What are the facts on ovarian cysts?

By Brooke Strickland

If you’ve heard of ovarian cysts or been diagnosed with them, it can be a somewhat frightening diagnoses.  However, knowing the basics about ovarian cysts will help you better understand them and know how to what to expect.

What are ovarian cysts?

Ovarian cysts are small sacs that are filled with fluid that develop in a woman’s ovaries.  The cysts are usually harmless, but can cause problems or pain.  Many times, surgery may be needed to remove the cyst(s).  Women of all ages can experience ovarian cysts and but most of the time, they’re seen during a woman’s childbearing years. 

What are the causes?

There are several possible risk factors for women to develop ovarian cysts, which include:

-History of previous ovarian cysts
-Irregular periods
-Increased upper body fat distribution
-Early menstruation
-Hormonal imbalances

How do I know if I have one?

If you have an ovarian cyst, it will likely not be found on a regular exam, but instead via ultrasound.  You will likely have symptoms indicating a cyst, however, which may include:

-Lower abdominal pain or pelvic pain, which can include sharp, sudden and very severe pain
-Irregular menstrual cycles
-Long-term pelvic pain during the menstrual cycle
-Pain or pressure with urination or bowel movements
-Pelvic pain after exercise or intercourse
-Nausea and vomiting

If you’re experiencing abnormally heavy or irregular menstruation, weakness, dizziness, fever, or other abnormal pain, swelling, or tenderness in the abdomen or pelvis, contact your doctor.  He or she can perform tests to determine if you have a cyst and what type it is.  An endovaginal ultrasound may be performed to get an image through the abdominal wall.  This type of ultrasound provides better results, as the probe is able to get close to the ovaries for an accurate image.  The ultrasound will show if the cyst is simply filled with fluid or mixed with solid material, or if it’s completely solid.   CT scanning or MRI scanning may also be used. 

What is the treatment? 

Many ovarian cysts occur and will resolve themselves in a matter of months.  However, other treatments may be needed.  Birth control pills may be prescribed, as it helps normalize the menstrual cycle and can help prevent the formation of follicles on the ovary that turn into cysts.  Anti-inflammatory pain relievers may also be prescribed to help minimize pelvic pain, and in severe cases, narcotic pain meds may be needed due to extreme pain.  For some people, surgery may be needed, which will likely include a laparoscopic procedure.  A laparoscopy procedure means the doctor will make small incisions in the abdominal area in which a laparoscope can pass through.  The surgeon will locate the cyst through the scope and can remove it. 

13 Year Old Boy: Porn Addict and Registered Sex Offender

By Brooke Strickland

Pornography is not what it once was.  The days of just looking at “risque” magazines are long gone – pornography has taken on a whole new level, one that is so cavernous that it’s hard to really grasp the depth of its reach. 

When Jaime first saw an online sex scene, he was only 10 years old. He admits that he thought it was gross and disturbing at first, but something about it stuck in his mind and he wanted to see more.  Soon, he was telling his parents that he was upstairs using the computer for homework, and for up to 2 hours a night, he was accessing all types of Internet pornography.  Three years later, at the age of 13, the police came knocking, trying to identify someone in the house that was accessing child pornography.  And even though he’s just a kid himself, he’s now officially on the registered sex offender list.  He admits he is ashamed and fears he will never be able to establish a healthy relationship with a girl – the images plague him and take over his thoughts at times.[1]

Surprisingly, this story is not unique.  There are thousands of young people referred to counselors and therapists every year for similar addictions.  These therapists will tell you that cases of young boys as young as 12 are telling them they’ve been viewing porn for several years and enjoy seeing women hurt.  Some say the Internet is their outlet for pent up sexual aggression and without Internet pornography, they would be at risk to actually acting on their fantasies with real women - a chilling reality. 

Excessive Internet use has been shown to physically alter the brain’s chemicals.  It’s important that moms and dads need to pay close attention to how much their children are using the Internet.  Leaving their children to their own devices is not only neglectful, but dangerous to their mental wellbeing.   Watch what your kids are watching.  Be mindful of what’s out there and play close attention to what’s out there. 

To read more about Internet and gaming addiction, visit www.hooked-on-games.com

[1] Woods, John.  “Jamie is 13 and hasn't even kissed a girl. But he's now on the Sex Offender Register after online porn warped his mind.” April 25, 2012.  Accessed April 27, 2012.

Does Kombucha offer health benefits?

By Brooke Strickland

Kombucha –  it’s been around for over 2,000 years and it’s been known to the Chinese as the Immortal Health Elixir.[1]  If you’re not sure what kombucha tea is, we’ll tell you.  It’s a fermented drink that’s made with bacteria, tea, yeast, and sugar. The liquid contains vinegar, B vitamins (including B1, B2, B6, and B12), vitamin C, probiotic acids, and more. 

But does it really hold up to its reputation of superior health benefits?

It’s been shown that drinking kombucha regularly can help boost your immune system, prevent cancer, bolster liver function, and improve digestion.  With a greater digestion system, the ability to get more nutrients while eating less is made, so kombucha can also aid in weight loss.  With increased liver function, your body detoxifies and in the long run, will help your overall well-being. It can also boost energy due to it being packed with lots of vitamins.  Also, because the sugars are converted during the fermentation process, it’s safe for diabetics to drink, as well as those who suffer with Candida. 

There have been a lot of studies conducted on the benefits of Kombucha.  One German doctor, Dr. Rudolf Sklenar, developed a biological cancer therapy based on Kombucha.  He found that it helped stimulate patients’ glandular systems and increased metabolism greatly.  Further, he helped treat several serious medical conditions in their early stages such as kidney stones, gout, rheumatism, arthritis, obesity, constipation, and more.[2]

There are millions of people that brew Kombucha at home.  But, because of its popularity among the general population as of recent, Kombucha teas are all over mainline grocery stores now.  People all over the world now use this as a daily health tonic and have seen dynamic results in helping detoxify their bodies, maintain a healthy immune system, and invigorate life.  Try it today and see if you notice a difference!

[1] “Kombucha Health Benefits.”  http://www.foodrenegade.com/kombucha-health-benefits/ Accessed April 5, 2012.

[2] “Why drink Kombucha Tea?”  http://www.anahatabalance.com/teakombucha2.html Accessed April 5, 2012.

Addictive Internet Use Linked To Teen Depression

By Brooke Strickland

A recent study released in Australia showed that teens that pathologically use the Internet have a greater risk of developing depression. At the beginning of the study, researchers classified 6.2 percent of the teens with moderate pathological Internet problems and 0.2 percent as high risk. Nine months later, researchers reevaluated the teens, looking for anxiety and depression and 0.2 percent had anxiety symptoms and 8.4 percent had become depressed. In addition, they found that depression risk was 2.5 times higher among teens that were addicted to the Internet versus those that were not. [1]

If you know a teen (or adult) that is showing signs of Internet addiction, it’s important to seek professional attention as soon as possible.  There are numerous studies out there showing that Internet addiction is real and can be detrimental to mental, physical, emotional, and relational health. Early intervention is key to identifying at-risk boys, girls, men, and women.  As technology continues to change, Internet addiction and spending too much time online will continue to be a problem in our society.  Schools and psychologists around the world now are considering ways to identify a way to screen children and adolescents for this addiction in order to find the most effective ways to counsel them and get control of the addiction. 

Parents should start monitoring how much time is spent on the Internet, so children can avoid falling into the trap of surfing the web or playing Internet games for hours on end.  Maintaining control on how much time is spent on the Internet is important for families of all kinds and if there are kids in a household struggling with Internet addiction, counseling should begin happening as soon as possible. 

 To read more about Internet and gaming addiction, visit www.hooked-on-games.com


[1] “Addictive Internet Use Tied to Depression in Teens.”  March 12, 2012.  Accessed April 17, 2012.  http://www.aaj.tv/2012/03/addictive-internet-use-tied-to-depression-in-teens/

Should I still exercise during pregnancy?

By Brooke Strickland

Your pregnancy is an exciting time in your life.  It’s also a time where your body is changing rapidly and it was once believed that pregnant women should not exert themselves in any way -- only rest and relax. While pregnant women should in fact get lots of rest, doctors and midwives all over the world recommend keeping active with light exercise.  Light exercising, especially in the last trimester, can offer many health benefits to both the mother and baby.  It’s been shown that moms that keep fit while pregnant can often shorten labor and after the baby is born your body is quicker to get back into shape.

What exercises are safe during pregnancy?

Walking:   Walking is probably one of the safest forms of exercise a woman can do while pregnant.  It gets the heart pumping and is usually safe to do up until the end of pregnancy.   

Yoga:  This is not only a way to maintain good muscle tone while pregnant, but also is a calming way to workout.  There are yoga moves adapted just for pregnant women, so find a yoga class or instructor that is adept in these moves. 

Swimming:  Swimming gets most all of your major muscle groups moving and doesn’t affect your joints or tummy.  It also helps with circulation and muscle tone.  There are usually classes at your local community center for pregnant moms who want to stay active in the water.

There are some important tips to remember, though if you’re pregnant and wanting to exercise regularly. 

Don’t exercise to lose weight:  Pregnancy is a time when it’s GOOD to gain weight.  You should only exercise to keep your weight gain within a safe and normal range, never to lose weight. This is very unhealthy for your baby.

Cool it down:  It’s important that pregnant women (especially in the first trimester) don’t overheat during their workouts.  Studies have shown that an elevated temperature in the mother can interfere with the baby’s development in the womb.

Don’t overdo it:  If you’re feeling worn out, dizzy, or short of breath, take a break.  Don’t overdo it – any sign of over exerting yourself means it’s time to stop.

Keeping these things in mind will help keep a pregnant mom healthy and the baby in her belly growing well.  Here’s to a healthy and safe pregnancy!