Tips for Choosing the Right IUD for YouAlthough birth control is something that all women may need to consider, there is no simple one-size-fits-all solution for women trying to choose between birth control methods. Choosing the right birth control method is a complex decision that requires much thought and research. Finding birth control that makes the most sense for your needs depends on a number of factors including your age, certain medical conditions, and whether you want to become pregnant in the future.

For women who seek a dependable, long-lasting form of birth control, we sometimes recommend intrauterine devices (IUDs). IUDs work by acting as a barrier that blocks the fertilization of eggs in the uterus. The device itself, “T”-shaped and small (roughly the size of a quarter), is physically inserted into the uterus by a board-certified gynecologist during an in-office appointment. Even after you have decided that an IUD is the way to go, the decision-making process doesn’t stop there. There are different types of IUDs on the market and understanding the differences between them is an important part of finding the one that works best for you. That’s why we have provided the following tips to help you narrow down your choice:

Understand Your IUD Options

  • Most IUDs are hormone-based (similar to birth control pills) and work by thickening organic materials that prevent sperm from reaching the eggs. However, these hormones can affect a woman’s period and may not appeal to everyone. There are some non-hormonal IUDs that act as a mechanical barrier to prevent fertilization and release copper ions which can prevent sperm from fertilizing the eggs.
    Decide How Long You Want Your Birth Control to Work
  • IUDs are considered long-acting forms of birth control, but “long-acting” is a broad term, not a defined amount of time. Hormonal IUDs can last anywhere between three and seven years, whereas non-hormonal forms may last up to ten years. Of course, all IUDs are reversible, meaning they can be removed by a board-certified gynecologist at any time.

Consider Potential Effects on Your Menstrual Period

  • Hormonal and non-hormonal IUDs can both affect a woman’s period, but not in the same way. Many women who choose hormonal IUDs experience lighter periods and reduced menstrual cramps, or no period at all. Although the idea of lighter, or nonexistent, periods may appeal to some women, others may find this odd or alarming. Conversely, nonhormonal IUDs can lead to heavier periods that may last longer (typically a week or longer).

With so many options available, settling on one form of birth control can be a tough decision. If you’re still having trouble choosing between birth control methods, we invite you to contact Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett to schedule an appointment with board-certified gynecologist Dr. Kristine E. Gould. During your appointment, Dr. Gould will discuss all the relevant factors in the decision-making process including your medical history and overall health, and answer your questions to help determine the right birth control method for you. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more tips, updates, and news on our upcoming Health and Wellness events.

Exactly What are Hot Flashes and How Can I Treat ThemAlthough menopause is a fact of life for all women, menopause and its symptoms can affect women differently. However, one thing the vast majority of women who are entering menopause have in common is the occurrence of hot flashes. Hot flashes, the most common symptom of menopause, affect more than two-thirds of North American women during the perimenopause period.

Hot flashes are characterized by sudden feelings of warmth, (most commonly in the face, neck and chest) that are not linked to an external source. During a hot flash your skin might redden, similar to if you were blushing. Hot flashes may also cause a temporary increase in heart rate and sweating. When they happen at night, this can lead to night sweats. Although there is clear evidence that hot flashes result from hormonal changes in the body that take place during menopause, the exact cause of hot flashes is not known.

For certain women, hot flashes are nothing but a minor inconvenience. For others, the frequency and intensity of their hot flashes can be overwhelming and take a toll on their quality of life. If you’re in the latter group, there are a number of things we recommend that may help. Eliminate alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods from your diet. Try keeping your house cool and comfortable, especially at night when you’re trying to sleep. Feeling overly-stressed or anxious can be a trigger as well. Lastly, avoid smoking or exposure to cigarette smoke.

If you have tried these prevention tips in the past and still experience especially bad hot flashes, there are medications that can potentially help. Hormone replacement therapies (HRT) including estrogen supplements can level out your body’s hormone levels and reduce the incidence and severity of hot flashes and night sweats. Other non-hormonal options like Relizen and Brisdelle may also help.

Keep in mind that hot flashes can also be associated with other medical conditions like obesity or diabetes. A visit with your board-certified gynecologist is required to discover the true cause of your symptoms and establish a treatment plan that works best for you. For more information or 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 more reproductive health tips, news, and updates.

How to Treat the Symptoms of Vaginal Laxity or Vaginal LoosenessDespite how common it is today, vaginal laxity is an issue that many women are too embarrassed or uncomfortable to talk about. Unfortunately, this leads many to suffer in silence instead of seeking a solution to their problem. The vaginal walls are made up of fibrous material and collagen that give it flexibility and strength. When a woman goes through vaginal delivery, this puts immense stress on the vaginal walls, leading to stretching which can reduce both the sensitivity and tightness of the area. This is known as vaginal laxity.

Although it is commonly associated with childbirth, vaginal laxity can occur over time as a result of menopause, weight fluctuation, natural aging, or other factors. Regardless of its cause, vaginal laxity can diminish a woman’s emotional health and wellbeing by making sex unpleasurable or undesirable. To help women understand their options, we have outlined three ways to treat varying degrees of vaginal laxity.

Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises are often recommended as a first step towards treating mild vaginal laxity. For women who have given birth, Kegel exercises can help tighten the muscles in the pelvic area. Unfortunately, since they do not address the tissue within the vagina or the vaginal wall, Kegel exercises will not be able to help women with true vaginal laxity.

Vaginoplasty Surgery
Vaginoplasty is a surgical procedure designed to tighten loose vaginal muscles and surrounding soft tissues. The intended result is a considerable rebuilding of the vaginal wall, resulting in more friction and (hopefully) more sensation during sex. The downside for certain patients is that, as with any reconstructive surgery, vaginoplasty requires downtime for recovery. Though many women are able to walk comfortably just a few days after their procedure, returning to work, exercise, and sexual activities can take up to six weeks.

FemTouch™ Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation
For women who need a tightening result that kegel exercises cannot produce and prefer not to undergo surgery, we recommend FemTouch™ Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation. By gently ablating weakened tissue in the vaginal wall and promoting natural fibrin and collagen growth, FemTouch™ Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation can be perfect for women who seek a safe and effective treatment for their vaginal laxity. As an added bonus, FemTouch™ treatments can treat other symptoms of vaginal atrophy including vaginal itchiness or vaginal drying, as well as bladder leakage from stress urinary incontinence.

There is no need to settle for an unsatisfying sex life due to vaginal laxity. To fully understand your unique situation and how these potential treatment methods may help, we recommend scheduling an appointment with board-certified gynecologist Dr. Kristine Gould. During your appointment, we will discuss your issues, your goals, and your options to help get you on the path to the best possible reproductive health and wellness. To schedule your appointment today, please contact Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more tips, news, and updates.

How Exercise Can Help Alleviate your Menopause SymptomsExercise is always highly recommended for any woman trying to improve her overall health, but did you know that getting regular physical exercise can also do wonders to improve your reproductive health and wellness? It’s true. Keeping active can be a great way to help promote good gynecological health and manage the common symptoms of menopause.

The perimenopause period refers to the months or years leading up to the onset of full menopause, when women begin to experience menopause symptoms. These symptoms are typically caused by fluctuating levels of estrogen produced by the ovaries. They may include irregular bleeding, hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, depression, anxiety, trouble sleeping, vaginal dryness, headaches, urinary incontinence, and more. However, since every woman is unique, both the symptoms and degree to which they occur can vary considerably from person-to-person.

Working out has been proven to help ease a woman’s transition into menopause by helping to relieve physical and emotional stress. It’s normal for women to gain weight and lose muscle mass during the perimenopause period, but regular exercise can help prevent weight gain and keep muscles strong. Menopause has also been linked to osteoporosis, a weakening of the bones caused by a lack of estrogen in the body. Staying physically active can slow bone loss during menopause. Staying physically fit during menopause and limiting weight gain can also dramatically decrease a woman’s chances of developing common illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, and certain forms of cancer. Lastly, there can be significant mental and emotional benefits to exercising during menopause including staving off depression and anxiety.

We agree with the recent recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that healthy women should try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise, or 75 minutes of more strenuous aerobic activity, every week. How you achieve this target goal is totally up to you. Cardio activities ranging from jogging and swimming to evening walks or even regular daily activities like gardening or housework can be extremely beneficial. Strength training exercises like lifting weights can help build up bone and muscle strength, burn body fat, and improve your metabolism. Just be careful not to push yourself too hard. Start with a weight level you are comfortable with and gradually increase it as your strength improves. Additionally, post-work out stretching can be a great way to improve your flexibility.

Remember not to do too much, too fast. It’s important to set realistic, achievable goals from the start and work your way up as your strength and fitness level increase. Keeping active doesn’t have to be a solo endeavor either. Teaming up with someone, whether it is a significant other, a friend, or a trainer, can help make your workouts more enjoyable to get through. At Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett, we host bi-weekly boot camps for patients who want to spend time with like-minded women while improving their overall physical health and wellbeing. For more information or to schedule an appointment with board-certified gynecologist Dr. Kristine Gould, please contact Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more tips, news, and updates on our upcoming health and wellness events.

Here at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett, we are always happy to take some time to answer questions that our patients have, especially when they are in relation to serious health issues for women like gynecological cancers. Female-specific cancers, like cancer of the ovaries or cervix as well as breast cancer, are a major cause for concern for many of our patients. Our hope is that by answering these questions, our patients will be more knowledgeable and better prepared to catch these terrible illnesses in their earliest and most treatable stages.

FAQs About Common Cancers for WomenQ.) Can newer breast cancer screening methods be used to replace a yearly mammogram?
Definitely not. Although there have been some outstanding developments in the field of breast cancer screening, like breast thermography, these newer screening methods cannot replace annual breast cancer screenings. Women should think of these newer methods of screening, along with breast self-exams, as a tool to help complement their annual mammograms in the fight against breast cancer.

Q.) How can ovarian cancer be diagnosed?
If a woman is experiencing common symptoms of ovarian cancer like bloating in the abdominal area, pelvic pain, or feeling full quickly when eating, we recommend that she undergo a physical exam, including a pelvic exam. This may include an imaging test of the ovaries, like a transvaginal ultrasound exam. If this testing shows the possibility of cancer, you will receive surgery, in which tissue is surgically removed and tested for cancer. This surgery is the only way to receive a conclusive diagnosis.

Q.) Are there other means of preventing cervical cancer in addition to HPV vaccinations?
Receiving an HPV vaccination is still the most highly-recommended means of preventing cervical cancer, but not all women may be able to do so. We recommend a Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP) for patients who have a biopsy showing moderate to severe cell activity abnormalities in the cervix. LEEP is an in-office procedure that uses a thin wire loop with a light electrical current to remove abnormal tissue from the cervix. LEEP is safe, effective and requires only 1-2 days of downtime for recovery.

When it comes to cancer, there is no such thing as an unimportant question. We hope that by sharing this information, we can shine a light on these topics and encourage more of our patients to get regular cancer screenings. For more information on gynecological cancer or if you would like to schedule a screening appointment with board-certified gynecologist Dr. Kristine Gould, please contact Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more tips, news and updates on our upcoming events.

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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

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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.