TMH Living Well: When to see a gynecologist | CraigDailyPress.com

TMH Living Well: When to see a gynecologist

The Memorial Hospital

Myndi Christopher

You know that gynecologists are specialists in women's health, but what warrants a visit? In other words, when should you see your gynecologist rather than your regular physician besides during pregnancy? Here are some tips to help you decide.

Unexpected bleeding

If you are experiencing bleeding between periods or after menopause, it's a good idea to get it checked out. It doesn't necessarily mean there is a serious problem, as unexpected bleeding has several possible causes. Maybe it simply means you are entering menopause or taking a new medicine that causes bleeding. A gynecologist is trained to answer the why.

"There are several procedures we can do right here in the office. A hysteroscopy lets us look into the uterus to diagnose abnormal bleeding, among other things," said Dr. Scott Ellis, OB-GYN physician with The Memorial Hospital's Medical Clinic.

Advice on birth control

Gynecologists are the birth control experts. Makes sense. They are up on the latest offerings in birth control, whether you want to learn about the new female condom, the pill, cervical caps or the birth control patch, sponge or shot and so on.

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"I'm pleased to offer a new non-surgical option for tubal ligation for women," Ellis said.

Gynecologists are also well informed on sexually transmitted diseases — how to prevent and treat.

Urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse

Pelvic floor strength and continence go hand-in-hand. If you are feeling pressure in your pelvis, a pulling or stretching in your groin area, or intercourse is painful, you may have pelvic organ prolapse. If you are leaking urine or have a sudden urge to go, it might be incontinence.

"Urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse (POP) are what we gynecologists call the silent shames that women endure. I am amazed how many women will not seek care because they are embarrassed or think, 'I had kids, now I just have to live with it.' That's not the case. There are a lot of treatments that are simple and can bring great relief," Ellis said.

Many gynecologists are trained in urodynamics — tests that assess how the pelvic floor, urethra and bladder are performing.

"The solution to urinary incontinence or POP may be surgical, medical or physical, so getting the right diagnosis is important. That way we can tailor the treatment for the best results," Ellis stated.

Pelvic pain

Another common reason to seek care from a gynecologist is if you are experiencing pelvic pain. As with abnormal bleeding, there are several possible causes for pelvic pain. If it's a sharp, stabbing pain it might mean you have an infection. If it's a pain that started with your period but now has become more constant all of the time, it might be endometriosis. Fullness in the abdomen can signify other gynecological issues.

"As gynecologists, we are specifically skilled and trained in diagnosing and treating women's reproductive health issues and in having frank discussions with women and putting them at ease," Ellis concluded.

This weekly article with tips on living well is sponsored by The Memorial Hospital at Craig — improving the quality of life for the communities we serve through patient-centered health care and service excellence.

Gynecological surgeries offered at TMH

Did you know our OB-GYNs are highly skilled and well trained to perform a variety of surgeries? Common surgeries they perform include C-sections, hysterectomies, prolapse repair, transvaginal slings, DNCs, permanent or semi-permanent birth control solutions and more. For surgical consults, call the TMH Medical Clinic at 970-826-2420 to make an appointment with either Dr. Scott Ellis or Dr. James Summers.