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8 Things your gynecologist is shocked that you don’t know

Molly Cerreta Smith loves writing about all things mommy, parenting, food, health and travel. When she's not staring into the face of her Mac, she loves to hike, read, do messy crafts with her kids and compete in BBQ competitions with he...

Get schooled on your vaginal health

When you visit your gynecologist, you should always feel comfortable enough to ask questions and express your concerns. But there are some things that your doctor may be shocked to find that you don't already know about — but should.

1. So-called "normal" vaginal discharge can lead to infertility

Linda Burke-Galloway, M.D., M.S., F.A.C.O.G., and author of The Smart Mother's Guide to a Better Pregnancy warns women against thinking all discharge is normal. She says that some discharge can be caused by trichomonas, an under-the-radar sexually transmitted infection that if untreated, could cause preterm labor, if pregnant, and infertility through scarring of the fallopian tubes. She says it can often be mistaken for bacterial vaginosis, which has a "fishy," milky-white discharge. "Both infections are treated with the same medicine (metronidazole) but trichomonas must be treated by both patient and her partner or else it will recur."

2. Eating (or inserting!) yogurt does not cure a yeast infection

Don't. Just don't. Dr. Streicher says, "Instead of messy and sugary yogurt, which may actually make your infection worse, turn to RepHresh Pro-B, a vaginal probiotic that balances yeast and bacteria daily."

3. Your vagina won't really go back to "normal" after childbirth

Gasp. The real answer to the dreaded question of whether your body will really return to its pre-pregnancy form, vaginally speaking, is no. Sadly, no. Urogynecologist Ralph Zipper says, "Vaginal delivery is the number one cause of pelvic organ prolapse and vaginal enlargement, which leads to vaginal relaxation syndrome."

4. Sexual dysfunction for females is very real... and very ignored

Even though women have sexual dysfunction issues just as men do, Dr. Zipper says it "has been essentially ignored by scientists. Although there are six drugs approved for sexual dysfunction in men, 'big pharma' has essentially ignored the needs of women."

5. Achieving an orgasm after childbirth is harder than before

Achieving a glorious "O" may be difficult for some women from the get-go, but it can be even more elusive after childbirth, according to Dr. Streicher. She suggests asking your doctor about InTone, a pelvic floor strengthening device designed to be used at home to restore your post-baby strength, reduce leakage and help you obtain a well-deserved orgasm. Amen.

6. Sex shouldn't be painful

You shouldn't have to suck it up during extremely painful sex, as you could be suffering with a very real disease such as vulvodynia, vestibulodynia or vaginismus — all which cause severe pain during sex and also have very different diagnoses and treatments. Sari Eckler Cooper, an AASECT-certified sex therapist says, "Sometimes women feel like it's all their fault and that with time the pain will go away, or that in the worst-case scenario they have been told that sex at times will be painful." She advises women to talk to their doctors about the severity of their pain during intercourse to get a proper diagnosis.

More on your sexual health and well-being

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