Tag Archive for: women’s health

Though the mental health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still felt by people all over the world, women face additional and distinct mental health challenges that can impact their overall wellbeing every day. Let’s look at some of the ways in which women’s mental health is unique and how you can nurture your own good mental health.

Women’s Mental Health is Unique

Taking care of your mind is important for everyone, but mental health can impact women in unique ways. For example, women are much more likely to develop anxiety and depression, which could lead to further problems with their physical health, too. “Unlike their depressed male counterparts,” Everyday Health warns, “women tend to develop problems with alcohol abuse within a few years of the onset of depression.”

Natural hormonal changes may also impact women’s mental health, including perinatal depression, perimenopause-related depression, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. This is why paying attention to your moods, anxiety, and stress levels — as well as prioritizing self-care — is important as your body goes through changes.

Practice Self-Care

This piece of advice is commonly stated, but not everyone is clear on what self-care is, or how to fold nurturing their mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing into their daily lives. It’s easy enough to advise someone to simply go for more short walks, or get enough sleep, but self-care can be understandably difficult to accomplish.

For example, many women have time-consuming jobs, childcare and households to manage, or feel guilty for taking care of themselves. But even if you aren’t experiencing immediate distress, regularly practicing self-care helps you prepare for and overcome potential future stressors.


The mind and body are intertwined, so it’s important to take good care of both. Physical self-care can include:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Exercising regularly doing something you enjoy
  • Eating nutritious food
  • Regularly visiting healthcare providers
  • Drinking lots of water


As the name implies, this category of self-care focuses more on your mental health. This can include anything that stimulates your brain and helps you practice self-compassion. Examples of mental self-care include:

  • Participating in fun, relaxing activities
  • Practicing gratitude
  • Cultivating a positive mindset
  • Getting outside
  • Setting healthy boundaries


“Negative” emotions are valid and normal, but it’s important to practice healthy coping mechanisms while you experience them. Emotional self-care allows you to feel your emotions while expressing them in ways that are nurturing to your mind and body. You can do this by:

  • Connecting with friends and family for support
  • Surrounding yourself with motivating quotes
  • Engaging in rejuvenating activities
  • Practicing relaxation techniques or meditation
  • Interacting with a pet

Seek Professional Support

Women have a significant risk of experiencing mental illnesses, including eating disorders, postpartum depression, and body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). This makes it very important to reach out for support if you feel like your symptoms are becoming overwhelming. If you’re experiencing the following symptoms for more than two weeks, consider speaking to a mental health professional:

  • A sudden change of appetite
  • Struggling to concentrate
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities
  • Difficulty performing everyday tasks
  • Difficulty getting out of bed in the morning

Mental health is an essential part of gynecology, and our team of professionals want to help you overcome any obstacles affecting your overall wellbeing. To discuss potential treatment options for mental health challenges, schedule an appointment online or by calling us at (404) 352-2850.


While January is nationally slated as Cervical Health Awareness Month, this serious disease was once “the leading cause of cancer death for women in the United States,” and still affects thousands of women annually. It’s why we believe cervical cancer deserves attention regardless of the date on the calendar.

Fortunately, it can often be prevented with both vaccination and screenings — two key elements to reducing your risk.

What Is Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer occurs when healthy cells mutate in the lower area of the uterus which connects to the vagina, known as the cervix. Symptoms may include prolonged bleeding during your period, or bleeding in between periods, as well as unexplained pelvic pain — sometimes during or after intercourse. In its precancerous phase, symptoms may not manifest at all.

Although research is still ongoing regarding the direct causes of cervical cancer, strains of the sexually transmitted infection (STI) human papillomavirus (HPV) appear to play a large role. Other risk factors include smoking, age, a decreased immune system, and having had other STIs.

How to Prevent Cervical Cancer

HPV Vaccination

Even though there isn’t an absolute guarantee, the CDC notes that up to 93% of cervical cancers can be prevented through both HPV vaccination and screenings. Just as others do, the HPV vaccine works by producing antibodies which will bind to the virus and render it ineffective.

HPV is the most common STI, affecting 43 million Americans in 2018 — many of them young adults, or people who have only had sex with one person. Oftentimes, you may not know you even have it, as it may not present symptoms, and frequently goes away on its own. While this may not sound as alarming as other STIs, HPV’s potential to cause cancer over time makes it a condition that calls for proactive prevention.

All people ages 9 to 45 can get the HPV vaccine to protect against genital warts and/or different types of HPV that can cause cancer,” advises Planned Parenthood. And though it may seem surprising or uncomfortable for parents and guardians, they also suggest “that children get the vaccine at age 11 or 12, so they’re fully protected years before they become sexually active.” This vaccine can easily be incorporated into the same appointment when other preventative shots are given.

Regular Pap Testing

The Papanicolaou (Pap) test is another helpful step in cervical cancer prevention. According to the American Cancer Society, “The cervical cancer death rate dropped significantly with the increased use of the Pap test.” This is because early detection of any pre-cancerous cells can lead to a greater chance of effective treatment and cure. Most doctors advise Pap tests for women at a minimum of three-year intervals starting at the age of 21, but some risk factors such as a family history of cervical cancer may affect your personal timeline.

During your Pap test appointment, your doctor can also give you an HPV test, which screens for the presence of HPV. This may be particularly helpful if you have not been vaccinated against HPV.

According to the National Cancer Institute Cancer Trends Progress Report, 73.5% of women aged 21-65 reported being up-to-date with their cervical cancer screenings in 2019. We’d like to help include you among that number if you aren’t already. If you’re due for a Pap test, would like to discuss the HPV vaccine, or want to know more about cervical cancer and its prevention, schedule an appointment with us online or call (404) 352-2850.

It can be a frightening experience hearing your gynecologist say that your Pap smear test results came back abnormal. While it can be tempting to jump to negative conclusions about what your results mean, it’s important to not worry quite yet. Abnormal Pap smears do not always indicate issues as serious as cervical cancer. The experts at Avant Gynecology break down what these results mean.

What Does an Abnormal Pap Smear Result Mean?

An abnormal Pap smear can have several different meanings and causes, but often indicate changes in the cervical cells. Some other causes for an abnormal result are:

  • Inflammation
  • Herpes
  • Trichomaniasis
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Vaginal Infection
  • Cervical Dysplasia (abnormal cells that can be pre-cancerous)

While some of these may bring concern, there are several harmless reasons as to why a Pap smear can come back abnormal such as recent sexual activity, menstruation, using tampons, or taking a bath before your test. Additionally, it’s relatively common for most women to experience an abnormal result at some point in their lifetime.

More Testing to Discover Results

While a Pap smear can indicate when abnormal cells are present, it does not give a full examination of the cervix. Often, more testing is needed. That’s what a colposcopy is for! This minor procedure allows an OB-GYN physician to use a low-powered microscope to study the abnormal areas in the cervix, vagina, and vulva to detect any signs of disease. During this procedure, the following happens:

  • A similar tool as the one used in your Pap smear will be placed into the vagina.
  • Several different solutions will be used to highlight the area.
    • A vinegar solution: This removes the mucus in the area.
    • An iodine solution: This identifies the abnormal areas that appeared in the Pap smear.

Once the colposcopy test results are in, your physician will go over the results with a pathologist. Together, the two will determine the next steps for uncovering the issue and potential treatment plans.

While Pap smears are not always comfortable, they are essential. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that:

  • Women ages 21 to 29 should get a Pap test every three years.
  • Women ages 30 to 65 should have a Pap test combined with an HPV test every five years.
  • Some women with certain conditions may need more frequent testing, including women with a history of cervical cancer, HIV/AIDS, or a weekend immune system.

Be proactive about your health; schedule a Pap smear with your OB-GYN today. If you have any further questions about the next steps after receiving abnormal Pap smear results, reach out to the experts at Avant Gynecology or give us a call at (404) 352-2850.

The pelvic muscles support the bladder, bowel, and uterus; playing an important role in sexual function and childbirth, according to Healthline.

Pelvic floor exercises are an excellent solution for strengthening these muscles. They can also help improve conditions like urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.

Want to learn more? The experts at Avant Gynecology explain the benefits of pelvic floor exercises.

The Benefits of Pelvic Floor Exercises

Here are some of the primary benefits of performing pelvic floor exercises:

  • Increases pleasure and reduces pain during sex
  • Makes the child birthing process easier and decreases chances of incontinence after childbirth
  • Makes passing urine and feces through the body easier
  • Prevents pelvic floor prolapse
  • Help treat urinary incontinence
  • Strengthens support for your baby while pregnant

Why Do These Exercises?

For women experiencing urinary incontinence or pain during sex, pelvic floor exercises are often recommended by medical experts to help resolve these issues. Research also suggests that these exercises reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms of pelvic floor prolapse.

Even if you are not experiencing any of the conditions mentioned above, pelvic floor exercises are still beneficial for your overall health and should be an integral part of your daily exercise.

Types of Pelvic Floor Exercises

Below are three of the most common exercises that can help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles:

Kegel: The most popular form of exercise for the pelvic floor muscles are Kegels. To do these, you will need to contract the pelvic floor muscles, hold for five seconds, then release for five seconds. Repeat this exercise at least 3 times a day in sets of 10.

Squats: Besides strengthening your quads and hamstrings, squats also strengthen pelvic floor muscles. To do a squat, stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees like you’re about to sit down in a chair, and push yourself back up. Repeat this exercise 3 times a day in sets of 10.

Bridge: Bridges are primarily performed to strengthen the buttocks, but can also help the pelvic floor muscles. To do a bridge, lie down on the floor with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Push your hips off the ground by squeezing your glutes and your pelvic floor muscles. Hold this for at least three seconds, then slowly release it back to the ground. Repeat this exercise at least 3 times a day in sets of 10.

If you have any questions or want to learn more about pelvic floor exercises, reach out to the experts at Avant Gynecology on our website or by calling us at (404) 352-2850.

If you’ve never visited an OBGYN before, it can be a daunting experience going to your first appointment. Not many people are comfortable talking about their reproductive parts, and it can be challenging to do that for the first time with an OBGYN doctor. At Avant Gynecology, our goal is to ensure our patients feel comfortable in our offices. 

OBGYN visits are a vital part of every woman’s health, because it’s important to stay on top of your reproductive health and any potential medical issues, especially if you are or are becoming sexually active. 

If you’re between the age of 13 and 15 years old, or if you’ve been thinking about engaging in sexual activities for the first time, it’s time to schedule an appointment. Here are a few tips on how to prepare for your first OBGYN visit!

 It’s Normal to Be Nervous

We totally understand; doing anything for the first time can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially when it comes to your health. If you’re feeling anxious or nervous, feel free to tell the nurses or OBGYN doctor. They are experts and will do everything they can to make sure you are comfortable during the visit. 

We wrote this guide for how to get over your nerves before visiting your OBGYN! We recommend reading it before your first appointment. 

Research What Happens 

Look up exactly what happens during an OBGYN appointment. Doing this can also help calm any nerves before your appointment. What will the doctor ask you about? What happens doing the physical examination? Will we talk about sexual activity? Can I ask about birth control? These are all great questions to research before your first OBGYN appointment. 

If you’re comfortable, asking your friends and family about their experiences is another valuable resource.

Know What You Want to Talk About 

As humans, it’s easy to forget things. It can be very easy to walk into the doctor’s office and get distracted. There’s so much to see and experience! When preparing for your OBGYN visit, plan out what you want to discuss with your gynecologist. Write down (either on a phone or a piece of paper) questions, concerns, and topics you’d like to talk about with the doctor. Your medical professional will be impressed that you are keeping track of your health!

If you’re ready to schedule your first OBGYN visit, we’d love to see you in our offices. Reach out to the experts at Avant Gynecology by clicking here or by giving us a call at 404-352-2850. We’d also be happy to answer any more questions you might have about how to prepare for your first OBGYN visit. 

For the 20 to 80 percent of women who will develop uterine fibroids by the time they’re 50, this painful condition can have negative impacts on quality of life. Despite how common this condition is, treatment options for uterine fibroids are limited, and the most common one, a hysterectomy, involves a drastic life change. 

Thankfully, a new, less invasive treatment option —Acessa— is now available for patients at Avant Gynecology! 

What Is Acessa? 

Acessa is a minimally invasive procedure that uses Laparoscopic Radiofrequency Ablation (Lap-RFA) to treat uterine fibroids. The Lap-RFA generates heat that changes the fibroids from hard to soft, reducing the painful symptoms associated with uterine fibroids. This treatment completely avoids any healthy surrounding tissue in the uterus. 

How Does Acessa Work?

While this treatment option does require surgery, it is minimally invasive. Here’s the process from start to finish: 

  • Two small incisions are made on the belly button, in addition to one below the bikini line. Through these incisions, a tiny camera is inserted as well as an ultrasound. 
  • Each fibroid is then located using the above technology. 
  • The tip of Acessa is put into the fibroid, avoiding healthy uterine tissue. 
  • Controlled heat is applied through Acessa that destroys the fibroid tissue. 
  • The process is repeated until every fibroid is treated. 

How Quickly Do Results Begin?

For most women, it takes anywhere from three to 12 weeks for symptoms to begin to ease. This is determined by the size of the fibroids and the symptoms the patient was experiencing before treatment. 

What Are the Risks? 

Just like with any medical procedure, there are potential risks to Acessa. We recommend speaking with your doctor to assess the pros and cons of undergoing this procedure. Click here to learn more.

If you have further questions about Acessa or other treatment options for uterine fibroids, reach out to the experts at Avant Gynecology by clicking here or by giving us a call at 404-352-2850.

Whether you deal with this condition or not, chances are you’ve heard of PMS. While popular media may poke fun or make jokes about a woman’s mood swings caused by PMS, it’s a natural part of a woman’s life and crucial to understand. 

Rumors and misinformation run rampant on this topic, which is why our expert medical team is breaking down this topic below!

What is Premenstrual Syndrome?

PMS begins when a woman starts her cycle, but it may intensify in the years leading up to menopause. It’s a set of symptoms women experience about a week or two prior to their period. This means it’s just after ovulation but before the menstrual period. 

It’s more likely to impact women with depression, high levels of stress, or a family history of mental health issues. 

What Are the Symptoms?

As many as three in four women will experience PMS symptoms during their lifetime. Each woman experiences it differently, and it usually impacts both physical and mental health. With that in mind, here are the most common symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Appetite changes
  • Backache
  • Bloating
  • Clumsiness
  • Constipation
  • Cramping
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Exhaustion
  • Gas
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Issues with concentration
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Mood swings
  • Sleeping issues
  • Swollen or tender breasts

Is There Treatment for PMS?

For several women, these symptoms can be extremely debilitating and cause interruptions to everyday life. In those cases, treatment is necessary. While PMS cannot be “treated,” there are ways to help alleviate symptoms. The most common options are:

  • Lifestyle changes: Practicing healthy habits can help with PMS symptoms. For example, regularly exercising, eating a well-balanced diet, sleeping eight hours a night, coping with stress, and not smoking. 
  • Medications: Over-the-counter options, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, work well with painful symptoms. Some prescription medicines, such as hormonal birth control and antidepressants, also help those who regularly experience severe PMS symptoms. 
  • Vitamins: In addition to eating a well-balanced diet, certain vitamins and minerals can improve PMS symptoms. These include calcium, vitamin B6, magnesium, omega-3, and omega-6.

If you have further questions about premenstrual syndrome, reach out to the experts at Avant Gynecology by clicking here or by giving us a call at 404-352-2850.

When someone is having issues using the restroom or problems emptying their bladder, urodynamic tests are a medical tool used to assess the situation. These tests can officially diagnose patients with medical issues like urinary incontinence, a condition that impacts over 25 million adults in America.

Curious to learn more? Keep reading!

What Does a Urodynamic Test Do?

There are a wide variety of urodynamic tests. A few examples include cystometry, uroflowmetry, and video urodynamics. All types of tests measure the following:

  • Flow rates of urine.
  • Nerve and muscle function.
  • Pressure around the bladder.

Depending on the results, these measurements can allow physicians to discover what medical condition someone with urinary incontinence might be facing.

Why Would You Need a Urodynamic Test?

Here are some of the common conditions that might warrant a physician to give a urodynamic test:

  • Frequent urination, over eight times a day.
  • Not being able to empty your bladder completely.
  • Pain when urinating.
  • An overwhelming urge to use the restroom.
  • Urine leaking/incontinence.

What Is the Test Like?

The process of urodynamic testing varies based on the specific test performed. Regardless of the type of test, you won’t need to prepare much at all. Some tests require you to drink liquid before urinating into special equipment, while others require catheters.

Speak with your physician about which test you’re receiving, and don’t be afraid to ask for details on what the process will entail.

If you have further questions about urodynamic testing, reach out to the experts at Avant Gynecology by clicking here or by giving us a call at 404-352-2850.


With more than 200,000 cases in the United States alone per year, overactive bladder (also called OAB) is a common medical condition many women and men experience. This urological issue causes a frequent, urgent need to use the restroom, sometimes even leading to accidents before a person has time to get to the bathroom.

If you or a loved one are dealing with OAB, keep reading below to learn more about causes and treatment options.

What Are the Symptoms for Overactive Bladder?

The most common symptoms of OAB are:

  • The sudden urge to urinate that is difficult to control.
  • Accidently releasing urine when the urge appears.
  • Using the restroom multiple times in the middle of the night, a condition called nocturia.
  • Frequently urinating more than usual, beyond eight times a day.

What Causes OAB?

Usually, OAB can occur when the muscles of the bladder contract involuntarily, creating that urgent need to use the restroom.

There are several risk factors and medical conditions that can cause OAB, including enlarged prostates, diabetes, cognitive decline, tumors, certain medications, and hormone changes.

What’s the Treatment for OAB?


The most common treatment for overactive bladder is behavior therapies and lifestyle changes. Those include options such as pelvic floor muscle exercises, maintaining a healthy weight, biofeedback, intermittent catheterization, scheduling restroom use, and bladder training. These therapies help encourage the body and bladder to function without daily interruption.

Other treatment options include:

  • Bladder injections
  • Medications
  • Nerve stimulation
  • Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation
  • Surgery

If you have further questions about overactive bladder, reach out to the experts at Avant Gynecology by clicking here or by giving us a call at 404-352-2850.

The systemic discrimination facing Black women and men in the United States is nothing new but with the recent Black Lives Matter movement, these issues have come into the spotlight. Unfortunately, the specific ways they affect Black women in the healthcare space is still not widely understood or even discussed by many.

Here, we will unpack some of the statistics around the lack of healthcare access for Black women, specifically when it comes to OBGYN care, and what we can do to combat this issue.

Important Statistics on Healthcare Access for Black Women

How Do We Address This Issue?

If you’re as alarmed as we are by those statistics and the lack of support for Black women in healthcare, here are some ways you can help:

  • Educate Yourself: Continue the fight for equality by educating yourself on issues like this. Become aware of statistics, read the stories of Black women in these situations, and recognize that this will be an ongoing process of self-education.
  • Support Organizations: There are several organizations out there trying their best to help resolve the issues described above. One great example is the Black Women’s Health Imperative, whose mission it is to “lead the effort to solve the most pressing health issues that affect Black women and girls in the U.S. Through investments in evidence-based strategies, we deliver bold new programs and advocate health-promoting policies.” Read more about the health inequalities on Black women, sign petitions, and donate straight to these organizations that are making a strong impact

At Avant Gynecology, we pride ourselves on being a safe space for all women. Schedule an appointment with one of our women’s health experts by clicking here or by giving us a call at 404-352-2850.