Many medical situations necessitate a stressful period of waiting for potentially threatening test results. The medical waiting period is often associated with negative anticipatory anxiety and rumination about the outcome of treatment. Few evidence-based self-help coping interventions are available to assist individuals manage these periods. Theory and research suggest that positive reappraisal coping strategies may be particularly useful for this type of unpredictable and uncontrollable stressful context. The objective of this study is to investigate the effects of a Positive Reappraisal Coping Intervention (PRCI) on psychological well-being of women waiting for the outcome of their fertility treatment cycle.
In a three-armed randomized controlled trial, the effectiveness of the PRCI will be tested. Consecutive patients undergoing in vitro fertilisation in a Dutch university hospital and meeting selection criteria will be invited to participate. Those who agree will be randomized to one of three experimental groups (N=372). The PRCI Intervention group will receive the intervention that comprises an explanatory leaflet and the 10 statements designed to promote positive reappraisal coping, to be read at least once in the morning, once in the evening. To capture the general impact of PRCI on psychological wellbeing patients will complete questionnaires before the waiting period (pre-intervention), on day ten of the 14-day waiting period (intervention) and six weeks after the start of the waiting period (post-intervention). To capture the specific effects of the PRCI during the waiting period, patients will also be asked to monitor daily their emotions and reactions during the 14-day waiting period. The primary outcome is general anxiety, measured by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Secondary outcomes are positive and negative emotions during the waiting period, depression, quality of life, coping and treatment outcome. During recruitment for the RCT it was decided to add a fourth non-randomized group, a PRCI Control group that received the PRCI and completed the questionnaires but did not complete daily monitoring.
Positive reappraisal is one of the few ways of coping that has been shown to be associated with increased wellbeing during unpredictable and uncontrollable situations like medical waiting periods. A simple evidence based self-help intervention could facilitate coping during this common medical situation. This RCT study will evaluate the value of a self-help coping intervention designed for medical waiting periods in women undergoing fertility treatment.
The study is registered at the Clinical Tials.gov (NCT01701011).
Coping-intervention; Anxiety; Medical waiting period; Fertility; Randomized clinical trial
Breast cancer incidence in women increases with age, while survival rates decrease. Studies interpret this result as meaning higher comorbidity, diagnosis at later stages of the disease, and less effective treatment in the elderly. The aim of this study is to evaluate the diagnosis and treatment characteristics of breast cancer and their effect on the survival of women aged 65 and above.
The data within the files of 1064 women with breast cancer, who were followed-up in Dokuz Eylul University Medical Faculty Hospital between 2000 and 2006, were reviewed retrospectively. The survival probabilities at years 1 and 5 were calculated by life table analysis. The Kaplan-Meier test was used for calculating mean survival time, and the differences between groups were evaluated by log-rank test. The backward elimination method was used for multivariate analysis, and a −2 log-likelihood ratio was used for comparison of different models.
Of the patients, 25.3% were aged 65 and above at the time of the diagnosis. Patients in this group had more comorbidities and were more likely to be diagnosed at advanced stages than younger patients. Additionally, they had lower rates of surgical treatment, chemotherapy or radiotherapy. One and 5-year survival probabilities among age groups were 96.1% and 84.5%, respectively, for <65 years, 93.5% and 84.8%, respectively, for 65–69, 98.7% and 84.0%, respectively, for 70–74, and 85.5% and 59.6%, respectively, for 75 years and above. In the multivariate model, age, clinical stage, and comorbidity were found to be negatively associated with the survival rate.
The survival of women with breast cancer aged 65 and above was affected negatively by age at diagnosis, clinical stage, and the presence of comorbidity. Early diagnosis also is very important for elderly women. Additionally, because of higher comorbidity, their evaluation and treatment should be planned by an interdisciplinary team.
Aged; Women; Breast neoplasms; Survival
Low blood levels of vitamin D (25-hydroxy D3, 25OHD3) in women have been associated with an increased risk of several diseases. A large part of the population may have suboptimal 25OHD3 levels but high-risk groups are not well known. The aim of the present study was to identify determinants for serum levels of 25OHD3 in women, i.e. factors such as lifestyle, menopausal status, diet and selected biochemical variables.
The study was based on women from the Malmö Diet and Cancer Study (MDCS), a prospective, population-based cohort study in Malmö, Sweden. In a previous case–control study on breast cancer, 25OHD3 concentrations had been measured in 727 women. In these, quartiles of serum 25OHD3 were compared with regard to age at baseline, BMI (Body Max Index), menopausal status, use of oral contraceptives or menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) , life-style (e.g. smoking and alcohol consumption), socio-demographic factors, season, biochemical variables (i.e. calcium, PTH, albumin, creatinine, and phosphate), and dietary intake of vitamin D and calcium. In order to test differences in mean vitamin D concentrations between different categories of the studied factors, an ANOVA test was used followed by a t-test. The relation between different factors and 25OHD3 was further investigated using multiple linear regression analysis and a logistic regression analysis.
We found a positive association between serum levels of 25OHD3 and age, oral contraceptive use, moderate alcohol consumption, blood collection during summer/ autumn, creatinine, phosphate, calcium, and a high intake of vitamin D. Low vitamin D levels were associated with obesity, being born outside Sweden and high PTH levels.
The present population-based study found a positive association between serum levels of 25OHD3 and to several socio-demographic, life-style and biochemical factors. The study may have implications e. g. for dietary recommendations. However, the analysis is a cross-sectional and it is difficult to suggest Lifestyle changes as cause- effect relationships are difficult to assess.
Heavy menstrual bleeding is an important health problem. Two frequently used therapies are the levonorgestrel intra-uterine system (LNG-IUS) and endometrial ablation. The LNG-IUS can be applied easily by the general practitioner, which saves costs, but has considerable failure rates. As an alternative, endometrial ablation is also very effective, but this treatment has to be performed by a gynaecologist. Due to lack of direct comparison of LNG-IUS with endometrial ablation, there is no evidence based preferred advice for the use of one of these treatment possibilities.
A multicenter randomised controlled trial, organised in a network infrastructure in the Netherlands in which general practitioners and gynaecologists collaborate.
Women ≥ 34 years with heavy menstrual bleeding, a Pictorial Blood Assessment Chart (PBAC) score exceeding 150 points and no future child wish can participate in the trial. After informed consent, women will be randomised to a strategy starting with a levonorgestrel releasing intrauterine system or a strategy starting with endometrial ablation.
The primary outcome is the PBAC score at 24 months of follow-up. Secondary outcomes are patient satisfaction, complications, number of re-interventions, menstrual bleeding pattern, quality of life, sexual function, sick leave and costs. As predictors of effect of intervention we also meaure level of coagulation factors.
This study, considering both effectiveness and cost effectiveness of LNG-IUS versus endometrial ablation may well improve care for women with heavy menstrual bleeding.
Dutch trial register, number NTR2984
Heavy menstrual bleeding; Endometrial ablation; LNG-IUS
Violence against women is a significant health problem and a hidden phenomenon, in Italy that about 31% of the women have been victims of violence once in life. Aims of this study are to describe characteristics of women victims of violence (VV) attending the EDs in the Lazio region in 2008 and to illustrate the frequency and characteristics of previous ED visits.
Using the Emergency Information System, visits of women, (15–49 years), in the 60 EDs, for a violent trauma have been analysed. For each VV identified, we considered the last episode and searched for ED attendances in a six year period (2003–08) in order to identify other visits. We performed descriptive analyses of socio-demographic and clinical factors of VV and we analyzed the impact previous ED visits. We compared ED utilization of women VV with a random sample of women with the same age distribution who gave birth in 2008.
In 2008, 7,725 ED attendances of women VV were found (1.1% of the ED visits) corresponding to 6,936 women (prevalence = 52.0x10,000). The mean number of ED visits for each woman in five years was 5.0 (1–190). Prevalent diagnoses were contusions (45.8%), neurotic disorders (5.4%) complications of medical care (6.3%). The women were young, approximately 70% were residents in Rome or the surrounding areas. Foreign women were three times more likely to visit the ED for intentional injuries than were Italian women (114.1 vs 44.4 per 10.000).
This study shows high prevalence of violence against women in Lazio region, Italy. Most of the women have been visited by the ED several times before the violent episode, often with traumas. ED medical and nursing staff should be prepared and trained to successfully manage victims of violence.
Violence; Health services; Women; Public health
Hypokalemia induced by diuretic abuse is a life-threatening emergency.
A 22-years-old female nurse with a body mass index 18 suffered from myalgias, vomiting and diarrhea. Blood tests revealed hypokalemia with a lowest value of 1.1 mmol/l, moderate hyponatremia, metabolic alkalosis, mild renal insufficiency and creatinphosphokinase-elevation. Since hypokalemia and alkalosis were unexplained, she was asked for diuretic-intake. She confessed that she has taken 250 mg furosemide/day for the last 4 months to improve the shape of her muscles. Furosemide tablets were given to her by a physician attending the gym where she exercised. After electrolyte substitution, laboratory abnormalities regressed and no cardiac arrests were observed. Psychiatric investigation diagnosed an adjustment disorder.
Furosemide abuse has to be considered even in underweight individuals, especially if they have a psychiatric instability or work in health care institutions.
Furosemide; Hypokalemia; Rhabdomyolysis
The current political climate with regards to abortion in the US, along with the economic recession may be affecting women’s reasons for seeking abortion, warranting a new investigation into the reasons why women seek abortion.
Data for this study were drawn from baseline quantitative and qualitative data from the Turnaway Study, an ongoing, five-year, longitudinal study evaluating the health and socioeconomic consequences of receiving or being denied an abortion in the US. While the study has followed women for over two full years, it relies on the baseline data which were collected from 2008 through the end of 2010. The sample included 954 women from 30 abortion facilities across the US who responded to two open ended questions regarding the reasons why they wanted to terminate their pregnancy approximately one week after seeking an abortion.
Women’s reasons for seeking an abortion fell into 11 broad themes. The predominant themes identified as reasons for seeking abortion included financial reasons (40%), timing (36%), partner related reasons (31%), and the need to focus on other children (29%). Most women reported multiple reasons for seeking an abortion crossing over several themes (64%). Using mixed effects multivariate logistic regression analyses, we identified the social and demographic predictors of the predominant themes women gave for seeking an abortion.
Study findings demonstrate that the reasons women seek abortion are complex and interrelated, similar to those found in previous studies. While some women stated only one factor that contributed to their desire to terminate their pregnancies, others pointed to a myriad of factors that, cumulatively, resulted in their seeking abortion. As indicated by the differences we observed among women’s reasons by individual characteristics, women seek abortion for reasons related to their circumstances, including their socioeconomic status, age, health, parity and marital status. It is important that policy makers consider women’s motivations for choosing abortion, as decisions to support or oppose such legislation could have profound effects on the health, socioeconomic outcomes and life trajectories of women facing unwanted pregnancies.
Abortion; Women’s health; Qualitative research
Latin America has among the highest rates of intimate partner violence. While there is increasing evidence that intimate partner violence is associated with mental health problems, there is little such research for developing countries. The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between Bolivian women’s experiences with physical, psychological, and sexual intimate partner violence and mental health outcomes.
This study analyzes data from the 2008 Bolivia Demographic and Health Survey. 10,119 married or cohabiting women ages 15–49 are included in the analysis. Probit regression models are used to assess the association between intimate partner violence and mental health, after controlling for other demographic factors and partner characteristics. The questionnaire uses selected questions from the SRQ-20 to measure symptoms of mental health problems.
Intimate partner violence is common in Bolivia, with 47% of women experiencing some type of spousal abuse in the 12 months before the survey. Women exposed to physical spousal violence in the past year are more likely to experience symptoms of depression, anxiety, psychogenic non-epileptic seizures, and psychotic disorders, after controlling for other demographic and partner characteristics. Women who experienced sexual abuse by a partner are most likely to suffer from all mental health issues. Psychological abuse is also associated with an increased risk of experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and psychogenic seizures. Women who experienced only psychological abuse report mental health problems similar to those who were physically abused.
This study demonstrates an urgent need for research on the prevalence and health consequences of psychological abuse in developing countries. Our findings highlight the need for mental health services for victims of intimate partner violence. Because physical and psychological violence are often experienced concurrently, it is recommended that health providers who are treating victims of physical intimate partner violence also screen them for symptoms of potential mental health problems and refer them to appropriate mental health services.
Domestic violence; Intimate partner violence; Psychological abuse; Mental health; Bolivia; Latin America
HIV prevention efforts have given limited attention to the relational schemas and scripts of adult heterosexual women. These broader schemas and scripts of romantic and other sexual liaisons, partner selection, relationship dynamics, and power negotiations may help to better understand facilitators and barriers to HIV risk-reduction practices.
We conducted exploratory qualitative interviews with 60 HIV-uninfected heterosexual African-American women from rural counties in North Carolina and Alabama, and Hispanic women from an urban county in southern Florida. Data were collected for relationship expectations; relationship experiences, and relationship power and decision-making. Interview transcripts underwent computer-assisted thematic analysis.
Participants had a median age of 34 years (range 18–59), 34% were married or living as married, 39% earned an annual income of $12,000 or less, 12% held less than a high school education, and 54% were employed. Among the Hispanic women, 95% were foreign born. We identified two overarching relationship themes: contradictions between relationship expectations and desires and life circumstances that negated such ideals, and relationship challenges. Within the contradictions theme, we discovered six subthemes: a good man is hard to find; sex can be currency used to secure desired outcomes; compromises and allowances for cheating, irresponsible, and disrespectful behavior; redefining dating; sex just happens; needing relationship validation. The challenges theme centered on two subthemes: uncertainties and miscommunication, and relationship power negotiation. Gender differences in relationship intentions and desires as well as communication styles, the importance of emotional and financial support, and the potential for relationships to provide disappointment were present in all subthemes. In examining HIV risk perceptions, participants largely held that risk for HIV-infection and the need to take precautions were problems of women who differed from them (i.e., abuse drugs, are promiscuous, exchange sex).
Underlying women’s relational schemas was a belief that relationship priorities differed for men and women. Consequently, expectations and allowances for partner infidelity and negligent behaviors were incorporated into their scripts. Moreover, scripts endorsed women’s use of sex as currency in relationship formation and endurance, and did not emphasize HIV risk. Both couple- and gender-specific group-level interventions are needed to deconstruct (breakdown) and reconstruct (rewrite) relationship scripts.
Heterosexual women; Relationship schemas and scripts; HIV risk perceptions
This qualitative study sets to fill a gap in knowledge by exploring the health seeking behaviour of rural women living in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt). The existing literature on the oPt has so far focused on unravelling the country’s epidemiological and health system profile, but has largely neglected the assessment of factors shaping people’s decisions on health care use.
Based on a conceptual framework rooted in the Anderson behavioural model, we conducted 30 semi-structured interviews with purposely selected women and seven key informant interviews in three purposely selected villages in Ramallah district.
Our findings indicate that women delay seeking professional care, use self-prescribed medications and home treatment, and do not use preventive and educational health services. Their health seeking behaviour is the result of the interplay of several factors: their gendered socio-cultural role; their health beliefs; financial affordability and geographical accessibility; their perceptions of the quality of care; and their perceived health needs.
Findings are discussed in the light of their policy implications, suggesting that adequate health policy planning ought to take into considerations socio-cultural dimensions beyond those directly pertinent to the health care system.
Occupied Palestinian territories (oPt); Women’s health; Health seeking; Andersen model
More than one in six women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes, most by men they know. The situation on university campuses is even more startling, with as many as 1 in 4 female students being victims of rape or attempted rape. The associated physical and mental health effects are extensive and the social and economic costs are staggering. The aim of this randomized controlled trial is to determine whether a novel, small-group sexual assault resistance education program can reduce the incidence of sexual assault among university-attending women, when compared to current university practice of providing informational brochures.
The trial will evaluate a theoretically and empirically sound four-unit, 12-hour education program that has been demonstrated in pilot studies to have short-term efficacy. Three of the four units provide information, skills, and practice aimed at decreasing the time needed for women to assess situations with elevated risk of acquaintance sexual assault as dangerous and to take action, reducing emotional obstacles to taking action, and increasing the use of the most effective methods of verbal and physical self-defense. The fourth unit focuses on facilitating a stronger positive sexuality from which women may resist sexual coercion by male intimates more successfully. The trial will extend the pilot evaluations by expanding the participant pool and examining the long term efficacy of the program. A total of 1716 first-year female students (age 17 to 24 years) from three Canadian universities will be enrolled. The primary outcome is completed sexual assault, measured by The Sexual Experiences Survey - Short Form Victimization instrument. Secondary outcomes include changes in knowledge, attitudes, and skills related to the process of sexual assault resistance. Outcomes will be measured at baseline, 1 week, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months.
The results of the trial will be used to produce a maximally effective sexual assault resistance education program that can be adopted by universities, to assess whether aspects of the program need to be strengthened, and also to indicate how long the effects of the program last and at which point in time refresher sessions may be necessary.
Sexual assault; Rape; Resistance; Education; Intervention
Genetic testing among women for BRCA1/2 mutation can have various psychological effects, such as those focusing on body image. The aim of this study was to examine the psychometric properties of a generic scale assessing breast and body image (BBIS) in healthy women tested for BRCA1/2 mutations.
A Dutch body image scale focusing on both general and breast-related body image was translated into French. It was presented to a French cohort of female cancer-free BRCA1/2 mutation carriers and non-carriers (N = 568). The psychometric properties of the scale were studied by assessing its dimensional and factorial structure, internal consistency, construct-related validity, and external validity.
The scale was found to be a satisfactory psychometric tool for assessing both body image and breast image. The three main dimensions which emerged were classified under the headings “values attached to body image”, “satisfaction with body image and perceived attractiveness”, and “satisfaction with breasts”. The BBIS scores were not significantly associated with the participants’ socio-demographic characteristics or their BRCA1/2 mutation carrier status, but significant associations were observed between these scores and the women’s medical and behavioural characteristics.
The BBIS is a generic tool which can be used to assess body image in either affected or unaffected women. The scale will have to be administered to other populations in order to confirm its validity.
Body image; Women; Breasts; BRCA1/2 mutation; Psychometric properties
Vaginal douching (VD) is a common practice among married women all over the world specially those in the Middle East. It is used for personal hygiene or for other aesthetic reasons in many countries. The current study investigates the prevalence of VD among patients with vulvovaginitis in Egypt. It also compares the reproductive health hazards among women performing routine VD with those using external hygiene. It also investigates why, and how women practice this douching.
A cross sectional observational study was conducted in a tertiary university affiliated hospital in Assiut, Egypt. An interview administered questionnaire was administered to 620 women by two trained clinic nurses. Women presented to the outpatient clinic and diagnosed to have any type of vaginal infections were approached for participation. The principle outcome was the history of preterm labor in women who routinely performed VD versus those who did not (upon which sample size was estimated). Other outcome measures were the types of vaginal infections, and reproductive implications comprising, ectopic pregnancy, abortion and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
The participants were predominantly multiparas from semi-urban background and middle socioeconomic level. Considering VD as a religious duty and a kind of personal cleanliness were the most common reasons for performing VD in 88.9% and 80.6% of the studied population, respectively. History of preterm labor was reported in 19.2% versus 11.9% (p=0.048), while history of PID in 13.2% versus 6.0% (p=0.008) in women performing VD compared to those not performing this habit, respectively. There were no significant differences between the two groups as regard the history of ectopic pregnancy or the number of previous abortions.
Vaginal douching is a prevalent practice in Egypt and has traditional and religious roots within the community. There are many misbeliefs around this habit in Egypt. Vaginal douching increases certain reproductive health hazards especially preterm labor and PID. Much effort and awareness campaigns are needed to increase women awareness about health hazards of this incorrect practice and to limit its use.
Vaginal douching; Reproductive implications; Vaginal infections
Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is a common gynecological condition that can affect quality of life (QOL) in women. In Nepal, the prevalence of POP is high, but many affected women are still deprived of treatment. Vaginal hysterectomy with pelvic floor repair is one of the common treatment options for advanced POP. However, QOL outcomes after surgery have not been reported in low-income countries. Thus, we aimed to examine changes in QOL among Nepalese women with POP after such surgery.
This longitudinal study was conducted in the selected central and peripheral hospitals in Nepal where vaginal hysterectomy was being performed free of cost for POP. A baseline study first measured the QOL domains (physical, psychological, social relationships and environment) among 252 women with advanced POP. Follow-up data was then collected at six weeks and three months after surgery. Among the 177 women that were available at six weeks post-surgery, 166 participated in the follow-up study at three months post-surgery. To evaluate QOL at baseline, 142 women with no history of POP were included as a comparison group.
The mean scores across QOL domains improved from baseline to 3 months after surgery. The baseline score for the physical domain increased from 11.2 to 12.8 at six weeks and 13.5 at three months post-surgery (p < 0.001); the psychological domain score increased from 11.6 to 13.1 at six weeks and 13.8 at three months post-surgery (p < 0.001); the social relationships domain score increased from 13.6 to 14.4 at six weeks and 15.0 at three months post-surgery (p < 0.001); and the environmental domain score increased from 12.9 to 13.9 at six weeks and 14.0 at three months post-surgery (p < 0.001).
QOL progressively improved among women undergoing surgery for POP. Such surgical services need to be scaled up for treatment of advanced POP in low-income countries.
Nepal; Pelvic organ prolapse; Quality of life; Surgery; Vaginal hysterectomy
Attendance rates of cervical screening programs can be increased by offering HPV self-sampling to non-attendees. Acceptability, DNA yield, lavage volumes and choice of hrHPV test can influence effectiveness of the self-sampling procedures and could therefore play a role in recruiting non-attendees. To increase user-friendliness, a frequently used lavage sampler was modified. In this study, we compared this second generation lavage device with the first generation device within similar birth cohorts.
Within a large self-sampling cohort-study among non-responders of the Dutch cervical screening program, a subset of 2,644 women received a second generation self-sampling lavage device, while 11,977 women, matched for age and ZIP-code, received the first generation model. The second generation device was different in shape, color, lavage volume, and packaging, in comparison to its first generation model. The Cochran’s test was used to compare both devices for hrHPV positivity rate and response rate. To correct for possible heterogeneity between age and ZIP codes in both groups the Breslow-Day test of homogeneity was used. A T-test was utilized to compare DNA yields of the obtained material in both groups.
Median DNA yields were 90.4 μg/ml (95% CI 83.2-97.5) and 91.1 μg/ml (95% CI 77.8-104.4, p= 0.726) and hrHPV positivity rates were 8.2% and 6.9% (p= 0.419) per sample self-collected by the second - and the first generation of the device (p= 0.726), respectively. In addition, response rates were comparable for the two models (35.4% versus 34.4%, p= 0.654).
Replacing the first generation self-sampling device by an ergonomically improved, second generation device resulted in equal DNA yields, comparable hrHPV positivity rates and similar response rates. Therefore, it can be concluded that the clinical performance of the first and second generation models are similar. Moreover, participation of non-attendees in cervical cancer screening is probably not predominantly determined by the type of self-collection device.
Human papillomavirus; Self-sampling; HPV DNA testing; Cervical screening; Self-sampling device
Infertility affects about 15% of couples in Western-societies with most progressing to fertility clinics for treatment. Despite being common, infertility is often experienced as a lonely road for affected couples. In this paper we expand on our previously published findings of women’s experiences with infertility or difficulty of viable pregnancy who had sought Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) therapy in Australia, and focus on women’s quality of life, coping strategies, and support needs.
We applied mixed methods using the Tuebingen Quality of Life and the COPE questionnaires and in-depth interviews with 25 women with primary or secondary infertility, recurrent miscarriages or unexplained stillbirth, and who had consulted a TCM practitioner. We used a thematic approach to analyse the interviews, and descriptive statistics to evaluate questionnaire responses.
Women reported through both questionnaires and interviews compromised quality of life due to the high level of distress, guilt, grief, and frustration caused by infertility. However, our women represented a highly motivated sample, actively seeking alternative support. While the TCM approach to infertility management increased women’s sense of personal agency and control through education and continuity of care, the need for greater understanding and support on a societal level remains.
In infertility, ongoing emotional and instrumental support is pivotal to the wellbeing and quality of life of the affected. Traditional Chinese Medicine addresses some support needs in infertility not routinely available in the Western model of care. More peer-led and professional-led support groups are greatly needed for women experiencing infertility to help break isolation and raise awareness of integrative approaches to fertility management.
Infertility; Quality of life; Coping; Social support; Fertility awareness; Traditional Chinese medicine
There is increasing recognition of the need to identify risk factors for poor mental health in pregnancy and following birth. In New South Wales, Australia, health policy mandates psychosocial assessment and depression screening for all women at the antenatal booking visit and at six to eight weeks after birth. Few studies have explored in-depth women’s experience of assessment and how disclosures of sensitive information are managed by midwives and nurses. This paper describes women’s experience of psychosocial assessment and depression screening examining the meaning they attribute to assessment and how this influences their response.
This qualitative ethnographic study included 34 women who were observed antenatally in the clinic with 18 midwives and 20 of the same women who were observed during their interaction with 13 child and family health nurses after birth in the home or the clinic environment. An observational tool, 4D&4R, together with field notes was used to record observations and were analysed descriptively using frequencies. Women also participated in face to face interviews. Field note and interview data was analysed thematically and similarities and differences across different time points were identified.
Most participants reported that it was acceptable to them to be asked the psychosocial questions however they felt unprepared for the sensitive nature of the questions asked. Women with a history of trauma or loss were distressed by retelling their experiences. Five key themes emerged. Three themes; ’Unexpected: a bit out of the blue’, ‘Intrusive: very personal questions’ and ‘Uncomfortable: digging over that old ground’, describe the impact that assessment had on women. Women also emphasised that the approach taken by the midwife or nurse during assessment influenced their experience and in some cases what they reported. This is reflected in the themes titled: Approach: ’sensitivity and care’ and ’being watched’.
The findings emphasise the need for health services to better prepare women for this assessment prior to and after birth. It is crucial that health professionals are educationally prepared for this work and receive ongoing training and support in order to always deliver care that is empathetic and sensitive to women who are disclosing personal information.
Psychosocial assessment; Depression screening; Mental health; Women’s health; Postnatal depression; Domestic violence screening; Midwifery; Nursing
Urinary incontinence (UI) continues to affect millions of women worldwide and those living in resource poor settings seem to be more affected. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of UI and factors associated with UI symptom severity (UISS) among women in a selected district in India.
A cross-sectional design was used to collect data from a sample of 598 community dwelling women in the age range of 20 to 60 years. Data was collected using a questionnaire survey of participants who were found in their homes.
The prevalence of UI was 33.8% and the majority of women had negative attitudes about the condition. For instance most women were in agreement with statements such as: UI cannot be prevented or cured (98%); women with UI are cursed (97%); women are not supposed to tell anyone about the problem (90%) and others. Of the 202 women with self-reported UI, the majority reported having moderate UISS (78%) and others rated the symptoms as mild (22%). The woman’s age at first birth (p<.01) was negatively associated with UISS, while the number of pregnancies (p<.01) and weight of the largest baby ever delivered (p<.01), were positively associated with UISS. The weight of the largest baby delivered had the strongest impact on predicting UISS.
Many community dwelling women are suffering from UI at proportions which warrant significant public health consideration. Therefore public health programs to prevent UI or worsening of symptoms are required and should emphasize health education, because of the pervasive negative attitudes among affected and unaffected women. The predictors reported here can be used to priotize care for affected women and to encourage early uptake of health actions and behaviors that promote pelvic floor strengthening in at risk women who may be reluctant to disclose UI.
Risk factors; Women; Attitude; Urinary incontinence; Predictors; Prevalence
Raloxifene and alendronate are anti-resorptive therapies approved for the prevention and treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis. Raloxifene is also indicated to reduce the risk of invasive breast cancer in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis and in postmenopausal women at high risk of invasive breast cancer. A definitive study comparing the fracture effectiveness and rate of breast cancer for raloxifene and alendronate has not been published. The purpose of this retrospective cohort study was to evaluate fracture and breast cancer rates among patients treated with raloxifene or alendronate.
Females ≥45 years who initiated raloxifene or alendronate in 1998–2006 Truven Health Analytics MarketScan® Databases, had continuous enrollment 12 months prior to and at least 12 months after the index date, and had a treatment medication possession ratio ≥80% were included in this study. Rates of vertebral and nonvertebral fractures and breast cancer during 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 8 years of treatment with raloxifene or alendronate were evaluated. Fracture rates were adjusted for potential treatment bias using inverse probability of treatment weights. Multivariate hazard ratios were estimated for vertebral and nonvertebral fractures.
Raloxifene patients had statistically significantly lower rates of vertebral fractures in 1, 3, 5, and 7 years and for nonvertebral fractures in 1 and 5 years. There were no statistically significant differences in the adjusted fracture rates between raloxifene and alendronate cohorts, except in the 3-year nonvertebral fracture rates where raloxifene was higher. Multivariate hazard ratios of raloxifene versus alendronate cohorts were not significantly different for vertebral and nonvertebral fracture in 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 8 years. Unweighted and weighted breast cancer rates were lower among raloxifene recipients.
Patients treated with alendronate and raloxifene had similar adjusted fracture rates in up to 8 years of adherent treatment, and raloxifene patients had lower breast cancer rates.
Vertebral fracture; Nonvertebral fracture; Breast cancer; Alendronate; Raloxifene
The editors of BMC Women’s Health would like to thank all our reviewers who have contributed to the journal in Volume 12 (2012).
Emergency Contraception is not officially available to the public sector in Laos. The potential of emergency contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancies is well documented in developed countries, but in Laos no studies of ECPs exist. This study aimed to assess knowledge of and attitudes towards emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs) in Vientiane, the capital city of the Lao PDR.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted among 500 young adults in entertainment venues by using the convenience sampling between May to July, 2007. Data were obtained through face-to-face interview. Participants were asked about socio- demographic characteristics, knowledge, attitudes related to ECPs, and source of information about ECPs. Data analysis was performed with chi-square test and logistic regression (p < .05).
Only 22.4 percent of respondents had heard of ECPs and of these only 17.9 percent knew the correct time-frame for effective use. Most of the respondents (85%) agreed on the need for ECPs to be available in Laos and 66.8 percent stated that they would use them should the need arise, if they were available. Among those who said they would not use ECPs, 63.8 percent were concerned about possible health effects, or other side effects. Awareness of ECPs was associated with increasing age (OR = 2.78, p = .025) and male sex (OR = 2.91, p = .010).
There is needed to provide effective health education about the method, timing of use, and how to obtain ECPs through both informal, peer channels, and also through formal channels such as health care providers.
Owing to improved management of HIV and its associated opportunistic infections, many HIV-positive persons of reproductive age are choosing to exercise their right of parenthood. This study explored the knowledge of health workers from two Ghanaian districts on the reproductive rights and options available to HIV-positive women who wish to conceive.
Facility-based cross-sectional in design, the study involved the entire population of nurse counselors (32) and medical officers (3) who provide counseling and testing services to clients infected with HIV. Both structured and in-depth interviews were conducted after informed consent.
Two main perspectives were revealed. There was an overwhelmingly high level of approbation by the providers on HIV-positive women’s right to reproduction (94.3%). At the same time, the providers demonstrated a lack of knowledge regarding the various reproductive options available to women infected with HIV. Site of facility, and being younger were associated with practices that violated client’s right to contraceptive counseling (p < 0.05) in each case. Some of the providers openly expressed their inability to give qualified guidance to HIV-positive women on the various reproductive options.
Taken together, these findings suggest that many HIV-positive clients do not receive comprehensive information about their reproductive options. These findings highlight some of the problems that service providers face as HIV counselors. Both service providers and policy makers need to recognize these realities and incorporate reproductive health issues of HIV-persons into the existing guidelines.
Eating competence (EC) has been associated with positive health outcomes such as reduced cardiovascular risk and higher diet quality. This study compared reported physical activity and EC in 512 low-income women participating in an online program that included a physical activity lesson and assessed response to this lesson.
Educational intervention and surveys were completed online. EC was assessed with the Satter Eating Competence Inventory for Low-Income (ecSI/LI).
Participants were mostly white, <31 years, overweight/obese (60%), and food insecure (58%). EC was higher for those who self-reported being physically active (30.1 ± 8.3 vs. 24.9 ± 8.1; P<0.001) and were active for ≥ 30 minutes/day (29.9 ± 8.3 vs. 26.3 ± 8.6), even with age, weight satisfaction, and BMI controlled. EC of obese physically active persons was higher than normal weight, but physically inactive women. The physical activity module was well received with responses unrelated to time involved or physical activity level.
Low-income women were interested in learning about physical activity and responded positively to online delivery. Overall EC levels were low, but higher for physically active women, supporting efforts to enhance EC. Additional research is needed to determine if EC is associated with responses to physical activity education.
Eating behavior; Eating competence; Education; Low-income; Physical activity; Women
Previous studies of the relationship between the menstrual phases and smoking behavior have been problematic, so the association of menstrual phases with smoking behavior and correlations among smoking, psychological and physical conditions in each phase of the menstrual cycle are unclear.
To accurately examine the association between menstrual phases and the amount of smoking (number of cigarettes smoked and breath CO concentration), craving of smoking on visual analogue scale (VAS), depression in the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) Scale, and menstrual phase-associated symptoms in the Menstrual Distress Questionnaire (MDQ), we improved various methodological issues, specifically, 1) Ovulation was confirmed by measuring the basal body temperature and identifying a urinary luteinizing hormone (LH) surge in two cycles; 2) The menstrual, follicular, and luteal phases were clearly defined for subjects with different menstrual cycles; 3) The breath CO concentration was measured every day. A notice was posted on public bulletin boards to recruit research subjects and twenty-nine young Japanese women smokers aged 19 to 25 years old were analyzed.
The number of cigarettes smoked was greater and the CO concentration was higher in the luteal phase than in the follicular phase. The levels of craving for smoking (VAS), depressiveness (CES-D), and menstrual phase-associated symptoms (MDQ) in the menstrual and luteal phases were higher than those in the follicular phase. The mean score for CES-D was 16 points (the cut-off value in screening for depression) or higher in the menstrual (16.9 ± 8.2) and luteal phases (17.2 ± 8.4).
The number of cigarettes smoked and CO concentration were significantly correlated with the levels of craving for smoking, depressiveness, and menstrual phase-associated symptoms in all phases except for MDQ scores in follicular phase. The amount of smoking in the luteal phase was most strongly correlated with these symptoms.
In the menstrual and luteal phases, young Japanese women smokers increased their amount of smoking and suffered from greater craving for smoking, depressiveness and menstrual phase-associated symptoms. The amount of smoking was correlated with these symptoms, but their cause-effect relationship has not been determined yet.
Menstrual phase; Smoking; Craving; Depressiveness; Young Japanese women
The European CHOICE study was a cross-sectional survey that evaluated women’s combined hormonal contraceptive choices before and after contraceptive counseling in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic and Slovakia, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Israel, Russia, and Ukraine. The changes in method selection before and after counseling were reported previously. In this paper we present the reasons given by the 18,787 participating women for selecting their contraceptive method of choice, as well as their perceptions about the contraceptive pill, patch, and ring after counseling.
Women with an interest in a combined hormonal contraceptive method (pill, patch, or ring) were counseled using a standardized counseling leaflet. The women completed questionnaires, which included questions on why they had selected a particular method of contraception, and the extent to which they agreed with statements about the attributes of the pill, patch, and ring. The results for each country were compared with the percentages for all countries combined by using a binomial regression model. Multiple logistic regression models were used to investigate the extent to which the probability of choosing a method was related to prespecified aspects (i.e. perceptions) of each contraceptive method.
‘Easy to use’, ‘convenience’, and ‘regular menstrual bleeding’ were important selection criteria. ‘Nondaily administration’ was one of the main reasons women selected the patch or ring. ‘Daily use’ and ‘will forget to take it’ were the primary reasons for not selecting the pill, while the main reasons for not choosing the patch included ‘not discrete, visible’ and ‘can fall off’. In a small number of instances, the ring was rejected because some women don’t like to use a ‘foreign body’. Women’s perceptions influenced their contraceptive decisions: positive perceptions about a method increased the likelihood that a woman would select it. After counseling, many women associated the pill with forgetfulness, and many still did not know about the patch or ring’s key attributes. Women’s knowledge about a particular method was generally greater if they had chosen it.
To support informed contraceptive decision-making, healthcare professionals should realize that a woman’s view of a method’s ease of use is more important than perceived efficacy, tolerability, health benefits, or risks.
Combined oral contraceptive; Contraceptive transdermal patch; Contraceptive vaginal ring; Counseling; Reason; Perception