Category Archives: women’s health

Common Causes of Menstrual Irregularities

No two menstrual cycles are alike. Every woman’s body is different, therefore every woman will experience their own different cycle. Although women often share similar period symptoms, each cycle is unique. However, sometimes a cycle can be so different that it can be irregular. There are many causes for menstrual irregularities every woman should be made aware of:

Pregnancy

The most common cause of menstrual irregularities is pregnancy. Pregnancy puts a woman’s period to a halt for nine months after conception. There may be a bit of light spotting, but this is a common sign a woman may be pregnant. Other symptoms are nausea, breast soreness, and fatigue.

Birth Control

Another way to cause menstrual irregularities is by taking birth control. Hormonal birth control pills and hormone-containing intrauterine devices (IUDs) can cause irregular bleeding during a woman’s cycle. An IUD can also cause very heavy bleeding.

Perimenopause

As a woman get older, her body begins to go through major changes. When her period stops due to her age, this is called menopause. The time between their period coming to a stop and entering menopause is called perimenopause. This can cause them to have a very irregular period, sometimes going months without bleeding. Women can also experience hot flashes, mood changes, difficulty sleeping, and vaginal dryness.

Being Overweight

It’s important for men and women to stay healthy. Being overweight can cause many health issues. For women, it can lead to menstrual irregularities. When a woman is overweight, their obesity impacts hormone and insulin levels and interferes with your menstrual cycle.

Eating Disorders and Extreme Weightloss

It’s important for your body to find a healthy balance. Obesity isn’t the only weight issue that can lead to an unhealthy menstrual cycle. If a woman has an eating disorder or is experiencing extreme and rapid weight loss, it can interfere with their body producing the hormones needed for ovulation.

Stress

Mental health can have a major impact on the body. For women, stress can be a major factor when dealing with menstrual irregularities. Research has found that stress can interfere with a woman’s menstrual cycle by temporarily obstructing the part of the brain in charge of controlling the hormones responsible for regulating your cycle.

What is Postpartum Depression ?

Childbirth can be an emotional experience for new parents. As you settle in with your bundle of joy, you might encounter something unexpected – depression. Postpartum depression is often left undiscussed but affects many parents. What separates this from postpartum “baby blues”? Sometimes a rare but more severe condition called postpartum psychosis can develop. 

Defining Postpartum Depression

By definition by the National Institute of Mental Health, postpartum depression is a mood disorder that can affect women and birthing parents after childbirth. New parents often experience “baby blues” after childbirth, where they might experience mood swings, crying spells, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping. The symptoms of postpartum depression may be similar but tend to be more severe and last longer, sometimes interfering with your ability to care for your baby and complete other daily tasks.  

Symptoms

Parents can experience depressed mood or severe mood swings, excessive crying, and difficulty bonding with their baby. Other common symptoms include changes in appetite, social withdrawal, and sleep disturbances. Symptoms will usually begin within the first few weeks after giving birth but may begin earlier (during pregnancy) or later, up to a year after birth. More severe symptoms may occur, such as thoughts of harming oneself or the baby, and these require serious and immediate attention. 

Causes

Physical changes and emotional issues play a role in postpartum depression, but there is no single cause for the condition. Hormonal changes after childbirth, such as dramatic drops in levels of progesterone and estrogen, may contribute to postpartum depression. Your risk of developing postpartum depression may increase if you have a history of depression or other mood disorders.

Treatments

Fortunately, postpartum depression is treatable.Treatment and recovery time will vary depending on your individual needs and the severity of the depression. Your medical provider will work on treating the underlying causes and may refer you to a mental health professional. Generally, treatment for depression includes psychotherapy, medication, or both. It is important to continue treatment even after you begin to feel better, as stopping treatment too early may lead to relapse.  Left untreated, postpartum depression can last for many months or longer. 
This post was originally published on DrLoriGoreGreen.org

Foods to Avoid During Your Period

Women everywhere know the struggle each month of dealing with their menstrual cycle. As if it’s not enough to handle the pain, bloating, and cramping, there’s also the emotional fatigue that can sneak up. What a plethora of women don’t know is that you can use diet to help relieve some of your period symptoms.

To improve reproductive health doctors recommend avoiding certain foods and drinks. Don’t worry though, the restrictions are only for the week of your period!

Salty Food

Bloating is very common for women on their periods. However, salty foods can cause even more bloating and gas. If that can be avoided by all means do! Things such as potato chips, popcorn, pickles, and other snacks have a lot of sodium and though cravings are a very real thing, try to refrain. Your body will thank you.

Saturated/Trans Fats

Another source of pain during the menstrual cycle can be caused by the saturated fats in certain meats and dairy products. Avoid eating burgers or drinking whole milk during your period and pain and inflammation can often be lessened. French fries, doughnuts, and other heavy carbohydrates are also best to avoid.

Caffeine

It’s sad, but caffeine is in a lot of the things we enjoy, such as coffee, soda, and chocolate. Just remember, it’s only for a week! Caffeine can raise our anxiety levels and create agitation and trouble sleeping so it’s best to lay off the frappuccinos and candy bars until your menstrual cycle ends.

Sugar

Though we often crave sugary candy during this time, it’s best to stay away. If you’re already feeling bloated candy will surely make it worse. Instead, opt for fruit that has natural sugar. Though candy might help elevate your mood short term, it will wear off and leave your body feeling as bad as before.

Alcohol

If you’re not celebrating with friends and family during your menstrual cycle it’s best to refrain from drinking alcohol. The loss of blood can lower your blood pressure which can heighten the effects of alcohol. Drinking alcohol can also increase your flow, making your period heavier.

Overall, trying to eat healthier (at least during your menstrual cycle) can improve your mood and help to alleviate some of the period pain.

Constantly Evolving: How the Female Body Changes During Pregnancy

Pregnancy delivers a host of changes to a woman’s body. Some are visible and commonly expected, such as weight gain and an expanding belly; others are less well-known, such as increasing breast size. Some changes are well-known but invisible, such as backaches, morning sickness, and an enlarged uterus. Awareness of the changes, both visible and invisible, can help you prepare for your body’s adjustments during pregnancy.

Oral Health

A common pregnancy complaint is bleeding gums, which can open a portal to oral infections. With the immune system tamping down, it is vital to practice good oral hygiene. This will prevent the gums becoming inflamed, or gingivitis. While some women are nervous about visiting the dentist while they are pregnant, it is safe to receive dental X-rays with the caveat that the belly must be shielded properly from radiation.

Nails and Hair

Hair and nails tend to grow faster during pregnancy. An increase in estrogen creates an increase in the hair follicles’ growing phase, often creating a result of healthier and thicker hair. Hair may also increase in less desired places, such as the stomach, upper lip, nipples, and back. This excess hair is shed after giving birth. Nails tend to become more coarse in texture, causing them to become more soft and brittle. This can lead to nails splitting more easily. Like hair, the nails have a tendency to grow faster during pregnancy.

Skin

Three main skin changes are possible during pregnancy: stretch marks, a rosy complexion, and pigment changes known as chloasma or melasma. Stretch marks tend to itch and are purplish, pinkish lines that are particularly prone to appear on the breasts, posterior, thighs, and abdomen. The rosy complexion, or pregnancy glow, may appear due to the skin receiving an increase in blood circulation. Pigment changes, or pregnancy’s mask, are another common occurrence due to melanin increasing.

Heartburn

During pregnancy, the muscles that are used to break down food grow more relaxed. Changes in hormones also contribute to slowing down this process. Further, food remains in the stomach for a longer duration to allow the body more time for absorption of nutrients. Each or all of these factors can be the cause of heartburn or make it worse.

Originally posted on DrLoriGoreGreen.org. 

Constantly Evolving: Weight Gain During Menopause

Women between the ages of 40 and 50 will begin to exhibit changes in their body as it prepares to end their menstrual cycles. Menopause is the time in a woman’s life where they cease menstruation and the ability to reproduce. It is diagnosed officially once a woman has gone 12 months without her period. Just as hormones brought on menstruation, a shift in hormones brings it to an end.

Symptoms of menopause may include: hot flashes and chills, mood changes, weight gain, thinning hair and dry skin, vaginal dryness, and problems with sleep. During this hormonal shift, the body experiences many changes.

Menopause and Weight Gain

When a female begins to go through menopause, it’s not uncommon for them to gain weight. Some believe that the weight is caused by hormonal shifts that mess with metabolism, but this is not the case. Hormonal therapy is almost always given to help balance moods and other unpleasant symptoms, and these supplements also get blamed for middle-aged women being overweight. However, science finds no evidence of any such connections.

As a person begins to age, their metabolism naturally slows. People in their 20’s have an easier time losing weight than that of a person in their 40’s. The fat that has accumulated for many years is very stubborn, and with a body mass decrease, the fat is nearly impossible to lose. To fight the battle of the bulge takes physical activity, but this is the point when most women are ready to settle down and avoid rigorous exercise routines.

A woman in her 40’s or 50’s isn’t typically as physically active as she was in her younger years. With this reduced activity comes a decrease in muscle mass and an increase in weight. However, there may be more to worry about than just a few extra pounds.

While menopause cannot be associated with weight gain, it can be related to a change in the way the body distributes fat. Thus, it affects body composition. Many women change from a pear-shaped body to that of an apple like shape with age. Additional studies are needed to find out exactly how menopause affects body composition. The problem is that most women are overweight by the time they reach this point in their life.

Carrying additional weight around puts a woman at an increased risk for hypertension, osteoarthritis, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Additionally, her compromised health can cause issues with mobility, self-image, and many other factors. It’s imperative to stay active to be healthy at all ages, but it’s especially important during menopause. A sedentary lifestyle creates too many risks that are not worth taking. Physical Activity is a must.

Originally posted on DrLoriGoreGreen.org on May 13, 2019.

Constantly Evolving: Puberty and Menstruation

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Constantly evolving is a new series documenting the ways in which women’s bodies change. Based on the time of the month or period of life, the series hopes to highlight the magnificence of the woman’s body.  

The previous “Constantly Evolving” article focused on external physical changes girls experience when going through puberty. In conjunction to evolutions in physical appearance, the female body undergoes a massive change internally with the start of ovulation and menstruation.

When girls are born their ovaries contain thousands of eggs called ova. During puberty, the ovaries begin to release estrogen and progesterone leading the lining of the uterus to become thicker.

Simultaneously, the hormones mature an egg and release it from the ovary. The egg travels through the fallopian tube and eventually reaches the uterus. This process is known as ovulation.

This lining of the uterus builds up in preparation for a fertilized egg, which would attach itself to the lining and begin developing. If there is no fertilized egg, the uterus sheds its thick lining and bleeds. The shedding of the uterus is what we call menstruation. This process then repeats month to month.

Girls most often get their periods for the first time between 9 and 14 years of age. Menstruation is often linked to weight, so many girls will not get their period until they exceed 90 pounds. If menstruation hasn’t begun by age 16, seeing a doctor is recommended. Periods may be irregular at first. With time, they begin to fall into a pattern that is easy to track and predict.

Periods can last anywhere from three to seven days. Some pain and discomfort is common, as the uterus is expanding and contracting to shed its lining. Pain can vary in severity, with some girls experiencing extreme cramping and back pain while others only find the cramps annoying. These variances are often caused by the level of prostaglandins the body releases. If experiencing severe cramps that interfere with daily life, girls should speak to their doctors to determine the cause.

Though information about menstruation is readily available, studies show that many women felt unprepared, shocked, and confused when they got their first period. The Constantly Evolving series strives to shine a light on the beauty of the female body and all the changes it endures to create and support new life. Sex education, as well as open communication about puberty, is necessary to break down stigmas and enhance appreciation for the female body.

This post was originally published on DrLoriGoreGreen.org on April 17, 2019. 

Shop Meaningfully: 3 Companies That Support Women

Shop Meaningfully_ 3 Companies That Support Women _ Dr. Lori Gore-Green

In 2018, the amount of female CEOs for Fortune 500 companies topped out at only 24. Though women are making great strides towards pay equality and representation in the corporate world, there are still large and looming gaps in the market. So, how do we, as consumers and women, demonstrate the desire for and power of female entrepreneurs and business leaders? We direct our money towards companies that support women or are run by women. Here are three great companies with female-centric ideals and leaders to add to your shopping list.

One for Women

“One small gesture. One big impact.” That’s One for Women’s mission statement, and it’s one they take seriously. Founded by Heidi Crable and her daughter, Meg Wheeler, this company strives to create the perfectly curated gift set for any and all of life’s moments—good or bad, happy or sad.

One for Women also donates a portion of their profits to non-profit charities, many of which are focused on women’s and children’s causes. They have previously partnered with Every Mother Counts, the Fireborn Institute, and She’s the First.

Nudest

Women of color have long fought for representation within the beauty industry’s offerings. While this gap has recently shown improvement, many black women still face challenges when shopping for makeup. The problem? When shopping online, women of color face heightened barriers to find their match thanks to poorly named shades, such as the “universal” tone “nude.”

Founded by Atima Lui, the daughter of a Sudanese refugee and black activist, Nudest uses Artificial Intelligence to help women find their perfect matches when shopping online. The innovative technology was created by underrepresented minorities.

Billie

Female personal care items are, on average, 13% more costly than similar products for men, and razors are no exception. In store, a pack of pink razors will cost approximately a dollar more than a pack of men’s green razors. The difference between the two? Nothing but the cost and the color. This upcharge is known to consumers as the “Pink Tax,” which is not an actual tax, but instead refers to the price inflation of women’s products.

Billie, a shaving subscription service, seeks to break the “pink tax.” Offering adorably packaged and designed razors and shaving products, the company prices their goods at values comparable to men’s shaving subscriptions. Billie is also the first company of their kind to showcase body hair in their advertisements and work to promote body hair positivity. Additionally, one percent of their revenue goes directly to women’s causes worldwide.

Though there are not nearly enough women on the Fortune 500 list of CEOs, women all around the world are running incredibly creative and innovative companies. Focusing your money and attention on them helps support women and create more opportunities for female growth. Shop meaningfully and intelligently by researching brands and supporting the ones whose ideals match yours.

This post was originally published on DrLoriGoreGreen.net on April 17, 2019.