Medical devices, prescription drugs, and even consumer products offer unique benefits to women. But sometimes they can cause unexpected harm. Here are some products that women should use with caution:
1. Talcum powder – It might sound far-fetched, but women who apply baby powder or body powder regularly to their genitals are a third more likely to develop ovarian cancer than women who do not use the product. Talcum powder, derived from talc, contains various elements, including asbestos, which is a known carcinogen. Researchers say the powder when applied to the genitals can travel up the vagina through the uterus and fallopian tubes and into the ovaries where it can cause inflammation and a desirable setting for cancerous growths. Researchers say that talcum powder could be to blame for as many as 10,000 cases of ovarian cancer each year.
2. Mirena IUD – Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are a convenient contraceptive but Bayer Healthcare’s Mirena IUD has been linked to serious complications. The device, which is inserted through the vagina and into the cervix, can migrate from its correct position and perforate other organs, such as the uterus or stomach. Surgery is often required to remove the devices, in some cases resulting in complications such as sterility.
3. Transvaginal mesh – Many women suffer from pelvic floor disorders, a condition in which pelvic organs drop due to age, obesity or childbirth, causing complications such as pain, discomfort and incontinence. Pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence can be treated by inserting surgical mesh, known as transvaginal mesh or bladder sling, through the vagina to shore up organs that have dropped. Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that complications with the device were not unusual. The device can erode into internal tissues, perforate neighboring organs, and cause pain, hemorrhaging, infections and disability. Multiple surgeries are often required to remove the mesh.
4. Cholesterol-lowering statins – High cholesterol can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Statins, such as the widely prescribed Lipitor, can help lower cholesterol levels. However, the drug can also increase blood sugar levels and put users at risk for type 2 diabetes, which can increase the risk of heart disease, kidney disease, dementia and neuropathy. Type 2 diabetes is often associated with weight gain and sedentary lifestyles, however, those at greatest risk of developing diabetes while taking Lipitor are postmenopausal women who are not considered overweight.
5. SSRIs – Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are commonly prescribed antidepressants that include the brand names Paxil, Zoloft, Lexapro, Celexa and Prozac. Studies have shown that taking these drugs while pregnant can cause a host of problems for both mother and baby. The drugs have been associated with an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth, and a condition known as pre-eclampsia, a type of high blood pressure that can be deadly for both mother and her unborn child. SSRI use in pregnancy has also been associated with serous birth defects including cleft lip and palate, heart defects and a lung defect known as persistent pulmonary hypertension. Children exposed to SSRIs in utero are also at greater risk of autism, developmental delays and behavioral problems, according to some studies.
Source: Righting Injustice