Going to a gynaecologist to check your lady bits is not an experience most women enjoy, albeit it’s a necessary one. However, instead of trying to hide things from them, including your bowel issues, being honest will ensure a smoother check-up. After all, they can tell these things from a basic examination.
They can tell when you're pregnant - from the get go
They're like a bunch of vagina oracles - they can tell you more about yourself than you've previously told them, but they're trained so don't be shocked. When you're pregnant, your cervix takes on a bluish hue thanks to increased blood flow and your gynaecologist can make this observation. However, many will only tell you about it if you ask them.
They can tell where you are on your menstrual cycle
Thanks to a difference in colour, consistency and appearance of your discharge, your gynaecologist can probably perdict where you are in your cycle and if you're on birth control.
They can tell you why sex hurts
Being experts in all things 'down below', they can recognise when estrogen fluctuations cause your vagina to dry out, thus leading to painful sex.
They can tell if you're having bowel incontinence
You might be embarrassed by your incontinence issues, but your doctor can already tell what problems you're dealing with. They can also tell when the muscles in your vaginal walls have been weakened.
They can tell if there are things affecting your uterus or ovaries
During a bimanual exam, your gynaecologist can check for growths or abnormalities within both your uterus and ovaries.
Yes, they're even able to tell if you've had a miscarriage
This depends on whether you have a pelvic examination, but if you tell your gynae that you're pregnant they may do a pelvic exam, particularly if there are signs of ectopic pregnancy. During this time they'll check for a dilated cervix as this usually means a gerater likelihood of miscarriage.
Possible yeast infection? They've already spotted it
The discharge consistency and smell gives a yeast infection away, as does the redness / swelling of the vulva area. They may do a wet mount test to check your discharge as this can determine if there are signs of yeast or any other bacteria. They will also be able to tell you if it's bacterial vaginosis, yeast or another possible cause...so no need to try self-diagnose because they'll already know!
A version of this article was first published on Women's Weekly