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Concept: Women's health

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Alicia Yamin argues that applying human rights frameworks and approaches to maternal health offers strategies and tools to address the root causes of maternal morbidity and mortality within and beyond health systems, in addition to addressing other violations of women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.

Concepts: Health, Human, Demography, Law, Sexual health, Reproductive rights, Women's health

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After childbirth, most American women are not scheduled for follow up care for 6 weeks, and this visit is poorly attended. Many new mothers feel unprepared for the common health issues they encounter and are uncertain of whom to contact. To improve care, the 4(th) Trimester Project is bringing together mothers, health care providers, and other stakeholders to explore what families need most from birth to 12 weeks postpartum. Eighty-seven individuals convened in March 2016 in Chapel Hill, NC. Four major topic areas emerged: (1) the intense focus on women’s health prenatally is unbalanced by infrequent and late postpartum care; (2) medical practice guidelines often do not align with women’s experiences and constraints; (3) validation of women as experts of their infants and elevating their strengths as mothers is necessary to achieve health goals; and (4) mothers need comprehensive care, which is difficult to provide due to numerous system constraints. Considerations for improving postpartum services include enabling more convenient care for families that is holistic, culturally appropriate, conversation-based, and equitable. Maternal health issues in the 4(th) Trimester intersect and can compound one another. Enhanced collaboration among health care providers may improve the focus clinical interactions to address the interrelated health issues most important to women.

Concepts: Health care, Health care provider, Medicine, Healthcare, Childbirth, Infant, Mother, Women's health

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The 2017 Hormone Therapy Position Statement of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) updates the 2012 Hormone Therapy Position Statement of The North American Menopause Society and identifies future research needs. An Advisory Panel of clinicians and researchers expert in the field of women’s health and menopause was recruited by NAMS to review the 2012 Position Statement, evaluate new literature, assess the evidence, and reach consensus on recommendations, using the level of evidence to identify the strength of recommendations and the quality of the evidence. The Panel’s recommendations were reviewed and approved by the NAMS Board of Trustees.Hormone therapy (HT) remains the most effective treatment for vasomotor symptoms (VMS) and the genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) and has been shown to prevent bone loss and fracture. The risks of HT differ depending on type, dose, duration of use, route of administration, timing of initiation, and whether a progestogen is used. Treatment should be individualized to identify the most appropriate HT type, dose, formulation, route of administration, and duration of use, using the best available evidence to maximize benefits and minimize risks, with periodic reevaluation of the benefits and risks of continuing or discontinuing HT.For women aged younger than 60 years or who are within 10 years of menopause onset and have no contraindications, the benefit-risk ratio is most favorable for treatment of bothersome VMS and for those at elevated risk for bone loss or fracture. For women who initiate HT more than 10 or 20 years from menopause onset or are aged 60 years or older, the benefit-risk ratio appears less favorable because of the greater absolute risks of coronary heart disease, stroke, venous thromboembolism, and dementia. Longer durations of therapy should be for documented indications such as persistent VMS or bone loss, with shared decision making and periodic reevaluation. For bothersome GSM symptoms not relieved with over-the-counter therapies and without indications for use of systemic HT, low-dose vaginal estrogen therapy or other therapies are recommended.This NAMS position statement has been endorsed by Academy of Women’s Health, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, American Association of Nurse Practitioners, American Medical Women’s Association, American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Asociación Mexicana para el Estudio del Climaterio, Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, Australasian Menopause Society, Chinese Menopause Society, Colegio Mexicano de Especialistas en Ginecologia y Obstetricia, Czech Menopause and Andropause Society, Dominican Menopause Society, European Menopause and Andropause Society, German Menopause Society, Groupe d'études de la ménopause et du vieillissement Hormonal, HealthyWomen, Indian Menopause Society, International Menopause Society, International Osteoporosis Foundation, International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health, Israeli Menopause Society, Japan Society of Menopause and Women’s Health, Korean Society of Menopause, Menopause Research Society of Singapore, National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health, SOBRAC and FEBRASGO, SIGMA Canadian Menopause Society, Società Italiana della Menopausa, Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, South African Menopause Society, Taiwanese Menopause Society, and the Thai Menopause Society. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists supports the value of this clinical document as an educational tool, June 2017. The British Menopause Society supports this Position Statement.

Concepts: Osteoporosis, Medicine, Reproductive health, Menopause, Estrogen, Endocrinology, Testosterone, Women's health

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Management, manipulation, and restoration of a robust vaginal microbiota has the potential to vastly improve women’s health and disease prevention. However, a systems level understanding of how the vaginal microbiota is associated with gynecologic and reproductive health is still needed to develop effective interventional strategies.

Concepts: Medicine, Public health, Reproductive health, Epidemiology, Demography, Gynaecology, Biopsychosocial model, Women's health

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Despite widespread gains toward the 5th Millennium Development Goal (MDG), pro-rich inequalities in reproductive health (RH) and maternal health (MH) are pervasive throughout the world. As countries enter the post-MDG era and strive toward UHC, it will be important to monitor the extent to which countries are achieving equity of RH and MH service coverage. This study explores how equity of service coverage differs across countries, and explores what policy factors are associated with a country’s progress, or lack thereof, toward more equitable RH and MH service coverage.

Concepts: Health, Maternal death, United Nations, Millennium Development Goals, Maternal health, African Development Bank, Poverty reduction, Women's health

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Communities of microbiota have been associated with numerous health outcomes, and while much emphasis has been placed on the gastrointestinal niche, there is growing interest in the microbiome specific for female reproductive health and the health of their offspring. The vaginal microbiome plays an essential role not only in health and dysbiosis, but also potentially in successful fertilization and healthy pregnancies. In addition, microbial communities have been isolated from formerly forbidden sterile niches such as the placenta, breast, uterus, and Fallopian tubes, strongly suggesting an additional microbial role in women’s health. A combination of maternally linked prenatal, birth, and postnatal factors, together with environmental and medical interventions, influence early and later life through the microbiome. Here, we review the role of microbes in female health focusing on the vaginal tract and discuss how male and female reproductive microbiomes are intertwined with conception and how mother-child microbial transfer is a key determinant in infant health, and thus the next generation.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Childbirth, Reproductive health, Human, Reproduction, Fetus, Uterus, Women's health

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Acupuncture and other modalities of Chinese/East Asian medicine have been used to treat women’s health for many centuries. Gynecology specialties focus particularly on menstrual and reproductive disorders. Both the adoption of the use of acupuncture outside Asia, and the incorporation of scientific analysis in Asia have challenged biomedical conceptions of what can be achieved with this treatment method. The scale of research activity in relation to acupuncture and women’s health has increased over the last 20 years.

Concepts: Scientific method, Medicine, Health, Reproductive health, Research, Traditional Chinese medicine, Pseudoscience, Women's health

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STUDY OBJECTIVE: Genital herpes (HSV) is exceedingly common in the United States and women are disproportionally affected. This study aims to describe young women’s beliefs about HSV and examine the correlates of those beliefs. DESIGN: A 40-item Herpes Representation measure (HSV-RoSTD) and a demographic questionnaire were administered to a convenience sample of young women. Data analysis included descriptive statistics, t-tests and Pearson’s correlations. SETTING: Four women’s health clinics and one large state university. PARTICIPANTS: 302 women aged 18-24 years. INTERVENTIONS: None. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Four dimensions of HSV representations (cause, identity, future perspective, and psychosocial consequences), age and STD testing history. RESULTS: Nearly all (98%) believed that HSV would result in genital sores and 68% believed they could tell if their sexual partner had HSV. Most (89%) understood the longevity of HSV; however, 30% believed that they could take a pill to get rid of the infection, and 15% indicated that it was likely they would die from HSV. Negative beliefs about the psychosocial impact of HSV were common as 95% indicated they would be depressed and 90% indicated concern about sex and partner notification. Those who were younger and those who had never been tested for STDs believed a genital herpes infection is highly symptomatic. Finally, negative beliefs about the psychosocial consequences of HSV were associated with beliefs about HSV being symptomatic, having a negative impact on future health, and being associated with sexual risk behaviors. CONCLUSIONS: Young women have misconceptions about HSV, particularly regarding the symptomatology and the role of HSV medication. Noteworthy concerns about the negative psychosocial consequences of an HSV diagnosis were also raised, all of which have implications for young women’s sexual health.

Concepts: Reproductive health, Virus, Demography, Herpes simplex virus, Herpes simplex, Sexually transmitted disease, Women's health, Robots in Disguise

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Although it is now widely recognized that reductions in maternal mortality and improvements in women’s health cannot be achieved through simple, vertical strategies, few programs have provided successful models for how to integrate services into a comprehensive program for maternal health. We report our experience in rural Lesotho, where Partners In Health (PIH) in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare implemented a program that provides comprehensive care of pregnant women from the community to the clinic level.

Concepts: Childbirth, Infant, Obstetrics, Abortion, Maternal death, Millennium Development Goals, Maternal health, Women's health

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The current study examined whether three distinct antecedent factors related to maternal adverse childhood experiences were differentially associated with maternal health and psychosocial outcomes in the antepartum period. It was hypothesized that all three adverse childhood experience factors would be positively associated with poor health prior to pregnancy, poor reproductive health history, and health complications and psychosocial difficulties during pregnancy.

Concepts: Infant, Empiricism, The Current, Sexual health, Women's health