Is this normal? It’s a question most have asked the internet at some point, especially when presented with a change in menstrual cycle or a new gynecological symptom. Self-diagnosis can sometimes work but not always. And, anyway, the real question is does this problem warrant an ASAP doctor’s appointment or a trip to the ER?
We spoke with four gynecologists about common concerns that are often scarier than they end up being. None of the advice here is intended to dismiss your symptoms in any way. You know your body. If anything is causing discomfort or is truly out of the ordinary, see your gynecologist. They might just put your mind at ease.
“I Have an Ovarian Cyst!”
Some ovarian cysts, such as endometriomas, cause pain. We’re not telling you not to worry about those. But many women only know they have a benign ovarian cyst when it shows up on an ultrasound.
“Simple ovarian cysts are common in reproductive-age women, and they come and go,” says reproductive endocrinologist Erin Lewis, MD. “Some women are more prone to them. Persistent ovarian cysts that are irregular in shape or contour or cause pain or pressure due to a large size need be evaluated by a gynecologist and are something to be concerned about.”
The Tiny Bumps on Your Nipples
“The tiny bumps on the flat part of the nipple, called the areola, often create worry,” says Felice Gersh, MD, an obstetrician and gynecologist based in Irvine, California. “These small bumps are completely normal and are called Montgomery glands. Their role is to provide oily lubrication to the tissues.”
“Not all vaginal discharge is bad,” says obstetrician and gynecologist Lanetta Coleman, MD. “Most of the time, discharge is completely normal. Unless it’s discolored, itchy or produces a foul odor, it’s likely you don’t have to call your doctor right away.”
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