These doctors have heard it all, so don't be afraid to ask.
Texts and information surrounding gynecology date back to the 1800s, so chances are you're not the first one to ask the question.
We get it, visiting the gynecologist is hardly the most comfortable or likable experience, but getting regular check-ups is the best way to prevent serious conditions like cervical cancer as well as making sure you're free from STDs and infections. It's up to you to know what is going on with your body, so it's important that you know what types of questions to ask your gynecologist when you go in for an appointment.
- Ask about any vaginal symptoms that make you uncomfortable. If you're feeling itchy, have a burning sensation, or something just feels different than usual, ask your doctor. Sometimes these symptoms can signal an important issue that your doctor cannot see with the naked eye. The doctor may want to run some tests to make sure everything is okay, but he or she may skip those tests if they don't have all the information.
- Ask how to give yourself a breast exam. We see advertisements for breast cancer on a daily basis, but many women still don't give themselves regular breast exams, probably because they don't know how. Have your doctor show you the proper way to check for lumps and perform checks periodically between visits.
- Ask about other methods of birth control. New methods of birth control are constantly coming to the market. Even if yours is working fine, talk to your doctor about other options that may be available. If you don't need a high dose of hormones, you may want to switch to something with less, and your doctor can talk to you about what other methods will work well for you.
- Ask about your future. If you're planning to get pregnant in the next few years, ask your doctor what you can do to prepare. Some doctors will recommend a change in diet, weight loss, decreased stress, etc. If it is something you're serious about, give yourself time to make any changes necessary. Most women only see their gynecologist once a year, so by the next time you see her, you could be ready to start trying.
- Ask for an STD test. Not every doctor includes an STD test in your normal pap smear, but if you're sexually active (or have been even once since your last visit), you need to get the test. Most doctors will tell you that even people in committed, healthy relationships should get tested. No one wants to think that their man is cheating, but it happens. If you do have something, it is better to get it treated sooner rather than later.
Most importantly, be open. You may feel slightly embarrassed, but you really shouldn't. Your doctor will be happy that you're asking and not leaving the office with your worries bottled up inside. He or she does this on a daily basis and they have probably heard everything you can think of. Plan ahead, know what you want to ask, and get informed about your body.