Gynecologist Questions: What To Ask At Your Next Exam
Time to get in the know.
By Kristen Dold
May 12, 2017
We know you’d like your underwear back—stat—but don’t bolt out of your next ob-gyn visit without an honest chat about how to take care of your body in 2017 (the rules are always changing!). Ask her these questions; here’s a sneak peek at what she might tell you.
Thirty percent of Pill users quit using it because of side effects like nausea, breast tenderness, and headaches, not to mention mood changes or a drop in libido. Copper (i.e., nonhormonal) IUD users frequently experience increased menstrual pain and bleeding during the first months of use. Finding the right contraceptive pill or device can take a little bit of trial and error, so don’t settle for an option that leaves you feeling meh. Tell your doc about any negative symptoms you notice after going on a new form of birth control so she can help you find a better fit.
(Kick-start your new, healthy routine with Women’s Health’s 12-Week Total-Body Transformation!)
That’s 100 percent up to you. Carrier screening (through a blood or saliva test) can help predict your or your partner’s chances of passing on a genetic mutation and/or an inherited disorder such as cystic fibrosis, fragile X syndrome (a condition that causes learning and developmental issues), or sickle cell disease. Book a preconception counseling appointment with your ob-gyn to get her take. Then, if you’re still on the fence, she can refer you to a genetic counselor, who can help you further weigh the pros and cons.
Antibiotic overuse is responsible for the emergence of drug-resistant “superbugs,” which is why most M.D.s will opt to test your urine before writing a script. If your health-care provider says you need the meds, it’s important to take them and follow the full course of treatment; partially treated UTIs can lead to other serious medical issues like a kidney infection, which in rare cases can be life-threatening. Get more than one or two UTIs a year? Your doctor may want to do blood tests and an exam to rule out physical abnormalities (like a short urethra) or immune system issues (from a condition like diabetes) that can make it easier for bacteria to enter the bladder.
Learn how to keep your vagina happy and healthy:
For women over 35, some health professionals use a tool called the Gail Model; it calculates risks based on factors like family history, race, and your age when you got your first period. Take the online version (at cancer.gov), then discuss the results with your ob-gyn. The outcome of the test, along with other risk influencers (such as having more than two drinks a day or being overweight) can help you and your M.D. form a plan for when and how often to have mammograms. No matter what your risk level, always inform your doc if you notice any lumps, swelling, redness, nipple discharge, or changes in breast size; she can suss out what’s normal.
Maybe, especially if there’s been a recent shift—if, say, you typically enjoy sex three times a week but haven’t felt like doing it in months, or getting it on sounds good in theory, but when the moment arises you’re just not aroused. Your gyno can help you identify libido-crushing down-there issues (e.g., some STIs, fibroids) or medical conditions (diabetes, high blood pressure). If you’re physically shipshape, she can refer you to a therapist to help you spot and overcome relationship issues or stress, both of which can tank your sex drive.
This article originally appeared in the May 2017 issue of Women’s Health. For more great advice, pick up a copy of the issue on newsstands now!
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