by Barbara Anne Hessel MD | May 10, 2023 | Gynecology, Obstetrics, Women's Health
A late period can cause panic and anxiety. While pregnancy can be a cause, there are other medical reasons to be concerned, whether you are trying to get pregnant, not sexually active, or have a female partner. But before you jump to conclusions and assume the worst, take a deep breath and consider that there could be other factors at play.
Today, we’ll explore the possible causes for a late period that aren’t pregnancy-related.
Stress is a significant factor that can affect your menstrual cycle. When you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol, a hormone that can interfere with the release of other hormones responsible for regulating your period. High stress levels can cause an imbalance in these hormones, leading to a late or missed period. If you suspect stress is the cause, try incorporating stress-reduction techniques such as yoga, meditation, or journaling into your daily routine.
2. Weight Fluctuations
Sudden weight gain or loss can impact your menstrual cycle, as your body needs a certain amount of body fat to produce hormones that regulate your period. Losing a significant amount of weight in a short period or being underweight can cause your body to stop producing these hormones, resulting in irregular periods or missed periods altogether. On the other hand, being overweight can cause hormonal imbalances, leading to irregular periods as well. Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise is essential for a regular menstrual cycle.
3. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects 1 in 10 women of reproductive age. It causes small cysts to form on the ovaries, leading to hormonal imbalances that can result in irregular periods. If you have other symptoms of PCOS, such as excessive hair growth, acne, or weight gain, it’s essential to consult your healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
4. Thyroid Issues
Your thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in your neck that regulates your metabolism. An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) or an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can cause hormonal imbalances that impact your menstrual cycle. If you suspect thyroid issues might be causing your late period, consult your healthcare provider for an evaluation and appropriate treatment.
5. Birth Control Changes
Starting or stopping hormonal birth control can impact your menstrual cycle. It’s common for your body to take some time to adjust to the new hormone levels, which can lead to a late period. Similarly, if you’ve recently stopped using hormonal birth control, it might take a few months for your body to re-establish its natural hormonal balance and regular menstrual cycle.
Intense physical activity can affect your menstrual cycle, especially if you’re not consuming enough calories to support your energy expenditure. Over-exercising can cause a decrease in body fat, leading to hormonal imbalances that result in irregular or missed periods. Ensure you’re eating a balanced diet and getting enough rest to support your training regimen to maintain a healthy menstrual cycle.
A recent illness or infection can also cause a late period. When your body is fighting off an infection, it can divert resources away from reproductive functions, resulting in a temporary delay in your menstrual cycle. Once your body has recovered, your period should return to its regular schedule.
If you’re experiencing a late period and are confident that pregnancy isn’t the cause, consider these factors that could be impacting your menstrual cycle. Remember that it’s always essential to consult a healthcare provider to discuss any concerns or changes in your menstrual cycle, as some issues may require medical intervention. Regular check-ups and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help ensure a regular and healthy menstrual cycle!
Barbara A. Hessel, MD. FACOG is a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist offering the services patients need to maintain good health at all times. If you are looking for an in-office or online telemedicine consultation, schedule an appointment with us today.
by Barbara Anne Hessel MD | Apr 13, 2023 | Women's Health
Breast exams are an important part of women’s healthcare routine. They are used to detect any abnormalities in the breast tissue and identify any potential signs of breast cancer. If you are planning to have a breast exam, there are several things that you should know to prepare yourself for the procedure.
In the first part of this guide, we cover the basics of breast exams, including tips for preparing yourself with the exam proper. Here are some things you need to know.
Understand the Types of Breast Exams
There are three types of breast exams: self breast exams, clinical breast exams and mammograms. Self breast exams are performed by the patient herself. The best time to perform a breast self exam is right after the period, or pick a date that’s easy to remember.
Clinical breast exams are typically performed by a healthcare provider during a physical exam. During the exam, the provider will feel for any lumps or abnormalities in the breast tissue.
Mammograms are a type of imaging test that uses X-rays to create images of the breast tissue. Mammograms are typically recommended for women over the age of 40, or for women who are at higher risk for breast cancer.
Know When to Schedule Your Exam
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommends that women receive a clinical breast exam at least once every three years starting at the age of 20. Women who are at higher risk for breast cancer may need to have more frequent exams.
If you have a family history of breast cancer, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider about your risk factors and when you should start having regular breast exams.
Prepare for Your Exam
Before your exam, there are a few things you can do to prepare yourself. Wear comfortable clothing that is easy to remove, as you may need to undress from the waist up for the exam.
Avoid wearing any lotions, perfumes, or deodorants on the day of the exam, as these products can interfere with the results. If you are having a mammogram, bring any previous images with you to the appointment.
During Your Exam
During your exam, your healthcare provider will ask you about your medical history and any symptoms you may be experiencing. They will then perform a physical exam, feeling for any lumps or abnormalities in the breast tissue.
If you are having a mammogram, you will be asked to stand in front of a machine while a technician takes images of your breast tissue. The procedure is typically painless, but some women may experience mild discomfort or pressure.
Understanding the Results
After your exam, your healthcare provider will review the results with you. If any abnormalities or lumps are detected, your provider may order further testing, such as a biopsy, to determine if the tissue is cancerous.
If the results are normal, you will typically be advised to continue with regular breast exams and mammograms as recommended.
Breast exams are an important part of women’s healthcare. They can help detect any abnormalities in the breast tissue and identify early signs of breast cancer. By staying informed and taking an active role in your healthcare, you can help ensure that you are doing everything you can to maintain your breast health. In part 2 of this guide, we will discuss the importance of breast exams and additional health implications.
When it comes to breast health, you can trust Barbara A. Hessel, MD. FACOG. We are an OBGYN clinic in Forest Hills, NY that can help you assess your overall well-being. Get in touch with us today to learn how.
by Barbara Anne Hessel MD | Apr 6, 2023 | Women's Health
Hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of the uterus and sometimes the cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. While the procedure can alleviate various medical conditions, many women have several questions and concerns when considering this surgery. This article aims to answer some of the most common questions about hysterectomy, including the conditions it can treat, the types of hysterectomy, the risks and benefits, the recovery process, and sexual function.
What Conditions Can Hysterectomy Treat?
Hysterectomy can effectively treat several medical conditions, such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis, pelvic prolapse, and certain types of cancer. It can also be a solution for women who experience heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding, chronic pelvic pain, or other symptoms that do not respond to other treatments.
What Are the Types of Hysterectomies?
1. Total Hysterectomy
Total hysterectomy involves the removal of the uterus and cervix. This is the most common type of hysterectomy and is usually recommended for women with cancer, endometriosis, or fibroids that are causing symptoms.
2. Partial Hysterectomy
Partial hysterectomy involves the removal of the uterus only. This type of hysterectomy is usually recommended for women with fibroids or endometriosis and have no history of abnormal pap smears.
3. Radical Hysterectomy
Radical hysterectomy involves the removal of the uterus, cervix, upper part of the vagina, and sometimes nearby lymph nodes and tissue. This type of hysterectomy is usually recommended for women with cervical or uterine cancer.
Oophorectomy involves the removal of one or both ovaries. This procedure may be performed in conjunction with a hysterectomy or alone. Oophorectomy is usually recommended for women with ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or other conditions that affect the ovaries.
Salpingo-oophorectomy involves the removal of both ovaries and fallopian tubes. This procedure may be performed in conjunction with a hysterectomy or on its own. A salpingo-oophorectomy is usually recommended for women with ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or other conditions that affect the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
What Are the Risks and Benefits of Hysterectomy?
Like any surgical procedure, a hysterectomy carries some risks, such as bleeding, infection, damage to nearby organs, and complications from anesthesia. However, the benefits of a hysterectomy can outweigh these risks, especially if a woman has a medical condition that significantly impacts her quality of life. Hysterectomy can relieve pain, bleeding, and discomfort and improve sexual function and overall well-being.
What Is the Recovery Process Like?
Recovery from a hysterectomy can vary depending on the type of surgery and the individual’s health and lifestyle. Women who have a laparoscopic hysterectomy might be discharged from the hospital the same day, while women having an abdominal hysterectomy might stay in the hospital for a few days. Full recovery may take two to eight weeks. During this time, a woman may experience pain, cramping, and vaginal bleeding and should avoid lifting heavy objects or engaging in strenuous activities. It is also essential to follow any postoperative instructions from the surgeon and attend all follow-up appointments.
Hysterectomy can be a life-changing procedure for many women, but it is crucial to understand the risks, benefits, and recovery process before undergoing this surgery. Women should discuss their medical history, symptoms, and options with their doctors and carefully weigh the pros and cons. With the right information and support, women can make an informed decision about hysterectomy and take steps to improve their health and well-being.
Book an appointment today with Barbara Hessel, MD, FACOG, an experienced board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist serving patients in the Forest Hills, NY, area for over 25 years. Dr. Hessel is an esteemed American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists member and a recipient of the Special Excellence in Endoscopic Procedures award. Trust in her expertise for all your OBGYN needs.
by Barbara Anne Hessel MD | Mar 28, 2023 | Women's Health
As the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) steadily increases, it’s becoming increasingly important for individuals to be aware of the risks associated with unprotected sex and to consider regular STD and STI testing.
While it’s possible to contract an STD or STI without any visible signs or symptoms, it’s necessary to be aware of the potential risks and to take the steps needed to ensure your sexual health.
Here are the reasons why considering regular STD and STI testing is essential:
1. Early Detection
When you are sexually active, getting tested for STDs and STIs is vital. This will help you know if you have an infection and, if so, to start treatment as soon as possible. Early detection can help reduce the risk of severe health complications, such as infertility, organ damage, and even death.
Regular STD testing and treatment for women’s annual exams can help to protect your sexual partners from the potential risks of an STD or STI. If you know that you’ve been tested recently and that you don’t have any active infections, you can be confident that you’re not putting your partners at risk.
3. Peace of Mind
Regular testing can provide peace of mind that you are not unknowingly carrying an infection that could put your sexual partners at risk. Knowing your status and that you are taking the necessary steps to protect your sexual health can grant you the peace of mind to enjoy your sexual relationships with confidence.
Regular testing can help reduce the risk of contracting an STD or STI in the first place. You can take the necessary steps to ensure that you are engaging in safe sex and taking the appropriate precautions to reduce your risk of infection.
Regular testing can help to raise awareness of the risks of unprotected sex and the importance of seeking regular testing. It can also reduce the stigma of seeking testing and encourage more people to consider testing as part of their healthy lifestyle.
How Often Should You Get STD and STI Testing?
All sexually active individuals should seek regular STD and STI testing. It is recommended that adults get tested at least once a year or more frequently if they have multiple partners or have had unprotected sex. Even if you are living in a monogamous relationship, getting tested regularly is essential to ensure both partners’ health.
Early detection of STDs and STIs is essential for maintaining sexual health. Regular testing can help detect any potential infections early on and allow for prompt treatment, reducing the risk of long-term complications. Speaking to your doctor is crucial to determine which tests are best for you and how often you should get tested.
Getting tested for STDs and STIs is essential in protecting your health and the health of your sexual partners. Regular STD testing and treatment for women’s annual exams can help to identify any infections you may have and allow you to take steps to prevent them from spreading. If you or you recognize someone sexually active, getting tested regularly and taking steps to protect yourself and your partner is vital. Remember, early detection is critical to successful treatment and prevention.
Barbara Hessel, MD, FACOG, is a highly experienced and qualified obstetrician/gynecologist who has provided exceptional care to Forest Hills, NY. She specializes in various services for women’s health, including STD testing and treatment, women’s annual exams, and more. With her extensive experience and knowledge, Dr. Hessel can provide her patients with the highest quality of care. If you are looking for a knowledgeable and experienced specialist in STD testing, contact us today.
by Barbara Anne Hessel MD | Mar 6, 2023 | Gynecology, Women's Health
A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of the uterus, and sometimes the ovaries and fallopian tubes as well. It is one of the most common gynecological surgeries and is done for a variety of reasons, including uterine fibroids and endometriosis.
While it is major surgery, it can be life-saving for women who have a condition that cannot be adequately managed with other treatments. Here are the top 8 common reasons why you may need a hysterectomy:
1. Uterine Fibroids: Uterine Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop in the uterus. They can cause heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, and even infertility. A hysterectomy can be used to remove the fibroids and alleviate the symptoms associated with them.
2. Endometriosis: Endometriosis occurs when the lining of the uterus (endometrium) grows outside of the uterus. This can cause severe pain, abnormal bleeding, and difficulty getting pregnant. A hysterectomy can help to remove the endometrial tissue and alleviate these symptoms.
3. Adenomyosis: Adenomyosis is a condition where the endometrial tissue grows into the muscular wall of the uterus. This can cause heavy and painful periods, as well as pelvic pain. A hysterectomy is often recommended to remove the affected tissue and alleviate the symptoms.
4. Uterine Prolapse: Uterine prolapse occurs when the muscles and ligaments that support the uterus become weak or stretched, causing it to slip down into the vagina. A hysterectomy can be used to remove the uterus and restore its normal position.
5. Uterine Cancer: Uterine cancer is the most common type of gynecologic cancer. A hysterectomy is often recommended to remove the cancerous tissue and reduce the risk of recurrence.
6. Severe Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID): Severe pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the reproductive organs, and it can lead to scarring, infertility, and chronic pelvic pain. Symptoms of PID may include fever, pain during intercourse, and abnormal vaginal discharge. If PID is left untreated, it can lead to serious complications
7. Endometrial Hyperplasia: Endometrial hyperplasia is a condition in which the endometrium, the inner lining of the uterus, becomes abnormally thick. This can lead to a variety of symptoms, including abnormal vaginal bleeding, severe pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and infertility.
8. Abnormal Bleeding: Abnormal bleeding is one of the most common symptoms of endometrial hyperplasia. Bleeding may be heavier or longer than usual, and it may occur between periods or after menopause. If the bleeding is heavy enough to cause anemia, it’s important to seek medical attention.
What Are the Methods in Performing Hysterectomy
A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure in which the uterus and other reproductive organs are removed. It is an important treatment option for women suffering from various conditions, such as uterine cancer. There are several methods for performing a hysterectomy, and the best option for a patient will depend on their individual situation.
The most common type of hysterectomy is abdominal hysterectomy. This hysterectomy is performed by making a single incision in the abdominal wall and then removing the uterus through this incision. Abdominal hysterectomy is typically used for women who have a large uterus or have a condition that makes it difficult to perform a vaginal or laparoscopic hysterectomy.
Another option is a laparoscopic hysterectomy, in which several small incisions are made in the abdomen and the uterus is removed through these incisions. Laparoscopic hysterectomies typically require a shorter hospital stay and shorter recovery time than abdominal hysterectomies.
In some cases, a vaginal hysterectomy may be an option. During this procedure, the uterus is removed through the vagina without making any incisions. This type of hysterectomy is usually only recommended for women who have a uterus that has not grown too large.
No matter which type of hysterectomy is chosen, it is important for patients to talk to their doctor about all of the risks and benefits of each method. A patient’s individual situation and medical history will help determine which type of hysterectomy is the best option.
Hysterectomies may sometimes be necessary to treat a range of medical conditions. Although it’s a major procedure, you may find that the potential benefits outweigh the risks when your doctor has carefully gone through the options with you. In the end, a hysterectomy might just be the best way to get you back to your happy, healthy self. So if you’re experiencing any of the top 8 common reasons why you may need a hysterectomy, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about it—there may be a much simpler solution than you think!
Are you looking for a certified gynecologist in Forest Hills, NY? If so, Barbara A. Hessel, MD. FACOG is your best option. We understand the importance of finding a trusted and knowledgeable gynecologist. That’s why we provide our patients with the highest level of care and attention, ensuring that all of their needs are met. With our extensive experience, we are well-versed in all aspects of gynecology, including obstetrics, infertility, menopause, and adolescent gynecology. We also offer a full range of gynecological procedures, such as hysterectomies, endometrial ablation, and laparoscopic sterilization. Plus, we provide treatments for gynecological conditions, including endometriosis, fibroids, and pelvic pain. Let us provide you with all of your gynecological needs. Schedule an appointment with us today!
by Barbara Anne Hessel MD | Mar 6, 2023 | Women's Health
Breast exams are an important part of a woman’s healthcare routine. Regular breast exams help to detect any changes in the breasts that may indicate a problem. Knowing how often to get a breast exam can help to ensure that any potential issues are caught early on and treated promptly.
Breast Examination Recommendations
Several variables affect how frequently you should undergo a breast exam. Self-examination is a skill that every woman should master and practice at least once a month in her own home. A certified specialist must conduct additional testing. A professional exam should be performed periodically depending on your age and risk.
Examinations for Breast Cancer Screening
A clinical breast exam (CBE) analysis is performed by a qualified medical expert who has received specialized training. It would help to have this checked every time you visit the doctor for a gynecological exam. You will get a CBE each year if you get a yearly checkup.
Your breast tissue, the area under your arms, and the region rising toward your collarbone will be examined by your doctor, nurse practitioner, or another qualified medical professional. They encourage you to adopt a new stance to explore the tissue from numerous perspectives.
Mammograms are used to detect and screen for breast cancer. This imaging examination is capable of finding anomalies, lumps, and cancers. This test can detect malignant tissue in women who would not typically exhibit any overt indications of abnormal breast tissue.
Breast cancer is screened for with a mammogram, a type of diagnostic X-ray imaging. One of the most crucial instruments for early diagnosis is the mammogram. Your breast tissue will be compressed and flattened during this test between two firm surfaces. The X-ray takes pictures of the tissues and sends them to a viewing screen so the doctor may examine them.
Using radio waves and magnets, a machine called an MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, produces exact images of breast tissues. This test is routinely used to look for pre-existing tumors and find breast cancer.
An MRI is advised for those whose lifetime chance of developing breast cancer is less than 15%. Whether an MRI is required for your tests will be decided by your doctor.
Your doctor or a sonographer can use an in-office ultrasound to identify the size and shape of any suspected breast lumps. This early diagnostic technique makes it possible to establish whether a lump is a benign cyst or a malignancy. An ultrasound may help check on symptoms, changes, or existing masses.
You won’t need a breast ultrasound unless you see lumps or other abnormalities in your breast tissue. Although it is not necessary for all women, this is a vital tool for assessing breast tissue.
Greater Risk of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is more likely to affect some women than others. A higher risk necessitates regular testing, even though it does not prevent cancer development. The increased danger is only made worse by age. Risk elements for breast cancer include:
- Having received chest radiation therapy
- A propensity for breast cancer in one’s family
- Possessing a genetic mutation (BRCA 1 or BRCA 2, CDH1, Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba Syndrome), which is linked to breast cancer
If you think you might have a higher risk of breast cancer, contact an experienced doctor in Forest Hills, NY. We can provide knowledgeable suggestions and counsel for your testing strategy. Aside from mammograms, confident women can also require MRIs.
The advantages of early breast cancer detection include better quality of life, more treatment options, and higher survival rates. Routine screenings can significantly affect how your treatment and life progress after the first breast cancer diagnosis, even though no test is 100% accurate for detecting the disease.
Barbara Hessel, MD, FACOG, has been a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist for over 25 years. Book an appointment now for a breast exam!