Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
We make it a point to discuss sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) with patients of all ages. Many of those who have contracted an STD have such mild symptoms that they are unaware of the potential health hazard. The more a woman understands about STDs and how to prevent them, the more empowered she is to guard her health.
Though it may not be a conventional subject of conversation, vaginal infections happen. Sometimes they may be difficult to recognize because they can cause subtle pelvic changes. If you are experiencing discomfort such as itching, burning, redness or abnormal discharge, you should be examined by your doctor. Your physician can perform tests to determine the type of infection you have and the best way to treat it.
Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding
Many women may experience bleeding or spotting between periods. Vaginal bleeding is considered abnormal if it occurs when you are not expecting your menstrual period or when your menstrual flow is lighter or heavier than what is normal for you. Bleeding is also considered abnormal if it occurs at a time in your life when it is not expected, such as during pregnancy or after menopause. Abnormal vaginal bleeding can have many possible causes and does not necessarily indicate a serious condition; however, if you experience abnormal vaginal bleeding, contact your doctor immediately so he or she can perform a pelvic exam and/or other tests to determine the cause.
We understand that pelvic pain can be a source of frustration for many women, as it is often times difficult to determine the cause. Some of the most common sources of pelvic pain include the following conditions:
This is a disease in which cells that look and act like those lining the uterus (endometrial cells) are found in other areas in your body, usually in your pelvis. Endometriosis can cause pelvic pain, painful periods and pain during intercourse and may also affect your fertility.
A pelvic adhesion is scar tissue that forms between two structures or organs not normally connected to each other. This tissue may attach to nearby surfaces because of inflammation, gynecological conditions (such as endometriosis) or previous surgeries. Adhesions can cause pain, blockage or other problems.
Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop in the uterus. They can grow on the inside of your uterus, within the uterine muscle wall or on the outer surface of your uterus. Fibroids can alter the shape of the uterus as they grow, and the size, shape, location and symptoms of fibroids may change over time.
These fluid-filled sacs can form in your ovary. They are the most common ovarian growths in women of childbearing age, 20 to 35 years old. If you experience pelvic pain, see your doctor so he or she can perform a pelvic exam to help determine the cause of your pain.
Menopause is a natural stage in every woman’s life when her ovaries cease functioning and her menstrual periods stop, marking the end of her childbearing years. While the average age of menopause is around 50, every woman’s body has its own unique timeline. You may experience unpleasant symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and sleep disturbances.
Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when one or more of the organs inside the pelvis falls from its normal position. The condition may cause a feeling of fullness or pressure in your lower abdomen, problems passing urine or having a bowel movement, urine leakage, pain or pressure in your lower back or problems having intercourse. This may be caused by one or more of the following factors: vaginal childbirth, hormonal changes occurring with menopause, constant coughing (due to bronchitis or smoking), heavy lifting, chronic straining (due to constipation) or being overweight. The prolapse may be mild, moderate or severe, and you may have more than one type of prolapse.
Urinary incontinence is loss of bladder control. Symptoms can range from mild leaking to uncontrollable wetting. It can happen to anyone, but it becomes more common with age. Women experience urinary incontinence twice as often as men. Most bladder control problems happen when muscles are too weak or too active. Urinary incontinence is not just a medical problem. It can affect emotional, psychological and social life. Many people who have urinary incontinence are afraid to do normal daily activities. They don’t want to be too far from a toilet. Urinary incontinence can keep people from enjoying life.
Several treatment options exist to treat Stress Urinary Incontinence, Overactive Bladder or a combination of both. There are medicines to treat and control symptoms as well as other things you can do including “Kegel” exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor, lifestyle changes, vaginal and urethral devices, pads, and even surgery.
Ask your provider which options are best for you. Don’t let your bladder control your life. Let us help you take back control.