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CSMC Today

Awkward? We'll help you out! 6 Questions You Are Embarrassed to Ask Your Ob-Gyn

Image source: flickr

Coming in for your annual women's health exam can be anxiety-inducing especially for first-timers. Ask about stuff concerning your lady private parts to a complete stranger? Can you say awkward? But just the same, it’s important to ask any questions you might have about your body so you can keep yourself safe and healthy. To lighten your load, we’ve talked to Dr. Catherine Howard, an Obstetrician and Aesthetic Gynecologist to answer some of your most embarrassing questions:

1. I want to get a Brazilian wax. Is it safe? What are the possible health risks in removing all my hair down there?
- Brazilian wax is safe but of course, you have to go to a reputable place. Check out how clean the place is, what kind of wax they use or if they reuse it. I have patients who does it regularly with no issues but I’ve also seen patients with lacerations, abrasion and burns when they use a really, really hot wax without checking the temperature first. As for the possible health risk, the risk for infection increases because there would be no barrier or protection for the vagina.

2. How much white discharge is normal, and what should it look like?
- The normal discharge of a woman depends on the parts of a menstrual cycle. Right after menstruation, the white discharge should be in small amount. Once the female comes in the middle of the cycle, it would be clear and white-like, that when you try to stretch it, it will really stretch - like that of egg whites this is when you are ovulating. At the end of the cycle when you’re about to have your period, the whitish discharge becomes sticky and pasty. When you try to open it up, it stays on your finger and that’s when we find out you will have your period soon.

3. Is there less risk of pregnancy if I have sex during my period?
- It still depends on your cycle. If a woman has a 28-30 day period, then sex during your period won’t make you pregnant. But because of the stresses in life and hormonal imbalances, etc., what if your menstrual cycle shortens to 21 days? Then during your period you could actually ovulate. On the other hand, I would rather say there is a high risk of infection if you have sex during your period. You’re not supposed to have sex then because it increases the chances of having pelvic inflammatory diseases.

4. Is it normal to have a heavy period or a period that lasts longer than a week?
- “What is normal for you?” is what I usually ask my patient. If your period lasts 3-4 days, you use 2-3 pads per day and that’s been the norm for you for years and then you tell me now you’re using 6 pads per day with blood clots etc., I know it’s not normal anymore. But if a patient comes to me saying she uses 6 pads a day and her period is 10 days and that’s been her norm I would advise her to do an ultrasound because it would show normal findings. Since there is more stress-related factors that cause hormonal imbalances, we need to know via ultrasound if you have anything like polycystic ovaries, myoma, adenomyosis etc.

5. My left boob is smaller than the right one. Should I be worried?
- The breasts are said not to be identical. For example, if you are right handed, your right boob might be a little heavier or bigger than the left one or vice versa. If the discrepancy is little, usually it’s not alarming. On the other hand, if there’s a big discrepancy on the size, usually I ask “Do you breastfeed?” Maybe the baby has a preferred breast. If the size is still different even long after breastfeeding, the breast must be looser or sagging as compared to the other one. Another reason may be due to a mass in the breast in which it's highly recommended to have it checked by your doctor.

6. Does eating/drinking pineapple affect the way I smell down there?
- Well, from my understanding, what you’re eating would equate to how you smell down there. So if you eat more fruits and vegetables then you would smell sweet down there compared to when you eat more meat or spicy/garlicky food, then the smell down below might also be different as the pH of the vagina change. Also, are you doing proper washing, changing undies etc? How you smell down there would really depend on the personal hygiene. However, if it has a fishy smell, then that could be due to a bacterial infection which needs to be checked by your OB.


Dr. Catherine J. Howard is an Obstetrician and Aesthetic Gynecologist and an active consultant at Cardinal Santos Medical Center. She is a certified associate at the Laser Vaginal Institute of Los Angeles. She is also well trained to perform Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation and Designer Laser Vaginoplasty. For consultations, you may visit her clinic at Room 210, Medical Arts Building 1 every Monday at 10AM-1PM and Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 10AM-2PM. You may contact her clinic at (02) 727 0001 local 2210.

Image source: flickr