Obstetrics & Gynecology in Augusta, GA

Gynecology Guide: How to Prepare for the Gynecologist

Though gynecologists treat women at any age, it’s recommended that you start visiting from the age of 13 to 15 years. Building a relationship with your doctor can help you feel more comfortable asking health-related questions. Some people still aren’t sure how to prepare for their gynecology appointments, though.

Here are a few tips that can help you feel more comfortable about your upcoming check-up. With this gynecology guide, you can also prepare questions to ask during your appointment.

Read on to learn more!

Consider Why You’re Going

Before your first appointment at a gynecologist’s office, consider why you’re going in the first place. Outlining your needs will help ensure you ask the right questions. You can make the most of your time and the doctor’s during your upcoming appointment.

For example, you might consider asking about:

  • Birth control options
  • Period or hormonal changes/issues
  • Testing for sexually transmitted diseases

One of the reasons people feel anxious about appointments is that they don’t know what to expect. Avoiding the gynecologist could foster even more avoidance in the future.

Routine exams can help your doctor catch potential problems early on. For example, perhaps there are abnormal cells on your cervix. Treatment is easier when these cells are precancerous.

You might have a serious health problem without realizing it, too. For example, heavy bleeding or a polyp in the pelvic area could require treatment. Regular appointments ensure you and the doctor don’t miss anything that might require immediate attention.

Exams also ensure preventative care (particularly for patients ages 26 and younger). For example, your doctor might recommend a vaccine to prevent health problems like vulvar or vaginal warts. Otherwise, these problems might require more extensive exams and treatments in the future.

Once you determine why you’re going, draft a list of questions you want to ask ahead of time.

Feel free to ask questions about what to expect during the appointment, too. For example, you might ask what a pelvic exam entails and why it’s needed. Asking these questions can help you feel more comfortable once you know what to expect.

Know Your History

Before your gynecology appointment, consider talking to a family member about your family’s medical history. Your doctor will ask questions about your family’s medical history to determine if you require preventative care.

Start by asking your mother about her health history and ask if any conditions run in the family. For example, you can ask if your family has a history of blood clots. If blood clots run in your family, your doctor might recommend contraceptive alternatives that contain estrogen.

Consider drafting a list of your own medical history details as well. For example, your doctor will need to know of past surgeries or any medications you’re currently taking.

If you have medical records, bring them with you to the appointment.

Make sure to track your menstrual cycle before your appointment, too. Your doctor will ask about the first day of your last period. You can use a tracking app on your phone to keep track of dates, flow, and other details.

Preparing for Pelvic Exams

The percentage of women who have received a pelvic exam in the past 12 months has decreased over time. A pelvic exam will help your doctor determine if both your ovaries and uterus are healthy. If you’re nervous about pelvic exams, it can help to know what to expect before your appointment.

Let your doctor know ahead of time if you’re nervous. They likely have a few relaxation methods that can help. They’ll know how to make the exam more comfortable for you, too.

For example, deep breathing exercises can help you relax. Deep breathing could also help relax your pelvic muscles, which will make the exam faster and easier.

Usually, a pelvic exam involves an external exam to review the vulva (the labia, clitoris, and opening of the vagina). Your doctor will complete the cervical and vaginal exam using a speculum (a device that’s inserted into the vagina). Then, they’ll complete a bimanual exam of your reproductive organs.

You have control over the exam. Your doctor will only complete an exam if you’re 100% comfortable. If there are parts of the appointment you want to skip, let your doctor know.

They might have an alternate way to examine you.

Remain Open and Honest

During the appointment, remain open and honest with your gynecologist. The information you provide will help them address any concerns you have.

For example, your gynecologist will ask if you’re sexually active. They’ll ask how many sexual partners you have and if any have been diagnosed with an STD.

Let your gynecologist know about any concerns or symptoms you have that might indicate an STD or STI. These can include:

  • Pain during intercourse
  • Painful and/or itchy bumps on the genitals
  • Heavy or otherwise unusual bleeding
  • Discharge with an odd smell
  • Unusual vaginal discharge

Remaining honest with your answers will allow your doctor to gather the information they need to support you. They won’t judge you based on the answers you provide.

Schedule Your Next Appointment

Before leaving your gynecologist’s office, determine when you should schedule your next appointment.

For example, you should schedule a pelvic exam every three years. You might need to visit your gynecologist more often if you have specific concerns. For example, perhaps you’re interested in getting pregnant or want to renew your birth control prescription.

Prepare for Your Next Gynecology Appointment With These Tips

Preparing for your next (or first) gynecology appointment doesn’t have to feel stressful. Instead, use these tips to remain organized and in control. Preparing ahead of time can help you feel more comfortable before your appointment.

Remember, your doctor is there to support your health. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions you might have.

Ready to schedule your next appointment? We can’t wait to see you!

Contact our office today to schedule your next appointment.


7 Signs It May Be Time for a Gynecology Appointment

Nearly two-thirds of surveyed women report feeling some level of anxiety surrounding their gynecology visits. Can you relate? While going to a general practitioner tends not to inspire fear, the gynecologist is a different story.

Your local gynecologist wants to make sure that you’re safe and healthy, so it’s important to never skip a gynecology appointment. But how do you know when it’s time to schedule one?

Let’s talk about it. Read on for a few top signs that you’re due for an appointment with your gynecologist.

1. It’s Been a While Since Your Last Appointment

The first sign that it’s time to visit a gynecologist is simply that it’s been a while since your last visit (or that you’ve never visited a gynecologist in the past at all).

It’s helpful to visit a gynecologist about once per year for a general exam. If you have a reproductive health issue, you may have to make more frequent visits.

If you have a new sexual partner, it’s also a good idea to visit your gynecologist (or at the very least, get an STD screening just to be safe).

Remember that you won’t need a pap every time you go to the gynecologist in most cases, so don’t let that scare you away. Visiting them annually will keep you safe and healthy.

2. You’re Experiencing Menstrual Changes

Menstrual cycles are rarely completely consistent forever. People who menstruate of all ages can experience random changes in their cycles. If something is unusual one month but then goes back to normal the next month, it isn’t a cause for concern.

However, if the changes continue, it may be time for a gynecology appointment.

It’s possible that there’s no problem at all. Your body may just be changing and you’re experiencing the “new normal.” That said, there are also some conditions that can cause changes in your menstrual cycle.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Common changes you may experience include:

  • Longer periods
  • Much shorter periods
  • No period at all
  • A period that seems to be constant spotting
  • An unusually heavy flow

Make sure you note exactly what changed with as much detail as possible so you’re ready to explain the situation to your doctor.

3. You Have Unusual Discharge

It’s important to note that vaginal discharge is completely normal. It also changes throughout your cycle. In most cases, discharge is not a cause for concern.

Discharge can be thin and watery, thick and sticky, or anywhere in between, and still be healthy. It may change due to a new exercise routine, where you are in your cycle, and a variety of other reasons that aren’t anything to worry about.

There are a few signs that your discharge is a problem, however. If it has an unusual color or smell, it’s a sign that there’s something wrong. If it persists, it’s time to make an appointment with your gynecologist.

4. You’re Experiencing Extreme Pain During Your Period

A bit of discomfort during your period is, unfortunately, normal. Cramping and bloating come with the territory. But what if you’re experiencing an unusual amount of pain?

Periods should not be unbearably painful. If your period pain is getting in the way of your life, you should contact a doctor to see if there’s an underlying cause.

Even if there isn’t a serious cause for your period pain, you may be able to start taking medication (like birth control) that can make your periods more tolerable.

5. You’re Experiencing Pain During Sex

Pain during sex is not normal. If you’re suddenly experiencing pain during sex, and it’s consistent and not just a one-off, it’s time to talk to a doctor.

It could be the result of an STD, cysts, tearing, and more. Regardless, it’s best to be checked out by a professional before you cause more damage.

6. You’re Responding Poorly to Your Birth Control

Many people take birth control to prevent pregnancy and make their periods more manageable. Most people tolerate birth control well, but not every form of birth control is right for every patient.

If you find that you’re not responding well to your birth control, it’s time to visit your gynecologist for help. They can help you find a birth control method that works best for you.

Common signs that your birth control may not be right for you include (but are not limited to):

  • Worsening mood swings
  • Hair loss
  • Constant spotting
  • Long periods
  • Pain

Not all forms of birth control are hormonal and not all forms of hormonal birth control will cause problematic side effects for everyone. Finding a good match is essential.

7. You’re Experiencing Itching or Burning

If you’re experiencing itching and burning in your vaginal area, it’s time to make an appointment to visit your gynecologist. These are almost always signs of a problem.

Even if the itching and burning sensations aren’t accompanied by unusual discharge or any other worrisome changes, they could indicate that something is wrong. These are common symptoms of several STDs as well as yeast infections.

Is It Time for Your Next Gynecology Appointment?

With all of these things in mind, is it time to schedule a gynecology appointment? Remember, if it’s been over a year since your last appointment, the answer is a resounding “Yes!”

When it comes to your reproductive health, it’s always better to be safe rather than sorry. Schedule your next gynecology appointment today.

At Women’s Health of Augusta, we aim to provide a comfortable environment for all of our patients seeking reproductive healthcare. Contact us to learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment today.


How to Choose the Best Gynecologist for Your Needs

At least 13 percent of women 18 and older are in poor health.

This is why selecting a gynecologist is so important. There are so many gynecologists to choose from that you may be wondering exactly how you can decide which one is right for your needs.

The good news is that there are certain key factors you can look for to decide if a gynecologist is right for you.

Once you understand exactly what you should look for, the choice becomes easier. Here’s a look at the top things you should bear in mind when selecting a doctor who specializes in gynecology.

Your Insurance Coverage

It’s no use selecting a gynecologist that you cannot pay for, unless you don’t mind being out of pocket for everything. However, if you do have insurance coverage, you will want to select a gynecologist that your insurance will cover.

Understanding your insurance coverage and targeting those doctors within your insurance company’s network is critical. If you check the website of your insurance company, you may be able to find out which gynecologists are in their network. This will help you to narrow your search.

Great Reviews

If you have family or friends who regularly use gynecologists, then it is likely that they will have some good recommendations for you. It is always a good idea to ask your family and friends if they know of any gynecologist that they think will be suitable for you.

This way, you will be able to choose from a pool of qualified professionals that can assist you. You can ask your general practitioner as well to recommend someone to you.

If you don’t have the luxury of asking people for their recommendations, then the next best thing is to check out the reviews for a gynecologist.

These days, a lot of medical practitioners are getting reviews on their social media pages as well as their business pages. Search for any gynecologist you are interested in and find their reviews.

Take a close look at the reviews they are getting from their patients. Websites for medical practitioners will often ask people to rate a gynecologist based on certain principles.

For example, they may be rated based on the office environment that they have, the friendliness of the staff, their trustworthiness, and the ease with which you can schedule a gynecological appointment.

Look at Experience

Experience should play a role in your selection of a gynecologist. The doctor that you choose should have been practicing for a reasonable amount of time.

This will make it easy for them to understand the ins and outs of different types of gynecology issues. They should have practiced long enough to know more than what is in a textbook. This type of experience is invaluable, especially in some complicated situations.

At the very least, when selecting a gynecologist, you should know that they have a lot of specialized experience in the problems that you are having.

Examine Qualifications

The qualifications of your gynecologist are also critical. Often, you can find out about the board certification of your gynecologist simply by doing a search and finding their online biography.

You can then find out if a gynecologist specializes in certain areas by checking out their online profile. This is especially important if you have a specific gynecology need, such as heavy menstrual cramps.

The Level of Communication

One of the things you cannot afford to overlook is whether you and your gynecologist can communicate effectively.

You need to make sure that your gynecologist has the same values as you, especially when it comes to more sensitive issues such as birth control and even pregnancy.

You can try to find out what their views are on sensitive issues.

This way you can avoid a situation later on where you feel uncomfortable because of moral standpoints.

Bedside Manner

The bedside manner of the gynecologist that you are selecting is extremely important. The last thing you want to do is to find a doctor who is dismissive of your feelings about any issue that you are facing.

This can cause you to feel as if you can’t confide your feelings and maybe even your symptoms to your gynecologist. You want a doctor who will listen to what you have to say and also respect it.

Your doctor should be someone with whom you can have free communication back and forth. This way you will be able to trust their opinions and adhere to them for the good of your health. The bottom line is that your gynecologist should be someone who you feel very comfortable with.

Another thing you may want to consider is whether you feel comfortable with a male or a female gynecologist. Some women prefer to see a doctor who is female. Depending on your culture or religion, you may be directed toward a female doctor.

Before deciding on the gender of your gynecologist, it is a good idea for you to sit down and think about what you value most. Then you can decide which doctor is right for you regardless of their gender.

Select an Expert In Gynecology

Selecting the best gynecologist is important. It is not something that you should leave to chance or take lightly.

When it comes to your health, everything needs to be properly assessed, and this includes the doctors that you select.

The best gynecologist for your needs is one who is experienced, well-educated, has good bedside manner, and good patient reviews. In short, it should be a person in whom you can have complete confidence.

If you would like to book an appointment, please contact us.

first mammogram

When Should Women Get Their First Mammogram?

Are you wondering when the best time is to get your first mammogram? Mammograms are a crucial part of women’s health. They can detect breast cancer as soon as it appears, and earlier detection means a better chance of beating the disease.

In the United States, it’s expected that new instances of invasive breast cancer will reach 287,850 cases in 2022. This article will help you understand why it’s important to get a mammogram early and how you can find out when is the best time for your first mammogram.

You’ll also learn how to prepare for your appointment and what to expect. Read on to find out more about when you should get your first mammogram.

What Is a Mammogram?

The best test available to doctors to detect breast cancer early is performing routine mammograms. Mammography uses X-ray images taken of the breast. Doctors can use mammograms to look for any early indications of breast cancer.

This is the best screening available to doctors to detect breast cancer early. Without a mammogram, it could take a patient diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer up to three years before they would have detected the lump on their own.

The Benefits of a Mammogram

The second most frequent malignancy in women is breast cancer. Ten out of every 100,000 women between the ages of 20 and 24 will receive a breast cancer diagnosis. As women reach their late 20s and early 30s, that number rises.

Around 40 to 50, there are noticeable increases. The majority of diagnoses of breast cancer happen for women over the age of 70. Why then do professionals advise testing for much younger women if the majority of women do not develop breast cancer until they are in their 70s?

Numerous studies show that screening mammograms reduce the risk of breast cancer-related death by 15% to 29%. Having a mammogram at the earliest appropriate age can reduce your risk of death. Regular mammograms aid in early detection and help save lives.

When to Get Your First Mammogram

Early screening helps save lives, according to all medical professionals. The precise age of that initial screening is still up for discussion. By the age of 45, the American Cancer Society advises that women get their first mammogram.

According to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, women may delay their initial screening until age 50. However, because mammograms can identify breast abnormalities in their earliest stages in women in their 40s, the Mayo Clinic supports screening as early as age 40.

Even while some medical professionals believe that getting a mammogram when you’re younger is best, there are still issues involved. If the doctor finds an abnormality, more testing with another mammography, biopsies, or ultrasound imaging may be required since women in their 40s and 50s are more prone to experience a false positive.

The best thing you can do is consult with your doctor about the ideal age for you to start screening. Because the simple truth is that every woman is different.

When you should receive your first mammogram depends on several unique factors, including your family history of breast cancer (women with a close family history of the disease should get checked sooner than women without one). You should discuss when to start screening with your doctor right away if you are over 30 and have a close family member with a history of breast cancer.

Women with moderate risks should discuss getting a mammogram with their doctors at least by the age of 40. Your annual wellness appointment is the ideal opportunity to discuss obtaining a mammogram with your doctor.

What to Expect During a Mammogram

You will stand in front of an X-ray machine. The X-ray technician will place your breast on a plastic plate. Your breast will be firmly pressed from above by another plate.

The plates flatten your breast. This holds your breast motionless during the X-ray. Be aware that some pressure will be present.

To create a side view of the breast, the stages are repeated. The other breast will undergo a similar X-ray procedure. After that, you will have to wait as the technologist makes sure there is no need to repeat the X-rays.

Remember that the technician is unable to inform you of the results of your mammography. Due to the slight variations in every woman’s breasts, every mammogram may appear a bit different.

Most women find getting a mammogram uncomfortable. Some ladies say it hurts. However, mammography only takes a little while, so the discomfort does pass.

Your experience will vary depending on the technician’s expertise, the size of your breasts, and how hard they need squeezing. If you are about to start or are on your period, your breasts may be extra sensitive. The X-ray will get examined by a radiologist for any early indications of breast cancer or other issues.

When Will You Get the Results of Your Mammogram?

Depending on the facility, you should receive the results in a few weeks. After a radiologist reviews your mammogram results, they will inform you and your doctor of the findings.

The mammography facility will inform you if there is a problem. If you don’t get a report of your results within 30 days, get in touch with your doctor or the mammography center.

What Happens if Your Mammogram Is Normal?

Maintain your mammography schedule following the suggested frequency.

Mammograms function best when they can be compared to earlier ones. By comparing them, the radiologist can check for changes in your breasts.

What Happens if Your Mammogram Is Abnormal?

The presence of cancer is not always indicated by an abnormal mammogram. However, the doctor won’t be able to be certain unless you have additional mammograms, examinations, or tests. A surgeon or breast specialist may also be recommended to you.

You may not always need surgery or have cancer. These skilled medical professionals can identify breast issues. Follow-up exams will be performed by medical professionals to determine whether breast cancer exists.

Getting Your First Mammogram Can Feel a Little Overwhelming

We understand that when you get your first mammogram, the process can feel a bit daunting. But don’t worry. We are here to walk you through the process.

For 40+ years, Women’s Health of Augusta has offered the best all-inclusive obstetrical and gynecology treatment in the region. All of our doctors are now accepting new patients and are board-certified (Fellows of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology) or board eligible.

We are sensitive and considerate of your particular needs. We can also manage any gynecological or obstetrical care concerns you have. Contact us or check out our Blog section for helpful information.


Gynecology: 6 Reasons to See a Gynecologist Regularly

Did you know that it’s not uncommon for people in the United States to actively avoid medical care? For many women, this includes avoiding or skipping their annual gynecology appointments. This is often due to a lack of education or even anxiety about visiting a gynecologist.

However, there are several good reasons to make sure you see a gynecologist on a regular basis — and not just when you’re trying to get pregnant or think you might have an infection. So, the importance of gynecology appointments cannot be stressed enough.

We’ve put together a brief guide that details everything you need to know about why you should make regular visits to this type of professional. Let’s dive in.

1. Annual Pap Smears Can Detect Early Signs of Cancer

Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer, yet it’s still the fourth leading cause of cancer death in women worldwide. One of the best ways to catch cervical cancer early is to get a pap smear at least once per year.

This simple test involves taking a sample of cells from your cervix, which is then checked for abnormal changes that could indicate cancer.

2. Gynecologists Can Help With More Than Just Reproductive Health

While gynecologists are experts in reproductive health, they can also help with a variety of other health concerns.

For example, they can provide guidance on menopause, incontinence, and sexual dysfunction. Plus, because they’re trained in both obstetrics and gynecology, they’re often able to provide holistic care for women throughout their lives.

Under the right circumstances, visiting a gynecologist could lead to a sharp increase in your quality of life.

3. You Might Need More Than One Type of Gynecologic Care

There are different types of gynecologic care, and you might need more than one type depending on your age and health history.

For example, you might need a family planning appointment to discuss birth control options. Or, you may need a consultation about menopause or perimenopause.

4. Gynecologists Can Provide Guidance on Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Your gynecologist can also provide guidance on how to make healthy lifestyle choices that can reduce your risk of developing certain health conditions. For example, they might recommend ways to reduce your stress levels or how to eat a healthier diet.

Depending on your health situation, the recommendations can go a long way toward helping you improve your lifestyle.

5. Gynecologists Can Help You Understand Your Body

If you’re ever concerned about changes in your body, your gynecologist can help you understand what’s normal and what’s not. They can also provide guidance on when you should be worried about something and when you shouldn’t.

Having this level of understanding will help you feel more comfortable about your body and its natural functions.

6. Regular Gynecology Appointments Can Help Build a Relationship of Trust

Finally, regular gynecology appointments can help you build a relationship of trust with your gynecologist.

This is important because it means you’ll be more likely to feel comfortable discussing sensitive topics with them, such as sexual health concerns. It may take a couple of visits, but you will eventually begin to develop a bond with them.

What Should I Look For in a Gynecologist?

If you’re looking for a gynecologist, it’s important to find one that you feel comfortable with. This is the only way that you can ensure you make this a pleasant experience.

Here are a few things to look for.

They Should Be Board-Certified

As you might guess, you’ll want to make sure your gynecologist is board certified.

This means they’ve completed the necessary training and passed a rigorous exam. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a situation where you do not receive the best medical care.

This could lead to a number of complications in the future, such as being misdiagnosed or having your gynecologist overlook a serious issue.

They Should Have Extensive Experience

It’s also a good idea to find a gynecologist with experience.

You can ask them how long they’ve been in practice or check their reviews online. Although younger gynecologists are not always inept, it’s in your best interest to choose one who has been practicing for a while.

Keep this in mind when making your decision.

They Should Make You Feel Comfortable

Finally, it’s important to find a gynecologist that makes you feel comfortable.

This means they should be someone you feel like you can talk to openly and candidly. If your gynecologist ever makes you feel uncomfortable or you do not feel like you can communicate with them, it’s best to choose someone else. Many people find gynecologist visits unpleasant, and there’s no reason to make these situations worse.

When Should I See a Gynecologist?

In general, you should see a gynecologist once per year for a wellness exam. This is a yearly appointment where they’ll perform a physical exam and order any necessary screenings, such as a pap smear.

If you’re sexually active, you should also see a gynecologist more frequently. This is because you’re at an increased risk of developing sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

If you’re ever concerned about changes in your body or have any questions about your reproductive health, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with a gynecologist. They can provide the guidance and support you need.

Making a Gynecology Appointment Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated

No matter what your age, it’s important to make gynecology appointments regularly.

They can provide vital guidance on everything from reproductive health to menopause and beyond. Plus, they can help you make healthy lifestyle choices that can reduce your risk of developing certain health conditions.

Looking for other ways we can help you out in the future? Be sure to reach out to us today and see what we can do!


Obstetrics: What to Expect From Your First Trimester

Did you know that pregnant women make up around 1% of the United States population at any given time? For many people, the early weeks of a pregnancy can be an exciting time.

But, there’s also a lot of stress that comes with facing the unknown. That’s why we made this obstetrics guide with some pregnancy tips.

In it, we’ll break down what you can expect from your first trimester, from body changes to obstetric visits. That way, you can begin your pregnancy with the confidence that you need. Let’s get started!

How Long Is the First Trimester?

As the name suggests, the first trimester is the first and earliest phase of pregnancy. The first trimester begins before you’re ever actually pregnant. It officially starts on the day of your last period.

Then, it lasts till the end of your thirteenth week pregnant. In other words, it lasts for a little over three months.

Compared to the other trimesters, your body is going through the most rapid changes. Let’s take a closer look at some of the physical changes that come with your first trimester.

Physical Body Changes to Expect

There are some physical body changes and symptoms that will occur during your first few months. First, there’s morning sickness. And sadly, this nausea isn’t confined to the morning.

It can strike at any part of the day. Next, your breasts will likely get bigger and swollen. It’s normal for them also to feel tender and tingly. These changes are caused by rapid hormonal changes.

Speaking of hormonal changes, it’s also common to experience mood swings. And it’s not just from happy to sad states. Many women report being elated, anxious, excited, and exhausted all at the same time.

Know that these emotional states are perfectly normal. Hormonal changes are also responsible for the weird cravings you experience while pregnant. You may also be repelled by certain smells or tastes that you used to like.

Even though your baby is still small, it’s important to try to gain between three to four pounds in your first trimester. If you don’t gain this weight, it’s all right as long as you put it on in the second or third trimester.

Lastly, you might notice other symptoms like increased urination, fatigue, constipation, and heartburn.

What Isn’t Normal?

For expecting mothers, any minor symptom can seem scary. That being said, some things are perfectly normal, and other things will require medical attention.

In terms of what’s normal, you’re likely going to experience headaches, stomach pain, and cramping.

What’s more, light bleeding is normal when the embryo attaches to the uterus. That being said, some symptoms are cause for concern. These include:

  • Heavy bleeding
  • Severe pain in your abdomen
  • Pain during urination
  • Rapid feelings of thirst
  • Fevers over 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Chills
  • Severe puffiness in your face or hands

Remember that your chances for a miscarriage are highest in the first trimester. So, if you experience any of these symptoms, then you should see a professional right away. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Schedule An Obstetrics and Gynecology Visit

Your first trimester is when it’s time to book your first OB-GYN visit. What should you expect from your visit? First, your doctor will review your health records and perform a basic physical.

That way, they know of any pre-existing conditions that might affect the baby. After that, you’ll undergo a lot of tests. These include a urine analysis, Pap smear, and blood work.

The blood work is especially important because it will tell them things like your hCG levels, blood type, Rh levels, and the presence of any infections. After that, you’ll undergo an ultrasound.

This will be used to detect a heartbeat, determine how far along you are, and see if things are progressing as they should be. If your family suffers from genetic illnesses or diabetes, then you might also be screened with some genetic tests.

Your doctor is going to be asking you a lot of questions during the process. Make sure you ask questions, too if you have any. Write down any that you have before your visit, so you don’t forget them at the moment.

Get Ready to Avoid Certain Things

When you first get pregnant, there are a few things that most people know to avoid. For example, it’s widely known that a few drinks can cause a high chance of developing fetal alcohol syndrome.

Similarly, most people know that cigarettes and drug use are bad for the baby. However, there are other things that you should avoid that aren’t as widely known.

For example, did you know you should avoid your cat’s litter box? Cat feces can contain a parasite known as toxoplasmosis. If you contract this parasite, then it can cause serious health problems for fetuses in the first trimester.

You should also avoid hot tubs, saunas, and hot baths. Anything that brings you a temperature above 101 degrees Fahrenheit is bad.

Lastly, make sure you’re careful around raw or undercooked food. That means no more sushi or beef tartare while you’re pregnant.

Looking For Prenatal Care? Contact Women’s Health of Augusta

We hope this obstetrics guide helped you learn what to expect from your first trimester. As you can see, there are a lot of uncomfortable body change symptoms that come within the first three months of pregnancy.

However, despite the discomfort, it’s still vital to get your ducks in a row in terms of finding an obstetrics provider. If you live in the Augusta, Georgia area, then you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better option than Women’s Health of Augusta.

For forty years, we’ve been providing comprehensive care to our community. Plus, we accept most types of insurance. So, if you’re ready for the expert prenatal care that you deserve, contact us today to schedule an appointment.

pap smear test

Pap Smear Test: How Often Do You Need to Have This Done

In 2022, it’s estimated that 14,100 new cases of cervical cancer will be diagnosed in the United States. Most women are diagnosed with cervical cancer between 35 and 44, with the average age of diagnosis at 50.

However, cervical cancer rarely occurs in women who get a regular pap smear test as they are able to detect abnormal cells before it becomes a bigger problem.

If you haven’t had a pap test in a while, it’s time to start paying attention. It’s important to understand how pap smear tests work and how frequently you should get them.

Keep reading this guide to learn about pap tests so you can catch any health problems early on!

Overview of a Pap Smear Test

The Papanicolaou test or Pap test is a procedure that collects cells from your cervix. Pap smear tests detect precancerous and cancerous changes in your cervix.

Pap smear tests detect not only cervical cancer but also other abnormalities like inflammation. Often, your doctor will do additional testing for sexually transmitted diseases during your exam.

Pap Smear Test and Pelvic Exams

It’s also important to realize that Pap tests are not the same thing as pelvic exams, and many women get these confused.

During a pelvic exam, your doctor will assess your reproductive organs for any abnormalities. They’ll typically press on your abdomen and pelvis area while inserting a gloved hand into your vagina so they can determine the size and shape of your ovaries and uterus.

Though a pelvic exam is often done at the same time as a pap smear, that’s not always the case. You’ll need to talk to your doctor about how you should be scheduling this exam.

Pap Smear Testing and HPV Testing

Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is the most common cause of cervical cancer. There are over 100 types of HPV; certain types of HPV infections that appear as genital warts near your cervix, vagina, or anus will most likely lead to cervical cancer.

You get HPV through cuts or small tears in your skin, and genital HPV infections often occur from unprotected sexual intercourse.

For this reason, pap smear tests are usually done at the same time as an HPV test, which is often referred to as co-testing.

What Can You Expect During a Pap Smear?

During a pap test, your doctor will use a speculum to help them see into your vagina. Then, they’ll use a special swab to collect cells from outside the cervix to send to a laboratory and be examined under a microscope.

The pap smear test takes a few minutes, and although it may feel uncomfortable, you shouldn’t experience any pain. Some women experience light bleeding and mild cramping after a pap smear, but you shouldn’t experience this for longer than 24 hours.

How Should You Prepare for a Pap Smear Test?

You’ll need to prepare for your pap smear test to ensure you have the most accurate results possible.

First, it’s best to schedule your pap test at least five days after your period. Most healthcare providers avoid performing pap tests during your menstrual period because that can alter the results. You’ll need to check with your doctor about what they recommend.

You’ll also want to avoid sexual intercourse, vaginal creams, lubricants, or douches at least two days prior to your pap smear test.

Who Should Get Pap Smear Tests?

Pap smear tests are a vital part of your healthcare routine, and all women between the ages of 21 and 65 should get regular pap test screenings.

How Often Should You Get a Pap Smear Test?

The frequency of pap smears depends on your age, medical history, and what types of results you’ve had from previous pap smear tests.

Based on your age, you’ll need to follow a schedule that includes:

  • No pap testing before the age of 21
  • A pap test every three years between 21 and 29
  • A pap test and HPV test every five years if you’re between 30 and 65
  • No pap testing after 65 if you’re not at high risk

Typically, you’ll need more frequent pap smear testing if you have certain health conditions like HIV or are immunocompromised from other conditions or medical treatments.

You’ll also need to have pap smears more often if you have a history of cervical cancer, have been treated for HPV, or have had abnormal pap smear results in the past.

When Can You Stop Getting Pap Smear Tests?

If you’re older than 65 and have had three normal pap tests or two normal co-testing results within the last ten years, your doctor may advise you that you don’t need further pap testing.

You may also not need regular pap tests if you don’t have a cervix due to a hysterectomy and have no history of abnormal pap test results or of cervical cancer.

Make sure you find a doctor who specializes in gynecology and can give you expert advice on your individual health needs before stopping your routine pap smear tests and HPV screenings.

Talk to Your Doctor About a Pap Smear Test Today

Now that you know more about the importance of getting a routine pap smear test, you’ll be able to better care for your health.

If you’re looking for a doctor to manage your gynecological care, then it’s time to turn to the professionals at Women’s Health of Augusta. We’ve been caring for women for more than 40 years and can guide you through the treatment you need.

We offer gynecological and obstetric care for women of all ages. We can help you with menstrual and hormonal concerns, PMS, contraceptive needs, breast disorders, and weight management.

Make sure you contact us today to schedule the gynecological tests you need!


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.


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.


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.