Women’s Health Education
“When women are given the tools to better understand the unique challenges that face them and their health they are empowered to make decisions that improve not only their own health, but that of their loved ones and their community. Clearly communicating the options for the most minimally invasive surgical procedures to treat common problems for women should be a vital part of the mission of all of those involved in the care of women.”
Rebecca Booth, MD
Abnormal Uterine Bleeding
Abnormal uterine bleeding can be characterized as either too much or too little bleeding. The most common type of abnormal uterine bleeding (also called dysfunctional uterine bleeding) is menorrhagia. Menorrhagia is experienced when there is excessive and possibly prolonged uterine bleeding. Although the amount of menstrual flow is somewhat subjective, women with menorrhagia often have a difficult time doing their daily activities. They may soil their clothes and bleed through protection. Some women may even become anemic due to excessive menstrual blood loss. Different types of abnormal uterine bleeding include:
Menorrhagia: Heavy or prolonged bleeding
Metrorrhagia: Any irregular bleeding between periods
Polymenorrhea: Bleeding is typically closer than 21 days
Oligomenorrhea: Periods are skipped or very light
Postmenopausal Bleeding: Bleeding that occurs a year after the last menstrual cycle at menopause
Adenomyosis is a relatively common condition, resulting from growth of the endometrial or uterine lining glands in the wall of the uterus. Generally, the glands of the uterine lining are limited only to the uterine cavity. Adenomyosis, unike endometriosis, is restricted to the wall of the uterus and the two conditions are discovered in the same patient less than 20% of the time. They are two different diseases however, both adenomyosis and endometriosis have the presence of endometrial glands in areas where they should not ordinarily grow. Adenomyosis usually occurs in women between ages 35 to 50.
What are fibroids?
Fibroids or leiomyoma are benign tumors of the uterus made of muscle. These growths can occur in different parts of the uterus, including inside the cavity of the uterus, on the outside of the uterus or within the wall of the uterus. Fibroids can range in size from less than a centimeter to larger than a grapefruit.
How common are fibroids? What causes them?
Fibroids are very common and occur in 25-80% (NIH statistic) of women. It is unknown what specifically causes fibroids.
As many as 1 in 5 sexually active people have the Herpes virus. Not everyone is aware that they have it and can transmit it to a sexual partner. Most people are surprised to learn that Herpes is a very common virus. It is a viral infection and can be treated with medication (anti-viral) when there is an active oral or genital lesion. Although the symptoms are treatable, the virus remains present and can cause recurrent “sores” and possible spread to a partner.
What is a hysterectomy?
Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus.
This can be a total hysterectomy which is the removal of the uterus and the cervix, or a subtotal hysterectomy (supracervical) which is the removal of the top part of the uterus and the cervix is left in place. Other organs such as the ovaries and tubes may also be removed at the time of a hysterectomy. For women who are premenopausal, having a hysterectomy means that they are no longer capable of achieving a pregnancy and they should stop having menstrual periods.
Oophorectomy is the removal of ovaries to decrease the risk of ovarian cancer and is frequently done together with a hysterectomy.
Osteopenia, or low bone mass, seen on a dexagram is a reduction in bone mass below the normal range, but yet not low enough to be in the range of osteoporosis. This is defined by the World Health Organization as being -1 standard deviation below that of a 30 year old -1 up to -2.5 standard deviation. This equates to about 10-25% below the normal value found in a 30 year old woman. Below 25%, the diagnosis of osteoporosis kicks in. The World Health Organization recommends patients with osteopenia be further evaluated to using various clinical risk factors regarding the need for intervention and therapy via medication to prevent fracturing. Anyone at risk for osteoporosis is also at risk for osteopenia.
Osteoporosis is a skeletal disorder that is characterized by a loss of bone mass, a deterioration of bone microarchitecture and a decline in bone quality which leads to an increased vulnerability to bone fractures. Osteoporosis has a five fold greater prevalence in women than men. There is also a wide variation in hip and fracture rates in women based on race and ethnicity. In the United States Caucasian women have the highest rate of hip fracture while African- American women have the lowest rate. Mexican-American women fall in-between these two groups. Although Asian women often have bone density measurements lower than Caucasian women, interestingly enough they have fewer vertebral and hip fractures than Caucasians.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
What is PCOS?
PCOS stands for polycystic ovarian syndrome. This is a condition caused by a hormonal imbalance leading to high levels of testosterone. Because of these changes, women with PCOS are at higher risk for cancer of the lining of the uterus, infertility, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Do you leark urine?
This is question that all women should be asked at their annual examinations.
Some women believe that it is just part of getting older and that they have to live with the often times embarrassing quality of life issue for women.
Vaginal Yeast Infection
Most women will experience that itchy, irritating feeling around the vaginal opening, symptoms of a yeast infection, at least once in a lifetime. Vaginal yeast infections are one of the more common reasons why women seek care from their OB/GYN. Most women harbor yeast, a fungal organism, somewhere in their vaginal canal. While usually in small amounts, certain situations allow for overgrowth. The body’s main defense against yeast infections occurring in the vagina is pH balance.