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.
Finding the right form of birth control can involve a little trial and error. Because women's bodies and hormone levels fluctuate and change over time, a method or prescription that worked perfectly in the 20s or 30s may be less effective or ineffective in the 40s or 50s.
With so many options and different methods to choose from, navigating the birth control landscape can be overwhelming. Upper East Side gynecologist Dr. Sharon Diamond offers comprehensive counseling services to help women of all ages find the most effective birth control method for their individual needs.
Birth Control Counseling on the Upper East Side
Why is contraceptive counseling necessary? When it comes to birth control, there is no "one size fits all" method. Evaluating current and future reproductive goals and biological factors can help to narrow down the options to find the method that is right for each woman.
There are several categories of female contraception:
- Hormonal contraceptives (birth control pills, injection, vaginal ring, patch)
- Intrauterine implant (IUD device)
- Vaginal (diaphragm, sponge, cervical cap, condoms)
- Emergency contraception (Plan B, morning after pill)
- Fertility mapping/awareness
- Permanent sterilization
Understanding the effectiveness, potential side effects, and potential long-term effects of each method are important in choosing the option that will yield the best results. Researching preferred methods and preparing questions and concerns for the counseling appointment is advisable, as well as any concerns about fertility and reproductive goals if appropriate. Working with a gynecologist and fertility specialist can help to simplify the process and ensure that women are aware of all of the available contraceptive options.
Contact a Gynecologist on the Upper East Side
The key to effective birth control is finding the method that is best for you. For more information on the various forms of birth control and to discuss your options, contact the office of Sharon B. Diamond, MD, FACOG, MSW by calling (212) 876-2200 to schedule a counseling session today.
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.
Breast self-exams are at at-home, monthly checks for breast cancer. They are performed by palpitating your breast tissue. While your yearly visit to Dr. Sharon Diamond, Upper East Side gynecologist, will include a thorough breast examination, checking your own breasts each month gives you the opportunity to discover a lump or other abnormality earlier. When breast cancer is discovered in its early stages, the chances of beating it are much higher.
How Do I Perform a Breast Self-Exam?
The visual part of the exam will include standing up straight in front of a mirror undressed from the waist up. Differences in size and shape between your breasts are very common and no cause for alarm. However, you will want to look for any recent changes in each breast, including their size, shape and color. Be on the lookout for puckering, dimpling, or sores. Each nipple should also be inspected for peeling, discharge or changes to their shape or direction. Bending forward and standing with your arms over your head will allow you to look at your breasts from a variety of angles.
The physical part of the exam should be performed in the shower and while lying down. While in the shower, the breasts, armpits and collarbone should be palpitated thoroughly with the flat part of your fingers in an up-and-down pattern. While lying down, they should be felt using a circular clockwise motion. Your nipples should also be examined to make sure they move easily and do not produce any discharge.
All of these instructions will be demonstrated for your during your appointment at Dr. Diamond's office, and written directions will be given to you to take home.
What happens if I find something?
Call your Upper East Side gynecologist Dr. Diamond right away if you discover any abnormality: a lump or thickening (which may be as small as a pea), a change in the way the skin on your breast looks or feels, discharge from your nipples, or anything that looks markedly different. All of these changes will need to be inspected by Dr. Diamond immediately.
As you perform breast self-exams each month, you will become familiar with the way each one feels and be able to notice any changes quickly. Take charge of your health by scheduling an appointment with Dr. Diamond. Call today at (212) 876-2200.
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