When to Call Your Gynecologist? Don’t ignore these signs!
- IWB Post
- May 14, 2015
We, women are so ignorant to our own health. Till the moment conditions get really critical, we will never bother with a visit to a doctor. Things get worse when we have to deal with gyno-problems. We add to our apathy the pity feeling of shame.
However, prevention is the best defense against future health problems. So how do you know if your symptoms warrant a trip to the doctor? These potentially serious signs are among several that call for a visit.
Pelvic pain and abdominal discomfort. It’s important to tell your gynecologist what kind of pain you’re having. Does it come on suddenly or is it constant? This will help the doctor make a proper diagnosis. Sharp pelvic pain may be a warning sign that you have an infection, a ruptured ovarian cyst, or a dangerous ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy growing outside the uterus). More constant pain or a feeling of fullness in the abdomen are suggestive of uterine fibroids, which are non-cancerous tumors.
Another potential source of regular pelvic pain is endometriosis, a common condition in which the lining of the uterus grows outside the organ. Endometriosis starts with pain during the menstrual cycle and can progress to become an ‘all the time’ pain as endometrial cells grow outside the uterus. The endometrial tissue bleeds during menstruation and can cause terrible pelvic pain.
Bleeding between periods/postmenopausal bleeding. Occasional spotting between periods shouldn’t set off any alarm bells. But when the bleeding lasts for days or is heavy and painful, it’s time to call your gynecologist. This could be a sign of an injury to the vagina, a miscarriage, or even cancer of the cervix or uterus. It is also important to check in with your doctor if you have stopped having periods due to menopause, but have begun bleeding again. This could be a sign of uterine cancer.
Problem periods/missed periods. It’s important to know what’s normal for you. If you have had heavy periods for 15 years, you don’t have to call the doctor about it now. But if you’re soaking through a sanitary pad or tampon every hour for two to three hours, or your bleeding has lasted longer than a week, your gynecologist needs to know. Uterine fibroids, an infection, or a thyroid problem could be to blame. If you feel weak or dizzy during menstruation, you should call your doctor, no question about it. Irregular or infrequent periods can be a symptom of an underlying condition such as polycystic ovary syndrome, a hormone imbalance problem, according to the NIH. A missed period could be a sign that you are pregnant, or that there is another medical condition requiring attention.
Unusual discharge or soreness in the genital area. Vaginal discharge is the body’s way of keeping the vagina clean and healthy. The thickness of discharge changes at different times of the month, depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle. But if you notice a yellow, green, or gray discharge that has a bad odor, it’s time to see your gynecologist. Changes in discharge as well as itching and burning around your vagina could indicate some type of vaginitis. Two major culprits are yeast and bacterial infections, which can be treated with medication. Very painful genital sores could be a sign of herpes.
Painful sex. Pain during sex can be felt as deep pelvic pain or soreness in your genital area. Common causes are vaginal dryness, infections, or uterine fibroids, according to the NIH. Your gynecologist will likely perform a pelvic exam and tests to find out what’s wrong.
Problems with urination or bowel movements. Urinary incontinence or difficulty moving your bowels can be symptoms of pelvic floor problems. That’s when the tissues that support the pelvic organs become damaged or weakened, often due to childbirth. If the muscles are weak, your gynecologist may suggest special pelvic exercises, called kegels, to strengthen the area. But if there’s a tear, your gynecologist will suggest other treatment options.
When to See the Gynecologist:
Experts say females who are sexually active and/or who are over 21 should see their gynecologist yearly for routine checkups and screenings. The sooner a problem is found, the sooner it can be treated.
Always pay attention to what your body is telling you. If you are experiencing any of these warning signs, your gynecologist can evaluate the problem and provide treatment to help you get back to feeling your best as soon as possible.