Posts Tagged ‘women’s health’

National Infertility Awareness Week: You Are Not Alone

Infertility Awareness WeekThis week, April 19-25, is National Infertility Awareness Week. At the Emory Reproductive Center, we know well the pain that infertility causes those who are ready to grow their family. Infertility is extremely isolating – it can be difficult to share fertility struggles with friends who seem to conceive easily, or to face family members who continually ask about plans for a baby.

That’s why we’re happy that the theme “You Are Not Alone” has been chosen for this year’s National Infertility Awareness Week. Since infertility is rarely discussed, many people don’t realize just how common the issue is – in fact, infertility impacts 1 in 8 couples of reproductive age. What’s more, people who are unaware of how common infertility is may not realize just how many options we have to treat it.

In the spirit of raising awareness about infertility, we’d like to share some basic facts about this medical condition:

  • We define infertility as the inability to become pregnant after a certain period of time of unprotected intercourse. For women under age 35, that period of time is one year; for women over the age of 35, that period of time is six months. Some patients may have risk factors that make infertility more common, such as endometriosis, and those patients are encouraged to seek assistance before six months or a year has passed.
  • Infertility is not just a female problem – 30 percent of infertility cases are due to a female factor, 30 percent of infertility cases are due to a male factor, and in the rest of the cases, the cause is unknown or may be due to both a male and female issue.
  • We now have more options than ever for treating infertility, including everything from intrauterine insemination and in vitro fertilization to egg donation and surrogacy. And in vitro fertilization, or IVF, is safer than ever before, with a lower risk of multiple births compared to years earlier.

We take the theme “You Are Not Alone” seriously at Emory – once patients initiate treatment, we put together a team that supports them throughout their entire journey with us. All of our staff members are trained in the special needs of infertility patients, and from that initial work-up to the completion of treatment, we are our patients’ biggest cheerleaders.

In addition to providing our patients with a compassionate and respectful experience, we’re proud to say that our in vitro fertilization program consistently achieves success rates significantly above the national average. It’s extremely fulfilling to know that we have helped so many patients feel less alone by successfully helping them build their families.

RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association, has some wonderful resources for men and women seeking more information on infertility, as does the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. We also invite you to visit our website or to call 404-778-3401 to make an appointment and learn more about your options.

About the Emory Reproductive Center

The Emory Reproductive Center, located at Emory University Hospital Midtown, manages a range of conditions that affect reproductive health, including fibroids, endometriosis, abnormal bleeding, recurrent pregnancy loss, premature ovarian insufficiency, polycystic ovary syndrome, male infertility, and genetic disorders.

We offer testing for male and female infertility issues and the latest in assisted reproductive technologies with excellent results – our in vitro fertilization (IVF) program consistently achieves success rates significantly above the national average.

Our fellowship-trained physicians are faculty members at the Emory University School of Medicine. Learn more about our team.

Sexual Dysfunction: When To See A Specialist

What is sexual dysfunction?

Sexual dysfunction is a general term that refers to a problem during sexual activity that interferes with an individual’s ability to enjoy the sexual experience. Sexual problems typically fall into one of four categories:

  1. Desire disorders
  2. Arousal disorders
  3. Orgasm disorders
  4. Pain disorders

What causes sexual dysfunction in women?

Many things, including physical or medical conditions as well as psychological causes, can contribute to sexual dysfunction. Some examples may include:

  • Medical problems, such as depression
  • Medications
  • Smoking, alcohol, and drugs
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Relationship problems
  • Prior negative sexual experiences
  • Hormone changes/menopause

What’s the link between sexual function and menopause?

Sexual function can affect both men and women of all ages. However, there are specific changes that occur around menopause that can impact a woman’s sexual experience. During menopause, declining hormone levels cause changes in our body that may affect our sexual function. For example, lower hormone levels may decrease your sex drive or cause changes in the vagina that may make intercourse uncomfortable.

What causes sex to be painful?

There are many reasons why sex may be painful. Some of the more common reasons include:

  • Vaginal atrophy: Loss of estrogen after menopause causes the vaginal lining to become thin and dry. We call this vaginal atrophy. Vaginal atrophy can make sexual intercourse uncomfortable or even painful. Although this is most commonly associated with menopause, a woman might also experience vaginal atrophy after surgical removal of her ovaries. Your doctor may treat this condition with vaginal estrogen in a cream, tablet, or ring form. Vaginal lubricants and moisturizers can also help.
  • Pelvic floor muscle spasms: Similar to a “Charley horse,” women can also develop muscle spasms or “trigger points” in their pelvic floor muscles. When this happens, it can make penetration difficult and painful. Treatment involves working with a pelvic floor physical therapist to help you rehab and appropriately relax these muscles.
  • Infections
  • Cysts
  • Endometriosis

When should you see a specialist about sexual dysfunction?

Most conditions can be managed with the help of your gynecologist or primary care physician. However, there are some conditions, like the ones listed below, that may require consultation with a specialist known as a urogynecologist, who has advanced training in these areas.

  • Pelvic organ prolapse: Pelvic organ prolapse is a weakening of the pelvic floor, which allows the vaginal walls along with some of your pelvic organs to herniate through the vaginal opening. This often presents as a vaginal bulge or an appearance that something is protruding outside of the vagina. Sometimes women describe a sensation of feeling like they are sitting on an egg. Although prolapse should not cause pain per se, the vaginal bulge may interfere with one’s ability to experience penetration and may cause discomfort during intercourse.
  • Previous surgeries: Sometimes women experience pain with intercourse after having undergone previous surgeries. This may be due to a complication of the surgery, distorted anatomy, or perhaps a residual foreign body in the vagina such as suture or mesh.

Talk to your health care provider

The good news is that most causes of sexual pain and sexual dysfunction are treatable. Treatment will depend on the underlying etiology and often requires a team approach including your partner, doctors, physical therapist and psychologists. Remember, communication is key. Talk to your health care providers today to see how they can help you with any concerns you are having.

About Kristie Greene, MD

Kristie Greene, MDKristie Greene, MD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Emory University School of Medicine. She is a member of the Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery division, also known as urogynecology. Dr. Greene sees patients at the Emory Clinic at 1365 Clifton Road, in Building A on the 4th floor. She completed medical school at Loyola University’s Stritch School of Medicine and went on to complete both her residency and her fellowship in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of South Florida. To make an appointment with Dr. Greene or any of our urogynecologists, please call 404-778-3401.

Emory Johns Creek Hospital Provides Free Screenings at Health & Wellness Fair

Johns Creek Health FairEmory Johns Creek Hospital’s Christina Vick, director of lab services, was one of several hospital volunteers who provided free health screenings and patient education at the Park Place Health & Wellness Fair, Friday, Oct. 10. The fair, which launched last year, is hosted by Park Place at Newtown School, an active adult center operated by Johns Creek’s Department of Recreation and Parks.

Vick and other volunteers provided free blood pressure, glucose, bone density screenings for the event, and Specialty Certification Coordinator, Patricia Victor, counseled attendees on stroke symptoms and risk factors.

Women of all ages interested in free screenings and stroke awareness education are invited to attend Emory Johns Creek Hospital’s 2014 Ladies’ Night Out event on Thursday, Oct. 23 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Suite 109 of Physicians Plaza. The event, presented in partnership with Junior League of Gwinnett and North Fulton Counties, is free and open to the public. In addition to health, beauty and other vendors, the Johns Creek Arts Center will exhibit paintings, pottery, jewelry and other works created by local artists. Desserts and coffee will be served during the event.

At this year’s Ladies’ Night Out, Gina Lundberg, MD, clinical director of Emory Women’s Heart Center, will host an educational session on women’s stroke symptoms and risk factors. Dr. Lundberg’s presentation will begin at 6:50 p.m. Attendees of Dr. Lundberg’s presentation receive a complimentary gift bag.

RSVP by calling 678-474-8200!

Emory Johns Creek Hospital Ladies Night Out 2014: Celebrate the Art of Wellness

Ladies Night OutEmory Johns Creek Hospital, in conjunction the Junior League of Gwinnett and North Fulton Counties, is hosting its annual Ladies Night Out this year on October 23, 2014 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Physicians Plaza. This event is free for women of all ages. RSVP by calling: 678-474-8200.

This year, the Johns Creek Art Center will exhibit paintings, jewelry, pottery and other works by local artists in conjunction with free health screenings and opportunities to chat with Emory Johns Creek healthcare providers in a casual setting.

Free screenings will include glucose, cholesterol, bone density, blood pressure and Body Mass Index. In addition, this year’s featured discussion will be on Women’s Stroke Symptoms, presented by Gina Lundberg, MD, Clinical Director of Emory Women’s Heart Center and Associate Professor at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Lundberg spoke on women’s heart attack symptoms and risk factors at the hospital’s Go Red Event in February and at the St Ives We ♥ Wine event in October 2013. She has been interviewed on the subject of Heart Disease in Women in various media channels, including CNN and USA Today.

Bev Miller, Director of Community Relations at Emory Johns Creek Hospital says she’s excited about this year’s event. “We’re very fortunate to have the Junior League and the Johns Creek Art Center working with us, and we’re looking forward to having Dr. Lundberg return. We got rave reviews from guest who attended our Go Red Event this year, so we’re looking forward to a great Ladies Night Out.”

Light refreshments and desserts will be served during the event. For more updates and more information, visit emoryjohnscreek.com/events-classes or call 678-474-8017.

Ladies Night Out: Join Us for an Evening of Healthy Indulgence!

Ladies Night Out EventIt’s become a fall tradition. Emory Johns Creek Hospital is once again hosting its Annual Ladies’ Night Out, Thursday, October 17 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Physicians Plaza. RSVP by calling: 678-474-8200.

This free event provides women of all ages free health screenings (including glucose, cholesterol, bone density, blood pressure, BMI, and skin screenings), casual conversations with physicians over dessert and coffee and a chance to win door prizes.

A number of local vendors will be on hand, offering products and services directly tailored for women, including skin care products and sun damage screenings. Chair massages will be provided, as well, says Community Relations Director, Beverly Miller who coordinates the event each year with the Junior League of Gwinnett and North Fulton Counties.

Also on tap will be a panel discussion focused on “A Younger, Healthier You” and tours of the new Center for Breast Care. Free gifts will be provided to guests who attend the panel and tour.

Call 678-474-8200 to let us know you are coming or if you need more information. Registration is not required, but is very much appreciated. You can also RSVP on Facebook!

Related Resources:

New Application for an Old Technique

Dr. Gail Peters talks about a non-surgical treatment for uterine fibroids

Many women who have uterine fibroids go through their days with no noticeable symptoms. They may even be unaware they have fibroids at all. However, for a small percentage who have symptoms, daily life can be interrupted continually by pain.

Uterine fibroids can cause a host of disruptive symptoms: unusually heavy or long menstrual periods, pain during sexual intercourse, pressure on the bladder leading to frequent trips to the bathroom, bloating, and pain in the pelvis, legs, or lower back. They affect 20% to 40% of women 20 years or older and occur in half of African American women. So far, doctors are unable to pinpoint why fibroids are more common in African Americans or why women develop them at all. But they do know that heredity and obesity are factors.

Women with problematic uterine fibroids traditionally have had only two options—a hysterectomy or a myomectomy (surgical removal of the fibroids). In fact, unwanted fibroid symptoms trigger approximately 150,000 hysterectomies each year.

Over the past decade, an old technique is providing women who suffer with uterine fibroids with a nonsurgical alternative. Physicians have used embolization for more than two decades to treat pelvic bleeding or trauma, and now they are using the procedure to shrink uterine fibroids too.

“If a gynecologist has offered a hysterectomy, a women should look into uterine fibroid embolization,” says Emory interventional radiologist Gail Peters. “The procedure is less invasive, better tolerated, and requires less time for recuperation.”

Although the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recognizes embolization as a viable treatment for uterine fibroids, Peters says that some doctors are failing to talk to women about the option. “Most women come to me on their own and are looking for an alternative to surgery,” she says

What she tells them is that embolization offers fewer complications and a quicker recovery than surgical options. It has an 85% to 92% success rate compared with myomectomy, after which 10% to 30% of patients develop fibroids again. And women who experience embolization can fore-go the three- to four-day hospital stays and four to six weeks of recovery that accompany hysterectomies.

An embolization is performed through a small puncture in a groin artery. Dye is injected into the artery to identify which blood vessels supply the uterus and fibroids. The radiologist then guides a wire and catheter into the identified vessels and injects small particles that block the blood supply to the fibroids. The fibroids and the uterus shrink approximately 60% in the first year. Heavy periods usually take a few cycles to lessen. The procedure takes approximately an hour followed by a day’s stay in the hospital for intravenous pain medication. Patients usually can resume normal activity after a week.

“Most of the women I’ve treated report a significant improvement in their symptoms at their first-month check-up,” Peters says.

Learn more in person at a free seminar on Thursday, February 3rd. Call 404-778-7777 or go online to register. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 404-712-7033.