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Endometriosis is a common source of pain and inconvenience for women. Endometriosis is a disorder that occurs when tissue that normally lines the inside of a woman’s uterus grows outside of the uterus. This can cause a number of symptoms including chronic pain in the pelvis (especially during menstrual periods) as well as pain during sex, heavy menstrual bleeding, nausea or vomiting, and longer-than-normal menstrual periods. In addition to the side effects we’ve already mentioned, endometriosis has also been strongly linked to female infertility.

The exact connection between these two conditions can be hard to trace, but we do know that between 30-40% of women with endometriosis also suffer from fertility issues. It’s common for women who have been diagnosed with endometriosis to wonder what their diagnosis could mean for their future fertility. The precise cause and effect relationship between endometriosis and infertility has not been fully discovered. It is not known with certainty whether endometriosis causes infertility or if it’s possible that infertility and delayed pregnancy affects a woman’s chances of developing endometriosis.

Though mysterious, the link between these two conditions is undeniable. Women with even mild endometriosis should be proactive when thinking about their fertility, even if they’re not planning on becoming pregnant in the immediate future. Endometriosis prevention can help preserve fertility. The first option recommended for treating endometriosis is often medication. Certain over-the-counter pain relievers can help manage discomfort, but we recommend hormonal-based medications like birth control pills, hormonal IUDs, or hormone therapy that work to slow the growth of endometrial tissue.

Hormonal suppressant medications like Lupron Depot® are commonly prescribed to help relieve endometriosis pain and shrink lesions. If medications are unsuccessful, surgery can also be used to treat endometriosis if the patient is in significant pain or is having fertility issues. Surgery can be performed to remove the endometrial tissue, although the tissue will typically return. Birth control pills are commonly prescribed after surgery to prevent recurrences of endometriosis. Preventing these recurrences can help preserve fertility, so the pill is an excellent treatment option for women who are not yet planning to become pregnant.

Knowing the severity of your endometriosis is an important step in treating it and preventing potential fertility issues. At Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett, we will begin by performing an ultrasound to see if the ovaries are affected. This will allow us to diagnose the degree of your endometriosis and help you plan the most appropriate course of treatment. Sometimes exploratory laparoscopy surgery is required to diagnose endometriosis. To schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified gynecologists, please contact Dr. Kristine Gould at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today at (678) 380-1980. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for more stories and developments in the field of reproductive health.

 

Pregnancy can be a blessing, but not every woman is ready or necessarily interested in becoming pregnant. Practicing abstinence is a surefire way to avoid an unwanted pregnancy, but that’s obviously not for everyone. Thankfully, there are a number of birth control options available at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett for women who want to remain sexually active without the risk of becoming pregnant.

Which Birth Control Method is Right for MeThe term “birth control” is not all-encompassing. While certain birth control methods have higher success rates than others, there is no “best method”. Selecting the right birth control method for you depends on your lifestyle, personal preference and specific needs.

We’ve highlighted a number of the most common birth control methods below to help you understand the differences between them and help figure out the one that may be right for you:

Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills are the most common method of birth control. These are hormone-based treatments (typically estrogen & progesterone) that prevent unwanted pregnancy by stopping ovulation. If taken daily over time, birth control pills can be up to 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. Birth control pills can also be used to reduce female concerns like ovarian cysts or irregular bleeding and help lower the risk of gynecological cancers. The pills are a commonly preferred method of birth control due to their convenience and limited side effects.

Long-Term Birth Control

Taking daily birth control isn’t ideal for every woman. For these women, there are long-acting birth control options. Long-acting birth control entails implants or devices that are inserted and removed by a board-certified gynecologist that can last for several weeks or even years. This includes intrauterine devices (IUD’s), devices that are inserted into the uterus and block the fertilization of eggs during sex. IUD’s are extremely safe and boast a greater than 99% success rate. Other long-term birth control methods include birth control implants, the Depo-Provera shot and NuvaRing®.

Female Sterilization

Women who never want to become pregnant have the option of female sterilization as well. Female sterilization procedures eliminate the worry of unplanned pregnancy without the need for additional hormone supplements. Here at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett, we perform female sterilization using a surgical procedure known as tubal ligation. This procedure is between 98% and 99.8% effective, making it extremely safe by any standard. The effects of female sterilization can be challenging to reverse or negate, so this decision is not to be taken lightly. It is only recommended for women who are 100% sure that they do not want to ever become pregnant.

Any woman choosing between birth control methods should answer the following questions before making their choice?

  • How often do you have sex?
  • Do you have plans to have children someday?
  • How successful is each method in preventing pregnancy?
  • How safe is each method?
  • What are the potential side effects of each method?
  • Will I be uncomfortable physically with a certain method?

We hope this has been instructive to patients unsure of which method of birth control makes the most sense for their lifestyle. For those still unsure, an appointment with Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett can help answer any existing questions or concerns. If you would like to schedule an appointment, contact Dr. Kristine Gould at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today at (678) 380-1980. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter & Google+ for regular reproductive health news and updates.

It is estimated that nearly one-third of women in America will have undergone a hysterectomy by the time they turn 60, based on a paper recently published in Aging Health, making it one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures for women. During a hysterectomy, a patient’s uterus and cervix are removed.  The ovaries and fallopian tubes may also be removed during the procedure depending on the woman's age or condition. Though hysterectomies are regularly used to treat serious health concerns like gynecological cancers and endometriosis, roughly 90% of hysterectomies performed annually are used to improve quality of life by treating less serious conditions like irregular bleeding and pelvic pain.

Life after Your HysterectomyA hysterectomy can be performed in several different ways.  The uterus and cervix may be removed through an abdominal or vaginal procedure. The abdominal approach is performed by using an open technique (bikini cut) or a laparoscopic technique using 3-4 small incisions and the aid of a camera. During your consultation at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett, we will discuss your options and determine which procedure is best for your needs. 

A hysterectomy is a major surgical procedure that carries with it short and long-term effects.  We have outlined some of the most common long and short-term effects associated with hysterectomies below in an effort to educate and illuminate potential patients on what their operation may entail:

Short-Term Effects of a Hysterectomy

Female Concerns

After a hysterectomy, it is common for a woman to experience spotting, pain, or vaginal discharge. These symptoms are part of the normal healing process.

Bladder Issues

A hysterectomy can lead to temporary bladder problems. This may include a loss of sensation in the bladder or urinary incontinence, caused by temporary injury to the nerves that supply the bladder muscle. In rare cases, a hysterectomy procedure can lead to long-term bladder issues.

Psychological Impact

There are also lingering psychological effects associated with a hysterectomy. After organ removal, it’s normal for women to feel as if they are no longer whole. Feelings of uncertainty and depression may also arise due to hormonal changes. Please communicate any issues you’re having with us so that we may be able to provide relief through supplements or other hormonal replacements.

Long-Term Effects of a Hysterectomy

Loss of Ability to Conceive

After a hysterectomy, a woman no longer has the ability to become pregnant due to the removal of the uterus. The idea of no more periods or fear of unwanted pregnancy may bring relief to some women, but for others the sudden ending of their reproductive period can be upsetting.

Sexual Side Effects

Some women who experienced pre-hysterectomy pain during sex may experience an improved sex life after a hysterectomy. However, a hysterectomy can also cause sexual problems due to a lack of estrogen produced by the body, if the ovaries are also removed. This estrogen reduction can cause vaginal dryness and a thinning of the vaginal skin which can make sex painful for some women. The vaginal canal is shortened, leading to difficulty during sexual penetration for some women. Hormone replacement therapy can be used to treat sexual side effects linked to a hysterectomy.

A hysterectomy is a serious surgical procedure, so it’s wise to consult with an experienced board-certified gynecologist to weigh your options and see if a hysterectomy is right for you. Undergoing a well-woman exam at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett is a good way to gauge your overall reproductive health and see if you’re dealing with any conditions that could lead to a hysterectomy. For more information about hysterectomy procedures, please contact Dr. Kristine Gould at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today at (678) 380-1980. We take great pride in providing our patients the best in reproductive health care.

Menopause is something that affects all women, but that doesn’t mean it affects all women the same way. During menopause, women may experience a lot of changes. Menopause is a gradual process that is typically broken down into three stages: perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause. Each of the three stages brings with it different physical and emotional changes to a woman’s body. While we normally associate menopause with changes related to ovulation and reproductive health, it has also been linked to other serious medical issues including osteoporosis.

 The Connections between Osteoporosis and MenopauseDuring menopause, the body’s production of estrogen, a hormone directly tied to bone density, slows down drastically. This lack of estrogen triggers a period of bone loss in many women that generally starts approximately one year before the final menstrual period and can last up to five years. This is why women are far more likely than men of the same age to develop osteoporosis. The most rapid bone loss occurs during the perimenopausal and menopausal periods.

Osteoporosis is often referred to as a "silent disease" because its symptoms do not necessarily present themselves as you develop the condition. It’s common for people with osteoporosis to not even be aware of their condition until their bones become so weak that a seemingly minor bump or fall causes a fracture. Osteoporosis can also lead to collapsed vertebrae that may initially seem like ordinary back pain, but can result in loss of height or spinal deformities.

The longer a woman’s estrogen levels stay depleted, the more bone mass she may lose. This makes women who experience early menopause (before age 40) especially susceptible to osteoporosis. Women who have gone an extended time without having a menstrual period or experience irregular periods may also be extra vulnerable.

There are measures women can take to keep their bones healthy and strong as they age and go through the stages of menopause. Regular exercise like walking is highly recommended. Consuming food and drinks that are rich in nutrients like calcium and vitamin D can help keep your bones strong as well.

Treatment options for osteoporosis usually include medications and supplements designed to restore bone density. Hormone replacement therapy uses estrogen supplements to replace the estrogen lost after menopause in an effort to maintain bone mass and health. Vitamin D and calcium supplements can also be taken as part of osteoporosis treatment. Drugs like Forteo or Prolia are also commonly prescribed to try to prevent further bone loss. Physical therapy and regular weight-bearing exercise that maintain muscle tone and joint health can help to strengthen bones and even reduce or prevent further bone loss.

Regardless of which phase of menopause you are currently in, a checkup to test for the presence of bone depletion is never a bad idea. At Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett, we’ll start by discussing your reproductive health history and administering a bone mineral density (BMD) test to gain the information we need about a patient’s bone health, genetics, and early menopause to catch potential osteoporosis before problems arise. To schedule a consultation, contact Dr. Kristine Gould and Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today at (678) 380-1980.

An important factor for any woman trying to maintain their wellness is an attentive, proactive approach to reproductive health. A clean, healthy lifestyle can go a long way, but reproductive health issues can still arise. That’s why at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett, we emphasize the importance of annual Well Woman Examinations to help ensure our patients’ continued reproductive health by identifying any potential gynecological problems before they become serious concerns.

Benefits of a Well Woman ExamAdditionally, a well woman exam can be an excellent opportunity to form a more personal bond with your gynecologist. During your Well Woman Exam, you should feel free to discuss topics like menopause, fertility and whatever other gynecological questions that may be on your mind. Ideally, your gynecologist should feel like a partner, working in tandem with you towards a goal of superlative reproductive health.

Your Well Woman Examination may consist of any of the following services:

Health Screening

A general gynecological health screening is one of the primary functions of the Well Woman Exam. As part of your health screening, you will undergo a full pelvic examination to gauge the health of your reproductive organs, including the vagina, cervix, fallopian tubes, vulva, ovaries, and uterus. Other testing and laboratory work like a urinalysis, blood tests, or testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases may take place as well. If necessary, we may also run a cholesterol test and check on the health of your kidneys, liver and thyroid to better understand the full scope of your reproductive health.

Gynecological Cancer Screening

Detecting gynecological cancer early is a vital part of treating it effectively. It’s essential to diagnose any form of cancer early, before it has had an opportunity to grow or spread. This is why our Well Woman Examinations include cancer screening tests designed to detect various forms of cancer before any outward signs or symptoms are evident. During a Well Woman Exam at GAoG, we will screen you for a number of gynecological cancers including a clinical breast examination for the detection of potential breast cancers, a pap smear to detect possible cervical cancer, as well as testing for colon cancer, endometrial cancer and ovarian cancer.

Vaccinations

We provide immunizations to prevent the Human papillomavirus (HPV) and other diseases, if needed.

At GAoG, patient comfort is our top priority. Founder Dr. Kristine Gould and the rest of the experienced staff will do everything within their power to ensure that all exams are performed with the utmost privacy, discretion and comfort for each and every patient. To schedule your annual Well Woman Examination, contact Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today at (678) 380-1980.

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Contact Information


Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett
601 Professional Drive, Suite 330
Lawrenceville, Georgia 30046   
Phone: 678.380.1980   
Fax: 678.380.7348

Our Hours

Monday 8:30AM–4:30PM
Tuesday 8:30AM–4:30PM
Wednesday 8:30AM–4:30PM
Thursday 8:30AM–4:30PM
Friday 8:30AM–12PM
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed

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We are happy to welcome all of our new incoming patients from Dr. Audrey Arona at Preferred Women's Healthcare. Please contact us today if you have any questions or to schedule your next appointment.