Sunday, November 9, 2008

AAGL and Less Invasive Gynecologic Procedures

When "Aunt Flo" visits each month, do you feel anxious about doing your daily activities due to heavy bleeding, cramping or other discomfort? I sometimes experience this, especially the last couple of years. It's frustrating to silently suffer and not be fully informed about the many new medical advances and options...I've been doing some research to see if I'm beginning the whole peri-menopause thing already - YUCK!

I am happy to share some valuable information I recently learned through

As women, and especially women who have had kids, many of us may find ourselves in a position where our OBGYN recommends hysterectomy to solve a variety of issues around heavy periods. The frightening prospect of surgery leaves us relying on our doctors to advise the best course of action. In such a situation, however, we need to know as much information as possible to ensure we sign up for the best treatment option, and it may not be the first one your doctor recommends.

Women now have more options regarding minimally invasive treatments for heavy bleeding as well as a number of other common pelvic health conditions - fibroids, stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. In fact, they are so common that one-third of women will experience one or more of these conditions in their lifetime due to a variety of factors - most commonly pregnancy and childbirth.

But, the good news is that there are treatment options for these conditions that do not require the traditional surgery, which frequently comes with a higher risk of complications and a longer healing process. Minimally invasive procedures, done quickly and relatively easily, usually require much less time to heal and there's a lot less pain, too. Yet many of us do not even know they exist, as we rely on information from our doctors who may suggest the outdated approaches because they lack the skill to perform the newer, less invasive ones or even because new endoscopic procedures bring less income to the doctor or hospital.

The US News & World reported that, out of the one in four women who receive hysterectomies, approximately 85% are still treated with traditional open abdominal surgical methods, despite the perfection of a decades old laparoscopic procedure that leaves the ovaries and cervix in place.

Women need to take control of their health care decisions so they can make informed choices. If a doctor proves unwilling or unable to perform minimally invasive procedures, they should feel empowered to seek out a second opinion from a gynecologist who offers less invasive options.

One resource to learn and understand your options for more info is to visit AAGL

The site includes a physician finder to help you learn more about your local resources and lots of patient education topics through a basic search on their site.

Take heart - we're all in this together!

Thanks to Mom Central: for this great opportunity to learn more about this great resource!

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