Here Are the Most Common Questions People Ask their Gynecologist

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When it comes to matters of sexual health, there are many questions that arise from the moment we get our first period onwards. That’s why our best source of information is our gynecologist. The more questions we ask, the more knowledge we get out of the conversation. So here we bring you some of the most common questions, answered by Sherry Ross, MD, OB/GYN and women’s health expert. Just remember that reading things online doesn’t replace the guide our physicians can provide for us. In fact, if you have any burning questions by the end of this article and you don’t want to wait until your next appointment, you can ask them to the board of certified gynecologists available online at Doctor Spring. Go check it out!

That being said, let’s get started!

Does the pill have any effect on my weight?

We’ve all heard something about this, so we may have grown a little biased towards it. It turns out that weight gain is not a side effect and it can be explained by other circumstances. “Adolescence or going off to college is when most people start the pill and this is also a time that young women tend to gain weight,” says Dr. Ross.

Is it possible to get HPV or HSV from a toilet seat?

It’s true that toilet seats are full of bacteria, but HPV, or any other sexually transmitted infections for that matter, is not something you can get from contact with a toilet seat; according to Dr. Ross, “HPV is contracted through skin to skin contact typically during sexual contact. It’s often best to avoid any sexual partner who has genital warts or a known history of HPV.”

When should I see a gynecologist for the first time?

The recommended age is 13-15 years old; it’s a good time to start building a relationship with your gynecologist so you can learn about prevention of sexually transmitted infections and other relevant health care advice you may need. For those of you who are at that age and might feel uncomfortable about it, Dr. Ross has this to say: “The good news is your first visit may be only a conversation and/or an external examination to make sure everything is healthy with your female parts. Unless you are sexually active or have vaginal discharge or other complaints, you will not need an internal pelvic exam.”

What’s the best way to keep my female parts clean?

The best advice is to clean your vagina and labia every day with the hygienic attention you give to any other part of your body. “Urine, sweat and closeness to the anus, makes this area’s clean up very essential and critical to prevent bacterial buildup and to avoid the odors that develop throughout the day,” says Dr. Ross.

Is douching the best way to clean my vagina?

No, this kind of internal vaginal cleaning is not recommended. “The active cleaning ingredients used in most douches can upset healthy vaginal discharge and pH balance and create a yeast or bacterial infection,” says Dr. Ross. So keep that in mind before you turn it into a routine.

I still smell something funny even when I am clean down there, is it normal?

Healthy and clean vaginas have a natural scent, but it shouldn’t be unpleasant. According to Dr. Ross, “If you notice an offensive, fishy, yeasty, or foul odor, it’s recommended to see your gynecologist to rule out an infection. Your diet and habits can also affect your vagina’s smell and taste; foods like garlic, onions, Brussels sprouts and red meat, and also things like smoking, alcohol and caffeine.”

Can I have sex on my period?

Yes. According to Dr. Ross, you can have sex on your period. The obvious thing about it is that it might be messy!

Can I get pregnant on my period?

It really depends on your cycle. “If you ovulate early in the cycle, you can get pregnant,” says Dr. Ross. “For example, sperm lives for 3 days so if you have sex on day 6 of your period and ovulate on day 9, you could get pregnant.”

How can I best treat period cramps?

“Cramps can be treated with ibuprofen such as Advil and Motrin,” says Dr. Ross. A tip: keep track of your period so you can take ibuprofen before you know your cramps are getting close so you can prevent them. For other suggestions, Dr. Ross informs “The pill is not only a great birth control but it also makes your menstrual blood less heavy, which minimizes your cramps each month. Other easy remedies include a warm bath, heating pad, or a hot water bottle. Lifestyle choices that can also help include: exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet and avoiding salt, sugar, caffeine and alcohol.”

Is it necessary for me to check my breasts?

It’s important to get to know your breasts as soon as possible.  According to Dr. Ross of DoctorSpring “Breast tissue can be intimidating in the beginning but once you are familiar with your own breast tissue and all its normal lumps and bumps, you will be able to find abnormal changes if they occur.” She also says that “The best time to check your breasts is during the first week of your period when the hormonal effects on breast tissue have subsided.”

Why do random hairs grow around the nipple?

It turns out that this is considered normal during different stages of life and taking hormonal surges into consideration. “The aurola naturally has hair follicles. If you are getting random hairs around your nipples you might also notice hair growth on your chin and face. Some people are more prone to this than others. Puberty, pregnancy and menopause are times when hormonal changes are more physically noticeable.”