For a healthy body, a healthy reproductive system is also an important contributing factor. Most of the time, women either ignore the early signs and symptoms of certain diseases or are not aware of what to term normal and what not to.
Women should be highly aware of their bodies and their reproductive systems because, in most cases of certain diseases, some signs can be seen early on, ignoring these can make you pay heavily for it later on while getting tested on time can save your life.
If you are experiencing some things that do not look normal, you should immediately get yourself checked; however, you should not wait for something to go wrong before getting yourself checked. Regular pelvic tests are mandatory for all women above 26 years old and are se’xually active. Such tests can reveal se’xually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, etc. in their early stages. Also, women that have multiple se’xual partners should get themselves checked.
1. The health of the va’gina
The vag’ina is a major part of the fem’ale reproductive system; it is self-cleaning, meaning it can clean itself with the help of vag’inal fluids that trap any pathogens and get rid of them. The va’ginal fluids help maintain the delicate vag’inal microbiome and maintain its PH levels to protect against se’xually transmitted diseases.
Vag’inal fluids are composed of the mucous from the walls of the vag’ina, the cervix, and also from the good bacteria lactobacilli. The hormones mainly control the environment of the vag’ina; therefore, the viscosity and the amount of vag’inal discharge can change in a menstrual cycle.
Normal discharge looks whitish with a mild odor. The amount and its consistency can become thicker and heavier during ovulation. Abnormal vag’inal discharge is of a strange color like green, gray, yellow, and a very strong fishy odor may also accompany it.
Women that are experiencing abnormal vag’inal discharge should get themselves checked as it might point towards a major problem. Apart from abnormal discharge, other symptoms like pain and burning in the genitals can also be due to something not functioning right in the vag’ina. The infection of the vag’ina is known as vag’initis. It is very common and is mostly caused due to bacterial vag’inosis and yeast inf’ections. Getting yourself checked if you are experiencing the following symptoms is very important:
abnormal and heavy vag’inal discharge
a very strong fishy odor from the discharge
itching or pain in the vag’inal area
2. Issues with menstruation
A normal menstrual cycle for most women is supposed to be 28 days; however, that is not the case as it can be anywhere between 21 to 45 days. Someone who has just started to have periods and entering menopause may experience irregular periods. Getting screened for the following is highly imperative:
if you miss a period and are sexually active. It might mean that you are pregnant.
if your periods are still not following a normal pattern even after four years of getting periods or if you have normal periods for some months, they stop and become irregular
If your menstrual cycle falls below 21 days and exceeds 45 days or if after having the first period, you miss three cycles.
absence of period or if the periods are extremely heavy for more than seven days
The cause of experiencing these symptoms doesn’t need to be always serious; most commonly, it is due to an imbalance in the level of the hormones or due to a problem with the structure of the reproductive organs.
To be in tune with your menstrual cycle, there are several tracking apps you can use. Such apps can help you track periods and help you see the pattern of irregularities in the cycle. You need to consult a doctor in the case of:
very heavy periods that require you to change your pad every hour for a stretch of some hours
periods that last longer than 7 days
if you are 16 with the first signs of puberty but with no periods
you have a normal cycle, and then you miss them for as long as 3 or 6 months
Dysmenorrhea or pa’inful periods is a great cause of concern for many women. Experiencing some sort of pa’in during the first and the second days of your cycle is normal, but then if the pa’in is severe and coming in the way of your normal daily life, you should consult a doctor as soon as possible.
Breakthrough bleeding is when you are spotting or are experiencing bleeding in between a normal menstrual cycle. Getting yourself checked is the only way to rule out any serious problems, such as abnormal growths inside the uterus.
Toxic shock syndrome
It is a very serious condition which is caused by a bacterial inf’ection. In most cases, it is linked to the use of tampons, but it can also be caused by the use of a diaphragm or a contraceptive sponge. Its symptoms include fever, vomiting, along with diarrhea. Anyone who is experiencing these symptoms should get themselves checked right away. The symptoms might also be due to some other less serious issues, but it is always important to get checked.
3. Se’xually Transmitted Di’seases
Se’xually transmitted diseases are those diseases or inf’ections transmitted from one person to the other through oral, anal, and vag’inal sex with an infected person. For se’xua’lly active people, staying away from se’x is the best option to prevent STDs, but since that might not be feasible for some in that case use of certain methods of protection like a condom and dental dams is very helpful.
Most se’xua’lly transmitted diseases do not come with any symptoms like in the case of trichomoniasis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, etc. therefore, in that case, getting regularly tested is the only option to know if you are suffering from them or not. Some common symptoms of se’xu’ally transmitted diseases are:
the ache in the pelvic area lower abdominal pa’in during se’x ab’normal vag’inal discharge that is either yellow, gray, green with a fishy smell breakthrough bleeding or bleeding between periods a burning sensation while peeing pa’inful bowel movements loss of appetite, vomiting, and nausea fatigue along with fever rashes, sores or blisters on the skin inflammation or itching
The only way to really know if these symptoms are indeed a cause of concern is through screening. Sometimes these symptoms might point towards another disorder and not a se”xua’lly transmitted disease. Like for instance, breakthrough bleeding can also be due to a hormonal imbalance.
Every year 1 in 4 adolescents gets diagnosed with a se’xual’ly transmitted disease. At this rate, by the age of 25, half of all young people will have contracted an inf’ection or two. Getting evaluated by a doctor, therefore, is very important.