The Institute for Women's Health

Women face many health problems that might be too embarrassing to discuss with friends or even their doctors. No matter what you’re going through, chances are most women experience it at one point or another too. Your OB/GYN is probably familiar with these embarrassing conditions and can help you find relief. Here we explain some common embarrassing problems that you might be experiencing.

Help! Why Am I Leaking?

Urinary incontinence is a very common problem among aging women, but can affect younger women as well. There are many reasons it happens and can range from leaking a few drops when laughing or exercising, having a frequent urge to urinate, or leaking large amounts. In older women, the pelvic muscles become weak and have less control due to childbirth, pregnancy, menopause, and aging. In other cases, health conditions like diabetes, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, or stroke can damage the nerves that control urinary impulses and control. Urinary tract infections or drinking too many diuretic drinks, like green tea, can also be a culprit.

The good news is that there are many solutions to this embarrassing problem. The first step is to schedule a visit with your OB/GYN to determine the root cause and find a way to resolve it.

Why Do I Smell Fishy?

Have you noticed that you have a fishy smell recently? You might be suffering from bacterial vaginosis, an infection that is caused by an imbalance of “good” and “bad” bacteria in your vagina. Besides a “fishy” odor, BV can also cause pain, burning, itching, and white or gray discharge – but around 84% or women who suffer from this infection report no symptoms at all. Although it can be very embarrassing, it’s a very common condition – affecting 29.2% of women between 14 and 29 years of age in the United States each year. Having multiple sexual partners can increase the amount of harmful bacteria leading to BV. Pregnant women should be even more careful about BV since it can cause premature delivery and low birth weight. Bacterial Vaginosis can be treated quickly with medication and the odor will go away.

Why Do I Bleed So Much?

Do you have to switch your pad or tampon more than six or seven times a day? Does your period last more than seven days? Do you often stain your bed or clothes? Do you get very painful cramps? All of these can be symptoms of heavy menstruation, or menorrhagia. Although it’s common, heavy bleeding is considered abnormal and should be checked by an OB/GYN. The cause can range from hormonal imbalances, uterine fibroids, noncancerous cysts, or malignant growths. It’s important to get checked and get treatment right away to prevent more serious problems or before the loss of blood leads to anemia.

Gonima, Camilo A., MD
The Institute for Women’s Health