Regular gynecologist visits, despite being highly important for maintaining female health, are shrouded in thick clouds of stigma and misperception. While most women visit a gynecologist only with the advent of serious, daily life-impairing symptoms, others hesitate in making an appointment owing to the various myths associated with regular gynecological consultations, some of which are:
1- Shaving Your Vulva Before An Appointment Is Not Necessary:
While the core component of any visit is a vaginal examination, gynecologists do not mind whether or not you have shaved your pubic hair and waxed your legs; their major concern is observing your vaginal health and condition, which is not hindered by pubic hair. However, do shower before an appointment as a good show of personal hygiene.
2- Skipping an Appointment Because of Your Period Is Not Advised:
Gynecologists are used to the sight of blood when delivering babies, so if you miscalculated or forgot your expected date, do not cancel or reschedule. A new appointment may be difficult to place, and there is no guarantee that you will be clear on the next visit; particularly if your periods are irregular-which in itself is a problem that you’re avoiding by skipping on appointments. Simply call ahead and ask your doctor if they can examine you while on your period.
3- Please Address Your Burning Health Questions:
Most women refrain from discussing a persistent itch, a suspicious bump, smell or discharge from their vagina, mainly due to embarrassment, and choose to bear with it, instead. Talk to your gynecologist if you observe anything out of the ordinary in order to get an accurate diagnosis; it might be something mundane, like ingrown hair, or something serious, like a vulvar skin issue. Either way, your mind will be at ease and your condition treated.
4- Do Not Make False Period-Related Assumptions, Instead Ask Your Doctor:
Excruciating cramps and heavy or prolonged bleeding that disrupts your daily life is not normal. Most often a sign of an underlying medical condition, these issues can usually be treated easily with a timely diagnosis; which is why you should brief your gynecologist on your period woes- even if it is difficult to talk about.
5- Do Not Wait Out A Urinary Tract Infection:
Characterized by a constant need to urinate and a burning sensation while doing so, Urinary Tract Infections, or UTIs are highly common. Yet they shouldn’t be taken lightly; as a UTI can reach the kidneys, and cause various kidney conditions if left untreated. So, the next time you experience a UTI, forego the home remedies-aside from drinking plenty of water-and go straight to your gynecologist.
6- Talk About Your Family’s Medical History:
Informing your gynecologist of any instances of cancer, particularly breast and ovarian cancers, among your relatives aids in the prevention and early diagnosis of such tumors through genetic testing and regular screenings. Moreover, a family history of blood clots or period-related issues should also be discussed for an accurate prescription of treatment and adequate birth control methods, when needed.
7- Do Not Play The Role Of Doctor:
Doctors have medical degrees for a reason. While most gynecologists appreciate concerned, well-informed patients, self-formulating a diagnosis based off of online research and asking your doctor about treatment options is not advised. Explain your symptoms and suspicions, and let your gynecologist test and examine you for an accurate diagnosis.
8- Be Open About Your Sex Life:
This might be a sensitive topic, both socially and personally, but know that you need to discuss your sexual activities with your gynecologist in order to be able to take necessary health precautions against various STIs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases)-a common yet overlooked contributor to yearly death tolls-and birth control options. However, for the small, sexually-concerned population, remember that asking to get tested for every possible STI usually means you will get tested for common infections, like chlamydia or gonorrhea. This is because certain infections are more common in certain age groups-like routine HPV (Human Papillomavirus) testing in women over 30-or your doctor might not feel the need for all-inclusive testing unless you present any symptoms. Though if the paranoia doesn’t go away, ask for specific tests and discuss their necessity with your gynecologist.
Your gynecologist should be someone you can trust and talk to about your health issues openly. If you need help finding the right doctor, you can search and find a top Gynecologist in Multan, Lahore and Rawalpindi through oladoc.com. Or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your womanly needs.
About the Writer:
Yashfa Marrium is a freelance writer and health enthusiast. You can reach her at [email protected]