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For Patients

FAQs- Health and Gynecology

1) What’s the difference between a yeast infection and bacterial vaginosis?

Both infections stem from too much bacteria in the vagina. Yeast infections are caused by an excess of candida fungus and symptoms include
redness, itching and burning around the vulva, an unpleasant-smelling, thick white discharge, pain during intercourse and urination. Bacterial vaginosis results from the bacterial balance being out of whack. The symptoms also include redness, itching and pain but its discharge tends to be
thin, white or yellowish in color. Visit Wake Women’s Health to see what gynecological services are provided. For more information…

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2) How often do I need to get a pap smear?

The American Cancer Society recommends that you begin getting pap smears for the first time three years after becoming sexually active or by the age of 21. Then, until the age of 30, you should receive a yearly pap smear from a gynecology clinic. For women over 30 who have not had an abnormal pap smear up until then, you should receive one every 2-3 years until the age of 65. At the age of 65, if you have had a normal smear for the past 10 years, you may discontinue receiving them. If however, at any age you receive an abnormal pap smear report, you should get one each year.
For more information…

3) How do I treat a urinary tract infection (UTI)?

A urinary tract infection is caused by trauma to the urethral opening and can affect the urethra, bladder and kidneys. Most UTIs can be treated with oral antibiotics. However, if you get two or more infections within six months, you may need to take a low dose antibiotic for six months as a preventative measure.
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4) How often do I need a mammogram?

Women ages 40 and over should have a mammogram every 1-2 years. If, however, you have had an abnormal mammogram in the past or if you have a relative that has had breast cancer, have mammograms yearly.
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5) How do I know if I am going through menopause?

Menopause is a very confusing and confounding time in a woman’s life. It is very important you speak openly with your gynecology doctor about any changes you are feeling, even as early as your late 30s or 40s. Every woman goes through menopause at a different age and with different symptoms.
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6) What are the most common sexually transmitted diseases and their symptoms?

Unfortunately, there are numerous sexually transmitted diseases being passed about. In addition to HIV/AIDS and herpes, there are a host of diseases that have various symptoms. If you think you might have contracted an STD visit a gynecology practice to get tested.
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7) What is HPV (human papillomavirus)?

HPV is actually the most common sexually transmitted disease. It can lead to cervical cancer. There is a vaccine available for those women who are sexually active.
For more information and symptoms of HPV…

8) I have very heavy periods. Is there something wrong with me?

Not necessarily, but it is definitely worth having your gynecology doctor give you some tests to determine. There are many reasons that you can be having a heavy period. It could be fibroid tumors, which often go away in time on their own. Or it could be cervical or endometrial polyps. In that case, removal of the polyps will be necessary.
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9) What is the best type of birth control for me?

While it would be nice to have one standard type of birth control that would work for very woman, this is an area that will depend on your preference, lifestyle and health background. It will be vital to speak to your gynecology doctor concerning the best and most effective type for you.
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10) What is pelvic inflammatory disease?

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a complication that arises from some sexually transmitted diseases. It is an infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes and other reproductive organs and causes serious and long-term problems if not treated.
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11) What are the symptoms of ovarian cancer?

Ovarian cancer is a very difficult cancer to detect and, unfortunately, once it is detected it may be too late. It can sometimes mimic other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome or other digestive disorders.
For a full list of symptoms and further information…

12) What are the signs of heart disease?

Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the U.S. today. As a matter of fact, in women over 65, heart disease kills more women than all other cancers combined. While a typical symptom may be discomfort in the chest, there are many others in women that can signal big problems. Some of these may include pain in the neck or abdominal area, dizziness, nausea or shortness of breath. In some instances an echocardiogram might be necessary to test the health of the heart.
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13) How can I prevent stroke?

Experts believe that 80 percent of strokes can be prevented. Follow these basic tips and prevent a stroke from happening to you… maintain a healthy weight, don’t smoke, check your blood pressure and cholesterol levels regularly, and get tested for diabetes.
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14) I am having a hard time getting pregnant. Is there anything I can do?

It can be frustrating for couples hoping to welcome a bundle of joy into their family and not have any luck in that happening. First off, relax. Don’t get stressed out because that will have an adverse effect on your efforts. Both you and your partner should see a doctor to get tested to make sure all systems are working correctly. Maintain a healthy weight, don’t smoke, and talk to your doctor about ovulation testing and temperature monitoring.
For more information…

15) What is COPD?

COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is a group of diseases that cause breathing-related problems and leads to emphysema, chronic bronchitis and asthma. It is the leading cause of death, illness and disability in the U.S.
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16) I have a family history of Alzheimer’s. Is there anything I can do to prevent it?

While we have no control over factors such as age and genetics that can lead to Alzheimer’s disease, research is being done to determine whether new medicines will be effective in slowing the onset of the disease.
For more information…

17) I feel sluggish all the time. Could my thyroid be to blame?

Absolutely. As a matter of fact, women suffer from underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) and overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) problems at a much higher rate than men. A simple blood test can determine the levels of thyroid hormone in your body and your doctor can then prescribe a course of action.
For information on symptoms and risk factors…

18) I sometimes leak urine when I sneeze or cough. Is this normal?

It is. Millions of women suffer from urinary incontinence. And more than double the amount of women suffer from it than men. When muscles and nerves around the urethra and sphincter are weak, urine can leak out. It can be caused by pregnancy or simply age.
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19) I have horrible pains in the pelvic region during my period. What is it from?

You may be suffering from endometriosis. That is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus is found somewhere else in the body, mostly in the abdominal area. You have a classic symptom of the condition but it can only be diagnosed through a special test.
For further information…

20) There are so many diets floating around out there. How do I know which one is best for me?

There do seem to be endless fad diets and weight loss materials flooding the market. For best results, speak with a doctor. They can devise a weight loss plan that will be safe and work best with your health background and lifestyle. There is no one right plan for everyone.
For more information on healthy option…

For more information about the women’s health, obstetrics and gynecology services Wake Women’s Health provides contact us at our Raleigh, NC office.

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