No, these are two different tests. A pap smear looks for suspicious cellular changes in the cervix to spot precancerous and cancerous cells early. An HPV test, on the other hand, specifically looks for a current HPV infection but won’t be able to detect cervical cell changes. Women should turn to their OBGYN to get both a Pap smear and an HPV test.
Even if you’ve been vaccinated for HPV or you’ve already gone through menopause, it’s still a good idea to get regular pap smears. Women between the ages of 21 and 29 should get a pap smear every three years (if they’ve only had normal pap smear results in the past). Women who’ve had an abnormal pap smear may need to come in once a year. A pap smear should be performed regardless of whether or not you suspect that you might have HPV.
Women between the ages of 30 and 65 should get a pap smear every three years, an HPV test every five years, or both tests together every five years.
Many strains of HPV are shed by the body over time so they don’t require treatment; however, other strains of HPV can lead to genital warts and cervical cancer. Cryosurgery or laser treatment may be used to remove abnormal cells from the cervix or genital warts.
The CDC recommends that both men and women between the ages of 11 to 26 should get vaccinated for HPV, as this vaccine can protect against many of the strains that can lead to cervical cancer. Since the vaccine is only administered to people who’ve never had HPV before, it’s a good idea to talk with your OBGYN about getting your teen vaccinated before they become sexually active.
An overgrowth of Candida, a type of fungus, leads to a yeast infection. While there may be fungus present in the vagina at any point in time, often it’s not enough to cause symptoms; however, when there’s overgrowth this leads to an infection.
- Taking antibiotics
- A compromised immune system
- Hormonal imbalance
- Poor diet
The most common signs of a yeast infection include,
- A thick, white vaginal discharge
- Burning and swelling of the vagina
- Pain with urination or sex
While certainly uncomfortable, a yeast infection is easy to treat. In fact, many women find relief from going to their local pharmacy and picking up yeast infection medication (you can purchase these products over the counter). If you don’t experience relief from your symptoms about a week after treatment, then it’s time to call your OBGYN.
Bleeding after Miscarriage
Whether you had to go through a D&C or you had a natural miscarriage, it is completely normal to bleed immediately after. The bleeding will be heavy for several hours, and it’s normal for it to contain tissue and clots. The bleeding will lighten and go away after 1-2 weeks. Only wear pads, not tampons, while bleeding.
Getting Your Period
It is normal for the first period after a miscarriage to be a little different than what you’re normally used to. Your period could be unusually heavy, or you may only experience spotting. It can take one cycle before your period returns to normal and it should be normal by the second cycle after your miscarriage. If you are still dealing with irregularities after your second cycle, you should talk with your OBGYN.
Most OBGYNs will give you the go-ahead to have sex again after about two weeks, but your OBGYN will need to have you come in for a follow-up to make sure that you’re not still bleeding. If you are, your doctor may ask you to wait a little longer.
Addressing Your Emotions
Your OBGYN has worked with many women who have experienced miscarriages, and they understand that what you are going through is traumatic and stressful. Some ways to support your emotional health during this time include,
- Spend more time with friends and family
- Ask for help and support when you need it
- Talk to other women who have also experienced miscarriages (there are support groups that can help)
- Talk to your OBGYN if you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression (they can provide counseling referrals)
- Get adequate nutrition and maintain a healthy, nourishing diet
- Get regular exercise
- Turn to meditation or other outlets for stress relief
- Make sure you are getting good sleep every night
Remember that you do not have to go through the recovery process alone. Many women seek solace in their OBGYN after a miscarriage. When you are ready, they can also guide you through the steps of getting pregnant again and providing you with the support system and compassionate care you need.
Menopause is not the end of womanhood, but a transition into another phase of it. One that does not come without its set of challenges. Luckily, it's not a journey for which you have to embark on your own. To learn more reach out to Dr. Richard Williams of Williams Ob/Gyn & Associates in San Dimas, CA.
Menopause marks the natural transition out of the reproductive stage of every woman. Most encounter it in their early 50s but several factors, including genetics and certain types of medical intervention, can alter when it occurs.
Although menopause is understood to have officially begun after the absence of a menstrual cycle for a year, its symptoms are often present years before its onset, during a period known as perimenopause.
Irregular periods begin to manifest during this time as well as the more commonly associated symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, disturbance of sleeping habits, and mood swings. Menopause itself brings about other discomforts, like vaginal dryness, frequent urination, and depression, among others.
Menopause cannot be halted but its various physical symptoms can be addressed with lifestyle changes and, of course, the support and guidance of your OBGYN.
Treating Its Symptoms
Improvements to your diet and exercise routines can help mitigate some of the more concerning effects menopause has on your body. Helping to prevent also the more damaging complications associated with these.
Among the most damaging habits you can curb is smoking. It's been shown to quicken the onset of menopause as well as complicate it by affecting its already bothersome symptoms. Not to mention the inherent health hazards of tobacco itself.
But you don't have to do manage it on your own. Your doctor can help you develop health strategies as well as intervene through medication and treatments like hormone therapy.
OBGYN in San Dimas, CA
To explore what resources are available to you make an appointment today with Dr. Williams of Williams Ob/Gyn & Associates in San Dimas, CA, by dialing (909) 599-8677.
Many ovarian cysts are too small to cause symptoms; however, if the cyst is large you may notice:
- Bloating or abdominal swelling
- Abdominal pain or pressure, typically on the side where the cyst is
- The pain may be dull and may come and go
Several factors can predispose certain women to ovarian cysts. These factors include:
- Hormonal issues
- Pelvic infections
It’s always a good idea to see your OBGYN as soon as possible if you are experiencing intense or severe abdominal pain, especially if it’s accompanied by a fever. Severe abdominal pain requires immediate medical attention.
An ovarian cyst will typically go away on its own without treatment; however, the size of the cyst and the symptoms you are experiencing may determine whether or not you should have surgery to remove the cyst. Your doctor will continue to monitor the cyst through regular ultrasounds every few weeks or months to see if the cyst has gone away. Recurring or very large cysts often require surgery.
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