While many women experience a very regular period, approximately every 28 days, some may have a period that’s less predictable. While irregular bleeding or a missed period can be alarming, it isn’t necessarily a sign that something is wrong. The term irregular bleeding is used to describe menstrual bleeding that occurs between periods, after sexual intercourse, or a period that features unexpectedly heavy or light bleeding. Some women may experience irregular bleeding after menopause. While it’s normal to be alarmed by irregular bleeding or missing a period, the truth is that this isn’t necessarily a sign that anything is wrong. To help educate our readers about irregular bleeding, the board-certified gynecologists at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett have answered a few common questions on the subject.

Ask Our Gynecologists Common Questions About Irregular Menstrual BleedingWhen is a period considered irregular?
An irregular period can refer to a missed, early or late cycle. Typically, a menstrual cycle lasts 28 days, plus or minus seven days. We consider menstrual bleeding irregular if it occurs more frequently than every 21 days or lasts longer than 8 days. One way to help determine whether your menstruation schedule is irregular is to count the days from the last day of your previous period to the first day of your next. Repeat this for 3-6 months to detect a regular versus irregular pattern.

Is irregular bleeding more common at certain ages?
Irregular bleeding can happen at any point in a woman’s life, especially in the months/years after menarche, or a woman’s first period, or as she nears menopause. However, it can be a more regular occurrence depending on a woman’s age. During the earliest stage of menopause (known as the perimenopause period), it’s common for the number of days between periods to fluctuate. It’s also normal during this time to miss periods or for bleeding to be lighter or heavier than usual.

How is irregular bleeding diagnosed?
Properly diagnosing the cause of irregular bleeding will require a visit with your board-certified gynecologist to discuss your medical history and the state of your menstrual health. We recommend keeping track of your menstrual cycle (specifically the dates, length, and quality of your period) in the time leading up to your appointment if possible. We will conduct a physical exam, blood tests to monitor blood count and hormone levels, and potentially run tests for certain sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or infections.

Irregular bleeding may not indicate a significant health risk, but that does not mean that women shouldn’t take it seriously. If you experience irregular bleeding and would like to discuss your cycle with a professional, please contact Dr. Kristine Gould at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today. And follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more news, tips, and info on our upcoming health and wellness events.

Vaginal pain that recurs over time can be very challenging for women. A condition known as vaginismus is a cause of vaginal pain in many women. Vaginismus is identified as an involuntarily contractions of the vaginal, or pelvic floor, muscles that occurs during any form of vaginal penetration. These muscle contractions can occur during sexual intercourse, inserting a tampon, or during a routine gynecologic exam. In addition to the physical effects like discomfort in the vaginal area, vaginismus can pose serious emotional and psychological distress as well.

Understanding How Women are Affected by VaginismusVaginismus affects women differently and the exact cause of the condition can be challenging to identify. For some women, vaginismus pain is present in all situations and with any object. For others, the pain may only occur in certain circumstances (like during sex, but not with tampons or during exams). Vaginismus is usually linked to emotional triggers like anxiety and fear related to sex. However, it can be unclear for some women which came first, the vaginismus pain or the anxiety. Vaginismus can sometimes stem from a reaction to medical issues like vaginal infections, menopause, giving birth, or as a side effect to certain medications.

Living with vaginismus can negatively affect a woman’s physical and emotional wellbeing over time. By making sex painful or uncomfortable, vaginismus can dramatically reduce a woman’s sex drive. This can have a significant impact on a marriage or other intimate relationships. Thankfully, vaginismus is treatable.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the most effective way to treat vaginismus is a combination of physical and emotional therapies. Treatment often begins by speaking with a counselor or specialist to help become more psychologically and physically comfortable with sex. For some, treatment using vaginal dilatory that exposes them to more vaginal stimulation can be very helpful. The use of vaginal dilators can gradually desensitize a woman to the fear of painful vaginal penetration and give her a sense of control. At Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett we perform Botox® injections to fight vaginismus contractions by relaxing the vaginal muscles.

Although vaginismus can be a source of stress, there are effective treatments and therapies. The first step in treating vaginismus is visiting your board-certified gynecologist to receive a trustworthy diagnosis. Here at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett, we can discuss your full medical history and conduct a physical evaluation (including a pelvic exam) to help determine the underlying cause of your pain and work on an appropriate treatment plan. Contact Dr. Kristine Gould at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett to schedule an appointment today. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more news, tips, and more.

Hot flashes, headaches, cramping… entering menopause can lead to many uncomfortable symptoms for women. These symptoms are commonly caused by fluctuating hormone levels that occur during the perimenopause (or pre-menopause) period. More specifically, they occur as a result of decreased levels of estrogen produced by the body during this time. This hormonal shift can lead to changes all over the body, including some that many women may not be aware of until they enter perimenopause themselves.

What is the Connection Between Menopause and Joint PainMenopause can trigger joint pain in the knees, shoulders, neck, elbows, or hands. As we age, it’s not unusual to start feeling more aches and pains in those areas than we did in the past. However, estrogen is an essential means of reducing inflammation in a woman’s joints. This is why the steep decrease in estrogen experienced during menopause can lead to increased inflammation and menopause-related arthritis. It’s even common for joint injuries from your past to begin to ache again during perimenopause.

The perimenopause period typically begins when a woman is in her 30’s or 40’s. As life expectancy increases, this can mean that many women live up to half of their lives in menopause, dealing with the effects of menopause-related pain or arthritis. For some women, the pain is at its worst early in the morning but can steadily improve as the day continues. Certain joints that experience high impacts such as the hips and knees are often the most affected.

For women dealing with menopause-related joint pain, there are simple lifestyle changes that can potentially help to alleviate your discomfort. We recommend following a healthy balanced diet and exercising regularly. The natural antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables can help to ease aches and pains. Oily fish like salmon that contain omega-3 essential fatty acids can help reduce inflammation in the joints. Calcium & Vitamin D are important for strengthening the bones and helping them absorb essential nutrients. We recommend regular light exercises like walking, aerobics, tai chi, yoga, and stretching to help your joints reduce inflammation and remain flexible. If this joint pain becomes severe and begins to affect your day-to-day activities, we recommend consulting with a doctor as soon as possible.

Menopause may be unavoidable, but knowledge about menopause and its symptoms can help women better prepare for these potential changes. If you are having a hard time adjusting to menopause or you are experiencing more severe symptoms, we recommend scheduling an appointment with our board-certified gynecologists. During your appointment, we will discuss treatments and lifestyle changes that may be able to help minimize your menopause symptoms and make your transition easier. For more information or to schedule an appointment today, please contact Dr. Kristine Gould at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett.

Not every woman looks forward to her annual well woman exam. In fact, for many women, the yearly visit to the gynecologist can be a source of considerable stress and anxiety. However, undergoing these annual gynecological exams is a vital part of maintaining the best-possible reproductive health and wellness. A well woman exam is the perfect time to ask questions, raise any concerns you may have, and gain a full assessment of the state of your gynecological health. It can also be a great time to receive counseling from your gynecologist about preventive care and what you can do between visits to help promote a healthy reproductive lifestyle. To help better define the specifics, the board-certified gynecologists at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett have taken time to answer some common questions about well woman exams.

Answering Your Questions about Annual Well Woman ExamsIs a well woman exam the same for patients of all ages?
Well woman exams include a series of gynecological screenings, evaluation, counseling, and immunizations that may change depending on the patient’s age. For example, well woman exams for women of all ages include a breast exam, but a mammogram only becomes part of a patient’s annual exams once she has turned 40 unless there is a family history of breast cancer. The intervals for receiving individual services or exams can vary depending on your age as well.

What sexually transmitted infections can be detected during a well-woman exam?
In addition to testing for human papillomavirus (HPV) to see if abnormal cells were detected during a Pap smear, we can test for various other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) during your well woman exam. However, STI tests are not typically included unless the patient specifically requests them. If you suspect that you have been exposed to an STI, we highly recommend coming in for a visit as soon as possible instead of waiting for your next well woman exam.

Is there anything patients can do to help prepare for an upcoming well woman exam?
Absolutely. We strongly recommend keeping a running journal to help keep tabs of any changes to your body or reproductive health that you have noticed since your last annual exam. You should also prepare a list of the most important questions you have in advance of your appointment to make sure there is nothing you forget to ask during your well woman exam.

Your annual well woman exam can provide a great opportunity to achieve a more complete understanding of your reproductive health and form a more personal bond with your gynecologist. We highly recommend preparing and taking your well woman exam seriously in order to get the most of your appointment. After all, it only comes once a year. For more information or to schedule a well woman exam today, please contact Dr. Kristine Gould at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today. You can also follow us on social media for more tips, news, and details on our upcoming health and wellness events.

It’s hard to believe that 2017 has already come and gone. The last year was an incredibly productive and successful one here at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett. We have been extremely fortunate to meet so many new patients and further establish ourselves as one of the Atlanta areas most trusted names in female reproductive health and wellness services. As 2017 makes way for the new year, the board-certified gynecologists of Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett would like to take a moment to look back on the year that was and look ahead to what 2018 may hold in-store.

Happy New Year from Dr. Kristine Gould Gynecology Associates of GwinnettWe feel confident saying that our most memorable moment over the last year was the grand opening of our new gynecology practice location in Lawrenceville. While we certainly have fond memories of our original office, it has been very exciting to settle into our new location over the last several months. It is part of our goal that every patient we see feels as comfortable as possible during their time in our office. By establishing our new office and focusing on the comfort and privacy of our patients, we feel we are closer to our mission of delivering the best, most personal care to more patients than ever before.

We were proud to be named “Best of Gwinnett” by Gwinnett Magazine in our first year of eligibility. It’s such an honor to receive this recognition from the Gwinnett community. Dr. Gould was also named Best Women's Health Doctor by Best Self Magazine in their “Best of 2017” contest! We wanted to thank all of our amazing patients and everyone else who helped make these honors a reality.

Part of our practice philosophy is that there is a connection between a woman’s body image and her overall wellness. We believe that positive self-esteem in one’s appearance can be a positive force for reducing stress and maintaining good emotional health. This is why over the last year, we began accepting appointments for cosmetic injectables treatments including Botox® Cosmetic, Juvéderm®, Restylane®, Dysport®, and more, all performed by our experienced Certified Aesthetic Nurse Specialist (CANS).

We constantly strive to find new ways to increase our involvement and connection with our patients and with the Gwinnett community at large. Since the start of last year, one of the main ways we have reached out is by hosting a series of health and wellness events, ranging from health & wellness seminars on a variety of reproductive and general health topics for women to bi-weekly boot camps to help patients who seek to improve their physical fitness. Hosting these events and getting to spend time with so many of our patients in a less formal setting was absolutely one of the highlights of our year here and we can’t wait to see everyone at all of our upcoming events in 2018!

With 2017 behind us, it’s time to look to the year ahead. We will continue to provide the very best gynecological care available and seek out new advanced and innovative treatments and services to help our patients, as long as they adhere to the same standards of safety and effectiveness that our patients have come to expect. Before we sign off, we would like to thank all our patients, our staff and the entire Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett family for all their hard work, love and support that helped make 2017 such a success. Cheers to a Happy New Year in 2018 and many more happy years to come! For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for more news and updates.

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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.