Don’t ignore feelings of anxiety, panic

Women should not ignore feelings of anxiety and panic even if their doctors tell them not to worry, according to an article in the November issue of McCall’s.

Panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and depression are treatable illnesses that involve symptoms as tingling in fingers and toes, light-headedness, difficulty swallowing, fatigue, and irritability. The first step in proper diagnosis is to rule out heart problems, overproduction of thyroid hormone, lupus, or chronic fatigue syndrome before treating any anxiety-related disorder.

Positron-emission tomography and magnetic resonance imaging technologies are helping researchers identify and monitor brain activity during anxiety-related disorders and treatment. Researchers have discovered that anxiety results from the same type of neurochemical events that cause muscles to move or lips to speak. Women who suspect they have an anxiety-related disorder should see a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, or counselor specializing in behavioral therapy who is open to the use of drugs to control the disorder, according to the Bethesda, MD-based National Institute of Mental Health.

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The 11 most common birth control blunders women make are described in the November issue of Glamour. Improper use of condoms, diaphragms older than 18 months or improperly fitted, and a belief that IUDs are unsafe are a few reasons over 1 million women using birth control get pregnant annually.

Other mistakes made by women using birth control include:

• not taking the Pill properly;

• not reapplying spermicide for each act of intercourse with the cervical cap.

Women are reminded that even though some forms such as Norplant and Depo-Provera can provide close to 100% protection, there are some who get pregnant while using them. One woman in 100 will become pregnant on Norplant over a five-year period, and three women in 1,000 using Depo-Provera will conceive in a year.

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Even though incontinence affects at least 1.1 million American women, it is one of the least openly discussed health issues. An article in the November Good Housekeeping offers advice to women wanting to address bladder control.

Treatments such as Kegel exercises, behavioral modification, medications, and surgery now offer women a variety of options to control their bladders. New devices that keep urine in the urethra until urination are also explored.

The most important step is to find a knowledgeable doctor. Women should ask these questions:

• Do you specialize in incontinence for women?

• Do you have equipment to test bladder function and find the cause of incontinence?

• Are you familiar with surgical and non-surgical treatments?