Category Archives: Diseases and injuries

2019 women’s health update- new meds to control pain and prevent disease

In a previous post I gave you updates about hormones, the heart, and HPV. Here is the link-

Women’s health update, part 1

In this post I’ll review some new drugs that treat conditions exclusive to or common in women.

I’m illustrating this post with covers of books written by women; I have reviewed all of these books on my blog, so I’ll include those links also. Please note these are affiliate links, so if you do happen to use them for a purchase you will help me fund this blog.

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Relieving the pain of endometriosis

Women with endometriosis suffer infertility, excessive bleeding, painful periods and pelvic pain unrelated to periods. In endometriosis, uterine tissue grows outside the uterus. It can be difficult to diagnose, requiring invasive procedures to discover. Treatment depends on the goal, whether pregnancy, pain relief, or both. Short of surgery, hormonal therapy has been the mainstay of treatment.

A new hormonal drug released last year, elagolix, brand name Orilissa, is the first of its kind specifically developed and approved to treat “moderate to severe” endometriosis pain. It does not help with infertility. AbbVie, the pharmaceutical company which developed the drug, has priced it at $844 per month, or about $10000 per year, retail.( per Reuters report) Patients may pay less depending on insurance.

 

Stop bleeding fibroids

Researchers are studying elagolix and another hormonal drug ulipristal for treating uterine fibroids. Fibroids are growths within the uterine that can cause pain and excessive bleeding. Initial trials show both of these drugs can significantly decrease bleeding and pain. However, neither is currently FDA approved for treating fibroid.

Easing dyspareunia

After menopause many women develop atrophy of the vagina, making it thin, dry, and easily irritated, leading to painful sex, or dyspareunia. A new intravaginal medication, prasterone,brand name Intrarosa, can help relieve the discomfort. Studies show it may also help improve sexual desire and arousal, but it is not labeled for this.

Manufactured by AMAG Pharmaceuticals, it is for “moderate to severe” symptoms. Also known as DHEA, it is a steroid that transforms into estrogen in the vagina ,administered as a once daily vaginal insert at bedtime, applied with an applicator. According to goodrx.com,a 30 day supply costs about $213.

DHEA can be purchased as an over-the-counter, non-regulated product, whose effectiveness and safety are unknown. A one-month supply of 50 mg tablets may cost $5.

Other options for treating vaginal atrophy symptoms are oral or vaginal estrogen and/or vaginal lubricants.

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Prevention of migraine pain and disability

Migraine, although not exclusive to women,occurs much more frequently in them than men. For infrequent headaches,non opiate pain relievers are effective and recommended. But for severe, frequent, or persistent symptoms prevention is recommended to improve quality of life. Several oral meds are effective but two new injectable drugs show promise.

Botox, onabotulinumtoxin A, has been FDA approved for treating chronic migraine, meaning patients with frequent headaches and other migraine symptoms for at least 3 months.

Yes the same drug used to treat wrinkles,Botox, can prevent migraine

Manufactured by Allergan, a vial containing 200 units costs $1452, per goodrx.com. For migraine, the drug is injected in the upper facial muscles by a physician specifically trained in its use.

Another novel therapy uses the immune system to fight migraine. Monoclonal antibodies bind to a calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor which is responsible for transmitting migraine pain. The antibodies are produced in a laboratory but work like antibodies naturally produced by the body. They are being used to treat cancers and some forms of arthritis.

Three of these drugs are available

  • Erenumab-brand
  • Fremanezumab-Ajoovy
  • Galcanezumab-Emgality

 

They are administered as subcutaneous injections (under the skin) monthly. According to a Medscape, average cost is $600 per month.

You may want to review my previous post about non-drug ways to manage migraine.

Simple and effective ways to manage chronic pain

Preventing cervical cancer with the HPV vaccine

I mentioned this in my previous post about women’s health but it fits here also.

Infection with the HPV, human papillomavirus, causes genital warts and changes in the cervix called CIN which can lead to cervical cancer.

According to a review of clinical trials by Cochran, vaccination against this virus effectively prevents infection and thus fewer cases of CIN. Since a significant percentage of CIN progresses to cancer, we can expect fewer women will develop invasive cervical cancer, the 4th most common cancer in women worldwide.

The vaccine, Gardasail 9, originally approved for use in females ages 9 to 26 years,received FDA approval for use up to age 45 years.

Stopping shingles with the zoster vaccine

And speaking of vaccines, a new zoster (shingles) vaccine, Shingrix, prevents the painful rash much more effectively than the original vaccine Zostavax. It ranges in effectiveness from 91% to 97% at preventing shingles, depending on age. The first vaccine was 51% effective.

Zoster is a reactivation of the varicella virus that causes chickenpox. It causes a painful rash known as shingles;the pain may continue after the rash is gone. It can happen at any age, but symptoms tend to be worst in older persons.

exploring the HEART of health through books

Thanks for joining me to review new steps in women’s health and review some fine women authors. I hope you will follow the links to my reviews and read some or all of these books. When you do, I would love to know your reaction. I might use your comments in an update.

Until next time,

                              Dr. Aletha 

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Kristin Chenoweth’s memories and memorabilia- a book review

I recently read and reviewed Kristin Chenoweth’s memoir  which chronicles her  successful career as a Broadway, television, and movie singer and actress. She is well known as good witch Glinda in Wicked.

In my review I showed you photos of memorabilia which is on display at the Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center in her hometown. The theater there is named in her honor.

a banner-The Kristin Chenoweth Theatre
At the Performing Arts Center of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

I attended a concert there by The Ten Tenors and was delighted to find many new items and some of the previous items have been rearranged.

As I was talking around viewing the new pieces, I met and visited with two ladies who told me their daughters had been classmates of Kristin when she attended Broken Arrow High School.

On display are Kristin’s jacket, shoes, and bag she used when she was a Tigette at Broken Arrow High School

So I decided to republish my review of her memoir, illustrated by new photos of the new items on display. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

A LITTLE BIT Wicked:Life, Love, and Faith in Stages

a memoir by Kristin Chenoweth

Like me, Kristin Chenoweth was born and raised in Oklahoma; unlike me, she is an award winning singer and stage, screen, and television actress.  She is loved and admired here in our home state, being an inductee into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, as well as the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.

large building with multiple windows
The Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center

I have been to the Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center in Oklahoma where she conducts an annual Broadway Bootcamp.  But I didn’t know much about her until I listened to the audiobook version of her memoir A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages, read by her. Now I almost feel like we are best friends.

From the opening paragraph, Kristin is candid, no nonsense, transparent, and hilarious. She’s one of those “you never know what she’s going to say next” people and you don’t want to miss  any of it. She is just as up front sharing her failures as she is celebrating her successes.

This part of the country is referred to as the “Bible belt” and Kristin admits to reading and believing it. So don’t be surprised when she mentions and even occasionally quotes from the Bible in her memoir. Like when she talks about the circumstances of her birth.

Kristin’s faith and family

Kristin was adopted at birth by a couple who had one child but were unable to have more. She describes herself as the product of “forbidden love.” Her biological mother was an unmarried flight attendant who became pregnant. Instead of  abortion or  raising a child alone, she opted for adoption. Kristin joined the Chenoweth family soon after birth.

Her adoptive parents have loved her and supported her career and she is immensely grateful to them.

Rather than being angry or bitter, Kristen is grateful to this woman who she says was kind enough to “let me go”. To illustrate, she tells a Bible story from the Old Testament about the wise King Solomon. It goes like this.

One day two women (prostitutes in some Bible versions) came to King Solomon,  and one of them said:

“Your Majesty, this woman and I live in the same house. Not long ago my baby was born at home, and three days later her baby was born. Nobody else was there with us.

One night while we were all asleep, she rolled over on her baby, and he died. 

Then while I was still asleep, she got up and took my son out of my bed. She put him in her bed, then she put her dead baby next to me.

In the morning when I got up to feed my son, I saw that he was dead. But when I looked at him in the light, I knew he wasn’t my son.”

 The other woman shouted.

“No! He was your son. My baby is alive!”

The first woman yelled.

“The dead baby is yours. Mine is alive!”

They argued back and forth in front of Solomon,  until finally he said,

“Both of you say this live baby is yours.  Someone bring me a sword.”

“Cut the baby in half! That way each of you can have part of him.”

The baby’s mother screamed.

“Please don’t kill my son. Your Majesty, I love him very much, but give him to her. Just don’t kill him.”

The other woman shouted,

“Go ahead and cut him in half. Then neither of us will have the baby.”

Solomon  pointed to the first woman saying,

“Don’t kill the baby. She is his real mother. Give the baby to her.”

Everyone in Israel was amazed when they heard how Solomon had made his decision. They realized that God had given him wisdom to judge fairly.


From 1 Kings chapter 3 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society


She compares her birth mother to the woman who loved her child so much she would rather lose her than see her die. She believes,  “The ultimate test of love is letting go.”

Kristin won’t try to find her birth mother, refusing to intrude  on her privacy. She hopes she is happy, has a family, and knows how blessed Kristin’s life has been.

Kristin’s personal life

Unlike many entertainment celebrities, Kristin doesn’t seem to have any skeletons in her closet; she has avoided problems with alcohol, drugs, abusive relationships,  financial problems, or other scandals. 

Kristin makes living with  Meniere’s Disease sound like a sitcom. Meniere’s causes dysfunction of the inner ear, resulting in sudden, unpredictable, debilitating attacks of vertigo(dizziness),  nausea, and vomiting. Episodes resolves after a few hours or sometimes days.

There is no cure for Meniere’s except a radical ear surgery which might leave her with hearing loss. As a professional singer she doesn’t want to risk that, so she copes with the condition with humor and an unwillingness to let it stop her from fulfilling her work commitments.

a display case with trophies belonging to Kristen Chenoweth

Memorabilia from Kristin’s career on display at the theater in Broken Arrow

Kristin has her serious side, evident as she describes singing at her beloved grandfather’s funeral, and supporting her mother through breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.

She sometimes feels caught between  the Christian community which criticizes her liberal social views and her friends with unconventional lifestyles who are turned off by her uncompromising Christian witness. As she puts it, she wants to love and help everyone in the same way Jesus did; she doesn’t want to take sides or exclude people just because they are different. 

Kristen Chenoweth's Antoinette Perry Award and pink hat.
Kristin’s Antoinette Perry Award

Kristin’s performing career

Kristin has and still does perform on the stage, movies, and television, and records albums. She won a Tony award as Sally Brown in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”

an evening gown on display next to a photo of Kristen Chenoweth
Kristen receiving her Tony Award, photo and her evening gown displayed in the theatre lobby

I hope you will read, or better yet listen to Kristen’s memoir.

She may be “A Little Bit Wicked”, but I think you will love her as much as we do here in Oklahoma.

a floor length, fancy pink and white dress covered in ruffles on the skirt

These are affiliate links which support this blog in sharing the HEART of health.

Enjoy Kristin’s singing

Listen on Apple Music to COMING HOME

Buy on the iTunes Store THE ART OF ELEGANCE  album

And find it on Amazon

Thanks for joining me to meet Kristin Chenoweth and see a little bit of our home state.

If you have enjoyed this, please share and follow this blog. See you next time.

Dr. Aletha

WICKED- cover of a program from the musical

WICKED is a touching saga of love, friendship, betrayal, courage, and forgiveness.

After hearing how wonderful it is, I finally saw the touring production of WICKED and it is every bit as “wicked” as everyone says.

Although Kristin no longer performs in it, other actresses bring Glinda and Elphaba to life with singing, non-stop action, and gorgeous costumes.

It may be based on a children’s story, but WICKED is a touching saga of love, friendship, betrayal, courage, and forgiveness. Don’t miss it if you have a chance to see it.

You can stream the WICKED album free with Amazon Prime (affiliate link).


Jackson Park, City of Broken Arrow sign

About Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

statistics from the City of Broken Arrow, 2018

  • Population- 112,000
  • Land area -55 square miles
  • Median income -$82,831
  • Median home value-$157,700
  • Median age-37 years
  • 277th largest city in the U.S.A

Top 5 employers in Broken Arrow

Do you wonder how Broken Arrow got it’s name? Find out at this link.

History of the name of Broken Arrow