More women in the US than ever before have an IUD, or intrauterine device. IUDs have become a popular birth control method for women because of its “set it and forget it” approach. If you’ve been hearing your girlfriend talking about how much they love their IUD it may have you thinking whether or not this is the right option for you. An OBGYN can answer all of your questions and help you make an informed decision about your family planning needs.
Here’s what you should know about getting an IUD and what to expect when you want it removed,
There are different kinds of IUDs
Your gynecologist will discuss the different options during your consultation. There are a variety of different hormonal (progestin-releasing) IUDs on the market; however, if you experience negative effects from hormonal birth control then non-hormonal birth control such as the Paragard (copper) IUD may be the best option for you.
This copper IUD will prevent pregnancy as soon as it’s placed and it can last up to 10 years. The average lifespan of a hormonal IUD is 3-5 years.
The IUD placement procedure is fast
To get an IUD your gynecologist will place a speculum into the vagina where they will then insert the IUD into the opening of your cervix where it will remain in the uterus. The simple procedure is performed right in your gynecologist’s office and it only takes a couple of minutes to place. You may be instructed to take an over-the-counter pain reliever prior to reduce cramping and a local numbing medication may also be applied to the cervix prior to the insertion.
Every woman will respond differently to getting an IUD. Some women may be able to return to work the very same day while others may need to take some time off. It’s best to err on the side of caution and maybe take the day off work so you can manage any symptoms you may have and just take it easy.
The IUD can be removed anytime
If you decide you do want to get pregnant or you no longer need birth control then you will want to discuss this with your gynecologist. The IUD removal process is simple and involves pulling the thread of the device so it collapses and slides right out. It’s important that you don’t try and remove the IUD on your own; it should always be removed by a qualified medical professional.
Have questions about getting an IUD? Want to find out whether this is the best birth control method for you? Then schedule an appointment with your gynecologist today.
Finding out you’re pregnant is one of the most exciting moments for soon-to-be-parents. Throughout the course of your pregnancy you will want to have an OBGYN that you trust to guide you through the process and to provide you with the care and treatment you need to ensure a healthy pregnancy for both you and the baby. You will most likely be offered prenatal genetic testing during the first or second trimester of your pregnancy. If so, it’s important to understand more about genetic testing and why it’s done.
What is prenatal genetic testing?
These genetic tests are conducted during pregnancy to screen for certain birth defects and other fetal conditions. It is recommended that all pregnant women go through certain prenatal genetic testing, regardless of age or other risk factors. Of course, your obstetrician may recommend additional genetic testing if there are certain risk factors present.
What are the different kinds of prenatal genetic tests?
Here are the prenatal genetic tests that your OBGYN may offer or recommend:
First Trimester Screening
This screening involves both an ultrasound and blood test to check for certain birth defects including trisomy 18 (Edward’s syndrome), trisomy 13, neural tube defects and Down syndrome (trisomy 21). Even though these abnormalities increase with the mother’s age, it’s recommended that every pregnant women get this testing. This is usually the first set of prenatal genetic testing you’ll receive after you find out you’re pregnant.
Chorionic Villus Sampling
Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) is a prenatal test that detects genetic disorders, birth defects and other problems that may occur early on in the pregnancy. This procedure is usually performed within the first 10-12 weeks of a woman’s pregnancy at your OBGYN’s office. This testing can be performed as either a transabdominal CVS or transcervical CVS.
Amniocentesis allows your obstetrician to collect amniotic fluid, which can provide important insight into the health of your baby. Amniocentesis can check for fetal infections, can test your baby’s lungs, and check for genetic disorders such as Down syndrome. If amniocentesis is being performed for strictly genetic purposes then this is often performed between 15 to 20 weeks.
There are many reasons a woman or couple may choose to get genetic amniocentesis including advanced maternal age, positive results on other prenatal screenings or unusual ultrasound findings.
Cystic Fibrosis Carrier Screening
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is one of the most common and dangerous genetic disorders. Since cystic fibrosis is inherited a simple blood test can be performed to see if you are a carrier for CF. Testing positive on the carrier test does not necessarily mean that you will have a child with CF.
AFP + Screening
Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) is a blood test that checks the levels of AFP (a protein produced by the baby’s liver) for signs of a birth defect, Down syndrome or neural tube defects. This test is usually offered between 15 and 20 weeks and is most often recommended in pregnant women over 35, as well as women with diabetes.
Your OBGYN is here to make sure that all of your questions and concerns about you and your baby’s health are addressed during your pregnancy, so if you have any questions about genetic testing your doctor would be happy to sit down with you and discuss these testing options.
Every two minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer in the US, making breast cancer one of the most common cancers to affect American women. Your OBGYN believes in the importance of self-breast exams and getting regular checkups, which not only can detect issues early on but also could end up saving your life. Furthermore, by performing regular self-breast exams you get to understand how your breasts should look and feel so that you know right away when something feels amiss.
First and foremost, you should get used to performing a breast exam on yourself once a month. The best time to perform these exams is a few days after your period ends so your breasts will be less sore and swollen. Most breasts will feel lumpy; this should not be a cause for concern (this is completely normal).
If you notice a new lump or you notice any changes in the texture or shape of your breast then you should also make an appointment with your doctor. You should also seek medical attention if you notice soreness, redness, swelling, or dimpling of the skin. Once a year during your annual women’s checkup, your gynecologist will also perform a simple, noninvasive breast exam.
Women between the ages of 45 and 54 should also be getting a routine mammogram once a year along with their annual gynecological visit. Women over 55 years old should still get mammograms but may only need to get one once every other year. Those at an increased risk for developing breast cancer may need to visit their doctor before age 45 and more often for screenings.
Along with performing a breast examination your annual wellness checkup with an OBGYN is extremely important and shouldn’t be missed. While most women associate this annual gynecological exam with Pap smears, the visit involves so much more for your health. From adolescence until older adulthood, all women should visit their gynecologist for an annual examination to help prevent problems and detect issues early on when they are easily treatable.
During your annual checkup a gynecologist can:
- Screen for and help prevent sexually transmitted infections
- Detect and treat vaginal infections
- Determine the cause of pelvic pain and irregular bleeding
- Treat menstrual problems
- Discuss birth control options
- Determine breast changes
Many women will experience problems at some point during their lifetime, whether it’s a simple urinary tract infection, unexplained abdominal pain, or breast cancer. When problems arise it’s important that you have a gynecologist that you trust to provide you with the compassionate, understanding and delicate care you need. If it’s been more than a year since your annual OBGYN checkup, call your gynecologist today.
Before a woman decides to become pregnant she may choose to sit down and discuss her family planning goals with her OBGYN. This is known as preconception counseling, and this appointment between a woman and her doctor is an important part of planning a healthy, complication-free pregnancy for the future. After all, having a healthy pregnancy begins even before you find out you are pregnant.
Before becoming pregnant you may choose to make certain lifestyle changes that could improve your health before getting pregnant. During preconception counseling your gynecologist can discuss the many ways in which you can improve your chances of having a healthy pregnancy. Some of these lifestyle changes include changing medications, avoiding alcohol, quitting smoking, eating a healthier diet, and getting regular exercise.
A preconception counseling appointment can happen at any point when a woman is considering becoming pregnant; however, the ideal time to have this appointment is about three months before you begin trying to get pregnant. This appointment will cover a variety of topics and health issues to ensure that everything is taken into consideration before becoming pregnant. Some of the things your gynecologist may discuss with you include:
Your family history (and even your partner’s family history): Everything from chronic health conditions to genetic disorders should be discussed in depth with your OBGYN during this counseling appointment. Knowing your family history can provide us with information we need to determine if there are any additional tests or screening tools that we will need to perform during the course of your pregnancy.
Your personal history: We won’t just delve into yours and partner’s family history but also your own. This includes everything from preexisting conditions and current medications to past surgeries and hospitalizations. Being honest and upfront about your own medical history is important for your gynecologist to get an idea of what your future pregnancy will look like and to take the necessary precautions to prevent complications from happening.
While your gynecologist is already delving into your general medical history they will also go through your medical chart and OBGYN history. This history may include past infections, sexually transmitted diseases, abnormal pap smears, menstruation history, and any previous pregnancies.
Your lifestyle: Your gynecologist will also want to discuss your current lifestyle, which includes your diet, exercise, drug use, and environment, to look for potential issues that could affect your future pregnancy. Your doctor will discuss certain changes you will need to make even before you become pregnant.
After going through your medical history and talking with you about your family planning needs, your gynecologist may also perform a physical exam, Pap smear, STI screening, and lab tests.
If you are planning to become pregnant within the next year then it’s time to talk with your gynecologist to make sure that there are no surprises. Your OBGYN can provide you with the guidance, support and medical care you need before, during and after your pregnancy.
If you are dealing with unusual or unexplained uterine bleeding you aren’t alone. This is a common problem for women of all ages and it has many different causes. While women can experience a menstrual cycle that lasts up to 8 days, bleeding is considered abnormal if it occurs after sex, between periods, or after menopause. If your menstrual cycles are shorter than 24 days or longer than 38 days this is also worth discussing with your gynecologist, especially if it’s accompanied by irregular bleeding.
It’s important that you do not ignore abnormal bleeding. A simple visit to the gynecologist can provide you with the answers and care you need. Common causes of abnormal uterine bleeding include:
- Fibroids and polyps
- Bleeding disorders
- Ovulation issues
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Certain cancers (rare)
Most of the time the problem isn’t serious and can be simple to treat; however, other causes of abnormal bleeding can be serious and require immediate medical attention. This is why it’s important to see your OBGYN if you notice unusual bleeding.
During your appointment, your gynecologist will ask questions about your medical history, personal history and menstruation. Expect to answer questions about the symptoms you are experiencing and how long you’ve experienced them. A physical examination will also be performed, as well as blood tests to rule out certain disorders and infections. In some cases, a pregnancy test is also performed to rule out an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage.
Based on your symptoms and medical history your gynecologist will then perform one or more tests before reaching a diagnosis. These tests may include an ultrasound, endometrial biopsy, MRI, or CT scan.
Treating Abnormal Bleeding
In many cases, medication is usually the first course of action against handling excessively heavy or irregular menstrual cycles. These medications usually include hormonal birth control, as well as gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists and tranexamic acid.
If medication does not work, then surgery may be necessary. The type of surgery performed will be based on certain factors including the patient’s age and the cause of their bleeding. Common surgeries to treat abnormal uterine bleeding include:
- Endometrial ablation
- Uterine artery embolization
If you are dealing with unusual bleeding between periods it’s important that you talk with your gynecologist right away to find out what might be going on. Schedule your appointment today.
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