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    Finding a New Gynecologist When Yours Retires or Moves

    Finding a New Gynecologist When Yours Retires or Moves

    Receiving ongoing women’s health care services is an important part of staying healthy at any age. Many women see the same gynecologist from their teen years throughout their adult life. However, you may find yourself looking for a new provider if your current gynecologist retires or moves away.

    Woman with granddaughter smiling because she has a women's health care team helping her stay healthy.

    It’s essential to have a women’s health care team at your side to help you stay healthy for you and your loved ones.

    Finding a new gynecologist can feel pretty daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. In this article, we’ll go over some of the factors to consider when looking for a new health care team as well as the many benefits of choosing HerKare as your trusted women’s health clinic.

    Your Gynecologist is Important for Women’s Health Care Throughout Your Life

    Your gynecologist is an important part of your health care team. When you think of a gynecologist, you probably think of gynecological care like pelvic exams and Pap tests. However, they often provide so much more.

    Gynecologists often look at your overall health and can help with many diagnostic and preventative needs. They frequently help you understand what types of tests and screenings you need at each phase of life, discuss your risk factors for common conditions, and also provide ongoing care for any symptoms or conditions you have.

    Therefore, it’s important to make sure you always have somewhere to turn for your health care needs. This can help you address and manage your health throughout your life.

    How to Find a New Women’s Health Care Provider if Your Gynecologist Retires or Moves

    If your gynecologist is retiring or moving, you might find yourself at a loss for where to turn for your women’s health care needs. In many cases, your current gynecologist may be the only one you have seen throughout your life.

    When searching for a new gynecologist, it’s important to consider many different factors. This can help you choose the right person for your needs. Here are some tips we have for finding your new women’s health care provider:

    Look for Great Reviews

    One of the first things to check is how other people feel about your potential new providers. Checking out their reviews, both online and word-of-mouth, can help you get an idea of how they care for their patients.

    Good reviews are typically a good sign that the women’s health care providers offer quality care and a good bedside manner. So, ask your friends and family members who they see and make sure to check reviews from other sources so you can get a sense of what to expect. Looking at other women’s experiences can also help you narrow down who to choose as your new providers.

    Choose a Team that Makes You Comfortable

    With any health care provider, it’s essential to choose people who help you feel comfortable. After all, your women’s health care team is who you will discuss many important aspects of your health with, including gynecological symptoms, menopause symptoms, and any conditions that you have.

    If you don’t feel comfortable talking about your health or if you feel uneasy during exams, then it will be harder to get the care you need to stay healthy. Therefore, you want to choose providers that help you feel safe and able to talk about any part of your health.

    Consider Your Current and Future Women’s Health Care Needs

    One common mistake many women make when choosing a new women’s health care provider is selecting someone based only on their current health care needs. However, it helps to choose a team that can help you at every stage of life.

    For instance, in your premenopausal years, you might need to discuss and manage birth control options. However, also consider that eventually you will need care for menopause through things like hormone therapy. Therefore, when choosing a new gynecological care provider, don’t forget to consider if they will be able to help you with menopausal care.

    Why Choose HerKare Women’s Health Clinic As Your New Providers

    There are many reasons women of all ages are choosing our women’s health clinic for their go-to source for health care. If your gynecologist retires or moves, consider our team for a continuum of care throughout your life. Here are some of the advantages of working with HerKare to address your health now and in the future:

    Our Women’s Health Care Providers Offer Experienced Care for All Stages of Life, Including Menopause

    Gynecological care is important at every stage of life, from puberty onward. Yet, your health care needs do change over time. One way we help women stay healthy is by providing customized health care that fits your needs at every phase of life.

    Our team can help with everything from birth control management and breast exams to menopause treatment to help you at any age. This means you don’t need to worry about switching to different providers every time your health care needs change. We take care of you at any age.

    Many Gynecologists Don’t Receive Training for Menopause Care – Choose Providers Who Understand

    It’s important to note that our team providers menopause care because so many healthcare providers lack training on menopause. Some studies have even found that one in four of the women who seek help for their menopause symptoms don’t receive proper treatment. This may be due to the fact that many education programs for health care providers don’t include much training on menopause.

    As a result, many providers don’t feel comfortable with the topic of menopause, aren’t familiar with the symptoms, and aren’t up to date on the treatment options available. Since menopause can come with many debilitating symptoms as well as increases for serious, life-threatening health conditions like heart disease and osteoporosis, it’s crucial to choose providers who do have experience with menopause care. When you choose HerKare as your treatment provider, you can rest easy knowing we offer complete care for your perimenopausal, menopausal, and postmenopausal years.

    We Address Your Health as a Whole

    Gynecological care is important, but it’s not the only thing you need to worry about. That’s why we offer comprehensive health solutions for women. We take a holistic approach to health care, meaning we look for underlying conditions that may be causing your symptoms.

    Our team offers treatment services for a wide range of health concerns, including sleep apnea, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Therefore, when you choose our women’s health clinic for your health care needs, we take care of your total health and well-being.

    Never Worry About Being Left Without a Provider with Our Women’s Health Clinic

    When an individual gynecologist retires or moves, their patients are often left in the lurch searching for a new provider. However, our patients continue to receive top quality health care solutions at every step of the way. If one of our providers moves or retires, then you get peace of mind that there will be someone else to seamlessly step in and continue to provide you with the care you need.

    Get Women’s Health Care at Multiple Locations

    We’ve talked a lot about gynecologists moving, but what happens if you need to relocate? The good news is that we have multiple locations to serve you with caring, quality women’s health care. You can find us in locations throughout Texas to continue to receive great care from our team.

    Get Compassionate, Quality Women’s Health Care from HerKare

    For your single source for women’s health care, choose our team at HerKare. We are a women’s health clinic dedicated to empowering women to take control of their health. Our providers make sure you feel heard and help you through personalized treatment plans. Take care of yourself today, contact us now to make an appointment at one of our convenient clinic locations.

    Visit Our Women’s Health Clinic for Gynecological Symptoms

    Visit Our Women’s Health Clinic for Gynecological Symptoms

    A common reason you might visit our women’s health clinic is for gynecological care. This is a type of women’s health care that primarily addresses your reproductive organs, though we can discuss your health as a whole to help you feel like your best self. In addition to regular gynecological checkups and preventative care during your annual well woman appointment, you may also need to make an appointment for certain gynecological symptoms. Let’s talk about some of the symptoms that signal it’s time to see our team for a gynecological visit.

    Visit Our Women’s Health Clinic for Changes in Your Gynecological Health

    Woman smiling with man because she found a women's health clinic that is right for her

    Visit our women’s health clinic if you notice a change in your gynecological health.

    Our women’s health care providers are here to help you get the health care you need. This includes gynecological services. Most women start getting a gynecological exam in their teens and continue to do so yearly throughout their lives. This helps with early detection for many uncomfortable and potentially life-threatening conditions. It can also help you feel your best at each phase of your life, from pre-menopause to post-menopause.

    Yet, many women delay visiting their providers when they notice changes in their gynecological health. We understand. You live a busy life, and some people feel embarrassed to talk about their symptoms. However, it’s important that you do visit our women’s health clinic if you notice any gynecological symptoms or changes. This can help us identify and treat the issue early. Our team is dedicated to making your appointment as comfortable and convenient as possible. As a clinic run by women for women, we will listen to your symptoms and provide quality care for your concerns.

    Signs to Schedule a Gynecological Appointment at Our Women’s Health Clinic

    It can be easy to dismiss your gynecological symptoms in some cases. This is a common reason why women wait to see our women’s health care providers. Symptoms may not seem very urgent at the time, but they are often the first sign of trouble. Without treatment, symptoms do tend to get worse, as do the underlying conditions causing them. Therefore, it’s best to make an appointment at our women’s health clinic as soon as you notice any symptoms. Here are common signs that you should visit our team for gynecological care:

    Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding and How to Get Help from our Team

    One gynecological symptom that many women ignore is abnormal vaginal bleeding. While it’s usually not caused by a serious condition, it’s still important to get an exam to make sure. Abnormal vaginal bleeding may be a side effect of hormonal birth control, but it can also point to more serious conditions. For instance, abnormal bleeding can also be a symptom of hormone changes, pelvic infections, cysts, fibroids, or polyps. It can also be an early warning sign of gynecological cancer. While this is less common, many studies show that a majority of women with gynecological cancer had abnormal vaginal bleeding. Therefore, it’s important to visit our women’s health clinic for any bleeding that’s out of the ordinary, including any vaginal bleeding after menopause.

    Really Painful Periods Should be Checked by a Provider

    For many women, periods are uncomfortable. Cramps, bloating, headaches, and mood changes are all common symptoms you might experience during your menstrual cycle. However, if you’re experiencing severe pain or PMS symptoms that interfere with everyday life, then you should talk to one of our women’s health care providers. Extreme period symptoms can be due to a number of health conditions, such as premenstrual dysphoric disorder or endometriosis.

    Vaginal Odor or Changes in Discharge Should be Checked by a Healthcare Provider

    Changes in discharge can also be a sign it’s time to get gynecological care. Some amount of discharge is normal. It’s how your vagina cleans itself. However, if you notice changes in the smell, amount, or texture of your discharge, it might signal a health issue, like a vaginal infection. Any time you notice a foul odor, significant increases in the amount of discharge you have, or if the discharge looks green, yellow, thick, or cottage cheese texture, see one of our providers.

    Bumps or Blisters on the Vulva Should be Addressed by a Women’s Health Care Provider

    If you notice any bumps, lumps, or lesions on the vulva, this can also be a sign of an underlying health condition. Many women chalk small bumps up to ingrown hairs or another minor issue. However, they can be an early symptom of something more concerning, including sexually transmitted infections, skin infections, cysts, or, more rarely, vulvar cancer.

    Gynecological Pain, Swelling, Redness, or Itching Means a Women’s Health Care Visit

    Another sign to visit our women’s health clinic for gynecological services is if you notice any pain, swelling, redness, or itching in the vagina or on the vulva. These generally indicate some type of inflammation in the area, which may be due to many different things. For instance, you might have these issues if you have a sexually transmitted infection, a vaginal infection, or even an allergic reaction to condoms or other materials that come in contact with your vulva and vagina.

    Painful Sex Means a Visit to Our Women’s Health Clinic

    Unfortunately, many women tolerate painful sex without getting gynecological care for their symptoms. If you frequently experience pain during sex, this can also be a sign of a bigger issue. For some, it may be simply vaginal dryness, which is common during menopause, which can be treated with hormone therapy or vaginal lubricants. However, painful sex can also indicate things like endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, or vaginal infections. Our women’s health care providers are here to help identify and treat underlying causes so you can have a more enjoyable and fulfilling sex life.

    Changes in Your Cycle? Get an Exam from our Women’s Health Care Providers

    Any time you notice changes in your menstrual cycle, you should talk to your doctor about it. Depending on your age, it may be a sign of perimenopause. Stress can also cause changes in your cycle. However, it’s important to discuss your symptoms with our providers. If you notice that your period is longer, shorter, heavier, or has stopped, it’s a good idea to make an appointment. In addition, if your cycles become shorter than 21 days or longer than 35 days, this is also a sign to get a gynecological exam and discuss your symptoms with our team.

    Pelvic Pain May Need Gynecological Care

    Pelvic pressure or pain that is different from period cramps is another symptom that many women ignore. However, there are treatments available depending on the cause. For instance, if it’s primarily due to tight muscles, we may recommend different exercises to help relax those muscles. Pelvic pain can also be a warning sign of pelvic inflammatory disease, fibroids, ovarian cysts, and other health issues.

    Make an Appointment at HerKare for Gynecological Care

    Our team at HerKare is dedicated to providing quality health care solutions for women. If you need gynecological services for preventative care or for concerning symptoms, our providers are here to help with diagnosis, treatment, and treatment optimization. Our team offers holistic health care for women to address your well-being as a whole and help you feel your best. Schedule a gynecological appointment online now with our providers!

    Women’s Health Care: Gynecological Exams After Menopause

    Women’s Health Care: Gynecological Exams After Menopause

    For comprehensive women’s health care, women should get regular gynecological exams. Yet, many women do not get regular exams after menopause because they believe they no longer need them. We’re here to set the record straight and explain why you should continue to schedule gynecological exams and what to expect from these exams once you have reached menopause.

    Women’s Health Care After Menopause is Important

    mature woman reading wondering about what women's health care services she needs

    Gynecological exams after menopause are important, so talk to our women’s health care providers about your gynecological health.

    It’s a commonly held misconception that women no longer need gynecological exams or well woman checkups after menopause. Most experts recommend continuing annual gynecological exams after menopause (yes, even if you’ve had a hysterectomy). Gynecological exams are part of preventative women’s health care. Just as you should continue seeing your dentist for checkups, it’s also important to continue to visit your gynecologist for preventative care and treatment. Taking part in health care can help you stay healthy and feel your best as you age.

    Gynecological Exams are Essential for Women’s Health Care at Every Age

    Gynecological exams are important health exams for women. Most health experts recommend getting a gynecological exam at least once per year for women of all ages. Even after menopause, regular gynecological exams are important for getting the health screenings and care you need to continue to stay healthy and help with early detection of health conditions.

    What Does a Gynecological Exam Include?

    Our providers tailor gynecological services to you based on your medical history and other factors. However, generally a gynecological exam includes several different tests and exams rolled into one appointment.

    One common part of your annual gynecological exam is the pelvic exam. This is where our provider examines your genitals, vagina, and pelvic organs both externally and internally. This exam is to help the doctor determine the overall health of your pelvic organs, such as your:

    • Uterus
    • Vagina
    • Cervix
    • Fallopian tubes
    • Ovaries
    • Bladder
    • Rectum

    Typically our providers will also conduct a breast exam and may recommend mammograms. We also use the gynecological exam as an opportunity to talk about your overall health and take readings of your vital signs to look for any signs of potential illness. During this time, our women’s health care team also typically asks about any symptoms you’ve been experiencing. Your exam may also include several recommended health screenings, such as a Pap test to screen for cervical cancer. Therefore, a gynecological exam involves many different “pieces” to help address your health.

    Why Visit Your Women’s Health Clinic for Gynecological Exams after Menopause?

    You no longer have a period, so why continue to schedule gynecological exams after menopause? Well, these exams address much more than just menstrual or even reproductive health. According to the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, it’s important to continue to visit a gynecologist after menopause. Gynecological exams can help you address your health through regular health screenings and looking for underlying causes of symptoms you experience.

    Important Health Screenings During Gynecological Exams

    Scheduling regular gynecological exams at our women’s health clinic also helps you get the health screenings and preventative care you need. Screenings help assess your risk for certain health conditions and can also help with early detection and treatment. Many of the health screenings you receive during your gynecological exam look for signs of potentially serious or life-threatening conditions, which is another reason why experts recommend continuing gynecological care after menopause.

    In many cases, you will also need regular Pap tests even after menopause. Current recommendations are to get a Pap test at least every three years between the ages of 21 and 65. After 65, you may be able to stop getting tests if you have had three consecutive negative Pap tests or at least two negative HPV tests in the last ten years. Our women’s health care providers can help you determine if you can stop getting regular Pap tests based on your individual risks.

    Even if you no longer need a Pap test, you may still need regular pelvic exams. Regular pelvic exams can help find signs of issues with your pelvic organs. For instance, during a pelvic exam our doctor may look for signs of ovarian cysts, STIs, uterine fibroids, and cancer in your pelvic organs. Many experts recommend getting regular pelvic exams after menopause as part of preventative care.

    Depending on your individual circumstances, our providers may also recommend other health screenings during your gynecological exam. We offer personalized services and recommendations to help you address your health.

    Discuss Your Gynecological Symptoms with Our Women’s Health Care Providers

    Another reason to continue scheduling gynecological exams after menopause is to talk about your symptoms with our health professionals. According to one study published in the North American Menopause Society’s journal Menopause, over half of women experience gynecological symptoms after menopause. Yet, many don’t seek help for these issues.

    The study surveyed hundreds of post-menopausal women and found that 51% of them experienced symptoms such as itching, irritation, dryness, discharge, and odor. For 40% of those women, their symptoms caused emotional distress. Also, 33% said symptoms impacted their lifestyles. For those who were sexually active, 76% said symptoms interfered with their sex life. Despite these symptoms and effects, about one-third of the women hadn’t seen a gynecologist in two years. From the study, the researchers suggested getting regular gynecological exams and discussing any symptoms you experience.

    In many cases, our women’s health care providers can help treat the underlying causes of your symptoms to help you find relief. For example, many women experience bladder symptoms such as frequency, urgency, urinary incontinence, or even burning while urinating. Many of these symptoms can be tied to vaginal atrophy, where the walls of your vagina become thin and dry, which is common after menopause.

    Treating your vaginal atrophy can often help with not only your vaginal symptoms, but your bladder symptoms as well. This is just one example of how discussing your symptoms with our team can help you find treatment solutions personalized to you.

    Not only can symptoms interfere with your quality of life, but they can also be a sign of something more serious. For instance, bleeding after menopause can be a warning sign of anything from non-cancerous polyps to endometrial cancer. Talking to our providers about symptoms may help with early detection of serious health conditions.

    HerKare – Empowering Women Through Quality Women’s Health Care

    Getting quality health care is important at every age, including after menopause. Our team at HerKare provides you with quality care at every stage of life. We are here to help you take care of your overall health, whether you need preventative care or are experiencing worrying symptoms. We believe in empowering women by providing them with the personalized health care solutions they need to feel their best. Schedule a gynecological exam at one of our convenient locations or make an appointment for our other treatment services to learn how we can make a difference for you.

    Talk to Your Gynecologist about Postmenopausal Bleeding

    Talk to Your Gynecologist about Postmenopausal Bleeding

    Any type of vaginal bleeding after menopause is a sign to visit our gynecologist. Vaginal bleeding is not normal after you have reached menopause, which is 12 months without a period. If you’re experiencing postmenopausal bleeding, this is typically a symptom of an underlying health conditions, some of which can be serious or life-threatening. Let’s talk about what to do if you noticed postmenopausal bleeding, what to expect at our clinic, and some common causes of vaginal bleeding after menopause.

    Vaginal Bleeding After Menopause? Visit our Gynecologist

    woman sitting alone wondering if she needs to see a gynecologist for postmenopausal bleeding

    Vaginal bleeding after menopause isn’t normal. Your gynecologist can help address your symptoms.

    Any time you experience vaginal bleeding after menopause, it’s important to discuss your symptoms with a women’s health care professional. While there is no reason to panic, you should take abnormal vaginal bleeding seriously, whether you’re experiencing light spotting or heavy flow.

    An estimated 4% to 11% of women experience postmenopausal bleeding for one reason or another. Many women mistakenly believe that a little bleeding after menopause is no cause for concern and put off getting healthcare. However, we advise scheduling a gynecological services appointment as soon as possible to talk about your symptoms. While it may be something benign, postmenopausal bleeding can also be a sign of serious conditions like endometrial cancer. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so talk to one of our providers about abnormal bleeding.

    What Will the Gynecologist Do for Postmenopausal Bleeding?

    It’s understandable that you might be concerned about visiting our gynecologist to talk about postmenopausal bleeding. We realize that knowing what to expect during your appointment can help you feel more prepared and may help you feel better before and during your appointment. If you’re experiencing vaginal bleeding after menopause, our treatment providers may recommend a few things to help with diagnosis. In addition to talking about your symptoms, medical history, and relevant family history, the gynecologist may recommend different exams and procedures to help find the root cause.

    Our Gynecologist will Likely Perform a Pelvic Exam

    If you’re experiencing abnormal vaginal bleeding, our gynecologist will typically perform a pelvic exam. Pelvic exams can help our providers assess the health of your reproductive organs, like the vagina, uterus, cervix, and ovaries. During the exam, our provider may also screen for cervical cancer with a Pap test if you have abnormal vaginal bleeding.

    Our Gynecologist May Recommend an Ultrasound

    In some cases, our gynecologist may recommend a pelvic ultrasound to get a closer look at your pelvic and to help determine the source of your postmenopausal bleeding. This ultrasound may be abdominal or it may be transvaginal. Transvaginal ultrasounds use a thin imaging “wand” placed inside the vagina to get more detailed pictures of your pelvic organs.

    Our Gynecologist May Recommend Diagnostic Surgery

    While less common, sometimes our doctors may recommend a diagnostic surgery called a hysteroscopy. This procedure allows the doctor to look inside your uterus with a small camera to look for potential causes of postmenopausal bleeding. During the procedure, the doctor may also take a tissue sample to send to the lab for testing to help diagnose the source of your abnormal vaginal bleeding.

    Talk to Our Gynecologist about Possible Causes of Postmenopausal Bleeding

    There may be many causes of your postmenopausal bleeding. Some of these causes are more serious than others. Visiting our women’s health clinic can help identify underlying causes of your postmenopausal vaginal bleeding and help determine a course of treatment to help relieve your symptoms.

    Uterine or Cervical Polyps

    Polyps are small, noncancerous growths. If you’re suffering from vaginal bleeding after menopause, polyps in the uterus or cervix may be to blame. Polyps can easily become irritated and bleed, which can lead to spotting or even heavy vaginal bleeding. Uterine and cervical polyps are pretty common and are unlikely to become malignant, but when they cause symptoms like vaginal bleeding, generally gynecologists recommend removing them with a surgical procedure.

    Vaginal Atrophy

    Low estrogen levels during menopause can cause vaginal atrophy, which is where the skin becomes thin and dry. Vaginal atrophy can make the vagina more delicate and more prone to tears which can lead to vaginal bleeding. For instance, if you experience vaginal bleeding after sex, it may be due to friction. If this is the cause of your postmenopausal bleeding, our treatment providers may recommend vaginal moisturizers, vaginal estrogen, or lubricants to help.

    Thickening Uterine Lining

    In some cases, you may experience endometrial thickening after menopause that causes vaginal bleeding. This is called endometrial hyperplasia and while it is not cancer, it can increase your risk for endometrial or uterine cancer. Depending on your risk factors, our gynecologist may recommend taking progesterone to thin out your uterine lining. For women with higher risks for cancer, you may consider a hysterectomy as treatment.

    Some Medications

    Certain medications can also cause vaginal bleeding as a side effect. For instance, some women experience postmenopausal bleeding when taking blood thinners. Postmenopausal women taking hormone replacement therapy can experience vaginal bleeding as a side effect for the first six months of treatment. If you’re experiencing bleeding after menopause due to medications, we may explore changing your medications or recommend closely monitoring your symptoms to see if they change or get worse to determine if you may benefit from changing medications.

    Infections

    While rarer, endometrial infections can cause inflammation and vaginal bleeding after menopause. Doctors will generally prescribe antibiotics to help treat bacterial uterine infections. After treatment, your symptoms such as abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge should improve.

    Sexually Transmitted Infections

    Another rare cause of postmenopausal bleeding are sexually transmitted infections. Infections like chlamydia or gonorrhea can cause inflammation that may lead to abnormal vaginal bleeding. In these cases, treating the STI generally stops the postmenopausal bleeding.

    Endometrial Cancer

    While it’s rare, postmenopausal bleeding can be a sign of endometrial cancer. Endometrial cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the lining of the uterus. About 10% of women who experience postmenopausal bleeding have endometrial cancer. However, an estimated 90% of women with endometrial cancer experience postmenopausal vaginal bleeding. Therefore, while endometrial cancer isn’t a common cause of postmenopausal bleeding, it can be an early warning sign of endometrial cancer. When caught early, the five-year survival rate is approximately 95%. In later stages, the survival rate is much lower. Because of the seriousness of endometrial cancer, most doctors recommend visiting a gynecologist to talk about postmenopausal bleeding and any other symptoms you’re experiencing.

    Gynecological and Women’s Health Care from HerKare

    Our health professionals at HerKare are here to empower you to take control of your health. We provide total women’s health care for every stage of life. Whether you need preventative care or are experiencing concerning symptoms, we offer quality care in our warm, welcoming clinics. As a clinic owned and operated by women for women, we are here to provide health care that suits your lifestyle. Make an appointment at one of our clinics today.

    What to Know About Vaginal Yeast Infections

    What to Know About Vaginal Yeast Infections

    An estimated 75% of women will experience at least one vaginal yeast infection during their lifetimes. Some women experience yeast infections more frequently during and after menopause, often due to hormone changes. In some cases, other conditions you might experience during menopause can also increase the risk for vaginal infections like yeast infections. If you’re experiencing yeast infection symptoms, schedule a gynecological services appointment with our team to discuss diagnosis and treatment. Let’s go over some information you should know about yeast infections to help protect your health. 

    What is a Vaginal Yeast Infection?

    woman smiling after getting gynecological services for chronic yeast infections

    Vaginal yeast infections are an overgrowth of yeast. Gynecological services can help with diagnosis and treatment of yeast infections.

    First and foremost, you might be wondering what a vaginal yeast infection is. Many of us have heard of them or even experienced them without really knowing what they are. To understand what a yeast infection is, it’s important to understand that the vagina is like its own ecosystem. A healthy vagina typically has an acidic pH with a balance of bacteria and yeast. Those bacteria and yeast actually help keep your vagina healthy! However, if the balance between them gets thrown off for one reason or another, then the yeast cells can start to multiply and take over. When this happens, you experience a yeast infection. If you think you have a yeast infection, gynecological services can help diagnose the problem and one of our providers can prescribe treatment for the yeast infection.

    Symptoms of Yeast Infections

    There are many signs that can point to a yeast infection. Some common symptoms include:

    • Itching
    • Swelling
    • Redness
    • Pain during sex
    • Burning during urination
    • Soreness
    • Rash
    • White, clumpy discharge (like cottage cheese)
    • Watery discharge 

    However, it’s also important to keep in mind that other conditions can cause similar symptoms. This can make self-diagnosis tricky, which is why we recommend visiting one of our gynecological service providers if you’re experiencing yeast infection symptoms.

    Causes of Yeast Infections

    There are many potential causes of yeast infections. For instance, taking certain antibiotics can raise your risk for yeast infections because they can reduce the number of healthy bacteria in your vagina responsible for keeping yeast cells in check. Other common causes include stress, lack of sleep, and uncontrolled blood sugar if you have diabetes. 

    Hormone imbalances may also be a risk factor for yeast infections. Hormones can have a pretty big impact on your vagina’s delicate microbiome. Fluctuations in estrogen can lead to an overgrowth of yeast and eventually a yeast infection. Therefore, some women notice that they get yeast infections more often during perimenopause when hormone levels start to change. During this time period, vaginal atrophy is also pretty common, which can also increase your risk for vaginal infections. We’ll discuss these common menopause-related causes in more depth a little later. 

    In many cases it can be difficult to determine the exact cause of your yeast infection. Also, in some cases they may not be preventable. It’s important to talk to one of our gynecological treatment providers about your symptoms and what you can do to help avoid yeast infections. Some general tips involve following good hygiene practices, keeping your vulva clean and dry, and avoiding potentially irritating things like scented bath products. Our treatment providers can help determine other changes that may help your specific situation.

    Why Get Gynecological Services for Yeast Infections?

    Some women choose to self-diagnose and self-treat yeast infections with over the counter medications. However, our team generally recommends scheduling an appointment with a gynecological services provider if you think you have a yeast infection. 

    There are several reasons to visit one of our treatment providers for a yeast infection. Self-diagnosing a yeast infection can be quite difficult. Several studies have found that women frequently misdiagnose themselves with yeast infections. One study showed evidence that only 34% of the study participants who purchased over-the-counter yeast infection treatments had accurately diagnosed themselves with a yeast infection.

    Many other conditions can have similar symptoms to yeast infections. For instance, bacterial vaginosis, urinary tract infections, or even allergies from soaps or skincare products. Seeing a doctor can help rule out other causes of your symptoms and help verify that you have a yeast infection. One way to diagnose a yeast infection is to perform a lab test of your discharge to look for an overgrowth of yeast cells. 

    In addition, most over-the-counter yeast infection treatments are geared toward the most common type of yeast that causes yeast infections. However, some women may have a yeast infection from another type of yeast. Therefore, OTC treatments may not work for you if your yeast infection is due to another strain of yeast. In these cases, one of our providers can help identify the specific type of yeast and prescribe treatments specifically for that type of yeast infection. This can help you get the right type of treatment rather than deal with ongoing symptoms from using the incorrect anti-fungal treatments.

    Can Menopause Lead to Yeast Infections?

    Vaginal yeast infections can occur at any age. However, some women notice they get more yeast infections during and after menopause. Some common conditions you may experience during menopause can increase your risk for yeast infections. In addition, some of the symptoms of menopause can make you more vulnerable to yeast infections.

    Vaginal Atrophy

    We mentioned vaginal atrophy earlier as a potential risk factor for vaginal infections. Vaginal atrophy occurs when the tissues of your vagina become thin and dry. It’s pretty common with low estrogen levels during and after menopause. Vaginal atrophy may increase the risk for yeast infections, as it can change your vagina’s pH, bacterial levels, and yeast levels. These changes from vaginal atrophy can make your vagina more vulnerable to yeast overgrowth and yeast infections.

    Also, some women even mistake vaginal atrophy symptoms for yeast infections. Vaginal atrophy can cause itching, irritation, pain during sex, and several other similar symptoms to yeast infections. This can lead some women to believe they have a yeast infection when they don’t. Gynecological services such as a pelvic exam and lab testing of vaginal discharge can help determine if you have a yeast infection or if there may be other causes of your symptoms. 

    Other Common Conditions During Menopause that can Lead to Yeast Infections

    Also, there are other conditions you might experience during menopause that can increase your risk for yeast infections. For instance, many women experience frequent urinary tract infections during menopause due to low estrogen levels and vaginal atrophy. The most common treatment for UTIs involves taking antibiotics, which, as we mentioned earlier, can increase the risk for yeast infections. If you’re struggling with frequent UTIs after menopause, you may also experience more frequent yeast infections due to the antibiotics. 

    In addition, poor sleep can lower your immune system and increase your risk for yeast infections. Many women experience poor sleep during menopause due to hot flashes and night sweats. Frequent sleep issues during menopause may lead to vaginal yeast infections as well. Therefore, there may be many factors at play if you’re experiencing yeast infections during menopause, such as menopause symptoms that can affect your health. 

    Gynecological Services Can Help Address Underlying Causes of Yeast Infections

    Sometimes yeast infections just happen, but symptoms should go away with treatment. However, if you have four or more yeast infections per year, you might have chronic yeast infections. This is important to discuss with one of our women’s health care providers, as there may be underlying causes to chronic yeast infections.

    Treating underlying conditions may help reduce the number of yeast infections you get. For instance, if you’re struggling with vaginal atrophy after menopause, we may recommend estrogen or vaginal creams to help moisturize and thicken vaginal tissues, which may help reduce the number of yeast infections you experience. In other cases, our providers may recommend taking yeast infection medications for a longer period of time to help with chronic yeast infections.

    One of the first steps toward getting help for frequent yeast infections is scheduling an appointment for gynecological services from our team. Our providers can go over your medical history, symptoms, and perform examinations and tests to determine if there may be underlying causes to your yeast infections. 

    Quality Women’s Health Care and Gynecological Services at HerKare

    Our professionals at HerKare are here to help you feel your best, whether you have chronic yeast infections or need preventative well woman care. We are a women’s health clinic owned and managed by women. We take time to listen and understand what you’re feeling to help provide quality care for a wide range of conditions, from gynecological concerns to menopause symptoms. Make an appointment today to discuss how we can help you address your health.

    Gynecological Exams After a Hysterectomy

    Gynecological Exams After a Hysterectomy

    Even if you have had a hysterectomy, gynecological exams are still important! Many women don’t realize that they still need regular gynecological care even after a hysterectomy. Skipping your exams may mean skipping important health screenings and preventative care. Talk to one of our treatment providers about your situation. They recommend regular gynecological exams based on your circumstances and risks. 

    What’s Included in a Gynecological Exam?

    gynecological exams help you stay healthy even after hysterectomy

    Gynecological exams help you address your health, even if you have had a hysterectomy.

    Before we discuss why you may still need gynecological exams after a hysterectomy, let’s talk about what a gynecological exam is. These exams address the female anatomy and reproductive system. They are an important part of regular well woman care.  

    Gynecological exams may be different for everyone and tailored to your individual risks. They may include a pelvic exam, a pap test, and other well woman care like general health questions and screenings. One of our treatment providers can discuss your medical history, family history, and other factors with you to determine appropriate screenings and exams during a gynecological exam. 

    Pelvic Exam

    A pelvic exam involves a few different steps to assess the health of your pelvic organs. The exam may start with an external exam of the vulva, vagina, and surrounding area. This can help detect visual signs of things like cysts, abnormal discharge, irritation, and other potential gynecological issues. The doctor may also look for signs of warts or potentially cancerous skin growths.

    The pelvic exam may also include a manual exam where your provider will put one or two gloved and lubricated fingers into your vagina and press on your abdomen with their other hand. This can help assess a few things, such as the size of your ovaries and fallopian tubes. The manual exam may help detect signs of ovarian cysts or tumors. Also, it may help assess for any pain or tenderness, which might be the result of an infection or another condition.

    In addition, your pelvic exam might also include a speculum exam. The speculum is a tool made of metal or plastic that helps open the vagina. This can help allow our treatment provider to see the walls of your vagina and the cervix (if you still have a cervix after a partial hysterectomy). During the speculum portion of the pelvic exam, your provider may also take samples of discharge from your cervix. This can help with testing for things like sexually transmitted infections. In addition, they may also take samples of cervical cells for a pap test or HPV test.

    Pap Test

    A pap test is a screening used to look for signs of cervical cancer. The test involves collecting cells from your cervix and analyzing them in the lab for abnormalities. Abnormal cervical cells can be one of the first signs of cancer or precancerous cells. In some cases the doctor may also use the same sample from the pap test to perform an HPV test to look for the HPV virus, which can increase the risk for cervical cancer. 

    In some cases, you may not need pap tests after a hysterectomy. For instance, if you have had a complete hysterectomy (where the surgeon removed both the uterus and the cervix) for reasons not related to cancer and you have a history of normal pap tests, then you may not need to continue getting pap tests. This is a conversation you can have with one of our providers based on your health, history, and risk factors. 

    Other Healthcare Screenings

    Depending on your unique circumstances, your gynecological exam may also include other screenings. For instance, our providers may recommend a breast exam, bone density screening, and other tests to address your health. 

    Breast exams can help screen for breast cancer. The doctor feels the breast and may do a visual exam to look for changes in the breast tissue and skin. For example, lumps or abnormal discharge that might point to breast cancer. For women over 45 years old, most doctors recommend regular mammograms to screen for signs of breast cancer as well. In some cases a mammogram may require a separate appointment from your annual gynecological exam.

    Our providers may also recommend other health exams or screenings when you come in for a gynecological exam. These may be based on your individual circumstances and risks. For example, they may recommend bone density scans to look for early signs or risk factors of osteoporosis. Other screenings might include cholesterol screenings, hormone level tests, or body composition assessments to help you address your health as a whole. 

    Why Do I Still Need a Gynecological Exam After a Hysterectomy?

    A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that removes all or part of the uterus. There are a few different types of hysterectomy procedures. Depending on the type of hysterectomy, the surgeon may also remove the cervix, ovaries, fallopian tubes, the upper part of the vagina, and nearby lymph nodes. It’s a common misconception that women who have had a hysterectomy no longer need gynecological exams. However, regular pelvic exams are still an important part of preventative care for many women, even if they no longer have a uterus.

    Cancer Screenings

    One important reason to talk to your doctor about whether you need regular gynecological exams is because providers may perform several cancer screenings during the exam. Even if you no longer need a pap test after a hysterectomy to look for signs of cervical cancer, our providers may perform other cancer screenings during a gynecological exam. For instance, providers may look for signs of cancer on the vagina, vulva, ovaries, and other organs. While a hysterectomy can decrease your risk for some types of cancer, you may still need regular screenings. For instance, even if your ovaries were removed, there is a small chance that leftover ovarian cells could become cancerous after the hysterectomy.

    Sexual Health

    Another reason our treatment providers may recommend regular gynecological exams after a hysterectomy is to help monitor your sexual health. This may include treatment plans for vaginal dryness that makes intercourse uncomfortable, regular testing for sexually transmitted diseases, and other care to help you have a safe, healthy, and enjoyable sex life. 

    Screenings for Pelvic Organs 

    Gynecological exams also check many other pelvic organs, such as the bladder, rectum, and other organs in the pelvic area. Gynecological exams may be part of a multifaceted strategy for checking pelvic organ health. One common condition that your treatment provider may detect during a gynecological exam is pelvic organ prolapse, where the pelvic floor weakens and allows the pelvic organs to slip down and bulge into the vagina. 

    Some Symptoms that May Warrant a Gynecological Exam

    In addition to regular well woman appointments with gynecological screenings, you may also need to schedule an appointment for a gynecological exam due to symptoms you experience. Some of these symptoms may be signs of a health condition, so our providers may recommend a gynecological exam to help identify underlying causes of your symptoms and to help rule out other health issues. Some symptoms to talk to our medical providers about include:

    • Abnormal bleeding
    • Abnormal discharge
    • Pelvic pain
    • Vaginal odor
    • Vaginal soreness, itching, or irritation
    • Sores in the genital area
    • Urinary symptoms
      • Frequency
      • Urgency
      • Leaks

    Healthcare At Every Stage of Life from HerKare

    As a clinic operated by women for women, our team at HerKare is here to offer compassionate care at every stage of life. Whether you need regular well woman exams and birth control management or are wondering what types of exams you need after menopause, we are here to help. Our goal is to help empower you to prioritize your health by providing quality health care and a team that listens. Book an appointment now to discuss your health with our providers!