It can be a difficult topic to address but one that remains on some women’s minds.
There are so many emotions that a woman experiences after going through a miscarriage, and it can be even more challenging if you’ve had to deal with multiple miscarriages. Of course, your OBGYN is always here to provide you with the care and support you need through this difficult time. Find out more about the causes behind multiple miscarriages and the treatment options available to you.
A recurrent miscarriage means having three or more miscarriages in a row. Common risk factors for recurrent miscarriages include:
- Being older when trying to conceive (For women this is over the age of 35 while it’s over the age of 40 for men)
- Being overweight or obese
Also, one of the most common but treatable causes of recurrent miscarriage is a blood clotting disorder known as antiphospholipid syndrome (APS), where your immune system attacks the fats, or phospholipids, in your blood.
Other causes of recurrent miscarriages include:
- Other blood clotting disorders
- Incompetent cervix (or cervical weakness)
- Abnormal chromosomes
- Uterus abnormalities
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Serious infections such as toxoplasmosis or listeria
- Thyroid disorders
To put your mind at ease there are tests that your gynecologist may recommend to determine whether any of the causes listed above could be responsible for your miscarriages. Common tests include:
- Antiphospholipid Syndrome (APS) testing
- Blood clotting testing
- Genetic testing
- Ultrasound or laparoscopy (to check the shape and health of the uterus)
Sometimes your obstetrician can pinpoint the exact cause and sometimes it’s not detectable through diagnostic tests. Not being able to pinpoint the root cause can be very distressing. After all, if nothing is wrong why does this keep happening? It’s a frustrating question that can leave some couple feeling disheartened. But it’s important to know that even though many couples go through recurrent miscarriages, many of them go on to have a healthy baby the next time.
Don’t go through this process alone. Speak to your obstetrician and gynecologist who can shed some light on what’s going on so that you can finally have the piece of mind you deserve.
Worried that you may have PCOS? Find out more about this condition and what we can do to help.
Do you notice that you have irregular menstrual cycles? Do you sometimes skip your periods altogether? You could be dealing with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a condition in which estrogen and progesterone levels are off kilter and can lead to to ovarian cysts. Find out more about this condition and how your OBGYN can help.
What causes PCOS?
Unfortunately, no one really knows what causes this condition, but it is believed that genetics and hormonal imbalances have some responsibility in who develops PCOS and who doesn’t. If your mother or immediate family member has this condition, you are also more likely to develop PCOS.
Women with PCOS also tend to have an overproduction of androgen, a male sex hormone. Androgen can affect how an egg develops or is released each month.
What are some telltale signs that I have PCOS?
Many women will start to notice that something is amiss one they start menstruating. Of course symptoms varies from woman to woman, but many people with PCOS notice that they have irregular menstrual cycles.
With the imbalance of hormones, some women may start developing more masculine characteristics such as:
- Excess hair on the face, chest, fingers or toes
- Thin hair
- Deeper voice
Besides these symptoms women with PCOS may also experience:
- Weight gain (usually caused by other chronic health problems like diabetes)
- Abdominal pain
How will a PCOS specialist treat my condition?
While there is no cure for PCOS, there are certainly ways to manage your symptoms. Your treatment plan will be tailored to what symptoms you are experiencing. Of course, a healthy diet and regular exercise are recommended for everyone who has been diagnosed with this condition.
Birth control pills may also be prescribed to help regulate hormones and your menstrual cycle, and they sometimes have the added bonus of improving your acne. For women with PCOS who are looking to get pregnant, fertility treatments may be recommended to help assist in successful ovulation.
If you are concerned that you may have PCOS, or if you are having issues with irregular periods, it’s time you talked to your gynecologist.
If you are having issues conceiving find out if fertility treatments are the next best option.
According to a CNN article published back in 2014, there is a record number of babies being born via IVF. If you and your partner have been trying to get pregnant for over a year without success then it might be time you talked to an OBGYN about whether IVF could improve your chances.
What types of infertility can IVF handle?
There are many reasons why a couple could be infertile. IVF may be a great option for you if you or your partner are dealing with any of these issues:
- Low sperm count or motility
- Uterine or fallopian tube issues (e.g. uterine fibroids; fallopian tube blockage)
- Ovulation disorders
- Antibodies that attack the sperm or egg
- Genetic disorders
What affects the success of IVF?
The age of the woman will be a factor in the success rate of IVF. Women under the age of 35 will have a higher success rate (41- 43 percent) than a woman over the age of 40 years old (13 to 18 percent). Women between the ages of 35 to 37 have a 33-36 percent success rate while women ages 38 to 40 have a 23-27 percent success rate. Of course, as techniques continue to advance and improve, we are finding that success rates in every age group have grown.
What is involved in IVF?
There are five steps to the IVF process:
- Your fertility specialist will prescribe fertility medications to stimulate egg production.
- The eggs will be retrieved through minor surgery.
- The male will provide a sperm sample, which will be combined with the egg.
- During insemination, the lab will mix the sperm and egg together to fertilize the egg. Once the eggs have fertilized they are called embryos.
- Then the embryos are inserted into the uterus about 3-5 days after fertilization.
Learn more about IVF, the fertility treatment that is helping more and more couples be able to conceive. Talk to your gynecologist about whether IVF is right for you.
If your OBGYN has recently recommended an endometrial biopsy chances are you have a lot of questions. We are here to answer some of them.
If you are getting an endometrial biopsy, you may be doing as much research as possible on the subject to prepare yourself for your upcoming procedure. During an endometrial biopsy your gynecologist will remove a small sample from the lining of the uterus to check for any abnormal cells that may be present, as well as study specific hormone levels. Find out more about this procedure, why it’s performed and what it could do for your health.
Why is an endometrial biopsy performed?
Your gynecologist may recommend that you get this diagnostic procedure done if you are experiencing abnormal uterine bleeding, if you are having trouble getting pregnant, or if symptoms you are experiencing may tell us that there is a potential overgrowth of the endometrial lining. This test can also be used to detect cancer.
How is an endometrial biopsy done?
The biopsy can be done right in your gynecologist’s office. Of course, the sample that we collect will be sent to a pathologist who will read the sample and provide results.
During the biopsy a speculum is placed into the vagina to open up the vaginal walls to be able to see both the cervix and vagina better. Sometimes the cervix is numbed with a local anesthetic prior to collecting the sample. We will need to collect a sample from both the cervix and the uterus. Some patients may experience some cramping (similar to menstrual cramping) during their procedure, but the biopsy will takes about 5 to 15 minutes to complete.
You may experience some bleeding or spotting after your biopsy. This is completely normal and will go away within a day or two. You may also notice some soreness for a couple days afterwards. We recommend that you avoid sex, strenuous exercise or wearing tampons until the bleeding goes away. If you notice heavy bleeding or experience pain then it’s time to call your OBGYN.
An endometrial biopsy can be a great diagnostic tool for determining the health of your uterus. Whether you are dealing with abnormal bleeding or you are experiencing other symptoms, know that you can always turn to your OBGYN specialist for care.
What you need to know about sexually transmitted diseases
Sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, cause irritating symptoms, but they can also result in severe illness or even death. Abstaining from sex is the most fool-proof way to avoid an STD, but this is not always possible or practical. You can protect yourself from STDs in other ways by following a few simple steps. Your doctor wants you to stay safe by:
- Always using condoms when you have sex, because condoms are highly effective in preventing STDs.
- Practicing mutual monogamy, because having only one sex partner dramatically reduces your chances of being exposed to STDs, as long as you and your partner are uninfected
- Limiting your number of sex partners, because fewer sex partners reduces your risk of exposure to STDs
- Get vaccinated, because the vaccine to prevent HPV is both safe and effective to protect against cervical cancer
One of the most important ways to protect yourself and others from transmitting STDs is to get tested. Testing can aid in early diagnosis and treatment of STDs, which can result in a better treatment outcome.Your doctor wants you to consider STD testing for you and your partner before having sex for the first time. You should also consider STD testing if you have had:
- Sex without using protection
- Sex with multiple partners, or sex with a partner who is not monogamous
- Intravenous drug use yourself, or sex with a partner who has used intravenous drugs
It’s important to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases, but it is just as important to be able to recognize when you might have an STD. Your doctor wants you to be able to recognize some of the common symptoms of STDs, including:
- Penile or vaginal discharge
- Genital sores
- Burning and Itching during urination
You can have an STD and not have any symptoms. The only way to know for sure is to get tested by your doctor. You and your partner both deserve to enjoy sex and remain healthy. Visit your doctor to get tested and find out more about how to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases. Call today!
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