Posts for: December, 2019
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.