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9 Things An OB/GYN Wants All Women To Stop Doing

As a medical provider, I’m here to empower you to take control of your health, not judge you. I’m never going to give you the side-eye for that wellness fad you picked up from social media, think twice about the holes in your underwear, or anything like that—and the same should be true for any provider you work with! Trust me, we’ve seen it all.

That said, there are plenty of things I see and hear every day in the exam room that I wish women would avoid. Here are 10 things I wish my (and other) patients would stop doing when it comes to their reproductive health. 

1. Jumping On Every Health Trend You See Online

Oh, the internet—a magical place full of cat videos, memes, and, unfortunately, a lot of sketchy health advice. According to one study, approximately 25 percent of online health information is inaccurate or incomplete. I know it’s tempting to try that new trend your favorite influencer swears by, but please do your homework first. Always check your sources and consult a professional before jumping on the latest viral health trend.

2. Thinking You Should Smell Like a Flower

Let’s get one thing straight: Your vagina is not supposed to smell like a rose garden. A healthy vagina has a natural, musky scent, and that’s perfectly normal. Scented products can, and often do, disrupt the vaginal flora and lead to infections. Whether you have an upcoming appointment with your gyno, it’s date night, or it’s just a regular Tuesday, stop using scented soaps on your vulva. They cause more harm than good. 

3. Believing You Have To ‘Improve’ Your Vagina

From “vaginal rejuvenation” to glitter bombs (yes, really), there’s no shortage of services and products out there claiming to somehow enhance your vulva. The thing is, these cosmetic procedures and products often prey on our insecurities and are not a medical necessity. My advice? Think of your vagina as a car. When it is clean and properly cared for, it functions well with little assistance. As long as your system is running smoothly, nothing more needs to be done! All vulvas and vaginas look a little different and are beautiful just as they are.

4. Being Afraid to Talk About Your Sexual Health

I often feel like patients forget their OB/GYN completed a specialty in vaginal health. This means that after completing several years of medical school, we chose to spend an additional four years learning about and working specifically with women. I promise, there is nothing you can ask or say that we haven’t seen before. Vaginal and sexual health are our world, and we love open communication. You don’t have to be afraid to talk to your provider; we’re here to help. 

Read More: The Best Foods And Supplements For Every Phase Of The Menstrual Cycle

Similarly, there’s no need to shy away from learning about your own body. Knowing the difference between your vulva and your vagina, for instance, is like understanding that the front door is not the living room. The vulva is the external part—the grand entrance, if you will—while the vagina is the internal passageway. Knowing this empowers you to communicate more effectively about your body, especially with your provider. If you have never done so, take some time to get to know and understand your vulva and vagina. 

5. Thinking You Have to Carefully Groom Your Pubic Hair

Here’s a little secret: Your OB/GYN does not care if you’re rocking a full mat or going bare—and neither should your partner (or prospective partners). Shaving or waxing is your choice to make, but it is not a requirement for doctor’s appointments, dates, you get the picture. Your natural state is perfectly acceptable. Your body hair is your business!

6. Staying in the dark about your cycle

Tracking your menstrual cycle isn’t just for convenience—it’s essential for monitoring your health. Beyond predicting mood swings or avoiding surprise visits, being intimately acquainted with your cycle is key to understanding your reproductive (and overall) health. This info helps us spot patterns, diagnose issues, and provide better care. Plus, it’s a handy way to track ovulation if you want to plan (or prevent) a pregnancy. Still, many patients can’t readily identify when their last period started, so take time to write your cycle down on a calendar or use an app if you’d prefer. 

7. Using Baby Powder on Your Body

Talc-based products might seem like a great way to stay fresh, but they can pose some serious health risks and have been linked to ovarian cancer. Whether you’re going to see your OB/GYN or are just hanging out on a hot summer day, please put the baby powder away. 

8. Douching

Your vagina is a self-cleaning superstar, much like a fancy dishwasher. Its perfect ecosystem of bacteria keeps everything balanced and healthy. Douching disrupts that balance and can lead to infections. Think of it as inviting bacteria to a house party in your genitals. Just stick to gently washing your external bits with water and mild, unscented soap. Your vagina can handle the rest. 

Read More: Why Strength Training Is Crucial As Women Age

9. Buying Into Dietary Myths Related to Vaginal Scent

You’ve probably heard that eating certain foods can change your vaginal smell or taste. Spoiler alert: There’s no solid science behind this! Pineapples, strawberries, and all those tasty treats you love might boost your mood, but they won’t turn your vaginal secretions into a fruit smoothie. Your body’s natural scent and taste are influenced by your overall health and hygiene, and not by your latest snack. Free feel to eat all the fruits and vegetables you wish, but don’t expect them to change how your vagina will taste or smell. 

Takeaway

Remember, as medical providers, we’re here to keep you healthy and informed, not to judge or criticize. The next time you’re tempted by an internet health trend or start to overthink your hygiene routine, come back to this list. I’m sure your OB/GYN will be happy you did. And if you ever have questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider.

Dr Perkins


Dr. Perkins is a board-certified OB/GYN with extensive expertise in global maternal health, female reproductive health, contraceptive care, and minimally invasive surgery. In addition to working with patients at her medical practice, she is a Major in the United States Army Reserve and an award-winning scientific researcher. Through her functional, holistic approach to health, she aspires to help women feel their best in mind, body, and spirit.

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