The HealthiHer movement aims to give women the tools they need to make such changes at home, at work or in their communities. If you’re among those struggling to take good care of yourself because of other obligations, consider how these suggestions might help.
(BPT) - If you’re an American woman today, chances are your busy lifestyle is preventing you from seeking out the regular check-ups and screenings so important to maintaining your health. And that’s true regardless of your economic status or whether you live in a rural, urban or suburban area.
So reports a recent HealthiHer survey showing that only 66 percent of U.S. women ages 30 to 60 feel “somewhat in control” of their own health, although 83 percent are happily managing the health of their families. The study, co-sponsored by Redbook magazine, HealthyWomen and GCI Health, found that a full 77 percent of women in that age group say that their job schedules prevent them from attending regular check-ups.
"Women today wear many hats — they’re wives, mothers, caregivers, employees, business leaders and breadwinners, often at the same time," says Wendy Lund, CEO of leading communications agency, GCI Health. "Even when it feels like there are not enough hours in the day, we somehow manage to integrate everything in our lives to ‘make it work’ and accomplish insurmountable tasks. And this constant juggling can come at the cost of our own health."
The good news? The survey also reveals that 79 percent of respondents see positive change as achievable. The HealthiHer movement aims to give women the tools they need to make such changes at home, at work or in their communities. If you’re among those struggling to take good care of yourself because of other obligations, consider how these suggestions might help.
* Truth: You can’t help others without caring for yourself. Why do emergency airline instructions tell you to attach your own oxygen mask first? Because you could otherwise pass out before helping others. That same principle applies to your general health; you must maintain your own energy and well-being so you can stay around to be an effective mom, wife, daughter, sister and/or friend.
* Take stress seriously. While not all stress is bad, long-term unrelieved stress can have major adverse effects on your health, reducing the effectiveness of your immune, digestive, sleep and reproductive systems. Recognize the risks, plan methods for fighting stress and carve out time for exercise, sleep, meditation, yoga and/or other remedies.
* Try online resources. An annual in-person physical is always recommended, but health issues in between check-ups can often be taken care of through online sites that diagnose issues through questionnaires or video chats — then prescribe medicine or other therapies without need of an office visit.
* Make exercise a no-brainer. As the saying goes, sitting is the new smoking. If you don’t make daily movement of some sort a priority in your life (doctors recommend at least 150 minutes of brisk exercise per week) you’re putting your physical and emotional health at substantial risk. Among other benefits, exercise can help prevent diabetes and heart disease while reducing stress, back pain, arthritis, asthma and other common ailments.
* Set health care appointments well ahead. To secure the slots that work best with your schedule, call or go online way ahead of time so you have a wider range of options. Some clinics now offer evening or weekend hours to help those with demanding daytime jobs or roles. Planning ahead, and writing each appointment in ink on your family calendar, helps ensure you’ll make your own care a priority even if your schedule ramps up.
"It isn't selfish to put ourselves first, but in all honesty, we know that will never happen, our kids will always come first," says HealthyWomen CEO Beth Battaglino. "However, can we shoot for second? This is an investment in both our health and the health of our families. Women who don't take care of themselves are not going to be around or it will affect their ability to care for their loved ones, and this survey revealed that those who don't make time to get their health screenings, like mammograms, pap tests, eye exams, blood pressure, etc., actually had more health concerns."
More women’s health tips related to the HealthiHer Movement can be found at HealthyWomen.org or Facebook. Participate in the movement by posting a photo on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram depicting you taking charge of your health (Use the hashtag #BeHealthiHer).
Bacterial Vaginosis: One in Three U.S. Women Have Been Affected by This Vaginal Infection That Can Have Serious Health Risks If Left Untreated
(BPT) - Over the course of their lives, many women experience symptoms of a vaginal infection, which can often be uncomfortable and confusing. What they may not know is that what they’re experiencing could be symptoms of bacterial vaginosis (BV) – one of the most prevalent gynecologic infections in the U.S., affecting 21 million women ages 14 to 49 annually.  It’s important for women to educate themselves about BV so they can best protect themselves from the associated health risks.
Caused by changes in the amount of certain types of bacteria in your vagina, BV can develop when your vagina has more harmful bacteria than good bacteria.  Common signs and symptoms associated with BV include unusual vaginal discharge that can be white or gray; watery; or have a strong fish-like odor.  These symptoms can easily be confused with those of a yeast infection. While discharge from a yeast infection may also be white or gray, it can look like cottage cheese, which is a key differentiator. 
“About thirty percent of reproductive age women have or have had BV. Left untreated, BV can have an impact on quality of life and increases the potential for other more serious health problems,” said Paul Nyirjesy, MD, Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, PA and an investigator in the Solosec™ clinical trials.
Who Does BV Affect?
One in three women have been affected by BV, impacting more than 21 million in the U.S. each year, but only four million are treated annually. BV is most common among women ages 14 to 49; however, women of any age can get BV, even if they have never had sex. That said, having a new sex partner or multiple sex partners can upset the balance of bacteria in the vagina and this places a woman at an increased risk. Pregnant women are also susceptible to BV and it’s especially important that they receive treatment for the safety of their unborn baby. [1,2]
What Are the Risks?
According to the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC), if BV is left untreated, women are at risk for serious health concerns, including an increased risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, trichomaniasis and HIV; an increased risk of pre-term birth or low birth weight for pregnant women; and pelvic inflammatory disease. If you think you have BV, be sure to visit your healthcare provider to get tested and treated, as BV can only be treated with a prescription antibiotic. It’s important to take all the medicine prescribed to you, even if your symptoms go away. 
A New Treatment Option
Currently, the most commonly prescribed oral BV treatment regimen requires twice-a-day dosing for seven days and adherence with the leading therapies has been shown to be only approximately 50 percent.  Additionally, 60 percent of women treated for BV will likely have a recurrence within 12 months. 
Recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Solosec™ (secnidazole) 2g oral granules is the first and only single-dose oral therapy for BV in adult women. It offers women a one-time treatment option that can be taken any time of the day, with or without a meal. Solosec™ is clinically proven to normalize BV symptoms, odor and discharge, without the use of creams or week-long oral regimens. In clinical studies, the most common adverse events were (incidence ≥ 2%) yeast infection, headache, nausea, altered taste, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and vaginal itching. 
To learn more about this new treatment option, visit www.solosec.com.
What is SOLOSEC?
SOLOSEC™ (secnidazole) 2g oral granules is a prescription medicine used to treat bacterial vaginosis in adult women.
Important Safety Information
Please click here for full Prescribing Information.
1. Koumans E.H., Sternberg M, Bruce C, et al. (2007): “The Prevalence of Bacterial Vaginosis in the United States, 2001-2004: Associations with Symptoms, Sexual Behaviors, and Reproductive Health.” Sex Transm Dis. 34(11): 864-869.
3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Genital / Vulvovaginal Candidiasis (VVC) – Fungal Diseases. 2014.
4. IMS Health, 2014.
5. Bilardi J.E., Walker S, Temple-Smith M, et al. (2013): “The Burden of Bacterial Vaginosis: Women’s Experience of the Physical, Emotional, Sexual and Social Impact of Living with Recurrent Bacterial Vaginosis.” PLoS ONE. 8(9): 1-11.
6. Solosec [Package Insert]. Newark, NJ: Symbiomix Therapeutics, LLC.
IMAGE CAPTIONS: ------------------------------------------- Caption 1: One in three women have been affected by BV, impacting more than 21 million in the U.S. each year. 
Before you give birth, ask these 4 questions about your hospital
(BPT) - As you get closer to your delivery date, many decisions lie ahead, all centered around care, maternity leave and even decorating the baby's room. But one question may rise to the top: Where will you give birth?
If you are like most expectant mothers, you will be giving birth in a hospital. In spite of the rising popularity of home births, most moms choose hospitals to have their babies. The most recent statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that fewer than 2 percent of babies born in the U.S. are born in a home setting.
When you're looking at where to give birth, expectant parents should consider the following while choosing a hospital, according to the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA).
The place to begin is with your doctor. Most women go to the hospital where their physician has admitting privileges. So when you choose your doctor, the hospital where your baby will be born is tied into that. Discuss your birth plan in detail with your physician and make sure you both are at an understanding. If you have specific preferences, ask your doctor if they can be accommodated. For example, if this is not your first child, and you want to try a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), have that discussion in detail with your physician. And while doctors are on call after office hours, it's always a possibility that your doctor cannot attend your birth. Know who would take the place of your doctor if those circumstances arise.
If you're proceeding along in a healthy pregnancy, you may be planning a vaginal delivery. But a cesarean section is something to be aware of because one third of U.S. births are delivered by C-section, according to the Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Health of America Report. It turns out that the city you live in can have a big impact on how you give birth. Some cities see rates as high as 50 percent, however, cities like Albuquerque, New Mexico, have rates as low as 22 percent. It's important for patients to be aware of this because C-sections raise complications for both babies and mothers, and experts say these should be used only when medically necessary. In addition, vaginal births cost $4,000 less than surgical births.
The Blue Distinction Centers for Maternity Care program evaluates hospitals on several quality measures, including the percentage of newborns that fall into the category of early elective delivery, an ongoing concern in the medical community. The program is meant to identify facilities that offer maternity care safely and affordably. The maternity programs also must offer family centered care, such as promotion of breastfeeding.
If you're interested in a list of hospitals that deliver quality maternity care, visit bcbs.com/healthcare-partners/blue-distinction-for-providers/ and select "maternity care."
Not all hospitals are alike, so take time to review what it has to offer. Some maternity centers offer birthing tubs and fold-out couches. Knowing whether the hospital has a newborn intensive care unit may be a consideration, depending on the circumstances of your delivery and birth. If the hospital does not have a neonatal intensive care unit, ask your physician how these newborns are evaluated and transferred to other facilities. If you are interested in breastfeeding, ask if lactation consultants are available and how and when you can seek assistance.
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