Q: Are there alternatives to hysterectomy?
A. Hysterectomy is usually offered only after other less aggressive therapies have failed; such as hormonal suppression and endometrial ablation. Sometimes a hysterectomy is necessary as a first line of therapy if symptoms are severe.
Q: Why do I still need to come in for an annual exam when I don't need a pap smear?
A: You annual exam is more than just your pap smear. It is a time to evaluate your overall health, including pelvic/vaginal health. It lets us sit down together and review your personal risk factors for other diseases as well.
Q: I have no family history of heart disease or diabetes, do I need to have labwork?
A: Without family history we would recommend your first fasting labwork screening to be done by age 25. If everything is within normal limits this can be repeated every 5 years, assuming there are no changes in your risk profile.
Q: When should I have my first mammogram?
A: A baseline mammogram is recommended at age 35 with no family history of breast cancer.
Q: How long should I try to get pregnant before I become concerned that there is a problem?
A. Most couples will conceive within one year of having unprotected intercourse. If you have been trying for longer than that, it is probably time to schedule an appointment to discuss further investigation.
Q: Is there an accurate way to know when you are ovulating?
A. Some women will have physical symptoms of ovulation: cramping or changes in cervical mucous. If you cannot detect any symptoms, there are over the counter ovulation predictor kits that help to determine your most fertile days. This is done by a simple urine test each day.
Q: Is depression "made up" or "all in your head"?
A. No. It is a physical illness similar to a broken leg and responds quite well to treatment, which is usually a combination of medication and counseling.
Q: Can physical pain be a symptom of depression?
A. Yes. Frequently back pain, headaches, GI problems and joint pain can all be signs of depression.
Q: I'm tired all the time and can't focus. Can that be depression?
A. Yes. "Foggy thinking" is often the main symptom people notice
Q: Is there a blood test to diagnose depression or anxiety?
A. Not at this time.
Q: If I just "ignore it" will I get better on my own?
A. Perhaps, but usually it gets worse and can continue to interfere with life for years.
Q: Do people ever get better?
A. Yes, absolutely. The goal of treatment is to get in to a "remission", which means the symptoms are gone.
Clinical trials are research studies in which people agree to try new therapies. A research study is a carefully designed study that is done by people like you who volunteer to receive an investigation medication under the close supervision of one of our physicians. The purpose of clinical research is to find new answers to treatment and prevention of symptoms or diseases.
Q: How do I know if I qualify for a study?
A. The criteria for enrollment varies from study to study. You can contact one of our research coordinators at 441-0025 to learn more about a study and see if you might qualify.
Q: How may I benefit from enrolling in a study?
A. You will receive excellent medical care related to the study plus the chance of receiving a new treatment for a symptom or disease you are experiencing. You also play an important role in the development of new drugs for future generations. Anyone who has taken an over the counter medication or been prescribed a prescription benefits from people who have volunteered to be in a study.
Q: Once I enroll in a research study, can I change my mind?
A. Yes you can withdraw your consent anytime during the study, but it is always best to ask questions and resolve your concerns about the study before enrolling to make the best decision possible.
Q: What is a placebo?
A. A placebo is an inactive pill that has no treatment value. Many clinical studies have a placebo compared to active study medication to assess the effectiveness of the treatment.
Q: How often and at what age should I begin doing self-breast exam?
A. Starting at the age of 20, monthly self-breast exams should begin to help a woman become familiar with her breast tissue and what is normal for her, and to detect any changes that may have occurred. Women who are still having menstrual cycles should try to perform their exams about 5-7 days after their menses. Menopausal women should try to do their exams on the same day of each month.
Q: What should I do if I find a lump or notice a change in my breast tissue?
A. First of all, do not panic, many women have at least one breast lump in their lifetime. Most are due to benign changes in the breast, however, you need to contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible, to rule out other more concerning problems. Your health care provider will most likely perform a clinical breast exam and may suggest that you have diagnostic tests such as a breast ultrasound, a mammogram, or a breast biopsy.
Q: Can I have coffee when I am fasting?
A. No, you may only have water.
Q: Should I take my medications if I am fasting?
A. Yes, always take your medications. Take them with water. If your medication requires food, then wait until after your have had your blood drawn.
Q: How long should I fast?
A. Normally fasting should be 8-12 hours. You should not be fasting less than 8 hours or longer than 16 hours. For example, if you have a fasting lab appointment at 9:00 am you may eat something around 9:00 pm the night before
Q: Why do I need to stay during a glucose tolerance test?
A. Reference values for tolerance testing were done at a resting state. The test is to see how your body utilizes glucose. If you are exerting energy, your body is burning up the glucose more rapidly and this would make your results inaccurate.
Q: Why do I bruise with blood drawn?
A. With a blood draw, the needle is puncturing a vein making a hole. Sometimes the needle goes clear through the vein. The blood leaks out and causes a hematoma. Pressure will help stop the bleeding until it clots. Some people do not clot as fast as others and therefore bruise easier. If you have a bruise and it is sore, put a cold pack on it for a while. Do not carry your purse or anything heavy for a while after a blood draw because this may break the clot and make the bruise larger.
Q: When will I get my results?
A. Most of our labwork is processed at the clinic, but some tests are still sent out for processing. When results are finished the chart is given to the individual providers to contact the patient by dictation or phone if needed. It may take a week for results to be processed, dictated and received by mail. Rest assured that if the results warrant immediate attention this process is expediated. If you need your results before refilling medication, please let the lab personnel know so that they can let the provider know the time frame in which you need your results.
Q: Who do I call if I haven't received my results?
A. Always ask for the phone nurse. The lab staff is not to give out patient results. All results need to be checked by the provider before they are to be given to the patient. Please leave your name, birth date and phone number and someone will get a hold of you when the information is available.
Q: With a blood draw, will I get my blood type?
A. No, this is a specific test and needs to be ordered by the provider. If you have ever donated blood, the blood bank will have your type on record, then you wouldn't need to pay for it. If you have ever had major surgery, the hospital may have your blood type on record also. Be informed; ask your provider what blood tests are being done and during your appointment with them. Write it down so you remember, so if you see another provider, tests won't be repeated. If you have had lab done at another facility, bring those results with you or have them faxed to us. This will help us be more informed and give you better care.
Q: What should my blood pressure be?
A. Goal for blood pressures have been moved down in the last couple of years to 130/80 or below for treated or untreated blood pressure. The reason for this is to reduce risk for problems we see that are related to elevated blood pressures, such as stroke, heart disease and kidney disease. For people with other conditions, such as diabetes and kidney disease, there is information to support that blood pressure readings should be closer to 120/80 or below to reduce risk of damage to kidneys. Final treatment goals may vary and should always be discussed with the treating health are provider.
Q: What should my blood sugar be?
A. Goal for fasting blood sugar at this time is 100-105 or less depending on lab normals (some labs will vary). For FHCC and Women's Clinic, a fasting blood sugar less than 105 is normal. HgA1C (hemoglobin-A-1-C) is a three-month average of blood sugars that helps us follow control of blood sugars, should be 6.0 or less. It should be used to monitor control in diabetes. These normals have been lowered in the last year or two as to help diagnose and treat earlier diabetes with better outcomes, decreasing risk for developing secondary problems such as heart disease, retinopathy, neuropathy and kidney disease.