Monday, April 25, 2011
When the female body begins to change, watch for common health conditions
That’s because women’s bodies begin to change at this time, and it is important to know the signs and symptoms of illnesses and chronic diseases. Some of them are non-life threatening but impair quality of life, while others, like cancer, can be fatal.
Common non-life threatening gynecological issues can include:
• Endometriosis, a painful tissue condition that can cause infertility.
• Uterine fibroids, which are sometimes painful non-cancerous tumors.
• Uterine and pelvic prolapse, a condition sometimes caused by childbirth in which the muscles and ligaments in the pelvic region stretch or weaken, causing the uterus, vagina, bladder or rectum to move out of its normal position. This affects one in every three women, according to the National Institute of Health.
• Urinary incontinence, which millions of women suffer from, sometimes as the result of childbirth or menopause.
Treatment options for these conditions can include everything from lifestyle changes to minimally invasive surgery.
Gynecological cancer, which according to the Centers for Disease Control is diagnosed in 80,000 each year, include:
• Cervical cancer,
• Uterine cancer, including endometrial cancer
• Ovarian cancer
Treatment options for these forms of cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and hormone therapy.
To learn more about women’s health issues, The William W. Backus Hospital, United Community & Family Services, da Vinci Women’s Health and womenshealth.gov are teaming up to offer a free program, “Focus on Women’s Health,” on Wednesday, April 27, from 6:30-8 p.m.
Dr. Reid Gentile, of United Community & Family Services and I will lead a discussion on menopause, hormone replacement therapy and the da Vinci robotic surgical system, which can be used for hysterectomy and other surgical procedures. To register, call 860-889-8331, ext. 2495.
As women age, it is more important than ever to know the signs, symptoms and treatment options available for a variety of common conditions. Please join us to learn more, and to see demonstrations of the da Vinci robot.
Suzelle Hendsch, MD, is an OB-GYN and robotic surgeon on the Backus Hospital Medical Staff and a member of OB/GYN Services of Norwich. This column should not replace advice or instruction from your personal physician. If you want to comment on this column or others, visit the Healthy Living blog at www.backushospital.org/backus-blogs or e-mail Dr. Hendsch or any of the Healthy Living columnists at firstname.lastname@example.org