4. Be open about your bedroom behavior
Almost 40 percent of you confessed to not always being completely honest with your doctor about having unprotected sex. It's not easy to admit that you forgot to use a condom while getting busy with a brand-new guy in your life, but it's crucial that your gyno knows so she can screen for sexually transmitted diseases. "The most common bacterial STDs, like chlamydia and gonorrhea, often don't have symptoms, so you won't know you're infected unless you're tested," says Judy Chang, M.D., an assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at the Magee-Womens Hospital at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "And many doctors won't test for STDs unless you specifically request it." These infections are easily treated with antibiotics, says Chang, but should be found as early as possible because they may cause infertility over time. Should your results come back positive, follow the medication treatment instructions exactly, and then book a second appointment as requested by your doctor. According to a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, more than 25 percent of women who were infected with chlamydia had developed a new infection (sometimes with a different STD) when they were reexamined within a year. The researchers believe that many of these women became reinfected because they continued to engage in unprotected sex or because their partners weren't treated for their own conditions.
Lastly, follow up on any tests that your doctor performs. "A patient should always hear over the phone or in writing that an STD test or Pap smear is negative," says Cossler. "It's an unfortunate fact that busy offices sometimes misplace or forget to call about positive test results. You can't ever assume that no news is good news."