Going to the gynecologist is routine medical care for most women, but even after years spent in the stirrups, many patients are still apprehensive when it comes time for their annual appointment. While going to the gynecologist can be an awkward, intimate, or even embarrassing experience for some patients, for the doctors providing care, it’s just another day at the office. (In fact, these doctors have seen it all, from patients with interesting ideas about how to take care of their bodies to performing life-saving surgeries right in the nick of time.)
Before you book your annual appointment, make sure you know these 20 secrets your gynecologist won’t tell you. And if you want to keep those visits to the doctor to a minimum this year, discover these 100 easy ways to be a healthier woman!
They Don’t Care How You Groom
Whether you’re rocking a landing strip, going bare, or keeping things au naturel, your doctor isn’t likely to pay your pubic hair preference much mind. “Groomed or un-groomed makes no differences,” says one male OB-GYN. However, he has noticed some trends in his practice: “Most people seem to be groomed these days.” And for those times when you do want to feel a bit more polished, add these overnight beauty products to your regular routine.
There’s Nothing Sexual to Them About Seeing You Naked
After a while, seeing new people naked isn’t as exciting as it sounds. Most OB-GYNs are not titillated by the sight of yet another body. “Over time, that view becomes very clinical rather than sexual. I know to many patients, they don’t feel a difference, but I actually get a bit weirded out if people just whip off all their clothes in front of me,” says one doctor.
You Should Shower Before Your Appointment
While your doctor probably doesn’t care much about how you groom, you should make sure you’re clean before going in for an exam. “Having decent hygiene is appreciated more than anything else,” says one doctor. Their recommendation? Just mild soap and water will do.
Male Doctors Often Require Female Backup
If your male gynecologist seems to always have a doctor or nurse with them during examinations, that’s no coincidence. Many male doctors bring female medical professionals with them into exams to make sure the patient is comfortable and to keep misunderstandings to a minimum.
“A lot of male doctors will bring a female observer with them when examining a female patient. If a female patient is alone with her male doctor, she has the option and the right to request a female observer if she would like one,” reveals one OB-GYN.
They Really Hate When Patients Play Doctor Google
Just because you have access to a computer doesn’t mean you’re a doctor. For many patients, particularly those being seen for pregnancy, pretending that all internet advice comes from expert sources is particularly frustrating for their doctor. “I love mothers and mothers-to-be who take an active part in researching their healthcare. These mothers are engaged and healthy and motivated to be good parents. But the minority who do that research, and are unable to make good judgments on what is and isn’t a proper source for healthcare advice, is easily the population that is most annoying to deal with,” says one doctor. Unfortunately, playing doctor probably isn’t your only annoying habit causing stress in your relationships.
Accessorizing Your Vagina is a Bad Idea
Shave your pubic hair into the shape of a lightning bolt or dye it bright green. However, whatever you do, do not accessorize on the inside. “I had a bad experience where one of my patients decided to put glitter everywhere down there. Glitter. OH GOD THE SMELL. She said it smelled like ‘rotten meat’ but it was so much worse. We couldn’t let any patients in that room for the rest of the day as we aired it out,” says one doctor. “Clean it up, but don’t get fancy.”
Birth is Not Always a Beautiful Process
While birth can be amazing, OB-GYNs often have to deal with traumatic situations relating to pregnancy, too. One doctor recounts having to deliver a pre-term baby, a process that scarred both the doctor and patient. “We delivered her by C-section even though the baby was clearly pre-viable,” says the doctor. “It was an awful case.” And if you’re expecting a little one of your own, make sure you know How to Be a Great Dad to an Infant.
Doctors Do Sometimes Find Their Patients Attractive
While doctors may find themselves attracted to their patients, don’t expect that you’ll be slipped a phone number following your appointment. “It’s not too difficult to stay focused, especially when you know one unprofessional slip-up could cost you your career. If anything, having an attractive patient makes you focus even more because you are so conscious of yourself,” says one male OB-GYN. Adds another, “There is NOTHING erotic about the job. It seriously just turns into a ‘do what we need to do then move on to the next one.'”
They Sometimes Have to Take Extreme Measures
Fixing a patient’s medical problems is not always as simple as writing a prescription or scheduling them for surgery. For many OB-GYNs, the job is much more hands-on. “I’ve had to fist people on several occasions post birth to stop heavy bleeding. On two occasions I had to use instruments to scrape out retained placenta from the uterus,” says one gynecologist.
Delivering Babies Is a Major Benefit
While many people can’t fathom why people want to be an OB-GYN, being able to deliver babies is a major part of the appeal. “Labor and delivery are such a rush for me and they are a wonderful experience 99% of the time. That other sad 1%? It is just as important that they have a supportive and caring doctor, if not more so,” says one OB-GYN. “When I deliver a baby to a family who really wants that baby, man, the feels.” If you’re waiting to have kids, you’re not alone. These 11 Leading Men Who Happily Embraced Fatherhood Later in Life make parenting look good at any age.
People Do Weird Things During Their Exam
Although gynecological exams can be awkward for some patients, others get a little too comfortable on the table. “I’ve had patients text during the exam, which I found strange,” says one doctor.
Don’t Worry if Your Trips to the Gynecologist Are Brief
If your gynecological visit feels rushed when compared to your annual physical, don’t be surprised. For healthy patients, the exam process is so standard to most gynecologists that they can have people in and out in a matter of minutes.
“To anyone thinking that they may be getting cut short by their own gyn visits, keep in mind this whole process typically takes like 10-15 minutes at most,” says one doctor. “We get very efficient and honestly, by the 4th year of med school, even your typical gyn clinic visit is pretty routine.”
People Have Interesting Ideas About Contraception
A lack of education about contraception can have devastating effects on patients. Not only do people wind up with unintended pregnancies from their contraceptive misconceptions, they can also make themselves seriously sick.
“I was assigned to the women’s health area when we had a lady come in with a washcloth shoved in that region. Stank to high heaven, and she’d put it up there three weeks ago as homemade contraception,” reveals one doctor.
OB-GYNs Have a Lot of Fun Off the Clock
If you think your OB-GYN goes home to do crosswords and knit when they leave the office, think again. Many doctors confirm that gynecologists have a reputation for being pretty fun off the clock. “OB-GYNs tend to be work hard/play hard type of individuals,” says one doctor.
The Job Doesn’t Leave Much Time For a Personal Life
While many types of doctors have routine schedules, babies aren’t only born from 9 to 5. “It can be a little more difficult to have a family life due to the hours which are definitely hectic (I know some people tend to shy away from OBGYN if they are worried about having a family life), but can be manageable depending on where you practice,” reveals one doctor.
They’re Concerned With More Than Just Your Nether Regions
Their main job may be to assess the health of your reproductive organs, but that’s far from the only thing your gynecologist is concerned with. OB-GYNs are just as concerned with your whole-body health any other doctor.
“We look for a lot of things,” says one OB-GYN about what they look for when examining a patient. “First is just how the patient is doing. Any new stressors, life changes, how’s their mood, happiness, etcetera.”
It’s Harder For Men to Find Jobs
Men may have the upper hand in certain fields, but that’s not the case when it comes to being an OB-GYN. In addition to many patients feeling uncomfortable with receiving care from a male doctor, it can often be harder to land a placement as a man.
“How long did it take me to find a job? It took me much longer than my female colleagues, that’s certain,” says one male OB-GYN.
They Don’t Care if You’re On Your Period
If you’re thinking of skipping your annual gynecologist appointment because you’re on your period, don’t bother. It makes little difference to most OB-GYNs if their patients are bleeding or not.
“Doesn’t matter if you are on your period. Just give a brief heads up to the doctor, but don’t be self conscious,” recommends one doctor.
Tampons Cause Serious Problems
While access to menstrual products can be life-changing for many women, those same products can also cause major health issues if used improperly.
“I remember having to remove a retained tampon during my residency…I still remember [the nurse] telling me to double glove the left hand and after removing the tampon to grab it with the double gloved hand, remove outer glove and ‘seal’ it to prevent the smell from getting worse. Easy procedure but smell was definitely awful,” recalls one OB-GYN.
Grateful Patients Make the Job Worthwhile
While many medical specialties may feel like thankless work, OB-GYNs get their fair share of gratitude from patients. For many OB-GYNs, knowing that their patients are happy makes the whole job worthwhile.
“Generally speaking, patients are so grateful in obstetrics. And when outcomes are poor (which is almost never because of something I did… not because I’m perfect but because most emergencies are spontaneous, not iatrogenic), generally speaking you get to be a source of support for the patient which is also nice,” says one doctor. “I don’t have an ego complex, but hearing ‘thank you for saving my baby’ sure is nice.” And if you want to boost your own mood without years of med school, try implementing these 70 Genius Tricks to Get Instantly Happy!
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