Women's Health Portal

 Common Ailments, Menstruation, and Recommended Health Screenings

Last Updated: September 16, 2021
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​Common Ailments

  • Bacterial Vaginosis External Link Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a condition that happens when there is too much of certain bacteria in the vagina. This changes the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina. 
  • Urinary Tract Infections External Link Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are most often caused by bacteria (germs) that get into the bladder, which is part of the urinary tract. UTIs are also called bladder infections. UTIs are common, especially in women. More than half of women will have at least one UTI at some point in life. UTIs are serious and often painful, but most UTIs are easy to treat with antibiotics.
  • Vulvovaginal Candidiasis External Link Some yeast or fungus normally lives in a healthy woman's vagina.  Too much yeast, you can have vaginal burning and/or itching and sometimes sticky, white vaginal discharge.  Vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) is also called a "yeast infection." 

Menstruation

The menstrual cycle is the monthly series of changes a woman's body goes through in preparation for the possibility of pregnancy. Understand your cycle and recognize abnormal symptoms.

  • Abnormal Uterine Bleeding External Link (non-government) Abnormal uterine (womb) bleeding can occur as either a change in your normal menstrual period or bleeding in between cycles. 
  • Premenstrual Syndrome External Link Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a combination of symptoms that many women get about a week or two before their period. Most women, over 90%, say they get some premenstrual symptoms, such as bloating, headaches, and moodiness.  For some women, PMS may be so severe that they miss work or school, but other women are not bothered by milder symptoms. On average, women in their 30s are most likely to have PMS.  Your doctor can help relieve your symptoms. 
  • PMS Symptom Tracker External Link Use this chart to track your PMS symptoms.
  • Menopause External Link Menopause is the time when your menstrual periods stop permanently and you can no longer get pregnant.  After menopause, your body makes much less of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Very low estrogen levels after menopause can affect your health and cause symptoms such as hot flashes.  See Menopause 101 for overview. 

Recommended Health Screenings

  • Breast Cancer External Link The American Cancer Society recommends that women undergo regular mammography screening for the early detection of breast cancer. 
  • Cervical Cancer External Link Cervical cancer is cancer that starts in the cervix, the lower, narrow part of the uterus (womb). Most cervical cancers are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Cervical cancer is the easiest gynecological cancer to prevent with regular screening tests and vaccination. It is also very curable when found and treated early.
  • Group B Streptococcus External Link Group B Streptococcus (group B strep or GBS) is a type of bacteria that causes illness in people of all ages. Also known as GBS, group B strep disease can be especially severe in newborns, most commonly causing sepsis (infection of the blood), pneumonia (infection in the lungs), and sometimes meningitis (infection of the fluid and lining around the brain and spinal cord). The most common problems caused by group B strep bacteria in adults are bloodstream infections, pneumonia, skin and soft-tissue infections, and bone and joint infections. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides instructions for the collection of a vaginal/rectal swab External Link for the detection of GBS. 
  • Pap Test External Link The Pap test (or Pap smear) looks for cancers and precancers in the cervix (the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina). Precancers are cell changes that might become cancer if they are not treated the right way.