Posts for: May, 2017
Osteoporosis weakens your bones and can cause them to break easily. The condition is particularly common in older people. In fact, more than 53 million people in the U.S. either have the disease or at high risk for developing it, according to the NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center.
How does osteoporosis affect bones?
If you have osteoporosis, your bones gradually become less dense and more porous. You may also experience thinning in the outside edges of the long bones in your body. Because of these changes, it's very easy to break a bone if you fall, even if you don't fall very hard. Osteoporosis affects both sexes but is more common in women. If you're female, you're more likely to be affected by the disease because:
- Women's bones are generally smaller and thinner than men's.
- Estrogen, a hormone that helps protect bones, decreases at menopause.
- Women tend to live longer than men. The longer you live, the more likely you'll develop osteoporosis-related problems.
What are the symptoms of osteoporosis?
In the early stages of the disease, you probably won't notice any changes. Symptoms generally don't occur unless your bones have weakened considerably. If you have osteoporosis, you may notice:
- You are shorter than you once were.
- Your posture has changed, and it's hard to stand perfectly upright without stooping.
- You have back pain due to compression fractures in your vertebrae.
- Your bones break easily.
- Dental X-rays show that you've lost bone in your jaw.
How is osteoporosis treated?
Although your bones will never be as strong or as dense as they were when you were younger, treatment is available to strengthen your bones and prevent breaks. Your doctor can prescribe medication that will slow the rate of bone break down and reduce your risk of fractures. In addition to taking medication, it's important to participate in weight-bearing activity and exercises that strengthen your bones and help improve your balance. Eating a diet high in calcium and taking supplements that contain calcium and vitamin D can also help protect your bones.
If you're concerned that you may have osteoporosis, talk to your OB/GYN about your risk factors and symptoms. Prompt treatment is the key to preventing the potentially serious consequences of this disease.
When it comes to preventing pregnancy, there are many options available today. Common birth control methods for women include oral contraceptives, intrauterine devices and Depo-Provera injections. However, contraception isn’t one size fits all and, depending on your personal situation and family planning objectives, one birth control method might be better for you than another. Your OBGYN can help you decide which type of contraception is best for you.
Types of Contraception
Oral contraceptives, otherwise known as birth control pills, are a popular contraception choice among women of different ages. Many women prefer birth control pills because they are easy to use, as simple as taking one pill daily. Birth control pills also help regulate the menstrual cycle and can ease menstrual camps, both advantages appreciated by many women on the pill. Another advantage of birth control pills is that their effects are easily reversed when you are ready to try conceiving.
Birth control pills are a convenient option for many women. However, they are not a good fit for women who have or have had certain types of hormone positive cancers. Most birth control pills contain estrogen, progestin or both and are not suitable for women unable to use hormone treatments or therapies. This is particularly true for women who must avoid estrogen-based therapies.
Depo-Provera is another popular type of contraception. Depo-Provera is an injection that is administered every three months by a nurse or other healthcare professional. For women who worry about forgetting to take oral contraceptives daily, a tai-monthly injection like Depo-Provera offers a convenient and practical alternative. Injections like Depo-Provera typically contain the hormone progestin, but not estrogen, so it can be an option for women who avoiding contraception methods with estrogen.
A third type of contraception is the intrauterine device. This option is popular among women who do not want to worry about their contraception daily or even every few months and who do not plan on becoming pregnant for several years. The intrauterine device is placed in the uterus by your doctor and remains in place for anywhere from three to five years, during which time pregnancy is prevented. The device can only be removed by your doctor.
The different types of contraception available to women each has its own advantages and benefits. Discuss your needs and preferences with your gynecologist or OGBYN. Your doctor can help you choose the method of contraception that is right for you and your situation.
Menopause is known as "the change" for good reason: there are many different ways your body responds to the loss of hormones. Dr. James Scales, your obstetrician in Texarkana, TX, works with his menopausal patients to help them understand the physical and emotional upheaval that can be associated with this time in their lives. Here, he's detailed what women often experience during menopause.
The decline in estrogen is responsible for several of the physical changes that women experience during menopause. One of the first signs that menopause is approaching is when periods become irregular in the mid- to late-40's. This is called perimenopause, and your Texarkana obstetrician recommends staying on birth control for at least a year after your final period, as pregnancy is still a possibility. One of the most well-known symptoms of menopause is hot flashes, a result of the brain trying to calibrate its temperature-regulating system. Menopausal women may also notice weight gain and vaginal dryness, and the risk of osteoporosis, or bone loss, becomes higher. Hormone replacement therapy may help some women navigate menopause, although it's not recommended for everyone. A good diet, regular exercise, and supplements have also shown to be helpful.
Your Texarkana obstetrician finds that the emotions associated with menopause vary greatly from woman to woman. Part of the difference depends on the outlook the patient has on menopause. Some women feel happy, even exhilarated, about no longer needing birth control or having periods. Others process the news as a significant marker for aging and feel sad or even angry at the change. The fluctuation in hormones and specific physical changes can play a part in the way women react to menopause. Anxiety, irritability, memory loss, decreased libido and depression can all be part of the process, and the rapid mood swings that come along with it mean that none of these symptoms are predictable. Your Texarkana obstetrician can help you manage your emotional changes associated with menopause through medication, dietary changes, exercise and possible hormone replacement therapy.
Dr. James Scales and his caring staff are available to help you maintain good reproductive health at any point in your life. To schedule an appointment, contact our Texarkana, TX, office today!