When UTIs Become Frequent

It is not hard to find a female patient who has suffered from a urinary tract infection. In fact, UTIs are quite common in women, with around 50-60% of women experiencing at least one UTI in their lifetime. Women are more prone to UTIs than men, in part because of the shorter distance between the urethra and the anus, which makes it easier for bacteria to enter the urinary tract.

While UTIs can be easily resolved with a course of antibiotic treatment, this type of infection can be disruptive and uncomfortable until it resides. If urinary tract infections occur frequently, they can even become a threat to your quality of life and relationships. At North Pointe OB/GYN, we want our patients to tell us about their struggle with urinary tract infections. Although this is a common problem for women, frequent UTIs can be a sign of something more serious, and they certain deserve proper treatment. Here’s a closer look at female urinary tract infections, including its symptoms and why you may be suffering more than other women.

What is a UTI?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that affects any part of the urinary system, which includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. UTIs are typically caused by bacteria, such as E. coli, which enter the urinary system through the urethra and multiply in the bladder.

UTIs can be uncomfortable and can cause the following symptoms:

  • strong, persistent urge to urinate
  • a burning sensation when urinating
  • cloudy or strong-smelling urine
  • pelvic pain or pressure

Treating UTIs

UTIs can be treated with antibiotics, which means that you’ll need to let your physician know about your discomfort. At North Pointe OB/GYN, we will take a urine test to properly diagnose the bacteria in the infection so that we can prescribe the most effective antibiotic. It’s important to let us know as soon as possible if you suspect you have a UTI, as untreated infections can lead to more serious complications such as kidney damage.

Why Am I Getting UTIs so Often?

At North Pointe OB/GYN, we make it a priority to help patients determine what is causing their urinary problems and frequent infections, which can often be related to certain lifestyle habits that they can control.

Frequent UTIs can have a variety of causes, some of which may include:

  • Structural abnormalities: Structural abnormalities in the urinary tract, such as a blockage, can cause urine to back up and increase the risk of infection.
  • Compromised immune system: Individuals with a compromised immune system, such as those with HIV/AIDS, are more susceptible to UTIs.
  • Poor hygiene: Poor hygiene habits, such as wiping from back to front after using the toilet, can increase the risk of bacterial infection.
  • Sexual activity: Sexual activity can introduce bacteria into the urinary tract, increasing the risk of infection. Women who are sexually active are at higher risk for UTIs.
  • Menopause: Changes in estrogen levels during menopause can lead to changes in the urinary tract, increasing the risk of infection.
  • Use of certain contraceptives: The use of certain contraceptives, such as spermicides or diaphragms, can increase the risk of UTIs.
  • Urinary catheterization: People who require urinary catheterization may be at increased risk for UTIs due to the potential for bacteria to enter the urinary tract through the catheter.

Restore Urinary Comfort and Call Our Cumming UTI Doctors

Stop struggling in silence. We understand how painful and disruptive UTIs can be. We want to hear from you promptly at North Pointe OB/GYN if you have symptoms of a urinary tract infection and meet one of the following criteria:

  • You have had two or more UTIs in the past six months or three or more UTIs in the past year.
  • You have tried over-the-counter treatments for UTIs, such as cranberry juice or supplements, but the symptoms persist.
  • You are experiencing UTI symptoms during pregnancy.

Call our Cumming physicians who specialize in women’s health care to schedule your UTI exam and treatment.

Know These Warning Signs During Pregnancy

If you are newly pregnant, you can expect some significant changes in your body over the next nine months. If this is your first pregnancy, it may even be difficult to determine what symptoms are normal and what are not.

At North Pointe OB/GYN, we want our patients to have a smooth and healthy experience as an expectant mother. To this end, we welcome patients to call us at the first sign of concern. While it may be nothing to worry about, it can also be an early indicator of a pregnancy complication that we can treat before it produces irreversible consequences.

Time to Pack Your Bags?

While you may not be packing for a fun vacation, packing your bag for your hospital delivery is still an exciting task for most pregnant women. It is a sign that you’ll meet your baby very soon. While packing your hospital bags shouldn’t be a major or taxing chore, it shouldn’t be left to the last minute. To keep it stress-free and fun, it is best to have your hospital bag ready to go by 36 weeks of pregnancy – just in case you go into labor early.

What to Plan For

There is nothing in your hospital bag that you absolutely NEED or must have to birth your baby. The doctor only needs you. However, bringing the right items from home can make your labor and delivery and overall hospital stay much more enjoyable. There may be some uncomfortable moments as well as long periods of waiting to plan for.

In general, we recommend that you plan for a hospital day of 2 to 3 days. Bring more than a purse but don’t haul your large suitcase. A simple weekend travel bag is ideal. You are not bringing everything; Instead, choose just the important items that can make you (and your baby’s) stay more pleasant.

A Checklist for Your Hospital Bag

At North Pointe OB/GYN, we want you to feel prepared and ready for labor – one of the most exciting moments of your life. Here are some helpful suggestions for what to pack in your hospital bag:

  • Personal Toiletries – toothbrush/toothpaste, face wash, body lotion.
  • Pads –about 5 super-absorbent sanitary pads.
  • Comfortable Clothing – 2-3 loose-fitting outfits (don’t assume you’ll be in your pre-pregnancy pants yet!)
  • Maternity/Nursing Bra and Extra Underwear
  • Nightgown/PJs – front-opening if you plan to breastfeed
  • Entertainment –books, electronic items, puzzles, magazines
  • Comfort Items – socks, cozy bathrobe, slippers, your favorite pillow
  • Snacks –non-perishable food like crackers, dried fruit or granola bars.
  • Baby Items and Clothes – “going home” outfit for baby and blanket/pacifier
  • Miscellaneous – spare charger, contact lens/glasses

It’s really never too early to pack your hospital bag. In fact, some women find that it helps them relax during the final weeks of pregnancy to know that things are “ready to go” at a moment’s notice. After all, we typically can’t predict the hour or day that your baby will decide to make its entrance! For more tip on preparing for your labor and delivery, please call our trusted team at North Pointe OB/GYN in Cumming

Why Breastfeed?

Breastfeeding, also called nursing, is the CDC and pediatricians’ recommendation for how mothers should feed their babies throughout the first year of life. Although it’s the medical preference, it does not mean that breastfeeding is the only way to give your baby the nutrients he or she needs to thrive. Here’s a closer look at why physicians choose breastfeeding over formula feeding when there is a choice.

The Value of Colostrum

Colostrum is the highly-dense and nutrient-rich first-milk that comes from the breast immediately after the baby is born. You may not even realize your baby is getting anything from your breast during this stage, as this is before your full milk supply comes in. With its abundance of antibodies, this precious colostrum can boost your baby’s immune system within the first hour of his or her life!

Advantages of Breastfeeding for You and Your Baby

There are many reasons why physicians elect breastfeeding as the most preferred feeding choice for growing babies:

  • The nutrients in breastmilk are natural and bioavailable
  • It provides a tight-knit bonding experience for mother and baby
  • Breastmilk contains everything a baby needs for the first six months of life
  • Breastmilk changes composition as the baby grows to provide key nutrients each stage of development
  • It provides a convenient way to feed your baby anywhere and anytime
  • It can help the uterus to return to its pre-pregnancy size
  • It helps women lose their pregnancy weight

Don’t Be Hard on Yourself

It is common for breastfeeding to feel new, difficult and even slightly uncomfortably at the start. Not only will you learn your most comfortable and effective position for milk supply but your baby will also learn to latch better. Be patient – newborns can sense your stress!

If nursing your baby is a struggle or not an option at all, don’t be hard on yourself. Breastfeeding is not everyone. In fact, it is not always physically feasible to breastfeed. This can be due to your baby’s latch or sucking reflex, or the anatomy of your nipples. For some moms, it is necessary that other caregivers are available to feed the baby, which can make bottles and formula more convenient. In general, if breastfeeding is adding stress instead of taking it away for you and your baby, it may not be the right option.

We Are Here to Help

At North Point OB/GYN, we encourage new moms to try breastfeeding simply for the remarkable benefits it can give you and your new baby. We can even help you connect with a lactation consultant if you are having trouble in the beginning. However, it is not the only way to provide strong nutrients to your baby, and breastfeeding should never be done out of guilt or shame. If you have questions, concerns, or want help breastfeeding, contact our Cumming practice to learn more. We don’t stop caring for you once your baby is born.

No More Kids Doesn’t Mean No More Gynecologist

While you likely established a close relationship with your OB/GYN during your pregnancy and childbearing stage of life, you may be tempted to abandon this physician when you are done having kids. This is an unfortunate mistake. Your gynecologist can do far more for you than care for you during pregnancy and childbirth. While it doesn’t have to be every month, there is significant value in maintaining routine visits with your OB/GYN after your childbearing years.

Here are some top reasons why it is still important to see your OB/GYN when you are no longer trying to get pregnant:

Your annual gynecologic exam matters to your overall health and wellness.

Your body doesn’t stop changing, even after having kids. An annual wellness visit with your gynecologist include specific evaluations that pertain to a woman’s health, such as pelvic exams, breast cancer screenings, PAP smears and much more. These appointments help you address small issues before they become major problems.

You can address concerns and issues about your sexual health.

Many women silently suffer from discomfort or dysfunction during sex. Your gynecologist, however, is the perfect one to discuss these concerns with. A gynecologist can not only help, but they understand that female sexuality can be influenced by physical, psychological, and social factors.

Your menstrual cycle continues.

There are typically many years between having kids and menopause, which means you’ll still be managing your menstrual cycle. This can become tricky in your late 30’s and 40’s as perimenopause symptoms develop. Your gyno can address issues like heavy flow, disruptive cramping and other period symptoms.

Birth control may be needed.

Just because your mind is made up to stop having kids, doesn’t mean your body is on board. If you are still physically able to get pregnant and sexually active, you’ll need to consider a birth control method. For women who are past childbearing, this can be a more long-term birth control solution. A gynecologist can present you with the pros and cons of each option.

Menopause management

Many women find that they need their gynecologist more than ever once they hit menopause, as this can be a turbulent phase of life with mood swings, hot flashes, low libido, weight gain. A gynecologist is specifically trained to help you navigate and lessen these menopause symptoms.

Just because you’ve sold your maternity clothes, doesn’t mean that you should forget your OB/GYN. At North Pointe OB/GYN, we have plenty to offer in terms of your health, well-being and quality of life as a woman before, during and after childbearing years.

What About Perimenopause?

We all know menopause as that dreaded stage of life when wacky hormones bring hot flashes, mood swings and weight gain as our menstrual period comes to an end. But what about the time period leading up to menopause? Perimenopause may be less talked about, but it is a stage of life that can be equally frustrating and disrupted by hormone fluctuations.

Perimenopause refers to the time in which a woman’s body makes its natural transition toward permanent infertility (menopause). Women go through perimenopause at different ages, but the most common time is around the early 40s. The level of estrogen rises and falls unevenly during perimenopause causing the menstrual cycles to lengthen or shorten and to become heavier or lighter. Many women also experience symptoms similar to menopause, such as hot flashes, sleep problems and vaginal dryness. Unfortunately, this phase can last longer than you want it to.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, “the average length of perimenopause is about four years. Some people may only be in this stage for a few months, while others will be in this transition phase for more than four years.” Once it has been more than 12 months since your last monthly period, you can consider yourself out of perimenopause.

You Can Still Get Treatment

Just because you are not in full blown menopause, doesn’t mean you don’t qualify for treatment. As your trusted physicians at North Pointe OB/GYN, we understand the setbacks of menopause as well as the frustrations of perimenopause that lead up to this stage of life. This transition phase can be difficult to manage on your own, especially if you are not expecting it at such an early age. Some women experience the onset of perimenopause in their 30’s!

Women typically notice a change in their menstrual cycles or length of periods when perimenopause begins. The following are considered common warning signs that you may be in the inevitable stage of perimenopause:

  • Irregular periods
  • Hot flashes and sleep problems
  • Mood changes
  • Vaginal and bladder problems
  • Decreasing fertility
  • Changes in sexual function
  • Loss of bone
  • Changing cholesterol levels

Depending on your tolerance for hormone replacement, we can recommend conventional menopause therapy as well as holistic therapies such as lifestyle adjustments and supplements to manage your symptoms. Call North Point OB/GYN today to book your consult in Cumming. We believe in a better quality of life – despite your changing hormones.

What Happens to Blood Pressure During Pregnancy

It’s no surprise that pregnancy causes changes throughout the body. While most of these changes are healthy and necessary, there may also be some changes that need attention. It is critical that you attend your regularly scheduled prenatal visits to ensure unhealthy body changes don’t go unnoticed and cause harm to your unborn baby. One of the concerns that your doctor will monitor closely throughout your prenatal care is your blood pressure.

As your heart is working overtime to support the growth of a fetus, it is understandable that your blood pressure may change a bit during pregnancy. During the first two trimesters, it is not uncommon for your blood pressure to drop. This is due to released hormones in early pregnancy that relax blood vessels. Blood pressure can also be lower than normal during these initial weeks due to dehydration, or when an expectant mom has not yet increased her water intake to suitable levels.

By the time the third trimester begins, however, your blood pressure may swing to be higher than normal instead of lower. At this point, your body is producing an extra pint of blood to support the pregnancy so it can naturally increase. Healthy blood pressure is measured at 120/80 mm Hg or below. When it’s elevated beyond these measurements, it is considered hypertension (or high blood pressure). High blood pressure is not ideal for any patient, but especially those that are pregnant.

While not all forms of hypertension during pregnancy are cause for serious concern, it is important to let your OB manage your condition. Gestational hypertension is temporary and may not be noticeable. However, it does put you at risk for preeclampsia, a serious complication of high blood pressure during pregnancy.

Symptoms of Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia typically develops after 20 weeks of pregnancy and is marked by the following symptoms or warning signs:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Pain in your upper abdomen
  • Poor liver function
  • Protein in your urine
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Swelling in your hands or feet
  • Vision changes
  • Vomiting

Why is Preeclampsia Serious?

Preeclampsia can be life-threatening for both mother and baby! This type of high blood pressure can cause damage to the mother’s organs as well as low birth weight, premature birth and a higher risk of infection for the baby.  

What is your risk factor for high blood pressure during pregnancy? We can help you at North Pointe OB/GYN. Our Cumming obstetricians can provide complete prenatal care that also includes managing your gestational hypertension or preeclampsia. Our highest priority is keeping mothers and babies safe.

4 Facts About Pap Smears

If you are an adult woman, Pap smears are a necessary part of your routine care. While it may be a slightly uncomfortable procedure, it takes just seconds to perform and offers life-saving information. A Pap smear, which is different than a pelvic exam, is a test that can detect abnormal or cancerous cells on your cervix. You may feel slight pressure as your gynecologist gently scrapes cells from your cervix so that they can be sent to a lab for further evaluation and testing.

Even if you have had a Pap Smear before, you may still have questions about this important component of your wellness care as a woman.

Here are four quick facts about Pap Smears that may want to know:

#1 Pap smears do not test for STDs.

Pap smears are only designed to detect cell changes within your cervix. They do not test for sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea or chlamydia.

#2 You still need a Pap smear, even if you are not sexually active.

Not all cervical cancers come from the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV), which means you can still have cervical cancer if you are not sexually active.

#3 You may need to reschedule your Pap Smear if you are on your period.

While a Pap smear can be performed during your menstrual cycle, a heavy flow could impact the results. Always let your physician know ahead of time if you will be on your period at your routine visit. It may be best to reschedule your Pap smear.

#4 Women need Pap smears every three years.

Starting at age 21, it has been generally recommended that women get routine Pap smears every three years. Pap smears may be suggested more often if you are at an increased risk for cervical cancer.  Guidelines for the recommended Pap smear schedule continues to change with new research, so make sure ask your doctor about when your next Pap smear should take place.

At North Pointe OB/GYN, we take pride in our ability to provide excellent care for women in a comfortable and rewarding environment. Routine Pap smears are just one way that we can stay on top of your health and catch problems at their earliest and most treatable stage. How long has it been since your last Pap? Call our Cumming office today to schedule your appointment.

Caring for Yourself as a New Mom

It is not uncommon for new moms to be overwhelmed and frustrated with the way they look and feel. You’ve got a tiny being that needs you around the clock, you are tending to yourself much less than you were before you gave birth. It is not uncommon to avoid looking in the mirror, feel run down or carry a low self-esteem when caring for a newborn. Being dissatisfied with yourself physically can often fuel a negative mindset, and the cycle continues.

At North Pointe OB/GYN, we understand feeling self-conscious about your figure as a new mom. We want women to establish healthy habits and ways of thinking to look and feel better.

Choose Balance Over Extreme

While you may be tempted to dive into extreme measures to regain your pre-pregnancy figure, you should be careful of what that means for your energy and health as a new mom. Drastically reducing calories or engaging in excessive exercise can zap the energy your body desperately needs to care for your baby. In fact, if you are breastfeeding, an extreme dieting plan can lower or eliminate your rich milk supply.

Don’t worry; being a good mom doesn’t mean you have to neglect yourself altogether. But there’s a balance – a healthy balance. Try to work with your physician to develop a program that focuses on healthy weight loss without neglecting your responsibilities as a mom. Such programs may involve the following:

Nutrition Counseling

Eating looks different when you are a busy mom. A nutritionist can help you choose healthy snacks for your ‘on the go’ lifestyle as well as develop a customized caloric intake plan that ensures you lose weight in a healthy manner.

Physical Activity

Moving your body improves many aspects of your physical and emotional wellbeing. Establishing an exercise plan not only helps to balance your eating habits, but it also provides opportunities that you can exercise with your child!

Mood Monitoring

Ongoing support for new moms is extremely important. You’ll undoubtedly have good days and bad days. Days when you feel great about yourself, and days when you feel like you are falling short. Find a network of family and friends that can not only give you advice and encouragement, but also help monitor your moods and emotional health. If you are experiencing signs of post-partum depression, you should talk to your doctor sooner rather


Don’t be too hard on yourself. You’ve formed a precious life and are doing the hard work of raising a child. While the weight loss can be discouraging at times, it is important to have a healthy perspective and seek ways to make you feel better about yourself. This can include a massage or facial or simply having lunch with a friend without your baby. Taking time for yourself can be one of the best gifts you give your child!

To learn more about caring for yourself as a new mom, call North Pointe OB/GYN in Cumming.

When to Consider Non-Hormonal Birth Control

Contraception, or birth control, is the most popular way to prevent pregnancy. However, not all contraception is the same. In general, birth control falls into two main categories: hormonal and non-hormonal. Every female body is unique, and it is important to choose the best form of contraception that fits your needs and goals. For many women, this means weighing the risk of pregnancy against the side effects of hormonal birth control.

Birth control that contains hormones carries a very high success rate in preventing pregnancy, especially when compared to condoms or diaphragms. Hormonal birth control methods release hormones that alter the body’s chemistry to prevent pregnancy. This can involve thinning the uterine lining, preventing ovulation or other hormonal deviations that will prevent the natural conception process from occurring. While hormonal birth control typically involves taking a daily pill, there are other forms of hormonal contraception including rings, patches, shots or IUDs.

The hormones that are released into your body to prevent pregnancy can agree with you and even help your condition, such as when you have bad acne or heavy periods. However, not all women can tolerate the addition or hormones that come from this type of birth control. In fact, the side effects can be rather rough for some females, even after the initial adjustment period.

The Potential Setbacks of Hormonal Contraception

While there are various strengths and hormone combinations to choose from, there are some very common side effects that can occur with hormonal birth control. For women who experience the following risks and downsides from birth control, a non-hormonal version may be better:

  • Bleeding between periods
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased risk of blood clots and high blood pressure 
  • Irregular periods
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea
  • Sore breasts
  • Spotting between periods
  • Weight gain
  • Failure to protect against STDs

Non-Hormonal Birth Control Options

Non-hormonal forms of birth control provide on-demand protection from pregnancy as well as sexually transmitted diseases. They work by creating a physical barrier that stops sperm from entering the uterus. Hormone-free birth control options include condoms, diaphragms, sponges, cervical caps, cervical shields, IUDs, spermicide and an acid-based vaginal gel. It is important to note that these options may not work as well as hormonal birth control, and they are not nearly as convenient (“in the moment”). However, for females who do not tolerate the extra hormones or want to deal with the side effects, non-hormonal contraception may be the better choice.

At North Pointe OB/GYN, we are here to help you choose the best contraception for you. Our physicians are highly knowledgeable when it comes to the latest and most effective birth control options available. We consider personal health profile, your sex life and your family-planning goals. Call our Cumming clinic today for expert advice.

Call us at 770-886-3555 to request your appointment today!

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Our Cumming Office

The office of North Pointe OB/GYN Associates is located on the Northside Hospital-Forsyth campus, and we perform deliveries at the Women's Center at Northside Hospital-Forsyth.

  • Address

  • 1800 Northside Forsyth Dr.
    Suite 350
    Cumming, GA 30041
  • Office Hours

  • Monday - Thursday: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
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