Ask Doctor Thornton

This feature is not intended to be a substitute for medical counseling or regular professional visits or health care with your designated physician.


Did You Know ??

A Pap Smear is not a pelvic examination:
Women often mistake a Pap Smear for a pelvic examination. Therefore, after childbirth or menopause, many of these women do not continue annual visits to their gynecologist which leads to the delay in diagnosing a multitude of disorders, such as cervical cancer and the deadly ovarian cancer.

Contraceptive choices:
Mother Nature does not intend the human race to become extinct. Therefore, no contraceptive is perfect. All methods fail, even in the rare instances of tubal ligation or vasectomy. It is important for women to know the various forms of contraception, if pregnancy is not in the cards. Eighty-five percent of women who do not use contraception become pregnant.

Eating for two?:
The conventional approach to nutrition in pregnancy is "eat to appetite". This has led to obesity in women, larger infants (over 8 pounds), increased risk for diabetes, toxemia (preeclampsia), Caesarean delivery and postpartum complications due to the excessive weight. The average weight gain during pregnancy for a normal-sized woman is 25 pounds. Yes, only 25 pounds. That translates into eating 300 calories more per day and gaining only 2 pounds in the first 3 months (12 weeks) of pregnancy and 3/4 to 1 pound weekly after that until delivery. It is the time to eat twice as well, not twice as much.

"Fibroids" (myomas):
Although the presence of these benign smooth muscle tumors occur in about 25% of American women (50% in women of color), hysterectomy is not the only treatment. Resectoscopy, myomectomy and newer techniques, such as embolization are available.

This is a condition (bone demineralization) which should be discussed when a woman is in her 20's, not when she is in her 50's after a hip fracture. Increased calcium intake (dairy to collard greens) and weight-bearing physical activity are the lifestyle changes that are the mainstay of osteoporosis prevention. DEXA scans should be done for those women who are at risk for osteoporosis: small stature, Caucasian or Asian, smokers, underweight and inactive.

CVS--The Best Kept Secret Until Now
CVS (chorionic villus sampling) is thought to be a "new" procedure. However, CVS (not the pharmacy) was first performed in 1968, while amniocentesis was first performed in 1966. Because only a few skilled physicians have mastered the technique approved by the FDA, many patients have never heard of CVS and many obstetricians are unaware that it exists in their community.

When a woman who is 35 years old or older discovers that she is expecting a "blessed event", the first thing she thinks about is amniocentesis and having to be stuck with a long needle when she is 4 or 5 months pregnant. CVS is now the alternative to amniocentesis. The procedure is performed when a woman is only 10-11 weeks pregnant and the results are known in 7 to 10 days. The advantage of this new procedure is that the mother knows the results before her 12th week (3rd month) of pregnancy (boy, girl, healthy or not). The procedure, via the cervix, utilizes a soft catheter and not a long needle as in amniocentesis. Unlike amniocentesis that punctures the fluid-filled sac surrounding the baby, CVS samples the growing placenta outside the baby.


Links to my Research Articles

Pub Med
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Web MD