Visiting the hospital for annual women’s health exam is already anxiety-inducing, but discussing about your period, sex life, partner you have had and your personal hygiene down there is much more uncomfortable and for some scary. While it’s normal to feel uncomfortable at first, you should never skip asking your gynaecologist these seven questions:
1. “How can I make sure I smell (or taste) okay down there during oral sex?”
Oral sex is an extremely intimate act, and no matter how good it is, it can be hard to tell whether your partner enjoys your nether region. The only way for you to know how you smell or taste is if your partner talks about it with you.
If you smell a bit funky that’s noticeable during sex, it is most likely due to the overgrowth of anaerobic bacteria. To avoid this, wear cotton underwear and loose bottoms—or nothing—to bed. Let the air freely get in and out of the area to avoid too much moisture and, thus, minimize growth of odour-causing bacteria.
2. “How much discharge is normal? What should it look like?”
White, light yellow or clear discharge in amounts that’s enough to slightly moisten the middle of your panty each day is normal. This is why pantyliners exist—to catch the discharge and prevent your panties from getting moist.
However, if your discharge comes in different colour, say greenish or grayish, then it’s a must to bring this concern to the attention of a gynaecology expert. Vaginal discharge that’s unusual in colour and is clumpy or thick, with noticeable odour, can be a sign of infection and you can check with your doctor from the list at http://www.thomsonmedical.com/thomson-womens-clinics-2/ from Singapore to check these issues for you. Opening up the topic can be uncomfortable at first, but you’ll feel so much better once your body gets back on track.
3. “Sex is painful. How can I make it easier?”
Sex is supposed to be pleasurable for both partners. If you find sex painful and uncomfortable, you have a couple of options to make the experience enjoyable.
One reason why sex can be painful is because there’s not enough lubrication. One of the solutions is using lubricant on your guy’s penis and in the opening of your vagina. This helps ensure a smooth entry and thrusting. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of using an artificial lubricant, the most ideal way is to take the time and go slow. Relax and feel the moment for you to get more tuned on. Tensing up will only make the vaginal muscles tighten, causing sex to hurt more.
4. “Does birth control affect my sex drive?”
When women go on hormonal birth control pills, most of the time they discuss about fluctuating weight or bigger boobs. Something that’s not talked about often is how birth control pills can affect the sex drive.
Although it does not always affect the sex drive, in some cases it can. This method suppresses the ovulation and, therefore, prevents the surge of hormones that naturally happens prior to ovulation. If you find that your sex drive is affected, talk to your gynae about switching to another birth control method.
5. “What’s douching, and is it necessary?”
Douching is the act of cleaning the internals of the vagina with the use of a cleansing solution, and usually comes in a pre-packed bottle that allows you to simply squirt the solution through a nozzle.
While douching used to be believed as beneficial for your reproductive organ, today’s gynaecologists of Singapore are uniformly against it, because the ingredients of most solutions can disrupt the normal pH level and balance of the vaginal environment, potentially causing bacterial vaginosis or yeast infection. Other than disrupting the vagina’s natural balance, douching is also said to increase the risk of pelvic inflammatory diseases in women diagnosed with infections. So although douching was used to be perceived sanitary, stick to the natural option of showering everyday and maintaining good airflow in the genital area.
6. “What are those painful dumps down there?”
You can get easily horrified when you notice something unusual down there, like sudden growth of painful bumps.
If you shave, these could be a pimple or an ingrown hair. But if the bumps are just too painful, seem to be spreading or growing in size or secretes liquid, you should discuss this with your gynaecologist right away. Sometimes, painful bumps can be a result from infections and virus, but you need to have it checked by a doctor before using any medication. For the meantime, it’s best to avoid any intercourse—oral or vaginal—until you get cleared from possible infection.
7. “Why do I have extremely painful periods?”
If you experience severe pain and discomfort during ‘that’ time of the month, it could be a sign of many sorts of reproductive health issues, including serious but treatable condition like endometriosis. According to hospital data, endometriosis can affect thousands of women in Singapore, yet many cases go undetected.
According to gynaecology specialists, the number one reason for undiagnosed cases is that women neglect the symptoms, thinking that they’re just pre-menstrual symptoms, and fail to share them to their doctors. When the pain gets unbearable and affects your everyday activities, it’s best to bring that up to your next gynae visit. Endometriosis treatable and curable, if detected early.
Although you may feel mortified asking these questions out loud, just remember that gynaecologists deal with sex, maternity and other reproductive health issues on a daily basis. For sure, they have heard worse than those you are about to ask, so don’t be afraid to open up and be completely honest with your healthcare professional.