Posts for: September, 2020
By Bay Area OB/GYN
September 17, 2020
Category: Women's Health Care
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
Category: Women's Health Care
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.