Symptoms You Should Talk to Your Gynecologist About

When it comes to sexual and reproductive health, it can be tricky to determine what is considered normal and what needs extra attention. Talking details with your doctor can feel awkward or a little embarrassing, but don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your ob-gyn deals with a wide range of issues--rest assured, they have seen it all and want to provide the right care for you. Keep track of any symptoms that may arise throughout your day-to-day; what may seem like normal discomfort may be worth a visit to your doctor.

Irregular Menstrual Symptoms

Be sure to tell your doctor if there are any changes to your menstrual cycle, or if anything feels off. This could include irregular or missed periods, spotting between cycles, and heavy menstrual flow (needing to change your pad or tampon more than once every two hours). Everybody’s cycle is different, but if ever your monthly symptoms become more severe or change for seemingly no reason, it could be more than just PMS.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is an extreme extension of PMS symptoms. Those who suffer from PMDD have headaches, breast tenderness and severe cramps weeks before their menstrual cycle. This condition affecting approximately 10% of people of reproductive age also causes emotional stress, anxiety and depression.

Endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome are other hormonal conditions causing irregular menstruation, painful cycles and pelvic irritation. Like PMDD, these conditions have unknown causes and often go undiagnosed because many women do not realize their symptoms are abnormal.

Discomfort During Sex

If sexual intercourse becomes painful, take note of how and when it begins. Pain during sex is not uncommon, but depending on the type of discomfort you’re experiencing, it could indicate a number of factors.

  • Vaginal Dryness--could be caused by age, low estrogen levels, or birth control medications. If you are postmenopausal, your doctor may be able to prescribe vaginal estrogen.
  • Vaginismus--this occurs when the vagina suddenly tightens when penetration is attempted. It is an involuntary muscle spasm, and can happen even if you have had painless penetrative sex in the past.
  • Endometriosis--sharp or deep pain during sex may be a sign of this painful reprodutive condition.

If you experience intense pain during sex and you aren’t sure why, try changing positions or including lubricant to help you feel comfortable. However, if the problem persists, you may need to speak with your doctor. It is understandable to feel uncomfortable discussing sex with your doctor, but they may be able to help alleviate the symptoms.

Vaginal Odor

Everyone’s body is different, and that includes how they smell. If you notice a vaginal odor that is not typical of your normal scent profile, it may be totally normal. Vaginal odor is affected by what we eat, our menstrual cycles, and daily activities, as well as the fabric and fit of our clothing. However, if you notice this issue persisting, your doctor may want to test for the following:

  • Bacterial infection
  • Sexually transmitted infections such as trichomoniasis
  • In rare cases, cervical or vaginal cancer

While it may be tempting to try and mask the odor with vaginal deodorants or douching, remember that this organ is a sophisticated self-cleaning system. Disrupting this system can cause irritation and possibly worsen your condition. When maintaining vaginal odor, if soap and water are not helping, it could be a medical issue.

You are the person who knows your body best, and staying in tune with yourself will help pinpoint any problems that may arise. If you notice something feels off, don’t hesitate to reach out. At PWOG, we understand that every woman’s body is different, and we are prepared to find the right treatment options and answer any questions you may have about your health. Contact us today to make an appointment.

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