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Below the Belt: The Gynecology Secrets You Need to Know

Stymied by rumors and half-truths about how to take care of your V zone? See what experts have to say about the secrets of sexual health.
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WebMD Feature

“I can’t tell you,” says Rebecca Amaru, MD, “the number of times women come into my office in tears because they’ve read or heard something about gynecology they think applies to them – and it doesn’t.” Amaru is clinical instructor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. She tells WebMD that a lot of what you read about gynecology or about caring for your V zone is either exaggerated or “just plain wrong.”

To help you sort fact from rumor, WebMD asked some of the nation’s top experts about sexual health and V zone care — topics that many women are too embarrassed to ask their own doctor about. What they said, may surprise you. Here are the gynecology secrets you want to know.

Secret # 1: Birth control pills may cause your sex drive to wane.

If your desire for canoodling hasn’t seemed quite the same since you started taking “the Pill,” it’s not your imagination says Amaru. “It’s 100% true that birth control pills can reduce the desire for sex in many women,” she says.

This is true not only for women in their reproductive years. It’s also true for women going through menopause who may use a low dose pill to control symptoms such as hot flashes and mood swings.

What can you do to get your sex drive back? Amaru says switching pill brands or formulations sometimes helps. “If it doesn’t,” she says, “consider switching to another form of birth control such as an IUD — if you’re in a monogamous relationship — or condoms,” she says. Another option is to take the Pill less frequently and use another method of protection to prevent pregnancy. If you’re using the Pill for relief of symptoms such as hot flashes, talk to your doctor about cutting back the dosage.

Secret # 2: To reduce some side effects of birth control pills — including nausea — insert them vaginally.

“Inserting the Pill vaginally is not harmful,” says Steve Goldstein, MD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at NYU Medical Center in New York City. “And,” he says, “it can be very effective, particularly if you are suffering with any nausea or vomiting for any reason, including from taking the Pill.”

This little known secret came to light thanks to an Israeli study published in the journal Contraception. Doctors compared two groups of women using the Pill. One group took the pill by mouth; the other inserted it into the vagina and let it dissolve. The result? The women who used the vaginal route had less nausea, vertigo, headache, breast tenderness, period pain, and stomach upsets than the ones who took the Pill orally.

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