Women's Health Issues Expand beyond Traditional Areas

By Laura Mansnerus N. Y. Times News Service | THE JOURNAL RECORD, July 2, 1997 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Women's Health Issues Expand beyond Traditional Areas


Laura Mansnerus N. Y. Times News Service, THE JOURNAL RECORD


Never before have women meant so much to so many. Recognized as the health care system's biggest customers, they are being treated as such: researched and marketed to, tracked and talked about.

Consider: Premarin, an estrogen replacement, is the most widely used prescription drug in the United States. From 1991 to 1992, the number of hospitals with a women's health center rose 19 percent, according to a survey by the American Hospital Association.

In many cities, Atlanta and Dallas among them, hospitals are competing for pregnant Medicaid patients; among the lures are free Disney movies for the older children, infant car seats, baby showers, insulated beverage flasks and monogrammed blankets. Even the women who coalesced 30 years ago into something loosely called the women's health movement are struck by the mix of responsive medicine and commercial grasping that the 1990s have delivered. It is both more and less than these mothers of intervention bargained for. "As a lasting legacy of the women's movement, health care is one of our shining moments," said Dr. Susan Reverby, a professor of women's studies at Wellesley College, who recently served on an obstetrics and gynecology advisory panel for the federal Food and Drug Administration. While acknowledging that "the health care system is relentless in its ability to figure out where the next buck is coming from," Reverby said the medical profession had become more aware of women's concerns, especially those beyond the gynecologic. "There's much more consciousness about what women's issues are," she said. "We can now talk about heart disease and about AIDS." But not all women applaud the results of that new consciousness. Rachel Fruchter, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the State University of New York Health Science Center in Brooklyn, said she was appalled that women were pursued so avidly as consumers, particularly by pharmaceutical companies whose advertisements picture radiant middle-aged women and counsel, "Ask your doctor." "The pretense that that's what the women's health movement wanted is a bad joke," Fruchter said. In the beginning, the women's health movement talked mostly about abortion and contraceptives. But as its baby boomer leaders have reached the age of influence -- and the age of menopause -- the health concerns of older generations have taken on new urgency. That urgency is also fueled by the fact that women are living longer -- on average, more than seven years longer than men -- and are thus suffering from the crippling diseases of old age, like arthritis and osteoporosis. At the same time, women have not just been complaining about doctors but have been becoming doctors. The influx has made female patients happier and helped bring new emphasis to the doctor's role as interviewer, said Dr. Charlea Massion, a family doctor at the Santa Cruz Medical Center in California and a clinical faculty member at Stanford University. "Women physicians do have, and linguistic studies show this, a different way of communicating," Massion said. "I don't think women physicians are necessarily interested in women's health just by being women, and I don't think women physicians are more open-minded or have a more comprehensive approach just because they are women.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Women's Health Issues Expand beyond Traditional Areas
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?