A woman encounters many life changes which can affect her general health and wellness. Our Houston gynecology practice has been established to provide women with a comfortable space in which their current and future health can be assessed and supported with personalized care.
Annual Health Exams
An annual health exam is an important event that provides a woman the opportunity to receive one-on-one support from her gynecologist. These visits, often referred to as well-woman exams, revolve around the health issues that may affect a woman’s reproductive, sexual, or general wellness. The consistency of the annual exam sets a baseline to which we can refer each year to monitor health throughout biological and age-related changes in life.
BioTE Hormone Replacement Therapy
As we get older, our hormone levels can fluctuate. At River Oaks Gynecology and Aesthetics, we offer BioTE hormone replacement therapy using plant-based hormones to return your hormone levels to their optimal ranges.
Breast exams are an integral aspect of the annual well-women checkup. During this brief exam, the doctor may first observe the breasts while the patient is seated or standing. This allows the practitioner to note asymmetry in which one breast may be noticeably larger than the other. The skin on the breasts is also observed for redness, rashes, or dimpling.
After this observation, the patient lies back on the exam table with one arm positioned over the head. The doctor uses the pads of their fingers to gently palpate breast tissue, feeling for lumps or other inconsistencies. Moving around the entire breast, the doctor also presses around the nipple to check for discharge. Finally, the area under the arm is palpated for lumps. This pattern is repeated on the opposite side.
Why are Breast Evaluations Important?
Breast evaluations are the first-line diagnostic screening for lumps that may indicate breast cancer or cystic breast disease. The earlier breast cancer is detected, the more responsive it tends to be to conservative treatment.
Female hormones can affect fertility as well as the general quality of life. A hormone evaluation can measure levels of a variety of hormones, including estradiol and progesterone, follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, and more. Understanding hormone levels can help a woman identify a potential need for fertility treatment or hormone replacement therapy during perimenopause.
Cholesterol is a measurement of lipids, or fat, in the blood. There are beneficial and harmful aspects of this soft, waxy fat, which is why we often hear terms like “good” and “bad” cholesterol.
Low-density lipoprotein, known as LDL, is a detrimental fat that can build up in the walls of the arteries. It is this type of cholesterol that is associated with heart disease and events such as heart attack and stroke.
High-density lipoprotein, or HDL, is a lipid that transports excess cholesterol from the blood to the liver, where it can be metabolized and flushed.
Who Needs to Undergo a Cholesterol Screening?
A young adult may undergo a screening sometime during their early years. After the age of 20, cholesterol may be tested every five years if no risk factors exist. When there are risk factors such as high blood pressure, excess weight, heart disease, alcohol or tobacco use, or diabetes, testing should occur every year.
Low thyroid levels are more likely to occur in women than in men. However, the symptoms of this condition are often overlooked. Women are encouraged to undergo testing to measure levels of TSH, thyroid-stimulating hormone, or T4, each of which could be involved in underactive thyroid function. It is beneficial to understand thyroid function because this small gland is involved in many physical processes, including the regulation of mood and metabolic rate, bone maintenance, muscle control, digestive function, and more.
STD screening is one or more simple tests. There is not a single test that measures for all STDs at once. Most women only need one or two screenings. These are determined from her consultation with her gynecologist. Some of the tests that may be included in the STD screening include:
- Urine test, which requires a small sample of urine in a cup.
- Blood test, which is conducted in the office or lab setting. Blood is drawn from the arm.
- Physical exam conducted by the doctor observes the genital area for signs of infection such as discharge, skin irritation or rash, sores, or warts.
- If sores are present, a sample of fluid may be collected with a swab that looks like a large Q-tip.
- The swab technique may also be performed on the cheek or the throat in certain instances.
During the consultation, the patient and doctor work together to determine which tests are most appropriate, if any.
How Soon Can I Receive Results from an STD Screening?
Some STD results may be available within a few minutes. Samples that need to be sent to a lab may take a few days or weeks to return results to the office. Patients are encouraged to call their provider if they have questions about their lab results.
Even among those who generally eat well, nutritional deficiencies are common. A nutritional deficiency may include a single item, such as vitamin D (up to 50% of Americans are deficient) or it may extend to several nutrients. Although there may be certain symptoms that indicate a nutrient deficiency, focused testing is the best way to know if more or less of a particular vitamin is needed. A simple blood test can achieve this.
Mobility screening may be especially important for older individuals who have experienced changes in bone density or muscle tone. This physical test observes balance, strength, and gait to detect deficits that may indicate an increased risk of falling.