Questions and answers to women's most common health concerns.
Abnormal Periods after Childbirth and Surgery
It is not at all unusual for it to take several months for your body to get back to normal after childbirth. In your case, this is compounded by your breastfeeding and your surgery.
Are there risks or benefits to douching?
Despite all the advertising by manufacturers of feminine hygiene products, there are no practical reasons for women to douche on a regular basis.
At what age do I switch from oral contraceptives to hormone replacement therapy, or can I stay on oral contraceptives forever?
At what age should a girl start going to a gynecologist as opposed to her pediatrician?
Females should have their first gynecological exam by the age of 20, or when they become sexually active.
At what age should my periods start?
The onset of menstrual cycles occurs during the teenage years and is known as menarche.
Can a woman have a baby at age 49 and everything be okay?
Over the last twenty years, the number of women waiting until their 40s to conceive has nearly doubled. One of the main determinates of having a healthy pregnancy is being healthy as you enter pregnancy. However, no matter how healthy you are - there are still risks beyond your control.
Can a woman have a negative test for chlamydia but already be infected?
Chlamydia is one of the most commonly reported sexually transmitted diseases in the United States. The CDC estimates approximately 4 million new cases per year.
Does a form of STD always cause chronic cervicitis and will cryosurgery alone
Cervicitis is very common, affecting more than half of all women at some point during their adult lives. It is most often caused by an infection.
Do tampons and maxi pads contain materials that are actually dangerous to a woman's health?
There is no evidence that these feminine hygiene products are not safe.
Dysplasia is considered a precancerous cell type. However, if the dysplasia is classified as low-grade squamous dysplasia, the abnormal cells will disappear without treatment about 30% of the time.
How are hormones related to stress in women?
Stress affects our bodies in ways that we do not yet understand.
How long should I wait for an accurate result from a home pregnancy test?
The home pregnancy test will detect pregnancy on or about the time for your next period.
I am 28 years old and married. Sexual intercourse is painful for me. What could be causing this and what can I do to make the pain go away?
Painful intercourse is also known as dyspareunia.
I am 38 years old. How often should I have a mammogram?
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death for women. Appropriate screening for this deadly disease is of utmost importance. Several guidelines for mammographic screening are recommended.
I am 40 years old. I don't really want to have my tubes tied. What are some types of birth control that I can use?
Contraceptive options for women over age 40 are similar to those for younger women.
I am 51 years old and perimenopausal. Is there a type of vitamin that will give me more energy?
Multivitamins can help supplement a balanced diet.
I am a healthy 27-year-old woman who has no desire for sex. Is there anything I should try?
Lack of desire is the sexual problem most frequently reported by women. It manifests as a disinterest in or avoidance of sex, and in many cases is reflected as a discrepancy in the couples' desired frequency of sexual contact.
I am concerned that I will not be able to have children in the future. Should I stop taking the pill after a certain period of time?
Women who use oral contraceptives have no reduction in their fertility once they stop taking the pill.
I have a headache every month just before or just after my period starts. Please help.
Migraine headaches that occur on a cyclic basis with the menstrual cycle are known as menstrual migraines.
I have a lot of bloating that begins about a week before my period starts. What causes this?
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is a disorder experienced by many women. One of the symptoms is bloating.
I have a small cyst on my right ovary. Should I be concerned?
The question you have asked is a very important one, but its answer is dependent on a couple of factors.
I have been trying to get pregnant for about two years. My doctor told me he thought I had endometriosis. How would I know?
Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus (the endometrium) spreads and implants in areas outside of the uterus.
I have had three bladder infections in the last three months. What should I do about it? Can these be prevented?
Bladder infections or urinary tract infections are also known as cystitis.
I have noticed a discharge from my left breast. That breast is a lot larger than the other.
It is not unusual for one breast to be larger than the other. It is unusual for one breast to be this much larger, and for the change to occur rather suddenly.
I have noticed an increase in the amount of hair on my face. What could be causing this and how can it be treated?
There are several potential causes of increased facial hair, often related to the effects of androgens (male hormones, including testosterone) on the hair follicles.
I seem to experience what I call mild anxiety in anticipation of certain events. Is there a drug I can take?
Many people experience feelings of anxiety before certain events, especially events that involve stress or large amounts of preparation.
Is it healthy to skip periods by manipulating the sequence of birth control pills?
Is it possible for a woman diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome to become pregnant?
Most women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome can have a very successful and healthy pregnancy.
Is there any harm in using an over-the-counter yeast infection treatment (like Monistat) when there is a possibility I may be pregnant?
Over-the-counter topical treatments have all been shown to be safe during pregnancy.
Is there any way to tell when you are ovulating?
A number of methods now exist to help predict ovulation.
Is there a relationship between cancer and stress?
The complex relationship between physical and psychological health is not well understood.
I would like to know the difference between taking oral estrogen/progesterone versus the patch.
The difference between oral hormones and transdermal hormones involves the route of absorption. Oral hormones are absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract, and metabolized in the liver. Transdermal hormones, however, are directly absorbed into the blood stream.
My daughter is 16 years old and her periods are very irregular. Is this normal?
During the first 2 years after the onset of menstruation, cycles are often irregular.
My doctor told me I have a condition called lichen sclerosus. What is lichen sclerosus and what is the treatment?
Lichen sclerosus is a benign inflammatory condition of the skin of the vulva. It can occur in women of any age, but is most common in postmenopausal women.
My mother and sister had breast cancer at the age of 40 and 55 respectively. What test should I have to find out if I am at increased risk of getting breast cancer?
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women. About 5% of breast cancers have a genetic component-a possible mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene.
Several weeks ago I stopped taking estrogen after having taken it for 15 years following menopause.
The benefits of estrogen replacement subside fairly quickly after you stop, and the hot flashes generally return quickly.
What are side-effects of The Pill?
Oral contraceptive pills alter the balance of estrogen and progesterone in your body.
What are some of the short-term and long-term effects of smoking on women?
There are both short and long-term effects of smoking. If you smoke--STOP!!
What are the side effects of tamoxifen?
Tamoxifen sometimes has some untoward side effects including fluid retention, hot flashes, and others.
What are your chances of conceiving after a miscarriage? Are you fertile after a miscarriage?
What can be done about the lumps in my breasts?
Fibrocystic breast masses usually occur on a cyclic basis in relation to the menstrual cycle. They can be quite painful, and often appear rapidly with the onset of menses - and then disappear afterward.
What can I do to increase my libido? Is there a testosterone supplement for women? Help!
Libido is a complex issue. Although testosterone has clearly been linked to sex drive in men; the role of androgens--testosterone in particular--is unclear in the treatment of decreased libido in women.
What can I do to prevent or help ease period cramps and moodiness? I also have PCOS.
This combination of health problems can cause increased symptoms and depression. Treatment alternatives include antidepressant use.
What causes low sperm count?
The most common cause of low sperm count is the presence of a varicocele. A varicocele is an abnormal dilation of the veins within the spermatic cord. Treatment for this disorder is surgical, although the sperm counts do not always improve after treatment. Approximately 40% to 50% of the time there is no explanation for low sperm counts.
What causes yeast infections, and can they be prevented?
It is thought that 45% to 75% of women experience yeast infections (also known as vulvovaginal candidiasis) in their lifetime.
What could be a possible problem when blood is found in the urine? My sister is a 53-year-old woman and blood was detected in her urine.
Blood in the urine is called hematuria, and should never be ignored.
What could cause blood in your stool or bloody bowel movements?
Blood in the stool or bloody bowel movements is also known as rectal bleeding.
What is an acceptable amount of daily sodium intake?
Sodium intake is variable in most people. The recommended daily allowance of sodium is 60 to 120 mEq.
What is proteus?
Proteus is a type of bacteria that can cause infections.
What is the best time in a woman's cycle to get pregnant?
The best chance of pregnancy is 3 to 4 days before ovulation, and approximately 2 days after ovulation.
What is the role of testosterone as part of hormone replacement therapy?
Testosterone has been used as a component of hormone replacement therapy in certain circumstances.
What is the thick substance that I get a couple of days into my period?
One possibility is that you are seeing a portion of the uterine lining (endometrium) which is the tissue that is shed during menstruation.