Anyone who knows me (for more then 5 minutes) knows I have a passion for women’s health. Particularly pelvic health. I have been accused of being ‘obsessed with the undercarriage’. Hey, it makes for great dinner party conversations! I think we need to think and talk more about pelvic health, particularly that it’s never normal to have pain, and leaking is never normal (common, yes. Normal, NO!) And there is almost always something that can be done about it…
But how can we know what IS normal?
Many of us know more about our phones than we do about our own anatomy…until today! I want to get every woman performing monthly self-exams. We have come a long way in heightening awareness of the importance of breast self-exams for women (and testicular self-exams for men) but vulvar self-exams are unfortunately not the norm…yet.
There are a number of vulvar conditions that affect women throughout their lifecycle. Without exception, these conditions respond to treatment best when treated early. Don’t be shy or embarrassed about performing vulvar self-exams; like any other skill, its easy once you know how
Check your vulva monthly unless you have recently had a baby or a miscarriage or you have recently had a gynecologic procedure: in these situations, check with your doctor that you are fully healed before beginning self-vulvar exams.
- Position yourself comfortably propped up in bed.
- Make sure your hands are clean
- Don’t use any creams or lotions, as this may interfere with your ability to detect any changes
- Holding a mirror in one hand and use your other hand to separate the labia and look at your vulva.
- Check the clitoris and the surrounding area
- Then move down to the vaginal opening. Check the small folds of skin to the left and right.
- Now move down to the area around the anal opening because vulvar disease can spread to here.
If you notice:
- Any lumps, bumps or skin changes
- Burning sensation, especially after urinating
- Any unusual discharge
- That you bleed after sex
- That you bleed between periods OR after menopause
Then make an appointment to see your doctor – as soon as possible
Some symptoms could be from a minor condition but sometimes they can be indicators of something more serious, so always get symptoms checked.
You get your car checked and serviced regularly – don’t you think you should pay the same attention to your own undercarriage?