Category Archives: Women’s Health

What's new in birth control and family planning

What’s New in Birth Control and Family Planning

There are many methods to prevent pregnancy that work well and are easy to use. Significant advances in birth control options make it easier than ever for women to take control of their reproductive health.

Women can now choose many non-surgical options such as birth control implants, patches, pills, shots, vaginal rings and cervical caps, among other options. Permanent surgical options include Essure and tubal ligation.

What is the Birth Control Implant?

The birth control implant is called Nexplanon. It is implanted in the upper arm. This birth control works by delivering the hormone progestin. It works continuously for up to 3 years with more than 99% effectiveness. With the implant in place, the woman does not need to do anything else, unless she decides that she wants to get pregnant. The implant can be removed. Once the implant is placed, it doesn’t need to be changed or maintained until the 3 year period is up or the patient decides that she wants to get pregnant. The implant can be removed and the woman can become pregnant quickly after removal. Nexplanon does not prevent STDs, so use condoms along with the implant for STD prevention.

What is the IUD?

The Intrauterine Device (IUD) is a birth control method that is implanted in the uterus. The IUD is as effective as the implant and can also be removed. There are two distinct kinds of IUDs. ParaGard works through the use of the metal copper while a progestin containing IUD works through a small dose of hormone delivered into the uterus. Progestin containing IUDs can stay in place for up to 3-5 years while ParaGard lasts up to 10 years. IUDs do not prevent STDs, so use condoms along with the IUD.

What’s New with Oral Contraceptives?

Oral contraceptives are commonly called “the pill.” Dosages and side effects of the pill have been minimized with new advances. Though today’s pills contain much less hormones than in years past, they are still up to 99% effective. The most common complaint about the pills is that you must remember to take it every day. Missed pills reduce the effectiveness considerably. This option requires a person make a commitment to take it and have a regular schedule. The pills do not prevent STDs, so use condoms along with the pills.

What Is the Birth Control Patch?

Women wear the birth control patch on bare skin on a part of the body such as the belly, upper arm, or back. While it is applied it releases hormones that prevent pregnancy the patch is worn 3 weeks on and then removed for 1 week. Patches do not prevent STDs, so use condoms along with the patches.

What Is the Birth Control Shot?

Depo-Provera is the birth control shot. It is given every three months. The shot delivers the hormone progestin to prevent pregnancy. The shot must be given on the correct schedule in order to prevent pregnancy. Depending on where you are in your cycle when you first get the shot, you may need to use another form of birth control to prevent pregnancy for the first week until it begins to work. Shots do not prevent STDs, so use condoms along with the shots.
Less effective methods are the condoms and spermicides. These methods deliver between 71% and 86% effectiveness. Using condoms with these methods greatly increases their effectiveness. The benefit of these methods is that they do not deliver any hormones.

There are many options for safe, effective birth control today. Talk to your doctor about what method would work best for you!

olycystic Ovarian Syndrome PCOS

Symptoms and Treatments of PCOS – Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

September is PCOS Awareness Month. PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Many women have PCOS but not every woman knows they have it. PCOS is a syndrome in which a woman’s hormones are out of balance. PCOS can affect many aspects of a woman’s health, from her menstrual cycle, acne and to extra hair growth on the face.

Most women with PCOS develop numerous small cysts on their ovaries. That is why it is called polycystic ovary syndrome.

Symptoms of PCOS

Symptoms of PCOS may include any or all of the following:
Infertility
Irregular menstrual cycles
Increased hair growth on the face, chest, stomach and other places where women typically do not grow hair
Ovarian cysts – The cysts are not harmful but lead to hormone imbalances
Increased acne
Baldness or thinning hair
Pelvic pain
Too much insulin
Depression or mood swings
Weight gain

The hormone imbalances that are part of PCOS can contribute to many of these symptoms because there is more testosterone. Hormones affect a woman’s menstrual cycle, hair growth, mood, and appearance.

Causes of PCOS and Treatments

There is no known cause for PCOS. It may be genetic and it seems to run in families. To make a diagnosis of PCOS, your doctor will talk with you about the variety of symptoms you’re having. He or she may use an ultrasound to observe cysts on your ovaries. Blood tests can detect a high level of androgens and check for blood sugar levels in your blood, which may indicate insulin resistance.

Because extra weight contributes to several of the symptoms of PCOS, a healthy diet and exercise routine are important. Pre-diabetes and diabetes are a concern. Extra weight can lead to heart trouble, difficulty sleeping, depression, or sleep apnea. Many of the symptoms of PCOS are inter-related.

If you are experiencing more than one of these symptoms, talk with your doctor at Pacific Women’s Center. Diagnosis and treatment of PCOS can help manage your symptoms.

​Treatments for Urinary Incontinence

​Treatments for Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence is a common diagnosis for women of different ages. The muscles that control our urine flow weaken over time. It happens because we age, or through pregnancy, or even through heredity. There are several different types and there are treatments for urinary incontinence that can make a big improvement.

​Types of Urinary Incontinence

Stress incontinence occurs when you do something that puts pressure on your bladder area. Examples are coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising, or lifting heavy weights.

Urge incontinence occurs when you get a sudden urge to urinate that you can’t control.

Overflow incontinence is a feeling of your bladder not emptying fully. Your urine comes out in drips, even if you’ve just gone to the bathroom.

Functional incontinence just means that there is some physical or mental issue which is preventing you from reaching the bathroom in time. For instance, if you know you have Parkinson’s disease, this disorder interferes with how nerves process feelings. In that case, you may not realize in time that you have to go.

​An average woman may experience one or more of these types of incontinence at the same time. ​There are a variety of causes for this symptom. Drinking beverages that stimulate the urge to urinate, such as alcohol or caffeine, can exacerbate the urge to go quickly. Some medications can have the same effect. If your urinary tract has an infection, this can also cause the problem.

​Treatments for Urinary Incontinence

Identifying the type of incontinence is essential to finding the right treatment. Exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor can alleviate symptoms from different types of incontinence. Kegel exercises are common exercises of this type. There is even physical therapy to help aid in pelvic floor strength training. Your doctor may suggest certain behavioral changes to have your body relearn what to do, such as going to the bathroom at a certain time whether you feel the urge or not.

More in-depth treatments include medications and devices that can be inserted. There are even surgical options.

Once urinary incontinence begins to affect your quality of life, it is time to seek help. Many women try to cover up the fact that they have urinary incontinence rather than seeking care.

It’s important to know that this is a diagnosis your doctor can evaluate and treat if you feel it is impacting your lifestyle.

Female Doctor Meeting With Patient In Exam Room

Uterine Fibroids and Treatments for Fibroids – Some Have No Symptoms

Fibroids are noncancerous tumors, or overgrowth of uterine muscle, that grow when they should not. Less than 0.1% of uterine fibroids become cancerous, but they generally should be treated because they can cause pain, heavy bleeding and other complications.

Growth of a uterine fibroid

Typically uterine fibroids are simply called fibroids, but they can also be called leiomyomas or myomas. Uterine fibroids may grow inside the uterus or they may grow on its outer surface or within the uterine wall. A woman may have only one, or more than one, and in varying sizes. There is no way to predict how a uterine fibroid will grow.

Sometimes they grow very slowly and remain small for so long that women don’t know they are there. Other times they may grow quickly and become painful over a short period of time. Women who are between the ages of 30 and 40 tend to be most at risk of developing fibroids. Mothers can also pass down fibroids to their daughter through genetic inheritance.

Symptoms of uterine fibroids

If a uterine fibroid is small, a woman may have no symptoms at all. Once a uterine fibroid begins to grow, a woman may experience some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Increase in menstrual cramping and pain
  • Heavier periods
  • Longer periods
  • Vaginal bleeding that’s not menstrual
  • Dull, continuous back ache
  • Pain during sex
  • Pain during urination or difficulty with urination
  • Abdominal cramping that is not menstrual related
  • Feeling of pressure or bloating in the abdomen
  • Miscarriage or possibly infertility

How are uterine fibroids found?

If a woman is having no symptoms, a woman’s doctor may find a uterine fibroid during her annual pelvic exam. If a woman visits her doctor due to symptoms, imaging may be used to assess pelvic and abdominal structures to help in the diagnosis. Typically a pelvic ultrasound is performed but sometimes a CT scan or MRI will be recommended.

Treatments for Fibroids

If a fibroid is small and is not causing symptoms, no treatment may be necessary. A doctor may want to intervene if the symptoms are interfering with a woman’s daily life. Occasionally the doctor may want to be certain that the fibroid is not cancerous.

Hormonal medications such as birth control might help with the pain and bleeding caused by fibroids, but these will not impact the growth of the fibroid. That means the fibroid may keep growing. Other medications are more powerful and can impact the growth of the fibroid and shrink it. These are only used for limited periods of time due to their side effects.

If the problems persist, surgery may be considered. The surgeries do not always remove the uterus, so pregnancy is still an option. The same fibroid does not return after surgical removal. But a new fibroid may grow again at a later time. In the event that the surgical option to keep the uterus does not work, the uterus may be removed in a hysterectomy. This would be a last resort if only all other options have not worked and the woman continues to have problems with treatments for fibroids.

Give us a call at 541-342- 8616 or Contact Us online today to make an appointment. Our doctors want to help you enjoy life to the fullest without pain from uterine fibroids.

Male doctor sitting with female patient by window, side view

What to Know About Tubal Reversal in Eugene

If you had a tubal ligation, this means that your fallopian tubes were “tied” in some way, whether by blockage (being clamped closed with rings or clips), being tied, or being cut to close them. The idea behind this is that the closure of the tubes stops eggs from traveling from the ovaries into the fallopian tubes. The egg is normally fertilized by sperm in the fallopian tube.

Tubal ligation is considered to be a permanent form of birth control for women. But there is a procedure known as tubal reversal. Gynecology doctors such as those at Pacific Women’s Center can offer tubal reversal in Eugene.

What happens in a tubal reversal?

In a tubal reversal, the fallopian tubes will be re-opened. Depending on the method that was used to close them, they may be untied, reconnected or unblocked. A doctor’s willingness to do this tubal reversal procedure often depends on the reason why the procedure was done in the first place. Also, how old the woman was when it was done. Women who have the procedure thinking that they will never want children do change their minds as they get older. It is possible that this tubal reversal procedure will allow them the opportunity to become pregnant.

The doctor will want to ask you what type of surgery you had to have the tubal ligation. If you have ever been pregnant before and the outcome of that pregnancy is important for the doctor to know. Certain pelvic issues such as endometriosis or fibroids can cause scar tissue. This may be hard to overcome in a tubal reversal. The doctor will also want to review your previous hospital records.

If you have had a tubal ligation and want to become pregnant following a tubal reversal, it would be a good idea to have your partner examined. Ruling out an infertility issue in your partner could be the first step to making sure that you have the ability to get pregnant even if you do have the tubal reversal. Twenty to 40 percent of infertility issues in couples are caused by an issue with the man.

Recovery after a tubal reversal

Tubal reversal is generally a hospital or outpatient procedure. You’ll receive general anesthesia while your doctor uses a laparoscope to look into your pelvic area. If the doctor sees a promising situation for a reversal, he or she will then make a small incision. The incision allows them to access the area where the tubes are blocked and to make the reconnection. After the surgery, you may be allowed to go home, but you will be uncomfortable and will have a recovery period of up to four weeks before you can return to full activity.

The doctors at Pacific Women’s Center in Eugene, Oregon have experience in tubal reversal. Our doctors serve women through the full range of their life changes, from their teenage years to prenatal care, through pregnancy and birth and menopause and beyond. Talk to us, we’re here to help you!

african female sick patient in doctor's office

Menstrual Migraine, or Hormone-associated Headaches

A woman’s menstrual cycle closely relates to hormonal changes taking place in her body at the same time. Unfortunately, the act of the body shedding uterine tissue can be uncomfortable, causing cramping. The hormonal changes can cause menstrual migraines, or hormone-associated headaches too. According to the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, an estimated 12.6 million women in the US suffer from hormonally induced severe headaches before or during their periods.

Menstrual migraine or hormone-associated migraine affects up to 60 percent of all women who have migraines.

What are menstrual migraines, or hormone-associated headaches?

The hormones estrogen and progesterone regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle. They are also closely associated with mood. Hormone levels that drop or rise suddenly during a cycle can trigger headaches in some women. Women who have levels of estrogen that stay regular seem to have less headaches associated with this.

For most women, hormone levels drop just before a period. This is also when many women report getting menstrual migraines.

Diagnosis of Menstrual Migraine

Doctors will look at how often and when a woman’s headaches occur and how long they last. A doctor will ask questions such as where in the head the pain is located and what its “qualities” are. For example, if it is pulsating or affected by activity. Menstrual migraines are also commonly associated with nausea or sensitivity to light.

Treatment of Menstrual Migraine

Migraines can be difficult to treat because the pain does not always respond to treatments the way that non-migraine headaches do. A combination of over-the-counter and prescription pain relievers is the first thing to try. Supplemental estrogen is a possibility in a migraine condition that is causing estrogen-associated headaches.

For some women, applying ice might work. Your doctor might talk with you about exploring some relaxation techniques, acupuncture or biofeedback techniques. Stopping a migraine before it starts is usually the best approach. Your doctor might talk with you about daily medication that can keep your hormone level regular throughout your cycle.

The doctors at Pacific Women’s Center are experienced in all aspects of a woman’s cycle, including how hormones may affect things in the body other than menstruation and pregnancy. Get in touch with us if you’re experiencing menstrual migraines or estrogen-associated headaches and aren’t sure what your options are.

Womain complaining to doctor about stomach ache

Sometimes Severe Pain During Periods is Not Normal, it’s Endometriosis

The actresses Julianne Hough and Lena Dunham, along with celebrity fitness trainer Jillian Michaels have all spoken out about their struggles with endometriosis (en-doe-me-tree-Oh-sis). One thing stands out about their stories. It often takes a long time for many women to realize that the severe pain during periods and with intercourse is not typical. “For the longest time, I thought: this is the way my period is,” Julianne Hough told People magazine. “I didn’t want to complain, so I’d just deal with it and ignore it.” The truth is, sometimes severe pain during periods is not normal, it’s endometriosis.

Endometriosis is an overgrowth of uterine tissue outside of the uterus. The tissue that normally grows inside the uterus is called endometrium. The endometrial tissue can grow where it shouldn’t grow. It can grow around ovaries, fallopian tubes, the tissue lining the pelvis. More rarely, it can grow outside the pelvis. Endometriosis affects one in 10 women of reproductive age.

Even though the endometrial tissue grows where it should not be, it still breaks down during each menstrual cycle.  The body tries to shed it through the uterus as normal endometrial tissue would normally be shed.. This can cause severe pain during periods.

Endometriosis and Fertility

Endometriosis can affect fertility. Some women with endometriosis can have trouble becoming pregnant. Working with an experienced fertility doctor in Eugene can help women who want to start a family be proactive and make a plan.

Diagnosis of Endometriosis

The first step in diagnosing endometriosis is a pelvic exam. If the doctor can not feel areas of endometrial tissue growth, she may use ultrasound or surgical laparoscopy. A diagnosis of endometriosis is made if endometrial tissue is found growing anywhere outside the uterus.

Treatment of Endometriosis

Self-care to make you comfortable during the painful periods is important. Try heating pads or warm compresses. It may be safe to take over-the-counter pain medications such as Advil or Aleve at doses your doctor recommends.

Your doctor may suggest hormone therapy or a prescription drug called Lupron that suppresses endometrial tissue growth. This would not be recommended for a woman who is actively trying to become pregnant. Talk to your doctor about your desires for family planning.

Surgery can be an option in severe cases of endometriosis. Discuss risks and benefits of surgery with your doctor. A personalized treatment plan that takes into account your goals will work best for you.

Female Doctor Meeting With Patient In Exam Room

What is Covered in a Well Woman Exam

Many of our patients wonder what is covered in a well woman exam. We see patients for Eugene well woman exams who may be patients who are new to our clinic . We also see patients who have never had any sort of well woman exam before.

A well woman exam is an important part of staying healthy to help prevent diseases and detect health problems early on. At these visits, the doctor might ask about various health issues you might be experiencing. This helps identify issues early on, before they advance and become more complicated. This type of exam is a thorough checkup that may include vaccinations, lab work, and screening for preventative care. Thanks to a well woman exam, doctors cam detect certain cancers early on.

The exam begins with a questionnaire that inquires about a patient’s general health. Our doctors will ask about general health history and family health history. Don’t be embarrassed over the sexual history questions! Our doctor will also ask you about your prescribed medications. And you’ll have a chance to ask about any health concerns you’d like to talk about.

What is covered in a well woman exam?

  • An exam of the heart, lungs, and thyroid.
  • Breast exam: The physician will check for any changes with the breasts in regards to skin texture, shape, lumps, and discharge from nipples.
  • Pelvic exam: This will entail an exam of the vagina, labia, cervix, uterus, and ovaries.
  • Pap smear: The health care provider will do an exam to screen for cervical cancer and the human papilloma virus (HPV).
  • Vaccinations and immunizations: The doctor will offer any shots they feel the patient should have. This could be general immunizations or flu shots.
  • Bone density scans, mammograms, or colonoscopies: The doctor could order this type of exam based on a patient’s age.
  • Consultation: Discussions about contraceptives and/or menopause are part of the well woman exam.
  • Lifestyle discussion: The doctor will want to know more about the woman’s current habits concerning smoking, alcohol use, diet, exercise routine, and sexual practices.

The doctor may order other tests and labs depending on the patient’s condition. In many cases the doctor will screen blood pressure and monitor cholesterol and additional vitals during  the well woman exam.

The doctors at Pacific Women’s Center want to keep their patients current on their well woman exams to protect their health. Call them to schedule an appointment for a well woman exam. Whether it’s your first well woman exam or one you get every year, it’s a key to maintain a steady and consistent health regime. Our doctors would love to meet you.

Radiology technician examens mammography test on location

What is the Difference Between Traditional and 3D Breast Imaging?

Traditional and 3D breast imaging are used to detect any issues with their breasts concerning pain, lumps, tumors, or other abnormalities. They’re also relied upon when something suspicious has shown up on a manual mammogram screening.

What is 3D breast imaging and how is it different from traditional imaging?

3D mammograms, also known as breast tomosynthesis, consist of using advanced technology that is FDA-approved. It takes several images of breast tissue to construct a 3D picture of the breast. Traditional screening takes images of the breast from two angles. In comparison, regular imaging, or x-rays, aren’t able see through dense breast tissue or masses.

It’s easier to miss lumps or tumors that could be lurking in other areas of the breast with traditional imaging. 3D breast imaging allows health care providers to obtain a better view of the breasts with high-quality detail of surrounding masses.

A 3D scanner rotates in an arc over the breasts, taking images at different angles, whereas a traditional image is stationery. Images on 3D are taken on both sides and top to bottom of the breast. It allows for better visibility of where small tumors could be hiding in breast tissue. It’s similar in nature to a CAT scan.

3D breast imaging can also aid in eliminating unnecessary alarm for the patient with less call-backs for more testing.

Studies show that 3D breast imaging is more accurate than traditional mammograms at detecting cancer and finding it at the early stages.

3D imaging is especially beneficial for women with dense breast tissue. The 3D image gives doctors a clearer picture of any breast mass that needs further assessment.

Other facts about 3D breast imaging

There is slightly more radiation released in 3D breast imaging than there is in the traditional method. The amount is still far below the FDA’s safety limit, according to the American Medical Association. A newer, low-dose 3D mammogram emits less radiation than traditional 2D mammograms.

3D mammography has increased the detection of breast cancer. It’s effective in detecting aggressive, invasive cancers as well.

Anxiety in patients is further reduced with 3D breast imaging because its accuracy results in fewer call-backs.

The doctors at Pacific Women’s Center guide patients through the best procedure when it comes to breast imaging. Call them to learn more or make an appointment to visit one of their doctors.

Doctor In Consultation With Female Patient In Office

Symptoms and Treatment of Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a painful condition in which tissue that grows inside of the uterus develops on the outside of it. It can affect the ovaries, Fallopian tubes, intestines, and the tissue lining the pelvic region. Clusters of endometrial tissue implanted on these organs cause painful inflammation during menstruation. This condition causes discomfort, and also infertility in some cases. There are treatment options for endometriosis that range from pain relievers to surgery.

5 Symptoms of endometriosis

1 . Painful menstruation (dysmenorrhea). In the days leading up a period, mild cramping may begin and get more intense during the menstrual cycle. There may also be lower back and abdominal pain.

2 . Painful intercourse. It’s common for sexual intercourse to be painful if a woman has endometriosis. The pain comes from the stretching and pulling of endometrial growths located behind the vagina and lower uterus.

3 . Excessive menstrual bleeding. Heavy bleeding during periods — or bleeding between periods – might be other symptoms of endometriosis.

4 . Infertility. Trouble conceiving may be a sign of endometriosis. Treating endometriosis, if present, can help a women become pregnant.

5 . Painful urination or bowel movements. Discomfort in urinating or bowel movements can be associated with endometriosis.

Some other signs of endometriosis may include fatigue, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and nausea, notably during a period. Be sure to see a doctor if any of the above symptoms are experienced. Chronic pain of the pelvis or abdominal area needs medical attention.

Treating endometriosis

Birth control. Birth control hormones in the form of pills, a patch, or a ring may reduce pain for some women. This treatment method is more likely to prevent the condition from worsening.

Pain relievers. Anti-inflammatory medications may be all some women need to reduce pain from endometriosis.

Surgery. The most common surgical procedure for endometriosis is a laparoscopy. This involves a doctor placing one or more small incisions on the abdomen, through which narrow instruments are used to remove endometrial growths and scar tissue. A laparoscopy is typically successful in significantly reducing or eliminating pain and increasing the chance for pregnancy.

In rare cases, a complete hysterectomy is performed when all other treatments for endometriosis fail and the patient doesn’t plan to have any children. The result of a hysterectomy is early menopause, however.

Infertility treatment. If a woman is still having trouble conceiving after undergoing surgery for endometriosis, additional treatments might be necessary. These can include fertility drugs, insemination, or in-vitro fertilization.

The doctors at Pacific Women’s Center understand endometriosis and how it interferes with a woman’s life. Call them today to learn more about treatment options.