Got the sniffles? Here's what you need to know when managing diabetes and fighting off a cold or the flu. By Madeline R. Vann, MPH Medically Reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH The cold and flu season is on its way. And while sick days bring everyone down, people with type 2 diabetes have some special considerations when they're under the weather. In addition to choosing the right cold medications and checking in with your doctor about possible dosage changes, good diabetes care means being prepared for the days when you would rather not drag yourself out of bed for a glucose check or a snack. Pick the Right Cold Medicine “A lot of [cold and flu] medications, particularly cough syrup, are high in glucose,” says internist Danny Sam, MD, the program director of the residency program at Kaiser Permanente in Santa Clara, Calif. His practice specializes in adult diabetes. If you have diabetes, your best bet is a medicine that is clearly labeled sugar-free. Almost every major pharmacy has a store brand of sugar-free cold or cough medicine, says Dr. Sam. If you have questions, ask your pharmacist for help. Check Blood Sugar Often “Diabetes is not as well controlled when you are sick,” observes Sam. This is because when your body fights infection, it releases a chemical cascade that can alter your body’s glucose and insulin response. As a result, you may need to check your blood sugar more often than you usually do. People with type 2 diabetes may need to check their blood sugar four times a day, and should check their urine for ketones anytime their blood sugar level is higher than 300 mg/dL. Other medications you may need to take when you are sick can affect your blood sugar levels: Aspirin may lower blood sugar levels Certain antibiotics may decrease blood sugar levels in those taking some oral diabetes medications Decongestants may raise blood sugar levels Adjust Your Plan “You have to monitor your blood sugar more frequently and you may have to adjust your meds,” Sam says. Some people may find their blood sugar spiking more frequently, while other people, especially those plagued by stomach flu or diarrhea, may be facing hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Either way, you need to know how to respond to these unusual dips and spikes in blood sugar. “Touch base with your doctor to get instructions on how to adjust medications,” says Sam. This is especially important if your blood sugar readings stay higher than 240 mg/dL for more than 24 hours. Alternatively, before cold and flu season sets in, you can talk to your diabetes care team about how to make medication dose decisions if you should get sick. Find out what the acceptable range of blood sugar change is — and exactly when you should call your doctor. Write these instructions down in a notebook so that you can easily refer to them when you do get sick. But there are some things you shouldn’t change: Unless your diabetes care team or doctor has instructed otherwise based on your blood sugar levels, keep taking your diabetes medications as prescribed. Feeling Better Without Meds Remember, as miserable as you feel right now, colds and the flu do not last forever. If you want to feel better, take care of yourself. That means: Stay hydrated. Drink lots of fluids. Small sips can help you stay hydrated even if you are vomiting frequently. Snack. You may not feel like it, but you should eat regularly. Snack on fluids like soup or milk, or small portions of easy-to-digest foods like applesauce, crackers, and vanilla wafers. It’s also a good idea to keep written track of the medications you take, both for diabetes and cough and cold symptoms, as well as the results of your blood sugar tests and other details of your illness. Illness Prevention Strategies We’d all like to avoid getting a cold or the flu. If you have type 2 diabetes, your best bet for avoiding sickness is to keep your disease under control. “Control blood sugar when well,” advises Sam. Out-of-control blood sugar makes it harder for your body to fight off infections, including those that lead to colds and the flu. If you can keep your blood sugar under control during your healthy days, you will have fewer sick days and, when you do get sick, your body will be able to bounce back faster. It’s also a good idea to get your annual flu shot and other vaccinations that are recommended for your age range.
Create more heat between the sheets with these surprising tips. The benefits of sex extend beyond the bedroom. In fact, a roll in the hay can improve your heart health, boost your immunity, and more. Plus, regular romps with your partner create an intimate connection that’s crucial for a healthy relationship. But if you’re not always in the mood to hit the sheets, you’re not alone. Many women have fluctuating sex drives, which may be a result of larger issues, says Ian Kerner, PhD, a psychotherapist and sex therapist in New York City. "In some ways, sexual desire is a barometer of your overall health," he explains. "If someone comes in with a low libido, it can often be an indication that something else is going on emotionally or physically.” So how can you break through these bedroom barriers and create more heat between the sheets? Read on to find out what women really need to feel happy and healthy in their sex lives. 1. An Honest Sexual Health Talk With a Partner No one likes the uncomfortable, "When was the last time you were tested?" talk, or a discussion about previous partners or birth control. But women are happiest in bed when they feel safe, so don’t be afraid to ask about your partner’s sexual history. You can even put a positive spin on the discussion, says Dr. Kerner. You might say something like, "I find you really sexy, and I'm interested in a relationship with you. But for me to fully enjoy myself, I want to talk about about our sexual histories and get on the same page about safety." If your partner isn’t open to the discussion, he or she may not be the right person for you. 2. The Right Products to Make It Comfortable While it's widely known that women of a certain age tend to experience vaginal dryness, the truth is that even younger women can struggle with it. To make things more comfortable, try using a lubricant; just be choosy about the kind you purchase since there are key differences among them. Kerner, who recommends the natural, water-based lubricant Sliquid, also stresses the importance of foreplay so you can lubricate naturally. "You could be aroused physically but not mentally, or vice versa, so you may just need to give yourself more time to warm up," he explains. 3. The Ability to Ask for What You Want in Bed It can be intimidating to share sexual desires with a significant other. “If you feel uncomfortable, frame what you want in the form of a fantasy," suggests Kerner. For example, you could tell your partner you had a daydream about how you two used to make out like teenagers. "Try to use arousing, stimulating language,” he says. “Doing so will help lead you to the kind of sex you'd like to have." 4. A Workout Routine That Strengthens Sex Muscles Kegel exercises can work wonders to strengthen the pelvic area, making for better and more intense sex and orgasms. When boosted, the kegel muscles, which wrap around the vagina and anus in the shape of a figure eight, help strengthen your pelvic floor, which supports all your pelvic organs. Doing the exercises properly can deliver results such as heightened arousal during sex, better blood circulation, and even the ability to produce more lubrication. Learn how to master kegels using this guide. 5. Trust and Emotional Security It's hard to have a carefree romp if you feel disconnected from your significant other or worried about your partner's fidelity. If you think your partner may be having an affair, it’s important to address it. To start the conversation in a non-confrontational way, Kerner suggests saying something like, "I feel like we haven't been connected lately, and you're always on your phone or texting. It just makes me feel a little unsafe in the relationship.” Then explain that you want your relationship and sex life to be a priority because you value them. 6. Confidence Both new and long-term relationships can suffer if a woman doesn't feel good about her body going into a sexual encounter. While it's easier said than done, try not to worry about stretch marks or a few extra pounds, and focus on staying in the moment. "You want to be in a relaxed place where your brain really deactivates, so you can experience full arousal and orgasm," says Kerner. Consider changing the lighting if it’s not flattering, or finding lingerie that makes you feel sexy. 7. The Right Diet for a Healthier Body and Increased Sex Drive Studies show that loading your plate with certain foods can help you feel sexier. Research from Texas A&M University in College Station shows that phytonutrients found in watermelon can relax blood vessels, which may in turn boost your libido. The same effect can be seen from foods rich in vitamin C, like oranges and carrots. Research shows that the vitamin increases circulation, which may help improve sex drive in women.
Love her or hate her, Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop has a cult-like fan base. The weekly lifestyle publication offers personal tips from Gwyneth on a variety of subjects like travel, well-being, health, relationships and sex.
Goop also has an online store, where you can purchase products curated by Gwyneth herself. The latest product that Goop thinks we all need is crystal eggs. For our vaginas.
Yes, that's right. Crystal eggs for vaginas. It comes in two options — rose quartz and jade — with each egg having different properties.
While the kegel exercise you might get out of holding an egg in your vagina is probably legitimate, the site also says it will increase chi, hormonal balance and feminine energy in general. Apparently, the jade egg (which costs $66!) is particularly good for getting rid of negative energy.
In honour of this new (and sold out!) addition to the Goop store, we decided to take a look at some of the most ridiculous things offered on the site as well as plenty of dubious advice from Gwyneth Paltrow.
‘The Goop Medicine Bag’
It seems Goop likes crystals! For $85, you get eight crystals and a drawstring bag. The cringe-worthy description really says it all: "Inspired by the Shaman's medicine bag from various indigenous traditions, this (goop-exclusive) pouch holds magically charged stones.
A $17,900 vibrator
It's coated in 24-karat gold plate. I guess you can't put a price on orgasms? There's also the $8,990 stainless steel version, if you're into that.
Goop recommends getting a "Mugworth V-Steam" that supposedly cleanses the uterus and creates an energetic release that balances female hormones. Ladies: don't steam your vagina. It cleans itself naturally. Don't mess with 'Mother Nature'.
Again, the body already has a way of naturally eliminating things that it doesn't need. Getting unnecessary colonics is a waste of time and can even harm you, with side effects like infections and dehydration.
Avoid chemical sunscreen
The website published an article called "Why Chemical Sunscreens Aren't Great" with lots of scary scientific words, but studies have shown that the chemicals in the products aren't harmful to humans at all. Wear sunscreen, everyone!
In case you're having a hard time getting in the mood, there's a recipe on how to create Sex Bark which is described as an "aphrodisiac warming potion, promoting enjoyable sex and fertility for both men and women." Oh, and one of the ingredients is Moon Pantry Sex Dust.... What the f...?
A video of a pop song that highlights the oppression of women in Saudi Arabia has amassed millions of views on social media.
The video entitled 'Hwages', loosely translated in English as 'Concerns', shows women in Saudi Arabia skateboarding, playing basketball and dancing. It features women in full Islamic dress taking part , singing lyrics that include: 'If only God would rid us of men'.
Created by media production company 8ies, the video has been viewed nearly three million times on YouTube since it was uploaded in late December 2016.
The de facto ban on female drivers is Saudi Arabia's best-known restriction against women, a symbol of the larger system of gender-based law that makes it one of the worst countries for women, according to the World Economic Forum's annual report on gender rights.
Saudi Arabia's restrictions on women go far, far beyond just driving, though. It's part of a larger system of customs and laws that make women heavily reliant on men for their basic, day-to-day survival. This video, produced by Amnesty U.K., a few months after Saudi women's rights activists staged their last protest drive, helps explain just how it works to be a woman in Saudi Arabia.
If you couldn't make it through the video, here's the rundown: each Saudi woman has a "male guardian," typically their father or brother or husband, who has the same sort of legal power over her that a parent has over a child. She needs his formal permission to travel, work, go to school or get medical treatment. She's also dependent on him for everything: money, housing, and, because the driving ban means she needs a driver to go anywhere, even the ability to go to the store or visit a friend.
It's one thing for women to depend on men to go anywhere, putting their movement under male veto power. But it's quite another when they also must have a man's approval to travel abroad, get a job or do just about anything that involves being outside of the home. It consigns women to second-class-citizenship, which is unfortunately common in a number of countries, but goes a step further in Saudi Arabia. Saudi women have many of their most basic rights reduced to probationary privileges, granted only if the man who is assigned as their "guardian" feels like granting them. And because women are typically forbidden to interact with men who are not family members, they've got little to no recourse beyond that guardian. The almost complete lack of political rights doesn't help, either.
The restrictions go beyond the law: women are often taught from an early age to approach the world outside their male guardian's home with fear and shame. A 1980s "educational flyer" still posted at a school in Buraydah warned against the "dangers that threaten the Muslim woman," such as listening to music, going to a mixed-gender mall or answering the telephone. It drove home that "danger" with an image of a women, in a full black burqa, being stabbed in the chest with a kitchen knife.
Saudi women's rights activists get this, of course, and even though they're focusing their energy on overturning the driving ban, it's clear they see it as part of a larger effort against part of a much bigger system of oppression. The movement for driving rights that began in mid-2011 has not changed that law, but Saudi women have won some modest rights as a result, including representation in the country's officially powerless but high-visibility Shoura Council, which they're in turn using to amplify their campaign against the driving ban. Saudi women are facing a much bigger challenge than just a driving ban, as this video shows, but it also helps to show just how remarkable it is that they've accomplished as much as they have in as little time.
By Everyday Health Guest Columnist By Troy Sukkarieh, MD, Special to Everyday Health Troy Sukkarieh, MD is a board-certified urologic surgeon with fellowship training in robotics and advanced laparoscopic surgery. He is on staff at CentraState Medical Center in Freehold, New Jersey, where he also maintains a private practice. There is no perfect urine. Your quality and quantity of your urine can change based on your health and lifestyle. However, it’s important to know what is normal for you. This way, you can relay any serious or bothersome changes to your doctor. Urine has been a useful diagnostic tool since the beginning of medicine. The color, density, smell, and frequency of your urine can reveal useful information about your health. It can also tell if you are properly hydrated, taking medication or vitamins, or have an infection. What Color Is the Right Color for Urine? If you don’t see any color, you might be drinking too much water or coffee. Deeper shades of yellow and amber can indicate that you are dehydrated. The color of urine can range from completely clear to gold, and can include unusual colors like red and blue. Here are some clues about what different urine colors may indicate: 1 . Blue-green urine may be the result of certain medications such as laxatives, chemotherapy drugs, or vitamins. If you aren’t taking any of these meds, and you continue to see this color for more than a few days, call your doctor to discuss. 2 . Bright yellow or orange urine can indicate you’ve consumed a lot of vitamin C, carrots, beets, or other foods in the orange family. Some medications can turn your urine this color as well. 3 . Dark orange or brown urine is cause for concern. This may mean you have bile in your urine or a problem with your liver. 4 . Pink or red urine can simply indicate you’ve eaten red-tinted food. On a more serious note, this can also be a sign of blood in your urine. Bloody urine may indicate internal injury, kidney issues, or cancer. 5 . Cloudy urine has been found to suggest the presence of phosphates, which can be a precursor to kidney stones. Cloudiness can also indicate an infection. If cloudiness worsens and you experience burning or urgency, make sure to see a doctor. You May Be Able to Smell a Health Issue Most of the time, if you are healthy and well hydrated, your urine will not have a strong smell. But these odors may spell trouble: 1 . Foul smell. The bacteria that cause urinary tract infections (UTIs) can produce a foul smell. Symptoms of a UTI include burning during urination, fever, chills, and back pain. If you have a urinary infection, you will need to be prescribed an antibiotic. 2 . Sweet smell. Sweet-smelling urine may be a sign of diabetes or liver disease. 3 . Musty smell. Certain metabolic disorders may cause musty-smelling urine as well. 4 . Keep in mind that consuming certain foods and beverages — coffee and asparagus in particular — can give urine a stronger smell as well, which is completely normal. You Have to Go NOW, or You Have to Go Often Most people take bathroom breaks about six to eight times a day, depending on how much they drink. If you’re constantly feeling the urge to go (without drinking any extra fluids), the frequency of urination can indicate an overactive bladder, urinary tract infection, interstitial cystitis (painful urination without an infection), or diabetes. Urgency means you need to go right away, have difficulty holding it in, and wake up several times during the night to use the bathroom. For men, urgency and frequency, could be symptoms of a bladder problem or, more commonly, an enlarged prostate — known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). The prostate gland surrounds the urethra, through which urine leaves the body. As the gland grows bigger, it can press on the urethra and cause a variety of changes in urination. Some men assume drinking less water will lessen urgency and frequency, but dehydration can cause urinary issues as well. BPH can also cause incomplete emptying of your bladder, so you still feel like you have to go again minutes later. This isn’t a medical condition to be ignored, and it typically won’t go away on its own. Increased frequency and urgency in women may be a symptom of an infection, kidney stones, or a more serious condition. The Importance of a Tried-and-True Urinalysis You can learn a lot about what’s going on inside your body by looking at your urine. For example, blood in your urine can indicate a significant health issue, and it isn’t always visible to the human eye. You may need a urinalysis to find it. The same can be said for the volume of sugar in your urine, which could indicate an increased risk of diabetes. Only a proper urinalysis, one taken at your doctor’s office or medical lab, can accurately diagnose potential medical issues like these. We’re all tempted to roll our eyes when the doctor hands us a plastic cup, requesting a urine sample. But that sample can provide a number of important insights regarding your health. It’s one of the easiest — and most valuable — tests you can undergo every year, regardless of your age or medical history.