Gut Got You Down?
Up to 15 percent of people in the United States live with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a bowel disorder that has frustrating and debilitating symptoms including abdominal pain, cramping or bloating, excess gas, diarrhea or constipation, or both. These symptoms vary from person to person. People with IBS tend to be extra sensitive when it comes to their gut. IBS can hit at any age, but people younger than 50 are more likely to develop it. The chances of getting it increase if you have a family member with IBS, a history of stressful life events, or a severe abdominal infection.
Just as IBS varies from person to person, what triggers its symptoms can also be due to a number of factors. One of those factors can be certain foods or food ingredients such as dairy products, certain fruits, cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts and broccoli, caffeine and artificial sweeteners. Research suggests stress, while not a direct cause of symptoms, aggravate symptoms, causing them to be more severe and frequent. Studies have also shown that estrogen may influence certain functions related to the digestive tract such as bowel movements and how the immune system functions in the gut.
If you think you might be struggling with IBS, contact your doctor to discuss your symptoms and options.
August National Breastfeeding Month
August is National Breastfeeding Month. Breastfeeding is the best source of nutrition for most infants. Infants who are breastfed have reduced risks of asthma, obesity, type 2 diabetes, ear and respiratory infections, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), diarrhea and vomiting. It can also reduce the risk for some short- and long-term health conditions for both infants and mothers.
Even with all these pros, most mothers want to breastfeed but stop early due to a lack of ongoing support. If you are a new or expecting mom, the task of breastfeeding can be daunting sometimes. While some babies are great at breastfeeding, others can struggle. Your diet can also affect milk production along with stress or hydration. Reach out to someone if you are struggling with breastfeeding. There are lactation specialists at hospitals that can help you with your technique, monitor how much milk your baby is getting at each feeding and they have tips on how you can modify your diet to improve your baby’s comfort level. Keep it up mamma, if you still want to do it… you can do it!
Hormones Can Play a Roll with Anxiety
Anxiety disorders affect nearly 1 in 5 adults in the United States, and women are more than twice as likely as men to get an anxiety disorder in their lifetime. Why is that?
Researchers are now studying why women are more than twice as likely as men to develop anxiety disorders and depression. Changes in levels of the hormone estrogen throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle and reproductive life (during the years a woman can have a baby) probably play a role. Studies have begun focusing on the male hormone testosterone, which is found in women and men but typically in higher levels in men. Interestingly, they found that treatment with testosterone had similar effects as antianxiety and antidepressant medicine for the women in the study.
Women with anxiety disorders experience a combination of anxious thoughts or beliefs, physical symptoms, and changes in behavior, including avoiding everyday activities they used to do. Currently, most disorders are often treated with counseling, medicine, or a combination of both. Some women also find that yoga or meditation help.