Posts for category: OBGYN Care
A woman’s reproductive health requires special care, and that’s what an obstetrics and gynecology doctor does. These specialists, commonly known as OBGYN doctors, can help protect you from breast cancer, cervical cancer, and other serious conditions affecting the reproductive system.
One of the most important services your OBGYN provides is the annual wellness exam. This exam, performed every year, includes:
- An examination of your pelvic area
- An examination of your reproductive system
- A pap smear to check for signs of cervical cancer
- An examination of your breasts to check for lumps and early signs of breast cancer
Your OBGYN may recommend further testing, which can include:
- Blood tests and other lab work
- A mammogram or breast MRI
- An ultrasound or other imaging studies
A woman should have her first annual wellness visit when she begins menstruating, and these wellness visits should continue every year after that. Visits to the OBGYN may be more frequent if you are:
- Sexually active
- Going through menopause
- Experiencing signs or symptoms of disease
You should visit your OBGYN as soon as you can if you:
- Notice a gray, yellow, or green, discharge from your vagina
- Experience pelvic or abdominal cramping that doesn’t go away
- Feel a lump in one or both of your breasts
- Have breast tenderness that doesn’t go away
Your OBGYN doctor provides many more important services in addition to annual wellness exams. These are some of the other popular services your OBGYN provides:
- Birth control options
- Pregnancy counseling
- Prenatal care
- Birth and delivery
- Treatment of sexually transmitted diseases
If you are premenopausal or going through menopause, your OBGYN can help with that by providing relief from hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain, thinning bones, skin, and hair, and night sweats. For menopause, your OBGYN may recommend:
- Medication to limit mood swings
- Medication to keep your bones strong
- Hormone replacement therapy to balance your hormone levels
- Lifestyle and exercise modification to help you maintain a healthy weight
Your OBGYN can do a lot to help you stay healthy, and it all begins with an annual wellness exam. Protect your health by calling your OBGYN today.
Do you double over in pain at the start of your period?
While cramps are a part of menstruation, what if we told you that going through bad cramps and pain isn’t normal? If you find yourself taking time off work because your cramps get so bad, or if you find that you’re unable to enjoy sex due to pain, these could be signs of endometriosis.
What Is Endometriosis?
This chronic condition causes endometrial tissue to develop outside the uterus, leading to pain, scarring, infertility and inflammation. About one in ten women of childbearing age will develop endometriosis. Unfortunately, many women experience debilitating menstrual or abdominal pain for years before seeking help from a qualified OBGYN. This means it can be years before someone gets a proper diagnosis.
What Are the Causes?
Unfortunately, doctors are entirely sure what causes endometriosis; however, some doctors believe that when tissue is shed during menstruation, it passes through the fallopian tube and into the abdomen, where it attaches to other reproductive organs and tissue. This is sometimes referred to as reverse or retrograde menstruation.
What Are the Symptoms?
Symptoms vary from person to person. Endometriosis may cause,
- Intense or severe menstrual cramps
- Painful sex
- Pain with bowel movements or urination
- Pelvic pain
How Is Endometriosis Treated?
It’s essential to turn to your OBGYN if you are experiencing symptoms of endometriosis, as untreated endometriosis can get worse over time and lead to infertility. Common treatment options for endometriosis may include,
- Hormone therapy: this most often includes oral contraception, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), and progestin or progesterone medication
- Pain medication: this may include over-the-counter anti-inflammatories or prescription-strength pain relievers
- Surgical treatments: If medication isn’t providing relief or your symptoms are severe, your OBGYN may recommend laparoscopic surgery to remove excess tissue and adhesions.
- Fertility treatment: If endometriosis has affected fertility and surgery has not improved your chances of getting pregnant, then your OBGYN may discuss other fertility treatment options, such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF).
If you are dealing with painful periods, it may be time to sit down with your OBGYN to discuss your symptoms and determine if you might have endometriosis.
Dealing with abnormal or unusual bleeding
If you notice that your period has changed dramatically from one month to the next, your period has stopped, or you’re bleeding between cycles, we understand that you may be concerned (and rightfully so). Since irregular bleeding can be a sign of an underlying problem, it’s important that you turn to an OBGYN if you notice irregular bleeding.
What Causes Irregular Bleeding?
Some of the most common causes of irregular bleeding include,
- Birth control pills
- Intrauterine device (IUD)
- Hormonal imbalances
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Complications related to pregnancy (e.g., ectopic pregnancy)
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Premature ovarian insufficiency
What Is Bleeding Considered Irregular or Abnormal?
Since women are usually pretty familiar with their cycles, they know how heavy they get, when they should arrive and how long they typically last. While this can fluctuate a bit if you notice any significant changes, this could be considered an irregular bleed. Here’s when bleeding is considered irregular,
- Your period lasts more than seven days
- Your period is incredibly heavy (you have to change a tampon or pad every hour)
- Your period is barely there, light or disappears
- Your periods stop showing up
- You notice bleeding between periods
- You experience bleeding, and you are post-menopausal
- You experience severe pain, cramping or vomiting with your periods
- Your cycle is longer than 35 days or less than 21 days
When Should I See a Gynecologist?
If you stop having a period or have two periods in a month, it’s time to turn to your OBGYN to find out what’s going on. If you find yourself experiencing lightheadedness, dizziness or fainting upon standing, this should also be evaluated by a medical professional. If bleeding occurs during pregnancy or after menopause, you should also see your OBGYN as soon as possible to find out what’s happening.
You should also turn to your OBYGN if,
- You experience bleeding after sex
- You develop very heavy bleeding
- You notice any abnormal vaginal discharge along with bleeding
- Your bleeding is accompanied by severe abdominal pain
Don’t ignore your symptoms. If you develop any of these problems, an OBGYN can provide you with the information, diagnosis, support and treatment needed to control abnormal bleeding.
Every woman can benefit from visiting their OBGYN once a year.
Preventive medical care is the most effective way to protect our patients from developing various illnesses or issues. Furthermore, regular preventive care means that your OBGYN can detect problems early on when they are easier to treat. If it’s your first time visiting your gynecologist for care, you may wonder what to expect and why these visits are crucial for all women. Here’s what you should know,
When should a woman start visiting a gynecologist?
A young woman’s first visit to the gynecologist will begin between 11 and 18 years old. While some girls may choose to turn to their pediatrician, reproductive concerns and issues are often best addressed by a gynecologist who specializes in woman’s reproductive health. Other reasons a young woman should turn to a gynecologist include,
- Delayed puberty
- Menstrual cycle problems (e.g., heavy or painful periods)
- Contraceptive needs
- Sexual health questions or concerns
The first gynecological visit is a chance for you and your doctor to establish rapport and trust with one another to rest assured that you’re getting the highest quality care possible. During the first visit, a physical examination may not even be necessary. A gynecologist will spend most of the first visit talking with their young patient and answering any questions they may have about their developing body, sexuality, and menstruation. A gynecologist can provide helpful advice and insight. A pelvic exam is not typically part of this appointment unless the patient is sexually active. Otherwise, the first pelvic exam will naturally occur at age 21.
What happens during a routine gynecological visit?
Several things will occur during your annual well-woman visit, including,
- Going through your medical history
- Discussing issues you may be experiencing
- Performing a physical exam, which includes an internal pelvic exam (this exam looks for inflammation, pain, and other problems that could impact a woman’s reproductive organs)
- Performing a pap smear to check for pre-cancer or cancerous cells in the cervix
Why are these wellness checks with a gynecologist important?
These annual visits are essential for all women because it is the best way to protect against many reproductive issues, some of which could be life-threatening. Furthermore, these visits also allow your gynecologist to detect problems early on when they are treatable or even reversible. During your checkup, your gynecologist will screen for,
- Bladder disease
- Bone disease
- Sexually transmitted disease
- Breast, uterine and cervical cancer
A gynecologist can also provide women with contraception and educate them on safe-sex practices and answer any questions they may have about their reproductive health.
When should you turn to a gynecologist for care?
A gynecologist is an important medical professional for all women to have. While the pandemic has certainly put a halt to how regularly we see certain doctors, particularly gynecologists, it’s important that women aren’t putting off these important wellness checks with their gynecologists.
When and how often does a teenager need to visit a gynecologist?
Your age and your health are two of the biggest determining factors as to just how often you should see a gynecologist for checkups. Most girls should visit the gynecologist for the first time between the ages of 13-15 years old. This visit is important as it acknowledges that girls have a doctor they can specifically turn to for their reproductive concerns and needs. Rest assured, that most girls will not need a pelvic exam during their first visit.
After this initial exam, a young girl may not need to come back in for another exam for years. This is something to discuss with your daughter’s gynecologist to see when they need to come back in for another preventive checkup. They may also need to come in for an evaluation if they are dealing with irregular menstrual cycles, serious period-related pains or would like to discuss birth control options.
How often do women need to visit a gynecologist?
Most women don’t see their gynecologist as often as they should unless they are dealing with issues or looking to become pregnant; however, these routine checkups are just as important as visiting your regular doctor for an annual wellness check or seeing your dentist twice a year for cleanings. Women over 21 years old should visit their OBGYN once a year for an annual exam, which includes a pelvic and breast exam. Pap tests are performed every 3-5 years depending on your history. Women with HPV will need to come in more regularly for pap tests.
What are some other reasons to visit a gynecologist?
A gynecologist can be invaluable to women of all ages, so it’s important that you have a gynecologist that you can turn to. You should also schedule an appointment with a gynecologist if,
- You’re interested in contraception and want to talk about options
- You’re having menstrual issues (this can be everything from irregular periods to heavy, painful periods)
- You’re experiencing symptoms of an STD
- You are planning to become pregnant or think you might be pregnant
- You’re experiencing distressing symptoms of menopause
If you are experiencing spotting, a missed period or other issues that have you concerned, a gynecologist should be the first doctor you turn to. If it’s also been more than a year since your last checkup, it’s important that you don’t put off this appointment any longer.