We asked women to send reproductive questions they grapple with. Dr Richard Mogeni Mogaka, a reproductive health specialist has answered some of the questions.
When is the right time for girls to start paying a visit to the gynaecologist?
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Dr Richard Mogeni: It depends. There are certain gynaecological issues which raise concerns and therefore one can seek specialised care. In established practices, girls/adolescents are seen by paediatricians and in some cases gynaecologists.
If you notice abnormal discharges, vaginal bleeding, trauma, paediatric vaginal tumours, labial adhesions, abnormal uterine bleeding, congenital genital tract anomalies, sexual abuse, haematocolpos, vaginal septum…Parents/guardians have to be on the lookout for issues that need specialised attention and seek help.
With vaginal discharge, how does one tell when it is time to seek medical help?
Dr Richard Mogeni: We have a normal and abnormal discharge which has a foul smell, it is often yellowish or whitish/milky in colour, itchy and in large amounts. It sometimes is associated with pain. Women must bear in mind that any change in the vagina’s balance of normal bacteria might lead to changes in discharge texture, colour and even smell.
There are numerous reasons why the bacteria might be affected. They range from the use of certain family planning methods, use of scented soaps or douches, vaginal atrophy, yeast infections and even a change in sexual partners.
When a woman has a vaginal infection does it mean that her partner must see the doctor as well?
Dr Richard Mogeni:: Not always. Your Gynae will assess you and advise. Sexually transmitted infections will require treatment of partner.
Is it a must for women to do pap smears?
Dr.Richard Mogeni:– Yes, as from 25 or so years and every 3-5 years if negative. However, there are other screening methods available e.g. Visual inspection with acetic acid or lugol’s iodine and DNA testing. They all achieve the same goal. As technology becomes more advanced, there are hopes of getting self-collection of samples.
Should boys see the gynaecologist
Dr Richard Mogeni:: No. Men’s reproductive health issues are most of the times handled by surgeons or urologists depending on the specific issues they are dealing with. Some health concerns that require the attention of a specialist include Paraphimosis, undescended testis etc.
Do you have questions about health that you would like answered? Write to [email protected] and we will seek the experts to answer them for you.