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DDRC Healthcare – looking at things slightly differently…. Women & Diving Compiled by the DDRC Healthcare research department

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Presentation on theme: "DDRC Healthcare – looking at things slightly differently…. Women & Diving Compiled by the DDRC Healthcare research department"— Presentation transcript:

1 DDRC Healthcare – looking at things slightly differently…. Women & Diving Compiled by the DDRC Healthcare research department facebook and twitter

2 Women and Diving The subjects no male instructor really wants to talk about! The menstrual cycle Pregnancy

3 Women and Diving Gender susceptibility and DCI The menstrual cycle and DCI Pregnancy

4 Women and Diving – Gender & DCI Gender - men and women - differences - and DCI risk? Early altitude studies were inconclusive, controversial and not always in agreement Recent diving and altitude studies tend to agree Women do not appear to be more at risk of diving DCI than men for similar diving habits

5 Women and Diving the Menstrual Cycle Schematic of the hormonal trials and tribulations of the menstrual cycle!

6 Women and Diving – the Menstrual Cycle The menstrual cycle The menstrual cycle (M/C) and DCI The oral contraceptive pill (OCP) and DCI

7 Women and Diving – the Menstrual Cycle Between the 1970s and up to 1998 studies showed possible relationship between the M/C and DCI – both altitude and diving studies Between 1998 and 2006 more structured studies from both altitude and diving environments began to show there may be a relationship between DCI and time in the M/C

8 Women and Diving – the Menstrual Cycle How reliable were these later studies? Only diagnosed and treated in a chamber Exact time in MC of the DCI OCP vs non-OCP Diving and menstrual diary data Military data

9 Women and Diving – the Menstrual Cycle Reported incidents of DCI over the four weeks of the M/C Results from different studies: The non-OCP (purple bars) incidents of DCI show similar trends, with fewer DCI in the third week

10 Women and Diving – the Menstrual Cycle Progesterone Estradiol FSH LH

11 Women and Diving – the Menstrual Cycle

12 Women and Diving – the Oral Contraceptive A woman on the OCP has a pharmaceutically driven MC The debate surrounding the OCP is inconclusive and research results are not always in agreement Due to the variations in methodologies, types of OCP, missing information, and differences in analysis

13 Women and Diving – the Oral Contraceptive Research by DDRC showed women use the OCP to avoid a bleed to suit their social and work lifestyles, therefore shortening (21 days) or lengthening (60 days) the cycle for their own convenience The jury is still out, with the debate regarding the risk factor between OCP usage and DCI on-going It will remain unclear until OCP usage is more accurately recorded in diving research studies

14 Women and Diving - Pregnancy There are no studies to say it is safe to dive whilst pregnant BUT there is also no conclusive evidence that diving will cause an increased risk to the foetus Therefore it is not possible to recommend or establish safe limits to dive whilst pregnant

15 Women and Diving - Pregnancy Studies on animals have been contradictory Early research work on animals concentrated on foetal susceptibility to DCI Foetal circulation differs from the adult

16 Women and Diving - Pregnancy In the adult almost all the output from the heart travels through the lungs where small bubbles are removed In the foetus the circulation bypasses the lungs so any bubble that forms could be potentially life threatening

17 Women and Diving - Pregnancy Human retrospective studies (questionnaires) have suffered from small numbers and problems with methodology A study by DDRC (2006) showed that even though 129 women reported 157 dived pregnancies from 1465 dives no conclusions could be reached regarding problems when diving whilst pregnant.

18 Women and Diving - Pregnancy To detect a meaningful increase in birth defects from diving whilst pregnant…… 4000 women would need to dive all the time during pregnancy Clearly this is not ethical or feasible! The way forward remains elusive

19 Women and Diving - Summary Research shows: Women do not seem to be at greater risk of DCI than men for the same profiles Some women, not on the OCP, may be at a greater or lesser risk of DCI over the MC, depending on the time in the MC The jury is still out regarding OCP and DCI risk It is not possible to recommend or establish safe limits to dive whilst pregnant

20 Further reading All the subjects outlined in this lecture are covered in much greater depth in the book Women and Pressure: Diving and Altitude ISBN

21 Not for profit charitable organisation Founded over 30 years ago Emergency recompression Fitness to dive advice Medicals Education Research Hyperbaric oxygen therapies Who and What is DDRC Healthcare?


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