Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
So that your primary care doctor or gynecologist can observe and evaluate any vaginal discharge you have, don't schedule your appointment during your period. Avoid using tampons and vaginal deodorant sprays, and don't douche or have sex for 24 hours before your appointment.
What you can do
Because appointments can be brief, and it may be difficult to remember everything you want to discuss, it's a good idea to prepare in advance of your appointment.
- Make a list of any symptoms you're experiencing. Include all of your symptoms, even if you don't think they're related.
- Make a list of any medications, vitamins, herbs or other supplements you take. Include how often you take them and the doses.
- Take a notepad or electronic device with you. Use it to make notes of important information during your visit.
- Prepare a list of questions to ask your doctor. List your most important questions first, in case time runs out.
For bacterial vaginosis, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- Can I do anything to prevent bacterial vaginosis?
- What signs and symptoms should I look for?
- Do I need to take medicine?
- Does my partner also need to be tested or treated?
- Are there any special instructions for taking the medicine?
- Are there any over-the-counter products that will treat my condition?
- What can I do if my symptoms return after treatment?
Don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment if you don't understand something.
Questions your doctor may ask
Be prepared to answer questions your doctor may have, such as:
- What symptoms are you experiencing?
- How long have you had your symptoms?
- Do you notice a strong vaginal odor?
- Have you ever been treated for a vaginal infection?
- Have you tried any over-the-counter products to treat your condition?
- Have you recently taken antibiotics for any reason?
- Are you sexually active?
- Are you pregnant?
- Do you use scented soap or bubble bath?
- Do you douche or use feminine hygiene spray?
- CDC fact sheet: Bacterial vaginosis fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/std/bv/STDFact-Bacterial-Vaginosis.htm. Accessed March 19, 2013.
- Bacterial vaginosis. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/bacterialvaginosis/pages/default.aspx. Accessed March 19, 2013.
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs): Bacterial vaginosis (BV). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/std/bv/default.htm. Accessed March 19, 2013.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Committee on Practice Bulletins — Gynecology. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 72. Vaginitis. Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2006;107:1195. Reaffirmed 2011.
- Frequently asked questions. Gynecologic problems FAQ028. Vaginitis. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq028.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20130319T1944039856. Accessed March 19, 2013.
- STD treatment guidelines 2010. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/std/treatment/2010/default.htm. Accessed March 19, 2013.
- Sobel JD. Bacterial vaginosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 19, 2013.
- Bacterial vaginosis fact sheet. Womenshealth.gov. http://womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/bacterial-vaginosis.cfm. Accessed March 19, 2013.
- Flagyl (prescribing information). New York, N.Y.: Pfizer; 2010. http://labeling.pfizer.com/ShowLabeling.aspx?id=570. Accessed March 21, 2013.
- Cleocin (prescribing information). New York, N.Y.: Pfizer; 2005. http://labeling.pfizer.com/showlabeling.aspx?id=627. Accessed March 21, 2013.
- Tindamax (prescribing information). San Antonio, Texas: Mission Pharma; 2004.http://www.missionpharmacal.com/Global_Content/Package_Inserts/Tindamax.pdf. Accessed March 21, 2013.
- Gallenberg MM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 26, 2013.
- Thielen JM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 6, 2013.