Women's Health Newsmix: Female Viagra, Mammogram Regulations, Michelle Obama on Health Care

pharma-01-smEquality with Viagra? We don't know about you, but WVFC was more than a little startled to learn that there's an organization called the "European Society for Sexual Medicine." We've also been a little skeptical of all these drug-industry studies calling lack of desire a disorder, though one such study issued in January stated that women reporting less desire were "more likely to be depressed and to suffer physical symptoms such as back pain and memory problems than women who report higher levels of desire." Still, we suspect that today's news about a new drug called flibanserin may fit the definition of serendipity. Science Daily quotes John M. Thorp Jr., M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, about the surprising results of a drug being tested as an antidepressant:

"Flibanserin was a poor antidepressant," Thorp said. "However, astute observers noted that it increased libido in laboratory animals and human subjects. So, we conducted multiple clinical trials and the women in our studies who took it for hypoactive sexual desire disorder reported significant improvements in sexual desire and satisfactory sexual experiences. "It's essentially a Viagra-like drug for women in that diminished desire or libido is the most common feminine sexual problem, like erectile dysfunction is in men," Thorp said.

Of course, the piece ends with "The trials were funded by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of flibanserin." We'll wait for Stage III and beyond before we ask our doctor about this one, though it's weirdly heartening to see "female Viagra" applied to something besides chocolate.

mammogramNavyYou mean I can cancel that appointment with the pincer? Not if you're 50. Say the word "mammogram" and most women flinch, not looking forward to annually squeezing our breasts between two plates. Well, for those of us between 40 and 5o, an annual screening is no longer considered mandatory by the Preventive Services Task Force of the Department of Health and Human Services, which two years ago urged screening for all over-40 women:

Dr. Diana Petitti, vice chairwoman of the task force and a professor of biomedical informatics at Arizona State University, said the guidelines were based on new data and analyses and were aimed at reducing the potential harm from overscreening. While many women do not think a screening test can be harmful, medical experts say the risks are real. They include unnecessary tests, like biopsies that can create extreme anxiety. And mammograms can find cancers that are better off not found. Some cancers grow so slowly that they never would be noticed in a woman’s lifetime. When they are found, women end up being treated unnecessarily.

Read more, including Michelle Obama discussing health care reform at Women's Voices For Change.

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