The Weekly Rundown: 3 - 10 August 2018

Welcome to #theweeklyrundown where we give you this week's summary of relevant news covering gynaecological health.

Each week, we aim to keep you up-to-date on different global trends, breakthroughs and events about women's gynaecological wellness and issues.

If we missed anything, please feel free to comment below with a link!

Gabrielle Union ©  2018   Getty Images

Gabrielle Union © 2018 Getty Images

1. Gabrielle Union opens up about her rape and infertility

On Wednesday, actor, activist and author Gabrielle Union graced the stage of the 2018 #BlogHer conference in New York to talk openly about the various traumas she has endured, including a sexual assault that happened to her at age 19.

When asked what led her to bravely address this publicly, she said that it was about being true to herself.

“I don’t look at it as brave, I look at it as necessary,” she said. “There is so much that we internalize and we hold to ourselves out of fear of judgment and sometimes that fear can literally kill us.”

She went on to bring up the fertility issues she faced with husband Dwyane Wade

“Towards the end of my fertility journey I finally got some answers, because everyone said ‘You’re a career woman, you’ve prioritized your career, you waited too long and now you’re just too old to have a kid...The reality is I actually have adenomyosis,” she said.

“The gag is I had it in my early 20s, and instead of someone diagnosing me they were like ‘Oh you have periods that last nine or 10 days and you’re bleeding through overnight pads? Not a mere inconvenience, perhaps there’s something more there.”

2. Revised ASRM classification does not always accurately predict actual stage of endometriosis

An article, which was recently published in Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics & Gynaecology, discussed the limitations of existing American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) classification systems to indicate an up-to-date, effective one.

"The biggest challenge of classifying endometriosis is to correlate the staging of disease to the two most relevant clinical features: infertility and pain." the authors said in the article.

"This information is crucial for a complete endometriosis classification system...Efforts should be made within related societies to achieve an ideal system for the classification of endometriosis either to improve the available systems to include the level of pain or to develop a new system that would complement the existent systems".

3. New International PCOS guideline aims to streamline worldwide care

A group of 37 different PCOS organizations representing 71 countries issued new recommendations and methods to improve care, health plans and outcomes for women with PCOS, according to a new guideline published in Fertility & Sterility.

The group issued 166 recommendations, including improving individual diagnostic criteria, reducing unnecessary testing, increasing focus on education and lifestyle modification and focusing on evidence-based medical therapies and “cheaper and safer” fertility management.

4. EMA responds to liver injury concerns over uterine fibroids medicine

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has responded to concerns that Esmya (ulipristal acetate), a uterine fibroids medicine, presents a risk of serious liver injury.

The EMA found that the drug had some effectiveness in reducing bleeding and anaemia associated with uterine fibroids and also in reducing the size of fibroids. However, the agency also recommended a series of measures be put into place to minimise the risk of serious liver injury in people using the drug.

The EMA has insisted that Esmya should only be used as a last resort in terms of treatment options, especially if the patient isn't eligible for surgery. Also, the patient should make their healthcare providers aware of any history of liver problems or testing before being issued the medicine. 

5. Exile wreaks havoc on refugees’ sexual and reproductive health

More than 475.000 Syrian refugee girls and women residing in the desert city of Sanliurfa, Turkey face extreme hardships, including violence, poverty and especially sexual reproductive health and wellness issues.

Specifically, many of these women are having to combat vaginitis with limited gynaecological resources provided by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) due to the lack of clean water and sanitation options of their current housing.

“The biggest problem we see are vaginal infections, anaemia and malnutrition,” Huda said, a Syrian refugee and midwife working at the centre.

“Treatments are available, but the cases are simply too numerous. This is the challenge,” Dr. Hadel Bakjaje said. She sees up to 15 women per day with vaginitis.

Some infections, like bacterial vaginosis, can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility. Others, like trichomoniasis, can increase women’s vulnerability to sexually transmitted infections like HIV, and in pregnant women can cause miscarriage, low birth weight, preterm delivery.