Beauty, Medical & Health Public Relations
POSTED ON WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2016 AT 3:00 PM
We’ve all eaten or imbibed something that didn’t agree with us, or caught a stomach bug that was settled with rest, over-the-counter aids and some chicken broth. While many times we can go it alone and solve a stomach ache ourselves, there are certainly times when it’s necessary to see a doctor. Dr. Gina Sam is a Gastroenterologist with Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and an Associate Professor. She provides insights on symptoms indicative of common abdominal conditions and advises when it’s time to see the doctor.
Common symptoms include feeling full fast during a mean, a slicing pain, burning or tightness between your breastbone and navel or bloating. The tricky thing with indigestion is that it can be triggered by something else that is worse. Persistent indigestion may be a side effect of a medication, caused by smoking, thyroid disease, ulcers, infection, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). “If you rarely have indigestion and feel funny or discomfort after a spicy meal that may go away on its own. However, if indigestion is a daily occurrence for more than 2 weeks and is coupled with trouble swallowing, fatigue or weakness, then absolutely see your doctor to be sure it isn’t due to something more serious,” advises Dr. Sam.
When the small intestine fails to product enough lactase, an enzyme that digests milk sugar (lactose) food reaches the colon before it has been processed and absorbed. Undigested lactose interacts with normal bacteria in the colon leading to diarrhea, nausea, bloating, cramping, gas and sometimes even vomiting. These symptoms usually begin 30 minutes to two hours after consuming foods or drinks with lactose. Dr. Sam explains that the challenge with lactose intolerance is that it often leads to calcium deficiency so it’s always a good idea to see your doctor to create a plan that explores which foods trigger discomfort and which are still okay.
According to Dr. Sam, “kidney stones don’t cause symptoms until they pass on from the kidney toward your bladder. That’s when there may be cloudy or foul smelling urine that can appear brown or pink. There may also be a frequent need to urinate but the ability to urinate small amounts. Nausea and vomiting along with fever and chills are also symptoms. Usually when lower back pain is so severe sleeping and even sitting is difficult the patient seeks medical attention.” She adds, “When you have kidney stones you just know something isn’t right, yet sometimes it takes people longer to see several symptoms before they seek medical attention.”
While it’s more common to people ages 10-20, it can strike at any age. Typical symptom are pain specifically in the lower right quadrant of the abdomen however, half of those with appendicitis have pain elsewhere. Also not everyone has his or her appendix in the same place making the pain site vary. “This is why it is important to monitor symptoms closely. Many of the symptoms are similar to ones associated with other conditions such as kidney stone, Crohn’s disease; even ectopic pregnancy,” offers Dr. Sam. She further explains that the patient can expect several tests (blood, urine, MRI, CT or ultrasound) to confirm diagnoses. Some doctors don’t want to risk waiting for test results and based on how the patient describes his or her own symptoms may opt to surgically remove the appendix.
Gallstones are stones that form in the gallbladder, a tiny sac that hangs out under the liver, disgorging bile as needed to digest fats. These stones cause swelling and can block the duct into the intestine, resulting in pain. Gallstone pain tends to strike the right side of the upper abdomen, particularly after fatty meals. Such meals trigger the gallbladder to contract. “If the gallbladder is inflamed, any contraction of that nature will be amplified and typically will cause pain to the patient,” says Dr. Sam
Medication side effects
“No drug is without side effects and sometimes that includes abdominal pain.
Oral bisphosphonates, a popular class of drugs that helps preserve bone density and prevent osteoporosis, can cause swelling—and therefore pain—in the lower esophagus,”, says Dr. Sam.
Pain medications known as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen and aspirin can also cause swelling in the stomach lining and may even lead to ulcers.
Rule of thumb is to trust the gut. When something feels more serious, it usually is. Some stomach issues can either be symptoms of other more serious issues or if left unaddressed, can escalate into something worse. “Whenever you’re feeling prolonged discomfort and sharp pain it’s worth seeing your doctor,” advises Dr. Sam.
About the doctor:
Dr. Gina Sam, MD/MPH is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York. She is the Director of the Mount Sinai Gastrointestinal Motility Center specializing in achalasia, gastroesophageal reflux, functional disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroparesis, and anorectal disorders including pelvic floor dyssnergia and fecal incontinence.
POSTED ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2016 AT 1:34 PM
While most dermatologists and doctors preach the benefits of drinking more water, water gets boring. Perhaps you’ve done just about everything to make your plain glass of water more enjoyable. If you’re running out of ideas and are tempted to reach for a caffeinated beverage you’re not alone. We talked to the experts who gave us six fresh infused water recipes that’ll pack a punch of flavor and add health and beauty benefits to your H2O! If you’re new to infused water it’s easy. Chop up the ingredients, let them sit over night in your water pitcher and sip your way to healthy hydration inside and out.
1. Mango Ginger
This combo might seem weird, but adding the health benefits of ginger and the antioxidant power of mangoes is a surprisingly tasty mix! “Mangoes contain so many vitamins that help boost your immune system. It has antioxidants that maintain youthful glowing skin and aid in the production of blood cells,” says Dr. Christopher Calapai D.O. an anti-aging expert and long-time health advisor to the New York Rangers hockey team. “Ginger is also helpful in fighting infection, has been linked to lower cholesterol levels, may reduce muscle aches, and helps digestion,” adds Dr. Calapai.
2. Grapefruit Rosemary
Recently rosemary was found to be the main ingredient eaten by residents of an Italian village with one of the highest populations of people who live past 100! “Rosemary improves circulation and sends more blood to the brain which is linked to greater concentration and potentially reduces risk of Alzheimer’s,” says Dr. Calapai. Grapefruit is not only delicious but it’s a natural fat burner, boosts metabolism and cleanses your liver.
3. Melon Mix
Cut up watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe chunks and throw into your water over night. “This melon variety tastes great and is amazing for your skin,” says Dr. Kally Papantoniou board certified dermatologist and clinical instructor at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York. “Melons are immensely hydrating, meaning more hydration per cup of water. They are also chock-full of antioxidants that keep skin clear plus they contain vitamins that promote collagen production which helps skin cell turnover.”
4. Citrus Mint
Pick your favorite citrus fruits, cut up into slices and add some crushed mint. “Adding mint to your water is not only extra refreshing but also improves digestive health and can speed up your metabolism,” says Dr. Calapai. “Mint actually contains salicylic acid, a potent acne fighter,” says Dr. Papantoniou. “It’s also well known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties which work to calm irritation both on your skin or internally,” she adds.
5. Cucumber Lavender
“The reason so many spas use cucumber based treatments is because it contains many skin friendly minerals like magnesium, potassium and silicon,” says Dr. Papantoniou. “This mix is especially healthy,” says Dr. Calapai “Cucumbers are powerful detoxifiers, flushing out any waste in your system. Adding crushed lavender to the mix not only adds a beautiful aroma but can also help digestion as lavender contains polyphenols that reduce bad bacteria in your gut, making your system run smoother,” he explains.
6. Pineapple Coconut Water
This one is almost cheating… almost. Get your favorite store bought raw coconut water and refrigerate over night with large chunks of pineapple. The coconut-pineapple flavor combo is delicious and reminiscent of a piña colada without all the sugar and calories. Although this is not pure H2O, coconut water contains electrolytes which plain water does not, which rehydrate you in record time. “Pineapple is yet another fruit that aids in collagen production,” says Papantoniou “This is not just great for beautiful skin, collagen also has a major role in bone health and tissue repair.”
Clearly there are benefits to keeping hydrated. Water does not have to be boring, it can be delicious. Drink up!
POSTED ON MONDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2016 AT 3:37 PM
Lip Obsessed? 4 Tips for Luscious Lips
The desire for full lips is not anything new. From classic bombshells like Brigette Bardot and Sophia Loren to today’s starlets such as Margot Robbie, Angelina Jolie and Rihanna luscious, kissable lips is a trend that never goes out of style. Kylie Jenner has made lip augmentation a hot topic with countless selfie pouts and millions of Instagram followers. Social media is always buzzing with debates over models with fuller lips. How full is too full? When does it start looking fake?
Why such an obsession with a perfect pout? We spoke to Dr. John Zannis board certified plastic surgeon in New Bern North Carolina, to get to the bottom of why now, more than ever the lips are a facial focal point and what women can do to achieve the look.
People see Kylie Jenner’s Instagram and think they’ll just get lip injections too. “The more that celebrities admit to having lip injections and the more attention this particular procedure gets in the media, the more accessible it becomes. The danger is that the procedure is complicated. Not just anyone can do a lip augmentation,” explains Dr. Zannis.
There are ways to work with what you got. Dr. Zannis explains that the key is to strive for facial symmetry. “If you use lip liners, glosses and other cosmetics to create a fuller look consider your other features and natural lip shape.”
4 Tips for Luscious Lips
1. Use matte liquid lipstick.
Liquid lipstick is popular because it’s easy! It goes on like a lip-gloss but dries matte on your lips like a lipstick and is nearly impossible to smear or take off without makeup remover. Liquid lipstick ideal for creating a bombshell look for night out or special occasion where you want lipstick to stay put for a long time.
You can use it to make your lips appear fuller, shapely and defined, depending on what your “perfect look” entails. Try one of the best-reviewed brands like LA Splash Cosmetics or Kat Von D.
2. Go for lip fillers.
Dr. John Zannis who works with fillers explains that lip fillers are a great option if you want to alter the shape and volume of your lips semi-permanently. “They mostly contain hyaluronic acid, which can be injected safely in multiple sessions. The amount is easy to control by a skilled cosmetic surgeon or licensed professional, which allows you to achieve your goal gradually. The effects last around six months, at which point you may do another round of injections.” He goes on to say that achieving a natural look is the goal and that over-filled cartoon mouths look distorted.
3. Try some cool contouring techniques.
Contouring is another awesome makeup trick to achieve a fuller look. It involves using lighter and darker shades of makeup to play up your features and give you a more defined, chiseled look. The great part is you probably have all you need in your makeup bag already. There are plenty lip-contouring tutorials on YouTube for free.
4. Use a lip plumper.
Lip plumpers are great in that they are easy to use, are non-invasive, work fast and are affordable. They’re typically infused with lip tingling ingredients like cinnamon, pepper and peppermint which leads to an instant yet slight swelling.
Too Faced Lip Injection Extreme is a popular choice amongst make-up artists and beauty industry pros. When used both morning and night the difference is noticeable fast!
Clearly there are many options to achieve your “perfect” pout. Experiment!
POSTED ON THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2016 AT 11:34 AM
Chances are that you are doing all you can to maintain youthful looking skin. You may be diligent about wearing sunscreen daily, using an anti-aging product, and applying moisturizer. However, there are a few mistakes that people often make, not realizing that they are sabotaging their skin and causing extra wrinkles. Dr. Kally Papantoniou a board certified New York Dermatologist who often sees “skin saboteurs” in her practice, shares 10 skin sins that are easily avoidable. Be honest, are you guilty of any of the following?
1) Not wearing sunglasses
While it is important to protect your eyes against harmful ultra violet rays sunglasses do more than just protect your eyes. They also play a role in protecting the thinner skin of the eye area against aging. Dr. Papantoniou says, “Repetitive squinting in bright light can lead to crow’s feet, which often require dermal fillers to smooth again. Keep sunglasses in your car so you’re less likely to find yourself out and about without them.”
2) Substituting sunscreen for a moisturizer
While it’s great that you have made using sunscreen part of your daily routine, it doesn’t provide the same benefits as your moisturizer. Dr. Papantoniou stresses that, “Not all sunscreens hydrate, and some may even add oil or dry out your skin. Apply both moisturizer and sunscreen for days out in the sun, or use a moisturizer with SPF for daily use.”
3) Skipping the body
Many people skip moisturizing their body after showering. As we age elbows and knees become dryer and skin begins to sag. A body moisturizer applied daily will lock in moisture keeping skin soft, supple and radiant.
4) Bathing in hot water
A steamy shower or soak in the hot tub may be great for sore muscles, but studies show it’s bad for your skin. That’s because hot water breaks down skin elasticity and causes premature wrinkling and sagging. When bathing, keep the water warm rather than piping hot and save the hot tub soaks for special occasions.
5) Sitting in front of a fire
Sun damage isn’t the only light source responsible for aging. New studies show that the heat emitted by fire affects the skin similarly to UV rays, resulting in thinner skin, blotchiness, dryness, and free radical damage. Dr. Papanatoniou cautions to, “Be sure to sit at least 3 feet away from fireplaces and keep your exposure brief.”
6) Eating refined sugar
Here is one more reason to curb your sweet tooth. Sugar damages collagen and elastin, youthful proteins that give the skin its firmness and elasticity. To keep your skin looking its best, swap sugary candy for fruit, skip the soda, and cut back on processed, packaged foods.
7) Sleeping face-down
Pillow creases may be more than a temporary problem. Sleeping on your face for an extended period of time can cause permanent wrinkles to develop. Train yourself to sleep on your back or try a wrinkle-reducing pillow designed to minimize the amount of compression between the fabric and your skin.
8) Sipping through a straw
“The puckering motion you use to drink through a straw is like that of smoking a cigarette, and can result in similar consequences. Using a straw etches vertical lines around your mouth that become more pronounced over time. Drink from a cup when possible to prolong a youthful pout,” says Dr. Papantoniou.
9) Driving without sunscreen
The sun’s harmful rays actually penetrate the windows of your car? Windshield and window glass blocks UVB rays so you won’t get burned, the harmful UVA rays still penetrate. Protect your skin by applying SPF 30 or higher onto your face, arms and especially your hands to prevent wrinkles and spots. Dr. Papantoniou points out that, “UVA rays are the ones that prematurely age the skin and contribute to skin cancer.”
10) Squinting at your computer
Staring, frowning or squinting at a screen for too long can cause an unwanted line between your eyebrows and may lead to crow’s-feet around your eyes. It’s important to regularly visit your optometrist to have your eyes checked and be sure to take a break away from your desk every couple of hours.
POSTED ON THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2016 AT 2:37 PM
Regardless of whom you voted for in the 2016 Presidential election, there is one thing we all can agree on. It was stressful! For the past year people have been heated on social media, blocking and un-friending those on “the other side.” Families have been arguing. Spouses have been at odds. Now that the election is over, one side will feel the stress associated with the loss. We spoke with Dr. Sanam Hafeez, NYC based licensed clinical psychologist, teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services who explains how this election has stressed us out and what to do about it.
1. Your stomach is in knots!
According to Dr. Hafeez, “stressing out about the future of our country can certainly manifest in physical discomfort. When you ruminate about the worst-case scenario it can lead to stomach tension, nausea and lack of appetite. She advises to take a break from news coverage and discussing the election results.” You want to be informed but YOU want to be in control of the news you are seeking out. Select one media outlet that you want to get your news from. Check in the morning and then focus on what you have to do that day.
2. You can’t focus!
Your mind wanders and you keep worrying about the next 4 years of your life. These wandering thoughts lead to a lack of focus. Dr. Hafeez explains that, “when we are fixated on a thought and are in a state of worry, it is difficult to give full attention to anything else. Her advice, go for a 30 minute walk, exercise, meditate by lying still focusing on your breath, color in a coloring book or get a ball and have a catch. You want to choose tasks that are repetitive, pleasurable, calming and don’t require a lot of focus.”
3. You can’t sleep!
You’re tossing and turning and can’t seem to get to that deep level of sleep. “This is a true sign of anxiety and stress,” flags Dr. Hafeez. “Sleep is when our bodies turn over cells, fight off illness and are fully relaxed. When stress disturbs sleep for a prolonged period of time, it can lead to a slew of illnesses including, depression and mental illness, heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes.” She advises avoiding watching the news as it can evoke worry and negative thoughts. Instead she suggests getting into the practice of writing down all the things you appreciated that day so you calm down and drift off on a positive note.”
4. You’re snippy with everyone!
You feel on edge and angry. Anything can set you off. Your cell phone doesn’t work and you throw it across the room. You’re screaming in traffic. You’re irritable at work and prefer the door to your office closed so you can avoid everyone. Dr. Hafeez explains that it is normal to have a short fuse when stressed. Unfortunately the people we love the most get the fallout from our stress. “Put yourself in a ‘time out.’ Notice what is setting you off and avoid it for a day or two. Book a spa massage, take a long bath, pamper yourself, cash in on some well needed ‘me time.’ Within hours your mood will shift,” offers Dr. Hafeez.
5. You’re not in the mood for love.
When stressed it’s common for sexual desire to wane. When your mind is on other things the last thing you want to do is get romantic. According to Dr. Hafeez, “starting off with sensual touch is calming. Simply being in the bed holding hands breathing for 2 minutes can work wonders. Don’t rule out sex, ease into it. Avoiding sex only adds another thing to be stressed about and sex is a stress reliever. You need those feel good brain chemicals to beat the stress,” she reminds us.
So try not to be bummed out and stressed out if your candidate didn’t nab the presidency. Things could be far worse. YOU could be President of the United States. Now THAT is something to be stressed about.
About the doctor:
Dr. Sanam Hafeez PsyD is a NYC based licensed clinical psychologist, teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P.C. a neuropsychological, developmental and educational center in Manhattan and Queens.
Dr. Hafeez masterfully applies her years of experience connecting psychological implications to address some of today’s common issues such as body image, social media addiction, relationships, workplace stress, parenting and psychopathology (bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, etc…). In addition, Dr. Hafeez works with individuals who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), learning disabilities, attention and memory problems, and abuse. Dr. Hafeez often shares her credible expertise to various news outlets in New York City and frequently appears on CNN and The Doctors.