The human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. According to the CDC, approximately 79 million Americans are infected with HPV. There are many strains of this infection, some of which can cause cancer. This is why it’s important that you visit your gynecologist once a year for annual checkups and screenings.
Symptoms of HPV
Unfortunately, men and women can have HPV and never know, since symptoms aren’t common with this STD. Some strains of HPV cause genital warts, a cluster of bumps that can be found on the vulva or cervix of a woman and may develop on the penis or scrotum of a man. Once infected, genital warts can appear as early as 3 months after exposure; however, it can sometimes take longer.
Since high-risk HPV (HPV that causes cervical cancer) doesn’t often cause symptoms this means that the best action you can take to protect your health is to visit your gynecologist once a year for an annual exam. During this exam, your OBGYN can perform a physical examination, as well as a PAP smear and HPV test to check for changes in cervical cells that could be a warning sign of cancer or pre-cancer.
While there is no test to determine if you have HPV or not, there are tests available that can check for cervical cancer that is most likely caused by HPV. These screenings usually begin around the age of 30. Of course, if you develop vaginal bumps, sores or other changes it’s important that you see your doctor right away.
During a Pap smear, your gynecologist will scrape cells from the cervix and send them to a lab, where they will look for any cellular changes. A Pap smear only takes a couple of minutes to perform and those who’ve never had abnormal results may only need to get a Pap smear every three years. Those who have had positive results in the past may need to get tested more regularly.
Luckily, there is now a vaccine available to protect against certain types of HPV, particularly the strains that are the greatest risk for developing cervical cancer. Before recently, the vaccine had only been approved for people ages 9 to 25 but now the FDA has approved the vaccine for adults ages 27 to 45. These vaccines only work on patients who’ve never had HPV before; this is why it’s important to vaccinate teens early on to protect against certain strains of high-risk HPV.
Is it time for your annual women’s appointment? If you are interested in getting tested for HPV, you can easily schedule an HPV screening to be performed during your next checkup.
Find out what fertility treatment options are available in Dallas, TX.
Millions of women deal with issues conceiving. We know how upsetting and stressful this can be. Luckily, our Dallas, TX, OBGYN Dr. Carolyn Ross Riley can provide you with a range of fertility treatment options. Wondering how we can help improve your chances of getting pregnant? Here’s what to expect when you come into our office for an evaluation.
When should I turn to a fertility specialist?
Wondering whether it’s time to sit down with our gynecologist in Dallas to consider whether fertility treatment could increase your success rate of getting pregnant? You may want to consider coming into our office for an evaluation if,
- You’re under 35 years old and you’ve been trying to get pregnant for more than one year
- You’re over 35 years old and you’ve been trying to get pregnant for six months or more
By turning to our OBGYN we can both pinpoint and treat infertility problems. Common infertility issues include,
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Ovulation issues
- Abnormalities in the uterus, ovaries or fallopian tubes
An OBGYN will be able to prescribe certain medications such as Clomid that can improve fertility by regulating ovulation. We can even discuss whether you could benefit from intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF) if your partner’s sperm count is normal.
It’s important that both partners see a doctor to assess their fertility. From there, we will be able to evaluate your personal situation to decide the best treatment or treatments needed to increase your chances of getting pregnant.
IUI and IVF are the two most common types of fertility treatments. During IUI, sperm is collected and inserted into the uterus during ovulation. During IVF, eggs are taken from the ovaries and fertilized in a lab along with sperm to develop embryos. These embryos are then implanted into the uterus.
Donor sperm or eggs, as well as surrogates, are also options, particularly for single people and same-sex couples who wish to have a baby. Donor sperm or egg may also be used in situations where there are issues with you and your partner’s sperm or eggs.
If you are having trouble conceiving and want to talk to a gynecologist who can provide you with the right fertility treatment for you then call CornerStoneMD in Dallas today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Carolyn Ross Riley.
Endometriosis is a female condition in which tissue that's similar to uterine lining begins growing on the outside of the uterus, often affecting the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and pelvic tissue. During your cycle, the endometrial tissue then becomes thicker until it breaks down and bleeds, and due to how this tissue can’t be removed from the body, it gets trapped. Over time, this can lead to scar tissue (known as adhesions) on the reproductive organs.
This condition affects as many as 11 percent of US woman between the ages of 15 and 44, most often affecting women in their 30s and 40s. This condition can also make it more challenging for women to get pregnant.
What are the symptoms of endometriosis?
The classic symptom of endometriosis is abdominal pain that is usually worse during your menstrual cycle. While a lot of women complain of some abdominal discomfort during menstruation, women with endometriosis often complain of very painful periods, which may even radiate to the lower back.
Women with endometriosis may also experience very heavy periods or breakthrough bleeding (bleeding between cycles). You may also notice pelvic pain during sex or with bowel movements, as well as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, or fatigue.
All symptoms will vary from woman to woman. For instance, some women may have very severe symptoms but only have milder cases of endometriosis, while those with more severe cases may experience little-to-no-discomfort. Everyone is different; however, if you are experiencing new, persistent, or worsening pelvic pain, it’s important that you talk with your gynecologist.
If you are trying to conceive you may also find it more difficult to do so. Sometimes women don’t often find out that they have endometriosis until they visit their OBGYN to discuss problems getting pregnant.
How is endometriosis diagnosed?
During your evaluation, your OBGYN will ask you questions about the symptoms that you are experiencing. From there, a couple of tests will be performed in order to pinpoint specific signs and symptoms of endometriosis. These tests include a traditional pelvic exam or an ultrasound. In some instances, an MRI exam or a laparoscopy (a minor surgical procedure that allows a doctor to examine the inside of the abdomen and uterus) may be recommended to make a definitive diagnosis.
How is this condition treated?
Since there is no cure for endometriosis the goal of treatment is to manage your symptoms. As with most conditions, we will recommend more conservative treatment options at first to see if they are effective. Common treatment options include,
- Pain medications (either over-the-counter or prescription-strength)
- Hormone therapy (e.g. birth control pills; progestin therapy)
- Fertility treatment (for women who are having trouble conceiving)
- Laparoscopic surgery to remove excess endometrial tissue
If you are experiencing symptoms of endometriosis, it’s important that you talk to a gynecologist as soon as possible.
Birth control is an important part of managing your reproductive and gynecological health. According to statistics published by the Guttmacher Institute and National Health Statistics Reports, 99 percent of sexually active women ages 15-44 have used some type of birth control. Every woman’s needs are different, which is why there is no one-size-fits-all birth control method. With help from Dr. Carolyn Ross Riley's North Dallas office, you can find the best contraceptive method for your needs!
The Importance and Benefits of Contraception
Birth control is an important issue for most women for a variety of reasons. The first consideration for many is family planning—some women, whether because of age or circumstances, don’t feel that they are ready for pregnancy, childbirth, and raising a child. For some patients, getting pregnant could cause or aggravate health issues, as well. Still, for others, certain types of birth control are taken to help regulate hormonal imbalances and make for more manageable periods.
Your Contraception Choices
At CornerStoneMD in North Dallas, you’ll sit down with your women's doctor and discuss a number of women’s gynecological and obstetric issues including contraception. These are some of the common birth control options available to women:
- Birth control pills (taken orally once per day).
- Depo-Provera injections (administered once every three months).
- Intrauterine devices (placed within the uterus for up to five years of birth control).
- Regular and consistent use of condoms.
Which Is Right for You?
The contraception that is right for you will depend on your lifestyle, health, and personal needs. For instance, if your goal is to avoid pregnancy with a committed partner and you are good at remembering to take medication daily, birth control pills may be ideal. If you need a solution that won’t require daily management and your doctor recommends an estrogen-free solution for health reasons, Depo-Provera shots may be right for you. If you are concerned about STD transmission, discuss condoms and an additional backup method of contraception with your gynecologist.
Discuss Contraception with Your Women’s Doctor
One reason why it’s a good idea to visit your gynecologist on a regular basis is that there may be new birth control methods and treatments available that will best fit your needs. Set a time to visit Dr. Carolyn Ross Riley at CornerStoneMD in North Dallas by calling (469) 801-8480 today!
At some point all women will need to receive routine pelvic exams in order to check their vaginal and reproductive health. This exam allows your gynecologist to be able to examine the vagina, cervix, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus to look for early warning signs of infection or other problems.
Unless otherwise recommended by a physician, most women will undergo their first pelvic exam at the age of 21. After which, this simple exam should become a regular part of your well-woman care.
Getting a Pelvic Exam
We know that any kind of new exam or procedure can make anyone a little nervous. That’s why we want you to know what to expect before coming into the office for your first pelvic exam. Here’s what to expect:
We will provide you with a dressing gown, which you will change into in private. From there, you will lie down on the exam table and place your feet into elevated footrests. You will move your body towards the end of the table and our gynecologist will instruct you on what to do to make sure they can perform the exam. Relaxing as much as possible during the exam is important as it will make the process more comfortable for you.
There are usually three different parts involved in a pelvic exam:
- The external exam: This allows us to look at the external tissue of the vulva to detect any irritation, abnormal discharge or warning signs of other problems like genital warts or cysts.
- The internal exam: A special instrument known as a speculum will be carefully inserted into the vagina to open up the walls so that your gynecologist can examine the uterus and cervix. Sometimes a small brush is inserted into the vagina to collect cells from the cervix for testing. This is known as a Pap smear and it allows your doctor to check for precancerous and cancerous cervical cells.
- The bimanual exam: The speculum is removed and your gynecologist will then place one or two gloved fingers into the vagina and press on the abdomen to check the size and shape of the uterus and to feel for any enlargements, tenderness, or pain.
While the first pelvic exam may feel a bit awkward and weird it should never feel painful or uncomfortable. If you are experiencing any discomfort please let us know. We will talk you through the entire process so you know what’s going to happen before it does. If you have any questions or concerns for us this is also the time to let us know.
How often should I get a pelvic exam?
This will depend on several factors. Based on your current health, medical history and any past medical test results we will determine whether you will only need to come in once a year or whether you could benefit from visiting us more often.
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