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Dr. Jessica Shepherd is a OB/GYN who founded Her Viewpoint as a community for women dedicated to providing a forum to discuss issues and share information. Her mission is to empower women in their knowledge on their bodies and to promote awareness on our options regarding our health.

Here, she answers your most pressing and embarrassing questions!

Lady Parts And Sex:

Good morning Doc! What other pelvic exercises can you do aside from Kegels to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles?

You can do pelvic raises and exercise using and exercise ball.

What do you consider a heavy period? How many pads in a hour should you be changing?

Heavy periods are those that you change a pad in less than an hour or you have shortness in breath or racing of the heart due to anemia.

How do you prevent yourself from having vaginal infection after every time you have sex with a condom?

Use lubricant and try sheepskin condoms or latex-free condoms.

What does it mean when you haven’t been sexually active in a year or so and you start having sex and afterwards, when you wipe there are streaks of blood on the tissue?

That is due to dryness of the vagina and decreased lubtication. Try lubricants such as Astroglide when having sex.

Is swelling of the vagina during pregnancy normal?

Yes, swelling if everything in pregnancy is normal, it will resolve after you give birth.

My daughter has been suffering from yeast infections for weeks. The doctor keeps giving her vaginal creams, but it keeps re-occurring.

She needs to try the creams in pill form or use boric acid. She should also be tested for diabetes.

I’m 39 and my breast are extremely tender, but I’m not pregnant. What could that be and should I be concerned?

Yes, and you should have a clinical breast exam by your doctor.

My female friend is 28 years old and her vagina smells very bad although she bathes, showers and is clean. How do I tell her?

Encourage her to visit her gynecologist as it has helped you with pelvic issues and that may encourage her to go. Or gently break the news to her and tell her the doctor can help her with it. Don’t be afraid to say something, she’ll thank you in the end.

Question for the doctor – How do you get rid of hair bumps that appear from waxes (Brazilian, bikini, etc)?

Exfoliate prior to waxing, use hot compresses prior as well.

Can u have your vagina surgically tightened for better sexual pleasure after having 4 children?

Yes, some GYNs or urogynecologists perform vaginal  rejuvenation procedures. Look that up on the internet.

My breast have been tender for years. My doctor says cancer does not hurt. Can you confirm this?

Cancers can be painful and so can hormonal changes. It should be evaluated especially if there is a family history  of breast cancer or you are over 40.

What can I do for vaginal odor? Doctor says its not a STD. Are there foods that will help?

Eat yogurt and decrease high glycemic foods in your diet- white breads, flour etc.

What are some other causes of recurrent yeast infections? Diabetes and STDs have been ruled out.

Increased pH levels in the vagina, try boric acid suppositories. Ask your GYN about it!

Any recommendations on curing recurring bacterial vaginosis?

Yes, a prolonged treatment plan with Flagyl or Tinidazole pills.

What can I do about recurring UTI’s (urinary tract infections?)

Recurrent UTIs can be treated with a prolonged course of antibiotics that your doctor prescribes, but a urine culture should be sent off first. Also you should increase water intake significantly and decrease foods with sugar. Uncontrolled diabetes also contributes to recurring UTIs.

Hi doc, what about PMS? I find that two weeks prior to my cycle, I am usually mean as hell. After my cycle, I’m sweet as can be. What can I do for that ?

Talk to GYN about antidepressants or birth control pills for PMDD.

What happens and you don’t have diabetes but your yeast infections keep coming back? 

Decrease high glycemic foods in your diet, white breads, flour etc. and try boric acid suppositories prescribed by GYN.

What could be the cause of excessive discharge? I’ve been to the doctor and everything is OK, no odor. I am well into menopause, I’m in my late forties and haven’t had a cycle in about 8 years. Please advise.

This can be completely normal!

Why do some women get horny when they get their period?

The changes in hormones related to your monthly cycle.

What does it mean when your period is there but its not flowing?

Possibly you just have a lighter flow.

Birth Control, Pregnancy, Childbirth:

I have the birth control implant in my arm and my period has been on for 4 months straight. It may have went off a total of 5 days in 4 months, but its never off longer than a day at a time. Is this normal and what should I do to make it stop?

Spotting continuously is normal after implant insertion, give it a bit more time but if the bleeding doesn’t stop, consider having it removed and finding another form of birth control.

Dr Jessica,  I’ve been on the depo shot for 2 years and I’ve gained 20 pounds. I’m due for a shot in two weeks, but I intend on switching to the pill. Do you think this will help with my weight loss? Will my metabolism bounce back? I’m 25. 

Try the Mirena IUD. It is a great option. Also decrease high glycemic foods in your diet, white breads, flour etc.

Question for the doctor: Is it true that you may have to have your cervix stitched & be on bed rest during pregnancy if you’ve had a cone biopsy before?

Only if you have a shortened cervix on ultrasound that is seen during the pregnancy between 16-24 weeks.Will a doctor tie your tubes if you’re 40 and don’t have any children?

Yes, they will. Also consider ESSURE or Mirena IUD.

For Dr Jessica. ..Can a woman with a high BMI (body mass index) have IVF (fertility treatment)? If so, are success rates reduced?

The rates of success are much lower, so if you are considering IVF, because it is costly, try to lose 5-10% of your weight first for better outcomes.

All Things Menopause: 

Hi, I have a lot of those symptoms that you said on the radio this morning could be menopause. I’ll be 37 next month. Is it possible that I’m going through menopause at an early age?

Most likely, perimenopause!

Can intense external vaginal itching be a result of menopause?

It can, but you need to have it evaluated.

Are menopause and farting related?

Menopause and flatulence are not related, but if you lose stool with flatulence, you need to see your doctor.

I’m having periods, but I’m experiencing several menopause symptoms. Can I be peri-menopausal?

Yes, peri-menopause can start in the 40’s.

 I’m 50 and I’ve only had one period in the past 10 years. My doctor said I’m not going through menopause yet, but I’m bloated all the time. 

Changes in hormones can cause bloating. But the more concerning part is only one period in the last ten years.  You need an endometrial biopsy. Please see your GYN ASAP!

I’m a 53 -year-old female. Menopause is making me sweaty and fogging my brain fogs. Can I fix it naturally?

Try black cohosh and ginseng as natural supplements first, but also consider hormone therapy.

Is it normal for a woman that is in pre-menopause to lose all sexual desire? I’m 45 years old, just diagnosed and have no interest in anything sexual. Please advise.

This can be caused by decrease in estrogen, depression or stress please address all of these with your GYN! There are many therapies to help you.

Doctor, what about the unexpected weight gain during menopause?? Can anything be done?

A decrease in estrogen contributes to that unfortunately, so it is important to consider eating habits and adding an exercise regimen to your daily life. It makes you feel better and you will see results.

I’m a recent cancer survivor who is taking shots to speed up menopause. Will a hysterectomy decrease symptoms of menopause as well as stop the shots?

No, it won’t, only removal of your ovaries will. A hysterectomy is just the removal of your uterus.

Hysterectomy, Surgery and Other Issues: 

I had hernia surgery three years ago. In August, I started feeling pain again from time to time. Is this normal? I am a UPS driver.  Could it be a recurrence of hernia?

See your surgeon again since you still lift heavy objects.

I’ve been bleeding for 4 weeks nonstop. I don’t want hysterectomy. What are my options?

Hormones, uterine artery embolization, endometrial ablation.

I am scheduled for a hysterectomy this Friday after a long and painful battle with fibroids. Are you in favor of a full hysterectomy where they take everything or leaving in one ovary and why?

If you are pre-menopausal leave BOTH ovaries, unless it looks suspicious.

Doctor, are there natural treatments you can recommend to help with PCOS or hormonal imbalance? I’m 30, no kids.

Decrease high glycemic foods in your diet, white breads, flour etc. and lose weight to help to reverse insulin resistance.

What are the dangers or side effects of an endometrial biopsy?

The risks for any procedure are infection, bleeding, or possibly perforating the uterine muscle. But the risks are very small. The most important part of a biopsy is that it can rule out CANCER.

I have pain in my lower right abodemen/pelvis. What could it be?

Fibroids, appendix, ovary, endometriosis.

In September, I had a total hysterectomy. I’m healing slowly but my white blood cells are low and I’m losing weight fast. I don’t have HIV or AIDS. What do you think?

Rule out leukemia, sarcoidosis.

Good morning, Doctor. I have anemia and have been taking a prescribed dose of 1000 mg of iron daily for five months now. My last menstrual cycle was much heavier than usual…should I be concerned?

Yes, you need hormonal therapy, Lysteda or surgery. Talk to your GYN about all your options. There are plenty.

If I take hormones, will the hair stop growing on my chin? 

Take birth control pills, or try electrolysis or other medications.

If a woman has a low T cell count does that mean she has AIDS?

When the T cell count drops below 200, due to advanced HIV disease, a person is diagnosed with AIDS.

From The Fellas: 

Can uncircumcised men contribute to cervical cancer?

Yes, as there is an increased risk of HPV spread which is the leading cause of cervical cancer.

What can you do when you get a charley horse during/ after sex/ orgasm?

Stretch your leg and massage it.

Doc. I’ve heard that it’s not good to go down on a woman too much because you may get mouth cancer. Is that true?

HPV, the virus that can cause cancer, can be transmitted via mouth, penis or vagina so either way it can be transmitted. Practice safe sex and consider dental dams

I have a swollen testicle and a little pain. What could be the problem?

This can be from a varicocele which is an inflamed vein or also an infection. Please go to your doctor to have it evaluated for any infections or structural issues.

I am a 49 year old man with a wife who’s pre-menopausal and suffering from vaginal dryness. How can a man cope?

Use LOTS of lubricant! It helps. Also foreplay is important!

My wife had endometriosis for years until I forced her to go to a doctor. She hadn’t been for almost 3 years. She never wanted to have sex. Now, even after surgery, her brain is still telling her it’s gonna hurt and she is not sexually aroused like she used to be. I haven’t lost any inches, so it’s not me.

So what do I do? I light candles, I cook special dinners, have tea ready for her to relax to after work to make sure I am covering the romantic side and all.  What do I do, I want my wife back, I love her. 

So sorry to hear! I highly recommend counseling for sex therapy. Both individual and couples. You’d be surprised at how much it can help. Also have her go to pelvic physical therapist.

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