Designer Lips Down There
A growing plastic surgery trend in America is genitalia modification. Women are asking for designer labias, the modification of their inner and/or outer lips of their vagina.
"A lot of women will come in -- and not just older women but younger women -- who want the ‘Playboy vagina,'"OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson says. "A lot of times, it's instituted by their boyfriends, sometimes because they felt uncomfortable with the size of their labia and their pants have been uncomfortable."
"It seems dangerous!" E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork says. "It doesn't seem safe to me."
"The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology does not advocate it at this time because of the risks of infection, nerve damage, scarring, etc.," Dr. Lisa advises. "The long-term studies aren't in yet."
Tick Tock: Taking Charge of the Biological Clock
Many women are delaying pregnancy and starting families later in life. The cultural shift of the modern working woman building her career and pursuing other goals in life before starting a family is a sign of the times, but the reality of the biological clock remains unchanged.
A new fertility product called Plan Ahead, manufactured by the Repromedix Corp., can measure how many eggs a woman has left.
"It can tell you how many eggs you have left, but it can't tell you how much of a life span those eggs are going to have," Dr. Lisa says. "So it still doesn't tell you how long you have left or how many of those eggs are viable."
For the time being, women are still on the biological clock. The fact remains that there is a finite period of time in which a woman can conceive. The improve your chances of bearing children, Dr. Lisa advises, is for women to live a healthy lifestyle and consult her doctor about various fertility options.
The latest type of birthday parties literally celebrates the birth of a child. Home birthing parties, where friends and family gather for the labor and birth of a child, are gaining popularity for both home and hospital births.
"It's what the doctor feels comfortable with, and actually, a lot of times, it can be great support," Dr. Lisa says. "As long as there's control over the room, and you can get people out when they need to get out, or you need mother to focus, or you need to have other people come in to pay attention to mother, then it's absolutely fine."
Foods that Make You Snooze
Are you forever chasing the elusive ZZZs? For a good night's sleep, try snacking on foods high in magnesium such as soybeans, bananas, pumpkin seeds, seaweed and watermelon. Foods high in tryptophan, an amino acid, will cause the release of serotonin, the body's natural sleep aid. Milk, yogurt, sesame seeds and turkey contain large amounts of tryptophan. Other foods that can help relax the body, soothe the mind and aid in sleep are oatmeal with bananas, non-fat popcorn and plain yogurt with mixed nuts.
"There's this myth out there that when you eat will dictate whether or not you will become overweight or obese," Dr. Travis says. "It's quite OK, if you're active and eat healthily throughout the day, to have a snack before bed, as long as it's a healthy snack."
Prescription for Chocolate
The Journal of the American Medical Association states that a daily dose of dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure. Dark chocolate contains polyphenols, natural antioxidants, which have proven to be beneficial to vascular function.
Sorry, milk chocolate lovers! Dark chocolate is the only cacao concoction with antioxidant properties. If you find that the flavor of dark chocolate is too bitter or intense, try pairing it with fruits like strawberries.
The Benefits of Stress
Some studies advocate that intermittent, brief bouts of stress can be good for you. Stress releases the hormone cortisol, which can increase strength, boost immunity and improve memory.
"Short, brief times of stress, like before final exams or public speaking, that adrenaline rush, it's kind of like exercise," pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears says. "It perks you up."
However, long term, chronic stress or anxiety can be detrimental. "You've got too much cortisol in your system, and cortisol puts you at risk for a lot of bad things, including increased abdominal obesity, heart attacks, high blood pressure, aging," Dr. Travis cautions.
Check out these stress-relieving tips.
Commit to releasing stress this year and join The Doctors 2010 Health Challenge!
Sleep and Skin
Want clear and healthy skin? Get lots and lots of sleep. Adequate sleep allows the body to rebuild and replenish cells like collagen, which, among its many other functions, infuses skin with volume and resilience.
"I consider myself a skin expert, and every time I talk about good skin, I say that getting a good night's sleep, along with making sure you drink plenty of water, exercise, get fresh air, [use] moisturizer and sun protection are all part of good skin," Dr. Ordon says. "You can't get around it, you need to sleep."
Drawing from Memory
Teachers would say there's a fine line between doodling and daydreaming. If you tend to doodle while you are supposed to be paying attention, you may be in luck. Recent studies show that people who doodle while they listen to the recitation of information may improve their ability to recall said information by up to 29 percent.
"Productive doodling actually helps you listen better; it allows your brain to better process information," Dr. Travis says.