Christine Huegel is a health and wellness blogger who specializes in women’s health topics. She believes knowledge is power when it comes to the female body and hopes to not only educate women, but empower them to make every aspect of their health a priority.
The female body is an extraordinary thing. It’s also complicated, and it can be difficult to understand what’s normal or what your body needs on your own. Like many women, you may be wondering what’s going on with your body, or need help navigating changes in your body as you age, but have been too embarrassed to ask your healthcare provider.
It’s true, talking about your body and health can feel extremely intimate, and sometimes embarrassing. But we’re here to remind you that knowledge is power, especially when it comes to your body and your health. Fortunately, gynecologists and healthcare providers are here to help you navigate your health questions and concerns. After all, it’s their job to help you understand your body in order to give it what it needs.
Download the printable wellness worksheet above, and use it to write down any health-related questions you have for your gynecologist or healthcare provider. Bring it with you to your next appointment to guide you as you discuss your health.
Below we’ve listed common questions that are important to know the answers to as you age. These answers may differ for everyone, so it’s important to go straight to the source and discuss these questions with your gynecologist or healthcare provider.
You can find additional information on why the following questions are important and ways your doctor can help answer each, here.
Questions to ask about menstruation
The menstrual cycle, or a woman’s period, typically starts between the ages of 8 and 15 years old, and continues until a woman reaches menopause. Generally, bleeding lasts about three to five days and may be accompanied by symptoms like cramping, food cravings, fatigue, lower back pain, or changes in your mood. Below are some important questions to consider asking about your menstrual cycle
How heavy or light should my menstrual flow be?
How often should I be menstruating?
Do I need to worry about irregular periods?
Questions to ask about safe sex
If you’re sexually active, it’s important to discuss protection and safe sex options with your gynecologist or healthcare provider. They can help you understand how to best practice safe sex to avoid contracting an STI (sexually transmitted infection). Additionally, based on your sexual activity, age, and other factors, your gynecologist can discuss recommended screening measures (including testing frequency) and birth control options.
What are my protection options?
Do I need any vaccinations?
How do I know if I have an STI?
How often should I get tested for STIs?
Questions to ask during your annual check-up
An annual wellness exam with your gynecologist should be an essential part of your health regimen each year, and it’s a great way to continue to monitor your health and get any of your questions answered about your physical, sexual, or reproductive health. Below are some common questions to keep in mind next time you have your annual check-up
Can I reduce my risk of breast cancer?
Should I get tested for BRCA mutations?
What tests or screenings should I have this year?
Am I healthy?
Are my symptoms normal?
Questions to ask if you want to get pregnant
Deciding to have a baby is a big decision, but oftentimes, a lot more goes into conceiving than just deciding it’s time. Factors like your age and partner’s age, fertility, and hormones all play a role in determining when you will conceive. Discussing getting pregnant with your gynecologist is a great idea for both you and your partner to be on the same page and know what to expect before expecting.
Even if you don’t intend to get pregnant anytime soon, you may have questions about family planning or your “biological clock” that you want answered. Below, we’ve listed some important questions about getting pregnant to ask your gynecologist.
How long will it take for me to get pregnant?
What can I do to increase my fertility?
When should I stop using birth control?
Questions to ask during pregnancy
When you’re pregnant, ways to keep your body and your baby healthy is often top of mind. If you have any questions on how to best do this, don’t hesitate to ask your gynecologist. Below we’ve outlined some great questions to ask your gynecologist to help protect both you and your baby during the pregnancy.
When should my next appointment be?
What should I do to keep my baby healthy?
Do I need a birth plan?
How will I know if I’m in labor?
Questions to ask after giving birth
After you’ve given birth, it’s important to know what to expect from your body after delivering the baby. Some of these changes may be visibly noticeable to you, like your breasts producing more milk. Others may be psychological, like changes in your mood or feeling extra stress. Getting a framework from your OB/GYN on what you can expect or symptoms to be wary of can help eliminate any anxiety or uncertainty you have as you undergo another new stage in your life.
Is bleeding normal?
Is my mood normal?
When can I return to my regular routine?
Do I need to breastfeed? If so, for how long?
Questions to ask after 50
As you age, it’s normal to experience changes in your body. However, some of these changes may come with symptoms that negatively impact your quality of life—so ask your healthcare provider about prevention and management.
What can I do about vaginal dryness?
When can I expect to go through menopause?
How do I prevent bladder leaks?
Questions Your Gynecologist May Ask You
Now that you have a good idea of questions to ask your gynecologist during the different stages of your life, be prepared to answer some of their questions as well.
We’ve outlined a few common questions that are good to keep in mind and know the answers to before you arrive at your next appointment. This can help make your discussion more informative so that you can really take advantage of your time with your gynecologist.
- How are you feeling today?
- Are you sexually active?
- Has anyone in your family had breast cancer?
- How many sexual partners have you had?
- When was the first day of your last period?
- How long does your menstrual cycle typically last?
- Do you have pain anywhere?
We know life can get pretty busy and it can be hard to keep track of all of the important health events or appointments in your life. Below is a women’s health calendar with stickers that you can use to stay organized with important dates including: your next appointment, fertility window, menstrual dates, and more.
Being an advocate for you and your health is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. We hope these questions and printables help you feel even more empowered to get to know your body better and stay in frequent communication with your healthcare provider.
Author: Renee Corbino
Renee keeps Balanced Birth Support organized and amazing as the Administrative Manager. She lives in Northern Virginia with her awesome fire fighting husband and two cute little boys. She is a breech birthing mama and supporter of empowering births.