Health News
Women's Health Care of New England

Looking for the perfect baby name?  Can't decide on one? Want to know the origin or meaning of a name you have in mind?  Take a look at www.babynames.com

For women who are considering getting pregnant, following a health care provider’s advice can reduce the risk of problems during pregnancy or after the child’s birth. A health care provider can recommend ways to get the proper nutrition and avoid habits whose lasting effects could harm a fetus. For example, exposure to alcohol and tobacco early in pregnancy can increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Taking a supplement containing at least 400 micrograms of folic acid before getting pregnant can reduce the risk of complications such as neural tube defects (NTDs)—abnormalities that can occur in the brain, spine, or spinal column of a developing fetus and are present at birth.1, 2

On the whole, your immune system does a remarkable job of defending you against disease-causing microorganisms. But sometimes it fails: A germ invades successfully and makes you sick. Is it possible to intervene in this process and make your immune system stronger? What if you improve your diet? Take certain vitamins or herbal preparations? Make other lifestyle changes in the hope of producing a near-perfect immune response?

The idea of boosting your immunity is enticing, but the ability to do so has proved elusive for several reasons. The immune system is precisely that — a system, not a single entity. To function well, it requires balance and harmony. There is still much that researchers don’t know about the intricacies and interconnectedness of the immune response. For now, there are no scientifically proven direct links between lifestyle and enhanced immune function.

Read the full article here: http://www.health.harvard.edu/flu-resource-center/how-to-boost-your-immune-system.htm

Supervised exercise may help relieve treatment-related pain among breast cancer patients, a new study finds.

The study focused on hormonal therapies called aromatase inhibitors, which certain post-menopausal breast cancer patients take for up to five years after surgery. Aromatase inhibitors, or AIs, can reduce the risk of relapse by up to half, said co-author Jennifer Ligibel of Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Many women who take AIs experience joint pain or stiffness. In fact, joint pain is the leading reason that women stop taking the drugs early, Ligibel said. AIs also can cause other disruptive side effects, including hot flashes and brittle bones. As a result, up to half of women stop taking AIs or other hormonal therapies earlier than prescribed – a choice that can reduce their odds of survival.

Supervised exercise may help relieve treatment-related pain among breast cancer patients, a new study finds.

The study focused on hormonal therapies called aromatase inhibitors, which certain post-menopausal breast cancer patients take for up to five years after surgery. Aromatase inhibitors, or AIs, can reduce the risk of relapse by up to half, said co-author Jennifer Ligibel of Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Many women who take AIs experience joint pain or stiffness. In fact, joint pain is the leading reason that women stop taking the drugs early, Ligibel said. AIs also can cause other disruptive side effects, including hot flashes and brittle bones. As a result, up to half of women stop taking AIs or other hormonal therapies earlier than prescribed – a choice that can reduce their odds of survival.

 

Did you know that most abnormal menstrual bleeding problems are caused by an imbalance in hormones? Or those women who have abnormal Pap smears have a very small chance of developing cervical cancer from those abnormal cells?

At Women’s Health Connecticut, our physicians, clinicians have a great deal of experience handling women’s health procedures and gynecologic concerns with expert, compassionate care.

Of course, the best place to get answers or information about your own health is always your doctor or nurse practitioner, but here are a few of the most common topics and concerns that women have regarding their gynecologic health.

Abnormal Uterine Bleeding, diagnosis and treatment
Endometriosis
Abnormal Pap smear and follow up

Abnormal uterine bleeding, diagnosis and treatment

This term is a catchall for problems associated with vaginal bleeding. This may be related to the menstrual cycle, but at times abnormal bleeding may occur before the onset of menses, during pregnancy and after menopause.

Overwhelmingly, bleeding problems are caused by an imbalance in the hormones that control the menstrual cycle and are referred to as “dysfunctional uterine bleeding.” When vaginal bleeding is not related to the menstrual cycle, it is of increased concern. This is especially true when it occurs in childhood before menstruation has begun, during pregnancy, and at midlife, after a woman has entered menopause.

When to call your health care provider:

  • Periods  less than 21 days apart or more than 45 days apart
  • Severe abdominal or pelvic pain occurs during menstruation or sexual intercourse
  • Menstrual bleeding is excessive (more than one pad or tampon per hour for several hours)
  • Menstrual periods lasting longer than 7 days
  • Bleeding or spotting between periods

Birth control is a term used to define any method or practice that is used to prevent pregnancy. There are many different types of birth control and each is different in the way it’s used, its effectiveness, its side effects, and its costs. The information provided here can help you decide what form of birth control is best for you, but it’s important to discuss your options with your own doctor.

Overall, your choice of birth control should depend on factors such as a your health, frequency of sexual activity, number of partners, protection from sexually transmitted infections and desire to have children in the future.

 

How effective is birth control?

The only 100% effective form of birth control (or 0% failure rate) is abstinence (not having sexual intercourse). But here is a comparison of the various types of birth control and their effectiveness in preventing pregnancy. The rates listed are the failure rates of each method (or the percent of pregnancies that method did not prevent) and apply when they are used according the manufacturers’ directions and in full compliance.

The menstrual cycle is a normal monthly cycle, occurring in women during their reproductive years, in which the lining of the uterus builds up to support a fertilized egg. If no pregnancy occurs, this extra lining separates, passes through the cervix, and is “your period.”

Day one of your menstrual cycle is the first day of your period, and women’s menstrual cycles can range from 21 days to over 35 days.  As a woman approaches menopause, the time between periods gradually gets longer.

Here are a few of the most common topics about menstruation.

The Menstrual Cycle
Menstruation and Hormones
PMS — Premenstrual syndrome
If you miss a period
Normal menstrual bleeding
Cramps

When to call your Ob Gyn Provider:

  • Your period has stopped for 3 months or longer
  • Periods  less than 21 days apart or more than 45 days apart
  • Severe abdominal or pelvic pain occurs during menstruation or sexual intercourse
  • Menstruation has not started by the age of 16
  • Menstrual bleeding is excessive (more than one pad or tampon per hour for several hours)
  • Menstrual periods lasting longer than 7 days
  • Bleeding or spotting between periods
  • Fever, vomiting, or weakness occurs after using tampons
  • PMS symptoms that are disrupting your life, or cause you to feel out of control
  • Normal Menstrual Bleeding

    Periods usually last about 5 days. Some women have shorter periods and others have them longer. Heavy bleeding often is accompanied by clots and cramping.

    The average blood loss from menses is a juice glass amount of blood, approximately 4 ounces or 8 tablespoons. It may be normal for some women to experience heavier bleeding, up to twice the “average” amount and still be within the normal range. Most sanitary products are saturated with 2 tablespoons (1oz.) of fluid.

    Many women experience one “heavy” day during their period, but this is preceded and followed by lighter flow days. If at any time, you are experiencing consistent heavy bleeding, clots, cramping, and regularly soaking your sanitary protection once or twice an hour, you should contact your physician.

  • Cramps (dysmenorrhea)

    To some degree, most women experience menstrual cramping in the lower abdomen, lower back, thighs, and hip areas. The pain does not dominate more on one side and the severity of symptoms varies between individuals. 1 in 10 women do experience severe cramping associated with diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, weakness, and headache.

    Cramps come from contractions of the uterus, which is a smooth muscle. Menstrual cramps arise from the action of prostaglandin, a hormone on the smooth muscle of the uterus. Prostaglandin is abundant in the uterine muscle and increase in amount just before menses. These chemicals stimulate the uterus to contract, or cramp. As menstrual flow continues, the prostaglandin is released with the discharge. It tends to be that high flow days are crampiest, and then this subsides as the flow lightens.

  • Relief measures for menstrual cramps

    Apply heat, either with heating pads against the lower abdomen or a weighty and warm hot water bottle against the crampy area.

    Rest either with bent knees curled toward the belly, or supported beneath the knees with 1 or 2 pillows.

    Analgesics, over the counter medication can be very helpful, but it is most beneficial if taken before the cramping symptoms increase.

    Ibuprofen, along with other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, has an action that decreases prostaglandin activity and relieves symptoms. There are cautions relating to its potential to be harsh on sensitive stomachs – so read the label of these products thoroughly and consult with your physician when necessary. Acetaminophen is another over the counter medication that has analgesic effects and may help to relieve symptoms.

    Prescriptions for oral contraceptives have been shown to decrease cramping. Your health care provider can advise the best option for your specific needs.

  • Relief measures for menstrual cramps

    Apply heat, either with heating pads against the lower abdomen or a weighty and warm hot water bottle against the crampy area.

    Rest either with bent knees curled toward the belly, or supported beneath the knees with 1 or 2 pillows.

    Analgesics, over the counter medication can be very helpful, but it is most beneficial if taken before the cramping symptoms increase.

    Ibuprofen, along with other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, has an action that decreases prostaglandin activity and relieves symptoms. There are cautions relating to its potential to be harsh on sensitive stomachs – so read the label of these products thoroughly and consult with your physician when necessary. Acetaminophen is another over the counter medication that has analgesic effects and may help to relieve symptoms.

    Prescriptions for oral contraceptives have been shown to decrease cramping. Your health care provider can advise the best option for your specific needs.

Routine Pap test

The Pap test, also called cervical cytology, is a routine screening test for cervical cancer. This is a test that checks for abnormal changes in the cells of your cervix. It is very useful in detecting cervical cancer in the early stages, before it spreads to other parts of the body. This test has made it possible to detect pre-cancerous conditions also.

The procedure

A Pap test only takes a few moments and is a part of a routine pelvic examination. It involves sampling or scraping a small number of cells from the cervix with a brush and looking at them under a microscope.

The best position for this examination is lying on your back, with your knees bent and feet apart – this is called the lithotomy position. A speculum is inserted into the vagina, to push away the vaginal walls and make visualization of the cervix possible. A special swab or brush is used to wipe off cells from inside the opening of the cervix (endocervix) and from the outer part of the cervix. The brush or swab may be placed into a liquid solution which allows the cervical cells to be rinsed from the brush into the sample for analysis or a traditional method of smearing the cells on a microscope slide may be used.

Pap test results

If the cells appear normal, no treatment is necessary. When an infection is present, medication will likely be prescribed — and sometimes the Pap test is repeated at a later date. If the cells appear abnormal, more tests may be necessary. A Pap test is not 100% accurate, so it is always important to talk to your clinician about your results.

Occasionally, there are false readings. A false positive is a Pap test that indicates abnormal tissue when the cells are normal. A false negative indicates normal cell growth but abnormal cells are actually present.

False-negative tests can occur for several reasons. The abnormal cells may not have been contained in the sample. There may have been too many or too few cells to allow an accurate reading. An infection could also cover up abnormal cells. If a Pap test is performed on a regular basis, the chances of a problem going undetected are considerably lower.

At Women’s Health Connecticut, our primary focus is caring for women. But women, of course, put everyone else in the family first; often, they even take better regular care of their cars than themselves.

That’s why routine or “well woman care” is something our physicians, and their practice team members, take very personally. From scheduling your annual visits to arranging regular mammogram screenings, consistent thoughtful care is the best way to promote better health and wellness — no matter what your age.

Keeping you well, and well informed

Your routine care should include regular check-ups with your doctor, who may do scheduled tests and exams and keep your medical history up-to-date.

We’ve also provided a section about common gynecologic concerns, in addition to other routine visit topics that may be of interest to you, including Menstruation and Birth Control.

For more about the needs of teens, visit our Adolescent Health section.

People in their 20s and 30 seem to be at high risk for getting very ill, in part because this year's main flu strain last circulated before they were born so they haven't built up antibodies to it.

Read the full article here:http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/01/24/flu-season-peaked-deaths-hospitalization-influenza/4822443/

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Women's Health Care of New England

Women's Healthcare of New England

Devoted to women. Committed to excellence.

Women’s Health Care of New England has provided women of Fairfield County quality, state of the art, compassionate care since 1990. We are part of a broader network of OB/GYN physicians that comprise Women’s Health Connecticut, offering additional guidance and resources.

Please bring personal identification, insurance card and any co-payments to your appointment.

Locations

  • Main Building:

    761 Main Ave.
    Building B, Suite 100
    Norwalk, CT 06856

    203-644-1100
    203-644-1199 FAX

    Satellite Offices:

    30 Stevens Street
    Suite I
    Norwalk, CT 06856
    203-644-1160

    Westport Center for Health
    323 Riverside Ave.
    Westport, CT
    203-349-4305

    Ridgefield Health & Wellness Center
    109 Danbury Rd. (adjacent to the Kohl's parking lot)
    Ridgefield, CT 06877

    View Map

Office Hours

Monday:
9am-5pm
Tuesday:
8am-5pm
Wednesday:
8am-5pm
Thursday:
8am-6:30pm
Friday:
8am-4pm
Saturday:
Closed
By Appointment Only

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