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.
You noticed those two pink strips very distinctly this time. You are pregnant! This can be an exciting and emotional moment in a couple’s life. Finding out you are going to be parents is a thrilling experience and it’s important that the moment you find out you are pregnant that you have the proper medical care and support you and your growing baby need to stay healthy. This is why you should turn to an obstetrician.
An obstetrician, often referred to as an OBGYN (obstetrician and gynecologist), is a doctor who specializes in providing care for women during pregnancy and childbirth. Choosing an obstetrician is just as important as choosing any other medical professional. You want someone who is by your side not just providing you with comprehensive medical care but also really understands your personal needs and expectations. Choosing an obstetrician is a very personal choice and one to take seriously.
It’s important that you start visiting your obstetrician as early as possible in your pregnancy. The first appointment will confirm the pregnancy and determine your due date. Blood and urine tests, a pelvic exam, and a physical will be performed during your first visit to check your health and to detect any health problems.
The visit is also a great moment for the parents-to-be to ask any questions they might have regarding diet, exercise, supplements, traveling, etc. Bring your questions along with you so you don’t forget.
After your first visit, you’ll come back about once a month for the first 28 weeks of your pregnancy. Of course, if we determine that you are a high-risk pregnancy, we may need you to come in more regularly. These monthly appointments will allow us to monitor your health and baby’s progress, check for any genetic disorders early on and make sure everything is going smoothly. We will also perform ultrasounds throughout the pregnancy to check the baby’s health and development.
Once you reach the 28-week marker, you’ll come in about every two weeks for visits until you reach 36 weeks. At 36 weeks, you’ll come in weekly until your baby is born.
An obstetrician is here for your growing family every step of the way and can provide comprehensive care, answer your questions, and also offer support whenever you need it. We can also talk with you about your labor and delivery options.
As you might imagine, women’s bones are smaller than men’s, which puts women at a risk for developing osteoporosis, a chronic condition that causes a loss of bone density and can leave women prone to fractures. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, 80 percent of Americans with osteoporosis are women and half of women over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.
Why does osteoporosis mostly affect women? During childbearing years, your body produces estrogen, a hormone that is not only implemental in your reproductive and sexual health but also serves to protect your bones; however, as women approach menopause their estrogen production decreases drastically, which makes women prone to fractured and broken bones.
Fortunately, your gynecologist and women’s health team are instrumental in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of osteoporosis. Bone density is influenced by many factors including hormone levels, lifestyle, nutrition, medications, health problems, and genetics. Common risk factors include:
- Family history
- History of broken bones/fractures
- Poor nutrition
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Lack of calcium or other vitamins in your diet
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Low body mass index (BMI) and weight
The good news about osteoporosis is that it can be prevented through proper screenings and medications/therapies used to slow the progress of osteoporosis. Your initial screening will provide the information you need to help you and your gynecological team make an informed decision about the type of treatment options available to you. An X-ray is the most common diagnostic tool for checking the density level of your bones.
Getting an osteoporosis screening is highly recommended for all postmenopausal women (women 65 years old or older). If a woman is at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis, she may want to consider getting screened even earlier.
Osteoporosis treatment will include lifestyle changes along with medications/treatments. Simple everyday measures you can take to lessen your chances of bone fractures include:
- Making sure you get enough Vitamin D and calcium in your diet
- Reducing alcohol consumption
- Exercise regularly (include both cardio and strength training)
- Quit smoking
There are also a variety of different prescription medications on the market (also known as bisphosphonates) that can aid in preventing bone loss. Along with medications, your gynecologist may also recommend hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which will supply your body with the estrogen it needs to both prevent and treat osteoporosis.
Find out what screenings are available to check for HPV and HPV-related disease.
The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus that affects millions of Americans most often during the late teen years and early 20s. With the rise of HPV infections over the years it’s now more important than every for women to get routine screenings to check for HPV-related diseases such as cervical cancer. This is yet another reason why young women should visit their OBGYN at least once a year for routine checkups.
What are the symptoms of HPV?
Some types of HPV cause genital warts, a cluster of small bumps that appear in the genital area. They often appear weeks or months after being exposed to the virus. Genital warts may go away on their own without treatment or they may get worse; however, genital warts aren’t usually cancerous.
Unfortunately, most people will never know that they HPV because the viral infection usually does not cause symptoms. The body will often just shed the infection after a couple of years; however, there are certain HPV infections that can affect the cells and lead to cervical cancer.
What goes into getting an HPV screening?
There are two types of tests that your gynecologist can perform during your next visit to look for warning signs of HPV. The most common test is a Pap smear, which involves collecting cells from the cervix to check for changes or abnormalities. If pre-cancerous lesions are present or if cervical cancer is found early enough, treatment is very successful.
A Pap smear is performed right in your gynecologist’s office and it only takes a couple of minutes to collect the cells necessary for analysis. It’s important that you talk with your gynecologist about getting a cervical cancer screening and how often you should get screened. Women who’ve had abnormal Pap smear results in the past may need to be screened more regularly than women who’ve never had abnormal results. Your age will also dictate how often you should be screened.
HPV co-testing can be performed at the same time as the Pap smear. The only difference is that when the cells are collected the test will check for the presence of the virus rather than detecting changes in the cervical cells.
What does the HPV vaccine protect against?
According to the CDC, approximately 32,500 men and women are diagnosed with HPV-related cancers. By getting the HPV vaccine you could prevent cancer from happening to you. This vaccine could also prevent the need for HPV testing every year. Since it can be difficult to screen for certain cancers caused by HPV (particularly cancer of the rectum or throat), getting vaccinated could protect your teenager from these cancers in the future.
Do you have questions about getting the HPV vaccine for you or your teenager? Need to schedule your annual gynecological checkup? If so, turn to your OBGYN today and ask whether an HPV vaccine is a good option for your health.
Let us help you choose the right birth control to fit your lifestyle.
Choosing birth control is a very personal decision and one that can sometimes feel rather confusing. After all, there are so many different options out there that you may not be sure which one is the best approach for your sexual health. This is where our Texarkana, TX, OBGYN, Dr. James Scales, comes in. We are happy to talk to you about your birth control options and answer any questions you might have.
Birth control can be divided into five different categories:
- Hormonal options
- Barrier methods
- Intrauterine device (IUD)
- Natural methods
- Emergency contraception
This includes everything from birth control pills, patches, implants, and the ring. Hormonal birth control can contain estrogen or progestin-only (also referred to as the minipill). There are many different birth control pill options and our gynecologist in Texarkana would be happy to help you determine the best one for you.
This includes condoms, diaphragms, and cervical caps. Condoms are also the only birth control method that also protects against STDs. This is why it’s important that you use a condom even if you are using other birth control methods because it is the only thing that can prevent the spread of STDs. Condoms, diaphragms, and cervical caps can be found at your local drugstore and don’t require a prescription.
An IUD, is a very small device that is placed into the uterus where it will stay anywhere from 3-10 years. This is a great option for women who don’t want to worry about taking a pill at the same time every day or who aren’t looking to get pregnant for a few years. Of course, if you do change your mind and want to get pregnant, our doctor can remove the IUD at any time.
The two types of IUDs are copper or hormonal, and the one that’s right for you will depend on your specific birth control needs and lifestyle. Since there are no hormones within the copper IUD, women do not experience the side effects that they can with hormonal birth control.
Natural Methods and Emergency Contraception
Natural methods include abstinence or the rhythm method, in which you track your fertile and infertile times of the month to prevent pregnancy. Emergency contraception shouldn’t be used as a regular birth control method but can be taken to prevent pregnancy within the first three days after unprotected sex.
If you want to talk to our Texarkana, TX, OB/GYN about the best birth control option for you don’t hesitate to give our office a call today to schedule a consultation with us. We know choosing the best birth control method for you is a personal decision; let us help make the decision easier.
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