Men don’t routinely visit Gynecologists. Admittedly, some harbor anxieties when their female partners go for gynecological consultations.
Over the years, I have had multitudes of questions from men, some anonymously and others in person. For those not bold enough to seek answers in person, here’s a glimpse of what many may have always wanted to know.
1. Are internal examinations done every time women visit their Gynecologists?
The answer is no. Internal examinations should only be done for very good reasons, and not on a whim. All intimate examinations should be done in the presence of a chaperone to negate any potential misdemeanors from either party. If a chaperone is not offered, or if declined, appropriate documentation must be made.
2. Can an abnormal Pap smear affect the male sexual partner?
Minor changes on the cervix are fairly common, and either resolve spontaneously or require specific treatment. There are no untoward effects on men, but psychological effects in either or both partners may interfere with intimacy.
Fertility problems are fairly common, and there is a biased belief that the problem is usually with the women. Surely, men can’t have any fertility problems? Far from the truth, men are the cause of fertility problems in about a third of all cases. The surest way is for men to accompany their partners to a joint consultation and get basic tests done, thereby settling the matter.
4. Does pregnancy mandate sexual abstinence?
The general answer is no. Sexual intercourse during pregnancy is generally safe. Women are advised to avoid sex if they have pregnancy complications. These include; if the mother’s water breaks prematurely or in case of heavy bleeding in pregnancy. Adjustments may be necessary to accommodate pregnancy changes that may interfere with certain positions, or the female partner’s desires.
5. What about after delivery?
A common concern for men is that pregnancy and delivery causes irreversible bodily changes. Most believe that pre-pregnancy levels of intimacy and enjoyment are no longer achievable. Mothers can also regain their pre-preganancy bodies by excising and proper diet. Men have an active role in helping their partners feel comfortable and desirable.
6. Some men want to know why there are so many male Gynecologists.
Male predominance in our field has been by default, and the vast majority are very ethical. There is now a reversal of trends where the majority of graduating Gynecologists are women. Patients are at liberty to select a practitioner that they are comfortable with.
7. Occasionally, a man comes along and wants to know details of his wife’s consultation.
The answer must always be no. The medical law is unambiguous on confidentiality. Husbands have no legal right to their spouse’s medical information, Gynecologists can only divulge such information with written consent of the woman concerned.