Archive for the ‘Women’s Health’ Category

posted by admin on Jun 18

Feeling your baby’s first movements must be one of life’s most wonderful experiences, knowing that first little flutter is the sign that your baby is growing inside you. As the weeks go by the movements will get stronger and your partner will be able to experience this wonderful feeling with you. This should also make you feel more at ease, knowing that your baby is doing well and is active. By the seventh month you might see a foot shape or a little hand or bottom imprinted in your stomach.At the end of the pregnancy before the baby’s head engages, the baby will be very active, moving around from side to side. Once it has engaged, however, you will notice that the movements are much less. This is because the head is now engaged in the pelvis and is unable to move around much.Any appreciable change in fetal activity, whether increased or decreased, may be a cause for concern and the woman should notify her medical practitioner immediately. Generally women should note 10 movements in a 12 hour period. If you don’t notice any movements then contact your practitioner or the midwife.*4/199/5*

posted by admin on May 8

“I feel like someone opened an umbrella in my bladder,” one woman from Wisconsin wrote vividly in a letter to me. “I’ve been to a urologist five times and he gives me antibiotics, but nothing helps. For five or six days a month, all I do is go to the bathroom. It’s worse when I have my period. Then I have blood in my urine, on top of all the pain. What’s really wrong with me?

Many women share Peggy’s problem. They come to their doctors complaining of bladder pain, or of the sensation of needing to urinate frequently. Many of these women are suffering from endometriosis, but they are diagnosed as having bladder infections unrelated to the “career woman’s disease.” Endometrial tissue can implant itself on the bladder and find its way to the kidneys, where it may become a cause of future problems. The intravenous pyelogram (IVP), which is a radiographic visualization of the kidneys, can offer some clues.

Under X ray, these outlined organs are picked up Cases exist in which endometriosis has invaded the kidney and leaves telltale indentations. However, even these indentations do not always constitute a diagnosis of endometriosis. A biopsy of tissue around the kidney it required in order to make a definitive evaluation.

Cystoscopy is another technique used to explore urinary tract dysfunction. It employs an instrument called the cystoscope, which is inserted into the urethra, making it possible to view the bladder. As with the laparoscope, the cystoscope has a built-in light source that facilitates viewing (or photographing the area) and is so constructed that doctors may take tissue biopsies at the same time.

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posted by admin on May 8

Links between reproductive function, mood and behaviour have been proposed for many years. Mothers who experience severe and persistent anxiety and depression after giving birth have been described as having postpartum depression. Women who consistently experience symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, aggression, depression and loss of concentration during the two weeks between ovulation and menstruation may be diagnosed as having premenstrual syndrome (PMS). And after a hysterectomy, women with heightened levels of depression may be said to have ‘post-hysterectomy depression’ syndrome. While not disputing that disturbances of reproductive function can affect mood and behaviour, and that the obverse may also apply, it must be said that many of the associations suggested to date seem oversimplified.

Doctors have suggested for many years that menopausal depression is a depressive disorder occurring specifically in the mid-life years and that it is different from other depressive disorders. Studies have actually found high levels of well-being among women during mid-life. And, as far as hysterectomised women are concerned, there is little evidence that they are any more prone to depression after hysterectomy than before. In those cases where menopausal women are diagnosed as having psychiatric symptoms, there is a stronger association with important life events, relationships with children, and marital status than with cessation of menstruation. Furthermore, some women experience physical symptoms such as hot flushes without any psychiatric symptoms, while the reverse is true for others.

There is still much to learn about these associations as many of the studies carried out to date have involved small numbers of self-selected women rather than large random samples. The Melbourne Women’s Midlife Health Project is an attempt to overcome some of these deficiencies. It aims to help rectify a situation where the linkages described are, in the words of the United States Office of Technology Assessment, ‘based on myths, unwarranted assumptions and conclusions derived from outdated, poorly constructed studies’.

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posted by admin on Apr 23

GnRH agonists, also known as LHRH agonists, are a group of drugs that have been developed over the last two decades. Since the mid 1980s they have been used in clinical trials in Australia and overseas for the treatment of endometriosis. They have also been used to treat a range of other conditions including anovulation (absence of ovulation) and fibroids.

The GnRH agonists are modified versions of a naturally occurring hormone, gonadotropin releasing hormone (usually abbreviated to GnRH), which helps to control the menstrual cycle.

Initially, it was thought that the GnRH agonists would not be suitable for the treatment of endometriosis as it was assumed that they would stimulate the production of oestrogen. However, it was discovered that prolonged use of the GnRH agonists actually suppressed the production of oestrogen and caused the oestrogen levels in most women to decrease to the levels found in women following the menopause. Consequently, researchers began to investigate their use for the treatment of endometriosis.

How GnRH agonists work

The GnRH agonists eradicate endometrial implants by suppressing ovulation and oestrogen secretion. The resulting low levels of oestrogen in the body mean that the endometrial implants are no longer stimulated to grow and breakdown each month so they gradually degenerate and waste away.

Most women stop ovulating and menstruating during treatment and resume ovulation and menstruation again within one to two months of completing their treatment.

Dosages of GnRH agonists generally used

Since 1971 more than 2,000 GnRH agonists have been developed by various pharmaceutical companies. Some of them are still being developed and tested while others have been released for use in some countries. At present none of them are available in Australia for the treatment of endometriosis, except under special circumstances.

None of the current GnRH agonists are effective when taken by mouth because they are broken down in the digestive system. Other methods of administering the drugs have been developed, including nasal sprays, daily injections and monthly injections.

Side effects of GnRH agonists

The side effects experienced by most women are usually a result of low oestrogen levels. The majority of women experience hot flushes and some also experience other menopausal-type symptoms, including vaginal dryness, decreased libido, headaches and depression. The side effects usually disappear soon after the cessation of treatment.

The GnRH agonists appear to have no adverse effects on the levels of fats and cholesterol in the blood.

One possible long-term side effect of GnRH agonist therapy is osteoporosis (loss of bone density). In trials conducted so far some women have shown a decrease in the density of the bones in their spines; it appears that this effect is reversed and the bone density usually returns to normal within six months of ceasing treatment.

At present it seems that this loss of bone density is not likely be a significant long-term problem if the treatment lasts only six to nine months but considerable further research is needed before the complete picture is known.

How effective are the GnRH agonists

The results of the clinical trials indicate that the GnRH agonists are effective in eradicating endometriosis and relieving its symptoms but, like all the other hormonal drugs, they have no significant effect on adhesions or endometriomas and they are not a permanent cure. Overall, the GnRH agonists appear to be as effective as Danazol. When they have been approved for use in Australia they will probably assume an important place in the hormonal treatment of endometriosis.

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