6 Things Your Gynae REALLY Wishes You Knew About STIs

by | Jan 9, 2015 | Health

Photograph by jannoon028/Freepik

Like, Pap smears aren’t the answer…

Yeah, we know: nobody wants to still around the gynae’s office too long. But there are questions you should be asking — and some pretty important things you should know. Here are the six things your gynae would tell you, if you gave her the chance.

READ MORE: 5 Gyneas Share The Sex Tips That Have Changed Their Patients’ Lives

1. Know Your Bumps

Skin tags, inflamed follicles, shaving irritation and plain old pimples (yes, down there) can all cause genitalarea bumps. STI sores vary widely in appearance and are sometimes painless or hard to see. Call your doc but keep calm: your lump might be ugly but innocuous.

2. Pap Smears Aren’t The Answer

“Many women believe that if they’ve had a Pap smear, they’re clear of STIs, but this couldn’t be further from the truth,” says Dr Elna Rudolph. “A Pap smear only looks for precancerous cells caused by HPV. It does not screen for HPV itself, or any other STI.”

READ MORE: 5 Reasons Why You’re Got Vaginal Pimples And How To Treat Them

3. It’s Never Too Late

If you already have an STI, you may think you don’t need testing. Wrong. “New research from Gardasil [a company that produces HPV vaccines] shows that HPV vaccinations are useful even for people who already have the virus – they prevent you from contracting other strains,” explains Dr Marlene Wasserman.

4. Relax, It’s The Un-STI

Anything that throws off your vagina’s natural bacterial balance (sex, your period, bubble bath) can result in the über-common BV (bacterial vaginosis). Its symptoms – discharge, fishy odour, burning – mirror those of many STIs, but it’s not sexually transmitted or harmful in and of itself. BV can, however, lower your defences against actual STIs, so be sure to ask your doctor for treatment.

READ MORE: 3 Random Things That Can Totally Mess With Your mammogram Results

5. Consider A New Shield

Female condoms guard the vagina, vulva and surrounding skin, so they may offer more protection than condoms against STIs spread via skin-to-skin contact. (In a recent Women’s Health poll, 40 percent of you said you’d be willing to try a female condom.)

6. Check your girl parts

You might feel a little squeamish, but it will quickly become a monthly routine. “Make sure you’re completely in touch with your vagina,” says Wasserman. “Know its daily smells and discharges, so that when it changes you know something’s up.”

Here are the 7 warning signs that you’ve got a bladder infection. Plus: 2 gynae-approved ways to tell if your vagina is too weak or too tight.

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