When it comes to your sexual and reproductive health, prevention is the best way to defend against future problems because you can’t always predict when or what types of problems may arise. The question then is: how do you know if your symptoms warrant a trip to the doctor? Any potentially serious signs may need you to visit your gynaecologist.
Pelvic pain and abdominal discomfort
It’s important to inform your gynaecologist what kind and the level of pain you’re experiencing including the patterns of whether it’s constant or it comes suddenly. This will greatly assist your gynae to make an in depth analysis and make a proper diagnosis.
Sharp pelvic pain may be an indication that you have an infection, a ruptured ovarian cyst, or a dangerous ectopic pregnancy. More constant pain or a feeling of fullness in the abdomen are suggestive of uterine fibroids, which are non-cancerous tumours. Your treatment will depend on how bad the pain is and whether you plan on getting pregnant.
Bleeding between periods
Occasional spotting between periods is pretty normal and generally shouldn’t set off any alarm bells. However, when the bleeding continues for days on end or is heavy and painful, it might be time to visit your gynae. This could be an indication of vaginal injury, miscarriage, or cancer of the cervix or uterus.
If you’re having mid-cycle bleeding month after month, call the doctor. 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 or missed periods
If you have had heavy periods for a number of years, you don’t have to call the doctor about it now. It’s important to know what’s normal for you. But if you’re soaking through a sanitary pad more than usual, your gynaecologist needs to know.
It could be down to a number of reasons such as uterine fibroids, an infection, or a thyroid problem. A missed period could be a sign that you are pregnant, or that there is another medical condition requiring attention.
Unusual discharge and soreness
Vaginal discharge is the body’s way of keeping the vagina clean and healthy. Different times of the month produce discharge which varies in thickness, depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle. But if you notice yellow, green, or gray discharge that has a bad odour, make sure you contact your gynae.
Changes in discharge as well as itching and burning around your vagina could indicate some type of vaginitis. Two culprits are yeast and bacterial infections, which can be treated with medication.
Females who are sexually active 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. Contact us at Marie Stopes and book an appointment to speak to a doctor.