• Abortion and Breast Cancer
    The Problem Opponents of reproductive choice have spent years attempting to frighten women by touting a non-existent link between abortion and an increased risk of breast cancer. There is no evidence of such a link and the claim is not supported by research scientists or breast cancer activists. Nonetheless, anti-choice organizations continue their attempts to disseminate ...
  • Addyi – Top 10 Things To Know
    Addyi is the first F.D.A. approved drug to treat hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) in premenopausal women. Whether you’re considering speaking with your clinician about Addyi or just interested in learning more about this new drug, it is important to know the facts. Addyi has only been tested in a small subset of women. The participants ...
  • Cervical Cancer Prevention and Screening
    Background If every woman in the world received adequate health care, almost none would die of cervical cancer. Effective treatments exist for pre-cancerous conditions and for cervical cancer that is diagnosed at an early stage. So, unless a woman has a compromised immune system, cervical cancer progresses very slowly and can be detected — and treated ...
  • Depo Provera and Bone Mineral Density
    For decades, women’s health advocates have been concerned about the safety of Depo-Provera, the progesterone-based contraceptive shot (the shot). Some of the earliest concerns sparked by findings from animal studies have been laid to rest by carefully conducted clinical research, like studies showing that Depo does not increase women’s risk of breast cancer.1 The findings ...
  • Fast Facts on Generic Drugs
    This factsheet was written in collaboration with PharmedOUT, an independent, publicly funded project that empowers physicians to identify and counter inappropriate pharmaceutical promotion practices. PharmedOut promotes evidence-based medicine by providing news, resources, and links to pharma-free Continuing Medical Education (CME) courses. The factsheet on generic drugs can be found here.
  • Herbs and Phytoestrogens
    Many women, concerned about the health risks of the synthetic hormones used in conventional hormone therapy, are looking for natural alternatives. It’s important to know that these products are not necessarily safe just because they’re natural. The same questions we ask about drugs need to be asked of alternative therapies too: what is the specific ...
  • Hormonal Birth Control and Blood Clot Risk
    Combined hormonal contraception (CHC) methods are birth control methods containing the hormones estrogen and progestin. Tens of millions of people safely use CHCs—including birth control pills, patches, and vaginal rings—to help space births and prevent unintended pregnancy. All CHCs carry a small, increased risk of blood clots, though this risk is significantly smaller than the ...
  • Hot Flashes
    Hot flashes, the most common symptom of menopause, are probably the one that aggravates women the most. While some women never have hot flashes and others have mild or infrequent hot flashes, some women experience dozens each day. Severe hot flashes can make it difficult to get a full night’s sleep, which, in turn, affects ...
  • Hysterectomy
    Hysterectomy in the United States: Background Hysterectomy is the second most frequently performed surgical procedure (after cesarean section) for U.S. women who are of reproductive age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from 2006-2010, 11.7 percent of women between the ages of 40-44 had a hysterectomy.1 Approximately 600,000 hysterectomies are performed annually in ...
  • Mammography
    Screening Mammography Sometimes the work of women’s health activists is easy. We discover that a new procedure or service can help improve women’s health; we advocate for all women to have access to it; we do everything we can to ensure that it’s provided in a high-quality way, and then we celebrate the gains made. However, ...
  • Menopause and Sexuality
    For most people, at least some aspects of sexuality decline with age, such as level of desire or frequency of sexual activity. There are many biologic and non-biologic reasons this happens, including a person’s general well-being and health, lifestyle, as well as interpersonal and psychosocial factors (like the quality of a relationship, or mental health ...
  • Menopause Hormone Therapy and Breast Cancer
    Since the early 2000s, the use of menopausal hormone therapy has continued to decline after the initial findings of the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) showed an increased risk of breast cancer and serious cardiac events with the use of estrogen plus progestin. The decline in MHT has been paralleled by a concomitant decrease in breast ...
  • Menopause Hormone Therapy and Cardiovascular Protection
    Does Age Matter? What We Know So Far About Age of Initiation of Hormone Therapy and Heart Disease in Women. You may have thought that the controversy over prescribing hormone therapy for cardiovascular protection was resolved in 2002 when the Women’s Health Initiative was abruptly halted due to the finding that study participants who took hormone ...
  • Menopause Hormone Therapy and Heart Disease
    No form of estrogen, or estrogen plus progestin, has been proven to prevent heart disease. Yet millions of women have taken these powerful drugs, encouraged by physicians who believed that HT prevented heart disease. Conclusive studies have now proven definitively that the most commonly used forms of HT do not prevent the progression of heart ...
  • Menopause Hormone Therapy and Ovarian Cancer
    For decades, women approaching and experiencing menopause have been advised by their doctors and urged by extensive advertising campaigns to use hormone therapy to treat symptoms, like hot flashes and vaginal dryness, and to ward off age-related illness and conditions, like heart disease and wrinkles. With the release of results from the Women’s Health Initiative ...
  • Menopause Hormone Therapy Overview
    The widespread popularity of hormone therapy (HT) in the United States is a triumph of marketing over science and advertising over common sense. Drug companies and many health care providers present menopause as a disease. In fact, it is a normal transition that occurs in all women. For decades, we’ve been told that the use of ...
  • Menopause Hormone Therapy: Timing Doesn’t Matter
    It’s OK when you have symptoms, but don’t use it for prevention. The National Women’s Health Network has always supported menopause hormone therapy (HT) for symptom relief. Most symptoms associated with menopause are worse immediately before or after periods finally stop, but some, like vaginal dryness, can cause problems for women many years after menopause. The ...
  • Menstrual Suppression
    What woman hasn’t at least occasionally wished she could avoid having her period? For decades some women have taken their traditional birth control pills on a non-traditional schedule in order to manipulate the timing of their periods – for example, to avoid menstruating during a vacation, athletic competition or another important personal event. There are ...
  • Microbicides
    Introduction There is research going on right now to develop products, known as microbicides, that would give women the power to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV/AIDS. Around the world, women’s health and lives are at risk every day because there are too few options for STI protection. Although not yet on the ...
  • Natural Hormones at Menopause
    As women learn about the proven health risks of conventional hormone therapy drugs, many are looking for natural alternatives, such as herbs and dietary supplements, to address menopausal symptoms like hot flashes. One alternative therapy — products known as “natural hormones,” or “bio-identical hormones” — has attracted substantial new interest now that conventional hormone therapy products’ health ...