Understanding Menopause in Six Simple Facts

womens health -472504192The life stages of women’s reproductive health begin with puberty (menstruation) and end with menopause. Menopause marks the time when a woman stops having her period and is no longer able to reproduce.  While this stage is a normal part of life it has its challenges as women may experience several, physical and emotional changes.  Here are six simple facts to educate and help prepare you for potential changes ahead.

  1. What is menopause?

Menopause is medically defined as the time in a woman’s life when she has not had her period for 12 months after her last menstrual cycle.  Her ovaries will cease to further produce eggs.

  1. When does it happen?

The average age for women living in the United States to experience menopause is 51 years old. However, in some cases, it can occur as early as a woman’s 30’s or as late has her 60’s. Symptoms can begin to present a few years earlier before the actual onset of menopause. This stage of your reproductive health is referred to as perimenopause.

  1. What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of menopause may vary from person to person; they may include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • A slowed metabolism and weight gain
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Mood swings
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Thinning hair
  • Incontinence
  1. How to treat or cope with symptoms?

There are several treatments and lifestyle changes you can apply to help relieve symptoms, some of which are:

  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Strengthening pelvic floor muscles by doing Kegel exercises
  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Taking calcium and Vitamin D supplements, as recommended
  • Exercising regularly
  • Taking low-dose anti-depressants as prescribed
  1. Can menopause lead to further complications?

Your risk for developing certain health conditions may increase after menopause. Examples of these include osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease

  1. When should I speak to my doctor about menopause?

If you are experiencing unusual pain, other extreme physical or emotional symptoms which affect your quality of life, it is advised that you speak with your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor may explore treatment options or suggest lifestyle changes.  It is also recommended that you begin the conversation about menopause during perimenopause (early menopause symptoms).  Your doctor can offer guidance on what to expect.

Flushing Hospital also offers a full range of OB/GYN ambulatory care services in its Women’s Health Center. To make an appointment, please call 718 670-8994.

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Will Having Shingles Effect My Pregnancy?

pregpicAlmost 1 out of every 3 people in the United States will develop shingles. Shingles is the term used for a skin rash that is caused by the herpes-zoster (varicella) virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. In some cases it can reactivate and cause shingles. Anyone who has had chickenpox may develop shingles, including pregnant women and even children.

As a new or expecting mother there are a lot of concerns for staying as healthy as you can for you and your baby during pregnancy. Although you can’t give anybody shingles, you can pass the virus on as chickenpox. Whereas shingles is harmless in pregnancy, chickenpox can cause problems for an unborn baby. For this reason, stay away from other pregnant women while you have shingles.

If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant:

  • First, get a blood test to find out if you’re immune to chickenpox. If you’re not immune, you can get a vaccine. It’s best to wait 1 month after the vaccine before getting pregnant.
  • If you’re already pregnant, don’t get the vaccine until after you give birth. In the meantime, avoid contact with anyone who has chickenpox or shingles.
  • If you’re not immune to chickenpox and you come into contact with someone who has it, tell your doctor right away. Your doctor can treat you with medicine that has chickenpox antibodies.
  • Tell your doctor if you come in contact with a person who has shingles. Your doctor may want to treat you with an antiviral medication. Antiviral medication will shorten the length of time that the symptoms will be present.

There isn’t a cure for shingles but a physician will usually prescribe medications to make the symptoms less intense. If you have questions about shingles send them to AskUs@marchofdimes.org

To learn more about prenatal treatments please call the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, 718-670-8994.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Five Best Tips for Putting Your Best Fork Forward to Shed the Winter Pounds

Healthy resolutions for the New Year 2017.

Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month?  Every year, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics generates a nutrition, education and information campaign.  This year’s message is “Put Your Best Fork Forward.”

Each person has the tools to make healthy dietary choices.  Now  that winter is coming to an end, and spring is approaching, it is a wonderful time to reflect on our current habits and lifestyle and decide which tools we will use to shed some excess weight gained over the winter months.

Tool #1 – Balance

  • Visit Choose My Plate at https://www.choosemyplate.gov/ – Use the “my plate” method of ½ plate non starchy veggies, ¼ plate protein, ¼ plate fiber rich carbohydrate to balance your nutrients throughout the day.
  • Drink water or mild instead of sweetened beverages (soda or juice).
  • Eat healthy snacks, such as fruits/nuts with yogurt or crackers with peanut butter.
  • Substitute processed or artificially flavored food items with natural unprocessed foods. By skipping the cookies and having a piece of fruit, you will get more vitamins and fiber allowing your body to feel more energized throughout the day.

Tool #2 – Let’s get Physical

Physical activity, in any form, is imperative for managing weight. Some ways to get more active are:

  • Consider non weight bearing exercises such as using resistance bands for building muscle and increasing flexibility, stationary bike or water aerobics.
  • Walking 10,000 steps per day is equivalent to walking five miles! Aim to achieve as many steps as possible throughout the day such as parking your car a little further from your destination, taking the stairs instead of the elevator and partaking in walking breaks, especially if you are sitting for most of the day.
  • March gives us extra daylight, so the best way to utilize this extra time is by being active. Activities such as walking, jogging, gardening, swimming and yoga are perfect ways to spend 30 minutes doing an outside activity.

Tool #3 – Reduce Stress

  • Everyone has stress which can obstruct weight loss. Stress increased the hormone called cortisol, which can contribute to weight gain.  Stress also contributes to emotional eating and other damaging behaviors.
  • It is important to ask for help and have support to get through the daily stressors of life. Consider support groups, meditation, coloring, knitting or spending time with a loved one to relieve the stressors in your daily life and help you stay focused and on track of your goals and progress.

Tool #4 – Be SMART About Your Goals

By setting SMART goals, results are greater!  SMART goals encompass five parameters to make the goal more productive:

S          is the SPECIFICS of the goal.  Is the goal definable?

M         is the MEASURABILITY of the goal. Is it possible to track/measure progress?

A          is ATTAINABILITY of the goal.  Is the goal a reasonable one ?

R          is RELEVENCY of the goal.  Is the goal worthwhile and will it meet your needs?

T          is TIMELINESS of the goal.  How much time can you give to accomplishing goals?

Tool #5 – Track Your Progress

  • Keep a diary or journal and record your progress and shortcomings.
  • Keep a food log and track your dietary intake.
  • “There’s an App for that” – There are so many wonderful Apps for goal setting and tracking caloric intake, physical activity, etc., utilize the technology on your smart phone or tablet to monitor your progress.

This article was submitted by Sadia Tahir Khan MS, RD and Michelle Hill, RD, CDN, CDE, Food and Nutrition Department of Flushing Hospital Medical Center

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Why is the cesarean rate so high, and how can I increase my chance of a natural birth?

Woman in the operating room before a delivery

In the field of obstetrics and gynecology, there is no more debatable topic than the increased rate of cesarean (C-section) deliveries. The C-section rate is the percentage of all births that take place surgically, whereby a baby is delivered via an incision on the abdomen. Over the last few decades, this rate has increased tremendously. Up to the 1970’s, the rate of cesarean in the U.S. was less than 5% but in the subsequent few years, it climbed to 33%.

While the cesarean delivery has become a safer operation than it used to be, it is still a major abdominal surgery which should be avoided when a vaginal delivery is an option for both baby and mother. Sadly, rates of complications such as cerebral palsy have not decreased much despite the 600% increase of cesarean deliveries in the last three decades. So why then, has the cesarean rate climbed so much?

There are several factors explaining the increase the cesarean rates and there is no single answer. because so much has changed in the last two of three decades, in terms of medical, social and legal aspects. Let’s look at a few factors:

  • Breech babies: Few doctors deliver breech babies vaginally because recent studies suggested that C-section births are less risky for them.
  • Fewer patients attempt a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean): Women with a previous C-section are either not interested or not encouraged in having a vaginal birth after cesarean. There are risks involved in attempting a VBAC, but very often, they can be minimized by close fetal surveillance in labor.
  • Less patience for prolonged labor: Although 24-48 hour labors are often ultimately rewarded by a natural birth, many women prefer to have a cesarean now as opposed to waiting several more hours for a possible natural birth. Sometimes, it’s best to let nature do its work and wait, but physicians and women are often impatient, not tolerant of long (but natural) labor.
  • C-section delivery has become a much safer operation than it used to be decades ago: Long-term complications or serious short- term complications remain rare. This is mainly attributed to proper use of antibiotics, better and safer anesthesia techniques, and safe blood banking.
  • Women wait longer to have children: Increasing age is linked to a higher risk of developing complications such as high blood pressure, placenta previa and diabetes, just to name a few. These conditions increase the risk of cesarean.
  • More multiple births: The rates of twins and triplets have increased by 200-300%. 3-5% of all pregnancies are now twins (or triplets) as opposed to 1% years ago. These high risk pregnancies are associated with a much higher risk of cesarean. The majority of twin pregnancies and nearly all triplets are born via cesarean.
  • Cesarean delivery on maternal request: Some women feel that women should be entitled to make decisions about their body, and about how they want to deliver and at times, women ask for a cesarean delivery In the absence of a medical indication.,

The WHO (World Health Organization) has been advocating since 1985 to reduce the C-section to10-15 percent since 1985. Here are some tips for women who want to achieve this goal and reduce their chances of having a C-section.

  • Don’t be tempted to have a “scheduled” induction: while sometimes, labor inductions are medically necessary to prevent an adverse maternal or fetal outcome, many physicians and patients are tempted to “schedule” a delivery at a set time, without a medical reason.
  • If your baby is breech (babys bottom is down instead of the head): attempt an external version. A simple procedure called External Cephalic Version may turn the baby from breech position to head down, simply by turning the baby externally, by an experiences obstetrician.
  • Be patient. Labors can be long, sometimes very long, so be prepared for it and be patient. Bring a good book, movies, music and try to rest when you can (this is especially possible when you have a well working epidural).
  • Bring a coach: Having a supportive person during your labor (your spouse, your mother or a trained labor coach, called a Doula) has been shown to decrease the risk of cesarean and also to improve your perception of labor. They will keep you distracted during the often very long process.
  • Good life habits: women who are physically fit and are within their ideal body weight are less likely to develop diabetes, high blood pressure and excessively large babies during their pregnancy. So if you have healthy life habits, keep up with them! There is no reason to stop exercising during your pregnancy.
  • Don’t eat excessively: your baby is a magnet for the calories you ingest, so there’s no reason to eat excessively to feed your baby. Don’t believe your mother, aunts or anyone else who force you to eat in order to have a big baby and tell you that “a big baby is healthier”. It simply isn’t true. Six pounds babies are just as healthy as a ten pound ones.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Power of Positive Thinking

positivethinking

According to the Mayo Clinic, positive thinking helps with stress management and can even improve your health.

Try these morning affirmations and get your day started right:

  • Today, I will think pure and positive thoughts
  • Today, I release the past and move into the present
  • Today, I choose to have joy
  • Today, I choose peace
  • Today, I realize that I am worthy of good things
  • Today, I begin to make healthy choices for my body, mind and soul
  • Today, I claim that the healthier I live my life, the better my life will be
  • Today, I like who I am

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Fact Friday – How Many Babies Were Born at Flushing Hospital in 2016?

2016 was a big year for the Perinatal Care Department at Flushing Hospital Medical Center.

Mother holding a baby while he opens his mouth

That’s because last year the hospital topped 3,000 deliveries – a major milestone for the department as it is the first time in over 25 years that Flushing Hospital has surpassed that mark. In fact, a total of 3,126 babies were born last year at Flushing Hospital!

Historically, Flushing Hospital has always been a destination for women in Queens to give birth. At its peak in the mid 1980’s Flushing Hospital delivered over 4,200 babies annually. That number had slowly declined to a low of only 1,500 deliveries approximately a decade ago. However, in recent years the hospital has seen a steady increase, culminating with it reaching this major milestone.

There are many reasons for the baby boom at Flushing Hospital according to Maria DeMarinis Smilios, Director of Nursing for Maternal and Child Services, “We have done many things to improve the services we provide to expectant mothers. We have made ourselves more accessible to the community by expanding perinatal evening hours twice per week. We have also added an on-site WIC program and expanded our family planning services. In addition, we have brought in many doctors and support staff that speak multiple languages and are reflective of the community we serve.”

Maria added, “Our staff has also worked very hard to meet the needs of each of our patients and address every request and concern they have during their perinatal experience. Their dedication to improving our patient’s satisfaction is evident as more and more women are once again choosing Flushing.”

Flushing Hospital Perinatal Care Department plans to continue the momentum and looks forward to welcoming even more babies into the community in 2017. Plans for the future include expanding the number of private post-partum rooms on the Mother-Baby Unit from two to 11, which will further enhance the patient experience.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

OB/GYN or Midwife: Which Is Right For You?

Midwife, mother and newborn baby

When you decide to try to conceive, it is important to start looking for a practitioner to care for you during pregnancy and the birth of your baby. Deciding between an OB/GYN doctor and Midwife depends on what kind of experience you want, where you plan to give birth, what your insurance covers and the risk level of your pregnancy. Here are a few factors to consider in making your decision:

  1. If you have a medical condition such as high blood pressure, epilepsy, heart disease, or diabetes, or had certain serious complications in a previous pregnancy, your pregnancy will probably be considered high risk. In this case, you will need to see an obstetrician who will monitor your body as it adapts to pregnancy along with monitoring the development of your baby.
  2. If you’re looking for a practitioner who is more likely to take a holistic approach to your care – and to see birth as a normal process, intervening only when necessary and not routinely – you may prefer a midwife.
  3. If you have no health problems or pregnancy complications and you have your heart set on giving birth in a birth center or at home, you’ll want to find a midwife who practices in these settings. In the event you want the option for an epidural, or are anxious about any possible complications then you’ll want to be in a hospital. For a hospital birth, you can choose an ob-gyn, a family physician, or a certified nurse-midwife as your primary caregiver.

Obstetricians are by far the most chosen option for expecting mothers in the United States, although certified nurse-midwives are becoming more popular. Some women choose practices that have both ob-gyns and midwives. The most important thing to consider when choosing a delivery option is your comfort.

Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology has a full program to provide total health care to women. For more information about the many services offered by the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-670-8994.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

What is Herbal Medicine?

herbal-medicine-mx-680x340-1440545288

Herbal medicine, also known as herbalism or botanical medicine is a method of treating health-related issues, based on the use of plants or plant extracts that may be eaten or applied to the skin.

Herbal remedies are well rooted in medical practice.  Since ancient times, doctors have collected information about herbs to treat a variety of illnesses and to assist with bodily functions.

As a result, more than a quarter of all medicines used today contain active ingredients derived from those same ancient plants. While herbal medicine is not a licensed profession in theUnited States, herbal remedies, in the form of extracts, tinctures, capsules and tablets, as well as teas, may be recommended by healthcare professionals.

Herbal medicine blurs the line between foods and medicines.  Using herbs and spices that have a disease-preventive affect in foods is one of the best ways to take advantage of their healing power.Herbal medicine has been used to treat or alleviate virtually every possible medical condition.

Some of the most popular herbal remedies and conditions for which they are used include:

  • Aloe – used topically for minor burns, sunburns, skin irritation or inflammation
  • Chamomile Tea – ingested for upset stomach, heartburn, indigestion and colic
  • Echinacea – ingested for colds, flu and sore throat
  • Garlic – ingested to possible reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, treat fungal infections and colds
  • Ginger – ingested for nausea and motion sickness and as an anti-inflammatory
  • Peppermint Tea – ingested for indigestion, nausea and other digestive problems
  • Tea Tree Oil – applied topically for fungal infections such as athlete’s foot and fungal infections of the toenails and fingernails
  • Tumeric – ingested to combat inflammation and protect agains cancer and Alzheimers disease

This information is solely for informational purposes.  It is not intended to be medical advice.  Before undertaking any course of treatment, you should seek the advice of your phsician or other health care provider.

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All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Preparing for Childbirth

Family With New Born Baby In Post Natal Hospital Department

Giving birth is one of the most beautiful experiences in a woman’s life. While every hospital will provide you with items to make your stay more comfortable, many people prefer to bring items from home to enhance their experience.

 

 

Some suggestions for the mom to be are :

• Insurance card
• Important phone numbers
• Cell phone and charger
• Comfortable clothing  (underwear, bathrobe, slippers, nightgown and pajamas)
• Items for personal hygiene (toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, body lotion)
• A favorite pillow
For the baby:
• Receiving blanket
• Hat
• Clothing
• Socks
• It is also important to have a car seat for the day of discharge
Typically new moms tend to bring more supplies than they will need. Remember, the items above are all suggestions and should be used only as a guide. Most hospitals will provide new moms and their infants with basic items for comfort and for personal hygiene.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Resolve to Eat Right

healthquote

With the holidays drawing to a close, it will soon be the time for resolutions.  Why not make eating right a part of your resolution.

Eating right doesn’t have to be complicated.  You can begin with a simple shift to lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates into your nutritional regimen while lessening your intake of processed foods, white flour and sugar.

For more information on eating right, contact the Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s  Ambulatory Care Center at  718-670-5486 to speak with a nutritionist.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.