It’s Time To Call the Gynecologist

If you’re having pelvic pains and skipped periods, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Your body could be trying to tell you something

Here are some potentially serious signs that call for a visit to your doctor, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):

Problem periods/missed periods. It’s important to know what’s normal for you. Stephen Weiss, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, says, “If you have had heavy periods [Dysmenorrhea] for 15 years, you don’t have to call the doctor about it now,” But in the case your bleeding has lasted longer than a week, or you’re soaking through a tampon or sanitary pad every hour for two to three hours, your gynecologist needs to know. A thyroid problem, infection or uterine fibroids, could be to blame. “If you feel weak or dizzy during menstruation, you should call your doctor, no question about it,” says Weiss. Irregular or infrequent periods can be a symptom of an underlying condition such as polycystic ovary syndrome, a hormone imbalance problem. Also always be wary of a missed period.

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“If you have had heavy periods for 15 years, you don’t have to call the doctor about it now”

Abdominal discomfort and Pelvic pain. It’s important to tell your gynecologist what kind of pain you’re having. Does it come on suddenly or is it constant? This will help the doctor make a proper diagnosis. Sharp pelvic pain may be a warning sign that you have an infection, a dangerous ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy growing outside the uterus), or perhaps a ruptured ovarian cyst, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). More constant pain or feelings of fullness in the abdomen are suggestive of uterine fibroids, which are non-cancerous tumors.

Another source of regular pelvic pain is endometriosis, a common condition in which the lining of the uterus grows outside the organ. The endometrial tissue bleeds during menstruation and can cause terrible pelvic pain “Endometriosis starts with pain during the menstrual cycle and can progress to become an ‘all the time’ pain as endometrial cells grow outside the uterus,” says

Sharp pelvic pain may be a warning sign that you have an infection.

Weiss. Some options are birth control pills, such as Seasonale, which limits menstrual periods to four times a year or the drug Lupron (leuprolide), which lowers estrogen levels and can slow the growth of endometriosis. How bad the pain is and whether you plan on getting pregnant determines your treatment. The condition can also lead to trouble having a baby.

Bleeding between periods/postmenopausal bleeding. Usually spotting between periods shouldn’t set off any alarm bells but when the bleeding lasts for days or is heavy and painful, it’s time to call your gynecologist. This could be a sign of a miscarriage, an injury to the vagina, or possibly cancer of the cervix or uterus, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Weiss suggests, “If you’re having mid-cycle bleeding month after month, certainly call the doctor”. On the other hand, its also important to check in with your doctor if you have stopped having periods due to menopause, but have begun bleeding again. This could be a sign of uterine cancer.

Overall, experts suggest females who are over 21 and/or who are sexually active should see their gynecologist yearly for routine checkups and screenings. The sooner a problem is found, the sooner it can be treated.

Additionally, always pay attention to what your body is telling you. If you are experiencing any warning signs, visit your gynecologist so they can evaluate the problem and provide treatment.

Do you or a loved one suffer from Uterine Fibroids or Heavy Menstrual Bleeding? See if you qualify for Segal’s clinical research study today!

Source: EverydayHealth, AAFP OBGYN

PhotoCred: MarieClaire & Harvard

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