In spite of the fact that women are encouraged to visit a gynecologist annually for a pelvic exam, millions of Americans never make an appointment. In fact, millions of sexually active women only schedule a visit when they experience symptoms pointing to something wrong. Even if you are reluctant to visit the gynecologist, you should consider it if you experience any of the following symptoms.
1. Blisters and Lesions
Any painful or itchy bumps on the vagina or rectum should be taken seriously. Blisters, lesions and sores could be anything from ingrown hairs to herpes. If you notice any of these symptoms, the doctor may perform a blood test and visual examination. Doctors will treat herpes with anti-viral medications whereas ingrown hairs may require better shaving techniques.
2. Painful Intercourse
Many women are under the mistaken belief that intercourse is often painful. This is actually not the case. Pain could be caused by a lack of arousal or something more serious. Unpleasant intercourse is often linked to ovarian cancer, vaginismus, and sexually transmitted diseases.
3. Burning Urination
Urinary tract infections are quite common in women, but the symptoms are easily confused with those of sexually transmitted diseases. Not only does the urethra burn during and after urination, but the urge to use the bathroom is frequent and urgent. In the case of a urinary tract infection, the doctor is likely to prescribe an antibiotic medicine.
4. Breast Lumps
Few women know that a gynecologist can provide help diagnosing breast cancer. If you feel a lump in your breast, speaking to a gynecologist may help you determine if the lump could be malignant.
5. Excessive Bleeding
Women who bleed excessively should be speaking to a gynecologist right away. For a menstruating woman, this includes soaking two pads in two hours. Non-menstrual bleeding is also serious, especially when breathing quickly and showing other signs of anemia. This also applies to post-menopausal bleeding.
6. Strange Vaginal Discharge
It is normal for the vagina to discharge clear liquid, typically without an odor. If you notice any change in discharge, make an appointment right away. Greenish discharge is often a sign of a sexually transmitted disease, and discharge that is chunk (resembling cottage cheese) is linked to a yeast infection. With help, these conditions are treatable.
Call your gynecologist and schedule an appointment if you have any concerns. In addition, ensure that you are making regular appointments to check for cancerous cells and other abnormalities. It could save your life.