Female health, like any other health system, is a fragile one. It requires special attention and caring. First and foremost advice to women is to visit a doctor at least once a year for check up. The head of the Obstetrics and Gynaecology department at GMS Clinic, Tatyana Leytes gave an interview to FashionTime highlighting some basic information about the female reproductive system and explained why it is so important to see a medical expert before a problem arises.
Question: How often is a gynecologist visit necessary to identify potential problems?
Answer: If everything is okay, 2 visits per year to your gynecologist are enough. If you do have any problems, delaying an appointment would be unwise.
Question: Do strong menstrual pains indicate that I have a disorder?
Answer: Not always. Strong menstrual pains mean that you’ve ovulated. However, it could be something to talk to your gynecologist about on the phone. Dysmenorrhea (painful menstrual cramps) may be a symptom of endometriosis. Starting treatment for endometriosis will minimize pain or eliminate it completely.
Question: Are there any ways to reduce the menstrual pain without using strong painkillers?
Answer: Pregnancy and labor are the physiological ways to reduce painful menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea). Usually cramps go away after having a baby. One pharmaceutical method involves taking NSAIDs. Taking oral contraceptives consistently also significantly reduces severe menstrual pain.
Question: Can patients buy these medications independently or is it better to consult a doctor first?
Answer: A correct diagnosis is very important, then proper therapy. People around the world usually consult a doctor before taking any medication. We also recommend taking only prescribed drugs.
Question: What are other problems related to irregular menstrual cycles?
Answer: A regular menstrual cycle is a sign of complete female reproductive health and that she regular ovulates. Congruently, an irregular cycle, especially late periods, usually means that ovulation isn’t taking place every month for some reason. This usually points to an ovulatory dysfunction, pituitary gland disorders, inflammation, or extragenital diseases. As irregular periods can be an early sign of these problems, it is recommended to visit a gynecologist.
Question: How dangerous are endocrine disorders and how safe the treatment methods are?
Answer: Endocrine disorders must be diagnosed correctly and as early as possible. Nowadays there is a wide range of treatment methods from which to choose. At the same time without adequate treatment, the problem is likely to worsen and even might affect other internal organs and systems. In such cases, conservative treatment might not be sufficient and may require surgical intervention.
Question: Many claims that hormonal contraceptives are bad for women health. It is said that they can lead to heart attacks, weight problems, etc. So how to choose the right medication then?
Answer: A hormonal medication, specifically modern contraceptives, is a great achievement of contemporary pharmacological industry. First of all they contain the smallest possible doze of hormones that affect the body only when necessary. When patients stop taking them, the effect stops. The risk of developing thromboembolic complications is there, that is why one has to consult a doctor before taking any medication.
Question: Many women intentionally delay or speed up menstruation, for example, when they go on holiday. Can this be harmful to woman’s health?
Answer: Generally speaking, if pills are used to achieve this effect, it is not harmful. Still, they shouldn’t be abused. In the USA, seasonal oral contraceptives appeared a while ago when pills would only were taken once in autumn, winter, spring and summer. With this method, a woman could regulate the frequency of her menstruation cycle over the course of a year. Although seasonal contraceptives can be used this way, not all types of contraceptives will work identically. That is why before going for seasonal pills see your gynecologist and get an advice.
Question: What do you think of personal hygiene products such as pads and tampons? Can they lead to diseases or some health issues?
Answer: They are good if you use them in the right way. Tampons should be changed every 4 hours and should never be forgotten. It’s also important to make sure you aren’t allergic to the product.
Question: Are there any ways to stop PMS?
Answer: There are many recommendations but no cure.
Question: Are there any over-the-counter suppositories or pills that can prevent various gynecological problems?
Answer: There’s quite a wide range of medications on the market that prevent gynecological problems, but you should only use them when recommended by a doctor.
Question: What’s the proper course of action if a woman finds out that she’s pregnant?
Answer: If a woman’s period is late, she should take a pregnancy test before doing anything else. This is a ground rule for everyone. If the pregnancy is planned, visit a gynecologist in the 6th or 7th week of pregnancy. That is when the doctor can see the embryo and hear its heartbeat in the uterus via ultrasound. Future visits depend on how far along you are in the pregnancy in addition to recommendations from your gynecologist.
Question: Many couples are desperate to have baby naturally before turn to IVF. What are the signs, which can help a couple to understand that they need to go for IVF?
Answer: If a couple tries to conceive over the course of a year and fails they can be diagnosed with infertility. In this case, both partners need to be medically examined. An examination can uncover the causes of infertility, thus starting the process of finding a solution. If the problem is in an irregular menstrual cycle or anovulation medication can be a potential solution. This treatment method is called controlled ovarian hyperstimulation. Artificial insemination including sperm sorting for quality and concentration would be necessary if the male partner has poor sperm quality.
If the cause of infertility is more serious (for example, a tubal obstruction or poor sperm quality), then in vitro fertilization will be the only way to get pregnant. In my opinion, IVF shows just how much progress has been made in the field of medicine.
Question: If a couple has conceived a baby using IVF, can they have another one without external help in future?
Answer: It depends on the cause of infertility. If the woman has a tubal obstruction, IVF would be necessary again. Sometimes after an IVF cycle, a woman gets pregnant by herself. This is a rare but well-known phenomenon. This «miracle» typically happens in couples with so-called «unexplained infertility» meaning that there is no clear cause.
Author: Alexandra Samoilenko