On average, you get less than 10 minutes of actual face-to-face time with your doctor. So naturally, during that time, the doc can't tell you everything.
Since many women rely on their OB-GYN for a good chunk of their health care, I decided to dig up some must-know women's health intel your gynecologist might not have on her to-be-discussed priority list.
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To maximize the benefits of your next appointment, jot down your concerns, bring the list with you to the office, and fire away the minute you have the doc's attention.
Below are the six must-know things you gyno may not tell you:
Pee before sex: While I've heard that it's a good idea to pee post-nookie, I recently learned that you should actually hit the potty pre-deed as well. Turns out, when your bladder is full there's more room for bacteria to find their way in.
Bonus: For everything you need to know, check out SELF's Better Sex Handbook
Wash your hands often to prevent birth defects: Eighty-six percent of women have never heard of CMV, and I was one of them until my niece Gracie was born infected with the virus in March 2009.
If a mommy-to-be picks up this extremely common virus (you likely come in contact with it on a daily basis) while pregnant, she can pass it along to the fetus. This can cause blindness, deafness, severe disabilities, and death. 1 in 150 children are born with CMV -- more than Down syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, spina bifida and pediatric HIV/AIDS.
The good news is that it can be prevented by simply washing your hands well and often --especially if you are around kids (and, as a result, changing diapers and working booger duty). June is CMV Awareness Month. Go to stopcmv.org to learn everything you need to know to protect yourself and your future kiddies.
Ditch the p.m. tampon: It's not going to kill you, however if you're prone to UTIs, consider going with a pad instead (especially on weekends when you're likely to sleep in). Blood breeds bacteria, so the longer you go without changing it up, the more likely you are to develop an infection.
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Postpartum symptoms can begin long after you give birth: Studies show, in fact, that postpartum can manifest itself up to a year later. If you feel anxious, sad, withdrawn, etc. don't blame it on lack or sleep or simply making the transition into mommy-hood. This isn't sorority rush -- there isn't a requisite initiation. Get to a doctor ASAP. For the ultimate real-life warning, read this story about Jennifer Gibbs and her son Graham.
Wear a panty-liner during exercise: Sweaty workout pants are a breeding ground for bacteria. Either shower and change, pronto, or wear a panty liner to soak up some of the sweat and buy you time until you get a chance to hose off.
Know your breast density: Mammograms are likely to miss tumors in women who have dense breast tissue (because it shows up white, just like a mass would) -- yet only 9 percent of doctors discuss breast density with their patients. Dense boobies also might make it more difficult to ID a suspicious lump during a self exam. If you have a family history of breast cancer, ask your doc if you should have imaging done to determine your breast density. If you are dense-chested, have her mark it in your file. When the time comes, you may be better off having an ultrasound (or other imaging) as opposed to a mammogram.
Bonus: Check out Women's Cancer Handbook now
Anything you wish your OB-GYN had told you that you learned the hard way?
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