Category Archives: Female Reproductive System

Standard treatment better than potential alternative for unexplained infertility


Clomiphene more effective than letrozole for achieving pregnancy,  study finds

From the National Institutes of Health

IVF egg thumbTreatment with clomiphene, a standard therapy for couples with unexplained infertility, results in more live births than treatment with a potential alternative, letrozole, according to a study of more than 900 couples conducted by a National Institutes of Health research network.

The study authors undertook the comparison because earlier findings had suggested that letrozole might achieve as many live births as other treatments, but result in fewer multiple pregnancies.

Moreover, a 2014 study by the same network found that letrozole was more effective than clomiphene for achieving pregnancy in women with another infertility disorder, polycystic ovary syndrome. The study appears in the New England Journal of Medicine. Continue reading


Abortion foes dive in clinic dumpsters for discarded records


Dumpster-nonBy Charles Ornstein ProPublica
This story was co-published with NPR’s Shots blog.

The scene in front of abortion clinics is often tense, with clinic workers escorting patients past activists waving signs and taking photographs.

But increasingly, another drama is unfolding out back. There, abortion opponents dig through the trash in search of patient information.

Using garbage as their ammunition, anti-abortion activists who have sometimes been accused of violating abortion seekers’ privacy are turning the tables. They claim it’s the clinics that are violating patients’ privacy by discarding medical records in unsecured ways.

“Everybody acts like the abortion clinics are this bastion of protection for women’s privacy, and they’re like the chief offenders of just dumping this stuff willy-nilly,” said Cheryl Sullenger, senior policy advisor at Operation Rescue, an anti-abortion group based in Wichita, Kansas. “It’s so hypocritical.”

Abortion rights groups counter that while a small number of clinics have improperly disposed of records, the vast majority take strict precautions to protect patient privacy. It’s far more common, they say, for abortion opponents to trespass on private property or try to break into locked dumpsters.

PHOTONiteowlneils at the English language Wikipedia under Creative Commons license Continue reading


Are you pregnant?


Pregnancy: A Touchy Subject In Employee Wellness Assessments

“Are you pregnant?”

PregnancyBy Julie Appleby

It’s a topic employers generally avoid, since the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 prohibited sex discrimination on the basis of pregnancy.

But women’s advocates fear these long-standing protections could be undermined by some workplace wellness programs.

That question and “How old were you when you first became pregnant?” are both included in a health risk assessment offered to some clients of Audax Health, a wellness firm.

“How old were you when you first became pregnant?”

Similar queries are posed in health risk assessments offered by other wellness programs, say consumer groups, including the National Women’s Law Center.

“These are questions they should not ask,” because of the potential for discrimination, said Emily Martin, vice president and senior counsel for the NWLC,  in a letter to the Obama administration asking for a ban on such questions in wellness programs. Continue reading


Fetal tissue attack is latest tactic in long GOP fight against Planned Parenthood


Logo_plannedparenthoodBy Julie Rovner

Republican calls to defund Planned Parenthood over its alleged handling of fetal tissue for research are louder than ever. But they are just the latest in a decades-long drive to halt federal support for the group.

This round of attacks aims squarely at the collection of fetal tissue, an issue that had been mostly settled — with broad bipartisan support —  in the early 1990s. Among those who voted to allow federal funding for fetal tissue research was now-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

McConnell made no mention of his previous position when he announced that the Senate would take up a bill to cut off Planned Parenthood’s access to federal funds before leaving for its summer break. The first vote on the bill is expected as soon as Monday. Continue reading


States reluctant to regulate fertility services


IVF egg thumbBy Michael Ollove

The Utah legislature took a step last week into territory where state lawmakers rarely tread.

It passed a law giving children conceived via sperm donation access to the medical histories of their biological fathers. The law itself stirred no controversy. The oddity was that the legislature ventured into the area of “assisted reproduction” at all.

Assisted reproductive technology (ART) helps infertile couples to conceive. Compared to many other industrialized nations, neither the U.S. nor state governments do much to oversee the multibillion-dollar industry.

“The United States is the Wild West of the fertility industry.”

“The United States is the Wild West of the fertility industry,” Marcy Darnovsky, executive director of the Center for Genetics and Society said, echoing a description used by many critics of the regulatory environment surrounding ART. Continue reading


Low-cost, long-acting contraceptives cut teen pregnancy, abortion rates


A diagram showing a hormonal IUD in the uterusBy Lisa Gillespie

Teenage girls who are given access to long-acting contraceptives such as IUDs or hormonal implants at no cost are less likely to become pregnant, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine released Wednesday.

The findings come just two days after the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that health providers should consider IUDs and implants first when discussing contraception choices with teen girls.

Young women with access to these methods at no cost were almost five times less likely to get pregnant, five times less likely to give birth and four times less likely to have an abortion.

Although there are not as many teenage pregnancies as there once were — rates have been cut by more than half since 1991 — they still pose serious public health issues because of the costs associated with child birth and public assistance for young mothers.

These pregnancies can also stunt education and income opportunities for teenage moms.

Each year, 750,000 teenage girls become pregnant, and 80 percent of those pregnancies are unintended. Continue reading


Women’s health – week 52: Vulvodynia


From the Office of Research on Women’s Health

tacuin womenVulvodynia is chronic (long-term) pain or discomfort of the vulva. The vulva is the area of the female genitals surrounding the vaginal opening and includes the labia, the vestibule, and the perineum.

Some women refer to it as “the pain down there” or as “feminine pain.”

Women with vulvodynia often experience burning, stinging, irritation, rawness, or stabbing pain in their genitals, with no apparent explanation.

As many as 18 percent of women will experience symptoms consistent with vulvodynia.

The pain or discomfort can be chronic or intermittent, and generalized or localized to one area
of the vulva. Some women also report itching.

For many women, sexual intercourse, inserting tampons, or wearing clothes are very uncomfortable or painful. Continue reading


Women’s health – week 50: Uterine Fibroids


tacuin womenFor the Office of Research on Women’s Health

Uterine fibroids 

Uterine fibroids are very common in women of childbearing age. Fibroids are noncancerous tumors that grow within the wall of the uterus.

Fibroids may grow as a single tumor or in clusters. A single fibroid can be less than one inch in size or can grow to eight inches across or more.

Most fibroids grow within the wall of the uterus.

Fibroids are described based on where they grow: Continue reading


Women’s health – Week 45: Sexually transmitted infections


tacuin womenFrom the Office of Research on Women’s HealthSexually

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs): also commonly called sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), are infections you can get by having sex with someone who has an infection. Continue reading


Women’s Health – Week 44: Puberty


tacuin womenFrom the Office of Research on Women’s Health

Puberty is the set of physical changes that occur when a person becomes sexually mature. Puberty usually occurs between ages 10 and 14 for girls and ages 12 and 16 for boys.

In girls, the first sign of puberty is often breast development. Other signs are the growth of hair in the pubic area and in the armpits. Sometimes acne appears and, eventually, menstruation begins. Continue reading


Women’s Health – Week 43: Endometriosis


tacuin womenFrom the Office of Research on Women’s Health

Endometriosis occurs when tissues that are like the lining of the uterus grow on surfaces of organs in the pelvis or abdomen. Endometriosis may affect a woman’s ability to become pregnant. The two most common symptoms of endometriosis are pain and infertility.

Symptoms can include:

Continue reading


Women’s Health – Week 42: Overview of the Reproductive System


tacuin womenFrom the Office of Research on Women’s Health

Overview of the reproductive system A healthy reproductive system is an important part of a woman’s overall health.

Your reproductive health is influenced by many factors – these include age, lifestyle, habits, genetics, medicines, and exposure to chemicals in the environment.

The female reproductive system contains two main parts: internal and external. Continue reading


Women’s Health – Week 40: Pregnancy, exercise and weight


tacuin womenFrom the Office of Research on Women’s Health

Exercise It is a good idea to start a regular exercise program before you become pregnant, and continue to be physically active throughout your pregnancy.

Ask your health care provider about the level of exercise that is safe for you. Regular, moderate-intensity physical activity during pregnancy may:

  • Help your baby to grow to a healthy weight.
  • Reduce the discomforts of pregnancy, such as backaches, leg cramps, constipation, bloating, and swelling.
  • Lessen your risk for gestational diabetes(diabetes during pregnancy, see Week 18).
  • Improve your mood, energy level, and sleep.
  • Help you have an easier, shorter labor, recover from delivery faster, and achieve or maintain a healthy weight.

Follow these safety tips for activity during your pregnancy: Continue reading