We enjoy the best fashions, share our feelings freely, and have amazing gossip sessions, but despite all the perks, sometimes being a woman is no fun. In fact, sometimes it’s downright embarrassing. Here are just some of the embarrassing problems women face from time to time, and how to prevent them.
Spotting is the common name for abnormal vaginal bleeding, either between periods or while skipping periods on birth control. While there’s rarely ample blood, spotting is still an embarrassing problem we’d rather avoid. Women using birth control with little to no estrogen, such as Loestrin 1.5/30, often notice spotting. Switching to a birth control pill with more estrogen like Demulen 1/50, or taking estrogen supplements, can help, as this hormone stabilizes the uterus lining and prevents shedding.
The hormone changes that come from starting birth control and switching pills can also cause spotting, but this should stop after a few months. Missing pills can also cause spotting, so remember to take them daily as recommended. Long-term use of the contraceptive pill can also cause spotting. If you’re concerned, try another birth control method.
Stress can also cause spotting, because it raises cortisol levels, impeding the release of the estrogen and progesterone needed for a normal menstrual cycle. Practicing yoga, meditating, and reading are all good ways to reduce stress. Pregnancy and infections can also cause spotting. A doctor can help you rule out these conditions.
Incontinence, or urinary leakage as it’s commonly called, impacts between 25 and 45 percent of all women. It’s not just as a problem for seniors either; a quarter of female high school and college athletes told Urologic Nursing they experienced this embarrassing problem.
Your pelvic floor muscles help keep the urethra closed so urine doesn’t leak out. Strengthening these muscles with Kegel exercises can help prevent incontinence. Excess weight can also put pressure on your pelvic floor muscles and bladder, so dropping a few pounds can also help. Avoid cigarettes, alcohol, caffeinated drinks, sodas, and acidic, spicy, and sweet foods, as these can also cause incontinence. Some medications, such as blood pressure pills and muscle relaxants, are also common culprits.
Speak to your doctor about alternative therapy if incontinence really bothers you. Urinary tract infections, constipation, and diabetes can also cause incontinence. Managing these conditions can reduce urinary leakage.
Women are so embarrassed by vaginal dryness that it ranks as one of the top topics they don’t discuss with their doctors. That’s unfortunate though, because while there is no way to prevent this natural part of aging, your GP can help you manage this problem. A pelvic exam can rule out medical causes, such as vaginal or urinary tract infections. Your doctor may prescribe a topical estrogen cream, a tablet, or a flexible E-ring. All these products replace the hormones, which help lubricate the vagina.
Over-the-counter vaginal moisturizers can also help. A lubricant can make sex easier and more pleasurable. Avoid douches, scented soaps, and bubble baths, which can dry out the vagina.
Don’t let these embarrassing problems slow you down. Take some preventative measures and you can get on with all the positive parts of being a woman.
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