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Women’s Health: Need-to-Know Numbers

Gloria Elam
Photo: Kathryn Marchetti

3

Number of years recommended between Pap tests for women ages 21 to 65

“If your results have been normal, you don’t need a test every year. We have more information than we used to. In 2012, for women 30 and older, we added a test for HPV, which contributes to most cervical cancers. We also know now that most cervical cancer progresses slowly.”
Gloria Elam, director of UI Health’s Center for Women’s Health

 

Maryam Siddiqui
Photo: David Christopher

48

Number of hours it takes Zulresso, a newly approved medication for postpartum depression, to start working

“The treatment, which was studied in Europe, is an infusion of a metabolite of progesterone, which affects GABA receptors in the brain that control fear or anxiety. An estimated 10 to 15 percent of women will have postpartum depression, and while it is great news that this condition is getting some much-needed research and innovation, the three trials that showed an improvement had a total of only 140 patients. That is likely too small a number to identify less common side effects or risks.”
Maryam Siddiqui, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Chicago Medicine

 

Jonathan Strauss
Photo: Laura Brown

100

Percentage of women who would receive information about their breast density after mammograms if new rules proposed by the FDA are approved

“Dense breast tissue can reduce the sensitivity of mammography, making it more difficult to detect masses. Studies are underway to elucidate the role of ultrasound and MRI in breast screening. Women with dense breasts also appear to be at somewhat higher risk of developing breast cancer.”
Jonathan Strauss, radiation oncologist at Northwestern’s Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center

 

Elena Trukhacheva
Photo: Bruce Powell

15

Percentage of couples who have trouble getting pregnant in the first year of trying

“There is a misconception that infertility is mostly a problem with women’s health. When we see a couple, about 40 percent of the time there is an issue with the female partner; about 40 percent, with the male; and about 20 percent, a combination. Women’s risk increases more with age than men’s because men are constantly producing new sperm.”
Elena Trukhacheva, reproductive endocrinologist at Advocate Health Care

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