In the course of a woman’s lifetime there are bound to be issues that come up regarding reproductive health from time to time. However, because our culture keeps the bulk of our anatomy under wraps – both literally and figuratively – many of these issues pertaining to sexually-related parts of your anatomy or subjects that are considered “taboo” or embarrassing are never brought up at annual exams with an OBGYN. This is unfortunate for several reasons:
- You should never feel uncomfortable talking to your OBGYN, or any healthcare professional for that matter, about anything at all. That’s what we’re here for. If you don’t feel comfortable, find a provider who you do feel more comfortable with and switch.
- If the issue causes you physical discomfort and/or affects your everyday life, your delay in seeking assistance or treatment means delaying your return to physical/emotional well-being and health.
- In cases where your symptoms or concerns signal a real medical problem, the sooner you get treatment, the better.
Here are 7 of the questions you’re probably too embarrassed to ask. Do any of them sound familiar? Be bold, be brave and be empowered – ask us about them the next time you’re in our office.
10 Embarrassing Questions (that shouldn’t be embarrassing!) to Ask Your OBGYN
- Why do I have a funny smell down there? In this case, we would have to ask, “Describe ‘funny’.” Everyone has their own distinct smell that is a combination of their natural body odor mixed with the secretions produced by their body. It can change according to hormonal fluctuations, diet, hygiene habits, sexual activity (after sex you may smell stronger until you’ve bathed) etc. For example, a “fishy” odor is totally normal! However, elevated levels of bacteria or yeast or some sexually transmitted diseases may cause this odor to be stronger or even foul. If your odor is distinctly different, come in and we can check it out.
- Is vaginal itching normal? As mentioned above, your vagina and the area between your vaginal lips have both bacteria and yeast colonies. When they live in harmony, everything feels fine. When one or the other overpopulates, itching and discomfort can occur. Itching can also be caused by pubic lice and some STDs so making an appointment is always a good idea. If you don’t notice more-than-normal discharge, discharge that has a funny color, or inflammation, try using fragrance-free detergents and fabric softeners since the chemicals included comprising “fragrance” can cause an allergic reaction or tissue sensitivity.
- Why does it hurts/feel uncomfortable when I have sex? Sex should rarely, if ever, hurt or feel uncomfortable. When you are brand new to sex, there may be mild discomfort since the vaginal tissues aren’t used to being stretched. However, sex should be a pleasurable activity. Pain and/or discomfort can indicate something else is going on. This can range from psychological and emotional fears or discomfort around sex to infections and even anatomical abnormalities that might affect certain positions. It may be a sign of pregnancy or menopause, endometriosis, and the list continues. Only a heart-to-heart conversation with your OBGYN and a physical exam will help us get to the root of the problem so we can get you back to a healthy, happy sex life ASAP!
- Why doesn’t my vagina produce lubrication like it used to? A dry vagina can make sex a painful enterprise. Sometimes, vaginal dryness is the side effect of medications or hormone treatments. Some forms of birth control can cause vaginal as can perimenopause, menopause and breastfeeding. We can talk to you and to determine the cause. In the meantime, experiment with vaginal lubricants to find one that works for you.
- Why are/is my labia/breasts/clitoris/vulva/etc. a different shape/size/color…? There are approximately 4.6 billion women on planet earth, which means there are the same number of body part variations since no two women are made alike. Breasts can be different sizes and shapes from one another, your labia may be bigger or smaller than other women’s you have seen, etc. These general variations are no cause for concern. However, if your female and reproductive parts begin changing size, shape, color, etc. in a noticeable way, it’s worth having them examined to make sure everything is okay.
- What is this thing on my….? Is there something unusual growing or changing on your breasts or between your legs? Don’t wait due to embarrassment. It may be nothing, but it may be something. If it turns out to be something, we want to know about it so we can get you treatment ASAP.
- Why don’t I want to have sex anymore? Questions and frustrations with low libido are one of the most common things we address here at Women’s Health KC. In most cases, we can immediately point to lack of sleep, overworking, stress and/or relationship issues. If you have any of those going on in your life (i.e. are you a working mom?) then not feeling like a sexual goddess is pretty normal. Decreasing hormone levels during perimenopause and menopause may also be a reason. Pregnancy and breastfeeding – or mothering younger children – are also factors. If your lack of libido is stressful for you and/or your partner and you want to find ways to increase your sex drive try to find a way to clear your schedule – and your mind – so you can make sex a priority. Hormone therapy may also be an option if you are experiencing the symptoms of menopause.
Do you have an embarrassing question to add to our list? Schedule an appointment here at Women’s Health KC and one of our doctors will be happy to listen. Your questions and any information you share with us will be received in a completely confidential and non-judgmental environment. Our goal is to keep you happy and healthy!