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Signs, Symptoms, And Treatments Of Uterine Fibroids

Signs, Symptoms, And Treatments Of Uterine Fibroids

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Uterine fibroids are one of the most common gynecological conditions seen in America and a leading cause of uterine surgery for premenopausal women. Roughly 70%* of Caucasian women will experience uterine fibroids, and the rate is higher for African-American women who generally report stronger symptoms at younger ages. Uterine fibroids may be asymptomatic for some women and severely problematic for others. Uterine fibroid removal procedures are also the second most common surgical procedure after Caesarean section operations among premenopausal women.

What Are Uterine Fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are growths that appear in and on the uterus. These benign tumors grow in the muscle tissue of the uterine walls and rarely indicate cancer. The exact cause of uterine fibroids remains unknown, and these growths may eventually become quite large and cause intense symptoms. Other women may develop uterine fibroids and never notice any adverse symptoms. Other common names for uterine fibroids include leiomyomas, myomas, uterine myomas, and fibromas.

Types Of Uterine Fibroids

The size and location of uterine fibroids are the major contributing factors in the severity of negative symptoms. Gynecologists generally divide uterine fibroids into four categories:

  • Intramural fibroids, the most commonly diagnosed type that manifest within the walls of the uterus. These fibroids may eventually grow and distort the shape of the womb.
  • Subserosal fibroids, which form on the outer walls or serosa of the uterus. These fibroids can eventually cause the uterus to appear larger on one side.
  • Predunculated fibroids, which are subserosal fibroids that develop long stems that support the bodies of the tumors.
  • Submucosal fibroids, the least common type of fibroids found in the myometrium or middle muscle layer of the uterus.

Any of these types of uterine fibroids may cause adverse symptoms of varying degrees or no symptoms at all. Although there is no clearly defined cause of uterine fibroids, women can refer to several indicators to determine their level of risk of yet undetected uterine fibroids. However, uterine fibroids requiring treatment cause adverse symptoms that most women would report to their gynecologists as soon as symptoms appear.

Indicators Of Uterine Fibroid Risk

Although there is no firmly defined cause of uterine fibroids, medical researchers point to various possible causes and contributing factors that all women should know.

  • The ovaries produce estrogen and progesterone, two vital hormones for proper reproductive cycles. These hormones regenerate the uterine lining during each menstrual cycle, potentially stimulating uterine fibroid growth.
  • Genetics may also predispose a woman to developing uterine fibroids. If your mother, grandmother, or other female relatives experienced uterine fibroids in the past, you could as well.
  • Pregnancy causes an increase in estrogen and progesterone production to maintain the uterine lining. This may lead to uterine fibroids growing rapidly during a pregnancy.
  • Medical research points to obesity as a possible contributing factor to uterine fibroids.
  • African-American women generally face a higher risk of developing uterine fibroids, and women over 30 in general face the greatest risk.

Discuss any concerns about your risk factors or medical history with your gynecologist, but remember that uterine fibroids may not require treatment or removal at all unless they cause severe adverse symptoms.

Are Uterine Fibroids Cancerous?

While there is a risk of a uterine fibroid turning cancerous, it is a very small chance. Only about one of every 1,000 uterine fibroid cases involves leiomyosarcoma, or a cancerous fibroid. ** Women should know that having uterine fibroids does not increase the risk of developing cancerous fibroids, nor do they increase the risk of developing other types of uterine cancers.

Common Symptoms

Many women have uterine fibroids and may not even know it because their conditions are asymptomatic. When they do report symptoms, the number, size, and location of their fibroids generally inform the severity of their symptoms. Some of the most commonly reported uterine fibroid symptoms include:

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Pelvic pain or feelings of intense pressure
  • Menstrual periods lasting longer than one week
  • Frequent urination
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder
  • Pain in the legs and lower back
  • In rare cases, acute pain as fibroids lose blood supply and begin to die

Any woman who experiences these or other adverse symptoms should report them to her gynecologist as soon as possible.

Fibroids may not interfere with pregnancy in some cases, but in others they can cause infertility or even loss of pregnancy. Submucosal fibroids generally carry the greatest risk of interfering with pregnancy, but any type of fibroids may lead to fetal growth restriction, placental abruption, or preterm delivery.

When To See A Doctor

Women who experience sudden changes in menstrual cycles, experience excessively heavy, painful or prolonged periods, or periods lasting more than one week should seek medical care as soon as possible. Other worrisome symptoms that require immediate treatment include blood spotting between periods, pelvic pain that does not go away, and difficulty emptying the bladder. Any onset of sudden, sharp pain should also be cause to see a gynecologist as soon as possible.

Treating Uterine Fibroids

Lifestyle changes and holistic therapies may help ease the symptoms of uterine fibroids and prevent flare-ups in the future. Yoga, massage, and meditation can have positive effects, and dietary changes that include foods rich in flavonoids can boost overall nutrition and reduce the negative impact of fibroids. Other common treatments include medications, contraceptive devices, and surgery. Hormone medications can restore appropriate levels of estrogen and progesterone in the bloodstream and limit the blood flow to uterine fibroids. Anti-inflammatory painkillers and some forms of birth control may also ease symptoms.

Uterine Fibroids

When a uterine fibroid diagnosis requires surgery, it is usually due to a very large fibroid or a cluster of many fibroids. Although there are minimally invasive procedures to help remove fibroids, they may grow back after surgery. If fibroids reach severe levels or grow too large, the woman may require a hysterectomy. Speak with your gynecologist as soon as possible if you believe you are experiencing adverse symptoms from uterine fibroids.

Is Heavy Uterine Bleeding Serious And A Sign For Surgery

Is Heavy Uterine Bleeding Serious And A Sign For Surgery?

Menstrual periods vary from person to person. While one woman’s period can be light and short, others can experience a heavy menstrual cycle full of cramps, back pain, and emotional turmoil. Most of these are not a cause for alarm; however, you might wonder if an extremely heavy flow is. Sometimes, the answer is yes.

While not all heavy flows are a symptom of an underlying health condition, there are certain signs that you should not ignore.

Common Causes Of A Heavy Menstrual Period

Women are all made differently, and periods can change from month to month. Diet, genetics, sexual habits, birth control methods, and many other factors can change the flow of your period. However, there are a few common causes of heavy uterine bleeding that are not related to your daily life and may need medical intervention. A few possible causes are:

  • Hormone imbalance, such as PCOS
  • Pregnancy complications, such as miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy
  • Endometriosis and adenomyosis
  • Genetic bleeding disorders
  • Ovarian dysfunction
  • Fibroids or polyps in the uterus
  • Intrauterine devices
  • Uterine or cervical cancer

Menorrhagia is the medical term for abnormally heavy menstrual bleeding. Medical professionals define abnormal bleeding as any amount of period blood over 80 milliliters – typically about 16 tampons. Symptoms of menorrhagia include:

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding for longer than one week
  • Menstrual clotting with clots larger than a quarter
  • Anemia symptoms, including fatigue and shortness of breath

Usually, women with menorrhagia have to change their menstrual pads or tampons multiple times a day because the blood soaks through the products so quickly. Some women have to double up on their pads to ensure no blood seeps through them. Others might need to wake up during the night to change their pad or tampon. Their periods may even restrict their daily activities because of their heavy flow.

How To Treat An Abnormally Heavy Flow

Treatment for menorrhagia is based on a number of factors, including your lifestyle, your plans to bear children, your reaction to medications, and your overall health. Doctors treat menorrhagia through medications, surgery, and other procedures.

When you visit a doctor for menorrhagia, they will ask you about your menstrual cycles, medical history, and family background. They may also take a blood sample, an ultrasound, a Pap smear, or a biopsy to determine the cause of the heavy flow.

After your initial intake, the doctor can recommend a number of treatments:

  • Medications such as ibuprofen to relieve pain, oral contraceptives to regulate your cycle, and tranexamic acid to relieve bleeding
  • A hormonal IUD to reduce your uterine lining
  • Progesterone to fix a hormonal imbalance
  • Various surgical procedures

Risks Of Heavy Uterine Bleeding

There are certain symptoms associated with heavy uterine bleeding that you should never ignore. These symptoms can develop into potentially dangerous conditions.

You should seek medical attention for menorrhagia and heavy uterine bleeding if:

  • You experience any vaginal bleeding after menopause
  • You soak through at least one pad or tampon per hour
  • You bleed between periods
  • You experience any other form of irregular vaginal bleeding

Prolonged menstrual bleeding can lead to the development of anemia. When you bleed such a heavy amount, you’re losing vital red blood cells. When you lose these cells, your body uses up iron to make hemoglobin, a protein that helps blood cells carry oxygen through your body. However, this decreases your iron levels, increasing your risk of developing anemia.

Symptoms of anemia include:

  • Fatigue
  • Pale skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Unusually rapid heart rate

The symptoms of anemia alone are enough to cause difficulty in your daily life. Anemia can also lead to severe organ damage because the condition reduces the amount of oxygen that your body receives. Heart damage is especially common, since your heart will need to work harder to make up for your low red blood cell count. Pregnant women with anemia are at risk of premature birth, miscarriage, and low birth weight.

Surgery For Heavy Uterine Bleeding

If heavy menstruation is affecting your daily life, talk to your doctor. Menorrhagia surgery may be a way to transform this difficulty. Doctors may consider surgery depending on a few factors, including the severity of your condition. If you have a fear of surgical procedures, consider visiting Arizona Gynecology Consultants to find an alternative, noninvasive treatment for your condition.

Common menorrhagia surgeries include:

  • Focused ultrasound surgery, which treats bleeding from fibroids
  • Hysterectomy, which removes the uterus and cervix
  • Myomectomy, which removes fibroids
  • Uterine artery embolization, which shrinks fibroids by cutting off blood supply
  • Dilation and curettage, endometrial resection, and endometrial ablation, which all remove the uterine lining

Call Arizona Gynecology Consultants For Advice

Contact Arizona Gynecology Consultants today to discuss whether your heavy menstrual flow is a cause for concern. Our compassionate staff can schedule an appointment and offer advice on the best way to negotiate uterine bleeding until you see a physician.

How Diet Can Impact The Risk Of Cancer Development In Women

How Diet Can Impact the Risk of Cancer Development in Women

The foods we eat impact our health in countless ways, and women need to know how food can affect the risk of developing certain cancers. While there are cancer-fighting foods and various nutritional supplements you can take to reduce your risk of developing some cancers, it’s also important to identify individual risk factors, genetic markers, and other variables on the individual level. Diet and cancer have strong links, and choosing the right foods can help to prevent cancer or recover from it.

Making Better Food Choices

Everyone should try to limit the risk of developing cancer by making health-conscious decisions. An anti-cancer diet should include foods that bolster the immune system and organ function. A plant-based diet generally offers the best dietary support. Dark, leafy greens, vegetables, and some fruits should form the bulk of a cancer prevention diet.

Food And Cancer Risk

While there are foods that help fight cancer, there are also foods that increase the risk of developing certain cancers. Some foods cause health problems like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease that increase the risk of developing some cancers. For example, obesity greatly increases the risk of cancer in the colon, kidneys, pancreas, and esophagus. Overweight people generally produce more insulin and estrogen, two naturally occurring hormones that can increase the growth rate of cancer cells.

Breast Cancer

A study from the International Journal of Cancer reported that processed meat consumption could increase the risk of developing breast cancer*. Fast food restaurants that serve processed meat products and frozen meals with processed meats are common choices for many Americans due to their convenience, and overconsumption of these foods can interfere with healthy digestion and lead to an increased breast cancer risk.

Human breast tissue and mammary glands also develop a natural balance of probiotic bacterial microbes, and diet can disrupt this balance**. One study showed that diet can disrupt probiotic bacteria balance in the body outside of the digestive tract, so it is possible for some foods to affect mammary health and development. A study from the Clinical & Experimental Metastasis journal*** reported that a diet high in fish oils could slow breast cancer cell growth.

Developing A Better Diet

Anti Cancer FoodEveryone has individual dietary issues, but it can be easier than you expect to build a diet with the best cancer-fighting foods for you. Some of the best foods for a healthy cancer-fighting diet include:

  • Coffee. Coffee can help reduce the risk of developing some types of uterine cancer and alter the way the body processes estrogen and insulin.
  • Garlic is a food that contains nutrients that can prevent bowel, stomach, colon, and breast cancers.
  • Lentils. These small beans are very rich in dietary fiber, which promotes healthy digestion and a healthy weight. Fiber also limits the risk of colon and stomach cancer by making it difficult for tumor cells to grow in the gut.
  • Leafy green vegetables. Kale, broccoli, and spinach are some of the healthiest foods anyone can eat. These vegetables reduce the risk of heart disease, digestive cancers, and promote a healthy weight.
  • Onions. The anti-inflammatory properties of onions and shallots can prevent colon and liver cancer.
  • Grapes. These sweet berries contain an antioxidant that helps prevent cancer growth in the breasts, lymph nodes, liver, and stomach.

These are just a few of the foods that can increase your protection from certain types of cancer. While adding these foods to your diet can increase resistance to some types of cancer, it is also vital to remove other elements of your diet that may be increasing your cancer risk. In general, it’s a good idea to avoid:

  • Overly processed foods, especially processed meat products
  • Frozen meat products and prepared meals with lots of preservatives
  • Sugary foods and beverages
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Alcohol

Making Healthier Life Choices To Reduce Cancer Risk

In addition to proper diet, a few simple lifestyle changes can improve overall health and limit the risk of cancer too. Regular physical activity helps keep heart function and blood flow at appropriate levels and can limit the risk of developing some types of cancer. Portion control and avoiding unhealthy foods helps to maintain a healthy weight, which in turn prevents the cancers associated with obesity.

Stress management also plays a role in overall health. Mental fatigue and acute stress can have a dramatic impact on the body, and it’s essential to develop healthy coping techniques. Treating stress with unhealthy foods or alcohol not only diminishes overall health, but also makes it more difficult to build healthy stress management techniques in the long run.

Metabolism’s Role In Female Health

If you want to know how to avoid cancer you need to assess your personal dietary needs and decide how to adjust your diet in healthy ways that work for you. If weight loss is a concern, some diet plans may be very restrictive and cause stress, ultimately leading to more adverse health problems later.

Finding The Support You Need

Arizona Gynecology Consultants is a team of experienced medical professionals dedicated to promoting women’s health. Our team treats individual patient issues with comprehensive, personalized treatment plans that address not only adverse symptoms, but also the causes of those symptoms. Hormones and metabolism play a very significant role in women’s health and developing certain types of cancer.

Arizona Gynecology Consultants offers a wide range of women’s health services, screenings, and dietary support resources to help you build a diet that reduces your risk of developing cancer. Women who have already received cancer diagnoses can bolster their treatment and speed up recovery with some dietary changes as well.

The first step in overcoming cancer or preventing cancer in the first place is a full assessment of your dietary and metabolic needs, and Arizona Gynecology Consultants can help. Learn more about our specialists and the women’s health services we offer.

What Is a Prolapsed Bladder and How Do I Treat It

What Is a Prolapsed Bladder and How Do I Treat It?

Many women after having children, going through hysterectomy, or undergoing the aging process experience symptoms that are not only uncomfortable but embarrassing. There are products available that can help alleviate the humiliation, such as adhesive strip underwear pads, panties or disposable underwear. But those can be costly over time and put a damper on style and spontaneity. If you think you could be suffering from what is called a prolapsed bladder or cystocele, there are ways to help minimize the symptoms and possibly reverse the condition, noninvasively.

The Physical Attributes of Cystocele

With cystocele it can feel as though your bladder is dropping. In a sense, it is. The bladder itself is a muscular-like organ, hollow, that resembles a balloon, expanding and retracting depending on the level of urine present. When a woman gets the urge to empty the bladder, urine flows from the bladder downward through the urethra and ultimately out of the body. The bladder is located in close proximity to other parts of the reproductive system, in the middle of both pelvic bones. Positioned alongside the urethra is the vagina, the connection point between the uterus and the outside. When prolapse happens, the bladder drops from its original position and protrudes into the vagina. As ominous as this may sound, many women who have the condition don’t know it.

Symptoms of a Prolapsed Bladder

There are many ways that the body provides an indication that a prolapsed bladder exists. Each woman is different and all symptoms don’t need to be met to have the condition.

Prolapsed Bladder Symptoms:

  • Frequent urination
  • Sensation of needing to urinate often
  • Bladder leakage from pressure put on the area (or from coughing, sneezing, laughing)
  • Partial voiding, when urine remains in the bladder
  • Increase in bladder infections
  • Pain in the lower back or pelvic area
  • Feeling of heaviness, fullness, or droopiness in pelvic area
  • Bladder coming through the vagina
  • Difficulty when inserting vaginal applicators and tampons

After you’ve gone through the above list and identified which symptoms resonate with your day-to-day, find details below that indicate the various stages of prolapsed bladder.

Stages of a Prolapsed Bladder

Depending on how extensive the bladder has dropped, the options in how best to treat the condition will be discussed and a treatment protocol will be determined. A visit with your Ob/Gyn or other healthcare practitioner will uncover the specific stage of prolapse.

Prolapsed Bladder Staging

  • Stage 1 – Mild condition, bladder has slightly extended into the vagina.
  • Stage 2 – Moderate condition, bladder has dropped to the vagina opening.
  • Stage 3 – Severe condition, bladder protrudes through the opening of the vagina.

Based on the type of symptoms, a doctor may want to insert a catheter through the urethra to measure how much urine is left in the bladder after voiding: this is termed postvoid residual. Other ways to examine the status of the bladder are through a bladder ultrasound using a transducer (creates sound waves for imaging) or an x-ray exam of the bladder, known as a cystourethrogram, that is done while a woman is urinating. The procedure does not require anesthesia though sedation is often an option.

If you are one of the many women experiencing any stage of bladder prolapse, it may come by you honestly.

Why Does the Female Bladder Drop Over Time?

Genetics do play a role in a woman’s predisposition to prolapsed bladder. In addition, hormones can also create the basis for its development. As we age, our natural levels of estrogen drop often compromising the vagina as estrogen strengthens the muscles that support it. Over time, the vagina weakens, and by the way of gravity, begins to fall. A repercussion to hysterectomy (partial and full) is the development of a prolapsed bladder. The National Institute of Health (NIH) studied the effects of hysterectomy on the female bladder and found a correlation. After these procedures, women will engage an immediate drop in estrogen production, which is often why some elect to include hormone therapy to their lives. However, this course of action may not circumvent the state of the bladder.

Other aspects of life may lead to a fallen bladder.

Prolapsed Bladder Causes

  • Excessive coughing
  • Physical activity that strains pelvic area
  • Vaginal births
  • Constipation and pushing through bowel movements
  • Obesity*

*While obesity can predicate a fallen bladder, diet or specific nutrition is not directly linked to the condition.

Options in Treating Prolapsed Bladder

The stage of prolapsed bladder will often dictate the treatment choices available to the patient. The good news is that for many women, certain exercises will not only prevent prolapse but can do much to reverse the condition.

For women who have severe prolapse, surgery may be necessary to lift the bladder away from the vagina and reconstruct the vaginal wall to adequately support the bladder. A surgeon, usually a urologist or Ob/Gyn will tighten the tissue that surrounds these organs. The post-op for the surgery is between 4 to 6 weeks.

For moderate bladder prolapse, patients can be offered a vaginal pessary that is inserted into the vagina. The small device comes in a myriad of sizes to fit each woman as needed, keeping the bladder in place while providing the vaginal wall the support required, preventing further damage.

Exercise, will often be the panacea for women who are amidst early-stage bladder prolapse and also serves as a continual strength builder for the treatment and prevention of this condition. Here are some ways to add bladder health to your everyday regimen.

Kegel A Falling Bladder Back into Place

A kegel a day keeps the bladder at bay

Strangely enough, there’s an exercise that can be done in the comfort of your car, your office or while sitting at the dinner table and no one will ever know you’re doing it. The exercise is called the kegel and it isn’t just for pregnancy. Men can find benefit from it too.

Meant to increase the strength of the vaginal wall and the ability to gain control over bladder control, kegeling can change your life for the better. The key to a proper kegel is to discern which pelvic muscles apply and to perform this exercise ritual faithfully up to 3 or 4 sessions a day for maximum benefit.

How to Kegel:

  1. Squeeze the genital muscles as if pulling them up from the inside.
  2. Each squeeze, should be able to (if desired) stop the flow of urine.
  3. Hold the squeeze for 3 full seconds.
  4. Release the squeeze.
  5. Repeat.
  6. Begin the exercise and complete 10 successions, to reach a total of 25 per day.

There is no reason to live with the discomfort and humiliation of a prolapsed bladder and its associated symptoms. Start kegeling. Seek a medical practitioner knowledgeable in this condition for a formal diagnosis and recommended treatment that will provide optimal results.

Why You Can’t Stop the Stream

What Is Seborrheic Vulvitis FAQs For Women - Arizona Gynecology Consultants

What Is Seborrheic Vulvitis? FAQs for Women from Women’s Health Professionals

“Do you have vulvar itching that sometimes gets worse with exercise, heat, sex, stress or hormone changes? Do you suffer from ‘chronic yeast infections’ but symptoms seem to return shortly after being treated with pills and creams?

“You may not be suffering from a yeast infection but a condition called seborrheic vulvitis.  Seborrheic vulvitis can be caused by a yeast organism called malassezia globosa.  It lives on all of us and has a job but can sometimes overpopulate causing intense itching, burning, irritation, and even small tears called fissures.  

“Seborrheic vulvitis is not worrisome or contagious but it is bothersome symptoms CAN be treated with the right medications.” 

Wende Scholzen, WHNPWende Scholzen, WHNP
Arizona Gynecology Consultants Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner

What Is Seborrheic Vulvitis?

Seborrheic vulvitis is a form of seborrheic dermatitis that effects the vulva (external female genitals). It is quite common in women, is not considered a serious condition, and can be treated. The condition may also be referred to as vulvovaginitis, or seborrheic dermatitis.

What Is Seborrhea (Seborrheic)?

Seborrhea is defined as “an excessive and/or abnormal discharge from the sebaceous glands.” The sebaceous glands are simply the small glands in your skin that secrete oil (sebum) onto hair follicles to lubricate the hair and surrounding skin. Seborrheic simply means that the condition is directly related to the overactivity of these glands.

What Is Vulvitis?

Vulvitis is inflammation of the vulva, the external parts of female genitalia, including the labia majora and labia minora. Seborrheic vulvitis usually affects the outer skin, closer to where hair follicles are present. However, it can spread to the inner anatomy from outside genitalia.

Symptoms of Vulvitis? 

  • Itching (increasing in intensity and constant)
  • Pain or burning sensations in the vulva area
  • Redness and swelling of the lips of the vagina and vulva area
  • Dry, cracking skin in the vulva area
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Blisters or sores on the vulva area
  • Thick, scaly patches of skin or flaking near and on the vulva

What About Vaginal Itching that Is Not a Yeast Infection? 

Many women who complain of vaginal itching to their gynecologist and women’s health professional adamantly explain that they don’t believe that the chronic dryness and itching is related to a yeast infection – which can have similar symptoms. And those women are often correct.

In many cases, vaginal itching – if it is not due to a yeast infection – is due to some form of dermatitis. The dermatitis could be considered contact dermatitis, if it is due to a reaction from coming into contact with irritating substances such as:

  • Vaginal lubricants
  • Spermicides
  • Latex condoms
  • Latex diaphragms
  • Chemicals in clothing (dyes, laundry detergents, etc.)
  • Scented toilet paper
  • Tampons or sanitary pads
  • Shampoo, soaps or hygiene products

If the symptoms of itching or burning are localized to just the outer parts of the vulva, the condition is more likely to be dermatitis related, rather than a serious condition affecting the interior female genitalia.

Vulvitis: Is It Contact Dermatitis or Seborrheic Dermatitis?

When your gynecologist or women’s health nurse practitioner narrows down the symptoms to dermatitis, the next step is to determine what the cause of the dermatitis is. In many cases the dermatitis surrounding the vulva is found to contact dermatitis – caused by the vulva coming into contact with allergens.

In these cases, the treatment could be as simple as cutting out the allergens and irritants and treating the existing vulvitis with anti-inflammatory medications or creams.

Malassezia Globosa Vulvar Infection 

Malassezia Globosa Vulvar Infection - CDC

Malassezia Fungus (Source: phil.cdc.gov)

Is the cause of symptoms actually seborrheic dermatitis of the vulva, particularly due to malassezia globose? Then, your doctor may choose to prescribe medications to get rid of the fungus. Your doctor may also try to treat the existing inflammation and any damage, scratching or infection that has occurred in the vulvar area.

Talk to Your Women’s Health Doctor

It is so important for women to feel comfortable and trust in talking to their doctor about their vaginal health. It is all too common for women to worry themselves about what women’s health symptoms could be, instead of just sharing with their doctor their worries.

Seborrheic vulvitis is the perfect example of this; the condition is very common and not serious, but because the condition shares symptoms with many more serious conditions, many women fear the worst. If you have vaginal or vulvar itching, burning or other symptoms, speak to your doctor to sort out the cause, instead of guessing.

Find Answers to Women’s Health FAQs

Endometrial Ablation Surgery: Frequently Asked Questions and Resources for Women

Endometrial Ablation Surgery: Frequently Asked Questions and Resources for Women

This entry was posted in Health FAQs and tagged on by .

What is Endometrial Ablation?

Endometrial ablation is a surgical procedure to destroy the lining of the uterus (endometrium). Ablation is used to treat abnormal uterine bleeding, premenstrual syndrome, and painful periods. This form of treatment is not a first-line therapy, and is usually reserved as a solution when other methods have not brought satisfactory results.

Why Do I Need Endometrial Ablation surgery?

Endometrial ablation may be used as a treatment option for women who have abnormal uterine bleeding, premenstrual syndrome, and painful periods. It should only be reserved as an option when other methods of controlling bleeding, cramps and treating premenstrual syndrome have not been successful.

This procedure may be recommended if you have heavy or long periods, or abnormal bleeding that negative affects your daily life and activities, or causes anemia (low blood count).

What are the Risks and Side Effects of Endometrial Ablation?

Endometrial ablation is a common and relatively safe procedure for women. There is very little recovery time with endometrial ablation, and between 70-80% of women treated with ablation surgery are satisfied with the results of the operation. With any minimally invasive procedure, like endometrial ablation, there is a risk of complications. Though the risk of complications are low, common complications may include:

Possible Post-Operative Complications from Endometrial Ablation

  • Pregnancy After Endometrial Ablation
  • Pain-Related Obstructed Menses
  • Failure to Control Menses
  • Risk from Pre-Existing Conditions
  • Infection

In the past, intra-operative procedures had a higher risk of post-operative complications, but with new technology and a better understanding of expectations, today’s ablation procedures have many fewer complications – of-which, the risk of post-operative infection is the most serious.

Who Should Not Have Endometrial Ablation Surgery?

Endometrial ablation is not an option for every woman, and there are many things to consider before having this procedure. Endometrial ablation may not be recommended if you have the following:

  • A current infections (vaginal or cervical)
  • Pelvic inflammatory diseases
  • Current condition, or a history of cancer of the reproductive organs (endometrial, cervical, or uterine cancers)
  • If you were recently pregnant (within the past 6-12 months)
  • Weakness of the uterine muscle wall
  • If you currently have an IUD, Intra-uterine Device
  • If you have had a C-Section (either classic incision or vertical)
  • If you have uterine abnormalities that increase the risk of the procedure (narrow cervix or large uterus).

Will Endometrial Ablation Surgery Stop Me from Having my Period?

While the main goal of the surgery is to minimize or lessen the bleeding from menstruation, 10% of those women that have ablation surgery stop having their period. 70% of women that undergo endometrial ablation have significantly reduced bleeding. It is important to note that endometrial ablation is not used to stop you from having your period completely, but 10% of patients see this result.

Can I Get Pregnant After Endometrial Ablation?

Just as endometrial ablation is not used as a treatment to completely stop you from having your period altogether, endometrial ablation is not used as a form of contraception. This procedure is not meant for sterilization, rather it can cause infertility issues in women and is not recommended for those women who plan on having children in the future.

The risk of pregnancy complications – including increased risk of miscarriage – is much higher in women who have had endometrial ablation. Even though it is unlikely that you can become pregnant after endometrial ablation surgery, it is possible. It is important to remember that a woman who has had endometrial ablation still has her reproductive organs – it is just the lining of the uterus that has been affected.

Female Reproductive System Infographic

How Long Does it Take to Recovery after Endometrial Ablation Surgery?

Recovery time after endometrial ablation surgery is minimal, and you should be able to return to your normal routine in 3 days, in most cases. Allow for up to 2 weeks to recover fully physically, and to return to exercise and physical tasks.

The type of anesthesia used during the procedure will determine how quickly you recover immediately after the surgery, and if anesthesia was used, driving is not recommended for at least 2 days after the surgery.

Types of Endometrial Ablation Surgeries

There are several ways a gynecology surgical consultant may choose to perform an endometrial ablation, including:

Electrosurgery for Endometrial Ablation

Also called electrocautery, electrosurgery for endometrial ablation uses an electric wire loop or a roller ball. The instrument cauterizes the lining of the uterus, destroying the tissue.

Cryoablation Surgery for Endometrial Ablation

Similar to electrosurgery, an instrument or a probe is chilled to a temperature low enough to freeze and destroy tissue of the lining of the uterus.


Free Flowing Hot Fluid Endometrial Ablation

Also called fluid or hydrothermal ablation, this is a procedure where heated fluid is pumped into the uterus to destroy its lining.

Heated Balloon Endometrial Ablation

Very similar to the free flowing hot fluid procedure, the heated balloon procedure utilizes heated fluid within a balloon that is delivered to the uterus via a catheter.


Microwave Endometrial Ablation (MEA)

With MEA endometrial ablation, microwaves are used to destroy the lining of the uterus. Microwaves are delivered via an instrument/probe.

Radiofrequency Endometrial Ablation

Very similar to (MEA), Radiofrequency ablation utilizes radio waves to destroy the lining of the uterus.

Considerations before Endometrial Ablation

Even though endometrial ablation is safe and minimally invasive, it is still a surgical procedure. Therefore, you should consider the following before having endometrial ablation surgery:

  • Be sure that you have met with your gynecology surgical consultant and you understand the procedure fully, including risks and special considerations.
  • You will be asked to fast for at least 8 hours before testing procedures.
  • If you are pregnant or considering getting pregnant, be sure to tell this to your doctor.
  • Be sure your doctor knows any existing allergies that you have – including allergies to medications, latex, tape or adhesives, and local/general anesthesia allergies.
  • Let your doctor know if you are taking any blood thinning drugs or have a bleeding disorder. Blood thinners and medications that can prevent blood clotting may need to be discontinued before the operation.
  • Your doctor may prescribe medications as a pre-treatment before the operation.

Do You Have Questions or Concerns About Endometrial Ablation?
Call or contact us to speak with our gynecological surgery consultants (602) 358-8588

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What is a Hysterectomy?

What is a Hysterectomy?

A hysterectomy is uterus removal surgery. There are many reasons that a uterus must be removed, but in all cases, the woman’s health calls for such a procedure.

Reasons For A Hysterectomy

A woman’s reproductive system goes through three major hormonal changes during her lifetime. Puberty, pregnancy, and menopause all cause dramatic hormone shifts that can cause complications with the uterus, ovaries, or fallopian tubes.

Uterine Fibrosis

Uterine fibrosis is the development of benign lumps that grow in the uterus. These lumps are not cancerous but cause pain, bleeding, cramping, painful sex, and the urge to urinate. A hysterectomy will remove these lumps and the uterus, relieving the symptoms and guaranteeing they do not come back.

Cancer

Cancer of the uterus, cervix, or ovaries can call for the removal of all or some of these organs. The procedure must happen before cancer spreads.

Uterine Prolapse

Prolapse is when the uterus slides from its normal position into the vaginal canal. Prolapse can cause the collapse of other structures, such as the vagina and rectum. Removal of the uterus will maintain the structures of other pelvic organs.

Endometriosis

Endometriosis is when uterine tissue develops outside the uterus. It often causes extreme pain, heavy periods, and infertility. Endometriosis makes certain hysterectomy procedures more difficult.

Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding

If the uterus cannot maintain the uterine lining, a woman can experience bleeding not connected to menstruation.

Chronic Pelvic Pain

A uterus that is not performing correctly can cause severe pain in the pelvis.

Adenomyosis

Adenomyosis is the thickening of the uterus, which causes pain and makes it unfit for a fetus.

Types Of Hysterectomy

There are several different hysterectomy types; the procedure may not refer just to the removal of the uterus but to the removal of any combination of the reproductive organs.

Supracervical/Subtotal Hysterectomy

Removal of the upper part of the uterus takes place but the cervix remains. Some OB/GYNs will recommend this if they are uncomfortable or untrained in the removal of the cervix. See the advantages and disadvantages of leaving the cervix intact below.

Partial Hysterectomy

A partial hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus and the cervix. The ovaries and fallopian tubes remain intact.

Radical Hysterectomy

The uterus, cervix, and upper portion of the vagina are removed. Radical hysterectomies usually take place when cancer is present. No other hysterectomy removes any part of the vaginal canal.

Oophorectomy

Oophorectomy is the removal of the ovaries. This can take place with or without the removal of the uterus, especially in cases of ovarian cancer. One or both ovaries can be removed.

Salpingectomy

The removal of the fallopian tubes is a salpingectomy. The fallopian tubes connect the ovaries to the uterus. When a woman gets her “tubes tied,” the fallopian tubes are severed and tied to prevent pregnancy. One or both fallopian tubes can be removed.

Total Hysterectomy and Bilateral Salpingectomy-Oophorectomy

This is the term for the procedure in which the uterus, cervix, both ovaries, and both fallopian tubes are removed. It is also called a total hysterectomy. This occurs in the case of progressed cancer.

Reproductive Anatomy

In order to fully understand the effects of the different types of hysterectomies, one must understand the purpose of the various reproductive organs and the effects of their removal. Some organs produce hormones and removing them will spur changes in the body.

Uterus

The uterus, or womb, is the organ that houses the fetus during pregnancy. It does not produce hormones, but removing the uterus makes the body unable to become pregnant. Once the uterus is removed, there will no menstruation as there is no uterus to shed its uterine lining.

Ovaries

The ovaries house and release the eggs, or ovum. The ovaries also produce estrogen and other hormones that a woman uses post-puberty, during pregnancy, and in perimenopause. Menopause is the process of the ovaries no longer producing these hormones. The removal of the ovaries will prompt menopause, and women will experience hot flashes, mood swings, and the other symptoms that go along with this change. If only one ovary is removed, a woman will not experience this until she is at the age of menopause. Women who have already completed menopause will not go through it again at the removal of the ovaries. A woman can no longer become pregnant when her ovaries are removed. Pregnancy is still possible if only one ovary has been removed.

Fallopian Tubes

The fallopian tubes are the tubes between the ovaries and the uterus that houses the egg while it waits for fertilization. The removal of the fallopian tubes will not affect hormones but will prevent a woman from becoming pregnant.

Cervix

The cervix is the opening between the uterus and the vaginal canal. During pregnancy, the cervix prevents the fetus from moving outside of the uterus and dilates during birth to let the baby out. The cervix does not produce hormones. The removal of the cervix does not affect vaginal lubrication, cause prolapse, lessen sexual satisfaction, or guarantee a safer hysterectomy procedure. A cervix that has not been removed with the uterus during a hysterectomy can cause vaginal bleeding, a higher potential for cancer developing, and thus the need for more pap smears. The cervix may need to be removed to prevent the risk of cancer.

Methods For Hysterectomy Surgeries

An OB/GYN can use one of several different methods when performing a hysterectomy. Each has its all own advantages and disadvantages. Ask for information about which procedure is best for your situation.

Vaginal Hysterectomy

A vaginal hysterectomy is a procedure in which the uterus and other organs are removed through the vaginal canal.

Advantages

There are no incisions with a vaginal hysterectomy, making it the least-invasive form of hysterectomy, and the recovery is very quick as a result. It is especially effective in correcting prolapse. A vaginal hysterectomy is also cost-effective.

Disadvantages

A vaginal hysterectomy requires room in the vaginal canal to remove the uterus, as a result, it is not the best option for women who have not give birth vaginally. Larger uteri masses are more difficult to remove as well. There is a larger risk of bleeding due to an injury of the uterine or ovarian arteries and high risk of complications with patients who have had a cesarean section or previous pelvic surgery because the surgeon will have difficulty seeing other issues or complications in the area.

Laparoscopic Hysterectomy

A laparoscopic hysterectomy requires three to five small incisions in the abdomen. The procedure is then completed using long tools to remove the uterus or other organs.

Advantages

Laparoscopic surgery offers a faster recovery time. The patient is out of the hospital the next day and can go back to work two weeks later. It is safe to use if patients have undergone other pelvic procedures, such as a cesarean section, in the past. It is generally a better option for those who have large uterine masses to be removed or who are not candidates for vaginal hysterectomies. The OB/GYN completing the procedure has full access and visibility, lowering the risks of complications.

Disadvantages

There is a risk of injury to other organs, such as the bladder, and possible conversion to an open hysterectomy due to extreme endometriosis. It is less readily available because specialized training is required to complete the procedure safely.

Open Abdominal Hysterectomy

Open abdominal hysterectomies are still the most common procedures that take place. This is due to lack of training for laparoscopic hysterectomies.

Advantages

An open hysterectomy surgery allows for removal of any size masses.

Disadvantages

A large, 6- to 12-inch incision is made across the abdomen. This causes severe pain and 6 to 8 weeks of recovery. There are also higher hysterectomy complication rates, due to the invasive nature of the procedure.

What Are Congenital Uterine Anomalies - Arizona Gynecology Consultants

What Are Uterine Anomalies?

A congenital uterine anomaly is a uterus malformation that occurs during embryonic development. In the earliest stages of the life cycle, a woman’s uterus forms in two separate halves that grow together over time. Any small missteps in this development cycle can lead to a misshapen or malformed uterus, creating uterine problems later in life.

Congenital uterine anomalies happen to less than 5 percent of women. However, about 25 percent of women who miscarried have some sort of congenital uterine anomaly. Congenital uterine anomalies mostly occur due to random variations during embryonic development, but some uterine anomalies can result from in-utero exposure to certain substances.

For example, baby girls exposed to diethylstilbestrol (synthetic estrogen) are more prone to develop congenital uterine anomalies than others. Doctors often used this medication between 1938 and 1971 to help prevent miscarriages and premature births. Today, there are no known risk factors proven to increase the potential of developing a congenital uterine anomaly.

Types of Congenital Uterine Anomalies

Ultrasound is one of the most-used methods for diagnosing the type of uterine anomaly present in a patient. Doctors will use ultrasound imaging to determine how the patient’s uterus developed and what type of complications the anomaly may present later in life. Different anomalies will produce different effects and lead to varying long-term health complications.

Septate Uterus

One of the most common types of uterine anomalies, a septate uterus, describes a uterus with a normal uterine surface, but with two endometrial cavities. This anomaly occurs when the two halves of the uterus only partially combine during fetal development.

Bicornuate Uterus

The other most common uterine anomaly is a bicornuate uterus. Like the septate uterus, a bicornuate uterus has two endometrial cavities and one external uterine surface. However, a bicornuate uterus has an indented and abnormal uterine surface.

Arcuate Uterus

This uterine anomaly describes a uterus with a 1 cm or smaller indentation in the endometrial cavity.

Unicornuate Uterus

A unicornuate uterus develops only on one side. During fetal development, a baby girl’s uterus develops in two halves that gradually combine to form a single uterus. This anomaly occurs when only one half develops.

Didelphys Uterus

This uterine anomaly describes when the two halves of a developing uterus never combine, resulting in two separately developed halves.

Müllerian Anomalies

This congenital disorder affects about 4 percent of females and occurs during fetal development. This condition results from a malformation of the process of developing Müllerian ducts in the female reproductive system.

These conditions are more than just uterine anomalies, and kidneys often suffer as a result. A woman with a Müllerian anomaly may be missing a kidney, leading to additional medical complications later in life.

Symptoms of Uterine Anomalies

One common thread shared by all the different possible uterine anomalies is that most are asymptomatic. Some women may experience increased pain and discomfort during menstrual cycles, but for the most part, these anomalies do not create significant symptoms on their own.

However, the resulting symptoms often interfere with pregnancy and contribute to lost pregnancies and infertility. Many women do not discover they have a uterine anomaly until they undergo screening for infertility or miscarriage.

After one or more miscarriages, a woman may decide to have a screening to determine the cause, and this is the point when doctors diagnose most uterine anomalies. Women who do experience negative symptoms typically report inconsistent periods or no periods, but the most commonly reported symptoms relate to pregnancy.

Identifying Uterine Anomalies

Doctors use ultrasound imaging to determine which type of uterine anomaly a patient has, and treatment can include many options. Uterine anomaly surgery is a viable option for some women, as it may help restore uterine function and allow for a healthy pregnancy.

However, some anomalies are more difficult to treat, often leading to more significant medical complications. Doctors may also use hysterosalpingograms or MRI procedures to help diagnose uterine anomalies.

Treating Uterine Anomalies

Most uterine anomalies will not require treatment, but treatment generally involves surgery for uterine anomalies. After a positive diagnosis for a uterine anomaly, a women’s surgery specialist will advise the patient about her options.

Most corrective surgery is minimally invasive with little risk, but physicians will recommend surgery only if the uterine anomaly:

  • Prevents pregnancy
  • Results in miscarriage
  • Causes significant pain

Women who have a septate or bicornuate uterus may have the septum wall between the two endometrial cavities removed to restore healthy uterine function. In the case of a unicornuate uterus, the surgeon may remove the undeveloped portion of the uterus, and the patient could possibly have a viable pregnancy using the intact portion. Women at greater risk for premature delivery may require a cervical cerclage to prevent premature cervical dilation.

Is Surgery Right for Me?

Physicians only recommend surgery for a uterine anomaly if the condition prevents pregnancy or prevents the woman from maintaining a pregnancy to full term. In some cases, uterine anomalies can prevent a placenta from attaching correctly, resulting in a miscarriage.

Here are some vital facts to know about uterine anomalies an pregnancy:

  • A woman with a septate uterus has a 25 to 47 percent chance of experiencing a miscarriage.
  • A woman with a bicornuate uterus will have a higher risk of going into preterm labor.
  • Someone with a unicornuate uterus will have about a 37 percent chance of experiencing a miscarriage, and about a 17 percent chance of preterm labor.

Other medical issues, including cervical insufficiency and uterine fibroids, can also interfere with pregnancy and full-term delivery. It’s up to the individual to decide whether her anomaly warrants surgical intervention.

Ultimately, a uterine anomaly may result in only a slightly higher risk of miscarriage for a small malformation, but more significant uterine anomalies can make pregnancy or maintaining a pregnancy to full term impossible. Women should consult their physicians if they have trouble conceiving or experience a sudden onset of symptoms that could indicate a uterine anomaly.

Learn More About Infertility Problems and Testing

What Women Should Know About Minimally Invasive Surgery - AZ Gyn

What Women Should Know About Minimally Invasive Surgery

For women who are in need of gynecological surgery, the idea of “going under the knife” or “getting cut open” (especially “down there”) can be enough to scare off even the bravest and most confident of us.

But thanks to advances in surgical procedures, women today have many minimally invasive surgical options. In fact, it’s never been safer to get the surgery you need.

What Is Minimally Invasive Surgery?

To understand what minimally invasive surgery is, let’s look at what it’s not.

Traditional, or “open,” surgery involves making an abdominal incision large enough for the surgeon to see the area well and navigate the site with surgical tools. Although surgeons do their best to make the surgical incision as small as possible, there are practical limitations with this type of surgery.

Minimally invasive surgery (MIS), meanwhile, utilizes modern advances in technology that allow a surgeon to perform procedures using very small incisions, or in some cases, no incision at all.

Types of Minimally Invasive Surgery

Any type of surgery that isn’t open surgery and that involves minimal incisions can be considered minimally invasive surgery. However, there are two main types that we will explore here. Both use technology inserted through small incisions or natural orifices to perform the operation. Which one is used depends on the specific protocol of a particular surgery.

Endoscopic Surgery

Benefits of Minimally Invasive Surgery Bulleted List - Arizona Gynecology Consultants

Endoscopic surgery involves making small incisions – often less than an inch each – and inserting a small tube equipped with a tiny camera, and other tubes with microsurgery tools as appropriate. The tube can also be inserted through a natural orifice, such as the mouth or cervix, depending on the location to be operated on and the type of surgery.

The camera allows the surgeon to see an enlarged view of the surgical area for clear viewing. The small surgical tools give the surgeon the ability to make very precise cuts and sutures.

Other terms you might hear used for this type of surgery include:

  • Laparoscopy
  • Hysteroscopy
  • Keyhole surgery

Robotic-Assisted Surgery

Like with endoscopic surgery, microscopic cameras and tools are inserted through small incisions. However, during robotic-assisted surgery, the surgeon operates from a console with controllers and a high-definition screen. When the surgeon makes a movement with the controllers, the computer makes the movement more precise.

Robotic-assisted surgery is appropriate for delicate surgeries that benefit from the computer’s ability to perform movements that are more precise than what the human hand is capable of.

With both types of MIS, the surgeon is still very much in control of the operation, regardless of the technology used.

Like all surgeries, minimally invasive surgeries require a professional surgery center and well-trained medical staff with experience performing these types of procedures. Anesthesia needs vary; your doctor will discuss your options with you.

Benefits of Minimally Invasive Surgery

MIS is generally considered safer and more effective than traditional open surgery. Benefits include:

  • Smaller incisions
  • Lower risk of infection
  • Reduced blood loss
  • Less pain
  • Minimized scarring
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Faster recovery time

The smaller incision means less healing time for the patient, and it reduces the chance of infection. This, in turn, leads to a shorter hospital stay and reduced expenses for the patient.

Professional women, in particular, enjoy the benefit of being able to rehabilitate to full capacity as quickly as possible, while still taking enough time for a full recovery after surgery.

How to Know If Minimally Invasive Surgery Is Right for You

Gynecological conditions that improve after minimally invasive surgery include:

  • Uterine fibroids
  • Endometriosis
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Cervical incompetence
  • Abnormal uterine bleeding
  • Pelvic pain

Minimally Invasive Gynecological Surgery in Phoenix, Arizona

Our experienced surgeons at Arizona Gynecology Consultants are well-practiced in advanced surgery techniques like minimally invasive surgery. Dr. Kelly Roy is our in-house specialist in gynecology and advanced endoscopy.

If you’ve been putting off a surgery or aren’t sure if your situation warrants surgery, make an appointment today to meet with one of our gynecological specialists. We have offices in multiple locations in the Phoenix area.

Whatever your surgical or reproductive needs, we’ll help you feel safe and well-cared for when you join the Arizona Gynecology Consultants family!

What is Menopause - Arizona Gynecology Consultants

What Is Menopause?

Menopause is a gradual process that eventually leads to the cessation of menstrual periods. Once a woman becomes menopausal, ovarian functions cease, and she will no longer be able to have children.

Menopause generally occurs in the early 50s, but some women can experience it as young as the 30s or as old as the 60s. There is currently no way to predict when a woman will experience menopause. The time at which a woman begins having menstrual periods is not an indication of when menopause will occur.

Women experience menopause differently, and it can be an emotional experience. The loss of the ability to have children will hit some women harder than others. A woman who has already given birth may not consider it as devastating, but a woman who has never had children and who experienced menopause earlier than usual may find the news crushing.

Symptoms of Menopause

Menopause generally includes three stages. The perimenopause stage is the onset of menopause, during which various negative symptoms may manifest.

The second stage is menopause, during which menstrual periods cease. The last stage is the postmenopausal stage, and women who have completely experienced menopause will sometimes need to make adjustments to this new reality.

First Stage: Perimenopause

Perimenopause can last for quite a long time and generally entails symptoms that prepare the woman’s body for menopause. During the years between the onset of perimenopause and menopause itself, women generally experience:

  • Low estrogen levels
  • Decreased sexual interest
  • Worsened premenstrual symptoms
  • Fatigue
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Breast tenderness
  • Hot flashes

Perimenopause lasts for about four to five years or until menopause occurs, which is when the ovaries stop releasing eggs altogether.

Second Stage: Menopause

The full onset of menopause refers to the cessation of menstrual cycles for one full year. During this time, women may experience a wide range of possible effects, and may develop other medical conditions as a result.

For example, some women develop osteoporosis or heart disease during menopause. Many women also experience:

  • Mood changes
  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal discomfort
  • Urinary problems

Doctors can provide customized treatment to individual patients to address their unique symptoms.

Final Stage: Post-Menopause

The term “postmenopausal” simply refers to women who have already reached menopause. Every woman will experience menopause and the postmenopausal stage differently.

Hormonal imbalances can lead to the appearance of more body hair in some women, as testosterone production continues while estrogen production diminishes. Some women experience weight fluctuations and changes in skin texture.

External Causes Of Menopause

Although every woman will inevitably experience menopause, some women experience it at earlier ages due to external influences. Some medical conditions and diseases may require surgeries that cause menopause to begin very soon thereafter. For example, a woman who must have a hysterectomy will experience menopause immediately afterward.

Women who experience menopause in this manner often report more significant symptoms than women who experience menopause naturally. However, some women who undergo surgical removal of the ovaries do not report any symptoms afterward.

 

Related Reading: How Long Does Menopause Last on Average?

 

Ovarian Complications

Some women will experience menopause early due to problems with the ovaries. If a woman develops ovarian cysts or ovarian cancer, her doctor may recommend surgical removal, which will then spur the onset of menopausal symptoms. Typical menopause entails a full year of cessation of ovarian function, so surgical removal of the ovaries will lead to menopause.

About 1 percent of all women experience premature ovarian failure – or ovarian failure before 40. Doctors cannot predict when this will occur and do not know for certain why it happens; many researchers suspect genetic links and autoimmune diseases as contributing factors.

Cancer Treatment

Women who develop some cancers and undergo radiation treatment and chemotherapy may also experience menopause sooner than expected. Depending on the location of the cancer and the treatments, an ovulating woman can experience menopause due to interference from these treatments.

Menopause symptoms may start during or immediately after cancer treatment, but some women do not report experiencing such symptoms for quite a long time after completing cancer treatment.

What Is Menopause: Treatment Options

Although some external factors can cause menopause early, naturally occurring menopause is a fact for every woman. While menopause is not a medical condition and does not require treatment, it can still produce negative symptoms for some women. Doctors can prescribe different medications to handle hot flashes, mood swings, cramps and other issues. Some women benefit from hormonal treatment.

Doses of estrogen can help make up for lost natural estrogen production. Women who experience vaginal dryness, unwanted hair growth and hot flashes can find relief with hormone therapy.

However, doctors are often hesitant to prescribe these options unless necessary, due to their links to increased risk of stroke, heart disease and breast cancer. Estrogen and progestin can increase these risks in different ways, and estrogen-based hormone therapy can lead to the development of endometrial cancer.

See Infographic on Remedies for Menopause

Finding the Right Solution for You

Every woman experiences menopause differently, and it’s vital for every woman to know the best options for handling the potentially unpleasant side effects of the different stages of menopause.

The providers who work with Arizona Gynecology Consultants have experience handling all aspects of menopause and postmenopausal health, so contact us for more information about resources in your area.