When it comes to preventing pregnancy, there are many options available today. Common birth control methods for women include oral contraceptives, intrauterine devices and Depo-Provera injections. However, contraception isn’t one size fits all and, depending on your personal situation and family planning objectives, one birth control method might be better for you than another. Your OBGYN can help you decide which type of contraception is best for you.
Types of Contraception
Oral contraceptives, otherwise known as birth control pills, are a popular contraception choice among women of different ages. Many women prefer birth control pills because they are easy to use, as simple as taking one pill daily. Birth control pills also help regulate the menstrual cycle and can ease menstrual camps, both advantages appreciated by many women on the pill. Another advantage of birth control pills is that their effects are easily reversed when you are ready to try conceiving.
Birth control pills are a convenient option for many women. However, they are not a good fit for women who have or have had certain types of hormone positive cancers. Most birth control pills contain estrogen, progestin or both and are not suitable for women unable to use hormone treatments or therapies. This is particularly true for women who must avoid estrogen-based therapies.
Depo-Provera is another popular type of contraception. Depo-Provera is an injection that is administered every three months by a nurse or other healthcare professional. For women who worry about forgetting to take oral contraceptives daily, a tai-monthly injection like Depo-Provera offers a convenient and practical alternative. Injections like Depo-Provera typically contain the hormone progestin, but not estrogen, so it can be an option for women who avoiding contraception methods with estrogen.
A third type of contraception is the intrauterine device. This option is popular among women who do not want to worry about their contraception daily or even every few months and who do not plan on becoming pregnant for several years. The intrauterine device is placed in the uterus by your doctor and remains in place for anywhere from three to five years, during which time pregnancy is prevented. The device can only be removed by your doctor.
The different types of contraception available to women each has its own advantages and benefits. Discuss your needs and preferences with your gynecologist or OGBYN. Your doctor can help you choose the method of contraception that is right for you and your situation.
Osteoporosis weakens your bones and can cause them to break easily. The condition is particularly common in older people. In fact, more than 53 million people in the U.S. either have the disease or at high risk for developing it, according to the NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center.
How does osteoporosis affect bones?
If you have osteoporosis, your bones gradually become less dense and more porous. You may also experience thinning in the outside edges of the long bones in your body. Because of these changes, it's very easy to break a bone if you fall, even if you don't fall very hard. Osteoporosis affects both sexes but is more common in women. If you're female, you're more likely to be affected by the disease because:
- Women's bones are generally smaller and thinner than men's.
- Estrogen, a hormone that helps protect bones, decreases at menopause.
- Women tend to live longer than men. The longer you live, the more likely you'll develop osteoporosis-related problems.
What are the symptoms of osteoporosis?
In the early stages of the disease, you probably won't notice any changes. Symptoms generally don't occur unless your bones have weakened considerably. If you have osteoporosis, you may notice:
- You are shorter than you once were.
- Your posture has changed, and it's hard to stand perfectly upright without stooping.
- You have back pain due to compression fractures in your vertebrae.
- Your bones break easily.
- Dental X-rays show that you've lost bone in your jaw.
How is osteoporosis treated?
Although your bones will never be as strong or as dense as they were when you were younger, treatment is available to strengthen your bones and prevent breaks. Your doctor can prescribe medication that will slow the rate of bone break down and reduce your risk of fractures. In addition to taking medication, it's important to participate in weight-bearing activity and exercises that strengthen your bones and help improve your balance. Eating a diet high in calcium and taking supplements that contain calcium and vitamin D can also help protect your bones.
If you're concerned that you may have osteoporosis, talk to your OB/GYN about your risk factors and symptoms. Prompt treatment is the key to preventing the potentially serious consequences of this disease.
Getting a pelvic exam can be nerve-wracking, especially if this is your first visit, but knowing what to expect when you step foot in our office can help take away some of the anxiety. If you are feeling a bit nervous, don’t worry. We are here to provide you with all the information you could ever need regarding your next pelvic exam.
What is a Pelvic Exam?
A pelvic exam is a normal part of a woman’s routine gynecological exam. During the pelvic exam, a gynecologist will examine the reproductive organs to check for any potential signs of infection or other potential issues. Sometimes a Pap smear is also performed during your visit. During a Pap smear, we will remove some cells from the cervix to check for any cancerous or precancerous cells. Early detection is important, as it often makes treating health conditions much easier.
Besides a pelvic exam sometimes your gynecological visit may include:
- A discussion about your medical history
- A breast exam
- STD testing
Who Should Get a Pelvic Exam?
Unless you are facing a health issue, most women can start getting a pelvic and breast exam by the age of 21. Even before a pelvic exam, it’s recommended that women get annual gynecological visits. Especially during a time where a young woman’s body is changing so drastically it’s sometimes helpful to have a doctor to turn to for questions about birth control, bodily changes, sexual health, etc.
When you come in for your first exam we will also tell you how often you should come in for care. A lot will depend on your medical history. If you’ve had abnormal Pap smear results, past sexual health problems, a family history of gynecological cancers or a sexually transmitted disease then you may need to come in more regularly.
For the sake of your health, getting a pelvic and breast exam should at least be an annual visit that you don’t miss. These visits are vitally important for your health and it's truly the best way to detect any health issues as early as possible.
If your OBGYN has recommended that you get a sonohysterogram done find out more about this procedure and what to expect.
Are you dealing with abnormal between-cycle bleeding, infertility or repeated miscarriages? While ultrasounds are often the first diagnostic test performed, if an ultrasound has come back normal and you’re still experiencing symptoms, then a gynecologist may recommend getting a sonohysterogram.
What can a sonohysterogram detect?
This procedure still uses an ultrasound to examine the inside of the uterus, but instead of just an ultrasound a saline solution is administered in the uterus beforehand. By injecting this solution inside the uterus we can obtain more details of the uterus that you wouldn’t be able to see with a regular ultrasound alone. A sonohysterogram can often be performed right in your gynecologist’s office and it usually takes about 15 minutes to complete.
When will a sonohysterogram be performed?
For obvious reasons this procedure will be performed when you don’t have your menstrual cycle, since bleeding could make it more difficult to see the uterus. This test isn’t performed on women who are pregnant or could be pregnant, as well as women with pelvic infections.
What should I expect from my procedure?
During the first portion of your treatment we will perform a regular transvaginal ultrasound. Then the solution will be injected into the uterus, and the ultrasound will be performed again.
After your procedure it is normal to experience some slight cramping and spotting, but most women are able to return to their normal activities the very same day as their procedure. But if you are having any symptoms that are concerning, you need to call your OBGYN.
If you are dealing with unusual uterine bleeding or having fertility issues, it’s certainly time to talk to a OBGYN specialist who can help provide you with the answers you need.
Find out why visiting your OBGYN every year is crucial to your health.
We all lead busy lives. Between picking kids up from school, juggling work and the family schedule and putting food on the table, it’s no wonder that it might be challenging to schedule your next haircut let alone a doctor’s appointment. But if you aren’t keeping up with your annual gynecological visit find out why you should make this a top priority.
The long and short of it is that these annual gynecological exams can save lives. Sure, they aren’t the most comfortable exams, but they could protect you from breast, cervical and ovarian cancer. Most of these cancers don’t display outward symptoms right away, so the only way to actually detect them is through these annual exams.
By avoiding these yearly exams you run the risk of infections, undiagnosed health conditions and even unintentional pregnancies. By coming in to see your OBGYN every year you can reduce your risk.
When should women start getting annual evaluations?
By the time a woman reaches 21 years old they should start coming in yearly for these exams. Of course, if a woman becomes sexually active at an earlier age, she should start coming in sooner.
Why are some other reasons why I should visit my gynecologist?
Beside the obvious health benefits there are so many other things that your gynecologist can do for you and your health. We can discuss menstrual issues, determine the cause of your abdominal pain and discuss different birth control options.
What do annual exams involve?
When you come into the office, you can expect that we will discuss your medical history before we perform a routine physical exam. We want to find out as much about your family history, past hospitalizations and health problems, as well as any symptoms you may be experiencing.
Then we will perform a physical exam to check the health of your uterus and ovaries. A Pap smear may also be performed (about every three years), in which we collect a few cells from the cervix to check for the presence of cancerous cells. This test is the best way to detect cervical cancer early on when it’s much easier to treat.
As you can see, visiting your gynecologist once a year is vital to good health. Preventive care is the best way to detect issues early on when they are much easier to treat. These visits will provide you with the care and piece of mind you need to continue leading a healthy life.
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