Getting comfortable with your parts: Advice from women's health experts

What really goes through a woman’s mind when she is in the gynecologist's office?  Women's health can be a sensitive subject, but it shouldn't be.  Women need to get comfortable asking questions and being honest about revealing information on something that most women find to be embarrassing without being uncomfortable. Holding back asking the right questions only hurts women.

A recent survey called Sentiments from the Stirrups explores women’s actual thoughts and feelings about their GYN exam uncovered several universal truths they experience before, during and after these important visits with a healthcare provider. The survey had some interesting fingings.

Nearly 70 percent of women spend more time bathing/showering before their GYN exam – an average of 7 minutes more than usual

80 percent of women prefer to wear “granny panties” rather than lingerie to their GYN exam

4 in 5 women keep their socks on while in the stirrups

1 in 4 women would rather discuss their favorite TV show than the tests they receive at their GYN exam

A problem is that even if women go to the doctor, they are often afraid to speak up and worry more about the state of their unshaved legs than what they really should be asking, including which tests they should take to avoid cervical cancer and what they are afraid to ask about their sex lives.

Melanie Notkin is the national bestselling author of Savvy Auntie: The Ultimate Guide for Cool Aunts, Great Aunts, Godmothers, and All Women Who Love Kids. In 2009, she established Auntie's Day the first annual day to celebrate and honor aunts. Her 2014 memoir, Otherhood: Modern Women Finding a New Kind of Happiness.

Dr. Aimee Chism Holland is an expert on women’s health.  She serves as an assistant professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing. She is a women's health nurse practitioner and family nurse practitioner. Her main areas of scholarship and research interests with an emphasis on gynecological cancer prevention, menstrual disorders and office gynecology procedures. She serves on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health (NPWH) and was recently elected to the Chair-elect position.

Melanie Notkin and Dr. Aimee Chism Holland spoke with about the questions women should ask their doctors, what tests are important to screen for cervical cancer, funny musings from Sentiments from the Stirrups and talking about the upcoming Auntie’s Day.

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Michelle Tompkins

Michelle Tompkins is an award-winning media, PR and crisis communications professional with more than ten years experience with coverage in virtually every traditional and new media outlet. She is currently a communications and media strategist and writer, as well as the author of College Prowler: Guidebook for Columbia University. She served as the Media Relations Manager for the Girl Scouts of the USA where she managed all media and talking points, created social media strategy, trained executives and donors and served as the organization’s primary spokesperson, participating in daily interviews with local, regional, and national media outlets. She managed the media for the Let Me Know internet safety and Cyberbullying prevention campaign with Microsoft, as well as Girl Scouts’ centennial Year of the Girl To Get Her There celebration in 2012, which yielded more than 800 million earned media impressions. In addition to her extensive media experience, Michelle worked as a talent agent in Los Angeles, California, as well contracting as a digital content developer and her writing has appeared in newspapers and online. She is passionate about television, theater, classic movies, all things food and in-home entertaining. While she has lived and worked in NYC for more than a decade, she is from suburban Sacramento and gets back there often to watch the San Francisco Giants on TV with her family.

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