Posts for category: Women's Healthcare
By McInerney Cares
July 26, 2021
Menopause occurs when a woman no longer has her period for a full year. While menopause can occur in a woman’s 40s, these days the average age is 51 for women in the US. With the drop in estrogen production that occurs with menopause, many women experience hot flashes, vaginal dryness, night sweats, and other unpleasant symptoms. Of course, another concern that OBGYNs have for menopausal women is the onset of osteoporosis, a condition that causes a weakening of the bones.
Osteoporosis can happen to anyone
You don’t have to have a family history of bone disease to be impacted by osteoporosis. While a family history of bone disease can certainly put you more at risk, we also see many otherwise healthy women develop osteoporosis during their perimenopausal and menopausal years.
Other risk factors for osteoporosis include:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Sedentary lifestyle
Menopause increases your risk for osteoporosis
While not all menopausal women will develop osteoporosis, one in two postmenopausal women will have osteoporosis. This is because estrogen protects the bones, and as estrogen production drops this also increases the chances for osteoporosis. It’s also important that women during this stage of life are getting enough calcium to keep their bones healthy.
If you aren’t sure that you are incorporating enough calcium into your diet, it’s important to talk with your OBGYN about whether or not to supplement. The body also needs enough vitamin D to absorb calcium, and with the number of Americans with vitamin D deficiency and suboptimal levels, it’s also important that you have your vitamin D levels checked regularly to make sure you are getting enough.
There are preventive measures you can take now
Most women assume that once they have osteoporosis there is nothing they can really do to prevent permanent damage. This is simply not true! Ways of strengthening and supporting good bone health include:
- Getting regular exercise that includes weight-resistance training
- Eating a healthy diet that includes enough calcium and vitamin D, as well as protein, magnesium, vitamin C, and vitamin K
- Quitting smoking, if you are currently a smoker
- Limiting alcohol consumption or avoiding it altogether
If you are at a higher risk for developing osteoporosis, you’ll want to talk with your OBGYN about the possible benefits of medications that can help to either prevent or manage osteoporosis.
If you are experiencing symptoms of menopause, you must have an OBGYN that you can turn to for care, support, and answers during this time. An OBGYN can also provide you with the right treatment options to help prevent and manage osteoporosis.
By McInerney Cares
June 14, 2021
While everything from stress to overexercising could lead you to skip a period, if you begin missing multiple periods you may be wondering what’s going on. Could you be dealing with amenorrhea? Primary amenorrhea occurs if a teen girl hasn’t gotten her period by age 15. Secondary amenorrhea occurs in women who have missed three periods in a row despite having had their period regularly in the past. If you have missed several periods in a row, it’s important to talk with your OBGYN to find out what might be affecting your cycle.
What causes amenorrhea?
Pregnancy is one of the most common reasons a woman stops getting her period; however, it’s certainly not the only reason. Some of the reasons why a woman may suddenly stop having periods include,
- Low body weight
- Sudden weight loss
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Eating disorders
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Certain chronic health problems such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Certain medications (e.g. birth control)
If a young woman has not had her period by the age of 15 it’s important to bring her to the OBGYN for an evaluation. The same applies if you don’t have a period for three months. By talking with your OBGYN and going through your medical history, they can determine whether an underlying health issue could be the cause. They will also ask you a variety of questions about your health, diet, and lifestyle. Imaging tests and blood work may be necessary to check hormone levels and to detect PCOS.
Your gynecologist can treat conditions such as PCOS and primary ovarian insufficiency through hormone therapy and lifestyle changes; however, if your condition is due to thyroid problems or other health issues, your gynecologist may recommend seeing a specialist or your primary doctor to treat these conditions.
Can you still get pregnant?
You may be surprised to discover that women can still get pregnant even if they aren’t having regular periods. This is why it’s important to talk with your OBGYN about birth control options if you are sexually active and are not planning to become pregnant.
Your OBGYN is going to be your go-to for all sexual health concerns. No matter whether you are dealing with missed periods, heavy periods, or you want to talk birth control, your OBGYN is going to be the doctor you’ll turn to for care, treatment, and answers.
By McInerney Cares
February 22, 2021
Tags: Ovarian Cysts
If you are a woman, then chances are fairly good that you’ve had an ovarian cyst before. Maybe even several already; however, it’s also just as likely that you didn’t even know it. It’s common for cysts, or fluid-filled sacs, to develop in or on the ovaries. This is a very common condition for women during their reproductive years, and it’s typically not anything to worry about. From the office of your OBGYN, here’s what you should know about ovarian cysts.
What are the signs and symptoms of an ovarian cyst?
Many ovarian cysts are too small to cause symptoms; however, if the cyst is large you may notice:
- Bloating or abdominal swelling
- Abdominal pain or pressure, typically on the side where the cyst is
- The pain may be dull and may come and go
Ruptured cysts can cause more severe pain. While ovarian cysts may cause pain with intercourse, abnormal vaginal bleeding, or pelvic pain, these symptoms are less common. If you are dealing with abdominal pain or swelling that has you concerned, schedule an appointment with your OBGYN.
What causes ovarian cysts?
Several factors can predispose certain women to ovarian cysts. These factors include:
- Hormonal issues
- Pelvic infections
When should I see my OBGYN?
It’s always a good idea to see your OBGYN as soon as possible if you are experiencing intense or severe abdominal pain, especially if it’s accompanied by a fever. Severe abdominal pain requires immediate medical attention.
How are ovarian cysts treated?
An ovarian cyst will typically go away on its own without treatment; however, the size of the cyst and the symptoms you are experiencing may determine whether or not you should have surgery to remove the cyst. Your doctor will continue to monitor the cyst through regular ultrasounds every few weeks or months to see if the cyst has gone away. Recurring or very large cysts often require surgery.
If you are dealing with abdominal pain or swelling that isn’t going away or is getting worse, it’s always a safe bet to call your OBGYN right away to schedule an immediate appointment.
By McInerney Cares
December 09, 2020
The NIH reports that 20-25 percent of women of reproductive age have fibroids, benign tumors that develop within the lining of the uterus. Some women have fibroids but don’t even realize it until they find out from their OBGYN during a routine pelvic exam; however, other women may deal with heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, and sex with intercourse due to fibroids. Since fibroids can affect fertility, it is important that you talk with your OBGYN about the best ways to manage your fibroids.
Can fibroids become cancerous?
The majority of the time fibroids are completely benign. It is extremely rare that a fibroid will turn cancerous. Also, having fibroids will not increase your chances of developing uterine cancer or cancerous fibroids.
How are fibroids treated?
Since most women don’t experience symptoms, they won’t necessarily need treatment; however, women who do experience symptoms will want to discuss their options with a qualified OBGYN. Your OBGYN will be able to decide the best strategies for treating your fibroids based on your health, the symptoms you’re experiencing, whether you plan to become pregnant in the future, your age, and the size of the fibroids.
Mild symptoms may be managed with simple over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen. If you have heavy periods, your doctor may recommend iron supplements to prevent anemia. Some forms of birth control including an intrauterine device (IUD) can also help manage fibroid symptoms.
Another medication used to treat fibroids is a gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist (GnRHa). This medication can be administered in many different ways (e.g. inhaled, ingested, or injected) and is used to shrink large fibroids.
If you experience more severe fibroid symptoms, then your OBGYN may recommend surgery to have the fibroids removed. This procedure is known as a myomectomy.
Can I get pregnant if I have fibroids?
It can be more difficult for women with uterine fibroids to get pregnant, but it is still a possibility. Of course, women who become pregnant while they have fibroids may be more at risk for complications so it’s important that you have an obstetrician that will know how to best handle fibroids during your pregnancy. While there may be concerns, having fibroids does not put you in the high-risk pregnancy category.
Are you experiencing symptoms of fibroids? If so, it’s important to talk with your OBGYN about your symptoms and how to get them under control.
By McInerney Cares
September 17, 2020
Tags: Pap Smear
Chances are good, especially if you are a woman over 21 years old, that you’ve heard or already undergone at least one Pap smear during your lifetime. Maybe you are wondering whether you should get a Pap smear. Perhaps you don’t even remember when your last test was. Our OBGYNs understand that when it comes to certain diagnostic procedures, particularly Pap smears, that you may have questions. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Pap tests,
What is the purpose of a Pap smear?
A Pap smear is the best tool at our disposal for being able to detect precancerous cells within the cervix. By catching these cells early, we can remove them before they turn into cervical cancer.
When should a woman get her first Pap smear?
Women should start getting regular Pap smears from their OBGYN once they reach 21 years old, or once they become sexually active. Women will continue to get Pap smears until 65 years old.
How often should women get tested?
Women between the ages of 21 and 29 should get tested every three years. Once you reach age 30 you should get tested every five years (often alongside an HPV test). Women who have had abnormal Pap results in the past may need to come more often for testing.
Will it hurt?
While getting a Pap smear may feel a bit weird or maybe even a little uncomfortable (especially the first time when you’re not sure exactly what to expect), it shouldn’t hurt. You may notice a slight pinch but that’s usually about it. While a traditional OBGYN screening will usually take up to 20 minutes to perform, the Pap smear itself usually takes just a couple of minutes.
How quickly will I get results back?
It’s typical to get your results within one week after your test, but your OBGYN will let you know when results will be available to you.
Do abnormal or inconclusive results mean that I have cervical cancer?
Not typically. An inconclusive test just means that the sample that we collected wasn’t useable. This can happen if you’ve been sexually active or used tampons with two days before your test. Your doctor will usually recommend repeating the test.
Abnormal results, while stressful, could be due to inflammation, infections, trichomoniasis, HPV or herpes. If your tests are abnormal your doctor will discuss further testing with you or provide you with proper medication if an infection is found.
If you still have questions about Pap smears, don’t hesitate to call your OBGYN. We are here to make sure that you fully understand any and all care you receive at our office.