“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

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

Libido Understood

Drs. Tristi Muir and Catherine Hansen

Drs. Tristi Muir and
Catherine Hansen

Meet Susan, a 56-year-old professional who’s finally come to terms with her hot flashes, night sweats and insomnia and made peace with her mood swings. At a visit to our clinic, she declares, “My libido has completely disappeared.”

Susan’s not joking and she’s not alone. Every day, women at all stages of life get up enough nerve to book an appointment. Some drag along a faltering, speculative, yet willing partner, while others arrive cautiously unaccompanied. For each, there is a different answer to the hide-and-seek game of where is my libido, but there are some underlying principles to consider. Sexual desire, once thought to be spontaneous, unplanned and at-the-ready, is now understood to be far more complex and multifaceted, especially for women and even more so for menopausal women. Continue reading

Menopause: What is happening to me?

Dr. Catherine Hansen
Dr. Catherine Hansen

After talking to a group of women at a wellness clinic last night, I realized how a little information about our bodies can go a long way!  Enjoy this information about menopause and watch for more in the series:

 Not all women realize they are “menopausal” and many women go through these changes without needing to seek medical advice or note any problems at all.  If you are in this category, don’t worry about the lack of symptoms and don’t go looking for answers to questions you don’t have.  There is no need to test your “hormones” or start any medications but some of the following advice may help to maximize your preventative health strategies as you negotiate menopause gracefully. Continue reading

Nurture yourself

Dr. Catherine Hansen

Dr. Catherine Hansen

“When we truly care for ourselves, it becomes possible to care far more profoundly about other people.  The more alert and sensitive we are to our own needs, the more loving and generous we can be toward others” (Eda LeShan)

When, on earth, do we have time to nurture ourselves?  Between loads of laundry, field trips, college applications, ailing parents and dinner?  Women ask me this question every day.  It’s difficult to answer.  But I know, despite the screaming of children, the ringing of the phone and the dinging of incoming e-mails, that I must consider what it is telling me.  For me.  For my family.  For my patients. Continue reading