When to see a gynaecologist in Singapore

May 23, 2024 6:40 am

Painful periods, bumps in the vagina, STDs: When to see a gynaecologist in Singapore

Routine gynaecologist checks are important, just as regular dental checkups and health screenings are. It’s recommended that young women start seeing a gynaecologist at 15 years old, and by the time they turn 21, it is recommended that they undergo annual health screenings and Pap smears once every three years[1]. 

A 2019 survey[2] conducted among Singaporean women showed that; 

  • 88.5% of those aged 25-74 were aware of the importance of cervical cancer screenings
  • One in two women underwent cervical cancer screening in the last three years
  • However, only 76.5% of women within the 25-29 years age group reported having knowledge of Pap smear, compared to 91% of women within the 30-69 years age group. 

Why the disparity?

According to studies[3], apart from the lack of information about gynaecological examinations, women hesitate to visit the gynaecologist due to: 

  • Concerns relating to the gynaecologist’s attitude (fear of being judged)
  • Disclosure of intimate details pertaining to sexual practices
  • Fear of getting a diagnosis
  • Fear of going through painful procedures
  • Feeling embarrassed about undressing and exposing the private parts of the body

While these concerns and feelings are valid, they should not hinder you from getting the reproductive care you deserve – especially if you experience changes or signs of discomfort and pain in that area. Below, are the signs that indicate a trip to a gynaecologist in Singapore. 

Signs and symptoms that warrant a trip to the gynaecologist

 

  1. You are past the age of getting your first menstrual period

Teenage girls usually get their first menstrual period between 12 to 14 years old. If you are past this age and are already experiencing changes in your body brought about by puberty but haven’t got your first period, then you should consult with a gynaecologist. There may be underlying factors such as hormonal imbalance or other disorders concerning your reproductive system that may be causing this problem.

  1. Your menstrual period is irregular

There is a common misconception that irregular periods mean missing out on a menstrual cycle for a month or two and then having it again. However, irregular periods can also mean: 

  • You experience extremely painful cramps
  • You get your period more than once a month
  • Your bleeding is heavy and unusual
  • Your menstruation goes beyond seven days

These symptoms are usually signs of endometriosis or uterine fibroids and are linked to infertility. A gynaecologist can come up with an appropriate diagnosis and develop a treatment plan. 

  1. Your breasts feel different

If you notice a lump in your breast, experience abnormal discharges from your nipple or are more sensitive to the touch – see a gynaecologist. While changes in the breast may not always lead to cancer, you should still get yourself checked to rule out cancer, especially if you are nowhere near menopause. 

  1. You notice bumps or blisters in your vagina or labia

Bumps or blisters in the vagina area can be caused by a pimple or hair that is stuck underneath the skin. They can also be a sign of a more serious condition, such as a genital wart caused by an STD – this requires treatment. To safeguard yourself, have any abnormal growth in your vagina checked to avoid infections or other diseases from worsening.

  1. Your vagina emits a foul odour.

The vagina has a natural odour, but if it suddenly smells offensive for several days, then this can be due to an overgrowth of bacteria or an infection. It may be embarrassing to speak to a professional about this issue, but do so anyway – a foul vagina odour usually indicates bacterial growth or a vaginal infection that requires medication to treat. 

  1. You experience accidental urine or fecal leaks

Women are more prone to urinary incontinence, a condition where you experience the sudden urge to urinate and uncontrollably leak urine. While UI can affect anyone, it is more common in older women around the age of 50 to 60 years old and those who have given birth. Incontinence can be treated with medication, therapies, lifestyle changes, and surgery. Your gynaecologist will assess your condition and recommend the best plan to improve your problem.

  1. You have an active sex life

Your gynaecologist will need to know certain details about your sex life. This confidential information is used to assess various factors, such as:

  • The risk of acquiring sexually transmitted disease (STD)
  • The risk factors for developing cervical dysplasia and HPV infection
  • The risk of becoming infertile caused by STDs
  1. Your libido is low

Lacking interest in sex can be caused by different reasons like stress, medication, or a medical condition. Your gynaecologist can help identify the factors affecting the loss of your libido and recommend a treatment plan. 

  1. You feel discomfort or pain during sex.

Sexual discomfort is experienced by a lot of women. Vaginal dryness or pain while having sex are the two most typical problems that women endure in their sex life. 

Vaginal dryness can be due to the age of a woman, especially when they are nearing menopause. This can be improved by using vaginal estrogen. Younger women on birth control for an extended period can go through the same issue as this is a sign that the body is no longer producing enough estrogen. When this happens, a gynaecologist can prescribe a different birth control. 

Pain during sex can be avoided by finding a position that is comfortable for both you and your partner. However, if the pain does not disappear despite trying various positions, then you may want to speak with your gynaecologist for advice.

Conclusion

Apart from going for regular Pap tests, check in with your body often and schedule an appointment with your gynaecologist if you experience any of the symptoms above. 

Don’t wait till it’s too late. Get the women’s health care you deserve. 

References:

¹ Pap smear – Mayo Clinic. (2022, June 18). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved July 7, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/pap-smear/about/pac-20394841

² Pereira, J. (2021, February 1). MOH | Not seeing the page you want? Ministry of Health Singapore. Retrieved July 7, 2022, from Ministry of Health Singapore: Awareness of the need for cervical cancer checks

³ Yanikkerem, E., Özdemir, M., Bingol, H., Tatar, A., & Karadeniz, G. (2007). Women’s attitudes and expectations regarding gynaecological examination. Women’s Attitudes and Expectations Regarding Gynaecological Examination, 25(5), 500–508. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.midw.2007.08.006

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