5 Supplements Every Woman Should Consider Taking

Like any vehicle, our bodies are tuned to run smoothest when given the right fuel. If we stay on a careful diet, we usually obtain this body-fueling, mood boosting blend of vitamins and minerals from the minimally processed fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beneficial fats we eat every day.

While it is wise for our health, few would claim that sticking to a Spartan diet is the most enjoyable route. Maintaining strict eating habits can be a draining crawl, and sometimes we need to recharge and let our willpower stray, so it stands intact the rest of the time. A now-and-then indulgence in savory dinners, or sugary midnight snacks won’t kill us, but it could throw off the levels of vitamins in our bodies, and play havoc with our mood and energy levels.

Supplements are perfect for patching up any nutritional gaps left after a cheat meal or two. However, it’s best to consult your doctor before beginning any supplement routine, as women benefit best from a specific nutritional regimen.

Registered dietician Keri Glassman notes “when considering supplements, women need to think bones, babies, and bellies…sufficient bone density is needed to prevent osteoporosis, an adequate store of folate is essential for fertility and fetal development, and a healthy waistline lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases. Women must also load up on the nutrients that are essential to prevent chronic diseases in the future.” To better clarify exactly what those nutrients are, I’ve listed out a few supplements that women might want to consider for a bit of added nutritional insurance.

Iron

Found throughout a wide variety of red and white meats, as well as fish, grains, beans and leafy greens, this mineral improves the flow of red blood cells and oxygen, and also bolsters the immune system, facilitates brain development, and contributes to body temperature regulation. Women who skimp on iron, will start to lose red blood cells, and may find themselves at risk of developing anemia, a debilitating condition.

Calcium

It’s common knowledge that calcium equals stronger bones, however most women might not realize that a daily yogurt or glass of milk slows bone breakdown in women(which begins after age 20), and lowers chances of osteoporosis.

Folate

For pregnant women, adequate folate intake is an absolute must; folate deficiency is a major culprit in the premature birth, and neurological dysfunction of infants. Taking folic acid supplements throughout pregnancy has been shown to reduce risks of neural tube defects by 72 to 100 percent. Lucky, folate occurs naturally in many fruits, veggies and beans, and is often added to “enriched” wheat products. Optimal daily doses for pregnant and nursing women are 600 and 500 grams, respectively.

Vitamin C

One of nature’s greatest remedies, vitamin C is a powerful healing agent that rejuvenates tissue, teeth, and bones. This wonder vitamin also aids in the production of collagen, a powerful antioxidant, and is a major contributor to vibrant, healthy looking skin. Contrary to popular belief, there is no evidence that vitamin C helps dispel the common cold, however it is thought to fortify the immune system.

Resveratrol

Resveratrol is the mineral that sparked a thousand conversations about the bodily benefits of red wine. At the moment, those benefits are more speculation than fact, although scientists do have high hopes. David Katz, M.D. at Yale University says that research is currently underway to determine resveratrol’s potential in staving off cancer and even aging.

Women’s Health in Relationships: Signs That Indicate You Are In An Unhealthy Relationship

I think that it is important to highlight some key indicators that your body gives you when being in an unhealthy relationship. Many times we ignore what our bodies are telling us because of numerous reasons. For women’s health and overall well-being not only will listening to your body improve healthy behaviors and daily habits, but you will become more in tune with yourself and your surroundings.

 

It is important to know the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships. Some prominent examples of a healthy relationship include:

  • Open and direct communication
  • Mutual Respect
  • Security and comfort
  • Equality
  • Emotional intimacy
  • Shared values and beliefs

 

As I wrote in “The Top 5 Health Concerns That Women Are Experiencing”  added stress, unhealthy living habits and changes in body hormones can lead to ailments and health diseases in the long run that can be difficult to deal with. By identifying with some of the negative signs associated with bad relationships listed below, you can seek the help that you need in changing things around.

 

Sleep deprivation

When you suffer from insomnia, it’s often because your cortisol levels are revved up at night as a result of too many “fight-or-flight” stress responses in your body. Eliminate your insomnia by cutting out the dead weight in your life in order to get a good night’s rest.

 

Weight Gain

Believe it or not, excessive weight gain can be associated with depression, stress, and hormone changes. While being overweight is one of the body’s whispers of poor health, it is also associated with being in an unhealthy relationship.

When you’re feeling down and comfort food is your go to, try getting out of the house and going for a walk, or taking up a yoga class. You’d be surprised in the shift in weight once you get out and get moving.

 

Dark Urine

Here is a sure sign that you are not getting enough fluids to your body. Although this is not directly correlated with being in an unhealthy relationship, you could always drink a few more glasses of water each day.

 

Anxiety

Do you dread coming home to your significant other or get an anxious feeling when they are around? Then your body is definitely telling you that something is not right.

 

Irregular bowel movements

Healthy bowels move every time you eat a meal. It’s called the “gastrocolic reflex.” When you insert food into the digestive tract, healthy bowels move to eliminate toxins and make room for new nutrition. When this does not happen you can become constipated and this is not a good feeling to experience.

 

Constant cold or flu

We all are exposed to viruses and bacteria but healthy individuals should be able to fight off these viruses fairly well. If you are constantly sick and can’t seem to shake that cold, then it is time to start listening to your body.

 

Although many of these signs can be associated with different illnesses and health changes, women should always be aware of their bodies and the reactions that you give off when faced with added stress and hormone changes.

 

Women’s Health Concerns: The Top Health Concerns That Women Are Experiencing

Elimination of women’s health issues has made great strides in the past 20 years, but as much as there is to celebrate, much remains of concern. Let’s look at the primary problems that continue on the list of conditions to be conquered. Statistics presented by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention tell us that cancer, injuries, heart disease, osteoporosis, and autoimmune diseases are among the top threats to women’s health.

To no one’s surprise, cancer ranks high in the litany of problems whose solutions remain elusive for scientists. Women most commonly are afflicted by either breast or cervical cancers. The greater portion of deaths from these two conditions occur in populations of countries that are typically low or middle income, where services like screening and prevention, as well as leading-edge treatment, are not readily available.

 

Also in the forefront of women’s health issues is injury. Fully one third of women in today’s world have been the victims of physical and/or sexual violence. These experiences affect not only their physical well-being but also inflict long-term damage mentally. As women are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression than men, this becomes even more relevant as a concern to be addressed.

Heart disease is ever present in health statistics for both men and women. Although a greater number of men succumb to heart disease, women are more often not correctly diagnosed with the condition. This leads to their living for years with impaired abilities and a lower quality of life.

Another, perhaps more surprising issue among women is osteoporosis, which is now considered a preventable disease in most cases. Doctors now are able to aid in prevention of osteoporosis through both guiding the behaviors of young women in their early years during which the bone develops, and by providing means of maintaining bone mass in later stages of life.

Autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and lupus, are destroyers of the body and its tissues. Women represent 3/4 of those afflicted by these chronic diseases that are causes of the disabilities of many women in America. These illnesses represent an area that begs for extensive research.

 

These are just a few of the leading health problems affecting women today. As the core and caretaker of the family, women often fail to address their own health issues. It is important that each of us becomes an advocate for the health care of the women in our lives.

Young Women & Genital Cosmetic Surgery: The Need for Informed Decision Making

A recent New York Times article entitled “More Teenage Girls Seeking Genital Cosmetic Surgery” was published on on April 25th. As a medical professional who takes women’s health issues, especially those of reconstructive and cosmetic surgery seriously, I am saddened to read words like these.

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Cosmetic and reconstructive surgery is not to be taken lightly. While it is a viable option for those who need and elect it, it is not something that should be done flippantly or at a time in a female’s life when the body is still developing naturally.

The article states this:

Fat thighs. Hairy arms. Muffin tops. Breasts that are too big or not big enough. To the long list of body parts that adolescent girls worry about and want to tinker with, the Internet age has added a new one: the vulva.

So many teenagers are seeking cosmetic surgery to trim or shape the external genitalia that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued guidance from its Committee on Adolescent Health Care to doctors last week, urging them to teach and to reassure patients, suggest alternatives to surgery that may alleviate discomfort, and screen them for a psychiatric disorder that causes obsession about perceived physical defects.

As for why there has been an increase in demand for the surgery among teenagers, physicians are “sort of baffled,” said Dr. Julie Strickland, the chairwoman of A.C.O.G.’s committee on adolescent health care

A defining characteristic and mark of a professional cosmetic surgeon is that they will always offer clear, concise consultation to every individual that seeks out cosmetic surgery. This should be done with every single patient that walks in the door of an office. It is even more important to do when the potential patient is a young female. I am glad that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists are pushing for more intensive education in this area. It is crucial to the long term health of the woman.

The article goes on to give these statistics:

The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery says that 400 girls 18 and younger had labiaplasty last year, an 80 percent increase from the 222 girls who had cosmetic genital surgery in 2014. While the overall numbers remain small, the data probably understates the trend because it does not include procedures performed by gynecologists. A 2013 British report found the number of labial reductions on girls and women done by the National Health Service had increased fivefold over 10 years.

Labiaplasty is a procedure that I have conducted many times. It is a procedure that allows women to tighten the muscles of the vagina,, as well as to give a more pleasing aesthetic look to the labia. For women who have experienced child birth, injury or who understand the risk factors involved in the cosmetic approach of this surgery, this may be an appropriate procedure. However, for individuals that allow trends and fads to dictate their participation in this, I would advise extreme caution. Sexual sensitivity can be lost, as well as the general risk factors that come from any major surgery.

As a cosmetic surgeon, I make my living by conducting these procedures. However, I want women, especially young women, to make educated decisions when participating. 

The entire NY Times article an be read here.