7 Signs It May Be Time for a Gynecology Appointment
Nearly two-thirds of surveyed women report feeling some level of anxiety surrounding their gynecology visits. Can you relate? While going to a general practitioner tends not to inspire fear, the gynecologist is a different story.
Your local gynecologist wants to make sure that you’re safe and healthy, so it’s important to never skip a gynecology appointment. But how do you know when it’s time to schedule one?
Let’s talk about it. Read on for a few top signs that you’re due for an appointment with your gynecologist.
1. It’s Been a While Since Your Last Appointment
The first sign that it’s time to visit a gynecologist is simply that it’s been a while since your last visit (or that you’ve never visited a gynecologist in the past at all).
It’s helpful to visit a gynecologist about once per year for a general exam. If you have a reproductive health issue, you may have to make more frequent visits.
If you have a new sexual partner, it’s also a good idea to visit your gynecologist (or at the very least, get an STD screening just to be safe).
Remember that you won’t need a pap every time you go to the gynecologist in most cases, so don’t let that scare you away. Visiting them annually will keep you safe and healthy.
2. You’re Experiencing Menstrual Changes
Menstrual cycles are rarely completely consistent forever. People who menstruate of all ages can experience random changes in their cycles. If something is unusual one month but then goes back to normal the next month, it isn’t a cause for concern.
However, if the changes continue, it may be time for a gynecology appointment.
It’s possible that there’s no problem at all. Your body may just be changing and you’re experiencing the “new normal.” That said, there are also some conditions that can cause changes in your menstrual cycle.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Common changes you may experience include:
- Longer periods
- Much shorter periods
- No period at all
- A period that seems to be constant spotting
- An unusually heavy flow
Make sure you note exactly what changed with as much detail as possible so you’re ready to explain the situation to your doctor.
3. You Have Unusual Discharge
It’s important to note that vaginal discharge is completely normal. It also changes throughout your cycle. In most cases, discharge is not a cause for concern.
Discharge can be thin and watery, thick and sticky, or anywhere in between, and still be healthy. It may change due to a new exercise routine, where you are in your cycle, and a variety of other reasons that aren’t anything to worry about.
There are a few signs that your discharge is a problem, however. If it has an unusual color or smell, it’s a sign that there’s something wrong. If it persists, it’s time to make an appointment with your gynecologist.
4. You’re Experiencing Extreme Pain During Your Period
A bit of discomfort during your period is, unfortunately, normal. Cramping and bloating come with the territory. But what if you’re experiencing an unusual amount of pain?
Periods should not be unbearably painful. If your period pain is getting in the way of your life, you should contact a doctor to see if there’s an underlying cause.
Even if there isn’t a serious cause for your period pain, you may be able to start taking medication (like birth control) that can make your periods more tolerable.
5. You’re Experiencing Pain During Sex
Pain during sex is not normal. If you’re suddenly experiencing pain during sex, and it’s consistent and not just a one-off, it’s time to talk to a doctor.
It could be the result of an STD, cysts, tearing, and more. Regardless, it’s best to be checked out by a professional before you cause more damage.
6. You’re Responding Poorly to Your Birth Control
Many people take birth control to prevent pregnancy and make their periods more manageable. Most people tolerate birth control well, but not every form of birth control is right for every patient.
If you find that you’re not responding well to your birth control, it’s time to visit your gynecologist for help. They can help you find a birth control method that works best for you.
Common signs that your birth control may not be right for you include (but are not limited to):
- Worsening mood swings
- Hair loss
- Constant spotting
- Long periods
Not all forms of birth control are hormonal and not all forms of hormonal birth control will cause problematic side effects for everyone. Finding a good match is essential.
7. You’re Experiencing Itching or Burning
If you’re experiencing itching and burning in your vaginal area, it’s time to make an appointment to visit your gynecologist. These are almost always signs of a problem.
Even if the itching and burning sensations aren’t accompanied by unusual discharge or any other worrisome changes, they could indicate that something is wrong. These are common symptoms of several STDs as well as yeast infections.
Is It Time for Your Next Gynecology Appointment?
With all of these things in mind, is it time to schedule a gynecology appointment? Remember, if it’s been over a year since your last appointment, the answer is a resounding “Yes!”
When it comes to your reproductive health, it’s always better to be safe rather than sorry. Schedule your next gynecology appointment today.
At Women’s Health of Augusta, we aim to provide a comfortable environment for all of our patients seeking reproductive healthcare. Contact us to learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment today.