Period: Her First Menstrual Cycle

Mom and Daughter Period TalkIf your daughter is between the age of 10 and 15, you’ve been anticipating this day for some time now. Ask any female; they all remember their first time unexpectedly seeing the foreign color in the bathroom, wondering if there’s something wrong or if it was something more. Is this bleeding normal? Were they becoming a woman? Did they just start their….PERIOD?

If you know your daughter’s menstrual cycle is coming at any moment, do yourself (and her) a favor: be prepared. Have one of the many semi-awkward conversations you as a parent get to initiate as your kid goes through all stages of life. The more prepared your kid is to what’s coming, the less pre-teen/teenager hormones you’ll have to tame and the more confident your daughter will be to accept the changes her body is going through when her period shows up for its first visit.

The staff at Southeast Woman’s Center want to help prepare you for this climactic stage in your daughter’s puberty by offering some tips on how to be ready before her cycle starts.

Pre-Period Preparedness

  • Start the conversation. Let her know what types of changes she should expect and what she will see when her menstrual cycle first begins. Make sure to GET DETAILED. Let her know what she should be seeing in the bathroom and what to do when things don’t go as planned…the ole’ sweatshirt wrapped around the waist trick for an accidental leakage, how to make a pad out of toilet paper, and any other improvisations you yourself may have used. Discuss a game plan for what to do depending on where she is when it comes.
  • Buy supplies. Keep it simple. Steer away from the non-applicators, cups, and other complicated items. There are girl-specific types on the market, so purchase type-appropriate.
  • Show her how. Take the time to explain and show her how maxi-pads and tampons work. Let her be comfortable with opening and applying her battle gear.
  • Pre-pack. As sudden as periods come, it’s a good idea to have supplies stowed so when the time comes she can take charge of the situation. Find a place in her backpack for safe-keeping. Know where she can find supplies at school; bathroom, nurse, etc.
  • Prepare the men. Dads and brothers need to know it’s about “that time.” Use this time to emphasize privacy to her siblings. Try to make sure she feels comfortable enough to ask her Dad and/or sibling with help getting supplies if she’s not in a bathroom where supplies are kept.

Period Arrival

  • Stay calm. It’s normal for you to be freaking out internally because your little girl is not so little any more, but for her sake, the less of a big deal you make it, the more calm she’ll stay, too.
  • Be real with her. If you’re comfortable saying blood, period, and menstrual cycle, she will feel more comfortable, too. Let her know her clothes, particularly underwear, will probably be stained, as well as her clothes and sheets. If that happens, it’s OK. That’s what baking soda and doing laundry is for.
  • Emphasize the normalcy. All women going through puberty go through the exact same thing. Make sure she feels comfortable enough to share that it started and to talk to you about what she’s going through.
  • Prepare her for hormones. We all know with periods come hormones, hand-in-hand with the menstrual cycle. Let her know if other changes happen such as influx of emotions, acne, greasy hair, bloating and weird feeling in the pelvic region, it is completely normal and is to be expected.
  • Don’t expect a normal period. It could take years for a menstrual cycle to come on a normal, regular schedule. Let her know to watch for certain signs: emotions, acne, greasy hair, bloating, etc.- to indicate her period is near arrival.
  • Keep her prepared. Make sure her supplies are always stocked and continue to discuss the game plan in different scenarios for her period’s next unanticipated arrival.
  • Offer her reassurance. Let her know she can still do everything she did before, even during her period: swimming, sports, etc. Remind her women have been dealing with menstrual cycles since the beginning of time…she will survive, adapt, and overcome!

Talk to a Gynecologist

Once your daughter’s period arrives, it would be a good time to also start thinking about her first visit to a gynecologist. Many gynecologists will just do a regular health exam and talk to a girl about her development and changes occurring to her body. It’s also important to talk to a doctor if your daughter’s menstrual cycle arrives before she is 10 years of age, hasn’t started within two years after her breasts start to develop, or if she has not had her first period by the time she is 16.

Southeast Women’s Center offers gynecological care for women from their adolescence to postmenopausal. We have two convenient locations in both Smithfield and Clayton to serve you. To schedule an appointment, please call 919-938-4040 for our Smithfield office or 919-550-3334 for our Clayton location.

Southeast Women’s Center Welcomes New Doctors, Nurse Practitioner

Southeast Women’s Center is pleased to welcome Dr. Kaysi Benefield, Dr. Jennifer Mury, Dr C. Fernando Bendfeldt, MD, and Sheree Sullivan, WHNP, to our growing team of physicians, nurses and medical staff at our OBGYN offices in Smithfield and Clayton.

OBGYN Kaysi Benefield, DO

Dr. Kaysi BenefieldDr. Kaysi Benefeld graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in biology from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. She holds her medical degree from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Georgia Campus. Her Osteopathic traditional rotating internship was completed at St. Petersburg General Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida, followed by an Obstetrics and Gynecology residency at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Odessa, Texas.


OBGYN Jennifer Mury, MD

Dr. Jennifer Mury, Southeast Womens CenterDr. Jennifer Mury graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Texas. She holds her medical degree from St. George’s University. Her Obstetrics and Gynecology residency was completed at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she also served as the Education Chief Resident.

OBGYN C. Fernando Bendfeldt, MD

Dr. Bendfeldt, MDDr. C. Fernando Bendfeldt holds his medical degree from East Tennessee State University. His Obstetrics and Gynecology residency was completed at Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and a member of the American College of Surgeons, Dr. Bendfeldt also has medical special interests including Advanced Laparoscopic surgery, high-risk obstetrics, Ultrasound and Fetal Nuchal Translucency.


Sheree Sullivan, WHNP

Sheree Sullivan, WHNPSheree Sullivan is a certified Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner. She earned her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from the University of Louisiana at Monroe and her Masters of Science in Nursing from the University of South Alabama. She has specialized experience as a Registered Nurse in Labor and Delivery for high risk pregnancies and high risk deliveries. Sheree has special interest in OB care, providing individualized quality healthcare to women across their lifespan.


Schedule an OBGYN Appointment

Dr. Kaysi Benefield, Dr. Jennifer Mury, Dr C. Fernando Bendfeldt, MD, and Sheree Sullivan, WHNP are accepting new patients and can be contacted through our offices in Smithfield at 919-938-4040 and Clayton at 919-550-3334.

Southeast Women’s Center Welcomes Rachel Israel, CNM to the Practice

Rachel Israel, CNM

CNM Rachel Israel

Southeast Women’s Center is pleased to announce a new addition to our team, Rachel Israel, MSN, CNM, APRN.  Rachel is a full-scope certified nurse midwife. She graduated from Shenandoah University in 2004 with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She received her Master of Science in Nursing and certificate of Midwifery from University of Kansas School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Rachel sees patients for preconception counseling, pregnancy, annual exams, contraceptive management, postpartum care and hormone replacement therapy. Her obstetrical experience encompasses all aspects of labor and delivery, including preterm gestation, induction of labor, high-risk pregnancies and assisting with cesarean sections.

Rachel is accepting new patients and can be contacted through our office at Smithfield office at 919-938-4040 or our Clayton location at 919-550-3334.

Why is HPV so Confusing??

 By Joel M. Bernstien, M.D.

HPVI previously wrote a blog on herpes (HSV) with the thought that it may be the most confusing sexually transmitted infection.  Then I got to thinking…man, this HPV is probably pretty confusing to our patients, too.  And for those of you over 30 years old, for whom we now routinely check for high risk strands of HPV with your routine pap smear, there are many “new” diagnosis of being HPV positive.  Let’s see if we can make this hot-topic a little more digestible.

What is HPV?

It stands for Human Papillomavirus, but that is a mouthful, so we stick with HPV.  There are many, many different types, or strains of HPV; estimated at over 100, with at least 30 leading to genital infections.   We typically group types of HPV into two categories, “Low Risk” and “High Risk”.  Low risk types of HPV commonly cause genital warts, and high risk types of HPV more commonly cause abnormal pap smears, precancerous changes of the cervix, and even cervical cancers.   I try to explain that the virus types that cause warts are like “distant cousins” to the types that cause cervical changes.  When we test for HPV on a routine pap smear, we are only testing for the high risk strains of the virus.  So if you have a history of an abnormal pap smear or one that tests positive for HPV,  it does not necessarily mean you have a type of HPV that will lead to warts for you or your partner – that is unless you carry both types.

Is HPV Common?

Ummmm… yes.  It is estimated that at least 75% of people who have sex will get some sort of genital HPV in their lifetime.  Even those who have only one sexual partner have up to a 20% chance of encountering HPV.  The way I look at it is like this: if you have had sexual relations in your life with several partners, then you most likely have encountered HPV.

How is Human Papillomavirus Spread?

It is considered a sexually transmitted infection, however, intercourse itself is not required for infection to occur.  It is spread from direct contact; and thus, vaginal, oral or anal sex can lead to spread of HPV.

Can You Ever Get Rid of HPV?

Fortunately, most women clear their HPV infection within 8 to 24 months.  This is particularly true for adolescents and women in their early to mid 20’s.  By clearing the infection, I mean that it would be undetectable on a lab test- thus clinically insignificant.  Like most viruses, HPV is something a woman can contract years before she ever was to have a detectable level because it may never go away 100%.

If You Have HPV, Does That Mean You Will Have Cervical Cancer?

Most likely you will never get cervical cancer.  As mentioned above, 75% of people probably have some form of genital HPV.  In the entire United States, there are just over 13,000 new cases of cervical cancer diagnosed on an annual basis.  In fact, many women with HPV will never have an abnormal pap smear.  That being said, routine screening with your provider is the only way to follow any changes to the cervix that could lead to cervical cancer.

Do We Routinely Check Our Patients For HPV and What Do the Results Mean?

For women over 30 years old, who have not had a high grade abnormal pap in the last 2 years, the standard of care is to check a pap smear AND high risk HPV.  The HPV is checked from the same sample as the pap itself, so you will not notice a difference in your exam.  If both tests are negative, no pap smear or HPV testing is done for at least 3 years.  Annual exams with a pelvic exam are still recommended for these patients, but no pap smear needs to be done.

Some women for whom we test for HPV will have a normal pap smear, but have a positive high risk HPV result.  This is particularly confusing because they may have never had an abnormal pap smear, and they may never even develop one.  If a patient has a normal pap smear that tests positive for high risk HPV, we can then specifically check for 2 types of high risk HPV that are most associated with precancerous cervical changes, types 16 and 18.  If the pap is negative for these 2 types, then we simply repeat the pap and retest the high risk HPV in one year.  If the pap is positive for the type 16 or 18, we take a closer look at the cervix with a procedure called a colposcopy.

This scenario of a normal pap smear that is unexpectedly positive for high risk HPV seems to be the most confusing and upsetting to our patients.  They are confused about how they could have possibly contracted HPV when they have never had an abnormal pap smear, and often times have been with the same partner in a monogamous relationship for many years.   As mentioned above, 75% of people have likely been exposed at some point in their lives, so it is incredibly common.  And, again, as mentioned above, the virus can be cleared by your immune system, but that does not mean you will never test positive in the future.  So a negative test one time, or having a history of normal pap smears your entire life, does not mean you are in the clear forever.

Can You Prevent HPV Infections?

There are two vaccines available to protect against some of the more common types of HPV.  The goal of the vaccine is to boost immunity towards these common strains and hopefully decrease abnormal pap smears and eventually decrease cervical cancer.  If you are 26 years old or younger and have not been vaccinated, you should talk to your provider about it.  Currently the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the Centers for Disease Control all recommend that all young women AND men ages 11-26 are vaccinated against HPV.  The vaccine is not approved for those over 26.

Condom use when having oral, anal, or vaginal sex helps decrease the spread of HPV, but any skin-skin contact outside the surface area of the condom can spread HPV.

Limiting the number of partners you have in your lifetime can also decrease your exposure.

Lastly, smoking increases the activity of HPV so quitting will ultimately lead to fewer abnormal pap smears.   Women who smoke have also been shown to have a higher rate of progression of mild abnormal pap smears to more severe ones.

For more information, or to schedule a Preventative Care appointment, contact our office in Smithfield or Clayton today.

Essure Birth Control

Have you completed the family you’ve always dreamed of? Do you want to make sure there are no unexpected surprises?

Southeast Women’s Center is pleased to announce an exciting, new addition to our in-the-office procedures…..Essure. Why is this so exciting? Essure is a 99.8% effective and permanent procedure.

There are no incisions involved, no going under general anesthesia, and it only takes about 13 minutes to perform. It gets even better…there are no hormones and the recovery time is 1-2 days.

Are you wondering how the procedure is performed?

It’s simple…your doctor will insert soft, flexible micro-inserts that resemble a tiny coil into the fallopian tubes. They are delivered through the vagina and cervix so no incisions are necessary.

Over the next several weeks, a natural barrier will form around the inserts preventing sperm from reaching the eggs.

After 3 months, a confirmation test to verify you are protected from the worries of an unplanned pregnancy will be performed. Until that time you will need to use another form of birth control.

Sounds easy right? There is minimal discomfort from the procedure and most patients are ready to go home within 45 minutes. You can return to work and normal activities within a day or two.

The best news is that Essure is covered by most insurance companies. A simple co-pay may be the only cost involved since the procedure is performed in a doctor’s office.

If this sounds like something that would be beneficial to you, call us for an appointment and we can discuss it further.

Start the next stage of your life with confidence!!




How many times has heavy menstrual bleeding affected your life?

Did it keep you from missing your child’s soccer game or “date night” with your spouse? Did you miss time from work or your yoga class?


Don’t let your heavy period keep you from putting off life any longer!!

Statistics show that 1 out of every 5 women are affected by heavy menstrual bleeding and we have an answer to that……NovaSure.

We are pleased and excited to announce we are offering the in-office procedure that can dramatically reduce or stop your bleeding with one appointment and in most cases, with just the cost of a co-pay.

Heavy menstrual bleeding can cause fatigue, painful cramping and headaches. It can also affect your mood, increase anxiety and cause a lack of confidence during the time of your cycle.

NovaSure is a 5 minute procedure that our professional and caring staff performs without general anesthesia. Most women report mild or no pain during or after the procedure and there are no incisions involved. Most women feel back to themselves in a day or so and 40% of women report their periods stopped completely.

Clinical studies show that 95% of patients were satisfied with their results and 97% would recommend it to a friend.

Call us for an appointment and let’s discuss if NovaSure is right for you. Our staff is always ready to assist you and answer any questions.

You are our priority at SouthEast Women’s Center!!

Breastfeeding Education Video

Welcome Jennifer Isaac, WHNP

Jennifer Issac whnp

Southeast Women’s Center is pleased to announce a new addition to our team, Jennifer Isaac, WHNP.  Jennifer is a board certified Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Nursing and her Master’s degree specializing in Women’s Health from UNC Chapel Hill. Prior to working with us at Southeast, she worked as a Registered Nurse on a gynecology/oncology unit. Jennifer is passionate about promoting women’s wellness to women of all ages and takes a holistic approach. Her special interests include health promotion/prevention, adolescent health, prenatal consultation, and contraception.

Jennifer is accepting new patients and can be contacted through our office at Smithfield office at 919-938-4040 or our Clayton location at 919-550-3334.

New Healthcare Center to Open

Your access to quality and professional healthcare is about to reach new heights….literally and we’ll be right there meeting your every need.

On September 4th, Johnston Health broke ground for the $50 million expansion and renovation of their Clayton campus on N.C. 42 West. The new project will include a three-story building attached to the back of the existing building with 50 new in-patient suites. The most exciting news is the addition of a state-of-the-art Women’s Center on the ground floor that will offer labor and delivery services, postpartum rooms, a nursery and special accommodations for Cesarean sections. Other associated benefits include a new kitchen and dining hall, a cardiology department, 9 new exam rooms in the emergency department, an expansion of the radiology department and a new surgical suite.

That’s 92,000 square feet of enhanced health care ready to serve you in early 2015.

Can’t you just smell the fresh paint, feel the luxurious, new furnishings and there is Dr. Turlington, Dr. Evans or Dr. Stine cradling your precious newborn in their arms. It’s picture perfect! We love serving the families of Johnston county and surrounding areas and we feel privileged to share in your once in a lifetime moments. Thank you for your loyalty and trust and come visit us in our Clayton or Smithfield offices. You’ll be glad you did……we’re waiting for you!

Next month we will get down to the facts on NovaSure, the one-time, 5-minute procedure that can lighten – or end your heavy period – without on-going pills and without hormonal side effects. You can have it performed here in our office. That’s pretty exciting news!

Let’s Talk Menopause

Menopause. You know what your patient may experience, but does she?

The Menopause Care Collaborative* and Pfizer Inc. are proud to announce the launch of a new resource –


Delivering healthcare professionals and women the latest clinical and scientific perspectives on the often neglected subject: menopause.

Developed with the input of 16 leading experts from multiple disciplines, the site delivers a wealth of patient counseling strategies, educational resources and other tools developed to support you in addressing the many common – often unspoken – questions and concerns that women have about menopause and about their midlife healthcare choices.

With women now living nearly a third of their lives after menopause, it is more important than ever to focus on the care women receive during the menopausal transition to promote their health and vitality in the years ahead.

Health professional topics on include:

  • Challenges to Effective Dialogue • Symptoms, Related Conditions and Counseling Strategies
  • A 15-Minute Well-Woman Menopause-Focused Visit • Treatment Options
  • Patient Education Resources

Please click here to register for updates from and to receive information about menopausal treatments.



*About the Menopause Care Collaborative

The Menopause Care Collaborative (MCC), an educational initiative sponsored by Pfizer Inc., is comprised of leading experts in women’s health and menopause care including primary care practitioners, endocrinologists, OB/GYNs and behavioral health specialists.

The MCC was formed to:
• Identify barriers to effective dialogue between clinicians and patients about menopause;
• Recommend practical strategies, resources and tools to help clinicians initiate and maintain productive dialogues about menopause in their busy practices; and

• Encourage clinicians to view the menopause dialogue as an opportunity to enhance the health and well-being of women during the menopausal transition and beyond, while improving their patients’ satisfaction with their care

We sincerely hope you and your patients will value this resource as you continue to work together in addressing this important midlife milestone that affects millions of women every year.

To learn more, please visit


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