My Blog

Posts for: December, 2016

By James A. Scales, MD
December 30, 2016
Category: Women's Health
Tags: STD  

What you need to know about sexually transmitted diseases

Sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, cause irritating symptoms, but they can also result in severe illness or even death. Abstaining from sex STDsis the most fool-proof way to avoid an STD, but this is not always possible or practical. You can protect yourself from STDs in other ways by following a few simple steps. Your doctor wants you to stay safe by:

  • Always using condoms when you have sex, because condoms are highly effective in preventing STDs.
  • Practicing mutual monogamy, because having only one sex partner dramatically reduces your chances of being exposed to STDs, as long as you and your partner are uninfected
  • Limiting your number of sex partners, because fewer sex partners reduces your risk of exposure to STDs
  • Get vaccinated, because the vaccine to prevent HPV is both safe and effective to protect against cervical cancer

One of the most important ways to protect yourself and others from transmitting STDs is to get tested. Testing can aid in early diagnosis and treatment of STDs, which can result in a better treatment outcome.Your doctor wants you to consider STD testing for you and your partner before having sex for the first time. You should also consider STD testing if you have had:

  • Sex without using protection
  • Sex with multiple partners, or sex with a partner who is not monogamous
  • Intravenous drug use yourself, or sex with a partner who has used intravenous drugs

It’s important to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases, but it is just as important to be able to recognize when you might have an STD. Your doctor wants you to be able to recognize some of the common symptoms of STDs, including:

  • Penile or vaginal discharge
  • Genital sores
  • Burning and Itching during urination

You can have an STD and not have any symptoms. The only way to know for sure is to get tested by your doctor. You and your partner both deserve to enjoy sex and remain healthy. Visit your doctor to get tested and find out more about how to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases. Call today!


By James A. Scales, MD
December 15, 2016
Category: Women's Health

Cycle monitoring is a method used by OBGYNs and fertility specialists to map out a woman's monthly menstrual cycle, in order to determine when ovulation is most likely to occur. Every woman has what is known as a fertile window; the days leading up to and including ovulation. This is the phase of the menstrual cycle when a woman is most likely to get pregnant. Because every woman's cycle is different, with many women experiencing irregular periods which can make it harder to predict ovulation, cycle monitoring is useful for couples trying to conceive, either naturally or with the aid of IVI (Intravaginal Cycle Monitoringinsemination) or IVF (Invitro fertilization).

Ovulation and the Menstrual Cycle

A typical menstrual cycle is approximately 28 days, but varies from woman to woman. Ovulation is the monthly process where an egg is released for fertilization by the sperm, and it is the only point in the menstrual cycle when conception is possible. Healthy sperm generally remain viable for up to five days, which is factored into the fertile window when calculating a fertility chart and menstrual cycle for a woman actively trying to conceive.

Many women are unaware of their ovulation schedule, and many myths abound about the length and duration of the fertile window. Because menstrual cycles can vary greatly from one woman to the next, a consultation with an OBGYN can help women determine their ovulation schedule once they have decided they are ready to become pregnant.

Determining Ovulation and the Fertility Cycle

The first step in cycle monitoring is measuring the basal body temperature. Although the variations in temperature can be slight, and OBGYNs have found the effectiveness of basal body temperature measurements in predicting ovulation to be inconclusive, it is still considered a basic step in charting fertility. During ovulation, the body releases elevated levels of the hormone progesterone, which can cause slight fluctuations in temperature. During ovulation, the cervix produces elevated levels of mucus designed to help the sperm make its way to the egg for fertilization. Monitoring mucus levels can help to predict ovulation. The mucus becomes more elastic, clear (resembling the texture and consistency of egg whites) during the fertile window.

The range varies from woman to woman, but days 1-5 are the beginning of the cycle, when menstruation occurs. Days 6-9 are dry with no visible mucus. From days 10-12 the mucus is sticky and thicker than during the fertile window. At the end of the fertile window the mucus becomes thick and sticky again, followed by dryness until the cycle begins again the following month. Measuring the cycle for a few months can help to determine both the duration and ovulation dates for each woman.