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Feminine Health

What Your OBGYN Wishes You Would Ask During Your Routine Checkup

What Your OBGYN Wishes You Would Ask During Your Routine Checkup

Regular visits to your OB/GYN are crucial for maintaining your reproductive health and overall well-being. Yet, many women may not be comfortable addressing their concerns or ask pertinent questions. To bridge this gap, I’ve compiled a list of the top five questions I wish patients would ask me during routine check-ups. Let's dive into these questions and explore why they are essential for every woman's healthcare journey.

  1. When should I get evaluated by my doctor for vaginal discharge?

It is normal to have vaginal discharge and mucus as this is part of the vaginal self cleansing process. Vaginal discharge can be clear to white or yellowish tinged in color. Any vaginal discharge that is any other color should be evaluated by your doctor. Vaginal discharge that has a foul odor or is accompanied by any irritation, itching, or burning should be evaluated for possible infection.

  1. What are some signs or symptoms that I should expect as I enter perimenopause?

Signs and symptoms of perimenopause will vary from person to person. Common symptoms may include hot flashes, night sweats, decreased libido, vaginal dryness, mood swings, and weight gain. Although the average age of menopause in the United States is 51, it will vary in every woman. It is also important to note that perimenopause is the period leading up to menopause and may last a few years before your periods stop completely.

  1. Should I give up trying to conceive after 35 years old?

Contrary to popular belief, there are many women who naturally conceive after age 35. There are more risks and a higher rate of complications after 35, but there are many women who have healthy, normal pregnancies after age 35. If you desire fertility after 35, this is something you should bring up with your healthcare provider to discuss your specifics. There are also multiple options through assisted reproductive technology if you are having difficulty and those options can be explore by talking with your healthcare provider.

  1. Do I need to get a pap smear every year?

The recommendations for an annual pap smear have changed several years ago. Depending on your previous results you may be able to space them out every 3 or 5 years. Annual exams are still recommended for all women including a pelvic exam even if a pap smear is not required that year.

  1. Is it ever normal to start bleeding again after menopause?

Menopause is defined as 12 calendar months of no bleeding. Once a woman is considered “menopausal” it is not normal for her to start bleeding again. Any postmenopausal bleeding needs to be evaluated by a licensed healthcare provider.

 

Your routine check-ups with your OB/GYN present valuable opportunities to address any concerns, seek guidance, and proactively manage your reproductive health. By asking the right questions and actively engaging in discussions with your healthcare provider, you can foster a collaborative relationship that prioritizes your well-being. Remember, no question is too trivial or embarrassing when it comes to your health, so don't hesitate to speak up during your next appointment. Your OB/GYN is here to support you every step of the way.

 

Tamika K. Cross, MD, FACOG, is a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist based in the greater Houston, Texas area. Passionate about women’s health education and access to local care, Dr. Cross opened Serenity Women’s Health & Medspa in 2020 with her business partner to serve the community in which she resides. She has been in Pearland ever since! Dr. Cross has a passion for providing healthcare to patients in underserved communities and has served on multiple multidisciplinary hospital committees aimed to address the alarming maternal morbidity rates in the country.

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