Rush On Call: Women’s Health Q&A on Facebook

Gynecologic oncologist Alfred Guirguis, DO, and urogynecologist Soo Kwon, MD, will discuss women’s health issues — including general health, screenings and prevention and treatments for common women’s health problems — during a live Q&A on the Rush page on Facebook.

The online Rush On Call event will run from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, May 7. To submit a question, visit the Rush page on Facebook and Become a Fan.

If you’d like to send us a question in advance, you can submit it in the “Leave a Reply” area below.

Coping With the Winter Blues

Snow on branches in Grant Park, ChicagoPsychologist Janine Gauthier took part in our recent Q&A about holiday health on the Rush page on Facebook. Here’s what she had to say about about enduring winter.

All of this cold weather is getting me down. How do I know if this is normal, or is there something more serious I should be worried about? What are some signs or symptoms I should be looking for to know that I should talk to my doc?

This is a very common experience and many people feel SAD at this time of the year due to the increased darkness and cold. SAD is also known as seasonal affective disorder.

If you find you are feeling as though you can’t shake the feelings and are losing interest in normal activities, isolating yourself, and feeling hopeless, then it is time to talk to a specialist.

Also, one strategy for coping with seasonal affective disorder is to use phototherapy or light therapy. You can purchase light boxes, and it’s recommended that individuals sit in front of these light boxes in the morning, and it can help the brain chemicals that help to decrease the effects of SAD.

Gauthier is the director of psychosocial oncology and director of clinical services for the Cancer Integrative Medicine Program at Rush. She’s also an assistant professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at Rush University.

Handling Holiday Stress

Janine Gauthier, a psychologist at Rush, participated in our Rush On Call Q&A last week about staying healthy over the holidays. Here’s her advice about stress management:

There are some basic stress management techniques we can incorporate each and every day.

  1. Deep abdominal breathing — breathing in your belly
  2. Progressive muscle relaxation — relaxing one muscle group at a time until your entire body is relaxed
  3. Massage therapy — this promotes relaxation both physical and emotional
  4. Yoga — central to yoga is deep breathing
  5. Guided imagery — imaging yourself in a very relaxing place
  6. Physical exercise — engaging in cardiovascular exercise helps to promote endorphins in our body which helps us mangage stress
  7. Mindfulness meditation — where you allow yourself to do a body scan to find where you hold your stress and then allowing self to breathe and stay in the present moment.

The nice thing is that many of these strategies (breathing, mindfulness) you can engage in even when you are in the mall, in the car, standing in line or with family and friends. The goal is to make these a regular part of your life, which will become more natural the more often you engage in them, and you will find your are managing life more effectively.

Gauthier is the director of psychosocial oncology and director of clinical services for the Cancer Integrative Medicine Program at Rush. She’s also an assistant professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at Rush University.

Top 8 Tips for Staying Healthy Over the Holidays

Jennifer Ventrelle is a nutrition consultant with the Rush Nutrition and Wellness Center and a certified personal trainer. Here are some of her healthy holiday tips:

Don’t try to lose weight over the holidays

  • The average American gains one to four pounds during the holidays
  • Trying to diet during the holidays is setting yourself up for failure
  • Create an achievable goal to maintain weight through the holiday season

Move more! Plan to exercise!

  • Decreased physical activity is the prime contributor to holiday weight gain
  • Almost guaranteed to eat more, so must burn more!
  • People who are more active keep weight stable during the holidays
  • Walk around mall before doing holiday shopping
  • Do sit-ups in between wrapping presents
  • Dance to holiday music
  • Go for a walk outside; the cold air often feels good when bundled up!

Mind your beverages

  • Avoid high-calorie drinks such as hot chocolate, flavored teas, and eggnog. (1 cup eggnog = 350 calories and 20 grams of fat!)
  • Consume alcohol in moderation
    • Drink a glass of water between each drink
    • Try a non-alcoholic mixer complete with garnish
    • Sip plain club soda, mineral water, or tomato juice with a twist of lemon or lime
    • Limit intake and choose lower-calorie alcoholic beverages
      • 12 oz regular beer = 150-200 calories
      • 12 oz light beer = 55-110 calories
      • 8 oz rum and Coke = 250 calories
      • 8 oz rum and Diet Coke = 100 calories
      • 6 oz wine = 130 calories
      • 6 oz sweet/dessert wine = 280 calories
      • Keep a non-caloric drink in hand to prevent reaching for more food

Never go to a party hungry

  • Eat a healthy snack such as yogurt and fruit, apple and peanut butter, or a small bowl of high-fiber cereal 30 minutes before party
  • Fill first plate with entirely vegetables and drink full glass of water; wait 5-10 minutes and then return only one more time for smaller portions of other foods

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