International Journal of Women's Health

Description

An international, peer-reviewed, open access, online journal publishing original research, reports, editorials, reviews and commentaries on all aspects of women's healthcare including gynecology, obstetrics, and breast cancer.

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Publications in this journal

  • Inka Wiegratz, Jörg Elliesen, Anna Maria Paoletti, Anja Walzer, Bodo Kirsch
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    ABSTRACT: To evaluate the effect of a digital dispenser's acoustic alarm function on adherence to ethinylestradiol (EE) 20 μg/drospirenone 3 mg in a flexible extended regimen (EE/drospirenoneFlex) among women in five European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK) seeking oral contraception. Randomized, parallel-group open-label study. Women aged 18-35 years received EE/drospirenoneFlex administered in a regimen with cycle lengths of their choice with the aid of a digital pill dispenser over 1 year. In group A (N=250), the dispenser's acoustic alarm was activated (ie, acoustic alarm + visual reminder). In group B (N=249), the acoustic alarm was deactivated (ie, visual reminder only). In addition, the women recorded pill intake daily in diary cards. The primary efficacy variable was the mean delay of daily pill release after the dispenser reminded the woman to take a pill (reference time). Secondary efficacy variables included number of missed pills, contraceptive efficacy, bleeding pattern, tolerability, and user satisfaction. Dispenser data showed a mean (standard deviation [SD]) daily delay in pill release of 88 (126) minutes in group A vs 178 (140) minutes in group B (P<0.0001). Median (lower quartile, Q1; upper quartile, Q3) number of missed pills was 0 (0; 1) in group A vs 4 (1; 9) in group B (P<0.0001). Diary card results revealed similar trends; however, underreporting of missed pills was evident in both groups. No pregnancies were reported during 424 women-years of exposure. Across the two groups, the mean (SD) EE/drospirenoneFlex cycle length was 51.0 (31.8) days with strong regional differences, and the mean (SD) number of bleeding/spotting days was 50.4 (33.0) days. EE/drospirenoneFlex was well tolerated, and 80% of women were satisfied with treatment. The dispenser's activated acoustic alarm improved adherence with daily tablet intake of EE/drospirenoneFlex, reducing missed pills. EE/drospirenoneFlex provided effective contraception and a good tolerability profile.
    International Journal of Women's Health 01/2015; 7:19-29.
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    ABSTRACT: Several second-generation bisphosphonates (BPs) are approved in osteoporosis treatment. Efficacy and safety depends on potency of farnesyl pyrophosphate synthase (FPPS) inhibition, hydroxyapatite affinity, compliance and adherence. The latter may be influenced by frequency and route of administration. A literature search using "ibandronate", "postmenopausal osteoporosis", "fracture", and "bone mineral density" (BMD) revealed 168 publications. The Phase III BONE study, using low dose 2.5 mg daily oral ibandronate demonstrated 49% relative risk reduction (RRR) in clinical vertebral fracture after 3 years. Non-vertebral fracture (NVF) reduction was demonstrated in a subgroup (pretreatment T-score ≤ -3.0; RRR 69%) and a meta-analysis of high annual doses (150 mg oral monthly or intravenous equivalent of ibandronate; RRR 38%). Hip fracture reduction was not demonstrated. Long-term treatment efficacy has been confirmed over 5 years. Long term safety is comparable to placebo over 3 years apart from flu-like symptoms which are more common with oral monthly and intravenous treatments. No cases of atypical femoral fracture or osteonecrosis of the jaw have been reported in randomized controlled trial studies. Ibandronate inhibits FPPS more than alendronate but less than other BPs which could explain rate of action onset. Ibandronate has a higher affinity for hydroxyapatite compared with risedronate but less than other BPs which could affect skeletal distribution and rate of action offset. High doses (150 mg oral monthly or intravenous equivalent) were superior to low doses (oral 2.5 mg daily) according to 1 year BMD change. Data are limited by patient selection, statistical power, under-dosing, and absence of placebo groups in high dose studies. Ibandronate treatment offers different doses and modalities of administration which could translate into higher adherence rates, an important factor when the two main limitations of BP treatment are initiation and adherence rates. However, lack of consistency in NVF reduction and absence of hip fracture data limits more generalized use of this agent.
    International Journal of Women's Health 01/2015; 7:7-17.
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this work was to assess scientific research of master's and doctoral theses and essays in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Zagazig University, Egypt. All master's and doctoral theses and essays since the foundation of Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Zagazig University, Egypt, in 1975 till end of 2012 were reviewed. A total of 703 theses and essays were reviewed. The important topics in the specialty of obstetrics and gynecology were covered and updated. Infertility, in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer (IVF-ET) and related techniques, and polycystic ovarian disease were the most common gynecologic topics (27.2%), followed by gynecologic oncology (18.5%). Preeclampsia was the most common obstetrics topic (18.8%), followed by issues of high-risk pregnancy, fetal growth restriction, and fetal well-being (11.6%). The number of researches that allow the candidates to learn skills was 183 and it was increased from 4.4% of all research in the period 1979-1988 to 33.2% in period 1989-2000 then slightly decreased to 31.2% in period 2001-2012. Ultrasonography was on the top and was present in 99 out of 183 (54.1%) followed by laparoscopy (30, 16.4%), hysteroscopy (25, 13.7%), IVF-ET and related techniques (16, 8.7%) and colposcopy (13, 7.1%) researches. Multi-disciplinary research was decreased by 61.7% in the period 2001-2012. Researches in academic fields were abandoned and in some clinically important areas like preeclampsia were decreased. Scientific research of master's and doctoral theses and essays was comprehensive, updated, and had some autonomy independent of plans. Research which enable the candidate to learn skills were increased on the expense of academic, clinical and multidisciplinary research. It could be recommended that plans for scientific research should be flexible and should leave a space for local departmental views. Proper training of residents during their rotation in these subspecialties may help to revive the lost interest in clinically important areas.
    International Journal of Women's Health 01/2015; 7:1-5.
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    ABSTRACT: Breast cancer remains a leading cause of cancer-related death internationally. Treatment approaches for metastatic breast cancer have evolved in recent years; however chemotherapy remains a core component for the majority of patients. Agents such as anthracyclines and taxanes have been extensively studied and form standard treatment. Eribulin mesylate is a novel synthetic microtubule-directed chemotherapy, based on a naturally-occurring compound. Through phase I studies, eribulin was found to be tolerable and activity was seen in patients with metastatic breast cancer. Phase II studies in metastatic breast cancer further demonstrated its efficacy, with responses and survival which compare favorably with other studied chemotherapy agents. The phase III EMBRACE study showed superior survival for patients treated with eribulin compared with those who received a physician's choice control. This led to its approval for use in many countries in this setting. Its toxicity profile is well established and manageable for the most part, with the commonest reported toxicities being alopecia, fatigue, neutropenia and peripheral neuropathy. A second reported phase III study comparing eribulin to capecitabine failed to show an improvement in survival in pretreated patients. This article reviews the clinical pharmacology and mechanism of action of eribulin, and summarizes the results of the major preclinical and clinical studies of eribulin in metastatic breast cancer.
    International Journal of Women's Health 01/2015; 7:47-58.
  • Betrand O Nwosu, George U Eleje, Amaka L Obi-Nwosu, Ita F Ahiarakwem, Comfort N Akujobi, Chukwudi C Egwuatu, Chukwudumebi O C Onyiuke
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    ABSTRACT: To determine the seroreactivity of pregnant women to syphilis in order to justify the need for routine antenatal syphilis screening. A multicenter retrospective analysis of routine antenatal venereal disease research laboratory (VDRL) test results between 1 September 2010 and 31 August 2012 at three specialist care hospitals in south-east Nigeria was done. A reactive VDRL result is subjected for confirmation using Treponema pallidum hemagglutination assay test. Analysis was by Epi Info 2008 version 3.5.1 and Stata/IC version 10. Adequate records were available regarding 2,156 patients and were thus reviewed. The mean age of the women was 27.4 years (±3.34), and mean gestational age was 26.4 weeks (±6.36). Only 15 cases (0.70%) were seropositive to VDRL. Confirmatory T. pallidum hemagglutination assay was positive in 4 of the 15 cases, giving an overall prevalence of 0.19% and a false-positive rate of 73.3%. There was no significant difference in the prevalence of syphilis in relation to maternal age and parity (P>0.05). While the prevalence of syphilis is extremely low in the antenatal care population at the three specialist care hospitals in south-east Nigeria, false-positive rate is high and prevalence did not significantly vary with maternal age or parity. Because syphilis is still a serious but preventable and curable disease, screening with VDRL alone, without confirmatory tests may not be justified. Because of the increase in the demand for evidence-based medicine and litigation encountered in medical practice, we may advocate that confirmatory test for syphilis is introduced in routine antenatal testing to reduce the problem of false positives. The government should increase the health budget that will include free routine antenatal testing including the T. pallidum hemagglutination assay.
    International Journal of Women's Health 01/2015; 7:41-6.
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    ABSTRACT: The aims of this study were: 1) to assess the level of knowledge of women about Pap smear tests, 2) to determine the practices of women regarding Pap smear tests, and 3) to determine the barriers to Pap smear tests in Elmina, Ghana. A cross-sectional study was conducted with 392 randomly selected sexually active females aged 10-74 years using structured interview questions. The Institutional Review Board of the University of Cape Coast gave ethical approval for the study and informed consent was obtained from participants. Data were analyzed with SPSS software (v19.0) using frequencies, chi-square test, and exploratory factor analysis. The results revealed that 68.4% had never heard about cervical cancer, 93.6% had no knowledge on the risk factors, nine (2.3%) reported multiple sexual partners and being sexually active as risk factors, and 92% did not know about the prevention and treatment of cervical cancer. The majority (97.7%) had never heard of the Pap smear test. Only three (0.8%) women out of 392 had had a Pap smear test. Reasons for seeking a Pap smear test included referral, fear of cervical cancer, and radio campaigns. A significant association was found between institutional and personal barriers and having a Pap smear test. Comprehensive education on cervical cancer screening and removal of access barriers are critical in reducing risk associated with the disease and promoting women's health.
    International Journal of Women's Health 01/2015; 7:31-9.
  • Asma Javed, Rahul Kashyap, Aida N Lteif
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    ABSTRACT: To compare the reproductive, metabolic, and skeletal profiles of young athletic women with functional hypothalamic amenorrhea (FHA) as well as clinical or biochemical hyperandrogenism (FHA-EX+HA) with body mass index matched women with FHA due to exercise (FHA-EX) or anorexia nervosa (FHA-AN) alone. Retrospective cohort study. Tertiary care teaching hospital. Adolescents and young women, 15-30 years of age, diagnosed with FHA along with concurrent signs of hyperandrogenism (n=22) and body mass index matched control groups consisting of 22 women in each group of FHA-EX and FHA-AN. 1) Reproductive hormone profile: luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), total testosterone, pelvic ultrasound features. 2) Metabolic function and skeletal health markers: fasting glucose, cholesterol, number of stress fractures and bone mineral density as assessed by spine dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry z scores. FHA-EX+HA group was older at diagnosis compared to the other groups with a median (interquartile range [IQR]) age of 22 (18.75-25.25) years versus (vs) 17.5 (15.75-19) for FHA-EX; (P<0.01) and 18 (16-22.25) years for FHA-AN (P=0.01). There were no differences among the groups based on number of hours of exercise per week, type of physical activity or duration of amenorrhea. Median (IQR) LH/FSH ratio was higher in FHA-EX+HA than both other groups, 1.44 (1.03-1.77) vs 0.50 (0.20-0.94) for FHA-EX and 0.67 (0.51-0.87) for FHA-AN (P<0.01 for both). Total testosterone concentrations were not different among the groups. Median (IQR) fasting serum glucose concentration was higher in FHA-EX+HA vs FHA-EX, 88.5 mg/dL (82.8-90 mg/dL) vs 83.5 mg/dL (78.8-86.3 mg/dL) (P=0.01) but not different from FHA-AN (P=0.31). Percentage of women with stress fractures was lower in FHA-EX+HA (4.5%) as compared to both FHA-EX (27.3%) and FHA-AN (50%); P=0.04 and 0.01 respectively. The LH/FSH ratio was weakly positively associated with serum glucose (adjusted r (2)=0.102; P=0.01) as well as with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry spine score (adjusted r (2)=0.191; P=0.04) in the entire cohort. In a small cohort of female athletes with hyperandrogenism, a distinct reproductive hormone profile consisting of higher LH to FHS ratio may be associated with adverse metabolic health markers but improved skeletal health.
    International Journal of Women's Health 01/2015; 7:103-11.
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: This study evaluated knowledge and practices of childbearing women on key childcare practices within the Safe Motherhood project, administered by the Ntcheu District Health Office in the Republic of Malawi. The study excluded men and elderly women. Methods: The design was cross-sectional, and utilized quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis procedures. Data were also collected through review of participant health records. Results: Although the findings showed that all participants (100%, n=400) had general knowl- edge on maternal and child health care, they did not have comprehensive information, and few mothers were practicing the recommended key child health care practices. Only 42.4% (n=170) knew the appropriate number of visits a woman should make to the antenatal clinic, and very few knew the appropriate time at which to access antenatal care. Only 55% (n=220) of participants breastfed their babies exclusively. Some participants introduced supplementary feeds as early as a month after birth, and not all women delivered at the health facility. Failure to actively involve men and elderly women in maternal and child health issues had a negative impact on women’s ability to fully implement key maternal and childcare practices. Conclusion and recommendations: There is a need to actively involve men and elderly women in maternal and child health issues since, in the ideal Malawian context, a child is raised not just by the mother, but also by all who live in the village. Additionally, elderly women are the guardians of members of the childbearing group, and are a traditional reservoir of experience into which young women can tap. There is also a need to engage Community Nurse-Midwives in facilitating women’s groups that provide comprehensive antenatal information to mothers, who may then put knowledge into practice.
    International Journal of Women's Health 12/2014; 2014:6(1045-1055).
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    ABSTRACT: Pelvic organ prolapse is highly prevalent, and negatively affects a woman's quality of life. Women with bothersome prolapse may be offered pessary management or may choose to undergo corrective surgery. In choosing the most appropriate surgical procedure, there are many factors to consider. These may include the location(s) of anatomic defects, the severity of prolapse symptoms, the activity level of the woman, and concerns regarding the durability of the repair. In many instances, women and their surgeons are challenged to weigh the risks and benefits of native tissue versus mesh-augmented repairs. Though mesh-augmented repairs may offer better durability, they are also associated with unique complications, such as mesh erosion. Furthermore, newer surgical techniques of mesh placement via abdominal or vaginal routes may result in different outcomes compared to traditional techniques. Biologic grafts may also be considered to improve durability of a surgical repair, while avoiding potential complications of synthetic mesh. In this article, we review many of the clinical challenges that gynecologic surgeons face in the surgical management of vaginal prolapse. Furthermore, we review data that can help guide decision making when treating women with pelvic organ prolapse.
    International Journal of Women's Health 01/2014; 6:83-94.
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    ABSTRACT: Human T-cell lymphoma/leukemia virus (HTLV)-1 is a retrovirus transmitted vertically from mother to child parenterally and sexually by infected lymphocytes.
    International Journal of Women's Health 01/2014; 6:849-55.
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    ABSTRACT: The Female Athlete Triad (Triad) represents a syndrome of three interrelated conditions that originate from chronically inadequate energy intake to compensate for energy expenditure; this environment results in insufficient stored energy to maintain physiological processes, a condition known as low energy availability. The physiological adaptations associated with low energy availability, in turn, contribute to menstrual cycle disturbances. The downstream effects of both low energy availability and suppressed estrogen concentrations synergistically impair bone health, leading to low bone mineral density, compromised bone structure and microarchitecture, and ultimately, a decrease in bone strength. Unlike the other components of the Triad, poor bone health often does not have overt symptoms, and therefore develops silently, unbeknownst to the athlete. Compromised bone health among female athletes increases the risk of fracture throughout the lifespan, highlighting the long-term health consequences of the Triad. The purpose of this review is to examine the current state of Triad research related to the third component of the Triad, ie, poor bone health, in an effort to summarize what we know, what we are learning, and what remains unknown.
    International Journal of Women's Health 01/2014; 6:451-467.