Thomas A. Durnell, MD
Womancare Associates

(304) 424-2088

An abnormal Pap smear could indicate a number of things such as an infection, sexually transmitted disease, HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) or even dysplasia, which are abnormal cells that can be pre-cancerous. It is important to remember that these are just indications of what could possibly cause an abnormal Pap smear. Further tests are needed to determine if there is an actual problem or not.

We recommend women begin getting annual Pap smears at the age of 21 or within three years of becoming sexually active.

About Menopause

Usually occurring between the ages of 45 and 55, menopause is the cessation of the menstrual cycle. This results in the woman’s body producing less estrogen and progesterone, which can produce symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and eventual osteoporosis. Treatments such as hormone therapy exist for these symptoms, but overall health improvements such as a healthy diet (for post-menopausal women, a diet heavy in green leafy vegetables, soy products, legumes, nuts and seeds, and cold-water fish is usually recommended), weight loss and exercise can go a long way to reducing or eliminating both the symptoms and health risks of menopause. It should also be noted that decrease in sexual desire is not a “normal symptom” of menopause, and should be monitored like any other vital sign.

Choosing Birth Controls 

There are many options for birth control available today, and consulting with a medical professional is the easiest and most efficient way to find out which method is best for you. Choices include contraceptive patches, barrier methods (such as condoms and diaphragms), birth control pills and vaginal rings. While their intention is the same, each method has unique properties and one may be better suited to you than the others. Schedule a consultation with us, and we can help determine what birth control method makes the most sense for your needs and lifestyle.

Pelvic Pain

Pelvic pain refers to a persistent pain in your pelvic region. Generally, pelvic pain is a symptom of another disease, but it can be diagnosed as a condition of its own. The source of the pain is sometimes difficult to determine, but it can be treated. The characteristics of pelvic pain can range from dull achy steady pains to sharp, cramping pains that are intermittent. You may also experience pain while having a bowel movement, during intercourse or while sitting. Some common causes of pelvic pain include endometriosis, fibroids, irritable bowel syndrome and ovarian remnant; just to name a few.

If you are experiencing pelvic pain, please contact us to schedule an examination. This thorough examination will help us attempt to determine the cause of the pelvic pain and develop a personalized treatment plan for you; whether that involves simple pain management, physical therapy or surgery.


An ultrasound also referred to as a sonogram, is a non-invasive tool used by physicians to help monitor the growth and development of the embryos/fetus. It uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of the fetus inside the mother’s uterus without the use of radiation like used in X-rays. Ultrasounds capture continuous, real-time images that reveal the fetus’ structure and movement, as well as the blood flowing through the veins and movement of the internal organs. These images allow us to assess the gestational age, size, and growth of the fetus.

Ultrasounds are considered to be a safe, accurate and cost-effective way to examine the development of the fetus. They are used for the following purposes:

  •  To confirm pregnancy.
  •  To determine gestational age and fetal size.
  •  To diagnose any possible fetal malformation. (spina bifida, cleft lips/palate, etc.)
  •  To determine the location of the placenta and ensure there are no abnormalities.
  •  To confirm multiple pregnancies.
  •  To detect excessive or decreased amounts of amniotic fluid in the uterus.
  •  To confirm fetal presentation when uncertain.
  •  To evaluate fetal movement and breathing patterns.
  •  To diagnose any pelvic or uterine abnormalities such as an ovarian cyst.
  •  To confirm the intrauterine death.

Generally, pregnant women will receive two ultrasounds. The first early in pregnancy, around 7 weeks, to confirm pregnancy, determine an approximate due date and exclude ectopic or molar pregnancies. The second ultrasound is normally performed at 18 to 20 weeks mostly to determine if there are any congenital malformations, multiple pregnancies, to confirm the due date and to determine the gender of the fetus. Additional ultrasounds may be taken throughout the pregnancy and depend on whether or not your physician feels that further assessment is needed.

Types of Ultrasounds

With the advancement in today’s technology, we have many types of ultrasounds to use at different times and for different purposes throughout the pregnancy, including:

About Pap Smear

A Pap smear or test is performed to test women for cervical cancer. By collecting cells from your cervix, your doctor can run tests to determine if cancer cells are present or not. Early detection increases your chance for curing cervical cancer.

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  • Transvaginal Ultrasound – images taken by a probe inserted through the vagina. Used in the early stages of pregnancy.
  •  Doppler Ultrasound – used to diagnose possible cardiac malformations through color mapping of the blood vessels.
  •   2D Ultrasound – the most common form of ultrasound used to monitor the growth and development of the fetus.
  •  3D Ultrasound – used in addition to the 2D ultrasound to monitor the growth and development of the fetus. Provides 3D still photographs showing detailed features of the baby.
  • 4D Ultrasound – captures the movement of the fetus in 4D.

Pregnancy Management

While pregnancy is a magical and exciting time, it is always important to remember to be as healthy and responsible as possible. Planning and managing a pregnancy should begin with a thorough exam by a medical professional. An obstetrician can get you started on a pregnancy plan that will be of most benefit to you and your unborn child.

Here are some helpful tips to get you started:

  •  Eat foods rich in iron, calcium and protein. Prenatal supplements are also a good decision, but you should consult an obstetrician before taking any supplement.
  •  Eating foods high in fiber and drinking plenty of water will help curb constipation.
  •  Avoid eating raw foods, fish with mercury (even trace amounts), and soft cheeses.
  •  Avoid smoking, drinking and using illegal drugs.
  •  Avoid, as much as possible, coming into direct contact with herbicides, pesticides, paint and cleaning solutions, as they may have chemical compounds which may be harmful.​