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FAQs for Women

What are ultrasounds used to determine during a pregnancy?
Ultrasounds are used to determine the age of a fetus; rate of growth of a fetus; placement of the placenta; fetal position, movement, breathing and heart rate; amount of amniotic fluid in the uterus; number of fetuses; and some birth defects.

What are some things women should avoid while pregnant?

While pregnant, women should avoid the following: smoking and secondhand smoke; alcohol and illegal drugs; prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications unless prescribed by your doctor; large amounts of caffeine; fish with high levels of mercury; x-rays; pesticides; hot tubs, long hot baths or saunas; cat litter; and fumes from paint and household cleaning products.

What types of contraceptives are available to women?
There are many types of contraceptives available to women, such as birth control pills, injectable progestins, intrauterine devices (IUD), sponges, diaphrams, and cervical caps. A doctor can help you determine the best birth control method for your lifestyle.

When should a young woman begin seeing a gynecologist regularly?
Young women should begin seeing a gynecologist regularly once they begin menstruating or have become sexually active.

What is Gardasil and why is it prescribed?
Gardasil is a vaccine used in girls and women, ages 9-26 years of age, for the prevention of cervical cancer and genital warts caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). It is administered in 3 separate 0.5 mL doses.

What is the most common reason for female infertility and what causes this?
The most common reason for female infertility is the failure to release an egg (ovulate). Failure to ovulate can be due to the following: hormone imbalance; obesity and weight gain; prolonged and excessive stress; tumors or cysts on the ovaries or other types of ovarian disorders; extreme exercise (e.g. marathon runners); weight loss; abuse of alcohol, drugs, tobacco and caffeine products; or damaged fallopian tubes or uterine abnormalities.

What are some treatments that may be prescribed to restore fertility?
Fertility can be restored by taking hormones for a hormone imbalance, endometriosis or a short menstrual cycle; by prescribing medicine to stimulate ovulation; or surgical procedures can be conducted to remove blockage or scar tissue from the fallopian tubes or uterus.

What can be done to prevent infertility?
Infertility can be prevented by practicing safe sex and avoiding the contraction of STDs; limiting your intake of alcohol and caffeine; avoiding recreational drugs and the overuse of prescriptions; avoiding exposure to toxic substances, such as industrial chemicals, herbicides and pesticides; maintaining good hygiene and health practices; and contacting a doctor if you should notice any sign of infection or hormonal change.

What are some options for conception if infertility is due to a low-sperm count?
If a couple is having trouble conceiving because of low-sperm count, artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization are appropriate options.

What are some of the signs women experience when entering menopause?

Some signs women may experience when entering menopause are irregular periods/spotting; vaginal dryness; insomnia; weight gain; fatigue; moodiness; decreased sex drive; and “night sweats” or “hot flashes.”

When should a woman begin routinely scheduling mammograms?

Women should regularly practice self-breast exams at all ages. Annual mammography screening is encouraged for women over 40 years old or earlier for those women at increased risk. This is imperative to the early detection of breast cancer.

What are some of the most common reasons for abnormal pap smear results?

Some of the most common reasons for abnormal pap smear results are vaginal yeast or bacterial infections; sexually transmitted diseases, such as HPV; being close to menses; and cancer (uterine, cervical and vaginal).