below the belt government support

Advocating for Women’s Health & Economic Empowerment

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Today I spent the day at the BC Legislature advocating for women's health and their economic empowerment. A gender-based approach to health benefits may advance women’s economic empowerment. In order to understand this, it is instructive to review the treatment options for the most common benign yet debilitating tumour in women; uterine fibroids.

I sought to speak to our politicians about more choice in the treatment of uterine fibroids. This is not my first rodeo, so to speak. I've been meeting with politicians and bureaucrats for a number of years trying to get better access to medications for women so that their economic conditions aren't affected.

Uterine fibroids commonly happen during the reproductive years in women, a time when they may be growing their families and advancing their careers.

Uterine fibroids come along at the busiest time in a women's life. The symptoms can be harrowing and may include heavy, irregular and prolonged uterine bleeding, anemia, pelvic pressure, sexual pain, pelvic pain, constipation, leakage of urine along with frequency and urgency. Symptomatic uterine fibroids account for 30 to 50 percent of hysterectomies in Canada annually.

The most common treatment for uterine fibroids is hysterectomy which may have a significant economic impact on women especially single moms. Most women will require 6 weeks off of work, often requiring additional child care. Also, there are significant risks such as bleeding and infection for any surgery. Many women suffer a sense of loss when their womb has been removed. fibroid-related surgical procedures cost the Canadian health care system 192 million dollars annually.

Other options such as myomectomy or ablation are not all that appealing to women either, especially when there are medications that are available. Medications such as Fibristal, a selective progesterone, receptor modulator, reduces bleeding and shrinks the size of uterine fibroids lessening they symptoms.

For any woman with uterine fibroids wishing to preserve her fertility or prevent surgery, Fibristal is an excellent choice. But most unfortunately unlike every other province in Canada, Fibristal is not covered by our medical services plan which means women have to pay out of their own pocket. And if they cannot afford this medication, their only option may be surgery. This is simply not fair.

Women need this choice and this medication needs to be covered by Pharmacare. Given the long surgical waitlists not to mention protracted waits in Emergency Departments for visits related to pain and bleeding, it would only make sense that the government cover Fibristal, reduce emergency room waits and decrease surgical waitlists.

Hence, my trip to the legislature today because this is a no brainer. Fibristal is a game-changer.

Maureen McGrath is an expert on workplace bullying and sexual harassment, a sexpert, women's health expert and hosts the CKNW Sunday Night Sex Show . Maureen's TEDx Talk on No Sex Marriage: Masturbation, Loneliness, Cheating and Shame has had close to 6 million views in one year. Sexless marriage is a thing. Maureen is the creator of the blog 50ShadesofPink.ca and has a clinical practice in North Vancouver, British Columbia where she helps many couples in sexless marriages. Maureen is also available for SKYPE consults. Contact her at her website: Back To The Bedroom For more information about Mona Lisa Touch a new novel hormone-free therapy for vaginal dryness, painful sex, low sexual desire and urinary incontinence visit Mona Lisa Touch.

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