There are times when discretion about health topics is a good idea. Telling your banker that it kind of burns when you pee is probably never a good idea. But on the flip side, you should be as candid as possible when talking to your doctor, especially a gynecologist. The odds of shocking a gyno are pretty low; chances are they’ve seen it all already. And although you’d be certain to mention major health changes (such as a pregnancy), there are also some seemingly little things that may need your gynecologist’s attention. At any rate, it never hurts to ask about a potential health concern.
Your gyno isn’t going to judge you for sleeping with multiple partners or having concerns about painful sex. She just needs to know the whole truth of your overall health and sexual background in order to provide the best care possible. And even if you aren’t particularly shy about sharing private details with a doctor, there may be some minor things that you wouldn’t even think to mention that could affect your health. Even taking some supplements or having an occasional smoke could affect your treatment. Keep these little things in mind at your next visit so that none of them turn into big health problems later on.
If you're having issues with accidental pee, then your gyno might be able to help. As reported in the Huffington Post, when gynecologists are performing a manual exam, they "are sometimes able to detect when muscles have weakened to the point where they may cause incontinence." Don't be afraid to speak up if this common problem has been affecting you.
Even the occasional cigarette could have a big impact on your treatment plan. As noted in Shape, by speaking up about smoking, "your doctor will think twice about prescribing hormone-based contraception (like the pill), because you're more likely to suffer a blood clot or stroke." Telling the truth may help you avoid some particularly nasty health consequences.
3. Abnormal Discharge
Different infections may cause different changes to this area, so your gyno will need to know all the details. A yeast infection might present as a "discharge that's thick and watery at the same time," whereas bacterial vaginosis may appear more "grayish or yellowish," as professor in obstetrics and gynecology Pamela Berens explained in Woman's Day. No need to get squeamish — just tell it like it is.
4. Painful Sex
Not the fun kind. "Pain during sex can be felt as deep pelvic pain or soreness in your genital area," Everyday Health reported. "Common causes are vaginal dryness, infections, or uterine fibroids." A pelvic exam may help your doctor determine the cause of this pain.
5. Medications & Supplements
Chances are your doctor already knows if you're on any birth control pills, but reporting every medication you're taking will help your gyno prescribe the best treatment. "Even herbal supplements can have contraindications, so let your gyno know exactly what you’re taking," Casey Guren wrote in Women's Health. Even if it's just something from the health shop.
6. Pelvic Bloating & Pain
This could be cause for serious concern. Health reported that when pelvic bloating and pain "occur together consistently for two weeks or more and feel worse than routine tummy trouble, they may be signs of ovarian cancer." Let your doctor know ASAP if this is the case.
7. Additional Health Problems
If you've had any health changes since your last visit, then your gyno probably needs to know. Even something seemingly unrelated, such as thyroid problems, "which are commonly associated with irregular periods," could help clarify your current treatment needs, according to Huffington Post. As far as your gyno is concerned, there is almost never too much information.
8. Sleeping With More Than One Person
Whether you're poly, dating around, or even in a relationship where cheating has occurred, your gyno needs to know. You don't have to go into detail, but your doctor will need to know to test for STDs such as the "human papillomavirus (HPV), which can lead to cervical cancer," as noted in Marie Claire. Don't worry about judgment; just keep your doctor in the loop.
9. Color Or Texture Change In Your Vagina
It's a great idea to keep an eye on how things appear down there. Psychologist Debby Herbenick told Woman's Day that changes in color or texture could indicate "an early warning sign of a benign vulvar skin disorder called lichen sclerosus." It's treatable, so detecting this skin disorder in the early stages is key.
10. How Much You Drink
Is there anything people are more willing to lie about? As with most things, this is worth fessing up when your gyno is concerned. CNN reported that "you have an increased chance of getting breast and some other types of cancer if you drink alcohol, so doctors might screen you more vigilantly if they know you drink." It can also interfere with certain medications.
11. PMS Symptoms
Does it feel like your PMS is worse than average? As psychiatrist Gail Saltz explained in Shape, a more serious problem may present with symptoms of "anxiety that makes functioning in your daily life difficult or depression that leaves you highly irritable such that you are exploding at others or feeling hopeless and crying. These symptoms could indicate premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)." These signs are a good reason to see your gyno as soon as possible.