There are three important members of your team when it comes to making sure your vagina is healthy and well cared for. Those people are you, your partner(unless you have multiple and that is a separate conversation), and your physician. Some women see their regular family doctor for check-ups and concerns which is perfectly okay. Others prefer a physician that specializes in reproductive health. This particular field is Obstetrics and Gynecology, more widely known as an OB/GYN.
The gender of your provider is only an important factor if it matters to you. If you know you will not be comfortable with someone of a specific sex looking into, at, and around your sex organs you should definitely stay within your comfort level. In searching for a provider you want someone with whom you can build a viable relationship. A viable provider/patient relationship is one based on mutual trust and respect. You want to be comfortable talking to and being touched by this person, in a non sexual way of course. Your provider should make you feel like you have been heard, not talked at or belittled. They should be able to respect your level of competence and ‘knowing’ yourself so that when something is off with you they don’t throw it to the side. Whoever you choose should be able to work with you at maintaining and where necessary improving your health within and, if you prefer, outside of the confines of traditional medicine. You should also have enough confidence in them that when they indicate other methods are not a safe course of treatment, you will follow their guidance.
Don’t be afraid to seek out someone else if you don’t like your first choice. This is your health and your vagina. You should have intimate enough relationship with your own body to the extent that you could pick it out of a line up, lol. That said don’t feel guilty or like you’re being too picky if you see more than one provider before you find one you like and are comfortable with. It can be time consuming but it’s well worth it in the end. Here is a simple list of Do’s and Don’ts.
- Make a list of things that are important to you in a provider
- Research them before your appointment
- Ask friends or family for recommendations if you are comfortable
- Request a ‘get to know you’ appointment or something similar
- Do share your ideas on your care with your provider
- If you prefer natural remedies etc
- Force yourself to create a relationship with a provider you are uncomfortable with
- Trust your instinct
- Accept mistreatment, feel free to end any appointment where you are not being treated with respect
- Don’t Give up
Your vagina may be a small part of you but it is as important as the rest of you and deserves the same loving care and attention from everyone involved.
Originally published 9/20/16