When Should Young Women Start Getting Pap Smears?

5461276006_df3a5a44b8_z     Cervical cancer was once the number one cancer killer, but with the introduction of the Pap smear almost 60 years ago, this cancer has become increasingly rare.  The guidelines for cervical cancer screening are always evolving, and the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology (ASCCP) has been at the forefront of these changes.

The relationship between high-risk HPV (human papillomavirus) and the development of pre-cervical and cervical cancer has been well established.  Thankfully, most HPV infections are short-lived and not detected within 1-2 years.  Only a small percentage of infected women will go on to develop a high-grade cervical abnormality or cervical cancer.

More than 80% of all women will develop a genital HPV infection by the time they reach the age of 50.  HPV infections are the most common in young women, and again, these infections are cleared by most young women in less than two years.

We now have a good understanding of the natural history of HPV infections and the development of cervical cancer and the pre-cancers.  ASCCP’s guidelines advise that cervical cancer screening should begin at age 21 regardless of the age of sexual initiation.  Since most of the infections in the young will regress, starting a screening program at an earlier age may result in many unnecessary treatment interventions.

Remember to always discuss your particular concerns and develop your individual screening program with your healthcare professional.

-Dr. P

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Healthy and Creative Recipes from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen

I have come to discover Alexis Kornblum’s wonderful website, Lexi’s Clean Kitchen, and her creative cooking.  From her healthy food section, I would like to start a series that provides nourishing recipes.  You can expect to find gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo-friendly, refined sugar-free, soy-free, and vegan-friendly recipes.  Each time, a dinner, snack, dressing, drink, or treat will be featured.

First up is Roasted Garlic Chicken and Veggie Primavera.  The dish has roasted garlic, delicious olive oil, Himalayan sea salt, a hint of spice, and fresh parmesan cheese.  Flavor heaven.  Here is the link to the recipe: http://lexiscleankitchen.com/2014/07/11/healthy-food-friday-zucchini-roasted-garlic-chicken-and-veggie-primavera/

RoastedGarlicChickenVeggiePrimavera7

For dessert, you are having Nutella Swirl Pumpkin Muffins.  These muffins are spongy, moist, loaded with pumpkin, and hold a hint of sweet.  http://lexiscleankitchen.com/2014/10/03/healthy-food-friday-nutella-swirl-pumpkin-muffin/

Nutellaswirlpumpkinmuffin9-Dr. P

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What Could Happen if You Smoke During Pregnancy?

We all know that cigarette smoking is a health hazard.  In pregnancy, smoking spreads that hazard to the baby as well as the mom.  The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) provides us with the following information:

  • It is reported that 10% of women smoke during the last 3 months of pregnancy
  • 50% of women who smoke before a pregnancy will quit during the pregnancy
  • 50% of women who stopped smoking during a pregnancy will go back to smoking after their baby is born
  • Smoking increases the difficulty to become pregnant
  • Smoking increases the risk of spontaneous miscarriages
  • Smoking also increases the risk of a premature birth
  • This action increases nicotine and decreases oxygen to the developing fetus
  • The baby’s placenta may not work as well in mothers who smoke
  • Smoking increases the risk of certain birth defects, including cleft lip and cleft palate

If you smoke, please try to stop for your health and the health of your baby.

Cigarette Blog

-Dr. P

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How Probiotics Can Be an Enormous Benefit to Your Health

…..The business associated with the use of probiotics is huge around the world.  It promises to use live and good bacteria to decrease/replace the bad bacteria that can build up in the colon.  Probiotics are live bacteria that are mostly found in foods and supplements.  They have the potential to provide beneficial health effects for the person ingesting the bacteria.

Probiotics 1

…..The human gastrointestinal tract, especially the colon, is populated by a large amount and assortment of bacteria, called the intestinal flora.  This flora develops over the first two years of life and evolves over time based on health, diet, genetics, and many other factors.  This good natural bacteria and added probiotics seem to work in a variety of ways:

  • Natural good bacteria and probiotics prevent the growth of bad bacteria by not allowing a place for it to grow and competing for the nutrients.
  • They lower the acidity of the intestine, creating an unwelcome environment for the bad bacteria.
  • They increase the production of mucin.  Mucins are the proteins that bind to form the gel-like mucous, made by the epithelial cells that line the intestines.  This produces a chemical barrier which limits the damage of inflammation.

…..You should open a discussion with your health care provider about the benefits of probiotics, especially the next time an antibiotic is needed.  Antibiotics can affect the natural flora of the intestine so a probiotic review may be perfect.

Probiotics 2

-Dr. P

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How Can Uterine Fibroids Affect Your Pregnancy?

How Can Uterine Fibroids Affect Your PregnancyAbout 5% of all women have a uterine fibroid and this is the most common of the noncancerous gynecological tumors.  Since fibroids can increase risks during a pregnancy, the health care provider follows a pregnant woman with fibroids carefully.

One of the complications can be that the baby is in a position other than head-down near the time of delivery.  This can affect the type of delivery advised.  Other possible complications associated with fibroids and pregnancy can be pain, preterm delivery, premature rupture of the membranes, and other difficulties.

Because of the great hormonal changes during pregnancy, fibroids can shrink or grow at this time.  The changes occur mostly in the first 3 months of the pregnancy.  More pregnancy complications have been found when a fibroid is larger than 10 cm.

If you have fibroids and are pregnant, start early discussions with your health care providers about the risks to be concerned about and how is the best way to be followed during your pregnancy.

-Dr. P

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What Are the Risks of Delaying Childbirth?

…..Over the past 50 years, more women are delaying childbirth for many reasons.  Now obstetrical teams are seeing an increase in first births for woSmiling young doctor holding a beautiful newborn baby.men aged 40 to 44.  Pregnancies can progress beautifully with these women but increased risks have been associated with later motherhood.  Some of these risks include:

  • Abnormal fetal chromosomes
  • Diabetes during the pregnancy
  • High blood pressure before and during the pregnancy
  • Preterm labor and delivery
  • Increased chance of twins

…..The age of the father is also of concern here.  Advanced paternal age is often thought of as being 40 or older at the time of conception.  There are studies suggesting that advanced paternal age can be associated with a higher risk for autism spectrum disorders and some gene abnormalities.

…..If you or your partner is in this age group and are considering a pregnancy, begin a discussion with your health care provider.  My next blog will continue on this topic.

-Dr. P

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A Simple Exercise That Burns More Calories Than Walking

I have always advised my patients that walking is a great exercise.  A pair of sneakers and comfortable clothes is all you need to get started.  Taking the stairs instead of the elevator has been another of my common suggestions, and as the colder weather quickly approaches, maybe we should consider starting a stair climbing program.

Most of us have access to stairs, either at home, work, or the mall.  A great way to begin is climbing the stairs one at a time at your own pace, either holding on to the rail or keeping your hands free.  You are using more muscles and burning more calories than walking.  It is a vertical exercise, so it is good for muscle strengthening, cardiovascular work, and weight loss.  Once you are up the stairs, you must come back down since the descent also has great benefits.

A Simple Exercise That Burns More Calories Than Walking

As always, do not start an exercise program unless you have discussed it with your health care provider.  Stair climbing can be an easy addition to your exercise program and who knows where it will take you!

-Dr. P

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