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        The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new birth control pill that will allow women to delay their menstrual cycle for up to three months, instead of three weeks. The new pill, to be marketed under the name 'Seasonale', is said by the FDA to be as safe as standard birth control pills, which can increase the risk for blood clots, heart attacks and strokes.

        Fear of discomfort is one reason women may choose not to have their recommended annual mammogram. Yet, there are a few simple things a woman can do to ease any possible discomfort she may feel during this brief imaging procedure.

Hold off on coffee, tea, even soft drinks

        Caffeine has a tendency to make a woman's breasts tender and lumpy, potentially making the mammogram uncomfortable. Avoid drinking coffee and tea, unless it's decaffeinated, for a week prior to a mammogram. Other items containing caffeine include diet drinks, chocolate and even some common over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers. Be sure to read the label of any OTC medications before you take them prior to a scheduled mammogram.

Steer clear of perfumes, talcum powder

        Deodorant, talcum powder, perfumes and oils may leave a residue that can be picked up by the X-rays, obscuring the mammogram and possibly interfering with the results. Ultimately, this means a woman could need a second mammogram. Do not use these products on the day of the scheduled mammogram.


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