In the age of self-diagnosing via the internet, it’s important to recognize that there is a lot of misinformation out there, especially when it comes to women’s health & feminine hygiene. Personal Space sought an expert, Dr. Delia DeLeon, an OB-GYN in Austin, TX, to help dispel some common myths related to the field!
Personal Space: Are yoga pants bad for vaginal health?
Dr. DeLeon: As long as you aren’t wearing them all day after a sweaty workout, they are fine. You’ll set yourself up for a yeast infection if you don’t shower and change soon after. My husband’s “expert opinion” is they are for sure good for men’s health!
PS: Is waxing, lasering, or shaving bad for your lady parts?
DD: The problem with these are the risk of getting folliculitis, or infected ingrown hairs. Everyone is different, but shaving seems to cause this the most, followed by waxing, then lasering.
PS: When do you have to cancel your doctor appointment if you get your period?
DD: If you are coming in for your annual exam and getting a pap smear, it may be better to just reschedule. Although this is rare, I have gotten paps back that the pathologist could not read, or make a diagnosis because there was too much blood present. So when patients do come in on their period, I still do the exam and pap, but I give them a heads up that there is a chance they may have to come back to repeat the pap. Contrary to what some people believe, we don’t get grossed out from a little blood. Delivering babies is a lot messier!
If your appointment is for an IUD, it is actually better to come in on your cycle. Your cervix is more open and it’s easier to place. It’s not an absolute requirement, but especially if you have never had a baby, it usually makes things easier for the physician and the patient.
If you are having a colposcopy (you had an abnormal pap and we need to take a closer look at your cervix and possibly take biopsies), you should reschedule your appointment so it’s easier to see the entire cervix.
PS: When is it time to panic if you have an abnormal pap?
DD: The good news is that if you’re getting paps regularly, you’re extremely unlikely to get cervical cancer, which is what the pap is screening for. The women who get cervical cancer are the ones who don’t get exams and pap smears. If you do have an abnormal pap, you should always follow up as directed by your physician. It is very common to have an abnormal pap and most of the time it is due to Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). HPV is very common. By the time women are in their 40’s-50’s, 80% of them have, at some point in their life, been affected by HPV.
The next step after getting an abnormal pap is usually a colposcopy, which allows us to take a closer look at your cervix and obtain biopsies if needed. If the biopsies show a higher grade dysplasia then you will need a procedure on your cervix to remove all the abnormal cells. There are different ways this can be done, but the bottom line is that you are usually “cured” afterwards. There is no need lose sleep over an abnormal pap. The chances of having to get a larger surgery, like a hysterectomy, are extremely low.
If you have any concerns or questions regarding health related matters, it is always best to talk to your doctor before stressing or surfing the web!
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