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Category Archives: Health Tips

When it comes to methods of contraception and your health, there are a multitude of options and approaches you can take in order to prevent an unwanted pregnancy, STD, or STI. However, you should always be aware of the effects of each individual contraceptive method, and how they will affect your health.

About two thirds of women in America utilize some form of birth control at some point in their lives. Options can range from something disposable like a condom, to something that has to be implemented into your daily or weekly routine such as birth control pills and birth control patches. There is also the option of the vaginal ring, which has to be replaced monthly, and a birth control shot that you must remember to go back and get every 3 months.

Last December, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a report on the present state of contraception, including which ones were the most common methods. The report is based upon statistics uncovered from the 2015–2017 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), which questioned 5,554 women about their birth control use in the previous month.

The reports showed the most popular contraceptive methods women choose. Female sterilization ranked at 18.6 percent, with the birth control following in popularity at 12.6 percent.  Implants and intrauterine devices (IUDs) came in at 10.3 percent, and male condoms at 8.7 percent. 

It is difficult to assume which method is best for you without consulting the right doctor to suit your needs and lifestyle. Dr. Ghea, a female obgyn in Fort Lauderdale, can help you pick the ideal method of contraception for your body and your preferences. Each kind of contraception requires individual testing and/or considerations prior to initiation. It is important to know the health risks of each type of contraception just as it is important to note that they do not protect you from STDs. Therefore, it is highly recommended to play it safe by regularly using condoms to lessen the risk.

If you decide to get started with the pill, it is essential for you to take your birth control pill daily, or you may not be protected from pregnancy. Take advantage of birth control reminder Apps on your phone, set alarms, or keep your pill pack next to items you use on a day-to-day basis (i.e. your toothbrush or phone charger) to help you remember.

Keep in mind that the hormones in the pill can alter your level of sexual desire. You may also experience spotting or bleeding between periods, sore breasts, nausea, or headaches. Most side effects of the pill typically go away after two or three months once your body has fully adjusted. Many people use the pill without any issues.

If you have a busy schedule and feel as if you might have a hard time keeping track of your pill dosage every day, you might want something more low-maintenance like IUDs. These take little-to-no thought on a daily basis, and there is no risk of missing a pill or shot.

Some women face side effects after getting an IUD. They generally go away in about 3–6 months, once your body gets accustomed to it in your uterus. Side effects may involve pain once the IUD is inserted, cramping or backaches a few days after getting it, spotting between periods, irregular periods, or heavier periods and worse menstrual cramps.

If you are unsure of which method of contraception is best for you and are searching for an obgyn in Plantation, Dr. Ghea is happy to assist you. Schedule an appointment with her at Westside OB/GYN Group, a Plantation obgyn office, by calling 954-473-2011.

As a female obgyn in Fort Lauderdale, Dr. Ghea makes it her goal to help empower women and educate them about their bodies, whether it simply be by providing essential health care tips, or advising them on how to prevent serious conditions, such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). With the right knowledge and women’s health tips, women can prevent and protect themselves from experiencing the repercussions of such a disease that affects the reproductive organs, and can ultimately cause problems when trying to get pregnant or during pregnancy, or result in long-lasting pelvic pain.

In 2013 alone, 88,000 women ages 14-44 were diagnosed with pelvic inflammatory disease. It is most often caused by bacteria from an untreated sexually transmitted infection, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea, traveling from the vagina or cervix into the reproductive organs. However, PIDs can also be a result of other non-sexually transmitted infections as well. One example of this is when bacteria travels into the reproductive organs because of douching, which refers to the washing or cleaning out the vagina with water and other fluids. This is not a doctor-recommended practice, so please refrain from this at all costs, as it can cause potential harm.

It can be hard for women to detect whether they have a pelvic inflammatory disease or not, because symptoms are not always completely obvious. However, when they do appear, they are difficult to ignore. The most common sign of pelvic inflammatory disease is pain the lower abdomen; additional symptoms include a fever of 100.4°F or higher, vaginal discharge with a foul odor, painful sex or urination, irregular menstrual periods, or in rare instances, pain in the upper right abdomen. Pelvic inflammatory disease can creep up on you out of nowhere, and bring with it severe pain and discomfort.

How can you protect yourself? The only way to truly avoid getting any kind of sexually transmitted infection, which is the most common cause of PID, is by refraining from sexual activity; however, that is not the case for most women. The best piece of advice is simple: be smart. If you are sexually active, follow these top three tips to keep yourself safe: use condoms, practice monogamy, and get tested. Reports of PID diagnosis has gone down in recent years due to what experts believe to be more and more women getting tested for STIs. One simple test can save you from lifetime of struggle. As mentioned earlier, it is also high recommended to stay away from douching, as this can remove some of the normal, protective bacteria that is in the vagina.

Pelvic inflammatory disease can be treated with antibiotics that will fight off the bacteria. Dr. Ghea, a top obgyn in Plantation, can prescribe this medication to you if you are diagnosed with PID. It is crucial for patients to finish the entire prescription, even if symptoms begin to subside or disappear, to ensure that the infection is completely cured. In some extreme cases, a hospital visit may be needed.

Left untreated, pelvic inflammatory disease can cause major problems such as infertility or ectopic pregnancy. Antibiotics can treat the disease, but if there has been internal damage done to any of your reproductive organs, it can not reverse them. If you suspect you may have pelvic inflammatory disease, and are looking for a female obgyn in Fort Lauderdale, Dr. Ghea is available to see patients at Westside OB/GYN Group, a Plantation obgyn office. Call 954-473-2011 to make an appointment.

Suffering from exterior dry skin is one thing, but suffering from interior vaginal dryness is a whole different issue. Vaginal dryness can be caused by a myriad of things, such as hormonal changes, stress, anxiety, and certain medications…

…and it can affect women of all ages.

Sure, there are ways to fight off these dry spells; hormone therapy, for instance, or various kinds of vaginal moisturizers and lubricants, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that vaginal dryness is frustrating, unpleasant, and disruptive to everyday life — especially if you are in a sexually active relationship.

Unfortunately, one of the main results of vaginal dryness is painful, uncomfortable sexual intercourse, which would explain why vaginal dryness is one of the most common reasons women might experience a decreased desire for sex, become less aroused, or just back away from the idea of intercourse in general. Although vaginal dryness shows no age discrimination, it’s most commonly seen in older woman who are going through perimenopause or menopause due to decreased levels of estrogen being produced in the body. This female hormone, estrogen, keeps vaginal tissue healthy and is a crucial component to the production of vaginal lubrication, tissue elasticity, and acidity. Aside from perimenopause and menopause, reduced estrogen levels in the body can also be caused by childbirth, breast-feeding, smoking cigarettes, immune disorders, effects on the ovaries from cancer therapy, ovary removal surgery, or use of anti-estrogen medication.

Treatment for vaginal dryness depends on the cause. Aside from the changes in hormones seen during perimenopause and menopause, additional causes include:

  1. Medicines such as those containing antihistamines or asthma medications, which can both have a drying effect on the body.
  2. Insufficient arousal caused by a low libido or sexual problems with your current partner.
  3. Irritants in soaps, hygiene products, dyes, and perfumes — even some lubricants can also contain allergen, so be aware of the ingredients in any vaginal products you are using.
  4. Anxiety, which results in insufficient blood flow, affecting the production of normal vaginal lubrication.

Luckily, there are ways to reverse this bothersome feeling. Some doctors may recommend treatments such as estrogen inserts for those who are suffering from reduced estrogen. For women who experience vaginal dryness coupled with hot flashes, oral medicines or skin patches that release estrogen may be the most helpful. A combination of both types of treatments can be used as well. If estrogen-based therapy is not your cup of tea, you can find relief from silicone-, oil-, and water-based lubricants, depending on your personal preference. While these lubricants will help make intercourse more comfortable, it is not a long-term treatment option. Over-the-counter vaginal moisturizers are an effective option for minimizing dryness for a prolonged period of time after just one use.

If you’re experiencing this uncomfortable sensation and need women’s health advice from a Fort Lauderdale obstetrician, Dr. Ghea is the female obgyn in Plantation you should reach out to. Call Westside OB/GYN Group at 954-473-2011 to book an appointment with Dr. Ghea, a top choice female obgyn in Fort Lauderdale.

Did you know that urinary tract infections are the cause of just over 8 million trips to a healthcare provider by women in the U.S. each year? You’ve likely experienced the wrath of a UTI — that burning, itching, uncomfortable sensation that makes you want to curl up in a ball and never leave your bed. Some women get them a lot worse than others, and some more frequently than others as well. What causes these frustrating, painful infections? While our body’s immune system generally does a good job at keeping away infections, those pesky germs sometimes still sneak through. A UTI is caused by bacteria (usually e. coli) that enters the urethra, sticks to the bladder wall and multiplies. The infection begins in the lower urinary tract, where the urethra and bladder are found, the areas that control urine in the body. Common symptoms of a UTI are pelvic pain, burning with urination, and an urgent or frequent need to urinate.

While women are the most likely to contract a UTI, men and children of all ages can also get them. Women are the most at risk because their urethra is much shorter than men’s, and the opening is much closer to the anus, which means that bacteria has a shorter distance to travel between the two areas on a woman than it does on a man. Other risk factors include being sexually active, as sexual intercourse can actually push bacteria into the urethra; being older and having gone through menopause, as lower levels of estrogen affect the levels of healthy, infection-fighting bacteria in the body; using diaphragms or spermicide-coated condoms; having trouble urinating, which can promote bacterial growth; having a kidney stone, or in men, an enlarged prostate; having diabetes or a weakened immune system; having prior UTIs; and using a catheter or having undergone a recent surgery or medical procedure involving the urinary tract.

Thankfully, there are many doctor-approved ways to avoid UTIs that Dr. Ghea, a female obgyn in Fort Lauderdale, both agrees with and recommends. These are important women’s health tips to follow if you want to prevent yourself from experiencing these common infections.

First and foremost, the most basic way to rid your body of bacteria in the bladder is by flushing it out before it can really set it and do its damage. Make sure to drink plenty of water, and if you need to go to the bathroom, don’t hold it in! Staying hydrated will help get you on a regular urination pattern, which will never allow bacteria to sit in the bladder and urinary tract for too long. This next tip may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many women don’t know to do this: wipe from front to back. The bacteria that most often causes a UTI is commonly found around the anus. Wiping from back to front, especially after a bowel movement, could bring along some severely unwanted friends. Stay away from any kind of feminine product that could be irritating too, such as douches, deodorant sprays, and scented powders.

It’s also important to make sure you wash before engaging in sexual intercourse, and urinate right afterward. Your method of birth control could also have an affect on whether or not you get a UTI. Diaphragms, spermicide or spermicide-lubricated condoms can all contribute to bacterial growth. If you experience frequent UTIs, consider switching to another birth control, and use a water-based lubricant if you suffer from any vaginal dryness.

If you are looking for an obgyn in Plantation, Dr. Ghea is available to see patients at Westside OB/GYN Group, a Plantation obgyn office. You can make an appointment by calling 954-473-2011 or using the request form online. Dr. Ghea is a Fort Lauderdale obstetrician with over 15 years of experience in the industry and a passion for bringing awareness to women’s health.

Are you suffering from uterine fibroids? These noncancerous growths, developed from the muscle tissue of the uterus, are most common in women ages 30-40, especially of African American descent, but could still occur at any age, in women of any nationality. Uterine fibroids vary in size, shape and location; they could be found inside the uterus, on the outside, within the uterine wall, or attached to it. Some women may only have one, and some may have multiple in varying shapes and sizes. They could start off small and increase in size at a fast pace, or grow much more slowly over a prolonged period of time.

Fibroids can cause a variety of symptoms in women, such as changes in their menstrual cycle including longer or more frequent, heavier periods, increased pain and cramps, vaginal bleeding not during menstruation, and anemia from this additional blood loss. Fibroids can also cause pain in the abdomen or lower back, pain during sexual intercourse, difficulty urinating or frequent urination, constipation, rectal pain or difficult bowel movements, abdominal cramps from an enlarged uterus and abdomen, and miscarriages — or fibroids may cause absolutely no symptoms at all. Fibroids could also cause infertility; however, other causes are more common, so be sure to check with your healthcare provider and consider other factors before settling. If fibroids are the culprit, most women are able to become pregnant after they have been treated.

As you can see, uterine fibroids have a mind of their own, which can make them a bit scary for women who have found out they have them through a routine pelvic exam, or perhaps through testing for another condition. Dr. Ghea, a female obgyn in Plantation, helps to make her patients feel at ease as they learn how to manage their uterine fibroids. She offers her best women’s health tips on how to treat these growths and the symptoms they cause.

Not all women with fibroids need treatment. For example, those who are in the clear include women who do not experience symptoms, those who only experience minor symptoms, or those who are closing in on menopause. Treatment is needed for women who experience heavy or painful menstrual periods that cause anemia or that disrupt a woman’s normal activities, bleeding between periods, uncertainty about whether the growth is a fibroid or another type of tumor, rapid increase in growth of the fibroid, infertility, or pelvic pain.

Treatment varies and can include things like drug therapy such as birth control pills or another type of hormonal control method to control heavy bleeding and painful periods, gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists to stop the menstrual cycle and shrink fibroids to reduce the risk of bleeding during surgery, or a progestin-release intrauterine device, which reduces heavy and painful bleeding, but does not actually treat the fibroids; it’s used for women who have fibroids that do not distort the inside of the uterus.

Surgeries, such as a myomectomy or hysterectomy, are also treatment options. A myomectomy removes the fibroids while leaving the uterus in place, which allows the woman to still potentially have children. While fibroids cannot regrow after surgery, new growths can occur, and more surgery may be needed. On the flipside, a hysterectomy actually involves removal of the woman’s uterus, which would mean the woman would not be able to have children post-surgery. This procedure is done as a last resort if other treatments haven’t worked, or the fibroids grow too large.

As a female obgyn in Fort Lauderdale and its surrounding area, Dr. Ghea is able to provide help and treatment to her patients who suffer from uterine fibroids. She is a top choice when it comes to Fort Lauderdale obstetricians, and always makes sure her patients feel comfortable when they visit her office. For those looking for a Plantation obgyn group, make an appointment with Dr. Ghea at Westside OB/GYN Group by calling 954-473-2011 or making a request online.

There comes a time in a woman’s life when childbirth and menstrual cycles are behind them, and while it might sound absolutely great to not have to worry about that annoying monthly friend’s visit, menopause can also be a scary thought. Menopause occurs when the ovaries stop making estrogen, the hormone that controls the menstrual cycle, and signifies the end of a woman’s reproductive years. This commonly happens around the age of 51, but the signs and symptoms can begin long before then. This is known as perimenopause, a time when women in their 30’s and 40’s may experience significant changes in their menstrual cycle such as shorter or longer cycles, a lighter or heavier blood flow, or maybe even no blood flow at all, as well as hot flashes, problems sleeping, and changes in the vagina and urinary tract such as vaginal dryness that causes pain during sex, increased occurrence of vaginal infections, more frequent urination, and increased risk of urinary tract infections.

Dr. Ghea, a female obgyn in Plantation, is here to help you navigate your way through perimenopause and menopause without worry. As a female obgyn in Fort Lauderdale and its surrounding area, she understands the importance of providing patients with the best women’s health tips on what to expect when it comes to menopause, and how to handle this intimate and personal transition in your life.

We’ve all heard a woman distressingly announce that she is going through menopause, and whether we are going through the same stage or not, it’s women-code to do and say whatever you can to help alleviate her discomfort. Some women may not experience any symptoms, some may only experience them slightly, and some severely. Thankfully, there are safe and effective ways to help relieve the symptoms of both perimenopause and menopause.

One of the most common treatments is hormone therapy, which involves taking a combination of estrogen and progestin; however, note that women who have had a hysterectomy cannot take the progestin, and would simply take the estrogen on its own. Estrogen comes in several forms, including pills, patches, gels and sprays; it can be taken separately or combined with progestin in the same pill or patch. Estrogen therapy, with or without progestin, is the best treatment for relief from hot flashes and night sweats, two of the most common symptoms that occur during perimenopause and menopause. It also helps relieve vaginal dryness, protects against the bone loss that occurs during early menopause, helps to prevent hip and spine fractures, and, when coupled with progestin, it also reduces the risk of colon cancer.

Some women may be uncomfortable with taking hormones, and in those cases there are many other options available. Antidepressants can help with hot flashes; and the anti seizure medication, Gabapentin, and blood pressure medication, clonidine, both help with hot flashes and sleep problems. Those looking for a more natural remedy can find relief in plants and herbs such as soy, black cohosh and other Chinese herbs; however, it is recommended that you speak with your healthcare provider before taking this route.For quick and easy relief, over-the-counter vaginal moisturizers and lubricants are a big help with the vaginal dryness and painful intercourse that women experience during menopause.

Now that we’ve given you the tools you need to help handle your perimenopause and menopause symptoms, there is no reason to fret during this emotional stepping stone in life. The best thing for you to do is to find an obgyn you can trust and feel comfortable around. If you are looking for a Fort Lauderdale obstetrician, Dr. Ghea sees patients at Westside OB/GYN Group, a Plantation obgyn practice. Appointments can be made by calling 954-473-2011 or online.

You thought those awful acne-filled teenage years were long gone, didn’t you? Unfortunately, acne is often an unpleasant side effect of pregnancy for many women. Just as it did back when you were that awkward thirteen-year-old, it comes upon us suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere. Even those who were lucky enough to evade the acne days of their youth may still see pesky pimples pop up during pregnancy. These changes in the skin are caused by the changes in hormones that occur during pregnancy. Health care providers may not always be able to determine the exact cause, which can be frustrating especially when there are many other emotional and physical changes going on in the mind and body at the same time.

Dr. Ghea, a female obgyn in Fort Lauderdale, is ready and available to address any of your concerns while dealing with pregnancy-induced acne. She can offer the best of the best in women’s health tips to get you through this uncomfortable skin condition, as sometimes it can actually be pretty painful. Skin problems are the last thing a pregnant woman should need to deal with. Thankfully, there are many treatment options, most of which can easily be taken care of right at home without visiting a doctor or disrupting your day-to-day routine.  

First and foremost, make sure to wash your face at least twice daily with a mild cleanser and lukewarm water. Washing your hair every day is also important, as well as keeping it away from your face, especially if it’s oily. As tempted as you may be to pick at or squeeze the pimples or sores, do not do this. It can cause scarring which could potentially look worse than the acne itself. If you wear makeup, look for products that are oil-free — and again, be sure to wash your face at the end of the day to ensure all makeup product has been taken off. If these simple at-home tips are not enough, over-the-counter products, such as those containing topical benzoyl peroxide, azelaic acid, topical salicylic acid or glycolic acid, are safe to use during pregnancy.

As far as prescription acne medication goes, there are some that should be avoided at all costs, as they can be harmful to the baby. You should steer clear of any medications that block specific hormones, as these can increase the risk of birth defects. Another medication to avoid is isotretinoin, a form of vitamin A that could cause severe birth defects in fetuses such as intellectual disabilities or life-threatening heart and brain defects. You should also stay away from oral tetracyclines, an antibiotic that can cause discoloration of the baby’s teeth if it is taken after the fourth month of pregnancy. It also can affect bone growth in the baby for as long as it’s taken. Topical retinoids are also forms of vitamin A like isotretinoin, but because it is topical and therefore applied on the skin rather than taken orally, the amount absorbed by the body is low. It is still recommended that use of this kind of medication be avoided during pregnancy however.

The moral of the story when it comes to medicinal treatment while pregnant is to always read labels and know exactly what is going into your body. You are growing another human being inside there, and it’s important to make sure you are just as aware of the effects a medication has on your baby, as you are aware about its effects on yourself.

Pregnancy is a major life event, and with that comes many side effects and symptoms that you may not know the underlying cause of, have questions about, or need treatment advice. Dr. Ghea, an obgyn in Plantation, has the answers for you. Keeping her patients informed and knowledgeable about things going inside and on their bodies, such as acne during pregnancy, is her job as a Fort Lauderdale obstetrician and she takes care to do it well.

If you are in need of a Plantation obgyn, you can schedule an appointment with Dr. Ghea at Westside OB/GYN Group by calling 954-473-2011 or requesting online.

Vaginal dryness: it may not be the most comfortable topic to talk about, and it most certainly is not comfortable to live with, but there are ways to combat the issue. Vaginal dryness is commonly known as vaginal atrophy, but experts agree that it should be referred to as Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause (GSM) since the condition occurs most often after menopause. It involves the thinning, drying, and inflammation of the vaginal wall due to the body having less estrogen in its system, which makes vaginal tissue thinner, drier, less elastic and more fragile. As we know, these drops in estrogen levels occur after menopause, but they also can happen also during the years leading up to menopause, after surgical removal of both ovaries, after pelvic radiation therapy or chemotherapy for cancer, or as a side effect of breast cancer hormonal treatment.

While the condition is common, it does not happen to all menopausal women. The Mayo Clinic suggests that regular sexual activity, both with or without a partner, can help a woman maintain healthy vaginal tissues, and thus, decrease her chances of developing GSM. Two additional factors that could contribute to the cause of GSM are smoking, which affects the blood circulation, resulting in vaginal and other tissues not getting enough oxygen, and also reducing the effects of naturally occurring estrogen in the body; and not having a vaginal birth, as research shows that women who have never given birth vaginally are more likely to develop GSM than those who have.

GSM can result in painful sexual intercourse, as well as burning, discharge, genital itching, light bleeding after sex, decreased vaginal lubrication during sexual activity and a shortening and tightening of the vaginal canal. Women who experience GSM are also more likely to have vaginal infections because of the imbalance of acid in the vagina, as well as urinary problems such as an increased frequency or urgency to urinate, a burning sensation during urination, or increased urinary tract infections or incontinence.

Dr. Ghea, a female obgyn in Plantation, is here to provide her best women’s health tips on how to combat this common, post-menopausal condition. If your vaginal dryness peaks during sexual intercourse, making it extremely uncomfortable and almost unbearable, there are many ways to help alleviate the pain and discomfort. Physicians recommend topical agents, such as over-the-counter vaginal creams or moisturizers including Replens®, Lubrin®, Sylk®, vitamin E vaginal suppositories, Astroglide®, Luvena®, K-Y Jelly®. There are also topical vaginal estrogen products available by prescription, which include a vaginal estrogen ring, tablet and cream. If you prefer to go the all natural route, oils such as grapeseed, olive, sweet almond, sunflower or coconut are all safe choices for lubricants.

There is also the option for laser treatment. Vaginal rejuvenation programs, such as the one offered at Johns Hopkins University, use laser therapy to address the problems associated with vaginal atrophy or GSM. This particular program is unique in that it uses a non-hormonal alternative for women who may be hormone-sensitive, such as breast or gynecologic cancer survivors, or women who simply don’t want to be exposed to estrogen therapy. This laser technology involves inserting carbon dioxide into the vagina in order to stimulate collagen and elastin, resulting in restored vaginal tissue and increased hydration. Side effects are minimal — temporary burning or discomfort from the probe insertion — and resolve themselves within a few days. It’s a relatively quick and easy procedure, including three treatments spaced six weeks apart that take no more than 7 minutes and there is no anesthesia needed.  

As a Fort Lauderdale obstetrician, Dr. Ghea is here to address all of your questions and concerns when it comes to vaginal dryness and the ways in which to treat the condition. If you are looking for a Plantation obgyn, Dr. Ghea can be found at Westside OB/GYN Group. Appointments can be made by calling 954-473-2011 or requesting online.