JULY 1, 2012
Two months ago I received a phone call follow-up to a recent biopsy on the skin from my nose. The news was like a repeat from ten years ago. I had basal cell cancer once again. I would require more surgery and a repair.
I was less than delighted. This time I knew what to expect. I knew that a tiny spot on my face can cause great damage in the removal and the repair. This time, was no exception.
The spot was on my nostril again (but on the opposite side as last time). I used the same MOHS surgeon who had done an incredible job the last time. And even though I knew the outcome would be "ok", the experience was and has been, a challenge.
A few weeks ago I was honored at a special event and my photo needed to be taken. I asked the photographer to help me camophlage my "owie". He asked me to ignore my nose for the moment and just smile. I tried. The good news is that the photo didn't need to be "fixed" to cover up my owie. The healing was taking place and I felt acceptable again to go out in public without feeling self-conscious.
I wear sunblock on my face every day as part of my routine. I stay out of the sun. I wear a hat when I have to be in the sun for any length of time. But even with the precautions, I'm also blue eyed, freckled face and I have my share of sunburn experiences as a child in the south.
As your friendly poster girl for skin cancer, I'm reminding you to cover up this summer! Wear plenty of sunblock and stay out of the sun if you can! Your nose will thank you!
In this month's newsletter, we are offering great information for your skin!
Here's to healthy skin for you!
The Skinny on Skin Changes
JULY 1, 2012
Post-hysterectomy, many women experience significant changes in their skin. Some say their skin gets oily and breaks out like it hasnít in years. Other women say their skin and hair becomes dry and unmanageable post-op. The majority of skin changes are primarily due to changes in hormone levels. So the type of hysterectomy you had and whether or not you are using hormone replacement therapy (HRT) factor into what skin changes, if any, you might experience.
Women who are many months or years post-op advise new sisters to hold off on investing in expensive skin-care products immediately, as the skin changes may continue to vary for many weeks or months after surgery. Hormone levels continue to shift for quite some time as the body heals and adjusts to the absence of menstruation and/or hormone-producing ovaries. The majority say their hormones level off and their skin changes calm down dramatically at around nine to twelve months post-op.
Some women who experience dry skin and flaky patches indicate that lotions and oils donít make a bit of difference. Others adopt a regimen of moisturizing with over-the-counter products that they find provides some relief to their dry skin issues, such as using moisturizing soaps, rubbing baby oil on damp skin, and applying night creams. Some advise taking fish oil capsules daily as well. Nutritionists emphasize the need to maintain good hydration and a balanced diet for skin health. Many who have hysterectomies become far more sensitive to chemicals in and on food post-op, and so eating more organic foods may help as well.
Those who experience oily skin and breakouts, on the other hand, often find it necessary to visit a dermatologist for their skin issues. Skin eruptions can be of the cystic variety, which are difficult to clear up with over-the-counter remedies and can lead to skin infections. Acne that is concentrated around the chin, jawline, and neck is particularly likely to be hormone-related. A physician might prescribe cleansers, gels, and antibiotics to combat these bothersome breakouts.
So, hereís the skinny on skin changes after a hysterectomy: You canít predict them. You might not be able to do much about them. They might continue to change for quite some time. But they will level off someday.
Hot flashes during summer vacation? Don't sweat it
July 1, 2012
You may have booked a flight, car, and hotel, but you can't plan for hot flashes on summer vacation. And for women in the first two years of postmenopausal life, when the frequency of moderate to severe hot flashes often peaks, the heat of summer can reach new heights. So how can you help keep your hot flashes at bay? The good news is there are lifestyle changes and treatment options that may reduce your hot flashes and help you enjoy your summer vacation.
What causes hot flashes?
Hot flashes are thought to be the result of changes in the part of the brain that regulates the body's temperature. If this part senses that a woman is too warm, it tries to cool her body down by increasing blood flow to the surface. This causes the temporary feeling of extreme heat that's sometimes accompanied by an increased pulse rate, sweating, and a cold chill.
How can hot flashes be treated?
There are several treatment options that may help reduce your hot flashes. For some women, estrogen therapy may provide effective relief.
In addition to estrogen replacement therapy, the following lifestyle changes may provide hot flash relief:
Exercise regularly (but not too close to bedtime)
Try relaxation techniques, like yoga or meditation
Wear lightweight clothes made of cotton
Avoid areas that aren't sufficiently air conditioned or ventilated
Limit alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, and spicy foods
Remember to talk to your doctor before starting an exercise routine or making changes to your diet.
Eating Right for Healthy Skin
JULY 1, 2013
Your skin is your bodyís largest organ. Its health and appearance are affected by age, climate, cosmetics, hormonal changes, and, perhaps most of all, the food you eat. Nutrition experts agree that consuming sufficient amounts of certain vitamins and nutrients, such as vitamin A, antioxidants, selenium, and fatty acids have a noticeable impact on skin health.
Though thereís not much you can do diet-wise to prevent skin changes that come from the hormonal imbalances that are a side effect of many gynecological conditions, surgeries, or menopause, good nutrition and hydration can certainly help to keep your skin as healthy and balanced as possible while these changes are taking place.
So what should you eat for healthier skin? Here is a list of suggested foods, grouped by nutrients that research has shown to be essential to skin health.
Vitamin A (best acquired from dietary sources rather than from pill supplements)
- Dairy products, including milk, mozzarella, and yogurt
- Orange fruits and vegetables, including carrots, sweet potatoes, mangoes, and cantaloupe
- Egg yolks
[*Caution: Too much vitamin A can be dangerous. Be careful not to overdose on vitamin A.]
- Berries, including blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries
- Legumes, including broad beans, pinto beans, and soybeans
- Nuts and seeds, including pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds
- Grains, including barley, millet, and oats
- Spices, including cloves, cinnamon, and oregano
- Whole wheat bread and whole grain cereals
- Brazil nuts
- Canola oil
- Flax seed
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Oils labeled as being prepared by cold-press or expeller process
Again, even near-perfect nutrition cannot completely offset all the negative effects of hormone imbalances on your skin, but choosing foods high in vitamin A, antioxidants, selenium, and fatty acids and staying well-hydrated can help your body to find a balance more easily and minimize some uncomfortable skin conditions. In short, what you put in your mouth is more important than what you put on your skin when it comes to achieving that healthy glow and younger-looking skin for many years to come.
JULY 1, 2012
Some women wear their scars proudly, like badges of honor, while others donít seem to think much about them at all. But many women hate the sight of their scars, whether from surgeries or injuries, and feel intensely self-conscious about them. So whatís the best way to care for incisions to minimize scarring? And is there any way to make old scars fade? There is a great deal of advice on this subject; some of it amounts to little more than old wivesí tales, a waste of money and time. But there are some methods and products that many women report do make a difference.
Everyone scars differently. Some skin types and colors produce more visible scars, no matter what you do. And the closure method used by your surgeon and the care and expertise he or she employs in the process certainly have a great impact on the eventual appearance of your scar(s) as well. But how you care for your incisions and scars can make a difference, too.
First and foremost, always follow your doctorís instructions about incision care, and call his or her office immediately if you see any signs of infection or separation. Do not apply anything to your incision until your doctor tells you it is safe to do so. Some women report that becoming active sooner than their doctors recommend results in wider scars. Another reason for wide scars is if steri-strips or glue lose adhesion too early and the patient does not return to the doctor for fresh strips or glue. Infection can also cause bumpiness or uneven, wide scar tissue to form, so watch carefully for any signs of poor healing.
Once the incision is healed, many doctors and patients recommend massaging cocoa butter into the scar tissue daily to help it heal flat and smooth and to fade more quickly. Many women also report positive results from applying vitamin E oil directly to the affected skin. This helps restore elasticity and flexibility to the scar tissue and aids in healing. And finally, commercial products such as Medermaģ claim to be clinically proven to be effective at visibly reducing the appearance of scars.
Finally, if a scar is truly bothersome or unsightly and does not shrink and fade sufficiently over time, you can consult with your doctor or a plastic surgeon about the possibility of scar revision surgery. However, unless the scar somehow impedes your ability to function, it will be considered a cosmetic procedure and insurance is unlikely to reimburse you for the cost.
From the HysterSisters Forums
JULY 1, 2012
I am new to this site and I am coming here in hopes of gaining information on a topic that is about to put me in isolation. I am 26 years old and when I was 24 I had a hysterectomy due to HEAVY bleeding during my 'time'. My mother and grandmother both also had to have a hysterectomy due to that reason. I had the DaVinci Hysterectomy and my recovery was a breeze! Unfortunately, a few months after mine I started to develop horrible acne. I have been to a derm. and been put on Oracea but it's not helping at all. My life has came to a screaching halt because I hate to go out in public with my face looking like it does. I set and cry because I don't know how to solve this problem. I NEVER had acne prior to my surgery. I need help!!! I have tried proactive, different makeup, and otc creams to no prevail! My gyno didn't recommend HRT bc i still have my ovaries so I am at a dead end with this problem. PLEASE HELP!
Join the Discussion
More Discussions to join about skin changes post-hysterectomy:
What Happened to My Skin?
It Feels Like My Skin is Burning!
Improvement with Acne After Hysterectomy?
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JULY 1, 2012
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