Unique Aspects of Care for Women With Parkinson Disease: Indu Subramanian, MD


The director of the VA Southwest Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education, and Clinical Centers and clinical professor of neurology at UCLA spoke to the importance of understanding the challenges specific to women with Parkinson disease. [WATCH TIME: 8 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 8 minutes

“If you have a nonmotor issue like depression, or anxiety, apathy, a sexual symptom, or issues with your bladder or pelvic floor, it’s often embarrassing to talk to your clinician about those things. You may feel awkward. Sometimes women don’t even realize [it] because they don’t maybe take the time to get educated around their specific issues, and we as a medical community have not come forward with papers like this to put this all in one place and educate each other around the unique issues that affect women [with PD].”

A recent paper published by Indu Subramanian, MD, and colleagues in Movement Disorders highlighted some of the disparities in the health care of women with Parkinson disease (PD), mainly pointing to the need to amplify the voices in this population to achieve true change in the paradigm of management.1

Specifically, the paper noted that there has been a lack of coordinated effort in medicine to offer practical guidance on the management of such issues. The authors also noted the need for additional education and empowerment of women with PD on how to communicate symptoms and needs, get engaged in research, get organized as a community, and support one another. The group proposed a symptom diary that includes hormonal cycle tracking and a PD symptom reporting guide with an aim of creating a more customizable management approach that accounts for the stages of women’s lives, including menstrual cycles, pregnancy, perimenopause, menopause, and post menopause, as well as the unique comorbid challenges that women encounter.

Subramanian, the director of the VA Southwest Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education, and Clinical Centers, and clinical professor of neurology at UCLA, explained in a conversation with NeurologyLive® about the challenges that women face in sharing their concerns during visits, difficulties with disease worsening during hormonal changes, and other key aspects of care unique to women. She detailed the momentum that’s been gaining in addressing disparities in health care, and the importance of including women’s issues in PD in that push.

Subramanian also recently authored a blog post on the Parkinson's Secrets Blog that offered a quick list of 15 things women with PD should know. You can read that post here: The 15 Things Women Living With Parkinson's Should Know.

1. Subramanian I, Mathur S, Oosterbaan A, Flanagan R, Keener AM, Moro E. Unmet Needs of Women Living with Parkinson’s Disease: Gaps and Controversies. Movement Dis. Published online January 20, 2022. doi:10.1002/mds.28921
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