Women’s Health Week Time to Refocus
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Each year more than 900 babies are born at Archbold.
More than 11,000 breast imaging procedures are performed.
More than 1,500 women are treated at the Lewis Hall Oncology Center and over 6,000 women are treated at the Loudermilk Heart and Vascular Center.
Women often serve as caregivers for their families, putting the needs of their spouse, children and parents before their own. As a result, a woman’s health and well-being become secondary. Archbold’s clinical teams are encouraging women to refocus attention on their own health— improving their physical and mental health and lowering their risks of certain diseases.
And what better timing to refocus public awareness than National Women’s Health Week, May 8-14.
From adolescence to motherhood to menopause, a woman’s life is a journey. And Archbold and its medical staff offer a model for lifelong care, featuring a range of Women’s Health services and a multi-specialty approach to providing care and support along the way.
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends that young women have their first visit with an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB/GYN) between the ages of 13 and 15 or when they become sexually active, whichever comes first.
“For most teens, the first visit does not include a pelvic exam. It’s a time for young women to get accurate information and confidential answers to any questions they may have concerning sex, sexuality, body changes, and menstruation,” said Sandra B. Reed, MD. “It’s an opportunity to learn about pregnancy prevention, sexually transmitted diseases and healthy lifestyles. For girls who experience missed periods, pain, and other reproductive problems, the first visit allows us to find out why the problems are occurring and offer treatment.”
According to Reed, women should schedule regular checkups with their OB/GYN to detect and treat any new or ongoing health problems as well as to help prevent future ones from developing. Regardless of a woman’s age, there are standard components of the annual ob-gyn exam, including assessing current health status, nutrition, physical activity, sexual practices, and tobacco, alcohol and drug use. Across age groups, the standard physical exam also includes height, weight, body mass index (BMI), and blood pressure. Annual breast and abdominal exams begin at age 19, and routine annual pelvic exams begin at age 21.
Pre-Natal Care, Obstetrics and Delivery
Pregnancy is one of the most exciting times in a woman’s life. The best way to approach pregnancy, labor and delivery and post-partum, though, is to be informed. Archbold’s Maternity Center offers comprehensive maternity services to mothers, fathers and babies. From childbirth preparation to breastfeeding, answers to important questions are found in the Childbirth Education Class Series taught by Archbold’s Labor and Delivery nurses. In addition, the highly trained team of obstetricians and gynecologists, pediatricians, nurses, lactation consultants and healthcare professionals provide the individualized care and education that each family deserves during this special time.
While surgeons perform a multitude of procedures specific to conditions found only in women, the most common procedure performed is hysterectomy. One in three women will face hysterectomy in her lifetime. Archbold gynecologic surgeons have the option of using daVinci® robotic surgical technology to perform surgical treatment for a range of gynecologic conditions including cervical and uterine cancer, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, uterine prolapse and menorrhagia or excessive bleeding.
“A hysterectomy can be performed with the daVinci® System through tiny incisions of 1-2 cm, compared to an open surgical approach, which requires a large abdominal incision of approximately 6-12 in,” said Joseph S. Novak, MD. “Surgery with the daVinci® System will allow patients to get back to life faster—within days rather than the usual weeks required with traditional surgery.”
Imaging and Cancer
When a woman faces a medical condition that affects the female reproductive system or the breast, the psychological impact that accompanies the diagnosis and treatment, can have a profound effect on her self-image. Archbold has developed advanced programs for the detection and treatment of cancer faced by women, but has also built the support resources to help women in our community during their care and recovery process.
The American Cancer Society estimates that 12 percent of women born today will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some time in their lives. Judy Murphy, RT (RM), supervisor at the Archbold Women’s Center, recommends that women have their first mammogram (a baseline mammogram) between ages 35-40 or earlier based on clinical indicators or family history, and yearly after age 40 or as recommended by their physician. The Women’s Center is a spacious and comfortable, state-of-the-art facility equipped to meet the diagnostic needs of women in an environment designed with their comfort and privacy in mind. The facility is equipped with two digital mammography units, stereotactic and ultrasound biopsy equipment, two dedicated breast ultrasound units, ultrasound units for imaging OB and pelvic studies, and a DEXA bone-density scanner.
The use of mammograms, clinical breast exams, and finding and reporting breast changes early offers women the best chance to reduce their risk of dying from breast cancer. A breast physical exam without a mammogram would miss the opportunity to detect many breast cancers that are too small for a woman or her doctor to feel but can be seen on mammograms.
Over 12,000 women will be diagnosed this year with new cases of invasive cervical cancer and an estimated 4,210 women will die from cervical cancer this year. Archbold’s Lewis Hall Singletary Oncology Center provides diagnosis and the latest effective medical and radiation treatment for female cancers. A multi-disciplinary team, including the only female medical oncologist in the region, Kathleen Killoran, MD, provides treatment and support that women need while coping with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
The Cancer Support Group for Women offers support and encouragement needed when coping with their illness, and The HOPE program, a collaboration of the oncology center, Archbold Integrative Medicine and the YMCA, is designed to allow cancer patients to improve their quality of life by instituting an exercise regimen.
“The comprehensive support –medical and emotional—that patients receive at the Lewis Hall Singletary Oncology Center is unparalleled,” said Administrator of Oncology Programs, Mike Hooks. “We offer the best treatment technology available in our region. New programs for research and a dedicated breast cancer navigator program provide optimal patient support and allow the Center to bring cancer patients the most promising approaches to cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.”
Heart and Vascular
Heart disease is the leading cause of death of American women. According to the American Heart Association, more than 432,000 women over the age of 20 die from cardiovascular disease each year. Once a woman reaches menopause, her risk of heart disease and heart attack increases dramatically. One in eight women between the ages of 45 and 64 has some form of heart disease, and this increases to one in four women over age 65.
Combating the epidemic of cardiovascular disease is the highest priority of the R. Charles Loudermilk Heart and Vascular Center at Archbold. Board certified physicians perform a wide range of noninvasive and invasive cardiac and vascular diagnostic, therapeutic and life-saving interventional procedures. The highly skilled staff uses the most sophisticated computerized imaging equipment available to provide fast, accurate results.
“For women in midlife, taking action is particularly important because once a woman reaches menopause, her risks of heart disease and heart attack jump dramatically,” said Interventional Cardiologist, B. Clay Sizemore, M.D., part of the interventional cardiology team that Georgia Trend listed as the highest-ranked program south of Atlanta.
Heart Smart for Women, a four-week program offered twice annually by Archbold and led by Gwinette Alligood, RN, teaches women how to safely and effectively exercise while monitoring their heart rate, maintain a balanced diet and how to identify the signs and symptoms that may commonly accompany heart disease.
“By learning personal risk factors and making healthful changes in your diet, physical activity and other daily habits, you can greatly reduce your risk of developing heart-related problems,” said Alligood.
Total health depends on a healthy mind as well as a healthy body. Many women play multiple roles in their families and maintain exhausting schedules. Being emotionally healthy means successfully managing stress and balancing relationships and commitments. “Statistically, women are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety than men,” said Jim Terry, administrator for Archbold Northside, a Center for Behavioral and Psychiatric Care. “All women feel worried, anxious or sad from time to time, but a true mental health disorder makes it hard for a woman to function normally and earlier treatment results in better long term outcome.”
Anxiety and depression, including postpartum depression (a form of clinical depression which affects women after pregnancy), and post-traumatic stress (which commonly occurs following exposure to a traumatic event or ordeal such as physical or sexual assault), are conditions that can be treated at Archbold Northside. In addition, thought disorders, substance abuse and eating disorders, also common psychological conditions that women may experience are treated by professional s at Archbold Northside.
Mental health professionals at Archbold Northside provide individualized care for the unique needs of each patient through intensive, short-term hospitalization, partial hospitalization and outpatient programs. Psychiatrists and a staff of specialists work together as an interdisciplinary team to meet the individual needs of the whole person: physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual.
When emotional and mental well being is compromised, other areas of life suffer. Just as changes in physical health may affect a woman’s mental health, emotional pain and suffering can present itself in a variety of ways, including physical pain. The Archbold Integrative Medicine Center focuses on alleviating pain and restoring patients to a healthy state-of-being. Services available at the Archbold Integrative Medicine Center include acupuncture, Chinese medicine, mind-body integration/life counseling, nutritional/herbal and vitamin supplement therapy, physical therapy, massage, lipotropic therapy, rehab for urinary incontinence, pre/post-natal physical and massage therapy and educational classes. Physician supervised weight and diet management, including anti-inflammatory diet management, are also available under the direction of John Mansberger, MD.
Pelvic floor disorders, such as urinary incontinence, affect up to one-quarter of American women. Tamara Ashley, PT, recommends that women who suffer from this widespread disorder consider treatment from a physical therapist. “Physical therapy can often help patients manage, if not alleviate, this often debilitating condition,” said Ashley. “Muscle training in conjunction with bladder training has proven to resolve urinary incontinence in women.”
Archbold Home Care
The Archbold Home Care Center offers nursing mothers a selection of breast pumps available for rent or purchase. The Store is also dedicated to breast cancer patients and survivors and has a selection of breast prostheses with varying shape and size, as well as a weight that matches your lifestyle.
Access to Care
Archbold is committed to reaching people and collaborating with local organizations to provide health information and screenings across the region. In 2010, more than 25,000 free screening tests were provided to 11,000 participants, at some 55 locations across our community—and 71% of participants were women.
In partnership with the Thomasville Community Resource Center, Archbold offers free heart and cancer screenings, on designated Tuesdays and Thursdays, by appointment. The Loudermilk Heart and Vascular Center at Archbold offers free vascular screenings on designated Tuesdays and Thursdays, by appointment.
To schedule an appointment for a free heart or cancer screening, call the Thomasville Community Resource Center at (229) 226-5846. To schedule an appointment for free vascular screenings, call the Loudermilk Heart and Vascular Center at (229)228-8080.
Whether you are seeking medical advice on pre-conception care, searching for the most innovative surgical treatment, wanting digital mammography or are looking for a support group, Archbold offers a wide range of women’s health services that aim to promote, maintain and restore physical and emotional well being for women at all stages of life.
For more information on women’s health services offered by Archbold, visit www.archbold.org/women.