During gynecologist visits, you will be asked when your last period was. This question is logical for patients who are attempting to determine if they are pregnant or are having irregular periods. While it might seem random in other cases, this information can actually be quite helpful. Because the entire gynecology process centers in the menstrual cycle, this information is always important. As a Long Island gynecology office, we can confirm that there are a few good reasons to track your period.
#1 Presence of a Breast Lump
The presence of a breast lump can be worrisome, especially because it is so often perceived as an indicator of breast cancer. In some cases, however, breast lumps can be part of the menstrual cycle. This is especially true for younger women who are approaching their period.
Minor cysts and bumps occasionally develop directly before the period begins. These bumps are often gone after the period ends. Knowing when your last period occurred can help your gynecologist determine if this bump is a result of your period, or another issue. If the lump remains, or appears outside of this time window, you may be directed to have a mammogram.
#2 Vaginal Discharge
Vaginal discharges be a sign of abnormal conditions. However, it can be common during the menstrual cycle. The color and consistency will change as the menstrual cycle progresses.
During the first half of the cycle, vaginal discharge should be clear, with mucous. In the second half, it should be thicker, with a milky, white color.
With knowledge of what part of the cycle a patient is in, we can gauge how problematic this discharge is. Other colors of discharge– yellow, green, pink, gray, or brown– could indicate other health issues, like STDs.
#3 Vaginal Pain
Experiencing vaginal pain after a missed period could be a pregnancy indicator. If you did not miss your period, though, it could indicate something else entirely.
In other cases, vaginal pain may be a sign of another condition. It might mean an ovarian cyst (or cancer), or another condition unrelated to the vagina.
#4 Irregular Spotting
Like vaginal discharge, spotting can be a normal part of the menstrual cycle.
About halfway through the menstrual cycle, the ovulation process begins. This is the period in which the uterine lining breaks down, causing very mild bleeding. Spotting during a portion of the menstrual cycle is abnormal, and could indicate that you have a polyp, uterine fibroids, or another condition. Our Long Island gynecology office will be able to assess the spotting, and give you the best advice possible. Spotting is also common after an abortion.
#5 Guidance Toward Successful Conception
For women attempting to get pregnant, the right strategy is all about timing. The fertility window, as most people call it, normally lasts for about 5 or 6 days. This includes the 5 days leading up to ovulation, and the period of ovulation itself. This might not be universal, though as cycle frequency and lengths differ.
Keep Track of Period Information
The menstrual cycle affects everyone differently, and can affect several parts of the body. Knowing when your body has recently completed a menstrual cycle can help gynecologists to assess your health. This information is, however, also helpful information for you. Being able to anticipate your period will help you to successfully navigate social and professional situations. At Stony Brook Women’s Health, we are committed to helping you remain healthy. Contact us today to schedule a routine gynecological appointment.