Advice Column, Bonitas, Health, Parenting

Woman’s Health

  • Bonitas
  • Category Advice Column, Bonitas, Health, Parenting

Birth Control

Side effects of birth control pills

The following information is to be used as a guide to and at the discretion of the end-user and should not replace a doctor’s opinion.

If you have just started taking birth control pills you may experience a headache, dizziness, breast tenderness, nausea, breakthrough bleeding, mood changes or other side effects. Be patient, these side effects often go away after a few months. If they don’t you may want to talk to your doctor about your options.

Some positive effects of taking birth control are lighter (and sometimes fewer) periods, milder menstrual cramps, and improved acne. Consult your doctor if you have questions about what type of birth control is right for you.

Women’s Nutrition

Unsaturated fats: the good, the bad and the ugly
The following information is to be used as a guide to and at the discretion of the end-user and should not replace a doctor’s opinion.

There are two types of unsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats are found in most vegetable oils, flaxseeds and walnuts as well as in fatty fish such as salmon, and mackerel. Monounsaturated fats can be found in olives, avocados, hazelnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and olive, canola, and peanut oils. Both kinds of unsaturated fats may help lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease.

The bad fats, saturated and fatty acid fats should only be eaten on occasion.

Lactose intolerant: the solution for getting your daily calcium intake
The following information is to be used as a guide to and at the discretion of the end-user and should not replace a doctor’s opinion.

Lactose Intolerant? Scared of not getting enough calcium? Don’t worry; you can get calcium from eating foods that don’t contain lactose.

These foods contain calcium, but are dairy free:

  • Broccoli
  • Leafy greens
  • Canned salmon &sardines with edible bones
  • Almonds
  • Oranges
  • Pinto Beans
  • Tofu and soymilk
  • Calcium-fortified breads
  • Calcium fortified juices.

Risks in Women

Urinary tract infections
The following information is to be used as a guide to and at the discretion of the end-user and should not replace a doctor’s opinion.

If you are experiencing a burning sensation when you urinate, or feeling the need for frequent urination, leaking a little urine or cloudy, dark, smelly or bloody urine you may have a urinary tract infection.

To avoid getting a urinary tract infection:

  • Drink plenty of water to flush out bacteria
  • Don’t hold your urine when you need to go
  • Wipe from front to back after a bowel movement
  • Try to urinate after having sex to wash away bacteria
  • Do not use feminine hygiene sprays and douches, which may irritate the urethra and possibly begin a case of urinary tract infection
  • Try vitamin C supplements which increase the acidity level of your urine which helps decrease bacteria
  • Wear cotton panties or underwear

Breast cancer prevention

The following information is to be used as a guide to and at the discretion of the end-user and should not replace a doctor’s opinion.

Although you should have a mammogram and clinical breast exam every 1 to 2 years if you are 40 and older, there are ways to examine your breasts in between visits. This helps you become familiar with your breasts and breast tissue, so you are more likely to notice any changes over time. Women may start doing self-breast exams any time after the age of 20. Here are the steps:

  • Look at your breasts in the mirror for any abnormal changes in colour, size or shape.
  • While lying down or taking a shower use the pads of your fingers to press firmly into your breast and move your fingers in a circle around the whole breast. Check for any abnormal lumps or changes.

By limiting the amount of alcohol, you drink, maintaining a healthy weight, staying physically active, and limiting the bad, saturated fats in your diet you may lower your risk of breast cancer.

Heart attack warning signs and prevention

The following information is to be used as a guide to and at the discretion of the end-user and should not replace a doctor’s opinion.

If you feel pressure or tightness in your chest, pain that goes from your chest into your jaw and/or left arm, or shortness of breath, you may be experiencing a heart attack. The most common symptom for both men and women is in fact tightness or pain in your chest; however, women are somewhat more likely to experience other common symptoms, specifically shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

Smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, lack of exercise, stress and obesity are all risk factors for a heart attack. Quit smoking; exercise and maintain a healthy diet and weight to help decrease the risk.

Also, talk to your doctor about whether aspirin could help reduce your personal risk of a heart attack. Aspirin may help keep your blood from forming clots that could eventually block arteries in the heart, causing a heart attack.

Stroke warning signs

The following information is to be used as a guide to and at the discretion of the end-user and should not replace a doctor’s opinion.

A stroke is a blood clot or a break in an artery that interrupts blood flow to part of the brain. Some symptoms of a stroke could be sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body; sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding; and sudden trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance. If these symptoms occur, get emergency medical help immediately.

Act F.A.S.T if someone you know is experiencing signs and symptoms of a stroke.

F. (Face) Ask the person to smile to see if one side droops.
A. (Arms) Ask the person to raise both arms to see if one drifts downward.
S. (Speech) Ask the person to say a sentence to see if their words are slurred and to see if they have trouble repeating it correctly.
T. (Time) If the person shows any of these symptoms seek medical attention immediately. Time is very important in treating a stroke.

Be sure to note the time of the first symptom. This will help doctors give appropriate treatment.

Osteoporosis prevention

The following information is to be used as a guide to and at the discretion of the end-user and should not replace a doctor’s opinion.

Osteoporosis involves a decrease in bone density (thickness); it is also associated with weaker muscles and a greater tendency to fall. 1 in every 3 women and 1 in every 5 men will get the disease.

To prevent osteoporosis, make sure you have a sufficient amount of calcium (milk, cheese, sardines, tofu, and dark green vegetables are all rich in calcium) and Vitamin D in your diet. Also, reduce alcohol intake, do not smoke, and exercise at least twice a week to help reduce your risk.

Skin cancer prevention

The following information is to be used as a guide to and at the discretion of the end-user and should not replace a doctor’s opinion.

When choosing a sunscreen look for the term “Broad Spectrum”. This means that the product will give you protection against both types of harmful ultraviolet radiation, referred to as UVA and UVB radiation. The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) recommends that everyone use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that has a Sun Protection Factor, or SPF, rating of 15 or higher.

Water resistant products are recommended for activities such as swimming. The water will lower the SPF level so you may need to reapply the product more often if you are in the water for long periods of time. You will also need to reapply your sunscreen after you are finished swimming and towel drying.

When choosing a sunscreen look for products that carry the Cancer Association of South Africa’s Seal of Recognition. This seal shows that the product has been fully tested and that the product meets the Cancer Association’s requirements.

Applying sunscreen at least once every hour while you are in the sun is recommended to fully protect you from the damaging rays of the sun.

When you’re out in the sun don’t forget to protect your lips too. Some lip care products have a SPF rating while others may not. Look for those that do and apply frequently while in the sun.

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