If you have questions for your gynecologist but have been too afraid to ask, you are not alone. Though you may find it difficult discussing intimate or personal things with your gynecologist, try to remember that they are a highly skilled doctor who can provide you with the expertise to address your concerns effectively. Read on to find out how and why you should be asking those difficult questions.
How A Gynecologist Can Help
Gynecologists are medical doctors who specialize in female sexual and reproductive health. They are trained to deal with a wide-range of issues, from irregular or heavy periods and birth control to sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and gynecologic cancers.
It can feel embarrassing or awkward discussing a personal issue with a doctor, but rest assured that your gynecologist deals with a vast range of intimate concerns on a daily basis. Their training and experience mean they can identify, diagnose, treat and prevent a variety of problems, giving you the peace of mind that your health issues are being dealt with effectively, thus helping to prevent complications later on. Gynecologists treat patients with no judgement whatsoever and are used to patients who may feel nervous at first.
Routine visits with your gynecologist are recommended to help maintain your reproductive health and identify any issues in their earliest stages. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends girls have their first visit with a gynecologist between the ages of 13 and 15, which can help detect and treat problems such as infections, heavy menstrual cycles, and disorders of sexual development. Your gynecologist can work with you through adolescence and beyond to help you keep on top of your reproductive health.
When Should I Visit a Gynecologist?
When it comes to female reproductive health, it isn’t always easy to know what is considered “normal” and what may be a sign of a potential health problem. Even if you feel uncomfortable seeing your gynecologist about a concern, remember they have seen and heard just about every type of problem and are there to help you without passing judgment.
Leaving a health issue untreated may lead to complications later on. So, whatever your concern may be, it is always best to pay a visit to your gynecologist to have the problem checked and put your mind at ease.
Gynecologists treat women of all ages and are highly experienced with both common and more complex reproductive health problems. In addition to routine gynecologic visits, it is important to visit your gynecologist if you have any concerns or notice any unusual changes related to your sexual or reproductive health, such as unusual discharge, discomfort during sex, or menstrual cycle changes, which could indicate an underlying health problem.
What Issues Should I Discuss With A Gynecologist?
Abnormal bleeding or discharge
There are some factors that can contribute to occasional bleeding between your periods (known as spotting), such as certain contraception methods. However, if you haven’t yet gone through menopause but are finding your periods are heavier, last longer than normal for you, or if you are having unusual discharge or bleeding between periods, see your gynecologist, as it could indicate a problem, such as an infection, STI, cysts, or in rare cases, cancer.
Pain or bleeding during sexual intercourse can occur for many different reasons, from vaginal dryness or irritation to conditions such as endometriosis, an STI, uterine prolapse, or an infection. Although sexual discomfort isn’t always a cause for concern, it may be a sign of an underlying issue, which could require further investigation and treatment. You may find it an uncomfortable subject, but your gynecologist can help to identify the cause and provide solutions or treatments to help you.
Itching, burning, pain, tenderness, or skin changes
If you are experiencing sensations such as itching, burning, pain, or tenderness in or around your vagina or vulva, or if you notice a change in vulva color or skin, visit your gynecologist. It could have a variety of causes, including irritation, vaginal dryness, infection, STI, and in rare cases, vulvar cancer. It is always best to have it checked to rule out certain causes and find the best treatment.
If you have had unprotected sex
Unprotected sexual intercourse increases your risk of an STI as well as pregnancy. If you have had unprotected sex, particularly if it is with a new partner, it is always best to visit your gynecologist as soon as possible for advice and testing. Some STIs do not cause symptoms and can be difficult to detect. Your gynecologist is not there to judge you and will be able to offer guidance and birth control, if required.
Urinary or fecal incontinence
Urinary or fecal incontinence can cause embarrassment and a lower quality of life. Pregnancy and childbirth are common causes of incontinence, and symptoms can worsen during menopause. A gynecologist can work with you to determine the underlying cause of your incontinence. In many cases, the condition can be treated effectively using a range of medical or surgical treatments.
Although some problems may be nothing to worry about, other conditions can become serious if left untreated. Seeking early intervention can not only help to put your mind at rest, but it can also help to prevent problems further down the line.
Women’s Healthcare Doctor in West Orange, NJ
If you are looking for compassionate, high quality gynecological care, visit Hudson MD Group. Our multi-specialty centers provide cost-effective primary and specialty medical care for patients of all ages. Our centers are conveniently situated throughout northern New Jersey to ensure patients receive the high-quality medical attention and treatments they deserve for all their healthcare needs.