Being nervous or embarrassed during discussions with your gynecologist is totally normal. They've seen it all and heard it all, but not from you, we know! Issues surrounding our sexual reproductive health are usually kept private, especially some of the embarrassing ones, like vaginal odor, having a bump down there or vaginal dryness, can be a bit difficult to discuss with someone. But as the popular saying goes, a problem shared, is half solved. You put your own health at risk if you leave out the details, so it's advisable to discuss the good, the bad & even the ugly with your doctor because it's important not only for your sexual and reproductive health but also for your overall health. You can definitely start the session by telling your doctor if you feel awkward and embarrassed, and they will try their best to make you feel comfortable.
Here are five things you definitely should discuss with your gynecologist.
1. Periods There are a few things your gyno would want to know about aunty flows visit. Are your menstrual periods regular or always irregular, does it hurt more than you think it should and does it have an odd colour? Clear or milky-looking flow is normal and usually not a cause for concern. Also, in most cases, brown blood during your period is normal but occasionally, brown, bloody discharge accompanied by other symptoms can indicate a problem. Let your gyno know if you experience any of the following: a) Periods that last longer than 7 days b) Less than 21 days between periods or more than 35 days between periods c) Not having a period for more than three to six months d) Bleeding between periods c) Spotting (any color) any time during the month d) Heavy bleeding beyond your normal period flow e) Brown discharge after the insertion of an intrauterine device (IUD) f) Seeing brown discharge when you’re taking tamoxifen, a breast cancer treatment
2. Vaginal Odor Obviously your vagina has it's own peculiar scent, but if you notice an odd smell oozing out from down there, you definitely want to discuss that with your gynecologist as it could be a symptom of bacterial overgrowth or a vaginal infection.
3. Sex Without Protection Since Last Appointment
Sure, there might be a mobile application that can help you access your risk level of contacting an STD, but an app that helps you run a test for different STDs including HIV/AIDS hasn't been invented yet (can't wait for one though). Your gyno may also want to know your sexual history which might feel like you're setting yourself up for the 'stir' but that really isn't the case. Your gyno should be given an honest answer because the information you provide will help;
a) Determine risk factors for cervical dysplasia and HPV infection
b) Initiate discussion of potential ramifications of past STDs.
4. Pregnant or Trying to Conceive
It's good to talk to your gynecologist about pregnancy and fertility even if you are not planning on getting pregnant eventually. Women tend to not talk about this topic until they are ready to have a baby and realize it's not working out. If you do talk to your gyno, he can provide you with recommendations on health habits and medical advice which can be beneficial when you are ready to have a child.
Please read also: Why the USA for childbirth?
5. Painful sex
This could be a result of a variety of reasons and discussing it, no matter how uncomfortable it might seem, will aid your gyno in diagnosing and treating you.
Some of the causes for this pain might not be harmful and some may have serious long term effects. The use of lube or engaging in more foreplay to get your body ready for coitus might be the solution. The pain might also be a result of stress which can easily be solved with a bit of relaxing. Furthermore, it might also be a result of an undiagnosed STI that needs treatment. You can easily stop worrying and ask your doctor.
Bottom line is, get comfortable with your gynecologist and be truthful with your answers to all the questions that will be thrown your way and ask about the ones that didn't come up. The up side is, you'll leave the examining room with a recommendation, diagnosis or a treatment for better health!
Have any questions or concerns? Let us know below!