Gynecological Conditions You Should Know for the EMT Exam

By Arthur Hsieh

There are a few female-specific medical conditions you should review for the EMT exam. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection that affects the female reproductive system. Bacteria enter the body through the vaginal canal, usually during intercourse, and can infect the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries, causing pain, foul-smelling vaginal discharge, and fever. You may need to move the patient gently and help her achieve a position of comfort.

Sexually transmitted diseases are not life-threatening, but can cause significant discomfort and embarrassment.

Chlamydia symptoms may range from nonexistent to low back pain, painful intercourse, and bleeding in between menstrual periods. Gonorrhea may cause painful urination, cramping, and produce a yellow or bloody discharge. Genital herpes may cause painful sores to form within the vagina. Bacterial vaginosis can also cause pain and produce a fishy-smelling odor and discharge. Treatment is supportive only.

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Vaginal bleeding may be caused by a wide range of conditions, including trauma, spontaneous abortion, ectopic pregnancy, and simply abnormal menstruation. If blood loss is significant, shock may result. It’s important to remember that most vaginal bleeding can’t be controlled by direct pressure; you should not pack the vaginal canal with dressings or other objects.

If necessary, place large absorbent pads at the vaginal opening to help contain the blood. If shock is present, keep the patient supine or left lateral recumbent and maintain body temperature. You may need to administer oxygen if there is respiratory distress or the patient’s oxygen saturation level is low.