16 Nov

What causes vaginal discharge? And why does it smell bad?

A clear mucous vaginal discharge isn’t only normal, but also necessary for vaginal lubrication. But an offensive odor is not normal and may indicate an infection such as bacterial vaginosis, or even a forgotten tampon. Sometimes the vaginal pH is “off,” a common occurrence after intercourse or menstruation.

When should I be concerned about my irregular periods?

Some irregularity is generally no cause for concern. This is as long as you get a period at least every three months that’s not too heavy, and you otherwise feel well. If you’re using hormonal contraception such as birth control pills or an IUD, it’s normal to not get a regular (or any) period. If you’re trying to conceive and don’t get regular periods, see your gynecologist sooner rather than later.

I’m scheduled for a Pap test. Is there any harm delaying it for a few months?

A Pap test is a screen for cervical cancer. Unlike other cancers, abnormal changes in the cervical cells are often present for years prior to an actual invasive cancer. In other words, for a woman at low risk and no history of abnormal Pap tests, a few months’ delay shouldn’t make a difference.

How often do I need to see my OB-GYN?

According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, there’s a benefit to an annual visit even if you do not have a specific problem. Incontinence, vaginal dryness, sexual problems, or new growths on the vulva or cervix are among the very long list of conditions and issues I check for at an annual visit.So yes, you do still need to see your gynecologist even if it’s not a “Pap test year.”

I’m in my 40s and feel fatigued and have low energy levels. Is this a sign of menopause?

Probably not. Certainly many women in their early 40s start to experience the perimenopausal roller coaster. But if fatigue is your only symptom, other issues, such as an underactive thyroid or anemia are more likely. A visit to your doctor is definitely in order.

Is shaving or waxing better for the bikini area? I’ve also had friends that have done laser hair removal, but that seems a little too extreme.

Waxing, shaving, electrolysis, clipping, chemical depilatories, and laser removal are all options for bikini hair removal. Keep in mind that, with the exception of clipping, red bumps can result no matter what method you choose, particularly in African-American women. Professional waxing and laser often result in the least amount of irritation, allergy, or complications.My only word of warning is this: Before choosing a method of permanent hair removal, such as laser, keep in mind that next year an ungroomed mons may be in style again!

I’m a new mom and my periods have come back super heavy. Should I be worried?

One isolated period that’s heavier than usual is generally not a cause for concern. But if your periods are consistently heavier than they have ever been before, it’s worth getting checked out. The explanation may be as simple as a change in contraception method, but it’s always good to make sure there’s nothing more serious going on.

How will I know if I have a vaginal infection?

Persistent itching, burning, or odor may indicate a yeast or bacterial imbalance. Sometimes a colored discharge (yellow-green or blood tinged) is the only symptom. While most women assume that yeast is the most common cause for abnormal discharge, itching, or odor, bacterial vaginosis is actually the most common culprit.

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