Ten tips to help women feel their best

The Doctors | 11/7/2013, 7 p.m.

Plan mini-getaways. A few days exploring a new city, an overnight on the weekend, even taking a random day off from work is enough to help you recharge and de-stress, maybe even more so than taking a long trip, says a psychologist at the University of Alabama. Think about how happy you are when you anticipate leaving for vacation; scheduling more frequent--albeit shorter--breaks maximizes that feeling. Other ways to help relieve stress: Get active, laugh more, connect with family, try yoga, keep a journal or seek counseling if you need it. Find what works for you; it's important because chronic stress can raise your risk of a variety of health problems including depression, sleep and digestive issues, and weight gain; results from a decades-long study also found many middle-aged women develop aches and pains and other physical symptoms as a result of chronic stress.

Empty your bladder after intercourse. That's one way to help prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs); another is to avoid deodorant sprays, douches and other feminine hygiene products that could irritate the area. Drinking lots of water also helps flush bacteria; the protective effects of cranberry juice, however, are a little less clear. Some studies suggest it has infection-fighting properties; other research says it may only help those who have recurring UTIs. Most women will experience at least one UTI in their lifetime; after menopause your risk increases--the lack of estrogen causes changes in the urinary tract that make it more vulnerable to infection. Scientists in Sweden recently published research suggesting estrogen supplements delivered vaginally may help prevent repeat urinary tract infections in postmenopausal women.

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