The Importance of HPV VaccinationsHuman papillomavirus (commonly known as HPV) is the not only the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States, but also one of the leading causes of several different forms of cancer for women. HPV is spread from partner-to-partner during sexual contact (vaginal, anal, or oral sex). Though HPV is most commonly associated with cervical cancer, it can also lead to the development of cancer of the vagina, vulva, anus, and more. More than 14 million people become infected with HPV in the US annually.

There are more than 40 types of HPV and they pose numerous potential health threats. While some types of HPV may only lead to less minor conditions like genital warts, many others are among the leading causes of certain cancers for females. According to the National Cancer Institute, virtually all cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV and roughly 70% all cases are caused by the same 2 types of HPV. Additionally, HPV is linked to roughly 69% of vulvar cancers, 75% of vaginal cancers, 91% of anal cancers and 72% of oropharyngeal cancers (cancer of the back of the throat).

Thankfully, there are solid prevention options. We encourage regular cervical cancer screening exams, or Pap smears. However, the safest bet for protecting yourself from HPV and the potential complications that come from this infection is receiving a HPV vaccination. The HPV vaccine is recommended for women and girls between the ages of 9 and 26. A full HPV vaccination requires three doses. We recommend waiting four weeks between the first and second dose and twelve weeks between the second and third dose for the precautionary reasons.

According to a recent study published by HealthDay, certain versions of the HPV vaccine can prevent up to 70% of cervical cancer cases. A HPV vaccine can also produce a more active immune response for preteens. In addition to being effective, HPV vaccinations are very safe as well. There are no severe side effects or adverse reactions currently linked to HPV vaccination. HPV vaccines are approved and monitored by the CDC and the FDA.

Nearly 30% of cervical cancers are caused by types of HPV that cannot be prevented with vaccines. Therefore it’s important to understand that an HPV vaccine should not be considered a substitute for regular cervical cancer screenings. If you have questions about HPV or cervical cancer and would like to schedule an appointment, please contact Dr. Kristine Gould at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for additional news and updates about reproductive health.

Some Simple Tips for Preventing UTIsUrinary tract infections (UTIs) can be extremely painful and inconvenient for women. They affect the urethra, kidneys, and bladder and create a painful, burning sensation during urination. UTIs typically begin in the bladder or urethra, but they can spread to the upper urinary tract if they are not treated in a timely fashion. This can lead to serious complications including long-term kidney damage.

A urinary tract infection can be caused by a number of things, but they usually result from either outside bacteria getting pushed into the urethra or from bacteria already existing in the bladder growing to unhealthy levels. The bacteria can accumulate as a result of sexual activity or from the bladder not emptying completely due to a blockage or narrowing in the urinary tract.

With this in mind, there are certain precautions you can take to help stave off potential UTIs. Following these tips can help women avoid infection and promote general reproductive health and wellness.

Drink Lots of Fluids

Loading up on fluids (water specifically) is a great way to flush out your system of potentially damaging bacteria. Drinking more will lead to using the restroom more. In doing so, you’ll be helping move things through the urinary tract and diluting the urine so bacteria levels can't grow to potentially dangerous amounts.

Vitamin C Helps

Taking vitamin C, whether in juice or supplement form, can be a great way to prevent bacterial growth in the urinary tract. Vitamin C helps keep your urine acidic. This acid helps prevent excess bacteria from forming. As an added perk, Vitamin C is great for the immune system and may help prevent other health concerns for women. Vitamin C can be a helpful tool in UTI prevention, but it unfortunately won’t help in treating an infection once it has begun.

Empty Your Bladder Following Sex

One of the most common ways for external bacteria to enter the urethra is through sex. By urinating after sex, you can flush out any of the bacteria that may have made its way into the bladder during intercourse. Even if you don’t feel like you necessarily need to urinate, you should still make it a point to try.

Try Not to Hold it In

You should urinate often and not try to hold it in any longer than you have to. The longer urine stays in your bladder, the more time there is for bacteria to accumulate and an infection to develop. We recommend using the bathroom at least every 4 to 6 hours, and more often if you are prone to UTIs.

Now that you know what (and what not) to do to prevent urinary tract infections, it is your responsibility to take these suggestions to heart. UTIs may seem like a minor health concern, but it’s important to treat them as soon as possible. Scheduling an appointment with your board-certified gynecologist as soon as you notice UTI symptoms can help you avoid more serious complications. Patients who experience back pain, chills, fever, nausea, or vomiting may have a kidney infection and should seek urgent medical care immediately. For more info on UTIs, contact Dr. Kristine Gould at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today.

Urinary incontinence can be extremely frustrating to deal with. While it may not pose any significant medical risks, living with urinary incontinence everyday can significantly affect a woman’s quality of life. You may be dealing with urinary incontinence if you are experiencing unwanted urine leakage from your bladder. This can range anywhere from a few drops leaking while coughing to fully emptying your bladder uncontrollably when you least expect it.

Since proper treatment of urinary incontinence involves treating the underlying causes of your symptoms, it’s crucial to get an accurate diagnosis of your condition. That’s why it’s so important to be as thorough and specific as possible during your initial urinary incontinence appointment. With this in mind, we’ve prepared a list of some of the most important questions for a patient to ask their board-certified gynecologist to help ensure they receive the best treatment possible. 

Make a note to ask the following questions during your appointment:

  • Which type of urinary incontinence do I have?
  • How can my condition be treated? 
  • Will treating my urinary incontinence require surgery?
  • Will urinary incontinence prevent me from having a normal sex life?
  • Are there lifestyle changes I can make to help improve my condition?
  • Which foods should I avoid to help control my urinary incontinence?
  • Are there certain physical activities that may cause issues with urine control?
  • Is it possible to train my bladder to help reduce urinary incontinence symptoms?
  • Are there exercises I can perform to assist with my urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence may not be a serious health risk, but that doesn’t mean you should be forced to live with it. During your appointment at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett, we will discuss your symptoms in detail and run tests including a pelvic exam to determine if you have urinary incontinence. Once you are diagnosed, our providers will work with you to create an effective treatment plan that works for you. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today.

Although menopause is something that all women will eventually go through, it is a complex condition that is a common source of confusion and uncertainty. That’s why we’ve taken some time to answer some of the more commonly-asked questions about menopause and its effects. Hopefully this will provide clarity and ease some of the concerns surrounding menopause.

Frequently Asked Questions about MenopauseAre there any ways to limit the severity of hot flashes?

Hot flashes are the side effect most commonly associated with menopause and a normal response to natural changes in your body. They can be uncomfortable and inconvenient for women, especially when they affect your ability to sleep through the night. While hot flashes usually cease within a year after menopause begins, we understand that this news won’t bring you any short-term relief. In the meantime, here are a few things you can do to try to minimize your hot flashes:

  • Avoid tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption
  • Manage stress, which can often make hot flashes worse
  • Get daily exercise and eat properly
  • Try rhythmic breathing exercises

If those don’t help, you can speak with your board-certified gynecologist about hormone therapy or other medical treatments that may help.

If I undergo a full hysterectomy (including my ovaries), will my induced menopause differ from natural menopause?

Symptoms associated with induced menopause are typically very similar to those from natural menopause. This includes hot flashes, sleep disturbances, irritability and vaginal dryness. But the symptoms for premenopausal women who experience induced menopause can be more intense and require more treatment. Additionally, anyone who goes through menopause at a young age (before 40) is more susceptible to menopause-related medical conditions like heart disease and osteoporosis as they age and should be extra diligent when monitoring their health.

If I've begun menopause, do I still need to take birth control?

Yes. Though you may think your menopause has started, you won’t know for sure that you have experienced menopause until you go an entire year without having a menstrual period. Until you are totally sure, you should keep taking birth control like normal if you do not want to risk becoming pregnant.

If you still have questions about menopause, you can always contact Dr. Kristine Gould at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett. Our board-certified gynecologists can share their expertise on the three stages of menopause and help you determine a treatment plan that will make your transition as smooth as possible. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for more news and updates.  

There are an abundance of factors that can affect a woman’s fertility. Female infertility can be the result of irregular ovulation, issues with the reproductive organs or a hormonal imbalance. These irregularities can be caused by simple genetics or conditions like endometriosis or even various lifestyle factors. Today we’ll be investigating the relationship between your diet and potential fertility concerns.

How Your Diet Can Affect Your FertilityAccording to a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, poor diet and an unhealthy lifestyle are heavily linked to infertility caused by irregular ovulation. The study found that following a “fertility diet” can help lower the risk of ovulatory disorder and resulting infertility. A combination of these diet recommendations and increased physical activity was found to significantly lower the risk of female infertility.

Finding and maintaining a healthy body weight can go a long way towards preventing infertility. Being either overweight or severely underweight can affect a woman’s hormone production and disrupt regular ovulation. It’s important to find the right balance between eating healthy and also ensuring your body is receiving the necessary nutrients to promote healthy reproduction.

The study explains that eating a diet rich in iron is recommended. Iron-rich foods like beans, eggs, spinach, tomatoes and beats can have a positive effect on your overall health and help boost fertility. Fruits and veggies with vitamin C can also help increase your body’s ability to absorb iron.

We also recommend the following diet tips to help general wellness and increase fertility:

  • ·         Eat healthy fats - Trans fats can have a negative effect on your fertility. Instead try to ingest healthy fats from avocados, nuts, vegetable oils and fish like salmon.
  • ·        Focus on non-animal proteins - Proteins from beans, vegetables and soy have also been found to increase fertility in women.
  • ·        Dairy can be your friend – High-fat dairy products like whole milk and yogurt are recommended.

Regular visits to your board-certified gynecologist specializing in fertility can help detect and treat health conditions that might lead to infertility before they become an issue. During your visit with Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett, we will run through a variety of tests including a work-up, laboratory testing, an ultrasound and more to determine your fertility status. For more information on infertility, please contact Dr. Kristine Gould at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for more updates.

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

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