Posts for category: Health
Every woman will experience menopause. The average age for women in the U.S. 51 years, though it can occur earlier or later and peri-menopause, the time leading up to the complete cessation of menses is extremely variable in duration and can last from months to years. Some women seem to go through this transitional period with only minor and fleeting changes while other women deal with very unpleasant symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, vaginal dryness and other issues. These can be a bit more challenging to tackle. Our Upper East Side, NY, gynecologist Dr. Sharon Diamond has some answers to help manage your menopause and peri-menopausal symptoms.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Once women reach menopause the amount of estrogen and progesterone the body produces is dramatically reduced, and during peri-menopause the production of these hormones can be very erratic – reaching record highs and lows. These changes can lead to a variety of symptoms such as hot flashes, headaches and night sweats. For some women a short course of hormone replacement therapy might be appropriate to combat the symptoms and restore or improve quality of life. For these women our Upper East Side, NY, OBGYN will provide you with the hormone replacement best for you, usually bio-identical treatments (hormones identical to those your own body produced during reproductive years). Treatment can come in the form of oral medication, gels, implants or patches which modestly increase estrogen or progesterone levels to successfully reduce and even eliminate your symptoms.
For some women, for example those with a history of, or at high risk for certain malignancies, hormone therapy would not be appropriate. For those women, or for those who choose not to take hormones, there are also simple measures you can take to reduce symptoms of menopause in your day-to-day life:
Treating Hot Flashes and Night Sweats
If you deal with intense hot flashes it’s a good idea to wear lighter, loose-fitted clothing of natural fibers, and to dress in layers. Turning down the temperature at night before going to bed or placing a fan next to your bed while you sleep can also help. Also, document which foods might also be causing your hot flashes. You may find that caffeine, spicy foods, or alcohol are triggers for you. Avoiding or reducing your intake of these foods and drinks can help reduce the frequency of your hot flashes and night sweats.
Treating Mood Swings
If you suddenly feel like you have a short fuse with those around you or you are finding yourself dealing with depression or anxiety, it is important that you talk to your doctor about these issues. There are certain non-medicinal approaches you can take to reduce stress and anxiety. Finding an outlet for your anxiety such as taking up yoga, meditation or even being referred to a therapist can help with your anxiety and negative feelings and help you find a sense of balance.
Menopausal women are also more likely to report sexual issues including discomfort or pain at this time. This is usually due to the decrease in estrogen that results in vaginal and vulvar dryness, thinning, and loss of elasticity. If you find that you are suffering from these changes, there are many options to help including vaginal products such as hyaluronic acid gels, or prescription local estrogens such as creams, suppositories, or rings. The MonaLisa Touch laser treatment is another option as are the use of special lubricants to help improve these uncomfortable symptoms.
Menopause may be a challenging time in a woman’s life but our expert gynecological team here in Upper East Side, NY, can help. We are happy to sit down with you and figure out a treatment plan that truly works.
Sex shouldn’t be painful. Find out what could be causing your discomfort during intercourse.
If sex has turned from a fun, pleasurable experience to something uncomfortable and even painful, then it’s time to talk to our Upper East Side gynecologist, Dr. Sharon Diamond, about what might be going on.
As women get older, particularly around the time they reach menopause, they may experience an increase in vaginal dryness and a loss of vaginal elasticity due to the reduction in circulating estrogen that comes with menopause. These are some of the more obvious causes of pain can often be effectively treated.
Other causes of painful intercourse include:
- Vaginal infections
- Cervical or uterine infections
- Fibroids and other uterine problems
- Ovarian cysts
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
- Skin conditions such as lichen sclerosis, psoriasis or excyma
- Psychological or related issues
How is pain during intercourse treated?
The first step is to accurately diagnose causes of discomfort and then to address them. A thorough history and physical examination is necessary with a caring physician. For example, it is common for new mothers to have pain at the entrance to the vagina after childbirth, whether or not an episiotomy has been performed.
Waiting until six weeks after childbirth to have sex and using over-the-counter lubricants when experiencing dryness may be certain simple measures than can be taken in this situation to reduce sexual discomfort.
If your dryness is due to the menopausal drop in estrogene, it’s time to talk to our Upper East Side women’s doctor about prescription medications or over-the-counter options. Prescription local estrogen in cream, suppository or ring form may be useful. If medications have not been found to be helpful or if they are contra-indicated because of other medical or family history or conditions, we are also pleased to offer the MonaLisa Touch. This treatment is used to reduce symptoms such as dryness, pain with sexual activity and burning.
What is MonaLisa Touch?
This FDA-approved medical laser is designed to stimulate and restructure collagen within the vagina to increase natural lubrication and elasticity. This can be a wonderful option for women dealing with this uncomfortable problem for whom hormonal treatments are not appropriate. It may also be effective for treating skin conditions such as lichen sclerosis when other therapy has not been effective..
The therapy consists of three treatments, each performed about six weeks apart. They are performed right here in our office and there is little downtime. You can walk right into our office for care and walk right out after it’s done, making it a convenient treatment for those with busy schedules.
Don’t let pain become the norm, call our Upper East Side, NY gynecology office today to schedule your next appointment.
The complexity and importance of a woman’s reproductive system make reproductive health a priority. However, understanding the different parts of a well-woman examination and knowing what to expect can make these crucial appointments less of a chore. Learn more about Pap smears and what you can expect during the gynecologic examination from your Upper East Side, NY gynecologist, Dr. Sharon Diamond.
What is a Pap smear?
The Pap smear is a screening test that looks for abnormalities in the cells of the cervix in women. It is known medically as cervical cytology and was named after Dr. Papanicolaou, who developed the test. If you are 30 years old or older Dr. Diamond will also test for the human papillomavirus, (HPV) at the same time as the Pap smear. During the test, cells from the cervix are collected which are then tested by a medical laboratory. Aside from detecting cancer itself, the results of a Pap smear can also indicate abnormalities within the cells which show that cancer may develop in the future. In that case testing may be done more frequently to monitor for worsening changes although the majority of these abnormalities clear up themselves without treatment. If the abnormalities are severe, treatment will be recommended. All this is to prevent these abnormalities from becoming cancer. Depending on their age and risk status, women should undergo Pap screening anywhere from every six months to every three years.
What can I expect during a Pap smear?
In order to perform the Pap smear and HPV testing, Dr. Diamond will insert an instrument called a speculum into the vagina and then will use a swab to manually collect cells from your cervix. The test only takes a few minutes to perform and the results are usually back within one to two weeks.
Cervical Cancer Screening
Approximately 13,000 new cases of cervical cancer a year are diagnosed in the United States. Caught in its earliest stages, cervical cancer which has not spread to any lymph nodes or other parts of the body has a 92% five-year survival rate. These numbers show the importance of the Pap smear and detecting pre-cancerous abnormalities and cancer in its earliest stages. It is believed that the vaccine against HPV, which is now available, could reduce the number of new cases significantly since over 90% of cervical cancers are caused by this virus.
For more information on Pap smears, please contact Dr. Diamond, your Upper East Side, NY gynecologist . Call (212) 876-2200 to schedule your appointment for a Pap smear with Dr. Diamond today!
As menopause approaches, hot flashes, mood swings and weight gain may become more common. Fortunately, there are ways to decrease unpleasant symptoms. Dr. Sharon Diamond, your Upper East Side, NY gynecologist answers a few questions about menopause management.
Why does my friend have fewer symptoms than I do?
Menopausal changes don't affect everyone the same way. Some lucky women experience very few symptoms, while others seem to be hit with everything on the list of possibilities. Some women’s difficulties are of short duration, while others have issues for years. Although your friend may be able to control hot flashes easily, that may not be the case for you. Keep in mind that you are unique and your menopausal symptoms won’t be exactly like anyone else's.
How can I control hot flashes?
Hot flashes can make your life very difficult. These personal heatwaves can quickly drench you in sweat as your face and chest become unbearably hot. They may interrupt your sleep numerous times a night or embarrass you with facial reddening in the middle of an important meeting. You can manage your hot flashes by:
- Dressing in Layers: When a hot flash hits, remove the top layer of your clothing to reduce heat buildup. Wearing cotton or loosely woven fabrics can also help. Unfortunately, silk or cashmere can also worsen flashes.
- Exercising Regularly: Exercising often not only helps to decrease hot flashes, but also helps you avoid the weight gain that can occur at this stage of your life.
- Improving Your Diet: Now more than ever, it's important to reduce junk food in your diet. Make sure your diet contains a healthy mixture of lean meats, fish, vegetables, fruit, whole grains and fibers, and if you are not lactose intolerant, dairy. Eating a healthy diet can reduce hot flashes, help you avoid packing on extra pounds and keep your heart strong. Since a woman’s metabolic rate tends to slow after menopause, exercising regularly and watching your diet become even more important.
- Finding a Stress Buster: If stress triggers your menopausal symptoms, meditation, yoga and other activities can help you feel more relaxed. In addition, acupuncture has been found to help some women with resistant symptoms.
What can I do if nothing I do helps?
Sometimes, the changes in your body can be overwhelming, with nothing you do seeming to help. If peri-menopausal or menopausal symptoms are affecting the quality of your life, and you have no medical contra-indications, hormone replacement therapy may be appropriate. Your Upper East Side gynecologist can evaluate you and your complaints and concerns. Together you can decide if a regimen of low dose bio-identical hormones is right for you to help with symptom reduction.
Do you need a little help with menopause management? Call Dr. Diamond, your Upper East Side, NY gynecologist, at (212) 876-2200 to schedule an appointment.
Are you experiencing pain during intercourse? If so, then you probably have questions.
While the topic may never come up at a dinner party you might be surprised to hear that pain during sex is actually a common complaint. In fact, it is believed that about three out of four women will experience pain during intercourse at some point in their lives. If you are dealing with painful sex and are looking for answers, Upper East Side gynecologist Dr. Sharon Diamond may be able to help you.
What causes pain during intercourse?
There are many possible causes of painful intercourse. These include physical problems, such as endometriosis or vaginal dryness, as well as emotional issues such as a history of abuse or anxiety around sexual intimacy. Consulting with Dr. Diamond, your gynecologist on the Upper East Side of NY can help determine the root cause of your issues so as to figure out how to help solve your problem.
When should I see my Upper East Side women’s doctor?
If you are experiencing pain during sex that is either severe or persistent, then you need an evaluation to determine the cause of the pain and develop a treatment plan to help alleviate it.
What specific gynecological problems could cause painful sex?
Pain during sex can be just one warning sign that there is a health problem brewing. Some of these conditions should be treated right away to prevent further issue down the line:
- Skin conditions (e.g. contact dermatitis)
- Hormonal changes (e.g. menopause)
- Vaginitis or Cervicitis (infection or inflammation of vagina or cervix)
- Vaginismus (painful muscle contractions with attempts at penetration)
- Adhesions (scar tissue)
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Ovarian cysts
What should I expect when I come in for medical care?
During your appointment, there will be a list of things to discuss to determine what might be causing your pain. A careful medical and sexual history will be taken where you will be asked about your symptoms in great detail. You will be asked to provide a list of any other medical conditions that you have or medications you are taking. It will be important to let the doctor know if there is any history of sexual abuse. A physical exam will also be performed. By the end of the consultation it will be determined whether any additional testing (e.g. ultrasound) will be needed. At that point a specific treatment plan will be explained and discussed.
If you are experiencing pain with intercourse call our office on the Upper East Side and schedule your appointment with Dr. Diamond today.