Births Are Falling in the U.S.

Women aren’t having as many children as they used to. The number of births in the US has been falling about 1% each year for the past five years and recently reached the lowest birth rate in 35 years, CDC statistics revealed. Some speculate that the coronavirus pandemic might even further this trend.

US Birth Rates Falling

Wondering why the birth rate is falling these days?

The reasons vary, but here are a few possibilities:

  • The birth rate for teenagers dropped 5% in 2019. Overall, the birth rate among teenagers has dropped 60% since 2007 and 73% since 1991.
  • Women seem to be waiting longer to have children. The birth rate among women in their early 40s rose 2% in 2019, but dropped for almost all age groups of women under 35.
  • Many women are choosing to have fewer children than in the past, or none at all. This is frequently driven by concerns over money, the high costs of childcare and insurance, political turmoil, lack of solid parental leave policies, and the overall outlook for the future.

Will the coronavirus outbreak have any impact on birth rate in the US?
There’s been a lot of joking over the past few months that with all this time at home, we’re bound to see a baby boom in the coming year. But experts say this isn’t likely. It’s easy to see why when you take a closer look at the situation. Many people have lost their jobs, and others have kept their jobs but are still concerned about money and job security. These fears and concerns may keep some people from adding to their family.

The pandemic has created numerous challenges for pregnant women in terms of physical and mental health, too. In some outbreak hotspots, hospital systems were strained with high numbers of COVID-19 patients and were consistently revising policies around childbirth. For a short period of time, women at some New York City hospitals had to give birth without the support of a loved one due to strict hospital restrictions. Anxious about these policies and worried about the possibility of COVID-19 transmission in hospitals, some women are considering giving birth at home or deciding not to get pregnant right now. Additionally, some women have struggled to receive infertility care when medical practices were forced to close down for social distancing.

The coronavirus pandemic is a substantial concern and should not be ignored, but it doesn’t need to stand in the way of having a child. If you’re feeling stressed or confused by the multitude of ways the coronavirus is affecting our lives, or have any questions or concerns about childbirth, consider speaking with a healthcare professional who can answer your questions and provide support.

If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com. We have offices in Phoenix, Ahwatukee, Casa Grande, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Chandler.

Everything You Need to Know About Miscarriage

Having a healthy pregnancy is top of mind for most women who become pregnant, and the thought of having a miscarriage can be scary and overwhelming. Unfortunately, miscarriage is more common than some people realize, and can affect somewhere around one in ten women, or more.

Miscarriage

If you are pregnant, it’s important to understand what a miscarriage is, why it happens, and what can increase your risk. Here’s what you need to know:

What is a miscarriage?
Miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy due to natural causes during the first twenty weeks of pregnancy. Many miscarriages happen when the fetus has trouble developing normally. You may hear your doctor refer to miscarriage as “spontaneous abortion,” as this is the proper medical term.

Is miscarriage common?
Up to 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, though the exact statistics can vary depending what source you reference. It’s important to understand that most miscarriages take place early in a pregnancy. Nearly 80% occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and many times, the miscarriage can occur before a woman even realizes she is pregnant.

What are some of the signs of a miscarriage?
Some of the most common signs of a miscarriage include abdominal pain or cramping, vaginal spotting or bleeding, back pain, weight loss, feeling light-headed, and tissue or fluid passing from the vagina. Keep in mind that vaginal spotting is common in the first trimester—if you happen to notice spotting in the early months of your pregnancy, this doesn’t mean you are experiencing a miscarriage. That said, it’s still important to get in touch with your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.

This is especially true if you notice that tissue is being passed from your vagina. If this happens, Mayo Clinic recommends storing it in a clean container and bringing it to the hospital or your doctor so they can take a closer look.

Why does a miscarriage happen?
A miscarriage can happen for many different reasons. Some of the most common causes include an abnormally shaped womb, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a weak cervix that opens too early in the pregnancy, problems with placenta development, and when the fertilized egg doesn’t have the correct number of chromosomes.

Some factors put women at a higher risk of a miscarriage.

Here are some of the most common:

  • Age: After age 35, women are at a higher risk of miscarriage. At age 40 the risk is somewhere around 40%, and by age 45 the risk rises steeply to 80%.
  • Chronic conditions: If you have uncontrolled diabetes, kidney disease, or another chronic condition, you may be at a higher risk of miscarriage. It’s important to speak with your doctor about pregnancy-related risks if you suffer from any chronic conditions.
  • Cervical problems: If you suffer from an incompetent cervix (also known as a weakened cervix) or another uterine or cervical problem, you might be at higher risk of miscarriage.
  • Drug and alcohol use and smoking: All of these behaviors can increase your risk of miscarriage.
  • A history of miscarriage: If you’ve had more than one consecutive miscarriage in the past, you’re at higher risk of miscarriage.
  • Weight: If you’re underweight or overweight, you may be at a higher risk for miscarriage.

The impact of a miscarriage isn’t just physical.
Many women experience grief and sadness following a miscarriage, and this is completely normal. Following a miscarriage, many women have reported feeling shame, guilt, loneliness, as if they had done something wrong, or as if they had lost a child. If you think it would be helpful to speak with someone about what you’re experiencing but you don’t already have a mental health expert you can see, ask your doctor if they can refer you to someone they trust.

If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com. We have offices in Phoenix, Ahwatukee, Casa Grande, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Chandler.

Here’s What You Need to Know About Low Sex Drive

Maybe you’re suddenly experiencing a lack of interest in sex, or maybe you’ve never had that strong of a sex drive. Either way, experiencing low or fluctuating libido can be confusing and may even make you feel like something is wrong. Sex drive varies greatly among women, but if you experience limited or no sexual desire for six months or more, you could be experiencing a form of sexual dysfunction called hypoactive sexual desire disorder, or HSDD.

Low Libido

Here’s what you need to know about low sex drive:

What are the signs of a low libido?

  • You rarely or never have sexual thoughts or fantasies.
  • You have no interest in sex, masturbation, or other sexual activities.
  • You worry about your lack of sexual fantasies and activity.
  • You don’t feel a strong interest in initiating sex.
  • You have trouble experiencing pleasure from sex.

What are some reasons you may experience low sex drive?
Many different factors can affect your sex drive. Here are some to be aware of:

  • Medication: Oral contraceptives (birth control pills), antidepressants, and other medications carry a risk of side effects, including low libido.
  • Relationship challenges: If you’re unhappy and experiencing relationship challenges, you may not feel as drawn to sex as you once were. The reasons can vary greatly, from not connecting emotionally with your partner to the stress of caring for a new child.
  • Low estrogen: As you age and reach your menopausal years, your estrogen levels may fall— this can contribute to a low sex drive as well as vaginal dryness that can make sex painful and uncomfortable.
  • Pregnancy-related hormone changes: Your hormone levels change during pregnancy and after you give birth. These changes, along with the stress of caring for a new baby, can sometimes lower your libido.
  • Medical problems including depression, thyroid disorders, endometriosis, and fibroids can all play a role in lowering your sexual desire.
  • Stress: If you’re experiencing a lot of stress in your work life or home life, you may experience low libido.
  • Mental health problems: Poor body image, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, a history of sexual abuse, and other psychological conditions can all affect your sex drive.

Is there any way to treat low libido?
There are many ways to treat hypoactive sexual desire disorder, and the treatment that’s most effective will almost always vary from person to person depending on the reason why you’re experiencing low libido. For example, if your condition is related to stress, your physician will look for ways to help you reduce stress in your life. If your low sex drive is related to anxiety or depression, speaking to a counselor or getting regular exercise may help. Other ways to treat HSDD include Kegel exercises, masturbating, speaking with your partner about your desires and what is pleasing to you sexually, or taking medication.

Should I see a doctor if I’m experiencing low sex drive?
If you’re unhappy or concerned about your lack of sexual desire, it can be helpful to see your doctor or a therapist. Trained professionals are skilled at helping you address and work through low libido, whether this involves changing your medication, lowering your stress levels, or something else.

If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com. We have offices in Phoenix, Ahwatukee, Casa Grande, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Chandler.

The Stay-At-Home Order Was Lifted: Is It Safe to See Friends and Family?

Stay at home orders have started to lift across many regions, leaving people wondering—is it safe to see friends and family now? We know everyone is eager to see their loved ones, but it’s important to remember that it’s still risky to see people, even if you’re healthy and no longer being asked to stay home.

Once a vaccine becomes available this will become less complicated, but until then, seeing people won’t be without risk. For now, the best way to stay healthy is to avoid being exposed to the virus. The novel coronavirus is transmitted through small respiratory droplets when we come into contact with others who are infected, so there will always be a risk of transmission when you spend time with someone.

That said, there are some factors to keep in mind to stay safe if you do start to see people. Here’s what you need to know:

Remember that some people are at higher risk for COVID-19 complications
People with compromised immune systems and people above age 65 are at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19, so it’s important to be very cautious about seeing people from these groups, as well as people with other health conditions. Consider having a conversation with your loved ones to involve them in your decision and see how they feel.

If you want to see someone from one of these groups but don’t live with them, rather than meeting in-person, a phone call or video chat may be a better option for now. If you do live with someone who’s at higher risk of COVID-19, take extra precautions like washing your hands frequently and not inviting guests into your home if you don’t have to—especially if your family member at risk is not comfortable with it.

Consider seeing people outdoors
We still have a lot to learn about the novel coronavirus, but early research findings show that the virus is more likely to spread in indoor settings than outdoors. With this in mind, it may be safer to see friends and families in a park, backyard, or another outdoor setting rather than meeting in someone’s home or in a restaurant. But remember that the disease can still be transmitted, even outside, so it’s still important to wear a mask, keep a safe distance (at least 6 feet), wash your hands frequently, and follow other recommendations from health officials.

Large gatherings aren’t a good idea just yet
The novel coronavirus is highly contagious, so the more people you are around, the higher the risk of virus transmission. Some people could have the virus even if they’re not showing any symptoms, so with any large gathering there’s always the chance of a lot of people getting sick. Instead of putting yourself and others at such a risk, stick with smaller gatherings for now.

If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com. We have offices in Phoenix, Ahwatukee, Casa Grande, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Chandler.

Understanding Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are tumors that develop in the walls of the uterus. Usually these tumors are noncancerous, but this is a fairly common condition that’s known to affect more than 50% of women who are of reproductive age. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about uterine fibroids.

What are the symptoms of uterine fibroids?
Some women do not experience any signs or symptoms when they have uterine fibroids. For others, the symptoms are more noticeable and may include heavy menstrual bleeding, fatigue, anemia, frequent urination, pain during sex, lower-back pain, and pressure and pain in the abdomen.

Uterine Fibroids

Most of the time uterine fibroids are diagnosed following an ultrasound or another type of imaging exam like an MRI, CT scan, or X-ray. These fibroids can vary in size greatly, with some as small as an apple seed and others as large as a grapefruit. Around 60% of uterine fibroids are too small to be detected during a physical exam with your gynecologist.

Are uterine fibroids cancerous?
Around 99% of the time uterine fibroids are benign, which means they’re not cancerous. They also won’t increase your risk of uterine cancer.

Are some women at higher risk for uterine fibroids?
Uterine fibroids are most common among women who are nearing menopause, which typically includes women in their thirties, forties, and fifties. Research also shows that women are at higher risk if they are African American, obese, eat a large amount of red meat, or have a family history of uterine fibroids. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, eating a large amount of vegetables may help protect you from developing uterine fibroids.

Is there treatment for uterine fibroids?
Often, uterine fibroids don’t require any treatment. This is especially true if they’re not causing any symptoms or affecting your life in any way. But if uterine fibroids are affecting your quality of life or causing any health issues, they can be treated with pain medication, low-dose hormonal birth control pills, hormone therapy, or surgical removal.

Surgical removal is often recommended if the fibroids are large enough to interfere with pregnancy or your ability to get pregnant, or if they’re causing fatigue, anemia, or other health problems. The two common methods for surgical removal are a hysterectomy, in which the whole uterus is removed; or a myomectomy, in which only the fibroids are removed.

If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com. We have offices in Phoenix, Ahwatukee, Casa Grande, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Chandler.

5 Heart Health Mistakes to Avoid

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women in the United States, and yet there are a lot of basic facts about keeping our hearts healthy that many women are in the dark about. In fact, many women regularly make mistakes in day-to-day life that have a negative impact on heart health. Here are a few mistakes you may be making, and some tips for improving:

Smoking
Smoking is bad for a lot of reasons, including your heart health. Smoking greatly increases your risk of heart disease and heart attack, and the risk is even higher for women who smoke and also take hormonal birth control pills. To keep your heart healthy and strong over the long term, smoking is one habit you’re going to want to ditch.

There’s good news here, too—after you stop smoking, your risk of heart disease drops fairly quickly. Even just one year after you stop smoking, your heart disease risk will be reduced in half, and after 15 years your risk of heart disease will be equal to someone who doesn’t smoke.

Misunderstanding the warning signs for a heart attack
Many of us think of chest pain as a defining characteristic of a heart attack. And while this is the most common symptom, it’s not always severe or noticeable, especially among women. Since heart attacks often present differently for women than men, it’s really important to know about some of the most common symptoms. In addition to chest pain (which might actually feel more like a tightness or pressure), here’s what you want to look out for:

  1. Shortness of breath
  2. Discomfort in your abdomen, shoulder, neck, jaw, or upper back
  3. Pain in one or both arms
  4. Nausea/vomiting
  5. Lightheadedness and dizziness
  6. Fatigue
  7. Indigestion
  8. Sweating

It’s important to get medical attention right away if you experience any of these symptoms or believe you’re having a heart attack.

Eating an unhealthy diet
Diet has a huge impact on various aspects of your heart health, and eating too many unhealthy foods can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. Fortunately, protecting your heart health doesn’t require an extremely strict diet and can actually be pretty delicious. The American Heart Association recommends eating a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods from every food group, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes, low-fat dairy, lean sources of protein, and healthy fats. At the same time, you’ll want to avoid foods that are loaded with salt, added sugars, and trans fats—these don’t do any favors for our heart.

Not maintaining a healthy weight
Your risk of heart disease is lower when you maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight, your doctor can help you determine how much weight you need to lose to protect your heart health, and they can also help you come up with a plan for losing this weight and keeping it off. Overall, experts say a slow weight loss is the best route for keeping weight off in the long term.

Additionally, if you suffer from heart disease, maintaining a healthy weight is an important way to control the disease and reduce your risk of having a heart attack.

Not getting enough exercise
People shy away from exercise for a number of reasons—they don’t enjoy it, they get bored of doing the same thing every day, they don’t have any free time, and plenty more. But to maintain a healthy heart, exercise is key. Experts suggest fitting in at least thirty minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise every day, at least five times per week, or an hour and fifteen minutes of more vigorous physical activity per week. If your schedule doesn’t allow long exercise sessions, you can break this up into mini ten-minute exercise sessions throughout the day.

One of the best ways to make a habit of exercising is to stick to a routine. Choose a schedule that works for you and try your best to avoid letting obstacles like work and other commitments get in your way. When you put your health first, the rewards keep coming.

If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com. We have offices in Phoenix, Ahwatukee, Casa Grande, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Chandler.

Busting COVID-19 Myths

It’s easy to feel a sense of information overload these days. From news articles to government messages to social media posts, there’s a huge amount of information floating around about COVID-19. And while there’s no denying the importance of staying informed, it’s also crucial to be aware that not all of the information you hear or read about is true—there are many rumors, conspiracy theories, and bits of misinformation circulating on social media and other channels.

Coronavirus Myths

To help clear some confusion and separate fact from fiction, we thought we would highlight some of the most common COVID-19 myths. Here’s what you need to know:

Myth: If you can hold your breath for 10 seconds without coughing, you don’t have COVID-19.
The only way to truly know if you do not have COVID-19 is if you take an approved test and the results come back negative. According to the World Health Organization, breath-holding exercises cannot be used to confirm whether or not you have COVID-19.

Myth: COVID-19 only affects the elderly
COVID-19 is a serious illness that can affect people of all ages. Older individuals are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 and hospitalizations increase with age, but younger people are at risk as well and should take proper precautions like frequent hand washing, social distancing, and not touching your face to reduce the risk of transmission.

Myth: COVID-19 can’t be transmitted in warm or hot weather
There’s a lot of speculation that COVID-19 will become less of a problem during the warm summer months, but there’s no evidence to show that COVID-19 is not transmitted in warm climates. Additionally, cases of COVID-19 have occurred in countries with warm or hot weather. It’s also important to understand that there’s also no evidence to show that cold weather can kill COVID-19.

Myth: Drinking alcohol protects you from getting COVID-19
Drinking alcohol will not protect you from COVID-19. In fact, frequent or excessive alcohol consumption can raise your risk of health problems, as alcohol can weaken your immune system over time. Additionally, heavy alcohol consumption can increase the risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which is one of the more serious health complications of COVID-19.

Myth: Hand dryers can kill COVID-19
Proper hand washing with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is an important step in protecting against COVID-19, but using a hand dryer will not kill the virus, according to the World Health Organization.

Myth: COVID-19 is just like the flu
Many people believe COVID-19 is just like the flu—possibly because both are respiratory illnesses. But the reality is, COVID-19 and influenza are not one in the same. COVID-19 has a higher mortality rate and there is also a higher rate of severe infections from COVID-19 compared to influenza. The illnesses can also present with different symptoms, though there is a lot we still don’t know about COVID-19.

Myth: 5G technology causes COVID-19
There are lots of rumors circulating that link 5G cell phone technology and COVID-19, but these are nothing more than rumors. The government confirms that 5G technology doesn’t cause the novel coronavirus.

If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com. We have offices in Phoenix, Ahwatukee, Casa Grande, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Chandler.

Keeping Your Kids Safe During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Even though the novel coronavirus appears to be milder among children than adults, this is still a high-stress time for parents. There’s so much we don’t yet know about this illness and many people are left wondering when life will return to normal. To help you get through this time we wanted to outline some advice on how to keep your kids safe.

Keeping children healthy

Here’s what you need to know:

Keep your hands clean.
Practicing proper handwashing techniques (for you and your child) is one of the simplest and most helpful ways to reduce transmission of COVID-19. We think you’ll find these UNICEF guidelines helpful:

  • Wash for 20-30 seconds each time. To make sure your kids are washing their hands for long enough, encourage them to keep washing for as long as it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.
  • Start by wetting hands under running water. Add soap and then scrub all parts of your hands (including between fingers and under your nails) for 20 seconds or more. Finally, rinse thoroughly to remove all soap, and dry your hands with a clean towel or cloth.
  • Here’s when to wash hands: before and after eating and cooking; after using the bathroom; after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; after returning from a public space or touching any surfaces outside your home; after helping a child use the bathroom; before and after caring for someone who is sick; and any other time it feels right.
  • Depending how old your child is, consider setting up a stool at the sink so they are able to reach the water and soap.
  • Alcohol-based sanitizer is an appropriate substitute for hand washing, especially if you’re away from home and don’t have access to soap and water.

Teach your kids proper etiquette for sneezing or coughing.
Make sure your kids know to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue or their elbow when sneezing or coughing, and always encourage hand washing afterwards.

Enforce social distancing, but make sure to have conversations about it too.
Social distancing is an important way to slow the spread of COVID-19. But it’s not an easy concept for kids to understand, especially when you’ve put a stop to playdates and your kids start to miss their friends. One way to help your kids through this tough time is to help them have phone or video chats with their friends. Another is to speak candidly with them about the importance of social distancing. Finally, remember that social distancing applies to outdoor spaces, too. If your kids play outside, make sure they know to stay six feet apart from others who don’t live in their home.

Get in touch with a healthcare provider if your child develops a cough, fever, or has difficulty breathing.
Living during the time of a pandemic is scary, especially when you’re worried about the health of your children. But there is one thing to be grateful for—most cases of COVID-19 have been in adults so far and only rarely have children experienced severe cases of COVID-19. But it’s still important to be in touch with your pediatrician if your kids seem sick or develop any common coronavirus symptoms such as a fever, runny nose, cough, diarrhea, and vomiting. To avoid any unnecessary time in public where the chances of exposure are higher, always try to call your physician before heading to their office. These days, telehealth is often a suitable replacement for many in-person visits.

Clean surfaces regularly.
No one likes to hear that they need to clean more frequently. But to keep your family safe, it’s important to regularly clean counters, doorknobs, and other surfaces that may have come in contact with the virus.

Minimize time with older adults and those with underlying medical conditions.
Age and underlying medical conditions both increase the risk of experiencing serious complications from the coronavirus, so it’s best to do what you can to minimize interacting with these groups in order to keep them safe. This means postponing visits to see elderly family members and trying to find alternate caretakers if elderly family members typically watch your children. If you have elderly or immunocompromised people living in your house, you may want to try taking extra measures to keep them separated from your child.

Wear face coverings when outside of the house.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages all people who are two-years-old or older to wear a cloth face covering when visiting a public setting. This is important for preventing the spread of the virus to others. Remember that you can be a carrier of COVID-19 even if you don’t have symptoms, so it’s important to wear a cloth face mask even if you and your children don’t feel sick.

If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com. We have offices in Phoenix, Ahwatukee, Casa Grande, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Chandler.

Can’t Climax? Here Are Some Tips

Having an orgasm tends to be an amazing experience, but many women struggle to have one. Research shows that up to 40% of women have trouble achieving orgasm, and orgasms only come easily for somewhere around 10% of women. If there’s one thing these statistics make clear, it’s that if you’ve been struggling in this area, you’re not alone.

Climax problems

You’ll also want to understand that just because many women have trouble achieving orgasm, this isn’t necessarily a lost cause. There are things you can do to improve your chances of having an orgasm.

Tense your muscles
Tensing your pelvic, leg, abdominal, and buttocks muscles can be really important in helping you achieve orgasm. In fact, sometimes it’s even necessary. For some women, tensing the feet or upper body can be helpful, too. Curious how and why this works? Muscle tension brings more blood to that part of the body, and this increased blood flow is an important step in reaching orgasm—just a small percentage of women are able to orgasm without any tension in the body. Next time you’re having intercourse, experiment with tensing your muscles and see if it helps you orgasm more quickly or easily.

Relax
Sure, this might be a bit confusing because we just told you about the importance of tensing your muscles. But when we say “relax” here, this isn’t necessarily about relaxing your muscles—it’s more about relaxing your mind.  Rather than overthinking and letting anxiety build, try to let your mind focus on the feelings and sensations that are taking place. If a thought arises, simply let it go rather than letting it distract you from whatever you’re experiencing. Anxious and negative thoughts inhibit arousal, rather than encourage it.

If you can’t seem to let your mind relax, focus on a positive phrase to keep your mind busy but not distracted. Another tip is to be mindful of your breathing. Pay attention to your breath as you breathe in and out and take note if you start feeling calmer and more relaxed—this tends to be a great way to get rid of distracting thoughts.

Be clear with your partner
Clear communication is a key step in achieving orgasm. This means letting your partner know what feels good to you and what doesn’t, as well as being honest with them when you’re feeling distracted during sexual intercourse or having trouble reaching orgasm.

Masturbate
Masturbation is a great way to explore your body and find out what stimulates and turns you on. For some women this is a really helpful way to figure out what feels good to you without the stress of having your partner present.

If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com. We have offices in Phoenix, Ahwatukee, Casa Grande, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Chandler.

STDs in the United States – Get the Facts

Since 2013, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis have all greatly increased. In fact, the combined cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis reached a total higher than ever before in 2018, according to a yearly report released in October by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) called the Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance report. This is the fifth year in a row we’ve seen a rise in STD rates in the United States, making STDs a significant health challenge.

STD Rates

The report showed increases in syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia, and some of the rises were very large. Cases of primary and secondary syphilis rose nearly 15% to reach the highest number of reported cases since 1991. Syphilis cases among newborns saw a staggering 40% increase, and deaths related to congenital syphilis (passed from the mother to the child during pregnancy) increased 22% from 2017. Gonorrhea rates increased 5%, reaching the highest number reported since 1991, and chlamydia saw a 3% increase, with a total number of cases reaching higher than ever before. Additionally, the CDC says that many cases of these STDs and others, like herpes simplex disease and human papillomavirus, go undetected and unreported, meaning the actual rates could be far higher.

Why are STD rates rising?
Many different factors are coming together to push STD rates upwards, according to the CDC. These include a reduction in condom use among vulnerable groups including gay and bisexual men and young people; cuts to state and local STD programs that have resulted in closed health clinics and reductions in STD screening, staff, patient follow-up, and connecting patients with care services; as well as poverty, stigma, drug use, and unstable housing, all of which can reduce access to STD care and prevention services.

Can these STDs be treated?
Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis can all be treated and cured with antibiotics, but when left untreated, these diseases can contribute to vast problems including increased HIV risk, infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and transmission of the disease to others. Syphilis can also be transmitted to a baby during pregnancy and can contribute to complications like stillbirth, miscarriage, newborn death, and health problems throughout the baby’s lifespan.

What is being done to slow these rising STD rates?
A number of public health efforts are in place to deal with our nation’s high STD rates. The CDC is providing STD prevention and monitoring resources to local and state health departments, funding health departments to strengthen STD prevention and control initiatives, and supporting health departments by training health care providers, helping investigate and respond to outbreaks, and helping with community engagement.

Meanwhile, the US Department of Health and Human Services is responding to the STD epidemic by working on an action plan—in short called the STI Plan—that is expected to be released this year. The government is also advising healthcare providers to include STD screening and timely treatment of STDs as a standard component of care, and encouraging health departments to make sure STD-prevention resources are directed toward vulnerable populations.

The CDC also encourages people to talk openly about STDs, get tested regularly, and use condoms or engage in mutual monogamy to reduce risk of STD transmission.

If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com. We have offices in Phoenix, Ahwatukee, Casa Grande, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Chandler.