A woman often tends to neglect discomfort or even pain, hoping that it is temporary, unimportant and will just pass. That’s because she has to take care of her children and other family members, since “their health is more important”. But there are symptoms that you need to pay attention to if you want to continue to care for your loved ones. And especially doing so with inspiration and strength.
Remember: on a plane, you first have to put an air mask on yourself and then on a child? This principle also works in everyday life. In the new text from the dr.Silina School of Women Health we present symptoms that require an urgent visit to a specialist for non-pregnant adult women.
Symptoms: sudden pelvic pain that does not go away or comes back
Nagging or acute abdominal pain can occur for a variety of reasons, not related to gynecology. However, if appendicitis is excluded and the pain is not due to a problem with the stomach or gastrointestinal tract, it may indicate the following issues:
Pelvic inflammatory disease
Infectious inflammation of the upper genital tract, affecting the uterus, fallopian tubes and/or ovaries. It mainly spreads from the lower genital tract. According to a study by the Medical Institute of South Carolina, it mostly affects women aged 15 to 25. And in 85% of cases is the result of sexually transmitted bacteria: Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Chlamydia trachomatis, Mycoplasma genitalium mycoplasma and more. In particular:
- salpingo-oophoritis (adnexitis) – inflammation of the fallopian tubes (salpingitis) and ovaries (oophoritis). These conditions are usually occur together;
- endometritis – inflammation of the uterine cavity;
- cervicitis – inflammation of the cervix. Yes, I know that there is a lot of discussion about the treatment of mycoplasma and ureaplasma. But if there is a hormonal and local immunity imbalance, then the amount of conditionally pathogenic (“conditionally bad”) flora, which includes urea- and mycoplasma, increases. And that may cause inflammation of the uterus, endometrium and other pelvic organs.
Pathological growth of the uterine mucosa, resulting in endometrium thickening and the fertilized ovule cannot attach to it. Therefore, most women with endometriosis suffer from infertility. Successful treatment can only be provided by a specialist. The longer the pain lasts for a woman with endometriosis, the more likely she will need surgery. Endometriosis is a “tricky” disease when altered endometrial cells (the lining of the uterus) begin to occupy others.
Uterine fibroids (fibromyoma or leiomyoma)
Benign growth of the uterus that occurs due to the growth of muscle and connective tissue of the uterus. It has a hormonal origin. It prevents you from getting pregnant and reduces the quality of life, but is successfully treated without surgery. Furthermore, it is often asymptomatic, but can cause complications during pregnancy, including miscarriage, premature birth or cesarean section, as well as infertility.
But once again, I want to emphasize that not all types of fibroid cause problems with implantation and delivery.
Cyst and polycystic ovaries
A cyst is a benign tumor of small size, filled with fluid, that appears in the structure of the ovary. The cyst is formed from a follicle where an ovule had grown, but could not come out during ovulation and began to accumulate fluid. Sometimes cysts are of a different origin, but can still cause abdominal pain. Polycystic ovary syndrome sometimes causes lower abdominal pain. Polycystic ovary syndrome can cause infertility, reducing the quality of life, and even life-threatening symptoms. That’s because sometimes accompanied by depression, vitamin D deficiency, and increasing of “bad” cholesterol.
Ovarian apoplexy (rupture)
The above diseases, as well as abdominal injuries, prolonged stress and hormonal disorders can cause disruption of ovarian integrity. During this, there is a rupture of blood vessels and internal hemorrhage into the abdominal cavity. Needless to say, this condition requires immediate medical intervention and further treatment by a specialist including eliminating the causes of this state.
Ectopic (out of uterus) pregnancy
Without medical intervention, ectopic pregnancy means fatal consequences.
Dear ladies, if you have a stomach ache and bloody discharge that smears along with “delayed” menstruation, and you do not use a reliable contraception, visit a doctor immediately.
It just needs to be excluded. And only a professional can do this. I’ll remind you again! In my experience, most of the formations that cause pelvic and abdomen pain are benign!
All of these conditions require immediate treatment by a qualified gynecologist and other related specialists. If ectopic pregnancy, ovarian rupture or oncology can be fatal, inflammation causes infertility and the risk of complications, which also may become fatal.
The following symptoms often accompany the above diseases, but may indicate others, and also that the need to see a doctor becomes urgent.
Painful urination or burning when urinating
Urinary tract infections are one of the most common causes of inflammation for women. It affects the urethra, bladder, kidneys, ureters, and reproductive organs, since they are physiologically and anatomically related. The first symptoms are the sign that you should immediately seek professional help. Inflammation of the genitourinary system includes cystitis, pyelitis, pyelonephritis, urethritis etc. The majority is caused by Escherichia coli (75% -95%). According to statistics from the American Society for Clinical Research, women have a significantly higher incidence of urinary tract infections (UTIs) than men. It’s almost 40 times more often, but men have much more cases of complications.
Dear ladies, I know that it is easier to visit a pharmacist you know in a pharmacy near your home. You think it would “cure” your cystitis, but this method increases your chances of relapse.
In addition, painful urination may indicate sexually transmitted infections and pelvic inflammatory disease.
Especially if your periods are accompanied by pelvic pain, migraine, vomiting, vaginal bleeding or bloody secretions. This may indicate the diseases listed above, but also signals that you should visit the gynecologist ASAP.
And if during your periods’ delay you suddenly faint or have severe vaginal bleeding, it means that you should not just go to the doctor – call an ambulance. Ectopic pregnancy or ovarian rupture, which are outlined above, are possible.
Severe vagina irritation with or without secretions, an unpleasant odor of secretions
This can be a sign of vaginitis – an infectious or non-infectious inflammation of the vaginal mucosa, sometimes combined with inflammation of the vulva. Symptoms include vaginal secretions, irritation, itching, and erythema (severe reddening of the skin that causes the capillaries to dilate).
Vulvovaginitis – inflammation of both the vagina and vulva. These conditions can be the result of the microorganisms-caused infection, such as bacterias, fungi or viruses. Irritation from chemicals in creams, sprays or even clothing that comes in contact with the sensitive intimate area can also lead to vaginitis. In some cases, vaginitis is caused by the transmission of bacterias from a sexual partner, vaginal dryness and estrogen deficiency.
Vaginitis is often a symptom of a sexually transmitted diseases, such as trichomoniasis, chlamydia, gonorrhea or herpes. But the so-called “thrush” (candidal infection) also leads to inflammation of the external genitalia. But let me remind you, “treating” thrush with fluconazole harms your liver!
And only a gynecologist can make the correct diagnosis and prescribe the necessary treatment.
Any unusual symptoms after sex
Even if the sex was by mutual consent, but after it you experience unnatural symptoms, including those listed above, as well as bleeding or bloody secretions. And this is a reason to see a gynecologist immediately.
And if it was sexual assault without your consent, i.e. rape – you can not delay. It is the gynecologist who will help you minimize the threat to your health and prevent diseases that may develop as a result. For example, timely post-exposure prophylaxis (within 72 hours) will help to avoid HIV infection, but the count goes on hours, so don’t delay!
Painful menstruation is not normal and reduces a woman’s quality of life, so it’s also a reason to visit a doctor. And if it is accompanied by nausea or vomiting – consult your gynecologist is necessary! However, remember that any painful periods are not the norm, so it is better not to suffer, even if the pain is mild and does not last long.
I often hear from women: «I told the gynecologist that I have painful periods, and the answer was: “This is your fate as a woman” or “Your mother was in pain and now it’s your turn”».
The same thing is with any discomfort during sex in the intimate area – it a reason for consultation, whether they occur during sex or without it at all. Every woman has the right to feel herself comfortable, which is the key to a happy and productive life. And the gynecologist is your faithful assistant.
Girls, the Istanbul Convention has been ratified in Ukraine. Stop violence against women. Let’s start with ourselves. If you have abdominal pain, just don’t wait patiently, see your gynecologist!
The dr.Silina School of Women’s Health and its founder Natalia Silina are systematically advocating for disease prevention – that is why our main motto is: “Happy woman is healthy and well educated.” Now that you know the main symptoms that require a professional gynecological examination, here are tips on how to avoid most of them:
- Avoid sex without a condom, especially if you have multiple partners or you change them. Most pelvic diseases are associated with having more than one partner. Also, if you are not sure that your regular partner has sex only with you, always use a condom
- Avoid hypothermia and overheating, tight clothing (skinny pants, short skirts), synthetic underwear
- Do not eat a lot of spicy, salty, fatty foods and alcohol, drink one and a half to two liters of clean water a day
- Choose hygiene products that do not irritate the mucous membranes, and take care of proper genital hygiene, and the foam for every age of a Woman, developed by Natalia Silina, will come in handy
- Watch your cycle and listen to your body – this is the key to timely prevention of complications, which usually begin with minor health problems.
You can always learn more about your health and understand its needs in our courses, which are dedicated to all stages of Women’s life: A girl becomes a woman, All about you. What it’s like to be a Woman, All about you 35+.
I’m eager to file all of these courses in English, just send me a request to firstname.lastname@example.org
You can always find your doctor at the Lior Medical Center.
Issued by Dr. Silina School of Women’s Health, journalist Maria Zavialova
All materials published on the website “Dr. Silina School of Women’s Health” were reviewed by a gynecologist-endocrinologist, the founder of the educational project, candidate of medical sciences, Natalya Silina.