Yearly pelvic exams and Pap smears are important in monitoring your gynecologic health and screening for infection, inflammation or other abnormal cells that may indicate disease. Early detection is important in treating any disease and especially important for cervical cancer and other potentially life-threatening diseases.
Annual exams are recommended for women who are sexually active or over the age of 18. During the exam, the doctor will examine your breasts and pelvic organs for any abnormalities or changes. During a Pap smear, he or she will remove some tissue from the cervix to carefully examine as well. An annual exam is one of the most important steps you can take in preventing disorders of the pelvic organs.
Many women going through menopause suffer from a wide range of symptoms including irregular bleeding, hot flashes, insomnia, night sweats, fatigue, depression and more. There are several treatment options available to help relieve these symptoms, and our doctors can help you decide which option is best for you.
Prescription medication with estrogen and progesterone, known as hormone replacement therapy, is a popular treatment for women to treat symptoms of menopause and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Patients can also seek treatment for their individual symptoms, and should maintain an active and healthy life to help feel their best.
Complex gynecological surgeries that once required large incisions and long recovery times are now being performed as simple minimally invasive procedures thanks to such innovations as laparoscopy and robotic assistance. These advances allow surgeons to perform their procedures through tiny incisions, using a camera and small instruments. This gives surgeons a clearer and more magnified view as well as more precise control than a traditional open procedure. Today’s technology makes procedures like hysterectomies and myomectomies shorter and safer, and reduces recovery tremendously.
PMS Counseling & Treatment
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) are common conditions that are associated with symptoms related to menstrual periods and can include bloating, cramping, fatigue, moodiness, sleep irregularity and depression. PMS is often expected by most women, but symptoms of PMDD can and should be treated professionally. There is no official diagnosis of these conditions, but if they are affecting your ability to function in your everyday life, they can be considered serious.
Chronic PMS and PMDD can be treated through a variety of solutions. Modifying behavior is often effective and includes exercising regularly, eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, dealing with stress and not smoking. Birth control pills can often help reduce these symptoms. For PMDD, anti-depressants or counseling may be prescribed.
Choosing a method of contraception is an important decision that will impact a woman’s daily life. Talking with your doctor about which method is right for you is essential to successful protection for you and your partner. We will provide you with information about the different types of contraceptives and their respective advantages and disadvantages.
Birth control methods have many different variables including frequency, convenience, permanence and effectiveness. It is important to take into consideration your life, age, health and previous experiences. The decision is ultimately yours, but using our knowledge and experience can help you make the right choice.
HPV Testing & Prevention
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a type of virus that causes genital warts. There are more than 100 different kinds of HPV and some of them may increase the risk for cancer. While some types can cause genital warts, others will show no symptoms but can eventually lead to cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina and anus. Contracted through sexual contact, the risk of catching HPV can be reduced by using latex condoms.
While there is no cure for HPV, treatment for the symptoms caused by HPV, such as genital warts, cervical changes and cervical cancer, is available.
STD Testing & Treatment
Most sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have no symptoms, so it is hard to know if you have been infected. Periodic testing is recommended for anyone with multiple sexual partners, even if they are having protected sex using condoms. It is important to ask your partner if they have or have ever had an STD. We offer safe and confidential STD testing and treatment.
If you are diagnosed with an STD, most can fortunately be treated effectively. Many, however, cannot be cured. Antibiotics are prescribed for gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis and patients usually respond well. There is no cure for genital warts, but flare-ups can be shortened with antiviral medications. HIV also has no cure but can be treated with a combination of medications.
IUD Insertion and Removal
Intrauterine devices are a hassle-free method of birth control with few side effects. They can provide long-term effective protection against pregnancy. However, these devices require precision and care when leaving or entering your body to be fully effective and protect against infection. Improper insertion of an IUD can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease and other pelvic infections. IUDs should be inserted by a trained professional who will minimize your risk for complications. Trying to insert or remove an IUD by yourself can cause serious damage.
During proper IUD insertion, the cervix and uterus are measured and the IUD is then inserted to the proper depth by a tube. A string is left hanging in the cervical canal for maintenance and removal. During removal, the strings are located and grasped with a clamp to slowly pull the IUD out at a certain angle. Following these standard procedures, your doctor can utilize your IUD with no problems.
At one of your visits, your doctor may check your breasts for signs of any problems. He or she also may teach you how to examine your breasts.
You will be asked to lie on the exam table and open your gown. The doctor will examine your breasts by moving his or her fingers around your breasts in a pattern. He or she will check for problems, such as a lump. If the exam is done just before your period, your breasts may be sore.
For the pelvic exam, the doctor will look at your reproductive organs for signs of problems. The pelvic exam has three parts:
look at the outside of your private parts (the vulva), exam with speculum (device used to spread the walls of the vagina so your cervix can be seen), and exam with gloved hands to feel internal organs.
For the pelvic exam, you will be asked to undress and put on a paper or cloth gown. Then you will lie on an exam table. You will be asked to put your feet against footrests and slide to the end of the table.
Your doctor may check your abdomen, pelvis, and vagina. Try to relax. If you are tense, you may feel some pressure or discomfort.
Pap Test/ Exam
If you are 18 years of age or older or have had sex, you should have a Pap test. It is done to check for abnormal cells in the cervix. It is done in the same position as a pelvic exam. In fact, it may be done during a pelvic exam, when the speculum is in the vagina.
For the Pap test, the doctor inserts a small brush or scraper through the vagina into the cervix. Cells are removed from the cervix. The cells then are sent to a lab to be studied.
It is best to have a Pap test when you don’t have your period. It is a good idea not to put anything in the vagina for 2-3 days before the test. You may have some slight spotting after the Pap test.