6 vagina problems every woman should know about
6 Vagina Problems Every Woman Should Know About
You already know about conditions-slash-annoyances like yeast infections and UTIs, but plenty of other issues may crop up down under—from mysterious bumps and lumps (whatisthat?!) to fishy (ick) discharge and unexplained pain. Got weird symptoms? Check this list to see if you need to call your doc.
Gyno Problem #1: Vulvodynia
Chronic, long-lasting pain in the vulva (the area surrounding the vagina) that is not caused by an infection or other medical condition is called vulvodynia. No one's 100% sure what causes it, but it may be related to hormones, inflammation, or nerve problems, such as an injury or an increase in the density of nerves in the vulva. You might feel a stabbing pain that comes and goes, or you could have burning, itching, or general discomfort.
Vulvodynia pain might strike randomly, but exercising, having sex, or wearing tight-fitting underwear or clothing could also trigger it. Some women have generalized vulvodynia (GV), which is pain that occurs pretty much anywhere in the vulvar area; others have vulvar vestibulitis syndrome (VVS), which means the pain is limited to the vestibular opening (the area right around the entrance to your vagina).
What to do:See your doctor. The only way to diagnose vulvodynia is by ruling out other possible causes of pain (like infection). There's no foolproof cure, but avoiding anything that seems to trigger discomfort—like wearing tight clothing or sitting for too long—might help. Cool gel packs can also ease the ache, as can a doctor-administered local anesthetic. Some women find relief with physical therapy or biofeedback.
Gyno Problem #2: Trichomoniasis
You can blame this sexually transmitted disease (sometimes called trich) on a tiny organism calledtrichomonas vaginalis, says Arlene Kelber, MD, an ob-gyn at Stony Brook University Hospital. You may notice a frothy, yellow discharge and vaginal irritation—or you could have zero symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3.7 million Americans have trich, but only about 30% of them exhibit symptoms.
What to do:Talk to your doctor; he or she will examine your vaginal discharge for evidence of the parasite. Trichomoniosis is easily cured by antibiotics, which your sexual partner(s) should also take. You'll need to refrain from intercourse during treatment.
MORE: 9 Things Your Gynecologist Wishes You'd Stop Doing
Gyno Problem #3: Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)
BV differs from other infections because it's not caused by a foreign invader. It's actually an overgrowth and change in the composition of the bacteria that are normally present in your vagina, says Kelber. No one is sure exactly why the balance between "good" and "bad" bacteria gets out of whack, but douching or having a new sexual partner or multiple partners may play a role. You might notice unpleasant symptoms like a gray, fishy-smelling discharge. BV is very common and you can get it whether or not you're sexually active.
What to do:Get thee to the gyno! First, it's important to make sure that you actually have BV and not a yeast infection or sexually transmitted infection. And even though BV on its own isn't dangerous—it may even clear up by itself—your doctor will probably give you an antibiotic to knock it out. The reason: BV can leave you more vulnerable to other, more dangerous infections, including HIV. It can also cause problems in pregnancy, such as triggering preterm labor.
MORE: Try A New Sex Position Tonight
Gyno Problem #4: Bumps and Lumps
Reached down and felt a bump you can't identify? It could be something as simple as an ingrown hair—have you shaved or waxed recently? Or it could be a condition called a Bartholin's cyst. You have two Bartholin's glands inside your vagina; they secrete lubricating fluid (a good thing!), but they can become blocked and swell (and sometimes that swollen bit can become infected). Same thing can happen with another internal vaginal gland called a Skene's gland.
What to do:If an ingrown hair is the culprit, applying a warm compress should do the trick. (Here's how to remove an ingrown hair.) But if the area enlarges rapidly, is very painful, or gets red and sensitive, it's time to see your doctor because it might be infected, says Lindsay Appel, MD, an ob-gyn in the Baltimore region. If it turns out you have an infected Bartholin's or Skene's gland, your doc might need to surgically drain it.
Gyno Problem #5: Vulvar Varicosity
This is exactly what it sounds like: varicose veins, but in your labia or elsewhere in the region. "Some women say the veins look like 'worms,'" says Raquel B. Dardik, MD, a clinical associate professor of obstetrics/gynecology at NYU Langone's Joan H. Tisch Center for Women's Health. You might feel pressure or fullness and discomfort, or notice bluish, veiny bulges. Vulvar varicosities most often occur in pregnancy (and then they're more common in second pregnancies), when the weight of the uterus, plus increased blood volume, can make blood pool in veins. Standing for a long time aggravates the problem.
What to do:If you're pregnant, put your legs up and relax as much as you can, says Kelber. Most often, vulvar varicosities go away after you deliver. Swimming is another good way to relieve the pressure of the uterus on your veins and improve blood flow. Cold compresses help, too. But if you're not pregnant—or the problem doesn't disappear when the baby arrives—see your doctor. The veins can be treated with sclerotherapy, which involves injecting a saline solution into the veins, causing them to collapse and disappear.
MORE: 10 Little Things Connected Couples Do
Gyno Problem #6: Vaginismus
Does justthinkingabout anything going into your vagina (a tampon, a speculum during a routine exam, a penis...) cause you pain? It could be vaginismus, a condition in which any vaginal penetration—or even the mere suggestion of it—makes your vaginal and pelvic floor muscles spasm and contract. Obviously it causes serious sexual problems; for some women, the pain and contraction make intercourse virtually impossible. The cause is not always clear, but it may be linked to past sexual abuse or injury.
What to do:Get over your embarrassment (docs really have heard it all!) and speak up. "Gynecologists are trained to help women deal with this, so you can enjoy sex again," says Appel. It's not always a simple solution, though: For some women, a combination of physical and psychological therapy is necessary to get to the bottom of the problem.
Video: Every Girl Should Know These 6 Vaginal Secrets! Natural Remedies
How to Set up a Home Owners Association
How to Do a Bridge Exercise With an Exercise Ball
FAQs About Biologic Therapies for Crohn’s Disease
Going, Going, Gone
Need Some Culture New App Qloo Helps You Find Cool Stuff Based on Your FashionTaste
The 24-Hour Slim Down Meal Plan
How to Tune a Guitar
Carolina Herrera Fall 2019 Bridal Collection
Showcase Your Souvenirs