Question: irregular cycles and pregnancy

Jessica asked:

How possible is it for me to get pregnant by having sex 3 days after my period ended? I am irregular and normally have 35 to 40 days in my cycle.

With 35 to 40 days cycles, it may seem impossible to get pregnant by having sex 3 days after the end of the period, but actually it isn’t. Imagine the following scenario: your menstruation lasts for 6 days; you have sexual intercourse on the 9th day of the cycle; a good spermatozoa survives up to 5 days so, in this particular example, until the 14th day; this month, exceptionally, you have a 28 days cycle… you can get pregnant.

In this post, I explain how you to know the best timing to get pregnant.

Question: pregnancy symptoms

britt asked:

i think i maybe pregnant . i had my cycle on october 9th , i had sex on oct 20th. then on oct 30 i bleed but not a period but my dr said it was a regular period the dr did a urine pregnacy test and a blood test both were negative so she put me on the depo shot but i’m still having tender breast , gagging , alot of lower back pain , sharp pains in my side .i need to ask if i still could be pregnant . i sure would appreciate a answer as soon as possible .

The pregnancy blood test turns positive by the 8th day after conception. If the last time you had sex was on october 20th, a pregnancy seems very unlikely. Depo-provera is a very effective birth control method and all symptoms you mention are perfectly explained by the injection you took. One thing’s for sure – if you repeat a urine pregnancy test (as reliable as a blood test) and it turns negative again, you may be totally confident that you’re not pregnant.

5 enemies of your breasts and how to avoid them

The risk of developing breast cancer increases with factors beyond your control. These are:

- advanced age;
- family history of ovarian cancer (before the age of 50) and breast cancer (first-degree-relatives);
- personal history of genetic mutations (BRCA1/BRCA2);
- previous precancerous breast lesions;
- previous breast cancer;
- first menstrual period at an early age;
- first term pregnancy after the age of 30;
- late menopause;
- no previous pregnancies.

However, lifestyles and behaviours within our control are, in fact, linked to increased breast cancer risk. Here are the top 5 enemies of your breasts:

1. Obesity
Overweight women have an excess of fat cells. These produce a hormone – estrogen – that stimulates the development of breast cancers which are sensitive to these hormones. This effect is particularly important in post-menopausal women. Reducing the amount of fat cells in your body, adding to the well-known health advantages of a leaner body, also decreases the risk of this type of cancer.

2. Sedentary lifestyle
Regular exercise has been linked to a decrease in breast cancer risk. Adding to the advantages of fat cell reduction, another reason for exercising appears to be to the way it influences the metabolism of estrogens. Avoiding a sedentary lifestyle also reduces cholesterol levels and blood pressure as well as the chances of type 2 diabetes and heart diseases.

3. Alcohol consumption
Alcohol increases the risk of breast cancers sensitive to estrogen as a consequence of its role in increasing the levels of this hormone. Alcohol harms the cells’ DNA and this may be another reason of its aggressiveness.

4. Red meat
A 20-year study involving 89,000 women suggests that red meat may raise breast cancer. This study also suggests that the replacement of a daily serving of red meat with a combination of fish, vegetables, nuts, and poultry reduces the risk of breast cancer by 14%. Small adjustments to a diet may bring many benefits and open up a whole world of flavours yet to discover.

5. Hormonal replacement therapy
This therapy consists of a combination of estrogen and progestin (or just estrogen) that is used to treat symptoms related to menopause, such as night sweats and hot flashes. Women that take the estrogen and progestin combination have a higher risk of developing a breast cancer. If this treatment can’t be avoided, the lowest dose during the shortest possible period is the best strategy. Staying cool is a good alternative plan by reducing everything that’s hot, such as spicy foods, hot cloths, hot rooms… Favouring stress reducing activities, such as exercise, and yoga is effective as well.

Just had a baby? Are you feeling the blues? That’s not uncommon… but seek help!

Becoming a mother to a newborn baby can be a very challenging and life altering experience. You may feel that nothing will ever be the same, that for better and worse, life as you once knew is now a thing of a past that won’t ever come back. Childbirth can be so demanding that a significant number of women experience some kind of affective disorder. Puerperium, the phase lasting 6 weeks following birth, can be very stressful since nothing short of perfection is expected and a tornado of events may rip apart the enjoyment of what is supposed to be a once in a lifetime experience.

After birth, a woman experiences body and hormonal changes responsible for an understandable susceptibility to psychologic fragility. This fraught state can be deepened and further complicated by a poor marital relationship, lack of family support, financial difficulties, reaction to the unplanned pregnancy, existence of previous episodes of depression, preterm birth, traumatic delivery, breastfeeding issues, and baby colic. Baby care can become a difficult burden to bear and the anticipated joy is now replaced by feelings of guilt, disappointment, and, as a consequence, humor disorders arise.

There are three forms of affective disorders in terms of severity:

  • Post-partum blues affects 30–75% of new mothers. Symptoms such as irritability, mood lability, and tearfulness generally begin a few days after delivery and lasts from a couple of hours to several days. It’s time-limited and requires psychological support. However, up to 20% will develop major depression during the first year.
  • Post-partum depression affects 10–15%. Professional evaluation and possibly pharmacological treatment is required. First symptoms usually start within the first 6 weeks and may last from weeks up to several months. Suicidal thoughts are very common.
  • Post-partum psychosis is the most severe form of affective illness and affects 0,1–0,2% of mothers. There is a span of symptoms that may occur which include depression, disorganized behavior, and/or hallucinations. These symptoms set within 48–72 hours after birth and hospitalization is mandatory. Genetic inheritance seems to be the major risk factor for developing such a serious disorder. Infanticide and suicide may be the consequences of an unsuccessful treatment.

Proper treatment will benefit both mother and the baby. In fact, if untreated, it is not just the mother’s health which is in jeopardy: the mother-baby relationship and the baby’s development are as well. In severe cases, the mother may even become abusive towards her newborn and herself.

The Edinburg Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) is a 10 questions self-reported inquiry that may be used to reach this diagnosis.

Question: vaginal bleeding after intercourse

joyce asked:

I noticed blood coming out from my vagina and anus after vaginal intercourse.

what might be the cause?

There are several causes of bleeding after vaginal intercourse. But first let me state a couple of facts (I’m reusing a partial answer published before):

The cervix is the part of the uterus in direct contact with the vagina. Cervix morphology changes throughout a woman’s life, and these modifications are hormone related. In addition to those changes, several factors, such as sexual transmitted diseases, HPV infection, tobacco, and hormonal contraception, explain the development of cervical diseases (precancerous lesions for example) that may cause bleeding after vaginal intercourse. These are usually diagnosed with pap smears or biopsies. However, women may bleed after intercourse due to “cervical erosion” (also known as cervical ectropion) that occurs as a consequence of the hormonal status. So, bleeding after vaginal intercourse may occur as a consequence of cervical lesions but also when no serious cervical disease underlies.

Now, you tell me that you also bled from your anus after vaginal intercourse… are you sure? If that’s the case, a trauma as well as an anal lesion may be the cause.

You posed the question very vaguely, therefore I can’t be more specific. Here are some answers I would need in order to provide a more accurate response: How old are you? Did this happened for the first time without recurrence? Did you feel any pain? Did you recently notice a vaginal discharge? Did you notice any lesions? When was the last time you went to a gynecologist? When was the last time you took a pap smear? Do you take oral contraceptive pills?