How to Choose a Gynecologist
A gynecologist, a specialist in women’s reproductive health, screens you for disease, assists with family planning and troubleshoots any issues that may arise with your most intimate and private parts of your body. Making sure your gynecologist is someone you feel comfortable with and can trust completely is essential. Your gynecologist will discuss personal information with you involving your health, lifestyle and sexual activity.
How to choose the right gynecologist for you
Before seeking recommendations, take a moment to consider what is personally important to you and your healthcare experience. Consider a gynecologist’s education, experience and expertise. After that, delve into some more personal factors.
Are you more comfortable with a female or male gynecologist, or are you equally comfortable with either? Not all women have a gender preference in their provider and it’s important to understand that gender does not play a role in qualifications. If you go to a male gynecologist and feel at ease and in good hands, that is more important than their gender. But if you still prefer a female provider, it is essential to listen to your needs. Other factors worth considering are location, affiliated hospital if needed (for example, Kansas City ObGyn is affiliated with Overland Park Regional Medical Center), and philosophy on topics such as birth control.
5 Possible Explanations for Vaginal Lumps & Bumps
Finding a bump or lump on your body can often be a reason for concern, especially when it comes to your vaginal area. It is good practice to regularly check your genital area so that you can quickly identify anything out of the ordinary. This might include unwelcome additions such as lumps, bumps, rashes or anything in between.
It is important to monitor your genital health, because bumps appearing on or around the vagina could be indicative of the early signs of a condition that needs medical attention, such as a sexually transmitted infection. Spotting them as soon as they occur is ideal so you can seek appropriate medical attention when necessary.
This article will discuss five potential explanations for the bumps near or on your labia. Certainly, vaginal lumps and bumps do not always spell doom and could be just regular pimples. However, it is essential that you see your gynecologist if you spot these lumps, so they can evaluate whether they are dangerous or not.
Understanding Low Birth Weight
What Does Low Birth Weight Mean?
Low birth weight contributes to 60 to 80 percent of neonatal deaths worldwide. Approximately 20 million low birth weight babies are born every year, most of them in developing countries. Preterm births, those occurring before the 37th week of pregnancy, are also on the rise. They account for over 10 percent of births globally. Most premature infants also have low birth weights.
Complications from prematurity and low birth weight are the leading cause of death for children under age five around the world. Many survivors of preterm birth and low birth weight may suffer from disabilities such as learning problems, hearing impairment and vision issues.
The normal range of birth weight is from 5.5 to 8.75 pounds. Delivery after the 37th week of pregnancy is considered “at term.” Any baby born weighing less than 5.5 pounds is low birth weight, and a baby born before 37 weeks is premature.
About one in 12, or eight percent, of babies in the United States is born underweight, and about two-thirds of these low birth weight babies are also premature. A small percentage, about 1.4 percent of babies have very low birth weight – under 3.5 pounds. Almost all of these babies are premature, and some are extremely premature – born at 25 weeks or earlier.
The number of babies born with low birth weight is increasing along with the number of multiple births in the United States. More than half of multiple birth babies have low birth weight, and six percent of single birth babies are born with low birth weight.
What are the most common reasons for vaginal itching?
Vaginal itching is sometimes painful and can cause extreme discomfort, but it is incredibly common among women. You know that when the delicate areas of the vagina, clitoris and vulva are inflamed and irritated, your entire day can be ruined.
There are many possible reasons that your vagina may be irritated, including bacterial vaginosis, sexually transmitted diseases, a yeast infection or menopause.
The use of chemical irritants such as creams, douches and condoms can also cause itching. Many women are sensitive to contraceptive foams, fabric softeners, laundry detergents and scented toilet paper, too. There is also a condition called lichen sclerosus that can make white patches form on the skin around the vulva and scar the vagina.
How can a woman know if the symptoms are abnormal?
The vagina usually produces a discharge that is clear to milky white. This discharge is created by the glands in the cervix and vaginal walls and has a thick, thin or pasty texture. Normal vaginal discharge may have an unpleasant odor or no odor at all. Once it is exposed to air, it turns white or yellow in color.
If you do not have an infection, the vaginal itching may go away on its own. An allergy to soaps and scented toilet paper can be cured by simply not using these products, particularly near your vagina. However, if you are having vaginal discharge that is foul smelling and has a change in color, you may have an infection. Abnormal discharge can be thick, white and clumpy or green and yellowish in color and produce a foul-smelling odor.
Understanding & Managing Gestational Diabetes
What is Gestational Diabetes?
Gestational diabetes occurs only while a woman is pregnant. The disease usually develops in the second trimester, after the 24th week of pregnancy if the woman was not already diabetic. Studies reported by the Centers for Disease Control estimate anywhere from two to 10 percent of pregnant women in the U.S. develop gestational diabetes every year. The rate was 9.2 percent in the 2014 CDC report.
Diabetes, including gestational diabetes, occurs when the body does not efficiently process food into glucose, or blood sugar. The pancreas makes insulin, a hormone which helps the body do this efficiently or use glucose for energy like it should. When the pancreas produces insufficient insulin, or the body cannot use the insulin it creates in the way it should, diabetes is the result.
When a woman is pregnant, the placenta that supports her baby also secretes hormones. Some of these hormones block the action of insulin from the mother, creating a condition called insulin resistance. Insulin resistance makes it harder for the mother’s body to use her insulin, and she may need up to three times the insulin she would otherwise. Without enough insulin, her body cannot take the glucose from the food she eats and turn it into energy. The glucose builds up in her blood to dangerously high levels, called hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).
4 Abnormal Types of Menstrual Period: Signs to Watch For
With each menstrual cycle, the uterine lining (endometrium) prepares itself for fetus development. If fertilization fails to happen, the body discharges the endometrium during the cycle, which typically lasts for about three to eight days. While the severity and duration of the menstrual periods are not the same for every woman, it is abnormal when the periods are too light, too heavy, occur too often, last longer, irregular or occur after menopause.
Some causes of irregular bleeding are not consequential. A number of things can cause the abnormality. These may include hormone-based birth control, infection of the uterus lining or cervix, STI, blood clotting disorders, and other health conditions.
About Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
PMS is an unpleasant, but typically normal, symptom that women experience during the menstruation cycle. The symptoms may last for a few hours to several days, and the intensity and variety of the symptoms differ from woman to woman. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is the most prevalent form of PMS. It affects approximately 5 percent of women at reproductive age.
Postpartum & Postnatal Depression
What is Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression, or postnatal depression, is a cluster of symptoms nearly identical to clinical depression but diagnosed only in women who are pregnant or who have recently delivered a baby or suffered a miscarriage. Postpartum depression symptoms can be so severe they impair the woman’s ability to care for herself, her baby, and her family. Without proper treatment, symptoms may last for months or years, and they may go on to become a chronic depressive disorder.
Symptoms can include:
- Deep feelings of sadness, anxiety or despair
- Chronic exhaustion
- Constant worry or obsession about the health of the baby
- Negative or ambivalent thoughts about the baby
Postpartum depression is a common medical condition, occurring in about 14 percent of births. Any woman can get the condition. It happens after childbirth, stillbirth and miscarriage. It merely is a common complication of childbirth. Considering the enormous biological, physical, emotional and other changes a woman undergoes during pregnancy, labor, birth and motherhood; it is no wonder she is at risk for emotional disturbances.
Nearly 50 to 75 percent of women experience what is called the “baby blues” after delivery. These feelings of unhappiness, fatigue, worry, anxiety, sadness and crying spells usually start a day or two after birth and go away on their own after a week or two. They do not interfere with the woman’s ability to care for her baby.
However, at the other end of the spectrum, postpartum psychosis is a very rare condition affecting only 0.1 to 0.2 percent of women, or about one to two per 1,000 women after childbirth. It is a different disorder than postpartum depression and involves psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions. This disorder is a medical emergency and may place the life of the mother and her baby in immediate danger.
Yeast Infections: What’s normal, and when should you call your ob/gyn?
Every woman, at some point in her life, is likely to experience a yeast infection. A yeast infection is an annoying infection of the vagina and vulva that causes itching, discharge and irritation. It is a type of vaginitis caused by an overgrowth of yeast known as Candida albicans and is often easily treated at home, but occasionally it may be severe enough to warrant a visit to your doctor.
On average, three out of four women will suffer a yeast infection at some point in their lives. Some women experience several throughout their lifetimes. While the condition isn’t considered to be a sexually transmitted disease, the fungus can spread through oral contact with female genitals. It’s important to know about the signs and symptoms of a yeast infection and when you should see your ob/gyn.
Managing Pre-Eclampsia & Eclampsia
What is preeclampsia?
Preeclampsia is a serious condition that develops only in pregnancy, usually after the 20th week of gestation. In preeclampsia, the mother’s blood pressure rises to dangerously high levels, which can damage her blood vessels and arteries. This restricts blood flow throughout her body, including to her brain and her baby. If left untreated, preeclampsia can cause damage to multiple organs in the mother’s body.
When preeclampsia occurs before the 32nd week of pregnancy, doctors call it early-onset preeclampsia. Usually, the condition occurs later in the third trimester. The mother’s kidneys and liver are most prone to damage from the disease. If not treated, preeclampsia can result in severe or even fatal complications for the mother and the baby.
What is eclampsia?
Eclampsia is a severe complication of preeclampsia, in which the swelling of blood vessels due to high blood pressure becomes so severe that it causes seizures and interferes with the mother’s brain function. Eclampsia occurs in approximately one in 200 cases of preeclampsia. It can happen even in women with no history of seizures.
How to Manage Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a metabolic condition occurs when the body produces excess androgens (male hormones), excess insulin or has low-grade inflammation. There are many genetic and environmental factors that come into play with this condition. If a woman is obese, does not get adequate exercise, or has a family history of the disease, she has a greater chance of developing this disorder.
PCOS has links to the endocrine system. It typically affects women between the ages of 18 and 44, and can cause infertility. The condition isn’t just a modern-day issue. Historical documents show that women experienced the symptoms as long ago as 1721 in Italy. Today, anywhere from 2 to 20 percent of women in the reproductive-age will develop polycystic ovaries.
What Are The Signs and Symptoms of PCOS?
One underlying cause of this condition is insulin resistance. The body produces excessive amounts of insulin to control the sugar, which is mostly caused by being overweight. All the excessive insulin causes overactive productions of both testosterone and androgen, both male sex hormones.
Meet the Oakley Family in Kansas City
Meet the Oakley family, who delivered all three of their babies with Dr. Meghan Nichols at Kansas City ObGyn - including their son Baker, who was diagnosed with Down syndrome in utero. We caught up with mom, Mackenzie Oakley, to find out how their very special family is doing now!
Kansas City ObGyn: You mentioned Dr. Meghan Nichols delivered all three of your babies! How was your experience? What kept you coming back to Dr. Nichols with each pregnancy?
Mackenzie Oakley: Yes! She delivered all three! I started seeing Dr. Nichols before she helped establish Kansas City ObGyn and of course wanted to follow her to the new practice. I felt comfortable with Dr. Nichols from day one and when my husband and I decided it was time to start a family, I knew I wanted her support during pregnancy. Dr. Nichols isn't an alarmist, she always presents the facts and if there are issues or concerns, she always makes sure to follow up and give us the information we need to to have the best course of care in place.
KCO: When were your babies born? What are their names?
Mackenzie: My husband, Justin, and I welcomed our oldest daughter, Gracyn, in January 2013 followed by our daughter, Leighton, in December 2014. Our son, Baker, was born in August 2017. It's kind of crazy to think we had three kids in less than five years but we're enjoying the chaos so far!