Women in premature labour recommended to get Group B Strep treatmentA new guideline by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists now recommends that all pregnant women who go into premature labour should be offered IV antibiotics. This is to prevent the transmission of Group Streptococcal (GBS) to the baby.
It also wants all pregnant women to be provided with an information leaflet on GBS to raise its awareness so that GBS can be detected at an early stage.
Rising incidence of GBS In the UK has driven such preventive move. GBS is carried by about 150,000 pregnant women each year; and while most women suffer no ill effects, some women can pass the bacteria to their baby during labour.
Women who go into preterm labour are at higher risk of passing GBS to their baby and about one in 500 pre-term babies will develop early onset GBS. Women who were known GBS carriers in a previous pregnancy are also recommended to take a test at 35 – 37 weeks of pregnancy, to check whether they are still a carrier and reassess whether they will still need antibiotics during labour.
Middle-aged women: To choose either to do a Pap smear or a HPV test
Moving on to the United States, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has said that for most women, either the Pap test or the HPV test would do just fine for cervical cancer screening.
The panel now recommends that women aged 30 – 65 years old are able to choose to get a Pap test done every three years, or a HPV test every five years. For women aged 21 – 29 years old, they are recommended to take the Pap test every three years.
Co-testing is no longer recommended. In its last recommendation in 2012, the USPSTF had advised women aged 21 – 65 years to undergo a Pap test once every three years. Those aged 30 – 65 could lengthen the time between screenings to five years, if they also take the HPV test at the same time.
The older the woman is, the higher the chance that the HPV infection is the harmful kind, and last longer. Hence, co-testing was increasingly common for women aged 30 and beyond. However, both Pap test and HPV testing can trigger false alarms. Furthermore, studies have shown that co-testing lead to more false alarms than either test alone, with no added benefit.
HRT for women: Treatment does not shorten livesWomen on hormone replacement pills should now be able to worry less over whether the treatment will shorten their lifespan.
Previously, research conducted on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was forced to stop early due to unexpected harm, either by oestrogen alone or when combined with progestin. More breast cancer, heart attacks and strokes occurred in women on combined pills, while those on oestrogen pills had more strokes.
Now, after an 18-year long follow-up, a latest study has shown that despite those risks, women had similar rates of deaths from heart disease, breast cancer and all other causes, just as those who took placebos.
Many women and doctors have been wary of using hormone use. The latest update will add assurance especially to women who use HRT for short-term therapy, to relieve hot flushes and other menopausal symptoms. MIMS
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