All Entries For women's health
Whether you keep up with the daily news using an app or by watching TV, chances are you pay close attention to whatever pops up about breast cancer. And if you sometimes find yourself confused by what you read or hear, you're not alone. "Reports on breast cancer studies often lack balance or context, which may make it hard for a woman to know what it all means for her," says Lisa Schwartz, M.D., codirector of the Center for Medicine and the Media at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice in Hanover, New Hampshire. To help make sense of the latest headlines, we asked the pros to rate them for accuracy and to set the record straight. Their clear explanations and advice will empower you not just to understand but also to outsmart this perilous disease. Read More ›
You've nursed your kid through icky ailments—remember that lice outbreak?—and lived to tell the tale to the stranger seated next to you on a plane. You've even compared detailed notes on the birthing experience with your BFF. Yet there are some health issues you're way too mortified to bring up even with your M.D. So you e-mailed them to us. We didn't blush once—but we did get the solutions you seek.
"Why do I get diarrhea during my period?"
Things are bad enough during that time of the month. So what's with the annoying changes in bathroom habits to boot? Here's what's happening: "During your cycle, your uterus produces chemicals called prostaglandins that cause cramping," says Suzanne Merrill-Nach, M.D., an ob-gyn in private practice in San Diego. Overproduction of prostaglandins means cramps can occur in the uterus and the intestines, causing diarrhea.
- Doctor Yourself: Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen (Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve), to reduce prostaglandin production a day or two before your period starts. Should you miss that window, try popping an over-the-counter (OTC) anti-diarrheal medication, such as Imodium, on the bad days.
- Call Your M.D.: If your diarrhea is not controlled by OTC meds, you may have an underlying condition (such as endometriosis) and need alternate therapy. Read More ›
Ouch, you burned! Now what? Forget about running to the store to buy those pricey formulated lotions. Instead, ease the pain with Mother Nature's little helpers, most of which you already have at home.
Use the gel that's inside leaves to soothe burns and tighten pores. Apply a little to your face after cleansing.
Add a cup of milk to a cool bath and soak in it for 10 minutes to calm inflamed skin. Read More ›
Hormones have a bad reputation. Feeling bloated? Cranky? Craving carbs? Blame it on that time of the month. But hormones provide a host of health benefits and can help you lose weight, sleep better and stay sharp. Click through to learn five ways they can help you be your best—and how to harness their positive power. Read More ›
"I'm too young to feel this old," says Vicki Inman, 41. She's always been very active, but a few years ago this mom of two teen girls was diagnosed with arthritis. "The pain became so severe I felt as if my leg were going to give out." Thankfully, she found a solution in exercise: "I have to do gentle stretches and yoga regularly, otherwise it's painful to walk," says Inman, who's currently based at the U.S. Army Garrison Fort Benning, near Columbus, Georgia, with her husband. Read More ›
Straightening your hair can be less of a hassle with these expert product picks.
Top Hair Tools to Achieve the Maximum Blowout
John Frieda Salon Shine Dryer, $40
Use a lightweight ionic dryer with at least 1,800 watts for a sleek style. This one fits the bill.
Goody TangleFix, $9
Gets rid of knots gently and has an easy-to-grip shape. Read More ›
I grew up playing school sports and taking phys ed class, so I've been in my share of locker rooms. But now that I'm an adult, the only locker room I encounter is at the gym. And to be perfectly honest, I'm really—I mean REALLY—uncomfortable changing in the women's locker room. I'm beginning to wonder if I'm the odd woman out or if I'm normal after all. Read More ›
Heart disease affects millions of women, including the five who follow. What sets them apart from the rest? These survivors have made it their mission to raise awareness of heart disease in women and are active with the following organizations.
Go Red For Women
The American Heart Association's GRFW movement offers heart health information and resources, as well as advice for women by age group.
The Heart Truth
Educate women in your own community about heart disease with the help of this campaign from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Read More ›
Editor's Note: February is Heart Health month, aimed at bringing awareness to the #1 killer in America. Today we're sharing an interview with Dr. Patrice Desvigne-Nickens on behalf of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and The Heart Truth®. Dr. Desvigne-Nickens answered our questions via email.
DailySpark: How early should women start to take steps to protect their heart health?
Dr. Desvigne-Nickens: Women need to take steps at every age to protect their heart health. Heart disease can begin early, even in the teen years, and it is important for women and girls at all ages to know about heart disease and follow a healthy lifestyle. Women in their 20s and 30s should take action to reduce their risk of developing heart disease.
DailySpark: What are the top lifestyle changes women can make to ensure their hearts stay healthy?
Dr. Desvigne-Nickens: Most heart disease risk factors are preventable or controllable by making healthy lifestyle changes, including: stopping smoking, being physically active, following a healthy diet, and maintaining a healthy weight. Additional risk factors that you can prevent and control include: high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and high blood sugar or diabetes. These conditions are silent (that is you don’t have any symptoms) so you must talk with your physician and know your numbers. High blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and high blood sugar are often treatable with healthy lifestyle but may require medical prescriptions.
DailySpark: Which habits harm our hearts the most?
Dr. Desvigne-Nickens: Smoking, letting high blood pressure and high cholesterol go untreated, being overweight or obese, not being physically active, and not managing diabetes all can contribute to increasing a person’s risk for heart disease.
It is especially important to understand that that having more than one risk factor or condition multiplies your risk of developing heart disease. Having one risk factor doubles your risk for disease; having two risks quadruples your risk for developing disease; having three risks increases risk by tenfold. Don’t choose among risk factors, take charge and control your risks. You can reduce your risk for heart disease by over 80% by controlling risk factors and a healthy lifestyle.
DailySpark: How much impact does weight have on heart health?
Read More ›
Editor's Note: We're passionate about saving lives and preventing heart disease! Please share this blog post with other women in your life. Click the buttons above to share it on social media sites or send via email.
Happy American Heart Month!
February's best-known day is Valentine’s Day, and what with all the heart-shaped things associated with that occasion, it is the perfect month to highlight heart health and share with you what you can do to protect your most precious asset. Your heart will be there for you during all of your life’s adventures, but heart disease is a big threat to all of us! Heart disease is America’s number one cause of death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- 1 in 3 deaths in the US is from heart disease and stroke
- That's equal to 2,200 deaths per day.
- 2 million heart attacks and strokes occur each year
- 80,000,000 adults are affected by heart disease
- Heart disease & stroke cost the nation $444 billion/year in health care costs and lost economic productivity.
In the not too distant past, heart disease was erroneously labeled as a "man’s" disease. The seemingly healthy father that suddenly dies of a heart attack leaving young children and a wife behind is a stereotypical nightmare scenario. Views like this have placed too much emphasis on men in heart-health research, and, as a result, both treatment guidelines and public health initiatives are skewed toward men.
But are you aware of the prevalence of heart disease in women? More than 42 million women are currently living with some form of cardiovascular disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women in America!
To change America’s perception that heart disease is a "man’s disease," the American Heart Association in 2004 created the campaign Go Red for Women to bring awareness to this largely preventative disease. Efforts such as Go Red for Women Day work because studies show that when women are aware of their risk for heart disease they are much more likely to make the effort to make the necessary lifestyle changes.
The same simple, lasting changes you're implementing as a way to lose weight will also help you keep your heart healthy: eat a healthy diet, maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, don't smoke (or quit if you do), and limit your alcohol intake.
So, as women, what can we do specifically to improve our heart health? What should we be doing to keep our ticker ticking?
Read More ›
Find Reasons to Move
Sharonne Hayes, M.D., has a demanding schedule as director of the Mayo Clinic Women's Heart Clinic, in Rochester, Minnesota, which leaves scant time for hourlong workouts. So she makes an effort to get her physical activity in shorter increments throughout the day. "Studies show you reap the same health benefits in 10-minute bursts of activity," she says. She shuns the elevator for stairs, and you won't find her cruising the mall parking lot looking for a spot close to the entrance. "I'm an opportunistic exerciser. I fit it in whenever and wherever I can," she says—and so do her kids. This summer Dr. Hayes' 13-year-old son skipped the carpool and rode his bike to swim team practices. In the evening the entire family catches up on favorite TV shows while lifting weights or using cardio machines in their exercise room. "When the kids see my husband and me being active, it inspires them to join in," says Dr. Hayes. "Plus, it's a great way to spend time together as a family." Read More ›
Jennifer Hodges, 41
Before: 369 lb
Now: 157 lb
I began gaining weight in sixth grade soon after my parents opened a pizza place. I wasn't active and ate poorly. To deal with being heavy, I was the "funny fat girl" in high school and made jokes about my weight. At 23, I was 250 pounds. People always said, "You have such a pretty face, if you'd just lose weight, you'd be a knockout."
In October of 2008, I fell in the yard and twisted my ankle while playing with my three kids (who were all under the age of 4). At 350 pounds, I was too big for my husband to lift, so he had to get a blanket, roll me onto it and drag me inside. I was humiliated and terrified. What if I had been home alone? I knew I had to make big changes. Read More ›
Dr. David Bank, dermatologist in Mount Kisco, New York
Dr. Doris Day, dermatologist in New York City
Dr. Howard Murad, dermatologist in Los Angeles and founder of Murad, Inc.
1. Skip the bubbles. Foamy lather feels luxurious but tends to strip away natural oils. Opt for a mild, fragrance-free cream cleanser with less than 1% sodium lauryl sulfate.
2. Exfoliate gently. Use a facial wash with no more than 5% salicylic or 10% glycolic acid two to three times weekly. For sensitive skin, dilute with an equal amount of water.
3. Soothe your scalp. Banish dryness and prevent irritation with a five-ingredients-or-less hydrating shampoo and conditioner. Fewer ingredients means less chance of inflammation. If dandruff is an issue, switch to a shampoo containing either zinc
pyrithione or selium sulfide. Read More ›
Just like booking an Eat-Pray-Love solo trip abroad or visiting a plastic surgeon, bringing up the (formerly) "silent passage" is no longer taboo. Experts and real women revealed all about "second springs" for our by-the-decades survival guide. Read on to find out how to outwit, outplay and outlast the next chapter in your life. In Your 30s: What's Happening to Me? "By the time you reach 35, your fertility starts to gradually decline and it may become more challenging to get pregnant," says Alyssa Dweck, M.D., Family Circle Health Advisory Board Member and co-author of V Is for Vagina (Ulysses). Levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone slowly decrease, as do the number and quality of eggs your ovaries release. Read More ›
From spotting false negative results to getting coverage from your insurance company, experts answer your most pressing questions (from Facebook, Twitter and e-mail) about this scary disease.
Chances are at some point you've worried about breast cancer. After all, one in eight American women will face a diagnosis in their lifetime, and this year a quarter-million women can expect to learn they have the disease, according to National Cancer Institute statistics. Still, there is some good news: The overall death rate for breast cancer declined by 30% between 1990 and 2007, due to earlier detection as well as improved treatments. "Fewer women are dying of breast cancer," says Margaret I. Cuomo, M.D., author of A World Without Cancer: The Making of a New Cure and the Real Promise of Prevention (Rodale Books), published this month. "But that's fewer white women. More African American women die of breast cancer than white women, which is unacceptable." To help you make sense of all the breast cancer-related information that's out there, we asked the nation's best experts to answer your top five questions and concerns. We think you'll be heartened by their wise advice. Read More ›