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Recognizing Women's Health Week: Reviewing New Women's Health Resources for Nurse Practitioners

Womens Health N Ps

By Heather Kays

May 8-14 is National Women’s Health Week — an opportune time to explore new women’s health resources from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP).

Nurse practitioners (NPs) provide high-quality health care to women of all ages — and those NPs who specialize in women’s health (women’s health nurse practitioners or WHNPs) play a key role in ensuring women have access to preventative care such as well-women exams, breast cancer screenings, Papanicolaou (Pap) tests or contraceptive care. WHNPs may also provide adolescent health care, pregnancy testing, fertility evaluation, prenatal visits, postpartum care and menopausal care. When providing care, WHNPs consider the inter-relationship of social class, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender. During this week — and throughout Women’s Health Month this May — AANP is spotlighting the treatment of vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC).

A yeast infection of the vagina and tissues at the opening of the vagina, VVC usually is caused by Candida albicans and can occasionally be caused by other Candida species or yeasts. Typical symptoms of VVC include pruritus, vaginal soreness, dyspareunia, external dysuria and abnormal vaginal discharge. None of these symptoms are specific to VVC, which can lead to difficulties in diagnosis. An estimated 75% of women will have at least one episode of VVC, and 40% to 45% will have two or more episodes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Based on clinical presentation, microbiology, host factors and response to therapy, VVC can be classified as either uncomplicated or complicated. Approximately 10%-20% of women will have complicated VVC, requiring special diagnostic and therapeutic considerations.

WHNPs, family nurse practitioners and adult gerontology nurse practitioners all play a vital role in the health care of women and in the treatment of VVC. Often, NPs serve as the primary care providers for women. These NPs face a myriad of challenges when it comes to preventative and responsive care for women, and it is important for NPs to stay up to date on the latest recommended treatments and care. Women’s health care concerns are unique and significantly vary from the concerns of men. As your national NP community, AANP is here to help guide NPs through the stages of their careers. AANP offers several specialized tools and resources to address the importance of women’s health care, including a newly developed resource regarding the treatment of VVC.

Next Steps

AANP offers resources and continuing education (CE) activities to support women’s health.

Join NPs Nancy Berman and Dr. Shelagh Larson as they guide you through the diagnosis and treatment of VVC — including emerging therapies — in Vulvovaginal Candidiasis Treatment Updates, which is available in the AANP CE Center. Enroll in this on-demand or monograph course to learn more about VVC while earning 1.5 contact hours of CE credit (0.5 of which may be applied toward pharmacology).

Listen to the related podcast here: NP Pulse: The Voice of the Nurse Practitioner (AANP): 36. Let‘s Talk Vaginal Health on Apple Podcasts

AANP members get significant discounts on conferences and a comprehensive library of CE activities, as well as free access to clinical resources.