Beyond counting sheep, helping patients sleep

This issue covers sleep hygiene, abdominal pain, and women's health.


Sleep can be a precious commodity for many these days, and patients will often turn to their internists for advice on how to get it. In our story this issue, Ryan DuBosar talks to experts about the physiologic basis of insomnia, clues to diagnosis, and the fundamentals of treatment, including sleep hygiene, cognitive behavioral therapy, and in some cases medications. Advice is also offered on avoiding specific obstacles to a good night's sleep, such as caffeine, alcohol, and of course the ubiquitous smartphone.

Abdominal pain is a vague but troubling symptom that can lead to a lot of anxiety for patients and a lot of frustration for physicians, who may have a tough time pinning down a diagnosis. One possibility is chronic abdominal wall pain, or CAWP, which presents without GI or bowel symptoms but is often misdiagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome. Our story describes the characteristics of CAWP along with some classic features, including pain location and Carnett's sign.

Women's health is a focus of two articles in this issue. The first looks at care of women who are entering menopause, including information on managing symptoms, balancing risks and benefits of treatment, and monitoring mental health. The second is a Q&A with the lead author of a recent study examining screening pelvic examinations and how women feel about them after hearing two different sets of professional recommendations.

People released from prison face many challenges when reentering society, not least of which is keeping up with their medical care. Our feature story offers suggestions and tips on easing this transition and helping to navigate the most common obstacles. And in keeping with the transitions of care theme, a Success Story details how one nurse practitioner launched a program to improve continuity of care in her practice after patients' hospitalizations.

Finally, I'm very pleased to share the news that ACP Internist has won two EXCEL Awards in the Newspapers category from Association Media & Publishing, a Bronze for General Excellence and a Gold for Editorial Excellence, as well as a Bronze Award for Best Newsletter in the American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors' (ASHPE) annual competition. We are excited to be recognized as among the best in health care and association publishing, and we look forward to improving our coverage even more in the year ahead. Let us know how we can do that.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Kearney-Strouse
Executive Editor