Stuck in the midst of numerous social taboos we often ignore some vital symptoms that our bodies may show. Social and religious constraints often hinder us from lucidly explaining our problems to the gynecologist. Do you have abdominal pain? Have you missed your period recently? Or do you think you smell bad? These are few common issues we tend to dodge during a gynecological checkup. To help you get rid of this mental barrier, The Week’ s Swasti Gautam spoke to Dr Rangina Devi Laikangbam, OBGY at Alka Hospital who briefed us about the five symptoms that should not be hidden from your gynecologist.
Abdominal swelling and pain
“Most females take abdominal swelling very lightly. They believe that the swelling will eventually subside,” says Dr Rangina. “It is important to immediately consult your gynecologist if you notice an abnormal swelling in your abdominal area,” she emphasises. According to her, the inflammation may be due to some ovarian cyst which is a very common phenomenon today. “Some cysts such as the dermoid cyst is present in your body since birth. They grow slowly and can be found in your ovaries,” she explains. “If it is removed on time it causes almost no harm to your body,” she adds. Inflamed glands can also cause abdominal swelling. Hence, it is important to let your Gynaecologist know about such irregular swelling for the timely treatment of your body.
Abnormal vaginal discharge and odor
“Your vagina does discharge some liquid before and after your period without any foul smell which is completely normal,” says Dr Rangina. “However, if there is any excessive discharge, you should immediately notify your gynecologist,” she adds. According to her, one of the reasons for excessive discharge or odor in your vagina may be due to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). This is caused due to infection in the upper part of the female reproductive organs such as uterus, fallopian tubes, and the ovaries. Irregular vaginal discharge may also be due to cervical pathogen infection, fungal infection, or vulvovaginitis. At times even your glands can give you trouble. Females have Bartholin gland that releases small amount of liquid to provide moisture to their genital area. The Batholin duct may get blocked causing swelling and formation of Bartholin cyst. These are very common problems and can be treated and completely cured.
Pain during menstruation
The first thing to understand about this is that there may be two kinds pain during menstruation: Primary Dysmenorrhea and Secondary Dysmenorrhea. Primary Dysmenorrhea is the pain or cramps in your lower abdomen just before menstruation. This is extremely common among young women and does not indicate the presence of any kind of pelvic disease. Secondary Dysmenorrhea, however, is the menstrual pain in women’s reproductive organs such as endometriosis, adenomyosis, and urine fibroids. This pain usually lasts longer than the period cramps. It is a pain that usually affects females above the age of forty. “Secondary Dysmenorrhea may be due to a cyst, a tumor, or an infection. It is important to let your gynecologist know about a pain such as this because it may get severe with time,” says Dr Rangina.
Abnormal Uterine Bleeding (AUB) or Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding (DUB) is bleeding from the uterus that is longer than usual or that occurs at an irregular time. “If you are facing the problem of abnormal bleeding then you probably have AUB or DUB,” says Dr Rangina. This may occur due to various reasons such as hyper and hypo thyroid, tumor, cyst and hormonal disorder. Excessive bleeding of your urinary tract may also be a symptom for cancer of ovaries, uterus, cervix or vagina. If not treated in time, this disorder may escalate causing anaemia. In case of a cyst, you do not need to worry about an open surgery. There are numerous advanced technologies available now in Nepal that can cure a cyst or a tumor through laparoscopic surgery.
One of the major reasons for missing your period can be due to unsafe sexual intercourse. “Missing your period means you could be pregnant,” says Dr Randina. “Always let your gynecologist know if you are sexually active,” she advises. Ectopic pregnancy is different than normal pregnancy and could be fatal if not treated on time. It occurs when the egg attaches itself to a place other than the uterus. Ectopic pregnancy usually occurs in the fallopian tube. As the fallopian tube is not designed to nourish a growing embryo, this pregnancy must be treated on time. According to Dr Rangina, in the later stages of this kind of pregnancy, patients often go into a state of shock. Some may even lose their lives. “The best way to deal with your problems is by letting your doctor know everything that your body is going through,” she concludes.