Frequently Asked Questions
To facilitate our goal of providing useful and accurate health information, we have compiled a list of questions that are commonly asked by our patients along with their answers here on our website. Because much depends on a particular patient's unique case, we encourage people to follow up on their health concerns by visiting a physician. However, this information can provide a starting place for a productive conversation between the doctor and patient.
- How often do I need to see an OB-GYN?
- I have very painful menstrual cramps. Do I have endometriosis?
- How long should I try to become pregnant naturally before seeking fertility treatment?
- When should I visit a doctor if I believe I am pregnant?
- I recently gave birth and I have noticed that my bladder sometimes leaks a little when I cough or laugh. Is this normal?
- My mother had to have a hysterectomy. What are the chances that I will have to have one, too?
It is recommended that women over the age of 21 (or younger if sexually active) have a routine pelvic exam once a year. This allows for regular cancer screening and assessment of reproductive health.
Women who are being treated for a gynecological condition will most likely need to visit more often. Frequency of visits will vary by patient.
During pregnancy, a woman will have routine checkups that are scheduled every four weeks through the first two trimesters and increase in frequency as she nears her delivery date.
Endometriosis is a disease that develops when sections of the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) are present outside of the uterus. Because endometrial tissue reacts in the same way to hormonal changes whether it is inside the uterus or elsewhere in the pelvic region – building up, breaking down, and bleeding during the course of each menstrual cycle – endometriosis can cause cysts to develop that are the source of severely painful cramping.
However, endometriosis is not the only thing that can cause excessively painful menstrual cramps. If you are experiencing severe pelvic pain at any time during your cycle, it is important that you be examined by a physician as soon as possible. Dr. Hardy can diagnose and treat endometriosis, as well as a wide range of other conditions that could potentially be the source of your pain.
Because perfectly healthy couples with no fertility problems whatsoever can spend several months trying to conceive before achieving success, fertility experts generally recommend that couples wait to seek medical assistance until they have been trying to get pregnant for one full year.
If either partner has a known medical condition that may interfere with fertility, however, it is best to seek treatment after no more than six months of trying to become pregnant. Women with a history of miscarriage or a reproductive condition such as endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome may consider seeing a physician before attempting conception to discuss potential obstacles and complications.
If you have had a positive result from an at-home pregnancy test, you should contact a physician as soon as possible. Be prepared to tell the scheduler the date of your last menstrual period. They will schedule an appointment for you to confirm the pregnancy and begin your prenatal care.
If you have taken a pregnancy test at home but have received a negative result, you may still be pregnant. You may want either to wait a few days and take another at-home test or to contact a physician to schedule an appointment. Depending on the date of your last menstrual period, the scheduler may ask you to come in after a couple of weeks, when pregnancy can be more accurately detected.
In either case, if you believe you might be pregnant, it is best to act as if you are by taking good care of yourself, avoiding substances that can harm a fetus, such as alcohol and tobacco, and seeking the appropriate medical care.
Despite what some advertisement agencies would have you believe, a lack of bladder control is never normal or inevitable. Due to the stresses of pregnancy and childbirth, the muscles in the pelvic region can sometimes become stretched out and weakened, resulting in this type of leaking. However, through proper exercises, the problem can be corrected, if not prevented altogether.
In rare cases, severely weakened muscles may allow the pelvic organs to slip out of place, causing more serious bladder control problems. There are several surgical techniques to restore proper positioning of the bladder and correct the problem.
The most important thing to remember is that incontinence is a treatable condition that should always be evaluated by a physician.
That depends on the reason for your mother's surgery. Hysterectomy can be performed for a number of reasons, and not all of them are hereditary. If your mother underwent hysterectomy to address a condition that is not linked to genetics, then you are no more or less likely to need a hysterectomy than if she had not had one.
Even if your mother's condition was one that is known to be passed from one generation to the next, there is still no guarantee that you will one day need the same surgery. There are a number of medical treatments in practice today that can provide an effective alternative to hysterectomy, depending on the condition.
Any concerns you have about your family's medical history should be discussed with a qualified medical professional. Many common diseases and conditions can be managed, delayed, or even prevented through a combination of routine screening, preventative care, and a healthy lifestyle.
Contact Our Practice
If you have additional questions or would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Hardy, please contact our office today.