Inspiring Women to Live with Poise, Flair, and Purpose

Infertility: What You Need to Know

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Guest Blog by Michael A. Thomas, M.D., Professor (Fellowship and Section Director, Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility – University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center)

Note from Patty’s desk: I’ve worked with Dr. Michael Thomas on behalf of the Patty Brisben Foundation for Women’s Sexual Health for almost a decade. He is a renowned fertility specialist and someone I personally look up to and admire. The Patty Brisben Foundation would not be where it is today without the genuine support of experts like Dr. Thomas. Pure Romance Consultants reading this blog should share in my pride that we are truly surrounding ourselves with nothing but the best, and also use this valuable information to challenge your health care professionals with questions and offer additional resources to your customers in the ordering room and beyond.

My name is Dr. Michael Thomas and I am a Professor at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, as well as a fertility specialist. Though 75% of my day is spent helping couples get pregnant, the rest of my day is spent researching various topics including sexual dysfunction, contraception, menopause, pelvic pain, and the effect of environmental toxins on reproduction.

20-25% of couples have problems getting pregnant.  Usually a doctor will tell a patient to wait for one year to get try to get pregnant if the female partner is less than 35 years old and has normal cycles (less than 35 days apart). Women who are older than 35, have longer cycles or have a known male partner with sperm issues, should see a doctor much sooner.

Experts generally divide infertility problems among patients to:

  • Those that are caused by the male or absence of a male (40%)
  • Those associated with problems with the female partner (40%)
  • Problems related to the male and female (10%)
  • No problems found in the male or female (10%)

Male problems are associated with the sperm. A semen analysis is an easy way to find out if the male partner has a problem with the sperm count, movement or shape. One or all of the problems can prevent fertilization of an egg. Examples which can cause a problem include something that the male has coming in contact with (toxic exposure), varicose veins around the testicles (varicocele), hormonal, genetic, or, sometimes, no reason for a sperm problem may  be found.

Common female problems that may cause infertility include disorders of ovulation (difficulty in releasing an egg), blockage of the fallopian tubes, abnormalities of the uterus (womb), pelvic adhesions, or issues with the cervix (mouth of the womb) or vagina.

One of the most common disorders of ovulation that affects up to 15% of women is polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS. PCOS is associated with having two of the following three symptoms:

1.  Menses for more than 35 days

2.  An increase in hair growth above the lip or under the chin

3.  Polycystic appearing ovaries on ultrasound

Unlike some mistruths about PCOS that have been perpetuated, women with this condition can be of any weight and problems with PCOS usually present themselves after they start their menses as a teenager. Most of these women have to use medications in order to get pregnant. These hormonal preparations  will allow her body to produce an egg in a more predictable way so that intercourse can be timed to increase the chance that an egg can be fertilized and implant in the uterus.

Another common problem that can cause infertility is blocked tubes.  Previous surgery or a prior pelvic infection can predispose a woman to have both of her tubes blocked. If a blockage occurs, the egg and sperm can’t meet to allow an embryo to form. Specialized testing by your gynecologist or a fertility specialist needs to be performed to check if the tubes are open or closed. This test, called a hysterosalpingogram (or HSG), should be offered to anyone experiencing an infertility problem.

Doctors should also pay special attention to couples that go through infertility workups.  Because the precise timing of intercourse to conceive can sometimes become more “pro-creational than recreational,” the fun of a normal sex life can lose its spark; therefore, the lines of communication must always remain open in couples who face fertility challenges. During this time, a frank and open discussion with each other or with a health professional is very important.

Through a grant totaling $50K from the Patty Brisben Foundation for Women’s Sexual Health, the University of Cincinnati has investigated the effect that infertility can have on a couple’s sex life. We have also researched the effect of birth control pills on decreasing a woman’s sex drive, how a new diagnosis of cancer can affect libido, and how women with vaginal pain can get relief with either the use of medicines that block certain nerves or physical therapy. These projects, and many others from leading academic institutions from around the country, have been funded by the Foundation.

In addition, I am very proud of the following UC Health video.

For more information on infertility, or to contact me for advice, please visit www.ucfertility.com.

 

 

Making Connections & Making Money

One of the most frequently asked questions Consultants ask me is, “How did you do it; how did you manage to build a successful business, while raising a family of four and juggling so many different things?”

The short answer is this: I never separated my business from my social life and networking. Is it important to “turn work off” and spend some time with family, or just spoil yourself once in a while? Of course. But outside of those occasions, I was always promoting my business, whether I was sitting reading a book with my kids at the community pool, sitting on the bleachers cheering on my children, or catching up with other parents at the school PTA meeting. I loved (and still love) what I do. I didn’t see it as work.

Instead of looking at this type of networking as soliciting or bugging others, I understood that I was offering people around me something that could benefit them and strengthen their relationships. That’s why I booked so many parties. I became their “go-to” person when a woman had a question about her intimate relationship – especially back then when it wasn’t as common to talk as openly about sexuality as today.

When you get involved in your community, you are letting others get to know you.  As friendships grow, parties increase because if there’s one thing that friends love to do, it’s have a great time with one another (and if you can learn something in the process that helps your love life or your sex life, even better).

The thing that often surprises many who know me is that I was not a naturally outgoing person in the beginning. I was like many of the Pure Romance Consultants reading this who feel a little shy when they think about approaching people on the topic of sex, our work, or even a new product. The first step is to be social! Get involved with your children and your community: sports events, dance recitals – you name it – anything that allows you to network and meet other adults and build new relationships. Believe it or not, I even booked parties with the cashier at the grocery store – and why not? Everyone wants a happy, healthy relationship regardless of where they work or do in their spare time.

Something as simple as learning a new acquaintance’s kid’s name, really listening to them and remembering the details – these are small nuances that can go a very long way and create a customer for life.  Give them a reason to ask you, “What do you do for a living?” Or “How’d your party turn out?” Suddenly, when you notice they are full of questions – that’s when you turn around and say, “Suzie, you ask me all the time about my parties; I think deep down you’re interested in doing this.” This kind of connection offers an opportunity to build your team, whereas had you not been paying attention, they probably would never have asked.

Summer is in full swing. We asked Consultants how they promote their business while on vacation, and here’s what they had to say:

“Last time I took a vacation I swore I wasn’t going to work. At the end of a long beach day, I checked my calls and couldn’t help returning the missed calls. I booked three parties, went to a shop for a new swimsuit and networked. The woman at the store put my card on her board of vendors. I then met a couple at a late night bonfire and sold Sensations. My vacation darn near paid for itself!” – Lena Dean (Consultant, Dayton, OH)

“Vacation? What’s that? I’m ‘on’ 24/7, so even while I’m on a vacation I’m still promoting my business! My husband has a habit of doing it too. He tells random people we just met all about my business.” – Beth Lindsey (Director, Marietta, SC)

“I set aside about an hour a day to return calls, emails and other forms of contact when I’m on vacation. I have a booking calendar and a Hostess info sheet to capture info, and I send out Hostess packets when I return home. You can also utilize an automatic response email if you are going to be out, and change your voicemail with a date and time you will be returning phone calls. I just have to make sure I actually do what I say I will and everything works out.” – Jenny Cox (Advanced Consultant, Fayetteville, NC)

 

Sizzling Summer Makeup Looks + Giveaway

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Guest Blog By Ed Blevins, Patty’s personal makeup artist and Saks Fifth Avenue YSL makeup artist

Summer is in full swing! This is the time to make sure your skin is in tip-top shape. Here are a few of my favorite products to help you maintain a healthy glow and always look fresh.

  • Put your winter foundation away and try a lightweight tinted-moisturizer with a SPF. I like Laura Mercier; it comes in quite a few different formulas to go with all skin types.
  • Add a compact pressed powder; it provides more coverage and can be easier to travel with than loose powder.
  • Try Chanel’s LES BEIGES new powders and bronzers. They have an amazing finish.
  • If you’re more on the oily side, Bobbie Brown and Clinique offer blotting papers that absorb oil without removing your makeup.
  • And my favorite part of makeup: color. This year’s spring and summer look has included a throw back to the 80s with the “bronze goddess” reappearing (with a splash of color). Coral is the color to try this year to stay current. It can be blush or lip stick, and don’t forget the eyes can go from clean and natural to a full pop of color.

So on your next visit to your favorite cosmetics counter, ask to try some thing new. Make up is not permanent, just your smile is!

Patty’s Pick: See what Patty’s using this season in the YSL coral palette. Patty’s Tip: Don’t be intimidated by the price tag! You can easily use the colors of this YSL palette to find a similar, more affordable palette.”

A note from Patty’s desk: I wanted to treat my subscribers to a few of Ed’s favorite things. One of my lucky blog followers will win a gift to help enhance her summer look.  Good Luck!

*To enter to win:

-Comment on the blog: For example, what’s your favorite summer makeup essential?

-Must be a blog subscriber.

 

2014 Puerto Rico Incentive Trip: More than Meets the Eye!

Patty on the beach during the first night, beach dinner party

Just got back from San Juan, Puerto Rico where I had a chance to meet with some of the company’s finest Consultants! I adore these trips. My son, Chris, and I spend so much time building the business – even when we are in our Consultants’ hometowns, we are often busy training or overseeing events which leaves little time to connect with everyone on the level we’d like.  I love the opportunity I have during these incentive trips to have one-on-one time with each Consultant. Learning how they got started in the business, how many children they have, what they like to do in their free time – every detail intrigues me. Every night, I would meet a different table full of women for the first time. Many were on their very first incentive trip. They tried things they would never do back home, from zip lining through the forest, to casting out in the ocean on a catamaran.  The best part is they got to experience these “firsts” as a team, and build relationships that will last a lifetime.

They also took my advice and gave back to themselves for all of their hard work, by relaxing at the spa. I will admit, I went and indulged myself: four times! No zip lining for me – my senses are definitely already heightened from taking risks every day owning and operating my business, so I passed on all the adrenaline-seeking activities. I did, however, try a restaurant called Marmalade that is now by far one my daughter’s and my all-time favorites.

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GOPR7857.MP4.Still001One evening, I spotted a Consultant who at first seemed to be keeping to herself. I always want to make sure everyone is having a great time so I approached her. After we met, I discovered her name was Rachel Shelton and she was a brilliant chemist and mother of five from Indiana. She admitted to me that, in her profession, she is used to working alone and doesn’t socialize within big crowds very often. What I loved about Rachel was that she was choosing to step outside of her comfort zone and force herself to meet others on the trip. I had great admiration for her because I know this is not easy. It was the same way for me when I went on my first incentive trips early in my career. I worried and thought things like, will anyone talk to me? Will I be able to offer anything to these people? In actuality, I ended up building some of my best friendships on those trips. It also helped me to become a much more social person.

People often think that only A-Type personalities work as Pure Romance Consultants, but that’s just not true. There are so many different types of personalities – that’s why our company is so successful; everyone is unique in the consumer marketplace and this versatility broadens who we are and makes our Consultants more accessible.

Marmalade group shot Patty & Chris and group at Marmalade

This trip was also a milestone because it was the first time in Pure Romance history that I had the chance to train with my daughter. Chris taught the company’s leaders, and Lauren taught the new Consultants, and let me tell you, I stood back and marveled. I truly felt for the first time that if anything happened to me, my Consultants and this company would be in very good hands. I watched both of them exude such passion and left Puerto Rico with my heart so full of hope and happiness for where this company has been and where it is headed. We look forward to many more opportunities to meet Consultants at incentive trips in the future!

Chris, Lauren and Patty on the way to Puerto Rico Training

 

 

 

 

 

The Cold Water Challenge

I can’t count how many times I’ve been told to not say the word “sexual” or “sex” when participating in public events for The Patty Brisben Foundation for Women’s Sexual Health. This pains me to say the least. One of the reasons I am most passionate about our foundation is because we are taking away the hush-hush factor around this word and issues surrounding it, and this couldn’t be truer than with our recent Pure Romance Cold Water Challenge. In case you missed it – watch below as our staff had ice-cold water dumped on them in the name of sexual health awareness.

They aren’t the only ones; Consultants across the country have been taking on this challenge and have raised almost $2,000 for the foundation. How does it work? If someone challenges you, you have a choice of donating $100 to the Patty Brisben Foundation for Women’s Sexual Health on the spot or donating $10 and taking the cold water “plunge” instead. I’m so thankful for this effort because it’s not just about the money – it’s also about bringing attention and social awareness to the sexual health cause, and it also shows that it doesn’t take a lot of money to make a big difference.

When I was a Consultant, I had customers ask me very personal questions at my parties that they were fearful of even asking their doctors. This continues to happen to our Pure Romance Consultants today and the questions have become even more complex. This is why we work so closely with health care practitioners and medical centers to get the right answers and make women and couples more comfortable addressing and resolving these issues in the healthiest way. By taking this challenge, you are essentially helping us progress as a society so that we never have to be afraid to say the word “sex” or “sexuality” again. We are beginning to take steps toward removing the stigmas and stereotypes of sexual related topics. Thank you to every Consultant who has participated in the Cold Water Challenge and for brining awareness to this amazing cause.