Monday 5 September 2016

FAQ with Marla Ahlgrimm: Women’s Health

Marla Ahlgrimm
Women’s health expert, entrepreneur, and retired pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm responds to common questions about women’s health in the following FAQ.

Q: What is a PAP smear?

Marla Ahlgrimm: A Pap test is part of a preventative health exam for women. During a PAP smear, a doctor – either a primary care physician or gynecologist – will insert a small device inside of the cervix. This will collect a sample of cells from the cervical wall to be screened for abnormalities. Most experts recommend that a woman have her first pelvic exam after her first sexual encounter or by her 21st birthday, whichever comes first.

Q: I think I should be using birth control, but I don’t know much about it. What types of contraceptives are available?

Marla Ahlgrimm: There are a number of different methods by which a woman can prevent pregnancy; oral and topical patch birth controls are the most popular. Other birth control methods include internal barriers and quarterly medication to prevent ovulation. Permanent birth control procedures, such as tubal ligation and occlusion, are usually reserved for women who have had at least one birth. Condoms are, of course, still an option and one of the few that can prevent STD transmission.

Q: How and when should I take a pregnancy test?

Marla Ahlgrimm: If you suspect that you may be pregnant, you can take an at-home urine test shortly after your first missed period. Many Health Department branches offer free in-office or take-home tests. If the test is positive, contact your healthcare provider and let them know. You may be asked to confirm the pregnancy via blood draw.

Q: How soon after a positive test should I receive prenatal care?

Marla Ahlgrimm: That depends on you and your doctor. Many women wait until after 12 weeks to see their doctor while others schedule an appointment as soon as possible.


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