What to Expect at a visit with your Gynecologist
All women at one point in their life will have to start seeing a gynecologist on a “regular” basis. Many women, however, are still not sure what can be covered during the visit or what questions to ask their provider.
Is it your first time seeing a gynecologist?
Don’t be intimidated if you are a maturing young woman seeing a gynecologist for the first time! This is your opportunity to get accurate information and confidential answers to any questions you may have concerning sex, sexuality, your changing body, and menstruation. In addition, you can learn about pregnancy prevention, sexually transmitted diseases, and healthy lifestyles. For women who experience missed periods, pain, or other reproductive problems, a doctor can look into why these problems are occurring and offer treatment. Before your first visit, find out as much as you can about your family medical history, especially with the women in your family. Write down any questions you may have so you don’t forget to ask them during your visit. No question is too embarrassing! This is the perfect opportunity to ask about your birth control options also.
During your exam, your provider may ask to run some blood and urine samples for routine testing. Your blood pressure and other vitals may also be taken. Your provider will have you undress into a gown and will ask you some questions about your menstrual cycles and past medical history. If your visit includes a physical exam, breast palpation to check for any abnormalities will be performed but should not be painful. During your vaginal exam, a lubricated speculum will be inserted to be able to collect specimens for testing for STDs. Once the specimen is collected the speculum will be removed and this portion of the exam is over. Your provider may also lubricate his/her fingers to insert into your vagina and will then put a hand on your abdomen in order to palpate the uterus and ovaries and check for any swelling or growths.
Ask if lifestyle changes affect your health and prescriptions
For other women who are used to visiting their gynecologists, there are many factors that can impact your gynecological health needs. Instances like weight loss and gain, if you’ve started or stopped smoking, changed your relationship status, number of sexual partners, or started having migraines are all useful information that should be relayed to your provider when he/she is determining your health plan. As you can see there are many things that can indicate change in your care. You know your body and what is going on in your life the best. It is important that you keep your provider updated so that you can receive the most beneficial treatment and care plan possible.
Update your family history
Most of the time patients fill out their family history during their initial visit and forget to update their records even though it has been 5+ years since the first visit. If there have been some changes with your family medical history, let the provider know. If someone in your family has been diagnosed with heart disease, breast cancer, or other conditions, let your provider know. Having this information will allow your provider to give you the best possible care, as some illnesses are hereditary. Having all of the history can really help the provider and only you have the knowledge and ability to relay that information fully.
Ask those “embarrassing” sex questions
Trust us, there is no embarrassing question. Have you been wondering about something your body does during sex? Are you experiencing pain during sex or having trouble with orgasm? Or maybe you want some more information about safer sex practices? No matter the reason or the question, most providers have heard it all. Many people have the same questions in mind that you are wondering about. It’s better to talk about them with your provider than to search on the Internet and get the wrong information. It’s important to keep an open dialogue with your provider. Changing partners or methods of protection are always great topic to speak to your provider about. You’re not alone in your health journey.
Re-examine your birth control options
Some women stay with a birth control method because it works for them (or no method at all), while others just get stuck into doing what they have been used to for years. What worked for you 5-10 years ago may not be what is best for you today. Did you start using a birth control implant because your doctor recommended it but you didn’t fully explore all of your options? If you are wondering what changes you can make in your birth control method, ask your provider what your options are. Choosing one that best suits you, your health, and your lifestyle is so important.
There are a number of topics that can be discussed at your visit to your gynecologist. Make every visit useful and take advantage of the time that you have with your provider. Remember they are there to help you to get to your most healthy self! If you are due for a visit to see a gynecologist, contact us and make an appointment today.