Despite the fact that every woman has a vagina, the reproductive organ can still seem like a bit of a mystery to many women. The vagina is a complex organ responsible for far more than the quality of a woman’s sex life. A woman’s vagina can provide immense pleasure, annoying pain, as well as vital information about the state of your reproductive and overall physical health. Since there is so much to know, our board-certified gynecologists are happy to provide some useful facts every woman should know about their vaginal health.

5 Vaginal Health Facts Every Woman Should KnowThe Vagina is Actually Acidic
The average vagina has a pH level of about 4, similar to a glass of wine. Although it may sound odd, a little acidity is actually a good thing. This pH level works to help keep a healthy balance between the good bacteria (lactobacilli) and the bad bacteria that can cause odor, irritation, and sometimes vaginal infection.

The Vagina is Able to Clean Itself
Be careful when using certain feminine hygiene products. Many intravaginal products and washes can throw off your pH levels and actually increase your risk of developing vaginal infections like yeast infections. We recommend sticking to good old fashioned soap and water.

Diet Affects Vaginal Health
Following a balanced, nutritious diet and staying hydrated are both crucial components to maintaining good vaginal health. Cutting down on sugar, which can aid in yeast production and potentially lead to vaginal infection, is typically recommended. Certain foods like probiotic yogurt may be able to help treat certain vaginal health problems.

There’s no Need to Panic if the Outer Area Seems Discolored
It’s not uncommon for the shade of your vaginal region to not match the tone of the rest of your skin. Many women with lighter skin tones may have brown or purplish skin around the labia. A woman can have different pigments in different areas of her body. This is natural and not a sign of any health issue.

Vaginal Pain is often Caused by Vaginismus
The most common cause of vaginal pain is a condition known as vaginismus. Vaginismus occurs when the vaginal muscles involuntarily or persistently contract during any form of vaginal penetration. These involuntary muscle contractions make it difficult to have sex, use a tampon, or undergo a gynecological exam without pain. Here at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett, we can help women who experience vaginismus pain by treating it with Botox® injections or FemTouch™ Non-Surgical Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation.

For more vaginal health tips, we encourage you to follow along with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Achieving the best-possible reproductive health can be a challenge. But the first step to achieving this goal is getting to know your vagina and understanding what it means for it to be healthy. To schedule an appointment, please contact board-certified gynecologist Dr. Kristine Gould at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today.

How to Prevent a Potential Yeast Infection

The birth control pill (or just “the pill” as it is commonly known) is the most popular method of birth control in the US for a very simple reason: it works. Birth control pills are up to 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. However, contraception is far from the only benefit of this form of hormonal birth control. In fact, according to research performed by the Guttmacher Institute, up to 14% of women in the US who take the pill take it exclusively for reasons other than preventing pregnancy. The same study indicated that another 58% of these women take birth control pills partly for their non-contraceptive benefits. This means millions of women in the US are taking advantage of the extra benefits of birth control pills. To help keep our patients informed, the board-certified gynecologists at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett are here to discuss the benefits of the birth control pill that they might not be aware of.

Bonus Benefit #1 - Regular Periods

Several factors including weight, stress levels, certain medications and health conditions can affect a woman’s period. Taking the birth control pill can help make your menstrual cycle more predictable. With most birth control pills, there is 21 day cycle of hormone-containing pills, followed by seven days of placebo pills that contain no hormones. During this placebo week, the break from synthetic hormones will initiate bleeding similar to a regular period. Your periods may be less painful as well.

Bonus Benefit #2 - Lowered Ovarian Cancer Risk

Taking the birth control pill can lower a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths among women annually in the US according to the American Cancer Society. Additionally, the longer a woman takes the pill, the more her risk drops over time. A recent research review published in Obstetrics and Gynecology found that taking birth control pills can reduce a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer by age forty to 50%.

Bonus Benefit #3 - Easing Endometriosis Symptoms

Birth control pills can also be used to help treat endometriosis. Endometriosis is a condition that occurs when the tissue that normally lines the uterus starts growing outside of the uterus and extending to other reproductive organs. Although some women with endometriosis may not experience any symptoms, others can suffer from severe pain in the pelvic area, as well as irregular bleeding and trouble becoming pregnant. The hormones in the birth control pill can help slow the growth of these tissues, easing the pain and other symptoms.

Bonus Benefit #4 - Potentially Clearer Skin

As an added aesthetic perk, birth control pills can help increase the quality of your skin. Combination birth control pills (containing both estrogen and progestin) can lower your body’s levels of androgen, a hormone that helps produce oils in the skin. Additionally, birth control pills can cut back on a woman’s testosterone hormone that can lead to unwelcome acne breakouts and excess body hair growth.

No matter what your reason is for taking it, it’s clear that taking oral contraception can have a wide range of benefits for women of all ages. Although the birth control pill is considered a very safe and effective option for preventing unwanted pregnancies, every patient has different needs and we understand this option may not be the best choice for everyone. To help find the right birth control method for you, we recommend scheduling a consultation with Dr. Kristine Gould at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today. If you would like more information on birth control and other reproductive health issues for women, as well as details on our upcoming health and wellness events, you can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

A common misconception about vaginal infections is that they are exclusively sexually transmitted. The truth is that many of the most common types of vaginal infections can be caused by something as simple as an imbalance in the vagina’s natural bacteria. A yeast infection is an infection that results from the overgrowth of yeast, a type of fungus, in the vagina. During the infection, an imbalance in the vagina's healthy bacteria occurs, allowing the yeast to flourish. The National Women's Health Resource Center estimates that as many as 75% of all women will be diagnosed with at least one vaginal yeast infection during their lifetimes.

How to Prevent a Potential Yeast InfectionAlthough symptoms may vary from patient to patient, yeast infections are typically characterized by intense vaginal itching, burning, pain during sex, and a white, odorless vaginal discharge that resembles cottage cheese. Yeast infections are also among the most common causes of vaginitis, an inflammation of the vagina associated with vaginal discharge and irritation. However, in many cases a yeast infection can occur without showing any symptoms at all. This can make treatment difficult without a proper diagnosis. That’s why the board-certified gynecologists at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett are here to provide some helpful suggestions for how to prevent yeast infections before they occur.

The first step to preventing yeast infections is understanding what causes them. Sometimes taking certain antibiotics can lead to a yeast infection. Some yeast infections occur as a result of elevated estrogen levels that occur in pregnant women or women taking hormone therapy. Other health conditions that can make women especially vulnerable to yeast infections include diabetes and HIV.

To help minimize your potential risk of developing a vaginal infection, we recommend the following tips:

  • Keep your vaginal area clean by using mild, unscented soap and rinsing well with water.
  • After using the restroom, wipe from front to back to avoid spreading yeast or other bacteria towards the vagina or urinary tract.
  • Wear breathable cotton underwear that will help keep your genital area dry without retaining excess moisture.
  • Try to avoid tight-fitting clothing like panty hose and very tight jeans that may increase your body heat in the genital area.
  • Change out of wet clothes as soon as possible, as keeping wet clothes on for too long can create a welcoming environment for yeast and potentially harmful bacteria.
  • Always wear a pad if you experience a vaginal infection during you menstrual period and make sure to change pads or tampons often during menstruation.
  • Do not douche and refrain from using deodorized tampons or feminine sprays, powders, or perfumes. These items can change the normal balance of bacteria in your vagina.
  • Cut down on your sugar intake, as high sugar levels can help promote yeast production in the body.

Thankfully, yeast infections can be quite simple to diagnose and treat for a board-certified gynecologist. During your visit to Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett, we will discuss your symptoms in-depth, perform a pelvic exam, and take a vaginal sample to help determine the specific type of bacteria or yeast causing your infection so that we can treat it more effectively. Yeast infections can typically be treated with either a pill or a topical cream (or sometimes both) and the full course of treatment usually lasts a week or less. For more information or to schedule an appointment today, please contact Dr. Kristine Gould at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today.

Like many female health concerns, ovarian cysts can be a cause for concern. For anyone unfamiliar with them, ovarian cysts are small fluid-filled sacs that develop in the ovaries. For some women, ovarian cysts form during monthly ovulation. Some ovarian cysts show no symptoms and may not be noticeable, while others can become painful or uncomfortable for a woman. While it’s true that most ovarian cysts are of minor concern, some can grow to become serious and require immediate medical intervention. In order to protect your health, it’s important for women to know when an ovarian cyst may indicate a more serious issue. This is why our board-certified gynecologists are here to explain when an ovarian cyst may be a concern.

Are Ovarian Cysts a Cause for ConcernThere are many different types of ovarian cysts, but we will be focusing primarily on the most common form, functional cysts. Functional ovarian cysts are broken into two categories: follicle cysts and corpus luteum cysts.

During the menstrual cycle, eggs form sacs inside the ovaries called follicles. In most cases, the follicle will break open and release an egg. But if the follicle fails to break open, the fluid inside the follicle can form a cyst on the ovary. This is a follicular cyst. Once the egg is released, the follicle typically dissolves. However in some cases the follicle will persist and its opening can seal shut. In these instances, additional fluid can develop inside the follicle leading to a corpus luteum cyst.

For many women, ovarian cysts may develop without causing any negative effects. However, if the cyst grows, it can lead to a variety of symptoms including abdominal bloating, pelvic pain (especially during the menstrual cycle), pain during sex, tenderness in the breasts, and more. In rare cases, ovarian cysts can even lead to more serious symptoms like severe pelvic pain, fever, dizziness, and breathing issues. If you experience any of these symptoms, we highly recommend seeking medical attention immediately. These could be signs of a ruptured cyst or an ovarian torsion, both of which can have serious complications if not treated early. Additionally, in some cases small cysts in the ovaries can lead to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition associated with a number of hormonal issues and female infertility.

Due to their mysterious nature, it’s important to receive regular pelvic exams in order to identify and diagnose the presence of ovarian cysts. While you may not be able to prevent a cyst from occurring, there is still immense value in detecting ovarian cysts early before they have the chance to grow and impact your reproductive health. Here at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett, we can perform a transvaginal ultrasound to help detect ovarian cysts or any other abnormalities that could be causing issues. For more information on ovarian cysts or to schedule an appointment today, please contact Dr. Kristine Gould at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today. And follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more tips and news from the world of women’s health.

Here at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett we take great pride in helping our patients treat a wide variety of female reproductive health issues. For many patients, vaginal health symptoms like vaginal itching and vaginal dryness can be the cause of considerable pain and frustration. That’s why we offer FemTouch™ Non-Surgical Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation. FemTouch™ treatments can help women ranging from twenty something’s to those in their seventies (or older) by treating a number of the most problematic vaginal health symptoms as well as the effects of stress urinary incontinence. To help readers understand the profound impact FemTouch™ can have on their gynecological health, as well as their overall health and wellbeing, we have invited some of our patients who have undergone FemTouch™ Non-Surgical Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation treatments at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett to share some words about their personal experiences with this outstanding, life-changing treatment.

The Many Ways Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation Can Help PatientsTo help get started, hear one of our patients describe how FemTouch™ Non-Surgical Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation was able to treat multiple vaginal health symptoms:

“Last year, I was having issues with my vagina where it felt as if it was gaping open. I was also experiencing a high level of vaginal dryness and felt uncomfortable during sex. Dr. Kristine Gould recommended a new laser treatment for vaginal rejuvenation and I'm so grateful that she did. Since my treatment, my symptoms have not occurred at all and I am very pleased with the results!”

- RT

Our second testimonial expresses how vaginal tightening with FemTouch™ Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation can return the spark and pleasure to a patient’s love life for those experiencing unsatisfying sex due to their vaginal laxity:

“I am so pleased with the great results I received after just three laser vaginal rejuvenation treatments. I am 64 now and my husband and I are still 'romantic' with each other. What I can tell is that my dryness has decreased and it feels more comfortable when we are intimate. I also feel tighter and my husband enjoys that he too, can feel the difference.”

- JW

Lastly, hear from one of our patients about the emotional relief that she received from her FemTouch™ Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation treatments:

“Last year I suddenly developed vaginal dryness that made having sex very painful. I felt my life was over at 46 and began to get depressed. After visiting with several doctors, I finally met Dr. Gould and she recommended FemTouch™. The results were so amazing! I had three treatments and after the third I really felt the difference. Thank you Dr. Gould!”

- AB

Regardless of your age, there is no need to continue having painful or unsatisfying sex due to vaginal laxity or deal with bladder leakage. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms we have mentioned, don’t hesitate to contact Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today to schedule a laser vaginal rejuvenation consultation with board-certified gynecologist Dr. Kristine Gould. For more information on laser vaginal rejuvenation or other reproductive health topics for women, as well as our upcoming health and wellness events, you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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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.