Wellness Resources for Women

The Panhellenic sorority community takes concern in its members. Through sisterhood and support the sorority community strives to take care of its community. The resources below include general information on basic disorders and occurrences, resources found on campus, how to help out a friend in need, resources found on the internet, and helpful tips.

Key Links:

Basic Eating Disorders and Occurrences:

The Basics of Eating Disorder Diagnoses

Anorexia nervosa
Symptoms:
-15% below expected body weight
-Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, even though under weight
-Undue influence of body weight or shape on self-evaluation
-Denial of the seriousness of the current low body weight
-Amenorrhea: the absence of at least 3 consecutive menstrual cycles
Health Complications and Risks:
-Dry skin and hair
-Insomnia
-Low blood pressure, dizziness, fainting
-Stomach pain, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
       As weight loss continues:
            -Electrolyte imbalances that may lead to cramping
            -Irregular heartbeats and even heart failure
            -Infections
            -Stress fractures
            -Loss of menstrual cycle, which may lead to osteoporosis

Bulimia nervosa
Symptoms:
-Recurrent episodes of binge eating and purging (eating large amounts of food-more than most people eat in one meal-in short periods of time and then attempting to get rid of the food through self-induced vomiting, abusing laxatives and diuretics, fasting, and/or over exercising).
-Lack of control during binge eating episodes
-Undue influence of body weight or shape of self-evaluation
Health Risks:
-Electrolyte imbalances leading to cramping, irregular heartbeats, heart failure
-Inflammation and possible rupture of the esophagus due to frequent vomiting
-Tooth decay and staining from stomach acids released during frequent vomiting
-Calluses on the back of hands and knuckles from frequent self-induced vomiting
-Swelling of the cheeks or jaw area from frequent vomiting
-Stomach pain, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Binge Eating Disorder
Symptoms
-Binging with no compensatory behaviors
-Lack of control during binge eating episodes
-Negative self-esteem, depression
-Excess body weight
Health Risks
-Overweight, obesity
-Negative self-esteem, depression
-High blood cholesterol, triglycerides

Overeaters Anonymous
www.oa.org
970.282.5019

Signs to look for if you suspect your friend has an eating disorder:
-Counts and recounts calories in his/her  meals
-Avoids eating meals/snacks
-Categorizes food into “good” food and “bad” food
-Weighs herself/himself many times a day
-Has an intense fear of gaining weight
-Places herself/himself on a severely restrictive diet
-Has a distorted body image
-Pays constant attention to food and/or dieting
-Exercises constantly, without a specific training goal
-Withdraws from friends and family
-Binge eats
-Takes laxatives and/or diet pills for weight control

How to Talk to/Help a friend:

Learn as much as you can about eating disorders and disordered eating. The websites listed on the resources section of this page are a good place to start. Being prepared with as much knowledge as possible when you approach your friend will help you when your friend insists behaviors are not problematic or makes excuses in order to maintain disordered eating.

Be honest. Your friend will appreciate your sincerity if you stick to openly and honestly sharing your concerns. People may feel ashamed or embarrassed about their behavior, so avoiding or ignoring your suspicions will not help the situation improve. Try to have specific examples of things that are causing you concern.

Try to be caring, but firm. You can understand where your friend is coming from without conceding that there is nothing to be concerned about. S/he may go to great lengths to defend or rationalize behavior - caring about him or her does not mean being manipulated. Some ways to be supportive and non-confrontational are:

  1. State your concerns using "I" statements, such as I'm concerned about you because you refuse to eat breakfast or lunch. It scares me to hear you purging. I'm worried that you are not eating enough considering how much you exercise.
  2. Avoid making accusations buy not using "you" statements, such as You must be crazy! Your behavior is causing all these problems. You have to eat something/stop exercising.
  3. Avoid providing simple solutions. If you'd just stop, everything would be fine. Just eat! If you didn't think about it so much, your weight wouldn't bother you as much.

Share your concerns with someone, such as a teacher, doctor, nutritionist, counselor, or some other trusted adult. The more support your friend has, and the sooner he or she gets it, the more likely they will be able to work through their problems and become healthy.

Remember that your friend may need professional help. You can't make the choice for your friend to change - only s/he can do that. If your friend won't listen to you, tell someone who s/he might be more willing to listen to. Give them a resource list (click here for a list of local resources), and make sure that you convey that you will be there for support in the future.

The information above about eating disorders has been taken from Professor Owen Murphy’s IPHY 3420 class at the University of Colorado at Boulder and from brochures created by the National Eating Disorders Association, www.National EatingDisorders.org. Additional information has been collected from CU’s Student Wellness Program’s website: click here for more information.

Sexual Assault

An Overview of Sexual Assault

-The definition of Rape in America is: "an event that occurred without the consent, involved the use of force or threat of force, and involved sexual penetration of the survivor's vagina, mouth, or rectum."  
-Sexual assault is often under-reported.

There are many different types of sexual assault and an overview of them is provided below:
-Dating Assault/Intimate Partner Violence
- Dating violence is any intentional sexual, physical or psychological attack on one partner by the other in a dating relationship. Dating violence is more likely to happen when the aggressor has been drinking. This often leads people to blame alcohol for the problem. Being drunk is not an excuse for assaulting someone. In fact, abusers themselves use alcohol as an excuse for being violent. Sexual abuse includes unwanted sexual touching, using force or pressure to get a partner to consent to sexual activity, rape and attempted rape, and attempting or having intercourse with a person who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Emotional abuse, like sexual and physical abuse, varies in its intensity and its consequences. It includes behavior such as insulting or swearing at a partner, belittling them, threatening or terrorizing them, destroying their property or possessions, isolating them from friends and relatives, and treating them with irrational possessiveness or extreme jealousy.
-Acquaintance Rape
-Acquaintance rape can be any non-consensual sexual activity between 2 or more people who know each other. Acquaintance rape can happen between friends, boyfriend/girlfriends, and people who just met.
-For other issues regarding sexual assault that have not been listed please visit the Victim Assistance website at: www.colorado.edu/studentaffairs/victimassistance to learn more.

Myths Concerning Sexual Assault

Myth: When alcohol is consumed by one or both parties, it is not considered a rape.

Fact: When a person is drinking alcohol:

  • It’s harder to think clearly and evaluate a potentially dangerous situation.
  • It’s harder to resist sexual or physical assault.
  • Drinking too much alcohol can also cause black-outs and memory loss.

But remember: even if a survivor of sexual assault drank alcohol, s/he is NOT at fault for being assaulted. We do not blame burglary victims if they have been drinking when the burglary occurred, and we should not blame the victims of sexual assault who have been drinking either.

Myth: Most sexual assault survivors were really asking for it and the assault was provoked by the survivor.

Fact: To say that someone wants to be raped is the same as saying that people ask to be mugged or robbed. In fact, many rapes are at least partially planned in advance and the survivor is often threatened with death or bodily harm if she resists. Rape is not a spontaneous crime of sexual passion. It is a violent attack on an individual using sex as a weapon. Sex is used as a weapon to defile, degrade and destroy a survivor's will and control over their own body.

Myth: Most survivors are raped by strangers.

Fact: According to Rape in America: A Report to the Nation, only 22% of rape survivors were assaulted by someone they had never seen before or did not know well. Nine percent of survivors were raped by husbands or ex-husbands, 10% by boyfriends or ex-boyfriends, 11% by their fathers or stepfathers, 16% by other relatives, and 29% by other non-relatives, such as friends or neighbors.   

Emotional Effects of Sexual Assault

Note that not every sexual assault affects everyone differently, so the reactions below vary from person to person.

  • Physically and emotionally, the survivor has sustained a great trauma. Sexual assault changes a survivor's life and lifestyle.
  • A survivor of sexual assault is 13 times more likely to attempt suicide than is the general population.
  • The survivor no longer feels safe, no matter where they are or who they are with.

Common Reactions to Sexual Violence

The following outline describes the typical pattern of emotional and psychological responses to sexual abuse.

Humiliation

Many sexual assault survivors feel ashamed, embarrassed, and humiliated. This sense may be heightened by the misinformation that abounds in society that the survivor should somehow be able to protect themselves against rape.

Shame and self-blame

Again, many survivors blame themselves for the assault - blame themselves for something they did or didn't do, for what they wore, that they fought back, that they didn't fight back. This reaction may be an attempt to regain control.

Guilt

Guilt comes from the survivor’s sense that they could have and should have done something to protect themselves or prevent the sexual abuse.

Fear of people

This reaction manifests both as an immediate consequence and as a long-term reaction. Some survivors experience extreme fear and panic reactions. It is important to remember that most sexual assault survivors thought they were going to lose their lives during the attack. It is also important to recognize that the survivor may still be in the presence of or in close proximity to their perpetrator, especially in rural areas. Therefore, the fear should be taken seriously. Over time, the survivor may find themselves with flashbacks that make them feel intensely afraid or they may experience a less intense, more prolonged sense of being afraid.

A feeling of loss of control over life

The experience of having been assaulted is one of ultimate loss of control. Something very private was forcefully stolen from the survivor. It may create or reinforce the perception for the survivor that they are unable to protect themselves. This response may emerge whether or not the survivor resisted. Because of these feelings, the survivor may have problems for a while making decisions until the survivor regains a sense of control and self-confidence. When helping a survivor, you can help them become aware of the resources available to them, but ultimately, they have to make the decision of what they are going to do; you cannot make that decision for them.

Concern for the Perpetrator

In some cases, a survivor may express concern about what will happen to the perpetrator if he is reported to the police. They may know, care about, and/or be dependent upon the perpetrator (as in the case of a boyfriend/girlfriend or friend). Due to the survivor's feelings towards the perpetrator, a decision take the case to the criminal justice system might be very difficult to make. All of these feelings may make it difficult for the survivor to make a decision, especially a decision that would have a negative impact on the perpetrator.  

Grief

An assault is a profound loss and is characterized by intense sadness. A survivor may feel their life has been shattered to such an extent that they will never recover. A grief reaction typically involves tearfulness, weeping, and disorientation.

Depression

A deep feeling of emptiness, remorse, and unhappiness may set in following a sexual assault. This reaction may result in survivors feeling hopeless, immobilized and unable to make decisions. Depression often makes survivors feel like everything is going wrong and nothing will ever be resolved.

Denial

Some survivors respond to the trauma of an assault by minimizing it, avoiding talking about the experience or by blocking it out of their consciousness altogether. The advocate may need to encourage the survivor, who may be in a state of denial, to begin talking about the trauma of the assault.

Anger and irritability

It is important to note that being sexually assaulted results for some in tremendous rage. While anger is a natural and healthy response, it may be misdirected towards the advocate, the law enforcement official, the prosecutor, or others who may be trying to offer assistance.

Preoccupation with disease, pregnancy, or death

Survivors may focus on the worst-case physical outcomes that may accompany the sexual assault. HIV infection is a common concern and survivors may react to the assault by focusing on their potential mortality. It is important to take these concerns seriously. Some survivors may have been close to being killed, and they may still be in grave danger.

Risk of suicide

Some survivors of sexual assault may respond by contemplating and/or threatening suicide. It is important to be aware of this risk, and to take any signs of suicide seriously. If a person is in immediate danger, they should not be left alone. Those individuals who do not have a strong support system, who articulate a clear plan, and who have attempted suicide in the past are at greatest risk. An advocate should refer a survivor who is at risk of suicide to a suicide hotline or counseling center and stay with the survivor to ensure that they actually make a contact with the referral.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Survivors of sexual assault often suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition where traumatic incidents bring on a range of psychological distresses which include fear, emotional numbness, flashbacks, nightmares, obsessive thoughts and anger.

In her book, Trauma and Recovery, Dr. Judith Herman notes the similarities faced by all survivors of violence:

  • For some rape survivors, symptoms decline within three months, although the course of these responses and their pattern vary among individuals. For some survivors, post-traumatic stress reactions can occur months or years after an incident.
  • Fear and anxiety are the most common symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Depression is also commonly observed, and is a significant factor in the impaired social functioning of survivors. Survivors also often experience problems with sexual functioning, including a decline in the frequency of sex, and lower sexual satisfaction. Other responses include fatigue, somatic complaints, poor concentration and intrusive thoughts.

Sexual Assault Statistics and Quick Facts

  • In the United States, approximately 1,900 women are sexually assaulted every day
  • 1 in 3 women, and 1 in 6 men will have some type of unwanted sexual experience in their lifetime
  • Somewhere between 70-80% of sexual assault survivors know their attackers
  • It is estimated that under 10% of sexual assaults are actually reported to police
  • Rape is not always about sex; it is a crime rooted in issues of power, control, and dominance and sex is the means by which the crime is executed
  • In the case of a sexual assault, submission is not equivalent to consent

Frequently Asked Questions about Sexual Assault

Was I Raped? It is not uncommon for a sexual assault survivor to wonder if their experience was "really" rape. It can be very helpful to sort through an experience with a nonjudgmental counselor that deals with rapes.

Was it Rape? The Colorado statutes define sexual assault in degrees along a continuum ranging from unwanted touching of the genitalia or breasts over clothes to forced or coerced sexual penetration or intrusion. Simply stated, sexual assault is nonconsensual sexual activity.

If I tell the Rape Crisis Hotline Counselor I was raped, who else will find out? Callers on the hotline can choose to remain anonymous by not revealing any identifying information about themselves. MESA maintains strict confidentiality. However, if the counselor has reason to suspect anyone under the age of 18 has been assaulted or subjected to child abuse, the counselor is required by Colorado Statute, to report the abuse to law enforcement or social services.

What will happen if I report a sexual assault to the police? A counselor can accompany you to make a report to law enforcement if you choose to report the assault. Counselors can provide information that can help you decide if reporting is the right option for you.

My friend was assaulted. How can I help? During a sexual assault, the survivor experiences a total loss of control over the most intimate parts of their self. Therefore, it is important for sexual assault survivor to feel that they can regain some control in their lives. Listen. Believe. Let your friend make the decisions.

Since my assault, I feel crazy. What is wrong with me? It is normal to experience a wide range of very intense emotions following a sexual assault. Sometimes these feelings are experienced almost immediately and sometimes they do not come out for weeks or even years.

What can I do to get over my sexual assault? Recovering from sexual assault is a process that varies greatly from one person to the next. It is not realistic to believe that one can "get over" a sexual assault quickly, however, getting support is crucial to healing.

Tips on How to Help Survivors of Sexual Assault

  • Remain calm. Encourage discussion about the trauma to the extent that the survivor feels comfortable.
  • Remind the survivor that they are not responsible for the assault - no matter what - and that no one asks or deserves to be raped.
  • Avoid saying that you know how the survivor feels. No one can ever really know how another person feels even if they have experienced the same kind of trauma.
  • Listen and avoid judging or questioning the survivor.
  • Encourage the survivor to seek counseling from specially trained mental health professionals.
  • Help the survivor explore options and choices in their process of healing, but avoid making decisions for them.
  • Respect the survivor's need for privacy and her desire to talk or not talk about the details of the assault.
  • Acknowledge your own feeling of anger, concern, and sadness. Seek counseling for yourself to help process your reaction to the assault.
  • Remind the survivor that your love and friendship for her/him remains intact.

The information above about rape has been taken from the MESA (Moving to End Sexual Assault) website. To access this information and more please visit the MESA website at: www.joinmesa.org/. Additional information has been provided by the Victim Assistance Office at: www.colorado.edu/studentaffairs/victimassistance

Discrimination and Sexual Harassment

Discrimination

Conduct that deprives an individual of a benefit of employment or educational opportunity based on race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

Examples include:

  • not being able to take a class because it is in a building which is not accessible by a wheelchair
  • singled-out in a class because of national origin
  • being over-looked for a promotion because of sexual orientation
  • differential treatment based on sex
  • practices/functions/rituals which are gender exclusive

Harassment

Conduct that unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work or academic performance or participation in university programs or activities.

  • the behavior or attention is unwanted
  • it is based on race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status

Examples include:

  • directing racial/ethnic slurs at an individual
  • repeatedly telling someone he is too old to understand new technology
  • consistently mocking, teasing, or joking with someone about her religion

Sexual Harassment

  • harassment of a sexual nature
  • severe and/or repeated sexual behavior that is not welcomed or asked for

Examples include:

  • when a student is repeatedly badgered by another student for a date
  • if two students are studying together, and one student repeatedly makes inappropriate sexual comments or unwanted sexual advances

This information on discrimination and sexual harassment has been taken from the pamphlet created by The Office of Judicial Affairs at the University of Colorado at Boulder campus. To find out additional information contact the office directly at: 303-492-1062

Suicide/Depression

Classroom Signs of Distress

These signs include:

  • Sudden drop in class attendance
  • Drop in quality of class work
  • Atypical, inappropriate or bizarre responses
  • Inability to remain focused, including rambling speech
  • Excessive procrastination
  • Repeated requests for special consideration (for example, deadline extensions).

Depression

Some key symptoms of depression are:

  • Inability to concentrate
  • Changes in appetite
  • Inability to experience happiness or pleasure
  • Apathy
  • Crying
  • Poor personal hygiene or a marked change in appearance
  • Insomnia or change in sleeping patterns
  • Feeling of worthlessness
  • No desire to socialize
  • Loss of self esteem

Acting Out Behavior

This represents a change in behavior from normal or socially appropriate behavior to:

  • Being disruptive
  • Being chronically antagonistic
  • Increased alcohol and drug abuse

Suicidal Ideation

Most suicide attempts are preceded at some point by messages that indicate the person could be considering taking his or her life. If you suspect suicide potential, don’t be afraid to ask these questions:

  • What is the plan for suicide--exactly how they will do it?
  • When and where do they intend to carry out the plan?
  • Have they ever attempted suicide before and when?

For people who are considering suicide, these questions will not furnish them with new ideas. Most people who are actively suicidal are more than willing to discuss their plan.

The less specific and lethal the plan, (e.g. “I guess I’d take some sleeping pills sometime,”) the less likely a suicide attempt.

Some general suggestions, which might be helpful, include:

  • Talk with the student in private
  • Reassure the person for confiding in you
  • Listen carefully
  • Be accepting and nonjudgmental
  • Try to help the person identify the problem in a way that is most comfortable to you
  • Know your personal limits as a helper. You may not feel comfortable trying to help someone cope with a particular problem, but you could be able to help them get to an agency, which can provide the necessary services.

If you believe the student could be so severely depressed, defiant, or actively suicidal that you would feel uncomfortable if he/she simply walked out of your office, you can do the following:

  • Call Counseling and Psychological Services: A Multicultural Center (492-6766, 134 Willard Administrative Center) (Hrs. 8-5, M-F).
  • Inform the staff person that you need to speak with a counselor immediately.
  • Consult the counselor about the situation (NO CHARGE FOR SERVICES.)

The information above about Depression has been taken from the Wardenburg Health Center website at: www.colorado.edu/healthcenter/php/index.html.

Women’s Health Resources (Woman Exams, Birth Control, HPV, Sexually Transmitted Infections)

Gynecologic Exam

You should have a routine GYN exam every year if you are sexually active or over age 18.

You may need to have checkups more often if you have:

  • plans to become pregnant
  • an STI or a partner with an STI
  • a history of sexual health problems
  • a sexually related illness
  • a mother or sister who developed breast cancer before menopause
  • a history of abnormal Pap test results
  • a breast lump

You should visit your clinician, no matter how old you are, if you have:

  • Unusual vaginal or pelvic pain
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge
  • Severe pelvic or lower abdominal pain
  • Pain, swelling, or tenderness of the vulva or vagina
  • Sores, lumps, or itching of the vulva or vagina
  • Growths, or thickening of the breast or armpit
  • Puckering, dimpling, or other changes in the skin of the breast
  • Newly retracted nipples or bleeding or discharge from the nipple
  • Changes in size or shape of the breast
  • Increased pain or discomfort before your period

Many women worry about having a GYN exam – especially if it's the first time. You will be more comfortable if you know what to expect.
Regular GYN exams include:

  • Talking about your personal, family, sexual, and medical history
  • Laboratory tests and screening for STIs and other conditions (at your own or your clinicians request)
  • A breast exam
  • A pelvic exam

Medical History

Before your exam you will be asked to fill out a questionnaire. You will be asked about past illnesses, allergies, surgery, and pregnancy. You may be asked if you smoke, or if you drink alcohol or use other drugs. Your clinician will review your contraceptive needs and will provide you with the information to make the best choice for you.

It is very important to be frank and honest about your sex life. One out of four women has an STI in her lifetime. Don't let embarrassment become a health risk. Be precise about your sexual health risks and questions about your sex life. Being clear will help your clinician suggest the best solutions.

Tests and Screening

You may be asked for a urine sample. The test can tell if you are pregnant. It can also detect diabetes, kidney infections and other diseases. Your clinician may also want to take some blood for a variety of tests.
Your blood pressure, temperature, and weight will also be taken.

Breast Exam

You will change into an examination gown or be covered with a drape sheet. Some clinicians provide both. You will be asked to lie back on the examination table with your knees up. You clinician will examine your breasts for lumps, thickening, irregularities, and discharge. You clinician will ask you if you have noticed any changes in your breasts since your last exam and will show you how to do a breast self exam.

Pelvic Exam

After your breasts have been examined, you will be asked to place your feet in the stirrups at the end of the table. Some tables have knee rests instead of stirrups.

You will feel less tense if you:

  • Breathe slowly and deeply with your mouth open
  • Let your stomach muscles go soft
  • Relax your shoulders
  • Relax the muscles between your legs
  • Ask the clinician to describe what is being done as it's happening

There are four steps to the pelvic exam:

  1. The External Genital Exam
    The clinician visually examines the soft folds of the vulva and the opening of the vagina to check for signs of redness, irritation, discharge, cysts, genital warts, or other conditions.
  2. The Speculum Exam
    The clinician inserts a sterile metal or plastic speculum into the vagina. The speculum is opened to separate the walls of the vagina, which are normally closed and touch each other. It holds the walls apart so that the cervix can be seen. You may feel some degree of pressure or mild discomfort when the speculum is inserted and opened. You will likely feel more discomfort if you are tense or if there is an infection present. Talk to your clinician about any discomfort you feel.

    Once the speculum is in place, the clinician checks for any irritation, growth, or abnormal discharge from the cervix. Test for gonorrhea, human papilloma virus, chlamydia, or other STIs may be taken by collecting cervical mucus on a cotton swab.

    The clinician will take a smear for a Pap test. Usually a small spatula or tiny brush is used to gently collect cells from the cervix. The cells are tested for the presence of precancerous or cancerous cells. You may have some staining or bleeding after the sample is taken.

    The Pap test can detect:
    1. The presence of an abnormal growth on the cervix
    2. Infections and inflammations of the cervix
    3. Thinning of the vaginal lining from lack of estrogen
  3. The Bimanual Exam
    Wearing an examination glove, the clinician inserts one or two lubricated fingers into the vagina. The other hand presses down on the lower abdomen. The clinician can then check the internal organs (uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes) of the pelvis. The bimanual part of the exam causes a sensation of pressure. You may find it somewhat uncomfortable. Deep breathing through the mouth helps. If you feel pain, tell the clinician.
  4. Rectovaginal Exam
    Many clinicians complete the bimanual exam by inserting a gloved finger into the rectum to check the condition of the muscles that separate the vagina and rectum. They also check for possible tumors located behind the uterus, on the lower wall of the vagina, and in the rectum. During this procedure you may feel as though you need to have a bowel movement. This is normal and lasts only a few seconds.

After Your Exam

This is a time for further consultation with your clinician. You will discuss the results of your exam, arrange for any follow up or consultation that may be needed and ask any further questions you may have. This is another opportunity to discuss your concerns about sex and sexuality, birth control, pregnancy, abortion, STIs, loss of urine, inherited disorders, infertility, cancer signals, breast self exam, and menopause. Don't let embarrassment become a health risk. Speak up.
It is a matter of teamwork – you and your clinician working together and maintaining good communication.

The information provided above on women’s health resources can be found at:  www.colorado.edu/healthcenter/shep/women.html.

Breast Exams

Breast Self-Exam: It’s easy, and it may save your life
Ginny Vance, RN, BSN - University of Colorado Hospital Breast Center
News often circulates about the effectiveness of breast self-exam (BSE) for the early detection of breast cancer. This undoubtedly has left many patients wondering if it is necessary to perform a monthly BSE. The fact is, most medical professionals still consider BSE to be an important tool for the early detection of breast cancer. In general, women age 20 and older should be performing a BSE monthly.

To make the most of BSE, there are a few key things to keep in mind. It is critical that you do not rely on BSE alone to detect cancer. BSE is most effective when used in conjunction with regular clinical breast examinations and mammograms.

Before you begin performing a BSE, you should know that the composition of your breasts will fluctuate each month. This change can be normal. Monthly BSE allows you to become familiar with your breasts and how their composition fluctuates. However, you should contact your health care provider to schedule an appointment to discuss any breast changes that continue for an extended amount of time.

A BSE is most useful for the early detection of breast cancer when performed correctly. You should perform your BSE at the same time each month. For premenopausal women, the week following your menstrual cycle is usually the best time because there is less lumpiness in the breasts. For women who do not menstruate, picking the same day every month will provide a consistent time that is easy to remember.

During your self-examination, look for any lumps, hard knots, dimples or skin that thickens. To perform a BSE correctly, follow these steps:

  1. Lying down on a bed, place a pillow under your right shoulder and your right hand under your head.
  2. Check your entire right breast area with the finger pads of your left hand using small circles and follow an up and down or circular pattern. Varying amounts of pressure should be used to examine the entire breast.
  3. Gently squeeze the nipple for any discharge.
  4. Repeat above steps on your left breast.

In addition to the above, it is important to check for any changes in the shape or appearance of your breasts. Looking in a mirror, inspect your breasts in four positions: arms at side, arms overhead, hands on hips pressing firmly to flex chest muscles and bending forward.

Until a cure is discovered for breast cancer, monthly breast self-exam remains a powerful tool for detecting breast cancer early. Remember, your best defense against breast cancer is early detection and treatment.

Visit www.9news.com for more information on “Buddy Check 9”

The information above provided on Breast Exams can be found at: www.uccc.info/cancercenter/content/breast/default.asp?index=BreastCancer&title=Buddy%20Check9%20August%202005.

Contraception (Birth Control)

Birth Control: Exploring the Options

There are many options for birth control on the market today. Some are hormonal and some just provide a barrier to prevent a sperm from meeting an egg. Hormones, on the other hand, do three things: prevents ovulation, thickens cervical mucous, and thins the lining of the uterine wall. There are many ways to get hormones into your body; you can take a pill, get a shot, or wear a patch or ring. Ultimately you should talk with your doctor about what is right for you because some methods must be prescribed by your doctor. Below are some important questions to consider when finding the birth control that is right for you?

  • How well will it fit into my lifestyle?
  • How convenient will it be?
  • How effective will it be?
  • How safe will it be?
  • How affordable will it be?
  • How reversible will it be?
  • Will it protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs)?
  • How involved do I want my partner to be in my method of birth control?

For more information on specific methods of birth control, go to www.plannedparenthood.org/bc/.

HPV (Human Papillomavirus)

Genital HPV infection is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that is caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). Human papillomavirus is the name of a group of viruses that includes more than 100 different strains or types. More than 30 of these viruses are sexually transmitted, and they can infect the genital area of men and women including the skin of the penis, vulva (area outside the vagina), or anus, and the linings of the vagina, cervix, or rectum. Most people who become infected with HPV will not have any symptoms and will clear the infection on their own.
Some of these viruses are called "high-risk" types, and may cause abnormal Pap tests. They may also lead to cancer of the cervix, vulva, vagina, anus, or penis. Others are called "low-risk" types, and they may cause mild Pap test abnormalities or genital warts. Genital warts are single or multiple growths or bumps that appear in the genital area, and sometimes are cauliflower shaped.

How common is HPV?

Approximately 20 million people are currently infected with HPV. At least 50 percent of sexually active men and women acquire genital HPV infection at some point in their lives. By age 50, at least 80 percent of women will have acquired genital HPV infection. About 6.2 million Americans get a new genital HPV infection each year.

What is the connection between HPV and cervical cancer?

All types of HPV can cause mild Pap test abnormalities which do not have serious consequences. Approximately 10 of the 30 identified genital HPV types can lead, in rare cases, to development of cervical cancer. Research has shown that for most women (90 percent), cervical HPV infection becomes undetectable within two years. Although only a small proportion of women have persistent infection, persistent infection with "high-risk" types of HPV is the main risk factor for cervical cancer.

A Pap test can detect pre-cancerous and cancerous cells on the cervix. Regular Pap testing and careful medical follow-up, with treatment if necessary, can help ensure that pre-cancerous changes in the cervix caused by HPV infection do not develop into life threatening cervical cancer. The Pap test used in U.S. cervical cancer screening programs is responsible for greatly reducing deaths from cervical cancer. For 2004, the American Cancer Society estimates that about 10,520 women will develop invasive cervical cancer and about 3,900 women will die from this disease. Most women who develop invasive cervical cancer have not had regular cervical cancer screening.

Where can I get more information?

Information taken from http://www.cdc.gov/std/HPV/STDFact-HPV.htm

STIs and their symptoms

STI: it may be a new term for you but it stands for something we should all know about. An STI is a Sexually Transmitted Infection, formerly called a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD). Sexually Transmitted Infections can affect everyone no matter race, sexuality, religion, or belief. STIs affect 1 in 4 Americans. Everyday 33,000 Americans acquire an STI. By the end of each calendar year more than 12 million people in the United States will contract an STI.

Anyone who has ever had sexual contact with a partner is at risk to contract an STI. STIs are spread when an infected person, whether they are knowledgeable about their status or not, has sexual contact with another person. Sexual contact includes simple skin-to-skin contact, kissing, manual stimulation, vaginal, anal, and oral sex; any way that skin can touch or fluids can be passed.

How do you know if you have and STI? One clue is physical symptoms – your body's way of telling you something is wrong. Be alert to changes in your body. When something feels or looks different, seek medical care immediately. Even if it isn't an STI, you may have another problem that requires professional treatment.

Early symptoms of an STI are usually more noticeable in men; women often do not have any symptoms. Frequently, a woman's first clue that she may have an STI is learning that a sex partner has one. Besides knowing your own and partner's bodies, regular medical exams will also help detect STIs.

  • Abdominal Pain
  • Genital Bleeding
  • Genital Burning
  • Genital Discharge
  • Genital Itching
  • Genital Lumps and Bumps
  • Painful Intercourse: In women, pain during intercourse can mean chancroid, chlamydia, gonorrhea, or pelvic inflammatory disease.
  • Genital Sores: Painful or itchy sores on or near the genitals may be herpes; painless sores may be syphilis.
  • Urine Changes: Dark urine may be hepatitis B, while an increase in urination can be caused by chlamydia or trichomoniasis. If blood is found in the urine, a bladder infection or pelvic inflammatory disease, may the problem.
  • No Symptoms: Some symptoms take months, even years to develop. Sometimes symptoms go away on their own but the disease stays and, unless treated, often gets worse.

For more information on specific STIs go to www.ashastd.org.

Information on STIs can be found at the Wardenburg Sexual Health Education website: www.colorado.edu/healthcenter/shep/basics.html

Resources Found on Campus and in the Community:

Eating Disorders

Warenburg Health Center
Medical Clinic
303-492-5432
Call to schedule an appointment with a health care practitioner, who can provide consultation, medical care, and a referral to a nutritionist.

Psychological Health and Psychiatry
303-492-5654
Call to schedule an appointment for individual counseling or the Women, Relationships & Food group for women who desire healthier relationships with themselves, others, and food. Free consultation about roommates or friends also available.
Contact Alisa Shanks, PH.D., Eating Disorders Coordinator – 303-492-2038

Student Wellness Program
303-735-6433
Brochures, presentations, outreach events, and general nutrition information. All offerings are free.

Counseling and Psychological Services: A Multicultural Center
303-492-6766
Offers 6 free sessions per student, per year, as well as referrals for further counseling.

Raimy Psychology Clinic
303-492-5177
Graduate-level therapists available for counseling on a sliding scale basis(usually $15 per session for students).

Emergency Psychiatric Services
Mental Health Services of Boulder County
303-447-1665
Boulder Community Hospital
303-411-0400

Sexual Assault Resources

Confidential Crisis and Counseling Services:
Victim Assistance: (303) 492-8855 or for direct emergency cell number: 303-818-0590
Located in Willard Hall rooms 217, 218, 219 – Open 8-5pm on Monday thru Friday. Free, confidential, and experience processing these issues with victims.  We are not connected with the campus police, and do not try to get the survivor to report, only to inform them of their alternatives and the pros and cons of each plan.  If they do choose to report, we can talk to them about the various places to report (police, Judicial Affairs, Office of Discrimination and Harassment), why you would pick one or more of these over the others, and we can walk through those systems with them. 

CU Office of Survivor Assistance: (303) 492-8855
A free and confidential resource for members of the University of Colorado community. OVA provides survivors and friends with information concerning legal services, psychological services, academic assistance, safety resources, medical assistance, and housing information. On the web at www.colorado.edu/studentaffairs/survivorassistance/.

Counseling and Psychological Services: A Multicultural Center: (303) 492-6766
A confidential place for students to get individual and group counseling.  Each student can receive up to six free visits each year.  On the web at www.colorado.edu/sacs/counseling/

Faculty and Staff Assistance Program: (303) 492-3020
Counseling and consulting tailored for faculty, staff, their partners and families.  Counseling services are offered for both personal and professional issues. On the web at www.colorado.edu/studentaffairs/fsap/

Wardenburg Department of Psychological Health and Psychiatry: (303) 492-5654
Wardenburg Health Center provides confidential individual therapy and group counseling.  Fees are dependant on insurance.  On the web at www.colorado.edu/healthcenter/php/index.html

Moving to End Sexual Assault (MESA): 24-hour hotline: (303) 443-7300
As Boulder’s rape crisis center, MESA offers confidential services, educational outreach, and support groups. On the web at www.joinmesa.org

Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Non-Violence: 24-hour hotline: (303) 444-2424
Safehouse provides emergency shelter for battered women and their children. They also offer counseling, education, advocacy, and referral services. On the we at www.bouldercountysafehouse.org

Colorado Anti-Violence Program (CoAVP): 24-hour hotlines: (303) 852-5094 or 1-800-557-4441
As a resource for LGBT survivors of sexual violence, CoAVP is “dedicated to eliminating violence within and against the LGBT communities and ensuring the highest quality services are provided to survivors and survivors of hate crimes, partner abuse, sexual assault, and enforcement violence.” On the web at www.coavp.org

Reporting Services:
University of Colorado Police Department (CUPD): (303) 492-6666 (non-emergency)
CUPD is an on-campus resource for reporting sexual assaults which strives to be sensitive and survivor focused. CUPD refers survivors to the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners at St. Anthony's North to collect forensic evidence.  On the web at www.colorado.edu/police/

CU Office of Judicial Affairs: (303) 492-5550
As an alternative reporting option, the Office of Judicial Affairs institutes academic sanctions for students who violate the student Code of Conduct. On the web at www.colorado.edu/studentaffairs/judicialaffairs/index.html

CU Office of Discrimination and Harassment: (303) 492-2127
The Office of Discrimination and Harassment works with individuals to determine the most appropriate means of addressing a discrimination complaint, hate crime, or sexual harassment.  Reports are filed for all reported cases. On the web at www.colorado.edu/odh/

Anonymous Reporting:
www.colorado.edu/anonymousreporting

Other Services:
Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA): (303) 861-7033
A state-wide organization working to end sexual violence. On the web at www.ccasa.org/resources.cfm.  You can also check out their “Stimulate Conversation” Campaign at www.whynotask.org.

Women’s Resource Center: (303) 492-5713
Open to people of all genders, the WRC is a central resource on campus with an extensive library and helpful staff, and hosting a variety of organizations within its office.  The WRC are deeply committed to furthering the causes of social justice.  On the web at www.colorado.edu/WomensResourceCenter

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) Resource Center: (303) 492-1377
An advocacy and informational resource center targeted toward the GLBT community on campus and open to people of all genders and sexual orientations.  The GLBT Resource Center holds an ever-expanding library and works toward furthering understanding of GLBT issues on campus.  On the web at www.colorado.edu/GLBTRC

Wardenburg Health Center: (303) 492-5101
Medical examinations including pregnancy prevention and testing for sexually transmitted infections are available at Wardenburg Health Center, with both female and male providers available. On the web at www.colorado.edu/healthcenter/

Ombuds Office: (303) 492-5077
The Ombuds Office facilitates communication, understanding, and effective conflict management and resolution among students, staff, faculty, and administrators. On the web at www.colorado.edu/Ombuds/

CU Nightride: (303) 492-SAFE
A free escort service to and from locations on campus and throughout the city of Boulder provided by trained student volunteers.  On the web at umc.colorado.edu/nrnw/

The information above on sexual assault resources can be found on the COURAGE  website at:  www.colorado.edu/healthcenter/courage/resources.html. Or through the Victim Assistance office at: www.colorado/edu/studentaffairs/victimassistance.

Discrimination and Sexual Harassment
Confidential campus resources:
Office of Victim's Assistance
Willard Administrative Center
303-492-8855
www.colorado.edu/studentaffairs/victimassistance

Wardenberg Psychological Health & Psychiatry
Wardenberg Health Center 130
303-492-5654
www.colorado.edu/healthcenter/php

Counseling & Psychological Services: A Multicultural Center
Willard Administrative Center 134
303-492-6766
www.colorado.edu/sacs/counseling

Ombuds Office
Williard Administrative Center 302
303-492-5077
www.colorado.edu/Ombuds

Center for Multicultural Affairs
Willard Administrative Center 134
303-492-5667
www.colorado.edu/studentaffairs/cma

Other Friendly & Knowledgeable Campus Resources
**Not Confidential**

CU Rape & Gender Education (COURAGE)
Wardenberg Health Center 327
303-492-4339
www.colorado.edu/organizations/courage

Women’s Resource Center
UMC 416
303-492-5713
www.colorado.edu/WomensResourceCenter

Office of Discrimination and Harassment
Administrative & Research Center – 3rd floor
303-492-2127
www.colorado.edu/odh

Disability Services
Willard Administrative Center 322

www.colorado.edu/disabilityservices

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Resource Center
Willard Administrative Center 227
303-492-1377
www.colorado.edu/GLBTRC

You may also report incidents anonymously at: www.colorado.edu/anonymousreporting

This information on discrimination and sexual harassment has been taken from the pamphlet created by The Office of Judicial Affairs at the University of Colorado at Boulder campus. To find out additional information contact the office directly at: 303-492-1062.


Women's Health Resources (Woman Exams, Contraceptives, HPV, Sexually Transmitted Infections)

HIV Testing Sites and Information
Wardenburg Health Center
University of Colorado, Boulder
(303) 492-2030
www.colorado.edu/healthcenter
free & confidential for CU students only
fall and spring semesters only

Denver Public Health
605 Bannock St., Rm. 161
(303) 436-7221
www.denverhealth.org
$10 fee: anonymous and confidential

Planned Parenthood - HIV Testing
2434 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder
(303) 447-1040
$59 fee: confidential

Boulder Valley Women's Health Center
2855 Valmont Rd. Boulder
(303) 442-5160
www.bvwhc.org
$25 fee (teens free): confidential

Boulder County Public Health
3482 North Broadway, Boulder
(303) 413-7500
$25 fee: anonymous and confidential
rapid testing available, call for info

Boulder County AIDS Project
2118 14th St., Boulder
(303) 444-6121
www.bcap.org
$25 fee: anonymous and confidential
rapid testing available, call for info

Hotlines

  • Wardenburg Sexual Health Education : (303) 492-4024 or (303) 492-4840
  • Boulder County AIDS Project (BCAP): (303) 444-6121
  • Colorado AIDS Project (Denver and metro area): (303) 830-AIDS
  • CDC National AIDS Hotline (toll-free, 24 hrs: (800) 342-AIDS [English], (800) 344-SIDA [Spanish]

General Sexual Health: STI Testing

Most of these sites offer gynecological exams, emergency contraception, birth control, STD testing and treatment, and pregnancy testing:

Wardenburg Health Center
University of Colorado
Women's Health Clinic: (303) 492-2030
Men's Health Clinic: (303) 492-5101
www.colorado.edu/healthcenter

Denver Public Health-STD Testing and Treatment
605 Bannock St.
(303) 436-7251
www.denverhealth.org
$15 Denver residents, $65 non-Denver residents

Boulder Valley Women's Health Center
2855 Valmont Rd.
Boulder, CO 80301
(303) 442-5160 (Teens FREE)
www.bvwhc.org
sliding scale services for men and women

Planned Parenthood
2434 Arapahoe Ave.
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 447-1040
www.pprm.org

Hotlines

  • Wardenburg Sexual Health Education Program: (303) 492-4024 or (303) 492-4840
  • National Herpes : 919) 361-8488
  • National HPV : (877) HPV-5868
  • National STD Hotline (toll-free: (800) 227-8922 

General Counseling and Support

Wardenburg Health Center
University of Colorado
Dept. of Psychological Health and Psychiatry
(303) 492-5654
www.colorado.edu/healthcenter
CU students only

Counseling Services: A Multicultural Center
University of Colorado
134 Willard Hall
(303) 492-6766
www.colorado.edu/sacs/counseling
6 free visits per academic year for CU students and staff

Sexual Orientation

C.U. Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender (G.L.B.T.) Resource Center
(303) 492-1377, Willard 227
www.colorado.edu/GLBTRC
Offers on-campus resource library, support and advocacy for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community

Boulder Pride - OASOS
(303) 499-5777, X2
Open and Affirming Sexual Orientation Support: Coming-out support groups for gay, lesbian, bisexual, questioning, and other youth under age 20.

Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)
(303) 444-8164, Boulder
www.pflag.org
Provides advocacy, education and support for family and friends of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals.

Obtain Birth Control

www.plannedparenthood.org/rocky-mountains/

The above information on women’s health resources can be found at: www.colorado.edu/healthcenter/shep/resources/html.


Helping a Friend who may have an Eating Disorder:

What can you do to help a friend:

  • Do talk with the person at an appropriate time and place – in private, free from intrusions and distractions. Express your concerns in a loving and supportive manner.
  • Don’t confront your friend with a group of people, or in front of a group of people.
  • Do be prepared that the person may deny that s/he has a problem. It is important to tell someone else about your concerns if s/he refuses to seek help (if your friend is under 18, his/her parents need to know immediately). Approach your friend with honesty and respect.
  • Don’t keep this a secret for your friend. Remember, his/her life may be in danger.
  • Do encourage the person to seek professional help as soon as possible. Suggest that s/he visit someone who specializes in eating concerns (such as health care practitioner, counselor, or nutritionist).
  • Don’t expect your friend to be “cured” after treatment. Recovery can be a long process.

Some other things that you can do:

  • Listen and be supportive.
  • Brainstorm and problem-solve potential solutions.
  • Encourage your friend to talk with other friends and/or family members.
  • Direct your friend to community/school resources such as counselors and health care providers.

If you think a friend needs help…

  • DON’T IGNORE IT. Approach your friend and, without judgment, let him or her know your concern. Stating your concern gets it into the open and shows you care. It might also make your friend face the problem.
  • USE THE I-STATEMENTS to express your feelings. “I’m concerned about how much you work out.” “I’m concerned about how sad and withdrawn you’ve been lately.”
  • EDUCATE YOURSELF about potential resources to help your friend.  

The information above on helping a friend can be found in the pamphlet created by the Wardenburg Health Center through the Wellness Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Helpful Tips:

Body Image Survival Tips:

How to Achieve a Healthy Body: Remember that every body is different. We all have different genetics. Even if everyone started eating the same things and did the same amount of exercise for a whole year, we would not all look the same at the end of the year. This is because each person’s genetics influence their bone structure, body size, body size shape, and weight differently. 

For a healthy body, follow these suggestions:

  • Eat according to your hunger cues: eat when you are hungry and stop eating when you are full or satisfied.
  • Adopt nourishing, long-term, eating behaviors:  All foods can be part of healthy eating.  There are no "good" or "bad" foods—just try to incorporate food from each of the three macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate, and fat) and try to create a colorful plate.
  • Exercise moderately: exercise for your health and enjoyment by finding activities that you find fun and energizing such as dancing, playing a sport, doing yoga, or walking with friends.  People who stay active are healthier and better able to do what they want to do.
  • Change your relationship with food: if you are stressed, depressed, lonely, angry, or just have nothing to do—and you are not really hungry—find something to do to nurture yourself other than eating. Often, talking with a friend is helpful.

Body Image Survival Tips:

  • Respect yourself: resist the temptation to judge yourself and others based on weight, size, or shape.
  • Healthy and beautiful is more than being thin: remind yourself that healthy bodies and happy people come in all sizes; no one body shape or body size is a healthy one or the right one for everybody.
  • Be mindful of the media: advertisements are designed to sell materials or services, but they also send messages about body image, social power, standards of beauty, and acceptable eating behaviors.  Be alert to images that objectify women, glamorize dieting, or feature extremely thin models.
  • Throw out the scale: the scale is a particularly poor measure of physical health and an inaccurate way to judge your appearance.  Beauty is more than a number on a scale.
  • Explore your interests: Good health, feeling good about yourself, and having fun go hand in hand. Try out different hobbies, like drawing, reading, meditating, playing music, or making things. See what you enjoy and add these things to your life.
  • Appreciate yourself for all that you are – focus on what you like about yourself and value your body’s abilities.  Enjoy being active and being creative.
  • Consider talking to a psychologist or counselor: changing your body image or your relationship with food can be difficult and getting the help of a trained professional may be essential for you.

This information was adapted by the Student Wellness Program from the National Eating Disorders Association, www.NationalEatingDisorders.org.  For more information, visit our website at www.colorado.edu/studentgroups/wellness; call our office at (303) 735-6433, or visit our office in Wardenburg Health Center room 322.

Presentations – Sexual Health Education

To request a Sexual Health Education presentation, call 303-492-4840.

Basic Presentation

The purpose of this workshop is to provide some important information on sexually transmitted infections including HIV, to encourage you to think about your own sexual health, and to provide you with an opportunity to learn some skills that are useful in developing a healthy sexual lifestyle. We discuss risky behaviors and ways to protect yourself in an interactive and safe atmosphere.

STD Stigma Presentation

In this presentation the audience is encouraged to identify cultural and societal norms surrounding STDs and how stigma and discrimination is harmful to individuals.

Contraception Presentation

We discuss different forms of contraception, from the pill, to intrauterine devices, to Depo Provera. We discuss usage, effectiveness, side effects, and cost among other issues surrounding birth control.

Latex Luau Games

This is a highly interactive way to spread sexual health information through various games.

These presentations on sexual health and awareness are provided through the Wardenburg Health Center and more information can be found at: www.colorado.edu/healthcenter/shep.presentations.html.

Presentations – Rape Awareness

COURAGE peer educators provide a variety of interactive educational presentations for the CU community.  On request, these presentations can be tailored by topic, format, and length to suit the needs of a particular group.  COURAGE educates about complex and difficult issues, although we are focused on teaching people skills for positive behavior.  Some examples of presentation topics:

  • bystander intervention and ally development skill building
  • how racism, sexism, and homophobia intersect with sexual violence
  • consent: what is it, why is it important, and how you ask for it
  • specific information about sexual violence
  • gender roles: how our gender socialization forces men and women into specific boxes
  • specific information about dating violence
  • . . . we can also work with you to design a presentation that fits your needs!

We provide resources and offer referrals to other organizations during and after presentations. 
Contact Us:
Wardenburg 327
(303) 492-4339
courage@colorado.edu

These presentations on rape awareness are provided by the COURAGE center at Wardenburg Health Center on the University of Colorado at Boulder campus.