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So you’re living in Las Vegas and looking to get established with an OBGYN to get your annual gynecologist appointment out of the way. In the past, this meant a phone call to a clinic, an assignment of a doctor by the facility or answering service, and the promise of an appointment scheduled a month or longer down the road. You really did not have much choice in the matter.

Today–the landscape of choosing your healthcare team is changing–and you have options. Despite the anticipated physician shortages, you can still find an experienced and competent OBGYN in Las Vegas. But that’s not all you should be looking for when choosing your gynecologist. Let’s explore your options.

Why do I need a gynecologist?

Throughout a woman’s life, she will need to see a doctor that specializes in the female body and its reproductive system. The frequency required may change depending on the life stage and any ongoing conditions. Starting at puberty, if a young woman has any complications with menstruation, or later on seeks prescription contraception for pregnancy prevention, it’s often her gynecologist that helps with those needs.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends annual screenings for sexually active women under 25 and exams every three years for women over 21.  However, you don’t necessarily need a pelvic exam every year.

Here are some of the reasons you might decide to schedule an appointment with a Las Vegas gynecologist:

Seeing a gynecologist is a life-long obligation in a woman’s life and it’s a relationship that sees through some of life’s biggest milestones together–from puberty to having your first baby. You might as well make the most of it and spend some time shopping around and hand-selecting your own OBGYN in Las Vegas that meets your needs and criteria.

Getting Established

Once you’ve decided that it’s time to schedule your first appointment with a Las Vegas OBGYN, you might go one of two ways. Traditionally, you might decide to go online and find a nearby clinic, and call to set up an appointment; it’s a shot in the dark. While this may work for some women, there are many downfalls to the old-fashioned method including:

Luckily, there is now an alternative to the traditional way that puts the power back into the patient’s hands. You can take control and establish a relationship with a Las Vegas OBGYN of your choosing; one that you trust. Here is the new way to shop online for your gynecologist.

See your Las Vegas OBGYN entirely from the comfort of your own home through telemedicine virtual appointments. We encourage you to look around and compare your online options. We’ve done some searching of our own and we know that our patient’s testimonials speak for themselves. Read on to see what factors to consider when looking for a good gynecologist.

Related: Not All Online Women’s TeleHealth Websites Are Created Equally

Factors to consider when looking for your Las Vegas OBGYN:

Your relationship with your gynecologist is a very unique one. You have to be able to trust your doctor with very private, personal, and even taboo information. Our physicians prioritize professionalism along with connection. Generally, when you see a doctor in-office, you’ve invested so much time and effort that you will settle for less than great experiences with your OBGYN. When you expand your possibilities to include online gynecologists, you accomplish a few things at once to your benefit:

  1. Spend less time invested in scheduling, commuting, and waiting
  2. No obligation to stick with a doctor with poor bedside manner because you’re less invested
  3. Drop financial burden and insurance requirements
  4. Eliminate anxiety about pelvic exams

Providing a comfortable environment is natural when you can speak with your physician online from the comfort of your own bathroom or office. Your comfort level is essential when seeing your gynecologist; if you’re not comfortable discussing your health concerns or needs, it may prevent you from being able to articulate all the information to the doctor for a properly informed assessment.

When you schedule an appointment at a physical office setting, you’ll have to consider the office hours and whether the clinic is open when you’re available–or if you’ll need to take time off work. You’ll also likely be left in limbo regarding the cost of the visit with traditional doctors who rely mostly on insurance contracts with variable care rates. When you choose your OBGYN online, you’ll know the cost of your care up-front and we’ll work with your insurance if you have it, and we’ll work with you if you don’t. We also have hours more conducive to working women.

Finally, choose your Las Vegas Gynecologist based on competence. You need to be able to count on your OBGYN to listen to your healthcare needs and get your diagnosis and treatment right. You can check credentials, such as which college they attended and board certification, and search their license status to see if there are any marks against their record. Testimonials or reviews are another great way to determine competence before you commit to a visit. A pattern will emerge from testimonials to help you gauge the physician’s competence.

About our Las Vegas Gynecologists

At My Virtual Physician, we are excited about the changing landscape that telemedicine brings to the healthcare realm and we exist to provide solutions to our patients. We currently have two board-certified OBGYN Las Vegas doctors: Dr. David Howard and Dr. Radihka Sharma. Dr. Howard is passionate about research in the field and is dedicated to finding the best outcomes for his patients. Dr. Sharma specializes in pelvic floor disorders and she is also a certified Life & Wellness coach. Both of our gynecologists have a track record of providing quality care. Learn more about our doctors or read testimonials here.

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The practice of obstetrics and gynecology is majorly hands-on. However, you can establish your appointments with an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN) via telehealth. There are several purposes a telehealth visit can serve including antenatal care, prescription refills, substance use, breastfeeding, and many more.

When to Use Telehealth With an OB-GYN

Several services can be provided via a telehealth visit with an OB-GYN specialist or an affiliated general physician.

 You may book a telehealth visit with an OB-GYN doctor in any of the following situations:

In some cases, the outcomes of these appointments may be a need for an in-person visit. Usually, you may be asked to come in for an in-person visit if you:

How to Prepare for a Telehealth Visit With an OB-GYN

Firstly, you will need to search for and select a telemedicine platform that offers Ob-Gyn services. At other times, you may search for an Ob-Gyn that offers telehealth visits. Either way works. If the Ob-Gyn facility you use provides telehealth services, you may continue with them. 

Most insurance providers cover telehealth visits as they are treated as outpatient hospital visits. However, check-in with the facility or platform of choice if your insurance plans can cover your telehealth visits with them.

Once you book your appointment, you can prepare ahead and ensure a productive session. These simple steps may help:

A Word from My Virtual Physician

My virtual physician provides a wide range of Ob-Gyn services. We have a team of certified obstetricians and gynecologists available to help guide you through your pregnancy and answer any questions that may arise.

We are in-network with many insurance health plans including Medicaid, Medicare, United HealthCare, and Blue Cross. 

mother breastfeeding baby on couch

While over 80% of mothers attempt breastfeeding their newborns, only one in four continues breastfeeding past the first six months outside the womb. The further from the birth date it gets, the less likely it is for breastfeeding to continue. There are many reasons for this pattern; in this blog, we’ll explore breastfeeding benefits, challenges, and tips for success.

Benefits of Breastmilk

Common sense tells us that breastmilk is best. Not only is it completely natural, but it’s custom-tailored to your baby’s exact needs. Doctors agree with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), recommending exclusive breastfeeding for a baby’s first six months and encouraging a full year of the practice. Studies have found a correlation between a reduced risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and babies who are breastfed longer.

Breastfeeding has health benefits for both mothers and babies. Human milk contains proteins and living leukocyte cells that protect your baby against infections from bacteria and viruses and also contain properties that encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria for a healthy flora and easy digestion in your infant’s belly. Long-term benefits to the baby include reduced risk of:

The health benefits to mothers who breastfeed include lower blood pressure along with a reduced risk of diabetes and certain types of cancer, including ovarian and breast cancer. Studies have found that the longer a mother can breastfeed her child, the more likely that she will experience improved health when it comes to the circulatory system.

Why is Breastfeeding So Challenging Now

We all pretty much recognize that breastfeeding is best, so why do the breastfeeding rates drop off so dramatically after the first few months? Let’s tackle them in the order that they usually come.

First, mothers may have trouble from the get-go while still in the hospital. Baby may have trouble latching, mom may struggle to find the right position, and mom’s milk supply may lag behind. Doctors in the hospital might push for formula or donor milk to supplement if they are concerned that mom’s supply is not sufficient. This can wreak havoc on a mom’s confidence in her ability to feed her baby naturally.

Luckily, most hospitals have a lactation consultant that diligently tries to help the new mother make the bond and get breastfeeding off to a good start. Once leaving the hospital, mothers don’t have a lactation professional nearby to help and may continue to face issues with latching. She may also struggle with the routine required to feed the baby all hours of the day and may long for sleep and a break.

If a mother is still able to continue breastfeeding once transitioning home, another transition period may upset the routine: returning to work. 7 in 10 mothers with children under 18 participate in the labor force to earn income. It’s not practical to return to the office with your infant by your side to breastfeed on-demand, so most mothers will start to pump their breastmilk so that their baby can still receive the benefits of breastmilk from a bottle.

Transitioning to pumped breastmilk and time away from baby can cause problems for a mother’s milk supply, making her wonder if she will be able to maintain the supply to keep up with her baby’s nutritional needs.

Other factors that can pose a challenge and deter a mother from continuing breastfeeding include taking medications, lack of support at home or work, societal pressure, and a host of other reasons.

How to Overcome Obstacles and Breastfeed Your Baby Longer

Fortunately, society recognizes that the drop in breastfeeding is detrimental and is poised to correct it. We are collectively getting better at providing more tools for success. One such action was taken in 2011 by the Surgeon General in his Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding. This call to action provided twenty action steps for harboring an environment of support for breastfeeding mothers, including:

So while organizations are still working on making breastfeeding easier and more achievable, there are other things mothers can do on a personal level to increase their chances of success with long-term breastfeeding.

Set yourself up for success by exploring resources designed especially for mothers who desire to breastfeed. One of these is La Leche League, an organization that supports breastfeeding families and provides helpful resources as well as group meetings. Meetings are free, operate online or in-person, and are run by volunteer parents who breastfed their own children. Attending meetings at any point during the process, from pregnancy to anytime after birth, is encouraged.

You can also proactively find and establish a relationship with a local lactation consultant from the United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA) that you can speak with regularly once you’ve left the hospital to help overcome challenges and transitions. A personal lactation consultant can prove to be an invaluable resource for both physical guidance and mental support.

As a breastfeeding mother, it’s likely that you’ll experience ebbs and flows in milk production, and, depending on your situation, you may need to supplement or transition to using a breast pump in order to keep your supply up or pump when your baby is not with you.

Here are some quick tips to increase your milk production:

Concluding Thoughts

Breastfeeding is not as easy as it looks. If you want to breastfeed your baby, you can do it with support. Use the support networks and resources outlined in this article to achieve your breastfeeding goals. Our online physicians at My Virtual Physician, which include OBGYN, pediatric, and primary care specialists, are also available to help if you have any concerns around breastfeeding, nutrition, or milk production.

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There is a healthcare crisis. A shortage of workers has left thousands without the help that they need. Here’s a look at how the home care shortage is affecting Reno residents. 

Homecare Worker Shortage 

A scarcity of homecare workers is hitting home in many parts of Nevada. A recent article reported that the pandemic fueled a shortage of home health workers. Patients are left without the care they need. A few trends are driving this crisis in home healthcare, including:

The president of the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC-H) recently summed up the industry-wide concern, “everyone is experiencing shortages, particularly around nursing and home health aides. Some agencies are rejecting as many as 40% of referrals.” Home health companies just can’t find staff.

Homecare Staffing Challenges in Reno, NV

Well, this is not news to many seniors and people living with disabilities in the Reno area. Two years ago, the Guinn Center Report warned that the demand for home health services had increased. It estimated a shortage of over 5,300 home care workers by 2026. Moreover, it called the current system “broken.” At that time, the median hourly wage of $11.07/hour made it difficult to attract workers. 

Today the median wage for home health and personal care aides is $14.15/hour.

Nevada homecare workers work too hard for too little, with inconsistent training and safety standards. These factors make it hard to bring new workers to the field. 

Nurses are also in short supply. A September 2021 report by the Associated Press said that Nevada’s shortage of nurses was worsened by the pandemic. It left nurses demoralized and drove some to leave the profession.

The Future of Home Care in Reno, NV

There is no relief in sight. In fact, Marketplace.org said last month that America’s home health industry is in crisis. The population of seniors in the US is rapidly growing. It is estimated that by 2040, the group of Americans over age 65 will double, and those over 85 will quadruple.

The state of Nevada is in even more dire straits. According to the Nevada’s Elders Count Report 2021, Nevada continues to see higher growth rates in the population of older adults than the rest of the US. Furthermore, Nevada’s growth rate for the age 85 and older population is double the national rate. Seniors and those living with disabilities in Reno, NV, will find it hard to get home care due to staffing shortages for years to come. Without major changes, the future remains uncertain.

Increasing Access to Home Care in Reno, NV

Telemedicine is one solution to the home care worker shortage. My Virtual Physician, the top telemedicine provider in Nevada, is improving access to care in Reno. The company recently launched an innovative program for Reno residents who need in-home services. The MVP Virtual House Call is an answer to the home care shortage.

The MVP Virtual House Call service sends a mobile medical assistant, paired with a virtual doctor, into the patient’s home. House Calls include:

They are currently accepting new patients for the new program. 

Summary

While the future of home care remains unclear, Telemedicine is one way for patients to get the in-home care they need. 

 

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Sources:

Elders Count Nevada 2021 Report”. adsd.nv.gov. Accessed May 2, 2022.

Guinn Center Report”. seiunv.org. Accessed May 2, 2022.

Home Health and Personal Care Aides”. bls.gov. Accessed May 2, 2022.

Low wages and high costs clash in the home health care crisis for aging Americans”. marketplace.org. Accessed May 2, 2022.

Nursing shortage in Nevada”. usnews.com. Accessed May 2, 2022.

Pandemic-Fueled Shortages of Home Health Workers Strand Patients Without Necessary Care”. khn.org. Accessed May 2, 2022.

The US Population Is Aging”. urban.org. Accessed May 2, 2022.

Pregnancy is a beautiful period and process that every mother should enjoy while looking forward to welcoming her babies. However, it does come at a price.

Several women experience different forms of discomfort during pregnancy, leading to anxiety. While some may be fleeting, others may last for longer periods. Some could be experienced early in pregnancy, some later or even closer to delivery, and others may emerge earlier, go away and later return. 

 In this article, we will be highlighting several discomforts a pregnant woman may experience, causes, and simple relief measures.

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Types of Pregnancy Discomforts

The are several discomforts that pregnant women experience. 25 of them are listed below but are not limited to the following:

Causes of Pregnancy Discomforts

Discomforts may be experienced in all the trimesters. Hence, their causes vary depending on the age of the pregnancy. Additionally, some discomforts may lead to other discomforts.

The following are causes of the various pregnancy discomforts mentioned above:

 Recommendations 

The following measures help prevent and relieve the pregnancy discomforts you may feel. 

  1. Modify your diet and dietary habits
    • Eat dry foods like crackers, cereal, and toast to prevent nausea
    • Add the BRAT (bananas, rice, and tea) and bland food to your diet if you feel extremely nauseated.
    • If you always feel nauseous in the morning, eat a high-protein snack before going to bed.
    • Avoid spicy, fried, fatty, and oily foods.
    • Avoid foods high in salt/sodium.
    • Eat foods high in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to prevent bloating and constipation.
    • Eat small meals and snacks every 2-3 hours.
    • Eat slowly.
    • Avoid coffee, tea, colas, and other caffeinated drinks to help reduce frequent urination.
    • Drink warm fluids.
  2. Drink lots of fluid at least 6-8 glasses of water and 1-2 glasses of fruit or prune juice. Don't rush them, instead sip on fluid throughout the day. This helps to prevent nausea, dehydration and constipation, and headaches.
  3. Get plenty of rest and sleep. Lying on your left side, a warm shower, elevating the head of the bed, and using extra pillows to support your abdomen, back and knees can help you get better sleep. Eat 2-3 hours before sleeping and do not lie down immediately after eating. Ensure you sleep on a firm bed as well.
  4. Get adequate exercise and be physically active. 
  5. Avoid staying in a position (standing or sitting) for too long. Elevate your legs when possible.
  6. Maintain good posture when sitting, standing, and sleeping.
  7. Wear light, loose-fitting, and comfortable clothes and underwear.
  8. Wear well-fitting (not tight or loose), comfortable, and low-heeled shoes.
  9. Apply ice to relieve pain.
  10. Avoid sudden movements.
  11. Brush your teeth, floss regularly, and rinse daily with an antiseptic mouthwash.
  12. Bathe daily and apply lotion to prevent dryness and irritation.
  13. Apply heat (warm compress, hot water bottle, or heating pad) where necessary.
  14. Try massage for pain.
  15. Practice good vaginal hygiene. Do not douche and wipe from front to back.
  16. Medications may be prescribed by your physician. Please consult with your doctor before using any medication.
  17. See your doctor if symptoms are severe or worrisome.  

Worried about something? Contact us

At My Virtual Physician, we help you get your prenatal care started while you await your appointment with your local OB doctor. We are also available to help guide you through your pregnancy and answer any questions that may arise.

Additionally, we are in network with many insurance health plans including Medicaid, Medicare, United HealthCare, and Blue Cross.

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Soon healthcare may look more like the care your grandparents and their parents received.

A century ago, physicians went to the patient, not the other way around. In fact, during the 1930s, nearly half of all doctor visits took place in the patient’s home. So, what happened? And why are physician house calls making a comeback?

What Happened to Physician House Calls?

Nearly a century ago, it was standard practice for a doctor to visit a sick or injured patient. Sometimes patients couldn’t travel long distances because of the time and cost of traveling. As a result, physicians made house calls.

But following World War II, there was a decline in physician home visits. By the 1950s, house calls dropped to 10%. By 1996, house calls accounted for only 0.5% of doctor visits.

One of the main reasons for this change was that house calls were time-consuming. Traveling doctors spent valuable hours getting to and from patients rather than treating sick patients.

Another reason for the decline in house calls was financial. Around 1996, the standard insurance reimbursement for a physician house call was $87, even though home health skilled nurses ($97), physical therapists ($99), and occupational therapists ($102) received more per visit for in-home care.

Starting around 2000, Medicare and Medicaid increased physician reimbursement for home visits. As a result, between 2000 and 2006, the number of physician house calls to Medicare beneficiaries doubled. Still, the number of physicians making house calls continued to decline.

The Resurgence of Physician House Calls

Interestingly, a new generation in healthcare is again embracing the physician house call. Research has shown that house calls are invaluable to medical practice. They give doctors personal gratification while improving patient satisfaction. 

Here are a few more reasons that house calls are making a comeback:

Home-based primary care, as it’s known, is becoming popular again. Fortunately, it’s just the right time.

The Need for Physician House Calls

One reason for the house call reprise is a growing need for in-home services.

It is estimated that 10,000 baby boomers will join Medicare every day until 2029. The fastest-growing age group in the US is those aged 85 and older, projected to quadruple by 2050.

Over half of this population has impaired mobility. The US homebound population is skyrocketing. Experts suggest it will double over the next 20 years.

There is a clear need for homebound services. But the elderly and infirmed are not the only ones that need physician house calls. Often, caregivers can’t find time to get to a doctor for their own health needs. Physician house calls are a solution for many.

 The Ability to Perform Expanded House Call Services

Another reason that house calls are making a comeback is better technology. Thanks to recent advancements, Doctors can now perform many diagnostic tests in the home. These include:

Physicians now have more tools to help them make fast and accurate diagnoses in the home. 

Another benefit of technology is that doctors can view medical records virtually anywhere. Secure mobile apps and programs allow them to set up mobile offices. Providers can fax, scan, and retrieve documents in seconds. House calls are easier now than in days past.

Payment Changes for Physician House Calls

Payment reform is another reason for the rise in physician home visits. In 2000, payments for house calls were increased. And in 2006, Medicare added new billing codes, which further increased provider payments. Then, the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) increased payments for telemedicine visits.

Today, doctors and other providers are starting or expanding house call practices to meet the need and growing demand in the healthcare system.

Physician House Calls Benefit Patients

Studies have shown that physician house calls benefit patients in many ways, including:

 Research also shows that patients appreciate the personal touch of a physician who meets them in their homes.

Virtual Physician House Calls

According to the Home Centered Care Institute, over 7 million people in the US need house calls, but only 15% can access services. Undoubtedly, telemedicine will continue to increase access to healthcare.

The best example of this is MVP’s Mobile Virtual Physician Visit. This innovative house call solution provides the benefits of a physician house call with added advantages of flexible scheduling and convenient appointments.

In the Mobile Virtual Physician Visit model, a certified medical assistant goes to the patient’s home and performs “hands-on” services, vital signs, and lab work. At the same time, they bring in a video device that allows the doctor to consult with the patient as if they were there. Patients get to ask questions. And doctors can view the home environment or even perform a home safety evaluation. Patients with chronic diseases can see their doctor weekly or every other week without the expense or trouble of leaving home.

Modern services are combining high-quality healthcare with new ideas. These innovations are the future of healthcare. And the resurgence of physician house calls will also play a role in these changes.

 

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Sources:

65+ in the United States: 2010”. census.gov. Accessed May 2, 2022.

Home Centered Care Institute”. hccinstitute.org. Accessed May 2, 2022.

House Calls Are Reaching the Tipping Point- Now We Need the Workforce”. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Accessed May 2, 2022.

Housecalls to the Elderly – A Vanishing Practice”. nejm.org. Accessed May 2, 2022.

“More House Calls by Fewer Physicians”. jabfm.org. Accessed May 2, 2022.

Rising Demand for Long-Term Services and Supports for Elderly People”. cbo.gov. Accessed May 2, 2022.

“The family physician and homecare”. pubmed.ncbi.nm.nih.gov. Accessed May 2, 2022.

Trends in Physician Housecalls to Medicare Beneficiaries”. jabfm.org. Accessed May 2, 2022.

Ending Covid-19 Isolation

A friend messaged me the other day to inquire about a positive rapid antigen test (RAT). She tested positive for Covid nine days prior and had diligently isolated herself in a bedroom, away from her family. She re-tested on day 5, day 6, and day 7: still positive. And now, again, the ‘test’ line on her RAT test was positive on day 8. “Does the positive test mean I should keep isolating? And why is the isolation period five days if people really stay infectious longer?”, she asked. 

The CDC revised its isolation guidelines in December 2021, stating that most people who test positive for Covid but have been fever-free for at least 24 hours can stop isolating after five days (with day 0 being the start of symptoms or, if asymptomatic, the date of the positive test) and did not need a negative coronavirus test to leave isolation. They do still recommend, though, that people continue taking precautions such as mask-wearing and refraining from travel on days 6 - 10. 

A CDC study showed that up to half of people infected with Covid will continue to be infectious on days 6 - 9. Thus, although it is not mandatory, many people who have the option to are continuing to isolate until they receive a negative rapid antigen test (RAT). RAT tests correlate well with the amount of virus in the body and how likely you are to spread the virus to others.

It is important to remember that - in contrast to RATs -  while polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are considered the gold standard for the initial diagnosis of Covid, they are not helpful in determining when to end isolation because they can remain positive for weeks to months after an infection, well after a person has fully recovered and is no longer contagious. 

Although it may have been more in line with the viral timeline to continue recommending ten days of isolation, it is likely that the CDC recognized the burden the longer isolation period carried, with the greatest toll falling on the most vulnerable sectors. In fact, despite current CDC recommendations, Amazon just recently announced it would be ending its Covid-19 paid leave policy; it’s likely other large employers will soon follow suit.

woman sitting on stool in sweatpants and hoody

Itchy, red, and irritated. Those are not words women prefer to associate with their lady parts. But the reality is that 75% of women will experience a vaginal yeast infection in their lifetime. There is a delicate balance between the bacteria and yeast in the microbiome of the vagina. When disrupted, infections can fester. In this blog, we’ll discuss:

What causes yeast infections?

Candida is a yeast that is naturally present inside the healthy vagina along with other microorganisms, including Lactobacillus bacteria. If the balance among these microbes gets out of whack, it can cause an overgrowth in the others. As a result, a decrease in healthy bacteria in the vagina can cause an overgrowth of candida, causing candidiasis, commonly known as a yeast infection.

Certain risk factors can contribute to candida overgrowth. Hormones and medications are a common culprit to blame for disrupting the fragile microbial environment. If you’re pregnant, on hormonal contraceptives, are taking antibiotics, or have diabetes, you could be more susceptible to yeast overgrowth. Douching can also lead to infections.

How to identify a yeast infection

Luckily, yeast infections produce pesky symptoms to alert you that your vaginal microbiome is a bit off balance. Indicators can vary from woman to woman, but generally, the common ones include:

The onset of symptoms for a yeast infection can start as mildly annoying and then quickly spiral into intense discomfort within a few days. It’s important to monitor your symptoms and get treatment as early as possible to feel better fast. If you’re unfamiliar with the signs, you can check your symptoms with online tools. If you suspect a vaginal yeast infection, testing can confirm your suspicions.

Over-the-counter vaginal health screening tests may help instantly determine whether an infection is present. These tests help you decide whether to use OTC medication‒or whether a doctor appointment is warranted. These tests are generally available at most stores that sell feminine products and can be completed and read at home. Alternatively, your doctor can order tests and collect samples to send to a lab for testing to confirm the diagnosis.

Related: How Your Body’s pH Levels Can Affect Your Health

How to treat yeast infections

Treatment of yeast infections is simple with antifungal medications. If you are confident that your yeast is the problem, there are a range of over-the-counter antifungal medications available in a variety of forms. CDC treatment guidelines recommend the following OTC medications for the treatment of yeast infections:

Each of these creams, ointments, and suppositories are available at most drug stores and must be inserted into the vagina with an applicator (similar to a tampon applicator) over a specified treatment period. Some treatments only require a single dose, while others require repetitive treatment for a full week. Be sure to read the instructions carefully and speak with your doctor if your symptoms do not improve, get worse, or reoccur within a two-month timeframe.

Avoid sexual activity while you treat your symptoms to avoid spreading the infection to your partner or reinfecting yourself. Condoms may not be as effective while using creams or ointments because these chemicals may damage the latex material.

Your doctor can also prescribe different creams or vaginal suppositories that are not available over the counter. Some women find cream or ointment treatments can be messy and inconvenient. If you prefer to take oral medication, you can schedule an appointment with your online physician to request an oral prescription such as oral fluconazole.

 

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Preventing yeast infections

Yeast infections are common, but they don’t have to be. There are preventative measures you can take to limit your chances of yeast overgrowth. One simple change is to make sure that you are regularly wearing cotton underwear. Cotton helps absorb moisture while its breathable nature keeps your groin from staying moist‒an environment prone to yeast overgrowth.

Other quick tips for preventing yeast infections include:

Any time you are prescribed oral antibiotics, consider requesting a pre-emptive medication if you are prone to yeast infections when your bacterial flora is wiped out by antibiotics.

Related: Top 5 Tips to Maintain Vaginal Health: Things You Were Never Told

Conclusion

A woman’s body is a miraculous work of nature. The delicate balance that works to keep her microbiome healthy can wreak havoc when things get off-kilter. Now that you’re armed with this knowledge all about yeast infections, you can use it to keep your body balanced and healthy. As always, if you’re experiencing symptoms that concern you, our online physicians at My Virtual Physician are standing by, ready to hear from you.

 

The advent of telemedicine, or better still, telehealth was not aimed at replacing in-person health care. Instead, it serves as a supplementary means of providing healthcare, especially to nonemergent cases.

However, this does not rule out the use of telemedicine in emergency cases. Your virtual physician could help link you with a facility nearby while giving directives on what could be done to alleviate some symptoms or buy time. 

Generally, health emergencies are health problems that require immediate medical in-person attention. In pregnant women, they are referred to as obstetric emergencies. 

Obstetric emergencies are health problems arising at any time during pregnancy, labor, and childbirth that threaten the life of a pregnant mother and that of her baby or babies. In most cases, these health problems require specialist care, hospital admission, and extended stay.

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Obstetric Emergencies During Pregnancy

Obstetric emergencies may occur during pregnancy, labor, and childbirth. The following are obstetric emergencies that arise during pregnancy:

Miscarriage

This is the loss of a baby before the 20th week of pregnancy.  It usually manifests with bleeding, abdominal cramping, and pain. If a miscarriage occurs, the mother may need to be treated to prevent infection or to remove retained tissue in the uterus.  

Ectopic pregnancy 

This is a serious condition where the fertilized egg implants anywhere other than the uterus or womb. The most common site of ectopic pregnancy is in one of the fallopian tubes leading to the damage and loss of the tube. A woman with an ectopic pregnancy will experience bleeding accompanied by severe abdominal or pelvic pain, feeling faint, and shoulder pain.  Ectopic pregnancy reduces a woman's chances of getting pregnant in the future due to damage and loss of a fallopian tube.

Placental abruption

This condition occurs when the placenta separates from the uterus before birth. Manifestations include bleeding, pain, and contractions. There is a higher risk of infection as blood could be trapped behind the placenta and in the uterus. Bleeding could also result in weakness, anemia, shock in the mother, and the death of the baby.

Placenta praevia 

This is when the placenta attaches to the lower segment of the uterus and partly or completely lies over the internal of the cervix, also called the neck of the uterus. This results in vaginal bleeding during pregnancy. 

Pre-eclampsia and eclampsia

Pre-eclampsia, also known as pregnancy-induced high blood pressure is an obstetric emergency. Pregnancies in women with preeclampsia are regarded as high-risk pregnancies. Symptoms include high blood pressure, edema (severe swelling) from water retention, and protein in the mother's urine. It can cause kidney and liver failure in the mother and cause preterm labor. It also affects the growth and development of the child and causes premature birth and stillbirth. If it progresses to eclampsia (convulsions), it can be life-threatening for the mother and her baby.

Premature rupture of membranes (PROM) 

This is when a woman's water breaks before contractions or labor begins. This is an emergency if the waters break before 37 weeks of pregnancy and lead to a major leak of amniotic fluid or infection of the amniotic sac.

Management of Obstetric Emergencies

These conditions cannot be managed at home or virtually. They mostly require hands-on treatment by specialists or a team of healthcare professionals.

Generally, medical history will be collected and pelvic and general physical examinations carried out. Series of tests may also be carried out including blood and urine tests, blood pressure monitoring, and abdominal ultrasound, amongst others. Your baby's heartbeat will also be checked and monitored.

Depending on your condition, you may require one or more of the following:

At My Virtual Physician...

As a supplementary health care service, our team at My Virtual Physician is available to help guide you through your pregnancy and answer any questions that may arise. We also help with electronically sending orders for tests and examinations while you wait for an appointment with a local OB doctor.

We are in network with many insurance health plans including Medicaid, Medicare, United HealthCare and Blue Cross. 

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New ‘Breath Taking’ Covid Test

If you have been looking forward to a new kind of COVID-19 test, one which doesn’t involve any sort of implement being scrubbed around inside your nasal passages, you can stop holding your breath. In mid-April, the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization (EUA) to the InspectIR COVID-19 breathalyzer test. But don’t toss those rapid antigen tests (RATs) just yet.

The initial utility of the breath test is limited. The breathalyzer machine itself is about the size of a piece of carry-on luggage and requires trained personnel to supervise its operation. Therefore, while it will be a welcome addition to the existing rapid diagnostic tests in health care settings and mobile test sites, it won’t be for home use.

Now that they have received FDA authorization, InspectIR Systems is expected to bring their COVID-19 breathalyzers to market in ~ 10-12 weeks and will produce 100 devices per week. Each device can run approximately 160 samples per day. In the company’s study of ~ 2,400 asymptomatic people, the breathalyzer correctly identified 91% of positive infections and 99% of negative infections (PCR was used as the gold standard).

The sample—a breath of air—is blown into a straw attached to an analyzer called a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer (GC-MS). Within 3 minutes, the GC-MS can identify whether the breath contains a mixture of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection. It’s important to note that certain foods and substances can affect the breath test; the testing instructions specify to avoid eating, drinking, and tobacco products in the 15 minutes prior to taking the test. The FDA recommends positive breath tests be confirmed with a molecular test.

No doubt more breath tests are on the way to development and approval. It remains to be seen how they will change the COVID-19 testing landscape.

Telemedicine, also known as telehealth, improves access to healthcare without being physically present at a healthcare facility. Over digital devices with an internet connection, people can speak with a doctor and get all the help they need. 

Although introduced in the late 1950s, the need and use of telehealth services recently peaked during the Covid-19 pandemic. For several reasons including lockdown restrictions, fear of getting infected, and increased burden on the healthcare system, thousands of people could not leave their homes to visit a healthcare facility. While things are seemingly back to normal, telemedicine might be here to stay for good.

The question then arises, does my health insurance cover telehealth? The answer is music to the ears. Medicare covers a wide range of medical and health-related services, and that includes telehealth. In this article, we will discuss what parts of Medicare cover telehealth services.

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Medicare telehealth coverage

Medicare is made up of different parts namely: 

Each of these parts covers different medical and health-related services. Telehealth is covered by Medicare parts B and C. 

Medicare Part B

Medicare Part B covers outpatient services, and since telehealth visits are treated as such, it covers telehealth services. Hence, you may enjoy the services of the following health professionals:

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the outpatient-related telehealth services you may enjoy include:

Additionally, the price is the same. The amount people with Medicare pay for in-person outpatient services is the same amount for telehealth services. According to the CMS, Medicare covers 80% while the personal pays 20% of the cost of standard services. Some of these healthcare services may start with an in-person visit and continue with virtual visits. 

Medicare Part B can also cover emergency (ambulance) transportation and limited non-emergency rides. So, if a client with Medicare needs transportation to a healthcare facility for follow-up care, its cost may be covered. The same goes for non-emergency transportation. If a client is nonambulatory or needs monitoring in transit to another facility, the cost of transportation may be covered. Clients are to check if Medicare can cover their transportation needs.

Medicare Part C

Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage is sold by private insurance companies. In 2020, it was upgraded to provide increased access to telemedicine services from home. Generally, it has the same coverage for telehealth services as original Medicare (Part A and B) but may come with additional benefits. 

Since it is provided by private insurance companies, the plans may be different. Individuals should check their specific plans with their insurance provider to know what telehealth services they are entitled to enjoy. 

At My Virtual Physician

At My Virtual Physician, we are in-network with many insurance health plans including Medicaid, Medicare, United HealthCare, and Blue Cross. 

Our team is committed to ensuring that patients get the best of health care as needed. We provide virtual care at any point in your pregnancy while you await your appointment with your local OB doctor. We are also available to help guide you through your pregnancy and answer any questions that may arise. 

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Pregnancy is marked with several symptoms. However, it is important to know that while certain symptoms are "normal", others are cause for alarm.

Telemedicine in prenatal care helps bridge the gap and save time during emergencies. You can get in touch with a virtual physician before you book an appointment with your local OB doctor. Your questions could get an immediate answer and help prevent your symptoms from worsening and resulting in complications.

In this article, we will be discussing alarming signs you should watch out for during pregnancy. These signs require immediate medical attention either by getting a call across to a doctor or getting to a medical facility as soon as possible.

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Alarming Signs to Watch Out For During Pregnancy

Bleeding

Light bleeding, also known as vaginal spotting during the first few weeks of pregnancy can be normal. At such times, it may be described as implantation bleeding. 

However, bleeding could be a warning sign, especially if it is heavy and accompanied by other symptoms. Bleeding accompanied by severe abdominal or pelvic pain, feeling faint, and shoulder pain could be indicative of ectopic pregnancy. 

Additionally, the timing of the bleeding could mean different things. Heavy bleeding with severe cramping in the first or early second trimester is a sign of a miscarriage. However, if the heavy bleeding with cramps occurs in your third trimester, it may be a sign of placental abruption or placenta previa.

Any form of bleeding in pregnancy is an alarming sign. Immediately, call your doctor or go to the emergency room.

Severe nausea and vomiting

Nausea and vomiting, also referred to as morning sickness, is a common sign of pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. 

However, severe nausea and vomiting can make you dehydrated which isn't safe for you and your baby. Contact your healthcare provider who will assess you, and may prescribe medication or advise changing your diet.

Severe headache

Headaches, although worrisome, can be normal in pregnancy. They could be due to stress, hormonal changes, fatigue, etc. 

However, a severe headache is a warning sign. It may be a sign of high blood pressure or preeclampsia, which is a serious high blood pressure disorder that develops usually after the 20th week of pregnancy. Symptoms include high blood pressure, swelling, and excess protein in your urine. Seek immediate medical attention as it can affect your health, and your baby's health, and is potentially fatal.

Visual disturbances

Visual disturbances such as light sensitivity, blurred vision, and temporary loss of vision are warning signs. They could be due to many factors including gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, which require medical attention and monitoring. Call your healthcare provider if you experience any changes in eyesight. 

Unusual weight gain, swelling, or puffiness

Sudden, extreme weight gain can be linked to serious conditions such as preeclampsia. Swelling (edema) and puffiness often occur in the face, hands, and feet. This may be normal, however, it should be monitored. It may also be a sign of preeclampsia. Call your doctor when you experience any of these.

Decreased baby movements

Usually, women begin to feel the baby's movements between 18 to 25 weeks of pregnancy. By the third trimester, the baby's movements are more frequent and trackable. 

Once you feel your baby's movements are absent or have significantly declined, you may first eat a light snack or drink something cold. Then, lie on your side and try again. However, if this continues, call your health provider.

Contractions early in the third trimester 

Contractions early in the third trimester refer to the contractions you feel before the end of the 37th week of pregnancy. Typically, you may have felt light or false labor contractions known as Braxton Hicks contractions. These usually stop when you move or change positions, and drink water.

However, if your contractions persist, become regular, and increase in intensity despite a change in position, it may be a sign of preterm labor. Seek medical attention immediately.

Your water breaking early

Medically, this is known as "premature rupture of membranes" where you feel or see a trickle, leak, or gush of fluid from your vagina before the end of the 37th week of your pregnancy. 

Your water breaking normally is a sign of labor. If it happens before the end of the 37th week of your pregnancy, you may be having preterm labor. If this happens, call your doctor immediately.

Noticed an Alarming Sign? Contact Us 

At My Virtual Physician, we help you get your prenatal care started while you await your appointment with your local OB doctor. We are also available to help guide you through your pregnancy and answer any questions that may arise.

Additionally, we are in-network with many insurance health plans including Medicaid, Medicare, United HealthCare, and Blue Cross. 

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