We ask our gynecologists important questions, but have you ever wondered if there are some you’re not asking…but should be?
HelloFlo talked to a few doctors to find out what questions women are not asking, and why not pushing for answers could impact your health.
“I’m having hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings. My primary doctor told me my labs were normal. What’s happening to me?”
Hormone therapy such as progesterone cream could help with these perimenopausal symptoms. Most of the time, they can be rremediedwith lifestyle changes, said Diana Hoppe, a Claifornia-based OB/GYN.
“Can you teach me how to do a breast exam to help me screen for breast cancer?”
Risa Klein, a midwife from New York, said it’s very important to have your doctor show you what you should be looking for, as hormones can change breast size during one’s menstrual cycle. “Women’s confidence will increase as they learn how to differentiate between the hormonal influences that transform breasts to become tender, larger, and sometimes lumpy,” Klein said.
“What are the things I should do if I’m trying to get pregnant now? (Or in six months, a year or five years?)”
“If you want to conceive now or within a year or two it’s time for you and your partner to get healthy,” noted Serena Chen, a fertility specialist from New Jersey. “Both men and women should try to be as healthy as they can be prior to conception. We know that this can significantly impact the health of the pregnancy and the baby.”
Women should take a prenatal vitamin at least two weeks prior to conception, plus they should eat better, quit smoking, exercise regularly, and sleep at least seven to eight hours per night.
“I think we all know what we’re supposed to do and we’ve been trying sometimes to do this once we’re pregnant, but these things should probably start six months or more prior to conception,” she said.
Make sure to discuss your fertility timeline with your doctor. “Consider getting a referral to a specialist so you understand your options, your risks for infertility and whether or not egg freezing is for you,” Chen added.
“Is it normal to have these menstrual patterns?”
“Young women worry unnecessarily about their menstrual habits because they are unsure what’s normal or not,” said Alyssa Dweck, a New York gynecologist. In addition to providing assurance and reducing anxiety, knowing about your cycle—and conveying it to your doctor accurately—could help uncover other medical issues that have abnormal bleeding as a symptom, such as a thyroid disease.
“What do I do if I missed my birth control?”
If you miss one pill, double up, Dweck explained. If you miss two pills take two now and two tomorrow, if you miss more, use back up and start a new pack. “That simple question can save a lot of angst and possibly an unplanned pregnancy,” Dweck said.
These questions may not seem out of the ordinary, but gynecologists say they want to hear more like them from their patients. It’s the best way to not only get answers…but to take charge of your reproductive health, too.