The time you spend actually talking with your doctor during an appointment is short, so go in there prepared to make the most of it. Be ready with questions about what's on your mind. It's a good idea to have them written down ahead of time.
Not sure what you should be asking about? Here are five questions to consider taking into your appointment with you.
1) Should I be concerned about STIs?
A sexually transmitted infection is contracted by having sexual contact with someone who already has the infection. STIs can be viruses, bacteria or parasites and can be detected using simple tests. Tests differ for different type of STIs.
While both men and women can get sexually transmitted infections, women are known to have more frequent and more serious complications from STIs than men.
If left untreated, sexually transmitted infections can cause complications such as cancer, infertility and pregnancy problems. It is crucial to test for STIs if you are sexually active because many of these types of infections have mild symptoms or none. You can have an STI without even knowing it.
The chances of an individual contracting an STI is dependent on risk factors such as the number of sex partners, and whether or not he or she has engaged in unprotected sex. Common STIs include chlamydia, gonorrhea, HPV, HIV and hepatitis.
2) What is causing my abdominal discomfort?
Abdominal discomfort, feeling bloated, gassy or achy, is quite common. It's not unusual after a bad meal, before or during menstruation, and during moments of nervousness or anxiety.
If symptoms last more than 24-48 hours, if you have a fever, or if you notice a change in bowel movements, bring it up to your doctor immediately.
Chronic discomfort can indicate problems such as appendicitis, ovarian cysts or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Your doctor can rule out such conditions by preforming tests ranging in complexity from pressing on your abdomen to ordering an X-ray.
3) What cancer screenings should I be concerned about?
Cervical cancer and breast cancer are becoming a major concern for women of all ages.