October 2014

New report card on state rankings in women’s health

The Alliance for a Just Society recently released the 2014 Women’s Health Report Card that rates the 50 U.S. states on issues related to health coverage, access to care, and health outcomes.   The Alliance is a group of 14 racial and economic justice organizations around the U.S.    This report uses different methodology than early reports entitled “Making the Grade on Women’s Health” published in 2000, 2004 and 2007 and 2010 by the National Women’s Law Center and the Oregon Health and Science University.

Pioneer research often lacked informed consent

The Conversation, an online newsletter originally based in the United Kingdom and Australia, recently launched its US edition.  On Oct. 30 they published an interesting “conversation” about the history behind the “father of modern gynecology” that discusses his early work on surgical repair of obstetrical fistulas.   Like much early experimental medical procedures, it was often the poorest, most vulnerable women who were used as subjects (in this case slaves) so the lack of consent is concerning.  Yet these “experiments” often ended up helping people in the greatest need.   It is an interesting ethical discussion that has value for young researchers and doctors.  Informed consent today is much more regulated and monitored with legal oversight.  The article in its entirety can be accessed HERE.

Birth of the “pill” has profound effect on women’s health

A new book, The Birth of the Pill, by Jonathan Eig tracks the involvement of four individuals who were key crusaders in the advent of readily available contraception that women controlled!   For readers who were not around for the sexual revolution of the late 1960s, here are some factoids that you might find interesting:

Prosthesis approved to help women with bladder muscle contraction

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today allowed marketing of the inFlow Intraurethral Valve-Pump, a replaceable urinary prosthesis for use in female adults who cannot contract the muscles necessary to push urine out of the bladder (impaired detrusor contractility or IDC).

IDC is a condition where patients are unable to spontaneously urinate due to insufficient bladder muscle contraction, which can result from significant neurologic disease or injury such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, spina bifida or diabetic neuropathy. IDC is typically managed with various types of catheters, including clean intermittent catheterization (CIC).

Apple and Facebook Announce Egg Freezing Health Coverage

In a groundbreaking announcement today, Apple and Facebook now will offer health coverage for their women employees to freeze their eggs. Egg freezing enables women to protect and preserve their fertility until they are ready to become parents—and with the steep price of $10,000+, this coverage may be seen as a significant investment in women. Climbing the corporate ladder while raising a family can be a significant barrier for many women and the coverage to freeze one’s eggs provides women with the choice and freedom to devote time to work and to one’s family.

Pregnancy Possible during Perimenopause

Perimenopause  is the time when a women naturally starts having menopausal symptoms.  This natural change usually lasts about a year and is often referred to as the ‘menopause transition’.  At  this time, fertility declines but a woman may still get pregnant, and effective birth control should be used if she does not want to have a mid-life baby.  Generally, after a year of no menses, a woman can be considered infertile and menopausal.

There are several appropriate birth control methods recommended for perimenopausal women: