8 Really Embarrassing Health Symptoms No Woman Should Ever Ignore

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No one enjoys going to the doctor: it’s yet another chore that takes up time on the to do list and strips hard-earned funds from your purse. But sometimes, when certain embarrassing symptoms present, you have to put aside your anxiety and get checked out. From pain during s3x to abnormal bleeding, there are a host of signs that things aren’t quite right ‘down there.

At the same time, many of us worry about whether we’re ‘normal’ – in terms of appearance and how our va gina behaves.

Here are some embarrassing health symptoms no woman should ever ignore.

Painful s3x: The va gina can become painful during s3x, a condition known as superficial dyspareunia, which usually occurs when the va gina is too dry or inflamed because of an infection. Foreplay and lubrication helps.  As opposed to superficial dyspareunia which is felt in the entrance or wall of the va gina – deep dyspareunia is pain in the lower abdomen or pelvis during s3x. This can happen due to several conditions including endometriosis (a common condition in which small pieces of the womb lining are found outside the womb) and fibroids (non-cancerous tumours that grow in or around the womb).  Pain during s3x can be caused by inflammation, infection or because of a condition that causes muscles around the va gina to spasm . If you are concerned you have an infection or suffer from deep dyspareunia, see your doctor. S3x can also be painful because of a condition called vaginismus, this is due to the muscles around the va gina going into spasm on attempted penetration.

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Bleeding: Taking the combined contraceptive pill irregularly can cause bleeding or spotting in between your periods.  If this bleeding persists after taking the pill regularly then a visit to your doctor is warranted. As long as there no concerns regarding infections and scans, if indicated are normal, this tends to settle over time. Bleeding after intercourse also needs a review as it could be due to a polyp, this is a benign growth and easily removed. Other causes include changes on the cervix and cervical or rarely, va ginal cancer.  Indeed, a common symptom of cervical cancer is bleeding after s3x. With these, in addition to bleeding after intercourse, you may get copious amounts of discharge. However a one off mild bleed after a particularly vigorous episode of intercourse is probably no cause for concern.

Discharge: From puberty to menopause, having some va ginal discharge is normal. The quantity can vary from woman to woman and throughout the monthly cycle, the first few days of the cycle is your period, following this, the discharge can be white, creamy or yellow, thick and sticky. Ovulation then occurs and the discharge changes to slippery, clearer, stretchy and wet.  Following this, if you don’t become pregnant, it then changes to thick and sticky, becoming hostile to sperm. Discharge becomes abnormal if there are other symptoms with it or the colour and amount changes, for example, becoming chalky white with candida (thrush) or frothy yellow or green with trichomonaisis, a se xually transmitted infection.  It is therefore important to be se xually responsible.  Hormonal contraceptions and having a condition where the inner lining of the cervix protrudes outward (called, ectropion) can also change the discharge so it becomes copious. A condition you should worry about is cancer and if affecting the va gina, cervix or lining of the womb, can also cause an increase and change in the type of discharge such that it becomes thinner and blood stained.  Should this happen, see your doctor who will offer a va ginal examination to ensure if its healthy and make referral if required. Just like the armpits, the skin around the labia has a lot of sweat glands.  The va gina also produces fluid to keep it healthy and maintain balance at an acidic level.

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