Welcome to another installment in our ongoing Q&A series. Here at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett, we strongly believe that education is one of the foundations of wellness. That’s why we’re always happy to take some time to answer questions about common gynecological issues and some of the treatments and services we offer. Our hope is that by providing this kind of in-depth knowledge, we can help more women better understand how to achieve and maintain the best-possible reproductive health. Keep reading for more information on vaginismus, menopause, and endometriosis.

Dr Kristine GouldQ.) Are there different kinds of vaginismus or just one?
A.) There are several types of vaginismus that affect women differently. Primary vaginismus describes those who are born with vaginismus and experience discomfort or pain their entire lives (until treatment). Other women develop vaginismus symptoms over time. This is known as secondary vaginismus. Additionally, some women experience global vaginismus, in which vaginismus pain occurs during all instances of vaginal penetration. On the other hand, situational vaginismus describes women who only experience symptoms in certain situations like during sex, but not during gynecological exams or tampon insertion.

Q.) What are the most common effects of the pre-menopause period?
A.) During perimenopause, or the pre-menopause period, women may experience various physical and emotional effects. Hot flashes typically come to mind first, but it’s also quite common for women to go through increased heart rate, headaches, vaginal dryness, urinary incontinence, joint and muscle pain, and more. Additionally, there may also be emotional side effects like sudden mood swings, depression, irritability, fatigue, trouble sleeping, and decreased sex drive.

Q.) What is the connection between endometriosis and infertility?
A.) According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, nearly 40% of women with infertility have endometriosis, indicating a strong association. Inflammation that results from endometriosis can damage the sperm or egg or interfere with how they move through the fallopian tubes and uterus. In more severe endometriosis cases, the fallopian tubes can become blocked by adhesions or scar tissue.

If you have a question of your own or would like to learn more, feel free to schedule an appointment with Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today. We try to create an environment where our patients can feel comfortable asking more private and personal questions regarding their gynecological health and wellness. If you’re interested in learning more, please contact us today or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

There is no such thing as a bad time to focus on maintaining good reproductive health and wellness. In honor of Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and the recent International HPV Awareness Day (March 4th), we thought it would be an especially good time to educate our readers on HPV (Human papillomavirus). HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the US. It is the leading cause of cervical cancer and other Gynecologic cancers, including those of the vagina and vulva. HPV is also responsible for anal, oral, and laryngeal cancers, as well as genital warts.

What You Need to Know About the Human Papillomavirus HPVHere are a few helpful statistics about HPV to consider. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 79 million Americans are currently infected with HPV. The overwhelming majority of these cases occur in people between their late teens and early 20’s. Roughly 14 million people in the US become infected with HPV each year. HPV is transmitted through sexual intercourse, oral sex, kissing, and skin to skin contact. HPV infection can cause Pap smear abnormalities and/or genital warts. Those who are infected are typically asymptomatic and don’t realize they are passing the virus to their partner.

When it comes to HPV, the best course of treatment is prevention. HPV vaccinations can be administered to females and males between the ages of 9 and 26. It is estimated that the quadrivalent vaccine can prevent up to 70% of cervical cancer cases. Receiving an HPV vaccine can also help promote a more active immune response for preteens. In addition to being effective, HPV vaccinations are very safe and are not associated with any known serious side effects.

It’s important for women to remember that receiving an HPV vaccination is not a substitute for annual cervical cancer screenings. We still very highly recommend regular Pap testing as well. If you have questions about HPV or cervical cancer and would like to schedule an appointment with board-certified gynecologist Dr. Kristine Gould, please contact Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for additional tips, news, updates, and details on our upcoming health and wellness events.

Patient education is something we feel very strongly about here at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett. It’s important for women to be knowledgeable about the common reproductive options and treatments available for them. Although it is very common, many women may not understand certain key aspects about female sterilization and how it works. That is why our board-certified gynecologists are here to answer some common questions about female sterilization.

Answering Common Questions About Female SterilizationWhat is Female Sterilization?
Female sterilization is a safe and extremely effective method of long-term birth control. When performed by an experienced, board-certified gynecologist, female sterilization procedures are estimated to be 99.5% effective in preventing a woman from becoming pregnant.

What are the Most Common Methods of Female Sterilization?
We perform female sterilization by utilizing a surgical procedure known as tubal ligation. Also known commonly as getting your “tubes tied”, tubal ligation is a gynecological surgery procedure that blocks or seals the fallopian tubes. This prevents the transportation of eggs to the uterus and the passage of sperm into the tubes.

Is Female Sterilization Reversible?
Determining whether or not you are ready for female sterilization is a major decision that should not be made lightly. Although female sterilization procedures are safe and relatively simple, attempts to reverse them can be difficult and may not always be effective.

Opting to undergo female sterilization is an important decision that takes considerable time and thought. This includes doing research, learning as much as you can about your options, and speaking with an experienced, board-certified gynecologist to help make a confident, informed, and assured decision. For more information or to schedule an appointment with board-certified gynecologist Dr. Kristine Gould, please contact Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today. And follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more tips, news, and details on our upcoming health and wellness events.

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.

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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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Monday 8:30AM–4:30PM
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Wednesday 8:30AM–4:30PM
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