• Zika Virus: What Expectant Moms Need to Know About Traveling

    Are you planning to travel this holiday season to visit your loved ones? If so, you may need to take extra precautions if you’re expecting. Talk to your midwife in Arlington Heights about whether it’s safe for you to travel. The safety concerns associated with air travel during pregnancy aren’t the only issues you should consider. Depending on your destination, your midwife may recommend changing your plans to reduce the risk of your exposure to Zika virus. pregnancy - health

    Understanding the Zika Virus

    The Zika virus, which currently has no vaccine or cure, is spread primarily through mosquito bites. It can also be spread from person to person during sex. Most people who develop Zika experience a mild illness that generally resolves within a week. The major concern with Zika is the potential for the virus to be transmitted to a fetus when the mother becomes infected. Zika has been known to cause severe brain defects, including microcephaly.

    Researching Current Location-Specific Risks

    The geographical spread of Zika is subject to change over time. Your midwife can check the current risks of Zika in the area where you plan to travel. Zika has been confirmed in many locations, including the Bahamas, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, and others. Closer to home, Zika has also been confirmed in Florida.

    Considering a Change of Plans

    If you are already pregnant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you do not travel to any areas in which Zika has been confirmed. Consider asking your loved ones if they would be willing to travel to your home instead. If you’re not yet pregnant, but you are trying to conceive, talk to your midwife about whether restricting your travel would be wise. The CDC advises against nonessential travel for women who are trying to conceive. If your partner travels to these areas, you’ll need to take precautions to guard against Zika transmission during sex. Your midwife can advise you of how long you should wait to have unprotected sex after your partner has potentially been exposed to Zika.

  • A Woman’s Introduction to Menopause

    Menopause is a part of life for all women as they transition out of their childbearing years. During menopause, women stop ovulating and experience a significant drop in estrogen levels that can cause a wide range of symptoms. Fortunately, it is possible to manage your menopause symptoms in Arlington Heights with the help of your gynecologist.

    Menopause typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 50, though the range varies significantly. During menopause, the hormonal changes can cause hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain, night sweats, sleep disturbances, and loss of bone tissue. A gynecologist can help to manage these symptoms with hormone replacement therapy and advice for lifestyle changes that can keep uncomfortable symptoms in check.

  • Your Guide to Preventing Osteoporosis

    Osteoporosis is characterized by weak, brittle bones that are at a high risk of fracturing due to falls or even mild physical trauma like coughing. It’s often thought that osteoporosis is inevitable for women who are of menopause age . And indeed, the work of preventing osteoporosis should ideally begin well before a woman enters menopause. However, it’s never too late to begin improving the health of your bones, even if you’ve already begun to experience menopause symptoms. To get started, talk to your provider about having a healthy menopause in Arlington Heights. osteoporosis - symptoms

    Nutrition

    Healthy nutrition is a cornerstone of osteoporosis prevention. For a well-balanced diet, women should choose a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat or nonfat dairy products. A well-balanced diet can help women under 50 get 1,000 milligrams of calcium every day. Older women should aim for 1,200 milligrams of calcium daily for bone health. Vitamin D is also important for building strong bones. Women who are 70 or younger should get 600 units of vitamin D daily, while those who are older should get 800 units daily.

    Exercise

    Regular physical activity is essential at every stage of life. Weight-bearing exercise strengthens bones as well as muscles. Some good examples of weight-bearing exercises include walking, stair climbing, jogging, tennis, dancing, yoga, and hiking. Strength training with weights or resistance bands is also a smart idea.

    Lifestyle

    In addition to eating well and exercising regularly, you can make other healthy lifestyle choices to reduce your risk of osteoporosis. These include not smoking and limiting your alcohol consumption. Smoking is significant for bone health because it inhibits the ability of the bones to absorb calcium by interfering with the way the body uses vitamin D. Smoking also lowers a woman’s estrogen levels. At menopause, a woman’s estrogen levels have already begun declining considerably. Smoking will worsen this effect and further increase the risk of osteoporosis. Additionally, it’s widely recommended that women consume no more than one alcoholic beverage per day, if any. Consuming more alcohol than this may increase your risk of osteoporosis because it can act on the liver in a way that interferes with the activation of vitamin D. Alcohol can also affect the absorption of calcium.

  • Get to Know Dr. Karen L. Collins

    When you become a patient at Northwest Professional Obstetrics & Gynecology , you’ll quickly realize that our practice was built on the principles of compassionate, patient-focused, and family centered care. Dr. Karen L. Dr. Karen L. Collins Collins embodies those values by forming partnerships with her patients. Before Dr. Collins joined our gynecology practice, she earned her undergraduate degree in chemistry from Northwestern University. After completing medical school at the University of Illinois, Chicago, Dr. Collins went on to complete her residency at Rush Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center. She provided gynecology and other women’s health services at other local practices before joining our practice for gynecology near Arlington Heights.

    Dr. Collins’ special interests include menopause management and preventive wellness. She is proud to help women take charge of their wellness by explaining screening exams that are appropriate for various life stages. Dr. Collins has taken an interest in alternative and complementary medicine, and enjoys hearing from her patients about the tools or resources that may have worked well for them.