What is Gynecology?
Gynecology is a form of healthcare that centers around the female reproductive system. At Grace Obstetrics & Gynecology, our focus is on the individual. Our offices in Fort Worth, Cleburne, Granbury, and Willow Park/Aledo offer comprehensive care to address the ever-changing needs a woman has throughout the stages of her life.
What Conditions Are Handled by a Gynecologist?
Most concerns related to the female reproductive system can be diagnosed and treated by your gynecologist. These conditions include:
- Abnormal pap smear
- Annual breast and pelvic evaluation
- Birth control and family planning
- Breast cancer screening
- Urinary incontinence
- Perimenopause and Menopause
- Heavy or painful periods
- Sexual dysfunction
- Bone density assessment
- Pelvic pain
Gynecological care is focused on reproductive health. Routine examinations monitor the function of reproductive organs through recommended screenings. These include breast and pelvic exams, cervical cytology (Pap smear), mammography, STD testing, and other necessary screenings based on age and individual need.
When Do I See My Gynecologist?
Well-woman visits can begin in adolescence and should definitely become the norm when a woman is sexually active. These annual exams provide valuable information to both your healthcare provider and to you as your body continually changes with age. The general recommendation is that a woman obtains an annual exam from her gynecologist. However, do not wait for this visit if you experience symptoms such as;
- Abnormal uterine bleeding.
- Abnormal vaginal discharge (discolored or odorous).
- Unusual or severe pain with your period.
- Unusual or severe pelvic, vaginal, or abdominal pain.
- Breast symptoms such as thickening, dimpling, or puckering of the skin.
- Sores, lumps, or itching on the external vulva or at the vaginal opening.
What Is PMS?
PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, is a very real condition that can severely affect a woman’s quality of life. Both physical and emotional symptoms may begin approximately 5 days before menstruation. Usually, these symptoms diminish within 4 days of a period starting. However, when present, they may interfere with normal activities.
Symptoms of PMS Include:
- Crying spells
- Breast tenderness
- Skin problems
If you experience these or other symptoms just before your period, talk with your healthcare provider. Help may come in the form of lifestyle changes or, in severe cases, medication.
Should I Worry About Vaginal Itching?
Itching “down there” can indicate any number of things. Sometimes, the external genitalia or vaginal opening may itch because clothing is too tight, or because you didn’t change out of your sweaty gym clothes quickly enough. However, itching may also be a sign of infection. If itching persists, or if it occurs simultaneous to abnormal vaginal discharge, contact us for a gynecological exam. Proper diagnosis means prompt and successful treatment.
What Is Normal Vaginal Discharge?
Every woman can expect to experience varying degrees of vaginal discharge as she goes through her monthly cycle. At the beginning of the cycle, discharge is usually clear and somewhat sticky (think egg whites). After ovulation and to the end of your cycle, discharge is likely to be milky. Women on birth control may notice this consistency throughout the entire cycle.
What If My Discharge Is Lumpy?
Small lumps, like cottage cheese consistency, indicates the presence of yeast. Yeast infections may or may not cause itching or burning, as well. Unless you have had a yeast infection in the past and know that your discharge indicates infection, refrain from self-treating. See your gynecologist for proper diagnosis and treatment.