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 and Heart Disease

Heart disease is not just a problem that is common to men despite any tendencies for society to slant the coverage in that direction. In fact, heart disease is just as prevalent and deadly in women as it is in their male counterparts, and that means that it consistently ranks as one of the top killers in both genders today. It is important that women understand the symptoms and preventative measures so that they can live a life well lived not plagued by such detrimental affairs.

 

One risk factor is preexisting diabetes in women. Anyone who has been diagnosed with this sugar disorder needs to be extra cautious about their lifestyle in order to prevent it from transforming into greater and graver heart issues. Smoking is another one of those risk factors which is even more detrimental to the heart health of women than it is for men. For various reasons, it is critical that women get a handle on their smoking and substitute it for more healthy activities such as exercise and jogging. Inactivity in itself can be a dangerous hazard, and so it is vital that some type of workout program be adhered to and that this is complemented with a proper diet in order to limit the chance of experiencing a failing heart.

 

Pregnancy complications can lead to lifelong issues if not treated properly at the time that they occur. For this reason, it is important that women acquire the best healthcare possible during pregnancy as well as continuing to follow up with a family physician who can keep an eye on all of the necessary metrics in order to keep everything in its best working order. It is important that any and all prescribed medications are administered appropriately so as to keep check on everything. Blood pressure medicines, blood thinners and aspirin are some of the more common ones which can cause complications when not followed accurately enough.

 

Lastly, women should ensure that they maintain a proper weight. A body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher is known to be problematic, and so women should aim to keep theirs below this level. A diet full of mixed fruit and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and lean meats will go a long way towards great heart health. The primary thing to avoid eating is saturated or trans fat, added sugar, and high salt content.

 

With a little forethought and proper care, women can live healthy lives despite the risk of heart disease. It is nothing to be overly concerned about when proper precautions are taken.

Women’s Health and Omega 3’s

Generally, we’re taught to avoid eating fats in our diet. This rule is something women particularly follow, especially if they’re watching their weight. However, some dietary fats actually have fantastic health benefits and should be included in our diets. One of these healthy fats is Omega 3 or fish oil, a fatty acid found in certain types of fish, like salmon or tuna (so bring on the sushi!). In the health world, more attention has recently been shed on Omega 3s, particularly for its various health benefits. While anyone can benefit from Omega 3s, there are incredible perks for women.

 

Helps with menopause

 

In various research, Omega 3s have been shown to help reduce the symptoms of menopause. It can ease hot flashes and inflammation that occurs throughout menopause, two symptoms that make the process nearly unbearable. Instead of taking hormone pills, menopausal women may wish to try Omega 3 supplements and learn whether or not they can benefit from those.

 

Strengthens joints and bones

 

Strong bones and joints are vital to avoiding osteoporosis or arthritis later in life. These issues can also occur during menopause and are reduced by Omega 3s. While Omega 3s are not a cure to severe arthritis or osteoporosis, the supplements can be useful in helping prevent these diseases from occurring or being as severe.

 

Improves your mood

 

Like most parts of a balanced diet, Omega 3s improve your mood. You’ll feel happier and with a better outlook on life if you get your required amount of Omega 3s each day. Studies have shown that Omega 3s can help with depression and certain other mood disorders, though they do not show significant results for treating anxiety. Scientists believe more research should be done to determine how much Omega 3s can help depression, but it’s a good idea to start getting more Omega 3s for a mood boost.

 

Benefits your head

 

Omega 3s have been linked to numerous benefits involving your head, in addition to helping balance mood disorders. One benefit is the link to reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. The fatty acids in fish oils can help stop your brain from atrophying and will work to keep connections strong. In addition, Omega 3s are incredibly beneficial to hair and skin, which will help you to look younger and healthier. Fish oil can give hair and skin a glow that’s usually only seen in shampoo and cosmetic commercials.

October | Understanding National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Once again, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) has rolled around in October. This month is set aside each year to pay special attention to women who have survived or been lost to breast cancer, while also increasing general awareness of the disease. Around 12 percent of women in the United States develop breast cancer at some point in their lives. While occurrences of breast cancer decreased in the last couple of decades, it’s still one of the main types of cancer and one of the most common to affect women. Each October, various groups band together to show their support and raise money for organizations that help fight breast cancer and the complications that go along with it.

 

How did National Breast Cancer Awareness Month start?

 

The first NBCAM was celebrated in October 1985. It was initially a partnership between the American Cancer Society and a pharmaceutical company (now known as AstraZeneca) that specializes in drugs for treating breast cancer. Since its beginning, the focus of NBCAM has been to encourage women to get regular exams and be proactive about their breast health, while also supporting women who have or had breast cancer. Like any major medical procedure, the costs associated with treating breast cancer are high, so various organizations focus on getting these women the help they need.

 

The Estee Lauder Foundation was the first to introduce the iconic pink ribbon that’s an easily recognizable symbol for the fight against breast cancer. Now, there are dozens of organizations that work toward helping breast cancer survivors and those currently battling it as well as raising awareness.

 

Why October?

 

The main reason October is NBCAM is simply because the first Race for the Cure was help that month in Texas. Now, the Susan G. Komen Foundation sponsors races all over the country that help raise money for breast cancer awareness.

 

If you’re looking for a more detailed history about breast cancer awareness and activism, an extensive research study was done, tracing the disease back to when it was not really talked about and doctors had little idea of what cancer even was. Various women have been hugely influential in raising awareness about breast cancer, from organizing fundraisers, races, and rallies to writing memoirs about their own personal struggles with the disease.

 

Women’s Health and Maternal Depression

For new mothers, it’s common to experience feelings of depression during and after their pregnancies. According to the CDC’s official page on maternal depression, 1 in 9 women experience some form of maternal depression. This depression can be slight, with fluctuating feelings of sadness and stress, but in some mothers it’s much more extreme. While emotionalness is common, especially during pregnancy when hormones are drastically fluctuating, depression is a feeling of extreme sadness that doesn’t go away after a few days.

 

Symptoms of maternal depression

 

If you’re an expectant or new mother, it’s vital that you look out for these symptoms. Having maternal depression can seriously impact you and your child, so it should be treated as soon as possible. Treatment is possible, but you need to talk to a trained professional who can determine what will work the best for you. Here are the main symptoms of maternal depression, varying between types of maternal depression: unable to sleep, fatigue, weeping, irritability, frustration, anxiety, extreme mood fluctuations, obsessive thoughts (commonly of harming the infant), inability to bond with child, and suicidal thoughts. While this list is quite long, there are still many other symptoms that could indicate signs of maternal depression.

 

Different types

 

Maternal depression is the overarching category of experiencing depression when pregnant or post-pregnancy; there are a few types of maternal depression that have different symptoms and occur at different times of the pregnancy. The first is prenatal depression, which can occur in the very early stages of pregnancy and even before a woman becomes pregnant, but her body is preparing to. Baby Blues occurs during pregnancy and can affect up to 80% of expectant mothers. Postpartum depression is the intense depression that occurs after a baby is born and is diagnosed once feelings of depression last over two after the baby’s birth. The final type is postpartum psychosis, which is rare, but also very dangerous. Hospitalization is necessary because symptoms of this kind of maternal depression include auditory and visual hallucinations involving the baby and a “presence of darkness,” which often leads women suffering from this depression to attempt to harm their newborn children.

 

An extensive guide on maternal depression is available at this link.

Brazilian Butt Lift 101: Things You Need To Know About Buttocks Augmentations

With so much emphasis on women having bigger butts and seeking out surgeries to achieve a fuller bottom, there are a few things that one should know about buttocks augmentations that may not be commonly discussed.

 

Here is the run-down on a few things that you need to know before you decide to get a Brazilian butt lift.

The Basics

A Brazilian buttock lift, or a buttocks enhancement as it is professionally called, is designed to create fuller, curvier buttocks and hips. The procedure is not actually a ‘lift’, but rather a transfer of fat from another area of the body to the buttocks. Unlike butt implants, buttocks enhancement through fat transfer creates a more natural look and feel.

 

The cost for the procedure varies with depending your surgeon, but the average price for a Brazilian butt lift is $10,500. Liposuction of the abdomen flanks and back is necessary, but the procedure can be performed under general anesthesia and recovery usually takes about 2-3 weeks.

 

How does it Work?

There is a mixture of anesthetics and adrenaline to create a special solution called, ‘tumescent fluid.”  This is inserted into the desired parts of the body through tiny points. This solution numbs the area, controls the bleeding, and helps remove the fat easier.

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Afterwards, the fat gets suctioned out through an instrument called a blunt tubular instrument called a cannula. This process is called Tumescent Liposculpture.

 

The next step is something called Autologous fat transfer, which means your fat is collected, processed, washed and injected into the buttocks.  

 

The fat that’s collected is sterilized with a wash in a double antibiotic solution.  Afterwards, the fat is placed into the deep muscles of the buttocks to help create the beautiful Brazilian Butt look.

 

Changes With the Body

Expect to bruise, swelling and some aches and pains which are all normal.  Don’t be alarm if you’ve lost sensations in the areas you’ve been treated.  Your nerves will slowly return normal sensations as time passes.  

 

Your pain medication should help any discomfort, but if the pain is intense be sure to contact us immediately.

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The healing process is different for everyone but you should be walking within a day after your surgery. You also need to stay off your buttocks for the first two weeks because during this time your body is revascularizing the newly implanted fatty tissue.

 

Over the next two or three weeks, your buttocks may still remain sensitive and as such your physical activity should be limited.  The result of your Brazilian Butt Augmentation should start to be seen after a few weeks, but that doesn’t mean you can go back to regular activity.

 

How to Prepare

It’s very important that you are open and honest about your medical history.  Be sure to mention all medications, vitamins, herbs, or supplements you are taking, even if you don’t think they’re important, we need to know them.

 

  • Stop using Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Naprosyn, St. John’s Wort, Vitamin E and anything else as directed.  These can act like blood thinners and may cause increased bruising and bleeding.
  • If you smoke now is the time to stop or at least two weeks before surgery.  You’ll also have to stop smoking for at least one week after surgery, too.  This includes nicotine patches and gum, as nicotine in any form impairs circulation and healing.
  • You’ll also have to stop drinking alcohol two weeks before, and one week after your surgery.  Instead, drink lots of water especially the days right before the procedure.  You want to be hydrated going into surgery.

 

Post-Surgery Preparation

  • After surgery, you’re going to want to arrange for someone to take care of you for a few days.  If you can’t find a friend or family member we suggest hiring a private nurse.
  • Make sure your prescriptions are within easy reach of where you will be resting
  • Have plenty of comfy items like pillows and blankets nearby, as well as a few extra towels for any potential drainage.

For more on women’s health and wellness, visit my website

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.

An Introduction to Genitoplasty and Labia/Vaginal Reconstruction

A woman’s vagina is the most sensitive place on her body. On both a physical and emotional level, it is an area that affects not only their physical health, but their self esteem and self identity. When it is not functioning properly, pains them, is not aesthetically pleasing or in some cases is non existent, women can experience feelings of discomfort and pain.

When this happens, a viable option is often Genitoplasty. Genitoplasty is defined in a number of different ways depending on the focus of the surgery. However, it can easily be defined as “ plastic surgery on the genital organs( 1) ” or “surgical alteration of external genitals, as in neonatal sex reassignment (2) ”

For women, this often shows up as Labiaplasty or more widely, Vaginoplasty. Some very clear and concise definitions of these two terms come from Webmd

Vaginoplasty is a procedure that aims to “tighten up” a vagina that’s become slack or loose from vaginal childbirth or aging. Some surgeons claim it can even improve sensitivity — a claim the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has strongly challenged.

While it’s true that vaginal tissues can stretch, surgically tightening the vaginal tissue in itself cannot guarantee a heightened sexual response, since desire, arousal, and orgasm are complex, highly personal responses, conditioned as much by emotional, spiritual, and interpersonal factors as aesthetic ones. In addition, sexual “sensitivity” doesn’t automatically lead to more pleasure – it can actually lead to pain.

Labiaplasty, plastic surgery on the labia (the “lips” surrounding the vagina), can be performed alone or with vaginoplasty. Surgery can be performed on the labia major (the larger, outer vaginal lips), or the labia minor (the smaller, inner vaginal lips). Labiaplasty changes the size or shape of the labia, typically making them smaller or correcting an asymmetry between them.

Both surgeries require a lot of consultation from trained professional doctors who are educated specifically within women’s health. Part of these consultations will be to evaluate the nature of the procedure, whether is reconstructive or cosmetic. Knowing the difference between these will be crucial to reaching the patients ultimate goal.

Lastly, it is important to understand how deep the personal nature of these procedures go. Women seek out genitoplasty and labia/vaginoplasties for a number of reasons:

  • Incontinence: This can be the result of having children. Muscles become looser than normal and can lead to urine incontinence.
  • Purely Cosmetic Motivations: Many women desire to fix asymmetrical labias or other cosmetic issues. Doing so can lead to heightened levels of comfortability during sexual relations.
  • Damage Repair: when the vagina is damaged, surgery might be the best option in order to restore functionality and healthy appearance. Damage can come from accidents, childbirth, tears, etc.
  • Sexual reassignment: many intersected or other individuals choose to have a vagina constructed for them. This can help foster positive feelings of self identity and worth.

It cannot be reiterated that these surgeries are not to be taken lightly. When considering any of these options, it is important to receive thorough consultation from a licensed professional.

Footnotes

(1) Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.

(2) Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012