How often should you be getting a breast exam?
Did you know that about 1 in 8 US women will develop breast cancer at some point during her lifetime? With statistics such as these it’s important that you are taking the preventive measures you need to keep yourself healthy and to promote early detection. Find out how often you should be visiting our Dothan, AL, OBGYNs for a breast exam.
Women of any age should be performing self-breast exams at least once a month. If you aren’t sure how to properly perform a breast exam on yourself our Dothan, AL, gynecologists would be happy to show you during your next visit. These exams are important because it’s the best way to detect changes or issues early on, so this is a habit that every woman will want to adopt.
Of course, these self-exams should not negate coming in at least once a year for a proper medical breast exam. After all, we are thoroughly trained to look for any issues that you may have missed during your own self-exam. Most of the time these breast exams are performed during your annual appointment.
What should you expect during your breast exam?
When we perform an exam we are looking for any visible or palpable changes to your breasts. We will check the texture, shape and size of your breasts and look for any warning signs such as pain, swelling, lumps or dimpling. If symptoms are detected, do not automatically assume that you have cancer. There are a lot of other non-serious issues that could be causing these symptoms.
If we do find any problems during your breast exam we will talk to you about the next step and whether we will need to perform further testing to figure out what’s causing your symptoms.
If you are noticing any changes or symptoms that give you pause, you should also give us a call, even if you don’t need to come in for your annual breast exam. It’s always best to play it safe rather than sorry when it comes to your health.
Regardless of whether or not you have risk factors, all women should be getting regular breast exams. Call Womens Medical Center in Dothan, AL, today to schedule your next visit with us. Preventive care can go a long way to promoting good health for the future.
Are you unsure if you need a Pap smear? The gynecologists at Women's Medical Center in Dothan, AL, explain why Pap smears are recommended and discuss how often you really need them.
What is a Pap smear?
Pap smears detect cervical cancer and pre-cancerous changes to your cervix. A small sample of cells is collected from your cervix and examined for abnormalities using a microscope. The test only takes seconds and is performed by using a swab to collect cells from surface of your cervix. You may feel a little pressure during the test, but it usually isn't painful. A little bit of bleeding isn't unusual after a Pap smear.
When do I need a Pap smear?
Pap smear recommendations have changed in the past few years. Although you may have gotten the test every year under the previous guidelines, you may not need the test as often now. Pap smears are recommended every three years beginning at age 21. Once you're 30, you might only need the test every five years if the Pap smear and a human papilloma virus (HPV) test are negative. If you are over 65, you may not need to get Pap smears anymore. You can stop having the test if you've had at least three negative smears over the last 10 years. The test also isn't needed if you no longer have a cervix.
If you do have abnormal results at some point, you may need to receive more frequent Pap smears in our Dothan office. Abnormal results don't automatically mean that you have cancer. In many cases, a follow-up test may be negative.
How do I prepare for a Pap smear?
Douching, sexual intercourse and tampon usage can interfere with the accuracy of Pap smears. Avoid using douches or tampons or having sex for 24 hours before your appointment.
Don't put your health at risk by avoiding Pap smears. This simple test will help you ensure you receive prompt treatment should you experience any abnormal changes to your cervical cells. If it's time for your next appointment, call the gynecologists at Women's Medical Center in Dothan, AL, at (334) 793-3900 to schedule your visit.
During the period of time leading up to menopause, your body undergoes significant changes that can affect nearly every aspect of your life. The OBGYNs at Women's Medical Center in Dothan, AL share some information that can help you cope with your symptoms.
It's not your imagination
As many as 10 years before your periods stop, you may begin to experience the changes associated with perimenopause, such as:
- Hot flashes
- Mood swings
- Night sweats
- Breast tenderness
- Worsening PMS symptoms
- Dry, itchy skin
- Hair loss
- Irregular periods
- Vaginal dryness
- Decreased sex drive
- Painful intercourse
- Short-term memory problems
The severity of these symptoms can vary from woman to woman. Some lucky women barely have any symptoms, while others experience considerable discomfort during these years.
How can my Dothan OBGYN help?
Getting through the day can be difficult if you suffer from hot flashes, fatigue, irritability and other unpleasant symptoms. Your OBGYN can help you deal with the changes that accompany the perimenopausal and menopausal years and offer suggestions and treatments that can reduce or relieve your symptoms.
In many cases, lifestyle changes, such as starting a regular exercise program, can reduce some common menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes and weight gain. Exercise improves heart health, lessen stress and anxiety, and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Your doctor can also offer advice about sexual issues, weight gain and other common issues and recommend vitamin supplements that will help you stay healthy, such as B vitamins and calcium.
If your symptoms persist or are severe, your OBGYN can offer hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and other medications that will provide some relief. Although many women are concerned about the potential drawbacks of estrogen treatment, the risk of cancer can be reduced by using the lowest helpful HRT dosage or using low-dose transdermal types of estrogen.
Lifestyle changes and medications can make dealing with menopausal symptoms much easier. If you're concerned about troublesome menopausal symptoms, the doctors at Women's Medical Center in Dothan, AL can offer solutions that will make a difference in your life. Call them at (334) 793-3900 to schedule an appointment.
How your doctors in Dothan can help you
You want to have a baby and you think you’ve tried everything to increase your chances. You’ve heard all of the advice and old-wives’ tales but still haven’t been able to conceive. You wonder if you might be infertile. You don’t have to deal with the uncertainty of infertility alone. It’s time to call the experts at Women’s Medical Center in Dothan, AL. They want to help you.
Infertility is a common problem, affecting 10 to 15 percent of couples. Infertility problems occur with women and men equally, each accounting for one-third of infertility problems. The remaining infertility issues cannot be attributed to one cause.
You may be infertile if you’ve been regularly having intercourse with your partner for at least one year and are still unable to get pregnant. Infertility may be due to:
- A long menstrual cycle (over 35 days)
- A short menstrual cycle (less than 21 days)
- Irregular or absent periods
- Low sperm count
The first thing to do if you think you might be infertile is to visit your doctors in Dothan. They will run a thorough series of tests to determine how to help you conceive. Infertility treatment involves two different methods, either restoring fertility or assisting with reproduction using medical techniques.
If you and your doctors decide on restoring your fertility, they may suggest a medication or combination of medications to help you conceive. These medications may include:
- Clomiphene citrate, to stimulate your ability to ovulate
- Gonadotropins, to stimulate your ovaries to produce more eggs
- Metformin, to combat insulin-resistance which can cause infertility
- Letrozole, to induce ovulation
- Bromocriptine, to eliminate ovulation problems caused by excess pituitary function
If you and your doctors decide on medically assisting reproduction, they may suggest:
- Surgery, to remove fibroids or growths preventing pregnancy
- Surgical reversal of tubal ligation to restore fertility
- Surgery to open blocked fallopian tubes
- Intrauterine insemination (IUI), placing sperm inside the uterus
- Assisted reproduction (IVF), combining the eggs and sperm in a laboratory setting and then placing the embryo into the uterus
If you think you might be infertile, don’t worry. You can get help to restore your ability to have children. Having a child is one of life’s greatest gifts and you deserve to enjoy bringing a life into the world. To find out more about infertility treatments, call the experts at Women’s Medical Center in Dothan, AL today!
Taking charge of your reproductive health involves making decisions about birth control, but which option is best for you? The methods your friends prefer aren't automatically the best choice for you. Your Dothan, AL, doctors at Women's Medical Center are here to share information about birth control that can help you make your decision.
How to evaluate birth control options?
Before you choose a birth control method, consider these factors:
- Effectiveness: Methods that are highly effective will increase your confidence in the birth control option.
- Duration: Some birth control methods, such as condoms, can only be used once, while contraceptive injections can prevent pregnancy for three months.
- Ease of Use: If the method is easy to use, you may be more likely to use it consistently.
- Health Concerns: Some birth control methods aren't recommended if you have certain health problems. For example, your doctor may not prescribe oral contraceptives if you have a history of stroke or blood clots.
- Reversibility: How soon after you stop using the method can you become fertile again?
- Religious Beliefs: Some types of birth control may not be compatible with your beliefs.
What types of birth control are available?
Common types of birth control include:
- Barrier Methods: Barrier methods include diaphragms, condoms, contraceptive sponges and cervical caps. They work by physically preventing sperm from entering your uterus.
- Hormonal Methods: Hormonal methods stop the release of eggs from your ovaries. Birth control pills, patches, rings, shots and implants are popular hormonal methods. Some intrauterine devices (IUDs) contain hormones while others do not.
- Natural Family Planning: Also called "the rhythm method," this form of birth control involves avoiding sex on the days when you are fertile. Because ovulation can vary from month to month, it's not as effective as other birth control methods.
- Sterilization: Sterilization is the only way to permanently prevent pregnancy. During the sterilization procedure, your doctor ties off your fallopian tubes, which prevents eggs from reaching your uterus.
Contact your Dothan doctor about birth control
Are you interested in learning more about your birth control in Dothan, AL? Call the doctors at Women's Medical Center, at (334) 793-3900 to schedule an appointment.
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