“Vajazzle” with care: As new beauty trends drift down there, do we understand the risks?

Dr. Tristi Muir

Dr. Tristi Muir

The human body is amazing! And people are tempted to continue to try to improve upon it. Arms, legs and abs (our favorite!) are worked on for hours in the gym. Hair takes on different shapes and colors. “Body art” has been the rage for the past decade–tattooing is common from head to toe, piercing and gauging has extended from ears to multiple locations on the body and across genders. Women have embraced decorating their bodies for centuries. It has just become more “all inclusive” as of late. Pubic hair is dyed, styled, shaved, plucked and waxed. The vulva (the anatomic word for the area generally covered by pubic hair) can be decorated or “vajazzled.” Recently, the vulva and vagina have become the focus of new cosmetic surgical procedures.

While make-up, manicures and pedicures are part of the routine for many women, there’s a new trend in town: vajazzling. The Urban Dictionary defines vajazzling as “to decorate your vag with jewels, thus bedazzling your vagina.” Continue reading

Prevention is best medicine against kidney disease

Earlier this month, we at UTMB Health joined others around the globe in celebrating World Kidney Day. Our kidneys are crucial and a hardworking organs. Here are a few tips to help keep yours in top form:

What is CKD?
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a condition where the kidneys are damaged and lose the ability to keep you healthy. As kidney disease gets worse, body waste can build up in your blood and make you feel sick by creating a host of health problems. Problems caused by CKD typically happen slowly over a long period of time.

What causes CKD?
The two main causes of CKD are diabetes and high blood pressure.

What are the symptoms of CKD?
Most people do not have symptoms until their kidney disease is fairly advanced. Lack of energy, poor appetite and nausea are some of the common symptoms of advanced CKD.

Five things you can do to keep your kidneys healthy:

  • Exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet
  • Have an annual physical exam especially after age 40
  • If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, make sure you follow your doctor’s instructions
  • Avoid regular use of medications that may harm your kidneys
  • Ask your primary care physician if it is necessary to see a kidney doctor

Dr. Pradeep V. Kadambi is a nephrologist and associate professor and medical director of kidney and pancreas transplantation at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. He serves patients at UTMB Health’s Multispecialty Center, in League City.

Women’s hearts, women’s health

Dr. Victor Sierpina

Dr. Victor Sierpina

In case you missed it, February was Women’s Heart Health Month, perfectly fitting with Valentine’s Day in the middle of the month. It isn’t too late to wear a red dress to support awareness of heart disease in women.

The pink ribbon of breast cancer awareness is easily recognized and well known, but the red dress of heart disease is not. Yet, roughly 10 times more women die from heart disease annually as do from breast cancer. Since the mid 1980s, more women have been dying annually of heart disease than men.

Part of the problem here is focus and part is history. Breast cancer is enormously emotional, frightening, and potentially disfiguring. The good news is that it is more and more curable with good screening, early detection, treatment and follow-up. Also, many of the same lifestyle choices to reduce breast cancer risk also reduce heart disease risk.

An important issue is that heart disease symptoms in women are often subtle and less obvious than in men. The common triad of chest pain brought on by exercise and relieved by rest, which is a common, presenting sign of heart problems is not always so clear-cut in women. Because women’s heart disease tends to occur in smaller vessels and is more diffuse symptoms can present more generically. These include fatigue, shortness of breath, indigestion, nausea, faintness, upper back, neck or shoulder pain.

Let me give you the example of Lila, a lovely woman in my practice now in her mid 60s, who is now on the transplant list for a new heart. She seemed to be at low risk for heart disease. She was a nonsmoker, thin, active, with well-controlled blood pressure, blood sugars and cholesterol. She had also breast-fed her several children lowering her risk of breast cancer. Continue reading