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Hormone Imbalances in Women and How to Correct Them

CJ Kortes - Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Our hormones play a huge role in our physical and emotional health. So if anything causes them to become out of balance, it affects our immune system, muscle mass, mood, and sexuality. Because of this, it is important that all women understand what causes a hormone imbalance to occur in the first place and what they can do to correct it if it happens. 

The Causes of Hormone Imbalances

A hormone imbalance is a response to other changes in the body. For instance, if a woman gains a significant amount of weight, the extra fat will contribute to an overload of estrogen. A diet that is high in milk and meat from animals that were given hormones can increase the level of estrogen in the body too. In fact, some researchers blame the early onset of menstruation in young girls on the changes in the dairy industry. However, the primary cause of a hormone imbalance is the natural aging process that all women must go through called "menopause." 

How a Hormone Imbalance Can be Corrected

No matter what the cause of a hormone imbalance, it can still be adjusted using hormone therapy. This requires being under the care of an OBGYN clinic though. That is because the hormone levels of the body have to be frequently checked to ensure that they are staying steady. Receiving too much or too little estrogen, progesterone, or testosterone could worsen the problem. 

The Benefits of Hormone Therapy

After a woman's hormones are balanced, she will feel a remarkable improvement in her overall health. But it will be especially noticeable in the following ways:

Better Sleep

Getting a good night's rest will be much easier once a woman doesn't have to suffer through constant hot flashes and night sweats that soak the covers and bouts of tossing and turning from insomnia.

Improved Bone Density

A decrease in estrogen causes the bones to thin, which makes fractures and osteoporosis more likely. So when this hormone level rises, the bones will get stronger again. 

Fewer Mood Swings

Irritability and mood swings are remarkably improved because the hormone levels will be steady. Usually, these symptoms only occur when estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone rapidly fluctuates. 

Improved Sex Drive

Many women completely lose their desire for sex when their hormones are out of balance because testosterone is what controls their sex drive. This might seem strange to women who think that this is only a male hormone, but women have testosterone too. Men just have about ten times the amount of it that women do. 

So remember, if you have been suffering from any of the symptoms of your hormones being out of balance, give our OBGYN clinic a call today. We offer testing and natural hormone replacement options that can help you feel like your old self again.

Pregnancy 101: Your Guide to Having a Healthy Baby

CJ Kortes - Thursday, July 20, 2017

Did you just find out you're pregnant? Would you like to know how to be sure your child is born healthy? There are many things you can do, starting now, to increase the health and well-being of you and your unborn child. 

Choose an Obstetrician 

As soon as you find out you are pregnant, make an appointment with an obstetrician who can give you your first prenatal exam and lab tests. If you are in the Rockwall TX area, Metroplex Women's Care is a great choice. 

For the next nine months, you and your baby will be seeing your doctor at least once a month. He or she will carefully examine you and measure the growth and health of your baby while also watching for any signs of complications. It is, therefore, very important you don't miss any of your appointments. 

Eat Healthy Foods 

You're eating for two now, so you will want to be sure the food you eat is of the highest nutritional value. 

Eat plenty of 
• Lean protein sources 
• Vegetables and fruits 
• Whole grains 

• Too much caffeine: limit to one serving per day 
• High mercury fish: limit canned fish to 12 oz. per week and avoid shark, mackerel swordfish, albacore tuna, and tilefish. 
• Raw meat or sushi 
• Uncooked lunch meat 
• Unpasteurized, aged, or soft cheeses: blue, feta, or Queso Fresco 

Stay Active 

Most women will want to stay active and exercise while pregnant, but there are some basic guidelines to follow to stay healthy and safe. 

Exercise Guidelines 

• Moderate exercise if healthy: 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic workouts are recommended for all healthy women during pregnancy. 
• Follow your doctor's advice: If your doctor recommends against exercise, then it is wise to follow that advice. Also, if you notice any vaginal bleeding, stop exercise and see your doctor. 

Other Activity Precautions 

Plan Now for Labor and Delivery
• Avoid hot tubs, saunas, and hot bathing 
• No exercises that are high impact 
• Do not lift things that weigh more than 25 pounds 
• Avoid your cat's litter box, including cleaning it 

Be sure to start talking now with your obstetrician and your birthing partner about the different options available to you during labor and delivery. For things to go as smoothly as possible, you will want to start planning now. Metroplex Women's Care offers many options during Labor and Delivery including: 

• Natural delivery, including drug free 
• Vaginal or Cesarean section delivery options 
• Soothing music during labor 
• Use of a birthing ball and/or unique birthing positions to assist in labor

Contact us today to speak with an OBGYN about your pregnancy questions!

Signs that You are Going Through Menopause

CJ Kortes - Thursday, June 29, 2017

Menopause is a long-term change in the production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone in women. It indicates the end of a woman's ability to bear children. During this time, the ovaries slowly begin to decrease the production of estrogen and progesterone. This decrease in hormone production is often associated with many symptoms and changes within a woman's body. While a few women don't experience any signs or symptoms during the menopausal period, most women experience mild to severe menopausal symptoms.

Hot Flashes

Many women complain about hot flashes during the menopausal process. When you get a hot flash, you may get a sudden feeling of heat in your upper body or all over your body. You may feel flushed or sweaty, and your neck and face may turn red. 

Hot flashes can range in intensity from mild to very strong. They may even wake you up at night. A typical hot flash lasts from 30 second to 10 minutes. Many women have hot flashes for one to two years after their last menstrual period.

Sleep Issues

During the menopausal process, you may have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep. You may also wake up earlier than you'd like and not be able to go back to sleep. 

Menstrual Cycle Changes

Changes in menstrual cycles are common during this time. You may begin to experience irregular periods. Your period might be lighter or heavier than usual. You may also experience occasional spotting, and your period might be shorter or longer in duration than usual. If you miss a period, you should see your OBGYN to ensure that you're not pregnant. If you're not pregnant, you may be going through the menopausal process. 

Vaginal Dryness and Painful Intercourse

When progesterone and estrogen production decrease, the thin layer of moisture on the vaginal walls can be affected. Women going through the menopausal process can experience vaginal dryness, which can cause itching, burning, and stinging. Vaginal dryness can also make you feel like you need to urinate more frequently and make intercourse painful. You can combat vaginal dryness with a lubricant or vaginal moisturizer.

Urinary Issues

Urinary incontinence is a common symptom of the menopausal process. You may feel the need to urinate constantly, even if your bladder isn't full. Painful urination may also occur because the tissues in your urethra and vagina lose their elasticity.

You may also get more urinary tract infections during the menopausal process. That's because decreased levels of estrogen and changes in the urinary tract put you at higher risk of developing urinary tract infections. 

Decreased Libido

You may also lose your interest in sex during this time. This is quite common for women going through the menopausal process. A loss of interest in sex is the result of physical changes, such as vaginal dryness, a delayed clitoral reaction time, and slow or absent orgasms. 

Mood Swings

Hormone production changes can also affect your mood. You may feel depressed, irritable, or experience mood swings. 

Other Changes

As you age, it's normal for you to experience changes in your skin and hair. Loss of collagen and fatty tissue will make your skin thinner and drier. Estrogen decreases can also contribute to hair loss or cause your hair to feel dry and brittle. 

If you're experiencing the symptoms of menopause, talk to your doctor about it. At Metroplex Women's Care OBGYN, the specialists can help you through the menopausal process. The Women's Care Clinic offers several treatment options that you can discuss with your specialist to determine which ones are right for you. 

Reasons Why Your Period Is Heavy or Painful

CJ Kortes - Tuesday, May 16, 2017

While the emotional effects of having your period -- feeling weepy, getting angry over little things, wanting to eat an entire sleeve of Thin Mints in one sitting -- can certainly take a toll on a woman, it's the physical pain that is really hard to handle.

How do you know what level of pain is "normal"? At what point should you visit the OBGYN?

Here are some of the causes of heavy, painful periods to be on the lookout for:

1. Endometriosis
The endometrium is the lining of the uterus. When it becomes displaced, however, it can be found on the outside of the uterus, on such pelvic structures as the ovaries, Fallopian tubes, bladder, and pelvic floor. A woman who is suffering from endometriosis may experience back pain or digestive tract troubles, in addition to serious pain in the pelvic area.

2. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Sexually transmitted infections can cause adhesions and scar tissue in the pelvis, which in turn can result in pelvic inflammatory disease. This infection can cause inflammation, scarring, and infertility, in addition to painful menstrual symptoms. It's just one more reason to practice safe sex in order to avoid sexually transmitted infections.

3. Uterine Fibroids
Fibroids, which are non-cancerous growths, are one of the most common women's health concerns. In fact, some gynecologists say that eight out of ten women will have developed them by age 50. However, many women won't experience any pain or other complications from fibroids, which can range in size from only several millimeters to several inches. Those who do, however, will experience cramping, heavy blood flow, and pain.

4. Copper IUD
There are two types of intrauterine devices, copper and hormonal. The copper variety can prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years after insertion by a women's health professional, but if you have recently had one inserted and are experiencing heavy or painful periods, the IUD may be to blame. Consult your gynecologist if you suspect an IUD might be causing issues.

5. Primary Dysmenorrhea
After you and your OBGYN have ruled out other causes, you might be diagnosed with primary dysmenorrhea. This condition affects almost half of all women at some point or another during the years when they are menstruating. It is caused by excess levels of prostaglandins (which are hormone-like fatty acids that cause uterine contractions during pregnancy). Primary dysmenorrhea is characterized by painful, intense contractions.

In short, it can be difficult to understand why your periods are heavy or painful. These are just a few of the possible causes. While women chalk up pain and heavy flow to just "being a woman," it's important to discuss your menstrual health with your primary care physician or gynecologist. They can help ascertain what is causing your painful periods, make sure that you don't require further medical treatment for a related condition, and offer advice on how to get relief from the pain. 

What are the Different Types of Birth Control Options?

CJ Kortes - Friday, April 14, 2017

Birth control is used to prevent unwanted pregnancies before they begin. There are various contraceptive methods in existence today that are not only reliable but are also easy to use. This allows individuals to select the most suitable method that fits their budget, personal preferences, and lifestyle. Sexually active women need to talk to a gynecologist about the types of contraceptives options open to them. Below are the five broad categories of contraceptives.

1. Hormonal Methods

Hormonal methods mimic a woman’s natural hormones including estrogen and progesterone. The methods include combined hormones (NuvaRing, patch, or pill) and progestin-only (progestin-only pill or Depo-Provera). They:
  • Prevent ovulation from taking place.
  • Cause the lining of the uterus wall to become thin. As a result, if ovulation did take place implantation becomes difficult.
  • Thicken cervical mucus. As a result, sperm cannot easily pass through into the uterus.

2. Barrier Methods

These methods avoid pregnancies by preventing sperm from reaching an egg to fertilize it. They include cervical caps, condoms (male and female), vaginal spermicides (VCF, gel, foam, or sponge), diaphragms, and sterilization.

3. Intra Uterine Devices (IUD)

An intra-uterine device has a ‘T’ shape and fits inside the uterus once inserted. It avoids pregnancies by preventing sperm from reaching eggs. There are five types of IUDs available in the US.
  • The first four (Liletta, Skyla, Kyleena, and Mirena) release minimal amounts of progestin (levonorgestrel) similar to what is found in birth control pills. These IUDs make periods lighter. An OBGYN can recommend them to women experiencing heavy periods.
  • The fifth IUD is called Paragard or copper T. It has no hormones; however, it triggers the body’s immunity to prevent pregnancy. It can cause heavier periods but lasts longer than the other hormonal IUDs.

4. Natural Methods

Natural methods require the cooperation and understanding of both sexual partners. The woman should be aware of her body’s natural cycles and rhythms. The methods include: • Abstinence where there is no sexual contact.
  • Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) allows the woman to predict the infertile and fertile times of her menstrual cycle. It relies on body signs, which often change in every menstrual cycle in response to hormones. This method requires abstinence or use of other contraceptives during fertile times.

  • Lactational Amenorrhea Method relies on exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months after giving birth. The hormones responsible for producing breast milk prevent the release of eggs from the ovaries. For the method to work, the baby must be less than six months old, the woman should not have had any period after birth, and there should be exclusive breastfeeding.

  • Withdrawal method requires the man to ejaculate outside the vagina by removing his penis during sexual intercourse.

5. Emergency Contraception

Emergency contraception involves the use of pills after sex to prevent pregnancy. However, the pills only make it less likely for conception to happen and are not as effective as other types of contraceptives.

Choose Metroplex Women's Health Center

Birth control is an important women’s health subject that should be discussed in detail with a gynecologist. Metroplex Women’s Care is a reputed OBGYN Women's Health Center located in Rockwall, Texas. It offers cutting edge gynecology services in the region including the use of contraceptives. 

Metroplex Women's Care - Meet Our Doctors!

CJ Kortes - Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Cheryl Ann Potter
M.D. , F.A.C.O.G.

Metroplex Women's Care Cheryl Ann Potter Rockwall Texas
After receiving her undergraduate and medical degree from the University of Kansas in 1992, Dr. Potter completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in 1996.
Dr. Potter has lived in Rockwall and practiced in this area for over 16 years.
Dr. Potter, along with Dr. Gillean, established Metroplex Women's Care to move her office to the heart of Rockwall's medical community.
Board certified in obstetrics and gynecology, Dr. Potter is a Fellow of The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Julia Gillean

Dr. Gillean is a native Texan, growing up in San Antonio, TX. She received her undergraduate degree from The University of Texas in Austin in 1990.
She graduated from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas in 1998 with her Medical Degree. She completed her residency training in Phoenix Arizona in 2002.
Dr Gillean has lived in Rockwall and practiced in the area for over 10 years. She is Board Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology, and is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
She and her husband, Michael,a local businessman, have a combined four children attending Rockwall schools.

Amy Hantes

Amy Hantes, NP received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Baylor University in 1996.  She began her nursing career at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, where she developed an interest in women’s health.
In 2001, she completed her Master of Science and Nurse Practitioner degree from Texas Woman’s University. Amy has been practicing in the Rockwall area since 2001.

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