What is latex?
Latex is a rubbery material that is found in the bark of a rubber tree. Even though latex might seem man-made it is actually made from nature. Since latex is derived from trees, this also increases the risk for an allergy.
What products contain latex?
Latex is found in quite a few household items including,
- Rubber bands
If you have a latex allergy you may be likely to develop symptoms that impact the nose, throat, ears, stomach, and skin. If you have an allergy to latex and you use latex condoms, you may notice itching, redness, or a rash in the vaginal region. Those with more severe latex allergies may also experience,
- Runny nose
- Itchy eyes
- Scratchy throat
How is a latex allergy treated?
Since there is no cure for latex allergy, the best thing you can do is avoid anything that contains latex including condoms. There are many non-latex condoms on the market these days but if you aren’t sure which ones are safe, simply ask your gynecologist.
However, if you do accidentally use a latex condom your gynecologist may recommend taking an antihistamine or corticosteroids or carrying an EpiPen in case of a severe latex allergy. If you are experiencing a reaction to a latex condom you may also want to relax in a sitz bath or apply hydrocortisone cream to the area to ease discomfort.
If this is your first time experiencing vaginal redness, swelling, or a rash it’s important to have these symptoms properly evaluated by a gynecologist to determine if it’s an allergy and to rule out STIs or other problems.
Even with a latex allergy, there are a variety of safe sex options that do not involve latex condoms. If you have questions about how to practice safe sex with a latex allergy your OBGYN can provide you with all the information you need to make smart choices for you and your partner.
What causes an ectopic pregnancy?
Many women who’ve experienced ectopic pregnancies never had any risk factors; however, certain factors could increase the risk for an ectopic pregnancy. These include,
- A sexually transmitted disease
- Cigarette smoking
- Past abdominal or pelvic surgeries
- Getting pregnant with an IUD in
- Past fertility treatment
- Previous ectopic pregnancies
Early symptoms and signs of an ectopic pregnancy are typically minor such as light abdominal pain or minimal vaginal bleeding; however, as the egg develops this can cause the fallopian tube to rupture. As blood leaks out this can result in sudden and severe abdominal and shoulder pain. Life-threatening symptoms include fainting, lightheadedness, and shock. If you are experiencing severe pelvic pain, vaginal bleeding, shoulder pain, or lightheadedness it’s important that you seek immediate medical attention.
What are my treatment options?
The recommended course of action to treat an ectopic pregnancy will depend on how far along you are in the pregnancy as well as the symptoms you are experiencing. If detected early, most women receive an injectable medication that stops the cells from multiplying and dissolves the cells that are present. A blood test will then be performed to check HCG levels.
Laparoscopic surgery may be necessary to remove the ectopic pregnancy so the fallopian tube can heal. If there is extensive damage to the tube or the tube has ruptured then the tube may also need to be removed.
Light vaginal bleeding and stomach cramping are also normal parts of early pregnancy, so if you have any questions or concerns about the symptoms you are experiencing during your first trimester, your OBGYN is the ideal doctor to get answers to all of your questions and to provide you with specialized care.
Effectiveness of Birth Control
When used correctly, birth control pills are 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy; however, improper use of birth control pills can certainly decrease its efficacy. It’s important that you know exactly how to take birth control to protect against pregnancy. Here are some tips to protect yourself from getting pregnant while on “the pill”.
Don’t Miss a Dose
For birth control pills to be effective you must take them every day. So, what happens if you miss a day? Well, your hormone levels won’t remain consistent, which can increase your chances of getting pregnant. Set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself to take the pill. If you find that you keep forgetting to take your pill, you may want to talk to your gynecologist about other birth control options such as the patch, injection, or intrauterine devices (IUD) that you can “set and forget”.
Take the Dose at the Same Time
It’s also important that you are taking the pill at the same time every day to maintain proper hormone levels. This means taking the pill within a 3-hour window. If you miss that 3-hour window, you should use backup birth control such as condoms for the next two days. Setting an alarm on your phone can also ensure that you take the pill at the same time every day and that you also don’t miss a dose.
Certain Medications and Supplements May Interfere with Birth Control
Some medications can make birth control less effective and it’s important to know this to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. Certain medications that can decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills include,
- Anti-fungal medications
- Epilepsy medications
- Certain anti-viral medications
If you are interested in your family planning options and would like to talk to a qualified medical professional about which type of birth control is right for you, call your OBGYN today to schedule a consultation.
- Not enough lubrication
- A vaginal infection such as a yeast infection
- Problems or infections of the cervix
- Uterine fibroids (can cause deep pain)
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Ovarian cysts
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Vagina or vulva injuries
When to See an OBGYN
If you are experiencing pain with sex it’s important that you speak with your OBGYN right away. You should call if you also notice,
- Changes in vaginal discharge
The cause of your pain will dictate which treatment options will be most effective. If lack of lubrication is the cause, your OBGYN may recommend using a lubricant. If hormones are playing a role, which can be the cause for menopausal women, hormonal therapy can help to better balance hormones to improve vaginal dryness.
If an allergy is to blame, your OBGYN may recommend avoiding certain products that could be irritating the area. If an underlying disease or condition is causing pain, your OBGYN will discuss different ways to treat these issues whether through medications or surgery. If emotional factors are playing a part, your OBGYN may refer you to a therapist or psychologist who can help you work through anxiety, depression, or other emotional issues you’re experiencing.
If you find yourself dealing with persistent pain with intercourse, your OBGYN can help figure out what’s going on and provide you with the answers you need to make sex enjoyable again. You don’t have to deal with this problem alone.
What is a prenatal appointment?
Prenatal visits are routine checkups that you’ll have with your OBGYN throughout the course of your pregnancy. As your pregnancy progresses, you will see your OBGYN more regularly until you’re coming in every week for checkups (this occurs in the last few weeks of pregnancy). These checkups are important for both you and your child. The first prenatal visit should occur around the 8-week mark.
You’ll visit your OBGYN every month for the first 28 weeks, then every two weeks from the 28th to the 36th week, then weekly from the 36th week to the 40th week. We provide screenings, preventive care, and advice to pregnant women to help them maintain healthy pregnancies.
Why are prenatal appointments important?
Here are some of the reasons why pregnant women should never skip out on their prenatal appointments:
- Your OBGYN can dispense helpful advice to help maintain good health throughout your pregnancy, whether it’s advice on what you can eat (and what foods to avoid) and how to incorporate safe but effective exercises into your routine.
- These checkups also allow moms a chance to learn more about the pregnancy, delivery, and childbirth process, asking any questions they might have and having their concerns addressed by a medical professional.
- Your OBGYN can determine certain risk factors such as advanced maternal age and determine if there are additional steps you need to take or testing you should undergo to keep you and your unborn child safe.
- Your OBGYN can also spot certain health problems in the mother such as gestational diabetes and provide immediate treatment to prevent complications.
- During these checkups, your OBGYN can also spot developmental problems in the fetus early on and provide the appropriate interventions.
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