You’re lying on the exam table with your feet are propped up in a pair of freakishly cold stirrups: What are you thinking about? The list of Qs you want to address with your gyno? Or what she thinks of the view? For most women, it’s probably the latter.
But really, you have nothing to be ashamed of—your doctor is a trained professional and is there to ensure you stay healthy, after all. Here, gynos share seven things you definitely shouldn’t be embarrassed about the next time you go in for an appointment.
1. Your Sex Life
What’s your number? Do you always use condoms? Are you sleeping with someone on the side? Contrary to what you might think, when your gyno asks you these sorts of questions, there’s no right or wrong answer. “We don’t want to judge you, we just want to help you,” says Sherry Thomas, M.D., a fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “There’s not too much you can do or say to shock us. In 25 years of medicine, I think I’ve heard everything.”
2. Your Down-There Hair Situation
Forgot to shave your legs and haven’t gotten a bikini wax since the first season of Mad Men? Who cares? Definitely not your gyno. “We are so focused on the patient, we are not concerned in the least if she has shaved or waxed,” says Jessica Shepherd, M.D., assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “Plus, we are doctors. We know hair grows there for a reason.”
3. Telling Her That Something Is Smelly, Itchy, or Burning
No, it’s not gross. It’s a barometer of your vaginal health, says Shepherd. Your gynecologist wants to know about any changes in your vagina, vulva, or vaginal discharge. After all, unless she knows something is wrong, she can’t help you fix it.
4. How Your Vulva Looks
“Everyone’s finger prints are different,” says Shepherd. “So are women’s vulvas. Labia can be various sizes, shapes, colors, and forms. Women shouldn’t think they should look one certain way.” Not convinced? Check out what the average vulva looks like.
5. Sexual Difficulties
Get this: Your gyno wants you to have a great sex life. And if you don’t have one, it doesn’t mean something is wrong with you or that you should keep it to yourself. “Women have this idea that if they are young, they shouldn’t have any sexual difficulties,” says Shepherd. But that’s just not the case. In fact, research shows that 30 percent of women suffer through painful sex. In fact, .
6. Asking for an STI Test
“If a women asks to be tested, we don’t assume she’s promiscuous,” says Shepherd. “We assume she is being smart. STI tests are something everyone should ask for.” And 31 percent Women’s Health readers havenever been tested for sexually transmitted infections. Start asking!
7. Saying “I Want a Different Gyno”
“You should feel completely comfortable your gynecologist,” says Thomas. “You shouldn’t feel embarrassed or worry about what she will think. You should be able to let your hair down.” If you feel your gyno lays on any guilt or judgment, then it’s time to find a new physician. “Stop your doctor right there, and tell her you have to go,” she says. “There’s someone out there who is a better fit for you,” she says.