. It's time to Ask HER. Today, on HER Radio you wanted to know:
Do I need an annual physical?
This is a very important question. You may wonder if you really need to see your doctor every year, especially if you're not feeling ill.
According to an article written in the NY Times, "The main problem with physicals is that they are designed for the needs of insurance companies, not patients."
Having a physical can be a good way to build a relationship with your doctor, instead of just seeing your doc when you're sick and need immediate care. This gives a chance for you to build trust and to openly communication about any health concerns you may have.
Should I buy only organic foods?
If you've shopped around in your grocery store, you might have noticed organic food is a little pricey compared to "regular" food.
However, in regards to nutrients, organic foods still have the risk of containing toxins. They are sharing the same soil that is lacking nutrients and being exposed to pesticides and other chemicals. But, organic produce does contain more essential minerals and vitamins than non-organic produce.
This isn't a simple yes or no answer, and it all depends on what you personally believe.
How can I calculate ovulation?
Knowing when you're ovulating is crucial if you're wanting to conceive. During this time, your body releases an egg to be fertilized. However, your menstrual cycle can be a little tricky, leaving you confused when you and your partner should be trying.
There are so many other factors that can play a role in your ovulation that you may not know about. For example, some women aren't regular, and you might even be having two periods a month. Stress, your level of physical activity, and your hormone levels may also contribute to your ovulation.
It can be difficult to predict exactly when your ovulation period begins and ends, since it's a possibility it can vary from month to month. Usually every woman has a 28-day cycle and ovulation typically occurs two weeks before menstruation.
You may want to chart your menstrual cycle, so you'll have a better idea of when you're actually ovulating.
RadioMD Presents:HER Radio | Original Air Date: April 23, 2015
Host: Michelle King Robson & Pam Peeke, MD
or by calling 877-711-5211. Time to Ask HER.
PAM: I'm Dr. Pam Peeke. Michelle's off today. Well, we've got some questions here and the first one really hits home to me as a physician and the question has been asked of me so many times. Heck, I just said, "I'm going to put it out there."
"Do I need an annual physical?"
Hmmm. Well, old-school would say, "Show up every year and do the same old thing." Well, not so much. Now, we have new evidence. The British Medical Journal in 2012 did a fabulous study and what they found was that annual check-ups don't help people avoid death, hospitalizations, worry or future appointments. Oh, no!
Wow. What a shocker that was just to many people. In addition, an annual physical can lead to unnecessary procedures that put a patient at risk for complications and also push medical costs. So, what's a girl to do? Hmm.
Alright. So, here's what I would do. No matter who you are out there, but this is especially true as you get older—Honey, that's code or 40 and over—what you really want to do is get with your primary care provider. Sometimes, it's a physicians' assistant, a nurse practitioner or a physician or maybe all of the above.
You've got them all on your team. Just get them to know who you are. Have one good, complete physical so that you understand what your baseline is. There are shockers up there. You may find out your blood pressure's up and you never knew. You may find out your blood sugar's up and you never knew. It's really good to be able to establish more than just a laboratory connection, but a real emotional connection so that when you need this person on an emergency basis, they know who you are.
So, it's important, then. Should you be doing this absolutely every year? The younger you are, absolutely not. You don't need it unless you have a medical condition like Type I Diabetes where you need to have check -ups on an annual basis and always work that out with your primary care team.
They'll help guide you as to how often you should schedule something like that. But, for everyone else, if you're in great shape and you're fit and you're eating well and taking good care of yourself, you know, really, just so long as your physician and your primary care people have met with you just once, and you got your baselines down, probably every couple of years, 2-3 years, if you're young, then that's perfectly fine. But, like I said, this is an individualized thing.
By the way, an annual physical is no guarantee that everything's going to be great in your life. You've got to stay on top of yourself, too. So, like my wonderful co-host, Michelle King Robson would always say, be your own best advocate.
Alright. Here's another great question: "Should I buy organic foods only?"
Well, in the past everyone would say, "Oh, come on. We've got to buy organic foods. By definition they're the best." Well, not so much. As it turns out, this is an interesting, complex question.
Recent studies have now shown that in regards to nutrients, organic foods still have the risk of containing some level of toxins. Now, listen to me. You're going to have the same level of vitamins and nutrients whether you buy organic or not. That's a shocker to a lot of people. They thought that maybe only organic would have the highest level of nutrients, but the answer is "not really". The only main difference between having organic and non-organic food is the level of toxin. Now, this does not mean, at all, that organic food has no toxin in it. It just means it has the least amount of toxin and we're talking about things like pesticides.
About 7% of organic produce and 38% of conventional produce across the United States and Europe contains detectable amounts of pesticides, according to a very recent study. It says that the U.S. Department of Agriculture says that in 2010, 59% of conventional produce in the U.S. contained detectable amounts of pesticides. Huh? And, that's after a proper washing, too.
So, poo! What's all this mean to you? It means, you know, we're trying to do the best we can out there with pesticides and the rest of it and if that type of thing—having pesticides on your foods and toxins in general—really means something to you, then you're going to pay more and, you know, you're going to be choosing organic over non-organic food. This is an individual choice and a unique choice to you. You need to understand this on a personal level, so just ask yourself those questions and that'll help out big time.
Alright. Another question. Now, we're going to switch over to 'mones. Hormones!
"How can I calculate my ovulation?"
Believe it or not, this is a really popular question, especially among our wonderful listeners on HER Radio on EmpowHER. Knowing when you're ovulating is crucial if you want to conceive. During this time, your body releases an egg to be fertilized. However, your menstrual cycle can be a little tricky, leaving you confused when you and your partner should be trying.
There are many factors involved here, so let's just look at this for a second. There are a lot of ways to be able to do this. Now, when you look at ovulation, per se, what you're really looking at is a release of an egg from your ovary and that egg has a chance to get fertilized in the first place and when it gets fertilized, boom! You're pregnant.
You're most fertile from 2-3 days before you ovulate throughout the day of ovulation. If you know when you're going to ovulate, you can time sex accordingly and boost your chances of getting pregnant, for that matter. So, there are a lot of ways to be able to understand how to do this. There's even a calculator if you go on Google or any of your search engines, you could actually find this calculator and it's everywhere. There's also an ovulation predictor kit. Now, this can be anywhere between $20 and $50 and you can pick this up at most of your pharmacies if you really want to sit down and drill down on this. You can count the days, of course, the calendar method—the easiest way to estimate when you'll ovulate is to count back.
First, figure out what day your next period will probably start. If your period is very irregular, this method won't work for you, so watch out. Work with your OBGYN on that one.
From that day, count back 12 days and then another 4. You're most likely to ovulate during this 5 day range. If you're one of the many women who have a 28 cycle, and that's kind of common out there, there's a good chance you'll ovulate on day 14. Day 1 is the day of the first day of your period. Day 28 is the last before Day 1 of your next period. So, that's kind of the calendar method. There are other methods, too, where you're looking at basil body temperature and cervical mucus. That means your vaginal discharge. Good grief! This can get a little bit complex here and, you know, you're basically learning how your body works throughout your entire cycle. So, huh? You know, there's the calendar method. Just kind of getting to know yourself. Me? Throughout most of my life, I was always on that calendar.
You could also have your hormone levels checked. If you really don't understand what's going on with your body, whenever there is a question, it's incredibly important, please, to be your best advocate, rely upon your resources, go to your primary care team, sit down with them and say, "Hey, educate me for crying out loud." Then, if you want to, go on to the internet and look at one of those ovulation calculators and see how close you are with your calendar method. There are all kinds of ways to be able to do cross-check and balance. So, there you have it. Three great questions and we thank you so much for contributing your questions to Ask Her because Michelle and I are right here waiting to answer every one of your questions.
I'm Dr. Pam Peeke with Michelle King Robson. Listen to HER Radio all the time and whatever you do, like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter and stay well.