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Posts for category: Women's Healthcare

By McInerney Cares
December 10, 2021
Category: Women's Healthcare
According to the CDC, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common female reproductive disorders and also one of the most common causes of infertility. While PCOS often causes symptoms, it is possible for some women to have this condition but not even know it. No matter whether you know someone who has it, you’re concerned that you might have it, or you’ve already been diagnosed, here’s what you should know about PCOS including its treatment options.

What Is PCOS?

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is both a hormonal imbalance and a metabolic disorder that can impact a woman’s general and reproductive health. It’s most common in women of childbearing age.

What are the signs and symptoms?

One of the most common signs of PCOS is an irregular menstrual period. This may mean that you experience a period too often or too infrequently. If your period is unpredictable it could be a sign of PCOS. Other warning signs include:
  • Severe acne
  • Hirsutism, or excessive hair growth (most common on the face, abdomen, and thighs)
  • Oily skin
  • Dark patches of skin
  • Multiple cysts on the ovaries
  • Infertility

What are the causes?

There is still so much that is unknown about PCOS, but it’s believed that this disorder may be the result of certain factors such as increased levels of the androgen hormone or insulin resistance.

How is PCOS treated?

An OBGYN will tailor their treatments to meet your needs, based on your symptoms, the severity of your condition, and whether or not you are planning to become pregnant (whether now or in the future). Treatment options may include certain lifestyle changes such as losing weight (if obese) by eating healthy and getting regular exercise. Some medications can help with irregular periods such as hormonal contraception. For women dealing with fertility issues, there are also medications (the most common is Clomifene) that can help women with PCOS get pregnant. Medications to control other symptoms such as excessive and unwanted hair growth can also be prescribed by your gynecologist.

If you are experiencing symptoms of PCOS, it’s important that you speak with your gynecologist to learn more. A gynecologist will be able to perform the appropriate tests to be able to determine what’s causing your symptoms and how to best treat the problem.
By McInerney Cares
December 01, 2021
Category: Women's Healthcare
Tags: Vaginal Stones  
Vaginal StonesWe’ve all heard about kidney stones or even gallbladder stones, but you may not realize that stones can also develop in the vagina. Vaginal stones, medically known as colpolithiasis, are a very rare condition that most gynecologists will never even see throughout their career; however, vaginal stones do still occur. Here’s what you should know.

Vaginal Stones are Either Primary or Secondary

A primary vaginal stone typically develops after surgery, trauma, neurogenic bladder, vaginal stenosis, or vaginal outlet obstruction. Women with congenital genitourinary malformations or urethrovaginal fistulas are most at risk. If a woman is dealing with any of these issues their OBGYN must continue to monitor their condition through routine checkups so they can promptly find and treat vaginal stones if they develop. Secondary vaginal stones typically develop due to the presence of foreign bodies in the vagina, whether an IUD (intrauterine device) or surgical mesh.

Vaginal Stone Symptoms Aren’t Unique to This Condition

Vaginal stones do mimic symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI), so you may not be able to immediately spot a difference. Vaginal stones can cause an increase in urinary urgency and frequency. You may also experience vaginal pain, abdominal pain, and pain with sex or urination.

Vaginal Stones Can Be Removed

The best way to treat vaginal stones is to have them removed. This will require surgery. The procedure itself may employ extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy, the same treatment used to break up kidney stones. This surgery is performed under anesthesia. Any urethrovaginal fistulas should not be repaired at the time of surgery, but rather corrected months after the stone has been removed. Patients with serious health complications, as well as older patients, may do better with an open cystostomy, a surgical procedure that is sometimes used to remove large bladder stones as well.

If you are at risk for vaginal stones, it’s important to speak with your gynecologist. Many other conditions can lead to abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding, so it’s important to turn to an OBGYN who can provide you with the answers and treatment you’re looking for.
By McInerney Cares
November 09, 2021
Category: Women's Healthcare
Tags: Vaginal Cyst  
Treatment for a Vaginal CystHarmless lumps and bumps can develop just about anywhere on the body, including the vagina. While some cysts are rather small and painless, vaginal cysts can cause pain, discomfort, and other issues. Here’s what you should know about vaginal cysts, including when to turn to a gynecologist for treatment.

There are Different Kinds of Vaginal Cysts

Most vaginal cysts can be found under or within the lining of the vagina. Types of vaginal cysts include:
  • Inclusion cysts: this most common type of vaginal cyst develops in the back of the vaginal wall
  • Bartholin’s gland cysts: cysts that develop in the Bartholin’s gland, which are found on either opening of the vagina
  • Gartner’s duct: this congenital malformation occurs when ducts that are supposed to disappear in-utero don’t, which may result in vaginal cysts developing later on
  • Müllerian cysts: these cysts that develop around the vaginal wall form in areas that were left behind after the development and birth of a baby
There are Many Causes for Vaginal Cysts

There are several reasons a vaginal cyst may develop. Trauma is most common in cysts that develop in the vaginal walls. This may be the result of childbirth or surgery.

Cysts that develop on the outer area of the vagina such as a Bartholin’s gland cyst, may be the result of a bacterial infection or a sexually transmitted disease. Sometimes clogged glands or ducts are also to blame.

Vaginal Cysts Don’t Often Cause Symptoms

Unless you’re dealing with an infected Bartholin’s gland cyst, you probably won’t even know if you have a vaginal cyst. Most of the time, these cysts are detected by a gynecologist during a routine exam. Most cysts aren’t painful; however, some may cause pain with sex. If you’re dealing with a painful lump, this could be a sign of infection.

Most Vaginal Cysts Don’t Need Treatment

Since most vaginal cysts remain small and don’t cause problems they often don’t need to be removed; however, if the cyst continues to grow, cause pain, or show signs of infection, then you’ll want to see your gynecologist. External vaginal cysts can be eased with simple home care such as a warm soak or sitz bath. If the cyst is infected, antibiotics may be prescribed. Sometimes the cyst will need to be drained to heal (this is more common in Bartholin’s gland cysts). Most of the time surgery is not recommended for removing a vaginal cyst.

If you notice any unusual lumps, bumps, or lesions in the vaginal areas, it’s always a good idea to turn to your OBGYN to find out what’s going on.
By McInerney Cares
July 26, 2021
Category: Women's Healthcare
Tags: Menopause   Osteoporosis  
OsteoporosisMenopause 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
  • Smoking
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
Category: Women's Healthcare
Tags: Amenorrhea  
AmenorrheaWhile 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
  • Stress
  • 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.