We all know that going to the OB-GYN for a pelvic exam isn’t exactly something we look forward to. It is however important to your overall health to visit your doctor for your annual exam. We get it, you find yourself Googling questions you may have related to your health. It’s okay, we all do it – but know, everybody’s experience is not the same. That is why it is so important to ask your doctor questions that relate to your health when you are visiting the office – even if it makes you uncomfortable. Ask away.
Here we created a list of questions that you may feel uncomfortable to ask – it is okay. Ask anyway.
1. I’m nervous and anxious about my annual exam. It makes me especially uncomfortable to have a pelvic exam. What can I do to feel more at ease?
Being exposed in front of other people, including doctors, can be really uncomfortable. You should communicate the feelings you are having prior to your examination. When you discuss your concerns with a healthcare professional, they may be able to give you an idea of what to expect. Have them walk you through the process verbally. You may find it helpful. Here are some other tips you may want to consider.
2. I’m on my period. Can I see my OB-GYN, or should I wait?
If your visit involves a pap smear it may be best to schedule your appointment around the time of menstruation. Otherwise, there shouldn’t be a problem to keep the appointment. If you are still unsure, ask.
3. Should I shave or wax before my visit?
Unless you are worried that your pubic hair might be concealing a concerning spot, leave it however you feel most comfortable.
4. Does my “fill-in-the-blank” look normal?
More than likely that “certain part of your anatomy” looks “normal.” Everyone is different and each characteristic of a person can be different from the next. Like many things regarding the human body, there are unrealistic beauty standards that can make people feel self-conscious or different. However, if you notice abnormal growths or changes, it is important to let your gynecologist know so they can perform an examination.
5. I identify as non-binary/gender nonconforming. What can I expect during my visit?
If you are currently looking for a healthcare provider, it is important to ask the questions that you are concerned about. You may get a sense of what you can expect over the phone on whether or not you would be comfortable visiting the office. Ask if the office has an inclusive policy.
If you have a vagina, a cervix or breast tissue, it’s important to make regular visits to a gynecologist—regardless of your gender or sexuality. Your gynecologist can provide cancer screening, sexual health checkups and safe sex advice.
6. Is it safe to have sex during my period?
It is recommended that you use protection to prevent any STIs/STDs and to remove all possibilities of getting pregnant (if that is what you are concerned about).
7. Can I have sex during pregnancy?
Yes, but certain pregnancy conditions prohibit sexual intercourse, including placenta previa (the placenta lies low in the uterus and partially covers the cervix), preterm labor or cervical insufficiency (premature shortening/thinning or dilation of the cervix early in pregnancy). If you are experiencing vaginal bleeding in pregnancy, ask your doctor before resuming sexual intercourse.
8. Is what I am experiencing premenstrual syndrome or is it premenstrual distress disorder?
PMS can be tough to experience for some. If premenstrual syndrome is interfering with personal relationships or your ability to perform functions at your job or school, it should be evaluated. You may be experiencing premenstrual distress disorder that can cause substantial mood changes.
9. How early will I be able to detect if I’m pregnant?
You can take an at home pregnancy test at any time. In terms of accuracy – if you are pregnant, your body needs time to develop detectable levels of HCG. This typically takes seven to 12 days after successful implantation of an egg.
10. How often should I be tested for a sexually transmitted disease?
If you are sexually active you should be tested for sexually transmitted disease (STD). There are some STDs that do not cause symptoms and can go undiagnosed unless you get a routine screening. Here are some guidelines you can follow.
Bottom line, your reproductive and sexual health plays a big role in your overall health. Go to your appointment, ask the questions. More than likely you will not be the first person to ask “that” question. At OB-GYN Women’s Centre of Lakewood Ranch, we are a team of passionate healthcare professionals. We are here to help you at any stage of your life.