Getting a pelvic exam can be nerve-wracking, especially if this is your first visit, but knowing what to expect when you step foot in our office can help take away some of the anxiety. If you are feeling a bit nervous, don’t worry. We are here to provide you with all the information you could ever need regarding your next pelvic exam.
What is a Pelvic Exam?
A pelvic exam is a normal part of a woman’s routine gynecological exam. During the pelvic exam, a gynecologist will examine the reproductive organs to check for any potential signs of infection or other potential issues. Sometimes a Pap smear is also performed during your visit. During a Pap smear, we will remove some cells from the cervix to check for any cancerous or precancerous cells. Early detection is important, as it often makes treating health conditions much easier.
Besides a pelvic exam sometimes your gynecological visit may include:
- A discussion about your medical history
- A breast exam
- STD testing
Who Should Get a Pelvic Exam?
Unless you are facing a health issue, most women can start getting a pelvic and breast exam by the age of 21. Even before a pelvic exam, it’s recommended that women get annual gynecological visits. Especially during a time where a young woman’s body is changing so drastically it’s sometimes helpful to have a doctor to turn to for questions about birth control, bodily changes, sexual health, etc.
When you come in for your first exam we will also tell you how often you should come in for care. A lot will depend on your medical history. If you’ve had abnormal Pap smear results, past sexual health problems, a family history of gynecological cancers or a sexually transmitted disease then you may need to come in more regularly.
For the sake of your health, getting a pelvic and breast exam should at least be an annual visit that you don’t miss. These visits are vitally important for your health and it's truly the best way to detect any health issues as early as possible.
If you are having issues conceiving find out if fertility treatments are the next best option.
According to a CNN article published back in 2014, there is a record number of babies being born via IVF. If you and your partner have been trying to get pregnant for over a year without success then it might be time you talked to an OBGYN about whether IVF could improve your chances.
What types of infertility can IVF handle?
There are many reasons why a couple could be infertile. IVF may be a great option for you if you or your partner are dealing with any of these issues:
- Low sperm count or motility
- Uterine or fallopian tube issues (e.g. uterine fibroids; fallopian tube blockage)
- Ovulation disorders
- Antibodies that attack the sperm or egg
- Genetic disorders
What affects the success of IVF?
The age of the woman will be a factor in the success rate of IVF. Women under the age of 35 will have a higher success rate (41- 43 percent) than a woman over the age of 40 years old (13 to 18 percent). Women between the ages of 35 to 37 have a 33-36 percent success rate while women ages 38 to 40 have a 23-27 percent success rate. Of course, as techniques continue to advance and improve, we are finding that success rates in every age group have grown.
What is involved in IVF?
There are five steps to the IVF process:
- Your fertility specialist will prescribe fertility medications to stimulate egg production.
- The eggs will be retrieved through minor surgery.
- The male will provide a sperm sample, which will be combined with the egg.
- During insemination, the lab will mix the sperm and egg together to fertilize the egg. Once the eggs have fertilized they are called embryos.
- Then the embryos are inserted into the uterus about 3-5 days after fertilization.
Learn more about IVF, the fertility treatment that is helping more and more couples be able to conceive. Talk to your gynecologist about whether IVF is right for you.
Find out why visiting your OBGYN every year is crucial to your health.
We all lead busy lives. Between picking kids up from school, juggling work and the family schedule and putting food on the table, it’s no wonder that it might be challenging to schedule your next haircut let alone a doctor’s appointment. But if you aren’t keeping up with your annual gynecological visit find out why you should make this a top priority.
The long and short of it is that these annual gynecological exams can save lives. Sure, they aren’t the most comfortable exams, but they could protect you from breast, cervical and ovarian cancer. Most of these cancers don’t display outward symptoms right away, so the only way to actually detect them is through these annual exams.
By avoiding these yearly exams you run the risk of infections, undiagnosed health conditions and even unintentional pregnancies. By coming in to see your OBGYN every year you can reduce your risk.
When should women start getting annual evaluations?
By the time a woman reaches 21 years old they should start coming in yearly for these exams. Of course, if a woman becomes sexually active at an earlier age, she should start coming in sooner.
Why are some other reasons why I should visit my gynecologist?
Beside the obvious health benefits there are so many other things that your gynecologist can do for you and your health. We can discuss menstrual issues, determine the cause of your abdominal pain and discuss different birth control options.
What do annual exams involve?
When you come into the office, you can expect that we will discuss your medical history before we perform a routine physical exam. We want to find out as much about your family history, past hospitalizations and health problems, as well as any symptoms you may be experiencing.
Then we will perform a physical exam to check the health of your uterus and ovaries. A Pap smear may also be performed (about every three years), in which we collect a few cells from the cervix to check for the presence of cancerous cells. This test is the best way to detect cervical cancer early on when it’s much easier to treat.
As you can see, visiting your gynecologist once a year is vital to good health. Preventive care is the best way to detect issues early on when they are much easier to treat. These visits will provide you with the care and piece of mind you need to continue leading a healthy life.
It can be a difficult topic to address but one that remains on some women’s minds.
There are so many emotions that a woman experiences after going through a miscarriage, and it can be even more challenging if you’ve had to deal with multiple miscarriages. Of course, your OBGYN is always here to provide you with the care and support you need through this difficult time. Find out more about the causes behind multiple miscarriages and the treatment options available to you.
A recurrent miscarriage means having three or more miscarriages in a row. Common risk factors for recurrent miscarriages include:
- Being older when trying to conceive (For women this is over the age of 35 while it’s over the age of 40 for men)
- Being overweight or obese
Also, one of the most common but treatable causes of recurrent miscarriage is a blood clotting disorder known as antiphospholipid syndrome (APS), where your immune system attacks the fats, or phospholipids, in your blood.
Other causes of recurrent miscarriages include:
- Other blood clotting disorders
- Incompetent cervix (or cervical weakness)
- Abnormal chromosomes
- Uterus abnormalities
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Serious infections such as toxoplasmosis or listeria
- Thyroid disorders
To put your mind at ease there are tests that your gynecologist may recommend to determine whether any of the causes listed above could be responsible for your miscarriages. Common tests include:
- Antiphospholipid Syndrome (APS) testing
- Blood clotting testing
- Genetic testing
- Ultrasound or laparoscopy (to check the shape and health of the uterus)
Sometimes your obstetrician can pinpoint the exact cause and sometimes it’s not detectable through diagnostic tests. Not being able to pinpoint the root cause can be very distressing. After all, if nothing is wrong why does this keep happening? It’s a frustrating question that can leave some couple feeling disheartened. But it’s important to know that even though many couples go through recurrent miscarriages, many of them go on to have a healthy baby the next time.
Don’t go through this process alone. Speak to your obstetrician and gynecologist who can shed some light on what’s going on so that you can finally have the piece of mind you deserve.
Worried that you may have PCOS? Find out more about this condition and what we can do to help.
Do you notice that you have irregular menstrual cycles? Do you sometimes skip your periods altogether? You could be dealing with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a condition in which estrogen and progesterone levels are off kilter and can lead to to ovarian cysts. Find out more about this condition and how your OBGYN can help.
What causes PCOS?
Unfortunately, no one really knows what causes this condition, but it is believed that genetics and hormonal imbalances have some responsibility in who develops PCOS and who doesn’t. If your mother or immediate family member has this condition, you are also more likely to develop PCOS.
Women with PCOS also tend to have an overproduction of androgen, a male sex hormone. Androgen can affect how an egg develops or is released each month.
What are some telltale signs that I have PCOS?
Many women will start to notice that something is amiss one they start menstruating. Of course symptoms varies from woman to woman, but many people with PCOS notice that they have irregular menstrual cycles.
With the imbalance of hormones, some women may start developing more masculine characteristics such as:
- Excess hair on the face, chest, fingers or toes
- Thin hair
- Deeper voice
Besides these symptoms women with PCOS may also experience:
- Weight gain (usually caused by other chronic health problems like diabetes)
- Abdominal pain
How will a PCOS specialist treat my condition?
While there is no cure for PCOS, there are certainly ways to manage your symptoms. Your treatment plan will be tailored to what symptoms you are experiencing. Of course, a healthy diet and regular exercise are recommended for everyone who has been diagnosed with this condition.
Birth control pills may also be prescribed to help regulate hormones and your menstrual cycle, and they sometimes have the added bonus of improving your acne. For women with PCOS who are looking to get pregnant, fertility treatments may be recommended to help assist in successful ovulation.
If you are concerned that you may have PCOS, or if you are having issues with irregular periods, it’s time you talked to your gynecologist.
This website includes materials that are protected by copyright, or other proprietary rights. Transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use, as defined in the copyright laws, requires the written permission of the copyright owners.