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Women’s Health

Well Intentioned: Yvonne Orji Is Advocating for Black Women’s Health—And Making Space for Her Own Growth Along the Way

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“We’re all in it together and nobody should go through a diagnosis alone,” says Orji. “I like to think of it as a sisterhood – something we created with Uncovering TNBC and that is evident from the original documentaries we developed as part of it … their higher risk for developing TNBC than women of other racial / ethnic backgrounds and help to enable them to stand up for themselves in a biased system. “

Orji has found that she is best able to listen to other women and help them when making herself a priority. Below, the multiple hyphen walks us through her approach to staying on the ground while helping other black women put their health first.

1. Strengthen others

There are so many links between stress and health problems, stress and weight, stress and psychological anxiety. And black women, we know stress. We know very well. We’re under when we wake up, we’re under when we go to sleep.

When I found out that Merck was raising awareness about triple negative breast cancer and that it actually affects the African American female population more than anyone else, I wanted to do something. So I am using my degree and public health platform to educate black women about their personal risk for developing TNBC through this program. Knowledge is power.

2. Be proactive about your health

It’s so interesting how the healthcare system in America is set up, where there are age markings on when to be examined. But we know there are so many outliers. Black women, we know our bodies, we know when there is change. And even if it’s a mark you haven’t reached, you can still push forward and say, ‘I think I should still do the screening’ or, ‘I think I should do every test just to conclude it off. ‘ I think this option should be easily accessible to more people. I commit to my own check-ups and health screenings so that others are encouraged to be proactive about their health and so that we can all receive consistent and high quality care, regardless of health insurance or demographics.

3. Press Pause

You know, we talk about being a strong Black woman – it also empowers being the Sedentary Black Woman, the Peaceful Black Woman, the Quiet Black Woman. One of the things I’m saying goodbye to in 2021 is the hustle and bustle. I would like to allow myself time to rest and let abundance find me. I’m grateful for so many projects over the past year, but it was also non-stop: I published my book Bamboozled by Jesus, shot the last season of Insecure, and Vacation Friends.

Baths were really important to me to relax. You know, Epsom salt baths, just give a little bit of Dr. Teals crystals into it. I also like lush products. I need to give myself some time to relax and rejuvenate so that I can continue to pursue serenity, contentment, and rejuvenation as I free myself from things that do not serve me.

4. Ask for help

For so many black women, this luxury does not allow us to feel safe because we know that we feel well taken care of when we just let go, when we give up control. I learn to ask for help when I need it. I’m a recovering perfectionist and I still need to remind myself that it’s okay to delegate and rely on people I trust so that I can have more time to myself.

5. Make room to grow

I want to keep growing up to be a better version of myself. And I have some tools that I use for that. I have the Insight Timer and the Chopra app on my mobile phone. And I wake up with my morning playlist. It’s called My Mantra and has everything from Alicia Keys and Kelly Clarkson to Hezekiah Walker and India Arie – all empowering music. And I sit there for at least five to ten minutes just looking at the vision board I created earlier this year. It was a joy to come back to and say, oh you know what, you were subconsciously working on it and I see your growth in this area.

The therapy is also huge for me. I acknowledge the growth that I’ve personally felt this year, just being able to say, Okay, we have some things to deal with. I remember having such a bad relationship with the word femininity at the beginning of the year. Growing up with strong women around me, femininity felt like a slap in the face. I didn’t know that, no, that’s what I was made for. It is good to be soft and still.

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Women’s Health

Ellen Noble: Fostering inclusivity, opportunity and health awareness in cycling

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Ellen Noble is stepping down from professional cycling indefinitely to make her health a priority, but she will continue her mission of promoting inclusivity, opportunity and health awareness in the sport.

In an interview with Cyclingnews, Noble said she wanted to provide opportunities for girls and young women through ENCXQuest and Noble Racing Mentorship Program Grant initiatives.

“It is possible to still be inclusive and create community, be it in person or remotely. I love this connection. I didn’t always fit in when I was in school, so it really means having a group of people we can all fit into. ”A lot to me, and I want to keep finding ways to do that. I don’t want to stop doing my initiatives outside of racing and I hope I can do more of them now that I have more time. I intend to stay in the sport even if it’s not on the track, “said Noble.

Noble has ongoing health problems after being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease in 2018, an autoimmune disease that affects thyroid function.

Noble told Cyclingnews that it took some time to find ways to relieve her symptoms through visits to different doctors, but that she was slowly putting together treatments and lifestyle adjustments that work for her.

“In the last two years since my diagnosis, I’ve had a lot of small wins. Every time you work with someone new, you learn a little and I take small pieces from each practitioner and I slowly build a solid foundation for health, which is my goal, ”said Noble, who uses acupuncture to provide symptom relief has found .

“Practitioners in many circles believe that autoimmune diseases and chronic diseases can be hibernated, they can never be cured, but they can be let dormant. The ultimate goal for me is to put it into hibernation and not struggle with flare-ups. “

Noble said her health was in delicate but good shape when she suffered a fall earlier this year that broke her spine in three places. Although she was now almost completely healed, the injury opened a void in her health that was difficult to fill.

“I still have back pain, my back is healed, but it didn’t just go away. I don’t think injuries, be it a broken bone or illness, aren’t always linear, ”she said.

“I think this is how my autoimmune disease changed after I broke my back. When I broke my back in April, I was doing pretty well. I felt healthy, my symptoms were regulated, and I felt pretty good. I just wasn’t in my best shape and my results weren’t great, but I felt good.

“That was a bridge too far for me. My health was still fragile and the physical trauma of breaking my back shook my health as we were in a delicate balancing act. I came back and rode and worked at the gym and then hit a wall in August. Physically I couldn’t anymore and my nervous system was at its limit. “

Noble hasn’t ruled out the possibility of a return to professional racing; However, she has not set a schedule for her sabbatical. Instead, it focuses on other goals within the sport that offer rewards beyond performance and results.

“I’m still trying to find out everything. I take my time and I feel like this is a great opportunity for me and I feel grateful in this room where I can do something new. I still want to be involved in the sport because I love cycling, I love bikes and most of all I love what bikes can do for people, from racing to commuting to rides around your neighborhood with friends of kids. I want to pass this message on. I also think bikes are a great platform to talk about physical and mental health, ”said Noble.

Connection and acceptance

Noble launched ENCXQuest in 2017, which accommodates 12 to 18 girls and young women ages 15 to 23 to experience an all-women cycling camp that includes training, technique building, yoga, and education on nutrition, sponsorship, and the sport in general.

“The camp started as an answer to my question: What did I want and need in sports when I was 15? When I was in high school, sport opportunities were lacking for women my age. There were many junior camps and, despite my requests, I was never admitted. When there weren’t any options for the next generation, I decided to do it myself, “said Noble.

Camp has been postponed in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid-19, but Noble is preparing to host its fourth edition in 2022. Noble stated that ENCXQuest relies on donations and industry partners. It’s also an application-based program that offers places for women of all backgrounds, whether they can afford it or not.

“We want to make sure that the athletes who are eligible for the camp regardless of their financial status can participate. I’m delighted that space has been created for these athletes that might otherwise not have been created, ”said Noble.

“People are very supportive and so we can operate through donations from very generous people who also have the mission to get more girls and young women on bikes and to create a space for young women to have fellowship. Yes, it’s about bikes, but it’s also about 12 to 18 girls who spend the week together and find that having more women in your circle is pretty cool. “

While the ENCXQuest took a break due to Covid-19, Noble launched a virtual platform in 2021 to create opportunities for women in cycling. The Noble Racing Mentorship Program Grant Fundraiser is an attempt to support and mentor the next generation of young women in cycling. It offers seven athletes monthly group and one-on-one meetings, as well as financial grants to cover their entry fees, travel expenses, and coaching.

Noble wants to continue both initiatives while finding new ways to promote inclusion and opportunities for women in cycling.

When asked where she sees herself in the future in sport, especially in terms of her initiatives, Noble said, “I don’t think I’m alone in this, but I hope the sport continues. We see these little advances in different areas. We’re seeing more colored riders in the results, on the start lists and on the podium and it’s amazing. The same goes for transporters. Seeing acceptance grow wider, which is amazing to see, has been my mission since the beginning of the quest to promote that inclusivity.

“I hope more people understand that bikes are powerful and can change lives. The more people from all backgrounds – no matter where you come from or who you are – the more people we can bring on bikes mission. If you have love in your heart and want to ride a bike then you are friends of mine. It’s a great way to connect. “

Noble will take the time it takes to get better and one day we may see her at the highest level of racing again, but even if we don’t she’s sure she has a place in cycling .

“My comeback to cycling is not guaranteed. I won’t be racing again if I don’t fix my health, but my goal is to fix that and if I can I’ll be back at the track. Anyway, I’m not done with cycling yet, “said Noble.

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Women’s Health

New York electeds rally around Planned Parenthood, assure NYC as safe haven for abortion seekers

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As the right to abortion is threatened in states across the country, elected officials from New York gathered in Lower Manhattan on Monday to discuss planned parenting.

With abortion fast becoming one of the most controversial issues of the year and fear of losing the right to vote, a bevy of city and state officials assure New Yorkers that they will not lose access to these health services.

While touring Planned Parenthood at 26 Bleecker Street, Congressman Carolyn Maloney, Senator Brian Kavanagh, councilor Carlina Rivera, famous journalist and activist Gloria Steinem, and more brought the facility’s importance to the fore today more than ever. Maloney said the site is already seeing an influx of patients from overseas.

Congressman Carolyn Maloney. Photo by Dean Moses

“We just visited Planned Parenthood and they are already telling us that people are flying in from Texas for treatment. I am so proud that Planned Parenthood is in the district I represent and that it does such a good and wonderful job helping women and girls, ”said Maloney.

“Reproduction rights are no longer chopped off. They were thrown away the entire time I was in Congress. Vote here and vote there. They no longer scratch our rights. They ram them into the ground, ”she added.

That influx coincides with the case of the Dobbs Supreme Court over the 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi, the ongoing litigation over the six-week abortion ban in Texas, and efforts to escalate denials of health care, including abortion and contraception. In the Dobbs v Jackson case, the state of Mississippi argues that the power to regulate abortions should be a state issue, not a state issue. As the court battle continues with a verdict due by the summer of this year, 21 states are on the verge of making abortions illegal or extremely difficult due to strict guidelines such as the “Heartbeat Laws”.

Chair of the Oversight and Reform Committee alongside her work in Congress, Maloney is pushing for a five-part plan to tackle the attack on women’s rights. Citing discussions she had with incestants aged 10 and over who became pregnant, she called abortion abolition “cruel” and “inhuman”.

Maloney’s initiative sees the constitutional change in equality through the passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would establish a legal right to abortion across the country while cracking down on contraceptive restrictions.

Gloria Steinem is all too familiar with this fight. Steinem, who fought for women’s rights for decades, called this latest controversy an attack on democracy.

Journalist and activist Gloria Steinem. Photo by Dean Moses

“If we cannot control ourselves, there is no democracy. When Hitler was elected and he was elected, the first thing he did the very next day was padlock the family planning clinics and declare abortion a crime against the state. Mussolini did the same. Dictators know that they have to control reproduction, ”Steinem said.

While this is extremely worrying for those living in the affected states, many in attendance reassured New Yorkers as well.

“New Yorkers need to know that their right to abortion is safe here in this state. Regardless of what happens in the Supreme Court, ”said Sonia Ossorio, President of NOW-NYC.

Tiffany Caban. Photo by Dean Moses

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Women’s Health

Gynaecologist busts some common PCOS myths

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Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) has become one of the most common hormonal problems in women today. Recent data shows that at least three in ten women are diagnosed with it, and six in ten women diagnosed are teenagers, said Dr. Vaishali Joshi, Senior Obstetrician and Gynecologist at Kokilaben Ambani Hospital.

“PCOS is a disease of civilization that has problems like irregular periods, scant menstrual flow, acne, excessive body hair, weight gain, darkening of the skin, along with polycystic bulky ovaries (PCOD) on sonography and hormonal imbalance including high insulin resistance and excess male hormones, “she said.

The following should be noted with PCOS (Photo: Getty / Thinkstock)

“Many young women are mistakenly diagnosed with PCOD instead of PCOS because some symptoms are similar. Hence, there are many myths and facts surrounding PCOS too, ”she added.

* PCOS only occurs in young women in their early twenties or thirties: PCOS can occur at any time between the ages of 18 and the age of perimenopause.

* All women with PCOS have PCOD: Polycystic Ovaries found in 20 percent of healthy women. At the same time, not all women with PCOS necessarily have PCOD ovaries on sonography.

* PCOD ovaries cause abdominal pain: PCOD ovaries are small (<10 mm) large water sacs (cysts) and are arranged around the periphery of the ovary in a pearl necklace pattern. They don't cause pain or discomfort. The ovarian cysts that cause pain are at least 3 cm in size and are not found in PCOD.

* Irregular periods and poor period flow lead to weight gain and PCOS: Culturally, menstruation has been viewed as a process by which unhealthy blood is thrown from a woman’s body. Skipping periods or decreased flow is believed to prevent this process and lead to the accumulation of fat and obesity. Unfortunately it’s the other way around. The weight gain leads to a hormonal imbalance and therefore an irregularity in the periods and development of PCOSsaid Dr. Joshi.

* PCOS only occurs in overweight women: women with acquired PCOS gain weight from poor lifestyle choices. Almost 80-85 percent of PCOS women are overweight. However, PCOS can occur in women of normal body weight, especially those with a family history.

* All women with irregular periods have PCOS: Period irregularities can also occur with thyroid diseases, hyperprolactinemia, eating disorders, low hormonal levels induced by overuse, especially in long distance runners.

* Acne is always due to PCOS: acne or pimples on the face can have several causes. PCOS is one of them. The most common are skin problems, allergies, or dandruff.

* Women with PCOS have difficulty getting pregnant: PCOS causes anovulation, which means stopping an egg from being released every month, but does not stop it completely. Women with PCOS have inconsistent and delayed ovulation but can get pregnant naturally. Most of the time, having missed periods makes them unaware that they are pregnant, said Dr. Joshi.

* Drugs Can Cure PCOS: Drugs are usually used to treat the symptoms of PCOS, depending on the treatment needed, such as infertility or regular menstruation. These treatments do not address the cause and therefore are not curative drugs. PCOS is a disease of civilization and the cure is achieved through regular exercise, diet changes and weight loss.

* Losing weight can cure PCOS completely: Unfortunately, PCOS is a lifelong disease. A Weight loss of at least 10 percent leads to an improvement in symptoms by reducing hyperinsulinemia and excess male hormones. One has to continue with lifestyle measures and weight loss should be maintained.

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