9 Celebrities on What It’s Really Like to Have Endometriosis

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When a woman develops endometriosis, the tissue that normally lines her uterus shows up in places it’s not supposed to be: the cervix, ovaries, the fallopian tubes, and elsewhere in the pelvis. The effects can be excruciating, with heavy bleeding and severe cramps during menstruation. Yet the disorder—which is thought to affect 11% of women in the U.S.—is often misdiagnosed or worse, dismissed as PMS. Fortunately these celebrities are speaking out about their personal experiences, which will hopefully raise awareness and ultimately encourage more research on this debilitating disease.

On the pain

“The stomachaches began quickly and were more severe than the mild-irritant cramps seemed to be for the blonde women in pink-hued Midol commercials. Those might as well have been ads for yogurt or the ocean, that’s how little they conveyed my experience of menstruating.” —Lena Dunham, Lenny Letter, November 2015

“I have a very strong threshold for pain, so if it was hurting me, there was something wrong.” — Julianne Hough, People, 2008

“I was diagnosed with endometriosis recently, but I know I have suffered from it for many, many years. It is a disease that causes extreme debilitating pain.” – Stephanie March, Let’s Talk Live, 2014

On how it can affect a relationship

“I think, yes, endometriosis was definitely a major reason that my marriage failed. I don’t think either of us understood it at the time–for as smart and intelligent as Salman is. I think that’s also because I hid it to a certain degree. Not intentionally, but it’s weird to talk about your period all the time. It’s the least sexy thing in the world to do.” —Padma Lakshmi, Entertainment Weekly, March 2016

RELATED: 10 Ways to Deal With Painful Sex

On finally getting a diagnosis

“I was recently diagnosed after years of suffering and finding myself doubled over backstage in the middle of my sets, or fighting back tears on an airplane, or even being in so much pain I would vomit or faint. With doctors essentially telling me I was being a big baby about my period, or misdiagnosing PCOS, etc etc. Finding out that I had [endometriosis] was the most bittersweet moment because it meant I wasn’t crazy! I wasn’t a “baby”! I had every right to be feeling like the world was caving in. But it was terrifying to find out.” —Halsey, Twitter, January 2016

On trying to get pregnant

“Despite my diagnosis I still wanted to try and have a baby, but not being able to have kids was an immediate fear. It made me feel out of control. I knew that I desperately wanted to have children and after speaking with a nutritionist that came recommended by my doctor, I was reassured that with the right eating habits and lifestyle changes (no sugar, no carbs!), I would have a better possibility of getting pregnant.  I started to see a light at the end of the tunnel. I became extremely health conscious, changed my diet, and I think those changes helped with ultimately getting pregnant.” —Tia Mowery, Parents, September 2013

On the support a woman needs

“Suffering should not define you as a woman, and just because you’re a man it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t affect you! Help her to remove the taboos and the loneliness surrounding this disease; be understanding, show empathy, and don’t accuse her of being sensitive, delicate, or overly dramatic.” —Susan Sarandon, at the 2011 Endometriosis Foundation of America Blossom Ball.

RELATED: 15 Diseases Doctors Often Get Wrong

On feeling ashamed

“I thought if I talked about my personal limitations, people would say, ‘How healthy could she be?’ This was my weakness and my bad.” —Jillian Michaels, Redbook, June 2010

On the importance of speaking out

“If you don’t discuss it, many more women are going to find themselves unable to have children, or find themselves close to dying because it’s led to something else.” —Whoopi Goldberg, at the 2009 Endometriosis Foundation of America Blossom Ball.

Smartphones Are Really Stressing Out Americans

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This article originally appeared on Time.com. 

It’s easier than ever to stay in touch on multiple platforms throughout the day, but that 24/7 availability is stressing Americans out. Four out of five adults say they constantly check their email, texts and social media, according to a new report by the American Psychological Association (APA).

The APA polled about 3,500 adults in an online questionnaire during August 2016 and found that people who are always looking at their digital devices—called “constant checkers”—reported higher levels of stress compared to people who spend less time interacting with their gadgets.

The amount of time people spend on social media also appears to be stressing people out. 42% of constant checkers report that social media conversations about politics and culture cause them stress, compared to 33% of people who check less often. Constant checkers also worry about how social media is affecting their wellbeing; 42% say they worry about how social media can impact their mental and physical health, yet only 27% of people who check less often say the same.

This digital obsession also appears to take a toll on families. Almost half of parents say they feel less connected to their family when technology is present, even when they are spending time together. Close to 60% say they worry about the impact of social media on their children’s mental and physical health.

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Yet people are finding ways to cut back on the stressful effects of technology. The vast majority of parents, 94%, say they do something to limit their children’s use, like not allowing cell phones at the dinner table or limiting phone use before bed. That’s not always easy, though. Close to 60% of parents say they feel like their child is attached to their phone.

Overall, Americans want to unplug more often. Nearly two-thirds of people surveyed say they agree that taking an occasional digital detox is good for their mental health. However, less than 30% say they actually do so.

An Update on Echinacea: How to Use It Like a Pro During Sneezy Season

Echinacea is consistently among the top-selling supplements, with U.S. consumers typically spending more than $100 million on it every year. But a study published recently in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) panned the herb, saying it doesnt prevent colds or make symptoms less annoying. The lead researcher—Ronald B. Turner, MD, a pediatrics professor at the University of Virginia—thinks most of the evidence in favor of echinacea is far too weak to make it a reasonable remedy. Naturally, echinacea supporters disagree. And they recently panned Turners findings, saying the amount of echinacea used in his study was roughly three times less than what veteran herbalists recommend.

Recently, I visited an echinacea farm run by one of Europes most respected makers of natural products, Bioforce AG. Instead of allowing the plant to dry out first, Bioforce transforms it into a cold remedy within hours of harvesting. Company scientists say drying seems to snuff out the unstable immune boosters in echinaceas purple flowers, leaves, stems, and roots—a theory endorsed by leading U.S. herb experts who have studied and used the plant for years.

Now I understand why my hot cup of echinacea tea isnt working. That form, like the drying process, basically defangs echinaceas active ingredients, according to botanist James A. Duke, PhD, a member of Health magazine's Advisory Board and author of the Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook. Those pills you can buy in any drugstore are also of little use, because chances are theyre made from dried plants. Plus, a typical pill dosage is hopelessly short on enough immune-boosting power to tame a cold. (I should note that some herbalists claim the pills work well, but most dont believe that.)

Most herb pros seem to agree that youll have good luck with a tincture, or alcohol-based extract, made from fresh herbs. Unfortunately, few supplement companies make tinctures with fresh echinacea. Try calling the manufacturer to ask before you buy—and see An Update on Echinacea: Dos and Donts for a list of brands recommended by professional herbalists.

Whatever brand you choose, youre likely to keep on sniffling if youre stingy with the bottle. When you dont take enough, “its like sprinkling fairy dust on your cereal,” warns Steven Foster, who has studied echinacea and other herbs for a quarter-century. Foster, author of Echinacea: Natures Immune Enhancer and co-author of the just-published National Geographics Desk Reference to Natures Medicine, says he takes 1 to 2 teaspoons of a tincture (mixed with a little water) every 2 to 4 hours when hes coming down with a cold. Thats at least three times the amount used in the NEJM study.

Google Pixel 2 And Pixel XL 2 Unveiled: UK Release Date, Price And Features

Google has unveiled its brand-new Pixel smartphone, the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL at a special event in San Francisco.

This is the second generation of Google’s own-brand Pixel smartphone and once again both phones place a huge emphasis on photography and performing tasks handsfree by taking to Google Assistant.

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Google Pixel 2 + Pixel 2 XL

The design of Pixel 2 is an evolution of the original. There’s still a soft aluminium body combined with the glass panel at the top of the smartphone. Both smartphones have stereo speakers, a fingerprint sensor and no, they don’t have a headphone jack.

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The Pixel 2 comes in three colours which have been rather cutely named: Clearly White, Just Black and Kinda Blue.

The Pixel 2 XL comes in Just Black or Black and White.

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Display

The Pixel 2 XL has a large 6-inch P-OLED curved display sat within an almost bezel-less smartphone design.

With a resolution of 2880×1440 this puts the Pixel 2 XL directly in line with the likes of Apple’s iPhone X, Samsung’s Galaxy S8, Note 8 and the LG V30.

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With smartphones now adopting the same technologies as most high-end TVs it should come as no surprise that the Pixel XL supports wide-colour gamut which should mean great contrast and colour reproduction when watching Netflix or movies bought on Google Play.

Pixel 2, the smaller sibling has a 5-inch Full-HD display but still has a wide-colour gamut which should mean that images and video still look impressive.

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Both phones have an Always-On Display that boasts notifications and a rather nifty trick that’ll show you the song that’s playing in the background without you having to open an app like Shazam.

Camera

It’s fair to say that the original Google Pixel had one of the best cameras ever seen on a smartphone. It looks as though Google is hoping to continue that tradition with the Pixel 2.

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Getting the technical jargon out of the way, the Pixel 2 has a single 12MP sensor with optical image stabilisation.

Now to the interesting part. The Pixel 2 has an advanced form of HDR which means that when you press the shutter it will take many shots in a split second. It then uses AI built into the phone to analyse each one, combine them and give you the finished product.

As a result Google says it is the highest-rated smartphone camera available.

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For shooting video, the camera features an advanced hybrid system that combines both hardware and software to remove shaky footage and smooth it out.

As with the original Pixel, Google’s offering free unlimited cloud storage for photos and videos.

Augmented Reality

First unveiled at Google I/O, Google Lens will be launching on the Pixel 2. Google Lens is essentially a visual assistant that uses the camera on your phone.

You simply point it at something on interest and Google Lens will give you information about it, whether that’s looking at a restaurant and getting reviews or pointing it at a bottle of wine and wondering where it comes from.

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Samsung has experimented with something similar in the past with limited success so whether or not you’ll find yourself pointing the camera at every restaurant you can see will remain to be seen.

Just like Apple, Google is investing heavily in Augmented Reality. As such both Pixel 2 smartphones will come with AR features built directly into the camera.

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 AR stickers allow you to essentially drop custom-made animated emojis into the real world, and then send the footage to friends.

Storage + Features

The Pixel 2 comes with two storage sizes, 64GB and 128GB, both of which should be more than adequate for downloading music, Netflix shows or taking photos.

The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are both water-resistant, feature stereo speakers and come with a unique feature that allows you to physically squeeze the phone to bring up Google Assistant.

Google Pixel 2 & Pixel 2 XL UK Release Date And Price

Both the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL are available to buy now and are set to be available from 19 October. For a limited amount of time Google’s giving away a free Google Home Mini alongside the Pixel 2.

Pixel 2 64GB: £629
Pixel 2 128GB: £729

Pixel 2 XL 64GB: £799
Pixel 2 XL 128GB: £899

Google Home Mini Unveiled As A Smaller, Cheaper Smart Speaker

Google has unveiled a brand-new smart speaker, the Google Home Mini.

This is essentially a smaller, cheaper version of Google Home but yet is still able to answer all your questions by having Google Assistant built-in.

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That means that you can ask it questions, tell it to play music or ask it to perform tasks in your home such as turn on the lights, change the temperature

Home Mini isn’t designed to replace the original Home speaker, rather it’s an additional product designed for using in rooms where you already have speakers.

Google claims that despite its smaller size it still has impressive audio that comes from a single driver.

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Home Mini is almost entirely covered in fabric yet still features touch control and four LEDs buried underneath the fabric covering so you know that it’s actually listening.

It’s hard not to see the Home Mini as a direct response to Amazon’s Echo Dot, a smaller and cheaper version of the Echo designed for those who would rather use their own speakers.

Home Mini will be available to buy in the UK on 19 October and costs just £49.

 

Sonos Unveils Its First Speaker With Amazon Alexa

Sonos has unveiled the company’s first ever smart speaker with Amazon’s Alexa voice-assistant built-in.

The Sonos One builds on the design of the company’s smaller speaker the Play:1 but of course, comes with some extras.

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It uses six far-field microphones to be able to hear your requests at a normal speaking volume.

Once it recognises you’re speaking it’ll automatically fade down the music playing so you don’t feel like you have to shout.

The One will sport a single mid-woofer to help provide the mid and lower range while a single tweeter will tackle the higher notes.

In addition to Alexa’s normal abilities you’ll have increased control using Sonos’ own ecosystem. So you can start a song within the Spotify app, change the song using the Sonos app and then ask Alexa what the new song is.

If you have more than one Sonos speaker you’ll be able to tell Alexa to send music to different rooms in the house.

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At the moment you’ll only have complete voice control over the following music services: Amazon Music, Pandora and TuneIn however Sonos plans to add full Spotify voice control before Christmas.

While Apple Music is fully supported within Sonos’ own ecosystem there’s no word yet on whether you’ll be able to have full voice control.

The Sonos One is the result of a newly agreed long-term partnership between Amazon and Sonos that will see the company add new features that will exclusively work on Sonos’ own products.

In addition to the Sonos One, the company has announced that it will be allowing complete voice control over its speakers through any Alexa-enabled product. That’ll be available through a free update that goes live today.

Sonos won’t just be enabling Alexa, you’ll also be able to control your speakers using Siri through an update next year that adds AirPlay 2 functionality to all of Sonos’ speakers.

It will also add Google Assistant compatibility through a software update that’s coming in early 2018.

The Sonos One will be available on 24 October for £199 ($199) but can be pre-ordered now.

The rise of smart speakers has been a gradual one with Amazon leading the charge with its original Echo speaker, first launched back in 2015.

Since then Amazon has just unveiled its second-generation Echo, Google has entered the market with Google Home and Apple has released its own Siri-powered speaker called the HomePod.

The problem facing third-party manufacturers has been choosing which assistant to side with.

Sony have sided with Google while it’s likely that Samsung will go with their own voice-assistant, Bixby.

Then of course there’s the small issue of which music services are available with which speaker. While Apple’s HomePod will allow streaming via the iPhone or iPad app, any smart music functionality is limited to both Siri and Apple Music.