Holistic Gynecology FAQ

holistic_gynecology_faq

Q. What is a Holistic Approach?

A holistic approach to modern medicine is characterized by treating the person as a whole, rather than treating specific diseases or symptoms. It is concerned with the prevention and health care, not simply curing disease after it has taken hold. The support should also consider their physical, emotional, social, and spiritual wellbeing.

Q. What is Holistic Gynecology

Holistic gynecology is a branch of medicine that focuses on preventive care and enhancing well-being. This type of gynecology provides healthcare throughout a woman’s entire life and addresses holistic women’s health, rather than just treating illness once it occurs. 

The holistic approach uses and emphasizes natural therapies that promote wellness for the body, mind, and spirit, as well as using traditional medicine when needed. It also helps vaginal health by using natural remedies instead of harmful chemicals.

Q. How is Holistic Gynecology Different Than the Rest

One main difference has to do with treatment. A mainstream ob-gyn relies on pharmaceutical drugs, synthetic hormones, and surgical procedures to solve women’s health problems. Holistic gynecology chooses treatments such as herbal remedies, supplements, nutrition, and mindfulness.  It also supports the natural processes of the body and traditional treatments when necessary.

Another difference is in how a holistic gynecologist thinks about health care for women. A typical ob-gyn says that with proper medical treatment, she can help most women with their health problems. A holistic practitioner believes this as well, but also knows that healing does not always come from a pill. 

Q. What is Offered with a Holistic Gynecologist

Healthcare at a Holistic Gynecologist, like Midwife360, offers primary care and treatment for women of all ages. From their first PAP-smear through menopause. It includes preventative measures to detect and treat gynecological conditions before they become more difficult to manage. When mainstream medical care is necessary, it also offers a support system that can work in conjunction with other practices or hospitals.

At Midwife360 we offer and educate on:

  • PAP-smears
  • Annual Examinations / Office Visits
  • Problem Visit Examinations
  • HPV
  • Thermography
  • STDs
  • IUD or implant placement
  • Pregnancy and prevention strategies
  • Blood Draw & Testing
  • Birth Control (natural and artificial methods)
  • Fertility issues (natural and artificial methods)
  • Mammograms and ultrasound prescriptions
  • Any vaginal or genital discomfort
  • Convenient electronic prescription and medical records

Q. Is it Important to Use Organic Feminine Products

Yes. It is important to use organic feminine products because you must protect your delicate vaginal mucosa from chemical irritants. This can be done by using 100% cotton tampons or pads and natural, non-chemical-based feminine care products such as menstrual cups.

It can be bad for vaginal health to use non-organic because tampons absorb vaginal and uterine fluid to keep you dry. This allows the vagina’s delicate bacterial balance to be disrupted, allowing bad bacteria to grow. Thus, releasing chemicals into your body (including pesticides from non-organic cotton).

Q. How Do I Find A Holistic Gynecologist

If you are in the South Florida area and are looking for a provider who takes the holistic, look no further. Founded by P. Fadwah Halaby CNM, Midwife360 is a holistic evidence-based practice for midwifery services such as routine women’s care, family planning, pregnancy care, and birthing. 

If you are ready to make an appointment visit the Midwife360 today.

Midwife360 and the Scoop on IUDs

Many of my clients ask about birth control options that do not have hormones. There are a few, mostly they are the barrier methods like condoms (male and female), diaphragms, and cervical caps, or surgery. But the copper IUD is the only one that is long term and reversible and does not have any hormones. Since the copper IUD is not the only long term, reversible contraceptive, I wanted to break it down here for you.

What is an IUD?

IUD stands for IntraUterine Device. There are 2 types of IUDs, those with hormones and those without. Both of them are T-shaped plastic rods that are about 1.3 inches long with a string attached to the leg. The ones with hormones contain progesterone impregnated plastic, while those without have some copper wrapped around the arms and/or leg. 

Progesterone IUDs

The hormonal IUDs are called Mirena, Liletta, Kyleena, and Skyla. They are approved to last from 3 to 5 years and the Mirena and Liletta can be effective up to 7 years. The Skyla (3 year device) is a bit smaller than the others and is marketed towards young women who havenʼt had babies yet. The hormones effectively thin the lining of the uterus causing the wearer to have a super light or no period. Women usually still feel that they are cycling, as they can still get bloating or other pre-menstrual symptoms, but without the bleeding. Sometimes the IUD can cause an increase in period bleeding, but this is usually short-lived and will slow down or stop completely within a few months. This can make it more difficult to get pregnant once the IUD is removed as it can be 6 months or longer before the period returns to normal. 

Copper IUDs

The copper IUD that is approved for use in the US is called Paragard. There is another brand that is used in other parts of the world called Nova-T that is the exact same thing as the Paragard – a plastic T-shaped device with 380mm2 surface area of exposed copper. The Paragard is approved for 10 years and effective for at least 12. The Nova-T package insert says itʼs approved for 5 years. 

Pros and cons

The benefit of using an IUD is that it is placed once and then you donʼt have to think about it. You donʼt have to remember to take a daily pill, switch out your patch every week, do a monthly vaginal ring swap, or get a shot every 3 months. They are very effective, partly for this very reason – everyone is a perfect user. They are considered 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.

However, if you do get pregnant, especially with a hormonal IUD, you have a greater chance of having an ectopic pregnancy (when the fertilized egg doesnʼt make it past the tube into the uterus). As mentioned above, the hormonal IUDs can lighten or stop the period which is beneficial for those with super heavy cycles or super painful cramping – such as with endometriosis (a condition where the uterine lining or endometrium grows in places outside the uterus – when she has her period these places also bleed causing extreme cramping).

Another con with the hormonal IUDs is the tendency for those with them to be unable to lose weight or gain unwanted pounds over time.

An advantage of the copper IUDs is that one gets very effective birth control without using hormones. This means that it doesnʼt affect your cycle or your ability to get pregnant once it is removed. The only other birth control that doesnʼt use hormones are the barrier devices (make and female condoms, diaphragms and cervical caps). However if one has a copper allergy, it can cause multiple systemic symptoms and even affect the efficiency of the immune system. 

Placement

When you go to have your IUD placed, you should be on your period. This helps reduce the risk of infection as you have a flow that will carry any unwanted accidentally introduced bacteria out of the uterus. It also means that your cervix is softer and more open. You will be counseled regarding the risks of perforation and infection – which are the more common risks of placement. Your provider may also mention that expulsion of the device is also possible. Perforation would be pushing the inserter through the wall of the uterus and placing the IUD outside of the uterus. 

The provider should use sterile technique and clean inside your vaginal vault with betadine or hibicleanse prior to inserting the IUD. Some providers will numb the cervix with lidocaine, which makes the insertion much less uncomfortable. The uterus should be at least 6 cm deep, which is noted during the insertion as the inserter has cm markings on it. Once the IUD is properly placed the provider will make sure to cauterize any active bleeding with silver nitrate sticks.

Then you should be given a prescription to get an ultrasound to check placement and cautioned to refrain from intercourse for one week. Having an ultrasound assures that the IUD was placed properly in case there are questions about that in the future. It also reassures everyone that there was no perforation at the time of insertion. You can feel the strings which should be about 2-3 cm long hanging out of your cervix. These strings will be used to remove the IUD when you are ready to have it taken out. 

Removal

Getting the IUD removed is typically much easier than placing it. Sometimes the strings are no longer visible in which case an instrument is used to capture them and draw them out where they can be grasped with an instrument and the IUD removed with one swift tug. It does not hurt and I donʼt think Iʼve ever removed one where the client didnʼt say “Thatʼs it? Youʼre done?” It is important to wait a couple of cycles before trying to conceive as the risk of miscarriage is higher in the first 2 cycles of stopping any type of birth control. 

Support your local Nurse Midwife!

You can see an OB/GYN or CNM to get counseled regarding which birth control option is right for you, or if an IUD is a good option for its effectiveness in treating heavy menstrual bleeding and painful periods even if you donʼt need birth control. As always – do your research, know your body, ask questions, expect respect – make sure you are satisfied with the results!