Ask a woman what the most important thing in her life is and chances are, she’ll probably say family or health. Indeed, health is definitely one of the most precious things a person can have. People do all of sorts of things to maintain good health from eating well, taking supplements, and avoiding unhealthy habits like smoking or excessively drinking. Frequently, though, questions arise. Is this normal? Is that normal? Why is this one thing happening to me? How can I make this thing go away? What will cure me? How can I prevent this disease?
Asking questions is a part of life, and in fact, asking questions can save lives. (See, your kindergarten teacher was right – asking questions is a good thing!) With their oath to do no harm and a boat load of education under their belt, it’s really no surprise why people tend to trust their doctors so easily. Patients ask questions, doctors respond, and (for the most part), patients follow their advice.
Granted, just because a doctor is a doctor doesn’t make him (or her) infallible. Sometimes doctors mess up, sometimes they only have bad news to deliver, and sometimes they are completely stumped. They aren’t magicians; they are humans too. And sometimes, what they have to say can be downright dumb. Here are 15 things I never want to hear my gynecologist say.
15 Sorry! Wrong Hole!
Not for nothing, going to the gynecologist is a very vulnerable experience. I mean, it’s not everyday you get all scrubbed up and groomed just to flash your goods to an (almost) stranger. I know it sounds a bit weird when it’s worded that way but the truth is that you really do show your most private parts to someone other than your partner. It goes without saying then that we must completely and totally trust our doctor.
So when the person we are entrusting the care of our V gets the wrong hole, it’s a bit (okay, a lot) worrisome. In the world of female reproductive care, there’s not too many times the butt needs to be involved (the exception being the Group B strep test performed during pregnancy). There’s no excuse for a doc to swab the wrong hole!
14 Where Did You Get A Wax Job Done?
Where did you get your shirt? Where did you get your purse? Where do you get your hair cut? These are all relatively simple questions, but to a woman, these questions mean one thing: flattery. If someone asks you these questions, what she really means is, “Hey lady! I am digging your outfit/accessores/hairdo so much that I want to go where you go – because that’s clearly the place to be.”
The flattery ends when it’s your bush that’s getting the compliments. By your doctor. For one, gynecologists are not supposed to care about your grooming trends (so they say in all of their interviews). Second, no one wants to have matching lady gardens with their doctor. Third, it’s a bit awkward because there’s way too much focus on the hair care and not enough on the health care. The list of why this question is wrong can go on and on forever, but the truth is if you ever hear your gyno say this, run far, far away.
13 No Bueno
One of the most confusing things about getting a medical test done is how doctors phrase the results. A positive test result is usually bad news, and negative test result is usually good news. For example, if a Group B strep test was positive, that means mama-to-be does in fact have the Group B. Confusing as that might be at first, it is rather cut and dry. It’s either positive or it’s negative – no weird gray area.
However, hearing your gyno say, “I don’t think this looks good” is definitely on the list of things I don’t want to hear. Not only is this not the most wonderful of bedside manners, but it totally lacks that clear-cut decisiveness of the positive/negative wording. Saying “it doesn’t look good” just makes me nervous. When I’m talking to a doctor I want him to be confident in what he is telling me. I don’t want him to think something looks good or bad; I want him to know something is good or bad. If he’s not sure, do the appropriate test before scaring the patient!
12 Wait And See
Patience is a virtue. A very, very rare and precious virtue gifted to only a select few individuals. I, however, am not one of them. I don’t like waiting. Waiting 9 months to meet my newborn? Forget that – I can barely wait until the 20 week ultrasound to learn if baby is a boy or girl! Waiting for my new puppy to come home? Ahh, I can’t take it! But waiting for doctor’s tests? That’s the absolute worst!
Among things I never want to hear my gyno say is, “It might be herpes, but it might not be. We’ll have to wait and see.” Ugh, who wants to wait a few days (or even a week) for those test results? Sure, the tests might come back and reveal that you’re just find and dandy but what about all that stress during the waiting period? How many gray hairs can one person sprout in that time?
11 Who? Me?
If your doctor’s office is anything like mine, chances are you’ve had plenty of time sitting in the exam room to look around a bit. Did you ever notice how nicely items are presented at your gyno’s office? The tray with the lube and the giant swab all lined up nicely. I know the nurse does this because it makes her job easier during the exam as well as after the exam when she cleans up. Note: preparing these medical instruments is the nurse’s job.
So you should indeed be puzzled if you ever hear your doctor ask you, aka the patient, to hand her the speculum. You should never assist your doctor and that includes handing over instruments. Medical techs go to school specifically to do that job – hand over tools to the doctor. Seriously consider a new doctor if she ever says, “Can you hand me that speculum over there?”
10 Meet Cute? I Think Not
Who doesn’t love a good meet cute? Coming from someone who met her husband on a study abroad in a foreign country, I am all about the meet cute. But meet cutes aren’t limited to fairytales and exotic destinations; you can meet the love of your life at work just like Meredith and Derek. However, since we’re talking about Grey’s Anatomy, meet cutes between doctor and patient typically don’t end well. (Denny and Izzy, anyone?)
Although it might seem romantic for your doctor to ask you out, it sure does break a lot of social rules and hospital policies. (The official rule is that a doc must terminate the doctor-patient relationship before embarking on a dating relationship, but the majority of doctors just put a ban on dating even past patients.)
However, asking, “Would you like to go out for coffee sometime?” while staring at your V ranks even higher on the creep factor. Reporting this incident is probably a good idea.
9 Skipping Kegels?
Let’s be honest: who diligently does their Kegels? I know, it’s super important for a many reasons, but it’s easy to forget when you’re constantly busy and on-the-go. During pregnancy, Kegels help strengthen muscles that are used during labor and delivery. Kegels also help maintain good bladder control even after delivery.
Even though they are easy to do (with or without those slightly intimidating Kegel balls), no judgement here if you’ve neglected doing them.
To be honest, the one person who probably notices the biggest different post-Kegeling is likely to be your spouse for obvious reasons. With that said, that is probably the one person who might (key word: might) get away with asking if you’ve been skipping Kegels. But if your doctor asks this question? Yikes! Why are they asking? Did they remember your pre-baby V? Does it look so bad that it's visually noticeable? Too many embarrassing questions! Just hope you never hear those words out of your gyno’s mouth.
8 This Is Going To Hurt
When I was little, I was petrified of shots. I dreaded yearly physicals. The nurses told me that it was “only a pinch” and then they would trick me by counting to five but jabbing me on two. Of course, those tactics were necessary for a 4th grader who hid from nurses with needles. They never said, “This is going to hurt,” because that just hypes up the pain.
So when a doctor does actually say, “This is going to hurt,” you know it’s going to suck majorly. When it comes to pregnancy, there are many instances in which a doctor can truthfully say something is going to hurt. From stripping membranes to the actual contractions to the ring of fire, there are many things that hurt. But sometimes it’s nice to just pretend it won’t hurt. Denial is a form of pain management, right?
Birth control options have really expanded, and women have a bounty of methods to choose from. From pills to mini pills to condoms to IUDs to natural family planning to withdrawal, there is a method for every woman. Although the effectiveness rates vary by method and proper usage (hint: withdrawal is not the effective method no matter what he tells you), modern birth control is much more effective than antiquated birth control methods. Fun fact: in 1910, condoms were made out of animal gut membranes... no vegan condoms back then! If you weren’t into animal gut condoms, the other option was a sponge that blocked the cervix. Doesn’t sound so great.
So while birth control methods have improved in both sanitation as well as effectiveness, hearing that your birth control failed may come as a shock. In fact, I know several women in real life who heard their doc utter these words, “Whelp! Looks like your IUD wasn’t effective.” Their babies were born healthy without complications from the IUD, but still, that can be a scary situation indeed!
It’s no secret that a vaginal delivery can wreck a V faster than you can say episiotomy. It happens. It’s a part of life, but thankfully all that elastic tissue heals remarkably. Sure, it may not look exactly like it did pre-baby (especially if you look at it in the days immediately after birth), but it does get better. Thanks to modern medical equipment and those insanely bright delivery room lights, doctors are pretty good are repairing tears.
But even if you’ve got a few scars, what does it really matter? No big deal. Consider it a badge of honor for participating in the miracle of life. Absolutely no one (including your man) should ever give you grief for the state of your V after you’ve birthed a baby. That goes for your doctor as well. Be suspicious if he ever inquires, “Would you like me to refer to you a plastic surgeon to fix that?” Unless it's a medical issue or something you're really concerned about, nothing down there needs to be fixed just for cosmetic reasons.
5 How Many?
Mommy and me play dates are strange social gatherings. Near strangers come together so their tiny humans can drool on each other’s toys and eat crackers together while the adults chat about bodily functions such as poop, vomit, and feeding schedules. It’s completely okay to ask for details about each other's lives including how many kids you’ve had.
Asking about children is a popular small talk question, and even doctors might use it to fill silent gaps while doing procedures. However, asking that question while staring at your lady parts during an exam is a total game changer. It may be an innocent question, but the timing makes it sound like, “Holy mother of pearl! How many kids have you had? 9? Do your Kegels, woman!” This question is particularly embarrassing if the answer to that question is zero. Yikes.
I’m sure not every doctor means it that way, but I’d prefer my gyno ddn’t ask me that mid-exam.
4 Waxing Versus Shaving
Girlfriends are wonderful for discussing beauty routines, new hairstyle tips, and upcoming makeup trends. When you want to ask if a haircut is right for you, you go to your girlfriends for honest advice. When you need a good spa day with a facial and some waxing, you bring your girls with you. Not your gyno.
Remember, any good gyno worth his weight in gold doesn’t care if you wax or shave or trim. (Of course, hygiene is the issue that really matters, not hair care.) So it should come as a surprise when your gyno asks if you’ve considered waxing instead of shaving. Unless you booked your appointment because of an infected ingrown hair from shaving, your gyno shouldn’t be piping in on your garden maintenance. Questions like that are what make women self-conscious about going to their yearly appointment.
3 Comparing The Girls
Breast cancer awareness has boomed in the past few years thanks to heavy efforts from the Susan G. Komen foundation and the Race for the Cure. As such, most women know to preform regular breast exams to check for lumps or other physical changes. Unfortunately though, most women only check for lumps. Other signs to look out for include skin changes, areola changes, nipple retraction, and nipple leakage.
One other non-lump sign to look out for is growing or shrinking breasts. Hearing a doctor say, “Has your left boob always been bigger?” may seem awkward at first, but that can be a sign of a bigger issue. Although I never want to hear this question, at least be thankful that your doctor is thinking proactively. Before you freak out, it is actually really common to have two breasts of different sizes; the key is monitoring to see if they change suddenly.
2 The Husband Stitch
When I was pregnant with my first, I was terrified of needing stitches. However, once the actual labor and delivery was over, I really didn’t even notice that stitches were being done – I was that exhausted. It wasn’t until much later that I even learned why some women fear stitches beyond just the pain factor: the husband stitch.
In case you’re wondering, a husband stitch is when the doctor includes one extra stitch to make mom extra tight, if you know what I mean. One brave mommy blogger took a stand on the issue. She interviewed dozens of moms who were angered that their doctor took the liberty to perform this stitch without consent. Not only is it borderline sexist, but that stitch makes post-baby sex more painful for mom. Add “I did an extra husband stitch for you” to the list of things I never want to hear in the delivery room.
1 How Many?
Getting an ultrasound is one of the most exciting parts of pregnancy. It’s not too often that people countdown until a medical test, but this is one of them. Most moms look forward to the 20 week ultrasound to confirm the sex of their babe, but that first ultrasound is even more exciting: it shows baby’s heartbeat for the first time and confirms that baby is indeed on board.
At the first ultrasound, the doctor can also confirm singleton, twins, or triplets (or even more!). This is usually an easy thing for a doctor or ultrasound tech to decipher so hearing “Is that another baby? Wait, how many are there?” isn’t exactly reassuring. If a gyno can’t tell how many babies there are, then I’d be wary of what else they can or cannot do. I mean, unless you are Octomom 2.0 then I’ll make an exception because that would be hard to tell!
Sources: Bustle.com, Webmd.com