Breaking Down Stigma in Women’s Health: From Silence to Empowerment
Acessa Health | March 15, 2021
Let’s get to the hard and true facts: women are AMAZING.
Women are great analyzers, incredible multitaskers, and effective charmers, all while enduring monthly visits from Aunt Flo. If that’s not a superpower, nothing is. Simply put, women are powerful beings – and we believe women should always feel empowered to tackle the challenges that come their way. Throughout history, women have changed the way we look at medicine. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to receive a medical degree, paved the way for future generations of female physicians. Henrietta Lacks, a young mother who suffered from vaginal bleeding and eventually received a cancer diagnosis, is central to medical advancements because of her unique cancer cells, which are known as one of the most important cell lines in medical research. Women like Elizabeth and Henrietta made immense sacrifices for the future of women and left a legacy we are responsible to keep pushing forward. Standing in the footsteps of these inspiring women who advocated for themselves and bettered society because of it, should empower you to speak out about your gynecologic health and seek the help you need. Advancements in medicine have made it possible for women to be equipped to take better care of their bodies and the world.
Another female superpower? A high tolerance for pain. A survey found that it took an average of 3.6 years for women to seek treatment for their uterine fibroid symptoms. But just because you can handle the pain doesn’t mean you should – or that you have to.
We get it – it’s easy to think that your symptoms are not serious enough to go speak to a doctor, or that you’re making a big deal out of nothing (see if you’re experiencing common fibroid symptoms here). Progress towards prioritizing women’s health goes beyond medical innovation, and dives deeper into removing the stigma associated with below the belt health. Changes in menstrual cycles or abnormal pelvic pain are issues that should be flagged to a doctor, and as our society continues to work towards reducing stigma around these gynecologic topics, more and more women are advocating for their health and educating themselves on treatment options – just as women throughout history have done when they were told their pain was nothing to worry about. No more suffering in silence, it’s time to speak up.
Women need to keep crushing the stigma around women’s gynecologic health, so we can have real and honest conversations when it comes to fibroids and other gynecologic conditions. By being more comfortable in having these conversations, it is more likely that women will hear that they have more treatment options when it comes to fibroids, that go beyond removing a major organ. And the truth is: hysterectomy is not the only way to treat fibroids. We believe that all women deserve a life without fibroid symptoms – and this shouldn’t come at the cost of your uterus. This also shouldn’t mean putting your life on hold.
Fibroid treatment options have come a long way, and we are committed now more than ever to making women’s health a priority. A woman’s choice in her treatment is a key factor in improving quality of life and maintaining her lifestyle, and there has been a great shift towards women having a choice when it comes to their treatment options. Historically, hysterectomy was the only choice women had for fibroid treatment, but now women have the opportunity to choose less-invasive options that better fit their lifestyle and goals. The last century has seen significant advancements in women’s gynecologic care with myomectomy, uterine artery embolization and laparoscopic radiofrequency ablation offered among other minimally invasive therapies. With these advancements in women’s health, women now have more options to choose from to treat their uterine fibroids. Additionally, women now have the option to choose where they receive treatment, such as the evolution of a traditional operating room to an in-office procedure.
Laparoscopic Radiofrequency Ablation (Lap-RFA), is an example of the recent additions to minimally invasive treatment options offered outside of hysterectomy. Lap-RFA addresses fibroids in most locations, symptoms of bloating, and heavy periods in a way that is kind to your body. The procedure empowers you to take charge of your health while keeping your busy schedule in mind. In fact, the entire procedure from anesthesia to waking up lasts 1-2 hours and most patients get cleared to go home within two hours2. With Lap-RFA, you can feel empowered to take care of your body and tackle your to do list within the same week.
We recognize that fibroids are personal. This Women’s History Month, we’re here to remind you that you can feel empowered to remove the stigma that can sometimes surround conversations about gynecologic health. Speak up and explore treatment options that can help without disrupting your life or your body – the same way you should feel empowered to ask for that promotion, take that vacation or buy that dress. This Women’s History Month, and every month, we need to keep taking cues from the women who have come before us, who were determined to better themselves and their health so they could live out the rest of their lives to the fullest and make a difference in the world.
Don’t wait any longer for relief from your fibroid symptoms. Regardless of which treatment option is right for you, know that you don’t need to suffer in silence. If you think Lap-RFA may be right for you
- Berman JM, Shashoua A, Olson C, Brucker S, Thiel JA, Bhagavath B.Case Series of Reproductive Outcomes After Laparoscopic Radiofrequency Ablation of Symptomatic Myomas. J Minim Invasive Gynecol. 2019 Jun 22. pii: S1553-4650(19)30287-0. doi: 10.1016/j.jmig.2019.06.009. [Epub ahead of print]
- Mayo Clinic—Uterine Fibroids— https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/uterine-fibroids/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354294
- Braun, Kelli M et al. “Surgeons’ early experience with the Acessa™ procedure: gaining proficiency with new technology.” International journal of women’s health vol. 8 669-675. 23 Nov. 2016, doi:10.2147/IJWH.S119265