three stepsIn our culture today, “PMS” is a kind of shorthand for the crazy things women do when it's almost “that time of the month.” It's even jokingly used as a verb, i.e., “She's PMS-ing.” But PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, isn't funny. It's a real health issue for many women and it should be treated.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists estimates that 85 percent of women have experienced at least one symptom of premenstrual syndrome, which is the physical and emotional changes that occur in the days before a woman's period.  The symptoms of PMS can range from mood swings, irritability and feeling overwhelmed to sleep problems, anxietyand depression.

sad woman smCrying, mood swings, anxiety, or feeling overwhelmed. These are common symptoms of what's called the baby blues, when a woman is recovering from childbirth and adjusting to the new world of motherhood. Almost all new moms experience this for a week or two after their baby is born, but what if the baby blues won't end?

It's estimated that as many as 20percent of new mothers suffer from postpartum depression, which is different from the baby blues. It's when anxieties and dark feelings dominate your life long after you and your baby are home. Postpartum depression is more than feeling sad or anxious. The symptoms can include insomnia or excessive sleep; loss of appetite; lack of interest in your baby; feeling disconnected from your newborn, or thoughts about harming yourself or your baby.

pregnant woman eating smYou're pregnant and ready to start “eating for two,” but what does that mean? Here's a hint – it isn't double portions of everything.

Maybe when your grandmother was pregnant she had a green light to gorge herself, but now “eating for two” means sensible, balanced meals that will keep you healthy and give your baby the best start.

In fact, “eating for two” isn't something that has to start right after the positive pregnancy test. Most women only need an extra 350 to 450 calories a day during the last six months of pregnancy and that's not much more food. Eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats are the best way to nourish you and your baby and provide these essential nutrients:

colon cancer awareness smSo, you're not yet 50 years old and you think colon cancer can't be a problem for you. Think again.

Colon cancer is the number-three cause of cancer-related death for women. Thanks to better screening and early treatment, colon cancer is on the decline among older adults, but colon cancer cases are on the rise for those between the ages of 20 and 49.  Most screening programs focus on people aged 50 or older, but there are risk factors that could make screening for colon cancer something to begin when you're younger.

Anyone with a first or second degree relative, like a parent, child, sibling, grandchild, niece, or nephew with a history of colon cancer should begin screening at a younger age. A person who has had a condition that causes inflammation of the colon, such as ulcerative colitis, IBS or Crohn’s disease may be at an increased risk of developing colon cancer and should start screening sooner.

Obesity is considered to be a risk factor for colon cancer, and new research suggests that normal weight women may also be at greater risk for colon cancer if they have certain traits, such as elevated levels of blood fat, high blood sugar, high blood pressure and low levels of good cholesterol.

Certain genetic traits can be risk factors for colon cancer and DNA testing may be used as a screening tool. The Colon Cancer Alliance offers an online quiz  to help determine if DNA testing for colon cancer might be right for you.

If you have one or more of these risk factors, don’t put off talking to your doctor about early screening. And be aware of symptoms that could be an indication of colon cancer, such as:

    Rectal bleeding
    Weight loss for no known reason
    Weakness or fatigue
    Nausea or vomiting
    Diarrhea, constipation or narrower stools than usual
    Bowel never feels empty
    Blood in your stool (bright red or very dark)
    Persistent cramps, gas, pain, or feeling full or bloated

 If you’re experiencing pain, bleeding or other symptoms you should talk to your doctor right away. Colon cancer is preventable with early treatment. Don't become a grim statistic; ask your doctor about colon cancer screening.


My Life CheckOne out of every three women dies from heart disease. That's a serious problem, but the solution may be as simple as counting to seven. The American Heart Association's My Life Check online assessment calculates your risk and takes you through seven simple steps to a healthier heart.

1. Get active

That means 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day (think brisk walking) on most days of the week. And you don't have to block out a full half-hour for exercise because three 10-minute sessions will work just as well.

2. Control cholesterol

Cholesterol leads to blockages in your arteries and veins. You can keep cholesterol in check by eating more foods that are rich in fiber, like beans, whole-grain breads, pasta and rice, or fatty fish such as tuna or salmon. Avoid beef, pork, cheese, or butter that's high in saturated fat.

3. Eat better

Do your grocery shopping in full color. Start in the produce section and stock up on plenty of fruits and vegetables that are naturally rich in color. Skip the process foods and fill your cart with low-fat dairy and lean meats. And don't forget to stop by the seafood counter for fish that should be on your dinner menu twice a week.

4. Manage blood pressure

High blood pressure stretches your arteries and the damage leaves scar tissue that can contribute to blockages and blood clots. Regular physical activity, eating a diet with less sodium, managing stress and limiting alcohol can work to prevent high blood pressure.

5. Lose weight

When you're overweight or obese that extra fat – especially fat around your waist – increases your risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Losing weight and keeping it off is the solution, and here's the good news – losing just 10 pounds can significantly improve blood pressure.

6. Reduce blood sugar

Much of the food you eat is turned into blood sugar, which is the fuel our bodies use for energy. Too much blood sugar can affect insulin levels and lead to diabetes that greatly increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. To reduce blood sugar, avoid foods with simple sugars, like soda, candy and sugary desserts, and get more exercise that will help your body control insulin naturally.

7. Stop smoking

If you smoke, quitting is the best thing you can do for your heart health. Smoking damages your entire circulatory system. It increases your risk for heart disease, hardened arteries, and blood clots and can reduce good cholesterol and limit lung capacity, making it harder to exercise.


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