What symptoms should I report to my doctor?
The most common gynecologic symptoms are pain and excessive or irregular menstrual bleeding. Specifically documenting your symptoms prior to your appointment will help your doctor diagnose your condition.
Pain. Describing your pain on a simple 0-10 point scale can help your doctor identify the condition. Additionally, descriptions of pain such as the following can indicate different conditions:
- pelvic discomfort or pressure
- abdominal tenderness or cramps
- backache or pain
- painful urination or bowel movements
- painful intercourse
Bleeding. Since monthly menstrual bleeding differs for each woman, it is important to let your doctor know what is normal for you including how long it lasts and how heavy it is. Bleeding patterns can vary with childbirth, age and medication and may be indicative of specific conditions. These patterns can include:
- painful, excessively heavy or abnormal bleeding
- bleeding lasting longer than 7 days
- periods that are more frequent than every 21 days or are more than 35 days apart
- spotting or bleeding between periods or after menopause
- passing blood clots
- bleeding after intercourse
- vaginal bleeding or discharge.
Other Symptoms. Other gynecologic symptoms can occur alone or accompany pain and bleeding. Your doctor also needs to know about these to accurately diagnose your condition which may include the symptoms listed above as well as the possibility of cancer:
- improper or difficulty with urination or bowel movements
- feeling of pressure on your bladder or rectum
- slipping or dropping of your vagina or uterus
- feeling heaviness or pressure in your pelvis or constant abdominal pressure
- swelling or bloating
- urinary urgency or recurrent urinary tract infections
- pain while standing or walking
Conditions of the Woman’s Reproductive System
A wide variety of conditions can affect a woman’s reproductive system. Most affect the pelvic region and the uterus and include:
- uterine fibroids – are non- cancerous growths in the wall of the uterus
- endometriosis – non-cancerous growths of the uterine lining
- prolapse – a falling of the uterus or vagina resulting from muscles weakened from age or child birth
- uterine, cervical or ovarian cancer
- excessive menstrual bleeding
Conditions involving the pelvic region can be debilitating and are sometimes under diagnosed or overlooked. Some of these include:
- adenomyosis – thickening of the normal uterine tissue lining that migrates into the uterine muscles
- pelvic congestion – is the presence of varicose veins in the lower abdomen
- congenital and acquired abnormalities
Any of these conditions can cause chronic pain, heavy bleeding and other disabling symptoms. Other organs can be affected as well and include the vagina, ovaries and fallopian tubes.
When to Talk to Your Doctor
If something doesn’t seem right, talk to and see your doctor. It is the best way to get the treatment you need and to rule out the possibility for serious conditions such as cancer. You can learn more about each of the conditions discussed here on this site. However, this information is not a substitute for your doctor’s advice.