Thursday, November 6, 2008

Women's Health - Knowledge is Power

With all of the "female" health problems I've suffered over the years, it's a good possibility that I alone have kept the gynecological field in business. :) I've also been to a variety of doctors and have been given a variety of opinions.

So far, I've avoided having a hysterectomy and I'd like to keep it that way for as long as possible. Far too many doctors, in my opinion, push this option onto women when I believe it should be a last resort.

The AAGL has created a website to help women learn about less invasive procedures (even for those who do require a hysterectomy). They believe in the importance of educating women about such options and helping them to make the best choices for their bodies and their health.

Unfortunately, many women are not told of less invasive options for treating their conditions. Whether it be heavy bleeding, fibroids, stress urinary incontinence, or pelvic organ prolapse, there are treatment options available that do not require traditional surgery.

Since 1/3 of women will experience these conditions in their lifetime, usually after pregnancy and childbirth, information on alternative treatments is so important. Traditional surgery frequently carries a higher risk of complications and a longer healing process. Minimally invasive procedures, however, are done quickly and relatively easily, usually require much less time to heal, and there's a lot less pain, too.

The US News & World reported that, out of the one in four women who receive hysterectomies, approximately 85% are still treated with traditional open abdominal surgical methods, despite the perfection of a decades old laparoscopic procedure that leaves the ovaries and cervix in place. So if I were to go forward with a hysterectomy, I would make sure my doctor uses the laparoscopic procedure if at all possible.

If you doctor proves unwilling or unable to perform minimally invasive procedures, you should feel empowered to seek out a second opinion from a gynecologist who offers less invasive options.

Visit the AAGL's website to learn about the alternative treatments that exist for your condition. Knowledge is power!


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