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5 Things You Should Know About Freezing Your Eggs + MORE

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5 Things You Should Know About Freezing Your Eggs

– www.health.com

Nature has an ironic sense of humor: For a lot of women, the idea of having a baby is downright terrifying until one day, it suddenly isn’t. But in many cases that day doesn’t come until right around the time the baby-making window of opportunity is starting to close, and fast.  

While our fertility rates gradually decline as we get older, there’s a drop in our ability to reproduce between ages 32 and 37, with a more rapid fall after that, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). That biological deadline is one of the reasons actress Olivia Munn, 35—of Iron Man 2 and Mortdecai fame—decided to freeze her eggs. Last week on the podcast Anna Faris Is Unqualified, Munn talked about how much relief it has brought her: “I think that every girl should do it,” she said. “It’s also just like, why not do it.”

In reality, the decision is a lot more complicated than that. Before you call your local fertility clinic, there are a few things you should know about the procedure technically known as oocyte cryopreservation.

RELATED: 15 Factors That Affect a Woman's Fertility

It’s not a one-step process 

The egg freezing procedure takes a few weeks, says Mindy Christianson, MD, an assistant professor of gynecology and obstetrics at Johns Hopkins University and a physician at the Johns Hopkins Fertility Center. First steps can include a baseline ultrasound and a blood test. After that, you’ll start giving yourself injections of fertility hormones at home for about a week or so. The hormones will hopefully spur your ovaries to produce, say, 20 eggs, instead of just one. (Luckily, the needles aren’t painful, says Dr. Christianson. They’re similar to insulin pens.) Throughout the process, you’ll need to return to your doctor’s office for follow-up blood tests and ultrasounds.

Egg retrieval is no day at the spa

Your doctors will probably gather your eggs (sorry) with ultrasound guidance. They’ll stick a long, thin needle into your vagina, then grab the eggs and prep them for freezing. You’ll be under sedation for that, naturally. The good news: You’ll probably only have mild cramping afterwards, and with a pain pill, you should be okay. (Though wait a few days to exercise, since your ovaries will be enlarged.)

RELATED: Maria Menounos Snapchats Her Egg Retrieval Procedure

It’s pretty expensive

After tallying up the costs of the injections, doctor’s visits, and the procedure itself, you’re probably looking at a bill that can total $10,000 to $15,000, says Dr. Christianson. And then there’s the cost of storing the eggs, which may set you back anywhere from $500 to $800 a year.

However, the price tag looks better after you turn 40. A 2012 study in the journal Fertility and Sterility found that a woman trying to get pregnant at age 40 would save $15,000 if she froze her eggs at age 35…

Am I Peeing Too Much? How to Tell What's Normal

– www.health.com

Do you get up to pee twice as often as your co-workers? Or maybe you're the type of person who can go hours without a bathroom break, no matter how much water you down. Pee patterns seem to run the gamut from high frequency to hardly ever—which made us wonder, What's a normal number of times to go in a day? (You can laugh now, but you'll thank us later!) We tapped ob-gyn Neil Grafstein, MD, an assistant professor of urology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, to answer that question, plus a few more.

How often should we be peeing?

“Most people urinate four to seven times during a day," says Dr. Grafstein, but there's really no magic number. Your pee frequency is influenced by factors beyond how hydrated you are, he explains, including the types of fluids you're drinking: "Caffeine and alcohol are bladder irritants, so they cause you to urinate more frequently." The sensitivity of your bladder also plays a role. Some people heed the call of nature at the slightest urge; while others don't feel the need to empty their bladder until its fuller.

Is it possible to train your bladder?

Yes, says Dr. Grafstein, as long as you don't have any underlying incontinence issues. You can retrain your bladder by delaying peeing until the urge becomes strong. “A little sensitivity does not have to be responded to all the time,” he says. Certain professionals who aren't able to get to the bathroom often (think surgeons and teachers) end up doing this naturally.

But isn't holding it bad for you?

Only once the urge becomes painful. If you've really gotta go, go, says Dr. Grafstein. When you hold in urine for too long, your bladder may become distended, increasing your risk for bladder infections.

What if middle-of-the-night bathroom trips are wrecking your sleep?

If an urgent need to pee in the, er, wee hours becomes a regular thing, try keeping a fluid diary, Dr. Grafstein suggests. Document how much, what, and when you drink. Consuming most of your daily fluids at night? Shift your habits so you consume more earlier in the day. And cut back on booze near bedtime. Also consider that it may not be the urge to pee that's waking you, says Dr. Grafstein. You could be experiencing restless sleep for another reason, like anxiety or sleep apnea.

Can the color of your pee really tell you if you're well hydrated?

Like your pee frequency, the color of your pee can be affected by a variety of factors, such as the food you've eaten (as beet lovers know) and what you've had to drink. But generally, yes, the color of your urine can be a helpful clue to your hydration status, says Dr. Grafstein. The goal: If the toilet bowl turns a see-through yellow color, you're golden.

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5 Things You Should Know About Freezing Your Eggswww.health.com
Am I Peeing Too Much? How to Tell What's Normalwww.health.com

Will Immunotherapy Be the End of Cancer?

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Will Immunotherapy Be the End of Cancer?

– www.health.com

In September of 2011, I did the worst Google search of my life. A year after a seemingly manageable melanoma diagnosis and surgery, I learned that my cancer had appeared again, this time moving aggressively into my lungs and soft tissue. Naturally, the first thing I did was open my laptop and type "stage 4 melanoma life expectancy." Then I cried. The results were terrifying. 

On the website of MD Anderson, one of the most prestigious cancer centers in the world, I found a January 2011 article on metastatic melanoma. There was a telling quote from Michael Davies, MD, of the center’s Melanoma Medical Oncology Department: "The average survival for patients with stage 4 metastatic melanoma is 6 to 10 months, and this hasn’t changed for 30 years."

I still get chills when I recall my prognosis not so very long ago, a prognosis that looked likely to wipe my presence from my two young daughters’ childhoods. Yet a month after my diagnosis, I became one of the first dozen patients in a new clinical trial at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, receiving a type of treatment known as immunotherapy, which harnesses the body’s natural defenses to fight cancer. Three months later, I was declared cancer-free, and I have been ever since. I had not only been granted a future—I had seen a glimpse of it. Welcome to the next era of medicine. 

WATCH THE VIDEO: "I Survived Stage IV Melanoma"

Outsmarting cancer

Our bodies are incredible machines. We are born with an internal defense system designed to fight off invaders like infection and disease. At the heart of that system are T cells, microscopic killers that recognize and destroy abnormalities. But cancer is a potent—and sneaky—foe. "For reasons we are just beginning to understand, your T cells don’t see the cancer cells," explains Naiyer Rizvi, MD, professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center and a leading specialist in immunotherapy for lung cancer. And the immune system can’t fight an enemy it doesn’t even recognize.

In the fight against cancer, the trinity of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy—known by the assertive nickname "slash, burn, and poison"—has long been the weapon of choice. By going directly after cancer cells (almost always with collateral damage to otherwise healthy parts of the body), the method at least has an understandable logic: Scorch the area, then cross your fingers that the disease doesn’t come back.

Immunotherapy approaches the problem differently, stimulating the patient’s own body to kill the cancer. But reprogramming the immune system to, as Dr. Rizvi says, "break the hypnosis effect" that cancer cells have on our T cells has been hard to achieve, and immunotherapy languished for decades as a fringe field of research…

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The Weird Way Harry Potter Could Affect Your Political Views + MORE

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Continue Reading

Will Immunotherapy Be the End of Cancer?www.health.com