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Patient Education : Healthy Living Tips

As a woman, taking care of others is so important that you sometimes sacrifice yourself. If you take the time, these simple tips can help ensure that you remain healthy for yourself and those around you.

Breast Self-Examination

  1. While standing in front of a mirror, with your hands on your hips, visually examine your breasts. Look for lumps, changes in size, color, shape or contour.  Look for dimples or puckering. If your nipples are not normally inverted, look to see if they are pushed in.
  2. Repeat this portion of the examination with your hands behind your head.
  3. Next, press each nipple, checking for discharge.
  4. Lie down with a pillow under your left shoulder and place your left hand under your head.  With the fingers of your right hand flattened and together, press the top portion of the breast. Using circular motions, feel for lumps and thickening.  In other words, think of your breast as the face of a clock.  With the top of the breast as 12 o'clock, move around the outer portion of the breast clockwise. Once you have returned to 12, move the fingers closer to the nipple and repeat.  Seventy-five percent of breast cancer occurs under the nipple-areola region or in the upper, outer portion of the breast near the armpit, so make sure you thoroughly examine these areas.
  5. Once you have checked the entire surface of the left breast, move the pillow and examine the right breast with the left hand.
  6. Using the same small, circular motions examine the area adjacent to your breast in the armpit. This area also contains breast tissue. (Note: A breast self-exam can also be performed during a shower or bath.)
  7. If you detect thickening or a lump, contact your doctor immediately. Most lumps are benign, but only a doctor can determine that for sure.

By performing a breast self-exam every month, you will become familiar with how your breasts normally look and feel. This will make abnormalities easier to detect.

Dealing with Depression

Warning signs of depression:

  • Persistent sad, anxious or empty feelings
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss
  • Restlessness or irritability
  • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feeling guilty, hopeless or worthless
  • Thoughts of suicide

Stop Smoking

More Options are Available

It's probably not a surprise anymore - smoking is very harmful to your health and those around you. You need to find the best way to stop smoking. There are a number of options available to you today.

  • hypnosis
  • support groups
  • counseling
  • prescription medications
  • a combination of the above as prescribed by your physician

STRESS

Keep It Under Control

Save yourself from stress by paying attention to stress levels. Take notice of the different events in your like that trigger stress. Then make a plan to get it under control. Here are some tips to help keep your stress levels down.

  • Eat regular meals and exercise regularly
  • Try to get enough sleep
  • Try to avoid alcohol, nicotine and excessive caffeine
  • Incorporate some relaxation techniques into your daily regimen

Every day you need to find ways to move your body. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Take a walk with your child or dog. Chase your children, play ball with some friends or mow the lawn. Anything that moves your limbs can be a fitness tool and a great stress buster.

YEAST INFECTIONS

Prevention Techniques

Three out of four women will experience at least one yeast infection during their life. Many will experience recurrent infections. Practicing some of these prevention techniques may help reduce your risk.

  • Always wear white cotton panties. Nylon and Lycra may trap air and create a breeding ground for yeast. Never wear panty hose alone - always wear cotton panties underneath.
  • Never use petroleum-based lubricants for vaginal lubrication during sexual intercourse. Always use water-based lubricants when vaginal dryness is an issue.
  • Always wipe from front to back after a bowel movement to prevent the yeast which normally inhabits the intestinal tract from being transferred to the vaginal area.
  • Eating one cup of yogurt a day helps some women prevent the yeast infections that often follow antibiotic treatment; however, eating yogurt will not cure a yeast infection.
  • Don't use perfumed bath products or powders in the vaginal area. These can cause irritations which can lead to infection.
  • Don't use douches! Douches wash away the natural protective mucous of the vagina leaving the vagina more susceptible to yeast and other vaginal infections.

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