Overcoming the fear of asking important questions about your sexuality could save you a lot of grief. Following are seven questions and myths answered and clarified by La Anexión Hospital gynecologist Keren Porat.
1. I have HPV. Does that mean my husband cheated on me? Not necessarily. It only takes one instance of sexual contact, and your husband could have been carrying it for years without knowing. Remember that the only way to find out if a woman has the virus is with a Pap test at least once every two years. Early detection could help prevent cervix cancer, one of the province’s most prevalent types of cancer.
2. Is vaginal discharge automatically a sign of infection? This issue causes a lot of anxiety for many women, according to Porat, but it’s not entirely true. Some women have a physiological discharge that is completely normal after ovulation. If the discharge is viscous, colorless and odorless, you don’t have an infection. If it begins to smell foul, itch or turn a greenish color, see your gynecologist.
3. Isn’t it easier to buy a cream and ovules without going to a doctor? Actually, no. Adolescents, above all, should avoid making these types of decisions because a cream could affect pH balance, which regulates the vagina’s acidity and could cause an infection or serious irritation.
4. Can menstruation cause an allergic reaction? Yes. It’s common for women to develop rashes during menstruation, especially in warm and humid regions such as along the coast, where sweating is common. Scented soaps and towels can exacerbate the situation. Try buying a completely neutral soap or one that is especially made for the area.
5. My teenage daughter got pregnant and had a miscarriage. What should I do? The first thing you should do is take her to a gynecologist to get a prescription for birth control pills. Porat said that in Guanacaste, several myths persist about birth control that should have been dispelled by now. The truth is that they could save a teenager from having to go through the extremely difficult experience of getting pregnant at such a young age. “I tell [parents] that their daughter isn’t going to stop having sexual relations, so it’s better to make sure she is protected.”
6. Can I take any kind of birth control? No. You should always consult a specialist before buying pills, receiving injections or using any type device. “Birth control for a patient who has acne is different than for a patient who experiences pain during her period,” Porat said.
7. Is it normal for adolescents to have irregular periods? It’s normal during the first five years after the first menstruation for cycles to be varied. “You shouldn’t overdo it with diagnostic testing for polycystic ovary syndrome,” Porat said. In order to properly diagnose that syndrome, a series of clinical and laboratory exams are needed. “You shouldn’t get only [an ultrasound], because that alone won’t provide clear results,” Porat said.