Join PinnacleHealth online or here, Facebook and Twitter on the 8th of each month to get great information from our women’s health experts. Read, discuss, share and learn about ways to enrich your life through greater awareness and healthy living. You never know what you might learn that’ll keep you feeling good all month long!

Monday, April 7, 2014

PHantastic Female - April 2014 - Deborah J. Herchelroath, D.O., FACOOG

OB/GYN with Woodward and Associates in Hummelstown

Husband, Dr. Bryan Herchelroath, Pinnaclehealth CardioVascular Insitute, and two daughters ages 5 and 8

I love to spend time with my precious girls and my very busy husband, shop, read, sleep, spend time with my friends and my family. Baltimore doesn’t seem so far any more when compared to Iowa.  I love my Pilates instructor because she saved my back.  I run (like jog). My kids would tell you that I love to relax.  Its true. I love to bake but find myself eating all the good stuff, so I have cut back on that one.

Being busy: 
I think most people know that Ob/Gyn is exhausting and stressful, but also rewarding.    So by the time I moved to Harrisburg, I knew what I was capable of, and I knew what I needed to do to be balanced in life and career.  And I was lucky enough to join a practice that respects that.  
It was very scary for me coming out of Residency and holding women’s lives in my hands.  I didn’t know how much that would affect me.  I don’t think many young college students who decide to go to medical school understand this responsibility.  I worked crazy hours and really did a TON of deliveries.  I almost burned out. 

How I find “me time”: 
Lots of young medical students ask me about balance as a woman OB/Gyn.  It is hard.  But if you are fortunate enough to be able to do it your way, then I tell them to do it.  I now work part-time.  But don’t kid yourself, part-time for an OB is still 40-60+ hours a week (depending on call).  But when I am off, I try very hard to protect that time.  
Everyone is different.  And every woman’s situation is different.  But for me, finding time for myself is essential.  I think every busy woman needs an organized calendar, a great support system (whether that be a friend, relative, or confidant), a reasonable significant other, a lot of luck, a family doctor, a dermatologist, and, of course, an excellent OB/Gyn.

Do you know a PHantastic female? We want to talk to her! Send us information about a PHantastic  female, (self nominations are good too!) and we might spotlight that person next month!

8 Relationships You Need to Thrive Through Life’s Changes

As the seasons change, it’s a good time for women to look at the transitions in their lives and to learn about what support exists for each, from pediatricians to get through to puberty, to OBGYNs and PCP’s and even psychological support for the tough times.  

Women in particular go through many changes in life.  From childhood to adolescence through child-bearing and adults years, women work through change almost constantly. Thankfully, there is a lot of help available to women, if they know where to look.  As we work see the seasons changing this April, PinnacleHealth experts will provide you with tips on ways to weather the changes in your life.

1.       Pediatrician
Most children are comfortable seeing a pediatrician until they are in their late teens.  Pediatricians will not only take care of the basics of vaccinations and developmental milestones, but are also great resources for questions regarding your child’s behavior.  Developing a strong relationship between your child and her pediatrician will go a long way to your child developing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

2.       OBGYN
Some of the biggest changes in a woman’s life will be supported by a great OBGYN.  From birth control, through child bearing and onto menopause, OBGYNs are an incredibly valuable resource for women. Maintaing a relationship through yearly appointments is crucial for your health.  Your physician will be able to check in with you on changes you've noticed and possibly alert you to changes you haven’t noticed.  There is no question too embarrassing for an OBGYN so feel free to ask—you’ll likely get the support and answers you need!

3.       PCP
A primary care physician should be your home base for medical care.  As you get older, many changes can occur that your PCP will be able to help you with.  For example, changes in weight, appetite, and sleeping habits are common and can be easily addressed by a primary care physician.  Yearly visits are also important to maintain your relationship and ensure that you are addressing all the recommendations intended to keep you healthy. For any concerns, you should feel comfortable calling your PCP as they are ready and willing to help support you with any health concerns.

4.       Psychologist
Unfortunately, many people still fear seeking out support from a therapist or psychologist.  But statistically, 1 in 4 adults in the US experience a mental health challenge in their life.  Add in common life changes such as stress, grief and anger, all adults could benefit from a relationships with a counselor at some point.  Many fear that asking for such help will result in years of therapy or prescriptions, but in actuality, even short term therapy can be beneficial to helping to work through change and maintain a positive outlook. Psychologists, therapists and counselors can provide support through life’s changes by listening, and offering suggestions of proven methods to better manage change in a healthy way.

5.       Geriatrician
Did you even know about geriatrics? Many people don’t .  Geriatric physicians focus on the health needs of older adults.  When you reach a certain age,  you may no longer need an OBGYN and your specific needs might be better dealt with by someone who specializing in care for older adults.

6.       Hospital system
Something you probably weren't too concerned about at age 20 but creating a relationship with a hospital or health system is important.  Many women don’t realize that their OB’s only deliver at certain hospitals so when considering getting pregnant, you need to consider first where you’d like to deliver.  Over the course of your life, even if you are generally healthy, you will interact with your chosen health system for routine testing and maybe even minor emergencies.   Do  your research early to choose the system that will serve you best.

7.       Food
Your relationship with food is a lifelong one that can, at times, be love hate for many women.  Food can be one of the greatest drivers in  changing your health, both positively and negatively.  The good news is that there is support for helping you to develop a healthy relationship with food.  Providers such as dietitians and bariatricians, like those at the PinnacleHealth Weight Loss Center, can help you through appointments, products and fun cooking classes, to improve your relationship with food.

8.       Yourself
Probably the most important relationship you need is one with yourself.  This is what Make a Date Every 8 is all about.  Take time for you and make sure you slow down enough to know your body when its well and to know when something has changed.  This self-awareness is key in ensuring your health.

Having a strong support network can help anyone get through the changes they face in life.  To be the healthiest, happiest you, you need to ensure your needs are being taken care of and a network of skilled and caring healthcare providers can support you in that. As the seasons of your life change and change again, don’t be afraid to reach out to your providers and to ask questions and seek support.

Are things changing in your life? Need some help?
PinnacleHealth Psychological Associates                231-8360 24/7 on call
PinnacleHealth Pediatric Associates                       717-652-1211
PinnacleHealth Medical Group                               231-8900 to find a primary care physician
Obstetrics and Gynecology                                    231-8900 to find an OBGYN          
PinnacleHealth Geriatric Associates                       614-4420