Women’s health is an integral component of female life. From adolescence through pregnancy and menopause, our bodies and needs shift significantly; we require an experienced women’s healthcare team to support this journey efficiently.
Women’s health specialists can assist with annual gynecologic exams, pregnancy services, and pelvic floor disorders like urinary incontinence or fibroids. Additionally, these experts specialize in treating cancerous conditions and other severe medical conditions that may arise during life.
Suppose you are expecting a baby or experiencing health issues related to reproductive organs, gynecological problems, pelvic pain, or breast health concerns. In that case, an Obstetrician/Gynecologist (OB/GYN) is the right doctor. They specialize in caring for women from adolescence through menopause and beyond.
The medical school equips prospective OB/GYNs for practice by teaching basic medical principles such as anatomy, immunology, cells and tissues, and more. In their final two years of medical school, prospective OB/GYNs participate in clinical rotations under supervision from experienced physicians to gain hands-on experience; some may also pursue an internship or residency that typically lasts a year or longer.
Once OB/GYNs complete their education, they earn a license by passing the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). Many physicians opt to become board-certified after their residency program has concluded; this credential proves an OB/GYN’s expertise to employers while attesting to ongoing learning and excellence within the specialty.
OB/GYNs provide both general and specialized gynecological services, including annual Pap smears, family planning services, screening for cervical cancer screening exams, breast exams, and pelvic exams. They can also treat fibroids, endometriosis, pelvic pain, uterine polyps, and ovarian cysts. They also provide cancer-related procedures such as hysterectomy and myomectomy for those needing such services.
If you are pregnant, an OB/GYN can assist with managing risk factors associated with gestation, such as gestational diabetes and hypertension. They also screen pregnant patients for Group B Streptococcus infections, which could endanger the developing fetus.
An OB/GYN may recommend minimally invasive procedures like laparoscopy or hysterectomy for more severe gynecologic issues. If these fail, they may refer you to a specialist such as an oncologist for further treatments such as surgery; alternatively, they may prescribe birth control pills or antipsychotic drugs and refer you for counseling and psychotherapy services from psychologists.
Labor & Delivery
As your pregnancy concludes, you may begin experiencing what feels like contractions. These uterine movements prepare your body for labor and delivery; struggle usually happens naturally, but sometimes your healthcare provider must induce labor if problems could endanger both mother and baby.
Your doctor can offer tips and guidance to guide you through each stage of labor and delivery, such as when and how long each phase lasts. In general, work consists of three steps: the first is when your cervix dilates; the second stage is when the baby arrives; the third stage is placenta delivery.
Learn about all your pain management options during labor. Women often choose medications; others opt for more natural approaches such as breathing exercises, showers, hot or cold packs, walking, and natural remedies like breathing exercises. If you opt for pain medications, your physician will discuss the potential risks and benefits.
As your due date draws nearer, you may start thinking about when it will be time to head off to the hospital for labor and delivery. While every woman’s struggle and delivery experience varies widely – especially first-time mothers who may face prolonged and challenging work – remember that every woman can expect something unique from her labor and delivery journey.
Grady Women’s Health Center OB-GYNs and midwives are dedicated to working closely with you throughout your gestation, honoring your pregnancy goals and birth plan while providing expertise on all available care options.
Women’s Health Associates team offers comprehensive obstetric care services, from ultrasounds and routine blood tests to prenatal counseling and childbirth classes. We deliver at Northside Hospital Women’s Pavilion in Sandy Springs; up to 80% of our own patients’ babies are provided by one of our physicians – this ensures we understand all delivery procedures used here, helping your family understand any potential medical interventions if required.
Cancer is a progressive illness caused by uncontrollable cell division. If left unchecked, cancerous cells can spread throughout the body via metastasis – in women’s reproductive organs, including their cervixes, uteruses, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. Gynecologic cancer can occur both primarily and metastaticly.
Gynecologic cancer symptoms depend on which organ is affected. Common indicators of cervical cancer include abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge, pelvic pain, and an unusual lump or mass. Ovarian cancer often leads to abdominal discomfort with frequent urination. Bladder cancer often manifests itself by fullness or bloat, while vulvar cancer usually presents as itching or an unusual lesion on the skin that differs in color from its surroundings.
To diagnose gynecologic cancer, a physician will conduct a physical examination and obtain a tissue sample (biopsy) that will be sent off for lab analysis. Other diagnostic tools could include pelvic ultrasound imaging and blood tests.
Once cancer has been diagnosed, surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy will all be employed to treat and stop its spread. Surgery often remains the best solution when treating advanced forms of uterine, ovarian, or cervical cancers; for advanced cases, a hysterectomy is often the most successful remedy – this procedure removes both the uterus, cervix, and usually lymph nodes from the pelvic region. in certain instances, doctors may recommend either bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (removal of both ovaries and fallopian tubes), or vulvectomy (removal of the vulva).
At UT Southwestern, our gynecologic oncologists specialize in fertility-preserving cervical, endometrial, and ovarian cancer treatments. Our state-of-the-art brachytherapy suite delivers highly targeted radiation directly to tumor sites while limiting drug exposure in surrounding healthy tissues. Intraperitoneal chemotherapy, an advanced cancer-fighting process delivered via catheter, may help patients with surgery remain cancer-free postoperatively. When used alongside standard therapies, intraperitoneal chemotherapy can assist patients in remaining cancer-free after surgery has taken place. Our team of experts includes nationally renowned gynecologic oncologists and surgeons who are double board-certified in their specialties and are dedicated to providing comprehensive care to women of all ages. With experience treating all forms of gynecologic cancers – rare or complex – they have an established record of producing exceptional patient outcomes.
Pelvic Floor Disorders
The pelvic floor is an inner muscle layer supporting your bladder, uterus, and colon. When this layer weakens, it can lead to problems: urinary problems like bladder leakage or overactivity are common, while constipation or incomplete bowel movements are among its many complications. Finally, pelvic organ prolapse may occur when an organ protrudes into the vagina.
These conditions typically arise when downward pressure on the pelvic organs exceeds their supporting muscle and ligament strength, so you must visit a physician immediately if any symptoms occur.
Your doctor will begin with an extensive medical history review and physical exam, followed by questions regarding symptoms. They may then order additional diagnostic tests such as pelvic ultrasounds, sigmoidoscopies, or laparoscopies – these painless procedures allow your physician to see into your abdomen to assess the strength of your pelvic floor muscles.
If your pelvic floor muscles have become weaker, your healthcare provider might recommend treatment that involves both pelvic muscle training and lifestyle modifications. You’ll need to drink lots of water, consume a healthy diet, and engage in physical exercise – and might even consider inserting a pessary, a soft removable device inserted into your vagina to support organs.
Surgery is typically not needed to treat pelvic floor disorders. Still, if your doctor deems it necessary, they may suggest performing it to restore normal organ positioning in your pelvic area.
At The Cleveland Clinic, our mission is to assist women in leading healthy and active lifestyles. That’s why we provide women-specific health services.
Our health associates specialize in all areas of women’s care, from routine visits to complex issues. We pride ourselves on offering exceptional patient-centric care for every one of your health needs – For more information about this fantastic team, visit our women’s health website or call us now – we look forward to speaking with you!