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My menstrual cycle is quite heavy. What does this mean?

The menstrual cycle is not the same for every woman.  On average, menstrual flow occurs every 28-32 days and lasts about 4 days.  Even if there are some variations of timing and duration, your period can still be considered normal.

What can I expect when menopause start?

Please see this Guide to Perimenopause from WebMD or to see what our doctors have written on this topic, see Dr. Salerno’s article Vaginal Dryness or Dr. Crawford’s article The Weighty Issue.

Is Hormone Replacement Therapy an option for me?

Hormone replacement therapy is not for everybody.  Your ovaries will continue to age, with or without hormone therapy.  However, some women experience severe hot flushes and lack of sleep because of the natural aging process. 

Does sex after hysterectomy change?

The effect of hysterectomy on sexual function is a controversial subject.  It was thought in the past that women who had a complete hysterectomy (removing the uterus and cervix) experience more sexual dysfunction than women who don’t. 

Is CA-125 a screening test for ovarian cancer?

There is no screening test that will tell you if you have ovarian cancer or not.  Doctors use CA 125 to help in diagnosis and in monitoring the treatment of women with ovarian cancer.  It helps in  evaluating the likelihood that a suspicious ovarian cyst is cancer or not.  Only when the cyst or ovary is removed and examined, you can be sure it is cancer or not

What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?

PCOS refers to a condition which hormones (androgens/estrogen) are overproduced by the ovaries.  In this condition, ovulation occurs sporadically.  The excess and not well organized hormones can cause a lack of a menstrual cycle, excess hair growth, obesity, acne, and insulin resistance.  As a result, women with PCOS are at a high risk of developing diabetes.

I often have a clear, non-odorous discharge from my vagina. Is this normal?

Your discharge is normal.  Every woman is different; some have more discharge than others.  You will notice that your discharge changes in appearance about 2 weeks after your cycle.  As long as your discharge doesn’t smell, is not irritating or itchy, you do not need to do anything about it.

Is it okay to Douche?

It is not necessary to douche at all.  Douching can lead to changes in the environment of the vagina which can lead to infections such as Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) and yeast infections.  The vagina is a self-cleaning organ.  Also, if you already have an infection in the vagina, douching can spread this infection into your uterus and pelvic cavity. 

I am having some irritation. What could it be?

There are a variety of reasons why you may be irritated.  It is best to consult your physician in these cases.  For more information of symptoms and options, please refer to this Fact Sheet from the Illinois Department of Dr. Salerno’s article of Vaginal Dryness.

What other options are there besides the pill?

Dr. Salerno wrote about the Addition Benefits of Birth Control
Frequently asked questions answered by the Mayo Clinic about birth control.
Cervical Shield is an alternative to condoms and spermicide that can be obtained with a prescription.