Is it time to talk with your OBGYN about your fertility options?
Getting pregnant isn’t always easy. In fact, according to Healthgrades, one in 10 women will have trouble getting pregnant. If you have trouble conceiving, it may be time to turn to your OBGYN to find out the next steps and whether a fertility evaluation could benefit you.
Is It Time To Get Fertility Help?
According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, if a couple hasn’t been successful with getting pregnant after one year of unprotected sex, then it’s time to consult a fertility specialist. Women over age 35 should see a gynecologist after only six months of trying to conceive.
Age isn’t the only factor that should determine just how soon you seek help. If you or your partner have risk factors, experience infertility symptoms or have certain conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or endometriosis, you must see an OBGYN as soon as possible for fertility testing and treatment options.
Women who’ve experienced two miscarriages in a row should also speak with a fertility specialist. While miscarriages are common, repeat miscarriages could mean that there is an underlying problem that your OBYN should.
What Is Involved in a Fertility Evaluation?
Unless you or your partner already has a history of infertility, the first person you should talk with about your fertility options is a gynecologist. During your evaluation, your gynecologist will go through your medical history, ask questions about your health and perform a pelvic exam to check the health of the ovaries and cervix. Separately, your partner may need to undergo semen analysis to check sperm count and motility.
Your OBGYN will run basic fertility tests such as hormone testing, which involve a simple blood test to check hormone levels (e.g., follicle-stimulating hormone). This is also the best way to determine whether or not an individual is ovulating.
If there are no issues with ovulation, a special x-ray known as a hysterosalpingogram may be used to check the structure and function of the fallopian tubes and uterus. This can check for abnormalities or blockages impacting your ability to conceive. Once these tests have been performed, your OBGYN will discuss the results and determine if additional testing is needed. Once you understand what’s causing your fertility issues, your OBGYN can also provide you with treatment options to address the underlying cause of your infertility.
Are you having trouble conceiving? If so, a fertility evaluation with your gynecologist can provide the answers and fertility treatment options you’re looking for.
There are many forms of contraception out there. It’s important to know your options.
All you have to do is go online, and you’ll soon discover many contraception options, perhaps even more than you even realized. Whether this is your first time considering contraception or you aren’t completely satisfied with the contraceptive method you are currently using, your OBGYN can provide birth control counseling to make a more informed decision regarding your sexual health.
What Types of Contraception Are Available?
Here are the different types of contraceptives available to you through your OBGYN,
- Hormonal birth control includes pills, patches, a vaginal ring, an injection or even an implant.
- Intrauterine device (IUD), which can be hormonal or non-hormonal (copper)
- Barrier methods such as diaphragms, condoms and sponges
- Natural methods such as abstinence
While all of these can be effective in preventing pregnancy, remember that only a condom can prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
What Contraception is Right for Me?
There are lots of factors to consider when it comes to choosing contraception. Sitting down with your gynecologist to discuss what you’re looking for in your birth control will give your doctor an idea of which approach will be best.
For example, if you don’t think you’ll remember to take your medication every day at the same time, birth control pills might not be the best approach, but a vaginal ring, patch, injection or even an IUD may be a better option. An IUD may be an ideal option for women who want little hassle when it comes to contraception and aren't planning to become pregnant for several years.
The IUD is inserted into the vagina, where it will remain for several years (about 3-6 months for hormonal IUDs and up to 12 years for non-hormonal IUDs). An IUD comes in a hormonal and non-hormonal form, so even those who experience adverse side effects from hormonal birth control can still consider an IUD.
Another factor to consider is your tolerance to birth control medication. We know that some women experience adverse effects regarding hormonal contraception. If you are someone who has been having difficulty finding birth control that’s right for you, know there are several non-hormonal options out there, and your OBGYN can help you choose the one that’s right for you and your health.
Choosing the right contraception isn’t always easy. Fortunately, your OBGYN can sit down with you to discuss your options and help you choose the perfect one for you and your lifestyle.
Are you currently looking for an OBGYN? We know how crucial an OBGYN can be to a woman’s health and nothing is more important than finding an OBGYN that you trust to provide you with personal, gentle and customized care. Here’s why all women should have an OBGYN,
Preventive care isn’t just for your annual primary care visit. An OBGYN also provides preventive care to women of all ages, from puberty to postmenopausal. Preventive care ensures that you take all the necessary precautions and make healthy choices to support your overall health. Annual gynecological exams are one of the best preventive measures every woman should get to protect against and catch diseases early.
The next time you or your teen comes into the office for an annual gynecological exam, this is the perfect time to talk to us about the HPV vaccine. HPV is a widespread sexually transmitted illness (STI) that can increase the risk for cervical cancer. That’s why everyone who is sexually active or planning to become sexually active should get this vaccine. Children as young as 11 to 12 years old can get the HPV vaccine.
Discuss Birth Control
There are so many birth control options on the market these days that it can be challenging to know which one is best suited to your needs. That’s where an OBGYN comes in. Since they know you, your lifestyle and your health, they can provide recommendations on the best birth control options for you and help you make an informed decision about your family planning needs.
If you are sexually active, it’s essential that you practice safe sex. Regular STI testing can provide you and your partner peace of mind. Since many STIs don’t present with symptoms, it’s a good idea to get tested so you know your status. Talk with your OBGYN about whether you should get tested and how often you should.
Most moms-to-be are so focused on a healthy pregnancy and delivery that many can’t even focus on post-pregnancy healthy until they are in the thick of it. Unfortunately, the fourth trimester can profoundly impact a woman’s health and mental wellbeing. An OBGYN that can provide advice and support to guide you through this process can be invaluable.
Dealing with abnormal or unusual bleeding
If you notice that your period has changed dramatically from one month to the next, your period has stopped, or you’re bleeding between cycles, we understand that you may be concerned (and rightfully so). Since irregular bleeding can be a sign of an underlying problem, it’s important that you turn to an OBGYN if you notice irregular bleeding.
What Causes Irregular Bleeding?
Some of the most common causes of irregular bleeding include,
- Birth control pills
- Intrauterine device (IUD)
- Hormonal imbalances
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Complications related to pregnancy (e.g., ectopic pregnancy)
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Premature ovarian insufficiency
What Is Bleeding Considered Irregular or Abnormal?
Since women are usually pretty familiar with their cycles, they know how heavy they get, when they should arrive and how long they typically last. While this can fluctuate a bit if you notice any significant changes, this could be considered an irregular bleed. Here’s when bleeding is considered irregular,
- Your period lasts more than seven days
- Your period is incredibly heavy (you have to change a tampon or pad every hour)
- Your period is barely there, light or disappears
- Your periods stop showing up
- You notice bleeding between periods
- You experience bleeding, and you are post-menopausal
- You experience severe pain, cramping or vomiting with your periods
- Your cycle is longer than 35 days or less than 21 days
When Should I See a Gynecologist?
If you stop having a period or have two periods in a month, it’s time to turn to your OBGYN to find out what’s going on. If you find yourself experiencing lightheadedness, dizziness or fainting upon standing, this should also be evaluated by a medical professional. If bleeding occurs during pregnancy or after menopause, you should also see your OBGYN as soon as possible to find out what’s happening.
You should also turn to your OBYGN if,
- You experience bleeding after sex
- You develop very heavy bleeding
- You notice any abnormal vaginal discharge along with bleeding
- Your bleeding is accompanied by severe abdominal pain
Don’t ignore your symptoms. If you develop any of these problems, an OBGYN can provide you with the information, diagnosis, support and treatment needed to control abnormal bleeding.
Your gynecologist can help you decide which birth control is right for your needs.
There is a lot to consider regarding which birth control option is ideal for you. Do you want a hormonal or non-hormonal option? Are you good with taking a pill every day, or will you forget? It’s important to find a birth control option that fits your lifestyle, and what works well for one woman may not work well for someone else. This is where our OBGYN can help you decide.
First, Decide What’s Most Important to You
It’s important for our patients to vocalize what’s most important regarding the birth control they receive. One woman may be looking for one that also treats acne, while another may be looking for one that can help make their heavy, painful periods more manageable. Your OBGYN will go through your medical history and lifestyle to help you choose the proper birth control based on your preferences and needs.
Know Your Options
An OBGYN can offer you just about every type of birth control imaginable. Here are the most common types of birth control,
Birth control pills
More than 95 percent effective when taken correctly, birth control pills can also improve periods and reduce acne. The cons of birth control pills are that they can increase the risk for blood clots, and they aren’t as effective if you forget a dose or don’t take it at the same time every day.
Intrauterine devices (IUDs)
An excellent option for someone who wants to “set it and forget it,” an IUD is placed in the uterus, where it remains for years. There are hormonal and non-hormonal (copper IUD) options. They are 99 percent effective.
Another option for women who don’t want to take a pill every day, this plastic device is inserted just under the skin of the arm. This is another hormonal birth control option that is highly effective at preventing pregnancy but doesn’t require a vaginal exam or procedure to place it.
Birth Control Shot
Your OBGYN can also offer a birth control shot administered every three months, which is as effective as birth control pills. Some women also report that their periods improve while on the birth control shot. While you won’t have to take a pill every day, you will need to come into your OBGYN’s office every three months.
Birth Control Patch and Ring
The same hormones as the pill, the patch and ring make it easy to place and leave it for three weeks. Then you’ll need to remove it one week out of each month. Like birth control pills, they are 95 percent effective when used correctly.
Ready to discuss your birth control options? If so, an OBGYN is the ideal medical professional to talk to. They can sit down with you to discuss the different options based on your needs and lifestyle.
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