Clinical Updates in Women's Health Care

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Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

ABSTRACT: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a systemic autoimmune disease most commonly involving skin, joints, and kidneys. Usually, it presents in women in puberty or early adulthood. This monograph provides an overview of the role of an obstetrician–gynecologist (ob-gyn) in the treatment of SLE patients. An ob-gyn is uniquely placed in the health care continuum throughout the life cycle of a woman. Notably, an ob-gyn often is the first physician to notice SLE-related rash, swollen joints, cytopenias, or proteinuria in a patient and is the first to provide initial management. Obstetrician–gynecologists must be familiar with SLE effects on reproductive issues, such as SLE effects on the choice of birth control, pregnancy outcomes, and the risks of hormone therapy use, as well as the pregnancy effects on the risk of lupus nephritis flares. Human papillomavirus and associated cancer also are of concern in patients with SLE. Providing care to women with SLE is multifaceted; therefore, ob-gyns often will need to liaise with rheumatologists and other specialists.

About Clinical Updates

Clinical Updates in Women's Care is designed to educate obstetrician–gynecologists in primary and preventive care issues that related to office practice. Each peer-reviewed monograph provides a clinically-oriented overview of conditions that affect women's health.