Posts for category: Women's Health Care
The Importance of a Pap Smear
A pap smear, also known as a Pap test or cervical smear, is a routine procedure done at your gynecologist’s office to detect any irregularities in and on the cervix. The name comes from an abbreviation of the inventor’s name, Greek doctor Georgios Papanikolaou, and this test has been performed since 1923. It is currently the most common form of cervical screening in the United States.
What Are Pap Smears?
Pap smears are procedures done in-office and are performed by a doctor on an exam table. The vaginal opening is expanded with a tool called a speculum, and cells are then collected from the outside of the cervix using a tool called a spatula, which is very different from the one you may have in your kitchen. This procedure only takes a few minutes, and is very important for female health. Some patients report mild cramping during or immediately after the test, but it is usually very brief.
The collected cells are transferred to a glass slide and are examined under a microscope. The reason for this test is to identify any pre-cancerous conditions, most of which are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). These results can usually be used to diagnose other cervical problems and can take a week or two to come back.
A Pap smear is recommended for women to get every three years starting at age 21 until 65, barring any pre-existing conditions or any atypical results; those cases may call for more frequent testing. Regular Pap smears can reduce fatalities caused by cervical cancer very significantly, granted that patients with abnormal results follow their doctors’ treatment recommendations.
Be sure to stay up to date with your Pap smears and call your gynecologist with any questions!
Visiting a gynecologist such as Dr. J. Gabriel Guajardo in Brownsville, TX, on a regular basis can be lifesaving. Below is an overview of why these checkups are so important.
An annual examination is an essential part of a woman's routine care. This checkup will include:
- Early detection, screening, and treatment of various health issues, such as STD's
- HPV screenings
- Bone density scans
- Blood tests
- Pap smears
Evaluation of Uterine Fibroids
Women develop fibroids or myomas in the wall of their uterus. These benign tumors develop over time and the majority of women usually exhibit no symptoms. During an annual examination, a doctor can outline the best strategy to deal with these issues. Some solutions include:
- Laparoscopic myomectomy
- Robotic myomectomy
- Hysteroscopic resection (aka hysterectomy)
Symptoms of fibroids include:
- Heavy bleeding
- Painful menstrual periods
- Difficulty with intercourse
- Pelvic pain
- Pregnancy loss, but this is rare
Understanding the variety of contraceptive methods available helps women make better decisions for their health. Your Brownsville gynecologists can help you by:
- Providing up to date information on reversible and permanent contraception.
- Telling you about different hormonal methods such as birth control pills, patches, rings, and intrauterine devices.
- Discussing tubal ligation and tubal occlusion with women who do not want any (or any more) children.
Your Doctor Also Provides These Additional Services:
1. Ambulatory Services:
- Infertility Evaluation & Management
- Urinary Incontinence
- Abnormal uterine bleeding
- Premenstrual Syndrome
- Perimenopausal Transition
- Endometrial ablation
- Sling Placement
- D & C
- Ovarian Cystectomy
- Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery
3. In-Office Procedures:
- Intrauterine Device Placement
- Endometrial ablation
- Nexplanon Insertion and Removal
- Artificial Insemination
- Routine laboratory testing
- Traditional ultrasound services
- Extensive genetic counseling
- Amniocentesis testing
- Management of high-risk pregnancies, including Cervical Insufficiency, Placental Problems, Multiple Gestational Pregnancies, Prior Preterm Delivery, Recurrent Miscarriages, Advanced Maternal Age, Pre-existing Diabetes, Gestational Diabetes and High Blood Pressure (Chronic Hypertension or Preeclampsia)
For more information on gynecological care, contact Dr. J. Gabriel Guajardo's Brownsville office by calling (956) 404-0598 today!
Need a colposcopy? If your pap test results are abnormal, your doctor may ask you to have a colposcopy. Colposcopy is an effective and safe procedure. It's important to attend your colposcopy appointment even if you do not have any symptoms. Read to to learn more about colposcopy.
What is colposcopy?
A colposcopy is a simple procedure that lets your healthcare provider get a good look at your cervix. The procedure involves looking at the cervix through a lighted magnifying instrument. It shines a light into the vagina and cervix. This examination allows your doctor to find problems that cannot be seen by the eye alone. The exam takes 5 to 10 minutes. Sometimes the exam may need to be performed more than once.
Why is colposcopy done?
The procedure is done in a doctor's office. Colposcopy is performed when results of pap smear tests show abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix. The exam provides more information about the abnormal cells. Colposcopy is also used to further assess other problems, including pain, genital warts on the cervix, bleeding, cervicitis, and benign growths.
How is the procedure done?
During the procedure, you will lie on your back with your feet raised and placed on footrests. Your doctor will use a medical tool to hold apart the walls so the inside of the vagina and cervix can be viewed. The lighted magnifying instrument placed outside the opening of your vagina. A mild solution will be applied to your vagina and cervix. This solution makes abnormal areas on the cervix easy to see.
When is a biopsy done?
Sometimes, a biopsy is done during a colposcopy. During colposcopy, your healthcare provider may see abnormal areas. A biopsy of these areas may be done. During a biopsy, a small piece of tissue is removed from the patient's cervix. The sample is removed with a special device. Sometimes, the biopsy is also your treatment. That's because your healthcare provider may be able to remove all of the abnormal cervical cells during the biopsy. If so, you will not need further treatment.
What is recovery like?
If a biopsy is not done during the colposcopy, you should feel fine afterwards. You may have a little spotting for a few days. If you a biopsy is done, you may have pain for one or two days. You may have some bleeding. You may also have some discharge from your vagina. While your cervix heals, you will be told not to put anything into your vagina for a short time. Test results from the exam can take some time to be returned, but rest assured that your doctor will call as soon as the results are in.
As you might imagine, women’s bones are smaller than men’s, which puts women at a risk for developing osteoporosis, a chronic condition that causes a loss of bone density and can leave women prone to fractures. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, 80 percent of Americans with osteoporosis are women and half of women over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.
Why does osteoporosis mostly affect women? During childbearing years, your body produces estrogen, a hormone that is not only implemental in your reproductive and sexual health but also serves to protect your bones; however, as women approach menopause their estrogen production decreases drastically, which makes women prone to fractured and broken bones.
Fortunately, your gynecologist and women’s health team are instrumental in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of osteoporosis. Bone density is influenced by many factors including hormone levels, lifestyle, nutrition, medications, health problems, and genetics. Common risk factors include:
- Family history
- History of broken bones/fractures
- Poor nutrition
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Lack of calcium or other vitamins in your diet
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Low body mass index (BMI) and weight
The good news about osteoporosis is that it can be prevented through proper screenings and medications/therapies used to slow the progress of osteoporosis. Your initial screening will provide the information you need to help you and your gynecological team make an informed decision about the type of treatment options available to you. An X-ray is the most common diagnostic tool for checking the density level of your bones.
Getting an osteoporosis screening is highly recommended for all postmenopausal women (women 65 years old or older). If a woman is at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis, she may want to consider getting screened even earlier.
Osteoporosis treatment will include lifestyle changes along with medications/treatments. Simple everyday measures you can take to lessen your chances of bone fractures include:
- Making sure you get enough Vitamin D and calcium in your diet
- Reducing alcohol consumption
- Exercise regularly (include both cardio and strength training)
- Quit smoking
There are also a variety of different prescription medications on the market (also known as bisphosphonates) that can aid in preventing bone loss. Along with medications, your gynecologist may also recommend hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which will supply your body with the estrogen it needs to both prevent and treat osteoporosis.
While we understand that receiving an annual exam may not be at the top of your to-do list, it is important to make sure that you continueto have good health as you age. Your Brownsville, TX gynecologist, Dr. J. Gabriel Guajardo, can provide a well-woman exam that makes sure you maintain your health.
More about Well Woman Annual Exams
Annual gynecological exams are important for many reasons, the most important is to diagnose any abnormalities as early as possible. The sooner one begins treatment, the better your chances of managing or recovering from a condition. By going in for annual exams, you can catch an issue or complication before it has advanced into something more serious.
According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, they recommend girls as early as 13 be checked out. However, their exams won’t be comprehensive until most later. Generally, once a woman has menstruated they should be examined regularly. Pelvic exams and pap smears won’t begin till around age 21 unless a woman is sexually active prior to this age. Women are always encouraged to see a Brownsville gynecologist such as Dr. Guajardo sooner than later if they have a concern about their health.
At an annual exam, your health history will be taken as well as measurements and vital signs including height, weight, heart rate, temperature and blood pressure. The doctor will examine your body. Depending on the actual exam, they may examine your breasts feeling for lumps or abnormalities and the pelvis, whether manually or with a Pap Smear.
It is important to find a knowledgeable OB/GYN such as our Brownsville, TX gynecologist, Dr. Guajardo. This is because these annual tests can be invasive and you will want to work with a doctor that you plan to see annually. If you have any questions about the exam, contact our office at 956-350-4821. We can help you to schedule an appointment as well.