Pelvic Health Conditions: Urinary Leakage – Easy to Treat

Wednesday, May 09, 2012 8:51 AM comments (0)

We’ll be featuring a series of posts over the next week about the symptoms and treatment options for various common chronic pelvic health conditions in women.

Urinaryt LeakageChronic pelvic health conditions in women—including urinary leakage, overactive bladder and pelvic organ prolapse—are common and affect 20-40 percent of the adult female population. The good news is that they are generally very treatable with conservative, non-surgical methods, or minimally invasive surgical methods.

Urinary leakage caused by a cough, sneeze or doing exercise (otherwise known as stress incontinence) is quite common in younger women. It can affect a woman’s daily life—limiting an active lifestyle, playing with kids, etc.

Janet Tomezsko, MD a urogynecologist at NorthShore’s Center for Pelvic Health gives her advice about common urinary leakage treatments:

  • Prescribed physical therapy program to strengthen or rehabbing the pelvic floor muscles.
  • A minimally invasive, outpatient surgical procedure where a small sling is inserted in the vagina to support the urethra allowing it to close more fully. This procedure is for women who are done having children.

Does it surprise you to know that 20-40% of women at one point in their lives will have a pelvic health condition? What education and resources would be most helpful to you for learning more?


Sun Safety – Limit Your Risks of Developing Skin Cancer

Monday, May 07, 2012 8:42 AM comments (0)

Sun Safety

As the summer approaches, many of us will spend more time outdoors enjoying the weather and the sunshine. While the sunshine can be good for you by improving your mood and giving you a boost in Vitamin D, without the proper protection it can also be harmful to your skin and body.

Aaron Dworin, MD, Dermatologist at NorthShore, offers his advice on how to protect your skin and limit your risk of developing skin cancer, including melanoma:

  • Limit your exposure to the sun. Spend more time in the shade, especially during peak hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
  • Generously apply sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher with both UVA and UVB protection) when you know you’ll be out in the sun. Sunscreen should be used any time you know you’ll be outdoors for an extended period of time, even if it’s cloudy outside. Be sure to frequently reapply sunscreen as needed. Fears of not getting enough Vitamin D when using sunscreen are unproven and often overblown.
  • Avoid going to the tanning bed. Despite claims that tanning beds are safe, both UVA and UVB rays can damage your skin.
  • Dress appropriately for the sun. Wear a hat to shield your face, head and ears; wear sunglasses to protect your eyes (100% UVA & UBA protection is best); and wear clothing that limits your skin’s exposure to the sun.
  • Avoid trying to get a tan by sunbathing or applying tanning oils.

How often are you outside in the warmer months? What do you do to protect yourself from the sun?


Dairy – More Than Just a Glass of Milk

Thursday, May 03, 2012 8:29 AM comments (0)

Dairy BenefitsDairy in your diet can make a real difference. Not only may consuming dairy products reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, but it may also help reduce your risk of osteoporosis and hypertension, help you maintain a healthy body weight and play a beneficial role in cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome.

With all of these potential health benefits it’s recommended to have 3-4 servings of dairy each day.

Melissa Joy Dobbins, registered dietitian at NorthShore, shares ways she serves up dairy with her family to ensure everyone gets the recommended 3-4 daily servings.


  •          Choose milk as your mealtime beverage.
  • Low-fat chocolate milk is another good option to help mix it up.
  • Use a milk frother to make your own fat-free lattes at home.

Reduced Fat Cheese

  • Don’t feel like meat? Eat cheese, you’ll get your protein plus calcium.   
  • Shredded cheese is a great addition to salads, soups and casseroles.
  • Cheese and whole grain crackers are a convenient and nutrient-rich snack.   


  • Make your own “frozen yogurt.” Place the cup or tube in the freezer and enjoy.
  • You can make chocolate yogurt by mixing 1-2 packets of hot chocolate mix with a quart of plain fat-free yogurt.


  •  Make a whey protein smoothie after your workout.  Simply add a scoop of whey protein powder to your favorite smoothie recipe.

Are you getting the daily dairy you should? What tips do you have to reach the recommended servings?


Important Seizure Tips: Helping Out and Staying Safe

Tuesday, May 01, 2012 12:13 PM comments (1)

SeizuresWhat do you do if you are around someone having a seizure? If you’ve had a seizure, what lifestyle changes do you need to make to reduce your risk of further injury? These are important questions to consider when dealing with epilepsy.

Jaishree Narayanan, MD, Neurologist at NorthShore, provides her insight on ways to assist someone having a seizure and what you should do after suffering from a seizure:

Seizure Assistance
Aside from never putting anything into a person’s mouth suffering from a seizure or forcibly holding them down, the following guidelines (TRUST) should be followed:   

  • Turn the person onto his or her side (the left side is best).
  • Remove all harmful objects from the episode area.
  • Use something soft (such as a pillow, blanket or sweatshirt) under the person’s head.
  • Stay calm.
  • Time the seizure. If the seizure lasts more than five minutes or multiple seizures are observed, call 911 immediately.

After a Seizure: Precautions to Consider
After suffering from a seizure it is important to limit your risk for injury if another episode should occur. This can be done by following the precautions below:

  • Do not drive for a period of 3-6 months after a seizure.
  • Do not take unsupervised baths.
  • Do not go swimming without someone by your side with close supervision. 
  • Do not climb up roof tops, ladders or onto other elevated areas.
  • Do not work with live electrical wires or operate machinery. 
  • Do not engage in any activities that would put you or people around you in danger due to your seizures.

Were the above tips helpful? Would you feel comfortable knowing what to do now if someone around you was suffering from a seizure?

Have questions about seizures and epilepsy? Join Sofia Dobrin, MD for an online chat on Thursday, May 3 from 12-1p.m. Submit your early questions.


Recognizing and Reacting to Concussion

Thursday, April 26, 2012 11:24 AM comments (0)

Concussion-SymptomsYour son knocks helmets with a teammate on the ice. Your daughter heads the ball during a soccer match. Your linebacker goes down after a rough tackle. By nature of the game, participating in sports puts your children at greater risk of concussion and head injury.

Proper prevention and education can help keep your family safe. Julian Bailes, MD, Former NFL and NCAA Team Physician, Current Medical Director for Pop Warner Football and Co-Director of the NorthShore Neurological Institute says it’s important for parents to know the symptoms of concussion to watch for, which include:

  • Headache
  • Memory disturbance
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty with balance
  • Visual problems
  • Trouble concentrating on school work
  • Abnormal behavior
  • Sleep problems

It is important to recognize that symptoms of a concussion may not be immediate. For this reason it is very important that parents, coaches, trainers and teammates are mindful of injuries and pull athletes from a game anytime injury is suspected. Any signs or symptoms of concussion should be taken seriously and should be evaluated by a healthcare professional.

Get immediate treatment and be smart about when you send your athlete back in the game after they heal.

What safety measures to you put in place to reduce injury? What other questions do you have about concussions and other sports injuries?


Safety First – Infant Car Seat Safety

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 9:18 AM comments (0)

Car Seat Safety

From the moment you take your newborn home from the hospital to every time you get in the car to run errands, it is essential to make sure that your infant is safe, well supported and secure in his car seat. Proper seating can help greatly reduce your child’s risk for permanent injury if you were to get into an accident.

However, just because you have proper seating for your infant, doesn’t ensure that it is being properly used or was installed correctly. It is important to practice installing your new car seat and/or seek professional assistance before your infant rides in the car for the first time.

Anne Middaugh, RN, MSN, CPS Technician, Community Health Specialist at NorthShore offers her insight on proper child safety seat installation:

  • Read both the instructions that come with the child restraint and the owner’s manual of your vehicle. The owner’s manual can be very informative as to the best place to use the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system. For example, usually the best place for an infant seat is in the center of the back seat. Many vehicle manufacturers do not put LATCH points in the center seat because it is narrower than the side seats. The owner’s manual will tell parents whether they may use the side LATCH points or if they have to use the vehicle seat belt for the center position.
  • Do not use both the LATCH and seat belts for securing the car seat. Believe it or not, it is more dangerous to use both than only one. Whenever we stop fast in our vehicles, there are three stops the body goes through:
  1. The car stops.
  2. Objects inside the car keep moving until something stops them. This would be a seat belt for adults, children in belt-positioning booster seats, and the child restraint itself. If LATCH is used, then it is the restraint harness holding the child in the seat.
  3. For infants and children, if you were to use both the seat belt and the LATCH, an additional stop is added to the series. Instead of allowing for the seat belt or LATCH to “stretch” to lessen the shock of a rapid stop, the seat belt stops the child seat, the LATCH stops the seat again and the harness stops the child. It is safer to allow the LATCH or the vehicle’s seat belt to do the job alone.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommend that all children be rear-facing until they are two years old or until they reach the highest weight/height allowed by the car safety seat manufacturer. At the very least, children should remain rear-facing until they are at least one year old and 20 pounds. This means that once your infant outgrows the car seat carrier, the next seat should be a convertible seat that is placed rear-facing. The child should continue to ride rear-facing until he or she is at least two years old or reaches the height/weight limits imposed by the child car seat manufacturer for rear-facing passengers.

Where did you install your child’s car seat? What resources helped you determine the best place to put it?


Earth Day – Live Well, Eat Well

Thursday, April 19, 2012 12:14 PM comments (0)

Earth DayThis Sunday is Earth Day! It is a great day to celebrate the earth and your health.

Geeta Maker-Clark, MD, integrative family physician at NorthShore, provides some tips on how you can stay healthy while being mindful of the environment:

  • Drink plenty of water a day, to your thirst, and up to 8 glasses. Among its many benefits, drinking sufficient water each day will keep your body hydrated and can regulate your weight by decreasing the amount that you eat. To help reduce waste, drink tap water or filtered water instead of bottled water. If you do drink bottled water, be sure to recycle.
  • Exercise for at least 150 minutes every week. This should combine moderate aerobic exercise (such as walking or jogging) and muscle-strengthening exercises. If you can, get outside for some fresh air and exercise. If you can walk or ride your bike to work you’ll help reduce greenhouse gases produced by cars.
  • Make half of your plate at every meal vegetables and fruits of different colors. Eat 2 ½ -3 cups of vegetables and 1½ -2 cups of fruit a day. Try to buy more local, seasonal and organic foods.
  • Compost. Not only does composting reduce the amount of garbage thrown out over the course of year, but it also makes a great fertilizer for your garden.
  • Grow a garden. If it isn’t warm enough to start seedlings outside, begin preparing your garden indoors. Once it is nice enough outside, transfer your planters and pots. The satisfaction that comes from eating what you grow yourself is priceless!

What tips do you have for Earth Day? What do you do to help protect our planet?


Childhood Autism – Know the Signs

Tuesday, April 17, 2012 8:36 AM comments (0)

AutismMore and more children are being diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorders —a range of neurobiological disorders that are best managed when they are diagnosed early. It is estimated that one in 110 children is affected by autism and that boys are four times more likely than girls to have the condition.

Some signs of autism can be detected in very early childhood. It is important for parents and other caretakers to be aware of concerning signs and behavioral patterns so that children can be evaluated as soon as possible.

Sara Wiemer, MD, Pediatrician at NorthShore, identifies some of the signs of autistic spectrum disorders in children:

  • Delayed speech and language skills
  • Lack of normal nonverbal skills like making eye contact with others, using facial expressions and gestures like pointing
  • Difficulty understanding other people’s feelings and expressing their own feelings
  • Repeating words or phrases
  • Strict adherence to routines - getting very upset about minor changes
  • Having obsessive interests
  • Unusual body movements, such as flapping hands, rocking or spinning
  • Lack of make-believe play or imitating other people when playing
  • Inability to form relationships with peers

Have you noticed any of these signs of autism in your child? Don’t hesitate to bring your concerns to your child’s pediatrician.


Snack Time – Giving your Kids a Healthy, Energy-packed snack

Thursday, April 12, 2012 8:32 AM comments (0)

Healthy Snacks

Walk down the snack food aisle at a grocery store and you’ll find the aisle packed full of chips, cookies, crackers and candies. With all the snack options available, it’s often too easy to overlook nutritional facts and the healthiest choice. Despite this, it’s important to know what foods will best restore energy without spoiling appetite and off-setting a diet.

Michael Rakotz, MD, gives some quick, healthy snack alternatives for kids (and adults too!)

  • Skinny Pop Popcorn. At 35 calories per cup, you can’t beat this delicious snack for kids.
  • Sliced vegetables. Use either a pureed vegetable (such as peas or carrots) for a dip. You can also use a yogurt dressing, as they often have half the fat and calories of other brands.
  • Hummus is packed with protein and makes for a great snack. Serve it with veggies instead of bread or crackers.
  • Mixed nuts are high in protein and require no preparation. When eaten in moderation, they contain the fat that is good for a balanced diet.
  • Sweet potatoes are very nutrition dense, making for a great alternative to white potatoes.

 What are some of your favorite snack choices? What is your go-to healthy snack?


Alcohol Abuse – When is Too Much, Too Much?

Monday, April 09, 2012 8:41 AM comments (0)

Alcohol AbuseAt times it may seem that drinking alcohol is embedded into our daily lives. We clink glasses to celebrate milestones and happy times, while watching sporting events and at social gatherings.

Although a moderate consumption of alcohol — according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans this means no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks a day for men—may not directly impact your health, when do you know if you or someone you know has a problem?

Laura Parise, MD, Psychiatrist at NorthShore, lists some of the common signs of alcoholism and alcohol abuse:

  • Need to drink alcohol to have a good time, relax or feel better.
  • Forget on a frequent basis what you were doing when drinking, which may include blacking out.
  • Encounter relationship problems with partners, family members, friends and coworkers. These problems are often fueled by drinking.
  • Loss of interest in hobbies, past times and your personal life.
  • Family history of alcoholism or alcohol abuse.
  • Think about consuming alcohol throughout the day. This may include drinking before lunch, on the job or while driving.
  • Feel guilty or ashamed about drinking habits. This commonly includes hiding bottles, drinking alone, lying about your consumption or sneaking drinks away from others.
  • Increased tolerance for alcohol consumption. More drinks need to be consumed in order for you to feel the effects of alcohol.
  • Become irritable when alcohol isn’t available or your daily drinking schedule is interrupted.

If you or someone you know relates to the above statement, it is recommended you seek assistance from your physician.

What other information would be of interest to you about this topic?

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