Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How to STOP Menopause Misery

Menopause may be a natural sign of aging, but there’s no reason you have to suffer through hot flashes, little leaks and dryness down there. Here’s how to tame 4 common symptoms. Your best friend swears by black cohosh herb for hot flashes; the doctor recommends hormone replacement therapy. Your mother? She just would sweat it out.

But you don’t have to.

“Not every woman approaching menopause has problems, but many do,” says Anita L. Nelson, M.D., a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. “These problems may not be considered serious because they’re not life-threatening, but they do cause considerable misery and deserve treatment.”

Here are the top expert-recommended ways women can escape menopause misery and get relief for hot flashes, vaginal dryness, low libido, bone loss and incontinence:

1. Hot Flashes
Most menopausal women are all too familiar with the sudden rush of heat to the face and upper body, the sweating and the facial flush: About 75% of them feel hot flashes, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Hot flashes are caused by a drop in estrogen levels, which affects the hypothalamus, the gland that regulates body temperature.

Although common, hot flashes are different for every woman. You can get them during the day, at night or both. They can be mild or severe. Some last only seconds; others stick around for a half hour or longer.

Some women have them for only a few months; for others, “hot flashes can continue for decades,” says Fredi Kronenberg, Ph.D., co-founder of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) and director of the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine at Columbia University.

No matter how hot flashes affect you, relief is at hand.

Menopause solutions: The most effective way to get rid of hot flashes and other menopausal miseries is also the most controversial: hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

Is it a good idea to restore estrogen, progesterone and/or other hormones as a woman ages? The answer depends on whom you ask.

Some physicians, like breast health expert Dr. Susan Love, believe HRT (including bio-identicals) may not be safe, a conclusion backed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2002.

At the time, the federal agency abruptly ended a major clinical trial within its Women’s Health Initiative because it found a higher risk of breast cancer, clots, stroke and heart attacks in postmenopausal women using a combination of estrogen and progestin (synthetic progesterone, which women produce in their bodies too).

Millions of women dropped HRT, but later the NIH’s conclusions were questioned, mainly because the average age of the participants was 63 — 12 years after the average onset of menopause, when most women are suffering its symptoms.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) stands behind HRT, although it advises women to take the lowest dose and for the shortest time possible.

Nelson agrees with the FDA: “I tell women to relax and enjoy the relief [HRT] provides,” she says.

The way you take hormones may reduce the risk. The best option is a transdermal estrogen patch that’s applied to the skin, because “there appears to be no increased risk of blood clots," says Andrew M. Kaunitz, M.D., professor and associate chair in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Jacksonville.

But if HRT isn’t for you, there’s still no need to suffer through hot flashes.

Researchers are investigating other remedies, including low doses of antidepressants and gabapentin, an anticonvulsant used to treat epilepsy, says JoAnn V. Pinkerton, M.D., medical director of the Midlife Health Center, professor of obstetrics and gynecology and vice chair of academic affairs at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville.

Even in low doses, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants reduce hot flashes by about 50%; with gabapentin, there’s a 70% decrease, Nelson says.

For a non-drug approach, natural methods − meditation, yoga, hypnosis, acupuncture and paced breathing − also help, Pinkerton says.

So does the herb black cohosh and soy products, according to Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale University School of Medicine and author of A Woman’s Guide to Menopause and Perimenopause (Yale University Press).

For black cohosh, she recommends Remifemin. The standardized extract of the herb has been shown to work better than a placebo and other similar supplements in European and American studies.

Vitamin E also works, but it cuts down on hot flashes by only one a day, according to a Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation study.

Dietary changes also can combat hot flashes, including avoiding caffeine and alcohol, says Isaac Schiff, M.D., chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

But steer clear of magnet therapy, reflexology, homeopathy and the herbs dong quai, ginseng, licorice and red clover, Pinkerton adds. Studies show that they don’t relieve hot flashes any more than a placebo does.

2. Vaginal Dryness and Low Libido

Not only are you struggling with hot flashes, but menopause can put the kibosh on your sex life too. According to a 2007 Harris Interactive Sex and Menopause survey of more than 1,000 women 35 years and older, 44% reported a decrease in sex drive; more than half the women surveyed cited vaginal dryness as a problem.

Again, the culprit is lower estrogen levels, which cause thinner, drier and less-elastic vaginal tissue and decrease blood flow down there.

Menopause solutions: To tame these symptoms, HRT is the most effective approved medicine to relieve vaginal dryness, the FDA says.

It will also help reverse a low libido, Pinkerton points out.

But you don’t have to resort to oral hormones, Schiff says. He recommends these tips:

* Have more sex. “If women continue to have an active sex life, vaginal dryness is not so much of a problem” because it increases blood flow to the area.

* Lube up. Try a water-soluble lubricant, such as K-Y or Astroglide, he says. But don’t use an oil-based product, which can dissolve latex condoms and compromise the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.

* Try local treatment. Estrogen delivered in a ring, cream or gel that's inserted into the vagina, works where it’s applied and not much of the hormone is absorbed systemically.

Solving the dryness problem might take care of your low libido too. “If sex life improves, then libido usually follows,” Schiff says.

Various over-the-counter products also help women increase their sex drive, including Avlimil, ArginMax and Xzite. Pinkerton also recommends ginkgo biloba and the nutritional supplement Kyo-Green, a powdered drink made from barley leaves, wheat grass and other ingredients.

3. Incontinence

Those little leaks when you cough, sneeze or giggle are no laughing matter. You may also feel a sudden urge to go - fast. Menopause isn’t the cause, but it can make it worse.

As we age, our pelvic muscles weaken and lower levels of estrogen exacerbate the problem by thinning the urethra’s lining.

“About 40% of post-menopausal women might note some urine leakage,” says NAMS President Cynthia Stuenkel, M.D., clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego.

Menopause solutions: Although diminishing hormone levels are one cause of incontinence, the relief is not in HRT but in shedding excess weight and exercise. Both significantly reduce abdominal pressure on the bladder, Stuenkel says.

Obese and overweight women who participated in a 6-month weight-loss program lost an average of 8% of their weight and cut incontinence episodes by nearly half, according to a study by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

NAMS also advises women to stop smoking cigarettes; avoid bladder irritants, such as spicy foods and citrus fruits; limit fluid intake; and do Kegel exercises, which strengthen the muscles you use to start and stop urination.

Other solutions include:

* Medications such as oxybutynin, tolterodine, trospium, solifenacin and darifenacin, which reduce the frequency and urge to go and relax the bladder's muscles.
* Therapies (electrical stimulation to strengthen pelvic muscles)
* Surgery for severe cases

4. Bone Loss

This is one symptom that you can’t feel and it can be dangerous: Lower estrogen levels diminish bone density, leading to osteoporosis and fractures.

If you’re slender, a smoker or using cortisone-like medications, you’re at risk for osteoporosis, Kaunitz says.

And look into your family tree: Did Mom or Grandma have a hunchback? If so, you face a higher risk and should start bone density checks in your 50s or earlier.

Without risk factors, “women can hold off on until age 65,” Kaunitz says.

But don’t confuse osteoporosis with osteopenia (low bone density). “I see a lot of women being treated for osteopenia, when their risk for bone fractures is too low to warrant prescription medication.”

Menopause solutions: Hormone therapy may slow and prevent bone loss, the FDA says. So will exercise and taking calcium and vitamin D.

“The traditional recommendation of 400 IU [international units] of vitamin D daily is inadequate” for menopausal women, Kaunitz says. Until age 65, women should get 1,000 IU daily; if you’re older, 2,000 IU is appropriate, he says.

The information contained on www.lifescript.com (the "Site") is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for advice from your doctor or healthcare professional. This information should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare professional regarding any medical condition. Information and statements provided by the site about dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Lifescript does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, third-party products, procedures, opinions, or other information mentioned on the Site. Reliance on any information provided by Lifescript is solely at your own risk.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Edible Flowers from Your Garden to Your Plate

Edible flowers do triple duty. You can have the flowers' beauty and fragrance and eat them, too. Today, there is a renewed interest in edible flowers because of the flowers' taste, color and fragrance enhance food.

Edible flowers may be preserved for future use by drying, freezing or steeping in oil. They can be used in drinks, jellies, salads, soups, syrups and main dishes. Flower-flavored oils and vinegars are made by steeping edible-flower petals in these liquids. Candied flowers are crystallized using egg white and sugar (as a preservative).

Flowers that were once used only as a garnish on the side of a plate have actually become a part of the dish. Many of them taste the way they smell. More than 100 garden plants that produce edible flowers, so you have lots of choice in creating your own edible-flower garden.

But of course, before you go out and start grazing on blooms you should know what you are eating. To play it safe, you can always eat the blooms of common herbs such as rosemary, basil and fennel. And if you can eat the fruit of a plant, you can almost always eat its flower. For example, apple and lemon flowers as well as squash and pea blooms can be quite tasty. It is advisable to only eat organically grown flowers. Pesticides can last for months on a plant. Of course not every flower will send your taste buds reeling, so before you put it in a meal, sample it. If you don't like its flavor, try another one.

A selection of edible petals

Nasturtiums are renowned for their peppery flavor and they come in a variety of vivid colors, including red, yellow and orange. This annual produces the most flowers in full sun. Do not fertilize because plants in highly fertile soils produce lush foliage but few flowers. Both the leaves and the flowers have a spicy, peppery flavor and are best eaten uncooked. Toss the petals into green salads, cooked vegetables, oils and vinegar, and use the blossoms to decorate the plate.

Pansies, violas and Johnny-jump-ups come in every color of the rainbow, so it can be fun to use them to embellish food. Plan your spring party months ahead of time and you can grow pansies to match your color scheme, the dress or shirt you plan to wear, or your favorite color. They bloom best in cool weather, sun or shade, and in moist, well-drained soil. Their flavor is slightly minty to a sweet wintergreen flavor. Use the petals to color butter or float the petals in a punch bowl or candy to use on cakes and pies.

Tulips are said to have a wonderful crunch, especially at the base of the petals. The flavor ranges from pea-to-bean like. Use tulip petals as a low-calorie substitute for chips with dip. Try chopping the petals into tuna fish salad, and then serve it on tulip petals. What a gorgeous dish to serve at your next party.

The blue star-shaped blossoms of the annual borage plant practically fall off the plant in midsummer when they are ready to eat. The flowers make a very attractive garnish on a plate. They have a crisp cucumber flavor or honey-like taste that is delicious in lemonade. Float in drinks or freeze in ice cubes. Borage does not dry well. If eaten in large quantities, it can have a diuretic effect.

Dianthus, or cottage pinks, are a delightful perennial in the garden and have a sweet clove like scent and flavor that can fill the morning air. Capture that scent by chopping the petals and mixing them into softened sweet butter and spread it on bread. Toss the petals into a fruit salad for a perky accent. You can also infuse the petal in water for tea or use them to make a delectable sorbet.

Calendula or pot marigold may have either yellow or orange flowers. You can use the chopped petals, either fresh or dried, and use them as a substitute for pricey saffron. Watch out, because the taste is slightly bitter, so don't overdo. The petals will impart a lovely color to cheese, rice and potato dishes, and can be used to make a tea. Dry individual petals on paper (petals shouldn't touch each other) and store in a moisture tight container.

"Lemon gem" and "Tangerine gem" marigolds are said to be the tastiest of the marigolds. The foliage has a lemony scent and the petals of these annual flowers can be sprinkled over a potato salad to add a citrusy tarragon flavor. Or try them on cooked vegetables or in deviled eggs.

From garden to kitchen

Edible flower flavors vary with the weather. When it is sunny and dry, the flavors are the most intense. For several days after a heavy rain, the flavor is weaker as if it were diluted by all the water. Harvest edible flowers early in the day; after the dew has dried but before the sun becomes intense.

Put long-stemmed flowers in water and keep in a cool place. Use short-stemmed blossoms within a few hours of harvest or store between layers of damp paper towels or in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Do not wash the flowers until just before you are ready to use them. If you use flowers in a meal, always check for insects.

Flowers grown in different locations can have different tastes, because of different soil types, fertilization, and environmental conditions. Flowers may taste different at the end of the growing season and can vary from year to year. Be sure to taste them before serving.


If you have allergies, introduce edible flowers gradually, as they may aggravate some allergies. Some sources suggest that if you have asthma or hay fever, you shouldn't eat flowers at all. Remove pistils and stamens from flowers before eating. Separate the flower petals from the rest of the flower just prior to use to keep wilting to a minimum. Eat only the flower petals for most flowers except pansies violas, and Johnny-jump-ups, in which sepals add flavor.

Some flowers in particular to be avoided (this is not a complete list) are: azalea, belladonna, calla lily, crocus, daffodil, foxglove, oleander, rhododendron, jack-in-the-pulpit, lily of the valley and wisteria.

Be sure to check two or three sources to make sure flowers are edible. Do not eat flowers from florists, nurseries, garden centers, or flowers found on the side of the road. They may have been treated with pesticides. Consume only flowers that you or someone else has grown specifically for that purpose.
resource:   http://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/article/20100624/LIFESTYLE/6240310/Master-Gardener-Edible-

Bodybugg helps with weight loss

Bodybugg system
Bodybugg system
24 hour fitness
Bodybugg is a hot trend on Google and it's likely it's the calorie management system gadget not a bug that crawls on your body that people are looking for.

Made popular by the weight-loss reality show, The Biggest Loser, The Bodybugg was spotted on many contestants over the past few seasons. Now its become a popular calorie tracker gadget for anyone who wants to shed pounds and measure calorie burn.

The Bodybugg is a state-of-the-art calorie management system that gets consistent, positive reviews. Described on the Bodybugg site as a 'personal calorie management system' the device is a fairly sleek armband that uses a patented process to measure calorie burn.

To lose weight, calories taken in must be less than calories out. The Bodybugg helps track these calories. It's a hi-tech way to lose weight. The Bodybugg measures how many calories you are expending by sensing motion, skin temperature, heat and moisture. Essentially, it monitors how active you are.

You can connect to a Mac or PC to upload data from the Bodybugg armband to your computer. This allows you to see how many calories you’ve burned throughout the day or during specific activities. After you enter the foods you eat, you’ll be able to see exactly how you’re doing towards your goals. You set your own goals and time frames.

For those who need feedback on a consistent basis, this gadget is probably worth the steep price. It is $175 if purchased on-line, including a six-month web subscription. Add $64 for the digital display, which might help if you need a visual motivation. Back in January, the price was $199 for the Bodybugg, supposedly reduced from the normal price of $249 without the digital display.

If having a gadget to count calories sounds like it would be a good part of a weight loss program, the Bodybug is available on 24hourfitness.com and sites such as Amazon.com. Resource: http://www.examiner.com/x-54250-Google-Trends-Examiner~y2010m6d23-Bodybugg-measures-calorie-burn-

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Treating Your Skin Type Right

A smart skin-care routine can take years off your face. But how do you know what's best for your complexion? Five top dermatologists weigh in with advice on treating your skin type…

You don’t treat cashmere the way you do cotton. And you wouldn't handle silk like denim. Same goes for your skin.

When it comes to care, each skin type – dry, normal, oily or acne-prone – requires its own regimen.

“Over time, a careful and consistent routine with products for specific skin types can improve the overall health and appearance of your skin,” says Sonia Badreshia-Bansal, M.D., a clinical instructor of dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco.

So what’s the best Rx for your face?

First, identify your skin type from the descriptions below. Then follow our simple, dermatologist-recommended tips for what to do and avoid. The result? A gorgeous, glowing complexion.

Skin type: Oily
“Oily skin appears greasy, and may have a film on it during the day and large pores,” says Neil Sadick, M.D., clinical professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York.

“It’s also prone to breakouts and sebaceous hyperplasia, which are little bumps caused by excess oil secretion,” he says.

How to treat it: Control grease with cleansers that contain alpha-hydroxy or salicylic acids. (The latter helps if you’re also acne-prone.)

These decrease secretions and absorb some of the oil on your skin.

Also, try a foaming cleanser, which contains surfactant, a wetting agent that gets rid of excess oil and dirt easily, says Badreshia-Bansal.

And avoid toners and astringents, because they dehydrate your skin.

It’s a common mistake that women with oily skin make, says Paul M. Friedman, M.D., clinical assistant professor at the University of Texas Medical School and co-author of Beautiful Skin Revealed: The Ultimate Guide to Better Skin (Sandow Media).

“This just causes skin to produce more oil,” he says.

Another mistake: Not moisturizing your oily skin.

What matters is the type of product, Friedman explains. Avoid rich, heavy creams or those that don’t let your skin breathe. Choose a light lotion labeled "noncomedogenic," so it won’t clog pores.

If you have wrinkles or age spots, oily skin can benefit from anti-aging ingredients like alpha-hydroxy acids or retinols.

“These are a little drying, so they’ll actually be helpful,” Sadick says.

Skin type: Dry
Dry, thirsty skin is flaky, itchy, tight, dull in appearance and rough. Seriously parched skin may also be red, inflamed and cracked. If you have eczema, the dryness tends to be worse in the T-zone (forehead and nose areas).

How to treat it: Avoid soap, which can dry out your skin, as well as cleansers with potentially irritating ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.

“Instead, use a gentle cleanser that’s also moisturizing, such as those from Dove, Neutrogena or Cetaphil,” Friedman says.

Is your complexion extremely dry? Wash it only at night, when skin tends to be dirtiest, and splash on lukewarm water, not hot, which can strip skin of moisture. In the morning, just rinse your face with cool water.

“This will help maintain the skin’s natural oils,” Badreshia-Bansal says.

Slather on a creamy moisturizer that contains dimethicone (a form of silicone) or grapeseed oil, suggests Badreshia-Bansal. Dermatologist favorites include Eucerin Everyday Protection Face Lotion and Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream.

Apply it when your face is damp to trap water in the skin’s surface. Reapply midday if your skin feels tight.

For wrinkles or uneven skin tone, apply retinols every other night, not nightly, and follow up with a moisturizing cream, Badreshia-Bansal advises.

At night, soak a washcloth in cold soy milk and apply it to dry skin for 10-20 minutes.

“Soy has strong anti-inflammatory capabilities, so it can be very soothing,” Sadick explains.

To help moisturizers penetrate your skin better, scrub away flakes with a gentle exfoliator only once a week. Avoid those made with pits or seeds (because they can scar your skin) or a harsh loofah. Buy one with beads instead.

Skip this step if your skin is severely dry.

“Exfoliants can cause more inflammation, cracking and/or fissuring,” Sadick says.

Skin type: Combination
As the name implies, combination is a blend of both dry and oily skin. Typically, the cheeks are dry while the forehead, nose and chin are oily.

How to treat it: Look for non-comedogenic products or those labeled “for combination skin.”

You can use the same products for both dry and oily spots, but in different amounts. For example, put more moisturizer on your dry cheeks and less on your forehead, Sadick advises.

Plus, exfoliate oily areas, Badreshia-Bansal suggests. If those zones are acne-prone, apply zit-zappers only on those spots – such products can irritate dry areas.

Skin type: Normal
Every woman covets this no-fuss balanced skin type.

“Normal skin has good translucency and luminosity,” Sadick says. “It doesn’t have the film you’d see on oily skin or the flaking, fissuring or redness of dry skin.”

How to treat it: Take your pick of moisturizers. Lotions have more water in them so they’re lighter, creams are the heaviest, and serums are somewhere in between.

You can also put on moisturizers that fight wrinkles, age spots or uneven skin tone. Apply them right after washing your face and before drying it completely so the products’ active ingredients can penetrate more deeply into damp skin, Badreshia-Bansal says.

Also, scrub with a gentle exfoliator a few times a week to remove the dead top layer of skin cells that give your complexion a dull appearance.

Skin type: Acne-prone
About 40-50 million Americans have some form of acne, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). If you’re one of them, you're plagued with whiteheads, blackheads, pimples and cysts, all of which result when “hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells,” Friedman explains.

How to treat it: Be gentle. Overzealous washing, scrubbing and product application won’t remove acne and can make it worse.

“Gently cleanse your skin to remove excess oil and dead cells,” Friedman says. Do this twice daily with products that contain acne-fighting ingredients, like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. Friedman suggests Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash, Clean & Clear Continuous Control Acne Wash or Proactiv products.

Also, apply post-cleansing treatment products with retinols or glycolic and salicylic acids.

“[These] remove the top-most skin cells to reveal newer ones below,” Friedman says. Retinols help fight acne as well as fine lines and wrinkles.

Whether you’re shopping for a moisturizer, treatment product, sunscreen or makeup, look for those labeled "oil free" and "noncomedogenic." Typically, gel or serum formulations fall under this category and are good for acne-prone skin.

“They more easily absorb excess oil and won’t feel heavy or thick,” Badreshia-Bansal says.

And avoid products with cocoa butter and coconut oil (heavy ingredients that may clog pores) or cinnamon, which can irritate skin and aggravate acne.

If over-the-counter options don’t zap zits, see a dermatologist for stronger treatments, like “retinoids, antibiotics, oral contraceptives, chemical peels and microdermabrasion,” Friedman says.

He also recommends lasers, which have been found to reduce acne lesions and scars in multiple studies.

Skin type: Sensitive
This delicate skin type is easily irritated and itches, burns, stings and/or feels tight when certain products or cosmetics are applied.

“As a result, you have to be extremely careful about what you use on your face,” Badreshia-Bansal says. “Though anyone can have sensitive skin, it’s most common in light-skinned women who sunburn easily and those over age 30.”

How to treat it: Cleanse just once a day – at night when skin is dirtiest. Just splash your face with cool water in the morning.

Wash with a gentle, creamy cleanser and avoid exfoliators with fragrances, alcohol, menthol and soap, which can cause stinging and irritation. Instead, look for skin-care products with calming ingredients, such as green tea, polyphenols, chamomile and aloe.

“As a general rule, the fewer ingredients in a product, the better,” Badreshia-Bansal says.

If you’re using active ingredients such as retinols, thoroughly dry skin before applying the products. They tend to penetrate more deeply into damp skin, which can be irritating.

And always test a new product by placing a small amount on your wrist or behind your ear for a few days. No reaction in 72 hours? It’s probably safe.

You’ll also need to avoid sunscreens with chemicals that are absorbed into your skin. Instead, choose physical sunscreens, which protect by sitting on top of the skin’s surface. Good options include titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, Badreshia-Bansal says.

Skin type: Rosacea prone
About 14 million people in the U.S. have rosacea, a type of sensitive skin, according to the AAD. Most of them are 30-50 years old.

Symptoms include redness, flushing, pimples, swelling and visible blood vessels on the forehead, cheeks, nose and/or chin. There’s no cure for rosacea, and it can worsen if it’s not treated.

How to treat it: Avoid known rosacea triggers, such as sun, alcohol, spicy foods, caffeine, citric acid, stress, and extreme hot and cold temperatures, says Jenny J. Kim, M.D., associate professor of dermatology at the University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine in Los Angeles.

Rubbing skin with an exfoliator, washcloth or puff can irritate and worsen rosacea. Instead, lather up with a mild, soap-free cleanser and lukewarm water.

Avoid using too many products at once.

“The old adage ‘less is more’ applies to patients with sensitive skin,” Kim says. More products mean more chance of irritation.

See a dermatologist for topical prescription medications, such as metronidazole and azeleic acid, commonly used to treat rosacea, and in-office treatments like laser therapy, which can help clear up broken blood vessels, redness and flushing.

Skin type: Sun-damaged skin
Skin that has spent too much time in the sun tends to be dehydrated and dry. It also has dark spots, uneven tone and a dull, rough appearance.

How to treat it: Regularly hydrate skin with a rich moisturizer.

Give skin a glow and erase some of that sun damage by exfoliating regularly. This removes the top layer of dead skin cells, says Katie Rodan, M.D., associate clinical professor of dermatology at Stanford University and author of Write Your Skin a Prescription for Change (Pairadocs Publishing).

Scrub with a physical exfoliator (with beads) or use a chemical one that has alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids and retinoids, which loosen the bonds that keep dead cells on skin.

Ward off further damage by wearing a broad-spectrum sunblock with an SPF of at least 30 and avoiding UV rays by wearing a hat and sunglasses, covering up with clothing and staying in the shade.

For a day at the beach, slather on an ounce of sunscreen from head to toe and reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating.

“If you stop sunbathing and [start] using sunscreen now you’ll still make a big difference in your skin,” Rodan says.

And apply a moisturizer with a high-potency antioxidant every morning.

“This protects your already fragile, sun-damaged skin against free radicals that can break down collagen and lead to the development of skin cancer,” Sadick says.

The information contained on www.lifescript.com (the "Site") is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for advice from your doctor or healthcare professional. This information should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare professional regarding any medical condition. Information and statements provided by the site about dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Lifescript does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, third-party products, procedures, opinions, or other information mentioned on the Site. Reliance on any information provided by Lifescript is solely at your own risk.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Do you leak? 5 exercises to build your pelvic floor muscles

I went to the doctor yesterday and he asked me if I leaked when I coughed.  Well maybe on occasion when I sneezed really hard, but since I lost 17lbs from last year my 'leaking' has been less frequent. Have you ever laughed or sneezed so hard that you peed? It may be a sign of incontinence.

Not being able to manage your bladder issues is embarrassing and uncomfortable... not to mention relatively common. Incontinence affects 10%-30% of women 64 and younger, says the National Women’s Health Resource Center.

Even if your bladder is behaving now, it may betray you later. About 25% of women will experience involuntary urinary leakage at some point in their lives.

Luckily, those little leaks when you cough, sneeze, laugh or exercise – called stress urinary incontinence (SUI) – are problems you can manage.

It’s an Anatomy Thing
Urine leaks occur when bladder pressure exceeds what the urethral sphincter can hold back, says Colleen Kennedy, M.D., assistant professor of obstetrics/gynecology at the University of Iowa.

Declining estrogen levels during menopause increase your SUI risk because the urethral tissue becomes thinner and less elastic, leading to reduced sphincter control, she says.

Women who have had multiple vaginal deliveries or difficult labors are particularly prone to leakage because pressure on the internal organs can permanently weaken the urethral sphincter.

Gail Stein can relate. After a breach delivery with her first-born, the stress incontinence – and frequent urge to go that started in her teens - worsened.

“I would be in the bathroom 20-30 times a night,” says Stein, co-author of Mind Over Bladder… I Never Met a Bathroom I Didn’t Like (IUniverse). “My pants were down more than they were up.”

A public school teacher, Stein learned to “pee at the bell,” avoid fluids after 7 p.m. and always scope out the nearest bathroom.

"As women lose control over their body, daily activities and even sex life, depression can set in,” says Jill Maura Rabin, M.D., co-author of Mind Over Bladder and head of urogynecology at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. “Getting a diagnosis and treatment is so key.”

Managing AccidentsAnything that puts pressure on the pelvic organs can open the floodgates. Here’s how to minimize accidents:

1. Monitor your fluids.Too much water overloads the kidneys, making you have to pee all the time, Rabin says. Take your ideal body weight and cut it in half. This number represents the total ounces of fluids you should drink throughout a day.

2. Take a leak – beforehand.If you’re leaking during exercise or sex, empty your bladder before you begin either activity. You may even want to insert a tampon to support the urethra before strenuous exercise.

3. Plan bathroom breaks.“Timed voiding” can help women who have a constant urge to pee, Rabin says. If you normally hit the restroom every 15 minutes, aim instead for 20-minute intervals.

Stretch the time by five minutes each week. In 6-8 months, you’ll be able to wait 2-3 hours between bathroom breaks.

4. Lose weight.A study in The New England Journal of Medicine found that women who lost just 3 pounds reduced accidents by 28%; those who lost 17 pounds cut accidents by half.

5. Avoid constipation.Eat a fresh pear and spinach with extra virgin olive oil each day to keep things moving, says Janet A. Hulme, a physical therapist at Phoenix Core Solutions and author of Beyond Kegels: Fabulous Four Exercises & More to Prevent & Treat Incontinence (Phoenix Publishing).

6. Keep a food diary.Recording what you eat will show you patterns that trigger an urge to pee. Rabin recommends limiting these bladder-irritating foods:

  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Apples, citrus fruits, peaches, cantaloupe, grapes, guavas, pineapples, plums and strawberries
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Milk and milk products
  • Spicy foods
  • Sugar
  • Tomatoes and tomato-based products
  • Vinegar
  • Vitamin B complex and vitamin C

7. Wear pads.These aren't a solution, but they can help manage leaks while you’re working with a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

Skip menstrual pads and go for those made for incontinence, which are designed to absorb urine and prevent skin irritation, Kennedy says. With options ranging from light protection pads to heavy absorption disposable underwear, wear what's comfortable and meets your needs.

Kegels to the RescueOften used as a way to boost sexual satisfaction, Kegels can also help manage incontinence.

Judy Florendo, a Chicago physical therapist specializing in pelvic floor dysfunction, helps women properly isolate the muscles.

“A woman has to prepare and go slowly; otherwise she can do damage,” she says.

Try these at-home tips to find the right muscles:

1. Insert a finger into the vagina and squeeze around it. You should feel tightness and a lift around finger. The buttocks, abdomen and thighs should all be relaxed. You shouldn’t be able to tell you’re doing a thing from the outside.

Or try it with a tampon. Insert, pull the string taut and do the same squeezing motion.

2. You also can locate the right muscles by stopping the flow of urine. Don’t do this repeatedly because it can damage the urethra and break down complex communication between the bladder and brain during urination.

Florendo recommends 2 strengthening exercises:

  • If cough- or sneeze-induced leaks are a problem: Squeeze and release in one-second intervals, gradually working your way up to three sets of 10.
  • If you feel fine in the morning, but can’t hold your urine as well later in the day: Squeeze for 10 seconds and release for 10 seconds, gradually building to three sets of 10. 
Beyond KegelsHulme’s simple “Roll for Control” exercise rebalances the pelvic rotator cuff to manage leakage:

1. Lie on your back on a high-density foam wedge that raises your hips 6-8 inches above your shoulders. Place feet up against a wall with legs straight. (Wedges are available online or ask an upholstery store to cut one to size.)

2. Take 4 or 5 breaths (using your diaphram), allowing your stomach to soften and move in and out.

3. Pivoting on your heels, roll knees and toes out hip-width while inhaling.

4. Pivoting on your heels, rolls knees and toes back to neutral while exhaling.

Long-Term OptionsIf you’re still having accidents, other treatments are available.

Surgery is one option that yields great results, Kennedy says. The procedures restore support to the urethra.

If surgery's not an option, other treatments include:

  • Herbal remedies: Corn silk, saw palmetto, pumpkin seed and magnesium supplements have shown promise in reducing bladder leakage.
  • Duloxetine (brand name: Cymbalta): Several studies have found that this antidepressant can help manage incontinence.
  • Vaginal pessaries: A pessary is a device designed to be inserted into the vagina to support it. Women need to be properly fitted for one.
  • Collagen injections near the urethra: The injections help narrow the urethra and improve bladder issues. Results typically last 2-4 months.

  • If the condition persists, then prescription medication may be needed, says Lifescript Chief Medical Officer Edward Geehr, M.D.

    The most common medications prescribed are anticholinergic agents, such as Detrol and Ditropan, which block the chemical messenger that triggers bladder spasms.

    The information contained on www.lifescript.com (the "Site") is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for advice from your doctor or healthcare professional. This information should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare professional regarding any medical condition. Information and statements provided by the site about dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Lifescript does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, third-party products, procedures, opinions, or other information mentioned on the Site. Reliance on any information provided by Lifescript is solely at your own risk.
5 Exercises to Build Your Pelvic Floor

Exercise can help you stay dry all day.

Double Calf Stretch

Do you sit all day? Wear heels? Stand without sticking your butt out because it’s "proper"? Then your pelvis is probably tucked under. Try this stretch for better pelvic posture.

Step 1: Place your hands on the seat of a chair and step your toes and balls of the feet up onto a thick, rolled towel.

Step 2: Line up the outside edges of your feet and straighten your knees. Your weight should be in your heels, and you should be able to lift your toes.

Step 3: Lift your tailbone toward the ceiling without bending your knees.

If you can’t, keep doing this exercise a few times a day, holding up to a minute, until you’re able to.

Repeat at least 3 times.


Seated "Number 4" Stretch

This is a great stretch for your piriformis
(a hip muscle partly within the pelvis), and you can do it while sitting.
Step 1: Cross your right ankle over your left knee.

Step 2: Lower the right knee to the same height as the right ankle.
Step 3: Keeping your bottom on the chair seat, stick out your bottom, which untucks your tailbone and pelvis (pictured left). This will open the pelvic muscles.

Hold for a minute and alternate legs for at least 3 times each.

Watch out:
If you’ve had a hip replacement, stretch only the leg on the side that wasn’t replaced.

Prone Inner Thigh Stretch

When the pelvis is habitually tucked under, groin muscles can become tight. Start with this stretch before moving on to the more advanced "Legs on the Wall" stretch shown later.
Step 1: Lie with your belly flat on the floor, resting your forehead on your hands.

Step 2: Slide one leg out to the side without bending your knees.

Step 3: Try to bring your leg up to a 90-degree angle. Hold for at least a minute and repeat at least 3 times.

Watch out:
If you’ve had a hip replacement, stretch only the leg on the side that wasn’t replaced. 

Inner Thigh Opening

This exercise strengthens your adductors, fan-shaped muscles in the upper thigh.

Step 1: Lying on the floor, place the soles of your feet together and let knees drop to the sides. (The height of the legs above the floor indicates the tension in your groin and hips.)

Step 2: Hold the stretch for a minute. If it gets uncomfortable, rest, then try again when you're ready. Repeat at least 3 times.

Watch out:
Don’t do this exercise if you have an artificial hip.

Legs on the Wall

This advanced move also works adductor muscles.
Step 1: Place your legs straight up against a wall, keeping your entire pelvis on the ground but leave some space under your waistband.

Step 2: Open legs to the sides. If tension in the back of the leg makes your knees bend, scoot away from the wall.

Step 3: Hold for up to a minute and rest when you need to. Repeat 3 times.

Watch out:
Don’t do this exercise if you have an artificial hip.

resource: http://www.lifescript.com/

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Peta's Weddng Dress Weight-Loss Challenge!

Calling all brides! Lose weight, look fabulous, and win the Linda Loudermilk wedding dress of your dreams, all in time for your special day. Enter below to compete in PETA's Wedding Dress Weight-Loss Challenge by going vegan and shedding unwanted pounds, and a free custom wedding dress could be yours.

Linda Loudermilk has spearheaded the creation of a new luxury eco lifestyle, blowing old concepts of environmental living out of the water. From couture runways in Paris to luxury eco Los Angeles street wear, Linda has launched numerous collections that demonstrate her belief in the necessity of a worldwide shift toward sustainable living. 'Linda Loudermilk made sustainable clothing cool.'--Women's Wear Daily
Submit a recent photo and your current weight, then eat a healthy vegan diet—and you may be walking down the aisle in a one-of-a-kind gown! You'll lose pounds, get healthy, and have a gorgeous and cruelty-free bridal glow for your wedding day. Brides, it has never been a better time to go vegan.

Don't worry, we'll help you every step of the way with your new diet. You'll receive a follow-up e-mail from PETA, and we'll check in to see if you're meeting your weight-loss goals. With the help of our meal planner, PETA's vegetarian/vegan starter kit, and free recipes, you'll be on your way to healthy bridal bliss within weeks!

Once you clean up your diet, getting the happily-ever-after you deserve will be a piece of cake (vegan cake, of course!). On average, vegans live six to 10 years longer than meat-eaters do, so you and your groom-to-be will be cherishing each other for years to come.

Still not convinced? Your vegan honeymoon should seal the deal … and we're happy to report that vegans make better lovers. It's true! You'll be feeling as irresistible as you look with your new vegan lifestyle.

Read all our contest guidelines below, then enter our Wedding Dress Weight-Loss Challenge to win a free custom gown!

Contest Guidelines:

* Anyone residing in the U.S. and getting married in the spring or summer of 2011 is eligible.
* Entry runs from June 1 to June 30, 2010, and the weight-loss portion of the contest runs from July 1 to October 31, 2010. Contestants may begin a vegan diet immediately after entering, but only weight lost between July 1 and October 31, 2010, will be considered.
* Contestants are required to submit an appropriate recent photo, disclose current weight, and provide monthly weight updates to PETA as well as a final photo at the end of the contest.
* The winner will be selected based on the best transformation story—pounds lost, improved health, and improved appearance will be taken in to consideration—as determined by PETA in its sole and absolute discretion. The winner will be notified and announced by November 17, 2010.
* One winner will be featured in a PETA blog post and receive a custom Linda Loudermilk wedding dress, valued at $6,000! The winner will receive up to three free fittings with the designer in Los Angeles (travel paid for by winner), or the winner must arrange for own alterations (to be paid for by the winner) to the dress created by Linda Loudermilk. Traveling to fittings is not required to win the contest.
* You should always consult your physician or other health-care professional before starting any diet program to determine if it is right for your needs.
enter here:  PETA.COM