The Importance of a Pap Smear
A pap smear, also known as a Pap test or cervical smear, is a routine procedure done at your gynecologist’s office to detect any irregularities in and on the cervix. The name comes from an abbreviation of the inventor’s name, Greek doctor Georgios Papanikolaou, and this test has been performed since 1923. It is currently the most common form of cervical screening in the United States.
What Are Pap Smears?
Pap smears are procedures done in-office and are performed by a doctor on an exam table. The vaginal opening is expanded with a tool called a speculum, and cells are then collected from the outside of the cervix using a tool called a spatula, which is very different from the one you may have in your kitchen. This procedure only takes a few minutes, and is very important for female health. Some patients report mild cramping during or immediately after the test, but it is usually very brief.
The collected cells are transferred to a glass slide and are examined under a microscope. The reason for this test is to identify any pre-cancerous conditions, most of which are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). These results can usually be used to diagnose other cervical problems and can take a week or two to come back.
A Pap smear is recommended for women to get every three years starting at age 21 until 65, barring any pre-existing conditions or any atypical results; those cases may call for more frequent testing. Regular Pap smears can reduce fatalities caused by cervical cancer very significantly, granted that patients with abnormal results follow their doctors’ treatment recommendations.
Be sure to stay up to date with your Pap smears and call your gynecologist with any questions!
Endometriosis is a gynecological condition affecting millions of American women of child-bearing years. An extreme overgrowth of the lining of the uterus (endometrium), this painful and persistent malady leaves some women infertile, in pain and even debilitated from the symptoms. Are you one of them? A visit with your OB/GYN doctor will uncover the reasons and treatments for your endometriosis.
Symptoms of endometriosis
The most frequent symptom is severe cramping before, during and after menstruation. Periods may be unusually long in duration or very short. Lower back pain and migraine headaches occur through out the monthly cycle, and many women report difficulty with bowel movements and a feeling of "heaviness"in the lower abdomen.
Some sufferers of endometriosis experience weight gain and unfortunately...infertility. Endometriosis can block the fallopian tubes and interior of the uterus so sperm cannot reach and fertilize eggs. Endometrial tissue often appears in odd areas such as on the ovaries or the bowel.
Who gets endometriosis?
The Office on Women's Health reports that a full 11 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 44 suffer with endometriosis. The condition appears to run in families, and it is common among women who have never had children. Autoimmune conditions such as allergies, MS and Lupus often co-exist with endometriosis.
Finding and treating endometriosis
Reporting your symptoms of endometriosis to your obstetrician/gynecologist is critical to diagnosis and treatment. He or she will perform a pelvic examination and may do ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging.
Treatment options vary, but frankly, surgery usually is not a first choice. Medical management with hormones and pain medications is preferable. Your OB/GYN will want to monitor your symptoms and treatment plan closely to help you manage this often-frustrating condition.
In addition, many women experience significant symptom relief if they:
- Exercise regularly.
- Deep breathe through periods of abdominal or lower back pain.
- Manage stress levels and the amount of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the bloodstream.
- Eat more vegetables and fruits, and reduce gluten and refined sugars which produce inflammatory reactions in the abdomen.
Choosing the right birth control to suit your needs and lifestyle is a very important and personal decision that you will have to consider if you are sexually active and do not want to get pregnant. During this time it’s important to have an OBGYN that you can turn to not just for proper checkups and health care, but also to present you with the different birth control options available to you so that you can make an informed decision about your sexual health.
Birth control falls into two categories: Hormonal and non-hormonal. While this may certainly be a factor in the decision-making process there are also other factors and benefits that some birth control may offer that may make it more ideal for you than others. For example, there are some forms of birth control that can improve cramping and other PMS symptoms, while other birth control options are easy to use and don’t require you to take them at the same time each day. These are all things to consider when it comes to choosing the proper birth control for you.
There are approximately 12 different kinds of birth control including:
- Contraceptive pills
- Birth control implant
- Vaginal ring
- Intrauterine device (IUD)
- Tubal ligation
As you might imagine, contraceptive pills, the ring, patch, implant, injection, and plastic IUDs are hormonal, which means that these methods release hormones that prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg.
Non-hormonal methods include the diaphragm, copper IUD, spermicides, and condoms. When used correctly, condoms are also able to protect against STDS. It’s important to understand that while many of these methods are designed to prevent pregnancy they do not protect against STDS. This is why it’s still important to wear a condom even if you are taking birth control.
Of course, for women who are already finished with family planning or have chosen not to have children, they may opt for tubal ligation, which is a permanent way to prevent pregnancy.
It’s important that you fully understand the advantages and disadvantages of each birth control method beforehand. This is why it’s so vital to have a gynecologist you can trust to sit down with you and to help you determine the best option for your needs. Call your OBGYN today to schedule an appointment.
Dyspareunia is the technical term for pain during intercourse. It's not uncommon for women to experience painful sexual intercourse at some point in their lives. It may be a sign of a gynecologic problem, a problem with sexual response, or simply a lack of arousal. If you are experiencing pain during sex, work with your OB/GYN to determine the root cause and devise a treatment plan. Read on to learn about treatment options for painful sex.
Painful sex can be treated with lifestyle modifications. There are a few ways to try to alleviate pain during sexual intercourse such as trying a slower pace or using more lubricant. Using lubricants can help make the sex more comfortable; different brands can be tried until you find one that is well suited to your needs, and remember communication is important! Talk to each other about what feels good and what doesn't. If your partner is going too fast, then tell them so.
Treatment options vary depending on the cause of the dyspareunia. Changing medications known to cause lubrication problems might also relieve your pain. For some women, pain during sex is caused by a lack of lubrication resulting from low levels of estrogen. This can be treated with topical estrogen applied to the vagina. Another medication to relieve dyspareunia is prasterone, which is a capsule you place inside the vagina every day.
If you’re looking for a non-invasive way to address painful sex brought on by low estrogen levels, MonaLisa Touch laser therapy is a highly effective long-term solution. Laser therapy eliminates vaginal dryness and helps prevent further complications, including vaginal atrophy. In just three treatment sessions, MonaLisa Touch revitalizes the vaginal mucosa and activates the production of new collagen to help restore normal functional and pain-free sexual intimacy.
Painful sex can lead to relationship problems. It may be worthwhile to speak to a counselor if this is the case. If trauma, sexual abuse, or other emotional issues are the root cause of the dyspareunia, counseling could very well help. Counseling can also help you cope with the emotional consequences of painful intercourse. Couples may attend counseling together if painful sex is leading to communication or intimacy issues.
Painful sex can be treated with desensitization therapy. Pelvic floor exercises and vaginal relaxation exercises may be used in this treatment method as they will strengthen your pelvic muscles and ease your pain during intercourse. Strong pelvic floor muscles can go a long way toward warding off urinary incontinence.
You don’t have to live with sexual pain. Find an OB/GYN in your area and schedule a consultation today. Get your life back on track by receiving the best dyspareunia treatment available. You deserve to live your best life!
Need a colposcopy? If your pap test results are abnormal, your doctor may ask you to have a colposcopy. Colposcopy is an effective and safe procedure. It's important to attend your colposcopy appointment even if you do not have any symptoms. Read to to learn more about colposcopy.
What is colposcopy?
A colposcopy is a simple procedure that lets your healthcare provider get a good look at your cervix. The procedure involves looking at the cervix through a lighted magnifying instrument. It shines a light into the vagina and cervix. This examination allows your doctor to find problems that cannot be seen by the eye alone. The exam takes 5 to 10 minutes. Sometimes the exam may need to be performed more than once.
Why is colposcopy done?
The procedure is done in a doctor's office. Colposcopy is performed when results of pap smear tests show abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix. The exam provides more information about the abnormal cells. Colposcopy is also used to further assess other problems, including pain, genital warts on the cervix, bleeding, cervicitis, and benign growths.
How is the procedure done?
During the procedure, you will lie on your back with your feet raised and placed on footrests. Your doctor will use a medical tool to hold apart the walls so the inside of the vagina and cervix can be viewed. The lighted magnifying instrument placed outside the opening of your vagina. A mild solution will be applied to your vagina and cervix. This solution makes abnormal areas on the cervix easy to see.
When is a biopsy done?
Sometimes, a biopsy is done during a colposcopy. During colposcopy, your healthcare provider may see abnormal areas. A biopsy of these areas may be done. During a biopsy, a small piece of tissue is removed from the patient's cervix. The sample is removed with a special device. Sometimes, the biopsy is also your treatment. That's because your healthcare provider may be able to remove all of the abnormal cervical cells during the biopsy. If so, you will not need further treatment.
What is recovery like?
If a biopsy is not done during the colposcopy, you should feel fine afterwards. You may have a little spotting for a few days. If you a biopsy is done, you may have pain for one or two days. You may have some bleeding. You may also have some discharge from your vagina. While your cervix heals, you will be told not to put anything into your vagina for a short time. Test results from the exam can take some time to be returned, but rest assured that your doctor will call as soon as the results are in.
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