Girl Talk: How Not to Freak Out at Your First Gynecologist Appointment
The dawning of womanhood brings many new people into one’s life, among them is the gynecologist. The first appointment (and sometimes many after it) can be a bit awkward and cause some anxiety. Someone (even an educated and knowledgeable doctor) poking around your lady bits can be cause panic for some young ladies, but worry not!
Here is the low-down on what to expect at your first gynecologist appointment and, most of all, how to deal:
Preparing for the big day
There are a few things you should keep in mind when scheduling your first gynecologist appointment. First find a doctor you are comfortable with; if you aren’t comfortable with a doctor on the first visit, find a new doctor. Second, make sure your appointment is on a day when you will not have your period. Third, make a list of questions and bring them with you. These questions should include anything from cramps to contraception to sexual health. No question is a stupid question!
“Getting to know you…getting to know all about you…”
This first visit, the doctor will talk to you about many things so be sure to bring a notebook and a pen to take notes. The doctor will ask about you and your family’s medical history and your sexual activity and health. Now, you may not want to be totally honest with this stranger, but it is imperative to your health that you are. Your doctor can give you a lot of information and insight about your sexual and physical health. Be sure to ask all of your questions and get answers you understand.
You will have several different examinations during your visit. Your first is a general examination and will include checking your vitals like height, weight, and blood pressure – Easy Peasy! Next is your breast examination where your doctor will check for lumps or abnormal discharge using her fingers. This is also a good time to ask your doctor to show you how to perform a monthly breast exam if she doesn’t offer.
Now these next exams are a little more invasive so remember to breathe deeply and slowly to calm nerves. The PAP smear is a test that requires the doctor to put a speculum into your vagina in order to scrape the inner walls to collect cells that will be tested at a laboratory to check for STDs and abnormal cells. You will need to spread your legs and put your feet in the stirrups (your lower half will be covered the entire time with a sheet). Tip: The wider your legs are, the more comfortable you will be. The PAP exam is a bit awkward and you may feel some pressure, but it is over fairly quickly.
Now comes a pelvic exam. The doctor will check your vulva (the area outside of your vagina) to rule out infections. The doctor will then insert one to two fingers of one hand inside of your vagina, while pressing on your abdomen, to feel your cervix, ovaries, and womb. She is basically looking for cysts and to be sure nothing is too large or too small. It is also over fairly quickly.
Once you are all done, your PAP smear will be sent to the lab and you should hear the results in between three days to a week. Once you finish your exams, you are ready to go! If your PAP comes back normal, it is ciao until next year!