Are you getting the most out of your OB-GYN visits? Many women visit their gynecologist regularly for pap smears, birth control and mammograms. However, when the doctor asks if you have any questions, you may be caught off guard. Learn what to ask so that you can optimize your health and get some peace of mind. Writing down your questions and handing the piece of paper to your physician can make you feel less intimidated or embarrassed.
Do you notice any odor?
Every woman has a unique vaginal odor. Just like body odor, your scent changes depending on your lifestyle and what you put in your body. Taking a shower after exercising can keep you smelling fresh. So can drinking plenty of water and eating fresh fruits and vegetables.
Although the aroma can vary, if it changes dramatically or smells strongly of bread or fish, you might have an infection. Check with your doctor to rule out bacterial vaginosis or a yeast infection.
Is my libido normal?
Many things can affect your libido, including hormones, medications and your mood. Comparing your sex life to your friends’ can make you feel like something is wrong. If you’re concerned about your sexual desire, feel free to bring it up with your OB-GYN. Your physician can help you rule out underlying factors, like a thyroid disorder.
What should my discharge look like?
The color, consistency and amount of vaginal discharge change throughout the month. If your vaginal secretions are accompanied by burning or itching, it could indicate a problem. Make sure that you let your doctor know all of your symptoms so that you can be evaluated properly. Your OB-GYN may also help you understand how to track your menstrual cycle based on the consistency of your discharge.
Why is my cycle irregular?
Your menstrual cycle changes as you go through different phases of your life. Stress, perimenopause, diet and pregnancy affect your periods. Before you head to the gynecologist, keep track of your cycle. Many smartphone apps are available that let you monitor the length and frequency of your flow as well as other physical symptoms that occur throughout the month. Understanding these details can help you work with your doctor to understand what’s going on with your body.
Can you show me how to examine my breasts?
You should do a breast self-examination regularly to get to know how your breasts feel. Ask your OB-GYN to walk you through the process and point out what normal tissue feels like. This will help you notice any abnormal changes.
How can I take care of my pelvic floor?
Some women have no idea that their pelvic floor muscles are weak. Others may experience incontinence, pelvic pressure or pain during intercourse if they need to strengthen their pelvic floor. Bringing awareness to this area can help you maintain your core strength and adequately support organs like your bladder and uterus as you get older.
Asking questions like these may seem intimidating or embarrassing at first. However, part of your OB-GYN’s calling is to empower you to understand in your body. If you feel uncomfortable, asking your doctor questions about your health can be a confidence-building experience.