Posts for category: Women's Health Care
By Bay Area OB/GYN
February 22, 2021
Tags: Ovarian Cysts
If you are a woman, then chances are fairly good that you’ve had an ovarian cyst before. Maybe even several already; however, it’s also just as likely that you didn’t even know it. It’s common for cysts, or fluid-filled sacs, to develop in or on the ovaries. This is a very common condition for women during their reproductive years, and it’s typically not anything to worry about. From the office of your OBGYN, here’s what you should know about ovarian cysts.
What are the signs and symptoms of an ovarian cyst?
Many ovarian cysts are too small to cause symptoms; however, if the cyst is large you may notice:
- Bloating or abdominal swelling
- Abdominal pain or pressure, typically on the side where the cyst is
- The pain may be dull and may come and go
Ruptured cysts can cause more severe pain. While ovarian cysts may cause pain with intercourse, abnormal vaginal bleeding, or pelvic pain, these symptoms are less common. If you are dealing with abdominal pain or swelling that has you concerned, schedule an appointment with your OBGYN.
What causes ovarian cysts?
Several factors can predispose certain women to ovarian cysts. These factors include:
- Hormonal issues
- Pelvic infections
When should I see my OBGYN?
It’s always a good idea to see your OBGYN as soon as possible if you are experiencing intense or severe abdominal pain, especially if it’s accompanied by a fever. Severe abdominal pain requires immediate medical attention.
How are ovarian cysts treated?
An ovarian cyst will typically go away on its own without treatment; however, the size of the cyst and the symptoms you are experiencing may determine whether or not you should have surgery to remove the cyst. Your doctor will continue to monitor the cyst through regular ultrasounds every few weeks or months to see if the cyst has gone away. Recurring or very large cysts often require surgery.
If you are dealing with abdominal pain or swelling that isn’t going away or is getting worse, it’s always a safe bet to call your OBGYN right away to schedule an immediate appointment.
By Bay Area OB/GYN
December 09, 2020
The NIH reports that 20-25 percent of women of reproductive age have fibroids, benign tumors that develop within the lining of the uterus. Some women have fibroids but don’t even realize it until they find out from their OBGYN during a routine pelvic exam; however, other women may deal with heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, and sex with intercourse due to fibroids. Since fibroids can affect fertility, it is important that you talk with your OBGYN about the best ways to manage your fibroids.
Can fibroids become cancerous?
The majority of the time fibroids are completely benign. It is extremely rare that a fibroid will turn cancerous. Also, having fibroids will not increase your chances of developing uterine cancer or cancerous fibroids.
How are fibroids treated?
Since most women don’t experience symptoms, they won’t necessarily need treatment; however, women who do experience symptoms will want to discuss their options with a qualified OBGYN. Your OBGYN will be able to decide the best strategies for treating your fibroids based on your health, the symptoms you’re experiencing, whether you plan to become pregnant in the future, your age, and the size of the fibroids.
Mild symptoms may be managed with simple over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen. If you have heavy periods, your doctor may recommend iron supplements to prevent anemia. Some forms of birth control including an intrauterine device (IUD) can also help manage fibroid symptoms.
Another medication used to treat fibroids is a gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist (GnRHa). This medication can be administered in many different ways (e.g. inhaled, ingested, or injected) and is used to shrink large fibroids.
If you experience more severe fibroid symptoms, then your OBGYN may recommend surgery to have the fibroids removed. This procedure is known as a myomectomy.
Can I get pregnant if I have fibroids?
It can be more difficult for women with uterine fibroids to get pregnant, but it is still a possibility. Of course, women who become pregnant while they have fibroids may be more at risk for complications so it’s important that you have an obstetrician that will know how to best handle fibroids during your pregnancy. While there may be concerns, having fibroids does not put you in the high-risk pregnancy category.
Are you experiencing symptoms of fibroids? If so, it’s important to talk with your OBGYN about your symptoms and how to get them under control.
By Bay Area OB/GYN
September 17, 2020
Tags: Pap Smear
Chances are good, especially if you are a woman over 21 years old, that you’ve heard or already undergone at least one Pap smear during your lifetime. Maybe you are wondering whether you should get a Pap smear. Perhaps you don’t even remember when your last test was. Our OBGYNs understand that when it comes to certain diagnostic procedures, particularly Pap smears, that you may have questions. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Pap tests,
What is the purpose of a Pap smear?
A Pap smear is the best tool at our disposal for being able to detect precancerous cells within the cervix. By catching these cells early, we can remove them before they turn into cervical cancer.
When should a woman get her first Pap smear?
Women should start getting regular Pap smears from their OBGYN once they reach 21 years old, or once they become sexually active. Women will continue to get Pap smears until 65 years old.
How often should women get tested?
Women between the ages of 21 and 29 should get tested every three years. Once you reach age 30 you should get tested every five years (often alongside an HPV test). Women who have had abnormal Pap results in the past may need to come more often for testing.
Will it hurt?
While getting a Pap smear may feel a bit weird or maybe even a little uncomfortable (especially the first time when you’re not sure exactly what to expect), it shouldn’t hurt. You may notice a slight pinch but that’s usually about it. While a traditional OBGYN screening will usually take up to 20 minutes to perform, the Pap smear itself usually takes just a couple of minutes.
How quickly will I get results back?
It’s typical to get your results within one week after your test, but your OBGYN will let you know when results will be available to you.
Do abnormal or inconclusive results mean that I have cervical cancer?
Not typically. An inconclusive test just means that the sample that we collected wasn’t useable. This can happen if you’ve been sexually active or used tampons with two days before your test. Your doctor will usually recommend repeating the test.
Abnormal results, while stressful, could be due to inflammation, infections, trichomoniasis, HPV or herpes. If your tests are abnormal your doctor will discuss further testing with you or provide you with proper medication if an infection is found.
If you still have questions about Pap smears, don’t hesitate to call your OBGYN. We are here to make sure that you fully understand any and all care you receive at our office.
By Bay Area OB/GYN
September 03, 2020
When women reach their 40s and 50s their bodies begin transitioning into menopause. At this point, many women will experience hot flashes or other symptoms to alert them to these changes. While most menopause symptoms are manageable, sometimes they can still be severe or impact your emotional and mental wellbeing. This is why it’s so important to have an OBGYN that you can turn to for managing your symptoms and help you navigate this new transitional period in your life.
Have I Started Menopause?
Common symptoms of menopause include:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Brain fog
- Trouble concentrating
- Vaginal dryness
- Mood swings
- Decreased sex drive
- Hair loss
- Weight gain
If your symptoms are minor than you may choose just to ride out the occasional hot flash or night sweat; however, if these symptoms are affecting your quality of life then it’s time to speak with your OBGYN.
When it comes to managing menopause symptoms there are a variety of options. A lot will depend on the type of symptoms you are experiencing, how severe the symptoms are, and your current health. Lifestyle changes can go a long way to improving your symptoms. These changes may include:
- Eating a healthy, balanced, and whole diet that is free from processed or junk foods
- Getting regular exercise that includes weight-bearing exercises 2-3 times a week
- Finding ways to manage stress through deep breathing, meditation, etc.
- Quitting smoking
- Avoiding alcohol
- Making sure you are getting enough calcium to support healthy, strong bones
If a woman’s symptoms are particularly severe your OBGYN may discuss the benefits of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Hormone replacement therapy involves using a medication that mimics real hormones like estrogen to help balance out hormone levels and alleviate symptoms.
Women who are dealing with particularly intense and all-consuming hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness will often find incredible relief through hormone replacement therapy. Plus, hormone replacement therapy can also protect against osteoporosis, a condition that leads to bone weakness and fracturing.
If you are dealing with night sweats, hot flashes, weight gain, and other symptoms associated with menopause, turn to an OBGYN to help you find ways to manage these symptoms effectively.
By Bay Area OB/GYN
July 01, 2020
Tags: STD Test
The American Sexual Health Association reports that one in two sexually active Americans will contract an STD by the time they turn 25 years old. It’s crucial for people to understand the importance of getting an STD test, as well as understand how often they should get tested. If you are a sexually active woman who has never been tested before or has questions about STD testing your OB-GYN is the perfect person to talk to.
Here’s when you should get an STD test,
You are noticing symptoms
This might seem like the most obvious reason to get an STD test but it’s still important to acknowledge. If you notice any symptoms of an STD including any bumps or sores on the genitals, changes in discharge or other changes in your body then you should see your gynecologist as soon as possible to discuss your symptoms and to see if you should get tested.
You have a new partner
Before becoming sexually active with a new partner it’s a good idea to know both of your sexual health statuses. That’s why your OBGYN will always recommend getting an STD test before starting a new sexual relationship. There is nothing better than knowing that both you and your new partner are healthy and STD-free.
You aren’t practicing safe sex
While birth control pills can certainly protect against unwanted pregnancies, most forms of hormonal contraception will not protect against STDs. This is why you will still want to use a condom every time you have sex. If you aren’t practicing safe sex then you should get tested twice a year (or, at the very least, once a year).
You have multiple partners
If you or your partner have other sexual partners, it’s a good idea for both of you to get regular STD tests about every 3-6 months. There is a window period between getting the infection and when the results will appear on an STD test so it’s also important not to test too early. Here’s a great resource to show you when symptoms may appear and when to get tested for what STDs.
It’s a good rule of thumb to get tested at least once a year since many STDs do not produce any symptoms at all, so you could have an STD and not even know it. If you need to schedule an STD test, your OBGYN can often provide you with comprehensive testing right here in their very own office. This is a great option for many women because they have already established a rapport with their doctor and may feel more comfortable undergoing a more sensitive procedure such as an STD screening with a gynecologist they know and trust. Knowing your health status doesn’t just protect you, it also protects your partner.