While gyno appointments generally aren’t the most pleasant things on earth, they are an opportunity to talk to your doctor about your health. The next time your feet are in the stirrups, don’t be shy about asking the following questions.
Breast cancer is a concern—how should I do a self-check?
Typically women only do an annual exam over a certain age, so doing self-checks at home is extremely important. Ask your doctor how to do them and what to look for. Many women have found cancer by doing a home check in the shower and made it to a doctor before things got out of control. Doing a self-check once a month can’t hurt, so ask your doctor for the details.
My periods are heavy/light/long—is this normal?
You know your body and what’s “normal” for you. Have your periods recently changed? Have they always been super heavy and you’re concerned? Now’s the time to talk about it and options that you may or may not have to get your cycles regulated. Don’t walk away from the visit with questions you could easily get answers to.
Should I be on birth control?
This is something only you and your doctor can decide (well, and maybe your partner). Not only should you be asking if you should be on it but what kind you should be on and what the side effects are. Whether you want a baby in one year, 10 years, or never, talk to your doctor, explore what’s out there and make a decision. Don’t listen to your friend who had a bad experience with this pill or that—make your own decision for your body. The doctor can provide you the unbiased medical knowledge behind birth control.
Is this smell normal?
Listen, our bodies smell from time to time. It’s normal. That’s why we have deodorant, perfumes, body washes, etc. But if you’ve been noticing something that doesn’t smell quite right, now is the time to ask about it. Don’t be embarrassed—this is what the doctor went to many years of college for. It’s normal for them to talk about these things. Plus, it’s better to nip a potential infection in the bud before it gets worse.
During sex, it _______—should I be concerned?
Your doctor has heard and probably seen it all, so talk to them. Does sex feel good or does it hurt? Do you have no sex drive or too much sex drive? Ask all the questions. Your partner probably isn’t asking anyone these questions, so find out for yourself. Make sure sex is comfortable and enjoyable for you. If it isn’t, find out why.
Should I be tested for STDs?
You know your sex life and partners. Getting tested is always a good option, and while the results may be scary, it’s best to find out where you stand. Don’t leave a lingering problem going. Some STDs show no symptoms at all. Talk to your doctor about the partners you’ve had, how safe you’re being, and your risk factors. Then get the damn test done.
Is itching normal?
Women can itch “down there” for a number of reasons: underwear too tight and not breathable; switching laundry detergents to one that doesn’t agree with your sensitive areas; a bacterial infection; a sexually transmitted disease. The list goes on and on. Discuss with your doctor and find out the cause. If it truly is something going on, you want to catch that before it becomes an actual problem.
What should I be doing before I become pregnant?
If you’re thinking about having a baby soon, you should plan ahead. What supplements or vitamins should you be taking? What should you stay away from? What exercise should you be doing, if any? These are all questions to start asking your doctor to be proactive for when you do conceive.
Is my vagina supposed to look like that?
While there’s no exact right or wrong answer for this as every woman’s body is different, you want to make sure your doctor is looking for any abnormalities that may cause concern. Any bumps or spots you’ve noticed that may cause some concern are good to talk to your doctor about. Just don’t be concerned if your vagina doesn’t look like the ones in the pornos your significant other watches.
Is it OK to have sex while I’m having my period?
This is a personal choice, but if you have concerns about it, ask your doctor. They’re the experts, so instead of Googling, ask the person who takes care of your health. It’s much easier than sifting through all sorts of undocumented medical opinions online.
I had unprotected sex—what should I do now?
A few too many drinks and a one-night stand? Maybe you and your longtime partner were just so in the moment that you forgot the condom? If you find yourself in a situation where you had unprotected sex, consult with your doctor. You may want to get medication for unwanted pregnancy and be tested for sexually transmitted diseases. Even though this topic may be embarrassing for you to discuss, do it. It’s better than the alternative possibilities.
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