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FAQs

Questions about my Period

I am on birth control pills and I didn’t get my period when I was supposed to. Is that normal?

It can be considered normal. Do a home pregnancy test just in case. Continue taking your pills into the next package and if you still don’t get your period, check in with the doctor.

Questions about my Breasts

Is soy good or bad for breast health?

Soy is a great form of low-fat protein, especially for people seeking to cut down on the saturated fat from meat. Genistein is one of the main isoflavins in soy and, although it is a form of phystoestrogen, studies show that regular consumption of soy does not increase your risk of breast cancer. In fact, Asian women who stick to a traditional soy-based diet have a much lower risk of breast cancer than Western women. However, until scientists determine whether large quantities of soy are helpful or harmful to people at risk for breast cancer, moderation is best.

Questions about Perimenopause

I have terrible headaches. Are they caused by perimenopause? What can I do about them?

Headaches, especially menstrual migraines, associated with perimenopause are caused by a drop in hormones so check in with the doctor about prescribing an estrogen patch to maintain an even level of hormones throughout the month. However, some women can’t or prefer not to take estrogen. Taking a magnesium/calcium supplement and/or the herb feverfew may provide some relief.

Questions about Menopause

Is it normal to bleed in my postmenopausal years, even after I’ve gone for a full year without having a period?

Bleeding after menopause is not normal so you need to see the doctor to check out the cause. Most likely it isn’t cause for concern – in 70% of cases it’s not cancer related – but it’s still important to get a check up as soon as possible.

Questions about Pregnancy

I’m having terrible heartburn? Is there any safe way to deal with this problem while I’m pregnant?

Try eating small, frequent meals and avoiding acidic foods like citrus fruit, tomatoes, chocolate and coffee. Drink plenty of water too. Eat dinner on the early side and don’t lay down for a couple of hours afterward. When you do go to sleep, prop your head up on two pillows. If need be, you can take some Tums or Zantac but not Prilosec or Pepsid.

Is it OK to eat fish during pregnancy?

Though seafood can be a valuable source of iron, protein and omega-3 fatty acids, you should limit your intake to a minimum during pregnancy because many types contain potentially high levels of mercury.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says pregnant women can safely eat up to 12 ounces a week (two average meals) of shrimp, canned light tuna (limit albacore tuna and tuna steak to no more than 6 ounces a week), salmon, Pollock and catfish.

To reduce your exposure to mercury, don't eat large predatory fish such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish. To avoid ingesting harmful bacteria or viruses, avoid raw fish and shellfish — especially sushi, oysters and clams — and anything caught in polluted water. Refrigerated smoked seafood also is off-limits, unless it's an ingredient in a casserole or other cooked dish. If you eat fish from local waters, pay attention to local fish advisories. Larger game fish contaminated with chemical pollutants may have the potential to harm a developing baby.

Cook fish to an internal temperature of 145 F. The fish is done when it separates into flakes and appears opaque throughout. Cook shrimp, lobster and scallops until they're milky white. Cook clams, mussels and oysters until their shells open and toss out any that don't open.

Questions about Reproductive Cancer

Should I have that CA125 blood test as part of my ovarian cancer screening?

Not unless you have a family history of ovarian cancer or you’ve had ovarian cancer in the past. This tool has too many false positive and negative results to be considered an accurate screening for ovarian cancer; 50% of women who have already been diagnosed with ovarian cancer test are negative with this screening.

Questions about HPV (Human papillomavirus) and Vaccine

Once I’ve contracted the HPV, will it always stay in my body or will it go away.

The human papillomavirus can clear the body after two years and may never return. In fact, it’s one of the few viruses that does have the potential to clear the body completely.

When should I have a bone density scan?

Schedule your bone density scan at the first sign of a hot flash – that’s definitely perimenopause kicking in.