Jamaica Observer http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/ JamaicaObserver.com, the most concise and in-depth website for news coverage on Jamaica and the Caribbean. Updated daily 7 days a week, 24 hours a day en-us copyright Jamaica Observer, 2011 How did you meet your mate? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/allwoman/How-did-you-meet-your-mate- It is always sweet to watch the romantic movies &ndash; guy bumps into beautiful girl and their eyes meet and BOOM, they fall in love. But reality has a nice way of putting a damper on those plans we may have of meeting our Mr or Mrs at the exact time both our stars are aligned. In fact, for some couples, meeting their significant others wasn&rsquo;t all bells and roses, but was awkward, at best.<br /> <br /> How did you meet your love?<br /> <br /> Norval:<br /> <br /> I met my wife years ago at church. We actually sang on the choir together and it is extremely weird because I remember her venting to me that there was no one in the church we were attending that was up to her standard. I don&rsquo;t know when we became close friends until we kissed one night and I decided it was time to man-up and I asked her for a date and she agreed. The next thing we both knew was that after six months we were engaged. A lot of people criticised us and even told us we were rushing things, but after several years of marriage, I think we are doing something great.<br /> <br /> Parker:<br /> <br /> I met my man at a gas station as I was cursing his butt off. He gave me a bad drive to reach the gas pump before I did, and I was steaming angry so I stepped out of my car and went up to his window. Of course he didn&rsquo;t roll his window down and was acting like he was searching for something so I started to bang on it. He finally rolled the window down and said he was looking for his card to give to me to call him, because he was sure he was going to marry me. I thought he was crazy but when I looked at him I realised he was damn hot, so I took the card. I still laugh about it to this day.<br /> <br /> Sharon:<br /> <br /> He was my best friend, actually, so I would tell him about my dates and anytime I had a broken heart I would cry on his shoulders. He actually knocked out one of my exes because I walked in on him having sex with another girl. It literally drove me insane and seeing how broken down I was, it made him angry so he visited my ex and knocked him out cold. One day we were hanging out and we started to fool around, and after that we decided to try, and it worked. I am so happy because we were friends first and that makes us even stronger than the typical relationship.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13662987/couple_w300.jpg All Woman Thursday, February 23, 2017 5:54 AM 5 Powerful, but lonely http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/allwoman/Powerful--but-lonely Many men and women have the career, the wealth, the good life, so it seems. But many of these people also do not have the one thing that would make all the wealth worth it &ndash; a family. Many have confessed that in their quest to build an empire, they forget to create memories, to date, to bond with someone else, and so in the end all they have is their material possessions.<br /> <br /> How does one get to this stage, and what should people do to ensure that this is not their reality?<br /> <br /> Gloria:<br /> <br /> It is a sad reality but many people are lonely and so the men chase the frock tails of the underage girls to tickle their fancies, and the women prey on the young men promising them Benz and Range Rover to entice them, and to give themselves a chance at excitement. It is ridiculous!<br /> <br /> Simpson:<br /> <br /> It is sad but I&rsquo;d rather be poor and happy than rich and miserable. I am a teacher and I tell my students everyday to ensure that they build a career, but to also create memories and don&rsquo;t forget to smell the roses. We tend to overlook the simple things in life and when we get to the finish line, we are a bucket filled with regrets.<br /> <br /> Chadae:<br /> <br /> There is this woman at my office who is super successful but a total mess. She has the power, but it is evident that she is lonely because she is almost 50 years old with no children and no spouse. It is really sad when you have everything &ndash; the house and the car &ndash; but no one to share it with. I am 27 years old and I am not about to walk that route. Life is for making money, yes, but it is also for spending time enjoying what you worked for.<br /> <br /> Mark:<br /> <br /> Money fi mek yes, but mi nah spend my days a slave so much that mi forget to actually live. Life is short and we don&rsquo;t get a second chance so we just have to make the one chance worth it.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13662892/old_w300.jpg All Woman Thursday, February 23, 2017 5:41 AM 5 What constitutes cheating? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/allwoman/What-constitutes-cheating- Both former US president Bill Clinton and artiste Shaggy managed to redefine what exactly cheating is; the former insisting that it was penetration and nothing else, and the latter advocating in It Wasn&rsquo;t Me, for denial, denial, denial, even when caught in the act. And as such, people have been reinventing and redefining what for them are no-nos in relationships &ndash; with some holding that only the act of intercourse is a betrayal, while others see even the thought of someone else as cheating.<br /> <br /> What in your book is the ultimate act of betrayal?<br /> <br /> David:<br /> <br /> Cheating is sex alone. Mi nuh see nothing wrong if mi flirt with a woman or text a woman as long as mi nah tek har out and we have sex. I am innocent until proven guilty.<br /> <br /> Rachel:<br /> <br /> Cheating is more than sex. Once you start thinking about someone other than your man or your woman, you are cheating and it is just what it is. A lot of people will try to dress it up, but all sins begin in your mind.<br /> <br /> Roy:<br /> <br /> Nothing is wrong if mi a think about a woman. As long as it remains in my mind, mi nuh see nothing wrong &lsquo;cause more while mi all a scroll through mi Instagram and mi all dream 'bout a sexy girl and mi a sleep beside mi woman. A nuh like mi a text har and a plan fi put har inna mi jungle. A just a man thing.<br /> <br /> Alecia:<br /> <br /> I have thought of another man other than my husband simply because he pays me more attention than my husband does. My husband will come home and just go to bed and this guy who works at my company will invest his time in texting me to see if I am okay and ask how my day was. And if I want to vent about anything, I can call him and cry about stupid stuff. Of late, I have found myself thinking about me and him making love and it feels so good in my head.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13662840/cheat_w300.jpg All Woman Thursday, February 23, 2017 5:29 AM 5 Treating hyperactivity: The gluten/casein-free diet http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/allwoman/Treating-hyperactivity--The-gluten-casein-free-diet_90146 THERE&rsquo;S a likelihood of preemies like my son Amari becoming hyperactive &mdash; something also evident in children with autism and other developmental challenges. My family was encouraged to try a gluten/casein-free diet to help control his hyperactivity, and we have found success! <br /> <br /> Gluten is found in a mixture of two proteins present in cereal grains, especially wheat, but also found in rye, spelt and barley. It is responsible for the elastic texture of dough. Common foods that are usually made with wheat include pasta, bread, flour, tortillas, cookies, cakes, muffins, pastries, cereal, crackers, beer, oats, gravy dressings and sauces. On the other hand, casein is the main protein present in milk and (in coagulated form) in cheese. Casein is therefore found in dairy-based products &mdash; yoghurt, mac and cheese, pizza, etc. <br /> <br /> This advice is strictly from the perspective of a parent, so if you are considering this diet, please consult with your child&rsquo;s paediatrician before commencing. Be warned that your child&rsquo;s doctor will point to that fact that there are no clinical studies that prove this diet has any effect on a child&rsquo;s behaviour. If you conduct your own online research, however, you will see thousands of parents and professionals who work with children with special needs who swear by its effectiveness. My own research found that proponents of this diet argue that some children are unable to digest the protein in many cereals (gluten) or in milk (casein) completely. Anecdotal evidence suggests that some parents, though not all, find that removing casein and gluten from their children&rsquo;s diet increases eye contact, attention span, and general mood, while reducing problems like tantrums, self-stimulatory behaviour (such as hand-flapping and rocking) and aggression. Others have reported that providing a diet free of casein and gluten aids children in successfully learning daily living skills like dressing, using the toilet, as well as improving coordination and imaginative play activities. In a small number of cases, such dietary changes have been claimed to have a dramatic effect, enabling the child to attend mainstream educational programmes in a matter of months. However, critics want it noted that to date there has been no rigorous research that would qualify the diet as an evidence-based treatment.<br /> <br /> Despite no evidence-based study as proof, the testimonials by other parents and special needs therapists were enough for us to introduce Amari to this diet. And his behaviours have improved tremendously. Although he is still somewhat bouncy, it does not compare to how hyperactive he was before the change in his diet. Prior to this diet, having already been on an extremely low-sugar diet, there were days when Amari would run non-stop in the house for hours, touching and pulling on whatever he could reach. At that time he had a very high dairy diet, consuming several 200ml boxes of milk as well as yoghurt daily. In terms of gluten, he was already almost gluten-free, but we decided to remove flour from his diet, so no breads or buns. Thankfully he never liked cereals, sandwiches or hot dogs. He is now restricted to no ice cream or traditional birthday cakes. Thankfully, he prefers meals including sweet potato, pumpkin and protein several times for the day, supported by fruits for snacks. This has made the transition much smoother, except for his love for boxed milk. This took some work to wean him off, which we did cold turkey. We removed all those and saw an immediate difference in his behaviour which has been consistent for several months now. Earlier in the process, on one particular day, we gave him a meal with both casein and gluten. His hyperactivity went through the roof, and took about three days to wear off. <br /> <br /> Other than a belief that this diet will not work, your doctor&rsquo;s main concern will be that your child will lose key nutrients with this diet. Foods containing gluten and casein are major sources of protein as well as essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D, calcium and zinc. If you decide to try this diet, then you will need to do research into other foods that provide the same nutrients. Thankfully, Amari was already eating other calcium-rich foods such as sardines (with the bones) and green vegetables. Other non-dairy sources of calcium include legumes, almonds, oranges, seeds and soy, and several other options. There are also alternatives for gluten-rich foods such as white and brown rice, coconut flour, breadfruit flour, quinoa, etc. <br /> <br /> Changing your child&rsquo;s diet may not be easy. It was easier for us based on how Amari was already eating. Some kids are picky and only eat casein and gluten-based foods. Birthday parties present another challenge &mdash; of note, for Amari&rsquo;s seventh birthday we had a gluten/casein-free cake made with coconut flour and coconut oil, with no milk or butter added. <br /> <br /> As parents, you&rsquo;ll probably be faced with the task of sending or bringing special meals and treats when your child eats away from home. This too was not hard for us as we already send Amari with a cooked meal for lunch at school. This therefore means preparing separate meals for your child from the rest of the household. A safe approach would be to do so gradually; in some instances parents try gluten foods before dairy foods to determine if there is a change, or vice versa. <br /> <br /> My husband and I have fully bought into this diet for Amari. We have seen a significant improvement and would definitely encourage other parents to try it, knowing that the changes and scarifies will be worth it. We are still exploring other natural ways to further reduce his hyperactivity.<br /> <br /> Next time I will write on how to get your bouncy kids to bed on time and how to make them stay asleep. <br /> <br /> As stated before, this is a parent&rsquo;s advice. Before you make any changes, please consult your child&rsquo;s paediatrician. <br /> <br /> Sara, mom to seven-year-old Amari, is an advocate for children with developmental delays. Amari was born three months early at one pound, and was hospitalised for three-and-a-half months after birth. E-mail her at francis.m.sara@gmail.com. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13659751/259709_86337_repro_w300.jpg All Woman Wednesday, February 22, 2017 12:00 AM 1 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13659757/259709_86337_repro_bbysecld.jpg Singing to babies engages their attention, creates bonds http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/allwoman/Singing-to-babies-engages-their-attention--creates-bonds_90220 MOTHERS singing to babies is an age-old practice found across all cultures and traditions. Now US research finds it is actually an important way to create bonds and stimulate children.<br /> <br /> Shannon de l&rsquo;Etoile, professor of music therapy and associate dean of Graduate Studies at the University of Miami Frost School of Music, initially set to look at how infants behave in response to their mothers&rsquo; singing, also called infant-directed singing, compared to other mother-baby interactions such as reading books and playing with toys.<br /> <br /> In addition the research looked into the role that infant-directed singing plays in creating the intricate bond between mother and child.<br /> <br /> For her initial study, de l&rsquo;Etoile filmed 70 infants responding to six different interactions: mother sings an assigned song, &ldquo;stranger&rdquo; sings an assigned song, mother sings song of choice, mother reads book, mother plays with toy, and the mother and infant listen to recorded music.<br /> <br /> The babies showed high cognitive scores during infant-directed singing, suggesting that song is just as effective as reading books or playing with toys for engaging and maintaining babies&rsquo; attention, and far more effective than listening to recorded music.<br /> <br /> The promising results led de l&rsquo;Etoile to carry out a second study that focused on the mother&rsquo;s role during infant-directed singing by measuring the make-up of the song and the mother&rsquo;s voice.<br /> <br /> The results suggested that when infants had a high level of engagement during song, their mother&rsquo;s instincts were higher, with mothers intuitively knowing when to adjust pitch, tempo or key or the song to stimulate and regulate their child&rsquo;s response when the child&rsquo;s level of engagement declined.<br /> <br /> De l&rsquo;Etoile then looked at the acoustic range in the singing voices of mothers with post-partum depression. The results showed that although the children were still engaged, the tempo of the singing did not change and was more robotic. However de l&rsquo;Etoile added that for mothers with post-partum depression singing to their child can offer a distraction from negative emotions and thoughts, while children are given much-needed sensory stimulation.<br /> <br /> In conclusion de l&rsquo;Etoile commented, &ldquo;The tempo and key certainly don&rsquo;t need to be perfect or professional for mothers and infants to interact through song. In fact, infants may be drawn to the personalised tempo and pitch of their mother, which encourage them to direct their gaze toward and ultimately communicate through this gaze.&rdquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13659752/259888_86344_repro_w300.jpg All Woman Wednesday, February 22, 2017 12:00 AM 2 Photo: Happy birthday Javion http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/allwoman/Photo--Happy-birthday-Javion_90224 Happy birthday to Javion Chambers from mommy, daddy and the rest of the family. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13659753/259915_86346_repro_w300.jpg All Woman Wednesday, February 22, 2017 12:00 AM 3 Vows: Perfect Love http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/allwoman/Vows--Perfect-Love_89119 Eight years of courtship culminated on December 17, 2016 at the Holy Trinity Cathedral when chief investigator in the Office of the Contractor General Sashein Wright and Marc-Anthony Nikolai Chin, Coppershot Music disc jockey, were joined in holy matrimony.<br /> <br /> THE INITIAL ENCOUNTER, AS TOLD BY MARC-ANTHONY<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I first set eyes on Sashein in 2005 while pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of the West Indies, Mona. At this point I knew nothing about her, not even her name. However, if I only went to my lectures I would realise that we were doing the same Bachelor of Science degree! She really piqued my interest and I told myself, &lsquo;I need that girl&rsquo;,&rdquo; he explained.<br /> <br /> A mutual friend introduced Marc-Anthony to Sashein. &ldquo;This was the beginning of our friendship, which wasn&rsquo;t a bed of roses because one minute we were talking, and the next we weren&rsquo;t,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;In 2007, we ran into each other at ATI in Negril where we had a great time, to the point where we kissed and I felt like we were back on, but after returning to Kingston I didn&rsquo;t hear from her. In 2008, before we went on summer break we started to talk again, &lsquo;proper talking yah now&rsquo;. That weekend Sashein and a group of her friends were going to Rum Punch, a party where I was the DJ. Excitement sparked in my heart. I went in search of her at the party and when I found her, I greeted her with a warm embrace and to seal the deal, I planted a big kiss on her lips to stake my claim and let her know how serious I was about her. That night was the turning point in our relationship&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> THE PROPOSAL, AS TOLD BY SASHEIN<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It was December 31, 2015, New Year&rsquo;s Eve, and we had planned to celebrate with close friends over dinner at the Courtleigh Hotel and Suites. But to my surprise, Marc-Anthony had other plans up his sleeve. As we walked through the lobby, I realised we were not heading in the direction of the restaurant. I started to question Marc-Anthony and he opened the doors to the Mingles Bar Lounge, and then I realised this was no ordinary dinner with friends, but something really special. There were my parents, his parents, close friends and family members.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The look on everyone&rsquo;s faces told me to brace for something truly special. As I got over the initial shock and excitement of seeing everyone gathered in this festive mood, I turned around to face Marc-Anthony, only to find him down on one knee with an opened ring box asking me to marry him. Between tears and excitement, I fell into his arms and said &lsquo;yes!&rsquo;&rdquo;<br /> <br /> HERE COMES THE BRIDE... <br /> <br /> Family and friends gathered at the Holy Trinity Cathedral to witness Sashein and Marc-Anthony&rsquo;s special day. Marc wore a grey and black shawl collar tuxedo with French cuff shirt and horseshoe vest by Mark Anthony Designs. The groomsmen and best man wore Max Brown grey Italian-made, single-breasted, three-button jackets with French cuff shirts and V-cut vests and butterfly bow ties. The bridesmaids wore single-shouldered French lace boat-necklined bodices with fit and flare skirts. Sashein entered to Kenny G&rsquo;s The Moment, performed live by saxophonist Dean Fraser. She was a vision of elegance in a gorgeous ivory sweetheart Eve of Milady fit and flare design with sheer hand-beaded lace bodice, lace, sheer hand-beaded straps, and three-dimensional lace shirt with scalloped borders and train also from Eve of Milady. She clutched a bouquet of roses, hydrangeas, and orchids. <br /> <br /> Archbishop of Kingston Kenneth Richards, and Rev Father Collin Henriques officiated the ceremony and later declared the couple husband and wife. Post-nuptial formalities out of the way, Sashein and Marc-Anthony left the altar to Tarrus Riley&rsquo;s Love&rsquo;s Contagious performed by Dean Fraser. The ceremony also featured a poignant sand ceremony to symbolise two lives becoming one.<br /> <br /> THE RECEPTION<br /> <br /> The team at Petals and Promises brought their magic to the Worthington, Spanish Court Hotel, which they transformed into a beautiful and magical d&Atilde;&copy;cor of blush, gold and Tiffany blue.<br /> <br /> The bridal party made their entrance to Sia&rsquo;s Cheap Thrills featuring Sean Paul, after which the couple entered to Wayne Marshall&rsquo;s Good Ole Wife.<br /> <br /> Guests enjoyed dinner courtesy of the Spanish Court ahead of formalities which included the unveiling and cutting of the cake, a four-tiered fruit and chocolate rum cake with rum cream filling by Camille Flimn of Cake Couture, and copious toasts to the newly-weds. The bride&rsquo;s father, Lewis Wright, paid tribute to his daughter in song with Freddy Fender&rsquo;s Before the Next Teardrop Falls and dedicated Elvis Presley&rsquo;s She Wears My Ring to the couple.<br /> <br /> Further highlights were the couple&rsquo;s first dance as husband and wife to Westlife&rsquo;s Beautiful In White and the mother-and-son dance which featured both dancing to a medley of popular songs including Macarena, JW and Blaze&rsquo;s<br /> <br /> Palance and Chi Ching Ching&rsquo;s Way Up and Roast or Fry.<br /> <br /> Formalities over, guests danced the night away to selections from DJ Kurt Riley.<br /> <br /> The honeymoon<br /> <br /> The newly-weds spent their honeymoon at the Breathless Resort and Spa in Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13651945/257599_85501_repro_w300.jpg All Woman Monday, February 20, 2017 12:00 AM 1 Maureen Denton is home for good http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/allwoman/Maureen-Denton-is-home-for-good_89873 MAUREEN Denton speaks of the Jamaica of her childhood with a smile in her eyes. She has fond memories of early life with her parents, five sisters and one brother in Mavis Bank, St Andrew; Easington, St Thomas, and Goshen, St Elizabeth &mdash; wherever dad&rsquo;s job as an agricultural extension officer dictated they reside.<br /> <br /> She left Jamaica in 1969 for studies in the United States of America and did exceptionally well &mdash; a Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Arts in Spanish and French at Queens College, a Master&rsquo;s in international relations at the Columbia University School of International Affairs; and a law degree from Columbia University Law School, New York.<br /> <br /> Professionally, Denton has done it all. She has worked for major brands like AT&T, Lucent Technologies, Tyco Electronics and CISCO. She is a former vice-president and associate general counsel for the esteemed investment bank Goldman Sachs & Co, New York, where she structured and negotiated multimillion-dollar commercial, development and intellectual property agreements. <br /> <br /> In a legal career spanning two decades, she provided consulting services to private companies and government entities in structuring and negotiating both domestic and international transactions.<br /> <br /> She lectured in International politics and Caribbean and African American Literature at Hunter College of the City University of New York, and worked in Zimbabwe as a management consultant in agriculture and manufacturing. <br /> <br /> Throughout her journey, Jamaica has always been uppermost in Denton&rsquo;s mind. She stayed close to home (at least in her heart) as co-founder and head for over a decade of the Research Committee of Jamaica (New York), an organisation dedicated to providing information and hosting conferences and forums on topical issues related to the social, economic and political development of Jamaica and improving the education of young people in Jamaica. <br /> <br /> This impressive resume, Denton says, has prepared her for the next phase of her career, this time based in her beloved Jamaica &mdash; at last.<br /> <br /> Now she serves as executive director/head of secretariat of the Economic Growth Council (EGC), the organisation appointed by Prime Minister Andrew Holness in 2016 to consult widely and advise Cabinet on a collection of broad platform policies and reforms that would facilitate economic growth. She says the mission of the EGC aligns perfectly with her passion for the country of her birth and her determination to help deliver both economic and social growth on the island.<br /> <br /> From her vantage as head of secretariat, Denton is orchestrating the many collaborations between public and private sector agencies, professional groups and individuals with the council. Since September 26, 2016, the secretariat has scheduled over 118 of these. Under the chairmanship of Michael Lee-Chin, the council is working with its partners across the island to achieve the target that he set of five per cent growth in Gross Domestic Product in four years.<br /> <br /> After long days of meetings and consultations, Denton&rsquo;s satisfaction comes from seeing the various agencies following through with policies and activities that redound to the benefit of Jamaicans. <br /> <br /> One example is the recent Bank of Jamaica reduction of capital requirements for loans to small and medium enterprises in Jamaica. The amendment allows for capital relief for the portion of an SME loan that has a Development Bank of Jamaica guarantee under the credit enhancement facility programme. Denton says this holds tremendous opportunity for SMEs in particular, as it should result in greater access to finance and the opportunity to strengthen and expand their businesses. It&rsquo;s the sort of outcome she hopes for across the eight growth initiatives presented by the EGC to the Cabinet last September.<br /> <br /> She feels that with all Jamaica working together, appreciable success can be achieved in all of these areas. It is imperative, she says, in restoring many of the simple pleasures she enjoyed as a girl and dreamed of experiencing again when she returned home. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13651838/259059_85617_repro_w300.jpg All Woman Monday, February 20, 2017 12:00 AM 1 Is 40 the new 30 when it comes to childbearing? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/allwoman/Is-40-the-new-30-when-it-comes-to-childbearing-_89888 A few weeks ago, 50-year-old Janet Jackson stole the spotlight when she announced the birth of her son. Fans heaped praises on her for her courage in light of the complications associated with pregnancy in older women. But incidents like these haven&rsquo;t been uncommon in recent times. In fact, many women like Jackson have defied the odds to give birth well past the age when medical professionals have said women should not.<br /> <br /> Their reasons range from using their prime childbearing years to focus on their careers, lack of stability in their youth, or an inability to find a partner. Fully aware that they will delay pregnancy until after age 40, many choose procedures like freezing their eggs for when they will need them.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;If we should look at Beyonc&eacute;&rsquo;s recent announcement, that at 35 she is pregnant with twins, or move closer to home to look at Olympian and Member of Parliament Juliet Cuthbert, who at age 51 gave birth to a healthy baby girl, then we would realise that many women are becoming pregnant for various professional and personal reasons beyond the advanced maternal age, which is 35 years and older,&rdquo; said Dr Keisha Buchanan, obstetrician-gynaecologist at ICON Medical Centre, Musgrave Professional Suites.<br /> <br /> Agreeing that 40 may very well be the new 30 in view of these incidents, Dr Buchanan also warned that it is important for women to understand the risks.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Childbearing beyond age 35 comes at a risk of decreased fertility due to various factors. As women get older there is an increase in the risk of gynaecological conditions such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and an increase in the chance of being exposed to STDs, such as chlamydia, that may have caused injury to the Fallopian tubes that could significantly impact conception,&rdquo; Dr Buchanan pointed out.<br /> <br /> In addition, she noted that older women also have to contend with age-related conditions that could affect them and their babies.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Some age-related conditions which may make pregnancy more complicated include higher incidence of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Additionally, there is the risk of Down&rsquo;s Syndrome among children of older women as well as other associated birth defects.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Notwithstanding these drawbacks, Dr Buchanan pointed out that most women 40 years and over can get pregnant naturally, and for those who are unable to, technology has offered a few alternative methods.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;When there are difficulties in getting a woman of 40 and over pregnant, there are advanced fertility treatments available. Certainly the chances of getting a woman of 40 and over pregnant are significantly greater today than compared to 10 or 20 years ago. This is due to the advent of and improvements in in-vitro fertilisation and intrauterine insemination,&rdquo; Dr Buchanan said.<br /> <br /> She added that with these procedures a woman&rsquo;s chance of achieving pregnancy at 40 years or older is almost similar to women under 35 years old. In addition, Dr Buchanan noted that technologies now allow for diagnosis of genetic conditions (birth defects), and selective implantation is available to help women choose the healthiest embryos, thereby reducing the possibility of them carrying babies with multiple defects.<br /> <br /> Other significant factors which make it much easier to achieve pregnancy at age 40 and over are the medicinal and technological developments and upgrades which the pre and postnatal units around the world have invested in.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Prenatal care is more advanced now than 10-20 years ago, and neonatal (newborn baby) care is also more advanced, and these will improve the prospects of a good pregnancy outcome for the woman of 40 and over who chooses to get pregnant,&rdquo; Dr Buchanan said.<br /> <br /> Dr Buchanan advised that with advances in health care and women adopting healthier lifestyles, maintaining healthy body weights, having good nutrition, exercising and keeping a positive healthy mental status, these play an important role in maintaining gynaecological health, increasing the prospects of pregnancy, and maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Pre-pregnancy health is also important to maintaining a healthy pregnancy.<br /> <br /> She warned, however, that women both within the childbearing age as well as those who have long left their peak should consult a gynaecologist so that special tests may be done before they try to conceive. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13651820/259096_85625_repro_w300.jpg All Woman Monday, February 20, 2017 12:00 AM 1 Sophia Bryan - A woman on a mission http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/allwoman/Sophia-Bryan---A-woman-on-a-mission_89063 SOPHIA Bryan is a woman on a mission to empower entrepreneurs with knowledge that will put them in a more competitive position to build wealth and withstand the challenges associated with running a business. <br /> <br /> Bryan, 25, told All Woman that throughout her young life she has garnered many experiences which have imbued her with knowledge that she believes will assist others.<br /> <br /> Born and raised in the tough community of Seaview Gardens, St Andrew, Bryan lost her mother at age three. With the guidance of her then 15-year-old sister who assumed the responsibility of a mother, she learnt what it truly meant to work hard and keep your eye on the prize.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I consider myself to be someone very determined and motivated. I&rsquo;ve seen a lot of things in my time... which have allowed me to realise that it&rsquo;s the choices you make and not what you encounter in life that will determine your success.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> Now the holder of a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the West Indies, Mona, and studying to be called to the Jamaican Bar in 2018, Bryan had to swim against the tide and defy a few of her guardian&rsquo;s commands in order to reach this point.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;When it was time for high school I got through because of a scholarship, as I had done well in GSAT. Since then that&rsquo;s how I&rsquo;ve been able to get through school. When I had CXC exams, out of the blue I heard that I got a scholarship. When it was time for sixth form I also got assistance,&rdquo; Bryan shared. &ldquo;I always knew I wanted to become a lawyer, but my sister was of the view that if you go to school and get your CXCs, you&rsquo;re supposed to look for a job. She didn&rsquo;t see a future for me in sixth form, but I defied her. I went to sixth form, not knowing how I would have survived, but the teachers at Meadowbrook were really very supportive. I got assistance from the guidance counsellor and was able to make it through. One of the teachers even gave me a part-time job. Eventually my sister came around and became one of my biggest supporters.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Today Bryan is the CEO of Business Support Guru International, a company she started in order to help entrepreneurs gain skills needed to run successful businesses. As a result, she has launched the &lsquo;Knowledge is your Wealth Business Support Series&rsquo;, which should kick off on February 25 with the first workshop &mdash; Financial Planning 101.<br /> <br /> Bryan said the initiative is a series of introductory workshops focused on critical areas that millennial business owners must master in order to build wealth in their businesses. She said participants will be engaged in the areas of tax-planning strategies, financial statement preparation, and their legal obligations as business owners.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Every workshop promises an experience that will teach entrepreneurs an important skill they need to master in the execution of their business. It also provides an invaluable networking opportunity where persons can develop business relationships. It was launched so that a gap could be filled in the marketplace. That is, a simplified approach to the understanding of what is required to run a successful business. Oftentimes entrepreneurs shy away from anything that has to do with numbers, especially tax compliance. This lack of knowledge regarding legal obligations has negative implications for the young entrepreneur,&rdquo; she said.<br /> <br /> In addition to her legal and entrepreneurial pursuits, Bryan is heavily involved in community work. She is the founder and president of Women of Unlimited Worth, a women&rsquo;s empowerment initiative birthed in the community of Seaview Gardens. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;I started this in 2014, because I realised that young women in tough communities needed positive examples of people they can emulate and build their self-esteem. I was tired of seeing young people go into [dysfunctional] relationships thinking that they can&rsquo;t do better. Plus people came to me and said, &lsquo;You need to do something.&rsquo; We&rsquo;ve done development workshops, impromptu speaking training, rap sessions, and a mini Ms Seaview Gardens pageant. We have also embarked on a project called Empower Her to Lead, which focuses on financial development, spiritual development, and gives young women an opportunity to share their stories and empower others at the same time,&rdquo; she said.<br /> <br /> A past Festival Queen contestant, where she took the prize for Most Involved in Community Work, Bryan enjoys giving motivational talks to young people and students of her alma mater, Seaview Gardens Primary School, and has also been recognised for outstanding leadership and service at UWI.<br /> <br /> Bryan also enjoys reading, and believes that transforming the mind is a process &mdash; one where you learn from other people&rsquo;s stories. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13654324/258848_85543_repro_w300.jpg All Woman Monday, February 20, 2017 12:00 AM Y 2 What&rsquo;s the biggest secret someone you dated kept from you? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/allwoman/What-s-the-biggest-secret-someone-you-dated-kept-from-you-_89546 A part of bonding with your significant other is confiding things that you would not dare tell anyone else. But the reality is that no one spills all of his or her secrets. Even when people have known their partners for a long time, there are still some skeletons that they do not want to get out of the closet. All Woman asked various individuals to share the biggest secret that someone they dated had hidden from them.<br /> <br /> MD:<br /> <br /> Well, thankfully there was no secret that I discovered about any of my exes. But I have a friend who was dating this girl for about two months. He went on the road one day and saw her with her friend and a baby. It turned out to be her baby, but she had told him that she didn&rsquo;t have any kids. Good thing they weren&rsquo;t dating for long.<br /> <br /> Sammy:<br /> <br /> While we were a couple, my boyfriend got his ex pregnant. I didn&rsquo;t know until she was about six months along. After we broke up I found out that it was the same girl who called my phone once and was causing problems, and they were still involved when we were together.<br /> <br /> DJ:<br /> <br /> My ex-girlfriend was sick and I had to go to her place to get her some things. I came across a money stash and her bank books. I got upset because I thought she&rsquo;d stolen the money. She admitted that she worked as an escort to send herself through the last part of high school and university for her bachelor&rsquo;s and master&rsquo;s degrees.<br /> <br /> Michael:<br /> <br /> I dated a white girl very briefly. I met her at a hotel. She told me everything about herself except for the fact that she was bisexual and loved kinky stuff. I saw some disturbing photos on her phone.<br /> <br /> Bobby:<br /> <br /> A long time ago I was engaged to be married. Halfway through planning for the wedding, I discovered that my bride-to-be had not one, but two children that I didn&rsquo;t know about.<br /> <br /> Rick:<br /> <br /> My girl and I were trying to have kids. During this time, she told me that she had experienced three miscarriages. But then she had a falling out with her sister, who revealed that she couldn&rsquo;t have children because of an abortion she had as a teenager. I was upset to know that she lied about having the miscarriages. <br /> <br /> V:<br /> <br /> My adult daughter&rsquo;s mom tried to hide the fact that she had children before we met. By mistake I found out about two of them. We were out one day when one of them called her mom. She slapped the child and said, &ldquo;Yuh nuh hear seh you nuh fi call me mummy!&rdquo; The worst part is that it was a while after that incident that I found out that she had actually had four children &mdash; not just two.<br /> <br /> Pinky:<br /> <br /> My ex-fiance lied to me about his childhood and where he grew up. I didn&rsquo;t know the truth until we got engaged. I can&rsquo;t understand why he lied, because his family members are nice people and I didn&rsquo;t see anything wrong with where they lived. I ended the relationship because if you can lie about that, you can lie about anything. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13651843/258861_85619_repro_w300.jpg All Woman Monday, February 20, 2017 12:00 AM 2 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13651846/258861_85619_repro_awsecld.jpg The absolute best parts of being single &hellip; and being coupled up http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/allwoman/The-absolute-best-parts-of-being-single---and-being-coupled-up_89014 RESEARCHERS have found that those who are coupled up excel in their careers and tend to experience success in all walks of life. <br /> <br /> On the other hand, some say that being single gives you the opportunity to focus on yourself, improve your health, build your self-esteem, sleep better, and be the best person you can possibly be.<br /> <br /> Which path should you choose? While the answer lies in what you desire for your life, both states have an equal number of perks and problems. It&rsquo;s all a question of what you can live with.<br /> <br /> Below, to ease the decision-making process and cast aside any doubts you may have about which path to choose, All Woman readers share the absolute best parts of being single and being coupled up.<br /> <br /> Winstonieth Thomas, 24, single:<br /> <br /> When I&rsquo;m single I can do whatever I want, whenever I want, without having to consider someone else&rsquo;s feelings or having to deal with their opinions. I can live for me. Coupled up, I guess the best part is knowing that someone is there for you and always in your corner, someone who will listen to you even if the issue is insignificant.<br /> <br /> Natassia Noble, 21, single:<br /> <br /> Being single is knowing there is nobody to cheat on you and not feeling insecure about yourself or the relationship. Also, having alone time and time to focus on yourself. In a relationship you have to be considering another person&rsquo;s feelings and thoughts. On the other hand, being coupled up, you have somebody to relate to, you have a friend. It&rsquo;s good to have somebody to talk to, lean on, share things.<br /> <br /> Al Palmer, 35, married:<br /> <br /> When you&rsquo;re single there is nobody to ask you where you are going and when you are coming home. When you are coupled up, married, or in a committed relationship, the best part is having someone who you can be yourself around without trying to impress or accommodate.<br /> <br /> Marvia Brown, 22, single:<br /> <br /> You can let the bush grow. You don&rsquo;t have to think about what you&rsquo;re eating, and expenses are not as great as when you&rsquo;re with someone. Coupled up comes down to companionship, moments when you get to bond.<br /> <br /> Ricardo Johnson, 26, married:<br /> <br /> Being single you have the freedom to do whatever you want without thinking about anyone&rsquo;s feelings. Coupled up, you get to share each other&rsquo;s feelings and experience your own unique form of love.<br /> <br /> Alexis Allen, 30, married:<br /> <br /> Being single is getting to know yourself freely. You don&rsquo;t have to worry about someone else witnessing your various emotions. You have the freedom to come and go as you wish and you don&rsquo;t have to think about anyone else, or joint finances. When you&rsquo;re coupled up, someone always has your back. Knowing you are never alone is also very reassuring. Someone is always there for you to call on. Growing together is always good too. When you&rsquo;re able to accomplish things together and share huge moments together &mdash; that&rsquo;s the best part.<br /> <br /> &mdash;Kimberley Hibbert http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13657120/single_w300.jpg All Woman Monday, February 20, 2017 12:00 AM 3 LASCO/JCF top cops treat women of WROC http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/allwoman/LASCO-JCF-top-cops-treat-women-of-WROC_89875 ON Valentine&rsquo;s Day, the 12 finalists in the LASCO/JCF Police Officer of the Year competition united to take a stand against violence by organising a day of powerful presentations for the community of women aided by the Women&rsquo;s Resource and Outreach Centre (WROC). <br /> <br /> They also provided them with a Valentine&rsquo;s Day filled with love, lunch, empowerment and a bit of lavish treatment. They received roses and plants courtesy of Gorgeous Flowers; soup sponsored by Island Grill, lunch and gift bags provided by LASCO; and chocolates and travel mugs from FLOW Jamaica.<br /> <br /> The LASCO top cops assembled media personality, Empress Golding; Alysia Moulton-White, of Sagicor; Rochelle Cameron of Flow; and Nadeen Spence, student services and development manager for Mary Seacole Hall, UWI, who engaged, delighted and inspired the more than 40 women in attendance. <br /> <br /> The theme for the event was &lsquo;Love me to live, don&rsquo;t Love me to death.&rsquo;<br /> <br /> The keynote address was delivered by Acting Commissioner of Police Novelette Grant. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13651839/259062_85618_repro_w300.jpg All Woman Monday, February 20, 2017 12:00 AM 4 Caught in a cheating web http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/allwoman/Caught-in-a-cheating-web_89545 Dear Counsellor,<br /> <br /> My husband cheated on me and I cheated back. We decided to work out things by ourselves, but our efforts are proving futile. I contacted two of my exes, flirted with them, and he did the same with his. The problem is, we have a child together and she sometimes calls these women &lsquo;mommy&rsquo;, which is worrying to me and confusing to her. We&rsquo;re both caught in a cheating web and can&rsquo;t seem to help ourselves. Please help.<br /> <br /> There are obvious problems in the relationship, and instead of seriously working on the issues, you both have decided to play the very popular cheating game, &ldquo;bun fi bun&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> The truth with this game is that nobody wins, and the players are usually left emotionally exhausted and hurt. Vengeance is the motive, and the fun lasts only for a fleeting moment until the couple returns to their senses and recognises the folly of their ways.<br /> <br /> So, as you both indulge in your selfish pleasure rides, your poor little girl is caught in this spiderweb of cheating. An innocent child who has nothing to do with your vengeful adult games now finds herself confused, having to relate to strangers and being perplexed with the multiple moms (and dads) she encounters.<br /> <br /> The fact that you have expressed some concern for your child seems to indicate that your conscience is bothering you. <br /> <br /> What are the real issues? You and your husband are reacting to the symptoms and not the cause. What are the underlying factors resulting in the need for both of you to engage in extramarital relationships? What is missing on the inside that is readily available on the outside? <br /> <br /> This is the basis for the conversation that you both need to have. If it is difficult to have that discussion by yourselves, then do seek the intervention of a counsellor.<br /> <br /> Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to agapemft@gmail.com; check out his work overseas on www.seekingshalom.org, e-mail powellw@seekingshalom.org. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13651835/258860_85559_repro_w300.jpg All Woman Monday, February 20, 2017 12:00 AM 5 Remember: Maintenance issues http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/allwoman/Remember--Maintenance-issues_89669 UNDER the law, both parents are responsible for providing support for their children under 18 years old, children living with disabilities, or a child who is under 23 and is still attending university. The Jamaican court also makes it possible for a parent living overseas to file for maintenance from a parent living in Jamaica, or for a parent living here to seek maintenance from a parent living in another country, providing that the country is a &ldquo;reciprocating state&rdquo;. <br /> <br /> It is your child&rsquo;s right to be maintained by both parents. Neither fear nor any other emotion should prevent a parent from approaching the Family Court or Supreme Court to get maintenance from the other parent who refuses such support. The court&rsquo;s primary interest in children&rsquo;s maintenance matters is to ensure that the child receives adequate provisions from the parents to provide all the necessities for a good and healthy life. The fact that a parent may not be working does not exonerate them from this legal obligation. <br /> <br /> Jamaica currently has reciprocal agreements with four states in America &mdash; California, Maryland, New Jersey and Florida &mdash; as well as all Caricom states, the United Kingdom and Manitoba, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland in Canada.<br /> <br /> Under this arrangement, a parent applying for maintenance can make a request to the local courts. When an order is made, the Foreign Affairs Ministry liaises with the relevant authority in the reciprocating state to serve the other parent with the maintenance order. The funds would then be collected and disbursed through the courts.<br /> <br /> So go ahead and apply for child maintenance at the Family Court or Resident Magistrate&rsquo;s Court in your parish. You can do this on your own at the Family Court, or ask an attorney to file the documents on your behalf at the Supreme Court.<br /> <br />   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11552749/law_w300.jpg All Woman Monday, February 20, 2017 12:00 AM 5 What you need to know about PCOS http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/allwoman/What-you-need-to-know-about-PCOS_89012 &ldquo;DOCTOR, my periods have been very irregular and I find myself missing months at a time. Then when it comes, it&rsquo;s so heavy that I have to wear two pads at a time and it lasts for over a week. Also, I&rsquo;ve been trying to get pregnant for over two years and nothing is happening, even though we are having sex all the time. Can you tell me what&rsquo;s wrong?&rdquo;<br /> <br /> As gynaecologists we often hear these complaints, which many times may be due to a condition known as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). In fact, it is quite likely that you, dear reader, may know someone affected by PCOS. So, what is it really?<br /> <br /> PCOS is a disorder linked to the body&rsquo;s inability to process insulin properly, which eventually leads to a hormonal imbalance, with excess male hormone levels around the ovaries and in the bloodstream. This leads to an interruption of the normal menstrual cycle and ovulation, which is necessary for pregnancy. Common symptoms associated with PCOS include irregular periods, excess acne and facial/body hair, and difficulty getting pregnant. Women with the disorder tend to be overweight (although it is possible to have PCOS at a normal weight) and may have the abnormal findings of many small or immature follicles on their ovaries on ultrasound.<br /> <br /> The symptoms caused by PCOS can be due to other conditions, so in order to make the diagnosis, the doctor has to take a detailed history and do a proper examination of the patient. On examination, we may see features confirming PCOS, but we may also see signs of other illnesses such as thyroid disease or glucose intolerance (metabolic syndrome). Routinely we also order blood tests and ultrasounds to help confirm PCOS and rule out other causes of irregular periods or infertility. <br /> <br /> Once the diagnosis is made, we move on to treatment, which will depend on the patient&rsquo;s desire to get pregnant (or not), and any problems she may be having with her periods. In addition to the problematic symptoms that patients experience, PCOS also increases the risk of abnormal changes in the lining of the uterus (which if left untreated can become cancerous over time), and is also associated with increased risk of diabetes, things which we also target in our therapy. Treatment generally includes weight loss and anti-diabetes medication to help control insulin and improve hormonal levels. Many times, these measures are enough to regularise the menstrual cycle and allow ovulation (and pregnancy). However, as weight loss is not an easy endeavour for many patients, we may also give hormonal medication to regularise the periods. If pregnancy is desired, we may opt to use medication to assist with ovulation to help decrease the time it takes to achieve pregnancy.<br /> <br /> If you are experiencing any of the described abnormal symptoms, don&rsquo;t wait or continue to suffer. Make an appointment to see a gynaecologist or the doctor at your health centre in order to get relief much sooner. <br /> <br /> Dr Anna-Kay Taylor Christmas is a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at the Obs and Gynae Centre, Winchester Business Centre. She can be contacted at drtaylorchristmas@gmail.com or 908-3263, 906-2265, 325-7362. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13651832/258849_85560_repro_w300.jpg All Woman Monday, February 20, 2017 12:00 AM 5 How to improve your posture http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/allwoman/How-to-improve-your-posture_89548 AS children, there was absolutely nothing more nagging than your teachers scolding you about slouching over your desk, or your mother constantly reminding you to sit up straight while at the dinner or homework table. <br /> <br /> And while at the time you could see no merit in these demands, Gisel Harrow, fitness instructor and personal trainer at Express Fitness, Liguanea, argues that adults warned you against slouching because of its contribution to postural deviations. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s great to have good posture, as it gives you a sense of boldness and confidence. But some habits that we have such as slouching around, sleeping on our stomachs and twisting and turning our necks so that we can see different things on our smartphones, are all habits that could cause poor posture,&rdquo; Harrow said. <br /> <br /> She cautioned that over time, poor posture could affect our spine, shoulders, hips and knees. These could further develop into chronic pains and illnesses such as reduced flexibility, compromised muscles, a reduction in the body&rsquo;s ability to burn fat and build strength, as well as the usual back, shoulder and neck pains. <br /> <br /> Harrow said that these uncomfortable and sometimes very painful consequences of postural deviations can be reduced significantly with exercise, in addition to abandoning habits that could cause poor posture. Below she shares various techniques: <br /> <br /> Work on strengthening muscles <br /> <br /> Harrow said that to correct your posture you first have to find the cause, which is usually a muscle imbalance in most cases. &ldquo;Muscle imbalance occurs when the stronger muscle pulls at the weaker muscle covering a joint area. So in order to improve your posture, you&rsquo;ll have to strengthen the weaker muscles and stretch the stronger, more dominant muscles,&rdquo; Harrow advised. Performing these over a period of time will correct both imbalance and posture.<br /> <br /> Sit up straight <br /> <br /> No matter how weird it feels at first, get in the habit of sitting and standing straight. <br /> <br /> Try yoga <br /> <br /> Yoga is one of those meditational exercises that encourage sitting up. And poor posture can sometimes be made worse by stress, something that yoga is recommended to help with. Therefore you stand to benefit twice. <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Do exercises focusing on muscles around your spine<br /> <br /> Exercises targeting the back extensors, neck flexors, pelvic muscles and side muscles are crucial. Many older people complain about back pain because these muscles tend to get weaker as we age, so it is important to work hard to fix these.<br /> <br /> Do simple exercises<br /> <br /> Do a little walking, jogging, climbing the stairs and lifting when you can. You don&rsquo;t even have to go to the gym. Use the things in your immediate environment such as furniture. These simple practices are said to help with vertebral compression fractures that subtract from our height &mdash; a condition that is closely associated with the bone condition osteoporosis. <br /> <br /> Do a little exercise on the job<br /> <br /> Some jobs require that you sit for extended periods. Take short breaks in between to stand, stretch your shoulders, arms and feet. Take a little walk around the office as well. Use the stairs sometimes instead of the elevator. This will help to improve circulation. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13651829/258863_85550_repro_w300.jpg All Woman Monday, February 20, 2017 12:00 AM 5 Restructuring diet to relieve menstrual cramps http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/allwoman/Restructuring-diet-to-relieve-menstrual-cramps_89064 Dear Donovan,<br /> <br /> I have terrible menstrual cramps. Sometimes the pain medications are of no help. I have heard that restructuring my diet could help provide some relief. Please help. <br /> <br /> Menstrual pain or cramps (dysmenorrhoea) is considered the most common gynaecological condition that affects millions of women around the world. Research suggests that at least 68 per cent of all women have had menstrual cramps at some point in their lives. In addition, about 10 to 15 per cent of women have menstrual pain so severe that it can interfere with their work and other activities for one or more days on a monthly basis. Sometimes these menstrual pains are reduced after childbirth, but for many women they continue long after.<br /> <br /> There are two types of dysmenorrhoea &mdash; primary and secondary. Primary dysmenorrhoea refers to menstrual pain or cramps that are not associated with any other medical condition. Secondary dysmenorrhoea is caused by an underlying disease or disorder; for example, endometriosis. In addition, an unusually narrow cervical cavity, lack of exercise, or even stress have all been associated with menstrual cramps.<br /> <br /> From several studies it has become evident that chemicals called prostaglandins are a main part of the problem. These chemicals are made from small amounts of fat stored in the cell membrane. Prostaglandins promote inflammation, muscle contraction, blood vessel constriction, blood clotting and pain. Just before menstruation begins, the cells that form the uterus produce small amounts of prostaglandin. When the cells of the uterus are released during menstruation, the prostaglandins are also released with them. Prostaglandins will constrict the blood vessels in the uterus and cause the muscle layers of the uterus to contract, causing painful cramps. In addition, some of the prostaglandins enter the bloodstream and cause headaches, nausea and even diarrhoea. Research has shown that women with menstrual pain usually have higher amounts of prostaglandin produced by their endometrial cells.<br /> <br /> Menstrual pain can be treated with non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs. These usually reduce the production of prostaglandins. In addition, oral contraceptive pills have also been shown to reduce menstrual pain. <br /> <br /> Several studies have shown that dietary changes may also be able to reduce menstrual pain. The menstrual cycle is basically controlled by two main hormones, oestrogen and progesterone. Each month, the amount of oestrogen and progesterone rises and falls in women of child-bearing age. When there is an increase in oestrogen levels, the uterine wall thickens, while when there is a decrease in oestrogen levels, menstruation occurs.<br /> <br /> The amount of oestrogen in a woman&rsquo;s body is constantly being adjusted. A low-fat, high-fibre diet can significantly reduce the oestrogen levels in the body. A high level of oestrogen in the body can lead to painful menses and even to cancer. Oestrogen is usually removed from the body by the liver and passes to the intestine by the bile duct. In the intestine the oestrogen is mopped up by fibre. A diet with a high proportion of animal products may not provide the fibre needed to clean up the oestrogen. In this case, waste oestrogen may pass back to the bloodstream and double the amount of oestrogen in the blood. High-fibre vegetables, vegetable juices, beans, fruits and whole grains help the body to eliminate oestrogen. On the other hand, it is best to avoid or reduce animal products, salad dressings, margarine, cooking oil, fatty foods, fries, pastries, etc.<br /> <br /> A good diet will not only reduce menstrual cramps, but will also aid in weight loss and increase energy levels. In addition, drinking adequate amounts of fluid, especially water, is helpful in relieving menstrual cramps. Exercising and reducing stress could also be helpful.<br /> <br /> We will answer your weight-related questions<br /> <br /> Are you struggling to lose weight or just need some advice on living a healthier life? Tell us about your health issues and we&rsquo;ll have nutritionist and wellness coach Donovan Grant answer them for you. Grant has over 12 years&rsquo; experience in the fitness industry and is the owner of DG&rsquo;s Nutrition and Wellness Centre, 39 Lady Musgrave Road. Call him at 876-286-1363. E-mail questions to clarkep@jamaicaobserver.com. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13651828/258859_85549_repro_w300.jpg All Woman Monday, February 20, 2017 12:00 AM 5 Issues with a low cervix http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/allwoman/Issues-with-a-low-cervix_89551 Dear Dr Mitchell,<br /> <br /> I have always heard the term &ldquo;having a low cervix&rdquo;, but I have seen many different responses to this diagnosis. I would love for some clarification on the matter of a low cervix as it relates to pregnancy, sex, pain during sex, lower back pain and menstruation.<br /> <br /> A low cervix is a term used to describe a cervix that is felt low in the vagina, sometimes at the opening of the vagina, or even outside of the vagina in severe cases of uterine prolapse. This occurs when the pelvic floor muscles are overstretched and damaged, more commonly during childbirth. The risk for this increases with the delivery of big babies, forceps delivery, vacuum delivery, prolonged second stage of labour with excessive pushing to deliver the head of the baby, and precipitous labour with an extremely short period of pushing and rapid delivery of the foetus. Damage to the pelvic floor may also occur if there are extensive lacerations in the vagina.<br /> <br /> As women get older, the significant decline in the level of oestrogen causes the pelvic floor muscles to become weaker, lose their nerve supply, and prolapse of the uterus, cervix, bladder and rectum occurs. Chronic constipation, chronic coughing, severe asthma and chronic obstructive airway disease (emphysema), smoking, diabetes mellitus, and heavy lifting also contribute to damage to the pelvic floor muscles over a prolonged period of time.<br /> <br /> This can cause back pain, pain during sexual activity, and an increased risk for infections. The cervix protrudes outside the vaginal opening in severe cases and ulceration can occur resulting in infection and chronic vaginal discharge. Leaking urine during coughing, sneezing, exercise and sexual activity may also occur in some women with prolapse of the anterior vaginal wall and bladder.<br /> <br /> Pelvic floor prolapse also increases the risk for a pregnancy loss in the early stage of pregnancy.<br /> <br /> A low cervix is sometimes used to describe a weak cervix as occurs in cervical incompetence where the muscles of the internal cervical opening have become weak and damaged. This may occur if a part of the cervix is removed because of precancerous changes in the cervix, repeated termination of pregnancy, and dilatation of the cervix for other medical reasons. This may also be an inherent condition and is familial in some cases. Women who take diethylstilbestrol in pregnancy are at risk of their female offspring having an abnormal T-shaped uterus and cervical incompetence. This then puts them at risk for recurrent pregnancy losses. The placement of a cervical suture (cervical cerclage) helps to correct the problem during pregnancy, and allows the woman to carry the pregnancy to term. <br /> <br /> In cases of prolapse of the cervix, pelvic floor exercises, change in lifestyle with elimination of the identified risk factors, weight loss in obese women, and the use of a ring pessary or surgical correction can be undertaken. Surgery may involve removing the uterus and cervix or shortening the ligaments and restoring the cervix to its normal position.<br /> <br /> Lifestyle changes with elimination of the identified risk factors are vital in preventing recurrence of the low cervix or prolapse. <br /> <br /> Best regards.<br /> <br /> Dr Sharmaine Mitchell is an obstetrician and gynaecologist. Send questions via e-mail to allwoman@jamaicaobserver.com; write to All Woman, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Ave, Kingston 5; or fax to 968-2025. All responses are published. Dr Mitchell cannot provide personal responses.<br /> <br /> DISCLAIMER:<br /> <br /> The contents of this article are for informational purposes only and must not be relied upon as an alternative to medical advice or treatment from your own doctor. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11185012/uterus_w300.jpg All Woman Monday, February 20, 2017 12:00 AM 5 What brought you back from the brink of a break-up? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/allwoman/What-brought-you-back-from-the-brink-of-a-break-up-_89547 MOST of us have been there &mdash; to that place of uncertainty where we skip through memories and mentally play out situations with one single aim: to decide whether or not to make a clean break or to give the romantic offender a second chance, even while knowing they might hurt us again. <br /> <br /> All Woman asked readers to share why they welcomed their cheating partners back with open arms instead of sending them packing. Here is what they had to say: <br /> <br /> Shana: <br /> <br /> Forgiveness. I was taught about God&rsquo;s forgiveness. I know that I have made mistakes and God has pardoned me, and so I wanted to offer someone else the same courtesy. <br /> <br /> Lorie: <br /> <br /> For my status in the US. I had married out of love, but I found out some disturbing truths about my husband. We were recently married. These [truths] were against my value system and moral upbringing and I had to keep myself from going insane because I couldn&rsquo;t leave. Why? I had already overstayed, and things were finally looking up. I didn&rsquo;t want him to stop the filing process knowing I was vulnerable. I was mad for a while and even though the discoveries concerned me deeply, I just had to look past them for a while.<br /> <br /> Paula: <br /> <br /> The money and the sex were good. But I stayed mostly because I wasn&rsquo;t working and the money I got could help me.<br /> <br /> Erica: <br /> <br /> I stayed because of my children. I grew up without a father and I didn&rsquo;t want my children to experience that. <br /> <br /> Alex: <br /> <br /> For revenge. I stayed so that I could hurt her the way that she had hurt me. I slept with her friend in her bed. <br /> <br /> Candice: <br /> <br /> Stupidity. I thought that if I loved him a little more and tried a little harder, I could fix things and that I could change him. <br /> <br /> Kevin: <br /> <br /> Because I pitied her. She was crying and I felt sorry for her, so I just decided I would try to make it work. <br /> <br /> McWayne: <br /> <br /> Love, the fear of being alone, the fear of not being able to find someone else who would love me, as well as the lack of self-love and self-respect. I wasn&rsquo;t strong enough. I feared change. I feared the idea of having to start over, and so I became a prisoner to my fears and insecurities. I was both rewarded and punished by these toxic relationships. Although now I continue to give my all without regrets, I have also established boundaries and I have deal-breakers. <br /> <br /> Patricia: <br /> <br /> The children, and the thought of raising them without him when they loved him so much. These are the kind of children who would wait until he got home before going to bed. I couldn&rsquo;t do that to them, so I suppressed the pain. I looked past the verbal abuse, I looked past the humiliation of his cheating ways, because I am sure &mdash; while I never heard it myself &mdash; that I was the laughing stock of our small town. I protected myself from possible sexual diseases and I dedicated my time to raising my children well. <br /> <br /> Natalie: <br /> <br /> Marriage. I am a Christian and a firm believer in the institution of marriage. I made some vows before God that I take very seriously, and so I knew that I had to stay true to them. I have worked hard to live by these vows, no matter how often I feel like throwing in the towel.<br /> <br /> Sash: <br /> <br /> Love. I was young and na&Atilde;ive, and when I love I give my all. There were no boundaries to my love, and so even though I knew that I should have moved on, my love for him spoke much louder. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13651825/258862_85627_repro_w300.jpg All Woman Monday, February 20, 2017 12:00 AM 6 Is it possible to overdo the dating game? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/allwoman/Is-it-possible-to-overdo-the-dating-game-_87558 IN pursuit of the perfect spouse we often go through a period of dating and trying out a number of men or women, in the hope of finding our life partner.<br /> <br /> If you are really particular, you may often end up dating several individuals and having great difficulty making a choice. In other words, you like having your cake and eating it too. But life doesn&rsquo;t work that way, and there will come a point when a conscious decision has to be made.<br /> <br /> According to relationship counsellor Wayne Powell, people who indulge in an endless dating game do so for various reasons, which include:<br /> <br /> 1. Fear of commitment, so when the relationship seems to be heading in that direction they bail out, much to the disappointment of the unsuspecting partner.<br /> <br /> 2. They are on a frantic search for the perfect mate, so when their expectations are not met they move on to someone else.<br /> <br /> 3. There are some people who have psychological issues related to attachment, so they withdraw when anyone gets too close, and then continue the search.<br /> <br /> 4. There are those who seem to want to set a record for the most men/women one can date, so they engage in short stints with anyone who is available. These people are more about what they can get out of these flings than what they are prepared to give.<br /> <br /> 5. There are others who think it is a great accomplishment to date as many celebrities as possible, and so they date entertainers, politicians, sportsmen/women. This is more about profiling and the financial gains to be had from associating with stars and high-profile personalities.<br /> <br /> Powell, however, indicated that when there is a long line of suitors, the technicalities are somewhat different and will require much more thought towards choosing one individual.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;First you have to establish your deal-maker and deal-breaker list &mdash; qualities and characteristics you&rsquo;re looking for in a mate and qualities you will not tolerate. Let the suitors know the rules of engagement so each person is acutely aware of your intentions and expectations. There are some who will declare their hand from early that they are not ready for a serious relationship and would excuse themselves. Others may want a &ldquo;test drive&rdquo; before committing,&rdquo; Powell said.<br /> <br /> He explained that by a process of elimination, you will weed out the undesirables, and emphasised that it is important to maintain integrity throughout the process.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This means that none of your suitors should boast that he got what he wanted and moved on. Don&rsquo;t fall into a desperate space where you feel that you have to date all of the suitors in order to make a decision. So dating all 12 may be a poor reflection on your reputation. Like in a job interview, not all the applicants will be interviewed, so you do your screening and shortlist to two or three. The same principle obtains. Dating all of these persons simultaneously is also not a smart thing to do,&rdquo; Powell cautioned.<br /> <br /> &mdash;Kimberley Hibbert http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13651824/257383_84167_repro_w300.jpg All Woman Monday, February 20, 2017 12:00 AM 6 AW Fashion: New York City Girls http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/allwoman/AW-Fashion--New-York-City-Girls_89519 Jamaica&rsquo;s model citizens &mdash; from the agency camps of Saint International and Pulse, with reggae royalty Selah Marley, and runway coach/television personality Stacey McKenzie in on the action &mdash; joined their peers on the runways of New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2017. All Woman: Fashion calls back the black, green, and gold sightings that defined the just-capped stateside leg of the international schedule of shows. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13653288/258769__w300.jpg All Woman Monday, February 20, 2017 12:00 AM 7 Relationship regrets http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/allwoman/Relationship-regrets Some people will insist that they only learnt life lessons from their past relationships and have no regrets; others will be honest and admit that there are some people in their past that they wish nothing but the worst for. Regrets are normal emotions, and admitting that not all was perfect, and that you have made mistakes in your past is one of the key steps in moving forward.<br /> <br /> What regrets do you have about past relationships?<br /> <br /> DE:<br /> <br /> I shared some stories about my ex with my current boyfriend and every time we have an argument, he takes it there. I totally regret telling my man those things. I would personally advise all women to let their past go. I&rsquo;m not saying that you should pretend like it doesn&rsquo;t exist, but it is wise to not have discussions about history with your current partner.<br /> <br /> Tina:<br /> <br /> I regret my present relationship, to be very honest. I treat this man like a king and I recently found some text messages in his phone that made me regret everything I did for this man. We recently bought a car together and we have never had sex in it and I saw in his phone that he did so with a girl. I sacrificed my savings to ensure this man felt loved. Never again!<br /> <br /> Cory:<br /> <br /> I have so many regrets with this woman I was dating. I took this girl from the garrison and made her live in my house uptown. I literally traded her wardrobe from those things she used to wear that had holes, to start dressing like Lisa Hanna, and I found out she was cheating. I know it sounds like just another cheating story, but he who feels it knows it.<br /> <br /> FG:<br /> <br /> My biggest regret is getting pregnant for the man I did. He is the worst father ever. From I said I was pregnant, he walked out. It is a huge regret but I know for sure my child and I won&rsquo;t suffer.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13648555/regrets_w300.jpg All Woman Friday, February 17, 2017 5:10 AM 5 8 years and no ring http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/allwoman/8-years-and-no-ring It should be a given that after a couple has spent some time together courting, that marriage should be the next natural step. That sounds like the natural order of things, yet countless couples are nearing or have passed the decade mark together with no talk of a ring.<br /> <br /> What would you do if you committed yourself to years in a relationship and your partner has said nothing about marrying you, starting a family, or even giving you solid evidence that they are committed?<br /> <br /> KK:<br /> <br /> I&rsquo;m leaving! Why would I sit down in a relationship that long and I don&rsquo;t have a tree growing in my face? That is total wickedness to sit and wait on a man to prove that you are worth it.<br /> <br /> RD:<br /> <br /> Recently I heard a young miss at my office crying to another female friend that her ex, with whom she had spent eight years, was getting married to a 22 year old that he had just met. She said she devoted eight years to this man and he never once mentioned marriage, and four months after they broke up, she saw him posting on Facebook and SnapChat that he was going to marry this girl. She was very hurt and felt betrayed. It affected me and I started to realize that I&rsquo;ve been in a relationship for seven years and I haven&rsquo;t heard the words ring or marriage. I am not about to waste any more time so I am planning to ask my man if he is going to marry me or not.<br /> <br /> Ricky:<br /> <br /> I think women need to give a relationship time to grow. They think life is like a microwave &ndash; everything must be instant &ndash; and that is where men get scared of women. I was talking to a close friend of mine the other day. He told me he met this beautiful young lady on a dating website and they met up and had a great time. After two weeks of dating, she wants to meet his parents and have his babies. That is a real scary thing to a man. Slow it down ladies and let us men chase you. Once you start to chase, we&rsquo;re gonna run away from you.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13662904/ring_w300.jpg All Woman Friday, February 17, 2017 5:55 AM 5 Settling for love http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/allwoman/Settling-for-love Many women especially are fearful of being alone as they get up in age, leaving them to lower their standards and entertain men they wouldn&rsquo;t have usually. This stems from a fear of being alone, of ever finding the right person to have children with, and the attached stigma of not being coupled up by a certain age.<br /> <br /> We asked people, would you settle if you found that love seemed to be passing you by?<br /> <br /> Jodi:<br /> <br /> Heck no! I&rsquo;m not going to attach myself to anyone because I am fearful of being old and alone. I&rsquo;d rather pleasure myself and stay alone than be in a relationship that is going nowhere.<br /> <br /> Marlon:<br /> <br /> I would never say never. I have a female friend who I hang out with, she has her man and I&rsquo;m single. We&rsquo;ve never been intimate but I opened up to her the other day, saying we would be the perfect couple because everything she complains that her man doesn't do, I would do for her with ease. She&rsquo;s not really my type, but if one night she&rsquo;s crying I might just give in and offer comfort.<br /> <br /> Suz:<br /> <br /> I can&rsquo;t settle, I just can&rsquo;t. My parents, especially my mother, have been on my case about getting rid of my &lsquo;list&rsquo;, but I can&rsquo;t, especially because of how men are these days. I am dating and choosing carefully and if I reach 100 years old and still don&rsquo;t have a man, that&rsquo;s just how it goes.<br /> <br /> Sandra:<br /> <br /> I dropped my standards a bit and I found the love of my life. Sometimes we need to be humble and understand that there is no such thing as the perfect man or woman. Most of the standards we have are unreal anyway &ndash; we want a handsome man with money, career, and the perfect character. He doesn&rsquo;t exist, ladies! I had a ridiculous view of the man I wanted and to be honest, my husband is nothing like the man I dreamt of marrying. But my husband turned out to be even more to me. Relax the standards and just live!<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13648489/settle_w300.jpg All Woman Friday, February 17, 2017 5:46 AM 5