All Articles Tagged "cervical cancer"
Q: Hello doctor, I have the worst cramps in the history of cramps when I’m on my period. Over the counter medicine doesn’t cut it anymore. What do you recommend?
A: About 50 to 90 percent of women who still have menstrual cycles experiences this type of pain, so a lot of us can relate to your pain! Great news, though, as you increase in age, some of you may stop experiencing cramps all together. Until then, here is the 411 on painful menstrual cramps.
What causes this? Well, hormones in your body, the same ones that happen during labor, are the major culprits. In fact, during the time you are experiencing this pain, you are actually having contractions! The same kind of contractions you would have when giving birth to a child, in fact, so this is a normal thing.
Menstrual cramps usually go away with over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen (Advil is its brand name), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn) or ketoprofen (Orudis). It is best to start using these medications before the start of your menstrual cycle and continue as needed. If one kind of medication does not relieve the pain, then try another because these medications don’t work the same in everyone. Placing a heating pad on your lower belly or massaging the back and lower belly can also help. Exercising on a regular basis has also been found to help in reducing menstrual cramps. Yoga, acupuncture, and even having orgasms (you heard right) may also help.
What happens if I have tried all that and it still does not go away? Well, this may not be simple cramps then. Other conditions can be causing this extreme pain, like an infection, fibroids, or even the use of intrauterine devices (IUDs). Symptoms like pain with sex or abnormal bleeding usually are signs that this is not simple cramps. In this case, you should talk with your doctor about this. Your doctor can examine you and conduct tests to look for reasons why you are experiencing such pain; he or she can also prescribe medications like contraceptives or other pain medications to stop and/or relieve the cramps.
Disclaimer: The information contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader. It is not to be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion between you and your physician. Please consult your physician for further information in regards to your own general care. Knowledge is power! Be informed.
When it comes to maintaining our sexual health, the odds are already stacked against us just for being female. STIs can cause a lot of complication in anyone’s life, but for women especially, STIs can cause complications and irreversible damage that simply just won’t occur in the lives of our male counterparts. Take a look at the list below for several facts that give women a disadvantage when it comes to practicing safe sex:
The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is an infection that typically shows up on one pap smear and is gone by the next without any threat to a woman’s health, but researchers are finding that the infection tends to last longer in college-aged black women and this lingering could lead to a higher risk of cervical cancer.
“African American women are more likely to have persistent high-risk HPV infection,” said study author Kim Creek, vice-chair and professor of pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences at South Carolina College of Pharmacy, in Charleston.
“If you are infected [with HPV], your body recognizes it as a viral infection and usually clears the virus within one or two years,” he said. “It is those women who have difficulty clearing it that are at higher risk of cervical disease and cervical cancer.”
The researchers assessed HPV infection and persistence in college-age women enrolled at the University of South Carolina beginning in 2004, and followed the women throughout their college years. HPV status was evaluated every six months in Pap test samples from 326 white women and 113 black women.
The rate of new high-risk HPV infection was similar between the two groups of women, but at any visit, black women were 1.5 times more likely to test positive for high-risk HPV infection. About 56 percent of black women were also still infected with the virus two years after they were first diagnosed, compared with 24 percent of white women.
Creek is unsure why black women have difficulty clearing the virus from their bodies but he said, “We think that it likely has something to do with the immune system.” He added that black women are 40 percent more likely to develop cervical cancer and two times more likely to die from the disease than European or American white women. This study suggest that the difference may not just be a result of lack of access to medical care but that there may be a biological basis behind the varying rates. Considering how much is at stake for black women who become infected with HPV, Creek said the HPV vaccine may be even more beneficial in this population.
While this study certainly warrants further investigation, Dr. Diana Contreras, director of gynecologic oncology at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, said it’s too soon to determine how to to effectively handle HPV in black women:
“We are beginning to understand that HPV may behave differently in different ethnic groups,” she said. “This study is very provocative, but the jury is still out on screening and treatment, and we have to be careful about drawing too many conclusions.”
Until researchers come up with a more definitive approach, it seems skipping an annual pap smear may not be as applicable to black women. If anything, we might need to be even more diligent about gynecologic testing.
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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The year 2011 should be about living your best life–and being your healthiest. Part of that is making sure you regularly visit your gynecologist. When visiting the gynecologist, black women (and women in general) sometimes get embarrassed or self-conscious about asking questions. As a woman, I understand the feeling. But as a doctor, I urge you to put those fears of judgement and embarrassment aside. Black women need to be open about health questions because we do have a higher incidence of medical conditions when compared to women of other races. Your gynecologist is looking out for your best interest and health, and so am I. So don’t be afraid to voice your health questions and/or concerns. Take control of your health in 2011. Here are 10 questions you must ask your gynecologist in 2011.