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    16 Things Your Gyno Really Wants You To Know

    They definitely don't care what your hair looks like down there.

    Jenny Chang / Via BuzzFeed Life

    1. They're not judging your grooming habits.

    Don't worry about what they think of your Brazilian or full bush. They're really not paying attention to that. "So many people apologize for not shaving or waxing or showering right before they came," Dr. Alyssa Dweck, OB-GYN and co-author of V Is For Vagina, tells BuzzFeed Life. "Obviously nobody wants you to come in right after you've run a marathon, but we really truly don't look at anything like that."

    2. You know that super weird, embarrassing question that you REALLY don't want to ask? Just ask it.

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    Chances are, they know exactly what that bump/rash/smell/discharge actually is and they can deal with it, no problem. They've seen and heard everything, so you might as well bring it up if you're even the least bit concerned. "Don't automatically assume something is good or bad," Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, OB-GYN and clinical professor at Yale School of Medicine, tells BuzzFeed Life. "Just ask about it."

    3. They really want to hear about your sex life.

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    They don't need to know everything, but it would be helpful to know if you're having sex, if your partner has a penis or a vagina, if you're not sure about your partner's STI status, if you have multiple partners, etc. This information can help them give you the testing and treatment you need, says Dweck. If you're not comfortable talking to your gyno about this stuff, you might want to find another doctor.

    And if you have any questions about libido, orgasms, lubrication, or any other sexual issues, definitely bring that up. If you don't talk to your gyno about this stuff, really, which other doctor would you ask?

    4. And they definitely want to know if sex is uncomfortable or painful.

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    Pain or discomfort during sex could be nothing, but it also could be something — especially if it happens more than once. The thing is, your gyno can usually help pinpoint (and hopefully treat) whatever the issue is, says Dweck. But only if you tell them about it.

    You should also tell them if anything eventful (and relevant) happened to you during sex — like if the condom broke or came off inside you, if you had a little bleeding afterward, if you got a crazy headache when you orgasmed, any of that stuff. Again, it could be no big deal, but you'll feel a lot better once you bring it up.

    5. Let them know if your period is literal hell, too. They can probably help with that.

    6. They might broach the topic of fertility, but that doesn't necessarily mean they have an opinion about your life choices.

    7. They really want you to stop using all those products to clean your vulva.

    "For the love of all that is holy, please stop douching." —Gynecologists everywhere*

    The vagina is self-cleaning, so you really don't need to be putting anything up there. And when it comes to cleaning the rest of the area, stay away from anything more than a gentle, unscented soap. "Some people do fine putting anything down there, but less is more when it comes to vaginal hygiene," says Dweck.

    *Not a direct quote from every gynecologist on Earth, but you get it.

    8. If there are health issues that run in your family, they want to know that.

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    More people are talking to their doctors about genetic testing for certain cancers, and that's definitely something you can bring up to your gyno. Let them know if one or more relatives was diagnosed with the same disease or type of cancer — especially breast or ovarian cancers. "This is a gene we actually do know how to test for," says Dweck. You should also let them know if you have a personal or family history of blood clots, since that can determine which birth control methods are right for you.

    9. They can help you find a birth control you actually like — so ask them!

    10. If you ask them to test you for every sexually transmitted infection, they're probably going to test you for only a few of them.

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    When you say "test me for everything," what you'll usually get tested for are chlamydia and gonorrhea, and sometimes syphilis, says Minkin. That's because these are the STI tests that are routinely recommended for most women. For more information on who should get tested for what, check out our complete guide to STI-testing recommendations.

    But if you've had unprotected sex, you have any symptoms, or you just think you might be at risk for something else, talk to your doctor about that. In certain cases, it wouldn't be unreasonable to ask to be tested for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV, and hepatitis C, says Minkin. But your doctor will probably ask for more information about your sexual habits to make sure you really need them.

    There are also some tests they may not recommend. Based on the current guidelines, routine testing for herpes is not recommend unless you have symptoms or think you've been exposed, and routine HPV testing is not recommended in women under 30.

    11. When you do get tested, follow up to ask about your results.

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    "It upsets me when people automatically assume no news is good news," says Dweck. Obviously some doctors will tell you that they'll only call if there are abnormal test results, but it's still a good idea to check in just in case. Mistakes happen, so it never hurts to call and ask about your results if you're concerned, she says.

    12. They really want to see you once a year — even if you don't need a Pap smear.

    13. And don't freak out about an abnormal Pap smear. It might be nothing.

    14. If you'd like to avoid part of the exam, talk to them about that.

    15. Your gynecologist should be someone you actually like and trust, so don't settle for someone who is just OK.

    16. Going to your annual appointment is great! But it's not enough to stay on top of your sexual and reproductive health.