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Women's Health

Women have many of the same health issues as men, but their symptoms may be completely different. Some medical problems may be more common in women than in men (depression, obesity, osteoporosis, urinary tract infection).

Making good lifestyle choices is the best thing we can do to stay healthy. The choices we make can help us feel better now and prevent health problems later.

Premenstrual Syndrome

Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, is a group of symptoms linked to the menstrual cycle. PMS symptoms occur in the week or two weeks before period (menstruation). The symptoms usually go away after the period starts. PMS can affect menstruating women of any age. It is also different for each woman.

Causes
Cyclic changes in hormones seem to be an important cause. Insufficient amounts of serotonin may contribute to premenstrual depression, as well as to fatigue, food cravings and sleep problems. Some PMS symptoms have been linked to low levels of vitamins and minerals, eating a lot of salty foods, and drinking alcohol and caffeinated beverages.

Self-care

We can manage or sometimes reduce the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome by making changes in the way we eat, exercise and approach daily life. Take a multivitamin every day that includes folic acid. A calcium supplement with vitamin D can help keep bones strong and may help ease some PMS symptoms.

Other measures include exercising regularly, eating healthy foods including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, avoiding salt, sugary foods, caffeine, and alcohol, getting enough sleep, finding healthy ways to cope with stress, and do not smoke.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Some of the more common complementary remedies used to soothe the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome are:

  • Calcium. Consuming 1,200mg of dietary and supplemental calcium daily may reduce the physical and psychological symptoms of PMS. Regular, long-term use of calcium carbonate also reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Magnesium. Taking supplemental magnesium daily may help to reduce fluid retention, breast tenderness and bloating in women with premenstrual syndrome.
  • Vitamin B6. A daily dose of vitamin B6 may help some women with troublesome PMS symptoms.
  • Evening Primrose Oil. Women with PMS have an abnormal profile of essential fatty acids, which may be normalized by supplementation with evening primrose oil. Research has shown that evening primrose oil helps relieve PMS symptoms.

Urinary Tract Infections

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that begins in the urinary system. The urinary system is composed of the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. All of these components can become infected, but most infections involve the urethra and the bladder. Women are most at risk of developing a UTI.

Prevention
There are a number of things that we can do to reduce the risk of getting a UTI. These include:

  • Drink plenty of liquids, especially water. Cranberry juice may have infection-fighting properties. Drinking cranberry juice, or taking cranberry extracts, may help to prevent cystitis (inflammation of the bladder), the most common form of UTI. Researchers believe that the combination of fructose and substances called proanthocyanidins found in cranberries prevents bacteria (particularly Escherichia coli) from sticking to the cells that line the bladder walls and infecting the surface of the urinary tract.
  • Probiotics helps to improve the balance of micro flora in the urinogenital areas and reducing the risks of urinary tract infections. Probiotics also helps restore and maintain the natural flora of the vagina.
  • Go to the toilet as soon as we feel the need to urinate, rather than holding it in.
  • Wipe from front to back after going to the toilet.
  • Empty bladder as soon as possible after intercourse. Also, drink a full glass of water to help flush bacteria.

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