If you notice something out of the ordinary “down there” or something just doesn’t feel right, you may wonder if it’s time to see a gynecologist. There is no need to feel awkward or embarrassed about asking questions while visiting your OB/GYN.
“No questions are off limits during visits with our patients,” said Amy Farrell, MD, OB/GYN with Norton Women’s Care – Bardstown. “We encourage them to be fully honest with us. It means we can better stay on top of their health or catch any potential issues early.”
5 signs you need to see a gynecologist
You should see a gynecologist if you are experiencing irregular bleeding or spotting in between periods. Sometimes this is a side effect of birth control, but it also can signal other gynecological issues, such as an infection, fibroids, cysts or, in rare cases, cancer. If you are pregnant, your OB/GYN will want to track your symptoms and ensure it isn’t a sign of a complication or miscarriage. If you have missed or irregular periods, your provider can check for health conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or confirm a pregnancy. It is important to seek care early if you become pregnant.
If your cramps are very painful, you experience extreme bloating, or your premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms include intense mood swings, check in with the OB/GYN. Your provider can suggest ways to relieve your symptoms or check for any underlying pelvic health conditions, such as fibroids or endometriosis.
Vaginal discharge is normal, but if you notice a sudden change in the consistency or amount of discharge, and especially if you experience a foul or fishy odor, it’s time to see your gynecologist. You could have a bacterial infection, yeast infection or a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
If you experience pain during or after sex, your OB/GYN needs to know. Symptoms of painful intercourse could include vaginal dryness and swelling, itching or burning. Pain may be felt at the opening of the vagina or a deeper pain during penetration.
If you don’t like your current form of birth control or you want to explore your options for methods of contraception, your provider can help you find the best form of birth control for you and help minimize any potential side effects.