Your body is a finely-tuned machine, a temple, a wonderland – except when it’s not. From time to time, everyone experiences less than ideal symptoms – from the slightly inconvenient to the very uncomfortable – that let you know something is amiss. Maybe it’s a strange burning down below or something that just feels off when you’re getting intimate.
Call your healthcare provider if you experience these complications
When new symptoms appear, you might find yourself wondering if you should wait things out or call your healthcare provider right away. Some reasons that you should, indeed, go ahead and call your provider include:
If you experience unusual bleeding
Everyone’s periods are different, and what’s normal for one person might not be normal for another. Some women have light periods, others heavy. And for some women, irregular periods or spotting between regular periods might be par for the course. But if bleeding becomes different than what you’re used to – like, say, bleeding profusely during your period (enough to change pads or tampons every hour) or spotting between periods when this just isn’t typical for you- then you’ll want to be in touch with your healthcare provider to figure out just why these changes are occurring.
If you experience a lot of pain during your period
Many women experience cramping during that time of the month. But if you experience pain during your period that is extremely painful or incapacitating, pick up that phone and be in touch. Major pain could be a sign of a bigger problem. And even if it’s not, you shouldn’t suffer, and your provider can work with you to try to find ways to mitigate your discomfort.
If you notice vaginal itching, burning, odor, or an unusual discharge
Vaginal discharge is common – and you likely know what sort of a discharge is normal for you during different stage of your cycle – but if you experience a discharge that’s a bit different than normal, especially if it’s accompanied by an unusual odor, then touch base with your healthcare provider. Same goes for if you’re experiencing any vaginal itching or burning. These symptoms could be signs of vaginitis, a sexually transmitted infection (STI), or a yeast infection.
If you experience discomfort when you urinate
If you experience pain or discomfort when you urinate, it could be a sign of a urinary tract infection (UTI) or a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Sometimes pain while peeing might also be accompanied by a strange odor or discharge, or by fever, chills, or pain in your back. If you’re experiencing any of these issues – you guessed it – get in touch with your provider.
If sex is painful
Sex should be pleasurable, but if you’re experiencing unwelcome pain, give your healthcare provider a ring. There are a number of reasons this discomfort could be happening, and talking through just what exactly is painful with your provider can help you get back in the saddle – comfortably – in no time.
If you experience pain, fullness, or discomfort in your abdominal or pelvic area
If you have discomfort in your abdomen or pelvis area, talk things through with your provider. There are a range of reasons you might be experiencing feelings of pain, fullness, or other discomfort – everything from pelvic inflammatory disease, to ectopic pregnancy, to fibroids, to cysts, to endometriosis, to infection. This really runs the gamut, and an expert opinion is needed to determine whether the pain is a symptom of something critically threatening, or benignly uncomfortable.
If you have trouble getting aroused or climaxing
If you notice that you’re having trouble when getting intimate, either getting aroused or orgasming, your healthcare provider can help you work through these problems. Whether there are some underlying physical issues at play or it just takes a few small refinements in the bedroom, you deserve to have a healthy sex life, and your healthcare provider can help you work through these concerns.
If your period suddenly stops
If you’ve been sexually active and your period suddenly stops, the most likely explanation is that you’re pregnant. If you’ve been actively TTC, this might be just what you’ve been hoping for! You know what to do – pee on a stick and call your healthcare provider. And if you haven’t haven’t been sexually active, then obviously there might be something else at play, so be in touch with your provider to figure out what’s going on.
If you’ve been TTC for a while
Just what is a while? If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for a year (or six months if you’re over 35) and have not yet had a positive result, it could be time to be in touch with your healthcare provider to see if there are any underlying issues that might be preventing you from getting pregnant or if you need some extra help along the way.
If you have questions or concerns about your current method of birth control
If you’re not presently TTC and aren’t feeling so hot about your current birth control – maybe you’ve been experiencing side effects or just don’t think you current option jives with your lifestyle (perhaps you’re forgetting to take that daily pill?) – then your provider can help you find another option that will work best for you.
If you notice any other major changes
You know what’s normal for your body. And you might have noticed that much of the above list involves changes that signal something is different. So as a general rule, any major change that signals something is out of sorts is definitely worth being in touch with your healthcare provider. What if it’s something that doesn’t seem quite so major but definitely seems slightly off? Give them a call anyway. Err on the side of caution, and let your provider give you some guidance on what is likely a-okay and what warrants an office visit to have things checked out further.
- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “Benign breast problems and conditions.” ACOG. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, June 2012. Retrieved September 26 2017. https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Benign-Breast-Problems-and-Conditions.
- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “FAQ136: Evaluating infertility.” ACOG. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, June 2012. Retrieved September 26 2017. https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Evaluating-Infertility.
- “Annual Exams.” Dartmouth-Hitchcock. Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Retrieved September 26 2017. http://www.dartmouth-hitchcock.org/gynecology/annual_exams.html.
- “Contraceptive Options.” Dartmouth-Hitchcock. Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Retrieved September 26 2017. http://www.dartmouth-hitchcock.org/gynecology/contraceptive_options.html.
- “Infections and Pelvic Pain.” Dartmouth-Hitchcock. Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Retrieved September 26 2017. http://www.dartmouth-hitchcock.org/gynecology/infections_pelvic_pain.html
- “Menstrual Problems.” Dartmouth-Hitchcock. Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Retrieved September 26 2017.
- “Period Problems.” Dartmouth-Hitchcock. Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Retrieved September 26 2017. http://www.dartmouth-hitchcock.org/gynecology/period_problems.html.
- “Sexual Health.” Dartmouth-Hitchcock. Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Retrieved September 26 2017. http://www.dartmouth-hitchcock.org/gynecology/sexual_health.html.