We all have embarrassing questions about the great unknown area lurking between our legs. Unfortunately for us, we usually just ask our friends for the answers and walk around still wondering if we’re pregnant while itching our vaginas.
There are just some concerns that we are way too afraid to talk to our gynecologists about. It’s not exactly easy to ask, “How do you feel about the pull-out method?” when you’ve got a doctor in between your legs. We’re scared we’ll be judged or laughed at -- or worse -- lectured.
Elite Daily spoke to two incredibly friendly and notable OBGYNs, Dr. Rebecca Brightman, private OBGYN and Assistant Clinical Professor of OBGYN at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and Dr. Dan Nayot, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Specialist at TCART Fertility Partners, to get the real low-down on the down-low.
We thought we asked some pretty shocking questions. The true surprise? They didn’t even raise an eyebrow at our graphic concerns.
We’re not asking for us; we’re asking for a friend. Here are the 10 embarrassing questions you are too afraid to ask your gyno... finally answered.
1. Can you tell how many partners I’ve been with? Do I stretch out from entertaining many penises in Club Vagina over the years?
Both Dr. Brightman and Dr. Nayot assure that your gyno can’t tell how many partners a woman has had.
“The vaginal wall is very elastic and expands during sexual activity and excitement, but returns to normal tone afterwards,” explains Dr. Brightman.
“Vaginal walls may be more lax after a pregnancy, particularly after a vaginal birth, but many partners won't be able to notice.”
2. What happens if I smell? Does yogurt help?
Before you go shoving Chobani up your hoo-ha, make sure you know the difference between the odor that arises from normal changes through your menstrual cycle and the odor that is a result of a medical issue like a vaginal infection. If something seems off, it’s best to see a medical professional.
Dr. Nayot adds, “You wouldn’t want to just mask the odor (band-aid solution), but instead treat the main issue.
"If it is your physiological (normal) odor that you’re not pleased with, there are several options to explore, ranging from ensuring good vulvar hygiene, removing any potential irritants from your underwear to changing your diet pattern.”
Yogurt’s probiotic properties increase healthy bacteria lactobacilli, which may treat vaginal and potentially prevent yeast infections.
Dr. Nayot cautions, however, “Not all yogurts are the same, and some may worsen the very odor you’re trying to get a handle on.”
3. Is it supposed to itch sometimes?
While it’s perfectly normal for a guy to walk around scratching his balls all day, for women it’s more of a mixed bag. “Occasionally women itch... it’s not always a sign of something bad,” asserts Dr. Brightman.
Itching can occur post-spin class, a day at the beach, wearing hosiery, or when pubic hair grows in. “If it persists and is associated with an unusual vaginal discharge, odor, fever, or blisters, a woman should seek medical attention.”
4. Is pulling out really not effective? What if I’m not ovulating? Like, what’s the real deal? Because I’m willing to take the chance...
The aptly named "coitus interruptus" is risky like Tom Cruise’s business.
“As OBGYNs, we refer to ‘pulling out,’ or withdrawal, as ‘pull and pray!’" says Dr. Brightman. “Men always have a small amount of ejaculate prior to orgasm, thus the old adage, ‘They dribble before they shoot!’” (LOL. See, your gyno has a sense of humor, too!)
Dr. Brightman adds, “Sperm can remain viable for up to five days in the female reproductive tract. So even if a woman thinks she isn't due to ovulate, she may not be safe.”
And stop trying to mark your calendar like a menstrual zodiac. “Very few women have cycles that are absolutely predictable from one month to another.”
5. Finish this sentence: What if you’ve had unprotected sex with someone and didn’t get tested yet…
“It happens! But it’s never too late to start the conversation,” reassures Dr. Brightman. Phew, no judgment here. Both doctors strongly recommend talking to that partner about his/her sexual history, and then also getting tested yourself.
You shouldn’t feel uncomfortable about having The Talk with your healthcare provider as well. “We’ve heard it all. No one is perfect... and doctors are people too!” says Dr. Brightman.
Exactly what we needed to hear.
6. How many weeks need to pass before you need to worry about being late? We’re, uh, asking for a friend.
Dr. Nayot, the fertility expert, breaks this one down for us our friend.
The long answer: In the fallopian tube, an egg gets fertilized by the sperm, resulting in an embryo. The embryo continues to grow and implants within the uterus several days later.
“An implanted embryo releases the ‘pregnancy’ hormone (BHCG) into the mother’s bloodstream.
"So technically, you're already pregnant before your expected period, and many of the pregnancy tests are able to detect this hormone even before you’re ‘late.'”
The short answer: If your menstrual cycles are super regular, even a few days late should be taken seriously. Most women have variability to their cycles, so being a little late may not be abnormal. But if you had unprotected sex and missed your expected period, then it's worth taking a pregnancy test.
7. Is discharge normal?
Dr. Brightman’s short answer, “YES!!!! All women of reproductive age have some degree of discharge.” It varies for everyone and also depends on where you are in your cycle.
“Women tend to have copious gooey stretchy discharge just prior to ovulation. It helps with lubrication and sperm transport.” Mmmm, sexy.
8. Do I have to cough after he's been inside me? Do I have to pee every time after sex?
Skip the coughing, but peeing isn’t a bad idea (as unromantic as it sounds).
Basically, a woman’s urethra is very short and after any kind of sexual activity, secretions containing bacteria can travel up the urethra and cause a UTI (aka a bladder infection).
“So getting up to pee prior to falling asleep is a good habit and will lessen a woman's chance of developing a UTI,” says Dr. Brightman.
9. Does your cycle sync with other girls?
Anyone who has ever lived in a sorority house knows when it’s time to consider moving. The jury is still split, though, on this phenomenon and why it occurs.
Theories include the production of pheromones, an alpha female that sets the pace or an evolutionary advantage. We don’t suggest putting these to test.
10. The one you’ve all been waiting for: Can any girl be a “squirter?”
Sorry to let your dreams of becoming an Olympic Female Ejaculator down, but not all women experience this. Squirting is more urban porn legend than physiology.
“Some women have more lubrication and are wetter during foreplay and orgasm,” explains Dr. Brightman.
“The moisture women experience can be variable and intensity of an orgasm and contraction of pelvic floor muscles can result in what appears to be ‘female ejaculate.’”
We’ll leave you at that.