Even though economies are gradually starting to open up again, COVID-19 is still effecting our usual way of life, including healthcare. With doctors offices switching to virtual visits, many women are left wondering how best to address their vaginal health with a doctor while things are in limbo. Obviously, telehealth visits don’t quite work when it comes to annual pap smears, prenatal visits, and emergency matters where a doctor will need to conduct an in-person exam.
Luckily, social distancing doesn’t mean your lady parts have to go neglected. OB-GYN Dr. Tosha Rogers answers all of our urgent questions when it comes to when and how to care for our vaginal health while stay-at-home orders are still in effect.
When And When Not To Reschedule Your Annual Pap Smear
“If you are having issues/concerns or if you are high risk, meaning a history of abnormal pap smears, then by all means, insist on getting an examination without hesitation,” says Dr. Rogers. “If you are symptom-free and it’s truly just routine, then it’s fine to wait for three months or so. If you need a refill on birth control, simply call the nurse and explain you are scheduled for a future appointment, but you need refills now. They will usually comply.”
If You Are Pregnant, In-Office Visits Are Non-Negotiable.
Under no circumstances are prenatal visits to be scheduled virtually. “A pregnant visit needs to be hands-on to properly evaluate mom and baby,” says Dr. Rogers. “Don’t let your provider try to do a telemedicine visit if you’re pregnant.”
Should Couples Wait Until The Pandemic Ends To Conceiving?
Couples who are trying to have a baby aren’t quite sure if now is a good time to start the baby-making process. But Dr. Rogers says it’s difficult to tell a couple to wait since we don’t know how long coronavirus will be around. “We know that saliva and semen can contain Covid-19, even in people without symptoms,” she says. “My recommendation would be for both parties to be tested, quarantine together & practice social distancing & wear masks when leaving the home. Go out only when necessary. Once precautions have been taken, I would say proceed with trying with caution.”
How can we best take look after our vaginal health until we’re able to see our OB-GYN?
“As for general vaginal health, I would definitely recommend controlling your sugar, carb, and alcohol intake as it encourages an overgrowth of yeast,” says Dr, Rogers. “Also, stay well hydrated with water and a shot of Apple Cider vinegar daily. As for your physical, mental and heart health, get out and walk at least an hour per day. It will keep your blood pressure, blood sugar and weight down. Be mindful to use only Dove white bar soap on your entire body, including your vaginal area, and never wash your hair in the shower.”