In This Issue
How Cold is Too Cold to Workout Outside?
4 Tips to Overhaul Your Health this Winter
Pregnancy Sex Myths Busted
The Cold Facts About Hot Flashes
5 Hormones that Mess with You Every Month

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How Cold is Too Cold to Workout Outside?workout

Winter is officially here: days are shorter, temperatures are plunging, and your early morning or evening run, ride, or other outdoors workout is potentially under threat by mother nature.


The good news is you don't have to give up your outside sweat sessions just because it's below freezing. In fact, it's generally safe to work out outdoors until the thermometer hits a bone-chilling 20 degrees below zero, says Susan Paul, exercise physiologist and program director for the Orlando Track Shack Foundation. This is assuming, of course, that you're comfortable, dressed properly, and aren't a novice who thought the night of winter solstice would be a fabulous time to start training for your first half-marathon.

Follow these ground rules to minimize injuries and boost performance.


Layer up in moisture-wicking fabrics that will keep you warm and dry. But since the temperature will feel about 20 degrees warmer to you when you're running or moving at full intensity, be careful not to pile on too many sports tops and jackets. "Wear a face mask or a scarf wrapped around your nose and mouth; this will help heat and moisturize the air before it hits your lungs," says Paul.


Protect your extremities with mittens, gloves, wool socks, and a snug-fitting hat. "Make sure you allow your body to warm up thoroughly, since it will take more time in cold weather, rising your injury risk" says Paul.


Finally, this is not the time to break your distance record or beat your best time. Adds Paul: "Better to run long and easy in cold temps than try a speed workout."


Source: Women's Health Magazine

4 Tips to Overhaul Your Health This Winter wintertips


Feeling cabin fever already? If you're sick of the cold (and it's only January!), here's how to save your sanity - and your health - so you can make it to spring unscathed.  


Don't crank up the heater.

It's cold outside, so it only makes sense to turn up the heat inside, right? Wrong. That heater and you may not be as buddy-buddy as you think. It can remove some of the moisture from the air, causing your nose to be extra-sensitive, which in turn makes it easier to break blood vessels, leading to nosebleeds. 


When it's cold outside, runny noses are inevitable - so your nose is already sensitive. Plus, constant nose-blowing creates extreme trauma. There are a few things you can do to prevent nosebleeds. First, keep your nose-blowing as delicate as possible, and try adding moisture to the air with a humidifier or vaporizer.


Protect dry lips.

You make sure to cover your body with enough layers during the winter - why treat your lips any differently? Dry air, low humidity, and cold wind are all key things that dehydrate your lips, causing dreaded chapping and cracking.    


According to the American Academy of Dermatology, lips, unlike the rest of your skin, do not contain oil glands. So, they dry out easily. But, licking and picking them can make the problem worse, so instead cover your face with a scarf or bandana (to avoid wind exposure) and use lip balm, which seals in moisture.  


Decrease your susceptibility to germs.

You can catch the flu or cold any time of year, but winter does see an uptick in susceptibility. So, keep in mind all of those healthy habits your grade-school teacher taught you - including washing your hands with warm water and soap. If you haven't already, get a flu shot. And, if you feel like you have a cold coming on, drink water and nag your roommate/partner/mom to make you some chicken soup.  


Get your zzz's.

We know you know this: Sleep is when your body is able to rest and recover for the next day. Without sleep, your body cannot function well. In the winter, sleep patterns get thrown off due to a myriad of factors, from colder air to less light to holiday parties to stress. The average person needs 7.5 to 8.5 hours of sleep. But, 63% of Americans get less than seven hours of sleep, according to The Sleep Foundation. One culprit that messes with your slumber is your diet. In the winter, people tend to reach for heavy, carbohydrate-dense food, which lowers energy levels, moods, and hormones.  


Source: Refinery29

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January 2015 

Happy New Year from Lawrence Ob-Gyn & Associates!


It's January, which means the season of constant shivering, wearing bulky jackets, and protecting your desk from your co-worker who refuses to use a sick day. This whole post-holiday thing is hard enough without having to worry about your health. But, hibernating is boring, and there's no reason to stay indoors until April. Here are 4 Tips to Overhaul Your Health this Winter that will help combat common winter concerns.   


If you're pregnant, you may be wondering if you have to put your sex life on hold until the baby comes. But being pregnant doesn't mean you can't have intimate relations for an entire nine months. Sex is totally fine in a normal pregnancy without complications, but if you're still putting on the brakes because you're afraid you'll hurt the baby, check out Pregnancy Sex Myths Busted so you can learn to relax.


Even in the cold of winter, a sudden hot flash may make you want to walk outside in the freezing weather just to seek relief. Not only are hot flashes uncomfortable, but they can occur for up to two years or more. So, what's a woman to do? Begin by reading The Cold Facts about Hot Flashes.


"Baby, it's cold outside!" but does that mean you can't - or shouldn't - exercise outdoors? How do you know if it's safe? Colder temperatures have arrived, but there's no need to stow away the workout gear. Exercising outdoors in cold weather, from running to skiing, can be completely safe (and will likely bring on the heat!), but with a few necessary precautions. Find out more by reading How Cold is Too Cold to Workout Outside?


Wondering if you've got the winter blues, or if it's just hormones? It can be hard to tell sometimes.  If you find yourself experiencing mood swings, crazy cravings, and irrational crying fits, you're not alone. We identify the 5 Hormones that Mess with You Every Month to help keep you feeling your best.


Wishing you a healthy and happy 2015! 


With warm regards,


The Practitioners and Staff of Lawrence OB/GYN 

Pregnancy Sex Myths Bustedpregnancymyths

Sure, there are some good excuses not to have sex: You've got a headache, tonight is supposed to be laundry night, you're too tired... But being pregnant shouldn't be one of them (after all, you've got nine whole months of this). Below are the most common myths debunked:


The Myth: "Deep penetration can harm the fetus" 
The Lowdown: This is one b-i-g myth. Did you know your vagina stretches during sex? It naturally creates a gap of several centimeters between the penis and the cervix (the opening to your uterus).

Plus, the cervix is closed and sealed with a thick mucus plug to protect the baby. And baby's hanging out in the amniotic sac, inside your uterus, which was designed to keep him safe and snug.


The Myth: "Contractions from an orgasm can cause a miscarriage"
The Lowdown: Those little cramps you probably feel after sex are completely normal - they're just the muscles of the uterus tightening a bit - and, as long as you don't have a high-risk pregnancy, they aren't going to cause any harm. There are two different types of contractions, and the ones that you feel during and after orgasm are not the type that will cause a miscarriage. Don't confuse these contractions with labor contractions, which will be painful and come at regular intervals (every three to five minutes). These will be mild and eventually go away.


The Myth: "Sex can induce labor"
The Lowdown: This gem is just an old wives' tale. You can get a contraction though, after sex, from a hormone present in semen. The idea is, if you're close to your due date (or past it), this can push you over the edge. But it doesn't really work that way. Yes, it's true that the same hormone (prostaglandin) is used to induce labor in a hospital setting, but it's a synthetic version with a much higher concentration than there is in semen. If semen had enough of it to jump-start labor, we would advise all patients to abstain from intercourse during the entire pregnancy, which we don't!


The Myth: "Post-sex bleeding is a sign of damage"
The Lowdown: A little blood down there might totally freak you out, but don't worry if the spotting is during or after sex. This is very common - and there's an explanation for it. During pregnancy, the cervix gets very pliable, very soft, and sensitive to any touching and it can start bleeding. But there's no need to worry unless it's excessive bleeding or there's no good explanation for it. Then, call your OB.


The Myth: "The baby will know"
The Lowdown: Guess what? Your parents probably had sex while you were in utero. Do you remember it? Neither will baby. Sure, he knows you're moving, but he can't tell whether you're having intercourse. Experts agree that there's no evidence sex can cause physical orpsychological harm to your child. The baby can pick up on sounds and movement in utero. But for the baby to be able to interpret that or understand that, it's just not possible.


Source: Yahoo 

The Cold Facts About Hot Flasheshotflashes 

It may be winter, but menopausal women across the country are still sweating and disrobing. Hot flashes are hardly a new problem and you would think that, by now, someone would have come up with something better than a portable fan to fix it. But it's not so easy, mainly because the exact cause of the flash is still not entirely understood.  


Hot flashes typically begin as a sudden sensation of heat on the face and upper chest that becomes generalized. It can be pretty intense (e.g., the "furnace inside you"), lasting between 2 and 4 minutes and followed by profuse sweating. As if that weren't enough, many women also have chills and shivering. Physiologically, a hot flash happens for the same reason that you sweat in a sauna ... the body is trying to cool down. The difference is, you don't really need to cool down, but your menopausal brain thinks you do.  


The human body is meant to be roughly 98.6 degrees. If you go outside in the winter without your coat, you're going to shiver to generate heat. You sweat when you exercise to cool the body down. The part of the brain that keeps your body at the right temperature is known as the thermoregulatory zone. But during menopause, the thermoregulatory zone gets too sensitive resulting in a hot flash even when the body doesn't really need to cool down.


What Actually Works?

Estrogen therapy eliminates hot flashes, and it works well in even very small doses. But many women can't, or chose not to, take estrogen.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) were serendipitously found to significantly reduce hot flashes in menopausal women years ago, but the drugs are only intended and FDA approved to be used as anti-depressants. Drugs such as Fluoxetine (Prozac), Paroxitene (Paxil) and Venlafaxine (Effexor), have all been found to be helpful in reducing flashes. Effexor is the most studied and seems to do the best job.


Also, an article was just published in JAMA showing that Escitalopram (commonly known as Lexipro), another of the SSRI antidepressants, also reduces the frequency of flashes.


But drugs aren't the only available option; don't underestimate the value of exercise. Multiple studies demonstrate that women who work out regularly have fewer hot flashes due to exercise-induced endorphin production. Losing that extra weight and eliminating cigarettes also make a huge difference.


For those that decide to tough it out without drugs, be aware that the average woman can expect to experience moderate to severe hot flashes for about 5 years. And around 20% will continue to have flashes even longer (perhaps forever).  


You probably can't avoid hot flashes during menopause, but there are things that may bring them on more often or cause them to be more severe. To prevent hot flashes, avoid these triggers:

  • Stress
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Spicy foods
  • Tight clothing
  • Heat
  • Cigarette smoke

Sources: Doctor Oz; WebMD

5 Hormones that Mess with You Every Monthhormones

If, once a month, you feel like you're going crazy, go on cupcake benders, or a QVC-binge at 2 a.m., guess what? You're normal. Ricocheting reproductive hormones can influence your period, fertility, and sex drive-and your mental state and sleep cycle and appetite. Use this advice to keep everything in check.


1. Estrogen. Estradiol, the most potent type, prepares the uterus for conception. Stable levels can boost sex drive and immunity.


Big Impacts: Estrogen sends "grow" signals to your body's every cell, from your breasts to your bones. But too much can lead to severe PMS, fertility woes, even breast cancer. Too little can lead to osteoporosis.


The Balancing Act: Being way too thin can hinder production, while extra fat cells can produce a type of estrogen that messes with estradiol. The key: maintaining a healthy weight. Aim for a BMI between 18.5 and 30.


2. Progesterone. It creates a cushy uterine lining (i.e., an embryo crib) each month. No conception? Levels sink, triggering your period.


Big Impacts: Talk about a love-hate affair: Progesterone has a mild sedative effect that can lead to solid sleep (hence those sounder pre-rag z's). It can also ramp up water retention, gassiness, and constipation...ouch.


The Balancing Act: Since regulating this hormone is critical for baby-making, many wannabe mamas turn to OTC creams. Don't. Studies show they're useless. What may work: meditation, as little as five minutes per day.


3. Testosterone.

Not just for guys, the androgen hormone supports regular ovulation and a hearty libido.  


Big Impacts: Too-high levels-often associated with PCOS-can cause acne, dandruff, or dark hair in abnormal places. Lacking levels can zap your mojo and overall sense of well-being.


The Balancing Act:

Excess testosterone has been closely linked to obesity, so strive for that beneficial BMI. If you're low, zinc-rich foods like hummus may increase levels.  


4. Prolactin. This one's made in the brain, and its main jobs are to govern egg release and stimulate breast-milk production in new moms.


Big Impacts: Rare sky-high levels can squash your sex drive and bring on menopause-like symptoms. Slightly elevated levels can suppress ovulation. Post-childbirth, normal levels can help you ditch pounds faster.


The Balancing Act: Skimping on sleep can spike stress hormones such as cortisol and prolactin. Score optimal levels by committing to seven to eight hours of uninterrupted shut-eye every night.


5. FSH/LH. Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) readies eggs for prime time; luteinizing hormone (LH) makes them drop.


Big Impacts: Ideal FSH/LH amounts can also contribute to favorable progesterone levels, while spiked FSH has been linked to memory problems, insomnia, and acne.


The Balancing Act: Keep a limit on your booze intake, especially if you're looking to have a baby: More than two drinks per day can throw FSH and LH production out of whack.


Source: Women's Health Magazine


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