National Women’s Health Week kicks off Sunday! Today’s Frisky Friday has a handy little checklist to help you make the most of it. Sign into your Bedsider account first and you’ll earn a badge just for reading. (Sounds like a healthy start to the week to us!)
Do you know everything you need to know about STDs? …Are you sure?
How far will you go for love? A tattoo of their name? Waxing your juicebox? Getting an IUD? (If you really are thinking about an IUD, good for you. Its effectiveness is legendary.)
Method Monday: Endometriosis-Awareness Edition
March is Endometriosis Awareness Month! Endometriosis is when tissue from the lining of the uterus (a.k.a. the endometrium) grows outside of the uterus. This condition affects up to 10% of U.S. women of reproductive age and an estimated 176 million women and girls worldwide, yet it often takes years (an average of almost 12, according to some sources!) for women with symptoms to be diagnosed. So, in the spirit of raising awareness, here are a few things we think you should know about endometriosis:
- It affects different people differently. For some women, it has no noticeable symptoms, while for others it can mean pelvic or lower-back pain and possible fertility problems. Women who have endometriosis are also 8 times more likely than women who don’t to have painful periods and 7 times more likely to have an ovarian cyst.
- Birth control can be a treatment for it. The most common treatment for endometriosis is nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like aspirin and ibuprofen, but studies have shown that the pill, the shot, and the hormonal IUD can also reduce the pain associated with endometriosis. When it comes to the pill, extended-cycle pills may be a better option than 28-day-cycle pills.
- Exercise might help too. Some research suggests that getting more than 4 hours a week of exercise can decrease the risk for endometriosis.
- Some women are at higher risk than others. Your risk of endometriosis may be higher if your mother or sister has it; if you have a low body-mass index (BMI); if you started getting your period before age 11; or if your menstrual cycles tend to be on the longer side (more than 5 days). It’s also most common among women 25 to 29 years of age.
About.com has a handy Endometriosis Symptoms Quiz for anyone who thinks they could be among the many women with undiagnosed endometriosis. Of course, if you’re concerned, there’s no substitute for a visit to your health care provider. And if you want to learn more about it, womenshealth.gov has lots of resources. You can also check out endometriosis.org and the Endometriosis Foundation of America (co-founded by none other than Padma Lakshmi of “Top Chef”).
Having sex without birth control and not getting pregnant means you got lucky. You may get lucky multiple times, but this does not mean you are infertile. It means you are pushing your luck: 95% of young couples who have sex once a week are pregnant within a year. Most of us have heard that ‘it only takes one time.’ While that’s true, there are a lot of factors involved, and most couples who are actively trying to get pregnant get there within 6 months.