In recent years, there has been an increase in research focusing on women’s health, addressing various conditions, and exploring innovative solutions to improve health outcomes. This round-up article presents an overview of the latest studies published last week and their contributions to understanding and advancing women’s health.

From understanding structural changes needed at the NIH to exploring the impact of social isolation during the pandemic, these studies offer valuable insights and practical recommendations for improving women’s health outcomes globally. As we continue to advance in medical science and healthcare practices, addressing these varied aspects of women’s health remains paramount for fostering a healthier, more inclusive society.

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Women’s Health Research Summaries

1. Discussion of Policies, Systems, and Structures for Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Research Institution: National Institutes of Health (NIH)

This workshop, organized by the National Academies, aimed to develop recommendations for optimizing NIH structures and processes to ensure better funding for women’s health research. The event featured an overview of current NIH processes, programs, and structures, and gathered stakeholder perspectives on existing research gaps. Significant structural changes are needed within the NIH to enhance women’s health research. Recommendations included better funding mechanisms, increased stakeholder engagement, and addressing identified research gaps.

Conditions Addressed: Women’s health research funding and structure

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2. “You want people to listen to you”: Patient experiences of women’s healthcare within the Veterans Health Administration

Research Institution: Veterans Health Administration (VA)

This study used semi-structured interviews with female veterans to explore their experiences with VA women’s healthcare. Key themes identified were feeling valued, bodily autonomy, discrimination, past military experiences, and accessible care. The study highlighted several areas not covered by current VA surveys. Existing VA patient experience measures are insufficient and need to be tailored to better address aspects such as bodily autonomy and the impact of military experiences and trauma on healthcare.

Conditions Addressed: Women’s healthcare experiences within the VA

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3. Barriers and Advantages of Self-Sampling Tests for HPV Diagnosis: A Qualitative Field Experience Before Implementation in a Rural Community in Ecuador

Research Institution: Universidad de Cuenca, Ecuador

Conducted in rural Ecuador, this study compared self-sampling and clinician sampling methods for HPV diagnosis. Women perceived clinician sampling as painful and intrusive but reliable, whereas self-sampling was seen as more comfortable and private but raised concerns about reliability and proficiency. Self-sampling methods could improve screening uptake by offering comfort and privacy. However, addressing concerns about test reliability through proper training is essential for broader acceptance.

Conditions Addressed: HPV diagnosis and cervical cancer screening

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4. Leveraging web search data in Germany to identify unmet needs of contraceptives on a population-based level: A longitudinal retrospective study

Research Institution: Technical University of Munich, Germany

This study analyzed web search trends related to contraception in Germany from 2018 to 2021, revealing a significant increase in searches, especially for non-hormonal female contraceptives. The data highlighted a high interest in these methods despite their limited availability. There is a substantial unmet need for effective non-hormonal contraceptives. More comprehensive family planning resources and education, particularly targeting gender-specific responsibilities, are necessary.

Conditions Addressed: Contraception preferences and availability

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5. Gender(ed) science: How the institutionalization of gender continues to shape the conduct and content of women’s health research

Research Institution: Columbia University, University of Utah, UCSF

This paper explores how gender influences health research, focusing on NIH funding and dissemination practices. It highlights how patriarchal structures and gender biases affect which topics are prioritized and how research findings are shared. Critical social science analyses are needed to identify and address gender-based inequities in health research. Policies that promote gender equity in research funding and dissemination are essential.

Conditions Addressed: Gender influences in health research

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6. The Microbial Revolution: Unveiling the Benefits of Vaginal Probiotics and Prebiotics

Research Institution: Various institutions

This paper reviews the benefits of vaginal probiotics and prebiotics in maintaining vaginal health, preventing infections, and improving overall vaginal microbiota. It discusses their roles in reducing the incidence of various infections and supporting reproductive health. Probiotics and prebiotics present promising interventions for enhancing vaginal health. Further research and development of personalized probiotic treatments could significantly benefit women’s health.

Conditions Addressed: Vaginal health, probiotics, and prebiotics

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7. Technological Advances in Obstetric Nursing Consultations Using Ultrasound

Research Institution: Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil

This study examines the use of ultrasound technology in prenatal nursing consultations in Brazil, highlighting its benefits in improving obstetric care and expanding nurses’ roles. Integrating ultrasound technology in nursing consultations enhances prenatal care quality and accessibility, promoting better maternal and fetal health outcomes.

Conditions Addressed: Prenatal care and ultrasound technology

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8. Prevalence and Risk Factors of Osteoporosis: a Cross-Sectional Study in a Tertiary Center

Research Institution: Dokuz Eylul University, Turkey

This cross-sectional study assesses the prevalence and risk factors of osteoporosis among postmenopausal women in a tertiary center. Factors such as smoking, diabetes, and previous fractures were identified as significant risks. Early identification and management of osteoporosis risk factors are crucial. The study recommends routine screening and preventive measures, including lifestyle modifications and education on bone health.

Conditions Addressed: Osteoporosis prevalence and risk factors

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9. Prevalence and associated factors of depression among women with advanced pelvic organ prolapse in Northwest Ethiopia: cross-sectional study

Research Institution: University of Gondar, Ethiopia

Investigating the prevalence of depression in women with advanced pelvic organ prolapse, this study found a high incidence of depression and identified factors such as rural residence, divorce, and urinary symptoms as significant contributors. The high prevalence of depression highlights the need for mental health screening and interventions in women with pelvic organ prolapse. Integrating psychological support into gynecological care is recommended.

Conditions Addressed: Depression in women with pelvic organ prolapse

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10. The Effect of Human Umbilical Cord Mesenchymal Stem Cell on Premature Ovarian Cell Senilism Through miR-10a

Research Institution: Nanjing Medical University, China

This study explores the protective effects of miR-10a-modified HUMSCs-derived exosomes on ovarian granulosa cells in a model of premature ovarian failure. The treatment showed positive effects on cell proliferation and reduced apoptosis. HUMSCs-derived exosomes have potential therapeutic benefits for premature ovarian failure, suggesting a promising avenue for fertility preservation and ovarian health restoration.

Conditions Addressed: Premature ovarian failure and stem cell therapy

11. Fear of COVID-19 as mediator in the relationship between at-risk Filipino women’s health belief and intention to have pap smear test

Research Institution: Holy Angel University, Philippines

This study examines the impact of COVID-19-related fear on Filipino women’s health beliefs and their intention to undergo Pap smear testing. It found that fear had a partial mediating effect on health beliefs and screening intentions. While COVID-19 fear affects screening intentions, strong health beliefs about the benefits of Pap smears remain crucial. Public health strategies should address both fear and educational aspects to improve screening rates.

Conditions Addressed: Pap smear testing and COVID-19 fear

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12. Prevalence and factors associated with pre-exposure prophylaxis awareness among cisgender women of reproductive age in Burkina Faso

Research Institution: Demographic and Health Surveys Program, Burkina Faso

The study investigates awareness of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention among women in Burkina Faso, identifying factors such as age, education, media exposure, and prior HIV testing as significant. Enhancing PrEP awareness through targeted public health campaigns is essential. The findings emphasize the role of education and media in increasing PrEP uptake among women.

Conditions Addressed: Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) awareness for HIV prevention

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13. Sex Disparities: Couple’s Knowledge and Attitude Towards Obstetric Danger Signs and Maternal Health Care: in Rural Jimma Zone of Ethiopia

Research Institution: Jimma University, Ethiopia

This comparative study examines knowledge and attitudes towards obstetric danger signs and maternal healthcare among couples in rural Ethiopia. It highlights disparities in knowledge and the impact of male partner involvement on maternal health. Involving male partners in maternal health education can significantly improve knowledge and support for obstetric care, leading to better health outcomes for mothers and babies.

Conditions Addressed: Obstetric danger signs and maternal healthcare knowledge

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14. Validation of a Brazilian Tool for Mapping Risk Factors and Early Diagnosis of Female Urinary Incontinence

Research Institution: Universidade Regional do Cariri, Brazil

The study validates a tool designed to identify risk factors and facilitate early diagnosis of urinary incontinence among young women in Brazil. The tool was found to be effective and well-received by healthcare professionals. The validated tool can help in early identification and management of urinary incontinence, contributing to comprehensive women’s health care and preventive strategies.

Conditions Addressed: Urinary incontinence early diagnosis and risk factors

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15. Having Enough Milk to Sustain a Lactation Journey: A Call to Action

Research Institution: University of Pennsylvania

This commentary addresses the challenges and barriers to successful lactation, calling for proactive measures to support breastfeeding practices from prenatal to postnatal care. Emphasizing early and sustained support for lactation is crucial for improving breastfeeding outcomes. Healthcare providers should implement strategies to overcome common barriers and promote successful breastfeeding journeys.

Conditions Addressed: Breastfeeding challenges and lactation support

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16. Uncovering gaps in management of vasomotor symptoms: findings from a national need assessment

Research Institution: American Osteopathic Association

This national assessment identifies gaps in knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to managing vasomotor symptoms of menopause among healthcare providers. It highlights the need for better education and training. Addressing the identified knowledge gaps and improving provider education on vasomotor symptom management is essential. Culturally informed approaches and evidence-based protocols are recommended.

Conditions Addressed: Vasomotor symptoms management during menopause

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17. A retrospective analysis of the incidence and risk factors of perioperative urinary tract infections after total hysterectomy

Research Institution: Sun Yat-sen University, China

The study analyzes the incidence and risk factors of perioperative urinary tract infections in patients undergoing total hysterectomy, identifying age, comorbidities, and hospital factors as significant risks. Preventive strategies targeting identified risk factors can reduce the incidence of urinary tract infections and associated healthcare costs. Preoperative counseling and tailored perioperative care are recommended.

Conditions Addressed: Perioperative urinary tract infections after hysterectomy

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18. Erhöhtes Herz-Kreislauf-Risiko bei Frauen mit Schlaflosigkeit – Ergebnisse der SWAN-Studie

Research Institution: SWAN Study (various institutions)

This study from the SWAN cohort investigates the relationship between chronic insomnia and cardiovascular risk in midlife women, finding a significant association. Chronic insomnia is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases in women. Effective sleep interventions and monitoring are necessary to mitigate these risks.

Conditions Addressed: Chronic insomnia and cardiovascular risk in women

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19. Maximizing cervical cancer prevention in safety-net settings of care: Resources from the Federal Cervical Cancer Collaborative for provider and patient engagement

Research Institution: Federal Cervical Cancer Collaborative (FCCC)

The FCCC developed resources to improve cervical cancer prevention, screening, and management in safety-net healthcare settings. The study outlines the creation of provider toolkits and patient engagement materials to address patient-level barriers such as transportation, health literacy, and caregiving responsibilities. The resources developed by the FCCC can enhance cervical cancer prevention in underserved communities. Effective implementation of these toolkits and materials can improve patient engagement and access to preventive services.

Conditions Addressed: Cervical cancer prevention in underserved communities

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20. A plain language summary of the perspectives of women who were interviewed about their experiences with uterine fibroids

Research Institution: Journal of Comparative Effectiveness Research

This study provides insights into the experiences of women with uterine fibroids, focusing on the physical, emotional, social, and financial impacts. Women reported symptoms such as heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, and anemia, which affected their daily lives and overall well-being. Uterine fibroids significantly impact women’s lives. Understanding these experiences highlights the need for patient-centered approaches in treatment and support services to improve quality of life.

Conditions Addressed: Impact of uterine fibroids on women’s lives

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21. Loneliness and Social Isolation: Exploring the Experiences of Older Women during the Pandemic in terms of Social Connection Feeling of Loneliness and the Impact on Mental Health and Well-being

Research Institution: University of Kashmir, India

This qualitative study investigates the impact of social isolation and loneliness on older women during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study discusses how physical distancing measures exacerbated feelings of loneliness and negatively affected mental health. The pandemic has intensified loneliness and social isolation among older women, leading to significant mental health challenges. Targeted interventions are necessary to support social connections and mental well-being in this vulnerable population.

Conditions Addressed: Social isolation, loneliness, and mental health during COVID-19

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Women’s Health Research Overview

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