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Women’s Health

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Trauma and women: Untangling the complex emotional and physical consequences

Shweta Kapoor, M.D., Ph.D.
At this point, you’re not sure how to help your cousin. She had a rough childhood with an abusive dad and has been struggling ever since, falling into bad relationship after bad relationship. You suspect she’s drinking to deal with her life. You’ve offered her help, support and advice, but…
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Polygenic risk score and the future of knowing your risk of breast cancer.

Sandhya Pruthi, M.D.
When you hear “breast cancer screening” you probably think “mammogram.” Mammograms have been around for decades and are an extremely important tool in the early detection of breast cancer. This is different from prevention, where the goal is to prevent breast cancer from developing in the first place. New research…
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Video: What question do you wish your patients would ask?

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Have an upcoming medical visit? Mayo Clinic experts say the best outcome for your health often depends on asking the right kinds of questions.
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Conversations with the experts: When is forgetfulness a problem? Explaining early-onset dementia

Richard J. Caselli, M.D.
You told your husband you had to work late tonight, but he says you never did. It’s not the first time he didn’t seem to hear something you said, and you feel a twinge of concern. He used to be a better listener. He’s only 50, but is it possible…
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Think you’ve tried every migraine medication? Think again.

Amaal Starling, M.D.
Migraine is an all-too-common and potentially disabling disorder. Migraine attacks can cause severe throbbing head pain or pulsing sensations, as well as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Some treatments stop symptoms of a migraine attack (acute, or as-needed treatment) and other long-term treatments decrease the frequency and…
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To prevent running injuries, avoid these common mistakes

Jeffrey E. Carson, P.T., D.P.T.
If you’re a long-distance runner, you’re probably no stranger to running injuries. Up to 90% of long-distance runners experience at least one running injury every year. Recent research has found that the best predictors of running injuries are prior injury, body weight, gender, experience, running form and the amount of…
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Do collagen and biotin supplements work?

Lisa Mejia, R.D.N., LD/N
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I’ve read that collagen and biotin are good for the body. What are these supplements and are they beneficial? ANSWER: Collagen and biotin supplements are promoted for healthy aging, along with joint and bone health. However, it is important to understand what collagen and biotin are and what research is available…
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How one expert keeps people moving during cancer treatment

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Exercise during cancer treatment may seem low priority — or even impossible. A certified cancer trainer explains how to use movement to heal.
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Menopause: The change that can add challenges to diabetes management

Menopause and the years before it, or perimenopause, may add some challenges for women who have diabetes. The hormones estrogen and progesterone affect how your cells respond to insulin. After menopause, changes in your hormone levels can trigger fluctuations in your blood sugar level. You may notice that your blood sugar level changes more…
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Genetic material in COVID-19 vaccines: Can I avoid it?

Mary J. Kasten, M.D.
Last week, I met my sister and her friend for a walk around a lake in the spring weather. As we chatted, I learned that her friend has been skeptical — like many — about getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Because she knows that I’m an infectious disease specialist, she had…
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What are barriers to cancer screening and what can you do about them?

Jane W. Njeru, M.B., Ch.B.
You might not be particularly excited when your doctor mentions that you’re due for a mammogram or Pap smear — but these tests have more than proved their worth. Mammograms and Pap smears — along with other procedures such as colonoscopies — are known as cancer screening tests. They can…
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Endometrial ablation for endometriosis

Christopher C. DeStephano, M.D.
Q: I’ve been diagnosed with endometriosis and have heavy menstrual bleeding. My health care provider said I should consider endometrial ablation. A friend told me it might be problematic because I’m only in my late 20s and it could affect my ability to have kids down the road. What do I…
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How to prep for a specialist visit

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Find out how Mayo Clinic specialists themselves recommend preparing for your visit so you feel both ready and a little more relaxed.
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Breast cancer radiotherapy and treatment innovations

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The type of breast cancer a person has and how far it has spread determine the appropriate treatment. Previously, a patient with breast cancer might have received 5 to 6 weeks of radiation therapy. But the approach is changing. “For many years, we had the understanding that giving a little bit of…
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Fibromyalgia: A diagnosis of exclusion?

Lasonya T. Natividad, APRN, C.N.P., M.S.N
You don’t understand: I hurt somewhere in my body all the time. I have trouble sleeping because of it. I can’t exercise because I have no energy. My friends avoid me because they know I won’t go out with them. My family accommodates me, but I feel bad making them…
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Before you start exercising, ask yourself why

Robert Scales, Ph.D., M.S.
I once read about a parent driving to pick up their 10-year-old child from school. As they approached the schoolyard, they fumbled around in their glove compartment looking for a cigarette, only to find they were out. As the school bell rang and the crowds of children came down the…
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Facing a new brain cancer diagnosis

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After the shock of a brain tumor diagnosis, what are the most important steps to take? Learn what Dr. Ian Parney, a Mayo Clinic neurosurgeon, recommends.
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When makeup gets ugly

Amanda Logan, APRN, C.N.P., M.S.N.
Wait – makeup expires? You may have never considered whether expired makeup is safe to use, but risks associated with using expired makeup include clogged pores and bacterial growth. It’s important to be mindful of how long your makeup has been in storage so you can avoid these potential health…
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Uterine fibroids are more common and severe in Black women — but there are treatment options.

Michelle Louie, M.D., MSCR, FACOG
Fibroids are common — really, really common. Still, I’m betting there are things about fibroids that you may not have considered, especially when it comes to race and ethnicity. Fibroids are noncancerous growths of the uterine muscle. For some people, these growths don’t cause any issues. For others, the symptoms…
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If I just got a vaccine, should I wait to schedule my mammogram?

Kristin A. Robinson, M.D.
You arrive at the clinic for your mammogram and while lifting your arm, a small twinge reminds you that you got your COVID-19 booster just a few days ago. Your friend had to come back for repeat images after her mammogram ― and she told you it was because she’d…
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Video: Why sitting has become the new smoking

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Why has sitting become the new smoking when it comes to your health risks? Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist, explains the science.
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Post-partum: What to expect in the 6 weeks after delivery

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Everything’s new. Everything’s exciting. And everything’s hard. The first six weeks after birth probably aren’t talked about enough. Myra J. Wick, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic obstetrician, gynecologist and medical geneticist, joins Co-hosts Angela Mattke, M.D., and Nipunie Rajapakse M.D., for candid convo of what comes after birth, including: *          Diapers,…
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Video: Getting a good night’s sleep

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Which simple habits can help you sleep better? Find out what works best for Mayo Clinic experts.
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Taking long-haul COVID-19 — and other chronic conditions — seriously

Michael J. Joyner, M.D.
Caring for people with long-haul COVID-19 is helping to bring increased attention and legitimacy to conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, which are sometimes wrongly characterized as being “all in the head.” Here, anesthesiologist, researcher and human performance expert Michael J. Joyner, M.D., of Mayo Clinic in Rochester,…
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Video: Mayo Clinic experts on how to face your fears

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We often hear only two options for confronting fear: Fight or flee. Find out what Mayo Clinic experts hope you’ll do instead.
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When your ovaries check out early: Early menopause

Carol Kuhle, D.O., M.P.H.
If you’re in your 30s, you probably think of menopause — the end of women’s reproductive lives — as something that awaits you in the distant future. It’s true that typically, the natural age of menopause begins after 45 years and occurs in most women between ages 50 and 55.
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Primary care: Your health quarterback

Denise Millstine, M.D.
Walking into my exam room, I smiled at the patient in front of me and gently squeezed her shoulder in greeting. I’ve been the primary care physician for this 85-year-old woman for eight years. She’s tough. A lean, little lady who is stoic but unfailingly honest with how she is…
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Video: The rewards of living organ donation

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What does life look like after donating an organ to a loved one? Get an inside glimpse of real stories from a Mayo Clinic nurse who’s helped hundreds of donors.
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The future of women’s heart health

Sharonne N. Hayes, M.D.,
Demilade A. Adedinsewo, M.B., Ch.B., M.P.H.
It’s an exciting time medically and technologically as we look at what’s new and on the horizon for cardiac care for women. Demilade A. Adedinsewo, M.B., Ch.B., M.P.H., Director of Research for the Women’s Heart Clinic at Mayo Clinic Florida, says: “There’s now more emphasis on research that focuses on…
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Meal planning on a budget: Plan, purchase, prepare

Kristen Blixt, RDN LD
If you often think that consistently eating healthy, affordable, home-cooked meals is impossible, you’re not alone. Many people can find it overwhelming even to find the time and energy to create a suitable grocery list. But making great meals on a budget is doable, and once you get into the…
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Understanding bipolar disorder

Marin Veldic, M.D.
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs and lows. The main difference between bipolar 1 and bipolar 2 is in the nature of the highs, called manic episodes. In both bipolar 1 and bipolar 2, manic episodes may include increased activity, energy…
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You hate them, but know you need them. Making a pelvic exam more tolerable

Bridget Glomski, M.D.,
Hannah Miller, M.D.
You might cringe while setting up the appointment for your next pelvic exam, which probably includes a Pap test. The Pap test and pelvic exam is the most accurate way to screen for cervical cancer and human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause genital warts and certain types of cancer. What…
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Taking care of everyone else? It’s ok to take a break

Stephanie S. Faubion, M.D.
If you are a caregiver for someone you love, give yourself a break. Many people who are actively caring for older adults don’t identify as a “caregiver.” Yet, when considered  more carefully, women often identify  with this role. Realizing this and recognizing the emotional and physical demands involved with caregiving…
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Routine screening tests for women as they enter midlife and beyond

Stephanie S. Faubion, M.D.
At a typical yearly visit in primary care, your health care provider is likely to run through a checklist of screening questions with you. As you near middle age, you may dread that “it’s-time-for-your-first-colonoscopy” talk — and wonder what exactly will happen and why. Not to mention that you need…
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Video: Calming pre-surgery nerves

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What are the most effective ways to manage worries about an upcoming surgery? Hear what Mayo Clinic doctors and nurses say has helped their patients most.
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Video: The rewards of kidney donation

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What’s in store for a kidney donor after the surgery? This Mayo Clinic transplant surgeon shares what he’s learned from his patients about what happens next.
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Video: A Mayo Clinic expert tells how to get motivated for exercise

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To stick with an exercise program, you need the right motivation. See why this Mayo Clinic physical therapist Dani Johnson says it starts with joy.
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It’s all natural. It’s from the drug store. It’s just a vitamin. Yeah, but is it safe?

Stephanie S. Faubion, M.D.
A vast world of products fall under the umbrella of dietary supplements. Some supplements can be part of a healthy lifestyle and are safe in recommended doses, while others have significant safety concerns. It’s always good to assess supplements with a critical eye. Keep in mind that supplements — like…
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Is pregnancy possible after breast cancer treatment?

Donald W. Northfelt, MD, MS, FACP
A young woman recently came to the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center seeking a second opinion about treatment for her newly diagnosed breast cancer. She came to us in distress; she had seen a medical oncologist elsewhere who told her that she should plan a future with no pregnancies and no…
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Positive self-advocacy for female-centered care

Sharonne N. Hayes, M.D.
Focus, knowledge and persistence — these are traits women often need to get the heart health care they require in a timely and respectful manner. “It’s true that women have delays in diagnosis and treatment,” says Sharonne N. Hayes, M.D., founder of the Women’s Heart Clinic, at Mayo Clinic. “But…
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The bladder owner’s manual: What your bladder wants you to know

Pauline Lucas, PT, DPT, WCS
We have owner’s manuals for many things in life: our cars, our smartphones, even our toaster ovens. We know so much about these gadgets, yet how well do we know our own bodies? Take the bladder. After more than 20 years as a physical therapist specializing in female pelvic health…
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Estrogen fluctuations and migraines: The menstrual connection

Juliana H. VanderPluym, MD, FRCPC
Most migraines in women are linked to menstruation.  The pattern of how these migraines occur helps guide prevention and treatment choices. Migraines are all too common. And unfortunately, they’re even more common in women. About 1 in 5 women experiences migraines, compared to 1 in 16 men. One possible reason…
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Pregnancy: Keeping your heart health a priority helps your baby’s health, as well

Sharonne N. Hayes, M.D.
Yes, you can have a pregnancy-related heart attack.Monitoring your blood pressure is a key heart-health factor with pregnancy.You may be eating for two, but you also need to be eating for heart health. With all the appropriate focus on the health of your baby while you’re pregnant, it may never…
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Brain-building: How to grow your cognitive reserve

Stephanie S. Faubion, M.D.
In addition to protecting your heart and staying physically fit, there’s another factor that may play an important role in preserving your brain health. It involves the concept of cognitive reserve — essentially your brain’s ability to adapt to age- or disease-related changes by drawing on existing neuronal networks or…
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Menopause: Unexpected symptoms catch women by surprise

Stephanie S. Faubion, M.D.,
Juliana (Jewel) Kling, M.D., M.P.H.
When Bertha Garcia Foster first started experiencing irregular bleeding during the month, she figured it would eventually stop and her cycle would even out. It didn’t. And then vaginal dryness came. Thinking she had a yeast infection, she got an over-the-counter medication at the drugstore. But when that didn’t work…
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Video: Expert advice for women facing a serious diagnosis

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How can a woman best help herself after a serious diagnosis? This Mayo Clinic expert says it’s about focusing on yourself first — even when that’s not your usual habit.
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Six steps to taking control of your heart health

Sharonne N. Hayes, M.D.,
Amanda R. Bonikowske, Ph.D.,
Warren G. Thompson, M.D.
Heart disease may be the No. 1 killer of women — but six basic lifestyle choices can help you prevent it, control it, or even reverse your risk for heart attack and stroke. Just as significant, if you have already experienced a heart attack, stroke or other form of heart…
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Video: Being a patient changes your perspective.

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What do health care professionals learn when they become the patient? These Mayo Clinic doctors’ answers may surprise you.