Friday, October 4, 2013

Sweating it out: Postpartum hot flashes!? It's not menopause, just baby fluid

It is the last month of your pregnancy. You have been making another human being for 9 months. Your ankles are GONE to be replaced with fluid filled cankles.
Then the day finally comes and you expel said baby out, hold that amazing wonder in your arms, look down at your ankles, and realize they are STILL not there.

So baby is out, and ankles should be back, right? Not so much. You have to actually get rid of all that fluid. Some people pee it out, and others sweat it out.  And by sweat I mean, HOLY DRENCHING HOT FLASH!

These joyous hot flashes are caused by your pregnancy hormones yet again, this time telling your body to get rid of all those extra fluids that you needed while creating another person.

You may find yourself waking up in the middle of the night completely soaked in sweat, only to wake up the next morning and see your ankles again. Phenomenal! For some, these sweat sessions happen only at night, for others they are happen throughout the day as well. And sometimes this may last for a week or so, and for others, for over a month.

Drinking lots of water, getting your body moving, sleeping on a towel (with an extra set of pjs/nursing tops nearby) is the best way to get through this fascinating postpartum phase. Just think that with every hot flash that you are one step closer to having ankles that don't resemble tree trunks.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I'm baaaaack!

Ladies (and gents of course), I'm back. Yes, I know you have been waiting with bated breath for the return of Lady Parts, and you have been parched for some information about your lady bits. Not to worry, after an amazing 7 months with my little amazing boy, I am ready to resume the blogging! And boy oh boy, do I have A LOT to write about. The whole process of being pregnant, giving birth, and all the stuff that happens after (and good lord there is a lot of stuff after that NO ONE tells you!!) has given me a whole new appreciation of the wonderful things our bodies can do. Now, I can't promise that my postings will be as regular as they were before, but I will do my best to write when the bambino gives me a chance.

While I queue up the line of interesting things to blog about, let me know if there is something that you have been wanting to know!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Maternity leave

"Where oh where are the funny, informative, awesome posts on lady parts?" you may be asking yourself. Well folks, I went and had me a baby. So I've taken a break for a little while. Somehow, writing well researched blog posts doesn't fit into my little one's schedule of eating, pooping, sleeping, and playing.

But not to worry, Lady Parts: The Manual will be back in full swing in no time, and I will have SO much more to blog about with a new (and personal) perspective on lady parts. Pregnancy and motherhood are amazing and awe inspiring experiences and has taught me so much more about lady parts that I can't wait to share with you!

Oh, the little one is up...gotta go!

Friday, June 8, 2012

What to eat? My answer to a simple question

In my last blog post I wrote my thoughts on the "cleansing" diet fad. I figured I would follow that up with a my thoughts on what we should be eating. I get questions about diet quite a bit, and figured I would tell you all about how I eat. Also, I just read Mark Hyman piece about the "last diet you will ever need" and in many ways, I couldn't agree with him more.

I like to practice what I preach, and in my opinion I lead a pretty well balanced life. I LOVE to eat. Really I do. Me and food are besties. I love all flavors and textures, love that I live in the food capital of the world (in my opinion), and I love to cook.  So, I don't want you to think I live in an imaginary lala land where my diet dictates my life.

To be clear, I don't believe in "diets". I believe in eating healthy, eating in moderation, and enjoying life. I've had friends on every kind of diet imaginable: Atkins, Paleo, Weight Watchers, South Beach, low carb, low fat, high protein, cookie, shakes. You get the picture. Personally, I just could never do it, and I definitely could never sustain it. I like to be able to have cheese (I REALLY love cheese) and bread, and meat, and wine.

This is my thinking when it comes to food: as touted Mark Pollan:  "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." It is also how I grew up, so I am lucky that my palate has developed in a way that has made it easy to follow a healthy diet.

I love my veggies, and we pretty much keep vegetarian at home. That way, when we eat out, eating meat feels like a treat, and I appreciate that I am eating something that used to be alive.I love fruit, and growing up, we usually had fruit after dinner and I have been sticking with that. I don't believe in sugar substitutes. I would always rather have a teaspoon of real sugar in my morning coffee and not have an extra cookie than substitute. I try to keep processed food to a minimum and the few processed food that I do eat are made with simple real ingredients (like Triskets, which has only three ingredients). When it comes to carbs, I eat whole wheat/whole grain, even in pasta (you get used to it and it is much more filling).  I am not a big snacker, but when I do it is yogurt,  a piece of fruit,  nuts, dried fruit, or hummus and veggies. I don't like sodas (high fructose corn syrup gives me migraines, and you know my feelings about sugar substitutes), so I drink mostly water, or I mix a little bit of fruit juice with soda, or add a lemon or a lime to seltzer or water. My home is always stocked with these yummy healthy things, so I can never make a "bad choice."

I love to try new restaurants and eat out as well, and I never feel like I am denying myself anything. When I do indulge, and trust me I do (did I mention I love pizza?), I try to balance it out with a good salad. And if I really go overboard I go a little harder at the gym.

That's it folks. Nothing fancy. No diet. Just real food in moderation.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Detox diets: Fad or Fabulous?

Seems like everyone and their mother is doing a detox diet or "cleanse" these days. And it seems like anyone with an audience is trying to bank in on this trend too - Gwenyth has the goop cleanse, Dr. Oz has the 48-hour weekend cleanse, Dr. Lissa Rankin has the pink and green detox cleanse, and of course, there are the juice cleanses - blueprint, organic avenue, and the master cleanse to name a few.

What exactly is "detox"or "cleanse" diet? They are extreme diet plans, mostly focused on weight loss, that claim to flush "toxins" out of your body. What "toxins" are they targeting, you ask? Well they don't exactly say. While there are a variety of different detox diets, they mostly follow the pattern of very low caloric intake, with the addition of small amounts of fruit and or vegetables, water, and supplements of one form or another.

So dear readers, I thought I would do a little research and see what the real deal is when it comes to the whole notion of detoxing. As usual, I started out with PubMed, a national citation warehouse for medical and scientific research. And guess what I found? Pretty much nothing. I searched cleanse diet, detox diet, and other such terms and came up with nothing. Nada. Zilch.

The fact that there have been NO studies done on detox or cleansing raises red flags for me. People spend a lot of money on many of these cleanses, and yet there is no scientific proof that any of them work. And in fact, many can even cause harm. Yup, these diets often cause you to fast, which puts your body into freak out mode, so you can actually lose muscle not just fat. And such a low-calorie diet can make you feel dizzy, tired, lightheaded, and nauseous. Add a colonic or colon cleanse to the mix and your body's electrolyte and fluid balance is completely off.

My two cents if you are feeling icky and want to give your system a "boost"? Eat loads of veggies and fruits, drink lots of water, and switch to whole grains. Minimize fatty meats and alcohol. Get your body moving. This is not a "diet", but just a healthier way of living that you can actually maintain.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

People you know may have nether germs: Common Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

Many of us often worry about getting hit by a car, or getting cancer, or when it comes to our sexual health, preventing pregnancy (or after a certain age, getting pregnant). And while we may carry around a bucket of hand sanitizer to avoid icky cold and flu germs, we don't necessarily know or do much about the icky germs that may be on your partner's nethers. You may even have something right now and not know! 

First things first: If you have sex, no matter if you are straight, gay, married, or single, you can get an sexually transmitted disease, or STD for short. And no matter what kind of sex you are having, no matter which body part is going into which body part, you can get an STD. 

Heart BURNED Mini MicrobesNow you are thinking, "I would totally know if my partner has something funky going on down there." But actually most STDs can be there without any signs. Pretty sneaky, right? So you or your partner can be passing around an infection without knowing it. Or, when you think of STDs, you probably think about HIV, since that is what most of us have been taught to fear the most (for good reason!). But there are other STDs that should be on your radar screen that are quite common. 

Here are the most common STDs that you should be thinking about:

1. Chlamydia. And as many of us learned in high school, it is not a flower. It is the most common, curable STD out there. In us ladies it infects the cervix, and while you can have it an not have any signs or a LONG time, the most frequent symptom is pain during sex, or vaginal discharge, or burning when peeing. Untreated it can spread and cause pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID, which can lead to chronic pelvic pain and infertility. 

2. Gonnorrhea. AKA "the clap". Pretty similar to chlamydia in terms of organs infected and symptoms, but with the extra kicker - it can infect the throat. Makes you rethink oral sex, huh. 

3. Syphilis. "The Pox" doesn't have the squeakiest of reputations, and untreated can lead to some pretty nasty complications. You can get it through direct contact with a syphilis sore, which can usually be found around the nether area and the mouth, both inside and out. To make things even more complicated, these areas areas are not always covered by a condom, so you can get syphilis even if you are using protection. 
4. Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Probably the most common STD. Very common and associated with 99% of cervical cancer cases. Read here for just how bad it is and what you can do about it. 

5. Herpes. Another sneaky and tricky STD. This virus can lurk without any signs or symptoms, so you may not be aware if your partner has it. For those that do have symptoms, they are usually blisters that appear around the nether area that take two to four weeks to heal the first time they happen. Genital herpes can be treated but can't be cured, which means once you get it, you have it for life. 

6. Trichomoniasis. Never heard of this? Well it is actually the most common STD among young woman. While the other STDs listed above are viral or bacterial infections, the "trich", as it is called for short, is caused by a parasite. Again the majority of people do not have any signs or symptoms. For those that do, they can get a itchy, burning, sore, or red lady part area, and may have pain while peeing. 

So there you have it ladies, some icky nether germs that you should be tested for regularly if you are having any kind of sex with another person. Make sure you bring this up with your lady parts doc - studies have shown that the majority of docs don't start a conversation on STDs, so be your own health advocate and ask about being tested. And sadly, while you may be faithful and think you are in a monogamous relationship, unfortunately, your partner may not, so get yourself tested either way. 


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The deal with the mini pill: And no, it is not just a smaller sized birth control pill

For some of you ladies that just had some babies, you may already be quite familiar with the mini-pill. For the rest of you ladies, you may have heard about the mini-pill, but may not be quite so sure exactly what it is. Let me enlighten you:

The mini-pill, contrary to it's name, is not a miniature version of normal birth control pills. They didn't just take your orthotricyclen or Yasmin and make the packaging smaller. It is actually a birth control pill that ONLY contains the hormone progesterone, as opposed to the regular birth control pills that contain both progesterone and estrogen. It works by making your cervical mucus (oh yes, we are back to that. More info about cervical mucus here) thick and the lining of your uterus thin, basically making those little sperm swimmers unable to get to your ovaries and any possible fertilized egg from actually implanting. Sometimes the mini-pill suppresses ovulation as well.

The Mini Pill
Why would you want to take this pill and how come your lady parts doctor hasn't talked to you about it? Well while less hormone does sound great, it does make this form of birth control not as effective as the regular pill. In fact, your chances of getting knocked up on the mini pill are higher mostly because the progesterone only keeps your cervical mucus thick for 24 hours, so you HAVE to take it at exactly the same time every day, leaving NO room for error.

But, there are benefits to using the mini-pill. If you are breastfeeding, you can actually take the mini-pill and it will not change your milk supply (in fact, it may even boost it!). This is great for moms that need the birth control protection but also want to continue breast feeding. Also, some ladies out there don't jive well with estrogen - they may have a higher risk of heart disease, blood clots, high blood pressure or migraines - and the mini-pill is great birth control option for them.

The mini-pill is another great birth control tool to have - just remember that in order for it to actually work it needs to be taken exactly on time!

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