Started from the bottom, now we’re HERE!

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Introduction:

What does your vagina smell like?

      Oh, sorry. I meant to ease you into this book. That was too much too soon. Let’s try this, does your vagina smell like popcorn? Whether your answer is yes, or no, you’ve come to the right place because it smells like something.

      This book is for every woman who has ever wondered about her body. Is my discharge normal? What should my vagina look like? Should I leak urine when I laugh? How do I stop that? Oh, you’re too young for that last one? You just wait. I am going to help you understand your body, as well as help you solve many common gynecologic problems and prevent many others. You need to know these pearls, and so does your friend, sister, partner, cousin, play cousin and everyone else with or without a vagina. (I’m an equal opportunity health educator.)

      In my Gyne practice (pronounced Guy-Knee. Please don’t call me a Gyno. It’s not derogatory, I just don’t like the way that it sounds. It’s like when someone calls you the wrong nickname) women come to see me for routine health maintenance and to solve health-related problems. The majority of my visits are with women who seek understanding about what is happening in their bodies. Well, ladies, this one is for you. I put together a list of every women’s health topic that I could think of and answers to every question I am regularly asked. My patients often tell me that I break down topics in a way that helps them understand better than ever before. In this book, I expand that breakdown beyond my office.

      Would you buy a nice new techy device and not educate yourself about how to care for it? No. You would want to protect your investment by being informed. It is for this reason that I became a gynecologist. Even as a young girl, I sought to understand why every time I took a bubble bath, my girly parts were irritated and uncomfortable. It took my best friend’s mother, who was an OB/GYN, to bring light to the fact that not all women can expose every product to their girlies. The delicate part of me was not interested in the fact that this body wash made pink bubbles and let me draw pictures with it on my washcloth. She was irritated by that cute wash, literally.

      I actually knew that I wanted to be a gynecologist at an early age. Weird concept? Sure. Many children will say in the cutest of kid voices that they want to be a doctor, or a nurse, or a lawyer, or an astronaut. How many 5-year-olds can pronounce, let alone aspire to be, gynecologists? If you ask my dad, that was little Wendy Goodall (or “Sweets”, as he still calls me because of my love for all things sugary). The desire was partially selfish in that I felt that if I knew about this bubble bath madness now, how much more womanly information could I learn to keep myself healthy and comfortable?

     Sorry, men. Apart from being a circumcision expert (yes, that is a thing), I can’t help you guys with your parts. The exception to that statement is that if I can help the women in your life be healthier, maybe they will also be happier, and you will be the beneficiaries of that happiness. By beneficiary, I mean that she could do something nice for you or smile a little more, or not be as mean or grumpy. If your mind automatically went between the “sheets”, get that mind out of the gutter.

      This book will not teach you how to do what I do, but it will give you a window into my world. Some basic truths about health can save you from unfortunate outcomes or at the very least, lend understanding where it is lacking. Not every OB/GYN can sit and talk to you for 20 minutes about your abnormal Pap test or why you may have discharge. That’s what THIS BOOK is for!

      To the mothers or mature women thinking about giving a copy of this book to your daughter or a young woman in your life, DO IT! Misinformation is so prevalent. I can’t tell you how many people don’t know how STI/STDs are transmitted, which ones are dangerous, that pull-out is an unreliable form of birth control, that the clap is not chlamydia (it is actually gonorrhea), and that a person doesn’t need to have a lot of sex to get pregnant. It just takes once.

      If you give your kid a car and some car keys but don’t give him or her driving lessons or education on the rules of the road, eventually they may learn how to start the car on their own, or their friends will teach them. Pause and imagine that your kid’s body is the car and puberty is the key. At some point, they will likely put that car into gear and try to drive. They will probably run into some things, blow through some traffic signals and get some tickets. Let’s pray they don’t hurt themselves or anyone else. Instead, if you teach them about the car and give them reasons why they might not want to drive yet, they might make wiser decisions.

      I posed the following question to a teen in my practice who was sexually active but was reluctant to have STD testing or to start using reliable birth control because she didn’t want her mother to know what she was doing. I asked her, “Which do you think your mother would dislike more: Finding out that you are having sex, but knowing that you are trying to be as safe as possible, or not knowing that you are having sex and as a result, you contract an undiagnosed STD or unplanned pregnancy?” I have a daughter. I would prefer for her to not have sex until she is either married or at least mentally prepared for the emotional weight that it carries. Damn a hookup! Trust and believe, though, that she will be well informed AND know that she can always talk to me or ask me questions, regardless of whether I agree with her decision.

      Enjoy my A to Z indexed guide to all things female. I realize that my title says A-V, and no, that is not a typo. It was just catchier than A-Z. Far be it from me to leave out W, X, Y and Z in this book.

        Here’s an important notice: Now that we’ve discussed what this book is, let’s briefly discuss what this book isn’t. This book does not create a doctor-patient relationship between me (the author) and you (the reader). While I am a doctor, I’m not your doctor. That means you should not wait to seek treatment from your doctor, start or stop any prescribed medical treatment, or disregard your doctor’s advice based on what you read here. I’m here to educate you, not to treat you. That’s an important distinction. Also, to the extent that I include links or references or other sources, they are for your information only, not an endorsement on my part of any product or content. #legalese #CYA

      Throughout the book, there will be many more disclaimers, along with hashtags, and parenthetical remarks. It is the state of my brain. Just bear with me. #iknowhashtagsdontworkinbooks

        In the words of the hilarious comedian, Tiffany Haddish, “She READY!”

 

Also, for the non-binary, please excuse the extensive use of pronouns in this book. Feel free to insert your pronoun of choice where you deem appropriate. My pronouns are She, Her, and Hers. Thank you.