Why You Need to Visit the Gynecologist

By Anna Phillips

If you live with someone long enough, you get to the point where you can talk about more personal aspects of life. For me, one of those times was during my freshman year of college when my roommate was sharing her reaction to her friend’s first trip to the gynecologist. My friend didn’t understand the purpose of scheduling a visit. She isn’t alone, but it’s important to take charge of your reproductive health. Luckily, healthcare professionals in today’s world are working hard to better educate women worldwide.

Sometimes it’s hard to sit down and ask a gynecologist the questions you have because you could feel uncomfortable talking about something so personal. However, if you look, you can find many books and blogs written by gynecologists who know their stuff and want to share it with others. Lissa Rankin is one of my favorites with a book titled What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend?, and a blog on her website, Owning Pink.

Birth Control:

Rankin tells many funny and slightly horrific stories throughout her writing. Seriously, read her blog and realize how uneducated some of us are when it comes to our own bodies. It is shocking. Here’s an excerpt from one:

“ChiChi looked at me as if a light bulb just went off and said, “Oh, that? It’s just a potato. MeeMaw told me if I put a potato in there, I wouldn’t get pregnant, and wouldn’t you know, it worked!” . . . There’s also an important moral here: Please, please educate your daughters about birth control.”

Pap Smears:

We need them to test for cervical cancer. As of 2012, Rankin said the rules changed. In her blog, she wrote that pap smears aren’t necessary before the age of 21, even if you’re sexually active, and that from ages 21 to 30, pap smears are recommended every three years, instead of yearly. The key change to the recommendations is that annual paps are specifically recommended against. Rankin notes that this does not erase the need for an annual checkup. In fact, most doctors will still require it before refilling medications.

Questions:

It is essential to educate yourself about your body, which is why Rankin advocates visits to the gynecologist. Many ladies are uncomfortable and insecure with their own bodies because they do not know if they are “normal.” Your doctor will have the answers. Here are some of the things Rankin says every woman should know:

  • You can catch sexually transmitted diseases even if you use a condom.
  • The vagina is like a bicep. Use it or lose it.
  • Menstrual blood is supposed to clot, so don’t freak out.

There are so many more reasons as to why it is important to see your gynecologist, but those are a few of the most important reasons. Do not be afraid to ask questions. And if you are not comfortable with asking your doctor yet, pick up a book or check out a blog. There are many people willing to share their wisdom.

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