News Detail

More Than Bikini Medicine

More Than Bikini Medicine Published Date : 19 May 2017
Amarillo - Historically, called bikini medicine, women's health care, as many think of it, has been contained to those body parts covered by a bikini.

"The issue that are specific to women that never occur in men are true sex differences," explained Dr. Joanna Wilson, D.O. The problem is when you get into the more standard problems-- like blood pressure, diabetes, gout, asthma, skin things-- where we haven't yet realized all the differences in men and women for run of the mill things."

This notion that men and women's bodies respond to treatment the same way-- that symptoms present the same way- was presumed fact until the seventies.

"There were actually restrictions on doing research on women. It was to do with protecting the potential for pregnancy and because women are difficult research subjects-- when women are cycling women are breast feeding, they pregnant," Wilson said. "These are all variables that are very hard to control. It's not that they hated women, it's just that it's a much bigger, more expensive, longer study."

More recent research, however, indicates those studies might not be altogether accurate when it comes to women. What the medical community is realizing is the differences are significant.

"Gosh! It just makes sense," Wilson said. "It's a no-brainer."

Wilson, along with her colleagues at the Laura W Bush Institute for Women's Health here in Amarillo are working to make sure those "ah-ha" moments are happening more often and earlier.

First, by funding research into sex and gender medicine.

"We need to know on every research study from a cell level up whether it was done on a woman or a man," Marley Hoggat, the curriculum developer for the Laura W Bush Institute said.

Secondly, through developing a sex and gender curriculum and continuing education program available to medical programs and practitioners across the country.

"I think this is so vital to medicine and the fact that it's coming out of a rather remotely placed town in West Texas is amazing," Hoggat said.

Wilson and Hoggat's push to increase awareness of sex and gender medicine was featured in May's edition of Marie Claire Magazine-- another way, they're hoping to spread the word.

"We don't know our symptoms might look different than a man," Hoggat said. "Not knowing those symptoms might delay or prohibit us from seeking care."

But for all the work to increase awareness, both Wilson and Hoggatt, hope that one day their mission will be obsolete.

"This topic should die a quiet death because as we learn the differences," Wilson said. "It should be common knowledge. It should no longer be odd."

Wilson said there are things you can do if you are a woman seeking medical care. Number one, If you're feeling ill, search sex and gender medicine online, and read about gender specific symptoms. Some diseases have the same symptoms as men, and some don't.

She says it is difficult to filter through all the information, so the most important thing is to be an advocate for your health with your physician. Ask him or her questions and be persistent.



Media Coverage

Calender 2017