Women have unique health issues. These unique issues include pregnancy, menopause, and conditions of the female organs. Also, some of the health issues that affect both men and women can affect women differently. Our providers are qualified to care for these unique health issues that affect women.
There is so much to know about the woman’s body. And as your body changes with time, you are bound to have questions you never thought of before. You can come here to explore a range of women’s health issues.
Get help with decisions and common concerns on topics such as:
- Pap Smear
- Premenstrual Syndrome
A pap smear is a diagnostic test for cervical screening that can detect potentially pre-cancerous and cancerous processes in the endocervical canal. This test is performed by opening the vaginal canal with a speculum during a physical exam and collecting cells from the outer opening of the cervix of the uterus and the endocervix with a swab. The cells are examined under a microscope to look for any abnormalities. It is very important for each woman to have a pap smear annually as part of their women’s routine visit.
What Causes an Abnormal Pap Smear
Abnormal cell changes in the cervix and endocervical canal can be caused by certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV), other types of bacterial or yeast infections, smoking, an impaired immune system, or menopause. These cell changes may go away on their own or can be successfully treated.
But, certain types of HPV have been linked to cervical cancer. It has been reported that with regular screenings and appropriate follow up care, death from cervical cancer can be reduced by 80%.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) refers to a varied collection of physical and emotional symptoms during part of a woman’s menstrual cycle. There are more than 200 reported symptoms of PMS including stress, anxiety, difficulty in falling asleep (insomnia), headache, fatigue, mood swings, increased emotional sensitivity, changes in libido, bloating, lower back pain, abdominal cramps, constipation/diarrhea, swelling or tenderness in the breasts, cyclic acne, joint or muscle pain, and food cravings.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists estimates that at least 85 percent of menstruating women have at least one PMS symptom as part of their monthly cycle. Most of these women have fairly mild symptoms that do not need treatment. Others (about 3 to 8 percent) have a more severe form of PMS, called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
The causes of PMS are not clear, but changes in hormones during the menstrual cycle seem to be an important cause. Some other possible causes include:
- Low levels of vitamins and minerals
- Eating a lot of salty foods, which may cause you to retain (keep) fluid
- Drinking alcohol and caffeine, which may alter your mood and energy level
The menstrual cycle has a definite impact on the development of migraine headaches for some women. Approximately 50% of women have reported migraines associated with their menstrual cycle. A woman’s body has many biological changes that produce a widespread effect on their body. Some women are more sensitive to the fluctuations within the menstrual cycle. Studies suggest that migraine can be triggered by a drop in estrogen levels, such as those which naturally occur in the time just before your period. Often the migraine will occur anywhere between two days just prior to menstrual period onset through the first three days of menstruation.
There are no tests available to confirm the diagnosis, so the only accurate way to tell if you have menstrual migraine is to keep a diary for at least three months recording both your migraine attacks and the days you menstruate. This will also help you to identify non-hormonal triggers that you can try to avoid during the most vulnerable times of your menstrual cycle.