When it comes time to pick a gynecologist, most of us end up going to the doctor our mother, sister, or other female relative uses. This makes sense, in the beginning – it’s nice to go to a doctor people can recommend rather than a stranger you know nothing about – but that doesn’t mean it has to be that way forever. As we get older and learn more about our bodies and ourselves, we sometimes find that we need to switch doctors, meaning that you might need to find a new gynecologist. Not all gynos are the same and you don’t need to stay with one just because someone you know goes there.
So, how do you know if it’s time to switch things up? There are a few different signs, but an important thing to note is that you should listen to your gut. Of course, going to the gyno is never going to be particularly fun, but that doesn’t mean it should be a horrifying experience. Your gynecologist should be respectful, present accurate medical information, be up to date with reproductive technology, and help you weigh all of your options rather than try to push one thing on you. If you think something is fishy with them, you could be right. Here are a few signs you need to get a new gynecologist that you should definitely look out for:
They Don't Listen When You Say Something HurtsIf you go to the gyno and complain of legitimate pain and they do nothing to help, that's a problem. Even if they think nothing is wrong, a good gyno will usually check it out to be sure, or they'll spend time explaining it to you. If your doctor doesn't listen, waves off your concerns, or talks down to you about it, go somewhere else. A doctor should be understanding and willing to listen. Pain down there can be a symptom of something larger and they should be careful with that. Source: iStock
They Shame You For Your Sexual HistoryWhether you have a very active sex life or a very inactive sex life, one thing stands true - your gyno should never be making you feel about it. If your doctor makes you feel weird, awkward, or ashamed of your sex life, that's not cool. If they say something like "Oh, you're a virgin and you're HOW OLD?!" or "So, you've been with 10 people, but you DON'T have a boyfriend right now?" close your legs and leave. This is a doctor's office, not some judgmental pressure tank. Even if your gyno is okay, but the nurses who ask you these questions initially are snarky and mean, let your gyno know, because that kind of behavior isn't okay, no matter who it is in the office.Source: iStock
They Don't Respect Your Reproductive ChoicesIf you're on birth control, just got an abortion, never want to have kids, or want to keep the baby you're pregnant with, your doctor should respect your choices. It's all part of your reproductive care, so if their bias or point of view makes you feel unsafe or judged unfairly, trust your instincts. How can you trust someone to tell you if the IUD is a good option for you if you terminated a pregnancy two months ago when you know their bias is against you? Trying to convince you otherwise or not providing you with all of your available options is a reflection of their disrespect for the choices that you'd like to make. When in doubt, get a second opinion, and maybe leave your gyno. Source: iStock
They Don't Explain What's Happening To YouIt's not normal for your gynecologist to leave you in the dark about what kinds of procedures or tests are taking place and for what reason. This includes the level of pain you might experience and what tools they'll be using. You can't see what's going on down there! For example, not all pap smears or pelvic exams are created the same. If you want an STD test while they're down there, you might have to let them know. No one likes being blindly surprised or suddenly in pain, especially when dealing with your vagina. So, if they phone it in, expect you to anticipate what they're about to do next, or don't tell you something might be uncomfortable, your gyno has awful bedside manner and they might not be the right match for you.Source: iStock
They Give You Moral, Not Medical AdviceThe advice your gyno should give you include telling you how much something will cost, what birth control option is best for your health, or what antibiotics to take for your STI. They should absolutely not tell you to not engage in a certain sexual activity or that you are obligated to tell your partner that you're pregnant if you don't plan on raising a child together. Giving you moral advice might also look like omitting certain options, thereby giving you incomplete care as a doctor. Regardless of what they believe politically or religiously, your gyno is supposed to give you impartial medical advice ONLY, completely free of letting you in on their moral stances on anything. Source: iStock
They Leave The Door Open When You're On The TableI can't believe this is a true story, but it happened to no less than five friends of mine, so I think it's safe to say it may have happened to one of you. I shouldn't even have to say it, but if your gyno has you in the stirrups, then leaves to check something in the hall for a few minutes, leaving the door and subsequently your bare, splayed open vagina visible to whoever might walk by - leave. Get the hell out of there. I don't care how wonderful they are otherwise, if they are super okay leaving your private parts exposed while you are on the table, they aren't good for you... or anyone for that matter.Source: iStock
Do you love your gyno or want to switch? What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you at the gynecologist? Let us know in the comments!
You can follow the author, Aliee Chan, on Twitter.