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.
Is it time to talk with your OBGYN about your fertility options?
Getting pregnant isn’t always easy. In fact, according to Healthgrades, one in 10 women will have trouble getting pregnant. If you have trouble conceiving, it may be time to turn to your OBGYN to find out the next steps and whether a fertility evaluation could benefit you.
Is It Time To Get Fertility Help?
According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, if a couple hasn’t been successful with getting pregnant after one year of unprotected sex, then it’s time to consult a fertility specialist. Women over age 35 should see a gynecologist after only six months of trying to conceive.
Age isn’t the only factor that should determine just how soon you seek help. If you or your partner have risk factors, experience infertility symptoms or have certain conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or endometriosis, you must see an OBGYN as soon as possible for fertility testing and treatment options.
Women who’ve experienced two miscarriages in a row should also speak with a fertility specialist. While miscarriages are common, repeat miscarriages could mean that there is an underlying problem that your OBYN should.
What Is Involved in a Fertility Evaluation?
Unless you or your partner already has a history of infertility, the first person you should talk with about your fertility options is a gynecologist. During your evaluation, your gynecologist will go through your medical history, ask questions about your health and perform a pelvic exam to check the health of the ovaries and cervix. Separately, your partner may need to undergo semen analysis to check sperm count and motility.
Your OBGYN will run basic fertility tests such as hormone testing, which involve a simple blood test to check hormone levels (e.g., follicle-stimulating hormone). This is also the best way to determine whether or not an individual is ovulating.
If there are no issues with ovulation, a special x-ray known as a hysterosalpingogram may be used to check the structure and function of the fallopian tubes and uterus. This can check for abnormalities or blockages impacting your ability to conceive. Once these tests have been performed, your OBGYN will discuss the results and determine if additional testing is needed. Once you understand what’s causing your fertility issues, your OBGYN can also provide you with treatment options to address the underlying cause of your infertility.
Are you having trouble conceiving? If so, a fertility evaluation with your gynecologist can provide the answers and fertility treatment options you’re looking for.
There are many forms of contraception out there. It’s important to know your options.
All you have to do is go online, and you’ll soon discover many contraception options, perhaps even more than you even realized. Whether this is your first time considering contraception or you aren’t completely satisfied with the contraceptive method you are currently using, your OBGYN can provide birth control counseling to make a more informed decision regarding your sexual health.
What Types of Contraception Are Available?
Here are the different types of contraceptives available to you through your OBGYN,
- Hormonal birth control includes pills, patches, a vaginal ring, an injection or even an implant.
- Intrauterine device (IUD), which can be hormonal or non-hormonal (copper)
- Barrier methods such as diaphragms, condoms and sponges
- Natural methods such as abstinence
While all of these can be effective in preventing pregnancy, remember that only a condom can prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
What Contraception is Right for Me?
There are lots of factors to consider when it comes to choosing contraception. Sitting down with your gynecologist to discuss what you’re looking for in your birth control will give your doctor an idea of which approach will be best.
For example, if you don’t think you’ll remember to take your medication every day at the same time, birth control pills might not be the best approach, but a vaginal ring, patch, injection or even an IUD may be a better option. An IUD may be an ideal option for women who want little hassle when it comes to contraception and aren't planning to become pregnant for several years.
The IUD is inserted into the vagina, where it will remain for several years (about 3-6 months for hormonal IUDs and up to 12 years for non-hormonal IUDs). An IUD comes in a hormonal and non-hormonal form, so even those who experience adverse side effects from hormonal birth control can still consider an IUD.
Another factor to consider is your tolerance to birth control medication. We know that some women experience adverse effects regarding hormonal contraception. If you are someone who has been having difficulty finding birth control that’s right for you, know there are several non-hormonal options out there, and your OBGYN can help you choose the one that’s right for you and your health.
Choosing the right contraception isn’t always easy. Fortunately, your OBGYN can sit down with you to discuss your options and help you choose the perfect one for you and your lifestyle.
Are you currently looking for an OBGYN? We know how crucial an OBGYN can be to a woman’s health and nothing is more important than finding an OBGYN that you trust to provide you with personal, gentle and customized care. Here’s why all women should have an OBGYN,
Preventive care isn’t just for your annual primary care visit. An OBGYN also provides preventive care to women of all ages, from puberty to postmenopausal. Preventive care ensures that you take all the necessary precautions and make healthy choices to support your overall health. Annual gynecological exams are one of the best preventive measures every woman should get to protect against and catch diseases early.
The next time you or your teen comes into the office for an annual gynecological exam, this is the perfect time to talk to us about the HPV vaccine. HPV is a widespread sexually transmitted illness (STI) that can increase the risk for cervical cancer. That’s why everyone who is sexually active or planning to become sexually active should get this vaccine. Children as young as 11 to 12 years old can get the HPV vaccine.
Discuss Birth Control
There are so many birth control options on the market these days that it can be challenging to know which one is best suited to your needs. That’s where an OBGYN comes in. Since they know you, your lifestyle and your health, they can provide recommendations on the best birth control options for you and help you make an informed decision about your family planning needs.
If you are sexually active, it’s essential that you practice safe sex. Regular STI testing can provide you and your partner peace of mind. Since many STIs don’t present with symptoms, it’s a good idea to get tested so you know your status. Talk with your OBGYN about whether you should get tested and how often you should.
Most moms-to-be are so focused on a healthy pregnancy and delivery that many can’t even focus on post-pregnancy healthy until they are in the thick of it. Unfortunately, the fourth trimester can profoundly impact a woman’s health and mental wellbeing. An OBGYN that can provide advice and support to guide you through this process can be invaluable.
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