Dr. Tristi Muir
Our Bodies, Our Lives
You look in the mirror and see gray hair sprouting on your head and wrinkles streaming across your face.
As you glance further down, chins are forming and a muffin top spills over your jeans.
The average weight gain during midlife is 10 to 15 pounds. Is aging a battle that we must lay down our weapons against and accept as an eventuality?
Many women have picked up the sword to fight aging by covering up that gray hair or using skin products or Botox to soften wrinkles.
But what about the pounds in the middle? There are many changes in our bodies and activities as we age that can lead to weight gain.
Hormonal changes define menopause. Estrogen and progesterone are no longer produced in a quantity that will allow menstrual cycling.
Hot flashes, mood changes and vaginal dryness are only a few of the symptoms women experience. Is midlife muffin top also a symptom of hormone deprivation? (more…)
Dr. Tristi Muir
Our Bodies, Our Lives
Breast cancer awareness means more than mammograms
This month my scrub cap for surgery is decorated with pink ribbons. Football players are wearing hot-pink cleats. During October, a variety of products and events encourage us to commit financially to finding a cure for breast cancer.
One in 8 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in our lifetimes. While men can develop breast cancer, it is 100 times more common in women. The American Cancer Society estimates that in the year 2013, there will be 232,340 new diagnoses of invasive breast cancer.
Each of these “cases” is a daughter, mother, sister or friend. (more…)
Drs. Techksell Washington & Karen Powers
The BRCA1 and 2 gene mutations that predispose women to aggressive breast cancer got a lot of attention this year when actress Angelina Jolie shared her preventive double mastectomy with the world.
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and as breast specialists at the University of Texas Medical Branch, we think it’s a good time to take another look at some of the details surrounding genetic testing, treatment options and reconstruction decisions.
Jolie’s public sharing of her personal story surely resonated with many women who think they may be at risk. If you were one of them, we advise speaking with your primary care physician about genetic testing.
UTMB’s Breast Health and Imaging Center has a high-risk clinic with genetic counselors who can guide patients through screening and potential genetic testing for the BRCA1 and 2 mutations. Women with those mutations have a more than 80 percent chance of developing breast cancer and a 40 percent chance of developing ovarian cancer during their lifetimes. (more…)
Dr. Angelica Robinson
As the director of breast imaging at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, I am often asked to give public talks during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Invariably, during the question and answer period, someone in the crowd timidly asks me to explain what exactly I do as a radiologist.
Radiologists are doctors who interpret images from X-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans, PET scans, MRI scans and mammograms. We have many years of specialized training – four years of undergraduate education, four years of medical school, five years of residency training in diagnostic radiology and a final year of subspecialized fellowship training for those of us who choose to focus on a specific aspect of radiology (such as breast imaging).
Radiologists do not “take” the actual images. Radiology technologists are the health professionals who do that. Our job is to review the final images, interpret the findings in the context of the patient’s clinical history and provide a written report that details the findings and provides an impression of those findings. (more…)
Dr. Colleen Silva
Breast cancer treatment has changed dramatically in the past 25 years.
When I entered the field of breast surgery in the late 1980s, modified radical mastectomy was still the standard treatment.
We removed the entire breast, all the lymph nodes under the arm, the nipple and much of the breast skin.
Breast reconstruction was rare.
Today, however, we offer breast-conserving surgery to two out of three women with early-stage breast cancer. The partial mastectomy or lumpectomy has replaced the total mastectomy as the treatment of choice whenever possible.
When mastectomy is required, we now perform a skin-sparing version of the procedure, sometimes even saving the nipple.
We also offer immediate breast reconstruction — a procedure that has been fully reimbursable by insurance since the federal government mandated coverage in 1998. Patients can choose saline or silicone implants or they can choose tissue transfers from their own lower abdomen, back or buttocks. Even if a woman had her mastectomy many years before the coverage mandate went into effect, she can still undergo breast reconstruction now and receive full reimbursement. (more…)
Dr. Karen Powers
Few things are more frightening for a woman than receiving a breast cancer diagnosis. The nightmare doesn’t end quickly. Often, women must undergo a mastectomy or lumpectomy in addition to chemotherapy or radiation. Although these procedures can be life saving, they’re also potentially devastating to a woman’s self-esteem and sense of femininity. It can be an isolating, depressing experience.
In years past, women who underwent mastectomies had no choice but to wear breast prostheses to look “normal” in clothing. Removing the prostheses while dressing and undressing often triggers anxiety and stress. Today, the emotional and physical results after surgery are much more positive. New insight about breast cancer, new treatments and improved reconstructive surgery options mean that women need not feel disfigured or less attractive after surgery. (more…)
Dr. Tristi Muir
Our Bodies, Our Lives
A guaranteed laugh in any movie? Bladder control. But when you’re the person experiencing an inability to “hold it,” jokes can be embarrassing and isolating.
Fear of ridicule can lead many women to avoid activities that may cause bladder leakage. First you stop jumping on the trampoline with your kids and soon you’re avoiding many activities you once enjoyed.
Urinary incontinence is actually quite common — affecting 45 percent of women. Risk factors associated with urinary incontinence include obesity, depression, childbirth, hysterectomy and medical problems such as diabetes and stroke.
While leakage of urine can have a variety of causes, there are two common types of incontinence.
“Stress incontinence” is caused by a weakening of the support muscles of the urethra. Sometimes coughing, sneezing, laughing or exercising can cause enough abdominal pressure to push a small amount of urine through a weak urethra. (more…)
Drs. Norbert Herzog & David Niesel
Medical Discovery News
How are you going to die?
The Centers for Disease Control would answer that life expectancy depends greatly on where someone lives. Life expectancy in the United States ranks 40th in the world with 77.97 years. That addresses when someone might die but what about how? Most likely, it will be from one of these top 10 causes, based on how many Americans they kill each year.
10) Suicide – 38,285. Many factors are now known to influence suicide: mental illnesses, genetics, certain pharmaceuticals, traumatic brain injuries, drug and alcohol abuse and chemical or hormonal imbalances. To decrease these rates, education about the signs preceding suicide and accessible treatment is necessary.
9) Kidney Disorders – 45,731. Although dialysis can help people survive a little longer without a kidney, it is no cure. Kidney damage can occur from infection, high blood pressure, or toxic reactions to drugs, leading to chronic kidney disease that affects more than 26 million Americans. (more…)
Dr. Victor Sierpina
You just had a healthy baby. Congratulations! In these days when many women struggle with infertility and challenges getting pregnant, a baby is a truly wonderful gift, as it always has been.
By the way, check out Dr. Steve Pratt’s latest book “SuperFoods Rx for Pregnancy” to prepare for and have a healthy pregnancy and baby.
Now that labor is done, the work really begins.
By now, you and everyone else likely know about the benefits of breast-feeding.
The human breast, like that of all mammals, was perfectly designed to create optimal nutrition for the vulnerable newborn.
Breast milk has everything in it needed for a new baby to grow and thrive. This includes calories derived from healthy fats and essential proteins, minerals and vitamins needed to grow a healthy brain, body and immune system in your baby. (more…)
Drs. Sally Robinson & Keith Bly
Keeping Kids Healthy
Breast-feeding offers infants the healthiest nutritional start. Sometimes in today’s busy life, mothers have to spend time away from their infants, so pumping and storing breast milk becomes necessary.
Mothers pumping — or expressing — milk for an infant have a number of choices for storing and preserving it.
The guidelines that follow are based upon information supplied by Anne Merewood, director of lactation services at the Breastfeeding Center of Boston Medical Center, and were published in Contemporary Pediatrics.
The guidelines concern only healthy babies. If your infant has special problems, consult your pediatrician. (more…)