Saturday, 8 March 2014

International Women's Day: don't forget about women's health

Today, 8th March, is International Women's Day. This is a global celebration of everything that women have contributed to our society, but also highlights important inequalities in women's rights across the world. My particular interest in this day stems from my interest in pelvic floor imaging. 

Pelvic floor problems, and specifically pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and incontinence are major health issues for women, regardless of nationality. However, to a certain extent these are hidden issues. They are hidden away from the media limelight because they are not life threatening like cancer or heart disease. This also means that there is a lack of funding into research, diagnosis and management of these problems. However, any woman who has suffered with pelvic organ prolapse or incontinence will tell you that although not life threatening, it dramatically reduces quality of life, with important and damaging physical, mental and sexual health consequences.

There needs to be a greater emphasis of physician recognition of POP, with an improvement in education starting from medical school. Women need to empowered with information and knowledge on the symptoms of POP. I would like to see more research and collaboration across nations and continents with regards to standardising the investigation (tests) and management of POP. Organisations and websites such as APOPS, Prolapse Matters and Pelvic Guru are doing an amazing job in shifting awareness across the world.

I am doing my bit by blogging about pelvic floor imaging. I hope that the information in my posts can help you to understand the role of radiology and scanning in POP, and reduce the fear of having these tests done.

Dr Vikas Shah
Consultant Radiologist

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