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Taking a closer look at women's health

Jan 15, 2013 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

Politicians spent a significant amount of time in the past election season debating topics related to women's health, including abortion, insurance coverage and the definition of rape.

Author and registered nurse Iyalode Edwards recently published the article "3 Things All Women Should Know About Their Bodies," which said that staying connected to current events is essential to defending the health needs of women.

"I want women to be more aware of their bodies," Edwards said. "Unfortunately, the rhetoric of many politicians seems to be pointing backward regarding our health."

She said women also are often left with questions whenever new studies are published or are wrongly informed on other issues.

Edwards cautioned women against using new products that may produce adverse symptoms in the long run. Specifically, she spoke on the hormonal replacement therapy that at first she said was, "used almost as a cure-all for post-menopausal women suffering a variety of symptoms." After a few years, however, those same women were being diagnosed with ovarian and breast cancer.

Edwards also said side effects such as blood clots, fainting, nausea and headaches surfaced in girls and young women who were vaccinated for the human papillomavirus.

"Be wary of new cure-alls," Edwards said. "Adverse effects are sometimes not revealed until they've been in use for a significant amount of time."

Jody Stark, a registered nurse at the Fremont Community Health Center and a master of science nursing student, said she agreed many women were quick to go with hormonal replacement because they preferred to eliminate post-menopausal symptoms.

"They will try anything to make them feel better," Stark said.

She also said it's important women educate themselves about other options, such as holistic medicine, to treat the mind and the body.

"No pill is going to solve every problem," Stark said.

Stark said that aside from taking fewer pills, the two other things she advises women to do is to always practice safe sex, as STDs are one of the main concerns women have when they visit the clinic, and have a positive mental attitude, which can go a long way to help improve overall health.

Maryanne Hannaney, an obstetrician/gynecologist at the Wind River Clinic in Riverton, is also a board certified anti-aging medicine physician and cosmetic surgeon. She said she tells women not to expect only a signed prescription.

"There's more to a headache," Hannaney said.

She said she tries to help women realize that if something's going wrong in one part of the body, then most likely it's affecting another part.

"If one fails, the other fails," she said.

Hannaney said she likes to stress to patients that there's more to treating a health problem. She said she educates patients on ways to prevent issues in the first place. Her advice is being active and eating organic and healthy foods should be a priority. She said just eating vegetables isn't good enough, and a person has to change her lifestyle for an overall healthy body.

Hannaney said one thing women should look into is anti-aging medicine. She said many women are reluctant, but it's more than what they see on the outside, because the medicine can help women feel like they did when they were 30 years younger, or better, on the inside.

"Cells are aging so they don't work the same," Hannaney said. "People age because of the changes that happen."

She said the medication puts certain hormones back into the body to provide it with the right nutrients.

Hannaney said she's pleased when women visit her with concerns and questions. She said she sits with most patients for up to an hour during an appointment so they're not left wondering.

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