Women’s Healthcare Tips and Advice
- Find a provider you feel comfortable discussing any health issue you are having.
- Expect to be evaluated about the medications you are taking, side effects, and why you are taking them.
- Avoid “Poly-pharmacy.” Taking too many synthetic medications can often have serious side effects when combined.
- Don’t accept “Status quo.” Unless your provider can provide current literature regarding your condition, look elsewhere. (Data in textbooks are often outdated)
- Don’t be afraid of your own hormones. Studies do support their use in preventing osteoporosis, heart disease, breast cancer, and dementia.
- Avoid eating too many foods that are white, wheat, or sweet!
Questions for a Women’s Healthcare Expert:
1. I heard hormones can be checked through saliva or blood. Which one is more accurate?
- There are many different opinions on what form of collection is more accurate. We have found that blood shows the most accurate results for hormones. What is in your blood cannot be altered. Saliva testing is good for free cortisol levels.
2. I heard that you should have your hormones tested at a certain time of the month is this true?
- For women it is true for your first initial hormone visit. The 21st day of your cycle is the ideal time to check your hormones. This is so we can check your ovary function to see how close you are to menopause. If your ovaries have to work extremely hard to give you just a little bit of your hormones you may need to be on hormone replacement therapy.
3. What is the difference between synthetic hormones and bio identical hormones?
- Synthetic hormones are made in a lab by pharmaceutical companies. They are not equivalent to what the body makes on its own so you can have many adverse side effects. Synthetic hormones are taken orally which can cause women to have an increased risk for blood clots and stroke. Bio identical hormones are bio-equivalent to what our body already produces. Since bio identical hormones are closest to what our body was already making on its own there are less adverse side effects.
- Bio identical hormones are usually used trans-dermally so you apply the medication to your skin. The medication is absorbed through your skin, therefore avoiding the liver. This prevents the risk of blood clots and stroke.
4. Are bio identical hormones FDA approved?
- No, bio identical hormones are not FDA approved and they never will be. They don’t fall under the FDA’s jurisdiction. However, there are a few FDA approved bio identical hormones, but they can be expensive. This does not mean that compounding pharmacies can just create medications and put whatever fillers they like or amounts of medications in their creams. There are certain standards they must abide by just like any other pharmacy. Bio identical hormones are made in compounding pharmacies and do have to follow federal laws by the FDA, DEA, as well as the Board of Pharmacy. Compounding pharmacies follow the USP (United States Pharmacopia), which publishes guidelines for pharmacies such as what equipment must be used, how prescriptions can be made etc. In fact compounding pharmacies have stricter guidelines that they follow because they are making the prescription in their pharmacy unlike a regular pharmacy that has the medication shipped to them from a pharmaceutical company.
5. Do men go through some type of menopause?
- Men do have a change they go through as well called andropause. For men, instead of not producing enough estrogen, they will not produce enough testosterone. Men may feel fatigued, have loss of muscle mass, decreased libido, and sometimes erectile dysfunction.
6. Who is a good candidate for smartlipo and what body areas can be treated?
- If you have areas of fat that will not respond to diet and exercise, then you’re a candidate for Smartlipo. Ideal candidates are in good health, of normal body weight, (within ten pounds) and have realistic expectations. At your consultation, the doctor will assess whether you are a good candidate with respect to your medical health, and will clarify what Smartlipo can do for you. Smartlipo is ideal for treating areas of the neck, arms, knees, back, bra strap, abdomen, flanks, inner and outer thighs, and areas of loose skin.
7. How does Smartlipo work?
- After injecting a numbing solution, a very small cannula, or tube, containing a laser fiber is inserted into the skin. The cannula is moved back and forth delivering the laser’s energy to the fat cells, causing them to rupture and easily drain away. The laser’s energy also interacts with the dermis, resulting in tighter skin. Due to the cannula’s small size, Smartlipo is a minimally invasive procedure and can be performed under local anesthesia and leaves virtually no scarring. The laser causes small blood vessels to coagulate immediately on contact, resulting in less bleeding, swelling-bruising, and a quicker recovery time than conventional liposuction. Because general anesthesia is unnecessary, the procedure is very safe with only minimal side effects. The Smartlipo device was FDA approved in November of 2006, and today is one the fastest growing, safest procedures in the cosmetic surgery field.
8. What is Novasure Ablation?
- Novasure Ablation is an in-office, 90 second procedure that can eliminate or reduce menstrual bleeding if you have finished child bearing. It works by permanently removing the endometrium by radio frequency waves. The endometrium is the lining of the uterus that causes your bleeding each month. There are no hormonal side effects and 90% of women have reduced flow or no flow at all.
9. Does insurance cover Novasure Ablation?
- Yes, if you have heavy or irregular periods, insurance covers this procedure. We offer free consults for the Novasure Ablation, and depending on your insurance coverage, we will inform you what your out of pocket cost would be.
10. Can I still become pregnant after the Novasure Ablation?
- It is not FDA approved for contraception. Since the lining of your uterus is being removed your chances of getting pregnant are reduced, but it is still possible. The uterine lining would not be able to support the pregnancy after the Novasure Ablation and would be very dangerous for a mother and a fetus.
11. How often should I have an annual exam?
- You should have an annual exam every year. This does not necessarily mean you need to have a pap smear, but you do need to have a breast exam. If you have ovaries, an annual pelvic exam by your provider is necessary. Guidelines now state that a pap smear can be performed every three years if you have never had an abnormal pap smear and are in a monogamous relationship. If you have never had a pap smear, the age recommended to start is 21 or three years within initiating sexual activity.
12. How often should I do self-breast exams?
- Guidelines recommend that you perform self-breast exams monthly after your cycle. If you feel anything that is abnormal, call your provider to schedule a breast exam.
13. What is HPV?
- HPV (Human papillomavirus) is a sexually transmitted disease that causes cervical cancer. There are over a hundred different forms of HPV, and possibly many more forms we do not know about. There are thirteen or more HPV types that we know for sure can cause cervical cancer. This does NOT mean if you have one of these types you will get cervical cancer. HPV is usually treated by your immune system on its own, and in fact, it is believed that over 70% of women have had HPV, they just don’t know it. Repeat pap smears monitor any changes of the cervix and there are many times treatment is not needed. Routine medical appointments are usually required to follow up on HPV testing.
14. Who should be tested for HPV and how is this done?
- HPV testing can be performed with your pap smear. It is recommended that if you have been sexually active and over the age of thirty, you should be tested. You can request HPV testing with your pap smear at your next visit if this is something you think you should be tested for.