienced emotional abuse and 70% physical abuse. Without prevention, this disease cannot be cured.

Similar to preventing many diseases and illnesses, the first step to preventing domestic abuse is education. The NISVS report states that prevention efforts should start early in the home by promoting healthy, respectful relationships in families by developing positive family dynamics and emotionally supportive environments. These environments help children adopt positive interactions with adults based on trust and respect instead of fear.

For current victims or survivors, the prevention efforts need to be addressed by the community and healthcare system. These women and men need coordinated services to ensure healing and prevent recurrence of victimization. NISVS suggests that one way to strengthen the response to survivors is to increase training of healthcare professionals. These professionals should be trained to recognize domestic abuse and work with organizations that can offer shelter, legal services, mental health care, career training and employment opportunities.

Another important form of response to domestic abuse is to hold the perpetrators accountable. Many times laws are not enforced adequately or consistently and perpetrators may become more violent after the victim reports the crimes against them. Proper training within the criminal justice system is necessary to support victims and hold perpetrators accountable for their crimes.

Sources:
CDC, National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survery 2010 Summary Report
Interagency Federal Working Group Report, Addressing the Intersection of HIV/AIDs, Violence against Women and Girls, & Gender-Related Health Disparities, September 2013
The National Domestic Violence Hotline, National Report Based on Hotline Calls Documents in the First Half of Calendar Year 2013
Presidential Proclamation – National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, 2013

Read More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ludy-green-phd/link-between-domestic-abu_b_4341373.html?utm_hp_ref=womens-health

Women’s Health:Questions About Aging That You’re Too Embarrassed (Or Afraid) To Ask

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By Corrie Pikul

We asked these top doctors to explain some of the less-than-awesome surprises of getting older.

Q. Argh, facial hair! Is there any way to get rid of it? 
A. Many women are at some point plagued by errant hairs on their chin or upper lip, says Ranella Hirsch, MD, past president of the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery. The growth can be exacerbated by age-related hormonal fluctuations—but just because it’s normal doesn’t mean it isn’t unsettling. Hirsch says that the most cost-efficient treatment is a surgical laser that targets the melanin (which is what makes the hair darker). Shaving is another option, and Hirsch says razoring off the offenders won’t cause them to grow back coarser (despite what you may have heard). You can also use tweezers, but you risk causing an ingrown hair if you don’t wait until the hairs are long enough, and that method can test the patience of the magnifying-glass obsessed. For those with a low pain tolerance, Hirsch suggests threading, in which a trained specialist pulls individual hairs out by the root. No matter which method you choose, the hair will eventually return. However, you can slow the regrowth with the prescription cream eflornithine (the brand name is Vaniqa), which interferes with an enzyme in the follicle.

Q. I’m thinking about Whoopi Goldberg all the time now….So, really, what are my options if I have that “little spritz” when I cough or do jumping jacks? 
A. Pads may help you feel more comfortable, but stress incontinence is curable, says Melissa R. Kaufman, MD, PhD, a urologist, surgeon and an assistant professor of at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. Docs like Kaufman often refer patients to a women’s health physical therapist, who can give them exercises to strengthen pelvic floor muscles, a diet and exercise plan to lose the extra weight that may be putting pressure on the bladder and urethra, and advice like cutting back on caffeine and emptying the bladder more frequently. Surgery is a more invasive option. The sling procedure involves using strips of the body’s tissue or a synthetic mesh material to create a supportive hammock around the bladder neck and urethra. Kaufman is also part of a clinical trial of a new procedure that involves taking cells from a patient’s thigh and implanting them in the urethra to rejuvenate and strengthen the tissues. (For more information, or to see if you’re eligible to participate, seeresearchsui.com.)

Q. I love the idea of sex with my husband, but the experience is…eh…somewhere on the comfort scale between a tooth cleaning and a leg wax. What’s going on? 
A. This is a near-universal question from menopausal women (and those going through perimenopause) who suddenly feel itching, burning or pain during sex, says Kaufman. If you’ve ruled out a urinary tract infection, these symptoms could be due to something called atrophic vaginitis. As the body loses estrogen with age, the lining of the vagina starts to thin, and the tissues become red and irritated. Although regular sex helps keep the vaginal tissues healthy, it can also have the opposite effect and make the pain worse. “I’ll see an older male patient come into the urologist’s office asking for Viagra, and his wife will be in the next room telling me about how painful sex has become,” Kaufman says. Typical treatments include vaginal moisturizers, lubricants (silicone tends to last longer than water-based) and topical estrogen creams.

Q. Why do I suddenly need to know where my water bottle is every five seconds? 
A. In the same way that roller-coasting hormone levels contribute to vaginal dryness, they can also lead to a decrease of salivary fluids in the mouth, explains Sally Cram, DDS, a periodontist in Washington, D.C. Antihistamines, decongestants, pain medications and antidepressants can make things worse. Cram says a lack of mineral-rich, teeth-strengthening saliva allows bacteria to proliferate, which causes halitosis, gum inflammation, periodontal disease and, in extreme cases, the loss of teeth. So keep flossing daily, brushing twice a day and getting a cleaning every year or so. Your dentist can also recommend oral moisturizers with artificial saliva.

Q. What happened to my face? 
A. As we age, we can lose fat and tissue in our face, says Hirsch. “Patients will tell me that they think they look gaunt, even though they feel fine. But when we look at photos of them from when they were younger, we’ll often notice a loss of volume in the temple,” says Hirsch. She’s lately been addressing the issue in-office with soft-tissue fillers. For a less-invasive solution, Hirsch suggests drugstore products that claim to “plump” the tissue around the eye area with hyaluronic acid.

Q. Why am I having trouble reaching my top shelves?
A. Starting around age 40, height declines by about half an inch per decade, says John Whyte, MD, chief medical expert at the Discovery Channel and the author of Is This Normal? The Essential Guide to Middle Age and Beyond. The disks get compressed with age, and the curve of the spine starts to bend. Whyte says that shrinkage is compounded by osteoporosis. Getting enough calcium, doing weight-bearing exercises, and even regular yoga have been shown to help forestall bone loss—and maybe help you keep a few inches.

Q. When did I become this delicate thing that bruises at the slightest touch?
A. Hirsch explains that age makes your blood vessels more fragile, and so does tissue damage due to sun exposure (as if we needed another reminder to wear sunscreen). Blood thinners like baby aspirin, which many doctors prescribe for older patients to take daily, can also make the vessels even more vulnerable. So you’ll not only bruise more easily, but the spots may appear darker. The good news is that this type of discoloration is benign and may clear up over a few weeks or months. The bad news is that there’s nothing you can really do to make it fade faster, and in some cases, it doesn’t fade at all.

Q. Why do I suddenly feel like the Wicked Witch of the West?
A. This question is also known as “Wait—is that a wart on my neck?” It’s likely not. Skin tags are small flesh-colored polyps, and while you may start noticing them in your thirties, 60 percent of people have some by the time they are 70, says Isaac M. Neuhaus, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at the University of California in San Francisco. Scientists don’t know exactly what causes them, but they tend to appear in areas where there’s a lot of friction, like the armpits, the neck, and underneath the breasts (they also run in families, and are associated with large gains in weight). Neuhaus reassures that they’re benign, but if they bother you, a dermatologist can snip them off with surgical scissors or freeze or burn them off. The procedure is fast and mostly painless.

Q. Is there really nothing we can do to stop breasts from losing their oomph? 
A. It’s not a bad idea to wear a supportive bra while jogging, but there’s no medically proven way to prevent the ligaments from stretching with age, says Ellen S. Marmur, MD, vice chair of cosmetic and dermatologic surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. Even surgical augmentation is temporary; Marmur says that most women don’t realize that implants usually need to be replaced after a decade. What’s more, she says, “the skin on top of the implants can also sag, and I’ve had women come in with nipples pointing down.” These patients often opt for a skin lift when they have their implants replaced.

Read More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/17/questions-about-aging-embarrassing-health-questions_n_4100775.html?utm_hp_ref=womens-health

Women’s Health: A Woman’s Health Care Decisions Should Be in Her Own Hands, Not Her Boss’s

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Valerie Jarrett

Senior Advisor to the President and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls

Ensuring the full freedom of women as health care consumers to access essential preventative health services is a vital component of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). And nowhere are health decisions more personal or essential to keep in their hands, than those regarding reproductive health. The ACA was designed to ensure that health care decisions are made between a woman and her doctor, and not by her boss, or Washington politicians.

Today, there are people trying to take this right away from women, by letting private, for-profit corporations and employers make medical decisions for their employees, based on their personal beliefs.

A group of for-profit companies are currently suing to gain the right to deny employees access to coverage for birth control and contraceptive care, which are used by the overwhelming majority of American women in their lifetimes. Among the first cases to reach the Supreme Court is one filed by Hobby Lobby, an arts and crafts chain whose owners want to be able to take the option for birth control benefits away from their employees.

We are confident the Supreme Court will agree that health decisions in this country should remain with individuals, in consultation with their doctors, families, faiths, and whomever else they personally trust. No corporate entity should be in position to limit women’s legal access to care, or to seize a controlling interest over the health care choices of women. To take that type of power away from individuals, and to let the personal beliefs of a woman’s boss dictate her health care choices would constitute a major step backward for women’s health, and self-determination.

Read More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/valerie-jarrett/supreme-court-birth-control_b_4346143.html?utm_hp_ref=womens-health

 

 

Women’s Health: Female Hysteria: 7 Crazy Things People Used To Believe About The Ladies’ Disease

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The Huffington Post  |  By 

Deeply disheartening though it may be, the practice of labeling women “crazy” is alive and well today, and its roots are deep. As in, it’s-been-happening-for-thousands-of-years-and-has-been-pretty-well-tolerated-by-most-of-society deep.

Hysteria was the first mental disorder attributed to women (and only women) — a catch-all for symptoms including, but by no means limited to: nervousness, hallucinations, emotional outbursts and various urges of the sexual variety (more on that below).

To make clear how far we’ve come in our understanding of women’s mental health, and how far we have yet to go, here’s a little trip down memory lane — a tour of just seven of the weirdest things so-called “experts” used to believe about female hysteria. (You know, in addition to it being an actual thing that existed.)

1. Hysteria was caused by wandering wombs.

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Ah, those pesky wombs — never staying still, always stirring up problems. According to a comprehensive history of female hysteria compiled by researchers from the University of Cagliari in Italy, Egyptian texts dating as far back as 1900 BC argued that hysterical disorders were caused by women’s wombs moving throughout their bodies. The ancient Greeks believed it, too. In the 5th century BC, Hippocrates (i.e., the founder of western medicine, in what may not go down as his greatest achievement) first coined the term “hysteria” — from “hystera,” or uterus — and also attributed its cause to abnormal movements of the womb in a woman’s body.

2. And experts believed the condition was incredibly common.

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Thomas Sydenham was an influential British physician who lived from the mid- to late-1600s, and clearly thought that crazy ladies were wandering around everywhere. According to Mother Jones, Sydenham once declared that female hysteria — which he attributed to “irregular motions of the animal spirits,” was the second most common malady of the time, just behind fevers.

3. Sexy thoughts were a symptom.

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Fainting, outbursts, nervousness and irritability weren’t the only hallmarks of female hysteria; certain core aspects of female sexuality, desire and sexual frustration were also on the list. As Mother Jones reports, “excessive vaginal lubrication” and “erotic fantasy” were also both considered symptoms of the disease. The horror!

4. It could be cured by pelvic massage …

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At various points in history, the massaging of a woman’s pelvis (i.e., her genitals) was embraced by many a health expert as the cure for female hysteria, resulting in “hysterical paroxysm,” or orgasm. Though the practice dates back to the renaissance, and even before, it became a money-maker for the medical establishment during the Victorian era. “By the early 19th century, physician-assisted paroxysm was firmly entrenched in Europe and the U.S. and proved a financial godsend for many doctors,” Psychology Today explains.

5. … or vibrators …

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When the vibrator emerged in the late 19th century, explains technology historian Rachel Maines [technology historian] in her book “The Technology of Orgasm” explains, it was intended as an “electromechanical medical instrument” to provide more reliable and efficient physical therapy to women believed to be suffering from hysteria. And it was a welcome advance. Doctors “sought every opportunity to substitute other devices for their fingers,” Maines writes.

6. … or a good hosing.

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According to Maines’ investigations, at various points, high-pressure showers or hoses were also used to treat hysteria (as was clitoridectomiesit should be said). One French physician, writing in the mid 1800s, explained that at first this sort of high-powered douching was unpleasant, but then, “the reaction of the organism to the cold, which causes the skin to flush, and the reestablishment of equilibrium all create for many persons so agreeable a sensation that it is necessary to take precautions.” Women weren’t supposed to indulge in this hydro-therapy for more than four to five minutes … or else. (Like so much of the woefully inaccurate nonsense surrounding female hysteria, or else what isn’t entirely clear.)

7. And the established medical community held onto these beliefs for a very long time.

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It’s easy to laugh-off female hysteria as preposterous and antiquated pseudo-science, but the fact is, the American Psychiatric Association didn’t drop the term until the early 1950s. And though it had taken on a very different meaning from its early roots, “hysterical neurosis” didn’t disappear from the DSM — often referred to as the bible of modern psychiatry — until 1980. Sadly, we’re still feeling the impact of this highly-entrenched medical diagnosis today. The “crazy” and “hysterical” labels are hard ones for women to completely shake.

Read More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/21/female-hysteria_n_4298060.html?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women

Women’s Health: Should Women Consider Taking Testosterone?

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SPECIAL FROM Next Avenue

By Linda Dyett

Use is currently limited, but a number of studies show considerable proven and potential benefits

Naomi, 55, a human resources executive in Guttenberg, N.J., had a hysterectomy in her 30s and suffered from hormone depletion for years afterward. “I spent a decade and a half in a fog,” she says. “I lost all my sexuality and felt numb at the mere thought of sex. I cried at the drop of a hat and had sweating, pain, swelling and mood swings. My muscles were so weak that I broke my ankle — me, a high-heel wearer.”

Fearing the potential side effects, Naomi had resisted estrogen therapy. But then five years ago, when she’d reached a low point and was ready to leave the job she loves, her gynecologist, Dr. Nancy Lebowitz, a clinical instructor at New York’s Cornell Medical Center, started her on another form of hormone replacement, which she has remained on ever since. “Within a week,” Naomi says, “the light came back in my life. I felt like a woman of 25. It was amazing. I no longer have those weepy moments or night sweats. I know I sound like an addict, but I’m really not.”

(MORE: What to Do About Loss of Libido)

Greer, also 55, a pediatric dietician in Dayton, Ohio, received a diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer at age 34. She recovered after chemotherapy, radiation and bone marrow transplants, but was left feeling chronically tired, moody and forgetful, with little interest in sex. Five years ago, Dr. Rebecca Glaser, a local breast surgeon, started her on a treatment, which she continues today, that has improved her mood, memory and libido. “I feel even-keeled and normal, and my energy level is fantastic,” she says. “After so many difficult years, nothing could be better than that.”

The therapy in both cases? Testosterone, widely and misleadingly understood to be the “male” hormone. Men produce 10 times more testosterone than women, but in their early reproductive years women have 10 times more testosterone than estrogen coursing through their bodies. And many experts now believe that it’s the loss of testosterone, and not estrogen, that causes women in midlife to tend to gain weight, feel fatigue and lose mental focus, bone density and muscle tone — as well as their libido. “Testosterone is our most abundant biologically active hormone,” says Glaser, an assistant clinical professor of surgery at Wright State University’s Boonshoft School of Medicine and a leading researcher and advocate of testosterone therapy for women. “Adequate levels of testosterone are necessary for physical and mental health in both sexes.”

Benefits for Women

“Women, before, during and past menopause, and sometimes as early as in their mid-30s, invariably have low testosterone levels,” Glaser says. Not all of them will experience its wide variety of symptoms, like low libido, hot flashes, fatigue, mental fogginess and weight gain. For those who do, and who seek to avoid taking synthetic oral hormones (shown by National Institutes of Health findings to pose an increased risk for breast cancer, heart attack, stroke, blood clots and dementia), bioidentical testosterone (whose molecular structure is the same as natural testosterone) has been shown to be safe and effective.

Some testosterone is converted by the body into estrogen — which partly explains why it is useful in treating menopausal symptoms. For those at high risk for breast cancer, or who have had it, that conversion can be prevented by combining testosterone with anastrozole — an aromatase inhibitor that prevents conversion to estrogen. Nonetheless, testosterone has been shown to beneficial for patients with breast cancer. Preliminary data presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology have shown that, in combination with anastrozole, testosterone was effective in treating symptoms of hormone deficiency in breast cancer survivors, without an increased risk of blood clots, strokes or other side effects of the more widely used oral estrogen-receptor modulators tamoxifen and raloxifene.

(MORE: Is Menopausal Hormone Therapy Right for You?)

Other benefits cited for testosterone therapy include:

  • Relieving symptoms of menopause, like hot flashes, vaginal dryness, incontinence and urinary urgency.
  • Enhancing mental clarity and focus. Researchers at Utrecht University in Holland recently found that testosterone appears to encourage “rational decision-making, social scrutiny and cleverness.”
  • Reducing anxiety, balancing mood and relieving depression combined with fatigue. Dr. Stephen Center, a family practitioner in San Diego who has treated women with testosterone for 20 years, says the regimen consistently delivers “improvement in self-confidence, initiative and drive.”
  • Increasing bone density, decreasing body fat and cellulite, and increasing lean muscle mass. “Testosterone is the best remedy available for eliminating midlife upper-arm batwings,” says Dr. George Yu, a urologic surgeon and aging specialist at Aegis Medical and Research Associates in Annapolis, Md.
  • Offering protection against cardiovascular events, by increasing blood flow and dilating blood vessels, and against Type 2 diabetes, by decreasing insulin resistance.

Countering the Myths

Men and women in the United States have used testosterone therapy since the late 1930s, in many instances for more than 40 years — with only rare adverse results. Yet many patients, and doctors, are unaware of testosterone therapy for women. The number of women in the United States currently on testosterone therapy is estimated to be in the tens of thousands — miniscule compared with the millions prescribed oral estrogen-progestin regimens, like Premarin and Provera.

With a growing recognition of testosterone’s benefits for women, those numbers may increase, but it may still be a while before the therapy reaches the mainstream. Advocates say that the very idea requires a rethinking of long-held notions about hormones. And many women have a knee-jerk suspicion that any hormone treatment can increase their risk of breast cancer. However, clinical studies show that testosterone not only does not increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer, it may play a key role in warding off the disease.

Some women believe, also incorrectly, that testosterone therapy will produce “masculinizing” traits, like hoarseness and aggression. While the hormone may cause inappropriate hair growth and acne in some women, those side effects can be remedied by lowering the dose.

Testosterone therapy has been approved for a variety of conditions in women as well as men in Britain and Australia. But while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved of testosterone for use in men whose natural levels are low, the agency has not sanctioned it for women, for any reason. In 2005, the FDA denied approval for a women’s testosterone patch, citing concerns about long-term safety. Similar concerns have been put forth by the North American Menopause Society, although that group has also acknowledged testosterone’s efficacy in treating low libido in women.

Doctors, however, have the legal discretion to prescribe testosterone, off-label, to women, as they see fit and often do so to combat fatigue, mental fogginess and low libido. Glaser thinks this will likely remain the status quo for a while, given the prohibitive cost of conducting the long-term safety studies needed to win fuller FDA approval.

How Treatment Works

Women can take testosterone as a cream, through a patch or in the form of pellet implants, which have the highest consistency of delivery. Synthesized from yams or soybeans, and compounded of pure, bioidentical testosterone, the pellets, each slightly larger than a grain of rice, are inserted just beneath the skin in the hip in a one-minute outpatient procedure. They dissolve slowly over three to four months, releasing small amounts of testosterone into the blood stream, but speeding up when needed by the body — during strenuous activities, for example — and slowing down during quiet times, a feature no other form of hormone therapy can provide.

(MORE7 Questions to Ask About Every New Prescription)

To determine a patient’s dosage, some doctors measure testosterone levels in the blood or saliva, while others make judgments based on symptoms. The problem, Glaser says, “is that testosterone is difficult to accurately measure in women. Levels vary considerably, not only throughout the month, but also during the day, making a single level unreliable.”

Side effects of the insertion procedure, which are rare, include infection, minor bleeding and the pellet “working its way out,” Glaser says. Once inserted, pellets can’t be removed. Some patients notice improvements within a day or two; others do not perceive benefits for a couple of weeks. If symptoms recur, patients can return for re-evaluation.

Pellet inserts cost about $230 to $500. Since testosterone is not FDA-approved for women, though, it is rarely covered by insurers. Advocates call this unfair, because men with sagging libidos are covered, while women seeking treatment for the same condition, to say nothing of breast cancer or heart disease, are not. Testosterone pellets have long been covered for women in Britain.

Since implantation is a surgical procedure, and the pellets are manufactured by a variety of pharmaceutical compounders, who may have varying safety standards, it’s important for women to consult with an experienced, board-certified physician about treatment. But while a growing number of gynecologists, family practitioners, urologists and cardiologists, among others, now treat women with pellet implants, there is as yet no national resource to direct patients to vetted doctors who provide this treatment.

Read More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/30/testosterone-women-hormone-therapy_n_3634847.html?utm_hp_ref=womens-health

Women’s Health: Questions Women Are Afraid to Ask Their OB/GYNs

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GalTime

GalTime.com

Important questions women should ask about their sexual health

By The Mommy Docs

Even the most self-assured, confident women sometimes feel uncomfortable discussing the intimate matters related to women’s health.

Certain questions can make women feel bashful, and we have noticed in our practice that these questions are often saved until the very last minutes of a visit. We tend to call these the “out-the-door” questions — those that get blurted out as if an after-thought.

While this hesitation is understandable, you should know that as OB/GYNs, we have pretty much seen it all when it comes to women’s health.

Your doctor is there to help you and he/she is not going to be grossed out, surprised or judgmental — whatever your issue! Although you may be experiencing something unfamiliar, uncomfortable or embarrassing, you should know that your doctor’s office is a safe place where you are encouraged to have open, honest conversations about your health.

So, what are some of the most common “out-the-door” question’s we’ve heard in our practice?

Related: On the Pill? Find Out Your Biggest Risk

Are my labia normal? More than a few women have this question, and the answer is almost always, yes. Just as we all look different, so do our vaginas. Varied size, shape and color of labia are all common, as are uneven colors and textures. The best way to ensure optimal health is to become familiar with yourself — use a hand mirror to observe how your vagina looks. This way, you will be able to notice any changes or irregularities that should be brought to your doctor’s attention.

What is that bump? If you do notice an unfamiliar bump on your vagina, don’t panic. Women can develop a variety of bumps on their labia and vagina, but most bumps aren’t serious. Some common types of bumps are skin tags, small cysts, or instances of folliculitis — minor skin infections near hair follicles. That said, you should always ask your doctor to take a look at anything new as some STDs, like genital warts or herpes, may also present as small bumps.

Related: 4 Signs Your Body May Have a Nutrient Deficiency

Is it a yeast infection… or something worse? Women sometimes confuse the symptoms of a yeast infection with those of an STD, especially if they have recently had unprotected sex. While a yeast infection can easily be treated with an over-the-counter option(s), STDs can call for more aggressive treatment and can pose long term health hazards if left untreated. If you think you could have been exposed to an STD or are experiencing abnormal symptoms, be open and honest with your doctor so you can get to the bottom of the problem.

Additionally, we always recommend that women and their partners should both be tested for STDs before having sex for the first time.

Is anal sex safe? Anal sex can be safe, but there are several things you should know before trying it. First of all, never have anal sex directly followed by vaginal sex, as this can transfer bacteria to the vagina. Realize that the rectum is not designed for intercourse. It is not as elastic as the vagina and doesn’t produce lubrication like the vagina, so it can tear. That said, anal sex can be safe when women are fully aroused, the anal sphincter is relaxed, and artificial lubrication is used generously on the penis and in and around the anus.

It is not uncommon for women to experience light anal bleeding for one to two days following anal sex, usually indicating a minor tear inside the rectum, which is not serious. However, any prolonged or heavy bleeding should be brought to your doctor’s attention.

These are just a few of the many questions we find our patients have trouble addressing with us. If you have a questions or concerns that aren’t addressed above, we encourage you to talk to your doctor — that’s what she’s there for!

The Mommy Docs are practicing OB/GYNs and stars in the hit show “Deliver Me,” airing daily on Discovery Fit and Health, in addition to a new series in development. The Docs are also authors of The Mommy Docs’ Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy and Birth.

Read More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/galtime/questions-women-are-afrai_b_4275041.html?utm_hp_ref=womens-health

Women’s Health: When the Man You Love Asks You to Lose Weight

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Akela Stanfield

Writer, Learning Architect,Globetrotter, Life-long Weight Watcher

“What would you do if I lost weight?”

My best friend and I were in the throes of the same tired conversation we had every New Year’s Day: Are we more than friends? It never ended with any resolution.

He did not hesitate. “I would ask you to marry me.”

Just like that, we had a resolution. Never mind that I was wrist deep in a Doritos bag. He finally acknowledged my fat. Now we were getting somewhere.

It hurt. But, I was not surprised. By the end of 2012 I was well over 300 pounds and growing every day. I was gaining 2 pounds a month. I didn’t come off as someone capable of giving or receiving a lifetime of love and care. I didn’t even take care of myself.

I ate, but I did not move. Sweat was my mortal enemy. My major food groups were drive-thru windows, Harold’s Chicken Shack, and restaurants that served things smothered in cream or cheese. I was a ticking time bomb.

I had no discretion when it came to relationships. I could not get past my size. I thought the attention I received from men should be treasured since I was so overweight. My friend warned me to be selective. He tried to remind me men would flock to my beauty even if I had an arm for a nose. But his messages of discernment were dead on arrival. I was too easily offended and craved the validation he would not give. I dismissed the grief I heard in his voice when I had to tell him about an emotional abuse I suffered at the hands of men that had no business handling me at all.

For 17 years, he watched me grow up and out. I changed from a confident and curvy girl with lots of energy to an anxious and obese woman that spent her evenings on the couch with something fried, sweet, or both. He waited patiently for a glimpse of the self-assured girl he used to know. I presented an uncontrolled woman with no plan. He decided we both deserved more. I guess he figured it was high time to tell me.

I knew I deserved more. I wanted to take care of myself. I wanted to be healthier and lighter. However, I did not want to lose weight. Losing weight entailed a workload I was afraid of. I deemed it impossible. So instead of accepting his help, I yelled at him and told him he did not love me. Love would not notice the 300 pounds my 5’3″ frame carried. Confused, he just stared at me; he knew more than anyone how desperately I wanted and needed to lose weight. He alone knew all my secrets. He heard my disappointments. He hoped for my future. He refused to believe it could not be done.

“You can accomplish anything you want to. You always have.” That was his favorite refrain. I wasn’t interested in what I could do. So I got angry.

I spent a lot of wasted time working around his request that I love myself enough to become my best self. I dated men who accepted my size; they weren’t for me. I traveled all around the world; it was exhilarating but empty. I even attempted to get weight loss surgery; I chickened out at the last minute. I was running away from my problem without breaking a sweat.

The running brought me 20 more pounds and back to him, on New Year’s Day 2013, with more baggage than I left with. He was still my best friend. I was ready to change. Thank God he was ready to support. His workout playlists of Rick Ross and Michael Jackson make my 3-mile runs bearable. His rebukes of my scale obsession put healthy habits in perspective. Plus, every time time he shows solidarity by happily eating fat-free versions of his favorite foods, I love him a little bit more.

Starting my weight loss journey with him made me realize without a shadow of a doubt that he does not love me for what I look like. If he did, he would have kept silent, and married someone else. Instead, he invested in my personal success. He helped me realize that I am not my weight.

I too could have married someone else, and told him to jerk off. I could have hidden out behind my weight a little longer. Most men I dated believed my weight was a part of me because that was the narrative I sold them. I would say with pride, “I’m a big girl.” However, I could not fool a man that has loved me for more than half of my life. I started my journey because I knew I could not afford to miss an opportunity to truly show love and be loved authentically. No piece of sweet potato pie is worth that.

I used to worry I was doing this for him; I knew that was not sustainable. Now I know that I’m doing all of this for me. He was the catalyst, but I am the reason. I want to keep the best possible Akela around. However, I must admit there’s nothing sexier than getting your body in shape while your man happily cheers you on.

Read More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/akela-stanfield-/weight-loss-success-story_b_4264102.html?utm_hp_ref=womens-health

Women’s Health: 19 Habits Of Really Healthy Women

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The Huffington Post  |  By 

There are certain determinants of health that are largely, if not entirely, out of your control. Your genetic makeup and biology have major bearing on your overall wellbeing, as do any number of socioeconomic factors, and your access to high-quality care. If you have an inherited health condition, and you are struggling to earn a living wage, your path to health is going to be rockier than that of someone who doesn’t and isn’t.

What’s more, there is no one definition of what “good health” means — and many ways of getting there. Your version might include a lot of yoga and a vegan diet; mine might center around finding medications that safely and effectively address a chronic condition. Neither of us is wrong.

But there are individual behaviors that have been shown — in many cases definitively — to help improve and maintain women’s health. Habits that have a direct and measurable impact on women’s bodies and minds, and that healthy women therefore embrace. Here are 19.

1) Healthy women cultivate friendships.

women laughing

A study published last November found that women with breast cancer who felt socially isolated were more likely to die from the disease than those with closer ties, while another found that women with advanced ovarian cancer who had lots of social support had significantly lower levels of a key protein linked to more aggressive types of the disease. Other studies have also tied friendship to better cognitive health andlongevity.

2. They have a screening plan …
Who should get screened for what, and when, is an inexact science, and leading medical organizations disagree on the standards. When it comes to mammography for women with typical breast cancer risk profiles, for example, the American Cancer Society recommends screens starting at age 40, while the US Preventive Services Task Force recommends biennial screening for women age 50 and up. Healthy women read up on their options and make informed decisions about what’s right for them with (and this is key) a team of qualified providers they’ve carefully assembled, and in whom they trust.

3. … And they become experts on their own bodies.
No nurse or doctor can ever know your body as well as you do, which is why healthy women tune in to theirs and speak up when something seems off. They do monthly self-breast exams, track their menstrual cycles, note where their moles are (and if they’ve changed) and pay attention to any unusual symptoms. Not only is this intimate knowledge of their body a way for women to revel in its strength and awesomeness, it ensures they’re active participants in their own health.

4. They take medication seriously.
Research suggests that when it comes to medication adherence, women are worse than men. (In one survey, one-third of women stopped taking a drug for a chronic illness or serious medical condition, for a variety of possible reasons: cost, forgetfulness and confusion about how to take it, to name a few.) Healthy women understand that not being vigilant with medication has the potential to compound serious problems, and they also understand that taking medication carries with it risks and benefits.

5. They prioritize sleep.

woman sleeping

The list of reasons why sleep matters is as long as it is varied, but the bottom line is, it’s a basic human need. And on the whole women don’t get enough of it: A 2007 National Sleep Foundation poll that focused on women found that roughly 3 in 10 said they get a good night’s sleep only a few nights a month or less. But healthy women know that getting enough sleep, and ensuring it’s high-quality (meaning not disrupted by text messages, or glowing lights from electronics, for example) are critical factors in keeping their minds and bodies strong and do everything they can to get plenty of rest.

6. They have great sex — coupled and alone … 
Sex isn’t just good for pleasure (or procreation); research suggests it can boost the immune system, lower blood pressure and help improve women’s bladder control by working the pelvic floor muscles, WebMD reports. One preliminary study even found that orgasms could have brain benefits: When researchers took MRIs of women mid-orgasm, they found they had increased blood flow to all parts of their brains.

7. … And they’re safe while doing it.
When it comes to sex, healthy women know it’s all about protection, protection, protection. In the U.S., a whopping 19 million new sexually transmitted infections occur each year, and while both men and women are affected, women have “more frequent and more serious health problems” related to STDs than men, the Office on Women’s Health at theDepartment of Health and Human Services explains. Healthy women who chose to be sexually active make sure there’s always an effective barrier between themselves and their partners.

8. They find an exercise approach they like, and stick with it.
Yes, this is yet another article telling you what you already know — that it’s important to exercise. There is simply no way around the fact that being active is a fundamental part of good health, and research shows that persistence matters. One study comparing women in their 70s found that those who got the most exercise (and ate the most fruits and veggies) were eight times less likely to die during the study period than those who got the least. Healthy women know it’s imperative to find an exercise program that works for them, and then work at it, day-in and day-out.

9. They eat according to their life stage …

older woman eating

The “best” eating approach for health and longevity is a matter of debate, though public health experts generally agree on some version of a balanced diet including lots of fruits, vegetables and whole foods. But while healthy women may differ in the specifics of their approaches, they recognize the importance of cluing into how nutritional needs change over time. Women who are thinking of becoming pregnant, for example,need to make sure they get enough folic acid, while aging women have to pay particular attention to calcium. Healthy women also make sure to discuss nutrition with their healthcare providers.

10. …And take cues from the Japanese.
As far as good examples go, you could do far worse than look toward Japan, where the women have the highest life expectancy in the world.As Fox News reports, a girl born in Japan in 2012 can expect, on average, to live for 86.41 years. Though universal healthcare is one contributing factor (and one that’s largely out of individual women’s control), experts also attribute their longevity to strong social ties (see number one on this list), a diet that’s low in fat (though relatively high in salt) and a comfortable standard of living into retirement, according to The Guardian.

11. They watch their alcohol consumption.
The fact is, alcohol affects women differently than men. Women are more vulnerable to its effects, even if they drink less, and those potential effects are serious: Women who regularly consume more than about seven drinks a week are at greater risk for serious injuries, hypertension, stroke and even cancer. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholismdefines “low-risk” drinking for women as no more than three drinks on any day, and no more than seven drinks per week.

12. They don’t neglect their hearts.
In the U.S., 1 in 3 women dies from heart disease, making it the number-one killer of women (and men), but according to the American Heart Association, only 1 in 5 women believe heart disease is, statistically speaking, her greatest health threat. Healthy women understand that while certain risk factors are beyond their control, others (like keeping blood pressure and cholesterol levels under control and not smoking) are not.

13. They breastfeed — if possible.

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Breastfeeding can be difficult — far more difficult to initiate and stick withthan many women realize — and more often than not, support is woefully scant. But breastfeeding doesn’t just provide benefits to babies; it has alsobeen linked to lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, breast and ovarian cancer, and postpartum depression in women, research suggests.

14. They monitor their mental health after they give birth.
Having a baby can be an incredibly exciting time, but it can also take a toll on women’s mental health: Estimates suggest that roughly 13 percent of pregnant women and new mothers experience depression. There is a difference between the so-called “baby blues” — mood swings in the days or first weeks after birth that are highly common and typically go away on their own — and more serious postpartum depression, which lasts longer — it can occur anytime within the first year after birth — and is more debilitating. (According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office on Women’s Health, women should call their doctors if symptoms such as loss of appetite, severe mood swings and a lack of joy, last longer than two weeks.)

15. They’re careful about what they put on their bodies.
Endocrine disruptors like pthlatates and BPA lurk in many cosmetics, and recent research surfaced concerns over the presence of lead in lipsticks. Though there are no clear-cut answers on how much exposure to these chemicals and substances is too much — or whether certain products really pose a danger — healthy women know it pays to read labels and to stay up to date on current research.

16. They wear sunscreen — and never, ever use tanning beds.
Ask just about any dermatologist for their biggest anti-aging tip, and the answer is sunscreen. As in, wearing it every single day. But wearing SPF isn’t just a matter of vanity, it’s a potential lifesaver: Melanoma is one of the most common cancers in young adults, according to the American Cancer Societyparticularly young women. Healthy women always avoid indoor tanning beds and limit their UV exposure by applying generous amounts of sunscreen.

17. They embrace their vaginas as-is.
When it comes to below-the-belt grooming and care, healthy women take a balanced approach. Waxing carries with it many possible risks, including infection and burns, and vaginal douching ups a woman’s risk of pelvic inflammatory disease and pregnancy complications, among other things, because douching upsets the vagina’s relatively delicate balance. Simply using a harsh soap (one that has perfumes, or doesn’t have a pH that matches your own body’s) can lead to uncomfortable irritation. That’s not to say that healthy women can’t groom themselves downstairs — but they weigh the possible risks before proceeding to the salon or drugstore.

18. They meditate.

meditating woman

When it comes to health, the mind and body are inextricably connected. And meditation, which takes many forms and can fit into women’s lives in many different ways, has been linked to a slew of potential health benefits including, but not limited to, some protection against heart disease, lower blood pressure and changes in areas of the brain linked to pain management and cognition.

19. They make stress management a priority.
Stress is as much a factor in overall health and well being as diet and exercise, and too much of it over the course of a woman’s life is extremely harmful. Chronic stress has been tied to mental health issues, like depression and anxiety, as well as heart disease and weight gain. One study found that stress may take a particularly hard toll on 40- to 60-year-old women, in whom it’s also been linked to digestive issues, joint and muscle pain and migraines. Healthy women know that finding good ways to manage stress (think exercise, mind-body interventions and investing in personal relationships) isn’t just a means of leading a happier, more balanced life; it’s a big factor in longterm wellbeing.

Read More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/07/19-habits-really-healthy-women_n_4195352.html?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women

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