Q: When should I have my first gynecologic visit? A: According to ACOG, American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology, girls should have their first gynecologic visit between the ages of 13 and 15.
Q: What should I expect at my first gynecologic visit? A: The first visit may be merely a discussion between you and the doctor allowing you to learn what you need to do to remain healthy. Based on the individual, you could also have an exam. Your doctor will ask you questions about you and your family and your menstrual period and current vaccinations. Your doctor may also discuss sexual activity and provide information to keep you safe and healthy.
Q: What exams will be performed? A: You can choose to have a nurse and or family member with you during all exams. You may have a general physical exam, in which your height, weight and blood pressure will be checked. You would not need a pelvic exam unless you are having problems such as abnormal bleeding or pain. If you are sexually active you may also have specific test for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Q: What is a pelvic exam and a pap smear? A: You probably would not have a pelvic exams performed on your fist visit unless you are having problems. You do not need a pap smear until you are 21 unless you are having problems or are sexually active. The pap smear looks for abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix that can lead to cancer.
Q: What vaccines are recommend? A: The following vaccines are given to all young women aged 11-18 on a routine basis. The can be administered by your family practice physician, pediatrician or gynecologist.
Tetanus Diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap) booster
Human papillomavirus vaccine
Influenza vaccine (yearly)
Q: What items are normally discussed with my gynecologist? A: Cramps and problems with your period, acne, weight issues, sex and sexuality, STIs, Birth Control, Alcohol / Drug use, Smoking and Emotional ups and downs.
College Hill OBGYN’s Dr. Patricia Wyatt-Harris is one of the area’s most education physicians regarding menopause. In fact, Wyatt-Harris is one of only two North American Menopause Society Certified Menopause Practitioners in Wichita. Through her certification, she has been able to keep up with all the latest studies concerning the best type of menopause management.
Menopause occurs when a woman’s ovaries stop working and producing hormones. Wyatt-Harris’ certification makes her an expert in how to manage women’s resulting symptoms after the onset of menopause.
“I know what the latest evidence-based medicine says about whether you should use hormone replacement or how you should use it, and which women are candidates for it and which aren’t,” Wyatt-Harris said.
Once a woman hits the age of menopause, she never leaves the menopausal state, which simply means the woman’s hormone levels remain low. Most women’s bodies adjust to the new, lower hormone level, Wyatt-Harris said, but some experience symptoms the rest of their lives. Each women’s treatment plan is individual to her body’s response to her own hormones.
For more information, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Wyatt-Harris, call 316-683-6766.
Abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB) is menstrual bleeding that is unrelated to normal menstruation and affects 1 in 5 women. Normal frequency of periods is every 28-35 days with bleeding lasting 5-7 days. AUB can be defined as too much bleeding or an increase in frequency of periods. AUB can also happen after intercourse. There are many causes for these bleeding patterns including fibroids, polyps, and hormonal factors.
When a woman presents with abnormal bleeding that is affecting her activities associated with daily living, her doctor will do testing to try and explain the abnormality. This will include a pelvic exam and some type of imaging, usually a sonogram. Treatment will depend on these results and whether she has completed her childbearing. If she wants to retain fertility, treatments may include low dose birth control pills or a progesterone containing IUD. Once a woman has completed her childbearing an endometrial ablation, a relatively new and minimally invasive procedure that usually results in either no periods or very light periods, can be performed. This procedure destroys or ablates the lining of the uterus and can be done by freezing or heating the endometrial lining.
A common method of endometrial ablation is the Minerva® or NovaSure® ablation which involves using radio frequency energy to destroy the uterine lining. This procedure is very effective for women who have heaving bleeding not associated with fibroids or other structural abnormities of the uterus. This procedure is usually done with a hysteroscopy, a scope that visualizes the inside of the uterus. Also a D & C is done to open the cervix and get a specimen used to rule out endometrial cancer. D stands for dilation which involves opening the cervix. C stands for curettage which is a scraping of the uterine lining for pathologic evaluation.
This procedure does require anesthesia but the recovery period is very short. A day or two of rest is usually all that is needed. This procedure does not affect ovarian function so no hormones are needed after the procedure. Childbearing needs to be completed prior to seeking an ablation. Women usually can’t get pregnant after an ablation but it is not a form of birth control. If a pregnancy does occur it may be abnormal due to the lack of uttering lining. A sterilization procedure such as a tubal ligation can be done at the same time as an ablation, if the patient has not had one performed in the past.
In the past a hysterectomy was sometimes necessary to control heaving uterine bleeding if conservative measures didn’t work. An endometrial ablation is permanent, minimally invasive, surgical procedure that requires less risk than a hysterectomy. The doctors at College Hill OB/GYN would be happy to talk to anyone who is struggling with AUB. Life is too short to live with AUB and an ablation procedure may be the right choice for you.