Biggest Breakthroughs in Women's Health, From A to Z

Amy Kuras

There are lots of reasons I'm glad to be alive at this moment in time ... Facebook and a decent $3 bottle of wine are just two of them. Another is the fact that great medical advances have been made in just my lifetime (and I'm not THAT old).

The Times of New Zealand wrote an interesting piece on the best breakthroughs in women's health, from A to Z. Some of these I agree with, some are a little weird.

They include: Artificial insemination, Breast cancer breakthroughs (can't argue here), Contraception (agreed), Dark chocolate's health benefits (double agreed), and the Epidural, which I'm sure some of you will agree with, and some of you are already stretching out your typing fingers so you can state your disagreement. Firmly.

Others are Fluoxetine (aka Prozac), G-spot (if it exists), and Home pregnancy tests (amen).

More? Tampons, Ultrasound, Viagra, Wine (another "glad to hear it" health-booster), X-rays, Yoga (agreed -- yoga coming out of the realm of the patchouli-scented hippie and into the mainstream has been a great thing), and Zzzzz, meaning sleep.

This got me thinking about what my own ABCs would be. They are:

Affordable workout clothes;

BPA-free plastics;

Childbirth education;

Downward dog (sorry, had to get more of a yoga plug in there);

Elliptical trainers;

Farmers' markets;

Green cosmetics and cleaning products that keep potentially harmful chemicals out of the air and off our skin;

Health care providers that realize women are not shorter men;

Interactive video games like the Wii that let us work out at home in fun and different ways;

Jogbras: the very first sports bra, made from two jock straps stitched together and now evolved into the savior of active, ample-bosomed women everywhere;

Kids' corner (or whatever your gym calls its free childcare);

Low-fat ice cream as good as the real stuff;

"Mommyblogs": much as I hate the term, they let us share our own joys and frustrations and find like-minded women;

Nutrition information labels on food;

Oprah: annoying as she can be, she's brought issues like body image and the difficulty of permanent weight loss to the forefront;

Postpartum depression screening: it's real, it's dangerous, and it's very, very treatable;

Quick meals from the grocery store that don't rely on seasoning packets or scary canned goo to get a healthy dinner on the table in 15 minutes;

Retinols: they fight acne and wrinkles at the same time -- love;

Smartphones: if you need a recipe for a healthy meal and a grocery list to make it, a new yoga pose, or more info on that new health study you heard about, it's at your fingertips all the time, no matter where you are;


UV-blocking sunscreens;


Water bottles as an acceptable fashion accessory, but reusable and BPA-free only please;  

X-Games: these crazy extreme sports brought us female athletes who are just as good as the guys and popularized fun workouts like mountain biking and snowboarding;


Zumba: these dance workouts make exercise fun.

What would you put on a list of best breakthroughs?

Image via Kyle Van Horn/flickr

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