Vulvar cancer is one of the lesser known and less common forms of cancer that can affect women. The area defined as the vulva includes the labia majora, labia minora, mons pubis, clitoris, perineum, and entryway of the vagina. The vast majority of vulvar cancer cases occur in the labia, with over 50% of cases occurring in the labia majora. Cancer cases that involve the clitoris and perineum account 20% of all cases. Vulvar cancer can occur at more than one site within this region, accounting for 5% of all cases.

What Types Of Vulvar Cancer Are There?

The majority of vulvar cancer cases are squamous cell carcinomas. This type of cancer grows slowly and typically begins in a pre-cancerous state as vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN). Classified under squamous cell carcinomas are two subtypes of this cancer.

The first results from exposure to the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and can occur in women of all ages. The other isn’t the result of HPV and primarily occurs in older women, often accompanied by changes in the vulvar skin such as lichen sclerosus.

Squamous cell carcinomas are present in 95% of all vulvar cancers, with the remaining 5% being Melanoma. As a cancer that typically results from exposure to the sun, it is uncommon in the vulva region.

There are two rarer forms of vulvar cancer that only account for less than 2% of all cases. These are sarcomas and adenocarcinomas, the latter forming in the Bartholin’s glands near the vaginal opening.

Who Is At Risk Of Contracting Vulvar Cancer?

Those primarily at risk of contracting vulvar cancer are postmenopausal women, with most cases involving patients between the ages of 70-79 years old. The past ten years have seen a worrying increase in vulvar cancer in younger women as the result of HPV (Human Papillomavirus). Cases involving HPV are typically found in women 45 and under. These two forms of vulvar cancer are distinct, demonstrating different behaviors and response to treatment.

What Symptoms Indicate The Presence Of Vulvar Cancer?

Long-term changes in the skin of the vulva are commonly associated with vulvar cancer in postmenopausal women. The following symptoms are likely to be present:

How Our Clinic Can Help With Vulvar Cancer

Since it typically passes through a precancerous stage, vulvar cancer can be easy to find and treat. This is complicated by a trend in older women to avoid attending preventative gynecological health care visits. By making our clinic a part of your regular preventative healthcare, you’ll give yourself the best chance of catching it early while it’s still easy to treat.

Our clinic is proud to be dedicated to women’s health and is staffed by experts in all areas of this field. If you’re concerned, you have symptoms associated with vulvar cancer. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment for a screening. You can also reach out to us to schedule your next regular check-up as part of your ongoing health care.

Pelvic pain is a term commonly used to describe discomfort occurring from reproductive organs in women. Women who live with pelvic pain may be experiencing symptoms of more serious complications. These complications can involve any aspect of the reproductive system, including the cervix, vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. Our clinic provides a team of compassionate women’s health experts to help women in our community address concerns with pelvic pain.

What Could Be Causing My Pelvic Pain?

Pelvic pain can be caused by a laundry list of causes, a portion of which are exclusive to female-bodied persons. Issues with your urinary system, digestive tract, and reproductive organs are all common sources. Developing research has also revealed that ligaments and muscles are also being found to be associated with chronic pelvic pain. Common causes involving the female reproductive system include:

More serious concerns involving pelvic pain include miscarriage in pregnancies of less than 20 weeks, ectopic pregnancy, ovarian cancer, and STI’s.

How Will My Physician Determine The Cause Of My Pelvic Pain?

Diagnosing the cause of pelvic pain can be tricky since there are so many potential causes. Diagnosis starts with reviewing your medical history and reviewing your specific collection of symptoms. A variety of physical exams and tests may be used to try to narrow down the specific cause. Among these tools are:

Which tests our practitioner chooses to use will be determined by your symptoms and the finding of previous tests. By working together, we’ll narrow down the source of your pelvic pain and take steps to bring you relief and potentially a cure.

What Treatments Are There For Pelvic Pain?

Like the diagnostic procedure, the treatment of pelvic pain is dependent on the specific source of the pain. In some cases, over-the-counter medicine may be sufficient, while others may require more intensive treatment options. As you work with our practitioner to determine the specific cause of your pelvic pain, you’ll begin working together to reach an effective treatment method that suits your means, your lifestyle, and your need.

If you’re experiencing pelvic pain and are looking for relief, it’s time to reach out to our clinic for an appointment. Our team is dedicated to treating all aspects of women’s health and has helped patients in and around our area find relief from conditions like Chronic Pelvic Pain. When you reach out to us to schedule your visit, our staff will walk you through the new patient process to ensure you can make the most of your first visit. Don’t let Chronic Pelvic Pain go undiagnosed as it can be an indicator of serious health concerns. Call us today and start on your road to relief from pain and discomfort today!

What is Abnormal Bleeding?

Also known as uterine bleeding, abnormal vaginal bleeding refers to any release of blood that occurs outside your menstrual period often as the result of hormonal changes or infections. This refers to extended periods of heavy bleeding, spotting that occurs at irregular points throughout your period and menstrual periods that fill pads in under an hour. Those who suffer from this condition may have periods that last longer than 5-7 days, with or without spotting in the time between menstruation.

What To Know About Abnormal Bleeding

The prolonged and chronic bleeding associated with abnormal vaginal bleeding can be debilitating. The majority of women only produce about 40ml of blood when menstruating, which is released over a period of 5-7 days. Heavy spotting or periods that last longer than this should be addressed by your physician as it can indicate that a more serious underlying condition is present. Normal vaginal bleeding is the result of the endometrium lining being shed when pregnancy does not occur. While there can be slight variations in the menstrual cycle, they occur more or less regularly. When the period of bleeding is overly long, spotting occurs, or the amount of bloodshed is heavy, then abnormal vaginal bleeding may be present.

What Can Lead To Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding?

There are many things that can cause this condition, and in many cases, the specific cause cannot be identified. Among those that have been identified, the following are the most commonly seen by gynecologists:

20% of all women experience excessive bleeding, which begins sometime between the age of 30 and 40. If you suspect you may be experiencing abnormal vaginal bleeding, call your physician today.

Questions To Ask Your Physician If You’re Concerned About Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding

If you suspect you’re experiencing AVB, contact your physician and ask them the following questions:

The above are some of the most common symptoms associated with Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding. A visit to your physician will help you determine if the symptoms you’re experiencing are part of AVB or are indicative of another health concern.

How We Help Our Patients With Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding

We provide our patients with a variety of treatment and diagnostic options to help with common women’s health concerns like abnormal vaginal bleeding. During your visit, you’ll undergo an exam that may include biopsy, pelvic ultrasounds, hysteroscopy, and other lab tests. The information gathered from these tests will be used to determine the source of your bleeding and what treatment options will be appropriate to manage it.

If you’re experiencing AVB or are simply looking for a comprehensive women’s health care provider for you and your family, call us today. We’ll answer your questions, arrange your appointment, and help you prepare ahead of time so you can make the most of your time at our clinic.

One of the most important parts of cancer prevention is receiving regular screenings.  These tests take steps to identify this tragic disease in its pre-cancerous state or early stages. Multiple organizations have developed guidelines for the forms of cancer screening that women should undergo. While the specifics may vary from organization to organization, the theme remains the same.  Regular screenings for cervical, breast, and colorectal cancers should begin in the late teens to early twenties and continue throughout their lives.

When Should I Begin Cancer Screening?

The specific time when you should begin being screened regularly for cancer is determined by the specifics of your medical history and family history with cancer.  When you begin will also be determined by the type of cancer being screened for.  Meeting with your physician and going over your medical history is the only way to be certain when the best time is for you to begin your cancer screening.

Breast Cancer Screening

Women who have reached 40 years of age should speak to their physician about getting regular breast cancer screening, with those between the ages of 45-54 getting screened annually.  After this point it’s typical for screenings to be rolled back to once every two years, rate that will continue for as long as you’re in good health.  Your physician may recommend that you begin being screened earlier than this if:

Cervical Cancer Screening

Screening for cervical cancer generally begins at the age of 21, with the specific method used being determined by age.  Cervical cancer is commonly caused by a virus known as HPV, or the Human Papillomavirus. Common methods used to screen for cervical cancer include:

Women who have had their cervix removed for reasons unrelated to cervical cancer, and who have no previous indicators of cervical cancer no longer need to be tested.  Women who have received the HPV vaccination should continue to receive pap smears as indicated above.

Screening for other forms of cancer may be done based on your providers discretion or at your request.  Regular cancer screenings are an essential part of maintaining life-long health and catching cancer early enough for it to be treated.  If you’d like to speak to one of our practitioners about getting screened for cancer, or just want to schedule a regular checkup, call our offices today.  Our team works with the local community to provide comprehensive women’s health care services, and are ready to welcome you to our patient family.

Getting regular Pap tests and STI screening is an essential part of maintaining the health of women worldwide. In the United States alone, millions of women receive testing yearly and seek information to help ensure they’re getting the best care possible. If you’re wondering why Pap tests are so necessary, and how often you should be receiving one, we’re here to help clear that up. Pap tests, also known as Pap smears and STI testing, are available at our clinic as part of your preventative care.

What To Know About Pap Smears

A pap smear is a test performed to screen your cervix for the presence of abnormal cells that can indicate the presence of various medical conditions. The primary concern being tested for is cervical cancer, which is most often the result of infection with the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Pap smears are not performed to test for HPV, but when abnormal cells are found, it’s a clear indication that HPV is present. While an STI test can reveal HPV, HPV is the only STI that can be revealed through the use of a Pap Smear.

 How Often Should I Get An STI Test?

A regular STI test should be a normal part of anyone who has a sexually active life involving one or more non-exclusive partners. The higher the number of sexual partners, the more vital it is that you be tested regularly to ensure that you haven’t contracted an STI, and can be sure not to spread it if you do. Regardless of the number of partners you have, it can be difficult to impossible to determine that someone is carrying an STI. Below are the tests you’ll receive as part of a routine STI screening.

Questions To Ask Our Women’s Health Care Providers

When you’re preparing to receive a pap smear or STI testing, you’re likely to have some questions for your provider. We suggest asking your provider the following questions.

If you have more questions about pap smears and STI testing, give our offices a call today. We’ll arrange an appointment for you with one of our women’s health care specialists and help you take steps to make your first visit seamless. Regular testing is a vital part of your ongoing health, don’t wait to receive your next test, call today!

Finding a breast mass can be a deeply concerning moment, bringing with it worries about breast cancer, related expenses, and the battle ahead. While most commonly associated with breast cancer, this disease isn’t the only reason you may develop lumps in your breasts. In 80% of all cases, lumps in the breast are non-cancerous, so if you’ve discovered one, there’s a good chance you have nothing to worry about. An exam performed by a women’s health professional is the only way to be completely certain.

What Are breast masses?
So if breast masses aren’t an immediate indicator of cancer, what are they? A breast mass can be a tumor, or a cyst, or one of a variety of fibrous masses that form in the breast. Tumors aren’t explicitly cancerous, and when biopsied, nearly 80% of them are discovered to be benign (non-cancerous). When a tumor has been revealed to be cancerous, it is called a malignant tumor. Breast masses can also be caused by an abscess in the breast or an infection.

Questions You May Want To Ask Your Provider
What are the stages of breast cancer?
There are three general stages of breast cancer described as early, advanced, and disseminated breast cancer. Early breast cancer describes a tumor that only exists within the breast, and hasn’t spread to anywhere else in the body. Advanced breast cancer has spread to the lymph nodes of the chest, neck, or armpit. The last stage of breast cancer is called disseminated breast cancer and occurs when the tumors have spread beyond the lymph nodes to enter the bones, the lungs, the liver, the brain, or other organs in the body.

Is Breast Cancer Treatable?
When caught in the earliest stages, breast cancer is imminently treatable, with nearly a 96% success rate in cases of early breast cancer. As cancer advances, the chances of treating it successfully drop dramatically, with advanced breast cancer treatments only showing a 76% rate over a five-year period. Disseminated breast cancer can be treated, but has a five-year survival rate that is exceedingly low. Catching it early is absolutely critical to ensuring the patient’s best chance of survival.

What Treatment Options Are Available For Breast masses/Cancer?
When the lumps are the results of fibroids or cysts in the breast, treatment generally isn’t necessary as they are not life-threatening. Only in the event that another lump is found will treatment begin, often involving surgical removal. Breast abscesses are often successfully treated by draining, as antibiotics are typically unable to properly treat them. Women who are breastfeeding will occasionally experience an infection known as mastitis. Massage, hot showers and application of heat help the breast drain by opening the ducts.

How Our Clinic Can Help With Breast masses?
Our clinic is dedicated to helping to treat a full range of women’s health concerns. When you join our clinic’s patient family, you’ll receive treatment at the hands of specialists who are dedicated to helping women treat and manage their health concerns. We use the latest technology and techniques to ensure that the treatments we provide are up to date and effective.

If you’re looking for a new women’s health care provider, or have discovered a breast mass that you need to be examined, call our clinic today. We’ll schedule an appointment with one of our practitioners and help you prepare for your first visit to our office. We look forward to hearing from you.

Many people dream of having families – usually in a specific time frame. Couples often prefer to plan the timing of their children’s births around work, finances, careers, education and life goals. Some want several children, whereas others may want none. Regardless of how many children you want and when you want them, Sunshine State can be your partner in achieving your reproductive goals at every stage of life.

Did you know…

the average woman in America wants only two children? And in the U.S., the average woman chooses to have her first child between 25 and 26 years old? Of course, those are mere statistics and many women decide to begin having children in their early 20s, 30s, or even 40s. But regardless of when an average, healthy female decides to have her children, she’ll spend approximately 30 years using contraceptives or other methods of family planning in order to achieve her goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I speak with my gynecologist about family planning?

You can speak with a family planning doctor as young as 15 and all the way through your reproductive years. Regardless of whether you need help preventing pregnancy or planning it, Dr. Zann can help you develop a realistic plan for achieving your goals.

What should I expect during my family planning appointment?

Your family planning appointment will include a review of your medical history and a discussion of your reproductive goals, both short-term and long-term. You’ll probably have a physical exam, which may include a pelvic exam of your reproductive organs. Dr. Zann will ask about the details of your menstrual cycle and how frequently you have intercourse. Based on that information, he or she will make a recommendation for treatment if applicable.

What types of options are available to me for meeting my reproductive goals?

There is a host of family planning resources available to women and couples who have specific reproductive goals. Examples include oral contraceptives, emergency contraception, fertility treatments, and permanent birth control.

The ovaries are small organs that help regulate the reproductive processes in women. Most women are born with two ovaries – one on each side of the uterus. As the ovaries mature during adolescence, they begin producing hormones and regulating menstruation. The ovaries frequently develop cysts, most of which are non-threatening. However, some women develop ovarian tumors, which may not always be as benign as simple cysts. Tumors require further examination and possible intervention.

Did you know?

There are many types of ovarian tumors. In some cases, these tumors can turn out to be ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer often produces few symptoms in its earliest stages. There are several factors that may contribute to the chances of getting ovarian cancer. Age and family history, as well as obesity and the use of fertility drugs, can all contribute to your chances of developing ovarian cancer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Could I have ovarian cancer?

Ovarian cancer screenings are not standard preventative care for women. However, you may wish to get screened for the BRCA gene, which has been shown to significantly increase the risk of developing breast, colorectal and ovarian cancer. You should also consider being screened for ovarian tumors if you are experiencing symptoms like chronic abdominal pain or bloating, significant weight gain, loss of appetite, nausea, lower back pain, or difficulty urinating.

What should I expect from my doctor if I suspect that I have ovarian tumors?

Dr. Zann will probably ask you to come in for a pelvic exam, during which time he or she will palpate your abdomen to check for the presence of abnormal growths. In some cases, additional screenings may be ordered, such as an ultrasound or MRI. If a tumor is found, Dr. Zann may remove it during a laparotomy and biopsy it for cancer. If cancer is detected, you may begin a regimen of chemotherapy and radiation to help destroy any remaining cancer cells and prevent new ones from growing.

Is there anything I can do to avoid ovarian tumors?

Yes. In addition to maintaining a healthy weight, you may wish to speak with your gynecologist about birth control. Women who take birth control are less likely to develop ovarian cancer later in life.

Menopause is a natural part of life as normal as menstruation or having a baby. All women eventually enter menopause though some sooner than later. When menopause occurs, the body stops producing an egg each month during ovulation and menstruation halts. Aside from changes to menstrual cycles, women entering menopause may begin to experience side effects of hormonal changes, such as hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain, vaginal dryness, and thinning hair.

Did you know…

that the average age of onset for menopause is 51 for American women? However, menopause is most likely to occur at any time between the ages of 40 and 60. Some women even go through early menopause, which is menopause that occurs before the age of 40. In extremely rare cases, early menopause can occur as young as a woman’s teens or 20s.

Frequently Asked Questions

Could I be going through menopause?

Perimenopause is the period when menstruation and ovulation are erratic and menopausal symptoms are beginning to set in. Menopause is not said to have occurred until a year has passed since a woman last menstruated. You could be approaching menopause if you are experiencing the symptoms of perimenopause, although this isn’t likely to occur before age 40.

What should I expect from my gynecologist when I am entering menopause?

Dr. Zann will confirm that your symptoms are related to perimenopause or menopause, and he or she will explain the types of symptoms you can expect in the coming months and years. He may also speak to you about hormone replacement therapy, which can help you manage the hormonal changes that occur as your menstrual cycles stop.

Is there anything that I can do to alleviate the symptoms of menopause?

If the symptoms of menopause are interacting with your day to day life, do not hesitate to speak with Dr. Zann about the ways that you can treat or manage issues like sleep disruptions, anxiety, depression, or low energy.

Hysterectomies are routine gynecological procedures used to remove a woman’s uterus and sometimes her ovaries and fallopian tubes as well. When the uterus is removed, women are no longer capable of bearing children. They also stop menstruating and if the ovaries are removed, they will also enter menopause.

Did you know…

that by age 60, more than 30 percent of American women have had a hysterectomy? Although hysterectomy rates have declined slightly in recent years, they are still the second most common major surgery performed on women in their reproductive years. According to the Centers for Disease Control, surgeons and gynecologists perform more than 600,000 hysterectomies every year – that’s more than one every minute!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible that I need a hysterectomy?

The decision to get a hysterectomy is one that you will need to make with Dr. Zann. There are many reasons why gynecologists recommend hysterectomies for their patients. Some of the most common causes are uterine fibroids and uterine prolapsed, although endometriosis, reproductive cancer, and chronic pelvic pain can also warrant the need for a hysterectomy.

What should I expect during a hysterectomy procedure?

Hysterectomies are major surgery, but advancements in gynecological technology have made the procedure much less invasive. Your hysterectomy may be completed via an incision in your lower abdomen or in your vagina. It may also be assisted by a state-of-the-art robot that is used for greater precision and shorter recovery time.

Prior to the procedure, you may be given a vaginal douche and intravenous antibiotic to lower your risk of developing an infection during the surgery. You’ll be placed under general anesthesia for between one and two hours, eventually waking up with no memory of the procedure.

Will I need to follow any special post-surgical care instructions?

After hysterectomy surgery, Dr. Zann will give you instructions for your recovery period. You’ll be encouraged to begin walking around within just hours of your operation, and you may need to stay in the hospital for supervision for several days. You’ll need to get plenty of rest and avoid lifting heavy objects or children for at least six weeks after your procedure.