As everyone has learned to adapt to a “new normal” that includes social distancing, wearing masks, and vigilant hand-washing, health care providers have established new procedures for treating conditions unrelated to COVID-19.
While the way you receive care may be different, routine and urgent gynecologic services are still key to helping you stay healthy.
As COVID-19 continues to change the way we perform routine activities, our OB/GYNs at The Association for Women’s Health Care in Chicago and Northbrook, Illinois, maintain a full-service practice that provides the complete spectrum of gynecologic and obstetric services for women of all ages.
We have the expertise necessary to treat every type of disease or condition that affects a woman’s reproductive organs.
Most pregnant women make the effort to receive appropriate medical care to protect the health of their babies, but it’s easier to let routine gynecological care lapse at other times of life.
It’s important to stay healthy and get the care you need, especially with the threat of COVID-19. Find out what you should know about gynecologic care while COVID-19 remains a health crisis.
New procedures for getting services
The procedures that affect how we deliver services during the COVID-19 are based on changing recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local guidelines. Our primary consideration is the health and safety of our patients and staff.
COVID-19 remains a very contagious virus, which is often transmitted by infected people who don’t display symptoms and don’t realize they’re sick.
Avoiding close contact with people outside your household, such as that which occurs during a physical exam, is the best way to reduce the spread of the disease.
We can address many gynecologic questions and concerns via a telemedicine visit, which allows you to have a one-on-one video consultation with your physician without the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
Issues regarding birth control, hormone therapy, menopause symptoms, and infertility can often be handled without an in-person visit. Our office staff can discuss your needs and whether a telemedicine visit is appropriate.
If we advise you to visit the office or have a screening test, we inform you of the proper procedures in place at the time of your visit. You’ll likely have to wear a mask to enter the building and keep it on unless your physician asks you to remove it.
The cancellation of non-urgent medical services at the start of the pandemic created a backlog of patients waiting for some types of screenings and wellness exams.
Plan for the possibility of limited availability as we work within building capacity levels, allow extra time for sanitizing between patients, and work to ensure all patients receive quality care.
Maintaining your gynecologic health
In some cases, avoiding gynecologic care can be more dangerous than the risk of catching COVID-19.
Gynecologic conditions such as urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted diseases require immediate care to prevent complications and permanent damage, while regular screenings are still critical to reducing your risk of cancer.
Based on factors including your age, medical history, genetics, and current condition, we can help you determine how to proceed with recommended screenings and tests, such as a mammogram to detect breast cancer, a Pap smear to identify abnormal cells in your cervix, and an annual well-woman exam to examine your reproductive organs.
Generally, the basic recommendations for cancer care remain in place regardless of the risk of viral infection. Early detection, screening, and treatment contribute to better outcomes and higher survival rates. A regular mammogram can reduce your chances of dying from breast cancer.
If you’re undergoing treatments for ovarian, uterine, or cervical cancer, you could compromise your outcome by suddenly interrupting treatment to avoid the risk of COVID-19 infection.
Having any of the following gynecologic symptoms may indicate urgent concerns and require an immediate in-person examination:
- A fever unrelated to COVID-19
- A vaginal infection
- Pain in the abdomen, pelvic area, or lower back, which may indicate an ectopic pregnancy
- Severe vaginal bleeding
- Issues related to complications after a recent gynecologic surgery or procedure
Don’t let COVID-19 distract you from taking care of your gynecologic health. Schedule an appointment online or call our Chicago or Northbrook office to arrange a consultation today.