Covington Women’s Health Implements Telemedicine Visits

We have moved quickly to implement televisits as a scheduling option for our established patients.  Certain health care needs can be provided over the phone without an in-person visit.  This service lets us provide the care you need without having to leave your home.  Our scheduling staff will provide you with the instructions for your telehealth visit when you make your appointment.

  • Birth control consultation
  • Incontinence
  • Lactation consultations and concerns including mastitis
  • Medication follow ups, adjustments or new prescriptions
  • Mood concerns or follow up medical checks
  • Perimenopause or menopause consultations
  • Treatment plan for gynecological issues
  • Vaginitis or urinary tract infections
  • Irregular and heavy periods consultations
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome diagnosis and counseling

*Please be aware that this visit will result in a charge to your insurance company and coinsurance and deductible will apply.

Heart Disease in Women

* The following article was written by Covington Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Rhonda Cook and was published in Rockdale Newton Citizen’s “Physicians Guide.” *

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in our country. All women—including African Americans, Hispanics, and Caucasians—are at risk. And most of these deaths are preventable.

Our heart and blood vessels make up our cardiovascular system. More than one in three American women are living with some form of heart or cardiovascular disease. This includes many different problems such as heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure.

Am I at Risk?

Your age, lifestyle, health conditions and your family history contribute to your risk for cardiovascular disease. Your lifestyle includes whether you exercise or sit often, whether you drink alcohol or not, and whether or not you smoke. The choices you make will have a large impact on your health.

Excessive alcohol use can increase your heart disease risk in several ways. Alcohol can cause an increase in blood pressure and contribute to obesity. While some studies have shown that alcohol consumption in moderation may have some benefit to heart health, studies to confirm this are ongoing.

Risk Factors for Heart Disease

  • Lack of exercise
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight
  • Poor diet
  • High blood pressure
  • Elevated LDL (bad cholesterol)
  • Family history of heart disease
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Diabetes mellitus

Warning Signs

Almost two-thirds (64%) of women who die suddenly of heart or blood vessel disease have no warning symptoms.  Even if you feel well, you may still be at risk.

Women typically experience different symptoms when having a heart attack than men do. As already mentioned, some women have no symptoms, other women may experience sharp or burning chest pain, frequently while also having pain in the neck, jaw, throat, abdomen or back. Chest pain should never be ignored! Call 911 if you suspect you are having heart symptoms.

Prevention is the Key

Take steps to lower your heart disease risk by changing the behavior you can control.

  • Exercise regularly. 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise weekly is recommended.
  • If you smoke, stop!
  • Maintain healthy body weight. If you are overweight, lose the excess weight.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, poultry, legumes, nuts, low-fat dairy products whole grains, and an adequate amount of water intake. If you choose to eat meat look for the leanest cut meats possible. Also eat less sugar, saturated fats, hydrogenated oils, sodium, and processed foods.
  •  Know your blood pressure. Check it routinely at home. See your doctor regularly for BP checks, cholesterol checks, diabetes evaluation, eye exams.
  • Take your medications as directed.
  • Consume alcohol in moderation. This means a one drink a day limit for women.
  • Control your stress. Practice stress-relieving techniques.

If you have any more questions about heart disease in women, reach out to the experts at Covington Women’s Health by either giving us a call at 770-385-8954 or by clicking here to schedule an appointment.

Menstruation 101

About half of the women population is currently in their reproductive age, which means about 26 percent of the world is currently experiencing their menstrual cycle. A pivotal part of that cycle is the period, which is also called menstruation.

While the topic menstruation covers a large amount of information, we’re covering the basic medical facts you might need to know below.

What is the Technical Definition of Menstruation?

Menstruation is defined as the process of when blood and other materials from the lining of the uterus are discharged out of the vagina due to changes in hormones. When this process starts in young ladies, typically around 12 years old, this means that their bodies are preparing themselves to become pregnant. In fact, if it weren’t for menstruation, we wouldn’t be able to reproduce.

Menstruation happens during the menstrual cycle. When this cycle begins, the lining of the uterus becomes thicker. During this time, eggs are released from the ovary, kickstarting the ovulation process. Two weeks after this, the lining of the uterus falls away, along with bleeding. Then, the process starts all over again.

However, every woman is different and it’s more common to see a variety in the above-described menstruation cycle, depending on which woman you ask.

What are the Symptoms of Menstruation?

Aside from having blood or discharge coming out of the vagina, here are other common symptoms of the menstruation cycle:

  • Cramping.
  • Bloating.
  • Abdomen swelling.
  • Pain in the lower abdomen.
  • Exhaustion.
  • Acne.
  • Constipation.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Mood swings.

Answers to Common Questions About Menstruation

Here are some of the most common menstruation questions answered for you:

  • When do women start their menstrual cycle? Anywhere between ages eight to 15.
  • When does menstruation stop? When menopause begins, which is the process of a woman’s body stopping ovulating and periods. This means that they can no longer get pregnant, stopping the cycle in its tracks.
  • Do men experience menstruation? Biologically, no.
  • How long does the menstrual cycle last? Day one begins when bleeding starts. Day 14 is about when the ovulation process kicks off, which usually stops around day 25 if the woman is not pregnant. Then, the cycle begins again with a new period, most typically around day 28.
  • Can a woman still experience her period even if she is pregnant? No. Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy should be monitored by an obstetrician.
  • If someone is experiencing extremely painful menstruation cycles, what can do they do? Visit their doctor. Their trusted medical professional will be able to kickstart a treatment plan for them, involving options such as birth control and over the counter pain medications.
  • Are there risks of having a menstruation cycle? Yes. Using tampons and pads incorrectly can lead to something called Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), a rare disease that happens when a pad or tampon is not changed frequently enough. This causes the spread of bacteria throughout the body, which can be deadly. That’s why it’s vital to change the pad or tampon once it becomes soaked with blood or around every four to eight hours.

If you have any further questions or would like to visit with any of our expert gynecologists regarding your cycle, click here to reach out or give us a call at 770-385-8954.

What You Need to Know About Cervical Cancer

While rare, cervical cancer does affect about 200,000 women in the United States each year. For those who do have it, it can be a devastating disease if not caught early enough. That’s why it’s vital to keep yourself informed about cervical cancer, so you and your loved ones can spot it before it gets too serious.

Keep reading below to learn more from the experts at Covington Women’s Health.

What is Cervical Cancer?

A type of cancer that happens in the cells of the cervix, cervical cancer starts when healthy cells in the lower vagina begin to reproduce uncontrollably. There are two types of cervical cancer: squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. The former begins in the lining of the outer part of the cervix, while the latter begins in the cervical canal.

The biggest risk factors for this cancer are having multiple sexual partners, STIs, smoking, a weak immune system, and having sex early on in your life.

Currently, it’s not known what causes cervical cancer. However, it is clear that HPV plays a part. It is not the only reason though, as HPV is extremely common and many people with it never have cancer. So, HPV paired with environment or lifestyle factors will cause this cancer to develop.

Symptoms

Unfortunately, the early stages of this cancer show no symptoms. Here are the most common symptoms of the late stages of cervical cancer:

  • Bleeding from the vagina after sex.
  • Abnormal bleeding in-between periods or after menopause.
  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain while having sex.
  • Discharge from the vagina that may be watery, bloody, or have a strong odor.

Treatment Options

The good news is that, usually, cervical cancer is treatable, if caught early enough. There are multiple ways to keep an eye on it in your body, such as early screening tests and the HPV vaccination. Speak with your gynecologist today about your screening options and if you should get the HPV vaccination if you haven’t yet.

There are also multiple treatment options available. The most common are as followed:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Surgery
  • Therapy options
  • Radiation
  • Clinical Trials

If you have any further questions, reach out to our professional gynecologists by clicking here or by giving us a call at 770-385-8954.

Covington Women’s Health Specialists Physician Dr. Meridith Farrow Appeared on the “The Weekly Check-Up”

Covington Women’s Health Specialists physician, Dr. Meridith Farrow appeared on “The Weekly Check-Up” on News/Talk WSB Radio on Sunday, January 12th. The weekly radio show addresses a wide range of topics about health. It includes in-studio interviews and caller questions fielded by featured guests and the show’s host.

On the January 12th show, Dr. Farrow discussed sexual dysfunction and decreased libido. As a dedicated, all female OB-GYN and midwifery care practice for every stage of a woman’s life, these conditions are treated here at Covington Women’s Health Specialists.

In the in-depth interview with the show’s host Dr. Bruce Feinberg, Dr. Farrow shared her personal background, what drew her to practice medicine, and her choice of the OB-GYN specialty. They discussed a recent medical study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that finds no meaningful association between using talc-based or other powders and ovarian cancer. Dr. Farrow shared the findings particularly interested her since she lost her mother from ovarian cancer, which shaped her career choice to be a doctor.

Dr. Farrow also spoke about her practice of “Gyno-chiatry,”a term she created to describe her process of evaluating if a patient’s sexual dysfunction is a mental issue, a physical issue, or both. From there, she decides if there are behavioral changes her patients can focus on addressing in their personal lives, if medicine or medical procedures are needed, or if a combination of both physical and mental health treatments can help.

Dr. Farrow ended the show encouraging women to speak up about sexual dysfunction and decreased libido, especially with their gynecologists. They are here to help, so find one you are comfortable working with to address these issues and find a treatment that works for you.

Listen to the informative interview here.

The Benefits of Breastfeeding

By Brenda Barlowe, CNM, MSN

Breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed your new baby. It’s also one of the best ways to bond with baby and has numerous benefits for the health of both mom and child. However, breastfeeding can also be a confusing and frustrating time. Often times, new moms worry baby isn’t getting enough nutrition, wonder why their baby is rejecting their breasts, and can, in general, find the whole process difficult. The truth is that, even though breasts produce milk naturally, new moms and babies still have to learn to breastfeed together. Confidence is gained with practice, and breastfeeding can often require taking extra steps to get it right.

If you’re struggling to breastfeed correctly or want to learn more about the process in general, keep reading below.

How to Learn More About Breastfeeding

There are many resources available for support and additional information about breastfeeding.  Some examples include the internet, lactation specialists, nurses, midwives, physicians, community lactation groups, and professional organizations like La Leche League.  However, it’s important to note that every mom and baby pair is unique. What you learn best from might be different than other women in your life, so take the time to explore all your options.

Seek help, be calm, and don’t give up if you want to breastfeed your baby!

Benefits of Breastfeeding

There are so many benefits to breastfeeding. For starters, breastmilk is the perfect food and is easily digested.

Other benefits include:

  • reduces risks of viruses and infections of respiratory/ GI tract, asthma, and ears
  • protects against allergies and eczema
  • lessens SIDS risk
  • contains immunity-boosting antibodies and healthy enzymes
  • protects against diseases with mom’s immune factors and white blood cells
  • new studies show that breastmilk may decrease adult obesity and increase IQ scores

There are benefits for mom also:

  • lowers the risk of breast and ovarian cancer
  • helps mom to lose pregnancy weight faster by burning 300-500 calories per day
  • may reduce the risk of osteoporosis
  • saves money (formula cost approximately $134-491/month)
  • promotes closeness to infant
  • cultivates friendships with other breastfeeding moms.

How is Breast Milk Produced?

4-5 ounces of breastmilk is the nutritional equivalent of 8 ounces of formula. The body’s production of breastmilk is linked to the needs of the infant. It increases during growth spurts and as baby nurses more frequently. If production is an issue, as in premature birth, then there are herbs to help increase the milk supply as well as pumping. Herbs that are helpful are alfalfa, milk thistle, and mothers milk, to name a few.

This article is meant to encourage breastfeeding if only for a week, month, or year.  Any amount is beneficial for baby and challenges can be overcome if they arrive. If you need assistance with breastfeeding or would like to learn more, click here to contact the experts at Covington Women’s Health Specialists.

Dr. Larrimore Appears on “The Weekly Check-Up”

Dr. Cathy Larrimore of Covington Women’s Health Specialist’s appeared on “The Weekly Check-Up” on News/Talk WSB Radio on Sunday, September 1st.

During her segment, Dr. Larrimore discussed a variety of women’s health issues such as the Zika virus, cervical cancer, HPV vaccinations, and how age can affect pregnancies. 

Dr. Larrimore also explained how her practice, Covington’s Women’s Health Specialists, offers an intimate option that is between a large hospital and home births. She talked about the risks that can come with home deliveries and how it’s safer to deliver in a hospital or center. Dr. Larrimore commented, “That’s why–if you can offer some natural childbirth techniques in the hospital–it’s the best scenario.” 

Additionally, Dr. Larrimore provided details on a program that her practice offers called CenteringPregnancy. Visits at this clinic last two hours and occur with a consistent group of 8 to 12 women who all have similar due dates. 

Participants learn how to take their own vital signs and be active in their prenatal care. Topics discussed during these visits include what to expect during labor, childcare, breastfeeding, parenting, and healthy diet habits.

Dr. Larrimore explained, “I like to think of the CenteringPregnancy program as excellent medical care combined with group therapy and good old fashioned peer pressure. The program is the only method that’s been proven to eliminate the health discrepancies between white and black expectant mothers.” 

Listen to archive of this show.

Dr. Cathy Larrimore’s Thoughts on Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month

Ovarian Cancer Is One of the Deadliest of Women’s Cancers

Each year, approximately 22,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. This cancer typically occurs in women in their 50s and 60s. Many women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer have a genetic history that may include carrying the BRCA mutation gene and having a strong family history of ovarian cancer.

 Symptoms May Include:

  • Bloating
  • Pelvic or Abdominal pain
  • Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
  • Urinary urgency or frequency
  • Nausea, indigestion, gas, constipation or diarrhea
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Backaches
  • Weight Gain

There is no adequate screening test of ovarian cancer at this time which is one of the reasons that this cancer is often discovered in later stages. Your ANNUAL GYN visit is important. We offer Women’s Wellness visits, ultrasound if needed and BCRA testing when indicated.

Dr. Meridith Farrow’s Thoughts on Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month

By Dr. Meridith Farrow, MD, FACOG

Reports in the news about the annual well-woman exam are confusing! Do women need an examination every year? Is a Pap needed every year? The answers are YES and MAYBE! The annual well-woman visit is an excellent opportunity for counseling concerning a healthy lifestyle, minimizing health risks, and the physical exam that is done assesses overall health. The collection of the Pap is individualized based on the woman’s age and history.

Abnormal Bleeding Is the Most Common Symptom of Uterine Cancer

Women over the age of 55 are more likely than younger women to be diagnosed with uterine cancer. Younger women, however, can be at increased risk in certain situations. Obesity, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and diabetes are among the conditions that increase the risk. Bleeding that occurs after menopause, heavy bleeding with periods or bleeding in between periods should all be evaluated by a Gynecologist. Early detection is the key to keeping women healthy!

New Pap Guidelines May Miss Some Cervical Cancers in Young Women

Over the last 30 years, the cervical cancer death rate has gone down by more than 50% because of the Pap test. The Pap test finds changes in the cervix before cancer develops. Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers today! Yet many women do not have this testing done. Changes in Pap test guidelines are causing some women to think that the Pap test is no longer necessary. Studies are underway investigating the impact of the new Pap guidelines. Many doctors make the Pap test a requirement for prescribing birth control, therefore many women stop going in for their tests after they have had tubal sterilization or no longer need birth control. Many women do not realize that the risk of developing cervical cancer is still present as they age.

The Pap Test Is Still Necessary for Some Women, and It Saves Lives!

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that all women have an annual visit with a healthcare provider capable of performing a pelvic examination if needed. The Annual Well-Woman visit is a health assessment and should include screening, evaluation, and counseling for a variety of concerns. Based on your age and risk factors, a Pap will be done if needed.

Dr. Jessie Bender’s Thoughts on Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month

Cervical cancer was once one of the most common causes of cancer death for American women. But over the last 30 years, the cervical cancer death rate has gone down by more than 50% because of the Pap test. This screening procedure can find changes in the cervix before cancer develops. Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers today! Yet many women do not have this testing done.

Unfortunately, news reports concerning recent changes in Pap test guidelines have been confusing. Some women think that the Pap test is no longer necessary. Many doctors make the Pap test a requirement for prescribing birth control, therefore many women stop going in for their tests after they have had tubal sterilization or no longer need birth control. Many women do not realize that the risk of developing cervical cancer is still present as they age. The Pap test is still necessary for some women, and it saves lives!

There is a connection between the human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer. If you have HPV, it’s even more important to get regular Pap tests. Vaccines are available that prevent HPV infection and cancer caused by HPV.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that all women have an annual visit with a healthcare provider capable of performing a pelvic examination if needed. The annual Women’s Wellness visit is a health assessment.

Cervical Cancer is preventable. Your ANNUAL GYN visit is important. We offer Women’s Wellness visits, with Pap tests and HPV testing if needed. We offer counseling regarding the HPV vaccine and the administration of the HPV vaccine if indicated.