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
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 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.
Okay, so you just turned 35 years old. Should you be concerned about getting pregnant?
Well, not necessarily. It isn’t like everything changes overnight. OBGYNs have been providing care to pregnant women of all ages so they know that when it comes to assessing risk everyone’s needs are different. Just because a woman is 35 years old doesn’t necessarily mean that she will face challenges during pregnancy.
A lot of it has to do with her genetics, medical history, and current health. Women in their 30s and 40s who are in great health may not ever face complications or problems, but it’s still important to recognize these risks ahead of time so that you and your OBGYN can find ways to prevent them from happening.
Your Health is Key to Conception (and a Healthy Pregnancy)
Your health is going to play one of the biggest factors in conceiving after age 35; however, it is important to note that the number of eggs your body produces does decrease with age. The decline occurs in the early 30s with a more serious decline after 37 years old. So, does this mean that you won’t be able to conceive naturally?
Not necessarily. Some women can still easily become pregnant in their early 40s; however, if you’ve been trying to conceive for several months and you’re having trouble, it may be time to talk with your OBGYN.
Possible Complications in Advanced Maternal Age
Women who get pregnant after 35 years old are more at risk for developing certain complications such as high blood pressure or gestational diabetes. Pregnant women over 35 years old are also more likely to face ectopic pregnancies, Down syndrome and other genetic disorders, stillbirth, and preeclampsia.
It’s important to speak with your OBGYN if you are trying to conceive, as certain tests can be performed to check for chromosomal and genetic abnormalities. You may also need to come in more regularly for checkups throughout your pregnancy.
If you are thinking about becoming pregnant and you are over the age of 35, it’s a good idea to speak with your OBGYN to find out if there are certain things you can do before becoming pregnant to keep you healthy and less likely to face complications. Your OBGYN is going to be an integral part of the care you receive both before, during, and after your pregnancy.
While the genetic cause is still unknown, research has found that 90 percent of children with Mayer-von Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser’s Syndrome (MRKH) also have vaginal agenesis. This congenital disorder may vary from child to child. Some young girls may not have a vagina or uterus while other girls may have part of a uterus but no vagina.
We understand that this can be distressing for both the patient and their family. Despite this genetic abnormality, the patient is still considered female. Of course, this can be confusing and a lot to process, which is why an OBGYN can be a great doctor and specialist to turn to for help, support, and care during this time.
While most patients with vaginal agenesis will not be able to carry a child, if they do have a uterus then they can become pregnant when they choose to have a family. This is something that your OBGYN can discuss once the patient becomes an adult.
Additional testing may need to be performed by your gynecologist before deciding which type of treatments are best for the patient. In most cases, treatment won’t be necessary until the late teens or 20s.
Surgery: If patients don’t see results with self-dilation then surgery is often the next step. There are a variety of techniques that can be used during a vaginoplasty, and your gynecologist will fully discuss them with you, so you decide together on the ideal surgical technique to provide the optimal results.
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)
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.
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.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before considering birth control options,
What is most important to you when it comes to birth control?
This might seem like a rather broad question, so let’s get a little more specific. Some women are looking for a low or no hormone birth control that boasts fewer side effects while other women want a birth control option that can also help them get clearer skin. It’s important to talk with your OBGYN about what’s most important to you so that they can provide you with the best options for your specific needs.
Do you want to have a family and how soon?
If you are looking for a birth control option now but are thinking of having a baby in the next year, then this could help us determine which birth control option is best. Women who want to wait several years before starting a family, or who don’t want a family, may benefit from long-term birth control solutions such as intrauterine devices, which can remain in the uterus anywhere from three to ten years. Women who are looking to prevent pregnancy for only up to a year or two may benefit from more short-term options such as the pill or patch.
Will you remember your birth control?
Some women know that they won’t take the pill at the same time every day, so they want an easier option. If you think you’ll forget, or simply don’t want to deal with the daily reminders, then options such as the patch, ring, injection, or IUD can provide peace of mind knowing you are protected without having to take a pill every single day. For other women, taking a pill every day is no big deal. This is something to keep in mind.
Are you concerned about side effects?
Hormonal birth control does come with possible side effects, as compared to non-hormonal birth control (e.g. condoms; diaphragms; certain types of IUDs). Women who’ve tried hormonal birth control in the past and have dealt with mood swings and other issues may want to consider non-hormonal or low-hormone options. This is definitely something to discuss with your gynecologist.
It’s important to have the facts when it comes to birth control. There is a lot of information out there that can be daunting (not to mention that there is also a lot of misinformation out there). If in doubt, schedule a consultation with your OBGYN to help make the decision-making process easier.
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