A LOOK AT WEIGHT-LOSS MEDICATIONS

For most people, losing weight is a challenge that requires them to make lifestyle changes. They must focus on diet and exercise, reducing caloric intake while increasing physical activity. It is best to follow a low-carbohydrate diet that emphasizes eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and eschews sugar and processed foods.  However, for many people, no matter what they do, the weight just doesn’t drop off as they hope. They need a little more help in the form of medications specifically designed to stave off obesity.

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OVARIAN CYSTS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

An ovarian cyst is a sac filled with fluid or semisolid material that forms on or within an ovary. These cysts are highly common, especially during the childbearing years. According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, ovarian cysts are less common after menopause; however, postmenopausal women who have an ovarian cyst are at higher risk for developing ovarian cancer. In most cases, cysts are harmless and typically go away on their own.

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MALE INFERTILITY

Creating a baby is no small feat. Many conditions, both in the woman and the man, have to be just right for pregnancy to occur. According to the Mayo Clinic, (www.mayoclinic.org), up to 15 percent of couples are infertile. They have not conceived a child even though they have had frequent, unprotected sexual intercourse for a year or longer. In up to half of these couples, male infertility is a significant factor.

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BREASTFEEDING GIVES BABIES THE BEST START

Breastfeeding is the best way to give your child a healthy start in life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says human milk provides the most complete form of nutrition for infants. It is more convenient than bottle feeding because the milk is always available at the right temperature, and there are no supplies to sterilize or formulas to mix. Breast milk substitutes such as formula are harder to digest, especially for premature infants since they have an immature gut.


The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of an infant’s life. Breast milk alone is sufficient to support optimal growth and development. Before the milk comes in, in the first few days after birth, the breasts make a thick, yellowish fluid called colostrum. Colostrum has antibodies, proteins, fats, carbohydrates and minerals the infant needs. The content of the breast milk changes as the infant grows to meet its individual needs.


There are many benefits to breastfeeding for a baby. A breastfeeding mother imparts passive immunity and antibodies to her baby. Breastfeeding has been shown to protect against ear infections, diarrhea, respiratory aliments, intestinal disorders, colds, viruses, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, childhood cancers and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Breast milk also provides lifetime protection from Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, some lymphomas, insulin-dependent

diabetes, being overweight, female breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Breastfed babies also have a decreased likelihood for allergies and dental caries.


Breastfeeding mothers also reap many rewards. According to the WHO, exclusive breastfeeding is associated with a natural method of birth control (98 percent protection in the first six months after birth). It reduces risks of breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes and postpartum depression. Women who breastfeed often find their bodies recover from pregnancy and childbirth more quickly. The hormones released when a women breastfeeds make the uterus contract back to its prepregnancy size. Mothers who exclusively breastfeed can burn as many as 500 calories a day, which may help them get back to their prepregnancy weight much sooner.


An often overlooked benefit to breastfeeding is the emotional bond it creates between mother and child. According to researcher Fleur Bickford, “Babies go to the breast for many reasons — they’re hungry or thirsty, they’re tired, they’re scared or hurt, they’re feeling overwhelmed. All of these are equally valid reasons for a baby to nurse.” Research has shown that when babies are allowed to nurse

whenever they like, they turn out to be well adjusted and independent. There is no reason to worry about overfeeding your baby if you let her nurse every time she wants comfort. Babies should be fed on demand.


How long should you breastfeed? The answer is simple: as long as you and baby both wish to. The WHO advises breastfeeding up to two years or longer. Some initial discomfort, such as nipple soreness, is normal in the first week as your body adjusts. Any cracking and/or scabbing of the nipples is not normal. If you are having trouble breastfeeding, contact your primary care provider, who can find a lactation consultant to help you. Another great resource is La Leche League International. They offer local monthly meetings for breastfeeding mothers and give support, advice and tips for new mothers (www.kybreastfeeding.com/CentralLLL.html).

LORI DENISON, APRN

Lori Denison, APRN, is a Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner with a degree from Spalding University. Lori has several years of experience in the clinical and hospital settings and an interest in women’s health.

more articles by lori denison