Common Reasons Women In Their 20s Should See a Gynecologist

young woman in pain with hands on her abdomen
Dealing with your 20s can be hard enough without throwing women’s health issues into the mix. That’s why we’ve asked Dr. Meera Nair, a SIMED Women’s Health physician in Gainesville and Chiefland, about the common health issues she treats for women starting in their teens and how you can avoid them.
But first, Dr. Nair notes that its important women get yearly exams beginning when they reach puberty.

1. Birth control 

While contraceptives aren’t necessarily an issue themselves, they help treat many other issues, and even healthy young women will go to the doctor to get the one that fits them best.
The most common birth control method is the pill. In recent years, more women have been turning to longer acting contraceptive methods like IUDs and implants. 
Advantages of Using Birth Control

infographic common reasons women in their 20s see a gynecologist

1. Helps with acne
2. Regulates periods
3. Makes periods less painful
4. Prevents pregnancy
If you’re interested in learning more, visit the SIMED women’s health center.

2. Sexually Transmitted Diseases

STD screening can be done whenever women get their pap smears (test for cervical cancer).
When women are diagnosed with an STD, they receive treatment and are counseled about the treatment and how to prevent the STD from coming back. 
Chlamydia is the most common STD, and about 1.5 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with it. The number of people both undiagnosed and diagnosed together can be about 3 million.
That’s because Chlamydia usually has no symptoms. 
If Chlamydia symptoms are present, they include:
1. Irregular bleeding
2. Pelvic pain
3. Discharge similar to a UTI
If there’s any risk, like if someone has been sexually active with a new partner, had unprotected sex in the past, it’s recommended they see a women’s health doctor to get tested. 
If untreated, Chlamydia can lead to serious pelvic infections and even infertility. 
Herpes is a common viral STD. 
Herpes presents itself as painful sores in the genital area. Tthe symptoms can be confused with yeast infection. 
Herpes can be treated with antiviral antibiotics.
If you have herpes, the virus stays in your system so you could pass it onto your partner.
Prevention of Recurring STDs
After you’ve been treated, it’s important to get tested again to make sure the treatment worked. 
If you have STDs, the best way to prevent them from recurring is to treat your partner as well.
Always practice safe sex.

3. Polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD)

PCOD is not a structural disorder, but a hormonal or metabolic disorder.
People with PCOD will have irregular periods, meaning they may not get their period every month or ovulate every month. This can cause infertility which can make it difficult for women to get pregnant.
People with PCOD usually have a higher risk of diabetes when they get pregnant or when they’re order. Their chances of getting uterine cancer also increase as they age.
A majority of people who have PCOD are overweight and insulin resistant with abnormal cholesterol and triglycerides.
If you have PCOD, you have a greater risk of becoming diabetic.
PCOD Treatment
The most important treatment is to lose weight which will correct most of the hormonal and metabolic imbalances. Losing weight can also help prevent diabetes which is associated with PCOD. 
You should increase your exercise to help prevent diabetes and lose weight. Losing weight is the key to returning to a normal ovulation schedule and will usually lead to regular periods and greater fertility chances.
Birth control pills also help regulate hormone imbalances and will reduce the risk of future uterine cancer. They’ll help with hair growth.
“Birth controls pills are basically the wonder drug for PCOD.” – Dr. Nair

4. Abnormal Pap Smear

Cervical cancer can be picked up at an early stage using a pap smear. Pap smears allow gynecologists to identify the precancerous conditions years before they turn into cancer and prevent the cancer. 
Dr. Nair recommends women begin getting pap smears starting at 21 years old.
To prevent the precancerous conditions from worsening, get treatment and monitoring. Some of the abnormality will clear within 24 months. During that time, checkups are recommended every six months. 

5. Pelvic Pain

Pelvic pain is common in the younger age groups. When people come into the doctor with pelvic pain, it could be a fibroid (a benign tumor usually in the wall of the uterus), an ovarian cyst or endometriosis. 
Endometriosis is a chronic benign condition where the uterine lining appears outside the uterus. While the uterine lining is supposed to appear in the uterus and get shed during periods, sometimes those cells appear outside women’s uterus inside the abdomen. 
During the woman’s periods, the cells will bleed causing severe pain. 
Because an ultrasound might not pick up endometriosis, sometimes a surgery called a laparoscopy is done when the person is put under anesthesia and a camera is put inside their abdomen and through their belly buttondiagnose and treat endometriosis.
If endometriosis worsens and becomes chronic, women may need a hysterectomy to prevent it from coming back. Women can also wait until menopause.
The best way to avoid issues is to see your doctor every year.
Each year, a women’s health appointment includes a  discussion about her sexual health, contraceptives, an STD screening and even discussion about emotional issues. It may include a pap smear too.
During a visit, women can get vaccines and a whole physical examination. The visit can even include talk about psychological issues like depression or bullying at school. The physical exam will include a full pelvic examination and breast examination.
While pap smears begin at 21, Dr. Nair recommends that physician visits start whenever a child reaches puberty or gets her period.  A teenager might feel more confident with her physician than with her parents, and the physician would be able to ask questions and discuss concerns.
When a woman becomes sexually active, she’ll need STD screenings and counseling. Domestic violence counseling can be part of a gynecological exam, adding to its importance.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Nair in Gainesville or Chiefland, call 352-331-1000 or request an appointment online.
If you need an annual checkup or have one of the problems listed above, you can see a SIMED gynecologist in Lake City, Gainesville, Ocala, Chiefland and Lady Lake.
For a Gainesville gynecologist: 352-331-1000
For an Ocala gynecologist: 352-391-6464
For a Lake City gynecologist: 386-775-3001
For a Chiefland gynecologist: 352-331-1000
For a Lady Lake gynecologist: 352-391-6464
You can also schedule your appointment online. Don’t wait; call today.

National Women's Health Week

National Women's Health Week

We sit down with SIMED Women’s Health gynecologist Dr. Meera Nair as she answers some questions about the benefits of keeping up with an annual women’s wellness exam as well as reminding us it is never too early or too late to take control of our own health. 

Why is it important to have an annual women’s health visit?

“An annual visit with your women’s health physician provides an excellent opportunity to evaluate your current health status and seek out advice about:

  • Identifying Medical Risks/Problems
  • Minimizing Health Risk Factors
  • Promoting Prevention Practices
  • Maintaining Healthy Life Style

Despite certain components of the annual women’s wellness exams no longer being recommended annually, like pap smears, a visit and exam with your physician is still important."

What occurs at an annual well-woman visit?

“An annual wellness women exam includes:

  • Health History – Yours and Family’s Screening Evaluation
  • Renew and Update of Immunizations
  • Specific Components Depend on the Age and Risk Factors Identified (cardiovascular, breast, genitourinary, pelvis, etc.)”

At what age should a woman begin having annual visits?

“Most adolescent girls should start visits between 13 and 15 years of age, subsequent visits annually. The care given depends on the sexual, physical, psychological and cognitive development of the girl. Usually the pelvic exam is avoided at the initial visit unless there is a specific indication.”

How do well-visits change at different life stages?

“Well woman care changes depending on the age and risk factors of the age group. For example during adolescence the visits focus more on counseling about mental health problems like:

  • Healthy Eating and Fitness Habits
  • Risk Avoidance Immunization
  • Safe Sex Counseling
  • Bullying
  • Substance Abuse

Pelvic examination may or may not be done depending on the specific situation of the patient. As age advances, the management of health care changes to include issues like:

  • Fertility Issues
  • Cancer Screening
  • Bladder Function
  • Sexual Function
  • Menopause
  • Osteoporosis

As a woman’s body changes through life, their mental health is an important component to their sense of wellbeing."

How is this addressed?

“An evaluation of mental health is an intercal part of a woman’s annual wellness visit. This evaluation can include (but not limited to) mental, emotional, behavioral and/or medical issues such as:

  • Relationship Issues
  • Domestic Violence (school or work related violence)
  • Sources of Stress
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sexual Health Related Issues

What are 5 wellness tips for women of any age?

Dr. Nair says that the top wellness tips for all women are:

  • Eating Healthy
  • Regular Exercise
  • Safe Sexual Practices
  • Continue Annual Well Woman Care and Screening
  • Maintain an Open Communication with the Physician in Case of Any Concerns

What are some of the most common health problems in women's health?

"The common health problems differ in different age groups but the most general are:

  • Heart disease is the leading killer of women, responsible for about 29% of deaths, reports the CDC 
  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. It is second to lung cancer as the leading cause of death for women 
  • Depression appears to affect more women than men. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that about 12 million women are affected by a depressive disorder each year compared to about 6 million men.
  • Osteoporosis is common for all women as they age. Loss of height and hunched back can be prevented.
  • Decreased estrogen following menopause contributes to vaginal dryness and/or bladder dysfunction" 

Dr. Nair would like to see us take control of our health this year! If you’re not sure how to start or need help formulating a safe plan designed for your needs, start by scheduling an appointment with a Gynecologist or Primary Care physician today! Click here to request an appointment online.

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Help Finish the Fight Against Breast Cancer

Ocotober is national Breast Cancer Awareness month and SIMED Women's Health wants you to be informed!
Ocotober is national Breast Cancer Awareness month and SIMED wants you to be informed!
Stay Well: This year, it is estimated that more than 231,840 women in the United States will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. Excluding cancers of the skin, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women. It’s the second leading cause of cancer death in women (after lung cancer). For now, the best way we have to find it early is to get regular mammograms and continue to do so as long as you’re in good health. Talk to your SIMED health care provider about when you should start. In addition, there are steps you can take to help you stay well and reduce your risk of breast cancer:
  • Get to and stay at a healthy weight
  • Stay active
  • Limit alcohol to no more than one drink a day, if you drink at all.
Get Well: This should be the focus if you or someone you care about is facing breast cancer.  There are organizations that are available to help such as The American Cancer Society.  The American Cancer Society can help you through every step of the cancer experience. The Society offers access to free transportation and lodging when treatment is away from home, and can provide one-on-one support from breast cancer survivors who have been there.
Find Cures: Research institutions, programs and charities fund and conduct research that helps us better understand, prevent, and find cures for breast cancer – and all cancers. 
Fight Back: It’s easy to fight back against breast cancer. Participate in one a charitable organization's event, speak out to increase funding for programs that give all women access to mammograms and treatment, or simply remind the women in your life to get regular mammograms.
October is the month we celebrate the progress we’ve helped make in the fight to end breast cancer.
You can help finish the fight against breast cancer. For more information, visit the American Cancer Society website or contact your SIMED healthcare provider today.