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.
Your gynecologist can help you decide which birth control is right for your needs.
There is a lot to consider regarding which birth control option is ideal for you. Do you want a hormonal or non-hormonal option? Are you good with taking a pill every day, or will you forget? It’s important to find a birth control option that fits your lifestyle, and what works well for one woman may not work well for someone else. This is where our OBGYN can help you decide.
First, Decide What’s Most Important to You
It’s important for our patients to vocalize what’s most important regarding the birth control they receive. One woman may be looking for one that also treats acne, while another may be looking for one that can help make their heavy, painful periods more manageable. Your OBGYN will go through your medical history and lifestyle to help you choose the proper birth control based on your preferences and needs.
Know Your Options
An OBGYN can offer you just about every type of birth control imaginable. Here are the most common types of birth control,
Birth control pills
More than 95 percent effective when taken correctly, birth control pills can also improve periods and reduce acne. The cons of birth control pills are that they can increase the risk for blood clots, and they aren’t as effective if you forget a dose or don’t take it at the same time every day.
Intrauterine devices (IUDs)
An excellent option for someone who wants to “set it and forget it,” an IUD is placed in the uterus, where it remains for years. There are hormonal and non-hormonal (copper IUD) options. They are 99 percent effective.
Another option for women who don’t want to take a pill every day, this plastic device is inserted just under the skin of the arm. This is another hormonal birth control option that is highly effective at preventing pregnancy but doesn’t require a vaginal exam or procedure to place it.
Birth Control Shot
Your OBGYN can also offer a birth control shot administered every three months, which is as effective as birth control pills. Some women also report that their periods improve while on the birth control shot. While you won’t have to take a pill every day, you will need to come into your OBGYN’s office every three months.
Birth Control Patch and Ring
The same hormones as the pill, the patch and ring make it easy to place and leave it for three weeks. Then you’ll need to remove it one week out of each month. Like birth control pills, they are 95 percent effective when used correctly.
Ready to discuss your birth control options? If so, an OBGYN is the ideal medical professional to talk to. They can sit down with you to discuss the different options based on your needs and lifestyle.
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.
Find ways to manage a hormone imbalance if this happens to you.
When we think about hormone imbalances, we often think of women. That’s because hormones can fluctuate periodically from puberty to post-menopause, and it’s important to recognize these hormonal imbalances so that you can get the treatment you need to feel your best. After all, hormonal imbalances can make us feel pretty darn miserable, and your OBGYN can help you figure out what hormones are impacted and ways to manage your symptoms.
Warning Signs of a Hormone Imbalance
Dealing with issues but not sure if it’s a hormonal imbalance? Common signs of a hormonal imbalance include,
- Chronic or severe fatigue
- Sleep problems
- Weight gain
- Anxiety and depression
- Mood swings
- Thinning hair or hair loss
- Low sex drive
- Dry skin
- Brain fog
What Can Cause a Hormone Imbalance
There are many factors at play here. Some of the common causes of hormonal imbalances include,
- Gut problems
- Mold exposure
- Poor diet
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Chronic inflammation
Everyone’s body is different, and what causes a hormone imbalance in one person might not be for someone else, so it’s essential to find a doctor who understands your unique biochemistry and what could be triggering your imbalance. An OBGYN is typically the first doctor women talk to about hormone imbalances.
How are hormonal imbalances treated?
There is no quick fix for rebalancing hormones, so it’s important to find a doctor you trust to provide you with long-term strategies and treatment options to see and maintain your results. Hormone imbalances are often treated with,
Simple changes to your daily routine can make a world of difference for hormone rebalancing. These include,
- Regular exercise
- Eating a healthy, unprocessed diet
- Getting more (and better quality) sleep
- Find outlets to manage stress
- Avoid sugar and alcohol
This is a common way to treat certain hormonal imbalances or menopause symptoms. Hormone therapy differs depending on the symptoms you’re experiencing and why you’re experiencing them. Common types of hormone therapy include,
- Vaginal estrogen
- Estrogen therapy
- Hormonal birth control
- Testosterone supplementation or therapy
- Thyroid hormone therapy
- Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy
If you are experiencing hot flashes, poor sleep, or unexplained fatigue, your hormones could be trying to tell you something. Your OBGYN can diagnose your hormone imbalance and provide you with a customized treatment plan to start feeling better, fast.
Discover simple solutions to ease menopause symptoms.
Yes, all women will go through menopause, but what women shouldn’t have to go through are night sweats, weight gain, hair loss, and other unpleasant symptoms that come along with this change in hormones. Menopause is normal, but it doesn’t mean that the problems you’re dealing with are just par for the course! An OBGYN can provide you with helpful strategies to better manage your menopause symptoms.
Signs of Menopause
With the sudden drop in estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, it’s no surprise that this can lead to some rather unpleasant symptoms. While women often enter menopause between 45-and 54 years old, the fact is that many women experience some of these symptoms years before (this is commonly referred to as perimenopause). You may be faced with,
- Night sweats and hot flashes
- Vaginal dryness
- Decreased sexual drive
- Brain fog and memory issues
- Insomnia or poor sleep
- Mood swings
- Brittle nails and hair
- Dry skin
Managing Menopause Symptoms
Every woman has different needs, so your OBGYN will take a personalized approach to health care and provide the right strategies, interventions, and treatment options that work best for you, your health, and your lifestyle. Many women find that they can drastically improve their symptoms through simple lifestyle strategies. Some of these lifestyle changes include,
Focusing on a healthy diet: Your diet can play a critical role in your hormones and health. Eating a diet rich in sugar, salt, additives, and chemicals can wreak havoc on your hormones. Eating an unprocessed, high-fiber whole diet is key to easing symptoms. You may even want to work with a doctor to identify food allergies and sensitivities, which can often make symptoms worse.
Getting regular exercise: Add regular aerobic activity into your daily routine. Even just 30-45 minutes a day is all you need. Incorporate strength training, circuit training and
Cut back on alcohol: Alcohol can undoubtedly make hot flashes and night sweat worse, not to mention that it can also increase your risk for certain cancers, heart problems and other health issues. Alcohol can also make anxiety and depression worse, which might mean it’s time to kick the habit (or, at the very least, cut back).
Get your nightly ZZZs: Sleep is critical to good health, no matter your age; however, your hormone fluctuations may be keeping you up at night or causing you to toss and turn. This is when your OBGYN and you can sit down and point out bad habits that might be making it harder for you to get good sleep (e.g., playing on your phone) and create better sleep habits.
Your OBGYN is going to be instrumental in helping you find ways to balance hormones, whether through replacement therapy, lifestyle changes, or both. If you are experiencing symptoms of hormonal changes and you’re in your 40s, it’s a good time to chat with your OBGYN.
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