Posts for category: OBGYN Care
A woman’s reproductive health requires special care, and that’s what an obstetrics and gynecology doctor does. These specialists, commonly known as OBGYN doctors, can help protect you from breast cancer, cervical cancer, and other serious conditions affecting the reproductive system.
One of the most important services your OBGYN provides is the annual wellness exam. This exam, performed every year, includes:
- An examination of your pelvic area
- An examination of your reproductive system
- A pap smear to check for signs of cervical cancer
- An examination of your breasts to check for lumps and early signs of breast cancer
Your OBGYN may recommend further testing, which can include:
- Blood tests and other lab work
- A mammogram or breast MRI
- An ultrasound or other imaging studies
A woman should have her first annual wellness visit when she begins menstruating, and these wellness visits should continue every year after that. Visits to the OBGYN may be more frequent if you are:
- Sexually active
- Going through menopause
- Experiencing signs or symptoms of disease
You should visit your OBGYN as soon as you can if you:
- Notice a gray, yellow, or green, discharge from your vagina
- Experience pelvic or abdominal cramping that doesn’t go away
- Feel a lump in one or both of your breasts
- Have breast tenderness that doesn’t go away
Your OBGYN doctor provides many more important services in addition to annual wellness exams. These are some of the other popular services your OBGYN provides:
- Birth control options
- Pregnancy counseling
- Prenatal care
- Birth and delivery
- Treatment of sexually transmitted diseases
If you are premenopausal or going through menopause, your OBGYN can help with that by providing relief from hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain, thinning bones, skin, and hair, and night sweats. For menopause, your OBGYN may recommend:
- Medication to limit mood swings
- Medication to keep your bones strong
- Hormone replacement therapy to balance your hormone levels
- Lifestyle and exercise modification to help you maintain a healthy weight
Your OBGYN can do a lot to help you stay healthy, and it all begins with an annual wellness exam. Protect your health by calling your OBGYN today.
Do you double over in pain at the start of your period?
While cramps are a part of menstruation, what if we told you that going through bad cramps and pain isn’t normal? If you find yourself taking time off work because your cramps get so bad, or if you find that you’re unable to enjoy sex due to pain, these could be signs of endometriosis.
What Is Endometriosis?
This chronic condition causes endometrial tissue to develop outside the uterus, leading to pain, scarring, infertility and inflammation. About one in ten women of childbearing age will develop endometriosis. Unfortunately, many women experience debilitating menstrual or abdominal pain for years before seeking help from a qualified OBGYN. This means it can be years before someone gets a proper diagnosis.
What Are the Causes?
Unfortunately, doctors are entirely sure what causes endometriosis; however, some doctors believe that when tissue is shed during menstruation, it passes through the fallopian tube and into the abdomen, where it attaches to other reproductive organs and tissue. This is sometimes referred to as reverse or retrograde menstruation.
What Are the Symptoms?
Symptoms vary from person to person. Endometriosis may cause,
- Intense or severe menstrual cramps
- Painful sex
- Pain with bowel movements or urination
- Pelvic pain
How Is Endometriosis Treated?
It’s essential to turn to your OBGYN if you are experiencing symptoms of endometriosis, as untreated endometriosis can get worse over time and lead to infertility. Common treatment options for endometriosis may include,
- Hormone therapy: this most often includes oral contraception, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), and progestin or progesterone medication
- Pain medication: this may include over-the-counter anti-inflammatories or prescription-strength pain relievers
- Surgical treatments: If medication isn’t providing relief or your symptoms are severe, your OBGYN may recommend laparoscopic surgery to remove excess tissue and adhesions.
- Fertility treatment: If endometriosis has affected fertility and surgery has not improved your chances of getting pregnant, then your OBGYN may discuss other fertility treatment options, such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF).
If you are dealing with painful periods, it may be time to sit down with your OBGYN to discuss your symptoms and determine if you might have endometriosis.
Every woman can benefit from visiting their OBGYN once a year.
Preventive medical care is the most effective way to protect our patients from developing various illnesses or issues. Furthermore, regular preventive care means that your OBGYN can detect problems early on when they are easier to treat. If it’s your first time visiting your gynecologist for care, you may wonder what to expect and why these visits are crucial for all women. Here’s what you should know,
When should a woman start visiting a gynecologist?
A young woman’s first visit to the gynecologist will begin between 11 and 18 years old. While some girls may choose to turn to their pediatrician, reproductive concerns and issues are often best addressed by a gynecologist who specializes in woman’s reproductive health. Other reasons a young woman should turn to a gynecologist include,
- Delayed puberty
- Menstrual cycle problems (e.g., heavy or painful periods)
- Contraceptive needs
- Sexual health questions or concerns
The first gynecological visit is a chance for you and your doctor to establish rapport and trust with one another to rest assured that you’re getting the highest quality care possible. During the first visit, a physical examination may not even be necessary. A gynecologist will spend most of the first visit talking with their young patient and answering any questions they may have about their developing body, sexuality, and menstruation. A gynecologist can provide helpful advice and insight. A pelvic exam is not typically part of this appointment unless the patient is sexually active. Otherwise, the first pelvic exam will naturally occur at age 21.
What happens during a routine gynecological visit?
Several things will occur during your annual well-woman visit, including,
- Going through your medical history
- Discussing issues you may be experiencing
- Performing a physical exam, which includes an internal pelvic exam (this exam looks for inflammation, pain, and other problems that could impact a woman’s reproductive organs)
- Performing a pap smear to check for pre-cancer or cancerous cells in the cervix
Why are these wellness checks with a gynecologist important?
These annual visits are essential for all women because it is the best way to protect against many reproductive issues, some of which could be life-threatening. Furthermore, these visits also allow your gynecologist to detect problems early on when they are treatable or even reversible. During your checkup, your gynecologist will screen for,
- Bladder disease
- Bone disease
- Sexually transmitted disease
- Breast, uterine and cervical cancer
A gynecologist can also provide women with contraception and educate them on safe-sex practices and answer any questions they may have about their reproductive health.
Discover simple solutions to ease menopause symptoms.
Yes, all women will go through menopause, but what women shouldn’t have to go through are night sweats, weight gain, hair loss, and other unpleasant symptoms that come along with this change in hormones. Menopause is normal, but it doesn’t mean that the problems you’re dealing with are just par for the course! An OBGYN can provide you with helpful strategies to better manage your menopause symptoms.
Signs of Menopause
With the sudden drop in estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, it’s no surprise that this can lead to some rather unpleasant symptoms. While women often enter menopause between 45-and 54 years old, the fact is that many women experience some of these symptoms years before (this is commonly referred to as perimenopause). You may be faced with,
- Night sweats and hot flashes
- Vaginal dryness
- Decreased sexual drive
- Brain fog and memory issues
- Insomnia or poor sleep
- Mood swings
- Brittle nails and hair
- Dry skin
Managing Menopause Symptoms
Every woman has different needs, so your OBGYN will take a personalized approach to health care and provide the right strategies, interventions, and treatment options that work best for you, your health, and your lifestyle. Many women find that they can drastically improve their symptoms through simple lifestyle strategies. Some of these lifestyle changes include,
Focusing on a healthy diet: Your diet can play a critical role in your hormones and health. Eating a diet rich in sugar, salt, additives, and chemicals can wreak havoc on your hormones. Eating an unprocessed, high-fiber whole diet is key to easing symptoms. You may even want to work with a doctor to identify food allergies and sensitivities, which can often make symptoms worse.
Getting regular exercise: Add regular aerobic activity into your daily routine. Even just 30-45 minutes a day is all you need. Incorporate strength training, circuit training and
Cut back on alcohol: Alcohol can undoubtedly make hot flashes and night sweat worse, not to mention that it can also increase your risk for certain cancers, heart problems and other health issues. Alcohol can also make anxiety and depression worse, which might mean it’s time to kick the habit (or, at the very least, cut back).
Get your nightly ZZZs: Sleep is critical to good health, no matter your age; however, your hormone fluctuations may be keeping you up at night or causing you to toss and turn. This is when your OBGYN and you can sit down and point out bad habits that might be making it harder for you to get good sleep (e.g., playing on your phone) and create better sleep habits.
Your OBGYN is going to be instrumental in helping you find ways to balance hormones, whether through replacement therapy, lifestyle changes, or both. If you are experiencing symptoms of hormonal changes and you’re in your 40s, it’s a good time to chat with your OBGYN.
When should you turn to a gynecologist for care?
A gynecologist is an important medical professional for all women to have. While the pandemic has certainly put a halt to how regularly we see certain doctors, particularly gynecologists, it’s important that women aren’t putting off these important wellness checks with their gynecologists.
When and how often does a teenager need to visit a gynecologist?
Your age and your health are two of the biggest determining factors as to just how often you should see a gynecologist for checkups. Most girls should visit the gynecologist for the first time between the ages of 13-15 years old. This visit is important as it acknowledges that girls have a doctor they can specifically turn to for their reproductive concerns and needs. Rest assured, that most girls will not need a pelvic exam during their first visit.
After this initial exam, a young girl may not need to come back in for another exam for years. This is something to discuss with your daughter’s gynecologist to see when they need to come back in for another preventive checkup. They may also need to come in for an evaluation if they are dealing with irregular menstrual cycles, serious period-related pains or would like to discuss birth control options.
How often do women need to visit a gynecologist?
Most women don’t see their gynecologist as often as they should unless they are dealing with issues or looking to become pregnant; however, these routine checkups are just as important as visiting your regular doctor for an annual wellness check or seeing your dentist twice a year for cleanings. Women over 21 years old should visit their OBGYN once a year for an annual exam, which includes a pelvic and breast exam. Pap tests are performed every 3-5 years depending on your history. Women with HPV will need to come in more regularly for pap tests.
What are some other reasons to visit a gynecologist?
A gynecologist can be invaluable to women of all ages, so it’s important that you have a gynecologist that you can turn to. You should also schedule an appointment with a gynecologist if,
- You’re interested in contraception and want to talk about options
- You’re having menstrual issues (this can be everything from irregular periods to heavy, painful periods)
- You’re experiencing symptoms of an STD
- You are planning to become pregnant or think you might be pregnant
- You’re experiencing distressing symptoms of menopause
If you are experiencing spotting, a missed period or other issues that have you concerned, a gynecologist should be the first doctor you turn to. If it’s also been more than a year since your last checkup, it’s important that you don’t put off this appointment any longer.