Tips to prevent campus sexual assault

For most college students, the year is half over and a new semester will soon start. Most students are into the groove with classes, roommates, and the social scene and it can be easy to overlook a common danger for women—campus sexual assault. Thanks to the recent release of a Rolling Stone article featuring a rape on the campus of the University of Virginia, the topic has been driven front and center once again. (more…)

Finding relief for intimacy issues

Finding relief for intimacy issues

What goes on in the bedroom is often a difficult subject to bring up at a doctor’s appointment.  Many patients are simply unsure of how to approach their physician with their sexual performance struggles.  Some people believe that sexual dysfunction is simply a part of aging or something that just has to be accepted.  When in reality, nothing may be further from the truth.
Sexual struggles for both men and women are not a normal part of the aging process.  There are a variety of factors that may influence sexual performance including mental stressors, marital problems and even pharmaceutical influences from medications.  In some cases, there may be a true physical development that alters the sexual response—like hormonal changes.   No matter the reason, suffering from romantic difficulties does not have to be a part of your life. (more…)

Facts & Myths About Fetal Alcohol Syndrome


Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is always a tragedy because it is 100% preventable by simply abstaining from alcohol during pregnancy.

You may have heard that the occasional glass of wine does not harm a developing fetus. But research by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that there is no known “safe” quantity of alcohol during pregnancy. There is also no safe time of day, nor type of alcohol, so the best course of action is to abstain completely.

Symptoms of this lifelong condition include growth problems in the womb and after birth, poor coordination, muscular problems, heart defects, and many issues with development of the face. FAS can also cause the child to experience delayed thought, speech, movement, and difficulty relating to others. Drinking alcohol while pregnant can cause a multitude of other problems with the birth process including miscarriage, premature delivery, and even death.

Due to the lifelong effects FAS has on an infant, women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant are encouraged to abstain from drinking. In the United States, half of all pregnancies are unplanned, and a woman may be pregnant for several weeks and not know it. Women who are not trying to become pregnant but who are sexually active and drink alcohol should use a form of birth control (condoms, the pill).

Unlike many pregnancy-related issues, prevention of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is simple. That is not to say that quitting drinking is easy for everyone. Group therapy and counseling can be very effective for helping women overcome alcoholism and provide a better quality of life for themselves and their child.

If you think you may need help controlling your drinking, Dr. Hessel would be happy to recommend a supportive program or other options. You’re welcome to stop by our offices at any time.


It’s time to talk…what do you have to say?

It’s time to talk…what do you have to say?

Welcome to the official blog site for Dr. Hessel.  No matter if you are a steady patient, or live across the country, this site has been developed as a resource for women of all ages and backgrounds to find help and information on all those topics you just never wanted to discuss.

From birth control to menopause and everything in between we hope you find all of our information helpful and easy to read–and that you will come back again and again.

Have you found a post you just can’t get past?  Comment on it—and let us know–we look forward to hearing from you.

Nutritional supplements could help ease premenstrual syndrome in some women

Nutritional supplements could help ease premenstrual syndrome in some women

It is estimated that between 8% and 20% of all women suffer some form of moderate to severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS) one to two weeks before the start of their period.  PMS has long been blamed for a variety of issues–everything from mood swings to insomnia and between.  But the reality is, that PMS is a very real, and sometimes disabling condition for those who meet it head on every month.

Despite the introduction of prescription anti-depressant type medications to the market several years ago for management of PMS and it’s more severe form known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), women have been able to find some relief, but now more promising research could be turning women to nature–and a healthier diet for management. (more…)

When morning sickness is more

When morning sickness is more

If you were one of the lucky few women in the world who actually got through pregnancy without so much as a twinge of nausea, you are certainly the exception to the rule.  Most commonly known as morning sickness, many women don’t even suspect that they are pregnant until they begin those early morning visits with the toilet.  What’s so strange about morning sickness (or all day sickness for some) is its uncanny ability to make you violently ill one minute, and still have you craving a triple decker bacon burger with all the extras the next. (more…)

Ageless risk: it’s never too late to prevent osteoporosis

Ageless risk: it’s never too late to prevent osteoporosis

Many people are under the impression that bone loss belongs only to the elderly.  An image of bent, fragile ladies hobbling from place to place has caused many misconceptions surrounding the condition.  While in reality, building bone starts decades before a fracture ever appears.

According to the National Institutes of Health, 90% of all bone mass has already formed by the time a young woman reaches her 17th birthday.  Whether or not osteoporosis develops later in life has several risk factors, but the early years of bone development are key to future outcomes.  At a time when soda is more appealing than milk and teens turn their noses up at spinach to reach for a hamburger, most women are not looking or thinking ahead about their future bone health. (more…)

Family Planning

Family planning is about birth control. The method you choose depends on your health, frequency of sexual activity and whether you want children. When choosing among birth control methods, you should consider:

  • Availability – Can you use it without a prescription or office visit?
  • Cost – Can you afford it?
  • Effectiveness – How well will it help you prevent pregnancy? You should choose the most effective method that meets your other criteria.
  • Partnership – Your partner’s support or lack of support may affect your choice of birth control.
  • Permanence – Do you want long-term birth control? Permanent sterilization? Tubal ligation (tubes tied) is considered permanent for women. Vasectomy is considered permanent for men. Essure® is a very popular minimally invasive method for permanent sterilization. Ask Dr. Hessel about it.
  • Prevention – Many birth control methods offer no protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Condoms and dental dams are the best choices for preventing STDs.

Come in for contraceptive counseling to discuss any of the following options with Dr. Hessel:

  • Oral medication (pills)
  • Patch
  • Nuvaring®
  • Depo-Provera shots
  • IUDs – copperT, Mirena® and Skyla®
  • Diaphragm
  • Sponges, condoms and spermicides that are easily available over the counter but may not provide the best protection

When you want contraceptive  counseling that’s highly personalized to you as an individual, call Barbara Hessel, MD, FACOG, at 718.275.7200 or 347.943.4371 from Manhattan, Queens (Rego Park, Kew Gardens, Forest Hills, Middle Village), Brooklyn and Long Island in Queens County, NY. You can also use our online Request an Appointment form. Enjoy the most attentive care you’ve ever had.