Strirrups, Speculums and Smears....oh my!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

It always starts with the same question. When was the date of your last period? Why didn't I remember to write that down, since I know they always ask? As I sit there in my gown, I try to remember when was the last week my life was inconvenienced. Oh yeah, two weeks ago when it came in the middle of teaching social studies and I couldn't find a teacher to watch my class so I could go to the bathroom. Yup, that was it.

Unfortunately, the invasion of privacy does not end there. Method of contraceptives? Number of pregnancies? Vaginal or c-section births? However, I answer all questions asked almost without thinking since I have been doing this routine for many years. Then with a reassuring smile she puts on the gloves, tells me to lay down, place my feet in the stirrups and scooch down to the end of the examination table. And the rest shall we say is her-story!

But hey? How many of us exactly ask our GYN those questions that we know we need to ask. Remember that silence can be deadly. Even the most embarrassing symptoms can lead to a serious health condition. Believe me, your doctor has heard and probably seen it all so write down your questions before your next pap smear and when your gyno is finished questioning then ask some questions of your own.

Here is some advice from Dr. Roshinin Raj, MD author of the book "What the Yuck!? The Freaky and Fabulous Truth about Your Body (Love this book!)

"Ask for the smallest speculum for you body size. A 28-year old who hasn't had a child won't need the same speculum as a 50 year-old with five kids, A right size tool will make your cervical exam much more comfortable." (another useful piece of information I could have used years ago)

"Wondering what your gyno is up to down there? Go ahead and ask. You'll feel less anxious if you understand exactly what your doctor is checking, and talking throughout the exam will prevent you from holding your breath, which helps cuts the pain level of the exam."

"Before you leave your doc's office find out when and how you'll get test results. Each doctor's office has a different policy, so don't assume that no news is good news."


Kristi on October 9, 2011 at 1:57 PM said...

This was a good reminder for me to call and get an appointment. Doesn't produce the same thrill as like...calling for cruise reservations let's say! :) But it does have to be done.
Had to giggle when you said "scooch". Every gyn I've been to has said that. Must be a medical term they learn in school. :)
Thanks for the information.

Tiffany on October 9, 2011 at 8:04 PM said...

You are absolutely right. I don't think I've ever asked my obgyn a question. I let them do their job and hightail it out of there! But silence can be deadly, so I'll have to start keeping a list of questions that I think of until my next appointment. Thanks!

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