Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Time for a skin check!

The air is getting just a tad crisper, the hurricanes are a blowing, and the school year is just about to start. That's right folks, summer is almost over. And while I blogged earlier this summer about taking good care of your skin, perhaps some of you weren't quite as careful as you should have been in the sun.

Time for a little visit to your derm doc to do an annual skin check. Think of it as part of your health maintenance, just like you go to your lady parts doc to make sure your lady parts are in order, you should go to your skin doc to make sure you have nothing funky growing on your skin. Now you may be thinking, oh please, what are the chances?! But for women aged 25-29, melanoma is the most common form of cancer.

What if you have lots of moles and beauty marks? Well the only ones that are of medical concern are those that are new (like you didn't have them before), or that you got after the age of 20, or that look different that your other moles. If one all of a sudden changes it shapes or color, get your ass to a derm doc right away - especially if they start to bleed, itch, ooze, or become painful. 

The following ABCDEs are important signs of moles that could be cancerous. If a mole displays any of the signs listed below, have it checked immediately by a dermatologist:

Asymmetry—One half of the mole does not match the other half.
Border—The border or edges of the mole are ragged, blurred, or irregular.
Color—The mole has different colors, or it has shades of tan, brown, black, blue, white, or red.
Diameter—The diameter of the mole is larger than the pencil eraser.
Elevation/Evolution—The mole appears elevated (raised from the skin); or are the moles changing.

Getting your skin checked is totally painless. You basically strip down, put on a super sexy medical gown, and the doctor checks your body all over (even between your toes). If they think something looks funky, they will scrape off the mole and send it to a lab.

And next time, use more sunscreen!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Push-up bras for tweens: The downside of hoochifying our girls

There has been a trend in girls' fashion these days and it is all about making young girls look like their much older counterparts with a dash of hoochiness.

This great article highlights just how awry our idea of what is appropriate for young girls has gone. Apparently it is all the rage these days to get push up bras in the juniors section.

Now none of this is shocking news - we have been over sexualizing our young girls for quite some time now. But check out this commercial for Aeropostale's lingerie line, Aerie : Double Whoa. I mean, really? Fifteen year old prancing around in underwear commercials seems, well, icky to me. And secondly, why oh why do fifteen year olds need to increase their boob size by 2 cups!

Why is this a problem? According to a report to the American Psychological Association, sexualization is different than normal sexual development. Sexualization is when someone is valued only for their sexual appeal or behavior, they are sexually objectified (made into something for other's sexual use), they are held to a standard in which "attractiveness" is equal to sexiness, and sexuality is imposed on a person. Any one of these is a indication of sexualization. We can see why this can be a problem for kids, especially when adult sexuality is being put on them, which is not age appropriate and not chosen by them.

Sexualization has been linked to eating disorders, low self esteem, and depression. It has lead girls to have diminished sexual health and assertiveness. And it places the emphasis on their appearance actually does take away from their ability to focus on what is really important - like math!

For some of us late bloomers, we probably would have done anything to get boobies (or the appearance thereof), when we were 15. But not having them, and not being able to focus on what having them meant, allows girls to continue being children, to continue their sheltered little existence for a couple years longer. And that meant focusing on getting A's, dancing, volunteering, going to DNA camp (yes, some of us were that dorky), and all the other things that young girls should be doing other than buying push up bras.

So, in my humble opinion, I don't think we should be buying push up bras for tweens. It screws with what they think healthy sexuality should be. God knows it is hard enough to balance femininity, sexuality, later on in life. Let girls be girls!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Could it be?! A birth control for men?!

I have always thought that  the bodily hormonal burden that us women face is kinda unfair. Between bleeding out of our crotch, mood swings, breakouts, and pushing a something the size of a watermelon out of your own body, the whole thing seems kind of skewed. Yes, men don't get go enjoy the experience of pregnancy and all that, but really, they have very little to do when it comes to controlling reproduction.

Turns out the folks at my old stomping ground, Columbia, have been working on something that might actually stick when it comes to male contraception. They found that a compound that screws with the receptors of vitamin A metabolites seems to cause reversible sterility in mice, with no affect on libido! The mice were mating away happily, without knocking  up any lady mice, and then once they stopped taking the meds, all was restored. Read more about it here.

This could be very exciting people!! Mind you, this will take years to come out onto the market, if it really does work, but hey, a lady and her lady parts like to have something to look forward to.Fingers crossed that mice and men are equal in this case!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cheaper and Equal?: The Deal with Generic Birth Control

Sometimes things that are on sale are awesome. Me, I follow the eleventh commandment of "Thou shall not pay retail prices." Sometimes though there is a reason things are in the bargain bin, like the pockets stick out funny.Where does generic birth control come into play here?

Many of us don't think twice when we get a script for antibiotics and get the generic stuff. I mean, why pay retail when it is the same thing. But does this logic work when it comes to birth control? There are women that have sworn that they have had terrible side effects when taking the generic brand.

Basically, generics are, according to the FDA, “copies of brand name drugs that have exactly the same dose, intended use, side effects, route of administration, risks, safety, and strength as the original drug.”  But sometimes generic versions may have different colors, or inactive ingredients. The FDA estimates that 50% of generic drug production occurs in the same plants used to manufacture the brand name drugs. Ok, so that sounds pretty good.

Here is where it gets sticky. One study found that 98% of individual generic drugs had absorptions that were less than 10% of the brand name. While that is something to think about, there have been no studies showing that this really makes much of a difference when it comes to the efficacy of birth control. Sometimes the generics are made in subpar manufacturing facilities (often in lower income companies), where they are unable to meet manufacturing standards made by the WHO. Nevertheless, there are instances of goof-ups in brand name drug manufacturing as well.

Bottom line, there have been no studies that have shown that there is a direct link between use of generic birth control and worse side effects or reactions to different fillers. So, if it is cheaper and you are feeling great - use that extra money to get yourself something pretty. If are on a generic brand and you are feeling like ass, try going to the brand name version and see if that helps. If that still doesn't make a difference, there are so many different birth control options these days that you should chat with your lady parts doc and try something else.

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