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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,

Since entering menopause, I experience frequent urinary tract infections. I don’t seem to have any other vaginal symptoms. Is there anything I can do to prevent a UTI?

Sincerely,
Tired of painful urination

Dear Painful Urination,

I am sorry to hear you are experiencing frequent UTIs but am so glad you asked this question. Yes, there are some easy things you can do to prevent a urinary tract infection.

Some simple strategies include: Making sure you wipe from front to back after a bowel movement, avoiding soaps or perfumed feminine hygiene products, empting your bladder after intercourse and adding a daily dose of cranberry extract or pure unsweetened cranberry juice to your diet. Some women also benefit from vaginal estrogen therapy. Menopause causes the vaginal pH to increase and allows bacteria to grow, raising the chance of an infection.

Many menopausal women complain of symptoms of urinary tract infections – urgency and frequency but actually are suffering from something other than a UTI, such as a loss of estrogen in their vaginal tissues, dietary- and/or medication-related urine changes or even a weakened pelvic floor disorder like a cystocele (dropped bladder).

I always recommended a urine sample to be sent for a culture prior to taking antibiotics. You definitely want to make sure you actually have a bacterial infection before taking antibiotics as antibiotic resistance is on the rise.

Sincerely,
Dr. Hanna

 

Dear Dr. Hanna,

I was at lunch with my girlfriend whose doctor recommended she have colon cancer screening. She is only 45 and has no family history of colon cancer. We both thought screening began at age 50. Next year I will turn 45 and do not want to have a colonoscopy. I heard it is an awful experience! I eat lots of fiber every day and believe my colon is very happy. Please set us straight.

Thank you,
Happy Colon

 

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?

Sincerely,
Living with fibroids

Dear Dr. Hanna,

My hair is thinning! I have noticed a large amount of hair in my brush daily. My ponytail seems thinner. I saw my primary care provider and had my thyroid checked after reading about causes of hair loss online. My primary care physician recommended minoxidil but I forget to use it. I think my hair loss is related to my hormones. Are there any other treatment options for women? I am considering wig shopping.

Sincerely,

Wig Shopping

 

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

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