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Amy is a Board Certified Family Health Nurse Practitioner (FNP) with over 15 years of experience working in Hospital Medicine, Urgent Care and Primary Care practices. Amy graduated Thomas Jefferson University with high distinction earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2008, a Master of Science in Nursing in 2010 and a Post Master's Certificate in Adult Gerontology Acute Care (AGAC) in 2014. She was recognized by the Elite American Nurses Association in 2013 for her dedication, achievements and leadership in the field Nursing. She served as a clinical preceptor for a number of Nurse Practitioner students and enjoys teaching the bright minds of future NPs.
Gynecological issues do not occur on a set schedule. You can notice signs of a problem at any time, day or night. You may notice an issue after sexual activity or outside of your normal cycle. It is important to know when you can visit an urgent care center for these issues and when you need to see a gynecologist or visit the ER.
In this article, we will discuss some of the most common gynecological issues and when it is appropriate to visit an urgent care center.
Table of Contents
- What Is Urgent Care?
- What Women’s Health Issues Should You Go to Urgent Care For?
- When Should You Go to the ER?
- You Can Use Virtual Urgent Care!
- Key Takeaways
What Is Urgent Care?
Urgent care centers are common and widely available across America. Their purpose is to provide support for individuals who may not have a family doctor or who may not be able to access their usual health support services. For instance, you may have noticed the signs of a serious medical condition in the early hours or the middle of the night.
If you think you require immediate assistance for a condition that is not life-threatening, then urgent care is the right choice. These are usually used to treat both injuries and illnesses which require treatment without delay. There are more than ten thousand different urgent care centers operating across the US.
What Is Urgent Care For?
Urgent Care centers are often confused with the ER or emergency care centers. These are not the same. Urgent care centers are not used for conditions that are considered life-threatening or classified as medical emergencies.
Instead, they are used for health issues that are deemed to be non-life threatening. They still provide high-quality care solutions and support that patients require in situations like this.
What Women’s Health Issues Should You Go to Urgent Care For?
You may be experiencing a woman’s health issue. Symptoms like this may have occurred suddenly and could be severe enough that they are impacting your daily life. For instance, you might feel unable to go to work or you may be struggling to look after your children. If this is the case, then it can be worth visiting an urgent care center. Here are some of the women’s health issues that you should get checked out with urgent care.
Pain or Burning in the Genitals
Are you experiencing pain or burning in the genitals? If so, then you should never ignore these symptoms. There are numerous reasons for pain or burning. For instance, you could have a vulvar infection. These can cause anything from swelling to itching which you may notice during sex or while urinating.
It could also be a sign of endometriosis. This condition causes tissue to grow in other areas of the pelvis aside from the uterine lining. It can be diagnosed through an Urgent care center. Endometriosis will impact approximately 1 in 10 women during the period where they are reproductive.
Constant Urge to Urinate
You may be experiencing an issue where you constantly feel the need to urinate. One of the most common reasons for this is a urinary tract infection (UTI). This can be treated through an urgent care center. UTIs are almost twice as common in women over the age of 65. However, you can contract a UTI at any age. Other symptoms may include:
- Pain or burning during urination
- More frequent urination
- Pressure in abdomen
If a woman does have a UTI, treatment is usually a short course of antibiotics. This may be no more than three days before you start to see signs that symptoms are subsiding.
Itching or Burning
If you are experiencing issues with itching or burning, then you could have a vaginal infection. This could be a yeast infection or a disease such as trichomoniasis. If a medical professional at an urgent care center suspects a vaginal infection, then they will complete a physical examination. They may also take a swab for an STD test. Itching and burning are some of the symptoms of various STDs in women including, but not limited to:
- Genital herpes
Usually, bleeding from your vagina will be due to a late or early period. However, there are other reasons for an issue like this including:
- Cervical cancer
- Noncancerous growths
There are 13,000 new cervical cancer cases diagnosed each year in the US. An early diagnosis will often significantly improve the prognosis. In most cases, vaginal bleeding is the first, sign and will usually occur after sexual activity.
Bleeding is also common with both miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies. This is something to consider if you are sexually active. These conditions may not be treated through urgent care.
If you are in menopause (this is defined as 12 months or more without a period) any vaginal bleeding is a cause for concern. As such, you should always use an urgent care service.
When Should You Go to the ER?
You should call 911 or go directly to the ER if you believe that your situation could be life-threatening. Numerous life-threatening gynecological conditions will need to be treated and managed in the ER.
Approximately 1 in 50 pregnancies in the US are ectopic. When they are untreated, an ectopic pregnancy can result in a life-threatening hemorrhage. However, less than 50 people die from an ectopic pregnancy in the US each year. They can be treated through surgery such as a laparotomy.
Unsafe abortions are still one of the five most common causes of pregnancy mortalities in the US today. An unsafe abortion refers to a pregnancy that is terminated in the incorrect environment or by people who do not have the correct skills. Complications can include:
While miscarriages are not usually a serious medical cause for concern, there are cases where you should go to the ER. This could include symptoms such as:
- Increased levels of bleeding such as soaking two pads per hour
- Large clots that are golf ball sized
- Intense abdominal pain.
You Can Use Virtual Urgent Care!
If you do not want to visit an urgent care center in person or you are worried about issues with long waits and delays, you can use a virtual urgent care service. This will provide the same 24/7 professional support for any conditions you are concerned about including women’s health issues.
For instance, you can use a virtual urgent care service with support for symptoms associated with a UTI or an STD.
There are numerous women’s health issues that are severe or concerning enough that you should go to an urgent care facility. Doing so will provide peace of mind and in some cases ensure that you receive an early diagnosis for a severe medical condition.
If you believe that your symptoms could be life-threatening, then you should instead call 911 or go to an emergency room. This will be necessary if you are experiencing complications from an abortion or you suspect an ectopic pregnancy.
- Haddad LB, Nour NM. Unsafe abortion: unnecessary maternal mortality. Rev Obstet Gynecol. 2009;2(2):122-126. PMID: 19609407.
- ECTOPIC PREGNANCY. March Of Dimes. Available from: https://www.marchofdimes.org/complications/ectopic-pregnancy.aspx.
- 7 things to know about ectopic pregnancy. UC Davis Health. Available from: https://health.ucdavis.edu/news/headlines/7-things-to-know-about-ectopic-pregnancy/2022/05.
- Karen Astrup & Niels de Fne Olivarius (2004) Frequency of spontaneously occurring postmenopausal bleeding in the general population, Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, 83:2, 203-207, DOI: 10.1080/j.0001-6349.2004.00400.x.
- Cervical Cancer Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/cervical/statistics/index.htm.
- Medina M, Castillo-Pino E. An introduction to the epidemiology and burden of urinary tract infections. Ther Adv Urol. 2019;11:1756287219832172. Published 2019 May 2. doi:https://www.doi.org/10.1177/1756287219832172.
- Facts about endometriosis. Endometriosis.org. Available from: https://endometriosis.org/resources/articles/facts-about-endometriosis/.
- Yee T, Lechner AE, Boukus ER. The surge in urgent care centers: emergency department alternative or costly convenience? Res Brief. 2013 Jul;(26):1-6. PMID: 24073467. Available here.
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