Women tend to leave all the charting of our gynecological health in the hands of our doctors, no one at all. We can, and we should, and we need to keep our own records for ourselves, at home.
This would entail a few moments a day, at most, of inputting information. I will be creating a down-loadable blank chart you can use for this purpose.
Much of what we see in our charts at the doctor’s office, may seem to be a problem, only because we women do not understand or are not taught about normal feminine health. We can understand them better when we see what would be our “true” gynecological conditions.
These would be:
- Vaginal infections
- Abnormal bleeding
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Breast lumps
- Nabothian (cervical) cysts
“…charting enables a woman to understand her body in a practical way (Wescheler, 230)”. A woman who charts every day is so aware of what is normal for her own body, that she can actually assist her doctor in determining what is not normal based upon her symptoms. Keeping the chart of her menstruation cycle assists In well-being, and working with the doctor.
Normal Healthy Cervical Fluid VS. Real Vaginal Infections
We live in a culture that advertises douche and sprays for vaginal “discharge” giving women the idea that they are “dirty” all the time. Douching and sprays only act to confuse the identity of healthy cervical fluid and what would be a real infection.
Wescheler explains in her book, that doctors say you don’t need either. On a talk show she watched, she says that the doctor stated that the infections from these products were “…enough to send his children to college (Wescheler , 231)”. Then there is also the yeast infection products that women self-diagnose and take every month for a “recurring” problem.
But, using the chart, detection of an actual infection will be easier, and discovered earlier. You can get treatment before discomfort sets in. Secretions mid-month are normal, but late in the month may indicate infection.
Symptoms of Vaginal Infections That Can Be Distinguished from Normal Cervical Fluid
Once you have routinely charted your normal cervical fluid, an infection can be distinguished by the unpleasant symptoms that set them apart from what is normal. Vaginal infections can range from STIs (See: The Effects of Sexually Transmitted Infections on Pregnancy) to a variety of forms of Vaginitis and of course the generic “yeast infection”.
- Abnormal discharge
- Itching, stinging, swelling, and redness
- Unpleasant odor
- Blisters, warts, and chancre sores
Besides the consequences of douching, you should not wear clothing that is damp or too tight, as these create an unhealthy vaginal environment. Also you should wear cotton underwear, or at least cotton crotch underwear as these allow your body to breathe.
Normal VS Abnormal Bleeding
Normal menstruation lasts about five days and usually will follow a pattern, here are two variations:
Light –> heavy –> medium –> light –> very light
Heavy –> heavy –> medium –> medium –> light
Also, some women may spot (ordinarily brownish) or bleed at other times in their cycle besides actual menstruation. Spotting is one of the most misunderstood aspects of a woman’s cycle. A common mistake is to assume any type of bleeding episode is menstruation. True menstruation occurs after ovulation, about 12 to 16 days after. Any other type of bleeding is either anovulatory bleeding, what is considered normal spotting, or is symptomatic of a problem.
[i] Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Based upon: Weschler, Toni. Taking Charge of Your Fertility. Rev. (2006) William Morrow.