10 articles to mark National Women’s Health Week
National Women’s Health Week is observed each year, starting on Mother’s Day, to encourage women and girls to take care of their physical and mental health.
The observance, which runs from May 9 through May 15 this year, is led by the HHS’ Office on Women’s Health.
The CDC and HHS shared steps that women and girls can take to improve their health, including:
- attending regular health screenings and exams;
- exercising and maintaining a balanced diet;
- prioritizing mental health and managing stress with healthy coping mechanisms;
- following a consistent sleep routine of at least 7 hours; and
- protecting themselves and their community from COVID-19 by maintaining social distancing and receiving a vaccine.
Physicians can use National Women’s Health Week as an opportunity “to encourage each of his or her female patients to become her own best advocate,” Healio Primary Care Peer Perspective Board Member Emily Barrows, MD, an assistant professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Virginia Commonwealth University, said in an interview.
“To this end, I would ask all physicians to take a moment with each patient to make sure she has the space and attention she deserves to speak up regarding her health and safety, and to help her feel empowered to strive for physical, mental and emotional wellness,” she said.
To mark the occasion, Healio Primary Care gathered some of the top stories addressing women’s health over the past year:
USPSTF: Screen all sexually active women, but not men, for chlamydia, gonorrhea
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued a draft recommendation encouraging physicians to screen for chlamydia and gonorrhea in all sexually active women aged 24 years and younger. Read more.
CMS, HHS take ‘historic’ actions to improve maternal health care
HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra announced initiatives that he said will improve the lives of low-income mothers and lower U.S. maternal morbidity and mortality rates, which are among the highest in developed and high-income countries. Read more.
‘Sobering’ data: ACOG encourages trauma-informed approach to care for women
A new committee opinion issued by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists encourages women’s health professionals to acknowledge that trauma occurs and the effect it has on their patients and colleagues. Read more.
Breast cancer screening strategy based on breast density at 40 years cost effective
A baseline breast density assessment in women aged 40 years followed by annual screening for those with dense breasts may be more cost effective than biennial screening starting at age 50 years, according to researchers. Read more.
Many transgender women with HIV are not tested for STIs, analysis finds
Despite national guidelines recommending that sexually active people with HIV be tested annually for STIs, many transgender women with HIV are not tested for syphilis, chlamydia or gonorrhea. Read more.
Q&A: Steps clinicians can take to ease anxiety, fear about pelvic exams
Addressing patients’ anxiety about pelvic exams could help prevent them from delaying or avoiding the procedure, according to a paper published in Primary Care and Community Health. Read more.
Menstrual tracking app reveals clues of ‘broader’ PCOS symptoms
An analysis of polycystic ovary syndrome symptoms using a menstrual tracking app shows common traits of the disorder may be broader than Rotterdam criteria symptoms, according to data published in Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology. Read more.
Racial, ethnic disparities persist in maternal mortality
Black, Hispanic and other underrepresented women continue to be disproportionately affected by severe maternal morbidities that lead to mortality, which researchers describe as “failure to rescue.” Read more.
FDA waives mifepristone’s in-person dispensing requirement
The FDA, citing potential “risks to patients and health care personnel,” said it will waive mifepristone’s in-person dispensing requirement during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Read more.
Moms with COVID-19 separated from infants more likely to experience postpartum depression
A New York hospital reported an increased incidence and relative risk for postpartum depression in new mothers with COVID-19 who were separated from their newborns, a retrospective cohort study showed. Read more.
- CDC. Celebrating Women’s Health Week! Accessed May 12, 2021. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/healthequity/features/nwhw/index.html.
- HHS. About National Women’s Health Week. Accessed May 12, 2021. Available at: https://www.womenshealth.gov/nwhw/about.