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Symposium helps women understand health issues

Kimberly Nicoletti

Editor’s note: This story is the first of a two-part series about HealthQuest 2003 at Copper Mountain. Saturday’s story will focus on the HealthQuest expo.

COPPER MOUNTAIN – There are a lot of issues in women’s health, so Dr. Julie Gelman coordinated a free Women’s Health Symposium to answer questions ranging from PMS to menopause.

Hormone replacement therapy, for example, is a confusing issue for many women – and rightly so.

Last summer, the Women’s Health Initiative study showed a slight increased risk of heart attack, stroke and breast cancer associated with hormone replacement therapy, which outweighed such benefits as helping with hot flashes, vaginal dryness, osteoporosis and prevention of colon cancer in some patients.

As a result, hormone replacement therapy may not be for every woman, but it still may help certain patients, Gelman said.

And that’s just one of the many issues concerning women’s health.

Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in women, but it’s often overlooked in emergency rooms because women don’t present the same symptoms as men do, said Dr. Adele Morano.

Contraception has come a long way since the pill, leaving women with plenty of options – but what’s best for whom?

Women suffering from premenstral syndrome (PMS) experience a variety of symptoms, but natural methods can balance hormones and alleviate PMS, said naturopath Nancy Leslie.

“I get asked questions about this stuff every day when I’m at work,” said Gelman, who has coordinated three women’s health symposiums, including this Saturday’s at Copper Mountain.

“(The symposium is important) as far as just women getting educated and learning about prevention of certain health issues so that down the road, they’re going to be healthier for a longer period of time,” Morano said.

The free seminar is part of HealthQuest 2003 at Copper Mountain, which takes place this weekend.

The women’s health seminar begins at noon Saturday with Dr. Alan Dulit talking about what’s new in contraception.

He’ll review the Nuvaring and OrthoEvra patch, which use the same principle as the pill but are more convenient to use; changes in intrauterine devices (IUDs), which are the most effective form of nonpermanent birth control; and a less invasive method of sterilization called the Essure method.

Each discussion lasts about an hour, with a 10-15 minute question-and-answer session.

At 1 p.m., Morano talks about elevated cholesterol and heart disease and the importance of starting to screen for it when women reach their 20s.

“Women are aware of breast cancer, but cholesterol is commonly overlooked,” Morano said.

Participants can take a break with light refreshments from 2-2:30 p.m.

Then, at 2:30 p.m., nurse and naturopath Nancy Leslie explains the alternative therapies for PMS.

She’ll cover nine subtopics, including what PMS involves, the anatomy and physiology of women’s bodies and balancing hormones with natural treatments (including natural hormones, nutrition, herbs, homeopathy and other treatment modalities).

She’ll also hand out her book, “Balance Your Hormones Naturally and Eliminate PMS.”

“I take the whole person into account and find out what the cause is,” Leslie said.

“We get to the cause, then we balance you. Most of it is related to diet and hormone balance.”

Gelman wraps up the symposium at 3:30 p.m. by explaining the controversies of hormone replacement therapy.

Space in the Ptarmigan Room in the Conference Center at Copper Mountain is limited to 70 people.

Though the symposium is free, coordinators encourage people to give a $5-10 donation, which will benefit Women of the Summit, Advocates for Victims of Assault and the Women’s Center.

Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or by e-mail at knicoletti@summitdaily.com.


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