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what is a menstrual cupTraditional feminine hygiene products like tampons and pads are still the most commonly used options amongst women during their menstrual cycle. However, there are alternatives, such as the menstrual cup, that has risen in popularity. 

What is a Menstrual Cup?

Menstrual cups are a feminine hygiene product intended for internal use, similar to a tampon, to collect menstrual fluid. Most commonly made of silicone or latex rubber, the cup is bell-shaped and some have a stem for easier insertion and removal. There are both reusable and disposable models on the market. Reusable cups can last several years with proper care. There are several brands, many available at major retailers, offering different sizes based on age and whether you have previously given birth. 

7 Signs You Should Speak To Your OB About Infertility

Tired of Seeing Another Negative Pregnancy Test? 7 Signs You Should Speak To Your OB About InfertilityFertility difficulties are real and unfortunately affect many couples. Around 10% of women have trouble getting pregnant or carrying to term. It is normal for it to take some time to conceive, but if it’s been over a year (six months if you are over 35) or any of these seven signs apply to you, it’s time to speak with your obstetrician about infertility. Don’t just wait and hope it will happen next cycle. There are many ways to get help conceiving.

1. Are You Over 35?

When it comes to getting pregnant, age actually matters. If you are trying to get pregnant and are 35 or older, you should know that your odds of conceiving are reduced to 15-20% in a given month. As long as there are no other risk factors, many women successfully conceive and carry healthy babies to term. However, if you have been trying for more than 6 months, it’s time to speak with your OB about tracking your ovulation and potential fertility treatments available to you.

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is caused by abnormal growth of tissue outside the uterus. Endometrial tissue is supposed to be contained to the lining of the uterus and when it grows outside the uterus, it can cause a host of issues. Though endometriosis is most commonly found in the lower abdomen, it can on rare occasion present elsewhere in the body. 

The direct cause of endometriosis is unknown, though multiple factors have been linked to it. One of the most widely believed theories is that menstruation plays a role in causing endometriosis. The process is referred to as retrograde menstruation and occurs when blood, along with uterine lining, flows into the abdominal cavity. Many women have some degree of retrograde menstruation, but only a small percentage will get endometriosis. There may be an immune system connection here. Additionally, endometriosis has a genetic link and if women in your family suffer from endometriosis, you have a greater chance of developing the condition yourself. 

Endometriosis affects women of all age groups, with higher rates in women between 20-40 years old. Obesity may be linked to a greater risk of developing endometriosis, and women who have not given birth are also at higher risk.

signs that you may have endometriosis

Choosing a health plan can sometimes be the most confusing part of participating in your own medical care. This is true for everyone, but especially for teachers, who may have more limited options in our area. At Kansas City ObGyn, we understand that and we want to make your trip to the doctor as simple as possible. With open enrollment upon us, here are some more pointers to help you pick the right plan.

Teachers: Before You Choose BlueSelect, Consider This

open enrollment for teachersSince choosing the right health care for your specific needs can be complicated, we want to make sure that you are aware that Kansas City ObGyn is in-network if you choose BlueSelect and BlueSelect Plus plans. However, Overland Park Regional Hospital, where our team has privileges, would be out-of-network for these plans. 

For 2019, there are three BlueSelect Plus plans available: BlueSelect Plus PPO, BlueSelect Plus HDHP and BlueSelect Plus EPO, a new option. For all these plans, you will be left with the same issue: Kansas City ObGyn will be in-network but Overland Park Regional Hospital will be out-of-network. 

Teachers in Blue Valley, Shawnee Mission and Olathe have six health plans to choose from during open enrollment. Other options can allow you to choose the right health plan for you and still stay with your preferred provider at Kansas City ObGyn for your entire pregnancy and delivery at Overland Park Regional Hospital. 

Being pregnant is not easy! Growing a healthy baby while staying healthy yourself requires you to be responsible about your nutrition, weight and fitness.

Prenatal Nutrition, Weight and Fitness

Eating A Balanced Diet

Many pregnant women make nutritional choices that can lead to health complications. A common misconception is that pregnancy is a time for indulgence and "eating for two". Being overweight increases the risk for cardiovascular conditions such as hypertension and heart disease. Stick to eating a balanced diet with the right amount of fat, protein, vitamins and minerals so that your baby will develop well and you will stay healthy.

Managing Your Painful Periods

Excessively painful periods with intense cramping is a condition called dysmenorrhea, which is one of four abnormal types of menstrual periods. Many women suffer from dysmenorrhea with every menstrual period and the pain can range from mild discomfort to disabling pain. Often women will find their pain to lessen after giving birth the first time but some women continue to experience significant pain even after having children.

Dysmenorrhea (AKA Painful Periods): Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

What Causes Menstrual Cramps?

Period cramps occur when the uterus contracts during your menstrual period. Your uterus is a muscle that may contract quite strongly during your period. If the uterine muscles contract too strongly due to an excess of prostaglandins, the muscles may cut off the supply of oxygen to that area, which in turn causes pain. 

Healthcare is important but often overlooked. Those who enjoy good health tend to only visit the doctor when something is wrong. It's a new year, and 2019 is the time for us to stay on top of our health and maintain it throughout the year by setting maintainable goals.

Adopting an active mindset toward your health will allow you to not only feel better, but also to become an advocate for other women. There are many aspects of women's health that routine visits to your doctor can address. From questions about your period and menopause, to the importance of fiber, bone density and exercise, your lifestyle and collaboration with your ob/gyn will make a big difference.

Here are a few health goals for 2019 for a happier, healthier you.

Women's Health Goals for the New Year

Are you aware of your heart disease risk? Most women have at least one risk factor and still believe heart attacks are only for men. Raise your awareness and debunk these five myths about women’s heart health.

Five Myths About Women's Heart Health


Myth: Heart Disease is More Common in Men. Women Need to Worry More About Breast Cancer.

Fact: More women die annually from heart disease than breast cancer. That breast cancer is a perceived higher risk is not based in fact. Heart disease is in fact the leading cause of death in women over the age of 65, just like it is for men. While one in 31 American women dies from breast cancer yearly, heart disease kills one out of 3 women. That’s roughly a death a minute!

How To Eat, Drink, And Be Merry For 2!

How To Eat, Drink And Be Merry For 2!

It's that most joyous time of year again, and this year it's particularly exciting, because you're expecting a little one! Just what is the trick to savoring the holidays while pregnant? The holiday season is stressful enough without the added fluctuating hormones and physical discomfort of pregnancy. You may not be able to enjoy a champagne toast at midnight on New Years Eve or have spiked eggnog on Christmas Day, but you should still celebrate your time with family and friends while awaiting the arrival of your little one. Here are some tips on how to eat, drink and be merry for the both of you throughout the holidays.

Mama Tip #1 - Make The Season About You

It will be awhile again before you can focus on yourself and your needs exclusively; relish in the time and indulge in some extra self-care, some extra treats, and even some pampering. Don’t feel bad about declining an invitation or saying no. Be self-indulgent right now, your body is growing a child after all! Parenthood is the most selfless act. Now is the time to start good self-care habits and make them stick. This is also a good time to consider your postpartum and post birth care plan.

The birth and rapid growth of the internet and social media has forever changed how people communicate with each other, especially those going through similar experiences such as pregnancy. It used to be that a pregnant woman would rely on her family, friends, acquaintances and, most importantly, her doctor for advice. Since the explosion of the internet, women now have access to all the information they ever wanted and then some. Social media and online forums have allowed for groups of people with similar interests or experiences, who otherwise may feel isolated, to establish a pseudo-community. These forums and chat rooms have especially become a social support system for mothers during pregnancy and beyond according to this study.

expectant mothers are turning to google

What you need to know about contraceptive options available to you

What Contraceptive Options are Available to Me?

With a vast array of different contraceptive options available to you, how do you know which is best for you? Does one method offer more benefits over another? How do you decide on what option or options would be best for you and what factors might influence your decision?

To help you decide the best contraceptive method for you, here is information on the various options available to you.

Condoms

Condoms are inexpensive, easily accessible and when used properly, offer 98% effectiveness at preventing pregnancy. Unfortunately, people make mistakes sometimes so this figure in the real world is closer to 85%. Because of this, condoms are best used in combination with another contraceptive method.

Although not foolproof, condoms are one of the only options available to you to that can also protect you against STDs, such as HPV or chlamydia, so if you have more than one sexual partner or STDs are a risk for other reasons, condoms are often recommended even when using another method of birth control.

Birth Control Pills

Birth Control Pills are an excellent choice for contraceptive as they're convenient, offer few side effects, and have a host of positive benefits besides just being a means of contraception.

Hormonal birth control pills are good for those who want the peace of mind knowing that as long as they take the pill as directed, they are protected from pregnancy. If ever you decide you want to get pregnant, you can stop taking the pill right away and normal fertility will be resume nearly immediately.

As a hormonal method of contraception, these do not protect you against STDs.