On the radio show I did with Tara Sutphen and Marla Maples
, Marla asked me to give some guidance on questions to ask a gynecologist, so here you go, Marla- my thoughts on your great question. I’ll put on my doctor hat (and, even more importantly, my patient hat) and see if I can scrounge up some advice. Ever since I posted the Pretty Pink Pussy Tour
, many of you have been asking questions, so I thought I'd give you a few guidelines about how to get the most out of your gynecology visits.
Not Everyone Is Lucky Enough to Choose Their Gynecologist
First off, I recognize that some women do not get to choose their gynecologist. You may not have health insurance, your insurance may dictate who you see, or there may only be one gynecology show in town. If you’re in that situation, I sincerely hope you have a great doctor. Gynecology is just too personal not to feel safe, warm, nurtured, and most importantly, HEARD. But if you have a choice, take the time to choose someone whose personality suits yours. There’s no one perfect gynecologist for every woman. My patients are used to the fact that I don’t wear a white coat, I sometimes swear in the exam room, and I talk about Yoni, my own girly parts. Because I don’t feel like I’m so different from my patients, I tend to have a very casual style with my patients. They all have my email address, and we communicate as peers, rather than me on my pedestal and my patient in the stirrups. Seeing me as a patient is more like taking a gynecologist out for cosmos. But my style is not for everyone. Some women are much more comfortable with a more serious doctor who lives in a ivory tower, wears a white coat, and quotes journal articles frequently (and we need docs like that!) But you’ll get the best care when you find a gynecologist whose style matches your preferences and needs.
11 Questions To Help You Get The Most Out of Your Gynecology Visit
Regardless, you can optimize your gynecology visits by making sure you ask your gynecologist what you need to know. Here are 11 questions to ask your gynecologist:
- Are there ways to optimize my lifestyle and nutrition that might improve my gynecological and overall health?
- Can you help me improve my sex life?
- Am I at risk for sexually transmitted diseases and should I be tested?
- Might my body benefit from hormone balancing?
- Are there things I can do to minimize my risk of cancer and other life-threatening diseases, such as heart disease?
- Can we talk about urinary incontinence and how to prevent (or treat) it?
- Is there anything I can do to help my bones as I age?
- If I was abused or raped, could that affect my pelvis? (This is a big one, Pinkies. It’s a painful topic, but you have no idea how often we see this and how reluctant people are to bring it up. So please, take the initiative and talk to your doctor, or at least your therapist, about this issue.)
- Are there preventative tests I should take to optimize my health?
- Should I be taking any supplements to improve my long term health?
- How will we communicate once I leave? Can I call you? Will you inform me of my test results? Do you have an email address I can use to reach you? What shall I do in case of emergency?
- How should I check my breasts? How often should I get mammograms, based on my personal risk?
Do you have others, Pinkies? What do you ask your gynecologist? How can I help?
With BIG PINK LOVE from in and behind the stirrups,