What contraceptive options are available through your office?
AWS offers comprehensive counseling on the contraceptive options available, including discussions ranging from birth control pills, patches, rings to the longer-acting, reversible contraceptives like the nexplanon implant and intrauterine devices (IUD). We also offer permanent sterilization procedures through minimally-invasive surgery once reproductive potential is no longer desired.
What infertility services are available at AWS?
We provide full infertility evaluation to help with diagnosis and some initial treatment for common causes of infertility. We also refer to and work very closely with the local area infertility specialists if initial treatments are unsuccessful.
What can be done to help with my heavy menstrual bleeding?
Historically, women were left with very few options to treat heavy bleeding. Hysterectomies were performed much more routinely to try and remedy this. Today, there are many evolving treatment options available that don’t require hysterectomy. At AWS, we offer treatment options including targeted hormonal therapy, progesterone-containing IUDs, minimally-invasive surgery with hysteroscopy and uterine ablation. Minimally-invasive surgical approaches to remove fibroids and perform hysterectomy can be offered when appropriate. Learn more about heavy menstrual bleeding at ACOG. (Source: ACOG)
I have diagnosed with PCOS in the past, what treatments are available to me?
Although the cause of PCOS is not known, it appears that PCOS may be related to many different factors working together. These factors include insulin resistance, increased levels of hormones called androgens, and an irregular menstrual cycle. A variety of treatments are available to address the problems of PCOS. Treatment is tailored to each woman according to symptoms, other health problems, and whether pregnancy is desired. Learn more about PCOS at ACOG. (Source: ACOG)
I‘ve been told some women don’t require pap smears yearly. Does this mean that I don’t need to be seen once a year for an annual?
We believe that a yearly exam is a valuable tool to maintain your best health. An annual exam, however, does not necessarily have to include a pap smear.
Although yearly pap smears have been recommended for years, the newer technologies used to perform pap smears have afforded the ability to test for high risks strains of human papillomavirus (HPV). These high-risk strains can increase the chances of developing abnormal or precancerous changes of cervical cells. Based on the information that has been gained on newer large studies, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologist (ACOG) has recommended that yearly pap smears may not be necessary for all patients, and may be indicated only for patients that are at higher risk for development of abnormal cells. In our pursuit of best practices following evidence-based medicine, we can help you decide if you would benefit from a yearly pap smear, or whether just a yearly physical would be helpful. We do recommend low-risk patients have a pap smear at least once every three years.
Do you recommend I have testing for sexually transmissible infections (STI/STDs)?
As part of comprehensive gynecological care, we do offer STI testing to all of our patients. Your provider can help direct you through an assessment and offer treatment as necessary.
What are ovarian cysts?
An ovarian cyst is a sac or pouch filled with fluid or other tissue that forms in or on an ovary. Ovarian cysts are very common. They can occur during the childbearing years or after menopause. Most ovarian cysts are benign (not cancer) and go away on their own without treatment. Rarely, a cyst may be malignant (cancer). In most cases, cysts do not cause symptoms. Many are found during a routine pelvic exam or imaging test done for another reason. Some cysts may cause a dull or sharp ache in the abdomen and pain during certain activities. Larger cysts may cause twisting of the ovary. This twisting usually causes pain on one side that comes and goes or can start suddenly. Cysts that bleed or burst also may cause sudden, severe pain.
There are several treatment options for cysts. Choosing an option depends on the type of cyst and other factors. Treatment options include watchful waiting and, if the cyst is large or causing symptoms, surgery. Learn more about ovarian cysts at ACOG. (Source: ACOG)
What is endometriosis and how is it treated?
Endometriosis is a condition in which the type of tissue that forms the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) is found outside the uterus. Endometriosis occurs in about one in ten women of reproductive age. It is most often diagnosed in women in their 30s and 40s.
Endometriosis implants respond to changes in estrogen, a female hormone. The implants may grow and bleed like the uterine lining does during the menstrual cycle. Surrounding tissue can become irritated, inflamed, and swollen. The breakdown and bleeding of this tissue each month also can cause scar tissue, called adhesions, to form. Sometimes adhesions can cause organs to stick together. The bleeding, inflammation, and scarring can cause pain, especially before and during menstruation.
Treatment for endometriosis depends on the extent of the disease, your symptoms, and whether you want to have children. Endometriosis may be treated with medication, surgery, or both. When pain is the primary problem, medication usually is tried first. Learn more about endometriosis at ACOG. (Source: ACOG)
What are uterine fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are benign (not cancer) growths that develop from the muscle tissue of the uterus. They also are called leiomyomas or myomas. The size, shape, and location of fibroids can vary greatly. Fibroids may have the following symptoms:
- Changes in menstruation
- Longer, more frequent, or heavy menstrual periods
- Menstrual pain (cramps)
- Vaginal bleeding at times other than menstruation
- Anemia (from blood loss)
- In the abdomen or lower back (often dull, heavy and aching, but may be sharp)
- During sex
- Difficulty urinating or frequent urination
- Constipation, rectal pain, or difficult bowel movements
- Abdominal cramps
- Enlarged uterus and abdomen
Fibroids also may cause no symptoms at all. Fibroids may be found during a routine pelvic exam or during tests for other problems.
The first signs of fibroids may be detected during a routine pelvic exam. A number of tests may show more information about fibroids. Most commonly ultrasonography uses sound waves to create a picture of the uterus and other pelvic organs.
The treatment options for fibroids include medical therapy, minimally invasive surgical therapy, as well as internventional radiologic procedures. At AWS, we can help you discover the best treatment plan for your particular situation. Learn more about fibroids at ACOG. (Source: ACOG)
I have been told that I have an abnormal pap smear and need a colposcopy. What is that?
Colposcopy is a way of looking at the cervix through a special magnifying device called a colposcope. It shines a light into the vagina and onto the cervix. A colposcope can greatly enlarge the normal view. This exam allows the health care provider to find problems that cannot be seen by the eye alone.
Colposcopy is done when results of cervical cancer screening tests show abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix. Colposcopy provides more information about the abnormal cells. The procedure is best done when a woman is not having her menstrual period. This gives the health care provider a better view of the cervix. For at least 24 hours before the test, you should not
- use tampons
- use vaginal medications
- have sex
As with a pelvic exam, you will lie on your back with your feet raised and placed on foot rests for support. A speculum will be used to hold apart the vaginal walls so that the inside of the vagina and the cervix can be seen. The colposcope is placed just outside the opening of your vagina. A mild solution will be applied to your cervix and vagina with a cotton swab or cotton ball. This liquid makes abnormal areas on the cervix easier to see. Learn more about colposcopy at ACOG. (Source: ACOG)
What surgical services are available at AWS?
We offer a full line of minimally invasive, hysteroscopic, laparoscopic, and robotic as well as traditional abdominal surgical procedures that treat many different problems including abnormal cervical cells, pelvic pain, ovarian cyst, irregular bleeding, and uterine fibroids.
These procedures include:
- LEEP (loop electrosurgical excision procedure)
- Endometrial ablation
What can I do if sex is painful for me?
Pain during intercourse is very common—nearly 3 out of 4 women have pain during intercourse at some time during their lives. For some women, the pain is only a temporary problem; for others, it is a long-term problem.
Pain during sex may be a sign of a gynecologic problem, such as ovarian cysts or endometriosis. Pain during sex also may be caused by problems with sexual response, such as a lack of desire (the feeling of wanting to have sex) or a lack of arousal (the physical and emotional changes that occur in the body as a result of sexual stimulation).
If you have frequent or severe pain during sex, you should see an obstetrician–gynecologist or other health care professional. It is important to rule out gynecologic conditions that may be causing your pain. Your OB-GYN or other health care professional also can help you address problems with sexual response. Learn more about pain with sex at ACOG. (Source: ACOG)
What can cause a vaginal discharge?
A change in the balance of the yeast and bacteria that normally live in the vagina can result in vaginitis. This causes the lining of the vagina to become inflamed. Factors that can change the normal balance of the vagina include the following:
- Use of antibiotics
- Changes in hormone levels due to pregnancy, breastfeeding, or menopause
- Sexual intercourse