21 Questions to Ask at Your Next Visit to the Gynecologist

If you’re sexually active, then you’ve probably been to the gynecologist at least once in your life. If you haven’t, then you need to get on that, and if you don’t go at least once a year for your yearly, then you need to do that, too. It doesn’t matter how uncomfortable it is or how awkward it makes you feel (do you think anyone loves to go?), as someone with a vagina who’s having sex, it’s your obligation. It’s also your obligation to keep yourself informed about what’s going on down there in your lady bits. Of course you can’t be expected to know everything, but you should have a pretty good grasp on a lot of it – and what you don’t know, you should definitely ask about.

  1. What kind of birth control should I be taking? Whether you’re already on birth control or thinking about changing your BC method, this is an important discussion to have with your doctor, especially if you’re not loving whatever you’re on now.
  2. Do all vaginas smell? Short answer: Yes. And while there’s a variation in potency depending on hormones and diet, your gynecologist can put any fears about your vagina’s smell in particular to bed.
  3. What’s up with my labia? Similar to our concern about our vagina’s smell, a lot of us are concerned with how it looks, most notably the labia. If you’re wondering how your labia measure up, just ask. You won’t be the first woman to inquire about it.
  4. Can I get pregnant during period sex? Maybe! But your gynecologist can help you figure out just how likely this is for you, because it’s usually women with short cycles who run this risk.
  5. What’s a normal amount of discharge? Just be sure to know your difference between teaspoons and tablespoons before you start telling her what’s going on below the belt.
  6. Is waxing okay? Gynecologists have different opinions on this, especially when it comes to the Brazilian, but don’t worry; your doctor will steer you in the right direction, especially about how soon is too soon to have sex after a wax.
  7. How do I know I have a yeast infection? Just because it’s itchy doesn’t mean it’s a yeast infection.
  8. How do I know I have an STI? Super important that you know the symptoms for this one. Some STIs do lifelong damage.
  9. How often should I get an STD test? This depends on your sex life and your risk factors, so definitely ask. You want to stay on top of it for sure.
  10. How do I know I have a urinary tract infection? Painful urination could be a symptom of multiple things, so it’s better to narrow it down.
  11. How do I do a breast self-exam? Although less than 5% of breast cancer cases in women are under 40, you should still get in a regular habit of giving yourself a self-exam. Your gynecologist can show you exactly how to do that.
  12. Is there something to take for PMS? Because sometimes wine and Midol just don’t cut it.
  13. When is the best time to not get pregnant? Although most gynecologists would advice against the rhythm method as a form of birth control, it’s still good to know when the safety zone is.
  14. When is the best time to get pregnant? You know, in case you’re ready to get on a baby train. Choo choo!
  15. Why don’t I orgasm during sex? Statistics show that as much as 30% of woman struggle to achieve orgasm. While in most cases it’s just a matter of learning how to work your equipment (or show someone else how to work it properly), sometimes it’s due to FSD (female sexual dysfunction), so it’s something you must bring up.
  16. Should I douche? The vagina does a fine job of cleaning up shop on its own, but some women want to feel “cleaner.” Your gynecologist can help.
  17. What does it mean if my vagina hurts? Could be one of a variety of things, but you won’t know until you bring it up.
  18. What does it mean if my vagina itches? Again, could be an infection, your diet, or something off with your body. Only your gyno can tell you for sure.
  19. Why does sex hurt sometimes? This is more common than you’d think, so don’t be afraid to ask.
  20. What tests and/or screenings should I have done this year? Depending on your age, the health of your vagina and sexual activity, this really fluctuates for everyone.
  21. How do I do Kegels? While you can Google how to do Kegels, your gynecologist can give you a better, more hands-on example of how to do them. FYI: Kegels aren’t just women who have had kids, but for women of all ages who want a better sex life. So, do ’em.
Amanda Chatel is a sexual health, mental health, and wellness journalist with more than a decade of experience. Her work has been featured in Shape, Glamour, SELF, Harper's Bazaar, The Atlantic, Forbes, Elle, Mic, Men's Health and Bustle, where she was a lifestyle writer for seven years. In 2019, The League included Amanda in their "15 Inspirational Feminists Every Single Person Should Follow on Twitter" list.

Amanda has a bachelor's degree in English and master's degree in Creative Writing from the University of New Hampshire. She divides her time between NYC, Paris, and Barcelona.

You can follow her on Instagram @la_chatel or on Twitter @angrychatel.