It's almost time for your annual trip to the gynecologist and you're getting ready! Before you show up at the office, think about what questions you need to ask. Really, truly think about it. Don't just go with what seems obvious or what your BFF says that she asked. An annual exam is an essential part of identifying potential problems, maintaining a doctor-patient relationship, reviewing your risk factors and keeping you healthy, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). With that in mind, choosing your questions wisely is a must-do for every woman.
What should you ask? That depends on your age, needs and physical well-being. That said, there are some questions that many women are too shy or embarrassed to ask. Neglecting your health because you're self-conscious or are scared to ask won't help you or your doctor. Your gynecologist has heard it all, and only wants to keep you as healthy as possible. So, go ahead and ask away!
A few common questions that you should ask include:
- What's the right birth control? More specifically, what is the right birth control for you? There are hormonal options (such as the pill and the patch) along with hormone-free devices (such as the copper IUD) and barrier methods. If you're planning on getting pregnant in the not-so-distant future or know that you're 100 percent done having kids, you need to tell the doctor and let her give you the options that match your needs.
- Is an HPV test necessary along with a Pap smear? The Pap (cervical precancer screening) is recommended for every woman ages 21 through 65, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While the Pap looks for cellular changes, the HPV test detects the virus that can cause cervical cancer. HPV is a sexually transmitted disease (STD). If you're sexually active, you need to speak with your gynecologist about your risk and the necessity of this test.
- What about strange smells? It may seem embarrassing, but some odors are normal while others indicate a possible infection. Talking to your doctor about this subject can ease your anxieties and get you medical help if necessary.
- When does menopause start? This change of life isn't always easy to talk about. Asking your gynecologist if you'll start menopause (or have started) may make you feel 'old,' but it shouldn't. It's a natural part of being a woman, and doesn't automatically qualify you for an AARP membership.
- What's a normal period? Suppose your cycle seems short, long, painful, too heavy or too light. These common concerns warrant a discussion with the doctor. The gynecologist may be able to suggest ways of helping you to stabilize your cycle or ease any discomfort.
Regular gynecologist visits are must-do's for every woman. Whether you're a young adult who isn't anywhere near being ready for children, are looking to get pregnant pronto or are experiencing the slowing down of your cycle, seeing the gyno is the best way to get your feminine health questions answered (even the embarrassing ones) and prevent possible problems. For more information, visit contemporaryhealthcareforwomen.com.Share