In my years of experience, I have seen many people who consult me over the phone or send reports on WhatsApp but when I ask them to come down for a check-up they shy away…
Is it the same case with you? Hi! I am Dr Vinay Bhabhor, MD (Gynec) from Janvi Hospital. I know people are sometimes scared, apprehensive or even purposefully ignore coming to us. Rather people ignore doctors and trust ‘Google doctor’ first before they visit us. They come to us only when the problem cannot be solved at their end.
I am hundred per cent sure that you too must have done the same thing. While learning in the medical colleges, I too felt a little embarrassed after seeing a nude corpse lying in front of me, but now nudity no longer bothers me.
I thought of penning down the questions that my patients ask me so that you won’t feel left out. I would really love it if you can make it more interesting by adding extra questions in the comments.
Questions on the First Visit
1. How should I strip down in front of the doctor?
This is ALWAYS the first question on my patient’s mind. It particularly happens if I have to examine a female patient. Tell me one thing, when you visit a mechanic don’t you allow him to unscrew and open up your vehicle for checking?
The same is the case with you. When we examine you, you are not an ‘individual’ but a ‘body’ that needs attention. I know this isn’t convincing.
I’ll tell you a story here. There was a guy in the early ’90s who was taking a bath in a river. He was having a very nice pair of clothes to wear which he had kept aside while having a bath. For some reason, it gets stolen. At that time, the person used his brain. Normally anyone would have preferred to cover the genitals. But he covered his face while walking towards his destination.
The point here is, you do not have anything different except for your face. For you what matters the most is the treatment. Just get off the clothes like anything. No matter who is looking at you. No big deal. They are just clothes. I know society does define you by the clothes you wear, but the person you are standing in front of is a Doctor and not a Judge.
2. With my periods on, can I visit a gynecologists'?
Some tests cannot be done if you are bleeding, but else it is okay to visit us even if you are bleeding. That won’t cause a major problem for the examination.
3. Should I shave/wax before I visit a gynecologists'?
If hair does not cause any problem with the part to be examined, you can allow it to stay there.
4. My vulva looks blackish, is it okay?
The colour of the vulva differs from person to person so there is no need to be ashamed of it. Depending on the tone of your skin, vulva colour also differs. Not only the colour, but the size also differs. It is normal.
5. My vagina stinks, can I do something about it?
This is a cause of concern for many. I have seen people use perfumes on their undergarments when they come to us.
But in reality, the vagina is home to many bacteria and so it might stink. Your Dr. can guide you in this regard whether it is normal or abnormal.
6. I have a lot of vaginal discharges, sometimes white or yellow, is it okay?
Vaginal discharge is normal and the colours can vary depending on your menstrual cycle, pregnancy, or changes in hormonal levels.
The only thing that should bother you is the quantity or odour associated with pain, itching or burning sensation. It is indicative of some infection and needs evaluation.
7. There are some bumps in my vulva, is it normal?
8. I experience itching, is it normal?
There can be many causes for itching. Such as allergy to a particular soap, change in the texture of the undergarment or due to the weather. If the problem persists, you need to consult the Dr. else not.
Questions About Sex
9. Why do I experience pain during intercourse?
Intercourse could be painful for any number of reasons such as;
10. Is it safe to have sex during my period?
If your periods occur regularly after every 28 days, then there is no cause of worry even if you have sex during mensuration.
11. Can I have sex during pregnancy?
Yes, but certain pregnancy conditions prohibit sexual intercourse, such as patients with the conditions of:
placenta previa (the placenta lies low in the uterus and partially covers the cervix),
cervical insufficiency (premature shortening/thinning or dilation of the cervix early in pregnancy).
If you are experiencing vaginal bleeding in pregnancy, ask your doctor before resuming sexual intercourse.
12. What should I do if I had unprotected sex with someone?
Get yourself tested immediately for unwanted pregnancy and also check for HIV or STD diseases.
13. I have very low sexual desires, what can I do?
Well, do anything that ignites the spark! Nope, Jokes apart, it can be because of the medications which you might be taking, stressful relationships, or any other psychological factor.
Try reducing the intake of alcohol, reduce stress and relax as much as you can. This will help to increase the libido.
14. What should be the ideal sex frequency?
It varies according to your age. While people in their 30s do it twice a week, people in their 50s do it once a week. There is no fixed standard for it.
15. Should you tell your doctor about anal sex?
Questions on Reproductive Health
16. When do I need a routine pelvic exam and a Pap test?
Routine pelvic examinations can be done after you are 21 years old, pap smear tests need to be done every 3 to 5 years to check for any cancerous growth- ideally!
17. Why do I have mood swings, irritability and tender breasts just before my periods start?
What you experience is because of the ‘Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)’. WIth medications and a little bit of lifestyle change, this can be controlled.
18. When should I check if I am pregnant?
Generally, the first day after you missed the periods. If you are uncertain about the date of your period, you can do it after 21 days of having unprotected sex.
19. How to protect ourselves from sexually transmitted diseases?
By using barrier methods like condoms or and regular testing for STDs will help you. As far as sex is concerned the only thing that can protect you is honesty with your partner.
20. How should I ask my partner to get tested for STDs?
You can convince him or her by saying that it is for the benefit of you both. If one is already exposed to the disease, there is a chance that another partner might also get it.
So, all I want to tell you is when you come to us, leave your embarrassment at home. Next time you are in our hospital for an examination, just remember that you are just ‘another body/patient’ for us that needs to be healed.
About the author – As an obstetrician working with Janvi Multispeciality Hospital, Dr. Vinay Bhabhor, deals with all aspects of pregnancy, from prenatal care to post-natal care. An obstetrician delivers babies and can also provide therapies to help you get pregnant, such as fertility treatments.
As a gynaecologist doctor is dealing with the health of the female reproductive system (vagina, uterus, and ovaries). A visit to the gynaecologist is recommended for annual screening and any time a woman has concerns about symptoms such as pelvic, vulvar, and vaginal pain or abnormal bleeding from the uterus. Conditions commonly treated by gynaecologists include issues relating to pregnancy, fertility, menstruation, and menopause.