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By Virginia Center For Women
December 03, 2019

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
  • Endometriosis
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Ovulation issues
  • Miscarriage
  • 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
  • Hysterectomy

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.

By Virginia Center For Women
November 22, 2019
Tags: Pregnancy   High-risk  

If you have been told by your OBGYN that you are a high-risk pregnancy it’s natural to have questions. You may want to know if there are any lifestyle changes you’ll need to make or how often you’ll need to visit your obstetrician for routine checkups throughout your pregnancy. The goal of your OBGYN is to provide the care you and your baby need for a healthy pregnancy and delivery, so don’t be afraid to ask any and all questions that you may have.

What makes a pregnancy high risk?

A high-risk pregnancy may be the result of certain factors that already existed before your pregnancy or the result of a medical condition that occurs during the course of your pregnancy. Here are some factors that can cause a high-risk pregnancy:

Advanced maternal age: pregnancy complications are higher for women who are over 35 years old, as well as women under 17 years old

Lifestyle factors: smoking, alcohol, and using drugs can also affect pregnancy

Medical history: women who have chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease are also more likely to experience other health problems during the pregnancy (talk with your OBGYN about any pre-existing health problems you have)

Multiple births: there is a higher chance for pregnancy risks when a woman is carrying two or more babies at a time

If I have a high-risk pregnancy what can I do?

The most important thing you can do to ensure a healthy, risk-free pregnancy is to make sure that you have an obstetrician that you trust. It’s very important that you keep up with routine checkups and exams. Women who have high-risk pregnancies may need to visit their OBGYN more regularly. In some instances, you may be referred to a maternal-fetal medicine specialist or other physicians.

Along with your routine checkups your OBGYN may also recommend various screening tests along with the standard prenatal screening tests. Some of these tests include specialized ultrasounds, amniocentesis, chorionic villus sampling (CVS), cordocentesis, and lab testing.

Eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and following the necessary steps to protect against infections can also go a long way to maintaining a healthy, risk-free pregnancy. If you find yourself dealing with high levels of stress this is something to discuss with your doctor to find the most effective strategies for reducing stress.

Whether you just found out you are pregnant or you are looking for an OBGYN to provide you with preconception counseling before getting pregnant, you want a doctor who puts your needs first. While a high-risk pregnancy can feel overwhelming at first your obstetrician will help guide you throughout the course of your pregnancy to make sure you get the care you deserve.

By Virginia Center For Women
November 07, 2019
Tags: Painful sex  

If you are experiencing regular pain during sex this can be a source of embarrassment and concern. Something that is enjoyable and a source of pleasure has become uncomfortable. Painful intercourse, also known as dyspareunia, has many causes and affects nearly all women at some point during their lifetime. While it may be a fleeting issue for some, for others this problem may become long term.

Causes of Painful Sex

If you suddenly experience pain during sex this could be a sign of a gynecological problem such as fibroids, endometriosis, or ovarian cysts. Other causes of painful sex include:

  • Hormonal fluctuations (e.g. perimenopause)
  • Vaginitis: inflammation of the vagina
  • Vaginismus: tightening of the muscles near the opening of the vagina
  • Skin conditions
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Vulvodynia: a pain disorder that affects the vulva

Pain can take on many different forms. Some women experience deep vaginal pain, while others may notice muscle spasms or cramping during or after sex. While painful sex may often be physical, when there are no physical problems it’s also important to consider that the problem may be psychological.

The goal of your gynecologist is to pinpoint what’s causing pain during intercourse as soon as possible so that a treatment plan can be created. During your checkup, your OBGYN will ask you questions about your symptoms, as well as medical history. From there, a physical examination and pelvic exam is performed to check for signs such as cysts or fibroids, which could be leading to pain. Depending on your sexual history and the symptoms you are experiencing, your doctor may also recommend getting STD testing to rule out any sexually transmitted infections.

Sometimes an ultrasound or other diagnostic testing is needed to further evaluate the reproductive organs to pinpoint problems. There are some simple measures you can take to try and alleviate pain during sexual intercourse. Some of these options include:

  • Taking a warm bath prior to sex
  • Using a lubricant
  • Talking with your partner
  • Applying an ice pack to the area if burning occurs after intercourse

The treatment that your gynecologist will recommend will depend on the cause of your pain. For example, a urinary tract infection can easily be treated with medication. If women experience pain as a result of the effects of menopause they may be given an estrogen vaginal cream to treat atrophy of the vaginal walls. Vaginal relaxation exercises and behavioral therapy may be recommended for certain conditions such as vaginismus, to reduce muscle contractions and tightening around the vagina.

If you are experiencing persistent pain during sex that is taking the enjoyment out of being intimate with your partner it’s important that you turn to an OBGYN who can help you figure out what’s going on and how to best treat it.

By Virginia Center For Women
October 29, 2019
Tags: Fibroids  

Uterine fibroids are a common problem, affecting women of reproductive age. Sometimes these benign tumors don’t cause symptoms, so a woman may not even realize that she has fibroids until she visits her OBGYN for an annual checkup. Fibroids may be detected during a regular pelvic exam; however, further testing such as an ultrasound is usually needed for a diagnosis.

What Are Fibroids?

Sometimes fibroids can cause symptoms such as pelvic pain, bowel and urinary problems, pain during sex, and heavy bleeding. While these tumors are benign and very prevalent they can affect fertility; therefore, it’s important that you see a gynecologist once a year for a full gynecological checkup even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms. The symptoms you experience depend upon how many fibroids are present, as well as their location and size.

Managing Fibroids

Since fibroids affect women differently there isn’t just one way to treat them. Often, your gynecologist may recommend just watching and monitoring the fibroid if you are experiencing little to no symptoms. Since fibroids usually grow slowly or don’t grow at all there isn’t much concern that the fibroid will continue to grow if left untreated.

There are also medications that your OBGYN can prescribe to treat issues affecting your menstrual cycle such as heavy bleeding or pelvic pain. These medications won’t get rid of fibroids but they can shrink them. Common medications used to treat uterine fibroids include gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists, a progestin-releasing intrauterine device (IUD) and tranexamic acid.

If the fibroids are large or causing severe symptoms then your gynecologist may suggest surgery or noninvasive procedures also geared toward removing the uterine fibroids. One such procedure uses a noninvasive MRI-guided ultrasound surgery in order to destroy fibroids while also preserving the healthy uterine tissue. There are also minimally invasive procedures such as a uterine artery embolization or laparoscopic myolysis. Women who are looking to get pregnant may not be right for some of these procedures; therefore, it’s important to talk with your doctor about the pros and cons of these treatments before deciding on the best approach for treating fibroids.

If you are experiencing symptoms of fibroids it’s important that you talk with your gynecologist to find out what’s going on. Even though these growths are benign it’s still important to make sure that you are getting the treatment and care you need to reduce symptoms and potential complications.

By Virginia Center For Women
October 21, 2019

Find out why visiting your OBGYN every year is crucial to your health.Good health is important

We all lead busy lives. Between picking kids up from school, juggling work and the family schedule and putting food on the table, it’s no wonder that it might be challenging to schedule your next haircut let alone a doctor’s appointment. But if you aren’t keeping up with your annual gynecological visit find out why you should make this a top priority.

The long and short of it is that these annual gynecological exams can save lives. Sure, they aren’t the most comfortable exams, but they could protect you from breast, cervical and ovarian cancer. Most of these cancers don’t display outward symptoms right away, so the only way to actually detect them is through these annual exams.

By avoiding these yearly exams you run the risk of infections, undiagnosed health conditions and even unintentional pregnancies. By coming in to see your OBGYN every year you can reduce your risk.

When should women start getting annual evaluations?

By the time a woman reaches 21 years old they should start coming in yearly for these exams. Of course, if a woman becomes sexually active at an earlier age, she should start coming in sooner.

Why are some other reasons why I should visit my gynecologist?

Beside the obvious health benefits there are so many other things that your gynecologist can do for you and your health. We can discuss menstrual issues, determine the cause of your abdominal pain and discuss different birth control options.

What do annual exams involve?

When you come into the office, you can expect that we will discuss your medical history before we perform a routine physical exam. We want to find out as much about your family history, past hospitalizations and health problems, as well as any symptoms you may be experiencing.

Then we will perform a physical exam to check the health of your uterus and ovaries. A Pap smear may also be performed (about every three years), in which we collect a few cells from the cervix to check for the presence of cancerous cells. This test is the best way to detect cervical cancer early on when it’s much easier to treat.

As you can see, visiting your gynecologist once a year is vital to good health. Preventive care is the best way to detect issues early on when they are much easier to treat. These visits will provide you with the care and piece of mind you need to continue leading a healthy life.





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