My Blog

Posts for category: Women's Health

By North Houston Center for Reproductive Medicine
November 16, 2018
Category: Women's Health
Tags: Endometriosis   Pain  

Managing endometriosis

Endometriosis is a gynecological condition affecting millions of American women of child-bearing years. An extreme overgrowth of the lining of the uterus (endometrium), this painful and persistent malady leaves some women infertile, in pain and even debilitated from the symptoms. Are you one of them? A visit with your OB/GYN doctor will uncover the reasons and treatments for your endometriosis.

Symptoms of endometriosis

The most frequent symptom is severe cramping before, during and after menstruation. Periods may be unusually long in duration or very short. Lower back pain and migraine headaches occur through out the monthly cycle, and many women report difficulty with bowel movements and a feeling of "heaviness"in the lower abdomen.

Some sufferers of endometriosis experience weight gain and unfortunately...infertility. Endometriosis can block the fallopian tubes and interior of the uterus so sperm cannot reach and fertilize eggs. Endometrial tissue often appears in odd areas such as on the ovaries or the bowel.

Who gets endometriosis?

The Office on Women's Health reports that a full 11 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 44 suffer with endometriosis. The condition appears to run in families, and it is common among women who have never had children. Autoimmune conditions such as allergies, MS and Lupus often co-exist with endometriosis.

Finding and treating endometriosis

Reporting your symptoms of endometriosis to your obstetrician/gynecologist is critical to diagnosis and treatment. He or she will perform a pelvic examination and may do ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging.

Treatment options vary, but frankly, surgery usually is not a first choice. Medical management with hormones and pain medications is preferable. Your OB/GYN will want to monitor your symptoms and treatment plan closely to help you manage this often-frustrating condition.

In addition, many women experience significant symptom relief if they:

  • Exercise regularly.
  • Deep breathe through periods of abdominal or lower back pain.
  • Manage stress levels and the amount of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the bloodstream.
  • Eat more vegetables and fruits, and reduce gluten and refined sugars which produce inflammatory reactions in the abdomen.
It's possible
 
You can live well with endometriosis. Thoughtfully record your symptoms, and then, go see your OB/GYN physician. Together, you can work through this difficult condition and optimize your comfort, fertility and overall wellness.
By North Houston Center for Reproductive Medicine
September 28, 2018
Category: Women's Health
Tags: Colposcopy  

Need a colposcopy? If your pap test results are abnormal, your doctor may ask you to have a colposcopy. Colposcopy is an effective and safe procedure. It's important to attend your colposcopy appointment even if you do not have any symptoms. Read to to learn more about colposcopy.

What is colposcopy?

A colposcopy is a simple procedure that lets your healthcare provider get a good look at your cervix. The procedure involves looking at the cervix through a lighted magnifying instrument. It shines a light into the vagina and cervix. This examination allows your doctor to find problems that cannot be seen by the eye alone. The exam takes 5 to 10 minutes. Sometimes the exam may need to be performed more than once.

Why is colposcopy done?

The procedure is done in a doctor's office. Colposcopy is performed when results of pap smear tests show abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix. The exam provides more information about the abnormal cells. Colposcopy is also used to further assess other problems, including pain, genital warts on the cervix, bleeding, cervicitis, and benign growths.

How is the procedure done?

During the procedure, you will lie on your back with your feet raised and placed on footrests. Your doctor will use a medical tool to hold apart the walls so the inside of the vagina and cervix can be viewed. The lighted magnifying instrument placed outside the opening of your vagina. A mild solution will be applied to your vagina and cervix. This solution makes abnormal areas on the cervix easy to see.

When is a biopsy done?

Sometimes, a biopsy is done during a colposcopy. During colposcopy, your healthcare provider may see abnormal areas. A biopsy of these areas may be done. During a biopsy, a small piece of tissue is removed from the patient's cervix. The sample is removed with a special device. Sometimes, the biopsy is also your treatment. That's because your healthcare provider may be able to remove all of the abnormal cervical cells during the biopsy. If so, you will not need further treatment.

What is recovery like?

If a biopsy is not done during the colposcopy, you should feel fine afterwards. You may have a little spotting for a few days. If you a biopsy is done, you may have pain for one or two days. You may have some bleeding. You may also have some discharge from your vagina. While your cervix heals, you will be told not to put anything into your vagina for a short time. Test results from the exam can take some time to be returned, but rest assured that your doctor will call as soon as the results are in.

By North Houston Center for Reproductive Medicine
June 15, 2018
Category: Women's Health
Tags: STI  

If you are sexually active, getting regular STI screenings is a crucial and proactive practice to adopt for both your health and the health of your future partners. It’s important to know if you have an STI so that the infection can be treated or managed before more serious health complications set in. While using condoms, being monogamous and avoiding risky behaviors can go a long way to keeping you healthy and safe from infection, it’s important that everyone who is sexually active continue to get screened, no matter their age.

When To Get Tested

It’s important to get routine screenings even if you feel fine and aren’t experiencing symptoms, as many people with STIs don’t ever experience symptoms. Even when symptoms do arise it’s easy to mistake them for less serious issues such as the common cold or flu virus. Did you know that some STIs present with a fever, sore throat and muscle aches? What might seem like the regular influenza virus could actually be an STI. Furthermore, it’s not that uncommon to be exposed to more than one STI at a time. So, you could have multiple infections and not know it.

While a lot of people feel nervous or even embarrassed to get STI screenings, having an OBGYN or medical doctor that you trust is the most important. Trust us; they’ve heard it all, so you should feel comfortable talking to your doctor about your sexual health. Being as honest as possible about your current or past sexual history is important to make sure you get the proper medical care.

Even though untreated STIs can lead to more serious health problems down the road, the good news is that many STIs can easily be treated if the infection is caught early enough. Even incurable STIs like hepatitis, herpes, and HIV can be managed through simple lifestyle changes and medications to reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms and to improve your quality of life.

Even if you come in once a year for a wellness checkup or Pap smear, this doesn’t mean that you are getting screened for an STI. Of course, during your routine exam you can ask to also be screened for STIs. If you are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant, having an untreated STI can cause serious health risks for your unborn child.

It’s important that you get regular STI testing to ensure that you and your partners enjoy a safe and healthy lifestyle!

By North Houston Center for Reproductive Medicine
May 15, 2018
Category: Women's Health
Tags: OBGYN   Menopause  

Getting older means overcoming many different obstacles as your life and your body change. But you must deal with one that is uniquely female: menopause and the symptoms that come with it. You know the symptoms commonly associated with menopause—hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, difficulty sleeping, vaginal dryness—but did you know that they are treatable and that menopause doesn’t have to be insurmountable?

Hormone Therapy

If you have moderate to severe symptoms, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is an effective treatment for hot flashes and can also help elevate vaginal dryness and mood issues. It has traditionally been administered with pills like birth control, but also like birth control it can now be taken through patches, creams, gels, and vaginal rings. If you have not had a hysterectomy, you could be prescribed estrogen and progesterone, called combination HRT. If you have had a hysterectomy, estrogen alone would be prescribed.

Not all women are candidates for HRT. Those who have breast or uterine cancer, blood clots, heart or liver disease, or have had a stroke would be better candidates for the following options.

Non-hormonal Therapy

Vaginal estrogen is a lower dose of estrogen that comes as a cream, tablet, or ring and is placed in the vagina to treat vaginal dryness if you don’t have hot flashes. Vaginal lubricants and moisturizers are non-prescription options to treat dryness as well. Lubricants can help decrease friction and ease intercourse, but be sure to only use water-soluble products designed for the vagina to avoid irritating tender tissue. Moisturizers can improve or maintain vaginal moisture if you have mild vaginal atrophy and can also keep your pH level low, ensuring a healthy vaginal environment. They can also be used regularly with longer-lasting effects than lubricants.

Prescription antidepressant medications are often used to treat mood problems, like depression, with relatively few side effects. They have also been used to treat hot flashes. However, if you are having mood issues, be sure to talk with your doctor to identify the cause and decide on the best treatment.

Lifestyle Changes

You’d be surprised how far simple lifestyle changes, like eating a healthy diet and regularly exercising, can go in minimizing menopause symptoms. Wearing light-weight pajamas, using layered bedding that can easily be removed, and using a fan in your bedroom can help with night sweats while keeping a regular sleep schedule and nighttime routine can make falling asleep and staying asleep easier.

The onset of menopause is a big change, and dealing with its symptoms can be daunting. But you don’t have to take on this new phase in your life alone. No matter if you are suffering severe symptoms or you just have some questions of what to expect as you get older, our office is here to help. Call to schedule your appointment today.

By North Houston Center for Reproductive Medicine
April 13, 2018
Category: Women's Health
Tags: OBGYN   Vaginal Odors  

This might be an embarrassing conversation to start but it’s one that every woman faces at some point during her lifetime. While this might not be a topic you’ll wantVaginal Odors, OBGYN to bring up with your girlfriends, if you are experiencing this issue it’s always a good idea to turn to your OBGYN for more information. After all, this change in vaginal odor could be trying to tell you that there is an issue. Here are some reasons why you might be experiencing this problem and what you should do about it.

An Infection

This is often the most obvious reason why a woman faces unpleasant vaginal odor. There are several different kinds of infections that could be to blame. One common infection is bacterial vaginosis, which may also cause burning during urination and a grayish-white discharge. In most cases, this condition is treated with antibiotics.

Of course, trichomoniasis (a parasitic STD) or a yeast infection could also be to blame. Some yeast infections can be treated with over-the-counter antifungal medications, but trichomoniasis will require a round of antibiotics. To play it safe, visit your gynecologist right away if you noticing any of these symptoms.

Your Hormones

It goes without saying that your hormones fluctuate throughout the month and you may find that you experience a change in vaginal odor in that small window after ovulation but before your period. During the start of menopause, women may also notice an unpleasant watery discharge, which is often the result of reduced levels of estrogen. In this case, a gynecologist may prescribe a vaginal cream that contains estrogen, which can help reduce or even eliminate this unpleasant symptom.

If you are a woman in her mid-40s or older and noticing changes in vaginal odor, you could be going through menopause. Turn to your OBGYN to get all of your questions addressed about the symptoms you may be having as you approach menopause.

Sweat

Just as sweating anywhere else can bring about an unpleasant change in body odor, sweating down below can also cause vaginal odor. Athletes, wearing tight clothing or being overweight can also increase your chances of developing a sweat-related vaginal odor. If this is something that happens to you, make sure to wear more breathable fabrics (e.g. cotton), change wet workout clothes immediately or lose the excess weight (if necessary).

If your vaginal odor is accompanied by symptoms such as itching, burning, redness, pain, discharge or sores, you need to visit a gynecologist right away for treatment.