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For many women in the US (roughly 1 in every 10), endometriosis can be a source of considerable pain and frustration. Endometriosis is a gynecological condition caused by the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus growing and extending outside of the uterus. In addition to causing a number of unfortunate symptoms including chronic pain in the pelvis (especially during menstrual periods), pain during sex, and heavy or unnaturally long menstrual periods, endometriosis is strongly linked to female infertility and a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer. To help women ease their endometriosis-related pain, our board-certified gynecologists have provided a few tips on how to manage endometriosis symptoms.

3 Tips to Manage Your Endometriosis SymptomsEat Healthy & Exercise

In addition to other more obvious health benefits, eating right and exercising regularly may provide some relief from the symptoms of endometriosis. Since endometriosis has been linked to certain bodily processes like inflammation and estrogen activity, eating foods that aid in these processes can help women prevent exacerbating their symptoms. We recommend that women with endometriosis eat more fresh fruits and vegetables as well as foods high in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon and walnuts. Working out (either high-intensity activity or low-intensity exercise like yoga or walking) can also ease endometriosis symptoms by aiding in the circulation of blood to your organs, maintaining the flow of nutrients and oxygen to all your body systems, decreasing estrogen production, reducing stress, and releasing endorphins in the brain.

Manage Your Stress

Endometriosis symptoms can also be triggered by high levels of stress. As these symptoms can often be one of the sources of your stress, we understand that this can seem like a never-ending cycle at times. But certain relaxation techniques and breathing exercises can help you to increase your awareness of your body, refocus on something calming, and reduce the activity of stress hormones.

Consider Medication Options

If diet and exercise don’t help, your board-certified gynecologist can recommend medication options for endometriosis depending on your age, the severity of your symptoms, whether you want to become pregnant in the future, and your unique medical history. These can range from over-the-counter pain relievers to hormone therapies including birth control pills, hormonal IUDs, and GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone) agonists.

Keep in mind that these suggestions are meant to help manage your symptoms, not cure them. In order to properly treat endometriosis, surgery may be required. This can mean conservative surgery to remove the endometrial tissue while keeping the reproductive organs intact or a total hysterectomy for women with more extreme endometriosis, who are not interested in becoming pregnant in the future. For more information or to schedule an appointment today, please contact Dr. Kristine Gould at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett. And follow along with us on social media for more helpful tips, news, and updates on women’s reproductive health & wellness.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is a potential threat to all women that should not be taken lightly. This is especially true for women with an elevated risk of developing breast cancer due to a family history of the disease or certain genetic mutations. This is why it is so important to keep up with your annual breast exams and screenings. But not every woman, especially younger patients, knows what to expect from their breast exam. That’s why our board-certified gynecologists have taken some time to explain just what annual breast exams should entail.

What to Expect From an Annual Breast ExamThe first component of the annual breast check-up is undergoing a clinical breast exam (CBE). A clinical breast exam is performed by a healthcare professional, like your board-certified gynecologist, who is trained to recognize different types of abnormalities and potential warning signs of breast cancer like lumps, skin dimpling, and rashes. During the exam, you may be asked to raise your arms over your head, let them hang by your sides, or press your hands against your hips in order to let your provider look for differences in the size or shape between your breasts. Your nipples may also be checked to look for signs of any abnormal discharge.

The second half of the equation is receiving an annual mammogram starting at age 40. Unfortunately for younger women with denser breasts, noticing breast cancer during a mammogram can be more challenging since both more dense breasts and cancer appear white during screening. A mammogram is a screening method that uses x-rays to look for suspicious areas on the breast tissue. Before the screening begins, the breast is exposed to a small dose of ionizing radiation that helps produce an image of the breast tissue. Mammograms complement clinical breast exams by showing lumps and other abnormalities before they can be seen or felt.

Performing monthly breast self-exams can be an excellent way for women to take stock of the condition of their breast health between their annual exams. A breast self-exam is a screening technique women can perform at home to help check for lumps, tumors, cysts, or other abnormalities that can occur in a woman’s breasts. The majority of breast lumps found in women are discovered during breast self-exams. Self-exams are especially important for younger women who may not be receiving annual mammograms yet. Keep in mind that breast self-exams are meant to supplement annual clinical breast exams and mammograms, not replace them.

Although it can be impossible to truly prevent breast cancer, staying on-schedule with your annual breast exams and performing regular breast self-exams can go a very long way towards detecting breast cancer before it has a chance to grow and spread throughout the body. Here at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett, a breast exam is part of an annual well woman exam designed to assess the reproductive and overall health of each patient. To schedule an appointment for a well woman exam, please contact Dr. Kristine Gould at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today or follow us on social media for even more information, news, and more.

The years leading up to the onset of menopause, known commonly as the perimenopause period, can be especially challenging for women. During this time, fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone in the body can bring on a number of physical and emotional symptoms ranging from hot flashes and trouble sleeping to mood swings and vaginal health symptoms. This is why many women turn to hormone therapy as a way to control their menopause side effects. Hormone therapy uses medications to supplement the body’s supply of estrogen and/or progestogen to help minimize the effects of menopause.

How to Find the Right Hormone Therapy for YouEven after a woman decides that she would like to begin hormone therapy, the decision making process is far from over. Hormone therapy is broken down into two categories: systemic and local. Below we will explain both of these therapies in detail to help present a clearer picture of which type of hormone therapy may be the best fit for your personal reproductive needs.

The first category of hormone therapy is known as systemic therapy. During systemic therapy, the replacement hormones are released into the bloodstream. This can be done with through the use of a pill, injections, skin patches, or topical gels or sprays that are applied onto the skin. Once they enter the bloodstream, the hormones travel to the organs and tissues where they are most needed. Systemic therapy is typically recommended for women dealing with severe hot flashes and sleep problems.

For women who are experiencing issues more specific to the vagina, including vaginal dryness, local therapy may be the preferred option. Local therapy uses a vaginal ring, tablet, or cream to deliver small doses of estrogen directly into the vaginal tissue. This added estrogen can help restore the vaginal lining while soothing vaginal health symptoms like dryness and itching.

Choosing the appropriate type of hormone replacement therapy depends largely on your health, the degree of your symptoms, your personal preference, and what you hope to achieve through your hormone therapy treatments. That’s why it’s so important to do your research and consult with a board-certified gynecologist to help fully understand all of your potential options. For more information or to schedule a consultation with 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.

It’s time for another installment in our ongoing Q&A series. Here at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett, we firmly believe that education is one of the foundations of reproductive health and wellness. That’s why our board-certified gynecologists are always happy to answer questions that they receive from our patients. Today we’ll be focusing on a few of the more common procedures performed at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett and how they can help patients with a variety of gynecological health issues. Keep reading for more information on hysterectomy, endometrial ablation, and Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation with FemTouch™.

Dr GouldQ.) Will I be required to stay in the hospital following a hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy is typically accompanied by a brief hospital stay (between 1-2 days), however this isn’t always required. This will depend largely on the type of hysterectomy you underwent (vaginal, abdominal, or laparoscopic) and how it was performed. Sometimes a hysterectomy can be performed as an outpatient procedure. Our patients are often recommended to get up and walk around as soon as they can after their hysterectomy to help prevent blood clots in the legs.

Q.) Is it safe to have sex after an endometrial ablation?
We typically recommend waiting between 2-3 weeks following an endometrial ablation procedure before having sex again. This way, the body should have plenty of time to fully heal. It’s important to remember that even though the procedure removes the uterine lining and often results in infertility, endometrial ablation is not a form of birth control and pregnancy can still occur in a small percentage of patients.

Q.) How can women of a certain age treat the vaginal health symptoms?
A number of the patients we see are women in the post-menopause period who are experiencing common symptoms of vaginal atrophy as a result of decreased estrogen levels in the body that occur after menopause. These may include vaginal dryness, vaginal itching, and painful or unsatisfying sex, as well as stress urinary incontinence. We typically recommend FemTouch™ Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation treatments to treat these symptoms safely and effectively without the need for surgery. FemTouch™ treatments using advanced laser technology from Lumenis to rebuild the vaginal wall and provide long-term relief for the effects of vaginal atrophy.

We hope you found these answers helpful. If you have a question of your own, we would love to hear it. Or if you would prefer a more personal, hands-on experience, please contact Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today to schedule an appointment with our board-certified gynecologists. And please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more information, tips, news and updates on our upcoming health and wellness events.

Ovulation is a normal part of every woman’s menstrual cycle, and yet, many women don’t know too much about it. Sure you know ovulation occurs on a monthly basis, but there is far more to it than that. For starters, ovulation is the release of an egg from a woman’s ovary. Unless it is fertilized, the egg will only live for about 24 hours. On average, a woman will only ovulate about 400 times in her entire lifetime. Whether you are trying to conceive or trying to avoid becoming pregnant, it’s important to know the telltale signs of ovulation. These signs can vary from woman to woman, and some women may not experience any signs at all. Still, recognizing the signals your body is sending can be vital in helping you predict when your ovulation will begin.

How to Know When Youre OvulatingA Change in Your Cervical Fluids
Since the biological purpose of ovulation is for you to get pregnant, your body functions to help move sperm into your uterus while you are ovulating. This leads to an increase in estrogen, which can make your cervical fluid become thicker and resemble egg whites. The change in the consistency of your cervical fluid should be very noticeable.

There May Be Slight Pain
Some women will experience pain in their midsection when the egg is released. This is commonly known as mittleschmerz, the German term for “middle pain.” The level of pain can vary greatly from person-to-person with some saying they feel a minor twinge, while others go to the ER thinking that they have appendicitis. The pain can last anywhere between a few minutes to 48 hours. You should see your board-certified gynecologist if your ovulation pain is severe or lasts longer than three days, as this could be a sign of gynecological conditions like endometriosis.

A Change in Your Basal Body Temperature
Your resting body temperature (known as your basal body temperature) increases slightly during ovulation. Women can use a specially designed thermometer to measure their basal body temperature every morning. When it starts to increase, you’ll know ovulation has begun.

These are not the only signs of ovulation, just the most common ones. Some women may experience additional symptoms including spotting, abdominal bloating, increased sex drive, and heightened senses. It’s important to reiterate that ovulation symptoms vary from woman to woman. Not experiencing these signs does not necessarily mean that you are not ovulating and it’s important to take the necessary precautions if you do not want to become pregnant. 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 & wellness events like our Ladies Rejuvenation Seminar this September.

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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
Tuesday 8:30AM–4:30PM
Wednesday 8:30AM–4:30PM
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Friday 8:30AM–12PM
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