Questions Every Woman Wants To Ask A Gynecologist Answered!

IMAGE: Shy woman afraid to express herself.

Going to the gynecologist is an unpleasant experience for a lot of women. Thanks to the stigmas surrounding women's health that make it sound gross and repulsive to go to the gynecologist at all, many women don't ever go, and those that do fear it every time. As it turns out, the gynecologist isn't so bad, and it's recommended that every person with a female reproductive system visit the gynecologist at least once a year, or more often if they're having multiple sexual partners. This is to ensure that health stays optimum at all times and if a new disease or problem comes up, it can be addressed quickly.

However, as we said, many women are fearful of going to the gynecologist. If they do go, they’re afraid to really interact with their doctor for the want of getting the interaction over as soon as possible. In addition, they might not feel comfortable talking about their bodies. It can be embarrassing for some women to even think about some things, let alone discuss them in detail with a stranger. While it’s true that doctors will not judge a woman for the things she asks and people should feel at their safest in the doctor’s office, this simply isn’t always true.

In this article, we’ve found answers from real gynecologists to questions that many women feel too awkward to ask them in the meetings. These questions might even be the reason why a woman wants to go to a gynecologist. Some of these concerns are even regarding the premise of the doctor’s visit itself, and women don’t want to ask the receptionist that question over the phone.

DO I HAVE TO SHAVE?



The main source of discomfort for women going to the gynecologist is insecurity. In addition to that insecurity, there’s a layer of secrecy over the whole gynecology process because of society’s tendency to make women’s health issues something inherently explicit. Women don’t learn the things that they might want to about how to prepare for a gynecologist appointment, and they don’t know who to ask. One of the biggest questions women have when preparing for a gynecologist appointment is whether or not they should shave.

The short answer is no. The longer answer is that women should do whatever they feel the most comfortable doing. There’s no need to go out and get a full Brazilian wax on account of the gynecologist; they’re doctors, not estheticians, and aren’t going to care one way or another. If a woman likes to remove her bikini hair, then that’s fine, but there’s no pressure or need to shave if it’s not something they want to do.

HOW CLEAN DOES IT HAVE TO BE?



One of the most important things to remember when it comes to any kind of health appointment is hygiene. Doctors and nurses will have to be in close proximity to the patient no matter what. While they usually are polite enough not to say anything if the patient is smelly or otherwise dirty, that doesn’t mean that the patient should subject them to that. The same goes for vaginal cleaning. A person doesn’t need to necessarily go through leaps and bounds to keep everything smelling like a rose, but certain steps should be taken.

Out of courtesy to the gynecologist, patients should shower before going to the appointment. In the shower, just wash off the vaginal area with some mild, unscented soap and warm water. Don’t put soap into the vagina; just a quick little rinse around the area is plenty. The vagina is excellent when it comes to cleaning itself regularly, even if it doesn’t smell clean to us.

SHOULD I GO IF I’M ON MY PERIOD?



On the same line of thinking as cleanliness is a courtesy to the gynecologist, what should a person do if they’re on their period? After all, the gynecologist is going to need to get in the vagina and blood will be absolutely everywhere. While a gynecologist is certainly professional enough to handle the sight and smell of blood, blood can actually interfere with some test results. It can also obscure some of the tools and make it more difficult to get things done.

As a result, it’s best to schedule an appointment when a person knows they won’t be on their period. If the day comes and a patient gets their period, most offices are completely understanding. After all, they’re professionals with the vagina and understand that menstruation happens. It’s best to reschedule when this happens to ensure that when the patient goes to the check-up, things will run as smoothly as possible.

WHAT IF IT SMELLS REALLY, REALLY GROSS?



Often times, women will go to gynecologists when they think something is wrong. Because of the social stigma surrounding gynecologists and because of the general idea that it’s not necessary to go to the gynecologists for just checkups, sometimes women wait until something is definitely wrong. In fact, some women will wait until their doctor has deferred them to a gynecologist. In these cases, sometimes things smell a little — or a lot — down there. This can be a major source of insecurity.

At the gynecologist's, the woman’s legs will be spread and that smell and situation will be on display. There’s no getting around that. However, it’s important to know that a really foul smell isn’t going to make a gynecologist flinch. Bad odors are often indicative of bigger problems, so it’s important to get over that worry and go see the gynecologist. They won’t mind the smell; it isn’t pleasant, but that’s not the patient’s fault, and gynecologists know that. The patient’s health unquestionably comes first. As long as you’re relatively clean, and an odor caused by illness isn’t going to make the doctor gag.

STRANGERS NEAR MY PRIVATES MAKES ME UNCOMFORTABLE



Some people don’t like the idea of the gynecologist simply because of the idea of having a person up close and personal with their private parts. Some people don’t even want people coming near them in a romantic, intimate, consensual atmosphere, let alone a stranger probing around in a doctor’s office. This creates quite a bit of fear in a lot of women for what might happen during this process and especially when it comes to voicing concerns in front of the gynecologist themselves.

It’s perfectly alright, and in fact advisable, to let a gynecologist know what the patient’s concerns are beforehand. This way, the gynecologist can work around them, and work with the patient to create the safest and most comfortable possible environment. It’s normal to feel a little vulnerable or uneasy around all the equipment and doctors, but it’s important to remember that there’s no need to keep feeling uncomfortable or violated. Women need to go to take care of their health and that’s what it is all about.

WILL I BE JUDGED FOR MY SEX LIFE?



Another major concern for women going into the gynecologist office is that they will be judged for their lifestyle. Whether they’re gay, have multiple partners, or have had no partners, there can be a lot of fear surrounding total honesty with a stranger. The worst part of it is that a gynecologist really needs to know whether or not the patient has or hasn’t been sexually active to make rulings on different diseases. However, it’s important to know that women won’t be judged for their sex lives.

The truth is, gynecologists, see it all. They see people who have never had sex, who have sex all the time, who have sex every now and again, and everything in between with different genders and orientations. Gynecologists are not counselors to tell patients how to live their lives. They simply need the information so that they can best address the health of their patients and ensure that no serious problem is afoot that’s going undetected for a silly fear of judgment.

ARE MALE GYNECOLOGISTS CREEPS?



In the gynecology field, not all doctors are women. In fact, as it is with many scientific fields, men make up the majority of gynecologists globally. Many people don’t quite understand this; men shouldn’t want to spend their lives looking at women’s vaginas, right? Furthermore, people who don’t have a mature understanding of the medical field might think that men go into gynecology to see naked women. Some women hear these things and then fear the worst.

Male gynecologists are not creeps. There have been a few in the history of gynecology to abuse their power as a doctor, sure, but there have also been female gynecologists, pediatricians, pharmacists, nurses, teachers, lawyers, and so on, who have broken rules. There’s no need to believe that a male gyno is inherently a perv. However, if a patient feels uneasy, she can usually have a nurse sit in while the male gynecologist is working to eliminate the concern that he might do something ‘funny.’ Anymore, most gynecologists have a nurse present in the room while the exam is taking place. This can help put the patient at ease and can also protect the doctor in the case of false accusations.

DO I NEED TO TELL THE GYNECOLOGIST EVERYTHING?



We know that it’s important to tell the gynecologist what’s going on with the patient’s body so that they have a good idea of what to look for and what can’t be the case. However, some women wonder what exactly they do and don’t need to share. For example, they might wonder whether they need to share details about their masturbatory experiences because of pain caused by something that happened. They might not know whether the details of their partner’s sex life is important to the gynecologist.

The easy answer is that if a patient thinks it’s important, the patient should share it. Gynecologists are trained to ask questions that pertain to what they need to know, and they’ll rarely leave it up to the patient to come up with information on their own. If they don’t ask, there’s a good chance that they don’t need to know. However, if something bizarre happened that the gynecologist wouldn’t ask about — like a freak masturbatory accident — a patient might want to save the gynecologist trouble and come forward about that.

I’M INSECURE ABOUT HOW THINGS LOOK



We discussed earlier that having an STD or even just a yeast infection can make for a stinky situation — literally — and make a lot of women feel insecure about going to the gynecologist. In the same vein of insecurity, some women might feel that the appearance of their private parts is off. Some women have uneven labia — actually, most women do — or there might be some incredibly strange discharge happening that makes the woman embarrassed. It might look outright gross, at least to the patient.

Just as we said with having a smelly bikini zone, it’s alright to have an uneven or messy zone. As long as a patient does their part to attempt to safely clean, remember, mild and unscented soap gently rinsed over the area but not inserted, then that’s all they can do. Gynecologists understand and are there to ensure that things get fixed and back to normal. A good thing to tell ourselves is that whatever we’ve got, the doctor has probably seen worse.

WHAT IF I DON’T TELL THEM EVERYTHING?



Say a woman goes to the gynecologist and has every intention of being open and honest. But, when she gets there, she gets nervous. Maybe she gets embarrassed about the details of her sex life. Maybe the procedures are too violating for her comfort zone and it makes her feel insecure and shaken. Either way, she ends up deciding that it would be best not to tell the gynecologist everything, whether she decides to leave out facts or lie outright when asked questions to avoid further humiliation. This can’t cause any real problems, right?

In fact, lying to the gynecologist or leaving out information can be really, really bad. They can see a certain amount for themselves, but they have to leave some of it up to the patient. Gynecologists ask about sexual partners and things like that because they don’t know, and without extensive DNA testing and other procedures, they can’t know unless explicitly told. While it’s not necessary to detail a sex life, a patient should be honest with their gynecologist at the very least. When a patient isn't honest, they are putting themselves at risk and the doctor at a disadvantage.

SHOULD I DOUCHE BEFOREHAND?



We talked earlier about hygiene at the gynecologists and that women shouldn’t be too terribly self-conscious about off-kilter smells or sights. Taking a shower and washing appropriately should be all that’s necessary. However, one popular way that many women like to freshen up their bikini area is by douching. These can be purchased at a drugstore. Douching is not healthy for the vagina, it’s not healthy for the bikini zone, and it shouldn’t be done right before the gynecology appointment.

Douches are full of unnatural ingredients that alter the PH of a vagina. The PH is essentially the acid level — yes, vaginas have a level of acidity. When this acid level gets tampered with, things can go very wrong, usually resulting in yeast infections and discomfort. In addition, the ingredients in the douche can tamper with the results of some tests done via smears of the vagina or cervix. It’s best to skip it, the doctor would rather deal with a smelly situation than have results that they can’t work with.

SHOULD I GO TO THE GYNO IF I’VE NEVER DONE IT?



Many people believe that gynecologists are for women who have sex all the time and need to constantly get checked for STDs. This is partly thanks to the stigma surrounding women’s health and partly thanks to the lack of education on gynecology and what it’s really about at its core. Gynecology appointments should be amped up in frequency if a patient is having sex often, true, but at its core, gynecology is to check the health of the female reproductive system.

As a result, women should at least get annual checkups whether or not they’ve had a new partner. Lots of things can go wrong or change without the aid of another person. Yeast infections might happen; birth control might be needed for reasons other than sex; gynecology offices also check for breast cancer. Breast cancer can come up in any woman regardless of sexual encounters, and it’s important to get it early, as well as other cancers of the reproductive system.

DO I HAVE TO GO TO THE GYNO FOR BIRTH CONTROL?



So a person has gone through all of the different tips and tricks for how to prepare for the gynecologist, understands that there’s really nothing wrong with going to the gynecologist, and still decides that they don’t want to. However, things can still go wrong, and often they will. If a person gets a yeast infection, for example, they might want to see a doctor. A more common issue is birth control and how to obtain that. How can a person get those things without going to a gynecologist?

The truth is, many doctors will prescribe birth control — it’s not usually necessary to go to a gynecologist to get it. In addition, many doctors can prescribe antibiotics and medications to help with other STD’s or problems that might occur in the vagina. However, it’s worth noting that gynecologists are trained specifically for the vagina’s health and wellness, so they’re more specialized than most general practitioners are on the issues of that health.

WHAT ARE THOSE BUMPS ON MY CROTCH?



This question is a bit more specific and immediate than the others, but it’s got to do with a common health concern that women have. Often, women develop bumps along their genital area — these aren’t to be mistaken for painful or rashy warts — that form hard lumps and simply sit for ages. These often form along the bikini line where the leg meets the crotch and can be referred to as ‘saddle lumps.’ What they are, essentially, is cystic acne. This happens to everyone and isn’t reflective of a disease.

These cysts develop under the skin, often as a result of an ingrown hair from shaving. They build up to full of pus and sometimes blood, and they will simply sit until disturbed. Some women like to take initiative and drain them, although that’s not advised because having an open wound in a moist area is asking for more infection. Usually, these cysts will go away on their own with warm compresses. However, if it’s becoming painful or a cause for concern, a gynecologist can certainly help with that — usually, that will mean cutting it open and draining it. Ew!

SHOULD I BRING A FRIEND OR RELATIVE?



Because of everything that we’ve discussed in this article, some women want to be accompanied to the gynecologist. It can be difficult to remember everything and stay calm alone for some people, and having a best friend or mother or sister there might be comforting. Especially for younger patients, they might want to have their mothers or friends present because they’re unfamiliar with the situation and need someone experienced nearby.

Gynecology offices have the same policies on confidentiality that any other place of medicine will have. For this reason, usually, people can’t let their friends in. They’ll usually be permitted to have their immediate family or caretakers in the room with them. Girls under eighteen can have their parents with them, or whoever is accompanying them. For questions about a specific office, patients should ask beforehand to avoid mix-ups at the door.

Sources: Shape.com, DotorOz.com, HealthCentral.com, BuzzFeed.com, Prevention.com
Disclaimer: The information and opinions provided here are believed to be accurate and sound, based on the best judgment available to the authors, but it should not be construed as personal medical advice or instruction. Readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.
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