Women’s Health: Did you know that new moms experience a 4th trimester? Pregnant moms spend a lot of time learning what to expect from pregnancy and how to care for their newborns. But, while pregnancy anecdotes and birth stories take top billing at baby showers and get-togethers, girlfriends and family members tend to leave the challenging aspects of the “fourth trimester,” the first six weeks postpartum, left unsaid. Changes that happen to a woman’s body during and after childbirth are not usually widely discussed with soon-to-be moms. There are so many exciting things to look forward to with a new baby. But pregnancy and childbirth can also have some less-than-desirable effects on a woman’s body, especially her pelvic floor. About 15 percent of new mothers need treatment for childbirth ailments such as urinary and fecal incontinence, complications from obstetrical tears, pelvic pain and other pelvic floor issues. Navigating the fourth trimester Know that help is out there. Whether it’s breastfeeding trouble or sleep deprivation, experts are ready to throw a lifeline when needed. Seek that help. Just having a lactation consultant watch a baby latch on can ease any fears of mom feeding baby incorrectly. It’s easier to make the decision to get help when you have that list of where to turn to for help ready before a baby arrives. Focus on what works for you and your baby. From your pediatrician to the nurse at your OB-GYN’s office, everybody doles out different advice. Whose do you take? Try them all to find what works and keep your and your baby’s health in mind. Consider if lanolin is right for you. Lanolin, a popular gift at baby showers, is a natural substance used to prevent nipples from cracking, blistering or drying out from breastfeeding. Pasque says Vaseline is tolerated easier. She has many new moms who come into the office with rashes because they are allergic to lanolin. Stock up on healing supplies. Warm-water sitz baths, ice packs, doughnut pillows, peri bottles (i.e., squirt bottles to rinse with water instead of wiping after toileting for the first few weeks) and 100 percent cotton pads help heal the vaginal trauma caused by delivery. Consider physical therapy or massage. If incontinence issues arise, see a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the muscles that hold up the bladder and uterus. Therapists will ensure the exercises are done properly, and they have gadgets that monitor progress. Moms who delivered by cesarean section also may benefit from a therapist massaging the incision scar. The tightness of the collagen fibers in the skin can make bending over painful, among other issues. Manipulating the tissue can promote blood flow and accelerate healing. Avoid constipation. Chronic straining, especially if mom had a perineal tear, can put tension on the stitches and is hard on the pelvic floor muscles. Consider using a laxative like Miralax (rather than a stool softener) daily until the constipation subsides. It’s safe for breastfeeding moms as well. Try walking. If it still hurts to walk nearly a month after giving birth, see a doctor. The spine could be out of alignment, or a pelvic bone may have broken during delivery. Watch for postpartum depression. More intense than baby blues, which is marked by crying, sadness, anxiety and feeling overwhelmed, postpartum depression affects 13 percent of mothers and may appear a year after giving birth. Extreme irritability, insomnia and fear of the baby getting hurt in unusual ways are symptoms that are sometimes dismissed. If you’re a new or expecting mom, you probably have a million more questions. Contact your doctor for more info.
Alcoholic Liver Disease in Young Adults Is On The Rise. Alcohol use disorders have also increased over the last decade, with an 80 percent spike among women. As the craft beer, spirits and “mommy juice” wine cultures surge, doctors across the country are seeing a growing problem: sick livers. More people are drinking too much alcohol, causing a rise in alcoholic liver disease (ALD). The diseases of the liver are fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis and liver cancer. Some of the early symptoms of ALD include chronic fatigue, poor appetite, itchy skin and abdominal pain and swelling. In most cases, moderate drinking — one drink a day for women, two drinks a day for men — will not lead to ALD, but overindulging can. And for those already suffering from liver disease — some of whom may not know it — even small amounts of alcohol can exacerbate their liver damage. Death rates increase One of the scariest statistics out there that the mortality related to alcohol use is increasing the most in people 25 to 34 years old. The number of drinkers in that age bracket who died nearly tripled between 1999 and 2016, with an average increase around 10 percent every year. That same study reveals that women had a 50 percent increase in alcohol-related cirrhosis during that seven-year period; the rate for men rose 30 percent. In the United States the rate of alcohol use disorders, a medical term that combines alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence, has shot up 50 percent in the past 10 years — reflecting an 80 percent spike for women, according to the most recent National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions-III, sponsored by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the alcohol research arm of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Discovering the cause Because women absorb and metabolize alcohol differently, it makes women more susceptible to damaging the liver than men. The hypothesis is that certain hormones play a role, Mellinger says. Women also have less body water, so women have higher concentrations of alcohol in the blood when compared with men who drank the equivalent amount. Women also have a new attitude about drinking.There is this ‘mommy juice’ culture, this ‘mommy juice’ humor involving wine that’s normalizing over-drinking. Unfortunately, there is nothing funny about alcoholic liver disease. Think you have a problem or could be at risk of ALD? Make an appointment with your doctor today.
Keeping medications secure around the little ones. Specifically Grandchildren. Keeping medications in easy-to-reach places and easy-to-open containers can raise the risk of accidental poisoning or intentional misuse. Many grandparents are guilty of this when the grandchildren come over to visit. A new poll suggests many of them could do more to reduce the risk of their medications harming their grandchild. More than 80% of the grandparents polled say they keep their medication in the same place as usual when their grandchildren visit their house – and 72% keep them in their purse or bag when they go to visit their grandchildren. And nearly one-third say they store their prescription medications in something other than the container they came in – with the vast majority of them using an easy-to-open container. These practices may put children at risk of accidental poisoning if they get into their grandparent’s medications. For older grandchildren, the easy access may lead to misuse of certain medicines that hold the potential for abuse – for instance pain medicines and sedatives.The findings, from the National Poll on Healthy Aging, suggest that grandparents need more education about safe medication storage when they’re around children and teens, whether for a holiday visit or a regular childcare session. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 40% of children treated in emergency departments for medication-related poisoning. Care and risk Two-thirds of grandparents say they provide care for their grandchildren; 42% care for them monthly and 18% care for them weekly. One in ten live with their grandchildren year-round. Just over half of all adults age 50 and over who answered the poll are grandparents, including 74% of those over age 65. In all, 86% said their grandchildren had visited them in the past year. During those visits, the poll found, 84% of older adults don’t change their routine regarding where they store their medicines. Those usual places include cupboards or cabinets (61%), countertops and tables (18%), purses or bags (7%) or other locations (15%). Only 5% said they routinely keep their medications in a locked cupboard or cabinet in their own homes. And when grandparents visit their grandchildren, the chance of easy access may go up, the poll suggests. Nearly three-quarters of grandparents say they keep their medicines in their bag, and 7% leave them on a counter or table. Only 7% placed them in a locked cupboard or cabinet. Containers matter. Childproof prescription drug vials and bottles were developed and required starting years ago, specifically to protect children from accidentally swallowing medicine not prescribed to them. Those “childproof” containers, however, can be hard for some adults to open. So the poll asked grandparents if they ever used alternate containers — ones that could be easier for children to open. Twenty-nine percent of the older adults polled said they transferred their prescription medicines to other types of containers. Slightly lower percentages did the same for supplements and over-the-counter medicines, which can also harm children especially when taken in larger than recommended amounts. Grandparents should make sure to have the national Poison Control number, 1-800-222-1222, stored in their phone, memorized or available. Still have questions, call us for some quick tips from your doctor.
Riding your bike has amazing benefits - especially riding to and from work! If you’re able, riding your bike to work can be one of the most beneficial things you can do in your day. There are many benefits to riding your bike to work, from keeping your body and your pocketbook healthy to saving the environment and promoting safe-cycling community infrastructure. It also can be fun, simplify life and provide a sense of freedom. The average bike commuter loses 13 pounds their first year, according to the League of American Bicyclists. And for women, a 30-minute daily commute can cut heart failure risks in half and lower the rate for breast cancer. But despite the benefits, only 17 percent of Colorado residents ruse a bicycle for transportation, including riding it to and from work, for errands, to school or social and leisure activities. Bicycle Safety Cyclists fare best when they act as though they are drivers of vehicles and, thus, are treated as such. Many people are afraid to commute because they’re afraid to ride in the road. It’s important to look up a route that takes quiet streets or streets with bike lanes, even if it’s not the most direct route and take the plunge. Legally, bicyclists must follow the same rules as motor vehicle drivers. When that does not happen, accidents do. Almost 40 percent of bike crashes involve a bicyclist who is riding against traffic and conflicting with cross-street vehicles. For safety, bicyclists should:
- Use designated bike lanes, but when bike lanes are not available, or safe road conditions do not allow, take over the traffic lane and, use visible and audible directional signals.
- Wear bright clothing, use bike lights and do not weave through parked vehicles. Instead, maintain your lane position. Be predictable for others on the roadway. Be assertive and confident but also alert and cautious, as if driving behind the wheel of a vehicle.
- Air: Are the tires properly inflated? Is there a portable bike pump and/or patch kit on board?
- Brakes: Do they work?
- Cranks, Chain, Cassette: Depending on the type of bike, make sure the “guts” are working properly and are well maintained.
Fire up the grill with these great healthy ideas for summer meals. Planning to grill for any of the upcoming holidays? Independence Day, Labor Day, or a special birthday or anniversary dinner — we have some great grilling ideas for you. Take the day and enjoy the process. Grilled Breakfast. If you choose to start with a grilled breakfast, fire up foods such as grilled pineapple or peaches, or grilled French toast, bacon, ham slices or even Chilaquiles. Easy peasy and unbelievably delicious. Foods you can grill in advance. You can also start grilling early for foods that can safely sit around on platters for a good portion of the day before the main event. Many sorts of grilled vegetables fit this bill: sliced zucchini, yellow summer squash, chayote, red or green tomato halves, large mushroom caps, cobs of corn, eggplant slices or small whole eggplants, onion wedges, asparagus, different kinds of sweet or spicy peppers, halved or sliced fennel bulb, and parboiled or blanched firm vegetables such as potato slices, yam or sweet potato, beet, carrot or parsnip. Make a compound butter from grilled scallions or leeks (or ramps, if they’re still around the market), chopping them finely and mixing them into room temperature unsalted butter. That’d be a nice treat with which to top other grilled foods down the line. More ahead-of-time grilling possibilities: low-water, so-called “grilling cheeses” such as the Greek or Greek-style halloumi or kefalotyri, Mexican queso panela, some drier provolone, and Scandinavian or American cheeses labeled “grilling cheese.” Closer to mealtime. Closer to main mealtime is the hour to begin grilling flatbreads and slices of firm crusted bread, slathered with olive oil and flavored with pepper, salt and herbs. Possibilities for grilled breads are nearly endless. Grilled entrees. Shellfish, seafood, freshwater fish, all manner of beast or fowl—whole, or as sausages—and the vegetarian or vegan possibilities of grilled firm tofu, tempeh and seitan. Recipes for all these likewise close to endless. And last, Dessert. But don’t forget dessert; it, too, can fly off the grill. Grilled fruits, again, are delicious (bananas or watermelon are especially tasty when grilled). So is grilled pound cake or other sweet firm baked goods. S’mores are a gimme as a grilled dessert, but consider making small packets of them, instead: two squares of graham cracker sandwiching some semi-sweet chocolate chips or a thin bar of chocolate, and a marshmallow or two, all wrapped in a foot-square sheet of aluminum foil and heated five minutes on the waning embers of the grill. Enjoy the process and the time spent with friends and family while taking the day to grill and be present.