How to Treat Chronic Pelvic Pain

How to Treat Chronic Pelvic Pain

This article will discuss how to treat pelvic pain that has lasted longer than 6 months. If you are experiencing new, sudden pelvic pain, see your doctor as soon as you can.

What is Chronic Pelvic Pain?

Pelvic pain happens in females below the belly button. It is considered chronic, meaning long-lasting, if it has lasted 6 months or longer and is not related to pregnancy. The type of pain varies from woman to woman; some experience a mild ache while others experience severe pain that makes it hard to work, sleep, or enjoy life. For some women, it comes and goes while for others it can be constant. Sometimes chronic pelvic pain follows a regular cycle such as occurring during menstruation or at a certain time, such as during sex.  If your doctor is able to find what is causing this pain, treating it may cause the pain to go away. If he or she is unable to find the cause of the pain, the doctor may be able to help find ways to ease the pain and restore your quality of life. 

What Causes Chronic Pelvic Pain?

There are a number of conditions that can cause chronic pelvic pain. Some common causes of chronic pelvic pain include:
  • Diseases of the urinary tract or bowel. This can include irritable bowel syndrome and chronic bladder irritation.
  • Scar tissue in the pelvic areas as a result of infection or surgery.
  • Problems of the reproductive system including endometriosis, adenomyosis, and uterine fibroids.
  • Problems with the joints, muscles, and ligaments in the pelvis, lower back, or hips.
For some women experiencing chronic pelvic pain, no cause is found. This does not mean that there is no cause or that your pain is not real. 

How Is Chronic Pelvic Pain Diagnosed?

In order to diagnose chronic pelvic pain, your doctor may ask for your medical history, perform a physical exam including a pelvic exam, and conduct various other tests to find the cause. It may be necessary to see another specialist like a urogynecologist, a gynecologist that specializes in urinary and related issues. The tests conducted to diagnose the cause may include cystoscopy, colonoscopy, laparoscopy, ultrasound, or sigmoidoscopy.

How Is Chronic Pelvic Pain Treated?

There are several pain-relief measures that can be taken to treat chronic pelvic pain including the following.

Lifestyle Changes

Improving your posture and regularly exercising can help to relieve pelvic pain.

Pain-Relief Medicines

Pain relievers called NSAIDs, that include ibuprofen or naproxen can be purchased over the counter or your doctor may prescribe stronger painkillers. Be safe with medications, following a doctor’s orders on how much and how often to take them.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy may be used to help you relax your muscles, ease trigger points that cause muscle pain, improve your posture, and live a more active life. 

Birth Control or Hormone Treatment

For pelvic pain associated with menstruation, a doctor may prescribe you birth control pills or hormone treatments.

Surgery

Chronic pelvic pain that does not respond to the previously mentioned treatments can be relieved with surgery. Surgery may be used to remove a growth, cyst, or tumor if that is found to be the cause of the pelvic pain. Cutting or destroying nerves can block pain signals from reaching other tissues and organs.
How to Tell When Labor Begins

How to Tell When Labor Begins

If you are pregnant and are nearing your estimated due date, you are probably wondering how labor will feel, how long it will take, and how you will know you’re in labor or if it’s a false alarm. It’s hard to predict what it will look like because labor and birth look different for every new mom. But knowing what labor is and what signs to look for will help you know when it’s almost time to meet your baby. 

What Is Labor?

Labor is the process of childbirth that starts with contractions of the uterus and ends with the delivery of the baby. From the start of labor and throughout early labor, the baby will continue to move around.  When labor begins, the cervix dilates or opens and the uterus will start to contract at recurring intervals. Between contractions, the uterus will relax and become soft but when it contracts, the abdomen becomes hard. There are certain changes you will notice that will signal that labor is beginning, some that you may notice and others that you won’t. They are as follows:
  • You will feel the baby dropping lower. This may happen from a few weeks to a few hours before labor begins and as a result of the baby dropping, the baby’s head will have settled deep into your pelvis.
  • You may notice an increase in vaginal discharge that is clear, pink, or slightly bloody several days before labor or at the onset of labor. This happens as the result of a thick mucus plug accumulating at the cervix during pregnancy. 

What Is False Labor?

You may experience false labor, otherwise known as Braxton Hicks contractions, in which the uterus contracts on and off before labor truly begins and the cervix does not dilate. These are common but they can also be painful and can occur more frequently towards the end of the day. 

How to Know the Difference Between Labor and False Labor

It can be hard to differentiate between real labor and false labor which is why, in some cases, the only way to truly tell is to have a vaginal exam conducted in which an OBGYN will look for changes in the cervix that signify the start of labor.  Generally, false labor contractions are not as strong and don’t occur as regularly as real labor. A good way to differentiate the two is to time the contractions and note the amount of time between the start of one contraction and the start of the next one. Record this for an hour. Here are some differences you may notice:
 

Contact Your OBGYN

If you have any further questions or think that you may be in labor, contact your OBGYN.
Get answers to your questions about breastfeeding so that you can naturally feed your baby.

Your Questions About Breastfeeding Answered

How soon after birth should I start breastfeeding?

Most moms start breastfeeding within the first hour after birth. Most hospitals will encourage this, in fact, and have you hold your baby directly against your bare skin (called “skin-to-skin” contact) soon after birth to promote breastfeeding. 

How do I get my baby to latch on?

This is another reason that promoting skin-to-skin contact is so important; holding your baby directly to your bare skin will trigger his or her reflexes to latch on to your breast. Cup your breast in your hand and position your baby’s mouth at your nipple to encourage your baby to open his or her mouth wide. Pull your baby closer, aiming the nipple toward the roof of the baby’s mouth. For more tips on how to position your baby when breastfeeding, check out this article.

How long should I breastfeed my baby?

Exclusively breastfeeding your baby is widely recommended for the first 6 months of your baby’s life. Breastfeeding may continue up to the baby’s first birthday as you start to introduce new foods. You can continue to breastfeed your baby after his or her first birthday if you think that is best for you and your baby.

What are the benefits of breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding is good for both mama and baby and here’s why:
  • Breast milk contains antibodies that can help to protect your infant from certain diseases which can include diarrhea, respiratory illnesses, allergies, and ear infections. The longer you breastfeed, the greater the health benefits.
  • Breastfeeding an infant lowers the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
  • Breast milk is easier for the baby to digest than formula.
  • Breast milk has the perfect amount of fats, sugar, water, protein, and minerals that a baby needs to grow and develop. As your baby grows, your breast milk can adapt to fit the baby’s changing nutritional needs.
  • Breast milk can help alleviate the short- and long-term problems that preterm babies can face.
  • Breastfeeding may reduce the mother’s risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
  • Breastfeeding may make it easier for the mother to lose weight after pregnancy.
  • Breastfeeding triggers the release of oxytocin which causes the mother’s uterus to contract and return to its normal, pre-birth size and may reduce the amount of bleeding you experience. 

How will I know when my baby is hungry?

When most babies are hungry they will look alter, close their fists, bend their arms, and bring their fingers to their mouths. Crying is a late sign of hunger and by then, the baby may have a harder time latching on. When babies are full, they will typically relax their arms and legs and close their eyes.

How often should I breastfeed my baby?

You can allow your baby to set his or own schedule. On average, most babies feed 8-12 times in a 24-hour span which means they’re eating at least every 2-3 hours (this time is measured from the start of one feeding to the start of the next). Many newborns will feed for 10-15 minutes on each breast but some will nurse for much longer periods, even up to 2 hours. When your baby releases one breast, offer the other and if or she shows no interest, plan to start on that side for the next feeding.

What if I am having trouble breastfeeding?

While breastfeeding is a perfectly natural process, it can take time for new moms and their babies to learn. If you are having trouble breastfeeding, there are plenty of resources available starting with lactation consultants available at the hospital. They can give you advice if you run into challenges or show you alternative positions to try.

What should I avoid while breastfeeding?

  • Caffeine: Drinking caffeine in moderation (200 mg a day) will likely not affect your baby. Generally, caffeine has a greater effect on newborn and preterm infants so you may want to reduce your caffeine intake in the first few days after birth or if you have a preterm infant.
  • Alcohol: The alcohol will leave your milk as it leaves your bloodstream. Drinking more than 2 drinks a day regularly may be harmful to your baby and can cause unusual weight gain, drowsiness, and weakness. 
  • Seafood: We recommend limiting your fish or seafood intake to 2-3 times a week and altogether avoiding fish with high mercury levels.
  • Smoking and drugs: Secondhand smoke from cigarettes is extremely harmful to infants and children and increases the risk of allergies, asthma, and SIDS. The use of illegal drugs or prescription drugs taken for nonmedical reasons is also extremely harmful to your baby while breastfeeding. If you need help quitting smoking or drugs, speak to a healthcare professional.
  • Medications: While most prescription medicines are safe to take while breastfeeding, some may not be and you should discuss the potential effects with your healthcare provider.
Best Foods While Pregnant: What to Eat and What to Avoid

Best Foods While Pregnant: What to Eat and What to Avoid

When pregnant, women seem to be bombarded with conflicting views from family, friends, and other well-meaning people about what they should and should not eat during their pregnancy. It can be difficult to distinguish between good advice and advisors that are somewhat misguided which is why we have compiled a list of foods and beverages that you should avoid while pregnant and what you should be eating a lot of. 

Limit your caffeine intake while pregnant

The effects of caffeine on a mother or baby during pregnancy have not been confirmed by a study. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommend consuming fewer than 200 mg (that’s equivalent to one 16-ounce cup of coffee) a day during pregnancy. Correlations have been found connecting caffeine and miscarriages, particularly if consumed in excess during the first trimester. Caffeine is a diuretic, meaning that it eliminates fluids (water and calcium, both extremely essential for a woman and the growth of a healthy baby during pregnancy) from the body.

Eliminate alcohol from your diet

Prenatal exposure to alcohol can result in Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and other developmental disorders. There is no known safe amount of alcohol in pregnancy.  If you have consumed alcohol during your pregnancy, stop drinking immediately. Alcohol intake should not be resumed until after you deliver. 

Healthy weight gain during pregnancy

The amount of weight that a woman gains depends on her health and body mass index before she gets pregnant. A woman who was at an average weight before pregnancy is recommended to gain between 25 and 35 pounds during pregnancy. A woman who was underweight should gain more weight than a woman who was at a normal weight and a woman who was overweight or obese should gain less weight.  Overweight and obese women are at increased risk during pregnancy and may deal with problems including high blood pressure, preterm birth, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and cesarean delivery. Babies of overweight and obese women are also at a greater risk of problems which can include birth defects, childhood obesity, and macrosomia with a possible birth injury. 

How to avoid food poisoning during pregnancy

Food poisoning can cause serious problems for a woman and her fetus because vomiting and diarrhea can cause significant water loss and can throw the body into chemical imbalance. To avoid food poisoning, follow the following guidelines:
  • Avoid all raw and undercooked seafood, eggs, and meat. You should avoid all sushi with raw fish (cooked sushi is ok to eat during this time) and make sure that foods such as beef, pork, or poultry are cooked to a safe internal temperature. 
  • Wash all raw produce thoroughly under running tap water before eating, cutting, or cooking. While fruits and vegetables are a necessary part of a balanced diet, it is essential to wash it before eating.
  • Keep your kitchen clean by washing your hands, knives, countertops, and cutting boards after handling uncooked foods. 

Fish can benefit your diet but you should be careful

Omega-3 fatty acids are fats that occur naturally in many kinds of fish and play a large role in a fetus’s brain development both during pregnancy and after birth. To get these benefits, women should eat at least two servings of fish or shellfish (about 8-12 ounces) per week before pregnancy, during pregnancy, and also while breastfeeding. Now, there are some types of fish that have higher levels of mercury which has been linked to birth defects. You should make an effort to limit exposure to mercury by avoiding certain types of seafood.
  • Do not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel, marlin, tilefish, or orange roughy.
  • Limit albacore tuna to 6 ounces or less a week.
  • Instead, opt for fish and shellfish like shrimp, salmon, catfish, and pollock. 
  • If you’re eating fish caught in local waters, make sure to check advisories. 

Be extra wary of undercooked food

Pregnant women are 13 times more likely to get listeriosis, a food-borne illness caused by bacteria, than the general population. Listeriosis typically starts off with mild, flu-like symptoms but it can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, and premature delivery. In some women, listeriosis comes with no symptoms. Here are some foods to avoid eating while pregnant in order to minimize the chances of contracting listeriosis:
  • Unpasteurized juice, unpasteurized milk, and any foods made with either of these including soft cheeses, most of which are made of unpasteurized milk
  • Smoked seafood
  • Raw and undercooked seafood, eggs, and meat
  • Hot dogs, lunch meats, and cold cuts unless thoroughly cooked
  • Refrigerated pate and meat spreads

So what should I eat while pregnant?

It is important that you are getting plenty of iron, calcium, and vitamin D, all essential in the growth and development of the fetus. Here are some guidelines to follow and foods to eat in order to ensure you are getting enough of all three:

Iron

Iron is used by the body to carry oxygen through your blood to your organs and tissues. Pregnant women need about double the amount of iron that nonpregnant women need so that the body can provide oxygen to the fetus as well. This extra iron can be found in prenatal vitamins and in iron-rich foods including poultry, lean red meat, dried beans and peas, fish, iron-fortified cereal, and prune juice. The body absorbs iron more easily if eaten with vitamin C-rich foods like citrus fruits and tomatoes.

Calcium

The body uses calcium to build the fetus’s bones and teeth. The best sources for calcium are milk and other dairy products like cheese and yogurt. If you are lactose intolerant or have trouble digesting dairy products, you can get calcium from other sources like leafy green vegetables, sardines, broccoli, or by taking calcium supplements.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D also helps to develop the fetus’s bones and teeth and is also essential for healthy skin and eyesight. Milk is a good source for vitamin D as is fatty fish, like salmon. Exposure to the sun is also a good way to get your daily dose of vitamin D as the sunlight is converted to a chemical in the skin.
Overdue Pregnancy: What to Do When Pregnancy Goes Past Your Due Date

Overdue Pregnancy: What to Do When Pregnancy Goes Past Your Due Date

Your due date is creeping closer and closer until it passes and your baby still isn’t here. What are you supposed to do when your pregnancy goes past your due date The first thing to do is remember that due dates are simply a calculated estimate of when your baby will be 40 weeks. Your due date does not mean an exact date of when your baby will come and it’s normal to give birth before or after your due date. 

Should I get tested for my post-term pregnancy?

Prenatal care will continue after you pass your due date. During these visits following your due date, your OBGYN will continue to check baby’s heart rate, position, and your baby’s movements. If you’re over your due date, your OBGYN might do fetal heart monitoring, non-stress test, and in some cases, labor induction may be recommended. 

What is labor induction and how is labor induced?

Labor induction is the stimulation of uterine contractions during pregnancy to achieve a vaginal birth, before labor begins naturally. There are a few methods used to induce labor and these methods include:
  • Cervical ripening balloon: Your OBGYN will place a small inflatable balloon-like device into your cervix to mechanically dilate it and prompt labor
  • Prostaglandin analogs: These are a type of medication that is placed in your vagina to start cervical ripening
  • Rupturing the amniotic sac: Your OBGYN will make a small hole in the amniotic sac to release the fluid (“break the water”)
  • Oxytocin: Oxytocin can be given through an IV tube causing the uterus to contract
  • Stripping or sweeping the amniotic membranes: Your OBGYN sweeps a finger over the thin membranes that connect the amniotic sac to the wall of the uterus 

What are the risks associated with labor induction?

There are potential risks associated with labor induction which include: changes in fetal heart rate, infection, contractions of the uterus that are too strong, or induction not working. You and your fetus will be monitored throughout the entire process to ensure you are both tolerating it well.
What Are Ovarian Cysts and How Are They Treated?

What Are Ovarian Cysts and How Are They Treated?

Ovarian cysts are sacs filled with fluid and/or other tissue that form in or on the ovaries. Ovarian cysts are quite common and occur most commonly in women with regular periods, although they can occur after menopause and during childbearing years. Most ovarian cysts are benign (non-cancerous) and go away on their own. It is rare for a cyst to be malignant (cancerous). 

Different types of ovarian cysts

The most common types of ovarian cysts – known as functional cysts – form during the menstrual cycle and are typically benign. These include:

Follicle cysts

In a normal menstrual cycle, an ovary releases an egg each month which then grows inside a tiny sac called a follicle. When the egg matures, the follicle breaks open to release the egg. In the event that the follicle doesn’t break open, a follicle cyst forms. These often come with no symptoms and go away without treatment in one to three months.

Corpus luteum cysts

After the follicle breaks open and releases the egg, the empty follicle sac dissolves into a mass of cells called corpus luteum. This makes hormones that prepare the ovaries for the next egg and the next menstrual cycle. Corpus luteum cysts form if the sac doesn’t dissolve and instead the sac reseals itself after the egg is released. These also generally go away after a few weeks but they can grow and may bleed or twist the ovary, causing pain. 

Endometriomas

This type of cyst forms as a result of endometriosis which occurs when the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus. 

Cystadenoma

These cysts form on the outside of the ovary. They are filled with watery fluid and can grow very large although they are typically benign. Malignant cysts are rare and more common in older women. Cancerous cysts can become ovarian cancer, which is why it’s important to have ovarian cysts checked by your doctor.

What are the symptoms of ovarian cysts?

Most ovarian cysts are relatively small and do not cause symptoms. They are often found during a routine pelvic exam or imaging test.  Cysts that come with symptoms may cause a dull or sharp ache in the abdomen, bloating, swelling, and pain during certain activities. Larger cysts may cause twisting of the ovary which causes pain on one side that comes and goes. Cysts that bleed or burst can cause sudden, severe pain. 

How are ovarian cysts treated?

Treatment options for cysts depend on the type of cyst and a few other factors. Treatment options include watchful waiting and, in the case of a cyst that is large, surgery may be an option.

Watchful Waiting

This is a way of monitoring a cyst using repeat ultrasound exams to observe if the cyst has changed in size or appearance. Your OBGYN will decide when to conduct these repeat ultrasound exams and how long this follow-up process should last. Many cysts go away without treatment after one or two menstrual cycles.

When surgery is recommended

Surgery may be recommended if the cyst is large or if cancer is suspected. The type of surgery performed depends on several factors: how large the cyst is, the age of the patient, her desire to have children, and the existence of a family history of ovarian or breast cancer.  If the cyst is benign, minimally invasive surgery is recommended and done using a small incision and a laparoscope. Open surgery may be used if cancer is suspected or if the cyst is too large to be removed with laparoscopy. Open surgery requires a larger incision that is made horizontally or vertically on the lower abdomen.    If you suspect that you may have ovarian cysts, contact your OBGYN to figure out the best treatment option for you. Give us a call: 757-461-3890.
COVID-19 Stay at Home & Stay Healthy Wellness Resource Guide

COVID-19 Stay at Home & Stay Healthy Wellness Resource Guide

During this unprecedented time, it’s important to continue to stay motivated and pursue a healthy lifestyle. Whether it’s workouts you can do from the comfort of your home, healthy meals you can plan around your busy schedule, or tips on homeschooling your kids while you’re on the clock, we hope you find something helpful to take away from this guide. 

Get Up and Get Moving

There are countless apps, websites, and live streams offering free virtual workout routines including the YMCA, Planet Fitness, DanceBody, Nike Run Club, CorePower Yoga, and ClassPass just to name a few.  Here are a few tips to make your at-home workout a success:
  • Dedicate a space to your workouts where you can leave your equipment out and ready. Bypassing the step of getting out all the equipment each time you want to workout will encourage you to stick to it.
  • Just like you pencil in a gym class on your calendar, do the same with your at-home workouts. Schedule them, mark them on your calendar, and hold yourself accountable. 
  • Seek a healthy balance between cardio, strength, and stretching. Alternate between cardio and strength workouts.
  • Social media is meant to be just that: social! Post online about your workouts and encourage your friends to be doing the same, that way you’re holding each other accountable. 
  • When you don’t feel like doing a workout at all, tell yourself you’ll just do a light workout or half of a video. Chances are that once you’ve started, you’ll feel motivated to do the whole thing.
  • Wear workout clothes that make you feel good about yourself. It doesn’t matter that no one will see you in them, this step is completely for you!

Nutrition

Quarantine Grocery Lists

  • Click here to see what 3 registered dietitians are stocking up on to make healthy, delicious meals all quarantine long. 
  • Click here to see what these nutritionists recommend you have on your grocery list.
  • Click here to learn how to plan your shopping trip so that you can be as quick, efficient, and healthy as possible. 

Emotional & Stress Eating

Are you stress eating while working from home? Here are some resources to help you cope and minimize snacking: Tips to Manage Stress Eating Emotional Eating: What You Should Know 13 Ways to Prevent Stress Eating When You’re Stuck at Home Stress eating these days? Here’s some help Are you stress-eating while working from home? Here’s how to break the habit.

Additional Resources:

Check out these healthy eating and meal planning apps: 
  • Choose MyPlate
  • Fooducate
  • MyFitness Pal
  • Calorie King
  • eMEals
  • Healthy Eating Meal Plan
Eating for Life was designed by a registered dietitian nutritionist to help you obtain the skills and knowledge to eat the right amount and types of food to promote optimal health. Healthy Habits Healthy You is a diabetes and heart disease prevention program. You can learn how to prevent heart disease and diabetes by making healthy food choices, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising every day.  Access both here

Tobacco

PIVOT has produced a mobile app as the digital component of their evidence-based, comprehensive quitting program. Within the app, users participate in practice quotes, take lessons in cognitive behavioral therapy, learn how to cope with the stress and anxiety associated with quitting, and are guided through a tried and true reduction and/or quit plan.  Users are also able to engage with other users in the Pivot Community where they can share experiences, inspiration, wisdom, and motivation.  To get started, visit https://account.pivot.co/pivot4all to register for this free app.

Get Some Sleep

American Academy of Sleep Medicine–Sleep tips during isolation: Supporting the body clock. National Sleep Foundation–Sleep Guidelines During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Virgin Pulse–Why a Good Night’s Sleep is so Important Now, More Than Ever. Healthy Habits Healthy You–Learn more about how sleep affects your health and tips for better sleep

Homeschooling

cNet–Connect with other homeschooling parents and share survival tips on Twitter during the coronavirus lockdown.  NYU Langone Health–School’s Out: A Parents’ Guide for Meeting the Challenge During the COVID-19 Pandemic. SEL Labs–SEL in An Unplanned Home School Setting. SEL Labs–I Homeschool My Kids and Also Work From Home — Here’s How I Do It.  
Postpartum exercise: If you are unsure how long you should wait to exercise after giving birth and what exercises to choose, we are here to help.

Answering Your Questions About Postpartum Exercise

Postpartum exercise provides a lot of benefits to a new mother: it boosts energy, helps to prevent postpartum depression, promotes a better sleep schedule, relieves stress, strengthens and tones abdominal muscles, and helps the mother to lose the extra weight gained during pregnancy. While all of these side-effects are great and beneficial to the woman’s body, a new mother must be careful. She will likely be unable to return to her pre-pregnancy workout routine immediately and will need to gradually build back up to a more strenuous workout over the months following birth.  If you are unsure how long you should wait to exercise after giving birth and what exercises to choose, we’re here to help. 

Consult your doctor

If you are ever unsure about the level of activity you should be engaging in after giving birth, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor. He or she can recommend how long to wait before returning to your exercise routine. If you have a specific activity in mind, such as yoga or running, make sure to mention that and see how your doctor responds. 

When can I start exercising after pregnancy?

If you had a healthy pregnancy and a normal vaginal delivery, you may be able to start exercising again weeks after the baby’s birth. It is a good idea to wait at least a few weeks after giving birth or until you feel up to it. If you had a cesarean birth or other complications during the pregnancy or birthing process, you should consult your doctor about when it is safe to start exercising again. 

How can I start exercising after pregnancy?

A great way to start exercising again is simply by going for a walk or joining an exercise class. Aim for 20-30 minutes of activity a day. You may also want to try exercises that strengthen major muscle groups that have been affected by your pregnancy such as abdominal and back muscles. From there, you can gradually intensify your workout but you should always stop exercising if you feel pain and call your doctor. 

How can I intensify my postpartum exercise routine?

You may want to start with aerobic activity which includes any exercise that moves large muscles of the body in a rhythmic way – like walking while pumping your arms. From there, you may want to move to a more moderate-intensity activity such as a light jog or riding a bike on a flat surface. Finally, you can move up to a vigorous workout after seeking your doctor’s approval. 

What are some muscle-strengthening workouts that you recommend?

There are some exercises that are great for working the body’s major muscle groups that exist in your legs, arms, and hips. These include yoga, Pilates, weight-lifting, sit-ups, and push-ups. Kegel exercises, which consist of contracting the muscles that control urination, can help to tone your pelvic floor and improve urinary continence.

How should I prepare for my workout?

Preparing for your postpartum workout is essentially the same as when you worked out before with a few minor tweaks that will make your workout more comfortable. 
  • If you are breastfeeding, feed your baby or pump your milk to avoid the discomfort of engorged breasts during your workout. 
  • Wear a bra that’s well-fitting and provides plenty of support.
  • Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing that will allow your body to breathe.
  • Keep a bottle of water near you and take water breaks throughout your workout to stay hydrated.
What To Do About Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

What To Do About Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

Heavy menstrual bleeding is more common than you might think. It is estimated that about 1 in 20 women consult their gynecologist about it every year. No matter how common it is, however, it can really disrupt a woman’s life and could potentially be an indication of a bigger health problem.  If you are worried that your bleeding is too heavy, you should consult your gynecologist. Read on for some of the most frequently asked questions regarding heavy menstrual bleeding

What is considered “heavy” menstrual bleeding?

Menstrual bleeding is considered to be “heavy” if it meets any of the following criteria:
  • Bleeding that leaks through one or more tampons or pads every hour for several hours in a row.
  • Bleeding that lasts longer than 7 days in a menstrual period.
  • Bleeding that requires you to wear more than one pad at a time.
  • Bleeding that requires you to change pads or tampons during the night.
  • Bleeding with blood clots that are the size of a quarter or larger.

What can heavy menstrual bleeding indicate about my health?

Heavy menstrual bleeding could potentially be a sign of an underlying health problem that may require treatment. Blood loss due to heavy periods can lead to a condition called iron-deficiency anemia which can cause shortness of breath and increase the risk of heart problems. 

What causes heavy menstrual bleeding?

There are many possible causes for heavy menstrual bleeding which may include:
  • Medications like blood thinners, aspirin, and copper intrauterine devices (IUDs), especially during the first year of regular use.
  • Bleeding disorders where your blood may not clot properly.
  • Growths like Fibroids or polyps.
  • Cancer, specifically an early sign of endometrial cancer most often diagnosed in women in their mid-60s who are past menopause.
  • Irregular ovulation, which may cause the lining of the uterus to become thick and result in heavy menstrual bleeding.
Some causes are not known but no matter what the cause, you should always consult your gynecologist to help find the best solution. 

How will my doctor evaluate my heavy menstrual bleeding?

When you have an appointment with your OBGYN regarding heavy menstrual bleeding, he/she may ask you questions about the following:
  • Your birth control method of choice.
  • Your menstrual period including the date they started, how long the bleeding lasted, and the amount of flow.
  • Your pregnancy history.
  • Your past and present medical history and surgical procedures.
  • What medications you may buy over the counter.
From there, you may have a physical exam which may include a pelvic exam while some laboratory tests may be conducted. Your doctor may also have you take a pregnancy test and tests for sexually transmitted infections. Depending on your particular symptoms and your answers to the above criteria, your doctor may need to conduct additional tests.    If you are experiencing heavy menstrual bleeding, we want you to know that you do not have to go it alone. There are treatments out there including medications and procedures that may be able to help the problem. Contact our office today in order to find out what your options are. 
How to Treat and Prevent STIs

How to Treat and Prevent STIs

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are among the most common infections in the US, with over 20 million Americans suffering from an STI every year. If you feel any symptoms, contact your provider as soon as possible. Remember to always have safe sex practices and always be open & honest with your partner.  

What are STIs?

STIs are infections spread through sexual contact. They can be transferred through mouth, rectum, genitals, skin, or body fluids. A lot don’t have immediate symptoms, so make sure you’re being open with your doctor about your sexual history and getting tested regularly, especially after having unprotected sex. 

How do I know if I have an STI?

Common symptoms for a lot of STIs are sores or bumps around the genitals, rectum, or mouth/throat, abnormal discharge (can be thick and/or frothy and discoloured, usually a yellow, green, or grey hue), and pain or itching in the infected areas. Even if these symptoms go away, still seek professional guidance, as you may still be infected.

What are some common STIs?

Chancroid, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, HIV, Genital Herpes, Scabies, Genital Warts, Syphilis, Trichomoniasis vaginitis, Hepatitis B, amongst others. 
How to Treat and Prevent STIs
(source: verywellhealth.org)

How do I prevent STIs?

-Condoms: Use them, always! Latex condoms are recommended every time oral, vaginal, or anal sex occurs.  -Limit your sexual partners: An ideal situation would be agreeing with a single partner to only have sex with each other. However, even with a verbal agreement, it’s still a safe bet to always wear condoms.  -Abstinence: This is the only way to truly abstain from the risk of an STI. Even with this option, however, infections like HPV and herpes can still be caused by skin-to-skin contact. Some HPV infections can be prevented with a vaccination. -Get immunized: The HPV and hepatitis B vaccines are traditionally administered to children around the age of 11 or 12. For HPV, men and women can receive the vaccine from ages 9 – 45 years old. 
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