Posts for category: Conditions
Zika virus has certainly gotten a lot of attention in the news lately. If you’ve been traveling recently then no doubt you’ve also seen the warning signs in the security lines. Despite the headlines in newspaper, websites and the news, perhaps you still aren’t entirely sure what Zika virus is and what it could mean for your pregnancy.
The Zika virus is contracted by a mosquito bite, but it can also be sexually transmitted or transmitted from a mother to her unborn baby. This condition can cause symptoms such as a rash, pink eye, muscle aches, low-grade fever, fatigue, and headaches. The symptoms can last a couple days or up to one week. While the symptoms are usually mild and self-limiting, this virus can be dangerous for pregnant women. If a woman contracts the Zika virus during pregnancy it can lead to brain deformities such as microcephaly, neurological disorders (e.g. seizures), vision and hearing impairments, and developmental problems in the unborn child.
Of course, your risk of contracting the Zika virus in the US is very low; however, if you are planning to travel internationally and you are pregnant, you will want to check to make sure that the Zika virus cannot be contracted in these regions in which you are visiting.
The best way to protect yourself from Zika virus is to not travel to regions in which you can contract this infection or to avoid sex with anyone who has traveled to these regions (or, at the very least, use a condom everytime you have sex). Of course, if you must travel to these areas while pregnant, there are some precautions that you can take to prevent mosquito bites including,
- Wearing long sleeves and pants
- Applying and reapplying insect repellant often
- Making sure that there are screens on door or windows in the place you are staying
If you start to come down with symptoms of Zika virus then you will want to see a doctor right away. Women who are pregnant who have to travel to these regions should talk to their doctor about regular testing.
The Zika virus can remain within the body for up to six months. Of course, once the Zika virus has gone away, this should not affect any future pregnancies you might have. If you are frequently traveling and you are pregnant, chances are good that you may have questions about Zika virus and protecting both yourself and your unborn child. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a pediatrician if you have any concerns.
Have you been diagnosed with cervicitis? If so, chances are pretty good that you have questions about this condition. This condition, which causes inflammation of the cervix, is surprisingly common. There are many reasons why someone might develop cervicitis:
- A sexually transmitted disease (e.g. gonorrhea; genital herpes)
- Allergies (e.g. latex)
- Injury to the cervix
- Irritation (e.g. from diaphragm)
- A bacterial or hormonal imbalance
- Cancer (Rare)
Some women may have cervicitis but never even know that they have it. Some women with cervicitis may experience abdominal pain, yellow or gray discharge, vaginal itching and bleeding, painful urination or pain during sex.
What puts you at risk for cervicitis? While any woman can develop this condition you are more at risk for developing this inflammatory problem if you have multiple sexual partners, have sex without a condom or if you’ve had cervicitis in the past.
A simple swab test of the cervix is often all that’s needed to diagnose this problem. If you’ve been diagnosed with cervicitis, or if you suspect that you might have it, this is something that needs to be treated right away. Cervicitis can actually spread to other areas such as the fallopian tubes or uterus.
Cervicitis will often get worse if left untreated and can lead to other more serious complications such as infertility and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). If you are pregnant, this condition could also put your unborn baby at risk. This is why it’s so important that you visit your OBGYN if you notice any symptoms or changes in your vaginal health that have you concerned.
Luckily, cervicitis can easily be treated with antibiotics such as doxycycline or azithromycin. Before medication is prescribed your OBGYN will also test for any sexually transmitted infections that may be causing this infection. If a sexually transmitted disease is also detected then we will need to treat that infection accordingly with further medication.
If you are pregnant, doxycycline will not be prescribed. In this situation, you will most likely be prescribed azithromycin or a cephalosporin. Again, the medicine your gynecologist decides to prescribe will be based on the cause of your cervicitis.
If in doubt, turn to your OBGYN to address all of your questions and concerns regarding cervicitis or the symptoms you are experiencing.
Worried that you may have PCOS? Find out more about this condition and what we can do to help.
Do you notice that you have irregular menstrual cycles? Do you sometimes skip your periods altogether? You could be dealing with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a condition in which estrogen and progesterone levels are off kilter and can lead to to ovarian cysts. Find out more about this condition and how your OBGYN can help.
What causes PCOS?
Unfortunately, no one really knows what causes this condition, but it is believed that genetics and hormonal imbalances have some responsibility in who develops PCOS and who doesn’t. If your mother or immediate family member has this condition, you are also more likely to develop PCOS.
Women with PCOS also tend to have an overproduction of androgen, a male sex hormone. Androgen can affect how an egg develops or is released each month.
What are some telltale signs that I have PCOS?
Many women will start to notice that something is amiss one they start menstruating. Of course symptoms varies from woman to woman, but many people with PCOS notice that they have irregular menstrual cycles.
With the imbalance of hormones, some women may start developing more masculine characteristics such as:
- Excess hair on the face, chest, fingers or toes
- Thin hair
- Deeper voice
Besides these symptoms women with PCOS may also experience:
- Weight gain (usually caused by other chronic health problems like diabetes)
- Abdominal pain
How will a PCOS specialist treat my condition?
While there is no cure for PCOS, there are certainly ways to manage your symptoms. Your treatment plan will be tailored to what symptoms you are experiencing. Of course, a healthy diet and regular exercise are recommended for everyone who has been diagnosed with this condition.
Birth control pills may also be prescribed to help regulate hormones and your menstrual cycle, and they sometimes have the added bonus of improving your acne. For women with PCOS who are looking to get pregnant, fertility treatments may be recommended to help assist in successful ovulation.
If you are concerned that you may have PCOS, or if you are having issues with irregular periods, it’s time you talked to your gynecologist.