How Can We Help You?
- Reproductive Years
- When the Family's Complete
- Perimenopause and Menopause
- Minimally Invasive Procedures
- Your First Exam
- Your Period
- Birth Control
- Pap Screenings
- HPV (Human Papilloma Virus)
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD's)
- Osteoporosis/Bone Density
- Colon Screening
Whether it's your first annual exam, your first child or your first signs of menopause, we want your initial visit to OBGYN West to be the first of many. That's why we take special care to give you first-class treatment, every time. From babies to bladder issues, mood swings to menopause, the topics you discuss with us are decidedly delicate. In fact, next to your partner or a very close friend, there is no more intimate relationship than the one you share with your OBGYN. We value that candor and know that the bonds we build take time. Just trust that if it's on your mind, you can share it with us. We look forward to working with you.
Just like snowflakes, we're all different...and so are our menstrual cycles. There are big variables for what is considered "normal". But it's helpful to know that a typical period comes every 28 days (counting from the first day of one period to the first day of the next) and the average flow is five days long. Then what's atypical? A cycle that is abnormal is 21 days or shorter with a flow lasting 7-10 days or more. As you can see, there are a lot of different definitions of a normal period. But if you're out in the "atypical" range, you may want to make an appointment and talk to us about it.
Finding the method that's just right for you means having plenty of options. That's why we offer a full range of choices, including pills, IUD's, injections and permanent techniques. To discuss this important decision with one of our doctors, please call for an appointment today. Or, for an overview on what's available to you, go here .
It's widely accepted that women should have an annual gynecological exam. But when should they begin? The American Cancer Society recommends cervical pap smears approximately three years after the onset of vaginal intercourse or no later than 21 years of age. We also believe, as does the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), that "get acquainted" visits are a good idea for girls, starting around age 15. These annual exams are an important way to catch up with what's new with you and address any other personal concerns.
For young women, ages 15-26, we now offer the HPV vaccination to protect against a common virus that may cause cervical cancer. Studies have shown that the non-mature cervix of an adolescent is more susceptible to HPV than a more mature cervix of a woman in her 20's who engages in vaginal intercourse. Since an early onset of sexual activity increases the risk of an abnormal pap smear, which can potentially lead to cancer, we feel this vaccination is a worthwhile consideration for young women.
The list of STD's is long and their symptoms range from the uncomfortable to the downright dangerous. If you fear you may have contracted an STD, please make an appointment with us at your earliest convenience. If you're not sure, we list four of the more common STD's and a something you should know about each one.
Chlamydia is the most frequently reported STD in the United States. While its symptoms can be mild (including an abnormal vaginal discharge or a burning sensation while urinating) or invisible, the damage it can cause, if left untreated, includes chronic pelvic pain, infertility and even a potentially fatal ectopic (outside the uterus) pregnancy. The only real foolproof ways to avoid chlamydia are to abstain from sexual contact or be mutually monogamous with a partner who's been tested and, therefore, known to be uninfected. The next best option, although not without risk, is to insist the man wears a latex condom every time you engage in sex.
Gonorrhea is contracted by over half a million Americans each year, although in women, the signs can be non-existent or mild, often mimicking those of a bladder or vaginal infection (such as painful or burning urination, increased vaginal discharge or vaginal bleeding between periods). The symptoms are generally more pronounced in men, so if your partner complains of a burning sensation while urinating, a white, yellow or green discharge from his penis or has painful or swollen testicles, one or both of you may be infected with gonorrhea. Since the effects of this STD can be painful and long term (like Pelvic Inflammatory Disease and an increased risk of a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy, timely treatment is essential. (Important note: Gonorrhea is spread through contact with the penis, vagina, mouth and anus and does not require ejaculation to be spread. It also can be passed from a mother to her baby during delivery.)
Syphilis cannot be transmitted by contact with toilet seats, doorknobs, swimming pools or hot tubs. That's the good news. The not-so-good news is that it's transmitted by external sores...and those sores can show up on many parts of the body, including the external genitals, rectum, lips and in the mouth. Also troublesome is how long the bacteria can lie dormant in the body (sometimes for years) and how, in its primary stage, the disease announces itself through a single sore, called a chancre, which is a small, round, firm and painless bump. Since Syphilis is easy to cure in its early stages and can easily be detected with an inexpensive blood test, you shouldn't hesitate to tell your doctor if you have any unexplained sores on the body regions described above.
Genital Herpes affects roughly 45 million Americans ages 12 and up, which means roughly one in five adolescents and adults have had the genital HSV infection. It's more common in women since the virus is more likely to transmit from male-to-female. So how do you get genital herpes? By having sexual contact with someone who carries the virus, even if they're not having an outbreak of open sores (the virus is actually released from the skin between outbreaks!). While there is no cure for genital HSV-2, the severity and regularity of outbreaks seems to lessen for sufferers over the years. Still, the only way to avoid getting it is to abstain from sexual contact or be mutually monogamous with a partner who's been tested, since even condom use cannot 100% protect you from contracting the virus. If you have an outbreak of blisters around your genitals or rectum, make an appointment with one of our doctors right away.
Research suggests that 85% of women experience at least one premenstrual symptom as part of their monthly cycle. So if you suffer from any physical or mood changes before your period, you're not alone. Some of the more common emotional and behavioral symptoms include depression, angry outbursts, crying spells, anxiety, poor concentration and sleep disturbance. Physically, your breasts may be tender, you feel headachy or bloated or your hands and feel start to swell. If you deal with any of these disruptions in your life, please know that there are things you can do-from altering your diet or exercise routine to taking supplements or medication-that can often lessen your discomfort. If you want to talk about PMS, please make an appointment and we'll happily discuss your options with you.
Are you a thin person? Are you petit? Are you postmenopausal, anorexic or have a family history of osteoporosis? For those of us who are relatively young and fit, it's hard to imagine our bones will ever get brittle. But as time goes on, more women will suffer the debilitating effects of osteoporosis. Yet few will even know they're at risk. The good news is, there are things that can be done to either get you on the path to better bone health or let you know you're doing the right thing. The key is a comprehensive DEXA scan test from OBGYN West. If you're over 50, getting shorter or have a history of broken bones or steroid use, make an appointment and we'll perform a simple, painless test, called a bone densitometry. Then, if need be, we'll help make a plan to get you on the right path to better bone health.
We recommend an initial screening at age 50, followed by a flexible sigmoidoscopy every four years and a full colonoscopy every ten years. If you have a family history of colon cancer, please let us know when you make an appointment since this important information will change our recommendation.
The American Cancer Society recommends women get an annual mammography to screen for breast cancer every year starting when they turn 40. We support this recommendation and also encourage women to do routine self-examinations, since personal awareness is another important component to continued breast health.