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Gynecological health information

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Infertility

Infertility occurs when a woman cannot conceive after a year of trying. One-third of all infertility cases is caused by male factors; one-third is due to unknown factors or a combination of the two partners; one-third is due to female problems with ovulation or an issue with the fallopian tubes. At the Novant Health Maya Angelou Women's Health & Wellness Center, our gynecology and obstetrics partners can help women with infertility concerns assess a plan of treatment.

Menopause

Often called the change of life, menopause signals the end of a women's ability to have children. Menopause occurs when a woman stops having menstrual periods and is usually said to be completed when there are no periods for a full year.

Menopause occurs naturally at an average age of 51, but it can be surgically triggered at any age if the ovaries are removed.

Women may experience both physical and psychological symptoms during menopause. Each woman has a different experience with symptoms lasting a few weeks or several years. These symptoms may come and go at any time:

  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Hot flashes
  • Dry skin
  • Night sweats and disturbed sleep patterns
  • Vaginal dryness
  • More frequent urination or leakage or urine
  • More frequent minor vaginal or urinary infections.

Psychological symptoms include:

  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Tearfulness, irritability
  • Less desire for sex
  • Lack of concentration
  • More trouble remembering things.
Hormone replacement therapy

Of all the health choices you face as you approach menopause, whether to use hormone-replacement therapy is an individual choice that should be made with your physician with consideration of the risks and benefits for your individual situation.

What is urinary incontinence?

Don't endure the embarrassment of an overactive bladder. A woman suffering with bladder issues will wait seven years, on average, before seeking help for urinary incontinence (a problem sometimes associated with childbirth, menopause or aging). Are you experiencing bladder control problems when you run, laugh or sneeze? Talk to us. You will have confidential access to a personal continence counselor who will evaluate your situation and connect you with our expert physicians. You and your physician will discuss all of the available treatment options, from lifestyle changes and special exercises to specific medications, medical devices, or surgery, and choose the one right for you.

More than 20 million Americans suffer from one of these three types of incontinence: stress, urge, or overflow.

Stress incontinence is the most common type and occurs when pressure inside the bladder is greater than the pressure around the urethra. Because the tissue that surround and support the urethra is weakened, urine leakage can occur with coughing, laughing, sneezing, or physical activity.

Urge incontinence occurs when the muscle wall of the bladder is overactive or goes into spasm. This leads to loss or leakage of urine.

With overflow incontinence, the bladder does not completely empty during normal urination. This condition can occur when the muscle walls of the bladder are underactive—resulting in frequent leakage in small amounts.

Treatments for urinary incontinence can include exercise, rehabilitation, behavioral or dietary changes, medication, urinary control products or, in some cases, surgery.

Pelvic prolapse

Pelvic prolapse is a loss of tissue support in the pelvis. This tissue weakness causes the bladder, uterus, or rectum to bulge into the vagina. In extreme cases, the bulging tissue can push through the vaginal opening.

Symptoms of pelvic prolapse can occur quickly but usually develops over time. Pressure in the vagina, particularly when standing for long periods of time or with straining, is typical. At times, this can be associated with lower back pain. Prolapse can occur in young women but is more common in post-menopausal women. This is a result of changes in hormone levels following menopause causing the ligaments and muscles of the pelvis to weaken and become less elastic.