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Why Does a Gynecologist Ask About Your Last Period?

Why does a gynecologist ask when your last period was?
- Mariam*

Knowing when your last period was can give your gynecologist (or nurse practitioner) a lot of information. For example, it can help pinpoint where you are in your menstrual cycle, which can affect your vaginal discharge, your breast exam, and things like bloating and cramps.

Knowing when your last period was also can let your gyn know about the timing of your menstrual cycle. If it's been a while since a girl's period, the doctor might want to test for things like hormonal imbalances or pregnancy. If a girl is pregnant, the date of her last period helps doctors and nurse practitioners figure out the baby's due date.

Since knowing the date of your last period can be so helpful, it's a good idea to make a note of it on your phone or calendar so you have the information handy when asked.

Your gyn or nurse practitioner might ask lots of questions about your periods. How you answer them can help you get the best care for your specific needs.

Don't leave all the questions to your doctors and nurses, though. Asking your own — like why your gyn is doing a pelvic exam or ordering certain tests — lets you take charge of your own health.

Reviewed by: Julia Brown Lancaster, MSN, WHNP-BC
Date reviewed: January 2015

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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