Women’s Health: What We Know Now (1/31/2011)
Blueberry myths and spicy food hot flashes were but two of the multitude of topics covered at an informative lecture on Women’s Health at the 92nd Street Y. Aimed at the middle aged uptowner, Women’s Health: What We Know served as a forum for the educated health consumer to raise their concerns with health professionals not waiting on their next appointment. Both Dr. Susan Love and Dr. Alice Domar were patient and honest, even occasionally funny. Exactly the type of woman you'd hope to find on the other end of the stethoscope.
The need for such a lecture is slightly disheartening in that it is clear even those who care and have financial means cannot find a fair answer between their providers, the media, and other sources. Time and again the speakers went back to studies in the media and the need to maintain absolute critical vigilance in deciphering who paid for the study, who got the results into the paper, and why.
Going into this event I thought I would learn nothing. Utterly false in my assumption, I learned many new tidbits, which may or may not be true, but they all have some evidence behind them. These include:
Buying organic produce is worth it if you are buying fruits or vegetables you don’t peel (e.g., strawberries and tomatoes); otherwise, it’s not (e.g., banana).
Think of menopause as backwards puberty. It’s natural. It’s bizarre. It's uncomfortable. You will get through it.
Fitness and exercise do not necessarily go hand in hand. If you are under fifty, you need to be fit, which may or may not imply that you need to exercise. If you are over fifty though, you need to exercise regularly to remain fit no matter what.
Vitamins and supplements, on the whole, have not been shown to be effective. But New York City does have a vitamin rich sewage system.
The existence and insistence of girls obtaining the Human Papillomavirus Virus vaccine may exist thanks to the fact that HPV studies needed to be conducted on people not rats.
There are women who still believe hormone therapy is the answer to their hot flashes. IT'S NOT!
Even breast cancer advocates are sick of the pink ribbon craze. Donate to breast cancer research, not awareness raising.
But my absolute favorite tidbit was Dr. Domar’s three cardinal rules: don’t smoke, wear a seatbelt, and have safe sex. These apparently are the only things science knows for sure.