Obstetrics & Gynecology in Augusta, GA

4 Tips for Seeking Osteoporosis Treatment for Women

10 million people suffer from osteoporosis in the United States alone. Gynecology and obstetrics doctors are often the first medical professionals to recognize the signs of osteoporosis in women, which includes low bone density.

Low bone density is more common in postmenopausal women. As levels of estrogen decline, bone loss speeds up. Loss of bone density can increase the risk of fractures, pain, disability, and even death.

The good news is that osteoporosis treatment can help slow the progression of bone loss. Some can even reverse bone loss and rebuild new tissue. If you want to learn more about these treatments, keep reading this guide.

1. Understand Your Treatment Options

Medication and lifestyle changes are the top treatments for osteoporosis and other forms of bone loss. Not all options may be right for you. So, you must talk to your doctor about your options.

To give you an idea of what to expect, here are some of the possible treatments for osteoporosis in women.


Doctors typically prescribe bisphosphonates as the first line of defense against osteoporosis-related bone loss. These drugs are designed to stop or at least slow future loss of bone density in people with osteoporosis.

The most commonly prescribed bisphosphonate medications include:

  • Alendronate
  • Risedronate
  • Ibandronate
  • Zoledronic acid

These drugs can be administered as a weekly or monthly pill or via quarterly or annual IV infusions.

Bisphosphonates are not meant for lifelong use. Most doctors only prescribe them to be used for five years before switching patients to another drug.

Additionally, premenopausal women and people with kidney problems cannot use bisphosphonates and will be prescribed another drug instead.

Bone-Building Drugs

One of the biggest drawbacks to bisphosphonates is that they only prevent future bone loss. They do not reverse the effects of osteoporosis.

Bone-building drugs promise to do what bisphosphonates can’t. These drugs are short-term solutions for people with extreme levels of bone density loss.

The most common bone-building drugs are teriparatide, abaloparatide, and romosozumab. These drugs are injectables. The first two require daily injections, while romosozumab is a monthly injectable.

These drugs are only designed for use over one or up to two years. Once you stop using them, you do not continue to experience bone-building benefits.

2. Some People Do Not Require Osteoporosis Medication

Some people with low bone density that is within a certain range do not need osteoporosis medication.

To identify what type of bone density loss you are dealing with, your doctor will assign you a T-score. T-scores are ratings that compare your bone density to that of a healthy 30-year-old’s bone mass.

A negative T-score score indicates declining bone density. A score of 0 to -1 means you are experiencing bone loss but not enough to receive a diagnosis. A score of -1 to -2.5 may mean you have osteopenia, the stage of bone density loss that comes before osteoporosis. A score of -2.5 defines osteoporosis.

Having osteopenia may mean you require medication if you also have a history of hip or spinal fractures and your fracture happened as a result of a fall while standing, not falling from a height.

Another reason someone with osteopenia may need medication is if they are at high risk for a bone fracture within the next 10 years. In these cases, the most commonly prescribed medication is bisphosphonates.

People who do not require osteoporosis medication may be recommended to make lifestyle changes to prevent further bone loss.

3. Know the Risks of Osteoporosis Medications

Doctors only prescribe a medication if they believe the treatment’s benefits outweigh its risks. However, all drugs come with at least some risk of negative side effects.

Bisphosphonate does not commonly cause side effects, but when it does, stomach, bone, and muscle pain and gastrointestinal issues are the top ones. Extremely rare but serious side effects include jaw bone degeneration and atypical femoral fractures.

Bone-building drugs like teriparatide and abaloparatide have been shown to cause bone cancer in animals. However, the same effects have not been replicated in humans, so we need more research to understand the risk.

Romosozumab is a newer drug, and we have less information about its side effects, especially in the long term. What we do know is that people with a history of stroke or heart attack should not use this medication.

4. You Can Supplement Treatment With Lifestyle Changes

People with lower bone loss T-score scores and some individuals with osteopenia may only need lifestyle changes to treat their condition. Others can supplement their medication with lifestyle changes.

Here are some of the most important changes you can make to promote bone density and reduce the risk of future fractures.


Exercise and physical activity are excellent for your bone health. The more muscle you have, the better supported your bones are. Additionally, improving your balance can reduce your risk of falling.

Of course, some types of exercises will put more stress on the skeletal system. That’s why women with osteoporosis should focus on low-impact cardiovascular and resistance workouts.

Nutritious Diet

A nutritious diet is beneficial for all aspects of your health, including your bones. Focusing on bone-building vitamins and minerals like calcium and vitamin D are essential components of bone tissue.

Eating a healthful diet can also help with weight management, and high body weight is another risk factor for osteoporosis-related fractures.

Tobacco and Alcohol

Smoking cigarettes is one of the worst things you can do for your bone health. Nicotine slows the generation of bone cells, while the byproducts of combustion can prevent your body from using calcium correctly.

Alcohol does not have as direct of an impact on bone loss, especially if consumed in moderation. However, long-term or excessive alcohol use can impact bone density and increase the risk of osteoporosis-related fractures.

Gynecology and Obstetrics in Augusta

Overcoming osteoporosis is possible with medication and lifestyle changes. We hope this guide has demystified the options available to you and empowered you to get the medical care you deserve.

Do you need gynecology and obstetrics services in Augusta, GA? Women’s Health of Augusta offers comprehensive services at our state-of-the-art facility, so you’ll always have access to the compassionate care you need.

Contact us to schedule an appointment and learn more about your osteoporosis treatment options.


What Is the Best Age to Start Seeing a Gynecologist?

Having a daughter who’s going through puberty can be one of the toughest times in parenting. The teenage years are difficult and frustrating for both parents and their children.

Young women in particular go through major changes in their anatomy as they hit puberty. Getting their first period can be a traumatic experience, and learning to manage it is difficult.

A gynecologist is a doctor who specializes in women’s anatomy, especially once girls begin their reproductive years. So, how do you know when it is time to book a gynecology appointment? This guide will help you navigate the process.

When It’s Time to Visit the Gynecologist

Ideally, you should take your daughter to visit the gynecologist sometime after she gets her first period. Anywhere between the ages of 13 and 15 is ideal if there are no obvious problems with their menstrual cycle.

If your daughter complains about issues like painful periods, then it may be worth it to take her earlier than the recommended age. A gynecologist can take note of serious problems like endometriosis, or give advice on how to deal with period symptoms.

It is important to catch health issues early on. Some young women are ignored because their mothers or doctors see painful periods as normal. However, heavy periods can lead to iron deficiency anemia or other health complications.

Ultimately, it is up to your personal judgment when you take your daughter to the gynecologist for the first time.

Find the Right Doctor

After you decide to visit a gynecologist, the next task is finding the right doctor for your daughter’s needs. Remember, the most important factor here is how comfortable she feels with the medical professional.

If you have insurance coverage, look within your insurance network first to see your options. You can cross-reference available doctors with online reviews to narrow down your list.

An HMO plan may have a limited choice of doctors within the network. However, if you have a PPO, you may even be able to visit a private practice or a gynecologist outside of your main healthcare system. Always contact your insurance to verify if a provider has coverage.

You can also ask your friends and family if they know any good gynecologists. Since the reproductive system is a sensitive part of the body, you know that good recommendations from people you trust are invaluable.

It may take a few trials and errors to see if you can find someone who’s the right fit for your daughter’s needs. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is a great resource for locating quality doctors.

Go to Your Appointment

Once you locate a doctor in your area, it’s time for your first gynecology appointment. On the way to the appointment, walk your daughter through what will likely happen during the appointment.

You should also ask your daughter ahead of time if she wants you in the room with her or not. No matter what, make sure to respect her wishes during this intimate time in her life.

The gynecologist will likely ask your doctor about her menstrual cycle and when she had her last period. The doctor may talk about period symptoms, heaviness of flow, and whether your daughter experiences abnormal levels of pain.

Your doctor may also ask if your daughter is sexually active or needs contraception. Sometimes birth control can help alleviate symptoms of painful periods.

What to Ask the Doctor

Even if the gynecologist does a thorough job detailing the changes in your daughter’s body, you may still want to ask them some questions.

Ask them to explain some common symptoms of STIs, or sexually transmitted infections. Even if your daughter is not sexually active, it is still important to know what to look for and how to treat STIs.

Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are also prevalent among young women. Ask the doctor what symptoms your daughter should keep an eye out for when it comes to UTIs, and how to treat them.

If your daughter is interested in birth control, ask about what options may be best for her. For younger patients, the oral contraceptive pill is a common treatment method.

Some other issues that young women may have include bacterial and yeast infections. It’s important for your daughter to know what to look for, and how to take care of her reproductive anatomy.

Give the Patient Privacy

You may want to be involved in the process when you go to your daughter’s first gynecology appointment. However, it is also vital that you respect the patient’s need for privacy.

For instance, your daughter may feel uncomfortable discussing sexual activity in front of you. If she asks you to leave, respect her wishes. This will help her freely talk about medical issues she’s having with her gynecologist.

If there is a major problem that needs your attention, the doctor will let you know. They can give you private medical information if the patient is in immediate danger.

When you give your daughter freedom of privacy at her gynecological appointment, she is more likely to share things with you in the future. She may just want a comfortable and judgment-free environment with the doctor.

Follow Up If Needed

Once you start seeing a gynecologist for your daughter, you need to make sure the resources are always available. Check in with your daughter regularly to see if she’s having problems that may require a visit to the doctor.

If your daughter uses birth control, she should be aware of common problems and side effects that users may experience. If she has any serious issues, let the doctor know and see if you can find an alternative option.

Book Your First Gynecology Appointment Today

If your daughter needs to visit the gynecologist, don’t hesitate to begin the process. With this guide, you’ll both know exactly what to expect before, during, and after the gynecology appointment.

Looking for a new gynecologist? Women’s Health of Augusta is here to help. Call us or visit our office in person to get the quality women’s healthcare you deserve.


How Often Should You See the Gynecologist?

In a poll of 200 women about their sexual health, 40% of participants reported having not seen a gynecology or obstetrics specialist in the past year. One reason for this was a lack of knowledge about OB/GYN care.

For example, many women don’t know that experts suggest that women see a gynecologist every one to two years. The exact frequency depends on the individual and an OB/GYN’s recommendations.

If you want to learn more about when to schedule regular gyno appointments, keep reading this guide. We will also explain symptoms that may require a trip to your local OB/GYN ASAP.

How Often Should You Visit the Gynecologist?

How often you should see a gynecologist depends on multiple factors, such as age, sexual activity, and health conditions. Below, we will explain the general guidelines around when to see an OB/GYN by age group.

When Should You See a Gynecologist for the First Time?

You should ideally see a gynecologist for the first time around age 16. From then on, consider scheduling an appointment every other year if you are not sexually active or on birth control.

Girls between the ages of 16 and 21 who are sexually active and/or on birth control should consider seeing an OB/GYN more frequently. The only exception to this rule is if your provider recommends otherwise.

How Often to See a Gynecologist in Your 20s

Between the ages of 21 to 29, women should ideally see their gynecologist once a year. There are a number of reasons for this recommendation.

First of all, attending an annual gynecologist appointment can help women in their 20s set positive habits to last a lifetime.

Secondly, some studies have found that women between the ages are the most sexually active between the ages of 18 and 29.

Third, younger women often overlook the symptoms of breast and cervical cancer. Attending annual gynecology appointments can help detect early signs.

How Often to See a Gynecologist After 30

Women over the age of 30 should determine how often they should see a gyno based on the following factors:

  • Gynecological health
  • Gynecological disease diagnoses
  • Pregnancy

If you are between the ages of 30 and 65 and do not experience any of the above factors, you can see your gynecologist every other year. Some OB/GYNs may want to see you more often if you take birth control.

If you are between the ages of 30 and 65 and do experience one or more of the above factors, talk to your gynecologist about how often to come in for a checkup.

How Often Should You Go to a Gynecologist After Menopause?

You should go to your gynecologist once per year after menopause. This recommendation may surprise you, considering that you no longer have a period. However, annual appointments can help with other areas of care.

For instance, post-menopausal women still need an annual pelvic exam. Experts also recommend getting a pap smear at least every three years unless your provider recommends otherwise.

How Often to See a Gynecologist After 65

After age 65, the recommendations around how often you should see an OB/GYN become much looser. Most older women no longer need pap smears to screen for cervical cancer.

The exception to this is if you have had abnormal cervical cells or cervical cancer previously. Older women who are HIV positive, have immune system deficiencies, or have had a hysterectomy may also need continued screenings.

When in doubt, it is always best to consult with your gynecologist. They can help you understand the factors impacting whether you should or should not continue to schedule visits after age 65.

Reasons to Visit the OB/GYN Between Appointments

The above guidelines are good rules of thumb to follow. However, don’t think you need to wait for your regular appointment to see a gyno. Some symptoms require prompt medical care.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should schedule a visit between regular checkups.

Unusual Changes in Menstruation

Some changes in menstruation are normal. For example, missing a period could be a sign of early pregnancy or perimenopause. It could also be a symptom of stress, weight loss or gain, or excess exercise.

However, unusual changes in menstruation can also be symptomatic of certain medical conditions, such as:

  • Endometriosis
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Primary ovarian insufficiency
  • Hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism
  • Bleeding and blood clotting disorders
  • Uterine or ovarian cancers

If you experience unusual changes to your menstrual cycle, schedule a visit to your gyno ASAP.

Pain in the Pelvis or Vagina

Pelvic or vaginal pain is often a sign of a simple urinary tract infection (GI) or gastrointestinal issue. These conditions may not require a trip to your gyno. Seeing a general practitioner should suffice.

However, pain in the pelvis or vagina can also be symptomatic of more serious gynecological disorders. For that reason, it is a good idea to visit your gynecologist ASAP if you experience this symptom.

Unusual Discharge from Vagina

Unusual discharge from the vagina may be thick and abnormal in color. Abnormal discharge colors include white and grey, greenish and yellowish, or pink and brown. It may irritate your vaginal area or cause itching.

Abnormal discharge is almost always a reason to schedule a visit with your gyno ASAP. Conditions with this symptom include:

  • Yeast infections
  • Bacterial vaginosis
  • Untreated sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

Not getting prompt treatment for these conditions may result in complications, so it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Discharge With a Strong Odor

Normal discharge doesn’t necessarily smell pleasant. Most people would describe a healthy discharge as having a tangy, fermented, or sour smell. It may smell different after sweating or having sex and due to poor hygiene.

However, vaginal odors that are unpleasant or strong may indicate something else. Bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis (an STI), and, rarely, cervical or vaginal cancer can also cause this symptom.

Obstetrics and Gynecology Services in Augusta

Women should generally schedule a gynecology appointment every year or every other year starting at age 16. Talk to your provider about the best times to visit based on your age and unique health factors.

Are you searching for an OB/GYN in Augusta, GA? Women’s Health of Augusta’s state-of-the-art facility offers comprehensive services for patients. Contact us to schedule your first appointment.

how to prepare for a mammogram

How to Prepare and What to Expect During a Mammogram Procedure

How often do we take a moment to truly understand the steps we take for our health? Mammograms might sound like a routine procedure for many, especially for women over 40.

But there’s more to it than just showing up at the clinic. This article will shed light on the essential preparations one should consider. From understanding what a mammogram is to the nitty-gritty of getting ready for it, we’ve got you covered.

So, if you’re wondering how to prepare for a mammogram, stick around. There’s a wealth of information coming your way.

What’s the Big Deal with Mammograms?

We all hear about them, but do we truly grasp their significance? Mammograms are more than just another medical test. They’re a proactive step in our health journey, a silent guardian watching over us.

What is a mammogram?

At its core, a mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. It’s a specialized technique designed to spot any unusual changes or abnormalities. These changes might be benign, or they could be early signs of breast cancer.

But why wait for symptoms? A mammogram can detect these changes even before they manifest physically.

Now, you might wonder, with all the medical tests out there, why is this one so crucial? The answer lies in its preventive nature. While most tests diagnose existing conditions, a mammogram can potentially prevent a life-threatening situation.

The Real Purpose Behind the Screens

Breast cancer screening isn’t about inducing fear, it’s about empowerment. By getting a mammogram, you’re taking an active role in your health, ensuring early detection if something’s amiss.

Remember, the earlier any issues are found, the better the outcome will be, both physically and mentally. Knowing you’re in the clear provides mental peace, a reassurance that’s invaluable.

Statistics show that regular mammograms reduce the risk of dying from breast cancer. It’s a small step, but its impact is monumental.

Types of Mammograms: Not All Screens Are the Same

The world of mammograms isn’t one-size-fits-all. There are different types, each with its own purpose and technique.

The Common Types

There are primarily two types of mammograms: screening and diagnostic.

Screening mammograms are routine checks. They’re especially recommended if you’ve no symptoms. It’s like a regular check-up, but specifically for your breasts. These mammograms play a crucial role in early detection, even before any physical signs appear.

On the other hand, diagnostic mammograms delve deeper. They’re used when there’s a noticeable lump, pain, or other symptoms. Think of them as a detailed investigation, zooming in on specific areas of concern.

But why have different types?

Well, our bodies are unique. What works for one might not work for another. By having varied mammogram types, we ensure that everyone gets the care they need, tailored to their specific situation.

Prepping for the Big Day: How to Prepare for a Mammogram

The day is approaching, and it’s natural to feel a mix of emotions. But with the right preparation, the process can be smoother.

Before the Appointment

Avoid using deodorants, perfumes, or powders on the day of your mammogram. These products can interfere with the results. It’s a small thing, but it can make a big difference.

Also, if possible, try to schedule your mammogram for a time when your breasts aren’t tender or swollen. This can make the experience more comfortable for you.

On the Day of the Screening

Wear a two-piece outfit. It makes it easier to undress from the waist up. And trust us, it’s all about comfort during the process.

Leave your jewelry at home, especially necklaces. They can get in the way of the X-ray machine. Plus, it’s one less thing to worry about.

Remember, the key is to be as relaxed as possible. The more at ease you are, the smoother the process will be.

The Process: Getting a Mammogram

It’s one thing to prepare for a mammogram, but understanding the process can truly put your mind at ease. Let’s break it down.

Step by Step

When you arrive at the clinic, you’ll typically start with paperwork. It’s essential to provide accurate medical history, as it helps the technicians and doctors understand your unique needs.

Next, you’ll be led to a private area to undress from the waist up. You’ll be given a wrap or gown to wear.

Once you’re ready, the mammogram itself begins. You’ll stand in front of the mammogram machine, and a technician will place your breast on a clear plate. Another plate will press down on your breast from above. It might feel a bit uncomfortable, but it’s crucial for getting clear images.

The machine takes X-ray images from multiple angles. This ensures a comprehensive view of the breast tissue. The entire process usually takes about 20 minutes.

What to Expect

It’s natural to feel a bit of discomfort or even slight pain. But remember, it’s brief. The pressure from the plates ensures clarity in the images.

After the mammogram, you might notice a bit of redness or slight tenderness. It’s normal and should fade quickly. If you’re concerned, always reach out to the clinic or your doctor.

The results aren’t immediate. A radiologist will review the images, and you’ll typically receive the results within a week or two. If there’s a need for further tests, the clinic will guide you through the next steps.

Now You Know How To Prepare For a Mammogram

There are moments in life that define our commitment to ourselves. Getting a mammogram, understanding its nuances, and knowing how to prepare for a mammogram are more than just steps in a medical procedure.

They’re affirmations of our dedication to our well-being.

So, the next time that appointment rolls around, or if you’re guiding someone else through it, remember the importance of preparation. It’s not just about the physical act but the mindset we bring to it.

Here’s to taking charge, being informed, and embracing the path to better health. If you’re in Augusta and are looking for someone to talk to about anything to do with obstetrics and gynecology, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

specialists in women's care

5 Tips for Choosing Specialists in Women’s Care

As a woman, you probably have a long list of priorities to take care of each day. But are you on the list?

Your health should be a priority, but finding the right women’s care specialist isn’t always easy. Your gynecologist should be someone you can communicate with and trust.

Whether you need your first gynecological appointment, hormone replacement therapy, menopause care, or just an annual checkup, you need a doctor who will listen and take good care of you.

If you’re looking for specialists in women’s care, we can help!

Here’s what you need to consider when choosing the right women’s care specialist for you.

Consider Your Current Health

Finding a doctor who specializes in women’s health should be a priority. This is especially true if you’ve been diagnosed with a condition like endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), or another women’s health issue.

You want the best care, so finding a doctor who has treated many women with similar issues is a plus. A gynecologist has experience dealing with a wide variety of women’s health issues.

They can help you stay on track with regular pap and mammogram screenings and monitor your health with regular checkups.

Ask Friends and Family

One of the best ways to find a caring doctor is to ask people you trust for recommendations. This is a good way to find a gynecologist who is well-liked in the community.

Your friends and family want the best for you, so they will tell you which doctors they recommend and who to avoid. Do your own research before making an appointment. Getting a recommendation is a good place to start.

Read Online Reviews

You shouldn’t make an appointment with a doctor until you’ve done a little investigating, including reading online reviews. One of the best sources of information about any doctor is their previous patients.

A women’s health doctor deals with sensitive health issues. It’s very important to have a reputable gynecologist you can discuss these personal matters with.

Patients who have had very good or very bad experiences with a physician are more likely to leave a review. Choose a doctor who has a track record of making patients feel comfortable and providing top-notch care.

Although one bad review is not necessarily a concern, a string of negative reviews is a definite red flag. If you notice this, continue your search for another doctor.

Factor in Future Pregnancies

Are you currently pregnant or do you and your partner plan to have a baby in the future? If so, be sure to choose an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN) rather than just a gynecologist.

This way you can have consistent care when you’re pregnant and when you’re not. An OB-GYN can guide you through the stages of pregnancy and birth.

They can also monitor your health after you’ve given birth to ensure a healthy transition to motherhood.

Check Their Qualifications

Your personal health is so valuable, and you want to be in the best possible hands. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you have a doctor who is board certified.

This ensures they have gone through rigorous training and have passed exams to be a specialist in their field of practice. Some doctors, such as fertility specialists, must be double-certified.

Check out their medical practice website, and don’t hesitate to ask about their credentials and experience as well.

Verify Your Insurance

Healthcare of any kind is expensive. Before you show up for an appointment, make sure the doctor accepts your insurance or that they’re in your network.

If you’re not sure, contact your insurance carrier. You can also talk to the insurance specialist at the doctor’s office to go over the doctor’s services and what your insurance plan covers.

Think About the Location

Location is an important consideration when you’re choosing a doctor. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, you don’t need to drive a long distance or disrupt your life to see your doctor or get your mammogram screening.

Consider how long it will take to travel to your appointments. If you’re pregnant or plan to be pregnant, this is a major concern.

If there’s an excellent women’s care specialist in your local area, that’s the best place to begin your search.

Schedule a Consultation

Scheduling a consultation with a doctor is a great way to get to know them and determine if they’re a good choice for you. Consider how the staff treated you and whether you felt welcomed and cared for when you came through the door.

When you meet with the doctor, this is the time to discuss your health history and ask questions. A women’s health specialist should be willing to listen to you and answer any questions you may have.

It’s important to have a gynecologist you can talk to about all aspects of your health. From pregnancy to menopause symptoms like hot flashes, you should feel free to talk to your doctor.

If you don’t establish a rapport with the doctor, it’s okay to keep looking and find someone you feel more comfortable with.

Find the Best Specialists in Women’s Care

As a woman, making your health a priority is so important. Every woman should have a doctor they trust and feel comfortable with.

If you’re looking for specialists in women’s care, be sure to do your homework, including asking for recommendations, checking credentials, verifying your insurance, and scheduling a consultation.

At Women’s Health of Augusta, we’ve been providing excellent women’s healthcare services for over 40 years. We’re here to provide for all of your gynecological and obstetrical needs.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

does a pap smear hurt

Does a Pap Smear Hurt? What to Expect During Your Pap Smear Test

Have you undergone a pap smear within the past three years? If not, it’s past time for one.

Research shows that over 12,000 women end up getting cervical cancer each year. However, with pap smears, more than 90% of this type of cancer is preventable.

If you’re due for your first cervical smear, you may be wondering, “Does a pap smear hurt?” Let’s explore what to expect during your pap smear test.

What Is a Pap Smear?

This screening test helps determine if cancerous or precancerous cells are present on a woman’s cervix or the uterus’s opening.

During this routine procedure, a doctor gently scrapes away cells from the cervix and examines them for any abnormal growth.

Who Should Get a Pap Test?

Women should begin getting pap smears at 25 years of age. It is recommended they undergo these tests every 3-5 years.

Your doctor may recommend you get a cervical smear more frequently if you are HIV-positive. Women might also need to undergo more frequent testing if their immune systems are weak due to undergoing chemotherapy or organ transplants.

If you are 65 years old and have never had an abnormal smear result, you might not need to undergo more pap smears.

Preparing for a Pap Test

Your pap smear may be scheduled as part of your yearly gynecological examination. Alternatively, you may schedule a separate pap smear appointment. Most health insurance plans cover pap smears, but you might be responsible for a co-pay fee.

If you are menstruating on your cervical smear day, your gynecologist might ask you to reschedule your test. Otherwise, your test results may not be as accurate.

Also, it’s best not to have sex, douche, or use a spermicidal product 24 hours before your smear. These actions might also interfere with the pap smear results.

Have you just had a baby? Wait at least 12 weeks to undergo a cervical smear. Getting a smear too soon after you’ve given birth may also lead to inaccurate results.

What Happens During a Cervical Smear?

During this type of test, your doctor will ask you to lie down on a patient table. You can rest on your back or your left or right side. Then, bend your knees up.

Your doctor will cover your lower area with a clean sheet. They will also ask you to place your feet in special supports known as stirrups.

They will then open your vagina using a tool called a speculum. Afterward, they will take a cell sample from your cervix’s surface using a tiny brush or small broom.

The cervical smear will take a couple of minutes. Your doctor will then send your sample to a lab for examination.

Does a Pap Smear Hurt?

Pap smears generally don’t hurt. You might feel a gentle push and some irritation when your gynecologist is scraping your cervix. However, you shouldn’t experience anything more than mild discomfort.

Still nervous about undergoing the procedure? If you feel nervous or embarrassed, tell your gynecologist how you’re feeling. They may encourage you to bring a support individual with you to your pap smear appointment.

Also, if you’re pregnant, keep in mind that a cervical test might be more uncomfortable the farther along you are in your pregnancy. This is why you should try to undergo the test before you are 25 weeks pregnant.

Keep in mind that the more relaxed you are during your cervical smear, the more smoothly your procedure will go. Taking deep breaths may help you feel relaxed and stay calm during the test.

Following the procedure, any discomfort the scraping has caused you should subside relatively quickly. You may also experience light bleeding from your vagina, but this should also stop. Tell your gynecologist if you’re still experiencing bleeding or discomfort on the day following the test.

Normal vs. Abnormal Pap Smear

If your pap smear result is normal, this means the lab didn’t identify any abnormal cells. Your doctor may also describe your normal results as negative results.

If your result is abnormal, this does not mean you have gotten cancer. Instead, it means your cervix has abnormal cells. Some of these cells might be precancerous.

There are multiple abnormal cell levels. The mildest is atypia. The most severe is carcinoma or cancer. Fortunately, women with abnormal cell results usually have milder cells versus severe abnormalities.

If you have an abnormal smear, your gynecologist may have you repeat your cervical smear within a few months.

Your doctor might also want to examine your cervix’s tissue more closely through a procedure known as colposcopy. During this type of exam, your gynecologist will use magnification and light to see your cervical and vaginal tissues more clearly.

Your gynecologist might also get a cervical tissue sample — a procedure known as a biopsy — for further examination.

The information they gain through these extra steps will help them determine the next steps for you.

How We Can Help With Pap Smears

Are you wondering, “Does a pap smear hurt?” This type of cervical test can be a little uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t cause you pain long-term. Undergoing this type of test every 3-5 years can decrease your chance of developing cervical cancer as you age.

At Women’s Health of August, we offer high-quality gynecological services, including pap smears. We’re committed to providing you with individualized attention and grade-A patient service.

Get in touch with us to learn more about our services, and schedule a visit today!


The Benefits of Regular Obstetrics and Gynecology Check-Ups

According to data, cancer is still the second-leading cause of death affecting women aged 40 to 79. Experts expect up to 2 million new cancer diagnoses in 2023 alone.

Going for a well-woman check-up is extremely important the older you get. Having a regular screening means you can detect if anything is developing early enough to treat it.

For many, this detection could mean the difference between life and death. Finding a gynecologic oncologist you’re comfortable with and can build a medical relationship with is essential.

Keep reading if you need more convincing that regular obstetrics and gynecology check-ups are necessary. We’re giving you a list of benefits you can gain.

1. Build a Medical Relationship

When listing the benefits of regular obstetrics and gynecology check-ups, one of the first that comes to mind is building a medical relationship with your gynecologic oncologist. When you regularly see the same doctor, you can get to know one another over time, and they can become familiar with you and your medical history.

Having a good relationship with your doctor means you can feel comfortable asking questions you may otherwise have been shy to ask. It’s essential to remember that asking questions is a critical element in your health, so never feel you can’t ask any.

2. Get Essential Screenings

Another benefit of regular obstetrics and gynecology appointments is you get important health screenings. The tests you can access will depend on your genetics, medical history, age, etc. However, knowing beforehand which screenings you need is proactive.

There are several vital screenings women should get at various stages of life. They can include:

  • A breast examination
  • Pelvic examination
  • Pap smear
  • Urine Sample
  • HPV testing
  • Mammogram

Some may only be accessible after you pass a particular age mark. For example, mammograms are typically only offered to women over 40 unless the doctor feels it’s necessary earlier.

3. Get an Overall View of Your Health

Like any other doctor, regularly visiting your gynecologic oncologist can help give you a baseline of your overall health. Your doctor will do this over time, where you will undergo screenings and other check-ups like a gynecological exam.

Over time, your gynecology doctor will be able to get an overall picture of your health. This helps them catch any medical problems early, which may mean they can treat them successfully. If you only visit your gynecology doctor once every ten years, you may only detect disease by the time it’s beyond treatment.

4. Detect and Manage Menopause

Another reason to visit your gynecology doctor regularly is to track and manage your period. For example, a visit to the gynecology office is needed if your period is too heavy or irregular.

With advanced gynecology, your doctor can detect changes in your body that may affect your period—for example, the onset of menopause. Menopause can be highly uncomfortable for women, so a check-up can be a way to seek treatment.

5. Get Factual Nutritional Info

When pregnant, visiting your obstetrics practitioner is essential to get the correct information about infant nutrition. Becoming a mother can be overwhelming, so having help can make a significant difference in your parenting experience.

By visiting your obstetrics doctor, you can ask as many questions as you need about feeding your baby once they’re born. They can advise you about what’s best for feeding your infant. If you can’t or don’t want to breastfeed, your doctor can advise you on the formula you can use and how to ensure your baby gets all the nutrients and vitamins they need to grow.

Pro Tip: Remember, “fed is best” for infants, so there is no need to feel judged if you’re not breastfeeding

6. Stay Updated With Vaccinations

Another benefit of regular well-women visits is staying updated with vaccinations. If you’re not pregnant, you can get several vaccines, and your doctor will have access to them. For example, they will be able to administer the following vaccines, so long as you’re not pregnant:

Staying up-to-date with your vaccinations means staying protected from illnesses and diseases like tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough. If you need help determining your vaccinations, your medical provider can advise you based on your history.

7. Track Baby Development

When you’re pregnant, another benefit of going to the obstetrics doctor is the ability to track your baby’s development. Your medical provider will have access to machines that can adequately scan your uterus to ensure the fetus is healthy.

Fetal development changes happen so rapidly that scheduling a regular visit with your obstetrics doctor helps you stay updated on their growth progress. You can also detect problems inside the womb by being regularly scanned and checked.

8. Develop A Pregnancy Plan

As you progress in your pregnancy, you must research more information than before. You want to ensure you have time to create a personalized plan that works for you and your doctor.

Having nothing planned by the time the baby arrives can result in a birth where you feel out of control. This can add unnecessary stress to the mother during an already challenging time.

Your obstetrics doctor can advise which prenatal classes to take, such as a Lamaze class focusing on breathing and pain management. Knowing techniques that can help ease the discomfort of childbirth is worthwhile learning before the time arrives.

Stop Skipping Your Gynecology and Obstetrics Visits

Taking care of yourself while you’re pregnant or as you age is essential if you want a healthy baby and a healthy you. Regularly visiting the gynecology doctor is recommended because you can receive crucial screenings, track and manage your period and menopause symptoms, stay up to date with the latest vaccines, and build a solid medical relationship with your provider. By visiting your obstetrics doctor, you can track your baby’s development, get nutritional advice, and create a personalized pregnancy plan.

If you’ve been putting off your visit, why not book an appointment with us today? We offer top-quality services from pregnancy and prenatal care to menopause care.


Obstetrics: An Overview of Popular Prenatal Tests

The word “test” is enough to inspire anxiety in a lot of our patients. After all, they’ve spent their whole lives learning that a test is something you can fail! When the test in question involves the health of your new baby, the prospect can seem even more nerve-wracking.

At Women’s Health of Augusta, our obstetrics team ensures that every expectant parent understands what to expect, from their first prenatal visit to their sweet baby’s delivery day. If you’re nervous about your prenatal care, the right team can make all the difference.

That’s why we’ve created this guide to the common and optional prenatal tests you’ll experience during your pregnancy journey. We’ve found that transparency can make the process more comfortable for everyone involved.

In other words, consider this your “study guide” for your upcoming tests, and you’re sure to “pass” with flying colors! Read on to learn all there is to know about routine and genetic testing.

Common Prenatal Tests

Your obstetrician wants to ensure that you and your baby are as healthy as possible during your pregnancy. Proper care and observation will involve a lot of new and unfamiliar diagnostic tests and tools. Below, we’ll describe the exams and procedures that most doctors require during a healthy pregnancy.

Routine Blood Tests

During your first trimester of pregnancy, your doctor will take a blood sample. They will look for specific diseases and illnesses that can impact your pregnancy. These can include:

  • Tuberculosis
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Rubella
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Certain STIs

If your bloodwork shows you have any of the above conditions, your doctor can help make referrals and get you treatment. They will have the necessary information to accommodate these conditions during your care.

Your doctor will also take a blood sample to determine your Complete Blood Count or CBC. They will be looking at the number of types of cells in your blood, which can help them spot conditions like anemia.

During initial blood testing, your doctor will be able to tell you your blood type.

Your team will also check to see if your blood contains the Rh factor. This information can ensure your body does not create antibodies that can harm your baby. If you are Rh negative, your doctor may prescribe medication to prevent this.

Urinalysis and Urine Culture

Your doctor will most likely request a urine sample during your first prenatal appointment. This test will look for signs of infection or sugar in the urine. This sample will serve as a baseline as your pregnancy progresses.

If your doctor finds signs of a UTI, you will receive antibiotics. This medication will not harm your baby.

Glucose Screening

During your second trimester, your doctor will order a Glucose Screening test to look for signs of gestational diabetes. During the test, a technician will give you a sweet drink. They will then test your blood to see your body’s insulin response in action.

Depending on the results, your doctor might order a second glucose test. If the test shows you have gestational diabetes, you will receive medication and dietary counseling.


A sonogram (or ultrasound) is a painless, noninvasive imaging test used to monitor your baby in utero. You will likely have a minimum of two ultrasounds during your pregnancy.

The first sonogram will be during the first trimester. This test will help identify your due date.

The second sonogram will occur during the 18th through 22nd week of pregnancy. Most doctors call this the anatomy scan. This is an exciting test for many new parents, as they may learn the biological sex of their new baby.

Some doctors schedule more frequent ultrasound tests, especially for high-risk mothers. Ask your doctor about how many sonograms you can expect to receive during your pregnancy.

Group B Streptococcus Screening

During the third trimester, your doctor will take a GBS culture to look for bacteria known as Group B Streptococcus. If present in the vaginal or rectal area, it can pass to your baby during delivery. Your doctor will take a swab of the site and send it to the lab for analysis.

If your doctor finds GBS present in your sample, you will receive IV antibiotics during labor.

Optional Prenatal Tests

Many prenatal tests are optional but can help new parents find peace of mind. You will usually complete a survey to identify your risk factors during your first trimester. Your doctor might use that information to recommend certain optional genetic screening tests.


During this test, a doctor will use a thin needle to withdraw some amniotic fluid from within your uterus. Your doctor will send this fluid to the lab for analysis. It can help you find certain birth defects such as Down’s syndrome and muscular dystrophy.

Chorionic Villus Sampling

During CVS testing, a doctor will take a small tissue sample from your placenta. It can provide much of the same information as amniocentesis, though the odds of complications are higher. You might choose this test if you need to confirm genetic information as early in your pregnancy as possible.

Start Your Journey at Augusta’s Choice for Obstetrics

Working with a trustworthy obstetrics team is the key to feeling secure and supported on your prenatal journey.

Women’s Health of Augusta employs the most compassionate and knowledgeable professionals to ensure you’ll always know what’s coming next. They will guide you through your prenatal care and testing and help provide the thoughtful information you need to make the best choices for your baby.

We’d love to welcome you and your baby to the Women’s Health of Augusta family. Contact us today so we can answer any questions you have about the above prenatal tests. We’ll help set up an appointment so you can begin building a relationship with a caring, trustworthy obstetrician.

selecting a gynecologist,

7 Mistakes You Need to Avoid When Selecting a Gynecologist

Choosing your gynecologist can feel like an overwhelming decision. There are over 12,500 gynecologists across the United States, meaning there are almost certainly a few qualified doctors available near you.

However, not all gynecologists are equal. Some have different experiences, qualifications, standards, and specialties. Therefore, it’s important to choose the right one for your needs.

Fortunately, we can help with that. Let’s talk about some common mistakes to avoid when selecting a gynecologist.

1. Not Asking For Recommendations

This might not come across as an obvious mistake, avoiding asking for personal recommendations means you’re missing out on a major resource!  Take the time to talk to your peers and family members about who they do or do not recommend. You should also consider asking your trusted physician who they would refer you to. A recommendation or referral from someone you trust will offer peace of mind while making your important decision

2. Neglecting to Vet Online

Take a moment to check the doctor’s online reputation to see what previous patients have to say. This can offer valuable insights into their bedside manner, communication, expertise, and more.

A doctor may be able to control reviews on their website, but they can’t always manage reviews on Google, Yelp, or other online directories. While you shouldn’t rely entirely on a doctor’s online reputation, we are fortunate enough to live in a time with ample opportunities for reading patient reviews.

3. Not Verifying Credentials or Experience

While this may sound unnecessary, you may want to consider verifying a doctor’s credentials and experience. If you’re new to an area or if you’re unfamiliar with their office, you may not know the standards they require. At the minimum, they will need an MD or a Doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) and a valid license to practice.

You should also realize that a clinic or physician may not offer the services or specializations you need.

Therefore, you should look for a clinic that offers specific tests, abnormal smears, or any other specific healthcare need you may have.

4. Not Checking the Location

Location, especially if you’re pregnant or believe you will need to make frequent visits to your new gynecologist,  should be a key factor during your search. Find a gynecologist’s office that is relatively close to your home, office, or somewhere you regularly visit.

5. Not Comparing Rates

Comparing gynecologists’ costs is another step you can take. However, don’t let it be the only factor.

The reason this is in the fifth spot and not the first is that the quality and accessibility of care are far more important.

If this is for a one-time visit, or if you don’t have health insurance, comparing costs could save you some money on your medical bill. Without insurance, make sure you call ahead to ask about out-of-pocket expenses.

However, for a high-risk pregnancy or a serious gynecological disorder, insurance is essential. Talk to your insurance agency about out-of-pocket costs and then compare gynecologist costs between

6. Insurance Coverage

Speaking of costs, let’s talk about the good ol’ insurance network. Make sure that your insurance provider covers the gynecologist and the services you need beforehand.

As always, there can be some bureaucratic issues with coverage, depending on the type of facility, network coverage, and services you need. Make sure you know ahead of time that your insurance will cover these needs.

Insurance will certainly cover most routine checkups if the doctor is in the provider’s network. If you need special services, check ahead of time to ensure that you don’t run into any issues. Out-of-pocket costs without insurance coverage can range from $110 to $447 just for a routine checkup, and more for specialized care.

7. Availability

It is important that you contact the office beforehand to verify your prospective doctor’s availability. If you need more immediate care, then you don’t want to have to wait four months for your first consultation.

Prenatal Care

What Are the Benefits of Seeking Early Prenatal Care?

According to the CDC, about 6% of pregnant women don’t receive any prenatal care prior to giving birth. That works out to be almost 250,000 pregnant women in total.

If you’re pregnant at the moment, you should make it your mission to get the prenatal care you need throughout your pregnancy. Most gynecology services will be able to provide you with prenatal care.

So, what is prenatal care? Well, it’s essentially a series of checkups that take place throughout your pregnancy to see how both you and your baby are doing. This form of women’s health care is very important for both women’s health and the health of their babies.

There are a whole host of benefits that you’ll get to enjoy when you secure the prenatal care services you need during pregnancy. Check out a few of the biggest benefits of prenatal care below so that you’re able to get a better understanding of why you should take advantage of it.

Allows You to Develop a Pregnancy Plan

From the moment you first find out you’re pregnant, it’s going to be important for you to come up with a pregnancy plan. You’ll need to think about things like:

  • Which foods and beverages you’ll need to eliminate from your diet
  • What steps you’ll take to maintain a healthy weight
  • How deep into your pregnancy you’ll continue to work

Creating a pregnancy plan on your own may be very challenging. It’ll be so much easier when you’re getting prenatal care from doctors and nurses you trust. They’ll be able to make the best possible suggestions for you and your baby.

Ensures You’re Taking the Right Prenatal Supplements

There are certain prenatal supplements you’re going to want to take for the sake of your baby’s health. For example, it’ll be important for you to take 400 micrograms of folic acid every day. It’ll help prevent the most common birth defects.

When you seek prenatal care, you’ll be able to discover more about the other supplements you might want to consider taking during your pregnancy. A team of doctors and nurses can recommend the right prenatal supplements to you and even talk to you about where to find them.

Helps You Take Control of Any Preexisting Health Conditions

If you currently suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, or any other health conditions, it’s going to be extra important for you to receive prenatal care. Doctors and nurses will be able to help you take better control of these conditions so that they don’t affect you or your baby when you’re pregnant.

They’ll also be able to tell you whether or not you can continue to take certain prescription medications that you might be on at this time. There are many different medicines that could prove to be risky when you’re pregnant.

Reduces the Risk of Any Pregnancy Complications

Ideally, you’re going to want your entire pregnancy to go as smoothly as possible. The last thing you want is to be put on bed rest when you’re pregnant or to need to have your baby induced ahead of schedule.

There are some instances in which these kinds of complications can’t be avoided. But you can reduce the risk of any pregnancy complications by getting the proper prenatal care from a facility that specializes in providing women’s health care.

Monitors Your Baby’s Health Throughout Your Pregnancy

The doctors and nurses who provide you with prenatal care will obviously be worried about more than just your health. They’re also going to pay close attention to the health of your baby throughout your pregnancy.

During prenatal care, you’ll often have ultrasounds done so that doctors and nurses can monitor your baby’s health and the growth they experience over time. They’ll also listen to your baby’s heartbeat to make sure it sounds okay.

You’ll be amazed to see how much doctors and nurses are able to learn about your baby’s health from the outside. It’ll provide you with peace of mind and give you a chance to make lifestyle changes if doctors and nurses sense any potential issues that could be going on.

Prepares You for the Physical and Mental Impact of Pregnancy

Being pregnant can be very taxing on both your body and mind. You’re going to have all kinds of aches and pains that you’ll have to deal with on a daily basis. You might also find that your hormones may cause mental health problems during your pregnancy.

The doctors and nurses that extend prenatal care to you will be able to help prepare you for some of the physical and mental effects of pregnancy. They’ll also be able to come up with solutions for any pregnancy problems you might face.

Gives You Easy Access to Postnatal Care

Pre- and post-natal care will both be important for you and your baby. By seeking prenatal care, you’ll also be able to find a place that can give you access to postnatal care once you give birth.

You’ll be able to transition seamlessly from prenatal care to postnatal care when you have the right gynecology service on your side. It’ll increase the chances of you and your baby enjoying a better experience overall both when you’re pregnant and during the first few weeks of your baby’s life.

Contact Us for All Your Prenatal Care Needs

Are you trying to get pregnant right now or did you recently find out that you’re pregnant? Women’s Health of Augusta can set you up with the prenatal care services you need.

We’ve been helping women deliver babies at University Hospital and Trinity Hospital since the 1970s. You can trust us to assist you throughout your pregnancy journey by providing you with all the benefits listed here.

Get in touch with us now to speak with someone about your prenatal care needs. We also offer a wide range of other gynecological services at our facility.