Women’s gynecologic health issues are quite common and very treatable. If you have symptoms or concerns about problem periods, pelvic pain/pressure, or other issues, The Polyclinic OB/GYN group offers specialized testing and treatment for all gynecologic conditions including:
Abnormal Pap and Management
A Pap test is done regularly—typically every three years starting at age 21—to screen for cervical cancer and precancerous changes of the cervix. The majority of cervical cell abnormalities are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a virus that is sexually transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. The goal of the Pap test is to detect early onset of HPV infection. If any abnormality is detected, your doctor may order a colposcopy for further evaluation. A colposcopy uses a microscope to evaluate the cervix for any changes or HPV infection. Sometimes a biopsy is also needed for diagnosis. Your doctor will discuss these testing and treatment options with you at the time of evaluation:
- Cryotherapy, a method of freezing abnormal cervical tissue to destroy it
- Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) uses a low-voltage electric wire loop to remove a tissue sample
- Cone biopsy (conization) removes a cone-shaped tissue sample
Dysfunctional or Irregular Bleeding
Menses typically occur once a month or every 28 days. The normal range is every 21 to 35 days. Irregular bleeding and other menstrual concerns can be caused by hormonal or anatomical issues. Signs of a possible problem include:
- Bleeding or spotting between periods
- Bleeding for 7 days or more with each period
- Bleeding with, or after, intercourse
If your periods fall outside the normal range or you have other unusual symptoms, schedule a visit with your doctor. She can help determine the cause of the problem and recommend appropriate treatments.
Endometriosis is a condition that occurs when tissue from the uterine lining is found outside the uterus. It affects women of all ages but is most common in women 30 to 40 years old. Endometrial tissue may be found on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder, intestines, rectum or other areas of the pelvis. Chronic pelvic pain is the most common symptom, especially during menstruation, and sometimes during sexual intercourse. Endometriosis can be treated with medication, surgery, or sometimes both.
Many women experience menstrual problems such as cycles that are too frequent, cycles that are not frequent enough, cycles with extremely heavy bleeding, etc. We evaluate and treat menstrual irregularities at any age–from a woman’s first menstrual cycle to menopausal transition and postmenopausal bleeding. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is another condition that we evaluate and treat along with its associated symptoms.
An ovarian cyst is a sac or pouch filled with fluid or other tissue that grows on or near the ovaries. Ovarian cysts are very common and often occur in the childbearing years and in menopause. Most cysts are benign (non-cancerous) and may go away without treatment. In some cases, they can cause pain and discomfort in the lower abdomen. In rare cases, cysts are malignant, or cancerous, and should be surgically removed.
Pelvic prolapse is the natural descent of a woman’s pelvic organs (uterus and cervix, ovaries, bowel and bladder). Prolapse can occur for many reasons:
- Natural aging process
- Intra-abdominal pressure from a previous pregnancy, obesity, chronic constipation or cough
- Prior surgery, may involve some or all of the pelvic organs
Symptoms may include:
- Pressure, fullness
- Bulge in vagina
- Aching pain in the pelvis, low back
- Inability to void or have a bowel movement
Your treatment will depend on a physical evaluation and your personal preferences for treatment. The options range from lifestyle changes to intravaginal support devices to surgery:
- Kegel exercises
- Weight loss and exercise
- Dietary changes to reduce constipation
- Pessary, a silicone device placed inside the vagina to eliminate prolapse without surgery
- Surgery, with the goal to restore a normal anatomy
Fibroids are benign muscular growths that typically originate in the uterus. They often affect women in their 30s and 40s and may also contribute to infertility. Symptoms include:
- Pressure, back pain, or a feeling of fullness or bloating. You may also have difficulty with urinating or bowel movements.
- Bleeding abnormalities, typically longer or heavier periods.
Tell your doctor if you have any of these symptoms and she can examine your condition further using your health history, a physical exam and typically an ultrasound. Treatment for fibroids depends on your age, symptoms and your desire for future fertility. Treatment options include hormone therapy or medication, along with a full spectrum of surgical options from minimally invasive techniques all the way to hysterectomy.