Friday, October 31, 2008

This study gives new meaning to the term, "mama's boy"...

Several years ago I was diagnosed with uterine fibroids. For all of my medical knowledge and connections, I was very distressed to learn that the treatments for this very common gynecological condition seemed to be very crude and invasive. There really wasn't much research into gentle, natural, or nutritional solutions. Every physician I spoke to just wanted to give me a hysterectomy, despite my young age. Some couldn't figure out why I wouldn't consent, given the fact I was not going to have children and my uterus was, therefore, essentially useless and unnecessary.

When I shared my situation with another female friend, she immediately said, "Well, if it was men who got fibroids on THEIR reproductive organs, you can guarantee there would be a gazillion dollars devoted to researching any possible way to treat them without removing the affected body part!"

Ever since, when I see some kind of gender inequity in medicine, I think of that conversation and remind myself that, unfortunately, sometimes men have to hurt in a unique and most unexpected place in order for them to think more creatively about how they treat women, personally and clinically.

This study is about depression and not fibroids, but it makes my point. Something I find very frustrating with my work in polycystic ovary syndrome is the reluctance on the part of some endocrinologists who treat the disorder to acknowledge the extreme anxiety, depression, and mood swings this disorder promotes. Even though 85% of the over 1,000 women who answered a survey on my website reported at least one of these problems, there are physicians who will flat out say depression is not part of the disorder. Or, rather than trying to understand what may be driving the depression, they simply write a script for an antidepressant.'s what might happen if you treat depression so superficially. Female rats were treated, throughout pregnancy and lactation, with fluoxetine (Prozac). Later on, the sexual behavior of their male offspring was observed. They appeared to have less incentive to participate in sexual activity. This lack of libido wasn't coming from any measurable, explainable change in hormones, these guys just didn't seem to want any.

With all due respect, knowing that fish oil/omega-3 fatty acids are a great option for depression as well as promoting libido, this kind of problem simply shouldn't be something we have to encounter or research. Except to identify and define precisely why we shouldn't be encountering or researching it.

Oh! And if you're male and you're feeling a little uncomfortable while reading this, you've just experienced what every woman in history has felt when she was told she had to have a hysterectomy that may have been unnecessary. Welcome to the world of medicine without compassion.

GouvĂȘa TS, Morimoto HK, de Faria MJ, Moreira EG, Gerardin DC. Maternal exposure to the antidepressant fluoxetine impairs sexual motivation in adult male mice. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2008 Sep;90(3):416-9. Epub 2008 Apr 4.

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