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    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!

    Kegel Exercises & Menopause: Exercise the Pelvic Floor

    Kegel Exercises & Menopause: Exercise the Pelvic Floor

    Did you know doing Kegel exercises after menopause offers many benefits? Many women’s health care professionals recommend women do these pelvic floor exercises daily to help prevent many common issues during menopause. Talk to our provider about whether Kegel exercises are right for you and how to include them in your lifestyle.

    middle aged woman sitting on porch drinking coffee smiling after talking to a women's health care provider about her health

    Talk to our women’s health care professionals about Kegel exercises. They may help prevent uncomfortable symptoms and conditions during menopause.

    What Are Kegel Exercises? Why Might a Women’s Health Care Provider Recommend Them?

    Never heard of Kegel exercises before? These are essentially exercises to help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor helps support the organs in your pelvis, such as the uterus, bladder, rectum, and vagina. 

    With age, these muscles can start to become weaker. What’s more, lower estrogen levels during menopause can also contribute to a weak pelvic floor. This puts you at risk for many different issues, such as pain during sex, difficulty controlling your bladder or bowels, or even uterine prolapse. 

    Some other things that might contribute to weak pelvic muscles include:

    • Being overweight
    • Chronic cough
    • Chronic constipation

    Fortunately, Kegel exercises can help make your pelvic floor stronger and are fairly easy to incorporate into your every day routine. 

    Kegel exercises were developed in the 1950s by a gynecologist named Arnold Kegel. He studied the use of pelvic floor exercises for women with urinary incontinence. Today, many women’s health care professionals recommend Kegel exercises for women of all ages because of their many benefits. This is especially true for women during and after menopause who are more likely to experience pelvic floor weakening and related conditions.

    Benefits of Regular Kegel Exercises after Menopause

    So, why might you start doing Kegel exercises after menopause? Since your pelvic floor supports a lot of important organs, it’s important to keep these muscles strong. This can also help with the function of your pelvic organs. 

    Your Women’s Health Care Provider May Recommend Kegels to Help with Urinary Incontinence

    Millions of women experience urinary incontinence (UI), which can take the form of anything from small leaks when you sneeze or even having accidents because you’re unable to reach the restroom in time. Your risk for this condition increases with age and after menopause due to lower estrogen levels.

    Many women with urinary incontinence deal with a reduced quality of life. A lot of those with UI change a lot about their lives due to the condition, like avoiding going places due to fear of leakage. Many also feel embarrassed and isolated socially because of the condition.

    If you have UI, it’s important to talk to our women’s health care provider about causes and treatments. One common recommendation for urinary incontinence is doing Kegel exercises. Stronger pelvic muscles may help you hold your urine in more effectively until you can make it to the bathroom. 

    One study from 2018 even found that regular pelvic floor exercises helped improve quality of life for those with urinary incontinence. So, Kegel exercises may be used both as a preventative measure and a treatment for urinary incontinence. 

    Reducing Your Risk for and Treating Uterine Prolapse

    Uterine prolapse is a somewhat common condition, and your risk for it goes up after menopause. This is where your uterus starts to sag lower than normal, sometimes entering the vagina (a partial prolapse) or even protruding outside of the vagina (complete prolapse).

    Some symptoms of uterine prolapse include:

    • Heaviness or pressure in the pelvis
    • Pelvic pain
    • Abdominal pain
    • Back pain
    • Painful sex
    • Frequent bladder infections
    • Unusual or excessive discharge
    • Constipation
    • Urinary leaks, frequency, and urgency

    These symptoms may also get worse when you’re standing or walking, as gravity can pull on the prolapsed uterus. 

    If you have uterine prolapse, Kegel exercises may be the recommended treatment for mild cases. In other cases, you may need surgery to remove the uterus or put it back in place. 

    However, Kegel exercises may also help reduce your risk for experiencing uterine prolapse. Generally, the reason the uterus slips down from its normal position is due to a weakened pelvic floor. Therefore, keeping these muscles strong may help provide the support needed to prevent uterine prolapse. 

    Improving Intimacy with Kegels

    Another issue Kegel exercises can help with is intimacy after menopause. As your estrogen levels start to fall, you might notice vaginal dryness or pain, especially during sex. Kegel exercises help in a few different ways. 

    First, a common reason you might experience pain during sex is due to tight vaginal muscles. Kegel exercises can help you relax these muscles so they’re not as tight and painful during sex. 

    Also, pelvic floor exercises can help increase circulation to the pelvic floor and vagina. Better blood flow to the area can help improve arousal and lubrication. In some cases, doing Kegel exercises regularly may even help improve orgasms. 

    All this can come together to help improve intimacy after menopause. So, Kegels may even help your sex life!

    How to Do Kegel Exercises

    Did you know about one-third of women who do Kegel exercises are actually doing them wrong? That means they may not get any of the benefits of doing Kegel exercises. Your women’s health clinic can help you determine whether you’re doing Kegel exercises right and offer some tips to help you with Kegels during your next checkup or appointment. However, here are some general tips that may help you learn how to do Kegel exercises.

    Find the Right Muscles

    Remember how we mentioned about a third of women aren’t doing their Kegels right? In many cases, this is because they’re actually flexing other muscles, like the buttocks, abdomen, or legs. Finding the right muscles for Kegel exercises can be a little difficult, but we do have a few tips.

    First, it might help if you lie down while you try to find the right muscles and get used to doing pelvic floor exercises. While you can do them in practically any position, like sitting at a red light, it’s much easier to contract the muscles when you’re lying down. 

    A lot of guides say that the easiest way to find the right muscles is to stop the stream of urine when you’re going to the bathroom. While this can help you find the right muscles, doing this can make it difficult to fully empty the bladder, which can cause other issues like urinary tract infections. Instead, we recommend pretending you’re trying to avoid passing gas, or to tighten your vagina around a tampon. This can help you find the right muscle group. 

    If you’re still having trouble finding the right muscles, lie down and insert a clean finger into your vagina and try to do a Kegel. You should feel the muscles tighten around your finger.

    Also, try placing a hand on your abdomen when doing your Kegel exercises. This can help you feel any unintended muscle contractions in your abdomen. If you’re contracting your abdominal muscles, there’s a good chance you’re doing your Kegel exercises wrong.

    How Often to Do Kegels?

    Once you have the hang of which muscles to contract, you can start doing them regularly to help reap the benefits of a strong pelvic floor. 

    If you’re just starting out, then you may need to work your way up to longer contractions and multiple reps. Generally, one rep is contracting the pelvic floor for three to five seconds and relaxing for three to five seconds. For most women, aim to do about ten reps two or three times a day. Once that becomes easier, you can even try mixing them up by holding for longer, like ten seconds, or even shorter, like two or three second bursts.

    Just keep in mind that doing Kegel exercises too much can make your pelvic floor muscles too tight. This can cause issues like:

    • Constipation
    • Incomplete bowel movements
    • Pelvic pain
    • Lower back pain
    • Painful sex

    If you notice these signs of a tight pelvic floor, then try giving your muscles a break from Kegels for a little while. If your symptoms don’t improve, visit our women’s health care team for help finding underlying causes, like overworking the pelvic floor muscles or even other health conditions.

    Talk to Your Women’s Health Care Providers About Staying Healthy

    At HerKare, we’re a women’s health clinic dedicated to your wellness. Our team is here to help you feel your best at every stage of life. Whether you’re looking for advice on maintaining a healthier lifestyle or need to talk about symptoms you’ve noticed, we take time to listen, understand, and work with you to find personalized health solutions for you. Be proactive about your health. Schedule an appointment at one of our convenient locations today.

    Can COVID-19 Affect Your Menstrual Cycle?

    Can COVID-19 Affect Your Menstrual Cycle?

    Have you noticed something off about your period? Wondering if COVID-19 may be to blame? It’s always a good idea to keep an eye out for changes in your menstrual cycle and talk to your women’s health clinic about anything out of the ordinary. Many women are noticing that their menstrual cycle has changed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are some explanations for this, but experts are still researching the effects.

    Women’s Health Clinic - COVID & Menstrual Cycles

    The COVID-19 pandemic may be affecting your menstrual cycle in a few ways, but our women’s health clinic is here to help you find answers for period changes.

    While changes to your menstrual cycle may be nothing to panic about, it  can still help to talk to our women’s health care provider about changes. In some cases, this can signal bigger health issues that may need some extra attention. 

    Talk to Your Women’s Health Clinic if You’ve Noticed Changes with Your Period

    Slight changes in your menstrual cycle can happen for many different reasons. These include things like hormone changes, weight changes, and reproductive conditions like PCOS. Pregnancy may also seem like period changes, as many women experience spotting in their first trimester that could be mistaken for a light period. Perimenopause can also cause changes to your period, like irregular cycles or skipped periods.

    However, because period changes can also signal something more serious going on with your health, it’s usually better to be safe than sorry and talk to our doctor about differences you’ve noticed.

    Some signs you should make an appointment at your women’s health clinic to talk about your period include:

    • Frequently having periods fewer than 24 days apart
    • Consistently bleeding for longer than 7 days
    • Regularly going two or more months between periods
    • Frequent spotting between periods
    • Heavy bleeding (needing to change your pad or tampon every hour or more)
    • Clots larger than the size of a quarter
    • Excessive clots

    Period Changes since the Pandemic Started? Visit your Women’s Health Clinic to Rule Out More Serious Conditions

    Many women are reporting period changes since the COVID-19 outbreak. A lot of these differences vary between women, but a lot of people are connecting the dots between the changes they noticed and the timeframe of the pandemic.

    Women around the country are asking women’s health care professionals whether COVID-19 has anything to do with their period changes. Researchers are still studying the virus and its effects after infection, but there’s a chance that it could. 

    Some of the symptoms women have reported include:

    • Spotting
    • Skipped periods
    • Longer or shorter cycles
    • Unusual clotting
    • Worse PMS symptoms
    • Heavier periods

    This is concerning because many of these symptoms are also on the list of period signs that you want to have checked out at your women’s health clinic. Once again, it’s generally better to be safe than sorry and give us a call to see if our provider recommends an exam or testing for other health issues.

    How can COVID-19 Affect My Period?

    While there’s still much we don’t know about COVID-19, there are a lot of theories as to why your period might change. Even if you haven’t been infected with the coronavirus, there’s still a chance that your menstrual cycle may be affected. 

    Many experts believe that these changes can be due to stress, lifestyle changes during quarantine, or COVID-19 infection. As research continues, there are a few explanations why many doctors believe the pandemic may be affecting some people’s cycle.

    Pandemic Stress can Wreak Havoc on Your Cycle

    Most people would agree that the pandemic has been stressful. A lot of us are worrying about our health and our loved ones’ health. Some have gone through the pains of working from home. Also, we are all dealing with uncertainty of when things will return to normal.

    Needless to say, many of us are dealing with way more stress on our plates than normal.

    Stress can quickly take a toll on our bodies, leaving people feeling drained, irritable, and even leading to things like stomach problems and losing hair. This pandemic stress can also affect our menstrual cycle

    Even before COVID-19, stress has been a common cause in period changes. The problem with feeling stressed is that it initiates our fight or flight response. When we’re stressed, we release the hormone cortisol. Cortisol can delay or stop ovulation and reduce our progesterone levels. This can lead to menstrual changes.

    Also, stress can affect your hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian (HPO) axis. This is basically how your brain communicates with your ovaries using hormones as the messenger. Things like mental stress, physical stress, and even sleep disruptions can all bog down your HPO axis, which affects how much estrogen and progesterone your ovaries produce. This, in turn, can meddle with your cycle. 

    Everyone’s body may react a little differently to the stress of the pandemic and quarantine. Some women may notice shorter, lighter periods and others may notice longer, heavier periods, and others may notice different symptoms or nothing at all. It’s generally a good idea to get a checkup for your symptoms from your women’s health clinic, but if you’ve skipped a period because of stress, it’s generally not a major health concern. However, if you’re sexually active, even if you’re on birth control, a skipped period may warrant a pregnancy test. 

    Lifestyle Changes Make a Big Difference

    Also, many people have had to change a lot of things about their daily life because of COVID-19. These lifestyle changes may also affect your menstrual cycle. For example, your eating, sleeping, and exercise habits may have changed. Weight changes can lead to hormone imbalances which can affect your period. Lack of sleep can also induce a stress response from your body that may affect your periods as well. 

    Another issue many of the providers at our women’s health clinic have noticed during the pandemic is increased alcohol consumption and tobacco use. Smoking and chronic heavy drinking can also take a toll on your menstrual cycle, as well as the rest of your body. 

    The Virus Itself May Change Your Period

    Also, the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the one responsible for COVID-19) may also affect your period if you’ve been infected. Viral infections in general can put your body under stress and take up a lot of your body’s resources. This means that ovulation and menstruation may get put on the back burner as your immune system fights the virus. Many doctors note that period changes during COVID-19 are similar to those of many other illnesses, like the flu or the common cold. Fortunately, many women notice their periods go back to normal as they start to recover and their symptoms improve.

    However, there is also a potential that the virus may also attack the ovaries similar to how it attacks other organs. This could also affect your menstrual cycle.  While this potential has been proposed by some, it hasn’t been studied and is only speculation until we have further research. 

    Visit Our Women’s Health Clinic & Let’s Talk About Your Cycle

    Our providers at HerKare are here to help you address your health. As a women’s health clinic, we’re dedicated to helping you find underlying causes of your symptoms and providing personalized care for your needs. If you’ve noticed changes in your menstrual cycle, or any other symptoms, make an appointment today to talk to our doctors. We help with a wide range of health conditions, from hormone imbalances to diabetes and sleep apnea. Our team is here to help you feel like yourself again. 

    Well Woman Exam vs. Comprehensive Women’s Wellness Exam

    Well Woman Exam vs. Comprehensive Women’s Wellness Exam

    Most of us know that getting a yearly checkup is important, but do you know which preventative women’s healthcare services you need each year? Unfortunately, there’s a lot of confusion around what your annual appointment should include. When you request a women’s annual exam, some physicians only conduct a gynecological exam and a breast exam. However, this may not address your health as a whole.

    Women’s Healthcare - HerKare

    Women’s healthcare means looking at your health as a whole. Make sure your annual exams address every aspect of your wellbeing.

    Instead, make sure you receive a comprehensive women’s wellness exam. These look at many different systems in your body. These appointments can help with preventative care and early detection of serious conditions. This is even more important as we age and our risk for serious health conditions goes up. 

    Preventative Women’s Healthcare Visits: Are you Getting the Services You Need Each Year? 

    Generally speaking, each year you should schedule an appointment to talk about your physical, sexual, reproductive, and mental health. Addressing each of these elements of your wellbeing can help you stay happy and healthy. However, in some clinics this means making multiple appointments and seeing different doctors. Many women each year receive medical exams that only address their sexual and reproductive health.

    This often comes down to a misunderstanding of which women’s healthcare services are included in the type of appointment. For example, do you know the difference between a well woman exam and a women’s wellness exam? They may sound like the same thing, but many doctors provide different services for each.

    Instead of dividing screenings up between different appointments and doctors, our providers offer total women’s healthcare solutions. This means we look at your health as a whole and can help you address many different aspects of your wellbeing to help you feel your best. We can combine all the services you need for a comprehensive checkup into one appointment to help make things easy for you.

    What is a Well Woman Exam?

    As we’ve mentioned, there’s a lot of confusion around what different terms mean for women’s healthcare. However, most people call their annual gynecological exam a well woman exam. These appointments are designed to mainly address your sexual and reproductive health. During a well woman exam, you might receive a pelvic exam, a Pap test, and a breast exam. You might also talk about family planning or your risk for sexually transmitted infections. 

    Pelvic Exam

    A pelvic exam assesses whether your uterus, cervix, ovaries, and bladder are healthy. This includes a visual and a manual checkup to look for anything that might indicate that something might be wrong. Many physicians recommend getting a pelvic exam once per year, but you may need more or less frequent exams depending on your specific circumstances and risk factors. 

    Pap Test

    Pap tests are a screening tool for cervical cancer and are often done at the same time as the pelvic exam. This test involves swabbing the cervix and then looking the cervical cells for abnormalities. In the past, women were recommended to get a Pap test every year between ages 21 and 65. However, these guidelines have changed, which may lead to some confusion over when you need a Pap test. Current recommendations are to receive a Pap test every three years so long as your past tests have been negative. Depending on your risk factors, our provider may recommend more frequent tests. 

    Breast Exams

    Breast exams are another part of a well woman exam and are an important part of preventative women’s healthcare. These exams can help with early detection of many things, including breast cancer. From ages 20 to 40, the recommendation for women at an average risk for breast cancer is to receive a breast exam from their physician every one to three years. After 40, the recommendation is to receive a mammogram every year. 

    A mammogram is an x-ray for your breasts. Physicians use these x-ray pictures to look for changes to your breast tissue or other signs that could be cancer. Before 40, your breasts tend to be denser, which can make it difficult to detect the signs of cancer on a mammogram. That is why the recommendation switches from routine breast exams to mammograms as we get older.

    What is a Women’s Wellness Exam?

    A well woman exam is an important part of taking care of your health, but it’s not the whole story. A women’s wellness exam helps address your health as a whole and screen for conditions that aren’t necessarily part of your reproductive system. 

    A women’s wellness exam may include a well woman exam, but also looks at your overall health. At many other clinics, these are the appointments where you talk about your lifestyle and discuss your risks for conditions like high blood pressure.

    Our women’s healthcare providers provide comprehensive women’s wellness exams to take a broader look at your health. Yearly checkups with our team include exams and screenings for your physical, mental, sexual, and reproductive health. We may conduct a physical exam, a gynecological exam, a blood test. We’ll also discuss options for staying healthy and any concerns you have about your health. 

    At your annual women’s wellness exam, our team screens for many different health conditions that may affect you, some of which may not cause any symptoms. For example, depending on your age and risk factors, we might screen for:

        • High blood pressure
        • Diabetes
        • Heart disease
        • Sleep apnea
        • Allergies
        • High cholesterol
        • Hormone imbalances
        • Vitamin deficiencies
        • Cervical cancer
        • Breast cancer
        • Sexually transmitted infections

    Our team personalizes these screenings based on health recommendations and your individual risk factors. Also, we’ll talk to you about your lifestyle and help you determine if there are any changes you can make to help reduce your risk for certain preventable health conditions. 

    Women’s Healthcare Services and Screenings Should Change as You Age

    Another important thing to know is that your annual exams and screenings will change as you age. As we get older, our health risks can change. Therefore, your yearly women’s healthcare exams should change, too.

    We’ve already mentioned that you may need to switch to mammograms after a certain age, but that’s not the only change. Your exams may look different at each stage of your life. For example, your risk for osteoporosis goes up after menopause. Therefore, we may recommend including a bone density scan as part of your yearly checkup appointment once you reach menopause. Our women’s healthcare team personalizes your exam to you, which means it should change as your lifestyle and health risks do.

    Find the Right Women’s Healthcare Physicians for You

    In most cases, women should receive both a well woman exam and a women’s wellness exam every year. This can help you with early detection for preventable diseases and conditions. Only receiving a gynecological exam each year will likely not help detect things like high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Our women’s healthcare providers provide comprehensive annual women’s wellness exams to help you stay healthy. We provide both well woman and wellness services to help address your whole health.

    At HerKare, our goal is to help you feel your best. Our team provides comprehensive, compassionate care for women at every stage of life. We are a clinic owned and operated by women for women. We listen and we understand your needs. Book an appointment with our team today. We are here for you. 

    The Baby Blues: Why Don’t I Feel Better Yet?

    The Baby Blues: Why Don’t I Feel Better Yet?

    I will literally never forget the crash of hormones that follows the birth of a child – the Baby Blues, they say.  It was day 4. My child was exactly 4 days old, and I could feel the hormones beginning to fall like a wave about to crest over me and smash me down onto the sand underneath. Only…there was nothing I could do to stop them. I couldn’t move out of the way or side step the hormones. I couldn’t take a special pill or eat a special diet to keep it from happening. That crash was coming, ready or not. And ready I was definitely not.

    A hormonal imbalance and crash after the birth of a child is completely normal. Your hormones have been soaring for a solid 9 months, and even though there were some ups and downs, they mostly stayed fairly high. After the baby arrives, your body takes a few days, and then a signal is sent that tells your body to shut it down. No baby means no more high levels of hormones. The only problem is that your body doesn’t do this gradually. The hormones fall drastically, giving many women the sensation known as the baby blues.

    The baby blues is the slight depression that follows the birth of a child. It’s not full on, hard core depression, but rather a negative or down feeling. Most women suffer through for a week or 2, and then the hormones begin to level out. The baby blues start to subside, and women begin to feel normal again. The important thing to remember with the baby blues is that it is normal, and for most women, it passes fairly quickly.

    But, what happens when it doesn’t pass? What happens when the baby blues turn into the long term blues? When this happens, you can almost be certain that hormonal imbalances are at play. When the hormones are not in balance, it can cause a wide array of symptoms, one of which is a feeling of the blues or even full on depression. If your baby blues seem to be turning into long term depression, then your hormones are likely still imbalanced. They are not returning to normal levels as quickly as they should, and it is causing your body and mind to experience the blues.

    If you find this happening to you, get help right away. The right treatment can turn hormonal depression around and stop it in its tracks. At HerKare, a treatment professional may be able to test your hormones, determine whether an imbalance is present, and get you an appropriate treatment plan. When your baby blues turn into depression, or you suspect a hormonal imbalance for any other reason, get to HerKare to let a physician help you today.

    3 Reasons You Just Can’t Lose That Stubborn Post Baby Weight

    3 Reasons You Just Can’t Lose That Stubborn Post Baby Weight

    First time moms are often guilty of thinking that their post baby weight is going to fall off instantly. They take their pre baby skinny jeans to the hospital fully expecting to wear them home. They quickly find out that it doesn’t exactly work like that. While post baby weight doesn’t fall off the instant baby is born, it can come off in a timely manner with some consistent effort and regular medical exams.

    Through proper nutrition and exercise, it is possible to drop those stubborn pounds. But, what happens when those stubborn pounds are a bit too stubborn? If your post baby weight is being more difficult than you think it should be, check out these 3 reasons that your post baby weight may stick around longer.

    Lack of Sleep

    A lack of sleep can cause a lot more problems than just being tired. It can also throw your body into a bit of a panic. It begins to produce the wrong chemicals causing hormone imbalance. in order to try and compensate for the lack of sleep. Its natural rhythm is thrown off, and because of that, your body may fight back in a number of ways. One such way is by hanging onto a few extra pounds. If you’re doing everything right, but still can’t drop the pounds, try asking for some help in getting a little sleep. Call on grandma or a friend, and get some rest. Before you know it, you will be rested up and you may find those stubborn pounds fall off.

    You Are Nursing

    I know that the conventional wisdom about nursing is that it helps you lose weight, but for a few women, it means hanging onto a few pounds. Nursing burns massive calories, but some women’s bodies refuse to burn about 10 pounds or so. It keeps that extra reserve to make sure that you don’t get too skinny and are unable to nourish your baby. If you are nursing and can’t lose weight, see what happens when you wean. If you still can’t lose, it might be time to look at other options.

    Hormonal Imbalance

    A lot of extra weight after baby happens because of a hormonal imbalance. It takes a while to get the hormones back on track after baby. For some women, it takes a lot longer than others. If your hormones are still out of whack after baby, it may manifest itself through an inability to lose weight. If you are doing everything right, and those pounds refuse to drop, a hormonal imbalance might be to blame.

    If you suspect a hormonal imbalance, get to HerKare to let a treatment professional get you back on track. Losing that post baby weight is important to your health and your long term self esteem. Get your hormones checked and your weight back under control with the help of a physician at HerKare.