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.

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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

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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:

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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.

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Beyond conventional medicine

Using holistic therapies to manage PCOS

holistic therapies for PCOS promoMany women with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) are all too familiar with the wide variety of symptoms that accompany this hormonal disorder. These can include irregular periods, acne, excess hair on the face and body, and elevated insulin levels. PCOS is also the most common cause of infertility in women.

Our goals when treating PCOS are to manage these symptoms, and there are a number of medical therapies that we use to do this effectively.

Treatment options for many women can also include a number of holistic therapies that can be used alongside conventional therapies for optimal healing and illness prevention.

Here’s a quick overview of some of the more common alternatives that women with PCOS might consider:

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Protecting the Heart: Cardiovascular Risks Decline, but Vigilance is Warranted

In the pursuit of malignant tumor cells, normal tissues and organs get caught in the crossfire of cancer treatment. This has been especially true of the heart. In earlier decades, radiation to the chest could carry deadly cardiovascular risks. Newer treatment methods, however, are putting the odds in patients’ favor.

Lori Jo Pierce, M.D.

Lori Jo Pierce, M.D.

“Technological advances now allow doctors to minimize cardiovascular risks of radiation therapy,” says Lori Jo Pierce, M.D., a U-M professor of radiation oncology. Her research focuses on the use of radiation therapy in the multi-modality treatment of breast cancer. Dr. Pierce is participating in the Cancer Center’s 2013 Breast Cancer Summit 2013 as a panel speaker on “Research: What questions are we trying to answer?”

Dr. Pierce recently talked with mCancer Partner about how technological advances help to minimize cardiovascular risks to breast cancer patients, and gave a research update on a related study.

mCancer Partner: Who is at risk for radiation associated heart disease?

Dr. Pierce: Anyone who is receiving radiation to the chest could be at risk for radiation-associated heart disease so it is important to shield the heart from the radiation beam. Patients treated with radiation for Hodgkin’s disease in the past were potentially at risk for cardiac disease depending upon the location of the blocks used to protect the heart. Women treated for left sided breast cancer are carefully monitored and planning is done to minimize the heart from being in the radiation field as they, too, could be at risk. Continue reading