Posts for category: OBGYN Care
Several convenient birth control options are available today for helping women maintain reproductive control. The different options allow women to select a birth control method that is best for them based on their preferences and needs. At Bala Women’s Health in Bala Cynwyd, birth control options include both oral and injectable contraceptives, as well as intrauterine devices. Our knowledgeable and friendly physician, Dr. Helene Koch, can help you choose a birth control method that meets your needs.
Birth Control Pills
One method for preventing pregnancy is the birth control pill, which is taken orally everyday. Birth control pills contain hormones, such as estrogen or progestin, and inhibit the body’s ability to become pregnant by preventing ovulation. In addition to being a reliable method for preventing pregnancy, birth control pills also help regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle and can even lead to less intense menstrual cramps. The medical professionals at our office in Bala Cynwyd can help you decide if birth control pills are the right contraceptive choice for you.
Birth Control Injections
Injectable contraceptives are another option for preventing pregnancy. Depo-Provera is one commonly used type of birth control injection. Injectable contraceptives are administered once every three months and are a convenient option for women concerned about remembering to take a birth control pill daily. Injectable contraceptives rely on the hormone progestin to suppress ovulation and prevent pregnancy. Since the injections do not contain estrogen, they are an appropriate option for women who have had certain types of hormone-positive cancers.
Intrauterine devices, also called IUDs, are an alternative birth control option that does not require an injection or taking a pill daily. An IUD is placed inside the uterus and inhibits pregnancy by either preventing sperm from reaching the eggs or suppressing ovulation by thinning the uterine lining. Intrauterine devices can last between three and five years before needing to be removed. Popular brands of IUDs include Mirena and Skyla.
You have several birth control options and we can help you select one that is right for you. Make an appointment with Dr. Koch at our office in Bala Cynwyd to discuss your birth control options by calling Bala Women’s Health at (610) 667-6363.
Should you talk with your doctor about your fertility options?
Getting pregnant isn’t always easy. In fact, approximately 6.1 million US women between the ages of 15-44 have trouble getting or staying pregnant, according to the CDC. Bala Women’s Health is dedicated to helping couples living in and around Bala Cynwyd, PA, get the fertility treatment they need to make pregnancy a possibility. Here’s what to expect when you visit our OBGYN Dr. Helene Koch for a fertility evaluation.
First, it’s important to know when it’s time to get fertility help
According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, if a couple hasn’t been successful with getting pregnant after one year of unprotected sex then it’s time to consult a fertility specialist. Of course, women over age 35 should see our Bala Cynwyd, PA, gynecologist after only six months of trying to conceive.
Age isn’t the only factor that should determine just how soon you seek help. If you or your partner have risk factors or experience infertility symptoms, or if you have certain conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or endometriosis it’s important that you see an OBGYN right away.
Women who’ve experienced two miscarriages in a row should also speak with a fertility specialist. While miscarriages are common, repeat miscarriages could mean that there is a problem.
What is involved in a fertility evaluation?
Unless you or your partner already has a history of infertility, the first person you should talk with about your fertility options is a gynecologist. Dr. Koch has worked with many women who have had trouble conceiving. During your evaluation we will go through your medical history, ask questions about your health and perform a pelvic exam to check the health of the ovaries and cervix.
If the case is simple then our gynecologist can often provide you with the treatment you need. We can run basic fertility tests such as hormone testing, which involves a simple blood test to check hormone levels (e.g. follicle-stimulating hormone).
Are you having trouble conceiving? Want to schedule a preconception consultation with our gynecologist in Bala Cynwyd, PA, so you know what to expect from the process? If so, call Bala Women’s Health today.
The human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. According to the CDC, approximately 79 million Americans are infected with HPV. There are many strains of this infection, some of which can cause cancer. This is why it’s important that you visit your gynecologist once a year for annual checkups and screenings.
Symptoms of HPV
Unfortunately, men and women can have HPV and never know, since symptoms aren’t common with this STD. Some strains of HPV cause genital warts, a cluster of bumps that can be found on the vulva or cervix of a woman and may develop on the penis or scrotum of a man. Once infected, genital warts can appear as early as 3 months after exposure; however, it can sometimes take longer.
Since high-risk HPV (HPV that causes cervical cancer) doesn’t often cause symptoms this means that the best action you can take to protect your health is to visit your gynecologist once a year for an annual exam. During this exam, your OBGYN can perform a physical examination, as well as a PAP smear and HPV test to check for changes in cervical cells that could be a warning sign of cancer or pre-cancer.
While there is no test to determine if you have HPV or not, there are tests available that can check for cervical cancer that is most likely caused by HPV. These screenings usually begin around the age of 30. Of course, if you develop vaginal bumps, sores or other changes it’s important that you see your doctor right away.
During a Pap smear, your gynecologist will scrape cells from the cervix and send them to a lab, where they will look for any cellular changes. A Pap smear only takes a couple of minutes to perform and those who’ve never had abnormal results may only need to get a Pap smear every three years. Those who have had positive results in the past may need to get tested more regularly.
Luckily, there is now a vaccine available to protect against certain types of HPV, particularly the strains that are the greatest risk for developing cervical cancer. Before recently, the vaccine had only been approved for people ages 9 to 25 but now the FDA has approved the vaccine for adults ages 27 to 45. These vaccines only work on patients who’ve never had HPV before; this is why it’s important to vaccinate teens early on to protect against certain strains of high-risk HPV.
Is it time for your annual women’s appointment? If you are interested in getting tested for HPV, you can easily schedule an HPV screening to be performed during your next checkup.
Endometriosis is a female condition in which tissue that's similar to uterine lining begins growing on the outside of the uterus, often affecting the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and pelvic tissue. During your cycle, the endometrial tissue then becomes thicker until it breaks down and bleeds, and due to how this tissue can’t be removed from the body, it gets trapped. Over time, this can lead to scar tissue (known as adhesions) on the reproductive organs.
This condition affects as many as 11 percent of US woman between the ages of 15 and 44, most often affecting women in their 30s and 40s. This condition can also make it more challenging for women to get pregnant.
What are the symptoms of endometriosis?
The classic symptom of endometriosis is abdominal pain that is usually worse during your menstrual cycle. While a lot of women complain of some abdominal discomfort during menstruation, women with endometriosis often complain of very painful periods, which may even radiate to the lower back.
Women with endometriosis may also experience very heavy periods or breakthrough bleeding (bleeding between cycles). You may also notice pelvic pain during sex or with bowel movements, as well as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, or fatigue.
All symptoms will vary from woman to woman. For instance, some women may have very severe symptoms but only have milder cases of endometriosis, while those with more severe cases may experience little-to-no-discomfort. Everyone is different; however, if you are experiencing new, persistent, or worsening pelvic pain, it’s important that you talk with your gynecologist.
If you are trying to conceive you may also find it more difficult to do so. Sometimes women don’t often find out that they have endometriosis until they visit their OBGYN to discuss problems getting pregnant.
How is endometriosis diagnosed?
During your evaluation, your OBGYN will ask you questions about the symptoms that you are experiencing. From there, a couple of tests will be performed in order to pinpoint specific signs and symptoms of endometriosis. These tests include a traditional pelvic exam or an ultrasound. In some instances, an MRI exam or a laparoscopy (a minor surgical procedure that allows a doctor to examine the inside of the abdomen and uterus) may be recommended to make a definitive diagnosis.
How is this condition treated?
Since there is no cure for endometriosis the goal of treatment is to manage your symptoms. As with most conditions, we will recommend more conservative treatment options at first to see if they are effective. Common treatment options include,
- Pain medications (either over-the-counter or prescription-strength)
- Hormone therapy (e.g. birth control pills; progestin therapy)
- Fertility treatment (for women who are having trouble conceiving)
- Laparoscopic surgery to remove excess endometrial tissue
If you are experiencing symptoms of endometriosis, it’s important that you talk to a gynecologist as soon as possible.
At some point all women will need to receive routine pelvic exams in order to check their vaginal and reproductive health. This exam allows your gynecologist to be able to examine the vagina, cervix, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus to look for early warning signs of infection or other problems.
Unless otherwise recommended by a physician, most women will undergo their first pelvic exam at the age of 21. After which, this simple exam should become a regular part of your well-woman care.
Getting a Pelvic Exam
We know that any kind of new exam or procedure can make anyone a little nervous. That’s why we want you to know what to expect before coming into the office for your first pelvic exam. Here’s what to expect:
We will provide you with a dressing gown, which you will change into in private. From there, you will lie down on the exam table and place your feet into elevated footrests. You will move your body towards the end of the table and our gynecologist will instruct you on what to do to make sure they can perform the exam. Relaxing as much as possible during the exam is important as it will make the process more comfortable for you.
There are usually three different parts involved in a pelvic exam:
- The external exam: This allows us to look at the external tissue of the vulva to detect any irritation, abnormal discharge or warning signs of other problems like genital warts or cysts.
- The internal exam: A special instrument known as a speculum will be carefully inserted into the vagina to open up the walls so that your gynecologist can examine the uterus and cervix. Sometimes a small brush is inserted into the vagina to collect cells from the cervix for testing. This is known as a Pap smear and it allows your doctor to check for precancerous and cancerous cervical cells.
- The bimanual exam: The speculum is removed and your gynecologist will then place one or two gloved fingers into the vagina and press on the abdomen to check the size and shape of the uterus and to feel for any enlargements, tenderness, or pain.
While the first pelvic exam may feel a bit awkward and weird it should never feel painful or uncomfortable. If you are experiencing any discomfort please let us know. We will talk you through the entire process so you know what’s going to happen before it does. If you have any questions or concerns for us this is also the time to let us know.
How often should I get a pelvic exam?
This will depend on several factors. Based on your current health, medical history and any past medical test results we will determine whether you will only need to come in once a year or whether you could benefit from visiting us more often.