Women's Health

Women have many unique health concerns — menstrual cycles, pregnancy, birth control, menopause — and that's just the beginning. A number of health issues affect only women and others are more common in women. What's more, men and women may have the same condition, but different symptoms. Many diseases affect women differently and may even require distinct treatment.

We tend to think of breast cancer and osteoporosis as women's health diseases, but they also occur in men. Heart disease in a serious concern to both men and women, but risk factors and approaches to prevention are different. Women may also have specific concerns about aging, caregiving, emotional health issues, and skin care.

Women's Health Articles

Regular exercise may ward off cognitive decline in women with vascular disease

A study provides one more reason to carve out time every day for a brisk walk or similar exercise, especially if you have vascular disease or are at risk for developing it. Vascular disease, including heart disease and other conditions that affect blood vessels, increases the risk of age-related problems with memory and thinking, known as cognitive decline. (Locked) More »

Risk factors for breast cancer

Not all women have the same risk for developing breast cancer over a lifetime. Certain factors increase a woman’s risk, and some have a bigger impact on risk than others. However, having several risk factors doesn’t mean you’ll inevitably develop breast cancer. Likewise, having few risk factors doesn’t mean that you’ll never develop it. Many risk factors, such as age and gender, are not within our control. Others, especially those related to personal behaviors, can be modified. (Locked) More »

The breast density-breast cancer connection

One of the strongest known risk factors for breast cancer is high breast density — that is, relatively little fat in the breast and more connective and glandular tissue, as seen on a mammogram. Now, a study has found that higher breast density in postmenopausal women increases the risk of specific types of breast cancer, including some that have a relatively poorer prognosis. More »

Update on vibration therapy for bone health

Soon you may be hearing a lot about low-intensity vibration therapy for strengthening bones and reducing the risk of fractures. Two low-intensity oscillating devices designed for home use are coming onto the market, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), which advises the federal government on health care matters, is expected to issue a report highlighting the evidence as well as the many unanswered questions about this unique approach to help postmenopausal women at risk for osteoporosis. (Locked) More »

Bioidentical hormones: Help or hype?

Bioidentical hormones are promoted as being safer than FDA-approved postmenopausal hormones, but their production is not regulated and their claims of effectiveness have not yet been substantiated by long-term clinical trials. there’s been growing interest in “bioidentical” hormones, which are promoted as safer and more effective than FDA-approved hormones. The interest is driven in no small part by claims made in entertainer Suzanne Somers’  book, Ageless: The Naked Truth About Bioidentical Hormones (and her appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show). More »

FDA-approved bioidentical hormones for menopausal symptoms

FDA-approved bioidentical hormones for menopausal symptoms Type/source Brand name(s) Preparations Bioidentical? Estrogens Estradiol Estrace, Gynodiol, Innofem Pill Yes*   Estrace Vaginal cream+ Yes   Alora, Climara, Esclim, Estraderm, FemPatch, Menostar, Vivelle, generic Transdermal patch Yes   Estrogel, Elestrin, Divigel Topical gel Yes   Evamist Topical spray Yes   Estring Vaginal ring+ Yes Estradiol acetate Femring Vaginal ring Yes++ Estradiol hemihydrate Vagifem Vaginal tablet+ Yes   Estrasorb Topical lotion Yes Progesterone Progesterone Prometrium Pill Yes Crinone 4% Vaginal gel Yes Combined hormones Estradiol and norethindrone acetate Combipatch Patch The estradiol is bioidentical but not the progestin. Estradiol and norgestimate Prefest Pill The estradiol is bioidentical but not the progestin. Estradiol and levonorgestrel Climara Pro Patch The estradiol is bioidentical but not the progestin. * Bioidentical estradiol until ingested and converted in the liver to estrone.+ For vaginal symptoms only.++ Converts to bioidentical estradiol in the bloodstream. (Locked) More »

Preventing cancer: Are we getting closer?

A drug now used in breast cancer treatment may have the potential to prevent the disease in some women. Exemestane is in a class of drugs called aromatase inhibitors, which women take for several years after they've been treated for breast cancer to reduce the chances of getting breast cancer again. Aromatase is an enzyme that's crucial to the production of the hormone estrogen, which in many cases fuels the development and growth of breast cancer. So by inhibiting aromatase, exemestane lowers estrogen levels and therefore the risk of breast cancer recurrence. (Locked) More »