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As a society, we’ve been conditioned to believe that it’s taboo to discuss certain topics. Unfortunately, avoiding “uncomfortable” conversations can have significant — even life-altering — consequences.  Seattle obstetrician and gynecologist, Dr. Sarah de la Torre, answers the questions we are too embarrassed to ask!

CAN I TIGHTEN MY VAGINA?

It’s a legitimate question!  “Vaginal laxity, or the feeling of vaginal looseness, is common, especially after childbirth,” shares Dr. de la Torre.  Solutions range from invasive surgical procedures, medically known as vaginoplasty, to non-invasive options. Radio frequency treatments, such as InMode’s Votiva, are performed in a clinical setting, but do not require anesthesia and allow for minimal downtime.  One popular at-home prosumer (professional-consumer) devices, is the vFit, which use LED, heat, and sonic vibration to improve intimate wellness.

WHY IS MY PERIOD SO HEAVY?

Nobody likes it when Aunt Flo comes for her monthly visit.  Yet, if your period is particularly overbearing, it could be the sign of a bigger problem.  Menorrhagia is the medical term for menstrual periods with abnormally heavy or prolonged bleeding. In most cases, women with heavy flows do not experience blood loss severe enough to be defined as menorrhagia.  Common causes of menorrhagia include adenomyosis, endometriosis, fibroids, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), or even cancer, warns Dr. de la Torre. “Don’t suffer in silence. Ask your doctor.”

WHY AM I EXPERIENCING VAGINAL DRYNESS (EVEN THOUGH I AM STILL ATTRACTED TO MY PARTNER)?

You’re not alone! Unfortunately, this is a reality that many women face after childbirth, breastfeeding or just aging in general. Menopause is a big player in this. The good news is that there are many options, from prescription and non-prescription topical vaginal treatments and non-medicated lubricants and moisturizers, to prescription topical forms of estrogen therapy.   “All you’ve got to do is ask your doctor,” suggests Dr. de la Torre.

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5 THINGS YOU ARE TOO EMBARRASSED TO ASK YOUR DOCTOR


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When shopping pricey skincare products, its best to be savvy about claims and have realistic expectations.  There are no firming or tightening products whose results can duplicate what one receives from in-office medical procedures such as dermal fillers, Botox, lasers, or cosmetic surgery.  Yet, some products can garner desired  results for a finite amount of time. Harriet Ploeger, Executive Director of Swiss results-driven skincare brand, Instytutum, asserts, “While some cream promise to freeze lines and wrinkles or plump and lift the skin, the effects are simply temporary.”

That is not to say that one will not receive an immediate tightening effect; however, Ploeger warns of the condition of the skin after application.  Typically, the gel-textured product contracts, dehydrating the skin and often causing pilling, like a facial mask.  Denver Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Manish Shah, concurs.  “Almost without exception, when you buy a product claiming to tighten skin, its effects, if any, are due to ingredients such as film-forming agents. Just like the name states, film-forming agents form a film on the skin, and that can make the skin ‘feel’ tighter.” Read more of this story »

CAN PRODUCTS REALLY FREEZE, PLUMP, AND LIFT?


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As more and more cosmetic procedures become readily available and mainstream, easy access to treatments and procedures come with serious concerns. As captured on the popular TV show “Botched,” things can go wrong, causing deformities and even life-threatening consequences. Anyone can call himself a cosmetic surgeon; however, to be considered a plastic surgeon one must be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Dr. Stanley Poulos, a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon in the San Francisco area, offers the following red flags not to ignore when considering a cosmetic procedure.

DISCOUNT COUPONS  — Discount coupons make sense if you’re looking for a haircut or a massage, not for plastic surgery. “Don’t bargain shop when it comes to something serious like surgery,” Dr. Poulos warns. “You want to make sure you research the average prices and if something seems too steep of a discount, beware!”

THE SURGEON IS NOT BOARD-CERTIFIED — Look for credentials: someone who is Board-Certified in plastic surgery is accredited by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. If they are, they usually have this credential prominently visible in their office and on their website. This means the surgeon has had at least six years of surgical training with two or three years devoted specifically to plastic surgery, has passed rigorous oral and written examinations and has demonstrated safe and ethical surgical practice.

LOFTY PROMISES  — “Any surgeon that promises to make you look like a celebrity or says he can make you look 30 years younger, is over-promising,” emphasizes Dr. Poulous.  “A skilled surgeon knows the potential and limitations of surgery and will be clear about this from the start. A good surgeon will want you to look like an improved version of you, not someone else.”

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COSMETIC PROCEDURES: RED FLAGS NOT TO IGNORE