Getting older means overcoming many different obstacles as your life and your body change. But you must deal with one that is uniquely female: menopause and the symptoms that come with it. You know the symptoms commonly associated with menopause—hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, difficulty sleeping, vaginal dryness—but did you know that they are treatable and that menopause doesn’t have to be insurmountable?
If you have moderate to severe symptoms, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is an effective treatment for hot flashes and can also help elevate vaginal dryness and mood issues. It has traditionally been administered with pills like birth control, but also like birth control it can now be taken through patches, creams, gels, and vaginal rings. If you have not had a hysterectomy, you could be prescribed estrogen and progesterone, called combination HRT. If you have had a hysterectomy, estrogen alone would be prescribed.
Not all women are candidates for HRT. Those who have breast or uterine cancer, blood clots, heart or liver disease, or have had a stroke would be better candidates for the following options.
Vaginal estrogen is a lower dose of estrogen that comes as a cream, tablet, or ring and is placed in the vagina to treat vaginal dryness if you don’t have hot flashes. Vaginal lubricants and moisturizers are non-prescription options to treat dryness as well. Lubricants can help decrease friction and ease intercourse, but be sure to only use water-soluble products designed for the vagina to avoid irritating tender tissue. Moisturizers can improve or maintain vaginal moisture if you have mild vaginal atrophy and can also keep your pH level low, ensuring a healthy vaginal environment. They can also be used regularly with longer-lasting effects than lubricants.
Prescription antidepressant medications are often used to treat mood problems, like depression, with relatively few side effects. They have also been used to treat hot flashes. However, if you are having mood issues, be sure to talk with your doctor to identify the cause and decide on the best treatment.
You’d be surprised how far simple lifestyle changes, like eating a healthy diet and regularly exercising, can go in minimizing menopause symptoms. Wearing light-weight pajamas, using layered bedding that can easily be removed, and using a fan in your bedroom can help with night sweats while keeping a regular sleep schedule and nighttime routine can make falling asleep and staying asleep easier.
The onset of menopause is a big change, and dealing with its symptoms can be daunting. But you don’t have to take on this new phase in your life alone. No matter if you are suffering severe symptoms or you just have some questions of what to expect as you get older, our office is here to help. Call to schedule your appointment today.
OBGYNS recommend that women come in for a postpartum visit approximately 6 weeks after giving birth. Unfortunately, medical reports state that the percentage of women that actually go to these appointments is staggeringly low. Of course, while a woman’s primary focus might be to care for their little one, it’s also important that women are getting the proper care they need to tackle their new role as a mother.
Any woman who has just given birth can tell you just how much pregnancy changes your body. Perhaps it changed it in ways you didn’t even imagine. So it goes without saying that those nine months of changes means that it’s going to take time for your body to bounce back to the way it was pre-baby. If you had a vaginal delivery it’s normal to experience vaginal discharge, urination problems, hemorrhoids, mood swings, hair loss, contractions, and vaginal soreness.
It’s important that you have an OBGYN that you trust to answer your questions and provide you with advice and help when you need it. An OBGYN can also be a wonderful source of emotional and mental support, which can be invaluable for a new mother.
One issue that’s often discussed during the postpartum phase is mood swings. Some women experience the “postpartum blues”, which only lasts a few weeks; however, postpartum depression is characterized by intense feelings of sadness and anxiety that can last up to one year. As you might imagine, postpartum depression can have a profound impact on a woman’s outlook and mood, making it particularly challenging when she has a new baby to take care of. An OBGYN can help provide you with the care you need and, if necessary, offer a referral for a mental health professional that can truly listen to your needs and help you on the road to healing.
Furthermore, if a mother has been diagnosed with a chronic medical condition like diabetes, hypertension, thyroid disorders, or mood disorders prior to pregnancy it’s also important that she has a follow-up visit with her gynecologist after the baby is born to ensure that she is still receiving ongoing maintenance and care for these long-term health problems to keep them in check.
It’s important that all women take postpartum care seriously to ensure that they continue to maintain good physical and mental health. Taking the time to care for yourself is important, even though you have a new baby to take care of. Ensuring that your health is in tip-top shape will allow you to spend more time with your beautiful family.
With breast cancer being the most commonly diagnosed cancer in American women it’s now more important than ever to educate women on the importance of getting regular mammograms. While most women won’t need to get them during their early adult years, it’s important to understand why mammograms are necessary, who should be getting them and how often you should get one.
No matter your age, it is important to note that if a lump is detected during a physical breast exam a mammogram should be performed. According to the American Cancer Society, women should get a mammogram once a year starting around the age of 40. This doesn’t include the self-exams you should be performing on yourself once a month to check for lumps. Women 55 years old or older should get a mammogram every two years.
Of course, if breast cancer runs in your family then you may need to get a mammogram earlier. It’s important that you talk to your gynecologist right away about your family history in order to determine whether or not you should start getting regular mammograms sooner. After all, a mammogram is the best diagnostic tool to be able to detect breast cancer earlier. This simple tool could just end up saving your life.
A mammogram only takes about 20 minutes to complete. A machine will be used to compress the breast for a couple seconds in order to capture the necessary images. While the compression may be uncomfortable it shouldn’t be painful. If you do feel pain it’s important that you let us know. It can take up to 10 days to get results.
A radiologist will look at the images captured during your mammogram and explain findings on a scale from 0 to 6, with 0 meaning that there were no abnormalities and 6 being malignant breast cancer that has already been detected with a biopsy. If there are any suspicious findings, a biopsy may be recommended to test the breast tissue for the presence of cancer cells.
If it’s believed that the findings are benign then a biopsy will not be necessary; however, we may recommend that you come in more regularly for routine mammograms.
Whether you have questions about getting a mammogram or you want to find out if you could benefit from this diagnostic test, call your OBGYN today to learn more. Taking precautions now could protect you in the future.
It’s normal for a lot of pregnant women to experience morning sickness, particularly during the early months of pregnancy. Of course, there are some women who deal with such severe morning sickness that it affects not only their daily lives but also their health. This severe form of morning sickness is known as hyperemesis gravidarum.
While normal bouts of morning sickness can cause nausea and even occasional vomiting during the day (or even at night), if you have hyperemesis gravidarum you will experience severe nausea and vomiting that is so persistent and invasive that it can lead to weight loss, dehydration and even fainting episodes. Women who experience true hyperemesis gravidarum are usually unable to keep food down.
This condition often manifests itself between four and six weeks, but may continue to occur up until the 13-week mark; however, there are some women who still experience symptoms throughout the course of their pregnancy.
Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent this from happening to you. The best thing you can do is visit your obstetrician right away if you suspect that you might have hyperemesis gravidarum. In more severe cases, you may need to be hospitalized. This is often the case if you are severely dehydrated or have low electrolyte levels and are unable to keep food down. When this happens, an IV is administered so that you can get the nutrients and vitamins your body needs.
It’s also important to discuss any medications that you may want to take prior to taking them as they could have some negative effects on you or your baby. Fortunately, there are other non-medicinal ways to reduce hyperemesis gravidarum symptoms. We will provide you with a variety of different options for how to keep your nausea and vomiting under control.
If you are dealing with severe nausea and vomiting during your pregnancy it’s important that you turn to your obstetrician for the care you need. Pregnancy should be an exciting time but we know that you will have questions and concerns along the way. Turn to an OBGYN you can trust to help guide you through this exciting journey.
Are you having difficulty getting pregnant? Does your OBGYN believe that a fallopian tube obstruction could be to blame? If so, then chances are good that you’ll have to undergo a diagnostic test known as selective salpingography to determine the health of the fallopian tubes and to determine if there are any blockages.
Once a month an egg is released from the ovaries during ovulation. Once the egg is released it moves from the ovary through the fallopian tubes; however, if there is a blockage within the fallopian tubes the egg cannot get to the uterus. If there is only a partial blockage, it could lead to an ectopic pregnancy (a serious condition in which the egg is fertilized within the fallopian tubes).
Due to the seriousness of this condition, it’s important that we determine if a blocked fallopian tube is the root cause so that we can treat the problem right away. During a selective salpingography a small catheter is inserted and guided into the entrance of the fallopian tube with help from an X-ray. Once the catheter is at the opening of the tube, a special dye is injected into it.
If there is no blockage, the dye will successfully travel the length of the fallopian tube, but if there is a blockage the gel will be blocked (which your gynecologist will be able to detect on the X-ray machine). In some cases, the obstruction can be opened during this diagnostic procedure; however, it isn’t always possible. Your OBGYN will be able to determine if the obstruction is something that can be treated right now or if this will require a separate procedure.
In many instances, a blockage may be the result of a muscle spasm, which is not considered serious and can easily be treated. Of course, there are other reasons why you may be faced with an obstructed fallopian tube including uterine fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease, chlamydia or endometriosis. Sometimes an obstruction can even occur as a complication of abdominal surgery.
A fallopian tube obstruction doesn’t produce any symptoms so the best way to tell whether this condition is affecting your ability to conceive is to visit your OBGYN for an evaluation right away.
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