WBEZ | women's health http://www.wbez.org/tags/womens-health Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Fallout From Grand Jury Decision Energizes Abortion Rights Opponents http://www.wbez.org/news/fallout-grand-jury-decision-energizes-abortion-rights-opponents-114795 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/gettyimages-508396706_custom-8a7e2350ceb67d3f501d1e4b275e152da0e3373f-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The day David Daleiden turned himself in at the Harris County courthouse, the throng of media there was a good indication of just how much this indictment means to both sides of the abortion debate.</p><p>Daleiden&#39;s attorney Jared Woodfill took full opportunity to express his indignation.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s outrageous that it&#39;s David that has to come and present himself to the court when it&#39;s Planned Parenthood who should be on trial today,&quot; Woodfill said. &quot;The reality is David is a modern-day hero. He has exposed the wrongdoing that&#39;s been occurring in abortion clinics all across this country.&quot;</p><p>Daleiden faces charges that he tampered with a government record and attempted to purchase human organs. Houston prosecutors have offered him a deal for probation, which would expunge the charges if he stays out of trouble. But that was no sale for Daleiden&#39;s team of lawyers, including Terry Yates.</p><p>&quot;The only thing we&#39;re going to accept right now is an apology,&quot; Yates says. Yates feels confident the judge will drop the charges before trial.</p><p>&quot;All hat, no cattle &mdash; that&#39;s what we believe these indictments are. There&#39;s not much to &#39;em,&quot; he says, &quot;and we believe after the court entertains our motions, hears the facts in this case, these indictments will be quashed.&quot;</p><p>Daleiden&#39;s lawyers will argue that although their client admits to using a fake California driver&#39;s license, it&#39;s not a crime because he did so in the cause of investigative journalism. They&#39;ll argue the same First Amendment protection applies to the charges connected to Daleiden&#39;s email offer to buy fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood. But University of Texas law professor David Anderson says the courts have ruled on this defense.</p><p>The Houston grand jury&#39;s decisions have, for the moment, stopped the anti-abortion movement&#39;s political momentum against Planned Parenthood in its tracks. When they debuted, Daleiden&#39;s videos empowered Republican officeholders around the country to call for criminal investigations. That also happened in Texas when Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asked fellow Republican District Attorney Devon Anderson to open a criminal investigation into Planned Parenthood in Houston. The clinic had been featured in Daleiden&#39;s videos.&quot;The Supreme Court and the lower courts have been perfectly clear that what the First Amendment protects is publication or disclosure of information. The First Amendment does not protect crimes committed in the course of newsgathering. Period,&quot; Anderson says.</p><p>&quot;It became crystal clear that we needed to get to the table with the prosecutors and the law enforcement agents before anybody else beat us there,&quot; says Josh Schaffer, Planned Parenthood&#39;s defense lawyer in Houston. Instead of acting like the DA&#39;s office was the enemy, Schaffer threw open Planned Parenthood&#39;s doors and file cabinets to the police and Texas Rangers. And he urged them to acquire all the video that the young activist had shot and compare it to the final product.</p><p>&quot;Well, they showed Mr. Daleiden attempting to bait the employee during the course of their meeting into being willing to do things that the law does not permit and that Planned Parenthood does not do,&quot; Schaffer says. &quot;At the time he appeared green, naïve, about research protocol and regulations, but we know now that he was trying to scam them.&quot;</p><p>Republican Devon Anderson has become the anti-abortion community&#39;s Benedict Arnold. They accuse her of betraying her own anti-abortion convictions because of campaign contributions from abortion rights supporters.</p><p>&quot;I think that she has shown that her biases have prevented her from being able to execute her duties in a proper way, and that&#39;s why we&#39;re calling for her resignation,&quot; says Cheryl Sullenger, senior vice president at Operation Rescue.</p><p><a href="https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1223578084336230&amp;id=749422628418447">In her own defense</a>, Anderson says the surprise indictments are nothing more than the grand jury following the trail of evidence uncovered by law enforcement. But for abortion opponents, the allegation that Planned Parenthood is selling fetal tissue for profit is indisputable fact. They&#39;re calling for Texas to appoint a special prosecutor and for a new investigation to proceed. Those cries are falling on sympathetic ears. Texas&#39; governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general have all stated that the Houston grand jury&#39;s decisions will have no impact on the state&#39;s three ongoing investigations of Planned Parenthood.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/2016/02/09/465998302/fallout-from-grand-jury-decision-energizes-abortion-rights-opponents?ft=nprml&amp;f=465998302"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 15:17:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/fallout-grand-jury-decision-energizes-abortion-rights-opponents-114795 UNICEF Estimate of Female Genital Mutilation Up by 70 Million http://www.wbez.org/news/unicef-estimate-female-genital-mutilation-70-million-114764 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/gettyimages-164496099-50_custom-3a55eb017a23e50d7af50b88c8b9646ca9e620f9-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Forget about the conventional wisdom that Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) rarely takes place outside of Africa and the Middle East. Recalibrate that to 30 countries on several continents, according to a new&nbsp;<a href="http://www.unicef.org/media/files/FGMC_2016_brochure_final_UNICEF_SPREAD.pdf">statistical analysis</a>&nbsp;by UNICEF that calculates that at least 200 million females today have undergone some form of the procedure.</p><p>About 60 million of affected females come from one country: Indonesia, where about half of the girls age 11 and below have undergone the practice. Yet this is the first time that Indonesia has been included in UNICEF data. We asked&nbsp;<a href="http://www.equalitynow.org/people/tanya_sukhija">Tanya Sukhija</a>, program officer with&nbsp;<a href="http://www.equalitynow.org/">Equality Now</a>, an organization that supports the rights of women and girls, about FGM in Indonesia and around the world. The interview has been edited for clarity and length.</p><p><strong>In light of the high numbers in Indonesia, why wasn&#39;t it included before?</strong></p><p>The Population Council [a research and programmatic group] had conducted a study in Indonesia in 2003, but that is outdated. This is the first time the government collected the information.</p><p>I think they are seeing a lot of international pressure to take the issue seriously.</p><p>Collecting the data is a great step forward in Indonesia and around the world.</p><p><strong>What do the numbers &mdash; 70 million more worldwide in 2016 than in 2014 &mdash; tell us?</strong></p><p>The data shows that this really is a huge problem and action is needed to curtail it. Beyond the 60 million added from Indonesia, the additional 10 million comes from population growth. Growing populations mean that if we do not do more to end the practice, the numbers will also grow.</p><p><strong>Is FGM ongoing in other countries not accounted for in the latest UNICEF report?</strong></p><p>There are many other places where the data is not robust. There is one particular community in India, the Dawoodi Bohra, that does practice FGM &mdash; but without the data we don&#39;t know the extent. This is just one example. There have been reports in Europe, Australia, North America, South America. This is really a global issue.</p><p><strong>Does the FGM practice in Indonesia differ from elsewhere?</strong></p><p>There are definitely&nbsp;<a href="http://www.equalitynow.org/what_is_FGM">variations</a>&nbsp;in the way it is performed among and within countries.</p><p>But regardless of the type, it is all considered female genital mutilation. It can result in being more susceptible to infections after the procedure, to obstetrical complications, pain during intercourse and childbirth and mental health consequences.</p><p><strong>What needs to be done to stop the practice?</strong></p><p>We need laws in place anywhere that girls are affected. Law is the foundation for protection of any human rights of women and girls. In Indonesia, we are working with our partner there,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.kalyanamitra.or.id/en/">Kalyanamitra</a>&nbsp;calling for a clear law criminalizing FGM and also anyone who practices it.</p><p>Medicalization of the procedure [allowing medical personnel to perform it] is also problematic. It lends it legitimacy. In 2010, the Indonesia government authorized medical personnel to do this. Under international pressure the [government] revoked that in 2014. The new regulation says instead that the procedure should be done with regard to the health and safety of the girl. It isn&#39;t much better but it shows that they are making changes, even though they are not going far enough.</p><p><strong>Are there programs that have succeeded in other countries?</strong></p><p>I would point to Kenya as an example: They have a law banning FGM, and they are also doing a lot to implement it. They have an anti-FGM board, a government body charged with making sure the law is followed, and with education and raising awareness [of the issue].</p><p>The bottom line is that we need laws in place anywhere that girls are affected, as well as support and education. FGM is not just an African problem. This is an international issue.They also have a special unit in their public prosecutions office to investigate and prosecute FGM cases, and prosecutors who are specially trained to pursue such cases. There are also a number of organizations in Kenya helping girls trying to escape FGM, by providing shelters, for instance, and working with local, traditional and religious leaders. People also use alternative rites of passage ceremonies, celebrating reaching puberty not with cutting but with rituals. This highlights the need for having a law as well as other mechanisms to support the law.</p><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2016/02/08/466033967/unicef-estimate-of-female-genital-mutiliation-up-by-70-million?ft=nprml&amp;f=466033967"><em>&mdash; via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 15:31:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/unicef-estimate-female-genital-mutilation-70-million-114764 Film Portrays a 'Perfect Storm' That Led to Unwanted Sterilizations for Many Latinas http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/film-portrays-perfect-storm-led-unwanted-sterilizations-many-latinas-114675 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/no_mas_bebes.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>About 40 years ago, when she was 24, Consuelo Hermosillo had an emergency caesarean section at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center. In the new documentary<em>&nbsp;No Más Bebés, </em>she recalls asking her doctor what type of birth control she should use going forward.</p><p>&quot;He goes, &#39;You don&#39;t need anything. We cut your tubes,&#39;&quot; Hermosillo says in the film. &quot;And I said, &#39;Why?&#39; And he said, &#39;Well you signed for it.&#39; And I said, &#39;Me?&#39;&quot;</p><p><a href="http://www.nomasbebesmovie.com/"><em>No Más Bebés (No More Babies)</em>,</a>&nbsp;which airs on PBS on Feb. 1, tells the story of how 10 immigrant Mexican women, Hermosillo included, sued LA County doctors, the state and the U.S. government in 1975 for allegedly violating their civil rights. The women&#39;s cases were similar. Each had an emergency cesarean section and each said she was either unaware that she signed for a tubal ligation or was told by a medical professional that not signing for one could mean death for her and her unborn child.</p><p><em>No Más Bebés&nbsp;</em>examines how the lawsuit,&nbsp;<em>Madrigal v. Quilligan,</em> came to be, how questions of informed consent &mdash; or lack thereof &mdash; and coercion played into the case, and how the collision of various societal issues resulted in stories like Hermosillo&#39;s.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="435" scrolling="no" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/aseQlmKg25U" title="No Mas Bebés, which airs on PBS on Feb. 1, tells the story of how 10 immigrant Mexican women sued Los Angeles County doctors, the state and the U.S. government in 1975 for allegedly violating their civil rights." width="620"></iframe></p><div id="storytext"><p>&quot;When you&#39;re a filmmaker, the easiest thing to do is make a film about the good guys and the bad guys, the heroes and the villains,&quot; says&nbsp;No Más Bebés&nbsp;director&nbsp;<a href="http://www.asianam.ucla.edu/people/renee-tajima-pe%C3%B1a">Renee Tajima-Peña</a>. Tajima-Peña says she and co-producer&nbsp;<a href="http://itvs.org/films/no-mas-bebes/filmmaker">Virginia Espino</a>, a historian who wrote her dissertation on the case, wanted to tell a multilayered story, one that revealed how even the best intentions could do harm.</p><p>Tajima-Peña and Espino explore the roles played by federally funded family-planning programs; a growing popular movement to curb population growth that attracted both environmentalists and anti-immigration proponents; doctors fresh out of medical school working in under-resourced maternity wards; cultural misunderstandings; and the popular belief that poor women who need public assistance should abstain from having children.</p><p>Taken together, these factors created what Tajima-Peña calls a &quot;perfect storm&quot; resulting in the sterilization of thousands of vulnerable women across the country in the late &#39;60s and early 1970s. She and Espino say their goal was to document a history that continues to repeat itself &mdash; they point to&nbsp;<a href="http://cironline.org/reports/female-inmates-sterilized-california-prisons-without-approval-4917">nearly 150 women sterilized in California prisons between 2006 and 2010</a>&nbsp;as the most recent example.</p><p>In telling this history, the film highlights the role played by the Family Planning and Population Research Act, which Congress passed in 1970 allocating millions for family-planning purposes. That money went to fund contraceptives, education, research and training. &quot;You&#39;ve got money for family planning programs, which were good programs and provided contraceptives for women who couldn&#39;t afford it,&quot; says Tajima-Peña. Congress also lifted a ban on federal funding for sterilization, so hospitals that provided the indigent with medical care, like Los Angeles County General Hospital, could apply for government money to perform tubal ligations.</p><p>Meanwhile, lobbying efforts in Washington, fueled by a fear of overpopulation gripping the nation, led to yet more funding for family planning programs. Inspired by the popularity of biologist Paul Ehrlich&#39;s best-selling 1968 book,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/01/us/the-unrealized-horrors-of-population-explosion.html">The Population Bomb</a>, which predicted that at some point in the 1980s, overpopulation would make it impossible for the planet to support humanity, members of the &quot;zero population movement&quot; worked to convince the public that having children was a very bad idea. Some went so far as promoting the sterilization of women deemed to have had too many. (They also called for a dramatic reduction to immigration.)</p><p>Then, there were divisions within the feminist movement on how sterilization fit into the bigger picture of reproductive rights. Mainstream white feminists marched for &quot;the right to choose,&quot; including unfettered access to sterilizations, contraception and abortions. Feminists of color also called for abortion rights and easy access to contraception, but broke with white feminists on the issue of sterilization, arguing that for women of color, sterilization was not always a matter of choice. They called for waiting periods before tubal ligation procedures, and Latina activists called for Spanish-language consent forms.</p><p>In&nbsp;No Más Bebés, California politician&nbsp;<a href="http://www.latimes.com/la-oe-morrison-new29-2009aug29-column.html">Gloria Molina</a>, who was active in the Chicana feminist movement in the 1970s, says the idea of a waiting period was &quot;totally offensive&quot; to white feminists, who, she says, pushed for sterilization upon demand. &quot;They weren&#39;t taking into account that if you were Spanish-speaking, and if you don&#39;t speak English, you were being denied a right, totally,&quot; Molina says in the film.</p><p>And then there was the long-held stance, still popular today, that poor women should not have children they can&#39;t afford to support, especially poor women of color. For decades,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.uic.edu/orgs/cwluherstory/CWLUArchive/puertorico.html">Puerto Rican women had been subjected to sterilizations at various points</a>&nbsp;as a way to combat astronomical unemployment and poverty on the island; a 1965 survey found that a third of Puerto Rican mothers living on the island at the time had been sterilized.&nbsp;<a href="https://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&amp;type=summary&amp;url=/journals/american_indian_quarterly/v024/24.3lawrence.html">Native American women</a>&nbsp;were sterilized at the hands of the Indian Health Service in the 1970s. Poor African-American women on government assistance were also sterilized across the country during that time period.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.splcenter.org/seeking-justice/case-docket/relf-v-weinberger">A particularly damning case</a>, brought two years before&nbsp;<em>Madrigal v. Quilligan</em>, involved two black sisters sterilized at ages 14 and 12 in Alabama.</p><p>So, to recap: You had a surge of federal money for sterilizations, mainstream feminists calling for easier access to them, a fear that overpopulation would soon destroy the planet and the fear that poor women were burdening the country with children whom taxpayers would need to feed, clothe and educate. This nexus of events &mdash; and the consequences, intended and unintended, that followed &mdash; is the knot that&nbsp;No Más Bebés&nbsp;tries to untie.</p><p>&quot;Why were they doing it?&quot; Consuelo Hermosillo, one of the 10 plaintiffs in&nbsp;<em>Madrigal v. Quilligan</em>, asks on camera at one point in the film, nearly 40 years after her sterilization at LA County General. &quot;I always keep these questions with me, and I never get those answers,&quot; she says.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2016/01/31/464596760/in-no-m-s-beb-s-a-perfect-storm-led-to-unwanted-sterilizations-for-many-latinas?ft=nprml&amp;f=464596760"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></div><div class="tags" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 44px 130px; padding: 0px 15px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 14px; line-height: 14px; font-family: 'Gotham SSm', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; overflow: hidden; max-width: 680px; position: relative; float: none; width: auto; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">&nbsp;</div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 02 Feb 2016 12:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/film-portrays-perfect-storm-led-unwanted-sterilizations-many-latinas-114675 A Common Secret: Struggling with the Stigma of Herpes http://www.wbez.org/news/common-secret-struggling-stigma-herpes-114575 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/herpes-2-7479e6184a23dba10096f76f7f631581fe824a26-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Meeting girls at the bar didn&#39;t come as easily for Adrial Dale as it did for his friends. Standing on the sidelines, Dale watched his pals saunter up to women, cool and confident, perfect for the pick-up scene.</p><p>But Dale could never bring himself to do it. He was terrified about having to reveal a secret, one that had brought him shame for years.</p><p>In 2005, Dale was diagnosed with&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/stats.htm">herpes simplex type 2</a>, a virus that causes genital herpes. He first noticed a lesion on his genitals when he was taking a shower. In that moment, he said, the world went blank.</p><p>He immediately called a nearby clinic in North Carolina and went in to get checked out. From then on, he felt like a different person.</p><p>&quot;I noticed a pattern in myself. I was still judging myself for having herpes,&quot; Dale, 36, said. &quot;I was convinced that this was pretty much a death sentence to my love life.&quot;</p><p>While herpes is common in the U.S., many people face psychological issues and suffer silently because of herpes&#39; stigma.</p><p>The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/stdfact-herpes-detailed.htm">estimates</a>&nbsp;15.5 percent of people ages 14 to 49 in the U.S. have HSV-2 infections. More than half of people in the same age range had herpes simplex virus type 1, most commonly associated with cold sores. But more people are being&nbsp;<a href="http://sti.bmj.com/content/89/Suppl_1/A33.2.abstract">diagnosed</a>&nbsp;with HSV-1 on their genitals.</p><p>Herpes can be transmitted when there are no physical symptoms present, and the CDC estimates that nearly 90 percent of those infected with HSV-2, the most common cause of genital herpes, have never been diagnosed.</p><p>Symptoms can include painful lesions on the mouth or genitals, but over time, the eruptions tend to be less painful. Unlike chlamydia and gonorrhea, herpes doesn&#39;t affect fertility or other internal organs.</p><p>Statistically speaking, pretty much everyone knows someone who has herpes, but not many talk about it, said Jenelle Marie Davis, founder of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thestdproject.com/">The STD Project</a>. A big reason is the stigma herpes carries. Society portrays people with an sexually transmitted infection as dirty and promiscuous, Davis said.</p><p>&quot;People get infections all the time &ndash; colds and flu &ndash; and no one shames those people because there is no &#39;you did something bad to get this,&#39; &quot; she said. &quot;As a society, we tell people how and who to have sex with, then you add a taboo infection as a result of being sexually active and people go crazy.&quot;</p><p>Herpes infections can&#39;t be cured, but there are treatments, such as the pill&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a695010.html">Valtrex</a>, to relieve symptoms and shorten eruptions. Regular treatment can make it less likely for someone to pass the virus on, too.</p><p>Having herpes doesn&#39;t consign a person to a life of celibacy and many herpes-positive people go on to have active sex lives without transmitting the virus to others. Disclosure is key when starting a sexual relationship with someone, Davis said. Condoms lower the risk of transmission, but don&#39;t eliminate it.</p><div id="res463852274" previewtitle="&quot;I was rejecting myself way before anyone else had the chance to reject me,&quot; said Adrial Dale, founder of Herpes Opportunity."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="&quot;I was rejecting myself way before anyone else had the chance to reject me,&quot; said Adrial Dale, founder of Herpes Opportunity." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/21/adrialdale-1_custom-b12d5b9d31ba5c59a0ea6d87bb20e505bfcb10c5-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 419px; width: 310px; float: right;" title="&quot;I was rejecting myself way before anyone else had the chance to reject me,&quot; said Adrial Dale, founder of Herpes Opportunity. (Courtesy of Marc LeMauviel)" /></div><div><div><p>Today, Dale is a life coach and the founder of&nbsp;<a href="https://herpeslife.com/herpes-forum/discussions">Herpes Opportunity</a>, which helps people cope with herpes through blog posts, forums and weekend retreats that brings herpes-positive people together.</p></div></div></div><p>But he concedes that accepting his diagnosis wasn&#39;t easy. What helped him, he said, was having a support group, and realizing that herpes infections are common and can happen to anyone.</p><p>Disclosing his status to future partners was the scariest part. He&#39;s noticed that fear is common among other herpes-positive people who write about what they&#39;re going through on Herpes Opportunity forums.</p><p>&quot;If I feel undesirable and unwanted, then the way I&#39;m disclosing to potential partners has that undertone to it,&quot; Dale said. &quot;I was rejecting myself way before anyone else had the chance to reject me.&quot;</p><p>For him, self-confidence was the key when it came to sharing his status with potential partners. &quot;The more we shame and judge those &#39;dirty people with herpes,&#39; the more ashamed they are of disclosing and saying that yeah, it&#39;s just a skin condition, it&#39;s herpes,&quot; Dale said.</p><p>But it&#39;s also the case that failing to disclose herpes infection can have serious health consequences for a sexual partner who becomes pregnant.</p><p>Mariel David, 41,&nbsp;<a href="http://projectaccept.org/cinderella-storybook-ending/">learned</a>&nbsp;she contracted HSV-2 from her former husband, her first and only partner at the time, shortly after giving birth to their first child. A week after delivery, her daughter started having seizures. Doctors realized the girl had herpetic encephalitis, a condition that affects the human nervous system caused by the herpes simplex virus.</p><p>&quot;My husband had been dishonest with me and so I think he knew deep down inside he had something, but he didn&#39;t face the fact as to what it was,&quot; David said.</p><p>Doctors told David that her daughter wouldn&#39;t live through puberty. Despite the odds, David&#39;s daughter is turning 18 at the end of January, though her life comes with many difficulties. She is non-verbal, blind and suffered from abnormal bone growth.</p><p>After she became aware of her herpes status, David took precautions during two subsequent pregnancies. She took suppressive treatments during her last trimester to reduce the chance for transmission of the virus and gave birth to two healthy children by C-section.</p><p><em>Sarah Ravani, who previously worked in NPR&#39;s development department, is now astudent at Columbia University&#39;s Graduate School of Journalism in New York. You can follow her on Twitter:&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/farrah_joon">@Farrah_Joon</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 22 Jan 2016 15:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/common-secret-struggling-stigma-herpes-114575 A Nigerian Actress Had an Unlikely Dream: Make a Movie About Fistula http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/nigerian-actress-had-unlikely-dream-make-movie-about-fistula-114451 <p><p>&quot;Dry&quot; is a tiny word with many interpretations: a well-made martini, a fluffy towel after a hot bath, a subtle wit.</p><p>But for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.endfistula.org/">2 million women worldwide</a>&nbsp;suffering from an obstetric fistula, &quot;dry&quot; means rebirth. It means the incessant flow of human waste dripping down their thighs has ceased at last, that their tenure as a social pariah has come to an end.</p><p>An obstetric fistula is a hole between the vagina and bladder &mdash; or vagina and rectum, in some cases &mdash; that develops as a result of tissue death during prolonged obstructed labor in childbirth. The hole means the woman&#39;s urine (or, in some cases, feces) will simply leak out of her body. There is no way to control it.</p><p>Women who develop fistula are most likely to be poor, uneducated and without access to a skilled birth attendant. It persists as an insidious and under-reported condition in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The woman could be 15 or 35. It could be her first pregnancy or her tenth. Very little connects those afflicted with the condition, aside from the act of trying to bring a life into the world.</p><p>After successful surgery for a fistula, the surgeon says, &quot;You are dry.&quot; And everything changes. The smell is gone. The burning, infected skin is gone. The humiliation is gone.</p><p>The punch packed into this one modest word is exactly what Nigerian filmmaker and actress&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bellanaija.com/2015/08/07/so-precious-stephanie-linus-opens-up-about-her-pregnancy-journey-in-genevieve-magazine/">Stephanie Linus</a>, 33, had in mind when she chose&nbsp;<em>Dry&nbsp;</em>as the title for her new film. The film was released in the U.S. in November and is available for rent on iTunes and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Dry-Stephanie-Linus-Dr-Zara/dp/B017QHELTU">Amazon</a>; this month, it was nominated for nine&nbsp;<a href="http://www.360nobs.com/2015/12/see-the-full-list-of-africa-magic-viewers-choice-awards-2016-nominees/">Africa Magic Viewers&#39; Choice Awards</a>, including &quot;best overall movie.&quot;</p><div>Linus&#39; fictional protagonist is a girl named Halima who, at 13, is married off to a much older man, gives birth to a stillborn baby and develops a fistula.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>For Linus, fistula is a human rights issue. I spoke with her about giving such a little-known health condition the big-screen treatment, and what she thinks needs to change in order to make eradication a possibility. Below are excerpts from our conversation.<hr /><p><strong>It was refreshing to see an obscure topic transformed into a Nollywood drama. When did you first encounter fistula?</strong></p></div><div>In Nigeria, we have the north and the south. My second year at university, a friend of mine came back from the north. She was telling me about young girls being married off, with the end result being fistula. The story was very strange to me, and I was like, &quot;Are you sure this is happening in Nigeria?&quot; The thought never left my mind that, wow, I was lucky I had access to education and that I&#39;m able to decide what happens to my body.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/stephanie-directing-50_custom-f735c698a04797f18394186033addb01b323a6a5-s400-c85.jpg" title="Director Stephanie Linus on the set of Dry. (Courtesy of Next Page Productions)" />So I started researching. I remember going to Sierra Leone, because I discovered [fistula is] not only a Nigerian thing. So I was just trying to figure out what I can do to help.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>There have been a couple of documentaries on fistula, but I believe this is the first time it&#39;s been framed as entertainment. Was the impetus exposure to a wider audience?</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Well, the more I researched, the more I found out that a lot of people don&#39;t know about it. So many people that I encountered were like, &quot;What are you talking about?&quot; So the main issue was just to bring awareness to it, and I felt a film would resonate more.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Nollywood [Nigeria&#39;s Hollywood] is the third-largest filmmaking industry in the world. So when people come for entertainment, I&#39;m actually passing this message to them. That&#39;s the way I could contribute.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Was it hard to secure funding for a movie about such an unappetizing topic?</strong></div><div>It was pretty difficult. I remember talking with some organizations that dealt with fistula. They all liked the&nbsp;<em>idea&nbsp;</em>of a film, but nobody wanted to fund it. I was very persistent. Then I got lucky, because I got in contact with the special adviser to the president of the Nigerian government [for the Millennium Development Goals]. I approached them, like, &quot;This falls under your portfolio.&quot;</div><div><p>And then I was able to meet some of these women. I&#39;d been able to observe some operations, and I decided to set up my own foundation called the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.extendedhands.org/">Extended Hands Foundation</a>&nbsp;[which supports surgical repairs and donates medical equipment]. And while I&#39;m raising money for the film, I&#39;m able to raise funds to actually repair the women who are going through it.</p><p><strong>I&#39;m curious about your intended audience.&nbsp;</strong></p><p>I was trying to get it to resonate with everybody &mdash; Westerners and Nigerians and people in Africa. We screened it in Wales, where 30 percent of the film was shot, and everyone was bawling.</p><p><strong>One of the things your film directly addresses: There is&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nyasatimes.com/2013/09/12/malawi-doctors-shun-treating-fistula-cases-its-a-disease-of-poverty/">zero money in fistula repair</a>. These highly skilled surgeons put themselves through years of school and training and then realize they&#39;ll be working for principle, not pay.</strong></p><p>When you&#39;re listening to some of the frustrations [the surgeons] have, most of them don&#39;t even want to get into [fistula repair] in the first place. Because most of the patients are poor, and most of the payments that they get are from NGOs. It&#39;s only recently that the government has started to make provisions for that kind of surgery. No doctor wants to get into that field knowing they won&#39;t get anything back. [They] need to feed their families.</p><p><strong>Did you meet any patients who influenced your creation of Halima?</strong></p><p>Yes, I met a very young girl, and the first time I heard her story it really blew my mind. But [elements of it are] almost the same story of so many of these women, what they&#39;ve gone through. In the movie, the women you see in the ward are actually real-life women with fistula.</p><p><strong>Toward the end, your character says, &quot;The African woman can be described as the most endangered species in our world.&quot;&nbsp;</strong></p><p>Yeah. If you see this movie, we&#39;re not just talking about fistula. My character, as a young girl, was raped and then she was forced into prostitution. There&#39;s so many things women are vulnerable to. The life of a woman should be valued. You should be able to put the necessary laws and health care in place to actually protect them.</p><p><strong>I&#39;m curious what you think about the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/06/africas-new-agents-of-progress-in-female-health-traditional-male-chiefs/276783/">role of men</a>&nbsp;in issues like fistula. Women tend to drive the conversation, sometimes talking only to each other, and I sometimes wonder if maybe we&#39;re excluding a potentially game-changing half of the population, given that fistula is prevalent in communities that tend to be extremely patriarchal.</strong></p><p>The funny thing is, most of the surgeons who do fistula work are men.</p><p><strong>Right!</strong></p><p>You can see, in the film, I also shed light on women being the cause of their own problems. They have so much power and don&#39;t use it. The mother of Halima&#39;s husband, who had all the power to influence his thinking, was the one who was most stigmatizing the girl. She didn&#39;t have any empathy. Women can be the cause of their own problems, too. When we talk about female circumcision, it&#39;s the women taking the lead. I think you have to bring both parties together. Culturally, sometimes you just need to show them, &quot;Look, sometimes when you do this, these are the consequences that come along with it.&quot;</p></div><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_YRgRV7Z_G0?rel=0" width="560"></iframe></p><div><strong>I imagine the Nigeria you grew up in is very different than the one Halima experiences.&nbsp;</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The health care system needs to improve in Nigeria. I mean, massively. People say, &quot;Oh, you have good hospitals.&quot; Yes, we have good hospitals. I was the victim of an accident in 2005. My leg was broken and my face got burned, and I experienced quality care. I was living in the city, where you have access. But imagine living in the rural areas. I try to show that Halima doesn&#39;t have access to good medical care. And then maybe [even if she gets to a hospital] they&#39;re not equipped, or there&#39;s only one doctor attending to thousands of women. There&#39;s a whole lot of constraints, and that&#39;s where we need the government to come in.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Along the same lines, you portray a number of social realities that some might think are stereotypical views of Africa: child marriage, rape, extreme patriarchy, lack of education. Were you concerned about the image you were presenting for people who weren&#39;t educated about Nigeria?</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>I thought about that, but I had to be real. Nigeria is a beautiful country, there&#39;s so many opportunities. But also there are some realities in the culture that people don&#39;t want to talk about. Nigerians, they&#39;re very well-educated people, they&#39;re smart, they&#39;re hardworking. We just need to put the basic things in place. We don&#39;t need much. Just give us the basics, and then we&#39;ll fly. So I decided to say it the way I saw it. It&#39;s not the whole Nigerian story, but this one just needed to be told.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>It seemed like the need for education was also an underlying point of your film.</strong></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Education is huge. Those young girls, just give them the basic education. If we make sure she&#39;s well-informed, she can manage. But if she&#39;s ignorant, she doesn&#39;t know what to do. And for the parent who wants to marry off her daughter, they need to learn to pause and say, &quot;Maybe I should allow the girl to grow up a little bit.&quot; If we educate people, it will stop the backlog of [cases]. We already have so many with fistula. [We need to prevent] more people from falling victim.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Glendora Meikle is a program manager at the International Reporting Project. She previously worked at Operation Fistula, a nonprofit group that supports surgeons across Africa. Her twitter handle is @gmeiks. Stephanie Linus&#39; handle is @StephanieLinus.</em></div><div><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/12/30/459794176/a-nigerian-actress-had-an-unlikely-dream-make-a-movie-about-fistula?ft=nprml&amp;f=459794176"><em>&mdash; via NPR</em></a></div><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Tue, 12 Jan 2016 12:39:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/nigerian-actress-had-unlikely-dream-make-movie-about-fistula-114451 Federal Panel Finalizes Mammogram Advice That Stirred Controversy http://www.wbez.org/news/federal-panel-finalizes-mammogram-advice-stirred-controversy-114446 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/mammograms-1_custom-a79a8d452855a3724b595ba1e096d3e7b1c3da98-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The mammography debate&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/04/20/401006116/federal-panel-revisits-contested-recommendation-on-mammograms">heated up once again</a>&nbsp;in April 2015, when the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued a draft of its latest breast cancer screening recommendations.</p><p>Now, after the public had a chance to comment, the influential task force has&nbsp;<a href="http://www.annals.org/article.aspx?doi=10.7326/M15-2886">finalized the advice</a>, reiterating that women ages 50-74 ought to receive a screening mammogram every two years. The USPSTF says that women between 40 and 49 don&#39;t get as much benefit from screening as do older women, so they should&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/11/11/455482369/women-in-their-40s-get-some-help-with-the-mammogram-decision">make an individual decision</a>&nbsp;on when to start based on how they view the benefits and harms. (Women with a family history of breast cancer may benefit more from starting screening before age 50.)</p><p>&quot;Our recommendations support the entire range of decisions available to women in their forties,&quot;&nbsp;<a href="http://profiles.ucsf.edu/kirsten.bibbins-domingo">Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo</a>, a physician and vice chair of the USPSTF, told Shots. Some women may choose to begin at 40 or soon after, deciding they want to lower their cancer risk as much as possible and can handle the chance of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/10/15/448888415/called-back-after-a-mammogram-doctors-are-trying-to-make-it-less-scary">false positive results</a>&nbsp;or&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/11/21/165668987/with-routine-mammograms-some-breast-cancers-may-be-overtreated">possible overdiagnosis</a>, when cancer is discovered that never would have been harmful to health.</p><p>Other women, she says, may opt to wait until later in their 40s or until they turn 50.</p><p>The task force&#39;s supporting materials include statistical models estimating the lifetime consequences of screening women from ages 50-74 and from 40-74. For each 1,000 women screened, the model finds that starting screening at 40 means an estimated one additional breast cancer death averted (deaths drop from eight to seven), with 576 additional false positive tests (1,529 vs. 953), 58 extra benign biopsies (204 vs. 146) and two additional overdiagnosed cases of breast cancer (21 vs. 19).</p><p>The task force also says there&#39;s not enough evidence to say whether or not women 75 and older benefit from routine screening for breast cancer. The recommendations were published Monday in the&nbsp;Annals of Internal Medicine.</p><p>Since the draft was made public last spring, the American Cancer Society&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/10/20/449920789/cancer-group-now-says-most-mammograms-can-wait-till-45">changed its advice</a>&nbsp;for breast cancer screening, saying that average-risk women don&#39;t need to begin annual mammograms until age 45 and can start screening every other year beginning at age 55. Other medical groups still&nbsp;<a href="http://www.acr.org/About-Us/Media-Center/Press-Releases/2015-Press-Releases/20151020-ACR-SBI-Recommend-Mammography-at-Age-40">recommend annual screening starting at 40</a>.</p><p>While mammography guidelines differ, &quot;it&#39;s important for women and physicians to understand how much convergence there is,&quot; says Bibbins-Domingo. The groups agree that mammography has value as a screening tool, and that the value of screening generally rises with age.</p><p>The Affordable Care Act guarantees private insurance coverage of preventive services without out-of-pocket costs for consumers if the evidence supporting the test has an A or B grade from the task force.</p><p>But Congress requires full coverage of mammography in women in their forties, despite the C grade, which indicates there is &quot;at least moderate certainty that the net benefit is small.&quot; In an&nbsp;<a href="http://www.annals.org/article.aspx?doi=10.7326/M15-3065">editorial</a>, the task force says that &quot;coverage decisions are the domain of payers, regulators, and legislators&quot; and that the group &quot;cannot exaggerate our interpretation of the science to ensure coverage for a service.&quot;</p><p>Just to be clear, this ongoing debate is over screening mammography, which means looking for signs of breast cancer in healthy women who have no symptoms of the disease. No matter your age, or whether or not you&#39;ve started regular screening, if you have symptoms, you need to see a doctor.</p><p><em>Katherine Hobson is a freelance health and science writer based in Brooklyn, N.Y. She&#39;s on Twitter:&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/katherinehobson">@katherinehobson</a>.</em></p><p><em>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/01/11/462693737/federal-panel-finalizes-mammogram-advice-that-stirred-controversy?ft=nprml&amp;f=462693737" target="_blank">via NPR</a></em></p></p> Mon, 11 Jan 2016 15:37:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/federal-panel-finalizes-mammogram-advice-stirred-controversy-114446 Why 2015 Was the Year of the Period, and We Don't Mean Punctuation http://www.wbez.org/news/why-2015-was-year-period-and-we-dont-mean-punctuation-114343 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/periods_final_1_wide-91de0921c8edd99925895e71e40562e33ec8d127-s500-c85.jpeg" alt="" /><p><div id="res460726565" previewtitle="Mouni Feddag for NPR"><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Mouni Feddag for NPR" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/12/22/periods_final_1_wide-91de0921c8edd99925895e71e40562e33ec8d127-s500-c85.jpeg" style="height: 348px; width: 620px;" title="(Mouni Feddag for NPR)" /></div><div><div>Tampon or pad? That&#39;s all you get when you stroll through the feminine care aisle of any big supermarket chain.</div></div></div><p>But times are a changin&#39;.</p><p>This year has been epic for menstruation, with news and social media catapulting the once hush-hush topic into the open.</p><p>There&#39;s the woman who ran the London marathon without using feminine hygiene products, and the #PeriodsAreNotAnInsult hashtag that erupted after presidential candidate Donald Trump referred to GOP debate moderator Megyn Kelly as having had &quot;blood coming out of her wherever.&quot;</p><p>Researchers say all the hullabaloo may help give women better and eventually more eco-friendly options in menstrual care.</p><p>&quot;For people like me who have been studying menstruation for decades, we&#39;ve never enjoyed this kind of attention before,&quot; says Chris Bobel, associate professor of women&#39;s and gender studies at the University of Massachusetts, Boston and president of the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.menstruationresearch.org/about-the-society/">Society for Menstrual Cycle Research</a>. &quot;I wrote a book on menstrual activism five years ago that got no attention. But now it is.&quot;</p><p>Is it? Even though&nbsp;<em>Cosmopolitan&nbsp;</em>magazine says it&#39;s &quot;<a href="http://www.cosmopolitan.com/health-fitness/news/a47609/2015-the-year-the-period-went-public/">the year the period went public</a>,&quot; we were skeptical. But social media&#39;s been awash with the p-word, and when we checked the number of times the word &quot;menstruation&quot; was mentioned in five national news outlets, it more than tripled from 2010 to 2015, from 47 to 167.</p><div id="res460739716" previewtitle="Kiran Gandhi didn't use feminine hygiene products while running the London Marathon, and finished the race with a stain on her leggings — part of her efforts to fight the stigma surrounding menstruation."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Kiran Gandhi didn't use feminine hygiene products while running the London Marathon, and finished the race with a stain on her leggings — part of her efforts to fight the stigma surrounding menstruation." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/12/22/kiran-gandhi-1_custom-321c608c2443b9879b0178f539a62bf9a7b8668d-s200-c85.jpg" style="height: 330px; width: 250px; float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="Kiran Gandhi didn't use feminine hygiene products while running the London Marathon, and finished the race with a stain on her leggings — part of her efforts to fight the stigma surrounding menstruation. (Courtesy of Kiran Gandhi)" /></div></div><p>One big moment came in April, when&nbsp;<a href="https://medium.com/absurdist/going-with-the-flow-blood-sisterhood-at-the-london-marathon-f719b98713e7">Kiran Gandhi</a>, a Los Angeles-based musician and feminist, ran the London Marathon while on her period, without using any hygiene products. She wanted to let her blood flow freely to encourage women not to feel embarrassed about their periods.</p><p>&quot;The fact that we&#39;ve been able to talk about periods openly is the biggest step in the revolution,&quot; says Gandhi, who finished the race with a blot of blood on the crotch of her neon orange leggings. &quot;So many people are weighing in about the problems they currently face with their periods. It makes people empowered to speak about their own bodies.&quot;</p><p>Then came the hashtag&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23periodsarenotaninsult">#PeriodsAreNotAnInsult</a>.</p><p>&quot;That was a huge watershed moment for me,&quot; says Bobel of the online reaction to Trump&#39;s comment after the GOP candidates&#39; debate in August. &quot;Women were refusing to take the bait that menstruation is a put-down or a silencer.&quot;</p><p>Indeed, when we looked on Twitter the other day, we found that women are still toying with Trump with statements like: &quot;It&#39;s normal and natural. Let&#39;s change the conversation. Let&#39;s break the taboo.&quot;</p><p>So maybe in an odd way this controversial candidate will help improve the options we women have for absorbing our periods.</p><p>&quot;In America we have a new iPhone every year, but in the past two centuries there have only been three innovations in menstrual care. It&#39;s baffling,&quot; says Gandhi.</p><p>She&#39;s talking about the disposable sanitary pad, which was first marketed in 1888; the tampon, which became commercially available in the 1930s; and the menstrual cup, which has been around for decades but didn&#39;t become popular until softer versions were developed in the 1980s. (The adhesive pad was introduced in the 1970s.)</p><p>About two-thirds of American women use pads, according to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4502470/">data</a>&nbsp;from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while one-third use tampons. Those proportions include women who use both. And while most women use conventional products, entrepreneurs are busy creating new options.</p><p>&quot;The interest in alternatives is greater than ever before,&quot; says Cynthia Pearson, executive director of the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nwhn.org/">National Women&#39;s Health Network</a>. &quot;The number of questions we get about it &mdash; it seems like there&#39;s a new surge in interest. More folks are questioning whether to use tampons or push for getting more info about what&#39;s in them.&quot;</p><p>Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat, has been trying to find that out for almost 20 years. In April, she reintroduced legislation &mdash;&nbsp;<a href="http://fox4kc.com/2015/11/13/congresswoman-wants-more-info-about-tampons-contents-saying-women-will-use-approx-13000-in-their-lifetime/">for the ninth time</a>&nbsp;since 1997 &mdash; that would require manufacturers to label the fabrics, colorants, dyes and preservatives used in pads and tampons. Some women have expressed concern that trace amounts of the toxic chemical&nbsp;<a href="http://www.epa.gov/dioxin/learn-about-dioxin">dioxin</a>&nbsp;could be in tampons as a byproduct of rayon processing.</p><p>The Food and Drug Administration, which regulates the manufacture of menstrual products, says changes in manufacturing processes intended to reduce dioxin pollution in the environment have made the materials in the products essentially free of dioxin. &quot;FDA&#39;s risk assessment indicates that this exposure is many times less than normally present in the body from other environmental sources, so small that any risk of adverse health effects is considered negligible,&quot; according to the agency&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/">website</a>.</p><p>And then there&#39;s the question of the cost and environmental impact of using disposables. Women bought $3 billion of disposable sanitary products in 2014, according to the market analysis firm&nbsp;<a href="http://www.euromonitor.com/">Euromonitor</a>, a cost per woman of about $33 a year. Reusable products could cut into both purchase and disposal costs, and there are growing numbers on the market.</p><p>In June, CVS started carrying the $40&nbsp;<a href="http://divacup.com/">DivaCup</a>, a reusable menstrual cup made of health care-grade silicone. Sales in dollars and units have been growing in double-digit rates, says Daniela Masaro, brand marketing manager of Diva International, the product&#39;s manufacturer.</p><p>There are also&nbsp;<a href="http://www.shethinx.com/">Thinx</a>, underpants that use patented technology that the company says absorbs up to two tampons&#39; worth of liquid while keeping women&#39;s clothes dry.</p><div id="res460727303" previewtitle="New products include a reusable pad made of fleece, a pair of THINX underwear and a DivaCup with carrying case."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="New products include a reusable pad made of fleece, a pair of THINX underwear and a DivaCup with carrying case." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/12/22/period-products-1g_custom-0a2b8a63aa919d9b889eaf4ca465229dedf8dc9c-s500-c85.jpg" style="height: 454px; width: 620px;" title="New products include a reusable pad made of fleece, a pair of THINX underwear and a DivaCup with carrying case. (Meredith Rizzo/NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>Since the startup launched in May with funding from a Kickstarter campaign, Thinx has sold 200,000 pairs of thongs, boy shorts and panties, which sell for about $30 a pop on its website. Most of its customers are women ages 24 to 34.</p></div></div></div><p>Women are also making their own reusable, washable pads, says&nbsp;<a href="https://www.cla.purdue.edu/facultystaff/profiles/new/newfaculty-13/Vostral,_Sharra.html">Sharra Vostral</a>, an associate professor of history at <em>Purdue University and author of&nbsp;Under Wraps: A History of Menstrual Hygiene Technology.</em></p><p>Indeed, a quick search on Etsy, the online marketplace for homemade goods, yields nearly&nbsp;<a href="https://www.etsy.com/search?q=reusable%20menstrual%20pads">4,500 results</a>&nbsp;for an array of menstrual pads made out of fabrics like flannel and hemp.</p><p>But supermarket pads and tampons aren&#39;t going away anytime soon.</p><p>The new reusable products haven&#39;t solved all the hangups that come with being on your period. Women who have a heavier flow may need to use a backup tampon or pantyliner while wearing Thinx underwear, the company says.</p><p>And women who use a menstrual cup may have to clean the device in the sink of a public bathroom, making it an awkward choice for work or school. The cup might also dislodge an IUD, the manufacturer says.</p><p>Traditional menstrual care brands are trying to innovate, too.</p><p>Procter and Gamble, the dominant force in the market with its Always and Tampax brands, pays close attention to the features its consumers want, says Laura Dressman, a company spokeswoman. In 2008, the company&nbsp;<a href="http://news.pg.com/press-release/pg-corporate-announcements/procter-gambles-always-brand-delivers-innovation-feminine-c">introduced</a>&nbsp;the Always Infinity pad, a super thin foam pad that absorbs 10 times its weight.</p><p>And in October, P&amp;G and Kimberly-Clark &mdash; which together control the biggest segment of the $3 billion feminine care industry in the U.S. &mdash; decided to&nbsp;<a href="http://news.pg.com/press-release/pg-corporate-announcements/procter-gambles-always-brand-delivers-innovation-feminine-c">list ingredients</a>&nbsp;for their pads and tampons.</p><p>That was a big win for activists including Gandhi, who had traveled to P&amp;G&#39;s headquarters in Cincinnati to take part in protests demanding disclosure.</p><p>But for her, the fight won&#39;t be over until society conquers the stigma of menstruation.</p><p>&quot;What I&#39;ve learned over the past few months is that taboo removes the vocabulary for people to talk about their own bodies,&quot; she says. &quot;If you can&#39;t talk about the problem, how can you talk about the solution?&quot;</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/12/31/460726461/why-2015-was-the-year-of-the-period-and-we-dont-mean-punctuation?ft=nprml&amp;f=460726461" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Thu, 31 Dec 2015 15:05:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/why-2015-was-year-period-and-we-dont-mean-punctuation-114343 The Single Biggest Barrier to Increasing HPV Vaccination http://www.wbez.org/news/doctors-not-parents-are-biggest-obstacle-hpv-vaccine-114254 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/doc-consult_custom-de7b29d2704dc873e0956d4ae3552f5abf664818-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res450833877" previewtitle="Don't presume the doctor's going to bring up the HPV vaccine at a well-teen visit."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Don't presume the doctor's going to bring up the HPV vaccine at a well-teen visit." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/22/doc-consult_custom-de7b29d2704dc873e0956d4ae3552f5abf664818-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 403px; width: 620px;" title="Don't presume the doctor's going to bring up the HPV vaccine at a well-teen visit. (iStockphoto)" /></div><div><div><p>Vaccination rates against human papillomavirus have remained far lower than rates for other routine childhood and teen immunizations. But a big reason for those low rates comes from a surprising source.</p></div></div></div><p>It&#39;s not hesitant parents refusing the vaccine. Rather, primary care doctors treat the HPV vaccine differently from other routinely recommended immunizations, hesitating to recommend it fully and on time and approaching their discussions with parents differently, a study finds.</p><p>&quot;The single biggest barrier to increasing HPV vaccination is not receiving a health care provider&#39;s recommendation,&quot; said lead study author&nbsp;<a href="http://www.populationmedicine.org/node/590">Melissa Gilkey</a>, an assistant professor of population medicine at Harvard Medical School. That&#39;s more of an issue, she says, than parents&#39; decisions to refuse or delay HPV vaccination.</p><p>The problem?&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cdc.gov/hpv/">HPV infections</a>&nbsp;are most commonly &mdash; though not always &mdash; transmitted sexually.</p><p>&quot;These findings add to a growing literature that suggests that some providers find the interpersonal environment to be challenging when it comes to talking about HPV vaccination,&quot; said Gilkey. &quot;Discomfort talking about sex appears to be a more salient factor&quot; than safety concerns about the vaccine.</p><p>Nearly all cervical cancers result from HPV infections, which can also cause vaginal, vulvar, anal, penile or head and neck cancers. Although most strains of HPV infections go away on their own, a three-dose series of the vaccine protects against&nbsp;<a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/tarahaelle/2014/12/11/newest-hpv-vaccine-protects-against-9-strains/">the strains responsible</a>&nbsp;for an&nbsp;<a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/tarahaelle/2015/06/22/gardasil-9-effectively-stops-90-percent-of-cancers-caused-by-hpv-in-girls-and-boys/">estimated 90 percent</a>&nbsp;of HPV-related cancers.</p><p>The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cdc.gov/hpv/parents/vaccine.html">recommends it</a>&nbsp;for all girls and boys ages 11 and 12 because it&#39;s most effective prior to first engaging in sexual activity.</p><p>The vaccine has not been out long enough to establish how much cancer it will prevent, since most cancers take years to develop after an HPV infection. But multiple studies have shown reduced rates among vaccinated people of the precancerous lesions that grow into cancer.</p><p>While&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/04/30/398872421/the-great-success-and-enduring-dilemma-of-cervical-cancer-screening">regular screenings have reduced rates of cervical cancer</a>&nbsp;in the U.S., the other HPV-related cancers do not have reliable screening tests.</p><p>Despite the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/tarahaelle/2015/01/06/gardasil-hpv-vaccine-not-linked-to-multiple-sclerosis-or-related-diseases/">safety</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv-vaccine-hcp.htm">effectiveness</a>&nbsp;of the vaccines, only 38 percent of teen girls and 14 percent of teen boys receive all three doses of the vaccine, the study noted, far below rates typically in the 80 and 90 percents for other vaccines.</p><p>&quot;Although this study may surprise many, this very concern about provider hesitancy has been at the forefront of the CDC&#39;s concern,&quot; said&nbsp;<a href="https://medicine.mc.vanderbilt.edu/node/451">William Schaffner</a>, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He said it started with strong pushback when the vaccine debuted, as many people focused on the mode of transmission rather than the disease itself.</p><p>Concerns that the vaccine would encourage promiscuity or would cause serious side effects dominated the conversation, but&nbsp;<a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/tarahaelle/2015/07/15/gardasil-hpv-vaccine-safety-assessed-in-most-comprehensive-study-to-date/">dozens of studies since</a>&nbsp;have&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22213755">proven</a>&nbsp;these<a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24488747">concerns unfounded</a>, Schaffner explained. &quot;So many doctors were so bruised by all that parental reaction that now they&#39;re very tenuous,&quot; he said.</p><p>Gilkey&#39;s team sent out an online survey to 2,368 primary care physicians, about half pediatricians and half family doctors. Of the little over 1,000 who responded, 776 of them met the criteria and completed the survey. The&nbsp;<a href="http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/24/11/1673">results,</a> published in Thursday in <em>Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers &amp; Prevention</em>,&nbsp;a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, found that more than a quarter of the respondents (27 percent) reported that they do not strongly endorse the HPV vaccine in talking with their patients&#39; families.</p><p>They were also less likely to recommend on-time vaccination for boys than for girls. Nearly 2 in 5 doctors (39 percent) did not recommend on-time HPV vaccination for their male patients compared with 26 percent for female patients.</p><p>The starkest findings, however, related to how the doctors approach their discussions with parents. Only half recommend the vaccine the same day they discuss it, and 59 percent said they approach discussions by assessing the child&#39;s risk for contracting the disease rather than consistently recommending it to all children as a routine immunization.</p><p>&quot;We need to make the vaccine not about sex but about routine cancer prevention,&quot; said<a href="https://www.ohsu.edu/xd/health/services/providers/index.cfm?personID=3086">Jennifer Edman</a>, an assistant professor of women&#39;s primary care at Oregon Health &amp; Science University. Other shots recommended around the same age include the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/tdap.html">Tdap</a>(tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/mening/default.htm">meningococcal vaccines</a>, but preventing cancer can seem distant at that age, Edman added.</p><p>&quot;It is easy to fall into the trap of negotiating with either the parent or the teen,&quot; she said, &quot;and the HPV vaccine can start to seem optional or of less immediate importance.&quot;</p><p>It&#39;s not that the physicians themselves believe the vaccine is unimportant. A full 99 percent of the respondents said they tell their patients that the HPV vaccine prevents cervical cancer and 89 percent explain it prevents genital warts, though just over half say it can prevent other cancers. It&#39;s how they perceive the attitudes of their patients&#39; parents.</p><p>Nearly half of the physicians who responded (47 percent) believed that parents think of the HPV vaccine as only slightly important or not important at all for their preteen children. About a third somewhat or strongly agreed that they expected uncomfortable conversations with families about the vaccine, and a third said discussions were uncomfortable because HPV is a sexually transmitted disease. Yet these perceptions don&#39;t match up with reality, Gilkey said.</p><p>&quot;We were surprised that physicians viewed parents as so unsupportive of HPV vaccination because research with parents themselves tells a somewhat different story,&quot; she said. &quot;A lot of parents say that they just need more information. It seems clear that providers need communication strategies for recommending the HPV vaccine with greater confidence.&quot;</p><p>The result has been very low coverage for the only vaccine besides hepatitis B that can reduce cancers.</p><p>&quot;The needle has moved from parental hesitancy to provider hesitancy,&quot; Schaffner said. &quot;It&#39;s really saddened me because for a long time, an anti-cancer vaccine was a sort of a holy grail in medical research. This is a fabulous advance in women&#39;s and men&#39;s health, and we&#39;re letting young people grow into adulthood without that protection.&quot;</p><p><em>Tara Haelle is a freelance health and science writer based in Peoria, Ill. She&#39;s on Twitter:&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/tarahaelle">@tarahaelle</a></em></p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/10/22/450827102/doctors-not-parents-are-the-biggest-obstacle-to-the-hpv-vaccine?ft=nprml&amp;f=450827102" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Tue, 22 Dec 2015 14:13:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/doctors-not-parents-are-biggest-obstacle-hpv-vaccine-114254 More Women Are Freezing Their Eggs, But Will They Ever Use Them? http://www.wbez.org/news/more-women-are-freezing-their-eggs-will-they-ever-use-them-113918 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/npr_fertility.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res457110565" previewtitle="Maria Fabrizio for NPR"><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Maria Fabrizio for NPR" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/23/npr_fertilitywindow_wide-358896666ed2e510442e1294f05133a865dd5d59-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 349px; width: 620px;" title="(Maria Fabrizio/NPR)" /></div><div><div>If egg freezing once sounded like science fiction, those days are over. Women now hear about it from their friends, their doctors and informational events like Wine and Freeze.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><a href="https://www.shadygrovefertility.com/">Shady Grove Fertility Center</a>&nbsp;in the Washington, D.C., area hosts Wine and Freeze nights for prospective patients every few months. Fifteen or so women in their 30s gathered at one recently over wine, brownies and sticky buns. A doctor explained the procedure, the costs and the odds of frozen eggs resulting in a baby &mdash; which decline as a woman ages.</div></div></div><p>Egg freezing for medical reasons &mdash; often women undergoing chemotherapy &mdash; has been possible for decades. Some 5,000 babies have been born from eggs that were frozen, thawed and fertilized.</p><p>In 2012, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine decided egg freezing was no longer an experimental procedure. That opened the door for clinics like Shady Grove to market it to women who don&#39;t have a medical reason to do it but are simply worried about their declining fertility &mdash; what&#39;s being dubbed as &quot;social&quot; egg freezing.</p><p>The &quot;social&quot; egg freezing business these days is good, says Shady Grove medical director&nbsp;<a href="https://www.shadygrovefertility.com/doctors/widra">Dr. Eric Widra</a>. &quot;This is clearly a time where the technological ability to do this is converging with the demographics,&quot; he says. &quot;There are more and more women who find themselves in a situation where they may potentially benefit from having their eggs frozen.&quot;</p><div id="res457130643"><p data-pym-src="http://apps.npr.org/dailygraphics/graphics/fertility-patients-20151123/child.html">&nbsp;</p><script src="http://apps.npr.org/dailygraphics/graphics/fertility-patients-20151123/js/lib/pym.js" type="text/javascript"></script></div><p>The majority of women currently freezing their eggs live in cities like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, according to Jake Anderson-Bialis, who&#39;s building a company called&nbsp;<a href="http://fertilityiq.com/">FertilityIQ&nbsp;</a>with his wife, Deborah. &quot;Marketing is aggressively happening, and these are the hubs where fertility clinics will prove out the concept,&quot; he says.</p><p>Anderson-Bialis says he&#39;s hoping to serve women freezing their eggs, as well as couples doing in vitro fertilization, with a database of fertility doctors and reviews from patients. FertilityIQ has so far gotten about 200 women who have frozen their eggs to write reviews of their experience.</p><p>The fact that wine is served at egg-freezing info sessions around the country might imply that this is no big deal, even fun. In fact, it&#39;s a complicated and physically demanding process.</p><p>Women inject themselves with hormones for up to two weeks to stimulate their ovaries to get as many mature eggs as possible. There&#39;s a surgical procedure to retrieve them. And there can be side effects along the way.</p><p>It also isn&#39;t cheap. One round averages about $12,000, and multiple rounds may be needed. No insurance companies cover egg freezing, but in October, a third tech company, Intel,&nbsp;<a href="http://blogs.intel.com/jobs/2015/10/19/intel-expands-family-benefits/">joined</a>&nbsp;Apple and Facebook in offering to pay the costs of egg freezing for employees. Financing may be available from a company called EggBanxx as well as some fertility clinics.</p><p>Stacey Samuel is a producer with CBS in Washington, D.C., (formerly with CNN). She thought about freezing her eggs earlier, but couldn&#39;t afford it until this year. &quot;Before you know it, I&#39;m 40, and I thought, oh, my goodness, this is very real for me,&quot; Samuel says.</p><p>Doctors prefer that women freeze their eggs before their mid-30s. But Samuel thought that advice might not apply to her. &quot;I&#39;m a black, South Asian female. Fertility in my culture and family extends for many years,&quot; she says. &quot;So I&#39;m thinking 40 is nothing but a number &mdash; I still get carded.&quot;</p><p>She assumed she&#39;d get the 15 to 20 eggs that doctors recommend women freeze. But in the middle of her cycle, while she was injecting hormones, there were complications. She ended up with just 10.</p><p>&quot;Even when I choose to go use those eggs, I could lose them again,&quot; Samuel says. &quot;So that feeling of reassurance that I thought I was buying with my near $20,000 on the table &mdash; I&#39;m still unable to control the outcome.&quot;</p><p>Preserved eggs offer women like Samuel hope for beating the biological clock. But you can&#39;t escape the fact that your body will continue to age. The older a woman is when she freezes her eggs and when she uses them with in vitro fertilization, the lower her chances of success.</p><p>&quot;There was a lot of encouragement to go forth even if it looks like you&#39;re kind of a risky case, because I think these dedicated doctors really want to know where they can take this,&quot; Samuel says. &quot;And they need the numbers, and they need those of us who are willing to go through with it.&quot;</p><p>That concerns&nbsp;<a href="https://law.utexas.edu/faculty/jr43/">John Robertson</a>, a professor of law and bioethics at the University of Texas Law School. He wrote a&nbsp;<a href="http://jlb.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2014/03/28/jlb.lsu002.full">paper</a>&nbsp;published in 2014 in the&nbsp;Journal of Law and the Biosciences&nbsp;on how women freezing their eggs can be both empowered and alienated by the procedure.</p><p>&quot;The problem is it may be marketed to women who are in the older age group who may have very little chance of obtaining viable eggs,&quot; Robertson says. &quot;So it&#39;s extremely important that there be full disclosure at every step of the process.&quot;</p><p data-pym-src="http://apps.npr.org/dailygraphics/graphics/fertility-births-20151123/child.html">&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.embryo.net/fertility-center/fertility-doctors">Dr. Kevin Doody</a>&nbsp;agrees. He codirects the Center for Assisted Reproduction in Dallas, and is president-elect of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, or SART.</p><p>&quot;I do not think that this should be highly promoted for the older-age woman,&quot; Doody says. &quot;I&#39;m not saying one should refuse or deny services if a 40- or 42-year-old woman wanted to have her eggs frozen. But I think it would warrant a substantial counseling session with that patient.&quot;</p><p>SART collects data on egg freezing in the U.S. And Doody says in 2013, about 4,000 women froze their eggs, up from about 2,500 the year before. And he predicts the number this year will be much higher.</p><p>But so far very few women who&#39;ve frozen their eggs since the experimental label was lifted in 2012 have gone back to try to use them. SART found that of the 353 egg-thaw cycles in 2012, only 83 resulted in live births. In 2013, there were 414 thaw cycles and 99 live births. &quot;Live birth&quot; is not babies born &mdash; it means delivery of one or more infants, so it can include twins.</p><p>Overall, the success rate of live births from frozen eggs has remained consistently pretty low, at about 20 to 24 percent since 2009. And, Doody adds, &quot;Even if the success rates were significantly higher, there&#39;s never going to be a guarantee for an individual patient that the eggs she would bank would ultimately result in a baby for her.&quot;</p><p>Medical anthropologist&nbsp;<a href="http://marciainhorn.com/">Marcia Inhorn</a>&nbsp;at Yale University is conducting a study of the women who have frozen their eggs.</p><p>&quot;The vast majority say, &#39;Well, it&#39;s given me peace of mind, I feel a sense of relief, it&#39;s taken the pressure off of me to rush into a relationship with someone who isn&#39;t right,&#39; &quot; she says.</p><p>Inhorn has interviewed about 100 women so far for her study.</p><p>&quot;Most of these women are amazing professional women, I have to say,&quot; says Inhorn. &quot;But the major reason over and over is not being able to find the right person to embark on a partnership and parenthood with.&quot;</p><p>Finding the right person is likely to be just as big a challenge for women in the future, Inhorn says. Which is why she believes this technology will become normalized, like in vitro fertilization.</p><p>And maybe it&#39;s already happening if people like Mindy Kaling are talking about it. The actress, producer and writer hit on this in an&nbsp;<a href="http://www.hulu.com/watch/865280">episode</a>&nbsp;of her Hulu show&nbsp;The Mindy Project. Her character, a fertility doctor, goes to a college campus to peddle her newest service for women.</p><p>Here&#39;s what she tells them:</p><blockquote><div><p><em>&quot;When I was your age, I thought that I was going to be married by the time I was 25. But it took a lot longer than that. And unfortunately your body does not care if you are dating the wrong guy. ... Your body and your eggs just keep getting older, which is why freezing them is a pretty smart idea, &#39;cause it gives you a little bit more time.&quot;</em></p></div></blockquote><p>But it will be years before there&#39;s enough data showing us whether egg freezing actually helps most of the women doing it fulfill their dreams of motherhood.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/11/24/456671203/more-women-are-freezing-their-eggs-but-will-they-ever-use-them?ft=nprml&amp;f=456671203" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 12:27:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/more-women-are-freezing-their-eggs-will-they-ever-use-them-113918 Federal Court Rules Wisconsin Abortion Law Unconstitutional http://www.wbez.org/news/federal-court-rules-wisconsin-abortion-law-unconstitutional-113908 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP_9376000260.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>MADISON, Wis. (AP) &mdash; A Wisconsin law that requires abortion providers to get admitting privileges at nearby hospitals is unconstitutional, a federal appeals court panel ruled Friday.</p><p>The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel&#39;s ruling comes in a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood and Affiliated Medical Services. The groups argue that the 2013 law amounts to an unconstitutional restriction on abortion. The law has been on hold since a federal judge struck it down earlier this year.</p><p>The law&#39;s supporters argue that the Republican-backed statutes would ensure continuity of care if a woman developed complications from an abortion and needed to be hospitalized.</p><p>But the lawsuit said the statute would force AMS&#39;s clinic in Milwaukee to close because its doctors couldn&#39;t get admitting privileges. That in turn would lead to longer waits at Planned Parenthood clinics. Therefore, the lawsuit maintained, the law amounts to an illegal restriction on abortions.</p><p>U.S. District Judge William Conley sided with the abortion providers in March, saying the law served no legitimate health interest. The Wisconsin Department of Justice later appealed to the 7th Circuit.</p><p>All three judges hearing the case peppered state attorneys with questions during oral arguments in October.</p><p>Judge Richard Posner told the state there was no rational basis for the law, saying it didn&#39;t provide any health benefits for women seeking abortions and was clearly designed to close abortion clinics.</p><p>Judge Daniel Manion noted that complications could arise from abortions carried out through medication that women take at home. In those instances, complications could occur 100 miles or more away from the hospital where the doctor who gave her the medication has admitting privileges, he said.</p><p>The third judge on the panel, David Hamilton, questioned how the state could suggest it was acceptable for women to travel to&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;or Minneapolis if the law forced the Milwaukee clinic to close.</p><p>Courts have blocked similar laws in six other states, meaning the issue may ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.</p></p> Mon, 23 Nov 2015 17:39:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/federal-court-rules-wisconsin-abortion-law-unconstitutional-113908