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Year: 2024

What You Need to Know About Fibroids

Though fibroids are fairly common, many women don’t understand what they are or how they can be treated. The symptoms of fibroids can be extremely painful and often go undiagnosed because their symptoms are attributed to other causes. During Fibroid Awareness Month, we wanted to shed light on the symptoms, treatments, and risks of uterine fibroids.

What are Fibroids?

Fibroids are benign tumors that grow in or around the muscular part of the uterus and can range anywhere from the size of a seed to a grapefruit. Though fibroids are most commonly found in women ages 30 to 50, they can occur in women of any age. Studies show that nearly 80% of women will develop fibroids by the time they reach menopause.

Symptoms

Your symptoms can depend on how many fibroids you have and what size they are. Fibroids can grow as a single growth or in a cluster. Pelvic pain and pressure with dull aches or sharp pains in the lower abdomen is a common symptom of fibroids, but other symptoms may include:

  • Heavy menstruation and bleeding
  • Longer menstruation cycles
  • Constant urination
  • Constipation
  • Pain during intercourse.

Since many of these symptoms are attributes of other things, these symptoms often cause fibroids to be overlooked, ignored, or misdiagnosed.

Diagnosing and Treating

Doctors begin diagnosing fibroids by reviewing medical history, discussing symptoms, and performing a physical exam to determine the condition of the uterus and to identify any abnormalities. Fibroids can be treated or removed depending on your case. Anything from medications, ultrasound surgery, minimally invasive procedures, or surgery can be used to remove fibroids. Your doctor will review your specific case and inform you of your options.

Risks and Prevention

Some people are more at risk than others for developing fibroids. Factors that can increase your likelihood of fibroids, include:

  • Race – Black and Hispanic women are more likely to develop fibroids.
  • Genetics – You have family members who have been diagnosed with fibroids.
  • Environmental influences – Eating too much red meat, drinking alcohol in excess, use of birth control, or lack of vitamin D could cause fibroids.

Though fibroids are not necessarily preventable, studies have found that leading a healthy lifestyle can help manage or reduce your symptoms. These healthy habits include:

  • Eating a nutritious diet full of vegetables, fruits, iron, and fiber.
  • Exercising regularly .
  • Drinking plenty of water.
  • Avoiding too much caffeine and sugar.
  • Taking vitamin D supplements.

As always, it is important to speak to a doctor as soon as you notice abnormal symptoms or changes in your body. If you have questions or concerns about fibroids, Greenville Women’s Care is here to help you! Your health is important to us – schedule an appointment with one of our providers today!

What You Need to Know About CMV

Cytomegalovirus is a viral infection, commonly referred to as CMV, that is typically found in children and is usually harmless in those that are healthy or have strong immune systems. However contracting CMV while pregnant, if you have never had it before, can lead to dangerous and long-lasting illnesses and disabilities in your baby. Even though it is the leading non-genetic cause of hearing loss, only 9% of women are familiar with CMV.

How does it spread?

CMV is spread through contact with body fluid of someone who has or had the virus. You are most susceptible to CMV if you have children, work around children, or work in the healthcare industry. Those with weaker immune systems are also vulnerable to the many complications that can arise from CMV.

How common is CMV?

CMV is fairly common in children, and in healthy people, there are rarely symptoms. Up to 90% of people will be infected with CMV by the age of 80. Once you are infected with CMV, it remains in your body forever. For pregnant women who have never had CMV, contracting it can be extremely dangerous for your unborn baby, and lead to harsh symptoms and even lifelong disabilities.

How does it affect babies?

CMV permanently disables one child every hour. Babies who contract CMV typically appear healthy when they are born and can develop symptoms at birth or later in life. Symptoms can include yellow skin and eyes, enlarged spleen, and lung infections. CMV can also lead to disabilities such as seizures, hearing loss, and growth problems. This virus can be diagnosed through blood, urine, or saliva tests ordered by your provider. Though there is no vaccine to prevent CMV, some symptoms can be managed and treated through medication and infusions.

How can I prevent it?

To protect yourself and your baby from CMV, it is important to avoid contact with saliva or urine, refrain from sharing utensils or drinks, and kissing children on the mouth. Avoiding sharing items like toothbrushes and washing your hands frequently can also help prevent CMV.

It is important to understand your risk of getting CMV, symptoms it can cause, and how to prevent it. To find out if you have ever had CMV, or to learn more about the virus, schedule an appointment with your provider at Greenville Women’s Care, 252-757-3131.

Things You Should Know About Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is a condition that can develop in women during pregnancy, usually around 20 weeks, or after pregnancy. This condition results in high blood pressure and can affect other parts of the body, such as the kidneys and liver. If the condition goes untreated, it can be harmful for both mom and baby. Here are a few things you should know about preeclampsia.

How common is preeclampsia?

Preeclampsia is rising in the US and has increased by 25% in the past 20 years. Around 5% of women deal with preeclampsia each year. Typically, if caught and treated early, most women are able to carry and deliver their baby safely.

Are you at risk of preeclampsia?

It is not known what exactly causes preeclampsia, but there are some risk factors that may make you more likely to have it. If you have any of these risk factors, we encourage you to tell your physician.

  • You had preeclampsia in another pregnancy. And the earlier in that pregnancy that you had it, makes your risk of having it again higher.
  • You are pregnant with twins, triplets or more.
  • You have high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney disease.
  • You are overweight with a BMI of 30 or higher.
  • You have a family history of preeclampsia.
  • You are over the age of 35.
  • You had complications in another pregnancy, such as low birth weight.

Preeclampsia can affect not only the mom but the baby as well. Complications include seizures, strokes, bleeding, pre-term delivery, and organ damage. It is important to monitor your symptoms and go to all your prenatal visits  and contact your doctor if you become concerned.

What are the symptoms of preeclampsia?

The number one sign of preeclampsia is high blood pressure and left untreated can cause your kidneys and liver to not work properly. Here are some symptoms of preeclampsia:

  • Continuous headache
  • Blurry vision or light sensitivity
  • Severe nausea
  • Pain in your belly
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of your hands, feet and legs
  • Rapid weight gain

Sometimes, preeclampsia has no symptoms, or the symptoms are similar to regular pregnancy traits. This is why it is important to see your doctor regularly, have routine screenings, and monitor how you feel. Early detection can drastically reduce the effects of preeclampsia.

Are there causes of preeclampsia?

Unfortunately, preeclampsia has no identifying cause, and some people are just at a higher risk of developing it. Treatment can include close monitoring by a doctor and providing medications to counteract the symptoms. If you are in good health and at least 37 weeks, your physician may recommend delivering the baby early.

Because headaches, nausea, and aches and pains are common pregnancy complaints, it’s difficult to know when new symptoms are just part of your pregnancy or when it is an indicator of a more serious problem. If you have questions or concerns regarding preeclampsia, do not hesitate to contact your provider at Greenville Women’s Care to schedule an appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions About Infertility

1 in 8 couples need help getting pregnant due to infertility, however, outside the doctor’s office the topic is rarely discussed. For this reason, there are a lot of questions and myths about infertility. During Infertility Awareness Week, Greenville Women’s Care is here to answer some FAQs about the topic.

1. What is infertility?

Infertility is a disease of the reproductive system that affects your body’s ability to conceive. It is defined as not being able to get pregnant after one year of having unprotected sex. According to the National Institute of Health (link to https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/infertility/conditioninfo/common), one third of infertility cases are caused by female reproductive issues, one third by male reproductive issues and then the other third by unknown factors or both parties. Infertility is one of the most common diseases for people between the ages of 20-45.

2. What causes infertility?

In women, the most common cause of infertility is an ovulation disorder and blocked fallopian tubes. Less common are birth defects involving the uterus and uterine fibroids which can be associated with repeated miscarriages. Another key factor for women is age. As women enter their 30s and 40s their chances of conceiving decreases from 25-30% a month to 10% or less.

The most common factor in male infertility is when no sperm cells or few sperm cells are produced. It is also possible for the sperm cells to be badly formed or to die before they can reach the female’s egg. Lastly, in the rarest cases, male infertility can be caused by a genetic disease.

3. When is the right time to talk to a doctor?

In most cases, it is recommended that couples seek medical help if they have been trying to conceive for a year without protection. Exams of both partners are performed to determine overall health and physical disorders that could be causing infertility. The physicians at Greenville Women’s Care are here to help you and your partner determine the next steps in this process.

4. What can I do about infertility?

Infertility does not mean you will never have a child. Greenville Women’s Care can provide you and your partner with assistance, resources, and support during this time. Sometimes, hormones can stimulate ovulation. There are also surgical procedures that can remove blockages causing infertility. Whatever the case may be, our staff is ready to help you determine the next steps for you and your family.

The inability to conceive, along with the medical decisions that need to be made, can cause a great deal of emotions including anxiety and depression. At Greenville Women’s Care we understand this is a challenging time, one that needs to be approached with compassion and understanding. Give us a call to schedule an appointment with us, 252-757-3131.

Myths and Facts About Endometriosis

While endometriosis is a common condition, it is a complex and often misunderstood condition. Endometriosis occurs when the tissue, similar to the lining of your uterus, grows outside the uterus. It can affect the ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue lining your pelvis. These growths can cause pain, scarring, and, in some cases, infertility.

And since there are many misconceptions about endometriosis, some noted below, many women delay seeking help. We encourage you to talk to your OBGYN if you are concerned about heavy bleeding, painful periods or other symptoms that continue to affect you.

Myth 1: Endometriosis is a rare condition.

Fact: Endometriosis is fairly common which affects one in 10 American women

Since endometriosis symptoms mimic other conditions, studies show that it has taken some women up to seven years before a proper diagnosis.

Myth 2: Endometriosis is just a really bad, heavy period.

Fact: Endometriosis is a pelvic disorder that can impact your health.

The most common symptoms of endometriosis include pain with periods, pain with sex or bowel movements, and irregular bleeding. While many women assume, or are told, that these are “normal” period symptoms, extreme pain or other persistent symptoms can indicate an underlying condition like endometriosis. A gynecologist should evaluate you if these symptoms persist.

Myth 3: Endometriosis does not affect your chances of getting pregnant.

Fact: Endometriosis can cause infertility.

The truth is that almost 50% of women who have experienced infertility issues have endometriosis. Endometriosis can produce an inflammatory response which can cause scar tissue which can lead to infertility.

Myth 4: Endometriosis can be prevented.

Fact: Since there is no known cause for endometriosis, there is currently no way to prevent it. There are some things that can be done to lower estrogen levels in your body. These can reduce your risk, but not prevent it. Estrogen can fuel the growth of endometriosis, so selecting a lower dose estrogen birth control method, losing weight if you are overweight, and getting regular exercise could help lower estrogen levels.

Myth 5: Endometriosis cannot be fixed.

Fact: Surgery can help alleviate symptoms.

Endometriosis is a treatable condition, and through minimally invasive gynecologic surgery, endometrial lesions can be seen, and a surgeon can safely remove any visible endometriosis. There are also a variety of treatment options that can help endometriosis symptoms, including birth control, progesterone IUDs or anti-inflammatory medications.

Greenville Women’s Care serves patients throughout eastern North Carolina. If you or someone you know is struggling with pelvic pain, it is important to address your concerns. To schedule an appointment with one of the experienced and trusted physicians at Greenville Women’s Care, contact our office today, 252-757-3131.

Heart Disease – Myth Busters

February is Heart Health Month, and we are ready to bust the myths surrounding women’s heart health. Knowing the facts, symptoms, and risks surrounding heart health are crucial to diagnosing and preventing this disease!

Myth: Heart disease only happens to men, and women should be more worried about cancer.

Heart disease is no longer considered a man’s disease. Almost as many women die from heart disease as men each year. Breast cancer affects around 4 million women per year, and heart disease affects around 50 million women each year. It is important to understand the risks and symptoms of both and be vigilant in preventing these diseases.

Myth: Only old people are affected by heart disease.

Women of all ages can be affected by heart disease. A combination of smoking and taking birth control pills can increase your risk of heart disease by 20%. Even though these habits can result in problems later on in life, leading a life of unhealthy habits can result in heart disease at an even younger age. Practicing healthy eating and staying active each day can keep your body from developing clogged arteries.

Myth: Women who are active do not get heart disease.

Just because you are super active, does not mean you are safe from getting heart disease. You can be in shape and still have high cholesterol. Things like diet, and smoking can affect your cholesterol and can lead to heart disease. Be sure to visit your doctor regularly and speak to them about any concerns you may have.

Myth: I already have heart disease, and I can’t do anything about it.

If you have already been diagnosed with heart disease, it is important to know that you can do things to reduce your risk. It is important to practice good habits to keep your heart healthy, including exercising regularly, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, limiting your alcohol consumption, and knowing where your cholesterol and blood pressure numbers should be. Knowing the risks you have, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, can allow you to understand and control your disease.

Myth: I can’t have heart disease – I don’t have any symptoms.

Many women fall ill from heart disease because they do not know what symptoms to look for. The symptoms women experience varies drastically from the symptoms men experience. Typically, signs of heart disease in women include shortness of breath, nausea, back pain, dizziness, and fatigue. It is important to listen to your body and visit your doctor to discuss concerns and pains.

It is important to know the risks and symptoms of heart disease – and your physician at Greenville Women’s Care is here to help. If you have any concerns or questions regarding heart health, please give us a call to schedule an appointment at 252-757-3131!

Reasons to Visit Your OB/GYN Annually

The start of the new year brings resolutions and reminders for all of your annual responsibilities. Regular gynecological visits, just like annual doctor’s checkups, are crucial for keeping you healthy. Here are the top reasons you need to schedule your annual OBGYN appointment:

  1. Birth Control

There are many birth control options available to women. So many that it may be a little overwhelming deciding which is the best option for you. Whether you are ready to start birth control or already on birth control and considering a different option, your gynecologist can help you decide which birth control method fits your lifestyle and needs.

  1. Preventative Care

Annual visits to the gynecologist are important parts of preventative care. Any abnormalities or changes are easier to detect and monitor when you visit the gynecologist regularly. Discussing diets, mental health concerns, and best practices with your provider is a fantastic way to monitor your health and take necessary measures for your wellbeing.

  1. Breast Exam

A yearly breast exam is another reason to schedule your annual appointment at Greenville Women’s Care. Even if you perform self-examinations, it is important to have an expert thoroughly examine your breasts to ensure nothing was missed and everything is okay. Breast cancer is extremely common in women between the ages of 40 – 60, and early discovery typically means you have a better chance at successful treatment.

  1. Intercourse

Whether you are a young adult, or going through changes, intercourse should be a normal topic of discussion with your gynecologist. If you notice any pain, have low libido, or are worried about an STD or STI, it is important to sit down with your doctor and share your concerns. Regular screenings are crucial for diagnosis of STDs as many do not have any symptoms, so it is possible you have one without knowing it.

It is normal for women going through menopause to  have libido issues. The loss of estrogen and testosterone can lead to changes in not only a woman’s body, but their sexual drive. The physicians at Greenville Women’s Care will take the time to listen to any of your concerns, not only about menopause, but for all life stages.

  1. Period Concerns

Discussing changes and abnormalities in your menstrual cycle with your doctor is important. Irregular periods, excessive pain, heavy bleeding and other issues with your cycle could be signs of an underlying issue. An OBGYN specializes in women’s reproductive health issues, so making your gynecologist aware of these issues is the first step to addressing and resolving menstrual issues.

  1. Preconception

Ready to start a family? It could be beneficial to discuss the next steps with your provider. 1 in 8 families struggle with conceiving – and getting your body prepared to conceive is important in your family planning. Discuss any fears or issues with your gynecologist. They can help you determine best practices, ovulation cycles, and answer any other questions you may have.

  1. Mental Health/Wellness

Your OB/GYN can support and help you with more than just your physical health. Whether you are struggling with your mental health, have postpartum depression, or are in the middle of menopause – discuss your feelings and thoughts with your provider. There is no better time than during your well-woman exam to talk through your emotions and receive support and help from someone you can trust.

Greenville Women’s Care provides a full range of gynecologic and obstetric services for women of all ages. To schedule your annual visit, call our office at 252-757-3131, or visit https://www.greenvillewc.com/ to learn more about our services.