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Health Tips

Tips for Gynecologic Health

1.Do the allergy test

If you experience irritation during your period, and it vanishes when your period stops, you could be suffering from allergic feminine itching (AFI).

It's most common with scented pads that irritate the sensitive skin of the vagina,' says consultant gynaecologist/oncologist Dr Vinita singh from Kare Hospital Patna.

Scented products such as bubble bath or vaginal washes can also trigger AFI. So if you get itchy, stop the scent; if symptoms disappear, you've found your culprit.

2.Don't always assume it's thrush

More than half of women treating themselves for thrush won't cure it.

Why? They've got other conditions - most commonly bacterial vaginosis (BV), which affects more women of childbearing age than thrush.

BV often comes with a fishy odour and is less likely to cause itching. It's linked to a fall in healthy bacteria levels in the vagina.

If you think you have BV, you'll need antibiotics, especially if you're trying for a baby, as BV has been linked to premature birth.

3.Get stress aware

Doctors found that stressed-out women are twice as likely to get period pain as those who are calm, possibly because stress increases the production of prostaglandins that trigger cramps.

The particular flashpoint seems to be during the first half of the menstrual cycle, the follicular phase, so try hard to keep your cool around this time.

4.Talk to your GP about heavy periods

Tranexamic acid works by increasing the rate at which blood clots.

'Unlike other treatments for heavy periods, such as the Pill, you need to take tranexamic acid only when you bleed, and it can cut blood flow by up to 50 per cent,' says Doctor, a consultant gynaecologist and trustee for the charity Wellbeing of Women.

Because it's not a hormonal treatment, tranexamic acid is also safe for women who are planning a pregnancy. Ask your doctor about it

5.Get well-heeled

Standing on your heels tones your pelvic floor muscles.

That's the finding of doctors at Chung-Ho Memorial Hospital, Taiwan, who found that standing in a position called 'ankle dorsiflexion' - where your heels are flat on the floor and your toes are up - actually tightens your pelvic floor muscles.

They suggest you combine regular heel stands with Kegel exercises for perfect pelvic-floor tone.

6.Check your vulval area just as you do your breasts

Vulval cancer affects about 1,000 women a year in the UK and, while it's most common in women over 60, 'if you know what's normal or not for your vaginal area, it will be easier to spot symptoms such as changes in pigmentation, lumps, sores or ulcers if they do occur,' says Doctors.

Get a mirror once a month or so and check.