As a society, we tend to associate certain gyneoclogical issues with different age groups. For example, when we think hormonal imbalances we typically think of women in their 40’s or 50’s who are entering (or about to enter) menopause. When we think of a hysterectomy, we think of women in that same age group who are done having kids. When we think urinary problems, we think grandmothers. And when we think of chronic problematic conditions like Endometriosis, we think of younger women.
Despite these associations, gynecological issues can appear at any time in a woman’s life. And the more women I treat and the more stories I hear, it’s becoming obvious that many of these women had warning signs earlier on in their lives, even before puberty, that they were going to develop gynecological issues like Endometriosis.
It’s really hard when you’re young, especially when you’re a teenager or a pre-teen, to know the difference between “normal” and “abnormal.” At age 12, menstruation is a new thing, and there’s nothing to compare it to. It’s really easy for teenagers to think, “Ok, this is how it’s going to be,” and not say anything to parents or doctors until later in life because it’s just the way it’s always been. So here’s a list of things to watch out for in your child, pre-teen, or teenager.
– Frequent yeast infections
– Frequent bladder infections
– First menstrual cycle is really painful or causes missed school (some cramping and discomfort is normal)
Please note, not all women who have these symptoms will go on to develop gynecological issues. But it’s definitely something to watch out for. If your daughter is having these problems, consider making her an appointment at my office. It might seem strange to take a young girl to an OB/GYN, but imagine if we can eliminate some of those doctor visits and improve quality of life. If you are a teenager or pre-teen reading this, talk to your parents, school nurse, or a trusted family friend. If it’s hard or awkward to start the conversation, send them a link to this blog.