Let’s preface this post by saying that absolutely no question you ask your OB/GYN is silly. The sad reality is that the world of female reproduction, the parts that contribute to your sexual pleasure and reproduction, the act of sex, and the pregnancy and labor that may follow – all of these are shrouded in a seemingly impenetrable air of mystery and taboo in most cultures.
If you have a question – even one you feel is outrageously silly – go ahead and ask us! We want to unveil the mystery surrounding the wonder and sacredness of the female body. In the meantime, here are 10 “silly” questions we get asked on a regular basis.
- Am I going to have a bowel movement when I’m in labor? Women who have been in labor always reply with answers like, “Believe me, honey! When you’re in the final stages of labor you won’t care one bit…” But that doesn’t really help a first-timer who is mortified at the thought of pooping in front of strangers, her husband, family members, etc. The reality is, yes, you will probably poop when you’re in labor. You will be pushing harder than you’ve ever pushed before. Plus, your baby will be pushing against and along the colon as it moves through the birth canal which can force fecal matter down and out, regardless of whether you’re pushing or not. The good news is, labor veterans are right; you really won’t care if/when it happens, and your birthing team will simply remove the pad underneath you, where a fresh one will already be in place.
- Can you tell if I’ve had sex recently? Yes and no. If you have had sex in the past 12 to 24 hours, there is a good chance we will be able to see the remnants of sperm, lubricant, spermicide, etc. The problem with this is that those fluids can make it difficult to get an honest look at your vagina and cervix and are prone to causing “abnormal” results on your pap smear. We want our clients to enjoy happy, healthy sex lives but – for medical reasons – we prefer you abstain from having sex for at least 24-hours before your visit.
- Do I smell funny “down there?” Unless you have a bacterial, yeast or other form of infection, odds are you smell just fine down there. Just like body odor, vaginal smells are all different. They can also change according to what you eat, the body care products you use, medications you take and where you are in your reproductive cycle. If we smell anything abnormal, we promise we will let you know and figure out the issue that’s causing the unusual odor.
- I’m often itchy after sex and/or for days afterwards. Could I be allergic to sex? Not really. But you can be allergic to latex condoms (latex allergies are very prevalent), spermicides, lubricants, etc. Try changing your product line up first and foremost, always taking special precautions to avoid STDs. If that doesn’t work, you could be one of the very, very small percentage of women who develop an allergy to the proteins in semen. We will help you work through potential causes of vaginal itching so you can reach a solution.
- Is it possible to lose an object in the vagina? If you are afraid that something has gotten “lost” up there, you can breathe a sigh of relief. There is no way that it can make its way into another part of your body. In fact, most of the time when a patient thinks something is permanently lodged up there, it isn’t – meaning it fell out somewhere along the way unbeknownst to them. However, it is possible for things to get lodged in the crevices formed by the cervix and vaginal walls. It is always best to have the situation looked at because if something is lodged or stuck, it can potentially cause an infection.
- Will I stretch out and/or be unable to control my bladder after labor? The female body is amazing and, contrary to what pop culture thinks is funny, your vaginal tone will return to almost what it was before you gave birth. The small difference between pre- and post-labor is nominal if you do your kegel exercises and work on your core muscles. Your doctor or midwife can provide a list of exercises that will get your core, abdominal and pelvic muscles into shape, which will prevent incontinence as well as pelvic organ prolapse.
- Do women with large breasts have a higher risk of breast cancer? No, they don’t. Your genetics, lifestyle habits and factors-yet-to-be-determined-by-medical-science determine your risk of developing breast cancer. That being said, the larger your breasts are, the harder it can be to detect a small lump – often the first sign of breast cancer. Observing your annual well-woman checkups, as well as doing your own thorough breast exam, is your best bet of detecting early signs of cancer.
- Did you deliver your own baby? Okay, so this one doesn’t help you learn anything about yourself but it’s amazing how often we’re asked this question – and understandably so when we take the time to look at ourselves from the outside. Mechanics fix their own cars, contractors repair their own houses, therefore female OB/GYNs probably deliver their own babies right? Wrong. When it comes to being in labor, we are just women, in labor, giving birth to our babies and we rely on the support of professionals to help us through it just like you do.
- Is it safe to have sex when I’m on my period? This depends on the type of safety we’re talking about here. If we’re talking:
–Sexual taboos that say it’s dangerous to have sex on your period: YES, it’s safe! This is a myth and it’s perfectly safe and healthy to have sex when you’re menstruating.
–The myth that you can’t get pregnant when you’re on your period: NO, it’s not safe! Being on your period is not typically your most fertile time, but your period is NOT a natural form of birth control. Since sperm can live for multiple days at a time in your body and women’s cycles vary, you CAN get pregnant this way.
–The idea that sex may make PMS worse. You might want to go ahead and try it. For many women, the endorphins released during sex help to mitigate cramps and the irritability associated with PMS. You may find that sex is the best PMS medicine.
- How much discharge is normal? Sometimes, we wish the word normal didn’t exist. In most cases, what is normal isn’t as important as what is normal for you? Your discharge will vary according to your menstrual cycle (you may have more discharge when at your most fertile and hardly any right after your period). Discharge may also increase as a sign of irritation. Have you changed soaps or detergents lately? Are you sensitive to fabric softener? If your discharge seems consistently heavier than normal, has changed color or smells different from normal for more than a few days, schedule an appointment.
What are some of the “silly” questions you wish you could ask your OB/GYN? Ask them below or schedule an appointment with Overlake to get them answered.