Young woman’s stroke launches Fibromuscular Dysplasia movement

Pam Mace, founder of FMDSA, urges patients to join patient registry

A stroke at age 37 is rare for most any one, but as an active adult who had adventures like scuba PamMace3.fwdiving and skydiving, it just didn’t make sense to me. I knew my body.

The day it happened, I woke up with a headache. After going for a 3 mile run later that day I noticed my pupils were unequal. I should have gone to the hospital right away but I didn’t. I just didn’t think I could have a stroke. But I did.

It would take a year before my doctors could explain why I had a stroke so young: fibromuscular dysplasia. The diagnosis would inspire me to start a movement around a rare vascular disease that affects women in the prime of their lives.

The two most common symptoms of fibromuscular dysplasia are headaches and high blood pressure. Think about how many people are walking around with those symptoms that could have FMD but they are treated as every day symptoms that millions of Americans have.

It’s why FMD has been called the rare disease that isn’t. FMD has always been considered a rare disease, and is still classified as a rare disease. But because it manifests so differently it’s likely underdiagnosed. Some research suggests as many 5 million Americans have FMD. Continue reading

Vaginal Mesh: Is your television your doctor?

Navigating the many sources of information around surgery for pelvic prolapse and urinary incontinence

pelvic meshYour phone blinks constantly with news alerts. Your electronic tablet is full of news apps. The Internet provides thousands of websites within a second of your search. Facebook and other social media sites suggest many references you might be interested in. Your mother just saw a commercial on daytime television, and your friend is full of stories of things that definitely happened to her friends.

Today we are bombarded with information from many sources, and trying to know where to start and what to believe can be a bewildering process. The amount of direct-to-patient marketing has never been higher. While this is true of all topics in medicine, recently the controversy concerning vaginal mesh has taken center stage. FDA alerts and new research studies, along with many patient complications, have fueled a litany of legal advertisements on television, radio and the Internet.

Continue reading

Fight Fatigue

What's normal, and when to seek medical attention

wh blog - fighting fatigueWomen are often pulled in multiple directions throughout their week — children, work, parents, home…our To Do lists seem never-ending. It’s no surprise that women often complain of fatigue. So what’s normal fatigue and when is it something that needs medical attention?

Here are some red flags that should prompt you to discuss your fatigue with your doctor:

  • Fatigue is accompanied by feeling down and depressed
  • You are not rested even after a good night’s sleep
  • You are dizzy or lightheaded
  • Your skin is exceptionally dry or you’re losing hair

Continue reading

Thinking about gynecologic surgery?

4 things every patient should consider

wh blog - mis gyn - 4 things to considerMany women consider undergoing gynecologic surgery for a variety of conditions such as abnormal bleeding, pelvic pain, ovarian cysts, fibroids or endometriosis. Historically, these surgeries were often done through large abdominal incisions requiring long hospitalizations and recovery time, increased scar tissue and increased risks of bleeding and infection. In contrast, many women now have the option of having these procedures performed with minimally invasive surgery (MIS) techniques. MIS techniques are usually associated with less pain, quicker recovery, and lower risks of infection and bleeding. These surgical methods include vaginal surgery, laparoscopy and hysteroscopy. Laparoscopy is the performed with a small camera that is inserted into the abdomen with the use of several small instruments. Traditionally, this involves 3-5 small incisions on the abdomen. This can also be performed with a robotic surgical system or with a single port device where all of the instruments and camera are inserted through one small incision. Hysteroscopy is when a camera is inserted into the uterus through the cervical opening in the vaginal canal.

If a woman is considering gynecologic surgery, here are several things to think about:

Continue reading

Making your Pap test results less confusing

Your guide to understanding SIL, CIN & ASC-US

ladies exercise_smallMaybe you have had a Pap test and your doctor said that you have cervical dysplasia (also called CIN) ASC-US or SIL. Just hearing those words can be scary. Here’s some information to help make your Pap test results less confusing.

Pap test results are grouped into several categories depending on what the doctor sees when looking at the specimen under the microscope. If changes in cells from the cervix are found following a Pap test, it can mean that cancer – or a maybe a pre-cancer – is present.

Continue reading

Support for women with MRKH

MRKHWhen menstrual periods do not come as expected by age 15 or 16, some teens are diagnosed with MRKH (Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome), which is an uncommon disorder in which the uterus and the vagina fail to develop properly.

The diagnosis of MRKH, also known as vaginal agenesis, is often an unknown entity to the teenager and family and can cause them all to experience feelings of disbelief, grief and loss.

Continue reading