Suzi’s Sexi Secrets
Suzi asks Medical “Sexpert” Dr. Lauren Streicher about Embarrassing Questions you’re too afraid to ask your Gynecologist
Urgggggh!!! It’s that time again. The dreaded Gynecologist appointment has been on your calendar forever and you’ve already called to post pone too many times. Well, there’s nothing to be afraid of! It’s just the GYNECOLOGIST! Even though it’s totally embarrassing! You’re forced to strip, lie down on butcher paper with your legs spread apart out in front of you, and talk about your sex life. NOTHING shocks the gyno. However, many women are reluctant to ask the questions they want, and NEED answered.
You know those questionable bumps, odor and discharge? Well, personally, I’d rather discuss it with my doc than have my boyfriend tell me. The last thing you want when he’s down there is to look up and say, “ummmmm hone, something smells awfully fishy down here!”
Believe it or not, spilling the beans to your doctor can calm your fears and get your problems treated. In fact, if something serious is going on, early diagnosis is CRUCIAL. A survey of 391 women conducted by the Women’s Sexual Health Foundation found that 72% of respondents are uncomfortable talking to their Gyno about “the sexy stuff,” but 73% would rather die than ask the Doc, “What’s up.”
I’ve asked Dr. Lauren Streicher, assistant Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University’s medical school; to help answer some of the embarrassing questions you might be dying to ask your gynecologist. Here, are a few of the most common questions her patients are asking:
- I am recently single and worried about getting an STD. Should I get the HPV vaccine?
The HPV vaccine is approved by the FDA for girls and women ages 9 to 26 and is recommended by the CDC, the American College of Obstetrics and Gnecology and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The vaccine protects against the four types of HPV that are responsible for 90% of genital warts and 70% of cervical cancers. The vaccine is not FDA approved for women over the age of 26, but many studies show that it is beneficial for women in this age group who are exposed to new partners. The HPV vaccine does not protect women from other STD’s – you should still be sure to use a condom.
- Ewwwww! Sometimes I have an odor the morning after sex. Why does it happen and what can I do?
First of all, don’t worry—you aren’t dirty and washing with perfumed soap or douching won’t help—it will only make it worse!
This happens because your vaginal pH has been thrown out of balance. Think of your vagina as a delicate ecosystem that needs to be maintained at a pH of 3.5 to 4.5. The pH of semen has a pH of 7.1 to 8, so, when introduced to the vagina, an odor or itch can occur –usually the morning after having sex the evening before. Lots of women douche to feel clean and fresh but understand that water has a pH of 7—so while it might make you feel fresh for a short time, it won’t solve the problem.
Here are a few things I recommend to my patients:
- Avoid douching
- Don’t use feminine products that contain deodorants or scented soaps
- Over-the-counter, RepHresh Gel has been clinically shown to restore the normal vaginal pH and eliminate vaginal odor
- I have a lot of discharge and irritation, but over the counter yeast medications don’t work. What should I do?
Less than one-third of women who think they have a yeast infection actually do. Two thirds instead suffer from bacterial vaginosis (BV), a proliferation of “bad “bacteria, often caused by an unbalanced vaginal pH.
If you aren’t sure whether your symptoms indicate BV or a yeast infection, you should absolutely see your doctor before you apply any over-the-counter treatment. Not only is bacterial vaginosis uncomfortable and frustrating, but untreated BV can also increase the risk of premature birth, pelvic inflammatory disease, and even sexually transmitted diseases. Once BV is diagnosed, a course of antibiotics is required to eliminate the symptoms. Recurrence rates are very high. The best way to prevent recurrent BV is to maintain a normal vaginal pH .
So, going to the Gyno isn’t at the top of our list, but it should definitely be right up there. It’s okay to be nervous but remember…these highly trained men and women did not go through years of school for NOTHIN! We may not be used to someone snooping around our lady parts, but as far as our doctors are concerned, it’s no biggie! A well-established relationship with your Gynecologist is a MUST in order to have a successful visit. If you are nervous about the exam take your notes and questions in with you so you don’t forget. Talking about your anxieties can make the rest of the appointment a piece of cake! So, spread the word and share my sexy secrets—
Until next time,