Archive for December, 2015

Fibroids and polyps: What women should know about a common health problem

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

So what is a fibroid or polyp and how do you know if you have them?

Fibroids and polyps

Fibroids and polyps are growths in a woman’s uterus that are usually benign but can be malignant in some cases. While they are mostly be benign, some of the most substantial problems they cause for women result in infertility, trouble with getting pregnant and suffering recurring miscarriages.

Polyps are small growths on the surface of the uterine wall, an overgrowth of the lining that is easy for the ob-gyn to remove. Fibroids are larger and are usually imbedded in the smooth muscle of the uterine wall.

Fibroids vary in type, size, and where they grow in the uterus. Two types of fibroids can grow inside the uterus on a stalk or outside the womb.- Others can grow just below the lining of the uterus. Some fibroids grow in the middle of the uterine wall and some develop under the outer covering of the uterus. Heredity and race can increase your risk of developing fibroids.

Uterine polyps usually occur in women in their 40s and 50s. Factors that can put you at risk for fibroids are obesity, high blood pressure and a history of cervical polyps. Endometrial polyps – or those that grow in the lining of the uterus – occur in 10 percent to 25 percent of women, and are present in 25 percent of women with abnormal uterine bleeding, or heavy periods.

What are the symptoms?

While some fibroids and polyps can go undetected based on size and where they are located, there are a number of symptoms that women should be aware of.- Many will suddenly suffer from heavier periods than usual (lasting seven days or longer), sensations of abdominal or pelvic-area bloating, belly or pelvic pain, constipation, or pain during sexual intercourse. While none of these symptoms are life-threatening, they can detract from a woman’s quality of life.

If you’ve been diagnosed with fibroids or polyps, you should talk with your health care provider about your treatment options.

Treatment options

There’s no single best treatment approach. For uterine fibroids and polyps, your doctor might recommend “watchful waiting,” where active treatment is unnecessary unless the fibroid or polyp changes or if you’re at risk for development of cancer.

Certain hormonal medications, including progestins, may shrink polyps and lessen symptoms. But such medications are short-term solutions at best– symptoms typically recur once you stop taking the medicine.

Fibroids usually grow slowly– or not at all– and tend to shrink after menopause when levels of reproductive hormones drop. Medications for fibroids target hormones that regulate your menstrual cycle, treating symptoms such as heavy menstrual bleeding and pelvic pressure. They don’t eliminate fibroids, but may shrink them.

As recently as 20 years ago, hysterectomy was the standard treatment for fibroids and polyps. In addition to the complete loss of fertility that comes with a hysterectomy, patients routinely faced long, painful recuperation times – six weeks or more. New procedures for laparoscopic hysterectomies may have reduced recovery time for some women, but did nothing to prevent the loss of fertility and hormonal changes associated with a hysterectomy.

Today, alternatives exist that are less invasive and can be performed on an out-patient basis. These procedures, such as the MyoSure tissue removal system, can eliminate fibroids and uterine polyps without having to cut or remove any part of the uterus. The MyoSure System works for fibroids located within the uterus, is a short procedure which allows you to go home the same day. The procedure can help eliminate fibroids and polyps as well as the heavy periods that may be associated with them. To learn more, or to find a doctor who can perform the procedure, visit or

Lose weight for the wedding, but say ‘I do’ to a healthy lifestyle

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

Every bride wants to look great when the big day comes, but how many brides commit to fitting into her wedding dress on their 10th anniversary? Do you want to look good for a day, or feel good for the rest of your life?
While considering vows, include a commitment to live healthfully ever after. That’s the advice from Cliff Edberg, a registered dietician and personal trainer at Life Time Fitness, The Healthy Way of Life Company, in Chanhassen, Minn. “When I work with a bride and her goal is to look her very best the day of the wedding and fit into the dress she has dreamed about for years, I encourage her to make this a lifestyle change, not just a short-term diet.” 
Brown, who visits her neighborhood Life Time Fitness, and her fiance both lost a significant amount of weight before meeting each other (70 pounds for him, 40 pounds for her) and plan to stay devoted to their healthy lifestyle as well as to each other.
“It’s not just about the wedding pictures – although I want them to look amazing – but also about feeling my absolute best on the day I marry my best friend,” Brown says. 
Jen Emmert, 30, of Minneapolis, and another August bride-to-be shares the same outlook. “I was overweight my entire life and it was only about four years ago that I decided to make changes. Now that I’m months away from the big day, I want to make sure I’m focused on being the healthiest I can be.”
Edberg, says it’s important to celebrate the milestone and good work you put into the wedding day. “Just be sure to continue to set goals,” he adds. 
Brown is already thinking beyond the wedding day to having a healthy honeymoon. “Just like all of the vacations we have taken, we will seek out meal options that are healthy and satisfying,” Brown says. “While we haven’t decided on our honeymoon spot yet, we are looking at places where we can be active, instead of locations where the days are filled with lying on a beach.”
Once the honeymoon is over Edberg suggests newlyweds rely on each other as their support team. One way to do that is for couples to spend time cooking meals together. “Often people get bored with ‘eating healthy’ but they just don’t take time to explore new food and new ways of preparing food.”
Edberg also suggests exploring new ways to exercise together as a couple. “Try to emphasize play in your activity,” Edberg says. “When we have fun during activity, especially together, there is a higher likelihood that it will continue and form a habit.” And the less likely you will be to fall back into old sedentary habits. “No better time than now to commit to a lifelong partnership in health, not sickness,” he adds.
Emmert, who chronicled her weight-loss journey in a blog, acknowledges that planning for the wedding day is exciting, but “it’s just one day out of the rest of our lives,” she says. “Working out and being healthy will always need to be a priority, no matter what kind of life event is going on around us.”
When the honeymoon is over, life goes on. Will you fit into that wedding dress 10 years later? In 20 years will you still be fit and healthy? In other words, look at the big picture. And you won’t find the “big picture” in your wedding album. Need additional advice or assistance? Visit

Tips for making homework less work for both kids and parents

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

Some parents are shocked when their first-grader comes home from school with homework. The reality is children are learning more at a younger age and take-home assignments are increasing. Parents play an important role in engaging children and providing a positive homework environment, but knowing what is best for kids can be as confusing as the assignments themselves.

How much homework should the average student have? The National PTA recommends 10 to 20 minutes per night in the first grade, and an additional 10 minutes per grade level thereafter. For example: 20 minutes for second grade, 120 minutes for 12th grade. Some older students may have more depending on their class load.

Balancing school, homework, extracurricular activities and family life is important for good childhood development. This year as part of its back to school campaign, Lance Sandwich Crackers has partnered with Colleen Burns, The Mom on the Run parenting expert and mother of five boys, to provide practical advice for parents to help them make homework a positive experience for everyone.

Give them time to unwind

Unwinding is an important preparation step. Your kids have been sitting and learning all day – minus the walk, car or bus ride home. Give them 15 to 20 minutes to blow off some steam and run around outside before they start their homework. Everyone needs a little break.

Positive reinforcement

A positive attitude goes a long way. Shower children with positive reinforcement. For larger homework projects completed over several days, reward each step as well as the overall completion. It’s important for kids to understand that progress is being made.

Keep snacks on hand

Remember hungry kids are distracted kids, so offer them a wholesome snack while they work. Lance Sandwich Crackers, which are available in 19 varieties, including whole grain, 100-calorie and reduced-fat options have zero grams of trans fat, no preservatives and no high fructose corn syrup, making them a sensible snack any time of day.

Get help when needed

Feeling stumped with your child’s homework question? You’re not the first parent to feel that way. When your child asks a question you don’t know how to answer, show them that mom and dad sometimes need help too. These are some great resources to help parents help kids:





Set the stage for success

Set aside a space or corner that is the designated space for completing homework. All family members should recognize that when someone is sitting in that area, they should not be disturbed unless they ask for help. Don’t underestimate the importance of a comfortable chair and proper lighting when it comes to making homework time a pleasant experience. Set household homework rules. Mom, dad and other siblings should not be watching TV in or near someone completing homework. All house or cell phones should be “parked” – this goes for mom and dad also.

Create a homework kit for each child

Prepare a “homework kit” with all the necessary supplies your children will need to complete their assignments. Contents vary by age, but usually include pencils, pens, highlighters, ruler, crayons, markers, glue sticks, erasers and a pencil sharpener. Older children might need a calculator or other electronic items.

And always remember, homework is about practice – it will take some children longer than others to get the hang of it. With the right preparations and materials on hand, you can ensure that homework time in your household is effective and enjoyable for the whole family.

How a whole-house humidifier helps keep your home healthy and comfortable this winter

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

Dry indoor air can cause myriad problems, including:

* Increased likelihood of colds, flu and other upper respiratory ailments. Viruses that cause colds and flu thrive in low humidity – dry indoor air can spread airborne viruses more easily than air that is properly humidified. And dry air can make people more susceptible to infection, according to The American Society of Otolaryngology. In addition, dry air can aggravate allergy and asthma symptoms.

* Home damage. Dry air causes walls, woodwork and hardwood floors to crack. Electronics can fall victim to static electric charges, requiring expensive repair or replacement.

* Higher energy costs. Dry air can make you feel cold at normal temperatures, leading you to turn up the thermostat. This leads to higher energy bills.

“Dry air is also responsible for many of the physical discomforts we experience during the winter including a sore, scratchy throat, nose bleeds and dry lips and skin,” says Mike Rimrodt, product director at Aprilaire, a leader in the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) accessories industry. “The best way to alleviate these symptoms and prevent home damage is by controlling the humidity levels in your home with a whole-home humidifier.”

A whole-home humidifier, installed as part of your heating and cooling system, is designed to deliver the perfect amount of moisture to your home without constantly making adjustments or refilling the water. Whole-home humidifiers are uniquely efficient and effective because they accurately measure the outdoor temperature and indoor humidity levels to automatically provide the ideal amount of indoor relative humidity – meaning home owners don’t have to constantly adjust humidification settings. Simply set it and forget it.

“In the winter months, the average household needs upwards of 400 gallons of water to properly humidify the air,” says Rimrodt. “Unlike a portable room unit, a whole-home humidification system is connected directly to your home’s HVAC and water system, saving you hundreds of trips to the faucet, and hours of messy cleaning over the season.”

Whole home systems deliver proper humidity levels throughout your entire home and require simple, inexpensive and infrequent maintenance by simply changing an internal water panel once a year.

How do you get people to come to your party? It’s all in the invitations

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

Or, perhaps you are a business owner seeking to retain your patrons by hosting a series of events and private parties to show appreciation for their business. You also have very limited time to dedicate to the creation of an invitation from the ground up, but you’d like to have something tangible to send to your customers. 
Here are some tips for meeting your invitation needs:
* When designing your invitation, first and foremost, you want to ensure that your guests have a clear understanding of when and where the event will be. It’s imperative that you allow enough time in your party planning to give those invited plenty of time to respond and reserve space in their calendars. If you find the date of your event quickly creeping up and you haven’t finalized anything aside from the date itself, a save-the-date may be a good option for you. It serves as a courtesy by notifying guests to reserve the day, and lets them know more details will follow.
* If you are hosting your event in a remote location, be sure to include directions and look into getting a group discount on hotel accommodations for out-of-town visitors. Integrating this information into the invitation will assist attendees in making the ultimate decision as to whether or not to attend your event. Additionally, when giving the location, state whether it’s outside or inside so guests can plan their attire. If you plan on holding your event on a boat, airplane or other vehicle, provide ample notice to your attendees. You should also feature the reason you’re hosting the event prominently on the invitation itself. For instance, if you’re hosting a gala to celebrate the election of a new president for your company, then attendees will know it’s more formal than a birthday party for a child.
* The design, color and paper quality selection also play an integral role in grabbing your invitees’ attention and getting them to commit to attend. This is why it is so important to take advantage of an invitation vendor who can accommodate your customization needs, with styles available in full color, in a matte, glossy or even linen finish and matching envelopes to complement your masterpiece. Be sure to include a way for your guests to RSVP. A low-cost option is to provide a phone number or email address where guests can leave their responses. If you want to be slightly more formal, include a response card with a pre-printed, postage-paid return address envelope with your invitations.
* Finally, it’s important to remember to stamp those invitations and RSVP envelopes. Otherwise, the chances of you getting RSVPs will be slim to none. Following these simple tips will help you create the perfect invitation for your next big event.