An Obstetrician/Gynecologist focuses on the health of women before, during, and after childbearing years, diagnosing and treating conditions of the reproductive system and associated disorders.
- Critical Care Medicine
- Female Pelvic Medicine and
- Gynecologic Oncology
- Hospice and Palliative Medicine
- Maternal and Fetal Medicine
- Reproductive Endocrinology/Infertility
What is a Pap, and when should I get one?
The Pap test is used to find changes in the cells of the cervix that could lead to cancer. It is not the same as a pelvic exam. You should start having Pap tests at age 21 years. How often you should have a Pap test depends on your age and health history. It is not clear when a woman can stop having Pap tests. Some experts recommend that a woman who is aged 65 years or 70 years can stop having Pap tests after three normal results in a row within the past 10 years. If you have had a hysterectomy, talk to your doctor about whether you still need routine Pap tests.
I have lots of cramping before my period. What can I do to ease the pain?
It is common to have some pain or cramping in your lower abdomen of back prior to your period. This is called dysmenorrhea. Other symptoms you may have are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or headache. Certain medications may help. These include ibuprofen or naproxen. Certain hormonal contraceptives also help and require a prescription from your doctor. You may try applying heated compresses to the site of your pain or try massage. Decreasing caffeine intake and increasing exercise also help.
I have a vaginal discharge that itches. What should I do?
It is normal for a small amount of clear or cloudy white fluid to pass from a woman’s vagina. This keeps the tissue moist and healthy. If, however, the discharge has a foul odor, causes itching, is unusually heavy, or is different in color (yellow or green), you should see a doctor. Common infections include yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis which require treatment. If you think you have a yeast infection, you may try over-the-counter yeast creams. If your discharge and symptoms do not resolve, it is important for you to see your doctor for a diagnosis. Other infections can be the result of sexually transmitted infections. Sometimes, more tests are needed to determine the cause of your discharge.
I experienced a burning sensation when I urinate. Could I have a urinary tract infection?
You may have a urinary tract infection. The symptoms can occur suddenly. Symptoms may include a strong urge to urinate that cannot be delayed (urgency). Dysuria (pain or burning while urinating) is common. The urge to urinate soon after you have finished urinating (frequency) may also happen. Other signs are lower abdominal soreness, mild back pain, and urine that has a strong odor or looks dark or cloudy. To treat a UTI, you will need antibiotics to be prescribed by a doctor. If you have severe pain, fever/chills, nausea/vomiting, you need to see a doctor immediately. To help prevent a UTI, drink plenty of water and other fluids. Unsweetened cranberry juice may decrease the risk of getting a UTI. The following tips may also help:
• After a bowel movement or after urinating, wipe from front to back.
• Wash the skin around the anus and the genital area.
• Avoid using douches, powder, and deodorant sprays.
• Empty your bladder as soon as you feel the urge or about every 2–3 hours.
• Try to empty your bladder before and after sex.
• Wear underwear with a cotton crotch.
I forgot one of my birth control pills. What should I do?
You may forget to take a pill once in a while. If you forget to take one pill, take it as soon as you remember. Take the next pill at the normal time. It is okay if you have to take two pills in the same day. It is normal to feel nauseated if you do this. If you forget to take two or more pills, use a backup method of birth control. Call your doctor or nurse, and ask what you should do. If you miss some pills, you may have some spotting or light bleeding even if you make up the missed pills. These side effects are not harmful. If you frequently forget to take your pills, discuss other methods of contraception with your doctor. There may be another method that will work better for you. It is also important to remember that birth control pills do not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases. If you are at risk for such infections, you should also use condoms.
What can I expect as I enter menopause?
Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when she stops having menstrual periods. Menopause marks the end of the reproductive years that began in puberty. The average age that women go through menopause is 51 years. As menopause nears, the ovaries make less estrogen. One of the earliest and most common signs that menopause may be approaching is a change in your menstrual periods. Other changes that you may experience are hot flashes, sleep disturbances, vaginal dryness, nervousness/irritability, or increased fatigue. Talk to your doctor about remedies that you can try to help ease your transition.