What is the purpose of a Pap smear?
A Pap smear is the best tool at our disposal for being able to detect precancerous cells within the cervix. By catching these cells early, we can remove them before they turn into cervical cancer.
When should a woman get her first Pap smear?
Women should start getting regular Pap smears from their OBGYN once they reach 21 years old, or once they become sexually active. Women will continue to get Pap smears until 65 years old.
How often should women get tested?
Women between the ages of 21 and 29 should get tested every three years. Once you reach age 30 you should get tested every five years (often alongside an HPV test). Women who have had abnormal Pap results in the past may need to come more often for testing.
Will it hurt?
While getting a Pap smear may feel a bit weird or maybe even a little uncomfortable (especially the first time when you’re not sure exactly what to expect), it shouldn’t hurt. You may notice a slight pinch but that’s usually about it. While a traditional OBGYN screening will usually take up to 20 minutes to perform, the Pap smear itself usually takes just a couple of minutes.
How quickly will I get results back?
It’s typical to get your results within one week after your test, but your OBGYN will let you know when results will be available to you.
Do abnormal or inconclusive results mean that I have cervical cancer?
Not typically. An inconclusive test just means that the sample that we collected wasn’t useable. This can happen if you’ve been sexually active or used tampons with two days before your test. Your doctor will usually recommend repeating the test.
Abnormal results, while stressful, could be due to inflammation, infections, trichomoniasis, HPV or herpes. If your tests are abnormal your doctor will discuss further testing with you or provide you with proper medication if an infection is found.
If you still have questions about Pap smears, don’t hesitate to call your OBGYN. We are here to make sure that you fully understand any and all care you receive at our office.
Have I Started Menopause?
Common symptoms of menopause include:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Brain fog
- Trouble concentrating
- Vaginal dryness
- Mood swings
- Decreased sex drive
- Hair loss
- Weight gain
When it comes to managing menopause symptoms there are a variety of options. A lot will depend on the type of symptoms you are experiencing, how severe the symptoms are, and your current health. Lifestyle changes can go a long way to improving your symptoms. These changes may include:
- Eating a healthy, balanced, and whole diet that is free from processed or junk foods
- Getting regular exercise that includes weight-bearing exercises 2-3 times a week
- Finding ways to manage stress through deep breathing, meditation, etc.
- Quitting smoking
- Avoiding alcohol
- Making sure you are getting enough calcium to support healthy, strong bones
Women who are dealing with particularly intense and all-consuming hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness will often find incredible relief through hormone replacement therapy. Plus, hormone replacement therapy can also protect against osteoporosis, a condition that leads to bone weakness and fracturing.
If you are dealing with night sweats, hot flashes, weight gain, and other symptoms associated with menopause, turn to an OBGYN to help you find ways to manage these symptoms effectively.
It’s Time for Your Annual
This is the most common reason women visit the OBGYN. Most women should start visiting their gynecologist once a year for checkups starting at 21 years old. These exams typically involve a standard pelvic exam to check for any symptoms or potential issues that could affect the uterus, cervix, and other female reproductive organs. Your doctor will also perform a breast exam and a Pap smear, which detects suspicious and potentially cancerous cells in the cervix.
You Think You’re Pregnant
Whether you just got a positive pregnancy test or you’re experiencing symptoms of being pregnant, it’s important to confirm your pregnancy with your OBGYN. By confirming your pregnancy as soon as possible, your OBGYN can provide you with the treatment and care you need to ensure that you have a healthy pregnancy and delivery.
You are Concerned about STDs
If you are concerned that you might have been exposed to an STD, this is another reason to make an immediate appointment with your OBGYN. If you notice any unusual vaginal discharge, sores, or other symptoms, give us a call. Of course, many STDs don’t cause symptoms, so it is possible to have an STD and not even know it. This is why it’s a good idea to get regular STD testing, even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms.
You Want to Know Your Birth Control Options
There are so many different birth control options these days that you may feel a bit overwhelmed by your choices. This is when an OBGYN can talk you through the different options, weigh the pros and cons, and help you determine the best one for you based on your health and lifestyle.
You are Experiencing Symptoms of an Infection
Itching, discharge, and burning with urination are all signs of an infection. Whether you think you are dealing with a urinary tract infection, bacterial infection, bladder issue, or yeast infection, your OBGYN will be able to diagnose and treat it quickly and easily.
Your Periods are Out of Whack
If you are dealing with painful, extremely heavy, or irregular periods, you will want to discuss these changes with your gynecologist as these could be signs of an underlying problem such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis, or nutritional deficiencies.
An OBGYN specializes in offering comprehensive care for all women’s reproductive health issues and can provide everything from routine checkups and Pap smears to STD testing and family planning options. Call your OBGYN to schedule an appointment for you or your teenager today.
Abnormal uterine bleeding is any bleeding that’s not related to normal menstruation. It might include spotting, which is very light bleeding, in between menstrual periods, or severely heavy bleeding in which you soak your tampon or pad every hour or so for more than two hours.
Possible causes of abnormal uterine bleeding vary widely based on a multitude of factors. This is why an accurate diagnosis by your OBGYN here at OC Women’s Care in Fountain Valley CA with Dr. Debora Sedaghat is crucial.
Possible Abnormal Uterine Bleeding Causes
Abnormal uterine bleeding could result from problems with the reproductive system, hormones, structural issues or even at times cancer to other health problems. These can include the following:
- Reproduction and fertility problems
- Endocrine system issues
- Uterine conditions and other noncancerous growths
- Precancerous and cancerous conditions
- Certain medicines and devices
- Sexual trauma or abuse
Treatments for Abnormal Uterine Bleeding
The treatment will be dependent on what’s causing abnormal bleeding. Common treatments include birth control pills, hormone therapy, progestin therapy or an implanted device inside the uterus, called an IUD, among others. If these don’t work, your OBGYN in Fountain Valley, CA may consider surgical intervention.
For instance, if your bleeding is due to a structural problem like a polyp or fibroid, it will have to be surgically removed via polypectomy or myomectomy. This usually won’t have any impact on your ability to conceive children. Uterine ablation, a surgical procedure to destroy the uterus lining, might also be an option for some individuals.
With uterine ablation, the uterus lining will be destroyed via heat, laser, freezing, microwave energy, or electricity. This procedure, however, isn’t recommended for those who are still looking to conceive in the future. Uterine artery embolization is another option that could be considered. As a last resort, hysterectomy, or the complete removal of the uterus, may be recommended and is typically done if medical therapy and less invasive treatment options fail to manage uncontrolled bleeding.
Concerned About Abnormal Uterine Bleeding? Don’t Hesitate to Reach Out to Us
Call (714) 966-2112 to arrange an appointment with your OBGYN Dr. Debora Sedaghat and her team here at OC Women’s Care in Fountain Valley CA today.
Why Seek Menopause Counseling?
- Vaginal dryness
- Sleep disturbances
- Hair loss
- Weight gain
- Weakening bones (a sign of osteoporosis)
- Memory and concentration issues
- Hot flashes
- Mood swings
Lifestyle changes: One way that women can improve their symptoms is by changing their lifestyle around to ensure that they are practicing good self-care. This includes everything from getting regular exercise to stress management and deep breathing to healthy eating and meditation.
Counseling or therapy: We understand that for many women, menopause brings a lot of changes, some of which are emotional. If you are feeling anxious, depressed, or irritable you may find therapy to be particularly helpful for talking through your feelings and learning new and more effective strategies to help you cope with these stressors.
Hormone therapy: As women transition into menopause, certain hormones are not being produced by the body. These hormone fluctuations are why women deal with everything from vaginal dryness to hot flashes. Based on the symptoms you are experiencing your OBGYN can determine the best type of hormone therapy for you. This may come in the form of a cream, patch, pill, or injection. You must talk to your doctor about the pros and cons associated with hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Osteoporosis treatment: Many women going through menopause also develop osteoporosis, a weakening of the bones. This can increase a woman’s risk for fractures or serious bone injuries. This is why menopausal women should have a bone density scan done. By catching osteoporosis early, we can provide you with the proper treatment as well as exercises and diet to slow the progression of the disease.
Don’t let hot flashes, mood swings, and weight gain dictate your life or your happiness. Talk with your OBGYN today to find ways to help alleviate your menopause symptoms.
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