http://unhysterectomy.com Mon, 17 Mar 2014 23:42:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Help women like Leigh get timely treatment for their menstrual disorders http://unhysterectomy.com/endometriosis/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=endometriosis http://unhysterectomy.com/endometriosis/#comments Tue, 25 Feb 2014 18:59:20 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8927 Hi everyone.  The video you see here is of Leigh, 29, who suffers from endometriosis.  This is a rough cut of a longer interview I will be posting later this spring.  I am hoping you can help me raise $5K for women like Leigh who receive treatment at the Shirley E. Greenberg Women’s Health Centre at [...]

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Hi everyone.  The video you see here is of Leigh, 29, who suffers from endometriosis.  This is a rough cut of a longer interview I will be posting later this spring. 

I am hoping you can help me raise $5K for women like Leigh who receive treatment at the Shirley E. Greenberg Women’s Health Centre at The Ottawa Hospital, the leading Centre of Excellence in Canada for the treatment of pelvic pain, menstrual disorders and incontinence.

If every person reading this blog donates just $10 I could reach my goal in seconds!  By donating just $10 you can help women with crippling pain and debilitating anemia, and help cancer and heart patients access care faster.  It’s a win-win for everyone.

Please visit my fundraising page now at http://my.ohfoundation-fondationho.ca/HollyBridges to donate $10. There are videos, photos and other facts about the campaign.

Your donation will help women like Leigh avoid painful, invasive surgery, lower years-long wait times and buy much-needed, high tech equipment to purchase a second minimally invasive surgical suite.  There are only a handful of these suites in Canada yet they make the most financial sense. Why? Because they take the treatment of menstrual disorders out of expensive hospital operating rooms and into outpatient clinics that can reduce waiting lists and treat women in a matter of seconds!

In Canada, women have to wait almost a year for a referral, then another year to access the type of minimally invasive surgery offered at this incredible outpatient clinic.  

Kudos to The Ottawa Hospital for opening this clinic and now we want another one!

With your donations, the hospital can open a second outpatient clinic and reduce these ridiculously long waiting lists that leave women to suffer that much longer.  Even women with incontinence issues have to wait up to two years for an assessment and then wait even longer for treatment, both of which can be done in a matter of seconds inside this incredible centre.

A domino effect is also created by freeing up operating rooms and hospital beds for cancer and heart patients whose waiting lists are also long.

Once again, please visit my fundraising page now at http://my.ohfoundation-fondationho.ca/HollyBridges to donate $10. There are videos, photos and other facts about the campaign.

As always, thank you very much for your ongoing support and interest.

Please donate $10 now. 

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Vote now for Dr. Sony Singh as CTV’s Amazing Person of the Year! http://unhysterectomy.com/dr-sony-singh/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dr-sony-singh http://unhysterectomy.com/dr-sony-singh/#comments Mon, 10 Feb 2014 19:34:02 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8870 Hi everyone! There are only 5 more days to vote for Dr. Sony Singh as one of CTV Ottawa’s “Most Amazing People” and with your help, we can help him win!  A vote for Dr. Singh is a vote for minimally invasive gynecology! Please support the work being done by Dr. Singh in treating women’s menstrual [...]

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Dr. Sony SinghHi everyone!

There are only 5 more days to vote for Dr. Sony Singh as one of CTV Ottawa’s “Most Amazing People” and with your help, we can help him win!  A vote for Dr. Singh is a vote for minimally invasive gynecology!

Please support the work being done by Dr. Singh in treating women’s menstrual disorders, particularly pelvic pain caused by endometriosis at The Ottawa Hospital’s Shirley E. Greenberg Women’s Health Centre.

By voting for Dr. Singh, you will help recognize a member of our community who is truly deserving of recognition. He is a physician, gynecologist and champion for women’s gynecological health.  You will also help attract much-needed media attention to an issue that is far too often cloaked in shame.

As you know, Dr. Singh is my medical advisor, medical editor of my book and also my gynecologist.  Without him, I doubt I would have been able to cope after I was finally diagnosed with fibroids back in 2007; because of his expertise, I was able to avoid major surgery and have my symptoms treated in a less invasive manner.

Dr. Singh is recognized across Canada and within the international gynecological community for his expertise in removing deep infiltrative endometriosis, for writing game-changing research papers on minimally invasive gynecology and perhaps most importantly, his work in helping to update much-needed new treatment guidelines for heavy menstrual bleeding and endometriosis in Canada.

Dr. Singh can be especially proud of a website he helped create for The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists called www.endometriosisinfo.ca, which I strongly recommend you visit. It is a treasure trove of information.

All Canadians can be proud of the work Dr. Singh and his colleagues across the country are doing to increase access to and awareness of the least painful, least invasive, most effective solutions to the debilitating menstrual conditions so many of us suffer from.

Here in Canada, Dr. Singh’s work has saved The Ottawa Hospital thousands of dollars and allowed the hospital to close hospital beds that would otherwise be taken up by women recovering from painful, time-consuming, expensive, unnecessary surgeries. Let’s help make this great trend continue and grow!

Simply put, Dr. Singh’s work is a template for how we should be treating all women in Canada; women need and deserve the best possible care with the least amount of pain; the more Canadian women know about the work Dr. Singh and his colleagues are doing, the more women (as well as hospital administrators, politicians and all taxpayers) will be able to demand the same care for themselves in their communities. And then maybe, just maybe, our politicians will start listening, paying attention and making changes to the archaic health care policies that are making it so difficult for physicians and hospitals to offer this kind of care across the board.

Minimally invasive surgeries challenge the status quo and many hospitals are reluctant or unable to adopt them for funding pressures put them on them by their provincial health care funding masters, yet they make so much sense financially!

So please vote for Dr. Sony Singh as one of Ottawa’s “Most Amazing People|. A vote for Dr. Singh is a vote for a very deserving individual and a vote for minimally invasive gynecology.

Please vote now!  Voting closes on Friday, February 15! Voting Instructions  

Click on this link http://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/features/amazing-people

  • Go to the upper right corner, under “Viewer’s Choice Awards”
  • Enter your e-mail address
  • Click on the field to the right that says “Your Amazing Person”, and choose Dr. Sony Singh from the drop-down menu.

 

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Orlando area women: has family planning improved your life? http://unhysterectomy.com/family-planning/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=family-planning http://unhysterectomy.com/family-planning/#comments Thu, 28 Nov 2013 15:49:34 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8844 Hi gals, hoping you can help. I am looking for an Orlando-area woman whose life has been improved by family planning to participate in a patient video. Why? I received an e-mail yesterday on my way back from Houston from Dr. Tanya Douglas-Holland, a medical liaison physician with Bayer, makers of the Mirena IUD (the fabulous, [...]

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Hi gals, hoping you can help.

I am looking for an Orlando-area woman whose life has been improved by family planning to participate in a patient video.

Why?

I received an e-mail yesterday on my way back from Houston from Dr. Tanya Douglas-Holland, a medical liaison physician with Bayer, makers of the Mirena IUD (the fabulous, hormone-releasing IUD I had inserted a year prior to my fibroid surgery to stop my heavy periods); she is looking for an Orlando-area woman to talk about family planning and how it has changed her life for the better.

According to Dr. Douglas-Holland, “frequently, Bayer showcases patient stories at various internal meetings so as to provide employees with a real world perspective of how Bayer products may impact patients’ lives.

“In January,  Bayer would like to highlight a patient who can speak to how effective family planning has changed their life.  For example, someone who is the first generation in their family to be able to focus on completing college, etc., because they were able to use Mirena with confidence.  Or that they were able to space their children to allow for continued education/focus on a career, etc.

Wow! How powerful would that story be to share!

If you or someone you know fits the bill please get in touch with me asap as the company needs to know by Monday, December 2.

You can reach me via the contact form or at holly@unhysterectomy.com.

I think they are probably interested in women who are using the Mirena or some other form of birth control.  Also, if you would like to participate but don’t live in Orlando, it is possible to record a video long-distance.

And by the way, gals, remember, the Mirena has been approved for the treatment of heavy periods and is considered a first-line therapy for women like me who are at the end of their rope to stop the bleeding; the Mirena is also prescribed for women with endometriosis too in Canada where I live.  Not sure about the US yet.

By the way, I have a whole chapter about the Mirena in my book, which may be of some use to you.

Speaking of IUDs, The FDA also recently approved another hormone-releasing IUD, the Skyla, but I have not had a chance to research it yet.

Please let me know asap if you can help out with the video!

Thanks gals!

 

 

 

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Could your thyroid be causing your fibroids? http://unhysterectomy.com/thyroid/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=thyroid http://unhysterectomy.com/thyroid/#comments Tue, 19 Nov 2013 00:07:31 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8840 I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism about 15 years ago after my doctor found a goiter, or lump, in my neck during a routine visit.  The goiter meant my thyroid was enlarged, which was cause for concern. Aside from the goiter, I had other thyroid symptoms, including: Rapid weight gain Extreme exhaustion Dry skin Cold hands [...]

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I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism about 15 years ago after my doctor found a goiter, or lump, in my neck during a routine visit.  The goiter meant my thyroid was enlarged, which was cause for concern.

Aside from the goiter, I had other thyroid symptoms, including:

  • Rapid weight gain
  • Extreme exhaustion
  • Dry skin
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Thinning hair
  • Depression
  • Irritability

Immediately, I was sent for tests and put on synthetic thyroid hormone for life, to compensate for my underactive thyroid.  Eventually, I decided to have the goiter, along with half of my thyroid, removed to rule out cancer. Luckily, it was negative yet I was left knowing I would be a thyroid sufferer for the rest of my life.

I have often wondered over the years if my heavy periods were related to my thyroid; after all, many of the sources I consulted for my book mentioned heavy periods as a possible side effect of thyroid problems.  I never thought to ask my doctor, although, I must say it makes a lot of sense. Thyroid is the master gland so when it derails everything is at risk.

I came across an interesting study today online. The relationship between thyroid nodules and uterine fibroids.

Scientists at the University of Korea have discovered that estrogen (the female hormone that makes fibroids grow) may also make fibroid nodules grow, especially in premenopausal women.

“Our study suggested that uterine fibroids in women were definitely associated with thyroid nodules and estrogen might have a pivotal role in occurrence of both uterine fibroids and thyroid nodules.”

Interesting, isn’t it?

Just as many women are never diagnosed with heavy menstrual bleeding as a legitimate health concern, many women with thyroid dysfunction are equally ignored, at least according Dr. Ridha Arem, endocrinologist and author of The Thyroid Solution and The Thyroid Solution Diet.

I went to see Dr. Arem in at the Texas Thyroid Institute in Houston a few years back after reading his book; I was so compelled by what I read I just had to go and seem him.  He ended up diagnosing me with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, a common cause of hypothyroidism that doctors here completely missed.  He increased my synthetic thyroid hormone and added a bioidentical thyroid hormone, a combination that almost immediately improved many of my symptoms.

Unfortunately, weight wasn’t one of them.  I have tried everything to lose this extra weight and now that I am in menopause it’s even harder.  I may have tackled my heavy periods alright but my thyroid problem will be with me for life; but hopefully my extra weight won’t be.

I am so excited to share that I have decided to try Dr. Arem’s new thyroid eating plan in The Thyroid Solution Diet, which I’ve just finished reading.

I started the program today and so far so good.

By eating proteins that boost your metabolism, and consuming other foods high in fiber with a low high-glycemic index, I hope to tackle this nagging weight gain that has plagued me for more than 15 years.  And who knows, perhaps if I had started eating this way back when my fibroids were making my life a living hell, maybe I could have avoided surgery altogether.

All I know is this thyroid eating plan is worth a shot.  After my first day today, I can tell you I have eaten more vegetables today than I have in the past week!  The early morning detox shake with spinach and parsley was a bit intense, but I’m worth it!

I am going to see Dr. Arem in Houston next week for an in-person check-up, which I am very excited about.

I am going to ask him about fibroids and heavy periods when I’m there. More to follow on this one, gals.

Stay tuned and do think about doing some research online about thyroid and heavy periods.

Ciao for now and do get your thyroid checked…just in case. You never know!

 

 

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What’s it like to live with fibroids? Take a look! http://unhysterectomy.com/livingwithfibroids/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=livingwithfibroids http://unhysterectomy.com/livingwithfibroids/#comments Wed, 16 Oct 2013 00:06:32 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8795 Last July, I had the privilege of attending the first-ever Canadian forum on uterine fibroids, held at the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto. Women from Vancouver, B.C., to Halifax, N.S., attended a one-day forum to discuss their common concerns and shared frustrations over living with uterine fibroid tumours (the most common cause of Canada’s $192 [...]

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Graphic recorder Leah Silverman spent the day with the fibroids team as an active listener and interpreting what she heard into illustrative notes.

Graphic recorder Leah Silverman spent the day with the fibroids team as an active listener and interpreting what she heard into illustrative notes.

Last July, I had the privilege of attending the first-ever Canadian forum on uterine fibroids, held at the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto.

Women from Vancouver, B.C., to Halifax, N.S., attended a one-day forum to discuss their common concerns and shared frustrations over living with uterine fibroid tumours (the most common cause of Canada’s $192 million annual hysterectomy tab) and trying to find timely, appropriate and consistent care to end their agony and suffering.

Through an unrestricted grant from the pharmaceutical company, Actavis, (makers of the recently-approved fibroid drug Fibristal) and facilitated by Michael Houlahan of Sandpile Healthcare Stakeholder Strategy Inc., the forum brought Canadian fibroid sufferers from different provinces together to discuss ways to formalize advocacy for women with menstrual disorders in Canada.

In an exciting development, both Sandpile and the Centre for Social Innovation (spearheaded by Zal Press of Patient Commando), have teamed up to create a mashup of the day’s events, captured both in the form of video testimonials from some of the participants (including yours truly) and the amazing work of graphic recorder Leah Silverman, who spent the day with us as an active listener and interpreting what she heard into illustrative notes to share with all of us.

I have to say how wonderful it is to see two men leading the charge to help women create the first-ever patient movement in Canada devoted to amplifying the voice of women who suffer from fibroids and other menstrual disorders.

Michael Houlahan and Zal Press are to be commended for their passion, like-minded devotion to patient advocacy and the time and effort they devoted to producing this amazing mashup. We women are all so busy with our lives yet Michael and Zal are always there for us, continuing to press on and support our mission.

Thank you gentlemen from the bottom of my heart and I know I speak for all of us when I say, “thank you, thank you, thank you.”  You are demonstrating a compassion and leadership that is rare to find and I know, together, we will continue to strengthen the patient community. I encourage patients and doctors alike to visit the site Michael and Zal has created and watch the videos. They are sure to enlighten and inspire.

I invite you now to see for yourself what the fibroid patient experience looks like…through the eyes, ears and mouths of women whose stories simply must be heard.

A Graphic History of Uterine Fibroids:  The Uterine Fibroid Experience

 

Part Two of the Patient Forum Illustration

Part Two of the Patient Forum Illustration

 

Part Three of the Patient Forum Illustration

Part Three of the Patient Forum Illustration

 

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Uterine artery embolization for fibroids: what you need to know http://unhysterectomy.com/uterine-artery-embolization-for-fibroids-what-you-need-to-know/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=uterine-artery-embolization-for-fibroids-what-you-need-to-know http://unhysterectomy.com/uterine-artery-embolization-for-fibroids-what-you-need-to-know/#comments Thu, 05 Sep 2013 23:22:34 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8762 My friends at Canadian Women with Fibroids have asked me to blog about uterine artery embolization (UAE), another exciting minimally invasive treatment option for uterine fibroids that does not involve a hysterectomy. Here is an excerpt from my book, The UnHysterectomy, which I hope you will find helpful.  Remember, every word has been reviewed and [...]

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Interventional radiologist Dr. Nestor Kisilevzky, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, performs a uterine artery embolization for fibroids.

Interventional radiologist Dr. Nestor Kisilevzky, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, performs a uterine artery embolization for fibroids.

My friends at Canadian Women with Fibroids have asked me to blog about uterine artery embolization (UAE), another exciting minimally invasive treatment option for uterine fibroids that does not involve a hysterectomy.

Here is an excerpt from my book, The UnHysterectomy, which I hope you will find helpful.  Remember, every word has been reviewed and approved by my medical editor, Dr. Sony Singh.

The first report on UAE was published in the medical journal The Lancet in 1995. It is a widely accepted form of treatment for shrinking fibroids while preserving the reproductive organs, although it can be difficult in Canada to find a radiologist who performs the procedure.

One thing to note is that it has yet to be proven whether UAE affects fertility. More research is needed in this area.

How uterine artery embolization works

With UAE, patients are taken to the angiography (medical imaging) suite and are placed on a special table. The procedure is done with the patient lying on her back. The physician, an interventional radiologist, makes a tiny nick in your groin to allow access to the femoral artery in your upper thigh. The radiologist then uses special x-ray equipment to guide a catheter (a small tube) from the femoral artery to the uterine artery. When the uterine artery is reached, small plastic particles, called microspheres, are delivered through the catheter into the blood vessel that leads to the uterus. The interventional radiologist then moves the catheter to the uterine artery on the other side of the uterus and injects more particles. The particles block the blood vessels around the fibroid, choking off the oxygen supply that fibroids need in order to grow. The oxygen deprivation makes the fibroids shrink. The microspheres stay in the blood vessels permanently. Once the embolization is complete, the catheter is removed and the physician applies pressure to the nick to stop it from bleeding.  The procedure takes about an hour.

Whether you choose UAE, or any other options discussed in my book, the takeaway message is this: you have options, a message that is echoed by UAE patient advocate Hope Waltman who underwent the procedure and has turned her experience into a thriving consultancy.

She offers women this advice:

When a woman is first diagnosed with fibroids, the first thing that pops into her mind is that something, “a tumor,” is growing inside of my uterus/body. Needless to say it can be a frightening moment, and it is hard to concentrate on what the doctor is telling you. Don’t panic.

I highly recommend that you take a friend/partner with you to the examination/consultation so that you have someone who asks questions and listens to what the doctor says to you. If the doctor doesn’t take time to explain to you all the fibroid procedures, it may be a good idea to get a second or third doctor’s opinion (gynecologist and interventional radiologist) before making a decision. Remember, not every doctor is the same. The doctors may have the same “MD” after their name, but that doesn’t mean they know or have the same skill or expertise in every procedure, medical device, etc. Ask the doctor what procedures they perform, their training record, how many procedures they’ve performed, the pros and cons of each procedure, maintaining fertility for a future family, surgical menopause and success rates.

With all the procedures that are out there, women have more options today than ever before, and hysterectomy should not be the first one on the list unless cancer or another medical problem is a concern or the woman (not just the doctor) decides she wants the hysterectomy. Remember: it is your body!

For more information, you can contact Hope at hopeforfibroids.org and by e-mail at hope@hopeforfibroids.org.

If you are interested in researching UAE in your area, I recommend you contact a teaching hospital close to where you live that is affiliated with a university and ask if there are any interventional radiologists there who perform UAE. You can also consult the Canadian Interventional Radiology Association.  They have a physician finder to help you find a radiologist in your area.

Remember gals, information is power!

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UnHysterectomy featured in The Toronto Star today re: new fibroid drug Fibristal http://unhysterectomy.com/unhysterectomy-featured-in-the-toronto-star-today-re-new-fibroid-drug-fibristal/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=unhysterectomy-featured-in-the-toronto-star-today-re-new-fibroid-drug-fibristal http://unhysterectomy.com/unhysterectomy-featured-in-the-toronto-star-today-re-new-fibroid-drug-fibristal/#comments Fri, 30 Aug 2013 20:54:42 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8757 Thanks so much to the Toronto Star for the great article on Fibristal, recently approved by Health Canada for the treatment of fibroids. Here is a cut and paste of the article as well as a link! Enjoy! http://www.thestar.com/life/health_wellness/2013/08/30/new_drug_fibristal_attacks_uterine_fibroid_tumours.html New drug Fibristal attacks uterine fibroid tumours Fibristal, approved early this month by Health Canada, shrinks [...]

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Thanks so much to the Toronto Star for the great article on Fibristal, recently approved by Health Canada for the treatment of fibroids.

Here is a cut and paste of the article as well as a link!

Enjoy!

http://www.thestar.com/life/health_wellness/2013/08/30/new_drug_fibristal_attacks_uterine_fibroid_tumours.html

New drug Fibristal attacks uterine fibroid tumours

Fibristal, approved early this month by Health Canada, shrinks fibroids and quickly stops the bleeding

Living reporter,              Published on Fri Aug 30 2013

There’s good news for women who suffer from uterine fibroids.

For the first time, the benign tumours that cause heavy bleeding, pain, bloating and infertility in 30 per cent of women, can be treated with medication instead of surgery.

A fibroid is a ball of muscle within the uterus, which is also a muscle. The uterus starts forming balls and they grow. “If they grow and take up the entire thickness of the whole uterus, then it takes major surgery to either remove the fibroids or remove the whole uterus,” says Dr. Guylaine Lefebvre, chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at St. Michael’s Hospital.

Fibristal, approved early this month by Health Canada, shrinks fibroids and quickly stops the bleeding — which is often heavy enough to cause severe anemia. The drug has the potential to save thousands of women from surgery, as fibroids are the leading cause of hysterectomies. About 25 per cent of women with fibroids require treatment.

“It’s a completely new classification,” Lefebvre says. “And it seems to target fibroids directly, where it stops it from growing and at the same time it stops the uterus from bleeding.”

The drug, a pill taken once a day, is prescribed for women who still menstruate and have symptoms severe enough to consider treatment. The drug has been used in Europe for 18 months. There isn’t 10-year data yet, Lefebvre says, so as a precaution, the drug is currently only prescribed for three months. The medication costs $350 a month.

After that, if surgical intervention is still needed, it’s likely to be a less invasive procedure with fewer possible complications, she says. “One of the major benefits to this is that it works within a couple of days in stopping the bleeding. We haven’t had anything yet that has worked this quickly.”

Not all fibroids grow large enough to cause problems, Lefebvre says, but some women lose half the blood they should be carrying in their body.

Holly Bridges knows what that’s about. The Toronto native, now Ottawa resident, wrote The Unhysterectomy in 2010 after suffering from fibroids and being told a hysterectomy was her only option. She rejected that advice and had two less-invasive procedures, called a hysteroscopic myomectomy and hysteroscopic endometrial ablation.

Bridges devotes herself to patient advocacy about fibroids, coaching women at her website and blogging about alternatives to major surgery.

“Any new tool in the toolbox is a good thing for women suffering from fibroids,” Bridges says.

Lefebvre has already prescribed Fibristal to some patients. “For all those women who want to avoid surgery, it can become an alternative,” she says.

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Focused ultrasound approved in Canada for fibroids http://unhysterectomy.com/focusedultrasoundforfibroids/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=focusedultrasoundforfibroids http://unhysterectomy.com/focusedultrasoundforfibroids/#comments Fri, 23 Aug 2013 16:30:34 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8748 In an exciting development, Health Canada has finally approved focused ultrasound therapy for the treatment of uterine fibroids! Often referred to as a “scarless” procedure, MRgFUS uses focused, or targeted, ultrasound waves to heat and destroy fibroids using high-frequency, high-energy sound waves without affecting any nearby tissue or organs. MRgFUS treatment for fibroids takes about [...]

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In an exciting development, Health Canada has finally approved focused ultrasound therapy for the treatment of uterine fibroids!

A woman lying facing down on the ExAblate device.

A woman lying facing down on the ExAblate device.

Often referred to as a “scarless” procedure, MRgFUS uses focused, or targeted, ultrasound waves to heat and destroy fibroids using high-frequency, high-energy sound waves without affecting any nearby tissue or organs. MRgFUS treatment for fibroids takes about three hours and is an attractive treatment option for women with abnormal uterine bleeding because it stops your bleeding while sparing your uterus.

I describe MRgFUS in more detail in Chapter 13 of my book, The UnHysterectomy.

During the procedure, patients lie inside the MRI scanner, which produces three-dimensional images of the problematic tissue. This allows physicians (radiologists) to direct precise, high-intensity, focused ultrasound waves into the body at specific targets – the problematic tissue – at temperatures of between 65° and 85°C (149° to 185°F), destroying the tissue. Owing to the thermal imaging provided by the MRI scanner, physicians get real-time feedback on how well the procedure is progressing, which gives them tremendous control over the outcome of the procedure. Each pulse lasts about 15 seconds; pulses are repeated about 50 times throughout the procedure. This particular type of treatment is just an ultrasound beam that’s focused so there’s absolutely no incision, no scarring and very little postoperative care.

Although some women I have interviewed have mixed reviews about the treatment, I believe that anything that puts another tool in the tool box for treating fibroids means women have that many more choices as opposed to undergoing hysterectomy, which is often the first and only treatment they are prescribed.

Here is the news release that came out a few days ago announcing that MRgFUS is now approved in Canada for fibroids….you can be sure I will be following up on this exciting development to see where and how soon it will be available in Canada.

Third generation ExAblate system, using non-invasive MR guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS) now available for Canadian patients

TIRAT CARMEL, Israel, Aug. 22, 2013 /CNW/ – InSightec Ltd, the leader in MR guided Focused Ultrasound therapy, announced that its ExAblate system received approval of Health Canada for MRgFUS treatment of uterine fibroids and for pain palliation of bone metastases.

ExAblate combines high intensity focused ultrasound waves and continuous MRI guidance and monitoring. The focused ultrasound energy is used to heat and destroy the targeted tissue while the MR images are used to guide the energy beam and monitor treatment outcome. ExAblate’s main benefits are that in a single session with this non-ionizing radiation, the treatment allows patients a rapid recovery while minimizing morbidity and trauma with a high safety profile, thus improving patients’ quality of life.

Health Canada’s approval was based on data published from clinical trials conducted in Canada, the USA and Europe. ExAblate received the first approval by the United States FDA in 2004 and is the only MR guided Focused Ultrasound system to have both FDA and Health Canada’s approval. Ten thousand patients globally have already been treated with ExAblate.

Dr. Kobi Vortman, CEO and founder of InSightec, said, “Health Canada’s approval is another vote of confidence in ExAblate’s high safety profile and excellent outcomes. It once again highlights InSightec’s firm commitment to expand clinical indications in gynecology as well as in oncology and neurosurgery.”

About InSightec

InSightec Ltd. is privately held by Elbit Imaging, General Electric, and MediTech Advisors. Founded in 1999 InSightec developed ExAblate to transform MRI-guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS) into a clinically viable technology.  ExAblate has won several awards for innovation and its potential to help mankind including The Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Awards and the European Union’s IST grand prize. TIME magazine recently named Focused Ultrasound as “one of 50 best inventions.” For more information please visit: http://US.InSightec.com.

SOURCE: InSightec Ltd

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/1427433#ixzz2coG32MbU

Congratulations to InSightec for gaining Health Canada approval. Now we just need to find out where Canadian women can access the tretament!

 

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Fibroids, heavy periods advocacy earns Holly Bridges prestigious title http://unhysterectomy.com/fibroidadvocacy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=fibroidadvocacy http://unhysterectomy.com/fibroidadvocacy/#comments Wed, 21 Aug 2013 01:54:31 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8745 I am honoured to announce that I have been named one of Canadian Women Changing Healthcare during ”XX In Health Week”, an international movement to connect and empower women working for change in health care around the world. Many thanks to Patient Commando, Zal Press, for including me in his prestigious list of Canadian women who are working [...]

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I am honoured to announce that I have been named one of Canadian Women Changing Healthcare during ”XX In Health Week”, an international movement to connect and empower women working for change in health care around the world.

Many thanks to Patient Commando, Zal Press, for including me in his prestigious list of Canadian women who are working for change in Canadian health care.  Zal nominated me as part of his endorsement of a larger patient advocacy awareness campaign called XX in Health (XX referring to females), an initiative that focuses attention on the lack of female representation at decision-making levels.

“Working with limited resources other than the sheer force of personal will, a finely tuned sense for innovation, persuasion and unlimited enthusiasm for their mission, they transform health,” writes Zal on his website. “It’s a profound lesson in leadership, demonstrating the courage required when risking so much of your heart for your cause.

“Despite the risks, they build movements, change systems, and galvanize the spirits of those in pain and suffering. These leaders leverage the power of empathy, by acknowledging the suffering, embracing and respecting it.

“I’ve been privileged to have met and learned about the work of many of these changemakers. You’ll find women who have created advocacy initiatives, changed how young healthcare professionals are being taught, built new channels for patient communication, provoked a new discourse about dying, exposed ugly truths of the lived illness experience, expressed their voice through the arts, and led expeditions 300 km north of the Arctic circle as an example of living successfully in the face of mortal, daily challenges…

“These women share their personal stories with us as our first annual selection of Canadian Women Changing Healthcare. These healthcare transformers are exemplary role models. Women entrepreneurs reaching for the reins of health care companies can learn about risk and valor from their counterparts who have dedicated themselves to amplifying the voice of the patient.”

Again, thank you so much Zal for this incredible endorsement of my work to help women make informed choices about treatment options for menstrual disorders such as fibroids and endometriosis.  I am so very grateful to you for this recognition. It means the world to me.

In nominating me, Zal asked me to prepare a background page on my advocacy campaign, which you can read here.

Here is a short excerpt…

“The reason I am so passionate about helping women become more aware of minimally invasive medical and surgical options [for treating heavy periods, fibroids, endometriosis and other menstrual disorders] is they present outcomes for women that are:

  • Less painful
  • Less risky
  • Less invasive
  • Less expensive

I wrote The UnHysterectomy and started my online community as a resource for women to learn, connect and share about their own journeys with heavy menstrual bleeding, something we simply do not do in our society as well as learn about the full range of treatment options.”

Once again, my campaign is simply about female patient empowerment, something I hope will grow into a national and international movement.  Recognition such as this surely boosts my motivation to keep on trying.  Thank you again, Zal!  Your faith in me is humbling.

About XX in Health

XX in Health, an initiative of Rock Health, connects and empowers female visionaries to drive change in healthcare.  As a leading network of entrepreneurs and executives, we host curated events, foster online engagement, and support thought leadership.

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“The Hysterectomy Waltz” is a dark commentary on hysterectomy and its side effects http://unhysterectomy.com/thehysterectomywaltzhysterectomysideeffects/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=thehysterectomywaltzhysterectomysideeffects http://unhysterectomy.com/thehysterectomywaltzhysterectomysideeffects/#comments Fri, 02 Aug 2013 21:12:29 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8720 Prize-winning writer Merrill Joan Gerber wrote to me recently to alert me to her latest novel, The Hysterectomy Waltz, a fictional account of a hysterectomy and its side effects, based in part, on her own experience undergoing the surgery.  I asked Merrill to describe the book and why she decided to write it.  From all accounts, [...]

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Prize-winning writer Merrill Joan Gerber wrote to me recently to alert me to her latest novel, The Hysterectomy Waltz, a fictional account of a hysterectomy and its side effects, based in part, on her own experience undergoing the surgery.  I asked Merrill to describe the book and why she decided to write it.  From all accounts, the novel tells the story of a woman coerced into a surgery without knowing all the facts.  It was a different time back in 1980, yet her story speaks to modern-day struggles all women have with the age-old question: how will hysterectomy change my life?

Imagine being told, (when living in Los Angeles) before the age of 40, that because you have an ovarian cyst, the surgeon wants to take out the “whole kit and caboodle”– your uterus, your Fallopian tubes and your ovaries?

Imagine being told that “because you already have your children, who needs ‘all that’” … that you can ‘keep the playground but get rid of the plumbing.’”

Imagine watching a film strip at the hospital that assures you that though you will no longer have your female reproductive organs, you will still have romance in your life and will be “able to waltz the night away with your husband.”

Imagine doing research that reveals to you that all those “useless” organs are great players in your sexual pleasure, that the uterus itself resonates in rhythm with your orgasmic climax, that your cervix (which will also be removed) balloons at climax at the top of your vagina and adds to your sweet ecstasy?

Then imagine that the surgeon turns out to be your best friend’s brother, who teased you 25 years earlier in Brooklyn, a young man for whom you felt then a dangerous attraction, and who, one day in his basement, (near where he was already planning his medical future by boiling flesh off the skeletons of dead cats) he gave you your first kiss?

Thus the elements of my latest book, The Hysterectomy Waltz, come into play–as a sharp and cynical, funny and tragic, black and bloody comedy…as a story of marriage and motherhood under the threat of the knife…as a tale of friendship and betrayal by the “best friend from Brooklyn,” who was also a doctor, and the surgeon’s sister.

Throw in the heroine’s Jewish aunt, whose advice included “You can always make a potholder while you wait,” and “Have a girl…they don’t miss the pot when they pee.”

Add three beautiful young daughters, in the imaginative period of their sexual flowering.  (You won’t believe the guys they bring home!).

Finally there is the surgery…the comedy of errors in the hospital, the crazy roommate, the obscene phone caller from the bowels of the hospital.

When the surgery is done, will the heroine’s husband still want to waltz her away into romantic bliss?  Please read the great finale at a gambling casino in Nevada!

There you have my novel, The Hysterectomy Waltz.

Though writers are often asked why they write the novels they do, it can’t really be answered.

All fiction is a combination of observation, experience, imagination and magic—and often when a writer has finished a book, she can’t even recall the factual basis (if there was one) for the scenes she has written.

In actual fact, and for the purposes of your site, I did, in fact, have an ovarian cyst discovered when I was 40, and though it wasn’t cancer (this could only be ascertained after surgery), the surgeon simply convinced me that because I already had three children I simply should have everything removed…(using some of the arguments I use in my novel, “why not remove the plumbing but keep the playground?,” ( a not-funny bit of medical advice).

I did consult with a doctor after my hysterectomy, asking about the terrible loss of having reduced sexual response, and she (it was a she) said to me “Maybe because you are a writer, you are more sensitive.  My other patients don’t complain of this.”)

Of course, that was another insult–for her to suggest that I was “making up” the loss of so much of my ability to respond, or of my body to be able to respond.

Writing The Hysterectomy Waltz seemed a way to address the many and various insults, the ordeal of hospitalization, the grief of saying goodbye to my children, my changed sexual life with my husband, the insensitive treatment of so many in the medical field, all along the way.

I began the novel in 1980 just months after my surgery and found that when it was completed, I could not publish it though I tried for years.  I believe that it probably was written “too soon for its time.”

I think the social milieu has to be ready for a work of art for it to be instructive and illuminating, and I think the time has come now for this book to be received and appreciated.  I hope it will entertain, give readers a few laughs, but most of all offer support for women whose losses after hysterectomy are neither imaginary nor minor.

The Hysterectomy Waltz is for sale on Amazon (and on other book sites) both as a paperback for $10.86, and as an e-book for 7.99.

It can also be ordered from any book store.

A small PS about this book is that I painted the picture on the cover! Two years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. During my treatment I had support from the Cancer Support Center, and after my treatment, I began to take a water color painting class at the center.  Never having painted, I began to paint!  And now 16 of my e-books available on the “Merrill Joan Gerber Kindle” site at Amazon; all have covers I painted.

Merrill Joan Gerber is a prize-winning novelist and short story writer who has published seven novels.

Merrill Joan Gerber - Copy

Thank you for sharing your story Merrill. I hope it inspires and helps many women.

The Hysterectomy Waltz - Cover (2)

 

 

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UnHysterectomy author donating all proceeds to help women avoid invasive surgery http://unhysterectomy.com/donations/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=donations http://unhysterectomy.com/donations/#comments Sat, 27 Jul 2013 20:08:43 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8688 Support the fundraising campaign for the minimally invasive surgical suite at The Ottawa Hospital! Watch this video tour with Dr. Sony Singh, MD, Ob-Gyn to see how your dollars will help! Today I am pleased to announce that from this point forward, all proceeds from the sale of my book, The UnHysterectomy (my book about hysterectomy [...]

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Support the fundraising campaign for the minimally invasive surgical suite at The Ottawa Hospital! Watch this video tour with Dr. Sony Singh, MD, Ob-Gyn to see how your dollars will help!

Today I am pleased to announce that from this point forward, all proceeds from the sale of my book, The UnHysterectomy (my book about hysterectomy and minimally invasive alternatives), will be donated to The Ottawa Hospital Foundation in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada to support their new $20M campaign for women’s health.

Every copy of the Canadian edition of The UnHysterectomy, which retails for $14.99 (print) and $7.99 (Kindle) will be donated to this very important campaign.

I would like to congratulate the foundation and hospital staff for taking this important step forward in helping to ease the burden of illness facing women in our community for conditions such as pelvic pain and other menstrual disorders, not to mention breast cancer as well.

I am so grateful to The Ottawa Hospital, and to Dr. Sony Singh, MD, Ob-Gyn, for the wonderful care I received there in 2008 when I underwent my minimally invasive fibroid surgery, that I feel I simply must give back.

Dr. Singh also donated all of his time to edit my book and continue to act as my mentor and medical advisor so I feel a responsibility to give back.

This is also my way of helping to ensure that more Canadian women have access to minimally invasive surgery.

Here is what your donation will help pay for:

  • Expand the minimally invasive surgical suite at the Shirley E. Greenberg Women’s Health Centre at the Riverside Campus, which will increase the frequency of surgeries from one day a week to five days a week.
  • Increase training in minimally invasive gynecological procedures.
  • Build a new and expanded Breast Health Centre at the General Campus, which will triple the number of exam rooms, increase the number of digital mammography machines, purchase a dedicated MRI for screening, diagnosis and state-of-the-art radiation planning and align the new Breast Health Centre with the Cancer Centre and the Centre for Innovative Cancer Research.
  • Expand The Ottawa Hospital’s Robotic Surgery Program, to include gynecological cancers, which means less trauma, fewer side-effects and faster recoveries for patients.
  • Recruit a much-needed specialist in chronic pelvic pain, as well as oncoplastic surgeons, who specialize in breast reconstruction.
  • Expand the surgical space at the General Campus to consolidate all breast cancer and breast reconstruction surgery in one location.

Please buy a copy of my book right now and help improve the lives of women in our community and across Canada. The more we can demonstrate that minimally invasive surgery is better for women, the more women in other communities will start to demand it and the more hospitals and gynecologists will be inclined to offer it.

Perhaps our politicians will even pay attention and start to fund more community-based clinics such as Shirley E. Greenberg.

Please, take a moment right now to buy a copy of my book.

My plan is to post photos of each $1,000 donation. Please help me make that a reality!

Thank you for taking the time to read this and please donate now.

See Dr. Singh in the minimally invasive surgical suite here.

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Canadian gynecologists endorse new drug for fibroids http://unhysterectomy.com/canadian-gynecologists-endorse-new-drug-for-fibroids/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=canadian-gynecologists-endorse-new-drug-for-fibroids http://unhysterectomy.com/canadian-gynecologists-endorse-new-drug-for-fibroids/#comments Fri, 26 Jul 2013 17:07:07 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8675 Kudos to the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada for its news release yesterday endorsing Health Canada’s decision to approve the new drug, Fibristal, for the treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding. The news release reads as follows…  New treatment option for women suffering with uterine fibroids The SOGC welcomes the announcement of a new [...]

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Kudos to the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada for its news release yesterday endorsing Health Canada’s decision to approve the new drug, Fibristal, for the treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding.

The news release reads as follows…

 New treatment option for women suffering with uterine fibroids

The SOGC welcomes the announcement of a new treatment option for women suffering from the devastating effects of uterine fibroids.

“Almost one in three Canadian women of reproductive age has uterine fibroids, a condition which can have a major impact on a woman’s career, her ability to have children, and her entire quality of life,” said Dr. Jennifer Blake, CEO of the SOGC. “With few options available to manage the condition, all too often surgery was turned to as the only way to achieve relief.”

With Health Canada’s approval of FIBRISTAL (ulipristal acetate), women may be able to avoid surgery by reducing the size of their fibroids, and controlling the often excessive bleeding that is symptomatic of uterine fibroids. “This is a new kind of medication that has been shown to shrink the size of the fibroid for an extended period of time, and thus is an important new option in the treatment of uterine fibroids.”

About the SOGC

The SOGC is one of Canada’s oldest national specialty organizations. Established in 1944, the Society’s mission is to promote excellence in the practice of obstetrics and gynaecology and to advance the health of women through leadership, advocacy, collaboration, and education. The SOGC represents obstetricians/gynaecologists, family physicians, nurses, midwives and allied health professionals working in the field of sexual reproductive health. For more information, visit www.sogc.org

To view the full bilingual news release, click here.

 

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Heavy Menstrual Bleeding: Signs, Symptoms and Treatment http://unhysterectomy.com/heavy-menstrual-bleeding/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=heavy-menstrual-bleeding http://unhysterectomy.com/heavy-menstrual-bleeding/#comments Thu, 25 Jul 2013 23:07:37 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8626 Thanks to the wonderful staff at The DivaCup for allowing me to guest blog this week on a topic near and dear to my heart as you know … heavy menstrual bleeding. Now on to the topic at hand … The curse. Aunt Flo. Big Red. Whatever you call it, bleeding once a month is what [...]

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Thanks to the wonderful staff at The DivaCup for allowing me to guest blog this week on a topic near and dear to my heart as you know … heavy menstrual bleeding.

Now on to the topic at hand …

The curse. Aunt Flo. Big Red. Whatever you call it, bleeding once a month is what we do as women, whether we like it or not.

For some of us, menstruation is nothing more than an annoying, inconvenient, sometimes painful reminder of our potential to make a baby, while for others, like me, and millions of other women around the world, menstruation was, or is, a bloody nightmare that can lead to heavy, or abnormal, uterine bleeding.

  • Imagine wearing an adult diaper, a superplus tampon and an overnight pad while chairing an executive board meeting.
  • Imagine meeting your future husband’s best friends for the first time and leaving a red stain on their expensive white chair when you stand up to leave.
  • Imagine sleeping on an air mattress on your bedroom floor three nights each month to avoid leaking blood all over your mattress.
  • Imagine leaking blood into your shoes when you stand up to greet a new client for the first time.
  • Imagine being told your life could be in danger if you have one more period like the one you had the month before.

To read more of the blog, click here.

 

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First-ever medical treatment for uterine fibroids now available in Canada http://unhysterectomy.com/first-ever-medical-treatment-for-uterine-fibroids-now-available-in-canada/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=first-ever-medical-treatment-for-uterine-fibroids-now-available-in-canada http://unhysterectomy.com/first-ever-medical-treatment-for-uterine-fibroids-now-available-in-canada/#comments Tue, 23 Jul 2013 13:08:16 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8601 I am so excited to participate in the announcement today of the first ever medical treatment (drug) for fibroids, called Fibristal. Some of you may know it as Esmya in the United Kingdom. This drug could be a game-changer for Canadian women suffering from the scourge of fibroids. First-in-class medication shrinks uterine fibroids, rapidly controls [...]

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I am so excited to participate in the announcement today of the first ever medical treatment (drug) for fibroids, called Fibristal. Some of you may know it as Esmya in the United Kingdom.

This drug could be a game-changer for Canadian women suffering from the scourge of fibroids.

First-in-class medication shrinks uterine fibroids, rapidly controls symptoms, and safely and effectively helps restores quality of life

TORONTO, July 23, 2013 /CNW/ – Almost one in three Canadian women of reproductive age have uterine fibroids,1 making it the most common gynecological tumour1 and a leading cause of hysterectomies in this country.1 Until now, women had few options available to manage the condition. But today, Canadian women with symptomatic uterine fibroids, suffering from debilitating symptoms like excessive uterine bleeding, pain, abdominal bloating and infertility,2 have new hope.

FIBRISTAL™ (ulipristal acetate), recently approved by Health Canada, is now available for the treatment of the signs and symptoms of uterine fibroids in adult women of reproductive age who are eligible for surgery.3 A once-daily oral medication, FIBRISTAL is the first and only approved non-surgical treatment that actually reduces fibroid size, as well as rapidly controls bleeding.3

“FIBRISTAL represents a significant step forward in treating uterine fibroids,” says Dr. Guylaine Lefebvre, Chief, Obstetrics and Gynecology, St. Michael’s Hospital. “Although one in three women is diagnosed with fibroids, we have very few treatments available for them. Surgery carries risks of complications and these risks can be increased when women have very large fibroids or anemia because they are bleeding too much. This new therapeutic option will offer women the possibility of shrinking fibroids and limit their bleeding so that if they require an intervention, they may have less risk of complications.”

First Medical Treatment for Fibroids Approved in Canada
Until now, treatments for uterine fibroids in Canada included off-label medication to reduce symptoms, or surgery to remove fibroids if they become severely problematic.4 Some older medications used off-label may temporarily shrink fibroids, but often cause medical menopause, including symptoms like hot flashes.5

“Living with uterine fibroids was an absolute nightmare,” says Holly Bridges, blogger and patient advocate, who was diagnosed with uterine fibroids six years ago. “For almost three years, I dealt with severe pain, extremely heavy bleeding, life-threatening anemia and exhaustion, not to mention days off work and thousands of dollars spent on supplies.  As a single mother, I was at the end of my rope. Worse, my doctor told me hysterectomy was my only option. No woman should have to suffer with this condition or feel that hysterectomy is her only option. I think it’s fantastic news that a new non-surgical treatment is available.”

FIBRISTAL is unique in that it rapidly addresses the troubling symptoms of heavy bleeding while directly reducing fibroid size, and is very well tolerated.6,7 Notably, the shrinkage in fibroid size was maintained for six months after three months of treatment.8

“We are deeply committed to women’s health, and FIBRISTAL represents the first of many innovative products we’ll bring to Canadian women,” says Robert Tessarolo, General Manager, Actavis Speciality Pharmaceuticals, Co., Canada.

Burden of Uterine Fibroids
Thirty percent of Canadian women of reproductive age have uterine fibroids.9 Symptoms such as abnormally heavy and prolonged bleeding, pelvic pain and pressure, iron-deficiency anemia and menstrual pain,2 can be debilitating, interfering with daily activity and significantly reducing quality of life.10 If left untreated, fibroids can lead to fertility issues and complications during pregnancy.11

Uterine fibroids also have a serious impact on quality of life: more than half of women (54 per cent) in an international epidemiological survey said uterine fibroid symptoms negatively impacted their daily lives.12

Uterine fibroids also impact the economy, costing the Canadian healthcare system more than $130 million per year for surgical procedures alone.13 Furthermore, women with moderate to severe symptoms visit the doctor twice as often as women without fibroids,14 and uterine fibroids can lead to absenteeism, diminished work performance and decreased productivity.15

About FIBRISTAL
FIBRISTAL is the first in a new class of medications called selective progesterone receptor modulators (SPRMs). It is an orally active, partial progesterone antagonist that both exerts a direct effect on the endometrium to control excessive bleeding, and on fibroids where it inhibits cell proliferation and induces apoptosis (cell death) to reduce their size.3

The efficacy of FIBRISTAL was evaluated in two pivotal Phase 3 randomized, double-blind, multicentre, 13-week studies (PEARL I and PEARL II, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in February 2012). The most common adverse drug reactions in the clinical trials for women receiving FIBRISTAL 5 mg were hot flushes (13.0 per cent overall) and headaches (8.3 per cent overall).3

FIBRISTAL is indicated for treatment of moderate to severe signs and symptoms of uterine fibroids in adult women of reproductive age who are eligible for surgery.3The duration of treatment is limited to three months.3FIBRISTAL is now available in Canada, following its approval by Health Canada on June 24, 2013. FIBRISTAL is marketed under license from Gedeon Richter Plc. (www.richter.hu).

About Actavis, Inc.
Actavis, Inc. -previously known as Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc.—is a global, integrated specialty pharmaceutical company focused on developing, manufacturing and distributing generic, brand and biosimilar products. The Company has global and U.S. headquarters in Parsippany, New Jersey, USA, and Canadian head offices in Oakville, Ontario.

Actavis Specialty Pharmaceuticals Co. – previously known as Watson Pharma Company – is the Company’s branded specialty pharmaceutical business in Canada engaged in the marketing, sale and distribution of specialty pharmaceutical products within the Canadian market. Actavis Specialty Pharmaceuticals Co. is focused on delivering innovative products that address key therapeutic categories in urology and in women’s health.

 

References
—————————————————–

1 SOGC Clinical Practice Guidelines, J Obstet Gynaecol Can 2003;25(5).

2 Uterine Fibroids. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq074.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20130617T1137475270. Last accessed July 17, 2013.

3 FIBRISTAL Product Monograph, June 2013.

4 Uterine Fibroids. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq074.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20130617T1137475270. Last accessed July 2, 2013.

5 Uterine Fibroids. National Institute of Health. http://report.nih.gov/NIHfactsheets/ViewFactSheet.aspx?csid=50 Accessed June 24, 2013

6 Donnez J et al. Ulipristal Acetate Versus Placebo for Fibroid Treatment Before Surgery. New England Journal of Medicine 2012; 366 (5): 409-420.

7 Donnez J et al. Ulipristal Acetate Versus Leuprolide Acetate for Uterine Fibroids. New England Journal of Medicine 2012; 366 (5): 421-432.

8 FIBRISTAL Product Monograph, June 2013.

9 SOGC Clinical Practice Guidelines, J Obstet Gynaecol Can 2003;25(5), p. 2.

10 William VS et al. Uterine Fibroids: a review of health related quality of life assessment. J Women’s Health. 2006 Sep; 15 (7): 818-29.

11 Female Infertility. Johns Hopkins. http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/fertility/conditions/female_infertility.html Accessed June 24, 2013

12 Zimmerman et al. Prevalence, symptoms and management of uterine fibroids: an international internet-based survey of 21,746 women. BMC Women’s Health 2012, 12:6.

13 Data on file: Pharmacoeconomic Analysis

14 Data on file: Epsilon

15 Downes E et al. The burden of uterine fibroids in five European countries. European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Reproductive Biology 2010;152(1):96-102.  Accessed July 5, 2013.

SOURCE Actavis, Inc.

For further information:

Karley Ura
NATIONAL Public Relations
416-848-1425
kura@national.ca

Robert Tessarolo, General Manager
Actavis Specialty Pharmaceuticals Co.
905-855-4422
rob.tessarolo@actavis.com

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Gynecologists must provide timely, consistent, progressive care for fibroids, say patients http://unhysterectomy.com/fibroidscare/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=fibroidscare http://unhysterectomy.com/fibroidscare/#comments Mon, 22 Jul 2013 00:04:04 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8560 Women from across Canada, from Vancouver, B.C., to Halifax, N.S., attended a one-day forum at the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto, Ont., yesterday, July 20, 2013, to discuss their common concerns and shared frustrations over living with uterine fibroid tumours (the most common cause of Canada’s $192 million annual hysterectomy tab) and trying to find [...]

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IMG-20130720-00483Women from across Canada, from Vancouver, B.C., to Halifax, N.S., attended a one-day forum at the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto, Ont., yesterday, July 20, 2013, to discuss their common concerns and shared frustrations over living with uterine fibroid tumours (the most common cause of Canada’s $192 million annual hysterectomy tab) and trying to find timely, appropriate and consistent care to end their agony and suffering.

The day was historic for many reasons:

  • It was the first gathering in Canadian history of women who suffer from fibroids.
  • We now have a group of passionate, committed women who are willing to take the next step in pushing for awareness and looking to build a powerful community so all women can find and support each other.
  • The day resulted in a shared committment that something must be done to increase awareness of menstrual disorders.

Most of the women there, the majority of whom suffer from uterine fibroids (non-cancerous tumours that grow in one in four women, from the size of a pea to a football) reported feeling shut out by a medical system that seems to care more about maintaining the status quo than helping women ease their symptoms in the least invasive, least risky, least painful, least expensive manner.

Most felt their family doctors and gynecologists diminished their symptoms, refused to refer them to more specialized gynecological surgeons or deliberately withheld information about the variety of treatment options available nowadays, from taking over the counter painkillers all the way to hysterectomy.

All the women, except for one from Alberta, reported feeling pressured into having a hysterectomy, including Lori from Toronto who finally had 55 fibroids removed after seeing 10 different doctors.

“Every specialist that I saw in Toronto dug in their heels and looked at me like I had three heads [for wanting to find something less invasive].  They dismissed me, ridiculed me (I can’t imagine what you’re reading!!!), and rebutted me with ridiculous explanations as to why a hysterectomy was my ONLY option.  One elderly, seasoned, male gynecologist had the audacity to say “Your uterus is like a rotten baked potato.  Should we scrape out the rotten parts or just throw the whole potato out?”

Through an unrestricted grant from a pharmaceutical company and facilitated by Michael Houlahan of Sandpile Healthcare Stakeholder Strategy Inc., the forum brought Canadian fibroid sufferers from different provinces together to share their common experiences and frustrations and to discuss ways to formalize advocacy for women with menstrual disorders in Canada.

I had the pleasure of co-chairing the day with Patricia Lee, founder of Canadian Women with Fibroids, a Facebook community devoted to giving Canadian women a place to come together to share their common experiences with fibroids.

The day began with presentations about the state of affairs of fibroid patient advocacy in Canada which, excluding yours truly and Patricia’s Facebook page, is pretty much non-existent.

Even the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (SOGC), nor its charitable arm, the Canadian Women’s Health Foundation, has addressed the issue with women through any form of public or communications outreach, action, public information or a dedicated website despite having websites about other conditions.

What does that mean?

It means there is no formal organization in Canada that speaks for women who suffer from uterine fibroids, or menstrual disorders at large.  No way to amplify the patient voice.  There are groups devoted to other conditions such as endometriosis and infertility, however, there is nothing for fibroids or menstrual disorders at large yet fibroids are the number one reason for hysterectomy in Canada, accounting for more hysterectomies than all other causes put together, including cancer.

This gap in support leaves the door wide open for groups such as The UnHysterectomy and Canadian Women with Fibroids to become more organized and lobby for change.

One of the speakers, Zal Press, who heads up Patient Commando, described the beauty of the seedling we had created this way:

“It is great to have a patient voice but just because it is loud it may not always be heard with as much impact unless it is harmonious, unified.”

The gathering yesterday in Toronto reminded me once again that we have a responsibility, as small an initial group as we are, to speak for the thousands of Canadian women who have no voice currently … who are up to their knuckles in blood clots 24/7, struggling with life-threatening anemia and exhaustion, calling in sick five days a month, or facing hysterectomy because they are “done”.

As I mentioned earlier, our gathering yesterday was the first time in Canadian history that any group of women with fibroids (some of the women also have endometriosis) have gathered in the same place to share their stories, open their hearts about what it’s like to live with these terrible tumours growing inside their bellies plaguing their well-being, or even in some cases, preventing them from getting pregnant, and generally talk about how we can make things better.

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Here are 10 things I took away from the day:

  • Menstruation is still taboo in our society and no one wants to talk about periods, heavy periods or really, really heavy periods or the hell and heartache they cause one in four women.  Erectile dysfunction and bladder control are now being advertised on mainstream TV, but abnormally heavy periods? No way.

 

  • Most women with fibroids, and the associated monthly bloodbaths that leave them doubled over in pain every month, passing clots the size of chicken fingers, think they’re alone and that no one else could possibly be going through the hell that they are. This is due to a lack of public awareness or communication by the medical community about the disease.

 

  • There is no patient organization in Canada devoted to fibroids such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and the like, yet we have tens of thousands of women out there risking their lives every day due to life-threatening hemoglobin levels from so much lost blood, not to mention the mental, emotional, sexual and financial toll fibroids and other menstrual disorders take on women.

 

  • The Canadian Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has not produced patient material on fibroids and heavy menstrual bleeding in the same way it has for other conditions.  There is no effort being made by the leading gynecological professional society in Canada to provide women with access to timely, effective, medically up-to-date and accurate information about fibroids, its symptoms and side effects, treatment options and advice for seeking help.  My book, blog and website has more information about fibroids than SOGC has produced and I am not a doctor!  Author’s note:  Even though the SOGC routinely sends out news releases announcing new treatment guidelines for various gynecological conditions (I know because I’m on their subscription list), the society has not issued a news release to the media about its new treatment guidelines for the treatment of abnormal uterine bleeding, which came out in May!  I have made repeated inquiries to SOGC as to when such a news release will be put out, and I have yet to receive a date.  You can download the guidelines here. These guidelines have not been updated since 2001 and Canadian family doctors, gynecologists and women simply must be made aware. Why the delay? Why the delay in sending out a news release?

 

  • The issue of fibroids, heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, anemia, fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, sexual dysfunction, mood disorders, infertility and extreme blood loss is not being addressed SOGC via any coordinated communications with women directly.  SOGC has created websites devoted to Endometriosis, HPV, MenopauseWomen’s Sexual Health and International Women’s Health but not Fibroids or Heavy Menstrual Bleeding!  Imagine, fibroids are the leading cause of hysterectomy in Canada, which in turn is the number one elective, major surgery for Canadian women, and SOGC, has yet to create a website or patient brochure on the subject.  Author’s note:  I have asked no less than three times for a meeting with SOGC over the past three years to discuss working with
    doctors to create such a site for women with no response.  I have written two letters and several e-mails to offer my writing and consulting services, working in concert with gynecologists to develop such a site, but have never heard back.  I would like to meet with SOGC executives to offer my services to create such a website and patient brochure for doctors’ offices and drug stores nationally.

 

  • Who you see is what you get. As I say in my book, unfortunately for Canadian women, where you live and who you have as a gynecologist, governs the type of treatment you receive.  Unlike standardized treatment protocols for cancer, heart disease and diabetes, medicine is still grappling in 2013 with how to treat heavy periods (perhaps the new guidelines above will help). Women shared stories yesterday that would have made you think they live in different countries, not different provinces.  Each woman who stood up and shared her story told a completely different story as to how her symptoms were regarded, the treatment path she was given, how she was handled and what she was told would work.  It’s simply unacceptable that there should be such gaps in treatment that one woman waits 10 years for diagnosis while another gets diagnosed right away.

 

  • Dr. Ego will see you now. A lot of women felt yesterday that their doctor’s egos were preventing them from really hearing what their patients were trying to say.  We heard that repeatedly from women whose family doctors or gynecologists refused to refer them to specialists who could solve their pain and bleeding without a hysterectomy.  Why is there such inconsistency in referral protocols?  Is it not unethical for a doctor to withhold such information? Whose interests are the doctors serving?

 

  • The time has come to make some noise.  By the end of the day, it became obvious to all of us that something has to change. Although hysterectomy rates are dropping in Canada, and although women are receiving wonderful, amazing care from some of their gynecologists (one of our gals shared a beautiful story about how her Edmonton gynecologist really listened to her every step of the way and actually wanted her to try not to have a hysterectomy, but after five years of suffering and trying everything possible, she was done and demanded a hysterectomy. She is happy as a clam with her decision and is now symptom-free I am happy to report), the fact is, there is an inconsistency of care in this country that is denying women a level playing field.  Women should not have to devise their own treatment plans as a matter of course because their doctors have not provided them with all the options.  The options should be explained up front from the beginning and the woman and her doctor should work together to map out a strategy.

 

  • Women are feeling empowered after yesterday. Perhaps the best way I can explain this is to share this e-mail my co-chair and I received from Angela this morning thanking us for the forum.  She has had fibroids for a while, was able to conceive and give birth to her first son but now is facing some fertility issues trying for her second.  ”I just wanted to say how happy I was to meet both of you at the meeting yesterday. I was very inspired. I had a long talk with my husband about our future and I got a lot of insights about his feelings which were truly enlightening. I could hardly sleep, thinking of all that could be done. I spoke to my sister this morning, who has also been suffering with fibroids for the past 20 years.     She is looking into hysterectomy but she is afraid of the time of recovery because she is the main caregiver for my mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s. She is constantly worried of what would happen to my mom if she has to be out of commission for six weeks. Thanks to you guys, I am now aware of much less invasive procedures where the recovery time would be much shorter. She had no idea either. What a blessing to have met you and now to be able to pass on this gospel! Now the task is to find a doctor in Quebec who can perform this procedure. Oy vey!”

 

  • The journey of healing is long, filled with twists and turns, with no guarantees, but we must take it together.  Every woman who shared her story had different symptoms, different diagnoses, different conversations with her doctor, different treatment options, different outcomes and different thoughts about where to go from here.

Bonus takeaway

Finding solutions will require a collective effort on the part of everyone who has a stake in the outcome:

  • Women
  • Family doctors
  • Gynecologicalists
  • Professional medical societies
  • Nurses
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Medical schools
  • Medical students
  • Hospital administrators who hold the pursestrings for all surgeries
  • Provincial health policy makers
  • Politicians
  • Industry (pharmaceutical companies, surgical device companies)
  • Other patient groups that are aligned

Where do we go from here?

Fibroid-surgery_1b_GeorgeAs I have said from the beginning, the quality of a woman’s care should not depend on the quality or quantity of her own research.  Women deserve to be treated equitably using the same standards of care from coast to coast, which is why I again call upon SOGC to send out a news release about their new guidelines and create a patient website to house these guidelines, with an appropriate marketing and communications plan to promote them among their customers – women.

No woman should have to suffer in silence from reproductive health disorders in 2013 when medical, surgical and technological breakthroughs are making consistent early diagnosis, intervention, treatment and recovery faster and more accessible than ever.  We heard this theme throughout the day.

Just as doctors have an ethical and moral responsibility to disclose the full range of risks and benefits to all treatment options to women with breast cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol and blood pressure, multiple sclerosis and other diseases, they have an equal, if not greater responsibility, to disclose treatment options in equal measure to women of reproductive age who suffer from one of the most under-reported, misunderstood disorders in existence today, that of pelvic pain and heavy menstrual bleeding, also known as abnormal uterine bleeding.

To deny us access also denies women their basic right of self-determination and control over their own bodies.

Not to mention the right to maintain their choice of whether or not to get pregnant, a choice that is squarely, 100 percent, irrevocably removed through hysterectomy.

As a start, and on behalf of all women yesterday who attended the first Canadian uterine fibroids patient insights forum, I would like to make the following recommendations:

  • That SOGC issue a news release announcing the publication of new guidelines for the treatment of abnormal uterine bleeding;
  • That SOGC meet with representatives from this first fibroid patient group to discuss the results of this first patient forum, and that;
  • That SOGC immediately make fibroids and heavy menstrual bleeding a communications and outreach priority and launch discussions with patient advocates about forming a working group between gynecologists and patient advocates in order to close the gaps in patient care and begin discussions on improving patient outreach.

No one knows what will happen as a result of yesterday’s historic meeting. We don’t even know if we’ll meet again. It’s expensive to get women from across Canada in the same room without any kind of funding. Perhaps that’s our next challenge. All we know is that the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step and all of us in that room felt very convinced that we had all taken a giant step forward together, hand in hand.

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Thank you to our sponsors, organizers, facilitators, video crew, caterers and most of all our amazing, wonderful Flow Fighters as I like to call them, who shared their brave battles with a disease no one wants to talk about.

It’s time to break the silence.

Drawing courtesy of Leah Silverman, visual artist who storyboarded the feelings, stories and conversations of the day through her art. Watch for more thought bubbles in upcoming blogs.

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Guest blog: How a menstrual cup eases Sophie’s struggle with endometriosis http://unhysterectomy.com/guest-blog-how-a-menstrual-cup-helps-sophie-cope-with-her-endometriosis/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=guest-blog-how-a-menstrual-cup-helps-sophie-cope-with-her-endometriosis http://unhysterectomy.com/guest-blog-how-a-menstrual-cup-helps-sophie-cope-with-her-endometriosis/#comments Mon, 15 Jul 2013 23:57:30 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8527 One of the problems in diagnosing heavy periods is that no two women menstruate alike. What some women define as heavy others might say is light.  Perception plays a big role. Additionally, unlike diabetes, cholesterol levels, blood pressure or something as common as a fever, which have longstanding diagnostic criteria, there are no exact, medically [...]

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One of the problems in diagnosing heavy periods is that no two women menstruate alike. What some women define as heavy others might say is light.  Perception plays a big role.

Additionally, unlike diabetes, cholesterol levels, blood pressure or something as common as a fever, which have longstanding diagnostic criteria, there are no exact, medically agreed-on, quantifiable world standards for measuring how much is too much blood to lose during menstruation or between periods. 

What that means, is that women like Sophie, my guest blogger this week, are left to invent ways of their own to measure, and cope, with their flow. 

Empowered by The DivaCup while living with endometriosis

By Sophie Zivku

Endometriosis. Most women have heard about it. It affects an estimated 176 million women worldwide. And there is no cure.

When Holly asked me to write about my experience living with endometriosis and how working for and using The DivaCup has helped me cope with the symptoms, I was thrilled!

Holly and I connected last spring. Her book The UnHysterectomy had just been released and she had sent a copy of it to The DivaCup office. Intrigued by the knowledge held within, I took the book home with me, spending my evenings learning more and more about problematic periods and women’s health.

Like many women living with painful periods, it took close to 15 years for me to receive an accurate diagnosis. I got my period when I was 13 and when I was 19, my family doctor finally agreed to refer me to a specialist. The specialist tried a number of birth control options and anti-inflammatory prescriptions drugs with little success (some even damaged my stomach lining. Yikes!). When I asked my doctor if she would be willing to perform a laparoscopic procedure on me, she told me my cysts were small and my symptoms weren’t bad enough.

That was it for me. I walked out of the office and vowed to never go back again.

I was tired from all the effects of the medication, frustrated by the medical world telling me how I felt and really, just disappointed in myself and my inability to have a “normal” period.

But I didn’t give up completely.

I decided to head on over to the world of natural health care. I changed my diet (cut out gluten, dairy and caffeine), found a homeopathic solution to my daily bouts of nausea (which has helped to keep me at a healthy weight) and also had some success with massage therapy. Yet still, no solution to the pain or heavy bleeding. I was going through pads/tampons every two hours, soaking through my clothes and sheets overnight and waking up in so much pain that the thought of moving was terrifying.

My experience with my period completely changed when I was 23 – and it had everything to do with my introduction to The DivaCup. Like many women, I was a bit of a skeptic, but after hearing that it could hold one full ounce of menstrual flow, I went out and bought one. DivaCup on Bag

What many women don’t realize is just how inaccurate pads and tampons are for measuring their flow.

On average, women only flow about one to two ounces their entire cycle. I myself flow about three ounces on my heavier days. In addition to containing potentially harmful plastics, chemicals and dyes, tampons and pads give women a false reading of how heavy or light their cycles are. They also expose the vaginal area to potentially dangerous ingredients that can lead to irritation and disrupt the natural environment of the vaginal canal. Additionally, tampons not only absorb your flow, but also vaginal fluid, leaving you dry and uncomfortable.

The DivaCup changed the way I live my life.

I no longer need to change product every two to three hours or worry about having to do a 3 a.m. laundry “cycle”. The DivaCup can be worn for 12 hours at a time, which means I can go an entire school day/work day, carry on with my regular workout routine and sleep soundly overnight without leaks or emergency washroom breaks!

I’ll never forget something my mom said to me a few years ago. I was working from home (due to my unfortunate period pain) and after about five minutes of listening to me complain, she told me: “Sophie I understand that the pain is horrible, but at least now you have The DivaCup.” She was right.

I feel empowered by the cycle knowledge I gain with The DivaCup.

Is the pain still present? Yes.

But now I am no longer restricted by product changes, leaking incidences or discomfort.

As I continue to try new medications and supplements to ease the pain, heavy flow and clotting, The DivaCup allows me to accurately measure whether or not my flow is changing: how much flow, how often and if clotting is increasing, decreasing etc. For women who struggle with painful and heavy periods, this information is invaluable. I’ve also saved a fair bit of money, money that I can now put toward better food options and supplement choices, making life with endometriosis more affordable.

I say affordable because no one ever really talks about endometriosis as an expensive disease, but it is.

Here in Canada, alternative treatments and supplements aren’t covered. You can get some covered through workplace benefits, but the treatment plan is monthly, and by five or six months you’ve maxed out your benefits and the rest of the year you pay out of pocket.

Since discovering The DivaCup, I have had a new sense of empowerment and because of this feeling about a two years ago, I decided it was time to revisit the medical community.

I got a referral from my family doctor and after a year of waiting got an appointment to see another specialist. This one was different from the others. He didn’t examine me, order tests or dismiss my symptoms. He simply noted that he couldn’t make an accurate treatment plan without first knowing what he was treating. I walked out of that office with a date for surgery. Last December, I underwent a laparoscopic procedure that found endometriosis.

While my symptoms over the past 15 years pointed toward this diagnosis, it took 15 years to get a doctor to agree to accurately diagnose me. Now that I have a proper diagnosis, I can work with my health care providers to make decisions that are treating the right problems and ones that I am comfortable with.

I owe a great deal of credit to Holly and her book, The UnHysterectomy. I was on the fence for a while about whether I wanted to find out what was really going on. I was very close to just giving up on fighting for my health. Waiting between eight to 15 months to see a doctor, dealing with the discomfort day after day…it can get to be a bit much.

I also feared that the outcome of the surgery would be worse than suspected and didn’t know if I was ready for the news. It sounds absurd that after 15 years of discomfort, I would hesitate to learn “why”, but being told you have an incurable disease, can be a bit disheartening.

Since being diagnosed, I’ve gone through some tough weeks of failed treatment, but am hopeful that things may change with new attempts. Even still, although every day of the month brings a myriad of symptoms, when day 31.8 hits, I know that because I use The DivaCup, I’m making the right choice for my body and the planet.

At the Diva office, we often use the terms “empowerment” and “empowered” to describe The DivaCup and the work we do. Empowered is really how I felt the first night I tried The DivaCup. I felt empowered because for the first time in 23 years, I had something that was making my period experience better.

For any women suffering from irregular, heavy or painful periods, for those still on a wait list, if you haven’t yet, I‘d recommend you try The DivaCup.

I would also recommend that all women pick up a copy of The UnHysterectomy. The book is full of expert opinions, menstrual health knowledge and stories of women who like me, (and maybe you) are going through treatments, recovering from surgeries or just hoping for a solution.

I want to leave you with a few things I learned from Holly that I remind myself of each cycle:

  • Hysterectomies are the most common surgery performed on women in Canada and the United States, second only to Caesarean section, with over half of these being medically unnecessary.
  • Although my experience with doctors in the past were not great, there are actually good doctors practicing who are willing to try minimally invasive procedures before jumping to conclusions.
  • I deserve to be heard and not have my symptoms dismissed.
  • I deserve to be well.

Sophie Zivku, MA

Sophie Zivku has been advocating for improved women’s health since she first got her period. After years of experiencing painful periods she began writing and researching in the field of menstrual health. Her blog dropsofscarlet.com and graduate work on the discourse of feminine hygiene advertising led her to a career in the feminine hygiene industry. Sophie is delighted to be the Communications and Education Manager at Diva International Inc. where she works closely with educators and health professionals drawing awareness to The DivaCup, sustainable menstrual care and the importance of menstrual cycle education for young people everywhere.

Note from Holly: Thank you so much Sophie for your kind words and for sharing your courageous battle with endometriosis.  Unfortunately, there are thousands of women just like you who are struggling to find relief every single day.  I am thrilled that you have found some with The DivaCup and the sense of empowerment you now feel every cycle.

How many ounces of blood should a woman pass during her period?   Stay tuned for a future post on that subject!

PS, this guest blog is not a paid announcement.DivaLogo[1]

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Historic first patient forum on fibroids seeks Alberta, Quebec and Toronto women participants http://unhysterectomy.com/historic-first-patient-forum-on-fibroids-seeks-alberta-quebec-and-toronto-women-participants/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=historic-first-patient-forum-on-fibroids-seeks-alberta-quebec-and-toronto-women-participants http://unhysterectomy.com/historic-first-patient-forum-on-fibroids-seeks-alberta-quebec-and-toronto-women-participants/#comments Thu, 04 Jul 2013 19:14:47 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8509 Attention women in Alberta, Quebec and Toronto!  Got a story to share about your journey with fibroids?  Want to make a difference in the lives of Canadian women suffering from this debilitating disease?  Read on … Over the last few months, I have had the pleasure of chatting with Canadian (and other) women in person, [...]

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Attention women in Alberta, Quebec and Toronto!  Got a story to share about your journey with fibroids?  Want to make a difference in the lives of Canadian women suffering from this debilitating disease?  Read on …

Over the last few months, I have had the pleasure of chatting with Canadian (and other) women in person, on the phone, through e-mail and our various online communities regarding the plight of women suffering from abnormal uterine bleeding in general and uterine fibroids in particular.

In Canada, there is currently no unified or organized patient voice, to advocate for timely and appropriate care and treatment of women, such as you and me, who have suffered unbelievable pain, discomfort, embarrassment, humiliation and anger due to uterine fibroids, related conditions of the reproductive system and perhaps most importantly, how our society and our health care system diminishes, or ignores, our symptoms.

The inspiration I have drawn from countless conversations I have had with women who are suffering has led to the development of a milestone event on Saturday July 20th in Toronto.

The objective of the meeting is two-fold, first to bring women who suffer from these disorders, primarily fibroids, together, to meet, share and brainstorm as to how we can create the first authentic patient voice in Canada regarding this important area of women’s’ health. Second is to truly help define the impact of this condition on the whole patient experience from living with the disease, help-seeking, diagnosis, treatment to follow up.

At the end of this day, we are expecting to have kick-started a new discourse in how we define, understand and most importantly, improve the outcomes for women on this patient journey.

So far, we have representation from across Canada but we’re currently short of participants from:

  • Toronto
  • Alberta
  • And Quebec

I invite you to join me in Toronto on Saturday July 20, because I feel strongly that women who have suffered, or are suffering, from fibroids, can bring an articulate, intelligent and compelling voice to this elite group.  We’ll be using innovative interactive and entertaining methods to provide a unique opportunity for you to share the experience of your patient story.

If you would like full information on the day’s events please send an e-mail to me at holly@unhysterectomy.com.  Certain expenses will be covered!

We hope to see you on Saturday, July 20 and together we can make a difference in the awareness and treatment of uterine fibroids.                 

Photo courtesy of Louise Docker Flickr

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The painful achilles tendon gets the high tech treatment http://unhysterectomy.com/the-painful-achilles-tendon-gets-the-high-tech-treatment/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-painful-achilles-tendon-gets-the-high-tech-treatment http://unhysterectomy.com/the-painful-achilles-tendon-gets-the-high-tech-treatment/#comments Fri, 28 Jun 2013 18:16:15 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8499 Gals, this is just a short blast to let you know it’s happened again. Once again, I had to do my own investigative homework to find a treatment option that no one told me about. I am so peeved. I have been suffering since last November with achilles tendonitis, a painful, swelling in both of [...]

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Gals, this is just a short blast to let you know it’s happened again.

Once again, I had to do my own investigative homework to find a treatment option that no one told me about. I am so peeved.

I have been suffering since last November with achilles tendonitis, a painful, swelling in both of my achilles tendons, the largest tendon in the body that runs from the back of the foot up above the heel to the calf muscle.  I walk like a 95-year-old woman.

I am not a runner or even an armchair athlete, but I did change shoes last November, which must have thrown my body into disarray somehow.

After enduring unbelievable pain and immobility since then, more than $1,000 in physiotherapy, repeated visits to my family doctor asking for solutions, nothing was working.  My tendons are as swollen and painful today as they were eight months ago.

Just as I had to take matters into my own hands to get a second opinion for my fibroids, I have done the same over this. Three weeks ago I had had enough.

Luckily, a sports medicine doctor I see once a year for my knees does not require a referral from my family doctor so I was able to get in right away and ask what the hell was going on!

He was the first doctor who ordered an ultrasound to see what the problem was and this week I finally got some action. (My fault for not insisting on one earlier).

After all this time, pain, expense and frustration, I am being referred to a type of therapy no one at two different physiotherapy clinics, nor my family doctor, told me about!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s called Shockwave Therapy and I have my first appointment tonight.

Just as some gynecologists do not prescribe high tech alternatives to hysterectomy because they don’t personally perform them, I guess my two physiotherapy clinics did not tell me about, or did not know about, this new type of therapy!

What do we have to do to get the whole story?

Through my own research I have also found another type of therapy where the specialist injects blood into your tendons to get the blood supply going.

Who knew?

My God this is frustrating.

Why are we not told about these things?  Must we be licensed private investigators or homicide detectives to find the information we need to manage our health?

Hope someone out there can benefit from this post, which has absolutely nothing to do with abnormal uterine bleeding or hysterectomy, but has everything to do with being proactive about our health.

Some days you just gotta rant, you know?

Have a good one, gals and guys.

 

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My apologies http://unhysterectomy.com/my-apologies/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=my-apologies http://unhysterectomy.com/my-apologies/#comments Sun, 23 Jun 2013 22:13:38 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8497 Hello everyone, please accept my apologies for a draft blog that just went out.  It was not complete. Please delete from your mailbox. My apologies for the inconvenience. Thank you, Holly

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Hello everyone, please accept my apologies for a draft blog that just went out.  It was not complete. Please delete from your mailbox.

My apologies for the inconvenience.

Thank you, Holly

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Tune into “Networking Arizona” tonight at 4 p.m. MST on 1100 KFNX Radio http://unhysterectomy.com/press-coverage-heavy-periods/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=press-coverage-heavy-periods http://unhysterectomy.com/press-coverage-heavy-periods/#comments Tue, 04 Jun 2013 21:29:28 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8417 Hi gals, so excited to chat with Carol Blonder of “Networking Arizona” on 1100 KFNX Radio this afternoon at 4 p.m. MST, 7 p.m. EST about the American edition of  “The UnHysterectomy.” The interview will be about 30 minutes. Carol and I will be chatting about the new information contained in the second edition of [...]

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Hi gals, so excited to chat with Carol Blonder of “Networking Arizona” on 1100 KFNX Radio this afternoon at 4 p.m. MST, 7 p.m. EST about the American edition of  “The UnHysterectomy.”

The interview will be about 30 minutes.

Carol and I will be chatting about the new information contained in the second edition of my book, targeted specifically at American women who are looking for relief for their painful, heavy periods.

I will also be chatting about the various medical experts who so kindly lent their expertise to the book to make it as up-to-date and factually correct as possible.

For those of you who cannot listen live, I hope to post a podcast of the interview right after.

Thanks so much!

Holly

 

 

 

 

 

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Congratulations AAGL on your new website for women! http://unhysterectomy.com/congratulations-aagl-on-your-new-website-for-women/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=congratulations-aagl-on-your-new-website-for-women http://unhysterectomy.com/congratulations-aagl-on-your-new-website-for-women/#comments Mon, 20 May 2013 16:13:47 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8404 Congratulations to AAGL, the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists, the leading organization in the world for minimally invasive gynecology, on its new website for women MISforWomen.com. This new website is a veritable candy store of information on minimally invasive treatment options for menstrual disorders. The site was launched in conjunction with National Women’s Health Week in [...]

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Congratulations to AAGL, the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists, the leading organization in the world for minimally invasive gynecology, on its new website for women MISforWomen.com.

This new website is a veritable candy store of information on minimally invasive treatment options for menstrual disorders.

The site was launched in conjunction with National Women’s Health Week in the United States last week.

According to the news release, “hundreds of thousands of women suffer from pelvic health problems for which minimally invasive surgical treatments are available and effective, but many don’t know where to turn for authoritative information.  We have created MISforWomen.com as a go-to resource for answers to their gynecologic questions.

MISforWomen.com provides both educational and practical information in clear terms and an easy-to-use interactive format.  Its primary features include a Medical Library, Video Library, Discussion Forum, Physician Finder, and Physician/Patient Blog.

In the Medical Library a woman can learn about her condition, diagnostic tests and treatment options in non-technical terms.  The information has all been vetted by AAGL physicians and is provided in seven languages.

The Video Library offers taped segments with top practicing surgeons who explain how MIS alleviates or cures a variety of conditions.

Because many women are reluctant to discuss their intimate health concerns with family members or friends, an interactive Discussion Forum was developed.  Here women can share their medical experiences with others who have been where they are and can also benefit from the comments of AAGL surgeons.

More first-hand information is featured in the Physician/Patient Blog, with editorial content by leaders in MIS as well as by women who have experienced MIS.  To find qualified gynecological MIS surgeons who specialize in her particular problem, a woman simply enters some basic information and the Physician Finder provides profiles of relevant specialists in her area.

“We are pleased to launch our patient site in tandem with the national Women’s Health Week that has been organized by the Department of Health and Human Services,” commented Linda Michels, Executive Director of the AAGL.  ‘Our goals are perfectly aligned with this observance, which seeks to empower women to take charge of their health.’

“Historically the AAGL has focused on educating doctors to master the specialized skills and techniques required for minimally invasive gynecologic procedures.  But that is only half the equation.  We now want to broaden our initiatives to give women the resources they need to understand their condition and seek appropriate help,” she said.

MISforWomen.com was made possible in part through generous support provided by Ethicon, a Johnson & Johnson company.

Great news, isn’t it gals? I suggest everyone bookmark this site.

I applaud this initiative wholeheartedly and thank AAGL for its forward-thinking and vision to include women in the sharing of this important and life-changing information – information that springs from the world’s finest experts in minimally invasive gynecology.

On behalf of all Canadian women who suffer from these conditions, I would also call upon the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada to create a similar website for Heavy Menstrual Bleeding, something which is lacking on their website. There are sites for Endometriosis and Sexual Health, but not Heavy Menstrual Bleeding or Pelvic Pain.

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Ladies in waiting: How the Canadian healthcare system leaves women to bleed http://unhysterectomy.com/ladies-in-waiting-how-the-canadian-healthcare-system-leaves-women-to-bleed/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ladies-in-waiting-how-the-canadian-healthcare-system-leaves-women-to-bleed http://unhysterectomy.com/ladies-in-waiting-how-the-canadian-healthcare-system-leaves-women-to-bleed/#comments Sun, 19 May 2013 21:26:01 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8390 Anyone who is watching the debate over universal health care in the United States should pay attention to this post.  It will give you a window on how the system really works in Canada, where I live. From the time I started having heavy periods to the time I underwent the two high tech procedures [...]

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Anyone who is watching the debate over universal health care in the United States should pay attention to this post.  It will give you a window on how the system really works in Canada, where I live.

From the time I started having heavy periods to the time I underwent the two high tech procedures that solved them (a hysteroscopic myomectomy and a hysteroscopic endometrial ablation), almost two years had passed.  Two years!

How our system works

In Canada, when someone gets sick they must first go to their family doctor to discuss the problem.  We cannot simply pick up the phone and call any old specialist we want such as a gynecologist.  We must be referred by our family physician, and even at that, we have no direct contact with the specialist until we finally, and I mean finally, get into see him or her.

In my case, I probably waited about six months before I went to see my family doctor about my heavy periods.   Like millions of women out there, I thought it was normal to have a heavy period once in a while, but when they became heavier and heavier as the months passed, I finally broke down and went to see her.

The journey was long and painful. First I had to convince my family doctor something was wrong. Then we had to go through the systematic process of diagnosing the problem (I had an ultrasound that revealed I had multiple fibroids, the largest of which was about the size of an orange and growing larger every month), trying the least invasive treatment options such as watchful waiting, taking the blood-thickening medication Cyklokapron four times every four hours around the clock on my heaviest days, and then finally a Mirena IUD, which thankfully stopped the bleeding almost immediately. 

Referrals

I would say about six months into the process, I finally got to see the first gynecologist to whom I was referred. To cut a long story short (which I outline at length in my book), this first gynecologist only offered me a hysterectomy, which I refused, thinking there had to be a better way.  Upon finding a second gynecologist who specialized in high tech, minimally invasive surgery (who I found on my own I might add through my own research), the first gynecologist refused to refer me on to the second gynecologist (remembering again that in Canada you cannot simply call up a specialist and make an appointment).

So I had to go back to my family doctor and get another referral to this second gynecologist.  Great, I thought, except the waiting list to get into the see the new specialist for just an initial consultation was months-long, so I waited and waited and waited.  Then, with my hopes held high, I finally met with him and learned it would be another year before I could have my surgery!

Of course there is a triage system at play here so obviously my situation was not nearly as severe as others and I was happy to take my place in line and wait it out; the Mirena had my bleeding under control so I was OK.

So as I mentioned, I finally had my surgery about two years after my initial family doctor appointment and everything went well.  Even though I had waited two years it was worth the wait.  As Canadians, we don’t question this kind of wait time. In fact, we expect it. The idea of going to our family doctor for a problem and expecting to have it solved surgically within a matter of weeks is a pipedream.  Still, I am glad to say that in the majority of cases, urgent cases of course get rushed to the front of the line and so they should. Yet even then, in many cases for other diseases and conditions, the waiting lists are horrendous. Anyone who is interested can Google wait times for any province and I believe they will show up.

We are our own worst enemies

Getting back to heavy menstrual bleeding, what contributes to the length of time we wait for treatment is a) women tend to normalize their symptoms and delay going to their doctor, if at all, b) some hospitals put quotas on the number of less invasive procedures that can be done in a year (such as biopolar mesh ablations) c) there are fewer gynecologists in Canada who specialize in minimally invasive surgery than regular gynecologists, therefore their waiting lists are horrendous and d) as Canadians, we assume it will take forever to get in to see a specialist and then another lifetime to actually have surgery so we rarely complain.

Many women never seek help out of frustration with the system, or, as I have mentioned many times, accept the fastest, most definitive solution i.e. hysterectomy, rather than go back and forth for months or years trying other solutions, stay on ridiculously long waiting lists or in some cases spend thousands of dollars of their own money to seek private health care either here in Canada or the U.S.  In actual fact, wait times for hysterectomy are far shorter than for minimally invasive surgery (about four to six months on average) so it’s easy to see why so women opt for hysterectomy. The system should be able to accommodate all women.

A 2010 study on wait times for women with abnormal uterine bleeding in southwestern Ontario showed that nearly 30 per cent of women who were referred to specialists because of abnormal uterine bleeding waited longer than the time recommended by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (SOGC).

The same study reported that patients who undergo long wait times experience stress, anxiety and depression, which can further exacerbate their problems.

In Ontario where I live, it can take up to eight months to see one of these sub-specialists and once you do, it can be another eight months to a year or two before you have your surgery.  For women experiencing urinary problems such as incontinence, the waiting list for surgery is almost three years long!

Health care is a provincial responsibility

In Canada, health care is a provincial responsibility; the provinces manage their own health care using transfer payments they receive from the federal government.  In an effort to reduce all wait times for surgery in Canada for every kind of treatment, not just gynecology, provincial health ministers, along with the federal government, decided to address the situation through their $41 billion 10-Year Plan to Strengthen Health Care.   The plan was announced in 2004 to improve health care access and reduce wait times.

Except the plan only called for reducing wait times for cancer, cardiac care, diagnostic imaging, joint replacement and sight restoration.  No one is arguing against making those conditions a priority on surgery wait lists; what I am arguing is that there are efficiencies to be gained across Canada within existing budgets that, if achieved, could reduce wait times for everyone.

Minimally invasive surgery as a strategic enabler

Remember one thing here: hysterectomies are the number one major surgery performed on Canadian women, second only to C-sections at a cost of $192 million a year.  Federal government audits show most of those procedures are “medically unnecessary” and could be treated through less invasive means outside of expensive hospital settings.  In fact, in its report “Health Care in Canada 2010”, the Canadian Institute of Health Information declared that if all provinces achieved British Columbia’s hysterectomy rate (the lowest in the country), the difference would be about 11 percent, or 3,700 fewer hysterectomies annually with a cost savings of more than $19 million.

What if we took that $19 million and invested it in opening stand-alone, publically funded, community outpatient clinics for women’s gynecological health.  Problems such as urinary incontinence could be treated on an outpatient basis far faster and less expensively than in expensive hospital operating rooms.

So why isn’t it happening?

Because no one is pushing for it.  No one is asking to make women’s gynecological health a political priority in this country.  We, as women, are simply not speaking up and advocating for ourselves or demanding better.  We have put our placards away.

I even asked my provincial health minister to meet with me, on behalf of all women who suffer from menstrual disorders, so I could discuss this model of treatment as a start.  I never even received a reply – all this despite her having released an action plan for Ontario, which includes being open to hearing from Ontarians about ways we could take the treatment of disease out of expensive hospitals and into less expensive settings.

And yet, we have publically-funded, standalone bariatric clinics in the community offering people outpatient obesity surgery.  

“I think [change] has to come from a patient advocacy movement,” Dr. Nicholas Leyland, professor and chair of obstetrics and gynecology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario and a leading proponent of minimally invasive surgery, told me during one of our interviews.

“It’s not going to come from the medical profession because for too long I think we’ve been seen as being very self-serving. We need to help patient advocacy groups and to inform and to assist the government in this process, but we need lots of people to help us out.”

For the uninitiated, here is how Canadian hospitals work. Hospital managers are accountable to measures set up by the provincial government so if the government says cancer wait times must be improved then the hospital is responsible to deliver on this.  If the government does not identify wait times for gynecology, hospitals are not even required to measure or report their rates or efficiencies!  How can we demonstrate that minimally invasive surgery for women is a strategic enabler of health care reform when the efficiencies that are being gained have no way to be officially reported or tracked? 

On top of that, hospitals operate with global budgets, meaning they receive one pot of money from the province to pay for everything they do, and believe me, the pot is not divvied up equally. What you have is physicians competing against one another within their own hospitals for funding.  While no one would argue that cancer or heart patients should be at the front of the line, I have a problem with the line being formed in the first place!  Universal health care in Canada does not mean equitable health care.

“Unfortunately, our health care system is very, very politicized,” Dr. Leyland also told me.  “What that means is politicians respond to political pressure and political pressure doesn’t come from the Canadian Medical Association or physicians. It really has to come from patients, because they’re the legitimate owners of our health care system,” says Dr. Leyland.

So how can we change this?

Universal health care has its flaws, and yes we are in a crisis here in Canada, however, we can make it work.  With vision, courage and tenacity.

We need to speak up and speak out.

Midwives and nurse practitioners have done it and it seemed to work for them, given the opening of new public midwifery clinics in Ontario, and the inclusion of nurse practitioners in family medicine clinics across the province.  Congratulations to these incredible women for their tenacity in finally getting the recognition they deserve.  My wish is for us to help gynecologists with the same vision achieve the same.

I found this statement during my research for my book and every time I think of how we can begin to iron out the flaws in universal health care and our Canadian health care crisis, I read it:

“This policy discussion has nothing to do with current debates over alternative ways of chanelling more money into the health care system through higher taxes, user fees, or more for-profit care. Those debates distract us away from what is really going on: a technological revolution in healthcare that holds open the promise of reigning in the growth in healthcare spending in a manner consistent with the Canada Health Act  - if policy makers, practitioners, and patients manage this clutch moment properly,” says the Mowatt Institute’s Fiscal Sustainability and the Transformation of Canada’s Healthcare System: A Shifting Gears Report.

And so I ask you: is there nothing more high tech than minimally invasive surgery? Does laparoscopy and hysteroscopy not hold the promise of a brighter future for women?  Indeed it does, yet despite all the factors I have mentioned that are already compromising our ability to access this technology, one of the biggest barriers is the lack of training among gynecologists in these new methods, or a lack of high tech equipment for them inside their hospitals.

Believe me, once I get going on creating my menstrual disorder foundation, I hope to be able to create a national movement led by a group of like-minded women, physicians and industry partners to fundraise and create awareness on a national level so we can help give gynecologists the tools and support they need to get the job done and encourage their peers to come on board.

Are you interested in working with me to create The Menstrual Disorder Foundation of Canada and to help convince provincial governments to listen?  If so, please comment on this blog below and send me an e-mail at holly@unhysterectomy.com.

 

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Should we remove perfectly good organs “just in case”? http://unhysterectomy.com/should-we-remove-perfectly-good-organs-just-in-case/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=should-we-remove-perfectly-good-organs-just-in-case http://unhysterectomy.com/should-we-remove-perfectly-good-organs-just-in-case/#comments Wed, 15 May 2013 18:23:03 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8355 Angelina Jolie … Are her ovaries next? When I was facing a hysterectomy a few years back, the first gynecologist I saw for the fibroid tumours that were causing me indescribable agony, referred to my uterus as a “cancer nest” and suggested I remove it “just in case.” Even though I had no family history [...]

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Angelina Jolie … Are her ovaries next?

When I was facing a hysterectomy a few years back, the first gynecologist I saw for the fibroid tumours that were causing me indescribable agony, referred to my uterus as a “cancer nest” and suggested I remove it “just in case.”

Even though I had no family history of uterine or any other type of cancer, the doctor thought it would be better to eliminate the risk altogether than live with the possibility of developing uterine cancer down the road.

I must admit, at the time, it sounded logical. It was only when I started delving into the issue that I realized he was wrong to have suggested it, although I certainly understand why he did.

Physicians see some horrible things in their offices every single day; cases where women have let their pain and bleeding go a little too long until it was too late. However, while I respect this preventative approach, which in the case of hysterectomy, guarantees a woman will not develop uterine (or possibly cervical, ovarian, Fallopian tube or endometrial cancer depending on the type of surgery she has) cancer, it does not, and should not, apply in all cases.

Removing a perfectly healthy organ makes no sense among women who are not at risk.

Removing a cancerous organ, or one that may become cancerous, certainly does make sense and I must emphasize there is a distinction between the two.

While I applaud Angelina Jolie for her startling revelation that she underwent a double mastectomy to reduce her risk of developing breast cancer, I have concerns about how women in the general population will react.

I am afraid even women who are not at risk may rush into discussions with their doctor around removing perfectly healthy organs “just in case.”

As you can see from Dr. David Toub’s post below, physicians were taught just a few decades ago that ovary removal at the time of hysterectomy was a good way to prevent all women from developing ovarian cancer; nowadays, the procedure is discouraged, except for those women at high risk.

In this day and age where everyone seems to be developing cancer, some people want ironclad guarantees; anyone who has lost a loved one certainly has the right to feel that way.

As Ms. Jolie so eloquently and importantly reminds us, women who carry the BRCA gene are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer, the most deadly of all cancers because of its difficulty to detect early.

Many women with the gene elect to remove their breasts as a preventative measure and go on to remove their ovaries as well, even if they have not yet had children. Even our own Dr. Marla Shapiro here in Canada went public with her decision to remove her ovaries after undergoing a double mastectomy for cancer.

That I get.

What I do not get is women electing to remove perfectly health ovaries who are not at risk “just in case.”

Every year in Canada, more than 50 percent of all hysterectomies involve the elective removal of ovaries; in the United States the numbers may be as high as 60 percent.  The numbers do not reveal how many of those women removed their ovaries because they were at risk.

I recently asked the Canadian Institute of Health Information for the number of oopherectomies (ovary removal) performed in Canada, as well as the number performed at the same time as hysterectomies.

I was intrigued to read the numbers are going up.

Between 2007 and 2013, the number of women undergoing ovary removal at the time of a hysterectomy has jumped from 21,220 to 22,065. The number of standalone oopherectomies has increased from 32,102 to 33,108.

While the numbers show an increase, what they do not indicate is “why.”

Why are more women choosing to remove their ovaries at the time of hysterectomy?

Why are more women choosing to remove their ovaries without a hysterectomy? Perhaps these are the gene carriers who want that guarantee.

Remember, half of women undergoing hysterectomies elect to remove their ovaries, meaning at some point there has been a discussion between the woman and her physician, to weigh the options; and somehow, for whatever the reason, be it to prevent cancer or not, the two have agreed that removing the ovaries is better than leaving them in. This is surprising since most gynecologists are aware of the risks of premature ovary removal and will try to discourage a woman from removing them unnecessarily (generally speaking, of course).

I would love to survey these women to find out their reasoning. Like Angelina Jolie, did they carry the gene or did they want an iron-clad guarantee, regardless of their risk factor? Or, as I have heard from some women, “since you’re in there anyway, you may as well take out the lot.”

Women of reproductive age who retain their ovaries can continue to have pre-menstrual syndrome symptoms (irritability, bloatedness, fatigue) even though they have no uterus to produce a period so perhaps they would rather eliminate PMS as well as their original presenting symptoms.

Or could it be that women have watched people in their family suffer from other types of cancer and wanted to eliminate at least one risk?

In the context of women’s gynecological health, women simply must know that there are risks in removing their ovaries, regardless of their situation.

Multiple studies, including most recently in March 2013 and for years previously, have shown a link between premature ovary removal and an increased risk of heart disease, lung cancer, osteoporosis and premature death.

Other studies counter the argument saying there is no increased risk of premature death.

The bottom line is women must be informed and do their homework, whether they have a genetic predisposition to developing cancer or any other disease.

In light of that, I recommend women ask their doctors these questions:

• What are my risks of developing breast or ovarian cancer if I have no family history of these types of cancers?
• What are my risks of developing breast or ovarian cancer if I have a family history of these types of cancers?
• What are my risks of developing breast or ovarian cancer if I carry the BRCA gene?
• With no family history of these types of cancers, should I elect to remove my ovaries while undergoing hysterectomy?
• What are the risks and benefits of ovary removal?
• With a family history of these types of cancers, or as a carrier of the BRCA gene, should I elect to remove my ovaries as a standalone procedure, or during a hysterectomy?
• What are the risks and benefits of doing so?

Most important of all, if you have not yet had children, you want them, and you are concerned about your risk factors, ask your gynecologist for a referral to a gynecological oncologist.

He or she will be able to tell you what breakthroughs in technology and medicine are available nowadays to preserve a woman’s fertility even while undergoing radiation or chemotherapy.

I had the chance to meet and interview Dr. Togus Tulandi of Montreal in Las Vegas last fall and it was absolutely amazing to hear him describe the way he can displace a woman’s ovaries temporarily to another part of her reproductive region in order to protect and preserve her ovaries.

I hope to post that interview in the near future.

Fantastic food for thought since Ms. Jolie went public yesterday. I hope her decision to remove her ovaries, if she goes ahead, will continue to make headlines and spark further discussion.

My overarching philosophy is that, in general, we have become a scalpel-happy society looking for the quickest fix. We are so busy texting, googling, i-tuning, facebooking, tweeting and yes, blogging, that we are losing our ability to take a deep breath, look around and explore the options, which include doing nothing.

As a woman who has struggled for the past year to get the media and our society to start talking about the important issue of menstrual disorders and gynecological health, I applaud Ms. Jolie for her courage, her conviction, her devotion to her children and her willingness to be so open.

If only the rest of us were movie stars, maybe we could make our stories front page news, too.

For more information on the BRCA gene, visit the Mayo Clinic website here.

Ciao for now bellas, Holly

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AAGL launches new patient website for minimally invasive surgery http://unhysterectomy.com/aagl-launches-new-patient-website-for-minimally-invasive-surgery/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=aagl-launches-new-patient-website-for-minimally-invasive-surgery http://unhysterectomy.com/aagl-launches-new-patient-website-for-minimally-invasive-surgery/#comments Tue, 14 May 2013 13:21:37 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8348 Gals, hot off the presses. Just received this news release from AAGL, the leading organization in the world of gynecologists devoted to delivering minimally invasive surgerical options to women, has just launched its new patient website. Here is their news release. I encourage you to bookmark this site. MISforWomen.com to launch in conjunction with National [...]

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Gals, hot off the presses.

Just received this news release from AAGL, the leading organization in the world of gynecologists devoted to delivering minimally invasive surgerical options to women, has just launched its new patient website.

Here is their news release.

I encourage you to bookmark this site.

MISforWomen.com to launch in conjunction with National Women’s Health Week.

Cypress, CA (PRWEB) May 14, 2013

AAGL, the world’s premiere professional society dedicated to minimally invasive surgery (MIS) in gynecology, is launching its new patient web site, http://www.MISforWomen.com, in conjunction with the US government’s National Women’s Health Week celebration May 12-18. The web site offers patients education about the latest techniques in MIS as well as access to top gynecological surgeons who specialize in MIS.

MIS describes a group of surgical techniques that allow the surgeon to enter the abdomen through small incisions or natural orifices. Surgery is performed by threading small instruments through the incisions while the surgeon views the inside of the body on a video screen.

In many cases, MIS replaces the need for larger incisions that are typical of abdominal surgery, which translates to less pain and faster recovery for the patient.

“Our goal as an organization is to provide women the information they need to make an informed decision about their healthcare options,” explained Linda Michels, Executive Director of the AAGL.

“Hundreds of thousands of women suffer from pelvic health problems for which minimally invasive surgical treatments are available and effective, but many don’t know where to turn for authoritative information. We have created MISforWomen.com as a go-to resource for answers to their gynecologic questions.”

MISforWomen.com provides both educational and practical information in clear terms and an easy-to-use interactive format. Its primary features include a Medical Library, Video Library, Discussion Forum, Physician Finder, and Physician/Patient Blog.

In the Medical Library a woman can learn about her condition, diagnostic tests and treatment options in non-technical terms. The information has all been vetted by AAGL physicians and is provided in seven languages.    

The Video Library offers taped segments with top practicing surgeons who explain how MIS alleviates or cures a variety of conditions.

Because many women are reluctant to discuss their intimate health concerns with family members or friends, an interactive Discussion Forum was developed. Here women can share their medical experiences with others who have been where they are and can also benefit from the comments of AAGL surgeons.

More first-hand information is featured in the Physician/Patient Blog, with editorial content by leaders in MIS as well as by women who have experienced MIS. To find qualified gynecological MIS surgeons who specialize in her particular problem, a woman simply enters some basic information and the Physician Finder provides profiles of relevant specialists in her area.

“We are pleased to launch our patient site in tandem with the national Women’s Health Week that has been organized by the Department of Health and Human Services,” commented Michels. “Our goals are perfectly aligned with this observance which seeks to empower women to take charge of their health.”

“Historically the AAGL has focused on educating doctors to master the specialized skills and techniques required for minimally invasive gynecologic procedures. But that is only half the equation. We now want to broaden our initiatives to give women the resources they need to understand their condition and seek appropriate help,” she said.

MISforWomen.com was made possible in part through generous support provided by Ethicon, a Johnson & Johnson company.

About AAGL

The AAGL is the first and largest organization in the world dedicated to gynecologic endoscopic surgery. Founded in 1971, AAGL works to fulfill its vision of serving women’s health care needs by advancing the safest and most efficacious diagnostic and therapeutic techniques that afford less invasive treatments for gynecologic conditions. It does so by fostering the integration of clinical practice, research, innovation and dialogue. The global commitment of the AAGL to women’s health care is embodied in its continuing medical education of physicians about the latest and best practices in minimally invasive gynecology. For the past 41 years, the organization has educated the world’s finest surgeons so as to improve the lives of women everywhere. For more information, visit http://www.aagl.org.

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UnHysterectomy wins Silver Medal at Independent Book Publisher Awards in U.S. http://unhysterectomy.com/unhysterectomy-wins-silver-medal-at-independent-book-publisher-awards-in-u-s/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=unhysterectomy-wins-silver-medal-at-independent-book-publisher-awards-in-u-s http://unhysterectomy.com/unhysterectomy-wins-silver-medal-at-independent-book-publisher-awards-in-u-s/#comments Thu, 09 May 2013 16:05:37 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8342 I am thrilled to announce that my book, The UnHysterectomy: Solving Your Painful, Heavy Bleeding Without Major Surgery, has won a Silver Medal for Best Marketing in the 2013 Independent Book Publisher Awards in the United States, also known as the IPPYs! I have been invited to New York City on Wed., May 29 to accept [...]

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I am thrilled to announce that my book, The UnHysterectomy: Solving Your Painful, Heavy Bleeding Without Major Surgery, has won a Silver Medal for Best Marketing in the 2013 Independent Book Publisher Awards in the United States, also known as the IPPYs!

I have been invited to New York City on Wed., May 29 to accept the award alongside the hundreds of other recipients who won medals in various categories.

I worked very hard on my marketing campaign, both up front to establish there was a market for a book about hysterectomy and its alternatives, and after the book was published to promote it.

It feels really great to know my work has been recognized, although a gold medal would have been nice, too!

What I am most thrilled about is that this is one more opportunity to bring heavy menstrual bleeding into the spotlight and demonstrate that there are millions of women out there suffering.  Perhaps this achievement will intensify that spotlight just a bit more.

Now if only I could convince the media to agree with me!

Onwards and upwards.

Ciao for now bellas, Holly

 

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Forget Wiki leaks. What’s up with my bladder? http://unhysterectomy.com/forget-wiki-leaks-what-about-my-bladder/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=forget-wiki-leaks-what-about-my-bladder http://unhysterectomy.com/forget-wiki-leaks-what-about-my-bladder/#comments Wed, 08 May 2013 23:38:50 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8334 So here’s the thing. Just when I think I’ve overcome every embarrassing part of being a woman (i.e. my monthly bloodbaths through minimally invasive surgery), along comes menopause and I now have a whole new set of embarrassing problems to deal with. If you’re reading this and are still suffering from heavy periods, first of all, [...]

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So here’s the thing.

Just when I think I’ve overcome every embarrassing part of being a woman (i.e. my monthly bloodbaths through minimally invasive surgery), along comes menopause and I now have a whole new set of embarrassing problems to deal with.

If you’re reading this and are still suffering from heavy periods, first of all, I feel for you and am here for you, but I simply have to dish about this new problem I’m having.

A leaky bladder.  I thought I gave up wearing pads the day I walked out of the hospital after my fibroid surgery, but I’m back into the whole pad thing again, only this time it’s Poise pads.

Yes I had the “Second Talk” with myself and decided that leaking urine into my underwear every day was gross.  Maybe not as gross as staining my underwear and clothing with blood from fibroids, but gross.

My God the things we gals have to put up with!

I went for testing and I actually don’t have an overactive bladder or even stress incontinence (the kind where you leak urine when you cough, laugh or sneeze).

I just have a leaky fawcett.

But here’s the exciting part.

Watson Pharma Company has come out with a new gel that helps control bladder leakage one smear at a time.

Bring on the gel, baby!

Here’s their news release announcing the gel in Canada.

I may just have to try this gals.  Do you have bladder leakage problems? What would you like to know?

Maybe I can organize a webinar on bladder problems.  Let me know by commenting below.

Ciao for now bellas, Holly

Gelnique® (oxybutynin chloride 10% gel) NOW AVAILABLE IN CANADA

First and Only Gel for Overactive Bladder

Quick, convenient treatment option allows patients to treat OAB without having to take a pill

July, 2012, Oakville, ON

Watson Canada today announced that Gelnique® (oxybutynin chloride gel), the first-ever topical gel for the treatment of overactive bladder (OAB), is now available in Canada. Gelnique provides patients with a novel alternative to current oral treatment options, with a very low incidence of side effects, such as dry mouth.

Gelnique is a quick-drying, clear, and fragrance-free gel that is applied once daily to the thigh, abdomen, upper arm or shoulder. A one-gram dose of Gelnique is rubbed into the skin like any skin cream, and delivers a constant dose of oxybutynin over a 24-hour period.

“Gelnique’s novel gel formulation provides an important new option for patients with OAB,” says Dr. Sender Herschorn, Professor and Chair University of Toronto Division of Urology. “Gelnique contains oxybutynin, the same ingredient as many available oral therapies, which has been well established as a safe and efficacious treatment for OAB. However, because Gelnique is absorbed through the skin and not taken by mouth, patients may experience limited anticholinergic side effects.”

Current oral therapies for OAB are often associated with troubling side effects, such as severe dry mouth and constipation,

1 often causing patients to discontinue use. Unlike oral treatments, Gelnique is delivered transdermally, and has been shown to cause few anticholinergic adverse effects.2 In clinical trials with Gelnique, no patients discontinued due to dry mouth.3

MORE THAN AN INCONVENIENCE OR EMBARRASSMENT

Overactive bladder is a common, debilitating condition characterized by a sudden, uncomfortable need to urinate even when the bladder isn’t full.

It often results in an unexpected loss of urine, wetting accidents and the associated embarrassment.

In Canada, nearly one in five people over the age of 35 suffer from OAB.

5 More than an inconvenience or embarrassment, OAB is associated with increased health risks and decreased quality of life. 6,7 Patients with OAB can also have higher rates of hypertension, obesity, and even arthritis.8

Although the prevalence of OAB is slightly higher in women, one in six men suffers from OAB (21.2 per cent vs. 14.8 per cent).9

OAB IMPACTS RELATIONSHIPS & QUALITY OF LIFE

Both men and women with OAB are significantly more likely to report diminished sexual activity and enjoyment of sex because of urinary symptoms.10,11

OAB has been shown to reduce sexual desire and the ability to achieve orgasm in women, 12 and can be associated with increased prevalence of erectile dysfunction and reduced sexual enjoyment in men. 13 Patients’ partners report that OAB fosters significant emotions, including embarrassment, anxiety, anger, worry, frustration, and sympathy. 14

“Overactive bladder not only impacts overall health, but also sexual intimacy, romantic relationships, and self-confidence,” says Maureen McGrath, Nurse Continence Advisor. “All patients should speak to their physician about sexual health when seeking a treatment for OAB as it can severely impact quality of life.”

ABOUT GELNIQUE

Gelnique is indicated for the treatment of OAB with symptoms of urge urinary incontinence, urgency and frequency.

In a Phase 3, 12-week trial, one-gram, once-daily Gelnique was superior to placebo at relieving OAB symptoms, including a reduction in incontinence episodes and urinary frequency, and an increase in urine void volume. The treatment was well tolerated in the study with a low incidence of mostly mild side effects and no serious adverse events. The most frequently reported treatment-related adverse events (>2 per cent and greater than placebo) were dry mouth and application-site reactions (5.4 per cent).

Additional pharmacology studies showed that showering one hour or later, or applying oil-free sunscreen lotion 30 minutes before or after Gelnique application, did not significantly alter the absorption of the drug.

Gelnique significantly improved the quality of life domains of travel, physical activity, social relationships and emotional health.15

For full prescribing information, please visit WatsonPharmaCompany.ca.

ABOUT WATSON PHARMA COMPANY

Watson Pharma Company is the newly-formed Canadian subsidiary of Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Established in 2011 and headquartered in Oakville, Ontario, it is engaged in the marketing, sale and distribution of branded pharmaceutical products to the Canadian market. Watson is focused on delivering innovative products that address key therapeutic categories in Urology and Women’s Health. As a subsidiary of Watson Pharmaceuticals, it is supported by Watson’s sophisticated R&D and manufacturing capabilities, and one of the industry’s leading global supply chains. For press release and other company information, visit Watson Pharma Company’s website at

 

 

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The Mirena IUD: just what the doctor ordered? http://unhysterectomy.com/the-mirena-uid-just-what-the-doctor-ordered/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-mirena-uid-just-what-the-doctor-ordered http://unhysterectomy.com/the-mirena-uid-just-what-the-doctor-ordered/#comments Tue, 07 May 2013 16:51:23 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8322 Say what you like about birth control such as intrauterine devices, gals, for my money the Mirena IUD probably saved my life. After being told I was a heart attack waiting to happen, due to the extreme anemia I had during the two years I suffered from monthly bloodbaths caused by multiple fibroids in my uterus, [...]

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Say what you like about birth control such as intrauterine devices, gals, for my money the Mirena IUD probably saved my life.

After being told I was a heart attack waiting to happen, due to the extreme anemia I had during the two years I suffered from monthly bloodbaths caused by multiple fibroids in my uterus, I declared war on my body and accepted the advice of my family doctor to have the device inserted.

I was a walking dead woman and something had to change. Some women hate the Mirena while others credit it with ending their nightmare bloodbaths, or buying them time until surgery.

About the Mireina

The levonorgestrel intrauterine device, known as the Mirena IUD, has revolutionized the treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding around the world.

In Canada, where I live, Health Canada first approved the Mirena IUD in 2000 as a birth control device, and it has since been approved in Canada, the US and around the world as a treatment for abnormal uterine, or heavy menstrual, bleeding.

Since its launch, the Mirena IUD has been used by more than 12 million women worldwide for contraception, treatment of abnormal uterine bleeding and hormone replacement therapy (HRT), although it is not approved for use as HRT in Canada.

The Mirena is a three-centimeter (one-inch) T-shaped plastic device that is inserted through the cervix into the uterus.

How it works

It works by releasing small amounts of the synthetic sex hormone levonorgestrel into the uterus. It contains
enough hormone to stay in place for up to five years.

Levonorgestrel is commonly used in combination with oral contraceptives and is similar to progesterone, the sex hormone our bodies produce on their own.

I loved the Mirena. It relieved my heavy bleeding almost right away, and although I spotted for a year, at that point I was just happy to be clot-free.

Not all women have had the same kind of positive experience with the Mirena as I did. Our bodies are so unique that no two women will experience the same treatment the same way, which is why it is so crucial to discuss your options with your doctor and pay very close attention to how your body feels throughout any form of treatment.

Safety first

An important safety note: In 2010, the Mirena manufacturer, Bayer, issued a bulletin to consumers regarding the potential risk of uterine perforation.

Bayer reported that it was receiving reports of perforation and that perforation occurs at a rate between 1 per 1,000 and 1 per 10,000 insertions.

According to the company, the risk of perforation may be increased after pregnancy, during lactation and in women with unusual uterine anatomy.

In consulation with my medical editor, Dr. Sony Singh, I have prepared these advantages and disadvantages of the Mirena IUD:

Advantages

• This is a minimally invasive option that may lighten or stop your period for up to five years until you decide on a more permanent option.

• It can be just as effective as surgery (such as endometrial ablation) for bleeding.

Disadvantages

• The Mirena doesn’t work on everyone.

• As with any form of hormonal birth control, there can be side effects.

• There is a risk of uterine perforation.

As a funny aside, when I went in to have my hysteroscopic myomectomy and hysteroscopy endometrial ablation (both of these procedures are explained in my book), I asked Dr. Singh to remove the Mirena “while he was in there.”

After my surgery, he told me it wasn’t there any more!

We figure it probably just slid on out on its own like a kayak flying down the rapids during one of my nightmarish flooding episodes prior to my surgery.

I had been given Lupron to shrink my fibroids before my surgery, and as a side effect, I had two major flooding episodes, which caused me to rush to the emergency room with blood-soaked clothing from my waist to my thighs.

At any rate, I swear by the Mirena for the relief it brought me and this is my hope for you, too.

The Mirena is also indicated for women with endometriosis by the way, which is definitely worth checking out with your physician.

Another weapon

The Mirena IUD … another weapon in the fight against heavy menstrual bleeding. Add it to your arsenal and see what happens.

You have nothing to lose by trying.

Ciao for now gals and chin up. Tomorrow will be a better day.

Remember, you can read more about the Mirena and hear from other women who have used it by ordering my book here.

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Uterus Makeovers Half Price: Shop ’til you Stop Bleeding http://unhysterectomy.com/shop-til-you-stop-bleeding/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=shop-til-you-stop-bleeding http://unhysterectomy.com/shop-til-you-stop-bleeding/#comments Tue, 23 Apr 2013 16:57:55 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8300   Would you buy a magazine called “Uterus Makeovers?” I might.  If the price was right, the paper was beautiful to the touch, the cover was exquisite, the headlines were tantalizing and the overall look and feel made me want to lick it like an ice cream cone. How do you like my little mock-up [...]

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 UterusMakeovers

Would you buy a magazine called “Uterus Makeovers?”

I might.  If the price was right, the paper was beautiful to the touch, the cover was exquisite, the headlines were tantalizing and the overall look and feel made me want to lick it like an ice cream cone.

How do you like my little mock-up of what I think would make a groovy magazine cover if only women shopped for solutions to their painful, heavy periods the way they shop for shoes and makeup.

I whipped it up for fun using some of my favourite colours and fonts and examples of real magazines I found on store shelves. Imagine if that kind of magazine were actually for sale on newsstands!!!

Shopping.

What would happen if we, as women, started treating the solutions to our painful, heavy periods as a commodity…a product…something we could shop for à la carte?

“I’m sorry, the choices you’ve given me just aren’t going to fit. I’ll have an ablation, a myomectomy and while you’re in there, could you take out that IUD I’ve been wearing for a few years?” Many women who’ve read my book actually take it with them into the doctor’s office and show them the procedure they want! How fabulous is that!  And sometimes, the doctors haven’t even heard of them! How scary is that!

Why shouldn’t we treat our health the way we treat shopping?  Every four to six weeks, many of us say things like, “I’ll have a cut, a rinse, or highlights, and while you’re at it, could you do a little texturing?”

As I say in my book, I think women spend more time shopping for shoes than they do their doctors, especially their gynecologists.  I know women with hundreds of pairs of shoes in their closets that resulted from absolute pilgrimages, hundreds of miles away, to malls and designer outlets.

And don’t even get me started on make-up. How many of us have searched ad nauseum for that perfect shade of lipstick and matching blush?  Or just the right mascara?  I’ve been searching for years for an eyebrow pencil that won’t make me look like Groucho Marks. Oy, the hours I’ve spent!

Seeing as women control 85 percent of all purchases (according to a fabulous website I just found called She-conomy), why can’t we include shopping for solutions to our health problems in that 85 percent?

Shopping is a proactive experience.  We get up off our duffs, go online or to the local mall or outlet, pour through the samples and ask to try stuff on, especially shoes.

“They’re too tight, too high, too low, too wobbly, they make my ankles look fat.”

Then we go to the next store.

For a special occasion like a first date, a hot date, a wedding, an important business meeting, we women shop for hours upon hours, days upon days, searching for just the right colour, fit, cost and look. Am I right or am I right?

What if we substituted “heavy periods” for the word “shoes”?  Have you spent hours upon hours searching for just the right doctor or procedure to help you? Or have you accepted the first “One Size Fits All” that’s presented to you?

Think about it!

I have friends who have reamed out sales clerks right before my eyes because the selection was poor, the strap was broken, the return policy had too much fine print and on and on. One of my friends almost punched out a parking garage attendant over a $1 difference in the price that was advertised compared to the price she was asked to pay.

If only we could loosen our “inner bitch” and bring it to the surface and treat our heavy period solutions the same way, respectfully, of course.

Do your homework, read up on your condition, ask around, get second or third opinions, fight back with your insurance companies, insist on having the least invasive treatment option, even if it is a hysterectomy.  The transaction is the same, whether you’re choosing a pair of shoes or a procedure.  An important difference, however, is that your doctor has a lot more experience than your average shoe salesperson and that’s worth considering.  Big time. But don’t just take it lying down. You have to be part of the process and get in there in the land they call “Uncomfortable” and speak up.

Seeing as 80 percent of hysterectomies are elective, that means somewhere along the way, women and their doctors have consciously DECIDED to go with a hysterectomy.  In the absence of disease, there has been a CHOICE and at the end of the day, it was likely the woman who made the final decision based on the facts she had or was presented. And as we know, many women are not given all the facts.

If you knew that your favourite pair of shoes would fall apart after six months, wouldn’t you want to know that ahead of time?

My point is … your body is worth more than a pair of shoes or a little black dress.  Invest 10 times the hours you would shopping for the perfect outfit and don’t stop until you’ve found just the right fit.

Being assertive with your doctor doesn’t mean being rude. It means having an informed discussion, a dialogue that suits YOUR needs, not the doctor’s.

That’s what I did and no, the surgeries I had don’t make me look fat.

It’s overeating and not exercising that does that LOL!

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This Week in America to feature The UnHysterectomy tomorrow! http://unhysterectomy.com/this-week-in-america-to-feature-the-unhysterectomy-tomorrow/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=this-week-in-america-to-feature-the-unhysterectomy-tomorrow http://unhysterectomy.com/this-week-in-america-to-feature-the-unhysterectomy-tomorrow/#comments Fri, 12 Apr 2013 13:53:30 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8288 My sincerest thanks to nationally-syndicated radio host, Ric Bratton, host of This Week in America, for taking the time to explore the issue of unnecessary hysterectomies. Our interview airs tomorrow across the United States on more than 100 radio stations and online. After the show, I will post a Skype version so you can watch [...]

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clip_image002My sincerest thanks to nationally-syndicated radio host, Ric Bratton, host of This Week in America, for taking the time to explore the issue of unnecessary hysterectomies.

Our interview airs tomorrow across the United States on more than 100 radio stations and online.

After the show, I will post a Skype version so you can watch our chat, too!

Listen for a special promo code to save $5 off.

Enjoy!

 

 

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Kindle version of The UnHysterectomy is now available for $7.99 http://unhysterectomy.com/kindle-version-of-the-unhysterectomy-is-now-available-for-7-99/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=kindle-version-of-the-unhysterectomy-is-now-available-for-7-99 http://unhysterectomy.com/kindle-version-of-the-unhysterectomy-is-now-available-for-7-99/#comments Mon, 25 Mar 2013 15:28:49 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8269 I am so excited to announce that the Kindle version of my book, The UnHysterectomy, is now available for download off my website for just $7.99!  This is the second edition of The UnHysterectomy, which I wrote especially for women in the United States and around the world. It’s full of new information, expanded chapters, new [...]

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I am so excited to announce that the Kindle version of my book, The UnHysterectomy, is now available for download off my website for just $7.99! 

This is the second edition of The UnHysterectomy, which I wrote especially for women in the United States and around the world.

It’s full of new information, expanded chapters, new expert interviews and more patient testimonials, including:

  • An expanded endometriosis chapter featuring a full-length interview with Lone Hummelshoj, Chief Executive of the World Endometriosis Research Foundation and Secretary General of the World Endometriosis Society;
  • A full-length interview about the different types of hysterectomies, and indications for each type, with Dr. Lori Warren, MD, Ob-Gyn, founder of the Pass the Pearls Foundation;
  •  A full-length interview with patient Erin who solved her painful, heavy bleeding from fibroids with focused ultrasound;
  • A feature interview with Dr. Jennifer Ashton, MD, Ob-Gyn, and medical contributor to The Dr. Oz Show, and;
  • An expanded chapter on Sex and Hysterectomy with Dr. Jessica O’Reilly, sexologist and Playboy TV host.

The Kindle version of The UnHysterectomy has everything you need to know about treatment options for pain and heavy bleeding.

Order now!

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US gynecologists’ group fights back on warning against robotic hysterectomies http://unhysterectomy.com/us-gynecologists-group-fights-back-on-warning-against-robotic-hysterectomies/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=us-gynecologists-group-fights-back-on-warning-against-robotic-hysterectomies http://unhysterectomy.com/us-gynecologists-group-fights-back-on-warning-against-robotic-hysterectomies/#comments Mon, 18 Mar 2013 01:01:05 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8258 Seems a storm is brewing among US gynecologists over the recent warning by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) that robotic hysterectomies are more about good marketing than good medicine, and that women should think twice before going under the robotic scope. A statement issued today by a group of concerned minimally invasive [...]

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Seems a storm is brewing among US gynecologists over the recent warning by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) that robotic hysterectomies are more about good marketing than good medicine, and that women should think twice before going under the robotic scope.

A statement issued today by a group of concerned minimally invasive gynecologists in the US fights back against ACOG’s position.

Once again, when it comes to hysterectomies in North America, we women are left wondering whose opinion we should believe.

The group makes some very valid points about hysterectomy rates in general that are worth reading.

Here’s the statement from ACOG if you’d like to read it for yourself.

What do you think? Drop me a line below.

 

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Gynecologists’ warning over robotic hysterectomy is a start, but high hysterectomy rates are the real issue http://unhysterectomy.com/gynecologists-warning-over-robotic-hysterectomy-is-a-start-but-high-hysterectomy-rates-are-the-real-issue/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=gynecologists-warning-over-robotic-hysterectomy-is-a-start-but-high-hysterectomy-rates-are-the-real-issue http://unhysterectomy.com/gynecologists-warning-over-robotic-hysterectomy-is-a-start-but-high-hysterectomy-rates-are-the-real-issue/#comments Fri, 15 Mar 2013 00:47:13 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8253 I watched with interest today as the American Congress of Obsetricians and Gynecologists issued a statement warning women against robotic hysterectomies, saying vaginal hysterectomies are better. “Robotic surgery is not the only or the best minimally invasive approach for hysterectomy. Nor is it the most cost-efficient. It is important to separate the marketing hype from the [...]

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I watched with interest today as the American Congress of Obsetricians and Gynecologists issued a statement warning women against robotic hysterectomies, saying vaginal hysterectomies are better.

“Robotic surgery is not the only or the best minimally invasive approach for hysterectomy. Nor is it the most cost-efficient. It is important to separate the marketing hype from the reality when considering the best surgical approach for hysterectomies,” says ACOG’s President James T. Breeden, MD.

The statement goes even further.

“Vaginal hysterectomy, performed through a small opening at the top of the vagina without any abdominal incisions, is the least invasive and least expensive option. Based on its well-documented advantages and low complication rates, this is the procedure of choice whenever technically feasible. When this approach is not possible, laparoscopic hysterectomy is the second least invasive and costly option for patients.

“Robotic hysterectomy generally provides women with a shorter hospitalization, less discomfort, and a faster return to full recovery compared with the traditional total abdominal hysterectomy (TAH) which requires a large incision. However, both vaginal and laparoscopic approaches also require fewer days of hospitalization and a far shorter recovery than TAH. These two established methods also have proven track records for outstanding patient outcomes and cost efficiencies.”

ACOG concludes by saying “aggressive direct-to-consumer marketing of the latest medical technologies may mislead the public into believing that they are the best choice.”

A start but…

While I support ACOG in issuing this statement today, I am skeptical that it will lead to change anytime soon.

Many gynecologists have a history of ignoring guidelines set by their professional regulating bodies because they go against the status quo.

For example, despite national guidelines in Canada where I live, encouraging gynecologists to perform vaginal or laparoscopic hysterectomies wherever possible, more than 50 to 65 percent of Canadian hysterectomies are still being done abdominally, like C-sections. This results in greater risks for the patient, more pain, a longer recovery and increased risk of complications.

I applaud the ACOG for its position on robotic hysterectomies, but the statement I’d really like to see is that 60 to 80 percent of all hysterectomies in the US, and Canada, are medically unnecessary and could be avoided through less painful, less invasive, less risky procedures.

Why aren’t doctors issuing a statement about that? 

 

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Endometriosis and Wheat: Is There a Connection? Wheat Belly author Dr. William Davis weighs in http://unhysterectomy.com/endometriosis-and-wheat-is-there-a-connection-wheat-belly-author-dr-william-davis-weighs-in/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=endometriosis-and-wheat-is-there-a-connection-wheat-belly-author-dr-william-davis-weighs-in http://unhysterectomy.com/endometriosis-and-wheat-is-there-a-connection-wheat-belly-author-dr-william-davis-weighs-in/#comments Sat, 09 Mar 2013 02:23:29 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8228 VIDEO:  What is Endometriosis? Top Ways to Manage Endometriosis Without a Hysterectomy It’s Endometriosis Awareness Month (or week, depending on where you live). In honor of the 176 million women around the world who are living with this devastating disease … and in recognition of the tremendous work being done by gynecologists, educators and patient advocates alike…. here [...]

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VIDEO:  What is Endometriosis? Top Ways to Manage Endometriosis Without a Hysterectomy

It’s Endometriosis Awareness Month (or week, depending on where you live).

In honor of the 176 million women around the world who are living with this devastating disease … and in recognition of the tremendous work being done by gynecologists, educators and patient advocates alike…. here is a special edition of UnHysterectomy Radio, dedicated entirely to the subject of endometriosis, its painful symptoms and in particular, the possible connection to consuming wheat.

Is it possible that by eliminating something as seemingly harmless as wheat from their diet, women with endometriosis might actually improve or eliminate their painful symptoms?

My special guest is Dr. William Davis, cardiologist and author of Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight and Find Your Path Back to Health. (See transcript below)

Anectodally, Dr. Davis has seen significant improvements in his patients’ endometriosis pain when they gave up wheat.

He also recently blogged about a study on the connection here.

Stay tuned for a special episode of UnHysterectomy TV dedicated entirely to about endometriosis with my medical advisor and editor, Dr. Sony Singh. Dr. Singh is renowned for his expertise in removing deep, inflitrative endometriosis and I am so thankful to him for his support.

As you know, my mantra is education, education, education…so here you go, gals…Wheat and Endometriosis with Dr. William Davis. Please forward to any woman you know who may be suffering.

And remember gals, a portion of all proceeds from the sale of my book are being donated to the The Ottawa Hospital Foundation as a thank you for the wonderful care and mentorship given to me by Dr. Singh and his entire team.

Also, for more information on endometriosis, here are some useful links:

Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

The Endometriosis Network of Canada

Endometriosis.org

Endometriosis Association

Endometriosis Foundation of America

Here is a transcript of my interview with Dr. Davis…

Holly:              Hi, I’m Holly Bridges.  Welcome to UnHysterectomy Radio.

Coming up, a feature interview with Dr. William Davis, author of the New York Times number one bestselling book Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health.

But first, a little bit of information about my book, The UnHysterectomy, which started me on the journey towards creating this radio show in the first place.

Speaker 1:    Women around the world are devouring the controversial new book, The UnHysterectomy, a doctor-approved guide to solving your painful heavy periods without major surgery.  Whether you’re 25 or 45 The UnHysterectomy is a must-read for women who have simply had enough.

Speaker 2:    It literally goes through every pad, every tampon.  It goes through my legs and I get this huge cramp that I just need to bend over.

Speaker 1:    The UnHysterectomy reveals 10 medical and surgical options your doctor may never tell you about.  Dr. William Parker, one of thirteen medical and professional advisors to The UnHysterectomy:

Dr. Parker:     They were taught hysterectomy.  They haven’t really known anything different and not offered anything different.  The irresponsible part is they’re not telling them … the doctor doesn’t tell the patient this is available, this might be good for you, but I can’t do it, you need to see somebody else.

Speaker 1:    Written by journalist and patient Holly Bridges who lived the nightmare of monthly bloodbaths and underwent two high-tech surgeries to stop them, The UnHysterectomy was edited by renowned gynecologist Dr. Sony Singh.  Every word of The UnHysterectomy is 100% medically accurate and doctor-approved.

Dr. Singh:      Minimally invasive gynecology is my passion.  It’s what I love to do and the reason I’m so passionate about is that it offers a woman a quicker recovery.  There is less risk and the outcomes are fantastic.  To see a woman have a laparoscopic procedure and be home within a few hours with very little pain is amazing.

Speaker 2:    The UnHysterectomy is the only book of its kind in the world and contains insight and analysis from world-renowned gynecologists that you won’t find anywhere else.  You will also meet some patients.  Women who solved their painful heavy periods through high-tech state-of-the-art procedures your doctor may never tell you about; women with fibroids, endometriosis, and adenomyosis; women on the brink of collapse who ended their suffering just by making an informed choice.

Speaker 3:    So, The UnHysterectomy showed me that there were choices; that I didn’t have to have a surgery I didn’t want, that there were other ways to do things and other ways to take care of issues.

Speaker 1:    Order The UnHysterectomy right now at unhysterectomy.com and receive free shipping anywhere in North America plus $5.00 off using the Promo Code RELIEF.  Offer expires at midnight March 31.  Buy your copy right now at unhysterectomy.com and don’t forget to use Promo Code RELIEF to get $5.00 off the price of the book, and please hurry because this offer expires March 31, 2013.  Stop suffering and start living at unhysterectomy.com.

Holly:              Endometriosis is one of the most devastating, crippling diseases facing women in the world today.  Some 176 million women around the world suffer from this terrible disease.  When I first began my journey to research my book, The UnHysterectomy, I did all of the usual due diligence that any journalist would do.  I started researching.  I interviewed gynecologists, experts.  I even interviewed many patients who suffer from the disease.  But it wasn’t until after the book came out and I started to hear from the women who had endometriosis that I really started to comprehend the severity and the seriousness and the level of suffering that women with endometriosis go through.  Here in Canada where I live, it can take a woman sometimes up to seven, eight, nine, ten years to finally be diagnosed and then the nightmare begins of getting appropriate treatment.

Today on UnHysterectomy Radio a feature interview with Dr. William Davis.  He is a cardiologist from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and author of The New York Times number one bestselling book, Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health.

What got me interested in chatting with Dr. Davis about the link between endometriosis and wheat was a speech that I heard him give right here in Ottawa where I live.  At that time Dr. Davis outlined his theory and his scientific proof about why consuming wheat has such a devastating effect on our overall health but during that speech he hinted at a possible connection between wheat and endometriosis.  So I contacted him and I asked him if there in fact was a connection between consuming wheat and the symptoms of endometriosis.  Dr. Davis went about doing some research, he got back to me, and he agreed to an interview, and what you are about to hear is that conversation.

Dr. Davis, thank you so much for joining me today.  I really appreciate you giving me your time.

Dr. Davis:      Oh, it’s my pleasure Holly.

Holly:              Wheat Belly is probably the hottest book on the planet right now, the hottest non-fiction book on the planet, and when I heard you speak I was really taken with the possibility that so many of our health problems could be effected by wheat, and of course, as someone who suffered from heavy menstrual bleeding and fibroids, not endometriosis myself, I couldn’t help but wonder, perhaps, if there was a connection between eating wheat and conditions such as endometriosis.  So, that’s when I sent you the e-mail and you were kind enough to e-mail me back.  And not only that, you actually went ahead and did a little bit of research on the subject.  So before we get into what you found, a little bit of information that you found, I want to just get some baseline information for women who perhaps haven’t read Wheat Belly or perhaps haven’t been following you, although I can’t imagine that would be the case.  So perhaps you could just give me the elevator pitch or the Reader’s Digest version of what is it about wheat that we should be so concerned about.

Dr. Davis.      Sure Holly.  So wheat has been changed.  Agribusiness geneticists have been very busy changing a lot of crops.  They’ve connectively modified corn and soy.  They use different techniques to change our wheat and these are usually techniques that predate genetic modification.  They were in many instances extreme, bizarre, and often worse than the techniques of genetic modification.  So now we have this creation that they sell to us that is the 18 to 24 inch tall high-yield semi-dwarf strand of wheat that is now used to create virtually all bread, rolls, cookies, cakes, pizza, and pretzels.  All those things that now comprise 20% all human calories are not coming from the traditional form of wheat.  It is coming from the high-yield semi-dwarf strain, the concoction of genetic research.

Now, I didn’t appreciate … for many years I told patients eat healthy whole grains, play it healthy, whole grains.  But I didn’t appreciate how large the effect would be of removing it until I asked patients to remove it, I did that for blood sugar purposes, and I was astounded by the effects.  I didn’t see people just get better; I saw people’s lives and health transform.  I saw diabetics become non-diabetic.  I saw people with inflammatory, common inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, reduce their medication, often obtaining outright cure.  Ulcerative colitis much improved or outright cured.  I saw headaches, funny rashes, joint pain, a whole multitude of health conditions recede or actually disappear.  That’s when I started asking lots of questions about why it was happening in the first place.

Holly:              And we should mention that you are a cardiologist so, I mean, you have seen … you have made it your career to delve into people’s health problems, particularly their heart health.  Correct?

Dr. Davis:      Yes, and I did this for reasons of trying to gain control over risk for heart disease, exactly.  I did it for blood sugar reasons.  75-80% of all people who have risk for heart disease, or actually had heart disease such as had bypass surgery or had three stents or had a heart attack or survived sudden cardiac death, 75-80%, Holly, have diabetes or pre-diabetes at their time of diagnosis or when I meet them.  And so I wanted a better way to control their risk for heart disease, so I wanted to give them a better way to control their blood sugar to gain that better control over heart disease risk, and so because … no one tells you this; whole wheat and other wheat products, white bread, whole wheat bread, multigrain, all that stuff have among the highest glycemic indexes of all foods.  I’m shocked at this simple fact is overlooked.  It is in all tables of the glycemic index.  So I asked patients to remove all wheat to reduce blood sugar and they did.

That’s when I saw these transformations, including a dramatic reduction in the number one cause for heart attack and heart disease in Canada, in the US, which is an excess of small alveolar particles.  Small alveolar particles would drop to the floor with the elimination of wheat.  So it really did help this effort to try to control risk for heart disease.

Holly:              Absolutely.  Talk about a eureka moment, you must have just been absolutely in shock to know what you’d stumbled upon.

Dr. Davis:      Well, it happened in stages, Holly.  That is, the first few times, the first few dozen times, the first few hundred times that people came back and said, “I’ve lost 38 pounds and three inches off my waist.”  I was, “Well, that’s interesting.”  “I stopped two of my inhalers for asthma because it’s now completely gone.”  “My migraine headaches of 25 years stopped within five days.”  “My rheumatoid arthritis, my disfiguring arthritis, is so much better.”  “Six months now I’m off two drugs.  They’re talking about stopping this third drug.”

At first I dismissed it, believe it or not.  The first few dozen I thought it was just complete coincidence.  But then it kept on happening over and over, many, many times, hundreds, now thousands, now hundreds of thousands of times or more and there’s clearly no coincidence here.  This is a very, very clear-cut association and this thing we’re being sold called modern wheat is responsible for an astounding number of health problems.

Holly:              Now I know that a lot of people associate wheat with gluten and I know that it’s a real fad right now for people to adopt a gluten-free diet but from having heard you speak it’s not gluten that’s the problem, right?

Dr. Davis:      Gluten is a problem but it’s only one of the many tens of thousands of proteins in wheat so, unfortunately, if we regard wheat as nothing more than a vehicle for gluten we’re going … if we’re not gluten sensitive or don’t have celiac disease we might think something is stupid, like you can eat wheat and thereby the gluten.  That’s not true.  There’s other things in wheat that nobody can tolerate such as the gliadin.  Gliadin is an opiate and stimulates appetite.  It also causes peculiar mind defects depending on your susceptibility, so kids with ADHD and autism, for instance, will have behavioral outbursts.  People with other psychiatric illnesses can have paranoia or hear voices, believe it or not.  So there’s some things in wheat beyond the gluten.  Wheat germ or gluten, for instances, causes direct [inaudible 00:11:36] and it causes bowel urgency, acid reflux.  There’s things like amylopectin-a.  That’s the thing that’s responsible for sky high blood sugar after eating wheat.  So there’s many many other things in this thing, whole wheat, that have nothing to do with the gluten.

Holly:              Right, and I was watching the interview with Dr. Oz when you said, “Look, I’m not trying to reach the 1% that has celiac disease.  I’m trying to reach the 99% who don’t.”

Dr. Davis:      Exactly.  It’s everybody, Holly.  It’s not some small segment of the population.  It is 100% of all humans who should not be eating this creation of genetics research.

Holly:              Right, so let’s talk about the reason why I contacted you, endometriosis.  As a woman, as a patient advocate working to create awareness of unnecessary hysterectomies, we know that endometriosis is one of the leading reasons why women seek hysterectomy, perhaps out of sheer desperation more than anything else because they have suffered for so long.  I know that there isn’t a clear scientific connection yet between consuming wheat and endometriosis.  What can you tell us about that little bit of research that you did for your blog?  What have you discovered in the last couple of weeks that has kind of caused you to maybe take a step back and think a little bit about this disease that affects 176 million women worldwide?

Dr. Davis:      Yeah, big problem but it’s really not on my radar that much, to be honest Holly, because I’m a cardiologist and I do see this world from the viewpoint of metabolism and blood sugar and all the things that circle around heart disease and metabolic health.  But because I do so much of this, I hear from so many people, I talk to so many people worldwide who have gone wheat-free that I’ve had a number of women come to me and say, “You know what?  I did this because I wanted to lose a couple of inches off my waist but low and behold my joint pain is down, my rash is gone, and the endometriosis pain I’ve had for eight years that was sometimes incapacitating disappeared within a week.”  So I heard that and I couldn’t conceive of why there’d be a connection and, by the way, there had been a number of unique connections.  I never thought, for instance, to relate wheat consumption with plantar fasciitis, for instance, but that seems to be relieved in a good number of people; and likewise endometriosis.  People literally were telling me that their endometriosis had disappeared.

So, doing a literature search, as you point it, takes all of five minutes because there’s really only been one study that has very recently been published, just in the past year, that relates the elimination of wheat or gluten with relief from endometriosis.  This relatively modest study showed that 75% of women experienced some degree, maybe not a cure; it wasn’t 100%, but 75% of women reported subjective improvement in symptoms of endometriosis.

Holly:              And I want to thank you for doing that search and bringing that to light because probably the majority of women that I hear from suffer from endometriosis and aside from the treatment options and the attention that they’re getting from their gynecologist, women are really desperate to try anything and I really don’t see any risk to giving up gluten, to give it a try, right, or to give up wheat?

Dr. Davis:      That’s a crucial crucial point, Holly.  So we’re not talking about exploratory laparotomy.  We’re not talking about a laparoscopic procedure.  We’re not talking about manipulation of hormones that have all kinds of unforeseen long-term consequences.  We’re not talking about drugs with three pages of side-effects.  We’re talking about a shift in food choices and one that actually yields a whole array of health benefits above and beyond, and relief from endometriosis.  So we’re talking about a harmless inexpensive thing you can do on your own.  So even if it only provided, let’s say, 30% of women with partial relief, I think it’s still worthy for a lot of women who are exploring, who are experiencing endometriosis and having to deal with this pain, but insufficient answers from other directions.

Holly:              I think that is so true and I am really glad that you said that and I’m glad that we’re talking about the fact that it … this option doesn’t carry with it the types of risks that you just described because I was reading a reaction to your blog on your website and some women were sort of fighting back and describing what kind of condition endometriosis is and how can it be that wheat would have an impact, and there will be those people out there who will doubt this initial study and will doubt the connection between endometriosis and food choices.  But again, I get to my point that isn’t it worth the try?

Dr. Davis:      It’s absolutely worth a try because, like we talked about, so many other medicines … it’s kind of like schizophrenia.  Of course, schizophrenia is a different condition than endometriosis, but schizophrenia is a very serious condition.  It can ruin people’s lives.  If you take wheat out of the diet in most schizophrenics there is an improvement.  They have better behavior.  They have better engagement in social activities.  They have less paranoia.  They have less hallucination and hearing voices.  So they’re not cured, they’re just better.

Holly:              Right.

Dr. Davis:      They can be dramatically better, which given the severity of the awful nature of the drugs used to treat schizophrenia, if we had a simple nutritional, though partial solution for at least some people, as you say, “Why not?”

Holly:              Right.  I think that’s just fabulous and I hope that we’ve given women at least something to thing about and that’s my whole agenda is make an informed choices about what you do with your body, taking in all the information that’s available at your disposal.  So thanks so much for talking about endometriosis today and there’s one more thing that I want to talk to you about because I would rarely get a cardiologist to take the time to speak with me like you have today, and I just want to squeeze in a couple of last questions to you about anemia.

Dr. Davis:      Sure.

Holly:              Okay?  A lot of women who contact me, a lot of women who suffer from heavy menstrual bleeding, myself included before I hit menopause.  We suffer from anemia and I remember before I chose to have a hysterectomy, although I didn’t go through with it, which is what my book is about, I was told that if I kept bleeding the way I was bleeding I could have a heart attack.  I was really confused about that because I didn’t realize how life threatening anemia can be.  Can you talk a little bit about for me about what anemia is and how women can know when it’s time to seek help?

Dr. Davis:      So you’re talking about iron deficiency anemia, in this case from blood loss.  By the way, there’s no relationship between heart attack and blood loss so I think you were steered wrong on that one by your doctor.

Holly:              Oh, okay.

Dr. Davis:      But that doesn’t mean that anemia is not important, in this case the iron deficiency form.  So women menstruate, of course, and some more than others and lose a lot of iron in the blood and so they have this constant challenge to try to take that loss of iron.  That’s why most women have to take iron during their menstruating years.  But of course there is something fundamentally wrong.  Why do women have, as you … like your listeners know.  We’re only just trying to understand a lot of the disruptions of menstrual health, women’s health, endocrine health, that many of us are experiencing.  A lot of these things are not entirely new, they’re just worse.  So what’s going on?  Are these exposures to xenoestrogens  Is this exposure to such things as BPA and other components of other organic integrals?  I fear we live in a world where a lot of these chemicals that were produced … even DDT was thought to be benign and, of course, it’s not.  Chemicals like BPA, polybrominated diphenyl ethers; these are common household chemicals that we are all exposed to.

Recent study, question asked, how many people are exposed to and had measurable quantities of acids, a very potent endocrine disrupter.  100% of all people tested positive.

Holly:              Oh my God.

Dr. Davis:      In other words, we have incredible potential for endocrine disruption.  Perhaps it shows up as hypothyroidism; losing hair, being in constant pain, being cold.  Maybe it shows as disruption of menstrual cycles and excessive bleeding.  Maybe it shows up as pituitary.  Maybe it shows up as an adrenal issue.  So we live in this world where we’re being exposed continuously to all these organic chemicals and we’re only beginning to understand what to do about this mess.

Holly:              I know.  It’s so interesting to contemplate the world that we’re living in right now.  I mean, in my parent’s day everything was pretty much “organic” because there wasn’t the kind of manipulation of foods that is taking place today and even though things were so much more labor intensive back then I think there is a yearning nowadays among the public to get back to that.  But the means of production are so expensive for that, that’s the problem.

Dr. Davis:      Absolutely.  So Wheat Belly is part of a much broader conversation, as you’re pointing out.  It’s a return to the natural way.  It’s a return to being as close to the source of your food as possible.  It’s trying to get rid of all these chemicals we’re exposed to that could be in anything, it’s your veggies, it’s your produce because there’s synthetic fertilizers in there, so in many ways it’s a return to a more, the old world, the more natural ways.  Now this is going to take us 50 years or longer to sort through.  It’s not going to happen by next Tuesday.  It’s a long and complex process we’re going to go through to get rid of these things.

Holly:              Right.  So it’s been so enlightening chatting with you.  One last closing thought; what would be your closing thought given to women who are suffering from heavy menstrual bleeding, who are suffering from endometriosis, who are suffering from the symptoms of perhaps wheat belly as you describe in your book, anemia.  What would be your closing thought given the context of everything we’ve talked about?

Dr. Davis:      The only downside, Holly, of going wheat-free is the initial three to five withdrawal process because there’s an opiate, an opiate just like heroin, a little weaker, in wheat called gliadin.  When you stop consuming it in the form of bagels, rolls, and bread about 40% of people will go through withdrawal.  Now it means that if you’re suffering a bout of your endometriosis or you have a lot of symptoms you may be worse, you may have … you won’t have worsening symptoms of endometriosis but you will have more headache and fatigue and depression and nausea during those several days while you’re experiencing withdrawal because it’s a withdraw from opiate.  Thankfully everyone survives.  It might not be fun but everyone survives and you get to the other side feeling better.  You might have at least partial, and occasionally substantial, improvement in the symptoms of endometriosis in addition to all the other things that can happen.

Holly:              I think we’re going to be chatting again, at least I hope we will, and we should certainly watch the medical literature coming out and I thank you for raising the awareness in your book and certainly through your book.  Dr. William Davis is the author of The New York Times bestselling book Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health.  I thank you so much for taking the time, Dr. Davis.  You’re a world renowned expert and to give me your time is a blessing.  Thank you so very much.

Dr. Davis:      Well, thank you Holly.

Holly:              That’s it for UnHysterectomy Radio today.  I’m Holly Bridges.  Thank you very much for joining me.  If you have any comments or questions about today’s podcast or maybe some ideas for future shows, please drop me a line at unhysterectomy.com.  I’d love to hear from you and also take your ideas for future programs.  Don’t forget, if you purchase a copy of my book, The UnHysterectomy, by March 31 using the Promo Code RELIEF, you will get free shipping anywhere in North America plus $5.00 off and I should mention that the Second Edition of The UnHysterectomy, which has just come out, has an expanded chapter just on endometriosis including an open letter to women from Dr. Sony Singh.  He is my gynecologist and he is also the medical editor for UnHysterectomy and my medical advisor, so I strongly encourage you to read that and take what you can from his messages to empower yourself so that you can make the best possible choices over your health.

Thanks very much and we will see you next time.

 

 

 

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Heavy periods and Alfred Hitchock’s “Psycho” … huh? http://unhysterectomy.com/heavy-periods-and-alfred-hitchocks-psycho-huh/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=heavy-periods-and-alfred-hitchocks-psycho-huh http://unhysterectomy.com/heavy-periods-and-alfred-hitchocks-psycho-huh/#comments Sun, 03 Mar 2013 15:39:46 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8153 I found myself in the unusual position Friday night of having the main floor of the house all to myself for a few hours and after a long, hard week I decided to kick back and watch a movie. “Hitchcock” is out on demand so I rented it, only having seen the trailer. Anything with [...]

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I found myself in the unusual position Friday night of having the main floor of the house all to myself for a few hours and after a long, hard week I decided to kick back and watch a movie.

“Hitchcock” is out on demand so I rented it, only having seen the trailer. Anything with Anthony Hopkins (minus the Silence of Lambs franchise, thank you very much) is worth it for me. Add Helen Mirren, 60s styling et voila … the perfect way to spend a few hours planted on the couch.

The movie is about 60s director Alfred Hitchcock’s battle with Paramount Pictures to a) make his iconic horror film “Psycho” and b) to convince the almighty censors to let him show Janet Leigh “naked” in the shower, and God forbid, have a shot of a gasp “toilet” in the shower scene.

Sort of like “Lincoln” except without slavery.

The studio was concerned about backing a movie the likes of which had never been made before…a well-endowed, sexy woman (Janet Leigh), naked in the shower, getting stabbed to death by a “psycho” who was dressed like his dead mother. My 17-year-old daughter simply cannot comprehend a time when a man dressed in a wig slicing through a shower curtain was offensive (what does that say about the lives we live in).

Anyway, obviously Hitchcock won and the film went on to scare generations of filmgoers and still ranks as one of the greatest horror films of all time. (In the movie by the way, Hitchcock claimed he did not want any music over the shower scene…can you imagine that scene without it?). Anyway I digress.

The reason I write about all of this today is Hitchcock’s battle with the censors reminds me of my youth, growing up in the suburbs of Toronto in the 1960s, when censors ruled the roost, at least when it came to what we watched on TV.

Watching “Psycho” reminded me of three other things that were censored in the 1960s:

  • The Ed Sullivan Show refused to show Elvis from the waist down for fear that young girls would be corrupted by his gyrating hips (trust me, they wouldn’t have been looking at his hips).
  • TV couples could only be seen sleeping in separate beds. (How did Bewitched get pregnant with Tabatha if she and Darren were kept apart that way? Perhaps a little afternoon delight on the stairwell?)
  • Commercials for Kotex pads could only be shown after 11 p.m. at night. And I believe that continued well into the 70s, maybe even the 80s.

I remember the time when they started showing tampon and pad commercials in prime time and thought we’d really gotten somewhere! Finally, something as normal as menstruation was being acknowledged by TV executives. But wait, there’s more!

It’s about those beakers filled with blue water that get me. Why can’t they at least use red dye? Would it kill the companies, or the censors, to show our periods the way they really are? Or at least by using the right colour! Oooh, maybe that’s just too risqué … women might actually come to realize their periods are red instead of blue! I’ll tell you if my pads filled up with blue blood instead of read, then I’d finally have a reason for why I spend too much!

Anyway, even though we live in much more liberal times, we have a long way to go before society fully accepts that women bleed every month. There’s still so much shame around menstruation, isn’t there?

I call it the “shush” factor”.

In trying to promote my book, The UnHysterectomy, I have experienced the “shush” factor in the following ways:

  • After pitching the idea of a Maritime-wide radio phone-in show on high tech treatments for heavy periods, such as the show I did in Ontario here, (it ended up being the second-highest rated radio show on the network that week), the producer said “I don’t really think that’s the kind of thing that would go over well at lunchtime.”
  • A wonderful radio interviewer, Shelley MacLean, from Ottawa where I live was gracious enough to interview me about the book, but the piece got buried at 5 a.m.
  • I took out some local advertising on our local radio station that has a very high listenership of women my age (54) so I thought “great, finally an audience I can be honest with and tell my story.”  The station executives refused to let me use the word “period” in the ad copy. When I changed the wording to “heavy flow” they still refused. When I refused to pull my ads and my money, suddenly it was OK!.
  • When I called our number one TV news show in Ottawa to pitch a segment about my book, the anchor on the other end said, “Oh, uh, is that the book about ‘menstruation’.

YES, IT IS PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The UnHysterectomy is about:

  • HEAVY PERIODS
  • BLOOD CLOTS THE SIZE OF CHICKEN FINGERS
  • LEAKING BLOOD INTO YOUR SHOES
  • RUINING YOUR CAR UPHOLSTERY
  • COLLAPSING IN THE SHOWER FROM ANEMIA
  • GETTING RUSHED TO HOSPITAL FOR AN EMERGENCY BLOOD TRANSFUSION

For God’s sake people, let’s get real. Women bleed. It’s what we do. And sometimes, yes, sometimes, we bleed A LOT. Like A LOT. LIKE A RIVER. It may not be breast cancer or depression, but it’s enough to ruin our lives and put us at risk from dying from a heart attack every month from so much lost blood.

Over the past year, I have run marathons trying to convince the mainstream media in this country to do stories on high tech alternatives to hysterectomy, to show the work of gynecologists such as Dr. Singh in their high tech operating rooms, to interview the women who came this close to having hysterectomies, only to discover they didn’t need to, but no one told them otherwise.

The censors of 2013 may be a tad more liberal than they were in the 1960s about what can and can’t appear in the media, but those of us trying to push for change and banish the “shush factor” over menstruation, still have one very powerful gatekeeper to get past.

The media.

Got a comment? Suggestion? Please let me know in the comments section below.

 

 

 

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Trending now: Let’s convince Oprah to do a show about heavy periods! http://unhysterectomy.com/trending-now-lets-convince-oprah-to-do-a-show-about-heavy-periods/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=trending-now-lets-convince-oprah-to-do-a-show-about-heavy-periods http://unhysterectomy.com/trending-now-lets-convince-oprah-to-do-a-show-about-heavy-periods/#comments Sat, 02 Mar 2013 15:49:52 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8150 Gals, let’s start a trend to get Oprah to hear our pleas, to understand our suffering, to be the brave one who tackles menstruation on prime time TV. She is the high priestess of understanding, compassion and media! Please follow me on Twitter www.twitter.com/unhysterectomy and start re-tweeting all of my tweets that have to do with [...]

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Gals, let’s start a trend to get Oprah to hear our pleas, to understand our suffering, to be the brave one who tackles menstruation on prime time TV. She is the high priestess of understanding, compassion and media!

Please follow me on Twitter www.twitter.com/unhysterectomy and start re-tweeting all of my tweets that have to do with Oprah.

Also, send her your own tweets @Oprah.

She’s coming to Ottawa, where I live, on April 10 so how great would it be to get the ball rolling then!

Let’s do this thang!!!!

 

 

 

 

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Lung cancer, heart disease and removing your ovaries: what you need to know http://unhysterectomy.com/lung-cancer-heart-disease-and-removing-your-ovaries-what-you-need-to-know/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=lung-cancer-heart-disease-and-removing-your-ovaries-what-you-need-to-know http://unhysterectomy.com/lung-cancer-heart-disease-and-removing-your-ovaries-what-you-need-to-know/#comments Fri, 01 Mar 2013 01:47:49 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8057 This is the last day of Heart Month in Canada (where I live) so I want to take this opportunity to give a very important shout out to one of my medical advisors, Dr. William Parker, who has done some ground-breaking research in the area of heart disease and ovary removal. More on that in [...]

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This is the last day of Heart Month in Canada (where I live) so I want to take this opportunity to give a very important shout out to one of my medical advisors, Dr. William Parker, who has done some ground-breaking research in the area of heart disease and ovary removal.

More on that in a second. First some basic background.

Of all gynecological cancers, ovarian cancer is the deadliest. The American Cancer Society predicted there would be approximately 22,280 new cases of ovarian cancer in 2012 in the US and about 15,500 deaths from the disease.

Ovarian cancer can be hard to detect, because the symptoms are not that obvious and are often missed. There is no screening test to detect it, but if found early, ovarian cancer has a survival rate of 90 percent.

So what does this have to do with hysterectomy?

According to Dr. Parker, almost half of all hysterectomies in the US involve the elective removal of women’s ovaries.  That means half of the 650,000 women undergoing hysterectomy actively choose to remove their ovaries, or are encouraged to do so by their gynecologists, despite the absence of disease. The fancy term is a prophylactic oophorectomy.

While that may not sound like a big deal for those who ascribe to the “since you’re in there anyway you may as well remove them to prevent ovarian cancer” school of thought, it is a big deal.

While ovary removal is certainly understandable for women who have ovarian cancer or who are at high risk because they have a family history of the disease or they carry the breast cancer gene (BRCA), most women who undergo oophorectomies are not at increased risk. Their ovaries are removed “just in case.”

So what’s the big deal?

The big deal is, Dr. Parker and other scientists, including Dr. Jonathan Berek (Professor and Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Stanford University School of Medicine and another one of my medical advisors), have discovered a link between ovary removal and an increased risk of other, more deadly diseases.

“What we found is the women who had hysterectomies and took their ovaries out had a higher risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer for reasons we don’t biologically understand,” Dr. Parker told me during one of our interviews for my book, The UnHysterectomy.

“Heart disease kills 30 times more women in the United States every year than does ovarian cancer,” Dr. Parker went on to say.  “Don’t get me wrong … ovarian cancer is a terrible disease.  I don’t mean to discount it in any way.  It’s scary, hard to detect early on.  Once you get it it’s hard to take care of you.  It’s horrible.  I don’t mean to make light of that but you’re 30 times more likely to die of a heart attack than ovarian cancer.”

In 2009, Dr. Berek, Dr. Parker and several colleagues published a landmark study that found that removing a woman’s ovaries might increase her risk of developing heart disease, lung cancer and other serious conditions.

The study examined 29,380 women, 16,345 of whom had both ovaries removed during hysterectomy and 13,035 who retained their ovaries during hysterectomy. Researchers evaluated the disease and death rates among those women from heart disease, stroke, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, all cancers, hip fracture, pulmonary embolus (obstruction of the arteries in the lungs, often caused by blood clots) and death from all causes.

What they found is that removing ovaries in women at average risk of ovarian cancer did not reduce death rates overall, but rather led to a higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease and coronary artery disease, particularly in premenopausal women. Researchers also discovered that among women who had their ovaries removed, there was a 30 percent increase in deaths from lung cancer.

As well, in 2009, Dr. Anita Koushik, a researcher at the Université de Montréal’s Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, found that women who experienced non-natural menopause through ovary removal are at almost twice the risk of developing lung cancer as women who experienced natural menopause.

Ultimately, what researchers have discovered is that our ovaries continue to emit small amounts of hormones that protect our vital organs long after menopause.

So on this last day of Heart Month, gals, I want you to consider this:

If we know that:

  • hysterectomy is the most common major surgery performed on Canadian and American women, second to C-sections
  • half of all hysterectomies involve the elective removal of our ovaries
  • our ovaries continue to emit hormones that protect our hearts and lungs even after menopause
  • that surgically removing our ovaries increases our risk of heart disease and lung cancer
  • that heart disease and stroke are the leading cause of death in Canadian women and
  • that lung cancer is the leading cancer killer among women…

Is it possible we could lower deaths from heart disease and lung cancer by reducing unnecessary ovary removal?

I am no scientist, but I can’t help but wonder if there is.

All the more reason, gals, to do your homework and discuss your risk factors for developing ovarian cancer. If the risks of retaining your ovaries outweigh the benefits, then of course, it’s a no-brainer, but not every woman carries the ovarian cancer gene.

A last important fact to consider

While ovary removal is certainly understandable for women who have ovarian cancer or who are at high risk because they have a family history of the disease or they carry the breast cancer gene (BRCA), most women who undergo oophorectomies are not at increased risk. It ends up being a personal choice, and one which women should base on sound research and consultation with their health care provider.  But it should be an informed choice.

I have an entire chapter on ovary removal in my book, which goes into far greater detail about these studies and the pros and cons of retaining your ovaries. It’s on sale now right here.

Got a comment? Please share your thoughts below.

About Dr. Parker

Dr. Parker is a board-certified Fellow in the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, has a private practice in Santa Monica, California and is a Clinical Professor at the UCLA School of Medicine.

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Heavy Periods are Back for Heather – She Needs Our Help…Again! http://unhysterectomy.com/heavy-periods-are-back-for-heather-she-needs-our-help-again/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=heavy-periods-are-back-for-heather-she-needs-our-help-again http://unhysterectomy.com/heavy-periods-are-back-for-heather-she-needs-our-help-again/#comments Thu, 28 Feb 2013 16:00:28 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=8034 If anyone ever says that heavy periods are normal they’ve never met Heather. Remember I wrote about Heather a few months back and her battle with months-long heavy periods that lasted six months?  What a nightmare. Heather had been bleeding with no specific diagnosis, so when her gynecologist suggested a dilation and curettage, she agreed. Anything [...]

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If anyone ever says that heavy periods are normal they’ve never met Heather.

Remember I wrote about Heather a few months back and her battle with months-long heavy periods that lasted six months?  What a nightmare.

Heather had been bleeding with no specific diagnosis, so when her gynecologist suggested a dilation and curettage, she agreed. Anything to get the bleeding under control, right?

As I discuss in Chapter 12 of the second edition of my book, The UnHysterectomy, which is on sale now, dilation and curettage (D&C) involves gently opening the cervix with graduated dilators. Next, a curette, which is a bit like a spoon, is used to scrape the lining of the uterus in a clockwise fashion. This procedure may also be performed to obtain a tissue sample for biopsy in cases of suspected cancer. D&Cs are also performed to help stop bleeding from the uterus.

(My medical editor, Dr. Sony Singh, MD, Ob-Gyn, shares his opinion of D&C in Chapter 12 and explains the risks and benefits).

I recently heard from Heather after reading an update on her blog that her bleeding has returned with a vengeance. I wanted to cry as I read her words.  This girl needs help and she needs it now!

“Do you know what this has done to me? I can’t even have a life. Can you even begin to fathom it? I get so mad when I hear women complain about their once a month periods…‘Oh! Once a month I’m bloated, moody and bleed for seven days! I won’t let my husband touch me! It’s so terrible! POOR ME!!!’

“Oh, really? You think that makes you hard-core? You think THAT’S terrible? Do you know what I would do for a normal cycle? TRY BLEEDING HEAVILY FOR SIX STRAIGHT MONTHS!!! Take your measly seven days, multiply your symptoms by like – a zillion – then add on some constant labor pains, anemia, dehydration, chronic fatigue and – oh! Try to hold down a full-time job at a hospital while you’re at it!”

We understand, Heather, we’re with you. If it helps to know others care, we do.

I think it’s time for you to kick things up a notch. Remember, gals, women are getting the short end of the stick when it comes to:

  • Getting their doctors to take their heavy periods and heavy bleeding seriously
  • Finding a doctor who is up on the latest diagnoses and treatment options
  • Finding a gynecologist who specializes in treating women like Heather all day every day
  • Getting an early and appropriate diagnosis

Heather, if I were you, here’s what I would do:

  • Visit the AAGL Physician Finder IMMEDIATELY to find a gynecologist in your area who specializes in minimally invasive gynecology options.
  • Accept nothing less than an immediate referral or appointment with a gynecologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of menstrual disorders.
  • Once you find one you like, contact their office and insist on getting an appointment IMMEDIATELY.
  • Insist on getting an MRI, ultrasound and blood work for anemia to get things started so when you see the second doctor you will have had some initial diagnostics.
  • Once you find one, prepare a 30-second elevator pitch to explain your suffering and insist on getting in IMMEDIATELY. This has gone on long enough.
  • Check out My Flow Chart on my site, fill it in and take it to your gynecologist to give him or her an instant snapshot of your situation.
  • Read my book and take a copy with you to the doctor’s office. Many women are doing this and it seems to work! Some even flip open the page to the procedure they want. It’s sort of like shopping!

Heather, you deserve better. Your body deserves better. And if you think you might want to have children someday, your uterus deserves better!

I know you’re probably tempted to throw in the towel, and no one would ever blame or judge you.  Many women opt for hysterectomy because they’re so desperate for relief.

But if you can hang in long enough to get some relief, maybe ask your gynecologist about treatments that will buy you some time such as hormone therapy, the Mirena IUD or even the Pill, then you can make the choice with a clear mind.

Just so you can give your body and your soul a break.

Whatever you decide to do, the choice is yours, not your doctor’s. It’s your body and you have the right to decide what to do with it. Only you will know when you’ve had enough.

What do you say, gals, can we rally around Heather and give her some support?We’re here for you, girl.

Show your support in the comments.

 

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“Thank you Holly for making women know that they do, and should, have options” http://unhysterectomy.com/thank-you-holly-for-making-women-that-they-do-and-should-have-options/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=thank-you-holly-for-making-women-that-they-do-and-should-have-options http://unhysterectomy.com/thank-you-holly-for-making-women-that-they-do-and-should-have-options/#comments Thu, 21 Feb 2013 00:56:40 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=7744 Gals, I just have to share this post I received on Facebook today from my virtual friend, Lori. Lori has been communicating through my Facebook page since the first edition of my book came out a year ago. Like me, she suffered terribly from uterine fibroids and searched endlessly to find a doctor who could [...]

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Gals, I just have to share this post I received on Facebook today from my virtual friend, Lori.

Lori has been communicating through my Facebook page since the first edition of my book came out a year ago.

Like me, she suffered terribly from uterine fibroids and searched endlessly to find a doctor who could help her without a hysterectomy.

Now that the second edition of my book is out, Lori dropped me a line to congratulate me.  It touched me so much I just have to share…

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

“Congratulations Holly on your book and all of the important advocacy work you’re doing on behalf of women’s uterine health.

When I was suffering from fibroids, I had to navigate the system without support.

In fact, every doctor I met with in Toronto treated me like I was ‘crazy’ when I presented literature that clearly showed viable alternatives to having a radical hysterectomy. I wanted someone who would agree to perform a myomectomy.

The only doctors I could find who agreed with this quest were in the U.S. – Dr. William Parker in California and Dr. Ernst Bartsich in New York City.

Thank goodness for these docs. Their work in supporting viable alternatives to a hysterectomy gave me the courage and conviction I needed to soldier on and find a Toronto doc who would support me. I finally found one. Dr Grace Liu at Sunnybrook – a very special woman.

She agreed to remove what turned out to be 55 fibroids – leaving my uterus and ovaries intact.

It CAN be done. Even in a woman my age (53).

Doctors will tell you otherwise because they either don’t have the skill set or training. Or they don’t feel that it’s a cost-effective use of their time.

Again- thank you Holly for making women aware of the fact that they do and should have options.

I wish your book was available to me three years ago.

It’s important work that will benefit women greatly.”

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Gals, it’s notes that like that that keep me going even on my darkest days, like the one I had today.

After the story broke yesterday about the Columbia University study showing a rise in robotic hysterectomies with no real benefit to women over laparoscopic hysterectomies, I tried to pitch a follow-up story to all of our national media here in Canada and the Associated Press in New York City who carried the story last night.

All I got was a big, fat nada. The square root of nothing.

When will the mainstream media start paying attention to heavy periods and hysterectomy?

What will it take?

No one was talking about breast cancer in the 1970s until journalist Rose Kushner wrote about her diagnosis of breast cancer in her book “Why Me. What Every Woman Needs To Know About Breast Cancer To Save Her Life.”  That book started an entire movement towards eliminating “one-step” mastectomies i.e. ones that were performed without a woman’s knowledge while she was under anesthetic.  Through Kushner’s book, a whole new national consciousness was born and then came the pink ribbon campaign.

Look where the pink ribbon campaign is today! It’s a billion dollar industry!

I’m having a bad day gals, feeling discouraged I think, that we’re out there on an island all alone, bleeding and cramping and crying to death and no one’s coming to find us because they don’t even know we’re there.

As Scarlett O’Hara said, “tomorrow is another day.”

Thanks Lori so much for your words on Facebook. They’ll keep me going ’til tomorrow and the days after that.

PS, Dr. William Parker appears in The UnHysterectomy; in fact, the second edition of my book features an expanded interview with this very progressive obgyn.

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Are women being duped into having robotic hysterectomies? New study reveals costlier robotics have little benefit http://unhysterectomy.com/are-women-being-duped-into-having-robotic-hysterectomies-new-study-reveals-costlier-robotics-have-little-benefit/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=are-women-being-duped-into-having-robotic-hysterectomies-new-study-reveals-costlier-robotics-have-little-benefit http://unhysterectomy.com/are-women-being-duped-into-having-robotic-hysterectomies-new-study-reveals-costlier-robotics-have-little-benefit/#comments Wed, 20 Feb 2013 01:22:14 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=7728 A new study released today in the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals robotic hysterectomies are no better for women than laparoscopic, or keyhole, hysterectomies, yet cost at least $2,000 more. Every year, 700,000 North American women undergo hysterectomy, mostly for heavy periods caused by conditions such as fibroids and endometriosis. The study, Robotically Assisted [...]

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A new study released today in the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals robotic hysterectomies are no better for women than laparoscopic, or keyhole, hysterectomies, yet cost at least $2,000 more.

Every year, 700,000 North American women undergo hysterectomy, mostly for heavy periods caused by conditions such as fibroids and endometriosis.

The study, Robotically Assisted vs Laparoscopic Hysterectomy Among Women With Benign Gynecologic Disease, was conducted by researchers at Columbia University.

The researchers tracked 264,758 women over a three-year period, who underwent hysterectomy for benign gynecologic disorders at 441 hospitals across the United States from 2007 to 2010.

Their aim was to analyze robotically-assisted hysterectomy, determine the association between the use of robotic surgery and rates of abdominal and laparoscopic hysterectomy, and to compare the in-house complications of robotically-assisted hysterectomy vs. abdominal and laparoscopic procedures.

The results are thought-provoking to say the least.

It appears marketing not medicine is at play.

“Between 2007 and 2010, the use of robotically-assisted hysterectomy for benign gynecologic disorders increased substantially,” says the study. “Robotically-assisted and laparoscopic hysterectomy had similar morbidity [disease] profiles, but the use of robotic technology resulted in substantially more costs.”

Almost as soon as the study hit the news, experts started weighing in, including Dr Jason Wright, one of the study’s authors.

“There was really no difference in the complication rates and the outcomes between women who had a laparoscopic compared to a robotic hysterectomy,” Dr. Wright told USA Today. “On average, the cost of a robotic hysterectomy was $2200.00 greater than laparoscopic hysterectomy.”

Today’s study offers a glimpse into a disturbing trend in medicine – robotics are sexy.

Women and their gynecologists are being seduced by robotics and led to believe somehow that a robotic hysterectomy is somehow less harmful than a laparoscopic, vaginal or abdominal hysterectomy. Robotics do have their place in medicine and I can see their benefit in some cases, particularly for the surgeon.

But make no mistake, a hysterectomy is still a hysterectomy and comes with its own set of risks and benefits, just as other major surgery does.  Hysterectomy is still major surgery whether a surgeon’s hands removes the uterus or a robot. Surgery is surgery.

In light of today’s study, it is even more important for women to do their homework, research their treatment options, find out which type of surgery their gynecologist performs, ask about alternatives and most importantly, understand what they’re signing up for.

“Getting a laparoscopic hysterectomy is really not that different than getting a robotic hysterectomy,”  another of the study’s authors, Dr. Dawn Hershman, told USA Today.

As I describe in my book, The UnHysterectomy: Solving Your Painful, Heavy Bleeding Without Major Surgery, with the da Vinci robot, between four and six laparoscopes are inserted into the area of the body requiring the surgery; in the case of hysterectomy, it’s the upper and lower abdomen.

The surgeon sits at the computer console watching a monitor that projects a live 3-D picture coming from the scopes inside the patient. Using maneuverable handles, the surgeon tells the robot what to do.

The da Vinci is said to be better than traditional surgery because it

  • Reduces physician fatigue
  • Requires a smaller surgical team in the operating room
  • Requires smaller incisions
  • Gives surgeons a more magnified, 3-D view
  • Allows for more minute, precise movements
  • Carries a lower risk of infection
  • Allows faster recovery

The daVinci surgical system was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2000 for urology, general laparoscopy, gynecology, and cardiology in adults and children;

Da Vinci robots are the most widely marketed and studied surgical robots in the world.

As of December 2011 there were 2,132 da Vinci Systems in more than 1,718 hospitals worldwide.

The UnHysterectomy: Solving Your Painful, Heavy Bleeding Without Major Surgery is also available in Kindle format through Amazon.com.

Photo: da Vinci

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Blow Me Cool – Would you use a hot flash gadget named “Blow Me Cool”? http://unhysterectomy.com/blow-me-cool-would-you-use-a-hot-flash-gadget-named-blow-me-cool/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=blow-me-cool-would-you-use-a-hot-flash-gadget-named-blow-me-cool http://unhysterectomy.com/blow-me-cool-would-you-use-a-hot-flash-gadget-named-blow-me-cool/#comments Tue, 19 Feb 2013 01:03:36 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=7711 My teenage daughters and I set out for a nice Family Day breakfast today and just as we were heading out the door, my eldest quipped, “You’re not taking that with you are you?” referring to the little orange device I had tried squirrelling away in my coat pocket without them noticing.“Actually I am,” I [...]

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My teenage daughters and I set out for a nice Family Day breakfast today and just as we were heading out the door, my eldest quipped, “You’re not taking that with you are you?” referring to the little orange device I had tried squirrelling away in my coat pocket without them noticing.“Actually I am,” I quipped back. “I’m not finished testing it out yet.”

What I was referring to is my Blow Me Cool mini fan. An inventor in Ottawa where I live sent me one a few weeks ago, asking if women who experience heavy periods might also experience hot flashes, and if so, would I be willing to try one out.“Of course,” I said. “Anything aimed at reducing hot flashes, especially for women who are also experiencing heavy periods, is worth a try.”And the two can go hand in hand.

According to Harvard Medical School’s Perimenopause: Rocky road to menopause

“Perimenopause varies greatly from one woman to the next…some women feel buffeted by hot flashes and wiped out by heavy periods; many have no bothersome symptoms.”

Well, I can tell you from personal experience that I endured both during the latter part of perimenopause.  And it was hell.  One minute I was crying because the flashes were coming at an unbearable pace every 15 minutes, and another I was doing the Hans Brinker thing, sifting through my handbag for another super plus tampon.

The Blow Me Cool mini fan promises women “elegant, discreet relief” from hot flashes because:

  • It’s small
  • It’s quiet
  • It’s rechargeable
  • It can be tucked into your bra or worn around your neck on a chain or string
  • And it blows cool air from 18” away

So what’s not to love, right?

Actually, Blow Me Cool did give me some relief but only when I took it out of my bra and waved it directly over my face and neck; but if you think about it, I could get the same relief by buying a 99-cent mini fan at the local dollar store. It was nice knowing I could reach for it if and when I needed it, but again, I found it difficult taking it out and putting it back in every time I felt a flash coming on.

And as for the sound, well, it’s not as quiet as the inventor suggests. I mean if I was sitting around a board room table with a fairly small crowd, this thing would be turning heads for sure!

‘Thar she blows! This thing is noisy for my money, although I do remember back two summers ago when I was flashing every 15 minutes; I might not have cared about the noise if it brought me some measure of relief.

But you know, I have to commend the inventor for trying. I think he may be onto something if he:

  • Strengthens the motor to make a much stronger air flow;
  • Softens the sound so it’s almost silent;
  • Streamlines the design into a lipstick size, silicone device vs. the cheap plastic material it’s made from now;
  • Changes the colour from orange to something more feminine, and finally;
  • Change the name!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!

I’m sorry but any product that has the words “blow me” attached to it just isn’t going to go over well with women.

At any rate, I really wish the company luck with its product and if they succeed, women everywhere will be thanking him and they’ll retire rich. Overall, I give Blow Me Cool a B-.

Perhaps they should just license their idea to Dyson, the company that changed the air flow game with its gorgeous, bladeless Dyson Air Multiplier. Now that baby can blow!  I love everything about these fans … the look, the colours, the feel, the esthetic and the science. And don’t even get me started on the vacuum cleaners!

I refuse to ask for appliances for my birthday, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day or Christmas, but dang I’d take a Dyson any day!

The Dyson Air Multiplier.

The Dyson Air Multiplier.

If Dyson cranked out one of these babies as small as a pendant for women’s hot flashes, wow, I would pay more than $24.95.Now if only we could get Dyson to invent a sanitary napkin the size of a Depends.Got a question or comment?

Drop me a line at holly@unhysterectomy.com

And don’t forget the US/International edition of my book, The UnHysterectomy: Solving Your Painful, Heavy Bleeding Without Major Surgery is now on sale at www.amazon.com.

Photo of Dyson Air Multiplier courtesy of www.dyson.ca

Photos of Blow Me Cool courtesy of www.blowmecool.com

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Hot flashes, heavy periods and hormone hell: the triple threat of perimenopause http://unhysterectomy.com/hot-flashes-heavy-periods-and-hormone-hell-the-triple-threat-of-perimenopause/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=hot-flashes-heavy-periods-and-hormone-hell-the-triple-threat-of-perimenopause http://unhysterectomy.com/hot-flashes-heavy-periods-and-hormone-hell-the-triple-threat-of-perimenopause/#comments Mon, 18 Feb 2013 20:41:50 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=7696 Isn’t life grand, girls? From the time we get our first period, life throws us the curve ball that just keeps on giving. First it’s waiting for that first period to arrive. Then it’s the horror of knowing it’ll keep coming back every month whether we like it or not. Throw in some crippling cramps, [...]

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Isn’t life grand, girls?

From the time we get our first period, life throws us the curve ball that just keeps on giving.

First it’s waiting for that first period to arrive.

Then it’s the horror of knowing it’ll keep coming back every month whether we like it or not.

Throw in some crippling cramps, clots, years of trying to insert a tampon (at least for me) and voila!

You have the most wondrous time of our lives spent fumbling around with all that blood … plus monthly dalliances with tampons, pads, heating pads,  pain killers and far too many embarrassing leaks. And that was just puberty!

Everything’s working

As women, we spend the best years of our lives being constantly reminded, in a good way, that our reproductive capacities are working and that if we choose we could conceive a child and carry it to term, if that is our desire.

It’s as we grow older, however, when that monthly reminder comes with other changes in our bodies that it all just gets to be too much.

When I first started bleeding heavily – to the point where I was changing my supplies every 60 to 90 minutes – I was in my 40s, a single mom, working two jobs and struggling to overcome the mind-numbing anemia and exhaustion caused by my monthly bloodbaths from fibroids.

Is all that blood normal?

I was so ill-informed back then, I had no idea what was happening to my body. I just thought I was having heavy periods. Period. I remember having real doozies at age 10 and 11 so I thought my body was having a bit of a relapse. It wasn’t until the bleeding became unmanageable that I started to do a little research, which eventually led me to consider hysterectomy.

What I discovered is that perimenopausal women often suffer from heavy periods at the same time some of their other symptoms start to kick in … hot flashes, fluctuating hormones, thinning hair, and a changing sex drive, to name a few.

Geesh!

Why can’t Mother Nature just cut us a break? Why must we be up to our knuckles in blood and have to wipe the sweat from our brow every hour too?

Estrogen

I hate to say it, girls, but it’s just one of those things we have to put up with as our estrogen levels drop and we move closer to menopause (although there are some excellent coping strategies – a topic for another time). Just when I thought I was home-free, after having two surgeries to solve my heavy bleeding while preserving my reproductive organs, I was knee-deep in a whole new nightmare…hot flashes every 15 minutes was the absolute worst.

Estrogen’s Storm Season

There’s a book I’ve been asked to read called “Estrogen’s Storm Season: Stories of Menopause” by Dr. Jerilynn Prior of the Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research in Vancouver, British Columbia. I can’t wait to read it – to learn more about the symptoms of perimenopause that plague so many of us, including heavy periods, the leading cause of hysterectomy in North America.

I will be sure to let you know my thoughts once I finish it as I’m sure it will explain so much.  As I also touch on in the second edition of my book, The UnHysterectomy, there is a growing school of thought that heavy periods may be linked to so-called “estrogen mimickers” found in our food, food containers and the environment, to name a few.

I am anxious to become more informed on the role an excess of estrogen has on our perimenopausal years; more specifically, the “red river flowing” as described in Chapter 6 of “Estrogen’s Storm Season: Stories of Menopause”.

Watch for my review in an upcoming entry.

And don’t forget…the US/International edition of The UnHysterectomy is now on sale at Amazon.com featuring more patient and gynecologist interviews, including an expanded chapter on endometriosis.

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News Release: 50 Shades of Red: Why Valentine’s Day Is So Difficult for 1 in 4 Women http://unhysterectomy.com/news-release-50-shades-of-red-why-valentines-day-sucks-for-1-in-4-women/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=news-release-50-shades-of-red-why-valentines-day-sucks-for-1-in-4-women http://unhysterectomy.com/news-release-50-shades-of-red-why-valentines-day-sucks-for-1-in-4-women/#comments Wed, 13 Feb 2013 23:49:21 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=7612 OTTAWA – February 13, 2013 – It’s that time of year again when millions of women around the world would rather be passing out than putting out. “For the one in four women who suffers from debilitating heavy periods, Aunt Flo has a better chance of getting them into bed than their partners,” says women’s [...]

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OTTAWA – February 13, 2013 – It’s that time of year again when millions of women around the world would rather be passing out than putting out.

“For the one in four women who suffers from debilitating heavy periods, Aunt Flo has a better chance of getting them into bed than their partners,” says women’s health advocate, Holly Bridges, journalist and author of “The UnHysterectomy: Solving Your Painful, Heavy Bleeding Without Major Surgery.”

Bridges says women suffering from the mind-numbing exhaustion, anemia and excruciating pain of painful, heavy periods caused by conditions such as endometriosis and fibroids (the leading cause of hysterectomy), want help, support and snuggling on Valentine’s Day, not pressure to do the deed.

Ironically, she says, partners who tune in to how exhausted women are, and who act supportively and lovingly, are more likely to get lucky in the end anyway.

“A partner who understands and shows compassion and empathy is a real turn-on for women, especially for those who are suffering,” says Bridges.

After consulting with sexologist Dr. Jessica O’Reilly of Playboy TV, who appears in The UnHysterectomy, Bridges and Dr. O’Reilly offer these five tips for partners wanting to put points in the bank this Valentine’s Day:

  1. Wake her up with a kiss, a card and a hot cup of coffee.
  2. Crawl into bed for a little snuggle.
  3. Ask her how she’s feeling and how she’d like to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
  4. Tell her you know how exhausted she is and how hard it’s been for her.
  5. Don’t expect anything sexual in return. She may be ready to be intimate and affectionate, but not sexual.

“Women who are suffering from anemia and exhaustion need love and affection the same as the next person,” says Dr. O’Reilly. “But it’s really important for couples not to put pressure on themselves to reach the so-called ‘finish line’.  It’s about respecting how you’re feeling without giving up the pleasures that you feel in your body, so cuddling, snuggling and being physical in other ways can feel really good and be therapeutic. Re-framing what sex means and feeling sexual in many different ways creates romance, which in turn lays the foundation for great having great sex.”

Listen to Holly Bridges’ podcast with Dr. Jessica O’Reilly, “Sex and heavy periods”, at www.unhysterectomy.com.

The Canadian, U.S. and international editions of The UnHysterectomy are on sale now at www.amazon.com.

About The UnHysterectomy

The UnHysterectomy is based on Holly Bridges’ journey to avoid a hysterectomy after being diagnosed with life-threatening anaemia caused by multiple fibroids. It outlines 10 medical and surgical alternatives that are less painful, less risky and less invasive than hysterectomy and explores the many reasons for the over-prescription of hysterectomy in North America and around the world. The UnHysterectomy’s medical advisor and edfitor is renowned gynecologist, Dr. Sony S. Singh, who is the Executive Director of Minimally Invasive Gynecology at The Ottawa Hospital.

About hysterectomy

Hysterectomy is the complete or partial removal of the uterus, and sometimes ovaries, cervix and Fallopian tubes. Some 700,000 American women undergo hysterectomy every year despite the availability of less invasive, high tech alternatives. Approximately 60 to 80 percent of all hysterectomies being done in the US still involve making deep, abdominal cuts despite the availability of keyhole, laparoscopic approaches. Most hysterectomies are performed for fibroids, benign tumours that grown on or in the uterus. In contrast, minimally invasive gynecological surgery requires fewer incisions, carries a lower risk of organ perforation, requires little or no anesthetic and leads to faster, less painful recovery with lower risk of postoperative infection or complications.

About Holly Bridges

Holly Bridges is a former CBC Radio and TV journalist with 30 years’ experience in communications. The UnHysterectomy: Solving Your Painful, Heavy Bleeding Without Major Surgery, is her first book.

About Medical Editor Dr. Sony S. Singh

Dr. Sony S. Singh is the Director of Minimally Invasive Gynecology at the Shirley E. Greenberg Women’s Health Centre at The Ottawa Hospital. He is also an Assistant Professor with the University of Ottawa Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.  After completing his medical and residency training at the University of Western Ontario in 2005, he completed fellowships in advanced pelvic surgery at the University of Toronto and the University of Sydney from 2005 to 2007. Dr. Singh is the Executive Director of the Canadian Society of Minimally Invasive Gynecology.

Dr. Singh is known for his surgical expertise in removing deep infiltrative endometriosis through minimally invasive means and is one of the leading experts in laparoscopic (keyhole) hysterectomy. Dr. Singh also specializes in minimally invasive alternatives to hysterectomy, such as hysteroscopic and laparoscopic myomectomy and hysteroscopic endometrial ablation. Dr. Singh has been instrumental in developing new guidelines for the treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding (the clinical term for heavy periods) and endometriosis for the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada. Dr. Singh is also the Executive Director of the Canadian Society of Minimally Invasive Gynecology, an affiliate society of the premiere international medical organization devoted to minimally invasive gynecology for women, the American Association of Gynecological Laparoscopists (AAGL).

For interviews or more information, contact:

Holly Bridges

holly@unhysterectomy.com

613.863.0545.

 

Women can join the discussion at www.facebook.com/unhysterectomy and www.twitter.con/unhysterectomy.

 

Photo: Dr. Jessica O’Reilly, host of Playboy TV’s Swing.

Dr Jess 1-Final

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Loved trying out for CBC TV’s Dragons’ Den show! http://unhysterectomy.com/loved-trying-out-for-cbc-tvs-dragons-den-show/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=loved-trying-out-for-cbc-tvs-dragons-den-show http://unhysterectomy.com/loved-trying-out-for-cbc-tvs-dragons-den-show/#comments Sat, 09 Feb 2013 20:04:09 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=7578 Went in confidently, made my pitch, and now it’s time to sit back, relax and see if I make it on to the real Dragons’ Den. If these venture capitalists buy in, I can take awareness of heavy periods, fibroids, endometriosis & hysterectomy alternatives to the next level! More to follow!  

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Went in confidently, made my pitch, and now it’s time to sit back, relax and see if I make it on to the real Dragons’ Den.

If these venture capitalists buy in, I can take awareness of heavy periods, fibroids, endometriosis & hysterectomy alternatives to the next level!

More to follow!DSC_0022

 

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The UnHysterectomy’s medical editor co-authors new guideline for surgical safety checklist http://unhysterectomy.com/the-unhysterectomys-medical-editor-co-authors-new-surgical-safety-checklist/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-unhysterectomys-medical-editor-co-authors-new-surgical-safety-checklist http://unhysterectomy.com/the-unhysterectomys-medical-editor-co-authors-new-surgical-safety-checklist/#comments Tue, 22 Jan 2013 17:10:59 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=4927 I am thrilled with today’s news that the medical editor of my book, The UnHysterectomy, Dr. Sony S. Singh, MD, Ob-Gyn, has co-authored a new guideline on surgical safety checklists. The guideline, Surgical Safety Checklist in Obstetrics and Gynaecology,  is published in the January 2013 edition of the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada.  The Society [...]

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I am thrilled with today’s news that the medical editor of my book, The UnHysterectomy, Dr. Sony S. Singh, MD, Ob-Gyn, has co-authored a new guideline on surgical safety checklists.

The guideline, Surgical Safety Checklist in Obstetrics and Gynaecology,  is published in the January 2013 edition of the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada. 

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (SOGC) endorses the adoption of the surgical safety checklist in obstetrics and gynaecology to improve patient safety.

Here is the SOGC news release announcing this important development in the treatment of women’s obsetrical and gynecological conditions.

“The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) recognizes that in addition to skilled attendants in the operating room who have the appropriate expertise to conduct the required operation, team relationships and communication can have a significant impact on patient safety in the operating room.

This is the premise of the clinical practice guideline supporting the use of a Surgical Safety Checklist in Obstetrics and Gynaecology published in the January 2013 edition of the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada.

Research suggests that almost 1 in 10 patients admitted to hospital experience an adverse event, with operations accounting for 40% of these events. A failure in communication between members of a surgical team represents one possible cause for unfavorable situations or outcomes. Fortunately, studies have proven that the use of a checklist during surgeries has resulted in a decrease in complications and mortality.

“Canadians should be reassured that these new guidelines are not being released because patient safety during medical procedures in obstetrics and gynaecology in Canada is in question or being compromised. On the contrary, because patient safety is a priority for us, we are looking for any opportunities to achieve positive patient outcomes,” stated Dr. Sukhbir Singh, principal co-author of the new guideline.

Dr. Neeraj Mehra, also a co-author of the guideline, agrees. “The SOGC is acknowledging that the development and implementation of a surgical safety checklist is a simple, cost-effective and efficient way to ensure that critical steps of an operation are completed. It also helps to facilitate communication among members of the surgical team.”

Members of a surgical team each arrive on site with their respective competencies, skills, roles and responsibilities. There is a set list of tools and steps involved for each medical procedure. The complexity, volume and speed with which these steps must be achieved can sometimes be challenging, and requires extensive communication between team members, particularly when unforeseen situations arise.

This guideline suggests that outcomes can be improved and lives can be saved by listing, reviewing and documenting key steps and procedures before, during and following surgery to ensure that none are overlooked, regardless of the situations encountered during the procedure.

“A surgical safety checklist removes the risk of assumptions being made about what information was gathered, which tools were used or what steps were completed during an operation. It’s about being meticulous and comprehensive. This is a positive move for both health-care professionals and their patients,” added Dr. Laura Hopkins, the third co-author of the guideline.”

Congratulations to Dr. Singh, Dr. Mehra and Dr. Hopkins, as well as their clinical practice gynecology committee, for having the vision to investigate this important topic, and furthermore, develop a guideline to increase patient safety through the adoption of checklists.

I urge women to read a copy of the new guideline and ask your surgeon if the hospital where he or she practices intends on adopting the new guidelines.

To read the new guideline click here.

Watch for further updates on surgical checklists here.

I have an episode of UnHysterectomy Radio coming up soon that looks at how some gynecologists in the US have teamed up with experts in aviation to develop an entire program for hospitals using a system of checklists, inspired by the aviation industry.

 

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UnHysterectomy Radio: MaryLou Ballweg, president and executive director of the Endometriosis Association http://unhysterectomy.com/unhysterectomy-radio-marylou-ballweg-president-and-executive-director-of-the-endometriosis-association/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=unhysterectomy-radio-marylou-ballweg-president-and-executive-director-of-the-endometriosis-association http://unhysterectomy.com/unhysterectomy-radio-marylou-ballweg-president-and-executive-director-of-the-endometriosis-association/#comments Mon, 21 Jan 2013 14:04:21 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=4884   In this podcast, I chat with Mary Lou Ballweg, president and executive director of the Endometriosis Association. Recommended listening for any woman suffering from the scourge of endometriosis.    

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In this podcast, I chat with Mary Lou Ballweg, president and executive director of the Endometriosis Association.

Recommended listening for any woman suffering from the scourge of endometriosis.

 

 

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Holly’s chat with “The Talk of the Town” host Larry Rifkin http://unhysterectomy.com/holly-to-appear-on-the-the-larry-rifkin-show-tues-jan-22-1200-est/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=holly-to-appear-on-the-the-larry-rifkin-show-tues-jan-22-1200-est http://unhysterectomy.com/holly-to-appear-on-the-the-larry-rifkin-show-tues-jan-22-1200-est/#comments Fri, 18 Jan 2013 20:07:47 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=4868   Hey gals, here’s my interview…thanks so much Larry for the wonderful interview. His questions were insightful and allowed me to explain the issue so thoroughly. Again, thanks to Larry Rifkin..

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Hey gals, here’s my interview…thanks so much Larry for the wonderful interview.

His questions were insightful and allowed me to explain the issue so thoroughly.

Again, thanks to Larry Rifkin..

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Watch Holly on CKWS Kingston “Live @ Five” http://unhysterectomy.com/holly-to-appear-on-ckws-kingston-live-at-five-tonight-at-5/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=holly-to-appear-on-ckws-kingston-live-at-five-tonight-at-5 http://unhysterectomy.com/holly-to-appear-on-ckws-kingston-live-at-five-tonight-at-5/#comments Thu, 17 Jan 2013 13:39:44 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=4850 Watch Holly “Live@Five” on CKWS TV in Kingston, Ont., with hosts Bill Welychka and Bill Hall. Here’s a link to the online video..click here.    

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Watch Holly “Live@Five” on CKWS TV in Kingston, Ont., with hosts Bill Welychka and Bill Hall.

Here’s a link to the online video..click here.

 

 

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Interview: PopOffLive with Mary Jane Pop http://unhysterectomy.com/interview-popofflive-with-mary-jane-pop/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=interview-popofflive-with-mary-jane-pop http://unhysterectomy.com/interview-popofflive-with-mary-jane-pop/#comments Sat, 12 Jan 2013 21:48:40 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=4827   Listen to my interview with Sacramento, California radio host Mary Jane Pop of “PopOffLive”, a nationally syndicated radio show in the U.S. on January 2, 2012.  

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Listen to my interview with Sacramento, California radio host Mary Jane Pop of “PopOffLive”, a nationally syndicated radio show in the U.S. on January 2, 2012.

 

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Review: Cassandra recommends The UnHysterectomy http://unhysterectomy.com/review-cassandra-loves-the-unhysterectomy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=review-cassandra-loves-the-unhysterectomy http://unhysterectomy.com/review-cassandra-loves-the-unhysterectomy/#comments Thu, 10 Jan 2013 18:17:21 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=4818 I am a 47-year-old female going through menopause. I have been having problems with my menstrual cycle. I figured I was going through “the change.” Heavy periods scattered all over the place that last up to eight days. Every month I suffer from painful, extremely heavy periods with large clots. I wanted to see if [...]

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I am a 47-year-old female going through menopause. I have been having problems with my menstrual cycle. I figured I was going through “the change.” Heavy periods scattered all over the place that last up to eight days. Every month I suffer from painful, extremely heavy periods with large clots. I wanted to see if this was “normal” so I picked up this book, The Unhysterectomy: Solving Your Painful, Heavy Bleeding Without Major Surgery. 

At first I thought the book would be boring and filled with medical terms that I would not understand. I was pleasantly surprised that it immediately captured my attention! The author, Holly Bridges, writes so well you feel as if you are talking to her face to face. She uses humor, interesting words, writes in terms that women can understand and has extensively done her research. I like the fact that she states “every word in this book has been reviewed for accuracy by medical contributors” which include doctors, most specifically Sony S. Singh, MD, Ob-Gyn.

The author shares her interesting story and she does not give up. Other women share their personal stories as well. (You may see yourself in one or more of these stories.) She encourages women to get the help they need from physicians to help solve their female problems without drastic surgery.

I highly recommend The Unhysterectomy: Solving Your Painful, Heavy Bleeding Without Major Surgery to each and every woman. Empower yourself with the knowledge that surgery is not the last resort. In your lifetime if you do not experience these painful problems, you are sure to have a close person in your life that will need your help with regards to this subject. You can share the information you have learned from this book with her. Even better, you can suggest this extremely helpful book to her.

- Cassandra Mae

More…

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Interview: White Coat, Black Art on CBC http://unhysterectomy.com/interview-white-coat-black-art-on-cbc/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=interview-white-coat-black-art-on-cbc http://unhysterectomy.com/interview-white-coat-black-art-on-cbc/#comments Thu, 03 Jan 2013 23:55:57 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=1714 This week on White Coat, Black Art we explore a little-talked-about issue: going under the knife when you might not need to. In the first half of the show, Brian interviews journalist Holly Bridges, who learned the hard way about that. She was desperate after dealing with excessive bleeding caused by uterine fibroids. When her [...]

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This week on White Coat, Black Art we explore a little-talked-about issue: going under the knife when you might not need to. In the first half of the show, Brian interviews journalist Holly Bridges, who learned the hard way about that. She was desperate after dealing with excessive bleeding caused by uterine fibroids. When her doctor told her a full abdominal hysterectomy was her only option, she — like many women — readily agreed. But as she told Brian, a life-altering event — the sudden death of her sister — caused her to rethink the surgery. She began to look for other options. With a lot of legwork, she found them. But it wasn’t easy. Her research revealed that thousands of women were having the invasive procedure done unnecessarily. One medical journal report said 70 percent of hysterectomies didn’t meet criteria set by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. This set Holly on on a course to inform other patients about what she’d learned. This is the full interview she did with Brian about her book, The UnHysterectomy.

Listen to the full Interview.

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The bend in the road http://unhysterectomy.com/the-bend-in-the-road/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-bend-in-the-road http://unhysterectomy.com/the-bend-in-the-road/#comments Wed, 02 Jan 2013 03:50:07 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=4793   Another year, another chance to start again. Starting over seems to be what I do best. I’ve never been one of those straight and narrow kinds of people; in fact, it’s the bends in the road that have taught me the most in life. As I look ahead to 2013, I have no plan [...]

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Another year, another chance to start again. Starting over seems to be what I do best. I’ve never been one of those straight and narrow kinds of people; in fact, it’s the bends in the road that have taught me the most in life.

As I look ahead to 2013, I have no plan … no roadmap … no guiding light to point me in the right direction. Sure, the gurus will tell you you’re nothing without a plan, and that if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will do.

I believe it’s the roads we don’t mean to find that teach us the most.

I was steadfast in my belief that hysterectomy was my only option, my only cure for my heavy periods. In 2007, I was sure that I was going under the knife and that would be the end of it. But then my sister died and that changed everything. The bend in the road was sudden and long and winding. I cancelled my surgery and suddenly found myself on a path I never thought I would be on.

And here I am five years later … still missing my sister like hell, missing my Mom, too, who passed away a year and three months after my sister died … but content with the choices I have made. Not just about my health and my body, but about life in general.

That’s the other thing I’ve learned by being open to my surroundings and learning from every bend in the road … we can never see things in isolation … as only one dimension.

When I first started writing about my experiences with heavy periods and hysterectomy, I seemed to speak only about my condition, as though there was nothing else happening in my life. Well, as I’m sure you can relate, my periods were only one facet of my life – consuming, draining and exhausting, yes, but still, only one facet.

I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a worker, a volunteer, a consumer, a spender, a saver, a mistake maker, a forgiver  … a human being with a hockey sock full of things tugging at my time.  And so are you …

And I guess that’s my first message of 2013 … or promise if you will … to remember to embrace the whole of our experiences, not just the individual parts … to take into account all of what we have going on in our lives, not just our physical conditions.

As women, we juggle more things than are humanly possible and sometimes the pressure to keep up is downright crippling, but if we call a time out once in a while, embrace the stillness, we can tune in to how we really feel, so when the bends in the road present themselves, we can decide, with a sense of calm and groundedness, whether to follow the bend, or simply rest a while.

The choice is always ours.

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When it comes to heavy periods and hysterectomy, research is the key http://unhysterectomy.com/when-it-comes-to-heavy-periods-and-hysterectomy-research-is-the-key/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=when-it-comes-to-heavy-periods-and-hysterectomy-research-is-the-key http://unhysterectomy.com/when-it-comes-to-heavy-periods-and-hysterectomy-research-is-the-key/#comments Thu, 20 Dec 2012 02:45:28 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=3843

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E-version now available! $9.99 http://unhysterectomy.com/e-version/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=e-version http://unhysterectomy.com/e-version/#comments Thu, 20 Dec 2012 02:00:47 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=4710 You can now download a copy of The UnHysterectomy: Solving Your Painful, Heavy Bleeding Without Major Surgery through Amazon Kindle e-books. Order your copy today!     Photo courtesy of goXunuReviews’ photostream

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You can now download a copy of The UnHysterectomy: Solving Your Painful, Heavy Bleeding Without Major Surgery through Amazon Kindle e-books.

Order your copy today!

 

 

Photo courtesy of goXunuReviews’ photostreamSend FlickrMail

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Review: Rhonda raves about The UnHysterectomy http://unhysterectomy.com/review-rhonda-raves-about-the-unhysterectomy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=review-rhonda-raves-about-the-unhysterectomy http://unhysterectomy.com/review-rhonda-raves-about-the-unhysterectomy/#comments Thu, 20 Dec 2012 00:45:18 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=4718 The following is an e-mail I received from Rhonda, who purchased my book a few months back.  She was so thrilled with the information she received, and the subsequent surgery she had to treat her endometriosis and fibroids, that she felt compelled to write to several local and national media outlets suggesting they do a [...]

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The following is an e-mail I received from Rhonda, who purchased my book a few months back.  She was so thrilled with the information she received, and the subsequent surgery she had to treat her endometriosis and fibroids, that she felt compelled to write to several local and national media outlets suggesting they do a story about heavy periods and my book.

I was very touched by her willingness to share her story, her thoughts on the book, and for reaching out to the media.  Here is her e-mail.

“I am writing to you today to inform [your outlet] of a very important solution for a very common woman’s issue, that being heavy menses.

I was diagnosed with endometriosis, fibroid tumors as well as ovarian cysts a few years ago.

Monthly menses had me in fetal position suffering from back pain, bloating and unbearable bleeding. My gynecologist started passively treating the condition by removing one ovary completely and the cysts on the remaining ovary via laparoscopy with a prescription for birth control to manage the growth of the tumors, cysts and endometriosis.

I am over 40, which raises the risks of stroke as well as the other side effects of birth control however I complied in an effort to alleviate my suffering.

My only option at that time was this Band-Aid solution (birth control) to manage pain associated with heavy menses for one year and if that did not work within one year, the last option was a complete hysterectomy.

By miracle, just a few months before the hysterectomy was scheduled I stumbled upon an article in the newspaper written about this condition by Holly Bridges. This article was a godsend!

Immediately I contacted her doctor’s office in Ottawa.

I was provided with a referral from my ob/gyn and advised that there were two doctors on the west coast who performed these alternative procedures.

I was in to see a specialist, Dr. Paul Yong, within a few months.

Dr. Yong took me under his care and he performed the non-invasive surgery at the same time my hysterectomy would have been scheduled.

This procedure only had me off work for two weeks instead of the [possible] six to eight weeks for a hysterectomy and it was much, much more pleasant a procedure than the laparoscopy, not nearly as invasive.

I feel this information should be made public to bring awareness to this condition instead of just dealing with bad menses or undergoing major surgery, which is completely unnecessary in most cases.

Upon reading the book Holly Bridges published with her specialists it would appear this lack of care boils down to the almighty dollar and politics, which is so unfair and frustrating.

Doctors make more money removing parts than preserving our parts.

Hysterectomies are all too common a solution for women yet the book states that the [intricacies of tampering with] a woman’s anatomy [in terms of the impact on things like sexual function] is still unknown and unclear at this time.

We don’t know the full effects of losing our internal parts as women have much more complicated internal organs than men.

The point I am trying to make clear is that there are alternatives to hysterectomies and heavy menses.

We don’t have to just “deal with them”; there are alternatives that most people are not aware of!

I have nothing but respect for my ob/gyn.

The moment I brought the article Holly had written into her office and asked her about it she confessed that she was not aware of the procedures discussed in the article, however she immediately referred me to the specialists and was willing to assist in any way possible.

She was quite empathic and supportive.

Dr. Yong (who performed an ablation and myomectomy – tumour removal) successfully treated my woman’s issue without major surgery. It’s been two weeks since my procedure and I am back at work.

Although my condition was quite severe, the book covers topics for conditions that can be treated in 90 minutes while in the doctor’s office leaving you able to go back to work right after!

Had I found this information sooner, it may not have escalated to the extent it did.

I’ve heard of many women undergoing surgery to remove fibroids leaving scars and requiring weeks off work…it would just be a wonderful thing if women were given the option and surgeons were paid adequately for their time spent preserving our internals.

Holly Bridges has been doing an amazing job voicing her findings and I am forever grateful to her for publishing her findings. Please consider doing an interview with her for the benefit of women everywhere.”

Thank you so much Rhonda for your support and I am glad you have found relief. Stay in touch and let us know how your recovery goes.

Continued good health!

 

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UnHysterectomy Radio: Maureen’s story…heavy period hell http://unhysterectomy.com/podcast-maureens-story-heavy-period-hell/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=podcast-maureens-story-heavy-period-hell http://unhysterectomy.com/podcast-maureens-story-heavy-period-hell/#comments Sun, 16 Dec 2012 17:35:17 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=4706 Of all the women I interviewed for my book, The UnHysterectomy, Maureen’s story is the one that moved me the most. This beautiful, intelligent and accomplished woman suffered for almost seven years with debilitating periods and pain, while holding down a full-time job, raising two children, keeping a home and nurturing her marriage. Her friends [...]

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Podcast-ButtonOf all the women I interviewed for my book, The UnHysterectomy, Maureen’s story is the one that moved me the most.

This beautiful, intelligent and accomplished woman suffered for almost seven years with debilitating periods and pain, while holding down a full-time job, raising two children, keeping a home and nurturing her marriage.

Her friends and family knew of her bleeding, but the rest of the world did not. At work, she was the woman in black, forever draped in loose-fitting clothes, with a drawer full of spare underwear and clothes.

Did her clients ever wonder why she never stood up to shake their hand at the end of their appointments?

Perhaps, but Maureen did so for a reason. She was afraid.

She was afraid that if she rose too quickly, the blood would trickle down her leg, into her shoes and onto her chair … or worse, she would risk the ultimate embarassment.

Now, at 61, Maureen looks back with a humility that does not befit the bravery with which she battled her heavy periods, and resisted the urge to have a hysterectomy.

Some might say she was crazy; others might say she did the right thing.  The choice to have a hysterectomy is different for every woman; ours is not to judge.

Ultimately, Maureen to chose to “watch and wait”, hoping that each month’s blood bath would be her last.

Unfortunately, she waited seven full years, bleeding for weeks at a time, before the glory of menopause finally arrived.

Never fully diagnosed with any specific cause, Maureen, like so many women, chose to soldier on, getting on with life, thinking it was “normal” to feel like hell.

I defy anyone, man or woman, to live through the hell Maureen did, and say that it’s normal.

It’s time our society started talking about heavy periods, and women like Maureen… and you … and me.

Just click on Maureen’s Story to hear Maureen, in her own words.

 

To learn more about Maureen, and other women who struggle with heavy periods, buy The UnHysterectomy: Solving Your Painful, Heavy Bleeding Without a Hysterectomy now.

The image of Maureen has been changed to protect her identity.

Photo courtest of Rob Lee, Flickr Creative Commons

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UnHysterectomy Radio: Maureen’s story…heavy period hell http://unhysterectomy.com/maureens-story-how-did-she-survive/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=maureens-story-how-did-she-survive http://unhysterectomy.com/maureens-story-how-did-she-survive/#comments Sat, 15 Dec 2012 22:14:40 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=4671 Of all the women I interviewed for my book, The UnHysterectomy, Maureen’s story is the one that moved me the most.           To learn more about Maureen, and other women who struggle with heavy periods, buy The UnHysterectomy: Solving Your Painful, Heavy Bleeding Without a Hysterectomy now. The image of Maureen [...]

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Podcast-ButtonOf all the women I interviewed for my book, The UnHysterectomy, Maureen’s story is the one that moved me the most.

 

 

 

 

 

To learn more about Maureen, and other women who struggle with heavy periods, buy The UnHysterectomy: Solving Your Painful, Heavy Bleeding Without a Hysterectomy now.

The image of Maureen has been changed to protect her identity.

Photo courtesy of Rob Lee, Flickr Creative Commons

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Drug trial underway for women with uterine fibroids http://unhysterectomy.com/drug-trial-underway-for-women-with-uterine-fibroids/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=drug-trial-underway-for-women-with-uterine-fibroids http://unhysterectomy.com/drug-trial-underway-for-women-with-uterine-fibroids/#comments Wed, 12 Dec 2012 19:02:44 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=4663 Hi gals … one of my Facebook followers was kind enough to post a link to this news release from a company announcing a new drug trial for fibroids, those nasty uterine dwellers so many of us are afflicted by. So many women dream of the day when a drug can be found to shrink [...]

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Hi gals … one of my Facebook followers was kind enough to post a link to this news release from a company announcing a new drug trial for fibroids, those nasty uterine dwellers so many of us are afflicted by. So many women dream of the day when a drug can be found to shrink these horrible space invaders. How cool would it be to just pop a pill and have these things shrink on their own? Of course, we must continue to be vigilant with our health, watch our exposure to environmental estrogens and work with our health care provider to manage our symptoms and look for treatment options, but for my money, any research on ways to reduce or eliminate our unnecessary suffering is a good thing.

Read on!

Watson Announces Initiation of Esmya(R) U.S. Phase 3 Clinical Trial

PARSIPPANY, N.J., March 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE: WPI) today announced it has initiated its Phase 3 trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of Esmya® (ulipristal acetate) in women with anemia associated with uterine leiomyomas, a medical condition often referred to as uterine fibroids (myomas). Leiomyomata are benign solid tumors that often lead to excessive menstrual bleeding, anemia and pain, which ultimately may require surgical intervention.

“Initiation of the U.S. pivotal trial is underway on schedule and we are hopeful that this Phase 3 study will demonstrate improvement on pre-surgical hemoglobin concentrations, an endpoint indicating that heavy bleeding and anemia have been alleviated,” said Fred Wilkinson, Executive Vice President, Watson Global Brands. “Esmya®, if approved, may be an important medicine for women whose fibroid-symptom severity often leads to excessive bleeding and related pain.”

In December 2010, Watson announced that it had entered into an exclusive license agreement with Gedeon Richter Plc to develop and market Esmya® in the United States and Canada. Under terms of the agreement, Watson paid a $17 million license fee, and will pay royalties based on sales in the U.S. and Canada. The Company will also make additional payments based on the achievement of certain regulatory milestones.
During an end of phase 2 meeting, the FDA required that a new phase 3 trial be conducted evaluating anemic patients with an improvement in hemoglobin as the primary endpoint. Watson expects the U.S. Phase 3 trial to be completed by 4Q 2013, at which time the company will prepare a New Drug Application for submission to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Esmya® 5mg tablet was approved last month by the European Commission (EC) for pre-operative treatment of moderate-to-severe symptoms of uterine fibroids. This approval is applicable for all Member States in the European Union. The results of the European studies were recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine.(1)(2)(3) Esmya® is expected to be launched in certain European countries in a month.

Watson has met with Health Canada and it was agreed that a New Drug Submission (NDS) could be filed based on the European clinical program. Watson intends to submit the NDS in mid 2012.

About the Esmya® (ulipristal acetate) U.S. Phase 3 Study

The U.S. Phase 3 study is a multi-center, randomized, double-blind study designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of ulipristal acetate 10 mg in women with anemia associated uterine leiomyomas, also known as uterine fibroids. Approximately 300 subjects, aged 18–50 years, anemic, and who are planning a hysterectomy or myomectomy to treat their leiomyoma(s), will be randomized to receive ulipristal acetate 10 mg plus iron or matching placebo plus iron, administered orally, once daily over three consecutive menstrual cycles during which safety, efficacy, and pharmacokinetic parameters will be evaluated.

Efficacy and safety assessments will include change from baseline in hemoglobin at the start, or scheduled start, of menstrual cycle 3, and overall bleeding assessments through the end of treatment using a subject-maintained Menstrual Cycle Bleeding Diary.

About Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids affect almost 25 percent of women of reproductive age. Symptoms may include excessive uterine bleeding, anemia, pain, either frequent urination or incontinence, and occasional interruption of fertility. Approximately 300,000 surgical procedures are performed annually to address uterine fibroids, including some 230,000 hysterectomies. Currently, GnRH agonists are the only Food and Drug Administration approved treatment for uterine fibroids associated with anemia and their use is relatively limited due to side effects resulting from the suppression of estrogen to castration levels (e.g., hot flushes, depression, mood swings, loss of libido, vaginitis and loss of bone-mineral density).
About Esmya®

Ulipristal acetate is a first-in-class, orally active selective progesterone receptor modulator which reversibly blocks progesterone receptors in target tissues.

About Watson Pharmaceuticals

Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a leading integrated global pharmaceutical company. The Company is engaged in the development and distribution of generic pharmaceuticals and specialized branded pharmaceutical products focused on Urology and Women’s Health. Watson has operations in many of the world’s established and growing international markets. For press release and other company information, visit Watson Pharmaceuticals’ Web site at http://www.watson.com.

Forward-Looking Statement

Statements contained in this press release that refer to Watson’s estimated or anticipated future results or other non-historical facts are forward-looking statements that reflect Watson’s current perspective of existing trends and information as of the date of this release. For instance, any statements in this press release concerning prospects related to Watson’s strategic initiatives, product introductions and anticipated financial performance are forward-looking statements. It is important to note that Watson’s goals and expectations are not predictions of actual performance. Watson’s performance, at times, will differ from its goals and expectations. Actual results may differ materially from Watson’s current expectations depending upon a number of factors affecting Watson’s business. These factors include, among others, the difficulty of predicting the timing or outcome of product development efforts and regulatory agency approvals or actions; market acceptance of and continued demand for Watson’s products; costs and efforts to defend or enforce intellectual property rights; difficulties or delays in manufacturing; the availability and pricing of third party sourced products and materials; successful compliance with governmental regulations applicable to Watson’s facilities, products and/or businesses; changes in the laws and regulations, including Medicare, Medicaid, and similar laws in foreign countries affecting, among other things, pricing and reimbursement of pharmaceutical products; and such other risks and uncertainties detailed in Watson’s periodic public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including but not limited to Watson’s Annual Report on form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011. Except as expressly required by law, Watson disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

(1) Donnez J. et al. N Engl J Med. 2012 Feb 2; 366(5): 409-420
(2) Donnez J. et al. N Engl J Med. 2012 Feb 2; 366(5): 421-432
(3) Stewart EA. N Engl J Med. 2012 Feb 2; 366(5): 471-473

CONTACTS:
Investors:
Patty Eisenhaur
(862) 261-8141

Media:
Charlie Mayr
(862) 261-8030

SOURCE Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

IMAGE: Courtesty Flickr Creative Commons Purple Penner

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Do hysterectomies constitute violence against women? http://unhysterectomy.com/do-hysterectomies-constitute-violence-against-women/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=do-hysterectomies-constitute-violence-against-women http://unhysterectomy.com/do-hysterectomies-constitute-violence-against-women/#comments Thu, 06 Dec 2012 19:03:06 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=4357 In the country where I live, Canada, today is National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. According to the official website, the day was “established in 1991 by the Parliament of Canada, to mark the anniversary of the murders in 1989 of 14 young women at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal. They died [...]

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In the country where I live, Canada, today is National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

According to the official website, the day was “established in 1991 by the Parliament of Canada, to mark the anniversary of the murders in 1989 of 14 young women at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal.

They died because they were women.

As well as commemorating the 14 young women whose lives ended in an act of gender-based violence that shocked the nation, December 6 represents an opportunity for Canadians to reflect on the phenomenon of violence against women in our society.

It is also an opportunity to consider the women and girls for whom violence is a daily reality, and to remember those who have died as a result of gender-based violence. And finally, it is a day on which communities can consider concrete actions to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.”

While I definitely consider female castration (the removal of the clitoris) as a heinous crime by any standards, on this day of remembrance, I find myself asking the question “do hysterectomies constitute violence against women?”

There are those who say they do. There are others who say no.

Many advocates against hysterectomy say removing our reproductive organs is equally as heinous, and a violation.

Why? Because they believe physicians are far too eager to slice through the epicentre of our womanhood when other methods of treating our symptoms might suffice.

I have thought long and hard about my own approach to unnecessary hysterectomies. What is my stance? What is my platform?

I read the literature, read the websites, interviewed women whose bodies were irreperably damaged from the procedure; but in equal measure, I heard from women who wonder why they waited so long to have a hysterectomy – because the quality of their lives went up the day they had the procedure.

Perhaps it’s my middle-of-the-road, journalistic sensibilities, but I do not believe hysterectomy constitues violence against women, whether the procedure is unnecessary or otherwise.

To categorize it so diminishes the experiences of women who have undergone hysterectomy successfully and who rave about their results; to define the procedure as violent and a violation, to me, passes judgment on those women, and their physicians. That somehow there is a conspiracy to hurt women.

Yes, there are unskilled physicians who should have their licenses taken away, and there are those who may be after the financial rewards of performing such a major operation; but I doubt somehow that all gynecologists are that sinister.

Perhaps my opinion stems from the fact that I myself have never undergone a hysterectomy; perhaps I am one of the lucky ones who managed to escape such “violence”.

But after researching this topic for the past few years, and living through the nightmare of heavy periods that causes so many of us to agree to hysterectomy in the first place, I stand behind my position 100 percent.

I do not believe gynecologists are out to get us or mame us or rob us. Like us, they have a job to do and have seen far too many women either at risk for uterine cancer, or who present with bleeding after menopause, to take the road less travelled.

At the end of the day, unless you have cancer, the decision to have a hysterectomy remains in your hands. Yes women have been mamed, yes women’s lives have been destroyed by the procedure, but we must NEVER forget that hysterectomy has emancipated women who, before, were slaves to their symptoms.

So what is my point?

My mantra is this … the decision to have a hysterectomy is very personal, very emotive and very frightening.

You owe it to yourself, your children and your family to do your homework and make an informed choice.

And that includes talking to women on both sides of the fence who either feel they have been violated or liberated.

I will say this — women of my generation (I am 53) owe a tremendous debt to women before us who underwent these procedures because their generation was not taught to ask questions, especially of doctors. We have so much to be thankful for to our sisters, mothers, and grandmothers.

The world is big enough for us all to have an opinion; on this day dedicated to eliminating violence against women, I believe that dialogue, free speech, debate and differing opinions are part of the solution.

Our opinions matter.

Photo courtesy of Public Domain Photos: Flickr Creative Commons

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Vancouver hot flash study seeks volunteers! http://unhysterectomy.com/vancouver-hot-flash-study-seeks-volunteers/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=vancouver-hot-flash-study-seeks-volunteers http://unhysterectomy.com/vancouver-hot-flash-study-seeks-volunteers/#comments Thu, 06 Dec 2012 02:48:46 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=4257 Hot flashes are hell, right? Especially if you’re still perimenopausal, or far away from reaching menopause. If you feel like you’re trapped in hot flash hell, relief may be in sight, ladies! Thanks to the passionate folks at the Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research (CeMCOR) out of the Diamond Centre near Vancouver Hospital [...]

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Hot flashes are hell, right?

Especially if you’re still perimenopausal, or far away from reaching menopause.

If you feel like you’re trapped in hot flash hell, relief may be in sight, ladies!

Thanks to the passionate folks at the Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research (CeMCOR) out of the Diamond Centre near Vancouver Hospital in British Columbia, there’s a new study going on and they need women to volunteer!

According to their news release, Women from anywhere in Canada can now participate in an innovative study of progesterone for perimenopausal hot flushes.

The trial is funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) and is being run by Dr. Jerilynn Prior of CeMCOR.

Although this trial was planned to be a local study, the major goal (record of changes in hot flushes and night sweats on the Daily Perimenopause Diary) is provided by women`s record-keeping at home every night. That, plus the current convenience of internet and telecommunications, now allows women from anywhere across the country to participate. (The progesterone or placebo pills will be sent to a woman`s home by courier.)

Remote participation may even be preferred by Vancouver women because of time and money and hassle required to travel even within the city.

Midlife women are typically over-extended with work, nuclear family and elder-care responsibilities. If it involves one more thing to schedule, perimenopausal women exhausted by night sweats often feel too overwhelmed even to reach out for help!

Dr. Prior and CeMCOR investigators recently completed a similar trial showing that progesterone effectively and safely treats hot flushes in healthy early menopausal women (Hitchcock & Prior, Menopause 2012). Based on that, and clinical experience with progesterone in midlife women, they expect the same positive response to progesterone in perimenopause.

About hot flashes and night sweats

Hot flushes and night sweats paradoxically begin in menstruating perimenopausal women who are typically gaining weight, struggling with heavy flow and premenstrual symptoms as well as having difficulty coping.

Almost 80 percent of perimenopausal women experience some hot flushes and night sweats but about 10 percent have frequent and intense symptoms.

Currently menstruating women struggling with hot flushes are offered anti-depressants, oral contraceptives or menopause-type hormone therapy by their physicians. However, none of these, or available over-the-counter remedies, have been proven to be effective in perimenopause. Hot flushes, however, are helped by anything that decreases stress including regular exercise, meditation or relaxation and by an improved understanding of perimenopause (it eventually ends!).

We still tend to think of night sweats and hot flushes as something older women experience—traditionally hot flushes were blamed on estrogen deficiency. However, perimenopausal women have enough or too much estrogen but lower progesterone levels. In addition, evidence shows that not only can progesterone treat menopausal hot flushes, it also can decrease sleep disturbances and will not cause (as estrogen may) either migraines or blood clots.

Women interested in participating can go to www.cemcor.ubc.ca, telephone Andrea Cameron (604 875-5960) or email her at andrea.cameron@vch.ca to learn more.

For my money, if I were still having my period, and I was trapped in hot flash hell, I’d be beating a path to the doorway of these investigators. Having gone through two years of having hot flashes every 15 minutes, I can attest to the need for SOMETHING, ANYTHING, to relieve symptoms.

Good luck, girls!

Image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons – xlibber

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Asherman’s Syndrome: A walk by the ocean is good http://unhysterectomy.com/ashermans-syndrome-a-walk-by-the-ocean-is-good/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ashermans-syndrome-a-walk-by-the-ocean-is-good http://unhysterectomy.com/ashermans-syndrome-a-walk-by-the-ocean-is-good/#comments Thu, 29 Nov 2012 13:09:44 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=2598 December 3, 2012 - Ladies, Sarah continues to e-mail me from California to let me know how she’s doing after her surgery last week. She is so appreciative of everyone’s care and concern. This from her in an e-mail I received…. “I still feel good and even went for a walk by the ocean today. [...]

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December 3, 2012 - Ladies, Sarah continues to e-mail me from California to let me know how she’s doing after her surgery last week. She is so appreciative of everyone’s care and concern.

This from her in an e-mail I received….

“I still feel good and even went for a walk by the ocean today.

“[I must say though] it is frustrating to learn about damage to part of the [lining] of my uterus.

“How nice of people to be asking about me. If you’d like to let them know the surgery went very well and we will just continue to pray for healthy healing.

“Please tell them their thoughts are greatly appreciated.”

Remember gals, Asherman’s Syndrome is one of the risks we take when we have a myomectomy to remove fibroids and preserve our fertility, or any other type of uterine surgery.

It’s all about potential scar tissue and if you’re a woman who has yet to have children, it can be devastating to hear your uterus is closed, or partially closed, due to scar tissue.

I am a big believer in “what we focus on becomes bigger” so if we believe our bodies won’t heal, they won’t! But if we believe our bodies are healthy, ripe and scar-free they will be!

I learned this lesson the hard way, believe me gals.

So Sarah, from my heart to yours, close your eyes, banish those negative fears about the scars coming back and visualize your healthy uterus.

You can read more about Sarah on her blog and in my book, The UnHysterectomy.

You can learn more about Asherman’s Syndrome at www.ashermans.org

I will continue to post updates from Sarah as they come in.

Best, Holly

November 30, 2012 - Ladies, I just heard from Sarah after her fourth surgery to try to remove the adhesions that have formed inside of her uterus after her myomectomy (the surgery she had to remove 35 fibroids from her uterus) … she had the surgery in order to avoid a hysterectomy for her fibroids.

She reports the surgery went well and she is feeling fine. Dr. March placed a stent inside her uterus (again) to try to keep the cavity open and scar tissue from forming.

However, Sarah will not really know anything until after the stent is removed 21 days from now, and after her post-op hormone therapy.

Again, what a courageous young woman to go through all of these surgeries in order to try to preserve her fertility.

Hysterectomy, myomectomy, fibroids … this is the vocabulary for those of us who have suffered the ravages of painful, heavy bleeding.

So many people think “heavy periods … so what?”

In Sarah’s case, and the case of many young women trying to preserve their fertility, the “what” is not being able to get pregnant, which can be devastating. Still, Sarah is determined to beat her adhesions in order to carry a child.

She is right when she says “I’m a fighter.”

A reminder ladies, Sarah is only 31 … she doesn’t deserve this much anguish when pregnancy seems so easy for so many others.

More to follow as Sarah checks in with me.

Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

Best, Holly

November 29, 2012 - Ladies, Sarah needs our help.

I have come to know this 31-year-old bright young woman through my book, The UnHysterectomy.

Sarah is battling Asherman’s Syndrome, a condition whereby severe lesions or scars form after uterine surgery. It is unclear at this point exactly what caused Asherman’s to form in Sarah’s uterus.

According to the International Adhesions Society, Asherman’s Syndrome is “a condition where the uterine walls adhere to one another, usually caused by uterine inflammation. In most cases, Asherman’s is caused by an overly aggressive procedure called a D&C, which is performed following a miscarriage, birth or for evaluation of the uterus.

“Asherman’s can also result from intrauterine surgery to remove fibroids, uterine structural defects (septum, bicornuate uterus, large polyps), or at cesarean section infections related to IUD use (or the placement of any foreign object within the uterine cavity).”

Sarah developed the syndrome after choosing to undergo a myomectomy to avoid a hysterectomy and remove 35 fibroids from her uterus.

She thought that would be the end of her suffering. Not so.

Sarah is one of those rare women who scar so easily that painful, adhesions started to form after her first surgery. And it’s those scars that have caused her uterus to close.

Each surgery brings the hope that her uterus can be opened up again, bit by bit. The roller coaster ride has been devastating for this courageous young woman.

It is those painful adhesions that have caused Sarah endless emotional, physical, mental pain, and stress, not to mention the grief of worrying she may never be able to get pregnant.

On November 29, Sarah underwent her fourth surgery to try to open up her uterus.

As a mother myself, I understand her longing to carry her own child and I pray these surgeries bring her the relief and results she so desperately needs and wants.

No one knows the anguish and heartache these two have been through.

Sarah and her husband have spent thousands of dollars to travel to California to see the leading expert in the United States in Asherman’s Syndrome, Dr. Charles March.

Sarah has also lost 10 weeks off work to battle with the pain and discomfort of her scars and the travel to LA from her home in Minnesota.

Please keep Sarah in your thoughts …

This from Sarah…

“Dr March cannot tell me if I will ever remain free of adhesions. He could only give me a 30 percent success possibility since that is what he has seen with severe cases after fibroid surgery.

“There are so many unknowns to Asherman’s and in severe cases like mine adhesions usually do reform. However, I have made some progress with the last surgery making my cavity partially open.

“He did say I have made better than average progress for my severe case.

“I am praying for a successful surgery and for healthy healing for my body to remain free of adhesions.

“Asherman’s is an awful complication more women need to be aware of.

“I’m doing this because I believe in hope and miracles and more than anything I just want to feel normal again.

“I am a fighter and want to be able to share a success story with others. I am a driven person and it would be so hard for me to say I failed at something.

“If you would like to post prayer requests and support for a successful surgery and healthy healing so my body remains free of adhesions I would be most appreciative.”

We are all thinking of you Sarah and wishing you success with your surgery.

You can also follow Sarah’s blog at http://sarahbeastromanderson.blogspot.ca/

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Review – Canadian Women’s Health Network http://unhysterectomy.com/book-review-the-unhysterectomy-canadian-womens-health-network/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=book-review-the-unhysterectomy-canadian-womens-health-network http://unhysterectomy.com/book-review-the-unhysterectomy-canadian-womens-health-network/#comments Mon, 26 Nov 2012 22:30:06 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=2082 “If women are looking for information on surgical alternatives to hysterectomy, this is a book to read. The information is wide-ranging and offers women the knowledge and strategies to make informed choices….”

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“If women are looking for information on surgical alternatives to hysterectomy, this is a book to read. The information is wide-ranging and offers women the knowledge and strategies to make informed choices….”

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Why should we care about hysterectomy rates anyway? http://unhysterectomy.com/why-should-we-care-about-hysterectomies-rates-anyway/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=why-should-we-care-about-hysterectomies-rates-anyway http://unhysterectomy.com/why-should-we-care-about-hysterectomies-rates-anyway/#comments Thu, 22 Nov 2012 19:12:01 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=2005 Hysterectomy, the universal term that has come to describe the partial or total removal of our reproductive organs, including the uterus, cervix, Fallopian tubes and ovaries, is one of the most life-changing operations a woman can ever have. For generations, women around the world have undergone hysterectomy as the definitive treatment for painful, abnormal uterine [...]

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Hysterectomy, the universal term that has come to describe the partial or total removal of our reproductive organs, including the uterus, cervix, Fallopian tubes and ovaries, is one of the most life-changing operations a woman can ever have. For generations, women around the world have undergone hysterectomy as the definitive treatment for painful, abnormal uterine bleeding caused by a variety of conditions, including fibroids, polyps, cysts, endometriosis, adenomyosis and, of course, cancer.

The majority of hysterectomies are elective, chosen by women out of sheer desperation to end years of suffering and reclaim their health and vitality. “I was done,” is a statement I often hear from women who chose to have a hysterectomy. That probably explains the statistics for hysterectomy, which in the US are among the highest in the industrialized world.

Every year, some 650,000 American and 50,000 Canadian women undergo hysterectomy, making it the most common major surgery for women, second only to cesarean section; in fact, one third of American women will have had a hysterectomy by age 60.2 And of those hysterectomies, one third will involve the elective removal of the ovaries as a way to prevent ovarian cancer, the most deadly of all gynecological cancers. What many women don’t realize, however, is that recent studies show ovary removal increases our risk of developing heart disease, lung cancer and other conditions, which I discuss in Chapter 8 of The UnHysterectomy.

As if the number of hysterectomies is not startling enough, it’s the manner in which they’re performed that’s the most astounding .Most hysterectomies should be performed either vaginally (where the uterus
is removed through the vagina) or with the assistance of laparoscopes (which are inserted into the belly through tiny keyhole incisions), but despite decades of studies proving that laparoscopic-assisted hysterectomy is better for women, the majority of hysterectomies are still performed through deep, invasive cuts through the abdominal wall. In the United States, a full 60 percent of all hysterectomies are still performed abdominally, even though laparoscopic and vaginal approaches have been available for more than 20 years.

“Old habits die hard in gynecology,” is how one researcher put it. Although hysterectomy can be a tremendous method of relieving pain and suffering for many women, the possible mental, physical and emotional implications of hysterectomy are the subject of much debate, not only among women who have had, or are contemplating, the procedure, but among family doctors and gynecologists as well, some of whom practice in the same office or hospital as each other! Is hysterectomy indicated or is it not? Should we perform a hysterectomy or try something else first? I doubt there would be this much debate among heart surgeons. Either you need a triple bypass or you don’t.

Hysterectomy is still the only definitive cure for heavy periods caused by benign gynecological conditions, which I also discuss in my book.

The decision to have a hysterectomy or not should never be taken lightly, which is why I wrote The UnHysterectomy in the first place. To help women weigh their options, just like I did.

Please ladies, do your homework and explore your options before agreeing to any type of intervention. Even those women who end up having hysterectomies say they’re glad they explored other options first.

The choice, dear friends, is in your hands.

Until next time,

Holly

To order a copy of The UnHysterectomy, click here

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Mercy’s story http://unhysterectomy.com/mercys-story/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mercys-story http://unhysterectomy.com/mercys-story/#comments Wed, 21 Nov 2012 20:54:50 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=2009 Like many women I interviewed in The UnHysterectomy, Mercy suffered from uterine fibroids – nasty, non-cancerous (not even pre-cancerous) masses of muscle within the uterine wall that account for more hysterectomies in the US than any other condition. These tumors can lie dormant and cause no symptoms at all, or they can grow to the [...]

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Like many women I interviewed in The UnHysterectomy, Mercy suffered from uterine fibroids – nasty, non-cancerous (not even pre-cancerous) masses of muscle within the uterine wall that account for more hysterectomies in the US than any other condition. These tumors can lie dormant and cause no symptoms at all, or they can grow to the size of a watermelon. Some women with fibroids bleed for a few days while others continue past a week or 10 days.

The thing about fibroids is they creep up on you so slowly that you hardly know they’re there until you start having symptoms. That’s exactly what happened to Mercy, a lovely, confident young woman in her 20s who started having symptoms while she was going to university:

“My problems began in 2006, when I noticed something in my lower abdomen like a sort of mass that I could move around. It was strange. I thought it was gas or something at first. I was in university at the time and got caught up with school and studies and didn’t think anything of it. I had always had painful and heavy periods, but this was different. By the time I moved back home to do my post-grad, it was starting to hurt. It was more of a presence and I couldn’t hide it under my clothes anymore. It was this huge bulge. I found out later my uterus was the size of a five-month pregnancy.”

Like so many women I have spoken with, Mercy was bounced around from one doctor to another trying to get a proper diagnosis, a process that included going for cancer testing.

“They did an MRI and couldn’t say conclusively that it wasn’t cancer. I was like, “Oh my God.” I was terrified. My doctor said she would have to do a hysterectomy because if it was cancer the cells could spread. At this point my mom was coming with me everywhere and I remember so clearly her saying, ‘Mercy, you just have to do it because it’s too serious now. Why would you risk your life just for this?’ referring to my uterus. I said, ‘Mom, I’m 26. I haven’t even used this part of me, you know? Why should I give up all of that?’

It was really emotional. I was crying but I just said no. The doctor tried to convince me to keep the surgery date, because if I cancelled and changed my mind I would have to wait another six months. It was frightening, because she said if I did have the surgery she would have to cut me vertically because of the size of the mass and not to be overly concerned about esthetics because my health was more important.

I had already invested a few hundred dollars in natural remedies from the UK that supposedly would shrink the fibroids, so when I left the doctor’s office I went directly to the local naturopath store and stocked up on some more things that would balance my hormones and do this and do that and cleanse. I remember doing that right after. My mom was with me and I was quite calm. I was just very firm in my decision somehow. I don’t know how to describe, it but it was grace-of-God-type stuff.”

I am happy to report that Mercy was eventually referred to a gynecologist who performed a myomectomy for the removal of her fibroids, which solved her bleeding while preserving her uterus. (You can learn more about fibroids in Chapter 3 of The UnHysterectomy and more about myomectomies in Chapter 14).

If you are experiencing extremely heavy periods, you should ask your family doctor or gynecologist for an ultrasound to see if fibroids are the culprit. African American women, such as Mercy, are at higher risk for fibroids than Caucasian women.

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3 Ways to Solve Your Heavy Periods: Solve Your Heavy Periods http://unhysterectomy.com/3-ways-to-solve-your-heavy-periods-solve-your-heavy-periods-2/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=3-ways-to-solve-your-heavy-periods-solve-your-heavy-periods-2 http://unhysterectomy.com/3-ways-to-solve-your-heavy-periods-solve-your-heavy-periods-2/#comments Sat, 03 Nov 2012 03:46:22 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=1748

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What is endometriosis? Top ways to manage endometriosis Without a Hysterectomy http://unhysterectomy.com/what-is-endometriosis-top-ways-to-manage-endometriosis-without-a-hysterectomy-2/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=what-is-endometriosis-top-ways-to-manage-endometriosis-without-a-hysterectomy-2 http://unhysterectomy.com/what-is-endometriosis-top-ways-to-manage-endometriosis-without-a-hysterectomy-2/#comments Sat, 03 Nov 2012 03:45:21 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=1746

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What are Fibroids? Top Ways to Solve Fibroids Without Hysterectomy http://unhysterectomy.com/what-are-fibroids-top-ways-to-solve-fibroids-without-hysterectomy-2/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=what-are-fibroids-top-ways-to-solve-fibroids-without-hysterectomy-2 http://unhysterectomy.com/what-are-fibroids-top-ways-to-solve-fibroids-without-hysterectomy-2/#comments Sat, 03 Nov 2012 03:44:25 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=1745

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What is a Hysterectomy? Top 10 Alternatives! http://unhysterectomy.com/what-is-a-hysterectomy-top-10-alternatives/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=what-is-a-hysterectomy-top-10-alternatives http://unhysterectomy.com/what-is-a-hysterectomy-top-10-alternatives/#comments Sat, 03 Nov 2012 03:43:17 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=1744

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What is Hysterectomy? 3 Things You Should Know! http://unhysterectomy.com/what-is-hysterectomy-3-things-you-should-know/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=what-is-hysterectomy-3-things-you-should-know http://unhysterectomy.com/what-is-hysterectomy-3-things-you-should-know/#comments Sat, 03 Nov 2012 03:41:43 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=1743   What is Hysterectomy? 3 Things You Should Know! Video Transcription Hi, I’m Holly Bridges. Journalist and author of The UnHysterectomy, Solving Your Painful Heavy Bleeding Without Major Surgery. I want to talk with you today about hysterectomy, the partial or total removal of your reproductive organs. Your uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, and sometimes your [...]

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What is Hysterectomy? 3 Things You Should Know! Video Transcription

Hi, I’m Holly Bridges. Journalist and author of The UnHysterectomy, Solving Your Painful Heavy Bleeding Without Major Surgery. I want to talk with you today about hysterectomy, the partial or total removal of your reproductive organs. Your uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, and sometimes your ovaries.

Every year some six-hundred and fifty thousand American women undergo hysterectomy for noncancerous conditions, such as fibroids and endometriosis. By age sixty, a third of women in the United States will have undergone the procedure. For some women, hysterectomy can be a godsend. But what if I were to tell you that there’s a better way? What if you could solve your painful heavy periods without a hysterectomy? Well, you can. If you want to, of course. The decision to have a hysterectomy is deeply personal and only you know what’s right for you. But, did you know there are at least ten medical and surgical alternatives to hysterectomy nowadays? Things like hormone therapy, ablation, myomectomy, uterine artery embolization, and focused ultrasound. Thanks to an explosion in high technology, hysterectomy is not your only option. Even if you choose a hysterectomy, there are high-tech ways of doing it nowadays that will have you up and around the same day.


How can you access some of these procedures? By doing your homework, learning everything you can about minimally invasive alternatives to hysterectomy and finding a doctor who can perform them. That’s what I did and now I’m pain-free and period-free with all of my reproductive organs intact. Please know that although I’m not a doctor, I am a journalist. Every word in my book has been thoroughly researched and approved by my own gynecologist, renowned surgeon, Doctor Sony Sing. So you know the information is medically accurate and up to date. I guarantee that after reading my book and hearing stories from other women just like you, as well as advice from expert gynecologists, you’ll feel better and more hopeful than you have in a really long time. Just imagine how you’ll feel when all that bleeding just stops. Thanks for being with me today and I do hope you order a copy of my book at unhysterectomy.com. Take care.

Post Transcription:

For more information about The UnHysterectomy, please visit www.unhysterectomy.com Please consult with your health care provider before beginning any course of treatment. Holly bridges, her heirs, administrators, successors, agents and assigns, cannot be held liable for injury or damages resulting from use of the information provided herein.

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Why is minimally invasive surgery better for women with fibroids, endometriosis or heavy periods? http://unhysterectomy.com/why-is-minimally-invasive-surgery-better-for-women/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=why-is-minimally-invasive-surgery-better-for-women http://unhysterectomy.com/why-is-minimally-invasive-surgery-better-for-women/#comments Sat, 03 Nov 2012 01:00:32 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=1671 DR. SONY SINGH BSC, MD, FRCSC, OB-GYN Director, Minimally Invasive Gynecology, Shirley E. Greenberg Women’s Health Centre, The Ottawa Hospital Executive Director of the Canadian Society for Minimally Invasive Gynecology Medical editor and advisor, The UnHysterectomy: Solving Your Painful, Heavy Bleeding Without Major Surgery

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DR. SONY SINGH BSC, MD, FRCSC, OB-GYN
Director, Minimally Invasive Gynecology, Shirley E. Greenberg Women’s Health Centre, The Ottawa Hospital
Executive Director of the Canadian Society for Minimally Invasive Gynecology
Medical editor and advisor, The UnHysterectomy: Solving Your Painful, Heavy Bleeding Without Major Surgery

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What is a Hysterectomy? Hysterectomy explained http://unhysterectomy.com/what-is-a-hysterectomy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=what-is-a-hysterectomy http://unhysterectomy.com/what-is-a-hysterectomy/#comments Sat, 03 Nov 2012 00:59:10 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=1670 Abdominal, vaginal and laparoscopic Hysterectomy is the most common major surgery performed on North American women, second only to cesarean section. It is the complete or partial removal of the uterus, cervix, Fallopian tubes and ovaries. Every year, 650,000 American women undergo hysterectomy, mostly for non-malignant conditions such as fibroids and endometriosis. Despite guidelines encouraging [...]

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Abdominal, vaginal and laparoscopic

Hysterectomy is the most common major surgery performed on North American women, second only to cesarean section. It is the complete or partial removal of the uterus, cervix, Fallopian tubes and ovaries. Every year, 650,000 American women undergo hysterectomy, mostly for non-malignant conditions such as fibroids and endometriosis.

Despite guidelines encouraging gynecologists to perform the surgery either laparoscopically or vaginally, up to 60 percent of all hysterectomies continue to be performed through deep, invasive abdominal cuts.

If you suffer from heavy periods, caused by fibroids, endometriosis or other non-malignant gynecological conditions, you may be told you need a hysterectomy. Talk to your doctor about the complete range of options open to you to solve your heavy periods.

To learn more about solving your heavy periods without major surgery, order a copy of my new book, The UNHysterectomy. Solving Your Painful, Heavy Bleeding Without Major Surgery. Written by a woman for a women, supervised and edited by a gynecologist.

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UnHysterectomy Radio: Hysterectomy and sex with Dr. Trina Read http://unhysterectomy.com/hysterectomy-and-sex-with-dr-trina-read/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=hysterectomy-and-sex-with-dr-trina-read http://unhysterectomy.com/hysterectomy-and-sex-with-dr-trina-read/#comments Sat, 03 Nov 2012 00:38:19 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=1667

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NEWS RELEASE Hysterectomy Hysteria http://unhysterectomy.com/hysterectomy-hysteria-too-many-us-women-undergoing-unnecessary-surgery-for-benign-conditions/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=hysterectomy-hysteria-too-many-us-women-undergoing-unnecessary-surgery-for-benign-conditions http://unhysterectomy.com/hysterectomy-hysteria-too-many-us-women-undergoing-unnecessary-surgery-for-benign-conditions/#comments Wed, 24 Oct 2012 23:06:21 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=1538 Too many US women undergoing unnecessary surgery for benign conditions Despite an explosion in high tech procedures that could reduce risk and increase patient safety, most American women still undergo hysterectomy for their heavy, painful menstrual bleeding, a potentially life-threatening condition that affects one in four women worldwide and is the leading cause of hysterectomy. [...]

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Too many US women undergoing unnecessary surgery for benign conditions

Despite an explosion in high tech procedures that could reduce risk and increase patient safety, most American women still undergo hysterectomy for their heavy, painful menstrual bleeding, a potentially life-threatening condition that affects one in four women worldwide and is the leading cause of hysterectomy.

Hysterectomy is the second most common major surgery performed on American women, second only to Cesarean section. Every year, some 650,000 women undergo the procedure for heavy bleeding caused by benign conditions such as uterine fibroids, polyps, cysts and endometriosis.

The main cause of hysterectomy, heavy menstrual bleeding, costs American women billions of dollars a year in lost wages, productivity and personal supplies; anywhere from 60 to 80 percent are medically unnecessary, says Holly Bridges, patient advocate, author and broadcaster.

In her new book, The UnHysterectomy, Bridges reveals why so many American women continue to be prescribed outdated invasive, major surgery to end their bleeding despite at least 10 medical and surgical alternatives that could solve their problem and spare their reproductive organs. Even though some of these procedures can be performed in as little as 90 seconds, many Canadian hospitals refuse to offer them or impose quotas that leave women to bleed once the quotas are reached.

Bridges’ book is based on exhaustive research and interviews with world-renowned experts in the field of minimally invasive gynecology, including such experts as Dr. Jennifer Ashton, gynecologist and medical contributor to The Dr. Oz Show. Every word of the book has been reviewed by renowned gynecologist Dr. Sony Singh, who specializes in the removal of deep, infiltrative tissue caused by endometriosis.

“These procedures are available, but the majority of women are not aware, or not being told about them for a variety of reasons,” says Bridges, who avoided a hysterectomy five years ago by searching for a gynecologist who could solve her bleeding without removing her uterus. “Sadly, doctors will only prescribe the surgeries they feel most comfortable performing, which in the majority of cases is still hysterectomy. And that’s just not right.”

The UnHysterectomy describes “the perfect storm” that is denying women access to high tech procedures such as endometrial ablations, laparoscopic myomectomy and uterine artery embolization.

“When the medical system fails to advocate on behalf of patients, it takes a special individual like Holly to spark change,” says Dr. Singh. “I believe her efforts to raise awareness through her book and social media campaign will lead to a national discussion that will empower patients and make physicians more accountable.”

The UNHysterectomy contains interviews with women who have suffered from the ravages of heavy menstrual bleeding, as well as trailblazing gynecologists (who specialize in minimally invasive gynecology) from across Canada and the United States.

Since starting her public awareness campaign on Facebook, www.facebook.com/unhysterectomy, Bridges is now communicating with women from across North America and around the world to help them make more informed choices over how to cope with their pain, discomfort and sometimes life-threatening anemia.

“I am not a doctor, just a woman and a mother who believes women have the right to make the most informed choice possible over hysterectomy. The UnHysterectomy will help them do that.”

About Hysterectomy

Hysterectomy is the complete or partial removal of the uterus, and sometimes ovaries, cervix and Fallopian tubes. Some 650,000 American women undergo hysterectomy every year despite the availability of less invasive, high tech alternatives. Approximately 60 percent of all hysterectomies being done in the US still involve making deep, abdominal cuts despite the availability of keyhole, laparoscopic approaches. Most hysterectomies are performed for fibroids, benign tumours that grown on or in the uterus. In contrast, minimally invasive gynecological surgery requires fewer incisions, carries a lower risk of organ perforation, requires little or no anesthetic and leads to faster, less painful recovery with lower risk of postoperative infection or complications.

About Holly Bridges

Holly Bridges is a former national radio and TV journalist with 30 years’ experience in journalism and communications. After being diagnosed with fibroids in 2007 (the leading cause of abnormal uterine bleeding), and being told hysterectomy was her only option, Bridges sought a second opinion from Dr. Singh. In 2008, she underwent two of the most sophisticated high-tech procedures available in the world today – a hysteroscopic myomectomy and a hysteroscopic endometrial ablation.

The UnHysterectomy: Solving Your Painful, Heavy Bleeding Without Major Surgery, is her first book. Click here to learn more and read an excerpt.

For interviews or more information, contact:

Holly Bridges
holly@hollybridgescommunications.ca
613.863.0545.

Women can join the discussion at www.facebook.com/unhysterectomy and www.twitter.con/unhysterectomy.

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Order The UnHysterectomy now! http://unhysterectomy.com/order-the-unhysterectomy-now/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=order-the-unhysterectomy-now http://unhysterectomy.com/order-the-unhysterectomy-now/#comments Wed, 24 Oct 2012 22:36:45 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=1511 $29.95 plus free shipping. Start healing now. Click here to order

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$29.95 plus free shipping. Start healing now.

Click here to order

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“Dresser After Dark” – Hear my interview! http://unhysterectomy.com/live-tonight-at-817-p-m-et-dresser-after-dark/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=live-tonight-at-817-p-m-et-dresser-after-dark http://unhysterectomy.com/live-tonight-at-817-p-m-et-dresser-after-dark/#comments Wed, 24 Oct 2012 22:24:34 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=1505 Listen to my interview with Michael Dresser of “Dresser After Dark” by downloading the MP3 File.  

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Listen to my interview with Michael Dresser of “Dresser After Dark” by downloading the MP3 File.

 

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Meet Dr. Sony Singh, The UnHysterectomy’s medical advisor http://unhysterectomy.com/meet-dr-sony-singh-the-unhysterectomys-medical-advisor/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=meet-dr-sony-singh-the-unhysterectomys-medical-advisor http://unhysterectomy.com/meet-dr-sony-singh-the-unhysterectomys-medical-advisor/#comments Mon, 24 Sep 2012 11:58:03 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=1369 Dr. Sony S. Singh is the Director of Minimally Invasive Gynecology at the Shirley E. Greenberg Women’s Health Centre at The Ottawa Hospital. He is also an Assistant Professor with the University of Ottawa Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. After completing his medical and residency training at the University of Western Ontario in 2005, he [...]

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DrSingh-croppedDr. Sony S. Singh is the Director of Minimally Invasive Gynecology at the Shirley E. Greenberg Women’s Health Centre at The Ottawa Hospital. He is also an Assistant Professor with the University of Ottawa Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

After completing his medical and residency training at the University of Western Ontario in 2005, he completed fellowships in advanced pelvic surgery at the University of Toronto and the University of Sydney from 2005 to 2007. Dr. Singh is the Executive Director of the Canadian Society of Minimally Invasive Gynecology.

Dr. Singh is known for his surgical expertise in treating deep infiltrative endometriosis through minimally invasive means and is one of the leading experts in laparoscopic (keyhole) hysterectomy.

He also specializes in minimally invasive alternatives to hysterectomy, such as hysteroscopic and laparoscopic myomectomy and hysteroscopic endometrial ablation. Dr. Singh has been instrumental in developing new guidelines for the treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding (heavy periods) and endometriosis for the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada.

 

 

 

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Five ways to solve your heavy periods http://unhysterectomy.com/five-ways-to-avoid-a-hysterectomy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=five-ways-to-avoid-a-hysterectomy http://unhysterectomy.com/five-ways-to-avoid-a-hysterectomy/#comments Mon, 24 Sep 2012 01:36:02 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=42 Facing a hysterectomy for your heavy period? Do you have fibroids or endometriosis? Hysterectomy is not your only option. Women who want to avoid a hysterectomy should talk to their doctors about these medical and surgical alternatives: 1. Watchful waiting until menopause. 2. Tranexamic acid tablets, also known as Cyklokapron, which can reduce heavy periods. [...]

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Facing a hysterectomy for your heavy period? Do you have fibroids or endometriosis?

Hysterectomy is not your only option.

Women who want to avoid a hysterectomy should talk to their doctors about these medical and surgical alternatives:

1. Watchful waiting until menopause.

2. Tranexamic acid tablets, also known as Cyklokapron, which can reduce heavy periods.

3. A levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine device, known as the Mirena, which lasts for five years, and can reduce heavy periods.

4. Endometrial ablations. Office-based, or operating-room-based, ablations char the lining ofyour uterus and can reduce or stop your heavy period altogether. One type, known mostly by its brand name NovaSure, takes only 90 seconds and is done under local anaesthetic on an outpatient basis.

5. Hysteroscopic or laparoscopic myomectomy. Gynaecologists remove only the tissue that causes heavy periods such as fibroids, or endometriosis, and leave the uterus intact. There are no incisions.

Fertility is an issue for some of these procedures so best to ask your doctor.

Holly Bridges, who suffered from extremely heavy periods due to fibroids had a hysteroscopic myomectomy and hysteroscopic ablation for her heavy periods, has written a book about minimally invasive alternatives to hysterectomy called The UNHysterectomy: Solving Your Painful Heavy Bleeding Without Major Surgery.

Inside, you will discover 10 medical and surgical alternatives to hysterectomy that will solve your heavy periods. A heavy period can be devastating and exhausting, but there are treatment options.

Order the book today!

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Dr. Sony Singh, The Ottawa Hospital http://unhysterectomy.com/dr-sony-singh-minimally-invasive-surgical-suite-the-ottawa-hospital/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dr-sony-singh-minimally-invasive-surgical-suite-the-ottawa-hospital http://unhysterectomy.com/dr-sony-singh-minimally-invasive-surgical-suite-the-ottawa-hospital/#comments Sun, 16 Sep 2012 18:02:29 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=884 Minimally Invasive Surgical Suite, The Ottawa Hospital DR. SONY SINGH BSC, MD, FRCSC, OB-GYN Director, Minimally Invasive Gynecology, Shirley E. Greenberg Women’s Health Centre, The Ottawa Hospital Executive Director of the Canadian Society for Minimally Invasive Gynecology Medical Editor and Advisor, The UNHysterectomy: Solving Your Painful, Heavy Bleeding Without Major Surgery

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Minimally Invasive Surgical Suite, The Ottawa Hospital

DR. SONY SINGH BSC, MD, FRCSC, OB-GYN
Director, Minimally Invasive Gynecology, Shirley E. Greenberg Women’s Health Centre, The Ottawa Hospital
Executive Director of the Canadian Society for Minimally Invasive Gynecology
Medical Editor and Advisor, The UNHysterectomy: Solving Your Painful, Heavy Bleeding Without Major Surgery

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Heavy periods & sex: can your clitoris save the day? http://unhysterectomy.com/does-your-clitoris-have-legs/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=does-your-clitoris-have-legs http://unhysterectomy.com/does-your-clitoris-have-legs/#comments Mon, 10 Sep 2012 02:21:23 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=1220 Now that I have your attention, I want to talk about sex.  Great sex and how to have it. According to the latest research, the number one fear women have going into a hysterectomy is how it will affect their sex lives.  And their worries are legitimate. The thought of removing our uterus — one [...]

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Now that I have your attention, I want to talk about sex.  Great sex and how to have it.

According to the latest research, the number one fear women have going into a hysterectomy is how it will affect their sex lives.  And their worries are legitimate.

The thought of removing our uterus — one of the many parts of our bodies that contribute to sexual pleasure (aside from our brain, of course) – is scary, especially if you enjoy the deep rippling undulations of uterine orgasm.

But here’s the good news.  Even if you’ve had, or are contemplating, a hysterectomy, it doesn’t mean you’re suddenly going to shrivel up and die.  You still have a clitoris, or as my daughter’s middle school teacher used to say, “Your pleasure centre.”

Yes, I discovered while researching The UnHysterectomy, there is a distinct lack of research out there on how hysterectomy affects sexual function, and whether or not vital ligaments and tendons are severed during the procedure, but there isn’t a hysterectomy on this planet that will remove your clitoris.  (There is female genital mutilation, which is another story altogether for another day).

Even women who have their uterus, cervix, Fallopian tubes and ovaries removed during a hysterectomy, will still, in theory, be able to enjoy sex and climax clitorally. (Order the US/International edition of my book in October for more on that highly-debated subject.  Some women report no change in their sexual pleasure post-hysterectomy while others are dead in the water, having no sex or orgasms at all).

But how is this possible?  Because the clitoris is a marvellous little devil with thousands of microscopic nerve endings whose sole purpose in life is to make us see God (or at least have fun trying).

One of the sex experts I interviewed for the US/International edition of The UNHysterectomy is Dr. Jessica O’Reilly, a sexologist, relationship expert, and television personality who travels the globe to promote healthy and pleasurable sex; she has a PhD in human sexuality and has counseled more than 1,200 couples to improve communication, enhance trust, overcome sexual challenges, and keep the sexual flame burning in long-term relationships. Her doctoral research focused on teacher training in sexual health education. Dr. Jess is also the author Hot Sex Tips, Tricks, and Licks: Sizzling Touch and Tongue Techniques for Amazing Orgasms (Quiver, 2013) and host of the Playboy TV reality show Swing.

Wow, can you say “qualified?”

Dr. Jess really opened my eyes when she explained just how sensitive our clitorises are. Here is an excerpt from our conversation …

“The clitoris is such an interesting organ. If you put a picture up of it, its legs and its bulbs, especially in an aroused state, actually wrap around the vaginal wall.

“This is another piece of really serious misinformation out there where we consider the clitoris — the little pea-sized bump at the top of the labia — is just a piece of the clitoris. That is just the head of the clitoris. That would be like ignoring the shaft of the penis and only paying attention to the head, or calling the head “the penis….”

Interesting, isn’t it?

If great sex is important to you, and you’re worried about the possible implications of having a hysterectomy, talk to your doctor or health care provider … do your homework … ask questions … talk to other women who have had hysterectomies … and most of all, talk to your partner.

Intimacy between couples is one of the biggest turn-ons in the bedroom, and nothing builds intimacy like sharing our deepest, darkest thoughts and concerns.  Sometimes just talking about sex leads to sex … and if women didn’t give a hoot about having toe-curling sex, 50 Shades of Grey author E L James wouldn’t be bathing in liquid gold while the rest of us poor sods are too busy not having a bath because supper needs making … the kids need picking up … and oh yes, we have to go to work.

I am now taking pre-orders for the US/International edition of my book, The UnHysterectomy: Solving Your Painful, Heavy Bleeding Without Major Surgery, which includes an entire chapter on sex, “The XXX Factor: Hysterectomy and Sex.”

Drop me a line at holly@unhysterectomy.com to place your pre-order today.

Photo courtesty of: The Museum of Sex. Ms. M.

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Holly speaks with host Shelley McLean on CFRA http://unhysterectomy.com/holly-speaks-with-host-shelley-mclean-on-cfra/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=holly-speaks-with-host-shelley-mclean-on-cfra http://unhysterectomy.com/holly-speaks-with-host-shelley-mclean-on-cfra/#comments Sun, 26 Aug 2012 22:16:44 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=1129  

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Click here to listen NOW!

 

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Heather’s story: Why am I having such heavy periods? http://unhysterectomy.com/whyamihavingsuchheavyperiods/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=whyamihavingsuchheavyperiods http://unhysterectomy.com/whyamihavingsuchheavyperiods/#comments Fri, 17 Aug 2012 14:18:27 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=1098 My name is Heather, I’m 32 years old, I have no children and have never been pregnant. Though mothering is definitely on my life’s “to-do” list. About three years ago I bled for six months. My doctors could find nothing abnormal, and had no explanation for it whatsoever.  Maybe I had PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), but from [...]

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My name is Heather, I’m 32 years old, I have no children and have never been pregnant. Though mothering is definitely on my life’s “to-do” list.

About three years ago I bled for six months. My doctors could find nothing abnormal, and had no explanation for it whatsoever.  Maybe I had PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), but from my test results it didn’t seem likely.  My hormone levels were all normal, including my thyroid. There were no cysts, there was nothing wrong with my uterus, they saw no cause whatsoever for the bleeding. I then had a biopsy done and it came back normal too. Which is wonderful, but why couldn’t I stop bleeding?

Medication

I went through several different kinds of medications in an attempt to stop the bleeding. Sites like drugnews.net show side effects of birth control drugs if you are curious to see if yours has side effects.

The worst was an entire month’s worth of birth control pills administered in large dosages over the course of three days – that did nothing to even slow the bleeding, but did make me constantly nauseated, which can be a common yasmin side effect.

I missed several days of work due to the amount of blood I was losing and the ill effects of my unsuccessful “treatments”. My (then) doctor’s next brilliant idea was to perform a D & C (dilation and curettage) to “clean out” my uterus.

Unfortunately, my health insurance at the time was terrible and I would have to pay a co-pay of $5000.00 to have it done. So I was resigned to my fate — that I was apparently just going to bleed to death. From my vagina …

Natural remedies

Luckily, the bleeding finally stopped after I researched online to find some “natural” remedies. I was taking a concoction of roots and berries and everything else I could find in hopes that a natural way would be the answer. I don’t know if that is what finally stopped my bleeding, but eventually it did stop. The herbs did not however, fix my irregular menstrual cycle.

Over the course of the past three years I’ve been on a menstrual rollercoaster. There’s no rhyme or reason to my periods – there’s no predicting them. The first year, following the six months of abnormal uterine bleeding, I had a light period every few months. Then they started to get heavier and more painful. It wasn’t unusual for me not to have one for up to six months at a time. Then the following one would be so awful I couldn’t get out of bed. I tried more herbs, some creams, birth control pills, exercise, yoga…but nothing regulated my cycles.

Erratic cycle

Sometimes I’d just spot for an entire month. Sometimes I’d bleed heavily for two or three weeks. Sometimes I’d bleed for a day, skip a few days, then bleed some more. Over the past few months they have been slightly more predictable – occurring about every three months or so – give or take a month. They lasted anywhere from a week to four weeks and were accompanied not only by extreme cramps but also migraine headaches.

Bleeding for 56 days

On June 22nd of this year, I had been spotting for a few days and found myself at work sitting in a pool of blood. Without any warning, it just started gushing. Humiliated and in terrible pain, I was sent home.

The bleeding hasn’t stopped. I have been bleeding heavily now for 56 days. I am anemic and on medical leave from work because I can’t walk without soiling my clothes. I am on bed rest. This time is far worse than the last time, and I was pretty certain it was the worst thing that had ever happened in my life THEN. Now I feel like I’m disabled. I can’t even leave the house.

My doctor – God bless her – is far better than the last one I had. We did more blood tests – everything is again normal, normal, normal! Except that I’m anemic. That’s not normal. This time however, my intra-vaginal ultrasound revealed that my uterus is enlarged and that the uterine lining – despite two months of heavy bleeding – is still twice the size it should be.

Provera

My doctor put me on Provera - which is Medroxyprogesterone, which is used for irregular vaginal bleeding. The bleeding slowed some while I was on the 10-day cycle of Provera – but didn’t even come close to stopping. And to add more excitement – it was accompanied by severe cramping and more migraine headaches. I took my last dose of Provera last Monday and by Tuesday the bleeding was back with a vengeance. It has been steadily increasing since – as have the amounts of blood clots I’m expelling. Which – for those who might not know – feel like constant little mini labor pains when they are on their way out.

Back to the doctor I go… I’m scheduled to have a D & C next Wednesday along with a uterine biopsy and hysteroscopy. But in the meantime, I can either lie in bed and bleed … or take more Provera and lie in bed with slightly less bleeding … but with more cramps and migraines. Decisions, decisions…

No diagnosis
The part of this that annoys me the most is that NO ONE can figure out why I won’t stop bleeding! My rebellious uterus laughs in the face of their synthetic hormones. And in an act of even more defiance – my uterus is tilted, making access to my cervix extremely painful. My uterus is so sore, I can’t wear tampons anymore. I hope this surgery next week provides some answers and relief from this bleeding.

People have no idea what this is like. It’s debilitating, humiliating, painful and uncontrollable – and it could all quite possibly end in some doctor telling me that the only way to stop it is to remove my internal lady parts – and with them, my hopes of ever having my own children.

 

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10 things your doctor may not tell you about hysterectomy http://unhysterectomy.com/10-things-your-doctor-may-not-tell-you-about-hysterectomy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=10-things-your-doctor-may-not-tell-you-about-hysterectomy http://unhysterectomy.com/10-things-your-doctor-may-not-tell-you-about-hysterectomy/#comments Wed, 15 Aug 2012 23:19:03 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=1073 A lot of women ask me why I decided to write my new book, The UNHysterectomy. Solving Your Painful, Heavy Bleeding Without Major Surgery, which I published in April. My answer to that is simple: because I had to! After being diagnosed with severe uterine fibroids in 2006, and being told I needed a hysterectomy [...]

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A lot of women ask me why I decided to write my new book, The UNHysterectomy. Solving Your Painful, Heavy Bleeding Without Major Surgery, which I published in April.

My answer to that is simple: because I had to!

After being diagnosed with severe uterine fibroids in 2006, and being told I needed a hysterectomy to solve my extremely heavy periods, I set about trying to gather as much information as I could before making my final decision. And I have to tell you, what I learned is just too important – and shocking – to keep to myself!

Raw deal

In a nutshell, women are getting a raw deal when it comes to their reproductive health. Every day in the United States, Canada and around the world, women are being prescribed hysterectomy to solve a variety of non-cancerous conditions including fibroids, polyps, cysts, endometriosis and adenomyosis when there are at least 10 less invasive medical and surgical alternatives, not to mention natural therapies.

Yes, many women choose hysterectomies because they have tried everything else and simply want their suffering to end. I get that; however, for those women are still on the journey, there is a distinct lack of information being given to women and this just simply has to stop.

In a nutshell, here are 10 things your doctor may not tell you about hysterectomy that you absolutely must know in order to make the most informed decision possible over the course of treatment that is right for you.

10 things ….

  1. Hysterectomy is the most common major medical procedure performed on American women, second only to cesarean section. Although numbers are declining, every year, some 700,000 North American women undergo the procedure – and here is the most shocking thing of all – between 60 to 80 per cent are medically unnecessary and are performed for benign, non-cancerous conditions that could be treated through less invasive procedures.
  2. Despite an explosion in high tech procedures that could increase patient safety and decrease healthcare spending, most women still undergo hysterectomy as the standard of care for the treatment of heavy periods, also known as Heavy Menstrual Bleeding (the new clinical term for menstrual bleeding that affects your physical, mental, emotional and financial quality of life).
  3. There are at least 10 minimally invasive alternatives to hysterectomy that are available nowadays that many doctors are simply not telling their patients about – things like hysteroscopic endometrial ablation, hysteroscopic myomectomy, uterine artery embolization, MRI-guided focused ultrasound, a hormone-releasing IUD, hormone therapy, and natural therapies, among others. Why? Sadly, many doctors will only prescribe the procedures they personally perform, rather than referring their patients to more qualified specialists.
  4. Some of these procedures, such as ablations, can now be done on either in an operating room or on an outpatient basis in special minimally invasive surgical suites; some take as little as 90 seconds and require no anaesthetic!
  5. In some countries, hospitals must pay for some of these procedures out of their overall operating budgets, which means gynecologists have to compete against oncologists and cardiologists for the same pot of money. This leads many hospitals to either not offer the procedures at all, or ration them annually! Once their quotas are filled, women are left to bleed and go back on the waiting list until the next year – all unbeknownst to the women on the waiting list.
  6. Many gynecologists where I live in Canada earn more to remove a uterus than to leave one in.
  7. Gynecologists get pressure from their hospital administrators for performing less invasive surgeries than hysterectomies because they tie up operating rooms longer.
  8. Despite national surgical guidelines encouraging gynecologists to perform hysterectomies vaginally or with the assistance of laparoscopes, between 55 and 70 per cent of all hysterectomies in North America are still being done through painful, open incisions, thereby increasing the risk of bladder and blowel perforation and post-operative infection, not to mention causing a six-week recovery time.
  9. Rural women have a higher hysterectomy rate than national averages! Variations in hysterectomy rates have nothing to do with how well or unwell women are – they have to do with the skill set of the gynecologist prescribing the treatment. It’s called “Who you see is what you get syndrome.” And it’s a worldwide phenomenon.
  10. You have the right to insist on the least invasive, most cost-effective, safest procedure possible to treat your Heavy Menstrual Bleeding. You are under no obligation to take the first procedure that is offered to you. If it means firing your doctor, and shopping for another doctor who specializes in less invasive surgery, then so be it!

How to access less painful, less invasive surgery

  1. Insist on receiving the least invasive treatment available, whether you choose to have a hysterectomy or not.
  2. Fire your doctor if you have to and move on to the next one until you get what you need.
  3. Insist on mitigating treatments that will control your bleeding while you shop around.
  4. Pass the word to every woman you know that minimally invasive gynecology should be the standard of care for women, not the exception. It was only when women with breast cancer started demanding an end to mastectomies that we started seeing more lumpectomies and the birth of the pink ribbon campaign.
  5. So far, women have been silent on the issue of unnecessary hysterectomy and the time has come to make some noise about the range of options that are available to us.
  6. We need to start talking about periods more openly. If we can advertise Viagra on the Super Bowl, we can talk about heavy periods, too.

If you or someone you know and love is suffering from the ravages of abnormal uterine bleeding every month, there is help available. You do have options.

With my hand over my heart, I can honestly say that everything you need to know is spelled out in my book, chapter by chapter. And every word is medically accurate as it was edited by my own gynecologist, Dr. Sony Singh, a renowned surgeon at The Ottawa Hospital.

Remember gals– it’s all about options.

 

THE AMERICAN EDITION OF THE UNHYSTERECTOMY IS COMING SOON!

 
Photo courtesy of Maura Fermariello/Science Photo Library

 

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Sarah’s story http://unhysterectomy.com/how-it-all-started/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-it-all-started http://unhysterectomy.com/how-it-all-started/#comments Wed, 15 Aug 2012 04:07:34 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=827 How it all started… My journey started in college, right around my 21st birthday, when I would be in college lectures and could not read the powerpoint presentations. My world was a complete blur. I had always had perfect vision. I have a petite, athletic build and was losing weight (barely 90 pounds at diagnosis), [...]

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How it all started…

My journey started in college, right around my 21st birthday, when I would be in college lectures and could not read the powerpoint presentations. My world was a complete blur. I had always had perfect vision. I have a petite, athletic build and was losing weight (barely 90 pounds at diagnosis), while I was eating and drinking constantly. I could eat an entire pizza, half a pan of brownies and drink a gallon of water and still had an intense thirst and hunger. This was not my normal diet. My roommates could not believe how much I was consuming and told me I was going to go broke buying groceries. My mouth was very dry and I felt dehydrated. I was always looking for the nearest restroom, having to visit every five minutes. I was taking health classes and knew these were symptoms of diabetes. I decided to go to student health services to be tested. I was looked at like I was crazy and was told I needed to meet with a nutritionist. I was thought to have an eating disorder.

After going another several days of being lethargic and fatigued, I asked to have labs drawn. I was in complete shock when the labs came back and didn’t ever think I would be told that I had a disease that I would have to manage and control for the rest of my life. I was always very healthy, never got sick and had an amazing metabolism and could eat whatever I wanted without worrying about gaining weight. Exercise had always been a part of my daily routine and I consumed healthy food choices. My fasting blood sugar came back at 575mg/dL. I was immediately admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and started on insulin. Type 1 Diabetes cannot be prevented. There is nothing a person can do “wrong” to provoke the body to develop Type 1. This type is much more severe and only accounts for five to 10 percent of all diabetics. It’s caused when the insulin producing cells in the pancreas are destroyed by an autoimmune response that is unknown. We are usually not overweight or unhealthy and know how to handle the disease with multiple daily injections and finger sticks. I knew from this day forward that my life would never be the same and it was going to take lots of hard work and making needles my best friend to manage this disease. I knew this was something I could do. I also thought this would be the only medical condition I would have to worry about, if I had tight control of my sugars. Starting off on multiple insulin injections per day worked well in the beginning but I always struggled with the metabolism of my long acting insulin over the years, with experiencing multiple hypoglycemic events (low blood sugar) during the night. I began to not recognize these events and was not waking up in the morning. I came close many times to being a victim of dead in bed syndrome. My husband had numerous scary mornings sitting by my side, trying to wake me up. I then found a new care provider for my diabetes, she made a world of difference in my care and also has Type 1 Diabetes and an insulin pump and can relate to the daily diabetes struggles.

In April 2011, I made the decision to manage my diabetes with an insulin pump and thought this would be an end to my scary health conditions. As I approached my 30th birthday last November, I was faced with something even more difficult to deal with.


March 2012

It had been 10 weeks since my surgery and I still had not had a period. My cycle was always regular and this led me to believe that I developed a complication from the surgery. I was having burning, stabbing, pulling sensations near my groin area. Scarring or developing adhesions was my biggest fear going into surgery and I made my RE very aware of this and it was the last thing I discussed with her before I was transported into the operating room.

I knew my history of developing thick scars on the outside of my body and the family history of my father and grandfather developing keloid scars after their heart surgeries. Another SHG was performed and the arrival of devastating news. My entire uterine cavity was either obliterated or completely scarred shut. I was not having a period because the blood was not able to escape. I was told I had intrauterine adhesions, that it should be no big deal and I would have no problems getting pregnant. I would now need another surgery. The sadness and depression came back and I could not believe my biggest fear was haunting me. I felt misinformed and did my research to find out that severe intrauterine adhesions are called Asherman’s Syndrome(AS). AS is an acquired uterine condition characterized by the formation of adhesions or scar tissue inside the uterus.
In my case the front and back walls were completely stuck or fused together by very dense, tough adhesions.  My husband and I decided to leave our worries behind and take a vacation to Mexico to relax on the beach before surgery #2.


April 2012

On April 16, 2012 I made another visit to the operating table. I would have to say I was even more nervous going into this surgery. I knew the first chance at successful removal would give me the best chance at opening the cavity and if not could make things even worse. I understood from my own reading how difficult AS is to treat with success and later learned from another RE, that out of all medical conditions it is one of the toughest to treat and correct. My RE has the best bedside manner that I could ask for and stood by my side holding my hand and rubbing my shoulder in the pre-op and in the OR. She has been through multiple surgeries herself and understands my feelings. I feel very comfortable with her by my side.

A hysteroscopy was started and it was determined that the scarring was severe and a perforation was made to my uterus and laparoscopy was then performed. I again felt very ill after the surgery and developed a large amount of ketones. This time I had nausea, felt dehydrated and began vomiting multiple times. Throwing up after having abdominal surgery is not comfortable. The nurses took away my water because I was vomiting excessively. I was vomiting because I was going into DKA and needed to be hydrated and knew to drink water to try to flush the ketones from my body. The symptoms of DKA are awful and more than scary. I had a catheter placed in my uterus for 1 week to hold things open during healing and I was on hormone therapy for 28 days to build my lining. Just 2 days after my catheter was removed, I started to experience the same stabbing, burning, pulling sensations and this worried me. I knew exactly what was happening, the adhesions were reforming. I waited out the hormone therapy and was off work for another week.


May 2012

It had been four weeks since surgery #2 and I had signed up for the Fargo 10k race during my recovery in January. I thought I’d be more than ready to run by this point. I was trying to let my body heal correctly and ran a total of four times before the race. I had just finished my hormone therapy and could tell I should be getting my period. The day of the race I felt great but made sure not to push myself and was happy with my finish. I wanted to see a flow of blood more than anything and wish I would have had it running down my leg by the time I crossed the finish in the dome. My period did not return and back for another SHG I went.

I knew the news that I might encounter and as soon as I walked through the doors of the RE office, I began to shed tears. Just sitting in the waiting room brings me a feeling of unease. An RE that was finishing his fellowship was performing my SHG that day. SHG’s are never fun but I’m so used to them by this point. I was told to get dressed and that he would discuss the findings with me in a room with my husband. He was very honest and straightforward with us, something we have always wanted. It has been so hard getting bad news when we were always given so much hope for my case. He explained that my AS case was severe and that he wasn’t sure if it could ever be corrected. My uterine cavity was scarred shut again. They had never seen this happen in my particular situation. REs at the top hospital in the United States have not seen this occur. How could this be happening to me? Could any good come out of this?

I didn’t know how many more surgeries I could put my body through but knew I wanted to experience a pregnancy more than anything in the world. How safe were future attempts in the operating room? I knew I needed to rely on hope and more than anything besides pregnancy, I needed to focus on my health and relieving me from the pain and avoiding other health issues that can arise, including fibroids coming back, endometriosis and endometrial cancer. I knew another surgery would be my next step.


June 2012

It’s a beautiful summer. I should be enjoying the sunshine and warm weather. Summer is my favorite time of year. I love to spend time in our boat, run, bike, garden and camp. I am usually a loving, caring person with a strong faith, instead my life feels so unhappy and at times I doubt God and His plan for me.

My journey through infertility has been a long, emotional and financial rollercoaster. It has brought me to the lowest parts in my life, all I can think about is my struggles. I feel isolated, segregated and ignored. Loneliness has been one of my constant companions. It is hard to convey the devastation, frustration and heartache that permeate me each day. Everywhere I look something reminds me of not being able to carry a child. It feels like a deep pain or spasm in my core to see a pregnant woman, a baby or hearing of pregnancy. Pregnancy has become an epidemic. I guess if you don’t want kids or have not had them, especially if you don’t plan them or get pregnant easily, you don’t have any concept of what it’s like to wait to become pregnant, while enduring the pain of many tests and surgeries and having an ache to be able to experience childbirth. How can you know what it’s like to feel broken? To feel useless to your husband and parents because you cannot fulfill their needs. To have to force the hideous thought that you may never be able to carry a child.

For most people whose lives have not been touched by infertility, they don’t understand or even appreciate the absolute pain of being told you’re NEVER going to have a baby. Some cry with you, others listen and seem to understand, while some suggest to “move on” and accept the fact you’ll NEVER have a baby. I appreciate the friends that have cried with me and can see and feel my hurt and to those of you that check in with me to see how I’m doing and are ready to listen with the latest news and to my best friend, who always reminds me to keep my faith alive. The others that don’t seem to care, your lives are just too easy and you need to learn compassion for others. I am fully aware that there are other options of adoption and gestational carrier and don’t need to be reminded of these. I am thankful to have met women in my infertility support group and from the AS community that are experiencing or have had the same feelings and know exactly what I’m going through. These people know the true pain.

I tell myself I was named after the right woman in the Bible. Sarah was barren. Sarah and Abraham’s story reminds me that God is the giver of life and he can bring about miracles. We do not know what God may be doing in our lives, even when it seems like he is not doing anything at all. God can surprise us! “For nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37)

It’s hard to tell people I’m failing at something so monumental. Growing up I was an ambitious and motivated student that strived for excellence. But more than that, this isn’t just failing a history test. This is failing to create a life, a living being-our baby. The future to my life.


November 2012

During my annual pap exam, I addressed concerns of having very heavy periods (bleeding through a super plus tampon waving severe cramps that left me unable to stand at times, frequent urination, bloating, abdominal pain and legs falling asleep frequently. I even had to cancel plans around the time of my cycle due to the heavy blood flow and pain. I ruined many articles of clothing and bed linens over the years. I also shared my want to conceive and that I had been trying with no success. My exam was completed and I was told I should have a vaginal ultrasound and given no explanation. I was worried and wondering what could be going on with me. I knew something had to be wrong. I ended up going to the hospital a few days later, I was bleeding so heavily and it looked like a crime scene had occured in my bathroom and on my bed. I was feeling weak and tired. Two weeks had gone by and I was extremely worried at this point and was not hearing back from my gynecologist.ithin a minute of insertion), h

I ended up getting the results from medical records and took them to an independent Ob-Gyn clinic. The gyn I saw had been practicing for many years and looked at the ultrasound report and said things were not good. He performed a pelvic exam and then handed me a box of tissues. I had no idea what to expect. I was told I had diffuse uterine fibroids and they were taking over my entire uterus and that surgery was not an option and that I would never be able to get pregnant or carry a child. I was alone at this appointment and I felt as if I had been stabbed in the heart. My dreams of pregnancy had been crushed and I left the appointment with a feeling of deep sadness and depression. I don’t have any family in the state, so as soon as I got home and shared the news with my husband, we went straight to our church in tears to pray. I had an MRI and was given the options of putting me in menopause with Lupron or to have a hysterectomy. I was so upset that I had suffered many years of heavy, painful periods and was always told that was normal for me and I just dealt with the awful pain, thinking that’s how my cycle should be.


December 2012

The driven person that I am led me to rely on hope to find someone that could help me through this battle. My research found a reproductive endocrinologist(RE), who is an internationally recognized expert on uterine fibroids. Uterine fibroids are benign(non cancerous) tumors in the uterus. My fibroids were diffuse and I mean distributed throughout almost all the free space of my uterus. This caused my uterus to be larger than normal and around the size of a three to four month pregnancy. The fibroids were pressing into my bladder and my uterus was starting to impinge on my spinal nerves, giving me severe back pain and making my legs fall asleep often.

My RE reviewed my symptoms and MRI and decided that due to the position of my uterus, number of fibroids and to preserve fertility, that the most invasive operation would be performed. After having a sonohysterogram (SHG) to get a better view of my uterine cavity, it was found that I had a small endometrial polyp as well. I didn’t care how invasive the operation would be or the length of recovery. I was just so happy someone could help me. I wanted to give her the biggest hug and jump for joy in her office when I learned this news. It felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

My main goal of surgery was to relieve my pain and remove the fibroids. The second goal was to heal from the surgery and then begin trying to conceive. My Christmas wish had been answered
and my surgery was performed December 28, 2011. My husband and dad accompanied me to my surgery in Rochester, MN. I had an open abdominal myomectomy, to have my uterus out and exposed to remove all the fibroids. The total count came to 35 fibroids and a D&C was done to remove the endometrial polyp from my endometrium or uterine cavity. I was told the surgery went very well, but felt so sick that it was hard to believe this news and to have hope. I tried my hardest to smile when the surgical team came to my room and explained how things went. I later learned the sick feeling was from my diabetes. It was my first ever operation and I didn’t know what to expect. I did have a traumatic experience of becoming alert while still having the intubation tube down my throat. I remember gagging and the very uncomfortable feeling of being intubated and hearing the suction and the feeling of it being pulled out.

While in my hospital bed, the sick feeling reminded me of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). DKA is a potentially life threatening complication in diabetics when the body has a shortage of insulin or resistance and instead of burning fatty acids the body produces acidic ketone bodies. I had a very dry mouth, nausea, abdominal pain and confusion. I was so dehydrated that when trying to eat a cracker, it just stuck to my cheek and I could barely swallow any water. The prepared diabetic that I am brought my own ketone strips to the hospital. I asked the nurse to check my urine when emptying my catheter. I could see the dark maroon on the strip from the bathroom and started to panic. I had the largest amount of ketones and knew something had to be done to prevent me from diabetic coma. DKA can occur in diabetics following a surgery due to fasting for

so long and the insulin resistance from the stress hormones that the body faces when going through a surgery. I knew I needed to take action of this serious condition and tried my hardest to drink plenty of fluids and tried to introduce small amounts of food. I don’t think I slept a total of an hour during my stay, worried that I would fall asleep and never wake up. The pain meds left me in a blank stare and I was unable to concentrate or even focus on the television. I thank my wonderful friends and family for the beautiful flowers that flourished my room and gave me something to brighten my room and spirit. I also stared at the picture that Brett hung on my board of my loving, furry companion, Little Bentley.

My dog is one of the favorite things in my life and can always make me happy. I went home on the third day after my surgery and my mom flew from Seattle to stay for the first two weeks. I can’t thank her enough for all her help with cooking and cleaning. I think Brett may have enjoyed this more than I did. It was difficult knowing I had to rest and take it easy. Surgery and healing really takes all your energy. I left the house for the first time on my fifth day home. A half hour trip to Target required a three hour nap when I got home. I was off work for six weeks and that time sure flew by. The surgery experience would have been easy if I did not have my diabetes to interfere. During my recovery, I learned that my grandmother had taken a fall and had a severe traumatic brain injury. I traveled home to North Dakota to be with her and my relatives. I am so lucky to have such a close family and it really showed during this time. This took the pain away from me, as my focus was on my beloved grandma. I had posted this verse along with her picture on my facebook page: God saw you getting tired and a cure was not to be. So He put his arms around you and whispered, “Come to Me.” With tearful eyes we watched you and saw you drift away. Although we loved you dearly, we could not make you stay. A golden heart stopped beating, hardworking hands at rest. God broke our hearts to prove to us, He only takes the best. You will be forever missed Grandma.

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Dr. Neena Agarwala – Robotic gynecology Part 1 http://unhysterectomy.com/dr-neena-agarwala-robotic-gynecology/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dr-neena-agarwala-robotic-gynecology http://unhysterectomy.com/dr-neena-agarwala-robotic-gynecology/#comments Sat, 04 Aug 2012 18:07:54 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=888 I travelled to Hollywood, Florida in November, 2011 for the American American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists (AAGL) 40th Global Congress of Minimally Invasive Gynecology. While there, I visited a training session for gynecologists learning to operate the da Vinci robot.  Here, Dr. Neena Agarwala discusses the benefits and training challenges of minimally invasive gynecological surgery using [...]

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I travelled to Hollywood, Florida in November, 2011 for the American American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists (AAGL) 40th Global Congress of Minimally Invasive Gynecology.

While there, I visited a training session for gynecologists learning to operate the da Vinci robot.  Here, Dr. Neena Agarwala discusses the benefits and training challenges of minimally invasive gynecological surgery using robotics.

For more on robotics and gynecology, purchase my new book, The UNHysterectomy.

Robotics:  Blessing or Boondoggle?  An infomed patient is an empowered patient!

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Holly chats with Toronto Talk Radio’s Jerry Agar http://unhysterectomy.com/holly-chats-with-toronto-talk-radios-jerry-agar/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=holly-chats-with-toronto-talk-radios-jerry-agar http://unhysterectomy.com/holly-chats-with-toronto-talk-radios-jerry-agar/#comments Sat, 04 Aug 2012 14:24:19 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=928

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NEWS: Holly on Toronto Talk Radio http://unhysterectomy.com/news-hear-holly-on-toronto-talk-radio-monday-morning/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=news-hear-holly-on-toronto-talk-radio-monday-morning http://unhysterectomy.com/news-hear-holly-on-toronto-talk-radio-monday-morning/#comments Fri, 03 Aug 2012 22:19:49 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=913 Listen to Holly on CFRB 1010 Talk Radio in Toronto, Monday, Aug. 6 between 10 – 11 a.m. Here is a short video taken before the interview where Holly and Jerry talk about what they will be discussing during the interview. http://www.newstalk1010.com/hosts/jerryagar.aspx

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Listen to Holly on CFRB 1010 Talk Radio in Toronto, Monday, Aug. 6 between 10 – 11 a.m. Here is a short video taken before the interview where Holly and Jerry talk about what they will be discussing during the interview.

http://www.newstalk1010.com/hosts/jerryagar.aspx

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Dr. Neena Agarwala – Robotic gynecology Part 2 http://unhysterectomy.com/dr-neena-agarwala-robotic-gynecology-continued/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dr-neena-agarwala-robotic-gynecology-continued http://unhysterectomy.com/dr-neena-agarwala-robotic-gynecology-continued/#comments Fri, 03 Aug 2012 19:12:24 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=904 The continuation of Dr. Agarwala’s interview…

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The continuation of Dr. Agarwala’s interview…

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Hysteroscopy, Dr. Sony Singh http://unhysterectomy.com/hysteroscopy-dr-singh/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=hysteroscopy-dr-singh http://unhysterectomy.com/hysteroscopy-dr-singh/#comments Fri, 03 Aug 2012 18:23:45 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=899 This procedure can be performed in either an operating room or minimally invasive surgical (MIS) suite to either diagnose or treat a condition inside the uterus. The scope has a camera on the end of it to project the image on large plasma screens, from which the surgeon can view the interior of the uterus. [...]

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This procedure can be performed in either an operating room or minimally invasive surgical (MIS) suite to either diagnose or treat a condition inside the uterus. The scope has a camera on the end of it to project the image on large plasma screens, from which the surgeon can view the interior of the uterus.

In this case, the procedure was performed in an MIS without anesthetic to help make a diagnosis of a fibroid (benign tumour) which was causing heavy menstrual bleeding.

Video courtesy Dr. Sony Singh, MD, OB-Gyn, The Ottawa Hospital

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Hysteroscopy Procedure Video http://unhysterectomy.com/hysteroscopy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=hysteroscopy http://unhysterectomy.com/hysteroscopy/#comments Fri, 03 Aug 2012 18:21:43 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=897 This is a 52-year-old patient with heavy menstrual bleeding who was offered a hysterectomy. Office hysteroscopy diagnosed fibroids in the uterus that were treated with a minimally invasive approach (a myomectomy), thereby avoiding major surgery and recovery with this less invasive approach was one day.

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This is a 52-year-old patient with heavy menstrual bleeding who was offered a hysterectomy. Office hysteroscopy diagnosed fibroids in the uterus that were treated with a minimally invasive approach (a myomectomy), thereby avoiding major surgery and recovery with this less invasive approach was one day.

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Laparoscopic hysterectomy Procedure Video http://unhysterectomy.com/laparoscopic-hysterectomy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=laparoscopic-hysterectomy http://unhysterectomy.com/laparoscopic-hysterectomy/#comments Fri, 03 Aug 2012 18:18:10 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=894 Demonstration of a hysterectomy done by a laparoscopy (keyhole incision). Patients are discharged the same day or the next morning with minimal pain and expected recovery within two weeks. A traditional approach through a large incision would normally require a four-day hospital stay and six weeks recovery.

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Demonstration of a hysterectomy done by a laparoscopy (keyhole incision). Patients are discharged the same day or the next morning with minimal pain and expected recovery within two weeks. A traditional approach through a large incision would normally require a four-day hospital stay and six weeks recovery.

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Myomectomy Procedure Video http://unhysterectomy.com/myomectomy-procedure-video/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=myomectomy-procedure-video http://unhysterectomy.com/myomectomy-procedure-video/#comments Fri, 03 Aug 2012 18:16:36 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=892 A young woman in her 20s offered a hysterectomy for multiple fibroids; a second opinion allowed her to have a myomectomy (removal of the fibroid only), thereby preserving her ability to have children.

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A young woman in her 20s offered a hysterectomy for multiple fibroids; a second opinion allowed her to have a myomectomy (removal of the fibroid only), thereby preserving her ability to have children.

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Bipolar mesh endometrial ablation http://unhysterectomy.com/bipolar-mesh-endometrial-ablation/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=bipolar-mesh-endometrial-ablation http://unhysterectomy.com/bipolar-mesh-endometrial-ablation/#comments Fri, 03 Aug 2012 18:11:07 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=890 Step 1: A slender wand is inserted into the uterus. Step 2: A mesh emerges from the wand and expands to the contours of the uterus. Step 3: The mesh begins ablating the endometrium. Step 4: The mesh is retracted and the device is removed from the uterus. This procedure takes approximately five minutes. CREDIT: [...]

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Step 1: A slender wand is inserted into the uterus.
Step 2: A mesh emerges from the wand and expands to the contours of the uterus.
Step 3: The mesh begins ablating the endometrium.
Step 4: The mesh is retracted and the device is removed from the uterus.

This procedure takes approximately five minutes.

CREDIT: Video courtesy of HOLOGIC Inc. and affiliates.

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Shannon’s story: How she avoided hysterectomy for fibroids http://unhysterectomy.com/shannons-story-meet-the-family/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=shannons-story-meet-the-family http://unhysterectomy.com/shannons-story-meet-the-family/#comments Fri, 03 Aug 2012 18:04:37 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=886 Enjoy this video featuring Shannon, telling her story in her own words… telling her story in her own words…

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Enjoy this video featuring Shannon, telling her story in her own words…

telling her story in her own words…

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Thermal balloon endometrial ablation http://unhysterectomy.com/thermal-balloon-endometrial-ablation/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=thermal-balloon-endometrial-ablation http://unhysterectomy.com/thermal-balloon-endometrial-ablation/#comments Fri, 03 Aug 2012 17:19:00 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=879 An Endometrial ablation helps stop your period by destroying the lining of your uterus. Second-generation balloon ablations can be done on an outpatient basis and take as little as two minutes. Video courtesy of Idoman Canada.

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An Endometrial ablation helps stop your period by destroying the lining of your uterus. Second-generation balloon ablations can be done on an outpatient basis and take as little as two minutes.

Video courtesy of Idoman Canada.

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VizAblate volumetric ablation http://unhysterectomy.com/vizablate-volumetric-embolization/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=vizablate-volumetric-embolization http://unhysterectomy.com/vizablate-volumetric-embolization/#comments Fri, 03 Aug 2012 17:15:49 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=876 A new type of fibroid ablation device called the VizAblate system is approved for use in Europe and is also being further studied in the European Union and Mexico. VizAblate uses radiofrequency energy to perform what is called “volumetric ablation” in which the volume of the fibroid that is heated and destroyed is tailored to [...]

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A new type of fibroid ablation device called the VizAblate system is approved for use in Europe and is also being further studied in the European Union and Mexico.

VizAblate uses radiofrequency energy to perform what is called “volumetric ablation” in which the volume of the fibroid that is heated and destroyed is tailored to the volume of the fibroid itself.  The VizAblate is approved for use in

“Instead of making a series of blind ablations into a fibroid multiple times, we can make one ablation that has been sized to that specific fibroid,” says Dr. David Toub, medical director of Gynesonics, the company that developed the VizAblate system.

Let’s hope this fabulous alternative to hysterectomy is approved for use in North America sooner rather than later.

You can learn more about the VizAblate system by ordering a copy of my book.

To learn more about the VizAblate trials, click here.

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DOWNLOAD: What is endometriosis http://unhysterectomy.com/download-endometriosis-facts/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=download-endometriosis-facts http://unhysterectomy.com/download-endometriosis-facts/#comments Fri, 29 Jun 2012 04:48:42 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=758 Here are some fast facts about endometriosis, courtesy of www.endometriosis.org. Download the PDF by clicking on the image below.

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Here are some fast facts about endometriosis, courtesy of www.endometriosis.org.

Download the PDF by clicking on the image below.

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REVIEW: The WM Freelance Writers Connection http://unhysterectomy.com/review-the-wm-freelance-writers-connection/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=review-the-wm-freelance-writers-connection http://unhysterectomy.com/review-the-wm-freelance-writers-connection/#comments Fri, 22 Jun 2012 03:00:11 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=687 By Angela Atkinson I recently  interviewed Holly Bridges, author of The UNHysterectomy, for Scrubs & Suits, a healthcare news site for which I’m the managing editor. After learning about her and what inspired her to write her book, I just had to share her story with my fellow writers. The initial idea for her book, in part, was born out [...]

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By Angela Atkinson

I recently  interviewed Holly Bridges, author of The UNHysterectomy, for Scrubs & Suits, a healthcare news site for which I’m the managing editor. After learning about her and what inspired her to write her book, I just had to share her story with my fellow writers.

The initial idea for her book, in part, was born out of her own personal health struggles. As an investigative journalist, Bridges did what we all do–she researched the heck out of her diagnosis and learned as much as she could.

She talked to her doctor (who, incidentally, would later become her medical editor), and she found inspiration in her late sister.

These days, she calls herself a “patient with a background as a career journalist.” I call her pretty freaking amazing–and an inspiration for all of us. Here’s a story of a woman who used her struggles to make her dreams come true.

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REVIEW: Scrubs + Suits Healthcare News http://unhysterectomy.com/review-scrubs-suits-healthcare-news/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=review-scrubs-suits-healthcare-news http://unhysterectomy.com/review-scrubs-suits-healthcare-news/#comments Fri, 22 Jun 2012 02:50:28 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=677 Holly Bridges calls herself a “patient with a background as a career journalist.” She said when she started having problems with her own reproductive health, she combined her career with her personal struggles to become a patient advocate for minimally invasive gynecology. Bridges is the author of a book called The UNHysterectomy, which she said that, [...]

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Holly Bridges calls herself a “patient with a background as a career journalist.” She said when she started having problems with her own reproductive health, she combined her career with her personal struggles to become a patient advocate for minimally invasive gynecology.

Bridges is the author of a book called The UNHysterectomy, which she said that, despite the name, is “all about options; it’s about providing women with insight and information on the full range of medical and surgical options that are available nowadays for the treatment of abnormal uterine bleeding and the  various conditions related to it.”

Specifically, Bridges discusses fibroids, polyps, cysts, endometriosis and adenomyosis.

“I start out by giving women the ‘Big Picture’ about what is really going on with our health care system and why so many women are still being prescribed hysterectomy (the reasons are pretty much the same in the US I discovered),” she said. “Then I share my own personal story of how I managed to avoid a hysterectomy in favor of two less invasive procedures (known as a hysteroscopic endometrial ablation and a hysteroscopic myomectomy).”

Bridges’ book goes on to provide a refresher on why women menstruate, why it becomes a problem for so many, what can go wrong and how women can make the most informed choice possible when it comes to treatment options.

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NEWS: Moms: There’s a better hysterectomy http://unhysterectomy.com/news-moms-theres-a-better-hysterectomy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=news-moms-theres-a-better-hysterectomy http://unhysterectomy.com/news-moms-theres-a-better-hysterectomy/#comments Mon, 04 Jun 2012 08:26:43 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=654 As Mother’s Day approaches Sunday, a former Quinte resident and civilian media relations officer for 8 Wing/CFB Trenton, Holly Bridges, is sharing her story of hope so that other women can benefit from her struggle to avoid a hysterectomy. Five years ago, Shannon, then 25, was told she needed a hysterectomy to remove a large, [...]

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As Mother’s Day approaches Sunday, a former Quinte resident and civilian media relations officer for 8 Wing/CFB Trenton, Holly Bridges, is sharing her story of hope so that other women can benefit from her struggle to avoid a hysterectomy.

Five years ago, Shannon, then 25, was told she needed a hysterectomy to remove a large, non-cancerous fibroid (tumour) that was growing in her uterus. The tumour was growing by the month and causing Shannon to experience extremely heavy and painful periods. She was devastated at the thought of never being able to conceive.

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RELEASE: Rural women at higher hysterectomy risk http://unhysterectomy.com/release-canadian-rural-women-at-higher-risk-for-hysterectomy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=release-canadian-rural-women-at-higher-risk-for-hysterectomy http://unhysterectomy.com/release-canadian-rural-women-at-higher-risk-for-hysterectomy/#comments Mon, 04 Jun 2012 08:21:29 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=651 Less invasive options not always explained or offered OTTAWA, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – May 29, 2012) - A controversial new book about hysterectomy, the most common major surgical procedure performed on Canadian women (second only to Caesarean section), reveals rural women who live away from major teaching hospitals have nearly double the hysterectomy rate of their urban counterparts. [...]

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Less invasive options not always explained or offered

OTTAWA, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – May 29, 2012) - A controversial new book about hysterectomy, the most common major surgical procedure performed on Canadian women (second only to Caesarean section), reveals rural women who live away from major teaching hospitals have nearly double the hysterectomy rate of their urban counterparts. The statistic comes from The UnHysterectomy, by Holly Bridges, former CBC Radio and TV journalist-turned-patient-advocate.

The UnHysterectomy, Solving Your Painful, Heavy Bleeding Without Major Surgery, reveals a 60 percent variation in hysterectomy rates between provinces and a rate for rural women that is 46 percent higher than the national average. The statistics were taken from patient interviews and surveys done by the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

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REVIEW: A thumbs up from endometriosis.org http://unhysterectomy.com/review-a-thumbs-up-from-endometriosis-org/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=review-a-thumbs-up-from-endometriosis-org http://unhysterectomy.com/review-a-thumbs-up-from-endometriosis-org/#comments Thu, 24 May 2012 06:50:26 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=629 In The UNHysterectomy Holly Bridges provides a powerful step-by-step guide for women seeking relief – and wanting to avoid the drastic step of a hysterectomy. She shares her own story and how, by doing her homework and seeking out specialists, she avoided having a hysterectomy at way too young an age.

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In The UNHysterectomy Holly Bridges provides a powerful step-by-step guide for women seeking relief – and wanting to avoid the drastic step of a hysterectomy.

She shares her own story and how, by doing her homework and seeking out specialists, she avoided having a hysterectomy at way too young an age.

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RELEASE: Dreams of motherhood fulfilled http://unhysterectomy.com/fromfibroidstofamily/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=fromfibroidstofamily http://unhysterectomy.com/fromfibroidstofamily/#comments Thu, 10 May 2012 06:44:02 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=578 (NC) – As Mother’s Day approaches on Sunday, May 13, an Ontario woman is sharing her story of hope so that other women can benefit from her struggle to avoid a hysterectomy. Five years ago, Shannon, then 25, was told she needed a hysterectomy to remove a large, non-cancerous fibroid (tumour) that was growing in [...]

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(NC) – As Mother’s Day approaches on Sunday, May 13, an Ontario woman is sharing her story of hope so that other women can benefit from her struggle to avoid a hysterectomy.

Five years ago, Shannon, then 25, was told she needed a hysterectomy to remove a large, non-cancerous fibroid (tumour) that was growing in her uterus. The tumour was growing by the month and causing Shannon to experience extremely painful and heavy periods. She was devastated at the thought of never being able to conceive.

But after doing her homework and getting a second opinion, Shannon underwent a much less invasive procedure called a laparoscopic myomectomy, which removed only the fibroid and left her uterus intact. A year later on her wedding day, she was seven months pregnant with her first child and has since given birth to her second son.

“If we had listened to the first doctor we went to our children wouldn’t be here,” says Shannon, whose story appears in a new book about minimally invasive alternatives to hysterectomy called The UNHysterectomy. Solving Your Painful, Heavy Bleeding Without Major Surgery by Ottawa author and patient advocate Holly Bridges. “Mother’s Day is an extremely special day in our house because we came so close to losing the chance for a family. I want other women to know they have options.”

Bridges says since the publication of her book in April, many other Canadian women have come forward with similar stories.

“I have heard from women from B.C. to Newfoundland who are suffering from the same debilitating symptoms as Shannon, many of whom have been told hysterectomy is their only option. Nowadays, there are so many medical and surgical alternatives available; the problem is finding a gynecologist who is trained, willing and available to offer them. All the more reason for women to ask questions, do their research and insist on receiving the safest, least invasive procedures available, whether they choose a hysterectomy or not. This can be difficult, but not impossible if women do their homework.”

Medical editor of The UNHysterectomy, Dr. Sony Singh, Executive Director of the Canadian Society of Minimally Invasive Gynecology, and Director of Minimally Invasive Gynecology at the Shirley E. Greenberg Women’s Health Centre at The Ottawa Hospital, says the issue for women of all ages is about choice.

“Choice is so important especially when it comes to women suffering from Heavy Menstrual Bleeding or pain. When we can provide a woman with choice then she can be armed with the opportunity to make the best choice for her and her family.

“The reason I am so passionate about minimally invasive gynecology is that it offers a woman a quicker recovery, less risk of infection, bleeding, clotting or possible hospital re-admission and the outcomes are fantastic.”

Dr. Singh reminds women that while the type of surgery performed on Shannon, a myomectomy, can preserve a woman’s fertility, there are risks including scarring and a chance the fibroids can grow back.

“My husband and I understood the risks before we agreed to have a myomectomy,” says Shannon. “But it was a chance we were willing to take, especially knowing we would have two beautiful children in the end.”

The UNHysterectomy offers Canadian women of all ages and geographic locations 10 medical and surgical alternatives to hysterectomy that will help them solve their Heavy Menstrual Bleeding. It is available at www.unhysterectomy.com.

About Hysterectomy in Canada

Hysterectomy is the complete or partial removal of the uterus, and sometimes ovaries, cervix and Fallopian tubes. Although rates have been falling in recent years, some 47,000 women underwent hysterectomy at last count. Despite national surgical guidelines recommending keyhole (laparoscopic) approaches, 54 percent of the procedures involve making deep, abdominal cuts. Most hysterectomies are performed for fibroids, benign tumours that grow on or in the uterus. In contrast, minimally invasive gynecological surgery requires fewer incisions, carries a lower risk of organ perforation, requires little or no anesthetic and leads to faster, less painful recovery with lower risk of postoperative infection or complications.

Watch Dr. Singh on YouTube http://youtu.be/b-Wsg_nDuuY

Watch Shannon’s story on YouTube http://youtu.be/Y-Rk1nJtO7U

About Holly Bridges

Holly Bridges is a former CBC Radio and TV journalist with 30 years’ experience in journalism and communications. After being diagnosed with fibroids in 2007 and being told hysterectomy was her only option, Bridges sought a second opinion from Dr. Singh. In 2008, she underwent two of the most sophisticated high-tech procedures available in the world today – a hysteroscopic myomectomy and a hysteroscopic endometrial ablation. She lives in Ottawa with her husband and two children.

The UNHysterectomy: Solving Your Painful, Heavy Bleeding Without Major Surgery, is her first book.

 

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Ottawa Citizen: An Ottawa woman, a ‘miracle worker’ doctor and an alternative to hysterectomies http://unhysterectomy.com/ottawa-citizen-an-ottawa-woman-a-miracle-worker-doctor-and-an-alternative-to-hysterectomies/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ottawa-citizen-an-ottawa-woman-a-miracle-worker-doctor-and-an-alternative-to-hysterectomies http://unhysterectomy.com/ottawa-citizen-an-ottawa-woman-a-miracle-worker-doctor-and-an-alternative-to-hysterectomies/#comments Tue, 17 Apr 2012 05:51:34 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=340 OTTAWA — Holly Bridges would awake at night in a bed that looked like a “pig had been slaughtered.” The former CBC journalist’s sheets and her nightgown would be blood-soaked as she crawled to the bathroom to replenish her menstrual supplies by taping together two super-sized pads. During the day, she’d bring a change of [...]

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OTTAWA — Holly Bridges would awake at night in a bed that looked like a “pig had been slaughtered.”

The former CBC journalist’s sheets and her nightgown would be blood-soaked as she crawled to the bathroom to replenish her menstrual supplies by taping together two super-sized pads.

During the day, she’d bring a change of clothes to mask her profuse bleeding, making multiple trips to the bathroom. She was anemic, in constant pain, foggy-headed and in search of a solution.

All she was offered was a hysterectomy to remove her uterus, along with the fibroids that caused the bleeding.

Desperate, the then-47-year-old was set to undergo the radical procedure when her sister was killed in a car accident. The death of her sister — who had been against the hysterectomy — shattered Bridges’s resolve.

She went on a quest to find relief without having to undergo major surgery.

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Vancouver Sun: Author explores alternatives to hysterectomy http://unhysterectomy.com/vancouver-sun-author-explores-alternatives-to-hysterectomy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=vancouver-sun-author-explores-alternatives-to-hysterectomy http://unhysterectomy.com/vancouver-sun-author-explores-alternatives-to-hysterectomy/#comments Tue, 17 Apr 2012 05:48:33 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=337 OTTAWA — Holly Bridges would awake at night in a bed that looked like a “pig had been slaughtered.” The former CBC journalist’s sheets and her nightgown would be blood-soaked as she crawled to the bathroom to replenish her menstrual supplies by taping together two super-sized pads. During the day, she’d bring a change of clothes to [...]

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OTTAWA — Holly Bridges would awake at night in a bed that looked like a “pig had been slaughtered.”

The former CBC journalist’s sheets and her nightgown would be blood-soaked as she crawled to the bathroom to replenish her menstrual supplies by taping together two super-sized pads.

During the day, she’d bring a change of clothes to mask her profuse bleeding, making multiple trips to the bathroom. She was anemic, in constant pain, foggy-headed and in search of a solution.

All she was offered was a hysterectomy to remove her uterus, along with the fibroids that caused the bleeding.

Desperate, the then-47-year-old was set to undergo the radical procedure when her sister was killed in a car accident. The death of her sister — who had been against the hysterectomy — shattered Bridges’ resolve.

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CBC: Ottawa woman champions hysterectomy alternatives http://unhysterectomy.com/cbc-ottawa-woman-champions-hysterectomy-alternatives/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=cbc-ottawa-woman-champions-hysterectomy-alternatives http://unhysterectomy.com/cbc-ottawa-woman-champions-hysterectomy-alternatives/#comments Tue, 17 Apr 2012 05:46:22 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=335 An Ottawa woman is encouraging others to seek out alternatives to hysterectomies, a surgical procedure she says is often unnecessary. Holly Bridges said after being diagnosed in 2007 with two benign tumors on her uterus, her doctor recommended a hysterectomy — the surgical removal of the uterus. She said the monthly bleeding was relentless. “You [...]

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An Ottawa woman is encouraging others to seek out alternatives to hysterectomies, a surgical procedure she says is often unnecessary.

Holly Bridges said after being diagnosed in 2007 with two benign tumors on her uterus, her doctor recommended a hysterectomy — the surgical removal of the uterus.

She said the monthly bleeding was relentless.

“You can imagine when you lose that amount of blood…it can be life threatening,” said Bridges, a former CBC journalist living in Ottawa.

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The UnHysterectomy on MSNBC.com http://unhysterectomy.com/the-unhysterectomy-on-msnbc-com/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-unhysterectomy-on-msnbc-com http://unhysterectomy.com/the-unhysterectomy-on-msnbc-com/#comments Tue, 17 Apr 2012 02:55:39 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=317 Hysterectomy Hysteria: Canada’s Healthcare System Failing Women New Book Chronicles “The Perfect Storm” That is Denying Women Access to Safer, High Tech, Less Costly Alternatives OTTAWA, ONTARIO — Despite an explosion in high tech procedures that could increase patient safety and decrease healthcare spending, most Canadian women still undergo hysterectomy for their painful, abnormal uterine bleeding, a [...]

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Hysterectomy Hysteria: Canada’s Healthcare System Failing Women

New Book Chronicles “The Perfect Storm” That is Denying Women Access to Safer, High Tech, Less Costly Alternatives

OTTAWA, ONTARIO — Despite an explosion in high tech procedures that could increase patient safety and decrease healthcare spending, most Canadian women still undergo hysterectomy for their painful, abnormal uterine bleeding, a potentially life-threatening condition that affects one in four women worldwide and is the leading cause of hysterectomy. Hysterectomy is the second most common surgery performed on Canadian women, second only to Caesarean section. The main cause of hysterectomy, abnormal uterine bleeding, costs Canadian women $1.2 billion a year in lost wages, productivity and personal supplies, while hysterectomy costs the Canadian healthcare system $192 million a year. Sixty to 80 percent are medically unnecessary, says Holly Bridges, a patient advocate, writer and former CBC Radio and TV journalist.

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Canada’s healthcare system failing women http://unhysterectomy.com/hysterectomy-hysteria-canadas-healthcare-system-failing-women/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=hysterectomy-hysteria-canadas-healthcare-system-failing-women http://unhysterectomy.com/hysterectomy-hysteria-canadas-healthcare-system-failing-women/#comments Mon, 16 Apr 2012 07:15:55 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=304 New Book Chronicles “The Perfect Storm” That is Denying Women Access to Safer, High Tech, Less Costly Alternative OTTAWA, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – April 12, 2012) - Despite an explosion in high tech procedures that could increase patient safety and decrease healthcare spending, most Canadian women still undergo hysterectomy for their painful, abnormal uterine bleeding, a potentially life-threatening condition that [...]

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New Book Chronicles “The Perfect Storm” That is Denying Women Access to Safer, High Tech, Less Costly Alternative

OTTAWA, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – April 12, 2012) - Despite an explosion in high tech procedures that could increase patient safety and decrease healthcare spending, most Canadian women still undergo hysterectomy for their painful, abnormal uterine bleeding, a potentially life-threatening condition that affects one in four women worldwide and is the leading cause of hysterectomy. Hysterectomy is the second most common surgery performed on Canadian women, second only to Caesarean section. The main cause of hysterectomy, abnormal uterine bleeding, costs Canadian women $1.2 billion a year in lost wages, productivity and personal supplies, while hysterectomy costs the Canadian healthcare system $192 million a year. Sixty to 80 percent are medically unnecessary, says Holly Bridges, a patient advocate, writer and former CBC Radio and TV journalist.

In her new book, The UNHysterectomy, Bridges reveals why so many Canadian women continue to be prescribed outdated invasive, major surgery to end their bleeding despite at least 10 medical and surgical alternatives that could solve their problem and spare their reproductive organs. Even though some of these procedures can be performed in as little as 90 seconds, many Canadian hospitals refuse to offer them or impose quotas that leave women to bleed once the quotas are reached.

Bridges’ book is based on exhaustive research and interviews with world-renowned experts in the field of minimally invasive gynecology, including Dr. Sony Singh, Director of Minimally Invasive Gynecology at the Shirley E. Greenberg Women’s Health Centre at The Ottawa Hospital and Director of the Canadian Society of Minimally Invasive Gynecology. Dr. Singh is also the Medical Editor of The UNHysterectomy.

“These procedures are available, but the majority of Canadian women are not aware, or not being told about them for a variety of reasons,” says Bridges, who avoided a hysterectomy four years ago by searching for a gynecologist who could solve her bleeding without removing her uterus. “We have the money within existing healthcare budgets. We just need to start spending it differently.”

The UNHysterectomy describes “the perfect storm” that is denying Canadian women access to high tech procedures such as endometrial ablations, laparoscopic myomectomy and uterine artery embolization.

“When the medical system fails to advocate on behalf of patients, it takes a special individual like Holly to spark change,” says Dr. Singh. “I believe her efforts to raise awareness through her book and social media campaign will lead to a nationwide discussion that will empower patients and make physicians more accountable.”

The UNHysterectomy contains interviews with women (some of whom spent $25,000 to have high tech surgery in the U.S.) and trailblazing gynecologists (who specialize in minimally invasive gynecology) from across Canada and the United States. “I have often said in medicine ‘Who you see is what you get’,” says Dr. Nicholas Leyland, President of the Canadian Society of Minimally Invasive Gynecology and Professor and Chair, Obstetrics and Gynecology, McMaster University in Hamilton. “Even if physicians are aware of options, they’re not always explaining them fully to their patients.”

Since starting her public awareness campaign on Facebook, www.facebook.com/unhysterectomy, Bridges is now communicating with women from across North America and Great Britain to help them make more informed choices over how to cope with their abnormal uterine bleeding and its devastating, sometimes life-threatening side effects.

“I am not a doctor, just a woman and a mother who believes women have the right to make the most informed choice possible over hysterectomy. The UNHysterectomy will help them do that.”

About Hysterectomy in Canada

Hysterectomy is the complete or partial removal of the uterus, and sometimes ovaries, cervix and Fallopian tubes. Although rates have been falling in recent years, some 47,000 women underwent hysterectomy at last count. Despite national surgical guidelines recommending keyhole (laparoscopic) approaches, 54 percent of the procedures involve making deep, abdominal cuts. Most hysterectomies are performed for fibroids, benign tumours that grown on or in the uterus. In contrast, minimally invasive gynecological surgery requires fewer incisions, carries a lower risk of organ perforation, requires little or no anesthetic and leads to faster, less painful recovery with lower risk of postoperative infection or complications.

About Dr. Singh

Dr. Sony Singh is Director of Minimally Invasive Gynecology at the Shirley E. Greenberg Women’s Health Centre at the Ottawa Hospital. He is also an Assistant Professor with the University of Ottawa Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. After completing his medical and residency training at the University of Western Ontario in 2005, he completed fellowships in advanced pelvic surgery at the University of Toronto and the University of Sydney from 2005 to 2007. Dr. Singh is the Executive Director of the Canadian Society of Minimally Invasive Gynecology. Dr. Singh is world renowned for his surgical expertise in treating deep infiltrative endometriosis through minimally invasive means and is one of the leading experts in Canada in laparoscopic (keyhole). He also specializes in minimally invasive alternatives to hysterectomy, such as hysteroscopic and laparoscopic myomectomy and hysteroscopic endometrial ablation. Dr. Singh has been instrumental in developing new guidelines for the treatment of abnormal uterine bleeding and endometriosis for the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada, guidelines which had not been updated since 2001. He lives in Ottawa with his wife and their three children.

About Holly Bridges

Holly Bridges is a former CBC Radio and TV journalist with 30 years’ experience in journalism and communications. After being diagnosed with fibroids in 2007 (the leading cause of abnormal uterine bleeding), and being told hysterectomy was her only option, Bridges sought a second opinion from Dr. Singh. In 2008, she underwent two of the most sophisticated high-tech procedures available in the world today – a hysteroscopic myomectomy and a hysteroscopic endometrial ablation. She lives in Ottawa with her husband and two children.

The UNHysterectomy: Solving Your Painful, Heavy Bleeding Without Major Surgery, is her first book. It is available at www.unhysterectomy.com.

Bridges will launch her book at the National Women’s Show at the Ottawa Convention Centre, Sat. & Sun. Apr. 14 & 15, 2012. She and Dr. Singh will be speaking at the show on Saturday, Apr. 14 on the seminar stage at 3:00 p.m.

Women can join the discussion at www.facebook.com/unhysterectomy and www.twitter.com/unhysterectomy.

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On Sale Now: The UnHysterectomy http://unhysterectomy.com/on-sale-now-the-unhysterectomy-book/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=on-sale-now-the-unhysterectomy-book http://unhysterectomy.com/on-sale-now-the-unhysterectomy-book/#comments Thu, 12 Apr 2012 07:48:49 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=295 The UnHysterectomy. Solving Your Painful, Heavy Bleeding Without Major Surgery. By Holly Bridges Medical Editor, Sony Singh, MD, Ob-Gyn, Director of Minimally Invasive Gynecology, Shirley E. Greenberg Women’s Health Centre, The Ottawa Hospital $22.95 plus free shipping!   Step away from the scalpel! Are you desperate to end your painful, heavy periods? Are you anemic [...]

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The UnHysterectomy. Solving Your Painful, Heavy Bleeding Without Major Surgery.

By Holly Bridges
Medical Editor, Sony Singh, MD, Ob-Gyn, Director of Minimally Invasive Gynecology, Shirley E. Greenberg Women’s Health Centre, The Ottawa Hospital

$22.95 plus free shipping!

 

Step away from the scalpel!

Are you desperate to end your painful, heavy periods? Are you anemic and exhausted, running on empty? Are you tempted to have a hysterectomy?

You are not alone! Hysterectomy is one of the most common major surgery performed on North American women, second only to cesarean section. Every Year, some 700,000 North American women have the procedure, often choosing out of sheer desperation for non-cancerous conditions such as fibroids and endometriosis. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You do have options.

Holly Bridges, who avoided a hysterectomy by doing her homework and looking for a surgeon who could solve her heavy periods without removing her uterus, has created an insightful, empowering, step-by-step guide for women seeking relief. And every word has been supervised and edited by Holly’s own gynecologist, Dr. Sony Singh, MD, Ob-Gyn.

 

For more information visit http://unhysterectomy.com/buy-the-book/

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Media Advisory: Unnecessary Hysterectomies http://unhysterectomy.com/media-advisory-unnecessary-hysterectomies/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=media-advisory-unnecessary-hysterectomies http://unhysterectomy.com/media-advisory-unnecessary-hysterectomies/#comments Thu, 12 Apr 2012 07:40:21 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=283 Media Advisory: Unnecessary Hysterectomies - News Conference to Announce Social Media Campaign and Controversial Women’s Health Book OTTAWA, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – April 11, 2012) - Ottawa author, patient and advocate, Holly Bridges, will hold a news conference on Thursday, April 12, to announce the launch of her book The UNHysterectomy: Solving Your Painful, Heavy Bleeding Without Major Surgery as well [...]

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Media Advisory: Unnecessary Hysterectomies - News Conference to Announce Social Media Campaign and Controversial Women’s Health Book

OTTAWA, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – April 11, 2012) - Ottawa author, patient and advocate, Holly Bridges, will hold a news conference on Thursday, April 12, to announce the launch of her book The UNHysterectomy: Solving Your Painful, Heavy Bleeding Without Major Surgery as well as a social media campaign that has already attracted a following across Canada, the US and Great Britain.

Dr. Sony Singh, Director of Minimally Invasive Gynecology at the Shirley E. Greenberg Women’s Health Centre, and Executive Director of the Canadian Society of Minimally Invasive Gynecology, acted as editor for The UNHysterectomy and will be showing high definition video of actual state-of-the-art procedures he has done at The Ottawa Hospital.

To read the full release visit: http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/-1642735.htm

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Holly & Dr. Singh on CBC’s Ontario Today (April 12) http://unhysterectomy.com/cbc-ontario-today/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=cbc-ontario-today http://unhysterectomy.com/cbc-ontario-today/#comments Thu, 12 Apr 2012 07:24:23 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=277 On Thursday April 12,  Holly Bridges and Dr. Singh appeared on CBC’s Ontario Today discussing: Unnecessary Hysterectomies The lead up to a hysterectomy is never pleasant. But are women so desperate for a solution they’re settling for the wrong thing? Dr. Sony Singh took calls and asked the question: Have you had regrets? To listen to [...]

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On Thursday April 12,  Holly Bridges and Dr. Singh appeared on CBC’s Ontario Today discussing:

Unnecessary Hysterectomies

The lead up to a hysterectomy is never pleasant. But are women so desperate for a solution they’re settling for the wrong thing?

Dr. Sony Singh took calls and asked the question: Have you had regrets?

To listen to the broadcast visit: http://www.cbc.ca/ontariotoday/2012/04/12/thursday-unnecessary-hysterectomies/

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Hysterectomies can be prevented http://unhysterectomy.com/hysterectomies-can-be-prevented/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=hysterectomies-can-be-prevented http://unhysterectomy.com/hysterectomies-can-be-prevented/#comments Fri, 20 Jan 2012 02:45:16 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=52 Hysterectomy is the most common surgery performed on North American women, second only to cesarean sections. Every year, some 700,000 women undergo hysterectomy, mostly for non-cancerous conditions such as fibroids and endometriosis, which can cause extremely painful, heavy periods. Although rates are dropping,many women are still being prescribed hysterectomies even though less invasive alternatives are [...]

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Photo caption: Gynaecologist Dr. Hassan Shenassa, (left) and nurse Johanne Lefebvre, in the minimally invasive gynaecological suite at the Shirley E. Greenberg Women's Health Centre, Ottawa Hospital.

Hysterectomy is the most common surgery performed on North American women, second only to cesarean sections. Every year, some 700,000 women undergo hysterectomy, mostly for non-cancerous conditions such as fibroids and endometriosis, which can cause extremely painful, heavy periods. Although rates are dropping,many women are still being prescribed hysterectomies even though less invasive alternatives are available.

Three years ago, Holly Bridges refused a hysterectomy in favour of two high tech procedures to stop her heavy periods—a hysteroscopic myomectomy and hysteroscopic endometrial ablation, which removed only her fibroids while keeping her uterus intact. Both were performed as day surgery under local anaesthetic with no incisions. Bridges walked out of the hospital two hours after the procedure, pain-free, and returned to work within a few days.

“Even though I was finished having children, I wanted to preserve my uterus,” says Bridges. “It was a very personal choice.”

Bridges, 53, has released a new book, along with her medical editor Dr. Sony Singh, MD, Ob-Gyn, about minimally invasive alternatives to hysterectomy.

“Women deserve the best possible care in the least invasive manner, yet many of us are only prescribed the procedures our gynaecologists feel most comfortable performing,” says Bridges. “In my opinion, that does not allow for informed consent. The onus is on us as women to ask for what we want, even if it means switching doctors.”

Dr. Sony Singh, Executive Director of the Canadian Society of Minimally Invasive Gynaecology, says although hysterectomies are warranted in some cases, the majority can be avoided.

“We like to avoid hysterectomy because of the risks of infection and injury to the bowel and bladder,” he says. “With minimally invasive surgery, women feel better sooner, they’re back at work quicker, whereas with traditional approaches patients require a hospital stay, longer recovery with more suffering and definitely more risks.”

Order your copy of The UNHysterectomy by clicking on the “Buy the Book” now tab above.

www.newscanada.com

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The 90-second alternative to hysterectomy http://unhysterectomy.com/the-90-second-alternative-to-hysterectomy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-90-second-alternative-to-hysterectomy http://unhysterectomy.com/the-90-second-alternative-to-hysterectomy/#comments Fri, 20 Jan 2012 02:44:38 +0000 Holly Bridges http://unhysterectomy.com/?p=49 Hysterectomies have been the surgery of choice for generations of Canadian women suffering from abnormal uterine bleeding. Hysterectomy was, and still is, the only definitive cure for debilitating menstrual flow. Nowadays, though, gynaecologists are performing much less invasive surgeries that can attack the cause of the bleeding without removing the uterus. An office-based, endometrial ablation [...]

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Hysterectomies have been the surgery of choice for generations of Canadian women suffering from abnormal uterine bleeding. Hysterectomy was, and still is, the only definitive cure for debilitating menstrual flow.

Nowadays, though, gynaecologists are performing much less invasive surgeries that can attack the cause of the bleeding without removing the uterus.

An office-based, endometrial ablation is a one-time, five-minute, incision-free procedure that can be done in a specially-outfitted office. The actual ablation takes only 90 seconds.

Gynaecologists inject a local anaesthetic into the uterus (the cervix), and offer a mild sedative for relaxation. The doctor then opens the cervix slightly, inserts a slender wand and extends a triangular mesh device into the uterus. The mesh gently expands, fitting to the size and shape of the uterus. Precisely measured radio frequency energy is delivered through the mesh for about 90 seconds. The mesh device is pulled back into the wand, and both are removed from the uterus. The procedure chars the lining of the uterus thereby altering monthly build-up and shedding during menstruation. After about half an hour in recovery, women can go home or even back to work. Most gynaecologists refer to the procedure by its brand name, NovaSure.

“This type of ablation is a safe and simple alternative to hysterectomy,” says Dr. Hassan Shenassa, a gynaecologist at the Shirley E. Greenberg Women’s Health Centre at the Ottawa Hospital. “We do it for women who have heavy periods, have finished their childbearing and who have no abnormalities in their uterus.”

Holly Bridges, who had an operating-room ablation three years ago, says the more women insist on having office-based ablations, the more likely medical facilities will offer them. “We deserve to have the best possible care in the least invasive fashion.”

Bridges is writing a book about minimally invasive alternatives to hysterectomy and would like to hear from women who are looking for alternatives. She can be reached at www.unhysterectomy.com.

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