Bringing up sensitive topics with your doctor

May 1, 2012 8:35:10 PM PDT
Women are often so busy that they sometimes put themselves last.

However, Pamela Adegun is proof that when it comes to your health, you need to put yourself first. She ignored her heavy menstrual periods for 6 months.

"I'm like, it's nothing - it's a monthly, thing it's a woman thing," Pamela said.

It is important to ask your doctor why you have heavy menstrual periods. "It could represent fibroids, which are benign tumors of the uterus or polyps which are benign growths in the uterus, but both these things are treatable," noted Dr. Erika Banks, the Director of Gynecology at Montefiore Medical Center.

Another embarrassing question that Dr. Banks gets a lot is whether she can treat urinary incontinence, or leaking of the urine. The answer is yes.

"Talking about loss of urine is important because it affects the quality of life for women," said Dr. Banks.

Question number three that women must ask their doctor is why their sexual intercourse is painful.

Dr. Banks says that painful intercourse can sometimes represent some medical conditions such as endometriosis or fibroids.

After menopause, it is often a sign of low estrogen. This is normal, and can be treated with medication.

Two big reasons why women don't ask these questions are because they may not want to know the answer, they may think it is difficult, depending on their doctor's personality.

"You don't really want to go in there like, 'you know what, doc, I've been bleeding down there.'" adds Pamela.

One suggestion to make it less awkward is to write down your questions before your visit.

"Bring out a sheet of paper and sort of have a list - you can always blame it on someone else, 'my daughter or husband suggested I talk to you about this.' It's easy to start with your real feelings," suggests Dr. Banks.

In the end, if you are still uncomfortable with your doctor, just do what Pamela did-- find a new one that you like.

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