Category Archives: General Women’s Health

Are we Better off than our Mothers?

Is the newest generation better off than their mothers? The women of the baby-boom generation saw significant progress in economic equality and health in comparison with their mothers. Studies show this trend has started to reverse slightly for young millennial women.

There is a higher incarceration rate for American women under 35, than there was in the previous generation. Today, more young women live in poverty, commit suicide or die from pregnancy-related causes. There is also a slight decrease in the likelihood of young women holding high-paying jobs.

Threats to women’s lives appear to be on the rise. The maternal mortality rate for Millennial women has more than doubled since the baby-boom generation. Sadly, the suicide rate for women has increased significantly since the previous generation. The current heroin epidemic has yielded a huge increase in drug overdoses in both men and women.

Fortunately, the news is not all bad: the teen birth rate dropped to an all time low this year. More and more young women ages 25 to 29 are graduating with at least a bachelor’s degree. This doesn’t remedy the equal pay for equal work struggle that has plagued the nation but hopefully we are closing the gap.

As a nation, we need to reverse this trend and continue the previous trend of each generation of young women exceeding the previous generation in every way.

Most of us try to take good care of our skin. Likely you wash it twice a day and may even apply moisturizer on occasion. Keeping your skin clean and moisturized seems rather easy. It’s a whole different story when it comes to all of the other thousands of products you can put on your face. Seriously, the possibilities are endless…. sunscreen, serums, face oils, moisturizers, and more. How are we supposed to know what we are supposed to apply? And when? And does it even matter? And does it really work?

Some doctors say skincare in the morning is most important. Many even recommend layering agents, such as a moisturizer under your sunscreen. Most dermatologists will agree that sunscreen is the single most important skincare product that you will use.

Now for your nighttime regimen, doctors suggests serums and oils. These products are often too greasy for people to use in the morning. These products should be put at nighttime after thoroughly washing your face.

For questions or concerns regarding your skincare, place consult a dermatologist.

The future of Obama Care

What will happen to those insured through Obama Care policies?

Republicans support the repeal of the health care law.

This law ended a common industry practice of charging men less than women for policies purchased directly from an insurer. It made maternity and newborn care a required benefit for individual market health plans. Most importantly, it added a list of preventive services to be provided at no extra cost to women, including birth control and breast pumps used by nursing mothers. T

What will the Trump replacement for Obamacare look like?
President Donald Trump says he will soon unveil his proposal to replace Obamacare. Reports say Trump’s plan will offer lower premiums and higher benefits for all. Democrats and many others have concerns that this will cause a backslide of healthcare in general throughout the country. Most say women benefited much more from the 2010 law than men.

A Trump administration spokesman says speculation about components of an Obamacare replacement is premature.

Any and all changes are likely to affect the estimated 18 million people who buy policies directly from an insurer, a group in which women tend to outnumber men. Most people covered by employers have broader benefits and are less likely to be affected.

Obamacare critics argue that required benefits aren’t the only basis for judging the value of a policy. Strip away costly federal requirements, and premiums will come down, they maintain. Women as well as men would benefit from lower-cost options. Potentially the future health of many is at stake.

Garden State Gynecology

Is Spotting Between Periods Normal?

Bleeding or spotting between periods can occur for many reasons.

The cause is most likely benign; for many reasons including, hormonal fluctuations that occur at the very beginning of your reproductive life cycle.

But “spotting is never normal” .  It doesn’t necessarily mean that something bad is going on, but it’s not normal.” So if you have spotting, you should call  your physician to get it checked out.

Your  healthcare provider will consider your age and whether you’re pregnant, have been having unprotected sex, or recently started using a hormonal contraceptive method.

Skipping a pill or two may also cause spotting.

Spotting in the Early Years

Spotting can mean different things at early versus later stages of your reproductive cycle.

When you first start having your period, it may be quite irregular for months or even years. This is because your brain, ovaries, and uterus are still working on getting in sync.

Once you become sexually active, spotting after intercourse may be a red flag. This is especially true if you’re having unprotected sex or have just started having sex with a new partner.

Bleeding may also be a sign of a  sexually transmitted infection (STI), such as chlamydia or gonorrhea, that should be treated promptly.

Much more rarely, post-sex spotting can even be a sign of cervical cancer. Your doctor can take a Pap smear, a sample of cells from your cervix — the opening of the uterus at the top of the vagina — to test for STIs and abnormal precancerous or cancerous cells.

Mid-cycle bleeding could also mean that you’re pregnant and could be miscarrying, although spotting during pregnancy doesn’t always mean the pregnancy will be lost. Ectopic pregnancy, in which a fertilized egg grows outside of the uterus (usually within the fallopian tubes), can also cause bleeding, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

Spotting may also be due to vaginal trauma. “The vagina and the cervix are very vascular [they have a lot blood vessels], so they bleed very easily.  A small scratch in the vagina will always bleed more than a scratch in in other areas.

Bleeding Between Periods in the Middle Years

Once you reach your thirties, the chance that spotting could indicate endometrial cancer, a type of cancer of the uterus, increases. Obesity also boosts your risk of endometrial cancer, even if you’re a younger woman.

Spotting “definitely becomes more worrisome after the age of 35, because it could be an early sign of endometrial cancer. Fibroids, and polyps are far more common than endometrial cancer. It’s probably one of those things, but unless you have it evaluated, you don’t know if you’re that one in 1,000 people who has the cancer.”

Fibroids are benign growths that can form in the uterus.  They are more likely to cause irregular bleeding if they grow into the uterine lining. Polyps, another type of benign growth, can also grow in the uterus or on the cervix and may cause bleeding. If required both fibroids and polyps can be surgically removed.

If your doctor suspects you may have endometrial cancer, he or she will take a sample of tissue from the endometrium so that the cells can be examined under a microscope. Other tests, such as an ultrasound, may be used to determine if bleeding is related to polyps or fibroids.

Menopause typically occurs when a woman has not menstruated for a full year — begins for most women during their fourth decade. As your ovaries begin winding down egg production, your period is likely to become irregular.

In Summary there are a multitude of reasons for spotting between periods.  They all require attention and diagnosis by your physician.

 

Garden State Gynecology

Preventing Cervical Cancer

Every year, approximately 12,000 women are diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. Sadly, cervical cancer is the most preventable female cancer. January is National Cervical Health Awareness Month. It is an important time to get the word out about women’s health and important screenings.

Get screened, get screened, get screened — For many years years, the standard for women was to get a routine cervical screening. a pap test, once per year to help catch cervical cancer in its early stages. But the National Cancer Institute and the American College of Gynecologists have changed those recommendations. During your 20’s, a cervical screening should be done every three years. It is then recommended to get a screening every five years between the ages of 30 and 65.

Your individual screening recommendations may vary based on a number of different factors, such as age or prior health history. It is important to talk to to your doctor about how often you should be screened. Even though you may not need a cervical screening as often, it’s still important to schedule your yearly women’s exam to prevent and detect other issues.

Quit smoking — Women who smoke are more at risk than nonsmokers for getting cervical cancer. If you smoke, it’s highly recommended that you quit as it decreases your risks for many illnesses.

HPV vaccine — Another way to help lower your risk for cervical cancer is to ask your doctor if the HPV vaccine may be right for you. HPV (human papillomavirus) is a virus that may increase your risk for developing cervical cancer. Many cases of HPV are no cause for concern, but if you have HPV, your risk for cervical cancer goes up. The HPV vaccine helps protect you from HPV, thus decreasing your risk of cancer.

Schedule your annual examination today. The best prevention against any health-related issue is to schedule your annual women’s health visit. Garden State Gynecology has both male and female board certified obstetrician/gynecologist on staff. Call to schedule an appointment with any of our physicians at 973-525-1400.

Garden State Gynecology

The Dangers of Cutting Funding to Women’s Healthcare Clinics

For some women, the closing of women’s health clinics cause undue hardship requiring women to travel sometimes up to 100 miles.  This may lead to an up to 18% chance of undetected cancers.

Studies show how to quantify the closure of women’s health clinics affects the number of women receiving preventive care. In 2011 many states adopted legislation that cut funding to women’s health clinics, particularly those whose organizations were affiliated with abortion providers.

To track the number of clinics that closed,  researchers took quarterly snapshots from 2007 to 2012 of the locations of clinics that are part of a national network of women’s health centers. In Texas, the national network received one of the largest shares of state and federal funding for women’s health services.

The data showed that when the distance to a women’s health clinic drastically increased, fewer women sought preventive care.  Sadly, women with less education were affected the most by closures. For women with a high school diploma or less, a 100-mile increase in driving distance meant a 37 percent drop in breast exams, 64 percent drop in mammograms and 14 percent drop in Pap tests.  This large distance to travel may be financially burdensome to some women.

There is simply no defense to cutting funding in women’s heath care clinics.

Garden State Gynecology

Female “Viagra” Will Soon be Available.

Mixed emotions on the FDA’s approval this week of the drug Flibanserin, aka “pink Viagra,” to boost women’s sexual desire.

Some feel this is the biggest breakthrough for women’s sexual health since the birth control pill.

Others have their doubts. Doubters say to have any chance of benefit from this drug they’re going to have to take it every day for months on end or years… to change the brain chemistry.

The drug, which will be sold under the brand name Addyi, is expected to be available in October 2015, according to its maker, Sprout Pharmaceuticals. And along with the potential to ignite a low (or non-existent) libido among some women, the drug comes with a boxed warning, the strongest kind, on contraindications and potential side effects, including low blood pressure, fainting, nausea, dizziness and sleepiness.
Many women struggle. They want to feel normal and healthy in their sexual functioning, and they deserve safe, effective treatments. Fortunately, an expanding body of research has shown that sex therapy, couples therapy,  mindfulness, and sex education can improve sexual satisfaction. They work more effectively, for more women, with less health risk, than any drug.

By approving Addyi, it seems, the FDA is ensuring this will become a reality for more women.

What are your thoughts on this controversial new medication?

Garden State Gynecology

Why are Women more Vulnerable to Alzheimer’s?

The latest evidence suggest that women’s brains are more vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease and other problems with thinking and memory.

Women with mild cognitive impairment, which can lead to Alzheimer’s, tend to decline faster than men, researchers reported this week at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Washington, D.C.

Another study showed that women’s brains tend to contain more amyloid, the substance that forms sticky plaques in Alzheimer’s. And a third study found that women who have surgery with general anesthesia are more likely than men to develop long-term problems with thinking and memory.

The studies help explain why women make up nearly two-thirds of all Americans with Alzheimer’s.

The research on women with mild cognitive impairment was part of a large ongoing study called the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. Researchers studied up to eight years of records on about 400 men and women in that study who had mild cognitive impairment, a condition that often leads to Alzheimer’s.

“We found that women decline at almost twice the rate of men and we also found that women have faster acceleration of decline over time,” says Katherine Amy Lin, part of a team at Duke University Medical Center. So many women who had subtle memory problems at the beginning of the study period had major deficits by the end.

Another study presented at the Alzheimer’s meeting used PET scanning to measure levels of amyloid in about 1,000 people, including many with cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease. Amyloid is the substance that forms sticky plaques in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

What’s still not clear, though, is why women’s brain cells are more vulnerable than men’s to Alzheimer’s and other memory problems.

One possible explanation is that every cell in a woman’s body carries two X chromosomes, instead of an X and a Y. There are many other differences including hormones, lifestyle, childbearing, diet, and exercise.

If scientists can figure out the mechanism that causes more Alzheimer’s disease in women they might be able to develop treatments that halt the process.

No More Annual Paps Required

Many women were raised and still believe that an annual pap smear is a requirement.

Women’s health studies have now shown that women 21 years and older at average risk for cervical cancer, getting screened once every 3 years should be sufficient.

It is now recommended that Gynecologist do not  screen women younger than 21 for cervical cancer. Nor  should they test for human papillomavirus (HPV) infections in women younger than 30, the group says.

The advice was released at the ACP’s (American College of Physicians) conference and published online in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Do No Harm
Screening can lower the frequency, severity, and death rate from cervical cancer by spotting precancerous lesions, and it can catch the disease at early stages before symptoms appear. But  what they don’t tell you is that there are also risks involved with testing and treatment.

Although women under 21 may commonly have abnormal features of the cervix, these are rarely a sign of problems. If screened, though, many of these women have procedures including biopsies, and some may be treated even if the unusual features are likely to go away on their own.

Annual screening is no longer recommended because of the high rate of false-positive results — when a Pap smear result is abnormal — tied to frequent screening. There is a long lag time between the development of precancerous lesions and invasive cervical cancer — about 10 years — so less-frequent screening should still be able to spot the disease in time.

For average-risk women 30 years and older who would rather not get tested every 3 years, doctors can offer “cotesting” — a combination of Pap smear and HPV testing — once every 5 years.  This has become the acceptable standard of care.

Women older than 65 who’ve had no abnormal Pap smears in the previous 5 years are unlikely to get cervical cancer. But they’re at higher risk than younger women of being subjected to unnecessary procedures on the basis of false-positive results.

Talk to you doctor about the frequency and necessity of pap testing at your next annual exam.

Benefits of HPV vaccine

New research finds that young women who get the HPV vaccination gain substantial protection against infection in three parts of the body if they haven’t already been exposed to the human papillomavirus.

HPV is an infection that can separately infect the cervical, anal, or oral sites, where it can occasionally lead to cancer. Studies demonstrate that the HPV 16/18 vaccine provides protection to all three sites, particularly among women without evidence of HPV exposure prior to vaccination.

The study involved more than 4,100 women in aged 18 to 25. Half were assigned to get the HPV vaccine while the others received an inactive placebo.

The researchers found that the vaccine was 83 percent effective in all three body sites among women without apparent HPV exposure, and 58 percent effective among women who had been exposed to the virus.

Three HPV vaccines are now available. These vaccines — Cervarix, Gardasil and Gardasil 9 — should be given as a series of three shots over six months, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

U.S. guidelines recommend that girls aged 11 to 12 get the HPV vaccine to help prevent cervical cancer. For someone who hasn’t been vaccinated, guidelines recommend vaccination through the age of 26.

Additionally, Gardasil and Gardasil 9 also protect against genital warts and anal cancer in both females and males, according to the CDC.

Despite these guidelines, only half of females under age 18 have been vaccinated in the United States, the study authors said in the news release. Young women and parents of young women should be more proactive regarding their health and well-being.