Shannon Medical Center | Health Beat | Winter 2021

Spring 2021 7 Shannon offers new option for hormone replacement therapy By Brian Bradley, MD, Urologist Normal testosterone levels in men are important for a variety of important functions. As a man ages, it is typical for this hormone to decrease. Symptoms of low or absent tes- tosterone include: ● Low sex drive. ● Fatigue. ● Reduced lean muscle mass. ● Irritability. ● Erectile dysfunction. ● Depression. In order to help men combat low testosterone levels, doctors can pre- scribe hormone replacement ther- apy to regulate levels appropriate to each individual.The Shannon Urology Clinic is now offering a new replacement option in the form of hormone pellet therapy. Hormone pellet therapy is a con- venient way to steadily dose testos- terone for hormone replacement in adult males. The slow-release hormones are designed to last three to four months and aid in certain conditions causing low or absent testosterone in the body. The con- sistencies in these hormones help promote a more active lifestyle with less of the hassle of other methods. HOW DOES IT WORK? Testopel testosterone pellets are inserted just under the skin of the hip or other fatty area during a 10-minute in-office procedure. Each pellet is 10 millimeters in size and dosed based off the recommenda- tion of your doctor.The pellets are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and covered by most insurance providers. All Shannon Urology providers are able to offer this as a service to their patients. In the past, the Shannon Urology Clinic has offered other methods of hormone replacement, such as shots and gels. While these methods may have worked for some individuals, they do not pro- vide as much convenience as pellet therapy. Gels often transfer onto clothing or other people, and shots typically require administration either every two to four weeks for short-acting injections or every 10 weeks for long-acting injections. Pellets release a more consistent dose over a longer period of time without the risk of transference. This provides both the convenience of regular dosage of hormones and fewer trips to the doctor’s office. If you feel like you might be experiencing symptoms of low or absent testosterone, visit with your doctor about poten- tial treatment options. For more information about testosterone replacement therapy, or to schedule an appointment, call the Shannon Clinic Urology Department at 325-481-2231 . Checking in on women’s health By Jenny Wiggins-Smith, DO, OB-GYN May is Women’s Health Month and a great opportunity to check back in on your physical and mental health. As women, it’s easy to put the needs of others before yours. Put yourself and your health first this month by making healthier choices, discovering new habits and learning more about women’s health topics. Simple ways to make a huge difference for your physical and mental health include: ● Scheduling an appointment with your doctor for a health screen and a well-woman checkup. ● Eating healthier: cut down on processed foods and sugars when possible. ● Staying active: set aside time each day to get moving. Even five minutes daily can make a difference. ● Paying attention to your mental health by managing stress levels and getting enough sleep each night. ● Avoiding or making steps toward cutting out bad habits such as smoking and excessive drinking. WHY IS IT IMPORTANT? Having annual visits to an OB-GYN for a gynecological examination and consultation is beneficial for many reasons. A gynecologist can provide scripts for birth control, run tests for sexually transmitted infections, identify irregularities in breast tissue and vaginal function, and discuss preconception and fertility counseling. Women’s health topics can vary on significance to the patient, depending on age, family history and other factors. Staying focused on the topics and examinations that most readily apply to you can help prevent or early-detect health concerns. Mammograms: These are low-dose x- ray pictures of the breast and the best way to detect early signs of breast cancer. It is rec- ommended that women start getting a mam- mogram once a year starting at age 40. Pap smear (or Pap test): These tests help detect cancerous cells or cell changes on the cervix. An instrument is used to collect cells and mucus from the cervix, which is then sent to a lab. Women should get their first Pap smear at age 21; if your doctor sees nothing out of the ordinary, you should be able to drop down to receiving them every three years. Pelvic exams: In addition to Pap tests, a pelvic exam will be conducted during a gy- necological wellness visit. Your health care provider will examine your vulva and internal reproductive organs—the vagina, cervix, fal- lopian tubes, ovaries and uterus.They will also gently press on your stomach to check for ten- derness or pain around the uterus. Endometriosis: The tissue that lines the uterus is called the endometrium. Endome- triosis is a condition where this tissue grows in other parts of the body, such as the fallo- pian tubes; ovaries; and anywhere between the bladder, uterus and vagina.This condition can cause inflammation; pain; and, in some cases, infertility. If you are experiencing these symp- toms or have a family history of endometriosis, talk with your doctor about treatments options. PCOS: Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, is a common hormonal disorder that affects the ovaries in women of reproductive age. Signs and symptoms of PCOS include irregular or nonexistent periods, elevated androgen (a male hormone) levels, and cysts in one or both ovaries. If you are having con- cerns about your menstrual cycle, schedule a visit with your doctor. Wellness For more information on these topics, or any other health concerns you may have, please call Shannon Clinic OB-GYN at 325-481-2285 .