College Life Survey
College is as much a health challenge as an intellectual one. But if you have battled bugs-literally and the virus kind-or failed to master the basic art of keeping a dorm room clean, you're not alone. Let us in on your messy little secrets and find out
Last Modified: 2015-06-19 | Tags »
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Think a tampon can take your virginity? Dispel the myths and get the facts on tampons by watching this video.
Transcript: A tampon penetrates your vagina, as a penis would. But does that mean you're no longer a virgin if you...
A tampon penetrates your vagina, as a penis would. But does that mean you're no longer a virgin if you use tampons? The answer is NO. The idea that a tampon can take a woman's virginity is a MYTH. This idea is related to the fact that women are born with a hymen, a THIN membrane PARTIALLY covering the opening of the vagina. The presence of a hymen has been used as proof of virginity in many cultures, and this mistaken idea persists today. Hymens are usually half-moon shaped to leave an OPENING for the FLOW of menstrual blood. Tampons can OFTEN be inserted through this opening, leaving the hymen fully intact. Even when the hymen IS broken, it often has nothing to do with tampons. Vaginal exams, as well as physical activities such as horseback riding, gymnastics and bike riding, can sometimes break the hymen. SOME women aren't even born with hymens. For all these reasons, it's RARE that tampons break the hymen at all. And even on the off-chance that they do, the lack of a hymen has NOTHING to do with virginity. If you haven't had sex, you ARE still a virgin. So feel free to use tampons, as long as you follow the INSTRUCTIONS inside the box closely. To learn more about periods and tampons, check out more videos in this series!More »
Last Modified: 2012-12-27 | Tags »
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Have you ever had great sex, only to discover that you are bleeding? Find out why you may be bleeding after having sex.
Transcript: You've rolled out of bed after a great time with your partner only to discover a BLOODY spot on the sheets....
You've rolled out of bed after a great time with your partner only to discover a BLOODY spot on the sheets. Where'd it come from? Well, if this is your first time having sex, some blood MAY be expected if activity damaged your hymen, the thin membrane partially covering the opening of your vagina. This is COMMON for a first sexual experience. If your partner is a little AGGRESSIVE and your vagina is not LUBRICATED adequately, you may also experience some minor pain, vaginal trauma and bleeding, whether it's your first time OR NOT. To prevent this, engage in plenty of FOREPLAY so you become more aroused. You can also apply WATER-BASED lubricant to the tip of the condom or in your vagina to reduce friction. If you're having sex close to the start of your period, the spotting may actually be due to UTERINE lining that's been "knocked loose." It's already destabilized since your period is about to begin. If your after-sex bleeding occurs once in a LONG WHILE, you probably don't have to worry. But rarely, post-coital spotting may be a sign of a more SERIOUS condition. For example, after-sex bleeding may be due to inflammation of the cervix set off by a STD such as gonorrhea or chlamydia.The bleeding may also be a sign of cervical DYSPLASIA, a condition in which abnormal cells exist on the SURFACE of the cervix. Most of the time, dysplasia doesn't become DANGEROUS. Bleeding after intercourse is also a sign of cervical CANCER. However, cervical dysplasia and cervical cancer can be ruled out as causes for your spotting if you've had clean Pap smears recently. Several types of vaginal infections--such as bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, and trichomoniasis --may also be behind your post-coital bleeding. Vaginal atrophy, endometritis, adenomyosis, cervical polyps and uterine fibroids are all possible conditions that can lead to bleeding after sex. Each of these conditions have MANY other symptoms including pain, cramping and discharge. If you feel otherwise fine, it's unlikely that you're dealing with something serious. But see your doctor anyway, especially if you have post-coital bleeding fairly often. Learn more about women's health by watching other videos in this series.More »
Last Modified: 2012-12-27 | Tags »
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Birth control pills have advantages beyond preventing unintended pregnancies. Find out about birth control pills and your periods in this video.
Transcript: Since the 1960s, birth control pills have been helping women have sex without worrying about pregnancy....
Since the 1960s, birth control pills have been helping women have sex without worrying about pregnancy. They have the EXTRA advantage, too. They help a woman regulate her period. Most women take combination pills, meaning they contain the hormones estrogen and progestin. Typically, a woman will have a 28 pill pack. She'll take one pill containing hormones each day for 21 days, and then she'll take pills WITHOUT hormones each day for 7 days. During these 7 days she'll have her period. A woman's natural cycle can range from 21 to 35 days long. Birth control pills can regulate it so that a woman can expect her period on the same day each month - no surprises. Some combination pills suppress a woman's period COMPLETELY, or for all but 4 weeks per year. The pack contains inactive pills for only a few weeks per YEAR as opposed to one week per MONTH. If a woman needs to skip just ONE period, she can throw out the inactive pills and take the next month's hormone pills through the 7 days. This is generally considered safe by physicians. As many as ONE THIRD of women who take the combination birth control pill take it not to avoid PREGNANCY, but to TREAT other conditions, such as dysmenorrhea-severe cramps - and menorrhagia, heavy menstrual bleeding. Birth control pills will relieve the pain and LIGHTEN periods because they stop ovulation. Without OVULATION, there are lower levels of some PROSTAGLANDIN hormones that trigger cramps and blood shedding. Combination pills can also treat two other menstrual disorders - POLYCYSTIC ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, and ENDOMETRIOSIS. The pill reduces the amount of male hormones, which are in excess in a woman with PCOS. Women with endometriosis take combination pills to prevent the overgrowth of the endometrium, or the lining of the uterus. Birth control pills do come with drawbacks. They may very slightly increase a woman's risk of breast cancer. The pill also raises the risk of STROKE and BLOOD CLOTS, especially in smokers and women over 40. Many women - such as those with HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE - are NOT good candidates for the pill. Ask your doctor before taking ANY hormonal contraception. Check out other videos in this series to learn more about menstruation and menstrual disorders.More »
Last Modified: 2015-01-19 | Tags »
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If you've wondered if it is safe to use the pill to skip a period intentionally, learn about monophasic birth control. Watch this video for more information.
Transcript: Your vacation is planned for the SAME week your period is due to arrive. You don't want to deal with...
Your vacation is planned for the SAME week your period is due to arrive. You don't want to deal with CRAMPS and bloating at your tropical getaway, so you're wondering if you can safely use birth control pills to skip your period. First, you'll have to be use the MONOPHASIC birth control pill if you want to skip your period. Monophasic means that there is an equal amount of the hormones estrogen and progestin in each pill. Usually, a woman takes 21 active pills--meaning they contain hormones--and then 7 placebo pills, which don't contain any hormones and allow a woman to have her period. To skip your period, throw out those 7 placebo pills and take the active pills from a new pack. You'll avoid your period, but you may NOT avoid breakthrough bleeding, bloating, cramps and perhaps other side effects as well. You'll then want to kick-start your normal cycle again with the placebo pills. Many women opt to suppress their period COMPLETELY, or for all but 4 weeks per year. These women take low-dose active monophasic pills SPECIFICALLY designed for this purpose. Depending on the brand, they take placebo pills only a few weeks per year - or even less frequently. They end up taking a few DOZEN additional active pills per year than on the 3 weeks on, 1 week off plan. This continual intake of hormones can cause light bleeding and other minor side effects. All birth control pills may also raise your risk of blood clots and stroke, so if you're at risk for these conditions, continuous birth control may not be right for you. 97 PERCENT of physicians polled in a 2007 survey conducted by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine said that skipping your period-whether it's for one month of several years-- IS safe. However, you should still ask your doctor before taking active birth control pills continuously, just in case your medical history clashes with the extra hormones you'd be taking.More »
Last Modified: 2015-01-19 | Tags »
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Are you worried about having irregular periods? There are many women who face this issue. Check out this video to learn about the causes of irregular periods.
Transcript: Five days LATE last month, six days EARLY this month - if your menstrual cycle is unpredictable, you...
Five days LATE last month, six days EARLY this month - if your menstrual cycle is unpredictable, you may wonder if there's something wrong. Well, most of the time, an irregular period doesn't mean you have a serious illness, ESPECIALLY if you've just started getting periods in the last couple years, OR if you're approaching menopause. However, when you're PAST puberty but nowhere NEAR menopause, your irregular period may be due to other issues. You may be under massive stress or be very anxious. Or you could be eating poorly, due to simple neglect, binge eating or anorexia. Being UNDERWEIGHT or OVERWEIGHT will affect your menstrual cycle. INTENSE exercise, whether you're training for a marathon or are just overdoing it in the gym, may also be behind your irregular cycle. If you RECOGNIZE yourself in these descriptions, chances are your irregular periods WILL return to normal if you correct their cause, on your own or with the help of a health provider. However, if your irregular period is accompanied by other troubling symptoms, such as ABDOMINAL pain, heavy bleeding, SEVERE cramps, bad acne or excess body hair, that may be a sign of a medical condition. One such condition is hormone IMBALANCE - meaning you have too much ESTROGEN or too much PROGESTERONE in your body. That's easily corrected by taking combination birth control pills. They'll also relieve severe cramps, heavy bleeding and prevent pregnancy if you're sexually active. Another condition, called polycystic ovary syndrome, occurs when you have an excess of androgens - they're male hormones. This is treated with another type of hormone therapy. Pelvic inflammatory disease is an INFECTION of a woman's reproductive organs. Irregular bleeding may be a symptom. This can interfere with fertility; immediate treatment with antibiotics is important. Finally, RARELY, irregular periods may be a sign of PREMATURE OVARIAN FAILURE, a condition in which a woman younger than 40 stops ovulating, or ovulates sporadically. It can sometimes be reversed. HEAD TO YOUR DOCTOR if you're at all concerned about your irregular periods. It's always better to be safe than sorry.More »
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Did you miss your period this month? There are a number of causes for missed period, that don't involve pregnancy. To learn why your menstrual cycle may have gone missing, watch this video.
Transcript: A missed period USUALLY means pregnancy, but if you haven't had sex since your LAST menstrual cycle,...
A missed period USUALLY means pregnancy, but if you haven't had sex since your LAST menstrual cycle, you may start to worry if you don't bleed for a few months. This condition is called amenorrhea and it means that a woman who used to have regular periods has missed hers for 3 months or more. Young women who have just FINISHED puberty and older women who are APPROACHING menopause may miss their period - this is normal because their body isn't finished going through hormonal changes. If they're not pregnant, women in BETWEEN these two stages of life are MORE likely to have amenorrhea due to medical conditions, such as thyroid disorders, metabolic syndrome, and other glandular problems. More COMMONLY, though, missing your period a few months in a row is due to a menstrual disorder. Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, occurs from hormonal imbalances. Not only are estrogen and progestin levels off, there's also an excess of androgens - or male hormones--in a woman's body. , In addition to missed periods, other symptoms of this condition include EXCESS body and facial hair, bad acne, and thinning hair. Amenorrhea is the PRIMARY symptom for premature ovarian failure. It occurs when ovulation STOPS occurring, sometimes for no discernible reason, in a woman 40 or younger. Other symptoms include hot flashes, MOOD swings, NIGHT sweats and VAGINAL dryness. Different types of hormone medications are effective in treating PCOS and POF. You should DEFINITELY see your doctor if you skip your period for 3 months or more. Diagnosis and treatment could put you back on a more regular menstrual cycle and protect your fertility. Look at more videos in this series for details on menstrual disorders.More »
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Take a look at this video to learn about toxic shock syndrome, a very rare but deadly infection caused by tampons being left in for too long.
Transcript: Your box of tampons is plastered with warnings about toxic shock syndrome. It's a severe - but thankfully...
Your box of tampons is plastered with warnings about toxic shock syndrome. It's a severe - but thankfully very RARE - disease caused by TOXINS produced by staph bacteria. In the 1980s there was a rash of TSS among women using tampons. The most highly absorbent tampon on the market was removed from shelves and women were warned not to use tampons overnight or leave them in place for hours at a time. By 1998 there were only 3 confirmed cases of TSS among menstruating women - down from 814 in 1980. Today, tampons are related to only HALF of cases-the other half develop from skin wounds, burns, post-surgical infections, and wound packings. Rarely, TSS is associated with use of DIAPHRAGMS and sponges --two types of barrier contraceptive devices. Doctors THINK that highly absorbent tampons become a HAVEN for bacteria and their fibers could scratch the vaginal wall, letting bacteria and toxins enter the bloodstream. Symptoms of toxic shock syndrome develop rapidly. They include: A fever 102 degrees or ABOVE, Nausea, VOMITING and diarrhea, Dizziness, confusion and/or fainting, Muscle aches, Low BLOOD pressure, SEIZURES, Widespread rash, And peeling skin 1 or 2 weeks post-rash. If you have these symptoms, go to an emergency room IMMEDIATELY. You'll be treated with intravenous antibiotics and fluids, medication to increase blood pressure, and in severe cases, dialysis or a blood transfusion. The disease CAN lead to organ failure, which is fatal in about 50 percent of cases Odds are that you WON'T contract TSS --it strikes fewer than 17 of every 100,000 menstruating women per year. But DON'T take risks. Always use tampons with the lowest absorbency that will work for your flow and change them often. Take a look at other videos in this series to learn more about menstruation.More »
Last Modified: 2012-10-18 | Tags »
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Cramps are arguably the worst part of the menstrual cycle. Get tips on how to relieve the pain!
Transcript: Menstrual cramps can turn a PLEASANT, productive day into one spent in bed curled into a fetal position....
Menstrual cramps can turn a PLEASANT, productive day into one spent in bed curled into a fetal position. But you CAN relieve your pain. For natural relief, try heat - combined with relaxation. Place a HEATING pad or hot water bottle on your abdomen. Get a massage or acupuncture -- or SOAK in a warm bath - this will also help you de-stress. Although it may seem like a struggle to get up and work out, EXERCISE will also take the edge off your cramps. Try doing yoga for starters. And there's one guaranteed way to relieve cramps that you may not know about - orgasm. Whether you do it through SEX or masturbation, it has been shown to help you feel better temporarily. If you turn to medication for your cramps, over-the-counter NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as naproxen sodium or ibuprofen, are a good choice. They'll REDUCE the effects of hormones called prostaglandins, which induce the uterine contractions, causing your pain. Women with severe, debilitating cramps that aren't eased by medication should see their doctor. Hormonal contraception that contains BOTH estrogen and progestin - such as the pill, the patch and the vaginal ring - is a very effective way to manage cramps and heavy periods. Progestin-only birth control is helpful as well. You can also do a few things to prevent painful cramps in your FUTURE. Establish a balanced diet. Exercise regularly. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and sugary foods. Even if you don't make these lifestyle changes permanently, try to for the 14 days BEFORE your period arrives. Adjusting your routine is worth avoiding menstrual discomfort!More »
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Menorrhagia, or excess menstrual bleeding, occurs as a result of several different factors. If you soak through a pad or tampon every couple hours, watch this video to find out what may be causing it.
Transcript: On average, a woman will shed about 3 tablespoons of blood per period. But women with MENORRHAGIA, or...
On average, a woman will shed about 3 tablespoons of blood per period. But women with MENORRHAGIA, or heavy menstrual bleeding, can lose TWICE that amount. A woman may have menorrhagia if: she SOAKS through a tampon or pad about once an hour, always DOUBLES up on pads and tampons, has periods LASTING 7 days or more, sheds abnormally LARGE blood clots, and has menstrual flow HEAVY enough to impede her daily life. Most heavy bleeding isn't caused by serious illness, but it IS abnormal and should be looked at by a doctor. Uterine or cervical cancer may cause menorrhagia, but this is fairly rare. The most COMMON reason for heavy bleeding in adult women is uterine fibroids, which are benign tumors in or around the uterus. Uterine POLYPS, which are usually benign, may also grow on uterine walls-they're caused by high hormone levels. Any time the balance between estrogen and progesterone is THROWN OFF in the body, the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium, builds up. That leads to heavy bleeding when you menstruate. Hormone imbalance may be caused by conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS. It's also common in young girls just STARTING their periods and women approaching MENOPAUSE. Metabolic syndrome -which is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, can also disrupt hormone levels. Some women can have heavy menstruation due to ovarian dysfunction, such as PCOS, ovarian CYSTS, and may have their periods even if they're NOT ovulating. ENDOMETRIOSIS, a condition in which the endometrium grows OUTSIDE the uterus, may also cause heavy bleeding, as can a related disease called ADENOMYOSIS. Other diseases NOT directly related to a woman's reproductive system may also cause heavy bleeding-these include blood clotting disorders, LIVER disease, kidney disease and thyroid disorders. Sometimes, heavy bleeding is more EASILY treatable. It may be a side effect of an intrauterine device, a common birth control device. The IUD will have to be removed if excess bleeding occurs. Some blood thinners, such as aspirin and warfarin , can contribute to heavy bleeding. You don't have to live with menorrhagia -there ARE ways to manage or resolve it. Check out other videos in this series for details!More »
Last Modified: 2012-11-20 | Tags »
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Excess menstrual bleeding doesn't have to go unmanaged. There are several treatments available that can slow down the flow. Get details now.
Transcript: If you can't go 2 hours without changing your tampon or sanitary pad, you might have menorrhagia, better...
If you can't go 2 hours without changing your tampon or sanitary pad, you might have menorrhagia, better known as heavy menstrual bleeding. Depending on the origin, there are several remedies available that will lighten your period and improve quality of life. If a blood test reveals that you're anemic due to your heavy bleeding, your doctor will prescribe you an iron supplement, or at least recommend you eat more iron-rich food such as spinach or lean red meat. Your doctor will start with the LEAST invasive therapy for your menorrhagia. You may start taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, 5 days before the start of each period. Ibuprofen and naproxen can be found over the counter and they can reduce your blood flow by up to 30 PERCENT. You may also try hormone therapy. Oral progesterone is commonly prescribed because menorraghia is often associated with high estrogen and low levels of progesterone. Another effective way to level your hormones is through an intrauterine device that releases levonorgestrel, a synthetic version of progesterone. Or you may be given birth control pills that contain estrogen and progestin-they stop ovulation, regulate your menstrual cycle, lighten bleeding and cramps and correct hormone balance. If you decide you want to have children, you'll come off the hormone medication or have your IUD removed. When medication proves ineffective to treat your menorrhagia, you may consider surgery. There are several commonly conducted to relieve menorrhagia. The procedure chosen depends heavily on whether or not a woman is finished having children. If a woman still wants to reproduce, she may undergo minimally invasive surgery to remove any benign fibroids or polyps growing in her uterus. She may also get a D&C in which excess uterine lining removed. When a woman doesn't want to have children, she may undergo procedures that either destroy or remove the uterine lining. In severe cases, she may have a hysterectomy, which involves removal of the entire uterus. Much of the time, though, managing your heavy period doesn't require any invasive procedures. Check out additional videos in this series to learn more about menstruation and menstrual disorders.More »
Last Modified: 2012-11-20 | Tags »
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PMS can mean mood swings and body changes. Learn why you may ride the PMS rollercoaster every month, and what you can do about it.
Transcript: More often than not, premenstrual syndrome, better known as PMS, is described with one, life-altering...
More often than not, premenstrual syndrome, better known as PMS, is described with one, life-altering symptom - MOOD SWINGS. In reality, PMS triggers many symptoms and is a recognized medical disorder. In addition to moodiness, symptoms of PMS include: ANXIETY or depression, acne, SWOLLEN and painful breasts, fatigue and INSOMNIA, headache or backache, MUSCLE pain, appetite changes, and BLOATING. These symptoms are PRIMARILY caused by the changes in hormone levels that happen right after ovulation, around 14 days BEFORE the beginning of a woman's period . About 85 percent of menstruating women have AT LEAST one symptom of PMS. Often stress and emotional problems, LOW levels of vitamins, eating salty foods and drinking ALCOHOL and caffeine make symptoms even worse. Fortunately you can do a lot to ease your monthly discomfort: Exercise more, eat healthy foods, get enough sleep and DON'T SMOKE. You should ALSO avoid salty, sugary foods, and caffeine and alcohol. And go ahead and vent your moodiness- but you might want to do it in the pages of a journal. You may also find that CERTAIN nutritional supplements, such as folic acid or magnesium, ease PMS. Ask your doctor if that's a smart choice for you. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or aspirin can ease inflammation and discomfort. And doctors sometimes prescribe birth control pills to relieve severe PMS symptoms. Every month if you feel a wave of despair, panic, anger, or lack of interest in activities, see your doctor -- you might be dealing with a form of PMS called premenstrual DYSPHORIC disorder. Find out more about your periods by watching other videos in this series.More »
Last Modified: 2012-10-18 | Tags »
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