Monday, November 08, 2010 | 10:55 AM
5 Topics to Discuss with Your Gynecologist
Social networks have gotten us to open up a lot. While we're all willing to dish our dirt on Facebook and Twitter, suddenly we get really quiet when it's time to visit our gynecologist. "The doctor's office is the one place where you should feel comfortable discussing anything," says OBGYN and author of "What the Yuck? The Freaky and Fabulous Truth About Your Body," Roshini Raj, MD. Due to rushed appointments or sheer embarrassment to have the vajayjay talk, often a lot of the topics we should chat about -- our periods, sexual partners, yeast infections, birth control methods, etc. -- never get discussed. "There are real conditions -- things that have symptoms like vaginal bleeding and women don't want to bring that up to their doctors and that could be a life-threatening situation. It's just tragic that just because of embarrassment, someone might not go to the doctor." Raj isn't having that. She recently launched a campaign on iVillage.com called Healthy Communication to get women to be more forthcoming with their doctors and listed some of the subjects we often don't discuss with our docs. Next time you're at the gyno, get the conversation going with these four topics. Who Do You Love? We understand you may not want to divulge to your gynecologist that you're currently sleeping with multiple partners, but it's for your own benefit that you do. Raj notes that many women shy away from discussing their current sexual practices -- i.e., how many partners they have and whether or not they are practicing safe sex -- for fear of being scolded by their doctors. "You have to get over that," Raj says, "because the doctor isn't there to judge you and it's for your own good that the doctor knows that information so that they may suggest contraception that you're likely to keep up with." Mom's the Word Another topic women omit is their family history. "Women don't bring it up because they don't think it's relevant, but it could be," Raj commented. "If you have a history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer in your family, maybe you can do some things differently." Body Basics The third detail we tend to leave out: our own personal history. It's important that your doctor knows about any medical issues you've had in the past, Raj says. Do You Party? Now this is a touchy subject. Most women don't want to admit to their doctor that they like to get more than tipsy on a Saturday night. "Drug or alcohol use past or present is something that women don't bring up that they should," Raj explains. "With any medication that your doctor is thinking of prescribing, there could be an interaction." Plus, if you are struggling with a substance abuse problem, your doctor can help you get the assistance you need. Need a Light? "Smoking is another one that women don't like to admit because they know their doctors don't like it when they smoke," Raj says, "but smoking can increase your risk of blood clots and so can a birth control pill, so the doctor may not prescribe that type of birth control pill. It can really impact what they test for, and how they treat you in terms of medicines." Find more info from Dr. Raj at ivillage.com/health.