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Vaginal dryness is among the most common reproductive health concerns for women. Although it may be commonly associated with older women, the truth is that vaginal dryness can affect women of all ages. In addition to leading to other common vaginal health problems like vaginal itching and painful or unsatisfying sex, vaginal dryness can also have a number of emotional or psychological effects including a decrease in a woman’s sex drive.

What Causes Vaginal DrynessThere are several potential causes of vaginal dryness, including psychological factors, reactions to products or medications, and natural hormonal changes. In order to successfully treat vaginal dryness, we must first determine the cause of your condition. This is why our board-certified gynecologists have taken some time to highlight the most common causes of vaginal dryness.

Menopause

It’s no secret that going through menopause can trigger a number of changes to a woman’s body. But did you know that vaginal dryness is among the most common symptoms for women during menopause? During the perimenopause period (the transition to menopause), a woman’s natural production of estrogen begins to decrease, and this continues throughout menopause. The lack of estrogen can make the vaginal lining thinner and lead to vaginal dryness.

Other Causes of Hormonal Changes

In addition to menopause, a woman’s levels of estrogen can decrease as a result of childbirth and breastfeeding, cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy, and certain medications used to treat uterine fibroids or endometriosis.

Certain Vaginal Irritants

Chemicals found in some feminine hygiene products, including soaps and perfumes, may cause vaginal dryness. There can also be irritants on things like certain underwear or towels. We recommended using plain, unscented soaps and keeping tabs on any vaginal irritation that you experience.

Stress & Anxiety

Psychological and emotional factors can lead to vaginal dryness as well. Stress and anxiety can interfere with a woman’s sexual desire and affect the flow of blood to the vagina. This insufficient blood flow can directly lead to vaginal dryness in some cases.

The good news is that vaginal dryness can often be treated fairly simply. We offer FemTouch™ non-surgical laser vaginal rejuvenation for women who experience vaginal dryness and more of the most common vaginal health symptoms. For more information or to schedule your appointment, please contact board-certified gynecologist Kristine Gould at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett. And follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for additional tips, news, and more.

For women trying to maintain the best possible reproductive health, it’s important to take a proactive approach. Keeping up a healthy lifestyle can be a great start, however, certain gynecological issues can still arise. Prevention and early detection are critical when it comes to identifying and treating potential reproductive health concerns while they are still in their earliest stages. This is why annual well woman examinations are so important. During a well woman exam at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett, we administer a series of diagnostic tests including a breast exam, a Pap smear, and general health screenings to gauge a woman’s reproductive health and identify any potential problems that may have surfaced since her last appointment. To help explain the importance of well woman exams, our board-certified gynecologists have taken some time to answer a few questions about what they can provide our patients.

Ask the Gynecologists Why is a Well Woman Exam So ImportantQuestion #1: At What Age Should a Woman Begin Her Well Woman Exams?

This answer may depend on a woman’s specific situation. We typically recommend for women to begin undergoing annual well woman exams when they turn 18 years old. However, women who become sexually active before 18 should begin their well woman exams when they become or plan to become sexually active. In some cases, for those with a history of certain reproductive issues or underlying conditions, we may suggest starting well woman exams as young as 14. Pap testing should begin at age 21.

Question #2: How Should I Prepare for My Well Woman Exam?

Well woman exams are performed annually and a lot in a woman’s body can change in a year. This is why we strongly recommend keeping a running journal between your appointments. This can help you keep track of any changes to your body or reproductive health since your last annual exam. For instance, you may not notice a change in your menstrual cycle’s length or in other gynecological symptoms unless you can look back and see a pattern.

Additionally, a well woman exam is the perfect chance to speak with your gynecologist about any intimate concerns you have regarding topics like menopause, birth control, fertility, and more. It’s easy to be flustered and to forget in the moment, so try preparing a list of any questions and concerns before your appointment to make sure there is nothing you forget to ask.

Question #3: What Tests are Performed at a Well Woman Exam?

Your well woman exam will include general health tests like a blood pressure reading, a breath exam with a stethoscope, and a weight measurement. You will also receive a breast exam to screen for breast cancer and a pelvic exam. If you do need a Pap smear, we will also screen for gynecological cancers like cervical cancer, endometrial cancer, and ovarian cancer. Additionally, we will run tests pertaining to your general health like gauging your cholesterol levels and testing your thyroid and kidney function. We can also check for various sexually transmitted infections (STIs) during your well woman exam if the patient wishes to.

Your annual well woman exam can be a great opportunity to both achieve a more thorough understanding of your reproductive health and form a more personal bond with your gynecologist. Here at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett, we pride ourselves on our ability to perform well woman exams with the professionalism, discretion, and comfort that every woman deserves. To schedule your well woman exam with board-certified gynecologist Dr. Kristine Gould, contact Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for additional tips, news, and details on our upcoming health and wellness events.

For many women, sudden unexpected symptoms like vaginal itching can be an indicator of a vaginal infection. While it’s understandable to think you may be dealing with a yeast infection, it is even more likely that you are experiencing bacterial vaginosis. Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is an infection of the vagina that results from an imbalance of bacteria in the vagina. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it affects nearly 30% of women between the ages of 15 to 44. But what exactly causes BV and what warning signs should women look out for? Our board-certified gynecologists are here to answer those questions.

What are the Warning Signs of Bacterial VaginosisBacterial vaginosis occurs when there is an overgrowth of the bacteria that causes an imbalance of the yeast and bacteria present in the vagina. The infection can cause the lining of the vagina to become inflamed. Factors that can affect this balance and cause BV include the use of certain antibiotics or hygiene products like douches or fragranced soaps. These soaps can strip away some of the natural vaginal bacteria and impact the balance of your vagina. In some cases, BV can result from hormone changes associated with pregnancy, breastfeeding, or menopause. The infection can also be passed between sexual partners, especially when both partners are women.

Although in many cases, bacterial vaginosis can exist without any noticeable symptoms, there are some warning signs we recommend looking out for. BV often comes with a thin vaginal discharge that is white or gray in color. It may have a fishy or sour odor, especially after sex. Other common symptoms include a burning sensation during urination, vaginal itching, and vaginal irritation.

Treatment for bacterial vaginosis will depend on the cause of your infection. After discussing your symptoms and running a few diagnostic tests to confirm the diagnosis, our board-certified gynecologists may prescribe either a pill that is taken orally or a topical cream which can be inserted into the vagina (or both). A course of treatment for BV typically lasts between one and seven days. In some cases, we may recommend treatment for your sexual partner as well.

The symptoms of BV can be similar to yeast infections, so it’s important to visit your board-certified gynecologist in order to receive a proper diagnosis. Although bacterial vaginosis may not present a serious concern to your overall health, it’s important to treat it quickly and relieve any troublesome symptoms that may be causing you distress. For more information or to schedule your appointment with board-certified gynecologist Dr. Kristine Gould, please contact Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for additional tips, news, and more.

It’s important for women to be engaged and ask questions while visiting with their board-certified gynecologist. We know sometimes these questions can seem personal or embarrassing, but being proactive can make a world of difference in the way you think about and manage your reproductive health. This is especially true for questions pertaining to menopause. After all, menopause is a complex topic and there is a lot to know. Because menopause can be a source of confusion and uncertainty for many women, our board-certified gynecologists are happy to answer some commonly-asked questions on the subject.

Tips to Help Manage Early MenopauseQuestion #1: How can I tell when I’ve entered menopause if I have already undergone a hysterectomy?

There is a common misconception that women who have had hysterectomies don’t need to be as aware of changes related to menopause. This simply is not true. In addition to affecting the menstrual cycle, there is a strong like between menopause and osteoporosis, diabetes, and other health conditions. This is why it’s important for women who have had hysterectomies to undergo regular hormone tests to monitor their estrogen levels and be cognizant of their reproductive health status. We recommend of making a note of any changes you experience and communicating this to your gynecologist during your next appointment.

Question #2: Will my voice change as a result of menopause?

Menopause affects every woman differently. However, it is possible for your voice to change after menopause. When women enter menopause, they naturally lose estrogen, while still producing the same amount of testosterone. This can lead to a hormone imbalance that can make a woman’s voice slightly deeper and more masculine. If you experience this, these vocal changes can be treated with estrogen supplements or hormone replacement therapy.

Question #3: What can I do if sex has become painful or uncomfortable after menopause?

It’s natural for some women to experience pain or discomfort during sex after they have gone through menopause. In many cases, this can result from vaginal dryness associated with lowered estrogen levels during menopause. Certain medications and topical creams can help women relieve these symptoms. I commonly recommend FemTouch™ Non-Surgical Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation for women who experience pain or discomfort during sex after menopause. FemTouch™ treatments can safely and effectively treat common vaginal health symptoms without the need for surgery.

If you have any additional questions of your own about menopause or other reproductive health concerns, you can always contact Dr. Kristine Gould at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett to schedule an appointment. We also recommend following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for even more tips, news, updates, and details on our upcoming health and wellness events. 

Early detection and diagnosis is a critical step towards successfully treating any gynecological or reproductive issue that a woman may experience. By catching a gynecological health concern early, you will likely provide yourself with more effective treatment options. This is why it’s so important to keep up with your regular gynecological appointments including your annual well woman exam and Pap smears.

What to do After Receiving an Abnormal Pap ResultA Pap smear, sometimes referred to as a Pap test, is a crucial part of maintaining the best-possible reproductive health and wellness over time. Pap testing is used as a tool for diagnosing cervical cancer in women, as well as checking for any abnormal cells that could potentially be cancer-causing if not addressed. During a Pap smear, a small sample of cells is collected from the cervix. This sample is then carefully analyzed to detect the presence of cervical cancer as well as monitor the size and shape of the cells to look out for potential warning signs of cancer.

According to statistics collected by the National Cervical Cancer Coalition (NCCC), nearly 13,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the US each year. A Pap smear can effectively detect cervical cancer early enough to treat it before it has a chance to grow and spread. Pap testing is especially important for women with certain risk factors for cervical cancer including a family history with the disease or a past Pap smear that showed precancerous cells.

After Pap testing begins at age 21, many doctors recommend it be repeated at least every three years. However, here at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett, we think there is tremendous value in undergoing Pap testing annually. This will help ensure that any potential abnormalities are caught as quickly as possible, so they can be most successfully treated. Here in our office, we perform Pap smears as part of an annual well woman examination.

Every woman is different so we strongly recommend speaking with your board-certified gynecologist to determine how often Pap testing should be performed. However, regardless of your specific situation, we cannot emphasize strongly enough how important it is to keep up with your gynecological examinations and to never miss a scheduled appointment. For more information or to schedule your Pap smear appointment today, please contact Dr. Kristine Gould at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for additional news, tips, and details on our upcoming Health and Wellness events.

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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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