7 Things You Should Tell Your Gynecologist

What Your Gynecologist Needs to Know About You

woman talking to female doctor
Tetra Images/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Your gynecologist wants to use her best diagnostic tool, her ears, at your annual gynecological exam. It's essential that you provide thorough information about yourself to your doctor on each visit. Unfortunately, many women leave out important facts that may help their doctor make the best healthcare recommendations.

If you have had the same doctor for years, make sure you update your doctor on any changes that have occurred over the last year.

If you are seeing a new doctor, you may want to write down information about your health, so you do not forget to discuss something during your appointment.

What Women Should Tell Their Gynecologist

Here are some important things your gynecologist should know about you. You put your health at risk if you leave out details that may seem minor or embarrassing. They can point to conditions that can be prevented or treated if caught early, but could become big problems if not detected.

Personal Health History

Be honest and thorough with your doctor about your personal health history. You may think these are already in your medical chart and the gynecologist knows them by reviewing your chart. But they may not be documented and it pays to review them at each visit. Your doctor needs to know:

  • the date of your last Pap smear and the results
  • if you have ever had an abnormal Pap smear
  • any medications you are currently taking (including contraceptives, vitamins, and alternative medications like herbal remedies and other supplements)
  • allergies to medications or to latex

Family History

Inform your doctor of your immediate family's medical history of diseases and other conditions, like thyroid disorders, heart conditions, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and more.

Gather as much family medical history as you can before your doctor's appointment.

Symptoms

If you are experiencing anything that is unusual for you, let your doctor know. Your doctor may want to know how long you have had the symptoms, the degree of pain you may be experiencing, if the symptom is constant or sporadic, and what causes or worsens the symptom. If you are taking any medications for symptoms, over-the-counter, prescription, herbal or homeopathic, let your doctor know.

Pregnant or Trying to Conceive

Your doctor should always be made aware of pregnancy or if you are planning to conceive. Your doctor can provide the most personal advice related to your planned pregnancy and conception.

Menstrual Cycle

If you have been experiencing changes in your menstrual cycle, be sure to tell your doctor. This can include spotting, a heavier or lighter than normal flow, cramping, clotting, irregular periods, or anything else you may be concerned with.

Birth Control Use

Your gynecologist is your best source of information about birth control.

Always inform him of current birth control use, and also if you are not using birth control.

Lifestyle

It is helpful for your doctor know your lifestyle. This includes information like exercise habits, if you smoke, drink, or do drugs. Remember, your doctor should be aware of these things (good and bad) so he or she can provide the best health care for you personally.

Prepare for Your Gynecologist Visit

Even if you want to give thorough information to your gynecologist, it can be a lot to remember. The best way to prepare is to make notes and to bring them with you to the exam. Keep a small notebook or update an electronic note for this purpose. You can have it handy in your purse or on your cell phone so you can read it to your doctor and not miss important information. There are even apps available for storing your personal medical history to have handy for your visit.

If you have access to your electronic medical record and test results, review them before your visit. If you have questions about anything in your record, make notes or print it out to bring with you to discuss with your gynecologist.

Continue Reading