Your OBGYN treats a number of common gynecological conditions, including irregular vaginal bleeding. It’s a concern that can be related to anything from stress, chronic conditions, or reproductive problems. Learn the common causes of irregular bleeding in gynecology, and how you can get your menstrual cycle back to normal.
Irregular Vaginal Bleeding
In their reproductive years, women menstruate about every 28 days as the uterine lining sheds itself. The bleeding is often moderate to heavy during the first couple of days, then tapers off during the next few days. A normal menstrual cycle lasts up to a week. If the process does not repeat every 28 days or so, or a cycle is missed, or the flow of blood is too heavy or too light, that is considered irregular bleeding. Additional symptoms may include poor mood, problems sleeping, and sharp abdominal pains.
You should talk to your OBGYN if your menstrual cycle starts to change or becomes irregular. Irregular bleeding can be caused by one or more of the following factors:
Certain medications (including birth control pills).
Endometriosis (tissue that’s supposed to be inside of the uterus grows on the outside).
Stress and lifestyle.
Blood clotting disorders.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (a hormonal problem).
Pelvic inflammatory disease (an infection usually caused by an STD).
Uterine fibroids (benign growths in the uterus).
Cervical or uterine cancer.
Chronic medical conditions (not necessarily related to the reproductive system).
Treatments for Irregular Bleeding
In some cases, irregular bleeding resolves on its own. For instance, if the irregularity is related to stress, de-stressing activities may help, like light exercise, dietary changes, or bed rest. If the problem is your birth control, your gynecologist will discuss other birth control options. If it’s related to another gynecological condition, the treatment may require an ultrasound and further testing. In more serious cases, surgery may be necessary.
See Your OBGYN
Schedule a visit to your OBGYN if you’re experiencing irregular bleeding. It could an easily treatable issue that your gynecologist can resolve with medications or a minor procedure.
If this is your first pregnancy you may certainly feel like you’re in uncharted territory. There are so many unknowns as you reach 40 weeks and your OBGYN is going to be a crucial part of guiding you throughout this journey into motherhood. An OBGYN will provide you with care, treatment, checkups, and support along the way. One question you may be asking yourself is: Can I exercise while pregnant?
The simple answer is that yes, exercise is part of maintaining a healthy pregnancy. It can help boost your energy and mood, especially during the earlier months when you may be feeling a bit tired and sluggish. Working out can even alleviate aches and pains throughout your pregnancy. In fact, regular physical activity could even be key to preventing gestational diabetes.
If you were working out prior to becoming pregnant then there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to continue working out; however, some things will need to change. While you may wish to workout at the same intensity and level you had been, your body is going through a lot of changes. Low-impact aerobic exercise such as walking or even swimming may be recommended by an OBGYN over high-intensity training.
What if you were a dedicated Crossfitter, HIIT queen, or marathon-running champ before getting pregnant? If you are a serious athlete, it’s even more important that your obstetrician works with you to create a training and workout program that will help you maintain what you’ve worked hard for while also being safe for both you and baby. This is particularly important for women who are personal trainers or professional athletes.
Starting Exercise While Pregnant
If you haven’t been working out prior to becoming pregnant you may want to take up a more regular exercise regimen to maintain good health throughout your pregnant. Before starting a new workout routine it’s important to consult your OBGYN. It’s important that you start out with slow, easy activities like a brisk walk through the neighborhood. You wouldn’t go from not being active to suddenly tackling a Warrior Run, so you certainly don’t want to do it when you’re pregnant, either. Err on the conservative side when choosing workouts to do while pregnant, especially if you are new to regular exercise. Your OBGYN can provide you with a list of pregnancy-approved exercises.
How Much Exercise is Enough?
Most pregnant women will reap the benefits of exercise if they participate in moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week, as recommended by the American Academy of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Of course, if you have any health problems such as heart disease or asthma, it’s extremely important that you talk with your OBGYN before you start any workout routine.
Workouts to avoid include any contact sports, exercises that could lead to falls or abdominal injuries, as well as exercising in extreme weather conditions. If you have questions about exercise during pregnant, talk with your OBGYN today.
Did you know that cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer for women worldwide? While this statistic can be startling the good news is that it is one of the most preventable cancers. A cervical cancer screening is one of the best and most reliable tools our OBGYN has to detect cancerous and precancerous cells within the cervix. This screening is most often referred to as a Pap test.
What is a Pap test?
Women as young as 21 years old should start getting routine cervical cancer screenings from their OBGYN. If results from the first Pap smear are normal then women between the ages of 21 to 29 will only need to get a Pap test every three years. Women with an abnormal Pap will require a repeat Pap test to look for the presence of precancerous cells.
Women between the ages of 30 to 65 should get a cervical cancer screening every 5 years. Once a woman reaches 65 years old, she usually won’t need to undergo cervical cancer screenings any longer. Women at high risk for cervical cancer may need to come in more often for screenings. This is something that you can discuss with your gynecologist during your first screening or next annual wellness exam.
Are there other ways to prevent cervical cancer?
Along with getting routine cervical cancer screenings your OBGYN can also provide a way to protect young women from contracting HPV, a common STI that is also the leading cause of cervical cancer. The HPV vaccine is often recommended for young women around the age of 11 or 12.
This vaccine can be administered to women between the ages of 13 and 26 who have not contracted HPV. The vaccine comes in three doses and it protects against the strains of HPV that are most likely to cause cervical cancer. Even if women have received the HPV vaccine they should still come in for routine screenings and checkups.
Whether you want to learn more about the HPV vaccine or you need to schedule your annual checkup and Pap smear, turn to your OBGYN today to take an active interest in your reproductive health.
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.
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