Other Female Issues

Other Female Issues

Other Female IssuesThe female reproductive system is complex, intricate, and highly functional. As a result, women may experience a number of potential problems or concerns.  It is often difficult to discern what is normal from what is abnormal. In addition to some of the most common conditions, like vaginal discharge, urinary incontinence, endometriosis, and abnormal uterine bleeding, there are some other issues listed below that a woman should remain aware.

 

Menstrual Abnormalities
The menstrual cycle (involving not just menstruation but the full cycle a woman goes through each month) varies from one woman to the next, so abnormalities can be difficult to find. This is why it’s important to pay attention to your body’s “normal” and to stay in regular contact with your gynecologist here at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett about any changes you’re experiencing. In general, you should talk to one of our board-certified gynecologists if:

  • You have not yet had your first menstrual period and are 15 years old or older.
  • You used to have consistent menstrual periods but your periods are now irregular.
  • Your periods are less than 21 days apart or more than 35 days apart (from the start of one period to the start of the next).
  • You miss one or more periods in a row.
  • Your period lasts more than 7 days.
  • You experience very heavy blood flow (requiring a new pad or tampon every 1-2 hours or more frequently).

 

Pelvic Pain
There are many possible causes for pelvic pain. It is normal to experience some pain from menstrual cramps (known as primary dysmenorrhea) immediately before your period and/or in the first few days of your period. However, if this pain is so severe that it disrupts your day-to-day activities or if you are experiencing pain at other times as well, it’s best to schedule an appointment at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett to determine the cause. Pelvic pain could indicate conditions like endometriosis, adenomyosis (tissue that normally grows inside the uterus begins to grow in the muscle wall of the uterus), fibroids (growths on the uterus), or even certain conditions of the gastrointestinal tract and non-reproductive organs in the pelvis.

 

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
While most women experience certain symptoms during their period, many women also notice physical and emotional changes during the five days before their period as well. When these changes occur consistently from one month to the next and are significant enough to impact a woman’s life, they are known as premenstrual syndrome, or PMS. PMS most commonly involves mood swings, depression, irritability, bloating or weight gain, breast tenderness, headaches, and other symptoms.

 

Vulvodynia
Chronic pain and discomfort of the vulva (a woman’s external genitalia) is known as vulvodynia. The pain can either affect the entire vulvar area (generalized vulvodynia) or a specific point in the area (localized vulvodynia). It may be the result of damaged or irregular nerves in the area, a chemical imbalance leading to inflammation, a lasting result of certain infections, a response to specific hormones, or weakened muscles in the pelvic wall. When the pain is specific to the vestibule (the area around the opening of the vagina), it is known as vulvar vestibular syndrome, or VVS.

 

Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause (GSM)
Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause, or GSM, occurs when menopause lowers a woman’s level of estrogen and causes the vaginal lining to become thinner, dryer, and less elastic. In some cases, the lining of the urinary tract can also become thinner. As a result, women with GSM typically experience vaginal burning and itching, vaginal dryness during sex (sometimes making sex painful), bleeding after sex, frequent urination, and an increase in vaginal and urinary tract infections.

 

Next Steps

If you are experiencing any irregularities associated with your pelvic area or reproductive system, schedule an appointment with Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett. Because many different conditions can cause similar symptoms, trying to diagnose yourself can lead to a delay in the treatment you need or even a worsening of your condition. Your appointment will typically involve a discussion of your symptoms and medical history, as well as a physical exam and pelvic exam. Additional tests may be conducted as well, such as swab tests, blood tests, ultrasounds, or other exams depending on what your doctor suspects. Most of the conditions above can be treated with oral or topical medications, though other treatments and potentially surgeries may be necessary depending on the severity and cause of the condition.

 

Female Issues FAQs

How do I know if something is “normal” or if I have a female issue?
The two best ways to take care of your reproductive health are to know your body and pay attention if something is out of the ordinary, and to keep up with your regular exams. An annual wellness exam is recommended for all women, typically starting around age 16 or 18, although these visits do not include Pap smears until age 21. These exams are an opportunity to ask any questions you may have and to allow your provider at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett to catch any concerning conditions in the earliest stages. In the meantime, if you feel something is not quite right, you should schedule an appointment with us.

Can reproductive problems affect other areas of my body as well?
Yes. Particularly for gynecological issues that are related to hormones (like PMS or many problems related to either menstruation or menopause), some symptoms can appear in your breasts as well. Some women also experience gastrointestinal problems like nausea or diarrhea, and event increased acne that is not normal for them as a result of their period.

 

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Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett
601 Professional Drive, Suite 330
Lawrenceville, Georgia 30046   
Phone: 678.380.1980   
Fax: 678.380.7348

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