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Gynecologic History


David H. Barad

, MD, MS, Center for Human Reproduction

Last full review/revision Mar 2021| Content last modified Mar 2021
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For gynecologic care, a woman should choose a health care practitioner with whom she can comfortably discuss sensitive topics, such as sex, birth control, pregnancy, and problems related to menopause. The practitioner may be a doctor, a nurse-midwife, a nurse practitioner, or a physician assistant.

For the gynecologic history, doctors ask about the problem prompting the visit, past and present menstrual periods, past pregnancies, sexual activities, and gynecologic symptoms, disorders, and treatments that the woman has had in the past.

Questions about menstrual periods include the following:

Questions about past pregnancies include the following:

  • How many pregnancies a woman has had

  • What the dates of those pregnancies were

  • How those pregnancies ended (such as in a live birth or a miscarriage)

  • Whether complications (such as bleeding, high blood pressure, nausea, or vomiting) occurred

The doctor usually asks about sexual activities to assess the risk of gynecologic infections Overview of Vaginal Infections In the United States, vaginal infections are one of the most common reasons women see their doctor, accounting for millions of visits each year. Vaginal infections are caused by microorganisms... read more , injuries, and pregnancy and to determine whether a woman has any sexual problems. A woman is asked whether she uses or wants to use birth control and whether she is interested in counseling or other information. Doctors may ask about sexual identity and gender identity issues to give adolescent girls and women an opportunity to talk about such issues.

The doctor asks whether the woman has pain during intercourse, in the middle of the menstrual cycle (which may indicate that the pain coincides with ovulation), or under other circumstances. If she has pain, she is asked how severe the pain is and what provides relief.

The doctor reviews the woman's history of past gynecologic disorders and usually obtains a general medical and surgical history that includes previous health problems.

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