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Author: Greenville Womans Care

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.

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 greenvillewc.com, you can view full profiles on all our gynecologists and find the one that best fits you. Visit us at greenvillewc.com 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 greenvillewc.com or call 252-757-3131.

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.