There is never a shortage of health information to comb through. There’s so much, in fact, that it can be hard to discern fact from fiction. Thankfully, medical experts from around the South shared their expertise to help us bust a few common misconceptions in their fields. Here, they share some of the most common myths they come across, and they debunk them with educated truths. From Botox and the blues to fluoride and fertility, we’re bringing you a few health myths you can kiss goodbye for good!
Common Myths about Botox and Fillers
EXPERT: Diane Alexander, MD, FACS, is the co-founder of the first all-woman physician plastic surgery practice in Atlanta, Artisan Beauté.
Myth: One of the most common misconceptions about Botox and fillers is patients who have injections look unnatural and frozen. Patients are concerned they will not have expressions and not look like themselves.
Truth: There is some truth to this perception of Botox and fillers. We have all seen people who are overdone or expressionless or who simply look weird after having injections. However, these unfortunate results are not inherent to the products themselves, but how the treatments are performed. Injections of Botox and fillers are an art form, and the results are largely determined by the techniques used to do the treatments.
Excellent results require experience and extensive training. The practitioner needs to have a thorough understanding of facial anatomy, the intrinsic qualities of all the different neurotoxins and fillers, and how different patients may respond to the various treatments. In addition, patients have different goals when they seek treatment. Some patients may want a more natural appearance, while others may prefer a totally wrinkle-free face. It is the responsibility of the injector to communicate with each patient and determine what their specific goals are.
RELATED: 7 Common Myths of Aging Skin
Common Myths about Mood Disorders and Anxiety
EXPERT: Lacey Hutchinson, D.O., is a family practice physician at Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta who specializes in comprehensive and preventive care for patients as young as age 10 all the way through adulthood.
Myth: People are only diagnosed with anxiety or depression if they can’t get out of bed or are having panic attacks.
Truth: Mood disorders like anxiety and depression can be present in a variety of ways. An early indicator is often [that] sleeping and eating habits change. Lack of interest in typical activities, avoiding going out or to social engagements, and being easily irritated are also all common signs. A good tool for when to seek an evaluation from a professional is that if you look at 30 days out of a month, and you have these symptoms most of the days (or more often than not), it is reasonable to see a doctor or counselor.
Myth: If I take medication for my mood, I will have to take it forever.
Truth: Medication to treat mood disorders definitely has a role, but not as the only method or for forever. If a medication is recommended for you, the goal is not to count down the days until you can stop taking it but to start feeling better. If the mood disorder improves, and it seems safe to stop the medication, it is always best to consult with a doctor before stopping on your own. However, a healthy taper off the medication is often tolerated very well.
Myth: The only way to really control anxiety or depression is with medication.
Truth: Treating mood disorders is often a broad spectrum. I discuss sleep hygiene as an important part of treating anxiety and depressive disorders (think going to bed and waking up around the same time). Regular exercise, even just for 15 minutes most days of the week, is beneficial for mood (as well as for sleep hygiene). Avoiding “too much of one thing” in your diet (limiting processed sugar, avoiding too much caffeine and/or alcohol) is also helpful. Seeing a counselor or ensuring you have a good support system is also key.
Common Myths in Dental Hygiene
EXPERT: Erin Papka is a dental hygienist in Charleston, SC, who has been in the industry for nearly 14 years.
Myth: Teeth whitening will hurt my enamel.
Truth: Absolutely not. It does not take any of your enamel away, but it can cause a surface sensitivity such as a dull ache or a cold/hot sensitivity.
Myth: Dental x-rays are dangerous due to radiation.
Truth: There is actually very little radiation in dental x-rays, especially since the dawn of digital. You actually get more radiation outside on a sunny day or going through security at an airport than you do in the dental office.
Myth: Fluoride is toxic.
Truth: Fluoride is most important in children as their teeth are forming because it protects them from cavities. Fluoride is actually in drinking water (since 1951) and has significantly cut down on generational dental health. For instance, our grandparents, who didn’t have fluoride as children, had a large population of denture wearers. Our parents, who may or may not have had fluoride as a developing child, have a high population of crown placement. Today, our generation doesn’t have very many fillings or, in some cases, any. Ironically, we are now starting to see an increase of cavities again in pediatric patients because tap water is not being ingested as much due to the increase in bottled water drinking. Finally, fluoride used in today’s dental offices has no toxicity. Kids can even immediately swallow it!
Common Myths about Fertility
EXPERT: Dr. Alice Hood is a board-certified OB/GYN practicing at Atlanta Women’s OB/GYN (she also happens to be my personal doctor of over 12 years).
Myth: More and more women are having pregnancies when they are older, so age must not be as big a deal.
Truth: Fertility does begin to gradually decline starting at age 32, with a more rapid decline starting at age 37 and with a much steeper decline past age 40. Even with our ability to do easier tests to start assessing egg quality and quantity, or what we call ovarian reserve, age is still one of our best predictors. Because of this, if patients are actively trying to get pregnant, it is recommended that women over 40 have a fertility evaluation even if they have not been trying for six months, and women ages 35-40 have a workup after six months of trying. If there is a history of irregular menstrual cycles, a history of endometriosis or significant ovarian surgery, a family history of early menopause or concern for infertility of a partner, a workup should start sooner.
For women not ready to start a family, but who have concerns about these issues, the possibility to freeze eggs has become much more available. Fertility specialists make finding out more about this option very easy, sometimes at no cost to the patient. For women experiencing age-related fertility issues, there are options such as donor eggs and adoption.
Keep in mind, you are not always aware that women you see having babies may have explored some of the above options before getting pregnant. OB/GYNs have been thankful that more high-profile people and celebrities are sharing their stories to help people’s awareness of this.
Myth: I will never be able to do fertility treatments if I need them because they are too expensive.
Truth: Although it is true that in-vitro fertilization (IVF) is expensive, some patients are candidates for less expensive fertility therapies as a first-line. Even if IVF is required, there are financing options available, and often patients spend less than when financing other items such as a car. If it is important to you, you should let the fertility specialist help you explore your particular options.
Myth: I am older and not getting pregnant, so it must be my eggs.
Truth: Not always. In couples of all ages experiencing infertility, 26% of the time it is due to an issue with their male partner, and 14% of the time it is due to an issue with the tubes.
And one final truth when it comes to fertility:
These are scary and emotional issues for most patients, but you should not let this prevent you from letting your OB/GYN and fertility specialists help you look at your options as early as possible in the process. Having better information about your situation and options early on is often helpful to patients.
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