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#18: Have You Seen Your Gynecologist?

Updated: Mar 22, 2023


Ayyye!!! OOo!! Happy #WomanWednesday gurls and we are back into our “Let’s Talk About Her” Series!! So um...I gotta question for y’all, when is the last time you guys have seen your Gynecologist? Did you guys get your pap smears done yet? So it’s imperative to see a Gynecologist. Why? They check everything, and I mean EVERYTHING that has to do with “Her”, your beautiful uterus. Whether you have been recently exposed to an STD, trying to get pregnant, having worsening pelvic or vaginal pain, desiring to get a birth control pill or implant, “Ruby Red” or your menstruation is acting weird, or you absolutely have no issues at all, YOU MUST GO.

 

1. WHAT IS A GYNECOLOGIST?

Gynecologists(GYN) are doctors who specialize in women's health, with a focus on the female reproductive system. They deal with a wide range of issues, including obstetrics, or pregnancy and childbirth, menstruation and fertility issues, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), hormone disorders, and others.


2. WHEN SHOULD I SEE ONE?

A gynecologist can treat a girl or a woman at ANY AGE. Many recommend that girls see a gynecologist for the FIRST time somewhere between the ages of 13 and 15 OR you are sexually active. But if you’re older and have never seen a gynecologist, don’t let this guideline put you off from making an appointment. A visit to the GYN is recommended for annual screening (at least once a year) and any time a woman has concerns about symptoms such as pelvic vulvar, vaginal pain, or abnormal bleeding from the uterus.


3. WILL THE VISIT BE UNCOMFORTABLE OR AWKWARD?

While it’s completely normal to be normal to be nervous before your first GYN or pelvic exam, there’s really no reason to be. Most likely, the appointment won’t be nearly as awkward or scary as you might expect. Your doctor will thoroughly explain everything they do, and will likely be friendly and talkative, putting you at ease the entire time. You can expect to talk about things like:

  • Like your health history…

  • Your family and their health history…

  • Your menstrual cycle (When was your last normal period?)...

  • Whether or not you’re sexually active…

  • Whether you consume alcohol, and other personal topics.

It’s important to answer honestly so that your doctor is able to get an accurate understanding of your health.


4. WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT DURING MY EXAM?

When you visit the GYN, many doctors will want to run a few tests. These exams will vary depending on why you’re there, whether you’re sexually active, and how old you are. Height, weight, and blood measurements are common, as are external genital exams, pelvic exams, breast exams, and pap smears. However, a first visit may simply involve conversing with the doctor, and not include any tests. For young patients, a doctor may not perform a pelvic exam, and pap smears aren’t performed on women who are under 21 UNLESS they are sexually active


5. SHOULD I SHAVE OR WAX BEFORE MY APPOINTMENT?

It’s necessary to shave or wax around the vagina before your first visit to a GYN. You want to be clean though, so be sure to shower that day, using a gentle soap to maintain proper vaginal hygiene.


6. CAN I GET A PELVIC EXAM WHEN I’M ON MY PERIOD?

Yes, it’s totally okay for a health care provider to perform a pelvic exam when you’re on your period. But most health care providers do encourage you to schedule your pelvic exam for a day when you aren’t menstruating. That’s because menstrual fluid can affect the results of some lab tests.


7. WHAT KIND OF PROCEDURES DO THEY DO?

ABOG-certified gynecologists are trained to carry out certain diagnostic and surgical procedures.

Diagnostic tasks include:

  • Pap smear tests

  • Ultrasound scanning

  • Colposcopy, a microscopic examination of the cervix

  • Endometrial biopsy, or taking a sample from the lining of the uterus

  • Hysteroscopy, the use of an endoscope to see into the uterus


8. BUT WAIT, WHAT IS A PAP SMEAR?

A pap smear, also called a Pap test, is a procedure to test for cervical cancer in women. A Pap smear involves collecting cells from cervix-the lower, narrow end of your uterus that’s at the top of your vagina.


Resources:

Medical News Today

Mayo Clinic

Arizona OBGYN Affiliates (AOA)




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