- Women’s Health
- Healthy Living
- Health Conditions
- Nurse Barb
By Nurse Barb Dehn
Disclosure: I was invited to attend an event about IBS-D by Salix Pharmaceuticals and am working with them to help get information out about how to talk about IBS-D symptoms and treatment options. Salix provided me with a stipend and paid for my travel and accommodations related to the event; however, all opinions are my own.
I really like this photo of models who’ve had their tummies painted to represent what it’s like to have Irritable Bowel Syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D). Between the cramping, bloating, pain and let’s face it, the frequent and unpredictable trips to the bathroom, if you have IBS-D, this might be exactly how you feel.
Could you have IBS-D? Take Nurse Barb’s Quiz
If you answered yes to these questions, then you should talk to your healthcare provider and ask if you could be like the up to 16 million Americans with IBS-D. Your HCP should evaluate your clinical history, perform a physical examination, ensure diagnostic criteria for IBS-D are met and that alarm features are absent before making a diagnosis.
Experts weigh in on IBS-D – It’s unpredictable
Recently I attended an informational event with Dr. Mark Pimentel, Executive Director of the Medically Associated Science and Technology (MAST) program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California.
Dr. Pimentel explained that living with IBS can be enormously frustrating and that people with IBS-D don’t often know when they’re going to need to visit the bathroom, which can cause people to limit their lives for fear of not being able to find a restroom.
Imagine getting up and not knowing if you’ll visit the bathroom once or let’s say 12 times that day and not knowing when the urgent need to use the restroom will come up.
If you have IBS-D, then you don’t have to imagine this, you may know what it’s like to not know when you have stop what you’re doing and find a bathroom––Quickly. No wonder people start to stay home and skip doing the things they love.
And, despite a lot of well-meaning advice about what foods to eat and which ones to avoid, people with IBS-D may find that they are unable to predict if they will experience symptoms on any given day. It can be frustrating and depressing.
Quick Facts on IBS
• Some people with IBS experience constipation in more than 25% of bowel movements and diarrhea in more than 25% of bowel movements, this is known as mixed IBS.
What Causes IBS-D
– Aha! Could this information help us find effective treatments?
– Stay tuned.
Find a Gastrointestinal specialist
If you think that you might have IBS-D, then DO find a gastrointestinal specialist, known as a GI specialist, who has experience with IBS-D. Your primary care provider may not be as familiar with the latest research and treatments.
I know that this may be embarrassing to talk about, but the talk doesn’t have to be as uncomfortable as the symptoms. I really like this website: LetsTalk-2 that has resources and a list of questions for you to talk to your health care provider about.
My tips for preparing to talk to your health care provider about your symptoms
Questions about IBS-D for your health care provider
Treatment options for IBS-D
Dr. Pimentel presented data about a treatment option for IBS-D that has helped provide significant relief of both abdominal pain and diarrhea. Click here to learn more about an IBS-D treatment option.
Learn About Recovery Drinks and How to Help Prevent Broken Bones with Nutrition
It’s that time of year when fall sports season is in full swing. Between school teams, playoffs, tryouts, club teams, travel teams and year-round sports, our kids are more active now than ever.
I’ve been picking up my niece, Amanda, from high school lately and bringing her to soccer practices and games. One thing we keep in stock is plenty of milk for meals and snacks. She has been asking for her favorite chocolate milk for both pre and post games and practices.
The fact is, compared to adults, kids and teens are growing rapidly and have increased needs for high-quality nutrients that will serve their bodies well as they go through their teens, 20’s and beyond.
Why the Calcium in Dairy is so Important
Studies show that fewer kids are getting the recommended amounts of nutrients, especially those found in dairy. While it’s recommended that teens get 2-3 servings of calcium-rich dairy every day, less than half manage to get 1 to 2 glasses of milk per week. (more…)
This time of year many moms are busy in the stocking up phase, from gathering up school clothes and lunch boxes to helping their kids who are leaving home find a mini fridge for their dorm or apartment.
When my son was little, sure, I had the list of recommended notebooks, flashcards and markers, but I had to figure out the options for healthy lunches and snacks on my own. Then when he went off to college, my focus changed: What suggestions could I make, without nagging or being pushy, that would help him make healthy choices away from home?
It may be surprising to consider how many kids aren’t getting the recommended servings of dairy, fruits and vegetables every day just when their bones and muscles are growing the most. This is the time when their bodies need a variety of foods to get the essential vitamins, nutrients, protein and calcium necessary.
Since everyone is busy, I’ve gathered up a few tips here for healthy snacks, lunch box ideas and yes, even the mini fridge for moms with kids at every age and stage.
High Tech Kegel Exercises with PeriCoach – I was so excited I tried it myself!
Like many of my patients, Jana* was hesitant and embarrassed when I asked about whether she was experiencing leaking urine. She nodded and told me that it happened a few times a week and while she tried to remember to do Kegel exercises, she wasn’t sure if she was even doing them right.
Jana was also surprised to learn that she wasn’t alone. The fact is that 1 in 3 women will experience leaking at some point in their lives. Women are doing the best they can to adapt to leaking urine. We wear protective pads, visit the bathroom as often as possible and try to remember to do those Kegel exercises.
There’s an App for that!
Recently I heard about a new, easy-to-use at home pelvic trainer and app, the PeriCoach system. It teaches women with real time visual feedback via a Bluetooth connection to their smartphone how to exercise and strengthen their pelvic floor muscles, in other words how to do Kegels and do them correctly.
Women can see how strong their muscle contractions are on their smartphone and track their progress. There’s even a secure portal at my.pericoach.com that women can share with their clinicians so they can both keep track of their progress.
Six Safari Secrets: What You Need to Know Before Planning Your Trip
I just returned from an extended stay in Tanzania, where I was working in remote hospital in Karatu, within minutes of the Ngorogoro Crater. While there, I had the chance to go on a few safaris. Prior to my trip, I envisioned a safari as a long camping trip, something similar to what Meryl Streep and Robert Redford experienced in the film Out of Africa. I learned a lot that I can share with you here.
#1 A safari can be a few hours or a few months, or anything in between.
Turns out the word safari means an expedition or journey to observe animals and can encompass anything from a few hours to multiple days to several months of travel. Well, ok, then. Now, I know that the lovely morning in Ngorogoro crater was a real, bona fide safari. Here’s one of the lions we saw that day. (more…)
Why is this important?
What is a Pap Smear?
When a woman has a Pap smear, a very small amount of cells are collected from her cervix. This is usually painless and takes less than a minute. The cells are then evaluated for any changes that could indicate a pre-cancerous or cancerous condition. The cells can also be checked to see if they’ve been infected with HPV, Human Papilloma Virus, which can lead to cervical cancer.
How often should a women have a Pap Smear?
These are the Guidelines from the American Cancer Society
Disclosure: I am working with Hologic, the providers of Thin Prep Pap smears and the Aptima HPV assay.
HPV stands for Human Papilloma Virus, which has over 100 different subtypes. HPV is spread from skin to skin contact. Some types of HPV can cause warts on the skin, others can infect other parts of the body.
While the vast majority of HPV does not cause serious risks, there are a few high-risk subtypes that can infect a woman’s cervix from intimate contact with a partner. Though most of these high-risk HPV infections are cleared by the body within a few years and don’t become cancerous, about 10% of these can lead to pre-cancerous cellular changes in the cervix and if left untreated or unrecognized could progress to cervical cancer.
How common is HPV?
This is the question my friend Therese McKenna asked me a few months ago when we were talking about sustainable health care in developing countries. That is the opportunity to support medical and nursing colleagues around the globe by exchanging expertise.
Thus began a journey of learning about an amazing hospital and clinic, FAME, in Karatu, Tanzania, where local Tanzanian doctors, nurses and health care workers are saving lives, delivering babies and caring for people who often walk for days to obtain care.
Started by Dr. Frank Artress and his wife Susan Gustafson in 2002, FAME provides care to people living in area where previously there had only been 3 doctors for over 240,000 people.
This video by Hannah Bowman explains their mission far better than I can:
Click on the image to view the video:
I’ve been invited to volunteer and learn from the staff at the FAME clinic and hospital in January. I like their philosophy, they’re a non-demonational hospital and clinic where the emphasis is respecting the expertise of the local Tanzanian physicians, nurses and health care workers and helping when asked.
It’s an incredible honor, and right now, I’m busy studying up on various tropical infections, treating HIV in pregnancy, prevention of transmission to newborns, while also trying to learn some Swahili Habari = Hello!
I’ll be posting photos and videos whenever the internet in Karatu is willing and able. I hope you’ll follow me on this journey and if you’re as inspired as I am, I hope you’ll consider making a tax deductible donation to FAMEAfrica.org
I’ll also be collecting donations here in Silicon Valley, so that I can purchase needed medical supplies, such as IV tubing, Oxygen tubing, waterproof pads, syringes, glucose test strips and many other items. Please feel free to contact me if you’d like to make a direct donation.
Thank you very much