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Medical Research Week

Gynaecology, Pregnancy, Fertility Professor Jason Abbott Associate
When you have a health problem, what you want is the answer. But to get the answer we have to have scientific evidence that can only come through research. Research is so many different areas of medicine, and by contributing, you can make a difference to the heath of yours and your families health. Help research. It is your health that benefits….

Between May 28 and June 5 2015, Medical Research week will be celebrated in NSW.  The Australian Society for Medical Research hosts a series of events around the country to promote research but also to spread the results of research that has been done.  Alana Healthcare for Women has a strong record in undertaking and promoting research in women’s health and we have been actively involved in a large number of research studies since we began in 2007.  Our practitioners know that the best way to help you is through research projects that are scientifically valid, reviewed by a group of experts and reported for all, so that the information can become useful to women.  These are just some of the projects that we have undertaken and we want to thank you for participating – you have helped make these projects happen.

In a world first study, Susan Arentz has evaluated a new type of herbal treatment for women with PCOS in conjunction with a consultation program.  Susan’s studies are part of her PhD thesis and her publications to date have reviewed how herbal preparations work for women with PCOS and infertility and the utilisation of herbal supplements in this group of women.  She has just completed her large-scale study on menstrual and fertility outcomes showing a marked benefit for women when the program is completed.  Through this research there are new methods for addressing the problems of PCOS in women.  Great work Susan and well done.  Thank you to all the women who have participated in this project and achieved this result.

Taryn Hallam has completed a project looking at pelvic floor training before any surgical procedure for prolapse.  Of course the importance of the pelvic floor is a key factor in women’s health care with ageing and childbirth a huge issue for problems of incontinence and prolapse.  What Taryn and the team showed is that participating in a pelvic floor exercise program improves the outcomes of surgery (if surgery is required at all) and a good strong pelvic floor will be a great way to keep quality of life optimised for women.  Here’s to a strong and supple pelvic floor.

Dr Erin Nesbitt-Hawes has published work on single versus multiple Botox® treatments to the pelvic floor in women with chronic pelvic pain and muscular spasm.  This work is again one of the projects for her PhD (so there are currently 2 PhD students working hard for you at Alana Healthcare for Women – to provide you with more information) and demonstrates that if you respond to treatment with Botox®, then you should continue to respond in the same manner.  Importantly, the time interval seems to be variable between injections that are needed and response may also vary from point to point – this is likely due to a variety of factors contributing to pain in these women.

Have you ever had a laparoscopy and needed to drink that horrible preparation for your bowels beforehand?  Thanks to nearly 600 women who participated in one of the largest studies of its kind in the world, we now know that bowel preparation doesn’t make a difference to the surgery and the only thing it does is to make you feel sick and dehydrated.  So we have stopped doing it for gynaecological surgery (although you will still need it for colonoscopies – sorry!).  The findings from this study have been presented around the world and have helped to change policy.  Both Erin and Professor Jason Abbott were part of the medical team that worked on this project.  To all the women involved – you have made a difference.  Thank you!

Jason and Erin again paired up with a group of researchers to look at pregnancy outcomes following removal of stage III and IV (moderate to severe) endometriosis for women wanting a pregnancy and this work is about to be published in an international Journal.  It reports that even in severe disease, the chance of a successful pregnancy is quite high at 72% with more than 2/3 of women becoming pregnant naturally and 1/3 needing some assistance to become pregnant.  This is one of the largest studies in the world to look at women with severe disease and examines 10 years of surgical treatments.  To all the women who participated in this study (and responded so quickly and thoroughly) a huge thank you – this is invaluable information.

These are just some of the studies that we have done in the past and there are many more currently underway.  We are going to talk about these more in future blogs, but it is enough to say that the team at Alana want to provide you with more information about the conditions that affect your well-being.

When you visit Alana, you may well be asked to be part of a research study and if so, please consider joining and helping.  It is not just about you, but all the women who are current patients and your daughters (and sons too) who will benefit from the research we are doing.  Your participation has already made a difference – the women from Alana Healthcare for Women have been an integral part of all of these studies and we have no intention of resting on our laurels – the more information we have to give to you, the better informed are your health choices and the happier we are with the care that we can provide.   So, in this Medical Research Week, remember that every study adds information to the great big picture that will help you now, and into the future.

For more information about our services, please visit our Gynaecology, Obstetrics and Fertility main pages.