Top 3 Questions You’re Embarrassed to Ask Your OB-GYN

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For first-time and veteran mothers alike, pregnancy can bring up a variety of questions that might feel a little awkward asking out loud. The good news is that most women have had those same questions at some point and that there are answers from trained professionals.

 

Here are some questions about pregnancy you may have wanted to ask but felt too nervous to do so:

 

How Likely Is a Bowel Movement During Delivery?

This fear comes up frequently with new mothers, to the point where they can become so fixated on not having a bowel movement that it inhibits their ability to push.

 

It’s actually extremely common to have a bowel movement during labor, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. There’s a simple reason why it happens: the same muscles a woman uses to push a baby out of her uterus are the same ones she uses when having a bowel movement. With the added weight on her colon and rectum as the baby moves through the birth canal, it’s a very natural bodily reaction.

 

While it may seem embarrassing, keep in mind that childbirth is a very private affair. Doctors are not only undaunted by this, but generally expect it. They’re trained professionals and their primary concern is making sure the mother and baby are healthy throughout the entire pregnancy and delivery.

 

Will My Vagina Be Stretched After I Give Birth?

Not really. Believe it or not, vaginas have muscle memory. The vagina is also made to accommodate childbirth; in other words, it stretches during childbirth and then contracts to its normal size. If a woman wants to strengthen her pelvic floor muscles, there are Kegel exercises, though make sure to check with a doctor first before trying them.

 

Why Does Sex Hurt After Birth?

Having a baby is hard work! With childbirth comes natural trauma to the vaginal area, and it needs time to heal. It’s natural for the sex drive to decrease, given how exhausting caring for a newborn can be. On top of that, if mothers choose to breastfeed, that can change her hormone levels as well, particularly her estrogen levels. This can lead to problems with lubrication. One potential solution is to use a lubricant, as well as giving the body time to adjust postpartum.

 

If the pain continues to exist months after birth, however, it’s best to speak to a doctor to make sure there aren’t any lasting issues.

Do You Fear Period Sex?

Do You Fear Period Sex | Dr. Lori Gore-GreenFor some people, the beginning of a menstrual cycle means the end of sexual intercourse until the cycle has passed. This mindset should be reconsidered, however, when all the benefits of sex during your period are taken into consideration.

1. Reduced Risk Of Pregnancy

When you strip away the passion, pleasure, and excitement, sex is ultimately designed for procreation. Any form of vaginal penetration by a penis that results in ejaculation has the chance to cause pregnancy. Due to the nature of a woman’s menstrual cycle, there is a reduced risk of pregnancy from sex, although not an entirely eliminated risk. Sperm can live inside of a woman’s body for up to five days, so if you have sex near the end of your cycle, you can still conceive a child once your menstrual cycle ends. The safest time to enjoy a reduced risk of pregnancy is to have sex near the beginning of your period.

2. Natural Pain Relief

Sex brings an incredible amount of pleasure that, when done properly, results in an orgasm. Orgasms are fun and enjoyable, but they also play a pivotal biological function with regards to the brain. This is especially true in women. The female orgasm causes the brain to release a healthy dose of endorphins which are chemicals that spread through the body to promote a boost in overall mood and help to relieve pain. A 1985 study shows that a woman’s pain tolerance increases drastically after an orgasm. So, having sex can help relieve the pain of menstrual cramps and other pains commonly associated with that time of the month.

3. Sleep Aid

Endorphins aren’t the only biological substances released by the female brain during an orgasm. The hormone known as prolactin is also released during an orgasm. Prolactin is a hormone that helps to calm the body and prepare it for a long, restful sleep. This is why people tend to become lethargic and sleepy after sex that causes an orgasm.

4. Ease Of Penetration

Some women have issues with vaginal dryness that causes difficulties during sex. The benefit of engaging in sex during a period is that this issue is almost entirely alleviated. There is more than enough lubrication present during this time of the month to allow for easy penetration and increased pleasure because of the lubricated sensation.

Hormone Treatment Options – Bioidentical Hormones

Bioidentical Hormones

Bioidentical Hormones are identical in molecular structure to the hormones naturally occurring in women

A trial completed by the Women’s Health Initiative, otherwise known as the WHI, combined estrogen and progestin—as Prempro—for hormone therapy, with the aim of preventing later life ills.  However, the trial was stopped shortly after it started, in 2002, due to the fact that the hormone users were found to have a higher risk of breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, and blood clots.  This risk was found to be small; however, clinicians decided that even the minimal risk involved was too much to risk continuing the hormone treatment.  As a result, many of those participating in the trial found that the typical treatments involved with menopausal symptoms—such as hot flashes and sleeplessness—returned worse than possibly ever before. While hormone therapy is still considered the best treatment for these symptoms, many women are concerned about possible side effects and, as a result, are seeking alternatives, according to an article recently completed by Harvard Health Publications.

Several alternative choices in treatment are presented in the article.  Often, women pursue such treatments that are referred to as “natural” alternatives.  However, the article cautions that that term can be used loosely.  Technically, Any product whose principal ingredient has an animal, plant, or mineral source can be considered natural.  One example is in the form of the soy plant, which is the source of supplements that some women take to ease menopausal symptoms.  In addition to this, it’s also used to make the estrogen in the FDA-approved hormone drug Estrace.  However, seeking the use of soy plants is a risky endeavor, despite being the “natural path of choice; soy supplements aren’t regulated and haven’t been rigorously tested in humans, making it relatively impossible to know whether they’re safe or effective treatment options.

Another possible alternative discussed is bioidentical hormones.  This treatment plan was prompted by the pursuit of natural treatment options, as bioidentical hormones are identical in molecular structure to the hormones naturally occurring in women.  They are, however, not found naturally; are made, or synthesized, from a plant chemical extracted from yams and soy.  Even knowing this, the process is often referred to as “natural hormone therapy,” as bioidentical hormones act in the body just like the hormones naturally produced and occurring.  Despite the fact that the composite used to produce bioidentical hormones muddles the natural, the treatment is still able to maintain the title, as the body can’t distinguish bioidentical hormones from the ones produced by the ovaries.  The treatment has several benefits, namely allowing the estrogen levels to be monitored more precisely and, therefore, allowing treatment to be individualized accordingly.  However, skeptics alternatively counter this argument, saying that it hardly matters, as no one knows exactly what hormone levels to aim for; therefore, opponents of the treatment believe symptoms, not hormone levels, should be treated and monitored.

Study Finds that Hormone Treatments Extend Survival of Lung Cancer

Hormones may be utilized for several purposes.

Hormones may be utilized for several purposes.

A study was recently conducted by Ann G. Schwartz, PhD, MPH, of Karmanos Cancer Institute of Detroit, Michigan.  Schwartz was the lead author on the study, which sought to observe the potential connection between hormone use and lung cancer outcomes in women.  The findings of the study were published in the March issue of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer’s journal—the Journal of Thoracic Oncology.  An article recently completed by Science Daily summarized the study and the findings.

Four hundred and eighty five women were included in the study.  At the start of the study, baseline data was collected, which included the stage of the disease at diagnosis, treatment type (surgery or radiation), smoking status, age, race and educational attainment.  Once this data was gathered, the only factor taken under consideration was the use of hormone therapy and its ability to predict the survival outcomes in women with lung cancer.  Some women were treated with just estrogen; others were given a combination of estrogen and progesterone.  On average, women diagnosed with lung cancer without any hormone therapy as treatment survive 37.5 months.  Those who are given hormone therapy survive, on average, eighty months.  Specific averages for patients given just estrogen survived approximately eighty-three months, while those who were provided with a combined treatment of estrogen and progesterone survived eighty-seven months.

From these findings, Schwartz was able to declare that reproductive and hormonal factors do influence women who have been diagnosed with non-small all lung cancer.  However, she disclaims that research in this field is limited and that further studies would be required to observe the effect these treatments could have on long-term sufferers from lung cancer.