The Health Advice A Gyno Gives Her Friends

April 21, 2015 1:03 PM

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The Health Advice A Gyno Gives Her Friends

"I talk my patients through all of their birth control options," says gynecologist Liz Lyster, MD, MPH, FACOG. "But I tell my friends to mess with their hormones as little as possible. Many are afraid of IUDs because the ones that were used 40 years ago -- and eventually banned -- let bacteria in and caused major complications." But the ones today are safer, she says. In fact, a 2013 poll published in the journal of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) found that ob-gyns were three times more likely to choose an IUD for themselves over other forms of birth control. There's a reason for that: Not only are they 99 percent effective, but IUDs can provide relief from heavy periods and menstrual cramps, and they release hormones locally, not systemically, like oral contraceptives do. Unlike the pill, says gynecologist Alyssa Dweck, MS, MD, FACOG, a co-author of V is for Vagina, which can wreck havoc on your libido, the localized dose of hormones in IUDs tend to keep your mood and sex drive stable. Plus, it's a set-it-and-forget-it mentality: There's no having to remember to take a pill every day; some IUDs can last up to 12 years, so they're ideal for longer-term birth control. (If you're planning to have kids in the near future, it might not make sense to go through the process of having an IUD inserted and subsequently removed.)

"A topic that comes up at parties all the time? Yeast infections," Dweck says. "And yet, my patients don't talk to me about them; they just go and treat their symptoms." Which can be a mistake. "Many women think that any irritation, itch, discharge or odor is a yeast infection," she says. "Instead o...

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