Uterine Fibroids Have a Greater Impact in African American Women

Recently a national survey reported in the Journal of Women’s Health found that uterine fibroids have a much more dramatic effect in African American women, causing severe symptoms that interfere with their daily lives and causing them to miss work. Research showed that African American women have a three-fold higher incidence of uterine fibroids and tend to develop them at an earlier age.


What are Uterine Fibroids?


Fibroids of the uterus, or the womb, are non-cancerous growths that occur for multiple underlying reasons. Studies suggest that a woman’s diet and lifestyle play a role in the development of fibroids, and Mayo Clinic reports that genetic changes, hormones and other growth factors influence the condition.


Sometimes women live with the growth of fibroids without showing any signs of discomfort. In women who have symptoms of uterine fibroids they experience, heavy menstrual bleeding, prolonged menstrual periods, pelvic pressure, frequent urination, constipation and difficulty emptying bladder.


Living with the Condition


Small uterine fibroids disappear spontaneously on their own, but larger fibroids are difficult to resolve, but not impossible to control. For instance, some fibroids and menstrual cramps disappear within three months of a vigorous exercise program which helps ensure regular ovulation. When tumors do not shrink on their own there are a variety of options that are recommended from your physician.


Recently, supermodel and actress Cynthia Bailey discussed her experience with uterine fibroids which caused her to stop having sex, pain, bloating and excessive vaginal bleeding. Bailey underwent embolization therapy which involved cutting off the blood supply to the fibroids, causing them to shrink.


Other steps women can take to resolve the condition can be discussed with a professional who can provide uterine fibroids treatment. Some treatment options may include:

  • Strengthening the liver with herbs

  • Reducing exposure to estrogen and birth control pills

  • Prescribed medication

  • Surgical procedures

If you have a uterine fibroid and it causes heavy periods, pelvic pain or rapid increase in size then you should speak to a doctor for symptom relief. African American women may experience more interfering symptoms, but with early treatment and prevention painful uterine fibroids can be contained and a discomfort-free lifestyle can be restored.

Sniff Your Way to Weight Loss Over the Holidays

Stacks of pies, platters of cookies and crafty gingerbread houses are all the fun pleasures we are faced with over the holidays. When we younger we were able to splurge with our favorite treats and not gain an ounce, but now that you are on a weight loss program your diet can suffer tremendously. We all know about the thousands of calories women pack on around this time of year, but that does not mean you have to give in to temptation. Our cherished traditions celebrate the great-tasting treats and for some of us we cannot avoid them, even when our diet tells us to stay away from the excessive sugars. Fortunately there is a solution we can take advantage of with the holiday season in full swing.


Peppermint may be the ingredient to help you keep the weight off over the holidays. Health experts agree that adding peppermint to your diet can be one of the healthiest herbs anyone can include to alleviate digestive difficulties such as flatulence, gas and bloating.


The smell of the popular holiday spice is said to help people maintain weight and in some instances lose weight by reducing an individual’s daily food consumption. Nothing related to induced vomiting or diarrhea, as what many readers may be thinking of, but the great fragrances of peppermint are making strides to help maintain a dieter’s weight loss goals.


Holiday Fragrance Miracle


Candies, chocolate and low-quality tea are the specialties utilizing this spice but the fragrance we find in these holiday favorites are not the optimal choice. Researchers from the Wheeling Jesuit University referred to the use of peppermint oil through an inhaler saw the most benefits of weight loss. The effects of this study found that participants were able to abstain from overeating on a weekly basis.


Researchers had volunteers sniff peppermint oil every two hours for five days straight and found that the participants had significantly decreased their levels of hunger. On average the participants consumed less than 3,485 fewer calories throughout the trial period. Holding up to the theory that peppermint is a strong scent that helps distract the individual and keeps their mind off their appetite.


Follow Your Holiday Strategy


Since this research is in the beginning stages of testing, none of us have use to a peppermint inhaler as these participants did. So, unfortunately holding up a peppermint candy up to our nose won’t do the trick. Peppermint oil may be an option to offer impulses to the brain and cut back on certain cravings, but the fragrance would need to be sniffed continuously to take effect.


The best solution is to consult with your doctor to discover the best solution to sticking with a holiday diet. Taking in small, low-calorie meals can help curb your hunger to abstain from filling up on unhealthy holiday dishes. Perhaps bringing your own low-calorie dish along to your holiday events could be the alternative to avoid the holiday weight gain. Learn more about your holiday diet plan with an educational consultation from our weight loss advisers.

Bladder Health Awareness Month Urging Women to Treat Incontinence

Urinary incontinence, referred to as involuntary loss of urine, is leading women to raise awareness throughout November about bladder health problems. Bladder control problems are twice as likely to develop in women and with that comes the increase of depression and limited activity levels as women age. Having the urge to “go” is normal, but women with recurring urges or pain and discomfort while urinating can be affected by a bladder health issue.

Overactive Bladders Disabling Women

Overactive bladders, known as OAB in the medical field, is one of the most common conditions that affects an estimated 39 million Americans. The strong urge to urinate is often confused with other health conditions, but only 27 percent of women surveyed said they would visit their doctor for symptoms of leakage, frequent urination and more related to OAB. When left untreated, symptoms increase and the urgency of going to the bathroom becomes unmanageable. Forcing many to have assistance well into their remaining years in a retirement home.

Causes of Urinary Incontinence in Women

There are many different reasons leading to a woman’s urge to make frequent trips to the bathroom. According to WebMD, most causes of urinary incontinence are avoidable through simple lifestyle habit alterations, including:

  • Moderate alcohol and caffeine consumption, alcohol and caffeine are bladder stimulants and cause urges to urinate suddenly or often
  • Avoid overhydration, drinking excessive fluids in a short time period increases urine in bladder
  • Medications such as blood pressure drugs, heart prescriptions or muscle relaxants can contribute to bladder control issues.


Health Tips for a Better Bladder

The bladder is one of the body parts most people do not think about maintaining, but an unhealthy bladder can cause painful urination and embarrassing unwanted leakage. There are many ways women can help keep their bladders stay healthy as they get older, including:

  • Let it all out, reduces risk of urinary tract infections
  • 6 to 8 glasses of water a day prevents bladder infections (avoid coffee and caffeinated soda)
  • Take walks to release fluid build-up in legs
  • Quit tobacco or smoking, bladder cancer occurs in 50,000 people every year
  • Cranberry juice may help prevent bladder infections
  • Kegel exercises strengthen vaginal muscles which reduce urinary incontinence

Treatment is available for women’s constant urge to “go”. Visit your physician for more information about the best plan to diagnose and treat symptoms effectively. Throughout this month pass along these health tips to your friends and loved ones to ensure they are in control of their bladder. Urinary incontinence does not need to control your body, take action early and keep your bladder healthy for years to come.

The Secret to Easy, Effective Contraception

When it comes to safe sex, most women think of birth control pills or condoms to protect them from unwanted pregnancy. However, any method of birth control must be used consistently to work effectively. Doctors and scientists around the world agree that an IUD, intrauterine device, is one of the most effective methods of birth control.

Why are women still misinformed about IUD success rates? A huge flare of lawsuits in the 1970s and ‘80s put this method on the back burner as the contraceptive was found to increase the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease. Unfortunately, misconceptions persist as women believe that these devices continue to promote negative side effects and poor results today. These devices are advanced and approved for use in any woman today. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have tested these items and along with implants, IUDs are effective in preventing pregnancy. Fewer than one in 100 pregnancies occur in women who use them.

Contraception and birth control is designed to avoid unwanted pregnancy and is available for nearly all sexually active women. IUDs are currently one of the most effective birth control products on the market and once in place women do not have to worry about birth control for years to come. They are small, plastic devices, inserted and left in the uterus, and depending on the type they can provide up to 10 years of protection.

How Do They Work?

There are three types available in the United States, including Mirena, ParaGard and Skyla, the new IUD. They each prevent fertilization by damaging sperm during sex.

They are similar to the functions of spermicide within the uterus. Copper IUDs cause the levels of copper ions, prostaglandins and white blood cells to increase within the uterine and tubal fluids. This impairs sperm mobility and stops the sperm from traveling through cervical mucus.

Hormonal IUDs thicken the cervical mucus which puts an end to sperm survival, while suppressing the lining of the uterus.

Which Style Is Right For You?

Mirena is the plastic IUD which releases the synthetic hormone, progestin to help the body keep sperm from reaching the cervix. These devices last up to five years and may give women lighter periods.

ParaGard, Mirena’s counterpart, is the copper IUD that is hormone-free, but does not reduce menstruation. The device is safe and tested to last up to 10 years for pregnancy prevention.

The newest IUD, Skyla is similar to Mirena. It is a plastic device that releases the same hormone, progestin to stop sperm in its tracks. It is smaller than Mirena and primarily for women who have yet to have their first child. Skyla lasts up to three years.

Benefits of IUD Use

IUD insertion is a safe procedure for all women. It does not interfere with sexual spontaneity and does not require daily attention from the patient. Women can experience multiple advantages with the use of IUDs, including:

  • Less than one percent risk of pregnancy

  • Long-acting birth control

  • Easy to use

  • Safe to use while breast feeding

  • Can be removed any time

  • Cost effective

IUD Awareness

Long-acting reversible contraception is expanding and according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, adolescents and adults who were at risk for unintended pregnancy were enrolled in the Contraceptive CHOICE Project. Participants of the study were provided IUDs from their abortion clinics and results saw a reduction in percentage of abortions. The rate of  teen pregnancy within the study was significantly lower at 6.3 per 1,000 compared to the U.S. rate of 34.3 per 1,000.

The study as well as the effectiveness of IUDs prove that contraception for women is a must have to prevent pregnancy. IUDs are nearly 100 percent effective, affordable and could one day be a no-cost contraceptive. Make an appointment with Dr. Samuel and ask about IUD contraceptives today.

What Can Women do to Prevent Cervical Cancer

Although it hasn’t always been discussed as widely as it is today, women are at risk of cervical cancer, in large part due to the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). HPV has many types of viruses, many of which can be transmitted sexually. The transmission can lead to genital warts or abnormal cell changes in the cervix. Since HPV is the most important risk factor for cervical cancer and precancers it is important for women to take precautions to avoid HPV infections. To help prevent the risk of cervical cancer, women should visit their healthcare provider or physician to schedule a pap smear and learn about the HPV vaccine.

A Pap smear is a procedure to test for cervical cancer or precancerous cells in the cervix, narrow end of the uterus at the top of the vagina. This test is designed to detect abnormalities that lead to cancer. An abnormal Pap smear is a often shows an irregular presence in the cervix or cervical area. It does not mean that the patient has cancer, it means that more in-depth tests may be required to test for infections and viruses.

There are multiple risks that stem from abnormal Pap smears if left untreated. Use the following as a guide to help prevent from cervical cancer.

Preventing Cervical Cancer

Many sexually active men and women may contract HPV at one point in their lives. The virus does not cause any symptoms and often the disease can be treated if detected early. Treating HPV is necessary to deter the risk of developing cervical cancer. There are ways to reduce the risk of cervical cancer. Here are six things women can do to reduce the risk:

  • Get a Pap smear regularly

  • Follow up on abnormal Pap smears

  • Quit smoking

  • Limit the number of sexual partners

  • Practice safe sex

  • Get the HPV vaccine

Pap smears are recommended for women once they reach the age of 20. From this age until 29 women should get a Pap test once every three years. From 30 to 65 years old, women with normal Pap tests can have Pap smears once every five years. Women who have had cancer or have a higher risk of cancer should talk with their doctor to decide which screening is suitable for them.

If a Pap smear is abnormal treatment may be administered or a repeat pap smear may be scheduled to confirm the results. Treatment is often initiated after further diagnostic tests are performed.

People do not call them cancer sticks for nothing, so quit smoking to avoid cancer development. Once the body is infected with HPV, smoking can double the risks of failing to fight the disease and speed up cancerous growth of precancerous cells.

Women who have multiple sexual partners throughout the course of a lifetime increase their risks of cervical cancer. Men who are infected with HPV show no signs of the disease, but women can develop genital warts.

Unprotected sex puts women at risk of HIV and other STDs which further increases the risk of cancer. Practicing safe sex can tremendously increase safety for both parties involved.

Women under the age of 27 may be eligible to receive the HPV vaccine. The vaccine prevents strains of HPV in women. Girls can receive the vaccine as early as nine years old. The vaccines will not protect against existing HPV strains, but if the vaccine is administered before a woman becomes sexually active they will successfully prevent strains.

According to the American Cancer Society, HPV is the main cause of cervical cancer and precancerous cells. By avoiding contact or exposure to HPV you can help prevent against cervical cancer. The body can transmit the disease through sexual or non-sexual contact. HPV infections usually occur in women younger than 30. The virus usually spreads from male to female contact, but HPV can still be transmitted from woman-to-woman contact.

Schedule an Appointment

If you want to know how to prevent cervical cancer or are due for a Pap smear, visit Dr. Mervyn Samuel. He provides medical advice for women and is experienced in treating HPV. Discover how you can protect yourself from cervical cancer for a safer and healthier body.

HopeLine for Domestic Violence Survivors

Domestic violence is a pattern of abuse that can occur within a household or between intimate partners. Physical, sexual, emotional and psychological actions can be life threatening for anyone no matter what age, gender or ethnic background. One in four million women, one in seven men and more than three million children have experienced a domestic violence assault in the United States. Verizon is dedicated to helping these victims by providing refurbished wireless phones to link them to accessible emergency and support services during times of crisis. This is also a valuable program that helps victims stay connected to their family and friends. Phones are donated by anyone who willing to give up their no-longer used wireless devices, batteries and accessories, no matter what condition. Since 2001 their program has donated over 150,000 phones to victims and survivors.

For more information about how to donate your old phone to domestic violence victims visit HopeLine.

Taller women face greater cancer risks after menopause

There may be a new found respect for women who are tall. American scientists recently reported new research that suggests tall women have a higher risk of developing cancer after completing menopause. A study released by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University released that height was linked to 19 types of cancer, including breast, colon, endometrium, kidney, ovary, rectum, thyroid, and multiple forms of mylenoma and melanoma.

The study of 145,000 women from 1993 to 1998, was a surprise to researchers when height was more strongly related to cancer than other dangers like obesity. After menopause, research showed that for every four inches in height there was a 13 percent increase in risk of developing cancer, in women.

While more research continues to determine the cause, it is not the height itself that is the primary source of disease. Doctors are suggesting that tall women are at greater risk because of hormone activity, amount of cells or larger organs.

Dr. Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health, said the study does not need to raise concerns for being tall, but it does provide evidence that greater height is associated with cancer. This helps researchers find more missing pieces of the cancer puzzle and contribute to understanding how and why cancer develops.

For treatment of menopause symptoms visit your healthcare provider. They will inform and instruct how to cope with irregular effects during menopause.

Researchers identified about 21,000 women, between the ages of 50 and 80, had been diagnosed with one or more invasive cancers during a follow-up period of 12 years. They found, for every extra 10 centimeters (about four inches), women’s risk for cancer of the kidney, rectum, thyroid and blood increased from 23 to 29 percent. Their risk of melanoma and cancer of breast, ovary, endometrium and colon rose by 13 to 17 percent.

Studies show that height increased worldwide in the 19th century, due to advances in nutrition and hygiene. In America the average height of a woman is 5 feet, 4 inches, rising about an inch over the last few decades, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers still need to understand how height-related genetic variations affect men and women, because adult height is influenced by genetics and exposures in early-life, such as nutrition and diet. For example, being tall is linked to greater consumption of milk proteins in pre-pubescent girls. In some studies milk intake was related to higher levels of certain proteins that may play a role in abnormal cell processes seen in cancers.

The battle with cancer can be treated early with changes in lifestyle. Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly prove to be positive impacts in overall health. Quitting smoking and other drugs early can help the body live longer without any further damage that may have already occurred.

Researchers considered the effects of the participants’ age, alcohol and smoking history, educational background, weight and body mass index, and use of hormone replacement therapy. The study concluded that the increased height was independently linked to an increased risk of cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, the average woman’s lifetime risk of cancer is 38 percent.

No matter what a woman’s height may be, doctors suggest that women visit their healthcare providers more frequently during and following menopause to ensure healthy development. Understand that it is not the height that is making women develop cancer, but the effects of family history and exposure to certain substances at an early age. Continue walking tall and feel proud to be in control with menopause.

New Study Confirms Link between Infertility in Men & Risk for Cancer

Recently it has been confirmed that men who are tested and classified as infertile now have a higher risk of testicular cancer. Men that were being treated for their infertility were observed closely for cancer and according to the research from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the results show that those without sperm or barren sperm developed a number of different defects, including prostate cancer, brain and central nervous system cancer, melanoma, stomach cancer as well as testicular cancer.

As the study began in 1989, there were 2,238 men that completed the research at a single andrology clinic in Texas. The results showed 451 of these men were diagnosed with azoospermia, which is known as having little or no sperm count upon ejaculation. With that the research shows that men with azoospermia were at more risk to develop cancer than those who were not infertile. What does this mean for men? Well for those who are diagnosed with azoospermia, it is caused by a blockage or testicular deficiency in sperm, which is genetically based. However, the majority of the men in the study were not diagnosed with it, so there is still more research to be done on the larger part of the U.S. male population. Still if the link between infertility and cancer is real, you would expect more severe infertility would be related to a greater cancer risk, said Dr. Thomas Walsh of the University of Washington in Seattle.

For treatment with infertility it’s recommended that you visit your healthcare provider and get further details on what to do when you or a loved one is diagnosed as infertile. Studies have shown that fathers pass on as many as four times more genetic mutations when compared to mothers, so it is necessary for men to be aware of their age during conception. Statistics also show that men who smoke increase their risk of infertility by 30 percent. Heat in excessive amounts such as use of laptops, cell phones, hot tubs and bicycles can damage the testes and lower the quality of semen. Doctors suggest to keep cell phones in the back pocket and to put a fan under your laptop while in use. As far as riding a bike or lunging in the hot tub, doctors suggest minimal time during both, but only extreme use or regular exposure has been known to damage semen quality. Not all male infertility is genetic cancer or injury, repeated infections and immunity problems can decrease fertility.

The battle of infertility can be won it’s up to men to make the necessary changes in their lives to do it. Eating a balanced diet can improve overall health for any man, no matter what age. By losing weight your decrease the risks of infertility. Quitting smoking and other drugs, as well as reducing the intake of alcohol will be easier for your body to function without these products holding it back. Avoid excessive heat, the sun is our friend but don’t overdo it. As you age keep your body as cool and comfortable as possible to avoid reducing sperm production.

With that doctors would suggest to young men that they see their health care provider more frequently to ensure that their bodies are in good health. Instead of going only when you’re sick, go to the doctor at least once a year to check up on the status of your body.

Prenatal Tips and Planning

Many prospective mothers these days are putting a great deal of forethought into their pregnancies. Many future mothers want to ensure that their bodies are in the optimal condition to carry out a pregnancy. So what are some tips and guidelines you can follow to ensure that your pregnancy is a healthy and successful one? Read on to find out.

The first and most obvious rule of thumb to follow for the prenatal mother is to ensure that she is eating right. The food that is put into the body is highly important to the overall health of the individual. Ensuring a healthy diet that is low on greasy and overly fatty foods is an essential component to smart prenatal planning.

Another good idea for prenatal planning is to consult with your doctor. Doctors should ideally have a detailed medical history of their patients and they will be able to direct you with the proper advice when it comes to your prenatal planning & obstetrical services.

It is also crucial that you maintain a healthy weight before and during your pregnancy. Again, a big part of this is eating right. But you can also incorporate a safe amount of exercise into your daily routine to ensure that a healthy weight is maintained.

Many health experts are now extolling the virtues of consuming adequate quantities of folic acid for prenatal mothers. Folic acid is a B vitamin that is in many vegetables. It is an essential vitamin and helps promote cell development and growth. Obviously it is important for the cell development lifecycle to be supported by whatever means necessary during pregnancy, as the baby starts off as nothing more than a small bundle of cells.

If you follow these basic, general lifestyle guidelines, you will be well on your way to carrying out a highly successful and rewarding pregnancy.

No One Deserves to be Abused and Live in Fear…

No one deserves to be abused and live in fear. Remember that you are not alone and there are people available to assist you with thinking through your options. You are in an extremely difficult situation that you did not cause, but just by seeking information on through Dr. Samuel’s website, you are showing your strength as you seek ways to increase your safety and protect yourself and your children.

Do not be ashamed; discuss your situation with friends, family, and co-workers who are supportive of you. Maintaining regular contact with people who support you is crucial to helping you stay safe, whether you’re at home or at work.

If you decide to stay in your home and in your relationship, but you still feel you are at risk; keep a diary and pictures of the incidents, ask a friend or family member to help you develop a safety plan which includes setting aside money and important documents in a safe place, discussing options with your HR Department at your job, as well as making a plan to leave. If you have children; teach them how to call 911, teach them code words which you can use when there is danger and they need to call help.

If you do decide to leave the relationship, friends and family can help you make that transition. They may be able to help you with finding financial assistance, finding a new place to live, storing your belongings, or getting help from a domestic violence program.

 Columbus, OH:

Center for Family Safety and Healing  www.familysafetyandhealing.org

CHOICES women’s shelter  www.choicescolumbus.org  (614) 224-HOME [4663]

You can contact the Ohio Domestic Violence Network Info & Referral Line, (800) 934-9840, or www.odvn.org to

  • Obtain the telephone number of your local domestic violence shelter
  • Obtain the telephone numbers of other state coalitions against domestic violence
  • Request safety plans, brochures and other clearinghouse print materials
  • Borrow educational materials from our library on domestic violence
  • Obtain information on ODVN sponsored workshops, conferences or training events

Remember there is hope and help, sometimes the hardest part isn’t figuring out how to leave, it is figuring out how to start over.  I left with two kids, a Game cube and $8.  You can read my story http://www.carbon2diamondpress.com

You can heal, you can forgive, you can make it!