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7 Questions to Ask Your OB/GYN at Your Next Visit

Female Patient Listening to Female Doctor

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When you walk into your OB/GYN appointment, you might feel overwhelmed at all the questions your doctor asks you about your health history. Rashmi Tomur, MD, OB/GYN physician with UChicago Medicine AdventHealth Medical Group, encourages you to ask your own questions you may have about your menstrual cycle, new symptoms or family planning.

Not sure what questions to ask? We asked Dr. Tomur to list her top questions. Jot these down and take control of your health.

What Kind of Exams Do I Need?

“You should have a pelvic exam every year once you’re 21 and a mammogram every year once you’re 40, but this can vary based on your health history and risk factors,” says Dr. Tomur. Ask your OB/GYN what they recommend and if other exams, like STD testing or blood work, need to be done to keep you healthy. Dr. Tomur says, “Start your visit with this question to lead to more personalized care.”

How Heavy or Light Should My Menstrual Flow Be?

Every woman’s period is different. Some have long, heavy flows, while some have short, light periods. A lot can impact your menstrual cycle, including hormones, diet and activity levels. Ask your OB/GYN if your menstrual flow is typically based on your lifestyle habits, age and overall health. If not, they can conduct tests and determine why your menstrual flow is lighter or heavier than normal.

Is the Smell of My Vaginal Discharge Normal?

“Vaginal odor is normal and depends on what you eat, drink or medications you take,” states Dr. Tomur, “but if you think your scent is stronger, smells ‘fishy,’ or doesn’t go away for long periods of time, ask your OB/GYN if what you’re smelling is normal.” Some odors may signal an infection, and it’s best to get them checked out sooner than later.

Is It Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) or Something Else?

Your sex hormones — estrogen and progesterone — fluctuate throughout each menstrual cycle; it’s common to feel moody or more sensitive due to these changes. However, if you feel depressed, hopeless or unable to function, it’s time to ask your OB/GYN if these are normal PMS symptoms or signs that you may have a premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Fortunately, PMDD is treatable and can help you feel like yourself again throughout your menstrual cycle.

How Do I Do a Breast Self-Exam?

Less than 5% of breast cancer cases are in women under 40, but it’s still important to regularly check your breasts for bumps, lumps or other changes. Early detection leads to the best outcomes. Ask your OB/GYN to teach you to perform a self-exam and what to look for correctly. “It’s best” says Dr. Tomur, “to incorporate the self-exam into your daily routine, like when you’re hopping in the shower or getting ready for work. Then you’ll be regularly checking for any changes.”

Is It Normal to Pee When I Laugh or Sneeze?

If you’ve ever laughed too hard or sneezed and felt a little urine slip through, you may have a fallen bladder, stress incontinence or a pelvic floor issue. Ask your OB/GYN about steps you can take so that you can laugh again without hesitation. “This could be as simple as incorporating daily Kegel exercises or more advanced procedures,” says Dr. Tomur.

Which Birth Control Method Should I Use?

According to the Guttmacher Institute, about 99% of sexually active women in the U.S. from ages 15 to 44 have used at least one contraceptive method. “Not every method works or is right for every woman,” Dr. Tomur says. “With so many choices out there, like natural family planning or hormonal birth control, you may not know what is best for you.” Your OB/GYN can help determine the best birth control option for you and your partner.

We’re Here to Help

From an annual pelvic exam to treatment for an STD, our expert OB/GYNs are here for your every need, close to home. With multiple office locations for your convenience, taking care of your whole health doesn’t need to be difficult.

Rashmi Tomur, MD, is a board-certified obstetrics and gynecology physician and cares for adolescents, adults and older adults at her office in Bolingbrook, 630-312-7500 and Aurora, 630-375-0101. Call today for more information or to schedule an appointment!

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