No one feels comfortable with their feet in the stirrups. But as uncomfortable as that (temporary) feeling is, you can tolerate it. Moreover, when you're at the gynecologist's office, know that this isn't a time for secrets. In fact, the things you should never feel ashamed to tell your gynecologist can potentially keep you healthy, happy, and at ease with your body, which is what a good physician wants for you.
A lot of women put physicians on a pedestal, which is deserved because, you know, doctors save lives. But not only should you remember that doctors are human and not expecting you to be perfect, you should remember that whatever you say has probably been said in your gyno's office already. In other words, doctors hear it all. Keeping secrets about your sexual health can be potentially harmful to your physical health. And keeping secrets about your sexual health out of a place of shame is hazardous to your mental health. Dr. Lissa Rankin, a gynecologist in Mill Valley, California told CNN that people "want their [doctor's] approval," and keep secrets because they're "afraid to tell them something that might disappoint them."
But remember, your doctor took the Hippocratic Oath to help you while preserving your privacy. Oaths are, like totally serious promises, so just disclose the information, even if doing so makes you more uncomfortable than those stirrups. Any of the following concerns need to be addressed with your gyno, no matter how embarrassed you might feel.
1. You've Had Unprotected Sex
By now, you know that unprotected sex is risky behavior. But it happens. And your doctor needs to know. Women's Health noted that some STDs like Chlamydia don't have symptoms, and others like HPV can be dormant for years. So even if you slipped up one time, fess up and get tested for everything.
2. Your Real Age
I lie about my age so much that I'm not even sure how old I really am. But my doctor needs to know your real birthday so he or she can diagnose you properly. From fertility to irregular periods, age plays a factor, so be truthful at the gynco's office.
3. You're Taking Meds, Drugs, Or Supplements
Whether you're taking Xanax for anxiety or puffing a little weed to relax, or pounding fish oil supplements, disclose to your doc. According to Bedsider, many meds, drugs, or supplements can counteract with birth control. Your doctor's not a narc, but there to help.
4. You Don't Want Kids
As OB-GYN Mary Jane Minkin told Women's Health, her job is to "make sure women don't get pregnant when they don't want to and do get pregnant when they do want to." Case closed.
5. You Have Multiple Partners
Single and mingling? Your doctor needs to know because even when you have safe sex, multiple partners can affect the pH of your vagina, according to Indiana Health Center University.
6. You Have Anal
There's nothing to be embarrassed about if you have anal. But, did you know if you're not taking precautions, according to Mayo Clinic, you can end up with a urinary tract infection from E. Coli bacteria entering your vagina? Yeah, you don't want that. You do want tips on how to prevent foreign invaders, so tell your gyno about all your proclivities.
7. You've Been Exposed To A STI Or STD
Well, this is common sense, and nothing to be ashamed of. Treatment, telling your partner(s) and next steps are key right now.
8. You Don't Know Who Your Baby's Father Is
Whether you're married and had an affair, or all that single mingling ended up with a pregnancy, tell your doctor what you do know. According to CNN, your baby's parentage is serious business. Everything from ethnicity to blood type can make a difference in your child's health, so discuss your lack of knowledge with your doctor and try to problem solve. You don't want to end up on Maury.
9. Your Pubic Hair Grooming Habits
Whether you're completely bare down there, or rocking a bush, it's important to keep an eye on what's going on with your pubic grooming. A Cosmopolitan editor almost died from an infected ingrown hair after a wax. So, discuss what you do with your doc.
10. You Have A Funky Smell Down There
Chances are, your gyno will smell what's going on between your legs, but then again, sometimes weird vaginal odors come and go. Women's Health reported that sometimes a funky smell is sign of an infection and sometimes it's normal. Only your doc can tell for sure.
11. You Have Painful Sex
According to Prevention, there's a host of medical causes for painful sex, as well as some psycho-emotional ones, so don't suffer in silence. Get treated.
12. You've Had An Abortion In The Past
It's disheartening that in 2016 pregnancy termination still carries stigma. Unfortunately, past abortions might have left scar tissue, according to CNN. So, disclose, and don't feel any obligation to explain yourself.
13. You're Drinking Too Much
Whether you're binge drinking or have a nightly wine habit, alcohol consumption can affect fertility and counteract with other medications, according to Women's Health. If drinking is a problem, your doctor can help you seek shame-free treatment.
14. You Have To Pee All The Time
Even younger women experience frequent urination, and according to CNN, can signal a dangerous bladder condition.
15. You Want To Break Up (With Her Or Him)
Just like breaking up with your shrink can be intimidating, breaking up with your gyno might make you nervous. But if the fit isn't right, don't be ashamed, say something. Maybe your gyno was having a bad day on your last appointment, or maybe his or her bedside manner just doesn't do it for you. Talk it through, and make the decision that protects your self, and your wellbeing.
Maybe going to the gyno might never be your idea of a good time, but it should never activate feelings of shame. When you're honest with yourself and your doctor, you're not just doing your vagina a favor, you're being a grown ass woman.