Health

Do This Exercise for Jiggle-Free Arms

It's the simple, sculpting move you didn't know you were craving.

Join the Women's Health Weekend Challenge to help you meet your fitness goals fast and make your weekend workouts count. Thousands of women already have. Join them, and achieve your fitness goals faster!

Seated Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extension: At first glance, you might think this move sculpts one single muscle. Sorry, lady, but you'd be wrong. This exercise works your triceps, shoulders, and core at the same time. Impressed? Just wait until you try it! Work this bad boy into your routine this weekend.

SO…ARE YOU IN?!

More from Women's Health:
Here’s What Life Would Be Like If Everyone Talked Like Fitness Instructors 
This Move Could Finally Give You That Dream Butt
6 Exercises You're Doing Wrong—and How to Get 'Em Right

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What It’s Like to Be Intimate When You Have an Insulin Pump

A woman with type 1 diabetes gives us a glimpse into her love life.

Carissa Trast is like many other New York 30-somethings: She works hard, is super-active, and loves hanging with her friends. And she just so happens to be one of the close to three million Americans living with type 1 diabetes, a disease that prevents the body from producing insulin.

But the 32-year-old HR consultant, who lives in Brooklyn, doesn’t let her injections and her insulin pump hold her back from anything, whether it's running a marathon (she just completed her first one last year!) or feeling things out with a new guy.

In fact, Carissa's diabetes has never been a dating deal-breaker for dudes, mainly because she's so open about it. "It's not something that I tend to hide from anybody, whether it's someone I'm dating or not dating," says Carissa.  "For example, when I'm in a group setting and I'm on injections, I often will take out a syringe and take a shot at the dinner table if I'm [feeling] sick, even if there are people at the table who I'm not close with—it's not something that I'm very self-conscious about."

No surprises here—Carissa says that her insulin pump is something the guys she dates are aware of before they ever enter the bedroom. "I'll disconnect and put it to the side it really doesn't become a conversation," says Carissa, who explains that she disconnects her insulin pump, which leaves a little insert mark on the skin, when she goes for runs or bike rides, too. 

They're pretty cool about it, actually. "I don't think that there have been any real strange or surprising responses," says Carissa. "I think that people are more familiar with type 1 diabetes than I used to think."

Carissa says that while it's not something she necessarily brings up super early on in a relationship because she's very involved with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (she's participated in fundraising activities like the Ride to Cure), a lot of times the men she's seeing will already know that she has diabetes.

When it comes to type 1 diabetes, a low blood-sugar level can be dangerous (in extreme cases a person can go unconscious)—which is why Carissa always checks her levels throughout the day and before heading out for dinner or drinks with a potential love interest.

Carissa says she has felt her blood-sugar level rising (this can be caused by eating more than usual or skipping an insulin injection, but it's not as dangerous as low blood sugar) during a date. "I've definitely left a date and noticed that my blood sugar was high and maybe I had a beverage that had too much sugar in it," she says. "I wouldn’t necessarily take my pump out during a first date, but I would just go to the bathroom and do it at that point."

"When we would get into fights, he would tend to suggest I test my blood sugar if I was being sort of angry or irritable," says Carissa. "But he would say that just to make me angry more than anything else."

Carissa says she was actually impressed with how much that same boyfriend wanted to learn about her condition. "When you care about somebody you want to understand what they're going through," she says. "You want to be there for them the best that you can. I have a lot of friends who have diabetes, and their partners are very involved with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, for example. They want to understand and make a difference."

More from Women's Health:
12 Dating Tips That Will Transform Your Love Life 
How to Stop Dating Jerks
13 Signs You're Not Over Your Ex

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How Normal Is It for Sex to Hurt?

The number of women who are saying <i>ow</i> instead of <i>ahh</i>.

Sex may be pretty much synonymous with pleasure, but that doesn't mean that the experience is always pain-free. If getting it on makes you feel things in an "ouch" kind of way, you're not alone. According to a new study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, a whopping 30 percent of women reported pain during their most recent roll in the hay. 

The study analyzed data from the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University's 2012 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior and also found that nearly half of women said they hadn't communicated their pain to their partner and kept going as normal. Ow. The next most common responses were to apply lube or change positions (about a quarter of women each), but the study text reminds women that there is a difference between "nonclinical" and "clinical" pain—a.k.a. what a little lubrication or new angle might fix and what might need medical attention. To help sort out what's really going on down there, check out how to make sex less painful

More From Women's Health
6 Reasons Your Vagina Hurts
How a Tilted Uterus Can Affect Your Sex Life
6 Common Sex Injuries—And How to Deal
 

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Why You Keep Getting a Pimple in the SAME Exact Spot

Show that zit who's boss—for good.

Can you predict the location of your next zit as accurately as the date of your next period? If you said yes, we feel your pain. Luckily, there are steps you can take to end the vicious cycle of super stubborn, frustrating pimples, says Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Here's what you need to know about this aggravating type of acne—and how to banish it for good.

Those Pimples Might Be Cysts
Underground pimples that swell up and never come to a head (these suckers are known as cystic acne) are notorious for showing up in the same exact spot, says Zeichner. They develop when your pore, which is shaped like a long tube, branches out and causes oil to take a detour from its path to the surface of your skin. When this happens, the oil forms a "balloon-like" shape under the skin and inflates and deflates depending on how much oil you're producing, he explains. 

How to deal: Hate to break it to you, but since cystic acne changes the structure of your skin, there's no way to remove it on your own, says Zeichner. That means you have to wait it out or see a dermatologist to have it removed. Your doctor might give you a cortisone shot if you only get one or two pimples a month, otherwise, he or she might prescribe a medication to heal the breakout from the inside out. 

Popping a Whitehead Might Backfire (Even Though It Feels So Good)
If you once squeezed a whitehead til it burst, it's possible that the entire blockage wasn't removed—meaning that pimple could become inflamed again, says Zeichner. The irritation could also cause another pimple to form right next to your previous one. "It might appear like it’s the same zit, but it’s not," says Zeichner.

How to deal: To prevent your pore from becoming blocked again, Zeichner recommends using a salicylic acid treatment to remove excess oil and keep the pore clear. You can also use a spot treatment or product containing benzoyl peroxide to help kill bacteria that lies in the skin and causes acne, he says. 

Your Dirty Habits Might Be to Blame
Have the habit of putting your mitts all over your face when you're stressed or reading emails at your desk? You might find yourself getting acne in the same exact spot over and over again, says Zeichner. "Touching your face repeatedly in the same area can push dirt and oil into the pores in those areas and lead to pimples," he says. 

How to deal: Besides keeping your hands off of your face (we know, it's hard), Zeichner recommends using salicylic acid-based products to keep those areas clear, as well as incorporating benzoyl peroxide treatments into your routine to kill the bacteria left behind from your fingertips.

Period Zits Are So Not a Myth
If you swear that your breakout is BFFLs with your period, you're on to something. Zeichner says that many women break out in the lower one-third of their face or from the nose down when Aunt Flo strikes. "We don't exactly know why this happens but we know that it does," he says, although he explains that it’s possible that the oil glands in this part of your face are more sensitive to hormones. He adds that some women might have acne flare-ups in other areas like their neck or forehead during that time of the month, too. 

How to deal: Zeichner recommends using a salicylic acid cleanser the week before your period to help remove excess oil so that your pores stay clear when your hormones go haywire.

More from Women's Health:
5 Essential Steps to Treating Adult Acne
4 Ways to Get Rid of Butt Acne
10 Tips for Acne-Prone Skin

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Do This Plank Routine to Sculpt Abs for Days

It's all about that plank.

You may know Jen Widerstrom as one of the life-changing trainers on The Biggest Loser. Well, she's got some moves for you, too! Plank it out with this abs-sculpting routine, straight from The Women's Health 15-Minute Belly, Butt & Thighs Workouts DVD (sold by Women's Health's parent company, Rodale):

 

More from Women's Health:
Next Fitness Star Emily Schromm's Body Transformation Was 26 Years in the Making: See Pics!
The Key to Kicking Any Fitness Challenge's Ass
10 Thoughts Every Woman Has While Exercising on Her Period

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What You Need to Know About Three-Parent Babies (Because They’re Coming)

Is it as sci-fi as it sounds?

If you could prevent your future child from having a mitochondrial disease—the kind that could mean he or she could face heart and liver disease, respiratory problems, blindness, or muscular dystrophy down the road—would you?

That's the basis behind mitochondrial manipulation, or the controversial "three-parent" baby technique, a procedure in which the mother's nuclear genetic material is taken from her egg or embryo and placed into a donor egg or embryo that's had its nuclear DNA removed. Soon, this procedure may be available to mothers in the United Kingdom, thanks to lawmakers voting this week in favor of a law that would allow it.

RELATED: 4 Ways to Get Pregnant That Aren't Sex

The procedure hasn't been given the green light quite yet. Before the U.K. would become the first country to allow this technique, additional lawmakers still have to cast their votes in the U.K.'s upper house, the House of Lords.

"The procedure has already been performed experimentally, but is not yet part of routine clinical practice," says Alan B. Copperman, M.D., director of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at The Mount Sinai Hospital and medical director of Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York. "If proven safe and effective, it's likely that other countries, including the U.S., will quickly follow the U.K. and adopt similar legislature and technology."

So for those of us who are still trying to catch up on what mitochondria even is, here's a guide to help you keep up with the news:

Mitochondria and Mitochondrial Disease
Mitochondria are that stuff you learned about way back in biology class—they generate the energy our cells use to power our bodies. Mitochondria are separate from the cell's nucleus, which houses 99.9 percent of your DNA, including the DNA that determines personality and appearance, according to the Wellcome Trust Centre for Mitochondrial Research at Newcastle University.  When your mitochondria don't power your body full-force, your organs pay the price. People with mitochondrial disease face symptoms that include loss of motion, weakness, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and more. Every year, 1,000 to 4,000 children in the United States are born with a mitochondrial disease, per the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation.

RELATED: Amazing Medical News: First Baby Born Via Womb Transplant

How Three-Person DNA IVF Works
Mitochondrial diseases are passed from mother to child, so when DNA from a donor is used to replace defective DNA, it prevents mutations from being passed on to offspring, explains Copperman. The process is complicated, but the gist is that the mom's nuclear DNA (the stuff that determines hair color, eye color, etc.) is inserted into an egg with healthy mitochondria (that's had its nuclear DNA removed) either pre- or post-fertilization with the father's sperm and is then implanted into the mother's uterus the same way it would be in IVF.

Why the Name "Three-Parent Baby" Is Actually Kind of Silly
According to the Wellcome Trust, "Scientists estimate that our DNA is made up of about 30,000 genes. In mitochondrial donation, almost all of the child’s genes will come from its parents; the mitochondrial donor will only contribute 37 genes (0.1 percent of total DNA), which enable the mitochondria to produce energy." Translation: 99.9 percent of the baby's DNA would come from its parents; a teeny, tiny sprinkle would come from a donor. 

What All of This Means
The BBC reported that debate of the law by U.K. lawmakers included questions of the procedure's safety and societal implications since all of this is super new. Lawmakers also discussed whether this all counts as "genetic modification."

But if this sounds like a slippery slope toward designer babies, hold up a second: With this method, parents can't choose what color their child's eyes will be or shape his personality so he becomes a straight-A student. They can simply try to grow a healthy baby.

Just like every other IVF treatment, this one has drawbacks: "There is still a chance that some of the defective DNA will remain in the cell and be transmitted to the child," says Copperman. It's not a perfect science yet. "It's an exciting advance when science is used to help cure or prevent disease. It's even possible that this technology can someday be used to help rejuvenate aging eggs and enhance fertility for infertile couples. But much testing needs to first be performed to prove both the safety and efficacy of this new technology."

Fascinating stuff, right? To learn more about three-parent babies and the past, present, and future of baby-making, check back on WomensHealthMag.com soon! And to find out even more about the future of fertility science and "designer babies," pick up a copy of the March issue of Women's Health, on newsstands February 10. 

RELATED: Watch a Fertilized Egg Become a Baby

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Experts Weigh In on What Would Happen If You Didn’t Shower Like The Bachelor’s Britt

Smelling bad is just the tip of the iceberg.

There was all kinds of crazy on Monday night’s The Bachelor (who can forget Kelsey's bizarre pre-rose ceremony breakdown?!), but the biggest bombshell of all was when contestant Britt Nilsson admitted she hadn’t washed her hair in a week. (This may confirm Michelle Money’s joke about Britt not showering on the show’s live premiere.) As great as she looks sans-shower, this begs the question: How often do you really need one? Experts reveal the consequences of not showering, skipping shampoo for a week, and sleeping with your makeup on.

When You Don’t Shower…
Your main concern when you skip a shower is moisture accumulation on the skin, not necessarily a buildup of dirt throughout the day. That said, if you hit the gym, you can't skip the shower.

"Keeping moist, salty sweat soaked clothing close to your skin for long periods after working out leads to irritation and the increased risk of small abrasions or skin breakdown," says Holly L. Phillips, M.D., a women's health physician and medical contributor to CBS News in New York City. "This can raise your risk of bacterial and fungal infections, like staph bacteria or the fungus that causes jock itch." If you don't have the time to shower, Phillips says it's imperative to at least change your clothes.

How long can you forgo a shower if you don't work out? "That all depends on how forgiving your friends and family are of your 'natural' scent," says Phillips. "But in hot, sweaty climates, moisture in your clothes could be as much of an issue as if you worked out. A daily rinse down with soap is a good thing."

When You Don’t Wash Your Hair…
"If you don't wash your hair every two to three days you will get a greasy, oily buildup," says George Rylander, a master stylist at New York City-based Dop Dop Salon. "Your hair will look and feel dirty and start to smell as it takes in the smells of the environment." This can also contribute to knots and eventually split ends.

But the amount of time acceptable between washes depends, of course, on hair type. Someone with thicker hair like Britt's can add a few more days in between her shampoos. However, don't take it too far. "With going a week or more without washing, you will start to find that your head will get itchy and you can find yourself with clogged follicles," says celebrity stylist Randi Peterson.

Rylander offers some simple tips for off-shampoo days. "Spray dry shampoo before bed at the nape of the neck and the top of hair so it won't be oily in the morning," she says. "Also spray dry shampoo and massage into hair throughout the course of the day if looking oily."

When You Sleep With Your Makeup on…
If you fall asleep with your makeup on once in a while it won't have a major impact, except for a buildup of debris and dead skin cells, explains Adriana Martino, a laser medical esthetician and cofounder of NYC's SKINNEY Medspa. "However, over time it will lead to premature aging of the skin due to excessive buildup and not allowing the skin to rebuild and repair. This can lead to fine lines and dull-looking skin."

At night, your skin actively repairs itself—and sleeping with your makeup on prevents this renewal process. When the pores become clogged, it "increases your chances of milia [whiteheads] and blackheads," says Martino. "You are also polluting your skin with environmental elements by not rinsing and cleansing your skin."

While mascara may seem harmless, the effects are just as bad. "It can clog eyelash follicles which leads to your lashes falling out," says Martino.

If you're expecting a sexy farmer from Iowa to wake you up at 4:30 a.m. for a romantic date, Martino suggests wearing an oil-free tinted moisturizer or a mineral makeup likes Susan Posnick's Colorflo Foundation ($68, susanposnick.com). Hydrating moisturizers with foundation built in are also less likely to clog pores.

More From Women's Health:
5 Ways Your Shower Is Making You Look Worse
16 Problems Only Women Who Wear Makeup Understand
An Expert Weighs in on Andi Dorfman's Eyebrow Transformation

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One Daring Dude Shares What Men Masturbate To

Ready to boldly go where no woman has gone before?

Masturbation is great. You know it. You’ve done it. At least I assume you have. If you haven’t, I can’t express to you what you've been missing out on, and I urge you to stop reading this right now and go play with yourself. You’ll be better for it. But what are men actually thinking about when they're indulging in a little McLovin? Allow me to enlighten you.

Dudes have three basic options regarding what they’re going to get themselves off to:

  • Total mental fantasy
  • Looking back nostalgically to the “spank bank” of previous sexual experiences
  • Pornography

Personally, I don’t really do the mental fantasy anymore. That was more of a teenage thing, when I couldn’t always access porn and I didn’t have much of a spank bank to speak of (from what I understand, this is a pretty common experience). I delve into the spank bank occasionally, but not so often because if I relive a sexual experience with someone I’m no longer with, it can make me either sad or mad, depending on how things ended. And you don’t want the result of a masturabation sesh to be sadness or anger. Masturbation is all about happiness and mirth!

So more often than not, I tend to go with porn. As a perpetually single guy, I probably consume more porn and masturbate more often than your Average American Male. But I don’t think my tastes deviate too far from the norm—I just cast a wider net.

More From Women's Health:
What Happens When You Ask Four Different Guys How Good They Are in Bed
4 Things You're Insecure About That Guys Don't Even Notice
Can Guys Actually Tell If You Faked an Orgasm?

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What to Do During Pregnancy to Make Losing the Baby Weight Easier

Set yourself up for success now!

When you're pregnant, it may seem like the most logical course of action is to devour whatever you want (after all, you're eating for two!) and worry about the weight gain after your bundle of joy is born. But taking a proactive approach can make getting back to your pre-baby weight so much easier.

"Life will really get busy quickly once the new little member of your family arrives, so preparing for this transition can really help once it happens," says Kristin Kirkpatrick, M.S., R.D., a wellness manager at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. "You have time now to plan out your diet, but when you have a baby to take care of, sometimes mom’s health falls by the wayside."

Kirkpatrick recommends taking steps now—not just later—to speed up your slim down.

1. Learn How to Kick Your Cravings
If you indulge in an entire bag of salty chips or fat-laden foods now, it will be more difficult to turn those same snacks down once your baby is born. "For both the health of yourself and your baby, focus on whole foods," says Kirkpatrick. "Our bodies stop desiring healthful foods when we are eating junk food too often, so make sure to give yourself a smooth transition to a post-baby diet by starting now."

 

A photo posted by Liv Harrison (@livwithbliss) on

 

2. Don’t Eat for Two
“It’s a misconception that when you’re pregnant you have to eat for two,” says Kirkpatrick. "While it’s okay to give into some cravings when you’re pregnant—because of course you’ll have them—the important thing is to keep your portions under control.” In other words, if you want to nibble on a piece of chocolate, go for it—just don’t devour an entire bag of fun-size candies in one sitting. 

3. Clean Up Your Kitchen
And we don't mean taking Lysol to the countertops. "Rid the cabinets and refrigerator of processed foods," says Kirkpatrick. "Get rid of anything that would not fit into your post-baby diet, and start filling the house with the foods that will foster your healthy weight loss." Refill those empty shelves with "whole grains, dark leafy greens, lean sources of protein, colorful fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats," she says.

RELATED: 7 'Healthy' Ingredients That Are Making You Gain Weight

4. Set Realistic Goals
You can't achieve something if you don't know what you're working toward, right? So before sleepless nights set in, sit down one evening and make an achievable weight-loss plan. "Don’t go drastic with your vision to get back into your pre-baby jeans," says Kirkpatrick. "There are so many diet claims on the Internet that promise quick weight loss, but most are at the cost of your health. A healthy weight-loss goal of one pound a week, in most cases, is what you should aim for."

5. Siphon Some Motivation for Later
"Right now, you are planning out your weight loss and are probably more motivated than ever to be able to see your toes again," says Kirkpatrick. "But when you're being woken up every few hours and life seems crazy all around you, that motivation may start to slip. So take advantage of this current go get 'em attitude, and write down encouraging thoughts for yourself. Leave them on your calendar, refrigerator, bathroom mirror, in the car, and anywhere else that you may find yourself in a tempting situation."

 

A photo posted by Liv Harrison (@livwithbliss) on

 

6. Get a Weight-loss Buddy
She doesn't have to be another mom or mom-to-be, but it's important to share your goals with someone who'll understand—and push you to keep them. "Encourage each other, share tips and recipes, and maybe even join the same gym," suggests Kirkpatrick. And most importantly, tell her the steps you'll be taking to lose weight so she can help keep you on track. "Knowing that you have other people expecting your results will keep you accountable," says Kirkpatrick.

More from Women's Health:
How Long Does It Really Take to Lose Baby Weight?
7 Honest Things Celebs Have Said About Losing Baby Weight
5 Hopeful Tips for Shedding ALL of Your Pregnancy Weight

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Are Those Razor Bumps…Or an STD?

Three questions that can save you a trip to the gyno

The skin of your vagina is the most delicate of your entire anatomy. No wonder it’s such a target for issues and infections, from zit breakouts to razor rash to more serious things, such as STDs like herpes and genital warts.

So when a suspicious bump, spot, or lump suddenly shows up down below, how can you determine if it’s okay to blow off...or if it’s something major that might pose a threat to your sexual health? The only way to know 100 percent for sure is to see your gyno for tests. But when that’s not possible or you’re too crazy panicked to get dressed and hightail it to her office, suss things out by taking inventory with these three questions.

1. Does the Bump Hurt—and How Badly?
“If it’s a mild kind of discomfort or it’s more tender to the touch than truly painful, it’s probably a harmless whitehead or an ingrown hair,” says Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., clinical professor of ob-gyn at the Yale School of Medicine. “Genital warts don’t cause pain either, but the worry is herpes—the blisters that characterize a herpes outbreak hurt really badly, and they can even burn when you urinate.” If the pain is nuts, your doc needs to check you out.

RELATED: 6 Strategies to Banish Ingrown Hairs for Good

2. Is the Bump Smooth or Jagged?
A smooth, painless bump jutting out from the skin is probably just a skin tag, says Minkin. This is a super common benign growth that often pops up along body regions where skin rubs against skin—like your groin and upper thighs. “If it juts out the same way yet feels jagged and rough, like cauliflower, it’s more likely to be a genital wart,” says Minkin. Caused by the HPV virus and transmitted via skin-on-skin sexual contact, genital warts won’t lead to anything more serious. But you still need to see your gyno and find out the best way to have it removed so you don’t spread it to anyone else.

RELATED: How to Tell If It's a Wart—And the Best Way to Remove It

3. Is the Bump Closed or Open?
One or several red bumps that are closed and remain closed until they heal are most likely razor bumps, a zit, or a rash triggered by an allergic reaction, says Minkin. If it’s a painless bump just beneath the skin on either side of the vagina, it could be a Bartholin’s cyst, which is caused by a clog in one of the glands that lubricate the vagina. It’s harmless, can be about the size of a pea, and often goes away on its own.

While herpes blisters start out as closed red bumps, within days they open and turn into moist, even oozy lesions before crusting over and healing. If that’s what you’re seeing, your doctor needs to know. She can test you and prescribe meds that will ease (but unfortunately not cure) the infection.

RELATED: I Tested Positive for Herpes—Now What?

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