Going to the gynecologist can be nerve-racking. They’re asking you all these questions about your sexual history and your vagina is laid as bare as the new-fallen snow. It’s stressful, and you might be wondering what’s going through the head of the doctor whose face is so very close to your private parts. To help lessen that stress, Cosmopolitan.com spoke with Alyssa Dweck, MD, a gynecologist in Westchester County and the assistant clinical professor at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, to find out the things your gynecologist is definitely not judging you for.
1. Your sexual orientation. Dr. Dweck says doctors don’t care if you’re gay or straight or questioning and if anything, they only want to know so they can give you the proper information. Dr. Dweck says, “Why waste our precious and limited time in the office discussing pregnancy prevention and contraception if that is irrelevant or unimportant to you?”
2. Your number of sexual partners. Dr. Dweck says that she doesn’t care how many people you’ve slept with and she only asks her patients this question so she can know their chances of contracting an STI. Dr. Dweck explains: “There are medical risks to multiple partners, such as an increased chance of STIs. Knowing how many partners you’ve had may actually guide my treatment plan in a different direction.”
3. Whether you have had an abortion or not. It could be stressful to hear a doctor ask you whether you’ve had an abortion, but rest assured they’re not judging you for it; they just want to know if it impacts your sexual or emotional health. Dr. Dweck says: “We’re really just focusing on the medical and surgical implications here. For example, sometimes there are subsequent pregnancy risks or other emotional effects. It’s just good information for us to have.”
4. Whether you use a menstrual cup, tampon, or pad. Dr. Dweck says she doesn’t care what you use, but it’s helpful for her to know because if you’re using tampons, you run the risk of getting toxic shock. If you’re using a pad though, that won’t be a problem.
5. How much pubic hair you have. Dr. Dweck says she doesn’t care if you have a big bush or if you’re bald. It changes literally nothing.
6. Whether or not you shaved your legs or got a pedicure prior to your visit. It can be super stressful to feel like you need to look like a hairless, pedicured doll when you go to the doctor (seriously it is so messed up that some of us are still conditioned to think like this! it’s the freaking doctor!). Rest assured though, Dr. Dweck says, “Frankly, I don’t even notice if you have or haven’t shaved or gotten a pedicure.” So go to your appointment and just be honest. They’re there to help you, not judge you.