7 Things Your Gyno Wishes You'd Ask
Gyno visits can be awkward, and your goal may be to get out as quickly as possible, but if you bolt, you'll miss a golden opportunity to ask an expert all those questions you're too embarrassed to ask anyone else. After all, your gyno has heard pretty much everything before, so there's no chance you'll weird them out—and they're full of reliable information on how to stay healthy. Here are a few things your doctor wishes you'd discuss.
1. Why is my period so awful?
If you have a super-heavy flow or painful cramps, your doctor wants to know about it. "I wish more patients would ask me for help with their periods, particularly if they're so heavy or painful that it causes them to miss school or work," says Maureen Baldwin, MD, and OB/GYN at Oregon Health & Science University. Your doctor may be able to help you get relief, so don't just suck it up.
2. Do my labia look funny?
You know thateveryone looks is different, but if you're still stressing—are my lips too lopsided? is it seriously okay to have this much hair?—just ask. "I wish more of my patients would talk to me about changes they're experiencing in their body," says Michelle Barhaghi, MD, an OB/GYN at Torrance Memorial Medical Center in California. Your doc has seen a zillion vaginas, so you can trust her when they says yours isnormal.
3. Should I get the HPV vaccine?
HPV is very common and can lead to cervical cancer, so don't be surprised if your doctor recommends this. "There is actually a new, improved vaccine that protects against nine strains of HPV—even better!" says Mary Jane Minkin, MD, Clinical Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at Yale University School of Medicine, and author ofA Woman's Guide to Sexual Health.
4. Is this a yeast infection?
If you've had a yeast infection before, and you know for sure that's what you're dealing with, then go ahead and grab an over-the-counter treatment. But if this is your first go-round, give your gyno a call. They may be able to diagnose you over the phone with a few questions, or they may have you come in just to be sure. "Of women who self-treat for yeast, two-thirds do not actually have a yeast infection at all," Dr. Minkin says. You may just be having a reaction to a scented product, or there's a small chance you could have a bacterial infection—in which case, the sooner your gyno can prescribe some antibiotics, the faster you'll feel better.
5. Is my sex life normal?
When it comes to sex, think of your doctor as a human Google, except you're getting doctor-approved info and you don't have to delete your browsing history afterwards. If you have any questions—no matter how taboo they seem—it's perfectly fine to bring them up during your regular checkup.
6. Why am I breaking out? What's with all this hair? Why does my stomach hurt?
Your gyno doesn't just deal with issues down there—they're there to help withallaspects of your health, so even if something doesn't seem like her department, bring it up. "All patients should share all symptoms and changes in their bodies," says Joshua Hurwitz, MD, a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist at Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut. If you're worried about facial hair or pelvic pain or acne or anything else that seems wonky with your body, your gyno wants to hear about it.
7. What's this weird smell?
Asking a gyno about vaginal odor is like asking a hairstylist whether you should get bangs—it's a really common question. So if you're self-conscious about how you smell, just ask at your next checkup if everything seems standard. "A healthy vagina has a certain natural scent," says Sherry Ross, MD, an OB/GYN and Women's Health Expert in Santa Monica, CA. Some foods, like garlic and onions, can tweak it a bit, but unless you have an infection—in which case, you'd probably notice other symptoms, like itching or weird discharge—it's probably not as funky as it seems to you.
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