From before puberty to after menopause, a woman's body is constantly changing and developing. And, at each stage of development and maturation, there may be questions about gynecological, reproductive, and sexual health. Thus, it is important that a woman establishes a partnership with us at Habersham OB/GYN early on.
We at Habersham OB/GYN, as Obstetricians / Gynecologists, are providers who specialize in general women's medical care, diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the female reproductive system, and care of pregnant women. It is generally recommended that women who are either over 18 years of age, and/or are sexually active, or those who experience gynecological symptoms, have an annual gynecological exam. Many of the conditions that affect gynecological, reproductive, and sexual health may be detected early, which, in most cases, provides for a more positive prognosis and successful treatment.
Recognizing Gynecological Problems
Vaginal bleeding and discharge are a normal part of your menstrual cycle prior to menopause. However, if you notice anything different or unusual, consult us before attempting to treat the problem yourself.
Symptoms may result from mild infections that are easy to treat. But, if they are not treated properly, they can lead to more serious conditions, including infertility or kidney damage. Vaginal symptoms may also be a sign of more serious problems, from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) to cancers of the reproductive tract.
Gynecological symptoms may resemble other medical conditions or urological problems. Always consult us for a diagnosis.
Consult your provider at Habersham OB/GYN if you have any of the following symptoms:
- bleeding between periods
- frequent and urgent need to urinate, or a burning sensation during urination
- abnormal vaginal bleeding, particularly during or after intercourse
- pain or pressure in your pelvis that differs from menstrual cramps
- itching, burning, swelling, redness, or soreness in the vaginal area
- sores or lumps in the genital area
- vaginal discharge with an unpleasant or unusual odor, or of an unusual color
- increased vaginal discharge
- pain or discomfort during intercourse
Recognizing symptoms early and seeing a provider right away increases the likelihood of successful treatment.
A Pap test (sometimes called a Pap smear) is a way to examine cells collected from the cervix, or the "mouth" of the womb (located at the top of the vagina), for the presence of:
- abnormal cells
Why is a Pap test suggested to women?
A Pap test, along with a pelvic exam, is an important part of a woman's routine healthcare because it may detect abnormalities that can lead to invasive cancer. Most invasive cancers of the cervix can be detected early if women have Pap tests and pelvic examinations regularly. As with many types of cancer, cancer of the cervix is more likely to be successfully treated if it is detected early.
Who should have Pap tests?
According to the National Cancer Institute:
- Women who are or have been sexually active for longer than 3 years, or have reached age 18, should have Pap tests and physical (and pelvic) examinations regularly.
- Generally, there is no upper age at which Pap tests cease to be effective. Older women should continue to have regular physical examinations, including pelvic exams and Pap tests.
- Women who have had a hysterectomy should consult their providers about whether or not to continue having regular Pap tests.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
What are sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)?
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infectious diseases transmitted through sexual contact. They are among the most common infectious diseases - with the United States having the highest rates of STDs in the industrialized world.
Prevention of STDs:
The surest way to prevent contracting an STD is to abstain from any type of sexual intercourse. However, if you decide to become sexually active, or are currently sexually active, there are several precautionary measures you can follow, recommended by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to help reduce your risk of developing a sexually transmitted disease. These include:
- have a mutually monogamous sexual relationship with an uninfected partner
- use (consistently and correctly) a male condom
- use sterile needles if injecting intravenous drugs
- decrease susceptibility to HIV infections by preventing and controlling other STDs
- delay having sexual relationships as long as possible - the younger a person is when they begin to have sex for the first time, the more susceptible they become to developing an STD
- have regular checkups for STDs
- learn the symptoms of STDs and seek medical help as soon as possible if any symptoms develop
- avoid having sexual intercourse during menstruation
- avoid anal intercourse, or use a male condom
- avoid douching
The information on the Habersham OB/GYN web pages is provided for educational purposes only. You should consult a qualified health care provider if you have a question about your particular medical condition.
Please feel free to email us We will respond as soon as possible. However, in an emergency situation, please do not email us. Call the office or 911 immediately, so that your emergency may be handled in a responsible amount of time.