Is it ok to lie to your gyno?
It’s really tempting to lie to your gyno. You’re embarrassed, you feel awkward, or maybe you just think it’s none of her business. But lying to them (or lying by omission) could be hurting your health. I called up Rebecca C. Brightman, an ob-gyn in clinical practice, to tell you which things you need to get real about with your gyno.
1. If you drink or smoke or do drugs. “We’re treating the whole person. Plus, if someone’s under the influence when they come in, they might not be able to communicate with us fully. And if they tend to drink a lot or do certain drugs, they’re not going to be discerning in sexual relationships. Plus, there can be long-term effects from these activities, so we could recommend appropriate counseling and advise on the potential ramifications.”
2. The real number of sexual partners you’ve had.“We’re not there to judge you. If a patient ever feels she’s being judged, particularly by their gynecologist, which is a relationship with very personal private things, they should find another doctor. We just need to know how many partners you have had or currently have so we can determine your risk of STI exposure, since each person you’re exposed to has had their own history of exposure.”
3. If you have or are recovering from an eating disorder. “Eating disorders can have an adverse affect on your bones, along with other long-term health risks. Sometimes we can look at someone and see there’s more than they want to talk about, and we don’t want to pry but we want patients to feel they can take the floor and tell us something if they need to.”
4. If you’ve terminated a pregnancy in the past. “It depends on what trimester you terminated in. An uncomplicated first trimester abortion should not have risk for a future miscarriage, but second trimester may, so it’s important to know.”
5. If you’ve ever been treated for an abnormal pap smear. “If you’ve had an abnormal pap smear in the past, that could potentially shorten your cervix and it may impact a future pregnancy.”
6. The gender of all your sexual partners. “Lesbian and bisexual patients, especially lesbian patients, really feel they’re overlooked for risks for STDs. They need to be screened for all of the same STDs as straight patients and they absolutely should be. We don’t care if you’re sleeping with men or women, but we’re not clairvoyant. We don’t know if there’s been someone else or an affair or if your partner has had an affair. I’ve had patients come in for an exam and the second we’re about the leave the room they say, ‘I have to tell you something.’ So really be forthcoming from the beginning. Doctors are not judgmental. We just want someone to be honest so we can provide better care.”