Healthy Living Women's Health

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    There seems to be as many different triggers for eczema flare-ups as there are people who have eczema. If you have this skin condition, then you know it can be very difficult to pinpoint your own personal triggers. Some things around your house that you would never have even considered a danger to your health can send your eczema into a tizzy.

    While the exact cause of eczema is still unknown, many doctors think eczema is linked to allergies like hay fever or asthma. In other cases, eczema is believed to be linked to food allergies, which means you might need to keep an eye on the dairy or wheat in your diet. Some of the other common eczema triggers that you should keep your eye on are as follows.

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    When it comes to breast cancer, many of us understand and are willing to accept the fact that a miracle cure may not be in the cards at the moment. With that said, news of any drug that could help patients by stalling the disease so that it doesn't rapidly progress is pretty great. Imagine being able to stop time -- if only for a few months -- while docs continue to work on finding new and additional treatments to combat your disease. Kind of challenges your notion of miraculous, doesn't it?

    An experimental breast cancer drug called palbociclib is currently undergoing studies because it reportedly can nearly double the amount of time patients live with the disease without it spreading and getting worse. Here's the skinny on it.

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    The next time you get annoyed because FedEx or a similar mail carrier has misplaced your package, think of how Marline Van Duyne feels. The 47-year-old, who was diagnosed with breast cancer this year, underwent a preventive double masectomy in Utah last month and then waited, scared for her life, to find out what she would need to do to keep the cancer from returning. Her breast tissue and tumor were transported to a lab that could test it to determine whether chemotherapy would be needed.

    Marline waited. And waited. And waited. And the answer didn't come -- because, as it turns out, she says she has reason to believe FedEx lost her breast tissue sample.

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    If you have eczema, you know that a flare-up is no fun at all. There is not much that I wouldn’t do to avoid that pain and discomfort. However, if you find yourself itchy and irritated, there are things you can do to not exacerbate the situation. Take a look at our tips for making that flare-up as painless as possible.

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    No offense to the guys out there, but we women have always been on the losing side when it comes to being able to protect ourselves from both pregnancy AND HIV. The only birth control method we've been able to use up until now to prevent both is condoms. And, as wonderful as they are, it isn't always easy as a woman to feel confident that we can trust our partners when it comes to using condoms correctly. A new device has just been revealed that may put women in the driver's seat when it comes to taking full control and responsibility of our sexual health.

    The intravaginal ring is a 5.5-cm ring that is inserted into the vagina and contains both levonorgestrel, a synthetic progestin hormone, and tenofovir, an anti-retroviral drug. 'Til now, researchers have not been able to find a way to combine the two drugs. This innovation could spell big, positive changes for women everywhere.

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    Eczema and dry skin are very similar skin conditions. It's not unusual for dry skin and eczema to appear separately or in conjunction with each other, but they are actually two very distinct conditions. I suffer from both and I can tell you, while each can be bothersome, dry skin is definitely easier to deal with in the long run.

    Here's how to tell the difference between dry skin and eczema.

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    Just this summer the emergency contraception known as Plan B One Step was approved to sell off the shelf to anyone who needs it, regardless of your age. Now the "morning after" pill just got cheaper and easier to buy. The FDA is now allowing the generic version of Plan B to be sold without proof of age as well -- at about half the price of the original. There is a catch: The box reads that the pill is for women age 17 and older. However, that's a guideline. It's still legal for girls under 17 to buy generic Plan B.

    Plan B is now less expensive and more accessible -- but you still need to be careful about how you take it. Here's what women should know about this medication before you try it.

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    So how are those birth control pills working out for you? Feeling a little moody and bloated? Sick of Depo-Provera shots? Diaphragm killing your spontaneity? Can't take the six months of non-stop bleeding from your IUD? Not a fan of the taste of condoms? Failed by the pull-out method? Not feeling the rhythm of the rhythm method? (I could do this all day!) No matter where you go for your birth control, one thing is clear: It's hard to find the perfect solution.

    So can you blame us for getting a little bit excited every time we hear about a new birth control method? But there are limits to the things I'll try. Here's some outside-the-condom-box ideas that get big points for creativity ... but I think I'll let someone else try them first and tell me how they work.

    Would you try any of these?

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    You know how doctors are always advising pregnant women not to eat soft cheese because if it's contaminated, it could cross the placenta? Fans of soft cheese are always quick to point out that incidents of food poisoning from cheese are actually quite rare ... -ish. Oh, by the way, I'm one of those people. But a recent food poisoning story is making me reconsider. Eight people have recently become ill from cheese contaminated with listeria. One of those people died. Of the illnesses, there are two pairs of mothers and newborns, plus a third newborn. In all three cases, it appears the newborns were exposed to the listeria in the womb.

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    A new study, published this week in the British Medical Journal, revealed that having routine mammograms makes no difference in whether a woman's life is spared from breast cancer. The study followed nearly 90,000 women over a 25-year period. Half of the women were randomly assigned to mammogram testing, and the other half were not and were instructed instead to perform breast exams at home. An identical number of breast cancer deaths was found in each group 25 years later -- mammogram or no mammogram. Researchers found that the only difference was more women who had mammograms were "overdiagnosed" and underwent unnecessary surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy treatments.

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