- Women’s Health
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- Nurse Barb
There’s lots of reasons why sex might be painful after you turn 50. For many women as estrogen levels decline during midlife, their vaginas become much more dry and don’t have the same elasticity or ability to stretch.
What you might notice
Staying hydrated seems obvious, but it might be more challenging than you think. Most of my pregnant patients are surprised to learn that their blood volume increases by about 50% midway through pregnancy.
When it comes to salt – Remember Gold-i-locks: Not too much, not too little, but just the right amount. The truth is, your body needs salt, so while we don’t want you to over indulge in lots of salty foods, a little goes a long way in helping you maintain your fluid balance. So, don’t restrict your salt intake.
I’m back at FAME after a lovely safari weekend at Tarangire National Park, known as the park of elephants and Baobab trees. There has been more rain than usual for this time of year; maybe it is an El Niño effect, who can say, and in any case the grass is lush and green and there’s water.
On the road to Safari, what I saw was herds of cows and goats being led to whatever water had collected into impromptu mini-lakes and ponds along ditches on the side of the road, and then after the animals were cared for, the women and older children were washing clothes, giving the babies their baths and finally filling large buckets for their cooking and drinking water. It’s all the same water. No filters that I could see, and hopefully a fire to boil it at home.
There is so much here that is different, and yet so much is the same. Most of the people who come to the hospital, and many of the staff do not have running water. A daily hot shower that I take for granted is as rare as the likelihood of me seeing the white giraffe. (more…)
On my 2nd day, here at FAME, I saw something, extraordinary. I was privileged to be at the right place at the right time and witnessed a jaw dropping display of talent and knowledge in a most unexpected place. Pauline Diaz, the volunteer coordinator was giving me a tour and suggested that we bring the new donated baby hats from the US and the brand new Tanita baby scale to the maternity ward. Sure! Why not?
Here in Africa, many people come to see the Big 5 animals on safari. Yes, I know there are birders out there and plenty of people who love the cheetahs, warthogs, jackals, hyenas, antelopes, giraffes and zebras. Thousands of dollars are spent, and thousands of miles traveled to catch a glimpse, or perhaps get close enough to see the elephant, cape buffalo, lion, rhino, leopard, all of whom belong to the exclusive group of the Big 5.
However on that 2nd day at FAME, within seconds of arriving in the maternity ward and setting up the new baby scale, what I saw was Mama Evelyn, a 62 year-old experienced midwife, who delivered a baby, kept traction on the cord, and then resuscitated the new infant.
Menopause is that one magical day when a woman hasn’t had any menstrual bleeding for 12 months. The following day, she is considered post-menopausal. Women may experience menopause starting in their 40s or 50s. The average age is 51.
What most of us consider menopause is actually Peri-menopause, or as I call it, the Hormonal Roller Coaster. This is the time in life when periods are erratic, symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats begin and women start to feel more fatigued, notice some leaking urine, less sex drive and more wrinkles. (more…)
I’m reading Atul Gawande’s book Mortality and thought I’d share a story about how I care for my patients as they continue on life’s journey.
Katherine was one of my favorite patients. I met her when she was in her early 70’s and cared for her well into her 90’s. She was a breast cancer survivor and we were monitoring her bone health because she, like 1 in ?? women after menopause had developed osteoporosis. As she aged, our conversations changed. At each visit, she not only provided updates of her medical history, all of her new medications but I also heard the latest on her kids, saw the school photos of her grandkids, and best of all, listened to some of the best travel stories and advice before Trip Advisor was ever created. She and her husband took full advantage of retirement and managed 2- 3 trips each year to exotic locations I could only dream of.
I learned from caring for Katherine to live every moment. She brought in smudged black and white photos of her family smiling in their black rubber boots about to board a sea-plane in the early 60’s in the wilds of Alaska. I remember her telling me about a trip to St. Petersburg when she was 92, and how much she loved going back to visit Paris. “I love to walk wherever I go, the only thing that stops me now, is sometimes I get out of breath as I get older.”
How many of you are confused by the seemingly endless rounds of recommendations about breast cancer screenings? I know that I am and so this post is designed to help answer the 6 essential questions that will help you decide what to do about breast cancer screening.
1. When Shouldbe Started?
In general, for women without a family history of breast cancer, According to the American Cancer Society, mammograms should begin at age 40. If there’s a strong family history of breast cancer, your health care provider may recommend earlier screening.
Paulina Porizkova, a former model, writer, and a mom featured an article on Huffington’s Post that I thought would be of interest.
Here’s What I Have to Say:
I see a lot of women in midlife and at the other side of hormonal swings, adolescence. I’m convinced that our brain chemistry shifts dramatically with hormone surges and precipitous drops. I’ve seen well adjusted women with everything under control, suddenly become unrecognizable to themselves and their families. I’ve seen the same thing happen with teens. Hmmmm?
OMG! I’m OMP!!! (On My Period)
I was out shopping with my niece, Katrina, the other day and I noticed that whenever she had the opportunity, she was sneaking over to the closest mirror to check out her back. She seemed worried as she made her way through crowded racks of clothes, but smiled with what looked like relief after a quick peek. Then she’d get back to the serious work of looking for deals and steals. I could tell she was a little preoccupied and suspected that she was worried about something. What could it be? A snag in her sweater? Did her butt look too big? Too small? Was it her hair?