Tips, options, and when to seek help

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It is common to experience difficulty with bowel movements after giving birth. Some people may find that postpartum stool softeners help.

Constipation is a normal problem following delivery. Several factors can contribute to this issue, including hormonal effects, iron supplements, sore and stretched muscles, hemorrhoids, and discomfort due to an episiotomy.

The general level of tenderness that people experience after delivery can make them anxious about bowel movements. Taking a postpartum stool softener can help make bowel movements easier during this time.

After delivery, the prospect of having a bowel movement can seem intimidating, but most people have one within 2–3 days.

People who have had stitches for an episiotomy may be particularly concerned about their first postpartum bowel movement, but experts say it is unlikely that a person could tear their stitches or sustain an injury while attempting a bowel movement.

Holding a sterile cloth or pad over the stitches or injured area may help, but the most important thing is to avoid straining.

Delaying or holding back bowel movements will not make the first one easier. In fact, it could have the opposite effect. After delivery, people should try to have a bowel movement as soon as they feel the urge.

Relieving postpartum constipation

The following practices can help make bowel movements easier postpartum:

  • drinking plenty of water and other hydrating fluids
  • eating a well-balanced diet containing lots of fiber-rich foods, such as whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables
  • trying to include dried fruits, such as prunes and figs, in the diet
  • exercising gently and regularly
  • washing the anal area gently with warm water
  • avoiding holding back bowel movements

Experts consider stool softener medications safe to take when pregnant or breastfeeding.

Stool softeners make it easier for stools to move through the body by increasing the water content of fecal matter. People typically take them at bedtime with a full glass of water.

Postpartum stool softeners are available in the form of:

  • tablets
  • capsules
  • syrup
  • liquid

Learn about the difference between stool softeners and laxatives here.

Products to relieve constipation can be effective, but they do not necessarily work immediately. Experts note that it is common to use a postpartum stool softener for 1–3 days before seeing any benefits and recommend discontinuing use after 2 weeks.

Some foods, drinks, and remedies can naturally soften stools and ease constipation. For example, probiotics, Epsom salts, and aloe vera may help soften stools.

Learn more about natural stool softeners here.

Before using a postpartum stool softener, people should discuss their concerns and review their options with a healthcare professional.

People can choose from many different stool softener products after giving birth. Below, we provide information on five options that people may wish to try.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information below is purely research-based.

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As Covid cases climb, testing options grow. Here’s a look at what’s new.

If you are exposed to someone with Covid-19 and want to know if you caught it, your choices are much better than just a few months ago. You can go to urgent cares, retail pharmacies, doctors’ offices and private laboratories for a variety of tests and rapid results – a critical expansion of choices at a time when new cases are spiking in Florida and the U.S.

The state has ditched the slow-processing labs, secured quicker tests and cut wait times from the early months of the pandemic. Floridians will now find a range of choices on places to go, types of tests, and turnaround speed.

Earlier this week, Alex Morton found out at 5 p.m. his roommate had tested positive for the virus, and wanted to know if he could go to work the next day. Morton rushed to a nearby Fort Lauderdale urgent clinic open until 9 p.m., took a coronavirus test and learned he was negative the next morning. “It was a relief,” he said.

No appointment required

Many urgent care centers in South Florida offer evening hours for testing. Holy Cross Hospital operates urgent care centers in Fort Lauderdale and Coral Springs and says patients can get results with 8 to 10 hours.

If you’d rather test yourself at home, Quest Diagnostics and Labcorp, two of the nation’s biggest laboratories, will deliver collection kits to take a sample and send it back for processing. Quest charges $119 for the test.

Costco offers its members do-it-yourself Covid-19 tests that involve spitting into a small tube and sending it to a lab. For $129.99, you’ll get results 24-72 hours after the lab gets the test. For $10 more, you can get results 24-48 hours after the test arrives at the lab.

If you prefer drive-thru testing, Walmart, Walgreens and CVS, have it available at certain South Florida locations.

CVS Minute Clinics have begun to offer rapid tests with 30-minute results, but so far the nine Florida locations are in the central area of the state and the pharmacy hasn’t announced when they will be available in South Florida.

The state continues to run numerous walk-up and drive-thru testing sites in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade. Many are open seven days a week, but all close by 6 p.m. and some much earlier. Appointments are not required but some locations make them available.

Currently, the Hard Rock Stadium in North Miami-Dade County is the busiest, but not nearly as bad as the early days. “Anyone who wants a test can get one. We are not seeing the challenges of when we first started,” said Mike Jachle, chair of the Florida Association of Public Information Officers, which supports the state at the test sites.

Some cities like Miramar also have opened their own free test sites. Miramar’s self-administered saliva test given at Miramar Regional Park has a 48 hour turnaround time.

Anyone can get tested, for free

In most cases, you do not have to pay for a

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Does Medicare cover leukemia care? Treatment, costs and options

There are benefits included in Medicare plans that can help with treatment costs relating to leukemia. Out-of-pocket expenses may apply, but there may be additional support available.

Medicare covers many of the costs of care relating to leukemia. As with other cancer, doctors customize treatment options for people based on their medical history and type of cancer.

In this article, we discuss the different treatments for leukemia, what Medicare covers, and other options that may be available.

We may use a few terms in this piece that can be helpful to understand when selecting the best insurance plan:

  • Deductible: This is an annual amount that a person must spend out of pocket within a certain time period before an insurer starts to fund their treatments.
  • Coinsurance: This is a percentage of a treatment cost that a person will need to self-fund. For Medicare Part B, this comes to 20%.
  • Copayment: This is a fixed dollar amount that an insured person pays when receiving certain treatments. For Medicare, this usually applies to prescription drugs.

Original Medicare has two parts that each provide coverage for care received in different settings.

Medicare Part A

Medicare Part A is sometimes called hospital insurance and covers inpatient hospital stays, including cancer treatment a person receives while in the hospital.

Part A also pays for skilled nursing facilities, hospice, and home healthcare. Home healthcare can include:

  • physical therapy
  • speech and language therapy
  • occupational therapy
  • skilled nursing care

A person enrolled in an eligible clinical research study may also have some costs covered by Part A.

Medicare Part B

Medicare Part B is sometimes called medical insurance. This part of Medicare pays for medically necessary, cancer-related treatments and services a person may need outside the hospital.

This can include:

  • doctor visits
  • chemotherapy drugs administered intravenously in an outpatient clinic or doctor’s office
  • some oral chemotherapy
  • durable medical equipment (DME) like wheelchairs or walkers
  • mental health services
  • nutritional counseling
  • radiation treatment

In some instances, Medicare Part B will cover the cost of a second opinion for surgery. This happens if the surgery is not an emergency. They may cover a third opinion if the first and second opinions differ.

Medicare Part D

Medicare Part D, also known as a prescription drug plan (PDP), covers outpatient prescription drugs. Private insurance companies administer these plans.

Some chemotherapy drugs that are not covered by Part B, may be covered under a PDP, as well as prescribed pain relief and anti-emetics.

Surgical options

Surgery plays a limited role in treating leukemia since blood carries the disease throughout the body.

An individual may get a central venous catheter, which is a flexible tube that is inserted into a large vein, making it easier to administer chemotherapy. This is an inpatient surgical procedure that is covered by Part A.

A person may also have a biopsy of the lymph nodes or bone marrow that can help diagnose leukemia. The biopsy is an outpatient procedure and is covered by Part B.

The body has several

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Coverage, risk factors, options, and cost

Preventive screenings, such as bone density tests, can help identify potential medical problems. Medicare covers some costs.

Bone density tests may help prevent expensive reparative treatments. Medicare generally covers such tests, although there may be other out-of-pockets costs.

This article looks at bone density scans and osteoporosis, including risk factors. It also discusses Medicare coverage of the tests, along with costs.

If a doctor thinks a person may have osteoporosis, they may ask for a bone density scan, which uses an X-ray to measure bone mineral density.

The test may be done in a hospital setting or by using a mobile device. In general, a person will get the hospital test for a hip or spine X-ray, while the mobile test is done on a person’s finger, wrist, or heel. However, the type of test may depend on the community’s access to equipment.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), if the test cannot be done on a person’s hip or spine, then it could be done on a person’s radius bone, which is in the forearm.

Osteoporosis is a medical condition that causes decreases in a person’s bone density, which can lead to fractures of the hip, spine, or wrist following a fall or other trauma.

After a doctor confirms a person has osteoporosis, recommended treatments may include medications and lifestyle changes such as getting more exercise and increasing intake of calcium and vitamin D.

Women are more likely than men to experience osteoporosis due to age-related hormonal changes. For example, after menopause, a woman’s estrogen levels drop. Estrogen is one of the hormones responsible for stimulating osteoblasts, which are cells that promote bone growth.

Other osteoporosis risk factors include:

  • lack of bone-building vitamin D and calcium in the diet
  • smoking cigarettes
  • drinking alcohol excessively
  • being sedentary
  • having a too-low body weight
  • having a medical history of a parent who broke their hip

If a person has several of these risk factors, a doctor may recommend a bone density scan.

A bone density test is also called a dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). The test is a non-invasive, painless X-ray scan of the hip and spine. A person does not need to do or wear anything special to get the test, and the entire scan typically takes 15 minutes or less.

Once a person has had a bone density test, a doctor trained in reading the scans will view the images and use calculations to assign a T-score, which compares a person’s current bone density to that of a healthy adult at age 30. Three T-score categories exist:

  • normal bone density: -1 or higher (such as 0 or +0.5)
  • low bone density: between -1 and -2.5
  • osteoporosis: -2.5 and lower

In addition to receiving a T-score, a person may also receive a Z-score. This is a score that compares a person’s bone density to someone of the person’s similar age and size. These scores are usually more effective in identifying bone density levels in children, teenagers, and younger men

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Relaxing Options For Your Cosmetic Dentist Visit

There are several ways to relax when you visit your dentist. Some are simply mind over matter and employ techniques such as listening to music, gazing at peaceful scenery, or watching the latest movie in an effort to distract you from what’s going on in your mouth. More recently, the efforts of a cosmetic dentist, which may include more extensive work, will offer a broader range of relaxation techniques. These offerings may be known as sedation dentistry.

Find A Happy Place

This method sounds trite, but sometimes clearing your mind, listening to soothing music or nature sounds can go a long way toward relieving some of the anxiety that many people experience when visiting their cosmetic dentist. It is often the anticipation of pain, rather than the actual pain experienced that creates the high level of anxiety that many people go through. Children generally feel a lot more comfortable with their dentist when there’s kids music playing in the background, especially those kid songs on YouTube, the reason more clinics are achieving success with them.

Take A Pill

Your dentist may prescribe an oral sedative such as Diazepam the night before a procedure. Some meds may be offered even hours before an appointment. These sedatives will relax you, but will not offer pain relief. So in addition to the sedative, your dentist will still apply local anesthetic such as a shot of Novocain.

IV Therapy

Some cosmetic dentists are able to offer anti-anxiety medication via intravenous (IV) sedation. Although, if part of your fear stems from needles, this form of relaxation may not appeal to you either. Again, there is no pain relief with this method, so the application of local anesthetic will be necessary.

Just Laugh

Perhaps the most popular – or most regularly lampooned – version of sedation is nitrous oxide gas or laughing gas. The patient breathes the gas in, while remaining conscious, allowing your dentist to again apply local anesthetic to eliminate any pain you may experience during your procedure.

Sleep It Off

The one method of sedation completely guaranteed to remove all anxiety and pain is general anesthesia. With this technique, the dentist uses anesthetic to make the patient completely unconscious. While unconscious, you will feel no pain and have no awareness of your surroundings. This is the only method that will not require local anesthetic, you will however, have to recover from being completely knocked out.

The four methods described above can be used in combination with each other to provide you with the level of comfort that you desire. Your cosmetic dentist may offer laughing gas to relax you prior to starting an IV for more aggressive sedation methods. An anti-anxiety pill may be used in conjunction with the laughing gas to ensure that you are completely relaxed.

Going to the dentist need not be an anxiety laden event. Whether you need dentists, Minneapolis or Little Rock, cosmetic dentist professionals can consult with you to find the sedation therapy combination that is …

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