Saturday, October 11, 2008

Women’s Health: Birth Control

Choosing a contraceptive method is an important decision. Important considerations about a method are its effectiveness, side effects, duration and ease (or difficulty) of use. Personal considerations, such as lifestyle, risk for sexually transmitted infections and anticipation of future childbearing are also important.

Birth control pills, also known as oral contraceptive pills, are the most commonly used reversible method of contraception. They are very effective in preventing pregnancy when used correctly. With perfect use, only one in 1,000 women will become pregnant during one year.

However, actual pregnancy rate among pill users is typically higher (about 1 in 35 women) due to improper use, such as forgetting to take one or more pills. The effectiveness of all contraceptive methods depends to some extent on how likely a woman is to become pregnant if she were using no contraception. The likelihood of becoming pregnant depends on the woman's age, the frequency and timing of intercourse, and her natural "fertility."

Birth control pills are an example of a user-dependent form of contraception. This means the woman (or man) uses it. Examples of user-independent methods are sterilization (vasectomy or tubal ligation), the intrauterine device (IUD), and injected and implanted hormonal methods.

In general, highly user-dependent forms of contraception, especially barrier methods such as condoms and diaphragms, have the highest failure rates. There are pros and cons to every form of contraception. You should consult with your primary care provider to discuss the option that is best suited for you at this time.

(Information provided by the Family Practice Clinic, Tripler Army Medical Center, Hawaii.)

Source: Internet

Important Heart Health Tips For Women

Heart disease kills more women each year than any other disease. At the onset of American Heart Month which begins February 1st, the California Pistachio Commission and Dr. Susan Bennett, President of the Association of Women's Heart Programs and one of the country's leading women's heart specialists, teamed up to offer simple tips to help women improve their cardiovascular health and form stronger partnerships with their doctors.

No matter how young or old you are, talk with your doctor now about your heart and cardiovascular system and how to keep them healthy.

-- Talk with your doctor about the differences between men and women in how heart disease presents itself, including primary signs in women that may be different than the signs that signal heart disease in men.
-- Make sure your doctors all understand that heart disease kills more women at all ages than any other disease, and that it kills more women than all seven of the next diseases combined.
-- Ask your doctors what they know about prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease in women. It's important to form a partnership with your physician to set goals for your blood pressure and cholesterol.
-- On your own, get moving and exercise. Give your heart a workout. Remember it's a muscle too. A strong heart pumps blood and nutrients more easily through your body.
-- Plan ahead. Keep heart-healthy snacks including fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts like pistachios on hand whenever you're on the go to keep you on track for healthy eating habits. Keep in mind that a one-ounce serving of pistachios is 49 nuts, more than any other snack nut.
-- Keep your weight down. Losing excess weight will help lower blood levels of harmful LDL cholesterol and prevent other risk factors.
-- Stop smoking. All research comes back to the same conclusion smoking is not good for your health or your heart. Women who smoke have up to six times greater risk of a heart attack or stroke.
-- Control the risk for diabetes. Because nuts including pistachios are low carbohydrate foods that contain predominantly monounsaturated fat, there may be a potential to help control diabetes.
-- Eat fiber-containing foods every day. Start with a goal of five servings of fruits and vegetables daily along with whole grains, nuts and legumes.
-- Don't put off regular checkups. See your doctor regularly and don't hesitate to speak up if you're not feeling "right."

Source: Internet

7 Tips for Getting Pregnant Faster

Dos and don'ts of increasing your chances of getting pregnant.
By Denise Mann

You are ready to get pregnant. Now. Of course, you want to attack this task with the same fervor as you did your career and everything else that has ever been on your to-do list. Now that you are ready to start a family, waiting is not an option.
"The overarching message is don't get into the 'it has to happen right now' thing," stresses Paula Hillard, MD, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, Calif. "This is the first time that many women are up against the concept that they can't control everything."
That said, there are some things you can do -- or not do -- to help increase your chances of getting pregnant ASAP. Read on for seven expert-approved tips for getting pregnant.
1. Do get a preconception checkup.
Before you officially start trying, get a preconception checkup. Ask your doctor about prenatal vitamins that contain folic acid, which will decrease your risk of having a baby with neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. "Do this the cycle before you start trying," Hillard tells WebMD. "If you have any underlying medical problems, they need to be under control before you can safely become pregnant."
2. Do get to know your cycle.
Sex education is key, says Hillard. "Women need to really understand their cycle and when they are most likely to become pregnant," she says. Ovulation is the best time to get pregnant.
"Being aware of the symptoms of ovulation [which include] changes in cervical mucus such as a thin watery, mucus-like discharge is also helpful," she says. Other signs of ovulation can include a one-sided twinge of pain. "This is the time to focus on having sex."
Ovulation prediction kits can also help predict the best time to get pregnant, says James Goldfarb, MD, director of the infertility service at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland. "They assure a patient that they are ovulating, and if you are having infrequent intercourse, this tells you when to have it to increase your chances of getting pregnant "
The first day of your menstrual period is day one. "Start testing on day nine and keep going until you get a positive," advises Joanne Piscitelli, MD, an associate professor of gynecology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. Women with a 28-day cycle tend to ovulate on day 14, but many women have longer or shorter cycles, so casting a wide net can help you be sure.
Use of birth control may muddy the playing field. Many women spend half their life trying not to get pregnant by using birth control pills or other contraception methods, but is it OK to start trying to get pregnant the minute you scrap your birth control method?
"Years ago, the conventional wisdom was to wait a certain amount of time after stopping birth control to try to get pregnant but that is no longer true. You can start trying to conceive right after you stop birth control," Goldfarb says. The only downside is that you may not ever get your period, so tracking ovulation may be difficult, and it will be hard to date the pregnancy initially. For this reason, "some people may feel better waiting until they get one period on their own," he says.
3. Don't worry about the best positions for getting pregnant.
Myths abound about the best positions for getting pregnant, but they are just that---myths. There is really no scientific evidence saying that the missionary position is better than the woman being on top when it comes to maximizing your chances of making a baby.
"Very rarely, a women's cervix is in an unusual position where certain positions can make a difference," Goldfarb tells WebMD.
Certain gravity-defying positions, such as sitting or standing during intercourse, however, may discourage sperm from traveling upstream. "It's a matter of gravity [and] you don't want all the semen to run out -- and semen are quick little critters," Hillard says. "Having sex with the man on top [missionary position] may best allow sperm to pool in the vagina," she suggests.
4. Do lay low right after intercourse.
You have probably heard this one before -- lie in bed with your feet in the air after having sex to increase your chances of getting pregnant. The verdict? Not (totally) true. "It's good advice to lay in bed for 10 to 15 minutes after intercourse, but you don't need your feet in the air," Goldfarb says. "Your pelvis does not move when you put your legs in the air." Don't go the bathroom during this time either, he says. "If you wait 10 to 15 minutes, the sperm that is going to get into the cervix will be in the cervix."
5. Don't overdo it.
Having sex like rabbits even during ovulation will not necessarily increase your chances of getting pregnant. It may seem like a good idea, but some men's sperm count will deplete if they ejaculate too often, Goldfarb says. "In general, every other night around the time of ovulation helps increase your chance of getting pregnant," he says. Sperm can live up to 72 hours after intercourse. That said, if you and your mate enjoy having sex more frequently, he can get a semen analysis after he has ejaculated several times in a row. This test can tell if his sperm quality or quantity is depleted by frequent ejaculation. If it is not, then feel free to have sex as often as you like.
Speaking of sperm, "wearing tight-fitting clothing can negatively affect sperm count," Piscitelli says. So too can spending time in hot tub or Jacuzzi. Your man's cell phone habits may also affect your chances of becoming pregnant. A recent study in the journal Fertility and Sterility showed that men who used a hands-free device with a cell phone and kept their phone close to their testicles had impaired sperm quality. And while you are telling your partner where to keep his cell phone, you may want to tell him to pass on the edamame and other soy foods. Men who eat a lot of soy foods may have a lower sperm concentration than men who don't eat soy foods, according to a study published online in Human Reproduction.
6. Do de-stress any way you can.
Trying to get pregnant can be stressful, and stress can certainly derail ovulation, Hillard says. It can also cause sexual dysfunction and performance anxiety for men. "There is some evidence that acupuncture can help reduce stress and increase your chances of becoming pregnant," Goldfarb says. While excessive alcohol use is not wise when trying to get pregnant, "a mid-cycle glass of wine to relax and have intercourse can be helpful," he says. Bottom line: Anything that helps you de-stress and takes the pressure off trying to get pregnant will help you increase your chances of getting pregnant.
7. Do lead a healthy lifestyle.
Exercising is a good thing, but when you are trying to conceive, you can get too much of a good thing, Goldfarb says. "Too much exercise can cause you not to ovulate," he says, explaining that excessive exercise can stop the pituitary gland from telling the ovaries to ovulate. While this threshold is largely individual, he says "exercising seven days a week for 45 to 50 minutes a day will cause a problem in the majority of women."
That doesn't mean you should stop exercising the minute you start trying to get pregnant. If you are a hard-core exerciser and are still getting your period regularly, your exercise regimen is most likely not a problem, he says. But, Goldfarb adds, your menstrual period is not the first thing to go if you are exercising too heavily. "The first thing that happens is that you have a shorter second half of your cycle. You should have a period 14 days after you ovulate, but too much exercise can shorten this phase." This would be the first hint that you need to curtail your fitness regimen. He suggests tracking how long it takes you to get a period after you ovulate as the best way to know for sure.
Goldfarb says the best way to increase your chances of getting pregnant while getting the health benefits of regular exercise is to engage in moderate exercise, such as a half an hour of aerobic activity like walking three times a week. Watch what you eat, too; dieting is a double-edged sword for women trying to get pregnant. "If you are obese and you lose weight, your period may come back, but if you are too thin and not getting your period, you need to gain weight to get pregnant," Goldfarb says.
Stop smoking to increase your chances of getting pregnant," Hillard says. Aside from all the other negative health effects of smoking, this nasty habit also decreases fertility. "It affects estrogen levels and ovulation."
Eighty-five percent of women will become pregnant within one year of trying," Hillard adds." If it is taking longer than a year, consult a doctor for an infertility workup. For women older than 35, some doctors recommend consulting a specialist after six months of trying.

Source: Internet

Women Over 50: Natural Beauty Tips

A few fine lines, a hint of gray. The normal changes of aging are inevitable. But with skin rejuvenation products, nonsurgical facial treatments, and hair care products, it's easy for women over 50 to enhance their natural beauty.
What Happens to Skin and Hair as We Age
The effects of sun exposure, smoking, diet, and heredity become evident on our skin as we get older. Stress, gravity, and obesity also affect how well skin looks. And as we age, our skin doesn't produce new cells as quickly as it used to. Skin gradually becomes less elastic and prone to dryness.
Something similar happens to cells that give our hair its color, too. Hair pigment cells become less efficient at renewing themselves, which makes hair gray.
8 Natural Beauty Tips for Your Skin
A few simple steps are all you need to care for your skin as you get older. These natural beauty tips can get you started.

1. If you smoke, stop. Research shows that smoking prematurely ages your skin.
2. Just say no to sunbathing and tanning salons. Stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun's rays are the strongest. If you must be outside, wear a protective hat, long-sleeved shirt, and sunglasses. Freckles, age spots, and blotchy complexions are linked to sun exposure.
3. Wear sunscreen religiously. Use products with SPF 15 or higher, and both UVB and UVA protection. Damage to the skin from excess or unprotected sun exposure is known as "photoaging." These changes can include fine wrinkles and an uneven skin tone.
4. Check skin often for skin cancer. If there are changes that worry you, call your doctor right away. Older, fair-skinned people are at high risk, and must have a yearly check.
5. Soothe dry skin. Use a humidifier. Use moisturizing soaps and lotions. See your doctor if you still have problems.
6. Eat right and hydrate. Good nutrition helps the body repair skin. Drinking lots of water helps hydrate skin from the inside out.
7. Try antiaging products. For women over 50, over-the-counter creams and lotions may enhance natural beauty by rejuvenating your skin. Pentapeptides (a chemical compound in many new products) may help prompt skin cells to produce more collagen, which is the support structure that gives skin a firmer look. Prescription treatments and retinoid creams are also options.
8. Know about skin treatments. Botox injections can ease wrinkles in the upper third of the face. Chemical peels are effective in removing fine lines and smoothing skin, especially around the eyes and mouth. Wrinkle fillers can plump up your skin and erase lines. Microdermabrasion erases ultrafine lines, rejuvenates your complexion, and improves skin tone and color. Laser resurfacing is another technique; it allows doctors to improve sun-damaged skin, scars, and other facial problems.

Source: Internet

Friday, October 10, 2008

Changing Makeup Styles & Application as You Age for a Timeless Youthful Look

As you gracefully age, your hair color is not the only thing you’ll notice changing. As you get older, the condition of your skin will begin to transform. Not only may you start noticing fine lines, but your skin may also be oiler or dryer over time. Thus, your old makeup formulas and makeup application tips may not work well for your aging skin. Changing makeup application as you age is a great way to keep your skin looking fresh and beautiful! Use these tips to learn techniques on how to change your makeup application and removal to match your age.
How to Dazzle Your Eyes with the Right Makeup Application!
When you were young, chances are you wouldn’t dream of leaving the house with throwing on your eye liner, brow liner, eye shadow and mascara. However, as you age there is less of a need for a multitude of products on your eye area. Instead, the main focus should be on keeping the eye area properly nourished to avoid the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Look for products with firming capabilities and use them every day! Always apply eye cream with your ring finger, as it offers the gentlest touch and avoids damaging the sensitive skin under your eye. After applying your firming product, dap a bit of concealer under each eye and blend it in until it’s virtually unnoticed. Apply a light coat of eye shadow, two coats of lengthening mascara and you’ll be ready for any event!
Keep Those Lips & Cheeks Rosey for a Youthful, Age Appropriate Look!
Younger women often made the vital makeup mistake of putting on too much blush. As you age, if you use too much blush you’ll only look like a clown! So, keep your cheeks rosey by choosing a soft rose blush cream. Apply it by massaging it into the apples of your cheeks until you get a soft glow. As you age, you’ll notice the skin around your lips changing. Most often women start to notice fine lines appearing, making it difficult to keep lipstick in place throughout the day. One easy way to avoid your lipstick from “running” is by applying a tiny bit of foundation to your lips, lining your lips with lip liner and then filling it in with matching lipstick.
Condition Your Skin: Moisturize to Battle Fine Lines & Wrinkles!
One of the most under utilized beauty secrets lies in moisturizing. Keeping your skin hydrated can mean the difference between seeing wrinkles, fine lines and blemishes or seeing soft beautiful skin. Brands like Sephora and Oil of Olay are ideal for aging women looking for hydrating skin care cream and mineral moisturizers. These brands understand the art of aging beautifully and create the best beauty products for all ages. Check out their all-in-one cosmetic products that allow you to use just a few steps to moisturize and tone your skin. Many of them contain a cleanser and toner in one simple step. They will help with the elasticity of your skin and keep you looking younger each year!
As Uou Age Keep It Simple for a Timeless Look!Remember, before you are tempted to put on a load of makeup you should step back and take a good look at yourself. Keeping your makeup simple is a great way to age gracefully, without damaging your skin or pores more than necessary. For a flawless look you can simply use a brush to swipe on loose powder, add a cream blush to your cheeks, dab concealer under your eyes, apply a few coats of mascara and be out the door!

Source: Internet

Causes, Treatment and Prevention of Hair Loss in Women

Brand names like Rogaine and Minoxidil are common household terms these days. With hair loss in women being more common than ever before, products for treating hair loss are abundant. Hair loss in women can be embarrassing and difficult to live with. It's vital for all women to understand the causes, treatment, prevention and solutions available for hair loss.
Medical Causes of Hair Loss in Women
Hair loss in women can include total balding, thinning or anything in between the two. It can be temporary or permanent. Often women experience hair loss due to a medical condition and when the condition is discovered and controlled, the hair loss subsides. The medical name for hair loss is alopecia. People often mistake alopecia for something only men experience however more women are beginning to come forward as sufferers of hair loss.
Some women experience hair loss due to a hormone imbalance (common after childbirth and during pregnancy), an undiagnosed disease or stress. Often, women are born with gene making them susceptible to genetic hair loss associated with aging. Other causes of hair loss in women are linked to the thyroid, vitamin deficiency and diabetes. If a woman's hormones are not balanced, she can experience hair excessive loss. This is a common occurrence in women who aren't very tolerant of birth control pills or other hormonal contraception options.
Treatment Solutions for Balding
When it comes to hair loss treatments for women, there are many options. Women must first obtain a medical physical from a dermatologist, a general practitioner or a doctor with knowledge in dermatology of the head. Most physicians aren't thrilled with the idea of using a systemic treatment (a medication/pill that will affect your entire body system). Thus, topical scalp treatments are most commonly prescribed.
Minoxidil is one of the most common hair restoration treatments. It was once used to treat high blood pressure. However, patients using it noticed increased hair growth. It was tested and discovered when applied topically to the scalp it helped restore hair growth. Most women begin treating their hair loss with Minoxidil. While it works for many, it doesn't work for everyone.
Hormone Deficiency Can Cause Hair Loss in Women
If women are lacking estrogen or progesterone and are experiencing hair loss, they will likely be prescribed a hormone replacement therapy system (HRT). This will give their bodies the hormones they need and naturally help restore hair growth. Much like the loss of testosterone in men, a loss of female hormones can be the cause of hair loss in women.
A popular drug for preventing prostate problems, Propecia is now being used for hair loss in men and women. It is quite effective. However, it cannot be taken by women who are pregnant because of a possible risk to male fetuses.
While hair loss in women can be difficult to cope with, it's important to know there are many solutions available. Women now have access to many treatments and medications which can quickly restore hair growth. In addition, while they're waiting for the hair growth treatment to take action they can take advantage of terrific wigs and trendy hair extensions made for those with thinning hair!
Source: Internet