The first visit to the gynecologist is a modern rite of passage – you go in the doctor’s chamber as a girl, and come out a woman! First times can be scary and disarming – be it going to the gynecologist, or understanding your sexual health.
Specialists say that women need to see their gynecologist at least once a year since the beginning of their sexual life or have reached the age of 18, whichever comes first. Here is a list of the things that are going to happen during your first visit to a gynecologist, including the preparation before it.
When you decide to make an appointment with your gynecologist, do make sure that your visit will be during the middle of your menstrual cycle. Once the appointment is scheduled avoid having sexual intercourse two days before it. On the day of your scheduled exam avoid talc or cream since it could affect test results.
Firstly, a nurse may ask for urine and blood samples for the test. The nurse will also weigh and measure you and your blood pressure. Afterwards you will talk to your doctor, who will ask various questions about your previous medical history, your family history and past surgeries. It is also important for you to remember when your first period was and what it is like - whether it is regular, how long it lasts and so on. It is important to tell your doctor whether you are sexually active or not.
Your gynecologist will then ask you to undress and leave you alone in a room for a while. You will also be given a hospital gown or drape sheet. After you are ready, the doctor will ask you to sit on the examining table putting your feet in the foot rests.
Physical examination includes palpation of the breasts to check for any abnormalities, pelvic, abdominal and manual exams. The gynecologist will examine your external genitalia with latex gloves on. Your vulva will be examined for any pathologic symptoms. Physical examination should not be painful though if it is, you should tell your doctor straight away, since this could be a sign of certain pathology.
The speculum exam follows the physical examination. The gynecologist will insert a lubricated speculum into the vagina to check for any abnormalities like cysts, erosions, irritations and others. Before the speculum is inserted the doctor will first slip a finger into your vagina to find the cervix and detect the vaginal angle.
During this exam the Pap smear is taken. This means that a few cells of your cervix will be swiped with a brush or spatula. The doctor will then collect samples for sexually transmitted diseases tests. Only then the speculum will be gently removed from a woman’s vagina and the examination will be over.
During this part of gynecological examination the gynecologist will lubricate her/his two (second and third) fingers and put them into the vagina. The doctor will put another hand on the abdomen in order to palpate the uterus and ovaries and check for any swelling or growths.
The doctor can do some tests in the own laboratory, therefore you will be able to discuss the results of some tests on the same day. Results of the other tests performed may take a few days, and hence you will need to come back once again for them.
In case any treatment is needed the gynecologist will prescribe certain medications. He/she will also recommend you a method of birth control if you need one. Remember to ask any questions that you wish about your test results, choices of birth control, treatment or sexual life.
Without sounding like a modern day health prophet, it can still be emphasized that young women need to pass through the portals of the gynecology clinic to ensure that their sexual health and hygiene are at their peak. There is nothing scary about it, and like your mother – you should too. And like you, your daughter one day will too!
Image source: Getty Images
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