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test sheet smEven with all the world's information seemingly as close as our smartphones, many of us can't separate myth from fact when it comes to pregnancy. Let's test for your pregnancy IQ; give yourself one point for each correct answer in this “true or false” quiz. Eight or more correct makes you a pregnancy genius. Six or seven right gives you a seat near the front of the class. Three to five correct means you need to study more, and two or less calls for a remedial course in how babies are made!


holiday stress smWe all dread the rush and chaos that can rule our lives during the holidays. Surveys show that 40 percent of people find work-life balance to be impossible this time of year and say they end up missing the chance to spend time with family and friends during the holidays. Often the job of making it all come together perfectly falls on women.

So how do you survive a whirlwind month of office parties, family get-togethers and gift giving and still find the time to truly enjoy the holidays? Here's a game plan in five steps:

1. Create a firewall between work and personal time. Being focused throughout the day will help you accomplish more. That means no online shopping when you're at the office and shutting off the work email or phone when you should be spending time with your family. You might even specify times each day or days of the week when you'll focus solely on work or family life.

2. Consider alternatives to those traditions.  Can your sister-in-law or your adult children take over hosting the family holiday meal? Maybe you can order parts of the meal for restaurant carryout or from the grocery store deli. And reconsider those annual plans for long-distance travel during the holiday season. The technology that's built into your smart phone can create a free virtual get-together with faraway family. You can plan a visit when it's not the busiest travel time of the year.

3. Find ways to scale back some of your holiday. If you want to keep your sanity until the new year, ask yourself if you need to attend every party, wrap every gift and prepare every holiday dish like you've always done. Explain the changes to others and don't worry about disappointing people. Your family will appreciate you being fully present more than any meal you cook or party you plan.

4. Get the rest you need.  You need adequate sleep to deal with the extra physical and psychological stress of the holidays. If that means leaving the festivities early, then do it. Burning the midnight oil to accomplish everything will only leave you exhausted when you should be enjoying time with friends and loved ones.

5. Practice saying “No.” This is good advice all year long, but it's even more important in the next few weeks. Taking on more tasks or accepting every invitation simply because someone has asked is unfair to you and to the people who want to spend quality time with you during the holidays. Be generous with your time when you can, but keep enough of it for yourself, too.

 

drynessIt's something that affects four out of five women during and after menopause and might put the brakes on your sex life. It's also a taboo subject for many women who think that vaginal dryness is just part of getting older, but it doesn't have to be.


fact versus mythIt seems like everyone is aware of breast cancer in the month of October, with waves of marchers, many of your favorite products and even NFL players all awash in pink. But awareness isn't  knowledge, and there are some important things you should know about breast cancer. Let's start by debunking a few popular myths.

Using deodorant or antiperspirant doesn't cause breast cancer. This myth is fueled by claims that specific chemicals found in these products mimic estrogen and raise a woman’s breast cancer risk. But there's no evidence that antiperspirants and deodorants can cause breast cancer or make it return.

Wearing an underwire bra (or any bra) doesn't cause breast cancer. Studies have found no association between wearing a bra and an increased breast cancer risk among post-menopausal women, regardless of how long a woman wore a bra each day, what type of bra she wore, or at what age she started wearing a bra.

Exposing breast cancer to air will not make it spread. This old myth suggests that surgery allows cancer to spread throughout the body. Surgery may uncover a more aggressive case of cancer, but it cannot cause it to spread.  

A double mastectomy won't necessarily save your life if you have cancer in one breast.  More women diagnosed with breast cancer are now choosing to undergo a higher-risk double mastectomy, but a long-term study of 200,000 women showed that the 10-year survival rate for women who had a double mastectomy was just a few percentage points higher than those who chose a less-invasive lumpectomy followed by radiation.

These are some of the myths, but what are some truths that can help you in the fight against breast cancer?

Trying to lose some weight can help reduce the risk of breast cancer. Estrogen is found in fatty tissue and post-menopausal women may have excess estrogen being made in these fatty tissues. Losing weight lowers your breast cancer risk and can benefit your health in many other ways.

Regular exercise can help reduce the risk of breast cancer. And you don't have to head to the gym. Experts say 30 minutes of brisk walking five days a week may be enough, but more exercise will work even better.

Limiting alcohol can help reduce the risk of breast cancer. Studies have shown that women who drink two or more alcoholic drinks per day have a 50-percent higher risk of breast cancer compared to those who don't drink.

They say knowledge is power, and with more knowledge about what does and doesn't cause breast cancer and by taking some simple steps to protect yourself, you'll have more power in the fight against this deadly disease.

 


iud birth controlWhen we say “birth control” what's the first type that comes to mind? Probably the pill. But what if there were an alternative that's safe, more effective, and long lasting? That's the intrauterine device, or IUD.

An IUD is a small, T-shaped piece of plastic that could fit in the palm of your hand. It is inserted into the uterine lining. The IUD has a short string attached to it to make removal easy for your doctor. Except for the string, the IUD cannot be felt and will not interfere with sexual activity.

IUDs come in two general types – with or without hormones. The non-hormonal IUD uses a wrapping of copper wire that releases ions to disrupt sperm and keep it from fertilizing the egg. The hormonal IUD uses a small amount of a synthetic hormone that goes into the wall of the uterus to prevent fertilization. Both types are inserted and removed the same way.

An IUD is more effective in preventing pregnancy than the pill or shots. In fact, the IUD is nearly as effective as permanent sterilization, but it's temporary. Your doctor can remove an IUD and the contraceptive effects stop immediately. An IUD is also foolproof because it's implanted once and you're done. You don't have to remember to use it every day, and it lasts much longer than other contraceptive method. A non-hormonal IUD can work for up to 10 years and a hormonal IUD can be effective for up to five years.

If you've had unwanted side effects from the pill or just want to avoid using hormones, a non-hormonal IUD may be right for you. If you'd like to minimize the symptoms of a period, a hormonal IUD may help to reduce or eliminate menstruation.

So who's using this amazing method of birth control? Not many American women. Only about seven out of 100 use an IUD, but a special group of women are the exception. Surveys show that female OB/GYNs are three times more likely to personally use an IUD than any other form of contraception.

If you want to learn more, talk with your health care provider about all forms of birth control and find out if the IUD is the right birth control choice for you.

 

Northline Women's Health Center Locations:

15675 Northline Road

Southgate, MI 48195

(734) 282-3600
(734) 282-3603 - Fax

23050 West Road, Suite 210

Brownstown Twp., MI 48183

(734) 362-7000
(734) 362-7077 - Fax