Preventative Care For Moms….on

Moms (and Dads) are overworked, stressed, and care so much for others that they forget to do what they need for themselves.  Find out what you need to get checked out, and what you can hold off on at

Yours In Good Health


A Divorcee’s Guide to Online Dating- Bloom!

Some tips for those new to the dating world: it is truly a whole new world with online dating.  It can be scary, fun, and you will have some of the best and worst experiences of your life!

Check out Nurse Bridgid featured on Bloom!Bloom Flower


Yours in Good Health


Is it Time to “Pencil In” Sex? As seen on Bloom!

Check out my post on Bloom Enjoy Yourself and their new site, about why sexual health is as important as many of the other things us Healthcare Practitioners are telling you to do as part of a healthy lifestyle (i.e. exercise!) More sex means a healthier life? Read on!

Schedule Sex- Bloom I think the ladies will have a new reason to get their motors running, and fellas, you are WELCOME!

Yours in Good Health




Tighten the Tackle or Leave it Alone?

It always fascinates me that some celebrities try a cosmetic “treatment” they seemly don’t have side effects, so they tout to everyone how great it is, and then a new trend is born. Some of the procedures that people undergo as forms of cosmetic treatments are pretty intense, and can have some major long-term side effects, so you really need to be aware of what can happen. As all of you know, I love to hop on trends that make your life easier, like laser hair removal, but I do think that we need to think about the procedures we want/get before we just jump into it. The latest trend in Hollywood?  Scrotal Ironing, AKA “tightening the tackle”, which was really brought into the spotlight by George Clooney a few weeks ago (and he won’t confirm whether he was being tongue in cheek or actually had the procedure). I have covered the scrotal shortening procedure, for those hanging low, but this is more a cosmetic procedure to tighten wrinkles….

What is Scrotal Ironing?

Basically, the scrotum is made of very thin skin, just like the skin under your eyes, which can become loosened over time, and scrotal ironing is similar to a face lift….just for down below.  By using a light laser treatment, the skin tones are evened, wrinkles are diminished, and hair is removed as well. The procedure itself takes around an hour (and you my need more than one session), with a cost around $575. The procedures have a small amount of pain associated with them, given the sensitive area and all, but numbing creams can be used to diminish the discomfort.  And after all your treatments, you can turn back the hands of time and have a wrinkle-free, hair free, and nicely toned scrotum….if that’s what you’re looking for in life, but it is not without side effects!

So Smooth, George!

So Smooth, George!

Are There Side Effects?

There are always side effects with every procedure, and scrotal ironing is no different. They range from very mild, like skin irritation, or slight burns due to the use of the laser too close or too long in one area, which are temporary (but quite uncomfortable, I would imagine).  Then there is a much more intense side effect, which is a risk of retrograde ejaculation; when men get to the point of ejaculation, the semen is unable to leave through the tip of the penis, so it goes into the bladder, and is removed form the body during urination.  That will directly reflect a man’s ability to procreate, because they cannot ejaculate semen from their penis into their partner (or sample jar- however you choose to do it), and it may have to be removed another way, if you are looking for a viable semen sample for procreation.

The Final Verdict?

If you feel the need to tighten your tackle or Iron your scrotum, for whatever reason you feel it is necessary, if you are fertile and looking to procreate, you should talk to your Healthcare Practitioner (HCP) before dropping $575 and booking that appointment.  Retrograde ejaculation seems to be a much rarer side effect, but it is still a risk.  And, I don’t have a scrotum, obviously, but men seem so protective and hypersensitive about that area, I couldn’t imagine all you men running to get this done, but apparently George Clooney has more than just a swooning effect on women!  Just think about the risk vs benefit of a smooth scrotum before jumping under that laser!

Yours in Good Health


Squeezing Breast Tissue May Prevent Malignant Cancer Cell Growth

There are always tons of faux “research” studies placed on the internet that go viral and people get all aflutter about nothing, so I really thought for sure that this was another bit of internet hokum, but I always have to delve deep! Apparently there is some validity to this study, but lets not just start groping women in the name of science, there is always a time and a place for things, plus, the study that was done wasn’t based on people grabbing breast tissue in a recreational manner.

What is the Research?

At the University of California Berkeley, a study was performed looking at the effects of physical pressure on malignant (or abnormal cells) and their growth, and actually visualize of this pressure helped to change how the cells grew and their patterns.  They were able to use flexible silicone chambers, that housed malignant cells, and they found that when the pressure was high enough, during the first stages of growth, the cells actually started to  mutate, in a good way, and start growing in a healthier and more organized fashion. Essentially, by squeezing the cells, they were able to redirect how the cells grew.  Once the tissue was structured as breast tissue should be, they stayed in a normal state.  The malignant cells that had no pressure applied to them, grew with no true structure and just as typical cancerous cells grow, without purpose and causing destruction. squuze boobs

What does this mean?

Well, as I said, it doesn’t give people carte blanche to go around groping women’s breasts BUT it should add fervor to your monthly self exam (maybe check weekly, ladies!) but it is a huge leap forward in breast cancer research.  There have already been companies attempting to create cancer detecting bras, maybe they can create compression bras (or weren’t those just called corsets??) On a serious note, do feel free to really squeeze with your self breast exam, and anything abnormal that you may feel….and then go see your healthcare practitioner (HCP).

And, I guess there is a new pick up line out there for anyone who wants to feel some breasts….just what we all needed!

Yours in Good Health


Oculolinctus, the new “second base”: Is it safe?

There is a new sex fetish that has gained fervor over in Japan that has started to make its way over to the US is known as oculolinctus. It is mostly becoming big in the late adolescent/early teen age group and it is also called “worming” and it is becoming THE way to express themselves sexually. I hear about a lot of different things that people do to express themselves sexually, but this one that really creeps me out.

eye 2What is Oculolinctus?

Basically, it is eye-licking, for sexual gratification. The eyeballs (the corneas, really) are covered with many tiny nerve endings, that can be excited with licking and make the eye feel very sensitive.  Apparently it is all the rage and the equivalent to “second-base” so when the tweens (it seems to be big in the 12-13 year old age group) get bored with making-out (or kissing) they move on to eye-licking. Seems like an obvious next move to me….(I’m actually being quite sarcastic, this one blows my mind).

Is it harmful?

In a word: yes. In general, it’s not a good idea to stick things that are not prescribed into your eyes (such as contacts, eye drops, etc.) because you risk doing damage to your eyes. Our tongues have tons of microorganisms that are on them at any given time (because of eating/drinking food, breathing, etc) so sticking your tongue with microorganisms and which can be rough with taste buds, can lead to corneal abrasions or ulcers and eye infections.  The microorganisms and bacteria can also lead to styes (infections in the glands of the eye) and untreated infections can cause blindness. You could also transmit herpes and chlamydia from the mouth to the eye which can be very difficult to treat.

Is this really wide-spread?

At one school in Japan, teachers noticed a high number of 12 & 13 year olds coming to school with eye patches, then started asking about the infections, which lead to the discovery of this practice. But it is, at this point, a major public health issue with around 1/3 of all 12 year olds reportedly practicing oculolinctus and there has been a significant increase in eye infections.  HCPs have been treating many young lovers eyes to keep their peepers healthy, and while Japan has a high number of tweens engaging in their behavior, it has been found in other countries and the U.S. Virgin Islands has been also found to have a higher percentage of teens/tweens practicing oculolinctus as well.

Parents and Healthcare Providers alike should ask tweens and teens about this behavior, and warn them about the risks. When I was younger feeling boobs was second base, maybe they should stick to that, it is less risky and no one has to have a tongue in the eye! (Every nurse has a thing that sends them over the edge, that is eyeballs for me….) But, talk to your kids, if they are getting eye infections, and you are concerned, talk to their HCP so the discussion can come from them from a purely health perspective, but keep them safe and free of eye injury/infection.

Yours in Good Health


Should the Morning After Pill be available to all Over-the-Counter?

Not too long ago I wrote about the morning after pill, what it is, and how it works. At that time, it was available Over-The-Counter (OTC) to women 17 years old and over, and below that, women (girls) needed to get a prescription to use the medication to prevent pregnancy.

When used within 72 hours after another failed form of birth control, there is a 90% success rate in preventing unwanted pregnancy. I know there is some debate among people, but from a strictly medical standpoint, it is not an abortion pill, because it merely causes irritation to the lining of a uterus, thus not allowing anything to adhere or become fertilized and start growing. It won’t abort and already growing fetus, and should not be taken if you already know that you are pregnant.  morning-after-pill

Recently, legislation has changed. It has been highly debated at which age group the pill should become available without prescription, in 2011, here in the US, it was decided that above 17 years old can get it as an OTC. More recently legislation has changed (granted it is being opposed) so that women of any age can obtain the medication as an OTC. I have mixed emotions on this one: I think that everyone should have a right to medications that would help to prevent pregnancy after a mistake/failed birth control attempts, but should 10, 11, 12-year-old girls be able to walk in and get the morning after pill, if they are sexually active, and not be counseled regarding Sexually Transmitted Infections, or the effects of the Plan B medications on their body, or on how it would be better for them to be on regular birth control, if they continue to choose to be sexually active.  And then there are the young girls that don’t choose to be sexually active but may be forced.  Are we missing a population that needs our help and interventions?

How do parents feel about this? Would you want to know if your young daughter was using the morning after pill? I guess not giving young women the option of having Plan B as OTC, leads them to possibly make other unhealthy choices, or try home “remedies” to prevent pregnancy, which may be dangerous.

I do like the option of women/girls having the right to make their own medical decisions without the need to get an HCP appointment and then get the prescription filled, and there has been no proven negative effects on their bodies (physically) but I am wondering the mental/psychological effects,and if we could do better as HCPs to intervene and help these women. I am really torn, and I am interested what you all think about this, as it is something that almost every woman has an opinion on: When are we being too free with Plan B administration, and when should we step in?

Yours in Good Health


Does eating yams increase fertility or rates of twins?

Well, I heard one of the “housewives” on the Atlanta series make a statement that eating yams increases ones rate of conceiving twins, but I honestly did not think much of it….until I was sent numerous emails to from various readers asking about this one.  There is some research on the topic, but since it seems to be a hot topic with my readers, I wanted to just settle this one, once and for all.

yamsWhat is the deal?

There was a study in 2008 focusing on an African tribe that as rather high numbers of twins and multiple births in their village.  A main source of their diet is yams, and yams are said to effect certain female hormones, that may relate to a 1% higher rate of twins, but yams would need to be ingested in significant amounts to have even a minimal effect (think three times a day). So because the people of this tribe, who eat yams as a mainstay of their diet (due to a their environment), so the conclusion was made that the high yam diet was related to the multiple births by the women of the tribe. The research has not been validated (proved again), so  I am not convinced that eating yams will help you conceive twins.

The highest rate of multiples (or twins) are born to those that have a family history of twins, are older when attempting to get pregnant (the eggs can mutate and split causing twins), or the use of fertility drugs. There are also some rumors that immediately after stopping birth control, you are more likely to conceive twins, but that is not necessarily true; what IS true, is that your fertility is usually increased for that first month as your body is surging with hormones.

It’s a bummer for those of you who wanted to eat (or were already force feeding yourselves) yams in hopes of having two babies all at once, it’s not looking like that is the answer for you.  Your best bet is to find a man with a history of twins and see what sort of magic you two can create…unless you want a designer baby, in which they are genetically designed, which is quite pricey, but you can talk to your OBGYN about your options if this is something super important to you. I am being tongue in cheek, and not at all suggesting that you daddy shop for a man who has a history of twins! But unless you love those yams, you can chill on them and just eat a healthy well-balanced diet; there is no magical food that can increase your rate of twins.

I can’t believe that a fact from “the Real Housewives…” would ever be incorrect!! 😉 Just goes to show you that you shouldn’t believe everything you hear!

Yours in Good Health


Is BV an STD?

Bacterial Vaginosis, more commonly referred to as BV, is the most common vaginal infection in women, and despite the fact that you can get it after having sex with a new partner, it is NOT a sexually transmitted disease; your new partner doesn’t infect you.  I can’t tell you how many times women have gone screeching into their GYN’s office freaking out that they got an STD because something smells funky down there (which is a good practice to have, btw) but BV isn’t an STD and you don’t need to trash your new partner all over town about it!  Here is an explanation of what it is, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options.  I want you all to be aware of what could be going on down there… especially since it is National BV Awareness Day!!

BV_Day_Campaign_Pic.jpg.pagespeed.ic.rGAMMGEpleWhat is BV?
Basically it is an overgrowth of one of the natural occurring bacteria in your vagina, and when the delicate balance that is your vagina gets an overgrowth of one bacteria, there can be foul smelling discharge, itchiness, odor, pain, and/or burning.  Most commonly it smells like a dead fish down there….not good, ladies.  And, if it takes someone saying something to you about it, even worse.  Pay attention to what’s going on in your vagina, and notice if something smells off or looks funky.

So, How do I get BV?
Well, unfortunately, it is not completely known why some people are more prone to these infections than others. But, new sexual partners and having multiple sexual partners can cause a BV infection; it may be due to the use of numerous condoms and your body is reacting, or due to the change in your natural flora from having everything disrupted frequently down there.  Some women know that after they have sex with a new person, they will get BV, so they preemptively have a plan with their HCP about it (which is some smart thinking!)  If you have unprotected sex, it can just be that mixing their bacteria with yours causes an upset, and your body reacts the way it knows how and can.  Also, women who douche tend to have a higher frequency of BV; although this is a little bit of the chicken/egg debate. Women who douche tend to think that their vagina smells, and they may already have an overgrowth of bacteria just because they do, so they douche, and flush that bacteria all over the place, and cause an even bigger disruption in their flora, causing a more widespread BV, so they link the douche to BV, whereas they probably had the infection anyway. Oh, and women who are NOT sexually active can get BV infections; some peoples vaginal floras are just more sensitive than others.  It is a bit of a medical quandary though….

What are the signs/symptoms?
Strong fishy odor, that increases after sex
White/gray thin discharge
Itchiness around the outside of the vagina
Stinging/burning with peeing
OR no symptoms at all!

How can BV affect me?
Having a BV infection can increase your risk of contracting HIV if you are exposed to the virus
It also increases the risk that you will pass along HIV to a partner (if you are infected)
Having BV (past infections) increases your post operative risk for infection (post hysterectomy, abortion, or other gynecological surgeries)
Having BV increases your risk of also contracting HSV (Herpes simplex virus), Chlamydia, and Gonorrhea (your vaginas natural defense mechanisms are down due to the BV infection)
A BV infection while pregnant can increase your rate of complications such as pre-term labor, lead to low birthweight babies (under 5.5lbs), and premature babies.
Also, undiagnosed BV can lead to PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease) and make getting pregnant a very difficult task.

Are there any tests to determine BV?
The main “test” of determining BV is based upon your complaints (i.e. grey discharge, smelly odor, etc) and with a pelvic exam and taking a small sample of discharge from your cervix and examining a smear by your HCP. Balance Activ has just created an OTC pH testing kit, so if you suspect BV, you can use a testing strip and actually diagnose your BV. There are no blood tests or anything fancy to diagnose the infection, but seeing as it is so common, if an HCP even suspects it, without you complaining of symptoms, they may treat you anyway.

Is there a treatment available?
Honestly, many times it will clear up without treatment on its own, as long as you abstain from sex and using douche; the vaginas natural flora will fight to get back to normal BUT due to possible complications that can occur with long term infections, most likely you should get treatment if it is suspected.  There is a company called Balance Activ, that has a full line of products to help normalize the pH balance of the vagina, which will essentially treat and prevent these infections. Also, of note, male sexual partners do not need to be treated, but women partners do to prevent to possible spread!  There are two different antibiotics used to treat BV (you only need one): metronidazole or clindamycin orally (and the same treatment is for HIV+/-).  All pregnant women with any signs should be treated, and most HCP’s require that all women post gynecological surgeries be preemptively treated.

How do I prevent BV infections?
The best way is to limit your sexual partners and don’t douche!  Honestly, I am not sure why douche is still on the market, there is nothing good that comes from douching….so please don’t! Douche changes the pH of your natural flora, and the lower the pH is, the higher the risk of BV infections. Also, if given antibiotics as treatment, use all of the medication given to you to treat your BV, for the ENTIRE prescription, so that you actually kill off the bacteria and allow for your flora to re-grow.

The Balance Activ products that can help to treat and prevent infections are: Fresh wipes (neutral pH), fertility gels and sprays (to help normalize the pH levels, prevent BV, and allow for a better chance of conception for those with BV), and screening kits so you can test your own pH levels to see if you have BV.

It is important to note that BV infections can come back, and some people think that using probiotics can help encourage the regrowth of the natural bacteria and get it to normalize, there is no literature to support that, but if you are a chronic BV’er, it might be worth a try.  And, all of the Balance Activ products are a BOGOF (buy one get one free) in honor of national BV awareness week) so they are worth more than a try! If you do get BV infections after sex, talk to your HCP about different things to might try, like different kinds of condoms (you may have a small allergy), if you are in a monogamous relationship an don’t use protection maybe you need to clean your partners penis with antibacterial soap and you shower before intercourse. This doesn’t have to be a horrible life affliction, but to those who don’t know about it, you need to be aware and get proper treatment because it can have longterm health effects!

To learn more about BV, and products available, please check out this site directed towards BV awareness and treatment!

Yours in Good Health


This is a little hard to talk about: Erectile Dysfunction

Many people are unclear as to what Erectile Dysfunction (ED) actually is, despite those really ridiculous Cialis and Viagra commercials on TV (which can be horribly awkward to watch in mixed company at times!!) ED affects between 15 and 30 million men in the US and approximately 22.3% of all office visits to HCP’s are for ED.  It is something that many men are embarrassed about and feel unable to speak to their partner about, and it can cause huge rifts in relationships. It is important to know that signs and talk to your partner about it, it is a physical issue that is normal, and totally fixable, so go to the doctor together and make it a couple problem, and don’t let your partner suffer and feel badly alone!

What exactly is the definition of ED?

It’s the inability to maintain an erection that is firm enough to have sex, on an ongoing basis, along with trouble getting an erection, difficulty maintaining an erection, and/or a reduced sexual desire.  If you have any of these symptoms, especially if you have diabetes or heart disease, you should go see your HCP and talk to them about it, your options, and to find out what might be going on with your body. Don’t let it get too far that your partner might get upset or think that they are the one causing the problem…be open about it and go to see your HCP.

erectile-dysfunctionWhat are the causes?

There are SO MANY possible causes of ED, in which some are physical, mental, and a combination of the two.  Some physical causes are: heart disease, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple sclerosis, low testosterone, Peyronies disease (a build up of scar tissue in the penis), tobacco use, alcohol (alcoholism), substance abuse, pelvic/spinal cord surgery, enlarged prostate, and prostate cancer.  So, obviously it goes from being something that is easily fixed, to things that are more serious. As far as psychological issues: stress, depression, anxiety, fatigue, and relationship issues can all cause ED. Another psychological reason that many men have a form of ED, in this current society, is due to the inability to get their partner pregnant; we have a society wrought with infertility and it can case serious relationship problems on many levels. As well, many medications that your HCP might put you on for various health issues, can also cause ED.

Before you go to your HCP appt:

Write down symptoms that you have had even including things that you might think unrelated to ED.  Also, write down any life changes going on, including anything that might be causing relationship stress.  An update list of current prescribed and over the counter medications are always important to bring to every appointment, but especially to an appointment regarding ED.  Try to bring your partner to your appt and both of you talk before you go and both write down list of questions both separately and together.

What might happen at/after your appt?

A physical exam, which is standard at all appointments, but your HCP will inspect your penis, testicles, and check for nerve feelings.  Most likely you will have blood drawn to assess your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cholesterol, and testosterone levels.  A urinalysis may be performed to also look at your risk of diabetes, etc.  An ultrasound may be done to look at blood flow to your penis, it uses a plastic probe on the outside of your penis to project a video of the current blood flow (a non invasive exam). They also might have you go home and perform an overnight erection tests; many men have erections at night during sleep, and have no idea that they had an erection, if the test is positive, then the reason you have ED is psychological.  What they will ask you to do is to put a piece of tape that they will give you (it is easily split) around your penis, and if you wake up in the morning and the tape it split open, you’ve had an erection.

How do we treat it?

You can take oral pills like Viagra, Cialis, and levitra which are medications that enhance your bodies natural nitric oxide levels which helps muscles relax and allows more blood flow to your penis, allowing for a stronger erection.  You may need to change doses and change times that you take before getting an erection.   You need to talk to your HCP to take these drugs if you also take any nitrate drugs like nitroglycerin, Imdur, or Isosorbide because you can have too much of a build up of nitrates in your blood.  Also be careful with blood thinners and alpha blockers (for enlarged prostate).  Your HCP will have to discuss using medications if you have had a stroke, have either low blood pressure or uncontrolled high blood pressure, heart disease or heart failure, and/or uncontrolled diabetes.
Other medication options:
Alprostadil injections: a small needle is inserted in the base or side of the penis and you inject the medication, due to the small size of the needle there is usually little to no pain, and you can get an erection within 5-20 minutes and the erection usually lasts around an hour.
Alprostadil penis suppository: Using a special applicator, you insert a small suppository 2 inches up the inside of the urethra. The side effects can be pain, bleeding from the urethra, dizziness, and can cause a fibrous build up inside your penis.
Testosterone replacement: if you have low testosterone levels, oral supplements can help to increase your levels and ability to maintain/obtain an erection.
Other options:
Penis pumps: a hallow tube with a hand or battery-powered pump, you put your penis inside, pump out the extra air, which causes blood to flow to the penis and cause an erection, you need to put a tension ring on the base of your penis, then remove the pump.  The erection usually lasts long enough to have sex, then remove the tension ring.
Penile implants: implants are surgically places on both sides of the penis, either inflatable or semi rigid rods.  The inflatable implants, are inflated before sexual intercourse to help obtain an erection and the semi rigid rods allow for a firm but flexible penis at all times. Due to it being surgical in nature, there is a risk of infection, and usually a later option for ED.
Blood vessel surgery: at times a leaking vessel can cause a decrease in blood flow to the penis, a simple surgical procedure may be able to fix that problem.
Psychological counseling: if the problems are psychological in nature, counseling can help to talk about the problems and may help to decrease ED issues.

How can you fix it with lifestyle changes?

If you use tobacco, quit. Lose weight to get to a healthy level, exercise regularly, get treatment for alcohol and drug abuse, and work through relationship issues with your partner and with the help of a professional.

Alternative medicine:
Acupuncture is said to help with ED and relieve stress and anxiety, so it can help with some psychological problems.

Due to all of the possible causes, it is not only the first sign that something serious might be going on, but it also is something that might be fixed simply and easily, so I really encourage seeing an HCP early to talk about it.  Be open and honest with yourself, your partner, and your HCP.  ED is not something to be embarrassed about or something that you should allow to ruin a relationship.  If you notice any of these problems with yourself or your partner, please talk about it and go see you HCP ASAP!!

Yours in Good Health