Let's face it, ladies: Doctor visits are short. And they're getting shorter. What if your doctor had more time? She might tell you the same things that OB-GYN Alyssa Dweck, MD, co-author of V Is for Vagina, wants you to know.
Consider Dweck's tips your prescription for a lifetime of wellness.
by Sari Harrar
Anna Albrecht was a fit 31-year-old mother of two when the Big Leak happened one day. "I was jumping rope at the gym when — splash! — I completely wet my pants," she recalls. "I was so embarrassed." So did Albrecht go to the doctor? "Not for seven years," she admits. "I just didn't jump rope."
The leaks have stopped, thanks to a class aimed at strengthening her pelvic floor — the hammock of muscles that supports the internal organs, including the bladder, bowels, and...
"The biggest issue I see in most of my patients is that they have too much on their plates and want to juggle it all. Stress can have significant health consequences, from infertility to higher risks of depression, anxiety, and heart disease. Find the stress-reduction method that works for you and stick with it."
2. Stop dieting.
"Eating healthy doesn't mean you have to forgo your favorite glass of wine or a piece of chocolate cake now and then. The key is moderation. Get a mix of lean proteins, healthy fats, smart carbs, and fiber."
3. Don't “OD” on calcium.
"Too much absorbed calcium can increase the risk of kidney stones and may even increase the risk of heart disease. If you're under 50, shoot for 1,000 milligrams per day, while over-50 women should be getting 1,200 milligrams per day mainly through diet -- about three servings of calcium-rich foods such as milk, salmon, and almonds."
4. Do more than cardio.
"Women need a mix of cardio and resistance or weight-bearing exercise at least three to five times a week to help prevent osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Exercise also promotes good self-image, which is really important to a woman's mental health."
5. Think about fertility.
"While many women have no problem getting pregnant in their late 30s and even into their early 40s, a woman's fertility may start to decline as early as 32. So if you want to have kids, talk to your doctor about options, like freezing your eggs."
6. Appreciate birth control.
"Birth control gets a bad rap, but not only can it keep you from getting pregnant before you're ready, studies show it can lower the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer as well as regulate your cycle."