What Women Don’t Talk About: 5 Awkward Health Issues

Women might find it difficult to share with their friends — or even their doctor — about some of the unpleasant symptoms they experience. However, there is nothing to be ashamed of. Doctors are used to hearing about medical issues, and not telling your doctor can make the problem worse. What issues women usually prefer to keep quiet about?

Dr. Ely

General practitioner

Unpleasant vagina odor

A woman releases from the vagina about 1–2 ml of clear vaginal secretion per day, and this is normal microflora. But the unpleasant smell comes from specific secretions caused by bacterial vaginosis or candidiasis. In the first case, it is a sharply pronounced "fishy" smell, in the second it is a sour smell that is reminiscent of dairy products. It is usually accompanied by itching and burning. Other causes of unpleasant odor include vulvovaginitis, inflammation of the genitals, and sexually transmitted infections. These are all perfectly treatable, so an appointment with a gynecologist will solve your problem.

Urinary leakage

Urinary incontinence makes life unbearable for 34–38 % of women in the world. The most common incontinence is stress incontinence, when urine is excreted involuntarily when laughing, coughing, sneezing, or exercising. Incontinence is said to occur when one feels the urge to urinate 15 or more times a day. The cause may be a malfunction in the sphincter of the urethra. If there is intra-abdominal pressure, the weakened muscles cannot prevent flow without the urge or complete emptying of the bladder.

Urinary incontinence itself is not a disease, but a symptom of a number of problems including urinary tract infections, nervous tension, severe childbirth, prolapse of the vaginal and uterine walls, obesity, and gynecological surgery. It can also show up in those over age 50.

Incontinence is triggered by coffee, soda, and alcohol. While your doctor looks for a more precise cause, follow these simple rules: don't drink a lot of liquids 3 hours before going to bed or before leaving the house, visit the toilet at a certain time even if you don't feel like it, and wear special pads. Training of the pelvic floor muscles and sphincter — including exercises with vaginal Kegel cones, after which 70 % of women report improvement — will help. If conservative treatment doesn’t help, don’t be afraid of surgery.

Gas and flatulence

Flatulence is a condition associated with the accumulation of gases in the gastrointestinal tract. A healthy person may produce gas between 5 and 15 times a day. It may be a symptom of diseases related to anatomical abnormalities, endocrine system disorders, gastrointestinal diseases, or infections.

Also referred to as meteorism, it is treated by changing lifestyle and diet as well as eliminating pathology. A gastroenterologist will suggest eliminating excessive consumption of fiber (vegetables, fruits), carbonated drinks, fermented foods, and beer. A sedentary lifestyle, fast food consumption, and talking while eating make the condition worse.


The degree of sweating is affected by the amount of fluid you drink and excess weight. Excessive sweating also referred to as hyperhidrosis, depends on the number of sweat glands, their depth, and level of activity. There is general sweating of the body — especially in places like feet, palms, or armpits. The doctor will most likely look at two likely possibilities. The first is endocrine disorders or chronic infections, and the second is vegetative-vascular dystonia, a feature of sweat glands.

Injections of drugs botulinum toxin are the most inexpensive and least invasive method. The effects last for one year at most. Simple tips: wear clothing made of natural fibers and use deodorants made from aluminum salts. Avoid hot soups and hot drinks like coffee. The cause of excessive foot sweating can also be found in mycosis of the skin — this problem is solved with the help of antifungal agents with zinc oxide, citric acid, or ascorbyl palmitate. You can use antiperspirants or antibacterial powders.

Toenail fungus

Fungus is a common problem among those who go to gyms, saunas, and swimming pools with shared showers and changing rooms, which are all perfect environments for the reproduction of malignant dermatomycoses. Cracks on the skin, itching, and the appearance of vesicles are typical manifestations. If the nail plate has changed color, coarsened, or turned yellow or brown, see a doctor. A podiatrist will remove the affected part of the nail and prescribe treatment. Avoid fungal infections by wiping your feet dry after swimming and using the cream with an antifungal effect.

12 August 2021

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