Last week, I attended a daylong conference at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. The event was the State of the Art Ovarian Cancer Conference. It was wonderful to hear of all the advances in the treatment and care of the women who are fighting this terrible disease.
Being associated with a special gynecologic oncologist for many years, I saw firsthand the benefits of the initial surgery for ovarian cancer and the need for an extensive surgical procedure. At the conference, this was especially emphasized and the long-term benefits were so significant.
It is important to remember that if a loved one or you find yourself in a battle with ovarian cancer, you must find a gynecologic oncologist for your initial surgery and get the best results possible.
As you know, Pokémon Go is a hot new game being played by countless people. There have been mixed reviews on this augmented reality game from concerns about safety to praises about increasing physical activity. I posted this video to give you a very detailed description about what your children are involved in, and I believe it is important to have a discussion with them about the possible dangers to look out for while playing a game like this.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recently updated its guidelines concerning the testing of pregnant women who have a possible Zika virus infection or exposure. It must always be noted that most people with the Zika virus infection are either asymptomatic or have mild clinical symptoms. Mild clinical symptoms can be an acute onset of a fever, a rash, joint pain, and/or conjunctivitis.
There is new data suggesting that the virus can be detected in the blood and urine for 2 weeks after the infection begins. This testing of the urine and blood for the virus should be performed for:
Symptomatic pregnant women in less than 2 weeks after the symptoms begin
Asymptomatic pregnant women in less than 2 weeks after a possible exposure
After this 2-week window, blood testing should begin for the Zika virus IgM antibody, which the body makes in response to a new Zika virus infection. If this is found to be positive, there was definitely an infection and close fetal evaluation should begin.
As always, you should discuss the Zika virus problem with your health care provider so you can get the best possible care.
Are you approaching or in menopause and are concerned about its symptoms? My office manager and I are here to help! We discuss bio-identical hormone replacement therapy questions and answers. You will hear an introduction about the therapy, and I will help you understand it with more depth.
At the moment, there are no approved drugs or vaccines for the Zika infection, but scientists are working on a vaccine. Since the infection itself seems to be mild and short-lived, fluids and Tylenol are mostly recommended.
Testing to determine if you have had the virus is mainly confined to pregnant women and symptomatic travelers who have visited the areas where the virus has spread. At this time, testing is done at only a state or federal lab and getting results can take weeks.
3. How It Spreads
The Zika virus is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito and through sex with an infected partner. It is important for pregnant women to know the travel history of their sexual partners.
Preventing mosquito bites is the best way to protect yourself from this virus. Use the time-tested methods of bug sprays and cover-ups, and eliminate any standing water where mosquitoes can lay eggs. You should check your window screens and keep the air conditioners on if possible because mosquitoes hate the cold.
Today, the Zika virus is on the mind of almost everyone; pictures of the children affected by the virus are seen constantly in the news. Beginning today, I will try to keep us up to date on the latest information available.
The virus is named after the Zika Forest in Uganda, Africa, where it was first discovered in the late 1940s. Since then it was not considered to be a major problem because it usually caused mild flu symptoms, which soon passed rather quickly. Then last year’s reports came from Brazil about a major invasion of the virus. There were pictures of the many affected newborns that had been infected, and the resulting congenital microcephaly was seen everywhere.
Why is this virus now causing all these problems? Where has it been the last 60-70 years? Some experts believe the virus has mutated, and some think it has always been there, but was quietly going unnoticed.
As the summer approaches and the mosquitoes return, the Zika virus will certainly be a concern in the mainland of our country. Puerto Rico already reported about a 1000 confirmed cases, including approximately 100 pregnant women. With the travel season upon us, the numbers of our family and friends who will be exposed to the virus is staggering, so being aware of the latest information is paramount in our quest to be safe.
Just yesterday one of my patients asked me about the effectiveness of the morning-after pill in a woman like herself, who was overweight. I knew that obesity could be associated with a decrease in the effectiveness of the birth control pill and the morning-after pill, but I could not give her better information.
Recently, there were a few review articles showing that studies are limited. Let me give you some questions to ask your health care provider about this situation, especially since about 25% of women in the childbearing age group are considered to be obese based on their BMI:
How effective is the birth control pill in overweight women?
Being overweight, is there a pill that could be more effective?
Could a vaginal ring or IUD be a better consideration?
Is the risk of blood clots increased with the pill?
Does bariatric surgery have any effects with the use of the pill?
I hope these questions will open the door for a good discussion so that the best medical treatment plan can be established.