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1.  A comparison between type 3 excision of the transformation zone by straight wire excision of the transformation zone (SWETZ) and large loop excision of the transformation zone (LLETZ): a randomized study 
BMC Women's Health  2015;15:12.
The management of preinvasive cervical lesions has the objective to ensure the absence of invasive lesions and to prevent progression to cancer. Excisional procedures have been preferred to treat these lesions as they report the presence of unsuspected invasive lesions and the status of surgical margins, allowing inferring full excision when such are free of disease. The purpose of this study is to determine whether Straight Wire Excision of the Transformation Zone (SWETZ) is a better alternative than Large Loop Excision of the Transformation Zone (LLETZ-cone) as a type 3 excision of the Transformation Zone (TZ) to reduce incomplete excision and concerning other outcomes of surgical interest.
Randomized controlled trial including women who needed type 3 excision of the TZ referred to a colposcopy clinic after cytological screening between January 2008 thru December 2011. The interventions were performed using local anesthesia and sedation in an inpatient basis by different experienced surgeons. The study enrolled and randomized 164 women, of which 82 were allocated to each group. After exclusions, 78 remained in SWETZ and 76 in LLETZ-cone groups for the analysis of outcomes of surgical interest and 52 and 54, respectively, for the margins analysis.
There was an even distribution between the groups after randomization and exclusions, concerning mean age, parity, current smoking, prior cytological diagnosis and histopathological diagnosis obtained in cone specimen even after exclusions. We observed significantly higher risk of compromised or damaged endocervical margin in specimens resulting from the LLETZ-cone in relation to SWETZ (RR 1.72, 95% CI: 1.14 to 2.6), with an absolute risk reduction (ARR) of 26.4% (95% CI: 8.1 to 44.8) for patients operated by SWETZ. The specimens obtained by SWETZ showed less fragmentation (ARR = 19.8%, 95% CI: 10.3 - 29.3%), but the procedure took longer. There were complications in 5.6% of the procedures, with no significant differences between the groups.
This study showed a lower proportion of compromised or damaged endocervical surgical margin in specimens resulting from SWETZ in relation to LLETZ-cone. SWETZ demonstrated to be more efficient than LLETZ-cone concerning less fragmentation of the specimen obtained. However, it accounted for longer surgical time. Both techniques showed morbidity
Trial registration
Number at NCT01929993 (June 10, 2012).
PMCID: PMC4336713
Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia; Colposcopy; Diathermy; Treatment outcome; Uterine cervical neoplasm; Conization
2.  Uptake and predictors of contraceptive use in Afghan women 
BMC Women's Health  2015;15:9.
Afghanistan has one of the world’s highest fertility rates and, related to this, an infant mortality rate far higher than its South Asian neighbors. Contraception enhances family spacing, improves women’s safety in child birth and, as a result, reduces infant and child mortality. Until recently, there has been a paucity of information on the comparative rates of contraceptive practices in the country and socioeconomic correlates of uptake. We aimed to elucidate the factors influencing the use of contraception in Afghanistan using recent, robust national data.
Using Afghanistan Mortality Survey (AMS) 2010 data, the distribution of Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) and correlates of contraceptive use among currently married women aged 15–49 years were explored. We initially summarised descriptive data on 25,743 married women and then derived predictors of the use of any form of contraception using a multiple logistic regression model.
The prevalence of self-reported current use of any contraceptive method was 21.8% (95% CI: 20.4-23.4) at the national level though there was a wide variation in practice between provinces. Herat province in the West region had a highest contraceptive prevalence rate of 49.4% while Paktika in the Southeast region had the lowest CPR of 2%. Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that a family size of greater than 6 living children strongly predicted contraceptive use (AOR 7.4 (95% CI:6.1-9.0)). Other independent predictors included: secondary or high level of education (AOR 2.1 (95% CI: 1.8-2.5)) and being in the wealthiest stratum (OR 2.1 (95% CI 1.5-3.0)). Rural residence predicted a lower use of contraception (AOR, 0.72; 95% CI: 0.56-0.92).
Contraceptive uptake rate was low overall with wide inter provincial variation. Strengthening female education, targeting married women in rural area and women with no education may enhance the effectiveness of National Family planning program in Afghanistan.
PMCID: PMC4336684
Uptake; Predictors; Contraceptive; Afghan; Women
3.  Multiplicative disadvantage of being an unmarried and inadequately insured woman living in poverty with colon cancer: historical cohort exploration in California 
BMC Women's Health  2015;15:8.
Many Americans diagnosed with colon cancer do not receive indicated chemotherapy. Certain unmarried women may be particularly disadvantaged. A 3-way interaction of the multiplicative disadvantages of being an unmarried and inadequately insured woman living in poverty was explored.
California registry data were analyzed for 2,319 women diagnosed with stage II to IV colon cancer between 1996 and 2000 and followed until 2014. Socioeconomic data from the 2000 census classified neighborhoods as high poverty (≥30% of households poor), middle (5–29%) or low poverty (<5% poor). Primary health insurance was private, Medicare, Medicaid or none. Comparisons of chemotherapy rates used standardized rate ratios (RR). We respectively used logistic and Cox regression models to assess chemotherapy and survival.
A statistically significant 3-way marital status by health insurance by poverty interaction effect on chemotherapy receipt was observed. Chemotherapy rates did not differ between unmarried (39.0%) and married (39.7%) women who lived in lower poverty neighborhoods and were privately insured. But unmarried women (27.3%) were 26% less likely to receive chemotherapy than were married women (37.1%, RR = 0.74, 95% CI 0.58, 0.95) who lived in high poverty neighborhoods and were publicly insured or uninsured. When this interaction and the main effects of health insurance, poverty and chemotherapy were accounted for, survival did not differ by marital status.
The multiplicative barrier to colon cancer care that results from being inadequately insured and living in poverty is worse for unmarried than married women. Poverty is more prevalent among unmarried women and they have fewer assets so they are probably less able to absorb the indirect and direct, but uncovered, costs of colon cancer care. There seem to be structural inequities related to the institutions of marriage, work and health care that particularly disadvantage unmarried women that policy makers ought to be cognizant of as future reforms of the American health care system are considered.
PMCID: PMC4333264
Health insurance; Poverty; Colon cancer; Chemotherapy; Marital status; Unmarried; Women; California; United States
4.  Prevalence of Trichomonas vaginalis infection among Egyptian women using culture and Latex agglutination: cross-sectional study 
BMC Women's Health  2015;15:7.
This is a cross-sectional study carried out in the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department at Kasr Al- Ainy Cairo University Hospitals.
One thousand female patients in the child bearing period (age 18-45 yrs) were included in this study. These females were non-pregnant and non-menstruating with no douching or intercourse for at least 2–3 days, no use of antibiotics, anti-protozoal or steroids for the past 15 days complaining of vaginal discharge with or without itching, burning sensation or both. Vaginal swabs were obtained from all patients for examination by direct wet mount examination, Giemsa staining, Modified Diamond culture and latex agglutination test Kalon) to detect the presence of Trichomonas vaginalis infection.
The prevalence of trichomonas infection was 50 cases, latex agglutination test detected 50 positive cases, 30 of which were also positive by culture, and only 10 were detected both by Giemsa staining and by wet mount.
The wet mount, Giemsa staining and Kalon latex test had sensitivities of 33.3, 33.3% and 100% respectively while their specificities were 100%, 100% and 97.9% respectively.
Screening tests should be done routinely to depict cases of T. vaginalis infection and should be included in the control programs of sexually transmitted infections. Although wet mount is not a sensitive method for diagnosis of T. vaginalis yet, it is a good positive one. Staining is only useful when there is heavy T. vaginalis infection.
Latex agglutination is a highly sensitive, simple, rapid and cost effective test. It provides results within 2-3 minutes and it has the potential for use in screening and diagnosis of T. vaginalis infection.
PMCID: PMC4336703
Trichomonas vaginalis; Wet mount examination; Culture; Latex test
5.  Fertility desires and unmet need for family planning among HIV infected individuals in two HIV clinics with differing models of family planning service delivery 
BMC Women's Health  2015;15:5.
Eliminating family planning (FP) unmet need among HIV-infected individuals (PLHIV) is critical to elimination of mother-to-child HIV transmission. We assessed FP unmet need among PLHIV attending two clinics with differing models of FP services. Nsambya Home Care provided only FP information while Mulago HIV clinic provided information and contraceptives onsite.
In a cross-sectional study conducted between February-June 2011, we documented pregnancies, fertility desires, and contraceptive use among 797 HIV-infected men and women (408 in Mulago and 389 in Nsambya). FP unmet need was calculated among women who were married, unmarried but had sex within the past month, did not desire the last or future pregnancy at all or wished to postpone for ≥ two years and were not using contraceptives. Multivariable analyses for correlates of FP unmet need were computed for each clinic.
Overall, 40% (315) had been pregnant since HIV diagnosis; 58% desired the pregnancies. Of those who were not pregnant, 49% (366) did not desire more children at all; 15.7% wanted children then and 35.3% later. The unmet need for FP in Nsambya (45.1%) was significantly higher than that in Mulago at 30.9% (p = 0.008). Age 40+ compared to 18–29 years (OR = 6.05; 95% CI: 1.69, 21.62 in Mulago and OR = 0.21; 95% CI: 0.05, 0.90 in Nsambya), other Christian denominations (Pentecostal and Seventh Day Adventists) compared to Catholics (OR = 7.18; 95% CI: 2.14, 24.13 in Mulago and OR = 0.23; 95% CI: 0.06, 0.80 in Nsambya), and monthly expenditure > USD 200 compared to < USD40 in Nsambya (OR = 0.17; 95% CI: 0.03, 0.90) were associated with FP unmet need.
More than half of the pregnancies in this population were desired. Unmet need for FP was very high at both clinics and especially at the clinic which did not have contraceptives onsite. Lower income and younger women were most affected by the lack of contraceptives onsite. Comprehensive and aggressive FP programs are required for fertility support and elimination of FP unmet need among PLHIV, even with integration of FP information and supplies into HIV clinics.
PMCID: PMC4320597  PMID: 25627072
Family planning; Unmet need; Fertility; HIV; PMTCT
6.  Presentation and treatment of uterine leiomyoma in adolescence: a systematic review 
BMC Women's Health  2015;15:4.
Uterine leiomyoma is the most common gynecological tumor in the reproductive years. However, it is extremely rare in adolescence (<1%), with few reports found in the literature. The biological behavior of such tumors in this age group is unknown, as well as the best possible treatment for this population. We aimed to analyze all available reports of uterine leiomyoma in adolescence.
A systematic review was performed at PubMed/MEDLINE and EMBASE. Between 1965 and 2014, 19 reports were found on uterine leiomyoma in patients under 18 years. The following parameters were discussed: age, tumor diameter, symptoms, clinical treatments, surgical treatments, hemodynamic changes.
Mean age was 15.35 (14–17) years. Mean tumor diameter was 12.28 cm (3–30) and median diameter was 10 cm. Most patients presented with symptoms (87.5%), including abnormal uterine bleeding (10/18) and pelvic/abdominal pain (6/18). A pelvic mass was the most common finding. Two patients required transfusion due to anemia. One patient underwent abdominal hysterectomy, and the others underwent myomectomy. Mean follow-up was 1 year and 8 months, and only case recurred, after 6 months.
Leiomyomas’ biologic behavior in adolescents may be different from that of older women, but their molecular characteristics still haven’t been analyzed. Optimal treatment is still not defined, but myomectomy has several advantages in this population. Leiomyomas must be remembered as an important differential diagnosis of pelvic mass in adolescents.
PMCID: PMC4308853  PMID: 25609056
Uterine leiomyoma; Treatment; Adolescence
7.  Uterine rupture disguised by urinary retention following a second trimester induced abortion: a case report 
BMC Women's Health  2015;15:1.
Uterine rupture classically presents with severe abdominal pain, loss of fetal station, vaginal bleeding, and shock.
Case presentation
We present a case of uterine rupture presenting as significant urinary retention that occurred following a second trimester abortion induced with mifepristone and misoprostol. Uterine rupture was discovered unexpectedly on diagnostic laparoscopy. The uterine rupture was contained by dense adhesions between the omentum and bladder with the previous uterine cesarean hysterotomy scar.
This case highlights the difficulties in diagnosis of abnormal placentation and an unusual presentation of uterine rupture. This case was managed successfully laparoscopically.
PMCID: PMC4310148  PMID: 25608736
Uterine rupture; Urine retention; Misoprostol; Mifepristone; Laparoscopy
8.  Stigma against HIV/AIDS among female sex workers and general migrant women in eastern China 
BMC Women's Health  2015;15:2.
HIV related stigma is a recognized barrier to early detection of HIV and causes great suffering for those affected. However, data regarding HIV related stigma among female sex workers (FSW) in China was limited, with none for comparison between FSW and general migrant women (GMW). Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine HIV related stigma among FSW and GMW in Shanghai, China.
A community based cross-sectional study with face-to-face interviews was conducted in Shanghai (September 2011 through December 2012), using a structured questionnaire.HIV related stigma scores were examined graphically using boxplot. A logistic regression analysis with the proportional odds model was employed to identify factors affecting HIV related stigma scores.
A total of 1,396 subjects, including 721 FSW and 675 GMW, were recruited in the present study. Both groups had substantial misconceptions about HIV/AIDS, although FSW had slightly higher scores on average. Both groups showed a medium level of HIV related stigma (38.34 ± 6.21 and 38.35 ± 6.86 for FSW and GMW, respectively). For the FSW, higher levels of stigma were observed for those who were in the older age groups (age 26-35 years, OR, 2.06, 95% CI 1.06-4.01), those who were married (OR, 1.62, 95% CI 1.03-2.54), and those who were working at lower-level sex service sites (OR, 1.60, 95% CI 1.06-2.43). Conversely, HIV knowledge was inversely associated with the level of HIV related stigma (OR, 0.93, 95% CI 0.87-0.98).Among GMW participating in the study, those age in the 26-35 years were more likely to show higher level of stigma (OR, 2.61, 95% CI 1.03-2.54), and HIV knowledge was found to be inversely associated with the HIV related stigma level as well (OR, 0.89, 95% CI 0.84-0.95).
The present study suggests that there is an urgent need for the development of appropriate education strategies to reduce HIV related stigma among FSW and GMW in Shanghai, China. In particular, older women, less educated women, and women that have lived in Shanghai a relatively long time should be targeted in future stigma reduction programs.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12905-014-0160-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4316807  PMID: 25608866
9.  Media coverage of violence against women in India: a systematic study of a high profile rape case 
BMC Women's Health  2015;15:3.
On December 16, 2012 a 23 year old female was gang-raped on a bus in Delhi. We systematically reviewed professional online media sources used to inform the timing, breadth of coverage, opinions and consistency in the depiction of events surrounding the gang-rape.
We searched two news databases (LexisNexis Academic and Factivia) and individual newspapers for English-language published media reports covering the gang-rape. Two reviewers screened the media reports and extracted data regarding the time, location and content of each report. Results were summarized qualitatively.
We identified 534 published media reports. Of these, 351 met our eligibility criteria. Based on a time chart, the total number of reports published increased steadily through December, but plateaued to a steady rate of articles per day by the first week of January. Content analysis revealed significant discrepancies between various media reports. From the 57 articles which discussed opinions about the victim, 56% applauded her bravery, 40% discussed outrage over the events and 11% discussed cases of victim-blaming.
The global media response of the December 16th gang-rape in India resulted in highly inconsistent depiction of the events. These findings suggest that although the spread of information through media is fast, it has major limitations.
PMCID: PMC4320521  PMID: 25608960
Delhi; Gang-rape; Media coverage
10.  Anal incontinence, urinary incontinence and sexual problems in primiparous women – a comparison between women with episiotomy only and women with episiotomy and obstetric anal sphincter injury 
BMC Women's Health  2014;14(1):157.
Obstetric anal sphincter injuries (OASIS) might cause anal incontinence (AI) and sexual dysfunction, and might be associated with urinary incontinence (UI). Episiotomy has been identified both as a risk and a protective factor of OASIS. Lately, episiotomies with specific characteristics have shown to be protective against the risk of OASIS. However, little is known about episiotomy characteristics and pelvic floor dysfunction. This study investigates AI, UI, and sexual problems in primiparous women with episiotomy, comparing women with and without OASIS. Associations between episiotomy characteristics and AI, UI, and sexual problems were assessed.
This is a matched case–control study investigating 74 women with one vaginal birth, all with an episiotomy. Among these, 37 women sustained OASIS and were compared to 37 women without OASIS. The two groups were matched for vacuum/forceps. AI, UI and sexual problem symptoms were obtained from St. Mark’s scoring-tool and self-administered questionnaires. The episiotomy characteristics were investigated and results assessed for the whole group.
The mean time from birth was 34.5 months (range1.3-78.2) for those with OASIS and 25.9 months (range 7.0-57.4) for those without OASIS, respectively. More women with OASIS reported AI: 14 (38%) vs. 3 (8%) p = 0.05 (OR 4.66, 95% CI 1.34-16.33) as well as more problem with sexual desire p = 0.02 (OR 7.62, 95% CI 1.30-44.64) compared to women without OASIS. We found no association between episiotomy with protective characteristics and dysfunctions.
Women with OASIS had more AI and sexual problems than those without OASIS. Episiotomy characteristics varied greatly between the women. Episiotomy with protective characteristics was not associated with increased dysfunctions. OASIS should be avoided, and correct episiotomy used if indicated.
PMCID: PMC4273460  PMID: 25511413
Obstetric anal sphincter injuries; Episiotomy characteristics; Anal incontinence; Urinary incontinence; Sexual problems
11.  Risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy: a meta-analysis on impact on ovarian cancer risk and all cause mortality in BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 mutation carriers 
BMC Women's Health  2014;14(1):150.
Women with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers are at substantially elevated risk of developing ovarian cancer. The aim of the meta-analysis is to clarify the role of risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy (RRSO) to reduce ovarian cancer risk and mortality in women with BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 mutation carriers.
Pubmed, Medline and Scopus were searched to select English-language articles. Two investigators independently extracted characteristics and results of selected studies. Articles were included only if prospective and if absolute numbers of ovarian cancer and death events were available or derivable from the test. Pooled hazard ratio (HR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) was calculated using fixed effects model.
Meta-analysis of 3 prospective studies demonstrated a significant risk reduction of ovarian cancer with RRSO in BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 mutation carriers, as well as benefit in all-causes mortality incidence.
It may be justified to recommend RRSO to reduce ovarian cancer risk and all-causes mortality in women with a mutation in BRCA 1 and BRCA 2.
PMCID: PMC4271468  PMID: 25494812
Risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy; Prophylactic; BRCA; Ovarian cancer; Cause; Meta-analysis
12.  Secular trends in age at menarche among women born between 1955 and 1985 in Southeastern China 
BMC Women's Health  2014;14(1):1.
Improvements in socioeconomic conditions and population health have been linked to declining age at menarche. In China, secular trends in age at menarche following extensive economic reform during recent decades have not been thoroughly investigated. This study examined the overall trend in age at menarche and assessed differences in the rate of change of age at menarche over time, and between urban and rural populations and education levels in southeastern China.
Age at menarche was retrospectively collected from 1,167,119 Han Chinese women born 1955–1985, who registered in the Perinatal Health Care Surveillance System in 19 cities and counties in two southeast provinces during 1993–2005. Multivariable linear regression was used to estimate trends in age at menarche overall and stratified by urban/rural residence and education level.
Age at menarche declined by 0.33 [95% CI 0.33, 0.32] years/decade overall, with the fastest decline in women born in 1966–1975. For the earliest birth cohorts (1955–1965), age at menarche declined faster in urban versus rural regions, and for women with high school education or above versus primary school or less. In contrast, age at menarche declined slower among urban women born 1976–1985, and among those with higher education born 1966–1985.
Mean age at menarche declined for women born in 1955–1985 in southeast China. Further study is warranted to identify specific factors contributing to earlier age at menarche and associated health outcomes.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12905-014-0155-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4275952
Epidemiology; Puberty; Menarcheal age; Socio-economic status; China
13.  Lesbians’ attitudes and practices of cervical cancer screening: a qualitative study 
BMC Women's Health  2014;14(1):2.
Cervical cancer is the third most prevalent cancer in women, and since the introduction of the Papanicolaou test (Pap test or Pap smear), the incidence of cervical cancer and mortality rates worldwide have declined substantially. However significant disparities have been identified between the cervical screening rates of heterosexual and lesbian women. This study explores the attitudes and practices that lesbians have towards cervical cancer screening and aims to identify why such disparities occur.
A qualitative methodology based on feminist perspectives was used to collect narrative data from lesbians about their attitudes and practices of cervical screening through the use of semi structured interviews. Nine women who self-identified as lesbian that were living in New South Wales were recruited for the study. Interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed using a thematic analysis approach.
Four main themes emerged from the data namely: Encountering cervical cancer: “my friends had some early cancer cells detected”, Misconceptions related to risk: “I am a lesbian I don’t need one”, Imposed screening: “It’s a requirement of IVF treatment” and, Promoting cervical screening: “I think it should be spoken about in schools”.
Consistent with the literature, the findings show that the majority of these women do not undertake cervical screening at the recommended rate. This study highlights the multiple and complex issues related to cervical cancer screening for lesbians, mainly through misconceptions and underestimation of risk. Specific and targeted educational and promotional strategies are required for both lesbians and health professionals to enhance cervical cancer screening rates for lesbians in Australia.
PMCID: PMC4276097
Lesbian; Cervical cancer screening; Pap test; Pap smear; Papanicolaou test; Cancer prevention; Human papilloma virus
14.  Relationship satisfaction in lesbian and heterosexual couples before and after assisted reproduction: a longitudinal follow-up study 
BMC Women's Health  2014;14(1):154.
More and more lesbian couples are planning parenthood through donor insemination and IVF and the number of planned lesbian families is growing in Sweden and other western countries. Research has shown that lesbian couples report as much overall satisfaction in their relationships as do heterosexual couples. However, although parenthood is highly desired, many parents are unaware of the demands of parenthood and the strain on their relationship that the arrival of the baby might bring. The aim of this study was to compare lesbian and heterosexual couples’ perceptions of relationship satisfaction at a three-year follow up after assisted reproduction.
The present study is a part of the Swedish study on gamete donation, a prospective longitudinal cohort study. The present study constitutes a three-year follow up assessment of lesbian and heterosexual couples after assisted reproduction. Participants requesting assisted reproduction at all fertility clinics performing gamete donation in Sweden, were recruited consecutively during 2005–2008. A total of 114 lesbian women (57 treated women and 57 partners) and 126 heterosexual women and men (63 women and 63 men) participated. Participants responded to the ENRICH inventory at two time points during 2005–2011; at the commencement of treatment (time point 1) and about three years after treatment termination (time point 3). To evaluate the bivariate relationships between the groups (heterosexual and lesbian) and socio-demographic factors Pearson’s Chi- square test was used. Kolmogorov-Smirnov test was used for testing of normality, Mann–Whitney U- test to examine differences in ENRICH between the groups and paired samples t-test to examine scores over time.
Lesbian couples reported higher relationship satisfaction than heterosexual couples, however the heterosexual couples satisfaction with relationship quality was not low. Both lesbian and heterosexual couples would be classified accordingly to ENRICH-typology as vitalized or harmonious couples.
At a follow-up after assisted reproduction with donated sperm, lesbian couples reported stable relationships and a high satisfaction with their relationships, even when treatment was unsuccessful.
PMCID: PMC4276124  PMID: 25495004
Relationship satisfaction; Lesbian couples; Sperm donation
15.  Does South Korea have hidden female smokers: discrepancies in smoking rates between self-reports and urinary cotinine level 
BMC Women's Health  2014;14:156.
Female smoking is perceived very negatively in East Asian countries such as South Korea, Japan, and China, as well as in Islamic countries. These countries’ self-reported surveys (SRs) tend to produce results that underestimate the number of smokers, owing to the social desirability response bias. The present study seeks to assess South Korea, Europe, and the Americas, by comparing data from SRs with those from urinary cotinine samples.
Current smoking rates were calculated using the SRs and the urinary cotinine concentration (UCC) methods according to socioeconomic factors. In order to examine response accuracy regarding current smoking status in the SRs, participants who both completed the SRs and acquired UCC results were subject to analyses of sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), negative predictive value (NPV), and difference ratio (DR) with respect to gender, age, region, economic level, household status, and the presence of chronic disease.
Based on self-reports, the current smoking rate among women was 7.1% (official smoking rates), while that according to the UCC was 18.2%; the rates for men were 47.8% and 55.1%, respectively. The sensitivity of males was 0.8553, the specificity 0.9768, PPV 0.9783, NPV 0.8465, and the difference ratio (DR) was 1.143. The sensitivity for females was 0.3670, the specificity 0.9956, PPV 0.9486, NPV 0.8761, and the DR was 2.6. These results exhibit a very low response alignment rate compared to males.
This study shows that the actual female smoking rate is significantly higher than that reported officially, but also that the gap is decreasing steadily. Females exhibited a higher rate of false responses, which resulted in an underestimation of the female smoking rate.
PMCID: PMC4319222  PMID: 25495192
Female smokers; Self-reported surveys; South Korea; Urinary cotinine concentration
16.  Breast cancer risk perceptions of Turkish women attending primary care: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Women's Health  2014;14(1):152.
As the risks and benefits of early detection and primary prevention strategies for breast cancer are beginning to be quantified, the risk perception of women has become increasingly important as may affect their screening behaviors. This study evaluated the women’s breast cancer risk perception and their accuracy, and determined the factors that can affect their risk perception accuracy.
Data was collected in a cross-sectional survey design. Questionnaire, including breast cancer risk factors, risk perceptions and screening behaviors, answered by 624 women visiting primary health care center (PHCC). “Perceived risk” investigated with numeric and verbal measures. Accuracy of risk perception was determined by women’s Gail 5-year risk scores.
The mean age of the participants was 59.62 ± 1.97 years. Of the women 6.7% had a first-degree relative with breast cancer, 68.9% performed breast self-examination and 62.3% had a mammography, and 82.9% expressed their breast cancer worry as “low”. The numeric measure correlated better with worry and Gail scores. Of the women 65.5% perceived their breast cancer risk accurately. Among the women in “high risk” group 65.7% underestimated, while in “average risk” group 25.4% overestimated their risk.
Turkish women visiting PHCC are overtly and overly optimistic. This was especially obvious with the result that nearly one third had had no mammography. There is a need for further studies to understand why and how this optimism is maintained so that better screening strategies can be applied at PHCC. All health workers working at PHCC have to be aware of this optimism to prevent missed opportunities for cancer screening.
PMCID: PMC4262994  PMID: 25476701
Breast neoplasms; Screening; Prevention; Risk; Perception
17.  5-Year data analysis of patients following abdominal wall endometrioma surgery 
BMC Women's Health  2014;14(1):151.
Endometriosis is a disorder in which an ectopic endometrial tissue grows outside the uterine cavity. The ectopic endometrium embedded in the subcutaneous fatty layer and the muscles of abdominal wall is called as abdominal wall endometriosis (AWE). AWE is a rare condition; however, it is usually known to develop along with previous surgical scars. Caesarean section and hysterectomy are considered to be commonly associated with the development of AWE.
We evaluated the data of the patients who underwent AWE surgery between March 2009 and March 2014.
The mean age of the patients was 32.5 years. We found a previous history of caesarean section in all of the patients. The most frequent symptoms of the patients were abdominal mass sensation and abdominal pain. Invasion of endometriosis to fat layer, fascia, muscular layer, and peritoneum was recorded. Three masses were located within the scar regions.
We can conclude that there is a high prevalence of caesarean sections among the women with AWE.
PMCID: PMC4263010  PMID: 25476548
Endometrioma; Abdominal wall endometriosis; Scar endometriosis
18.  Reproductive health of women with and without disabilities in South India, the SIDE study (South India Disability Evidence) study: a case control study 
BMC Women's Health  2014;14(1):146.
Evidence shows that women with disability have adverse pregnancy outcomes compared to those without a disability. There is a lack of published data on reproductive health of women with disability in India till date. The objective of the South India Disability Evidence (SIDE) Study was to compare reproductive health parameters including pregnancy experience, health access during pregnancy and type of delivery among women with disability compared to women with no disability.
The study was conducted in one district each in two States (Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka) in 2012. A case-control design was used to identify appropriate age and sex-matched controls for women with disability identified through a population-based survey. Trained key informants first listed women with disabilities who were then examined by a medical team to confirm the diagnosis. Trained research investigators administered questionnaire schedules to both groups of women to collect information on reproductive health and outcomes of any pregnancy experienced in the past two years.
A total of 247 women with disability and 324 age-matched controls aged 15-45 years were recruited for the study. 87% of the women with disability had a physical disability. The mean age of women with disability was 29.86 against 29.71 years among women without a disability. A significantly lower proportion of women with disability experienced pregnancy (36.8%) compared to women without a disability (X2 –16.02 P <0.001). The odds ratio for suffering from diabetes among women with disability compared to women without a disability was 19.3(95% CI: 1.2- 313.9), while it was 9.5 (95% CI: 2.2-40.8) for depression. A higher proportion of women without a disability (7.7%) compared to women with a disability (5.3%) reported a successful pregnancy in the past two years. There were no statistically significant differences between women with and without a disability with regard to utilization of antenatal care and pregnancy outcomes.
The study provides evidence on some reproductive health parameters of women with disability in India for the first time ever. The findings will help in formulating policy and to develop specific interventions to improve pregnancy outcomes for women with disability in India.
PMCID: PMC4256815
Disabled persons; Health care disparities; India; Pregnancy; Public health
19.  Cervical cancer screening program in Thimphu, Bhutan: population coverage and characteristics associated with screening attendance 
BMC Women's Health  2014;14(1):147.
Bhutan has been engaged in good-quality cytology-based cervical screening since 2000 and has vaccinated >90% girls against human papillomavirus (HPV) since 2010. We explored the characteristics associated with lack of previous screening and screening coverage in women age ≥25 years.
Women were invited at home or during their attendance at 2 outpatient clinics, in the capital, Thimphu, and nearby Lungthenphu. Age-adjusted odds ratios for lack of previous screening by selected characteristics were computed among 1,620 participating women. In Thimphu an invitation registry allowed to estimate screening history not only among participating women but also among additional 500 women who did not accept to join our study.
Among women who had a Pap smear, lack of previous screening was associated with age <35 or ≥45 years. It was also associated with some occupations; being single, or widowed/separated; and presence of HPV infection. Multiparity and use of contraceptive methods were associated with having been screened. In women invited at home in Thimphu screening history substantially differed by participation. Past screening attendance was 59% among women recruited in the 2 clinics, 53% in women who were invited from home and accepted the invitation, but only 25% in those who refused it. Based on all women recruited from home the estimate of population-based coverage in Thimphu is 34% (95% CI: 31-37).
Transition from an opportunistic screening to an all-reaching population-based screening is yet to be achieved in Bhutan, even in the capital. Better ways to target never-screened women are needed.
PMCID: PMC4258285  PMID: 25433538
Screening; Cervical cancer; Bhutan
20.  Primary health care use from the perspective of gender and morbidity burden 
BMC Women's Health  2014;14(1):145.
Sex and gender can interact to contribute to differences in morbidity and mortality between men and women. To detect such differences is an important issue for health policy planners when designing programmes for the provision of healthcare services for the whole population. Our aim was to study differences between men and women in the use of Primary Health Care (PHC) resources, taking into account age and morbidity burden.
An observational retrospective study was carried out using the information gathered in electronic medical records from 79,809 adult patients who attended a PHC centre at least once in 2008. The ACG® System was used to quantify the morbidity burden of patients. Poisson regression models were applied to analyse differences in the number of visits to the PHC centre by men and women.
Morbidity burden was significantly higher in women of all age groups. The gross number of visits to the PHC centre was also higher for women in all age groups. However, when adjusting by age and morbidity burden, we did not find a higher utilization by women compared to men. For high levels of morbidity burden, the attendance by men was even significantly higher.
The overall higher use of PHC by women seems to be associated with their higher morbidity burden. The interaction between biology and socially constructed roles could also underlie this higher use by women, and is therefore an area that deserves further in-depth research.
PMCID: PMC4258297  PMID: 25433402
Morbidity burden; Gender; Primary health care
21.  Educating women about congenital cytomegalovirus: assessment of health education materials through a web-based survey 
BMC Women's Health  2014;14(1):144.
Congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) is the most common congenital infection in the U.S. and can result in permanent disabilities, such as hearing and vision loss, intellectual disability, and psychomotor and language impairments. Women can adopt prevention behaviors in an attempt to reduce their exposure to CMV. Currently, few women are familiar with CMV. To increase awareness of CMV, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed draft health education materials. The purpose of this study was to pilot test two health education materials to gauge their appeal and to determine if they increase knowledge about CMV and motivate audiences to seek additional information on CMV and adopt CMV prevention behaviors.
African-American (n = 404) and Caucasian women (n = 405), who had a young child and were either pregnant or planning a pregnancy, were recruited to participate in a 15-minute web survey. Participants were randomly assigned to view one of two CMV health education materials, either a factsheet or video. Pre and post survey measures were used to assess changes in knowledge of CMV and motivation to adopt prevention behaviors. We also examined audience preferences regarding materials and motivation.
CMV knowledge score increased significantly after presentation of either the video or factsheet (from 3.7 out of 10 to 9.1 out of 10, p <0.001). The average materials appeal score was high, with a mean of 3.6 on a four-point scale, indicating women responded very positively to both materials. Regression analyses indicated that appeal, message involvement (e.g., information seeking, discussing with others), post materials knowledge score, and viewing the video (vs. factsheet) were significantly positively associated with increased support for CMV prevention behaviors.
Overall, we found that the health education materials improved women’s knowledge of CMV and encouraged them to adopt prevention behaviors. Given the low awareness levels among women currently, these findings suggest that appropriate education materials have the potential to greatly increase knowledge of CMV.
As women become more knowledgeable about CMV and transmission routes, we expect they will be more likely to adopt prevention behaviors, thereby reducing their risk of CMV infection.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12905-014-0144-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4260245  PMID: 25433837
Cytomegalovirus; Congenital; Health education materials; Web-based survey; Prevention guidelines; Pregnant women
22.  A qualitative study of the background and in-hospital medicolegal response to female burn injuries in India 
BMC Women's Health  2014;14(1):142.
Most burns happen in low- and middle-income countries. In India, deaths related to burns are more common in women than in men and occur against a complex background in which the cause – accidental or non-accidental, suicidal or homicidal – is often unclear. Our study aimed to understand the antecedents to burns and the problem of ascribing cause, the sequence of medicolegal events after a woman was admitted to hospital, and potential opportunities for improvement.
We conducted semi-structured interviews with 33 women admitted to two major burns units, their families, and 26 key informant doctors, nurses, and police officers. We used framework analysis to examine the context in which burns occurred and the sequence of medicolegal action after admission to hospital.
Interviewees described accidents, attempted suicide, and attempted homicide. Distinguishing between these was difficult because the underlying combination of poverty and cultural precedent was common to all and action was contingent on potentially conflicting narratives. Space constraint, problems with cooking equipment, and inflammable clothing increased the risk of accidental burns, but coexisted with household conflict, gender-based violence, and alcohol use. Most burns were initially ascribed to accidents. Clinicians adhered to medicolegal procedures, the police carried out their investigative requirements relatively rapidly, but both groups felt vulnerable in the face of the legal process. Women’s understandable reticence to describe burns as non-accidental, the contested nature of statements, their perceived history of changeability, the limited quality and validity of forensic evidence, and the requirement for resilience on the part of clients underlay a general pessimism.
The similarities between accident and intention cluster so tightly as to make them challenging to distinguish, especially given women’s understandable reticence to describe burns as non-accidental. The contested status of forensic evidence and a reliance on testimony means that only a minority of cases lead to conviction. The emphasis should be on improving documentation, communication between service providers, and public understanding of the risks of burns.
PMCID: PMC4260258  PMID: 25433681
India; Poverty areas; Burns; Violence against women
23.  Piloting a computer assisted telephone interview: the FUCHSIA Women’s Study 
BMC Women's Health  2014;14(1):149.
Loss of fertility has been reported as an important concern of reproductive age women diagnosed with cancer. The Furthering Understanding of Cancer, Health, and Survivorship In Adult (FUCHSIA) Women’s Study examines how cancer treatment affects the fertility of cancer survivors who were diagnosed during their reproductive years. In this paper we discuss the process of developing and pilot testing the FUCHSIA computer assisted telephone interview (CATI).
The CATI was developed in several phases and pilot tested twice to evaluate several aspects of the instrument including question sequencing, understandability of the questions, and women’s comfort with certain questions. Participants were recruited from cancer and infertility support groups and study team contacts.
Fifty-two women were recruited and participated in the first pilot. The participants had a mean age of 31.5 years, 17.3% had cancer, and 38.5% experienced a period of infertility. Twenty-four women participated in the second pilot with similar representation.
The collection of detailed information on reproductive outcomes with the CATI may improve the understanding of how cancer treatment during the reproductive years affects female fertility. The pilot studies provided important information to improve the CATI before the full study. Our comprehensive recruitment strategy allowed us to interview a diverse group of women to ensure that questions and answer choices were easily interpreted, check complicated skip patterns and the flow of questions, and evaluate the length of the interview. This experience can be used to help inform others in what steps can be useful for developing telephone interviews for research studies.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12905-014-0149-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4261975  PMID: 25434679
Pilot testing; Telephone interview; Recruitment; Survivorship; Cancer; Fertility
24.  Subgrouping of Japanese middle-aged women attending a menopause clinic using physical and psychological symptom profiles: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Women's Health  2014;14(1):148.
Women in the menopausal transition and the postmenopausal period are affected with vasomotor symptoms, urogenital atrophy, sexual dysfunction, somatic symptoms, cognitive difficulty, sleep disturbance, and psychological problems. It is important to gain a better understanding of the complexity and diversity of climacteric disturbance in order to optimize treatments for individual patients. The aim of this study was to identify subgroups of Japanese perimenopausal and postmenopausal women attending a menopause clinic based on their physical and psychological symptom profiles.
We administered the Menopausal Health-Related Quality of Life questionnaire to 491 Japanese women aged 40–64 years who had enrolled in the Systematic Health and Nutrition Education Program at the Menopause Clinic of the Tokyo Medical and Dental University Hospital between 2005 and 2012. We performed a principal component analysis followed by a hierarchical cluster analysis of the responses to 9 physical and 12 psychological items on the questionnaire.
The first analysis extracted 3 principal components that defined the variance of physical and psychological symptom profiles: depression, somatic, and vasomotor/sleep. A subsequent cluster analysis was performed based on the 3 principal components to generate 4 clusters, CL8 (N = 162; 33.0%), CL6 (N = 111; 22.6%), CL5 (N = 102; 20.8%), and CL4 (N = 116; 23.6%). CL8 included women who only had mild-to-moderate musculoskeletal pains and tiredness. All women in CL6, CL5, and CL4 described their musculoskeletal pains and tiredness as moderate to severe. The women in CL5 also had moderate-to-severe vasomotor symptoms, while the women in CL4 also suffered from moderate-to-severe psychological symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, and insomnia.
Distinct subgroups of Japanese perimenopausal and postmenopausal women were identified based on their symptom profiles. Menopausal symptoms were shown to accumulate in this population in the order of musculoskeletal pains and tiredness, vasomotor symptoms, and psychological symptoms.
PMCID: PMC4247616  PMID: 25420911
Principal component analysis; Cluster analysis; Musculoskeletal pains; Tiredness; Vasomotor symptoms; Depression; Anxiety; Insomnia
25.  Post-coital posterior fornix perforation with vaginal evisceration 
BMC Women's Health  2014;14(1):141.
Cases of post-coital posterior fornix perforation with vaginal eviscerations are infrequently reported in literature and uncommon cause for laparotomy.
Case presentation
We report the case of 28 year old nulliparous woman presented to the hospital with per vaginal bleeding and evisceration following penile-vaginal sexual intercourse.
High degree of suspicion in these cases is important especially in sexually active women as delay in management often results in life threatening blood loss, peritonitis and intestinal obstruction. Physicians should be aware that initial patient history may be inaccurate or misleading if taken in the presence of family or partner given the sensitive nature of the injury.
PMCID: PMC4251674  PMID: 25420670
Post coital; Posterior fornix perforation; Vaginal evisceration

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