Amber’s question this week is, "Can birth control pills lower my sex drive?"
The answer to that is, "Yes, anything that manipulates your hormones can affect your sex drive negatively or positively." This includes hormone injections, patches, rings or implants.
Birth control prevents ovulation by blocking certain surges in hormone levels that signal the body to ovulate an egg. If an egg isn’t available for fertilization, then pregnancy will not occur but these hormone surges also regulate a woman's sexual desire.
Sexual desire rises during the hormone surges that cause ovulation. This makes sense because that is the best time to get pregnant and propagate the species. If women have been on birth control for many years, it can have a profound effect on their sexual desire, leaving them and their partners frustrated.
This is why so many women have been choosing non-hormonal forms of reversible birth control (like the newer IUD's or condoms), or permanent forms (like Essure or tubal ligation).
Of course, sexual desire is a complicated combination of many things. It can be physical, physiological or hormonal. It can also have a lot to do with what is going on in the relationship. If a woman feels comfortable and beautiful and there is good communication, then that can help.
Once off the pill for one month, it is a good idea to have your hormone levels checked to be sure your body has adjusted back to its normal balance.
You may also want to do everything you can to feel fresh, clean and confident (in the bedroom and in everyday activities). A natural, safe way to help is WaterWorks. This douching alternative has completely cured so many women of troublesome vaginal odor, some of whom struggled with the issue since puberty! Feminine odor can be an embarrassing struggle that destroys women’s confidence, because no matter what they do, the odor never goes away.
WaterWorks is like a douching system, but it uses only plain tap water that gently flows through a reusable medical grade stainless steel nozzle inside the vagina to gently rinse away odor-causing elements. This reaction totally removes all vaginal odor and excess discharge. It can be used everyday when you shower, and used before sex to feel fresh and clean and after to rinse out semen. I know you will love it and you’ll want to tell all your friends about it.
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Thanks for all your letters & questions. We love hearing from you.
Dr. Susan Boyd
I sure hope everything in your life is good. Today, I want to help those of you that are concerned about the type of vaginal odor that seems to get better and then, for no reason, will show up again and again. It is so frustrating because you know you haven't changed your hygiene habits, so why does it keep coming back???
The thing is, women have always struggled with vaginal odor, rashes and irritation. Why? Because period blood, sex and many medicines can disrupt the normally-low vaginal pH and create an environment for odor, bacterial and yeast infections to return over and over.
Many women struggle with how to clean up inside the vagina and have only learned what our mothers and grandmothers told us. The truth is, most of us over clean, and grab every product we can, in an effort to help - whether it is douches, sprays, special soap for "down there", creams, lubricants or inserts. We even read on the Internet about "natural" ways to cleanse and heal the vagina. For some reason, we think natural is better, and we use douches with vinegar or lemon juice, or soak tampons with vinegar, lemon juice, yogurt, lactobacillus, colloidal Silver, and an unending number of herbal products.
But, unfortunately, the odor and irritation does not get better and returns anyway, which makes us work even harder to clean up inside. This goes on and on.
The vagina was made in such a way that it does not need help from us to heal or cleanse itself. Yet, we feel the need to intervene. Many women do not "feel" clean unless they can clean up inside their vagina. Especially with the change of vaginal discharge throughout the month, a change of your sexual partner (or finding out that he cheated on you or if he gave you an STD). The natural vaginal environment is acidic (lower pH) than the rest of our body. Semen, period blood, douches, soap, vaginal creams and lubricants can raise the pH and completely hinder the vagina from healing and cleaning itself.
It is a healthy feminine hygiene practice to use soap to cleanse the outside of your body, around the vagina, anus and labia. But up inside, if you feel the need to rinse out your vagina to clean out semen, blood or excess discharge, you should only use warm water.
A lot of women are using WaterWorks now because it has been FDA cleared for vaginal cleansing to remove odor. WaterWorks is very different from store bought douches. It is made to be reusable. Therefore, you can save money and the environment by using it. It is designed with a refillable bag to fill with warm shower water connected to tubing with a medical grade stainless steel nozzle. The nozzle is placed inside the vagina and sprinkles out the warm water. It is the reaction of the stainless steel, water and vaginal mucosa that removes vaginal odor. It is a wonderful, useful discovery to help women with excessive discharge and odor. It can be used daily or as often as needed.
Have a happy and safe week.
Dr. Susan L. Boyd, MD
HPV or Human Papilloma Virus, which is a sexually transmitted virus which has over 100 different types. Some can cause visible warts, while others are not visible to the naked eye, but can cause cancer to mucous membranes like the cervix, labia, anus, rectum, mouth, throat or penis.
Many of you wrote because you had mothers who had cervical cancer. This may have worried you for a long time because you don't know what it means about your own risk for getting cervical cancer. Well, the good news is that, unlike other cancers like breast and ovarian, cervical cancer is not passed on genetically. In fact, it is sexually-transmitted HPV that can cause this type of cancer. So your mother's history of cervical cancer has nothing to do with whether you will ever get it or not.
HPV is what can cause cervical cancer, and you only get HPV if you are sexually active. The virus is actually so tiny that it can actually slip through the small, naturally-occurring pores in a condom, thus women can get it despite how careful they are being. It is estimated that 80% of women will have some strain of HPV in their lifetime.
Women who get yearly pap smears will be able to detect HPV infection early. Through the pap smear, it can also be identified as high or low risk type & any visible condyloma (warts) can be documented & removed.
If you do have an abnormal pap smear with high risk HPV that is the type that can lead to cervical cancer, it can be treated & removed from your cervix. Women who see their gynecologist, and follow-up for treatment when needed, will clear up the infection long before it has a chance to become cancer.
Next week we will want to discuss how you can keep from getting HPV and treatments for those of you who already have it.
I hope this helped clear up some of the confusion surrounding HPV & cervical cancer.
Be sure to write in your questions.
Thanks to all of you,
Dr. Susan Boyd
Good morning. I hope you are all well and happy, and if not, I pray all your worries and problems resolve.
Many of you are asking me if it is normal to have a sensation of burning and pain when you pee after having sex. Well, yes, it can, depending on a few things. Pain that comes after sex should resolve on its own within a few hours. If it is due to a bladder or vaginal infection, it may get worse as time goes on and you may need medication.
During sex, the repeated thrusting motion, especially if there is not enough lubrication, can cause soreness or a rash that feels like a burn around your urethra, clitoris and outer vagina. It can also feel the same inside your vagina, depending on what time of the month it is. Why is this? Because the tissues are many times more sensitive during ovulation and a week after, due to hormone changes in your body.
Of course, sex lasting longer than an hour, and trying different positions and sex toys can also contribute to soreness and irritation.
Soaking in a warm bath after sex can provide some relief. So can time. You can also use a soothing moisturizer externally, like natural coconut oil. But, if you notice abnormal discharge or burning when you pee, and the irritation doesn't get better, you may need to be seen by your doctor.
Here's another question I often get: Does birth control make it harder to get pregnant after you stop using it? Many of you worry about why there is a delay in the return of your period after stopping the pill. This is called post-pill amenorrhea, and it is common, but it has nothing to do with fertility. It has no impact on whether you can get pregnant. In general, if you were able to get pregnant before starting on birth control, you will be able to get pregnant after stopping birth control.
The reason this happens is because of the way birth control works. Birth control pills, injections, implants and IUDs cause the lining of the uterus, the endometrium, to be thinned by progesterone, which is why periods are shorter with less bleeding while on birth control. This lining will regenerate and thicken up to normal once birth control is stopped. The thinning of the lining while on birth control is a positive affect for those who have painful, heavy periods, and since we aren't wanting pregnancy at that time we don't need a thick lining for implantation of the embryo.
Once we stop birth control, our own hormones take over and rebuild the lining quickly. In fact, women are more fertile after stopping birth control because now the ovaries are free to ovulate and actually super ovulate. That means they will pop out 4 or 5 eggs with each cycle for the first 6 months, rather than just one. This makes you more likely to get pregnant with twins or triplets in those first 6 months. Birth control is cleared from your system within 48 hours to a week. So you can get pregnant immediately after stopping the pill. The injection may be different and take your system longer to clear it and normalize.
Sometimes the hormone imbalance can cause unpleasant vaginal odor. This bothers most of us, of course, but it is due to hormone imbalance, not an infection. Either way, it can be bothersome and embarrassing during sex.
This is when using WaterWorks can be of help to remove the odor as your hormones rebalance. It can be used daily or to clean out old period blood or semen after sex. It is reusable and safe, as no chemicals are used.
I hope you have a wonderful safe week. Please write if you have any questions.
Dr. Susan L. Boyd, MD
This week I bunched together the questions or worries I hear from many of my readers out there and lots of you who come into my office each week for appointments. This week a patient came in and asked a common question: “I don’t know what is wrong with me, but I shower several times a day, and I still do not smell fresh down there! What can I do? I am so worried that people next to me can smell me.”
This is such a common and distressing problem. Not only does it destroy a woman’s confidence, but it can also put a real strain on her sexual intimacy.
Before you attempt any type of self-treatment, you should first visit your gynecologist to be sure you do not have an STD or vaginal infection. Any type of vaginal infection can cause unwanted odor and irritation with discharge.
The most common infections with odors are caused from imbalances of the normal bacterial environment (or flora) in the vagina. Most of the time this is corrected by using an oral or vaginal form of a certain antibiotic. This can be very effective, but because vaginal odors are often caused by bacterial imbalances of the natural vaginal flora, it is often only a temporary fix.
I think because odors are usually (and often erroneously) linked with poor hygiene, many woman become so distressed that they may resort to using over-the-counter douches, feminine hygiene sprays or other products that just cover up the odor and can actually worsen the problem.
The best product on the market today to help with vaginal odor is WaterWorks. It has been FDA cleared for this purpose, and unlike douching, WaterWorks does not use any chemicals which can disrupt the normal vaginal ecosystem. The gentle downward sprinkling action of WaterWorks does not irritate the vagina nor push bad bacteria further up into your cervix Its unique design allows you to use it in the privacy of your own shower, and it is reusable, so you don’t have to spend money repeatedly for products that do not work.
WaterWorks destroys odor causing bacteria through its unique design, using gently flowing water and a medical-grade stainless-steel nozzle to naturally eliminate feminine odor.
This product is safe enough to be used every day for feminine hygiene purposes, for rinsing out semen after sex or to wash away old blood after your period. No wonder women love it! You will too. You may have struggled with odor for years, but find it is gone after just the first use of WaterWorks.
Please write to us if you have any questions about your health.
Dr. Susan Boyd
Bleeding after menopause can be alarming and it can make women think the worst (cancer). Fortunately, cancer or hyperplasia (a type of pre-cancer), are less common than the many other potential causes of bleeding.
Menopause usually happens in a woman's late 40’s to early 50's, and is signaled by the occurrence of hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain, fatigue, difficulty sleeping and lack of sexual desire. During this time, menstrual cycles can start to occur closer together, or become shorter with lighter flow until they stop. Or they can become extremely heavy, painful and prolonged, lasting 7-10 days until they stop.
The majority of post-menopausal bleeding is caused from the wild hormone changes happening. Many women go on hormone replacement to alleviate all the symptoms, and to try to re-balance hormones properly. Use of bio identical hormones can cause a lot of PMB (post-menopausal bleeding).
Another potential cause of PMB is anatomic change. This can be evaluated through ultrasound studies. Anatomic changes can include: ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, uterine or cervical polyps (all of which can cause irregular bleeding or bleeding after sex). Less common causes of PMB include emotional stress, extreme weight loss, and nutritional imbalances, especially insulin resistance.
Whatever the cause is, when PMB happens, do not delay in making an appointment with your gynecologist.
I hope this helps with your question; please don't hesitate to inquire further. A lot more can be said here, and there are several treatment options which depend on the cause of the bleeding. That may be a good topic for next week. Sounds like fun.
We love hearing from you.
Have a good week,