All posts in Sexual health

How to Prevent Painful UTIs

Close up of a woman with hands holding her crotchIf you’ve ever experienced the searing, burning, indescribable pain that is a urinary tract infection (UTI), then you certainly never want to experience one again. If you are among the lucky ones that have never experienced this painful health condition, count yourself among the fortunate. Regardless if you have experienced a UTI in the past or not, there are several steps that all women can take to stay healthy, and mitigate their risk of experiencing this unpleasant condition.

  1. Stay hydrated. Women should drink plenty of water throughout the day for a variety of health reasons, but staying hydrated can also be an effective prevention technique for preventing UTIs. Water helps to dilute your urine, and encourages you to urinate more frequently—two factors that help ensure that the bacteria that can cause a UTI is regularly flushed from your urinary tract. When you urinate, your urine should be a very pale yellow if you are drinking enough water.
  2. Hydrate after sex too. Also, be sure to drink a full glass of water after sex, and immediately empty your bladder after intercourse. These two practices will again help to flush unwanted bacteria out of your urinary tract.
  3. Wipe front to back. After a bowel movement, be sure to wipe from the front to the back, and never wipe twice with the same tissue. Following proper cleansing techniques can prevent pathogenic bacteria that originates in the anal region from spreading to your vagina and urethra, where it can cause a UTI.
  4. Carefully choose feminine products. Irritating feminine hygiene products, such as certain douches, powders, and deodorant sprays, can irritate your urethra, and lead to infection.
  5. Choose tampons over sanitary napkins. Unlike sanitary napkins or pads, tampons keep the bladder opening area drier, which limits the possibility of bacterial growth.
  6. Urinate frequently. Avoid long periods of time in between urinating. Aim to empty your bladder completely at least once every four hours during the day to mitigate the risk of bacterial build-up.
  7. Consider changing your birth control. If you use diaphragms, or unlubricated or spermicide-treated condoms, these forms of birth control can put you at risk of bacterial growth that can cause a UTI.
  8. Wear loose clothing. Tight-fitting undergarments and non-breathable materials can encourage moisture build-up, which can lead to maceration of the skin and bacterial overgrowth. Choose breathable underwear to prevent contamination of the bladder opening area.
  9. Choose showers over baths. Avoid soaking in bathwater for prolonged periods of time. Bath water can become contaminated with skin florae as you bathe, and allow bacteria to reach the bladder opening area.

If you have any questions or concerns about your risk for developing a UTI, speak with your OBGYN. If you feel you may be experiencing UTI symptoms, be sure to contact your docotor immediately so that he or she can prescribe treatment and set you on the road to recovery.

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Everything You Need to Know about the HPV Vaccine

Teen girl getting a HPV vaccineThe human papillomavirus (HPV) is a group of more than 150 related viruses newly infecting approximately 14 million people each year. It is estimated that about 79 million Americans are currently infected with HPV. With numbers this staggering, it is important to understand the risks associated with HPV, and how to keep you and your children safe from infection. The HPV vaccine has been proven to protect young people from the virus’ risks and side effects, however as with all preventive treatments, parents should be thoroughly informed about the vaccine and its risks before choosing to vaccinate their children. Read on for everything you need to know about the HPV vaccine.

Contracting HPV
HPV is transmitted through skin-to-skin sexual contact, making it the most common sexually transmitted infection. In rare cases, pregnant women can pass HPV to their babies during delivery. In these cases, the baby is at risk of developing recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP), a condition where warts grow in the throat.

HPV Symptoms
Many who contract HPV never demonstrate symptoms—making it easier for them to transmit the disease unknowingly. 90 percent of HPV infections go away on their own within two years. Still, those diagnosed with the virus are at risk of developing genital warts, and in the most severe cases, cancer, including cervical, vaginal, vulvar, penile, anal, and throat cancer. The HPV vaccine protects against the development of HPV-related symptoms, as well as cancers.

Who Should Receive the Vaccine
The best time to administer the vaccine, for optimal effectiveness, is around ages 11 and 12 before boys and girls are sexually active. The vaccine also produces a more effective immune response when administered to preteens, making it even more important to vaccinate your children before they become teenagers.

Young adults who did not receive the vaccine before age 12 can still be effectively vaccinated, even if they have already had sex. Young women can be vaccinated up to age 26, and young men can be vaccinated up to age 21. Young men who have sex with other men or who have weakened immune systems, including those who are HIV positive, can be vaccinated up to age 26.

Vaccine Administration
The vaccine is administered in three shots. The second must be given one to two months after the first, and the third must be given six months after the first. Individuals who wait longer than is recommended between shots are still encouraged to finish the series. There is no need to restart the shot series for best results. Research shows that those who receive the entire series are protected for a period of 8-10 years.

Vaccine Effectiveness
Clinical trials have shown that the vaccine provides almost 100 percent protection against precancers and genital warts. In addition, since 2006 when the vaccine became recommended for preteens, researchers have identified a 56 percent decrease in vaccine type HPV infections among young women in the United States, and that overall rates of reported genital wart cases are decreasing as well.

Vaccine Safety
The safety and effectiveness of the HPV vaccine continues to be monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). To date, no serious health risks have been associated with the vaccine. As with all vaccines, there have been reported side effects. These include pain and redness at the injection site, dizziness, fever, fatigue, muscle or joint pain, and nausea. Some also report brief fainting spells, as may occur after any procedure or vaccination. Severe allergic reactions are rare. Those who are allergic to any of the vaccine components should not receive the vaccine.

For more information on the risks related to HPV, and how vaccination can protect you and your children, speak with your OBGYN today.

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Sex Slump

Feet  in bedSome days you’re just feeling off. Maybe you feel slightly less motivated, or you just feel down, or disinterested. If you’re having such feelings in the bedroom, and you’re finding that the feelings have lasted for more than a few weeks, you may be in a sex slump. If you are experiencing low sex drive, don’t panic. Such temporary feelings can be caused by a variety of factors and your doctor can help you recover.

Sex Drive Factors
As women, our sex drives are complicated. There are several factors that impact our desire for intimacy, including our:

  • Overall state of health and wellness
  • Emotional well-being
  • Past experiences
  • Personal beliefs
  • Lifestyle choices
  • Current relationship state

With so many factors impacting the desire for sex, feelings of low sexual desire can have a variety of causes. Consider the following:

  • Illness. Illnesses such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, neurological diseases, and mental health issues such as depression and anxiety and reduce sexual desire.
  • Side effects of medications. Antidepressants and anti-seizure medications in particular can negatively impact libido.
  • Lifestyle habits. Those who don’t lead a healthy lifestyle can experience low sexual desire. For example, an overconsumption of alcohol, smoking, and the use of street drugs can impact libido.
  • Fatigue. Even when caused by a hectic schedule, sometimes our bodies are too physically exhausted to produce feelings of sexual desire.
  • Pregnancy and breast-feeding. A woman’s hormones change significantly during and after pregnancy. Such changes can reduce feelings of desire.
  • Menopause. During menopause, estrogen levels drop, which can cause decreased interest in sex. Some menopausal women even experience painful or uncomfortable sex due to other physical changes in their bodies, further leading to sexual disinterest.
  • Relationship issues. Interpersonal problems can manifest into very real, very physical symptoms. When you and your partner are not emotionally in synch, it can make it difficult to be physically in synch.

How to Reclaim Your Sexual Desire

If you are in a sex slump, know that it does not mean a permanent change. Talk to your doctor and consider these solutions:

  • Make healthy lifestyle choices. Exercise regularly, make sure you get enough sleep, maintain a healthy diet, work to reduce stress, and reduce your amount of alcohol.
  • Consider alternate medications. Talk to your doctor if you suspect a medication may be impacting your libido. He/she may be able to make a recommendation for a different medication that may not have the same side effects.
  • Consider counseling. If the issues with your libido are emotional, or if they are caused by relationship problems with your partner, your doctor may recommend therapy or counseling.
  • Ask your doctor about hormone therapy. Receiving supplemental estrogen may help to improve your mood and stimulate sexual desire. Be sure to talk to your doctor about the potential risks and side effects of hormone therapy as well.

Low sex drive can be caused by factors that are physical, emotional, and hormonal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t control your libido. If you have been experiencing a sex slump, talk to your doctor today about potential treatments and solutions to help you reclaim control in the bedroom.

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What is Considered Normal When it comes to Uterine Bleeding?

African American patient explaining issues to Asian doctor using tablet

As women, we have a number of bodily behaviors we must closely monitor, but it can be difficult to know what is considered “normal,” and what is considered “abnormal,” when you are a sample size of one. Women should always feel comfortable speaking with their gynecologists about any concerns that they may have. Asking, “Is that normal?” is a smart way to stay informed, and stay safe. If you have been asking yourself if your level of uterine bleeding is normal, consider the following factors, and as always, never be afraid to ask your doctor.

What is Normal Uterine Bleeding?
Normal uterine bleeding, also known as vaginal bleeding, or menorrhea, is characterized by the periodic blood flow from the uterus. Normal vaginal bleeding occurs as a result of cyclic hormonal changes.

What is Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding?
In general, abnormal bleeding is defined as a flow of blood from the vagina that occurs either at the wrong time during the menstrual cycle, or in inappropriate amounts. In women who are ovulating regularly, it typically involves excessive, frequent, irregular, or decreased bleeding. More specifically, the following are considered abnormal:

  • Bleeding between periods.
  • Bleeding after sex.
  • Spotting anytime in the menstrual cycle.
  • Bleeding after menopause.
  • Bleeding for too long a period of time, known as hypermenorrhea, or menstrual cycles that are longer than 35 days.
  • Bleeding for too short a period of time, known as hypomenorrhea, or menstrual cycles that last fewer than 21 days.
  • A menstrual period that occurs too frequently, known as polymenorrhea.
  • A menstrual cycle that does not occur frequently enough, known as oligomenorrhea.
  • The lack of menstruation for three to six months, known as amenorrhea.
  • If the volume of blood is too much, known as menorrhagia.
  •  If the volume amount of blood is too little, known as hypomenorrhea.

Diagnosing Abnormal Bleeding
To determine if what you are experiencing is normal or abnormal, your gynecologist will need to know the following:

  • Your personal and family health history.
  • The timing of your typical menstrual cycle.
  • The typical pattern of your bleeding, including the days, lengths, flow type (light, medium, heavy, or spotting).
  • If you are ovulating.
  • If you are pregnant.

Causes of Abnormal Bleeding
If you are experiencing prolonged bleeding at irregular intervals after not having a menstrual period for several moths, it may be a sign that you are not ovulating regularly.

  • Unless you are newly pregnant, the bleeding may be associated with complications such as miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.
  • Growths or problems in or around the uterus.
  • Blood-clotting problems.
  • Changes in hormone levels.

If you are monitoring your menstrual cycles and monthly blood flow and believe you may be experiencing abnormal levels of bleeding, talk to your doctor. He or she will help you determine what is normal for you, and help you address the underlying reasons for anything out of the ordinary.

And if you are looking for a new gynecologist and live in the Western New York area, please give our practice a call. We are accepting new patients.

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The Number One Reason Women Don’t Get HIV Tested is Fear

HIV test tubeThe terms HIV and AIDS are powerful. They can instill fear, conjuring images of a terminal disease that causes years of painful suffering, isolation, social stigmas, and the risk of infecting those you love. HIV and AIDS are serious diseases with deadly consequences, but when fear of a diagnosis leads to an avoidance of testing, you only put yourself, and your loved ones, at a greater risk. According to a recent survey published in AIDS and Behavior, the majority of people who do not seek out testing for HIV and AIDS are either afraid of the test or afraid of getting a positive diagnosis. If you are one of the millions of Americans avoiding the HIV test, put your fears aside and consider the dangers you put yourself in by living in denial.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) approximately 13 percent of the more than 1.2 million Americans with HIV are unaware that they have the virus, which means they could be spreading it further without knowing they are putting others at risk. Noticing any unusual signs or symptoms that could be indicative of a sexual transmitted disease (STD) is scary, but just hoping that the symptoms will go away on their own will only leave you in greater danger. Diagnosing HIV early is crucial both to an effective treatment plan, and to stop its spread. Early detection also reduces rates of mortality and morbidity.

Know Your HIV Status
All women should know their HIV status for these four reasons:

  1. Many new HIV infections are caused by people unaware that they are infected.
  2. HIV medicines are more effective when treatment begins early.
  3. Starting treatment early can mean the best health for you, and for a longer time, before you develop AIDS or other infections. When HIV is not identified until it has progressed to advanced stages, treatment options are limited.
  4. If you are pregnant, there are precautions you can take to avoid passing HIV to your baby.

It can take between two weeks and three months after infection for HIV antibodies to be found in your blood. It may take up to three months for an HIV test to be positive if you have reason to believe that you may have recently been infected. Talk to your doctor about how frequently you should be tested, given your lifestyle and risk factors.

Get Tested
To help save your own life, and the lives of your loved ones, set your fears aside and get tested:

  • At least once after becoming sexually active.
  • If you are pregnant.
  • If you are having unprotected sex with more than one partner.
  • If you are, or have, injected drugs.
  • If you are having sex with someone to get money or drugs in return, or have had sex with someone who has traded sex for money or drugs.
  • If you have another sexually transmitted infection (STI).
  • If you had a blood transfusion between 1978 and 1985.

AIDS and HIV are serious diseases, and being afraid of contraction is understandable, but living in denial that you could be carrying a serious illness won’t keep you or your loved ones safe. Early detection provides the only hope for effective treatment and longevity. Living a lifestyle that mitigates risk factors will help keep you safe. Even if you believe you are not at risk, getting tested will only reaffirm your peace of mind and help diminish the fear and stigma that surrounds testing.

And if you have any questions or fears, discuss them with your doctor. These discussions are 100% confidential.

 

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How to Treat Vaginal Dryness

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 8.26.09 AMSex should be a pleasing, and comfortable experience, so when our bodies inhibit our ability to truly enjoy intimate moments, it can be frustrating and discouraging–which may only further inhibit our ability to relax and enjoy the experience. Vaginal dryness is a condition that affects a significant number of women, but older women are particular susceptible. Vaginal dryness impacts more than half of post-menopausal women between the ages of 51 and 60. During menopause, women produce lower levels of the hormone estrogen. As a result, vaginal walls lose their elasticity, become tight and fragile, and are less able to accommodate the flexibility needed for comfort during sexual intercourse. In the most serious of cases, the vaginal walls can even tear or bleed during sex. If you are among the millions of women suffering from vaginal dryness, read the tips below to learn how to ease your symptoms and take back your comfort and confidence in the bedroom.

  1. Foreplay. It may sound like a simple solution, but too often the many constraints on our time cause us to rush sexual intercourse. Without proper foreplay, we don’t allow our bodies the time necessary to properly self-lubricate and prepare for penetration. By increasing the length of foreplay, a woman can naturally improve her moisture levels and reduce dryness.
  2. Vaginal lubricants. These over-the-counter products are intended to be used during sexual intercourse to help ease repeated penetration by temporarily providing a more slippery surface. Avoid products that boast unnecessary features like flavors and scents, and choose a product that will meet your needs by improving your comfort.
  3. Vaginal moisturizers. For many women suffering from vaginal dryness, a simple over-the-counter vaginal moisturizer applied regularly can greatly improve wetness and comfort during sex. Similar to body lotion, vaginal moisturizers can be used as a maintenance product to reduce dryness and improve daily moisture levels.
  4. Vaginal estrogen treatment. The most effective treatment for moderate to severe cases of vaginal dryness is a vaginal estrogen treatment. By increasing estrogen levels in the body, vaginal walls are restored to their pre-menopausal thickness, and will produce greater levels of vaginal mucus and secretions. There are three treatment options for vaginal estrogen. Treatment can be obtained in the form of an oral tablet, vaginal cream, or vaginal ring, which lasts for three months before needing to be replaced. Women at high risk for breast cancer should avoid estrogen supplements, especially if taking aromatase inhibitors to lower their breast cancer risk.
  5. Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERM). SERMs are taken orally to help restore vaginal moisture and mucous. Ask your GYN if a SERM treatment may be right for you, but know that such oral treatments may increase your risk of blood clots and hot flashes.
  6. Vaginal dilators. In the most serious cases of vaginal dryness, the treatments above many not be enough. Prescription vaginal dilators are soft plastic rods in gradual sizes, ranging from three millimeters to ten millimeters in diameter. Their repeated insertions help allow for a gradual increase in overall vaginal dilation capabilities.

Most importantly, you don’t have to shy away from sex. When sex becomes uncomfortable, a natural reaction can be to avoid intercourse – and the pain associated. However, continued sexual activity, including masturbation, allows the vagina to maintain a greater level of elasticity over time. By continuing to be sexually active (safely of course!) you can slow and lessen the signs of vaginal drying, even during menopause.

The doctors at Chouchani, Sayegh and Bagnarello can help you with any question about your sexual health.  Contact us today to make an appointment.  We are currently accepting new patients.

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Your Vagina Needs Exercise Too

We crunch our abs, curl our biceps, and do countless squats to obtain a perfectly rounded butt, so why do we neglect our vaginal muscles? As women, our vaginas are incredibly important and versatile. The vagina acts as the birth canal, an outflow track for menstrual blood, and an in-flow track for sperm. The vaginal muscles can weaken over time, however, due to age, childbirth, and even smoking, resulting in issues such as incontinence. By making an effort to keep the vagina strong over time, women can experience more comfort and confidence as they age.

Signs of Weakened Vaginal Muscles
The signs of weakening vaginal muscles may include:

  • Leaking urine when coughing or sneezing, or difficulty emptying the bladder
  • Passing gas unintentionally
  • Posterior prolapse, a soft bulge of tissue in the vagina that may or may not protrude through the vaginal opening
  • A constant sensation of pressure in the pelvic region

How to Strengthen Vaginal Muscles
The secret to stronger vaginal muscles lies in a simple exercise known as the Kegel.

Kegel exercises are clench-and-release movements that can strengthen the pelvic floor — a series of muscles and tissues that forms a sling at the bottom of the pelvis. The pelvic muscles are essential, as they hold our organs in place. Kegels are not difficult, but in order for them to be the most effective, they must be done using the proper technique. As an added bonus, regular Kegel exercises can help women to be more in touch with their bodies, helping them to isolate sensations during sex and enhance their sexual satisfaction.

The best way to learn how to isolate the pelvic muscles is to Kegel during urination. When you start to urinate, clench your muscle to stop the flow of urine, and hold for 10 seconds. This technique will help you to identify how it feels to properly engage the pelvic floor muscles. Once you can easily identify and contract your pelvic muscles, try to incorporate Kegel exercises into your daily routine, ideally doing 50 Kegel contractions that are held for 10 seconds each, every day. Since no equipment is needed, you can Kegel anywhere, at any time. Try to Kegel during stoplights, during TV commercial breaks, or while reading.

With routine Kegeling, most women see improvement in the strength of their pelvic floor muscles within six weeks. If you Kegel regularly but do not see the desired results, talk to your GYN. You may benefit from more intense, dedicated work with a pelvic physical therapist — a specialist who is trained to help women improve the strength of their pelvic floor muscles. If you still aren’t feeling the results you want, your GYN may want to test you for pelvic floor dysfunction, a disorder that occurs when pelvic floor muscles are weak or tight, or when there is an impairment of the sacroiliac joint, lower back, coccyx, or hip joints. The majority of women though, will feel improvement through the simple addition of Kegel exercises into a daily routine, and as a bonus, will finally feel productive during television commercial breaks.

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Removing the Hair Down There: Is it Safe to get a Bikini Wax?

Dripping WaxWe all want to have soft, smooth skin, but when we see countless photos of celebrities and models posing in their bikinis with hairless, irritation-free skin, we can’t help but wonder how they do it. Waxing has long been a common method to get a soft and clean bikini line, but one can’t help but wonder, will it hurt? More importantly, is it safe? Before you heat up your DIY waxing kit, be sure you understand the risks and rewards of bikini waxing.

Wax On: The Benefits

  • Since waxing pulls hairs out by the roots, it takes longer for the hair to grow back, leaving your skin feeling smoother, longer.
  • When hair does grow back, it may grow back, thinner, finer, or not at all, due to damage caused to the follicle.
  • Waxing is less costly and time consuming than such permanent methods as electrolysis or laser hair removal.
  • Many women who get frequent pubic hair waxes report that they feel more hygienic, which can enhance their comfort during sex.
  • As Americans in general are maintaining less pubic hair, there have been fewer reported cases of pubic life, or “crabs.”

Wax Off: The Worries

  • Too hot wax can cause mild skin burns.
  • Skin tears can cause pain or, at worst, infection.
  • As with exposure to any foreign substance, allergic reactions could result from exposure to waxing products.
  • Susceptibility to ingrown hairs, which could become infected.
  • Permanent scarring of the skin caused by chronic skin irritation.
  • Mild to severe infections of the skin, vagina, or blood system. In the most severe cases, the infections can lead to hospitalizations.
  • Increased risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Any infection that requires contact to spread will be more easily caught if there is any damage to the skin in the area. This could result in increased risks of contracting such STIs as herpes, human papilloma virus (HPV), and HIV.
  • Deeper cellulitis due to skin damage caused by pulling the hair out by the root.

The bikini-bottom line? If you choose to wax your pubic hair, minimize your risks for complications by seeking out a licensed aesthetician at a reputable salon that is experienced in the technique. Make sure that the waxing instruments and wax being used appear clean and sanitized. It is also important to make sure you are comfortable with the technician performing your service, especially since you are going to be exposed in a very personal way during the procedure.

With appropriate safety and sanitation measures, waxing can be a safe, and convenient way to obtain smooth skin that lasts longer than shaving, but it can also increase your risk for serious infections and skin damage. Make sure to weigh the benefits and risks before you decide to wax on, or wax off.

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My Pap Smear Came Back Positive. What Does it Mean?

It is recommended by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) that women ages 21 to 65 receive an annual routine Pap smear test. The purpose of this routine screening is to check for precancers, or cervical cell changes that might become cervical cancer if they are not properly treated. Before your next annual Pap smear test, learn what a positive Pap test could mean. With proper education and routine testing, you can put yourself in the best position to protect yourself from the risk of cervical cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 12,900 new cases of invasive cervical cancer are diagnosed every year. A Pap smear test is a non-invasive way to identify the presence of cervical precancers. During the Pap test, your doctor will collect a few cell samples and some mucus from the cervix and surrounding area. The cells will then be tested to identify any abnormalities.

There are four terms typically used to describe Pap test results, and the first step in understanding what your Pap test results mean, is familiarizing yourself with the following terms:

  1. Normal – Your cervix is healthy.
  2. Unsatisfactory – The sample of cells taken was not a good sample and can’t be read. Your Pap test will likely need to be repeated.
  3. Benign changes – Your Pap test was basically normal, however you may have an infection that is causing inflammation of the cervical cells. Your doctor may need to do a pelvic exam to check for the cause of the infection and prescribe treatment if necessary.
  4. Atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASCUS) – There is the appearance of abnormal cells in your sample. More tests may be needed to determine the cause.

If your test results are positive for abnormal cell growth, it could be due to the presence of precancers, however understand that there are many reasons why Pap test results might not be normal and it frequently does not mean you have cancer. One of the following factors could be at play instead:

  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a sexually transmitted infection that causes an abnormal rate of cervical cell growth. HPV can remain in your body for years and could go undetected, which means that your abnormal Pap test results may appear years after your exposure to the virus.
  • A bacteria or yeast infection. Such infections can be treated after proper diagnosis.
  • Menopause. Women who have been through menopause may see changes to their cervical cells, however the abnormal cells are not precancers.
  • Smoking. Tobacco use may increase your chances of seeing cell changes in your cervix. Abstaining from tobacco use will help your cells return to normal levels.
  • An impaired immune system. Your immune system could become damaged as the result of such factors as alcohol use, drug abuse or withdrawal, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, or chemotherapy.

The first step to reducing your risk of cervical cancer is ensuring that you receive a routine Pap smear test annually from your OBGYN. If your tests results show abnormal cell growth, your doctor will know how to interpret the results and proceed with any necessary treatment to help you maintain optimal health.

If it’s been some time since you’ve seen your gynecologist, make sure you schedule an appointment. A healthy woman should be seen at least once each year.

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Pain During Sex

unhappy woman lying in bed stressed. couple having problem while man sleeping

Sexual intercourse should be a comfortable and mutually desirable experience for both individuals involved. If you are experiencing pain during sex, also known as dyspareunia, the pain you feel could result in greater complications or emotional distress between you and your partner. There are several factors that cause women to experience pain during sex. Speak with your OBGYN to determine if one of the following conditions is present:

  • Insufficient lubrication – This is often related to a woman feeling anxious during sex. By relaxing, lengthening foreplay, or utilizing a sexual lubricant, this issue can be resolved and comfort can be increased.
  • Vaginismus – This is a condition caused by the involuntary squeezing of a woman’s vagina muscles during insertion. The sensation can range from mildly uncomfortable to painful. There are exercises that a woman can do to help reduce the occurrence of the muscle spasms within only a few weeks.
  • Vaginitis – This term encompasses various conditions that cause infection or inflammation of the vagina, including vulvovaginitis. Often resulting from a vaginal infection caused by such factors as bacteria, yeast, or viruses, vaginal infections can result in pain during sex.
  • Cervical infection – Sometimes during sex the penis can reach the cervix when at maximum penetration. If the cervix is infected, a woman can experience pain.
  • Uterine Fibroids – These benign lumps grow on the uterus, and can cause pain during sex among other symptoms.
  • Endometriosis – This condition is caused by the development of uterine-lining outside of the uterus and causes abdominal pain, including during sex, heavy periods, and infertility. Treatment options include pain relievers, hormones, and surgery.
  • Ovarian cysts – These cysts are closed, sac-like structures within the ovary that are filled with a liquid or semisolid substance. Ovarian cysts cause abdominal pain as well as pain during intercourse.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) – This disease occurs when tissues deep inside a woman’s pelvis become severely inflamed. The pressure of intercourse irritates the issue and causes deep pain.
  • Ectopic pregnancy – An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg develops inside the fallopian tube, instead of the uterus. An ectopic pregnancy occurs in 1 of every 50 pregnancies. Symptoms include lower abdominal pain, sharp abdominal cramps, pain on one side of the body, and pain during sex.
  • MenopauseDuring menopause, a woman’s vaginal lining can lose its normal moisture and become dry, leading to pain during sex.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STD) – Pain during sex has been linked to such STDs as genital warts and herpes. If you are experiencing pain during sex, and think you may have an STD, speak with your OBGYN immediately.
  • Injury to the vulva or vagina – An injury that causes pain during sex may include a tear from childbirth or an episiotomy. In addition, having sex too soon after surgery or childbirth may result in pain during intercourse.

Of course, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s best to discuss with your gynecologist. He/she can discuss ways to alleviate pain during intercourse. If you are looking for a new gynecologist and live in the Western New York area, please call our practice. We are accepting new patients.

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