Category Archives: obstetrics

The Cause Behind Brown Discharge Before a Period

When you see brown discharge, you may feel distressed. But no worries, brown discharge is usually harmless and there are many reasons why it may happen in the first place. Sometimes brown discharge can be an indication of pregnancy or perimenopause. Very rarely is brown discharge an indication of an underlying health condition.

Below we will look at the various causes for brown discharge and when it is time to see a doctor.

What is Brown Discharge?

Women have vaginal discharge on a relatively normal basis. Usually, vaginal discharge is thin and clear or white in color. When the vaginal discharge is brown it indicates that there is a small amount of old blood. If there is blood still in the uterus and it takes a longer time to come out, it may be brown.

Non-Pregnant Women

If you have brown discharge while you are not pregnant you may be experiencing the start of your period just at a lighter flow or ovulation spotting. You may also be having a reaction to a Pap smear test or a reaction to having sex.

Pregnant Women

If you happen to be pregnant, pink or brown discharge is sometimes an early sign of pregnancy. Not every pregnant woman will experince this symptom, but it does occur in a few women. The discharge occurs due to implantation bleeding. The bleeding may occur one to two weeks after the egg has been fertilized. Brown discharge during your pregnancy isn’t anything to be concerned over, but if the discharge is a dark brown, be sure to speak with a doctor.

Approaching Menopause

For women who are approaching their 40s or 50s and experiencing brown discharge before their period, it may be a sign of perimenopause. Perimenopause is a transition period that happens before menopause begins. Along with brown discharge, women may be experiencing mood swings, hot flushes, night sweats, a hard time sleeping, and vaginal dryness.

Serious Causes of Brown Discharge

There are a few other more serious causes of brown discharge and can occur at any age and will be accompanied by other symptoms. Pelvic inflammatory disease, a sexually transmitted disease, a retained foreign body (tampons, condoms, vaginal contraceptive sponges, diaphragms, etc.), polycystic ovary syndrome, and cervical cancer.

When to See a Doctor

As mentioned before, brown discharge isn’t something you usually have to worry about. Although it can be a symptom of something more serious, it won’t require you to go to the doctor. However, if you are experiencing brown discharge that continues for several weeks, happens after sex, smells bad, is accompanied by pain, cramping, or vaginal itching.

from Dr. Lori Gore-Green | Gynecology and Obstetrics https://ift.tt/2tbjRox

What Is Amenorrhea?

A woman’s menstrual cycle is stressful enough without complications. However, there are many factors that can interrupt or change a regular cycle. Here’s what you need to know about what amenorrhea is, how it’s caused, and its treatments. The more knowledge you have about it’s causes, symptoms, and treatments, the more prepared you’ll be if it happens to you. 

Put simply, amenorrhea is the absence of menstrual bleeding in a woman who is of reproductive age. There are two different types of this condition, primary and secondary amenorrhea. Primary amenorrhea occurs when girls over age 15 have never had their period. Secondary amenorrhea occurs when a woman who previously had regular periods does not menstruate for over six months. 

Causes and Risk Factors

There are a variety of factors than can contribute to the onset of this condition, including:

  • Obesity
  • Less than 17% body fat
  • Leptin deficiencies
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Overactive thyroid glands
  • Extreme emotional distress
  • Excessive exercise
  • The use of some contraceptives
  • The use of some medications
  • Chemotherapy or radiation treatments
  • Scar tissue in the uterus
  • Genetic defects

Symptoms of Amenorrhea

While the main symptom is the lack of a period, there are other factors that can occur. If you think you may have this condition, consult with a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. The following symptoms may occur due to amenorrhea:

  • Weight gain or loss
  • Changes in breast size
  • Milky discharge from breasts
  • Acne
  • Hair loss
  • Increase in facial hair growth
  • Headaches and vision changes
  • Pelvic pain

Diagnosis and Treatment

Consulting a doctor should always be the first step whenever you feel you have a condition or illness. Be open and honest about your symptoms so they can properly determine the condition, cause, and then prescribe a treatment plan. Doctors and medical professionals will typically perform tests to check hormone levels or genetic markers and may perform pelvic ultrasounds, MRIs, or a CT scan. 

Treatment will depend entirely upon the root cause of amenorrhea, but may include medication, surgery, lifestyle changes, or a combination of several. Taking steps to achieve and maintain a healthy weight may be a suggestion if obesity or low body fat is a cause. Medical treatments could include a change in birth control, estrogen replacement therapy, or removal of scar tissue.

from Dr. Lori Gore-Green | Gynecology and Obstetrics https://ift.tt/2QAyNnT

What is an Ectopic Pregnancy?

The female body is beautiful and extremely complex. Pregnancy can be very tricky and come with many complications. There are also rare and complicated pregnancies every woman should be aware of. Although many women have heard of an ectopic pregnancy, not many of them understand what it is exactly. It’s important for every woman to know and understand what it is, how common it is, and what it does to the body:

What Is It?

Common pregnancies carry the fetus in the uterus. When a woman has an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg attaches itself to a place other than inside the uterus. Most of the time an ectopic pregnancy will involve a fertilized egg found in the fallopian tubes. Since the fallopian tubes are not designed to carry out a pregnancy, it can not develop properly and must be removed as soon as possible.

 

What Causes This?

A fertilized egg attaching to anywhere but a uterus sounds bizarre, which is why many women want to understand why this happens and what causes it. There are many causes that can lead to ectopic pregnancy. An infection or inflammation in the fallopian tube can cause it to become partially or entirely blocked, leading to an ectopic pregnancy. Other causes include scar tissue from a previous infection or a surgical procedure on the tubes or pelvic area and abnormal growths or a birth defect can result in an abnormality in the tube’s shape.

 

What are the Symptoms?

There are some symptoms an ectopic pregnancy shares with a normal uterine pregnancy, such as nausea and breast soreness. Symptoms that differ from a uterine pregnancy are sharp waves of pain in the abdomen, pelvis, shoulder, or neck and light to heavy vaginal spotting or bleeding. Other symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy include dizziness or fainting and rectal pressure. If a woman experiences any or all of these symptoms, they must seek medical attention immediately. 

 

What are the Risks?

There are certain factors that can put a woman at risk of having an ectopic pregnancy. If a woman is between the ages of 35-44 while trying to conceive, her risk is much greater. If a woman has had an ectopic pregnancy before, several abortions, or is a smoker, she is also at great risk. Women with Endometriosis or Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) have a greater potential of having an ectopic pregnancy as well.

from Dr. Lori Gore-Green | Gynecology and Obstetrics https://ift.tt/2BJzZy5

What is Postpartum Depression

Childbirth can be an emotional experience for new parents. As you settle in with your bundle of joy, you might encounter something unexpected – depression. Postpartum depression is often left undiscussed but affects many parents. What separates this from postpartum “baby blues”? Sometimes a rare but more severe condition called postpartum psychosis can develop. 

Defining Postpartum Depression

By definition by the National Institute of Mental Health, postpartum depression is a mood disorder that can affect women and birthing parents after childbirth. New parents often experience “baby blues” after childbirth, where they might experience mood swings, crying spells, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping. The symptoms of postpartum depression may be similar but tend to be more severe and last longer, sometimes interfering with your ability to care for your baby and complete other daily tasks.  

Symptoms

Parents can experience depressed mood or severe mood swings, excessive crying, and difficulty bonding with their baby. Other common symptoms include changes in appetite, social withdrawal, and sleep disturbances. Symptoms will usually begin within the first few weeks after giving birth but may begin earlier (during pregnancy) or later, up to a year after birth. More severe symptoms may occur, such as thoughts of harming oneself or the baby, and these require serious and immediate attention. 

Causes

Physical changes and emotional issues play a role in postpartum depression, but there is no single cause for the condition. Hormonal changes after childbirth, such as dramatic drops in levels of progesterone and estrogen, may contribute to postpartum depression. Your risk of developing postpartum depression may increase if you have a history of depression or other mood disorders.

Treatments

Fortunately, postpartum depression is treatable.Treatment and recovery time will vary depending on your individual needs and the severity of the depression. Your medical provider will work on treating the underlying causes and may refer you to a mental health professional. Generally, treatment for depression includes psychotherapy, medication, or both. It is important to continue treatment even after you begin to feel better, as stopping treatment too early may lead to relapse.  Left untreated, postpartum depression can last for many months or longer. 

from Dr. Lori Gore-Green | Gynecology and Obstetrics https://ift.tt/31S3hpE

What is Endometriosis?

Reproductive health must be taken very seriously, which is why women should understand what endometriosis is. It is often a painful disorder inside of the uterus and involves the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and tissue lining the pelvis. and can go undiagnosed for years. Unfortunately, it can lead to infertility.

Defining Endometriosis

Endometriosis is when tissue that makes up the uterine lining is present on other organs inside your body. It usually appears to happen within the pelvis and lower abdomen, but it can happen anywhere in the body. Although men can be affected by the disorder, it is extremely rare and most common in women. 

The Symptoms

Women can experience pain during intercourse, painful periods, lower abdomen pain, and infertility. Over time, unfortunately, pain can increase and become more intense. Some may also experience painful bowel movements and heavy menstruation. Other symptoms can range from bloating, nausea, constipation, fatigue, and diarrhea, especially during their periods. The more severe the pain usually indicates how severe the disorder is. Pain can be the most painful symptom, but some women do not experience any symptoms. 

Due to these symptoms, endometriosis can be often misdiagnosed. It can often be diagnosed as a pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or ovarian cysts. Endometriosis also shares the same symptoms as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which can complicate the diagnosis.

Causes

Unfortunately, the exact causes of endometriosis are unknown, but there are possible explanations. The most common possible explanation is retrograde menstruation, which is menstrual blood containing endometrial cells flowing back through the fallopian tubes and into the pelvic cavity instead of leaving the body. The disorder can also be caused by surgical scar implantation, which happens after surgery, such as a hysterectomy or C-section, endometrial cells may attach to a surgical incision.

Other causes can range from transformation of peritoneal cells, embryonic cell transformation, endometrial cell transport, and an immune system disorder. Each one of these possible causes is ways that endometrial cells or tissue can invade other tissue of the body. 

Treatment

There are a few treatment options for women diagnosed with endometriosis. Many can treat their pain with medications, such as ibuprofen. Some doctors choose medications that can affect a woman’s hormones, such as contraceptive pills, to help with the pain. The best way to treat endometriosis is through surgery. Surgery can remove the endometriosis, burn the endometriosis lesions outside of the uterus, and remove scar tissue. Fortunately, women who use surgery to treat endometriosis often see improvement pain symptoms and may also help them become pregnant.

from Dr. Lori Gore-Green | Gynecology and Obstetrics https://ift.tt/303qzbt

Foods to Avoid During Your Period

Women everywhere know the struggle each month of dealing with their menstrual cycle. As if it’s not enough to handle the pain, bloating, and cramping, there’s also the emotional fatigue that can sneak up. What a plethora of women don’t know is that you can use diet to help relieve some of your period symptoms.

To improve reproductive health doctors recommend avoiding certain foods and drinks. Don’t worry though, the restrictions are only for the week of your period!

Salty Food

Bloating is very common for women on their periods. However, salty foods can cause even more bloating and gas. If that can be avoided by all means do! Things such as potato chips, popcorn, pickles, and other snacks have a lot of sodium and though cravings are a very real thing, try to refrain. Your body will thank you.

Saturated/Trans Fats

Another source of pain during the menstrual cycle can be caused by the saturated fats in certain meats and dairy products. Avoid eating burgers or drinking whole milk during your period and pain and inflammation can often be lessened. French fries, doughnuts, and other heavy carbohydrates are also best to avoid.

Caffeine

It’s sad, but caffeine is in a lot of the things we enjoy, such as coffee, soda, and chocolate. Just remember, it’s only for a week! Caffeine can raise our anxiety levels and create agitation and trouble sleeping so it’s best to lay off the frappuccinos and candy bars until your menstrual cycle ends.

Sugar

Though we often crave sugary candy during this time, it’s best to stay away. If you’re already feeling bloated candy will surely make it worse. Instead, opt for fruit that has natural sugar. Though candy might help elevate your mood short term, it will wear off and leave your body feeling as bad as before.

Alcohol

If you’re not celebrating with friends and family during your menstrual cycle it’s best to refrain from drinking alcohol. The loss of blood can lower your blood pressure which can heighten the effects of alcohol. Drinking alcohol can also increase your flow, making your period heavier.

Overall, trying to eat healthier (at least during your menstrual cycle) can improve your mood and help to alleviate some of the period pain.

 

from Dr. Lori Gore-Green | Gynecology and Obstetrics https://ift.tt/2XWTjRp

Constantly Evolving: How the Female Body Changes During Pregnancy

Pregnancy delivers a host of changes to a woman’s body. Some are visible and commonly expected, such as weight gain and an expanding belly; others are less well-known, such as increasing breast size. Some changes are well-known but invisible, such as backaches, morning sickness, and an enlarged uterus. Awareness of the changes, both visible and invisible, can help you prepare for your body’s adjustments during pregnancy.

Oral Health

A common pregnancy complaint is bleeding gums, which can open a portal to oral infections. With the immune system tamping down, it is vital to practice good oral hygiene. This will prevent the gums becoming inflamed, or gingivitis. While some women are nervous about visiting the dentist while they are pregnant, it is safe to receive dental X-rays with the caveat that the belly must be shielded properly from radiation.

Nails and Hair

Hair and nails tend to grow faster during pregnancy. An increase in estrogen creates an increase in the hair follicles’ growing phase, often creating a result of healthier and thicker hair. Hair may also increase in less desired places, such as the stomach, upper lip, nipples, and back. This excess hair is shed after giving birth. Nails tend to become more coarse in texture, causing them to become more soft and brittle. This can lead to nails splitting more easily. Like hair, the nails have a tendency to grow faster during pregnancy.

Skin

Three main skin changes are possible during pregnancy: stretch marks, a rosy complexion, and pigment changes known as chloasma or melasma. Stretch marks tend to itch and are purplish, pinkish lines that are particularly prone to appear on the breasts, posterior, thighs, and abdomen. The rosy complexion, or pregnancy glow, may appear due to the skin receiving an increase in blood circulation. Pigment changes, or pregnancy’s mask, are another common occurrence due to melanin increasing.

Heartburn

During pregnancy, the muscles that are used to break down food grow more relaxed. Changes in hormones also contribute to slowing down this process. Further, food remains in the stomach for a longer duration to allow the body more time for absorption of nutrients. Each or all of these factors can be the cause of heartburn or make it worse.

from Dr. Lori Gore-Green | Gynecology and Obstetrics http://bit.ly/2wRu0oK

Constantly Evolving: Weight Gain During Menopause

Women between the ages of 40 and 50 will begin to exhibit changes in their body as it prepares to end their menstrual cycles. Menopause is the time in a woman’s life where they cease menstruation and the ability to reproduce. It is diagnosed officially once a woman has gone 12 months without her period. Just as hormones brought on menstruation, a shift in hormones brings it to an end.

Symptoms of menopause may include: hot flashes and chills, mood changes, weight gain, thinning hair and dry skin, vaginal dryness, and problems with sleep. During this hormonal shift, the body experiences many changes.

Menopause and Weight Gain

When a female begins to go through menopause, it’s not uncommon for them to gain weight. Some believe that the weight is caused by hormonal shifts that mess with metabolism, but this is not the case. Hormonal therapy is almost always given to help balance moods and other unpleasant symptoms, and these supplements also get blamed for middle-aged women being overweight. However, science finds no evidence of any such connections.

As a person begins to age, their metabolism naturally slows. People in their 20’s have an easier time losing weight than that of a person in their 40’s. The fat that has accumulated for many years is very stubborn, and with a body mass decrease, the fat is nearly impossible to lose. To fight the battle of the bulge takes physical activity, but this is the point when most women are ready to settle down and avoid rigorous exercise routines.

A woman in her 40’s or 50’s isn’t typically as physically active as she was in her younger years. With this reduced activity comes a decrease in muscle mass and an increase in weight. However, there may be more to worry about than just a few extra pounds.

While menopause cannot be associated with weight gain, it can be related to a change in the way the body distributes fat. Thus, it affects body composition. Many women change from a pear-shaped body to that of an apple like shape with age. Additional studies are needed to find out exactly how menopause affects body composition. The problem is that most women are overweight by the time they reach this point in their life.

Carrying additional weight around puts a woman at an increased risk for hypertension, osteoarthritis, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Additionally, her compromised health can cause issues with mobility, self-image, and many other factors. It’s imperative to stay active to be healthy at all ages, but it’s especially important during menopause. A sedentary lifestyle creates too many risks that are not worth taking. Physical Activity is a must

from Dr. Lori Gore-Green | Gynecology and Obstetrics http://bit.ly/2WFFgj7

Constantly Evolving: Puberty and Menstruation

Constantly evolving is a new series documenting the ways in which women’s bodies change. Based on the time of the month or period of life, the series hopes to highlight the magnificence of the woman’s body.  

The previous “Constantly Evolving” article focused on external physical changes girls experience when going through puberty. In conjunction to evolutions in physical appearance, the female body undergoes a massive change internally with the start of ovulation and menstruation.

When girls are born their ovaries contain thousands of eggs called ova. During puberty, the ovaries begin to release estrogen and progesterone leading the lining of the uterus to become thicker.

Simultaneously, the hormones mature an egg and release it from the ovary. The egg travels through the fallopian tube and eventually reaches the uterus. This process is known as ovulation.

This lining of the uterus builds up in preparation for a fertilized egg, which would attach itself to the lining and begin developing. If there is no fertilized egg, the uterus sheds its thick lining and bleeds. The shedding of the uterus is what we call menstruation. This process then repeats month to month.

Girls most often get their periods for the first time between 9 and 14 years of age. Menstruation is often linked to weight, so many girls will not get their period until they exceed 90 pounds. If menstruation hasn’t begun by age 16, seeing a doctor is recommended. Periods may be irregular at first. With time, they begin to fall into a pattern that is easy to track and predict.

Periods can last anywhere from three to seven days. Some pain and discomfort is common, as the uterus is expanding and contracting to shed its lining. Pain can vary in severity, with some girls experiencing extreme cramping and back pain while others only find the cramps annoying. These variances are often caused by the level of prostaglandins the body releases. If experiencing severe cramps that interfere with daily life, girls should speak to their doctors to determine the cause.

Though information about menstruation is readily available, studies show that many women felt unprepared, shocked, and confused when they got their first period. The Constantly Evolving series strives to shine a light on the beauty of the female body and all the changes it endures to create and support new life. Sex education, as well as open communication about puberty, is necessary to break down stigmas and enhance appreciation for the female body.

from Dr. Lori Gore-Green | Gynecology and Obstetrics http://bit.ly/2V4ziLo

Constantly Evolving: External Physical Changes During Puberty

Constantly evolving is a new series documenting the ways in which women’s bodies change. Based on the time of the month or period of life, the series hopes to highlight the magnificence of the woman’s body.  

During puberty, the body changes in incredible ways as it prepares itself to enter biological adulthood. Starting as early as 8 years old and as late as 13, the brain begins to release estrogen, the female growth hormone, which induces growth and change in the body.

Puberty is often a difficult time for young women. The body changes in very drastic ways which can be debilitating, uncomfortable, and confusing. Many young women also experience increased levels of self-consciousness during this period of their lives. These feelings are normal, as the amount of change can often make a young girl feel like an alien in their own skin. During this time of life the body changes in a variety of ways:

Weight Gain and Growth Spurts

Two of the first signs of puberty are growth spurts and weight gain. Many young girls will be taller than their male peers at this age since males experience growth spurts later in puberty. Body fat during this period can increase from 8% to 21% as the body prepares itself for menstruation and reproduction.

Body Hair Appears

Hair on the body will begin to grow on areas that have previously been smooth and hair-free, and may become darker and thicker on the arms and legs. Girls will start to develop a few hairs in the pubic area. As puberty progresses, more hair follicles will produce strands and they will start to get thicker and curlier as they grow.

Development of Acne

As hormones begin to surge through the body, girls will often start to experience breakouts of whitehead, blackheads, and pimples. The hormones that are likely to blame for this change are known as androgens, which enlarge the size of pores and create more sebum. Acne during puberty can also be caused by hereditary factors.

Developing Breasts and Hips

Puberty will cause areas of the body to widen. Hips, thighs, and butts will grow during this period since the body is preparing for eventual reproduction and childbirth.

During puberty, girls will also begin to develop breasts. Many girls will feel self-conscious when they start to develop if they feel like they are growing too big too quickly, not fast enough, or unevenly. Breasts continue to grow until women are well into their teens, and if they are growing at uneven speeds will usually even out eventually.

The nipples also begin to change at this time. Some girls nipples will become pink or dark brown, inverted or turned out, and hair may begin to grow in the region. These changes are normal and are mostly based on hereditary factors, as final breast size. Looking to maternal female relatives will often give a clue as to what breasts will look like when they finish maturing.

The ways in which hormones change the physical shape and appearance of women’s bodies is nothing short of incredible, but it can often disrupt a young girl’s sense of self. Suddenly, puberty can make who they see virtually unrecognizable to who they were a year ago. Other evolutions in the body can exacerbate these feelings, such as internal and cognitive changes, which will be discussed in the next few blogs. Check back soon to learn more!

from Dr. Lori Gore-Green | Gynecology and Obstetrics https://ift.tt/2uslBa4