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Endometrial cancer, cancer of the lining of the uterus, is unfortunately becoming more and more common according to studies from the American Cancer Society. Already the 4th most common type of cancer for women in the US, rates of endometrial cancer have steadily increased in recent years. While this trend may seem disheartening when compared with most other types of cancers that have seen their prevalence decline over the same time frame, there are effective and helpful treatments available. Scheduling a well woman exam with Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett is a good first step in the prevention of endometrial cancer.

Causes and Risk Factors

Doctors aren’t sure exactly what causes endometrial cancer. What they do know is that something occurs to create a genetic mutation in cells that make up the lining of the uterus. This mutation turns healthy cells into abnormal cells, which can accumulate over time and form a tumor.

While doctors have had difficulties pinpointing the precise cause, there is a vast array of risk factors that have been proven to contribute to the risk of developing endometrial cancer including:

Increased Number of Menstrual Cycles

The total number of menstrual cycles over a woman’s life has an effect on her chances of developing endometrial cancer. The more cycles you’ve had, the higher your risk. Women that either started menstrual periods earlier than normal or have gone through menopause later in life are at greater risk

Advanced Age

Your risk of endometrial cancer only increases as you age. Endometrial cancer is most common for women who have already undergone menopause.

Overweight or Obesity

Being overweight or obese may indeed contain the most direct risk of any of these factors. Having more fat tissue can increase a woman's estrogen levels, increasing her chances for endometrial cancer. Obese women are more than three times as likely to develop endometrial cancer as women maintaining a healthy body weight.

Race

Women of certain races are experiencing slightly different rates of endometrial cancer growth. Last year the increase was less than one percent for white women, compared with 1.8% for Hispanic women and 2.5% for African American and Asian women. While all women may be at risk, African American women are especially vulnerable to endometrial cancer and have a considerably higher mortality rate when compared to other female demographics.

Hormone Imbalance

Your ovaries produce two primary female hormones, estrogen and progesterone. Instabilities in the balance of these hormones cause changes to the inner lining of your uterus. Taking medications like hormone replacement after menopause that contain one of these hormones and not the other can increase your risk of endometrial cancer.

Some common symptoms to look out for include irregular uterine bleeding, pain or soreness in the pelvis or an abnormal, watery or blood-tinged vaginal discharge.

Cancer research and treatments have never been more effective and sophisticated. Even for women who receive a positive diagnosis, the odds of beating cancer and getting back to your normal life have never been better. If you are experiencing any of symptoms of endometrial cancer, do not hesitate to contact Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett to set up an appointment with our board-certified gynecologists today. 

Irregular bleeding, or abnormal uterine bleeding, has many causes. They include hormonal imbalances, pregnancy-related complications, uterine growths and medication side effects. Bleeding is considered abnormal if it occurs in between periods or after sex, if it is heavier than normal or more prolonged, or if it occurs after menopause.

Irregular bleeding is nothing to ignore. If left untreated, it can lead to infertility, anemia due to blood loss and increased risk of endometrial cancer.

The Dangers of Ignoring Irregular BleedingCommon causes

For most women, especially teenagers or those approaching menopause, irregular bleeding is caused by a hormone imbalance. When hormones are the problem, doctors call the problem dysfunctional uterine bleeding, or DUB. Polyps or fibroids that develop in the uterus can also cause bleeding. In some cases, irregular bleeding can be a sign of a thyroid problem, infection of the cervix or even cancer of the uterus.

Common Symptoms

It is important to monitor the frequency and amount of bleeding you are experiencing. Vaginal bleeding that occurs more often than every 3 weeks or farther apart than every 5 weeks is thought to be irregular. The same can be said for vaginal bleeding that lasts longer than 7 days. If you are passing blood clots or soaking through your usual pads or tampons each hour for 2 or more hours, bleeding may be considered severe.

Common Treatments

Birth control pills

Birth control pills contain hormones that can stop the lining of your uterus from getting too thick. Birth control pills can also help keep your menstrual cycle regular and reduce cramping. However, although rare, certain types of birth control pills can cause abnormal bleeding for some women. One of our Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett associates can help determine if birth control pills are the right choice for you.

Intrauterine device (IUD)

An IUD is a small, plastic device one of our providers inserts into your uterus through your vagina to block the fertilization of eggs. Certain kinds of IUD’s release hormones that can significantly reduce irregular bleeding. Like birth control pills, some IUD’s may cause abnormal bleeding so we will work together to choose the correct course of action.

Hysterectomy 

A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the uterus. After a hysterectomy procedure, you won’t have any more periods and you won’t be able to get pregnant. Hysterectomy is a major surgery that occasionally requires general anesthesia and a hospital stay as well as downtime for recovery. Because a hysterectomy removes the uterus, and in some cases the ovaries and cervix, it is important that we together discuss all of your options before opting for surgery.

Endometrial Ablation 

Endometrial ablation is a surgical procedure that destroys the lining of the uterus. Endometrial ablation may stop all menstrual bleeding in some women. However, it’s not unusual for some women to experience light bleeding or spotting after the procedure. It’s also not uncommon for women to have regular menstrual periods after the procedure. Women who have an endometrial ablation should still use some form of birth control even though pregnancy after the procedure is unlikely.

Irregular bleeding is more of an annoyance than a health risk, but it could be a sign of a serious medical problem.  Therefore, an evaluation by an experienced and board-certified gynecologist is important. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today. You can also follow us on Facebook today.

We are excited and proud to welcome you to the official blog for Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett. Our blog will serve as a source of information and conversation on gynecology and wellness, information on our services, as well as the latest advances in the fields of gynecology and general women’s health.

The goal of this forum is to recapture the relationship between patient and doctor in hopes of creating and maintaining a viable, collaborative relationship with our patients. As the founder of Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett, Dr. Kristine Gould, would like you to think of this blog as a place you can trust to deliver the information and expertise you need.

Please look around and learn more about the practice and the services we provide and let us know if there are any topics you are interested in learning more about.

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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.