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The sudden need to use the restroom is a common experience among women. This issue, called overactive bladder (OAB), happens to about 17% of women over the age of 18. That’s millions of women feeling like they can’t hold it in, regularly having accidents, or being ruled by proximity to the closest bathroom.

But what exactly is OAB? And how can you manage it? Keep reading to learn all about this type of urinary incontinence that affects so many women.

What Causes Overactive Bladder?

OAB happens when the muscles in the bladder contract without intention, even when the amount of urine in your system is small. There are many things that could lead to this happening. While some examples are more common than others, here is a list of many causes that can lead to overactive bladder:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Tumors or bladder stones
  • Certain medications
  • Inability to empty the bladder completely
  • Obstructed bladder
  • Inability to walk fully or troubles with using the restroom yourself
  • Large consumption of caffeine and/or alcohol
  • Declining cognitive function
  • Diabetes
  • Neurological disorders

Who Is At Risk for Overactive Bladder?

There are several things that can lead women being at risk for OAB. Those are:

  • Overweight
  • Multiple pregnancies
  • Genetic diseases like diabetes
  • Illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease
  • Advanced age
  • Bowel control issues

However, just like with many medical diseases, healthy habits can keep OAB at bay. Here are some habits you can pick up today to lower your risk, especially if you have any of the conditions above:

  • Limit caffeine and alcohol
  • No smoking
  • Perform strengthening kegel exercises
  • Manage illnesses that might make OAB more commonplace, such as diabetes
  • Have a healthy weight
  • Eat a nutritious diet
  • Maintain regular exercise

If you have any more questions about overactive bladder, the experts at Avant Gynecology are here to help. Give us a call at 404-352-2850 or click here to schedule an appointment.

Every year, it’s estimated that more than 13,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the United States. Though that number can be alarming to some, it may be comforting to know that the number of women who die from cervical cancer is declining. Why? Pap smears. This typing of testing allows doctors to detect cervical cancer early, giving women more of a fighting chance to get rid of cancer in their bodies.

But if you’ve never had a pap smear done before, you could be anxious about what the process entails. Keep reading below to learn all about it from our experts.

When Do Women Receive Pap Smears?

It is recommended by medical professionals for women ages 21 to 65 to receive a pap smear every three years. However, there are many risk factors that might require a woman to get testing done more frequently:

  • Weakened immune system.
  • HIV infections.
  • Family history of cervical cancer.
  • Previous positive test results.

What Happens When Receiving a Pap Smear?

Though it only takes a few minutes, many women commonly describe the testing as uncomfortable. Here are the steps that happen when receiving a pap smear:

  • You will undress from the bottom down or be completely undressed.
  • Your doctor will ask you to lay down on your back with your knees bent and feet in the stirrups.
  • An instrument called the speculum will be inserted into your vagina. This is where the discomfort comes from: the pressure that keeps your vaginal walls apart.
  • A sample of your cells will be taken using a small brush and a spatula.
  • The cells will be tested to see if you have normal results or abnormal results, which could be a detection of cervical cancer.

You might experience some light spotting that day after receiving the test. But, other than that, you will be able to go about your day as usual.

Do I Need to Do Anything to Prepare?

Not really, though some doctors do recommend no sexual activity a few days before in case that might skew results. It’s also recommended to try and not schedule a pap smear during your period.

If you have any further questions regarding pap smears or would like to schedule yours, reach out to the expert gynecologists at Avant Gynecology by either clicking here or giving us a call at 404-352-2850.

When you think of winter, exercising may not be the first thing that pops into your brain. You’re more likely to think about things like steaming soups, mugs of hot chocolate, and bundling up by the fire.

But working out is especially important during the wintertime. Not only does it help relieve stress—a common thing to encounter during the busy holiday season—but it also keeps you focused on your fitness goals. You won’t slip back into old habits or regress in your health goals like so many other people do during this season.

So, strap on your hat, stick your hands in some gloves, and get ready to enjoy working out in the cold. Here are the best ways to staying active during the winter.

Get Outside

One of the most challenging parts about staying active during the winter is the low temps. However, as long as the weather isn’t extremely low, you should still take the time to bundle up and spend some time outside. That might mean keeping up your daily walks during the workday, taking a quick jog around the block, or visiting your local park with your family.

Whatever you can do, do it. Both your mind and body will thank you!

Find an Online Exercise Class

Online workout classes are fantastic for many reasons.

  1. They’re awesome for fitting exercise into your busy schedule, which is significantly harder during this season due to the shorter days and countless holiday to-dos.
  2. Exploring online options opens up a world of possibilities to find the specific types of classes that are harder to track down in physical gyms.
  3. These types of courses are often much cheaper than their in-person counterparts. Who couldn’t stand to save some money around the holiday season?

Grab an Accountability Partner

If you know you’re struggling to keep up your exercise regimen during the cold winter months, reach for a friend or loved one to help kick you into gear. There’s no motivation better than having an accountability partner to cheer on all your successes, help pick you back up during your setbacks, or to let you know you’re not alone during this difficult, cold period.

Spend Your Weekends Wisely

If you work a traditional 9-to-5 job, having the time and motivation to hit the gym after work when it’s already starting to get dark may be impossible. That’s where the weekends come in! Make plans to do something physical AND fun each weekend. That might mean a family hike, find a festive holiday activity (ice skating, Christmas light hunting, etc.) to enjoy, or even just a long morning walk around your neighborhood.

No matter what you choose, focus on getting outside and being active during your winter weekends.

If you have any more questions or concerns about keeping yourself healthy during the winter season, feel free to reach out to the experts at Avant Gynecology. Our physicians would be happy to assist you in discussing all elements of your health and figuring out the next best steps for you and your body. Click here to schedule an appointment with us, or give us a call at 404-352-2850.

Winter may be filled with holiday cheer for some people, but for others, the dark, cold, and dreary weather is almost too much to bear. When the weather contributes to feelings of depression or sadness, this is called seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

About 16 million people in the United States are expected to have an episode of major depression this year, and about five percent of those people will experience it because of the weather. Even worse? Women are most likely to experience seasonal affective disorder, with about four in five women stating they have experienced SAD before.

If you or someone you know is experiencing the winter blues, know you’re not alone. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get through this holiday season with positive mental health.

Spend Time Outside

Often the cold, short winter days are the last time of the year you want to spend time out of the house. In order to fight against seasonal depression, it’s crucial to spend quality time outside. In fact, the more you do it, the more your mind and body will benefit.

If you’re not sure how to get outside this winter, here are a few ideas:

  • Take walk breaks during work.
  • Grab some loved ones and go for a hike during the day when the sun is still out.
  • Park further away from work or the stores to give yourself a longer walk.
  • Walk around the block at your house before going inside for the night to relax.

Don’t Slack on Your Nutrition

The holidays are filled with rich comfort food and large holiday feasts. But just because you may have a few splurges coming up doesn’t mean you need to totally drop all of the nutritious and healthy eating habits you’ve built up.

This is especially true when you consider that diet contributes to mental health. Don’t want to give up the joy of yummy, cold-weather comfort food? Find a good, hearty soup recipe with high protein and lots of veggies.

Keep Exercising

Similarly, it might be tempting during this season to slack on exercising habits. As the temperature drops, all we want to do is cuddle up next to the fire under blankets. However, just like keeping up your healthy diet, maintaining your fitness routine during this time of year is one of the best ways to stay happy and healthy.

Check out our full blog on staying active in the winter months here.

If You Need Extra Help with Winter Blues, Get It

In addition to the suggestions mentioned above, there are other ways you can give your brain the support it needs this time of year.

  • Vitamin D supplements can give you the boost you’d normally get directly from the sun.
  • Communicate with your loved ones that you’re struggling. They can pitch in to help boost your spirits when you are feeling particularly low.
  • If things are really bad for you this winter, don’t feel ashamed to reach out to your general physician or a psychiatrist to learn about medication and therapy to help balance your seasonal depression.

The expert gynecologists at Avant Gynecology are devoted to helping women live their healthiest and happiest lives, including working through winter blues. If you would like to speak to any of our doctors, click here to schedule an appointment with us or give us a call at 404-352-2850.

Differences, Barriers to Access, and What We’re Doing to Help

LGBTQIA community members often face major obstacles to receiving fair treatment and access to healthcare. Tragically, OBGYN services are no exception to this serious issue. At Avant Gynecology, we recognize the importance of correcting this harmful trend and effort towards making our offices a safe space for all.

Keep reading to learn more about this topic and how members of the LGBTQIA community can get access to the quality services they need and deserve.

Different Experiences, Different Needs

No matter what they are, your sexual orientation and gender identity play an important role in the type of gynecology care you need.

Access to services like gender reconstruction, assistance with sperm transplants, different STD/STI prevention methods, and hormonal imbalance treatments are all examples of services needed for this community. At Avant Gynecology, we’re happy to discuss and assist with all of your gynecology needs. However, at this time, our office does not offer hormonal treatments. However, our expert staff is happy to refer you to someone in the area that you can trust.

Finding Allies in the Medical World

For many LGBTQ+ community members, a lot of anxiety understandably surrounds going to the doctor. After all, you’ve already faced many obstacles in the real world when it comes to receiving the care, love, and respect you deserve, and this can certainly be true at the doctor’s office.

Because of this, we understand scheduling appointments and finding a doctor you can trust may come with serious stress and anxiety. Unfortunately, this can lead to individuals avoiding annual exams and potentially more health complications.

The way to overcome this is communication and self-care best practices. When calling to make an appointment, ask the practice up-front if they support, or even specialize in, working with the LGBTQ+ community. Over-communicate with your doctor about what makes you comfortable, and even bring a friend or partner to your appointment to help support you.

While Avant Gynecology does not currently have staff who specialize in LGBTQ+ treatment, we are proud to treat the needs of all patients who come through our doors in a safe, judgment-free environment. We are also happy to direct patients to outside resources for related, but more specialized needs.

If you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community in need of safe gynecological care, we invite you to schedule an appointment with our team today.

A natural part of growing older is becoming less active. Life gets busier, natural energy levels fluctuate, and even general enjoyment around physical activities can wane. Regardless, it’s important to keep up active habits and find ways to enjoy this important part of living a long, healthy life. Keep reading below to learn why women should stay active, no matter their age.

The benefits of being active:

  • Stressed all the time? Exercising adds to your serotonin level. This chemical decreases the amount of stress you feel and makes room for more fun and positive emotions.
  • Increased exercising also has been proven to improve women’s sexual response and desire.
  • Physical activity helps your digestive system break down food.
  • Regular exercise boosts the part of your brain called the ventral prefrontal cortex, which makes decision making and emotional processing much easier.
  • Exercising also helps the hippocampus work better, which improves your memory. In the same vein, staying active also helps to slow down and prevent cognitive decline from diseases like Alzheimer’s.
  • Dealing with adult acne? Working out helps to reduce the hormones that produce acne. In fact, the more you sweat, the more you unclog your pores.
  • The more you exercise the better you sleep. Working out helps you feel better rested, gets you to sleep faster, and helps you remain asleep.
  • Exercising regularly also goes hand in hand with better self-confidence.
  • Exercise has been connected to a decreased likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and mental illnesses like anxiety or depression.
  • You improve your overall life quality and length of life when you exercise regularly.

Not sure where to start?

Lacking inspiration on how to remain active? We’ve got some tips and tricks to help you get started.

  • Cardio is an absolute must for your exercise regimen. Regularly engaging in cardio keeps your heart and lungs healthy, plus also benefits your bones and joints. If you hate the idea of running, there are plenty of other easy ways to get your heart pumping. Dancing, biking, tennis, walking, hiking, and swimming are a few great examples.
  • Also, include strengthening and muscle toning in your schedule. Doing so keeps your weight in check, strengthens your overall body, and keeps your bones strong. Grab some weights, head to your local gym to work with their machines, or use your own body weight to get started (push-ups, lunges, etc.).
  • Stretching is often overlooked but it’s vital for building healthier muscles, improving overall balance, and keeping joint pain to a minimum. If you have time every morning and evening to stretch, do it. If not, try to regularly engage in activities like yoga and pilates. Plus, the more you work on your balance, the less likely you are to fall.

Remember, the experts at Avant Gynecology are here to help women of all ages live long healthy lives. Click here to schedule an appointment or give us a call at 404-352-2850 if you have any more questions about why women should stay active, no matter their age.

The medical term for lack of sexual desire is hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). This condition is extremely common. In fact, one-third of women ages 18 to 59 report having low sexual desire. However, this condition can be very tricky to diagnose and treat since “low sexual desire” can be defined very differently from person to person. For that reason, the official definition is when someone experiences a significant decrease in sexual desire that has an impact on their emotional quality of life and relationships.

If this is something you or your partner are dealing with, know that you’re not alone. Keep reading below to learn the basics of this condition, including causes and treatment options.

Causes

There are a wide variety of possible causes of HSDD. Below are some of the most common.

  • Relationship issues
  • Age
  • Big changes in life, such as losing a loved one or having a child
  • Outside stress
  • Mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety
  • Medical diseases such as endometriosis or fibroids
  • Societal standards
  • Certain medications
  • Low testosterone
  • Extreme self-consciousness.
  • Past influences, such as trauma
  • Menopause

Treatment Options

The good news is that there are many treatment options available for women who want to change their low sexual drive. Here are some of the most common:

  • Lifestyle changes could be all you need to do. This could mean starting to exercise, working on stress management, cutting out bad habits like smoking, or working with your partner to set aside time for intimacy.
  • If you’re dealing with untreated mental or physical disorders (depression, anxiety, chronic pain, etc.), addressing those conditions can often have a positive impact on your sexual drive as well.
  • Talk therapy focused on intimacy is also an option. Especially if your partner and you are both struggling with low sexual desire, a therapist is a fantastic resource to lean on to improve your situation together as a couple.
  • Medication is also available. Don’t be afraid to discuss the issue with your physician and see if there are any medications that can help. Examples include hormone replacement therapy, natural supplements, vaginal lubricants and moisturizers, an FDA-approved oral medication (Addyi) and a new FDA-approved subcutaneous injection (Vyleesi).

If you are dealing with lack of sexual desire, the experts at Avant Gynecology are here to help. Click here to schedule an appointment with us or give us a call at 404-352-2850.

Hormones impact women in multiple different ways. Hidden from sight and working away inside, these substances that exist in the tissue and fluids can directly change women’s weight, energy levels, mood, and food cravings. 

While hormones can be complicated and impact a wide scope of women’s health, the experts at Avant Gynecology are here to help explain the basics of women’s hormones.

What are Women’s Hormones? 

Hormones are chemical messengers produced by certain glands in the body and then released into the bloodstream. These tiny parts of our body impact most, if not all, of our bodily functions. Women are especially prone to be affected by hormone fluctuations due to their chemical makeup. In fact, many stages of women’s lives are defined by what their hormones are doing. Examples of this include puberty, PMS, and menopause. 

The two most well-known women’s hormones are estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen is produced by the adrenal glands, fat cells, and ovaries. Estrogen first appears during puberty and severely impacts the reproductivity and sexual development of women. Progesterone is created by the ovaries, adrenal glands, and placenta. The amount found in a woman increases during ovulation but is also found in great numbers during pregnancy. It helps to create stable menstrual cycles and also prepare the body for pregnancy. 

However, there are many more hormones that are produced in women’s bodies. For example, vitamin D controls calcium consumption and bone growth. Oxytocin affects labor, breastfeeding, and bonding. 

Overall, there are countless chemical messengers doing hard work behind the scenes for women. To learn the full list and what all they do for your bodies, click here to read more

Common Issues with Women’s Hormones

Nearly half of all women experience issues with hormonal imbalance. Unfortunately, sometimes the problems they cause may not seem obvious. While trying to discover what is wrong, doctors may guess other complications before realizing hormones are the cause. 

Here are some of the most common issues women experience when their hormones are imbalanced:

  • Irregular periods 
  • Poor sleep quality 
  • Acne
  • Brain fog
  • Gastrointestinal issues, such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and constipation
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Low sex drive
  • Infertility 
  • Unstable blood sugar
  • Mental health issues
  • Changes in weight
  • Breast cancer

This long list is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to issues that hormones can cause. That’s why it’s vital to keep track of any medical issues you may be experiencing and then communicate them both to your general physician and gynecologist. They will be able to ensure that your hormones are functioning properly and can provide a treatment plan that will work best for you if they aren’t. 

If you have any further questions about women’s hormones, click here to contact the expert team of gynecologists. We’d be happy to assist you. 

The diet industry is complex and ever-changing. There are countless fad diets claiming to be the key to weight loss. However, many of them come with hidden complications and even serious risks.

We’re breaking down some important guidelines for anyone navigating the overwhelming world of dieting.

Do Your Research

Before you commit to any major diet or nutritional plan, it’s important to do your research. You will need to understand the nutritional value of what you’re consuming, what you’ll be leaving out, and how it will affect your overall health and body. Taking this first step will help you properly assess your various options and decide what’s best for you.

After you’ve done your own research, it’s also very important to consult your primary care doctor. They will be able to share their assessment of the plan from a holistic, medical perspective.

Be Aware of Dieting Fads and Myths

Another benefit of doing research is to help to identify dangerous diet fads and myths. For example, while the very popular “Keto diet” may work for some, this high-fat, low-carb plan has actually increased heart issues for others. Similarly, the claims that a “juice cleanse” can clean your colon and reset your appetite is inaccurate and a dangerous way to lose weight.

The key to identifying an unhealthy diet trend is finding credible sources that have reviewed the plan’s safety and efficacy. If you can’t but are still eager to try it, speak with your primary care physician for a tailored assessment.

Aim for a Balanced Diet

No diet is as good as just eating a healthy mix of the key food groups. If you’re looking for somewhere to start, the US Department of Health has a “Dietary Guide for Americans” that is backed by medical research.

If you’re looking for a quicker take on keeping a balanced diet, here are some suggestions:

  • Avoid over-processed, salty, and sugary foods.
  • Eat more fresh veggies and fruits.
  • Make sure to add protein to your diet in the form of chicken, turkey, and other non-red meat-based options.
  • Dairy is also good, but make sure to try your best to avoid options overloaded with sugar.
  • Don’t totally toss out carbs. Carbs are healthy too! Just pick healthier options, like brown rice or oatmeal over white rice and bread.
  • If you can avoid all the bad stuff, that is great. But don’t kill yourself taking away all your favorite comforts and snacks. Remember to enjoy eating too!
  • Another key is eating healthier is portions. Eat your favorite snacks and guilty pleasures with controlled portions, and they can still be in your life.

If you’re struggling to identify and maintain a healthy diet, know you’re not alone. With rampant misinformation, tough social pressures, and expensive grocery lists to contend with, sometimes professional help is needed. Don’t be afraid to speak with your primary care physician, or even reach out to a nutritionist to see if they can help develop the best plan for you.

Our mission at Avant Gynecology is to provide exceptional, compassionate care to women at every stage of their lives. If you would like to meet with any of our expert gynecologists about dieting, click here to schedule an appointment today or call us at (404) 352-2850.