7550 France Ave S. Suite 215, Edina, MN 55435
How Do I Perform a Breast Self-Exam?

How Do I Perform a Breast Self-Exam?

A regular monthly breast self-exam is very important. Self-exams help you to be familiar with how your breasts look and feel so you can alert your healthcare professional if there are any changes. 

Pick the same time every month, as your breasts change throughout your cycle. It is most comfortable after your cycle when your breasts are not tender.  Follow these steps below:

Step 1:  Start by looking at your breasts in the mirrorwith your shoulders straight, arms by your side, and then with your arms on your hips.

While looking in the mirror become familiar with the normal shape, size, and color of your breasts.

  • Your breasts should be evenly shaped with no visible lumps, bumps, dimpling, or swelling
  • Lumps under the surface can be normal.  Breasts can be cystic. Get to know lumps that are normal for you and watch for changes in size, shape, or firmness.
  • It is normal for your breasts to be asymmetrical as long as this is normal for you and does not abruptly change.

If you see any of the following changes, bring them to your doctor’s attention:

  • Dimpling, puckering or bulging of the skin
  • A nipple that has changed position, has discharge, or has become inverted (pushed inward instead of sticking out)
  • Redness, soreness, rash or swelling
  • If ever in doubt ask your provider. You can never be too cautious with your health.

Step 2:  Raise your arms and look for the same changes as above.

Step 3:  Lightly squeeze the nipple between your thumb and pointer finger and check for any fluid (discharge) coming out of one or both nipples (this could be a watery, milky, or yellow fluid or blood).

Step 4:  Check both breasts feeling for any lump, thickening or hardened knot. Feel your breasts while lying down.

  • To do this, bend your left elbow and put your left hand behind your head to relax your muscles. Use your right hand to feel your left breast.
  • Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few finger pads of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together. Use a circular motion, about the size of a quarter. Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side — from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage.
  • Follow a pattern to be sure that you cover the whole breast. You can begin at the nipple, moving in larger and larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast. You can also move your fingers up and down vertically, in rows, as if you were mowing a lawn. The up-and-down method is often easier and prevents missing areas of the breast.
  • Be sure to feel all the layers of your breasts using different pressures: for the skin and tissue just beneath, use light pressure; use medium pressure for tissue in the middle of your breasts; use firm pressure for the deep tissue in the back. When you’ve reached the deep tissue, you should be able to feel down to your ribcage.  It is very important to feel for lumps in your armpits and the top outer area of your breasts (use a clock and focus on the 9 to 12 o’clock area). This is often where lumps of concern are located.  Switch sides and repeat.

Step 5:  Finally, feel your breasts while you are standing or sitting. Many women find that the easiest way to feel their breasts is when their skin is wet, so they like to do this step in the shower. Cover your entire breast, using the same hand movements described in step 4. If the steps seem difficult hang a breast examination card in your shower.  They serve as a reminder with easy instructions.

If you notice any changes to your breasts call your healthcare provider to have them evaluated. For additional peace of mind, our nurses are available for a quick breast health check for our patients.

Current patients, if you have any concerns or would like to be shown how to do your own self-exam, please contact us to set up a quick complimentary appointment with one of our Nurses.

 

Tips for Taking Vitamins & Medications

Tips for Taking Vitamins & Medications

How Can I Help Myself Remember to Take my Vitamins and Medications?

Taking your supplements and medications consistently is important but can be challenging. 

We have put together some helpful tips to make it easier.

  • Use 2 Pill Boxes.   Pick up TWO 7-day pill containers for morning vitamins and evening/night-time vitamins. Make sure they are see through. This is the best and easiest strategy to get you set for taking them all week long. This simple piece of plastic can make all the difference. You can find jumbo boxes at Bed Bath & Beyond, Walgreens, Bloomington Drug, etc. Fill them up with your pills every Sunday.
  • Location!  Create a routine place to keep your vitamins where you already have a daily routine. Whether it is brushing your teeth, making coffee or at your table if you eat breakfast and dinner there each day. Store your daily vitamins in a place where you will see them. A great place is next to the sink in the bathroom where you get ready in the morning and for bed. Out-Of-Sight = Out-Of-Mind.
  • Educate Yourself.  Knowing why you are taking the particular vitamin, mineral or other supplement is a key component to staying motivated to keep taking them. Also knowing when to take them (on an empty stomach, with food, with vitamin C, etc.) will greatly impact their effectiveness.
  • Buddy System – Taking your supplements with someone else can keep you accountable. One spouse is usually more compliant or knowledgeable than the other and can help out.
  • Set an Alarm. Set your phone, alarm clock, watch or computer to go off to remind you it is time to take your vitamins.
  • Streamline Your Vitamins – Maybe you are taking too many vitamins. Talk to Dr. Sinda or your doctor to see if you can eliminate some of the vitamins you take.
  • Timing.  If you have to take pills on an empty stomach in the morning (such as thyroid) keep them at bedside with a glass of water. Set alarm 30 minutes before it is time to wake up, take it and hit snooze. If  you are really motivated, take your pill and get up and start your day with a short 15 to 20 minute workout or take them when you first get up then take a shower and get ready before eating breakfast.

Compliance is very important.  If you find out you are not good at taking your vitamins, medications or bio-identical hormones at a certain time of the day or are having trouble with compliance, contact us.
We may be able to come up with suggestions or an alternative for you.

Next time you are in to see Dr. Sinda, bring a list of what supplements / vitamins you are taking, the doses and times of day you take them and he will review it with you.

If you have a Compliance Tip that works well for you, share it with us on Facebook.

Vitamin D + K2 for Strong Bones

Vitamin D + K2 for Strong Bones

Why does Vitamin D come with Vitamin K in it now?

Research is now showing that the benefits of Vitamin D, in terms of maintaining bone strength and cardiovascular health are greatly enhanced when combined with Vitamin K2. 

While Vitamin D improves your bone health by helping you absorb calcium, it is the Vitamin K2 that directs calcium to the bones and prevents it from being absorbed into the wrong areas; i.e. organs, joint spaces and arteries.  

Vitamin K1 is found in green leafy vegetables so it is easy to get through the diet. However, Vitamin K2 originates from bacteria. I don’t know about you but I’m not eating bacteria! Therefore, it is important to take a quality Vitamin D with K2 in it. It is a little more spendy than plain Vitamin D but your bone health is worth it! 

Do you know your Vitamin D level? It is a simple blood test. Ask your doctor to check it the next time you are in. Your test result will show whether you are getting enough Vitamin D from sun exposure and whether you may need to take a supplement.

Dr. Sinda recommends a Vitamin D screening test for all of our patients. To learn more about our programs, click here.