Gynecologic and Obstetric Care Overview
Taking care of your gynecologic health is extremely important. Women who regularly visit their gynecologist for check-ups are less likely to develop female reproductive cancers that progress to critical states or even death. A regular exam from an experienced gynecologist, like Dr. Max Izbicki, ensures that a woman stays as healthy as possible. Many women only think to see their gynecologist when they are pregnant, or when a problem arises. Today, there are much better tests available that can accurately tell if a woman develops cancer in the reproductive organs or cancer of the breast. When caught early, these cancers are usually able to be treated successfully.
Women should get mammograms to be done in time frames dictated by the American Cancer Society. A mammogram is an X-ray that takes pictures of the breast tissue. The films are then read by a radiologist, then the films and his report are sent to your gynecologist. The X-ray can show areas of abnormal shadows which could indicate cancer. All women should have a mammogram at about age 45 according to the latest guidelines from the American Cancer Society. This is a higher age than previously recommended. Cancer experts want to decrease women’s risk from the radiation used to take the X-Ray. After this first mammogram, women should be screened every other year after age 55. Women that have a family history of breast cancer, especially with close family members, are to get their first scan between ages 40-50. These women should follow their doctor’s recommendation after that to determine how often they need to repeat the test. These women will be followed much more closely. Obviously, if a woman had cancer, she would be screened more often. However, if a woman develops symptoms suspicious of breast cancer, she should immediately have this test done.
Another deadly women’s gynecologic disease is ovarian cancer. Symptoms do not typically begin until the cancer has spread, and chances of survival then are not good. Regular exams by your gynecologist are crucial to early detection. Some women develop cysts on their ovaries that are painful. When these cysts are many in number and there are other accompanying symptoms, a woman may be diagnosed with polycystic ovarian disease. There are treatments for this, and a woman should report abdominal pain and other symptoms like thyroid issues and more. A surgery may correct this in some cases.
Pregnant women need obstetric care as early on in the pregnancy as possible. An obstetrician performs regular assessments right up til birth. These visits increase as the pregnancy progresses. Women will be monitored for any dangerous consequences that may affect her or her baby. The doctor will perform ultrasounds that capture a baby’s heartbeat. This scan is not painful and also shows the baby’s structure. An obstetrician can monitor the baby’s growth, size of head and anatomic features. If this ultrasound shows abnormalities, the doctor will recommend amneocentesis to determine a range of fetal anomalies. Women over 40 are recommended to get this test that can identify many hereditary disorders. Women with a family history of any of these genetic conditions can ask for genetic tests prior to getting pregnant. This will help indicate the likelihood of passing this on to a baby.
Women should self-examine their breasts every month. She should report any lumps, pain, unusual discharge and other symptoms to her doctor. He can then examine the woman and recommend further testing as needed. Doctors practicing gynecology also prescribe birth control to their patients that desire it. Teens should be taken to a gynecologist to catch any abnormalities early. A teen-aged girl might need to discuss things she doesn’t want her parents to know. This might include birth control. There are many birth control options today. These include condoms, IUD’s and pills among others.
Some women do not have a gynecologist because they are virgins. They do not understand that they also need to be examined for many of the above diseases and conditions. For women that are sexually active, it is important for them to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases. Every woman should have regular visits with a qualified gynecologist/obstetrician like Max Izbicki.