Healthcare reform is a hotly debated topic across the country. Last week, we explored how healthcare reform has affected women during the past two years. While there are some positive aspects to the reform, physicians – key players in the medical field – have concerns about the impact on the quality of healthcare. [Read more...]
President Barak Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law March 23, 2010. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi summed up the significance of the act for women before it became law: “It’s personal for women. After we pass this bill, being a woman will no longer be a pre-existing medical condition.”
Proof of the unfair treatment of women lies in the cost of premiums. Before the ACA, a healthy 22-year-old woman could be charged premiums 150 percent higher than a 22-year-old man.
After a quick recap of how women benefit from the Affordable Care Act, we’ll explore how many people have been positively affected and take a look at one woman’s personal story. [Read more...]
President Barak Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law March 23, 2010. The changes it calls for are significant, impacting every American. As with anything in life, there are good and bad aspects to the new laws, making healthcare reform no different. [Read more...]
The majority of the nearly 200 known types of Human papillomavirus (HPV) cause no symptoms in most people. However, roughly 40 types of HPV — transmitted through skin to skin sexual contact — can manifest themselves in genital warts, and more seriously, can lead to cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina and anus in women, or cancers of the anus and penis in men. Symptoms of HPV normally appear in the form a cauliflower like growths (i.e. warts) on the inside and the outside of a woman’s vagina.
Most HPV infections in young females are benign and don’t have long-term significance. 70% are gone in a single year and 90% eradicating within two years. But when infection persists—in 5% to 10% of infected women—there is the high risk of developing the cervical precancer, which can progress to invasive cervical cancer. This process can takes as long as 15–20 years though, providing many opportunities for detection and treatment of the pre-cancerous condition, often with high cure rates. HPV infection is a cause of nearly all cases of cervical cancer. However, most infections with HPV do not cause disease. Signs and symptoms may take weeks, months, and perhaps years to appear, with some symptoms never actually appearing.
Factors that may increase the risk of cervical cancer in women with HPV infection include smoking and multiple pregnancies. Having numerous sexual partners is also a risk factor for HPV. Using a condom may provide only limited protection.
Two HPV vaccines are currently on the market in the US: Gardasil and Cervarix. Both vaccines protect against two of the most common high risk HPV types (HPV-16 and HPV-18) These two types are the cause of most cervix and genital cancers. Public health officials in Australia, Canada, Europe, and the United States recommend vaccination of young women and girls as young as 9 years of age to prevent cervical cancer and genital warts. The vaccine will have the most impact if given before any sexually activity has occurred.
Worldwide, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in adults.
For example, more than 80% of American women will have contracted at least one strain of HPV by age fifty. There are an estimated 470,000 new cases of cervical cancer that result in 233,000 deaths per year globally. In the United States, most of the approximately 11,000 cervical cancers found annually occur in women who have never had a Pap smear, or not had one in the previous five years.
The vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women, as there has been limited research looking at safety for them and their unborn babies. As of now, studies do suggest that the vaccine won’t cause health problems for pregnant women or their developing child. If a woman finds out she is pregnant after she’s started getting the vaccine series, she should wait until her pregnancy is over before finishing the series.
It is not yet known if the current vaccine is effective in boys or men, however vaccinating males could possibly have health benefits by preventing genital warts and rare cancers, such as penile and anal cancer. It is also possible that vaccinating males will have indirect health benefits for females. Studies are currently underway to see out if the vaccine works to prevent HPV infection in males. When more information is available, an HPV vaccine may be licensed and recommended for boys and men as well.
In July of 2007, Dr. Eisenberg of Dallas, TX took time out of his schedule to attend an extensive training program where he learned how to apply the most modern advances in robotic surgery to women’s health. Two and a half years later, Dr. Eisenberg completed his 200th procedure on the Da Vinci robotic surgery equipment, bringing 2009 to a close as the most experienced surgeon in Dallas and Collin counties in robotic hysterectomy, myomectomy, and other womens health related procedures.
The Da Vinci system and robotic surgical procedures have had a profound impact on both the Dallas medical community and its patients. Prior to the introduction of non-invasive, robotic surgical techniques, procedures such as hysterectomies required patients to recover from 10-12 inch long incisions which significantly limited physical abilities for a period of 6-8 weeks. The Da Vinci procedure, requiring four small, hole-like incisions, has reduced recovery times to 1-2 weeks, with patients generally returning to work and family activities during the recovery period.
Beyond minimizing scarring and increasing recovery times, robotic surgery has had a positive impact on the North Texas economy.
First, in one of the most challenging economic times in modern history, the thought of taking a 6-8 week medical leave is almost unthinkable for both employees and employers. The fast recovery times associated with robotic procedures have put North Texans back into their daily routines, helping to increase productivity and decrease the economical impact of surgery. Second, the medical community in North Texas has been a pioneer of robotic surgery, attracting patients from both out of state and out of the country. These patients were brought into North Texas as their medical cases were severe enough to require a minimally invasive procedure the was unavailable in their state or country of residence. Beyond impacting their quality of life, this has been positive for the North Texas economy.
Dr. Eisenberg returned to work after the holidays with a full surgical schedule for the months of January and February, during which time he will continue to step up to new surgical challenges using some of most advanced surgical equipment in the healthcare industry today.
With the introduction of the Da Vinci robotic surgical system, minimally invasive surgical procedures have taken the medical community by storm. These procedures enable surgeons to increase surgical accuracy and improve patient outcomes while reducing recovery times. Many early adopters pioneered robotic techniques in the past decade, and now the option of robotic surgery is being offered at more hospitals and by more surgeons in the Dallas area. Still, it is important for patients not to get caught up in the awe of how the procedure is performed; rather, they should remain focused on their needs as a patient. The following are 3 questions all patients should ask a prospective robotic surgeon during a consultation.
#1 – Is The Robotic Procedure Required
Not all procedures require the use of a robot. Any patient considering a procedure that is available through the Da Vinci system should get clarification as to why the robotic procedure is being recommended during both the primary consult and the second opinion. Though a very high percentage of robotic procedures are successful, the process does introduce variables that do not exist in a normal procedure. Therefore, unless there is a specific advantage that the robotic procedure will bring to a patient, the introduction of additional variables should be avoided in any surgical procedure.
#2 – Ask Your Surgeon How Many Robotic Procedures They Have Performed
Robotic surgery is a completely new skill set that is learned much later in a surgeon’s career. There is no substitute for experience. Ask your surgeon very pointed questions as to the number of procedures they have performed and for how long they have been performing these procedures.
#3 – Inquire Into Your Surgeons Experience in a Specific Procedure
There are multiple procedures that can be performed with robotic equipment. A hysterectomy and the removal of uterine fibroids, for example, are two different surgeries. As a patient, you should seek specialization from your healthcare provider. During your consult, ask questions regarding the experience your surgeon has in performing your specific procedure robotically.
Robotic surgical procedures offer one of the largest medical breakthroughs in the healthcare industry. As a patient, educate yourself on the implementation of robotics in the procedure you require and find a surgeon experienced in your specific procedure.
Next to a cesarean section, a hysterectomy is the second most common surgery in the United States. One in three women in the U.S. undergo a hysterectomy every year for health reasons. This post will answer the questions: what a hysterectomy is? and what are the common reasons that women will undergo a hysterectomy surgery?
Hysterectomy surgery requires the removal of a woman’s uterus. There are three types of hysterectomy surgeries that are performed: partial hysterectomy, total hysterectomy and radical hysterectomy. The most common surgery is the total hysterectomy where the uterus and cervix are both removed. The partial is where only the upper part of the uterus is removed. The radical includes the removal of all female reproductive organs including the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries and cervix.
Symptoms leading to a Hysterectomy Procedure
A hysterectomy surgery will be performed for a variety of reasons. The main reasons according to the US Department of Health and Human Services are:
- Uterine fibroids
- Uterine prolapse
- Persistent bleeding
- Chronic pelvic pain
Although a hysterectomy may be one of the solutions that a doctor may suggest, it is not always the only solution, except in cancer cases.
Some signs that you are having serious issues usually include abnormal pain and/or excessive bleeding. Please consult a physician if you are experiencing either of these.
Dyspareunia can be caused by either medical or psychological reasons that result in the experience of painful sexual intercourse. Dyspareunia is the name for painful sexual intercourse, which is a common condition that effects 1 in 5 women at some point in their lives. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse, the condition is usually reversible.
Symptoms of Dyspareunia (Painful Sex)
The symptoms of dyspareunia are a decrease in the natural lubrication of the vagina as well as the vagina being less or undialated. These symptoms cause pain in the phallus during penetration making sexual intercourse painful.
Causes of Dyspareunia (Painful Sex)
There are many causes of dyspareunia. A proper physical exam by a medical doctor is the only way to diagnose dyspareunia due to the fact that painful sexual intercourse can be caused by medical and/or psychological reasons. Some of the physical causes of dyspareunia include infections of various parts the vagina including: urinary tract, cervix, and fallopian tubes. Other causes can include surgical scar tissue, ovarian cysts or tumors, STDs, and estrogen deficiencies. There are more causes less frequently seen, thus, it is best to see a doctor to help diagnose them.
Treatment of Dyspareunia (Painful Sex)
Treatment for dyspareunia will depend on the cause of pain during sexual intercourse, but below are some common treatments.
Examination of the pelvis to duplicate the pain experienced during sexual intercourse, allowing the identification of the pain source. Your doctor should explain the cause of the pain so that steps can be taken to lessen and remove the pain over time. Some of these steps often include the removal of the pain source when needed, usage of a lubricant, changes to a couples sexual routine, and decreasing the depth of penetration.