4 Not-So-Crazy Questions to Ask Your Doctor
By Nermin Lazarus, DO, Family Medicine
Virtua Women's Primary Care – Moorestown
You pick up your phone. You put it down.
You pick up your phone. You put it down. Again.
You have a question for your primary care provider (PCP), but you're positive she'll think you're crazy for asking it. Or that she won't have time to answer you because she's too busy for "minor things." So you hesitate calling the office, and your question drives you crazy as it goes unanswered.
Please know—there are NO crazy questions. I'm not going to make any judgments about you based on your questions. If you don't ask them, they'll only cause you stress and could hurt your health.
Here are some of the "not-so-crazy" questions women ask me every day (even if it takes lots of prompting).
It's normal for sex to be painful sometimes, right?
No. Sex should be pleasurable—not painful.
Painful sex often results from vaginal dryness, which is very common in women over age 40 who are going through perimenopause. It's also common in younger women who recently had a baby.
It may feel awkward, but it's important to share your concerns with your PCP because many treatments can help, including lubricants, hormone creams, hormone replacement therapy, and bioidentical hormone treatments. There are a range of issues that can lead to painful sex, including pelvic floor disorders and sexual dysfunction, but there also are experts who want to help you get back to feeling your best.
Why do I feel anxious and stressed all the time?
This is so common among women today, but it's also something women are afraid to bring up. Work, kids, chores, driving, unexpected life events like a pandemic—all of these things can increase agitation and make you feel like you're falling apart.
Sometimes, you need to hear that you're not alone in feeling that way. We try to put on a perfect Instagram-worthy façade, but we're all far from perfect—and that's ok. To help you de-stress, I recommend you try deep breathing or meditation, yoga, walking, or doing something you enjoy. I also recommend getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night and eating nutritious meals, as fatigue and a steady diet of junk food can deplete your energy and tolerance for stress.
When necessary, I prescribe counseling or appropriate medications that work together with lifestyle modifications to relieve your anxiety and agitation and help you regain control of your feelings and your life.
Is this spot on my arm something to worry about?
Women feel like this is a question more suited to a dermatologist, but I see and treat minor skin issues all of the time. I carefully evaluate skin issues and refer patients to a dermatologist for suspicious spots and more serious skin problems—especially when they're on your face.
The skin issues women experience most include:
- Spots that appear to be scabs but don't heal
- Moles that seem harmless but have changed shape or gotten larger
When it comes to your skin, it's always better to be safe than sorry. It's NOT crazy to ask about even the smallest spot. It could end up saving your life.
Am I seeing things, or is it possible I'm losing my hair?
If you're noticing that your part is getting wider or that your hair feels unusually thin, you're probably not seeing things. You could be losing hair.
While seeing hair on your pillow or brush can be normal, excessive amounts can indicate a problem. It doesn't necessarily mean permanent hair loss. It could be a temporary problem caused by stress, medications, metabolic issues like hypothyroidism, or poor eating habits.
We'll help you evaluate the stressors in your life that may be contributing to hair loss, as well as run tests to diagnose thyroid problems or vitamin deficiencies. Treatment depends on the cause, but most of these issues have solutions that will help you get your healthy head of hair back.
Is it time for a check-up with your PCP?
Schedule a primary care appointment online now or call a Virtua women's health navigator at 844-896-6367.
Updated September 8, 2021