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Women's Health Education Program WHEP Blog: Archive

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Advocacy

Breastfeeding in Public – It’s Up to Mom’s Comfort, Not Yours
Feeding your baby is a natural and wonderful way to not only keep baby healthy and happy, but for you to bond with your newborn. So why has breastfeeding in public become such a large issue? (April 20, 2022)

The Importance of Medicare for All for Women
When discussing health care access, one of the key features of the system that is often overlooked is the coverage of care for those assigned female at birth. First and foremost, women normally should have a separate physician from a primary care provider that addresses complex conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, dyspareunia, breast health and more. These conditions are often chronic, underdiagnosed and therefore undermanaged. Then there are the added obstetrical costs that need to be covered for those who choose to have a child. (April 11, 2022)

A Quick Dive into Transgender Fertility and Barriers to Quality Care
Transgender individuals face unique health care difficulties surrounding family planning and fertility preservation. Clinical treatment for transgender individuals includes puberty suppression, gender-affirming hormone therapy or gender-affirming surgical procedures. It is recommended for clinicians to discuss family planning with all transgender patients, and ideally these patients should see fertility specialists prior to starting gender-affirming treatment. (April 6, 2022)

Medication Abortion
Yesterday, the federal government lifted a major ban on access to abortion care. Now, patients will be allowed to receive abortion pills by mail. Medication abortion is a common method available to women up to 10 weeks of gestation. (February 24, 2022)

Unwanted Pregnancies: Outcomes for Children
It has been shown that unintended pregnancies in the United States account for half of the pregnancies each year. The rates of unintended pregnancies vary based on the relationship status with the highest among those who are unmarried but cohabiting. There are two categories of unintended pregnancies: mistimed and unwanted. The former describes a pregnancy that has occurred earlier than desired, while the latter refers to the situation when a woman wanted no children at all. (February 18, 2022)

COVID 19 in Pregnancy: A Greater Risk to Our Vulnerable Population
As a fourth-year medical student applying to the obstetrics and gynecologic field, it’s weird to think that the laboring moms I’ve been there with through cervical checks, final big pushes and post-partum well wishes have never actually seen my entire face. Losing that face-to-face connection with people is just another of those harsh realities we’ve encountered with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing through the end of 2021. The innumerable losses we’ve had since spring of 2020, unfortunately, have stretched to our pregnant population as well. (February 8, 2022)

Atrophic Vaginitis in Trans Men: A Topic Unexplored
Transmasculine people on testosterone may experience atrophic vaginitis. It is thought to be due to the suppressive effects of testosterone on estrogen, leading to an estrogen-deprived state that appears to be similar to the experience of many post-menopausal cis women. Atrophic vaginitis is a reflection of poor skin barrier function and low tissue resilience, and is associated with bacterial vaginosis (BV). (January 25, 2022)

Disparities in Maternal Vaccination Rates of Tdap and Influenza Vaccine and COVID-19 Takeaways
Maternal vaccination with influenza and Tdap (tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis) are recommended and administered to pregnant people to reduce the risk of severe illness for themselves and their babies. However, despite these recommendations, vaccination rates are low and racial disparities exist. (January 19, 2022)

COVID-19: The Virus Exposing and Widening the Health Care Gaps Experienced by Transgender Individuals and What We Can Do to Close Them
As a society and especially as health care providers we need to recognize the vast discrimination that transgender and gender nonconforming individuals face not only in everyday life but also in the medical setting. Transgender individuals are a high-risk population for mental and physical health problems, due to the numerous structural, economic and individual barriers that this population faces. (January 5, 2022)

Intimate Partner Violence
Intimate partner violence (IPV) has many definitions. For this discussion, consider the website Medscape’s definition: victimization of a person with whom the abuser has or has had an intimate, romantic or spousal relationship. Forms of violence are varied and can include physical assault, psychological abuse, stalking, cyberstalking, financial and sexual abuse. (December 9, 2021)

Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault on College Campuses
In light of recent cases such as the violence and assault committed on a college student at the University of Delaware in October 2021, the topics of domestic violence and sexual assault are rising again. Rightfully so. (November 10, 2021)

COVID 19 Vaccination in Pregnancy
According to the CDC, pregnancy is known to increase the risk for COVID-19 patients of severe illness, ICU admission, mechanical ventilation, adverse events (preterm birth) and death1. This is in addition to the increased risk of complications with experienced by COVID-19 patients with underlying health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, advanced age and cardiovascular disease. (November 8, 2021)

LGBTQ+ History Month: Implementing Advocacy into Medical Practice
LGBTQ+ History Month provides ample opportunity to celebrate the many strides queer folks have made, and to continue honoring those triumphs. It wasn’t until 1982 that the City of Philadelphia amended the Fair Practices Act, the city’s anti-discrimination policy, to include LGBTQ+ folks. Although the queer community has made vast progress over the years, queer health disparities continue to persist. Health care professionals are given the privilege and responsibility of upholding equity in practice, and this includes advocating for the safety and inclusion of LGBTQ+ patients. (October 27, 2021)

It's Common But Not Healthy to Hate Your Body...
Medical professionals are regular people, too, which means we struggle with the same problems that everyone else does. For me, I struggle with my weight. Really, I struggle with my self-image, a very common issue for many people. Thousands of dollars of medical education has taught me that its actually not healthy to hate your body. (October 21, 2021)

Let’s Talk Health Literacy
This year Drexel has its first club focused solely on promoting health literacy throughout the community. This club, Health Literacy & Community Partners, is founded on the idea of bridging the gaps in patient-doctor communication. Through studies and patient encounters it has been shown that health literacy is a social determinant of health and a major foundation in preventive health. Thus, at this year’s Community Health Fair we are launching our “Let’s Talk” campaign. We aim to spread knowledge through easy-to-navigate resources focused on preparing for doctor’s visits and “things to tell your doctor.” (October 6, 2021)

The Challenges of Being a Woman in Medicine and Why It Is Essential to Keep Pushing
The question “Are you sure about that?” is one that I became all too familiar with. As an Indian girl with dreams of becoming a physician, I was constantly asked this question, and with each additional time, the words became heavier and scarier. At one point in my life, I was sure about my decision – when I used to dress up in my dad’s white button-down and use my play stethoscope to diagnose my family members, my decision was unwavering and resistant to any doubts. (October 4, 2021)

Tea and Sex - More Similar Than You Think
There is a brilliant video created by a police department in the U.K. that explains the concept of sexual consent in terms of making someone a cup of tea. If you offer to make someone a cup of tea and they don’t want a cup of tea, you should just not make them a cup of tea. You should not get annoyed that they don’t want tea, and you most definitely should not force them to drink the tea. (September 22, 2021)

CDC Approves Use of COVID-19 Vaccines in Pregnant People
As I write this blog post, the City of Philadelphia has entered their second day with the newly reinstated mask mandate: Masks are required in all indoor spaces regardless of vaccine status. Businesses may require proof of vaccination if they choose. Citizens of Philadelphia are encouraged to receive a two-dose course of either Moderna or Pfizer-biotech vaccines if they have not done so already. (September 17, 2021)

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Cancer Screening in Transgender Individuals
Cancer screening guidelines have largely contributed to reduced cancer mortality in recent medicine. Mammograms, colonoscopies and Pap smears have aided in early detection and treatment. However, the guidelines set by the United States Preventative Services Task Force and American Cancer Society are limited to cisgender individuals. There are not currently any clear guidelines about cancer screening in transgender individuals. (May 4, 2022)

Breastfeeding in Public – It’s Up to Mom’s Comfort, Not Yours
Feeding your baby is a natural and wonderful way to not only keep baby healthy and happy, but for you to bond with your newborn. So why has breastfeeding in public become such a large issue? (April 20, 2022)

The Importance of Medicare for All for Women
When discussing health care access, one of the key features of the system that is often overlooked is the coverage of care for those assigned female at birth. First and foremost, women normally should have a separate physician from a primary care provider that addresses complex conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, dyspareunia, breast health and more. These conditions are often chronic, underdiagnosed and therefore undermanaged. Then there are the added obstetrical costs that need to be covered for those who choose to have a child. (April 11, 2022)

Atrophic Vaginitis in Trans Men: A Topic Unexplored
Transmasculine people on testosterone may experience atrophic vaginitis. It is thought to be due to the suppressive effects of testosterone on estrogen, leading to an estrogen-deprived state that appears to be similar to the experience of many post-menopausal cis women. Atrophic vaginitis is a reflection of poor skin barrier function and low tissue resilience, and is associated with bacterial vaginosis (BV). (January 25, 2022)

COVID-19: The Virus Exposing and Widening the Health Care Gaps Experienced by Transgender Individuals and What We Can Do to Close Them
As a society and especially as health care providers we need to recognize the vast discrimination that transgender and gender nonconforming individuals face not only in everyday life but also in the medical setting. Transgender individuals are a high-risk population for mental and physical health problems, due to the numerous structural, economic and individual barriers that this population faces. (January 5, 2022)

LGBTQ+ History Month: Implementing Advocacy into Medical Practice
LGBTQ+ History Month provides ample opportunity to celebrate the many strides queer folks have made, and to continue honoring those triumphs. It wasn’t until 1982 that the City of Philadelphia amended the Fair Practices Act, the city’s anti-discrimination policy, to include LGBTQ+ folks. Although the queer community has made vast progress over the years, queer health disparities continue to persist. Health care professionals are given the privilege and responsibility of upholding equity in practice, and this includes advocating for the safety and inclusion of LGBTQ+ patients. (October 27, 2021)

The Challenges of Being a Woman in Medicine and Why It Is Essential to Keep Pushing
The question “Are you sure about that?” is one that I became all too familiar with. As an Indian girl with dreams of becoming a physician, I was constantly asked this question, and with each additional time, the words became heavier and scarier. At one point in my life, I was sure about my decision – when I used to dress up in my dad’s white button-down and use my play stethoscope to diagnose my family members, my decision was unwavering and resistant to any doubts. (October 4, 2021)

The Female Athlete Triad
Athletes who menstruate are at high risk for developing decreased energy availability, menstrual dysfunction and low bone mineral density, a phenomenon known as the female athlete triad. People socialized as women in American society inherently face pressure to be lean. Athletes socialized as women face additional pressure for their bodies to look and function a certain way to excel in their sport. (September 17, 2021)

Reproductive Health

Breastfeeding in Public – It’s Up to Mom’s Comfort, Not Yours
Feeding your baby is a natural and wonderful way to not only keep baby healthy and happy, but for you to bond with your newborn. So why has breastfeeding in public become such a large issue? (April 20, 2022)

A Quick Dive into Transgender Fertility and Barriers to Quality Care
Transgender individuals face unique health care difficulties surrounding family planning and fertility preservation. Clinical treatment for transgender individuals includes puberty suppression, gender-affirming hormone therapy or gender-affirming surgical procedures. It is recommended for clinicians to discuss family planning with all transgender patients, and ideally these patients should see fertility specialists prior to starting gender-affirming treatment. (April 6, 2022)

Female Physicians and Infertility
One in four female physicians struggle with infertility, almost double the rate of the general public. When I first read this, I was truly shocked and scared. Somehow, I tried to justify to myself that it was not real, and that I had only read one research article and maybe there was sampling bias. However, the more I delved into the topic, the more research I found supporting it and the more stories I found of female physicians detailing their struggles with infertility. (March 29, 2022)

New Conceptions of Contraception: What Is Phexxi?
If you have been watching a streaming service with ads in recent months, then there is a good chance an ad has popped up with Annie Murphy (Alexis Rose from Schitt’s Creek), promoting a new form of birth control approved on the market: Phexxi. Produced by Evofem Biosciences, Phexxi is a vaginal gel composed of lactic acid, citric acid, and potassium bitartrate. Approved last year, Phexxi is being marketed as a non-hormonal alternative to traditional hormonal oral contraceptives. It works by altering vaginal acidity directly before a sexual encounter to prevent sperm from being able to travel to and fertilize an egg. (March 14, 2022)

Birth Control
Birth control is an important decision that is often accompanied by many questions. There are several options available, each with risks and benefits. Thus, it is important to know all information in order to choose which method is best for you. (March 7, 2022)

Medication Abortion
Yesterday, the federal government lifted a major ban on access to abortion care. Now, patients will be allowed to receive abortion pills by mail. Medication abortion is a common method available to women up to 10 weeks of gestation. (February 24, 2022)

Unwanted Pregnancies: Outcomes for Children
It has been shown that unintended pregnancies in the United States account for half of the pregnancies each year. The rates of unintended pregnancies vary based on the relationship status with the highest among those who are unmarried but cohabiting. There are two categories of unintended pregnancies: mistimed and unwanted. The former describes a pregnancy that has occurred earlier than desired, while the latter refers to the situation when a woman wanted no children at all. (February 18, 2022)

COVID 19 in Pregnancy: A Greater Risk to Our Vulnerable Population
As a fourth-year medical student applying to the obstetrics and gynecologic field, it’s weird to think that the laboring moms I’ve been there with through cervical checks, final big pushes and post-partum well wishes have never actually seen my entire face. Losing that face-to-face connection with people is just another of those harsh realities we’ve encountered with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing through the end of 2021. The innumerable losses we’ve had since spring of 2020, unfortunately, have stretched to our pregnant population as well. (February 8, 2022)

Caring for a Child with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
During pregnancy, certain drugs and medications can cross the placenta and get into a baby’s blood. After a baby is born, when they are no longer exposed to these drugs or medications, they may show signs of withdrawal. Drugs that babies may experience withdrawal from include: OxyContin, Percocet, methadone, buprenorphine or Subutex and street drugs such as cocaine, crack, ecstasy, heroin, or speed. Babies may also experience withdrawal from some mediations used to treat anxiety and depression. (February 4, 2022)

Disparities in Maternal Vaccination Rates of Tdap and Influenza Vaccine and COVID-19 Takeaways
Maternal vaccination with influenza and Tdap (tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis) are recommended and administered to pregnant people to reduce the risk of severe illness for themselves and their babies. However, despite these recommendations, vaccination rates are low and racial disparities exist. (January 19, 2022)

Risk of Hormonal Contraceptive Failure with Drugs Used for Reversal of General Anesthesia
When people go into surgeries, they are typically aware of the common side effects of surgery and medications used for general anesthesia such as nausea, vomiting, sore throat, dry mouth, and muscle aches. These side effects are routinely discussed with patients prior to signing informed consent paperwork. (January 19, 2022)

COVID 19 Vaccination in Pregnancy
According to the CDC, pregnancy is known to increase the risk for COVID-19 patients of severe illness, ICU admission, mechanical ventilation, adverse events (preterm birth) and death1. This is in addition to the increased risk of complications with experienced by COVID-19 patients with underlying health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, advanced age and cardiovascular disease. (November 8, 2021)

Endometriosis
Endometriosis is the presence of endometrial tissues outside the uterine cavity. This estrogen-dependent disease has its highest incidence in women aged 25-29 years and affects about 10% of reproductive-age women. In women with pelvic pain, 70-90% have endometriosis. Similarly, women who struggle with infertility are found to have endometriosis 21-40% of the time. Women are at a 6-fold increased risk of endometriosis if a first-degree relative is diagnosed with a severe form of the disease. (October 25, 2021)

CDC Approves Use of COVID-19 Vaccines in Pregnant People
As I write this blog post, the City of Philadelphia has entered their second day with the newly reinstated mask mandate: Masks are required in all indoor spaces regardless of vaccine status. Businesses may require proof of vaccination if they choose. Citizens of Philadelphia are encouraged to receive a two-dose course of either Moderna or Pfizer-biotech vaccines if they have not done so already. (September 17, 2021)

What to Expect During an Infertility Workup With a Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Specialist
For many couples, getting pregnant and giving birth is a joyous process. However, for the one in eight couples who deal with infertility, it can be a stressful and upsetting time. Infertility is defined as an inability to get pregnant after one year of unprotected sex. For people with ovaries over 35 years old, the time frame is decreased to six months of unprotected sex. (August 8, 2021)

Sexual Health

New Conceptions of Contraception: What Is Phexxi?
If you have been watching a streaming service with ads in recent months, then there is a good chance an ad has popped up with Annie Murphy (Alexis Rose from Schitt’s Creek), promoting a new form of birth control approved on the market: Phexxi. Produced by Evofem Biosciences, Phexxi is a vaginal gel composed of lactic acid, citric acid, and potassium bitartrate. Approved last year, Phexxi is being marketed as a non-hormonal alternative to traditional hormonal oral contraceptives. It works by altering vaginal acidity directly before a sexual encounter to prevent sperm from being able to travel to and fertilize an egg. (March 14, 2022)

Why Does Sex Hurt? What Can You Do About It?
Did you know that one in five college-aged women experience pain with sexual intercourse? In fact, nearly three out of four women have pain during intercourse at some point during their lives.1,2 Does this mean that its normal and should be tolerated? No. (February 10, 2022)

Atrophic Vaginitis in Trans Men: A Topic Unexplored
Transmasculine people on testosterone may experience atrophic vaginitis. It is thought to be due to the suppressive effects of testosterone on estrogen, leading to an estrogen-deprived state that appears to be similar to the experience of many post-menopausal cis women. Atrophic vaginitis is a reflection of poor skin barrier function and low tissue resilience, and is associated with bacterial vaginosis (BV). (January 25, 2022)

Endometriosis
Endometriosis is the presence of endometrial tissues outside the uterine cavity. This estrogen-dependent disease has its highest incidence in women aged 25-29 years and affects about 10% of reproductive-age women. In women with pelvic pain, 70-90% have endometriosis. Similarly, women who struggle with infertility are found to have endometriosis 21-40% of the time. Women are at a 6-fold increased risk of endometriosis if a first-degree relative is diagnosed with a severe form of the disease. (October 25, 2021)

Vaginitis
Vaginitis is defined by a combination of any of the following symptoms: abnormal vaginal discharge, abnormal odor, itching, burning and irritation. While this condition can cause embarrassment, it is very common, and most women have at least one episode in their lifetime. Vaginitis occurs due to an imbalance of healthy bacteria and change in vaginal environment because of age, sexual activity, hormonal status, immunologic status and underlying disease states. Vaginas commonly have normal physiologic discharge, which for most people is clear to white, not associated with discomfort or itching, and will vary in quantity throughout the menstrual cycle. “Normal” discharge varies from person to person. (November 12, 2021)

Tea and Sex - More Similar Than You Think
There is a brilliant video created by a police department in the U.K. that explains the concept of sexual consent in terms of making someone a cup of tea. If you offer to make someone a cup of tea and they don’t want a cup of tea, you should just not make them a cup of tea. You should not get annoyed that they don’t want tea, and you most definitely should not force them to drink the tea. (September 22, 2021)

Wellbeing

Cancer Screening in Transgender Individuals
Cancer screening guidelines have largely contributed to reduced cancer mortality in recent medicine. Mammograms, colonoscopies and Pap smears have aided in early detection and treatment. However, the guidelines set by the United States Preventative Services Task Force and American Cancer Society are limited to cisgender individuals. There are not currently any clear guidelines about cancer screening in transgender individuals. (May 4, 2022)

Practicing Self Compassion in Times of Stress: Good for Your Mind and Body
We have all heard the hashtags (#TreatYourself) and ad campaigns to promote self-love, and its benefits on our emotional and mental well-being. However, the effects of stress on mental well-being have never been more pertinent. With the rising stresses of the COVID pandemic, researchers have found that women have been especially susceptible to the mental health consequences. Studies show women are almost three times as likely as men to report suffering from significant mental health consequences, including anxiety, loss of appetite, insomnia and trouble completing everyday tasks1. The practices of mindfulness and self-compassion have often been employed by counselors and practitioners as a method to manage stress. (April 26, 2022)

The Importance of Medicare for All for Women
When discussing health care access, one of the key features of the system that is often overlooked is the coverage of care for those assigned female at birth. First and foremost, women normally should have a separate physician from a primary care provider that addresses complex conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, dyspareunia, breast health and more. These conditions are often chronic, underdiagnosed and therefore undermanaged. Then there are the added obstetrical costs that need to be covered for those who choose to have a child. (April 11, 2022)

Why Does Sex Hurt? What Can You Do About It?
Did you know that one in five college-aged women experience pain with sexual intercourse? In fact, nearly three out of four women have pain during intercourse at some point during their lives.1,2 Does this mean that its normal and should be tolerated? No. (February 10, 2022)

Women and Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a very common GI condition that is classically associated with chronic or recurrent abdominal pain and/or discomfort and associated changes in bowel habits. The type of IBS is categorized as IBS with diarrhea, IB with constipation or IBS with mixed bowel habits. The symptoms can range from mild to disabling. With IBS, these symptoms are present without any visible sign of damage or disease in the digestive tract. This syndrome is a type of functional gastrointestinal disorder, also known as disorder of gut-brain interaction. (December 17, 2021)

Cancer Screening for Women
About cancer screening for women including cervical cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and other cancers. (December 6, 2021)

Vaginitis
Vaginitis is defined by a combination of any of the following symptoms: abnormal vaginal discharge, abnormal odor, itching, burning and irritation. While this condition can cause embarrassment, it is very common, and most women have at least one episode in their lifetime. Vaginitis occurs due to an imbalance of healthy bacteria and change in vaginal environment because of age, sexual activity, hormonal status, immunologic status and underlying disease states. Vaginas commonly have normal physiologic discharge, which for most people is clear to white, not associated with discomfort or itching, and will vary in quantity throughout the menstrual cycle. “Normal” discharge varies from person to person. (November 12, 2021)

Endometriosis
Endometriosis is the presence of endometrial tissues outside the uterine cavity. This estrogen-dependent disease has its highest incidence in women aged 25-29 years and affects about 10% of reproductive-age women. In women with pelvic pain, 70-90% have endometriosis. Similarly, women who struggle with infertility are found to have endometriosis 21-40% of the time. Women are at a 6-fold increased risk of endometriosis if a first-degree relative is diagnosed with a severe form of the disease. (October 25, 2021)

It's Common But Not Healthy to Hate Your Body...
Medical professionals are regular people, too, which means we struggle with the same problems that everyone else does. For me, I struggle with my weight. Really, I struggle with my self-image, a very common issue for many people. Thousands of dollars of medical education has taught me that its actually not healthy to hate your body. (October 21, 2021)

The Female Athlete Triad
Athletes who menstruate are at high risk for developing decreased energy availability, menstrual dysfunction and low bone mineral density, a phenomenon known as the female athlete triad. People socialized as women in American society inherently face pressure to be lean. Athletes socialized as women face additional pressure for their bodies to look and function a certain way to excel in their sport. (September 17, 2021)

 
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