Posts for category: OBGYN Care
Have you read that Pap smears aren't really necessary anymore? Although current guidelines recommend less frequent Pap smears, the tests still provide invaluable information about the health of your cervix and shouldn't be skipped. Your Gynecologist Dr. James Scales helps his patients by offering offer Pap smears, routine gynecological care, birth control, preconception planning and obstetrical care in his Texarkana, TX, office.
What is the purpose of Pap smears?
Pap smears detect abnormal and cancerous cells in your cervix, located at the lower end of your uterus. Early symptoms of cervical cancer can be easy to overlook, making regular Pap smears a must for all women. Prompt identification and treatment may prevent precancerous cells from ever becoming cancerous or improve your prognosis if you're diagnosed with cervical cancer.
How often should I have a Pap smear?
Although Pap smears used to be recommended yearly, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) changed the guidelines several years ago. The organization noted that it can take 20 years or more for cervical cancer to develop. Testing every year resulted in too many false positives and retests.
Women aged 21 to 29, should now have a Pap smear every three years. If you're between the ages of 30 to 65, ACOG recommends a Pap smear and human papillomavirus (HPV) test every five years or a Pap test alone every three years. Pap smears aren't necessary if you're 65 years or older. Although you may no longer need a Pap smear after age 65, it's still important to visit your Texarkana gynecologist for annual examinations. Annual examinations are also important if you're younger than 65, even if you don't require a Pap smear that year.
Should some people have more frequent Pap smears?
You may need a Pap smear more often if you've had cervical cancer or precancerous cells in the past. More frequent screening may also be recommended for women who have HIV/AIDs, weakened immune systems or were born to mothers who took diethylstilbestrol (DES) during pregnancy.
Protect your health with regular Pap smears. Call your Texarkana, TX, gynecologist Dr. James Scales at (903) 614-3003 to schedule an appointment.
Treating Irregular Periods
Irregular periods are common when you first start menstruating. It’s common for them to be early or late, but as you get older, your menstrual cycle should become more regular, with the average length of the cycle lasting 28 days.
You have chronic irregular periods if:
- The length of your menstrual cycle keeps changing
- Your periods are coming early or late
- You experience severe abdominal pain and very heavy bleeding during your period
There are many causes of irregular periods, including:
- Puberty, pregnancy, or menopause
- Contraceptive measures including the pill or intrauterine device
- Extreme weight fluctuations, excessive exercise, or stress
- Medical conditions including thyroid issues, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or polycystic ovary syndrome
You should see a doctor if:
- Your periods are suddenly irregular and you are under age 45
- Your periods are more frequent than 21 days
- Your periods are less frequent than 35 days
- Your periods last longer than 7 days
- You have severe abdominal pain and heavy bleeding with your periods
- You are trying to have a baby, but you have irregular periods
There are several ways to treat irregular menstruation. The first step is determining what is causing it. If it is due to a medical issue like thyroid problems, medication or treatment of the underlying condition is vital. Additional treatment measures include:
- Losing weight, if irregular menstruation is due to being overweight
- Hormonal therapies, including birth control to regulate menstruation
- Surgical therapy, if irregular menstruation is due to uterine fibroids or other structural issue.
There is also a 5-year intrauterine device known as Mirena, which can lessen bleeding. It also works as a contraceptive. Your doctor can help you decide which treatment option is best for you.
Irregular menstruation may be self-limiting, but it may go on for months or years. It can affect your life, especially if you are trying to get pregnant. It can also be a sign of a serious underlying condition. It’s important to seek out your doctor to find the cause, protect your health, and give you peace-of-mind.
Why Would a Hysterectomy Be Necessary?
Do you need a hysterectomy? Hysterectomy is the second most common surgery among women in America. A hysterectomy is a surgical operation to remove a woman's womb, or uterus. The uterus is where a fetus develops when a woman is pregnant. Women undergo a hysterectomy for different reasons. Read on to learn about the conditions that may be treated by hysterectomy.
Cancer- You have invasive cancer of the cervix, uterus, vagina, fallopian tubes, or ovaries. Hysterectomy is often medically necessary and lifesaving when patients are diagnosed with invasive cancer. The procedure may involve removing the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. The type of hysterectomy performed depends on your situation.
Uterine Fibroids- Uterine fibroids are treated by a hysterectomy. Uterine fibroids are benign growths in the uterine wall. In some women, they can cause long-term heavy bleeding and pain. Your doctor may try other procedures, like endometrial ablation or myomectomy, before a hysterectomy.
Heavy Periods- Infection, changes in hormone levels, or cancer can cause heavy periods. Some women lose a large amount of blood during their periods. They may also experience other symptoms, such as stomach cramps and pain. For some patients, the symptoms can have a significant impact on their quality of life. In some cases, removing the uterus may be the only way of stopping heavy or prolonged vaginal bleeding.
Uterine Prolapse- Uterine prolapse, which is a sliding of the uterus from its position into the vaginal canal. If uterine prolapse is severe, your OBGYN might recommend a hysterectomy. Talk with your healthcare provider about all your treatment options to be sure you understand the benefits and risks of each so that you can choose what's best for you.
Endometriosis- Endometriosis occurs when the tissue that lines the uterus grows on other pelvic organs, such as the ovaries. This can cause bleeding between periods and severe pain. While there's no cure for endometriosis, many women undergo a hysterectomy to alleviate intolerable symptoms of the disease.
Today, thanks to advances in technology, a hysterectomy is much less invasive which means a faster recovery time. Talk to your healthcare provider about how a hysterectomy might improve your symptoms. Hysterectomy has improved the lives of millions of people. And it can do the same for you.
If you are having trouble conceiving it’s important to turn to your OBGYN for help.
While it isn’t a topic that a lot of people feel comfortable talking about, at some point, it’s important to acknowledge that you and your partner are having trouble conceiving. Given the significance of the topic, it’s important to know when to see a doctor for an evaluation.
When should I visit an OBGYN?
At some point you may be wondering whether or not you should seek a consultation with a fertility doctor. Here’s when you should,
- If you are under the age of 35, have been trying to conceive, and haven’t used birth control for over 12 months, then it’s time to schedule a consultation
- If you are over 35 and have been trying to actively conceive for six months, you should get evaluated right away
What will happen during my appointment?
Your OBGYN will first want to make sure you are ovulating, which every woman can easily figure out on her own by charting her basal body temperature for a few months. This may provide some answers as to why you are having trouble conceiving.
Fertility testing may also be recommended. During this appointment, we will go through your medical history and talk to you about different tests such as an ultrasound, blood work, and physical exams for both partners, which can provide the information we need to figure out why you are having trouble getting pregnant.
Once testing has been completed we will be able to make a definitive diagnosis as to why you and your partner are having difficulty conceiving. Even if we aren’t able to find anything wrong, you can still receive fertility treatment to improve your chances of getting pregnant.
What are my fertility treatment options?
The most common types of fertility treatments include,
- Medication (to help your body release one or more eggs each month)
- In-vitro fertilization (IVF)
- Surgery (to fix defects, remove fibroids, treat PCOS, etc.)
If you and your partner are having trouble conceiving, it’s best to have these concerns addressed as soon as possible. Many women go on to have healthy, happy babies with the help of their obstetrician. Call your doctor to learn more about the fertility treatment options available to you.
Dyspareunia is the technical term for pain during intercourse. It's not uncommon for women to experience painful sexual intercourse at some point in their lives. It may be a sign of a gynecologic problem, a problem with sexual response, or simply a lack of arousal. If you are experiencing pain during sex, work with your OB/GYN to determine the root cause and devise a treatment plan. Read on to learn about treatment options for painful sex.
Painful sex can be treated with lifestyle modifications. There are a few ways to try to alleviate pain during sexual intercourse such as trying a slower pace or using more lubricant. Using lubricants can help make the sex more comfortable; different brands can be tried until you find one that is well suited to your needs, and remember communication is important! Talk to each other about what feels good and what doesn't. If your partner is going too fast, then tell them so.
Treatment options vary depending on the cause of the dyspareunia. Changing medications known to cause lubrication problems might also relieve your pain. For some women, pain during sex is caused by a lack of lubrication resulting from low levels of estrogen. This can be treated with topical estrogen applied to the vagina. Another medication to relieve dyspareunia is prasterone, which is a capsule you place inside the vagina every day.
If you’re looking for a non-invasive way to address painful sex brought on by low estrogen levels, MonaLisa Touch laser therapy is a highly effective long-term solution. Laser therapy eliminates vaginal dryness and helps prevent further complications, including vaginal atrophy. In just three treatment sessions, MonaLisa Touch revitalizes the vaginal mucosa and activates the production of new collagen to help restore normal functional and pain-free sexual intimacy.
Painful sex can lead to relationship problems. It may be worthwhile to speak to a counselor if this is the case. If trauma, sexual abuse, or other emotional issues are the root cause of the dyspareunia, counseling could very well help. Counseling can also help you cope with the emotional consequences of painful intercourse. Couples may attend counseling together if painful sex is leading to communication or intimacy issues.
Painful sex can be treated with desensitization therapy. Pelvic floor exercises and vaginal relaxation exercises may be used in this treatment method as they will strengthen your pelvic muscles and ease your pain during intercourse. Strong pelvic floor muscles can go a long way toward warding off urinary incontinence.
You don’t have to live with sexual pain. Find an OB/GYN in your area and schedule a consultation today. Get your life back on track by receiving the best dyspareunia treatment available. You deserve to live your best life!