From a young girl’s first period to menopause and beyond, gynecologists and obstetricians play a critical role in safeguarding women’s health. At Lakeside Women’s Obstetrics & Gynecology, Dr. Lisa Colon and Dr. Arelis Figueroa are committed to honoring you throughout every stage of life.

If you have a new women’s health question for us, please let us know. We also look forward to discussing your personal concerns during your next appointment.

For more in-depth information about women’s health issues, we recommend visiting the “For Patients” tab at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) website. These fact sheets also are available on the website in Spanish.


How can I talk with my daughter about puberty and menstruation?

It’s important to develop a pattern of open, honest communication with your daughter long before puberty begins. Maintaining that constant dialog during adolescence will make discussions about menstruation and growing up much easier and more informative for both of you.

Recommended reading for girls and parents includes ACOG’s downloadable “A Girls Guide to Becoming a Teen” as well as Your First Period and Puberty and Menstruation.

When should annual gynecological exams begin?

A first visit to an obstetrician-gynecologist is recommended for girls between the ages of 13 and 15 years. While pelvic examinations (including pap smears) are not usually recommended for otherwise healthy women until age 21, annual exams for younger patients are important for establishing the doctor-patient relationship and for age-appropriate discussions of anatomical development, body image, self-confidence, weight management, immunizations (including the human papillomavirus vaccine), contraception, and prevention of sexually-transmitted infections (STIs). Women receive an annual manual breast exam, and are taught how to perform their own monthly breast exams at home. Please also review Your First Gynecologic Visit and The Breast Self Exam on the ACOG website.

How does your practice address preventive adolescent care issues (disease, pregnancy, vaccines)?

A trusted physician-patient relationship is an important tool in safeguarding an adolescent’s reproductive health. Lakeside Women’s OB/GYN provides a confidential and comfortable environment for girls and young women to discuss health care and developmental issues without fear. Topics may include physical development and anatomy, menstruation, healthy eating, sexually-transmitted infections (STIs), pregnancy prevention, sexual orientation, substance use and abuse, physical abuse, and acquaintance rape prevention.

Our practice supports and follows ACOG recommendations for contraception, sexually transmitted diseases, and vaccines. Valuable ACOG documents on adolescent health care issues include How to Talk About Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Human Papillomavirus Infection. Please visit the Gardasil website for more information about this vaccine.

Valuable books for parents include Beyond the Big Talk: Every Parent’s Guide to Raising Sexually Healthy Teens From Middle School to High School and Beyond.

Child-Bearing Years

What can I do about painful and/or irregular periods?

Some girls and women have a cramping pain in the lower abdomen or back, and/or breast tenderness just before and during their periods. You also may get headaches, feel dizzy or nauseated, or have diarrhea.

To help ease cramps, try exercise or medicines like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium (if you do not have an allergy to aspirin or severe asthma). You can also place a heating pad, heat wrap, or other source of heat on your abdomen or lower back. If pain is severe, we can sometimes provide prescription-strength pain relievers.

Irregular periods have many causes and are typically not cause for concern. However, you should see your doctor if you have started your period but it then stops for more than three months.

What are my contraception (birth control) options?

For sexually-active women in their early teens through their late 40s, birth control helps plan and space pregnancies. The right birth control choice depends on your health and individual needs, with options falling into the following categories.

Natural Family Planning

Also called “the rhythm method,” this technique requires periodic abstinence from sex and the ability to carefully track your menstrual cycle. See the Natural Family Planning document on the ACOG website for additional information.

Hormonal Methods

  • Birth Control Pills are a daily oral medication using hormones to prevent pregnancy.
  • Rings, such as NuvaRing, are small rings the patient places in her vagina each month.
  • Injections, such as Depo-Provera, protect against pregnancy for 3 months at a time.
  • Implants, like Nexplanon, are small rods placed under the skin that prevent pregnancy for up to 3 years.
  • The Intrauterine Device (IUD) is placed inside the uterus by a physician, and lasts from 3-10 years.

Barrier Methods

  • Condoms/spermicide used together prevent sperm from entering the vagina and kill any residual sperm on contact.
  • A diaphragm is a plastic or latex cup that covers the opening of the cervix, preventing sperm from entering.
  • For more information, see Barrier Methods of Contraception.

Permanent Sterilization

Several methods of permanent sterilization are available. Lakeside Women’s OB/GYN will help determine the best option for you.

Emergency Contraception

There are two forms of emergency contraception available in the United States:

  • Emergency contraceptive pills (there are three types: progestin-only pills, combination pills, and ulipristal.
  • Copper intrauterine device (IUD).

Do you offer counseling and treatment for infertility?

Evaluating and treating infertility can be physically and emotionally draining. At Lakeside Women’s OB/GYN we take care to consider all the potential causes and treatment options to give you greater peace of mind and a greater chance at having a baby.

A variety of tests can be performed in our office or at home, including blood tests, ovulation prediction, ultrasound, and more. We also can refer you to an appropriate specialist for thorough treatment.

How can I prepare my body for a healthy pregnancy?

Exercise, and eat a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and protein to prep your body for pregnancy. It’s also a good idea to begin taking pre-natal vitamins before conception to boost levels of folic acid, which protects against many birth defects. We recommend limiting your alcohol consumption and quitting smoking whether you’re pregnant or not – but especially if you’re trying to have a baby.

Who will deliver my baby, and where will my child be born?

At Lakeside Women’s OB/GYN, we strive to provide every woman with a calm, nurturing, pleasant environment for delivery. We deliver at both Tulane-Lakeside Hospital and East Jefferson Hospital.

What is included in routine pre-natal care and screening?

For information about our obstetrical care, please visit the Obstetrics page of our Services section.

Can I take any medications for minor aches, pains, and illnesses during pregnancy?

We’ll give you a list of approved medications during one of your first visits. Here are a few everyday remedies you may try.

Allergies: Claritin, Zyrtec (plain only)

Cold/Sinus: Sudafed (regular), Robitussin (regular), Benadryl, throat lozenges, throat spray, cough drops, Vicks VapoRub

Constipation: Colace (Docusate sodium), Miralax

Headache, minor aches and pains: Tylenol (regular strength), heating pad.

Heartburn: Tums, Rolaids, Mylanta, Maalox, Pepcid, Prilosec OTC, Prevacid.

Hemorrhoids: Preparation-H, Anusol

Nausea: Vitamin B6; 25mg. May take with one Unisom at bedtime.

Upset stomach/diarrhea: Imodium AD

Yeast infection: Monistat

Where can I go for childbirth education?

The experts at Tulane-Lakeside Hospital and East Jefferson General Hospital offer complete prenatal education, from birthing class to lactation and beyond. For classes at Tulane-Lakeside, you may register online, or download the brochure Preparing for Childbirth & More for more information and a schedule of classes.

East Jefferson General Hospital offers Expectant Family classes at its main campus, and also through its partnership with Destination Maternity in Metairie.

Postpartum and Mid-Life

What is postpartum depression and how is it treated?

Postpartum depression can occur at any time after childbirth, but it typically begins 1–3 weeks after delivery. A new mother having any of the following signs or symptoms should call our office right away for additional assistance:

  • Baby blues that do not start to fade after about 1 week, or if the feelings get worse.
  • Strong feelings of depression and anger that start 1–2 months after childbirth.
  • Feelings of sadness, doubt, guilt, or helplessness that increase each week and get in the way of normal function.
  • Not being able to care for yourself or your baby.
  • Trouble doing tasks at home or on the job.
  • Changes in appetite.
  • Things that used to bring you pleasure no longer do.
  • Intense concern and worry about the baby, or lack of interest in the baby.
  • Anxiety or panic attacks.
  • Fears of harming the baby. These feelings are almost never acted on by women with postpartum depression, but they can be scary. These feelings may lead to guilt, which makes the depression worse.
  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

This checklist is taken from the ACOG fact sheet on postpartum depression.

Do you perform sterilization procedures?

There are many sterilization options available to women today. Together, we will decide on the best option for you. Some can be performed right in our office with minimal pain and recovery time.

When should I have my first mammogram?

A woman’s first mammogram can be performed at any time. The time of your first mammogram will depend on your age and risk factors for breast cancer, as determined by your medical history and a physical exam. Age 40 years is recommended as the starting point in order to find cancer at an early and more treatable stage. It is performed at either East Jefferson Hospital or Tulane-Lakeside Hospital.

Mammography is an X-ray technique used to study the breasts. No dyes have to be injected or swallowed, and nothing will be put in your body. Mammogram is done as a screening test to regularly check for breast cancer in women who do not have signs or symptoms of the disease. It also is performed as a diagnostic test to check lumps or other symptoms that you have found yourself or that have been found by a health care provider.

ACOG fact sheets provide thorough information on screening for breast problems and benign breast problems and conditions.

Menopause and Maturity

How will I know if I’m entering menopause?

Menopause occurs at different times for different women. A visit to our office will help rule out other causes of your symptoms and help you decide on treatment options, including hormone therapy and lifestyle changes.

Some of the most common symptoms of this “change of life” in midlife women include:

What can I do to prevent osteoporosis?

When you have osteoporosis, your bones become thin, brittle, and weak. This happens because after age 30, bone is broken down faster than it is made. Too much of this bone loss can result in osteoporosis. A bone density test can help determine the health of your bones. Fortunately, there are ways to help prevent osteoporosis:

  • Exercise. This increases bone mass before menopause and slows bone loss after menopause.
  • Consume calcium to slow the rate of bone loss. Women over 51 years old need 1,200 mg of calcium per day and women over 65 and those not taking hormone therapy should take 1,500 mg.  The best way to get calcium is through foods like dairy products, leafy green vegetables, nuts, seafood, juices, and cereals that are fortified with calcium. Calcium supplements are another option.

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