Information for Young Women

General information about the most common topics that affect young women.


Pap Smears

Pap Smears ,

pap smear or pap test is a medical diagnostic procedure used to detect cancer and other issues in the female reproductive system. For women of a certain age, this test may be performed every few years.

Pap smears are an important part of women's health and wellness. Request more information about how to schedule a pap test: (281) 824-1480 or contact us online.

What is a Pap Smear?

The term “pap test” is short for Papanicolaou test and is a test designed to detect cervical cancer in women. The Pap smear is most often performed by gynecologists, obstetricians or OB/GYNs.

The Pap smear may not be right for all women. The American Cancer Society recommends that this procedure begin to be performed at age 21, as the potential harm of the procedure may outweigh the benefits if done before that age.

Generally, the guidelines for how often a pap smear should be performed are:

  • Women under Age 21: No test necessary.
  • Women Ages 21 - 29: Every three years.
  • Women 30 - 60: Every three years, or every five years when combined with a test for the human papilloma virus (HPV).
  • Women 65 and older: No further pap testing required.

No Pap smear testing is required for women have had a total hysterectomy or women in their early twenties who have never had sexual contact.

How Do Pap Smears Work?

The Pap smear test itself takes just a short amount of time. When approaching a Pap smear appointment, it's important to avoid sexual intercourse. In order to avoid discomfort and false positives, the Pap test should not be performed during the menstrual period.

During the test:

  • Utilizing special supports known as “stirrups”, the legs are raised and bent.
  • A small device known as a speculum is inserted in to the vaginal canal.
  • The speculum separates the walls of the vagina so that the cervix, which is located in the back, can be seen easily.
  • Samples of cervical cells are taken using a small brush or flat device.

The test features no downtime and daily activities can resume immediately after. The cervical cells need to be taken to a laboratory where they are then analyzed for cancerous or pre-cancerous cells.

Request Pap Test Information Today

Many women feel uncomfortable about receiving a pap smear, but the early-detection of cervical cancer is crucial. Request more information about pap smears today: call (281) 824-1480 or contact us online.


Well Woman Exam

Well Woman Exam in ,

Regular gynecologist visits and breast exams are of the utmost importance, but they only cover a small portion of your overall health. Any woman over the age of 21 should consider an annual Well Woman Exam. A Well Woman Exam covers the pelvis and breasts, as well as any area related to a woman's overall wellness, including:

  • Heart health
  • Brain heath
  • Thyroid health
  • Condition of your organs, such as the liver and kidneys
  • Early identification of cancer

Health History

Most women's health visits begin with a consultation to discuss your current and past health history. Your doctor may ask about any pregnancies you've had or plan to have. Eating and exercise routines may also be discussed, along with any negative health habits such as smoking. Your doctor will also review your immunization records to make sure your shots are all up to date.

Physical Exam

After the initial consultation, your doctor will likely proceed with a physical examination. In addition to a blood pressure and body mass index test, a women's health doctor typically studies the following areas:

  • Eyes, ears, nose, and mouth
  • Thyroid and lymph nodes
  • Lungs and heart
  • Breasts
  • Abdomen
  • Skin
  • Bones and spine
  • Reflexes

Breast Exam

The purpose of a breast exam during a Well Woman Exam isn't to replace regular mammogram screenings. It is just another opportunity for your doctor to identify potential problems in your breast tissue.

This exam is a surface inspection performed by hand, where a doctor checks for conditions such as dimpling, nipple inversion, redness, soreness, rashes, or swelling. Your doctor may also feel for any lumps or thickening in the breasts.

Pelvic Exam

During the pelvic exam, your doctor will examine the external and internal parts of the reproductive system like the vulva, labia, the vagina, cervix, uterus, and ovaries. Your physician may also perform a pap smear. This is a procedure where a small sample of cells is collected from your cervix. The results of a pap smear are typically sent to a lab for analysis. 

For women who have experienced menopause, your doctor may spend some time discussing issues such as bladder function or vaginal dryness. Your doctor may also test your bone density for signs of osteoporosis.

Counseling

In addition to your physical examination, your doctor may also discuss any emotional challenges you may be dealing with. You may be experiencing stress or depression from internal conditions such as chronic pain or external issues at home or work. At this time, your doctor will likely make recommendations about your diet, including the use of supplements or exercises for managing weight and improving how you feel.


Birth Control and Contraception

Birth Control and Contraception in ,

Contraception refers to any medical method or treatment designed to prevent pregnancy. Contraception is available in both short-term and long-term varieties. Contraception is often referred to as simply birth control.

Are you looking to find the right birth control method for you? Call (281) 824-1480 or contact us online.

What is Contraception?

Contraception is the broad term that encompasses all birth control methods. Birth control is a crucial part of family planning and practicing safe sex. Some methods of birth control also guard against sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs), but this is not true of every method.

In general, contraception is broken down in to three major categories:

  • Short term contraception, which is utilized just once and may be ceased at any point.
  • Long term contraception, which may last for a very long time and require extra attention to reverse.
  • Emergency contraception, which is taken or administered after unprotected or poorly-protected sex.

Each one of these broad categories contains many different types of birth control.

Types of Contraceptives

There are many different types of contraceptives. Both contraceptives for men and contraceptives for womenare available. Varieties of contraceptives include:

  • Hormonal birth control: As the name implies hormonal contraceptives work by altering the body's hormones in order to prevent ovulation or fertilization. Hormonal birth control is only available for women and may be administered as a pill, patch, implant, injection IUD or vaginal ring.
  • Barrier contraceptives: Barrier contraceptives are available for both men and woman. They act as a literal barrier between sperm and uterus, preventing pregnancy from occurring. Types of barrier birth control include condoms, sponges, cervical caps, diaphragms and more.
  • Intrauterine devices (IUDs): This type of birth control is inserted directly in to the uterus. IUDs may be made out of copper or levonorgestrel. IUDs are a very long-lasting form of birth control, but are also reversible.
  • Sterilization: Sterilization is a surgical birth control option. It is available for both men (vasectomy) and women (tubal ligation). Sterilization is considered to be the most permanent form of contraception, though it may be reversed in very rare cases as well.

What Form of Contraception is Right for Me?

There is no one “correct” method of birth control, as each type features distinct advantages and disadvantages. Some prefer the long-term protection of an IUD or sterilization, while others opt for convenience with hormonal or barrier methods.

There are so many different varieties of birth control that it's important to discuss them with a physician or healthcare professional. Only then can you determine which type of contraception best suits your level of sexual activity and person needs.

Request Birth Control Information Today

Contraception can be confusing to understand on your own. For a discreet, informative contraception consultation call (281) 824-1480 or contact us online.


Amenorrhea Treatment

Amenorrhea Treatment in ,

The menstrual cycle in women is essential to reproductive health. When menstruation is absent or extremely delayed, this is the condition known as amenorrhea. Amenorrhea can affect women of any age. This condition can lead to infertility issues.

Depending on the underlying cause, there are amenorrhea treatments available. Request more information today: Call (281) 824-1480 or contact us online.

Amenorrhea Symptoms

The symptom most often associated with amenorrhea is obvious: the absence of a menstrual period. In certain women, missing a period may cause other symptoms. Some other problems associated with amenorrhea include:

  • Hair loss
  • Frequent headaches
  • Facial hair growth
  • Pelvic pain
  • Acne
  • Vision problems

Whether a missing period is cause for alarm varies depending on the age of the woman. For adult women, three missed periods is a common benchmark. For adolescent girls, if a menstrual period has not occurred by age 15, it may be a case of amenorrhea.

Amenorrhea Causes

There are many different causes of amenorrhea. Some of these causes occur for natural reasons, including:

  • Menopause
  • Recent pregnancy
  • Breastfeeding a child

Some women also experience amenorrhea as a part of hormonal birth control, including oral pills and intrauterine devices. Sometimes this amenorrhea can continue after the birth control is no longer being used.

Other possible amenorrhea causes include:

  • Low body weight
  • Eating disorders such as anorexia
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • Premature menopause (perimenopause)
  • Post-hysterectomy menopause
  • Birth defects
  • Uterine scarring
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Certain medications
  • Excessive athletic training

Most amenorrhea causes are broken out in to two categories: primary and secondary. Primary causes stem from illnesses and other genetic conditions and secondary causes include pregnancy, menopause, PCOS or birth control.

Amenorrhea Treatment

The treatment of amenorrhea varies greatly depending on the underlying cause. In general, treatment targets the specific disorder or lifestyle habit that led to the missed period. Some possible amenorrhea treatments include:

  • Hormone therapy
  • Birth control pills 
  • Surgery
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Certain medications

Which specific method is used is dependent on the amenorrhea cause. If the issue is caused by early menopause or PCOS, hormone therapy or hormonal birth control may be the most likely choice. If it's caused by problems with the reproductive organs themselves, surgery may be the best option.

Request More Information Today

Amenorrhea can wreak havoc on a woman's system and make achieving fertility difficult. Request more information about amenorrhea diagnosis and treatment today: Call (281) 824-1480 or contact us online.


Intrauterine Devices (IUDs)

Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) ,

Many women recoil at the thought of having to take a birth control pill each day. What's more, fear can strike when a woman forgets to take the pill, potentially altering the effectiveness of her birth control method. The truth is, a woman may cycle through several different birth control methods—from the pill to the patch to shots and many other methods—only to feel dissatisfaction with her choice.

Fortunately, if you are one of many women who seek a birth control solution that better fits your lifestyle and healthcare needs, an intrauterine device (IUD) could be the birth control method you need. An intrauterine device is a small, t-shaped device which fits inside the uterus and prevents sperm from reaching and fertilizing an egg.

As a long-term contraceptive solution, IUDs are inserted into the uterus by a healthcare professional and can last up to 10 years. Shown to be 99% effective in preventing pregnancy, it is considered hassle-free by many women who no longer wish to deal with the daily, monthly or yearly nuisances of birth control. Yet, if your birth control needs change with time, an IUD can easily be removed by your healthcare provider.

To schedule a consultation with a qualified women's health professional in who can discuss your birth control options with you, call (281) 824-1480 or contact us online.

Types of IUDs

Depending upon your unique health circumstances, your healthcare provider may recommend one of two types of IUDs:

Hormonal

Made out of soft but durable plastic, hormonal IUDs release a small amount of levonorgestrel—the synthetic hormone progestin found in many birth control pills—which causes cervical mucus to thicken to keep the sperm from reaching the uterus; it can also keep the ovaries from releasing an egg altogether. There are currently 4 brands of hormonal IUDs available in the United States: Kyleena™, Liletta®, Mirena® and Skyla®. Depending on the brand, hormonal IUDs can last 3-5 years.

Non-Hormonal

Made out of soft but durable plastic and natural copper, a non-hormonal IUD relies on an immune response to prevent pregnancy by interfering with sperm movement and egg fertilization. There is currently 1 non-hormonal IUD available in the United States: ParaGard®. It can help to prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years.

Benefits of IUDs

While each birth control method carries its own list of benefits, IUD benefits include:

  • Highly effective, safe and reversible
  • Eliminates the need to remember to take your birth control
  • Safely used in women of all ages, including teens, women who have not given birth and breastfeeding mothers
  • One time insertion and one time cost (considered the most cost-effective form of birth control)
  • Lighter periods
  • Less painful menstrual cramps
  • Once IUD is removed, your reproductive abilities return quickly

What to Expect During Your IUD Insertion

Your healthcare provider will first discuss your birth control options with you to ensure the IUD is the best birth control method for your needs. A pelvic exam is required prior to an IUD insertion in which your vagina, cervix and uterus are examined. You may receive testing for pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) prior to your insertion.

An IUD is only available by prescription and is inserted by a healthcare professional in his/her medical office. You may be given medication to help open the cervix to make the insertion easier. For the actual insertion, a speculum is inserted into your vagina and the IUD is implanted through the opening of your cervix into your uterus. The entire insertion process typically takes under 5 minutes. Mild cramping and pain may occur but only lasts a few minutes. An IUD can be implanted at any time of the month, regardless of your menstrual cycle.

The ParaGard® non-hormonal IUD provides immediate contraceptive upon its insertion. Hormonal IUDs provide pregnancy protection 7 days after insertion, unless it is inserted within 7 days of the start of your period, in which case it is effective immediately. Your healthcare provider will give you instructions to check your IUD the first few weeks following its insertion to make sure it is still in its proper place. This placement is also verified at your yearly gynecological exam.

It is important to still use condoms to protect against sexually transmitted diseases as the IUD will not protect you against their transmission.

IUD Side Effects

Each woman can have a different experience from an IUD insertion. For some, there are no side effects; for others, cramping, backaches or spotting may occur in the days that follow their insertion and may last up to 6 months.

Serious problems with an IUD are extremely rare but can occur such as infection, an IUD puncturing the uterine wall during insertion or an IUD slipping out of place. If an IUD partially or fully slips out of place, a woman is able to get pregnant, and the IUD must be removed to avoid further complications.

Take Control of Your Reproductive Health

Intrauterine devices give you peace of mind. They are safe, effective, convenient and an option many women now seek out as their preferred birth control method. If you are interested in a long-term, cost-effective birth control, contact a women's health specialist in who specializes in intrauterine devices. Call (281) 824-1480 or contact us online. to get started today.


High Risk Pregnancy

High Risk Pregnancy in ,

While a pregnancy is almost always a happy occasion, many women are faced with the prospect of a high risk pregnancy. Whether due to a pre-existing illness, age or any other factor a high risk pregnancyrequires special care.

Request more information about high risk pregnancyand obstetrics today: call (281) 824-1480 or contact us online.

What is a High Risk Pregnancy?

A pregnancy is considered high risk when either the mother or child faces an increased chance of complications. Some of what causes a high risk pregnancy is pre-existing health conditions, while other risk factors include age or lifestyle choices.

A high risk pregnancy isn't necessarily “treated”, but is instead subject to much closer monitoring and more frequently health check-ups. If the high risk pregnancy is due to an underlying medical condition, treatment of that issue may need to happen before pregnancy occurs.

If it is determined that a high risk pregnancy is present, special steps may be taken. These can include blood testing, urine testing and additional ultrasounds. In some cases, a special facility or hospital that caters to high risk pregnancies may be used.

High Risk Pregnancy Factors

There are many different factors that can lead to a high risk pregnancy. Some non-illness high risk pregnancy factors include:

  • Age: Women younger than 17 or older than 35 face a higher risk of complications than women within that range.
  • Multiple-child pregnancy: In many cases, a multiple-baby pregnancy is automatically considered high risk.
  • Lifestyle: Mothers who are obese, underweight or have a history of substance abuse are considered to have a high risk pregnancy.
  • Past pregnancy issues: If a mother has dealt with multiple miscarriages, early birth, and pregnancy seizures or has had previous high-risk pregnancy, this is also a factor.

Many high risk pregnancies also stem from health issues present in the fetus, including Down syndrome, heart problems and lung issues.

Still other high risk pregnancies are caused by a pre-existing health condition in the mother. Some of these illnesses can include:

  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Epilepsy
  • High blood pressure
  • Cancer
  • HIV
  • Hepatitis C
  • Syphilis
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Lupus
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma

Certain medications may affect pregnancy risk as well.

Request Obstetric Information Today

If you believe you are entering a high risk pregnancy, contact a medical professional immediately. Request more information about obstetric care: call (281) 824-1480 or contact us online.


Family Planning

Family Planning in ,

Whether parents seek to have one child or many, family planning can be a very useful resource. More than a single treatment, family planning instead is compromised of a variety of solutions designed to help potential parents grow their family on their terms.

Request more information about family planning today: Call (281) 824-1480 or contact us online.

What is Family Planning?

Family planning is a general term applied to any collection of treatments created to help potential parents plan their family. Despite the name, some aspects of family planning are focused on preventing pregnancy from occurring before the parents are ready.

In general, the goals of family planning include:

  • Preventing unwanted pregnancy
  • Increasing access to reproductive health services
  • Reducing infant mortality
  • Increasing life expectancy
  • Reducing STD testing and HIV rates
  • Counsel potential parents on their options
  • Helping infertile or less fertile parents conceive

Starting a family or raising a child is a very important step in the life of any adult, and one that should be considered from all angles. Family planning services can be an important part of this process by providing potential parents with all the resources needed to make the right decision for their needs.

How Does Family Planning Work?

While many people associate family planning with birth control and contraception, that is just one of the many services that can be part of a family planning program. Some of the services that may be offered at a family planning center include:

  • Birth control & contraception
  • Pregnancy termination (in certain states)
  • Counseling services
  • Elective sterilization procedures (tubal ligation)
  • STD screening
  • Physical examinations

It's important to understand that no two family planning centers are the same, and the services they offer will differ accordingly. Family planning laws and guidelines vary greatly by state, so it's important to make direct contact before assuming any service will be provided in your location.

Ultimately, family planning provides an outlet for information, treatment and counseling for prospective parents.

Request Family Planning Information Today

Family planning services may be the answer for building the family you want, when you want. Request more information about family planning today: call (281) 824-1480 or contact us online.

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