In the world of OB/GYNs, the topics and subjects our patients find “embarrassing” is just par for the daily course.
We chose this profession because we are passionate about providing healthy reproductive care for our patients – and we do so with an emphasis on preserving your dignity.
5 Things You Shouldn’t Be Embarrassed to Tell or Ask a GYN
The word “embarrassing” is yours, not ours! So, with that in mind, here are five of the things you may think are “embarrassing,” or that you would prefer to keep secret, that we need to know to provide the best care possible.
1. Whether or not you are or have been sexually active with more than one partner
Your sex life is completely confidential, and we hold that without any judgment. However, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), particularly the most common STIs like HPV or pelvic inflammatory disease, need to be caught and treated ASAP.
As a result, we need to know whether or not you are sexually active, have more than one partner (even if you’re married), and whether or not you are faithful about using protection. This allows us to screen you accurately and provide you with the most up-to-date information to keep you healthy and safe.
We assure you that there is nothing you can tell us that we haven’t heard before. We aren’t here to judge or admonish; we’re here to support your choices so you can make them as safely as possible.
2. You are itchy, burning, or smelly
Yep, it can be uncomfortable to share the lesser-pleasant experiences you’re having “down there.” However, you’ll be glad you did. Your itchy, smelly, or burning sensations are all communicating a message: Help!
Automatically using OTC products available at the drug store is not a good idea. For example, you may be treating a bacterial infection with a fungicide for yeast infections, which only compounds the matter because it wipes out the healthy yeast needed to help fight harmful bacteria. Using your old (or a friend’s) antibiotics isn’t a good idea either – you might be eradicating healthy bacteria when your issue results from yeast or a virus.
Accurate diagnosis is essential, so please give us a call if you suspect you have a yeast infection, bacteria vaginosis, or a UTI. Also, if you are sexually active, there is always a chance your symptoms are related to a sexually transmitted infection, in which case accurate diagnosis and treatment are essential.
3. Your anatomical parts look different from others you’ve seen
We’ve had patients who waited to come to us until they were well into their 20s or even 30s (or older) because they were embarrassed that their anatomical parts (breasts, nipples, labia, vulva, etc.) looked “weird.” We have news for you – every woman’s parts look weird because there are absolutely NO STANDARDS. We are all made differently.
We love photographer Laura Dodsworth’s work that often features 100 examples of “the same parts,” including women’s vaginas/vulvas, proving that no two are alike and you have nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed of.
However, as different as we may be, some women do have issues that need to be tended to. Avoiding gynecology appointments means we don’t have a chance to screen you for other critical reproductive health issues that have nothing to do with size or shapes.
4. You are sexually active
We need to know if you are a minor (17 years or younger) and are sexually active. If you are a young adult who has never been to the OB/GYN before and you’re sexually active (and a little embarrassed to talk about it), it’s time to schedule your first appointment. Your parents don’t have to know a thing.
You are completely protected when it comes to patient/doctor confidentiality. We keep anything you tell us 100% confidential – including your sexual history. The only exception to the confidentiality rule is if you are being physically harmed or plan to harm yourself or someone else. Those rules are the same for teachers, physicians, therapists, etc.
In the meantime, we can email, chat on the phone, or schedule a private time to visit so you get the help you need. We want to provide all the correct information to make educated decisions about your sexual safety and health. That includes learning how to protect yourself from getting or spreading sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and making smart birth control choices based on your medical history, period symptoms, etc.
5. Problems having sex (or getting in the mood)
The media wants us to believe that women are sexually empowered and have no excuses not to enjoy a healthy and frequent sex life. That’s simply not true. All kinds of things negatively impact a woman’s sex life – and we are here to help!
Some of the many reasons you may not be “in the mood” or may feel pain, discomfort, or lack of pleasure during sex include:
● Lack of sleep
● Marital/relationship dissatisfaction
● Hormone imbalance
● Lack of lubrication
● History of sexual trauma or abuse
● A religious or cultural upbringing that made sex feel wrong, a sin, only for the man, etc.
● Lack of confidence in your body, its parts, and its ability to orgasm
The list goes on, and we can support any of the issues keeping you from having the sex life you deserve or refer you to other professionals who can help.
Are you ready to speak to a gynecologist who will never make you feel embarrassed – no matter how strange the question or issue may seem to you? Contact OB/GYN Associates of Spokane. We promise you’ll leave our offices feeling more confident, inspired, and empowered than when you walked in.