September 13, 2018

Normal or Not?

Let’s be frank: Some women’s health problems are a little embarrassing to discuss. Blair Tolar, MD, an OB/GYN at Baptist Health Paducah, helps us understand what certain symptoms mean, when you should ask your doctor and what you can do.

Ladies, we’re shedding some light on what’s common and what’s cause for concern:

Is This Normal or Not?

Urinary Problems

A frequent urge to go, paired with pain while urinating, is most likely a urinary tract infection (UTI). While it will often pass on its own, sometimes a UTI is so uncomfortable you’ll want to see your doctor for treatment. “We can prescribe an antibiotic based on your health condition and the type of bacteria found that will make you feel better faster,” Dr. Tolar said. If your urinary problems include leaking or other symptoms, like pain during intercourse or backaches, Dr. Tolar recommends visiting a doctor right away. “There could be other possible gynecologic conditions that would require a visit to the doctor, such as pelvic organ prolapse.”

Itching or burning

Before you go running to the pharmacy for Monistat, make sure it’s actually a yeast infection you’re treating. “For most women, once you’ve had one, you can spot one,” Dr. Tolar said. “But if you’re unsure, you’ll want to see a doctor to rule out other possibilities, like bacterial vaginosis and sexually transmitted diseases.”

Unusual periods

Normal vaginal bleeding occurs as a result of a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle. Clots, thicker flows, and darker colors are all often perfectly normal, but there are a number of issues that could cause changes in the thickness and texture of your flow. “A miscarriage, fibroids or hormonal shifts could all contribute to changes,” Dr. Tolar said. “And heavy or painful menstruation could be a sign of endometriosis.” If your period is unusually heavy or lasts eight to 10 days, talk to your doctor. “Luckily, treatment for endometriosis with minimally invasive surgery is a great option these days,” Dr. Tolar said.

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