Posts for category: Women's Health Care
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Know when to schedule your first appointment with an OBGYN.
Whether you think you might be pregnant or you already received a positive at-home test result, not only do you want to confirm that you have a new bundle of joy on the way but also that you and the baby are getting the proper care from the very beginning.
When should I schedule my first prenatal visit?
As soon as you find out that you are pregnant it is important that you schedule an appointment with an OBGYN. In most cases, your first prenatal appointment will happen at around 8 weeks. If you have certain health conditions or are experiencing any symptoms such as vaginal bleeding or abdominal discomfort then you may come in sooner. Even if this isn’t your first pregnancy you should still come in for regular prenatal appointments.
The first prenatal appointment is one of the most important visits and so it can often take longer. This is a time for us to sit down with you and get to know you better. Think of the first appointment as establishing rapport with our OBGYN team. After all, we will be with you throughout your pregnancy so we want you to be comfortable and happy with the care you are receiving.
What will happen during my first appointment?
We will need to go through your detailed medical history, which can include everything from any gynecological issues you might have to drug allergies, chronic health problems, or medications you are currently taking. We will also need to discuss any habits that could affect your pregnancy such as smoking or drinking.
We will also talk to you about the different genetic tests available to you throughout the course of your pregnancy. These tests can be a great way to screen for certain birth defects or genetic disorders like Down syndrome. We will discuss in detail the screenings tests that you can choose to have.
A physical and pelvic exam will also be performed during your first visit. We will also need to take a sample of blood to test for any undiagnosed health conditions or STDS. A urinary sample will also be taken to check for urinary tract infections (UTIs) or other issues.
Of course, during this appointment and any subsequent visits you have, we want you to know that if you have any questions or concerns that you shouldn’t hesitate to ask us. We can provide you with tips, advice, and support throughout this exciting and whirlwind time in your life to make sure that your pregnancy goes as smoothly as possible.
Your obstetrician is here to provide you with the care, treatment and education you need to help navigate your pregnancy. We provide comprehensive maternal fetal medicine to ensure that you and your baby get the care you both deserve during this exciting time.
Your OBGYN treats a number of common gynecological conditions, including irregular vaginal bleeding. It’s a concern that can be related to anything from stress, chronic conditions, or reproductive problems. Learn the common causes of irregular bleeding in gynecology, and how you can get your menstrual cycle back to normal.
Irregular Vaginal Bleeding
In their reproductive years, women menstruate about every 28 days as the uterine lining sheds itself. The bleeding is often moderate to heavy during the first couple of days, then tapers off during the next few days. A normal menstrual cycle lasts up to a week. If the process does not repeat every 28 days or so, or a cycle is missed, or the flow of blood is too heavy or too light, that is considered irregular bleeding. Additional symptoms may include poor mood, problems sleeping, and sharp abdominal pains.
You should talk to your OBGYN if your menstrual cycle starts to change or becomes irregular. Irregular bleeding can be caused by one or more of the following factors:
Certain medications (including birth control pills).
Endometriosis (tissue that’s supposed to be inside of the uterus grows on the outside).
Stress and lifestyle.
Blood clotting disorders.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (a hormonal problem).
Pelvic inflammatory disease (an infection usually caused by an STD).
Uterine fibroids (benign growths in the uterus).
Cervical or uterine cancer.
Chronic medical conditions (not necessarily related to the reproductive system).
Treatments for Irregular Bleeding
In some cases, irregular bleeding resolves on its own. For instance, if the irregularity is related to stress, de-stressing activities may help, like light exercise, dietary changes, or bed rest. If the problem is your birth control, your gynecologist will discuss other birth control options. If it’s related to another gynecological condition, the treatment may require an ultrasound and further testing. In more serious cases, surgery may be necessary.
See Your OBGYN
Schedule a visit to your OBGYN if you’re experiencing irregular bleeding. It could an easily treatable issue that your gynecologist can resolve with medications or a minor procedure.
Have you been screened for STI's, or Sexually Transmitted Infections? Surprisingly, most Americans do not prioritize this important health testing. Plus, many health care providers do not routinely offer testing for STI's of any kind; so, patients must ask them about it, says the American Sexual Health Association.
How often should you be screened for STIs?
The short answer is that everyone from ages 13 to 65 should receive a baseline screening for HIV, or the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, states the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). STIs, including HIV, often show no symptoms but can cause serious health issues over time. Also, says the CDC, routine testing, treatment, and follow-up limits transmission of disease from sexual partner to partner. So, all adults should ask their doctors for testing once a year. In fact, they should insist upon it.
Who is at risk for an STI?
Potentially anyone is at risk. However, some populations definitely are more prone to infection. They include:
- Male homosexuals
- People who have several sexual partners
- Women under the age of 25
- Sex workers
- Individuals who have unprotected sex
Transmission of STIs is easier than most people realize. Oral, anal, or vaginal sex can spread the microbes or insect vectors responsible for these often dangerous and hard to treat diseases. While many people believe they cannot ever have a Sexually Transmitted Infection, WebMD says the vast majority of Americans actually have had an active form some kind of STI.
What do tests look for?
Screening tests look for:
- HIV, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus
- HPV, or Human Papillomavirus, which is linked to oral and cervical cancer
- Hepatitis B and C, caused by viruses
- Trichomoniasis, a parasite infection
Tests are simple, utilizing a urine sample, blood draw, or swab of oral or genital tissues.
Don't ignore the obvious or not so obvious
STIs can impact your health and interpersonal relationships. So, be sure you know where you stand. Women, talk to your OB/GYN about testing, and men, do the same with your primary care physician. It's what you do not know that can truly harm you and your loved ones.
Endometriosis is a female condition in which tissue that's similar to uterine lining begins growing on the outside of the uterus, often affecting the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and pelvic tissue. During your cycle, the endometrial tissue then becomes thicker until it breaks down and bleeds, and due to how this tissue can’t be removed from the body, it gets trapped. Over time, this can lead to scar tissue (known as adhesions) on the reproductive organs.
This condition affects as many as 11 percent of US woman between the ages of 15 and 44, most often affecting women in their 30s and 40s. This condition can also make it more challenging for women to get pregnant.
What are the symptoms of endometriosis?
The classic symptom of endometriosis is abdominal pain that is usually worse during your menstrual cycle. While a lot of women complain of some abdominal discomfort during menstruation, women with endometriosis often complain of very painful periods, which may even radiate to the lower back.
Women with endometriosis may also experience very heavy periods or breakthrough bleeding (bleeding between cycles). You may also notice pelvic pain during sex or with bowel movements, as well as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, or fatigue.
All symptoms will vary from woman to woman. For instance, some women may have very severe symptoms but only have milder cases of endometriosis, while those with more severe cases may experience little-to-no-discomfort. Everyone is different; however, if you are experiencing new, persistent, or worsening pelvic pain, it’s important that you talk with your gynecologist.
If you are trying to conceive you may also find it more difficult to do so. Sometimes women don’t often find out that they have endometriosis until they visit their OBGYN to discuss problems getting pregnant.
How is endometriosis diagnosed?
During your evaluation, your OBGYN will ask you questions about the symptoms that you are experiencing. From there, a couple of tests will be performed in order to pinpoint specific signs and symptoms of endometriosis. These tests include a traditional pelvic exam or an ultrasound. In some instances, an MRI exam or a laparoscopy (a minor surgical procedure that allows a doctor to examine the inside of the abdomen and uterus) may be recommended to make a definitive diagnosis.
How is this condition treated?
Since there is no cure for endometriosis the goal of treatment is to manage your symptoms. As with most conditions, we will recommend more conservative treatment options at first to see if they are effective. Common treatment options include,
- Pain medications (either over-the-counter or prescription-strength)
- Hormone therapy (e.g. birth control pills; progestin therapy)
- Fertility treatment (for women who are having trouble conceiving)
- Laparoscopic surgery to remove excess endometrial tissue
If you are experiencing symptoms of endometriosis, it’s important that you talk to a gynecologist as soon as possible.