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A Gynecologist Shared 15 Things We're Doing Really, Really Wrong

"Melatonin won't actually 'cancel out' your birth control."

BuzzFeed spoke to Dr. Jennifer Lincoln to discuss the common mistakes we make when it comes to women's health ~down there.~ Here are some of the biggest things we might be doing wrong.

1. Taking melatonin won't actually "cancel out" your birth control.

2. Your body doesn't need any kind of "cleanse" when coming off birth control.

3. You shouldn't have any odor ~down there~ = a myth.

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"Something I hear often is the idea that women think they should have no odor down there. But here's the reality: a vagina is supposed to smell like...a vagina! That odor varies among women and may change depending on where you are in your cycle, but to have no odor at all is not the goal! If there are concerns (a fishy smell) or something different and it bothers you, or if you have any itching, burning, or worries about an infection — see your doctor! They can determine if there is an infection and guide you on the best way to treat it." —Dr. Jennifer Lincoln

4. Don't leave your pad on all day.

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"Pads last in general a few hours. But keep in mind that varies depending on your flow and how absorbent the pad is. Change it when the center is starting to get full or it starts to get wet. That means it is time to change it." —Dr. Jennifer Lincoln

5. Don't leave your tampon in longer than 4–6 hours.

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"Tampons shouldn't be left in longer than six hours, but most last closer to four." —Dr. Jennifer Lincoln

6. And don't leave your menstrual cup in for a whole 24-hour period.

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"Menstrual cups can last up to 12 hours and then should be removed at that point and emptied and cleaned." —Dr. Jennifer Lincoln

7. Pubic hair isn't there to annoy you. It has a purpose.

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"Our pubic hair really is there for a reason! The skin on our vulvas is really delicate, and hair protects it from the friction of rubbing on clothes. It also helps to trap bacteria and viruses so they can't get into the vagina and set up shop." —Dr. Jennifer Lincoln

8. Synthetic hormones in birth control are safe.

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"Birth control pills have been remarkably well-studied. Synthetic hormones have been well-studied and are effective at protecting against pregnancy. And they are safe!" —Dr. Jennifer Lincoln

9. You CAN get pregnant if it is your first time, you're on your period, if he pulls out before he ejaculates, if you're in a hot tub, or if a doctor tells you you'll never get pregnant.

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"If you have a uterus and at least one ovary, yes, you can get pregnant in all of these scenarios! I have had some women ask me if they can get pregnant from anal sex. No, you can't." —Dr. Jennifer Lincoln

10. There's no such thing as masturbating "too much."

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"As long as you don't find it interfering with your life or daily activities and you don't end up chafed or irritated, it is OK to masturbate as often as you like. Masturbating is super healthy — it shows you what makes you feel good and what doesn't, and you can pass that along to your partner. Mutual masturbation is also a really great way to have a sexual relationship without the risk of pregnancy!" —Dr. Jennifer Lincoln

11. Sex shouldn't be uncomfortable.

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"The biggest mistake I see women make is that they just grin and bear it, thinking sex just hurts — and it shouldn't. If sex is uncomfortable, please reach out to your doctor. We can chat and then do an exam and look for issues with your muscles, skin, organs, or nerves. Issues at play might be endometriosis, vaginismus, vulvar pain disorders, low estrogen leading to low lubrication, and more. Women should not have to suffer in silence, and once we figure out what is going on, we can get you on the road to having pleasurable sex again." —Dr. Jennifer Lincoln

12. Periods should NOT disrupt your life.

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"If you are missing work or school, finding you need strong pain medicine to deal with it (ibuprofen is fine), or having mood swings that are interfering with your relationships, then it's time to see your doctor. We can dive into it and see if PMDD, endometriosis, fibroids, or a bleeding disorder might be at play. We have lots of good therapies and treatments for these issues so your periods no longer rule your life." —Dr. Jennifer Lincoln

13. You don't necessarily have to avoid sugar and caffeine when you're on your period.

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"There is no need to avoid anything on your period unless you have found that doing so helps you. Everyone's perception of pain is different." —Dr. Jennifer Lincoln

14. Don't always think of your period as a negative time of month. It's important to use that time for self-care.

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"When mothers have a negative outlook on their periods, their daughters tend to as well. So moms: take note and try to be positive! It's often how you frame it, much like many things in life. Use your period as a chance to care for yourself — rest, take a bath, use a warm heating pad, or do something nice for yourself." —Dr. Jennifer Lincoln

15. Finally, condoms are all we have to protect against sexually transmitted infections.

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"It is really important to be honest with yourself and where you are in life. Are you 110% sure your partner is and always will be faithful? Have you both been tested for STIs? These are personal questions and only you can decide what feels right for you." —Dr. Jennifer Lincoln

For more information on women's health, you can follow Dr. Jennifer Lincoln.