Posts for: December, 2021
By McInerney Cares
December 23, 2021
Category: OBGYN Care
Tags: Pap Smear
Your teen is quickly becoming a young woman, and you may be wondering more about how to keep her healthy and when she should start seeing an OBGYN. Perhaps you’re even unsure about how often you're supposed to visit your OBGYN for Pap smears and checkups. Here’s all the information you need to make an informed decision regarding women’s health.
What is a Pap smear?
A pap smear is a simple diagnostic test that involves collecting cells from the cervix to look for precancerous and cancerous cells. By keeping up with routine pap smears, an OBGYN can detect early and suspicious changes in cervical cells to provide early interventions to remove the cells before they turn cancerous. A pap smear is not the same thing as a pelvic exam.
Do I need a Pap smear?
If you are a woman then the answer is “yes”. Every woman will need to get regular Pap smears from an OBGYN, as this is the best tool for catching precancerous cells before they turn cancerous. So, just how often do you need a Pap smear? The most recent recommendation from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that,
- Women between the ages of 21 to 29 should get one every three years
- Women between the ages of 30 to 65 should get one (along with an HPV test) every five years
- Women with weakened immune systems (or women with HIV), as well as women who’ve had precancerous cells in the past, may need to come in more often for Pap smears (this is something you’ll want to discuss with your gynecologist)
What does an abnormal Pap smear mean?
Getting abnormal results back doesn’t necessarily mean that you have cancer. Many women will deal with an abnormal Pap smear at some point and it won’t be due to cervical cancer. Other problems that can cause abnormal Pap results include:
- STIs such as herpes (HSV-2), trichomoniasis, and the human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Recent sexual activity
If you do receive an abnormal Pap, your gynecologist will recommend getting another test performed to check those results. If results are still abnormal then further testing will be required to check for precancerous or cancerous cells.
Whether you need to schedule an appointment for you or your teen daughter, an OBGYN is going to be an invaluable part of your medical team, providing everything from support and advice to annual checkups and Pap smears. It’s important that everyone find a gynecologist that they trust.
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
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
We’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.