Endometriosis is a gynecological condition affecting millions of American women of child-bearing years. An extreme overgrowth of the lining of the uterus (endometrium), this painful and persistent malady leaves some women infertile, in pain and even debilitated from the symptoms. Are you one of them? A visit with your OB/GYN doctor will uncover the reasons and treatments for your endometriosis.
Symptoms of endometriosis
The most frequent symptom is severe cramping before, during and after menstruation. Periods may be unusually long in duration or very short. Lower back pain and migraine headaches occur through out the monthly cycle, and many women report difficulty with bowel movements and a feeling of "heaviness"in the lower abdomen.
Some sufferers of endometriosis experience weight gain and unfortunately...infertility. Endometriosis can block the fallopian tubes and interior of the uterus so sperm cannot reach and fertilize eggs. Endometrial tissue often appears in odd areas such as on the ovaries or the bowel.
Who gets endometriosis?
The Office on Women's Health reports that a full 11 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 44 suffer with endometriosis. The condition appears to run in families, and it is common among women who have never had children. Autoimmune conditions such as allergies, MS and Lupus often co-exist with endometriosis.
Finding and treating endometriosis
Reporting your symptoms of endometriosis to your obstetrician/gynecologist is critical to diagnosis and treatment. He or she will perform a pelvic examination and may do ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging.
Treatment options vary, but frankly, surgery usually is not a first choice. Medical management with hormones and pain medications is preferable. Your OB/GYN will want to monitor your symptoms and treatment plan closely to help you manage this often-frustrating condition.
In addition, many women experience significant symptom relief if they:
- Exercise regularly.
- Deep breathe through periods of abdominal or lower back pain.
- Manage stress levels and the amount of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the bloodstream.
- Eat more vegetables and fruits, and reduce gluten and refined sugars which produce inflammatory reactions in the abdomen.
Choosing the right birth control to suit your needs and lifestyle is a very important and personal decision that you will have to consider if you are sexually active and do not want to get pregnant. During this time it’s important to have an OBGYN that you can turn to not just for proper checkups and health care, but also to present you with the different birth control options available to you so that you can make an informed decision about your sexual health.
Birth control falls into two categories: Hormonal and non-hormonal. While this may certainly be a factor in the decision-making process there are also other factors and benefits that some birth control may offer that may make it more ideal for you than others. For example, there are some forms of birth control that can improve cramping and other PMS symptoms, while other birth control options are easy to use and don’t require you to take them at the same time each day. These are all things to consider when it comes to choosing the proper birth control for you.
There are approximately 12 different kinds of birth control including:
- Contraceptive pills
- Birth control implant
- Vaginal ring
- Intrauterine device (IUD)
- Tubal ligation
As you might imagine, contraceptive pills, the ring, patch, implant, injection, and plastic IUDs are hormonal, which means that these methods release hormones that prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg.
Non-hormonal methods include the diaphragm, copper IUD, spermicides, and condoms. When used correctly, condoms are also able to protect against STDS. It’s important to understand that while many of these methods are designed to prevent pregnancy they do not protect against STDS. This is why it’s still important to wear a condom even if you are taking birth control.
Of course, for women who are already finished with family planning or have chosen not to have children, they may opt for tubal ligation, which is a permanent way to prevent pregnancy.
It’s important that you fully understand the advantages and disadvantages of each birth control method beforehand. This is why it’s so vital to have a gynecologist you can trust to sit down with you and to help you determine the best option for your needs. Call your OBGYN today to schedule an appointment.
Dyspareunia is the technical term for pain during intercourse. It's not uncommon for women to experience painful sexual intercourse at some point in their lives. It may be a sign of a gynecologic problem, a problem with sexual response, or simply a lack of arousal. If you are experiencing pain during sex, work with your OB/GYN to determine the root cause and devise a treatment plan. Read on to learn about treatment options for painful sex.
Painful sex can be treated with lifestyle modifications. There are a few ways to try to alleviate pain during sexual intercourse such as trying a slower pace or using more lubricant. Using lubricants can help make the sex more comfortable; different brands can be tried until you find one that is well suited to your needs, and remember communication is important! Talk to each other about what feels good and what doesn't. If your partner is going too fast, then tell them so.
Treatment options vary depending on the cause of the dyspareunia. Changing medications known to cause lubrication problems might also relieve your pain. For some women, pain during sex is caused by a lack of lubrication resulting from low levels of estrogen. This can be treated with topical estrogen applied to the vagina. Another medication to relieve dyspareunia is prasterone, which is a capsule you place inside the vagina every day.
If you’re looking for a non-invasive way to address painful sex brought on by low estrogen levels, MonaLisa Touch laser therapy is a highly effective long-term solution. Laser therapy eliminates vaginal dryness and helps prevent further complications, including vaginal atrophy. In just three treatment sessions, MonaLisa Touch revitalizes the vaginal mucosa and activates the production of new collagen to help restore normal functional and pain-free sexual intimacy.
Painful sex can lead to relationship problems. It may be worthwhile to speak to a counselor if this is the case. If trauma, sexual abuse, or other emotional issues are the root cause of the dyspareunia, counseling could very well help. Counseling can also help you cope with the emotional consequences of painful intercourse. Couples may attend counseling together if painful sex is leading to communication or intimacy issues.
Painful sex can be treated with desensitization therapy. Pelvic floor exercises and vaginal relaxation exercises may be used in this treatment method as they will strengthen your pelvic muscles and ease your pain during intercourse. Strong pelvic floor muscles can go a long way toward warding off urinary incontinence.
You don’t have to live with sexual pain. Find an OB/GYN in your area and schedule a consultation today. Get your life back on track by receiving the best dyspareunia treatment available. You deserve to live your best life!
Need a colposcopy? If your pap test results are abnormal, your doctor may ask you to have a colposcopy. Colposcopy is an effective and safe procedure. It's important to attend your colposcopy appointment even if you do not have any symptoms. Read to to learn more about colposcopy.
What is colposcopy?
A colposcopy is a simple procedure that lets your healthcare provider get a good look at your cervix. The procedure involves looking at the cervix through a lighted magnifying instrument. It shines a light into the vagina and cervix. This examination allows your doctor to find problems that cannot be seen by the eye alone. The exam takes 5 to 10 minutes. Sometimes the exam may need to be performed more than once.
Why is colposcopy done?
The procedure is done in a doctor's office. Colposcopy is performed when results of pap smear tests show abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix. The exam provides more information about the abnormal cells. Colposcopy is also used to further assess other problems, including pain, genital warts on the cervix, bleeding, cervicitis, and benign growths.
How is the procedure done?
During the procedure, you will lie on your back with your feet raised and placed on footrests. Your doctor will use a medical tool to hold apart the walls so the inside of the vagina and cervix can be viewed. The lighted magnifying instrument placed outside the opening of your vagina. A mild solution will be applied to your vagina and cervix. This solution makes abnormal areas on the cervix easy to see.
When is a biopsy done?
Sometimes, a biopsy is done during a colposcopy. During colposcopy, your healthcare provider may see abnormal areas. A biopsy of these areas may be done. During a biopsy, a small piece of tissue is removed from the patient's cervix. The sample is removed with a special device. Sometimes, the biopsy is also your treatment. That's because your healthcare provider may be able to remove all of the abnormal cervical cells during the biopsy. If so, you will not need further treatment.
What is recovery like?
If a biopsy is not done during the colposcopy, you should feel fine afterwards. You may have a little spotting for a few days. If you a biopsy is done, you may have pain for one or two days. You may have some bleeding. You may also have some discharge from your vagina. While your cervix heals, you will be told not to put anything into your vagina for a short time. Test results from the exam can take some time to be returned, but rest assured that your doctor will call as soon as the results are in.
Find out what screenings are available to check for HPV and HPV-related disease.
The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus that affects millions of Americans most often during the late teen years and early 20s. With the rise of HPV infections over the years it’s now more important than every for women to get routine screenings to check for HPV-related diseases such as cervical cancer. This is yet another reason why young women should visit their OBGYN at least once a year for routine checkups.
What are the symptoms of HPV?
Some types of HPV cause genital warts, a cluster of small bumps that appear in the genital area. They often appear weeks or months after being exposed to the virus. Genital warts may go away on their own without treatment or they may get worse; however, genital warts aren’t usually cancerous.
Unfortunately, most people will never know that they HPV because the viral infection usually does not cause symptoms. The body will often just shed the infection after a couple of years; however, there are certain HPV infections that can affect the cells and lead to cervical cancer.
What goes into getting an HPV screening?
There are two types of tests that your gynecologist can perform during your next visit to look for warning signs of HPV. The most common test is a Pap smear, which involves collecting cells from the cervix to check for changes or abnormalities. If pre-cancerous lesions are present or if cervical cancer is found early enough, treatment is very successful.
A Pap smear is performed right in your gynecologist’s office and it only takes a couple of minutes to collect the cells necessary for analysis. It’s important that you talk with your gynecologist about getting a cervical cancer screening and how often you should get screened. Women who’ve had abnormal Pap smear results in the past may need to be screened more regularly than women who’ve never had abnormal results. Your age will also dictate how often you should be screened.
HPV co-testing can be performed at the same time as the Pap smear. The only difference is that when the cells are collected the test will check for the presence of the virus rather than detecting changes in the cervical cells.
What does the HPV vaccine protect against?
According to the CDC, approximately 32,500 men and women are diagnosed with HPV-related cancers. By getting the HPV vaccine you could prevent cancer from happening to you. This vaccine could also prevent the need for HPV testing every year. Since it can be difficult to screen for certain cancers caused by HPV (particularly cancer of the rectum or throat), getting vaccinated could protect your teenager from these cancers in the future.
Do you have questions about getting the HPV vaccine for you or your teenager? Need to schedule your annual gynecological checkup? If so, turn to your OBGYN today and ask whether an HPV vaccine is a good option for your health.
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