Small Changes

I’ve noticed something recently, and wanted to know if any of you had any thoughts on this issue as well.  Sometimes I seem to get stuck in a rut so to speak.  I get used to my routine so much so that I could almost go through my entire day blindfolded.  I know what needs to be done at what time and how it needs to get done.  I also fall into a rut with myself too.  I get up, get dressed, fix hair & makeup in the same way I did the day before, and head off to conquer the world.  Very monotonous.  Can any of you relate so far?

Well, I found out something interesting recently that was a bit of a pleasant surprise.  If I make small changes to myself from time to time, it can affect my mood and overall attitude.  For instance, I decided to get a new hair cut.  I was tired of the same look, so I made myself an appointment and went and did it.  It wasn’t a drastic change, but it was different, and I felt wonderful afterward!  That 4″ that was cut off really made a difference to me.  My head was lighter and I felt my mood lighten too!

Another thing I tried recently is painting my toenails and fingernails.  I am not really a ‘girly-girl’ so this isn’t something that I do often.  I thought about it and decided to go with the color BLUE.  Why not?  Who says I have to conform to the norm and pick a pinkish-reddish shade?  After sporting my blue fingers and toes, I realized that I seemed to be smiling more.  It was as if I had lightened my mood a bit just by adding color to my nails.

I can think of other “small changes” that have also affected my mood… new/different purse, new/different earrings, loss of 5 lbs, new hair color/highlights, and even a new bra!  I think that sometimes I get into too much of a rut.  Now that I know making a small change here and there definitely has a positive influence on my overall attitude, I’m going to try to make small changes more often.  Maybe it just gives me a little ‘boost’ in my self confidence?

So what about you?  What small changes have you made that resulted in a higher self-esteem or more positive outlook?

Sex and Health Benefits!

Anytime I go to login to my email account, I always check out the yahoo articles to see what is new and interesting.  I happened on this article about 7 health benefits of sexual intercourse.    So besides being an intimate bonding time with your spouse, you are getting some wonderful health benefits, too!  Here are some of the health benefits:

1.  Sex = exercise: your burning calories!

2. Sex keeps you looking younger: I would want to see more proof on this one, but if it is true, ladies, could this be our fountain of youth?

3. It’s good for your heart: wanna lower your blood pressure?  want a better chance of not having a heart attack?  sex can help!

4. Sex boosts immunity: immunoglobin A is produced more often which helps your immune system. It would be interesting to see if I get less colds and sinus infections, since immunoglobin a (igA) works with your nose, eyes, ears, digestive tract and vagina to protect those areas from outside foreign substances.

5. It can cure the common headache….kind of: Intimacy and bonding helps you to relax, and oxytocin is released during sex which helps decrease pain.

6. Sex gets the blood pumping: sex increases blood flow which gets oxygen molecules moving through out your body and you feel better.

7. Sex helps you sleep better: oxytocin not only can help decrease pain and increase endorphins, but it relaxes you so you can sleep better.

Do you think any of these hold water?  I think these can offer some of these benefits, but I am not trying it out on my next sinus headache to see if it works!  🙂  What other benefits do you think sex has on your physical health?

How often should women have mammograms?

Article of reference is here at the ACOG site.

Every time I turn around, there are new recommendations about mammograms.   Some say not to start them until you are 50…some say not to start until you are in your 40’s, but only every 2-3 years.  Now in a recent article from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologist has issued new guidelines for mammography screening.   They are recommending them being offered yearly starting at age 40.

When I was about 38-almost 39, my doctor started me with mammograms.  I didn’t have a history on my maternal side of the family, but my paternal grandmother had it, and it is possible that her mother had it as well.   I was told by my doctor that it was important to have them annually.  Now, I missed one or two myself.  I think I was supposed to have one last year, but my doctor’s office forgot to schedule it with me, and in my busyness, I never got back with them…. but about 2 years ago, I had my first scare… there was a spot on my mammogram film, and I had to have a sonogram done.  It ended up being dense breast tissue and nothing to be concerned about, but I know God and I spent A LOT of time together that day while waiting for my results!  I can’t imagine waiting until I was 50….

I digress…. back to the article.

Do you realize that while I was researching this article, there were websites that were saying that doctors shouldn’t teach their patients how to do breast self exams?  Are they crazy?  I had a friend DIE of breast cancer.  She found the lump in her MID 20’s by a breast self exam!  How would it be explained to her family if she died without ever knowing she had cancer?   That is just crazy in my opinion.

So what are your thoughts?  Have you had a mammogram?  When will you start if you haven’t?  Do you do breast self exams?   Do you know how?

Male Menopause?

Yeah, you read that title right.  Did you know that there is actually a condition in men that is similar in nature to a woman’s menopause?  Well, it’s not exactly the same, and it does have it’s own name: Andropause.  I do realize that this blog is written by and for women, but we wives also need to be kept in the loop about medical issues that concern (or can concern) our husbands, right?

Andropause is basically the name given to hormone changes in men.  Mostly it involves having a testosterone deficiency.   I have read that around age 30, men’s testosterone levels start decreasing gradually.  By the time a man is in his fifty’s, he most certainly has experienced some of the symptoms that low T levels bring.  According to the Mayo Clinic“By about age 70, the decrease in a man’s testosterone level can be as much as 50 percent.”

So what are the symptoms of Andropause?  Well, although some men can experience a symptom or two when they are younger (20’s-30’s), most men may not notice symptoms until they are nearing 50.

Symptoms can include (but are not limited to):

  • Loss/decrease of libido
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Depression
  • Irritability/crankiness
  • Night sweats
  • Decrease in energy level
  • Weight gain (particularly in the gut area)
  • Decrease in morning erections
  • Hair loss
  • Sore breasts
  • Shrinking testes

A more in depth look at symptoms can be found here.  It seems that the more doctors investigate the more they are finding that low T levels are about much more than just sexual issues.  Men with low T levels seem to be at a higher risk for certain diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.  These men may also have lower bone density (think Osteoporosis).

Of course other things can cause some of these symptoms, so it’s important to have your husband talk to his doctor if he thinks he may be suffering with low T.  It’s very possible that his doctor may catch something else entirely.  The only sure method of identifying low T is with a blood test.  Yes, there are replacement therapies out there for testosterone, but they are somewhat controversial and risky.  Your husband would definitely need to discuss this with his doctor.

We all know how easy it is to get our husbands to go to the doctor 🙄  so ladies, we need to be observant, diligent, and gentle with this issue.  It isn’t just about a lack of sexual performance anymore.  The health issues should be enough to make us  discuss this together, and possibly with our health care professional.

Is Dark Chocolate an Aphrodisiac?

Late last month, I was having a really bad week.  My hubby was incredibly sweet.  He bought me some flowers to cheer me up and he also bought me…. dark chocolate with caramel in the center.   Ghirardelli chocolate to be exact.   I love dark chocolate.  I love caramel.  I love Ghirardelli.   But the bigger thing….dark chocolate is my aphrodisiac.

I cannot explain what dark chocolate does to me.   I become much more receptive to his kisses.  I become much more interested in his advances.   Sex is so much better.   Is it a placebo?  Or is it for real?

I recently went searching online to see what it is about this dark chocolate that really turns me on (besides the fact that it is chocolate)   It seems as though ingredients in making chocolate increase serotonin levels in the brain.   Serotonin and dopamine are neurotransmitters that increases feelings of pleasure while numbing pain.  Theobromine raises the heart rate while dilating blood vessels.   It has a mood elevating effect.   Phenethylamine stimulates the central nervous system and surges into the brain during orgasm.  This is produced naturally in your body when you are feeling in love.  Chocolate also has a melting point that is very close to our body’s natural temperature and it melts in your mouth very easily.  That in itself is a stimulating experience!  Dark chocolate might also produce a raised level of testosterone in some women, too.

With all of this in mind, my hubby is thrilled that I am doing this article.  He’s also been on the prowl for new forms of chocolate for his lady….to the point he has my son asking, “Dad. why are you buying so much chocolate for Mom?” to which he replies,  “Son, I have my reasons……”  😉

Why have my breasts changed?

We had a reader write in and ask the following question:  ” I am wondering if other women have experienced a decrease in breast sensation following the nursing of their children… When my hubby and I first got married, my boobs were very sensitive…. Then the kids came and I nursed them all.   My boobs took a real beating during those times (bad latching, etc) … It has been years since I nursed but my boobs have never returned to the way they were. While I still enjoy having my boobs sucked and played with, the sensation is not nearly as intense as it once was. Is this normal?”

I can only write from my own experience, and I am hoping others who have had similar difficulties or maybe no difficulties at all, will chime in as well.

Before my first pregnancy,  I like to think that I had pretty sensitive breasts.  I don’t think I ever got orgasmic with breast play, but I really enjoyed my husband’s mouth on my breasts during foreplay.  Five months after we got married, I got pregnant with my firstborn.  With the newness of all the pregnancy changes and things going on with my body, I remember still being okay with breast play.

The thing that is different that this reader is that I had major problems breastfeeding once the baby was born.   He was hungry all the time, and my breasts were not producing much milk at all.  Come to find out later that my Mom was the same way.  Thinking there was something wrong with me and I HAD to be doing something wrong, I went to breast pumps.   Trying to pump in between was SUPPOSED to help stimulate more milk.   Even my baby’s cries didn’t ever cause any of the things I had read about in all the books.   I squeezed my breasts trying to get every little bit I could out.  I was frustrated.  I pumped and I pumped and I pumped….after a month, I gave up.  I had no support and I was in tears.

Seven years later with my second, I decided I was going to try again.   Again, I didn’t produce much, but I had a better support group of friends to encourage me along and try to get me to relax more.  I still pumped in between feedings, but I still wasn’t producing.   I *should* have tried Fenugreek, I see that now to try to help, but at the time, I didn’t know much about it and didn’t want to take something I wasn’t sure about being safe and all.   Again, I pumped and I pumped and I pumped.   I really think I did some damage to the nerves in my breasts and nipples from trying so hard.  This time, I lasted 4 months before I gave up.

I have to say now that I really abused my breasts.   I don’t have nearly the sensation in my nipples anymore that I used to have.   I much rather prefer to have caresses around my entire breast than nipple stimulation at times.   My nipples just aren’t the same.   There is only so much suckling on my nipples that I can tolerate anymore.   Like I said, I really think I did nerve damage trying to breastfeed my children.

I know that this isn’t typical and probably isn’t the norm, but in my situation, breastfeeding did change the sensations in my nipples.   It is my hopes that some of you can offer your stories and maybe even could offer suggestions that would help myself and this reader as well.

Q&A: Sex Toys Cause Yeast Infections?

“Hi, is it possible for a toy to cause a yeast infection?”

If you are a woman and have never had a yeast infection, consider yourself lucky.  Most women will experience a yeast infection at least once in her life, and some unfortunate women are prone to them. 😦

The vagina is generally acidic enough to prevent the overgrowth of Candida or yeast.  Once that yeast starts overproducing, the itching, burning, and discharge begin.  There are several things that can interrupt the normal PH in the vagina, causing yeast infections, including antibiotics, alcohol, sugary foods, douches, feminine deodorant spray, frequent sex, perfumed tampons, wiping improperly after a bowel movement, and wearing tight, damp clothing.  Oh, and yes, your sex toys can cause yeast infections as well.

Porous toys that are made out of plastic, jelly, or latex, are very hard to keep clean.  Always read the packaging materials that come with your toys.  They should explain how to sanitize them properly.  It is extremely important that you not only clean your toys after each use, but that you also completely dry them before putting them up.  This will prevent bacteria from growing on them.  As an added precaution, it helps to put a condom over toys used for insertion (especially porous ones).  Then throw the condom away after each use and wash and dry the toy afterward.

Take a few minutes to read this article on the causes of yeast infections.  It’s very informative and seems to cover a lot of ground.  Also know that although you don’t hear about it very often, men do get yeast infections too. It is very possible for a wife to give her yeast infection to her husband and not know it because most of the time the man has no visible symptoms.  Then after the wife gets treated and cured… they have sex again and guess what?  Yes, the wife can become reinfected from her husband.

Make it a point to keep your toys properly sanitized after each and every use, and hopefully you won’t have to deal with recurring yeast infections caused by tainted toys.

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