New Cervical Cancer Guidelines Could Make Pap Smears More Infrequent

Dr. Arguello with Medical City Las Colinas was featured on Channel 5 NBC Dallas Fort Worth News, talking about the new cervical cancer guidelines and how they could make pap smears more infrequent. New cervical cancer screening recommendations that came out on August21 have started to make old-fashioned Pap smears a thing of the past for women over 30. Watch on 5 NBC News »

Dangers of Douching

The word “douche” means to wash or soak. Douching is washing or cleaning out the inside of the vagina with water or other mixtures of fluids. Most douches are sold in stores as prepackaged mixes of water and vinegar, baking soda, or iodine. The mixtures usually come in a bottle or bag. You squirt the douche upward through a tube or nozzle into your vagina. The water mixture then comes back out through your vagina. Douching is different from washing the outside of your vagina during a bath or shower. Rinsing the outside of your vagina with warm water will not harm your vagina.

In the United States, about 1 in 5 women between ages 15 and 44 report using vaginal douches. There are multiple reasons that women will douche.

  • clean the vagina
  • rinse away menstrual blood after monthly periods
  • prevent odor
  • prevent sexually transmitted disease
  • prevent pregnancy

These are all myths.

While some women say douching makes them feel cleaner, there is actually very little scientific evidence of the benefit from douching. Douching can be linked with and lead to many different health problems. It is recommended by medical providers that women do not douche.

Why should women not douche?

Douching can change the necessary balance of vaginal flora (bacteria that live in the vagina) and natural acidity in a healthy vagina.

A healthy vagina has good and harmful bacteria. The balance of bacteria helps maintain an acidic environment. The acidic environment protects the vagina from infections or irritation.

Douching can cause an overgrowth of harmful bacteria. This can lead to a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis. If you already have a vaginal infection, douching can push the bacteria causing the infection up into the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. This can lead to other serious medical problems.

What problems are linked to douching?

Health problems linked to douching include:

  • Bacterial vaginosis (BV), which is an infection in the vagina. Women who douche often (once a week) are five times more likely to develop BV than women who do not douche.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease, an infection in the reproductive organs that is often caused by an STI
  • Cervical cancer, douching at least once a week has been linked to a possible increased risk of developing cervical cancer.
  • Vaginal irritation or dryness

Douching can can also be linked to problems with pregnancy:

  • Trouble getting pregnant. Women who douched at least once a month had a harder time getting pregnant than those women who did not douche.
  • Higher risk of ectopic pregnancy. Douching may increase a woman’s chance of damaged fallopian tubes and ectopic pregnancy.
  • Higher risk of early childbirth. Douching raises your risk for premature birth. One study found that women who douched during pregnancy were more likely to deliver their babies early.

Researchers are studying whether douching causes these problems or whether women at higher risk for these health problems are more likely to douche.

Should I douche to get rid of vaginal odor or clean the inside of my vagina?

No. You should not douche to try to get rid of vaginal odor or other vaginal problems like discharge, pain, itching, or burning.

Douching will only cover up odor for a short time and will make other problems worse. Call your doctor or nurse if you have:

  • Vaginal discharge that smells bad
  • Vaginal itching and thick, white, or yellowish-green discharge with or without an odor
  • Burning, redness, and swelling in or around the vaginaPain when urinating
  • Pain or discomfort during sex

These may be signs of a vaginal infection, or an STI. Do not douche before seeing your doctor or nurse. This can make it hard for the doctor or nurse to find out what may be wrong.

What is the best way to clean my vagina?

It is best to let your vagina clean itself. The vagina cleans itself naturally by making mucous. The mucous washes away blood, semen, and vaginal discharge.

If you are worried about vaginal odor, talk to your doctor or nurse. But you should know that even healthy, clean vaginas have a mild odor that changes throughout the day. Physical activity also can give your vagina a stronger, muskier scent, but this is still normal.

Keep your vagina clean and healthy by:

  • Washing the outside of your vagina with warm water when you bathe. Some women also use mild soaps. But, if you have sensitive skin or any current vaginal infections, even mild soaps can cause dryness and irritation.
  • Avoiding scented tampons, pads, powders, and sprays. These products may increase your chances of getting a vaginal infection.

Can douching before or after sex prevent STIs?

No. Douching before or after sex does not prevent STIs. In fact, douching removes some of the normal bacteria in the vagina that protect you from infection. This can actually increase your risk of getting STIs, including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Can douching after sex prevent pregnancy?

No. Douching does not prevent pregnancy. It should never be used for birth control. If you had sex without using birth control or if your birth control method did not work correctly (failed), please contact your doctor right away to discuss the the next steps.

In short, you should not douche. Talk with your Macarthur ob gyn doctor if you have any questions, but trust your body’s own processes to maintain your vaginal health.

Clinical Trial: Suffering from Recurring Yeast Infections?

Vaginal yeast infection, also known as vaginal thrush or vulvovaginal candidiasis, is a common fungal infection of the vagina. This infection occurs when there is an overgrowth of yeast in the vagina.

Up to 75% of women will experience this infection at some point in their lives, and approximately 5 – 8% will have recurring episodes. Common symptoms include: itching, burning, inflammation, abnormal vaginal discharge, discomfort and pain. Women who suffer recurring infections may have Recurrent VulvoVaginal Candidiasis also known as RVVC.

Each study has specific inclusion and exclusion criteria. Patients generally receive the study medications for free and are compensated for their time. In order to participate, a patient may be identified by one of our doctors as being potentially eligible, or a patient can contact our office and express an interest in participating; in which case they would be scheduled to see one of the doctors who is either the Principle Investigator or Sub-investigator for the particular study.

If you have Recurring Yeast Infections contact Veronica Almanza, CRC at 214-367-8400 ext. 402. She can explain the study to you in more detail and arrange a visit with one of our physicians. We are here to help.

If you would like more information, you may also go to yeastinfectionstudy.com.

What Impact Will Social Media Have on Health IT Vendors, Physician Practices, and Regulatory Bodies?

23 Apr 2015 In the News

Thanks for the question VJHudson. For the answer, I decided to turn to Jeff Livingston, M.D. a partner at the Irving, Texas-based MacArthur OB/GYN, an obstetrics and gynecology practice, is one of the leading advocates of provider-based social media interaction in the industry. As a true expert, Dr. Livingston is my go-to-guy when it comes to discussing the impact social media will have on the world of medicine. Here’s his answer.

“Physician engagement in social media has been on an upward trend for the past few years and is almost certain to continue. Physicians are recognizing the importance of online reputation management and see social media as one tool. Others enjoy the platform provided by social media to offer patient education on a scale never imagined. Certain practices use social media because of the branding power that drives new patient acquisition and improves current patient satisfaction. The social media doctors understand that one can expand the doctor patient relationship beyond the four walls of the office.” Read more »

Providers are Using Social Media to Engage Patients, Collaborate with Each Other

23 Apr 2015 In the News

It’s beginning to happen, slowly, but surely. Social media use in healthcare is beginning to scratch the surface.

The UCLA Health System live-tweets brain surgery, including short video clips to reduce future patients’ fear of a procedure. Johns Hopkins uses Facebook to generate a 21-fold increase of people who registered themselves as an organ donor in a single day. Texas Health Resources in Arlington is using social media internally and externally, for knowledge-sharing, team building, education, and employee recruitment. Out of the organization’s 21,500 employees, 3,500 are active social media users. Read more »

An All-Natural C-Section?

20 Apr 2015 In the News

Although numerous medical studies have pointed to the benefits of the natural aspects of childbirth, such as immediate skin-to-skin contact and early breastfeeding initiation, the complications of the surgery room make incorporating natural strategies a little more difficult.

But now, there is a push towards a different kind of c-section, dubbed a “natural” or “gentle” c-section. An article in the British Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology describes natural c-sections as “woman-centered,” but a perhaps more accurate description of the trend may be “family-centered,” as they allow for more inclusion of the first family moments together. Read more »

Hospitals are Doing C-sections that Allow Families to Bond Immediately

20 Apr 2015 In the News

Minutes after taking her first breath outside the womb, Kathryn “Katie” Marie Wilusz cuddled on her mom’s bare chest, gazing in the direction of her voice. Dad sat close by, dressed in scrubs, as she wrapped a tiny hand around his index finger.

The new parents, Lauren and Joe Wilusz, sang happy birthday in celebration of their daughter’s arrival.

As the family bonded at one end of the operating bed, a doctor, nurse and medical technician at Anne Arundel Medical Center worked to close the incision that was cut to deliver Katie by cesarean section. Read more »

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