By Joanne Rosa
Going to the gynecologist is probably not at the top of your to-do list, but it should be. Yes, we know it’s not pleasant, but neither is being a woman. You’re never too young or too old to make your reproductive health a priority, because we all know that our lady bits have to do with more than periods and popping out kids.
Here are a few questions you should ask your doctor at your next visit.
How do I examine my breasts at home?
Breast cancer doesn’t discriminate, and it doesn’t wait to show up until your next appointment with your GYN. Breasts of all shapes and sizes, natural or implanted, should be examined more than once a year for signs of cancer. Your doctor should explain to you how to perform a self-exam and what to look for that could be considered abnormal.
What are the side effects of my birth control?
If you are on birth control, it’s important to learn the side effects it is causing your body. You might find that your BC is effecting you in ways that negatively impact your day-to-day. While you’re on the subject, make sure you tell your GYN what medicines you’re taking. This includes over the counter meds and herbal supplements. You never know what could be lowering the effectiveness of your BC.
Is this normal?
Think back to the times when something just didn’t seem right down there. Asking your GYN if that irritation, flow, smell, look, etc. could help you discover if something is going on with your body. Maybe it’s something else, like how much hair you’re losing, or your inability to cope with stress. Don’t be bashful, just ask.
When should I bother looking into my fertility?
There’s not much we can do about the ticking biological clock linked to our ovaries, but we can be well informed about our fertility. Talk to your doctor about when you potentially anticipate having kids in your life, and the steps you need to take to make that happen. There are a number of blood tests you can take now that are often covered by insurance to determine your fertility. Talk to your doctor about the three tests AMH (measures level of Anti Mullerian Hormone in bloodstream, which is often connected to ovarian reserve), FSH (measures level of Follicle Stimulating Hormone, which produce estrogen and progesterone to maintain regular menstrual cycles), and Estradiol (measures Estradiol, which helps development of female reproductive organs). If some of your levels aren’t normal, it’s best to know now rather than when you’re actively trying to have a baby.
Can we talk about my sex life?
This is no Ask Wendy session, this is fundamental to your sexual health. Tell your GYN how many partners you’ve had, if you experience any pain during sex, if you’re unable to orgasm, if you have an overactive sex drive or lack thereof, ask everything. You can try talking to your best friend about these things, but she’s not going to have the answers that provide a real solution; your Gynecologist will.