Monday, July 9, 2018
An obstetrician (OB) is a physician who cares for a woman during the stages of her pregnancy including the antepartum, intrapartum, childbirth, and postpartum care. Antepartum is the period not long before childbirth, while intrapartum occurs during the act of birth.
A gynecologist (GYN) is a physician who cares for women throughout their lifetime beginning in adolescence, and through menopause.
An OB/GYN is a physician who offers both gynecologic and obstetric care and both of these specialties work to help keep a woman’s reproductive system healthy.
While you may hear the term OB/GYN most commonly, they are two separate entities with two separate definitions. During schooling, physicians are able to choose to practice obstetrics exclusively, pregnancy care, childbirth postpartum care, or specifically gynecology. As a patient, you are able to utilize either separately, or both from a physician who provides both aspects of care.
Dr. Michelle Koellermeier decided her route was to follow her passion by specializing in women’s health, specifically both areas of OB/GYN.
“I love it because it’s a high level of care yet with great reward. You get to be with a woman during the happiest times of her life.”
For the full video follow the link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGbEjtnr5jI
Monday, April 30, 2018
Simply put, a lot goes into the conception process. There’s the egg, sperm, fallopian tubes, fertilization, the women’s embryo, hormones, and not to mention each of those pieces needing to be in a healthy state. All but one of those parts could go completely right and infertility could still be the result. We, at Women’s Care, are here for those times. By providing specialists who can assist in the diagnosis and treatment of infertility, we provide personalized treatment for your journey in the best interest of you. In having a conversation of fertility, we rounded up some common public questions regarding the process, treatments, and how we’re here to help.
How long do you wait before speaking with a doctor about possible fertility issues?
Fertility can happen at many points within a lifetime, and infertility issues differ at each of those points as well. A general rule of thumb we choose to stick to is if you are over or under the age of 35. Couples under the age of 35 are statistically in better chances of conceiving, yet should look into a conversation of additional options after a year of actively trying. Actively trying meaning you are appropriately having intercourse around ovulation times month by month. Patients over the age of 35 should intervene just after six months.
Can you explain the difference between IUI and IVF?
The big technical difference is where the fertilization of the egg and sperm take place. During IUI, the doctor inserts the sperm directly into the uterus to fertilize. Whereas with IVF, the egg and sperm are manually combined in a laboratory dish then transferred to the uterus. We here at Women’s Care facilitate any IUI treatments by providing medication, tracking cycles, stimulating the ovulation cycle, and by collecting and processing the sperm to be placed in the uterus in our own office. If you were to choose the IVF route, we would be the helping hand in that process of referring our best local clinics in the area to take care of you, then assisting once you choose your preferred facility.
When would you recommend IVF to a patient?
We recommend each individual go through the initial testing and treatment options then have a conversation about additional options based on the individual results. Usually, we would like to start an IVF discussion with a patient after 3-4 rounds of insemination. However, time frames will be individualized to each couple depending on a multitude of personal factors.
So, no matter if you’re just starting to think about the conception process or you are months or years in, Women’s Care is here to provide the education, diagnosis, and treatment to direct and turn those baby dreams into a reality.
To schedule your own personal consultation, contact our office to set up an appointment with one of our specialized physicians who will be happy to answer any additional questions you may have.
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
What are STI’s?
Sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) are infections or viruses spread from person to person by intimate physical contact or through sexual intercourse. Common STI’s include chlamydia, gonorrhea, HPV, genital herpes, and syphilis.
Aside from colds and the flu, STI’s are the most common contagious (easily spread) infections in the United States. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reports that there are millions of new cases each year, so it’s important to know the facts when it comes to protecting your body.
How Can I Protect Myself?
The good news is, there are a lot of different ways you can protect yourself. You can reduce your risk by of contracting an STI by:
- Limiting your number of sexual partners.
- Using protection (such as condoms) every time you have vaginal, oral, or anal sex.
- Making sure you are up to date on all of your immunizations. Vaccinations are available for hepatitis B as well as some forms of HPV.
Regular screening is also key to catching an STI early if you do contract an infection.
“It’s recommended that sexually active women between the ages of 15 and 25 have at least an annual gonorrhea and chlamydia screening,” Dr .Gass says.
There are some STI’s that can be cured, but early detection is important.
“Additional screening can be offered for HIV, syphilis, hepatitis C, and other STI’s,” Dr. Gass says.
What are the Most Common Symptoms of an STI?
Some of the most common STI symptoms to look out for include:
- A burning sensation when urinating
- Sores, bumps, rashes, or blisters in the genital or anal area
- Abnormal discharge
- Redness or swelling in the genital area
- Pain in the pelvic or abdominal area
- Pain, soreness, irritation, or other discomfort during intercourse
- Bleeding after intercourse
- Recurring yeast infections
If you believe you are at risk for contracting an STI, it is very important to schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider.
“Sexually transmitted infections can have an impact on future fertility,” Dr. Gass says.
During pregnancy, STI’s can also cause harm to the fetus. If you are pregnant and you or your partner have had -- or may have -- an STI, be sure to inform your doctor so you can work out a treatment plan that will decrease the chances of your child getting the infection.
Schedule An Appointment
“If you have concerns about STI’s or believe you could need screening, please talk to your healthcare provider,” Dr. Gass says.
At Women’s Care, our providers are devoted to you and your health. That means having the most advanced techniques, up-to-date educational information, and a compassionate, caring staff.
To schedule an appointment with one of our providers to discuss STI screening or any other health related topic, please call us at 920-729-7105 or click here.
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Whether you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, we believe it is important for you to focus on taking good care of yourself and make sure you receive the best care possible for a healthy pregnancy. We also know that you probably have a lot of questions about your pregnancy, so we sat down with Dr. Marley Kercher to address some of the most common questions we receive about the Tdap vaccination.
What is the Tdap Vaccine and Why is it Important?
The Tdap vaccine protects against pertussis, also known as whooping cough. Pertussis is a disease that spreads quickly and is especially dangerous for babies.
“It is really important for women who are pregnant to receive the Tdap vaccine because the majority of morbidity and mortality from pertussis occurs in infants less than 3 months old,” Dr. Kercher says.
Infants typically do not receive their first set of vaccinations until they are 2 months old, but women can help protect their babies from pertussis by receiving the Tdap vaccination between 27 and 36 weeks of their pregnancy.
“The baby gets some passive immunity from the mother if she is vaccinated, so it provides some protection for the newborn before they are able to receive their own immunizations,” Dr. Kercher says.
How Effective is the Tdap Vaccine?
In a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), researchers found that receiving the Tdap vaccine in the third trimester of pregnancy prevented more than 78% of cases of pertussis in babies under 2 months of age.
“No vaccine is 100% effective, but Tdap is highly effective and the cases of pertussis that do occur after vaccination are less likely to be serious or potentially life-threatening,” Dr. Kercher explains.
Are There Any Potential Risks I Should be Concerned About?
At Women’s Care, we are committed to working with each of our patients to develop a healthcare plan that is right for them. We also believe that having access to up-to-date educational information is important to make decisions about your health.
According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), “there is no evidence of adverse fetal effects from vaccinating pregnant women with an inactivated virus or bacterial vaccines or toxoids, and a growing body of robust data demonstrate safety of such use . Furthermore, no evidence exists that suggests that any vaccine is associated with an increased risk of autism or adverse effects due to exposure to traces of the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal.”
What if I didn’t Receive my Tdap Vaccine when I was Pregnant?
If you missed the window to get your Tdap vaccine during your pregnancy, it is important to do so after your baby is born.
While your baby will not have the antibodies from your vaccination passed down to them, getting the Tdap vaccine soon after birth will prevent you from getting pertussis and passing it on to your baby.
Anyone that spends time with your baby (ie: caregivers, grandparents, close family and friends), should also be vaccinated for Tdap at least 2 weeks before meeting your baby.
Your baby can get their first Tdap vaccination when they are 2 months old and will need a total of three doses of the vaccine to be fully protected.
Schedule An Appointment
At Women’s Care, our providers and midwives are here to encourage your decisions and help tailor your birth plan to support your ideas and goals.
If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our providers at Women’s Care to talk about the Tdap vaccine or any other health related topic, you can call us at 920-729-7105 or click here.
Thursday, March 22, 2018
Are you doubling over in pain during your period? Do you have cramps you just can’t seem to shake throughout the month? For 1 in 10 women, these killer cramps are more than just your average visit from Aunt Flo, they’re a symptom of endometriosis. Although endometriosis affects 176 million women worldwide, many go undiagnosed. Here’s what you need to know about this painful disease and how to find out if endometriosis could be affecting you.
What is Endometriosis?
"Endometrial cells are what make up the lining of the uterine cavity," Dr. Yarroch explains. "In women with endometriosis, these cells are found in implants outside of the uterus where they cause inflammation."
This inflammation can result in pain and significant scarring to the surrounding tissue.
What Causes Endometriosis?
"There are various theories about what causes endometriosis, but the most accepted theory was first described in the 1920's and is referred to as retrograde menstruation," Dr. Yarroch says.
In this theory, it is proposed that there is a backflow of menstrual blood and tissue from the uterus through the fallopian tubes and into the pelvis.
"We do have evidence that there is an increased risk of endometriosis in women with heavy menstrual bleeding and longer or more frequent menstrual cycles," Dr. Yarroch says.
Doctors also know that estrogen plays a role and women who have a close female relative with endometriosis are 5-7 times more likely to have it themselves.
Spotting the Symptoms
Although it’s a common misconception that endometriosis only occurs in women over the age of 20, the truth is that the disease can develop as soon as a girl gets her first period and can span the rest of a woman’s reproductive years.
"The most common symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain," Dr. Yarroch says. While this pain usually coincides with menstruation, some women can experience this symptom throughout their entire cycle.
Other symptoms to look out for include:
Pain during or after sex
Severe cramps that do not go away with NSAIDs or that impede the activities of your everyday life
A heavy menstrual flow
Periods that last longer than 7 days
Nausea or vomiting
Urinary and bowel disorders
Difficulty getting pregnant
Not every woman will experience all of these symptoms, but approximately 30%-40% of women who have endometriosis will experience issues with fertility.
Getting a Diagnosis
If you suspect that you may have endometriosis, we encourage you to speak with your doctor or make an appointment with one of the amazing providers at Women’s Care. The only way to know for sure whether or not you have endometriosis is through a surgical procedure called laparoscopy.
Treating the Symptoms
There are a wide range of treatment options for endometriosis and your doctor may suggest a few less invasive methods before ordering a biopsy. At Women’s Care, we work with you to choose a plan that fits your needs and your lifestyle. Some of the most common treatments include:
The use of NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (advil, motrin) and naproxen sodium (aleve). NSAIDs can help relieve or lessen the pain caused by endometriosis by stopping the release of prostaglandins, one of the main chemicals responsible for painful periods. While NSAIDs can help manage the pain-related symptoms of endometriosis for some women, it’s not effective in every case.
Birth control methods such as the pill, the patch and the ring are often helpful to treat the pain associated with endometriosis because they reduce heavy bleeding. This method works best for women who only have severe pain during their period and not during the rest of their cycle.
Progestins are recommended for women who do not get pain relief from or who cannot take hormonal birth control that contains estrogen (such as smokers). This synthetic form of the natural hormone progesterone is available by prescription as a pill or an injection.
GnRH therapy uses medicines that work by causing temporary menopause. The treatment actually causes the ovaries to stop producing estrogen, which causes the endometriosis implants to shrink.
For some women, surgery may be the best treatment method. While there isn’t a cure for endometriosis yet, it is possible to remove some of the the scar tissue and lesions with surgery.
If you have endometriosis, surgery could be an option if you:
Have severe pain
Have tried medications, but still have pain
Have a growth or mass in the pelvic area that needs to be examined
Are having trouble getting pregnant and endometriosis might be the cause
"It is important to note that there are other conditions that can cause many of the same symptoms as endometriosis," Dr. Yarroch explains. "An OB/GYN can help determine if endometriosis is the appropriate diagnosis."
So What Now?
"Endometriosis can have a significant impact on a woman's life. Fortunately, there are treatment options available to manage pain and minimize recurrence," Dr. Yarroch says.
If you have endometriosis or believe you could have endometriosis, we strongly encourage you to speak with your doctor or one of our highly trained providers. We want you to know that at Women’s Care, we’re devoted to you and your health. We’re here to meet both your physical and your emotional needs each step of the way, from diagnosis to treatment and recovery.
Join our Circle of Care and request an appointment with us today!
Thursday, February 22, 2018
February is filled with all things heart-shaped -- from Valentine’s Day cards to candies -- but this month, we’re highlighting hearts in a different way. We sat down with Dr. Zafarani of Women’s Care to take a closer look at the facts surrounding heart disease and what you can do to stay healthy.
What Is Heart Disease?
While many people correlate heart attacks with heart disease, there are a wide variety of heart complications that fall under this category. Even though blockages in the arteries are one of the most common issues, heart disease also covers problems that arise in the heart valves, the electric system, the myocardium (heart muscle), and the pericardium (lining of the heart).
In short, if you have a heart, you could be affected by heart disease. Even young, healthy women are at risk, although they are more likely to experience congenital heart abnormalities (like mitral valve prolapse) or genetic problems than a heart attack.
“Women should take the time to learn more about heart disease because it is the number one cause of mortality in women,” Dr. Zafarani explains. “It affects one in four women, even though ⅔ of women do not report having any symptoms.”
How To Lower Your Risk
Heart disease is preventable, so it is important to know what steps you can take to keep yourself healthy.
“Some of the major risk factors include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and smoking,” Dr. Zafarani says.
While family history, medical history, and age also play a role, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can seriously decrease your likelihood of being affected by heart disease.
“You can modify your lifestyle to lower your risks. For example, you can add a healthier diet or start exercising if that is not already a part of your routine,” Dr. Zafarani suggests. “If you smoke, it is also really important that you quit.”
In addition to modifying your lifestyle, you can make it a point to see your healthcare provider for regular cholesterol and blood pressure screenings.
“Heart disease is almost always preventable with screening and intervention,” Dr. Zafarani says.
Since the symptoms of heart disease are not always easy to identify, it is really crucial to schedule annual wellness checks with your healthcare provider.
“If there are other risk factors you are concerned about, you can also talk to your healthcare provider during your appointment. We are here to help you live a healthier life!” Dr. Zafarani says.
Schedule An Appointment
If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our providers at Women’s Care to talk about this or any other health related topic, you can call us at 920-729-7105 or click here.
Tuesday, January 23, 2018
According to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition, nearly 13,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, even though the disease is almost always preventable with vaccination and regular screening. At Women’s Care, we’re devoted to keeping our patients healthy and we believe having access to the most up-to-date educational information is crucial to making important decisions about your well-being. That’s why we sat down with Dr. Therese Yarroch to get the facts about cervical cancer prevention.
Monday, January 15, 2018
For many young women, the thought of seeing a gynecologist for the first time can feel scary or even embarrassing, but this should be a time when your daughter feels comfortable and is able to ask questions about her developing body. We talked with Dr. Valary Gass of Women’s Care to provide you with the information you need to help your daughter feel more positive and less stressed out about her first gynecologist visit.
What Age Should I Schedule My Daughter’s First Gynecologist Visit?
“The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends that girls between the ages of 13-15 visit with a gynecologist,” Dr. Gass explains.
For many parents, a reasonable time to talk with your daughter about scheduling her first appointment is after her first menstrual period. The real purpose of this appointment is to establish a relationship between your daughter and her gynecologist so she can feel comfortable asking questions and learn about what changes she can expect as she develops.
Preparing For Your Daughter’s First Gynecologist Visit
The most important thing you can do to help ease your daughter’s nerves is talk to her. Explain to her why this visit is important and help her understand what she can expect. Having an open dialogue with your daughter will encourage her to ask questions and feel more comfortable about the experience.
It is also a good idea to have your daughter create a list of questions she may have for her gynecologist before the visit. Sometimes being nervous can cause us to be forgetful, so writing these questions down on a piece of paper will help her make sure she doesn’t leave anything out. Common topics for questions include periods, hormones, birth control, sex, and sexually transmitted infections. These are all normal topics for your daughter to have questions about. Remind her that anything discussed with her gynecologist is protected by privacy laws, so she shouldn’t feel embarrassed about asking these questions.
What Your Daughter Can Expect During Her Visit
“Most of the time, a girl’s first gynecologist appointment does not involve a pelvic exam,” Dr. Gass says, “but it should include taking a careful medical history, addressing any concerns like bad periods, and considering things like HPV vaccinations.”
During your daughter’s first gynecologist visit, she can expect to have a general physical exam where the nurse will record her height, weight, and blood pressure. Her gynecologist may then check for common health problems and talk with her about her medical history.
While her gynecologist will probably not conduct a pelvic exam during her first visit, it is likely that your daughter will have an external genital exam. During the external genital exam, your daughter’s gynecologist will exam her vulva and may use a mirror to help her identify parts of her own body that she has yet to discover.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that this visit is an opportunity for your daughter to speak openly with her gynecologist and ask questions.
When Is a Pelvic Exam Necessary?
“The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology suggests that most women begin regular Pap smear screening at age 21,” Dr. Gass says. At that point, women should continue regular screening every three years until age 30 when they can switch to having a Pap smear with HPV co-testing every five years.
Your daughter most likely will not need a pelvic exam during her first gynecologist visit, unless she has expressed complaints of lumps, bumps, pelvic pain, or abnormal discharge. In these instances, her gynecologist may decide a pelvic exam is necessary.
When Should My Daughter Stop Seeing Her Pediatrician?
Once your daughter is seeing a gynecologist regularly, you may wonder if she needs to continue seeing her pediatrician. This is largely up to you and depends on the specific needs your daughter has as well as her gynecologist’s preference for their practice. It is perfectly normal for your daughter to continue seeing her pediatrician well into college and it can be helpful if she has a complicated medical history. Just make sure your daughter continues her annual gynecologist visit as well.
Schedule An Appointment
If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our providers at Women’s Care, you can call us at 920-729-7105 or click here.