By Janice Graham
As you hit one of those big birthdays, you probably worry more about new
wrinkles than about less visible body parts — like your heart. But recent
research has found that each decade of your life is a crossroads, with new
health concerns to worry about. What's more, you need to be aware of these
issues — because your doctor may not be. "Many physicians fail to recognize how
much a woman's risk factors for heart disease evolve over her lifetime," says
Your periods have changed from relatively
pain-free to painful.
Pain interferes with your daily
You start to have pain during
You have painful urination, blood in your urine, or an
inability to control the flow of urine.
You have blood in your stool
or a significant, unexplained change in your bowel movements.
You notice any new pelvic symptoms.
You haven't yet seen a doctor about your chronic pelvic pain.
Watchful waiting is a period of time during
which you and your doctor watch your pelvic pain symptoms
without using medical treatment.
During this period, you can keep a
daily record of your symptoms and menstrual cycle and any other life events that
you consider important. A watchful waiting period may last from a few days to
weeks or possibly months.
Who to see
The following primary health professionals can
generally evaluate and help you manage the symptoms of female pelvic
For advanced treatment methods,
gynecologist or a urologist who specializes in female
If you have ever been physically
or sexually abused, that trauma may
be playing a part in your pain. So you'll need to let your doctor know about the abuse. This may be hard for you, but it may be easier if you find a doctor you feel comfortable talking to.