Read these 37 Women´s Health Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Nurse tips and hundreds of other topics.
Heavy and chronic alcohol drinking can lead to inadequate functioning of the women's ovaries, resulting in hormonal deficiencies, sexual dysfunction, infertility, menstrual irregularities, and early menopause.
Eat right to counter symptoms of PMS. Studies have shown that certain foods can help ease PMS symptoms. These include complex carbohydrates such as pasta, vegetables and whole grain breads and cereals. Avoid foods that contain caffeine -- cola, coffee and chocolate can all trigger PMS symptoms.
Researchers announced July 9, 2002 that they have halted one of the largest and best-designed studies of hormone replacement therapy because women taking the hormones after menopause had a greater risk of breast cancer, heart attack, stroke and blood clots than those who did not take the drugs.
More than 6 million women in the US currently take estrogen/progestin hormone combination therapy for a variety of reasons, including cures of hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. The hope--and the hype--has been that such hormones would also confer a number of other advantages, including a reduced risk of heart disease. The study suggests that when women take the drugs for more than about 5 years, the risks of the hormones clearly outweigh the benefits.
Alternate breast massage will not only increase your breast milk supply, but it will also produce milk that is fattier and higher in calories. You do alternate breast massage almost the exact way you do your monthly breast self-exam. While breastfeeding (after your baby has stopped sucking vigorously) or pumping, take two fingers and starting at your armpit and going around your breast, gently massage in a circular motion.
Some STDs can spread into the uterus (womb) and fallopian tubes to cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which in turn is a major cause of both infertility and ectopic (tubal) pregnancy. The latter can be fatal.
STDs in women also may be associated with cervical cancer. One STD, human papillomavirus infection (HPV), causes genital warts and cervical and other genital cancers.
STDs can be passed from a mother to her baby before, during, or immediately after birth; some of these infections of the newborn can be cured easily, but others may cause a baby to be permanently disabled or even die.
Typically, every pregnant woman gets advice from her physician or caregiver about which healthy foods to include during pregnancy, but there is also a long list of foods that should be avoided as they can pose a health risk for your unborn fetus. Women should be aware of which foods and nutrients are vital for a healthy birth, and also be aware of foods that are potentially dangerous for both mother and the unborn child.
Healthy foods are essential for energy, and some can even prevent certain birth defects. For example, folic acid has been shown to prevent spina bifida and other neural tube defects, so every woman should include leafy green vegetables, legumes and orange juice as long as there is no extra added sugars and it is free of dyes or preservatives. Proteins can come from lean meats such as poultry, fish or eggs. Iron and Vitamin C can come from oranges or strawberries, and can help boost the immune system. Carbohydrates provide energy and are available from fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grain pastas and cereal and breads. A prenatal vitamin can help include vitamins and minerals not ingested through diet.
Foods to avoid are the ones that pose a risk like salmonella, listeria and E. coli. These ailments are caused by bacteria and can cause symptoms like fever, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and infection that spreads to the blood stream. Severe cases may require hospitalization, antibiotics, and may even lead to death for mom and newborn.
Raw or uncooked foods are a high risk for E. coli and salmonella. Meats should be cooked to proper temperatures and foods to avoid are sushi and anything that may contain raw eggs like uncooked batter or dough. Some fish have high mercury levels like tilefish, albacore tunas, mackerel, or swordfish. These should be eliminated while pregnant. Unpasteurized juice or dairy products may cause listeria, E. coli, and salmonella, so soft cheeses like brie, feta or Roquefort are not healthy to eat while pregnant. Lunch meats like hot dogs, deli meats or poultry may contain listeria. A good rule to follow is always cook meats to 145F-160F. This helps to ensure that bacteria are eliminated. Steer clear of store bought salads and certain raw vegetables like radish or sprouts, as they can contain listeria. Instead opt to make your own salads and wash all lettuce and uncooked vegetables or legumes.
Eating healthy during pregnancy does not have to be confusing. Knowing which foods to include and which to exclude, can go a long way towards aiding in a healthy delivery for both mom and baby.
Women in the postpartum period, especially nursing mothers, should wash their breasts with a liquid antibacterial soap such as Dial at least once per day to prevent mastitis, a very painful infection of the breast tissue. Wearing a clean, supportive bra is also a necessity.
All pregnant women should be routinely screened for Group B streptococcus, a major cause of illness and death among newborns.
Group B streptococcus (GBS), or "strep," can cause serious infections, such as meningitis, in newborns. Infants can become infected with the bacterium during labor and delivery, so pregnant women are screened for GBS during the last few weeks of pregnancy. Women infected with strep may be treated with antibiotics to reduce the risk of passing on the infection.
To ease the emotional ups and downs of menopause:
Exercise regularly for energy and to relieve stress.
Seek out and talk with other women who have or are going through menopause.
Avoid stressful situations whenever possible.
Incorporate relaxation techniques into your daily life. Meditation, yoga and massages can help ease the stress and emotional turmoil you're going through.
Eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet and check with your doctor about taking vitamin supplements.
To help women ease hot flashes during menopause:
Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing made of natural fibers.
Limit your intake of beverages that contain caffeine or alcohol.
Avoid eating rich and spicy foods.
Drink lots of cool drinks, especially water.
Avoid drinking hot beverages.
Many women find relief from short-term menopause-related changes with non-prescription remedies, such as estrogen-containing foods (soy products, whole-grain cereal, seeds, certain fruits and vegetables) and creams, certain herbs such as black cohosh, and vitamin E and vitamin B complexes. Researchers are studying the safety and efficacy of these non-prescription hormone therapies. Local non-hormonal therapy is available for vaginal dryness and urinary bladder conditions.
Get out your condoms: Doctors have recently linked chlamydia, a very common STD, to an increased risk of developing cervical cancer. While human papillomavirus (HPV) has long been recognized as the leading cause of this cancer -- which currently strikes 13,000 women a year -- the role played by chlamydia was less clear. Chlamydia is the most prevalent bacterial STD,
with 4 million to 8 million new cases diagnosed each year. Unlike HPV, it can be treated with antibiotics, but since the infection often produces no symptoms, many women carry the disease without knowing it. This finding gives doctors new reason to screen women for chlamydia as part of their annual gynecological checkups.
All women can adopt a healthy lifestyle, like not smoking, regular exercise, and good nutrition. In addition, other prescription drugs, such as statins or beta-blockers, are available to lower blood lipid levels or blood pressure levels. A healthy lifestyle can also help decrease a woman's risk of bone loss. Health professionals also recommend calcium and vitamin D supplements as a means of preventing osteoporosis. Other drugs, such as raloxifene, tibolone, alendronate, and risedronate have been shown to prevent bone loss. These drugs increasingly are becoming the treatment of choice for osteoporosis in many postmenopausal women.
STD [Sexually Transmitted Disease] testing just got easier and a lot less embarrassing. South African researchers have begun using tampons to diagnose the sexually transmitted disease trichomoniasis, which causes itching and vaginal discharge and can increase a woman's chances of having a premature or low birth weight baby. Some 1,000 women inserted an ordinary tampon for 15 minutes. The tampons were then stored in a saline solution and transported to a lab where they were tested. The tampon test was highly effective at not only detecting trich, but chlamydia and gonorrhea as well.
Pregnant women who eat too much tuna risk exposing their unborn babies' developing brains to possibly harmful mercury levels, but there is no need for the women to cut the highly nutritious fish out of their diets altogether.
Two six-ounce cans of tuna per week is fine if that's the only fish they eat, or a single six-ounce can if other seafood, which also can contain mercury, is part of their diet.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a medical device to shrink non-cancerous uterine fibroid tumors, sparing women from painful surgery to remove them.
The device, meant for women who no longer intend to become pregnant, could also save many from having to have hysterectomies, where the entire uterus is removed.
Made from a material called Embosphere Microspheres, the product is used in less invasive surgeries that involve uterine artery embolization (UAE), designed to block blood flow to the tumors and shrink them.
In clinical trials sponsored by the maker of the device, Biosphere Medical Inc., 132 women with uterine fibroids were treated at seven hospitals throughout the United States. After six months, 65 percent of women implanted had a 50 percent or more reduction in bleeding attributed to the fibroids.
As a condition of approval, the company is required to follow study participants for at least three more years to gauge the long-term effects of the treatment, including whether the fibroids tend to return, the FDA says.
Pregnant women frequently experience hemorrhoids due to the increased pressure on the rectal area caused by the developing baby. A simple and inexpensive treatment is witch hazel. Apply to hemorroids with a cotton ball 3 - 4 times per day for hemorrhoid treatment.
After years of waiting, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has finally approved the abortion pill - aka mifepristone (or RU 486) and within the month, doctors may be able to prescribe the drug to women in their first seven weeks of pregnancy. But getting RU 486 won't be as easy as, say, getting your Rx for allergy pills filled. The FDA has ruled that each prescription must be accompanied by an RU 486 brochure. Also, physicians who prescribe it must be able to perform a surgical abortion or make prior arrangements with a doctor who can in case the mifepristone regimen fails, as it does in about 5% of cases. Treatment with the drug (sold as Mifeprex) involves three doctor visits. Here's the breakdown:
Step 1: The patient takes three mifepristone tablets, which block the action of progesterone, the hormone that prepares the uterus for pregnancy.
Step 2: Two days later, the patient takes another drug to start the uterine contractions that will expel the fertilized egg. (Pain, bleeding and discomfort are possible side effects.)
Step 3: The patient has a follow-up visit with her doctor two weeks later to confirm the abortion is complete.
The American Cancer Society has revised its guidelines on Pap tests, recommending for the first time that women at low risk for cervical cancer don't need them.
The revisions are designed to spare women from unnecessary, invasive medical procedures.
The new guidelines say testing isn't needed for young women who are not sexually active; women 70 or older who have had normal Pap tests in the past; and women who have had hysterectomies for non-cancer-related reasons. They also recommend that sexually active women begin getting Pap tests within three years of the start of sexual activity, but no later than age 21.
The problem with Pap tests, according to the experts who wrote the new guidelines, is that they detect non-cancerous lesions, causing doctors to perform additional tests that needlessly worry patients, cost money and sometimes have harmful effects, such as reduced fertility.