The debate over partial-birth abortions is one that has been raging for years. Proponents of the procedure say that it is a safe and necessary option for women who are faced with difficult pregnancies.
Opponents argue that the procedure is barbaric and should be banned outright.
So, where does the law stand on partial-birth abortions? Are they legal in the United States?
Let’s take a look…
What is a partial birth abortion and how is it performed?
A partial birth abortion is an extremely controversial procedure performed in the late stages of a pregnancy. Generally considered a form of “induced miscarriage,” this procedure requires the uterus to be dilated so that a doctor can remove the fetus, while keeping their head inside the birth canal. This allows most of the body to be delivered intact, with just scalpel cuts made at the base of the skull to allow for evacuation.
👉 However, due to moral and ethical issues surrounding this procedure it has been illegal in some countries since 1995 and in the United States since 2003.
It remains an area of debate however, with both sides weighing up medical risks versus legal rights when it comes to pregnancy termination.
Why do some people believe that partial birth abortions should be legal?
Some people believe that partial birth abortions should be legal because they see it as an important form of reproductive freedom for women, particularly those in difficult situations.
For instance, the procedure could save the life of the mother, if her health and well-being is threatened due to present or complex medical conditions. Additionally, allowing for such a procedure allows for a woman to make choices about her body and her health that she may have been denied in more restrictive countries where all abortions are illegal.
Giving women autonomy over their health and reproductive choices by allowing partial birth abortions is at the crux of supporting this controversial decision.
What are the arguments against partial birth abortions being legal?
Partial birth abortions are a highly contentious issue, with passionate opinions on both sides. Some argue against their legality due to the opinion that they are inhumane and cruel, as they involve the partially extracted fetus being terminated during or just prior to delivery.
In addition, there is disagreement over how late into a pregnancy partial birth abortions should be allowed; opponents argue that any abortion beyond 20 weeks gestation puts a human life at risk, and should thus be illegal.
Some have pointed out that medical studies have found the risks of an abortion procedure increase the further along a pregnancy is, particularly for women’s health.
Consequently, those opposed to these types of abortions believe restricting them ensures greater safety for mothers and unborn children alike.
How does the law currently stand on partial birth abortions in the United States ?
Partial birth abortions are a hot button issue in the United States legal system. Currently, the nationwide law concerning partial birth abortions is that they are only permitted if necessary to save a pregnant woman’s life.
This was determined by the Supreme Court in the 2007 case Gonzales v Carhart. However, President Trump did sign legislation expanding and strengthening existing regulations on this procedure in 2019. So, it is important for those wanting to understand how partial birth abortion law currently stands in the U.S to be aware of this new federal bill.
Not only does it ban most types of late term abortions but also promotes a strict punishment for anyone who attempts to perform or facilitate these procedures – with few exceptions granted such as to preserve a woman’s health or save her life.
This debate over abortion rights continues to have an impact on patients and healthcare providers alike, making understanding the current laws essential knowledge.
What are some possible implications if partial birth abortions were to become illegal ?
The implications of partial birth abortions becoming illegal are immense and far-reaching. There would be a sharp decline in the number of safe, legal abortions available to pregnant women, as this procedure is particularly safe for those in their third trimester.
Women could not turn to the procedure for their own health or to protect the child from severe health defects – rendering them with limited choices and an enormous moral burden. Without access to safe procedures, there is also likely to be an increase in unsafe abortion practices.
This would put many vulnerable people at risk of potentially fatal injury or illness due to inadequate medical oversight and lack of knowledge about how best to perform the procedure safely.
Contact us to know more about the facts associated with partial abortion.
Women’s health should be the highest priority, especially when she is of reproductive age. This is due to the fact that women of this age range have unique needs and challenges that have to be met in order for them to remain healthy and safe.
For instance, issues such as contraception, fertility, sexual health, and mental health all need to be acknowledged at an early stage.
If you’re a woman of reproductive age, you should be visiting a gynecologist at least once a year.
But what exactly is a gynecologist?
And what can you expect during your visit?
Here’s everything you need to know about this vital healthcare provider.
What Is a Gynecologist?
A gynecologist is a health practitioner who specializes in women’s health. Many women see their primary care physician for their annual wellness exam and Pap smear but there are some occasions when it is necessary to see a gynecologist.
Life lesson: Your annual gynecologist appointment is one of the most important things you can do for your health—yet many women still don’t understand what a gynecologist does or when to see one. Here we dispel the myths and give you the facts about this essential doctor.
Reasons To See A Gynecologist
Here are some reasons why you may need to schedule an appointment with gynecologists.
A gynecologist can provide insight into a woman’s family background, allowing her to recognize her risk for certain diseases and understand the implications of passing them on to future generations.
Furthermore, by exploring a woman’s family background, she may also be able to determine whether she has an increased risk of inheriting specific hereditary conditions. A gynecologist can help to fill in gaps in family history which may help aid with individualized assessments of women’s health and any associated preventive measures that need to be taken. Having access to the knowledge and unique insights offered by a genealogist ensures that all women have greater awareness of their own potential health risks, equipping them with the information and support needed for protection of their long-term health.
When To See A Gynecologist
Women should see a gynecologist for the first time when they turn 18 or become sexually active.
Women should see a gynecologist once a year for a routine checkup, even if they are not sexually active.
If you are experiencing any changes in your body, such as discharge, pain, or irregular periods, you should make an appointment with a gynecologist.
You should also see a gynecologist if you are thinking about becoming pregnant or have any questions about contraception.
Gynecologists can also provide information and support if you have been diagnosed with an STD.
What To Expect During A Gynecologist Visit
Visiting the gynecologist can be a daunting experience, especially if you’ve never been before. But there’s no need to worry!
If you’re like most women, you probably have some questions and concerns about visiting a gynecologist. Here’s what you can expect during your first visit.
During your first visit, your doctor will likely take a medical history and perform a physical exam.
They may also order tests, such as a Pap smear or urine test, to screen for certain conditions.
Be sure to ask any questions you have so that you can feel comfortable and prepared for your next visit.
Qualifications Of A Genealogist
A gynecologist should have a medical degree from an accredited institution
They should be licensed to practice medicine in the United States
They should have completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology
They should be board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology
They should have experience working with patients of all ages
They should be able to provide comprehensive care for their patients, including preventative care, pregnancy care, and menopausal care.
What Is A Board-certified Gynecologist?
A board-certified gynecologist is a health professional who specializes in the reproductive and sexual health of people with female anatomy.
They seek to promote healthy reproduction, prevent diseases, diagnose and treat disorders of the reproductive system and identify any risks associated with pregnancy or motherhood.
Board-certified gynecologists are specialized experts in illnesses related to female sexuality, as well as empaths and confidants throughout significant life transitions involving reproduction.
From adolescence to menopause, gynecologists provide comprehensive annual exams and screenings, personal health advice tailored to each individual’s body and lifestyle choices, emergency care for gynecological needs, contraception counseling and access, surgical consultation for issues such as fibroids or cancer treatment.
A visit to the gynecologist or women’s health clinicshould be a regular part of your healthcare regimen for maintaining a healthy reproductive system. While it’s wise to schedule an appointment here and there for any worries or concerns, regularly scheduling visits into your routine can help catch issues before they become serious.
During your appointment, you can generally expect medical history questions, a discussion about current health and lifestyle changes, advice on birth control, if necessary, and sometimes lab tests. Depending on the concern and/or doctor’s orders, they may also perform an exam to get detailed information about potential issues.
Rest assured that gynecologists are highly trained professionals and will make sure to answer any questions you may have or offer additional advice on staying healthy.
Her Smart Choice Women’s Health Center Educational Series Presents ‘What Does STD Mean?’ What Does STD Mean? – It’s a sexually transmitted disease.
If you have sex, oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse and or genital touching, you can get an STD, also called a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
You’re straight or gay, married or single, and vulnerable to STIs symptoms.
Thinking or hoping your partner doesn’t have an STI is no protection; you need to know.
What are the causes of STDs?
The causes of STDs are viral or bacterial infections. STDs that are caused due to bacterial infections are treated using antibiotics.
There is no cure for STDs caused by viral infections, but you can take measures to treat std symptoms.
What factors increase your risk of contracting an STD?
The below-mentioned factors can increase your risk of contracting an STD:
⚹ Having sex with greater than one partner
⚹ Having a sexual partner who themselves has sex with greater than one partner either currently or in the past
⚹ Having sex with a person who has an STD or STI
⚹ Having a personal history of STDs/STIs
⚹ Using intravenous drugs or if your partner uses intravenous drugs
What are the most commonly occurring STDs?
Some of the commonly occurring STDs are:
⚹ Genital herpes
⚹ HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection
⚹ HPV (human papillomavirus) infection
⚹ Hepatitis B
How can you prevent STDs?
The following are the top five methods to prevent STDs:
Abstaining from having all types of sexual contact, i.e., vaginal, oral, or anal, is the most efficient and reliable method to avoid contracting an STD. However, most individuals don’t find abstinence a practical way of dealing with the situation.
Getting a vaccine is a safe and effective method recommended to prevent HPV and hepatitis B. The HPV vaccine for both females and males may protect against certain common forms of HPV. It is recommended that you get all three shots (doses) before engaging in sexual activity. However, an HPV vaccine is recommended for all teen girls and females after the age of 26 and all teen boys and males after the age of 21 who were not given the three shots or doses of HPV vaccine before (at a younger age). You must also get a hepatitis B vaccine if you have not received the vaccine before (at a younger age).
Reduce the number of your sex partners
Reducing the number of sex partners can also decrease contracting an STD. It is also essential to know about the sexual history of your partner. The more significant number of partners you have, the greater your risk of getting an STD. The same is also true for your sexual partners, i.e., if they have more partners, it still increases your risk. You and your sexual partner should get tested for STDs. Moreover, both of you should share the results of your tests with each other.
The meaning of mutual monogamy is that you have agreed to have sex with only one individual who has also decided to have sex with you. Having a long-term relationship that is mutually monogamous is among the most effective and reliable methods to prevent STDs.
Using male condoms made of latex correctly and consistently is incredibly effective in reducing the transmission of STDs. You must use a latex condom each time you are involved in vaginal, oral, or anal sex. You can also use a female condom while having vaginal intercourse. You should use dental dams or condoms while having oral sex and gloves during manual penetration.
In case of using a lubricant, be sure to use a water-based lubricant. It is essential to use condoms during the entire sexual act. Though condoms aren’t 100% effective in preventing STDs, they are still highly effective.
For additional information, please visit www.HerSmartChoice.com or call 323-250-9360
With Antidepressant Prescriptions Skyrocketing in the United States, it creates a unique debate for women – who to listen to? Their Psychiatrist or OB/GYN?
The incidence of depression has increased drastically over the past few decades. Women are more prone to develop depression due to several factors that are common as well as completely independent of the causative factors in men.
The mounting job pressure, demands of career and family responsibilities, commuting to workplace, academic failures, loss of near ones, and an unpleasant event in life are the factors that can make men as well as women prone to develop depression.
Factors such as postpartum depression and premenstrual syndrome occur specifically in women resulting in mild to severe depression.
Since these conditions tend to occur during the reproductive years, it is likely that women would have to use antidepressants prescribed for relieving depression together with birth control pills.
Hence, there is a need to understand how birth control pills and antidepressants interact with each other and whether it is safe to use both these medications at the same time.
Why is it important to understand the interactions between birth control pills and antidepressants?
Generally speaking, most antidepressants do not interact with the action of oral contraceptive pills, also called birth control pills. For example; wo
men who are using hormonal contraceptives may be prescribed an antidepressant like Prozac if they suffer from symptoms such as extreme mood changes, lack of interest in daily activities, and so on.
Prozac is a type of antidepressant containing fluoxetine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).
In this case, Prozac may not interfere with the action of the birth control pills causing pregnancy. However, this doesn’t mean it is safe to use these medications together. Because the combined action of the two may potentially cause drastic changes in the mood.
Antidepressants like Prozac are known to affect the production and release of hormones in the body. And since birth control pills are comprised of synthetically prepared female reproductive hormones like progesterone and estrogens, the risk of interaction between these medicines can not be ignored.
Similarly, there are a number of antidepressants each having the potential to alter the body’s physiological processes and the hormonal balance. Hence, women in reproductive age who use birth control pills need to be aware of how these antidepressants can affect the action of their contraceptive pills in order to avoid side effects and prevent the reduced effectiveness of both.
Birth control pills and antidepressants
As discussed earlier, women are likely to develop depression due to a number of reasons. Biological, relationships, lifestyle, psychosocial factors, pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding are the factors unique to women and thought to contribute to their higher risk of depression.
The hormonal changes occurring in the body before and during menses can result in a condition called premenstrual syndrome or PMS. The common signs and symptoms of PMS include mood changes, irritability, heaviness in the breasts, abdominal pain, and cramps in legs.
In some cases, the symptoms are so severe that they prevent the woman from carrying out routine activities. Women who experience severe symptoms of PMS are often advised to use antidepressants.
However, these drugs may worsen mood swings and irritability and even cause a failure of the contraceptive pills they are using. Also, the continuous use of antidepressants may not be appropriate or necessary in such cases as the symptoms tend to occur only before and during menstrual periods. These factors must be taken into consideration before women start using antidepressants to manage PMS while also using birth control pills.
Similarly, women may also experience severe postpartum depression following childbirth due to the hormonal changes occurring in the body during this phase as well as the sudden lifestyle changes and challenges posed by motherhood.
Breastfeeding itself acts as a natural method of contraception during the initial few months after delivery when the mother is breastfeeding the child. However, once the woman stops breastfeeding, she may need to use birth control pills to avoid pregnancy until she feels she is ready for the second child.
In this case, it is important to be aware of the interactions between the antidepressant she is using and the birth control pills, especially if the symptoms of postpartum depression are severe necessitating long-term use of the antidepressant drug.
Similarly, there are various other situations when women of reproductive age may have to use birth control pills and antidepressants together. This is why; women should take efforts to find out how these drugs affect each other’s actions, alter their effectiveness, or cause side effects.
Use of birth control pills, and antidepressants for PMDD
PMDD or premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a condition similar to PMS. In fact, PMDD is a more intense form of typical premenstrual syndrome. The common signs of this condition are severe anxiety, extreme irritability, and drastic mood swings.
Women who have a history of postpartum depression or mood disorders are prone to develop premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
PMDD is often confused with depression as both these conditions cause similar symptoms such as sadness, despair, increased sensitivity to criticism, suicidal thoughts, and so on. The use of antidepressants is common in women with PMDD. However, it should be noted that the symptoms of PMDD are linked to the hormonal changes typically occurring around ovulation and before periods.
Hence, the use of antidepressants may not be appropriate in such cases, especially if the woman is already using birth control pills and wishes to avoid pregnancy.
It has been found that most women find remarkable relief in their symptoms of PMDD by simply using birth control pills. The use of oral contraceptives has been found to work more effectively than antidepressants in reducing the symptoms of PMDD as well as in some cases of PMS. Let us have a look at how birth control pills could help to relieve PMDD.
Most birth control pills contain synthetic versions of female reproductive hormones called estrogens and progesterone. These hormones help to prevent conception by inhibiting the process of ovulation. These pills also provide the body with a steady dose of estrogens without any peaks or drastic fluctuations. This action helps to prevent the release of eggs by the ovaries.
Later, oral contraceptive pills start delivering a fixed amount of progesterone to stop the growth of the uterine lining called endometrium. Finally, most birth control pills have a 7-day dosage schedule of placebos, which cause the hormonal levels to fall resulting in your periods to start.
The menstrual flow that begins during the use of placebo pills is a withdrawal bleeding caused as a reaction to the lack of supply of hormones. This is the basic action by which most birth control pills help to prevent pregnancy.
Since these pills deliver estrogens and progesterone in steady doses, they can make the hormone levels in your body more predictable thereby controlling the symptoms caused due to hormonal imbalances.
For example; cramps in the legs and abdomen caused due to PMS or PMDD may be relieved by using oral contraceptives. These pills work by controlling the production of prostaglandin, which is responsible for causing excessive uterine contractions.
Also, mood swings, depression, and anxiety caused due to the fluctuations in the levels of hormones can also be relieved by the steady release of estrogens and progestogen achieved through the use of oral contraceptives.
This points to the need to avoid or minimize the use of antidepressants and instead, use only birth control pills to relieve PMDD and PMS while preventing conception. This strategy can also allow women to avoid the side effects of antidepressants known to occur due to their prolonged usage.
This is one of the reasons why the simultaneous use of birth control pills and antidepressants is not recommended. In some cases, it could worsen the side effects of antidepressants; in some cases, it may lessen the effectiveness of birth control pills; and in some cases, it may be unnecessary.
Can antidepressants lower the effectiveness of birth control pills?
Antidepressants like SSRIs may interfere with the action of glands that produce hormones in the body. This could alter the levels of estrogens and progesterone in women. Antidepressants can also alter the bioavailability or the amount of circulating hormones in the body.
The fluctuating levels of estrogens and progesterone due to the use of antidepressants can, thus, change the balance of female reproductive hormones thereby lowering the effectiveness of oral contraceptive pills. This can not just result in a few side effects associated with hormonal imbalances but may also lead to an unintended pregnancy.
Some women may also experience increased mood swings and irritability as side effects of the hormonal medications. Hence, if women find exacerbations in their symptoms of depression, PMS, or PMDD, it could be attributed to the interactions between antidepressants and birth control pills. A change in the antidepressant or the birth control pill, in such cases, may alleviate the symptoms.
However, the way antidepressants alter the action of oral contraceptive spills varies among women. There are differences in the levels of estrogens and progesterone from woman to woman. At the same time, the way the compounds in antidepressant drugs are metabolized in the body can also change depending on the specific health issues or metabolic rate and dysfunctions in different women.
These factors need to be taken into consideration while determining how the antidepressants can alter the action and effectiveness of oral contraceptives. In some women, the use of antidepressants may cause a bigger drop in the effectiveness of birth control pills while in some, it may not interfere with each other’s actions much.
The use of anti-seizure medications
Anti-seizure mediations, as the name suggests, are prescribed to women who suffer from seizures or convulsions. However, the use of these drugs is not limited to seizures.
Most women with depression are also prescribed anti-seizure drugs. It is important to mention that these drugs are known to decrease the effectiveness of oral contraceptive pills. For example, anti-seizure medications like Lamotragene, Tegretol, and Topomax, which are commonly prescribed to treat depression or stabilize bipolar disorder, can affect the hormonal balance in the body resulting in the failure of oral contraceptives.
Hence, women suffering from depression or seizures should inform the physician about the use of oral contraceptives and their desire to avoid pregnancy so that appropriate medications can be prescribed to them.
In case anti-seizure drugs must be prescribed to relieve severe depression, it is best to adopt additional measures of contraception such as condoms or diaphragms in combination with oral contraceptive pills to avoid pregnancy.
Can birth control pills trigger depression?
Most women are concerned about mood changes and depression that may occur due to the use of birth control pills. Not just oral contraceptive pills but also the other hormonal birth control methods such as the patches, implants, rings, injections, and IUDs have been reported to have caused depression in some women.
The rising cases of depression associated with the use of these hormonal medications have led to several research studies.
Most of these studies have not shown any definitive association between the use of hormonal methods of contraception and depression. In fact, a critical review of these studies has revealed that the overall percentage of women that can develop depression due to hormonal contraception was very small.
It has been found that just 2.2% of women who used hormonal contraception developed depression in comparison to 1.7% who did not. These findings suggest that only some women could be susceptible to this side effect.
Hence, women need not avoid adopting hormonal birth control methods for the fear of developing depression. On the contrary, the hormonal balance achieved through the use of oral contraceptive pills has been associated with relief from the existing symptoms of depression.
The mood-stabilizing action of birth control pills is so effective that it may help women avoid the use of antidepressants known to cause serious side effects.
The Bottom Line
Birth control pills and antidepressants have a complicated relationship. The type of antidepressant or oral contraceptive used, the body composition, and stages in the menstrual cycle need to be considered to evaluate the possible interactions between these drugs.
Women must seek the advice of a gynecologist and psychiatrist and inform them of the medications they are already using and their intentions to avoid conception so that the physicians can recommend appropriate treatments.
The diagnosis of a STD(s) or sexually transmitted diseases can be devastating for most men and women. It may raise several questions in their minds. At the same time, it can also increase concerns about how they can overcome the infection.
The mixed bag of emotions, as well as the health issues that have been diagnosed, need to be managed carefully in order to avoid worsening the condition. Men and women who are suffering from a STD(s) are advised to follow the guidelines given below in order to manage their health in a safe and effective manner and overcome the emotional turmoil caused due to the same.
Doctor, patient and urine test cup. Physician giving pee container to a woman in clinic or hospital emergency room. Urinary sample for medical exam in hospital. Checkup for infection.
What are STDs?
When the doctor informs the patients that he or she suffers from a STD, there is a need to understand what it exactly means. Sometimes a diagnosis of a STD is made by patients themselves, based on the specific symptoms they develop. In either case, it is important to understand what a STD(s) means and the different forms of these conditions so that patients can seek appropriate treatment.
A proper understanding of sexually transmitted diseases, how they spread, the various routes of transmission of these infections and the available treatment modalities can help patients recover faster.
A STD(s) or sexually transmitted diseases refer to the infective conditions that are most often, though not exclusively, transmitted through sexual intercourse. The common sexually transmitted infections include HIV, syphilis, genital herpes, chlamydia, genital warts, and gonorrhea. Hepatitis, and trichomoniasis are also common infectious disorders transmitted through sexual intercourse.
Earlier, STDs were referred to as venereal diseases. What makes STDs a serious concern is they are some of the most common contagious diseases. Also, some forms of STDs tend to produce recurring symptoms while some forms are difficult to cure completely.
It is estimated that more than 65 million people in America suffer from incurable STDs. More than 20 million new cases of STDs are reported every year of which nearly 50% are young people between the ages of 15 and 24 years.
Since STDs are known to have long-term emotional and physical consequences, it is important to be aware of the best ways to manage these conditions. Regular treatment coupled with the adoption of safe sex practices can help men and women avoid future sexually transmitted infections.
Hence, the knowledge of how to avoid STDs forms the crux of the management of these infections. Patients who are diagnosed with a STD should find out why or how they might have contracted the infection and how they can avoid such infections in the future. This forms the first step that they should follow after the diagnosis of a STD.
How do sexually transmitted diseases spread?
STDs spread from one person to another through vaginal, anal, and oral sex. STDs such as trichomoniasis may also spread through contact with moist or damp objects such as wet clothing, towels, and toilet seats, though it is more commonly transmitted via sexual contact.
Men and women are at a high risk of STDs if they:
Have multiple sex partner.
Have sexual intimacy with someone who has had multiple partners.
Practice unprotected sex or do not use condoms during intercourse.
Share needles while injecting intravenous drugs.
Have used contaminated needles.
Had a transfusion of infected blood.
Trade sex for drugs and money.
These risk factors make it clear that STDs can also get transmitted through routes other than sexual intercourse. Hence, it is advisable for men and women to avoid blaming themselves or their partner when they are diagnosed with these conditions.
It should be noted that blaming the partner when the infection has actually been contracted due to the use of an infected needle during the administration of injection or blood transfusion may only strain their relations.
Men and women should rather focus on avoiding the factors that may increase their risk of repeated STD in the future.
It should also be noted that the pathogens that cause STDs can reside in the blood, semen, vaginal secretions, and even saliva of the infected person. Hence, care should be taken to avoid vaginal, anal, as well as oral sex with a partner known to have a STD. Some STDs such as hepatitis B can spread through skin contact and the sharing of personal items like toothbrushes and razors.
Men and women diagnosed with STD should make an effort to educate themselves about the possible modes of transmission of the infection so that the spread of the pathogen to others can be prevented.
Treatment of STDs
The diagnosis of any STD must be followed by the proper treatment of the specific condition. It is advisable to seek advice of a healthcare practitioner for the management of a STD. The doctor would not just prescribe appropriate medications for treating the infection, but also provide advice regarding the best ways to avoid the spread of the disease. Depending on the infection, the patient will be advised the following treatments for the STD:
Antibiotics: Antibiotics administered in a single dose are usually prescribed for patients diagnosed with STDs of bacterial and parasitic origin. Antibiotics are effective for the management of STDs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, and trichomoniasis.
Antibiotics act in a variety of ways to control the infection. They may kill the bacteria directly or create an environment that makes their survival difficult.
In most cases, chlamydia and gonorrhea are treated at the same time as these two infections tend to appear together.
Different antibiotics may be prescribed to patients in varying dosages and durations based on the specific infection and the age of the patients.
Once the antibiotic treatment is started, the entire course of the medication must be completed as recommended. If patients feel they would not be able to take the medication as prescribed or complete its entire course, they should inform the physician so that she/he can prescribe a shorter and simpler course.
Additionally, patients should abstain from sex during treatment and for seven to ten days after they have completed the course of antibiotics as well as until the sores have healed completely. Experts suggest retesting after about three months to rule out the presence of reinfection.
Antiviral drugs: treatment of STDs caused due to viruses are treated using antiviral drugs. For example; patients diagnosed with herpes or HIV are advised to use antiviral drugs.
A daily suppressive therapy using an antiviral drug can help patients have a lower risk of recurrence of herpes. However, it is still possible for the patients to transmit the infection to their partner during sexual intercourse. Hence, the physician may also advise the partner of the infected patient to undergo antiviral therapy.
While there are no medications to cure AIDS (Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) caused due to HIV (Human immunodeficiency Virus) infection completely, patients may be prescribed antiviral drugs to keep the infection in check for several years.
Regular treatment of patients diagnosed with HIV/AIDS using antiviral drugs can help to control the multiplication of the virus thereby slowing down the progress of the infection. However, patients may still carry the virus and transmit the infection to the partner. Hence, couples need to follow appropriate precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the infection.
Patients are advised to seek treatment for HIV and other STDs at the earliest once the diagnosis is made. The sooner they start the treatment, the more effective the results will be..
Taking an antiviral medication exactly as recommended would help to heal the sores, relieve the symptoms, and reduce the viral count thereby reducing the risk of serious complications.
Partner notification and preventive treatment
Patients suffering from a STD are required to inform their sexual partners about the diagnosis as they are likely to spread the infection during sexual intercourse.
They should inform their current sexual partners as well as other partners they have had intimate sexual contact with over the past one year. The symptoms of most STDs do not become evident for a period ranging from a few weeks to months. Hence, even if the current or past partners seem to be in good health and do not have any evident symptoms, they must be informed about the diagnosis so that they can get tested. In case, the tests show positive results, the partners should also seek appropriate treatment for the infection.
Guidelines of partner notification
All states have different guidelines related to the disclosure of the diagnosis of STDs. Most states require certain STDs to be reported to the concerned health departments. Public health departments usually employ expert disease intervention specialists who can provide help for notifying the partners.
Official yet confidential notification to the partner can help to limit the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, particularly syphilis and HIV. This practice can also steer the high-risk patients toward counseling and early diagnosis and treatment.
Patients who have had a STD once are more likely to contract the same or another infection again in the future. Hence, partner notification is essential to reduce the incidence of reinfection. Patients diagnosed with STDs should follow these guidelines so that they can protect the health of others while also avoiding reinfection in the future.
Here are some more recommendations that patients should follow when diagnosed with STDs
Recommendations for patients diagnosed with a STD
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Pregnant women diagnosed with STDs should contact a physician to learn more about the risk of transmitting the infection to the baby. Certain types of STDs such as HIV, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, chlamydia, and genital herpes are known to spread to the fetus or infant during pregnancy and labor.
STDs in pregnant women may also increase the risk of complications such as premature labor and infection in the uterus. Some STDs like syphilis may cross the placental barrier and infect the fetus.
Women should also be aware of the risk of transmission of the infection to the baby during breastfeeding. Women who have HIV should refrain from breastfeeding to prevent the spread of infection to the baby.
STDs like trichomoniasis require women to wait until the course of the antibiotic is over before they can start breastfeeding the baby. Women diagnosed with syphilis or herpes can breastfeed provided they do not have active sores on any part of the breasts.
How to reduce the spread of STDs?
Men and women should learn effective ways to reduce the spread of STDs in the future. Here are some precautionary measures recommended to reduce the spread of STDs:
Avoiding any form of sexual contact
The use of barrier methods of contraception such as condoms during vaginal, oral, or anal sex.
Avoiding multiple sexual partners
Discussing each other’s sexual history before intimate contact with a new partner
Avoiding the use of contaminated needles
Receiving vaccination for hepatitis B and HPV
It can be common for men and women to experience emotional challenges when they are diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease. In most cases, the emotional upheaval is associated with a feeling of guilt, shame, and even helplessness. Questions may also be raised about the source of the infection and the trust issues in the relationship especially when the infection is contracted through the partner.
Hence, patients are advised to undergo individual and family counseling to prevent mental stress, strained relations, and more serious complications such as depression.
Taking proper treatment can help to relieve the symptoms of STDs and ensure a faster recovery of patients. At the same time, individual and family counseling also forms an integral part of the management of sexually transmitted diseases.
Adequate precautionary measures must be taken to prevent the recurrence of the same or of other sexually transmitted infections. Comprehensive management of STDs keeping in mind the physical and emotional symptoms can help patients and their partners to stay healthy while enjoying safe sex.
Hot flashes and night sweats! I was kind of prepared for it. I knew that somewhere around my 50’s, I would start getting these symptoms or maybe a few years earlier. I also knew there would be mood swings; I would be more irritable or angry and so on.
But, I had reassured myself again and again that it was going to be just a natural phase of menopause that I couldn’t avoid. However, though most of the things I knew about menopause were correct, there was a small misconception I had and that was about the age!
I was under the impression all these symptoms wouldn’t start when I got closer to 45. So, when I was around 40, I was relaxed thinking I have a few more years to go before I need to face menopause.
But, during that age itself, I started getting those annoying symptoms. I used to feel a sudden surge of heat in my body. I used to get all sweaty even when the weather was pleasant. My moods had become unpredictable.
I started to wonder if it could be due to menopause. But I was still menstruating regularly. So, it didn’t make sense because menopause is actually a phase when the woman stops getting her periods.
So, why was I suffering from all these symptoms? It was very important for me to know that. I also wanted to find out how I could get relief because those hot flashes, mood swings, and sweating had started affecting my life in a huge way.
Since I wanted to get a clear idea of whether these symptoms had anything to do with menopause, I decided the best person to approach for advice was a gynecologist. When I met my gynecologist, she told me I was suffering from a phase called perimenopause. I came to know many facts about perimenopause from her which I want to share with you today.
What is Perimenopause?
“Most women think ‘this can’t happen to me as I am still menstruating,'” said my gynecologist.
However, the symptoms most women brush aside thinking they are not linked to menopause are actually due to a phase that occurs before menopause. And this phase is called perimenopause.
It is the time when the production of estrogen in the ovaries begins to reduce gradually.
Perimenopausal symptoms usually last up until menopause when the ovaries stop producing or releasing eggs. In the initial 1 or 2 years of perimenopause, the decline in estrogen levels speeds up.
“Perimenopause is a transitional time that can occur around the age of 35. Women may begin feeling symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, and increase sweating”, said Corio, a gynecologist in New York.
However, not all women experience the same set of symptoms due to perimenopause. Some women are able to sail through this phase without much discomfort while others develop severe symptoms that interfere with their routine life significantly.
The Change Before “The Change” Hot Flashes, Infertility, Happening Earlier Than You’d Expect
What are the common symptoms of Perimenopause?
The symptoms of perimenopause are quite similar to those of menopause. The only striking difference is perimenopause occurs before menopause. The symptoms may include:
These are the common symptoms of perimenopause. In rare cases, women may develop tenderness in the breasts along with pain or discomfort in the vagina during sex that could be linked to vaginal dryness.
They may also experience involuntary leakage of urine, especially while coughing or sneezing along with urinary urgency or a frequent, urgent need to pass urine.
Difficult in getting sound sleep is also one of the symptoms of perimenopause that can affect the daytime productivity of women and worsen their mood swings and irritability. The loss of sleep can also lead to low energy levels and fatigue.
However, I still didn’t understand what menopause, perimenopause or anything related to women’s reproductive functions could affect my body temperature or sweating. In fact, I always had this question in my mind.
My gynecologist explained to me why I was experiencing these symptoms. She told me hot flashes involve a sudden sensation of a wave of warmth or heat through the body that is usually accompanied by sweating, rapid heartbeat, and redness or flushing of the skin. The hot flashes usually last for about 1 to 5 minutes and are followed by a cold chill.
It is estimated that nearly 75% of women experience hot flashes during perimenopause.
Experts have attributed this sign to the decline in the levels of estrogen that occurs as women move towards the menopausal phase. As estrogen levels decline, the hypothalamus, a part of the brain which regulates body temperature, perceives an increase in body temperature. So, to bring the temperature back to normal, the brain releases hormones that work by increasing the heart rate and inducing dilation of the blood vessels.
This leads to a sudden surge of blood through the face and skin aimed at dissipating the heat across the body tissues. The increased blood flow is what is primarily responsible for the hot flashes most women experience every now and then during the perimenopausal and menopausal period.
Similarly, the natural cooling method triggered by the body to reduce the temperature works by increasing sweating, which explains why I was getting sweaty in spite of the weather being so pleasant.
I also wanted to know more about why women’s ability to conceive reduces with age and whether it was due to perimenopause. The doctor told me the decline in fertility is linked to both aging as well as perimenopause.
The drop in estrogen production during perimenopause inhibits the production and release of eggs from the ovaries thus causing a failure to get pregnant.
However, the gynecologist also told me that some women are able to conceive even during perimenopause, though the chances are extremely low. Even Corio had mentioned that all women need to know this.
She told me, ”Your chances of getting pregnant reduces after the age of 24. I see it often, women are just 32-year-old and 35-year-old, and their eggs are not viable for conception. The egg quality is poor. They are already in perimenopause and they do not even know it.”
Being aware of the fact that fertility can decline as age increases, especially when we enter perimenopause, can allow women to make appropriate decisions about pregnancy planning.
The decline in estrogen levels can also cause vaginal atrophy causing dryness and thinning of the vaginal tissues. This leads to a feeling of tightness, pain, and soreness in the vagina during sex. This affects women’s sexual pleasure and reduces their libido.
How long does perimenopause last?
On average, the duration of perimenopause is about 4 years. However, in some women, this phase may last just for a few months, while in others, it may begin at an early age and continue for 8 to 10 years. Perimenopause can be said to have ended when the woman has not had her periods for 12 months.
How to differentiate perimenopause from normal menstrual irregularities?
I was getting my menses regularly. However, I had noticed there were some changes in the flow. My menstrual flow was heavier than ever and I was also passing clots. I wanted to know whether these changes were also due to perimenopause and the hormonal change occurring due to it.
The gynecologist told me that most women get irregular periods during this phase. However, some women may have normal and regular periods while some may experience regular periods though with a few changes in their regular pattern.
She told me that the effect of perimenopause on your menstrual cycles depends on how the levels of two female sex hormones, estrogen, and progesterone, change during this period. During perimenopausal phase, women may develop menstrual irregularities such as:
Passing of large blood clots
The periods last longer than usual
Spotting between periods
Spotting after sex
Periods come more frequently
Most of these abnormal changes in periods could be linked to the changes in estrogen production. At the same time, it can also be due to other causes such as the use of birth control pills, fibroids in the uterus, and blood clotting disorders.
In some cases, the spotting could also occur as a result of pregnancy. Most women do not consider pregnancy to be the cause of spotting especially after they have had kids or passed a certain age when they do not think they can get pregnant. However, it is essential to rule out this possibility as well because the ovaries are still producing eggs during perimenopause and hence, it is possible for women to get pregnant and experience spotting due to it.
In rare cases, increased bleeding, and frequent periods can also occur due to cervical, endometrial or uterine cancer. Hence, women are advised to contact a gynecologist when they experience a change in their menstrual cycles to find out if it is due to perimenopause or any other factor.
Menopause vs. Perimenopause
So far, I had a misconception that women can develop hot flashes and mood swings only due to menopause. But now that I had learned that even perimenopause can cause similar symptoms, I was obviously interested in knowing what the difference between these two phases was.
The doctor told me perimenopause is when you still get your periods whether regular or irregular. Hence, it is still considered your reproductive age. Menopause, on the other hand, marks the end of periods as well the women’s reproductive age.
You may enter perimenopause or menopause at an earlier age if you:
Have a history of early menopause in your family
Have had an oophorectomy or hysterectomy
Are a smoker
Have undergone treatment for cancer
What is the treatment for Perimenopause?
I was eager to know if there was a way to overcome the symptoms that I was being plagued with for many years.
The gynecologist told me I could get temporary relief from hot flashes by using low-dose birth control pills. However, if the symptoms are severe, it is advisable to choose other options such as birth control skin patch, progesterone injections, and vaginal ring.
She also recommended some lifestyle strategies to relieve the symptoms. Let me share them with you:
Get adequate sleep every day and try going to bed and waking up at the same time every day
Limit alcohol intake
Maintain a healthy weight
The doctor’s advice gave me insight into what was happening to/with me, I had clarity. Now, I know why I was experiencing those symptoms that were supposed to occur in a few years from now. I was in perimenopause.
The doctor asked me to do some tests including blood levels of hormones. Based on the reports, she advised me to use a birth control patch. I also followed the advice related to my lifestyle as suggested by her.
The symptoms started subsiding slowly with the treatment. The doctor had also advised me to use calcium supplements as I had a higher risk of osteoporosis. My complete health check-up had revealed my bone mineral density was low.
The comprehensive treatment offered by the gynecologist based on my specific symptoms and overall health helped me overcome this phase with ease.
It’s been 2 years since I visited the gynecologist for the first time. I am taking treatment and doing tests regularly to check my hormonal levels. Within a few more years, I suppose, I would stop getting periods and enter menopause. However, I am confident, I wouldn’t have to face any difficulties during menopause as I am seeking regular advice from my gynecologist who recommends appropriate treatment based on my symptoms and hormonal levels.
Perimenopause is a change in women’s life that occurs before the major change of menopause. Women may experience hot flashes, reduced fertility, and other symptoms during perimenopause due to the decline in the production of female sex hormones. If you are suffering from such symptoms, it is best to contact a gynecologist so that you can receive timely treatment based on the correct diagnosis.
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Did you know most women DO NOT regret their decision to terminate a pregnancy and are no more likely to experience mental health problems than women who carry an unplanned pregnancy to term?
What if you’ve already made your decision, but you are still not sure about your emotional health after the procedure? And you wonder, what will you possibly feel after pregnancy termination?
The most common emotional reactions after pregnancy termination are minimal or none as it’s a personal choice.
A small group of women may feel relief, transient guilt, sadness, and a sense of loss.
There is no good evidence from large surveys that choosing to terminate an unwanted pregnancy places a woman at higher risk of subsequent depression than choosing to deliver an unwanted baby.
The percentage of women who regret carrying and delivering an unwanted pregnancy is very high.
The type of abortion procedure you have depends on a few factors, including how far along you are in your pregnancy, your medical suitability, which procedures are available in your area, and your preferences. A health care provider can also discuss the options with you to help you make an informed decision.
Preventive health visits should begin during adolescence to start a dialogue and establish an environment where a young patient can feel good about taking responsibility for her own reproductive health and feel confident that her concerns will be addressed in a confidential setting .
Because menarche is such an important milestone in physical development, clinicians should educate adolescent girls and their parents or guardians about what to expect of a first menstrual period and the range for normal cycle length of subsequent menses.
Young girls and their parents or guardians frequently have difficulty assessing what constitutes normal menstrual cycles or patterns of bleeding. By age 15 (years old), 98% of females will have had menarche. Although menstrual cycles vary considerably during the first few years after menarche, the majority of cycles in adolescents last 21 to 45 days with two to seven days of menstrual bleeding. By the third postmenarchal year, 95 percent of cycles fall into this range. The average adult menstrual cycle lasts 28 to 35 days with four (4) to six (6) days of menstrual bleeding.
Adolescents with regular menses have cyclic estrogen secretion that permits orderly growth and shedding of the endometrium (estrogen-withdrawal bleeding), even in the absence of ovulation.
In addition, the secretion of progesterone associated with the occasional ovulatory cycle in adolescents with regular menses helps to stabilize endometrial growth and permits more complete shedding.
Now let’s talk about Abnormal Uterine Bleeding. What is it and why does it happen?
A number of medical conditions can cause abnormal uterine bleeding, characterized by unpredictable timing and variable amount of flow. Although a long interval between cycles is common in adolescence due to anovulation, it is statistically uncommon for girls and adolescents to remain amenorrheic for more than 3 months (90 days).
Abnormal Uterine Bleeding (AUB) may be caused by ovulatory dysfunction and bleeding patterns can range from amenorrhea to irregular heavy menstrual bleeding.
The most common cause of AUB in adolescents during the initial one to two years of menstruation are anovulatory cycles (no ovulation), which are related to immaturity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis.
Other common causes of AUB in adolescents include:
Pregnancy – pregnancy-related problems.
Polycystic ovary syndrome.
Hypothalamic dysfunction (eg, related to stress, exercise, underweight, acute weight loss, or obesity).
Hormonal or intrauterine contraception.
More than one cause may contribute or exacerbate AUB in a given adolescent.
What is considered excessive menstrual bleeding? Excessive menstrual bleeding may be prolonged (greater than 7 days) or of increased volume (greater than 80 mL/cycle). Because neither patients nor clinicians can accurately estimate the volume of blood loss, excessive menstrual bleeding is often defined clinically (eg; soaks a pad or tampon more than every two hours; interferes with activities (eg; wakes from sleep); and/or interferes with physical, emotional, social, and/or material quality of life).
What is the origin of bleeding? Excessive bleeding is typically from the uterus, whereas light bleeding, staining, or spotting may be from any site along the genital tract. Postcoital bleeding suggests bleeding from the cervix or other lower genital tract source. Bleeding that occurs solely with urination or defecation suggests a urinary or gastrointestinal source.
What might it be associated with? Heavy menstrual bleeding, commonly associated with anovulation, also has been associated with the diagnosis of a coagulopathy (including von Willebrand’s disease, platelet function disorders, and/or other bleeding disorders) or other serious problems (including hepatic failure) and, rarely, malignancy.
To chart your menses may be beneficial, especially if your menstrual history is too vague or considered to be inaccurate.
For additional information, please visit www.HerSmartChoice.com.
We understand it is difficult to know that you are pregnant and not ready! If you have made your decision to terminate or thinking about terminating your pregnancy, here are a few major factors you want to consider:
Is it safe?
What methods are available?
Will I be able to have kids in the future?
How much pain or bleeding will I have?
Where can I get the procedure done?
What are my benefit and expected outcomes?
What does it cost?.
What is the difference between Medical and Surgical Abortion?
Many women have questions about what is true or not based on what they have heard about abortion:
MYTH 1: Abortion is dangerous.
♀ FACT: Legal abortion is one of the safest medical procedures available today. While abortion does have some risks, on the whole, carrying a pregnancy and giving birth have been found to be riskier than having an abortion. It is important to know that abortion performed by someone who is not trained (for example, by a woman herself or someone who is not a health care provider) may not be safe and can lead to serious complications, including bleeding, infection, infertility, and even death.
MYTH 2: Abortion will make me infertile.
♀ FACT: When an abortion is performed safely by someone who has the training, it does not lead to difficulty getting pregnant in the future.
MYTH 3: Abortion increases the risk of breast cancer.
♀ FACT: Several studies have conclusively shown that having an abortion does not increase the risk of developing breast cancer.
PROBABLE MYTH 4: Abortion increases my chance of miscarriage in the future.
♀ FACT: A number of well-designed studies have found that early abortions do not increase the risk of miscarriage, preterm delivery, or other complications with future pregnancies.
Your health care provider is the best source of information for questions and concerns related to your medical problem.
Do you know when your last menstrual period began or how long it lasted? If not, it might be time to start paying attention. Periods or Menstrual Cycles
Tracking your menstrual cycles can help you understand what’s normal for you, time ovulation and identify important changes, such as a missed periods or unpredictable menstrual bleeding.
The menstrual cycle is the monthly series of changes a woman’s body goes through in preparation for the possibility of pregnancy. Each month, one of the ovaries releases an egg, a process called ovulation. At the same time, hormonal changes prepare the uterus for pregnancy.
If ovulation takes place and the egg isn’t fertilized, the lining of the uterus sheds through the vagina. This is a menstrual period.
The normal menstrual cycle is a tightly coordinated cycle of stimulatory and inhibitory effects that results in the release of a single mature oocyte from a pool of hundreds of thousands of primordial oocytes. Despite variations worldwide and within the U.S. population, median age at menarche has remained relatively stable, between 12 and 13 years, across well-nourished populations in developed countries.
A variety of factors contribute to the regulation of this process, including hormones and paracrine and autocrine factors that are still being identified.
The average adult menstrual cycle lasts 28 to 35 days, with approximately 14 to 21 days in the follicular phase and 14 days in the luteal phase.
Why Do Women Get Periods Or Menstrual Cycles?
There is relatively little cycle variability among women between the ages of 20 and 40 years.
In comparison, there is significantly more cycle variability for the first five to seven years after menarche and for the last 10 years before cessation of menses.
Your menstrual cycle might be regular, about the same length every month, or somewhat irregular, and your period might be light or heavy, painful or pain-free, long or short, and still be considered normal.
Within a broad range, “normal” is what’s normal for you. To find out what’s normal for you, start keeping a record of your menstrual cycle on a calendar or your smartphone.
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