If your OBGYN has recently recommended an endometrial biopsy chances are you have a lot of questions. We are here to answer some of them.
If you are getting an endometrial biopsy, you may be doing as much research as possible on the subject to prepare yourself for your upcoming procedure. During an endometrial biopsy your gynecologist will remove a small sample from the lining of the uterus to check for any abnormal cells that may be present, as well as study specific hormone levels. Find out more about this procedure, why it’s performed and what it could do for your health.
Why is an endometrial biopsy performed?
Your gynecologist may recommend that you get this diagnostic procedure done if you are experiencing abnormal uterine bleeding, if you are having trouble getting pregnant, or if symptoms you are experiencing may tell us that there is a potential overgrowth of the endometrial lining. This test can also be used to detect cancer.
How is an endometrial biopsy done?
The biopsy can be done right in your gynecologist’s office. Of course, the sample that we collect will be sent to a pathologist who will read the sample and provide results.
During the biopsy a speculum is placed into the vagina to open up the vaginal walls to be able to see both the cervix and vagina better. Sometimes the cervix is numbed with a local anesthetic prior to collecting the sample. We will need to collect a sample from both the cervix and the uterus. Some patients may experience some cramping (similar to menstrual cramping) during their procedure, but the biopsy will takes about 5 to 15 minutes to complete.
You may experience some bleeding or spotting after your biopsy. This is completely normal and will go away within a day or two. You may also notice some soreness for a couple days afterwards. We recommend that you avoid sex, strenuous exercise or wearing tampons until the bleeding goes away. If you notice heavy bleeding or experience pain then it’s time to call your OBGYN.
An endometrial biopsy can be a great diagnostic tool for determining the health of your uterus. Whether you are dealing with abnormal bleeding or you are experiencing other symptoms, know that you can always turn to your OBGYN specialist for care.
What you need to know about sexually transmitted diseases
Sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, cause irritating symptoms, but they can also result in severe illness or even death. Abstaining from sex is the most fool-proof way to avoid an STD, but this is not always possible or practical. You can protect yourself from STDs in other ways by following a few simple steps. Your doctor wants you to stay safe by:
- Always using condoms when you have sex, because condoms are highly effective in preventing STDs.
- Practicing mutual monogamy, because having only one sex partner dramatically reduces your chances of being exposed to STDs, as long as you and your partner are uninfected
- Limiting your number of sex partners, because fewer sex partners reduces your risk of exposure to STDs
- Get vaccinated, because the vaccine to prevent HPV is both safe and effective to protect against cervical cancer
One of the most important ways to protect yourself and others from transmitting STDs is to get tested. Testing can aid in early diagnosis and treatment of STDs, which can result in a better treatment outcome.Your doctor wants you to consider STD testing for you and your partner before having sex for the first time. You should also consider STD testing if you have had:
- Sex without using protection
- Sex with multiple partners, or sex with a partner who is not monogamous
- Intravenous drug use yourself, or sex with a partner who has used intravenous drugs
It’s important to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases, but it is just as important to be able to recognize when you might have an STD. Your doctor wants you to be able to recognize some of the common symptoms of STDs, including:
- Penile or vaginal discharge
- Genital sores
- Burning and Itching during urination
You can have an STD and not have any symptoms. The only way to know for sure is to get tested by your doctor. You and your partner both deserve to enjoy sex and remain healthy. Visit your doctor to get tested and find out more about how to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases. Call today!
Cycle monitoring is a method used by OBGYNs and fertility specialists to map out a woman's monthly menstrual cycle, in order to determine when ovulation is most likely to occur. Every woman has what is known as a fertile window; the days leading up to and including ovulation. This is the phase of the menstrual cycle when a woman is most likely to get pregnant. Because every woman's cycle is different, with many women experiencing irregular periods which can make it harder to predict ovulation, cycle monitoring is useful for couples trying to conceive, either naturally or with the aid of IVI (Intravaginal insemination) or IVF (Invitro fertilization).
Ovulation and the Menstrual Cycle
A typical menstrual cycle is approximately 28 days, but varies from woman to woman. Ovulation is the monthly process where an egg is released for fertilization by the sperm, and it is the only point in the menstrual cycle when conception is possible. Healthy sperm generally remain viable for up to five days, which is factored into the fertile window when calculating a fertility chart and menstrual cycle for a woman actively trying to conceive.
Many women are unaware of their ovulation schedule, and many myths abound about the length and duration of the fertile window. Because menstrual cycles can vary greatly from one woman to the next, a consultation with an OBGYN can help women determine their ovulation schedule once they have decided they are ready to become pregnant.
Determining Ovulation and the Fertility Cycle
The first step in cycle monitoring is measuring the basal body temperature. Although the variations in temperature can be slight, and OBGYNs have found the effectiveness of basal body temperature measurements in predicting ovulation to be inconclusive, it is still considered a basic step in charting fertility. During ovulation, the body releases elevated levels of the hormone progesterone, which can cause slight fluctuations in temperature. During ovulation, the cervix produces elevated levels of mucus designed to help the sperm make its way to the egg for fertilization. Monitoring mucus levels can help to predict ovulation. The mucus becomes more elastic, clear (resembling the texture and consistency of egg whites) during the fertile window.
The range varies from woman to woman, but days 1-5 are the beginning of the cycle, when menstruation occurs. Days 6-9 are dry with no visible mucus. From days 10-12 the mucus is sticky and thicker than during the fertile window. At the end of the fertile window the mucus becomes thick and sticky again, followed by dryness until the cycle begins again the following month. Measuring the cycle for a few months can help to determine both the duration and ovulation dates for each woman.
More couples are turning to IVF (in vitro fertilization) to conceive children than ever before. According to theSociety for Assisted Reproductive Technology, as many as 1.5% of all children born in the United States are the result of in vitro fertilization. Across the country, OBGYNs are delivering over 60,000 babies conceived through IVF since 2012. As technology improves and the average age of new parents increases from previous generations, more and more would-be parents are relying on the procedure to start or add to their families.
How Does IVF Work?
The first step is usually to schedule a comprehensive exam and check up with an OBGYN. There are several steps to the process once a couple is determined to be a good candidate for conception through IVF. In vitro fertilization works by retrieving mature eggs from the ovaries, and fertilizing them with the sperm in a lab. Once the egg has been fertilized successfully, it is then implanted into the uterus. Because the causes for infertility are complex and vary from person to person, there are several variables to IVF treatment. In addition to using their own eggs and sperm, couples may also rely on donor eggs or sperm, or the use of a gestational carrier who carries the embryo to term and gives birth to the baby for the IVF client.
How Long Does the IVF Process Take?
The duration of one IVF cycle from retrieval of the eggs to fertilization and implantation generally takes about two weeks. It is difficult to predict whether an individual IVF cycle will be successful, and multiple cycles are often necessary.
Who is a Good Candidate for IVF?
The causes for infertility can be complex, and vary from person to person. Candidates for IVF are typically in good general health, with unsuccessful attempts to conceive for at least a year. In vitro fertilization can be expensive and may require multiple cycles to produce a viable pregnancy. An OBGYN might also recommend IVF in certain situations where fertility may be compromised due to:
- Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes
- Problems with ovulation
- Sperm abnormalities or low motility
- Genetic disorders
- Egg/embryo preservation for women undergoing cancer treatment that can compromise fertility and egg viability
Menopause is the end of the menstrual and fertility cycle in women. It can either occur naturally or as a result of surgical intervention that requires the removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes. This usually as a treatment for cancer or other health conditions like infections or cysts. The ovaries regulate the hormones that control the menstrual cycle and fertility. Once the menstrual cycle permanently ends, either naturally or through the surgical removal of the ovaries, a woman is in menopause. The process varies form woman to woman and begins on average from the mid to late 40s to early 50s. As the production of eggs and hormones begins to decline, many women experience physical changes and symptoms that range in severity and intensity.
In addition to physical symptoms and changes, many women experience emotional and psychological symptoms related to the transition away from the child bearing phase. An OBGYN can help navigate the process and recommend treatment when necessary.
Signs and Symptoms of Menopause
Like the menstrual cycle itself, menopause affects every woman differently. Some may experience only mild symptoms and require minimal to no treatment. Others may experience drastic fluctuations in everything from body temperature to moods, and require medication and specialized treatment plans from an OBGYN to help manage symptoms. The most common symptoms are:
- Vaginal dryness and pain during sex
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Irregular/infrequent periods
- Skin problems and hair loss
- Anxiety and depression
- Mood swings and irritability
- Loss of sex drive
Treatment for Menopause
Depending on the range and severity of symptoms, as well as the woman's overall health, an OBGYN may recommend hormone replacement therapy and medication. Many women benefit from lifestyle modifications like dietary supplements and changes to a more balanced and clean diet. Managing anxiety, depression and stress with exercises like yoga and meditation can help regulate moods, as well as provide an opportunity to engage in social activities in a supportive environment. Although fertility declines and eventually ends with menopause, women can still enjoy an active, fulfilling sex life both during and long after menopause.
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