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Within the safe and welcoming environment of my office, I invite my patients to ask me questions regarding their gynecologic health. I assure them no question is silly or embarrassing. This blog will serve as a resource for me to share real patient questions with my answers and insight. While my responses are based on my medical knowledge and the latest scientific literature, the information provided is not meant to replace a medical consult with your physician.


Dear Dr. Hanna,

I have uterine fibroids and always had heavy periods. Recently my periods have gotten worse. I soak a super tampon in 2 hours and often soil my clothing. Sometimes I am afraid to leave the house due to the vaginal bleeding. I have chosen to live with my fibroids because I do not desire surgery. Are there any options for treatment to improve my bleeding?

Living with fibroids

Dear Living with fibroids,

You will be happy to know that heavy periods due to uterine fibroids can often be treated without surgery. As you already know, uterine fibroids are benign (not cancerous) growths that develop in the muscle of the uterus. Uterine fibroids can vary in size, shape and location in the uterus. They can occur at any age and many women have them without experiencing any symptoms, but a heavy period is a common complaint.

Uterine fibroids are usually first diagnosed during a routine pelvic exam. If I feel fibroids on an exam, I usually order a pelvic ultrasound to determine their exact size, location in the uterus and number. Pelvic ultrasound is a simple office procedure that is not painful. Ultrasound uses sound waves to create a picture of the uterus and other surrounding pelvic organs like your ovaries and bladder.


Dear Dr. Hanna,
My friends and I use an IUD for birth control. They no longer use condoms during vaginal sex but I told them they should to prevent getting sexually transmitted infections. Please set us straight on who is right.

Thank you,
Do I Need a Condom

Dear Do I Need a Condom,

I am so happy you asked this question! An IUD of any type is one of the most effective methods of birth control and I highly recommend their use. They are as effective as having permanent sterilization! While IUDs are an excellent way to prevent pregnancy, unfortunately they do not protect you from getting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Sexually transmitted diseases are spread from one person to another during vaginal, anal and oral sex. STDs are common and easily treated but many people are already infected without having any symptoms. The best way to reduce your chances of getting a sexually transmitted disease is by using a condom during sex no matter what other birth control you are using. Condoms prevent the contact of semen and vaginal fluids that carry infections. They also decrease skin-to-skin contact that helps prevent you from getting herpes and genital warts.

Not all condoms are created equal. Only synthetic condoms made of latex or plastic prevent you from STDs. Condoms made of lambskin or other animal materials prevent pregnancy but not from STDs.

Whether in a serious relationship or just a fling, remember, No glove, No love.

Dr. Hanna


Dear Dr. Hanna,
Ever since going thru menopause, my vagina feels dry. I have tried an over-the-counter vaginal moisturizer but did not get relief. Why is this happening to me? Is there anything else I can do?

Dry as the Desert

Dear Dry as the Desert,

I am sorry to hear you are suffering from vaginal dryness but I can assure you, you are not alone. Medical surveys estimate half of postmenopausal women suffer from the problem. Vaginal dryness is one of the most common complaints of menopausal women I see in my office.

Dryness can occur alone or in combination with other bothersome vaginal symptoms such as pain with intercourse and/or urinary symptoms of frequency and urgency. Some women even have an increased vaginal discharge. All together, these symptoms are referred to as genitourinary symptoms of menopause. Before menopause, the hormones estrogen and DHEA help to keep the walls in the vagina well lubricated. In menopause, the level of these hormones decreases and can lead to the vaginal dryness. The good news is there are many excellent treatment options for you to choose from. You do not have to suffer!

The content is meant for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Please seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Barbra S. Hanna, DO, FACOG, NCMP
1604 North Main Street  •  Wheaton, Illinois 60187  •  630-260-1818