Boulder Women's Care: Top Care for Women at Every Stage and Every Age

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Boulder Community HomeCare

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Jul 29, 2021

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Colorado - Boulder County

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From your first Pap smear to pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and beyond, BCHs obstetrics and gynecology practice Boulder Womens Care is here to provide top care every step of the way.

Obstetric Services
Gynecology Services
Our Team
Schedule an Appointment

Obstetrics Services
Expert, personalized care for moms-to-be.
A healthy pregnancy starts with quality maternity care. At Boulder Womens Care, youll receive expert, comprehensive care and support before, during and after childbirth.
Our obstetricians have spent four years after medical school in a residency program becoming experts in every stage of pregnancy and childbirth. They, along with nurse practitioners, will guide your care and help you and your baby stay healthy with comprehensive obstetric services:

Fertility evaluations and family planning
Preconception care
Prenatal care (low and high-risk pregnancies)
Labor and delivery
Post-partum (after birth) care

Our Boulder Womens Care obstetricians strive for a wonderful, family-centered birth experience. All of our moms-to-be deliver at theFamily Birth Centerat Foothills Hospital an ideal environment for your babys birth.
Gynecology Services
Comprehensive care for your changing health needs.
Count on our experienced, compassionate physicians and advanced nurse practitioners for routine and specialized gynecology care, from adolescence to menopause and beyond. All share the same goal to help you maintain a lifetime of good health and well-being:

General gynecologic care, from adolescence to mature adulthood
Urogynecologic care
Perimenopause and menopause care
Cancer screening and clinical breast exams
Annual well-woman exams

Boulder Womens Care also offers a wide range of treatments for a variety of conditions:

Abnormal or painful periods
Pelvic pain
Pelvic floor issues such as prolapse
Urinary incontinence
Ovarian cysts
Uterine fibroids
Vaginitis
Urinary tract infections
Peri-menopause and menopause symptoms

Gynecologic Surgery: Advanced technologies for a shorter recovery
If you need gynecologic surgery, you want physicians who will treat you with sensitivity and offer the most effective options for your needs. Boulder Womens Cares experienced team of surgeons offer compassionate care and the latest in minimally invasive approaches to surgery, helping you quickly return to your daily activities.
Urinary stress incontinence and other pelvic floor disorders can severely impact physical activities and enjoyment of life. Sadly, many women often live with these uncomfortable and sometimes painful conditions for years without realizing anything can be done. Or, theyre too embarrassed to talk about them. The compassionate providers with Boulder Women's Care can help restore pelvic function and improve your quality of life.

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Iron Deficiency in Women: Can You Be Iron Deficient Without Anemia?

You need iron to produce and maintain healthy red blood cells. When you lack enough iron youre at risk for developing anemia. But what you may not realize is that you can have low iron levels without being diagnosed as anemic. Its true that iron deficiency is the most common cause of anemia, which is why doctors might rule out an iron problem if you test negative.If you have anemia, your red blood cell count is too low, commonly causing fatigue and weakness. About 20% of the worldwide population has iron-deficiency anemia, making it one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in the world. Your body needs iron to make enough healthy red blood cells.But three times as many people have low iron levels with a healthy amount of red blood cells. And doctors might not look any further or discover you are low in iron. If left undiagnosed and untreated, iron-deficiency can progress until your red blood cells diminish and you become anemic.Lets take a closer look at the symptoms and signs of iron deficiency without anemia and how its treated.Symptoms of Iron Deficiency Without AnemiaSo the diagnosis is different but are the symptoms the same? Will you suffer the same side effects as a person with diagnosed anemia? In some ways, yes. Both conditions share the most common symptoms, such as:Fatigue and lethargyTrouble focusing and concentratingMood changesWeakness while activeAnytime you notice these symptoms, its worthwhile to check with your doctor. Women should have their iron levels checked at least occasionally since women are very prone to iron-deficiency due to menstruation and childbirth. Your doctor can order blood tests to learn more about your iron and red blood cell count.Think of iron deficiency as a factory that falls behind production demands. It might take weeks for it to fall below the minimum productivity mark, and once it does, its tough to catch back up. Its the same with our iron stores. If we experience several different factors that are draining our iron stores, well use them up more quickly and be less equipped to rebuild them.What Causes Iron Deficiency?You may find one cause of low iron or three. Sometimes its a combination of factors. But the most common causes include:Not getting enough iron through food or supplementsNeeding more iron than usual (heavy bleeding, surgery, childbirth, etc.)Poor iron absorptionYoure more likely to develop iron deficiency if you:Are a vegetarian or vegan (meat, especially red meat, is iron-rich)Are pregnantAre still growing (children and teens)Are an athleteHave active celiac disease or inflammatory bowel diseaseHave had gastric bypass surgeryExperienced changes in stomach acid from H. pylori infection or from using proton pump inhibitors (a class of medication that treat acid reflux)Are of childbearing age, especially if your periods are heavyHave lost blood due to surgery or internal bleedingWhat Do Ferritin and Hemoglobin Have to Do with Iron Deficiency?Ferritin plays a critical role in iron deficiency, because it's a protein that stores and releases iron when needed. When youre running low on iron, your body pulls it from your ferritin reserves, and if not replenished, these stores can become depleted. This means that you can have low ferritin and temporarily have normal iron levels.According to the World Health Organization (WHO) low iron is equivalent to ferritin under 12 mcg/L. But other studies suggest you could be considered iron deficient with ferritin levels under 30 mcg/L. Blood tests are available to determine to ferritin levels and blood saturation.Hemoglobin can be impacted when your iron levels drop low enough for long enough. Its the part of your red blood cells that carry oxygen. But you need iron to make healthy red blood cells and hemoglobin. So the less iron in your bloodstream, the less hemoglobin, and the less oxygen your cells receive. This is what triggers that list of symptoms, including fatigue.What Is Anemia?You're diagnosed with anemia if your ferritin and hemoglobin (and red blood cells) are both low. This is considered iron-deficiency anemia and is very common. But if your hemoglobin is unaffected even though your ferritin is normal, its considered iron deficiency without anemia. However, if your ferritin levels dont improve, its likely to progress to anemia as youre unable to produce enough iron to make red blood cells and hemoglobin.Blood tests to diagnose anemia usually include ferritin and hemoglobin. Your doctor and run other tests to learn more about your red blood cells and how healthy they are. This can provide a more detailed picture of what is going on in your body.How Much Iron Do You Need?Women who menstruate require 18 mg of iron each day to maintain health. You may need more if youre pregnant or nursing. If you're postmenopausal you need 8 mg daily.You can get iron from several food sources, but the most easily absorbed iron comes from red meats. However, you can get plant-based iron from leafy green vegetables, beans, lentils, and iron-fortified breakfast cereals.How Do You Treat Iron Deficiency without Anemia?Your doctor will first consider your diet and recommend that you adjust your diet to include quality sources of iron. But if you have problems absorbing iron, this wont be enough. Often supplements are also advised.In more severe cases, your doctor might recommend iron infusions. When you receive iron infusions, you receive iron through an IV (intravenously). This is done over several visits. It gets iron into your system in greater quantities and more quickly.After treatment, whether through infusion or supplements, youll likely have follow up visits to see how the treatment is working and if there are any changes in your blood test results.How Much Iron Should You Take?You should have doctor supervision while taking iron supplements. Taking iron when your levels are within normal range can be dangerous. Elevated iron levels can also cause serious health problems.Your doctor will likely prescribe a supplement that delivers 28-50 mg of iron. The average supplement provides 15 mg of iron per serving.Iron Deficiency and Celiac DiseaseAccording to the American Gastroenterological Association recommendations, anyone with unexplained iron deficiency should be tested for celiac disease.If you have celiac disease, a protein found primarily in wheat sets off an autoimmune response causing your immune system to attack your small intestines. The resulting damage makes it difficult to or impossible to absorb the nutrients from food your body needs. The small intestines are where most nutrient absorption happens.Other Celiac SymptomsFor some people, iron deficiency, or even anemia, is the primary symptom of celiac disease.You might have few, if any, gastrointestinal symptoms.Additional celiac symptoms include:DiarrheaConstipationAbdominal painNausea/vomitingLactose intoleranceUnexplained weight loss or gainFatigueMemory problemsBone or joint pain/arthritisBone lossSkin rashesMouth ulcersHeadachesIrregular menstrual cycleThis is just a short list of possible celiac symptoms, and remember that you might not have any symptoms at all other than low iron levels. Its also possible to have only non-digestive symptoms. Or, the digestive symptoms could be so subtle that you dont connect them to a possible celiac problem.Some evidence suggests that if your main digestive system is iron deficiency but with no digestive symptoms, your celiac disease may be more severe than those with additional symptoms.But once you have been on a gluten-free diet for a while, your small intestines can begin to heal. Your symptoms should also decrease.Treating Iron Deficiency When You Have Celiac DiseaseIf you have celiac disease, increasing dietary iron may not benefit you much. If your small intestines havent healed, you wont be able to absorb much or any of the iron from food. Its still important to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. This will allow you to gain the nutrition that you can while also helping you avoid other consequences of an unhealthy diet.If you have celiac disease, youll need to rely more on supplements, and especially those that are easier to digest.Maintaining Healthy Iron Levels to Prevent DeficiencyDetecting low iron levels is the first step. Oftentimes, iron deficiency goes undetected until symptoms worsen. If you have unexplained fatigue, hair loss, difficulty concentrating, mood swings, and weakness during activity, you should see your doctor to rule out low iron levels.Be sure to eat a healthy, iron-rich diet and take iron supplements as your doctor prescribes. If your doctor hasnt been able to determine an obvious cause for your iron deficiency, you should test for celiac disease. Typically a blood test is first and, if warranted, is followed by an endoscopy to confirm small intestine damage.A gluten-free diet will eventually allow your small intestines to heal and perhaps begin absorbing iron properly again. But until then, youll need to continue taking an iron supplement.Tye Medical offers premium incontinence products in a variety of sizes and absorbency levels. Shop our online store for free and discreet shipping on all orders. 

What to Know About HRT Patches and Menopause

Your journey through menopause can range from mildly uncomfortable to downright unbearable. But thanks to modern medicine, you dont have to endure the most taxing of menopause symptoms. For some women, HRT patches are the answer to a smoother transition to menopause.Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) patches are medicated sticky patches you apply to your skin. The patches contain hormones like estrogen, and doctors recommend them to ease menopause symptoms.The use of HRT patches brings many questions about safety, benefits versus downsides, and other forms of HRT available. Here is what you need to know about HRT patches.Uses for HRT PatchesHRT patches slowly release small amounts of hormones into your body. Often, HRT is prescribed to alleviate menopause symptoms but is also recommended to help with other conditions like:Increasing estrogen levels in women who dont make enough naturallyPreventing bone diseases, like osteoporosis, in postmenopausal womenHRT patches contain the hormone or combination of hormones that you need. This means that some patches may be estrogen-only or a combination of estrogen and another hormone like progesterone. You might hear estrogen-only patches referred to as subdermal estradiol patches. Estradiol is the synthetic, bioidentical form of estrogen.Can You Switch from Another Type of HRT to a Patch?If you have completed the transition to menopause, meaning that your periods have stopped, you can start an HRT patch immediately without ever having used HRT before. You can also begin HRT patches right away if you are switching from another type of combined HRT that is also continuous release.However, not all HRT types are continuous release. Some are sequential combined HRT, which means you take a combo hormone medication on certain consecutive days followed by a break. In this case, its best to wait until you complete your current cycle of medication before switching to the HRT patch.Even knowing this, you should consult with your doctor before switching from your current HRT medication to HRT patches.Benefits of HRTAs mentioned, hormone replacement therapy patches are frequently used to treat moderate to severe menopause symptoms. This can improve your quality of life as your body goes through a major hormone shift.Common menopause symptoms that can become burdensome but improve with HRT include:Difficulty sleepingMemory problemsUrge incontinence (urgent urination)Hot flashesVaginal dryness, itching, burningAnxietyDepressionNight sweatsMood changesDecreased libidoVaginal infectionsUsing HRT patches and other forms of HRT can drastically reduce menopause symptoms.What Other HRT Options Are Available?HRT tablets are the most common way to receive hormone replacement therapy. HRT tablets are proven to reduce and even prevent common menopause symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, and vaginal dryness. They are typically taken once daily with water. Like patches, Oral HRT contains different combinations of hormones in varying strengths and are prescribed according to your specific needs.HRT gels are applied directly to your skin. They usually contain estradiol, a synthetic, bioidentical form of estrogen.HRT sprays also contain estradiol. You spray them on your skin and allow it to absorb.Which option you choose is a matter of preference, and your doctor may suggest a method that would be most effective for your specific hormone needs.Why Use HRT Patches Instead of Other HRT Forms?Suppose your menopause symptoms fluctuate erratically and are difficult to regulate with other HRT methods. In that case, the continuous release of hormones through the patch can bring consistency to your symptoms while decreasing their severity.You may also opt for HRT patches if you struggle to remember to take pills or have difficulty swallowing them. The patch is a practical way to solve both issues and ensure you receive your medication on schedule and in the proper dose.Other forms of HRT can also cause indigestion and even blood clots. Indigestion isnt an issue with patches like it is with pills, and the chances of developing blood clots are lower with an HRT patch. Additionally, if youre overweight, smoke, or are migraine sufferer, youre more prone to blood clots and can benefit from using the patch instead of other forms.Some doctors prefer to prescribe HRT patches because absorbing hormones through the skin means they bypass your liver. This can prevent damage to your liver over time. Its also possible that bypassing the liver makes patches more effective.Downsides of Using the HRT PatchSide effects from hormone replacement therapy are rare but can happen.Side Effects of HRT PatchesSide Effects of HRT TabletsWeight gainWeight gainHeadachesHeadaches and nauseaSkin irritationSkin irritationMenstrual painBreast painStomach cramps and diarrheaBack painDischarge from vaginaIf you experience any of these side effects while taking an HRT treatment, you should consult with your doctor.Tips for Using HRT PatchesThe most common places for patch placement are your lower abdomen (below your waistline) and your upper buttock area.For your HRT patch to be most effective, you should NOT apply it to the following areas:BreastsCreases or folds of skinLight exposed areasUnder tight clothing or elasticOily, damaged, or irritated skinOnce you apply your patch, avoid using creams, lotions, or powders in the area.How to Apply an HRT PatchOpen the package and remove the patch.Peel the backing from the patch and press the sticky side against the skin on your lower abdomen or upper buttock.Press firmly on the patch for 10 seconds using your palm or fingers. Ensure the edges of the patch are firmly fixed.Wear the patch continuously until its time to remove it then gently peel it off.Once removed, fold the patch in half, pressing the sticky sides together. Dispose of it securely to keep it away from children and pets.If you have a sticky residue on your skin afterward, wait 15 minutes and then use oil or lotion to remove the residue.How Long Should You Wear a Patch?The length of time you wear the patch varies by brand and other circumstances. You may apply a patch once or twice a week for a specific amount of time or wear it continuously for three weeks followed by a week without a patch. Its also possible that you wear the patch all the time, replacing it immediately with a fresh one.Regardless, you must wear the HRT patch according to your doctors prescription. Usually, your patch will remain fixed even during bathing or showering. But if your patch falls off, you can apply a new one to a different area once your skin is cool and dry.Are HRT Patches Safe?Hormone replacement therapy patches are largely considered safe and effective but arent the best option for everyone. If any of the following applies to you, using the HRT patch may not be advisable. Be sure to consult your doctor.Have had an allergic reaction to estrogen, progesterone, or other hormoneAre experiencing unexplained vaginal bleedingHave ever been diagnosed with breast cancer, endometrial cancer, or have a greater risk of developing themAre pregnant or breastfeedingHave had a recent heart attack, stroke, or anginaHave a history of blood clots or are more susceptible to themHave any of the following conditionsLupusDementiaUntreated endometrial hyperplasiaObesityMigraines or severe headachesDiabetesAsthmaHigh blood pressureEpilepsyUnderactive thyroidLow liver functionSome of these are very common conditions, which means that HRT is not a viable option for many people. HRT isnt recommended for some of these conditions, like hypothyroidism, because of HRTs negative interaction with the medications that treat them. Thats why you should discuss your medical conditions, all medications, and supplements youre taking with your doctor.Lifestyle Changes to Alleviate Menopause SymptomsYou can help reduce menopause symptoms further and increase the effectiveness of HRT when you adopt some key lifestyle changes like:Regular exercise: It can reduce hot flashes, boost your mood, and improve sleep quality.A cool bedroom: Sleeping in a cool bedroom can help prevent hot flashes and night sweats while you sleep.Cut back on alcohol and caffeine: If you regularly consume alcohol and caffeine youre more likely to experience hot flashes.Avoid spicy food: Spicy food is known to trigger hot flashes.Reduce stress: Since menopause can affect your mood, its important to keep your stress levels as low as possible to help manage emotions.Use herbal supplements: Some herbal supplements can help reduce menopause symptoms. Talk to your doctor about which supplements may be best for your symptoms.Stop smoking: Smoking increases the frequency of hot flashes and also increases your risk of conditions like heart disease and cancer.HRT for MenopauseIf lifestyle adjustments like exercise, stress reduction, and herbal supplements dont provide enough relief from troublesome menopause symptoms, then HRT can be an effective option for some women. Your doctor will know if you have any health conditions that would prevent you from safely using HRT patches or other forms of hormone replacement therapy.Its a matter of preference which form of HRT you choose, whether patches, tablets, gels, or sprays. Your doctor can guide you in which type of HRT is best for your needs.Side effects from HRT are possible, and you should notify your doctor if you experience any. 

Aloe Vera: 5 Potential Health Benefits You Should Know About

Many people could probably name one use for the aloe vera plant: sunburn relief. Its true that gel from this plant can have a soothing effect on sunburned skin. But you may not be familiar with aloe veras other health benefits.Aloe vera plants have leaves that are filled with a soft, clear gel known for its hydrating and medicinal properties. For centuries, people around the world have used aloe vera to promote wellness. So, in what ways are we taking advantage of the aloe vera plant today? Here are some potential health benefits of aloe vera and the associated research. But before incorporating these uses into your wellness plan, talk to your healthcare provider.1. Lower Blood Pressure with Aloe Vera Gel PowderUsing aloe vera doesnt replace the tried and true means of lowering blood pressure, which are exercise, a healthy diet, and prescribed medication. But it can be a useful aid in the battle against high blood pressure. The American Heart Association considers it as a complementary therapy based on limited research.Research conducted with 90 people with non-insulin-dependent diabetes found that aloe vera gel powder received in capsules daily helped reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The aloe vera treatment groups also received nutritional counseling. The studys conclusion suggests that these effects on blood pressure could be due to aloe veras two anti-inflammatory components that were previously studied and verified.2. Stabilize Blood Sugar with Aloe VeraYou can effectively stave off diabetes with weight loss, physical activity, and a healthy eating plan. These activities can improve blood sugar and help lower your diabetes risk. But aloe vera also has some evidence-based support for controlling blood sugar.One study suggests that an aloe vera supplement helped control blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. For people managing type 2 diabetes, it notably improved A1C levels.Yes, but how? Researchers believe these positive outcomes were due to aloe veras effects on the digestive tract. Its properties help to block or reduce the absorption of glucose through the digestive tract. In other words, it keeps your body from absorbing as much glucose during digestion. This would have a notable impact on blood sugar control.3. Improve Dental Health with Aloe VeraWhile many associate aloe vera with skin health, most probably dont consider it useful for oral hygiene. But researchers have found evidence of anti-plaque and anti-gingivitis properties. One study pitted an aloe-based mouthwash against a traditional, germ-fighting mouthwash. After 30 days, the study found that the aloe-vera based mouthwash reduces gum bleeding and plaque as effectively as the traditional mouthwash. This means that aloe vera could be a viable alternative to commonly used mouthwash, even for those who have gingivitis or dental plaque.4. Reduce Skin Aging with Aloe VeraYoull find aloe vera in an array of skin-care products, including moisturizers and face masks. This is due to hydrating and anti-aging properties.If you want to ward off wrinkles for as long as possible, its important to apply a daily moisturizer. A good moisturizer seals water inside your skin cells, giving you a more youthful appearance. On the other hand, if your skin dries out, those plump skin cells shrivel, causing premature wrinkles.This means that an aloe vera infused moisturizer may be a helpful addition to your skin regimen. Aloe vera is packed with a hydrating molecule that keeps moisture sealed inside your skin. But there is more than just its hydrating effects to praise. It also activates cells in your connective tissues that boost collagen production. This results in tighter-looking skin and reduced wrinkles.While conclusive studies on aloe vera and collagen are still forthcoming, these early findings are encouraging.5. Get Rid of Acne with Aloe VeraAloe veras natural anti-inflammatory properties make it an excellent acne treatment. It soothes and reduces the appearance of acne and even acne scarring. But its best to apply aloe vera acne treatments to blemishes that arent open, otherwise it causes additional irritation. You want to apply aloe vera to the surface of a blemish.Aloe vera can help other skin irritations too. Some use it to help treat skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPA), if you apply a cream that contains at least 0.5% aloe vera up to three times per day, you may see reduced redness and scaling. But the NPA also cautions that aloe vera works best as complementary treatment that is used along with your traditional treatments for the condition.As an eczema treatment, the plants antibacterial, antifungal, and moisturizing properties may help prevent flare-ups.Aloe Vera As a Natural and Safe RemedyTry one of the many uses for aloe vera and reap some of the health benefits. Look for skin products with concentrations of aloe vera to enjoy the moisturizing and anti-aging effects. To reduce blood pressure and blood sugar, talk to your doctor about adding aloe vera gel powder capsules to your supplements.TYE Medical offers premium incontinence products in a variety of sizes and absorbency levels. Shop our online store for free and discreet shipping on all orders.