5 Secrets You Should Be Telling Your Gynecologist
It’s pretty normal to feel shy or uncomfortable sharing certain information during appointments with your gynecologist.
However, avoiding certain topics can put your reproductive health and sexual habits at risk – and trust us, we’ve heard and seen it all. Here are the 5 things you should always disclose to your gynecologist.
Pain or Bleeding During Sex
Both these things may occur before and after your first time having sex, but these conditions should not persist over subsequent occasions. Sometimes pain during sex can be caused by an infection, vaginismus (when a woman’s vaginal muscles tighten), or something wrong internally so you should have your gynecologist assess the problem. These can be treated with pelvic physiotherapy, estrogen therapies, lubricants, and dilators. Bleeding, on the other hand, can mean cervical problems like inflammation, infection, even cancer, so it’s imperative you inform your gynecologist immediately.
Your sexual history
Trust us, we’re not here to judge or tell you what you should or shouldn’t be doing. You can feel completely comfortable telling us about your sexual past and present with two main things in mind: how many sexual partners you have and if you’ve had unprotected sex. We ask for this information simply to ensure you’re having the safest sex possible, free of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancy. These infections can cause pelvic pain and affect future fertility so it’s important that you’re using the proper barrier of protection.
Changes in your Menstrual Cycle
An irregular period can look different for every woman affected by them; maybe your periods have always been irregular or they’ve reached the point of concern for you in recent months. Periods that become shorter, longer, heavier, lighter, or disappeared altogether should absolutely be brought to the attention of your gynecologist. This could be the result of any number of factors like hormonal disorders or fibroid, endometriosis, and clotting disorders which can all cause heavy bleeding. A menstrual cycle that vanishes altogether could be related to pregnancy, extreme weight loss, too much stress, or overexercising.
In older women, changes in your menstruation cycle could be warning you that you are nearing menopause; irregular bleeding is a telltale sign of perimenopause. Some women in these early stages will have lighter periods further apart that eventually stop altogether while others will have their menstruation just stop without warning.
Your Reproductive Plans
If you are planning on having children, you should be aware that the risk of complications increases over the age of 40 as fertility starts declining at the age of 35. As you age, the number of eggs that can be fertilized decreases resulting in conception difficulties, miscarriage, and a baby born with abnormalities. Many women are upset when they find that they can’t have children because they waited too long. Take the time now to discuss what reproductive options you have, and save your future self the disappointment.
If you’re consistently taking your birth control
We understand that it can be hard to remember to take your pill every day at the same time. However, forgetting to do so can have some uncomfortable results for your body. We can discuss lifestyle changes with you to help you to remember or if you just don’t see this happening, there are alternatives like the patch, vaginal rings, injections, and intrauterine devices (IUDs).