Not sure if you really need an annual Pap smear? You're not alone. Since the recommended schedule for this important test has changed recently, many women aren't sure just how often the test is needed. Dr. Lori Sweitzer, who practices obstetrics and gynecology at LSC OB/GYN LLC in Annapolis, MD, shares some information on the new timetable.
Why do I need a Pap smear?
Pap smears are used to screen for precancerous or cancerous cells in your cervix. Thanks to this test, cancer, or precancerous conditions, can be detected in their earliest stages when they're often easier to treat.
How often should I get a Pap smear?
The recommended Pap smear frequency varies by age. If you're between 21 to 65, you will need a Pap smear every three years. If you're 30 or older and the Pap smear is done in conjunction with a human papillomavirus infection (HPV) test and the HPV test is negative, you can wait five years for your next Pap smear. Once you're 65 or older, you won't need the test if you're low risk. If your cervix was removed during a hysterectomy, you won't need a Pap smear no matter what your age.
Who should get Pap smears more often?
Some women may still need to get Pap smears more frequently. Your doctor may recommend that you have the test performed more often if:
- You have HIV.
- You were previously diagnosed with cervical cancer or had precancerous cells in the past.
- You have a weakened immune system.
- Your mother took diethylstilbestrol (DES) during her pregnancy.
Why did the recommendations change?
Cervical cancer takes about 20 years to develop and is preceded by a change in the cervical cells. Doctors realized that the new schedule still offered plenty of time to catch problems and could decrease unnecessary testing due to false positives.
Does this mean I can skip my annual visit to my Annapolis Ob/Gyn?
It's still important to visit your ob/gyn every year for a pelvic and breast exam, even if you don't need a yearly Pap smear. Pelvic exams help your doctor detect infections or abnormalities in your vagina, cervix, uterus and ovaries.
Is it time for your next well woman visit? Call Dr. Sweitzer, your Annapolis, MD, specialist in obstetrics and gynecology at LSC OB/GYN LLC, at (410) 266-7755 to schedule an appointment.
Laparoscopic surgical techniques make surgery a much less daunting experience. Lori Sweitzer, D.O., your Annapolis, MD, obstetrican/gynecologist at LSC OB/GYN LLC, answers a few common questions about laparoscopic surgery.
What is laparoscopic surgery?
Laparoscopic surgery is a type of minimally invasive surgery used to treat a variety of medical conditions and diseases, ranging from appendicitis to reproductive tract issues. Instead of making one long incision, your doctor makes several small incisions no larger than 1/2 half inch long. A miniature camera is inserted into one opening, while small surgical instruments are passed through the other openings. The camera transmits images to a monitor, allowing your doctor to easily view your organs and perform the surgery.
What are the benefits of laparoscopic surgery?
Because laparoscopic surgery is minimally invasive, it offers several important benefits, including:
Shorter Hospital Stays: Laparoscopic surgeries are often outpatient procedures. If you do need to remain in the hospital after surgery, your stay will be much shorter than if you had open surgery. Many laparoscopic surgeries can be performed in your doctor's office and don't require a hospital stay.
Less Pain: Smaller incisions mean less pain and discomfort after surgery.
Less Blood Loss: Thanks to the small incisions, you'll also experience less blood loss during the procedure and are much less likely to experience bleeding after surgery.
Lower Risk of Infection: The infection risk is lower when laparoscopic surgery is used rather than open surgery.
Quicker Recovery Time: You'll feel better faster with laparoscopic surgery and can return to work and your usual activities much sooner.
Reduced Scarring: The small incisions minimize the amount of internal scar tissue and cause a much smaller external scar.
When do ob/gyns recommend laparoscopic surgery?
Laparoscopic surgery is often used to:
- Perform hysterectomies
- Treat endometriosis
- Remove ovaries, ovarian growths, polyps and fibroids
- Perform endometrial ablation, a procedure used to treat heavy menstrual bleeding
Laparoscopic surgery offers a better way to treat many gynecological problems. Call Lori Sweitzer, D.O., your Annapolis, MD, obstetrican/gynecologist at LSC OB/GYN LLC, at (410) 266-7755 to schedule an appointment to find out if you're a good candidate for the surgery.
The medical field is experiencing something of a "golden age" for breakthroughs in everything from new drug therapies to surgical technology. Many procedures that once required complicated open surgery and extended hospital stays can now be performed on an outpatient basis, with less invasive techniques that drastically reduce everything from after surgery side effects to recovery time. One of the tools helping to make surgeries less invasive and more accurate and precise is the da Vinci Surgical System, a surgeon operated robotic surgery platform.
Minimally Invasive Gynecological Surgery in Annapolis
The da Vinci surgical platform uses state of the art 3D technology and small, wrist like surgical instruments with enhanced dexterity and movement to bend and flex at greater angles than the human hand. The instrument is guided and controlled by the surgeon, so that it functions as an extension of the hand, allowing the doctor to see the area in greater detail via the 3D imaging, and to operate with greater accuracy and precision.
Da Vinci has been used in over 3 million surgeries, and can operate on several parts of the body where the patient is eligible for minimally invasive surgery. Minimally invasive surgery involves the use of several small incisions, as opposed to one large central incision common to traditional open surgery.
At LSC OB/GYN LLC in Annapolis, MD, the da Vinci platform can be used for a number of gynecological procedures, including:
- Hysterectomy (to remove ovaries, fallopian tubes, or uterus)
- Remove fibroids, polyps or tumors
- Endometriosis treatment (removal of endometrial lining in cases of excessive menstrual bleeding)
- Diagnostic (minimally invasive techniques are also used to diagnose potential conditions like fibroids or tumors)
Benefits of Minimally Invasive Laparoscopic Surgery
The use of smaller incisions and enhanced visualization holds several benefits over traditional open surgery:
- less blood loss
- lower risk of infection
- less postoperative pain
- shorter healing and recovery period
Minimally Invasive Surgery with Da Vinci Robotic in Annapolis
For more information on the benefits of minimally invasive surgery for obstetrics and gynecological care, contact LSC OB/GYN LLC by calling (410) 266-7755 to schedule an appointment today.
What you need to know about menopause treatment
Menopause is a natural part of being a woman. It can happen in your 40s or 50s, with the average age being 51, according to the National Institute on Aging. You may experience uncomfortable symptoms, which can impact your life. You don’t have to let menopause take over; you can take back your life with menopause treatment. Your doctors at LSC OB/GYN, in Annapolis, Maryland, want to help you tackle menopause.
Typically women experience a length of time where they are peri-menopausal, during which they are starting to experience the signs and symptoms of menopause, but still getting irregular periods. Your doctors want you to know you may be experiencing peri-menopause if you have these signs and symptoms:
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Vaginal dryness and loss of breast fullness
- Mood changes and sleep problems
- A slowed metabolism and weight gain
- Dry skin and thinning hair
Here are a few tips you can try at home to ease the symptoms of menopause:
- Avoid hot flash triggers including caffeine, spicy foods and alcohol
- Drink plenty of water and have water on hand
- Use vaginal lubricants and moisturizers
- Practice relaxation techniques to get plenty of sleep
- Do Kegel exercises to strengthen pelvic floor muscles
- Eat a healthy diet, limiting saturated fats and sugars
- Exercise regularly and don’t smoke
If you are experiencing severe difficulties associated with menopause, your doctors at LSC OB/GYN in Annapolis can prescribe effective treatments to help you tackle the symptoms of menopause. Consider:
- Estrogen and progestin therapy to relieve hot flashes
- Vaginal estrogen cream to reduce vaginal dryness
- Antidepressants for mood changes
- Medications to prevent osteoporosis
If you are peri-menopausal or going through menopause, it’s easy to feel alone. Don’t worry, you are not alone and you don’t have to suffer because help is just a phone call away. It’s time to call your doctors at LSC OB/GYN in Annapolis, Maryland. They can help you regain your life, so call today!
Over half a million women each year undergo the procedure for a hysterectomy. As common as this procedure is, it comes with many questions. Luckily, your Annapolis, MD OB/GYN can help you arm yourself with knowledge and determine if a hysterectomy is right for you.
What is a hysterectomy?
The purpose of a hysterectomy is to remove the uterus from a woman’s body. A total hysterectomy removes both the uterus and the cervix while a subtotal hysterectomy only removes the uterus. If a patient has cancer, their doctor performs a radical hysterectomy to remove the uterus, cervix and part of the vagina. This procedure also removes the surrounding tissues. Depending on the situation, the surgeon may also remove the ovaries. A hysterectomy removes the uterus, meaning that after the procedure, a woman can no longer carry a child.
When is a hysterectomy needed?
Some common causes for a hysterectomy include:
- Cancer: Uterine, cervical or ovarian cancers require a hysterectomy to eliminate the cancerous cells and tissues.
- Fibroids: Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous lumps. They grow on the uterus and cause pain, heavy periods, cramping and the unnecessary urge to urinate.
- Endometriosis: When uterine tissue grows outside rather than inside of the uterus, it is diagnosed as endometriosis. This condition causes heavy periods, severe pain and, in some cases, infertility.
- Abnormal bleeding
- Adenomyosis: This condition causes the thickening of the inner lining of the uterus.
What is the procedure for a hysterectomy?
A hysterectomy is performed one of two ways: open surgery or minimally invasive surgery. Depending on the situation, your doctor will help you determine which type is best for you. Open surgery involves opening the abdomen and removing the uterus through an incision. Minimally invasive surgery takes advantage of laparoscopic technology. A laparoscope inserted through a small incision, usually in the belly button, allows your doctor to remove the uterus using tiny tools and a camera. This hides the scar inside of the belly button, making it almost unnoticeable. A vaginal hysterectomy allows your Annapolis doctor to remove the uterus through an incision made inside of the vagina, eliminating visible scarring.
For more information on hysterectomies and when they are needed, please contact Dr. Lori Sweitzer, D.O. in Annapolis, MD. Call (410) 266-7755 to schedule your consultation today!
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