Honesty is the best policy, especially when it comes to your health. The Doctors exposes your biggest health secrets, and why you shouldn't keep them from your man.
• Find out
As many as 75 percent of menstruating women experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS), a collection of ailments that converge on a woman a few days to a week before her menstrual period. Symptoms of PMS include mood swings, anxiety, tension, bloating, food cravings and bowel changes. Some, like Robin, 46, choose not to talk about it with their partners.
"I don't like when [my husband], Michael, asks if I am PMSing," says Robin. "Does he really need to know?"
The Doctors stress that it is a woman's choice to share her PMS symptoms; but adapting to her own cycle to control those symptoms is key. Recognizing common signs of PMS can also help partners better understand the other's needs.
PMS Tips for Men:
• Prepare a warm bath for her, as heat may help ease cramping.
• Hit the gym together, since exercise improves blood flow and produces endorphins, the body's natural painkillers.
• Offer her nonprescription pain relievers, such as anti-inflammatory medications, to ease symptoms.
• Set a repeating reminder alert on your cell phone, since her period will likely occur every 21 to 35 days.
• Other tips to keep your woman happy during PMS.
Though infections in the pelvic region may be an embarrassing topic, keeping them from your significant other can put your relationship at risk. Yeast infections and urinary tract infections (UTI) are quickly curable, but they can stem from more serious issues such as sexually transmitted diseases (STD).
"If you have a UTI or vaginal infection that's contracted by an STD, you absolutely have to tell your partner," advises OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson. "It can be transmitted and lead to other problems."
Discussing infections and STDs is not an easy conversation, but truthfulness on this subject will yield long-term benefits. Ignoring these problems can potentially lead to severe pelvic pain, infertility, abscesses or death.
"Even if you've been tested, you need to make sure you were tested for everything," stresses pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears "Your doctor doesn't automatically conduct these tests."
Regardless of your number of sexual partners, routine STD screenings are essential; it only takes one encounter to contract a disease. Some diseases, like herpes, cannot be tested for and often show no symptoms. Inform your significant other if you were ever exposed to an STD in the past.
Faking the Big "O"
Seventy percent of sexually-active women have faked an orgasm. But did you know a phony "O" can put your sexual health at risk? Faux climaxing may be done to spare your partner's feelings, or simply to get it over with, but doing so can reinforce wrong behaviors in the bedroom. Whatever the reason, faking an orgasm can deprive you of sexual satisfaction, compromising overall intimacy with your significant other.
Dr. Masterson explains the physical signs of a real orgasm, and reveals the benefits of self-pleasuring to pinpoint your sexual needs.
Women's Number One Killer
Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women. Eighty million Americans suffer from cardiovascular disease, and women are two times more likely than men to die from a heart attack. Warning signs are often more difficult to detect in women than in men, and every year, about 785,000 Americans suffer their first heart attack and another 470,000 have repeated ones.
Risk factors for cardiovascular disease include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, untreated diabetes, obesity, stress and lack of regular exercise.
Editor-in-chief of Redbook Magazine, Jill Herzig, discusses fatal symptoms women often overlook.
"So many women ignore or even hide symptoms that could be life-threatening," says Herzig. " It's essential we know the signs and not ignore them."
Female heart attack symptoms can look very different than the classic symptoms generally experienced by men: major chest pain, shortness of breath and sudden weakness.
Female Heart Attack Symptoms
• Shortness of breath
• Unusual fatigue
• Nausea and dizziness
• Lower chest discomfort
• Upper abdominal pressure or what may feel like indigestion
• Back pain
E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork explains the warning signs of a heart attack and what happens to the body during one.
"These symptoms are definitely not a secret you want to keep," Dr. Travis says. "If you can get early treatment for heart disease, you can live a long, happy life."
• Tips for surviving a heart attack
• Heart attack action plan
• Test your heart health knowledge!
Haiti: One Year Later
It's been one year since the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Immediately after the disaster, The Doctors rushed to the scene to provide much-needed care to those affected. Five months after the earthquake, plastic surgeon Dr. Drew Ordon returned to Haiti to check up on Manuel, a young boy who needed emergency surgery on his head.
"There are certainly signs of progress in Haiti," E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork says. "But there are also the crushing realities; only five percent of the rubble in Port au Prince has been removed ... Haiti, we haven't forgotten about you, because a lot of work still needs to be done."