So you’ve officially gone to your first gynecological exam. Congratulations! You have just taken the first step in maintaining a very important part of your health as a woman. However, depending on your specific health needs, you may need to be seen for more than just an annual visit once a year. In this blog post, we will go into further detail on some of the different types of gynecological visits and explain why these additional visits may be necessary for your continued health and wellbeing.
If you are experiencing pelvic pain, abnormal or heavy bleeding, or issues with an intrauterine device, your provider may want to bring you in for an ultrasound. During an ultrasound, an image of your uterus and ovaries will be obtained so that your provider can better understand what may be causing any abnormal symptoms or pain. Ultrasounds can be performed trans-abdominally (externally) or vaginally (internally), depending on what the provider thinks is most necessary. At Colorado Springs Gynecology Associates, our ultrasounds are performed in-house by a certified sonographer who has had many years of experience as an ultrasound technician. Typically, after ultrasound images are obtained, you will follow up with the provider to review the images and determine what the best course of action will be to ensure your health and comfort.
If you have an abnormal pap smear result, your provider may want you to come back for a procedure to investigate further. Gynecological procedures are important because they help the provider diagnose any abnormalities and determine how serious the abnormal result might be. Common gynecological procedures include colposcopies, LEEPs, and endometrial biopsies. In each procedure, the provider will use a special instrument to take a small sample of tissue from the cervix, endometrial lining, or labia and then send that sample to a lab to be analyzed for any abnormalities. These procedures are done in-office and usually take about 20 minutes. There can be some minimal pain and cramping with these procedures, but this usually wears off within a few hours. Gynecological procedures can help providers catch serious problems, such as cervical cancer, as early as possible, so if your provider recommends one of these procedures it is very important that you schedule it as soon as possible to rule out any potentially serious conditions.
Birth control consults
For patients who are not considering pregnancy, a birth control consult is a helpful way to explore the variety of different contraceptive methods and decide which method is best suited to each patient’s unique lifestyle. In these consults, the provider will discuss with you the different options so that you can make an educated decision about which method will be best for you. Many patients choose temporary contraceptive options. These include birth control pills, the Depo-Provera injection, intrauterine devices (such as the Mirena, Skyla, or ParaGard), and intramuscular devices (such as the Nexplanon). Additionally, more permanent methods of birth control may be available to you if you and your provider decide that that is the best option for you. Permanent methods of birth control are generally surgical procedures and include tubal ligation, endometrial ablation, and hysterectomy.
IUDs/IMDs –Insertions or removals
IUDs (intrauterine devices, such as Mirena or Paragard) and IMDs (intramuscular devices such as the Nexplanon) are long-lasting methods of birth control that have become very popular in today’s world. Many women appreciate the ease and convenience of these devices, and since they are effective for anywhere from 3-10 years, they can be used by women at all stages of their lives. If you choose to get an IUD or IMD, you will often be asked to schedule the insertion appointment during your menstrual cycle. This is the most accurate way to make sure you’re not pregnant, and in the case of IUDs, menstruation softens the cervix to make insertion easier. In terms of insertion, IUDs are placed into your uterus via a special applicator and the strings are then trimmed to the appropriate length. Your provider will usually ask you to schedule an appointment two weeks after the insertion to check the string length and the placement of the device. IMDs are inserted in the upper arm through a small incision. The incision is sutured back together and covered with a bandage, which must be kept on for 48 hours. There can be some pain upon insertion with both IUDs and IMBs, but it will usually wear off within 1-2 days. At Colorado Springs Gynecology Associates we offer a wide range of these devices such as Mirena, Skyla, ParaGard, and Nexplanon, as well as complimentary patient information brochures to assist you in making the most informed decision about your contraceptive choices.
Although this is only an abbreviated list of the many gynecological services we offer, we hope that it has given you a better understanding of the most common types of services we offer here at Colorado Springs Gynecology Associates. Regardless of what kind of care you need, we feel confident in the fact that our practice can help you to feel confident about your health and wellness, as well as make sure you’re well-informed about your care every step of the way. As always, the staff here at COSGA is happy to answer any and all of our patients’ questions and provide them with the tools and knowledge they need to feel healthy, happy, and confident in their care.