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Obstetrics & Gynecology in Augusta, GA
signs of hormonal imbalance after pregnancy

How to Identify Signs of Hormonal Imbalance After Pregnancy

For many women, pregnancy is a wild ride. While each woman’s experience is unique, most will agree that it’s no walk in the park (hello first and third trimesters!). But for all of the hormonal ups and downs of pregnancy, the postpartum period is where things can get really tough.

The reason for this is the drastic hormonal changes experienced in the first 5 days after birth and weeks after. They are some of the biggest hormonal fluctuations in the human experience with estrogen and progesterone levels falling dramatically once your baby is earth-side.

But how do you know when things just aren’t right in your postpartum period, despite these hormonal ups and downs? Here are the signs of hormonal imbalance after pregnancy.

Hormonal Fluctuations Post-Birth

Aside from the fact that you just gave birth and have a tiny human to raise and nurture, there are a myriad of reasons you might not feel like the old you. Yes, your life has done a 180 and changed overnight. But your hormones play a key role in how you feel in the months after you give birth.

The fourth trimester counts as the first 12 weeks following the birth of your child. In that time, your hormones will change many times to accommodate your healing body, your breastfeeding journey, and so much more.

Just before birth and immediately after, your progesterone and estrogen levels drop from the highest they’ve ever been, down to the lowest. This can lead to what’s known as the ”baby blues”, as well as anxiety, mood swings, irritability, and more.

Your system is also flooded with oxytocin, kicking in your instinct to bond with your child, as well as other key hormones such as prolactin to aid in breastfeeding. It’s 100 percent normal to feel unlike yourself with all of these huge hormonal changes, along with many sleepless nights and the reality of sleep deprivation.

Key Signs of Hormonal Imbalance After Pregnancy

It will take several months for your hormones to level out to pre-pregnancy status. This amount of time varies for every person. But here’s when you know you might be dealing with a hormonal imbalance (a good few months down the line):

1. Major Mood Swings

It’s normal for your mood to fluctuate in the postpartum period due to lack of sleep, overwhelm, and the massive responsibility of raising a child. Emotional ups and downs are par for the course of parenthood.

But if you’re consistently experiencing mood swings that are out of character for you, specifically towards the end of the first year of your postpartum period, this is cause for concern. These drastic mood swings could point to a hormonal irregularity that’s worth investigating. Things could escalate to more severe conditions such as postpartum depression if left untreated.

2. Chronic Fatigue

What parent is not tired, especially in the first year after birth? For most, being tired seems to become part of your everyday life (especially in the early days!). But beyond this level of general fatigue is chronic fatigue — a feeling of overwhelming exhaustion that dominates your life.

Ongoing exhaustion can have a dire impact on your life, affecting your mood, relationships, and even your ability to care for yourself and your baby. This type of fatigue could point to a hormonal imbalance that you might need to look into.

3. Low or Non-Existent Sex Drive

The hormones involved in breastfeeding can contribute to a suppressed libido, specifically prolactin which suppresses both progesterone and estrogen. The mental and physical toll of breastfeeding can also contribute to a lower libido.

But once your hormones begin to level out, usually around the 6-month mark when your baby might begin solids, very low libido could signal that something is up.

4. An Irregular Menstrual Cycle

It might be difficult to decipher what’s normal and what’s not with your menstruation once you’ve given birth. For many women, it can take months for their menstrual cycle to return to ”normal” or something resembling a normal cycle. This is especially true for breastfeeding mothers. If you exclusively breastfeed, you might not experience a menstrual cycle for up to a year or more post-birth.

But if your menstrual cycle does return, and it’s all over the place (i.e. resembling nothing like it once was), this could be a sign of hormonal imbalance. It’s worth tracking your cycle and symptoms for a few months to get a good read on what’s happening. But if you have concerns, it’s always worth consulting a women’s health professional.

5. Unusual Weight Gain or Loss

It’s 100 percent normal for your body to retain some weight after birth. Factors such as exhaustion, stress, and overwhelm can also make it difficult to shift the weight you might have gained during pregnancy. For other women, these factors can lead to rapid weight loss and maternal depletion. The door swings both ways.

But if you’re experiencing rapid weight gain or loss, even if your diet has not changed much, this could point to an imbalance in the hormones produced by your thyroid.

6. Mental Health Changes

Postpartum anxiety, depression, and psychosis are all common realities for many women in the months following birth. The key is to identify the symptoms early on and get the help that you need. Some key symptoms include huge mood fluctuations, heightened or irrational anxiety, a lack of interest in caring for yourself or your child, and more.

More often than not, these mental health changes come down to hormonal imbalances. If left untreated, these conditions can become severe and impact your health, your relationships, and even the safety of your child.

That’s why it’s so important to understand the symptoms and seek out expert treatment as soon as possible.

Women’s Health Experts at Your Fingertips

The signs of hormonal imbalance after pregnancy can be difficult to notice, especially because everything feels so different after you’ve given birth. This makes it tough to understand what’s considered ”normal” or when a hormonal imbalance could be at play.

The bottom line is that you know yourself best. If you’re not feeling right, take the time to consult with a women’s health expert who can help you get to the bottom of your hormonal issues. Get in touch with Women’s Health of Augusta today.

emsculpt neo results

EMSculpt NEO Results: What to Expect From the Treatment

What if you could melt fat and build muscle without dieting or stepping foot in a gym? With EMSculpt NEO, it’s possible! EMSculpt’s products are the fastest aesthetic brand to reach one million treatments.

EMSculpt is a non-invasive treatment designed to contour your body while building and sculpting your figure. However, results can vary between patients.

Not sure if this treatment is right for you? Read on to learn what to expect before scheduling your first EMSculpt session!

What Is EMSculptNeo?

EMSculpt Neo is a non-invasive body contouring treatment. It uses radio frequency and high-intensity focused electromagnetic energy to melt fat and tone muscle.

The latter causes your muscles to contract. Meanwhile, radio frequency energy will warm your muscles and melt fat cells. The warming action is similar to warming up at the gym, preparing your muscles for exposure to stress.

Heating your fat cells can cause apoptosis (the controlled death of fat cells). You should experience lasting results from treatment.

The original version of EMSculpt only used high-intensity focused electromagnetic energy. This newer model is better suited for patients who want to tone their bodies. The radio frequency gives the device stronger fat-melting abilities.

Benefits

Schedule a consultation at your local gynecologist’s office or another provider’s clinic to determine if EMSculpt Neo meets your needs. They’ll help you determine if treatment will accomplish your aesthetic goals. It’s important to maintain realistic expectations before scheduling an EMSculpt session.

Here are a few benefits you could experience with this non-invasive treatment.

Reduce Fat

Sometimes, dieting and exercise aren’t enough to shed unwanted pounds. If your body holds onto fat, visit your local med spa. Treatment with EMSculpt could help treat stubborn areas for fat tissue loss.

The heat from EMSculpt’s radio frequency causes apoptosis in your fat cells. You could experience up to a 30% reduction of fat in the treated area. In one study, subcutaneous fat reduction averaged 4.8 mm.

Your body will naturally flush these dead fat cells out of your body over the course of two months. The process is similar to the way CoolSculpting works.

Treatment usually involves one session every week for a month. Talk to your gynecologist or another provider to determine a schedule that suits your needs.

Once your subcutaneous fat is gone, they’re permanently reduced. Fat tissue loss can boost your self-esteem and self-image, benefiting your mood and quality of life.

Improve Muscle Tone

Treatment with EMSculpt Neo could provide anti-aging benefits. As you grow older, you lose muscle mass as part of the natural aging process. Building muscle allows EMSculpt Neo to restore this lost volume.

Treatments can create new muscle fibers. Improving your muscle tone could help you maintain a youthful appearance.

Treatment areas can include the:

  • Legs
  • Thighs
  • Arms
  • Buttocks

These areas are often immune to exercise. Treatment can trigger 24,000 muscle contractions in one target area within a 30-minute session. Your body will think you completed 24,000 squats or crunches!

While treatment is pain-free, you may experience some soreness afterward. The sensation is what you would experience after an intense workout.

Strengthen Your Core

Treatment with EMSculpt NEO results in muscle contractions, leading to more core strength. In addition to having an easier time at the gym, strengthening your core can:

  • Improve your appearance
  • Help your posture
  • Put less pressure on your back and hips

You may start experiencing lower back pain less often. You’ll feel stronger and, as a result, healthier.

Before an EMSculpt Session

Treatment with EMSculpt Neo doesn’t require much preparation beforehand. Make sure to remove any metal jewelry you’re wearing. Let your gynecologist or provider know if you have a metal implant to avoid complications.

What to Expect

During treatment, you’ll lie down on a leveled doctor’s chair. A specialist will place the handheld applicator onto the treatment area for 30 minutes. You may feel the treatment area contract and release.

The sensation is similar to the warmth of a heating pad paired with pulsating vibrations. Treatment is customizable. Your gynecologist can make adjustments to ensure your comfort.

Treatment doesn’t hurt and usually isn’t uncomfortable. However, you may need to adjust to the sensation of having involuntary muscle movements and contractions.

Once the 30 minutes are over, you can resume normal activities. You may feel sore the next day.

Don’t apply an ice pack to the treated area. Let your tissues remain warm.

EmSculpt Neo Results

You should start to notice significant results each week. Results won’t occur overnight. You may start feeling stronger after two sessions.

Muscle results occur faster than fat tissue loss. You’re more likely to notice muscular results after the second treatment. You could notice fat loss results two months after your last treatment.

All patients experience different results. Your gynecologist can customize your treatment plan to meet your aesthetic goals.

Treatment shouldn’t replace exercise. Pairing exercise and EMSculpt NEO sessions could lead to faster results. Watching your appearance improve will also benefit your self-confidence.

Adults don’t normally generate additional fat cells. However, residual fat cells can increase in size. You may notice the target area plump back up if you experience significant weight gain.

There aren’t many side effects associated with EMSculpt Neo treatment. It may feel like you worked out, but soreness is normal. Let your gynecologist know if you experience any pain or discomfort in the days following your EMSculpt session.

Muscular results could fade over time if you’re not keeping up with a diet and exercise regimen. Consider talking to your provider about a maintenance plan. They may recommend that you schedule follow-up appointments to maintain results.

Bye, Subcutaneous Fat: Begin Treatment Today

Ready for more muscle, less subcutaneous fat, and a stunning improvement to your appearance? Visit your local gynecologist to discuss your potential EMSculpt Neo results. With treatment, you can accomplish your aesthetic goals and feel confident in your body.

Women’s Health Augusta provides comprehensive Obstetrics and Gynecology services using state-of-the-art technology. Our team prioritizes offering compassionate care while considering your individual needs.

Trust our experienced, certified team of obstetricians and gynecologists! Contact us today to schedule your first EMSculpt session.

gynecology

Important Signs of Cervical Cancer and How to Check

Part of practicing good reproductive health is undergoing regular cancer screenings. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are approximately 11,500 new cases of cervical cancer diagnosed in the United States annually.

To protect your health and well-being, getting the right diagnostics from a doctor of gynecology is key.

Read on to learn more about some important signs of cervical cancer, and how to check for them so you can get ahead of this disease.

Gynecology 101: Cervical Cancer Basics

Before we discuss the potential signs of cervical cancer, it’s important to understand what this type of cancer is. Cervical cancer affects the cervical cells, which are located in the cervix. The cervix connects the birth canal to the upper part of the uterus or the womb.

Patient statistics vary, but cervical cancer is most common in women over the age of 30. People who have a long-lasting infection of specific types of human papillomavirus (HPV) are at high risk.

The HPV virus is passed from one person to another via sexual intercourse, and almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV. Patients with HIV or those who smoke are also at a higher risk of cervical cancer. Women with a weakened immune system or who have used immunosuppressive medications are also at risk.

When the disease is detected early, cervical cancer is much more treatable and has a higher survival rate. That’s why understanding the risks, signs, and screening options is so important.

 

Unusual Bleeding

Many of the signs and symptoms of cervical cancer remain unchecked, especially early on. Abnormal or unusual bleeding is one of the most common and perhaps the easiest cervical cancer symptoms to detect.

You may start to notice that you’re bleeding in between periods when you typically have a normal monthly cycle. You might also notice bleeding after participating in sexual intercourse.

Aside from bleeding, you may notice an increase in vaginal discharge. Any discharge with a strong or unusual odor could be a warning sign that cervical cancer is present.

Women who notice vaginal bleeding who have already been through menopause should speak to their doctor of gynecology right away, as this is particularly abnormal. No matter what, if you experience unusual bleeding, it’s always a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible to rule out any potential issues.

Pelvic Pain

Pelvic pain or discomfort are also common signs of potential cervical cancer. As the disease progresses, it may cause increasing pain in the pelvic region that can range from a mild, dull ache to more sharp and stabbing pains.

If your pelvic pain is not associated with your period, you should get tested. Some women may experience pain during intercourse if they have cervical cancer.

Most pain located here is due to the changes the cervix is undergoing. It can also be a result of the spreading of cancer to surrounding tissue. Some people may also experience extreme, sharp pain in the lower back area.

Sudden Weight Loss and Fatigue

Rapid, unexplained weight loss and increasing fatigue can be caused by a number of factors including lack of sleep, improper diet, or stress. However, if you notice that you’ve lost weight rapidly, it could be a symptom associated with cervical cancer or another type of cancer.

As cancer spreads or progresses, your body may start to lose weight without you even trying. Ongoing, persistent fatigue is another cause for concern.

If you notice that you have low energy and feel tired more frequently, this may be a sign of cervical cancer. When a patient has cancer, the cancer cells use a significant amount of the body’s energy. This may lead to unrelenting feelings of fatigue and tiredness, especially as time goes on.

Bowel and Bladder Changes

If the cervical cancer is advanced, it may put pressure on nearby organs. This can lead to changes in your bowel or bladder habits.

An example might be that you’ve started to notice that you need to use the restroom more often than you used to. You might experience higher urinary frequency or the constant urge to urinate, constipation, or you could have trouble emptying your bladder.

If it starts to hurt when you urinate, talk to your doctor right away. Blood in the stool or urine is also a major cause for concern and should be addressed by a medical professional as soon as possible.

How to Check for Cervical Cancer

Early screening and detection is the best way to treat and beat cervical cancer. Routine screenings like a pap smear and an HPV test are vital in early cervical cancer detection.

A pap smear identifies abnormal cells on the cervix before they become cancerous. This allows for early detection and intervention.

An HPV test can also help your doctor of gynecology and obstetrics check for the presence of high-risk human papillomavirus. The presence of the virus is a major contributing factor to cervical cancer.

Getting the vaccination against HPV is one of the best ways to prevent cervical cancer. This vaccine is the most effective when given to patients before they take part in any sexual activity. It protects against a variety of high-risk HPV strains, thereby lessening the possibility of cervical cancer later in life.

Understanding the signs, getting regular screenings like a pap smear, and getting the proper vaccines can help reduce your risk of cervical cancer. Talk to your gynecologist about making an appointment to get these crucial screenings as soon as possible.

Get Screened Today

Now that you know more about the risks, signs, and symptoms of cervical cancer, you can be armed with the knowledge you need to be proactive about your health. Schedule a pap smear and other screening tests with your doctor of gynecology and obstetrics so you’re on top of your physical health and well-being.

If you’re looking for a caring and compassionate gynecologist, Women’s Health of Augusta is here for you. Please contact us or visit our office to schedule your appointment.

osteoporosis

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.

Bisphosphonates

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

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.

Gynecology

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.

gynecology

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!

obstetrics

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.