GYNECOLOGICAL HEALTH CONDITIONS
Abnormal PAP Smears/HPV
A pap smear is a screening test to detect cancerous cells in the cervix. Positive findings result in the pap smear being referred as abnormal. Women are recommended to get annual pap smears to aid in the early detection of cervical cancer.
HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) is a very common infection that is passed person to person. Some types of HPV cause cells on or around the cervix to become abnormal. In some cases, these cells may progress to precancer. A pap test is the best way to detect these cell changes.
Menopause Management & Vaginal Health
Beginning in the early 30's, the levels of estrogen and progesterone produced by a woman’s ovaries start to decline. When the supply of eggs is finally exhausted, ovulation stops. The levels of estrogen and progesterone eventually drop so low that menstruation stops. A woman knows she has passed menopause when she has no periods for 12 months.
The lack of estrogen can bring on symptoms such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness. It can also increase the risk of osteoporosis (bone loss). Because of this, women may choose to take hormone replacement therapy to restore estrogen after menopause.
Before making a decision about HRT, talk to your doctor about what may work best for you, considering your personal needs and family and medical history.
Women who suffer from symptoms related to menopause (including surgically induced) and women who have had breast cancer now have another option to help restore vaginal health. The MonaLisa Touch® (www.cynosure.com/product/monalisa-touch/) CO2 laser treatment promotes vaginal mucosal revitalization. Talk to your provider about this procedure if you have vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, vaginal irritation or mild urinary incontinence.
Ovarian cysts are very common in women during reproductive years. Although most cysts at this time are harmless, your doctor will want to keep track of the growth of any cyst to be sure that it does not persist or cause symptoms. Your doctor will work with you to monitor its progress and determine the best course of treatment.
Infertility is generally defined as not being able to get pregnant after at least one year of actively trying.
Most healthy women shouldn't worry about infertility unless they've been trying to get pregnant for at least a year. At this point, women should talk to their doctors about a fertility workup.
Some health issues also increase the risk of fertility problems. So women with the following issues should speak to their doctors as soon as possible:
- irregular periods or no menstrual periods
- very painful periods
- pelvic inflammatory disease
- more than one miscarriage
No matter how old you are, it's always a good idea to talk to a doctor before you start trying to get pregnant. Doctors can help you prepare your body for a healthy baby. They can also answer questions on fertility and give tips on conceiving.
Endometriosis is a common cause of pelvic pain. Normally, during the menstrual cycle tissue builds up and breaks down within the uterus. In endometriosis, endometrial tissue (tissue from the lining of the uterus) is found outside the uterus. During the menstrual cycle this tissue builds up and breaks down in the same way but there is no way for it to leave the body. These areas bleed internally, causing irritation, inflammation, and scarring.
Women with endometriosis have symptoms ranging from mild to severe, although some women have no symptoms at all. Symptoms can include menstrual cramps, pain during intercourse, low back pain, constipation, pain with bowel movements, and infertility.
Fibroids are benign growths that develop from the cells that make up the muscle of the uterus. The size and location of fibroids can vary greatly. They may appear inside the uterus, on its outer surface, or within its wall.
The two most common symptoms are abnormal uterine bleeding and pelvic pressure. Menstrual periods with fibroids may be very long and very heavy. There may be pressure in the pelvic region from the enlarged uterine size caused by the fibroids. However, many women with fibroids never have any symptoms at all.
If you have uterine fibroids you should be checked by your doctor on a regular basis. Getting regular checkups and being alert to warning signs will help you be aware of changes that may require treatment.
Irregular menstrual periods can result in abnormal uterine bleeding. This bleeding lasts longer than the normal cycle or occurs outside the cycle. Contributing factors may include weight changes, heavy exercise, stress, illness, or side effects of certain medications.
Irregular bleeding is not uncommon the first three months on new hormone therapy (birth control pills, HRT). If you are postmenopausal (no bleeding in one year) and have any menstrual bleeding, please call your physician.
Some medical tests that your physician may also use are endometrial biopsy, ultrasound, hysteroscopy, and/or laparoscopy.
STD Testing and Treatment
Sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) are among the most common infectious diseases. Unfortunately many STD’s have no symptoms, especially in women. Some STDs, especially Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, can spread from the vagina to the uterus and fallopian tubes causing PID- pelvic inflammatory disease. The scarring left by PID can lead to infertility or ectopic pregnancies (a pregnancy outside the uterus which if not terminated early can lead to death.) HPV can cause cervical cancer and other cancers of the genitals. Undiagnosed STDs can be passed from mother to baby before and during delivery. We offer discrete confidential screening for all types of STD’s including HIV, Herpes, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Gonorrhea, and Chlamydia.
Vaginal infections are the most common gynecologic disorder and are usually caused when the normal vaginal flora that are found in the vagina become imbalanced. The key to successful treatment is accurate diagnosis of what is causing the infection. Therefore, before you use any over the counter medication such as a treatment for vaginal yeast infection you should be sure it is the right drug to treat the problem. Using the wrong sort of medication may make the situation worse. If you have any doubt, you should consult your doctor.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a term used to describe the abnormal symptoms many women experience one to two weeks before the beginning of their period. Physical symptoms such as breast tenderness, headaches, bloating, food cravings, accompanied by mood swings and depression, are the classic signs. All PMS symptoms should disappear when menstruation begins.
Pelvic pain can have many different causes. It can be caused by a gynecological condition such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, and pelvic adhesions. It can also be the result of an intestinal, urinary, or muscular problem. It is important to consult your physician if you are experiencing undiagnosed pelvic pain to determine the cause and any following treatment necessary.