cervical cancerCervical cancer was once one of the most common causes of cancer death for American women. But over the last 30 years, the cervical cancer death rate has gone down by more than half. That's the good news. January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, and the challenge in 2016 is to use prevention and detection tools to defeat cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer is highly preventable with regular screening tests and appropriate follow-up care. It also can be cured when found early and treated.  The most important thing you can do to help prevent cervical cancer is to get screened regularly starting at age 21. There are two tests that can help prevent cervical cancer or find it early.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, cervical cancer is almost always caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The Pap test looks for precancerous cells, which are changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated appropriately.  The HPV test looks for the virus that can cause these cell changes.

Another way to prevent cervical cancer is to get vaccinated against HPV.  Because HPV is usually spread through sexual activity, this vaccine is most effective when given at the age of 11 or 12. Boys and girls can carry and spread HPV, so both should be vaccinated for HPV.

If a teen or young adult through age 26 has not started or finished the series of three HPV vaccine shots, you can still get protection if you complete the vaccination now, and most health insurance plans cover the cost of the HPV vaccine.

With regularly scheduled Pap tests and HPV tests and HPV vaccination, we can prevent or cure most cases of cervical cancer and bring an end to this killer of women. Ask about cervical cancer testing and consider having your child vaccinated against HPV.


woman question 21Why should teens and young women see a gynecologist? Although most young women don't need to have a pap test until they are 21 years old, there are many reasons why you should see a gynecologist before you reach the age of 21.

A visit to your gynecologist can start you on the lifelong path to better health by showing you how to stay at a healthy body weight and feel good about your body.  We can also give you advice on good habits for healthy bones.

holiday stress smThe lyrics of that classic song claim that this is, “the most wonderful time of the year” but the holidays can also be stressful in so many ways. Here are some tips to help you beat that stress naturally and truly enjoy the season.

Sunlight is a wonderful tonic for the body, so let Mother Nature boost your mood by spending time outdoors or near a window on sunny days. Going out for a walk in that sunlight can be doubly good for you, because the rhythm and repetition of walking has a tranquilizing effect on your brain, and it decreases anxiety.

Aromatherapy can increase the level of hormones that improve mood, and you don't need fancy candles and a quiet room to experience this. It can be as simple as keeping a handkerchief with a bit of lemon or orange essential oil with you for a quick and natural pick-me-up at any time.

When it comes to beating stress, sometimes you can just laugh it off. Laughing reduces stress hormones, so take a break to enjoy your favorite funny holiday movie, like “Home Alone,” “A Christmas Story,” or “National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation,” to name a few.

After your movie break, crank up the tunes – and not just those holiday favorites. Research shows that hearing any music you love can relax blood vessels and increase blood flow. That calms you down and is good for your heart.

Plan ahead to avoid common stress triggers. If a family meal often ends with a fiery debate between relatives, think about moving the event to a restaurant. Experts say being in public can discourage loud voices and bad behavior.

Speaking of changing plans, don't be afraid to ditch holiday traditions that don't work for you. Abandoning old customs can help if you're lonely or grieving. Better yet, invite others who might be also be alone and start some new traditions.

Technology can add to the stress of the holidays, so turn off the distractions. Put away the smartphone and silence the notification alerts to avoid those audible interruptions that can cause bursts of adrenaline and send your stress levels climbing. If you're worried that you'll miss out, set a timer on your phone to turn the alerts back on in a few hours. Odds are, you'll enjoy the break and won't miss anything.

We've discussed what can go wrong with the holidays but try to look on the bright side, because negative thinking can trigger the your body's stress response. An optimistic outlook can help you cope with challenges that come with the holidays and make it a better time for you to celebrate with family and friends.


wrapped christmas gift smWhen you're getting ready for the big day, the mother-to-be often takes a back seat to the baby when we think about gifts. The newborn is treated to everything from car seats to clothes, toys, or one of the many other products made for infants. If you have a future mom on your holiday gift list, consider some of these ideas to make her feel special, too.

Surprise her with the gift of maternity photography and include a stylist appointment. She’ll feel amazing with her hair and make-up done and ready to document this miraculous time in your lives. Speaking of photos, give her a lasting memory of baby's first pictures by custom-framing a copy of her ultrasound photo.

You can also give an ultrasound session as a gift. Northline Women's Health Center is southeast Michigan's leader in prenatal care and we offer gift certificates for a reassurance ultrasound that can include 3D images and 4D ultrasound with color and motion video. Ultrasounds are available at our Southgate and Brownstown locations.

Think about gifts that can help ease the stress of pregnancy, like a prenatal massage or a pregnancy body pillow to make sleeping easier.  Plan a “babymoon” before baby arrives to help the pregnant woman in your life relax. It can be as simple as a weekend getaway for the two of you at a local suite hotel.

You don't have to spend a lot to find a great gift for that mom-to-be. Bath salts and other bath time treats can make for a relaxing break and are affordable, too. And friends and relatives can give a “babysitting coupon.” It costs nothing but will mean so much to the new mom when she needs a break for just a few hours or a whole day after baby arrives.


woman menopause symptoms smIf the symptoms of menopause seem to have you on the ropes day and night, here are some solutions to manage the most common problems associated with “the change.”  You can start by...

Watching The Thermostat
During winter heating season, set your home’s thermostat at 65 degrees to avoid hot flashes and night sweats. If anyone else in the household complains, tell them to grab a sweater! The cooler setting is especially important when you’re trying to…

Get Better Sleep
Create a bedtime routine that includes avoiding caffeine and alcohol and don’t exercise later in the day.  Keep electronic devices off; better yet, remove them from the bedroom to avoid the urge. And leave bed if you can’t sleep. Don’t lie awake worrying about things like…

Those Hair And Skin Changes
You can see the loss of estrogen in your skin, but you can fight back by drinking more water to stay well-hydrated. And be careful not to bathe too often, as this can also aggravate the problem. More facial hair (and less on your scalp) can be treated with hormones, vitamins, electrolysis or laser.  Remember that some menopause symptoms don’t have “do-it-yourself” solutions, such as when…

Your Heart Races or Memory Fails
Always tell your doctor about heart palpitations to rule out any cardiac issues. Also talk to your doctor about loss of memory or concentration, as this could be the sign of an undiagnosed medical problem.


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