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Whether women think various health conditions are part of aging or something to just “deal” with, a lot of women don’t seek answers to symptoms that they may be experiencing. Doctors Sangeeta Senapati, MD, and Frank Tu, MD, Obstetrics and Gynecology at NorthShore, run through various myths about women’s health and dish on the facts.
Myth: I don’t need to see my gynecologist for an ingrown hair. Fact: Maybe. If you see an ingrown hair, use a warm compress. If that does not help, visit your physician as ingrown hair can turn in to an infection.
Myth: After menopause, normal periods occasionally can come back. Fact: Menopause is defined as 12 months of not having a period. If you are bleeding after menopause it is recommended to make an appointment with your doctor.
Myth: Doctors don’t want to hear about your personal life. Fact: They do want to know! A lot of times bringing personal items up – sexuality, depression, domestic violence, etc. – can help you get the help that you might need.
Myth: Hot flashes are something you have to deal with. Fact: Not necessarily. There are treatments for this classic menopausal symptom and for other related issues including vaginal dryness or urinary problems.
Myth: Mammograms are the only breast health check you need. Fact: No. You need to continue to do monthly self-checks. Additionally, if you have dense breast tissue it may be beneficial to get a whole breast ultrasound. Talk to your physician to see if you need one.
Myth: Your water has to break in order to be in active labor. Fact: Only about 10% of women have their membranes rupture before labor begins. It is not a good indicator of whether you are in labor or not, so you pregnant women should also focus on the frequency of contractions.
Myth: If I choose not to have a kid, I don’t need to do Kegel exercises. Fact: Kegel exercises help with more than just labor! They help with incontinence and for some women, may help contribute to better orgasms.
Myth: It’s normal to have some leakage after childbirth when you laugh, run or sneeze. Fact: It is common for pregnant women to experience some urinary incontinence, and childbirth also weakens the pelvic floor muscles. If the incontinence continues for longer than six weeks after birth, contact your physician.
Myth: Period pain or pain in the pelvic area is normal, even if it is debilitating. Fact: Some mild discomfort may be normal, but the pain should not be debilitating. If your pain is that bad, even if it responds to NSAIDs, consider calling your physician to make an appointment to see if you have other causes of pain especially endometriosis or fibroids.
Myth: Very few women suffer from postpartum depression. Fact: The statistic is actually closer to 1 in 5, meaning a significant number of women are experiencing postpartum depression symptoms after birth. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms, get help.