Visiting your gynecologist for an annual exam protects your overall health. The doctor can identify and diagnose abnormalities, such as itchiness or painful cramps, and prescribe treatments to prevent the problems from worsening. During the checkup, you can also ask questions, including those listed below, to expand your knowledge about your reproductive health.
What Questions Should You Ask a Gynecologist?
What do Pap smears and STD tests entail?
A Pap smear involves sticking a swab in the cervix to collect cells for lab analysis. The sample is examined for markers of HPV, cancer, and other causes for concern. A urinalysis might be used to detect STDs. The gynecologist might also draw blood to test for infectious diseases and take a cheek swab to test for HIV.
Should a strange smell and discharge be cause for concern?
Let your doctor know whether you’ve experienced a change in vaginal smell or notice a strange discharge. Ask your doctor what the changes could indicate. An ammonia-like odor, for example, could be a symptom of bacterial vaginosis.
The sexually-transmitted infection trichomoniasis is often marked by a fishy smell. The color, thickness, and texture of discharge can change based on whether a woman is aroused, ovulating, under stress, or sick. Describe the discharge to your gynecologist for more insight.
What are my contraception options?
There are many methods of contraception available. Based on your lifestyle and health, a gynecologist might recommend taking birth control pills or injections to control ovulation. They might also recommend fitting you for a cervical cap or another barrier to prevent sperm from reaching the egg.
How can I prevent UTIs and yeast infections?
Bacteria introduced to the kidneys, bladder, urethra, or ureters can lead to a urinary tract infection. Let your doctor know if you experience pain or an uncomfortable urge to urinate. They can prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection. Make sure to ask about preventative measures, too. The doctor will recommend urinating after sex to flush bacteria from your partner out of your body and wiping from front to back to minimize the risk of getting bacteria in the vagina.
A yeast infection is marked by an itchy sensation in the vagina, cottage cheese-like vaginal discharge, and pain while urinating. Discuss with your doctor the birth control, steroids, and antibiotics you are taking, as certain medicines can stimulate yeast production. Wearing restrictive clothing that causes moisture buildup in the pelvic region can also cause a yeast infection.
For answers to additional women’s health questions, contact the gynecologists at Greece OB-GYN LLP in Rochester, NY. Serving the Monroe County community since 1963, the clinic is known for using the latest technology, including robotic surgery, to address patients’ needs. Download patient forms online and call (585) 225-6680 for an appointment. The clinic offers evening hours for your convenience.