Many women mistakenly think that the only time we should book an appointment to the gynecologist is for sexually related questions and issue, or when we’re pregnant. Unfortunately that’s a huge misconception. Gynecology, as a branch of medicine, is concerned with everything that is female, even if one is not sexually active or married.

From as young an age as puberty, girls should be made aware of what is normal for their bodies and what isn’t, as well as when they should seek the help of a professional. It’s important to create a culture of understanding when it comes to women’s bodies, health and wellbeing. This is especially true for younger girls or women who may set their health aside or be made to feel ashamed or embarrassed to go to the doctor for fear of being judged.

In order to be a part of this positive awareness for girls and young women, we asked trusted Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cairo University, Dr. Rasha Kamel, about the most common signs indicating that girls and sexually inactive or unmarried women should pay a visit to their gynecologist. Here’s a list of the most common signs you should seek medical help:

1. Women should have regular self-breast examinations (SBEs). Any abnormalities felt should be directly reported to her gynecologist.
2.  An irregular menstrual cycle should also be reported. It could be a sign of hormonal dysfunction and could need some examination and/or lab work.
3. Excessive and/or irregular hair growth in different body parts could also indicate hormonal dysfunction.
4. Vaginal itching could mean a vaginal infection
5. Irregular vaginal discharge can also indicate infection.
6. Burning at urination or pubic pain could be signs of a urinary tract/bladder infection or herpetic eruptions.
7. If you feel pelvic pain and/or low backaches, these could be symptoms of endometriosis condition of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID).
8. Pelvic abdominal swellings could be a sign of uterine fibroids.
9. Excessive/prolonged menstrual bleeding can also be signs of uterine fibroids.
10. Gastrointestinal (GIT) upsets and/or weight loss could be signs of ovarian tumors.

The above signs are not always indications of serious conditions. They are, however, signs that you should seek professional medical advice to make the necessary checks to determine if there is a serious condition present.

Dr. Rasha Kamel is also a consultant of fetal medicine, IVF and ART. She is available by appointment at the Safa Medical Tower next to Safa Hospital in Al Higaz Square, Mohandeseen. To get in touch with her: 01205950667/ 01286541910/ 0233386408 or via email at [email protected]