In the U.S., many women rely on their gynecologists — not only to provide prenatal care and yearly exams but also to address signs of underlying health issues. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists predicts there will be a 6% increase in demand for women’s healthcare in the United States over the next decade, thanks in large part to the increase in the nation’s female population. In other words, OBGYNs will continue to play a vital role in the medical field.
Although making an appointment with your gynecologist may not be your favorite activity, regular gynecological care is essential. Aside from your yearly appointment, you should also contact your obstetrician gynecologist if any of the following examples pertain to your personal experience.
You Should Call Your OBGYN If You…
- Notice bleeding between periods: Occasional spotting probably isn’t something to panic over. However, if you regularly bleed between periods — particularly if the bleeding is heavy, lasts for days, or is accompanied by pain — you’ll want to call your gynecologist. Post-menopausal women who experience bleeding should also err on the side of caution and contact their OBGYN. Depending on the circumstances, spotting like this can be an indicator of vaginal injury or a miscarriage, as well as cervical or uterine cancer. You should also contact your women’s health professional if you observe any other changes to your menstrual cycle, like missed periods or abnormally heavy flow.
- Experience abdominal or pelvic pain: Whether your periods are extremely painful or you’re feeling a sudden and sharp pain in the pelvis, you’ll want to talk to your OBGYN right away. Many women feel like they simply have to suffer through it, but ignoring this issue can have major consequences. Pain can be a sign of infection, ruptured ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, ectopic pregnancy, endometriosis, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and more. Your doctor will likely ask you to characterize your pain, which can lead them to a diagnosis and subsequent treatment.
- Have abnormal odor or discharge: This might not be your favorite subject to talk about, but it’s important to talk to your gynecologist if you’ve noticed any kind of abnormal vaginal odor or discharge. Under normal circumstances, discharge helps to move away bacteria and dead skin cells away from the reproductive system. But a change in consistency, color, or smell could be caused by anything from medications to STDs and cancer. You should also make an appointment if you experience itching or burning sensations. The sooner you talk to your gynecologist, the better you’ll feel.
Your gynecologist will act as your ally and as your advocate, ensuring you receive the healthcare you need throughout your life. Whether you’ve experienced any of the aforementioned symptoms or you’ve been putting off your annual appointment, you can take charge of your needs by contacting our offices today.