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Year: 2023

When Should Your Teen Start Seeing a Gynecologist?

A lot of times, parents aren’t exactly sure when to start bringing their teens to the gynecologist. While there’s no definitive answer, there are milestones and signs you can look for as a parent that will help you determine when you should call your OB/GYN.

If your child is experiencing early, late, or irregular menstruation, it may be a good idea to take them to a gynecologist. Other milestones to take into account are heavy periods that cause major cramps, and when your child becomes sexually active.

At Greenville Women’s Care, we act as more than an OB/GYN, we can also be a source of primary care. You can bring your teen in (most teens start coming between 13 and 15) and our team can talk to them about their health and development. A gynecologist can answer questions about puberty, sexual health, contraceptives, concerns about menstruating, and more.

If your child is experiencing health issues, they are welcome to come to the gynecologist sooner than 13. It can be intimidating and scary to visit a gynecologist for the first time, especially when you are young. But, coming to the gynecologist when you are younger helps to set a firm foundation of trust that your teen can continue to rely on for years to come. However, if your teen is uncomfortable with the idea of going to a gynecologist and isn’t experiencing any health issues, it’s okay for them to wait until they’re older to come in (we recommend the end of high school).

Usually, your first trip to the gynecologist will include a physical exam and usually does not include a pelvic exam. If an exam needs to be done, it’s typically an external pelvic exam and the patients comfortability is fully considered. Your child won’t need a pap smear until they are 21.

The most common things teens come to the gynecologist for include period problems (painful, heavy, irregular, etc.), pelvic pains, contraceptives, the HPV vaccination, STI screenings, and to ask questions. Your gynecologist is here for you every step of the way.

If you think it’s time for your teen to visit the gynecologist for the first time, we recommend talking to them about it to help ease their nerves. The staff at Greenville Women’s Care is here to offer compassionate, considerate care and make each visit to the gynecologist as stress-free as possible. By visiting, you can view full profiles on all our gynecologists and find the one that best fits you. Visit us at or call 252-757-3131 to schedule an appointment today.

What Is Gestational Diabetes?

During Diabetes Awareness Month we wanted to shed some light on the topic of gestational diabetes. What is it, what causes it and how can you manage it if you are diagnosed with it?

Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that occurs when your body cannot make enough insulin during pregnancy. It affects how your body uses sugar and can lead to high blood sugar levels, one in ten pregnant women are diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Unlike other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes usually goes away after the baby is born. However, if you have gestational diabetes, you are at a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life. It is important to manage gestational diabetes through proper diet, exercise, and sometimes medication to ensure a healthy pregnancy for both mother and baby.

One of the key factors that can contribute to the development of gestational diabetes is hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. These hormones can make it difficult for the body to use insulin effectively. Additionally, if a woman has a family history of diabetes or if she is overweight before pregnancy, her risk of developing gestational diabetes may be higher. Other risk factors include being older than 25, having previously given birth to a large baby, belonging to certain ethnic groups, or having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). It’s important to identify the causes and risk factors of gestational diabetes so that your healthcare provider can offer appropriate advice during your pregnancy.

It’s important for pregnant mothers to recognize the symptoms of gestational diabetes so they can get the diagnosis and help. Some common symptoms include increased thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, and blurred vision. However, it’s worth noting that gestational diabetes often presents with no symptoms at all. To diagnose this condition, doctors typically perform a glucose screening test, which involves measuring blood sugar levels after drinking a sugary solution. If the results are abnormal, a glucose tolerance test may be conducted to confirm the diagnosis. Early detection and management of gestational diabetes are key to ensuring a healthy pregnancy.

Managing gestational diabetes during pregnancy involves a combination of lifestyle changes and medical interventions. The main focus of treatment is to maintain blood sugar levels within a target range to ensure a healthy pregnancy. This can be achieved through regular monitoring of blood sugar levels, following a balanced diet with controlled carbohydrate intake, and regular physical activity. In some cases, medication or insulin therapy may be necessary to control blood sugar levels more effectively. Close monitoring and regular check-ups with healthcare professionals are also crucial during this time. Additionally, pregnant individuals with gestational diabetes may be advised to monitor fetal movements and undergo regular ultrasounds to keep an eye on the baby’s growth and well-being. Overall, managing gestational diabetes during pregnancy aims to promote the best possible health outcomes for both the mother and the baby.

Potential complications and long-term effects of gestational diabetes can include pre-eclampsia, the development of type 2 diabetes, and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease later in life. In some cases, the baby may experience complications such as macrosomia (large birth weight), shoulder dystocia, and an increased risk of developing obesity or type 2 diabetes later in life.

It is essential for women with gestational diabetes to closely monitor their blood sugar levels, follow a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and take any prescribed medications or insulin as directed. By managing gestational diabetes effectively, women can reduce the risks of these potential complications and ensure the best outcomes for both them and their babies.

There are a lot of pressures to do what is best for you and your baby during your pregnancy. One way to ensure you are keeping you and your baby healthy during your pregnancy is to make sure you are tested for gestational diabetes, that you are managing it properly if you have it, and to have open and honest conversations with your physician about any symptoms or concerns you may have.

Misconceptions about Metastatic Breast Cancer

Metastatic breast cancer is when breast cancer spreads to another part of the body, such as bones, the lungs, the brain, or the liver. There is a lot of misinformation about metastatic breast cancer, so we will clear up some common misconceptions.

#1. Metastatic breast cancer is curable.

Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to cure metastatic breast cancer. Still, treatments can typically keep it controlled for substantial periods. However, people with metastatic breast cancer will need this treatment for the rest of their lives.

#2. A metastatic breast cancer diagnosis means a shorter time to live.

There is a difference between incurable, stage IV, and terminal cancer. Though metastatic breast cancer can shorten your life, it is not an immediate death sentence – even if cancer has spread to your brain. With proper treatment, you can live a relatively normal life.

#3. Metastatic breast cancer treatment is more aggressive than earlier-stage breast cancer treatment.

Earlier-stage breast cancer is treated more aggressively than metastatic breast cancer because the treatment goals differ. Because metastatic breast cancer is incurable, treatment aims to control it. The goal of earlier-stage breast cancer treatment is to destroy the cancer cells.

#4. You’ve done something wrong if you are diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.

There is a belief that you can always catch stage IV cancer early and that breast cancer develops in the order of stage I, II, III, and IV. People also tend to believe that a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis means you have skipped your screenings, weren’t eating healthy enough or chose the wrong treatment option when treating early-stage breast cancer. The truth is that 20-30% of people with earlier-stage breast cancer will develop metastatic breast cancer, and nobody can say why.

#5. When you have metastatic breast cancer that travels to your ___, it becomes ___ cancer.

Once it is breast cancer, it is always breast cancer – even if it travels to different parts of your body. The characteristics of cancer cells can change, but it will still be breast cancer.

Greenville Women’s Care is here for you, whether scheduling your yearly mammogram and OB/GYN appointment or if you have questions or concerns about your overall health, we are just a phone call away. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, call us at 252-757-3131.

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be approximately 19,710 new ovarian cancer diagnosis in 2023. Though this number is high, ovarian cancer is diagnosed in about 1.3% of women with roughly 50% of those women being over the age of 63. Ovarian cancer can be difficult to diagnose in the early stages, so knowing the signs, symptoms, and being open and honest with your doctor is important.

One of the reasons ovarian cancer can be difficult to diagnose is because the symptoms tend to be broad. However, it’s still important to look out for them and mention it to your doctor. Symptoms can include:

  • Persistent Bloating.
  • Pelvic and Abdominal Pain.
  • Difficulty Eating.
  • Feeling Full Quickly.
  • Frequent Urination.
  • Heavy Feeling in the Pelvis.
  • Vaginal Bleeding.
  • Weight Gain or Weight Loss.
  • Abnormal Periods.
  • Unexplained and Worsening Back Pain.
  • Loss of Appetite.

There are two ovaries in the pelvis, one on the left side and one on the right. They surround the uterus. Ovarian cancer originates in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or peritoneum. These cancerous cells are able to invade your healthy body tissues and rapidly multiply. Though most people diagnosed with ovarian cancer are not high risk, there are factors that can increase your risk for getting ovarian cancer.

  • Middle-Age or Older.
  • Family History of Ovarian Cancer.
  • Having BRCA1 or BRCA2, or a Mutation Associated with Lynch Syndrome.
  • Having Breast, Uterine, or Colon Cancer.
  • Having Endometriosis.

These risk factors don’t mean you will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer, but they are important to mention to your doctor. The American Association for Cancer Research is currently researching and raising awareness about ovarian cancer through conferences, research presentations, and grants. Greenville Women’s Care is here for all of your OB/GYN needs. To schedule an appointment with one of our staff members, visit or call 252-757-3131.

How to Take Care of “Down There”

Our goal is to promote healthy vulvar skin and decrease or relieve vaginal and vulvar symptoms. This can be accomplished by the avoidance of potential contact irritants, chemicals, moisture, or rubbing (friction). These guidelines are based upon past success!

Laundry Products

  • Use a detergent free of dyes, enzymes and perfumes. Use a “Free and Clear” detergent on any clothing that comes in contact with your vulva such as your underwear, exercise clothes, towels, or pajama bottoms. Baby detergents are usually scented and should not be used.
  • Do not use a fabric softener in the washer or dryer on these articles of clothing. If you do use dryer sheets with the rest of your clothes, for any loads, you must hang dry your underwear, towels, and any other clothing that comes in contact with your vulva. White vinegar can be used in the washer as a natural softener, and dryer balls can help combat static.
  • Limit stain removing products. Bleach or stain removers are not recommended for your underwear.


  • Wear all cotton underwear with a white crotch, not nylon with a cotton crotch. Cotton allows air in and moisture out. Nylon underwear with a cotton crotch is acceptable ONLY if you are able to cut away the nylon covering the cotton crotch.  Thong type underwear is not recommended on a daily basis.  Sleeping without underwear is advised, loose fitting pajama pants or boxers are acceptable.
  • Avoid full pantyhose. If you wear them, cut out the diamond crotch (be sure to leave about ¼ to ½ inch of fabric from the seam to prevent running) OR wear thigh high hose.
  • Avoid tight clothing, especially clothing made of synthetic fabrics.  Remove wet bathing and exercise clothing as soon as you can. Limit use of Spanx-type garments.

Bathing and Hygiene

  • Avoid bath soaps, lotions, gels, etc. that contain perfumes. These may smell nice but can be irritating. This includes many baby products and feminine hygiene products marked “gentle” or “mild”. Do not use body washes! We suggest any of the following soaps in a bar form:  Dove-Hypoallergenic, all-natural olive oil soap, Neutrogena, Basis, or Pears.
  • Hand soap dispensers: Use a liquid fragrance-free soap.
  • Hand sanitizers:  Before touching the vulvar skin, wash with a recommended soap to avoid irritation from the alcohol and chemicals in the hand sanitizers.
  • Avoid all bubble baths, bath salts and scented oils.
  • Do not scrub vulvar skin with a washcloth, loofa or net sponge. Washing with your hands is adequate for good cleaning.
  • Do not use hot water while bathing or showering.  Use only lukewarm to cool water.
  • Pat dry rather than rubbing with a towel or use a hairdryer on a cool setting to dry the vulva.
  • Baking soda soaks:  Soak in lukewarm (not hot) bath water with 4-5 tablespoons of baking soda to help soothe vulvar itching and burning. A sitz bath that goes on the toilet is best.  Soak 1-3 times a day for 5-10 minutes when you have vulvar symptoms.  A sitz bath tub is available without a prescription at your pharmacy or medical supply store.
  • Use white, unscented toilet paper. Avoid “ultra soft” or “ultra strong” products, they are overly processed with chlorine and formaldehyde.  Use a basic toilet paper such as Angel Soft, Scott or 7th Generation.  Avoid “wiping” after urinating, blot, dab or rinse with tap water only.
  • Avoid all feminine hygiene sprays, perfumes, adult, or baby wipes.  Pour lukewarm water over the vulva after urinating if urine causes burning of the skin.
  • Avoid the use of deodorized pads and tampons. Tampons should be used when the blood flow is heavy enough to soak one tampon in four hours or less. Menstruation cups are also acceptable. Use only pads that have a cotton liner that comes in contact with your skin (no dry-weave pads).
  • Do not use over-the-counter creams or ointments until you ask your health care provider. When buying ointments, be sure that they are paraben- and fragrance-free.
  • Small amounts of extra virgin olive oil, vegetable oil, coconut oil, or solid shortening may be applied to your vulva and vagina as often as needed to protect and moisturize the skin.  It also helps to decrease skin irritation during your period, and when you urinate.
  • DO NOT DOUCHE. Baking soda soaks will help rinse away extra discharge and help with odor.
  • DO NOT SHAVE, wax or laser the vulvar area (the bikini line is okay).
  • Some women may have problems with chronic dampness. Keeping dry is important.
    • Do not wear pads daily, as they block the free flow of air and rub on the tissue.
    • Choose cotton fabrics whenever you can. Keep an extra pair of underwear with you in a small ban and change if you become damp during the day at work/school.
    • A non-talc containing powder such as Zeosorb Powder may be applied to the vulva and groin area one to two times per day to help absorb moisture.
  • Dryness and irritation during intercourse may be helped by using a lubricant.  Use a small amount of a pure vegetable oil/olive oil/shortening. The vegetable products contain no chemicals to irritate vulvar /vaginal skin, and will rinse away with water and will not increase your chances of infections.  Water-based products, like K-Y Jelly, tend to dry before intercourse is over and also contain chemicals that can irritate your vulvar skin.  It may be helpful to use a non-lubricated, non-spermicidal condom, and use vegetable oil as the lubricant.

Birth Control Options

  • All hormonal contraceptives effect vaginal secretions, but should not cause vaginitis.
  • Lubricated condoms, contraceptive jellies, creams, or sponges may cause itching and burning. Ask your health care provider for help.
  • The use of latex condoms with vegetable oil as a lubricant is suggested to protect your skin. Oil-based lubricants may affect the integrity of condoms when used for birth control or prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. Our experience has not found this to be a problem with vegetable-based oils. However, the Centers for Disease Control recommend that condoms not be used with any oil-based lubricants for birth control or prevention of sexually transmitted disease.

Interprofessional Collaborative OB Care: What does this mean for me?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) are both professional organizations that provide practice guidelines for health care professionals. They also are a resource for educational materials for patients. Both organizations strive to improve women’s health and support healthcare providers in their efforts to optimize maternal health.

ACOG and ACNM believe health care is most effective when it occurs in a system that facilitates communication across care settings and among clinicians. Ob-gyns and CNMs are educated, trained, and licensed independent clinicians who are experts in their respective fields of practice and work in mutual collaboration to optimize care for individuals they serve. Practicing to the full extent of their education, training, experience, and licensure, ob-gyns and CNMs support team-based care. ACOG and ACNM recommend utilization of interprofessional education to promote a culture of team-based care. Ob-gyns and CNMs, working collaboratively according to the needs of the patient, can optimize equitable care of patients and improve obstetric, sexual, and reproductive health outcomes.

What does this mean for you at Greenville Women’s Care?

This means that our Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) and Obstetricians will be working together to make sure that you and your baby both receive safe and personalized healthcare to ensure both a healthy mom and baby during your pregnancy. Other healthcare team members could include Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialists, Nutritionists, Endocrinologists, Registered Nurses, and others depending on you and your baby’s specific needs during pregnancy.

Your OB team should have skills, resources and experiences that complement one another. At Greenville Women’s care we believe that collaboration amongst team members is essential to healthy birth outcomes for ALL!

Call us today at 252-757-3131, to schedule an appointment with our Certified Nurse Midwife, Sarah Sears.

Showing Love: The Importance of Self Care

Self-care is important for your overall well-being, but it goes much further than just facemasks and a bubble bath (though that can absolutely be a part of it). Self-care is a part of your emotional, psychological, and social well-being, also known as your mental health. Not only does practicing self-care keep you more connected to yourself, but it can also prevent illnesses, help with stress recovery, and strengthen your ability to handle stress.

Though we typically think of self-care as an every-now-and-then thing, it should be included in our daily schedule. Some examples of ways you can practice self-care include…

  • Turning your phone on “do not disturb” and taking time just for you.
  • Eating in a way that keeps your energy levels up and focus levels sharp.
  • Drinking enough water! It’s recommended that you drink 60 – 62 ounces of water a day but increase your intake on especially hot days.
  • Spend at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. Whether it’s yoga, the gym, or walking the dog, exercise can help to clear your mind.
  • Set time aside to do some stress-releasing activities. This can be journaling, crafting, napping, listening to music, or whatever else works to relax you.
  • Get a full night’s sleep. A full night means 7 – 9 hours of sleep a night. Avoiding blue light from phones and computers can help you fall asleep faster.
  • And, of course, facemasks and bubble baths. A little self-pampering can go a long way.

Remember that everyone doesn’t practice self-care in the same way, so what works for some may not work for you. Self-care should make you feel relaxed, refreshed, and rejuvenated. If you’re struggling to find a place to start, take a minute and reflect on things that you enjoy doing, what makes you feel good about yourself, or what’s something you’ve wanted to try. Take steps to start incorporating some of those things in your day-to-day life.

Call Greenville Women’s Care if you want to talk to a doctor about the best way to practice self-care or your mental health. We’re here to help you with all aspects of your physical and mental health. You can reach us at 252-757-3131 or visit to set up an appointment.