Many women with reproductive cancers (or a high risk of such cancers) often have both ovaries removed during hysterectomy, in order to prevent the development of ovarian cancer at a later date. Yet doing so may increase the risk of other, more common, health risks. Researchers conducted a retrospective analysis of the English Hospital Episode Statistics database, and analyzed outcomes for 113,679 women, aged 35–45, who had had a hysterectomy for benign conditions from 2004 to 2014. Two-thirds of the women had both ovaries removed (bilateral removal group); one-third had only one ovary removed (ovarian conservation). Women in the ovarian conservation group were less likely to be hospitalized for heart disease and to develop cancer compared to the bilateral removal group. They were also less likely to die from heart disease or cancer, and had lower overall mortality rates, as well. Women should assess their risk of developing ovarian cancer vs. other potential health risk, when making the decision about ovary removal.
BMJ, February 2017
States with progressive reproductive regulations have healthier birth outcomes, according to a new study. Researchers analyzed all recorded live birth outcomes in 2012 in the U.S., grouped by state. A composite index score was created for each state based on reproductive rights available in 2011, comprised of the following indicators: mandated sexuality education, Medicaid coverage of family planning, required parental approval for abortion care, waiting periods for abortion care, and public funding for abortion care. States with higher index of reproductive rights had lower rates of both low birth weight (LBW) and preterm birth (PTB). Women who lived in lower-scoring states had a 13-15% increased risk of PTB, and a 6-9% increased risk of LBW, compared with women living in states with the higher scores on ensuring reproductive rights. The authors conclude what the NWHN has long-known: women and their families both fare better when they are able to control their own decisions about whether – and when – to have children.
Women’s Health Issues, March 2017
An estimated 13,000-15,000 transgender individuals serve in the U.S. military, and an estimated 134,000 veterans are transgender. Unfortunately, it remains challenging for transgender service members to find a doctor who can meet their specific health needs. Researchers conducted a survey of attendees at the 2016 Uniformed Services Academy of Family Physicians annual meeting. The survey gathered assessments from 180 providers about their experience in meeting the needs of transgender individuals. Over one-third (37%) had cared for at least one transgender individual. Only 5% reported having had more than 3 hours of medical training on transgender care. The vast majority (90%) reported not having had adequate education in providing hormone therapy for trans individuals. Despite the small sample size, this research indicates a potential problem in ensuring transgender military personnel have access to needed care. Now that the ban on transgender people serving in the military has been lifted, doctors and other providers need more comprehensive training to provide necessary treatment to these patients.
JAMA Internal Medicine, March 2017