What Do Moms REALLY
Want for Mother's Day?

It is the one day of the year that is
supposed to be all about mom...

read more

What You Need to Know
about Food Allergies

More than 15 million Americans
are living with diagnosed food...

read more

Don't Fight the Urge

Urinary incontinence is a very
common problem affecting as
many as 13 million people...

read more

Take Action for Your
Man's Health

Roughly one in seven American men
are affected by prostate cancer...

read more

Preeclampsia: Know the
Warning Signs

If you are pregnant or have ever
been pregnant, preeclampsia is...

read more

What Do Moms REALLY Want for Mother's Day?

It is the one day of the year that is supposed to be all about mom, but for many moms, asking for what they really want on their one special day is a challenging task. Most moms happily accept however their children and spouse choose to celebrate them rather than ruffling feathers by voicing what would really make their day.

So what do most moms dream of? Well, according to a survey of more than 2,000 American mothers with children over the age of 18, you can skip the mall and forget breakfast in bed: The ideal gift (14.6%) is something handmade by their child. And the second most coveted item? Time alone (13.6%)!

While the handmade gift has a high probability for many moms (more than a quarter believe they will receive something their children made), just 3% think they will be gifted with precious time to themselves. Statistics from years past show those numbers to be pretty accurate. Sadly, nearly a quarter of moms with young children will receive nothing at all!

Among the other gifts that moms put high on their list were sentimental items like "hugs and kisses" and "time with my family." Gift certificates for spa services were also popular, as was a clean house, having Dad take over the household duties for a day, or having meals prepared by someone else.

Moms also pointed out their least favorite gifts - namely, small appliances! These include vacuum cleaners, blenders, lawn mowers... But the mothers were quick to point out that it wasn't about the dollar amount - they were fine with their family not spending any money at all, as long as they were acknowledged in some way.

So this Mother's Day, look for opportunities to celebrate the moms or mother-like figures in your life with handmade tokens of appreciation and maybe the opportunity for time alone as well. That may be just the ticket for a mom in need of a little recharging!

Celebrate Mother's Day with free music, food, shopping and a swag bag at Palladio at Broadstone on Saturday May 10! Find more information here.

Return to top

Take Action for Your Man's Health

Roughly one in seven American men are affected by prostate cancer. While that number is staggering, it is reassuring to know that most men diagnosed with prostate cancer survive, thanks to early detection and advances in treatment options. A key element to this survival equation is screening.

Unlike most other cancers, most types of prostate cancer grow slowly and initially remain confined to the prostate gland. These factors mean that early detection of prostate cancer can increase the success of its treatment. In fact, certain types of prostate cancer grow so slowly that they require minimal or no treatment at all. Other types may be more aggressive and spread quicker, but again - early detection can lead to increased survival.

Early stage prostate cancer may not cause any symptoms. In fact, prostate cancer is often asymptomatic prior to diagnosis. More advanced prostate cancer may cause:

  • Trouble urinating
  • Decreased force in stream of urine
  • Blood in urine
  • Blood in semen
  • Swelling in the legs
  • Discomfort in pelvic area

Risk factors for developing prostate cancer include:

  • Older age: Prostate cancer risk increases with age; most common in men older than 65

  • Race: African American men have a greater risk of prostate cancer, and a greater risk of aggressive prostate cancer

  • Family History: If men in your family have had prostate cancer, your risk may be increased

  • Obesity: Obese men diagnosed with prostate cancer may be more likely to have advanced disease

Screening & Testing

Recommendations on who should be screened for prostate cancer and at what age vary. Some physicians encourage screening in their 40s, or sooner for men who have risk factors for prostate cancer. Discuss your loved one's particular situation and the benefits and risks of screening with your doctor. Together you can decide whether prostate cancer screening is appropriate for him.

How to Reduce Prostate Cancer Risk

  • Eat a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables
  • Choose healthy foods over supplements
  • Exercise most days of the week
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Talk to your doctor about an increased risk of prostate cancer

To learn more about prostate cancer screening guidelines and treatment options, attend one of our two upcoming events (May 29 or June 3). For more information and to register, visit our website.

Return to top

What You Need to Know about Food Allergies

More than 15 million Americans are living with diagnosed food allergies. More will be newly diagnosed this year. May is National Food Allergy Awareness Month - a great time for you to become familiar with the basics of food allergies and how to manage them. Whether it is you, or your child, or someone close to you - food allergies can be frightening and the more we know, the safer we are.

The most important thing to understand about food allergies is that the only sure way to avoid an allergic reaction is to avoid the allergen. This includes all products that definitely contain the allergen as well as those that are labeled "may contain," "might contain," or "made in a shared facility." Experimenting or taking risks to determine if you can tolerate small exposures to the food allergen is dangerous and will likely result in an allergic reaction. As a parent or a friend of someone with an allergy it is critical that you never encourage an allergic person to "just have a bite" or eat something that another allergic person ate without incident. Always err on the side of caution - no food is worth the risk.

The second most important fact of living with a food allergy is that lifesaving medication is available - but it only works if it is with you. For those living with food allergy, auto-injectable epinephrine (like the Epi-Pen) and antihistamines should be carried and within reach at all times. Every time you leave the house, you must take your emergency medical kit. For children, it is important that there is always an adult with them who is familiar with the use of the medications. Food allergy fatality is associated with lack of available epinephrine. (Note: Epinephrine devices should not be left in the car because extreme temperatures - hot or cold - can affect the effectiveness of the medication.)

People living with a food allergy - or caring for someone with an allergy - need to be comfortable asking questions whenever food is involved. Whether it is at a restaurant or a friend's house, you need to ask about each food's ingredients, its preparation method, and the possibility for cross contact between contaminated utensils, hands or cooking equipment. If definitive answers can't be provided about the food's safety, don't allow the allergic person to eat it. When in doubt, pack safe food from home.

When it comes to packaged foods, read each and every label - every time! Food manufacturing processes can change over time and a product that was "safe" a month ago can suddenly contain a warning. Since 2006, federal law mandates all packaged goods containing milk, egg, wheat, soy, fish, crustacean shellfish (but not mollusks), peanut, or tree nut be labeled in plain English declaring the presence of these allergens. However, when the allergens are not main ingredients but could be included in the packaged goods through cross-contact, a product may be voluntarily labeled as "may contain," "might contain," or "made in a shared facility."

If your child is newly diagnosed with a food allergy, it is important that you have open and honest and ongoing discussions with him about his allergy and how to stay safe. Simple things like not sharing food and being brave enough to say "no thank you" when an adult is offering an unknown food are ideas that are foreign to many young children but can make the difference in their safety. Role play with your child about how to handle certain situations and encourage him to speak for himself even when you are present. The more comfortable he gets with telling others about his allergy the safer he will be when you are not with him.

Finally, find a board certified allergist to help you navigate living with a food allergy. To find an allergist near you, visit the Dignity Health physician finder.

Return to top

Preeclampsia: Know the Warning Signs

If you are pregnant or have ever been pregnant, preeclampsia is a word that probably strikes fear in your heart. This condition that happens only during pregnancy (after the 20th week) or right after pregnancy. And while it is typically treatable (by delivering your baby), it can still be a frightening diagnosis.

May is National Preeclampsia Awareness Month. Here is what the March of Dimes wants expectant parents to know about this condition...

Preeclampsia occurs when a pregnant woman has both high blood pressure and protein in her urine. Most women with preeclampsia have healthy babies, but it can cause severe problems for moms if left untreated.

What are the signs and symptoms of preeclampsia?

Signs and symptoms of preeclampsia include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Protein in the urine
  • Severe headaches
  • Vision problems, like blurriness, flashing lights, or being sensitive to light
  • Pain in the upper right belly area
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Sudden weight gain (2 to 5 pounds in a week)
  • Swelling in the legs, hands, and face

Many of these signs and symptoms are normal discomforts of pregnancy. But if you have severe headaches, blurred vision or severe upper belly pain, call your physician immediately.

What pregnancy complications can preeclampsia cause?

If you have preeclampsia, your health care provider can help you manage most health complications through regular prenatal care. Pregnant women with preeclampsia are more likely than women who don't have preeclampsia to have these complications:

  • Low birthweight: High blood pressure can narrow blood vessels in the uterus (womb) and placenta. The placenta grows in the uterus and supplies your baby with food and oxygen through the umbilical cord. Your baby may not get enough oxygen and nutrients, causing him to grow slowly.
  • Premature birth: This is birth that happens too early, before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Even with treatment, a pregnant woman with preeclampsia may need to give birth early to avoid serious health problems for her and her baby.
  • Placental abruption: In this condition the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus before birth. It can separate partially or completely. If this happens, your baby may not get enough oxygen and nutrients. Vaginal bleeding is the most common symptom of placental abruption after 20 weeks of pregnancy. If you have vaginal bleeding during pregnancy, contact your health care provider immediately.

How is preeclampsia diagnosed?

Your provider measures your blood pressure and checks your urine for protein at every visit. Because you can have mild preeclampsia without symptoms, it's important to go to all of your prenatal care visits.

How is preeclampsia treated?

The cure for preeclampsia is the birth of your baby. Treatment depends on how severe your preeclampsia is and how far along you are in your pregnancy. Even if you have mild preeclampsia, you need treatment to make sure it doesn't get worse.

How can you reduce your risk for preeclampsia?

There's no way to prevent preeclampsia. But if you're overweight or obese, getting to a healthy weight before pregnancy may help lower your chances of having preeclampsia.

To learn more about pregnancy and childbirth, attend one of our upcoming Baby Steps events. Find more information here.

Return to top

Don't Fight the Urge

By Dr. Thomas Sorbera

Urinary incontinence is a very common problem affecting as many as 13 million people in the United States. Urinary incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine and is not necessarily a part of aging. It is a common condition experienced by men and women of all ages. Many people suffer in silence unnecessarily, since incontinence can be managed or treated.

It is important to understand that there are different types of incontinence:

  • Stress urinary incontinence: Leakage that occurs when there is an increase in abdominal pressure caused by physical activities like coughing, laughing, sneezing, lifting, straining, getting out of a chair or bending over. The major risk factor for stress incontinence is damage to pelvic muscles that may occur during pregnancy and childbirth.

  • Urge urinary incontinence: Also referred to as "overactive bladder," this type of incontinence is usually accompanied by a sudden, strong urge to urinate and an inability to get to the toilet fast enough. Risk factors for urge incontinence include aging, obstruction of urine flow, inconsistent emptying of the bladder and a diet high in bladder irritants (such as coffee, tea, colas, chocolate and acidic fruit juices).

  • Mixed urinary incontinence: Mixed incontinence is a combination of urge and stress incontinence.

  • Overflow urinary incontinence: Occurs when the bladder does not empty properly and the amount of urine produced exceeds the capacity of the bladder. It is characterized by frequent urination and dribbling. Poor bladder emptying occurs if there is an obstruction to flow or if the bladder muscle cannot contract effectively.

Some of the causes of incontinence are temporary and easily reversible - such causes include urinary tract infection, vaginal infection or irritation, medication, constipation and restricted mobility. However, in some cases, further intervention is necessary. Non-invasive techniques to manage these problems include:

Fluid management

Increase or reduce their fluid intake.

Bladder training

Patients are instructed to record fluid intake, urination times and when their urinary accidents occur. Patients who urinate infrequently are instructed to do "timed urination" where they urinate by the clock every one to two hours during waking hours. Timed urination may be effective in patients with both urge and stress incontinence.

Bladder retraining

Bladder retraining is used for patients with urinary frequency. The goal of retraining is to increase the amount of urine that the patient can hold within their bladder.

Pelvic floor exercises

Also known as Kegel exercises, this type of minimally invasive treatment focuses on strengthening the external sphincter muscle and the pelvic muscles. Patients who are able to contract and relax their pelvic floor muscles can improve their strength by doing the exercises regularly. Other patients require help from a health-care professional to learn how to contract those muscles. Biofeedback and electrical stimulation can be used to aid patients in doing pelvic floor exercises. Pelvic floor muscle exercises are effective for urge incontinence, since a contraction of the pelvic floor can interrupt a contraction of the bladder smooth muscle and stop or delay an accident.

Medicinal treatment

Stress incontinence may be treated with drugs that tighten the bladder neck, such as pseudoephedrine or imipramine. Urge incontinence may be treated with anticholinergics, types of medications that relax the bladder.

In Office Treatments

Procedures in the office that may be used to relax the bladder for urgency include; Botox for the bladder and Tibial Nerve Stimulation. Treatments for stress incontinence include; Bladder Neck injections, Lyrica (Radio-frequency stimulation of collagen).

Surgical Treatment Options

Surgery is usually best when there is prolapse of the bladder, rectum and or apex of the vaginal vault including uterus. Bladder neck slings can be done in conjunction with repair of bladder and rectal prolapse and also when vaginal prolapse is present. Minimally invasive Robotic surgery can be done for complete vaginal prolapse which usually allows the patient to go home in less than 24 hrs.

To learn more about new minimally invasive treatments - including the robotic-assisted procedures - for urinary incontinence, attend one of our Women's Health Events. Register here.

Return to top