What are the symptoms of female genital problems?

Women can experience a variety of genital problems that may be caused by infections, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), medications, pregnancy, injury and more. Female genital problems can affect the vagina or vulva and may cause different symptoms, depending on the specific problem.

Symptoms of female genital problems may include abnormal vaginal discharge, itching, pain and bleeding. Symptoms of STDs may include a rash or sore that causes pain or itching. Some conditions may lead to irregular menstrual periods that can include very light or very heavy bleeding.

There are a variety of ways that doctors may diagnose female genital problems. Most of the time, your doctor or gynecologist will begin with a physical exam and a review of your symptoms. For many problems, including infections and sexually transmitted diseases, a doctor will perform a pelvic exam and use a swab to take a sample of discharge or fluid from your vagina or cervix. These samples are then examined under a microscope to look for bacteria or other problematic cells. In some cases, doctors may take blood samples to test for certain hormones, viruses, or other things that indicate a genital problem. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about the process of diagnosing female genital problems.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.