The human body is very complex, but for women, it can be even more problematic due to the menstrual cycle and delicate nature of the vaginal pH balance being easily thrown off, presenting a number of health issues that can easily be overlooked or missed entirely.
Many women experience cramps and pain during their periods, and everyone experiences different levels of bleeding and discharge which can make it difficult to know what’s normal and what’s not. The best and easiest way to determine your health ‘down there’ is to see a gynecologist.
Unfortunately, many women feel embarrassed about attending an appointment so don’t go every year as is advised. In fact, less than 30% of women in the US saw an ob-gyn within the last 12 months – a figure that is slowly declining even further.
You may think you don’t need to see a gynecologist, but if you notice any of the below symptoms, it’s recommended that you make an appointment as soon as possible. It’s likely nothing serious and an easy fix, but attending an appointment will put your mind at ease and ensure you become more knowledgeable about your own body.
The first sign you need to see a gynecologist is if you experience painful periods. Cramps are normal, but if you’re unable to go about your day-to-day activities without pain and discomfort, or if you find yourself taking lots of pain medication just so you can get through your day, it’s worth speaking to your gynecologist.
It could be that you’re suffering with endometriosis or PCOS and don’t even know it! Your gynecologist may recommend you get an Ultrasound Plus scan so they can see if you have any cysts, growths, fibroids, or additional tissue that could be causing you excessive pain on your period.
Pelvic pain or discomfort
Many women are used to cramps and pain during their cycle, but if you notice a persistent dull pain, or a pain that is sharp and out of the blue, this is considered abnormal and needs to be checked out. In short, it’s not normal to be in constantly pain or to have pain that is unbearable in your abdominal/pelvic region. If this is the case, make sure you book an appointment with a gynecologist to make sure it’s not an issue caused by the likes of endometriosis.
As mentioned, every woman’s cycle is different from the next, and what counts as ‘normal’ for one person may be vastly different to what is normal for someone else. Aa a general rule of thumb, if you notice any changes in your cycle, it’s a good idea to see a gynecologist. This means if you notice your periods getting heavier or lighter, more or less frequent, or more or less painful that what you are used to.
Changes with discharge or bleeding
If you see any changes with your discharge, you need to see a gynecologist as it could mean that you have an infection or that your pH balance has been knocked off by something. This could be soap, your diet, or something else. The best way to treat it is to know what the root cause is, and your gynecologist can help with this.
In a likely manner, if you start to bleed abnormally between periods, it’s also a good idea to see a gynecologist to determine the reason behind it.
These are just some of the signs that you need to see a gynecologist, but also consider making an appointment if you find sex painful, you’re excessively bloated, or if you’re having trouble going to the toilet.