Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is a medical condition in which cancerous cells are located within, around or outside the ovaries. The ovaries are two almond-shaped organs that can be found on both sides of the uterus. They store eggs and produce progesterone and estrogen, two important hormones for reproductive health.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer?

It’s not always easy to detect ovarian cancer in its early stages because of the location of the ovaries. That’s why it’s sometimes called the most deadly type of reproductive cancer.

Ovarian cancer is usually detected at the advanced stages because the ovaries are embedded deep in the abdomen. It’s when the tumor can no longer hide that most patients begin to notice the signs of ovarian cancer.

However, to increase the chances of survival, knowing the early signs of this disease is vital. If you notice any of these signs, contact us at Hamilton Health or visit your gynecologist.

1. Bleeding

Irregular bleeding is a common sign of ovarian stromal tumors, which a small number of people with ovarian cancer have. The tumor can cause bleeding that looks what you see during your period. This can even occur after menopause. Bleeding may happen in two-week intervals or more frequently.

2. Bloating and Indigestion

The presence of a cancerous tumor can cause fluid to build up in the abdomen. This could feel like bloating or the weight gain that follows pregnancy. However, when the bloating refuses to subside even after changing your diet, you need to see a gynecologist promptly.

Also, an ovarian cancer diagnosis could be preceded by indigestion and heartburn. This is a common symptom that is linked with general abdominal discomfort.

3. Feeling Full Quickly

Due to the buildup of fluid in the abdomen, people who have ovarian cancer will start feeling full quickly. This increased satiety is also linked with bloating, and it may also lead to a loss of appetite.

4. Menstrual Cramps

At the early stages of this disease, one could have a feeling similar to menstrual cramps. Unfortunately, this sign is commonly ignored by women whose menstrual cycle has been linked with uncomfortable cramps. Tumors growing in the pelvis can result in pain at the base of the abdomen. But since the pain is similar to menstrual cramps, women can easily ignore this sign of ovarian cancer.

5. Lower Back Pain

Severe lower back pain is also associated with ovarian cancer. Just before diagnosis, many women have complained of having back pain that persists throughout the day and interferes with their sleep. This is usually caused by the fluid that collects in the pelvis and causes irritation in the tissues of the lower back.

6. Frequent Urge to Urinate

Having the urge to pee every 30 minutes with very little or no urine coming out is a sign that you need to be checked for ovarian cancer. This increased urge to visit the bathroom may occur because cancer cells start putting pressure on the bladder.

Speak With a Gynecologist Today

To learn more about ovarian cancer causes or signs, call us now and speak to one of our gynecologists. At Hamilton Health, we offer the best gynecological care for women from all backgrounds. You can walk into our federally qualified health center today and we’ll attend to you. We run a family-centered health center and we treat you when others won’t because we’re committed to making it “your home for health.”

The Importance of Eye Exams for Children

You know how critical regular visits to your pediatrician and dentist are to maintain your children’s health. But did you know you should also take them to get pediatric eye exams regularly?

Starting at six months, children should see an eye doctor, who can diagnose vision problems or monitor conditions that could grow into something more serious. Children who need eyeglasses should visit the eye doctor every year for a checkup. Contrary to common perception, kids should still visit the eye doctor even if they don’t have glasses. Children who don’t require vision correction should make appointments every two years.

You can help your child feel more at ease during their eye doctor appointments by discussing what will happen there ahead of time. Talk about any questions they may have about the visit, too.

What to Expect at a Child’s Eye Exam

The visit often begins with several eye tests that help the eye doctor determine their vision level:

  • Vision test: This measures how well kids see from a distance, using the chart with letters your child has to read off. A toddler vision test will use shapes instead of numbers.
  • Eye movement: The doctor tells the patient to keep their eye on the doctor’s finger, which they move around to test the child’s peripheral and other types of vision.
  • Pupil test: The doctor directs a bright light in the child’s eye to see if their pupil responds correctly.

The next step is to conduct a pediatric eye exam. The doctor will look at the lens, cornea and eyelid to make sure they are healthy. Next, the doctor may perform a pupil dilation test to look at the back of their eye to see that it’s developing properly.

After all this, the doctor will consult with you about their findings. It may be that they found nothing to worry about in their exams. If your child requires glasses, the eye doctor will give you a prescription you can get filled either at the office, online or at a retail shop that sells glasses.

A trip to the eye doctor could reveal an issue with your child’s vision that requires treatment other than glasses. Lazy eye, also called amblyopia, can result from misalignment of the eyes as well as pediatric cataract. If your child has this common disorder, therapy may include glasses, eye drops or surgery.

Get Your Children Pediatric Eye Exams

An eye doctor for kids can help your child address problems that may bother them at school, such as not being able to see the whiteboard or having difficulty focusing when they read. Schedule your visit today to ensure your child receives the vision care they need.

You can also schedule an appointment with Hamilton Healthcare to address your own health concerns. We have staff who speak many different languages. We can help enroll you in health insurance, and we specialize in treating ESL and low-income women. Call us today to schedule an appointment.

Top Tips for Preventing Strep Throat

Strep throat has uncomfortable symptoms such as sore throat, fever and problems breathing or swallowing. The contagious bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes causes strep throat when it spreads to a person without the disease. You can reduce your chance of getting or spreading strep throat by following certain precautions. This guide will teach you how to prevent strep throat and what to do if you have it.

How to Prevent Strep Throat Naturally

Try the following strategies to reduce your family’s risk of getting strep throat:

  • Wash your hands: Hand washing serves as one the best ways to prevent infections like strep throat. Remember to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds and scrub every part of the hand.
  • Use hand sanitizer: When you don’t have access to soap and water, hand sanitizer can also help you keep germs away. Hand sanitizer often comes in travel-sized bottles that you can take anywhere.
  • Avoid sharing personal items: Sharing food, drinks or eating utensils can spread strep throat bacteria even when neither person thinks they have it. Other items that go in the mouth like toothbrushes and pacifiers can also spread germs.

You can lower you or your child’s chance of getting strep throat by limiting your exposure to the Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria. Following these tips can help you avoid spreading strep throat and other infections at any time of the year.

Preventing the Spread of Strep ThroatDoctor about to check a patient for strep throat

If you or someone you love already has strep throat, you can take steps to avoid spreading it. You can protect others by:

  • Taking antibiotics: If you get a strep throat diagnosis, your doctor will likely give you antibiotics to fight the infection. Remember that strep throat’s contagious period lasts for at least 24 hours after you start taking antibiotics.
  • Keeping your environment clean: Surfaces like tabletops and doorknobs can host strep throat bacteria. Regularly wipe down these areas to prevent the spread of bacteria.
  • Staying home from work or school: A person with strep throat stays contagious as long as they have symptoms. If you can, call in sick from work or school until you’ve taken antibiotics for at least 24 hours.
  • Washing your hands frequently: Keeping your hands clean will reduce the spread of the strep throat bacteria. Follow the same directions as mentioned above for the best results.

Everyone has a part to play in reducing strep throat’s spread, including people who already have it.

How to Prevent Strep Throat When You Feel It Coming

Symptoms like a sore throat that lasts longer than 48 hours and small spots inside your mouth can both indicate strep throat. If these symptoms show up, you may already have the infection. Visit a doctor to get a rapid strep test and throat culture that can tell you if you have strep throat. The professionals at Hamilton Health can test you for strep throat and provide the right treatment.

Get Strep Throat Diagnosis and Treatment at Hamilton Health

At Hamilton Health, we offer patient-centered care to people regardless of health, economic or insurance status. To see a doctor for strep throat or another infection, call us at 717-232-9971 to schedule an appointment.

8 Top Men’s Health Tips

8 Top Men’s Health Tips

2 men running to improve their healthIt’s essential to pay attention to your health. Life is busy, but that should never be an excuse for not prioritizing your health and wellness. Staying in tune with your well-being promotes a stable lifestyle and lowers the chances of medical emergencies.

Men of all ages can benefit from the following tips from Hamilton Health Center.


1. Search For a Doctor

For many men, an unhealthy lifestyle derives from the lack of regularly seeing a doctor. Finding a doctor is an easy task thanks to resources available online. With a quick search, you can find doctors in your area that are accepting new patients.

You want to find and establish trust with your doctor. These health professionals let you know of areas of improvement in your everyday life and catch warning signs of health concerns that could harm you later in life.

2. Visit Your Doctor Regularly

Whether you just found your doctor or already have one, visit them regularly. Getting an annual physical examination is the best way to fight or prevent an illness before it occurs. Stop canceling or postponing your doctor’s appointments.

Always remember that your health is a top priority.

3. Learn From Your Doctor and Make a Change

Your doctor is the key to a healthier life. Over time, these professionals know your lifestyle just as well as you do. Listen to what your doctor has to say during routine visits, and be sure to make any necessary changes if applicable.

4. Monitor Your Diet

The foods you eat directly fuel your body. Cutting back on junk foods, sugars and carbohydrates makes a difference when you replace them with fruits and vegetables.

The best way to keep a healthy diet going is to give yourself some variety each day. Eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fiber helps you avoid conditions like heart disease, diabetes and cancers.

5. Make Time for Exercise

Getting activity in your day prolongs your overall well-being. Making time for 30 minutes of physical activity during most days of the week increases men’s physical and mental health. Something as simple as an evening walk could be the lifestyle change you need.

Monitoring your progress is exciting and encouraging. There is nothing wrong with starting out slow and gradually increasing your workout time and intensity as you improve.

6. Get Enough Sleep

Getting between seven and nine hours of sleep each night keeps you in your best shape. Replacing caffeine for sleep only leads to a toxic cycle that can deteriorate your health, so always give yourself time to rest.

7. Analyze Mental Health

If you have a family history of mental illness, alcohol abuse or suicide, speaking to your doctor about warning signs and symptoms is essential. A positive outlook on your life comes from wellness inside and out. Asking for help if you need it is the first step toward improving mental health.

8. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Keeping extra weight off reduces your risk of heart attack or stroke. By exercising regularly and sticking to portion recommendations, your heart has to work less during the day and while you sleep.

Schedule an Appointment With Hamilton Health Center

If you are looking to improve your health but don’t know how to get started, it’s time to connect with Hamilton Health Center. By setting up an appointment, we can direct you to the proper health care to better your lifestyle.

Find your new home for overall health and call Hamilton Health Center today.

Importance of HIV Testing

Importance of HIV Testing

2 men happy about their HIV test resultsHuman immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks the immune system, the body’s natural defense against disease. If left untreated, HIV can weaken the immune system so much that it can no longer fight infection. This late stage of the virus, known as AIDS, can be deadly.

HIV is a serious condition that can affect people of all ages, genders and sexual orientations. Though around 40,000 people are diagnosed with HIV in the United States every year, as many as one in four people living with HIV don’t know they have it.

Here’s the good news: detecting HIV and getting treatment is easier today than ever before. People living with the virus can have long, healthy and happy lives. Let’s take a look at the importance of HIV testing and what benefits it can provide.

Why Is Getting Tested for HIV Important?

Taking an HIV test is the only way to know if you have the virus. Because symptoms of AIDS can take years to develop, it’s essential to get tested even if you feel fine. Knowing your HIV status — whether you test positive or negative for the disease — is a vital step in getting treatment and preventing the disease from spreading.

HIV spreads from person to person through bodily fluids like blood and semen. This means that some of the most common ways people contract HIV are through unprotected sex and sharing needles during drug use. If you’ve engaged in these behaviors with someone whose HIV status is unknown, it’s important to get tested. Once you know your status, you can get treatment and take steps to avoid spreading HIV to others.

What Are the Benefits of HIV Testing?

Knowing your HIV status is a great way to protect your health and the health of the people you care about. There are many benefits of getting tested for HIV, whether your results are negative or positive:

  • The test is fast and easy: During an HIV test, doctors take a blood or saliva sample to analyze. You’ll know whether you have the virus in around 20 minutes. An HIV test is almost always free.
  • You can live a healthier life: If your test results show you have HIV, you can get the treatment you need to stay healthy. Today, antiretroviral drugs make it possible for people with HIV to live long, normal lives.
  • You can protect your partners: When you know your HIV status, you can take steps to protect your current and future sexual partners and encourage previous partners to get tested, as well.
  • It can give you peace of mind: If you think you might have HIV, you might feel nervous about getting tested. It’s normal to feel worried about your status, but it’s always better to take action than to ignore your concern. Getting an HIV test can give you peace of mind.

Ready to Get Tested for HIV?

There are many advantages of HIV testing for those at risk. If you’re ready to know your HIV status, call or contact Hamilton Health Center to make an appointment. We offer free, confidential HIV testing Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. We’re proud to offer HIV testing and support to all Central Pennsylvania residents, regardless of age, income and insurance status as well as STD testing for all other diseases.

Self-Breast Exam Tips

Self-Breast Exam Tips

pink ribbon that represents breast cancer awareness monthYou may have heard there are many advantages of performing breast self-examinations. Women sometimes detect lumps that prompt their physicians to send them for mammograms, which can uncover signs of breast cancer.

You should also perform breast self-exams for other reasons. This practice helps you become familiar with your breasts so you can report any changes in them to your physician. Most changes are benign, but occasionally there is a more serious reason for them.

If you have never self-examined your breasts, you may be unsure how to begin. Follow these tips to give yourself an effective exam.

Tips for Breast Self-Exams

Here are a few ways you can learn to do your examinations quickly, thoroughly and effectively:

  • Ask your doctor to show you how to do it: Talk to them about what they recommend for their patients and to explain what you should be looking for.
  • Time your exams to your menstrual cycle: Choose a time of the month when your breasts are less tender. Many women do this during the week after their period.
  • Look in the mirror before you start: Begin by examining your breasts to get a feel for what they look like. Search for dimpling and puckering, and note the shape and size of the breasts. Examine them with your hands raised as well and look beneath each breast to judge their symmetry. This will help you identify changes in the future.
  • Do the physical exam standing up or in the shower: The tissue thins out when you lay down. You will also find soaping your fingers helps in the shower.
  • Use the pads of your three middle fingers: Apply different levels of pressure and do it in a constant pattern to assure you do not miss any parts. For instance, you might do it circularly.

Women with disabilities that make it difficult to do any of this should ask their doctor for tips on how to proceed.

What Are Normal Lumps in the Breast?

All breasts have lumps. You will become familiar with these as you perform your exams regularly. Most lumps are normal and do not require a trip to the doctor. Abnormalities in the breast may include very hard lumps near your underarm, and you should inform your physician immediately.

Other changes you should notify your doctor about include:

  • Sores or rashes on the breast
  • Newly inverted nipples, pointing in rather than out
  • Swelling or pain in the breast

When to Start Self-Breast Exams

Doctors generally recommend that women begin performing self-breast exams in their early 20s. Teenage girls’ breasts are still growing, and they change a lot during this process. It’s also extremely rare for a girl to develop breast cancer. For those reasons, physicians say it is unnecessary to perform self-exams until you get older and your body has finished going through changes.

Still not sure how to perform a self-breast exam or want some extra guidance? Hamilton Health offers patient-centered health care at our state-of-the-art facility. Make an appointment with us today to discuss your breast health.

STD Testing Facts

STD Testing & Why You Should Get Tested

doctor about to give an std testSexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are a taboo topic in our society. However, they can cause serious health problems when you don’t treat them. STD testing helps you stay healthy, so keep reading to learn the facts about STD testing and to find out where you can get tested.

Why Is STD Testing Important?

The CDC estimates that about 19 million new cases of STDs happen every year. Since many STDs don’t have obvious symptoms, getting tested is the best way to find out if you have one. Knowing if you have an STD lets you treat your disease and protect yourself and your sexual partners. While STDs seem scary, you can get a diagnosis and treatment for many of them easily. You just need to take the first step.

Get Tested Today

Am I at Risk for an STD?

Everyone who has sex has a risk of getting an STD. Some people who don’t have sex can also get STDs, including bacterial vaginosis (BV) and other infections. You have an even higher risk than usual if you inject drugs, have multiple sex partners, don’t use protection or practice anal sex.

How Do They Do an STD Test?

The method used to test a patient for an STD depends on the type of STD that the clinic wants to diagnose. Your provider might get a swab of your genitals, check your blood or get a sample of a fluid such as urine or discharge. You can ask the provider about the method they will use before you get the test. Let them know what you feel comfortable with and try to find a solution together.

Will I Be Judged for Getting an STD Test?

Medical professionals receive training that teaches them not to judge patients who have STDs. Unfortunately, not all doctors follow this advice. However, many providers who openly advertise their STD testing services do not judge patients for getting tested. If you worry about judgment, try to find a provider that clearly says they don’t judge you when they describe their services.

No matter what, treating your STD is much more important than not getting judged. Remember that having an STD is not a moral failing — it is just a medical condition like having a broken arm.

How Do I Talk to My Partner About STD Testing?

If you have a sexual partner, getting tested together will help you prevent spreading an infection back and forth. However, you might feel nervous about talking to them about it. Let them know you’re asking because you want to stay healthy, not because you think they’re “dirty.” Don’t let your partner pressure you to have sex with them if they don’t want to talk about sexual health with you.

Where Do I Get Tested for STDs Near Me?

Patients in the Harrisburg area can get STD and HIV testing right here at Hamilton Health Center. We serve everyone, regardless of HIV status, sexual orientation, income or background. Most importantly, we will never judge you for getting tested. Please call us at (717) 232-9971 to schedule an appointment today.

Get Tested Today

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Breastfeeding Tips for New Mothers

baby being breast fed by motherNew mothers have so much to learn. You love your baby and want to take care of them, but all the information out there can be confusing. Many mothers want to breastfeed their babies to give them good nutrition and bond with them. These breastfeeding tips and tricks for first-time mothers will help you and your baby stay happy and healthy.

Begin Breastfeeding as Soon as Possible

If you can, try to breastfeed your baby right after birth. During the first hour after birth, babies are more interested in breastfeeding than usual. Cuddle your baby on your chest until they finish feeding. You create colostrum, the first kind of breast milk, at the beginning of your baby’s life. Breastfeeding early lets your baby get more of this nutritious milk. The skin-to-skin touch will also reduce your and your baby’s stress after delivery.

Let Your Baby Tell You When They’re Hungry

Babies show their hunger in many ways besides crying. They have a rooting reflex, where they turn towards touch and open their mouths when hungry. Your baby may also start sucking and licking their lips. Every baby has unique feeding times, and they will show these signs when they want to feed. Some babies want to feed a little bit many times a day, while other babies like a few long feedings. As your baby grows, they will have growth spurts where they want to feed more often.

Make Sure Your Little One Latches the Right Way

Correct latching makes breastfeeding less painful and helps your baby get more nutrition. Latching is the way that your baby sucks on your breast. When your baby breastfeeds, they should not hurt your nipple. They should suck on both your nipple and the areola, the darker skin around your nipple. Bring your baby to your full breast, and gently move their lips if they need help.

Wait for Pacifier Time

Your baby has a natural need for sucking that encourages them to breastfeed. A pacifier helps them suck often and feel happy. However, if they get in the habit of sucking on a pacifier instead of your breast, they might not want to breastfeed. Let them build a habit of breastfeeding for a few weeks before giving them a pacifier.

Take Care of Yourself

Your health is as important as your baby’s health. Remember to get enough sleep and to eat a healthy diet. Ask for help with chores and other tasks when you first start taking care of your little one. If your nipples get dry and cracked, try rubbing a few drops of breast milk on them after a feeding. You can also use a cream that has lanolin in it to prevent cracking.

Let Us Help You Have a Healthy Start

At Hamilton Health Center, we want to help all first-time mothers and babies stay healthy. We give care to everyone, even if you have a low income or don’t speak English as your first language. Schedule an appointment with us by calling (717) 232-9971 today.

Top Men’s Health Issues

Top Men’s Health Issues

a man sad about his health issuesTo live long and remain healthy, adult males need to pay close attention to specific men’s health issues. That’s why we’ve researched the top men’s health problems, so you can enjoy good health now and in your later years. We believe that with regular medical checkups and some lifestyle changes, you should be able to reduce the risk of developing the top men’s health issues:

  1. Heart-Related Diseases

Heart attack, stroke and diseases that affect the arteries are among the top 10 men’s health issues worldwide. These ailments are collectively known as cardiovascular diseases.

In the U.S., about 610,000 people die of heart-related diseases, and over half of this number are men. So, you need to be aware that:

  • More than one out of three adult men are at risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
  • The number of African-American men that die of heart disease exceeds white men by over 100,000.
  • High blood pressure occurs more often in men over 45 years of age.

To prevent death from cardiovascular disease, you need to have a medical check-up at least once every six months at a one-stop medical center like Hamilton Health. You should also monitor your blood pressure and eat lots of fruits and vegetables.

  1. Lung Cancer and Respiratory Diseases

Lung cancer is a terrible disease because it can spread rapidly before you notice its symptoms. It’s difficult to treat or cure this disease when it’s discovered.

Lung cancer can kill within a year after it’s diagnosed. Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer in men. While the number of men smoking has dropped, it’s still a leading cause of death among men.

Unfortunately, there is no early detection test for lung cancer. The best way to avoid the disease is to stop smoking. If you are or have ever been a chronic smoker, visit your doctor for a medical examination.

  1. Prostate Cancer

Only men can develop this ailment because women don’t have prostate glands. The prostate is a small gland located behind the penis. It produces fluids that are important for the release of semen during sexual intercourse.

As males get older, the prostate easily gets enlarged. Nearly 200,000 men develop this disease in the U.S. every year. One in six Americans is at risk of developing prostate cancer.

Not all cases of prostate cancer result in death. So, as you get older, it’s important to visit a medical center that has the facilities to detect the exact type of cancer you may be at risk of developing.

  1. Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED), also called impotence, occurs when a man cannot get or maintain an erection. It occurs occasionally in men during times of stress, but if it happens often, it can be a sign of a serious health problem.

Erectile dysfunction may be caused by atherosclerosis, which is the hardening of arteries. ED is a sign that blood vessels aren’t in good shape. Many doctors see erectile dysfunction as a warning sign of an upcoming cardiovascular or heart disease. If you notice you have ED, please visit a qualified doctor immediately.

  1. Diabetes

Diabetes occurs when the glucose in your blood becomes very high. It happens when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body does not respond to it. This leads to excess glucose in the blood.

Two major signs of diabetes are the frequent urge to urinate and excessive thirst. Diabetes develops slowly, and most men aren’t aware of it until they see the first two major signs.

Excess glucose in the blood can cause other diseases including strokes, heart attacks and blindness. Obese and overweight men in the U.S. are more likely develop diabetes. To prevent this disease, you need at least 30 minutes of exercise daily, and you should eat a diet that has a balanced combination of macronutrients.

Take Steps to Address the Top Men’s Health Issues Early

Don’t allow your success at work or your financial success to prevent you from seeking early medical help. If you’ve observed any signs of the issues highlighted above, please call us now to book an appointment with a doctor at Hamilton Health. We offer help to all men who need medical assistance, including low-income earners and those who have no health insurance.