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Obstetrics & Gynecology in Augusta, GA
Gynecology

Your Guide to Gynecology: Common Reproductive Health Issues

Reproductive health is vital. However, it might be come as a surprise to you that young women are getting less pelvic exams than ever.

Reportedly, the rate has fallen from 75 percent in 1988 to 56.5 percent in 2017. That’s unfortunate because there are many benefits that come with seeing a reputable OB/GYN on an annual basis.

Gynecology is about focusing on women’s reproductive health and obstetrics is about focusing on pregnant women and their needs. Both areas are essential when it comes to many women’s overall health and well-being. So, let’s take a moment to see why it’s important for women to have an OB/GYN even if they have a primary care physician.

1. Period-Related Issues

Among the list of women’s diseases, period-related issues top it. If a woman’s periods are heavy, painful, or irregular, these are good reasons to see someone who specializes in gynecology. That way, a doctor can see if her lifestyle, hormonal levels, birth control, or something else may be causing her to have problems with her cycle.

2. STDs

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 percent of the U.S. population has an STD. The common ones include:

  • Herpes
  • Gonorrhea
  • Chlamydia
  • Trichomoniasis
  • Syphilis
  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

Many sexually transmitted diseases are curable. However, if they’re left untreated, they could cause infertility, cancer, and other serious health-related challenges.

Sexually transmitted diseases are oftentimes asymptomatic. That’s why it’s important to see a physician annually and to get tested for STDs every six months.

3. Endometriosis

Something that affects fertility issues is endometriosis. It’s what happens when tissue lining that is similar to a woman’s uterine lining grows outside of her uterine cavity. This leads to inflammation.

The inflammation can cause scar tissue, painful periods, and infertility. Pain medication and hormone therapy is often recommended after this diagnosis.

4. Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths that develop in a woman’s uterus. Some studies say that between 20-70 percent of women will get these fibroids during their reproductive years.

Uterine fibroids do not usually pose a serious health threat. They can cause heavy periods, fatigue, and they can make it challenging to carry a baby to term. All good reasons to see a doctor if a woman senses that she may have them.

5. Gynecology and Obstetrics Specialize in Female Fertility

If a couple has been trying to get pregnant for a year and nothing has happened, there may be fertility issues. Things like heavy or irregular periods and hormone disorders could be the cause.

Setting an appointment with someone who specializes in gynecology makes it possible for them to observe a woman’s family history, health, weight, age, and lifestyle habits to see what the cause of her fertility issues may be.

6. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Speaking of fertility issues, a common one is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). It’s one of the most popular hormone disorders. PCOS causes cysts on a woman’s ovaries, irregular cycles, and an overproduction of the male hormone androgen.

The cause of PCOS is still being researched. However, some of the symptoms include extreme acne, excessive body hair, unexplained weight gain, darkened skin, and infertility.

7. Imbalanced Hormones

Did you know that 80 percent of women have some type of hormonal imbalance? When this is the case, they typically experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Weight gain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Joint stiffness
  • Frequent urination
  • Constipation
  • Acne
  • Blurred vision
  • Depression

Since hormone disorders are so common, that’s one reason why annual check-ups are essential. They aren’t something that women should rely on Google articles to diagnose or treat.

8. Early-Onset Menopause

When a woman has gone 12 months without a menstrual cycle, she has experienced menopause and is no longer able to conceive. The average age for this is 51.

If it happens before 40, it’s called premature menopause. If it happens before 45, it is called early menopause. Since both center around a loss of estrogen, it’s important that a doctor examines her to see what underlying issues she may have.

9. HIV

In the United States, 2.1 million Americans are living with HIV, and there are 35,000 new infections every year. Although more people are living with HIV than ever, it is still a serious disease. It is also still contagious.

If you feel that your health has been put at risk, it’s important that you see a doctor as soon as possible. If you have HIV, your healthcare provider can put you on an effective treatment program.

10. Gynecological Cancer

Something else that can affect your reproductive organs is gynecological cancer. This includes cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, and uterine cancer. Some symptoms of this health issue include:

  • Constant bloating
  • Pelvic pain
  • Back pain
  • Increased urination
  • Changes in the appearance of the vulva
  • Diarrhea
  • Abnormal bleeding

None of these are symptoms that should be ignored. These are things that must be checked out immediately.

Do You Live in the Augusta, Georgia Area? If So, Give Us a Call

Now that you know more about what gynecology and obstetrics consist of, if you have any health-related issues, do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are passionate when it comes to women’s health. We are also here to provide the best service possible.

Even if these 10 common issues aren’t a concern for you, a routine examination is a proactive way to stay abreast of your reproductive health and needs. Give us a call at (706) 733-4427, or feel free to schedule an appointment anytime.

gynecology

6 Questions to Ask at Your Next Gynecology Appointment

For some women, visiting the gynecologist is intimidating and nerve-wracking. Some women even avoid visiting the gynecologist for these reasons. However, visiting a gynecologist is essential for every woman’s health.

Taking gynecology seriously improves your overall physical health, helps you plan and manage pregnancies and menopause, manage irregular menstrual cycles, and much more. Visiting a gynecologist doesn’t have to be a negative experience either. Keep in mind that your gynecologist sees multiple patients every day and there’s not much they haven’t seen or helped with in the past.

With that being said, it’s time to start preparing for your next up-and-coming gynecology appointment. In the guide below, you’ll discover several questions you should consider asking while visiting with your local gynecologist. Continue reading to get started.

1. Am I Updated on Health Screenings?

Women should start seeing a gynecologist between the ages of 13-15. This helps not only keep their reproductive health in great condition but also helps build a relationship between doctor and patient. It’s then important for women to continue seeing their gynecologist on a regular basis for regular health screenings.

For example, it’s recommended that a woman receive a PAP smear every few years to ensure everything’s looking great and there are no health complications. When you arrive at your appointment, be sure to ask your gynecologist if you’re up to date on all your health screenings.

Some common health screenings are as followed:

  • Pap smears
  • Breast exams
  • Skin exams (for cancer)
  • STD/STI testing

You might also want to ask your gynecologist about screenings for cervical and colon cancer.

2. What Are My Birth Control Options?

One important part of maintaining good feminine sexual health for some is birth control. Birth control is beneficial to some women for a variety of reasons. It’s essential for women looking to take control of their own reproductive health who aren’t quite ready for family planning.

Birth control can also help manage severe PMS symptoms and help regulate irregular menstrual cycles. Some birth controls even help clear acne and maintain balanced hormonal levels. If the benefits of birth control are something you’re interested in but aren’t sure if birth control is right for your body, then speak with your gynecologist about your options.

There are many different types of birth controls ranging from high hormones to no hormones at all. Each birth control option comes with its own pros and cons, which you can your gynecologist can discuss together.

3. How Can I Family Plan Safely?

When you decide it’s time to start your family, don’t hesitate to speak with your OB/GYN about family planning. It’s important to have a conversation with your doctor about fertility and how to safely plan for pregnancy. Your gynecologist might detect risk factors of infertility and provide you with a few options to get around these risk factors.

This is also a good time to have genetic testing done to ensure there aren’t any conditions that may affect the health of your future children and how to plan for them. STD/STI testing during this time is also important as you want to have a healthy body before conception.

Your OB/GYN might also suggest you start taking prenatal vitamins to provide your body with all the proper nutrients it needs to prepare for pregnancy. Any other questions you have about conception and pregnancy can be answered now as well.

4. How Can I Protect Myself From STDs/STIs?

Abstaining from sex, in general, is the only fool-proof way of avoiding contracting STDs and STIs. When this isn’t an option for you, it’s important to gather information about protecting yourself and what to be on the lookout for. For example, condoms are one great way to avoid STDs and STIs.

You can also speak with your gynecologist about receiving an HPV vaccine and scheduling regular testing. Ask about the signs and symptoms to look out for and let your gynecologist know if you’re suspicious about any current changes in your body.

5. What Are Some Ways to Make My Menstrual Cycle More Comfortable?

All women experience some type of menstrual cycle symptoms. However, not all women experience the same symptoms or the same pain levels associated with these symptoms. If you suffer from severe PMS symptoms, then you need to ask your gynecologist about managing your cycles and feeling more comfortable during that time.

There are several lifestyle changes you can make to help control these pains, such as exercising and avoiding drinking, smoking, and salty foods. You might also find comfort in soaking in a warm bath, but when your menstrual cycle causes you too much pain and discomfort, it’s time to speak with your gynecologist about other relief options.

6. Why Is There an Unusual Scent?

No woman wants to come face to face with vaginal odor. Unfortunately, this happens sometimes due to various reasons. Although infections and cleanliness certainly play a role in this, those aren’t always the reasons for it.

Hormones, bacteria, sweat, menstrual cycles, and leaking urine are all culprits as well. If you notice an unusual scent, always inform your gynecologist so proper treatment, if needed, can be given.

Let Us Help You Prepare For Your Next Gynecology Visit

At Women’s Health of Augusta, we offer state-of-the-art technology to make us better equipped to handle all Gynecological and Obstetrical care issues. We strive to provide compassionate gynecology care and attention to all your individual health needs. We’ve been providing this care to women for more than 40 years and look forward to hearing from you.

Click here to schedule your appointment today. Feel free to reach out to us regarding any questions or concerns you might have.

Gynecology

What to Expect From Your First Gynecology Appointment

Are you preparing for your first gynecology appointment? If so, you may be nervous and might not know what to expect.

Health professionals recommend that young women of 13-15 years old attend their first appointment with a doctor who specializes in gynecology and obstetrics. The gynecologist will perform an exam to ensure the health of your reproductive system.

Even women who have been attending the gynecologist for years tend to feel apprehensive about their annual ob-gyn appointment. Being prepared for your first exam will ease some of those nerves.

Keep reading to learn about what to expect from your first gynecology appointment.

Waiting Room

Like most doctor appointments, you will first meet with a receptionist and be asked to fill out paperwork. Be sure to bring all required information to your appointment.

This typically includes your insurance card, a photo ID, and a form of payment if your insurance does not cover the entire cost of the visit.

Routine Check-Up

Once you are called in, a nurse or medical assistant will give you a routine check-up. This includes taking your height and weight, checking your blood pressure, and taking a urine test.

Sometimes, the nurse or medical assistant will need to take a blood sample or they may send you out for blood work at a lab.

They will also confirm your medical history, history of medications, and ask if there’s anything you’d like the doctor to know.

Before they leave, they will give you a gown to change into for the exam.

Meeting Your Gynecologist

Once you are all changed, your gynecologist will knock on the door to make sure you are ready for them to come in. Here, they will introduce themselves and answer any questions or concerns the nurse/medical assistant relayed to them.

They will also ask questions about your menstrual cycle and past/current sexual activity.

Likewise, they may ask you if you’re interested in going on birth control. If you are interested, they will determine the right form for you.

Don’t worry about opening up to your gynecologist about anything that is bothering you, even if it feels embarrassing. They are there to help you with no judgment.

Breast Exam

Now, it is time for the exam. The first part of the exam is the breast exam.

You will usually be asked to lay down while the ob-gyn manually examines your breasts. They will palpate each breast to feel for any lumps or look for any abnormal areas on your skin or nipples.

If all is well, the test will be complete. If there are any concerns, your doctor will send you out for more testing.

Pelvic Exam

After the breast exam, it will be time for your pelvic exam. Keep in mind that if you are under 21 and not sexually active or don’t have any health concerns, your doctor may not even choose to perform a pelvic exam.

However, if you are sexually active, a pelvic exam is a standard part of your visit.

This part may feel uncomfortable and invasive, but a good gynecologist will go above and beyond to make sure you feel at ease.

You will be asked to lay back on the exam table and bend your knees to place your feet into the two stirrups at the end of the table. Your doctor will often remind you to make sure you’re scooted to the edge of the table and to keep your legs relaxed and spread apart.

External Exam

The first portion of the pelvic exam is the external exam. During this, the doctor will examine the external part of the vagina, checking your vulva, clitoris, and labia for any abnormalities.

Your doctor will usually talk you through each part of the exam as they perform it to ensure you feel safe and relaxed. Be sure to also take deep breaths to lower tension and anxiety.

Internal Exam

Next, is the internal exam. Your doctor will take a metal device called a speculum which is coated with a lubricant to minimize discomfort.

With the use of a light and the speculum, the doctor will be able to get a view of your cervix and make sure there are no spots, redness, or sores.

This is also when the doctor will swab the inside of the vagina to check for any STDS.

You should not experience any pain during the internal exam, although you may feel slight pressure or discomfort.

Pap Smear

If you are 21 years or older, you will need to receive a pap smear. A pap smear will check for cervical cancer or HPV cells.

The ob-gyn will use a thin brush to swab your cervix. This may feel a bit odd or uncomfortable, but not painful. Many people describe it as a mild pinching or scratching sensation.

Bimanual Exam

Lastly, your doctor will perform a bimanual exam. The speculum will be taken out of the vagina and they will insert two gloved fingers, also containing lubricant.

They will then press around your abdomen to make sure your pelvic organs feel normal.

Completion of the Appointment

After your pelvic exam, your appointment is complete. Your ob-gyn will leave the room for you to get changed back into your clothes.

They also may provide you with wipes if you need to dry your private area.

Be sure to schedule your next annual visit upon leaving. After your appointment, you may need to pick up any prescription your ob-gyn prescribed or go for further testing if necessary.

First Gynecology and Obstetrics Appointment

If you have an upcoming appointment, it’s normal to be nervous, but remember, it’s something every woman will need to go through at some point during their life and is necessary for your health and wellbeing.

If you are ready to search for a gynecologist near me? Women’s Health of Augusta provides many different types of quality gynecology services.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

obstetrics and gynecology

Obstetrics and Gynecology: Understanding the Differences

There are now over 110,700 gynecologists and obstetricians across the US. Not many people realize there’s a difference between obstetrics and gynecology, though. Understanding the difference between OB and GYN can help you seek the help you need.

You can visit a women’s health care specialist based on your specific goals and concerns. Otherwise, you could visit the wrong physician.

What is the difference between OB and GYN doctors, exactly? Which specialist should you visit? Keep reading to find out.

After reading this guide, you can make a more informed choice with your health in mind.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about gynecology and obstetrics today!

Obstetrics

Before we discuss the difference between obstetrics and gynecology, let’s look at each specialty separately. What exactly is obstetrics?

Obstetrics is a branch of medicine that focuses on surgical and medical care before, during, and after women give birth. This specialty focuses on caring for and maintaining the patient’s health during each stage of maternity.

These stages include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Labor
  • Childbirth
  • The postpartum period

Obstetricians are responsible for delivering babies. They can also provide therapies to help patients get pregnant. For example, some obstetricians specialize in offering fertility treatments.

Obstetricians can also offer guidance in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) for patients who deliver their babies prematurely.

These specialists will ensure patients have a healthy pregnancy and that they deliver a healthy baby.

You might need to consult an obstetrician if you experience any complications during your pregnancy, too. For example, you might require their expertise regarding:

  • Preeclampsia
  • Placenta issues
  • Signs of fetal distress
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Delivery through Cesarean section

Once you have the baby, your obstetrician can also help if you’re experiencing postpartum depression or other post-pregnancy issues.

Gynecology

It’s normal for people to use the terms “obstetrics” and “gynecology” interchangeably. However, there are differences between the two specialties.

A gynecologist specializes in caring for a woman’s reproductive health through all stages. They can offer care and treatment from the time a woman gets her first period. They’ll offer help all the way to a woman’s post-menopausal stage, too.

Gynecologists can offer treatment for any conditions that affect the reproductive system as well. These conditions might involve the:

  • Cervix
  • Ovaries
  • Uterus
  • Fallopian tubes
  • Vagina

GYN doctors can also perform screenings related to reproductive health. These screenings can include pelvic exams, pap smears, and breast exams. You might need to visit a GYN doctor for a tubal ligation or hysterectomy as well.

They can also provide human papillomavirus (HPV) shots.

You might consider visiting GYN doctors for advice regarding sexual matters. For example, you can discuss contraceptives and sexual practices during an appointment. They can offer advice regarding protection against sexually transmitted diseases, too.

In other words, you can visit a gynecologist for concerns related to female reproductive health that aren’t related to pregnancies.

A few related issues might include:

  • Endometriosis
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Cervical and vaginal polyps
  • Prolapse of pelvic organs
  • Cancers of the reproductive system
  • Conditions that cause pain during sex
  • Vaginal infections

If you become pregnant, however, you’ll need to visit an obstetrician.

Differentiating the Two

Between 2018 and 2028, the US will experience only a 2% increase in obstetricians and gynecologists.

In fact, many areas don’t have enough women’s health care physicians under either specialty. In 2020, there was a gap of 8,000 positions that remained unfulfilled in obstetrics and gynecology. The number could increase to a shortage of 22,000 positions by 2050.

The main difference between an OB and GYN is their focus. An OB focuses on pregnancies. GYN doctors, on the other hand, focus on all other fields of women’s health care.

When to Visit an OB/GYN

It’s best to treat potential health and medical issues by taking a preventative approach. Even if you’re healthy, consider finding a local OB/GYN. A specialist who focuses on both obstetrics and gynecology can cover your women’s health care needs.

You can schedule a preventative checkup once a year with a local specialist.

During your appointment, your OB/GYN can conduct evaluations or schedule any immunizations you might need. They can also request lab tests to determine if you have a specific condition.

Your doctor will determine which tests you need based on your age group.

You can also visit an OB/GYN to schedule a pelvic exam. Your doctor might recommend other screenings or tests based on your health and age.

You should also visit an OB/GYN if you notice any changes to your reproductive cycle. For example, these changes might include:

  • Your first menstrual cycle
  • Pregnancy
  • Perimenopause
  • Menopause

Some changes are normal. However, you should schedule an appointment if any changes are unexpected or unusual. For example, you might notice changes in the volume or frequency of your menstrual bleeding.

You should also visit your OB/GYN if you experience pain during intercourse or while urinating.

Reproductive Needs and Goals

You can also schedule a consultation appointment based on your reproductive goals. For example, you might need an appointment to discuss:

  • Safe sex tips
  • Contraception
  • Sterilization
  • Birth control
  • Treatment and prevention of pain during sex
  • Vaccinations
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Planning a pregnancy
  • Prenatal care
  • Infertility treatment

Let your OB/GYN physician know about any new symptoms you begin experiencing, too.

For example, you might experience pain before or during menstruation. You can ask your OB/GYN questions about cramps, bleeding, or mood swings.

If you’re going through menopause, you can also discuss symptoms like hot flashes, bone loss, or low libido. Your OB/GYN can help with solutions like hormone replacement therapy or other treatment options.

Having a go-to OB/GYN will give you peace of mind. Even if you’re healthy, you can schedule annual appointments to assess your reproductive health. If there are any areas for concern, you can work with your doctor to develop a treatment plan.

Obstetrics and Gynecology: Differentiating OBs and GYN

To recap, what is the difference between obstetrics and gynecology? Obstetrics focuses on childbirth. Gynecology, on the other hand, focuses on a woman’s overall reproductive health.

You can visit your local OB/GYN to discuss your reproductive health needs or to plan a pregnancy.

Eager to schedule your next consultation appointment? We can’t wait to see you.

Contact us today to get started.