Women’s Health

Screening mammograms: One recommendation may not fit all

Monique Tello, MD, MPH

Contributing Editor

Research shows that the risk of breast cancer, and its severity, is greater for women of certain racial and ethnic backgrounds. These factors have not yet been included in formal guidelines for screening mammograms, but women need to be aware of them.

Inducing labor: A way to avoid a cesarean?

Toni Golen, MD

Contributor

A study comparing the health of babies delivered by induced labor with those delivered when labor occurred spontaneously also found that the chance of cesarean delivery was lower among the women whose labor was induced.

Revisiting options for improving results of breast reconstruction

Ted A. James, MD

Contributor

Women who choose breast reconstruction after mastectomy but are unhappy with the results have another option: fat grafting, in which liquefied tissue from another part of the body is injected into the reconstructed breast.

Access to safe, affordable birth control is a maternal health issue

When a pregnancy puts the life of the mother at risk, access to birth control is essential. As more women are experiencing medical complications from or with pregnancy or after giving birth, the issue is becoming even more important.

Contrary to popular belief, epidurals don’t prolong labor. Phew.

Hope Ricciotti, MD

Editor in Chief, Harvard Women's Health Watch

Challenging a long-held belief, a new study found that women who received epidural anesthesia during labor did not have prolonged labor or higher rates of cesarean births.

Urinary incontinence: Common and manageable

Monique Tello, MD, MPH

Contributing Editor

Nearly half of all women will experience some form of urinary incontinence during their lives. In addition to the discomfort, it can affect a person’s emotional health as well. But the condition can be managed for many women with lifestyle changes behavior therapy, or physical therapy.

Women and pain: Disparities in experience and treatment

Laura Kiesel

Contributor

Most people dealing with chronic pain are women, but most pain research has been done on men. The disparity in how women are diagnosed and treated is unfair, and can be dangerous.

Flu shots during pregnancy

A recent small study linked the flu shot during pregnancy with an increased risk for miscarriage. However it did not establish that the flu shot causes miscarriage. Despite these results, pregnant women should be reassured that the benefits of getting a flu shot outweigh any potential risk.

Premenstrual dysphoria disorder: It’s biology, not a behavior choice

Women who experience severe mood changes in the weeks leading to their menstrual periods may have premenstrual dysphoria disorder. Because this condition is not yet well understood, getting a correct diagnosis can be challenging.

Binge drinking continues to rise — particularly among women and seniors

Beverly Merz

Executive Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watch

Data from several surveys indicate that the percentage of women who drink has been increasing for decades. The numerous health effects associated with alcohol consumption mean that women should be especially attentive to how much they drink.