Category Archives: Women’s Health

Do bras cause breast cancer?

Image result for bra cartoon

Photo from Gemma Correll

Andrea Hernandez

You might have heard on social media that wired bras and sleeping in bras can cause breast cancer. Negative ideas are more compelling to the human mind.  Let’s think twice and look at the evidence.  

The source of this idea came from the book, Dressed to Kill, and internet rumors. The authors of the book believed the confining nature of bras constrained lymphatic circulation and would result in fluid build up in breast tissue. Many medical organizations like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the American Cancer Society noted there is no evidence that wearing bras increases the risk of breast cancer. 

One study countered the book and Internet claims by inspecting over 1,500 postmenopausal women first diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. These women were asked a series of structured questions to find lifetime patterns of bra wearing before their breast cancer diagnosis. The researchers found no connection of invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) or invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) breast cancer with bra wearing such as bra cup size, recency, average number of hours in a day worn, underwire bras, and age at which bras were worn regularly.

Worrying is no fun. The next time you are taking a nap with your bra on, don’t stress about the risk of breast cancer!



Summertime UTI

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Photo from 123RF

Madison McGuire

The coming of summer means lazy weekends by the pool, taking a trip to the ocean, swimming in the lake, and spending lots of time in swimsuits. What many don’t realize is that the summer brings an increased risk to men and women for getting a UTI. A urinary tract infection occurs when bacteria passes through the urethra and travels up into the bladder or kidneys to multiply in the urinary tract. One’s swimming hygiene habits, or lack thereof can increase risk for developing recreational water illnesses, especially UTIs. 

Swimming pools can be a breeding ground for germs if there is a combination of urine or fecal matter in the water, people not showering before swimming, and low levels of chlorine. Be sure to talk to the pool staff about their measures to ensure the water is adequately disinfected and decontaminated.  

In rare cases, a bacterium known as Pseudomonas aeruginosa can cause UTI associated with hot tubs. When it comes to swimming in lakes or beaches, avoid those with high bacterial levels. It should also be noted that it is less safe to pee in the still water of a lake than the moving waves of the ocean.  

Lower your chances of getting a UTI by changing out of wet bathing suits as soon as possible. Germs tend to grow best in warm, moist places. Women are more prone to UTI due to their tight-fitting swimsuits and anatomically shorter urethra that gives easier access to the bladder. Since the summer’s heat and humidity can increase the risk for UTIs, always be sure to drink plenty of fluids to help flush out bacteria through the urinary tract.

Can Cranberry Juice Stop a UTI?

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Photo from Organic Facts

Vandana Dubakula

Around 65% of women will experience a urinary tract infection (UTI) in their lifetime. There are many myths about what will alleviate UTI symptoms or get rid of the UTI all together. At the top of this list is cranberry juice, which many women claim cured their UTI. Clinical studies however,  offer conflicting results on the effectiveness of cranberry juice.

UTI’s are caused by bacteria such as E.coli. They can affect the urinary system including kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. The infection usually starts in the lower urinary tract (urethra and bladder) and causes symptoms such as a burning sensation during urination, frequent urge to urinate, and cloudy or strange-smelling urine. The real danger, however, is with untreated UTIs which can affect the kidneys and lead to kidney damage or–in very severe instances– infections spread through the blood. UTI’s tend to affect women more than men due to their anatomy.

Cranberries come into play through an active ingredient—A-type proanthocyanidins (PACs)—that can keep bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall. Since cranberry juice also increases urination, it might wash bacteria out of the bladder which might reduce the pain and burning associated with UTIs. However, the active ingredient usually does not stay long enough in the bladder to cure the infection. Thus, cranberries can help with the symptoms of a UTI but should not be depended upon to cure it.

Moreover, cranberry juice  has low concentrations of A-type proanthocyanidins (PACs), so it takes large amounts of juice to have an effect.  A major drawback is that cranberry juice contains substantial sugar. Even cranberry juice with no added sugar (such as Oceanspray 100% cranberry juice) has 28 grams of sugar in 8 fluid ounces of juice. Cranberry capsules are concentrated with the antioxidants and active ingredients and are thus a better alternative to cranberry juice.

However, don’t rely on cranberry juice/capsules to fully cure your UTI. It is important to consult with your doctor and you may need antibiotics.