Women's Health

Breast Health and Breast Cancer

Obstetrics and gynecology are two fields of medicine that involve the female reproductive organs.

Contraception

Contraception, or birth control, refers to different techniques to prevent pregnancy. Birth control pills have two hormones in them, estrogen and progestin, which prevent the women from ovulating and alter the cervical mucus to make it hard for the sperm to find the egg.

Intrauterine Contraception

  • Copper T Intrauterine Device (IUD) – is a T shaped, small device that is placed in the uterus and can stay implanted for up to 10 years.
  • Levonorgestrel Intrauterine System (IUS) – is another T shaped device that is placed in the uterus and releases progestin and can stay implanted for 5 years.

Hormonal Methods

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  • Implant – is a single plastic rod that is placed on the upper arm of a woman. It releases progestin and can last for up to 3 years.
  • Injection – is a hormone injection of progestin.
  • Combined oral contraceptives
  • Progestin only pill – is a oral contraceptive that only contains progestin
  • Patch – This is a skin patch that secretes estrogen and progestin into the blood stream. This patch must be worn on either the lower abdomen, upper body area, or the buttocks and is changed once every week for three weeks. A patch is not worn on the fourth week to allow for a menstrual period.
  • Hormonal vaginal contraceptive ring – is inserted into the vagina and releases progestin and estrogen. This ring stays in place for 3 weeks and then taken out in order for the women to have her period. On the fourth week, a new ring is inserted.

Barrier Methods

  • Male condom
  • Female condom
  • Diaphragm/cervical cap
  • Spermicides

Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a female condition in which the cells of the uterus, endometrial cells, begin to grow in different areas of the body. This condition can be severe and can even lead to infertility. In preparation for a pregnancy, the body secretes hormones, which tell the cells of the uterus to grow and become thicker. However, when the woman does not become pregnant, the body sheds this thick lining which results in women receiving their period. When the endometrial cells beings to grow outside of the uterus, endometriosis occurs. These endometrial cells do not leave when a woman gets her period and instead grows bigger every time a woman gets a subsequent period. The most common symptom is pain, which can occur during the menstruation cycle, during sexual intercourse, or during bowel movements.

Treatment options depend on a variety of different factors such as age, severity of the condition, and whether or not the woman wants children in the future. If the symptoms are less severe and the patient does not plan on having children anytime soon, a doctor may recommend the woman going on birth control to prevent the endometriosis from worsening. Birth control prevents the woman from ovulating, therefore lessening the growth of the endometrial cell. In very some cases, surgery may be required to remove the endometrial masses. If a woman has severe endometriosis and does not want to have children, the doctor may suggest a hysterectomy.

Fibroids

Fibroids are a type of benign tumor in the uterus.They are created when the muscle cells of the uterus, myometrium, reproduce uncontrollably, resulting in a mass.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational Diabetes can occur in a female patient only when she becomes pregnant. During the pregnancy, different hormones from the placenta can interfere with the insulin’s capability to regulate sugar levels, leading to insulin resistance. In many cases, the woman’s pancreas can produce insulin to compensate for the insulin resistance; however, if the pancreas does not work, gestational diabetes will occur.

HPV

What is HPV?

Human papilloma virus is a virus that causes genital warts to grow on both the skin and mucus membranes of the genitals. There are over 30 different types of human papilloma viruses, making it is the most common sexually transmitted virus in America. However, not all of the strains lead to genital warts. In some cases, these warts can grow on the hands and even throat.

How is HPV spread? What are the signs and symptoms?

HPV is most commonly transmitted through genital contact. Even though a person is infected with this virus, the body tries to fight HPV before it can cause problems, which causes the body to show no symptoms. However, when the body does not fight off the virus, symptoms arise such as genital warts, genital itching, and vaginal bleeding.

HPV and Women

Cervical cancer is the main result of prolonged untreated HPV. Over time, the virus can attack normal cells, causing them to become abnormal. It is important for women to have yearly pap smears to check for abnormal cells growing on the cervix. Cervarix and Gardasil are two vaccines that help to protect young women from developing cervical cancer; both require 3 shots over a 6 month period.

Hysterectomy

A hysterectomy is a medical procedure in which the woman’s uterus is removed due to conditions such as uterine fibroids, uterine prolapse, endometriosis, and excessive bleeding. In many servere cases, a radical hysterectomy may be performed. In this procedure, the entire uterus is removed as well as the cervix and part of the vagina. A upracervial or subtotal hysterectomy, may be performed if the conditions are less severe. During this hysterectomy, the top portion of the uterus is removed, leaving the cervix in place.

There are many different way in which a hysterectomy can be performed:

  • Abdominal Hysterectomy- during this procedure, the surgeon makes an incision in the lower abdomen to reach the uterus.
  • Vaginal Hysterectomy
  • Laparoscopic Hysterectomy
  • Laparoscopically Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy
  • Robotic-Assisted Surgery

Menopause

Menopause is when a women's menstruation cycle stops and her body changes to prevent her from getting pregnant. At this point, the ovaries stop producing eggs and the levels of estrogen and progesterone decrease. The common age that women each menopause is 45 to 55. Menopause is different in every woman and not every woman will experience the same symptoms. Some women will not be effected by the symptoms too much whereas others will be effected so bad that they need help from a gyeaocologist (like http://www.gyngeorgia.com/). Common symptoms are hot flashes, insomnia, night sweats, joint pains, and headaches.