When to Get Your First Pap Smear
OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson says the age a woman should have her first Pap smear is 21 or when she becomes sexually active, whichever comes first. "The key is also to talk to teenagers about what sexual activity is. There is a misconception out there about oral sex, vaginal penetration, all kinds of different ideas about what actual intercourse is.”
She also encourages parents to bring their daughters in to see a gynecologist between the ages of 13 and 15 to start a relationship.
Special guest actress Fran Drescher beat uterine cancer and is now an inspiration for millions of women to take control of their bodies. She credits a transvaginal ultrasound procedure with saving her life due to early detection, and urges every woman to ask for it at her annual exam.
Dr. Lisa explains that unlike a pap smear, a transvaginal ultrasound procedure allows doctors to see inside the uterus and ovaries, and check for fibroids, cysts and other abnormalities. “It gives us eyes on the pelvic exam,” she adds.
The ideal candidate for the procedure is a woman with a history of uterine or ovarian cancer, but Fran urges women to demand the procedure as a supplement to their annual pap smear.
Dr. Lisa performs a transvaginal ultrasound on Kristen.
How to Prevent Cysts
• Adjust hormone levels
Cysts are hormonally-based, so going on birth control pills can help minimize the formation of them. Stopping hormone supplements if you're 60 years of age or older can help minimize cysts.
• Eliminate caffeine
Caffeine can stimulate cyst growth, so watch your coffee, soft drink and chocolate intake carefully.
• Reduce salt intake
Excess sodium will cause your body to retain water, so if you already have cysts and consume a lot of sodium, they will most likely get bigger.
• Perform regular breast self-examination
As always, know your body! You are your own best defense against potential ailments.
A cyst is a dilated sac of fluid that develops in the breast tissue. Many women have cysts in their breasts, but most women don’t know that there are different kinds of cysts.
Guest breast specialist Dr. Kristi Funk explains the difference between benign and malignant cysts and how you can tell the difference.
So you have a cyst. Now what?
Rebecca, 38, from Los Angeles, California found a cyst in her breast. Dr. Funk performs an ultrasound and determines whether Rebecca’s cyst is benign or cancerous, then drains the fluid out of it.
The Elusive O
Melissa, 23, is unable to have an orgasm without the help of a personal massager, and it frustrates her husband, Josh, 25. Dr. Lisa explains that most women do not have orgasm through vaginal penetration, and that many times it is only achieved through clitoral stimulation. Since about 10 percent of women never have orgasms, Dr. Lisa tells Melissa, “The good thing is, you have orgasms.”
About 70 percent of women experience situational anorgasmia, which is when a woman is able to orgasm only during certain situations, such as through oral sex or masturbation. “It’s important to communicate what works and take time with it,” Dr. Lisa says. “Try different positions. Maybe take a bath because warm water can help with stimulation. Use his hand instead of your hand, and when you get frustrated, just say, ‘This week, I’m not going to use the personal massager. I’m only going to let him go at it.’
“The woman is looking for the Big O, and the only way she’s going to find it is by knowing where her buttons are,” Dr. Lisa continues. “It’s very helpful and healthy to know what your buttons are.”
Fifty-six-year-old Jaci is making medical history. Despite being menopausal for five years, she is the oldest surrogate mother in the U.S. Not only is she pregnant; she’s pregnant with triplets … her daughter’s!
Due to hormones and living a healthy lifestyle, Jaci has the uterus of a 30-year-old. Dr. Lisa describes what a “plump and juicy” uterus is and what type of woman is a good candidate for surrogacy. Dr. Lisa performs a cutting-edge 4-D ultrasound onstage and reveals the gender of the babies to the whole family.
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Over the Odor
Do you ever have that not-so-fresh feeling down below? Jennifer struggles with it and is looking for a way to smell good all the time.
“Douching, I’ve always said, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad,” Dr. Lisa says, “because the vagina is a self-cleaning oven and has a normal vaginal acidic pH that keeps the bacteria away and yeast away. All of us women are worried about odors down there, and that’s very, very real. We want to smell fresh. Every woman thinks it’s supposed to have this perfumey odor, when, in fact, it really shouldn’t smell like anything.”
Foul odor in the vaginal area is often due to an infection, Dr. Berman explains. Keeping the area clean by washing with soap and water daily is essential, but hygiene is not always enough.
Dr. Berman displays WaterWorks the only product approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration to get rid of vaginal odor. Tap water flows through a stainless steel nozzle, which helps reduce unwanted odors without harsh chemicals or perfume cover-ups.The water flows downhill, as opposed to douching, which propels fluid upwards. The nozzle is placed in the vagina, and the steel and water come in contact with the wall of the vagina and eliminate foul smells by flushing out odor-causing bacteria.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for American women. But how do you know if you’re at risk? Guest cardiologist Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum stresses that 75 to 80 percent of the time, heart disease is preventable.
• High blood pressure High cholesterol
The cardiologist explains that chest pain isn’t the only indicator of heart disease in women. Symptoms can masquerade as seemingly harmless complaints, such as nausea, shortness of breath and fatigue.
“Everybody needs to pay attention to their own bodies, know their risk factors, and do something about it!” Dr. Steinbaum instructs. “And empower themselves to make a difference in their own health!”
Anxiety Attack or Heart Attack?
Twenty-eight-year-old Deanna started having heart palpitations and turns to Dr. Steinbaum for help. Though Deanna reported heart palpitations before, her doctors dismissed her concerns as anxiety.
Dr. Steinbaum performs three tests on Deanna:
1. Electrocardiogram (EKG)
Measures the electrical activity of the heart
An ultrasound that looks at the walls and the chambers of the heart
3. Stress Test Measures the function of the heart during exercise
The tests reveal that Deanna has a mitral valve prolapse, which is a common heart disorder. It occurs when the valve between the heart's left upper chamber (left atrium) and the left lower chamber (left ventricle) doesn't close properly. However, the doctor assures Deanna that her heart is just fine.
The cardiologist explains that, due to the physiology of women’s hormones, a panic attack can often simulate heart palpitations. Dr. Steinbaum suggests that every time Deanna feels stressed, she should take deep breaths and hold them for four seconds and exhale for six seconds, which will decrease the flutters.
Warning Signs of a Heart Attack in Women:
- Chest discomfort or pain
- Radiation of pain to jaw or arm
- Shortness of breath