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From menstruation to sexual problems and pain, find out about what affects you uniquely as a woman.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Premenstrual syndrome, commonly called PMS, is a medical condition that has symptoms that affect many women of childbearing age.
Why Do I Have Cramps but No Period?
Lots of women get pelvic pain and cramping, but your period isn't always to blame. Cysts, constipation, pregnancy -- even cancer -- can make it feel like your monthly visitor is about to stop by.
Your Period: 5 Things You Didn’t Know
Women have about 450 periods during their lifetimes. Even so, your period can still manage to surprise you, and not just by showing up when you least expect it.
Common Period Problems
Don't let your period derail your life. You can still do everything that you would during the rest of the month, if you know how to manage the baggage your monthly visitor may bring.
Menstrual cramps are the leading cause of absenteeism in women younger than 30 years. Although over half of women who have menstrual periods experience some discomfort, 10% are temporarily disabled by symptoms.
Heavy Periods (Menorrhagia)
Heavy or prolonged menstrual periods, or menorrhagia, are the most common type of abnormal bleeding from the uterus.
Periods vary widely from woman to woman. Some periods are punctual, some are unpredictable. On average, a woman gets her period every 21 to 35 days. A period usually lasts about three to five days. Irregular periods may require treatment.
Menstrual Blood Problems: Clots, Color, and Thickness
If your menstrual blood varies in color and consistency throughout your monthly period, it's very likely that it's perfectly normal.
There’s a lot of buzz about this eco-friendly alternative to pads and tampons. But what is a menstrual cup?
Why Am I Spotting Between Periods?
Most women experience spotting between their periods at some point. Usually, it’s nothing to worry about. A number of things can cause it to happen.
Your Period and Your Breasts
Breast symptoms are the strongest just before your period starts, and improve either during or right after it.
Painful Ovulation (Mittelschmerz)
Mittelschmerz is the pelvic and lower abdominal pain that some women experience during ovulation.
Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)
Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a sudden, potentially fatal condition caused by an overgrowth of bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus, or staph. TSS affects menstruating women, especially those who use super-absorbent tampons.
Symptoms of Toxic Shock Syndrome
TSS symptoms usually come on quickly, about 2 days after the bacteria infects you. The way TSS affects your body depends on the type of bacteria causing your condition.
Treat and Prevent TSS
Toxic shock syndrome requires immediate emergency care in a hospital. If you think you have it, get medical help as soon as possible. Call 911 or get to a hospital emergency room right away.
Vaginal Yeast Infections
Vaginal yeast infections are common. Yeast infections, sometimes called candidiasis, develop where a moist environment encourages growth of the yeast fungus, such as the genitals.
Yeast Infection, or Something Else?
Yeast infection symptoms -- such as vaginal itching, burning, and occasional vaginal discharge -- can also be caused by sexually transmitted diseases and other vaginal infections.
Symptoms of a Yeast Infection
Anyone who's had a yeast infection knows the unbearable vaginal itching it can bring. Other vaginal infections share some of the same symptoms, so only your doctor can make a diagnosis by running a lab test on sample fluid and cells from the vagina.
Vaginal Yeast Infection -- Symptoms
Recognize these symptoms of a yeast infection, and see your doctor for treatment.
What Causes Yeast Infections?
Candida yeast normally live in the vagina. But certain conditions set up an ideal environment for the yeast to "overgrow" out of balance and cause a yeast infection.
Vaginal Yeast Infection -- Treatment
Your doctor may diagnose a vaginal yeast infection based on your description of symptoms and possibly a vaginal exam.
When to Self-Treat
In many cases, you can safely treat a vaginal yeast infection with an over-the-counter medication. You can also try treating a yeast infection at home with these tips for self-care to relieve itching, burning, and other symptoms.
You can treat most vaginal yeast infections with an over-the-counter vaginal cream or suppository. You can buy these nonprescription vaginal creams and suppositories at most large drugstores and supermarkets.
Treating With Prescription Drugs
You can treat many yeast infections with over-the-counter creams or suppositories that you can buy at a drugstore. But for some women with severe or persistent infections, a different yeast infection treatment may be needed.
How to Prevent Yeast Infections
While you can't always avoid a yeast infection, you can lower your risk of getting one. Follow these guidelines to avoid the itching, burning, and other discomforts.
Vaginal Yeast Infection -- Prevention
Try these following tips to prevent yeast infections.
Picture of the Cervix
The cervix is a cylinder-shaped neck of tissue that connects the vagina and uterus.
Cervicitis is inflammation of the cervix -- the lower end of the uterus that opens into the vagina.
What Are Cervical Polyps?
Cervical polyps are growths on the cervical canal, the passage that connects the uterus to the vagina.
Ovarian Pain: Causes, Diagnosis, Treatments
Your ob-gyn will deal with some of the most health issues in your life, including birth control, childbirth, and menopause. A number of different conditions, from cysts to tumors, can cause ovarian pain.
Cysts on the Ovaries
Ovarian cysts are common, especially with woman who still get their period. They’re solid or fluid-filled pockets in or on your ovary.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and Weight Gain
Most women at some point have to contend with weight gain. But for women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), losing weight can become a constant struggle.
Pelvic Pain and Disease
Chronic Pelvic Pain
Many different conditions can cause chronic pelvic pain. The main symptom is pain that lasts for more than six months, but there are usually other symptoms, as well. Understanding your symptoms can help you and your doctor begin to pinpoint the cause or causes of your chronic pelvic pain.
Diagnosing Chronic Pelvic Pain
Your pelvic pain may not have an obvious cause. It may take some time and effort to figure it out. There are specialists you can turn to and tests that can be done to determine why you have the pain and what can be done about it.
How to Ease Your Chronic Pelvic Pain
If you have pelvic pain that doesn’t go away, see your doctor. In the meantime, there are a number of things you can do at home to feel better. This article outlines six of them.
Chronic Pelvic Pain: Questions to Ask
When you've been diagnosed with chronic pelvic pain, you and your doctor should work together toward your well-being. Don't be afraid to ask any questions you have about your condition and your care. Here are some important ones to start with.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Pelvic Pain
If you were recently diagnosed with chronic pelvic pain, ask your doctor these questions at your next visit.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
PID is one of the most serious complications of a sexually transmitted disease in women: It can lead to irreversible damage to the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, or other parts of the female reproductive system, and is the primary preventable cause of infertility in women.
Symptoms of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
You might not notice any symptoms of PID early on. PID can cause serious problems if it’s not treated.
How Do I Know If I Have PID?
There are a variety of problems that could be a sign of PID.You should see a doctor if you’re experiencing these symptoms.
What's the Treatment for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease?
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the female reproductive system. If you have it, most likely your doctor will give you antibiotics, but sometimes a hospital stay may be needed.
Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP)
What Is Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
Your pelvis is the lower part of your belly, below your navel and between your hips. Sometimes, the muscles and other kinds of tissue that hold everything in place get stretched out, weak, or torn.
Pelvic Organ Prolapse Symptoms
Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) doesn’t always have symptoms. When it does, they depend on what kind of prolapse you have. In most cases, symptoms are mild in the morning, but get worse as the day goes on.
How Do I Know If I Have Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
If you think you may have pelvic organ prolapse, talk to your doctor. There are a number of tests she may use to diagnose the condition.
Types of Pelvic Organ Prolapse
There are a few different types of pelvic organ prolapse (POP). They’re named after where they happen in your body and what organs are involved.
How Is Pelvic Organ Prolapse Treated?
Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) happens when organs like the bladder, uterus or rectum drop down and press against the vagina. There are several ways to treat this condition -- both with and without surgery.
Treating Pelvic Organ Prolapse at Home
If you have pelvic organ prolapse, you probably wonder what can be done to treat it. While medical procedures are available, there are things you can do on your own that may help you to feel better from day to day.
Physical Therapy for Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Physical therapy can offer long-term relief from your pelvic organ prolapse symptoms by strengthening core muscles. These exercises are used in addition to Kegels to strengthen muscles on your pelvic floor.
Kegel Exercises (Pelvic Floor Exercises)
Kegel exercises (also called “pelvic floor exercises”) strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.
Female Sexual Dysfunction
A sexual problem, or sexual dysfunction, refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual or couple from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual activity.
Why Am I Bleeding After Sex?
While vaginal bleeding after sex can be alarming, it’s also fairly common and probably no cause for concern. But it can also be caused by an infection, and in rare cases, it's a sign of cervical cancer.
Vaginoplasty and Labiaplasty Procedures
Vaginoplasty is a procedure that aims to "tighten up" a vagina that's become slack or loose from vaginal childbirth or aging. Labiaplasty changes the size or shape of the labia, typically making them smaller or correcting an asymmetry between them.
When a woman has vaginismus, her vagina's muscles squeeze or spasm when something is entering it, like a tampon or a penis. It can be mildly uncomfortable, or it can be painful.
Adenomyosis: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments
Adenomyosis is a condition in which the inner lining of the uterus (the endometrium) breaks through the muscle wall of the uterus (the myometrium).
An enlarged uterus can be a symptom of a variety of medical issues. Learn what could cause an enlarged uterus.
Your uterus is normally held in place inside your pelvis with various muscles, tissue, and ligaments. Childbirth or difficult labor and delivery can cause these muscles to weaken. Also, as a woman ages and with a natural loss of estrogen, her uterus can drop into the vaginal canal, causing a prolapsed uterus.
D and C (Dilation and Curettage)
Learn the reasons your doctor may advise a D&C (dilation and curettage) and what to expect during the procedure.
Types of Hysterectomy
A hysterectomy is an operation to remove a woman's uterus. A woman may have a hysterectomy for different reasons.
Hysterectomy Recovery: What to Expect
After a hysterectomy, you will have a brief recovery time in the hospital. Your recovery time at home will vary depending on the procedure you had.
Alternatives to Hysterectomy
If you have painful periods with excessive bleeding, fibroids, endometriosis, or another pelvic health problem, you should know that there are alternatives to hysterectomy to consider.
Vaginal and Vulvar Health
You know it’s important to do regular breast self-exams to check for lumps or other changes. But did you know a vaginal self-exam can be just as important?
Foreign Body in the Vagina
Some objects are designed for use in a woman's vagina. These include tampons, vaginal suppositories, and medications delivered through the vagina. Others are not intended to be inserted and may be placed there accidentally or intentionally.
Learn the leading causes and types of vaginal infections -- and what to do about them.
Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)
Both “good” and “bad” bacteria live in your vagina. If this delicate balance is upset, you can get an infection called bacterial vaginosis, or BV, for short.
Bartholin's Gland Cyst
The Bartholin’s glands are located on each side of the vaginal opening. If they become blocked, fluid can back up into them. This forms a swelling -- a cyst.
You can find cysts just about anywhere on the body, including the vagina. A vaginal cyst is usually located on or under the lining of the vagina.
Douching: Helpful or Harmful?
An estimated 20% to 40% of American women between ages 15 and 44 say they use a vaginal douche.
Vaginal Discharge: What’s Abnormal?
Most of the time, vaginal discharge is perfectly normal. The amount can vary, as can odor and hue, depending on the time in your menstrual cycle.
Vaginal Dryness: Causes and Moisturizing Treatments
It may seem like a minor irritation. But the lack of vaginal moisture can have a huge impact on your sex life. Fortunately, several treatments are available to relieve vaginal dryness.
Itching, Burning, and Irritation
Itching or irritation anywhere on the body can cause discomfort. But when it occurs in an area as sensitive as the vagina and vulva, it can be especially uncomfortable.
A vaginal fistula is an abnormal opening that connects your vagina to another organ.
What Is Vulvodynia?
Constant and knife-like. Burning. Stinging. Soreness. Stabbing. This is how women with vulvodynia describe the pain they feel around the opening of their vagina.
Vulvodynia: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments
Women with vulvodynia have chronic vulvar pain with no known cause. Until recently, doctors didn’t recognize this as a real pain syndrome.
What Can I Do About Vulvodynia?
Vulvodynia is chronic pain around the opening of your vagina in the area of your vulva. Use these self-care tips to control the pain and keep it from getting worse.
Treatment for Vulvodynia
Vulvodynia can be complicated. If you have this condition, prepare to experiment with a lot of different treatment methods.
What Is Vulvovaginitis?
Vulvovaginitis is inflammation of your vulva and vagina. It’s also called vaginitis.
Vulvar vestibulitis is a type of vulvodynia, or pain around the vulva – the sex organs outside a woman’s body.
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