Women s Reproductive Health and Traumatic Brain Injury

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1 Women s Reproductive Health and Traumatic Brain Injury UHN For patients and their families who want to know how Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) affects a woman s reproductive health Read this brochure to learn more about: Changes to expect after TBI What causes changes to reproductive health What to do Where to get more information The reproductive areas in women affected by Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) are: Periods Fertility Pregnancy Please visit the UHN Patient Education website for more health information: University Health Network. All rights reserved. This information is to be used for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for non-commercial personal use only. Author: Gurjit Kaur Toor, RN, Dr. Angela Colantonio, PhD, OT Created: 11/2013 Form: D-5057

2 Changes to your periods After a TBI you may have: Skipped or missed periods More pain during your periods These changes can happen in mild to more serious injuries. Still, it is more likely to happen when the brain injury is serious. How long can it last? Skipping or missing your period can last from 1 month to many years. For many women, the changes to their periods get better with time. What can cause my period to change? Cause Pituitary gland problems What to expect A pea-sized gland in your brain called the pituitary makes hormones that help to keep your periods regular every month. When the pituitary makes low levels of certain hormones, this can mean having skipped or missed periods. After TBI, there may be some changes to the pituitary. Stress Medications Stress can cause your hormone levels to change. This can also change your periods. Certain medications can also cause changes to your periods. Ask your doctor about the side effects of the medications you are taking. 2

3 What can I do if I skip or miss my periods? You may notice changes to your periods while in hospital, rehabilitation or at home. If you notice any changes to your periods Tell your health care provider. Your health care provider may be able to tell you why your periods have changed and what to do about it. Keep a diary to track your periods. Write down the day your period begins, how long it lasts, and the amount of bleeding you have. Write down what your menstrual periods were like before the injury. This information can help you and your health care provider decide what is right for you. 3

4 Changes to fertility and pregnancy Can I get pregnant? There is not that much research available about getting pregnant after TBI. Women do not usually have any new problems. Will I have problems after having a baby? It is more common for women with TBI to have problems after having a baby. You may have: Increased fatigue (feeling very tired) Pain Depression ( postpartum blues ) Problems walking or moving Trouble concentrating Swelling in your legs If there are changes to your fertility Talk to your health care provider. Your health care provider can give you more information about gettting pregnant. 4

5 If you have any problems after having a baby Ask for emotional support and extra help from family and friends. Talk to your health care provider if you have any questions about your health after having a baby. If you notice changes in the way you feel After a TBI, you may experience: depression anxiety lack of initiative or confidence This can be an emotionally difficult time for you and your family. Talk with your family and friends about how you feel and ask for support. Your health care provider can give you more information and services that may help. What to do Cervical Cancer Screening If you re 21 years of age or older and you have ever been sexually active, it is important to get a Pap smear test every 3 years. 5

6 Want more information? If you want to learn more, see this website: Acquired Brain Injury Research Lab A research website with more information about girls and women with acquired brain injury (ABI) This work was supported by Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) grant MOP, CIHR Research Chair in Gender, Work, and Health awarded to Dr. Angela Colantonio (#CGW ), The Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, and a grant from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care to the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. 6

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