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Why Cardiovascular Screenings are Importante

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And just like that we are close to the month February ending, but before we say goodbye. Let's talk Cardiovascular Health with Gabriela John. Gabriela is currently working for a non-profit as Health Educator for the WISEWOMAN program (well integrated screening and evaluation for women across the nation).  Gabriela previously worked in Mexico as Public Health Clinical Dietitian and had her own successful private practice for over 10 years. She graduated from the Universidad Autonoma and holds a Master's in Public Health with a concentration in Health Promotion.  

We are very fortunate to have Gabriela as part of the WISEWOMAN team to help navigate women to take care of their heart health and understand and reduce their risk for heart disease and stroke by providing services to promote lasting heart healthy lifestyles. Tune into this week's episode as Gabriela and I have a talk about why women should be taking care of their Corazones!


To know more about the  WISEWOMAN PROGRAM click on the link. 
If you like to email Gabriela she may be reached at lndggv@hotmail.com

It's American Heart Month!

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Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for Latinos in the United States. Health problems that increase the risk of heart disease are common in Latino communities, including being overweight and having high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. And to top it off, people with poor cardiovascular health are also at increase risk of severe illness from COVID-19. 

Hispanic/Latino women ages 20 and older in the United States: 78% are overweights, 35% have high blood pressure, 34% have high cholesterol, and 12% have been diagnosed with diabetes. And even though we have this demographics and information, I still see many Latina women live a sedentary lifestyle and not being cooperative or complaint with making lifestyle changes, checking their blood pressure at home nor taking medication. We have to do better, so let's start here by informing yourself how you can start taking action.

Here are a couple healthy lifestyle choices to keep in mind: 

1. Move each day (Aim for at least 2.5 hours of physical activity each week- that's just 30 minute a day, 5 days a week. In addition, do muscle strengthening exercises 2 days a week.)

2.  Follow a heart-healthy eating plan (having good nutrition meals can help lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels. If you feel a little lost about where to start find out if there is a Nutritionist, Health Educator, Dietitian that can help you out) 

3.  Manage your stress!!!!!! (Take time for SELF CARE) 

4. Get good quality of sleep ( Try not to cut yourself short, you will feel it, try to practice a night routine)

5. QUIT smoking (Tobacco and Nicotine are contributing factors to heart disease. Find out if there are Smoking Cessation services in your area) 

And three additional step for individuals with diagnoses of high blood pressure 

6. Check your blood pressure at home 

7. Take prescribed medication as directed, 

(if your unclear about medication ask provider if they have medication 

adherence counseling or class services available)

8. Report progress with your primary care provider 

These small efforts can make a big difference to keeping your heart healthy! 

I hope this educational blog post raises your awareness of how to prevent heart disease. 

References: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute


Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

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 And just like that, we are back in January and it's time to bring into light Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. 

"Each year in the United States, about 13,000 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed and about 4,000 women die of this cancer. Hispanic women have the highest rates of developing cervical cancer, and Black women have the highest rates of dying from cervical cancer (Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.)

Just reading this statistic makes me upset all together and raise many questions of course, but I want to focus in sharing the Inside Knowledge about Gynecologic Cancer Campaign with you ladies because I want to make sure you know about the five main types of gynecologic cancer: cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal, and vulvar. 

We have all heard the word "Cancer", but are you conciously aware about gynecological cancer? When I ask this question in general to women, a majority of them don't know about symptoms or the different types of cancer that can exist in our wombs. We need to change this narrative, so let me start by sharing some educational information, resources, and videos. 

Gynecological cancer is any cancer that starts in woman's reproductive organs. While gynecologic cancer are often discussed as a group, each is unique and has different signs, symptoms, risk factors, and prevention strategies. Cancer is always named for the part of the body where it starts, even if it spreads to other body parts later. 

Cervical Cancer is located in the Cervix. Sign and Symptoms: early on cervical cancer, may not have signs or symptoms. advance cervical cancer may cause bleeding or discharge from the vagina that is not normal for you. Remember there could be other underlying issues that may not be related to cancer, so it's recommended to see your doctor. 

Ovarian Cancer: is located in the Ovaries or in related areas of the fallopian tubes and the peritoneum. Signs and Symptoms: vaginal bleeding or discharge that is not normal for you. Pain or pressure in the pelvic area. Abdominal or back pain. Bloating. Feeling full to quickly or difficulty eating. A change in your bathroom habits.  Remember there could be other underlying issues that may not be related to cancer, so it's recommended to see your doctor. 

Uterine Cancer: the most common type of uterine cancer is also called endometrial cancer because it forms in the lining of your uterus, called the endometrium. Signs and Symptoms: may cause vaginal discharge or bleeding that is not normal for you. Bleeding may be abnormal because of how heavy it is or when it happens, such as after you have gone through menopause and between periods. Bleeding is never normal after your periods stop. Uterine cancer may also cause other symptoms, such as pain or pressure in your pelvis. Remember there could be other underlying issues that may not be related to cancer, so it's recommended to see your doctor (cdc, gynecologic cancer). 

Vaginal and Vulvar Cancer: when cancer starts in the vagina, it is called vaginal cancer. The vagina, also called birth canal, is the hollow, tube-like channel between the bottom of the uterus and the outside of the body. When cancer forms in the vulva, it is vulvar cancer. The vulva is the outer part of the female genital organs. It has two folds of skin called the labia. Vulvar cancer most often occurs on the inner edges of the labia. Vaginal Cancer Signs and Symptoms: may cause vaginal discharge or bleeding that is not normal for you. Bleeding may be abnormal because of how heavy it is or when it happens, such as after you have gone through menopause and between periods. Change in bathroom habits. Pain in your pelvic the area below your stomachh and in between your hip bones, especially when you pass urine or have sex. Vulvar Cancer Signs and Symptoms: Itching, burning, bleeding on the vulva that does not go away, changes in the colore of the skin of the vulva, so that it look redder or whiter than is normal for you, skin changes in the vulva, including what looks like a rash or warts, Sore, lumps, or ulcers on the vulva that do not go away. Pain in your pelvis, especially when you urinate or have sex. Remember there could be other underlying issues that may not be related to cancer, so it's recommended to see your doctor. 

Wow! that is a lot of information right and I am just sharing a minor portion. Okay, let's take a break and watch an educational video. 

The Inside Knowledge Campaign came more into light with Johanna's Law who died of ovarian cancer in 2000. Her story made an impact on women's health initiatives, so it was important for me to start the new year with sharing a little information about the five types of gynecological cancer because as women we are often busy taking care of everyone else that we often dismiss symptoms. So it's time to change that narrative and follow up with medical and/or holistic providers to get screen, ask questions, and have a plan of care. 

We take care of our families by making sure they get their health check-ups, so why not take care of ourselves? Janna H., Cervical Cancer Survivor

Mujer, are you Highly Sensitive Person?

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It's Tuesday! And this one goes out to my mujeres who think or feel that you may be that highly sensitive person. We know already there is a highly negative stigma associated with being too sensitive y por lo menos la familia te llama dramatica y chillona! Si, you read that right and most people take that to the heart and force yourself to numb your true emotions, but the consequence of numbing is that you leave a negative lasting impression that will affect every part of your work and personality. 

Y pues eso no es bueno... amiga. Let me tell you something, if you are a highly sensitive person, I want you to know that your ability to feel things make you a nurturer and a healer in other words a person with compassion and understanding. People we need today because of all the b.s. in today's world, but also not to be taking advantage of because Karma is REAL. 

Y con eso dicho, a HSP seeks meaning to life because you are on the a journey to finding a meaning to life, your purpose and your magic. Yes, you enjoy things like everyone else, but you are a seeker, you dive deep into feelings which can be good, but bad if you your are imbalance with your emotions. And the reason it can be bad is because imbalance emotions can make you prone to depression and susceptible to trigger self-esteem and anxiety issues.

This is why it's important to seek solitude and have breaks intervals monthly, quarterly, and yearly. Breaking away to recharge is necessary for you mind, body, and soul. So retrieving yourself for some downtime is necessary for your energy that contributes to your health and well-being. The stigma we need to break with being emotional is that yes it can be messy, but necessary at the same time, so your body and mind don't become stagnant and prone to severe heath condition that distance your soul from living an meaningful life. 

Imagine having a society without HSP (Imagine, Imagine, Imagine). We would lack empathy and a lack of empathy is a root cause for issues we face today. So, be glad if you are a Highly Sensitive Person because you provide balance in an unbalanced environment. And as a reminder to my HSP people feel the emotion and let it go if it doesn't serve a purpose.  

Emotions, Pain, and Rebirth

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 Hello Ladies.....

We officially made into August and I am slowly coming back. I know what you are thinking.....how many times have I hear this before? But truly you will relate because you are also walking in my shoes because we are all going through some easy and/or really ugly nasty transitions in life! 

So... what is the deal Lily...why am I reading this?! Here is the thing ladies, we are all working on re-birthing ourselves, our strength, our wisdom, our self-love and much more. But before we can enjoy the remodeling of "Me" and "You" we must first acknowledge the pain and messiness that left an imprint in our mind and stagnation in our bodies. Yeah you know the pain that is tied to your emotion that seems to haunt you because you keep permitting those memories, situations, and/or trauma to recycle back into your life!!

I know we've all prayed for a do-over, a second chance, a clean slate only to find ourselves confronted with terror that you thought you had erased (possibly maybe even healed from), but all you did was repressed and tuck those feelings real deep within yourself. Nevertheless, that fear is sometimes present in our life because we are going through transitions that may open up those repressed feelings. Whether we are intentionally seeking it or not... we are tapping into those energies within ourselves because we still got work to do.

So, now is the time to reclaim your re-birth and tap and discover the inner wisdom that is tied to God and Divine. Rather than brush your repressed emotions, ask yourself, what would you like to learn from them. Activate your self-reflection and establish some mindful practices that feeds your soul such as: nature, daily prayers, reading, and social activities to re-claim your healing journey and create new experiences. 

And don't forget to honor your body by eating healthy, exercising, resting, and practicing self-love. Stand with your emotions and make space for clarity and breathe in your presence.  It's time to let go of the wounds that have caused physical illness. Your alive. Create and make space in your consciousness for a new chapter to begin. 

I look forward to hosting a self-love workshop towards end of August. 

Keeping Momma's Connected During Baby Formula Shortage

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 It's not surprising that many mother's like myself are concern with the shortage on baby formula that been prolonging more than it should be. And it's been tough ladies...... to find a certain baby formula brand and it's no where to be found..... this has been the situation for many mother's like myself. I've been helping out mom's behind the scenes and searching for resources and where to find their brand when I am able to. But I can say the same for my needs, I am sadden that the baby formula my baby needs is nowhere to be found, but I am lucky I have a few cans (2) left to provide him until I need to search for an alternative brand. 

If you are a mother concern about switching brands talk to your pediatrician and let them know about your concerns, baby's age, how they are doing with there formula feedings, weight, growth, etc. This is exactly what I did,since my baby is 6 months and is able to tolerate formula well and cereal, so with the consult of a pediatrician it may be okay to switch, so I will be on the hunt for a new brand....but the major concern is if it will be in stores or online.

 In a meanwhile, I wanted to share some resources for my mom community: 

Keeping Families Safe During Formula Shortage

There’s nothing as important to families as the health and safety of their babies, and the formula shortage has left many people wondering how they’ll feed them.

infant formula facts

Additional Community Resources

  • Locate your nearest Community Action Agency (CAA): Your local CAA may be able to give you formula or connect you with local agencies that have formula.
  • Call 211United Way’s 2-1-1 can connect you to a community resource specialist who may be able to help you find local food pantries and other sources of formula.
  • Find an accredited milk bank. The Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA) gives donated breast milk to families in need. You may need a prescription from your pediatrician or other health care provider to get donated breast milk from HMBANA.

I hope you find this information helpful.

The Benefits of Pelvic Floor Exercises

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Happy Monday Ladies!

I am slowly returning back to creative writing for the blog. And to say the least, I would like to dedicate the first 2022 blog post to be about Pelvic Floor Exercises in women's health and for postpartum recovery. 

To be quite honest, pelvic floor exercises should be taught right around the same time as menstruation health because this will be a vital window for young girls and women to know how to heal, support, and exercise the pelvic region as well as become familiar with the organs and muscles involved in the reproductive system. 

Yet, our health education system lacks to share this knowledge with women which can increase delay in care and/or have certain symptoms worsen if not address early on. The reason I bring this up is because during my postpartum recovery I wished the OB/GYN and/or Nurse would have informed me to engage in pelvic floor exercises for healing after giving birth to my son. I knew after giving birth things would heal slowly from the cervix, uterus, and vaginal area, but I was not expecting for certain things to pop up and cause further discomfort and pain.  I thought to myself it was part of the healing process while I was placing my son's care first, but eventually I realized I needed further follow up after the 6 weeks postpartum appointment. 

May I also say, it's also unrealistic to get one postpartum follow up with the OB/GYN after giving birth, it should be at least a minimal 3 postpartum visits  to check on the mother's recovery physically and mentally.  I might want to look into this policy further because it's a crucial time for women to have follow ups available for prosper recovery. Okay, now that I vented a little, let's get to the main point of this blog post. Today, I like to share why women can benefit from pelvic floor exercises early on. 

Pelvic floor muscle exercises can help with the following:

  • improve bladder and bowel control
  • reduce the risk of prolapse (especially after giving birth!!) 
  • in women, this may feel like a bulge in the vagina or feeling of heaviness, discomfort, pulling, dragging, or dropping (make sure you f/u up with a OB/GYN right away to find out if you do have a prolapse and what organ is involved as well as the level of prolapse you are experiencing.)
  • Improve recovery from childbirth and gynaecological surgery 
  • Improve sexual sensation or orgasm potential (who wouldn't want this!!) 
  • Help strengthen pelvic floor muscles to reduce pain 
  • (I also believe it can help with pelvic trauma healing because you are using your own body movement and breath work to release the pain your holding emotionally) 
  • It can also be practice during menstruation cycle and paying attention to your relaxation phase during a kegel exercise can be a great way to help reduce pain and tension during your period. 
Now that you know a little bit about the benefits, it's important to know as women we have different levels of pain tolerance during birth and/or surgery recovery as well as everyone experiences their period differently and should choose what feels right for you during this time. Remember if you pain lingers or you feel any type of symptom that is prolonging or worsening in the pelvic region make sure to follow up with your provider such as OB/GYN, Midwives, Nurse Practitioners they can always further evaluate and make recommendations. 

Below are a few examples of some pelvic floor exercises, but if you need assistance with these exercises or don't how to engage the muscles or  technique a physical therapist can help assist you in these areas to help engage those pelvic floor muscles and get you on your way to strengthening your muscles while at the same time supporting your recovery. Remember not all exercises can be applied to everyone, so if you need some support in this area have a conversation with your medical provider to get a referral for a pelvic floor therapist. 

Also like to share this great resource below: 

Covered by most insurances