Spanx Takes a Spanking

Spanx has been in the news a lot lately. First, Forbes magazine announced that Sara Blakely, founder of the women’s slimming undergarments company, had joined the billionare’s club this year. At age 41, and having started her business at home with just $5,000, Blakely is now the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire.

Last month, Oscar winning actress Octavia Spencer, hit the headlines when she revealed, what she’d not been revealing!  Turns out, when she took home the SAG Award for Outstanding Actress in a Supporting Role for The Help, she’d been wearing three pairs of Spanx under her gown.

Now it seems the trend has spread from the red carpet to the green turf. This week, warned of the dangers of teens in Spanx. The on-line watchdog reported the tale of a 15-year-old high school soccer player who was recently referred to her doctor because of numbness, tingling, and discomfort in her left thigh that had bothered her for a few weeks. The diagnosis: a compressed nerve in her pelvis. The likely cause: Spanx. While doctors have previously warned of the health dangers associated with skinny jeans, such as  fertility problems , bladder infections , and blood clots the doctor in question was surprised that a girl so young and fit would wear Spanx. It turns out that her entire team wears them under their soccer uniforms.

Body slimmers are the latest fad to hit the athletic fields. Sold in an assortment of bright colors, they appeal to teenage girls who play soccer, lacrosse, and softball. However, in an attempt to conceal their spandex, these girls are rolling down the waistline of their Spanx and unwittingly pressing a tight band of Lycra into their groins. The result: injuries normally associated with direct trauma or repetitive stretching and contraction of the groin muscles. The treatment: in this case, the doctor advised his patient to ditch the Spanx, and retire her skinny jeans. Not that Sara Blakely needs to worry, according to Forbes, her billion dollar business is set to at least double in size in the coming years.

Behind the bedroom door

It’s well known that infertility is on the increase.  Recent data suggests that fertility issues affect about 1 in 8 couples worldwide. The impact of an infertility diagnosis can be devastating enough.  But for men, procreativity is so closely linked with sexuality, many feel that their masculinity is being questioned.  Fear of being  publicly revealed as the cause of the couples failure to conceive prevents many men from undergoing testing.

So it was with interest that Word on Health learned about a new home test kit that can assist couples in determining if a man’s sperm count is normal, low, or very low, in the privacy of their own homes.

The test, appropriately called SpermCheck,  is based on the levels of a particular protein in sperm.  The test has already been approved in the EU and is currently undergoing FDA review.

The SpermCheck Fertility test is designed as a first line assay for use by couples who suspect infertility. The test is also useful for men of any age who simply want to know if their sperm count is in the normal range. After reading the results couples can determine whether to seek comprehensive clinical evaluation of the male partner’s fertility status,”  explains John Herr, PhD who discovered the protein . “This self-test could save money and time for couples struggling with infertility by identifying which partner may need further evaluation.”

Word on Health wonders if we should keep “mum” on this !?!

Tweeting for the Stork

Word on Health is pleased to bring you a heartwarming story that demonstrates, in case there was any doubt, the power and reach of social media.

Smart, successful, socially aware San Francisco couple, Molly and Brian Walsh wanted a baby. When their efforts failed, they, like so many other couples, investigated in-vitro fertilization.  They had already saved about $10,000 towards the $12,000 treatment, when they found out that they actually needed closer to $30,000 for additional genetic testing of the fertilized embryos, to avoid passing on a rare, but incurable genetic disease to their offspring.

With their biological clocks ticking faster than their ability to raise the funds, the couple came up with a unique plan.  They decided to go public with their story and then host a series of fundraising parties, on-line auctions and other events.  These were announced to friends and strangers alike on their website, on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and other social media.

Response was overwhelming and as a result they have already raised an additional $8,000.

Which begs the question, if one couple can achieve this through social media, what could you achieve?  The SRxA team of social media strategists is waiting to hear from you.

Want a baby? Get Dusting!

According to a study just published in Environmental Health Perspectives, women with high levels of a chemical found in common household products take twice as long to get pregnant as their peers with lower blood levels of the compound.

Polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDE) are major components of commercial formulations often used as flame retardants in furniture foam, plastics for TV cabinets, consumer electronics, wire insulation, back coatings for draperies and upholstery and plastics for personal computers and small appliances. The compound is also found in some foods, particularly dairy products and higher-fat meat and fish.
The study found that every tenfold increase in the blood levels of PBDE is associated with a 30-50% decline in the rate of becoming pregnant in any given month,
These compounds are believed to affect fertility rate by altering thyroid function and subsequently a woman’s menstrual patterns.
Lead researcher Kim Harley said “The best way to reduce PDBE exposure is to reduce exposure to house dust.”

Speaking exclusively to Word on Health, leading fertility specialist Joel Batzofin, MD told us “Whenever we are made aware of potentially toxic substances in our living environment, our water and/or our food, this causes significant concern.  As it turns out, fertility is frequently one of the first indicators of potential problems”.  “However, further well designed and controlled studies are needed before we start advising patients to throw out their sofas and laptops.”

Excellent advice, but Word on Health is doing a little extra dusting today – just in case!