Women’s Health: Your Questions Answered


We asked five female physicians at Emerson to share their best health tips for women. Read on for their empowering advice.

Q. How can I enhance my overall health and manage stress?

A. In the era of COVID-19, women have more stressors than ever to juggle. While supportive partners may share the burden, women historically take on the role of nurturers. You need to be well to take care of others. Go for a walk, call or meet a friend, read a book, exercise, make time to practice mindfulness. Most importantly, do not ignore medical signs and symptoms that need to be checked. Frequently, I see patients with a breast mass they have had for a while, or hernia or gallbladder symptoms they have experienced for months. Luisa in the Disney movie “Encanto” sings a song titled “Surface Pressure”, which echoes the sentiment of many women these days. I urge you to stop and take a break. Be kind to yourself.
Elizaveta Ragulin-Coyne, MD, FACS, General and Breast Surgeon, Emerson Health Surgery

Q. What are your best tips to help you look and feel your best?

A. Feeling and looking your best means highlighting your inner beauty, being kind to yourself, and having self-confidence. This may include long-term practices, like meditation or eating well; a quick experience, such as a massage or Botox; or something more complex like surgery. It is important to know that cosmetic surgery does not necessarily translate to vanity and can be a positive life change, similar to breast reduction, gender-affirming surgery, and breast cancer reconstruction. Feeling good is unique to everyone! It never hurts to meet with a plastic surgeon and learn more. I will guide you through a personalized journey to make you feel rejuvenated and radiant.
Joanna Ng-Glazier, MD, FACS, Plastic Surgeon, Emerson Health Plastic Surgery

Q. How can I avoid kidney stones?

A. Approximately one in 10 people will have at least one kidney stone during their lifetime. Passing a kidney stone can be an extremely painful experience. The most common cause is dehydration due to excessive sweating or not drinking enough fluid. You can decrease your risk by drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of clear, caffeine-free fluid every day. Water mixed with lemon juice (1/4 cup lemon juice in 64 ounces of water) is best because the citrate in lemon can reduce stone formation. Orange juice and cranberry juice are acceptable alternatives. Most caffeinated teas, coffee, and dark sodas increase risk of forming stones because they are dehydrating and contain oxalate, a substance that builds most stones.
Oneeka Williams, MD, MPH, Urologist, Emerson Health Urology

Q. What are some ways I can improve my digestive health?

A. A high-fiber diet with plenty of whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables helps keep your bowels moving regularly. A healthy lifestyle can lead to a healthy gastrointestinal tract. For cardiovascular health and improved digestive health, exercise for 30 minutes — three to four times per week is a good start. I recommend avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol, as these can cause heartburn and gastric ulcers. Many patients feel stress in their stomach. Stress reduction with exercise, yoga, and/or meditation is easy to recommend but hard to accomplish for many patients. Take time for yourself and make sure to breathe.
Jennifer Nayor, MD, Gastroenterologist, Emerson Health Gastroenterology

Q. What would you recommend to a friend who may be afraid to get a mammogram?

A. Start by finding out what she is afraid of. Is she frightened of what the mammogram might find? You can explain how early detection saves lives. Mammograms can find breast cancers that are too small to feel on an exam. When we find something early, usually it is very easy to treat — and with a high success rate. Is she afraid of the unknown? Never had a mammogram? Explain what happens during a mammogram or refer her to our website at emersonhospital.org/mammo to learn about the mammogram experience. I am happy to discuss with her how a mammogram is important for good health!
Kimberly Brennan, DO, Medical Oncologist, Mass General Cancer Center at Emerson Hospital – Bethke

To watch a video with many of these physicians, visit emersonhospital.org/womenshealthtips.