Genetic Testing Opens Door to Greater Awareness of Potential Cancer Risk
As our understanding of the relationship between genetics and cancer increases, UCLA Health has expanded efforts to identify patients who could benefit from genetic screening specific for cancer risk, and to make testing and counseling services more broadly available. Beth Karlan, MD, vice chair of women’s health research in the UCLA Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and director of cancer population genetics at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, explains that patients who might benefit from cancer genetic tests include many cancer survivors, patients newly diagnosed with certain cancers and those whose ancestry places them at higher risk for carrying mutations in genes related to cancer susceptibility.
New Center Addresses Women's Pelvic Health Concerns
Pelvic floor disorders are among the most common health concerns facing women, particularly as they age. But many women — whether out of embarrassment, a lack of awareness that their problem can be addressed or because their medical provider doesn’t bring it up — suffer in silence. However, when brought to the attention of experts, such conditions as urinary incontinence, pelvic pain or pelvic organ prolapse can be treated successfully. To better address the needs of women with these disorders, subspecialists from UCLA’s departments of urology and obstetrics and gynecology have established the UCLA Center for Women’s Pelvic Health.
Understanding the Mysteries of Miscarriage
Although miscarriage is not uncommon and occurs in 15-to-20 percent of pregnancies — up to a million cases each year — women who miscarry often feel a very particular kind of heartbreak accompanied by the question of why did it happen.
Freezing Eggs An Option for Preserving Fertility in Young Women Undergoing Cancer Treatment
When adolescents or young adults receive a diagnosis of cancer, their immediate concern involves dealing with the disease, not thinking about whether or not they might want children in the future. But while cancer therapies have increased long-term survival rates for this population, they may also cause a loss of fertility by damaging the reproductive system.
Early Identification Essential to Treat Postpartum Depression
It’s easy to assume that the weeks after giving birth are joyous ones for the new mother, but many women experience emotional lows — often referred to as “the baby blues” — in the postpartum period, says UCLA psychiatrist Vivien K. Burt, MD, founder and co-director of the outpatient Women’s Life Center at UCLA.
Breastfeeding Success May Depend on Getting a Good Start
Some problems can be avoided by getting off to a good start in the hospital. Ideally, breastfeeding should be initiated promptly following childbirth. “Women who begin breastfeeding in the hospital have a much higher likelihood of continuing nursing their children into the first year of life,” says Leena Shankar Nathan, MD, a UCLA OB/GYN in Westlake Village. “We recommend six months of exclusive breastfeeding.”
Gestational Diabetes: Taking Steps to Protect Women’s Health During and After Pregnancy
About 9 percent of women develop diabetes for the first time while pregnant. Gestational diabetes, like type 1 and type 2 diabetes, causes blood-sugar levels to become high. This places a woman at a greater risk for delivering a larger baby weighing 9 pounds or more and high blood pressure. “Pregnant women normally become a little resistant to insulin. This helps provide more glucose to their growing babies,” says Alexander Chiang, MD, a UCLA obstetrician/gynecologist in Santa Monica.
Improved Procedures Boost Options to Address Infertility
Infertility or subfertility is typically defined as an inability to become pregnant after regular unprotected intercourse for a year. At that point, says Zain Al-Safi, MD, a fertility specialist at the UCLA Fertility and Reproductive Health Center, the couple should seek an evaluation. For women 35 and older, the evaluation should begin earlier, after six months of trying to conceive. If a woman or man has a suspected abnormality — such as sporadic menstrual cycles in women — then an evaluation would be warranted sooner.
Protecting pregnant women from Zika virus
Public-health officials are advising pregnant women and those planning a pregnancy to learn about the Zika virus, which is transmitted primarily through mosquito bites, and take precautions to protect themselves and their unborn babies from the disease. The virus raised alarm earlier this year when health officials in Brazil identified a cluster of neurological birth defects in newborns whose mothers contracted Zika virus during pregnancy.