Getting Excellent Medical Care

Is An IUD Right For You?

If you’re a woman looking for a safe and effective birth control without a lot of added side effects, then you might be considering an interuterine device, or IUD. These devices have been around in one form or another for decades, but many women nowadays don’t give them much thought when they’re choosing a type of birth control either because they don’t know much about them or they think they’re not safe. Some answers to common questions are listed below.

What is an IUD?

An IUD is a device inserted into the uterus which prevents a fertilized egg from implanting into the uterine wall. These devices are usually made of a combination of materials, but mostly of copper and plastic.

Who can use an IUD?

Anyone who has a uterus who is not currently pregnant or had a pelvic infection can use an IUD unless they’re allergic to any of its components. They are suitable for young as well as older women. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had kids or not.

What are the advantages to using this type of birth control?

IUDs come with a lot of advantages over other types of birth control such as pills, diaphragms, and condoms including:

  • They last for years: Depending on the kind you get, these discrete devices last for years with pretty much no fuss.

  • You can get pregnant when you want to: There’s no need to wait if you want a baby, you should be able to get pregnant as soon as the device is removed.

  • No dealing with hormones: If you are sensitive, there is a brand available without hormones. If you need help with regulation or heavy periods, then there other brands are available with hormonal releases.

What are the disadvantages of using an IUD?

The disadvantages are few and only a minority of women experience, but they can include:

  • Heavy, painful periods: Some women notice that their periods get heavier and they experience cramps with the non-hormonal IUD.

  • Pregnancy issues: A very rare minority of women have experienced ectopic pregnancies or related issues. Since not all birth control is 100% effective, some women have gotten pregnant despite using this device.

  • Involuntary expulsion: There is a chance that the IUD may slip out of the uterus, especially when you first get the device. It’s important to check its string and go in for your checkups regularly.

Like any type of birth control, IUDs may not be right for every woman, though they can solve a problem for women who are unable to use any other type of birth control. This device doesn’t protect against diseases, and certain diseases can cause complications with an IUD, so it’s best to protect yourself as necessary. If you want to know more about using this type of birth control, contact your doctor or gynecologist, like one from Healthcare for Women Only, to see if you’re a good candidate.

Learn More

Four Kidney Disease Signs Pregnant Women Should Know

For pregnant women, understanding the potential complications that you can encounter are important. For example, one condition that some women aren’t aware can occur during pregnancy is kidney disease. Here’s a look at what you should know about the potential signs of kidney disease so that you can seek treatment right away.

High Blood Pressure/Preeclampsia

The development of kidney disease often leads to fluid retention. This retention of fluid can then cause high blood pressure, also called preeclampsia when it occurs during pregnancy. If your obstetrician finds that your blood pressure is persistently high, he or she may test you for signs of kidney problems. Since high blood pressure can damage the vascular system, it’s important that you identify the source of the problem as quickly as possible.

Foot, Hand and Ankle Swelling

Pregnant women often experience swelling, especially later in the pregnancy. However, if you’re experiencing swelling in your hands, feet and ankles throughout your pregnancy, it may be caused by the fluid retention of kidney disease. If the swelling is paired with persistent muscle cramping and occasional numbness, it’s even more important that you have your symptoms assessed.

Creatinine In your Urine

During every prenatal appointment, you’ll be asked to provide a urine sample. This sample is tested for several things, not the least of which is the presence of creatinine. A byproduct of creatine breakdown, creatinine can actually saturate your kidneys and reach your urine. It can only do that when the blood vessels in the kidneys become permeable, which occurs due to failure of your kidneys.

Urinary Tract Infection

Not only can urinary tract infections occur as a result of kidney disease, they can also cause infections in your kidneys that may lead to worsening kidney disease. If you happen to develop a urinary tract infection while you’re pregnant, you’ll need to talk with your medical care team right away. If you don’t address it in a timely manner, these infections can cause renal failure in pregnancy. In addition, untreated urinary tract infections and kidney infections can also cause low birth weight and premature birth.

When you know the most common signs of kidney disease in pregnancy, you’re better equipped to identify the condition early. With the information presented here and the help of your obstetrician, you’ll be able to get treatment right away and potentially avoid some of the more serious complications that can come from developing kidney disease or associated problems. Ask your midwife or obstetrician, like one at Desert Rose OBGYN PC, about other signs and symptoms that you should watch for so that you can protect yourself and your baby.

Learn More

Are You At Risk Of Ovarian Cancer? New Report Finds ‘Gaps’ In Knowledge About The Disease

Look around you the next time you’re at the store, at a sporting event or anywhere with a group of people. Can you count 75 women? The odds are that one woman in 75 will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in her lifetime.

That translates to more than 22,000 women getting a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer this year. But the most shocking statistic is that more than 14,000 of those women who are diagnosed will eventually die of the disease. Ovarian cancer is hard to detect, so by the time it’s discovered, it has often spread — making it more difficult to eradicate.

A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine aims at identifying areas of improvement for diagnosing and treating ovarian cancer. Suggestions for increasing research and what areas should see special focus may help save more lives, including yours or that of a loved one.

Ovarian Cancer May Not Start in the Ovaries

One of the report’s findings is that ovarian cancer isn’t just one disease, but many different subtypes — and some of those may not actually start in the ovaries. Cancer cells that originate in the uterus or fallopian tubes can easily move to the ovaries, which are particularly ideal for cell growth. Ovarian tissue tends to have more blood vessels and thus be able to provide more nutrients for the out-of-control cancerous cells.

Identifying the various types of cancers can help researchers pour more attention and funding into those. High-grade serous carcinoma, for example, affects between 60 and 70 percent of patients; it also tends to be more deadly than other types. Making research into this type of cancer a priority may help save lives.

This information also opens up some changes in the way gynecologists view the health of the reproductive system. If doctors were able to find cancer cells in the uterus or fallopian tubes as well as in the ovaries during routine screening, it could help with early treatment.

Findings Could Lead to Early Diagnoses

Early detection of ovarian cancer, particularly some types of carcinomas, is one of the keys to a positive outcome. When caught in an early stage, more types of treatments, including those currently being studied like high-dose chemotherapy with autologous stem cell rescue. For patients whose cancer was identified early and who could undergo that type of treatment, 71 percent survived 5 years compared with 25 percent who did not have the treatment.

Because symptoms can mimic other, less serious reproductive system problems, doctors also need to make patients more aware of scheduling regular appointments and discussing any abnormalities at that time. Some typical ovarian cancer symptoms include:

  • Pain and pressure in the abdomen
  • Feeling bloated or abnormally full after eating
  • Greater feeling of needing to urinate
  • Delayed or particularly uncomfortable menstruation
  • Pain during intercourse

Paying attention to these issues, which can seem minor when viewed alone, are important. Doctors can use this information to better educate patients so it’s easier to catch ovarian cancer early.

If you have questions about ovarian cancer, are at higher risk or want to know more about whether you have symptoms, talk to your gynecologist or obgyn.

Learn More

4 Tips For Preventing Yeast Infections

Yeast infections are a common gynecological problem that affect many women at some point in their lives. While vaginal yeast infections are not dangerous, they can be very uncomfortable and few women want to deal with the symptoms that a yeast infection brings. If you find yourself dealing with chronic yeast infections, use the following tips to help prevent the infections from occurring:

Wear Cotton Underwear

Yeast infections thrive in damp, warm places, so if you get yeast infections often it is in your best interest to wear cotton underwear instead of underwear made of synthetic materials. This is because cotton is a breathable fabric that allows for airflow and can prevent favorable conditions for yeast to replicate out of control. In addition to wearing cotton underwear, it is also a good idea to avoid wearing tight jeans or leggings, as these garments can trap heat and create conditions that are perfect for yeast to live in.

Avoid Douching or Using Scented Soaps

The vagina has a very delicate balance of bacteria and yeast, but using vaginal douches or soaps with added fragrance can disrupt the balance and lead to yeast multiplying too fast and becoming a full yeast infection. In general vaginal douching is usually not recommended, and it is a good idea to use gentle fragrance-free soap when washing your genitals.

Stay Dry

Moisture is essential for yeast to grow and replicate, so if you want to prevent pesky yeast infections it is important to keep your genitals as dry as possible. When you get out of the shower, make sure you dry the area thoroughly before putting on underwear or clothing. It is also in your best interest to change out of a damp swimsuit as soon as possible after swimming, and avoid wearing sweaty workout clothes too long after you finish exercising. 

Talk to Your Gynecologist About your Birth Control

Some women seem to be more prone to yeast infections at certain times in their monthly cycle, making it possible that yeast infections may be affected by hormone levels. If you suspect that your chronic yeast infections are related to hormone levels, speak with your gynecologist about the birth control pills that you take. There are many different types of birth control pills on the market, and some pills use different types of hormones to prevent pregnancy. Making a change in the birth control pills that you take could possibly help prevent reoccurring yeast infections. Contact a doctor, such as Rawtani Meera MD, for more information. 

Learn More

What You Should Know About Breast Cancer Prevention

As a woman, there are many health issues that you may be far more prone to than men. Among these is the risk of developing breast cancer at some point in your lifetime. However, what you may not know is what you can and should do to prevent breast cancer, or at the very least detect breast cancer early. In order to ensure that you are doing everything that you can to keep yourself healthy, get to know more about breast cancer prevention and screenings. Once you know what you need to do, you can schedule your appointments and make your health a priority.

Perform Breast Self-Exams

Generally speaking, clinical breast exams  are performed by your ob/gyn when you go in for your annual pelvic exam and pap smear. Some doctors do still perform breast exams anyway, but not all.

Even if your ob/gyn is one of the doctors that does perform clinical breast exams regularly, you should be sure that you are performing regular breast self-exams. Ideally, you should do a breast self-exam once a month and just gently palpitate your breast tissue (all the way up into the lymph nodes in your armpits) and just look for any lumps, changes, or other abnormalities.

In women who are younger than 40 to 45, breast self-exams are the best way to detect tumors that could be cancerous early. The earlier breast cancer is detected, the less likely it is to spread to other areas of the body and the more treatment options you will have available to you.

Get Mammograms Every Year

Once you reach the age of 45, the American Cancer Society recommends that you get a mammogram every year. Until recently, doctors recommended that women begin getting annual mammograms at age 40, but this age has been adjusted based on statistical findings. Of course, you can still get mammograms starting at an earlier age, and if you have a family history of breast cancer or you know that you carry the breast cancer gene, you should definitely begin getting these screening exams sooner rather than later.

A mammogram is a diagnostic test in which your breast tissue is placed onto a flat device and then the tissue is squeezed so that it lays as flat as possible. The x-ray technician then takes a series of scans of the breast tissue to look for any abnormal cells or other such issues. If your breast tissue does show signs of abnormalities or the tissue is too dense, you may also receive a breast ultrasound to get a better look at the breast tissue.

Now that you know a few of the ways that you can better prevent breast cancer, you can schedule your appointment with your ob/gyn or begin your routine of regular breast self-exams. Remember that you should consult your doctor at any sign of trouble so that you get the early treatment you need if you do develop breast cancer. Contact a company like Women’s Care Inc for more information.

Learn More

Overwhelmed With Birthing Options? Can A Midwife Or Doula Help?

If you’ve recently found out you and your partner are expecting your first child, you may be overwhelmed at the number of decisions you’ll soon need to make. Would you like a medicated or unmedicated birth? Would you prefer to give birth at home, in a hospital, or in a standalone birthing center? You may assume you need to consult an obstetrician to help guide you through the next eight or nine months. However, in some cases a midwife or doula may prove more of an asset to your pregnancy and decision-making process. Read on to learn more about the services a midwife can provide to decide whether this is the best birth coaching method for you. 

What are the practical differences between an obstetrician, midwife, and doula?

An obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) is a board-certified physician who is trained in general medical practices but with a specialty in pregnancy and childbirth-related issues. Many pregnant women seek the services of an OB/GYN as a “one stop shop” throughout pregnancy, as an OB can do everything from performing routine exams to delivering the baby. 

Midwives and doulas are not physicians, but can also play a key role in the birthing process — in some cases, even eliminating the need for a dedicated OB/GYN to take part. In some states, midwives are permitted to prescribe medication (as long as they’ve gone through the necessary steps to become state-certified) and can perform routine examinations, including tracking your child’s heartbeat and administering genetic screening tests. Sometimes midwives and OBs work together, practicing from the same office, like George L Stankevych MD.

Doulas perform more of a partnership role for the expectant mother than OB/GYNs or midwives, helping answer any questions about pregnancy and childbirth and providing physical support throughout the birth. During childbirth, a doula may be found rubbing the expectant mother’s shoulders, helping her time contractions, or even manipulating her lower abdomen to try to turn the baby into a more suitable position.

Should you seek out an OB/GYN or a midwife?

If you know you’d like the physical support a doula can provide, you may have already contacted a few local agencies as a jumping-off point. However, it can sometimes be difficult to decide whether an OB/GYN or a midwife is the better choice. Ultimately this decision will come down to your medical needs (and any medical needs your child may have), along with your personal comfort level. 

For those who are beginning their pregnancies with special health concerns — like diabetes, autoimmune disorders, or heart disease — an obstetrician should be able to provide the expertise and monitoring necessary for you to have a safe and healthy pregnancy. However, those who are already in good health should be able to seek all recommended prenatal treatment (up to and including birth) with a midwife. And because midwives generally have a lighter appointment schedule than most hospital-affiliated doctors, they can be the perfect choice for a first-time mom with too many questions and concerns to count. 

Learn More

Learn about the Different Kinds of Hysterectomies

There are a lot of reasons for a woman to have a hysterectomy. They can range from extremely heavy periods to some kinds of cancer. Just as there are different reasons for you to have a hysterectomy, there are different kinds of hysterectomies. Getting certain kinds of hysterectomies will mean that you will have to have hormone replacement therapy after the surgery. This guide will explain the various types of hysterectomies and what they entail.

Sub-total/Partial Hysterectomy

In this form of hysterectomy, the uterus is removed, but the cervix is left in place. If the uterus is removed vaginally, the cervix will be separated from the top of the vagina and the bottom of the uterus so that the uterus can be slipped past it. After the uterus is out, the doctor will sew the cervix back to the top of the vagina. The ovaries are left in place. The reason to leave the ovaries in place, as long as they are healthy, is that they will continue to produce estrogen and other hormones until your body undergoes natural menopause. Even if your doctor has to remove one ovary, your body will still get enough hormones from the remaining ovary.  

Total Hysterectomy

If you get a total hysterectomy, your uterus is removed as well as your cervix. Generally, the uterus and cervix will be removed through an incision in the top of the vagina, even if the surgery is done laparoscopically. Again, the ovaries are left in place, but the fallopian tubes may be removed. There is mounting evidence that fallopian tubes are linked to ovarian cancer, so many doctors are just removing them as part of their normal routine.  

Total Hysterectomy with a Bilateral Salpingectomy and Oophorectomy

This is a lot of words to say that your hysterectomy will involve not just your uterus and cervix being removed, it will also involve your ovaries and fallopian tubes being removed. One reason to have a hysterectomy like this would be because you are in the early stages of cancer, or because you have a severe cancer risk. If you have this kind of hysterectomy, your doctor will prescribe a hormone replacement therapy because you will go into immediate menopause.

Radical Hysterectomy 

A radical hysterectomy involves taking everything out, as well as part of the vagina, fatty tissue surrounding the uterus, and the lymph nodes. The main reason to have this form of hysterectomy is because of cancer of the uterus or ovaries, or some other form of cancer that has spread to the reproductive organs. Your doctor may delay putting you on any kind of hormone replacement treatment until any other treatments you may be undergoing are finished.  

Whatever the reason you are having a hysterectomy, knowing what the different kinds of hysterectomies are can make the process easier on you. If you have further questions or concerns, contact a gynecologist at an establishment like Contemporary Women’s Health Care.

Learn More