Each stage of a woman's life brings its own opportunities and challenges. Your Southside OBGYN physician is here to provide the healthcare and treatments that will enhance the quality of your life and help you be the woman ready to tackle whatever comes your way.
Teen – First Visit
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that teens have their first visit with a gynecologist between the ages of 13 and 15. Unless you are having pelvic pain or problematic menstruation, there is probably no need for a pelvic exam or Pap test. However, there are many benefits to be gained from this first visit.
At the first meeting with a parent or other trusted adult present gives you the opportunity to establish a comfortable relationship with the physician. In addition, you can discuss normal developmental changes, menstruation, and healthy lifestyle practices. In future appointments, you may prefer to meet with the physician on your own. You may appreciate the opportunity to speak confidentally with a knowledgeable expert about safe sex, birth control, STD's and the “playground myths” that provide teens with so much misinformation.
If you have not already been vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV), the teen years are a good time to consider this protection against cervical cancer and genital warts. This is an important issue to discuss with the physician who will provide information about the vaccine and its benefits so you cacn make a decision that is right for you.
And of course, if health concerns occur, you should havev a physician you can trust to provide the best health care possible. A first pelvic exam and Pap test should be scheduled within the months after you become sexually active or about the age of 21.
In the Twenties
As a young woman your life is full of challenges. You may be finishing your formal education and beginning a new career. Being healthy and energetic is really important to you, and your Southside OBGYN physician is your partner in establishing healthy habits and maintaining your health.
The best thing you can do to assure yourself of a long, healthy life is to establish healthy habits. Eat regular meals featuring healthy choices from all food groups, especially fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Avoid too much fatty food or high-calorie desserts. You may also choose to supplement your diet with a multi-vitamin. Get plenty of exercise, at least 30 minutes a day of vigorous walking, jogging, running, dance or other aerobic exercise. And even though there's so much going on in your life it seems difficult, try to get plenty of rest. Most sources recommend eight hours of uninterrupted rest per night to help you maintain your physical and mental energy and avoid illness.
If you have not done so yet, you should have your first pelvic exam and Pap test at age 21. This exam will identify any possible problems and establish a baseline of what's normal for you. Then you and your physician will discuss the scheduling an annual check-up.
If you are not ready to start a family, your physician will discuss birth control options and help you decide on a method that best suits your lifestyle. Your physician can also provide guidance about healthy practices that will eventually lead to successful pregnancy and childbirth.
If you experience problem periods – exceptionally heavy bleeding, irregular periods, cramping or headaches – your physician may offer treatments that will help alleviate your problems. In addition, any health concerns you have are worthy of your physician's attention, and he or she will help you determine what treatments you may need.
Hormone imbalances often contribute to troubling health issues for young women, from mood swings to migraine headaches and more. If you think you may have some of these problems, be sure to discuss your symptoms with your physician. Your Southside OBGYN physician wants you to feel your best, ready to face the rest of your exciting life as a woman!
Women in their thirties find a lot to keep them busy. You may be entering a critical stage in your career, or you may be a stay-at-home mom, but you are definitely on the go! It's important to eat a healthy diet including fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and be sure to include low-fat dairy products in your diet to provide plenty of calcium for strong bones. (In fact, be sure you encourage good eating habits for your children as well!) Also, be sure you maintain an exercise program to enhance strength, flexibility, and heart health.
Now more than ever, it's important to have relaxation time, even just 30 minutes a day, when you can take a break to do something you enjoy. Think about reading, listening to your favorite music, gardening, meditating, or even calling a friend. You'll find yourself so much more energized when you get back to the “normal” routine!
Your Southside OBGYN physician will encourage you to continue your annual breast, pelvic exam, and Pap test. In addition, at about age 35 you should have a thyroid test to determine any imbalance that would affect your over-all health. That test should be repeated every five years.
Family planning is important to the woman in her 30's. If you are planning to have a child, your physician can provide guidance for a health pregnancy and delivery. If you have trouble conceiving, you might discuss infertility testing and treatments with your physician.
And if you are not planning to have a child soon, your physician will discuss birth control options that fit your lifestyle. In fact, if you feel your family is complete, you may consider permanent birth control. Your Southside OBGYN physician can share information with you about Essure, an in-office procedure that will eliminate concerns about unplanned pregnancies without out-patient surgery or relying on hormone treatments.
Whatever else is going on in your life, you know you can depend on your Southside OBGYN physician to help you be the energetic and energizing woman your family, friends, and co-workers love to be around!
Life Begins at Forty
Your family is growing up. You have teenagers in the house or maybe heading off to college. You find yourself involved in activities for the kids' schools or for community organizations. Your career has become a source of pride, and you're in a more responsible position and a valuable and trusted employee and co-worker. Where do you find the time to even think about yourself?
However, you know that maintaining a good diet and exercise habits will give you the strength, energy, and overall good health you value.
If you have not done so yet, you may want to consider permanent birth control at some time during this period of your life. Not having to worry about unplanned pregnancy is a great relief to a couple, and your Southside OBGYN physician will advise you about Essure, a one-time, in-office procedure that will eliminate your concerns about unplanned pregnancies without out-patient surgery or relying on hormone treatments and without a long post-surgical recovery period.
Of course, you will continue your annual breast and pelvic exams with a Pap test every 1-3 years as your physician advises. In addition, you should have a mammogram that will be valuable in detecting any possible breast cancers.
During your forties you may start to experience missed periods, hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue and general irritability – pre-menopausal symptoms. If these symptoms interfere with your normal lifestyle, your physician can advise you about treatments and practices that will alleviate the severity of your symptoms. He or she can also evaluate your health for any conditions that might be making the symptoms more severe.
Another condition that may trouble you is problem menstruation. If you experience irregular periods with exceptionally heavy menstrual flow that interferes with your lifestyle and you have completed childbearing, ask your physician about endometrial ablation. It's a one-time procedure that can be administered right here in our office and will help you get your life back!
Wisdom for Over Fifty
Your children are grown and leading their own successful lives and your grandchildren are the joy of your life. You need to be at your best to keep up with them and enjoy the special relationships you have with this new generation of family. You may also be involved as a caregiver for your aging parents, and this responsibility takes a lot of your physical and mental energy. Of course, you may find your have more time to spend with friends and you're actively involved in community organizations, charities, hobbies, and travel. Whatever your life brings your way, you want to be conscious of good health practices.
Healthy diet and exercise continue to be important, as well as concerns about maintaining a healthy weight. Your everyday good health practices go a long way in helping you avoid illness and debilitating medical conditions.
You should continue your annual breast and pelvic examinations including mammogram and Pap test as advised by your physician. You may be experiencing the symptoms of menopause, such as mood swings, hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and painful intercourse. Be sure to talk to your physician about treatments that may help reduce the severity of your symptoms.
Other health concerns include osteoporosis which may develop because of lower estrogen levels and urinary incontinence which is usually caused by weakening of the pelvic floor due to childbirth, pelvic surgery, menopause, or estrogen deficiency. Your physician may recommend a bone density test to diagnose osteoporosis, and you will appreciate the convenience of bone density testing available at Southside OBGYN. Some women experience uncomfortable and embarrassing leaking of small amounts of urine when they sneeze, laugh, or experience other stresses. Our Urinary Incontinence Center offers testing to help your physician diagnose and treat this condition in a sensitive manner, so you'll be able to resume your normal active lifestyle.
Your Southside OBGYN physician is a valuable partner to help you be your best in your maturing years.