Women’s Health Specialist

Metro Health and Wellness LLC

Kirstie Cunningham, MD, FACOG

OB-GYN located in Atlanta, GA

At Metro Health and Wellness, Dr. Kirstie Cunningham offers treatment plans to accommodate many women's health issues. The doctor and her staff serve patients who live in the Atlanta, Georgia area.

Women’s Health Q&A

by Kirstie Cunningham, MD, FACOG

How Often Should a Woman Have a Pap Smear?

A woman should have a pap smear at least once a year. Normally, a pap smear is included as part of a woman's yearly gynecological exam. A pap smear involves scraping the cervix and collecting samples of cells that will allow the doctor to determine if any abnormal cells are present Abnormal cells can indicate an infection of the cervix, a sexually transmitted disease, or cervical dysplasia. Cervical dysplasia is the precursor to cervical cancer. Women who have had abnormal pap smears in the past may need to have pap smears performed twice a year to ensure there are no problems. Certain types of infections have a tendency to come back if the treatment is not successful the first time.

What is Included in a Gynecological Exam?

A gynecological exam includes an interview with the medical assistant to collect vitals and write down any questions or concerns the patient may have. The doctor will perform a thorough examination that includes a clinical breast exam and pelvic exam. During the pelvic exam, the doctor will perform a pap smear and closely examine the tissues for any abnormalities that may indicate an infection or sexually transmitted disease. The doctor will also perform a mammogram and discuss any health concerns the patients may have. The results of the pap smear may not be available during the exam. If this is the case, the results will be mailed to the patient when they come in.

Why is Hormone Replacement Therapy Used?

Hormone replacement therapy is used when a woman begins to enter menopause. During menopause, a woman's estrogen levels drop causing a multitude of symptoms like hot flashes, headaches, weight gain, vaginal dryness, and painful intercourse. Hormone levels will also drop if a woman has a hysterectomy and her ovaries are removed. When this occurs, the doctor will often prescribe hormone replacement therapy to help reverse many of the outward signs of menopause. If the doctor performs a partial hysterectomy in which a small portion of the ovary is left behind, there may be no need for hormone replacement therapy.