The Ob/Gyn Will See You Now :: 10 Reasons to Make an Appointment

This post is part of an editorial series, “Healthy Mama,” brought to you by the Fort Worth Moms Blog and Texas Health Care Privia Medical Group North Texas, which includes Dr. Elisabeth Wagner, Dr. Mickey Hooper, Dr. Bea Kutzler, Dr. Doug Decker, Dr. Jamie Erwin, Dr. Kathleen Cammack, Dr. Emily Maas, Dr. Jennifer McLeland, Dr. Lindsay Breedlove, Dr. Martha Guerra, Dr. Danielle Burkett, Dr. Robert Zwernemann, Dr. Jay Herd, Dr. Ingrid Kohlmorgen, and Dr. Martin Read. We hope these pieces provide you with helpful information, encouragement, and answers as you make decisions for your own health.

Disclaimer :: “The Ob/Gyn Will See You Now :: 10 Reasons to Make an Appointment” is brought to you by Texas Health Care. 

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Let’s be honest. Going to your obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) is never at the top of your list of things to do. It’s uncomfortable, it’s personal, and it can be scary — not to mention the long wait times that seem inevitable when she is delivering a baby who decided to be born at the exact time of your appointment. But the truth is, she has a lot to offer you during every life stage and is a valuable source of information, guidance, and treatment for your reproductive and sexual health.

Here are 10 reasons you should call her today.

woman sad looking up, depressed, thinking
Photo by Eunice Lituañas on Unsplash

You Can’t Remember to Take Your Pill

You have tried taking it first thing in the morning. You have tried taking it at night before bedtime. Alarms on your phone don’t even help you remember. You are a busy woman between work, family, significant other, children, friends, exercise, self-care . . . .

Taking a pill every day can be difficult. Good news! There are other options, including long-acting reversible contraceptives like intra-uterine devices (IUDs) that can make your life easier and are more effective at preventing pregnancy. There are several different IUDs available that vary based on size and active ingredient. Consult with your OB/GYN today to see if you are a good candidate for an IUD. Birth control pills have many benefits, but only if you can remember to take them every day.

Your Periods Are a Problem

Maybe it’s the painful cramps. Maybe the flow is heavy and leaving you feeling drained and fatigued. Perhaps your menstrual cycle has no regularity at all. If it has become more than just an inconvenience and is now affecting your quality of life, it is time to stop suffering month after month. Your doctor can discuss a variety of treatments that can help with painful cramps, heavy flow, and cycle regularity.

Photo by Eric Muhr on Unsplash.

Sex Hurts

Sexual intercourse should be a pleasurable experience, but sometimes pain occurs. Your doctor can help identify and treat the most common causes like ovarian cysts, inflammation, vaginismus (involuntary vaginal muscle spasms), or vaginal atrophy occurring after menopause. An examination and perhaps a transvaginal pelvic sonogram can be useful. Sometimes pelvic floor physical therapy is indicated. If you wonder if your sex life could be more enjoyable, call your doctor today.

Your Hot Flashes Are Unbearable

You can’t seem to get any relief, no matter how many cold showers you take. The hot flashes are intense and severe, and they are affecting your daily life. Menopause officially begins after 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period. The average age of menopause is 51, but symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats can start five to 10 years before the periods stop.

Other menopausal symptoms include mood changes, insomnia, vaginal dryness, and low libido. Hormone replacement therapy remains a mainstay of treatment. Your doctor can also discuss non-hormonal options as well as lifestyle modifications that can ease the transition into menopause.

You Have Bleeding After Menopause

If you have gone 12 months or more without a period, then you are officially in menopause. Any bleeding, no matter how light, after that is abnormal and deserves attention by your OB/GYN. Typically, a transvaginal pelvic sonogram and an endometrial biopsy are performed as part of the work-up for postmenopausal bleeding.

You Notice a Change in Your Breast

It is important to know how your breasts normally look and feel. Self-breast awareness is knowing what is normal for your breasts. Changes that should be reported to your doctor include:

  • A lump, hard knot, or thickening within the breast or armpit.
  • Swelling, warmth, or redness.
  • Change in size or shape.
  • Dimpling, puckering, or other skin changes.
  • Nipple retracting or discharge.
  • New pain in one spot that does not resolve.

Your Vaginal Discharge Has Changed

Maintaining the pH balance of the vagina is essential to keeping it healthy. Prolonged bleeding, douching, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), antibiotics, decreased estrogen levels, and semen can alter the pH. If you notice a foul vaginal odor, vaginal irritation or itching, or a lesion, sore or new bump on the vulva or vagina call your doctor. She can test for and treat conditions such as bacterial vaginosis, yeast infection, and STIs.

lady, positive pregnancy testYou Are Ready to Start Your Family

Seeing your OB/GYN before you conceive can be a valuable experience. She can review any medications you might be taking and make any necessary changes that will be safe once you conceive. Confirming immunizations are up to date is also recommended.

This is also a perfect time to discuss carrier screening, which is a type of genetic test that can tell if you carry a gene for certain genetic disorders like cystic fibrosis. When done before pregnancy, it allows you to find out your chances of having a child with a genetic disorder.

It Is Time for Your Well Woman Exam

Even though guidelines have changed regarding the frequency of performing Pap smears, it is still recommended to have a yearly well woman visit. This visit includes thorough screening, physical examination with a breast and pelvic exam, counseling, and possible lab testing. Pap smears are done for cervical cancer screening and in low-risk patients are recommended every three years from ages 21-29 and every five years with HPV testing for those ages 30-65. The well woman visit is not a problem visit, so be sure that this is scheduled during a time when you are in fact truly well.

You Are Pregnant

Congrats! It is going to be an exciting 40 weeks, and your doctor can’t wait to walk alongside you on this journey. You will have questions, fears, concerns, doubts, and hopes. It might just be the hardest thing you have ever done, and you will need a brilliant, compassionate, patient, kind OB/GYN to take good care of you and your baby. Give her a call.

Dr Jamie Erwin family photoDr. Jamie Lin Walker Erwin was raised in Fort Worth and is thrilled to be practicing medicine in her beloved hometown. A graduate of R.L. Paschal High School, followed by the University of Arkansas and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dr. Erwin completed her obstetrics and gynecology residency at the University of Alabama Birmingham in 2012. She is a life member of Alpha Omega Alpha National Honor Medical Society and a member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Medical Association. She became board-certified in 2014. An accomplished athlete, Dr. Erwin was the 1998 Davey O’Brien High School Scholar Athlete award winner and in college; she was an NCAA Division 1 Track and Field All-American in the heptathlon. Dr. Erwin now enjoys spinning, yoga, and running along Trinity Trails with her dog, Lucy. Other interests include fishing on the Texas Gulf Coast, cooking, and spending time with family. Dr. Erwin has been married to her husband, Charlie, for almost 13 years and has two young children — Georgia (age seven) and Henry (age three). Dr. Erwin is part of Texas Health Care Privia Medical Group North Texas.


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