Archive for the ‘Ovaries’ Category

Tiny but mighty, this reproductive organ affects your whole body.

Ovaries are fig-shaped glands that lie on either side of the uterus and are crucial to a woman’s reproductive system—and have other important roles in the body as well. Here’s everything a woman needs to know about her ovaries: where they’re located, how they function, and what to look out for to keep them healthy.

What exactly do your ovaries do?

The job ovaries are most famous for is housing a woman’s eggs, which are microscopic and filled with DNA (half of her DNA, to be precise, so if the egg fertilized by a sperm, containing half of a man’s DNA, together they can create an embryo). Each month, a dozen or so eggs can develop, but only one—or two, in the case of twins—matures, leaves its ovary, and makes its way through the fallopian tube to the uterus, where it may or may not meet sperm.

Ovaries have another essential job besides long-term storage for eggs: They also produce hormones. Mainly, they’re creating estrogen and progesterone, associated with women’s reproductive health, but the ovaries produce some testosterone as well. All of these hormones leave the ovaries and go coursing through your body via your bloodstream. They keep not just the reproductive system healthy but contribute to bone, muscle, and brain development as well.

How many eggs are in your ovaries—and what exactly happens to them?

You’re born with ovaries that contain 1 to 2 million eggs. By puberty, that number dwindles to 300,000, and at menopause you’re left with none. Many of them say sayonara through the natural process of celldeath (called apoptosis). Because eggs are so microscopic, they’re just reabsorbed into the body. About 400 eggs go through the ovulation process during your lifetime. Until all your eggs are gone, ovulation occurs each month—an egg pops through an ovarian follicle and out of the ovary, then travels through the fallopian tube to the uterus. Follicles then release hormones to prepare the lining of the uterus for pregnancy. But if the egg isn’t fertilized, hormone secretion stops, and you get your period. Egg quality drops over time—one reason it’s harder to conceive in your late 30s and beyond.

What does it mean if your ovaries hurt?

Ovarian cysts

If a follicle doesn’t rupture to release an egg, it can swell with fluid and develop into a cyst. Most cysts are small and painless, and you’re unlikely to know you even have one until a pelvic exam; they usually go way on their own and are rarely precursors to cancer. In some people, a cyst may cause abdominal pain, a feeling of belly fullness, and irregular periods.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is another condition that can arise. Characterized by symptoms like acne, weight gain, acne, irregular periods, or increased body hair growth, it affects up to 20 percent of women and means your ovaries produce too many male sex hormones; this keeps follicles shut, spurring cysts to form. Birth control may help manage it.

Ovarian cancer

More than 20,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year. Ovarian cancer is often called a silent killer, because tumors are rarely detected at an early, easier-to-treat stage. Because your ovaries are located near your bladder and intestines, symptoms include: bloating, abdominal, back, or pelvic pain, indigestion, diarrhea or constipation, frequent urination, feeling unusually full, and loss of energy or appetite. Because these warning signs are easy to ignore, pay attention to your body—and make sure you check in with your doctor if you experience them more than 12 times per month.

What happens to your ovaries during menopause?

Menopause is when the ovaries put their figurative feet up and relax, and the few years leading up to it can be an unpredictable time called perimenopause. As your ovaries age, they might not always pick up on the signal from your hormones that it’s time to release an egg, which results in more hormones being secreted, throwing things off balance. This can lead to wildly varying periods, mood swings, sleep issues, and hot flashes. Luckily, your doctor can help you find ways to control these pesky symptoms.

How to keep your ovaries healthy

There are three easy ways to keep your ovaries in tip-top shape:

  • Get an annual pelvic exam: This can help your doctor catch issues like cysts and tumors that often don’t cause symptoms.
  • Don’t smoke: Chemicals in cigarette smoke damage the genetic material eggs are made up of and cause them to die off faster; this can lower fertility or bring on menopause earlier.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: This helps keep hormones, and thereby your period, regulated and can help ease PCOS symptoms.



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Congress in Session

Today or tomorrow, the U.S. House of Representatives will pass a bill that repeals the Healthcare Reform Act that was signed into law last year.  That, of course, is the law that has generated so much controversy in this country.  I personally support this much needed law.

If you also support this law, don’t worry at all when you hear that the House has repealed it.  It’s all a big show.

The Republican Party campaigned in 2010 promising to repeal the law.  And they will take this first step.  But that’s as far as it will go.  The next step would be for the repeal to be considered by the U.S. Senate and the Democratic Party still runs things over there.  But, let’s think worst case scenario.  Let’s say that the Senate also repeals the law.    In that case, the next step is the repeal legislation would go to the President and guess what he will do?   He’ll veto the bill.

When a bill is vetoed, it goes back to the House and the Senate.  Both of those bodies can override what the President did but they have to get two-thirds of their body to vote for repeal.  And the Republicans don’t have those numbers.

So, you can watch what is going on with interest if you’ve got nothing to do.   The Republicans are just doing this so they can go back to their constituents and tell them that they “fought” to repeal that “horrible law.”

But, relax folks.  It’s all part of the show.

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John Boehner

At this point, I assume you know that a new health care system is being implemented in this country.  If you don’t know this then…..well, there is no sense in reading this cause, honey, you are on another planet.

We’ve heard all the arguing and seen some of the commercials and watched the elections and all.  We’ve heard how the new Speaker of the House, John Boehner, has vowed to repeal the new law.  Well, that’s a total crock because while the House of Representatives will vote to repeal it, it’s unlikely that the Senate will do the same and, if by some chance they do repeal it, well, Obama-Man is sitting there with his ole veto pen.  End of story.

We’re gonna be living with this new law for some time.  That being the case, I thought I would regularly send you a short explanation of what all of this means to you to cut through all of the stuff that you see and don’t have time to sort out.

A number of the provisions of the law will not take effect for quite a while, but some things are already in effect.  So, right now, here’s the deal:

Any health plan that you get through your job or any new individual plan has to let any kids you have under 19 to have coverage.  In other words, they cannot be denied coverage if they are already sick or have some medical condition.

If your health insurance allows you to have coverage for your dependents, then they can be covered until they are 26 years old.  After that, you kick them out of the house and they’re on their own.

Insurance companies cannot drop you from their plans when you get sick just because you made a mistake on your coverage application.

Many insurance companies say that during your lifetime you can only be covered up to a certain point.  Today, there are no limits.

If your employer offers a health plan, you generally can’t be turned away or charged a higher premium because of your health status or disability.  This protection is called “nondiscrimination.”

If family members are eligible but are not currently enrolled under your health plan at work, you may be able to add them during a “special enrollment” opportunity outside of the usual “open enrollment” period.

Not too shabby, huh?

There’s so much more to come!  Stay tuned.

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