January 2013

Binge drinking a women’s health issue

 Binge drinking is a major public health concern among American women with nearly 14 million overindulging in alcohol, government researchers said.

About 12.5% of adult women in the U.S. reported binge drinking in 2011, downing four drinks or more in one sitting, Robert Brewer, MD, of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and colleagues reported online in a Vital Signs report in Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report.

Antibiotic overuse can lead to resistance

If you’re suffering from a cold, the flu, or another virus, there are things you can do to help relieve the symptoms, but taking antibiotics will not help. Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections, such as strep throat.  Antibiotic resistance is a serious public health problem that is primarily being caused by the repeated and improper use of antibiotics.

You can help prevent antibiotic resistance by taking these actions:

Berries may be good for women’s hearts

Young and middle-age women whose diet included high levels of anthocyanins — the flavonoids present in red and blue fruits such as strawberries and blueberries — had a significantly reduced risk for myocardial infarction (MI), a large prospective study found.

Women whose anthocyanin intake was in the highest quintile had a 32% decrease in risk of MI during 18 years of follow-up, according to Eric B. Rimm, ScD, of Harvard University, and colleagues.

Let’s Talk About Vaginas

On January 7, the U by Kotex brand, with the help of Ogilvy and Mather, launched a new campaign titled “Generation Know” aimed at addressing vaginal health myths. The campaign consists of short TV spots, longer more candid online videos, and a website providing a forum for frank and honest vaginal health discussion. A representative of the brand has stated that the campaign is meant to inform and empower young girls and women by allowing them to feel comfortable having conversations about their vaginas.

Breast feeding, get the facts about breast pumps

These days, many new mothers return to the workplace with a briefcase in one hand—and a breast pump kit in the other.

For those moms working outside the home who are breastfeeding their babies (and those who travel or for other reasons can’t be with their child throughout the day), using a breast pump to “express” (extract) their milk is a must.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees the safety and effectiveness of these medical devices.

Hormone related depressions in women a growing concern

Mental disorders are the cause of more than 37% of disabilities worldwide, with depression being the leading cause of disability among people aged 15 and older, according to the World Health Organization’s Global Burden of Disease and Risk Factors (2006).  Compared to men, women have twice the rate of depression, with a specific risk at puberty, premenstrually, postpartum, and in the perimenopause.  A striking 21% (1 of 5) women and 12% of men will have at least one episode of major depressive disorder in their lifetimes. 

Beating the Winter Blues

You might feel blue around the winter holidays, or get into a slump after the fun and festivities have ended. Some people have more serious mood changes year after year, lasting throughout the fall and winter when there’s less natural sunlight. What is it about the darkening days that can leave us down in the dumps? And what can we do about it?

NIH-funded researchers have been studying the “winter blues” and a more severe type of depression called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, for more than 3 decades.  Still, much remains unknown about these winter-related shifts in mood.

The Pay Gap May Affect Women’s Health

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) recently published a report indicating that the pay gap, or the earning difference between men and women, is still an issue today, and often manifests in the very first paycheck a female college graduate receives.  The AAUW’s October 2012 report, Graduating to a Pay Gap, women are paid about 82 cents per dollar paid to their male counterparts one year after graduating college.  According to this report, after controlling for variables such as hours worked, type of occupation, college major, employment sector, and other factors associated wi