Health Care is Self Care: Local wellness experts answer your questions about Women’s Health.
July 2021 Issue - Paisley Prescriptions
Health Care is Self Care
Local wellness experts answer
your questions about Women’s Health.
We all have questions about our feminine health that sometimes just feels a little awkward—or maybe a lot—to talk about, even with your doctor. For some women, it’s just difficult to casually hold a conversation when words such as vagina, sex, labia and the like have to freely flow.
Read on to see what our local medical experts had to say on subjects important to women’s health. Be sure to tell your doctor everything with no fear or hesitation.
Your health is what’s most important, and besides, they tell us they have heard it all!
by Harold L. Kent, MD
Will my vagina ever be the same after having a child?
Changes occur in the pelvis during pregnancy to prepare for vaginal delivery, which then stretches the vagina. Afterwards, some women may return to normal function, but others may experience vaginal laxity, enlarged labia and a decrease in lubrication and sensation. There are products that can help such as the BTL Ultra Femme 360, which tightens the vagina and introitus and improves lubrication and sensation. The lubricated hand piece is inserted into the vagina for the treatment and no anesthesia is necessary. The procedure can also help with stress incontinence and multi-directional urine flow. Ultra Femme 360 uses painless radiofrequency energy, which promotes the formation of collagen and increases blood flow to rejuvenate the vagina. This 8-minute treatment will change your life! A separate 12-minute treatment can shrink the labia, improve the appearance of the vulva, and both treatments can be done at the same time. These non-surgical procedures are done on an outpatient basis. (nationalmenopauseassociation.com/ultrafemme)
Dr. Harold L. Kent, specializing in Bariatric and General Surgery, is owner of Georgia Coast Surgical Med Spas and More; 3226-F Hampton Avenue, Brunswick, Georgia, 912-264-9724. Website: georgiacoastsurgical.com, Facebook: Georgia Coast Surgical & Med Spa
By Lesli G. McQuigg, WHNP-BC
What facts do I need to know about the HPV vaccine?
A Papanicolaou test (Pap smear) is a screening test for cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is caused by the HPV virus in 99.7% of all cases. Pap smears tell us the health of the cells on the cervix and whether or not the patient has been exposed to a high-risk strain HPV. Seventy percent of cervical cancers are caused by strains 16 and 18. The vaccine Gardasil protects against those strains, plus seven others. It is usually administered prior to middle school but can be administered up to age 45 in males and females.
What are the new Pap smear screening guidelines
and how should I decide how often to get one?
Pap smear guidelines state that you can start Paps at age 21 and do them every three years. They also state if you've had a hysterectomy you no longer need Pap smears. However, these are only guidelines and do not apply to everyone and do not mean that you should not have an annual checkup.
Although some women will have normal cells, HPV strains may still be detected on the Pap smear, requiring them to have yearly exams. Some women may have had abnormal Pap smears prior to a hysterectomy and will need to continue scheduling a regular Pap exam for a while. There are so many different scenarios that require more frequent testing.
In addition to Pap smears, there are other things that take place in a visit to your gynecologist or women's health nurse practitioner, such as clinical breast exams (yearly), inspection for vulvar cancer, STI checkups, and pelvic exams to rule out any masses and possibly genetic testing. Bottom line: Please talk to your health care provider and find out where you fit in the recommended guidelines.
Lesli G. McQuigg, WHNP-BC specializes in Maternity at Southeast Georgia Physician Associates-Obstetrics & Gynecology; 3025 Shrine Road, Suite 190, Brunswick, Georgia
By Diane G. Bowen, MD
Help! I have a great sex life, but I’m beginning to experience some of the signs of aging. How can I be proactive to stay healthy down there?
Signs of aging vary person to person, but we all go through changes. Estrogen levels decrease, and the vaginal walls become thinner and drier, known as vaginal atrophy. The acidity in your vagina may change with age, causing an increase in infection due to bacteria overgrowth. The urinary tract is also impacted with age, which could lead to urine leakage, overactive bladder, and frequency. There are things you can do to help slow the progression of aging.
> Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy may be an option for low hormone or out of balance hormone levels. Work with your provider to test your hormone levels to see if this is a viable option for you.
> Doing Bladder training exercises are a good way to reduce leaks, overactive and frequency.
> Refrain from using douches, scented vaginal deodorants or vaginal cleansing products.
> Having a diet that contains phytoestrogens, such as eating soybeans, lentils, flax seed, sesame seeds and oats. Not only can this help with maintaining a healthy sex drive, it can also improve bone health and reduce the risk of breast and ovarian cancers.
> There are various supplements that play a vital role in anti-aging and overall health. We encourage lab work to determine if any of these supplements would be beneficial and in what dosages.
• B Vitamins
• Vitamin D
• DHEA or dehydroepiandrosterone
• Evening Primrose Oil
• Black Cohosh
Having an aging vagina does not have to be a negative experience. You can’t prevent every aspect of aging, but you can treat yourself with tender loving care and keep yourself as healthy as possible.
Diane G. Bowen, MD is owner of Centered on Wellness and Golden Isles Center for Plastic Surgery, PC; 1015 Arthur J. Moore Drive on St. Simons Island. Website: www.drdianebowen.com or call 912-638-0034 or 912-634-1993