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    Highlights From the Summit

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | September 23rd, 2018

    Highlights From the Summit

    Last Thursday, I was one of two speakers who spoke for the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America Health & Wellness Education Summit Series. I was tasked with speaking on Family Planning, Sexual Dysfunction and Menopause in 30 minutes. Although most of the talk focused on women who had multiple sclerosis, the topics are relevant to all women. I wanted to highlight some of the points from the summit.

    FAMILY PLANNING – If you are a woman of reproductive age meaning that you are still having your period, it is important that at least once a year, you answer – One Key Question®Would you like to become pregnant in the next year? About half of the pregnancies that occur in the United States are unplanned and among those pregnancies that are unplanned, women were using birth control but not using it correctly. If the answer to One Key Question® is yes, then it is important that you schedule an appointment to see your physician for preconception counseling. They will review your medical history along with all medications that you are taking. They will prescribe folic acid to help decrease the risk of your baby being born with problems with the spine. They will test to find out if you are a carrier for sickle cell disease or cystic fibrosis. If the answer to One Key Question® is no, then you should be on an effective form of birth control. The most effective form of birth control is the long-acting reversible contraceptives also known as LARCS which include the intrauterine devices and the subdermal implant. Click here for a previous blog on LARCs. If the answer to One Key Question® is, I am not sure, it is important that you see your physician for preconception counseling and to talk about birth control.

    SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION – Sexual health is an important part of our health. Patients are not talking about sexual problems and unfortunately, many doctors are not asking about sexual health. Are you sexually active? If you are, are you having any problems? If you are not, is it by choice or is it because you are having problems and have given up on having sex?  Whether you are in a heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual relationship, you deserve to be heard if you are having problems. Although, you might bring up the topic during your annual well woman exam, it might not be fully addressed at that visit. You might need another office visit to address the issue. What may help is filling out a questionnaire prior to the visit so that we can narrow down the problem. Please click here to check out a sample questionnaire on a previous blog.

    MENOPAUSE – Every woman will go through menopause if they live long enough.  The average age of menopause is 51 years old. When you have a gone a full year without a period, you will be considered menopausal. You can start having symptoms prior to your period ending. Symptoms include hot flushes, vaginal dryness, sleep disturbances, mood changes to name a few. There are various approaches to managing the symptoms. You can do it naturally by making lifestyle changes, you can manage your symptoms with hormones or you can manage it with medicines that are not hormones. It is best to download the app – MenoPro to guide you. Also, the North American Menopause Society publishes MenoNotes on managing the most common symptoms. By educating yourself, you are better prepared when you see your physician.

     

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    Secure Your Copy of Letters to My Sisters by Dr. Ngozi Osuagwu.
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    The book discusses common gynecological and women’s health issues in a series of witty and entertaining letters. These letters, all educational, offer suggestions on what approaches to take in tackling the medical problems that typically bring women to an ob/gynecologist. The letters are spiced with art, a poem and quotes. Although its emphasis is on gynecology and women’s health, it touches on some other medical issues that make women visit their doctors.

    The second half of the book briefly discusses the most common gynecological conditions and also provides an overview of sexually transmitted infections. A list of annotated websites dealing with the different topics in the book is provided for the reader who wants to pursue each subject in depth.




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