4 Common Questions Answered by an OB-GYN

 Photo by Cacá Santoro

Photo by Cacá Santoro

By Nicole Charky

If you haven’t done it before, going to an OB-GYN and visiting a doctor’s office might feel a little like wandering into a jungle of unknowns.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Dr. Lisa Valle, D.O. gave Do the Good Stuff the scoop and tools you need next time you head into the doctor’s office. Valle’s Los Angeles-area practice often focuses on how to address pain people might feel during sex and make adjustments.

1. When should you actually go to a doctor?

You should have an annual Pap smear, which screens for cervical cancer, and an annual exam, which is a visual inspection of your clitoris, vulva, labia, acne, ingrown hairs, skin changes or warts, Valle explains.

Even when your doctor is talking to you, they’re doing a visual check, she says. Your doctor will screen for acne, cysts, eczema, psoriasis, any ingrown hairs or other concerns you might indicate.

It’s recommended that women ages 21-29 have a Pap smear every three years. From ages 30-65 a pap smear every five years, 40-44 it’s important to have a mammogram and 55+ each year.

2. How do you know when to go to the doctor?

When we’re talking about vaginal health you might feel a little different or out of balance. Anytime you have increased discharge, unusual color of discharge, burning or itching causing you pain, then it’s time to talk to your doctor about it, Valle says. Changes during your period or pain when you pee is also another reason to talk to your doctor.

“If you have any burning go to a doctor,” Valle says.

You should also go to the doctor if you have any pain during sex, she says. Sometimes pain during sex can indicate other health problems, including endometriosis or pelvic floor pain.

3. Can you lose something in your vagina?

“It can’t go anywhere,” Valle explains. So if you do lose something, it’s only temporary. It will return.

If you have a serious concern or have been struggling, then definitely talk to your doctor.

4. What does it mean if my sex drive is low?

Your sex drive, or libido, can sometimes indicate other signs. To boost your sex drive, talk to your doctor or a medical professional about any of your body changes. It could be hormonal, it could also be your medications, Valle says.