Also known as a Pap test or Pap smear, a Pap smear test is a routine procedure for all women who regularly go to a gynecologist. It checks the cervix and the lower part of the uterus, for any and all abnormal cell changes. Some cell changes that could be detected have potential to lead to cervical cancer, so it is crucial for all women to go for regular testing. Early detection of cervical cancer can make treatment quicker, easier, and more effective instead of leaving the abnormal cells to develop and go untreated. Pap smear tests are important, but when is the right time to get one? There are a few different factors to consider for receiving a Pap smear test, so here are some that every woman should know.
Age is most certainly a factor when it comes to the frequency of your Pap smear tests. For example, women under the age of 21 do not need to get regular Pap smear tests, but a woman between the ages of 21 and 29 should get one every 3 years. Women ages 30 to 65 should get a Pap test done in conjunction with an HPV test, an STD that can cause cervical cancer, every 5 years. The general rule of thumb is a Pap test should be done at least once every 3 years. A woman over the age of 65 on the other hand typically do not need to get a Pap smear test done any longer if their last 3 tests have come back normal. Cervical cancer typically takes 10 to 20 years to develop, so it’s not necessary to get a test done every year in these scenarios.
A woman with an average medical history should stick with the norm of getting a regular Pap smear test done every 3 years depending on their age and what their doctor says. When a patient has variation in their medical history, however, that can alter the frequency of a required Pap smear test greatly. Women who have had a hysterectomy for any reason other than cancer-related complications have no need for Pap smear tests. Individuals who have received a hysterectomy due to cervical cancer, or any other cancer, should get a Pap smear test done every year until they receive 3 normal screenings in a row. Weakened immune systems and being HIV positive are also additional reasons to receive the exam.
During your pregnancy, getting a Pap smear test is usually the last thing on your mind, but it’s still important if you’re within a certain timeframe. If you are 24 weeks pregnant or less, it is perfectly fine to receive a regular Pap smear. After the sixth month mark, however, a test could prove to be very uncomfortable or even painful, therefore doctors do not recommend the examination. You should wait 12 weeks before receiving a Pap test after giving birth. This is because the level and quality of hormones around the cervix before the 12 week mark could cause an unreliable test and even a false-negative.
When Was Your Last Pap Smear Test?
If you realized that you’re overdue for a Pap smear test, we at Anthony C. Quartell, M.D. and Associates are here for you. If you’ve already gotten your Pap smear test done and it came back as abnormal, we will be there with you every step of the way. Your health and happiness are our primary goals and regular Pap smear tests are the first step towards a care-free life. Contact us today to schedule your appointment and if you have any questions or concerns about the procedure itself or about our women’s health expertise, we’d be happy to help!
Lifestyle Changes Can Prevent Ovarian Cysts
Ovarian cysts are more common than one might think. Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled or solid pockets on a woman’s ovary and are often presumed to be more serious than they really are. They’re typically painless and won’t cause any harm. However, an ovarian cyst can become an issue if it does not go away on its own or continues to grow larger—they can also become cancerous in rare cases. Ovarian cysts are common among pregnant women and occur mostly in women who regularly experience their menstrual cycle. As common as ovarian cysts can be, there are still ways women can prevent them from developing.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
A woman’s overall health plays a big role in whether or not she will develop ovarian cysts, which is especially true when it comes to weight. Maintaining a healthy weight, based on age and body mass index, is important for all women. When a woman is overweight she is at a higher risk for developing conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which can subsequently increase the risk of ovarian cyst development. What’s the good news? If overweight women with PCOS lose 10 percent of their weight, it can resolve issues and decrease the chances altogether. In order to maintain a healthy weight and prevent ovarian cysts, women should practice healthy eating habits and follow a normal exercise routine at least five days a week.
Rule Out Fertility Medication
Similar to weight gain, there are other underlying issues that can contribute to a woman developing ovarian cysts. If a woman is experiencing infertility and is taking fertility medication to increase her chances of becoming more fertile, she may get cysts over time. There are certain fertility medications, like clomiphene, that cause a woman’s body to ovulate more and often create this unwanted result. Although it is strongly advised to consult with a doctor before stopping any fertility medications, doing so will greatly decrease a woman’s chances of developing ovarian cysts.
Steer Clear of Smoking Cigarettes
Smoking is never advised, especially for those who wish to live a long, healthy life. Since the nicotine in cigarettes promotes conditions such as cancer and emphysema, it also increases a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cysts. Cigarette smoking affects both ovarian hormones and ovarian function. As multiple studies have shown, cigarette smoking links to a significant increase in ovarian cyst risk. Women who smoke cigarettes should cease the bad habit altogether by joining a smoking cessation program or taking another positive step to quit as soon as possible.
Think About Birth Control
Birth control can help with a myriad of issues, from acne to period regulation. Fortunately, birth control can also help prevent ovarian cysts and can even help to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. If women have been diagnosed with ovarian cysts, or are at an increased risk, they should strongly consider taking birth control. Birth control, in all its forms, suppresses ovarian function and prevents ovulation. The pill, a patch, ring, injection and implant all work to achieve these goals and prevent ovarian cysts from occurring in women.
Schedule a Gynecologist Appointment
There is no one better to help a woman with ovarian cyst prevention than a medical doctor who is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology. A gynecologist has the ability to diagnose, treat and educate patients on ovarian cysts from what they are to the best ways to prevent them. In the event that a woman does develop ovarian cysts, she can also receive an ovarian cystectomy from her doctor. This surgical procedure removes cysts from one or both of the ovaries. An ovarian cystectomy not only diagnoses ovarian cysts, it also reduces any painful symptoms a woman experiences and rules out the risk of cancerous growth.
Comprehensive Ovarian Cyst Treatment Near You
Women living in the New Jersey and New York areas who are looking to prevent or treat ovarian cysts should schedule an appointment at the office of Anthony C. Quartell, M.D. & Associates. Contact the office to explore your treatment options and learn more about the conditions a local OBGYN can treat today.
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Exploring Endometriosis and Fertility
Infertility is a serious condition that sadly affects both women and men, defined as the inability to conceive after a year or longer of having unprotected sex. Although fertility issues can be brought on by a variety of factors, some of which are unpreventable, women with an endometriosis diagnosis are even more likely to experience infertility problems in life.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometrium is the tissue that lines the uterus. When a woman has endometriosis, the endometrium is located outside of the uterus. In various cases of endometriosis, the endometrium has been found on the abdomen, ovaries, pelvic cavity and even inside the fallopian tubes. Since the endometrium is misplaced, the tissue actually builds up more so than usual, breaks down and ultimately sheds. While this is a very normal and routine occurrence for the endometrium tissue properly located within the uterus, the misplaced tissue has no other way to leave the body—which leads to tell-tale signs of endometriosis, like internal bleeding and inflammation.
Endometriosis is a chronic disease that doesn’t always show symptoms or signs to the women who have it. For those women who do experience the signs of endometriosis, symptoms could range from mild to severe. Symptoms of endometriosis include painful cramping throughout a menstrual cycle, extreme pelvic pain that gradually worsens, lower back pain, painful intercourse, excessive bleeding, painful bowel movements, painful urination, constipation and nausea. And although it might not be a physically felt sign, infertility is also a symptom of endometriosis.
Endometriosis and Fertility
Endometriosis can affect different parts of a woman’s reproductive system, depending on where the endometrium tissue is located outside of the uterus. Due to the fact that endometriosis causes severe inflammation and irritation to multiple parts of a woman’s body, it can significantly affect fertility—and decrease the chances of a woman becoming pregnant. In some cases, the fimbria may be tampered with, leading to infertility. The fimbria allows the egg to be transported into the fallopian tube; when endometriosis cause swelling and brings about damage to the egg, it makes it more difficult for the egg to travel to its end location successfully. The inflammation brought on by endometriosis can also heavily influence the sperm and eggs as well, since they are existing in a damaged environment that makes it almost impossible for successful fertility circumstances to occur. In rarer occasions, endometriosis can block the fallopian tubes or lead to adhesions in a woman’s body, causing the pelvic organs to stick together; this makes the pelvic organs function at a much lower rate.
Becoming Pregnant with Endometriosis
For those women with diagnosed endometriosis and ongoing infertility issues as a result, an experienced obstetrician or gynecologist can perform a laparoscopy to treat the endometriosis and increase the chances of her becoming pregnant. Laparoscopy is a minor outpatient surgery that inserts a scope through a woman’s umbilicus, into her abdomen. Throughout the procedure, the medical doctor can remove lesions caused by endometriosis with scissors, a laser or some other type of approved, medical removal process. Once the laparoscopy is finished, women have the best chance of conceiving within the first few months. In the event that a woman does become pregnant and can successfully carry a baby to term while living with endometriosis, pregnancy has the ability to improve symptoms greatly; the pregnancy hormones naturally counteract the endometriosis.
Get Tested for Endometriosis at Anthony C. Quartell, M.D. & Associates
Getting diagnosed with endometriosis and increasing the chances of becoming pregnant all start with proper general obstetric care. At Anthony C. Quartell, M.D. & Associates, Dr. Quartell and his dedicated staff specialize in minimally invasive gynecological surgery and treat conditions like endometriosis on a daily basis, helping women decrease their infertility rate and become the healthiest they can possibly be. Women who think they might have endometriosis can become tested, diagnosed and possibly even treated at Anthony C. Quartell, M.D. & Associates’ convenient location at 316 Eisenhower Parkway in Livingston, New Jersey. Please contact the office by calling 973-716-9600 to schedule an appointment today.
If you suffer from painful periods, the thought of having difficulty conceiving has most likely crossed your mind. While any pregnancy can have complications, women who experience painful periods may have unaddressed underlying issues that can affect their chances of pregnancy.
Menstruation may be innately painful but should not affect your daily life. While there are many factors contributing to fertility difficulties, informing yourself on the root of the problem can aid in addressing the issue more swiftly. To give you a head start in learning about possible causes of painful menstruation, Anthony Quartell, M.D. and Associates have put together a list of 5 conditions commonly associated with infertility.
Underlying Causes Of Painful Periods
With nearly 3 out of 4 women developing one in their lifetime, uterine fibroids are extremely common growths that develop on the smooth muscle of the uterus. Although noncancerous, these abnormal masses may cause heavy cramping and prolonged bleeding. Many women never realize they have fibroids due to their ability to “pass” during a menstrual cycle. Extreme cases of uterine fibroids occasionally can cause lower fertility and increased risk of having a miscarriage; surgical removal of a fibroid growth or hormone treatment may be required.
Another commonly undiagnosed condition that can affect pregnancy is endometriosis. Endometriosis occurs when the formation of endometrium – the mucous membrane that lines the uterus – develops elsewhere in the body. This spread of endometrium is believed to travel through the fallopian tubes to areas such as the pelvic floor, ovaries and even your bowels. This causes extreme pain during menstrual cycles and has been linked to cases of infertility. It is estimated that 1 in 10 women suffer from endometriosis in their lifetime, with up to 50% of those cases resulting with difficulty conceiving.
Similar to endometriosis, adenomyosis occurs when endometrium grows in the uterine wall. It is currently unclear if adenomyosis directly affects fertility, but adenomyosis often causes heavy bleeding, severe cramping and painful intercourse. While there are certain medications available to treat the discomfort, adenomyosis can only be completely eradicated through a hysterectomy – the removal of the uterus.
PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease)
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is another possible cause of painful menstrual cramps and typically associated with an untreated medical disease. Caused by an infection in the reproductive organs, PID leads to the formation of scar tissue. This web-like scarring between the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus causes increased discomfort during a menstrual cycle and is the most common cause of blocked fallopian tubes. Fortunately, pelvic inflammatory disease can be diagnosed through a routine pelvic exam and be treated with antibiotics from a doctor.
Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that occur on the surface of an ovary. Cysts can originate from unreleased eggs (if ovulation does not occur) or if the sac in which the egg forms does not completely dissolve. Although usually benign, ovarian cysts have the potential to become cancerous. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition defined by the accumulation of small cysts on your ovaries, high levels of certain hormones, and irregular menstruation– all of which may contribute to future issues with fertility. Most women will develop a cyst on their ovaries at least once in their lifetime, which is why it is important to mention any discomfort during a pelvic exam.
Menstrual Cramp Relief in New Jersey
Infertility affects about 15% of couples in the U.S. with many more experiencing difficulties conceiving. If you or someone you know is suffering from painful menstrual cramps do not hesitate scheduling your appointment with the professionals at Anthony Quartell, M.D. and Associates. Let our dedicated team help you explore treatment options for fertility-related issues. To schedule an appointment, visit our website or give us a call at (973) 968-4611 today!
Coming in only second to heart disease, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. Roughly 13,000 women are diagnosed annually with cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is a deadly disease that affects the cervix- the lower portion of the uterus that opens to the vagina. The rate of this disease has declined significantly in the past 40 years due to increased awareness and Pap smears, but remains a concern for many. Pap smears as well as other preventive screenings can assist in the prevention and early detection of cervical cancer.
The importance of cervical cancer prevention is not something that you or your loved ones should take lightly. While symptoms of cervical cancer often appear later in the disease’s development, being aware of these symptoms can increase your chances of successful treatment. Starting today, take cancer prevention into your own hands. Below we have compiled a list of common cervical cancer symptoms you should keep an eye out for.
Cervical Cancer Early Symptoms
Pelvic or Abdominal Pain
A common symptom of cervical cancer is abnormal pelvic or abdominal pain. For those in question, any discomfort below your belly button above your legs qualifies as pelvic pain. If issues persist or gradually become worse merits a consult.
Although natural monthly occurrence, spotting between periods and abnormal vaginal bleeding can be concerning. While it is not necessarily a definite indication of serious issues, be aware that irregular vaginal bleeding is the most common symptom of cervical cancer and should not be left unattended.
Similar to vaginal bleeding, vaginal discharge can occur as a result of many possible causes- both harmful and natural. An irregular balance of normal bacteria or the introduction to antibiotics may lead to unexpected discharge. While different colors, smells, and textures all mean various possible causes, brown or bloody discharge accompanied with abnormal vaginal bleeding and/or pelvic pain are red flags for possible cervical cancer.
Advanced Cervical Cancer Symptoms
Lower Back Pain
Cervical cancer primarily affects women between the ages of 35-44, but any age post-puberty is vulnerable. Constant ache around the lower back and pelvis area are one of the easiest symptoms to go unnoticed. Be aware if conditions last more than a week or traditional relief does not work.
Unusual Urinary Symptoms
Urgency, increased frequency, or difficulty urinating – also blood in your urine – are all causes for concern. If symptoms occur more than 12 times in a month be proactive and schedule an appointment.
Discomfort During Intercourse
Cervical cancer may affect your sex life. If you experience any unusual pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse, schedule a visit. Bleeding during and after intercourse are additional signs red flags.
HPV’s Role in Cervical Cancer
While cervical cancer only affects women, prevention of this disease falls on both men and women. Found in almost every case of cervical cancer HPV, or Human papillomavirus, is the largest contributing factor to the disease. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the US and if left untreated, may result in various other common genital cancers. To prevent yourself from contracting HPV, practice safe sex or ask us about recommended vaccines.
Schedule Your Screening NOW
Early identification of cervical cancer drastically decreases the chance of the cancer spreading to other organs. The earlier cervical cancer is spotted, the better your chances are for treatment to be successful. Any persistent symptoms should be an alert to stop in and get checked out. For more information about cervical cancer symptoms or to figure out the best cancer screening schedule for you, contact us through our website or call (973) 968-4611. Help us improve cervical cancer survival rates today and book a visit at the best gynecologist in New Jersey.
What is a Hysterectomy?
A gynecologic hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that removes a woman’s uterus from her body. A patient may choose to receive a hysterectomy to relieve pain or assist in progressing toward a desired lifestyle preference. This operation is safe, highly effective, and eliminates the chances of pregnancy.
Types of Hysterectomy
There is no single approach to this surgery, but each tactic utilized by your surgeon is equally as effective as the next. A hysterectomy can be can be performed through either the vagina or by a laparoscopic incision into the abdomen. The following examples will highlight the procedural options available by most OB-GYN surgeons.
- Total Hysterectomy: Both the entire uterus and cervix are removed during this procedure.
- Subtotal / Partial or Supra-Cervical Hysterectomy: The cervix is left intact, but the upper section of the uterus is removed. This procedure can only be performed abdominally.
- Radical Hysterectomy: This procedure removes the uterus and other surrounding structures (eg. Cervix, Ovaries & Fallopian Tubes).
How is a Hysterectomy Performed?
The patient will receive general anesthesia and a urinary catheter to drain the bladder before initial vertical or horizontal incisions are made. Patients should note that a hysterectomy is performed based on the individual’s physical body. The type of incision depends on the size of the uterus, preexisting scars, and possibly the need to further explore the upper abdomen for a successful surgery. Once all preceding steps are completed – and the surgical tools are cleansed and sterilized – surgery can commence. The surgeon will then pass surgical instruments through the vagina or abdominal incision to work on the designated area. The blood vessels and connective tissues are detached so the uterus can be easily removed. Depending on the type of hysterectomy, other surrounding organs and tissues may be removed as well during the surgery.
Why Receive a Hysterectomy?
Receiving a hysterectomy is contingent on a variety of health conditions and life choices. Below you will find easily treatable conditions and reasons for receiving a hysterectomy.
The symptoms and conditions described here can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort. To correct these abnormalities, a hysterectomy may be the best approach before pain develops into severe cases and chronic recurs.
Your successful hysterectomy procedure will provide you with a generous amount of post-surgical benefits. You’ll find immediate relief from the symptoms that were once causing you pain and menstrual periods will never occur again – due to removal of the organ in which it takes place. Your sex life can return to normal and some women report to even experience more pleasure post-hysterectomy. A hysterectomy will improve your overall quality of life and promote a rejuvenated sense of well-being.
Preparing for a Hysterectomy
When you experience any symptoms like the ones listed above, you should contact a physician right away. Scheduling an appointment will allow the doctor to examine your body and accurately diagnose your condition before symptoms increase in severity. You’ll then undergo initial screening tests to check for various cancers. The presence of cancer will change the surgeon’s approach to your hysterectomy and these tests may include a cervical cytology test, endometrial biopsy, and a pelvic ultrasound. After you’ve undergone precautionary screening – and chosen which procedural method will be performed – the doctor will give you specific instructions to prepare. You’ll be instructed to wash your body with prescribed soap and perform a preoperative cleansing of the vagina and rectum to prevent infection. If all directions are followed, surgery will be a great success.
Board-Certified OB-GYN in Livingston, New Jersey
A hysterectomy is a life-changing procedure that can improve your bodily health and quality of life. Dr. Anthony Quartell, M.D. is a board certified OB-GYN surgeon who specializes in laparoscopic hysterectomy surgery. If you think this procedure may be the solution to relieve your symptoms, please contact us or call 973-716-9600 to schedule an appointment. Dr. Quartell is dedicated to delivering you back to full health so you can enjoy a worry-free life!
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The Top 5 Tips for Selecting an OB-GYN
For women, selecting an obstetrician-gynecologist – more commonly referred to as an OB-GYN – is one of the most significant decisions she will have to face. Whether or not she plans to expect a child in the near future, attending an OB-GYN’s office for routine, regular visits is a crucial component of her overall, optimal health. OB-GYN’s are the doctors who specialize in women’s health, who assist with menstruation, menopause, childbirth and other conditions only women can experience. In other words, going to the OB-GYN is kind of a big deal – so it’s important to choose the best one that is located nearby to you.
1. Make sure you are compatible.
Similar to a regular physician, not every OB-GYN is going to be a good match for you. Sometimes, it takes a few visits with more than one doctor, at more than one practice, to pinpoint exactly what you are looking for in an OB-GYN. While some doctors might miss the mark on every single characteristic you want them to posses, others may be extremely similar to you. Whatever you find the most important – whether it’s extra screening for a serious condition, or trying for an all-natural birth at the time of your delivery – make sure that the OB-GYN is on the same page as you, or at least willing to meet you halfway.
2. Check out patient testimonials and recommendations.
Past and present patient testimonials are the closest word-of-mouth advice you’ll get regarding the prospective OB-GYN you are on the fence about choosing. These patient testimonials can usually be found on the OB-GYN’s website – but a quick Google search could also produce some accurate results as well. If the majority of the patient testimonials are positive, and inform you that the OB-GYN is one that values his or her patients and runs a respectable practice, then that OB-GYN is worth looking into.
3. Research what hospital he or she is affiliated with.
Expectant mothers – and those women who are looking to conceive somewhere down the road – should always ask about the OB-GYN’s hospital affiliation. Some OB-GYN’s strictly deliver babies out of one hospital only, while other practices are affiliated with more than one, giving you more options to choose from. Sometimes, the hospital is a make or break factor for women who are expecting – if they don’t like the hospital that the OB-GYN works out of, they might need to consider finding a new one altogether.
4. Keep an open line of communication.
If you’re trying out an OB-GYN for the first time, but you’re still not so sure about whether or not they are the best fit for you, always voice your opinions. When you are open and honest about how you feel regarding a procedure or the way that the OB-GYN handles something, it will shed some light on how they react, and make you consider if that truly is who you want to see as your OB-GYN.
5. Schedule a consultation.
The best way to pick an OB-GYN is to give them a chance. Schedule a consultation at a prospective OB-GYN practice that you’ve done some previous research on. If you think they might be a good match for you, it is definitely worth contacting the office and making an initial appointment. At this consultation, the staff should be accommodating and friendly to you, making you feel comfortable in their office. This allows you to get a feel for the overall atmosphere of the office, see what type of equipment they use, and most importantly, meet the OB-GYN face-to-face.
Make an Appointment at Anthony C. Quartell, M.D. and Associates
At Anthony C. Quartell, M.D. and Associates, we always welcome new patients with open arms, and we’re more than happy to provide them with any more information they need to make a final decision on whether or not they’d like to choose Dr. Quartell as their OB-GYN. Dr. Quartell is a highly qualified and experienced medical doctor who specializes in obstetrics, gynecology and minimally invasive gynecological surgery. Contact us by calling 973- 968-4611 to make an appointment.
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Even if it’s not your first mammogram, many women often are anxious before appointments. But there’s no need to be stressed! A breast screening is an important step in taking care of your body. Use our blog below to learn more about what the procedure entails and how to prepare for it to help ease your nerves!
What is a Mammogram?
A mammogram is one of the best ways to detect breast cancer as early as possible. Using low-dose X-rays, this specific type of breast imaging allows specialists to look for changes in a woman’s breast tissue. It is crucial that you do not put off your mammogram. The technology that is used can detect lumps that are too small to be felt in a self-examination. This is when breast cancer is easiest to treat.
How to Prepare for Your Mammogram
If you haven’t started menopause, it is best to schedule your mammogram for the week after your period. You don’t want to schedule it in the days leading up to or during your menstrual cycle, especially if that’s when you tend to experience breast tenderness. You may prefer to schedule your appointment for early in the day, as you cannot wear any deodorant, powder, lotion or ointment. Some of the ingredients in these products can show up on an X-ray.
On the day of your appointment, be sure to wear a two-piece outfit. You only have to remove your top for the exam, so separates make things more convenient. Be sure to describe any breast changes or problems to your doctor before the mammogram begins. You also need to tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or may be pregnant.
What Happens During a Mammogram?
During your screening, you and your technologist will be the only two people in the room. He or she will position you to get two X-rays of each breast. For some women, more pictures may be needed. If that’s the case, no need to worry! A technologist may reposition you for an extra X-ray or two, but this is usually just to get a better view. If you have implants, additional photos are almost always required.
To get the highest quality picture, your breasts need to be flattened. This allows the breast tissue to spread, ensuring a clear view of the breast and reducing the amount of radiation needed to produce an image. Some women experience some pain or discomfort during the compression. While the appointment usually takes about 20 minutes, the compression only lasts about 10 to 20 seconds per picture. Be sure to tell the technologist if you’re experiencing a tremendous amount of pain.
About Your Mammogram Results
A full report of your results will be sent to your health care provider. If there are any abnormal findings, the radiologist will send you a letter in the mail detailing what they found to be abnormal. While abnormal mammogram results can be scary, it does not necessarily mean you have cancer. It could just mean higher-resolution images or an ultrasound is needed to further examine you. Many women who have initial abnormal results are found to be perfectly healthy.
When Should You Schedule Your First Mammogram?
There is a lot of debate as to when women should schedule their first mammogram. Before 2009, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) used to recommend all women over 40 should schedule a yearly mammogram. But in 2009, the USPSTF updated its screening recommendations to state that a woman who is at average risk for breast cancer could wait until she turned 50, and that she could schedule a mammogram every 2 years, instead of yearly. This has caused much debate within the medical community, making it unclear for women as to when they should schedule their mammograms.
The best thing to do is to speak with your doctor. He or she will be able to help you decide what is the right choice for your body, depending on your medical history and risk of developing breast cancer.
Breast Health Services in Livingston, New Jersey
If you are concerned about your risk of developing breast cancer, it is important that you speak with an experienced gynecologist. Dr. Quartell and his staff would be happy to answer any questions or address any concerns you may have about your breast health, or any gynecological condition you may be experiencing. For more information or to schedule a visit to our Livingston, New Jersey office, please contact us today.
Whenever it comes to pelvic pain, it is better to be safe than sorry. Ignoring signs and symptoms only makes them worse. If your body is in pain, you should figure out the cause and deal with the underlying issue. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is not right.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the following symptoms warrant a trip to your doctor. Women should pay close attention to any of these 3 potentially serious, gynecological-related pain issues.
1. Pelvic Pain and Abdominal Discomfort
It’s important to tell your gynecologist what kind of pain you’re having. Does it come on suddenly or is it constant? This will help the doctor make a proper diagnosis. Sharp pelvic pain may be a warning sign that you have an infection, a ruptured ovarian cyst, or a dangerous ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy growing outside the uterus). More constant pain or a feeling of fullness in the abdomen is suggestive of uterine fibroids, which are non-cancerous tumors.
Another potential source of regular pelvic pain is endometriosis, a common condition in which the lining of the uterus grows outside the organ. Endometriosis starts with pain during the menstrual cycle but may progress to become an ‘all the time’ pain as endometrial cells grow outside the uterus. The endometrial tissue bleeds during menstruation and can cause terrible pelvic pain. There is no cure for endometriosis, but one option is birth control pills, especially a brand called Seasonale, which limits menstrual periods to four times a year. Another choice is a drug to lower estrogen levels and can slow the growth of endometriosis. Your treatment will depend on how bad the pain is and whether you plan on getting pregnant. In addition to causing pelvic pain, the condition can lead to trouble having a baby.
2. Painful Periods and Unusual Bleeding
Occasional spotting between periods shouldn’t set off any alarm bells. But when the bleeding lasts for days or is heavy and painful, it’s time to call your gynecologist. This could be a sign of an injury to the vagina, a miscarriage, or even cancer of the cervix or uterus, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It is also important to check in with your doctor if you have stopped having periods due to menopause, but have begun bleeding again. This could be a sign of uterine cancer. It’s important to know what’s normal for you. When something is suddenly abnormal, it is time to call the doctor. Uterine fibroids, an infection, or a thyroid problem could be to blame. Irregular or infrequent periods can be a symptom of an underlying condition such as polycystic ovary syndrome or a hormone imbalance problem. A missed period could be a sign that you are pregnant, or that there is another medical condition requiring attention.
3. Painful Intercourse or Urination
One of life’s greatest pleasures shouldn’t be painful. Pain during sex can be felt as deep pelvic pain or soreness in your genital area. Common causes are vaginal dryness, infections, or uterine fibroids, according to the NIH. Your gynecologist will likely perform a pelvic exam and tests to find out what’s wrong. Urinary incontinence or difficulty moving your bowels can be symptoms of pelvic floor problems. That’s when the tissues that support the pelvic organs become damaged or weakened, often due to childbirth. If the muscles are weak, your gynecologist may suggest special pelvic exercises, called kegels, to strengthen the area. But if there’s a tear, your gynecologist will suggest other treatment options.
Vaginal discharge is the body’s way of keeping the vagina clean and healthy. The thickness of discharge changes at different times of the month, depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle. If you notice a yellow, green, or gray discharge that has a bad odor, it’s time to see your gynecologist. Changes in discharge as well as itching and burning around your vagina could indicate some type of vaginitis. Two major culprits are yeast and bacterial infections, which can be treated with medication.
Call a doctor for immediate care if you have sudden, severe pelvic pain, with or without vaginal bleeding.
- Your periods have changed from relatively pain-free to painful.
- Pain interferes with your daily activities.
- You start to have pain during intercourse.
- You have painful urination, blood in your urine, or an inability to control the flow of urine.
- You have blood in your stool or a significant, unexplained change in your bowel movements.
- You notice any new pelvic symptoms.
- You haven’t yet seen a doctor about your chronic pelvic pain.
What is normal?
Always pay attention to what your body is telling you. If you are experiencing any of these warning signs, your gynecologist can evaluate the problem and provide treatment to help you get back to feeling your best as soon as possible.
What is a Pap smear?
A pap smear is a medical screening process used for detecting abnormal changes in the cervix, the lower section of the uterus. You may quickly notice many gynecologists and other gynecological staff calling pap smears, pap tests. Both terms can be used interchangeably because they refer to the same exact screening process.
The pap smear has its name because the test actually involves obtaining a physical swab sample of body tissue made up of cervical cells which are then smeared onto a glass slide, stained, and examined underneath a microscope for cytological studies. Cytology is the branch of science using cellular changes and observations for the diagnosis of disease.
Therefore, the pap smear is widely considered the leading scientific standard for the early detection of medical diseases like human papillomavirus infection (HPV), herpes simplex virus infection or cold sores, genital herpes, trichomonad infections, cervical dysplasia (CIN), or cervical cancer.
Should I get a Pap smear?
Most insurance health plans must cover pap smears for free because pap smears are viewed as a routine health care procedure for all women between the ages of 21 years to 65 years old. Whether you are sexually active or not, it does not matter because you still need regular pap smears for your own health. The same holds true for those younger than 65 who have already experienced menopause.
However, even if you think pap smears do not apply to you, never make the mistake of assuming you do not need routine pap smears without first receiving professional clearance from your regular gynecologist. If you do not know whether or not you should get a pap smear, always seek the advice of your gynecologist before drawing final conclusions.
When Should I get a Pap smear?
All women should start routine pap smears beginning at 21-years old. However, if you are sexually active you should start pap smears within 3 years of being sexually active or after turning 21-years old. Go with whichever time frame comes first. Young ladies between 21-years to 29-years of age, need pap smears more often than other age groups. The recommendation is regular pap smears every 3 years, unless an abnormality is detected. Women over age 30 should schedule routine pap smears every 3 to 5 years.
For special cases, pap smears could be recommend as often as every 6 months. For example, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends all HIV-positive women get an initial pap smear, and get re-tested 6 months later. Women with AIDS or weakened immune systems have a higher risk for developing various cervical diseases.
Why are Pap smears important?
While early detection and prevention for all medical diseases are important, pap smears are particularly useful in helping gynecologists detect abnormal cervical cells so treatment can take place before these abnormalities turn into cervical cancer. Pap smears are crucial to reproductive health because many women suffering or dying from cervical cancer could have been saved.
For example, in 2015 alone, the American Cancer Society states, “approximately 12,900 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed in the United States and about 4,100 women will die as a result of cervical cancer.”
Moreover, pap smears are extremely reliable in helping medical professionals find, diagnose, and treat human papillomavirus infection (HPV). HPV is the leading cause for cervical cancer. HPV types 16 and 18 cause 70-percent of cervical cancers and precancerous cervical lesions. HPV is an extremely common virus, passed on from one person to the next during sexual intercourse. If HPV is left untreated, in most cases the virus will lead to cervical cancer.
Prevention, early detection, diagnosis, and treatment are examples of the necessary action steps needed to slow the progression of cervical cancer in women, and routine pap smears are the key to doing so.
Where should I go to get my Pap smear?
The practice of Anthony C. Quartell, M.D. & Associates is dedicated to providing special health needs for women of all ages, whether just entering puberty, expecting a baby, or traveling through menopause. Always go to a trusted, trained gynecologist for pap smears. Call our office at 973.716.9600 or fill out a short contact form to schedule your pap smear appointment today.